Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Post Mortem 2013..

For my last post for the year, I was going to do a collection of my favourites from 2013, but that would mean re-reading 364 posts. I also know that I would find errors to correct and syntax to improve, which could take days. Instead, I found a post from January 2013, that had a list (there's that word again) of my plans for the year. The post was titled, Live to 100 and given that my dad is now 99, I can at least hope :) The idea is that people make lists as a way of planning to achieve something, such as, losing weight or getting out of debt etc. The original site that started the idea,  www.livingto100.com, suggested that you make a list of how you are going to live to be 100. Here is my original one from January 2013, with end of the year notations.

1. I will write this blog to record interesting "things" that have entered my radar. Writing about these blips, these signs of the existence of things real or imagined, gives me time to pause and enjoy them. It's not so much about having busy days, it's more about having days of meaning - quality not quantity.

Well I managed, with this last post, to write 365 blogs in the year. Not everyday and not all with pictures taken on the day, but it was a start and I am now going to work on improving my writing of it in 2014.

2. I will clean out the clutter, to free up my mind and my space to concentrate on what's important.

I have cleaned up a lot at home and a little at the office and I definitely feel lighter!!

3. I will walk more, for exercise, yes, but also for moments of interest. Walking is one of the slowest ways of moving from A to B. When you zip by in a car, you miss so much.

I have stepped up my walking, no pun intended. I bought a FitBit in December and I plan on tracking my walks to increase them, with a lot of help from my black plastic band.

4. I will try to connect more with people.  I often say that I am not strongly a people person. Don't get me wrong.  I love people.  I just don't always seek them out as energizers. I sometimes have to recharge my batteries by being alone and writing or knitting or walking.

I'm still working on this one!! My word for 2014 is "people."

5. Making 3 changes.  I was talking to a friend the other day and she is following a writer, who has suggested that you can improve your life through small changes. He recommends that you try to change just three things, at a time.  Presumably when the first 3 things are ingrained, you move onto another 3 things and so on. Well, my friend plans to cut out junk food, soda pop and wheat. I thought OK, I don't eat junk food, or drink pop, and I plan to keep my addiction to pasta for another year or two.



So, I have to come up with some other ideas. I do want to read more and I was thinking of getting an audio book system set up. I also plan on keeping a better filing system, once I have cleaned out the clutter. And finally I will step up my "Dale Carnegie" approach to life and its challenges - never criticize or say negative things - everything can be re-phrased with a positive spin!!

Dale Carnegie is working!!  I button my lips more than I have ever done and try to re-phrase things positively. I still fly off the handle every now and again and over-organized corporations will always get the bulk of my wrath, but I'm much better with my kids. At least I think so :)

I have made a spread sheet of the classics (books) and I am systematically working my way through the 80 (now 78) titles in the "must read column." OK it took me a whole year to get organized enough to read 2 books on a list of 80. But it's a start.

The office filing has been re-listed for 2014 :)

It's really more of the same for 2014. I'm looking forward to the books. I have just bought Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy for a mere $9.95. I also did my 10,000 steps today in -12ºC temperatures with a wind chill. It makes up for what I didn't do yesterday :)

The picture? Hope things just keep rolling along for you in 2014.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

The Failure of Success.....


.....Or the success of failure. I read this great article on creativity - 28 inspirational reminders for crazy creative people. Most of us know what most of them are, however, we often have to be reminded, as the article suggests. Here are the ones, I enjoyed most from the list - gotta love a list!!

1. Be willing to fail....Yes, I have to remind myself that failure in itself is a kind of success, because I have actually attempted something. I might not have met my goals, or I might have had to alter them a little or a lot, but I have added another experience to my life and I have grown!! Life is a journey, sometimes, we miss a bus or two, however, another one usually comes along!!

2. Be willing to accept imperfection. I will never be perfect and maybe I don't want to be, because perfection is an absolute and therefore an end.



3. Feed your mind. I'm doing a lot more reading (not just Agatha Christie) and walking these days and I'm looking at stepping up the ante. In fact in order to drown out the TV, (I think my husband needs a hearing aid) I have been streaming classical music on my phone, while I read. Yes I have found a blessing in a mild annoyance!

4. Change it up. I'll have to think about this one. I love my routines. However, I plan to see more people in 2014, if you read an earlier post, you will know how different this will be for me!!



5. Keep some stuff secret. I like this one!

6. Just do it - my mantra - don't over think it....just let it be!!

7. Don't sweat the creative part. Nothing is really new. Everything is a RE-presentation or a presentation in a new way of something that has already been done. However, now it is being done by you!!

The pictures - a celebration of light and cracks. We all need to be a little cracked - that's how the light gets in!!

Have an awesome 2014!!


Monday, December 30, 2013

Stoning...

"Let him who is without words throw the first stone.." I think that I need to practise a little stoning - that is creating stones - small pieces of writing that concentrate on something coming in through the senses. Here is a fuller description - Small Stones. I know that the challenge doesn't start until January 1, 2014, however, I'm at a loose end today and looking for a time waster or two, before I start some much needed housework.


Stone #1. "Lemon and glass beam like a slice of sunshine."

The picture is a small glass plate which a friend of mine gave me one Christmas as a gift. I needed one of those little plates that you rest a ladle or spoon on while cooking. Brenda remembered and brought me one that she found at a craft show. It makes me smile every time I see it. And I always think off her!!


Stone #2. "Lemons, brilliant synthesizers of all that is bitter and sweet.

This lemon tree was on one of our walks in Cinque Terre, Italy. Each lemon was like a small drop of  sunshine, just hanging there waiting to be picked.

Stone #3. "Lemons, elixirs of taste! You are the rush of oyster, sting of shrimp, tang of soda - succulence in a squeeze.

Now where is that broom?

Have a great day!!

Getting Stoned in 2014

OK, I can be a little dramatic sometimes. Actually the title refers to a site that is starting a challenge - Oh, yes, another one and it is also a writing challenge. The site "Writing Our Way Home" is holding what they call their small stones challenge. The link explains it in detail, but briefly, each day for the month of January, you write a small stone. That is, you write about an object that you see, hear, smell, taste or touch. The writing is quite short, about a sentence or two, however, the idea is to pause for a moment and to become really engaged with your object or "stone." You then have options to post it on their site or to tweet it to the group etc. or just to keep it to yourself.

I also read a blog post of theirs about a word for the year. The idea is to choose a word that will guide you in 2014. I loved the fact that the writer went on to say that they probably forget the word, as the year progresses, but somehow it has been lodged in the mind and is guiding them. I have decided that my word for 2014 will be "people." I tend to retreat from people. I describe myself as not being a people person. My anxiety levels rise when I have to meet people or work with people. However, after the encounter, I find that I really enjoyed the event. In 2014, I am going to try to get out more with people. I know if I don't, I'll become a recluse.
The Power of the Stone

These challenges are small steps or stones on the road to a better, richer existence. I accepted a challenge earlier in the year to walk more, because I knew if I didn't both my body and brain would atrophy. I am walking a whole lot more and feeling a whole lot better about myself for doing this. I also accepted a challenge to write a blog a day. Well, I have massaged this one a little, however, after this post, I just have to write three more to complete 365 posts in 365 days.

