Flowers in California

Flowers in California

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Puddles and Plants and Stuff

As I sit here, I am looking at a puddle of water that has formed outside the plant I watered moments ago. As well, I can see a tray. If the plant were sitting on the tray, the water would not have leaked. Oh, what a simple solution. Oh, what a puddle to clean up.

OK, I solved that problem.

While I did solve that problem, I wonder what I can learn from yet another small domestic blunder. Am I to be reminded of how simple preventive measures can make life so much easier? Am I to question if, indeed, some people really aren't capable of handling the responsibilities of a house and need to employ domestic help, whatever the expense? Or am I just to realize that there is too much going on in this house, too much lying around, too many things that take up space and require attention but which don't advance the cause of anyone in this house or in society? Do I even want plants? Maybe. But do I enjoy them or merely toss some water at them once in a while out of a sense of duty and hope the water lands within the pots?

I'm about to read a book about an apparently great system of tidying up, once and for all. I hope this approach works. I feel that there is stuff around me in this house that is not serving my purposes anymore. Why do we try to hang on? I think I should let at least some of this stuff go.

And the next time I am in IKEA, near the end of the store, parched from thirst and bewildered by thoughts of what I may still want or not want to buy, I will try to stop myself from buying yet another plant. Buying one won't make me an indoor plant person. Nor improve my life in countless (nor even countable) ways. There are artificial plants in that section too. Maybe one of them is a better option. Or, I could take a few steps back and buy a picture frame. It may end up in a pile with the other picture frames whose sizes don't match any pictures you've ever taken or seen or bought but it won't require watering and it's not dangerous like a candle. Yes, perhaps I should stick to picture frames. I've amassed quite a nice collection.

And soon, I will go and stare at my plants. Perhaps I will realize that they are more wonderful than I had realized. Perhaps I will notice that there are more puddles and, since I can't hire a staff, I should probably buy some absorbent cloths. Or picture frames. Or something. Just not more indoor plants.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Recommitting - and Connecting Anew

I did a little bit of thinking about this blog and, really, the purpose of it. I determined what that purpose going forward will be.

I want to connect with people again. Whether you're a new or old reader here, I will write solely again so that we can connect with each other.

Stay tuned and I hope that you are enjoying your Christmas preparations and/other holiday celebrations!


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

While I Wait for My Coffee to Cool

My coffee's too hot but I feel like if I don't have coffee, I might not be able to go on and I could add milk or even water to cool it down but milk doesn't always taste good in coffee and adding water sounds weird but if adding water enabled me to go on, perhaps it would be worth it but it's so hard to say because I don't have nearly enough coffee in me, just a few searingly hot sips, and I may have spilled some of this hot liquid as I transferred it to the end table over the disproportionately high chesterfield/couch/sofa arm and I'm never sure what I should call this piece of furniture but it probably doesn't matter - the height of its arms are more of an issue - and there could be an inland lake of coffee down there on the table but I'd have to look way, way down to see it and it doesn't matter right now anyways because until I drink some of that coffee, I'm not going to wipe up the coffee spill because I'll be sitting here waiting for the heat to escape that coffee and I think I actually have some notion of that element of physics right - heat escapes - even though physics was not my thing but I went down swinging and Mr. Munro was a nice teacher and he never came right out and said that I should give up - he always seemed to be looking at some far-off point in the future when students like I would finally see the light or at perhaps at the time when he would no longer have to deal with us - and, oh, high school science wasn't good for me but thinking like that doesn't get coffee into me this morning so, it maybe okay now to secure the system of ropes and pulleys to bring my coffee up to me and see if the temperature of it has cooled sufficiently that I can drink some of it and obtain the power I need to be able to go on.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thoughts of Hunger and Other Stuff While on A Plane

Last week I flew to Toronto. I jotted down thoughts as the flight progressed. My son contributed some of his thoughts too. I will share them with you now. I was pretty hungry when I wrote them. It did start off as a way for me to try to calm down. The massive security line-up and slow boarding had been unpleasant. No hats were harmed or eaten during the flight (as far as I know.)

I struggle, as I sit here, to find my center, to find my peace. I don't understand how it can take that long to board a plane. The thing I don't get is that these people must do this quite regularly and yet it all seems new. Maybe this (writing) is how I relax. Maybe this is how I center myself. Who knows?

I don't particularly enjoy bumps when I'm in a plane. What are we hitting? It makes all that science stuff a little too real. Contained in the plane and away. The wonder, the joy of flying.

Where's my pretzel bag? I was savagely hungry when I received them. Did I eat the bag? Oh man, I can just imagine when the flight attendant comes for garbage. She'll say "I know I  gave you pretzels - what'd you do with the bag?" And I won't have a good explanation.

I could look at the on-board menu but my experience on planes has led me to believe that those menus are fictional. Is that fiction? There are pictures of real food but it's not food that is available on the plane. A work like that is kind of in its own genre.

Oh, I wonder if that was a mistake. I've put my glass in the seat pocket and now I'm thirsty. I don't want to use that glass again but fear that the flight attendant won't want to give me another one after the pretzel bag incident. I can produce the first glass so it's not that she'll think I ate it too but that whole thing may have turned her against me.

I was hungry in the airport. Oddly, while there were 14,000 people in the security line, the food area beyond security was not busy. And while I had wanted food that could be purchased quickly and would revive me, the service was slow and the food was not good. I didn't feel revived; I felt like I'd eaten bad food. It was quite disappointing.

Dehydration is starting to overtake me. The crew may be willing to serve me coffee as that would require a different type of cup. I hope that one flight attendant is ready to move on from the pretzel bag incident. Some time has passed. Perhaps we can begin again.

With hope I will look at the menu much as a child plays with a toy. I know it not real but briefly, it may bring me joy.

I have found a meal I want. I will retrieve my credit card and dream of the chance that I may receive the food I saw pictured.

The flight is going quickly. This cheers me.

The flight attendants just passed. I could have fought for my turkey and brie sandwich but they made no indication that we could order food. I don't have the moral strength to pursue the matter.

