Life Lessons

As I said, I’m no Pollyanna, though I wish like Eleanor H. Porter, I could write a character who is so vividly portrayed that their name becomes a part of the language.

For those of you who don’t know, a Pollyanna is a person consumed with irrepressible joy and a tendency to find good in everything. This person is also someone who is often unreasonably and illogically optimistic.

I like to think that I can be just as sarcastic and cynical as the next person. I admit, I like to find good in everything and everyone, but not to a point of illogic. Sometimes things suck canal water, and that is what it is. As Alicia Hall (my brilliant daughter) says “When shit hits the fan, you have to accept the existence of both fan and shit and just deal with it.” She also says “You have to save the freak-out until it’s taken care of.” I find these very wise words to live by.

I’m also more capable than anyone I know to have a total, volcanic, hand-wringing, tear-laden, stress melt-down. Of course, up until now that has always been my secret.

For a full dose of optimism check out Pollyanna (1913) by Eleanor Porter. You can also find several versions of Pollyanna in film. I’m most familiar with Disney’s 1960 version starring Hayley Mills, but I just learned there is also a 1920 version with Mary Pickford. Now that’s a film I need to track down and watch.


So where does one find the balance between optimism and realism, humor and helpfulness? I could start quoting a whole array of philosophers here and many other wise people who have a much better grasp of the issues involved, but where is the fun in that? This is my version:

I often feel like my life is careening like an overloaded bus (you know the pictures of those that are five times past their capacity with people hanging off of every edge) making speed trials on a winding road overlooking ragged cliffs that drop off into a tumultuous ocean. I also sometimes envision a rowboat with two holes in the bottom in the middle of rough seas surrounded by sharks. Welcome to the rat race.

So my rat race might not equal the mind-numbing, exhausting, unremitting activity of the typical human in a pointless maze of commercial one-upmanship, but I think it all boils down to about the same angst.

IMG_0439 The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.” – This quote is how Lily Tomlin popularized the paraphrase of this quote from William Sloane Coffin – “Even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat.”

 “Often, people work long hard hours at jobs they hate to earn money to buy things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t like.Nigel Marsh http://nigelmarsh.com/

I know I said I would not bring in any experts, but I found this talk to enjoyable not to pass it along.


And on to Ted Talks.  I have not yet waxed eloquent on these wonderful talks. TED is a brilliant, educational, global community of thinkers and doers. There are so many good talks by so many leaders in so many fields. It’s a cornucopia of learning.



 Back to the rat race and life/work balance. I hate that term. Okay, not supposed to use the word hate, but intensely dislike works too. This always makes it sound like the two are supposed to be polar opposites with no overlap. I’m all for overlap. Perhaps it is overly optimistic of me, but I like to believe that everyone can find work that so matches their passion, their sense of being, and their true calling in life that it no longer seems like work. That it is simply an extension of the whole of what their life is and integrates into all the other parts of their lives without having to choose. Okay, maybe I am a little illogically optimistic, but believing in things often makes them possible.

Lessons I have learned:

  •  Get out of bed and say “This will be a great day.” Don’t believe it? Change the day to where you want it to be.
  • Enjoy the coffee, tea or meditation with which you start your morning.
  •  Exercise: Even a little can improve your mood, and your health. Though first thing in the morning it often makes me more than a little cynical and cranky.
  •  Relax the muscles. Unclench the hands, unfurrow the brow, and breathe deep.
  •  Enjoy the little things: blowing dandelion seeds onto the grumpy neighbor’s yard, kicking fall leaves, writing/painting/composing something beautiful.
  •  Enjoy the cute: puppies, kittens, ferrets, cars, seaweed, whatever your fancy is.
  •  Use your senses: Listen to the laughter of children or the songs of birds, smell all the flowers and the exotic perfumes of life, or feel something as simple as the softness of a blanket or a cool breeze on a hot day.
  • Change what you can and leave the rest. You can always get to that tomorrow.

Today’s favorite FONTS: Traditional Arabic, Algerian, & Kalinga. Unfortunately I’m not yet skilled enough to portray all of them in their full glory on this page, but I do encourage you to look them up.

Another INSPIRATION is a man who most certainly found his calling: Sir William Osler.  I especially like the prankster part and the fact he wrote under the pseudonym “Egerton Yorrick Davis.”.  How can one not love that name?


QUOTE: “We are here to add what we can to life, not to get what we can from it.” – Sir William Osler.



A-D, Bengal Cat Pictures


Okay, I admit it. I took a perfectly reasonable adjective and turned it into an awkward word. Oh, wait, someone has already done that. Lots of people have done that. I guess I missed that semantic drift. There’s even a day of awesomeness. http://dayofawesomeness.com/. It is held every March 10th. Next year I will hold an awesomeness party.

