There are Nine Sides to Every Story

Image result for free pictures of enneagram

Enneagram – Photo Credit: 1001freedownloads.com

I was on Facebook the other day and my friend, Chris, asked for comments about the Disney Parks based on enneagram. There were 56 comments, including mine which was: “What is an enneagram?”

There were quite a few responses to that, too, making me feel a little like a dinosaur, but then I remembered that I was older than everyone who answered and decided I didn’t care. I did want to know what everyone was so excited about though, so I looked it up.

You probably already know, but in case you don’t, it’s a personality test that uses a nine-sided figure in a particular system of analysis to represent the spectrum of possible personality types. In other words, “Mwa, mwa, mwa, mwa, mwa.” That cleared it up.

Then I thought to myself, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

That thought was quickly followed by my remembering that I am doing a 30-day blog challenge, so I looked for a free test and hoped for a blog post.

The answers to so many of the questions sounded like both would equally apply to me or neither would apply. I felt like I was getting my eyes examined – does this look clearer? – how about this? I thought I’d go out of my mind. I found myself wanting to get off that crazy train, but I played along for your sake, dear reader.

I would like to tell you exactly what the results of the test were. I’d like to tell you that it opened up my mind to the kind of person that I am. I’d also like to tell you that I should have gone with my first instinct.

I haven’t really cared what classification I am personality-wise for a few decades. It’s one of the benefits of getting older. These kinds of tests have been around since before the internet, but now it’s so easy to take one and account for your actions by your type. For me, taking it was annoying. I’ll tell you why. In my answer there may be a hint for you enneagrammers as to what motivates, or inspires, or drives me to be the way that I am.

The perfectionist in me couldn’t handle it when both answers equally applied and I was still forced to choose only one. We’re talking about degrees of difference that were so small even my eye doctor would struggle.

So, I‘ve decided that I’ll be content with myself and my unconscious patterns. I’ll also try to enjoy the fact that we can be friends even if I don’t know what number I am with all its wind and wings. My results revealed three numbers that were identical. At that revelation, I yelled at my computer, turned it off, and took a nap.

It’s great that we don’t look at life through the same lens. That way we can tease each other, I mean learn from each other.

 

This is Post #13 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

A Few More Things about Salzburg

My husband Bob was very disappointed that I neglected to share a few facts and pictures from our Salzburg trip, so this post is for Bob, but I hope you read it, too.

I’ll start with his favorite discovery. The church where the wedding from The Sound of Music was portrayed was Basilica St. Michael in the Mondsee Lake District. Only the inside of the church was used. I’ll give you three shots of the church altar area, each getting closer. Notice the area behind the candles. What do you see?

This is a little closer up. What do you see behind the candles?

If you said human skeletons, you’d be right. There are two on each side of the altar and they seem to be dressed for church. While getting the site ready for the foundation, four skeletons were uncovered. To my knowledge, nobody knows who these people were, but it was decided that they should be included inside of the church. They are preserved behind glass. We don’t know who came up with that plan, but it sure is different. We have seen thumbs of saints and heads of saints preserved and on display in duomos (cathedrals) in Italy, so this is not as strange as you might think. Oh, it’s strange, just not as much as you might think.

I also neglected to give you a shot of what the inside of our hotel looked like in Salzburg. This is very different from its American counterparts, but I like it. I like the idea of each of us having our own blanket as I am usually cold and Bob is always on the warm side. Actually, maybe that’s the problem – I need to be on the warm side.

And I forgot to show you the view as we traveled to our hotel. Our mouths were open in awe during our entire trip.

You really need to go to Mirabell Gardens if you’re in Salzburg. It’s breath-taking.

Bob in the gardens.

When we were at dinner with our new friend, my sister mentioned that she was coming down with a head cold. Robert said he had just the thing for that. He served up a round of schnapps for us, on the house. He said it would help clear her head. She downed it before he could warn her it was a little strong. This picture is our reaction to my sister who came out of her seat when the smack from the schnapps hit her. And, by the way, it did its job of clearing her head!

Hope you enjoyed a little more of Salzburg and hope even more you can visit there yourself sometime.

 

This is Post #12 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post each day in April.

