4 Steps to Becoming “The Hero of Thanksgiving”

Ah Thanksgiving. What does it bring to your mind?

Catching up with relatives you haven’t seen for a while? Gorging on turkey and treasured, old family recipes? Enjoying the little children who have been born to cousins in the past few years? Talking with the grandparents?

Or maybe…

Your Thanksgiving is more like that in the 1990 movie Avalon. There is a scene where the aunt and uncle arrive late. They enter the house and everyone is already sitting around the table with the food on glorious display. The uncle is enraged: “You carved the turkey without me!” he shouts and storms out slamming the door behind him.

Are you cringing at the thought of several hours with grouchy Uncle Bob? Are you hoping the kids running wild don’t grab you with sticky, pumpkin-pie hands? Are you preparing to pop an Advil for the noise and to grab a large glass of wine as gramps tells you the same World War II stories again? And you can’t even imagine how you will eat even a little of the Campbell soup green beans.

Whichever your mindset is, there are new ways for you to enjoy yourself, and to be…(drum roll)… The Hero of Thanksgiving!

The key to turning Thanksgiving around, or to enhancing the positives even more, is to Notice. I define Noticing as “mindfulness with a smile.” To be mindful means to be in the moment. To use your senses to Notice what is right around you. And to think about Zippers and Broccoli and Human Idiosyn-Crazies ™. And to smile, and maybe to have everyone around you ROTFL. I better explain.

1. Use Your Five Senses to Notice and to Help Others Notice, Too!

First, transform yourself into a first-class Noticer. Use your senses and Notice.

  • Savor the smells of Thanksgiving. Not just the food, although that is key to this holiday, but also the smell of the air outside – can you smell autumn? What does that mean?

  • What can you really see? What family resemblances can you see in the faces around the room? Who looks really good? Why do you think so? What do you see in the rooms? Family photos? Other pictures? Furniture that you remember from how long ago?

  • What do you hear? Certainly the sounds of talking and hopefully laughing, but what else? The TV? The sounds of the kitchen – ovens opening and closing? The refrigerator? Pots being washed? Cabinet doors clopping? Is there a rhythm you can Notice?

  • Think about the sense of touch. When you hug family members, what does it feel like? Is someone frail? Is someone hefty? What does the chair or sofa feel like?

  • And finally, taste. How does each part of the meal taste? Can you decipher the seasoning in the different dishes? You may be surprised how you haven’t really tasted these foods over the years – you have eaten them while talking but have not taken the time to really taste and savor. Don’t worry, you don’t have to do this with the soup-soaked green beans if you don’t want to.

2. Notice the Zippers: What Can You Do to Help the Day Go Smoothly?

The Zipper is the best invention of all time! It is simple and it works. Zip. Zip. Done! What else is simple and works?

Here are some examples of possible Thanksgiving Zippers:

  • Can you think of something simple that will keep the buffet line moving quickly? Perhaps you can help the most elderly and the children.

  • Can you be the hero who gathers the little kids and stops them from running wild by getting them to gobble like turkeys or sway like a blob of cranberry sauce?

  • Can you be the hero who gets the older kids or teens together for a conversation about the small things they are grateful for? Maybe someone saved them a seat at lunch? Maybe someone lent them paper when they forgot their notebook? Maybe someone made them a special card for their birthday? Make them think about being grateful for the little things that have brightened their day.

  • Can you be the hero who engages the older folks to tell stories about the Thanksgivings of their youth?

3. Notice the Broccoli: Replicate Good Patterns and Disrupt the Bad

Broccoli is, pure and simple, awesome! It is a beautiful vegetable that is very special. It is a repeating pattern! Broccoli is made up of smaller broccolis that are each made up of even smaller broccolis. A pattern! I use the term Broccoli to mean patterns. If the Broccoli is good, maybe you can replicate it. If the Broccoli is not so good, maybe you can disrupt it.

  • What Broccoli can you Notice at Thanksgiving? Do people always sit in the same place or with the same group of relatives or friends? Who always carves the turkey? Who always makes the pumpkin pie? Who always makes the green bean casserole with the soup?

  • Thanksgiving is a holiday of lots of Broccoli. Notice them! Start a conversation about the Broccoli people Notice. Do they make the person feel warm and secure? Or do they make the person cringe and think “here we go again.” Be forgiving about Broccoli if you can because…

  • You need to laugh with your relatives and friends as much as you can. Notice the Broccoli and laugh! Who will end the day comatose on the couch? Who will pitch in and help clean up? Well, while you’re at it, make up some silly Zippers to get everyone to help…. and laugh!

4. Notice the Human Idiosyn-Crazies™ and laugh

Human Idiosyn-Crazies™ are the endearingly dumb things we all do.

For example, some people are early people and some are always late. These are Human Idiosyn-Crazies. You know who will arrive while you are still getting ready and who will arrive when plates are being cleared.  You know who will be checking his watch to be sure not to miss the kick-off. (Oh don’t bother Cousin Joe. Let him watch the game in peace.) You know who will make a beeline for the drumstick. 

