Monthly Archives: February 2013

Just Jazzy 82

Don’t they always say you should do whatever you’re good at doing? (Aren’t they just so crazy smart sometimes?)  I was born with a natural talent for laziness and have spent most of my life trying to fine tune and perfect this skill.  The process is going quite well, but one can never go wrong with extra practice.

Today I plan to be Super Lazy!  That's like normal lazy, only wearing a cape.
Today I’m going to be Super Lazy! That’s like normal lazy, only wearing a cape.
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A Spin of Fortunes Wheel

English: The Wheel of Fortune. Musée d'Orsay.
English: The Wheel of Fortune. Musée d’Orsay. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s all the interesting and pertinent advice from my tarot cards for today.  (I don’t deal actual cards and make things up, I let my horoscope app do that for me, and then I just pick out the good parts and ignore the rest.)  The reason there’s so much of it is because I ‘re-deal’ until I get something I like.  This is also more or less how I live my real life.  Dwell on the good stuff, turn my back on the crap.

1.  Keep things on a light, even shallow footing and you will be fine. Deep topics can wait for another day.  See how I’ve taken this advice already, writing a post with very little depth or insight?    Okay, I know, it’s certainly not the first time. The rule that says to write about what you know doesn’t give me a lot of scope or options.  I do the best I can with what I’ve got.  Plus steal from the tarot.

2.  At work under the combined auspices of the Devil and The Wheel of Fortune, restlessness and impulsiveness are at a peak.  Don’t act without thought.  Don’t allow yourself to get carried away by your enthusiasm.   OMG, like that last bit has ever happened.  Lately I feel like I’m working for the devil and she spins a giant Wheel of Annoyance to decide on the next area of distress and vexation.  Then when we’ve got the chaos and frustration worked out of that one, it’s time to give the wheel another spin.

3.  You will be able to indulge with great pleasure and good humor in the pleasures that this day has in store for you.  Yay!  Good for me. I hope I’m smart enough to recognize them when they pop up.

4.  Take the occasional pause to breathe.   Wow. That’s probably the best advice anyone could pass along to those of us who are inclined to forget the simplest but most essential things in life.   I’ve seen what happens to people who stop breathing.

5.  Try to find balance and calm in your life today and new encounters will be characterized by sweetness and gentleness.  I am a big fan of balance and calm.  I try to remember that happiness is all around me.  Love is in the air.  Peace begins within.  We are all Gods children.  Even though some of us are brats.

Okay, I’m ready to face my day.  There is light at the end of every tunnel.  The mist will surely clear.  Forget being paralyzed by self-doubt.  I have great inner strength and power and a glorious zest for life!

Gah.  I think maybe it’s time to give the cards a brief rest.

Here’s to Hildy Good

“So alive, I swear the pages of this wickedly funny and moving novel are breathing.” —Caroline Leavitt

good house ann leary

The Good House by Ann Leary is about Hildy Good, a sixty year old divorced realtor, mother, grandmother, and descendant of a Salem witch.  She lives in a small New England town where she has a knack for reading people and is a successful business woman.  She is also an alcoholic in complete denial of her addiction.    The fact that she goes solo skinny-dipping and drunk-driving, makes rambling phone calls in the middle of the night, loses periods of time to blackouts, passes out in her cellar and has excruciating hangovers –  is all perfectly normal sober behaviour – or so she would have us believe.  She is a lonely woman who is her own worst enemy, making mistake after mistake until my pity and concern for her turned to exasperation and I just wanted to yell at her and give her a good shake.  I guess that’s proof that she is a well drawn and believable character, just like her new best friend Rebecca who is also incredibly needy and unhappy and having an affair with Peter, the town psychiatrist.  Frank, the handyman who grew up with Hildy seems to me to be the only character with any sense.  And even he doesn’t have enough of it to make him steer clear of Hildy for his own good.

If all that sounds “wickedly funny” to you, then I guess you will enjoy this book.  But I enjoyed it too without ever once laughing out loud at anything in it.  I suppose I just don’t find addictions all that funny.  Then there is a bit of a twist at the end which I didn’t see coming, so that was a pleasant surprise.

