Saturday, September 30, 2017


Life Changes Us

By Donovan Baldwin

Life changes us, especially if we have kids.

It was not unusual in the army to realize that a rough, tough sergeant had kids when he would slip and ask if anybody needed a "potty break".

My daughter and her husband have been the "aunt" and "uncle" for a while, but, are now, after years of trying, are having a baby.

Hooray them!


Also fun for me, the people watcher, watching them change focus and suddenly mature to levels they had not thought about before.

Suddenly, the hobby room is going to be a baby's nursery, daddy's cholesterol is too high as he grows older, and mama has some changes to make...including all those cute clothes she's been buying from Amazon (Airing family laundry, here.)

Future daddy, now 35, has been collecting superhero action figures since age 8, and, has been the superhero of the nephews and nieces. He's got a few "Frozen" figures, and various princesses, and female superheroes, such as Wonder Woman,  that the nieces love.

Now he's got to think about the time and money that goes into his collection, which will soon be spent on a son or daughter.

Collection may have to go.

Daddy's cholesterol is important cause he needs to take care of himself to be here for his wife and young heir or heiress. Mouths to be fed, lessons to be taught, milestones to be experienced.

Yep. Life changes us.

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Thursday, September 28, 2017


I'm Not In Jail And The Dog Still Likes Me

By: Donovan Baldwin

Don't know about you, but, while I like the occasional surprise, or small adventure, I really prefer my life to be calm, and on an even keel.

Doesn't always happen like that.

Take the last two days in MY life. The comedian Henny Youngman (1906-1998) was known as "King of the One Liners". One of his most famous lines would come in the middle of a routine, when, talking about something, he would say, as if to illustrate a point, "Take my wife...", pause, and then, "...please."

Well, the last two days, I was ready to use that line with the word "life", substituted for "wife".

I suppose I should not be concerned since everything worked out okay.

After all, I'm not in jail, the truck's in one piece, and the dog still likes me. But, I started those two days with everything penciled in neatly on a calendar.

Problem was, nothing happened according to plan on either day.

Somebody needed something, so, I had to change MY plans and go there and do that, then go somewhere else and do something else, and, in the process, two days of my life got spent doing stuff for other people.

Still, after the frustration is past, and, I've had a good night's sleep, I can at least pat myself on the back and say, "Good job!" Stuff that needed to be done got done.

It wasn't fun, but, it was real and was needed.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017


Poem: They Laugh Today

By Donovan Baldwin

They laugh today at love and such,
At starlit trails and trouble's end,
They mock we fools who dare to write,
Of honor, love, or just a friend.

Stevenson rests 'neath starry sky,
As stated in his epitaph.
That request made by a man today,
Would bring but a sophisticated laugh.

They've lost the taste for love today,
And, terror? That word they just don't know,
It's sad that "B" flicks on the boob tube,
Have made a mournful ghost of Mr. Poe.

Would Montague die for Capulet?
So sensitive, so sweet the pain...
Would Juliet chew on wads of gum,
If Shakespeare rose to write again?

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Dreams Fascinate Us

By: Donovan Baldwin


They fascinate us.

Some see them as "omens" of the future, often harbingers of doom.

Some see them as clarifications of the past.

Some researchers tell us that they are simply the subconscious hard at work trying to make sense out of all the facts and fancies we have been exposed to.

Shakespeare even projected them into death,

"To sleep, perchance to dream; aye, there's the rub, for in that sleep of death, what dreams may come, when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause."

Myself, I'm not personally sure what dreams are, but, I tend to go with the researchers. I believe the subconscious, a precocious little beast, may take clues, including ones we are not even consciously aware of, and weave a tapestry of potential events...which may or may not be accurate for many reasons.

However, like the conscious mind, the subconscious can only work with the material it has.

In his book, "The Art of Thinking", Abbé Ernest Dimnet, postulates that filling our minds with fine thoughts and images can make us better thinkers, and persons.

I like that. I try to do that. I fail sometimes, but, I try.

I believe good images, sounds, and words affect my waking and dreaming thoughts and actions.

Just a thought.

Musing in the morning...before coffee. 

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Monday, September 25, 2017


Projection As Injection

By Donovan Baldwin

I was just listening to a speech by an expert on non-verbal communication, or, as many of us would say, body language.

Unlike many such presentations I have watched, and articles I have read, in the past, the speaker was looking at a different angle. This was not about how "the other person" is influenced by a person's body language (What I called "projection" in the title.), but, how the person is influenced by his or her own body language (What I'm called "injection".)

