THE BLESSING OF AN INSPIRATION AND OF A FRIEND

Wall mural and bike photo taken in Amsterdam, the “cycling capital of the world”

I have an amazing friend who lives in another part of the world. He has a certain “joie de vivre” that I can’t possibly explain. I have been fortunate to have had the chance to break bread with him and share a laugh or two over a short period of time. When he smiles, the world smiles with him. My friend recently went on a bike ride while going for a short get away while he was seriously ill and feeling very tired. He was equally tired of all his body has been through with his illness, yet he managed to find joy that day. An explorer and a traveler, my friend adjusted to his status at the time, adapted to what he could do, and revised his conception of adventure during this week end. A picture of him riding his bike that day is one of my favorite pictures of him, as it captures his essence somehow. This friend makes me smile again and again. The world is a better place, in part, because of him. The world is also a funnier place, too, because of him. He knows how to live well, and I admire that in him. He enjoys the love of his beautiful family, great food, travel to exotic places, and reading. One of his favorite songs is “Oh What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong, and it has always been one of my favorite songs, too. My friend is an inspiration to many people, including me. I will keep this photo of him etched in my mind and heart forever, feeling fortunate to have had the good fortune of spending time with him, even if a short time.

my strong and funny friend

Today, thinking of my friend, I decided to get on my bike, as I used to really enjoy riding my bike and haven’t done that in a while. Seems like it’s been a long while since I went for a bike ride in the neighborhood. Too long. Can’t believe I haven’t thought of this earlier as I try to find something new or re-connect with something that I used to do as often as I can during this pandemic and self-isolation. It seems pretty easy to social distance on a bike.

“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.”

-John F. Kennedy

(photo taken in Amsterdam)

Perhaps I’ll go for a little longer bike ride tomorrow. Perhaps the next day will be even longer. Maybe later in the week I will put the bike on the bike rack on the car to go for an even longer ride. No time like the present. Makes me think of a reply I once heard when I asked someone what time it was. The reply was simple; the person said “the time is now.”

“It is the unknown around the corner which turns my wheels.”

-Heinz Stucke

(photo taken in Zaanse Schans in the Netherlands)

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

-Albert Einstein

Life is good. Find something you used to love doing and haven’t done in a while today. Live fully, live life well, and enjoy the moment, using some inspiration as your guide if you have one.

Carpe diem, friends………………………….

COPING WITH CORONA WITH A CONTEST OF THE DAY

photo courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Many years ago one of my best friends who shares my same sense of humor and I decided we would challenge each other to a contest to use an archaic word in a conversation with someone else that day. The word was to be used in normal conversation without a laugh or smile, never letting on to the other participant in the conversation that we put each other up to that word. Now this is my friend who has been with me through so many times where we laughed so hard that we almost cried. One time I actually choked on my food in a restaurant for real. You know when you laugh so hard that your stomach actually hurts, and you almost can’t breathe? I know this feeling well and love it. There is something about laughter that is simply delightful. One word we used that day was “hijinks.” Another was “hoodwinked”. Try using THOSE words in a conversation with a straight face!

WebMd.com tells us that laughter increases blood flow, may reduce blood sugar levels, and may reduce stress to increase an immune system response. That all may be true, but a good ol’ fashioned belly laugh simply feels good, if nothing else.

Fast forward to today. I was just on the phone with one of my best friends, laughing about one thing or another as we normally do. Reaching out to my best friends daily while I am social-isolating during these stay-at-home orders makes me smile. Game ON! I told my friend about the word a day contest I had with my friend many years ago and it turns out this friend had as similar contest with her friend in SIXTH grade! Game ON! Tough competition. Maybe the first person who uses the word first the next day could win eating the first piece of pizza the next time we met. I love a good contest and have been DYING to win a contest that would allow me to eat the first piece of pizza. I will surely pick the BIGGEST piece with the MOST toppings. When else can I deliberately eschew the good manners that my Momma taught me?

Hmmmm………what word to pick? I remember telling my friend a while back that it fascinates me that there are many words in other languages that cannot be translated and that I remember reading that there was actually a word in another language that meant something like “the roof of my mouth is burning or on fire.” A GREAT word to win the first-slice-of-pizza contest to be sure. We agreed to that word:

“Pelinti”: word in Buli, the language of Ghana in West Africa. Pelinti means “moving food quickly around your mouth after you’ve belatedly discovered that it’s still piping hot,” according to syntacta.co.uk. Evidently pelinti happens to me EVERY SINGLE FRIDAY NIGHT while I eat pizza during our Friday pizza and a movie celebration in our home. I think I should have the hang of it by now, but no.

So….. go ahead and find a reason to laugh until your belly hurts. When was the last time you did that? It feels GREAT. And throw in a contest of the day to cope with Corona. You might be glad you did. Maybe YOU can win the first slice of pizza next time.

Life is good; carpe diem, friends……..