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

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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 

That’s How the Light Gets In

So far, this month has been a month of losses.

I am afraid that the election confirmed a loss of civility as a norm in our society. I don’t want to write about politics but I do want to say that inclusiveness and respect for each individual are values we must fight for. Bigotry, xenophobia, homophobia, racism, sexism, and disrespect for people with disabilities must not be tolerated. We must speak up against bigotry whenever we hear it. I will support all organizations that fight for civil rights. Will you join me in consistently speaking out against hate and putting money behind our words?

Right after the election I lost my wonderful Aunt Shirley, and with her the last vestige of my childhood elders. My mother was one of five children, and as time went on five families were formed. My parents and aunts and uncles and cousins were a most close-knit family.  Three of the families lived only blocks from each other and there were no locked doors. Aunts, uncles, cousins wandered in and out of each other’s homes at will. It was a wonderful childhood, but even more wonderful were the values that were instilled in each of us kids in each of our five families. A cohesive family is golden. We have a little touch of La Cosa Nostra in the Smith Clan, as we call ourselves. The older generation of Smiths are not here anymore to guide us, and we mourn the loss of a generation, but they created the Smith Clan and the Smith Clan lives on. 

Right after Aunt Shirley died, Leonard Cohen did as well. Of course, he was not a relative so the loss was not personal. But I loved Leonard Cohen for his poetry, and the fact that he growled out his beautiful songs only made them more powerful. 

And next, Gwen Ifill was gone. I always considered Ifill a huge breath of fresh journalistic air amongst the shouters.

But now Thanksgiving is coming. Just in time, I think. Here’s an opportunity to remember all that we can be thankful for. I am thankful that Leonard Cohen reminded us that “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

Before this month of losses ends, I am going to try to figure out how to bring some more light through the cracks. Will you join me? December can truly be a month of light if we “ring the bells that still can ring.”

©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 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

 

Laundry, Type A’s, and a Nobel Prize

I have really thought a lot about this. Self-examination is a good thing, they say, so I was determined to determine why in the world I love to do laundry.

I have absolutely no affinity for any other type of housework. I have a talent for averting my eyes so as not to see work that unquestionably should be done.

But laundry! I love doing laundry! When I get home from work, I change my clothes and then put in a load of laundry before I do anything else. This is sacrosanct, and I have done it daily for my whole adult life.

You might question where I get all this dirty laundry. After all, it is just my husband and me in the house now. Well I generate a lot. I have confessed before that I only use a towel once. I know. I know. It is very un-ecological and a big sin. I am sorry. Besides the towels, there are always things to wash. Of course the clothes and sheets, but it is a good thing to wash blankets from time to time as well. Anyway, I find enough dirty laundry to keep me going, believe you me.

But why do I love it?

After much introspection on this important topic, I have come to the conclusion that I love things that allow me to multitask because then I feel all the more accomplished. Yay for me! Not only have I written this piece about laundry – a Nobel Prize level essay I believe – but I have also washed my whites at the very same time. How fabulous is that?!

There aren’t that many machines that allow you to multitask. There is the washing machine’s sibling, the dryer. And there is the dishwasher. And there is a crockpot, which I don’t have, but still admire. What else? Of course, you can leave things to cook on a stove or oven, but that doesn’t count for me because I am always paranoid that the house will burn down so I am constantly watching. Oh yeah, the refrigerator. But still, that doesn’t give me the same level of excitement because it is always doing its thing. It’s not like I have to start it up and then it takes over. Can you think of other excellent machines that allow you to multitask?

Anyway, you see now why the washing machine is the perfect machine for a Type A. My laundry is clean and my Noticing for today is done. 

©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 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

 

School Days, School Days

School days, school days

Dear old Golden Rule days

'Reading and 'riting and 'rithmetic

Taught to the tune of the hick'ry stick

What are your memories of your own first days of school? I have only a generalized memory of elementary school opening days. I remember feelings of excitement mixed with anxiety.

I always had a new “first day of school dress”. I remember red plaid dresses. I loved the smell of my new crayons and pencils. I loved my new pencil box. I remember the joy of putting new school supplies into their proper places. (I still like things that go into a specific place.) I remember feeling anxious about doing really well and not falling behind.

Isn’t this funny? After 19 years of school, this is all I can remember of the first day.

Let me see what else I can remember about all those years of school. I remember that my friend got me into trouble in kindergarten and I had to sit in the corner for sticking out my tongue. (It was her fault.) I remember when my 4th grade teacher made me stay after school all the time to practice writing with my right hand. (I am a lefty and the only thing I do with my right hand is bat. The last time I played softball was 6th grade when, I want to tell you, I was the star pitcher on the Pony Tail League.) I remember loving grammar in 5th and 6th grades, and getting those A’s. (I did not say I was a cool kid.) I remember when I got into the Safety Patrol.