Going into 2014, I plan to up my walking, continue with my writing, but try to improve it and add a people component to my life!!

I'll keep you posted!!

What will your word for 2014 be?

Have an awesome day!!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Cocktail Conversations....

...... We were invited to a few gatherings over the holidays. Not a lot, since both my husband and I are introverts, so extroverted "things" like parties, tend to be avoided. However, a neighbour and an old friend invited us to an open house last night. We knew that we could pop in for an hour or so and then leave, because it was an open house!!

Fortunately, I had just read two of my 80 or so books that I planned to read in the next few years, so I could talk about reading through the classics. Unfortunately the topic never came up, sigh!! I could introduce a few topics and have the conversation start in an area where I had some experience, this worked a few times. In fact it worked so well that I would like to share my list with the introverts of the world!! You too can shine with these "never fail" topics of conversation -

1. When all else fails, mention Monsanto!! It helps to have a list of their latest atrocities, but you probably won't need to, since many will have a few at their finger tips.

2. Substitute Nestle for Monsanto, especially, if no one is drinking water and all are drinking wine!!

3. Mention that you blog daily....There are a few who will be amazed and ask what you blog about - there you are - centre stage!!

4. Have a few interesting, but different holiday venues on hand. You may never go there, but pretend that you plan to go there and everyone will have an opinion!!

5. Housing prices always work, especially, if you know of someone who got a great deal, or never minded living in a tent, and couldn't we all just cash in and buy a VW van - life in retrograde!!

6. Fit Bit - Discuss how you are planning to live to 100. It works if everyone is 10 years younger and looking ahead - never works, if they are 10 years older and not very fit....cough, cough...

A Classic!!

7. Foreign take over, usually works, unless you are thinking of aliens and then you're on your own!!

8. Selfies, as in self publishing, your own business, inquire about their goals, their plans - and really try not to yawn, when they say "retire."

9. Suck the life out of anyone 10 years younger. It will set you up for your next party!!

10. Never mention Miley Cyrus.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Art for Art's Sake

What is it about a trip to an art gallery that makes everyone think that they are artists!! I am not against this phenomenon...in fact I think that it is FABULOUS!! and I think that too many people discredit themselves, as artists. In fact, if we all didn't have to "work" to make a living, there would be so many awesome artists out there, that we would collectively create such an amazing society, where money would evaporate and manna, instead, would fall from heaven....just saying :)

I left the McMichael and on the drive home, the sun was setting. I noted that it was setting five minutes later than on December 21; this gave me great joy!! I also decided that, although we were driving through a very barren industrial area, the sun would make everything magical. And magical it was. Fortunately, I wasn't driving so I could snap a few moments in time. Here they are.

Alien Race Headquarters!!
People who live in the burbs are out of this world!!


Power to the people!!


More power to the people!!


Smoke and mirrors - there is beauty everywhere!!

Have an awesome day!!!

The Power of the Coupon!!

We somehow ended up with a book of coupons from a magazine that my husband subscribes to every year. Most coupons we never use, however, there was one in this book for the McMichael Art Gallery in Kleinburg, Ontario. It's about a thirty minute drive away, so we decided to go, because with the coupon, our entrance fee would be half price. The gallery is a beautiful collection of buildings on an amazing piece of property - rolling hills, river valley, forests and at this time of year, lots of snow.

The gallery also has a fabulous collection of works by Tom Thompson and the Group of Seven. The exhibit featured, when we were there, was one by Kim Dorland. His work was influenced greatly by Tom Thompson and the juxtaposition of pieces by the two artists was spectacular.

The other artist that was featured at the gallery was a French Canadian woman, Karine Giboulo, who did some elaborate displays in Sculpy. I wasn't supposed to take pictures, but I snapped a few with my phone, so I could show my son, who does similar work in the same medium.

Canadian Art - Snowman in Sculpy by Sandy Tomany

Although, we couldn't take pictures inside the gallery, we were free to take pictures outside. Here, I think, is a quintessential example of Canadian Art.

Canadian Art - Snow Marriage
And here is my husband blessing the union!!


Every marriage needs a minister and he was happy to oblige.

Actually, I don't want to make light of the exhibits that were there. They really represented a life's works for both artists and they were amazing!!

Have a wonderful day!!

Gone Fishing....:)

In looking for a picture of a shell for an earlier post, I happened to unearth our fishing gear, such as it is. When the kids were young, we would often go to the beaches in SC. When it rained, we went fishing. Over the years, we have amassed a sizeable collection of lures and other bits and bobs, which I am loathed to throw out, even though the rods and reels have gone long ago.

Somehow, it seems odd to have decided to look them over in late December, when no one would even be thinking about a leisurely fishing trip for at least the next five or six months. Maybe it was the chapter on fishing in The Sun Also Rises that drew me to our cache. Well, I don't have a spare matador's costume or red cape to muse about the bullfighting scenes from the book. So the plastic worms etc. will have to do :)



Although, I enjoyed The Sun Also Rises for its slice 1920s life in Paris, My favourite book by Hemingway is The Old Man and The Sea - a fishing story of the highest order and it did win the Noble prize for literature in 1954. I taught it to every grade 11 class I ever had.

Briefly the story is about an old man who snags a huge Marlin, while fishing in his little skiff. The fish tows him far out to sea, before the old man is able to subdue it. He ties it to his boat and slowly makes his way home. It takes days and his beautiful fish is attacked by sharks and gradually eaten away, until there is nothing left but the spine and tail. The old man goes home and the skeleton of the Marlin is left floating in the water. An American tourist sees the bones and asks a waiter about them. He begins to tell the old man's story with the word "Shark." The women doesn't wait to hear the rest. She presumes that the carcase is that of a shark and says, "I didn't realize that sharks had such handsome, beautifully formed tails."

I always asked my students not to be tourists of life, but to listen and dig deep to get the whole story.

Have an awesome day!!

The Conch Book

Conversation during Christmas dinner was varied, however, we did talk a lot about books and movies. Our guest is a great reader and she is reading through the classics, which I have started to do as well. She is currently reading Middlemarch, while I'm reading The Sun Also Rises - probably not a lot in common. During the course of the conversation, we mentioned Lord of the Flies. My daughter said, Oh, the conch book!

I thought it was an amazing way to identify a book in just a single word or image. I had totally forgotten about the conch. I remembered Simon and Piggy. However, my daughter remembered the "call to order." The original effort to create a responsible society. Well, she does have a BA in Community Design.



