Cheers, my friend! You meant the world to me!

Hi Folks,

I was sad and shocked to receive an email yesterday from my friend Mike’s beloved wife Deena informing me of his death. You see, I just saw Mike 3 weeks ago and he was full of life and energy! He was walking to campus and I pulled my bus up beside him and asked, “Are you wanting the bus?” to which he responded, “Well, I do NOW because it is you!” (He had intended on walking, but because it was ME, he rode the bus!) 🙂

So we did our normal, quick catching up regarding personal matters and then delved into deeper stuff. As we were approaching his normal stop at Circle K (where he got his coffee) he started an explosion of compliments to me, and I was digging in my bag for a Reese’s pumpkin to give to him before he left, and as people were exiting I said, “Would you like to ride with me all day?!? By the end of the day, I would feel GREAT about myself!” He laughed, and also stayed on the bus.

As our travels together continued (not all day, but to Lilly Hall), Mike said, “I wish there were more people like us in the world.” I responded, “That would be AWESOME! There would be no pressure, because there is nothing to live up to! No expectations!” We laughed and laughed about the simplicity of “pressure vs. expectations”.

The next morning, Mike was waiting for the bus and I was the LUCKY one to pick him up. Within 30 seconds (after our normal hug and kiss when seeing each other) he told me that he had been thinking about our conversation from the previous day and how he had never heard “pressure vs. expectations” put so simply and he couldn’t get it out of his mind. We then discussed “Millennials” and how much he loved teaching them.

We once again approached his Circle K stop for coffee, and he skipped it again. This time (after leaving the Circle K stop) I said something. I said, “You know, I wrote in my blog yesterday about how you skipped your coffee stop because you said I was worth it.” Mike said, “You are. I would much rather talk to you, than get my cup of coffee.” (He was really big on his coffee ritual.) That meant the WORLD to me that day! And still does. . .

I didn’t know that was the last day I would talk to Mike, but I have no regrets. He was perfectly aware of how much I loved him and what he meant to me. I also knew how much he loved his wife Deena (his beloved) and how LUCKY they were to have each other. I am just sorry we didn’t have more time. Take that extra time folks. It may be the last time you have to take it.

Hey Mike!

Peace/Cheers!

LJ

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Taking the “TIME” to look beyond. . .

Hello Folks!

I had one of those much-needed awesome days today and it all started when I noticed the moon while driving my first route this morning. I have learned, within my two weeks of doing this new route, that I must leave at exactly 6:15:00 am from downtown to beat the school bus that stops 10 times in front of me (including on US 52). For that reason, I am mostly focused on TIME at that early portion of my day. Today though, I turned into Blackbird Farms and noticed the moon and a star or planet upwards to the right of the moon (I am not up on my astronomy) and the contrast was brilliant! It wasn’t a black sky, but rather the deep blue you would find in a Crayola box. So I slowed down and just looked and took it all in. Then, I prayed at the stop light at Lindberg and 231 that the damn school bus wouldn’t get in front of me since I had slowed down. It all worked out. . .

Ten minutes later, I exited Wal-Mart, saw the school bus I am normally behind waiting at the light, and continued right on schedule! I did my thing picking up and dropping off people and then I got to Lambert Fieldhouse and I got a compliment! She commended my timeliness, as she had estimated 10 minutes later. She jumped off the bus and exclaimed to her friend, “It’s only 6:59!” and I had to smile. I was happy for the compliment, but I was truly blessed prior to ever receiving it! The only thing I really did was leave at 6:15:00 and get LUCKY that the school bus didn’t get in front of me after I slowed down to enjoy the beauty I was given.

After 6:59 am, my day just got better. Everyone was friendly, the lights were mostly green, my route went smoothly, and my time at work just flew by. It really was a great day! 🙂

Here’s my point: What if we all took those extra few moments of TIME and either enjoyed a moment of beauty or expressed gratitude to another? What if we did both? How would that change another person’s day, or even your own? I was LUCKY today. I had it ALL! 🙂

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Don’t Rush It. Let It Develop.

Hi Folks!

I was originally going to make this a Facebook post, but realized it was MUCH too long of a story! So I decided to revisit my much neglected blog. . .