The book is very well written as a rambling account of how things happened from Hildy’s point of view, both drunk and sober. Often I wasn’t sure which details were real and which were vivid but drunken hallucinations.  I also wanted more closure at the end, but maybe sometimes it’s a good thing to find yourself staring at that last page wondering what happens next.  The reader is left hoping Hildy is finally going to pull herself together.  And at the same time not caring enough to anticipate a sequel.  Strange book.  Good, but not funny.

Twenty Five Cent Caribou

Daily Prompt:  Buffalo Nickel

Dig through your couch cushions, your purse, or the floor of your car and look at the year printed on the first coin you find. What were you doing that year?

I live in the land of Beaver Nickels and Sailboat Dimes.  Here is the first coin I came across this morning (and what do you know, it was in the zippered change purse of my wallet, no scrounging around on the dirty floor mats of the car for me).

1977 quarterSo what was I up to in 1977?  Well, probably my ears in toys.  My son turned one year old in February of 1977, and my daughter had her third birthday in July.  We were living in Cambridge Bay, Northwest Territories, land of bleak and frozen treeless tundra.  It’s the year we moved to Inuvik, NWT, land of bugs and mud and utilidors.

It’s the year my sister got married, and we came south that June to thaw out and delight in all things green and sunny for a couple of weeks.

We went canoeing on the Saugeen River with the soon to be newly weds and our brother and sister-in-law.  I wore long sleeves so my pasty white winter skin wouldn’t burn and look ridiculous with the peach colored bridesmaid dress.  Unfortunately my hands were the only thing that got too much sun, so they stood out rather nicely in some of the photos.  Such a silly thing to remember.

It’s the year we cut off my sons beautiful blond curls so that he looked more like a little boy and less like an angelic cherub.  We moved in to an end unit in a row house amidst a sea of similar row houses.  We let our daughter ride her tricycle on the board walk but only as far as the hospital and back.  She recounted her adventures to everyone who would listen – I rode my bike-a-dose to the hos-pi-dose!  Impressive story.

1977 was the beginning of our four-year stay in Inuvik.  It was where the kids started school, where I played baseball, drove a beat up old blue Volkswagen, went down the MacKenzie River to a real whaling camp, worked as an enumerator for a federal election, made friends and watched them move away, and then lost touch and made new ones.

In 1977 I was just busy being a wife and a mom, living with the most gawd-awful looking furniture ever issued by a government to a federal employee.  The kids did not appear to be bothered much by this at all.

inuvik popsicles 001
Inuvik, 1977 When you see faces like this, you know you must be doing something right.

All He Wanted

He could not abide the woman

And her squawking, huge and urgent need, for long.

Quietly he took off, left.

So what?

Inner blankness all he wanted.

Sensation of quiescence,

Blanket of relief.

Olive Kitteridge
Olive Kitteridge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Trifecta Challenge :  This weekend it’s another word game – seeing what can be done with a particular word bank.  From the 33rd page of
Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge, scour the page, choose 33 words and reshape them into a piece of your own.

This is so much harder than it looks.  And that was a great book, by the way.  Happy Weekend.

trifecta button

Wabi-sabi Rainbow

Wabi-sabi is the beauty of the imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is the beauty of things unconventional and modest.  It’s not just a style of art, it’s a world view.

“Wabi-sabi is a way of seeing the world that is at the heart of Japanese culture. It finds beauty and harmony in what is simple, imperfect, modest, natural, and mysterious. It can be a little dark, but it is also warm and comfortable. It may be best understood as a feeling, rather than as an idea.” – Mark Reibstein and Ed Young

Thanks Rarasaur for this excellent prompt for the promptless.