Nourishment still eludes me.

Words that describe the current situation: Shocked, Saddened, Betrayed, Bullied. And hungry. I feel them all.

I look at a member of my family who is sleeping. I resent him for the peace he experiences. But I will not disturb his slumber.

A brief game of "I Spy" with another family member proved confusing and controversial. We now know that this game can be played within a darkened plane. It doesn't make one feel less hungry, however.

I no longer hope that food will be offered despite all of those attractive food options I saw in the menu. Alas, it matters not what sandwich I chose.

Having given up on food service, I look at the backs of people's heads in front of me. I learn very little about them from this activity. I'm okay with that. From this vantage point, at least, they don't look like an interesting or inspiring group.

The seat of the person right in front of me is reclined very far. I could start stroking the man's hair if I felt a need to do that. I do not feel that need. He has nice hair though and I do not feel rage at his invasion of my space. Perhaps my hunger has rendered me too weak to feel strong emotions of any sort at this time.

A sleeping passenger across the aisle has removed his hat. He clings to it though. He should; it's a stylish hat. His appearance is different when he is hatless. I wonder what he looks like when awake. He has spent so much time sleeping I have not had a chance to find this out. Perhaps he is so hungry he cannot stay awake. I would not be surprised to see him munching on his hat soon.

While famished, I enjoy the peace on board right now. No one is in the aisle serving food (obviously) or drink and the flight is smooth.

While I know that flight attendants may have duties of which I am unaware, I notice that this flight seems to have a large number of them when one considers the service that has been provided.

Accepting that food will not be provided, I put my credit card and the menu away. Perhaps the garbled message near the start of the flight was intended to convey some information about the food and some unpleasant fate that had befallen it. Perhaps it is best not to know what happened.

Reaching down to put my credit card in my purse, I find that my foot is caught in one of the purse's handles. While it takes some effort to free it that is visible to other passengers, I am grateful that I learned this before I tried to get out at some point only to fall down in the aisle. I might have disturbed the sleeping man with the hat. I might have reignited the fury of the flight attendant who had tried to retrieve my pretzel bag. Neither of those things happened and that is good.

In my famished state, I glance at the map and believe that we have gotten close to Hudson and/or James Bay. This has not happened nor should it. I sort that out and come closer to figuring out where we are. It's good that we are nearing our destination; I really need to eat.

Beginning our descent, I try to accept the lack of food provided and aim to find food within the airport. A chocolate bar (or wrapper) would do. At this point, eating at least one of those items, oh, it is my biggest dream.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

On Tomatoes, A Toaster and the Potential for Fire in the Morning

"What if the tomatoes catch fire?" That was one of my earliest thoughts after I got up this morning. I'm probably not the only one who dislikes dealing with a tomato-related fire at the start of the day. I was making toast. The tomatoes were in a plastic container near the toaster. We've had problems with the toaster before. There's been smoke. What if the toaster took aim at the tomatoes? I can't be sure its intentions are good. I don't really feel I know that toaster at all. As well, I don't know the chemical compounds that tomatoes and plastic could form. I'm not eager to discover them. The tomatoes wouldn't have have been a loss. They're aging. They're not aging well. The fire would have been a concern. If we were able to extinguish or at least contain it, we'd have to reassure ADT that all was well. I don't know the weekend fire alarm people at ADT well. It would be worse if we were unable to control the fire. I'd have to let ADT send the fire department this time. I'd miss out on my toast. The tomatoes didn't catch fire. That's good. My husband's reaction to the whole issue, when I recounted my concerns later, was "Why didn't you move the tomatoes?" It's likely that man will never be the one responsible for letting a kitchen fire start in our house. I admire that in him. But while he is moving potentially flammable objects away from dangerously hot small appliances, I'll be the one seeing the possibilities in situations and stopping to consider them, even as the threat of fire looms around me. Perhaps there is value in that too. Perhaps there's really not. Safe toasting to all, both the practical and the more contemplative among us! And happy tomatoes too!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

The True Waffle Story

In a hotel where I stayed last week, a sign in the elevator noted the "Daily Complimentary Hot Waffle Breakfast." To me the focus on waffles, to the exclusion of all other foods, seemed presumptuous. Had the hotel decided that everyone staying there would eat waffles and would this be strictly enforced, or was there an expectation that people love waffles and would jump for joy (hopefully not in the elevator because that's a weird experience) when they learned of this offering? Do people love waffles a lot more than I had realized?

As it turned out, the breakfast was not as waffle-centric as the sign had made it seem. Other food was offered as well - much of it typical of those types of breakfast situations. There were small, heavily processed muffins and danishes that I would not choose to eat anywhere else, hard boiled eggs that likely came from chickens far, far away and juices and coffees that seemed to run out just when you had the opportunity to obtain them. It can take some work to gather the components necessary for your meal at a complimentary breakfast bar.

I did not attempt to make waffles while there. And while I do not mind eating a waffle when the time is right, I do not see the attraction, for anyone, of making them in a hotel breakfast bar. There is the potential for a lot of mess when, morning after morning, new guests try to learn about and use waffle irons with which they are unfamiliar. There has to be batter sticking to the equipment, leaking out of the equipment and potentially burning in the equipment. In addition to that, I don't see the benefit of fresh-made waffles when the batter for them is squirted out from a waffle batter machine. I question how this amounts to an experience any more wholesome than popping an Eggo in the toaster and splashing some syrup on it. Perhaps there is some charm of which I am unaware.

I wonder what would happen if all the guests in the hotel decided one morning that, yes, they did want waffles for breakfast. The hotel was right; waffles were the answer after all. Would there be enough of the batter on the premises to meet the demand? I considered that perhaps there was a reservoir of waffle batter under the hotel parking lot. Perhaps, if you stayed at the hotel for enough nights, you would see a tanker truck come and feed something in through a hose. Always, in pipes and vast storage rooms, a ready inventory of this important substance would be at the ready. Never, would anyone really know what it contained but as long as people could always make waffles for themselves, that wouldn't matter.