Salzburg – We Needed to Spend Some Time with You

Full disclosure, I had this post without pictures in my drafts to complete since Bob and I went to Europe with my sister and her husband four years ago. When today’s blogging challenge writing prompt suggested a travel post, I thought maybe it was time. I enjoyed reminiscing. I hope you’ll forgive me for waiting four years to post this, but better later than never.

Salzburg

 

When I came to realize that the Sound of Music was set in Austria, I knew I had to go there.  Maybe it was the lure of the mountains, maybe it was the leiderhosen, maybe it was the fact that the highest point in Florida is just above sea level, I don’t know.  But if those hills really are alive with the sound of music, by golly I was going to hear it.

The Sound of Music tour was fun.  Picture a bunch of strangers and strange people on a bus being led around by a cute, young English lady in traditional Austrian leiderhosen.  In between stops we would sing along with the movie score. It was there that I discovered that my sister, Chris, who was traveling with us, could yodel. She’s very talented!

Sound of Music Tour

We visited the lake in the back of the house where Maria and the children, while dressed in curtains, fell out of the boat. The lake was not at the actual back of the house used in the movie.  They filmed in two different locations.  This would have been where you would have expected to see the gazebo where 16 going on 17 was sung, but that has been moved to a different area.  It used to be in a private backyard, but the people who owned the house grew weary of strangers leaping around in their backyard at all hours of the day and night so they donated it to the city, who moved it to a park.

Bob and I were actually dating when I was 16 going on 17. We never had a gazebo to dance around in though.

Of course, the church where movie Maria married the Captain was spectacular, as was sitting in a cafe eating apple strudel during a break in the tour.

This church was chosen for Maria’s wedding to allow for great views from above of the long train on her wedding dress.

We also visited the lake district even though it is barely featured in the movie.  It offered some of the most spectacular views I have ever seen.

Bob and I in the Lake District. For some reason we keep singing and raising our arms.

A highlight was Mirabell Gardens, which we visited while waiting for our tour bus.  I came to realize that these beautiful gardens were the ones featured in the movie.  Our April visit was perfect for the commencement of spring flowers, which added to our enjoyment of the park.

After the tour, we wandered around the old town and found ourselves in an area that looked more like Rodeo Drive than Salzburg.  There was even a Starbucks there.  It seemed wrong.  So we pulled out our trusty Rick Steves Guide and sought out a place to eat.  Rick always encourages his readers to go to Europe through the back door. The door we went through seemed to open into a different city altogether, so we were happy to put our hands in the hands of the man who travels Europe for a living.  We found our way back into the charming Salzburg that we had so quickly fallen in love with.

Mozart’s birthplace. No pictures allowed inside.

First time we stopped at Mozart’s house, it was closed. I tried knocking but nobody was home.

Just down the way from Starbucks was the house where Mozart was born, and thanks to Rick, nearby we found a restaurant called Gasthaus zum Wilden Mann.  We felt like we had entered someone’s private home.  It was rustic and charming.  The owner, Robert, greeted us as we entered.  I offered my “Gruss Got” greeting, and then inquired if I had used it correctly.  He smiled and said, “Yes, we always like to praise the Lord when we greet people.”  Gruss Got literally means God is good.

We sat at the corner table under a crucifix.  So we had a bar in one corner and Jesus in the other.  Antlers were on every wall. Robert sat with us and helped us choose our dinner. He said, “You need to spend some time with me.” We heartily agreed and by the end of our meal, we felt like we had been with an old friend. He sat with us for our entire dinner. It was as if he had nothing better to do.

This was a great example of hospitality and slowing down to smell the roses, or in this case sausages and beer. Thanks to Rick Steves for showing us the back door.

“You need to spend some time with me.”

 

This is Post #11 in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

Another Public Service Announcement for Fans of Florida

It’s a little bit safer to traipse around in the swamps in South Florida today. A 17-foot python was hunted and killed down in Big Cypress National Preserve in the Everglades a few days ago. I try to keep abreast of things that can squeeze the life out of you, like The I-4 Ultimate Project, phone solicitors, and big snakes. I know how you depend on me for just such information!

