Tuesday, January 3, 2017

I make and sometimes break New Years resolutions...so

Okay, moving right along here. Went out and bought yet another bathing suit today. I have several in increasing sizes in a bottom drawer so this isn't a new idea. What is new I just put the suit, a towel, the never worn years old thongs, and soap into a duffle bag. That's never happened before. Chatting with the delightful clerk about my yearly bathing suit purchase and how I never actually get to the pool she said something about it being hard sometimes to make the effort in winter driving conditions. I could have kept my big mouth shut but no, I admitted I live 2 blocks from the pool. She has a wonderful laugh :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

BAN ADULT SIPPY CUPS

The cult of complaining continues to gain momentum. Complainers chalk up another victory as vaping is banned from all the places where smoking has been banned. My goal for 2017 is to get adult sippy cups banned. Seeing adults walking around with sippy cups held with both hands in classic toddler fashion causes my hand to cover my eyes, much like the waving motion rabid anti smoke and now apparently anti vape people employ, even while standing in a cloud of diesel fumes at a bus stop. I expect my campaign to gaim momentum quickly since it's obvious the involuntary covering of one's eyes is more of a danger to my safety than flapping one hand in front of one's face. Look for announcements on meetings to prepare for initial appeals to civic councils to BAN ADULT SIPPY CUPS.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Where did that come from?

'kay. About four hours ago I walked into the downtown post office and the public area was about half the size it was when I was last there. I did a Laurel and Hardy 'whoa' move, successfully getting the attention of another woman in line and said 'wow, where'd that wall come from.' She filled me in on the time line and told me how much warmer it is now and so on. THEN she looked me straight in the eye and said, 'You should go on a computer and go to google. You can ask any questions and in seconds you get answers. You 'd really like it.' I'm not leaving anything out here. I didn't say for instance, 'I wonder what the average life span of a rhino is.' No. It was that out of the blue. I said, 'wow, you just became the subject of todays blog entry. Thanks.' Life just gets more fascinating.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The point of learning is not just to gather knowledge. There's validity in taking your study of anything to your limit of understanding. Come up against your personal brick wall, realize anything beyond that point is 'beyond you', and appreciate the fact that there are others of your species looking after that, understanding that, and building on that which you don't understand.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

There's an ability I wish to hone.

A while ago I was in a group of people. That in and of itself is becoming more comfortable of late. I said something that caused some laughter. Someone said I was funny. A little thing. A casual exchange. Shocked me to my core, actually. I realized in that moment that it isn't so much that I'm funny it's that they had the capacity to see the humour in what was said.

Being kinda funny, well, that's just there or not. But the ability to see the humour, that's gold.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Caution: Current rethink underway.

It’s been a couple of years now since I retired and there have been a few surprises, I must say. Surprise number one: clientele interaction had pretty much replaced social interaction. I had an inkling but yes, it’s time to admit, I’d become a hermit of sorts. So, I’ve been making an effort to put myself out there. There’s the painting group. I’ve attended enough sessions now to feel fairly comfortable. I was accused of appropriating aboriginal art at one point and my reaction was to stay away but after a missing a few sessions I got my to-heck-with-it back and all is well.

Then I saw a poster at the library showing a bunch of older folks sitting around a table having a wonderful time. It was an invitation to a free memoir writing class. I signed up. It’s been a roller coaster of emotion but overall well worth the angst. For one thing, I’ve learned I have angst. Oh Em Gee. I’ve also learned, when it comes to me being me in social situations, it’s well deserved angst. My parents weren’t completely out to lunch when they set about training me to accept that, as my mom would put it, ‘I’m not very likeable’. News flash: all those memes about being yourself are rubbish. If you’re a social moron, it’s probably best to keep a lid on it. I’m working on it.

It’s a great group of people and a fantastic facilitator. I’ve learned some things, for sure. I don’t want to write a memoir for one thing. I do want to write, though. That’s the biggie. There’s a feeling that I get when I’ve been working on something and I’ve finished it. I’ve missed that. When I was potting I’d aim for this many butter dishes and when they were sitting there, shining, in their fresh-off-the-wheel beauty the sense of satisfaction...well, it’s good. I’ve been getting that again from the last sentence. Dot.

And, like potting, writing is done in isolation. For me, that’s the good news/bad news thing. Learning to play nice with others is still on my list of goals but the contentment that I feel during periods of quietly ‘doing’ by myself can’t be a bad thing either. I have to get out there and screw up once in awhile to realize that. So now, I’m back to that aspect of life that continues to baffle. I’m organizing. I’m trying (and you know I don’t like that ’t’ word) to rid myself of the remnants of past interests and make my environment and routine condusive to current activities and goals. How about that, fellow stay-at-home travellers.

So, here goes. I have a file cabinet. Most of the content is rubbish. Good day for a back yard burn.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I'm back.

News flash...procrastination is part of my process. After I've hit 'post' on this I will look back and see how long it's been since my last entry. I know it's been a while. It's been a life changing while. To get anyone reading this, and me, up to speed on what I've been up to I'll start with selling the equipment, all the equipment, that I used to make a living for four decades. The year plus since that all headed down the driveway in three pickup trucks has been dedicated to a major mind reset.

I've long been an advocate of 'checking in' with one's self. Taking a few moments a few times a day, to just sit and breathe and see how you're doing. I've never really understood holidays. Can't remember the last time I've taken what would be considered a holiday. But this 'checking in', I imagine, is related. Well, I've just taken, instead of a few moments, a full year.

I've spent some of that year reading, some of it painting, some of it gardening and a lot of it doing boom all. At this point I see clearly that the most has been accomplished in the periods where I have accomplished boom all.

There has been no time line, no projected outcome, no scheduled input. Imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning knowing clearly that today really is the start of a new personal era. I'll keep you posted. Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

So, what are you going to do now?

Yesterday a woman was by to pick up some beer steins she had ordered months ago, and that I had finally gotten around to making. We were talking as I packed them up and she hadn't noticed that there was no longer a sign at my front walk. I really understand that. I've walked into commercial buildings without noticing that the business I was looking for had, sometimes long since, relocated. Once I was going to buy a new pair of glasses in a place that had become a flooring outlet and found the perfect tiles for a project... anyway, you get the idea.

So, we, the woman picking up the mugs and I, get on the same page. I say how excited I am that this is my last order and she asks me, 'so, what are you going to do now?'  It's a question I've heard so many times I can't begin to tell you. That's partly because I've been going to quit making pots for years and, well, it's been a process. The 'what are you going to do' has caused so many reactions and emotions. Sometimes I feel a bit of panic. What AM I going to do? Sometimes it brings forth my bitch self. Well, what the heck are YOU doing? But yesterday I realized that I like the idea of not knowing what I'm going to do.

It doesn't happen a lot in our lives, does it. As adults we usually have a game plan of some sort. An idea of what comes next. Sometimes, I know, we're wrong and the universe has something else in mind, but in our minds we're on a track of some sort.

I've known people who know what every moment of their holidays is supposed to look like. I can see there being a comfort in that. But I can also see, right now, that it might be good to just see what happens next. I can hardly wait to see what happens next. Oh, wait. It's happening. This is what happens next. (Smiley Face)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Nominee to candidate to MLA

I was at a meeting on Saturday to see who is going to stand in our riding for Member of the Legislative Assembly next year. The nominee I favoured won. I can't even begin to imagine what that is going to mean for her in the months ahead. We really have to give a great deal of credit to anyone who is willing  to stand for office these days. 

The attacks on the individuals involved in political life have gotten so out of hand. At the expense, I think, of a basic understanding of the ideologies of the parties represented. I'm not one of those people who believe you shouldn't talk about politics or religion. Cripes. What does that leave. The weather? The neighbours? But I can't believe how many people I come across who vote as they vote without having any idea what-so-ever of what the party stands for. I mean, the basics. Let's get the basics down before the next polls. Deal?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Parenting is a peculiar thing.

I'm thinking every generation is an experiment in parenting. Every generation of parents seems to feel that because they aren't doing it, parenting, the way their parents did, they are not only doing it better but they are doing it right.

Live long enough and you start to see the layers. A friend of mine was raised by a mother who instilled the 'you can be whatever you want to be' spirit. She's an artist. She paints. She introduced herself to me a year or so ago as an artist. Okay.