First though, I would like to thank Nels for getting me caught up (albeit, briefly) today and also to everyone that might actually still read my stuff, since I have been absent other than on Facebook.

Okay, on to the crux of my most important topic! Sometimes it is necessary to create your own happiness!

Today was one of those days where “seemingly” nothing was going right. It started off on my first run by getting stuck behind a school bus. (I know this sounds funny, and I am aware of the duality, but it sucks being a bus stuck behind a bus, especially a SCHOOL bus!) So even after help getting caught up, I was still behind schedule nearly all day.

During this time, I had a young family with 3 little ones and a stroller. Here were my two main choices: I could sit there and worry about how much time this was taking for them to exit, or I could look around and also interact with the family. I chose the latter and noticed a lovely weed growing out of the sidewalk with pretty purple flowers. . .

So, I asked the oldest young boy (probably 3 or 4 years old) if he would pluck one of those flowers so I could put it behind my ear. He had a hard time and ended up presenting me the entire weed (roots, flowers, dirt and all), but his mom was laughing and it gave us something to do while dad was getting the stroller and baby off of the bus. Anyway, I got my flower behind my ear, the boy did something helpful, mom and dad were smiling, and guess what? I was still late. But the thing is, I wasn’t any later than I would have been anyway. It just worked better because everyone was HAPPY.

Fast-forward: So Nels has me caught up on my route and I hit class change-over at Purdue and end up 10+ minutes behind before I ever leave campus. This worsens as I have two stop lights where I have to wait for diverted I-65 traffic on 231. Thankfully, I have a beautiful flower behind my ear (minus the roots and dirt) to help me along the way). 🙂

FINALLY, I get out of Wal-Mart and start the second half of my trip. (by now, I am like 20 minutes behind.) But guess what? I end up seeing my most favorite professor and friend walking along Salisbury Street and he is near a bus stop where a gal is waiting. Again, I had two main choices: I could pick up my passenger and ignore my friend walking, or I could do this: I pulled a few feet past my friend, scared the crap out of him, and asked, “Are you wanting to ride the bus?” I motioned for the gal waiting, to come to me, and my friend said, “No. But I am NOW because it is you! I was going to walk!” (He likes to walk and contemplate things.) 🙂

So we had a wonderful chat and when we got to the outskirts of campus, he even skipped his normal “Circle K” stop (where he gets coffee). While we were on Russell Street, laughing about ourselves most of the way, he said, “Riding with you is worth missing my Circle K stop.” It made me feel good, and really our Russell Street conversation was the funniest and most memorable! I was also able to tell him how his advice of “Don’t rush it. Let it develop.” statement to me was so impactful!

After letting my friend off at Lilly Hall and concluding our time together, of course I pulled out and the light turned red. Doesn’t matter. That gave him the chance to cross in front of me and turn and wave!

It was a GOOD day! 🙂

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Pick Your Battles Folks!

Hi Folks!

Today was an interesting day, but then again most are! First of all, I would like to give a shout-out to ‘Y for his chivalry today. He stopped while doing his route and helped a woman get her car moving again after she got stuck in the snow. He used his great big feet as make-shift shovels to dig out her tires, then used his manly strength to push her car free! His feet were cold, but his heart was warm! Other than just being a nice guy, his explanation was, “Well, if MY wife was stuck, I would want someone to stop and help her.” Nice work ‘Y! ☺

So after entertaining myself all day (the route I am doing this week is kind of boring), the last half-hour provided me with all sorts of things to ponder. I had two contrasting experiences in that last thirty minutes and I would like to explain both of the scenarios and also my thoughts on the two matters.

Scenario #1: Our buses were leaving downtown and there are four routes that have to make one particular left-hand turn as soon as we leave the station. When the first bus went to make the turn, the bus driver did not have enough room to complete the turn without a vehicle on the other street backing up. The driver of that vehicle refused to back up. Correction: He backed up to where he was behind the white line, but then refused to back up any more. The bus could still not complete the turn, so there everyone waited. In the mean time, the man in the vehicle that is now legally behind the white line is out of his truck yelling at the bus driver and then he gets on his cell phone and is yelling on it. Simultaneously, traffic in every direction is backed up and then the other three routes that need to turn there decide to detour since we are all now 10 minutes behind schedule. The police were in route to resolve the vehicular stand-off, and now tons of people were late. The conclusion of this stand-off was that police arrived, blocked the intersection so the bus could back up, and the pick-up truck driver could continue on with his evening, albeit 15 minutes later than if he would have just backed up to begin with. His light was red and he had no one behind him, so it wasn’t like he was going to lose any time. More on that later. . .

