Taking Risks

I guess if it takes a whole day for me to come up with some kind of risk I’ve taken that I’m happy about – and I can’t think of anything – I probably should accept the fact that I’m just one of those boring people with a very low risk tolerance.

I don’t like to gamble or make bets, or stick my neck out, or take shots in the dark. I’m not good at speculation or determining the odds. I just go with my gut feeling on most things, and then they turn out however they turn out.

I get in my car every day and drive. That’s putting myself in mortal danger; but so far I haven’t died because of it, even though it’s a kind of Russian Roulette.

I had a herniated disc operated on and got to say good-bye to chronic back pain, even though there’s always risks involved in any surgery and in this case there was a small chance that the pain might be worse afterwards than it was before. Didn’t happen, so good choice. Glad I risked it.

I got married and had children. That was kind of courageous, or ridiculously foolhardy, take your pick. So far I’ve survived it.

I like things to be safe and secure and certain and calm and predictable. The fact that they rarely are is not my fault. I don’t go looking for trouble or danger or thrills and I’m content to let them pass me by.

Sorry, I’m putting myself to sleep here. So I’m going to risk turning in now. I’ll get into bed and close my eyes and take a chance on waking up in the morning. I’ll also gamble that the house won’t burn down or blow up or fall over during the night. That’s about as adventurous as I care to get.

Goodnight. Sweet dreams. (Or horrific nightmares – life is one big crapshoot.)

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Kenzie Says

Kenzie (age 10 and a half) (in the middle wearing shades) says writing a blog is probably easy if all you have to do is just answer lots of questions.  So I asked her lots of questions to see what she had to say.  All of these questions are taken from Kid Chat Too (Bret Nicholaus and Paul Laurie)

If you had to paint a message on the roof of your house that could be seen by anyone driving or walking by, what message would you paint there?

Kenzie Lives Here!  Chico Lives Here!  Sal and Johnny Live here!  And My Mom Too! (It’s a pretty big roof.)

Suppose that for one week, instead of saying ‘”hi” to someone you had to greet them with the sound of a farm animal.  What farm animal’s sound would you choose for your greeting?

MOOOOO!  And I’d wear my cow slippers.

For each of the four seasons (spring, summer, fall, winter) what is your favourite sound?

In the spring I like the sound of the rain falling, and the sound of the birds chirping.  In summer I like the sounds of big thunderstorms.  In the fall, the best sound is kids yelling Trick or Treat!  And in the winter – HO HO HO!

If you had to do a job someday that required you to wear a uniform, what job would you want more than any other?

I would like to be an ambulance person, the one who goes in the back of the ambulance with the people who are hurt and takes care of them on the way to the hospital.  Or I could be a person who takes people on a tour, like a guide at a museum, and tells all about the history of something and explains everything, like telling people everything about the titanic and everything that happened.

What do you think will be the most difficult part of being an adult someday?

You have to drive everywhere, and go to a job, and pay all the bills.

If the door to your bedroom could be in any shape you wanted other than the standard rectangle, what shape would you choose for your door?

A circle, or a heart, or a very small square, or a diamond would be cool too.

If you could change your last name to something completely different from what it is now, what would you choose as your new last name?

I like my whole entire name just the way it is.  I’m going to be known as Kenzie my whole entire life.  I really like my name.  Your name kind of tells people who you are.

If a toothpaste company asked you to come up with an all-new flavor of toothpaste for kids, what flavor would you tell them to produce?

Something yummy like chocolate cake and ice cream.  But not exactly.  It would still have to taste like toothpaste or kids would just eat it.

If you could wake up tomorrow morning and be able to speak perfectly any language in the world, what language would you choose?

Chinese, because it sounds kinda cool.  Or maybe Irish or French.  That’s all I can think of right now.

Would you rather have school start earlier in the day and end earlier in the day, or start later in the day and end later in the day?  (In other words, would you rather sleep later in the mornings or come home earlier in the afternoons?)

I’d like to start school at seven o’clock and come home at one thirty!  Actually, I’d like to never go to school again and just stay home.  Because I hate math.  I’d rather have history all day long and learn everything about the titanic and there would be no such thing as math.

Which of the five senses (hearing, sight, smell, taste, touch) do you think would be the hardest to live without?  Which do you think would be the easiest to live without?

It would be easiest to live without smells.  Because think of farting and burping.  Ewwww.  The hardest would be if you couldn’t see.  That would be really really hard.  If you’re blind you need to be good at hearing.  And if you’re deaf, you need to be good at seeing.

If you could permanently rid the world of any one type of insect or other creepy-crawly thing, which one would it be?

