Monday, July 30, 2018

Conversation....

Our word for today is conversation. I have to believe that in today's world of 140 (now 280) characters or less, it's difficult to have a real conversation. Now, there are more coffee houses these days, where people meet up, maybe just to look at their phones together, however, I have to believe they chat in between the tweets.



Our family still makes an effort to have "family meals." My husband and I make dinner, with enough for an extra mouth or two, should the kids decide to eat with us. On a good day, we have a conversation. Last night it was the old, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it," quote. Yogi Berra lives, at least in our house, where he has credence, because he comes from the sports world.



The "fork in the road" topic was a discussion of a possible road trip. Although, I said I wasn't going to the US until Trump was gone, we still had fun designing a road trip to the Rock and Roll hall of fame in Cleveland, taking in a ball game and then going south to Graceland and the Grand Ole Opry - all my daughter's ideas. They are maybe not my style, but they are classics and Paul Simon has been to Graceland, that's an endorsement in itself.



Katherine went on to say that Paul Simon was coming to Toronto. I feel a concert coming on. Actually, Paul Simon is someone both my daughter and I have in common, or at least his music is. We do talk about books occasionally and since both kids have bikes, we talk about biking in Toronto.



I can always talk about topics I have in common with another person, however, the trick is to be interested in what the other person has to say that may not interest you. I read Barbara Walters' book "How to talk with practically anybody about practically anything." It's a great book! and it works!!



Certainly expanding your horizons, reading, travelling, participating all help to give us material to carry on a conversation. Understanding the difference between talking with people, not at people is another key component to a meaningful conversation. It's something I'm working on especially with the kids!!

The pictures? Possible conversation starters.

Image....

Our word today is "image." I like it because it's the basis of the word imagine. To me imagination is all about creating images of what might be. For example, it took some brilliant person to imagine the wheel or to think we could fly. Every small step from the stone age to this electronic age was created because someone had an image of something that would make it easier for people to do what they had to do.





But I look at you, heart of silver,
White heart-flame of polished silver,


In literature, authors create imaginative characters, Holden Caulfield, Owen Meany, Orleanna Price to work through fictional events, in interesting places. These characters often seem more real, than the people we meet daily. I wonder how many of the people, we know, or think we know, would make fascinating characters, if they could write their own story, in another setting?





Yesterday upon the stair
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away


Painters are the most graphic of those who imagine. We see the results of their imagination immediately. They paint images of our world or other worlds - escapes, perhaps. They paint emotions and ideas, making the intangible, tangible. And they paint reality in a way that is, at times, surreal.

I like to use words in imaginative ways. It's one of the reasons I like poetry. Poets use words to create images or they make up words to make us create images, by adding our own meanings."

I never tired of reading, Lewis Carrol's, Jabberwocky, to students, when I taught English. It was fun to create meanings for its "nonsense" words, making the poem our own.




For those who needed "regular" words, There were always the "wordsmiths" - Dylan Thomas, e. e. cummings, Gerard Manly Hopkins - poets who used words and syntax in imaginative ways.




I sometimes read collections of poems by a single poet, however, I love reading anthologies. My sister was fortunate enough to have had an English teacher in grade 11, who was creating a poetry anthology. He had his students select poems they loved. Many of these poems went into the anthology. It's still the best collection of poems I have ever read. Even if you don't like poetry, you will love, I am a Sensation. This link does not show the book's actual cover, which is also amazing.




The pictures? Images of an artistic or poetic nature - go figure :)

Have an imaginative day!!



Saturday, July 28, 2018

Tomorrow...

....and tomorrow....and tomorrow. Yes, we could let our lives slip away, always hoping that a tomorrow will be better than a today. I have already earmarked a wait of four years until Doug Ford is gone and worse case scenario - six years until Trump is gone - alas!! Time to start living today!!