Then I met her daughter. Her daughter says she is a dancer. She does dance. But the other day I was asking her how she like her school and her teachers this year and how about dance. She said she isn't taking dance because she already knows how to dance.

So, mom's an artist who waitresses and has a pre-teen daughter who doesn't have to take any more lessons 'cause she already knows how to dance.

I think this is perhaps indicative of how the 'you can do anything and everything you do is wonderful' experiment is going.

Personally I think you're an artist when other people think you are. I think a dancer is someone who dances and studies dance. And I think it's early on that an attitude takes hold that keeps you wanting to do the next one better than the last. I don't know how that happens. Luckily, it does happen. It happens often. There's an evolution that matches the devolution. But there always has been.

We're muddling onward as a species. Great authors, dancers, artists, philosophers are coming from the streets and the suburbs and the tenements and the good homes and bad homes and no homes.

Think you have the answer and you're probably wrong. That's what I think.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Changes

Making changes. I do love making changes. The fascinating thing is how small they can and still be, somehow, significant. I've been paying close attention lately to the things that rattle around in my head. Things, often small things, that I feel I should get done. Often they become familiar and easy to ignore. I've been knocking them off lately and most of them don't take long to accomplish. But oh, what a good feeling to have it done with. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

More stuff, more problems.

I plugged in my internet service thing this morning. Put the kettle on for coffee. Ground some beans. Took the laptop off the charger and set it on the table. Made and poured the coffee and sat down to check my email. Nothing. NOTHING. Now there's an OMG for you.

The indications were all there that things should just click along as usual. I did all the things one does in a situation like this. Well, the things you do if you don't really know much about what you're doing. I emptied the cache, reset the OS, restarted the computer and all that. NOTHING. So, I unplugged the router.

Then I realized it was a gorgeous morning in late summer and took my coffee out on the deck, phoned my son and chatted about his first night with his new puppy and how she's getting along with his very old cat.  http://youtu.be/5gVxLclYNoI   enjoyed the sun on my face and the cat on my lap. Long and short, I forgot about it.

Couple of hours passed. I plugged in the router, waited a few minutes and voila, everything works. What I'm left with is the realization that it's all this stuff we have become dependant on that is causing the ever so popular stresses in our lives.

If I can go into a tizzy over this stuff it must be overwhelming for someone who is smack-dab in the middle of a busy life with jobs and kids and deadlines. It's obviously impossible not to be stressed out while being seemingly dependent on a bunch of gadgets that ARE going to break down, are doing to be outdated, and are going to require replacements. The alternative is to just quit using all this stuff and I have no intention of doing that any time soon.

I can remember when my family first got electricity. I was around 10 years old. It was a big thing, of course. Just thinking about that in terms of this. Life changed. The gadgets started arriving. More on that another day.

No answers here today. Not from me. I'm just saying...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Joy of Doing

I love doing things I'm inept at. OOps, that dangling 'at' tells me writing is one of those things. So, I'll love doing this, too. I did my annual truck touchup yesterday. It used to be just a few shots of paints from an aerosol can but now it involves grinders and Bondo. I was just out in the driveway admiring my handiwork. It looks so much better than it did 24 hours ago.

But here's the thing. I really did a half-assed job of it. I really could have done better. There's something really perverse about how good I feel about the fact that I did a half-assed job of it. Hmm...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Quitting

I don't know what people have against quitting. Personally, I strongly believe it's often the only sensible thing to do. Think about it. You usually have to quit something in order to take your life in another direction.

If I see one more picture of flowers and butterflies saying  'whatever you do, don't quit', or some such nonsense, I just scream.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Watch your P's and Axioms

I checked in with facebook this morning and first item on my newsfeed was an axiom posted by someone I know well and love dearly. It stated, as I recall, "Always do the thing that you're afraid of."
I screamed. I was afraid. I mean, really, think about it.

In fairness I could probably go back in time and find postings by the same friend that would counter this one. Something about paying attention to your inner voice, or intuition being your allie. And I know I've hit 'share' on some things that afterward I've thought better of but this, this doing what you fear, well, I don't think so. If you're afraid to jump out of a plane without a parachute, don't do it.

These axioms we toss about, and the affirmations which are making a comeback, are pretty much shallow puddle stuff. I remember during the last big era of the affirmation, for instance, a woman telling me she jogged by a house every evening and affirmed that it would soon be her house. She stated that she firmly believed she could bring this about. I asked if she knew the people who lived in the house. Were they planning a move? No, she didn't know them. She simply wanted their house. I asked if she cared how this played out for them. If she really believed she could, through her affirmations, gain possession of their house, did it matter if she was causing upheavel within the family currently living there. What if her powerful mind, as she saw it, were causing a maligancy in one of the owners, forcing them into dire consequences that ended in a sign on the front lawn.

I'm just saying, let's really think about these things. Let's really think about things. Period.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Let's have a National Appreciation Day for regular folk.

Let's face it, one of the main things that education does is put people in exclusive categories. And the higher the education, the smaller the group. And we promote this and heap praise upon those who have achieved the highest educational status, or, become members of the smallest groups. All well and good, and let's face it, necessary. I run to the doctor when I break a bone.

Thing is, we the unwashed masses, have been snubbed to the point where living your life as a decent person who is in small ways valued by those around you seems a failure on some level. Kids risking life and limb to get hits on You Tube isn't that different from older kids getting a masters degree in marine biology so they can make a dolphin jump through a hoop and soak up the applause of the empty hearted audience.

I'm not advocating villifying those who have climbed the ladder. I'm simply saying we should have more appreciation for those who are on the ground holding it steady.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Well, that's rude!

There was a phone-in show on radio (was that this morning) and the subject was rudeness. Are we getting ruder? If so, why? As so often happens, I was just thinking about rudeness. More in the context of what constitutes rudeness and is that changing. AND is rudeness a popular trend.

My neighbour is always chiming in from her side of the fence on conversations I'm having with visitors on my side of the fence. I consider that terribly rude. She, apparently, doesn't. In her case, I don't think it's a matter of following a trend. I take it to be just a general, old-fashioned if you will, way of participating that would once have been considered a quirk.

Last time I had a dinner party one of the guests felt it was appropriate to sneer about the menu in general and after having second helpings of everything pointed out that I certainly hadn't made much of an effort. He stated that he makes this stuff all the time so he knows how easy it is to 'throw together.' Well, it took me a lot of time and effort so I can't help but be happy for him that he finds it effortless but sheesh...I think that was rude. But again, just a personality quirk.

When it came to the phone-in there were many and varied suggestion as to what the heck is happening on a broader scale. There seemed a consensis that there's something more than quirkiness going on out there. Television was hit hard. I can really understand why. I watch television. I watch a lot of television. Once in a while I like to watch at least a few minutes of some programs that I know are popular but I haven't really acquainted myself with. Or I'll turn the TV on and watch whatever happens to be there. Such was the case one day when I stumbled upon an entertainment report thing. It had that Mulrooney boy on it and a couple of young women, (one was named Tanya I believe). They were sitting on a couch and talking about the way some tremendously accomplished actresses had been dressed at an awards show. Now you want to talk about rude. They were Rude. I kept expecting someone to step into the frame and stop them.

Then there's a show where a group of people in Britain go to each member of the groups home for dinner. The commentator is extremely rude and often the participants are almost as bad. (Maybe my dinner guest got his cues from that one.)

The point is, it's out there, and I think it is on the rise. It's hopefully not going to appeal to everyone but just like vandalizing and theivery and meyham in general there are people who are going to think, when they run into rudeness, 'oh, sweet, that's the way to be.' Well, I don't know about y'all but I'm going to do what I can to buck this trend. Lord knows I'll screw up from time to time and let forth with a rude comment but rest assured, if you're on the receiving end, you can feel free to set me straight in no uncertain terms. Please.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be...

I think we can have awesome, life changing days and with a little effort we can ignore their wonder and carry on as if nothing has changed and consequently, it doesn't.

Then there's that other hand. And on the other hand, I'm pretty sure this is one of those awesome, life changing days and it's, outwardly at least, nothing special. I'm not willing to ignore the wonder. Not willing to carry on as if nothing has changed. I've changed and I doubt that anyone but you and me will ever know a thing about it. 

