Flowers in California

Flowers in California

Monday, December 2, 2013

An Impassioned Attack on a Horrible Tasting Fish

I don't understand.  I simply don't understand.  I know that people have different tastes and that we don't all like the same foods.  That's ok - we can work with that.  What baffles me is that some people must like anchovies.  I ate some a few days ago - there was an unfortunate pizza topping mistake - and was reacquainted with all their awfulness.  And their awfulness is really awful.

I hate anchovies.  I can think about the taste of them days later and feel sad.  They taste like everything I don't want life to be.  Usually I would couch these comments with acknowledgements that this is only my opinion - other people are entitled to theirs.  With anchovies however, I am not that accommodating.  I don't think anyone should like them, eat them, raise them for food, or be cruel enough to put them on a pizza which people will eat.  They are terrible.

Are there foods that other people hate that much?  Do people share my feelings in regards to anchovies (as, I must admit, I think you should)?  Should we let all the anchovies being raised right now for food go free? I welcome your thoughts.  And I dream of a world in which no one ever eats an anchovy again.


How We Shop for Presents

I was in a bookstore today and wanted to take advantage of a special offer.  If you bought three books (or gift items), you would get a fourth book free. For me, being in a bookstore with extra motivation to buy is a near perfect situation.  And, as it's Christmas shopping time, I can buy books for lots of people.  I love buying books.

Quickly I had one book in my hands and before long, I had three.  Then came the part where I had to find one more thing.  There may be thousands of items I want in that store but I find it difficult when there's pressure to find something.

At this point, with it being the Christmas season and with my shopping not nearly done, I entered a bad shopping state.  I had a few names floating around in my head and wanted to find anything that would let me check one of them off my list.  Rather than thinking about each person and coming up with ideas for what they would like, I was looking at merchandise and trying to determine if someone might want it.  To me, this seems a sad way to shop for gifts but an approach it's easy to take when there are many presents to buy.

As I looked in the gift section, I saw individual letters of the alphabet.  Each was about 25-30 cm square (or round, or both, depending on the letter).  I have nothing against such letters.  They're a way for kids and adults too (it worked for Mary Richards on the Mary Tyler Moore show), to lay claim to their part of the world.    I have no reason, however, to buy one for any of the people on my Christmas list.  It seemed all I would be saying by buying one of those letters was "Look, I can identify the first letter of your name."   I'd like to say a little more.

Buying one letter for someone on my list (perhaps someone with an especially interesting first initial - do we have any Xavier's, is there a Zelda in the family?) would have earned me my free item and yesterday's shopping dilemma would have been solved.  I could have taken it further though and, assuming that I could find the letter for each person on my shopping list (and assuming too that I stuck to only 1 letter each and didn't try to buy enough to compose oversize messages), I could have finished my shopping in that store.   Everyone would know the joy of receiving a big letter; no one would be left out.

Shopping can be that easy and that means gift-giving can be that pointless.  In my opinion, when we get to the point of a large purchase of identical generic gifts for all, we really shouldn't bother.  Thinking about each person, their likes, their passions, their needs, we can give them something that we think will hold special meaning for them.  It takes some thought, some feeling and getting it all done can be a challenge.  I would rather expend that energy though and try to do a good job.

I say all this now when there is still some time to get Christmas shopping done.  If I am not finished by December 23rd, I may rush out to buy a few decorative letters and perhaps not even match them up to anyone's initials.  All I'll really be saying then is "Look - I remembered that you exist and here's a letter - you can start to spell a word!"  And I'd be pretty pleased with myself for this especially pointless purchase until they handed me a gift of a lovely homemade scarf in my favourite colours constructed in fibers I'm known to adore.

I will stay away from decorative letter and other non-specific purchases.  I did find a fourth item in the bookstore yesterday and I think I bought some presents that people will like.  I won't be constructing any homemade projects for people but I will try to give purchases some thought.  And if I receive any big J's to hang on my wall, I will be grateful to know that someone cared enough to find the right letter.  It just won't be the same if I get a big X.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Changing a Mood

I went to the gym today wearing a shirt that says "Mood Subject to Change Without Notice" and the best I could hope for was a sudden change in a positive direction.  I wasn't in a good place.

My time on the treadmill was ok and I enjoyed watching a home improvement show while I stomped along to a 30 minute workout.  I suppose things were looking a little better by the time I finished but I still wasn't exactly cheerful and it was still appropriate to be wearing the shirt.  It's only fair that people are warned.

As I left the gym, a woman working at the front desk changed everything for me. She acknowledged that I was leaving and told me to have a great day.  Her words lifted my mood instantly and I told her to have a great day too.  It was all so simple but it really mattered to me.

Perhaps I needed someone to notice my presence.  Her words had nothing in particular to do with me but still they showed that I was at least visible and worthy of a small kindness.  I am very grateful that she said them.

After leaving the gym, I ran into someone whom it is always nice to see and I had some pleasant interactions on a quick trip into the mall.  Everything that has happened since being at the gym has been somewhat affected by those nice words.

We can do little things, bad or good, that make a difference.  We may never know how much of a difference we make.  But it seems to me worthwhile to keep on trying and flinging some good stuff out there.  Maybe someone will catch a little something and pass it on.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Guy Who Lives There

I went for a long walk today.  Early on, I realized I was walking past the house of a man who is alleged to have committed troubling crimes.  The ugly reality of this situation didn't fit with the gentle beauty of the fall day.

The charges against this man are very bad.  He is alleged to have harmed children and at least one woman and I do not excuse him for those things.  And while I don't know that asking him to leave the neighbourhood is right, I do think that he should not live across from a school and playground.  That puts a burden on that institution and all users of the playground.  The seriousness of the situation and the protection of children must not be diminished.

With those things being said, I admit to feeling some compassion for this man.  When I walk by his house, I'm aware that a human being lives there.  It was a beautiful fall day outside for him too.  Did he notice that? Does he like the beauty of the colourful leaves on the ground?  He's still  a person who sleeps and gets up and eats.  Does he engage in any innocent activities that bring him joy?

Given the choice, I doubt that this man would choose for his mind to be one which has led him to his crimes. I don't know if he can change and I don't know how he should be handled.  What I do know is that I remember his humanity even as I abhor his crimes.


Trying Something New

On a Saturday night, 2 weeks ago, I was in a hotel room in Carlsbad California with my family.  The weather was surprisingly unpleasant but still, I will never complain about being in Southern California and near the Pacific Ocean.   It's a pretty good place to be.  The next day's activities were uncertain at that point and, while family vacations have many pleasant elements, there is also an ever-present risk that choices will be made that don't please everybody or perhaps even anybody.  It was important to come up with something good.

My phone decided to enter the conversation and suggested that we might like to go to Balboa Park in San Diego.  I didn't know about Balboa Park and decided to find out some information about it.

The park's website was helpful and we were interested.  Still, though, we couldn't be sure it would be somewhere we'd like to go and while it sounded great, what if it had become rundown or neglected?  There was a story on the news that night about a nighttime walk taking place in it.  Its purpose was to stand up to violence. That wasn't especially reassuring.  But it wasn't even fear that made me hesitate about going.  It was new to us - did we want to try it out?

We did decide to try it out, whatever our reservations, and within a few minutes of arriving within that massive urban park, I knew that we had made the right decision.  It's an amazing place - there are many museums, gardens, an Arts and Crafts house, and a fascinating history behind every attraction. An enthusiastic man at an information center tried to explain it all to us.  It was a lot to take in but soon, brochure in hand, we were able to choose some places to visit.  All three of us were interested in the baseball section of the sports museum and I marveled at the Arts and Crafts Marston House.  As well, just being in and walking around the park was interesting.