I tend to live in the future. I'm goal oriented and am, therefore, always working toward something that may never happen. Well, today is happening right now - maybe I should say write now - because I am writing - yes, but it's about the future - "tomorrow" is our word for today - I can't believe I wrote that!!

Actually, today, I've been spending some time on Amazon. I realize I often mention books or quote excerpts from poems and fail to link to their sources. Hence, (I do like that word) I'm going back over some blogs that were written in a time frame I rarely use - yesterday and adding links.



This morning I keyed in "biking." I was amazed at the wealth of material out there and it was all cycling. There was not a motorcycle manual in sight!! The book I'm going to buy - Amazon is a dangerous place - is

Cycling Along Europe's Rivers: Bicycle Touring Made Easy and Affordable


It was published in 2012 so some of the references may be out of date, but it is a staring point. We won't be doing it this year. I'm already committed to going back to the Eastern Townships to cycle some rails trails, we missed in the Spring.




So what does this have to do with our topic - "tomorrow?" Well, these are plans for a tomorrow somewhere out there.


The pictures? Something with a sense of adventure. Tomorrow is filled with possibilities!!


Have a good one!! 






Friday, July 27, 2018

Interview...

Interview is our word for today and I think it's very interesting. Interviews always have several agendas (agendum), though. Someone wants the information you have. However, what you say and how you say it is something else, entirely.

In this age of identity theft, we have to be so careful about the information we give away. What address do we give? what telephone number? e-mail? etc. I'm so paranoid, in fact, that after I had sold a book on Amazon, I didn't want to give my banking information for the money to be deposited to my account. One reason was because I remembered a story of a woman who had her Paypal account hacked. She had linked her bank account to her PayPal account and they emptied her bank account. OMG



Probably the first interview we remember is the "job" interview. Here we have to understand that we are selling ourselves. Every answer to a question must include a reference to how much we "love" the company, the position, and so on!! Our future depends on what we say; how we say it; how we are dressed, our body language etc. Frightening to think that every twitch, wink, or blush may determine our future!

In the past, I would occasionally answer market research surveys. I love giving my opinion. Now, I don't know whether they are bone fide questionnaires or people just fishing for personal information. I never respond to e-mails asking me to log into my account. I worry, as well, that this blog may be giving away too much information. On the other hand, I can't live in a vacuum. Somewhere there has to be a balance.



I do, however, like the interview technique as a way of structuring documentaries. I know, though, that the films have been edited. What has been discarded? Last night I saw Three Identical Strangers. It's a true story of triplets who were separated at birth and found each other almost twenty years later. The three boys went on to spend years being interviewed.

I knew very early on that I would never be a journalist. I would never be able to get that coveted interview with a VIP. I still marvel at people who can so endear themselves to celebrities that they get them to tell their most intimate secrets.



I have three children - all adopted, which means we have had three home studies. We were interviewed extensively, by a social worker to make sure we would be suitable parents. It always amazes me that people, who decide to have children, are never subjected to an interview assessing their ability to be good parents.

The pictures? What might go with the word interview. The last one is our eldest, child of our first home study. He was called to be interviewed recently by a placement agency that never actually ended up doing an interview. They were more interested in his completing a questionnaire that asked for his banking information. He was uncomfortable giving it and said that he would wait until after the interview. He was told to leave.

Be afraid; be very afraid!

PS - He got another job from an interview with a company where he knew and loved the products they made. In Alberta, this company sells "cowboy" gear. He's living out his inner cowboy and getting paid for it? Begs the question how does one interview to become a cowboy? Read Zane Grey - maybe :)

I will not say - have a questionable day :)


Thursday, July 26, 2018

Fête...

Our word for today is fête. It's French for celebration. Posting about bread, or at least grain, yesterday, had me thinking about festivities. I equate festivities with food. Or, maybe, it's food that makes things festive.