That's the thing about life changing moments, eh. They happen whenever we decide, in this moment, to change our lives. It's not necessarily some external happening of momentous consequence, the lottery win or the big promotion, it can be a thought that pops into our minds when we're not doing much else with our minds at that moment. The frost on the pumpkin made glistening by the days first rays. The random drop of dew that picks up the colours of an early rising butterfly. It a 'just'. Just a thought. Just an earth shattering, mind blowing realization that the person you imagine you could be you can just let be.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Kick it up a notch

I've been using a brain training site ( www.lumosity.com ) for a couple of years. This morning I'd completed the days exercises and clicked on the link to see see what (how) I'd been doing at the beginning of this adventure. It's shown as a kinky line. It started out really low. No surprise there. But after a year, last summer about this time actually, it rose dramatically. Really dramatically. I mean suddenly it appears I was three times smarter than I had been a while before. So I was knocked back on my heels and sat in that akward position trying to remember what the hell happened last summer.

Okay, here's the thing. I did remember. I do remember. Remember, I've been doing exercises to aid in, among other things, memory, for a couple of years or more.

I remember doing the Penguin maze puzzle thing one day and thinking, 'wait a minute. I'm not doing the best I can do. I'm just trying to do better than I have previously.' I decided to really invest in this thing. To REALLY do my best. That's when the line took a leap skyward.

Now a year has passed and it's finally hit me. I do that thing--that simply trying to not do worse--in a lot of aspects, perhaps most aspects, of my life. I'm going to stop doing that. I'm going to kick it up a notch.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My safe place, at last...

I just figured out why I find it so hard to leave home. I'll find any excuse not to actually head down the road. It's not that I don't want to travel around a bit more than I do. It's simply a matter of finally, finally, feeling fairly safe and unpressed right where I am.
     When I was a kid home was a scarey, unsafe place. I married people who were scarey, unsupportive and demanding as hell. (my choices, granted) and right now, aside from the fact that the area is rampant with thieves and vandals, I feel safer here in this little house than I ever have anywhere else.
     So, when a friend suggests a visit, as much as I'd love to go, I tend to find many things that suddenly need to be done around here. There's always many things to be done around here. Good grief. What's my problem.
     Maybe it won't be a problem now that I've figured out the big, fat why. I LOVE those big, fat whys.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A woman now, but not so long ago....

A friend came to visit yesterday. She was about 15 when I first met her. A cute and curious teen drawn into my shop to view the shiny things. She was, as my mother would have said, 'as bright as a button.' And yesterday she sat in my living room with her husband and their beautiful baby girl.

I'm more conscious now of the distinction between having and being a friend. I started this with the words, 'a friend came to visit'. I don't know if that is true. A young woman came to visit an old woman who is her friend. I suspect that I am, to her, more of a project. Someone you feel you must drop in on while you are home for a visit in summer.

As I made tea and chatted I made several statements that, while I can't recall what they were at present, were obviously unacceptable. The first two or three times I saw the look pass between this smart young couple and received a gentle nudge to a more modern way of thinking, to the right way of thinking, about matters quite inconsequential, I blundered on. That's what I do. Eventually, a wave of profound sadness mercifully shut me up.

The sadness I felt: it was the realization that I had been that young woman. Maybe not to that extent, I don't know. How would I know really. But the experience, I think, I hope, has softened me and ground down my opinionated edges. And while I'm grateful for the lessons, I'm resolved to be less accessible to some of my teachers.

She stopped by again today. She left a note. I wasn't home.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A new affirmation for you

Here's an affirmation for you. Bury your little bundle of index cards in the back yard and get out a blank card, put your favorite butterfly sticker on it, get out your strawberry scented, lavender coloured felt pen and write "DO LIFE" across that sucker in your best handwriting.
Now roll it up and stick it up....

Well, you get the idea.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Learning to shut the f#?* up.

Decided of late to be less of an open book. Don't get me wrong. I'm not planning to keep everything to myself. Ha. As if that would be an option at this point. It's just that I've become a real fan of the (almost) lost art of Pondering.

I do notice when I'm checking in with myself that my lack of filter between brain and vocal cord results in a lot of mind trash of the  why-did-I-say-that variety. The good news is it's pretty easily remedied. I just won't babble on about every little thing that comes to mind.

On the other hand...

I'll probably blog tomorrow to give vent to the stuff I keep myself from saying today:)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

How shallow are we?



I heard an interview this morning that left my head spinning. A western diplomat to Egypt was emphatic in his view that Mubarak is/was (at this moment it seems he may or may not be dead) not a monster. His reason for this point of view: he, in his role as a diplomat from either the USA or Canada, I don't know which, had met Mubarak and he, Mubarak, had displayed a good sense of humour and was an all round affable guy. Well, really.

The diplomat who found the bloody murderous dictator a great guy with a good sense of humour is in no way an anomaly. It strikes me as an odd quirk of nature that it doesn't matter what the hell someone is doing, or has done, to someone else, if you slap me on the back and tell me a joke you're a great guy.

This is why priests get to rape little boys for decades. This is why adults who terrorize their families are often considered 'great guys' by their communities. And it works both ways. There are people who are disparaged because one person has been unwittingly slighted and goes on a campaign. Same thing. I know a woman who has no use for anything David Sizuki has to say because he didn't acknowledge her, personally, at a huge gathering. Good grief.

Let's make more broad based judgements, shall we. This isn't working.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I didn't know that about me


Sitting at my desk this morning and saw a post van pull up out front. The mailman (yeah, I know, postal worker) was heading up my walk with a parcel. I went to the door, got the parcel and exchanged comments on the weather. 

Now, here's the thing...

My thoughts from the moment he put his first step on my walk were:
What the hell is this.
I didn't order anything.
Oh, great, did I click some link I shouldn't have.
It's probably the cell phone I ordered online, gave up on after a week and got at the store instead.
Now I'll have the hassel of sending whatever this is back.
yaddah yaddah yaddah

Actually it looks like it's something, perfectly legit, connected to the new TV/internet provider I signed up with a couple of days ago.

So today I'm pondering the flood of negative shit that streamed through my pea brain. Why didn't I assume something like, 'oh, who is sending me chocolates,' or at least 'what a mystery. I can hardly wait to see what this is.'

Hmmm.....

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Awkward

Who hasn't heard it said, or even said it themselves, 'he/she is at an awkward stage.' Well, news flash: it's a phrase that doesn't necessarily apply to the young. I'm at an awkward stage right now and I'm pushing 70 real hard. That in itself, it turns out, is rather awkward. But that's another story.

I'm at an awkward stage in my transition from dis to organized. I'm starting to wonder if it's possible. Is there a documentary or a study or something that I can watch or read that will give me a little hope here.
There are moments when I really feel I'm accomplishing something here. I feel a hope for and vision of an organized future when I need the scissors, go to the place where I keep the scissors, and actually find the scissors. Whawhoo!

I was feeling frustrated that I didn't have a place to sew. I had an urge to sew but the machine was buried somewhere under the mending and behind the fabric collection (I'm a oooo, that's pretty, I could so something with that kinda gal). Now I've got a really organized set up happening in another room but I still haven't done any sewing because, to tell the truth, I don't want to mess it up.

Here's the thing. I just went to get a hole punch. For years they've been right where I left them. In a box with rubber stamps on a shelf in the room that I just moved the sewing stuff out of. The box is gone. I have looked everywhere. So this is what I'm wondering...

Should I take this as a sign. Is this one of those there-are-two-kinds-of-people things that actually holds some truth. Are there people who are organized and people who are dis. I'm thinking I've made it this far in a bit of a state. Truth be told, I know a lot of people who don't get much done that are really tidy. Maybe that's why they don't get much done. They're too busy worrying about making a mess.

Oh, wait a minute. I just remembered where I put the box with the punch. Let me check. Yes! Found it. Gotta go

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wait til James sees this!