The talk I listened to was given in 2017 by an expert with an impressive string of degrees and professional level experience, including scientific studies.

The basic tenet is that how you act can become how you perceive yourself, the "act" eventually becoming reality.

I have been reading self-help and motivational materials since about 1960. This has been a common premise, and promise, which I have met again and again.

It CAN work.

I have used it myself.

What interests me today, is the number of people, perhaps including the speaker/researcher, who seem to believe she is presenting something "new" and perhaps exciting.

Well, it IS exciting.

Every tool we find for survival, self-improvement or excellence should be exciting.


Not so sure.

Still, I guess having facts and figures is important to some.

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Sunday, September 24, 2017


You're Your Own Best Friend

By: Donovan Baldwin

I wonder sometimes why people have so little respect for their own opinions, knowledge, and insight.

There is such a huge interest in "self help" and motivational books these days...and for decades.

People, seeking "answers", or, even, "the answer", will read book after book seeking truth, only to nod or shake their head in agreement or disagreement...and then go off and do what they want to...maybe even wanted to,  from the start.

A lot of times, people, not you and me, of course...those "other" people, will start with a belief, and search until they find justification for their opinion. Once an "expert" is found who can back us up, we feel so much better about our choice to do or be whatever it was we wanted to be or do in the first place.

Actually, most of us have good sense, we just don't use it...or, maybe just don't trust it.

I've had friends and family come to me wanting help, or advice, on deciding which course of action they should choose.

My basic, "go-to", response?

What would YOU tell your child, your Mom, your Dad, your spouse, partner, best friend, to do?

Usually, if they give it a try, they come up with acceptable answers.

Most people won't treat themselves as if they are a "best friend", or, as if they have the "smarts" to give good counsel.

But, I think maybe they are wrong.


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Saturday, September 23, 2017


Poem: I Desire No Epitaph

By Donovan Baldwin

I desire no epitaph,
Just your memories,
To mark my presence and passing.

Speak not of me to friends,
Or, strangers on the street,
For I only wish, that

My memory be in your mind,
And in your heart,
Passed on from you,

To another future era,
Because of respect,
And true love.

I am nothing without,
Your affection and respect,
And await your kind words and actions.

So, beloved friend, think tonight
Of me, and bless me with
Your respect and love.

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Friday, September 22, 2017


Life Is Really About The Small Stuff

By: Donovan Baldwin

We worry a lot about big things, but, for most of us, life is really comprised of small stuff.

Big rain storm while driving home last night I'm in Texas, and can see a long way. I was over near Dallas, when I headed west towards Fort Worth. I could see the huge bank of clouds, and I could see the rain in the distance.

It was a big storm, but, it didn't bother me...until I drove into it.

Then, that small area of the storm became my world.

Suddenly, I wasn't concerned about what was happening in the rest of Tarrant county, or in Parker county to the west of me, where the storm was coming from. Tons of water falling in blinding sheets, and other drivers. That was MY world, and my worry.

Meanwhile, in another part of the world, somebody's dying, somebody's being born, somebody's preparing for a hurricane, somebody's sunning themselves on a beach.

MY world is not always THE world.

In fact, I believe THAT world, THE world, is too big for us to deal with or exercise control over always.

Last night in the rain, I had to drive safely to keep myself, and others safe.

"Thank you." to other drivers who did the same, by the way.

Sometimes, that's the best we can do...look out for each other. If you can't fix everything else, do the best you can where you're at.

May not be much but, it helps.

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I Write My Daily Posts Because...

By: Donovan Baldwin

There wasn't going to be any musings and mutterings from me this morning.

There's a lot going on in my  life that's sapping my creative juices, and, I "just didn't feel like it".

At least that's how the day started, but, being the being I am, I began musing about that, seeing if I could squeeze out some thoughts.

I write my morning thoughts because, despite still being half asleep, and fuzzy brained, it is at this time of day that I feel most able to BE genuinely and originally creative.

As my day wears on, everything, good and bad, becomes a pile of tangled thoughts and issues, leaving me tired and not too forward looking at end of day.

In fact, I tend to get downright pessimistic in the evening.

But, even when I don't feel "good" in the morning, I always feel as if I'm starting with somewhat of a clean slate. If I have learned anything in 72+ years of life, it's that almost nothing remains the same.

Good times, fun things, come to an end, but, so do most bad things.