I have three.  Flies (I HATE flies, especially horse flies), wasps and hornets, and mosquitoes.  Oh wait, there’s four.  Also great big spiders.  Small and medium ones are okay.

If you could have in your backyard a statue of anything or anyone at all, what or whom would the statue represent?

I would have a big statue of the Titanic!  Or if that’s too big, it could be somebody from the titanic like Molly Brown, or Captain Smith, or Jack, or Bruce Ismay.

If your full name actually appeared in a dictionary, and the editors of that dictionary asked you to write a definition of who you are, what definition would you give yourself?

Kenzie is a very awesome polite girl who is interested in millions of things.  She has a wonderful family (refer to picture of cousins above).  She is happy that she is very thoughtful.  And she likes to eat the icing off the cupcake first.

(Sounds like a future blogger to me.)

Scary Movies

Haven’t watched enough scary movies to make an informed choice on a favourite. If a movie gets too crazy I fast forward to the end (the same way I flip to the last few pages of a book to make sure everyone makes it out alive!) or I just switch it off at some crucial moment. There are some images that you don’t really need to have imprinted on your brain.

The Panic Room is a good one if you like to be nervous and on edge for over a hundred minutes. It stars Jodie Foster, a very young Kristen Stewart, Forest Whitaker, Dwight Yoakum – a strange mix in a strange situation. And it ends well for the innocent mom and daughter would-be victims; always a plus after all that angst.

When I was a teenager I watched “Wait Until Dark” (Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin, Richard Crenna) in a movie theatre and thought it was the scariest thing I’d ever seen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JARcRxJzsQ&feature=related

No matter how memorable (or stupid by todays standards), I still wouldn’t call it a favourite because adrenalin rushes aren’t really my thing. There’s enough scary stuff in real life and I’m saving up my heart attacks for my old age.

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Who Knows Me Best

My sister Ann knows me better than anyone else. We did a lot of growing up together and share a history that spans half a century. We had the same parents and the same siblings, and were taught the same life skills and raised with the same beliefs. Even when we’ve been far apart in distance with only sporadic visits and fleeting phone calls to keep us connected, our hearts have remained close.

We laugh at the same things. We finish eachothers sentences or we don’t finish them at all and still know what we both meant to say. (That’s an annoying thing for other people in the room I guess, like spouses who throw up their hands in exasperation because they don’t get the joke.)

We share similar ideals and similar goals and similar outlooks. We love our children and want them to be happy. Family is the most important thing there is.

My sister is one of the most loving and giving people I know. Maybe that’s why she puts up with me and all my faults and limitations. We have shared joy and sorrow and secrets. I would do anything for her, and I would trust her with my life.

She knows that I would rather put down tiles in a scrabble game and make an interesting word worth 16 points than plop down a dull three letter one worth 40. She knows how much I love to read, and the kinds of books I like and she knows how much I hate goodbyes.

I hope she knows how much she means to me and how blessed I am to have her in my life. But I’m not telling her; she knows if I try to say it out loud I’ll just get all weepy, and she definitely knows better than to wish that on anyone.

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My Own Restaurant?

Maybe I’d call it “chez grandmalin”.

When I picked grandmalin as a ‘user name’ all I was doing was putting grandma together with Lin. Seemed innocent enough until someone who knows a lot more about the French language than I ever will wanted to know why I called myself grand malin, or “big malignancy”. Sigh.

‘Malin’ can also translate to ‘clever’, so maybe somewhere in the back of my brain in that tiny little cluster of cells where my french is stored, I thought I was being grandly smart.

Anyway, I don’t want to own a restaurant, and I sincerely hope no one can make me do that. Nor do I want to scare off French-speaking people with duplicitous names.

I think a small coffee shop might be something I could handle, or that I could get other people to manage and run while I sit around drinking coffee all day. And since I seem to have French in my head at the moment, maybe I could call it The French Press. And then people would come in looking for foreign language newspapers.

Buzz Because. Would that work? Please don’t tell me it translates into something sinister in Greek. I don’t care.

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How to Change the World

Well here’s the thing about changing the world. It’s already been changed so drastically that it’s getting to the point where further thoughtless change could quite possibly destroy it. Sort of like when somebody has one too many plastic surgeries performed and passes that thin line between attractive and grotesque.

So could we just leave the world the hell alone for a bit and see what happens? Let it try to heal its wounds. For every miraculous change for the better man has made, he’s created half a dozen brand new problems that need to be solved. I think we should stop trying so hard to make things better.

We are a species addicted to change, mostly because we’re never satisfied with anything the way it is. If something goes fast, we want it to go faster. If we make some money doing something, we want to make more. We want the biggest and the best and the most, and we want to fight for it and we want to WIN.