Today I’m sharing some pretty amazing, marvelous, fabulous, wondrous, and awesome sights and sites, news and people.

I’ll start with yesterday’s trip to Snoqualmie Falls. I was chilled to the bone in the early morning spray, but we have had prodigious rainfall this last month and the waterfall is an amazing sight.

Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls is part of an abode of the original People of the Moon, the fabulous Snoqualmie tribe. I cannot compete with Arthur Ballard’s retelling of the creation myth of the falls, but here is a link. Enjoy. http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&File_Id=2586.

For the next awesome, I’d like to introduce three amazing Bengals, also known as mischief makers 1, 2, & 3.

20110905-60d-0209-small EOS 30D_IMG_7001-small120213-S90-5009-smallThese are, in order of appearance, Kuri, Hiyu, and Loki.

& then there is the one crazy dachshund.121002-scan133-small This is Arna.

Moving on to a discovery of yet more awesomeness. I’d like to say this is a most nascent blog and I’m only at the second post, but I have found the theme for April. http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/what-is-blogging-from-to-z.html

The challenge is to blog every day through April (except for Sundays) using the alphabet starting with A for the first post and ending with Z for the last post. Bloggers can sign up to participate in this event http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/a-to-z-challenge-sign-uplist-2014.html or, like me, they can lurk in the wings and give it a try on their own. What a great idea and there are so many great blogs participating. Like awesome.

And, finally, for all of you writers out there: this website takes you to a list of totally fantastic, incredible people. http://nestpitch.wordpress.com/. All of these people volunteer their time and expertise with creativity, fun, and awesomeness. Thanks also to http://rhiannwynnnoletblog.wordpress.com/ & http://nikvukoja.wordpress.com/ for volunteering the pitch-it-forward-pitch-clinic. Even more complete awesomeness. You can check out the pitches and the comments at http://rhiannwynnnoletblog.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/the-nestpitch-pay-it-foward-pitch-clinic-is-open/#comments. Leave your own comments and help these writers along. The window for comments closes on March 29.

Those of you with complete, polished, awesome (unpublished) manuscripts enter your 35 word pitch and watch the magic unfold. See http://nestpitch.wordpress.com/ for rules and guidelines. Hurry though, the entry window is very short and very soon.

May all your days be filled with awesomeness. Love to sparkle, dance in the rain and smile.

Next post will be how I am most certainly not a Pollyanna, and then perhaps a little more awesomeness.

-lisa & 11 uses of some variation of the word awesome,  & now that last line brings the total to 12.

Bengal Cat Pictures, I-L, Introduction

Introducing Rainbow Hill Meanders

“Please excuse the mess. This blog is currently under construction.”

Rainbow Hill Meanders is thus named because (surprise, surprise) the house is on a hill and it has many skylights and some inlaid multi-colored glass.  When the sun shines, and even in the Pacific Northwest this occasionally happens, rainbows appear everywhere. The cats love this.  I also think the hill sometimes wanders through the space-time continuum.  When that happens who knows what will pop up here.

The author of this blog is Lisa Kraft, writer of fantasy and science fiction. You can find out much more about her at http://www.lisakraft.me/.   She also writes for the photo blog, Photocatography .

Meanders is also because my interests are varied and sometimes random.  I am passionate about writing and all things that involve words.  I’m a bibliophile (that implies a problem with buying too many books and over-frequenting the library). My other interests are a bit eclectic.  Beside books and writing,  I like Bengal cats, fantasy, seashells (especially the nautilus), remote places, linguistics, history, good narrative, tengu, world mythology and… I expect this list will grow into a sidebar. Right now, this seems a bit like a singles ad.  I’m also based just outside of Seattle so you can also expect Seattle to feature in some posts.

I’ve given up soda for lemon water, sugar for veggies and couch time for exercise. It’s a tough transition, but am now, better late than never, finally listening to all the advice I’ve always given my children.

Speaking of children, check out the Kansas City Ballet  http://www.kcballet.org/. It’s very cool. 

Also speaking of children, you’ll find a few things about teaching — high school.  I admire how brave she is.

When we speak of husbands, you will probably find several comments on Xbox and photography.  Did I say to check out http://photocatography.wordpress.com/ ?

A few other tidbits:  I love black opals, the diversity of the people around me, and the diversity of opinion which makes this world so fascinating to live in.

Favorite quote (or at least my favorite at this moment, for sometimes my nature is fickle):  “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” — Theodore Roosevelt

I’m addicted to Twitter. Follow me there at @lisakraftme

I lurk on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisa.kraft.547

Webpage is http://www.lisakraft.me/

I love feedback, comments and questions.  Looking forward to hearing from you.

— lisa