Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Keeper Friends

Dear Keeper,

I grew up in the 60's with practical parents.  A Mother, God love her, who washed aluminum foil after she cooked in it, then reused it.  She was the original recycle queen...before they had a name for it...a Father who was happier getting old shoes fixed than buying new ones.

Their marriage was good, their dreams focused.  Their best friends lived barely a wave away.  I can see them now...Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat...and Mom in a house dress, broom in one hand and dish-towel in the other.  It was the time for fixing things:  a curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress...things we keep!

It was a way of life and sometimes it made me crazy.  All that re-fixing, eating, renewing.  I wanted just once to be wasteful.  Waste meant affluence.  Throwing things away meant  you knew there'd always be more from where those came.

But then, my Mother died and on that clear summer's night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't any more. Sometimes, what we care about most, gets all used up and goes away...never to return.  So...while we have's best we love it...and care for it...and fix it when it's broken...and heal it when it's sick.

This is true...for marriage...for old cars...and children with bad report cards...dogs and cats with bad hips...and aging parents...and grandparents.  We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it.  Some things we a best friend that moved away or a classmate we grew up with.

There are just some things that make life people we know who are special...and so we keep them close! I received this from someone who thinks I am a “keeper” so I've sent it to the people I think of in the same way.  Now, it's your turn to send this to those “keepers” in your life.

(Appreciation to Tom who sent me the foregoing)

“Good Friends are like Stars.
You don't always see themselves
but you always know they are there.”

Pearls of Wisdom
There are 5 things you cannot recover in life ~ thanks to Dilu:
A Stone  ~  thrown!
                                                             An Occasion ~  forgotten!
A Word  ~  spoken!
                                                                     A Time ~ gone!
                                                                     A Love ~  lost!

Merle Baird-Kerr … crafted July 29, 2013
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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Boston Marathon Bombings Evelyn Marshak

Did you know that two of the doctors treating the Boston Marathon Bombing patients at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center were Israeli?  Two of the seven doctors have had abundant experience treating victims of terror because these medical personnel are Israelis. 

Doctors and medical staff at Boston hospitals found themselves facing the horrific aftermath of the bombings and realized that they were rather well prepared  in part by lessons shared by Israeli Medical personnel.  Terror medicine is something doctors have learned a lot about over the years.  The war in Afghanistan, Iraq and the earthquake in Haiti gave many doctors in United States, on-the-job-training in treating bombing and other kinds of terror patients. 

Dr. Avi Rivkind heads the surgery and trauma unit at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem Haddah Hospital and has treated more than half of Israel's bombing victims.  With his personal experience he  helped rewrite the book on treating victims of bombing. 

Rivkin is revered for refusing to give up on the most hopeless trauma  patients such as a soldier that was shot through the heart and pronounced dead.  Somehow, Rivkin revived him!

Dr. Kevin Tabb, President and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center received his medical degree from Jerusalem's Hebrew University.  Tabb said, “Unfortunately, I have had a lot of experience with these types of injuries, after years of treating people injured in terror attacks.”

The director of the emergency room at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is Dr. David Talmor, also an Israeli physician.

Dr. Alasdair Conn, chief of emergency medicine at Massachusetts  General Hospital told reporters that his staff was better prepared because a few  years ago, some Israeli doctors travelled to Boston to help upgrade Massachusetts General's disaster response plan.  Conn noted that, “We in the United States have had little experience in urban explosions.  The Israelis, unfortunately had the experience; they transferred it to us... and this worked well for us.”

I think I speak for many Americans who waited to do something but too far away from Boston to rush into the city on that horrific day.  There was little  one could do in a direct way, but as Jews, we can take great pride in the Jewish doctors' medical skills in both Israel and in Boston; they have done something indirectly to ease the pain of the injured.

Words of Wisdom
It is a man’s own mind…not the enemy or foe
that leads him to evil ways.

Crafted by Merle Baird-Kerr...June 29, 2013
Comments are welcome...scroll down...may sign in as “anonymous”

 ***  Today, August 21, the following “update” 
                                                       was published in our local newspaper:

Bombing suspect was shot in the face

Newly released court documents describe the extent of injuries to the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing, including multiple gunshot wounds to his face and a skull fracture.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s injuries were described by Dr. Stephen Ray Odom during a legal proceeding at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center three days after Tsarnaev was captured in a boat in a back yard  in the Boston suburb of Watertown.  A transcript of the testimony was unsealed  Monday. 

