Odds and Ends

Yet another good reason for my fear of flying. Although this did make me laugh.

This also made me laugh.  Obviously it’s not taking much today.

Daily Horoscope: January 31, 2012

            There’s nowhere you’d rather be than where you are right now, and no one you’d rather be with than the person sitting right there across from you. Cancel all your appointments.
  • Compatibility: Gemini
  • Mood: Charming
  • Lucky Color: Shadow Black
  • Lucky Number: 39
  • Lucky Time of Day: 9pm         

Unfortunately, the person sitting right there across from me appears to be invisible at the moment, but I’ll keep checking.  I do have two appointments booked for today at work, but I’m the one seeing people, so they’re the ones who should be calling to cancel, not me.  Although I’m in such an incredibly CHARMING mood I can’t imagine why they would want to do that.

Have I mentioned before how much I love the names of colors?  I was a kid who chose her crayons according to what they were called – tangerine, appricot, bittersweet, dandelion, cornflower.  Now they have even more amazing names- razzle dazzle rose, blizzard blue, cotton candy, jazzberry jam, electric lime.  Kids these days have no idea how lucky they are.  I would have killed for those colors.  However, black was black.  As far as I know when it comes to crayons, black is still just black and there aren’t different shades of it.  So what exactly is shadow black?  I’m suspicious that it might be simply a fancy way of saying dark gray.  Asphalt, basalt, charcoal – or maybe it’s more peppercorn or thundercloud.  At least it’s a nice change from “orchid” which has been my lucky color at least four times since I started paying attention to this astrological treasure trove of information.

What else can be said about the 31st day of January?  It’s the birthday of famous ballerina Anna Pavlova (1885-1931). Today is also Backwards Day, Inspire Your Heart With Art Day, and National Gorilla Suit Day.  Should be enough choices there for just about everyone to find a reason to celebrate.  I’m happy simply because it’s the last we’ll see of January for another whole year.

Magical Fruit

Now that I’ve got this picture taken and posted, I’m kind of at a loss for words.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  An apple with a weird stripe.  Another with a strange pattern.  Even Snow White after recovering from her traumatic choking episode would be tempted by these two I think.  My one and only grandma award, although I don’t remember who else was in the competition.  And a jar of magic beans.  I can’t say for certain what kind of magic the beans are capable of because I’ve had them for years and never gotten around to planting them to find out.  I’m sure magic doesn’t have a best before date and only improves with age.

It is the 2nd last day of January and I have posted every single day of this month so far.  One day to go.  And then a mere eleven months after that.  This post a day thing has been much much harder than I thought it would be but for once in my life I’m going to actuallly carry on doing something stupid for no good reason other than because I said I would.  Or is that exactly what I’ve been doing my entire life?  I can’t remember and I don’t know.  But here’s one of those 365 project pictures I promised would probably pop up when my head was drained and emptied of better ideas.  And thus and so I shall carry on carrying on.

Eve of the Purple Cow

Purple Cow by writeraxi  www.deviantart.com

Gelette Burgess, born on January 30th (1866-1951), wrote that purple cow poem we all learned as children.  (I never saw a purple cow;  I never hope to see one, But I can tell you, anyhow, I’d rather see than be one!)  So January 29th gets to be purple cow eve.  I’ve seen a purple cow, if we can count the drink made from ice cream and grape juice. And yes, it borders on disgusting.

Lot’s of pressing questions to be answered today!  Or DE-pressing, depending on your point of view.

Who deserves to win an Oscar this year?  Melissa McCarthy for her supporting actress role in Bridesmaids.  Is that not one of the most unlikely nominations ever?  I think she’s a long shot.  But deserving?  You bet.  Can’t remember when I ever laughed so much in a movie theatre.  I went to see it twice.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?  Concerned primarily with my own thoughts and feelings?  Check.  Minimizes contact with other people?  Check.  More prone to action than contemplation?  Never.  Makes friends readily, adjusts easily to social situations, and generally shows warm interest in surroundings?  Pfffft.  Introvert, hands down.  Not exactly a solitary brooding hermit, but some days – very close.  I interact with people at work and I blather away here, but that’s about the sum total of my extroversion.  Or extrovertedness.  See, it’s so foreign to me, I don’t even know what to call it.