I have just finished Jane Eyre and wished it would never end. Improbable though some of the situations in the novel were, they were still engaging and directed by a strong sense of Calvinistic justice. I don't think that I could have chosen a novel more opposed in style and morals to Jane Eyre, than the one I am reading now by Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises. It is an adventure too, though in quite a different way.

The next two on my list are, Grapes of Wrath and Jude The Obscure. I have read other books by Steinbeck and Hardy; however, these two are on almost every list of 100 books to read before you die or something like that.

I guess, in time, I will try to remember each in a single word or phrase. This could be fun!!

The picture? Unfortunately, I didn't have a conch shell. This is a Welk from our collection of dead shells. (I have learned never to take a live shell from the beach.) We don't have a large collection. We brought a few home in a pail and they've never left. It did make me think, though, that if Lord of the Flies were considered a conch book, I wonder if there are any welk books out there? These would be not as grand, but still interesting.

Have a wonderful day!!

Buried in the Cemetery....

...Well, yes, this is what one would expect, however, I don't think that anyone expected this. We were out for a walk, finally!! I was beginning to feel pretty "Cabin Fevered" because of the weather. The ice storm had made walking very treacherous and the extra three or four inches of fresh snow on top of it created a sort of slip and slog to the trudge. That is, you knew that you had to slog through the fresh snow, but you never knew when you were going to hit a patch of ice and - whoa - slide all over the place!!



Fortunately the main streets were fairly clear, so we made it down to the cemetery, which is almost a mile walk from the house. However, we could not walk through the cemetery grounds. Security was there and turned us back. It was too dangerous, they said. Limbs were still apt to fall and although there were no power lines down, if the ice melted slightly in the sun, huge shafts of it could come down on your head and that, in itself, might end your walk a little prematurely.



OK, we got the message. We turned back, but before I left, I took some pictures. Many headstones were buried under layers of fallen trees. I looked for those little ironies in life. Perhaps a last name of "Snow" covered in it, or "Frost" iced with it, or "Thatcher" laced with it. I'm sure I could have found a few, if we had been able to walk the half mile or so through the cemetery to Bayview Ave.



However, the only names I saw, in a quick scan of the few markers that I could see, were "Nurse," yes, some could use one and "Pogue." I had no idea that Pogue actually translated into an English word until I looked it up on line. Wikipedia had some very interesting information about the origins of the word as a retronym or backronym. Essentially it is a negative term, originally used by the military, to mean - non-combat staff. The link will give you more information than you every wanted to know about the word and others that are related.

I left the cemetery feeling a little sorry for the Pogues. In their position they really didn't have a chance to fight. Neither did a whole lot of other people who suffered because of the storm. Many are still without power and it has been 7 days now since the ice storm hit. I am not sure that there are weapons out there against these forces of nature. Maybe you just have to bury your head and hope for the best!!

Have a wonderful day!!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Crystal Light

The sun was out Dec 24 and our world sparkled. Diamonds now encrusted the tree limbs and shone so brightly they hurt your eyes. I tried to capture some of the magic, but my photography skills are limited and I couldn't get the brilliance without the dark. Here are a few pictures, however, you will have to imagine that everything was blazing white and silver!


A side street near me.


Silver in the trees


The diamonds

Actually the bush in the last picture was so bright you couldn't look at it. I'm sorry I wasn't able to capture the brilliance. Ice storms happen, rarely - about every ten years or so. They are very destructive, but in the sun, they are out of this world.

Have a brilliant day!!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ice To Ice

Last night it snowed on top of all the ice. Fortunately it wasn't a heavy snow, just a light dusting and it is pretty. That is of course, if you have power and fortunately we do. It's a yin and yang situation - we have power because over the years most of the lovely tall trees on our street have died of old age. They have been replaced by younger hardier varieties that haven't snapped under the ice and brought down power lines.

Here are some pictures -


This is my view from an upstairs window. People have to walk on the road because the sidewalks are solid ice!


This is the backyard from an upper window. We have lost about 4 or 5 large limbs from our Maple tree. Fortunately none have hit the house!


If the trees haven't actually snapped and are lying across the road, they are hanging precariously over the streets and sidewalks. We had to drive under this one several times running errands.


Many trees not only lost limbs, some just split in two from the weight of the ice.

Hope you have power.

Have an amazing day!

Can Opener To Car Opener....

We are slowly recovering from a devastating ice storm on Sunday. Thousands of homes are still without power and most of the traffic lights at the main intersections are not working. Toronto is in chaos. However, there were errands to run and things to do, so I had to get into my car and get it started, in order to melt the half inch or so of ice that covered it.

Car Opener

Yes, I could chip away at the lock, insert the key and turn it to unlock the door. However, I couldn't actually pull the door open. It was frozen shut!! I needed something to pry it loose. A crow bar would probably work, but it might do more damage than I wanted. She's an old car - 1998 Honda Civic and she creaks!!



I rummaged around the odds and ends drawer and finally found a fairly sturdy looking can opener - "Tin Lizzy" came to mind :) I inserted it in the car door and Bingo, it opened. So the next time you need to "break the ice," you may want to be a little inventive. Can openers can have more than one use!!

Have a great day!!

Hey, Buddy, can you spare an angel...?

The other day I posted about trying to replace a Christmas ornament, which we had had in the house for 30 years. It was a angel with lights that we put at the top of our tree. Having gone to several stores without any luck, I finally settled for a gold star.

Well, wouldn't you know it, as soon as I had installed the star at the top of the tree, I managed to find an  angel that lit up. And yes, she was on sale! This whole concept of discounted angels boggles the mind. Do we really have such a surfeit of angels, that they can be had at half the price? How much does an angel cost, anyway and can they really be bought?

Philosophizing aside, I now have the problem of two toppers for my tree. The star, I mentioned the other day, and my discounted angel. I left the new angel in the her plastic bag, while I took some time to think about a course of action.

My daughter happened to pass the bag, looked in and said, "Oh, a spare angel!" It sounded so funny - it was a bit like having a spare tire or and extra bit of this or that, in case you needed it some time. Wouldn't it be wonderful, if every time things didn't work out, we could just rummage through the odds and ends and find a spare angel or two.

Then I thought of all the people who have helped me out, when I needed it. They were there, to pump up the flat or change the tire. Some even changed the whole course of the journey!! They were the "spare" angels, but they came without price tags and their help was never discounted.

May you find your spare angels, if and when you need them!

Have an awesome day!!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Icing...

We had an ice storm last night. Unfortunately the sun is not out today, or we would really be sparkling. Imagine this tree in sunshine.


This is a very old Maple weighted down with ice.



An interlace of Lilac and Forsythia


A close up

Another close up


If the sun comes out, I'll take some pictures with a bit of sparkle.

Fortunately, I went to our locker, yesterday and found my Trax. These are wire soles that attach to boots to prevent you from slipping!! I'd like to get out for a short walk, but it might be too dangerous. Tree limbs are snapping under the weight of the ice and power lines are down.

