Scents I am able to recall…

i can bring back certain scents from memory

maybe you can too

yesterday in a hospital room i was explaining to mom that because of his septoplasty surgery three weeks earlier he has lost his sense of smell

but I was sitting eating a banana and he was able to smell it
same thing when I walked in with a cup of coffee

i could not say that some people have the ability to summon a scent from memory
because this has not been proven yet

List of scents I can summon on demand:

  1. The scent the stem of a rose bleeds right when it’s cut.
  2. The body odor of grandmothers.
  3. The honey-sweet scent of breast milk on a baby’s warm cheeks.
  4. A banana.
  5. Coffee.
  6. Mastic.
  7. Amaretto.
  8. Leather.
  9. Tobacco, pipe Tobacco.

every scent i am able to recall is associated with a pleasant memory
i an not able to recall a scent associated with a bad memory

~ last tambourine, take it all in while you can


  1. last tambourine = Someone we know.
  2. Photo: Marta Dzedyshko (via Pixels)

Guest Post: “Chores”

Good morning. 

I asked David if he would post a guest entry from me on his blog. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my experience with so many of my virtual friends in a space and a community that inspires me. So here we go…

Chores by Haley Nahman inspired this. 

First, some background.

I have six months left on the right side of 50. This makes me Generation X. My Father is from the Silent Generation. My Mother is a Baby Boomer.  The Silents and the Boomers built this world we live in. They ground it out. They stood it up. They worked. And while their blood flows through me, my body, mind, and soul roam in a new era. The pace can’t be maintained. The planet can’t sustain it. It is time for a fine-tuning of the approach for our way forward. A re-setting so to speak. Everyone from all generations now needs to Learn, the learning that requires lots of unlearning to take place. That needs slowing down.

I took a two-year break from Social Media. It’s difficult to explain why, but I just had enough. There was too much mindless scrolling. It was very noisy.

And then, if that wasn’t enough, I quit a professionally fulfilling job in August, with a preeminent institution that I highly respect…I’m sure most would say, “Wow, impressive.” Hours were long (very). But, I loved the work. The pay was good. I was told that I was highly effective at a job I dreamed about — but…I needed to move on.

Team members (friends) continue to call to chat. They call to understand why I left.  Why? They call to ask what I’m doing now, so I explain.

“I’ve been walking to the grocery store daily to get what I need to cook dinner.” The work friend suggests: “Why don’t you plan for the week and go to the store once.”  It’s hard to explain to those of us on the treadmill, but I find joy in walking to the grocery store. I take the long way. I walk through alleys. I then meander up and down the aisles in the grocery store to find what inspires me. And then I walk home. All of this can best be explained as finding peace and joy that I had not felt in a long time.

Chores.’ English is not my first language. Ever since I started learning English, my brain registered chores as work people did not want to do.  It does not feel like a synonym for a task, errand, or something I need to do or would like to check off my list as I put my beautiful day together. 

Taking a sabbatical from Social Media in January of 2021, and then resigning from my job in August 2022, have enabled me to control how I spend my days. Because “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing.” Annie Dillard said.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. Just because I am good at something is not reason enough for me to do it for a living. And I acknowledge it is so hard to stop!
  2. I am a gas guzzler with low miles per gallon. Or an electric car. I need to make frequent stops for fuel. 
  3. To refuel or recharge, I need to disconnect FULLY.
  4. My center of gravity is not my work life. Toni Morrison said it best here in “The Work You Do, The Person You Are:”
    • Whatever the work is, do it well—not for the boss but for yourself.
    • You make the job; it doesn’t make you.
    • Your real life is with us, your family.
  5. You are not the work you do; you are the person you are.

There was an ache akin to a pain only she who has breastfed knows. The ache a nursing mother feels when something stands between her and nurturing her infant, what matters the most. Work was the adult with a tight grip on my wrist, a little girl being dragged along, weaving in and out of oncoming traffic. I could not keep up. And it hurt. And I felt small. I felt a need to just stop to pull myself together.  So, I’ve traded long hours and a few bucks each year, and then I took those few bucks and invested in Me. Yet, I acknowledge the Grinders, building the rails that we ride, while others, me included, contribute in our own way, and watch the sunrise above the din.

The Pandemic slowed our world down. What got away as background noise, became loud and disturbing as everything else paused. It’s like my world was saying, “please, stop, get down on your knees at my eye level and pay attention to me.” I am still at its eye level paying attention, and I will be down here for some time.

Thank you,


DK: Note. This quote from Thich Nhat Hanh reminded me of Sawsan living his guidance: 

“If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not “washing the dishes to wash the dishes.” What’s more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes. In fact we are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink. If we can’t wash the dishes, the chances are we won’t be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future—and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life.”

She’s Back…and replies…

My Dear virtual Friend David,

Thank you for this warm welcome. You took me by surprise with your She’s Back post.

Live & Learn has been home since day 1, since November 16, 2014, since Gate A-4.

I never stopped following you, Dale, Louise, or Karen, to name a few. The notification you received was me following you by email from a different email address, just putting my affairs in order.

I stayed in touch one way or another with everyone. And I am sorry if I left anyone wondering.

I am well. And as Valerie said in her comment, the past two years were full of Life and Vitality. And if that is not a blessing, I don’t know what is.

I am unsure if I am up to sharing why I left and why I chose to stop being an active participant on social media, everywhere on social media.

Days felt longer again. And there was no more scrolling.

