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Mini post, mini cookies, traffic smiles

Happy Friday!

I just wanted to share some joy with you today. I only have two photos for this mini-post…

The first is a photo of this morning’s snack: Teeny Bits! They are little tiny chocolate-covered confetti cookies that I found at the local supermarket in the imported foods aisle! So cute and tasty – and they go so well with coffee!

Teeny Bits cookies
Teeny Bits cookies

The second is a photo I snapped while waiting in traffic on the way to work. I was having a grouchy morning, and I looked out my window and saw this unexpected street sign… It made me smile and snapped me out of my grouchy-ness!

Happy Heart street sign
Happy Heart street sign

I hope you all have a superbly awesome Friday! Hooray for the weekend!!!

Teaser: Next week I’ll be featuring a new and exciting series of photo posts about a recent cooking adventure!

Notes from April 1st

To miss or not to miss, that is the question

traffic commuteI’m moving tomorrow. My old place is about 30km from work. The new place is about 1km from work. This is AWESOME in so many ways… I will save on gas. I can bike to work. Heck, I can WALK to work! I’ll have an extra hour in the morning and an extra hour in the evening that I’d usually be driving in traffic. Last night on the way home from work, I realized that I was driving one of my last daily 30km commutes. Of course, I got stuck in traffic, and there were 2 major accidents – so this helped drive the point home. However, this morning on my blissful drive IN to work, I reflected on how I’d miss my morning radio show. I’ll also miss laughing at the insane things people do in their car – like picking their nose and eating it, swearing and cursing, swerving and cutting people off – only to find yourself back behind that person 4 minutes later. So while I will definitely miss the commute, I also WON’T miss it. Change is a wonderful thing sometimes 🙂

Pocket full of tylenol

handfulOpills headache pillsOver the past few weeks I’ve been having headaches. I think they were related to the fact that I hurt a muscle in my back, and it began traveling into my shoulders and then up to my neck – leaving me leaning slightly to one side with my head turned on an angle to straighten out my view. Needless to say, this brought on some angry headaches. Me being a busy bee – always buzzing around the flowers with something to do – often threw a tylenol or two into my pocket (sometimes and Ibuprofen) to take when I had a water or a tea. Most times, I forgot about them. The next day, I’d throw another couple into my pocket. When I switched pants, the pocket contents would be transferred completely. The tylenol were compounded daily. So today, when I reached in my pocket to get my chapstick, I found myself digging around in a pocket full of tylenol. I hauled them out and counted 14 tylenol, 5 Ibuprofen, and 3 Midol.

After applying my chapstick, I realized that I had created an interesting placebo effect! Instead of popping the pain killers into my mouth, I popped them into my pocket and rocketed through the pain. Somehow this might have tricked my mind into thinking I was feeling better. The placebo pocket effect. Perhaps we should all try this one – although you still have to spend money on the tylenol, and time on popping them into your pocket. Then they get covered with lint and dirt. OK, well maybe it’s not such a good plan, but I thought that my pocket placebo effect was quite interesting 🙂

Silver lining found

A few days ago I was driving home from work after a stressful day. Of course, there were some drivers around me that were not exactly being considerate – and I was struggling to find serenity and calm amongst the traffic. It seemed like I was surrounded by selfish people with absolutely no regard for their safety or the safety of others around them. One after another, these cars zipped in and out of traffic cutting me and others off, getting a whole car-length ahead of people so that they could feel as if they are getting somewhere faster.

I was grumpily waiting at a stoplight, and made a left to continue heading home. Just then – I looked across the horizon and literally saw a cloud with a silver lining. Instantly, I had to smile – and all the grumpiness dissolved. I wish I could have taken a photo at that moment, it was beautiful. It had been raining, and the clouds were dark. In the near distance were some clouds that were precipitating and looked like a shimmery curtain. In the far distance – behind these shimmery clouds were some great big puffy dark clouds. Behind them, shining brightly, was the sun. It created the most beautiful silver lining around these dark puffy clouds – and the shimmery rain clouds in the near distance blocked the sun from being in my eyes. It was a most wonderful sight.

Often things like this happen – we are experiencing something negative and a silver lining comes along (literally or figuratively). But usually, we miss this opportunity to vanquish the negativity and simply bask in the beauty of nature, or enjoy the silver lining that is presenting itself to us.

So whether the silver lining is a friend trying to cheer you up, a stranger with an odd smile on their face, a song that comes on the radio at just the right time, or an ACTUAL silver lining – let yourself notice it! Be taken away on that river of positivity, instead of continuing on the river of negativity that has such a quick and strong current! There are always forks in the river – and we can choose whether we see the silver linings or not 🙂

Whatever you do, wear your seatbelt!