Robert Frost (love that name) had a great poetic take on days like today. Here is his poem Fire and Ice.

Fire and Ice
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice. 
This is not Hell frozen over, but it would be, if it got any colder!!

Have a pretty day!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

In Search of Angels

So I set out yesterday to find an angel. I actually prefer it when they come to me. But this doesn't happen often and it rarely happens on demand, so I had to go out there and find one!! Why? because I happened to have destroyed, an angel that we have had in our house for 30 years, and since we needed someone to keep an eye on things, from the top of our Christmas tree, I had to find a replacement!!

First I had to decide where I thought angels might "hang out." No pun intended. I went to the hardware store. They have everything don't they. I mean they have tools to make things work and an angel usually can make a "thing" work, can't they? Well, there was nothing even close to the magic of an angel at my Home Hardware store. Now there was a cute little dog there that keep pulling on the hem of my coat - yes I do need a new one, but suing the manager, whom I liked, was not the way to get one today. Hmmm maybe there were angels present.

On to Home Sense, a home decorating store. I have said before that, the lord works in mysterious ways and there were a lot of feather pillows and billowing white duvets in one corner of the store, maybe I could find the odd angel among the bric-a-brac of Christmas ornaments displayed there. Sorry, no. There were lots of glitzy reindeer, shiny red ribbons, and tinselled tassels, but nary a halo in sight.

On to Canadian Tire. Now, I know that angels are not necessarily a Canadian phenomenon. Yes, we do apologize a lot and try to be nice, but holy, not so much :) Ooops maybe I spoke too soon. There among the plastic snowmen was an angel, in Raffaellian robes. His name screamed, Gabriel!! But he didn't light up and honestly what good is an angel that doesn't light up a room!! He also had lost his packaging and didn't have a price tag. I was in unknown territory!! A few inquiries later, I found out that he could be had for a mere $20.00. I wasn't sure. All my other angels had come with lights and $20.00 seemed like a lot of money for a lightless angel, even if he looked as though he had just stepped out of a renaissance painting!! Sadly I put him back.

I went to Pier 1 Imports on the other side of the parking lot. They also had no angels; well, I guess they can't really be imported :) However, they did have the brightest, gold star I had ever seen. It was whimsy in filigree, bejewelled with emeralds and rubies. No it did not light up, but I was tiring of my heavenly search and I decided that if I couldn't have holy, I could at least have gaudy!! I bought the star for a mere $25.00!! This is how Christmas often gets sold out by those cheap imports!! I bought another string of lights and wound them through the star - they lit up!! Then I spent another hour making the star stay straight on the top of the tree.

Finally I decorated the tree. When we all sat down to dinner, I put on the tree lights and said look, I have a new ornament for the top of the tree. Silence, no reaction, definitely not a smile anywhere. Then my daughter said. "I don't like it. Couldn't you find an angel?"

Apparently not!! I'll keep looking. In fact they should go on sale after Christmas :)

Have a great day!!


Shades of Grey...

Yesterday, I started to write and it was so dark and grey that I couldn't get past the first sentence.

1. The sky was grey - the pale grey that designers paint on walls and call it cool. It was cool alright. In fact, it was freezing!!
2. It was raining too. Those lovely white drifts of snow were now just slightly lighter than the sky - the palest of pale greys.
3. The trees were a very dark grey - not actually black, but close.
4. The birds were grey - Juncos. There was not a cardinal to be seen.
5. The squirrels, once black, were moulting to grey.
6. Every structure on the landscape, regardless of its original colour, was covered in a slick of grey ice. Everything was a muted requiem of grey. Thomas Hardy, where are you?


OK, I had reached my nadir!! I had to do something to brighten up the day!! Well, if I couldn't write, I could at least run an errand or two to get me up and moving. The one cheerful task in my list of must dos before Christmas was to find a new ornament for the top of the Christmas tree. Somehow, in replacing a light in our treetop angel, I managed to destroy the entire ornament. It broke my heart - we've had Victoria for 30 years. So now I had to go out and find another angel.

Next post - in search of angels!!

The picture? I didn't render it a black and white shot. This is full colour. Do you see what I mean about grey?

Have a colourful day!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Unions - Love Them Or Leave Them...

I was raised in a entrepreneurial family. They were never very successful, but they earned every penny they spent and were never accorded "benefits," "pensions," etc. We were lucky our teeth grew in "fairly straight," because there was no money for cosmetics. We were lucky also that we didn't require expensive meds, because there wasn't a lot of money around for them either.

You can tell that I am ready to rant!! Recently Canada Post has been proposing that it phase out home delivery, everywhere. OK I know that a lot of municipalities do not have home delivery. Large cities seem to have had home delivery, grandfathered in. Of course, take away something that people expect and you get an uproar.

A spokesperson for Canada Post was being interviewed on a news station and one of his arguments for initiating postal boxes was that, "seniors need more exercise anyway, so walking to a postal drop spot would be beneficial." Somehow the converse hasn't filtered down to the unions. I haven't heard anyone saying that postal workers need be more fiscally responsible and so Canada Post is limiting their pensions, doing away with their care packages and cutting back on salary increases.

Canada post picks up packages daily at my small business. This is what happened today. I had 3 boxes to be picked up. Two were fairly small and light and the other was not that big, but it was a little heavy. However, it was well within the weight that the unions deemed that the posties were able to lift. The carrier, was horrified. He said. "Where is the loading bay?" I can't pick this up. It's too heavy!! I need help!! He was about 28 years of age and looked fairly fit. I said, "wait a minute."

Whereupon, I picked up the package; followed him up two flights of stairs and held the box, while he fiddled with the lighter packages in the truck. When he came back for the one I was holding, he did have the courtesy to say thank you. I said, "it's OK, sonny. I'm probably twice your age, but I don't have a union to pay me not to work."

The times, they have changed, and both unions and management have to understand this.  I can see a new "storming of the bastille," except that the fighting force will be a lot of white haired octogenarians - beware the power of the cane, it can trip you up :)

Have an awesome day!!