We wish all this nonsense with oil and gas and non-renewable resources would stop, but we sure as hell don’t want to give up our oil burning gas guzzling cars. We want treatment and cures and band aid solutions, but we can’t seem to figure out the concept of prevention.

So just stop. Look around and appreciate what’s right there in front of you. Give the poor world a break and stop developing it to death. Put things on hold, look at the big picture. Be still. Breathe deep.

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Surprise!

There are all kinds of surprises. Love them or hate them, what can you do but accept them when they happen?

If someone thinks a planned surprise will make me happy, I wish they’d think again. Anticipation is half the fun. And not giving me some warning or some hints when something bad is likely to take me by surprise – that’s cruel. Ignorance is not bliss, it’s just ignorance. I like to be prepared for things, even if it’s only in my head.

Surprise me with your wit, or your compassion or your understanding. Amaze me with your talents. Blow me away, bowl me over.

But don’t sneak up behind me and scare me silly. My reaction might surprise you, but perhaps you won’t live long enough to tell anyone about it.

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Movies Everyone Should See At Least Once

Schindlers List

The English Patient

Doctor Zhivago

American Graffiti

The Deer Hunter

Out of Africa

Blade Runner

Lord of the Rings

Harry Potter

Shawshank Redemption

Thelma and Louise

To Kill a Mockingbird

The Sting

The Piano

Fargo

Cannery Row

Da Vinci Code

And just for the fun of it….

E.T.

Fast Times at Ridgemount High

Weird Science

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Toy Story (all of them)

Up in Smoke

Moonstruck

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Naked Gun (all of them)

Willow

The Princess Bride

Napoleon Dynamite

A Fish Called Wanda

Meet the Fockers

This is Spinal Tap

Superbad

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What Makes Me Nervous

Night driving. Big dogs running free. Large bodies of water, especially the kind with large waves crashing against large rocks. The doorbell ringing when I’m not expecting anyone. Being a passenger combined with excessive speed. Little kids in shopping carts. Well, not the kids themselves, but the potentially dangerous situation they’re in, especially if their parents have wandered off and another child is pushing the cart or climbing onto it.

Talking to crazy people I guess is the worst. Because at first it’s hard to determine the degree of insanity involved and by the time I get it, the conversation is well underway and sometimes difficult to stop. A good example would be the guy who walked into the Vision Centre yesterday while I was minding my own business getting some paperwork done. He said he thought he had gotten something in his eye (I assume that would be the one he kept pointing at and blinking madly) and that this happens often in his particular work environment because there are foreign objects hurling themselves around in there. It could be dust or metal or dirt or who knows what. Did he not wear safety glasses I wanted to know. He pooh poohed the whole idea of eye protection. Not necessary when you can just wash it out. So could I do that for him. Wash it out. Where was my eye washer? I know about eye-wash stations, and we don’t have one. So I suggested he go to a medi-centre and get an actual doctor to look at it and flush out whatever might be in there.

Nope, he wanted an eyeball wash and he wanted me to be the one to do it. He had a really hard time being convinced that there was no equipment and no person, doctor or otherwise, on the premises that washed eyeballs at the moment. Then he wanted to know what I did personally to wash my own eyeballs. This is the point where I started to get nervous. Because eyeball washing is not something I’ve ever incorporated into my daily routine. So I didn’t know what to say except that I’ve never done that.

“What do you mean, you don’t wash the eyeballs? Why do you not wash the eyeballs? I only want the eyeballs washed, and you say you cannot do it!”

I think that’s the point where I just stopped talking altogether because what could I say that wouldn’t get me into even deeper eyeball hygiene hot water.

We stared at each other for a while and then he stomped off saying he would just have to go somewhere else to get it done and what kind of place was this with no eyeball washing. Phew.

And I guess that’s how I cope. Sit still, be silent, keep breathing, and wait for whatever it is to go away.

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My End of Day Routine

What’s the first thing you do when you get off work?

If it’s at all possible, I go straight home. So I can hurry up and relax.

If I’ve got stuff to pick up or things to run around doing, I get them done as fast as possible so I can get home and kick off my shoes and sit down and do absolutely dick-all for as long as I can get away with it.

Does that qualify as a routine? It’s a hard one to stick with since there’s always some kind of work that needs to be done after I’m finished with my day job. I wish the pay was as good at home. I throw some laundry in the machine, mess around in the kitchen getting something to eat, check Facebook and my e-mail and do my on-line banking and pay bills and see if Plinky has anything interesting to add inspiration to my day. Wow. Sounds like I’m totally on top of things.

The truth is I’m often too tired to do anything except read for a while and fall asleep.

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