Thanksgiving is a time when we should definitely Notice our own Human Idiosyn-Crazies first, before we go Noticing them in others. And we need to be kind and be ready with a smile, a chuckle, or a hearty belly laugh. We all have our Human idioysn-Crazies. I believe laughing at our own builds up the fuel to be kinder to other people. So explain what Human Idiosyn-Crazies are and share some of your own. Laugh! Others will then share theirs. There is no better Thanksgiving than one filled with people ROFL!

Now that you know how to Notice, you can put your skills to work and be (drum roll)… The Hero of Thanksgiving!

©2015 Margery Leveen Sher

Ham and Lox and a Dollop of Doubt

A beautiful platter stared up at me from the breakfast buffet. The caterer had prepared elegant little sandwiches. Half the sandwiches on the platter were ham and cheese on tiny biscuits and the other half were lox and cream cheese on tiny bagels.

Staring at that site of peaceful coexistence, a thought struck me. We all need to promote Doubt.

Let me explain. The luscious looking ham and cheese sandwiches are something religious Jews and Muslims would not eat. Ham is not Kosher or Halal.  But this is a sandwich often consumed by Christians (and plenty of other people). Now anyone who has not grown up with lox (a traditional Jewish food) might well look warily at this preparation of raw fish, surely not as elegant as sushi. Yet despite prohibitions and prejudices, these sandwiches looked just lovely sharing one big platter.

So naturally I thought: Why can’t we humans share the same platter peacefully….the platter we know as Earth?

And then I thought of the political debates, and the talk show guests, and the amount of useless but incendiary hot air that is spewed out regularly these days, and I thought: Can’t we all just be ham and cheese and bagels and lox sitting peacefully together?

Of course I would add in some great kebabs and tagine, and baklava, kunafeh, or halva for dessert. And more platters would be welcome on the table if other religions and cultures wanted to join in. Heck, everyone needs a bite of pad thai regularly. And we’d all be healthier if we ate vegan meals sometimes. But these days, I want to insist that we all eat some poblanos, tacos, and enchiladas. Ha! Fight back against prejudice with hot sauce!

So back to the thought I had when I was staring at the ham and cheese and bagels and lox: Doubt.

It seems to me that doubt is the key. Why is everyone so darned sure that they are right? Can’t they find just a dollop of doubt somewhere in their minds? Isn’t it possible that someone of an opposing view might have at least partially a half-way decent point?

If everyone had just a dollop of doubt as they voiced their opinions, guess what? Compromise might be possible!

And on a much more terrifying level than our childish politicians’ antics, anyone who starts wars and murders innocent people because “god” is on their side, might think twice if they allowed just the slightest bit of doubt to shadow their fanaticism. 

I don’t pray often enough, I am sure. But today I pray that some tiny sliver of doubt invades the minds of those who are absolutely certain of their cause.

And suddenly I am very hungry for both ham and cheese and bagel and lox. I’ll have them both.

©2015 Margery Leveen Sher

The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is now available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunesRead the reviews and purchase here.http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk filled with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work

Cooperation, Persistence, and Fun

Pretentiously, I call myself a flaneur.

That is, I walk around Noticing. Usually I Notice what people are doing or saying. Sometimes I Notice odd things happening, or I Notice natural beauty or architecture or street musicians.

And today, a beautiful spring day, called me again to be a flaneur, but today I Noticed something new.

I Noticed cooperation. I Noticed persistence. I Noticed fun.  

Look at this picture. These two pigeons are sharing a bagel, just like many of you probably do on a lazy weekend morning. The amazing thing is that these pigeons were taking turns! They weren’t pushing each other aside to get a good peck. No. One patiently waited for the other to walk away a bit, and then he began his pecking. When he moved away, the first pigeon came back.

I spent a good many years of my life running preschools. We always taught the toddlers to take turns with a toy, since they were really too young to get the concept of playing together and sharing. First one toddler can play for a while, then the other gets a turn. These pigeons were just like well-behaved toddlers! They were really cooperating, and as a result each got his share of bagel until they were both full.

Now look at this series of pictures. I found a terrific sandwich shop to have my lunch in. I was munching my sandwich at the counter in front of the windowed wall, and it was my great luck to get an amazing lesson in persistence. This bee started at the bottom of the window and walked up until at some point he lost his footing and slid all the way back down. Now this Sisyphus-type character did not give up. He started climbing up the window again and eventually slid back down again. This went on time after time until my sandwich was gone and I had to leave. But I wished the bee well and hoped he finally reached his goal. He was nothing, if not persistent.

So what is the best way to get work done? Well if you have a team, cooperation is essential, is it not? We must learn from the pigeons. And if a task is difficult, we must be persistent. There was no throwing up legs in defeat for the bee, and there was no whining either. He just persisted. I hope he eventually felt satisfied with his endeavors.