Odom, a trauma surgeon who treated Tsarnaev, said the most severe injury was from a bullet that appeared to enter through the left inside of his mouth and exit the lower section of his face on the left side.  He described it as a “high-powered injury” that resulted in a skull-base fracture, injuries to his middle ear, the skull base , the pharynx and mouth.  Odom said Tsarnaev also had wounds to his lower extremities and bone injuries to his left hand.

Tsarnaev, 20, has pleaded not guilty to numerous charges  in the April 15th bombing ~ including using a weapon of mass destruction ~ and faces a potential death sentence if convicted.  The twin bombings near the finish line of the marathon killed 3 people and injured more than 260.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Lesson From the Professor

It is most encouraging when blog readers  submit to me stories, experiences and philosophies...that well blend with and enhance the messages I present  through Merle's Kaleidoscope of Life. “Coffee Service”  (previous posted article) and this one truly impressed me and bear significant importance to how we, today, may live our lives.

 I extend gracious thanks to an American reader  for having the insight to send me today’s article.

Life is Like Coffee

A video shows the University pot...and assortment of beautiful cups and saucers from ornate to plain...captions at each picture “paint the lesson” to us all...illustrated with various coffee cups as the professor's message is revealed.

Think about it!
Maybe you don't even like coffee...but this is thought provoking.

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, get together to visit their old college professor.
Conversation soon turned to complaints...about stress and work in life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large silver pot of coffee and an assortment of cups:  porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal...some plain looking...some expensive...some exquisite.

He told his guests to help themselves to the coffee.  After everyone had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said, “If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups have been taken up ~ leaving behind the plain and cheap ones.  While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves...that's the source of your problems and stress.

Be aware that the cup adds no quality to the coffee.  In most cases ~ it's just not expensive...and in some cases, even hides what we drink...when all you really want is the coffee ~ not the cup. But  you consciously went for the best cups...and then you began eyeing each other's cup.  They are just tools to hold and contain Life.

Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee!
Savour the Coffee...not the Cup!

The happiest people don't have the best of everything.

Live simply...Speak kindly...Care deeply...Love graciously.

The happiest person is not the one who has the most! But the one who has the least.

Life is like Coffee!

(Author Unknown)


Self Lesson

Imagine that you had won the following prize in a contest.  Each morning your bank would deposit $86,400.00 in your private account for your use.  However, this prize had rules, just as any game has certain rules.  The first set of rules would be:  "Everything that you didn't spend during each day would be taken away from you. You may not simply transfer money into some other account.  You may only spend it."

Each morning upon awakening, the bank opens your account with another $86,400.00 for that day.
The second set of rules would be:  The bank can end the game without warning  and at any time can   say, “It's over;  the game is over!" It can close the account and you will not receive a new one.

What would you personally do?

You would buy anything and everything you wanted, right?  Not only for yourself, but for all the people you love, right?  You would try to spend every cent, and use it, right?


                                       Each of us is in possession of such a “magical” bank.   
                                                             We just cant' seem to see it.


Each awakening morning we receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of life...
and when we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is NOT credited to us. 
What we haven't lived up that day is forever lost.  Yesterday is forever gone!

            Each morning the account is refilled,
but the bank can dissolve your account at any time

Well, what will you do with your 86,400 seconds?
Aren't they worth so much more than the same amount in dollars?
Think about that, and always think of this:

Enjoy every second of your life, because time races by
so much quicker than you think.
So, take care of yourself and enjoy life!

Pearl of Wisdom

“The uncertainty of the present always give way
to the enchanted possibilities of the future.”

Crafted by Merle Baird-Kerr...May 3, 2013
Comments welcome...scroll down...may sign in as “anonymous”
or e-mail...inezkate@gmailcom

Friday, August 16, 2013

Coffee Service

Introducing a New Office Procedure

Hello Mom,

I remember a time when you said that at your Real Estate Office, ordinary people lacked the common sense to install a new roll of papier de toilette.  One lady finally posted a little sign labelled, “Very Simple Instructions!”

