Turkey, cranberry sauce, and the pirate life

Breaking the coronavirus rules to have a Thanksgiving holiday celebration dinner brought my family even closer together.
Breaking the coronavirus rules to have a Thanksgiving holiday celebration dinner brought my family even closer together.
A beautiful table symbolizing a Thanksgiving holiday feast during the time of COVID-19. Image by JillWellington courtesy of Pixabay.

Nobody in my family started off wanting to be a scoundrel this Thanksgiving, but we wound up as self-described pirates this year anyway.

I have a big, diverse family packed full of multiple languages, colors, ethnic backgrounds, religions, and sexual orientations. Everyone doesn’t always get along famously, and petty arguments can last for years.

But one thing we do agree on is the wonder of Thanksgiving.

That’s a time when folks can get together and eat. There is no requirement other than you show up to dinner hungry and leave with a full tummy.

Not that all of us get together at the same time in the same place each year, we don’t. We celebrate with geographic subsets of family members who get together for the holiday consistently because we live within a reasonable distance. …


How The Integratron helped their clients love them even more during the pandemic

The Integratron, located in the Mojave Desert in Landers, California, which features private and public sound baths.
The Integratron, located in the Mojave Desert in Landers, California, which features private and public sound baths.
The Integratron at night located in Landers, California. Photo used by permission of the owners.

I’m lying on a blanket-covered foam mat on the upper floor of cupola shaped building on the edge of the Mojave Desert. To get here, I had driven fifteen miles north on Old Woman Springs Road from the town of Joshua Tree, California. Then followed the directional signs to The Integratron.

The Integratron, which is owned and operated by the Karl sisters: Joanne, Nancy, and Patty, bills itself as the Fusion of Art, Science, and Magic.

I’m here to have a sound bath. That means I’m going to lie on this mat under an acoustically perfect wooden parabolic ceiling while someone produces a symphony of sound from a set of crystal bowls. …


It’s so quiet I can hear the trees thinking

Palm trees rustling in the breeze become audible when people everywhere in the US are sheltering in place.
Palm trees rustling in the breeze become audible when people everywhere in the US are sheltering in place.
Palm trees quietly rustling. You can easily hear them when people are sheltering in place. Image by Free-Photos via Pixabay

The first thing I noticed was the quiet; the stillness of the world when I went outside to feed the birds in the morning.

That’s part of my routine; I get up before my wife, pour a cup of coffee and bring the birds some breakfast. Most days, this is the time of day when the kids are going to school.

I live in a small city that only buses students who live more than 5 miles from the school they attend. A lot of kids of all ages get brought to school by their parents. …


Dramatic Example Alert

Think twice before you answer

Example photo representing a researcher testing samples for the coronavirus
Example photo representing a researcher testing samples for the coronavirus
Photo representing a researcher testing coronavirus samples. Image courtesy of DarkoStojanovic

Before you read further, let me say I think and write about things in a different way. Not in an alarmist way, just in a way different than many folks think. I also want to say up front that I am not a doctor, a scientist or a mathematician. I just think about things in a really specific way.

State Minimum Wages

The highest minimum wage on a statewide basis right now is in the state of Washington on the West Coast. As you probably already know, Washington state is one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus.

Looking at a map of the U.S. it’s easy to see that the hardest-hit states are those with big seaports and/or airports. People are going to argue forever about where the worst outbreak of COVID-19 was, but Seattle, Washington, is one of the top contenders. …


Magic. Electric. Sizzling. Intense.

Couple on the beach at sunset with arms wrapped around each other celebrating the intensity of love they feel for each other.
Couple on the beach at sunset with arms wrapped around each other celebrating the intensity of love they feel for each other.
Couple at a beach wrapped in the intensity of their love. Image courtesy of Pexels via Pixabay

It’s February. Already.

The month when the world seems to go crazy over the idea of love. The other months of the year might be romantic (sort of), but they pale in comparison to the love that fills the air for 28, or in some years, 29 days.

Great big, beautiful, heart-rending romantic love is the topic of this invitation to write.

Maybe you have been among the fortunate folks to have felt the thunderbolt of romantic love more than once in your lifetime. That’s a beautiful and delightful experience.