Lunch, with a baguette from Jules, our French patisserie around the corner, and some cheese is always a celebration, especially in summer when we eat in the garden. At lunch, we discuss dinner - I know, I have trouble losing weight. This summer we have had lunch and dinner in the garden almost every day. What could be more festive?



Needless to say, I grow vegetables, as well as flowers, in the garden. This year my aubergines, I'm sticking with the French for eggplant, have produced their deep purple fruit early and I have had ratatouille for dinner often. Scented with fresh basil, this sauté of tomatoes, garlic, onion, courgette, and aubergine is, in itself, a fête.

My husband is a "foodie." He cooks Boeuf a la Bourguigonne, Coq au Vin and Cassoulet. I may love Italian food, but I revere French. My brother-in-law read Escoffier and gave me a copy for Christmas one year. I may never make all of the 200 or 300 sauces in the book, but I can dream.



Both Italy and France treat food as a celebration more, I think, than other countries. There is a certain spareness to Scandinavian cooking, a blandness to British and a hodge-podge to North American. Somehow, pork and beans is not the celebration of taste that Cassoulet is.

That being said, we often have a festive meal of BBQed ribs, or tacos and secretly, I would love to make Boston backed beans. My husband turns up his nose at the thought. He says he doesn't like molasses, but he gets me to make a sauce with molasses to go with salmon, often. Hmmm.



I freeze batches of pesto to celebrate summer in winter, however, I have never really found a dish that celebrates winter in summer, except, maybe, ice cream. We have to have festive meals in winter because winter is long, and dark and cold. I make soups and stews interspersed with dishes of clams and mussels. I make paella and curried lamb shanks. We walk to Cumbrae's, a celebrated butchers on Bayview. I gaze at the beef carcasses in the window - not your average window dressing, but just fine for a butcher. We salivate over steaks and chops that are two or three inches thick and I fondle the bottles of olive oil at $40.00, $50.00 or more.



The only product I buy in Cumbrae's except for their exquisite frozen pastas and delicious meat pies are soup bones - chicken or beef. At $1.59 a pound they are the cheapest product in the store. You have to ask for them, though. They are never displayed. I buy five pounds at a time and then go next door to the Italian fruit and veg shop to buy the biggest carrots, celery and onions I can find, for my mirepoix, my soup flavouring.



Then, I spend all day cooking. It's a ritual. Every Fête, of course, has it's own ritual - a marriage, a birthday, an anniversary, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Valentines, Pancake Tuesday, Canada Day, people arriving, people leaving, retirement, new job, a raise.

We celebrate the feats in our life with feasts. Bon Fête!!

The pictures? Why, food of course!! Except for the picture of the empty plate. I took it at Bofinger in Paris in 2014. My brother-in-law took us there for lunch one day. I had raspberry soup for dessert. Something else to make.

Have a satisfying day!


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Grain...

Our word today is grain. Again another one of those words that says so much, so simply. Grain is the stuff of life. It's a staple. Depending on where you live, it can be wheat, rice, maize etc. It's a symbol of the richness of life - friends and families "breaking bread."

I admire people who make bread. Many make bread on a sunny day, when nature warms the dough, encouraging the yeast to expand. I know you can coax dough to rise in a warm oven and I have had to on occasion. But the interplay of a warm day, a well kneaded dough and a cozy kitchen says "life is good."



My youngest makes dough. He's the cook in the family, however, he hasn't made bread yet, although he has made pizza dough. I don't call pizza dough, bread, because the dough needs just one rise not two. Still it's a start.

My daughter makes Eggs Benedict, which we call Eggs Katherine. She uses a microwave for the hollandaise sauce, tsk, tsk and leaves behind a bowl of egg whites. I promised my youngest, that I will make French bread with him, the secret ingredient being egg white. It hasn't happened yet. I need to buy better flour and set aside a good deal of time.



I love the fact that you can add ingredients to dough to change it at any time - olives, dried tomatoes, herbs or sugar, raisins, dried peel for sweeter loaves. I would make fruit cake soaked in rum, as my paternal grandmother did, but no one in our house eats raisins, sultanas, currents, etc., except me.