Imperfect, impermanent and incomplete describes so many things in my life, I found myself wandering around pointing them out to myself for such a long time that it got a bit ridiculous.  At last I have come to the conclusion that wabi-sabi is just an over all general description for everything we hold personally dear.  Might as well find and appreciate the beauty in our imperfect lives,  because imperfection is all any of us is likely ever going to get.   I suppose my cluttered mess of a house is a reflection of my scattered life, because it’s full of things I love, not for their perfection or their value (as potentially lucrative yard sale items)  but for the way they make me feel whenever I look at them.

omayjas rainbow 001

My granddaughter Omayja (pronounced by combining the meditation mantra Oohhmmm with the continent Asia) sat down at my kitchen table a few months ago and drew me a rainbow.  It has been on my fridge ever since.  It isn’t perfect as far as rainbow shapes and colors normally go, but to me it is a beautiful work of art.  Normally I clear my fridge of all the coloring and pictures after a couple of weeks of opening and closing the door and having various pieces fly off in the breeze and flutter to the floor.  That way there’s a clean slate for the next creative frenzie.

But this particular piece has survived a number of clean sweeps.  I can’t seem to take it down.  It gives me the most peaceful happy feeling whenever I look at it.  And now it has a name, as every great work of art should.  Omayjas Wabi-sabi Rainbow.

The next time she’s here I’ll ask her to sign it, and then I’m going to frame it and hang it up somewhere in the place of some perfectly aesthetically beautiful framed thing that pleases the eye but means nothing to my soul and has never touched my heart.

Five Steps to a Good Morning

Weekly Writing Challenge  Detail a three to five step story or process, and illustrate each of the steps with something visual.

I have been practicing these Five Steps and having Good Mornings for a lot of years.  Time to spread some joy.

Step One:  Push the Brew Button
Step One: Push the Brew Button on your coffee pot until it turns Red or Green or whatever colour indicates “Yes I Am ON”.

The reason you are able to stumble down the hallway and into the kitchen and start your coffee brewing with one finger is because you got the whole thing ready to go the night before, in anticipation of being in No Mood to do much more than that before having your first cup of coffee.  I don’t know what life before coffee means.  I don’t think there is any such a thing.

Step Two:  Select One Big-Assed Coffee Cup
Step Two: Select One Big-Assed Coffee Cup

I own four of these monster mugs, in a variety of colors.  Red is my favourite, but this orange one will have to do today because all the other ones are in the dishwasher.  At least I hope that’s where they are.  Frankly, they could be anywhere.

Step Three:  Choose your Poison.  Add to cup FIRST.  If you do this first, you will not have to do any strenuous stirring later.
Step Three: Choose your Poison. Add to cup FIRST. If you do this first, you will not have to do any strenuous stirring later.

Hazelnut cream is NOT good for you, but then neither is coffee, really, so don’t worry about it.

Step Four:  Fill Cup With Freshly Brewed Coffee.
Step Four: Fill Cup With Freshly Brewed Coffee.

If you are very observant you will have already noticed that I do not own a coffee carafe.  I never met one that I could pour coffee from without making a big mess, and do you know how easy it is to break one of those stupid glass things?  And how hard they are to replace?  There are some stressful things that can be removed from your life very simply, and I suggest you give the elimination of the coffee carafe some serious thought.

Step Five:  Just Breathe.  Inhale, Exhale.  Take a sip.  Enjoy the moment.
Step Five: Just Breathe. Inhale, Exhale. Take a sip. Enjoy the moment.

Look out the kitchen window.  Smile at the mountain of snow and the bird feeder being guarded by your very own freaked out nasty squirrel.  It doesn’t matter that the sun isn’t shining.  It doesn’t matter that the temperature is still below freezing.  It doesn’t matter that you have to get ready for work soon.  Oh, wait.  That one does matter.

Step Six:  (Optional)  Transport Mug to New Location and Continue on with your morning until you require a Refill.  Details to follow but only if you can't figure that out on your onw.
Step Six: (Optional) Transport Mug to New Location and Continue on with your morning until you require a Refill. Details to follow but only by popular demand if there is anyone out there who actually needs help with this complicated process.

I hope you got all this, because if you did it right, you will want to do it all over again tomorrow.  Enjoy your coffee.  Enjoy your day.