Next time I am at a hotel, and especially one where a "Daily Complimentary Hot Waffle Breakfast" is offered, I will see if I can spot any doors leading to any subterranean rooms and vaguely labeled "Breakfast Supplies" or "Reservoir Entrance" or, the very obvious,"Waffle Batter Storage." I still won't have waffles, none of these thoughts have made me want to do that, but I will try to get a better understanding of the hotel's handling of them. I'll be eating my over-processed pastry and well-traveled egg as I observe the waffle happenings. And I'll look for pipes that are attached to the batter machine and know I am onto the truth.


Is that what improving means?

We have new neighbours. I don't know a lot about them. That's ok. I remain in close contact with my former neighbours and was happy when they dropped by recently. We also keep up through texts. We continue to make each other laugh.

Since the new people moved in, they have had most of the trees on their lawn taken down, had the lawn dug up and had new sod planted. A neighbour across the street commented to my husband yesterday, though, about how much better the place looks already. When he says that, I find it upsetting. When I think of him and why he says that, I feel sad.

While the grass next door is beautiful now and we may, at some times of the year, get more light in our house, I found beauty in the property before. Seeing and hearing little boys play (even though sometimes they scared me when they zoomed their trucks down to the road), having impromptu conversations with their mother and knowing we were there for each other when we needed help, and,one time, repeatedly seeing one of the little boy's heads appear in a window as he jumped on his bed were beautiful to me. We no longer have any of those experiences.

I see so many people on this street who, while they may be nice people, put a very high value on pristine lawns and trees. Pristine lawns and trees don't make you laugh and are not great at conversation. People can do both and when some nice ones move away, I miss them. And when their contribution to the street is not valued. I think that's sad.


Still More Book Titles

I came up with a short list of possible book titles, again. Please let me know if there are any which you are particularly interested in reading.

1.  I'll Never Do That But Thanks: A Gracious Guide for Listening to Advice You Know You Will Not Use

2.  When Food Purchases Go Wrong: Grisly Pizza, Disturbing Doughnuts and Other Heartbreaks You've Bought At The Grocery Store

3.  Doing Good Deeds In Secret And Wishing People Knew: A Study of Your Motives, A Look Into Your Soul

4.  How Not to Attack Your Child in the Night Even When They Really Scare You

5. Toothbrush-Related Accidents and the Damage They Leave Behind (A Stunning Presentation In Pictures)

6.  Evaluating Squirrels - Their Leaps, Jumps and Prances - So You'll Know How They Really Feel

7.  An In-Depth Look at Pickles (Now With Bonus Section: Selected Profiles Of Those Who Fear Them)

8.  Learning to Understand (And Not Throw Things At) Someone who Yells "Phone!" When It Rings

9.  When Sudden Furniture Moves Seem Necessary; A Consideration of Motivations, Injuries And Hope For A Creative But More Patient Future

10. Determining Whether You're A Role Model Or Your Life Should Serve As A Cautionary Tale

11. You and Your Fear of Closed-Up Hotels: Comforting Words and Pictures That Probably Won't Help At All

12. When You Covet Cream Cheese: Dealing With Jealousy When A Friend Eats A Bagel Near You

13. Steve, the Pumpkin: His Memoirs and Collected Papers (Volume I)

14. When Your Rabbit Frets: Helping Him Communicate About That Which Troubles Him Most

15. Turkey Gravy Through the Years: A Short Study of a Substance That Should Never Change (With Samples)

16.  How to Know When Your Hairstylist Dislikes You, Finds You Annoying and/or Really Wishes You Harm (With Helpful Coping Strategies for Each of These Disappointing Scenarios)

17.  Listening In On the Conversation When Your Stomach Has a Lot to Say: A Helpful Guide to Understanding What Those Growls And Grumbles Really Mean

18.  You and Your Water Softener: Examining Why It's Set for 2 a.m. Replenishment When It Bothers Everyone So Much

19. Keeping Your Grandparents Busy: A Toddler's Guide to Terrifying and Tiring Those People Who Love You So Much

20. The Therapeutics of the Burp: Time-Tested Strategies for Successful Gastric Release

Input/advice (which I probably won't heed)/ and names of people who can help me (in any ways you think I need help) are all welcome.

Take care, everyone.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

On Clouds and Doom and Lots of Fun Stuff Like That

After exiting the mall today I noticed dark, horrible, oddly shaped clouds and I thought to myself that I should get home fastly which led to questioning myself about whether or not I had actually just used the word "fastly" and I thought that wow, there were no grammar police in my head, and then I thought that's weird because I kind of am the grammar police and then I questioned the value of correcting people's grammar and I spilled some coffee into the very small but tasteful gift I'd bought for someone and decided that wasn't really an issue because people expect this kind of thing from me and soon I noticed that the sun had come out somewhat or there was a strange glow coming from somewhere and it gave everything a look that suggested we'd reached the end of days and I thought to myself "That's too bad" and considered anything I'd been wanting to get done and I hoped I'd get time to drink the coffee I held in my hand because the first few sips had tasted good and I realized how selfish that seemed if the whole world was ending but acknowledged that there wasn't a lot more I could do for anybody else if we all only had about 20 minutes left and I headed over to a route home where there'd recently been some underground pipe work done and I hoped I would notice any holes before I fell in them but then I thought it didn't matter anyways with what was about to happen and I felt like I was being followed but then I realized it was probably just by doom and I was for sure not the only one being pursued by it at that time and this all really sucked because I had been hoping to get home in time to watch 30 Rock and hadn't foreseen any of this happening but probably nobody really had and I noticed that a decorative rock, which had likely been situated at a house for a very long time, looked like a vicious animal sitting in wait for me and it was probably normal at a time like this for everyday objects to take on the appearance of terrifying beasts and soon precipitation started and it seemed that it would turn to hail, probably really pointy hail, and I was aware of how we hadn't really had hail this summer and that's partly due to a cloud seeding procedure that insurance companies undertake and while it's nice not to lose property and plants to hail it also seems unnatural and maybe we shouldn't mess with Mother Nature and maybe she's getting back at us today just for things like the cloud seeding and all but it seems kind of mean to end the whole world simply because some insurance companies want to minimize hail damage claims but clearly it's way past the time to argue about something like that and the precipitation picked up a bit and I definitely wanted to be under the eaves to get my house key out of my purse and I got in the door, glad to see home again at least one more time, and savoured my coffee because, really, what else could I do?