Here in the “break room” at my place of employment, we have a microwave only and a pure water dispenser.  There was nowhere to wash your hands, except in the bathroom.  And if you bought some blueberries or cherries from an outside street vendor, you had to rinse them in this same place.

Then, facilities came along and installed a really nice sink in the “break room.”  And they installed a proper microwave shelf, then put the oven up there.  But there was no soap or coffee or tea.  Many offices now have a Keurig machine.  But the nuisance problem is that some workers like to steal the Keurig cartridges to take home.

I finally gave in and bought a box of Lipton tea and put it in the “break room” with a notice that it was supplied by your co-workers...and meant for all to share in the office.  And they did.  And now, some other people bring in tea.

About a month ago, facilities installed a three-pot commercial office coffee-machine ~ you know the old kind with the basket brewer.  And there it sat...fully connected and operational, but with no coffee to put in it.  So, like the little red hen, I bought some coffee and filters.  Just today, I put some half-and-half in the fridge and some sugar under the counter.  This is the notice that I put on the coffee machine:

“It us nice to have a coffee service, don't you think?  Every office has basic coffee and tea service in the 'break room'.  Facilities has been kind enough to make us a nice hand-washing sink, which is also good for rinsing fresh fruit which we can buy outside.  (It's pretty awkward to rinse them in the bathroom.)

“And look, Facilities has put the microwave up on a shelf for us and installed this beautiful new commercial coffee maker.  A simple Keurig would have been simpler and cheaper, but this is what we have now.  It's a nice museum piece, but did you know that it actually works?  That's right:  If you put a proper filter in the basket with the right amount of ground coffee, and press the Brewski button, you won't believe this, but it will actually fill the carafe with hot coffee!  Isn't that simply lovely?

“I love hot, fresh coffee, don't you?  Where I come from, there's a Tim Horton's on  every corner and people line up for their 'Timmies' coffee every morning.

“The one thing we do not have is actual coffee to put in the machine.  So, your kind-and-generous co-workers, the same folks who wanted free tea in the 'break room', and happily share it with everybody, have bought some coffee...filters...milk (half-and-half)...and sugar, so we can make this spiffy new coffee machine do its thing.

“It isn't really expensive ~ it's just that if no one person takes the initiative...then no one will.

“If  you like having coffee in the 'break room' , then you buy some once in a while.  (One can of ground coffee is cheaper than a Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks.  If  you like milk in your coffee, then you buy some occasionally. It's  that simple.  You learn to live with people by being kind to your fellow man.

“So yes, there is some real sugar in the cupboard below and some half-and-half in the fridge.  These are for all to use.  And you ask,  'Where's the sweetener?'  It's over at CVS (Pharmacy) and they will accept Federal Reserve notes in exchange for sweetener.

“What about stir sticks, you may ask; Just put your milk and sugar in the cup first and  learn to pour so the turbulence in the cup achieves  the dissolving  reaction.  In fancy restaurants, they pour the carafe a meter from the cup without spilling a drop.

“What about cups?  They have some nice ones over at the PATH station.

“As a last word, we are adults here...and not kids.  We all learned to clean up after ourselves in childhood.  If  you make a mess, then clean it.  If you spill some milk, coffee or sugar, then get a paper towel and wipe it.  And you men...the ladies here are not your mommies and wives to clean for you.  In a civilized country, we treat our ladies with respect.

“Now...let's make good use of our new coffee machine!”

* * * * * * * *

Henry Ford's View on Co-operation:

Coming Together is a Beginning.
Keeping Together is Progress.
Working Together is Success.

Merle Baird-Kerr … crafted July 27, 2013
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Monday, August 12, 2013

Power of Attitude

The longer I live, the more I realize  the impact of Attitude on life. 
Attitude to me is more important than facts.
It is more important than the past, than education, than money,
than circumstances, than failure, than successes,
than what other people think or say or do.
It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.
It will make or break a company...a church...a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.

The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have and that is our attitude...I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me...and 90% how I react to it.  And so it is with you and your life.

We are in charge of our ATTITUDES!
 (unknown author)

Negative Attitude:
Every 60 seconds you spend angry, upset or mad
is a full minute of happiness you'll never get back.
(unknown philosopher)

Positive Attitude
“I've learned that people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
(Oprah Winfrey)

The “Win or Lose” Attitude
from The Girl Who Played with Fire...
a novel written by Stieg Larsson.

