Weekly photo challenge SIGNS

This really is the best auto-repair in town, but if they can not even hang a sign, who will think so?

This really is the best auto-repair in town, but if they can not even hang a sign, who will think so?

I work with people, organizations and businesses, on strategy, values and integrity. Nowadays you’ll find that many businesses promotes their values on websites, signs and posters. That takes courage, as few things are as bad for business as being treated badly as a customer under a sign that reads “we care for you” or something like that.

The sign reads Customer parking in Norwegian. To me it says we care only for your money

The sign reads Customer parking in Norwegian. To me it says we care only for your money

We all know that. With this as my starting point I find it really interesting when signs tell me something the firm would be ashamed to acknowledge, it is just that they are so used to they surroundings that they do not realize what their signs are doing.

Even if every sign is important, together they are confusing

Even if every sign is important, together they are confusing, we just stopped, drove on and hoped for the best

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Go with the flow – the expected unexpected in a postaday post

Go away!

Go away!

My theory that life is so much better if you are just enough organized is grounded in the basic fact that life seldom is what we expect it to be.

When I am in a realistic/pessimistic/blue/ just too tired mood, I expect the worst to happen, that an unexpected call will be the police telling me of an accident or our vicar to tell of a death. It almost never is.

You are not welcome

You are not welcome

When everything is going my way and I feel happy, expectant and relaxed, I do expect callers that brings news of new-born babies, love that is found, competitions that are won and invitations that are given. Quite often it is. Most of the time unexpected calls are neither, but just interruptions. Someone wants me to buy things, do something, sign up for almost anything. Even so, the calls are made by people who do deserve that I listen and am polite.

Not today

Not today

And then to most of us life is just that. Someone will try to sell you car insurance even when you are ill in bed. Others will want to share their joy when your soul will shed only tears, as grief and sorrow will not wait at the door until we are through with our party. Of course one cannot expect and plan for all this, if you do anxiety will cripple your attempt at living.

I want you to feel like this

I want you to feel like this

Even so, knowing that the unexpected are to be expected, gives a relaxed way of living that makes room for both joy and sorrow. Even if most of my callers are expected, I want even the unexpected to feel wanted and cared for. To be organized for this is something I work on being better at.

Let us just sit down

Let us just sit down

I do it like this: I try to leave open spots in my schedule so that I always have a real possibility of taking some time off for the unexpected call, even if it is not the catastrophic sort who forces everything else away.

I normally have something nice to eat in the freezer, either to add to our meal or to make a new meal when guests show up unexpectedly.

I try to keep my house in order, not only for guests, but so as not to waste time running in circles when I really need to respond to something.

The more the merrier

The more the merrier

Most of all, I sit down. I used to be so happy when the cordless phones came, which meant I could keep on doing whatever I thought was important when somebody called. I thought the caller could not feel my resentment  for being interrupted. I surely was so preoccupied with trying to do things when listening that I completely missed the blessing of walking a part of the road   with a fellow human being. I did not stop doing that until my son answered the phone the first time. As soon as he had said hello he rushed to the window and started to deadhead the potted plants, then he tried to water them all the time listening to his grandmother. Afterwards I asked him why he did that. That’s what you do, he said. As soon as the phone rings you start to run about, you never do that when people are visiting!

Who were that on the phone I said, I do not know he said, looking puzzled. To him the phone was the signal for rushing, not for relating.

Who was that?

Who was that?

I am not an angel, most of my friends or people that call me are not either, I think. I like to think of the verse in the Bible who says we should not forget to show hospitality as we could be hosting angels (Hebrews 13:2). That would certainly be unexpected, but if even that is what should be expected, I think I’ll just go with the flow, receive whoever is calling, and expect some surprises.

You are very welcome! See you! You are always expected!

To give is to keep – a daily post on prized possessions

Things tend to fall apart...

Things tend to fall apart…

Before going on my bike ride this morning, I read the daily prompt, what was you most prizes possession as a kid and what became of it? The question kept mulling in my head, even if I had written a post already today…I think I could be called a transient hoarder. That is ,I have always liked to have a lot of something, but I also like to give it away. Like in having enough plates and cutlery for  a big party on the ready in my pantry, and lending it to everybody. Or baking an enormous amount of cookies and let the boys and their friends have it all. Or giving away most of my books when I have read them. One time I gave away all my summer clothes in fall and forgot all about it, when next summer came around I got to clear out and sort through every closet in our house looking for them, added bonus! It has nothing to do with generosity. It has all to do with having moved a lot and knowing that it is what you use your things for that it is important. Plates are for serving friends and family, not for storing.I love it if someone needs something I am able to give.