I've got this lovely neighbour who drops by and has a cup of tea now and then. You have to appreciate what the people in your life bring to the table, so to speak. James has taught me not to take criticism so seriously. Seriously. That's invaluable. I grew up in a family of eye rollers and I was the rollee, that being the person who was designated as the family screw-up. Eventually I found something to do with myself that folks outside the circle appreciated, my family rolled their eyes and sighed, and I carried on. 

Anyway, back to my neighbour. He could be family. I'm always doing something and he takes it upon himself to point out what's wrong with whatever I'm doing. But he isn't family and I, for a lot of reasons, think it's hilarious. The reasons are obvious I guess. He isn't family. I'm older than I was when I had contact with my family, and so on ad infinitum. Oh, yes. AND I call him out on his shit. 

James, to his credit, is not the least bit phased. He is, if anything, rather incredulous. When I was building the enclosure on the back door he stopped by on the afternoon I had put the trusses up. He was doing his expected inspection, found a shim in one corner and said, 'Ah ha, there it is.'  I kid you not.
It was so blatant that I had to say something. I was not feeling any old feelings, just fascinated really. I asked if he knew where the need came from to find something to criticize. He didn't know what I was talking about. I pointed out that he seemed to have been looking for a flaw to point out. Why else would he suddenly have gleefully exclaimed, 'Ah ha, there it is.' Bless his heart, he saw my point. I assured him I didn't mind, on the contrary, I'd found it helpful over the couple of years we'd been friends, in overcoming my old reactions to hypercriticism. We had a cup of tea. We talked. I value James.

Now, when I really screw something up I can hardly wait to share it with James. I've just made a complete hash of refinishing my bathtub. James is going to love that. I saw his car was in his driveway when I came by a while ago. Maybe I'll see if he wants to come over for dinner.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Aging. Can't really complain if you think about it.

I had three friends who knew me from the time I was in my twenties till I was well into my sixties. They've all died in the past few years. They were all a little younger than me. They all continue to influence my life. One of the many things they influence is my attitude toward getting older. I can't bitch about being as old as I am because I'm all too aware that they would have loved to be this old. I would say of each of them that they were better at life than I. Each of them would argue the point. Friends. Those people in your lives that love you even though they know you are invaluable and the gift of friendship really does keep on giving. They will live in my heart for as long as my heart lives. One of them would be celebrating a birthday today. Happy Birthday, Bonny. You're loved and missed.

Friday, February 3, 2012

If I was still blogging...

I don't really know what happened. I was enjoying keeping a blog. Then I wasn't. When I started I thought it was a good idea to just admit to it. Be upfront. That's the way I am. Open book. But I think that was a mistake. I think it may be time for me to rethink a lot of things. But for now...

If I was still blogging I would be going on about this exercise I've been going through most of this winter. Chucking what needs to be chucked, painting what needs to be painted, sorting what needs to be sorted. I took a month off. Just re-entered the fray a few days ago and today, horray, I think I've had a breakthrough.    It all seems obvious for the moment. I am proceeding as if I were the person who was cleaning up and sorting out after my death. Is that not brilliant. There are still decisions to be made, but it's allowing me to be more objective. I dealt with lot of stuff today. Probably 3 or 4 days worth if I'd been going at it in my usual way. But pretending I woke up dead and someone else was dealing with my mountains of crap makes it fairly, or at least relatively, easy. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's a big deal. Gluten Free Bread.


Gluten free bread

1 cup milk – warmed- add 2 teaspoons yeast and 2 tbsp. sugar
set aside to work

½ cup brown rice flour
½ cup oatmeal whizzed in a blender til it’s flourlike
almost 1 cup potato starch
about 3 tablespoons green pea flour
1 cup all purpose gluten free baking flour

total 3 cups of flours

4 tsp xanthan gum
1 teaspoon sea salt     --- stir both into flour

2 egg whites beaten to foamy but before peaks form

beat yolks with ¼ cup of water just until, well, beaten.

1/3 cup oil, I’m using half olive, half canola

Well, I’ve got it in a greased and floured loaf pan and put it aside to rise (hopefully).

Thinking now I’ll use a bit more milk ( or liquid) next time. Going to bake it at 375 for one hour with a skillet of water on the bottom shelf of oven as per glutenfreegirl suggestion. Roughly basing this on her sandwich bread recipe.

Ended up taking it out of the oven after 50 minutes. 

END RESULT: not too bad.  Next time I’ll give it 55 minutes. And instead of a skillet of water under the loaf, I’m going to put a couple of pans of water on the same rack as the loaf.   All in all, a success. Looking forward to toast in the morning.

Happy Solstice

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Religion, eh?

There was a news piece this week about a guy who experienced a couple of life lapses due to an iffy ticker.
He was being interviewed by 'legitimate' journalists because of his short bouts of death. Okay, here's the thing. This was being presented as proof that all of us who have experienced death and seen light and more are full of shit because this dude experienced nothing but blackness.

Okay. He said it. He EXPERIENCED blackness. So, he was saying that he remembered having an experience while he was, according to medical practitioners, dead. Sorry you experienced blackness, fella, but you had, and reiterated repeatedly, an experience.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My secret mission. Progressing nicely, thank you.

I'm on a mission. A secret mission. It's so secret that until this morning, I didn't even know what it was. And, I still can't tell anyone else about it. Sorry. I know you're wondering, 'what the...'

I'll give you a hint though. I'm gradually changing the face of my life, the pace of my life, and the space of my life. We introspective types (read that neurotics, if you must), by nature, have these bursts of insight and then change, something. Anything. And there's nothing wrong with that, as far as I can see. I mean, that's the value of introspection, is it not? The old, 'if you love your life the way it is, keep doing things the way you're doing them. If not, change something.'

There's another side to that coin. You may have been loving your life the way it was, thanks to all the changes resulting from all the introspection, and don't notice when it becomes kind of, well, outdated. Not outdated in any trendy stylish way. I mean outdated for you personally.

That's what's been happening in my life. I've loved it. I'm still loving it. But there's some aspects I'm ready to change. And those aspects have a lot of material stuff attached. You should see the piles of stuff that are destined for Sally Ann, auction, and re-store. Feeling lighter by the moment. This is definitely worth going BIG. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I'm proud of my old bones.

Last evening I fell off a ladder. Today I am a little sore but fine. 

I've always jokingly said that I know when it's time to quit work. It's time when I start screwing up. When I'm sitting at the wheel it's when the pot collapses for no reason other than inattention. But apparently it can be a little more serious when I'm doing construction. 

It doesn't sound funny, and it wouldn't be funny, except for the fact that this pushing 70 year old fell off a ladder and didn't break anything. I was, to tell the truth, higher than a kite for a while. Adrenalin, I suspect. I phoned my niece in my giddy state and was telling her all about it. Also about the fact that a few days ago I was walking back from the store and a woman walked by me and said, "T3's?" "Pardon?", say I. "Tylenol 3's!", she replied, rather peeved at my stupidity. "Oh, No thank you," I say and move along, realizing I'm still the bumpkin from the sticks at heart.

"So much for my psychic powers," I say to my niece. "Should have known I'd be needing them or they wouldn't have been offered up by the universe."

"Yeah," said my niece, "but her psychic powers were sure working."


Monday, August 15, 2011

Sometimes, if you think someone else should, you want to...

Over the years I've noticed that no matter how original we think we are there are a whole lot of others out there that are pretty much the same. We are, most of us, a type of some sort. On the other hand I guess it's more like the human spirit thing. Little bits and pieces that are the type who do this and think that but the way we're put together is what makes us the original we like to think we are.

I'm the type who would read that previous paragraph and fix it or select/delete and as an exercise I'm determined not to give it a thought. It's hard. Doing things in a new way is difficult indeed. On the way back from lunch in Kimberly today (wouldn't recommend Chef Bernards) LM and I got talking about the apparently irresistible urge to jump on a bandwagon.

Okay, I know that's part of our communal nature and survival being linked to acceptance by the group yadayada. But it seems there is a lack of dialogue between the type of folks on the wagon and the folks jogging alongside (or running like hell in the opposite direction). This was sparked by the lush beauty of our surroundings. And being in a car. And a wish that we were, instead of in the car, on a train.

The rail tracks, which were in pretty good shape, apparently, between Cranbrook and Kimberly, have been torn up and made into a bike path. A very popular and worthwhile bandwagon issue for sure. But fixing up the tracks and having a train running between the cities would have been a very good idea also.

