Friday, May 29, 2020

Captain’s Log – Day 74

Captain’s Log – Day 74

Happy Friday My Friends!

We made it through another week‼‼

Just once, I wish I could slide down a purple dinosaur at quitting time.



I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Stay safe and sane.
~MB

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Captain's Log - Day 73 - One World One Heart Festival

Captain's Log - Day 73 - One World One Heart Festival


Good Morning Friends -

How are you doing today? Is anyone else suffering from isolation fatigue? It seems to get easier and harder as these weeks drag on but we gotta do what we gotta do, right?

If you can believe it, I'm still working on my picture project. It is massive so I had to take a few days off here and there but I think I'm getting close to the end of it now. I just came across some photos from Ben & Jerry's One World One Heart Festival that took place at Sugarbush Mountain in 1994. They had tons of fun activities and lots of great live music. We even got a free Hohner in exchange for our participation in breaking a world record for the most people playing a harmonica at the same time. It was a fantastic day on the mountain even if, in my opinion, it’s always better on the mountains in winter with lots of snow.

These pictures got me thinking of all the fairs and summer events that have already been canceled and how different these type of events will be if they do take place anytime soon. It also made me sad to realize that many of the small businesses in Vermont that rely on these summer events to survive will not make it. Many of these small businesses were already holding on by a thread before being shut down and I know many of them will not be able to survive long enough to reopen. Companies like Ben & Jerry's, Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, Target and big box stores have the resources to make it through to the other side of this but so many small businesses will have to make some tough decisions in the coming weeks and months on whether they can continue to operate once they are allowed to reopen. If at all possible, please try to support the small businesses in your community so they have a chance of staying in business.

I hope all is well with you.

Take care and stay safe out there.

 
 
   

 

 


~MB

Friday, May 22, 2020

Captain's Log - Day 67

Captain's Log - Day 67

Happy Friday and Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Memorial Day was originally known as “Decoration Day.” Our Memorial Day celebrations may look a little different this year but the reason we celebrate is the same – to honor the men, women and families who sacrificed for our freedoms. We should take some time to honor them every day and especially on Memorial Day. We will never forget.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.
~John F. Kennedy



May we never forget our fallen comrades. Freedom isn't free.
~Sgt. Major Bill Paxton



The veterans of our military services have put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms that we enjoy. They have dedicated their lives to their country and deserve to be recognized for their commitment.
~Judd Gregg



It's better to fight for something in life than to die for nothing.
~Gen. George S. Patton



Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.
~Harry S. Truman



I hope you all get out and enjoy this long weekend and the unofficial start to the summer season!

Take care, be safe, stay sane and stay strong.

Physically distant but socially engaged,
~MB

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Captain’s Log – Day 65

Captain’s Log – Day 65

Good Morning Comrades –

I hope all is well with you.

Have you heard the good news? They just announced the end of quarantine – it is now scheduled for Octemburary 83rd. Be sure to mark your calendars.



Take care, be safe, stay home and stay strong.

Physically distant but socially engaged,
~MB

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Captain's Log - Day 64

Captain's Log - Day 64

Hello Friends –

How’s everyone doing? Are you anxiously awaiting for things to open back up or are you content to stay safe at home for the long haul? There seems to be two very distinct groups out there and both sides have valid reasons for their opinion. Please be kind if others don’t share your views - just agree to disagree. Some things are certainly worth waiting for but it may all depend on the type of person you are. Do you dive right into the pool or do you slowly dip your toes in and submerge yourself little by little? No matter which method you use to get in, we’ll all end up swimming in the same water.

Forrest Gump’s momma was right when she said “life is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you’re going to get.” Photography can be a lot like those boxes of chocolates. It’s a little different nowadays because digital cameras instantly displays the image we just snapped, no waiting is required. If we don’t like the shot, we can take hundreds more and never have to worry about reloading the film or the cost of the film and developing. Some of you are too young to remember having to wait to get film developed to see if you captured the moment you wanted to capture. There were many occasions when we were disappointed by what we got back from the lab and other times we were pleasantly surprised. I often think that having so much instant gratification takes away the thrill of the unknown that can fuel our childlike sense of anticipation. I can still remember how excited I was when I got this “Fire Ghost” picture back from the photo lab. I was only hoping to get a good silhouette but I ended up with so much more. I was unable to see the face in the flames when I hit the shutter but it was there all along just waiting to be developed. Sometimes having to wait for something makes it that much more special when you actually get it. Just think of how excited you’ll be when you can hug your loved ones again or how special it will feel to be able to go out to a restaurant for dinner or meet up with friends without needing to stay six feet apart.