“Then came the moment that every boxer has experienced with dread.  The feeling that could turn up any time in the middle of a bout.  The feeling of just not being good enough.  The realization that you are about to lose.  That's the crux of almost every fight...the moment when strength drains from you and the adrenalin pumps so hard that it becomes a burden and surrender appears like a ghost at ringside.  That's the moment that separates the pros from the amateurs and the winner from the loser."

"Few boxers who find themselves at the edge of that abyss,
manage to turn the match around, turn certain defeat into victory. 
Paola Roberto was struck by this insight.”  

Merle Baird-Kerr … crafted July 29, 2013
Comments welcome...scroll down...may sign in as “anonymous”

Friday, August 9, 2013

Garden of Daily Living

The Only Garden Everyone Needs to Own

“First, you come to the garden alone
while the dew is still on the roses.”

Plant 3 rows of Peas:  Peace of Mind...Peace of Heart...Peace of Soul.
Plant 4 rows of Squash:  Squash Gossip...Squash Indifference...Squash Selfishness.
Plant 4 rows of Lettuce:  Let us be Faithful...Let us be kind...Let us be Patient.

No Garden is without Turnips: 
                                                 Turn up for Meetings. Turn up for Service.
Turn up to Help One Another.

To Complete our Garden, we must have Thyme:
Time for Each Other...Time for Family...Time for Friends.

Water Freely...have Willful Patience...Cultivate with Love.

(with appreciation to an ardent follower for the foregoing)

Magic of Gardening
A garden is always a series of losses
set against  a few triumphs ~ like LIFE itself.
(Mary Sarton

* * * * * * * * * * *

When the above garden is flourishing, consider

Ten Things You Should Know About Gardens

Kathy Renwald, horticulturalist guru from the Hamilton Spectator, writes:
“I've been gardening a long time, but I was green as grass when I started.
Here are 10 things I wish I knew when I started gardening”:

Plant trees:  The best $100 you will spend.  Trees add value to your property, provide shade and structure and add fragrance and flowers if you choose wisely.  Add them first, to a new yard.

Plant shrubs:  They come in all sizes and shapes and take up space in a pretty , practical way.  High impact with low maintenance.

Be careful with perennials:  Plant them judiciously, as part of a mix of tress, shrubs, ground covers and annuals.

Plant bulbs:  A few special daffodils or tulips coming up in spring is magic.  It's a reward for days of cold and gray and it will get you out in the garden for pure pleasure of their beauty. Be imaginative ~
try colours of pink, burgundy and fuchsia.

Put seating in the garden:  A chair in the garden gives you a place to view  the garden, contemplate the design...or just meditate.

Borrow ground covers:  If you have a friend who has periwinkle, pachysandra or European ginger, dig a few shovels full to start your own beds.  Also watch for garden club and horticultural sales.  Mulch between plants to cut down on weeding.

Scatter potted plants:  Take a big pot, put one or two mature hostas in it...or coral bells...or tropicals from inside...and plunk it in one of the beds.  Elevate it on something sturdy...and suddenly, you have a new focal point.

Watch out for invasives:  Do some research so you know what you are planting.  Go to the Royal Botanical Gardens website ( and learn what to avoid.

Know how big things get:  Shrubs and beautiful shapes need space to display their shapely  forms.  If your shrubs grow into a tangled blob, you've wasted  money and lost a design opportunity.

Take  photos:  Photos document the things you planted, if you aren't the type to take notes.  Framing a photograph also is a test of how your design is working.  Shooting in black and white shows if the garden has good bones!

Gertrude Jekyll, an influential British garden designer, writer and artist who died in 1932, said, “There is no part of ground…however arid, bare or ugly…that cannot be formed into such a state as may give an impression of beauty and delight.