Grain is everywhere. If we don't eat it, we admire it. The grain of a particular wood, for example, enriches our homes. Tables, chairs, cabinets all gleam with the elegance of woodgrain. We smooth it, polish it, enjoy it.

Grains of sand measure the passage of time. Life slips through our fingers like grains of sand, mountains erode, beaches disappear and generations return to sand. Rather heavy duty for something as tiny as a grain of sand. I think I'll just make bread while the sun shines and eat pizza, when my son shines.

The pictures? Hot crossed buns. Turn them to form an "X" and you have the gifts the early celts gave to Easter, their goddess of Spring. Pizza, chez Tomany and Nicholas, the cook.

Have an enriched day!!



Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Sparked...

The word for today is "sparked." It's that point of ignition - you need a spark to start a car, a fire, an idea, a war.....and so on.

I often have "sparks." I get an idea. I take it so far and then it fizzles. Meh, maybe it just wasn't meant to be or I hadn't put enough thought into it. I once thought that I would like some property to create a memorable garden like Giverny. I really hadn't considered the cost - irrigation, metal trellises, labour, plants, soil and then where would I live. Why, where I live right now, in a dream world.

We do, though, need these "sparks" to get "sparked." We need a purpose or a burning desire to get on with something or at least I do. Certainly there are people who can live with a comfortable regime, repeated daily, but I need a purpose. I am very goal oriented and have to work towards the end product. Others are process oriented, often having no goal at all except to enjoy the day. I envy these people. They live in the moment. Do they ever need to get "sparked?"



Over the years I have been sparked by business ideas mainly. I once encouraged a group of colleagues, all teachers, to start a goal setting, self-help group. It was based on the idea of Weight-Watchers except that instead of setting a weight loss goal, you set a personal goal. We called it "Woman Unlimited" and we had about 15 people sign up in September to come one evening a week to set goals and monitor their progress.



It was fun, but it was difficult to get people out on a regular basis, even with guest speakers. So, we closed it the following May. What I got out of it, though, was the realization of a goal I had set myself.  I wanted to get back in touch with people I'd let slip out of my life.  I finally wrote to my friend in England, with whom I had lost touch. We've been writing every since and that was almost 40 years ago.



Of the regular attendees, some changed jobs, others made great network connections and others thought we were nuts, maintaining that a woman had one goal - to care for her family. Woman Unlimited was a challenge.

Still, goal setting, for me, is the spark to get up and do something. The trick is to keep that spark going. It may light the fire, but you still have to fuel that fire, fan it and generally make sure it doesn't burn out.

The pictures - just some sparks. Actually the second one down was my daughter's spark to bike over the Golden Gate Bridge. We all did it in 2017!! The last one is from the Yves St Laurent museum in Marrakesh. I have always been sparked by costume and fashion design.

Have a sparkling day!!





Monday, July 23, 2018

Breasts.....

Our word for today is "breasts." It's not a word I would have chosen. I'm not comfortable with intimacy and breasts speak of intimacy. There is also something very carnal about them. I am always uncomfortable with women who show too much cleavage. I was raised to believe that if you advertised "sex" with your dress or demeanour, you should not complain if you got it.

My grandmother, my mother and the convent school I went to all stressed modesty. We covered our breasts, but wore mini-skirts. I know it seems strange. Women will always be sexual objects. It's primeval - the animal's need to procreate.



On the other hand, I am never embarrassed by women nursing in public, even though, I often say, "I don't come from a long line of nursers." My mother never nursed, nor did my sisters. I have, however, come to respect the La Leche League especially in an age when big business is trying to condemn breastfeeding in an effort to sell their inferior products. When I was starting my business, I joined a woman's entrepreneurial group. Another company, Bravado, was also part of the group. It was owned by two mothers, who had created a better nursing bra. Their slogan was "Breastfeed with Bravdo." I loved it!!