We are all stuck in this strange holding pattern just waiting for things to return to something resembling normal. It reminds me of the song Anticipation:

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway
And I wonder if I'm really with you now
Or just chasin' after some finer day

Anticipation, anticipation
Is makin' me late
Is keepin' me waitin'
...
And tomorrow we might not be together
I'm no prophet and I don't know nature's ways
So I'll try and see into your eyes right now
And stay right here 'cause these are the good old days

These are the good old days
~Carly Simon

I don’t think anyone would ever refer to this time as “the good old days” but I’m sure we are all anticipating the day we can get back to something resembling “normal.”

What do you miss the most? I know I really miss being at work complaining about not wanting to be at work.

Take care, be safe, stay home and stay strong.

Physically distant but socially engaged,
~MB

Friday, May 15, 2020

Captain’s Log – Day 60

Captain’s Log – Day 60

Happy Friday Friends!

I hope you had a good week and you are able to take the next couple of days off to recharge. Here in this upside down world, one thing is certain – every morning we wake up we can, without fail, count on new mercies and a fresh start. You are the boss of you and only you get to decide if you want to camp out and live in the grump and gloom (because there’s plenty of reasons to do that) or you can do whatever it takes to look up and search out the good stuff. The good stuff is still out there but it may be a little harder to see these days, especially if you just keep looking down and focusing on the gloom you’ll never get to see the sunshine and rainbows when they appear. You can still smile even if nobody will see it under a mask. Only you can decide what team you want to play on and I’ve been doing my very best to earn my spot on “Team Optimist” even when I don’t really feel like it. Every single day we get another shot to make things better, to bring a little sunshine into someone else’s life, to be there for a friend or family member, to be of service or to help a complete stranger out with a random act of kindness. You never know what a difference a kind word or a simple act of kindness can make. We can often find ourselves stuck in a rut, being grumpy and sad, haggard and weary, stressed and hanging on by a thread, broken and busted, unsure of what will happen and skeptical of what will come but we don’t have to stay there in the gloom. Each day you have an opportunity for a fresh start and a chance to seek out every tiny sliver of goodness there is to find.

In the toughest of times we get to find out who our true friends are but we may also be surprised to find friends we didn’t even realize we had. We can and often do take advantage of our long term friendships because those friends are just always there. We sometimes take them for granted and don’t feel the need to tell them how much they mean to us or how much we truly appreciate them. Then there are new friends who come along and they are more engaging and seem to pay more attention and make more of an effort to connect with us. Those newer friends likely show more interest in our stories because they never heard them before but that doesn’t mean our old friends don’t care as much, it just means they probably heard those stories a million times. We can become so comfortable in our old relationships that we stop working on them and stop showing our appreciation for them. I have been blessed with some amazing lifelong friends, some very special newer friends and people who I thought were mere acquaintances who showed up to take a spot on my special friends list.

I recently received a surprise delivery of these gorgeous roses from a beautiful, thoughtful soul who I don’t really know all that well. I was absolutely blown away by their kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness. I honestly couldn’t understand why they would take the time and spend the money to buy flowers for me. We’ve known each other for many years but I wouldn’t really say we were “friends” but we certainly are now. Their compassion and kind words helped to restore my faith in humanity and reminded me that the things we do and say matter. If you put good stuff out there, good stuff will surely come back to you. We don’t need to spend money or send gifts to show someone how much we value them, we just need to show up and be kind. We all have the ability to do that and I hope we will see more kindness and grace as we head back out in the world with a brand new appreciation of it and the people living in it with us. I’ve always loved surprising people with gifts on a random Wednesday instead of on a special occasion when gifts may be expected. When we show someone we are thinking about them for no good reason, it means so much more.