In addition to the information we learned at Balboa Park and the enjoyment we had there that day, I take away more from the experience.  I have new pictures in my mind and, more importantly, I have gained an awareness of how important it is to try new things.  There are lots of places to go in and around San Diego and we could have returned to somewhere that we knew.  But we did this that day and I am glad.

I will try to remember this experience the next time I am in an unknown city or situation.  And I will pay close attention from now on to any suggestions my phone makes.  It turns out it has some really good ideas.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Book Titles For Your Consideration On Topics Important To Us All

Once again, I've come up with some possible book titles.  Please take a look and see which ones are of particular interest to you.

1.  Goodbye Alonzo:  Healing Strategies for When Your Lawn Rabbit Moves On

2.  Feet and Toes:  A Photographic Extravaganza

3.  Efficient Barking for the Modern Dog:  Knowing When It Matters and Making It Really Count

4.  Dressing Your Rabbit for Halloween:   Finding a Costume You Both Will Like

5.  Planning Your Indoor Gazebo:  A Sensible Approach to a Curious Living Space

6.  When Chicken Goes Wrong:  Overcoming Your Poultry Fears

7.  Autumn's Hidden Danger:  Frightening Stumbles on Beautiful but Slippery Leaves

8.  The Potato:  Finding The Beauty In an Ugly Tuber

9.  Birthday Cakes:  Don't We All Want Only The Icing, Isn't It Time We Admit This Is True?

10. A Squirrel's Guide to Autumn:  Safety and Scheduling Tips for your Busy Gathering Season

11. Sunshine in a Shell:  A History of Eggs

12. "They're Organically Sourced and Air-Purifying" - And Other Ways to Explain
      Your Embarrassing House Fly Problem

13. Your Leafy Friend:   How to Get Closer to An Indoor Houseplant

14. Chair or Bleachers:  Solutions to Some of the Baseball Spectator's Common Dilemmas

15. You and Your Nasal Passages:  An Important Relationship and One Oft-Neglected

16. When Smoothies Go Wrong:  My Life-Changing Experience with a Blender Piece Gone Wild

17. The Pig as a Pet:  Ways to Explain Why It Is A Good Idea

18. Nap Like a Pro:  Tips for A Happy Rest (With New Bonus Feature:  A Study in Drool)

19. Harrowing Crafting Stories from People Not Well-Suited to Crafts

20. My Thoughts on Lettuce (First Time in Book Form)

Your feedback is welcome.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to all!


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Desperate Situations

This past week, 111 people (and probably many more) died after a boat ran into trouble and sank between Africa and Italy.  There were 155 survivors.  The boat was only about 600 metres from shore when it met its tragic end.  The passengers on this boat were attempting migration to Europe.  These attempts are not rare:

"Thousands make the perilous crossing each year, seeking a new life in the prosperous European Union. Smugglers charge thousands of dollars a head for the journey aboard overcrowded, barely seaworthy boats that lack life vests. Each year hundreds die undertaking the crossing."  (Toronto Star, Article By: Luca Bruno Andrea Rosa Associated Press, Published on Sat Oct 05 2013)

In addition to feeling sad for the many victims of this tragedy, I have concern for the plight of all the people who board these boats.  How bad are their lives in the countries from which they come?  How dim do their prospects appear?  What makes it seem worth the risk to pay the money and crowd onto these dangerous boats?

It would be good, if it were possible, to improve the safety of these boats.  Perhaps that should be attempted.  It wouldn't address the reasons though why people board them.  It wouldn't address the desperate situations in the countries these people leave behind.  A tragedy like this can bring to our attention that people in some countries live in terrible conditions.  We can then consider what actions may be taken to change that.

Whatever happens in the future, this tragedy has taken place.  I feel bad for all those who lost their lives.  I am very sorry that their dreams ended as they did.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

On Meeting Outside The Pancake House

I walked towards the pancake restaurant.  We both knew where it was although I don't think either of us had pancakes during our time in that city.  As I walked, I wondered if I would recognize the person I was meeting.  It had been over 20 years since we'd seen each other.  Some changes could be expected.

I entered the building and saw and knew him right away.  The years were gone.  A friendly connection was still there.  I was happy to see him again.

This reunion wouldn't have happened if not for the encouragement of my friend (his sister) and my brother.  Normally, we live thousands of miles apart.  For a few days, we would be in the same city.

Even with the encouragement to get together, we could have avoided following up, I could have given into my shyness, the whole thing could have gone by the wayside.  We would have missed out, though, on a happy afternoon of coffee and conversation.  We would have missed out on a chance to reconnect.

When we don't take opportunities, we don't know what could have been.  People don't hold up signs to remind us.  It might be better (but weird) if they did.  The trip to see my brother and his family would have been good anyways.  But this visit made it better.  I'm glad I picked up the phone.  I'm glad to have a happy memory instead of an unknown absence in my life.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Letting Opportunites Go By

I guess that's how it goes.  A local continuing education facility had offered flower arranging courses.  Some of them were for a day or even a morning.  It would offer a quick trip into that activity and as I know very little about flower arranging, a small sample of it was what I'd want.  I love flowers and colours; maybe I would like flower arranging.  The idea was in my head.

I did nothing about this.  At all.  But I knew that the courses were offered.  Today I decided that yes, I want to take one.  I want to see what's it about.  It turns out that those courses aren't offered anymore.

It was so easy to keep this idea, this possibility way at the back of my mind.  And it's not a huge issue for me - I don't plan to pursue this field.  I was interested in seeing what it was like though and I let a chance go by.

For me, this is a reminder to try to "Seize the Moment" a little bit more.  The moment passes.  Sometimes it's too late.  I'm tracking down other flower arranging courses but I've already learned a lesson.  Perhaps it is all for the best as I might sneeze a lot if I worked with flowers for an extended period of time.  But I might have learned to make beautiful arrangements too and I'm sorry I missed that.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Fleeing from the Keyboard

I'm having trouble writing.  For a while, I've been starting to write and then, the ideas, the words don't flow and I leave the computer.  I don't finish what I start.  I don't experience the joy.

I want to trust that the flow will begin again.  There is no formal guarantee of that but I choose to trust.  I sense that the words are starting to come now.  I'm pleased that this is so.

Perhaps I have read too much about writing lately.  Perhaps I have read too much about many things lately.  But that's ok.  It is part of the journey.

I won't force writing.  If I have little to say, that's ok for now.  I'll wait.  And tell myself it's ok.


Monday, September 9, 2013

A Good Enough Birthday But...

It's not that it was a bad day.  It had some nice parts.  The weather was beautiful.  My husband and son tried to do things that would make me happy.  I really enjoyed a big family walk and watching my son play baseball.  Still, my birthday wasn't as exciting as I'd wanted it to be.  What did I want?  What should have happened?  What would have really made it feel special?  It was weird looking at the date various times and seeing my birthday stare back at me.  So, this is the big day.  Why wasn't it so big?

Some people might say that as an adult, no one should expect much of a splash for a birthday.  That kind of thing is for kids.  They get the presents, the parties, the excitement of reaching a new age.  Maybe.  Maybe we should leave it to them.  I wonder, though, if maybe we should dedicate a day, just one day, each year in which we honour each person and make them feel special.  We don't make them tell us what they want to do.  We take the time to show them that we already know what they like to do, who they are and that we really want to make them happy.  It's something we want to offer to them.

I don't know exactly what I wanted my birthday to be but yesterday wasn't it.  To be quite honest, I want to be celebrated.  I think we all should be.  I think we're all amazing.  We should be reminded of that at least once a year.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

A List of Random Thoughts

I have some thoughts to share with you this evening.  I make no promise that they will enrich your life in any way.  With that disclaimer out of the way, please proceed.