Thursday, August 14, 2014

All That Sludge

Today, for me, is a day about blockages. Hopefully, as well, it is a day about breaking through them. I really need to do that in the kitchen drain and my rabbit will feel a lot better if we can do that in his digestive system too.

Perhaps it is a day, too, on which we can consider blockages that aren't physical. Personally, I need and want to break through the blockages, the walls that keep me from believing I can succeed in any way. I'm tired of being surrounded by these beliefs, conscious or not, that tell me I could never do that, I shouldn't try that, others may succeed at something but I never would. It doesn't matter where all this comes from - it has to go away. I need to take action to break through the heavy, thick, ugly, grey sludge that's in my mind. (On a side note, I don't know if any of those adjectives were necessary to describe sludge. Are they there to clarify that I'm not referring to sludge that's light, thin, pretty, and colourful? I suppose the extra information doesn't hurt.)

I wonder how many other people are wasting their talents, blocked from sharing them, blocked by their beliefs. It is a shame and a waste. The world needs everyone to offer that which they have to share. I wonder if I can play a role in helping others get unblocked too. Wow, that is something I would like to be able to do. Again, there, I question that I would be able.

I believe we have roles to play in the world. Sitting on my couch and feeling myself to be without power, connection, know-how is not mine. I hope. I can't provide instructions for breaking through sludge right now because I don't yet know how. I hope soon to be able to report on how I unclogged my life and got the flow going. At the very least I hope to have a successful kitchen drain story to share soon and a happy tale about my rabbit's recovery. There's a lot of sludge around here right now to get through.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Sad Little Boy at Summer Camp

I don't know why he's sad. I caught a glimpse of him as a counselor spoke with him, at the back of the room, away from the other campers. The counselor was young himself. Perhaps his youth would be an advantage as he tried to help this boy. He may well understand what it's like to be so little and so sad.

There are so many reasons a boy like that could be sad. It's Monday - is this his first at camp? Is this his first day away from Mom? Or is another day of many this summer when he's been in that building, at a camp, trying to pretend he's having fun when he's not? Is he in trouble and not usually in trouble and feeling awful about that? Or is always in trouble and he knows that he should cry? No, I think this boy's sadness was real. Is he tired? That happens. Or is he afraid to go in the pool? That could happen. The world's still pretty new to this little guy; sometimes it's hard to be brave.

We all face challenges - even big boys and girls. I wrote the first two paragraphs yesterday before I knew about Robin Williams. Such a funny, funny man felt so much pain. I hope that the little boy is feeling happier now. If only a camp counselor could take everyone aside who feels pain and really help them. If only.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Some New Book Titles For Your Consideration

Once again, I have developed a list of potential book titles. Your input on any and all of them is very welcome. Any one of them could end up being a masterpiece. Or not.

1.  Occasional Tooth Flossing and the Treasures You Can Find

2.  Decorating With Bananas

3.  The Case for Hopping:  An Insightful Compilation of Essays by Rabbits and Kangaroo Authors

4.  The Sunday Morning Traffic Helicopter: Addressing the Question "Why?"

5.  Strategies for the Unusually-Toed (Volume 1):  Finding the Right-Shaped Shoes

6.  A Squirrel's Guide to Summer: Relaxing while Planning for Your Busy Gathering Season

7.  The Avocado:  Getting to Know It Better and Making It Your Friend

8.  You and Your Bad Mood:  Exploiting Its Awesome Power for Personal and Professional Gain

9.  The Role of Pickles in Today's Society And a Look at the Years Ahead

10. "How Was Clown College?" - Hilarious Things to Say When People Make Fun of Your Comedy Class

11. Going Out for Breakfast: Towards An Understanding Of Why Eating Eggs in Public Brings Such Joy

12. People and their Dustbuster Handheld Vacuums: A Stunning Photo Collection

I will leave the list at that for now and should get working on title number five. I could really use some right-shaped shoes.

Happy reading!


Friday, August 8, 2014

Random Thoughts I'll Share on an August Afternoon

Well, thoughts come to us. Here are some of my recent ones. Please feel free to comment upon and discuss them.

1.  Sun-dried tomato and chicken sausages are not an entirely delightful food. Even in the fun environment of a street festival, I did not enjoy or finish my hot dog. The bun was good but wasn't enough to win out over a disappointing sausage.I will note this for future reference. I suppose I just did.

2.  I wonder if anyone has ever considered that children might not like balloons. I saw several balloons fly up in the air today and I never heard a child crying or saw one standing with a look of utter devastation on his or her once happy young face. Maybe they just let go of them because they don't want them. And really, what excitement is there to holding onto a string? While this might be a crushing blow to the helium and helium tank industry (and balloon manufacturers but I hold out hope that they can adapt), perhaps it's time we stopped giving children balloons. It doesn't seem like they'd care.

3.  I've had a lot of turmoil finding a hairstylist. I like to think that it's not all my fault - especially when they suddenly leave the salon without telling me (although thankfully, so far at least, not mid-hair service) but I wonder.  Is my hair particularly challenging or do they have an issue with my personality? I'm not skilled in small talk but do I do so badly that people flee or, as in one case, an appointment I thought I had made vanishes?  More troubling though is the fact that I have now found a stylist who assures me she is not going anywhere. I believe her. The problem is that I don't like what she did to my hair. Yes, she is the one who will stay and whom I will try avoid seeing in places around the neighbourhood.