But while the pigeon and the bee teach us lessons in success, the next picture shows us the enormous value of fun. While I was taking pictures of this beautiful dog fetching the Frisbee in the sunshine of a spring day, he eventually fetched the Frisbee and brought it to me, dropping it at my feet. He would not move until I threw it for him and then he began the fetch game only with me. “Forget about getting your blog post done,” he said. “It is a beautiful day and you need to concentrate on having fun!”

Ok, Smart Doggy. You are right. Cooperation and persistence are all well and good. But the opportunity for a fun time is not to be frittered away.

©2014 Margery Leveen Sher

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk peppered with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

“Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work”

Margery Leveen Sher is a speaker, writer, and entrepreneur with decades of experience as a consultant for major corporations and government agencies.  She is the founder and Chief Noticing Officer of The Did Ya Notice? Project, and is currently writing the definitive book on Noticing.

Celebration

I am a huge believer in celebration. You, too?

As we all know, life throws mud at us from time to time, which makes it all the more important, I think, to celebrate everything good whenever we can.

Those of you who are regular readers of my blog also know that I believe in Noticing and celebrating “small things”. Small things like the first warm sun of spring on your back as you walk down the street. Small things like a beautiful tiny park in the middle of the city. Small things like the smells from a kitchen where someone is preparing good stuff – maybe onions sautéing, maybe cinnamon from breakfast rolls baking, maybe even chocolate chip cookies turning golden.

I also believe in parties. (Now this is beginning to sound like a strange religion….a believer in celebration and parties!) But I do love to throw parties. Of course there are the usual, birthdays or 4th of July or holidays on a calendar. But I think this year I will throw parties to celebrate coziness on a winter day, or the first flower of spring, or why not just celebrate Tuesday?

Tuesday is a nice day, and often neglected. People moan about Monday, Wednesday gets the special name Hump Day, Thursday begins the weekend celebration (at least if you are under 30), and Friday gets to kick off the weekend. But poor Tuesday is left out! Tuesday is a good solid day. We are over complaining about the workweek starting, and really buckle down on Tuesday. It is a day of accomplishment. It is a day of goals too. “Ok, it’s only Tuesday and we are chugging along here. Think of all the things we can do this week! It will be an awesome week!” Tuesday is a good, solid, optimistic day and should have a party of its own. Celebrate Tuesday!    

Here’s something very special that I have to celebrate: This is my 100th blog post for The Did Ya Notice? Project!

I am going to celebrate this milestone in a magnificent way. I am going to write The Did Ya Notice? Project book! This book will have a compilation of my best blogs along with research showing that Noticing is all around wonderful – for focus, for productivity, for happiness. I will also have ideas for Noticing at home and at work.  Like my keynote speech title says, “Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work….and at Home too”.  Respond to this email or to this post on the website www.DidYaNotice.com  if you would like to have a free copy of the book when it comes out. I will give free books to the first 10 responders.

So do celebrate what strikes you as lovely.  December is a celebrating time of year – Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, Festivus for the rest of us ;-). But celebrate other stuff too….how about a quiet tea/coffee and cookies party when all the holiday shopping and prep is done. It’s not my business what special umpff-giver you would add to your drink….I would invite some people over to sit still, talk quietly, and savor a hot drink and a sweet treat. There’s a December party worth doing!

Celebrate throughout the year. Party hardy, as they say. Life is good and sweet, and when it’s not, kick the bad in the butt with a party!

Cheers!

©2013 Margery Leveen Sher

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk peppered with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

“Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work”

Margery Leveen Sher is a speaker, writer, entrepreneur with decades of experience as a consultant for major corporations and government agencies.  She is the founder and Chief Noticing Officer of The Did Ya Notice? Project

A Most Delightful Exclamation Point

A truly wonderful thing happened to me this morning!

As I was walking home from my beloved farmers market with tomatoes and basil and peaches and my happy yellow flowers in my arms, an exclamation point bounced down upon my nose.

An exclamation point to my excellent morning, that is. I was walking down a residential street in the city. Beautiful old townhouses lined the sidewalks, and on this particular street, the townhouses were set back and lovely gardens filled the spaces between the front doors and the sidewalk.

As I ambled along, I heard a voice. “Would you like some rosemary?” I looked around, and up an incline a woman was holding huge scissors near a bountiful bush. Would I ever! As I thanked her and climbed the stairs to receive this surprise, her beautiful retriever opened his eyes for just a second before drifting off again.

The smell of the rosemary was the perfect addition to the scent of the basil and the perfume of the flowers. 

Another secret of city living: people are kind; dogs are sleepy; and the markets with their displays of fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs, and flowers is the finest art there is.

 

2013 © Margery Leveen Sher

 

Margery Leveen Sher is an entrepreneur, writer and speaker with decades of experience as a work-life balance consultant for major corporations and government agencies.  Her latest start-up is The Did Ya Notice? Project. Her motivational speaking is certain to draw many a laugh and many an aha.  