If we could know, at the time, what's going on behind the scenes when some of these decisions are made, we'd  make different choices. We'd jump on different bandwagons. The Bike-good/Train-bad or Bike-good/Car-bad vehemence doesn't look at the nuances. The string pullers and profiteers behind the scenes who are considering how this is going to impact the future price of real estate beside the path, whether train or bike.

A lot of people got duped and bullied, I think. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fun is a funny thing

Are you having fun? I can remember hearing that question when I was a kid and wondering why anyone would ask me that particular question. For one thing, if I was wouldn't it be obvious. The very question suggests that it's unlikely that the answer is yes. But ask any kid. They can tell you that yes is the expected and acceptable answer.

Noticed a twist today. The kids next door were most definitely having fun. Their mom came out and asked, 'are you having fun.' They said, 'No' in that you're-so-stupid way that seems popular these days. And just like that, they quit whatever game they were playing and joyously squealing over. It was fascinating. (I was eavesdropping, yes. In my defence, we live in a block of 29 foot wide lots. Overhearing what's up with the neighbours isn't something we work to achieve. It's a given.)

The family dynamic then unfolded. Mom came up with suggestions. It was a beautiful summer Saturday, the kids had been having fun but when asked said they were not having fun so she sought a solution. Last I saw they were stuffing blow-up beach toys, towels and coolers in the car and heading for the nearest lake. I'm fascinated. These are eight or nine year olds that are so savvy. They obviously know some stuff. That's power.

Anyway, back to fun. That was the word that caught my attention. As these decades keep slipping by I wonder periodically what it is that I consider 'fun'. At fifty it isn't what it was at thirty. At close to seventy, it isn't what it was at fifty. When the family drama next door was going down, I realized that I was having fun in that moment. I was having fun building a porch on my back deck. It wasn't, as I thought, simply something I had to do in order to have a little room with a lot of windows to sit in with my morning coffee and park my boots in winter. The actual act of building the thing was fun. Is fun.

I'd forgotten to check in with myself lately. That's what I call it. Checking in with myself. Taking a few minutes, or even one minute, every once in a while to consider how I'm doing. "So, how you doin', Val." Sounds slightly crazy, doesn't it? But for a couple of these decades it's been a most worthwhile exercise. Sometimes I find out I'm actually enjoying myself. I'm having fun. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Gambling had me by the … ovum?


Well, who would have ever thought it. I have a gambling problem. Me. It happened so fast and I can’t believe how insidious it is. I was listening to CBC radio one day and a broadcaster did a bit about a promotion that BC Lottery was doing on their on-line website. You deposit a hundred dollars, make a hundred dollar bet on a certain game, and you win a hundred dollars. Well, I did it and it worked. I was up a hundred dollars. But it worked for them, not for me. I don’t dare even think about how much I’ve pumped into that stupid thing since then. It isn’t desperate or ruinous or compared to a lot of folks, significant. Thing is, I don’t like it.

I started getting on there three times a day. I’d sign in and sit with my first coffee. And what I find really creepy is, it’s in the house. MY house. 24/7.

Today I was having lunch with a friend and she had just lost a whack of money and had decided she was going to go to the local casino and opt out. That’s where she has a problem. After lunch I went online and spent a mindless hour or so watching fruit flash by my bleary eyes. That’s where I have a problem. I realized this used to be fun, and now it isn’t. I ran it down to zero balance and opted out for six months. It feels good.

I'd highly recommend it. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How did I get here from there?


Sometime in the middle of the last century Alan Watts had this bit in one of his books. He said something like – think of a line of seventeen dots where the one on the left is the least, the right the most, spiritual. Where would you put yourself was his question. The answer, of course…if you put yourself anywhere you are nowhere. (I’m not doing this justice, but you get the idea.)

I thought of this the other day when I was on my back deck doing tai chi. A drunk came up to the back door of the neighbor’s house. I have to tell you, in our neighborhood, this is all going on 20 feet away, tops. So my lady neighbor came out and said, ‘Go away, Al, you’re drunk,’ to which Al said, several times, ‘I want to talk to your husband,’ to which neighbor said, ‘this is my house too and I’m telling you to get out of here.’ I’m parting the wild horse’s mane. From my vantage point I could see that another neighbor, across the street and down a bit, was heading over.

Man neighbor got to the door and he told drunk person to go away and drunk person did, after five minutes more of back and forth. Neighbor from across the street and down a bit is getting closer and I’m waving hands as clouds doing my best impression of someone who is above all this shit. Man neighbor goes back in his, oops, their house and across the street and down a bit finally makes it to the rescue. He’s in a wheelchair and borderline ancient (like me) so his intervention is a delightful mix of chivalry and delusion but hey. By now I’m creeping low like a snake and about to step up to the seven stars. It’s all pretty much in hand and it looks like I’m going to be able to shoot the tiger and get out of here when, bless her heart, neighbor lady looks my way and asks at volume heard three doors in every direction, ‘Valerie, have you met …?’

So, I’ve swept the Lotus but it looks like drawing the bow to shoot the Tiger is out of the question. I rather grudgingly lean on the railing and join the conversation. In the back of my soon-to-be-enlightened mind (my delusion) I’m feeling that this is all something I should not be subjected to. WTF, right?

We consoled, we fumed, we vented, we calmed, we called it  a day and two doors down wheeled away and neighbor lady said she’d have to find someone else to mow the lawn during their vacation. Drunk fella was going to do it but now… I said I’d be glad to, no problem. Neighbor lady happy. Yay. Now I’m really full of myself. I’m the spiritual person who was doing the tai chi and had to put up with this disruptive life stuff then had to talk to the neighbors and didn’t close the tai chi but in the end I got to save the day.

Good news is, it only took maybe five minutes for me to recognize how full of shit I am. How, if it weren’t for my freaking ego I’d recognize in the moment that we were neighbors sharing a moment. The bad news is that now I’m quite pleased with myself for being so evolved as to only take five minutes or so to get a grip… 

Stuck at square one and loving it.  

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A trait I admire in men. And a few women.

Women and men are different. To that I say hallelujah. But there's one thing men seem a lot better at than women. Having a disagreement with their same sex buddy. A man might say, 'hey, what the hell. I can't believe you just said (did) that' when they hear (see) their friend, in their eyes, being a jerk. A woman on the other hand is likely as not going to have nothing more to do with their friend for a while (or for freakin' ever) and no discussion. End of. That's weird.

And the tactics are interesting. I was having coffee with a friend yesterday and she was going through this cold shoulder situation with another woman. She'd phoned her friend who greeted her as if she were a telemarketer who had been way too persistent. Whoa. I knew about that one. So, she got off the phone then started to worry that maybe something was really wrong at her friends house. She went running over there and her friend opened the door and blanked her. The stare. No words. She might as well have been dressed head to toe in drab and carrying a handful of pamphlets.

The timing couldn't have been better for this discussion as far as I was concerned. I'd just experienced the same thing a few weeks ago. Still don't know what the phooey. So, M's experience and my experience were somewhat exorcised in one mutual therapy session. That's what woman ARE good at.

Yeah, I know. Not all men do it right. Not all women do it wrong. But ladies, I think we can, overall, do better.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The older I get, the truer it is.

I think it was Margaret Mead who said, 'all women are 18, 45 or 60 their whole lives'. (Now I'm wondering if you're supposed to put quotes if you're not sure of the exact quote.) At any rate, I know I read this well before I turned 45. When I did turn 45 I remember thinking 'this is me'. And now I'm well past sixty I'm still 45. That's not to say I have any illusions about my age, it's simply a reflection of the fact that in my day to day living there is an overall sense, sometimes unfounded it turns out, that this Valerie person can go about her day in much the same way she did at that age.