4.  I struggle with whether or not my family should keep subscribing to our local newspaper. Some columnists I liked are gone from it, I learn what's happening in the city and world from other sources, and I find myself spending less and less time looking at this newspaper. I do enjoy my newspaper reading routines though and I might have to come up with some substitute procedures. I could eat my breakfast while looking at a newspaper sized piece of cardboard situated underneath my plate and then carry it into the living room to continue my viewing while I drank a morning cup of coffee. It is my hope that I would realize the futility of this practice and be able to let it go. I wonder how long that would take.

5.  My decision to move my pajamas to a different drawer, in a different dresser was wrong. I am sorry to all those who were hurt by that decision (that may just be me). While changing some things around can be good, it seems that other things belong in certain locations and in those locations, they should stay. I am relieved that no longer will I have to look at the third drawer down in the taller dresser and think - "Oh, there's where my pajamas used to be. How I love to recall those glorious days." Instead, I will be able to look at that drawer and pull out pajamas once again. I look forward to the comfort and security that reality will bring.

6. I think it may be time to befriend the avocado.  (Further information and instructions to follow.)

7.  At dinner, I found myself trying to use a fork, knife and spoon for our spaghetti and meatballs dinner. My reasoning was that I needed the spoon to help roll the spaghetti up onto the fork, I needed a knife to cut the meatballs and, while I doubt it requires explanation, I use a fork to eat. I was quite unfamiliar with this selection of cutlery pieces though and kept being confused by the spoon's inability to be a knife. It's amazing how something so simple can be very disorienting. We become very used to the ways in which we do things and we don't always attack a dinner with these 3 utensils. Perhaps we never should.

8. While in the grocery store today, I noticed a breakfast theme in one aisle and recalled hearing at one time that the store was to be classified by meals. Looking across the aisle, however, I saw boxed mashed potatoes and fake chicken gravy powder. To me, cereal seems like a more suitable choice for that spot. So, either some people begin their days in ways I had never considered or the store did not follow the meal classification idea closely. I hope for the latter. I'm not sure a world where people eat mashed potatoes slathered with gravy for breakfast would be a good place.

Happy Friday and I'm not judging anyone's breakfast choices (judge, judge). I am questioning the role of sundried tomato and chicken sausages at any time of day though. In my opinion, those just weren't good. Have fun!


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

When You're Trying to Do What's Right

I phoned the police the other day. It wasn't just that I was lonely and thought it might be nice to chat. Rather, I had seen some things that I found concerning and I thought they should know. That call went pretty well and I believe that the situation was going to be addressed.

I know of other experiences when phoning the police has been more troubling and seemed somewhat futile. It's not that I question the police. I have a lot of respect for them and know they deal with many very troubling situations. I admire and appreciate them. It is their dispatch procedures that confuse me somewhat and make me question whether it's worthwhile to report things we see. Calls like the following one have soured me:

Dispatcher:  What is your emergency?

Husband: There's a couple having a potentially violent fight in a bus shelter at 1st St. and 2nd St. (fictional address, only partially fictionalized telephone call)

Dispatcher: And?

Husband: Well, that seems like a bad thing.

Dispatcher: I guess. At what corner of the intersection is the shelter?

Husband: Southeast.

Dispatcher:  What's the stop number for the bus at that shelter? Is there a bench housed within it?

Husband: I really don't know. There's one bus shelter at that intersection.

Dispatcher: Huh. Could you please describe the people in the bus shelter?

Husband:  The man was probably in his early twenties, had somewhat long dark hair, and was wearing a black jacket.

Dispatcher: Could you please describe his hairstyle better? What do you mean by "somewhat long"? Had he had a haircut recently? Was there any facial hair? Did he have stubble?

Husband: I don't know about facial hair. Maybe some stubble. I guess his hair was shoulder length, a bit sloppy. Is that better?

Dispatcher:  Marginally. And the woman?

Husband: Her hair was light brown and short. She was wearing a long blue coat.

Dispatcher:  Was her hairstyle a pixie or perhaps a bob? Did it look like the light brown was her natural colour? Did she have highlights? Was the coat baby blue, navy, cerulean, perhaps indigo?

Husband: I can't answer any of those questions. I have absolutely no idea. There were only 2 people in the bus shelter, they were fighting and one was wearing some kind of blue coat.

Dispatcher: Sir, by this time, there could be a whole crowd of people in the bus shelter. We most certainly do not want to approach someone wearing a cerulean coat unnecessarily.

Husband: Wouldn't it have been better to send a car to the bus shelter at the start of the call?

Dispatcher:  You're attitude has become rather combative. Now, were either of these people wearing or holding a hat, umbrella, portfolio or what appeared to be a musical instrument?

Husband:  I don't think so.

Dispatcher: You don't sound certain.

Husband:  OK, no. If I'd noticed those things I would have mentioned them earlier.

Dispatcher: I see. Sir, where are you located at this time?

Husband: I'm walking into the auto show.

Dispatcher:  Yes. We thought so. We've been tracking you and will have officers waiting to attend.

Husband:  But what did I do? I was trying to help...

Dispatcher:  You've provided information to us which is helpful in no way. As well, your demeanor is problematic. Next time, please have all hairstyle and coat colour information handy before you make the call. The attending officers will go over this with you en route to arrest processing.

Husband: I guess I'm not going to the auto show.

Dispatcher: All of this could have been avoided if you hadn't called.

Husband: I'll know next time.

While I've exaggerated, one call my husband made was disappointingly similar to this one. I don't know why all the detail was needed. He'd call the police again in a similar situation but he might study more first and take better notes. He did get to go to the auto show.

I don't know what happened to those people in the bus shelter. Maybe that call made a difference. I am hopeful that sometimes we can.


Monday, June 9, 2014

On Trying to Make the Most of the Beautiful Summer Season or, as some would say, Shopping for a Chair

My family members and I spent some time this past weekend looking for an object that would meet my unique outdoor seating needs (or, as they would probably say, shopping for a chair). It was a somewhat disheartening experience. I have a new chair but I don't know about my needs being met. Perhaps they really are unique in the outdoor furniture world. I don't know.

