Flowers in California

Flowers in California

Monday, January 19, 2015

Random Observations on a January Day

1. I bought a new scale. In addition to weight, it shows various statistics about one's body (perhaps even hat size - I can check). I'm interested in this but puzzled as to how the numbers can be accurate. If I stand on the scale with a large (or small) watermelon in my hands, how will the scale now that I'm doing that. It doesn't happen often but it could. And if it does know that you're holding fruit, how does it know what type? At least if it asked (Ma'am - is that a honeydew or a watermelon you're holding onto there?) you'd know it was trying. If it doesn't ask, and acts all snooty like it just knows your body fat and percentage of water regardless of what you're holding, it's not as great a device as it makes itself out to be.

2.  For someone who is trying to eat a lot less gluten, I bought way too much cereal for myself over the weekend. And we already had excess cereal in the house. I thought of throwing a cereal party where guests bring their own bowls, we supply spoons and everyone digs in. The invitations would have to be very specific though: I wouldn't want people to show up at the door bringing their own cereal or offering it as hostess gifts. I fear my disdain at the introduction of even more cereal to the house would show. I'd have to warn people against bringing oranges too. We have way too many oranges. Perhaps they could be dessert at the cereal party - I'm never sure what food best pairs with a main course of Cheerios. (And I think that one of the unopened packages of cereal will go to the food bank. Some mistakes end up being beneficial.)

3.  When the dishwasher is full of clean dishes, I feel that emptying it will take days of my time, I will not be able to breathe or function in any normal ways while emptying it and that afterwards, I'll have to spend at least another six or seven weeks reloading it and will probably never have a life again beyond the area of the kitchen near the dishwasher. When the dishwasher is empty, however, I am not troubled by the thought of reloading it at all. Even when a sizable crowd of mugs, plates, glasses and cutlery has gathered on the counter (and is starting to get a bit unruly) I am pleased to put them in the dishwasher and feel no sense of impending doom. And I like that. It's never particularly enjoyable to have a sense of impending doom.

4.  I know now to include gloves as part of my outfit when attending a social function with dry, irritated hands. Recently, I attended a family dinner without gloves. By the end of the evening, someone had recommended I try her favourite brand of hand cream and had me sample it. By the end of that week, people had purchased two containers of it for me as well as foot cream made by the same manufacturer. My foot care needs hadn't even been discussed and my feet were never visible at the dinner table (that night). I appreciate people's care and concern but I had hand cream at home that I like and once I stopped using a certain soap, my hands were fine. It'll be easier (and more mysterious and that's cool) to wear gloves. Perhaps I should start a business selling "indoor gloves for people whose extended family members insist on taking on their dry skin issues even when the issues are really not all that bad." I will relish both the privacy that the gloves provide me and others like me and the profits my entrepreneurial adventure brings.

5.  I had considered a drug store a good place to purchase small Christmas gifts. They have such a variety of items. When I started looking, however, I encountered items such as Gaviscon and Cepacol. I don't know that I'm entirely comfortable giving those items as gifts. There's a chance that someone will be experiencing heartburn on Christmas morning and will consider Gaviscon to be a perfect gift choice. But one can't predict something like that, especially when you live at a distance and can't cook for them in a way that encourages digestive discomfort. Likewise, throat lozenges can provide soothing relief but conditions have to be right for you to appreciate that. Ideally, you have to have a sore throat. And while people may appreciate notebooks and pens and I hope people like soap (I give soap A LOT. I really encourage a clean and fragrant world), massaging gel insoles, bandaids and all manner of products to contain all manner of, um, liquids probably won't light up faces on Christmas morning. So shopping at a drug store for Christmas gifts has limitations. But if you received or gave Gaviscon as a gift, that's great and I hope that there was just the right amount of  digestive struggle to make it right for everyone.

6.  At some point, I saw wrapping paper at Costco with penguins on it and it seemed like a good idea to buy it. It seems like a good idea to buy lots of things at Costco. Often that turns out to be true. With the wrapping paper, though, the paper was large. It was very large. It still is. I managed to lug it from the basement to my wrapping table. I wanted to use it. It was hard to use it though as the whole role was just so big. I don't want to have to clear out a sizable area around me when I'm going to move the roll, I don't want to fear that someone could get seriously injured if this paper ever rolled off the table and hit them. And I don't want to wrap people's presents so that all they see of a penguin is an arm/wing/flipper/upper right appendage. I was not giving large presents to most people (although thankfully there was a penguin-loving yoga mat recipient in the crowd - that worked out pretty well); the penguins were getting chopped up pretty badly. I learned from this that the scale of things at Costco can be different to the scale of things in my life and home. Costco is ideal for big organizations, big families. Big penguins (probably Emperors and Kings) may like shopping at Costco. For small families and people wrapping small presents, the scale can be off unless you're wrapping a big penguin. Or something like a moose. Then this paper would be good.

Well, it's now a January evening or night and in some places a January morning. Whatever time it is, enjoy it, and I hope you're not suffering any digestive distress. It makes me feel bad that I didn't buy Gavison for anyone after all.


At Christmastime and Beyond

I started writing this entry before Christmas. I hope it still has something to say. We'll see.

In the Christmas season, as throughout the rest of the year, people have worries, sadness, sometimes tragedies. In looking at a small family today, I noticed that the father didn't look happy. Sitting with his wife, a small child and a baby, one might in passing, consider his life to be charmed. When we see babies, children, we might think things are all good. But there can be worries, there can be real concerns. Even at Christmas. It's not all trips to see Santa and smiles and toys for young families. It's not all happy visits and good food and fun gifts for adults. There can be sadness too; there can be pain, there can be missing people and there can be emotional trips in one's mind back over the years.

We cannot, much as we would wish, stop the "slings and arrows," to quote Shakespeare, of life from flying around and hitting people sometimes. Christmas can't and doesn't stop it, nor does being good or working hard or getting a good sleep. We're humans and we're vulnerable and it seems, at least, that all this kind of stinks.

What we can do to soften the blows from the injuries people incur in life? I hope that, because of Christmas and the love shown by Jesus whose birth we celebrate that day, we can learn to offer our love to those who need it, and really we all do. I hope as well that Christmas does not, with its memories, its expectations, hurt people already be feeling pain. Rather, I hope that in quiet moments by Christmas trees, and in acts of kindness and of love, people can find healing, peace and hope.

Christmas is over for this year now. I hope it has brought goodness to you in whatever form you need it.

Take care, my friends. All the best for peace and healing and hope and joy after the holiday season as well.