1.  As I lay in bed the other night, reading, I saw a creature flying around up near the ceiling.  While its size appeared similar to that of a Canada Goose, its disposition seemed much more menacing.  It turned out to be a moth.  (I did not have my contact lenses in at the time.)  Now, as the days go by and I have to go to sleep each night not knowing where it might be and how evil its intentions are, I live with the dark threat of its presence.  I know that this situation may not end well for at least one of us.  I fear it may be me.

2.  I ventured away from my usual grocery store today and shopped elsewhere.  I was there at a busy time and the store is very big.  I got a sense that shopping there is a bit of a competitive sport.  Scraps of various fruits and vegetables littered the floor and it looked look quite a battle had been raging for a while.  Strangely, I liked it.  It was nice to feel some energy in the food shopping experience and I will return to that store.  After purchasing expired juice, moldy cheese and being charged way too much for a watermelon at my normal store, I'm ready for a change.  I'll try not to trip on the scattered produce and think things should go quite well.

3.  I remain astonished that Chunky Monkey ice cream is banana-flavoured.  I would never have guessed at the connection between monkeys and bananas that led to this name and thank my friend Patty for kindly pointing this out to me.  Who, other than Patty, knew?  As it turns out, I don't care for banana-flavoured ice cream and would only like it less if it  really lived up to its name and contained pieces of monkey (or any meat really).  Some items should never be brought together.  In my opinion, chicken and pizza also fall into this category.

4.  This morning (Saturday) at about 7:30, people starting using chainsaws at a house across the street. Whatever they were doing was over with quickly.  As this was my first day off since I left my Saturday job, I was somewhat disappointed by this morning ruckus.  It is legal to do this that early on a Saturday morning but it seems mean.  Perhaps what's most concerning about all of this is that no trees appear to have been altered or removed at that house.  I'm not sure I want to know for what purpose the chainsaws were used.

5.  I have reason to believe that people are sneaking into my house and stealing selected items of clothing.  I have many reasons to wonder why anyone would do that.  Moments ago, as I was putting clothes into the washing machine, I remembered a top that I hadn't seen for a while.  There is another top I had already declared to be lost.  These are not valuable items but I bought them because I wanted to wear them and that's difficult now.  Perhaps I will have to institute better inventory control methods.  It's sad when it comes to this inside one's home.

6.  After accepting and enjoying medium roast coffee at Starbucks a few times when the dark roast was not ready, I began to wonder if perhaps medium roast was my preference after all.  I ordered it the other day and it's true.  How could I not have known for so long?  Are there other choices in my life that I should question?  There are a variety of tomato colours out there - have I been wrong to stick to red all these years?  What about eggs?  And maybe I could have loved lop ear rabbits after all - I've stuck to ones whose ears are well-supported.  Apparently there are many things that need reconsideration now.

7.  Aside from the fact that I have long loved rabbits and I keep them as pets, I consider it an honour that a young jackrabbit (whom we've named Alonzo) feels comfortable spending a lot of his time outside our house.  While occasionally he gets alarmed and will scamper away when we are near, often he continues lying down as we come and go and talk to him.  He seems to know he's pretty safe here and last week even stayed still as three men in a furnace cleaning truck arrived out front.  I see neighbours of mine chase rabbits away - I value the comfort of a wild animal so much more highly than a perfect lawn.  I am glad Alonzo has us.

Those are my thoughts for this evening.  I sense that I will have a lot more to say in the coming days so, you know, you have been warned.

Happy Sunday night!


A Trip to the Bookstore - Gone Wrong

For me, going to a bookstore is a simple pleasure.  Sometimes I buy an item or two (or more); sometimes I come away with ideas for future purchases.  Occasionally I come away disappointed because I felt like discovering a tantalizing new book and couldn't make it happen.  While I fear for the future of bookstores and admit that I myself buy a lot of books online due to price differences I can't ignore, the stores are still here and still wonderful and I still love going to them.  Or, usually, I love going to them.

The pleasure of this evening's trip ended almost the minute I walked through the door.  A pleasant - no sweet, sweet makes it worse  - young woman greeted my husband and me.  Although I tend to be a bit of a lone wolf when shopping, I can appreciate the warmth of a friendly greeting.  But this woman was greeting us from behind her nicely arranged display of the book she was promoting, had written, and was probably really hoping we would buy.

While I responded to the greeting, I did not head over to the table.  Instead, I headed to the product section of the store.  My strategy was that she would then think I don't even like books and only came to bookstores to look at flowered cushions and odd teas.  Do people do that?  I then proceeded to sneak back through other sections of the store to the bestsellers at the front that I wanted to see.  (I also enjoy looking at magazines but under the circumstances, a move in that direction was too risky.)  We left the store through Starbucks.  It seemed to be for the best.  (Incidentally, I did get a coffee out of the deal.  It was good.)

Now, if my attitude seems cold and callous and surprising considering that I like to write too, I would argue that the actions I took were out of kindness.  If I did go up to table and the sweet woman told me many details about her book, it would be worse for me to reject the purchase at that point. Then, I would be rejecting something about which she is excited, something on which she has worked hard.  This way, I avoided an author's table; that is what I do.  The chance I would want to buy the book is small - there are many books - and I don't want to feel pressured to do so.  I did what I felt I had to do.

With me being me, I felt bad about what I did.  When I met up with my husband, we discussed the situation (a lot of the discussion was really me going on and on and him gently agreeing).  While the subtle nuances of it all did not affect his emotional wellbeing in the way it affected mine (they seldom do), he felt that the table need not have been that close to the entrance.  I think people should feel free to enter and browse in a bookstore without feeling obligated right away.

I bought no books or, for that matter, flowered cushions and odd teas this evening.  I might head to a bookstore again as early as tomorrow to make up for this failed trip (I have a coupon - it will expire!) and I hope that nothing as unpleasant happens on that visit.  I love books, I love their possibilities and I love being able to freely explore them.  I wish this author the best of luck with her new book and I applaud her for all the work that's gone into it and the courage it takes to sit there.  And yes, maybe I did a horrible thing.  But all I wanted to do was look at books.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Learning from a Bowl of Sugar Snap Peas

I think I learned what it means to eat.

It all started after dinner this evening.  Feeling the need for more nutrition after a dinner of poor food choices, I put some sugar snap peas in a bowl and began eating.  I didn't eat many.  Something occurred as I ate though.

Sugar snap peas, while not an especially crunchy or difficult food to eat, require some more chewing effort than I, a lazy eater, sometimes wish to expend.  This evening as I chewed them, I began thinking - about food, about how it becomes our body, about its goodness and wow, I came to understand the role of food in our lives.  It is simple.  We eat - we must eat and it matters what we eat.

I don't know if I can adequately explain what I experienced.  Perhaps it was an example of mindfulness.  It was nice.  I hope that it was the beginning of a changed and more appreciative relationship to food.  I'm grateful that I can nurture my body with sugar snap peas.  I'm grateful to have had this experience.  I'll try not to devour a bowl of potato chips to celebrate.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Thoughts of the Late, Late Night

I am awake and it is 1:49 a.m.  More accurately, perhaps, my mind is awake.  I don't know that I feel as energetic physically.  But I have had lots of things floating around in my mind.  Lots.

Among the things I've been pondering are the following issues, some of which you may wish to consider as well:

1.  Why do football players wear padding?  My son and I were discussing this recently while watching rugby players tear each other apart in a game.  He's heard that football padding makes injuries worse.  That makes it even more curious.  And, in my opinion, it doesn't make the players look especially attractive.

2.  What does a turtle look like from the bottom?  It's probably easy to find that out but, until you do, you could carry around a completely erroneous image in your head.  What good does that do anyone?

