Category Archives: happiness

An Interview with a Tree Fairy

Thursday brought some morning clouds, making a trip to Andulka Park (5201 Chicago Avenue, Riverside 92507) for an AM romp a no-brainer.  This marks the first time since the end of Spring I pulled a long sleeve shirt out for E.M. She loved the bright graphics and rough texture of the thermal top – I loved the fact that I could keep the sunscreen in the trunk.  But we hauled the sand toys because this park has some of the largest sand boxes in Riverside.

Now, some may dispute this fact and point to other parks. Others may play word police and claim they are actually volley ball courts. On weekday mornings, when they are crawling with amateur archeologists and future explorers, a functionalist like me says, “If it looks like a [sandbox] and it acts like a [sandbox]…”

And the tree fairy I spoke to would agree. He (yes, they can be guys – Santa may be the most famous fairy alive today) goes by Paul when he is with his granddaughter.  Here is why the parks are wonderful and should always be funded, maintained, and used often.  It’s the connections they create.  And lessons taught.

Before Paul made his true face known, I learned that he worked at Riverside City College (just like me) and he retired in June (just like I want to do!) and he’s not sure he is doing retirement right (I question myself to distraction). He likes Reagan more than I do but we both agreed the mental health issues behind much of the homeless problem in our parks stems from those mental health facility closures that started under his “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” approach to social services.

An old Gen-X and a young Boomer caring for the girls that will grow to save the world we have made for them.  And when we made Andulka Park, we had little more than dirt and space.  The City of Trees was devoid of shade.  The city planted them but the tree fairy made sure they grew tall and strong.

The Tree Fairy traversed the expanse of the park soon after it was finished.  He hand fertilized every single tree. Because he knew they would need the extra support. It was his way of doing his share and supporting a resource vital to the well-being of any city, and every single park in every city.

Now, fairies are odd creatures.  They typically know a good deal about a lot of things, yet they become known for just one or two key traits – few people realize that the Tooth Fairy can get your car started in a snowstorm and the Elf on the Shelf can make a sublime PB&J without a knife.  Which is why I suggest you get out into parks to talk with them. Don’t rely on what a few writers have put into your books.

This famous quote sums it up best:your task in the world rabbi

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under belief, Family, happiness, nature, things to do in riverside, Uncategorized

Motivation Schmotivation

I teach motivation as part of my coursework in my Intro to College course, and I sprinkle it into many of my Critical Thinking classes.  The other day I faced a pile of dirty dishes.  That moment clarified just what each of us faces when it comes to finishing a task.

This short post goes out to all my fellow procrastinators.  By the way, I stopped to write this while in the middle of finishing my media and retail sales lists for my publisher, Reedy Press.  I was supposed to have them in by the 15th.  Enjoy!!

When faced with a particularly heinous pile of dirty dishes, I took the rookie-actor approach and asked myself, “What’s my motivation?” After all, this is a home mess, not a work related occupational hazard.  My inner director called up three approaches –

  1. External motivation – I need to clean this mess up before someone comes over and sees this.
  2. Internal – I need to get this done so I can work on those other project deadlines.
  3. Go outside, watch birds, and hope an elf does them while I am away.

 

I went outside. I watched birds. I chased a two-year-old around. I stepped in dog poop.

Eventually we got hungry.  When we came inside to make dinner, those dishes were still there.  But I was in a much better headspace to knock them out.  Give yourself a pass today on beating yourself up about unfinished tasks.  Go look at something pretty or talk to someone that knows you are already pretty awesome.

1 Comment

Filed under art, critical thinking, Family, happiness, things to do in riverside, Uncategorized

“FUR” Play Project, See the Last Night, Free

NOW

Facebook. Of all my thoughts on the subject, arts promotion and community engagement never came to mind. However…when I joined a poetry workshop managed through Facebook, it forced me to rethink what it was good for.  This single event caused me to “luckily” find great new art in my community –  I am from the Inland Empire, Inlandia, The IE, Inland SoCal – and, in the process, rediscover things I love about other people.  Which will not be easy for the next few years, so I need to find goodness to combat those awful gravitational waves emanating from Washington, DC until 2021.

“Fur” by Migdalia Cruz, did the trick. This surrealist adaptation (loosely, veeerry loosely) of “Beauty and the Beast” was a welcome cleanse for the surrealist experience of waking up November 9th 2016 in America.  Director Luis Hurtado has assembled a great cast of actors. Their use of space – this was a live reading but the voice talents of the actors obliterated that limitation – brings the audience right into the cage where most of the action takes place.  Watching three characters seeking happiness from another person, and doomed to be unsatisfied with these varying unrequited loves, mirrors the challenges in our community today. We desire, but we often ask the wrong person or object to satisfy that desire. The result is sadness in the real world.

Thank goodness for surrealism. It provides escape of limited duration. Enough to fill many purposes but one in particular. “Fur” will take you away from the dodgy exterior monolog we are being subjected to, and replaces that with honest and useful human drives – the desire to be desired. To be loved.

I loved this experience. And you can too. I will not spoil the ending but it is cathartic. Limited engagement means this show will be here again tonight (11/10/2016) at 7 PM at the Culver Center for the Arts, Riverside CA. FREE Admission! See updates at www.facebook.com/ucrlpp

Missed this but want to catch the next one? Catch Model Minority and Gold Mean Players here, 1/27 and 1/28, 2017.

THEN

Next up! You must have a next up. Otherwise, why get out of that nice bed you made?  Keep an eye out for the next installment:  March Air Field Museum.  Crawling out of planes, asking older people, “what was it like when you were a kid?”, and petting a stuffed dog at the “War Dawgs Exhibition” will be more low cost local fun.

 

#artsblock #UCRLLP #surreal #art #riverside #innovation #play #love #beauty

 

Now & Then is an occasional blog covering regional art and culture worth my time, and maybe yours too!

Leave a comment

Filed under art, happiness, theater or theatre, Uncategorized, writing

WHEN I MOVED Poetry and Prose Series

This was a fun experience and I highly recommend publishing this way. Whether you are building a portfolio of work, or just want to read and share interesting perspectives, there is something for just about any writer here.

Play with poetry or play with prose, just get out there and play already!

 

Thank you to the 151 writers — from 33 states and 17 countries — who participated in our WHEN I MOVED Poetry & Prose Series, which ran from August 9 – September 27, 2016. Many thanks to the fol…

Source: Thank you to the 151 authors who participated in our WHEN I MOVED Poetry and Prose Series

 

Coming next: https://silverbirchpress.wordpress.com/2016/08/18/call-for-submissions-my-prized-possession-poetry-and-prose-series/

 

Make that story zig or run

by switching the first line

with the last one

when you are done.

Comments Off on WHEN I MOVED Poetry and Prose Series

Filed under art, happiness, writing