What's Not To Love :)

A fellow blogger, Roy Ackerman commented on this post, so I decided to read it. Well it was endorsed by a reputable source :) The post is a response to a challenge, so I am doing it myself and passing it on - 99 Things I love -

 1. Photography
 2. Poetry
 3. Walking
 4. Gadgets
 5. Lists - go figure
 6. Travelling
 7. Reading
 8. Blogging
 9. My kids - this should be #1
10. My husband - this should be #1A
11. My house
12. My 1998 Honda Civic which was just bumped again in the parking lot
13. Second Cup's continental dark coffee
14. Thobor's Brie and Avocado on a baguette
15. Pasta
16. Wine
17. My friends - this should be #2
18. My sister who keeps in touch
19. Family dinners
20. Christmas
21. Cats
22. Pasta with clams
23. My MAC
24. Gardening
25. Birds
26. My health
27. Art
28. Christmas ornaments my kids made
29. Christmas ornaments my kids bought me
30. Music
31. My IPhone
32. Fresh Snow
33. Spring
34. Summer
35. Autumn
36. Bon fires
37. Crisp evenings
38. Crisp mornings
39. Mantras that get me through the tough bits
40. Sleep
41. Morning tea
42. Letters or phone calls from afar
43. Lavender
44. Making soup stock
45. A good hair cut
46. A shower
47. Jewellery - yes, I'm rather shallow
48. Eating out - but not fast food
49. Discussions
50. Knitting
51. Cleaning - this is new and it may have become obsessive.
52. Bananas - not too ripe
53. Avocados - ripe
54. Bread and cakes made with yeast
55. Beer in Britain
56. Sunshine
57. The sea
58. Roast turkey
59. Flowers
60. Memories of my mother and grandmothers
61. Going to work - seriously, I don't know what I would do, if I were retired.
62. The morning papers
63. Trains
64. Museums
65. Gardens
66. Peanuts' cartoons
67. Silence in the right place
68. Bustle in the right place
69. Old churches
70. Toronto
71. My neighbourhood
72. Cooking
73. Ironing, when I feel like it
74. Leaded windows
75. Stained glass
76. Big old houses
77. Vistas
78. Fondus
79. Lace
80. Paying it forward
81. Fur
82. Interesting people
83. Animals
84. A good pair of shoes
85. Conversation
86. Order
87. Spare cash
88. Warm coats
89. Vacuum cleaners
90. Words
91. Fonts
92. Fountains
93. Ponds
94. Candles
95. Duvets and afghans
96. Other languages
97. Maps
98. Theatre
99. Beginnings - I often hate endings

What are yours?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Window on the World

I have always looked out of windows. In fact I wish I had a collection of all the places I have been and the pictures from those windows. There is something very simple and yet profound about recording the here and now, as you contemplate the world from your window on it. Mashable posted a collection of 50 pictures from around the world that were taken from a window. Here are mine.


This is a view at night from my dining room window to the apartments at the bottom of the garden. The picture is a little shaky, but I often muse about the lives of the people there.


From a train window, I took this picture of the marble mountains in Carrera Italy. I remember when I read The Agony and the Ecstasy, the marble for The David came from Carrera.


Charlevoix, Quebec taken across the St. Lawrence from my hotel room window. I plan to go there some day for the quality of the light.


These are icicles from the eaves taken from a bedroom window. - a little sparkle in winter!


This is the view from the dining room window in summer. It's an escape!!



I was fascinated by the trains. This is Port Arthur (Thunder Bay) Ontario from my hotel room window.


From my car window in the parking lot at work, in the pouring rain.

I have more, but I will save them for another post. A camera says so much about you. You select the views that seem important to you at the time. I think that I have written a post about all of these.

What do you see from your windows?

Have a great day!!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Mistakes and where they lead us

I was writing in an earlier post about an encounter in a cemetery the other day. It was a little freaky. It had nothing to do with ghosts and everything to do with an orange parka, go figure :) I was, at that point, going to make an allusion to several characters in Shakespeare's Hamlet. I'm not sure why now. My mind does work in mysterious ways. Anyway I had confused the grave diggers in Hamlet with two courtiers, Rozencrantz and Guildenstern, who are also characters in the play.

I googled Rozencrantz and Guildestern and came across a play I had read years ago, by Tom Stoppard, Rozencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead. Well, apparently, there are some memorable quotes from the play, all of which I had forgotten, until I happened upon a website that listed 75 of them. Here are a few that I liked, from the site goodreads.

Make-believe Reindeer :)

1. Look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.

2. We're actors — we're the opposite of people!

3. Life is a gamble, at terrible odds. If it were a bet you wouldn’t take it.

4. We are tied down to a language which makes up in obscurity what it lacks in style.

5. It would have been nice to have had unicorns. 

6. ..reality, the name we give to the common experience.

7. Give us this day our daily mask.

8. A man breaking his journey between one place and another at a third place of no name, character, population or significance, sees a unicorn cross his path and disappear. That in itself is startling, but there are precedents for mystical encounters of various kinds, or to be less extreme, a choice of persuasions to put it down to fancy; until--"My God," says a second man, "I must be dreaming, I thought I saw a unicorn." At which point, a dimension is added that makes the experience as alarming as it will ever be. A third witness, you understand, adds no further dimension but only spreads it thinner, and a fourth thinner still, and the more witnesses there are the thinner it gets and the more reasonable it becomes until it is as thin as reality, the name we give to the common experience... "Look, look!" recites the crowd. "A horse with an arrow in its forehead! It must have been mistaken for a deer."

The last one is the saddest of all, I think. It's really sad that we need reality. I could live in an imaginary world.

How about you?

The picture? There's a difference between imaginary and fake. I'm not sure where these fit in and they came with price tags :)

Have a wonderful day!!

Orange is the New Black....

Actually this has nothing to do with the book or going to jail, but it is about an encounter in a cemetery, that was a little peculiar. OK, I have posted before about how my Fit Bit was creating new and interesting situations for me. I often, now, walk at night for a few blocks to make up my 10,000 steps for the day. Night people are different than day people. I think that there is something about the cloak of darkness that has people doing "things" that day people rarely do, such as sitting on the side walk.

Well, the other day I was doing my usually walk throughout the cemetery, a walk that adds at least 5,500 steps in about 45 minutes to my 10,000 steps a day challenge, that is if all goes well. I never mind the venue. In fact I am quite fascinated by the headstones and I love the peace and the almost forest-like setting of Mt Pleasant cemetery. I know not to make eye contact with passersby, unless they look like congenial sorts. You see, cemetery people are not really like day people or night people, they can be really weird people, present company excepted, of course :)

Anyway, on Friday, I was almost finished my walk and very near the south gate and the very busy main street of Toronto, Yonge St., when I noticed a man in his '60s dressed in a bright orange parka with the hood pulled up around his face and the drawstring tied so tightly that all that was visible was his nose, mouth and maybe an eye or two. He looked to be a strong man, but somewhat agitated. He was walking straight towards me, gulp! Finally he stopped about two feet from me. People who get up close and personal always make me nervous. What next!!

Actually he was asking for directions. If he took a certain path could he get to the visitation centre, which is on the other side of this section of the cemetery. At least I hope he was looking for that visitation centre because the other one was about a mile an half away by the winding cemetery roads, which looped under another main road and surfaced a fair walk away, almost the length of a 200 acre plot of land!! I found his question a little odd, since he had just looked at a map, which was near the gate. I said politely that I wasn't sure, but the path was, at least, heading in the right direction.

