Thursday, April 19, 2007

Serendipity

Isn't it fun to say that word? Serendipity I was around ten, or so, when I first heard the word, but I never really knew what it meant until I was much older. At the time, if I heard the word, it instantly made me think of Dippity-Doo. Remember that stuff, girls? That little plastic tub of pink goo that our mothers would comb into their hairstyles to give it hold, bounce, or a helmet-crust? Dippity-Doo used to fascinate me. I think I plunged my finger deep into the bubbly pink depths on many occasions just for the pure sneaky thrill of it.

But I digress. :-) Serendipity is when someone accidentally discovers something fortunate while searching for something else entirely. So, you're looking for that book you wanted to read, and know it was in the TBR pile, but when you dive under the bed for search and rescue, you discover that missing pink sock you need desperately to match your outfit for tonight. Serendipity!

Here are a few neat examples of serendipitious discoveries over the years:

-- Mauve - (yes, the color!), when searching for artificial quinine, the creator accidentally stumbled on this lovely dye.

--Teflon - the search for a new refrigeration gas lead to this slick substance instead

-- Viagra - Initially this drug was tested for hypertension, but we all know how that one turned out. :-)

-- Popsicles - a glass of soda water was left out accidentally during the winter, and...voila!

-- Post-It Notes - an attempt to develop a super-strong glue resulted in this less powerful, but very popular substance

-- Corn flakes - cooked wheat was left untended for days, and during the clean-up process, well...

-- Silly Putty - they were looking for a rubber substitute during WWII, but...

And you! You've just stopped by the blog to see what's on our minds, and now, if you have a moment to post about your favorite serendipitious moment, you'll be entered in a contest to win a neat little surprise package of Things GIrls Like from me. Be sure to include an email in your post, or else stop by tomorrow, and I'll post the winner's name.

Have a serendipitious day!
Michele

17 comments:

Debra Dixon said...

Just last week I screwed up something royally. Cut something wrong for a quilt. I had to "redesign" because I simply didn't have the fabric to re-cut what I needed to be the right length.

This quilt is an odd/difficult color palette. I couldn't go buy fabric to match because I'm using hand-dyes bought a while back.

Now that I've worked through the problem I love the result and wonder how I could possibly have thought to do it the other way.

lois greiman said...

Life itself is serendipitious. I mean, think of what has to come together to make a human being. First, you have to have two people who wind up in the same time and place...and actually like each other (well...hopefully) then they create this little being with all those funky parts that work together. It's amazing.

But sometimes you have to give the cosmos a little push. You know...keep giving it chances to come up with something marvelous.

Helen Brenna said...

I just read this morning that penicillin was discovered when a scientist, Sir Alexander Fleming, went on vacation and came back to his messy laboratory to find a petri dish covered in mold. Here's to messy work spaces.

terrio said...

I walked into a radio station once to see if they needed any office help and voila - I had a career as a DJ for eight years.

I was on a very long trip a couple years ago and pulled into a gas station because I was tired. Turned out, I had a whole in my tire and it was flat before I came back out of the store. The station just happened to have a garage, the owner just happened to be there (very late) and he was sweet enough to change my tire - for free. If I had not pulled off that interstate when I did, my daughter and I would have been stranded in the dark next to I-40 where we knew no one.

Betina Krahn said...

Wow, Terrio-- your guardian angel must have been in overdrive! Thank heavens for serendipity... or divine intervention!

Deb, I know what you mean about the quilting disappointment that became a quilting triumph. I feel like that regularly as a writer. . . stuff that I planned doesn't work out. Stuff that I stumble into-- that comes out of my subconscious-- turns into happy discoveries and success.

Rex has a saying (used OFTEN now around our house): "You have to fail your way to success."

Personally, I keep looking for ways not to fail at all. . . because I'm not much of a risk taker. . . or at least I never thought I was one. But here I am trying to make a living at writing full time. That's risk-- big time!

Michele Hauf said...

I love hearing other people's stories of serendipity. Do you think sometimes we mark things off as coincidence, when really it was destined?

I like what Oprah says that 'there is no coincidence, it was meant to be'.

Michele

robynl said...