The problem with this invasive species is huge, like the snakes themselves. Interestingly, the increase in this snake’s population in South Florida is linked to Hurricane Andrew, which struck in 1992. Along its path were several exotic pet stores. When they were leveled, the pets found a suitable home in the swampy jungles of South Florida and have continued to devastate our native species while increasing their presence in the way that birds and bees and snakes do.

Florida is aggressively fighting this problem. There are even Python Elimination Programs, but in case you’re wondering SFWMD (South Florida Water Management Department) is not currently accepting applications for new participants.

They are getting very scientific in their battle against the Burmese Pythons. Tracking devices are implanted in male pythons (another job I wouldn’t want) to lead the trackers to breeding females. This 17-foot mama had 73 developing eggs inside of her.

 

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Photo credit: Big Cypress National Preserve/FaceBook

Despite the possibility of being strangled by a python, attacked by an alligator, injured by venomous toads, swarmed by mosquitoes, or literally driven crazy on I-4, I still find Florida a pleasant place to live. As they say though, I live in Florida under one condition. Air condition. If you come to visit, please leave your exotic reptiles at home and enjoy your stay.

 

This is Post #10 in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

Let’s talk about Spam – This Post is not Spam

Target in Honolulu, all the SPAM your heart could desire and then some

We live in an age where spam is everywhere. I’m not talking about the unappetizing-looking canned meat that is SPAM (SPiced hAM) and sold like crazy in Hawaii. I’m talking about the unsolicited messages that pop up on your phone, email, and for bloggers, the comment section of our blogs.

The word spam defined as above was first used in 1994. Since that time, it has exploded more than TV political ads, car sales people with dogs sitting on trucks, and junk mail combined.

I’ve been blogging for eight years, and it occurred to me that some of my spammers don’t even try to act like they are real commenters. That is very disappointing. Where is the quest for excellence? So, I’m sharing some of my recent gems with you, complete with grammar and structure problems. Remember, mine is a humor or lighter side of life blog. I don’t solve anybody’s problems. Sometimes I even make fun of them. Here goes:

  1. “Helped me a lot, just what I was looking for.” – This was in response to a post about horseback riding with my grandkids.
  2. “I have to voice my love for your generosity for those people that really want guidance on this question. Your very own commitment to getting the solution up and down became especially advantageous and has continuously permitted most people like me to achieve their targets. Your entire invaluable guidelines denotes this much a person like me and especially to my office workers. Thanks from everyone.”  – That’s quite a mouthful of nothing.
  3. “I conceive you have observed some very interesting details.”
  4. “As a website owner I conceive the written content here is real wonderful, thanks for your efforts.”  – Often I seem to be responsible for mental conceptions. I’m not sure how I feel about that.
  5. “You are my inspiration. I own few blogs and rarely run out from to brand.” – It’s hard to argue with this one, but still I know it was spam.

After going over these, I thought about how I respond to people, especially people I know and love. I need to be a good listener and a genuine encourager.  Romans 12:9 starts with, “Let love be genuine.” Let’s not throw spam at each other – either kind. Nobody needs that.

 

 

This is Post #9 in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

 

 

 

 

Whole 30 for Writing – Where you want to gain not lose

Every day is Blogging Day in April

I’ve been asked if I take the weekend off from blogging. In light of the current challenge, which I have dubbed the only Whole 30 (crazed writing, not crazed weight loss) I will ever do, I understand the question.

My kids will get particular enjoyment out of the question as they know I’ll take a day off with great ease. The real question is – take a day off from what? But I’ll cover that in future posts.

I know writing is what we’re focusing on here, but it’s only part of the – what’s that math thingy I’m trying to think of, oh yeah – equation. (Again, I’ll check in with my engineer later to make sure of this.)

I was geared up for this blogging challenge. I had several drafts in the works and ideas were flowing, which I greatly believe was God giving me the green light on this. Half of my April will involve having family in from out-of-town, so sneaking away to write may become a challenge, especially when my grandchildren from North Carolina arrive, but I’m also confident that where grandchildren are, blogging ideas flow.

