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Cadeau: Notice the little things in life

Teri Cadeau

I like to notice little things — the little things that make life feel a bit better. It's like a scavenger hunt for things I didn't know I was looking for, but I'm glad to have found.

The most recent example came Monday. I was walking into the McDonald's parking lot before the city council meeting when I noticed a bumper sticker. Normally, you see an abundance of marathon and half-marathon stickers around this time of year.

The first year I moved to Duluth, I had to do a Google search to figure out why I saw so many “26.2” and “13.1” stickers. I didn't make the connection automatically.

But this bumper sticker made me do a double take. It read "13.7," then underneath it a simple explanation: "I got lost."

And I lost it. It was the funniest thing I'd read that day and I was so glad I'd doubled back to re-read it and snapped a photo to share it with my friends.

Last week, it was the sign outside Anderson's Greenhouse; perhaps you've noticed it. It reads: "You can't plant flowers if you haven't botany."

About a month ago, it was the music at a restaurant. I went to the restaurant at 9 p.m. and noticed a few of the songs playing on the speakers: "Ballroom Blitz," "Jessie's Girl" and "Killer Queen," all of which are songs I quite like, so I paid attention.

I went back to the same restaurant at the same time on the same night of the week a week later. I sit down and start listening to the music again. And the first song I heard is "Ballroom Blitz." Huh. Odd, I think I remember that song playing last time I was here.

Then a few minutes pass and, wow, they're playing "Jessie's Girl."

Sure enough, "Killer Queen" followed.

Inspired by a conversation with a friend about Kwik Trip Radio — "If you hear the same song played within the same shift, you know you've been there too long" — I asked the server if they play the same songs every night on a continuous loop:

"Yeah, they change up the order a bit, but mostly it's the same for the late shift. They switch it up more in the day. I remember the first time I worked two night shifts in a row and noticed I heard the same songs at the same time. I had to ask to make sure I wasn't going crazy."

On that note, I do think if I'm starting to notice music patterns in a place, it also might be a sign I go there a bit too often.

My last story is about a time that I didn't notice something. While visiting my parents one weekend, I took my mom up on her offer of a glass of Kool-Aid. The problem was that my mom couldn't remember what flavor she'd mixed up and she'd already thrown away the packet.

"I'm pretty sure it's either ‘Slammin' Strawberry’ or strawberry kiwi. But it could've been cherry," she said.

As I took a sip of the reddish-pink liquid, I tried my best to pin down the flavor, but I couldn't. Neither could she, so we continued to sip the mystery Kool-Aid and throw out guesses.

My dad walked into the kitchen and poured himself a glass. He took one sip and said: "It's Crystal Light pink lemonade," and walked away.

We weren't even in the right flavor zone.

Take some time today to notice the little things in your life.

Teri Cadeau is a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle. Reach her at tcadeau@lcnewschronicle.com.

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