Real connections and real life is the best life and as many states start opening things up again we will have to make some tough decisions as we navigate the coming days and months of venturing out again. Our personal choices may not align with the choices others make. We may not agree with the people who rush out to go shopping, get their hair and nails done, go to a bar or club or have dinner inside a restaurant. Those people may even try to convince us to go out before we feel it is safe to do so. Always remember it is your choice to make for you and your family and no one else can tell you whether it is right or wrong. It’s entirely your choice. We are more than capable of making our own decisions and we need to trust our gut instincts. It would be really nice if there were no judgment from others and of others but that is not very likely. Humans like to judge and compare but it would be so much better if we just kept those judgments to ourselves and let people do what they think is right.

Whether we talk every day or once in a blue moon, I want you to know that I truly appreciate you and value our relationship. Thank you for being you.

I’d also like to remind each and every one of you to look up and find the good stuff, choose real life and real people, every single time, and twice on Sunday.

Take care my friends. Have a fantastic weekend, be safe and stay strong.

PS. If you need help finding some good stuff, you can always check out Some Good News - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOe_y6KKvS3PdIfb9q9pGug

Physically distant but socially engaged,
~MB

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Captain's Log - Day 59

Captain’s Log – Day 59 – This is Us

Hello Friends –

How’s everyone doing today? Have you gone through all the stages yet? You know – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. At some point, we just need to accept what is happening and learn to work with it because, unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon.

Are you craving some quiet time away from your spouse, kids, parents and/or roommates or are you living alone and craving any form of human contact? Either way, I think we can all agree that being in quarantine/isolation sucks. That’s pretty much the only thing I think EVERYONE can agree on. Never before have we had so much in common with people around the world. No matter where you are on this big blue planet, every single one of us will be forever changed by this pandemic and we will never forget how the world came to a screeching halt in the year 2020. The rapid spread of this virus from one country to another, into every nook and cranny of the world, has made it abundantly clear that we are all connected in ways we may never have realized. We have no control over where we started out in this life but we do have some control on the path we take and what we will leave behind. I expect many of us have been giving serious thought to where we want to go when we’re allowed to roam free again. The one thing that is crystal clear is that we need each other now more than ever and we truly are all in this together.



Just imagine you are a certain color in a Jackson Pollock painting. Where does your color start and end? What colors do you intersect with? How far out does your color travel? Seeing the Jackson Pollock study painting above reminded me of a beautiful scene in the show This is Us where one of the characters, Kevin, tries to explain death to his nieces. We may only physically be here for 100± years but who we are, who we love, what we do, where we go and how we treat people will leave a mark long after we are physically gone from this world.

We’ve recently had to offer our virtual condolences to friends and family because we couldn’t be there to hug them and stand by their side as they said goodbye to their loved ones. But, as Kevin said, just because someone dies, just because you can’t see them or talk to them anymore, it doesn’t mean they’re not still in the painting, and I think that’s maybe the point of the whole thing. There’s no dying, there’s no you or me or them. It’s just us. And this sloppy, wild colorful magical thing that has no beginning, it has no end… it’s right here. I think it’s us.

You can watch the scene here: https://youtu.be/xh-Tof_QxKU

I look forward to the day we can get out, get close, hug our loved ones and really see each other again.

Take care, be safe, stay home and stay strong.

Physically distant but socially engaged,
~MB

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Monday, May 11, 2020

Captain’s Log – Day 56

Captain’s Log – Day 56

Hello Comrades –

I hope you all had a good Mother’s Day weekend. While I was having a bit of a pity party for myself, I came across a handwritten letter my mother sent me in 1995. I had just quit a new job without having another one lined up but I knew it wasn’t the right place for me. I realized I was no longer willing to be someone’s punching bag, been there-done that, and I knew I had to get out of there. She gave me some pretty good advice then and helped me again yesterday to get through another mother’s day without her. Check out her beautiful cursive handwriting with all her fancy curly-cue flair!