Do You Know What You Are Flopping Down Upon?

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One of my life’s missions is to bring you some information that may make you say “Wow!” or “Yuck!” or burst out laughing. Let me know what your response is to this one….

Were you at the beach sometime last year? Or maybe you are at the beach right now? (There must be a stronger word than jealous, or covetous, or envious, or green-eyed, or…you get the idea.)

Anyway, I must recommend the NOAA website. It is totally awesome! I decided to research sand. What is sand made of? Yes, most of us know that rocks and shells get broken down over thousands and millions of years. Most sand is made of quartz and feldspar, which contain iron oxide, giving sand its tan color.

But there are also unique beaches with unusual colored sand. Black sand comes from volcanic material. Interestingly, Bermuda’s famous pink beaches are formed from the decay of single-celled organisms called foraminifera.

Have you ever been lucky enough to spread your towel on a pristine white sand beach? Oh how beautiful they are!

White sand beaches have no quartz or feldspar or volcanic material or foraminifera. White sand is composed of…

POOP! Yes, the poop of parrotfish. The fish bite and scrape algae off rocks and coral. They grind up the inedible calcium-carbonate reef material in their intestines, and then excrete it as sand. Parrotfish can produce hundreds of pounds of poop each year!

Poop?! I beg your pardon! Parrotfish are the lovely creatures that create soft beds of white sand upon which we can lay our bodies, bodies exhausted by the sipping of too many umbrella-topped creations.

Poop is a good thing in so many ways. Perhaps next I will research more interesting poop facts. What? Not interesting? Nonsense. All 4th grade boys love this stuff! And we all have an inner 4th grade boy just dying to have the opportunity to be inappropriate, don’t we?

 

©2018 Margery Leveen Sher

The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunes.  Read the reviews and purchase here. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U

 

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk filled with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

“Zipper and Broccoli Walk Into a Bar – Mind-Blowing Leader Notices”

People are Stories

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Are you as nosy as I am?

You may remember that my hobby is street-walking…that is, walking around the city staring and spying on people.  I love to wear sunglasses so that people don’t know I am giving them the eye. But often I just saunter close to people, trying to overhear.

I have heard many fascinating snippets that make me wonder what in the world could be their whole story.

In less than an hour I heard these tantalizing tidbits:

“I’m really sorry to hear that, Mom, but….”

WAIT! Don’t cross the street! I want to hear more!  Really sorry to hear what?? What happened to Mom? And why isn’t her daughter more willing to help? What is that “but”? Is she trying to get in her own story? Is she telling Mom that Mom’s story is more of the same oft-told tale? It didn’t sound as if she was actually “really sorry”. Why not? Am I going to like this daughter, or am I going to decide she is an entitled brat. Oh, did I tell you I am also very judgmental?

“I have a question and I want you to be completely honest.”

Uh oh! We have heard that one before, haven’t we? It is code for the recipient of such a request to RUN! This cannot end well. HEY - SLOW DOWN! I can’t keep up with you! I want to hear more! What is the question? I’m sure I can answer it completely honestly for you.

“Who are these people who write ten page restaurant reviews?? I’m unemployed and even I don’t have time to write such stuff!”

LOL! Well this person had a point. And who wants to read all that anyway? Either the restaurant is going to make my lactose-intolerance catch fire, or it isn’t. That’s all I need to know. What kind of person writes long, long restaurant reviews? And what could they possibly say that takes all those pages? Even a description in a novel of a restaurant meal would not be that long. An editor would take the red pen to that!

Now you see the torment of a nosy person. The people who are having these phone conversations will cross a street, rush ahead like a marathoner, or slip into a store – leaving me salivating to hear more but having to fill in the blanks all by myself!

Life is so unfair to a nosy person.

©2018 Margery Leveen Sher

The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunesRead the reviews and purchase here. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk filled with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

“Zipper and Broccoli Walk Into a Bar – Mind-Blowing Leader Notices”

The Edge of the Earth

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I walked to the edge of the Earth.

It was dark and chilly and I was alone in the vastness of space and shore.  The sea showered me with a cold mist, and its roaring was both alarming and comforting.  Slowly, slowly, the earth began to subtly light.

I was overcome with awe.  Golden light began to filter through black clouds.  The sky separated from the sea and began to show its deepest blue through salmon, jasmine, and vermilion streaks.  A fireball rose slowly from the edge of the vast ocean, and reflected back onto the waves.

Creation recurred.  Light came from darkness.  The sky separated from the sea.  The land separated from the water.  An awesome miracle took place, as it does every time our Earth turns round.

The sunrise out of the ocean is proof that there is no greater beauty than that which surrounds us day after day, month after month, year after year.  There is no such thing as a hackneyed, trite, tiresome sunrise out of the ocean.  The gift of natural beauty cannot get old.

