2011 So Far

So far 2011 is going minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day. How goes it? This is how it goes. Anything goes.

How long has this been going on? How’s it going to be? What’s going down? How far do you want to go? How far CAN you go? Mind how you go, because everything must go. How’s it going to end?

I seriously fear I cannot go on. No I did not make any resolutions – I think they’re a rather large waste of time – so I am unable to report on my progress or lack thereof.

Can we please go in another direction and talk about something else?

Going, going, gone.

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January Schmanuary

It’s been a long time since I did a “just now” blog, but suddenly, just now, I felt like writing something about this exact moment in time.  Which of course has now passed, so it’s already too late.  Or is it?

Anyway, all I really wanted to say is that I am once again ecstatically happy to be saying so long to another miserable stupid January!  I don’t know why I have such a hate on for this dreadful month.   Maybe because it seems to hang around for flaming ever while I struggle to remember to get the last two digits of the new year written down correctly on patient files.  This January we had one of the biggest dumps of snow that I can remember for around here;  then it turned ridiculously mild and windy so that everything was covered in ice;  then the roads were miraculously bare for about three days;  then it snowed some more and now it’s insanely cold again.  GAH!

Our street got cleared TWICE so I guess I’m thankful for that.  It’s sort of like lightning striking more than once in the same spot.  Unpredictable and unbelievable and something to talk about, because there’s certainly nothing much else exciting going on.

Our tv service has been upgraded to HD.  The Telus people sent us a nice letter explaining how amazing they are and what they were up to;  then we got a phone call the day before as a reminder and another one the day after to make sure it all went well.  Since I rarely watch tv anymore I had a hard time pretending to care.  However, they did send us a new universal remote which I tried to program after the changes took place, since the old one no longer worked, and I thought doing that would be easier in the long run than dealing with W. if he discovered he could no longer power up the set and became comatose or something.  To make a long involved story short and easier to digest, the only thing the new remote will do is turn on the power and turn up the volume.  Two very important things of course, but it’s supposed to change channels and control the dvd/vcr.  I managed to get the old one to stop being such a useless piece of junk and resume its former duties.  So now, instead of three remotes, we have four.  So that’s certainly simplified things, thank you Telus.

Oh, and speaking of things being simpler, we no longer have a fish.  Poor Phineas.  Ever since I came home after Christmas he’d been looking a bit strange, swimming sideways and other weird stuff.  I went through three (THREE!) different fish tanks and FOUR pumps and I have no idea how many times I cleaned everything and changed the water and stressed myself out over the water conditioner and temperature and filters and food.  Probably he died of over stimulation.  It was the only way he felt he could possibly get any peace.  So I’m done with that.  The tank is in the store-room and Phineas is in fish heaven and there will no longer be little red rocks stuck in the kitchen strainer.  Everything has a bright side.

Tomorrow I go to the doctor for my regular three-month bp and thyroid check, rx renewal, and random pain of the day complaint.  Honestly, I don’t even want to mention that my right shoulder has been feeling dislocated for a month.  Because it IS getting better, I swear.  It’s probably just a damned January thing, and once February rolls around I’ll be right as rain.

Had to put in a request at work for holidays before the month ended.  Another stupid January bothersome pain in the butt.  So I picked two weeks in May/June and two more in September.  Now I suppose I should figure out what to do with all that time off, although doing absolutely nothing has a certain appeal.

My resolution to write 500 words a day has sort of vanished from my itinerary – I will get back to that on my Ainslee and Lara blather pages.  Perhaps I will start in the wee hours of the morning.  Wee hours in February being preferable to those in this horrific month from hell.  Sorry January, I know it’s not your fault.  I should just take a lot of Advil and sleep for 31 days.  I’ll try that next year.  One day to go!  I can SO do this.

Mastering Recipes and Other Myths

You have to take a cup of what you think, stir in a few ounces of what you feel, and sprinkle generously with what you do.
If what you think is positive, what you feel is joyous, and what you do is loving then you will always create a glorious dinner of delight and happiness for yourself and others.  (Joseph Mozzella)

You know how there are recipes claiming to be quick, simple and easy – the ‘never fail’ kind? All BS. I can ruin anything. All it takes is a stubborn attitude and a misguided belief that doing things a little differently will make the outcome better.

Sometimes this works! Even more times it doesn’t.  But I can’t seem to stop myself from experimenting.

I believe I have mastered bread stuffing, potato soup and the ‘I don’t know what to call this’ chicken that we once had at Montanas. It’s a chicken breast with barbecue sauce, crisp bacon and melted cheese. Looks relatively uncomplicated until you start putting it all together and trying to get everything to end up cooked exactly right at the exact same moment without burning anything including yourself. And no, I’m not telling you how I did it at last, because that would make things too damned simple for you. Figure it out on your own.