What’s your favourite small town?  To have a favourite small town I think one would have to start off by actually liking small towns.  And then pick the most likable one.  I don’t like them that much, if we’re talking about a place where everyone knows your name and what’s happening in your life.  Or the fact that absolutely NOTHING is happening in your life.  I prefer some annonymity.  If I were forced to live in a small town I would probably choose to play the role of the solitary brooding hermit whose house all the little kids avoid on Hallowe’en.  Probably get an Oscar nomination for that.

Is there anything you feel too old to do anymore?  If you really want to know, I could start a list.  There are just so many things I no longer have the energy or the ambition to tackle.  That’s why we have children and grandchildren, isn’t it?  So we can sit around and watch them do all the things we no longer feel like doing anymore, especially if whatever it is involves the possible breaking of bones.

What’s the best place to get outside and enjoy nature?  As long as you’re not in the middle of a crowd of other nature lovers blocking your view, anywhere really.  Your own back yard.  Somewhere that has trees and grass, wildflowers, sand, rocks, water, wildlife that isn’t too big and scary.  Sunshine.  Air.  Go for a walk in the rain, even if you never leave the sidewalk.  Well, especially if you never leave the sidewalk because the grass is wet and there might be mud.  Ick.

When you’re down, what do you do to feel better?  I retreat mentally.  Oh, wait, sorry, that’s the introvert coming out in me.  I read, I write, I go for a walk in the rain looking for purple cows, remember what it felt like to down-hill ski, roller skate, ride a roller coaster.  Watch a movie, fall asleep, dream.  Be happy that I haven’t yet reached the point in my life where I feel too old to breathe.

Sisters For Life

The year is perhaps 1921 (does my mother look to be about four years old and my aunt perhaps two?)

Yesterday I got a beautiful hand written letter from my Aunt M who is in her 90’s.  She is the last sibling of four and she told me how much she misses my mom, and their brother and baby sister.  Aunt M. was the one who supposedly had a weak heart and a delicate constitution and had to carefully monitor her acivities and never over do things.  She married late in life, allowed herself one pregnancy, adopted a baby girl, and opened her home to countless foster children over the years while her own children were growing up. She is a widow who still lives on the same farm (52 years and counting) now with her son and daughter-in-law and 15 year old grandaughter (who incidently shares my mother’s name.)  She has outlived a lot of people, surprising no one more than herself.  She is a thirteen year survivor of breast cancer, walks with a cane, forgets to turn on her hearing aids, does the crossword puzzle and jumble words in the newspaper every night and never turns down a scrabble game challenge.  I remember her as a most serene and calm and loving woman, always smiling and humming, and sweetly, softly, vibrantly alive.  Her gorgeous red hair has been snowy white for years and her creamy skin is wrinkled, but anyone who looks can still see how beautiful she is.

In the letter she thanked me for all my Christmas cards over the years, and for the last one which included a picture of my five grandchildren and a little note about each one.  She asked me if I remembered the picture she took of me feeding the goose, because she still has it, and still remembers me saying “He likes me!”


In this picture I’m four and my sister is one.  I have the same dark hair and no nonsense dutch boy cut that my mother had, and my little sister, being no less gorgeous than Aunt M was so many years ago, has blonde curls that I will covet and envy for a lifetime. I look a little dubious in this shot, but she did become my best friend, even though I’ve admired and envied way more things about her than just her hair over the years.

I regret that my own daughter didn’t grow up with a sister – there is something magical about sisters – but she has an amazing brother and a beautiful (and no less amazing) sister-in-law that she loves more than she likely ever would have loved an actual sibling.  It’s a joy to see them together and I hope they both treasure their friendship and their sisterhood for the rest of their lives.  You never know who will be left behind with all the memories.

Smart is a Mood

When a tough situation arises at work, you’ll wonder what to do — use your instinct or take the rational, objective advice of your superiors. Go with your gut. When has it ever let you down?

  • Compatibility: Aries
  • Mood: Smart
  • Lucky Color: Silver
  • Lucky Number: 36
  • Lucky Time of Day:  9 pm  

My brother is an Aries.  I am ALWAYS smart, no matter what mood I’m in.  If smartness was really just a matter of mood, what a smart world we’d be living in.  My hair is silver, mostly.  I have a son who is 36.  I have to wait until nine o’clock tonight to get lucky?  Sigh.

There are always tough situations arising at work.  I always wonder what to do.  I have never in my life gotten rational, objective advice from my superiors!  Why would that suddenly start today, I wonder?  I’ve found that superiors become superior because they are very subjective and irrational.  Funny how that works.