It's a surprise, to tell you the truth. I had no idea. Hmm... A pleasant surprise. Well, off to load the kiln because a friend is coming over at 10 for coffee and a growth session and I want the firing to be over by the time I meet another friend at the pub up the street at 7:30 this evening. Yep, pretty much 45 with grey hair, wrinkles and a longer belt. I can live with that. I can love living with all of that.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Beware the joy suckers


The first part of my life was spent in one of those families that are touted as being the ideal. The mom, the dad, two or three kids, the house, the garden. Nothing iffy about it in the view of a basically conservative society. The same structured ideal that has produced lawyers, rapists, inventors, thieves, teachers, assassins, mill workers, wife beaters, nurses, sadists, writers and so on. The fact that this ‘ideal’ unit was headed up by a couple of mismatched, unhappy, angry, disappointed, frustrated and probably confused adults is irrelevant.

Whoa, what brought that on, eh? Well, I had a conversation with, or rather I was subjected to the views of, a guy who was bent out of shape because a family moved in next door to him that he would not now or ever accept as a family. Two women, two children. Oh my Lord. What was to become of those kids. What chance did they have in this world. Well, I did manage to get in a few words about them having as good or better chance of being their best selves as anyone else before he got the gist of my views and stomped off. Okay with me. Liked his back better than his front, as it turned out. ‘Another G&T, please. And have one yourself.’

Saturday, June 18, 2011

If you wanted to do it, you’d probably be doing it.

I know I've said all this before but...


I’m always hearing about how much someone would like to be doing this or that. Often they’re telling me they would like to be doing whatever it is I’m doing.  Pre years of therapy I had a tendency to take that as my cue to make it happen.  Propping them up as they made a pot or a birdhouse or painted a picture. It did absolutely nothing for them. They were people who wanted someone else to facilitate their dream. When it’s all said and done, stepping aside and turning it over to a wanter just increases their wanting.

The wanting comes from not being honest with yourself about what you really want, and what you can do about it.

I made a comment on my fb page about throwing some pots. A delightful young friend who lives in a big city commented, as she has before, ‘aw. . . I want to be throwing pots.’ Well, if that were true, I’m sure there is a good chance there’s a co-op studio where that could happen. And it’s not a matter of time and/or resources. It’s all about options and choices. Join a gym, sweat. Join a pottery studio, throw pots. If you want to do it, do it. Truth is, you're probably doing what you decided you wanted to do. 

You never know what's going on with someone.

Well, I've talked the talk, but walking the walk? I went on (and on, as it turns out) about the piss off violation of a couple of thefts from my shop. And it is a piss off, and I do feel violated. Do you feel a 'but' coming on?

But, I've often said, you just don't know what's going on in the life of the other guy. Especially when it comes to kids. I've been saying, 'ah, well, her dad's probably getting a real nice hammer for father's day.' Well, I was talking over the fence and it just might be that this kid doesn't have a father. And of course, there's a lot more to her story. Perhaps. The point is. You just never know what's going on with people. Especially people who are trying to figure out how to be big people. Especially when really shitty stuff has happened to them on their way to being big people.

I know I'm being vague. That's because I'm thinking. Thinking about my own thinking. (Everyone needs a hobby.)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I've been robbed, AGAIN. And it's still not a good feeling.

Twice in a week. Both times it was tools that were stolen. I'm tired and sick of this. But the good news is, it hasn't made me tired and sick overall. The weird thing about the latest theft is that the culprit went into the workshop, this time, and stole a battery, battery charger, and a drill. Thing is, the battery and charger were from a different drill than the one she stole. Shit. So both the thief and me have a mismatched set. Talk about not having your act together. She's not only a thief, she's a stupid thief.

I've decided this isn't going to completely bum me out for more than three twenty minute periods. This is number three. Whew. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I've been robbed. It's not a good feeling.

It isn't a big thing, and it's not going to greatly affect my day to day living. That said, it's an awful feeling when someone steals something, anything, from you. In this particular case, and of course it's not the first time I've had something stolen, the article was a gift from my son. One of those gifts that is charming in that it tells you something of how the giver sees you. And of course, it paints a positive picture.

My son gave me a beautiful titanium framing hammer for Christmas a couple of years ago. Is that not something special. I mean, I'm in my mid-sixties and my brilliant son came up with that as a perfect gift for his mom. And it was. I loved that hammer. I left it unattended on the ladder in my driveway for a minute and this cute little red haired high school girl stole it from right under my nose. The story of how I know who did this dastardly deed is beside the point. I don't know what the point is, really. I'm just thinking about how awful it feels and so I'm thinking about what it must feel like for people who have a whole lot of stuff stolen from their homes.

Stealing stinks. It's not to be taken lightly. At first I was not even going to report it. Then I decided that was somehow not right. So I did report it. Reporting it to the police is almost as unpleasant an experience as having the bloody thing stolen. That shouldn't be. Maybe there's a support group I could join. winky smiley face

I just had to get this off my chest. Thanks, I feel better now.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Another of my ‘what was I thinking’ rants.


I  finally took a couple of wooden chairs to the dump yesterday. I’d bought them over 30 years ago. Originally, it was a set. A drop leaf table and four chairs. I was living on Gabriola Island and was working in my pottery studio when a couple of fellas in a pickup truck came down the driveway with this ‘patio set’ in the back. They explained that they worked in a sheltered workshop, this table and chairs set was a prototype of sorts. A practice run. Now they hoped to sell it to get money to buy more wood. Well, it all made perfect sense to me. They wanted a hundred dollars and I had a hundred dollars.

Little did I know that I’d be hauling these heavy duty beauties around for decades. Maybe five or six years ago the earth end of the chair legs had a little rot so I cut a couple of inches off them. Wow. It was great. They were more comfortable than they’d ever been. I could have done that 25 years ago. Ah well. Everything in it’s time, right?

A couple of years after that the table wasn’t working for me but the drop leaves, which essentially were semi-circles, became these nifty fold-it-up-when-you-need them tables screwed right onto the side of the shop. Sometimes you need a table outside, sometimes you don’t. Perfect.

A couple of days ago, I got out the wire brush and a scraper and started preparing these, by now ‘vintage’, chairs for yet another coat of paint. Several of the slats that make up the seat and back needed replacing on two of them. Then an arm rest started to crumble so I spent a bit of time carefully removing it despite rusty screws etc. Eventually I got it. They had had their day. I took the two rickety and rotting ones off to the dump. So, I still have two that are pretty sturdy and probably have a few years in them yet.

Went out and bought a couple of chairs at a store today. Polyester and pig metal. I expect to be taking them to the dump at about the same time as the remaining two wooden beauties that have served me and my friends for decades, and decades, and decades. By then, with any luck, I’ll take the time to make some new ones.  Ah, well.

Let's slow down and think about this.

It seems that having the idea is good enough. Slap our hands together in that whew-that's-done manner and get on with the next thing. But what happens to the first thing. Usually nothing.

 We've got a long way to go when it comes to figuring out how to really live in this info age. It's one thing to absorb the info needed to operate the gadgets that give access to more and more info. (Whoa, and you sound like a raving lunatic talking about it.) But it's quite another thing to know when to shut 'er down.

Luckily, people have been 'shuttin' 'er down' since there WERE people, probably. And before. You only have to be around an animal of any sort for a while to know they meditate regularly. And I know, I know, I've gone on and on about this before. But here's the thing.

My friend went to class yesterday to learn to use her phone. I mean, it's the kind of thing that makes you give your head a shake. And what's that got to do with following through. Well, I know she had a project she was in the middle of that was really important. But this came up. Had to learn to use the phone to get more info to stop the processes that she is involved with and so on and so on...

I think it's a capitalist plot. Keeps us cogs chugging away achieving nothing but the satisfaction of having chugged. Often we're chugging on behalf of those who ARE following through because they have chuggers. And the billions we spend on having the latest equipment and connections with which to chug. Well. The mind boggles.

But where to get the courage to simply 'shut 'er down'. If I knew, would I be sitting here having coffee with you and Mac. I mean, really. There's a kiln that needs to be unloaded and orders are backing up and I need to get the roof fixed before it rains again...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Maybe it isn’t timing after all


For sure, timing plays a part but it sure isn’t everything. Loved the story of the guy in the cashier line who leans over to grab a candy bar and a guy barges the queue. He decides not to bother busting the creep. The creep buys a lottery ticket but the guy he barged in front of bought the winning ticket. Ya gotta love it, right.