The walk to the edge of the Earth in the chilly, dark morning was my birthday gift to myself.  In my mind, I will be untying its bow and gasping at its majesty, for the rest of my life.

© Margery Leveen Sher 2017

The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunes.  Read the reviews and purchase here.http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U
 

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk filled with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work

Do You Have a Chair?

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I don’t mean a chair. Most people have a chair. You probably have lots – in the kitchen, in the family room, in the living room, in the dining room, in your office, maybe even in your bedroom. 

I mean a Chair.

I love my Chair. My Chair is where I collapse at the end of the day. After dinner, after chores, after finishing work. When I am Done, I collapse into my Chair. I do not sit. I collapse. And to reiterate the obvious, I am DONE. My feet are up. My blankie is on. I am reading the newspaper or a book. I am watching something on TV. I have a cup of tea next to me. I have my phone to communicate with whoever contacts me. But if there is anything that must be done out of my Chair, it will have to wait until tomorrow. (Yes, ok, all that tea, yeah, I do have to get up to go to the bathroom. But that’s it. No more exceptions to the rule. I am DONE.)

Now as I said, I love my Chair, but like many loves, this one has been pushing it this week. My Chair has been totally overdoing it. It’s like I cannot go two steps without it calling me to come back.

I try to do some work, but there’s that Chair again whining for attention.

My home is going to be painted and I have to get everything packed up by Friday. I try packing, but after 5 minutes, I hear that Chair! Geez, now it’s whimpering for me.

Maybe I’d like to go outside for a walk, you know. But noooo. I tried but I didn’t even get to the door before that Chair started moaning: “Come back! Come baaaack!”

Really Chair. We need to have a talk. I love you but I can’t be with you 24/7!

Mark my words, as soon as I recover from this case of pneumonia, I am going to teach my Chair some discipline.

©2017 Margery Leveen Sher

The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunes.  Read the reviews and purchase here.http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U

 

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk filled with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work

It’s a Wonderful World (With Gratitude for Louis Armstrong)

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“Harrumph, the world’s a mess!” you say? Yep. There is a lot of work for each of us to do to try to make it a little better each day. But to maintain our energy and positive focus, I believe it is also important to remember to foster our attitude of gratitude. And this ties in directly with Noticing.

What small and large things can you Notice to be grateful for within the space of one hour or even one minute? I promise you that whatever time you can devote to nurturing your attitude of gratitude through Noticing, is time well spent.

Here is my example. This is what I Noticed with gratitude today between 7am and 9am:

I am grateful for Sunday mornings when I can follow my regular Sunday routine.

I am grateful that I can work out in the fitness center and I have no pain.

I am grateful that I can walk outside on this absolutely beautiful morning.

I am grateful that I can crunch leaves that have fallen on the sidewalk from the just-beginning-to-turn trees.

I am grateful for the wonderful invention of the baseball cap which shields me from the bright sun.

I am grateful for the feeling of the warm sun on my back.

I am grateful that I can summit the mountain (my phrase for walking fast uphill in the city) and have no pulled muscles, stretched tendons, or aching back.

I am grateful that my huffing and puffing seems less than yesterday.

I am grateful for all the joggers, runners, walkers, and eaters of breakfast in outdoor cafes that make the city so vibrant.

I am grateful for the cheery good morning of the homeless man and I am grateful that I have money to give him.

I am grateful that I can end my walk at the huge, beautiful farmers market.

I am grateful for the variety of fruit, vegetables, breads, meat, dairy products, and flowers that I can admire, taste, and sniff at.

I am grateful that I am able to buy whatever strikes my fancy.

I am grateful for the street musicians that enormously enhance the vibe.

I am grateful to the dog chasing a Frisbee in the park because he makes me smile.

I am grateful to the babies in strollers who make me smile even more.

I am grateful that I can return to a home I love and have a delicious fresh breakfast from my purchases at the market.

So….Can you make a pledge to foster your attitude of gratitude? Can you agree that it is, indeed, a wonderful world?

©2017 Margery Leveen Sher

The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunes.  Read the reviews and purchase here.http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U

 

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk filled with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work

 

 

Bees, Turtles, and a Planet

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I am totally blown away by the amazing universe. Do you know why these three things are grouped together in the title of this Noticing?

Yes!

It is the Awesome Hexagon! I have been urging people for quite some time now to Notice the Awesome Hexagon. Have you been paying homage to this most deserving shape?

There are lots of amazing shapes and patterns in nature. Consider the repeating patterns of cauliflower and broccoli. Consider the spirals of the nautilus and the ram’s horn. Consider the stripes of a tiger and the stripes of windblown sand in the desert.

But another totally mind-blowing shape in nature is the hexagon! A bee’s honeycomb is composed of hexagons. A turtle’s shell is composed of hexagons. And…about that planet…

Wow! Yowza! Holy Cow!