Sooner or later, we usually get a chance to start over, with something resembling a clean slate. No analogy is perfect, no aphorism sums up all wisdom in a few words, no internet graphic is going to contain all the factors that make up a miracle, but, time can heal, and can provide new opportunities.

The trick is not just to take advantage of them, but to expect them.

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Thursday, September 21, 2017


Are People Good Or Bad/

By: Donovan Baldwin

From time to time, I read articles, essays, and op eds, about whether humans are inherently "good" or "bad".

Like most people who think, or comment, about these sorts of things, I guess I would have to admit that I don't really KNOW, I just have my thoughts and opinions.

One major difficulty is that the concepts of good and bad vary from culture to culture, and from person to person.

One person's "good" might be another's "bad", or on a different point on some "sliding scale" between the two extremes.

I think we DO try to achieve survival, at a personal level, and at a genus/species level.

People not only want to do things to survive, but, want the human race to survive (most of us).

All of this has to do with the reason I am so often nonjudgmental about personal choices.

Oh, I want to survive too, and, if your choices seem to threaten my survival (person or progeny), I am apt to make another choice...which you won't like, probably. However, realizing that the "other guy" is just trying to survive, in a way that meets his or her beliefs, gives me some latitude in the realm of forgiveness, and, allows me to feel better about my decisions and choices as well...even when OUR choices and decisions seem to be at odds with each other.

I feel, thinking out loud, that it's the inability to accept the other's desire for survival, and, see theirs and ours as opinions, not fact, that causes a lot of the dissention between people in this world.

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Monday, September 18, 2017


Examining Unbrewed Thought

By Donovan Baldwin

I hope no one who reads my often early morning ramblings, coded as "BC", expects deep thought.

After all the "BC" could stand for "Before Cogitation" despite actually meaning "Before Coffee".

Honestly, my intention is to, in most early morning cases, examine my thoughts while they are still, like the coffee, "unbrewed", as it were.

Normally, our thoughts get massaged, and messaged, as we move through our days. They get layered over with "facts", real and unreal, information, opinion, and our own thinking process.

It's not that I consider these morning musings to be somehow "more pure" in some way, as I am curious, about what the brain is really chewing on before it gets served its daily dose of caffeine and variouls meals and snacks.

I have to honestly say, that, sometimes, there ain't much meat there.

On the other hand, sometimes I find jewels in the residue of my night's sleep or yesterday's leftover cogitation.

I am one who enjoys the hunt, the creation, the creative process. That's why I have a notebook, and several index cards, which I carry around in my shirt pocket, that are filled with notes and ideas about things I would like to say, on the table beside me.

I think one of the lessons I have learned from writing these morning musings, and others throughout the day, is that THIS is where a lot of my ideas come from.

I stir up the pot of thought-grounds, pour a little typing-water over them and "Voila!", richer, fuller thoughts, and poems, that come later in the day.

Caution, writer brewing thoughts...

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Saturday, September 16, 2017


Pleasure Of The Great Outdoors

By Donovan Baldwin

Mother Nature put on a bit of a show in the Fort Worth area between 4 and 6 AM.

Big thunderstorm, or, as I have heard them called in this part of Texas, "thunder boomer".

I grew up in Florida, on Pensacola Bay along the Florida Gulf Coast, so, thunderstorms are not new to me.

However, in this part of Texas, dreaded "water from the sky" is not as common as it was down on the coast.

Over the decades, I have worked many jobs that took me outside a lot. Mama Nature and I are old friends, if not always good friends, in my boyhood, on beaches, in woods, and as a working man. Even my "fun" activities often occurred outside.

(Side note: If you are not from the coast and love on the beach sounds romantic to you, ditch that idea. Sand gets into everything....everything.)

Anyway, I have gotten away from Lady Nature, what with advancing age and other responsibilities.


It's always (Except when it's Summer in Texas...) a pleasure to reconnect with the Great Outdoors.

Most days, these days, it's through my sitting room window. However, today, I am taking the trailer to nearby Benbrook Lake, and am going to renew my friendship with Ol' Ms. Nature for a week.

Comments may not be as often as normal, but, expect the pleasure meter to be near the top of the scale. Nothing like a little quality time with Mother Nature to make you feel you're home, and whole, again.

NOTE: The above comment was written several weeks prior to being posted here, and I have been back from that pleasurable outing for several weeks.

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Friday, September 15, 2017


It Sounds Like Poetry To Me

By Donovan Baldwin

I write poetry.


Well, I mean, I intentionally sit down and write what I intend to be recognized and evaluated as poetry. In communications with others, I often read, "I wish I could write poetry..."