Scenario #2: Ten minutes later in my route, after already being ten minutes behind, my bus was full of human popsicles and then I got to a particularly narrow part of the route I am doing this week. The problem I encountered was that we have had a lot of snow and two vehicles were parked on opposite sides of the street and my bus would not fit between them. So, using my super powers of deduction, I decide one particular house has the best chance of owning at least ONE of the two vehicles and I walk up to that door and knock. Here is how that went: Door opens and I said, “Hi! Would either of these two vehicles out here happen to belong to anyone in this household?” Yes, the white van. “Great! Would you please back it up or move it forward so that I can get the bus thru and get these people where they need to be and also get home myself? It is my last run!” No way. (pause) Just kidding! Let me get my shoes back on.” Two more things happened: The other car owner came out and offered to move (and I would have NOT guessed his house as it was diagonal from there), but the other guy had his shoes on already. Also, the van owner actually apologized to me. He thought we were done for the day. I told him I was the last one, so no one would be bothering him again for the evening and he could park however he wished. Folks, this guy had JUST gotten home because although his shoes were off, he still had his winter coat and hat on. More on that later too. . .

Okay, so guy #1 (I am switching from “scenario” to “guy” for simplicity) proved his point. He actually proved a lot them. Would you like to hear what I think some of those points are? Good! Let’s get started!

He proves he knows the law. That is apparent when he backs his truck up to the point that is legal and then refuses to budge any further even though no one is behind him.

He proves that sometimes intersections are not big enough for everyone and sometimes compromise is needed.

He proves that he has problems dealing with things that do not go his way. That is apparent when after backing up to the appropriate legal spot, he exits his truck and yells once again at the bus driver. He did finger-pointing and window-stabbing too. (“window-stabbing” is a term I just created. It is when you point your index finger really hard into a window and you are LUCKY if you do not break either your finger or the window. For future definition purposes, it usually is accompanied with anger.)

He proves that when “hissy fits” and “bullying” do not work, perhaps name-dropping and phone calls will.

He proves that being right is more important to him than time. Oh, and not just his, but everyone else’s time also. Let’s do a brief “time-waste” summary from just my perspective. Okay, I had about 10 people on when I left downtown and got one block to the stand-off. Then I was 10 minutes late. Then, I picked up about 15 more people that stood outside an extra 10 minutes because of this stand-off. So 25 people on my bus alone (not including me) that had 10 minutes of their time wasted because this one guy would not back up any further than the law would make him.

He proves that police officers put up with a lot of crap and have to make the best of completely avoidable situations while also being held accountable for why they do not respond quickly to other matters. Because they might be in the middle of crap like this and blocking traffic so someone can be “right”.

Other points were proven also, but let’s shift back to the positive, shall we? Guy #2 just got home from work, took his boots off, and then had a knock at his door. It was me, essentially asking him to put his boots back on and move his van so the rest of us could get on with our day, even though he just finished his and was trying to relax. Guy #2 thought we (the bus) were done for the night, so parked where he did. Guy #2 didn’t know Guy #1 would make us 10 minutes late and he would have to put his boots back on and go back outside and also drive around the block and repark. (I just made another new word!) ☺ Oh, and I did not need to call the cops to make him do it. I just asked him nicely and told him I was sorry that I was late and told him we were now done for the night! Guy #2 was great and rolled with the punches, put his boots back on, drove around the block, reparked, and probably had an awesome evening with his gal once he finally got his boots and coat off.

I am not sure how I would have dealt with Guy #1 had I been the driver. I watched it, but I really could not believe the anger. I just kept saying, “back up a few feet and it is all done. . .” Unnecessary heart attacks and police calls over a bit of road space. . .

Anyway, I know that I have also wasted my own and others’ time over principles that I hold dear. Sometimes, they have been righteous ideals, and maybe other times just personal things that tick me off. I just wanted to write this to point out how we all get lost in some of our pet peeves. I am sure that Guy #1 has had multiple left-turn, backing-up issues with buses and he was making his stand. I get it. I really do. I am just saying that certain things are not worth the energy. Backing up for a bus that needs to turn is one of them.