My next culinary challenge is to convince W. that we should eat out at least once a day. Three times would be even better, but I don’t want to push my luck. Meanwhile (and I hope you can appreciate the method to my madness) I will continue to come up with suspicious looking concoctions for his dining pleasure.

And we will continue to have chocolate covered raisins out of a bag for dessert. Seriously, they’re good for you. They have iron or something in them. And they always turn out pretty much exactly like you expected them to.

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Learning the Hard Way

After all these years, I am still involved in the process of self-discovery. It’s better to explore life and make mistakes than to play it safe. Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.      — Sophia Loren

Today I learned the hard way that if I don’t answer a prompt in a timely manner my brain turns to mush on the subject.

I also learned not to ask my significant other what lessons he learned the hard way if I’m not prepared to listen to him get all nostalgic about how clueless he was in the ice and snow and all manner of polar regions in general, going on and on about it for well over forty minutes. Yes, I asked for it. I will not make that mistake again.

Long ago I learned that if a six-year-old eats an entire jar of pickles she will get a wicked stomach ache, just like her mother warned her. It appears I have been learning things the hard way ever since.

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My Fitness Routine

Ah, yes. My fitness routine. Well.

Routines are just so…habitual, aren’t they?

I’d really hate to get stuck in a rut and bore myself to death with something so mundane as a routine.

And fitness is such a vague term. How fit is fit? I’m not sick. I can walk around and sit down and get back up again. Do light housework. Propel myself out of the house and into the garage. Drive a car. Shop for life’s necessities and even stay relatively alert for eight hours at a time when I go to work.

I don’t know what else you want from me. I could probably do a sit up if I had to, and I can still touch my toes but I don’t really see the point in all that physical exertion.

Hot yoga would probably kill me, so I’m avoiding it. So far this plan appears to be working because I am still alive.

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There Ought to be a Law

There ought to be a law against ridiculous lawsuits.

I’m talking about the ones where the ‘victim’ refuses to admit his own stupidity and shifts the blame elsewhere. For big money. Or to make himself look like somewhat less of an idiot. I don’t know what all the motivations are.

You should not be allowed to sue a college for having a course that is not up to snuff after you fail your practicum. Or sue a cable company because you smoke and drink and are addicted to tv, your wife is fat and your kids are lazy. Or a furniture store in which you trip over your own toddler and break your ankle. Or a golf course when you fall over a log on to your face while searching for your ball, the one YOU shot into the trees and decided to go after with you own little pea sized brain.

The list is endless. The lawyers are laughing all the way to the bank. The worst ones of all are when criminals sue their victims for robberies gone wrong, or for bodily harm or mental anguish to the perpetrator of the crime.

All the ludicrous signs posted everywhere are compliments of the airheads who made them necessary. Caution – contents of this coffee cup are HOT. Please ask for help to remove heavy objects from shelves above your empty head. Do not attempt to use this toaster oven while taking a shower or operating a vehicle.

It wasn’t my fault, I’m not to blame, I did nothing wrong, nobody warned me!

Boo hoo. Suck it up and take some responsibility for being a moron when you’re being a moron.

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A Childhood Idol

When I was a kid I was smitten by Zorro – a dashing and handsome black clad outlaw wearing a mask, riding a horse, brandishing a sword, and always arriving in the nick of time to save the victims from the villains. He had a flowing black cape, a whip and a mustache. Who would NOT want to be him?

I greatly admired that he was acrobatic and agile and smart as a fox. A master swordsman, a great marksman, a skilled horseman! (His hat was kind of stupid, but I forgave him for that.)

The most brilliant thing he did was to leave behind his mark when a situation had been satisfactorily sorted out – zip zip zip with the tip of his sword – a flaming Z!

And then as he galloped off into the sunset someone would always ask the inevitable unanswerable question – Who WAS that masked man?

I loved that show. If only I had been born a Spanish-speaking boy. Once I took a pencil and wrote on my bedroom wall in various sizes and scripts with hearts and swords and flowers “I love Zorro!” I told mom that my brother did it. Unfortunately I was not as foxy as my hero and no one was fooled.

For awhile I practiced signing my name as Don Diego de la Vega and calling everyone caballeros and wishing I could grow facial hair. And then, sadly, I left childhood and Zorro behind me and turned into a boring girl with no talent for the Flamenco. Such is life.

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My Favorite Sporting Event

James Lennox: I’m a drug dealer.

Neil Bucyk: I bury dead people.

Eddie Strombeck: I have a single digit sperm count.

Chris Cutter: And I’m a naked cheater. I say we go for it. Are you with me? Let’s do it.