Also often, in those same communications, I read lines, honest lines of romantic thought, personal dreams, experiences, which sound like poetry to me.

In fact, I have come to believe that many people in this world, many more than those who believe they are poets, have poetry in their souls.

Go to a place where there are majestic sunsets, or sunrises, where there are awesome rivers, grand forests, or canyons which take your breath away. You will find people there, individuals and entire families, just looking, absorbing, being in that place at that time.

They are writing poetry in their minds and on their hearts.

Look at a mother nursing a new born baby, or a father teaching his son to ride a bike for the first time. There is poetry in the hearts and souls of those persons also at those times. It will probably be a long and well remembered poem, even though the words may never be completely formed into a formal poem, or even recalled in the same way.

I claim to be a poet and try to write poetry, but, so many of you, who wish you could be a poet, already are.

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Thursday, September 14, 2017


My Father And Father Keating

By Donovan Baldwin

Most mornings are almost ritualistic for me. There are certain steps I take after falling out of bed, usually in the same sequence

Eventually, I wind up wondering what I am going to write about today.

Sometimes, I actually have an idea! Maybe I made notes to remind me the day before, but, often, when I begin typing the first words each morning, my mind is a blank as far as topics go.

Usually, something appears.

Father Jules Keating "appeared" this morning.

A kind and gentle priest, loving and caring, he forever was locking himself out of the rectory at Saint Thomas More parish in Warrington, Florida, or locking his keys in his car.

In his youth, my father had spent some time as a locksmith, and, since we lived only a block away, when Father Keating knocked at our door, we knew that Daddy had to go break into the rectory, or his car.

Not a whole lot of lesson there, but, for me at least, a good memory.

A boy watching his father emulate a cat burglar.

Actually, it was "neat" knowing my dad, to the right, could do such things.

Most people never knew that about him. He was quiet and reserved and most people didn't realize the range of his skills.

He had been a concert violinist, had fenced, knew shorthand, and taught himself a myriad of other skills. A secret man the world never knew.

I bet there are neighbors on this street with interesting skills. I bet some of you could surprise us. Really.

Morning, just musing about good times and good people.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017


We All Have Stories

By Donovan Baldwin

Read a quote from Henry David Thoreau this morning: "I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well."

I often (at least twice a day) write about myself.

Even when referencing other people and events, I am, at the least, presenting MY thoughts, just as I am now.

Most of us will never be famous, although, in today's world, we will leave a much more defined "trail" than most of our ancestors.

I do genealogy, and, before the mid-1800's, at least here in the U.S., it's hard to find out much about people unless they did something extraordinary, or, were lucky enough to get their existence recorded.

We all have stories.

In talking to people over the last 72 years, and reading their descriptions of their lives, I have found most people to be very interesting. Even so, I was a bit surprised to find how many people were interested in, or amused by, events in what I considered my mundane existence.

I write, they read...and some seem to like.

Each of you has a story.

Why not write it up?

Even if your children and grandchildren are the only ones who read it, at some point it will be valuable, interesting, informative, and, perhaps, even instructional to them.

I repeat, we all have stories, and most of us are as important as the most famous, but, are not going to have our stories told, so, let's tell our stories ourselves.

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Trust In A Small Texas Town

By Donovan Baldwin

A few years ago, around 2006, in Gatesville, a small Texas town, I was looking for an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) at a local Wells Fargo Bank. Not seeing one I went inside the bank and asked the bank manager if they had one. He, greeted me kindly, and, unlocking the teller's cage, led me behind the tellers, past the opened vault, unlocked a door overlooking the drive-up banking area and showed me where their one ATM was located.

This little display of trust reminded me the first time, about 1972, I was asked to give a piece of identification for a check/cheque at a local grocery store.

Until then, I had written a check, handed it to the clerk, took my groceries and did every other patron.

However, hot checks had become such an issue, people writing worthless paper, and businesses were losing so much money, they had to begin requesting identification.

In bigger cities this had been a practice even before I encountered it in my small southern city of Pensacola, Florida.

Over the years, we've lost trust.

At least a lot of it.

You know, years ago, before identity theft became such a big issue you could find people's social security numbers on lots of things. Many organizations, such as the U.S. military services figured out that, instead of issuing individual service numbers to each soldier, sailor, or Marine, they could just use social security numbers for identification numbers instead.

Well, because of identity theft, the military has gone back to issuing individual identification that does not use social security numbers as have many other businesses and government agencies.