Days 1 – 7 were relatively easy. Finding something like LEGO Jesus was the kind of thing that primes my writer’s pump. But my MO has been to finalize the day before I post. Yesterday was Sunday and I discovered I should have used Saturday better. After church Bob and I went to an usher’s meeting/game afternoon. Again, if you ask me to play a game, my writing will not even enter my mind. We were the last to leave, too, putting us home at 5:30, just in time for Bob to fix dinner.

I’m on a crazy diet right now, so if Bob doesn’t cook, he doesn’t eat anything interesting. He does this out of love for me and support for my weight loss endeavor. Thankfully, he likes to cook.

By the time dinner was over and I did the last of the dishes, I realized that due to circumstances, I hadn’t had any time with Bob for the last two days, so I took the night off from blogging. I even resisted using my devices except for a facetime with our granddaughter, Layna, who turned 7 on the 7th and was pretty pumped about her golden birthday.

Because I am driven to perfection regarding this Whole 30, it was surprising and delightful to me when I realized that I was okay with a quiet night with my husband instead of leaving him to himself while I wrote. And then this morning, our blog-meister Paul asked about taking a day off, so now you know the rest of my story. Sometimes you just have to let it go. When I return to my normal schedule of a once-a-week post, I won’t typically write on Sunday. But I have no hard and fast rules. If inspiration hits me, I’ll pull away and at least jot down a few notes, night or day.

I hope you had a restful Sunday and thanks for reading, especially during my Whole 30!

 

This is Post #8 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

LEGO Jesus

Easter is quickly approaching so if you have shopping to do to fill those baskets, you may want to consider purchasing Jesus. He’s available in LEGO form for the low price of $19.99, and with Amazon Prime, Jesus could be delivered to you in two days. He’ll be ready to turn water into wine, so be cautious about the age of the person who receives Jesus. While it’s fine to receive Jesus into your heart at any age, wine drinking should be for the responsible adult. I think Jesus would agree.

 

 

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This is Post #7 in the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

 

Lessons from my Orchid

Getting to the root of the problem: Are you too preoccupied with ugly roots to enjoy the beauty of the flower?

In January 2016 a Whole Foods opened near me, so I had to check it out. I had heard how expensive they were, but I also had heard how unique and beautiful the store was. I didn’t plan on buying anything, but you never know. It was a madhouse that day and I would have left empty-handed except for the orchids. Their grand-opening special was a beautiful potted Phalaenopsis orchid for $10.

I displayed it on my bathroom counter where it was very happy enjoying the morning sun. (Plant tip #1 – find a happy place for your plant and it will thank you.) The flowers greeted me every morning and they lasted a long time, much longer than any $10 bouquet I could have purchased. That’s my outlook on potted plants – if they give me at least a season of return and they never really thrive or bloom again, then that’s okay with me. It wasn’t a bad investment.

But this little guy is the little orchid that would and could and did. Here’s a picture of it today. It has looked like this for over a month. This is its third re-bloom and first double shoot. That’s amazing to me.

I like to look at this orchid face. It’s so cheery.

This weird root system supports the lovely plant.

A lesson from this beauty is that you can’t judge a plant by its root system. Its roots are messy and visible and they look like they need attention – not unlike myself after four weeks out from the hairdresser. Since I see this plant every day that it’s blooming, I really hardly notice the roots. I just look at the beautiful flowers. That is until I came home one day and discovered that a friend saw my plant and thought she would water it for me because the roots looked so dry. I tried to be nonchalant about this and told her that I had actually watered it that very morning. She couldn’t believe it and felt horrible. I told her no worries. I set it outside to help dry it out a little and reminded myself that, hey, it’s just a $10 plant.

Once a week I set this orchid in a couple of inches of water for 5 minutes – never watering it from the top. That’s it. Five minutes a week and this is what you get. Not only that, when the blooms fall off, I cut it back below a juicy knuckle (as my orchid-growing friend calls it) and set it outside in its outdoor happy place (remember I live in Florida), which gets some sun but not too much. I ignore it until it puts out another shoot. This has worked over the last three years. Nobody is more surprised than I am.

I’m sure I would have killed this by now if I tried to replant it to make those roots less conspicuous. The roots are part of its beauty. They’re weird-looking and provide a great contrast to the delicate-looking orchid. I have cut back some dead ones before (they look brown and papery), but that’s it.