3.  The growing prominence of spinach.  Subway is giving it some of the attention this lovely vegetable has long deserved.  I've had a difficult relationship with lettuce but I guarantee I'll never yank a piece of spinach out of a hamburger or sandwich.  I don't think Popeye did justice to spinach.  I've tended to picture it as a green, mush-like substance.  And while it's clearly different from mucous, it's not great that mucous comes to mind.  (It never is.)  Raw spinach leaves are so much nicer than that and I welcome them to their new place of importance in the food landscape.  Way to go spinach!

4.  Captain Kangaroo - When I think of Popeye, I tend to think of his cartoons being shown within Captain Kangaroo's show (whether this took place or not, I'm not yet sure.  I have to do more Internet digging.)  Captain Kangaroo was one of the first shows I watched.  The Captain and Mr. Greenjeans were important influences in my young life.  I don't know whether that's a credit to them or not.

5.  Whether I'm feeling creative again because I've been exercising rather strenuously, eating better or doing a visualization exercise involve chakras and creativity.  Not knowing what factor or factors has/have made the difference, I want to keep working on each of them.  It's good to feel alive again.

6.  Whether I should go against my new rule (it's three days old!) of not eating after 7 pm.  While a noble and perhaps a necessary rule if I want to lose weight, it seems that at times when I really can't sleep, eating a small amount gives my body something to do and seems to lull me to sleep.  Lulling is good.

7.  The power of cheese to lead to some interesting dreams.  The mind can go to some offbeat places after eating cheese at night.  Travel like that avoids some of the inconveniences of the more traditional forms.  True, I didn't eat cheese last week when I dreamed about a grizzly bear being down the street and eating a live creature (animal? person?, I'm not sure; I know it wasn't something that normally gets eaten in the street) but that wasn't a great dream anyways.  I want a dream where people and situations morph into new people and situations.  Once someone gets eaten by a bear, their morphing days are over.  Cheese leads to better outcomes in dreams; cheese rules.

After writing the rough version of point 7 last night (it didn't mention the unfortunate bear incident; I felt a need to add that this morning, wisely or not), my mind seemed to come to rest.  I headed back to bed.  Sleep continued to elude me for a long time.  I didn't even have cheese dreams.  I did not have a good sleep at all.  Sigh.

Maybe if the temperature in our house was not so hot last night, I would have had a dream incorporating all or some of the above elements.  Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Greenjeans and I would have eaten a great lunch of spinach leaves while discussing the creativity chakra (second).  Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Greenjeans would have morphed into football and rugby players who want to discuss their uniforms.  (Let's throw in a soccer player too simply because I challenge any man to look bad in a soccer uniform.  Thanks!)   At the end, a big turtle would enter, walking upright.  We'd see it's underside and have our turtle questions answered.  So much would have been addressed and probably very quickly.  Oh, what a glorious dream that would have been.

After two nights of struggling to sleep, I appreciate this (in)activity more than usual.  Sleep matters and because our minds are so good at dreaming (even more so when aided by cheese), I trust that our dream process matters too.  Somewhere within, we're all creative.  We have a lot to share.  Sleep well, everyone, and dream lots!  And please, watch out for bears.  That's advice you won't go wrong heeding, whether you're asleep or awake.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Conversation Overheard

I was on a bus today and a woman entered and began talking, loudly, on her phone.  Initially I felt, as many people would feel, hostility towards her.  What made her feel it was ok to impose her words on our ears?  Was she oblivious to the people around her or did she simply not care?

As I listened to her words, however, my thoughts changed.  I learned a little about this woman's life.  Her current retail job situation was not good and she was going to start seeking other retail job openings.  She had a man in her life and he had been mad at her about something.  Other than this and his beer drinking and purchasing habits, I didn't learn a lot about him.  All in all though, I got the impression that this woman's life is not easy and that her options may be limited.

It would have been easy to judge this woman based only on her cell phone talking habits.  There is so much more to her story though and I realize now there is room for compassion.  I'm glad I'm heard her story.  It made me realize that she has one and that it matters, regardless of how loudly she talks on her phone.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

I Saw Kids Playing

Moments ago, I returned from a baseball game.  It was near my house and my son was there watching some friends of his play.  It was a beautiful night for a walk to the park.

My son is playing baseball this year but is in a younger league.  His team's season has not been good.  Their win-loss record is unfortunate and for various reasons, my husband, son and I are dismayed by how some things are handled.  I try to be positive about it all and focus on how well my son is hitting but I have found the whole thing a bit of a strain.  It hasn't been a fun experience for any of us.

This evening, at this other game, I saw another version of children at play.  It didn't occur on the baseball diamond.  My son and some other kids who were there to watch the game, whether voluntarily or because a sibling was in the game, started playing some version of baseball on their own.  They were throwing, hitting, running and they were having fun.  It wasn't orderly and it was kind of loud but they played as they wanted to and their enthusiasm was real.

I am a big fan of baseball.  After this experience tonight though, I wonder if sometimes we are forcing children to play games in rather strict, somber, adult ways.  The oldest kids playing this impromptu game tonight were 12 or 13.  They're still not very old and yet, on the baseball diamond, we have such high expectations of kids in this age group and expect them to handle their positions so responsibly.  They're kids after all, I realize now.  Maybe we should let them act like kids a little more often.  It was so nice to see them run free.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Venturing Out on a Rainy Day

I was out walking in the rain today.  I had a coat on and the rain wasn't much of a bother to me.  I became interested in the plight of one type of creature though and noticed that they were having, as they always do when it rains, much rougher days.

For humans, getting out of our comfort zones is supposed to be a good thing.  We can extend ourselves, grow, take on new challenges.  For worms, it's really not a good idea.  It seems they would be much better off staying in their worm homes, looking out their worm windows should they be lucky enough to have them, and accepting that staying within their usual boundaries is the best choice for them.  We know what happens when they don't do it.  I wish we could communicate the message to them.

Today I saw a robin eating something on the sidewalk.  As I got close, the robin flew away and I realized that it had been eating a still-wiggling worm.  I picked it up on a stick and put it in the grass.  I wanted to help it but doubt I made much of a difference and I may have ruined that robin's lunch.  Soon after, I saw a big worm in the middle of an alley.  One car had gone by and missed it but I don't know that its luck would hold out.  And really, it was in an alley - was there that much to see that it made the perilous journey worthwhile?

Worms that venture out and are not eaten nor involved in unfortunate accidents often do not do well either.  When the sun is shining again, we don't see them out basking in the sun, eating ice cream cones, riding bikes, or coming home with bags full of new purchases from the mall.  Rather, we see sad evidence of how their journeys ended.  It's not pleasant.

Perhaps to worms it's worth it to venture out on rainy days despite the serious problems many of them do encounter.  Maybe they have something to teach us all about taking chances and enjoying ourselves for a period of time, however short.  I don't know but I do think they should think a little harder about their rainy day travel habits.  It might work out well for birds but it often doesn't end up well for them.  I think worms have a lot to consider.



Thursday, May 16, 2013

It's Too Sad

Sometimes I read something so sad that I don't know how I can forward knowing what I have learned.  It happened a few minutes ago.  I read a story so sad and it had elements in it to which I could relate so closely.  I have said a prayer since; I hope that helps.

I want to find good, hope, the silver lining in stories, in problems, in the challenges that people face.  With some things, though, I don't see how there can be any good and I don't understand why such horrible things have to happen.  I don't understand.

We can love each other, we can care, we can try to help, we can pray, we can push for changes in our own small ways.  There will always be sadness though and people will always hurt.  I wish that life weren't that way.


