October Road Into Fall

Remember that really nice Saturday we had a while back? It felt like fall. The temperatures were cool…which in Houston meant that it was anything below 90 degrees. I couldn’t wait to get outside to get some fresh air and sunshine. Well, maybe big city air isn’t the freshest and I always use sunscreen so the sun won’t inadvertently kill me. But I was ready for the day.

I just had one errand to run first. It was a trip to Ikea to buy a floor lamp. Now a trip to Ikea is a treat all unto itself. Just walking through the store gets you whatever number of steps is considered healthy these days. My Dear Friend went with me and he saw several variations on new and modern chemistry labs which were disguised as kitchens.

We finally found the lamps and had several to choose from. I chose a nice white number which would fit nicely in my living room. It passed all possible “cat safety” protocols. It had two settings so I could either see to read or put on the low lights when I want to rest and chillax. It sends light up which I understand to be very good feng shui. What more could I want? Sold!

Then I went out to the parking lot. I turned to the right and saw this combination of signs. Where was I supposed to go? Would I ever be able to find my way home again? It certainly could be construed as a philosophical question for life. The road is clearly marked as “one way”, but the exit goes the other way. Which way would you choose?

So after escaping the parking lot conundrum, the day was ours and we took it to Rice University. Beautiful campus, beautiful trees, beautiful works of art. A great place for a walk. We started out walking and then noticed that this campus if full of interesting critters. Of course at Rice there are always many examples of owls. This one is a favorite of mine. I love the smooth lines. And look at those talons! I am only grateful that this is a statue and not a real owl. Of course I have never heard of this owl attacking anyone. Both students and faculty members remain safe as they navigate their ways between buildings and classes. I am sure they sleep better at night once they figure this out.

Next we went to see the Cohen House Sundial. It is one of the fanciest and most complex sundials I have ever seen. Befitting the Rice standards of intellectual excellence, I think it requires a PhD. in either science or engineering to figure it out. However, I just thought it was pretty. Then I noticed a lizard either napping and sunning himself or he has his PhD and was noticing the time. I’m not sure which. I’m willing to bet that even the lizards on the Rice Campus are smarter than most of us mere mortals.

The next sculpture really caught my attention. It shows two people sitting down and facing each other. It looks as if they are talking among themselves.  I wondered about this for a while. Then I noticed that a fair number of students were walking around campus and the vast majority of them looked at their phones as they walked. I finally decided that this sculpture was a tutorial for the students to show them what face-to-face communication can look like. Oh, I’m sorry. Does that last statement make me seem old? Probably, but only because compared to the college youth of today, I am.

Until next week.….

Helpful Signs Along The Way

In Melanie’s latest post, she discussed her walking road trip through nature and her observation of trees. Today my road trip will be somewhat different.

I begin this journey by traveling through a concrete jungle that is under construction. Going around road construction is a full-time hobby for anyone who lives in the Houston area. This little jaunt just happens to be along I‑10. I am on my way to visit the Swedish jungles of IKEA.

A friend and I made the journey together. He is an Engineer. If you have never traveled through IKEA with an Engineer, then you really don’t know what you are missing. I will explain as I go along.

To begin with, journeying through IKEA is like going through life with all kinds of assistance, hints, and signposts. From the moment you walk in the front door, you are immediately directed to go up. Go up, dear friend, into the spectacle that is Swedish furniture and housewares.

Then as soon as you reach the pinnacle of the escalator, you begin to see arrows directing you as to the path you are to take.

Where Dorothy and Toto followed the yellow brick road, the Engineer and I followed the white arrows painted on the concrete floor. Do I ever wonder on where I am going in life? I just have to take a trip to IKEA and am told what direction to take at all times.

Of course I am with an Engineer who can figure a lot of things out for himself. He can look at a map and tell where we should go next.

Since the Engineer has a Ph.D, he can even find his way between the Showroom and the Marketplace. He is very smart indeed! Then I noticed that if we followed the arrows on the floor, it will take us on the same pathway as shown on the master floor map and I almost feel as smart as an Engineer.

Actually we have decided to spend the morning at IKEA because I am rearranging my home. I have way more books than I have bookcases to hold them. Also, I have two closets that are completely disorganized. I am quite sure that if I just organize my closets, then the rest of my life will follow suit. Doesn’t that make sense? Also, since I have recently retired, I am motivated to purge my home of all the stuff I have retired from and no longer suits me. I hope I wind up with more room for lots more books and art supplies!

For the novice shoppers at IKEA, the store is great about providing the proper tools to find, measure and write down everything you need. When you travel with an Engineer he comes with his own high precision shopping tools as is demonstrated below:

Of course once all is said and done, it is important to keep a view on the big picture of your life. Again, IKEA helps with this.

From this perspective, you can see all of the tools that are there to help you and all the options you have for arranging and decorating your existence.

If any of this does not help you, then you can simply go home. Your cat will tell you to get back to work on your writing and stop goofing off.

Life can be so simple, if we will only let it.

Until next week.……