He then proceeded to argue with me, because I wasn't sure. Well, it might have been -10ºC, but I was getting a little hot under the collar. Again, I said, that he couldn't go wrong taking any of the paths in that direction, they were going to take him near the centre anyway. More negatives on my uncertainty!! At that point I should have said, "No, take this path." and sent him in almost the opposite direction!! Maybe he sensed my annoyance and soften a little by saying, "Do you walk here often?" Why, I haven't heard that line in 30 years or more!! I wasn't sure, how to answer. If I had said daily, what was I inviting?

Finally, he noticed a sweet young thing taking a smoke break, right beside the map. He shouted, as he left me, and walked towards her, "Do you work here?"  My new mantra is "Beware of aging men in orange parkas stalking women of any age, in northern cemeteries." I also wonder if my fit bit has an alarm system :)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Cancellation Soup!!

We had Saturday dinner planned. Our daughter was flying home from Thunder Bay, ON and we  were going to send out for her favourite chicken - Churrasco from a restaurant nearby. Everything was in order. Then the gremlins started to get into the works. Her flight was delayed; she wouldn't be getting in until 10:00pm, well passed dinner time. We had to rethink our menu. OK, we had Chilli and yes, we could do this and that. Things would work out.

Unfortunately, they wouldn't. Her flight was not only delayed, it was cancelled. Toronto's island airport was snowed in, so her plane wasn't flying up to Thunder Bay to pick them up and then coming back to TO. Dinner plans had changed. You have to know that dinner, for my husband, at anytime is an important part of the day and particularly important on the weekend. So we couldn't just have the Chilli and silly to have Churrasco for just the two of us. We inventoried the fridge. Yes, we could have - sausage, egg and chips (french fries) and call it an English meal. We could have the salmon, that we had bought for tomorrow. I could thaw hamburger and make just about anything!!!

You would think that two adults with a minor change of plans could cope. Hmmm, maybe not. We hummed and we hawed. We made lists. Yes, we could do Indian take out, but we couldn't find their menu, not even on-line. We really didn't want to travel very far, because this would mean travelling by foot through several inches of snow, with more falling and driving would be even worse. Finally my husband suggested soup!!

Why hadn't I thought of that. I always make stock on Saturdays to use during the week and yes it was cooling, but not cold enough to skim off the fat!! Who cares; any of the food that we would be ordering in, would be ladened with fat, a fine layer in the soup, couldn't be that bad!!

Now what to make? I had accidentally opened a can of black beans instead of kidney beans for the chilli. Yes, I know that I could have used them, but I live with a family of purists, so black beans were out of the question. These would be reserved for the soup during the week, which suddenly now has become our Saturday night dinner. What goes with black beans and chicken stock? Here is what I found.

Cancellation Soup


1 onion chopped and sauted in oil.
add 3 cloves of garlic and an inch (not a pinch) of fresh ginger both chopped and added to the onion.
Dashes of Cayenne and Paprika, plus a sachet of chicken bouillon, just in case.
1 can of black beans
6 cups of chicken stock.
simmer all for a few minutes & puree.
Then add as after thoughts - we buy these in bulk and they come in handy, when things don't go as planned, for example, as an after thought I decided to......
I added two chopped mushrooms and a very small head of Bok Choy chopped.
I let it all simmer, while my husband cut up the baguette and opened the wine - well, it was Saturday.

The soup was delicious. It's yours! Use it; vary it; make it your own. My daughter has been rescheduled for tomorrow, hopefully there will be no changes and we can have Sunday dinner as planned - Salmon!!

Have a great evening.

Happy Birthday Crossword Puzzles

Dec 21, 1913, apparently, is the first time a crossword puzzle appeared in print. It was created by a journalist, Arthur Wynne and published in the New York World. It was instantly popular and has grown exponentially over the last 100 years to the delight of enthusiast, such as, myself. I like all sorts of crossword puzzles, but I am particularly fond of cryptic crossword puzzles. I don't always finish them, but I could puzzle over them for hours.

Snow Bound Bounty :)
An article by John Allemang in the Globe and Mail today, gave a detailed history of the crossword puzzle and its benefits. It apparently works that part of the brain that is wired for survival!! AHA I have a weapon against all those people who think that I'm just goofing off. I can now say that I am drawing order from chaos and connecting with my primeval roots :)

In fact today I solved - the answer to - "It used to be cut back." - answer "was." From cut meaning to saw, reversed." I also liked the answer to "US citizen appearing periodically" - answer "New Yorker."

Now if I could only solve "Bounty is a big ship" (7 letters) and 18 others, I could get some work done!!

Have a great day!!

Airing Jane Eyre

I have started reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I'm not sure why it has taken me so long to get around to reading it, maybe I was a long time recovering from Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte), which my students invariably called Withering Heights. I'm not sure, if this was a reference to the book or the teaching - maybe a bit of both :)

Anyway, I had forgotten how beautiful the language is in these older books - Jane Eyre was published in 1847. After reading the first 72 pages, I have encountered phrases, such as, "Two ships becalmed on a torpid sea." Or extended sentences like:

"To this crib I always took my doll; human beings must love something, and, in the dearth of worthier objects of affection, I contrived to find pleasure in loving and cherishing a faded graven image, shabby as a miniature scarecrow."



Some may find the language stuffy and contrived. I don't. I actually find it liberating. Rather than being limited to a publisher's lexicon of a few thousand words, novels, such as, Jane Eyre seem to use every word at their disposal and there were tens of thousands!!

I decided to spend a little more time reading this year, because another fellow blogger, Stephen King - the other Stephen King wrote about the importance of reading in the writing process. I can immediately see how reading exposes a writer to different sentence structures, the controlled cadence of prose and words both new and old used in interesting ways!!

Have an awesome day!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Twinkle...Twinkle

I use Blogger for my posts. I am not always happy with their quirky twists and turns; but I am also not prepared to move seven years of blogs over to another platform. I can't believe that I have had this weblog since 2006. OK some years I just posted a few pieces, however, this year I am aiming for 365 and I'm somewhere around 340. You will hear a lot from me in the next two weeks, if I'm to meet that goal!!

Back to the actual platform. I haven't been too happy with Blogger lately because for some reason they are warring again with FB and I am unable to show pictures from my blog, when I do a status update in the few blogging groups that I'm in. Maybe they knew this, because a lot of us are affected and we have been grumbling in Google forums about it. Well, this morning I had a notice from Google on my blogger dashboard. I clicked it. Lo and behold the picture that I posted yesterday came up and it was twinkling. Here's the link:

Twinkle

It was a picture I took a few nights ago of a lighted tree (trunk) on a street near mine. I was amazed!! I think that its something called Google Glitz and I do love the sparkle!! Here's another, I wonder if they'll add the glitz to this too.

https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos?pids=5956864159162757826&oid=107200812458651293357&pid=5956864159162757826

I guess that I'll have to check back tomorrow.

Please comment, if you know how I can make this twinkle.