I own the the beauty if not the plates!

I own the the beauty if not the plates!

On the other hand I love beauty. While I subscribe to the idea of William Morris ” have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”, I have transcribed it for my own use to “have nothing in your home but love, truth and beauty”. As my friends know, that makes me obsessed with having lovely dinnerware, table linens and cutlery…and flowers. The point is that the things I treasured in childhood are gone, the settings and the atmosphere the things were used in lives as fresh memories in my heart. I remember the blue china children’s tea set….how I longed for that, what parties I planned! I got it and we had so much fun. Years later my brothers used my play house for raising turkeys, and I found a blue cup used as scoop for their feed. I just laughed, I did not need that. Quite accidentally I still have three items from my childhood though.

Somebody else's treasures

Somebody else’s treasures

They were all treasured in their time and they each tell a tale of what truly makes something precious. The one is a sterling silver porridge scraper, don’t you know what that is? My mother did not either, I got it for my baptism. My mother tried to find a way of using it both for me and for all my siblings, but never got the hang of it. It was constantly referred to as a most valuable item though, it is still in my silverware drawer. I keep it as a reminder that monetary value is a funny thing. The other is the small rocking chair that I got for my fourth birthday. I loved that chair and was able to sit in far up in my teens. I have read so many adventurous stories in that chair! My brothers turned it upside down, unhinged the door of a closet and made a slide of it, someone has cut letters in it, it has moved with me into eleven different houses. Now it sits in the living room of our cabin, waiting for  new adventures.

These brothers do not make slides of chairs anymore! Still playing though!

These brothers do not make slides of chairs anymore! Still playing though!

I keep that one because it is so well done and is still doing its job. It also reminds me that even things that keep, never grow, while a human has to grow to keep. And then I remember the same birthday, a friend gave me a tiny mercury glass bell to hang on the Christmas tree. That was a totally new idea to me, that I as a child could own  something so grown up, something not a toy! Through all those years and all those moves that is one of the few Christmas decorations that have survived in my family. I took it with me when I married,  for 31 years it has been shining on the up most branch of our Christmas tree. One day it will break, or one day I will give it to one of our children for their Christmas, neither way it does not really matter. The treasure to me is not the bell itself, rather  the reflections of all the Christmases that bell has mirrored. Those glimmers of joy are for always a part of who I am.

watering can

And then some years ago I got my grandfather’s watering can, never a treasure , always the one thing that reminded me of his steadfast nurturing and caring for every living thing, me included. A life filled with memories of love, my true and lasting childhood treasure.

The place to eat is…

coldsprings6

One of the things I never get around to organizing in a pleasing and nice way, is tips on good restaurants. I guess a well-organized person would have a wonderful book with neat clippings and entries, I just jot something on my ever-present index cards. The upside on that is that the advice is in my purse when I need it, sometimes. The best way is probably to do what my husband does, just check it out and go, as soon as possible.

coldsprings4His way of doing things makes some wonderful and surprising outings, as this  sunday trip to somewhere dubbed “the most Romantic Getaway”. We drove on steep mountain roads in the most stunning scenery up the Old Stage Coach road ( from Santa Barbara through the San Marco Pass) and arrived in time for lunch at the old Cold Spring Tavern.

coldsprings5

To me, that name sums it up, what pure bliss it must have been to come to a place with abundant shadow and a cold mountain spring after toiling and sweating up the valley. The historians think this has been the preferred route through the mountains as long as people have lived in the Santa Inez and Santa Barbara valleys, which is around 10 000 years. The tavern has been there since 1865, I guess the hosts must have been just as nice and welcoming all the time as they are still in business?  While the food is traditional and plentiful, the reason to go is the atmosphere, the occasional live music and the friendly service.

solvang bridge

Leaving the tavern you see an interesting historical juxtaposition. The stage coach road was a major improvement when it was engineered, even so, the hills were as steep and the canyon as deep as before, until 1964, when the Cold Spring Canyon Arch Bridge was completed. The bridge  spans elegantly over the canyon as part of SR 154. A major engineering feat which has won awards for both engineering, design and beauty. It is a Historic Civil engineering Landmark. The technical term is a supported deck arch bridge, and it still is among the longest of its kind in the world. This information is on a plaque an the most beautiful viewpoint down the road. My  praise today goes to the American Society of Civil Engineers who makes these signs. I love to know this things, who made it, what is it, the longest, the best and so on, just when I am experiencing it. Thank You! And thanks to Wikimedia Commons for their picture of the Plaque. ( all other pictures by me, as always!)

Civil engineering Landmark