In 1980, the Voyager spacecraft discovered that over the north pole of Saturn is a giant hexagon! Now run immediately to the NASA website. The Cassini spacecraft just crashed into the planet after a 13 year run photographing the planet, its moons, and its rings. Did I say Yowza?! The movie on the NASA website shows this hexagon in action. We now know that the hexagon is a jetstream of air moving around the pole in a hexagonal path with a myriad of storms within. But why is it a hexagon?

Why indeed. Let’s ask the bees.

©2017 Margery Leveen Sher

The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunes.  Read the reviews and purchase here.http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U

 

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk filled with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work

The Nose and The Finish

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I eat a lot of vegetables.

I heard that! Didn’t you just call me a goody-goody?!

Anyway, I am basically a salad girl, and I also eat frequently at a vegetarian fast-food place where they flash steam the veggies and then you choose all kinds of extras to add like avocado and various seeds. I am kind of a prehistoric forager, thankful to be able to forage at a counter.

Most of the time I just gobble up my salad or steamed veggie bowl, enjoying the melding of the flavors and textures. But today I realized: As a Noticer, I should do a much better job with my beloved veggies!

I decided to concentrate on each specimen in my steamed veggie bowl today, cleansing my palate in between with a bite of quinoa.

Ah. The sugar snap peas. The sugar snap peas have an obvious nose of green; fresh spring green arising amid Sting’s Fields of Gold.

The green beans. The green beans are reminiscent of crunchy water springing from the fertile fields of Maine, with a surprising finish of mossy forests.

Broccoli the beautiful. Broccoli the fractal. Broccoli the chameleon. Lightly steam the broccoli and it transforms into a subtle combination of textures with a bouquet of the forest primeval.

Zucchini with its quiet strength. Zucchini is the one you search for in the knowledge that its subtlety will stand up proudly to the green potency of the sugar snap peas.

And blanketing all this vegetarian transcendence from nose to finish is the astounding avocado. Buttery, rich, sophisticated, nothing compares with the avocado. It is the Chateau Margaux 2009 Balthazar of vegetables.

So that was a pretty good lunch to Notice, don’t ya think?

 

©2017 Margery Leveen Sher

The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunes.  Read the reviews and purchase here.http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U

 

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk filled with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work

The Gestalt of the Eclipse

Imperceptibly, but seemingly abruptly, the sky darkened. I felt a shiver run down my back, partially from the lowered temperature and partially from the eeriness. Crickets burst into a cacophony of chirps. The breeze grew wilder. Then, with a silent clash of cymbals, a hole appeared in the darkened sky surrounded by a halo of fire!

Nothing felt like the everyday. Nothing looked like the everyday. Nothing sounded like the everyday. My eyes filled with tears. Gasps from the humans competed with the gasps of the crickets until the humans succumbed to a tremendous round of applause.

Applause for whom? Applause for what? Maybe applause of thankfulness for the gift of that breathtaking event.

I became acutely aware of the startling beauty of the cosmos and of its vastness. This was only one moon and one sun among countless in the multiverse. And we are only one planet among countless; a veritable spec in the cosmos. And each person sitting in this park in Missouri was just one person out of Earth’s 7.5 billion people, each one of us sitting on a square yard of this tiny spec at the edge of just one of a multitude of galaxies. And for a short time, each of us appreciated this fact and appreciated the vastness of being and our tiny place in it. 

And I realized yet again that we earthlings are not the center of the universe. And I thought, maybe we should work a little harder to earn our place in the cosmos, and maybe our work output should be measured in units of kindness spread.

©2017 Margery Leveen Sher

The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunesRead the reviews and purchase here.http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk filled with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work

The Bird and the Boy

I sat at the window of the café eating my salad. On the plaza outside, a boy of about 10 years was running around chasing himself while his dad was checking his phone. Suddenly there was something between a small bam and a large plonk as I saw a tiny baby bird fly into the window right between my eyes. It fell to the ground and lay still. But as I stared sadly, I saw that its body was moving slightly up and down as it breathed. One stick-leg moved slowly back and forth. The boy ran over to the bird with tears in his eyes. He looked over to his dad who came to the bird’s side as well. Boy and dad bent over the bird and watched solemnly. The dad said something, stood up and walked away. The boy wiped his eyes and spied a quarter bagel on the plaza. He ran to it, picked it up and brought it back to the bird. Ever so gently, he lay the bagel piece next to the bird’s beak. Then he stood up and walked slowly over to his dad. As they walked away, I too hoped the bird would find its second wind and peck at the bagel for strength. But I did not want to watch the bird die. I wiped my eyes too and moved away.

In these dark times for our country and for the world, I find great hope in this true story. If a 10 year old boy can feel such kindness toward a bird, there is hope for our species. I cannot imagine that a boy who tears up at a dying baby bird and gives him maybe his last possible peck of food, would grow up to be a terrorist or a racist. Let us hope.