Now there’s this couple in, was it East Vancouver? Driving along on their way to give their dog a run and they spot someone who looks like Bono hitchhiking and decide to turn around and give the guy a lift. And it is Bono. Can’t you imagine how many people were driving along in the minutes before and saw the guy hitchhiking and didn’t stop and today they’re hearing all the fuss on the radio about the people who did stop and not only got to meet Bono but have the story and the concert tickets and the whole great experience. Love this stuff. 


So, 'nuff said.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Still work to do on gender bias issues.

Sheila Fraser is leaving the post of Canada's Auditor General. Don't think there's much argument that she's been brilliant. I'll be standing in line for the hard cover if and when she writes a book. Really enjoying various interviews she's giving, on this, the eve of this phase of her career.

Here's the thing. She gives a fabulous interview, followed by some guy saying the most inane, sexist, bullshit things about her time as Auditor General and/or what she may or may not be doing next. This is a PERSON who has spent ten years as a highest ranking civil servant in a not inconsequential political era and there are people who deem it appropriate to speak of what she should or should not do in the future as if she were some little princess that's just won a tiara. "Oh, well, she's going to have a lot of opportunities now and is going to have to carefully consider. . ." What the hell does a woman have to achieve before it's NOT trivialized by some sleazy fat uncle with a need assert their supposed superiority by patting competent
 women on the head.

Why is this still alright? 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Thinking it through. In the midst of the flurry. . .

With so many things coming at us from every direction, it's harder to find time to think. Think about it. When's the last time you really took a good chunk of time just to ponder an immediate situation. Everything needs an immediate answer, right? Wrong.

One of the best things most of us can do for ourselves is to learn (relearn) the simple phrase, "Let me think about that." Second only to, "I'll sleep on it and get back to you."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

…or go to the gym. There’s no mystery here.


 The other day I was at a friend’s place. She was making lunch and asked if I’d get the knives and forks.  She nodded toward a drawer. I went to open it and damn near landed on my ass. I’d hauled on that sucker with the same force I’d use on my drawers at home. Whoa Nelly. You don’t have to be named Uri to open that drawer with your mind.

So many everyday things take so much less effort to ‘work’ than they once did. Mowers, drawers, dryers, dishwashers, and let’s not get started on cleaning floors. Even curtains. Heaven forbid you have to reach up and swing your arm across… well, it’s endless.

 I wonder if it’s really more life affirming to NOT have to put a whole lot of effort into opening a drawer or pushing a mower so we can get all neurotic about exercise. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

You Should. I Shouldn’t


I do it myself. I’ll say, quite offhandedly, ‘you should do this, that or the other.’ But I know I don’t say it as often as it is said to me. That word makes me cringe. It makes me cringe when I say it. It makes me cringe when it’s aimed and fired at me. I clutch my breast. I cry, ‘I’ve been shoulded.’

Here’s the thing. I’ve come to a fairly firm conclusion. When someone tells me ‘I should…’ it generally means they would like to…

They would like to do whatever they’re saying you should do, but they don’t want to make the effort to actually do whatever. So they’re saying, I’m not going to do this, but someone should, so you do it. What’s more insidious, I think maybe on some level we actually convince ourselves we’ve done something worthwhile by telling someone else they should do something. Yikes!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I met one and I lost my cool.


It was bound to happen. I met someone who voted Conservative in the recent federal election and admitted it. Not only that, when I asked what their reasons were (I was calm), they only had one reason. The dissolution of the long gun registry.

It’s not as if I didn’t know there are voters who have no concerns beyond one issue they feel affects them personally. It’s not as if I don’t appreciate that they have a right to vote any way they please.

I’m not sure what ‘the tell’ was. What gave away the possibility that I was perhaps raging under my stoic exterior. Perhaps my face was red, or my  knuckles were white, or my pupils were constricted or dilated or popping out of my head. I don’t know. I do know that it was not my intention to get all confrontational with this six foot two mass of gun lovin’ humanity.

But this five foot one on a good day blip of humanity lost her freakin’ mind.  “So, what are you saying,” I found myself saying.  “You don’t take into consideration a party’s views on trivia such as war, health care, corporate taxes, foreign encroachment on our sovereignty? You just don’t want to have to register your gun?”  And you know what. He said, “Yeah, that’s about it.” 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I'm shocked.

I can't believe how fragile the good times are. For quite a while now I've had brief reminders of how it feels to have low, make that NO, self esteem. And then there are the glimpses of the old anxiety. But generally, thanks to the tool box I left three years of therapy with, it's nothing I can't handle. But suddenly...
         The catalyst is irrelevant. One of those things that most people have experienced, I'm sure. Someone's standing on your foot. You suddenly realize they often tromp on your tootsie and for some reason you choose this time to say, "Ouch, you're standing on my foot." For them, it's a betrayal of your established relationship. The old, I stand on your foot, you take it, routine. For you, it's a last straw, for whatever reason.
        But here's the thing. It's taken a few days to really take root, but I'm experiencing anxiety at pre-therapy levels. And the affect that has on everything is horrible, and fascinating. Every word I say seems all wrong. And I'm obviously projecting that because more than one person has jumped down my throat when I've dared to wish them, 'good morning.' 'What's good about it!' in response is a pretty good indicator that your giving off a vibe. Holy Consternation. I'm going to hole up while this, hopefully, passes. When I dig myself out I'm going to be really appreciative of my next spell of contented semi-bliss. Right now, it's good enough to know that THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Another round of Rapture Talk. Good Grief.

Probably the most amazing thing is that it doesn't matter how wacked out an idea is, it can get a lot of air time. And often on pages and stations that are usually dedicated to more, let's say sane, subject matter.

When my neighbour told me about the coming rapture, last time round, I told her it had already happened and we were among the dregs that were left behind. That was the end of that.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

So many ways to communicate, so many gaps in communication.

Lord knows, we have more ways of communicating with one another now than ever before. But is person to person, human to human communication getting any easier. I think not. I know I'm a dinosaur, but I am getting really fed up with trying to keep up with what's currently acceptable. It's never been one of my strong points but this is getting ridiculous.

Email, apparently, isn't cool with the cool. And actually having a conversation via land line, well, my dear. I'm really fortunate in that I still have a few people in my life that I share great phone time with, but outside of a small circle, you just can't be sure. And just dropping by someone's house to say hello, well, forget that. Except when it comes to dropping by my house. You'll be welcomed. And phoning my land line. You'll be warmly greeted. Like I said, I'm a dinosaur.

Email is an interesting thing. It used to be a major part of my communication with friends. Still is with some, of course, but there's an interesting lapse when it comes to married friends. I'm floored by how many couples have one email address. Usually, it's the man who has an email address and the woman doesn't have one. Again, this is about Dino Val. Way back when it was unthinkable that someone would open someone else's mail. I'm talking a letter in an envelope with a stamp on it. Now there's no such social boundary apparently.

More and more means of communicating. Less and less actual communication. More and more I'm realizing I'd better hurry up and catch up. Aside from those few people who actually sound glad to hear my voice, I have to NOT phone people. The 'dead' response is just too chilling. And going to someone's house that you've known for years and having them stare blankly at you without a word. Yikes.

The good news is, it's not everyone. It's just a matter of getting it through my head that this is tricky territory these days. Wonder if there's a night school class on navigating the new day to day reality. I'd sign up in a second. Hmm...might be a good place to meet like boggled people.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Not satisfied your lot in life. Rename your position.


Hey, it works for business. If you own a greasy spoon and want one of your underpaid slaves to work really hard and keep your other slaves in line, what do you do? Give them a few cents more per hour and a tag that says “MANAGER”.

One of the most amazing examples of this, for me, is the housewife to homemaker to soccer mom to stay-at-home mom. I’m sure I’ve missed a few steps. The thing is, I find it a prime example of how easy it is to be sold a bill of goods. If we can be convinced that we’re somehow superior to those who have gone before us, or even those who surround us, we will remain in an adversarial mindset. Co-operation is the enemy of big business.

If we start caring, really caring, about each other, we’ll all be elevated. It may be harder for manufacturer’s to sell the latest shiny model washing machine for a while, but sooner or later we’ll need a new washing machine and it will even out. In the meantime, life will get better for ordinary people. It’s alright to be an ordinary person. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Democracy depends on you getting out and Voting.