Maybe it didn’t work out so well for you that first time. That happens. But the thunderbolt of love gives no guarantee of forever love, only that what you feel is electric and sizzling. …


Memories of presents past

Woman being completely shocked at the awful gift she’s just received for Christmas.
Woman being completely shocked at the awful gift she’s just received for Christmas.
A young woman demonstrated the look you have when you get an awful present. Image courtesy of RobinHiggins via Pixabay.

Holidays can bring us a plethora of gifts. Some awesome and genuinely delightful — the ones we treasure from the time of receiving them until the end of time.

And then are some which we remember just as long, but with a wince of pain tugging on our heartstrings. The kind of gifts that make us remember the giver with a single heartfelt phrase.

“What were they thinking?”

These are the gifts like the pajamas featured in that scene in the 1983 holiday classic, “A Christmas Story” where Ralphie’s aunt sends him a custom-made set of pink bunny rabbit pajamas.

The look on his face when he’s been commanded to put the pj’s on and he trudges down the stairs in his best Green Mile demeanor is priceless. …


Time to change

Sun appearing through a forest of tress symbolizing a great and postive change in your life.
Sun appearing through a forest of tress symbolizing a great and postive change in your life.
The perfect image to represent a great positive change in your life courtesy of jplenio via Pixabay.

The new year is upon us — 2020. Right up close and personal, here today, and lasting for many more days after this.

This is the perfect time for a review of our lives. Ten years is enough time to have lived through something, thought about it, and adopted its significance into your life.

It’s also a significant amount of time to have lived through something, thought about it, and let it go from your life.

Either way, the new year is a perfect time of self –reflection.

This last decade is becoming known more and more as the Whiplash Decade. A time where enormous cultural changes occurred in a relatively short amount of time. …


Focusing on the good makes everything better

Woman standing in a field of sunflowers with arms upraised in celebration for a great event that happened in her life in 2019
Woman standing in a field of sunflowers with arms upraised in celebration for a great event that happened in her life in 2019
A beautiful photo by JillWellington via Pixabay which represents a woman celebrating a joyous event in her life.

For lots of people, 2019 is one of the hardest years they ever lived through. For others, maybe not so much, but altogether, 2019 was a year of sacrifice, turmoil and difficulty.

At least, that’s how it seemed. Day after day of awfulness in the news, tragedy in the streets, and agony in our personal lives filled our hearts.

But, and that’s a big but to be reckoned with, 2019 is almost over and its time to look back and find the good that happened in or lives.

While the bad may have seemed more up close and personal, the good has been there for us all along. While it might take some effort to see, the good things in our lives count more. …


Eaten in the dark, all by myself

a simple dinner of steak, small salad and potatoes with a bottle of wine
a simple dinner of steak, small salad and potatoes with a bottle of wine
A steak similar to the meal described in this story. Image courtesy of Bru-nO via Pixabay

I stopped at the grocery store on my way home and bought a sixteen-ounce T-bone steak. It took me a long time to do this because I had to drive 50 miles out of my way and I had never purchased a steak before.

I had spent a considerable amount of time poring over the meats in the deli case until finally the butcher came up and asked me what I was looking for.

I had no idea, so I told her that I was looking for a good steak that I could cook indoors because I didn’t have a grill anymore. …


Gifts come in all varieties

Hand reaching through a corrugated steel fence handing a small bouquet of flowers to another hand.
Hand reaching through a corrugated steel fence handing a small bouquet of flowers to another hand.
Gift-giving image courtesy of klimkin via Pixabay

The end of the year comes with virtually endless opportunities for gift- giving. Christmas, Kwanzaa, Chanukah, Solstice celebrations, the list of exciting occasions goes on and on.

And why not? Giving gifts from the heart is a time-honored tradition for expressing our love and caring for others. Granted, gift-giving opportunities are abundant throughout the year, and there is no reason why you can’t give someone a present just because you love and wanted them to be happy.

When others give us gifts, our hearts have the chance to open wide and see the world for the beautiful love-filled place it truly is. …

About

Michael Shook

I see the world differently and write fiercely and honestly about that.

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