©2017 Margery Leveen Sher

The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunesRead the reviews and purchase here. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U 

 

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk filled with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work

 

 

Ice Cream Cones

You have to be happy when you eat an ice cream cone.

If you were sad, angry, or just feeling lethargic, you wouldn’t want to eat an ice cream cone.  It simply wouldn’t appeal to you, would it?

Sometimes, if you’re feeling a little wistful, an ice cream cone can cheer you right up.  I often have a cone on the anniversary of my mother’s death.

Now I don’t often reveal my wild and crazy side to strangers… but I am ready to admit that I have a real chocolate cone once a year.  Just to have it!  Ha!

Ice cream cones define summer.  I love summer and firmly believe we must hang onto the warm sunny days by our fingernails, until the cold blast of fall air brings us to our senses.

Happy chocolate chip!  Happy rocky road!  Happy strawberry swirl!  In fact, happy plain old and still good, vanilla!

Oh, and by the way, there is absolutely no shame in biting off the cone’s bottom and sucking the ice cream out that way.  That’s right Noticers – the truth is out now on this one!

CONVERSATION-STARTER WITH ELEMENTARY SCHOOLERS

Ask the kids: Do ice cream cones make you feel happy?  What other foods make you happy?  Hot dogs?  Cupcakes?  What would you like to eat when you are cold?  Soup?  Oatmeal?  How about when you are sad?  Maybe a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a smiley banana face on top?  Are there foods that are better in summer than winter? Did you know that people who live in cold climates often eat ice cream in winter!

You can have many conversations about foods and the feelings they evoke. Although you should talk about not substituting eating for dealing with problems, I personally believe that a nice cup of tea can do wonders for the mood.  And there is nothing wrong with celebrating a good grade by going out for ice cream!

Is Tolstoy Right About Families?

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

This is how Anna Karenina begins.

I’m not sure I agree with Tolstoy, but let me think out loud. Since every family, and every person, is touched by happiness, sadness, worry, sickness, pride, satisfaction, anger, and delight - in short, every human emotion – I think the extent of our happiness depends on how we make peace with the negatives and are able to focus on the positives.

Some have more trouble making this peace than others, due to illnesses – both mental and physical – and extreme hardship, but nonetheless the extent that one can do that goes far to determine one’s level of happiness.

Happy families put up with the foibles of their relatives in a good-natured way. They don’t bear grudges and are helpful to one another.  Unhappy families are stuck in a negativity of the past.

So now that I’m thinking out loud, I’m beginning to believe that perhaps I do agree with Tolstoy.  Happy families are all alike – they have “short memories.” Unhappy families dwell on their particular “slings and arrows” of the past.

CONVERSATION-STARTER WITH FAMILY

I put this in the Human Idiosyn-Crazies™ section of the book rather than the Amazing First Lines of Books section for this reason: Since we all have our Human Idiosyn-Crazies™, doesn’t family harmony depend upon tolerance?  But at what point can’t we laugh these off or ignore them?  At what point must we deal with them?  And what is the point that we should just accept them, and move on? 

This kind of discussion can be geared to any age.  Ask the younger kids what should be done about the cousin who hoards all the toys at family gatherings.  Ask the older kids about gossipy or mean teens in the family.  There are surely lots of issues to discuss, but keep in mind the goal of family harmony.  After all, family feuds do not lead us to happiness.  But tolerance, forgiveness, and short memories surely lead to happier, more peaceful lives.

©2014 Margery Leveen Sher

Shells and Stories for a Birthday

I often come to the edge of the earth to celebrate my birthday.  I know that some people don’t like to celebrate their birthdays, but I do!  After much soul-searching, I believe this birthday-celebrating need stems from the memory of years of ice cream cakes all mushed together into a cold and sweet mess in my mouth.

So, on my birthday, at six o’clock in the morning I walked down to the beach.  Having a birthday in October gives me almost an hour to watch the sun god slowly lift the bright orange ball out of the depths of the ocean, and raise it triumphantly into the blue sky.

It’s an awesome sight every single time. What a gift it is to start the day this way!

I believe strongly in the power of little things. Noticing little things brings meaning and happiness. 

As I walked along, I picked up many tiny pieces of shells.  No they weren’t traditionally beautiful like some of the larger, whole shells you could find, with the lovely coloring and markings and gradations, but these were more interesting.

Think of their history, the stories they could tell.  They have been broken apart by wild waves in a stormy ocean, but they have survived to tell the tale.  These shell pieces are stories; they are survivors from rough seas.  And today, they once again shine brightly in the sun, radiating light and happiness with the savvy understanding of life that only years can bring.

Time, we know, brings both scrapes to the shell and stories to the heart.  But as long as the sun god keeps raising up the orange ball, the sunlight will reflect that history and its inherent beauty.   

©2014 Margery Leveen Sher

 

Consider the Smile

Whether you are deciding whether to do business with someone, or to develop a personal relationship, or how to evaluate someone in the public arena, I suggest you consider this one simple question:  Can you imagine this person smiling?