So, as usual, I will use my instinct and go with my gut.  When has it ever let me down? Huh.  I didn’t keep an accurate record of exact dates and times.  Sorry.

Okay!  Off to work to deal with tough situations with my gut, in a smarty pants mood.  I can SO do this.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Calendar Art

Once upon a time I had a narrow strip of bare wall in the bedroom, an old calendar with twelve pictures of big wild cats on it (six of which were more beautiful than the other six), some cheap 4×6 picture frames and a boring afternoon ahead of me.  This is like cut and paste for adults, but without the paste.  The hardest part was hanging the damned things straight when I was finished because I always think measuring is for wimps and I like to eyeball things instead.  And hammer about a dozen more holes in the wall than are actually necessary to complete the job.

I’m not sure why an empty wall makes me crazy, but I always feel better when I get things hung up on it.  Normal people would hang up pictures of their family members I suppose. Or their own wildlife photographs.  But I have a sort of calendar obsession; I buy them because I really really like the pictures, and then when the year is over I don’t want to throw them away.  So often I save them just in case I might think of something this brilliant to do with them.  Even MORE often, they finally end up in the recycle bag because such brilliance eludes me.

A Scottish Celebration

January 25th is Robert Burns Day, the birthday of Scotland’s famous poet.  He wrote this poem in the 1700’s.  It’s one of my favourites.

Red Red Rose

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose That’s newly sprung in June;

Oh my Luve’s like the melodie That’s sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass, So deep in luve am I;

And I will luve thee still, my dear, Till a’ the seas gang dry:

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear, And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;

I will luve thee still, my dear,  While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only Luve And fare thee well while!

And I wll come again, my Luve, Tho’ it ware ten thousand mile.

Then along came this song written and performed by Scottish brothers Charlie and Craig Reid in 1988.

I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) (The Proclaimers)

When I wake up, yeah I know I’m gonna be, I’m gonna be the man who wakes up next to you.  When I go out, yeah I know I’m gonna be, I’m gonna be the man who goes along with you.

When I get drunk, yes I know I’m gonna be, I’m gonna be the man who gets drunk next to you.  And if I haver, yeah I know I’m gonna be, I’m gonna be the man who’s havering to you.

But I would walk 500 miles And I would walk 500 more Just to be the man who walked 1000 miles to fall down at your door.

When I’m working, yes I know I’m gonna be, I’m gonna be the man who’s working hard for you.  And when the money comes in for the work I’ll do, I’ll pass almost every penny on to you.

When I come home, yeah I know I’m gonna be, I’m gonna be the man who comes back home to you.  And if I grow old, well I know I’m gonna be, I’m gonna be the man who’s growing old with you.

When I’m lonely, yes I know I’m gonna be, I’m gonna be the man who’s lonely without you.  When I’m dreaming, yes I know I’m gonna dream, Dream about the time when I’m with you.

But I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more, Just to be the man who walked 1000 miles to fall down at your door.

The sentiments are just the same!  Didn’t hurt that the video featured Johnny Depp in “Benny and Joon”.


I quite like the idea of some love struck Scotsman walking for miles to be with me – poor demented soul.  Anyway, different centuries, same idea.  Happy Robbie Burns Day.  Try some haggis.

Asking for Help

I avoid asking for help with the dishes. No one else can load them into my dishwasher like I can with everything in the proper place and facing the right way and the exact perfect distances apart that they need to be in order to come out sparkling clean. My dishwasher is old and pathetic and doesn’t work unless everything is rinsed before it goes in there. No one else seems to understand this. Or why I don’t replace it with something that works better, and I will someday, but it’s hooked up all weird and not really built in because it still has a plug in instead of being wired and do I really want some dishwasher installer rolling his eyes at me until it’s absolutely necessary that I have to put up with that? Right now the water is hot and it disinfects things and the dishes are cleaner and better rinsed than if I did them myself in the sink.

Of course every good rule has an exception, and if someone else loads the dishwasher when I’m not looking and turns it on and then copes with the results on their own, that’s great. Just don’t let me see what’s happening at any point during this process, because whatever is going on is sure to be wrong according to the way I would have done it. Which is always the right way. I don’t get what’s so hard to understand about that.

I avoid asking for help with the grocery shopping too. Mostly because I don’t like to be questioned about why I need whatever it is I’m putting in the cart. Some things cannot be explained.