To me, outdoor furniture often requires a rigidity in sitting that I do not enjoy.  On couches and chairs inside the house, I can curl up or stretch out in a variety of configurations. I am not entirely comfortable in any chair that requires me to sit, facing forward, with both feet on the floor. Many a summer has gone by with me spending very little time outside. Before I know it. it's fall and I'm saying "Oh dear, another summer has gone by and I've stayed inside for so much of it because of the disparity in comfort between the indoor and outdoor furniture." It's sad to say that every year and hard to remember some of the words so I would like, this year, to finally acquire something comfortable.

During our quest to find the object, we saw anti-gravity chairs at the front of one store. I had been wondering about them but, as I said to my family, I've never been against gravity. It's such a reliable force and, unless I'm falling, I don't have a problem with it. I certainly don't see a need to defy it as I sit outside writing or reading a book.

As we looked in that same store, I considered other options in chairs and chaise lounges. None of them allowed for a lot of flexibility in sitting position. There are outdoor couches too but they come as part of whole sets and the funds are not really there to buy a complete garden furniture set. I'm not sure that they would be really comfortable anyways.

On our way out of the store we saw more anti-gravity chairs. I suppose I hadn't expressed my pro-gravity thoughts very well and the other members of my family, never fully understanding my viewpoints perhaps, seemed eager for me to just buy something. I gave in and we purchased an attractive red gravity-defying chair.

I looked forward to trying out the new chair out but when I did, I wasn't thrilled with the experience. The chair does recline and there's not a requirement to sit in a strictly conventional position but there's also not a lot of room to curl up and there's much about the shape this chair assumes that brings to mind a trip to the dentist. Those aren't always a lot of fun.

I hope I spend more time outside this summer, in this chair or not. They do go by quickly and it's a shame when we let ourselves miss out on any of life's pleasures. There may be a need for more comfortable outdoor seating in the world but there is a beautiful world out there to enjoy regardless. I really don't want to have to repeat that rueful and overly wordy sentence again this year and I hope no one else does either. Enjoy! That's far fewer words and a much better sentiment. I hope you do lots of enjoying this summer.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Losing Your Shoe

Don't you hate it when you're looking for your shoes and you can only find one and you find that really weird because you'd come home within the past hour and you really think you would have been wearing two shoes and if you weren't wearing two shoes when you were out, wouldn't you have have noticed or wouldn't somebody have said something or at least stared and is that why you had foot discomfort when you were out, because one foot was dragging along the concrete while the other one was happily protected by a shoe even if it was only a flip flop and man, why do these things keep happening to you, and how are you ever going to tell your husband and son that you lost your shoe when you were out because they seem to think you're kind of weird already based on a lot of things you do and this is not going to help your case any and exactly how does one lose a shoe when they go out to dinner and will you have to phone the restaurant you were in and ask if there's a grown-up size flip flop in the lost and found and you just know that if it's there they'll be aware of it because single grown-up size shoes probably don't end up in the lost and found often and if they have it, the question arises of who's going into the restaurant to get it because you certainly don't want to and maybe you could send your husband and he wouldn't have to disclose his relationship to you but rather just say he was there to pick up the shoe and he might be okay with that although he might not because he's probably going to be of the opinion that you were the one who lost the shoe and you should be the one who goes in to retrieve it and you acknowledge that this is a good point but you'd still be embarrassed to go into the restaurant and you like the restaurant and want to be able to go back to it but then, thank goodness, you find your other shoe?

Me too.


Friday, June 6, 2014

On Razor Blades and Driving

I noticed a razor blade on the pavement the other day. It was within a pedestrian crosswalk, as was I. In trying to figure out why it ended up there, I came up with only a few reasonable possibilities:

1.  Someone (possibly a man, could be a woman) was driving along and shaving when they had to brake suddenly. The blade flew out of their razor and they were so preoccupied with the traffic situation (as they should have been all along) that they left the blade behind and did not finish shaving whatever body part they'd been working on.

2. Someone needed to change blades while they were driving and shaving. Probably an especially tricky procedure to undertake while driving, they couldn't handle the intricacies of it and the blade fell out the window.

3. Someone was slicing fruit, perhaps into a decorative shape, while they were driving and they lost their grip on the blade. You might be thinking "Wait, you fool, people don't use razors to slice decorative fruit." My response to that would be, how can we explain the choices someone who works on fruit art while driving makes? These people are different - we can't necessarily know their motivations. I assume you're sorry you called me a fool now.

4. Someone was driving along after just purchasing razor blades. Suddenly they decided that yes, they were going to grow a beard (again, possibly a man, maybe a woman) and they no longer needed razor blades. Dumping their purchase on the road is impulsive, and littering is not good, but we all make impulsive decisions at times which we may regret later (like writing this entry).

5. A pedestrian was engaged in any of the above activities (except the driving) and dropped the blade on the road. Perhaps they'd encountered a threatening traffic situation (likely caused by an inattentive driver who's shaving) or engaged in some personal clumsiness. Let's not forget that pedestrians can be too inattentive too and are just as likely as drivers to be carving fruit or engaging in personal grooming at an inopportune time.

Maybe others can come up with additional explanations for the presence of that razor blade. I don't know. Be careful, my friends, and please don't shave or carve fruit while driving or walking. I think we've all learned that now.


Friday, May 30, 2014

A Goose in a Marsh ... For Now

I'm not an expert on waterfowl although with ducks moving in close to my house, for reasons I find confusing, maybe one day I will claim that title. Still, when I saw a marshy area yesterday, I knew that it would be a perfect place for Canada Geese to nest and very soon that was confirmed. One Canada Goose stood in the marsh. I couldn't see if there was a nest but I suspect that there would be one there. I hope that the mate was out gathering food or perhaps enjoying a relaxing afternoon flight (again, I am not a waterfowl expert; I don't know what they do for fun).

I learned a little of the nesting habits of Canada Geese when I was in grade two and my teacher told us of some that were nesting near her apartment building. The building was quite new and the geese had set up their home in an adjacent area that was as yet undeveloped.

