Sunday, February 19, 2012

Gratitude for the K.I.S.S.

Gratitude for the K.I.S.S.

I think it was about forty years ago, when I first heard this acronym.  It was at a seminar conducted by Terry Cole-Whittaker.  

The KISS Principle was a design principle articulated by Kelly Johnson.
Variants from Wikipedia:   The principle most likely finds its origins in similar concepts, such as Occam's razor, and Albert Einstein's maxim that "everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler".  Leonardo da Vinci's "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication", or Antoine de Saint ExupĂ©ry's "It seems that perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away".
K = Keep
I = It
S = Simple
S = Stupid

A good reminder, which I often forget.  I am inclined to complicate things, without intending to do so.  Being detail-minded is a good quality, but I tend to push it a bit too far sometimes.  When writing, I’m often verbose.  In my poetry, I digress, going off on a tangent, compounding the words, resembling an almost novel-length piece of work, instead of a creative sonnet. Sometimes I don’t talk, but rather ramble, on and on and on and on.  I sense the annoyance of that, when my family breathes sighs of boredom.

My boss would remind me to keep it simple, when writing emails.  But, I’d think it was necessary to include all those extra details in order to get the point across to the reader.  Maybe that’s true sometimes, but not usually; and definitely not to the extent I carried it.

I’m writing about this now, as a reminder for me to focus on transforming my complexity into simplicity; and my accumulation into minimalism.

But, how does one undertake this task, after sixty-four years filled with the obstacles of complication and obscurity?  I honestly do not know.  But, what I do know is that it’s never too late for learning a new concept.

Even now, as I write, this would be a good place to end, maintaining brevity.  But, my inner voice tells me to keep my fingers moving on the keyboard, as random thoughts swirl around in my head.

For now, I’m telling my inner voice to be silent, while I attempt to KEEP IT SIMPLE.

Lesson one, in this challenge to consolidate my words into simplicity, is to conclude this chapter immediately, without another thought.

THE END ………………………….  for now anyway

Biting my tongue, sitting on my hands, closing my eyes, holding my breath…..

GRATEFUL for the courage to challenge and defy my inner voice

GRATITUDE for the K.I.S.S.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

GRATITUDE for Valentine's Day - Past & Present

Reflecting back with fond memories - fourteen years ago (1998), on a very wet, stormy day, we went to a wedding. He asked me to pack an overnight bag, but wouldn’t tell me where we were going. It was a surprise. After the wedding he swept me away to places unknown. The rain was coming down very hard, but he kept driving. Finally we arrived at our destination – The Embassy Suites in Arcadia, CA. He had reserved a special room with the Valentine’s Day Love Package, complete with champagne and chocolate, among other things. On our way to brunch the next morning at the hotel, we watched in the courtyard garden area, as two people (strangers to us) spoke their wedding vows, pledging their love to each other. We had not yet talked about marriage, but I dreamed that one day we would be that couple in that same gazebo in the garden, promising to love, honor and cherish each other forever.

For more than a year, each month, he gave me beautiful fresh roses – each month adding one more than the month before; with the exception of August, when he had thirty amazing roses delivered to me. This represented the thirty years since we had first met in August 1968.

Thirteen years ago (1999), barely awake, still in our jammies, hair not combed, teeth not brushed, we sat in my backyard drinking coffee. He excused himself and went into the house. Shortly he returned with a bouquet of twenty-four red roses, but these were artificial – silk ------ “fake” flowers????? This was so unlike him, or so I thought. But, it was exactly just like him – the wonderfully loving romantic man in my life. As he held the flowers, he explained that unlike real roses, these would last forever, just like his love for me. Then he got down on one knee and proposed.

There was no engagement ring, but it didn’t matter to me. We were in love and we were going to get married to share the rest of our lives together. That’s what was important. When we finally got around to discussing a wedding date, this fifty-four year old man suggested waiting a few years. Wait? A few years? For what? We had known each other for over thirty years! We’d been involved for over a year. We had no doubts about our love for each other. There was no reason to wait. But, we did wait one year, because we wanted to get married close to the date of my parents’ wedding anniversary, February 15th. With my lucky number being 19, it was perfect – the following year (2000) February 19th fell on a Saturday. But, we’ll get to that day in a little while. There’s more to the engagement chapter.

A couple months after his proposal on Valentine’s Day in 1999, we were out dancing.  While moving slowly on the dance floor, wrapped in each other's embrace, he said “Put your hand in my pocket.” I was shocked! What???? He said it again. I said “I am not putting my hand in your pocket out here in public on the dance floor!” As I tried to escape, he took my hand and put it in his pocket, where my engagement ring was hiding. He put it on my finger and proposed again. The ring is not only beautiful, but lovingly thought out. There are two gold angels, one on each side of the stone. He told me these angels are there to protect me always.

Fast-forward to February 19th, 2000, our wedding day. In front of family and close friends, we said our vows, in that gazebo in the garden at The Embassy Suites in Arcadia – the very same place we had watched others get married two years before.

Remember those silk red roses from 1999? Yes, they do last forever! We’ve kept them displayed in our home, ever since he gave them to me.

Fast-forward to today, February 14th, 2012, Valentine’s Day. This morning, he walked over to me, while carrying those same silk roses. He proposed again, very much like he did thirteen years ago; with the exception of getting down on one knee. We laughed when he said his body doesn’t allow him to bend that way anymore. This is something we both understand all too well.

In five days we will celebrate twelve years of marriage together, as soulmates, best friends, and lovers. Life is not perfect. We have our challenges at times. But, we are perfect for each other, and still very much in love.

For this, gratitude fills my heart.

P.S. Last night I came across a love letter that Mike had written to me on Valentine’s Day 2010. I didn’t re-read it, until after I had finished writing this. Some of what he wrote is almost exactly what I’ve just written. Just another example of our amazing bond, and proof that we were meant to be together.

Always and Forever ♥