I know you may be expecting some kind of humor here, but the funny thing is that people look at me as some kind of an orchid expert when the truth is I just ask questions, read labels, and moved the plant around until I found its happy place. Plants have them just like people do.

 

This is Post #6 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

Killer Toads Invade Florida

I have a love/hate relationship with things that hop. I like rabbits and bunnies, but the Easter Bunny at the mall is a little freaky. I think kangaroos are fascinating, though I never have encountered one in the wild; and I think I would be mildly terrified if I did. I like a good sock hop, even though my dancing skills are rusty. What I don’t like are frogs and toads. They give me the creeps. I never know where they are going to hop, and it always seems like they like to torture me and come my way. Yes, I think it’s personal.

So you can understand why I was attentive to a recent news story about killer toads. April showers may bring May flowers, but this year they are bringing killer toads to parts of Florida. We always welcome a lot of visitors during Spring Break, but these guys are definitely not helping our economy and their plan is to linger way past April.

It’s quite serious actually. They start out tiny, but they can grow to be a half pound. That’s a lot of toad. They were introduced to Florida to control insects in the sugarcane fields years ago, hence the name cane toad. Well, that didn’t work out too well as they are very poisonous. They can shut down the nervous system of a pet. The venom shoots from the back of their neck, so people need to be aware. The major outbreak is in the Palm Beach area where swarms of them are invading neighborhoods, but these toads are found all over Florida.

This is not the first amphibian that I have addressed on my blog. This post from six years ago covers many of our invasive species. So please, don’t pet the toads, frogs, or alligators (yes, I know this is a reptile but they do hang out in the same areas). You learn a lot of respect for nature down here.

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A large army of small cane toads, but they won’t stay small for long. Photo Credit: Fox 35 News

 

This is Post #5 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge to post every day in April.

The Great Garbage Can Controversy

We made a very unexciting purchase recently – a purchase that we didn’t exactly agree on. It’s not like there was a huge discussion though. We bought a new a garbage can.

I thought our garbage cans were acceptable. I even asked the guy on the truck and he said he’d seen a worse. But Bob likes to replace things before they disintegrate, so he decided a new one was in order.

I really do appreciate Bob not waiting until things are dilapidated before replacing them. That was the same reasoning he used when he bought me my car, so I should just shut up about it. But I knew he would go off to work with a view of our garbage cans in his rear-view mirror, and I would be faced with the question: How does one throw away a garbage can?

It’s not like I could put one inside of the other. I already had the word from the garbage collectors, who are experts at such things, that ours was not necessarily garbage material. Even though the very name garbage can could be interpreted as such, but I digress.

So, I decided to listen and wait for the sound of the truck coming down the street. They usually collect around 10 in the morning, I’d just rush out and meet them. Of course, that day they came at 4 in the afternoon, so I spent most of my day jumping up and running to the door to see if they were coming. It was like I was a kid waiting for the ice-cream man. Finally, they came and the disposal of our trusty, old can was complete.

Shiny New Garbage Can – Isn’t it pretty?

But that opened up an entirely new situation. Every time I’d take the garbage out, I would put it in the remaining old can, the lesser of the two evils, which Bob kept. The new one was so nice and shiny. It didn’t even smell like garbage. It seemed wrong to treat it like it was any old garbage can. I wanted to keep it nice for as long as possible. I didn’t realize how weird this was until I went to throw garbage out and saw that Bob had placed the new can to the front and he had put garbage in it. Can you imagine a person doing such a thing? He had reduced the older, beat-up can to back-up.

I stood there staring. How could I let him throw trash in it? To treat it like garbage? I could not. I reached down and switched the bag to the old can. This went on for over a week until I finally confronted Bob about it. “Why are you putting garbage in that beautiful new can?”

“What are you saving it for? It’s a garbage can,” he said.

And it was. He filled it with too much garbage for me to switch to the other can. It was over. The garbage smell had arrived. Try as I may, I couldn’t save it.

I looked at him and said, “I just can’t keep anything nice around here.”

 

This is Day 4 of The Ultimate Blog Challenge