(Men With Brooms, 2002)

HA! Is this a strangely Canadian answer? CURLING! The Brier! The Tournament of Hearts! Any old championship tournament will do, I don’t care where or why. Shuffleboard and Chess on ice! Be still my heart.

I watch it on tv. I get caught up in the teamwork and the strategy. The rocks, the sweeping, the shouting; the commentary and the analysis and the polite discussion after a shot that is either incredibly brilliant or has gone disastrously wrong. The reading of the ice. The delivery, the house, the scoreboard that looks like baseball, the guards, the draws and the take-outs.

I love it all. As far as major sporting events go, that’s about all the excitement I can handle.

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A Story that Changed My Life

The story of Little Red Riding Hood changed my life. I do not jest. Had I never heard that sordid tale in my tender years, how differently things might have turned out for me.

I might have grown up believing that a mother’s advice is always good and sound; that she would never send her daughter off on a dangerous mission alone and ill prepared. But I know that mothers don’t always get it right. They can’t warn you about absolutely everything. They make mistakes like anybody else.

It might have taken me much longer, if I had never heard this tale, to develop my healthy fear and distrust of big bad strangers who say one thing and mean another, acting all smooth and friendly to your face, but underneath all that so happy to cunningly trick you and to do you harm.

I might have had too much faith in the smarts of a little girl, too much confidence, a little too much bravado for my own good. But this story made me consider. If the heroine could be so foolishly stupid as to think that an ugly wolf was actually her grandmother, what chance might I have of getting things right out there in the big frightening world all on my own?

I might not have had quite so many childhood nightmares involving big black wolfish dogs who loped towards me smiling, but with menace on their minds and in their eyes, filling me with terror, making me scream out in the night for help, deliverance from such evil.

I might have believed that a story is the undisputed truth, a chronicle of facts. Instead I learned that there are many variations of a narrative, different versions that can be twisted and reworded and revised. The Brothers Grimm sent cake and wine to grandma! The wolf swallowed her whole! (Or, was it really only fruit and cookies, and being locked up in a dark old closet for a while?)

In each Red Riding Hood adventure the Huntsman/Woodsman saves the day. He chops off a head, or slashes open a stomach and fills it up with rocks, throws open the closet door, drags the big bad wolf back to the forest where he belongs, or simply gets rid of the body and cleans up the mess so they can all sit down to tea.

If I’d never heard this story in all its incarnations, I might have had much less imagination, been less quick to invent ridiculous scenarios, what ifs and whys and endings spinning off in all directions. I might have believed in the impossibility of more than one happily ever after, instead of exploring all the delightful ways to get there.

But I also might have searched a little harder for the huntsman in my life, instead of placidly waiting for him to show up at my door to save me from the bad things in the forest.

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Creative Expression

My creativity bug has crawled under something and died.

I think it’s temporary – some other inspirational pest will no doubt wander by and bite me within the next few days; I haven’t given up hope. I HAVE missed answering a few prompts though, so I’ll just quickly and very uncreatively get on that right now.

How is technology changing the way families interact? Seriously, families don’t even live together anymore, so it’s a good thing we have all kinds of communication gadgets and social networks to remind us of who we’re related to and why and where the hell they all are. Distance apart can be a great thing, and often little shards of information are all we really want or need to have about some of our more weird and wonderful family members.

How many times have I been in love? Countless times. As many times as there are definitions for the word love. I’ve also been in love with love itself, although I’ve found that’s not really productive in the long run. I got over the passionate sprinting when I was young, and opted instead for an emotional marathon. I guess you could call all these years of marriage an enduring attachment, deep affection, strong predilection, extreme lunacy – take your pick.

If I could work from anywhere, where would I want to live and why? On a beach, in a luxury hotel with room service, somewhere WARM with no damn snow, close to excellent restaurants and great shops. Not actually working at all, come to think of it. I bet you think I’d get tired and bored after a bit of that, hey? Well I could always intensify my search for the bug of creativity if there was nothing else to do.

What are my favourite ways to express my creativity? Besides exactly what I’m messing around doing at this exact moment, I also have noticed myself being rather inventive, resourceful and clever in the following areas:

1. Meal preparation following 15 days of not picking up anything edible while shopping.

2. Backing out of our long narrow driveway between six-foot snow banks and maneuvering my way down our crazily rutted street without getting hung up or stuck or taking out any of the neighbors vehicles.

3, Playing Farmville and annoying the crap out of other Facebook people who do not want to hear about it.

4. Tole painting and rearranging furniture. The furniture thing is just an avoidance technique I use so that I never actually have to sit down and paint something.

5. Answering Plinky Prompts. Or devising reasons and rationalizations and justifications for not doing so.

Tomorrow is another day, with another question, and another chance to be brilliant! Don’t hold your breath or anything, but it could happen.

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