Canada Geese are loyal birds. I know from reading Timothy Findley's lovely and gentle book about his home and life (From Stone Orchard) that Canada Geese mate for life. Together, they can be relied upon to return to the same nesting spot annually after their winter migrations. 

While that Canada Goose I saw yesterday seemed to be doing well, I wonder what next year and years beyond that will be like for it. A new corporate headquarters has been built just beyond the marshy area. There's a shopping area beyond that and homes close by. That area is not set up to be a goose habitat for much longer. One year, perhaps very soon, the geese will come back and their home will be gone.

We can't know what it's like to be Canada Geese that have to find a new home and nesting spot. Whatever they feel or know, though, they have to change their plans because of what we have done to their habitat. Whether what we do is right or wrong, it seems sad to me that things change in this way for these loyal and reliable birds.

Perhaps Canada Geese evaluate the situation and simply look for and find other nesting locations. I hope so. And I hope that for this nesting season, at least, the geese in that marsh have an opportunity to raise some happy little goslings and enjoy themselves. And maybe offer some nearby residents a chance to see and appreciate a bit of nature in the form of a little goose family.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Thoughts and Things

I'll share a few words on thoughts that have been floating around in my head and in the case of the shredded cheese, flying through the air and hitting me.

1.  I have long enjoyed eating eggs at breakfast but recently found that cereal was easier and day after day I dug into a bowl.  I still bought eggs though and they sat abandoned in the fridge.  Then they staged a rebellion.  I didn't see it coming.  Twice, when I was standing at the fridge, an egg carton fell out of the fridge and each time, one egg broke on the floor.  These were messy reminders for me to reconsider my breakfast choices.  Even at the grocery store, I picked up a carton and one egg was broken.  It was always one egg, there was always one message.  Eggs want to be a part of my life again.  I am pleased to welcome them back.

2.  It can be uncomfortable enough running into a former hairstylist but running into a former psychologist would be far worse.  You just know that responding "Because I'm well" to the question of why you stopped coming to them would be met with a derisive "Yeah, right" because they of all people would know how far from the truth that likely continues to be.  It would be so demoralizing.  Nobody enjoys comments like that when they're out on a lovely spring day. It's a situation I really hope to avoid.

3.  I was thinking about feet and about how I want to fix up my feet before I ever go for a pedicure again. While this may seem unnecessary, I don't want someone to have to work hard simply because I've been too lazy to reach down and moisturize my feet when required (Rocky Mountain Soap Foot Butter is excellent for this and no, I'm not being paid to promote it; it's really good).  It must be strange working on people's feet no matter how disappointing you find their lack of foot care to be.  I expect my feet have caused some despair in the past and I'll do my best to ensure that no esthetician ever has to scrape, boil or use excessive chemical force to make my feet smooth and nice again.

4.  There is a house on our street that my son and I describe as "the yellow house that's not yellow."  It used to be yellow.  Its siding is now of a colour close to yellow and could perhaps be described as beige or washed-out tan.  Regardless of one's feelings on the current colour (and mine are not very positive), I continue to feel that the house is, at heart, still a yellow house and should be recognized as such.  I feel this way about no other houses around here, some of which have had more drastic colour changes.  That house will always be yellow to me.

5.  I've been thinking about what it would be like to have a seal for a pet.  I can picture having one around the house.  Puddles and splashing would probably be concerns and might make seal ownership difficult but I find it interesting to think of which animals we invite into our homes and which ones have never become pets.  I can see why something like a camel could be a problem (they're pretty tall) and I know people have run into problems with pigs (they do get big) but I'm not sure why monkeys are such a no-no (although I wouldn't want a monkey - my feelings on monkeys are iffy at best) and what about squirrels, groundhogs, and smaller-sized goats?  I wonder when and how we made decisions about who gets in and who doesn't.

6.  My son threw a bag of shredded cheese at me yesterday so I could open it for him.  It hit me on the leg and it hurt.  While I'm glad it wasn't solid cheese as who knows how badly that could injure a person, the kid throws pretty hard.  The time may have come to tell him that he has to stop throwing dairy (and perhaps other grocery products) at his mother.  I guess we all knew this day would come.

7.  I saw a woman today whose hair I liked.  I've heard people say that a woman would be flattered if you went up to her and asked her where she got her hair done.  I would be.  I'd be a little uncomfortable doing that though and I have a hairstylist I like right now.  I'd be more interested in taking the woman with good hair to my stylist and saying "Here, this is how I want my hair to look."  It could be somewhat inconvenient but it's better than saying nothing and taking pictures of the hair from many different angles.  I'd fully expect a person to be troubled by that.

Happy thoughts to all!  Please be careful when throwing cheese and other dairy products.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Walking Along

Does it ever happen to you that you're walking along and you suddenly think you've dislocated your hip and then you decide that you couldn't have dislocated your hip or you wouldn't be walking along but you think that you probably shouldn't have jumped into those new abdominal exercises because you could hurt yourself but you are prone to jumping into things full force which sometimes leads to regret later and then you keep walking along, observe some traffic actions that make you borderline hostile, and then are pleased when a bus driver indicates he'd wait for you and you motion that you don't want the bus and you keep walking and you hear a train whistle and you wonder why because you don't always hear them and that might mean construction or an animal on the tracks or a human on the tracks and you hope everyone is okay and you think about how you like railroad history and other bits of local history and then, lost in thought, you realize you've veered just off the sidewalk and onto some ice and you almost fall but don't which is lucky because you don't want to explain to an emergency crew that you fell on ice when there's a completely clear sidewalk and you just know the looks you'd see them exchange and then you keep walking and don't think about anything particularly interesting for a while and then you keep walking and see a somewhat new neighbour and you wonder if you should be friendly at some point but there were some hurt feelings with the previous people in that house and you don't want that to happen again although that's rather silly and at some point you notice a patch of snow on the sidewalk that kind of looks like a bunny and then you see some that reminds you of Australia but you're not entirely sure of the shape of Australia but you are not as confused about that as you are about how Nevada, California and Arizona are located relative to to each other and you find the whole area of New York City confusing and think that maybe, especially with the NYC area, the maps gets changed between times you look at them and with California it does't really matter how it's placed geographically as long as the ocean is there, the Tower of Terror at Disneyland is there and that you can still stay at that nice simple motel in Anaheim when you're lucky enough to go back there even if last October the staff at the motel didn't seem really enthusiastic but maybe that was due to it being off-season and it didn't matter because it was cool to see the Haunted Mansion decorated for Halloween (and Christmas) and then you arrive home, relax, have a little lunch and enjoy the rest of your day?