I believe most of us still WANT to trust one another, but, every day, we are reminded of bad people doing bad things, and, because of those bad things we have to surrender more of our personal data, and freedoms.

Still, trust is one of the most powerful components of freedom.

I'll keep on trusting until I just cannot anymore.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017


Praise For Not Doing The Work

By Donovan Baldwin

I recently read a book on how so many scientific discoveries and breakthroughs were actually known and used by "ordinary" people.

It's surprising to learn that many a famous, revered, historical figure in scientific circles did not invent the knowledge with which they, and their fame, are associated.

Oh, the gravity of the situation.

In many instances, the "sung" hero of the literature is praised for recognizing, compiling, labeling, categorizing, the knowledge and lore of "unsung" experts.

Whether doctor, engineer, or astronomer; some poor shaman, witch, carpenter, mason, or sailor; i.e. the "common man", often had, and used, the knowledge for decades, or centuries, long before philosopher, mathematician, scribe, and printer joined forces to elucidate equations and theorems on paper.

In high school, I studied Algebra (I & II), Geometry (Plane & Solid), and Trigonometry, but, never understood the application, OR theory, so much as the day a nearly illiterate journeyman carpenter demonstrated, AND EXPLAINED IN PLAIN LANGUAGE, how to find the center of a 3 3/4 inch board by dividing a whole number by 2, because the two edges were parallel lines.

Science, and scientific data, are important, and powerful, yet, but, at bottom, most computers use a system of "ones" and "zeros", to accurately perform many of their most complex functions.

I guess the moral is, "Don't let scientific theory, academia, and intelligentsia, overshadow common sense and practical application."

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Meeting Minimum Standards

By Donovan Baldwin

I really hate it when someone doesn't meet minimum expectations.

I'm not talking about tough stuff like a rocket launch, or, when a surgical operation goes awry. Those can be tricky at the best of times...even for the experts.

Nor, am I talking about the fact that things sometimes just go wrong for one reason or another.

But, when a company, or individual, has a simple job to do, does not do it, and then doesn't bother to tell the customer (Yes, me.) that they didn't do it, or why they couldn't, then I have a problem.

I let my RV storage company know last week that I needed my holding tanks flushed, and my travel trailer ready to go at 10:00 AM today.

Drove trailer.

Went inside, and people started rushing back and forth...without giving me any explanation of the delay or confusion.

Long story short, tanks had not been flushed, and, because of renovations being done to their building, they were unable to do it.

Quote, "Totally impossible, Mr. Baldwin."

I complained to the manager, and he had it done in 10 minutes.


I was not even so much upset that it wasn't ready as I was about the attitude of the guy who was supposed to get it done...

Another quote, "Not my fault. Nobody told me."

Sorry, Scott, yes it WAS your fault. It was your responsibility to make sure it got done, and you didn't. You even sent me a text message days earlier that you would take care of it.

Don't lay it off on someone else. I started looking for another place to store my trailer as soon as you said those words.

Wife got sick in the meantime and we had to come home anyway, but, still, people!!!

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It Might Not Be Your Fault

By Donovan Baldwin

For some unknown reason, as I started typing this, with, as normal, no idea where I was going to go, the letters of the first word were reversed, spelling, "gninroM".

I erased it and tried again, getting the same results.

Then I tried a trick which I had used before and it worked so I moved on.

Frustrating at first, but, it gave me something to talk about, right?

Ever blame yourself for something even though you weren't sure it really was your fault?

Many times in life, things don't come out the way we expect on the first try, or even the second. Doesn't mean WE are necessarily at fault, although a lot of people assume so.

Maybe something is going on that you don't know about or cannot even imagine. When something doesn't work out the way you expected, even if you seem to be doing everything right, YOU are not always the problem.

Sure, accept the blame and move on when you screw stuff up, but, don't just BLAME yourself because something went wrong and you don't know why.

Usually, unless you just drove over a cliff, the problem is solvable.

I think, once se get over the initial, "Oh no!" moment, which is normal, we should try to figure out what the problem is and try to solve it, not just give up and sit wallowing in self-pity, or self recrimination.

We all make mistakes sometimes.

We all do things wrong sometimes.

But, sometimes WE ARE doing everything right and something else is causing the problem. Solve the problem, if you can, and move on.

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Monday, September 11, 2017


The Dinosaur At The Drive Up Window

By Donovan Baldwin

I admit it. I'm a dinosaur.

To mix metaphors a bit, like Howard the Duck, I'm trapped in a world I never made.

