Friday Unwind #8: Amazon Mule Delivery, Living, Ojai Olive Oil, Storyworthy, Lost City of Roanoke, National Cat Month
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🐎📫 Amazon Mule Delivery
Git along now Buttercup. Easy there, Twinkie. Ok there, Penelope. The canyon wall dropped precipitously on the left and jutted straight up on the right with a narrow, rock strewn, dirt path in between.
No planes, drones, or delivery trucks here. No UPS, USPS, or FedEx. Just pack mules headed down into the canyon with Amazon deliveries. The Mule Express.
Four days a week, 10 mules and 2 packers start out along Bright Angel Trail as the sun rises for the 9 mile trek down to Phantom Ranch. That would be four plus hours of complete fear for me as I envision the 5,000 mile elevation change happening in one quick slip.
Apparently mules don’t suffer from acrophobia. Please, please, please, don’t let me come back as a mule…
🎬 Groovie Movie: Living
Senior London County Council bureaucrat Rodney Williams (Bill Nighy) tosses one more permit application on top of the mountain of other applications sitting in the bin on his desk. It’s a reflex reaction. Other assistants sit around a long, drab table, tossing more permits and applications into their overflowing bins. A bunch of somber clad, unsmiling automatons.
When Williams learns that he has terminal cancer, he decides to overdose on sleeping pills, ending a monotonous and boring life.
Stick with me here….I know this theme sounds like a ‘must miss’….but it’s here that Williams’ real life begins.
A night on the town full of singing and burlesque and a young woman, Miss Harris, who reminds Williams what life could be like, inspire him to engage with the world and to do something….something good before he dies. Miss Harris tells Williams that her secret nickname for him is Zombie….’not living and not dead’. Time to change that!
Will Rodney remain a Zombie until the bitter end?
Follow him until his final moments when he sings The Rowan Tree, which in Celtic mythology is known as ‘the tree of life’.
Nighy received his first Oscar nomination for his role in ‘Living’. Rotten Tomatoes gives ‘Living’ a 96%. I wonder what score you’ll give it.
🍝 Ojai Olive Oil Company
Imagine finding a grove of centuries old olive trees right next to your family farm in Ojai, California. This entire grove was Lechin de Sevilla trees, originally from Andalucia, Spain.
Such was the good fortune of the Asquith family, whose third generation continues to produce exquisite olive oil.
Over the years they have brought back and transplanted cuttings from varietals in France, Italy, and Sicily. Some of these cuttings came from trees that were more than 1,000 years old.
We have visited Ojai Olive Oil Company twice. It’s quaint, humble and unpretentious. Someone is always climbing a ladder into a tree. Family dogs wag in friendship as you wander the grounds. And you can get up close to the equipment to see how they make the gold elixir.
We continue to order their olive oils and balsamic vinegars online. Our favorite combination is a peppery Andalucian olive oil and Traditional Style Balsamic, drizzled over fresh Campari tomatoes, basil from our garden, and tender mozzarella cheese, next to a crusty slice of sweet French bread. Yum.
Do you have a favorite olive oil and/or balsamic?
📚 Book Review: Storytelling
I’ve always been a terrible story teller. But there’s always room for improvement, right? So I picked up a copy of ‘Storyworthy’ by Matthew Dicks.
Matthew is a 36-time Moth StorySLAM champion and 5-time GrandSLAM champion.
Wait. What? Back up for a sec. What is Moth?
Poet and novelist, George Dawes Green would gather on his porch in Georgia with his friends on sultry summer evenings. As they shared spell binding tales, moths fluttered around, attracted by the night lights… or was it the intriguing stories.
The storytellers called themselves ‘Moths’, inspiring the nonprofit ‘Moth’ in 1997. Their mission? “To promote the art and craft of storytelling and to honor and celebrate the diversity and commonality of human experience.” Today, more than 600 events take place in 27 U.S. cities, London, and Melbourne.
Ok. So now you know. Matthew Dicks is the ‘real deal’ of story tellers.
Oh right, we were going to talk about his book. Coming up. But not quite yet….
Matthew Was Petrified
In 2011 Matthew Dicks told his first ‘Moth’ story at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in the Lower East Side of New York. Although his friends had encouraged him to compete, he had managed to lie his way out of going for months. Because. He was petrified. When he finally told his wife, Elysha, that he couldn’t live with himself if he didn’t try, she said, “Fine. I’ll get tickets.” He was doomed.
Since that fateful night, Matthew has appeared all over the U.S. and internationally. His stories have been told on the Moth Radio Hour and podcasts and listened to by millions of people.
Matthew says, “My family…barely communicated at all. I only started (story) telling because my friends shamed me into giving it a try. If I can do this, you can too.”
We all have stories. You just need to know how to find them in your everyday life and then capture them for future telling. Let me show you how.
I will never compete at a Moth StorySLAM. I don’t want to. I do, however, want to tell engaging stories. The kind where people are on the edge of their seat. Or at least, the kind where people eagerly give you their attention from beginning to end.
That’s why I picked up Storyworthy. It was worth every page. In Part I, Matthew shows you how to ‘find your story’. In Part II you learn how to ‘craft your story’. And in Part III, you discover how to ‘tell your story’.
Don’t expect an educational manual. You won’t get it. Expect Matthew’s storytelling throughout, drawing you in and engaging you in becoming your own storyteller.
Storyworthy has a permanent place on my library shelf, although I admit, much of the time it’s on my table with folded pages for another read. It’s that good.
🏝 Lost City of Roanoke
It’s an unsolved mystery.
In August, 1590, When Governor John White returned from England to his little colony of Roanoke Island, he expected to find his wife, his daughter, and his 3 year old granddaughter among the 117 colonists that had settled there in August of 1587.
He found nothing. Not one human. No signs of struggle. No gravesites. Only the word ‘Croatoan’ carved into a wooden post.
Croatoan was the name of an Indian tribe as well as an island (now known as Hatteras Island) about 50 miles south of Roanoke. Storms prevented White from sailing there to find out if there were survivors and he later sailed for the Caribbean instead, never returning to Roanoke. So much for a caring husband, father, and grandfather…
Although archeologists have been investigating, four hundred and thirty-three years later, the disappearance remains a mystery. Maybe you can solve it!
😻 National Cat Month
In honor of National Cat Month, we have a special HERDING CATS 🦁 puzzle from our guest, Mitchell H. Allen, author of Mitchell’s Mind-bending Variety Puzzle Brain Dump. Mitchell is a story-teller, a puzzle book crafter, and a game designer. He is also a friend.
For all you adventurous cats, copy cats, hep cats, and cool cats, here’s how the puzzle works:
Every word is the name of a cat.
Each cat name is 4, 5, 6, or 7 letters long.
The cat names are listed below…but to make it a little harder, two of the cat names are omitted from the list. Each one is represented by the ⭐⭐. HINT: the two missing names are ➡ loitering ⬅ right here.
Download the puzzle. (Thank you Mitchell)
Complete the crossword by filling in all the BIG CATS!
Everyone say “Thank you, Mitchell” in the comments! And be sure to check out his newsletter.
💡 Your Ideas Are the Best
If you have a topic you’d like me to explore, or you’d like to talk about submitting a guest post, please send me a note at email@example.com.
Also, I’m considering occasionally including something a little more serious for us to talk about together. What do you think? I am an open book with a blank page…
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Wherever you are, I hope life is sunny. 🌞❤Heather