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I love trivia. Love it. Love. It. I always have. Doesn’t mean that I am a fabulous Trivial Pursuit player, though. I take in all sorts of things, but the things that stick are the ones that capture my imagination. I suppose that we’re all a bit like that. I figured that I’d share some of my favorite bits of this ‘n that which have been embedded in my psyche over the years.

Did you know that a group of ravens is called an unkindness? As in, “Hey Jim, look over there — it’s an unkindness of ravens.” Now, that is way more romantic than a ‘flock’ of ravens, or a bunch of ravens.

Did you know that due to the unique protein structure of black widow venom, you can only receive the antivenom once in your lifetime? Eek. Makes you wanna tap your shoes out before you put them on, doesn’t it?

Did you know that the female armadillo has the ability to hold the male’s sperm in her body in reserve for up to two years, so that she can decide when the time is best to be pregnant? And, did you know that armadillos give birth to identical quadruplets each and every time they are pregnant? Wild stuff, hey?

Did you know that there are certain ant colonies that cultivate aphids much in the same way that we farm cows? They move them from place to place and keep them with the colony, milking them for the nectar that they secrete.

Did you know that you aren’t supposed to smile in your passport photo? When you do, it changes the shape of your eyes and the government wants to see your unadulterated eye shape in case you become an international art thief.

Did you know that the roots of black walnut trees secrete a toxin called juglone that has the ability to kill surrounding plant life? Plants are fascinating — and they’ve been waging chemical warfare on one another well before we ever thought to. Interestingly, this toxin can also be harmful to animals and humans.

Mmmm…delish — I just love tasty little bites of info. These taste-treats for my brain are one of my favorite parts of being human — all that stuff to capture the imagination. Enjoy — and share some with me!!

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Tonight, I took a rare night off, and did NO work. Lately, that just never seems to happen and I was long overdue.

I came home from the shop, bagged up the library books from under the coffee table, and piled on the kitchen chair, and next to the bed. I walked the two blocks to deliver them – intending to head right home like a good girl and get to work.

The moment I stepped through the door, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. They called to me like they always do. All the books, all the shelves upon shelves of books. All the stories. And I walked down each aisle, not really on a mission for anything in particular. Just enjoying the silence, and the atmosphere. And I decided to check out only fiction – only completely frivolous books. No philosophical tomes, no spiritual texts. No art books. No books that had anything, whatsoever, to do with work – I haven’t done that in too long.

I meandered home, enjoying the heat and watching the people sitting outside the restaurants and walking from shop to shop.

I plopped the books in a glorious pile on the end of the kitchen table, and made myself a tall cold glass of extra-chocolatey milk. I took my time reading the book jackets, choosing which would be my first.

I curled up on the couch under my favorite blanket – the thin blue one I bought at Summerfest one year, and used as a ground cover for the Tom Petty concert. For once, our cat chose to let me have some space instead of immediately leaping up and demanding attention. I sank into the story, losing all track of time, every once in a while shifting position. Riveted.

I left the book half-read (I’m a fast reader), and pulled out my art supplies. The story triggered something, and I finally knew how to finish an art journal page I’d been mulling over for a week. I yanked stamps out of binders, lugged the ink case onto the table, poured gesso onto a plastic bag, grabbed a brush, and started working. After all the mulling I’d done, it came together quickly now…just how I wanted it to look. Just how it looked in my heart.

I didn’t make dinner. I ate spready cheese and Ritz crackers and a dark chocolate candy bar. I pulled out another art project that just needed a few finishing touches, and added them, trying not to think too much. Just letting it come.

I never really write about this kind of stuff – these small things, small rituals that make up my days – not even in my personal journal. Today, it felt important – I’ve been busting my butt, and immersing myself in the work that goes into bringing a dream into being. Today, it was important to do what I wanted to do for no other reason than I felt like doing it.

When I get so focused, I get so much done, and it feels really good. A line of checkmarks marching down a to-do list is one of my favorite sights. But one of the parts of walking the path of mastery is to recognize areas of imbalance – and all work and no play makes Carolyn a dull girl.

For the rest of the night? I’m updating this blog (cause I feel like it) and my art blog (cause I feel like it), and then I’ll watch the rest of Two Mules for Sister Sarah with Jeremy and the cat, and head to bed. Cause I feel like it.

Here’s hoping that all of you make time for play – too long without it, and the joy leaches out of life!

Come have a look through my kaleidoscope eyes. Come walk with me, as I make my way down the Path of Mastery (complete with fits and starts and pitstops and potholes). Our very impermanence is what makes us burn so brightly, and struggle so valiantly, and feel so deeply – it’s what makes us seize the day, and the moment. Come in, settle in, share a moment with me.

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"Who are YOU?" said the Caterpillar. This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, "I--I hardly know, sir, just at present-- at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then." (Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 5)
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