Have a sparkling day!!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Handshakes, Spoken & Electronic

My Fit Bit is pushing me that extra "bit." First you have to know that it's -11º C in Toronto, but I managed to do my 5,500 steps around the cemetery today, albeit bundled to the nines and virtually alone, except for a few stalwart souls, who were braving the cold or who had to get from A to B without benefit of a vehicle.

The walk was energizing and thoughtful. Even in the icy cold, we can have Zen moments. When I got back to the office I synced my info to my Iphone and realized that I had 1,200 steps approximately to do before I reached my 10,000 step goal for today. When I came home, I dusted, swept a bit, and made dinner etc. - all in the interest of adding a few more steps to my day, so I wouldn't have to go out again in the bitter cold of the evening.  I may not lose any weight, but the house will sure be clean. Alas at about 7:30, I still had 1,000 steps, or so, to go.

Fit bit sends you emails as well, at strategic moments. They, of course, had to send me one, right then, that said, "Well done. You're almost there, just a few more steps." OK, OK, already!! I hear you or at least read you - over and out - literally. I "tacked up" and went out to finish off those last few hundred steps. Actually I decided to pop back into the mail box, a card that we had received in error; this gave a little more purpose to the outing and it removed something else from the counter.

Gloved Tree
Although the evening was cold, it wasn't too windy and it was clear and crisp. I "unmailed" the letter - that is I sent it back to the sender and was about to turn the block, when I saw someone kneeling on the sidewalk with several grocery bags. I thought it might have been a person who had fallen or was in some sort of distress. I asked if they were OK. At first they didn't answer and I got really worried. Then the chap, who was really quite young looked up. I asked him again, if he were OK, or did he need help. He said, "Aren't you sweet. Thank you very much. I just over shopped and I was taking a break. I'm not that far from home."

It was a lovely encounter, with a perfect stranger, who was most cordial, when he finally came around. This would never have happened, if I hadn't decided that I needed to follow through with my walks. I am reaping the benefits of my planned activity in more ways than one.

I continued on around the block and when I was almost home, my Fit Bit decided to vibrate, noticeably. At first, I thought, that I was going to be electrocuted :) then I realized that, it was just acknowledging the fact that I had reached my goal!! I'll let you know what happens tomorrow!!

Have a wonderful evening!!

Battling Bats

Yesterday I posted about embarrassing situations that we all have faced from time to time. One of these is telling the same story over and over again. I mentioned, however, that I never minded telling my Bat Story, ad infinitum. So here it is again.

It was in May about thirty years ago. It was a warm evening so we decided to leave a window open, without screens, through the night. We could never do this in summer because the insects would be everywhere in a few minutes. However, we reasoned that because it was the first really warm day, the insects wouldn't have got up to speed yet, and therefore, we didn't have to go downstairs and rummage around in the basement looking for the screens. We paid for our laziness.

Some time in the middle of the night, I woke up to a slight scurrying noise overhead. I thought, "Rats, we have mice in the attic." I rolled over. The noise came again. This time it was closer. Logic told me that mice, in the attic, couldn't come closer, because there was a ceiling involved. I opened one eye. A shadow flitted cross the room. Hmmmm mouse with wings translates into BAT!! I lay there for a few minutes to formulate a plan of action.

1. Our infant son was in the room across the hall, with the door open. I had to try to contain the bat in our room, run to my son's room and oh yes, alert my husband to the situation. I waited for the next fly past. I then jabbed my husband twice in the ribs and said firmly, "there's a bat in the room. I'm leaving." I did this very quickly in order to escape, before the next fly past!!

2. I ran into our son's room, who fortunately was still sleeping. From there I was able to reach out and turn on the hall light. I reasoned that bats don't like the light and therefore, he wouldn't come into the hall. I was wrong. He followed me!! At this point my husband woke up, but apparently hadn't heard a thing I had said. He stood at the doorway of the bedroom, starkers (nude) eyes winced together, because of the hall light and tried to make out what was going on. The bat made another fly past through the hall and around the light, which augmented its shadow to that of Pterodactyl. A weird primeval sound filled the air. It wasn't the bat. It was my husband. He had either finally woken up or thought that he was dreaming, in either case, he was vocally responding to the situation with an ooooohawweeeeiiiii. It was almost funny.



3. From the crack in the door of my son's room, I said, "It's a bat. Put a towel around your head." Some how, whatever Science has taught you, pales in the moment of terror and all you remember are old wives' tales, which tell you that bats will get into your hair and suck out your brains!! Some how my husband found a hand towel in the laundry basket and dutifully covered his head. The picture now is, reeling bat overhead of naked man with towel headdress, making tribal noises!!

4. More instructions from me through the crack, "Get a  broom." He disappeared down stairs and came back with a whisk. Now I ask you, how effective is a whisk, as a weapon, against at marauding pterodactyl err bat? Again, I said, "A broom, get a broom." I did not add any descriptive details about his mental capabilities, at this point, because I needed him to come back!! And come back, he did, with a broom and fortunately wide awake.

5. I was amazed that my husband was able to fell the bat to the floor, in one "fell" swoop, as they say, wrap his trusty head towel around it and toss it, along with the towel out the window, which we then closed shut. Ta Da!! It might have been worthy of a Hollywood movie, except, our son, mercifully, slept through it all; we were both able to get back to sleep and we found the screens the next day. Needless to say, we never opened a window without a screen, at night, again!!

Please tell me one of your amazing stories!!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tchotchke

My husband has holidays to use up and since his company is not going to pay him, if he works through the time, he is obliged to take that time off or lose it. He actually has the equivalent of almost 8 weeks of vacation time, so we have been looking at the possibility of taking a few weeks off in February. However, if we want to take another trip in the Spring or Summer, our winter trip has to be "cheap."

Therefore the requirements are that we go someplace warm and sunny and not that expensive. Hence, we have ruled out Caribbean resorts because they are expensive and a little like a "cookie cutter" type of holiday. They are OK, if you snorkel, play beach volley ball or have decided to read the whole of Charles Dickens (Hemingway might be a better choice), around the pool.

We were looking at Uruguay, but it's about a 13 hour plane journey, which in itself, may be expensive. Europe in February is still cold and we are avoiding North Africa, even Morocco because of the political problems there and perhaps the difficulty of getting a glass of wine or a mug of beer easily!! We haven't closed off any places as yet, we just aren't studying these as closely. We have, however, ruled out Mexico, because of the number of deaths, of Canadians vacationing there. Rather a few too many for my liking.



Friends, we know, go yearly to San Diego. I love it there, but I am undecided. It isn't really that exotic. I have been there on business and well really, it's like a nice place in Canada, only warmer, with a mountain or two and the sea nearby. That leaves us with the Keys. We've been to Sanibel/Captiva and love it, but we have spent several years vacationing there, so I think that I would like a change. I wouldn't go anywhere in Florida with a high rise, so again, this rules out most of Florida. However, I am told that the Keys have kept their development in check and there are still a number of islands that are considered artists' communities. The trick, now, is to find a place that is not too expensive.