In spite of much political correctness, women are still categorized by the size of their breasts. There is a multi-million dollar industry out there for breast enhancement, to push one higher up the scale of desirability, no doubt. On the flip side, I did know of a woman who had breast reduction surgery. She hated her disproportionate figure. She was French, born into a culture where fashion, style and taste are more important than a buxom bosom.



Why are there so many less than flattering terms for breasts - boobs, knockers, hooters, tits, the lists goes on? Is it because so many are uncomfortable with the female form and must demean it? Mammary gland (from mammals) is too technical and the only word that falls in between that and boobs, let's say, is breasts. I need to become more comfortable with it as a word.

There are women who have their breasts removed because of a family history of breast cancer. I became used to having my breasts poked, prodded and pressed after a bout with breast cancer, myself. In the days when bras were not fashionable, I never wore one. I wear a black bra only under a black top that might show a strap. Some women only wear black. Is this a statement of submission? In fact, in some cultures, women never cover their breasts.

I have chosen to concentrate on the physical definition of breasts. No doubt because the word was breasts rather than breast. "Breast" is another concept entirely. It is emotional, spiritual and at times, poetic - "Hope springs eternal in the human breast."

The pictures? Nothing very titillating - sorry I couldn't resist. The last one is a designer's window on the Champs Elysee. You figure it out :)

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sobriquet II

I enjoyed writing my blog on nicknames so much, that I decided to do another for all the names I had missed. Most of these names would be for places rather than people. Wikipedia lists more monikers than you will ever need in a lifetime, here.

Of the ones listed, I am in awe of -

1. The Great One - Wayne Gretzky - Canadian, Hockey player - says it all.
2. Satchmo - Louis Armstong. I've seen him perform several times and my youngest loves him.
3. Auld Reekie - Edinburgh. I've written about her before and my sister-in-law lives there.
4. Hogtown - I prefer Toronto, the good. I live here and still give directions using terms, such as, Hog's Hollow.
5. Cowtown - Calgary. My son lives there now.


I am inclined to give people nick-names, they may never hear. Her Shrewishness, for example, for someone who is difficult. Our Lady of the Cats for someone who has too many cats. Or fill in the blanks with Our Lady of the Dogs, Birds, Rings - really for anyone known for their excesses. Miss Manifest for someone with a presence. Mistress Murky for the low life or Mister Misfit for one who never seems to fit in.

I'm sure others do the same, but keep the names to themselves, as I do, so they never become commonplace.

The picture? Casa Loma in the city of Wishfulness and the season of Mistfulness. Spell checker wanted to change the last word to wistfulness, maybe a comment on the post. I love playing with words.

Have an entitled day.

Sobriquet.....

The word for today is "sobriquet." It means nickname or epithet. It's such a sophisticated word for such a common subject. I found it in a crossword clue  - "Hemingway sobriquet." The answer, of course, is "Papa."

I have spent a great deal of my life, trying to figure out how people get nicknames. These people to me are special; they have been set apart and given an extra richness to their lives. They are loved more, perhaps. People have reached out to them, calling them something their original name couldn't impart.

I have a friend named Judy. I call her Judy, but people who have known her longer call her "juggie." I'm not sure where this sobriquet came from, but it is a term of endearment and she is a dear soul.


Over the fifteen years I was in teaching, I met many students. Few actually had nicknames that were used by those, who addressed them formally. In fact I remember only one student, whom everyone, including staff, called "Coco." His background was French and he always reminded me of Coco Chanel.

It is said that Coco Chanel may have gotten her sobriquet from a song she sang or from her occupation as a mistress - cocotte. I wonder how others got theirs. I've known a few Buffys, one Smokey, a Cookie and a Streaky. Smokey was named for the deep colour of his skin and Streaky for a white streak in his hair, but for Buffy and Cookie I'm at a loss.