In keeping with something I posted on another site this morning, we all are "stuck here", to some extent. We must learn how to survive, and thrive in the world which was given us.

I tend to live in the 50's, and 60's..

I get in trouble at drive-up windows quite often, because I ask for something simple, such as "an ice cream cone", or, "a hamburger", and then have to answer 20 questions...or more.

I walked into a donut shop the other day and asked for a Kolache, which is, essentially, a "pig in a blanket", a hot dog in a roll or croissant. I stormed out after dueling for several minutes with the guy who could not understand WHICH kolache, out of the nearly 20 available, I REALLY wanted.

Me at the Dairy Queen...

"I want a chocolate ice cream cone, please."

"What KIND of cone?"

"An ice cream cone."

"We have five different cones and umpty-ump flavors."


"Do you want cheese on that hamburger?"

"No. That would be a cheeseburger. I ordered a hamburger."

Life used to be simpler, but, science, and marketing, has managed to make life more complicated sometimes.

Ask yourself; "Have computers REALLY made my life that much easier...or free of paper?"

C'mon. Tell the truth.

Anyway, it's no wonder teenage kids can't even get a simple fast food order right.

Life's just not that simple any more...even ice cream's complicated.

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Sunday, September 10, 2017


The Perspective of Time And The History Of The Future

By Donovan Baldwin

Early this morning I awoke and lay for a while fuzzily thinking about what I would call "the perspective of time", or, perhaps, "the history of the future".

Sometimes, this perspective is introspective, as in a great little article, which coincidentally, I read a bit later this morning, written by a close friend of mine, Olive Javier, titled "A Hundred Years To Live".

Approaching from a slightly different angle, I was thinking about how time allows us, as different individuals with different perspectives, to see progress and change, not always the same.

For some of us, this is history.

I remember kids in iron lungs, because we could not control Polio.

I remember my premature baby sister dying because, in 1949, we did not have the interventions which kept my grandson, much more premature, alive in 2005.

I remember when the word, "Cancer", was the same as, "This is going to kill you painfully, horribly, and certainly".

These days, I am looking back at "cancer" as a Cancer survivor, as are several members of my family. You don't hear much about iron lungs or Polio these days, and, fortunately, many more premature babies survive, living long and healthy lives.

People living in one era, and of one age, tend to see what is happening now as important, and what is past as ancient history. Well, history affects nations, groups, families, and even individuals directly and indirectly.

You AND I are the "history" of future generations. They cannot go back and re-write history any more than we can.

Maybe the future will turn out better if we write its history correctly in the first place.

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Saturday, September 09, 2017


Nature, The Great Relaxer

By Donovan Baldwin

I sat in a park today. Pleasant interlude, although I made use of the time to try an experiment. I recorded a poem and loaded it to YouTube.

Conversation With The Moon

Even though I was "busy", just being there for a few moments, in the shade of a tree with a stream running by, was relaxing.

Even I, the guru of "peace, calm, and tranquility" had forgotten how a few quiet moments, sitting in the shade by a stream, with trees around and a blue sky above with a few white clouds, can soothe and ease the cares of the world. It can make the sun seem brighter and love seem warmer.

You can go to the library and find all kinds of books on relaxation, meditation, centering, balancing, and so on. Years ago, climbing trees and swimming in the bay, I was relaxed, centered, and balanced, and, yes, those hours on the beach watching the waves, or in the woods as the breeze blew through the limbs and leaves, was meditation.

People have come to me and asked, "How can I learn to meditate?"

I guess one simple answer would be to go find a tree by a stream. Sit under the one, and watch the other. You'll learn fairly fast how to relax.

Nature can be the great relaxer, and, it doesn't require a prescription. There are no classes to attend, no lessons to learn or practice, and it's free.

Ah. I think I'll just stretch out here for a while, and relax.

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Friday, September 08, 2017


Learning And Sharing Never End

By: Donovan Baldwin

When I was a child, I assumed that someday, LEARNING would be done.

I hated learning stuff, at least the stuff I didn't WANT to learn.

You know how this story ends.

I never stopped learning. I suppose, even at the moment of death, I'll be "learning" what that experience is like. Pity I won't be able to share it in my musings.

These thoughts on learning come to you today, because, yesterday, while on errands, and reading poetry for free in a bookstore (Half Price Books store in Arlington, TX), I was thinking.

It's what I do. I read some pages in a book...learned a little about love. Shared witty repartee with a dear friend, and learned a little about our relationship, and my feelings (all good).