Crafted by Merle Baird-Kerr … June 30, 2013
Comments are welcome...scroll down...may sign in as “anonymous”

Monday, August 5, 2013

"Drinking from my Saucer"

A very spiritual and true poem
(forwarded to me from Sydney, a long time acquaintance)

I've never made a fortune, and it's probably too late now,
But I don't worry about much, I'm happy anyhow.
and as I go along life's way,
I'm reaping better than I sowed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

Haven't got a lot of riches,
and sometimes the going's tough;
But I've got loving ones all around me,
and that makes me rich enough.
I thank GOD for his Blessings
and the Mercies HE's bestowed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

I remember times when things went wrong.
My faith wore somewhat thin.
But all at once the dark clouds broke
and the sun peeped through again.
So, LORD, help me not to gripe
about the tough rows I have had.
I'm drinking from my saucer
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

If GOD gives me strength and courage
when the way grows steep and rough,
I'll not ask for other blessings.
I'm already blessed enough.
And may I never be too busy
to help others bear their loads.
Then I'll keep drinking from my saucer
'Cause my cup has overflowed.


Don't be too busy today.
Share this inspiring message with friends and family.

A Main Criterion of Consciousness ...
for the human experience is...never having all you want.
For as one dream comes true, another swiftly takes its place.
Not having all you one of Life's constants!

And learning to be happy while not having all  you want
is the First Criterion of Joy.
Nail it...and for the rest of your life
people will be asking what it is about you.
This is a beautiful thing!
(The Universe)

Philosophy by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Kind Hearts...are the garden.
Kind Thoughts…are the roots.
Kind words...are the flowers.
Kind deeds…are the fruits.

Merle Baird-Kerr … crafted July 29, 2013
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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Motivations & Smiles for August

(gleaned from my collection of “calendar quotes”)

It is always wise to look ahead,
but difficult to look further than you can see.
(Winston Churchill)

Persistence:  Fall seven times.  Stand up eight!  (Japanese Proverb)
                      Illustration of a rugged cliff against  bluish mountain ranges.

Apology:  An apology is the superglue of life.  It can repair just about anything! 
                 (Lynn Johnston). Picture of a child's hand filled with hand-picked flowers.

Innocence:  Keep your mind and heart open to all in the world.  (Anonymous)
                     Illustration of friendly kitten and puppy communicating.

Loyalty:  The best thing to hold onto in life, is each other.  (Anonymous)
                Illustration of a pair of loving monkeys. the sandpaper that removes the rough edges from the good old 
                   days. Illustration of an elderly couple, sitting on side-by-side beach chairs
                   below a striped umbrella...and gazing out to sea.

Attack every problem as if your survival depended upon it.  Illustration of a snarling jaguar.

We've got to have a Dream if we are going to make a dream come true! (Denis E. Waitley)
            Illustration of a blonde-haired girl blowing bubbles into a twilight sky.

The Reward of a thing well to have done it!  (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
            Illustration of a child building an elaborate sand castle on the beach.

We will either Find a way or Make one!  (Denis E. Waitley)
            Illustration of a meandering blue river.

From Marie's Motivation Calendar with Invitation to Action:
Envision a pair of para-sailors on a windy blue ocean of white-crested waves.

Challenge:  We must accept Life as a Challenge,
without which we should never know of what stuff we are made.
(Robert Louis Stevenson)

Special Event Days:

August 5 ~ Civic Holiday, celebrated in most provinces on the first Monday of August.  In Ontario, sometimes called “Simcoe Day” in honour of the the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada.

August 12 ~ International Youth Day, endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2000,  is a global call to action to develop and engage partnerships  with and for youths...increasing opportunities for success by leveraging comparative advantages, resources and interests.

August 21 ~ Full Moon!

Did You Know?

As the fall approaches, monarch butterflies begin their long flight to Mexico,
in some cases travelling more than 5000 kilometres.

August's Turtle

One of the most common turtles in North America, the Painted Turtle can be identified by its colourful markings.  Similarly, coloured males and females have yellow streaks on their heads and necks as well as red markings along the edges of their shells.  Painted turtles can be found in slow-moving, quiet and shallow fresh water such as ponds, lakes, marshes, streams and rivers.

The Presence of August:

August is the month for kids ~ the last few weeks of freedom before a new school year begins.
August is the last month before autumn begins.
August brings the onset of county fairs with fun foods and rides easy to find.
August invites fishing to favourite water holes.
The “dog days” of summer start drawing to a close.
But, there's still time for a lake visit or just a lawn sprinkler.

Philosophy for August

Be careful what you water your dreams with. 
Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds
that choke the life from your dreams.
Water them with optimism and solutions 
and you will cultivate success.
Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into opportunity.
Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dreams.
(Lao Tzu)

Crafted by Merle Baird-Kerr... August 1, 2013
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