I never avoid asking for help with something I can’t see any sense in doing in the first place, or don’t feel like doing alone, or don’t have the energy or ambition to tackle at the moment, especially if I notice that there are other people just lallygagging around doing nothing. And if they don’t want to help, I have no problem joining in and keeping them company in the loafing process while waiting for them to change their minds or until we all forget what it was we were supposed to be doing in the first place.

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Happily Stuck in the S’s

I’m in the process of reading this book, (Swell, by Corwin Ericson) but had to put it down for a minute to recommend it.  Highly.  It’s good, good, good.

After I’ve read a book that I consider very good reading, it’s hard to pick up another one because it never seems to measure up.  That’s what happend after “The Night Circus” (Erin Morgenstern) when I tried to get into “The Marriage Plot” by Jeffrey Eugenides.

It’s got to be good if it’s anything like “Middlesex” by the same pleasant looking guy, but after a few pages I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind I guess, so I’ll have to go back to it another time.  I’ve got so many books on my kindle I can’t remember what I’ve read or where I’m at half the time.  It’s shared with my daughter and daughter-in-law and on no less than nine devices.  I look at my items (107 at the moment) and the archives (95 items) trying to remember if I’ve read something or not, and if it comes up on the screen somewhere in the middle of the book it might or might not be where someone else left off or even someone else’s purchase.  One of these days maybe I’ll get the titles all sorted out and organized.  Maybe being the key word in that statement.

But “Swell” is keeping me happy, just like “Swamplandia” (by Karen Russell) did before it:  I read it  from start to finish without once considering my state of mind.  I love it when a book captures my interest so completely.

The pictures on both of these books would have made me pass them by in a bookstore.  Oceans and whales and crocodiles – or whatever those things are – alligators, giant squid – ewww.  But with my kindle I just read a review and click BUY if it’s not some outrageous price over 9.99 and for the most part I’m completely in the dark about cover illustrations.

Next to delve into is “South of Bixby Bridge”.  I’m not sure how I got stuck in the S titles, but it’s happened.

Hmmmm.  Essentially nude women, washed up on the rocks?  I don’t think the reviews mentioned anything like that.  So never judge a book by it’s cover, because who knows what you might be missing?

Since my reviews often need to be labled with “spoiler” warnings, I’ll just leave it up to Amazon to fill you in.  And if you’re looking for an amazing author, Alice Hoffman has never written a book I didn’t love.  But, right now, back to the mesmerizing pages of “Swell”.

Get-Out-Of-Your-Rut Day

Winter always gets me down.  No matter how many vitamin D pills I take or how much orange juice I consume or what kind of artificial light I’m exposed to, there’s just nothing like actual warm sunshine on your bare skin to perk a person up.  I’m tired of coats and scarves and gloves and car starters and fogged up windows and seeing my breath in the air.  But just because I’m bored with winter doesn’t mean I’m in a rut, does it?  I get bored with winter about 48 hours after the first snowfall.  And this winter hasn’t even been that bad.  Today the temperature went up above the freezing mark.  I chose to live here, we get all four seasons, winter happens to be one of them, and therefore I should just suck it up and get over it.  Still, I’d like to zap the cold and the snow with a magic wand and send it packing.

Anyway, it is Get Out of Your Rut day today, so I’ve been trying to decide if I’m even in one, other than the chronic condition of having a mild hate-on for winter whenever we’re in the middle of it.  Obviously I kind of like that rut and don’t appear to want to change my mind about it.  It gives me something to complain about.  Winter certainly has never done anything that I can think of to make me like it.

I don’t feel like I’m in a rut at work, because I’ve got retirement looming in the not so distant future.  It’s amazing the crap I’ve been able to put up with just because I can see an end in sight.  When I get bored at home I read a different book, or move the furniture around, or eat something weird for breakfast.  I guess I’m just easily amused.

And I don’t have a lot of patience with people who are unhappy for stupid reasons.  If you’ve got excellent reasons, that’s a different story.  But when all is said and done, it’s just a state of mind.  So perhaps I should wave that magic wand and zap my own negativity.  Winter can be beautiful.  (Man, putting those words together in the same sentence just seems so wrong….)

Nice to look at, wouldn’t want to be there.  Oh well.  It never lasts forever.  In the spring I’ll have to find a new rut to wallow in.