I’m beginning to get a better understanding of road rage.. I will admit that I have been one of those angry people cursing at other cars or saying “come on, move!” and on occasion, honking my horn. I have realized a few things:

  1. They can’t hear you
  2. They can probably see you, and you look ridiculous/annoying
  3. Your ridiculous/annoyingness distracts not only you, but them as well, making it more likely that one of you (or perhaps someone else who is laughing at you waving your arms like a gorilla) will get into an accident
  4. honking your horn does not make people move faster, in fact it usually makes them stop (for spite!)
Road Rage
Image taken from: http://www.toothpastefordinner.com

I have learned a few things over the last 6 months, some of them from a very cute little buddhist monk who makes an awful lot of sense. When you are driving, it’s difficult to remember that you do not own the road. I know, we all like to think that we have the right of way, or that the guy over there just took your spot. But simply put, we all share the road. Following that train of thought, it’s not your lane or your spot either that some other car is squishing into. We all seem to feel entitled to our spaces on the road. This type of thinking is skewed. We need to try and think of it from the other side; in terms of us, not them.

What does that mean? It means that we can greatly benefit from concentrating on our responsibility to drive safely. If someone races into the small spot in front of you, instead of fuming over the fact that he/she has just taken up the safe space you have created between you and the car in front of you, try just making sure that you are doing the right thing, and that once this driver has squeezed in, that you are still driving safely – give them some space so that you remain safe! After all, you are the important one 🙂

Road Rage
Image from: http://www.theage.com.au

Also, if you are screaming at someone in front of you and honking, likely they will simply react defensively: cursing and swearing back at you, regardless of who is right or wrong. The damage at this point is two-fold. Now yours and the other drivers’ concentration has been compromised – raising your likelihood of being in an accident. Not only that but the people around you will likely have decided (in their own minds) whether one or the other of you was in the right – and carry the animosity of your situation with them. This means that not only you and the other driver, but also other people may be in an angry state while driving, all as a result of one person cutting another off, or not letting them into a lane. It creates a domino effect of angriness that spreads – more people swear and honk, more people swerve and cut others off – because if that guy did, I am entitled, too! Right? 😉

You can also look at things from the other perspective when experiencing not-so-great drivers who are compromising your safety. If someone is signaling to get into your lane, make space for them. Sure, you might be angry because they have just shoved you back one car length, and now you’re going to be even later than before (by a whole 2 seconds!)… but on the flip side – they are only one car length ahead of you! So they really didn’t get much further ahead, and you are not really that much further behind…

It’s difficult to think in these terms, because everyone seems to think that they are entitled to their spot, their lane, and to cut other people off – but not the other way around. There is a serious double standard in most drivers’ eyes. If we shift our concentration from making sure we are getting what we are “entitled” to when driving to concentrating on making sure that everything we are doing is safe, I think that not only will there be less accidents, but eventually (in a utopia, I know) people will catch on and be more courteous and forgiving on the road. After all, everyone makes mistakes.

Maybe that guy in the Audi cut you off because his wife is in the passenger seat with a huge bleeding cut on her arm and she needs medical attention. Perhaps the lady in the van didn’t check her blind spot because she is not concentrating on the road because her baby just threw up and is choking in the back seat. Or perhaps the teenagers in the K-car are just driving recklessly and not paying attention. You never really know what’s going on in other cars. Sure – most likely they cut you off because they feel like you (or others around you) are going too slow and that getting one car length ahead will help them go faster. Either way, just let them go and make sure that you are being safe. And do it with a smile on your face!

Karma BuddhaWhy? Because KARMA will repay them. I have personally seen Karma in action while driving. I was in traffic, and a car was coming up fast from behind me, switching lanes erratically, swerving, and squashing himself into tight spots so that he could get ahead of all of us who were patiently driving through traffic. Then, all of a sudden he realized he had to go left, and crossed three lanes of traffic (nearly clipping someone’s car!) so that he could get into the left turning lane. Do you know what happened? This guy ended up hitting the curb in the left hand lane and likely did some real damage to one or both of the rims on that side of his car.  I’m sure that everyone who was patiently driving safely had a big smile on their faces.
I know I did!

So when someone cuts me off, or refuses to let me into their lane, 9 times out of 10 I have learned to just smile or laugh (at them!) and make sure I have left safe space around my car, and that I’m doing what I’m supposed to on the road. I try to only use my horn if I feel like I’m in danger and need to warn another driver to pay attention. I have found that not only does this make my commute happier (because laughing at idiots is WAY more fun than honking and swearing at them), but when I get to my destination, I feel a whole lot more fantastic. I’m far from perfect on the road, but I’m getting there. Not only that, but changing my practice has eliminated a whole lot of stress from my daily life!

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