You know what would have worked better for Guy #1? He could have backed up 5 or 10 feet, let the bus complete its turn, made his phone calls the next day to express his complaints, or even later the same day, and been to wherever he was going 15 minutes earlier. (and saved everyone else a bunch of time also)

The other thing that probably would have happened (at least I hope so) had he backed up? The bus driver would have waved to say. “Thank You” and he would have waved back to say, “You’re Welcome”. That is how it normally works. . . Be nice, it works better!

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Why “BEAUTIFUL” matters

Hi folks!

I had a most awesome day today and they seem to be piling up! It is a great feeling actually! Where to start my story is the problem, so I will just wing it!

I pulled into our bus hub and passengers boarded. Then a particular passenger boarded and said, “Hello Lisa.” I replied, “Hi! How are you today?” He said, “You don’t remember my name do you?” I said, “Yes. It is Julius, correct?” He said, “You do remember. I didn’t think you did.” I then went on with this explanation to Julius. . .

I told Julius that I never forgot his name, I just never used it because I was more interested in how he was and what he was doing and I was trying to save syllables and time. I then explained that it was the same reason that I never say, “Good afternoon” to people. It is too many syllables. I am completely fine with “Good morning”, but “Good afternoon” is too long. For that reason, I switch to “Hi” or “Hello” for passengers boarding in the afternoon. My eagerness to skip syllables actually made Julius think I had forgotten his name.

I think this also happened again with an awesome young gal I met at Purdue while driving the late Gold Loop. I had picked her up many times and we had chatted and she asked for my name. I told her and asked for hers. She told me and I asked how to spell it: Reema. Subsequent bus encounters had her calling me by name and me never saying her name in response. I KNEW it the whole time, I just wanted to know what was happening in her life more! Years went by and she was finally interviewing for jobs and I thought I would see her again before she left, but didn’t. LUCKILY, I knew her name (because I remembered, but never said it out loud) and found her on Facebook before she was gone. She is awesome! Hi Reema! I hope your new job is GREAT! ☺

During my exchange with Julius downtown, I looked out my door and saw an eagle. I then said, “Oh look! There is an eagle!” Julius thought it was a hawk, but I said it was an eagle and it works better when the sun is out so that you can see the white head and tail. Julius said that if I said it was eagle then he believed me. Guess what? The eagle flew down to where it could be seen easily. Yep! I yelled from my bus door, “Hi eagle!” and tried to get my co-workers to look up (but they were focused on their phones). My co-workers missed probably the closest encounter with a bald eagle ever, but Julius and my other passengers witnessed her! ☺

Folks, I am not going to try to explain any more about WHY I see eagles all of the time. I believe I have ONE that visits me all of the time. I see eagles because I look at the sky and I see MY eagle because we look each other in the eye. She visits me all of the time, but I don’t expect any of you to believe it. I do my best to point her out when she is around.

Last year, I named my eagle “Pride AND Joy”. I felt like she needed a first, middle, and last name because she was so special. Then, I gave her a nickname: “Beautiful”. From now on, I think I will say, “Hello Beautiful” (instead of “Hi eagle”) and not worry about the syllables. I think it works better. . .

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Wildcat Creek Baptismal water explained!

Hi folks!

I hope you all are getting your holiday shopping done and being gracious to others while commuting thru the parking lots. It is NICE to let a bus turn and get into the stream of traffic. Even if you don’t want a “bus” in front of you, think about the 40 PEOPLE on the bus that would like to get somewhere. Merry Christmas everyone! ☺

I have had an interesting year and I wanted to explain part of it (even though it encompasses decades). Last week on 12/14/14 I got baptized. Not only did that miraculous event happen, but I also requested that Wildcat Creek water be used for my baptism and it turns out that this request was not only allowable, but also graciously accepted! ☺

One aspect struck me: No one asked me WHY I wanted Wildcat Creek water for my baptism. So now, I am going to tell you WHY it was important to me to use that water. . .