In middle school (It was jr. high then.) I remember being in the bleachers cheering on various teams.

In high school I remember writing funny notes to my friends. I remember going to football games wearing my Bermuda shorts and knee socks. (I looked cool. Really I did.) I especially remember the day my history teacher – a big, burly guy - came into the class crying. That was the day President Kennedy was killed. I also remember many Saturday nights driving with my friends up and down Main St. looking for boys to honk at.

So let’s see….how much taxpayer money went into my public education….and this is what I remember?!

I am not going to go into memories of college and grad school. It was the late 60s and early 70s. That’s all you need to know.

Do you have more precise memories than I? I sure wasn’t much of a Noticer back then, I guess. After all, you can’t remember what you don’t Notice in the first place.

 So let me just wish all families, including those of us without young kids, a school year that will generate many great lifetime memories.

©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 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

 

Put the Pale Blue Dot in its Place

I am a geek. Specifically I am a space geek, and I want you to be a space geek too.

We can have space geek parties together! Truly, space Noticers are a fine group of geeks. C’mon. You want to join the in-crowd, the cool kids, the trend-setters, don’t you? (Of course, only geeks use phrases like that.)

While we are obsessing about sports or politics or buying the latest and greatest, the universe…or the multiverse….is going about its business of being born and dying and spinning and swallowing and spitting out.

The late Carl Sagan said that our planet is just a pale blue dot in a vast universe. Watch his awesome video here.

Our planet is in a solar system that is on one edge of the huge Milky Way galaxy. And the Milky Way galaxy is only one of at least one hundred billion galaxies. And now astronomers have found dark matter galaxies – galaxies that are mostly dark with very few stars. The rest of such a galaxy is composed of dark matter. And all these galaxies make up the known universe. And who knows how many more universes there are.

You can see the center of our own galaxy right here

These are all real images from our most powerful telescopes, but another amazing thing is the real photos taken on Mars

I have to admit, I spend a lot of time on these websites: NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Hayden Planetarium (with the great Neil deGrasse Tyson), and various YouTube space videos. Try it! Just spend 10 minutes. You will Notice such awe-inspiring things. And it’s all real!

You don’t care?! You are going to ignore space and concentrate on the game? You don’t want to be a space Noticer? You want me to leave you alone? “I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

Who am I quoting? A prize will come to you if you know.

©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 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

 

Not Exactly Pete Seeger’s Question, But Still

I know. I know. I could ask all kinds of questions. Weighty, important questions like: Why are there always wars? Why are some people so unkind? Why is the ocean salty? Why does Pluto only have five moons?

I know you think about those kinds of questions all the time. But today, I want to ask some others that have bothered me for a while.

Why do the things I count on disappear?

Now, I admit this blog post will turn out to be from a woman’s point of view, but I bet you guys can come up with your own examples.

So the problem is that once I decide I love something; that I must have it; that it solves all my problems; sooner rather than later, it disappears. It is no longer sold.

Take, for example, lipstick. You may grab a lipstick from the counter and say, “This looks good. I’ll take it.” Not me. I have spent a good part of my life looking for the perfect lipstick. (Yes, I am too a feminist!) Eventually I decide to settle for one that will do, even if not perfect. I use it up and then go back to the store for a replacement. It is never there. Never. It is not in “this season’s collection”. It is gone and I am back to the drawing board.

May I discuss bras? The holy grail of fit, comfort, serviceability, and attractiveness is just that: the holy grail. Impossible to find. However, when I finally come close enough to the grail and purchase the piece, I often want to replicate that purchase after a while. But, no cigar. It is always discontinued. What is it about this? I won’t go into any theories about uniqueness of boobosity resulting in poor sales for any garment I like.

Ok, just one more proof of concept. Yogurt. Specifically frozen yogurt sold in frozen yogurt shops. I have spent several happy summers in my city, walking from one frozen yogurt shop to another sampling the wares. These shops were plentiful, one or two in every neighborhood. I loved them from the bottom of my heart. The fun of eating frozen yogurt while walking down the street on a hot summer day cannot be surpassed.

Where have all the yogurt shops gone? Now maybe you don’t think this is as important a question as Pete Seeger’s, Where have all the flowers gone? But the closing of the yogurt shops is a terrible turn of events, in my view. I am bereft.

So listen. What do you think about this problem of disappearing things? Am I the only one worried about lipstick, bras, and yogurt?

What’s that? I am bringing up a ridiculous issue? You would rather that I comment on this exemplary US election season? Ha!

©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 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