Turned on ‘the News’ last night and the lead in was “more voters heading for the polls threatening to skew the results.’  I couldn’t believe my ears. We live in something called a democracy. At it’s base is the idea that the citizenry votes for their representative in government. More participation in this vote doesn’t skew the result. More people participating will produce a more accurate result.

Skew the results, good grief. If that’s not a wake up call to anyone not planning on voting, I don’t know what it would take.

One sure thing. There’s a whole lot of folks still  wielding a whole lot of power who think we peons are a whole lot stupider than we actually are. Well, skew ‘em. Get out and vote. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

So, how far does one go to test one’s personal development?


I’ve just been discussing with a friend, a same gender friend, the logic of us sharing a house. This house. This house that has at long last become what I think of as my first home. Not that it really is my first home, of course. But it is the first time I’ve felt this ‘at home’.

While we are talking about it, the idea makes so much sense. When we’re not sitting and yakking over a cup of coffee or three, I get quite freaked out. Then I realize, to my chagrin that I have not only let, but encouraged, several useless, lying, cheating, scheming, boyfriends move into my space, my home, without much, if any, thought of whether it was the best idea for me. Huh. . .

Personal development? Maturity? Sanity? I don’t have a clue. Or maybe I do have a clue but to admit this new approach, this weighing of pros and cons, IS a definite sign that, in those past mishaps I was in need of personality development, and, heaven help us, immature. Just can’t accept the implications of sanity issue. Excuse me while I go put my head back firmly in the sand.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

An exercise in self-discipline. Give it up.


I’m ready for another round of one of my personal favorite exercises in self something-or-other. Self control, self discipline, self knowledge. Whatever. It’s all about me. And you?

Every once in a while I take a shot at giving up wanting. I desire a break from desiring anything. Yeah, I know, you get thirsty, you desire a drink of water. You get hungry, you desire something to eat. I mean the other stuff. ALL the other stuff. It seems to build up, doesn’t it? More socks, no big deal. A new shirt, no problem. But sometimes it’s just new for the sake of it. More for the sake of it. Then you feel like you aren’t really alive unless you’re wanting, and you’re really wanting to feel alive.

I enjoy these breaks. Always amazed, once I start conscientiously brushing aside the first hint of a want coming on, how many times in an average day a want thought starts to form in my mind. Also amazed, when I’ve promised myself not to act on these desires for a while, at how often I can’t even remember what the heck it was I thought I wanted an hour or a day ago. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Amazing how we carry our ancestors crapola . . .

I don't know if this is so obvious as to be inane but anyone who follows this knows that's not going to stop me going on and on. Here's the thing. We are so, make that SOOO, influenced by the way our families of origin felt about all kinds of basic stuff.

 I have to tell you about a conversation my friend and I had yesterday. We're both old enough to have squealed over the Beatles. We each have made our own way in the world quite competently. Neither of us give ourselves much credit.

We started talking about the experiences we've had with past partners, well, husband and husbandishes. Both of us have either worked and contributed to the 'marriage', or been the sole breadwinner. And we have both found that even when we're the only contributor, money wise, there's been an underlying opinion that the money we make is somehow trivial. Inconsequential. It's sometimes subtle, sometimes not. So, what the heck, we're wondering now, was that all about. Neither of us, at this point in our lives, would put up with that shit for a minute.

So, why did we put up with it then. When we got further into that, it became obvious we'd carried the tendency to put up with that shit from our very beginnings. Not only put up with, but carry, or carried, the very attitudes that drove us up the wall. In my case, we lived on a farm. My father farmed. My mother farmed right along with him. She worked as hard and as long as he did, day in and day out. But, she didn't work. That was the myth. He worked, she didn't.

In my friends case, I can't remember what her father did but he 'worked hard' at whatever. My friend said her mother had 'done a bit of teaching.' Whoa. I could not let that pass. And, bless her, she heard me, when I pointed out what she'd said. There's a whole lot of difference between saying, 'Mom did a bit of teaching,' and saying 'Mom was a teacher.'  Or 'did a bit of teaching', and 'taught school'. Whatever, the attitude was picked up decades ago and brought forward by us, with us, and to our detriment. And we have to acknowledge, I feel, the root of this stuff before we can really change it. Oh, yeah, blame the parents. NO. That's not the point at all. If we carry that stuff it's our own stuff and we have to deal with it. But we have to recognize it, admit to it, and then change it. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I have the ability to be a jerk, worldwide

For the first time in my life I have a passport. Really didn't seem like anything I would ever need. I am not quite so rigid about need as I have been. This is a very interesting transition.

As per my last entry here, I never had any desire to be a tourist. In fact, I could say I had an aversion to being a tourist. But my stubborn determination not to be one of 'those' people is starting to look a little silly, even to me. Probably looked silly to a lot of people for a long time. Like, who cares. The thing is, when friends say they're going down to the states for the day, would I like to come along. I haven't been able to do that for a few years now. No passport.

So, heads up to anyone who was only asking because they knew I couldn't take them up on it. Ha.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Travel is so broadening? Show me the evidence.


I was raised in a place that people came to in the summer. Tourists. The locals welcomed them at the beginning of the summer and celebrated their departure on the first Tuesday of September.  One thing I didn’t want to be when I grew up is a tourist.

We’ve all heard it over and over and over again. Travelling is broadening. Travelling makes you a better person. Travel, travel, travel, babble babble babble. I personally haven’t seen any evidence to support this point of view.

Case in point. I was watching the Oprah show, maybe a year ago. The woman was on who wrote a book called ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. I haven’t read the book. I know I would have twenty years ago, but we change. I’m sure it’s very worthwhile reading. I read ‘Women who love too much’ not once but twice. Changed everything. But I digress.

At some point in the interview she was talking about flying to the other side of the world to talk with a man who had never been out of his village. Actually, I think she said he’d never been off his front porch but that seems so unlikely I can’t be sure that’s what I heard. I was only listening with one ear to that point. But isn’t that something else. This woman who was seeking enlightenment, guidance, and all that good stuff was going to TRAVEL to the other side of the world to seek guidance from a guy that had blossomed where he was planted. An extreme example but . . .

There’s a really goofy reason I’m going on about this. I can’t admit it today. Tomorrow, for sure. I’ll be able to tell the goofy truth tomorrow.

The contentment conundrum


It’s bound to happen. Things I say come back to bite me. I found myself cringing earlier when I was talking to a dear woman who is in that age category that I would call ‘young’ and she would call anything but.  Young is probably fifteen or more years younger than however old we are at the time.

She’s thirty something and talking about being content. Yikes. I wonder how that works. I remember being thirty something and at this sixty something stage I am really glad I wasn’t approaching anything like contentment. I was striving, I was driven, I was working hard and playing hard. I was reading a lot of books that helped in the quest for eventual contentment. But I thank my lucky stars I had only brief glimpses of anything approaching the real thing.

That isn’t to say I wasn’t reasonable happy a lot of the time. Maybe we all have our own idea of what contentment means. I’m going to try to stop using the word. Let’s see. Where did I put my Thesaurus.

OOPS. I said ‘try’. Okay. There’s the seed for my next blog entry. But right now I’m not content to have a leaking roof on the shop. Off to the builders supply.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Love my friends, love my kitchen, and together, well. . .


There's a clarity when I’m sitting in my kitchen sharing a meal with friends. I know the why of this. I’m pretty awkward when I’m out of my own environment. So, at home, I’m more receptive to really hearing not only what guests are saying, but what I’m saying also. No kidding.

For the most part I don’t run into people whose lives are anything like mine. Recently I met someone who really has lived a life that is a lot like my life. AND we are the same age, we both live in modest houses, are single, and have about the same income.

In conversation my friend said very matter of factly (Yeah, well, spell check doesn’t like factly but I do) that since she doesn’t have anything she doesn’t worry about loosing everything.  Okay, on the one hand, how Zen. On the other hand, ARE YOU KIDDING ME.  Here we are in virtually the same circumstance and one of us is walking around thinking we have so much and the other is under the impression she has nothing. Another blatant example of that fine line I’ve talked about before. The smidgeon of difference between content and dis. It never fails to fascinate me.

And here’s the great thing. We’re both right. And who doesn’t like being right.