While going through a packed box from our last move looking for crystal stemware I came upon a treasure that I had forgot about. It was this wooden carved horse from Sweden that Mom, now passed away, had brought back as one of her presents to us. I treasure it and am so glad I came across it.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Let's see if I've got this right. One woman's destiny is another's serendipity? Woo-woo here becomes coincidence there? Here a woo, there a boo! everywhere a Dippity Doo...

Kathleen Eagle said...

Robyn yes! My Dad died in '73, Mama in '88. I got the Bible that Mama's Mama gave them when they got married. About 5 years ago I was really down over something and I picked up that Bible, not necessarily looking for inspiration or even intending to read it, but I just picked it up and found a post card written by my father to my brother and sister. They were both at home (I was married and gone)and our parents were vacationing in FL. Daddy said that he felt good knowing that they were looking after the house and that he was playing a lot of golf--described a couple of games and courses. The last sentence: "You know I am in heaven."

Kathleen Eagle said...

P.S. on the post card story. A few months after I found the post card, I went to visit my sibs at my brother's home in DE--sister came down from CT. I took the card with me. My brother is a very successful golf course superintendent. Daddy loved golf and he and my brother played together. They were both very good. Daddy died shortly after Danny came back from Vietnam and started back to school, so he didn't live to see his son pursue the career that started with the passion they shared for this sport.

Upshot: I gave the card to my brother. I didn't even think twice. I said, "You should have this." My sister was sitting there. The card was to both of them. What was I thinking??? It took her probably 10 minutes to speak up (she's the baby, mind you) and say that she was hurt.

I think about the message in the card so often, and it warms my heart. Then I think about the way I did my thing, and I know there was a lesson for me beyond the message. I can't seem to get enough refreshers on that lesson, and I can still hear Daddy asking a very mini me (he was showing me how to use a broom, a skill that I've yet to master) "Why do you always have to learn the hard way?"

Hmm. Serendipity? Woo-woo? Coincidence? Phase of the moon? Is it in our stars, or in ourselves?

Get to work, Kathy. Easy way or hard way, you gotta get it done.

Christie Ridgway said...

Oh, I can't think of a good serendipity story right now. Darn it. And you know how that is, four hours from now, or tomorrow, one will come to me. (Or I'll have another serendipitous moment!)

Love your postcard story, Kathy. When I get the blues I often go into my dining room and look at my grandmother's china. She'd be so happy to know I have them and love them that it makes me feel brighter.

Kimberly L said...

My husband passed away 4 years ago this June. I was with some friends one night and was not interested in meeting anyone. But told a friend that I would one day like to meet a man that didn't drink or bar hop. Well that night I met him. We've been together 2 years. He's been so wonderful to me. For once I have a man that's there for me.

Cindy Gerard said...

Kimberly. What a wonderful story. Like Christie, I can't think of a serendipity story - however I am holding out hope that my brush with the Naked Cowboy in New York City a few weeks ago might be a sign that something's in the wind. Let's see. Is it the naked part or the cowboy part that has my hopes up???? :o)
Don't mind me. I had an injection in my shoulder today for a bad case of Tendonitis - Doc also dispensed pain medication. 'nuff said.

principessa said...

When I was in high school my drama teacher encouraged me to audition for upcoming plays. I had never envisioned myself as an actor but decided to take the chance. This allowed me to meet so many wonderful people, as well as my fiance.

ellie said...

When we moved away from our home where we had been living forever, it was a new start for our entire family. we looked upon this as an opportunity for all of us. If not for this move, I do know that the chance to attend Med school would never have occurred and to have met my future husband as well as a memorable and special event.

traveler said...

I believe that the saying meant to be does have a strength of its own. I have witnessed this many times and believe in it strongly. If my husband had not taken a business trip to a wonderful destination we would not now be living here. It has shaped our lives immeasureably and we are definitely benefitting from this special and unique where we have encountered a great way of life and wonderful individuals.

pearl said...

My decision to take a special course of study lead to me a career which I find enjoyable but the most incredible part was that I befriended a group of women whose friendship has helped me manage and to get through adversity which I had experienced the past few years. If not for their sage advice and support it would have been tremendously difficult to survive this difficult time.