I know how my friend "Tinks" got her nickname. When she was very young, she was Tinkerbell in a school play. From then on everyone called her "Tinks." When I say everyone, I mean everyone who had known her well or for a long time. It was almost a privilege to be able to call her Tinks. Those not as close called her Sue.

My father was always "Corky" from his last name Corcoran. My mother, Marguerite, was "Bunny" because she was very shy and had prominent front teeth. Maybe there were eras, the forties, let's say, where people were more inclined to give other people monikers. Certainly closed groups, criminals come to mind, often give each other special names, code names perhaps.



I may never become a grandmother, but there is a video now on FB about choosing your "grandmother name." My friend Julie's grandmother name is "GJ." I prefer "nanny" over "granny," but I would love to have another special name.

Do you think if I knit a lot of mitts, I might be called "mitzy?"

The pictures? From another favourite author with the nickname - Old Possum. It's T.S. Eliot and his book - "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" is a keeper. Oh and yes, my daughter, whose sobriquet is "Kat" - go figure.

Have an enriched day!!




Saturday, July 21, 2018

Grandmother....

The word today is "grandmother." I often say, "I plant the flowers that grew in my grandmother's garden." I was my grandmother's child even though we were not related biologically. My grandmother adopted my mother, after her son had died at the age of seven of scarlet fever.

My grandmother came from the Saar valley in Germany and was shipped off to Nova Scotia after she was married to a young engineer. The marriage didn't last and somehow my grandmother found herself in Hamilton Ontario married to a semi-skilled factory worker, also German. This marriage lasted.



My grandparents rented the houses they lived in and my grandmother rented out the rooms in those houses to borders. This was her way of helping with the family income. The depression was hard on everyone and my grandmother took in laundry, in addition to the borders, and children from the Infant's Home for fostering.

They kept body and soul together through hard work, good food, and small pleasures. My grandfather played the harmonica, which I have stowed safely away. He made his own beer, dill pickles and sauerkraut. His family had owned a delicatessen in Berlin. My grandmother made angel food cake and bread pudding. Life was good.



My grandmother also took pleasure in her fine crochet - doilies, edgings for hankies, antimacassars, and her budgies. There was ever only one bird at a time, but there was a series of them, all called Fritz. I arrived into this humble family just before the end of the war when my father was still overseas. It was a quiet, peaceful, ordered existence, in spite of the crowded circumstances.

I would know chaos, anger, and general unrest soon enough, when I went to live with my parents after the war. I often longed for my grandmother's house. However, although, my parent's home was unpredictable, it was a place you were allowed a great deal of freedom. Somehow no one missed a nine-year-old from noon to 5:00pm, so I was free to wander with friends or on my own through the vacant lots, the alleys and the back yards that made up the area along Bloor St. between Christie and Landsdown.  My grandmother would never have given me this freedom.



If I learned resourcefulness from my grandmother, I leaned rebellion from my parents. My mother rebelled against my grandmother's form and order and my father rebelled against everything. I straddled a fine line between the two.

I do, however, organize my own home, after my grandmother's - three meals a day, laundry done, rooms cleaned, home on time and rarely out. I organize my mind after my parents - it makes for an interesting life.

The pictures? Acts of rebellion and my grandfather's harmonica.

Have a thoughtful day.


Locus.....

Our word for today is "locus," which the dictionary defines as, a place, position or location. I found it in a mystery book by Ann Cleeves. It suggested something important.

The locus of a crime, for example, might be where the crime happened or where a body was found, but the person not actually murdered - more mystery. The locus of a disease may never be found and people are then forced to live with what doctors consider an imaginary ailment - imaginary, maybe but with a lot of pain.



Locus was my word choice. Why couldn't I have just given the word "place?" Because, I think that Latin, in the right place, elevates one's writing and adds a certain mystery. The body was found "in situ," in the original place. Also, Latin words form the basis of many of our English words - "locate" comes to mind. Think of the mystery behind trying to "locate" something.