I don’t mean a sarcastic grimace.

I don’t mean a holier-than-thou smirk.

I don’t mean a baring of the teeth sneer. 

I mean an honest grin. Maybe even a chuckle. Can you imagine this person smiling at the antics of a toddler? Guffawing over a Jerry Seinfeld rerun, or, if you are of-the-moment, a Trevor Noah commentary? How about puppy videos, for godsakes? Can you imagine this person smiling guilelessly about anything?

I submit to you that if you cannot imagine such a person smiling happily and kindly, then you should run as far away from them as you can. If that person, for example, is in the public arena….say a politician perhaps…or a politician’s staff…work as hard as you can to get them out of any position of power.

A person without an honest smile is not a person you want around you or influencing your life in any way.

Now I know the world news is very scary these days, but tell me: Have you sincerely smiled or laughed lately? What about?

©2017 Margery Leveen Sher

The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunesRead the reviews and purchase here. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U

 

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk filled with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work

 

Ah…Spirit of Steve Jobs!

Ah, spirit of Steve Jobs, see what you hath wrought!

This is what I said to myself over and over again during the three hours I spent in the Apple store trying to buy a new phone.

I am the yin to Steve Jobs’ yang. He was a genius and I am an idiot.

I stupidly went to the store way too soon after Christmas. I thought it would be better than before Christmas, but I was very wrong.

I watched the scene as if it were an out-of-body experience and I clearly saw the two distinct sides of myself.

The store was unbelievably crowded; it almost reminded me of my trip to India. People were everywhere and were moving around from area to area, a vast sea of busy busy humanity. Can you imagine how much money Apple makes? This was but one store on one afternoon. How many stores on how many afternoons and mornings and nights serve how many people’s “needs”?

I put “needs” in quotes because I remember that the foundational genius of Steve Jobs was that he created a need that we did not know we had. If you read my book or my blog, you know that I have a problem with Totally DeTestable Technology™. I am sure that when confronted with the first cell phone, I said something like, “What is wrong with my black phone with the rotary dial? It works! Why do I need anything else?!”

Anyway here I was at the Apple store, so Steve Jobs was truly a genius.

I have an aversion to busy stores. If I were wealthy enough and so inclined, I would be the kind of lady who would frequent the kind of dress shop where you sit on a couch with a glass of wine and the saleslady (probably known as your consultant) brings you dresses that may meet your requirements. Nobody else is in the shop. So on the one hand, the whole Apple scene was enough to cover me in hives.

On the other hand, how exciting a scene it truly was! I love diversity, which is why I love living where I do. The store was filled with people of many races, many ethnicities, many religions. The man sitting across from me was speaking Chinese. The woman next to me was wearing a hijab. There were people even older than me, and there were way too many who were born with a smartphone in their hands. I loved the people–watching!

So the two opposing forces of my personality were on display. The lover of quiet and orderliness and the lover of a mishmash of human activity.

The only obvious truth is that Steve Jobs was right. Even my prima donna side was willing to do as I was told for three hours while various fixes were made and transfers of data were made.

And I never told the many genius bar people that their whole store was full of Totally DeTestable Technology. I simply told them thank you as I pocketed my way-cool new phone.

©2017 Margery Leveen Sher

The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunesRead the reviews and purchase here. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U

 -

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk filled with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work

 

Lessons Learned in San Francisco

Lesson Learned #1: Your hotel room door cannot be opened with your BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) card no matter how badly you have to pee and how loudly you curse.

Lesson Learned #2: Email follows you everywhere so you don't miss the opportunity to make failure into success. I have been submitting the picture book I just wrote to literary agents hoping that someone will agree to represent it. I got my first rejection! People have told me that you need to get 100 rejections before you are accepted, so....1 down, only 99 to go and then.... KABAM!!! SUCCESS!

Lesson Learned #3: We drove over the Bay Bridge at sunset. The lavender of the foothills blended with the blues of the bay and the buildings of the city were pitch black but lit by beautiful white lights. It was a magnificent vista. We live in a beautiful country – the natural landscapes are spectacular in so many places and they are often enhanced by breath-taking architecture. I have many favorite sites around the country and I am sure you do as well.

But I feel that these days the soul of our country is not matching up to the majesty of the land. So lesson learned: Let’s try to be as lovely within ourselves as the most awesome scenery we have enjoyed. Let’s rebalance. Let’s make the soul of our country (the sum of all of us) match the beauty of the soul-replenishing bays, lakes, rivers, mountains and seas that we enjoy.

Lesson Learned #4: The lovely uniqueness of San Francisco is proven yet again. No numbered spaces in this parking garage; instead we have reminders to nurture our soul (or if you are cynical, it's a fortune cookie parking garage). 

©2016 Margery Leveen Sher


The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is now available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunes.  Read the reviews and purchase here. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U