March 7, 1995

Dear Michelle,

Hope you are feeling better about your recent decision. You made a commitment to yourself for change. It was very courageous of you to let go of habits & people that are no longer relevant to your life. There’s nothing wrong with changing a goal even 30 seconds after you set it or even years later. It’s o.k. to realize the changes in your circumstances may have made the goal less valid & it’s o.k. to drop it & set a new one.

Remember, success is the result of good judgment. Good judgment is the result of experience. And experience is often the result of bad judgment. Remember what we discussed, that experiencing challenge, satisfaction & fulfillment from the work you have chosen is very important to enjoy where you are going every morning to spend over 8 hrs a day.

Take your time & find a job that will fulfill your expectations.

We have all made errors in judgment not clearly assessed – take my marriages for instance‼! HA HA

We all routinely juggle the many aspects of life on a daily basis – we just don’t step back & think about it methodically.

Experience is all a part of life. It only means that a new door will open for you.

It’s important to me that you are happy.

I’m glad you called me. I wish I was not so far away so I can hug “my baby”!

In any job, the road to mastery will provide promotions, money & opportunity to excel. But the key is loving your job & where you work. Life is a path of learning & growth. There’s no such thing as getting to the top & staying there without further effort. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Most people would not have had the guts to do what you did & would prefer to stay in a comfort zone with no change or challenge.

I wish I could treat you to a mini vacation to come down here & soak up some sunshine, but you know my financial situation cannot accommodate my wishes at this time.

Don’t ever feel that because of my personal problems right now that you don’t want to bother me with yours. You & Jimmy are my entire life. I love you more than I love taking my next breath. I’ll always be here for you. I only wish I was in a position to do more for you, but that day will come again soon.

Keep a smile on your face & always think positive‼

I love you Baby.

With Love & Affection,
Mom
XXXOOOXXX



As some of you already know, I’ve been having a really hard time lately like so many of us are these days. I know my struggles may be different but are no harder than anyone else’s and, at the same time, I know I have much to be thankful for. I’ve decided it’s time to make these Captain’s Logs private for a while. I certainly never expected them to still be going almost two months later but here we are. I may continue to share a photo now and then but these logs will be classified for a while.

I’ll still be here if you need help with anything or want to connect so please feel free to reach out anytime if you need help with anything or just want to chat.

Take care, be safe, stay home and stay strong.

Physically distant but socially engaged,
~MB


Friday, May 8, 2020

Captain’s Log – Day 53

Captain’s Log – Day 53

Hello My Friends! Happy Happy Friday!

For those who have lost track of the days, I’d like to remind you that it is Mother’s Day Weekend. I’d love to hear your plans for celebrating Mother’s Day since we can’t celebrate the way we normally would.

Back in 2012, I took my mother down to the Cape to visit the Heritage Museum and Gardens in Sandwich. It was such a beautiful day wandering around the gardens and checking out the old automobile museum and Norman Rockwell exhibit. I’m not sure what their schedule is like these days but it could be a fun way to celebrate Mom while having to practice social distancing. Here’s a link to their site if you’re interested in checking it out: https://heritagemuseumsandgardens.org/



 



 







Sadly, I haven’t been able to celebrate with my Mom since she passed away in 2015 so this is a tough weekend for me, my brother and so many others. The loss of your mother, no matter how old you are, changes your life forever. Your mother is your first and forever friend. You never get over the loss, but you learn to live with it somehow. She is never far away from your thoughts and she is always in your heart. Even though she is not physically here to celebrate with us, we still celebrate her because she is part of us and she deserves to be remembered every day and even more so on Mother’s Day.

I hope you are lucky enough to be able to celebrate with your Mom and all the woman who play a Mom role in your lives. We wouldn’t be here without them.
Take care, stay safe and have a Happy Mother’s Day Weekend!



Physically distant but socially engaged,
~MB

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Captain’s Log – Day 52

Captain’s Log – Day 52

Hello My Friends –

How are you? I hope all is well with you and your families and you’re doing everything you can to stay healthy, safe and sane. I think I’ve only got 2 out of 3 but I’m working on it.