Monday, April 29, 2013

When Coffee Disappoints

My relationship with coffee has not been without problems lately.  It's not that I love it any less but I am tiring of its unpredictability.  I want certainty that I will enjoy a pleasant tasting drink every time I pick up a cup.  On many occasions lately, coffee has failed to provide me with that.  It has been disappointing and I'm not sure how we can resolve the issues we've had.

It is not price that determines whether or not I enjoy a cup of coffee.  Recently I enjoyed a cup from a convenience store; there have been times when I've been disappointed by coffee from some fancier vendors.  It is not that I am consistently pleased or disappointed with one vendor - sometimes I love a cup of Starbucks coffee, sometimes every sip tastes of bitterness and defeat.  We make coffee at home.  Sometimes that coffee is terrible.  But not always.  The coffee that someone brought me from Colombia was very good but I can't really ask her to go back regularly for that (I suppose).

I don't know what the factors are that lead to success or failure with coffee.  It seems so random.  It's a bit of an adventure to discover what tastes good and what doesn't but I'm not seeking adventure when I drink coffee.  I'm seeking one consistent pleasure in my relatively simple little life.  I'm not asking for a lot or not right now anyways.

To me, coffee has one ideal taste.  Every time I pick up a cup, I want to be greeted by it.  I will keep on picking up cups and keep on searching for that taste..  It's uncertain right now if my favourite bean and I can resolve our differences.  I like to think this is an important relationship for both of us.  I hope that we find our way.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

On Acquaintances and Not Talking

I may be a horrible person.  Before anyone rushes to assure me that this is simply not true (and I do hope that someone would do that), I'll let everyone know I'm okay with it.  If I'm horrible, I'm horrible.  There's no point in fighting it.

What has led me to consider this possibility is my reluctance to converse with people I know a little bit but not much.  We are acquaintances at best and while these people are all friendly, I don't always feel like coming up with something to say to them.  There's the nice bus driver, the woman who always knows my name in that store and various other people with whom I come in contact.  It can be nice to exchange a word or two but when this sets up an expectation for the next encounter, I don't enjoy the obligation.  Sometimes, I have avoided people to prevent conversations from happening.  This is where the horrible stuff starts to emerge.

I love meaningful interaction with people.  I love listening and talking and laughing with people whom I know and who know me.  My acquaintances and I cannot communicate at a meaningful level.  Our talk must be more superficial and it may be an effort for them too.  To me, really, what is the point?  We can smile, we can be polite to each other but it's probably best if none of us makes an effort to talk when there is simply nothing to say.

I think I will try to stop avoiding people and, instead, approach them in a more relaxed, honest manner.  It's ok that conversations don't take place every time acquaintances meet.  I'll try to be comfortable with the fact that I don't always have interesting things to say and that maybe I'm doing everyone a favour.  After all, the bus driver doesn't have the choice of avoiding me when he pulls up to my stop.  He might be glad if I just quietly let him be.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Jobs and Qualifications

Upon seeing a sign recently for Experienced Stylists wanted at a hair salon, I thought about what it would be like to apply for this job or any job for which I have almost no qualification.  I have styled my own hair, with mixed success, for a long time but my educational credentials with hair are non-existent and I have zero experience on the salon floor.  What if I applied?

Sticking to the facts, I wouldn't progress far in the selection process.  If I resorted to dishonesty, I still don't think I would be a serious candidate for long.  Things would fall apart when I had to give demonstrations of my work.  There would be a lot of questions.

Taking an honest approach to the application process for jobs, it would be interesting to see the reactions employers would have when one indicates that he or she is wholly unqualified and/or ill-suited for the job for which they have applied.  The following answers should be considered red flags by interviewers for the following positions:

Firefighting - I'm afraid of heights and I don't handle crises well.

Psychologist - I tend to drift off when listening to other people's problems.  And I possess so little empathy it's bordering on pathological.

Chef - Yeah, my cooking's not good and I'm prone to knife injuries.  Also, I wouldn't want to wear the hat.  That's asking a little too much.

Writer - I believe there are so many better ways to express oneself than with the written word.  My preferred medium is macramé.  I think in the end we'll find it's really all about the knots.

Accountant - Wow, I am really not good with numbers.  But I am a people person.  That should help.

Dog Walker - I'm afraid of dogs.  I would let go of every leash in my possession if I encountered a situation I found troubling and, believe me, I find a lot of situations troubling.

Swimming Instructor - I never learned to swim myself but I believe in the concept.  I don't like to immerse myself in water though and I would prefer not to work with children.  I find them small and somewhat needy.

Optometrist - Yes, I'm exceptionally knowledgeable about feet.  They're an amazing part of the body.  Wait, what - eyes?  I hadn't realized.  That'll be a bit different but my knowledge is very transferrable.  Feet and eyes share so many commonalities, after all.

Courier - Well, I think I'd really like driving around in the truck but I don't want to drop off or pick up packages.  Those parts of the job don't appeal to me.  I hope that's not an impediment to my working for your fine organization.

Receptionist - I don't like answering the phone and I feel interruptions are an attack on my personhood.  I do like sitting though so that's a plus.

It's important to find the right person for a job and good to watch out for answers like these ones.  They offer a hint that maybe, just maybe, the applicant wouldn't be a good fit for the job.


On Loneliness and Imperfection

If we demanded perfection from our friends, I would be very lonely.  No one who demanded perfection in a person would choose to be with me.  So that right there takes me out of the running.  I'd have to go find hobbies or just be alone.  It wouldn't be good.

If we demanded perfection from our friends, I don't think there'd be many friendships at all.  None of us is perfect.  We know that but sometimes we are bothered by others' perceived imperfections, flaws, the things they do wrong, the things they don't do right.  Sometimes it's easy to want to shut people out, reject them.  I don't think that's right.  It seems sadly wrong.

We need each other, imperfections and all.  In listening, sharing, trying to offer support, sharing a laugh and a smile, we can try to help each other.  We are all trying to muddle through.  It seems nicer to do it together.  It's lonely muddling alone.


Listening to Stories

Momentarily, a friend will tell me a story.  I sit here, a blank canvas, awaiting her words.  Where will her words take me?  What are the pictures they will create?  Will my pictures, my understanding, be like hers?  Can they ever be?  I wonder what she will tell me, I wonder what she will share.

I find it wonderful to be able to connect with another, to share each other's stories, to listen, to try to take in what each of us says, both verbally and in other ways, and to try to understand life is like from the other side of the table, looking around at a different view.  It's an honour to have people share with us.  I thank my friend for sharing.  I treasure that she did.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Peaches and Chick Peas

I was out somewhere today and noticed a big cardboard box on the floor.  Curious about what it was, I started looking at the words and decorations that adorned it.  It was a box for food bank donations.  Among the food items suggested for donation were chick peas and canned peaches.  Somehow, in looking at those words, I got it.  I knew how wonderful it would be to receive food when one needs it.  I felt what a need that must satisfy.

Whatever situations people find themselves in, the need to eat doesn't change and can't be put aside until the money comes in.  Sometimes, a can of peaches or chick peas can be so important.  It can relieve one of hunger and provide hope.  When we can do so, it seems that giving food is a nice way to help.  How lucky we are to eat.


Friday, April 12, 2013

On Noticing and Appreciating - Despite a Decorating Concern

Moments ago I was sitting in my living room.  That's probably not information a lot of people need to know.  Still, I have chosen to share it.

As I sat there, having put down a book I was reading, and not ready to move onto my next activity, I looked at a picture on the wall and at a piece of furniture.  I considered whether colours in the painting look bad with the colour of the sofa underneath the painting.  I am still not sure about that but I realized, as I sat there, that there are things I like about my living and dining rooms.  While there is a lot of reading material sitting around and miscellaneous things on the dining room table that we would want to move before a meal, the area comes close to being a nice living space.