Outside the bookstore, I saw a fountain with galloping horses, and learned, perhaps re-learned, how deep is my enjoyment for art, animals, blue skies, and that same bookstore, which recently has assumed a greater meaning in my life.

As all this happened, I learned, or, perhaps, re-learned, an old lesson.

I have never stopped learning. With even the tiniest things I see, or think about, or experience, I am learning.

At one point, yesterday, I was driving through Arlington, Texas, ticking off the ideas, impressions, and things I was learning, and wanted to share with you lucky people.



Don't stop learning...and sharing.

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Thursday, September 07, 2017


Knowing The Facts or The Secret Of Kevin's Glasses

By: Donovan Baldwin

When I used to teach truck driving, Monday of the first week was spent doing paperwork, and giving some orientation on company policies, what would be happening, and some basic classes to prepare students for their in-truck training.

We in-truck instructors would meet our assigned students, two or three to an instructor, on Tuesday. We instructors would walk in the classroom, identify our students, and take them down to the cafeteria for a little conversation before leading them out to the truck for training.

Students were nervous, even afraid, some terrified, and we all had different methods for relaxing them and breaking the ice.

One instructor, Kevin, had found and old pair of exceedingly thick glasses. When we entered the room, he would be wearing them, holding on to the wall for guidance, and being "helped" by the other instructors.

The students, most of whom were already at some level of terror, and not knowing really what to expect from a bunch of "truck drivers" would get the most horrified looks on their faces, wondering who was going to get the, apparently, nearly blind instructor.

We would let the joke run until Kevin picked his students, and then, after letting them "stew" for a moment, and the other students breathe a sigh of relief, we would reveal the truth. Usually got a good laugh...especially from Kevin's students.

Often in life, even if we are not happy with everything that's going on in our lives, at least knowing the truth can make us feel a little better. It's easier to deal with most things when we have the facts.

So much non-fact information is made available in our world today. Instead of just getting angrier and more terrified, maybe taking the time to check facts might help us remain a bit calmer.

Anyway, it's easier to cope with, and, make decisions about, a situation when you know the facts rather than acting on uncertain information.

I guess, in a way, Kevin's thick glasses made some things a bit clearer.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2017


Let's Blame It All On Them

By Donovan Baldwin

In a world in which there is some ubiquitous "they" in charge of stuff getting done, it's easy to blame "them" for whatever happens, or doesn't happen...especially if we don't like what happens...or didn't.

Even more interesting to me is that we forget to remember that "they" also did it when the good stuff happens...or, even harder to deduce, when bad stuff didn't happen.

House didn't catch on fire today?

Maybe that's because there are laws, bothersome and expensive, sometimes, about the materials used in construction.

I am a caregiver. I do most of what gets done around here. Fact of life. When meals are on time, coffee is hot, laundry gets done, it's not noticed. When someone's out of socks because I forgot to pick up the laundry...that gets noticed.

Ask any mom how that works.

I get mad at governments and corporations, just like anybody else, when my desires and wants are not met, or seem to be ignored, or when their actions seem inexcusably intrusive or even destructive, but, I never seem to notice when my plane doesn't crash, or my milk provides the amount of calcium or protein I expect it to...or that rock concert happens on time, just like it was supposed to.

Actually, being an old guy who loves his peace and quiet, I might complain about that last one.

Continue to complain and blame "them". I intend to. But, every once in a while, look around and think about all the good stuff that happens the internet.

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Tuesday, September 05, 2017


When The World Pushes Back

By Donovan Baldwin

We like to "be ourselves", "do our own thing".

Well, that's great, but, sometimes who we are, want to be, or the image we convey, doesn't fit well in the world, and we get pushback.

I have heard many people, including my daughter say, "Well, they just need to accept me for who I am.", and then complain about how people were NOT accepting her.

I had a truck driver friend who, that when he arrived at a busy loading dock, in the rumpled, slept-in attire of many truck drivers, he had to wait, and was ignored by warehouse staff. So, he started making sure he was clean shaven, hair combed, and, instead of a t-shirt, wore a simple, button up the front shirt.

When he got to his destination, he would put on a cheap sport coat, and clip-on tie, and go to the dock.

What happened?

People came up to him and asked how they could help him, gave him directions and assistance, sent him to THEIR break room sometimes, and, often, unloaded his load sooner, thanks in part to his genuinely cheerful mien and pleasant disposition.

Didn't work all the time, but, sometimes, it just made him feel better to present a "better", or more professional image.

We can be "who we really are", and still make ourselves more acceptable to others. It's not a lifestyle change, just an adaptation for acceptance.