We can drive there from Toronto, so we save on the airfare and car rental and we can take in a few spots, we have never been to, such as, the Everglades, along the way. I know you are probably wondering why I entitled the post "Tchotche." I found it in my travel bible - 1,000 Places To See Before You Die. It is actually a corruption of the Yiddish or Polish for cheap trinkets or gaudy souvenirs. I hope this isn't an omen for the whole holiday. I prefer the concept of Kitsch, although it may be one and the same.

The picture is a tourist boat. They look lovely, but they too can be a little Tchotche.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Pushing Doors Marked Pull...

Mental Floss posted on FB a short essay on 6 embarrassing things we do and why we do them. Well, I just had to read the list, which goes like this:

1. Pushing doors marked Pull - Actually both words look very similar and in a rush, who looks to see what the word is really saying. Given that there are no standards to how doors should open, many of us make this mistake often. I like the doors that open for you. However, I have been known to stand for a minute or two waiting for what I presumed was a self-opening door, only to find that I had to push one of the panels. Nothing looks more like dementia than someone standing for a long time just looking at a closed door :)

Then there is the panic of getting caught in one of those subway turnstile doors that look like revolving grates. This happened to us in New York with our youngest. We might have just had to leave him there, if it weren't for the kindness of strangers. Someone used their pass to get him out. Ultimately it was the right decision :)

Ogden Nash elaborated on this "door thing" in a poem which I have included in the post. Life is also a series of attempting to use doors with the sign "Please Use Other Door."

2. Talking to yourself - certainly in the days before mobile talking devices, people talking to themselves in public were given a wide berth. I still do a double take when I hear someone talking on a not very obvious cell phone. I know that my father could "start a fight in a empty room," and I often talk to myself at home. The grey area for talking to yourself is in the car at a stop light, I guess that you could always pretend that you were singing or reciting poetry :)

3. Lying about seeing a movie or reading a book. I could never lie about seeing a movie, but I will say, if it's true, that I have read the book, when someone mentions a movie, or vice versa. It gets complicated when you read book reviews, but rarely read books. People will mention that they have read a book and I get really excited because I have read the review. I have to remind myself that it's not the same thing.

4. Repeating stories - This happens often, particularly if your life is not that exciting and it gets worse the older you get. Of course to avoid the problem you could just remain quiet - very boring or you could try to create opportunities to have interesting things happen to you - very dangerous and then you start getting caught in that loop again. To whom did I tell the story about setting the pot on fire and almost burning the house down? Now I could tell my bat story or the one about leaving the cat in the fridge ad infinitum!!



5. Dropping your cellphone in the toilet - better than your dentures :)

6. Getting song lyrics wrong. I am always mis-quoting. My brother-in-law once criticized me for saying "The more things change, the more they remain the same" in English. The original is in French. Well, he is a bit of a pedant. Here is a link to a site that lists some famous lyrics gone wrong. I like -

"Memories are made of cheese (these)."Swiss (holy ones), Limburger (smelly ones), Brie (moldy ones).... you get the idea :)

Here is the poem by Ogden Nash


You and Me and P.B. Shelley


What is life? Life is stepping down a step or sitting in a chair.
And it isn't there.
Life is not having been told that the man has just waxed the floor.
Life is pulling doors marked PUSH and pushing doors marked PULL and not
    noticing notices which say PLEASE USE OTHER DOOR.
It is when you diagnose a sore throat as an unprepared geography lesson
    and send your child weeping to school only to be returned an hour
    later covered with spots that are indubitable genuine.
Life is a concert with a trombone soloist filling in for Yehudi Menuhin.
But, were it not for frustration and humiliation
I suppose the human race would get ideas above its station.
Somebody once described Shelley as a beautiful and ineffective angel
    beating his luminous wings against the void in vain.
Which is certainly describing with might and main.
But probably means that we are all brothers under our pelts.
And that Shelley went around pulling doors marked PUSH and pushing doors
    marked PULL just like everybody else. 


The picture? I also turn door knobs the wrong way :)

Have a great day!

Monday, December 09, 2013

Perfumes - Love Them or Leave Them

I was reading and article by Mental Floss on the names of perfumes launched in the '80s. The article suggested that the perfumes of this decadent decade supported, through their names and over the edge advertising, the hedonism of a "me" generation. Here's a link to the article.

http://mentalfloss.com/article/53918/11-iconic-perfumes-80s

Often a name can either make or break a product's acceptance in the marketplace. Perfumes have to be able to say a lot in just a word or two. Yes, the actual scent is important, but more important is the cache associated with the name. Some of the perfumes mentioned in the article were - Opium, Obsession, and Poison, scents synonymous with drugs, sex, and an underworld of indulgence.

Well, perfumes for the most part, are worn to create a mystique. They are meant to attract people to you for sensual pleasures. You suggest through your choice of scents, what these pleasures might be. I don't think that the 80's were the only years that suggested taboos. In fact, the perfume, Tabu, was actually introduced in 1932, a few years after scents, such as, My Sin - 1925, but before Snuff - 1940.

Not all perfumes associate themselves with the forbidden. Some try to create an air of elusiveness in their name, such as Windsong - 1952, English Leather - 1949 or Princess - 2008. Others hint at the exotic - Shalimar - 1925,  Magie Noire - 1978, or Black Orchid - 2006 and then there are the scents for the "tidy wives." Those who shouldn't be flaunting themselves openly, might wear, for example, White Linen - 1978, Green Irish Tweed - 1985 or Tea for Two - 2000.

Nature's Perfume

Closely related are the maiden aunt scents; these don't necessarily sound repelling, but they do beg the question, "How come you haven't had a partner all these years?" Maybe they have worn Lily of the Valley - 1976, June Roses - 1922 or April Violets 1913 just a little too long.

Finally there are the "Whatever were you thinking?" scent names - Colony - 1937 (I'm thinking ants!), Quorum - 1982 (Stuffy board meeting), or Flowerbomb 2004 (These are insecticides in greenhouses!)

I actually don't wear perfume, because a lot of people are allergic to scents. However, I have been given, on two very separate occasions, L'Air du Temps - 1948. I have bought for myself Chantilly - 1941 and I also love Bal a Versailles - 1962. To me perfume is an extra, that is quite controversial. Often people wear too much. For example, it's annoying to sit in a theatre near someone wearing a strong perfume. I have theories about people who wear certain perfumes or wear perfumes inappropriately. But then I have theories about a lot of things, mostly unfounded. I really should write fiction.

What are your favourite scents or what are your thoughts on perfume?

The picture? The fragrance, Beautiful - 1985 is a blend of 2000 different flowers!

Names and dates come courtesy of Wikipedia

Have a decadent day :)