I missed Dale in the evening. And I would pour myself a cup of tea and sit with her. I’ll read her most recent blog posts, go to her Instagram to see what she made for dinner for inspiration, and check out her Wordless Wednesday Photo. Dale, the Roses in the rain are Blog-post worthy. Dale and I texted frequently. I have to call Dale now and then, but we laugh so much that we seldom hear what the other is saying. Love you, Dale.

You are The King of the early hours of every day. My morning is planned around your Blog post and then your Day Break photos a couple of hours later—you threw me off when you posted nothing for over a week. But I reached out to our friend Dale, and she ensured you were okay.

If I were to answer your question again since the Proust Questionnaire,

Why do you keep coming back to this Blog?

I keep coming back because it is fertile ground for inspiration and because in a mad world, it is a safe place, High ground in flood.

With endless gratitude,


Guest Post by Sawsan, in response yesterday’s post titled “She’s Back“. Welcome back Sawsan. You were missed.



Our very own Sawsan. Milwaukee, Wisconsin May 2007. Weekend summer festival by the lake.

And I quote Sawsan: “I was stressed. He (Caleb) was huge. My daughter and I were between his two humps. I sunk in. I was so worried she would fall. Seriously, it was like being on a ship in the ocean in high waves.”

How great is this?!?


  • Sawsan’s WordPress blog can be found at: Last Tambourine
  • Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again. Caleb is grounded in Work For Home and can’t come out to play this week.

TGIF: “The” Highlight of This Week.

An email from our friend Sawsan with the subject heading that caught the eye:

“Your Little Friends.”

Followed by this lead-in:

“I was at a trinket store downtown. The owner had just opened the door to start the day and they stormed in.”

Followed by her comment:

“David, I was standing outside looking in. The store doesn’t open for another 15 minutes. I was about to walk away and the owner showed up. She insisted that I come in. We went in, she closed the door behind her. She started telling me the story of her life and the store. I looked outside, THEY WERE ALL THERE.
About 50 of them.

They’ve been coming for years, she said.

And you want believe this!!!
She said that every day, 7 days a week, minutes before closing time, they all quietly fly out. Magic.

Sawsan Takes The Proust Questionnaire

  1. What is your current state of mind? At peace, but stressed. working on multiple projects and short on time.
  2. What is your favorite journey? Inward, always inward.
  3. What is your idea of perfect happiness? Silence, solitude, poetry, and wine! Food too.
  4. What is your greatest fear? Losing the ones I love.
  5. What is your most marked characteristic? Fiery
  6. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Impatience and I have OCD tendencies.
  7. What is the trait you most deplore in others? Not being authentic. 
  8. What is your greatest extravagance? Daydreaming! 
  9. What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Patience, hence I’m impatient.
  10. On what occasion do you lie? When I can’t say no.
  11. Dislike most about your appearance? I always wished my skin was darker. 
  12. Which living person do you most despise? No one. But I’m indifferent to some people. And if I’m indifferent to someone they wish I despised them. 
  13. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Are you F****** kidding me?”
  14. What is your greatest regret? Wasting time not being productive. 
  15. What or who is the greatest love of your life? My family.
  16. When and where were you happiest? When I didn’t know how ugly this world we live in can be. I can be at my happiest but cannot stop thinking of the less fortunate.
  17. Which talent would you most like to have? Writing…
  18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? To be less fiery. I don’t have a temper. But on the inside, I can go from ice to volcano in a fraction of a  second. 
  19. If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be? I want them all under one roof again, with me.
  20. What do you consider your greatest achievement? Surviving not knowing where my two sons were for almost 10 years. They were with their father, I just didn’t know where exactly. I found them, we were reunited in 2012, and they’ve been with me since then. A happy ending, yes, but sometimes I look back and think, “Did all this really happen?” 
  21. What is your most treasured possession? My peace of mind.
  22. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? There is no worse misery than losing a child to death.
  23. Where would you like to live? In a log cabin in the mountains, far far away, near the edge of the world. Don’t ask me where that is.
  24. What is your favorite occupation? The one I’m transitioning into right now; medical interpreting, and translating.
  25. What is the quality you most like in a man? Tenderness and integrity.
  26. What is the quality you most like in a woman? Tenderness and integrity. I do realize I gave the same answer to both men and women. Both are human first. Gender-specific qualities are for another kind of questionnaire.
  27. What do you most value in your friends? I don’t want a friend to ever tell me what I want to hear. I want my friends to say it like it is.
  28. Who are your favorite writers? I don’t have a favorite writer, I have favorite pieces of writing.
  29. Who is your favorite hero of fiction? Wonder Woman, the new wonder woman.
  30. What is it that you most dislike? Those that don’t pay attention to detail.
  31. Who are your heroes in real life? In this day and age, my heroes are the ones that care. They always do their part. They don’t do “their best”, they do what it takes.
  32. How would you like to die? Very old, in my bed, after I get the chance to say my goodbyes, I wish to be alone, awake and aware when my time comes. 
  33. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be? As Myself, again and again, and again.
  34. What is your motto? Whatever it is you’re doing always ask yourself, “why am I doing this?” 
  35. DK’s Bonus Question: Why do you keep coming back to this Blog? Live and Learn is the only Blog that is a part of my day, every day, most days with my morning coffee. I keep coming back because it is a delightful place to be, where everybody knows your name kind of place, I keep coming back because it is fertile ground for inspiration, and so much more…



  • Sawsan is an Awesome Friend and faithful follower and kindly agreed to share her responses to the Proust Questionnaire.  Sawsan’s WordPress blog can be found at: Last Tambourine
  • The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust, the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.  (Source: Vanity Fair)
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