They say hindsight is 20/20. We never really know if we’ve made the right decision until we have to live with the consequences. Was it worth it? Would we go back and change our decision if we knew what the outcome would be? Until they invent a time machine, there is no way of knowing if a different decision would have resulted in a better or worse outcome. It's not healthy to dwell on deeds done because there is nothing we can do to change the past but we can and should learn from it. What’s done is done. We should stop trying to go back to the people we were and the world we lived in and start planning on how to move forward in the new post-2020 pandemic world. Forget the past, forget anyone that tries to divide us because, like it or not, we are all in this together. We’re all connected and the things we do today will have a ripple effect. So, where do we go from here? How do we move forward? How do we get out of this holding pattern and start spreading our wings again?



We all want to get back to living our lives without restrictions. We want to visit our friends and family. We want our kids to be able to go to school and outside to play with their friends. We want to go out for dinner and drinks. We want to be able to shop in stores and not have to wait in long lines, six feet apart. We want to be able to find what we need on the shelves of those stores. We want to watch our favorite sports teams. We want to travel. We want to go to concerts, parties, graduations and weddings. We want to comfort those who are suffering with a big hug. We want to be able to see people smile. Even if we love our new commute, some of us even want to go back to work in our offices. As much as we may want things to go back to the way they were before, we need to accept the fact that things will not be going back to “normal” anytime soon, if ever. There will be a new “normal” and we will need to adapt. This pandemic has changed all of us and it is up to us to decide whether those changes will be for the better or worse. Have you found a silver lining to our current situation? Have you learned something about yourself and your life? Have you changed? If so, do you think it is for the better?

Many states are starting to reopen various businesses with certain safety measures in place. Is it the right thing to do? Is it worth the risk? Is it a tradeoff? The lesser of two evils? I don’t think anyone really has the answer. At some point, we will all need to make the decision that is right for us and our families. The decision to shut down was made to slow the spread of the virus, not eliminate it because there is no way to completely eliminate it. The decision to shut down and isolate was made to prevent everyone from getting the virus at the same time. I think that has worked but at what cost? There are thousands of protesters out there demanding that the restrictions be lifted so they can go back to work but is it too soon? Are they rushing out into the eye of the storm because they can see a sliver of clear skies? The eye of the storm is calm and peaceful and you may think it is safe to go out but the eye is the only peaceful part of the hurricane. The center of low pressure is the eye and the lower the central pressure, the fiercer the storm and the higher the winds. Once you pass through the eye, you hit the wall and it’s hell on wheels.

Exitus Acta Probat is commonly misinterpreted as “the end justifies the means” but the more precise translation is “the result justifies the deed.”

Reopening too early could be a lot like celebrating a Super Bowl Victory when you are up 28-3 with 2:12 left in the 3rd Quarter. I’m sure we all remember how that worked out.




Take care, stay safe, stay home and stay strong.

Physically distant but socially engaged,
~MB

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Captain's Log - Day 51 – Wordless Wednesday

Captain's Log - Day 51 – Wordless Wednesday
















Physically distant but socially engaged,
~ MB

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Captain’s Log – Day 50

Captain’s Log – Day 50

Happy Cinco de Mayo a/k/a Quarantino de Mayo 2020!

Many assume that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico's Independence Day - it is not. Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico’s unlikely victory over French forces on May 5, 1862, at the Battle of Puebla. As with many holidays, Cinco de Mayo is widely celebrated in the United States due to marketing. People across the U.S., whether of Mexican heritage or not, use the holiday as an excuse to eat Tex-Mex cuisine, drink Mexican beers (Corona?) and pitchers of margaritas, put on a sombrero and party. Just as St. Patrick’s Day is a day to celebrate Irish culture for Irish-Americans, Cinco de Mayo has become a day for Mexican-Americans to show pride in their own unique culture. Since it's not widely celebrated in Mexico, the holiday is more of a Mexican-American holiday than a Mexican one.

Whatever its origins, I hope you all have a Happy Cinco de Mayo in Quarantino. I think any day is a good day for tacos and tequila.

Cheers!



Take care, stay home and stay safe.

Physically distant but socially engaged,
~ MB