Tag Archives: Albert Einstein


This week has been brutal in Colorado...it's not a good time to try to ride a bike.

This week has been brutal in Colorado…it’s not a good time to try to ride a bike.



bike in snow



My first “it’s mine and nobody else’s” bike was a blue Western Flyer. No bells and whistles, and definitely no training wheels, just a great bike.   I was seven when my mom taught me to ride it. She pointed me straight ahead on the sidewalk, holding on the to back of the seat, and running along with me as I wobbled and squealed and pedaled, clutching the handle-bar grips for all I was worth. Mark Twain was right when he said, “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it…if you live.” I took a lot of tumbles and was scabs and band-aides from head to toes for a while, but soon I was riding all around the neighborhood.

The amazing thing about Mom teaching me to ride a bike was that she had never learned to ride one. She grew up on a Missouri farm where the roads were dirt and gravel. Her mother taught her to drive a car—and they ended up in a ditch before Mom became proficient—but she never learned to ride a bike.

Almost ten years ago, when my dad was still alive, Mom and I drove down to Chicken Annie’s near Pittsburg, KS to pick up to-go meals to take back for us, Dad, and his caregiver to have for dinner. As we sat outside at the picnic table waiting for our order, two older women—maybe grandmothers—stood one on each side of a young boy trying to learn to ride a bike. It was a familiar comedy of errors, with near falls and close calls for both the women and the little boy, but finally the boy took off. Mom and I cheered and clapped . For the boy, yes, but especially for his teachers. “You did that for me, Mom,” I said, and she nodded, smiled and said, “I remember.” I put my arm around her and kissed her cheek. “Thank you.”

January is National Thank You Month. Take it from one who knows, if there’s anyone in your life—a relative, friend, teacher, neighbor, anyone who’s offered you help or shown you a kindness—thank that person this month. I’m glad I thanked my mother for the bike riding lesson when I did; within a few years she would not have understood what I was saying. I remember that day, the way she smiled and nodded, and I also realized that saying Thank You is a double blessing, once for the person receiving the thanks, and once for the person expressing it.

This is also Universal Letter Writing Week. If you have an older friend, someone in the hospital or a nursing home, please write a card or letter thanking them for one specific thing they did for you. Nurses and caregivers are very responsive to reading aloud the cards and messages, and often the recipients will hold their cards and fall asleep with them.

These two activities are excellent examples of Janus looking backward and forward at the beginning of the new year. When we look back at what others have done for us and reach forward to thank them, we change our lives…and theirs.

It’s a matter of balance. Albert Einstein wrote: “Life is like riding a bicycle—in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.” And a good example of that forward movement is gratitude.

Bike ornament on my wall.  (Pictures by Marylin Warner)

Bike ornament on my wall. (Pictures by Marylin Warner)


"Fat Tire #3" original sculpture in Salina, KS., by Lance Carlton Washington

“Fat Tire #3” original sculpture in Salina, KS., by Lance Carlton Washington

Framed bicycle print with message by Flavia: "Somewhere between the earth and sky, there is a secret place we all go to dream."

Framed bicycle print with message by Flavia: “Somewhere between the earth and sky, there is a secret place we all go to dream.”


Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, importance of doing good things, lessons about life, making a difference, special quotations


Art wall next to Old Colorado City Library in Colorado Springs.

Art wall next to Old Colorado City Library in Colorado Springs.

Web creativity by grass spiders in Abilene, KS.

Web creativity by grass spiders in Abilene, KS.










Dear Mom,

Albert Einstein once said, “Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.”  But I have a lifetime of experiences that confirm that this is also your philosophy.

You don’t remember, but one of the many ways you passed on the joy of creativity was when we decorated our Christmas tree as I was growing up. If we got it from the tree lot, I usually chose a sad tree with uneven branches and bare sections, much like the Charlie Brown tree that came later. I knew we could make it beautiful, and we always did. Year after year we’d string the lights and hang some special ornaments, but your philosophy was that the best art was homemade. You applauded  when we cut snowflakes out of newspaper, created our own decorations from pine cones gathered in the yard, and tied paper dolls and small toys to the branches with ribbon.  Neighborhood kids sometimes joined in because the trees at their houses were fleeced or specially decorated and delivered from the green house.

In honor of all the individual acts of creativity you applauded, I’ve created a little test on who-said-what to share with our friends who visit this blog. After all, schools will soon be letting out for vacation, and nothing says Merry Christmas like a test!

Here are the choices:   A) Carl Sandburg    B) Mary Shepherd    C) Jack London    D) Henry Ward Beecher    E) Sean Connery   F) Pablo Picasso  G) Maya Angelou  H) Winston Churchill    I) Lou Holtz    J) None of the above

Here are the quotes:

1) “You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.”

2) “You write your first draft with your heart, and you re-write with your head.”

3) “To draw, you must close your eyes and sing.”

4) “One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude.”

5) “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

6) “A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.”

7) “Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”

8) “Why, honey, that’s beautiful. You’re so creative. I love it!”

9) “The stone age didn’t end because it ran out of stones.”

10) “’No comment’ is a splendid expression. I am using it again and again.”

The answers are posted in the first comment box.

If you were asked to comment on creativity, what would you say? Do you have a favorite quote from someone else? Share it with us!

Tree sculpture carved from a dead tree. (All photos by Marylin Warner)

Tree sculpture carved from a dead tree. (All photos by Marylin Warner)


Filed under "Christmas Memories With Mom", art, art projects, Dementia/Alzheimer's, lessons about life, making a difference, memories for great-grandchildren


TinMan & girlfriend IMG_2189

Goodbye Oz: The Tin Man has moved to Abilene, KS

Dear Mom,

In several polls to determine readers’ favorites from Dorothy’s traveling companions in THE WIZARD OF OZ, Tin Man is often in third place. Sometimes he even comes in fourth, behind Toto, her little dog.

But no matter. In this blog, this week, The Tin Man is our featured star. He’s in love! Really. We don’t know his girlfriend’s name, but you have to admit, they make a shiny couple. If we can’t quite see the attraction, we’ll chalk it up to love being blind. As Albert Einstein said, “You can’t blame gravity for falling in love.”

We can give the credit for the creation of Tin Man and Dotty (I named them that) to the staff of the Dickinson County Transfer Station near Abilene, Kansas. Their creation is not a monster made of body parts dug up in cemeteries like Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN, but a fun couple made of disposable electronics recycled into something new.

In THE WIZARD OF OZ, two of Tin Man’s lines make him my favorite character. The first is when he’s about to lose his friend Dorothy: “Now I know I’ve got a heart, ‘cause it’s breaking.” The other is his wisdom about the measure of love: “It’s not how much you love, but how much you are loved by others.”

That’s the quote I dedicate to you, Mom. You have always had a tremendous capacity to love others, to respect, accept, befriend and help them. And now, at 94 when your dementia, frailty and confusion limit the love you can offer others, the Karma of love has come full circle back to you. Can you feel the love, Mom? I hope so. It’s there.

grandma kiss Gannon

Mary Shepherd sharing love and hugs with great-grandson, Gannon.
(all photos by Marylin Warner)


Our nation dumps between 300-400 million electronic items per year, and less than 20% of that e-waste is recycled.  www.dosomething.org/actnow/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-e-waste

junk in landfill


Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, friends, importance of doing good things, making a difference, memories for grandchildren, memories for great-grandchildren