We worry about missing people. People worry about missing links in their lives. Some people spend their entire lives searching for the meaning of it - where it all began? why it all began? and how does one make sense of it "all."



I often attribute my locus in this world to what I call "an accident of birth." I was born in Canada, of Irish/English parentage. This makes me white and privileged, even though my mother was adopted by German immigrants and spoke no English until she was six years old, when she started school. My father also considered himself privileged, although he was one of six children raised in a very poor, single parent home. He never complained. His locus made him what he is today - a stubborn 103 year-old. My mother complained all the time. She had been removed from her original locus, although she did have regular contact with her birth mother.



Our place, or locus, in this world determines so much. It could be something we struggle against to make us who we are, or it could be a gift, a silver spoon, guaranteeing an easy ride? And which is the better?

The pictures - Canada, children from a different locus, egg as a symbol of the beginning, the initial locus.

Have a thoughtful day!!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Hooked...

The third word in our blog posting exercise is "hook." It's one of those words or concepts that is both very simple and yet, very complex.

On one level a hook is an object that is useful. I think of all the hooks beside back doors where people conveniently hang coats, hats, bags etc. Here a hook is both comforting and functional. It brings order from chaos (just imagine all that clothing in a heap on the floor) and it assists with the passage from outside to in and vice versa. In a figurative sense, I wonder, if we hang our outside personalities on a hook, when we enter a home to be ourselves?....And again do we put those characters back on when we leave to face the world?


When I think of my grandmother's house, one of the first things I see is the hall stand just inside her front door. It was decorative with ornate hooks. My grandmother came from "money" before the first World War and to her, appearances were everything. Never mind that one of the hooks held my grandfather's working cap - he was a labourer. Another hook held a fashionable hat, with feathers. My grandmother never left the house, without wearing a hat.



Hooks in that house also held pictures, large pictures in elaborate frames. The most obvious piece was a professional photograph of my grandparent's son, who died at the age of seven from scarlet fever. Herman held a place of honour for years over the mantelpiece, his life, as it were, suspended by a hook.

Hook, as a verb, speaks of passion. We are "hooked," for example, on a particular author, a particular food, or a particular activity. These obsessions draw us in, as an extended hook might pull in an impartial observer. Once hooked, however, we can become addicted and the functional hook then becomes an evil magnet, holding us in place.



As a person, who enjoys needlework, I use a hook as a tool, to create garments, accessories and decorative items. Crochet is a craft worked entirely with a hook. It often takes a back seat, though, to knitting, which in turn takes a back seat to weaving. Why is it that we must categorize, label, and segregate so much of life? Even activities that bring us pleasure are stratified. Would I enjoy weaving more, because it is considered a higher pursuit?

Who would have thought that something so small and insignificant as a hook could keep our lives in order, store our personalities and give us pleasure when we need it.

The pictures? Some of my obsessions - hooked on crochet, biking and food from scratch!!

Have an awesome day.



Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Razzle, dazzle, sis, boom, bah!!!

The word for our blog posts today is "dazzle." So, of course I couldn't just stop there. I had to go the whole nine yards, well, OK, five words - razzle, dazzle, sis, boom, bah!

When in doubt look it up - "razzle dazzle" means

1 : a state of confusion or hilarity. 2 : a complex maneuver (as in sports) designed to confuse an opponent. 3 : a confusing or colorful often gaudy action or display.

Yes, I could write about any of these. Well maybe not the sports so much, but there are other maneuvers out there designed to confuse an opponent and I have examples of colourful, gaudy displays, in spades - maybe not the best metaphor!!



Breaking it down, we have:

razzle -  on the razzle or on the razz British informal out enjoying oneself or celebrating, esp while drinking freely.

dazzle -

to arouse admiration by an impressive display

to lose clear vision especially from looking at bright light

Now to be perfectly honest, I gave the word "dazzle" so I should stick to that, even though I have always had trouble focusing and tend to bring in all the possibilities all at once, which is usually at the start.



