Friday, August 31, 2007

Rabbit Rabbit

Ok, it is only August 31 but I need to plan my strategy ahead of time. And, chances are good this post will not be read until September 1.

As I considered the transition from August to September, summer to fall, work to a 3 day weekend, my curiosity was piqued this week. Why did the tradition of rabbit rabbit start?

For rabbit rabbit rookies, good luck will be yours if you say "rabbit rabbit" to others on the first day of the month. For rabbit rabbit veterans, missing the opportunity to say it first can lead to detailed plots of revenge. At least, that is how I have always understood the tradition. My father used this greeting and consistently remembered to say it each month to my mother's chagrin. That is my family's experience with rabbit rabbit, yet anything which portends to bring good luck has to have some history behind it. So, let's conduct a bit of research and discover what's up with the rabbit. (My apologies, Bugs).

As any good researcher would do, I immediately googled "rabbit rabbit." According to Wikpedia, rabbit rabbit is a common superstition in English speaking countries. It can be traced back to at least 1420 England and perhaps to the 1200's. There are tons of variations. Some traditions say rabbit 2 times, some say it 3 times. Others believe it must be said as your first words of the day. Another superstition states the listener then has bad luck for the month. But like the good fairies in Sleeping Beauty there is a way to reverse it. Simply utter "tibbar, tibbar" before going to bed on the first day of the month. Visit wikpedia.org/wiki/rabbit_rabbit for more details.

When you read this blog on September 1, please know that my rabbit rabbit to you is extended with hopes of good luck for both of us. I like the idea of rabbit rabbit representing "jumping into the future and moving ahead with life and happiness." If you are a rabbit rabbit lover, please add your comments. Maybe you have some interesting variations you have used or special memories of this centuries old tradition.

In the meantime, I have to remember to be quiet in the morning until I can call my mother and say "Rabbit Rabbit" before she has the chance to remember it is September 1.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Passages...a week of transitions

Part of family history is the passage of time, people moving into and out of your life. Memories are precious, yet memories can command your thoughts during a week of transition. One of my former co-workers in Nashville passed away unexpectedly. My boss welcomed a new baby into the world. And, my uncle, John Herzog, passed away last weekend.

Sadly, the last time I saw him was at my Uncle Alex's funeral. While I grew up in Wisconsin, Uncle Johnny, lived in Michigan. I distinctly remember his family's visits to my hometown during the summer months. He always visited in summer and I enjoyed playing with his children, Andy, Laura and Paul.

What strikes me most is that my uncle, who was closest in age to my mother, was someone I did not know as well as my other aunts and uncles. His photo in his obituary certainly showed the same happy and open face, yet was it truly 20 plus years since I saw him? Where did the time go? What memories and stories did he have about our family? Just how fast is 20 years?

Families change and times change. Now my mother is the sole survivor of her immediate family: six brothers, 2 sisters, only one surviving sister-in-law. The next generation has taken its place as the leaders. Can we slow it down? No, but we can choose how we respond to it. We can choose whether we rush to the end of our lives, or we savor each moment.

My weekend plan is to slow down and savor. I will dive into my latest reading material: In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore. I have read only to page 25, but I have found a comrade in my belief that the corporate speed of money making, multi-tasking and maximizing profits can pound us into an oblivion which is not our true purpose on earth.

Symptomatic of the SPEED expectation is the discussion of meal preparation. Is faster, cheaper food really better? Has the world not recognized the damage of rushing our food? If we eat better now than 40 years ago, why are so many people overweight? I will not find all of the answers this weekend but I am ready to start. We need to reverse this trend otherwise our legacy to our children will be SPEED at any cost.

Certainly we cannot stop the passage of time. However, we can make differences in small somewhat subtle ways. If you want to slow down, learn more about and enjoy the people around you while you have your chance, check out this web site: http://www.inpraiseofslow.com/slow/index.php

Can our society learn to slow down? I, for one, want to give it a try. Joy and gratefulness in the moment can lead the way to ease the transitions, both the births and the losses.