This entry is not written to say that I have a great living/dining room.  Rather, it is written to share my sense of enjoying that room as it was, without feeling a need to change it.  I realized how nice it is now.

We can search, seek, paint, repaint, renovate, move, do so much to improve things.  Where does all that lead and does it ever end?  Moments like the one I had where we realize we like some things the way they are refreshing.  In them, we enjoy life and appreciate what we have.

I hope that we can all sit around sometimes and appreciate, enjoy, relax.  Ideally we can do all this despite any mismatches in colour schemes.  That's where this all started for me.  I'll try to keep noticing the good things in the future.  It's easier than redecorating the room.


Some Days

Some days don't go well.  They may not be horrible but it's a struggle to get through them and they're not enjoyable.  I had one of those days today and I am glad that it is coming to a close.

There was discomfort, hopelessness, physical pain, anger, lots of frustration, hunger and even bad weather.

Sometimes it seems like you won't make it.  But you do.

We plod on through these days and get to better ones.  Despite the miseries experienced, and in the midst of them, we can pick up insights, learn to better appreciate good days, think of things we want to do when we feel better, and realize how nice things often are, just not on days like today.  I guess that's ok.  But I'm hoping tomorrow's better.


On Failure and Towels and Being Lint-Free

I read over the instructions for my new contact lens case.  Normally I don't find such reading material especially compelling but as I have had an eye infection or irritation of some kind, I thought it would be wise to review the steps I should be taking in lens care.  There weren't a lot of instructions but most of the ideas offered were good.  Then they mentioned using a lint-free towel to wipe the case dry.  For me, that's where it all went wrong.

I'll admit it now, and please try not to judge, that I don't divide my towels up into lint and lint-free categories.  I must be oblivious to the subtle nuances of towel science but to me, they're all simply items that are used to dry people, pets, the occasional massive spill.  I have never put any thought into their lint-producing abilities or lack thereof.  I didn't know.  And if I did manage to figure out such characteristics for each towel we possess, how would I store them?  Would they need separate shelves in the linen closet?  We don't have a big linen closet.  Where would I put the sheets?

While I've somehow managed this long without in-depth towel knowledge, I find instructions such as these a little defeating. If I don't use a lint-free towel,  it will seem like I've failed a little bit before I've even begun.  I don't need a little injection of failure added to my daily grooming routine.  There's never any certainty of success as it is.

Maybe, though, strict instructions such as these ones work by giving us a little wiggle room.  We don't have to use the towel prescribed but we should wash and dry the case with something, whether it is certified lint-free or not.  That would be better than what I was doing up until a few days ago: I was rather negligent.

I won't start studying my towels and contacting manufacturers to figure out lint status yet.  I will continue to use them for what I consider their standard purposes.  But I will ponder what to do with the linen closet when it is no longer possible to ignore this important towel distinction.   It's not looking good for the sheets.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Thoughts on a Plane

I returned from my fun trip to Toronto yesterday.  After much rummaging, I found a pen and jotted down some thoughts during the flight.  Here they are:

I have slept on planes before; I know it's possible.  This time, we are sitting in the back row of the plane.  While I try to never use a washroom on a plane, most people on the flight do not share such an ambition.  It is very loud here as each person opens the washroom door.  None of these people know how much I hate them for these bathroom trips.  Perhaps I will start growling.

I wonder if I can complete one flight, and ideally the return trip as well, in which I seem like a sleek, put-together air traveler.  Today as I held onto 2 coats, repeatedly kicked my carry-on bag along in the line at Starbucks and tried to have my money ready to pay for my drink, it was apparent that I had not reached that status.  Maybe one day I will accomplish that feat and other travelers will, while admiring my stunning outfit and smooth grace, quietly scorn me.  I really hope so!

On some flights my thoughts, as I sit above the clouds, are of an inspiring, high-level, perhaps life-changing nature.  Then there are flights like today's in which my thoughts are along the lines of:

- Who eats something that smells like that at this time of day?
- Oh good!  The drink cart is coming but what about my vow of abstinence on bathroom trips?  Those ideas conflict.
- Why did I get a coffee right before boarding - for so many reasons that's wrong and now I have to balance this cup as I read, get things out of my bag, pick up things I drop and dislike people who interrupt my sleep.

Why is there always at least one businessperson at the front of the plane who gives me a condescending look as they apparently question how I could be on the same plane as them?  I know I'm not one of them; that's not the role I'm playing today.  But regardless of their feelings on the matter, we are on the same flight and mine is not paid for by an employer.  Maybe I'm wrong but I suspect theirs may be.  So was that look really warranted on your part?

Why do we have the busiest, chattiest flight crew ever?  They're friendly too which makes it harder to dislike them.  Still, they gather close to our back row location and when I was still hoping for sleep, they disturbed me.  But they are a wonderful crew.

I've spent some time trying to decide if the top of a man's head is off-center or if it only looks that way because of how he is sitting.  I may never know.  He's bald, with a lovely fringe of bright white hair.  The top of his head is nice-looking but I do question its symmetry.  If he would sit up straight, we could get this matter worked out without any embarrassment.  We'll see what happens.

Saskatchewan - there you are.  We know each other so little and I think it will stay that way.  There are no bad feelings - there are no feelings at all.  You look like such a sunny province.  I'm much more comfortable with busy big city streets and shopping malls.  But I wish you well.

How freaked out are people when they see someone writing pages and pages of notes in public?  Yes people know that there are those who write, but do they consider me in something like the "crazy cat lady" category when they see the process in action?  They seem to notice as they stand in the washroom line.  Perhaps they wonder if I'm writing about them.  They are right to wonder.

I am tired of having to repeat things I say because others in my party are wearing headphones/earbuds/things-they-put-on-their-heads that block out my voice.  (Admittedly I have spoken mostly to complain or when I needed help finding something I'd dropped so they haven't missed a lot.)  Perhaps later on at home I should pretend, for four hours, that I do not hear what people say and then remove an imaginary device from my ear.  I wouldn't explain why I was doing it.  It would teach them or make them really, really confused.

I have not let my son's school that he will not be there.  I wonder what they do to parents like that.  I'll know soon.

I am revisitng the question of the symmetry of the man's head.

As I look at the maps showing the flight path and progress, I come up with places to which I never wish to travel.  My mood has deteriorated (it didn't start off great anyways) and I have become geographically hostile.  I have decided that I never want to go anywhere north.  I am sure the north would be somewhat relieved if it knew.

Landing is starting now so only about 90,000 more hurdles to clear before we're home and I'm in trouble with the school.  Landing makes me a bit nervous but it is beautifully done.

Despite all the little annoyances that accompany it, air travel is amazing.   I am grateful for the ability to travel great distances quickly and safely.  It doesn't matter how we're dressed, what we do to get through the flight, whether that man's head is symmetrical or not (he seemed comfortable with it regardless) or whether we are able to sleep on board.  Air travel enables us to get there, wherever our "there" may be.  I hear a plane.  Happy flying to all!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Magical Mango Moment and a Lot of Confusing Foods

I experienced the perfect coming together of want and need when I took the first sip of a Mango Magic smoothie today.

If only food and drink consumption could always be so straightforward and so right.  Generally it gets rather confusing and complicated.  We classify what we eat into good or bad but we eat the bad because it often tastes good.   At times, we eat out of habit or for comfort or something might look really tasty.  We eat and drink when we're with friends and family and celebrating whatever we celebrate.  We deprive ourselves at times and overindulge at other times.  We try to teach our children about food but we eat every sour and cream potato chip that ventures near us (or maybe that's just me).  We hear bad things about some if not all carbohydrates but question if we really want to banish toast from our lives.  Fat may be bad (and fat sounds bad) but it turns out that consuming no fat is terrible and that some fats are good.  Refined sugar can be a problem but we should worry about natural sugars in fruits too.  And really, why not worry about natural sugar?  We're so worried anyways.  Nuts are good but no food is good for those allergic to it.  We consider farming methods from the viewpoints of both animals and ourselves and also the distances that food travels before it reaches us.  But it's hard to eat lovingly nurtured, locally grown food in Canada in winter.  I suppose we could gnaw on indoor plants but I only have two.  One's a poinsettia and they're poisonous; the other is a cactus.  It seems weird to drink cow's milk but I love cow's milk and if we don't consume milk, what happens to cheese and ice cream?  Then there's yogurt.  Yogurt is so very, very confusing all on its own; a debate about the dairy products which form its base would lead to outright chaos.  Who wants to be responsible for that?

So, with all the knowledge we have, what should we eat and drink?  I have absolutely no idea.  I know was that my smoothie was good though.  And in that moment, that was enough.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Moment of Non-Loveliness

Has anyone else had the experience where, after a short but pleasant workout at the gym, you're strolling through the facility on the way home, considering the purchase of a coffee, when suddenly you have a short but nasty coughing fit followed by a hearty sneeze, which can bring its own problems, and as this is winding down, your new phone flies out of your purse to the recently refinished but still hard floor below and you hope against hope that your phone has not broken because you have not gotten a case for it yet and you have started to wonder if a Samsung phone was a mistake because it's a lot easier to find a funky iPhone case than it is for this Samsung model but you are happy with your phone so that's probably what matters and thankfully it's not broken and you think to yourself at some point "I am not at my loveliest right now" and you wonder if you'll see the cute physiotherapist who fixed your hand and you realize it's probably for the best if you don't see him or at least if he doesn't see you because you can just imagine he'd think to himself "Was it really worth my efforts?  Look at her.  Wow.  Sure the clinic made a few dollars treating her but what if she has friends just like her and she refers them?  Is that the kind of clientele we really want?" and you pick up your phone and act, as best you can, like you're a normal, functioning member of society and then walk over to the Jugo Juice stand to order your coffee because you don't want a smoothie right now, you have fruit at home and, let's face it, you have a ferocious coffee addiction with which to contend, and the pleasant lady there, who seems to recognize you despite your sporadic gym attendance, serves your coffee and then you walk off to carry on with your day?

Life is interesting!  I hope you enjoy your unique experiences too.  Happy Wednesday!  :)


Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Story of a Purse

I bought a purse today.  While my old purse did not get to the point of completely falling apart and dumping its contents, also known as my treasured belongings, on the sidewalk, it had rips, tears, and marks.  I like to use things up; I had done that with this purse.

In shopping for purses, I wasn't searching for a status item but I wanted something that would last.  It was interesting visiting one outlet store for high end bags.  The prices were still high and the clientele was frenzied.  At another store, the employees were pushy and the prices for sale items were confusing if not misleading.  I don't care for that.  Eventually, I ended up in Sears and, while the décor of the store was grim and I wonder about the future of Sears, I found my new purse there.  It made me gasp.  It wasn't a loud gasp so I didn't draw a lot of attention to myself, this time, but there was a gasp.  That's a good sign.

To clarify, I did not end up buying the exact model of purse that made me gasp.  When I got a good look at it and saw that it was big enough to fit both of my rabbits, a loaf of bread, five or maybe six books, a small bag of topsoil and a large hat (possibly a sombrero), I wasn't sure that I needed so much capacity.  Luckily there was a smaller purse with the same pattern on it.  I chose to purchase that one.

It is fun to fall in love with something in this way.  I find it very interesting that something we had no part in creating can connect with something in us.  How is it that our souls seem able to communicate with each other?  How is it that a mass-produced purse can make me gasp?  I don't know but I'm glad that this can happen.

Soon I will transfer items over from my old purse.  There won't be a big ceremony - a few fitting musical selections will be played and I guess I should get a cake.  I won't have room in this purse for a sombrero or a bag of topsoil but I don't always carry those items anyways. It would have been nice to know that I could though.



Thursday, February 14, 2013

Finding the Rainbows Again

I felt wonder tonight.  I was reading something about a rainbow.  It was interesting.

I haven't felt a lot of wonder for a while.  I've tried to write.  The words were hard to find.  I was ok but not inspired.  By the end of it all, I was feeling pretty down.  And then I felt wonder again, finally.

It would be nice if it were really as easy as putting on a happy face and cheering ourselves up if we ever feel down.  I don't find it that easy.  Sometimes I guess we just have to be patient and wait for things to work out on their own, to feel better, to experience good things again.

I hope that everyone finds their way through any gloom they may feel and arrives at their rainbows.  We appreciate them a lot when we haven't experienced them for a while.  They are beautiful.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

It's a Small Rubber Chicken

I find that items accumulate in spots around the house and become part of the scenery.  Somehow, if they sit long enough, we often don't question their presence. There's no need for a bag of cereal to be sitting beside me at the computer.  We have cupboards.  There's an egg timer.  I have no need to time eggs right now and I wouldn't use that timer if I did.  There's a key ring from Hawaii, a magic marker, a rubber chicken, one crayon and a school survey I should mail some day.  And, while it's good that I found them, why are those 2 keys to the shed sitting on the computer desk?  It's ridiculously cold outside; I can't see anyone suddenly needing to retrieve a fertilizer spreader or aging slip-n-slide.  I don't need any of these items to be conveniently located but they're all here.  It's the things I need to find that are often in more obscure locations.

Gathering these items up more regularly and preventing their accumulation might help but I sense that some items will remain adrift and alone.  When something doesn't have a role but we feel it should belong, it has to sit somewhere.  In our houseful of very visual people, if things don't remain in full view, they are often forgotten.  If we can see them, they stand a chance that we will some day integrate them into our lives.  Until that happy day, many of them will remain part of our domestic scenery.

Since I started writing this entry, I've put a few items away.  The cereal and egg timer are gone and the magic marker's in a drawer.  The survey still needs to be mailed, the rubber chicken continues to lie here and that one crayon (grey - not the most exciting colour in a crayon and we don't use crayons anymore) sits waiting for a use.  Things are a little tidier but not much and new pieces will probably arrive soon anyways.  This, I suppose, is evidence of the flow of a family's life in a place we feel comfortable setting things down.  It does get a little messy but I treasure that we have such a place and experience such comfort in it.


Monday, January 28, 2013

I thought their fur took care of that.

I've noticed a lot of dogs wearing clothes lately - sweaters, coats, perhaps the odd turtleneck.  The styles vary considerably and, with the wide variety of dogs there are, the sizes do too.  Dog fashion is not one style or one-size-fits all.

I'm confused as to why dogs choose to wear clothes.  If I'm not mistaken, they used to wear only fur.  I wouldn't expect that their physiology changed so rapidly that clothing suddenly became necessary.  Except for their new clothes, dogs look pretty much the same to me as they always have.  And I hope they understand that those of us who oppose the wearing of fur (myself included) are in favour of animals wearing it.  Perhaps, being as eager to please as they are, dogs have taken that message a little too far.  Or maybe they've simply succumbed to the targeted marketing efforts of dog fashion design houses, possibly delivered to dogs at frequencies only they can hear.  We can only guess at the pressure they are feeling to dress nicely.  I can only guess at their reasons for dressing at all.

While the issue of clothing for dogs confuses me, the need for dog footwear seems readily apparent.  I watched a dog trotting along a snowy urban sidewalk one day and knew I wouldn't want those little feet walking in my living space.  There are various reasons for that and I don't know that a quick wipe with a towel would be adequate to relieve my concerns.  That little dog wasn't wearing shoes, boots, or even socks of any kind.  I'm not sure how he or she could justify that.

I like dogs and don't want to put any more pressure on them but perhaps they could shift a little of their focus from clothing to shoes.  Or maybe they could buy coordinated outfits that include shoes; that would make things easier.  Dogs could still express their fashion sense and they wouldn't bring the outdoors in on their feet.  What a better world we'd live in then.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hoping for Friendship, Preparing for Contempt

I am entering a situation this evening where the potential exists to make new friends.  Earlier today, I felt somewhat excited about this.  The excitement was quickly followed, however, by a sense that I may be setting up myself up for bitter disappointment.  Making friends is a tricky business; there are no guarantees.  I do not want to go in with overly high expectations.

When a group of strangers is assembled together, no one can predict what the interactions between them will be.  Will some of them have things in common and instantly bond?  Will some have personalities that will always conflict with each other?  Will everyone get along and magic be created?  Will everyone keep pretty much to him or herself?  And there is that one big question in my mind:  "Will anybody like me?"

I suppose it's ok if I don't become friends with anyone in the group.  Friendships are special and they aren't ignited every time strangers meet.  There may be people there to whom I do not wish to get close and there may people who would find my quirks, neuroses, awkwardness and intermittent ennui somewhat exhausting.  Even I don't always enjoy my own company.  But still, when we wonder even a little if we'll make a friend and then we don't, it can be sad.  It's nice to meet up with another along the way with whom we can continue the journey.

Friends are so precious.  I treasure each one that I'm lucky enough to have in my life.  It doesn't matter, I guess, if we don't become friends with everyone we meet.  It does matter that we hold on to those we have.  We all have so much to offer each other.  And our quirks and neuroses can make for some really interesting conversations.  Just not right away.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Seeking to Find A Photo When I'd Like to Find the Meaning of Life

One day last week, my activities had a clear purpose for a while.  I had lost an old photo that I knew had been sitting around the kitchen.  I had looked for it enough that I was trying to tell myself it was ok and I could stop looking.  I'm not really good at the "stop looking" part though; I kept looking and found it.

While it was nice to have the photo back, finding it was a bit of a letdown.  When I am searching for something, I know what my mission is.  I will look for that item, think through various places it could be and, at times, get very upset about its lost status and/or the lack of organization that led to that lost status.  I do, however, have a clear goal in mind.  I like that.

When I find the missing item, when the small cosmos of that crisis dissolves, I am again at sea in the great unknown universe of life.  It's easier to look for a picture.  It's easier, I suppose, to become focused on a lot of things than to deal with the larger questions.  I know that it can be somewhat painful to lose and look for something.  I also know that it's very hard to feel like one's floating and has no direction.

I wonder what it would be like to have defined goals and to pursue them with the same determination I have when looking for a lost item.  I know I'm not the only person who wishes she simply knew what she was supposed to do.  It can be kind of overwhelming to try to figure it out.

We all go through our days, years, lives doing, well, stuff.  I wonder how much of that "stuff" is undertaken with purpose and how much is undertaken to keep busy, to avoid the larger questions or because that's what we've always done.  Life is complicated.  Keeping busy is relatively easy.  There is always something we can find to do.

I guess we can try to set up some small goals in life and work towards them.  As we accomplish them, we can move on and set new ones.  Maybe we don't have to figure out the whole meaning of life at one time.  We can do our best, we can be kind.  Hopefully we won't have to hide out in our busyness, our obsessions, seeking to shield ourselves from larger questions.  Rather we can try to live into the answers, whatever they turn out to be.


On Some Joy Experienced

Within the last minute, I returned from the gym.  Walking to and from the gym was challenging on its own today; my ankles seem to work hard where's there snow on the ground.  But I made it home, if somewhat slowly.

While at the gym today, I experienced something really good.  I call it "Joy."  It was a wonderful feeling.

I don't know that I'm really good at feeling joy.  I guess I take things pretty seriously a lot of the time.  There are definitely things that bring me joy but I struggle a lot too.  Unexpected joy like I felt today is very welcome.

All I had to do today was use a machine that I hadn't used before.  While I really enjoyed the sensation of using that machine, I am more excited about something else.  I am 47 years old and it is so simple to still embrace more of life's offerings.  It's easy to kind of close down our frames of reference and pick and choose activities from what we've already done, from what we already know.  It's great if people enjoy living like that. But there are always new things to learn, new activities to try, and new vantage points from which to look. To me, it seems important to keep open to and to seek new possibilities throughout our lives. We never know what may become a source of happiness for us.

I anticipate that in the next day or two I will experience the feeling of "Agony" after today's new activity.  That's ok; the pain will wear off.  I hope to go back before the end of the week to use that machine again.  When we find a way to feel joy, it's nice to embrace it.  Perhaps it's not ideal to embrace fitness equipment in flu season and people often stare when we do but, metaphorically at least, we can try to embrace joy in all seasons.  And hope that people keep wiping down those machines all through the year.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Letter of Apology - As Requested by Theodore


As we both know, our relationship since Sept 7, 2011, when we first met in the IKEA parking lot, has had its ups and downs.  I think if we are both completely honest, both of us have done things that, in hindsight, we know we should not have done.  Your chewing, the time you bit me, the mealtimes when I've hit you on the head with carrots - we have failed each other on occasion.  Now is not the time to go into all of that though.  I will keep to the point and focus on the issue that has caused me to write to you today.

I did not mean to drop you, Theodore.  Your safety and well-being are a priority at all times and certainly when I am carrying you back to your home.  I hope that you are not sore today from the fall and I understand that you may be upset and perhaps humilated by it.  I am sorry.

While I do take responsibility for what happened, I must note some factors that could have contributed:

1. You had completed a thorough washing of yourself just prior to the event.  I wonder whether this had left you especially slippery.  Perhaps you could adjust your bathtime schedule.  We can work on this together.

2.  At times, you move around a lot as I carry you.  I'd like to remind you that you are a somewhat large and definitely powerful rabbit and it can be challenging to anticipate and respond to your every move.  As you know now, such fighting and flailing poses a danger to you.  Please consider the consequences of your actions.

3.  It's possible that you wanted to get to your bathroom quickly.  Falling out of my arms and landing on the hard floor did not assist you in getting to your facilities any faster.  While neither of us wants you to have a bathroom incident outside of your home, you have permission for that to happen should it be necessary.  Don't let pride lead you astray, Theodore.

4.  While you are an excellent "lap rabbit" and enjoy extended periods of affection sitting on various laps, you are not a rabbit who carries well.  I will explore the possibility of a transportation and elevator system to take you to and from your home without human involvement.  This might be the best choice for you.

5.  Perhaps you didn't want to return home yet and I was insensitive to your needs.  It's often hard to know what you want, Theodore, and if this was an act of rebellion, it didn't work.  I still don't know for sure what you wanted and you risked serious injury.  We have to work on better ways to communicate than that, my friend.  I believe our relationship is worth it.

Again, I am sorry and please understand that I am only pointing out these concerns in the hope that we can prevent this event from being repeated.  I let you fly through the air and I have to live with that.  Please understand that this was in no way an act of revenge on my part for the Purple Blanket Incident.  I have accepted your apology for that and will be looking for a pretty way to patch my blanket.  What happened last night was bad but unintentional, my beloved pet.  I look forward to interacting with you in the future and I'm glad that you are a part of our household.  If I ever meet another rabbit in the IKEA parking lot, I'll take it home too and hope that it's even half as wonderful as you.  And if I meet a monkey there, well, I'll figure that out when it happens.

Kind Regards,

(For readers other than Theodore, I did meet him in an IKEA parking lot.  That was where his former owner and I agreed to meet for the transfer.  I didn't see any monkeys walking around in coats that evening.  JAHD)