I need to focus - back to dazzle - to arouse admiration by an impressive display!! Well, that would be my garden, although I did not set out to -

1. Create an impressive display or to arouse admiration. It, like life, happened. I wanted a modest tasteful rock garden. WHAT HAPPENED!! Things got out of hand fairly early and it went from there.
2. Lose clear vision. Obviously, I have lost the vision of a small tasteful rock garden.

It is now an orgy of colour and texture in a gaudy display. It is, however, me



Now, I do admire tastefully planted gardens. I love their form, their order, their control over nature and the elements. I love these gardens in the way I love good writers - I marvel at the precision of their words, the exquisite flow of their sentences, their levels of meaning and their subtle nuances.

Will I ever be able to tame my wild ramblings into the finely honed structure of a book? Can I trick myself with a complex maneuver designed to confine myself to a more controlled version of myself? Meh, maybe I should just write free verse :)

The pictures - My garden summer 2018.

Have a colourful day!!







Lies...

I am working on a blog challenge with a friend. It's a great way to fight the doldrums that happen in summer, in politics, in aging bodies etc... It's also a wonderful way of not only improving your writing, but also your outlook. We are giving each other random words and writing a blog post using those words. The word today was "lies." Here is my post:

What lies there? You know somewhere in the back of the mind..... or at the back of a drawer, a corner of the bookshelf...stowed a little out of reach, so we are not reminded of it everyday, but nonetheless it is there, always there.

Often we find it, when we lest expect it. Rummaging for a scarf or pair of gloves we touch it.... dusting a book shelf we see it quietly in the corner, then again maybe it just comes to mind with the scent of cumin or a flash of red silk.



It asks the question, "What might have been..?" What might have happened had I chosen that path over this or........

In the back of my drawer is my old passport. My first passport. I was twenty-two at the time and you were allowed to smile. It makes all the difference. I applied for it, in my second year of teaching and subsequently went to England the following year to teach and travel.

What I didn't do with my passport, however, was join CUSO (Canadian University Services Overseas). I did want to go somewhere adventurous, Africa, South America, Asia. I had heard stories of friends, friends of friends and colleagues who had gone to Peru, Tanzania, Malaysia. Instead I went to England. I moved just marginally beyond my comfort zone - I left home.



Yes, I did travel extensively in Europe, hitchhiking most of the time. However, I always came back after a few months to Maidely Rd., where I paid for a room in a flat with four other girls. I did not, for example, hitchhike across North Africa, as the two Australian girls, I met in Italy, had done. Nor did I head to Nepal with an old schoolmate, whom I had accidentally met on a ferry to Crete.

So it is, that I often think of the missed opportunities. "What might have happened..." There are still opportunities, of course, to go...somewhere... That little book on the shelf is a handbook for Executive Services Overseas - a grown up version of CUSO and the thoughts.....They happen often. In fact just yesterday I was reminded that there are websites for house sitters and I had promised myself that I would look into these.

Maybe what keeps us from the greater adventures of our lives are the little lies we tell ourselves about the evils of the unknown - snakes, disease, strangers. These fears keep us from experiencing what I will call that flash of red silk - the richness beyond the fear!



Writing this post now, I can see, that I relate my missed opportunities to travel. Others may relate the events that didn't happen in their lives to careers, relationships, circumstances. However, what there still is - is opportunity.

I had an Art teacher once who said that, if you think you can't do something, you have to find a way to make it happen. He gave the example of tap dancing. He said - if you can't tap dance, you might build a box and put a recorder under it with the sound of tap dancing and then you could stand on the box and pretend to be dancing.

Did I ever tell you that I wanted to be an entertainer? I am working on making that happen :)

The pictures - random travel pictures - go figure!!