No?  Me neither.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

About a Door

I held a door for a family yesterday.  A child of about one or two led the way to a building.  It took a while but I waited.  The father thanked me.  Holding the door was an easy thing to do.  I could say it wasn't a big deal but maybe it was.  Maybe doing something kind is a very big deal.

After this incident, my son told me that I'm really nice.  For me, it doesn't get a lot better than that.

A very small act like holding a door is easy.  I hope though that releasing kindness into the world, into people's lives, make people feel better and teaches them gently to pass it on.

My son is kind anyways but I'm glad he witnessed me acting in a way I believe we should act.  (Let's face it, we've spent a lot of time together and I've shown him how not to act too.  Balance is good.)  I'm glad too that he thought my action was nice.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Inside the Coupon Box

I have a wooden box that I bought at a craft sale. Sloped on top, it could function like the top of a lectern if placed on the kitchen island. Should I find a need to start offering speeches in my home that require notes, I will use it in this way. I have stored recipes in it but they didn't stay well-organized. Now I use it for coupon and coupon-like items. They don't stay well-organized either but I like having a place to toss them.

Yesterday I had reason to look in the box for something. I found what I wanted and I also found a number of other items. I have little need for some of them and, unless otherwise indicated, the following items are available to anyone who wants them (free or best offer should there be a high demand). The offerings include:

1.  Winning Safeway Contest Card, Expired September 27, 2012

I enjoyed the sweet moment of discovering I had a winning card in a Safeway contest but never felt excited enough to take the card with me to Safeway to claim my prize of a Nestle Chocolate Bar (Assorted Varieties!). If that's a part of the experience that you want to have, and you think you'd enjoy arguing with a bewildered employee about the long-in-the-past expiration date, I'd be pleased to pass the card on to you. Whether you end up eating a sweet chocolate treat or being whisked away by security guards and/or police forces, it's impossible to know where this winning card will lead you. Surely adventure awaits!

2.  Toys R US Gift Card, Unknown Amount
I have never remembered to bring this card with me to the store when in a mad rush to buy birthday or Christmas presents for my nieces and nephew. I have preserved the card carefully for many years but do not know its amount or whether it has an expiry date. It's sitting here and ready for a fun shopping adventure and/or a big scene at the cash desk if it turns out to be of no value. Enjoy either way!

3.  Canadian Tire Money, Small collection (and suitable for display purposes)

We collect but do not use Canadian Tire money. My husband curates a larger and more historically significant exhibit of it.  I maintain a small collection. In trying to decide whether the collection is or isn't something "to sneeze at" (a curious idiom which might merit further study), I realized the money could used, perhaps, to buy a purse/pocket package of tissues. No one's ever been sorry to have a tissue handy. Avail yourself of that sometimes urgently needed relief with Canadian Tire money today. ( Note - Please don't use Canadian Tire money when you don't have a tissue. No one wants to collect it then.)

4.  Passport Holders, Like New Because They Kind Of Are

When my son and I had passport pictures taken a few years ago, we were given complimentary passport holders. While they would provide some much-needed protection for the passports in the unpredictable environment that is my purse when travelling, we've never used them and probably won't use them in the future. But I've stored them safely and they've come to be an important part of the wooden box family. They are very welcome to stay in it (and are thus unavailable, I'm sorry).

5.  Coupons for Dare Foods Products, No Visible Expiry Date!

I sent a letter to thank Dare Foods for their many peanut-free products about 6 years ago. The company sent me coupons in response. This made me love it even more. (I also wrote a letter to Kraft complaining about their dangerous labeling of peanuts in a food. They sent me a box of food products but that didn't make me come any closer to loving that company. It was really a change in their labels that I wanted and that didn't happen for years.) Apparently I also love paying full price for Dare products as I have never used the coupons. There are no expiry dates shown so they may still be useful. And the cookies and other products are yummy. Buy some soon, perhaps at a reduced price!

6.  Piece of Cardboard from the Calgary Tower

It's not that this piece of cardboard was once a component of the Calgary Tower. Cardboard is a poor building material. But this piece once held a Calgary Tower Gift/Membership Card. Still listed are the terms and conditions of that card although they are oddly illegible now due to an unfortunate adhesive problem. A picture will help to explain:

Joanne Hawthorne Dippel's photo.

Use your creativity to find a use for this treasure. I dare you! And have fun.

7.  A Menu for Coco Brooks Pizza, Very Portable, Easy to Ship (Although if you live outside Calgary, you would likely have little use for this item)

I don't know the age of this menu and cannot attest to its accuracy. When we order pizzas from Coco Brooks, I check online. If a paper menu of unknown vintage is your instrument of choice, I have one available. Perhaps it could be a keepsake to remind you of when they did have that one special pizza you loved. Perhaps it could be something you'd always treasure. Perhaps you'd just like to add it to your pizza menu collection.

8.  Community Membership Card

The membership information on this card is vague. It "Expires Aug. 31 (Annually)" but there is no indication of any year for which it is valid. I will keep it as my name and address are written across it. Is it something I should be carrying with me at all times? Maybe it's like a dog licence and I should wear it when out in public.  I might start doing that. It's so humiliating to removed forcibly from the community (or so I would imagine).

9. Two Keys

The 2 keys I found are not for any locks in or around our house. Given enough time, somebody could find out what they open. Do you feel ready for a (big) challenge?

If you want to enrich your life by acquiring any of the items that are available, please let me know. I will return everything to the wooden box and await your inquiries.