Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Study In Generosity At The University Of BC

BESIDES LEARNING why they need umbrellas in Vancouver, students at the University of British Columbia delve into a treasure trove of knowledge they hope to one day share with the world. Perhaps they will also learn that although the brain tops the list of subjects begging for innovative thinking it takes heart to make the needed research happen ... and a generous spirt.

The Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health at UBC shows an artistic impression of brain cells etched in the glass. Understanding of the brain is in its infancy as is the newly constructed building I visited with my husband who is dealing with a neurological condition that began over two years ago.

We were impressed with the nearly 135,00 square foot scope of the facility largely made possible by Mowafaghiana, a longtime philanthropist of humble beginnings who learned lessons in generosity early from his mother.

His desire to bring all the multidisciplinary areas of brain health under one large umbrella was triggered more recently after he suffered a stroke. This unfortunate health crisis turned out to be fortunate for those with various movement and other disorders seeking answers now and into the future.

How often have you heard about someone down and out who would give you the shirt off his back? Generosity is not exclusive to the rich but when there is little to lose perhaps it is easier to give than when wealth accumulates?

No so for 87-year-old Mowafaghiana who went from being bankrupt to gaining and giving away millions. He no doubt would agree with Albert Pike who said, "What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal."

Of course giving is not only about dropping some loose change in a panhandler's cup or constructing big buildings. Sharing time, talents and non-monetary acts of goodness also have ripple effects.

Visit Postcards From Penelope Puddle to view more BC scenes.

To see more sights from around the globe visit Our World at the sidebar.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Tiny Gift That Gives Me A Lift!

DOES YOUR imagination soar at the thought of grabbing this tiny red umbrella to take a spin around the room and out into the blue horizon?

The ornament was one of the gifts my daughter gave me at Christmas this year. She discovered it nestled in a vintage shop crammed with tantalizing used goods and thought of me right away. It gives me a lift whenever I see it dangling at the window.

Although I am certainly no Mary Poppins, it is nice to be associated with umbrellas. An umbrella to me (and Penelope) is a canopy for protection against the splashes, a magic wand with which to make a wish, a handy stick to ward off a stumble, and a parachute geared for adventure rolled into one tidy package.

This perfect gift made me realize how sometimes challenging, but always gratifying, it is to find the right thing for the right person. Have you considered what your perfect gift would be? Perhaps you already have it. Great thinkers have pondered on the less tangible gifts that cannot be contained in a box:

"Health is the greatest gift … ,” according to the Buddha and my mother who used to say that as well.

Voltaire said, “God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.”

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “I think at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.”

Visit Postcards From Penelope Puddle to view more BC scenes.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Sunday, January 12, 2014

What Would You Do If You Found Money?

DURING MY TREK up a familiar grassy knoll on New Year's Eve day, I spotted something a bit unusual. Although I am used to seeing lost coins along Crescent Beach trails these were two (or more) ten-dollar bills placed neatly into a rain soaked log.

I left the money untouched but questions whirled in my mind. Was this a candid camera moment to see how many people would take the bait? Or were these bills simply tucked into the only object on a barren hill that would serve as a paperclip should the person who lost the cash return to the trail?

Was a note of explanation folded in with the money? Could this be the drop off spot for a mysterious purchase or exchange of some sort? Was this part of a treasure hunt scheduled for a party later? (The only treasure hunt I recall is the one my husband dreamed up decades ago with an engagement ring at the end.) Or was this a random gift for anyone who happened to pass by.

Would most people walk away empty handed but with as many questions as I have done? With inflation perhaps the amount did not seem quite enough. Yet if it were a penny I probably would have picked it up and considered it luck.

A few days later the log looked washed out in the sunlight. The cash had vanished and was replaced by a morning frost that was melting fast.

Visit Postcards From Penelope Puddle to view more BC scenes.

To see more sights from around the globe visit Our World at the sidebar.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Fairytale Marriage Proposal In White Rock

THE CAST WAS AGHAST and the audience enthralled when a fully costumed and effervescent Rocky Raccoon (Jennifer Tiles) was confronted by her prince charming without warning. He leapt onto the stage, sang a song and asked for her hand in marriage. I was able to get a few pictures of the magical event that concluded the Rumplestiltskin play I wrote about earlier. Who would not swoon at such a creative and romantic gesture to start off a wonderful life?

Bravo to the future groom for upstaging everyone with his ingenious, gallant and unforgettable wedding proposal! And bravo to the "beautiful creature" (his words) who won his heart.

Watch that part of the play for yourself on Youtube as it culminates in the proposal at A Raccoon Says YES!.

Although less public and minus the costumes, the event reminded me of my husband’s proposal well over three decades ago. It involved an elaborate treasure hunt scheme with a perfect sparkly diamond ring at the end.

Visit Postcards From Penelope Puddle to view more BC scenes.

To see more sights from around the globe visit Our World at the sidebar.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms