This is what happened when I aimed a colander toward the sun during today’s total eclipse across America.
Baby crescent moons!
I took this picture with my iPhone 7. Using my solar eclipse glasses as a shield for my phone lens, I was able to capture the eclipse as I saw it through my glasses.
Today was so cool.
I think I’m hooked on eclipses now.
Texas 2024. On my eclipse calendar now.
Every summer, I complete a massive puzzle. I break out the card table, dump the 1,000 pieces on top and begin the process of sorting and connecting. In those moments, I am a puzzle zombie. There’s only a certain amount of time I can dedicate to the hobby, but while I’m there, I’m nowhere else. It’s just one of many reasons why I love summer. I hate the ridiculous heat, but if it were not for summer, I’d be moving in a constant state of speed, rushing, rushing, rushing. Heat slows things down. And so I build it, piece by piece, enjoying the quiet of a hot afternoon or late night or morning.
I’ve come to learn a few things about life through this process. In the beginning, the puzzle is hard. You are not familiar with the big picture yet. Over and over again, you must return your gaze to the puzzle box to understand where the piece you’re holding, belongs. It can feel chaotic. Frustrating. So many pieces that fool you.
It’s easy to walk away after a few minutes of not finding one match. You know when you’ve had too much. So you take a break. Breaks are necessary. All muscles need rest and our brains are no exception. We are no good when we overdo it. You have to know when to walk away only so you can come back, ready to solve that puzzle. Over time, the puzzle begins to take shape.
You must open your mind and see that each piece is unique and the one you are holding may not necessarily fit another in the way you expect. Sometimes the piece connects upside down or sideways. Or it’s yellow and it still connects to red. Surprise! You cannot believe you know better or more than the puzzle. You must follow its lead and open your mind to all of the possibilities of connections. Kind of like life. That magical moment always comes. Suddenly the pieces fit, one by one. You’re caught off guard because you didn’t see that piece fitting the other like the way it did. Over and over again, this happens.
You have to keep trying new ways of seeing and doing things. The moment you stop believing there is nothing more to learn is the moment you stop growing. There are times when you have to step back and breathe in another avenue of happiness, but in the end, it comes down to keeping an open mind.
I think that’s where true happiness lies. We cannot lasso and control life. It flows as long as we understand we are shaped by our ability to accept it isn’t supposed to go exactly as we planned. As we do that, the puzzle begins to take shape. The pieces become more and more familiar until you get to the point where you pick up a random piece and, without thinking too much about it, your hand naturally moved toward the exact spot it belongs. It’s as if all of that dedication has begun to pay off.
And that’s because you’ve earned it. Your mind stopped trying to overthink, to make it work. It’s a beautiful process. And a good life lesson. Slow down, recognize that there’s more than one way to see and do things and allow joy to spill into your space.
Forest Gump was right, but life isn’t just a box of chocolates, it’s a puzzle, too. 🙂
I was feeling a bit colorful yesterday when I saw this ice cream sundae coloring contest in Food Network magazine.
There’s been such a resurgence to the 70’s in the design world. You see it everywhere. Colors, textures and patterns exploding next to each other, macramé hangers holding long, unending trails of green. Bamboo.
That’s what inspires this sundae. It’s a tribute to the summers I remember as a kid from the 70’s. The summers of color and joy and freedom. Of being outside all day and at the drive-ins or front yard (capturing lightening bugs) at night.
It was gritty, too. Food wasn’t so pretty or gourmet. It was hotdogs and hamburgers and corn on the cob. I’m happy for those memories. I hope to make them for my own children. Less Martha Stewart. more Janis Joplin. OK a little easy on the Janis Joplin, but still.
I was just hoping he didn’t hit a bump in the road. That pile of watermelons is taller than the sides of that truck.
Apparently, trucks carrying watermelons are a common site in Maryland. How very lovely, but my mind raced as I imagined a giant watermelon hurdling through my windshield like a meteor racing toward Earth.
I slowed down. Quickly. And moved lanes.
I might have issues, but stranger things have happened to me while driving.
One time a deer jumped headfirst into the third row of my minivan while I was on my way back from soccer with my son, Hank.
That’s deer fur lining the frame of what used to be my 3rd row window of my Honda Odyssey. That blue carseat is where Hank was sitting when the buck with massive antlers jumped through his window, barely scraping his cheeks and landing on the far side of the back seat.
I’m pretty sure the McDonald’s Happy Meal I had just ordered for Hank saved his life. On that night he was consumed with his chicken nuggets and fries instead of wiggling around in his carseat.
He walked away with a few scrapes and cuts, mostly from the window bits.
After the firemen cleaned up up, he turned to me and asked me if he could eat the rest of his chicken nuggets and fries. I told him we would get some new ones.
We were so lucky.
So…when I see a bunch of watermelon piled up high on the back of a small truck…as quaint as it might be…I am getting out of Dodge.
No one messes with my babies on the road.