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Monday, September 04, 2017


Where My Thoughts, And Life, Lead Me

By Donovan Baldwin

I like to "wing it" in these "morning musings", my first thoughts of the day.

I'm still waking up and, at my age, don't want to break anything, including brain cells.

So, when I start, I often have no idea where my thoughts and comments are going to take me. Even with planning; notes on the pad by my chair, or lingering thoughts from my last moments in bed, the actual pathway of thought and comment is generally as hidden to me as it is to you...until it's actually on the screen.

It's good that I can go back and edit. I can change words, structure, flow, content, and so on.

My musings are a bit like life. I know what's happened in the past, and maybe even a general idea of what's coming, but, the details are never positive until "down on paper", you might say.

Unfortunately, in life, unlike writing down musings, "The moving finger writes; and, having writ, moves on: Nor all thy piety nor wit, shall lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all thy tears wash out a word of it."

Here, I can diddle around with my words, and thoughts, but, in life, we are stuck with what has been set down.

While there may be other "authors" writing parts of our story, we still have great power in our input. It behooves us to write the story of our life in a more planned and careful manner.

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Sunday, September 03, 2017


How Messages Come To Us

By Donovan Baldwin

Messages come to us in all kinds of ways.

We chat, text, make phone calls.

Heck! We can talk to almost anybody in the world with the technology available these days. We just have to install it and learn how to use it.

Of course, the media we use to transmit the message is never as important as the message itself.

For those of my era, I'm not trying to be Marshall McLuhan, here. "The medium is the message" was HIS message, but, I'm meandering in a slightly different direction. However, I've got to admit that the availability of the "medium" used makes the message more important, in a way.

I write.

One reason I write is because my mouth and brain are not too well connected. Get me on a phone, and you're likely to hear "er", "um", an occasional non sequitur, and just plain "I wonder why he said THAT?"

In other words, written here, I don't do well talking. I guess (See, I'm confusing myself.), that I am coming back to a common theme I have touched on before. Sometimes we have to look past the words in the message, or whatever else it contained, and look at the heart of the messenger.

If we know that love, admiration, and respect are there, and theirs, why be concerned if the words don't quite measure up? It's the thoughts, the person, and the thoughts of THAT person, that matter. Right?

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Saturday, September 02, 2017


Getting Stuff Done

By Donovan Baldwin

Watched another Lassie episode.

Lassie is busily saving animals while two park rangers ride up and down the beach engaging in meaningless chit-chat dialogue about how wonderful the world is and needs to be taken care of.

Not real, but, in a strange way, believable.

Animals can be surprisingly effective in getting stuff done, and humans can be equally amazing in their ability to overlook reality and concentrate on the "narrative", to steal a word from an exchange of comments with Chloe Flanagan, on LinkedIn, a few weeks ago.

In fact, while influenced by fear and instinct, which may be wrong, of course, animals often tend to operate based on accomplishing what needs to be done, rather than what they "think" about stuff, and what MAY happen.

You can talk to an animal all day long about the consequences of actions, or what they SHOULD do, but, they are just going to assess the facts as they sense them and act on that.

I am not saying we human animals should opt for one way or the other. In fact, we've somehow managed to be a walking, talking, thinking combination of skills somewhere between animals and angels.

They call us homo sapiens, and, it's good to think, but, sometimes we need to stop debating, talking, overthinking the Universe and just get stuff done.

Go, Lassie!

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Friday, September 01, 2017


Be The Person You Wish To Find

By Donovan Baldwin

Got a little nostalgic last night. Not always a good thing for me in the past, but, recently, I've been getting better at coming to terms with my past.

Some changes in my life, some internal, some external, have pushed me off the path of pity I've been on for some time.

Somebody came along and helped. Not a superhero, just a real good friend.

Sometimes, that's what we need.

Sometimes it's a big shove, sometimes it's gentle nudges. Usually it's from someone who cares. Someone who sees a different "you" than the "you" that YOU see in the mirror, or, in your mind.

Oh, it can take a while to find that person that we need, and, to tell the truth, I'm not sure what kind of bait it takes to attract them and keep them.

Gonna hazard a guess, however.

If you try to be the kind of person you want to find, I think you're a bit more likely to find the kind of person you want to find.

Could be wrong. Have been before, and will be again.

But, you know, "Somewhere out there..." They're there. You've just got to set out the bait so they can know you're looking for them.

Man, I need my coffee this morning. It's the weekend.

Ya'll stay safe, okay?

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