I was born into a beautiful family and we had the Bailey woods. This property was wondrous and had a gravel pit, hills and trees, wildlife, corn and bean fields, and the Wildcat Creek. I was fortunate enough to be born into a family that was gracious to each other and helped each other out when new family members arrived! I was one such new arrival and my parents lived next to my Grandparents in a red trailer! My main memory from the trailer was how much the barn cats loved me. (Nowadays, they are called feral cats.) There was one cat called Diablo (which I guess means “devil” and was named that because of her meanness, but she loved me.) I was the only one sad when she died (I think), but I thought for some reason to include her story! Weird, huh?

In the mean time, I lived next door to my Grandma and she watched me during the day. When we moved to Lafayette, I still spent a lot of time with my Grandma and she often took me in the woods to explore. There was one particular day that I remember where we walked the WHOLE woods and I named a couple of areas! Blueberry Hill was already named by previous generations, but I dubbed Long Hill and Snail Hill! Yes, “Long Hill” was long and “Snail Hill” is where I found snails! Simple, isn’t it?

Well, there was another day where Grandma and I ventured further and went to the Wildcat Creek. This was a long walk and WHY we didn’t always get there. This particular day when we got to the “island”, the frogs had just morphed out of their tadpoleness! There were mini-frogs EVERYWHERE! I remember this day like it was yesterday. Baby frogs were JUMPING everywhere! I was HAPPY!

There are countless other memories I have regarding the Wildcat Creek, one of which includes my Uncle Duck’s best friend Skinny breaking his ankle because of my encouragement to attempt ice-skating because it was “easy”. I don’t like to dwell on 40 year-old broken bones though. I just wanted to tell you the history of my family and WHY I wanted Wildcat Creek water for my Baptism.

I have GREAT memories of the Wildcat Creek and the Bailey woods and farm and my Grandpa J.C. taking me mushroom hunting and us coming upon a cow that had just had a baby and didn’t want us there and me fishing for minnows and having a deer walk up and me and the deer looking into each others’ eyes and neither of us knowing what to do but just sit and wonder. And that is what we both did, for quite awhile. . .

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We have work to do, or at least I do. . .

Hi Folks!

I hope you all had a wonderful day! I did, as I got to see my Aunt and Uncle from Montana and had a wonderful lunch at Arni’s this afternoon! I had planned on going to University Bookstore after lunch, but got a text that there was a protest over there and traffic was all backed up and being detoured. Then it was pouring down rain, so I decided that I would just go home and save my shopping trip for Thursday when they have the % off sale based on the number of 3-pointers made from the previous Women’s or Men’s basketball game. I am all about the discounts! ☺

So last week, for some unknown reason, I decided to reread “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”. Today, I came home from my most awesome lunch and proceeded to read this novel. I napped off and on, but I generally enjoyed my day off and read about the struggles that Huck Finn had while also trying to match his thoughts with what he had been taught and how things did not add up. Today, I read about 100 pages. Then my dog wanted out and I eventually got on Facebook and saw a post from ABum. His post was about racism and introspection. . .

ABum’s post struck a chord in me because I had noticed the same things recently. His point was that people get so caught up in the news event and take sides, that they miss the essential element that we are ALL human beings and come from different places. We all have different experiences. . . He wanted people to explore their own thoughts and REALLY examine their true beliefs. I don’t know if that happened, but it did inspire this entry from me.

So now I am going to explain a revelation that I had several months ago. First of all though, I will give you a bit of background. Since I was a child, I have never understood why people base their opinions on other peoples’ race, clothing, status, or any other external factor. It never made sense to me. I have always thought that people were people and we should base our ideas on that. I defended what I could as a child and also grew up. I picked my battles and they became fewer. Sometimes it was because times had changed and other times it was because I was tired.

Several months ago, and I am not sure what prompted this discussion, I mentioned to Moon that it was inherently racist to say that Hispanics are “hard workers”. She asked what I meant by that and I explained that by saying, “If we say that Hispanics are hard workers, it is also saying something else.” Even though it is a POSITIVE attribute, it is still grouping people by race and ALSO putting down some “unnamed” group, without actually saying it. (Hispanics work hard, but others don’t???)

For me, it was a disturbing fact that I discovered about myself and a realization that I also have work to do. It was a GOOD revelation. I hope everyone will take a strong and personal look at what they BELIEVE and then figure out how to express it. Small steps make BIG changes. . .

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