Sharing My World 95

Share Your World 28/09/2020

Questions:

Where do you feel most at home? Please be more specific than “at home, doh” please. It could be a room in your home, a person, a location…

Taking this to mean “where do I feel most content, comfortable, safe, secure and stress free”, the answer is “with my family”. I think it’s always been that way. I was never a very adventurous kid on my own, but surrounded by family it’s a whole lot easier to be brave. It’s a whole lot easier to relax and be yourself and talk about things that really matter to you. And who cares if they think you’re crazy. You’re related so they have to love you anyway.

Would you rather ride a bike, ride a horse, or drive a car?

I got thrown off a pony once. That was pretty funny for everyone involved except me. I was a teenager and the pony was pretty small so I didn’t have far to fall, but it put me off ever wanting to get up on a horse. The last time I rode a bike was in the 1980’s I think. So forty years ago. Might be a tad rusty. I like my car but heavy traffic makes me nervous. I’ll take the bus.

What song would you sing on “Karaoke Night” (if you were forced to do so)?

Well you got the “forced” part right. Probably have to add a few stiff drinks to that. Robbie Robertson’s “Somewhere Down the Crazy River” would be my first choice because the lyrics are weird and mostly spoken. I could join in on the background vocals. Second choice, Leonard Cohen’s “Closing Time”. It’s written for someone with a vocal range of about five notes. And it might give everyone at Karaoke Night the hint to go the hell home.

University or life experience, which do you feel best prepares you for life?

University IS a life experience. It could be an invaluable one or it could be a very expensive detour on your way to something better. Often it’s very hard to know what you want to do with your life until you’ve dabbled in lots of different things. So, constantly learning is a productive way to pass the time while you search for your passion. And if you never figure out what that is with any kind of finality, does it really matter? Live your life. Prepare as you go, whatever way works best for you.

IT’S AN ATTITUDE – GRATITUDE!  (Participation Always Optional Of Course)

What are you grateful for?

There are no bikes or horses around here that need riding. Whew. No one is forcing me at gun point to perform at Karaoke Night. At University I learned how to drink an entire bottle of wine all by myself and stay up all night. Then I attended a lecture where I concentrated very hard on staying alert so that I would not fall off my chair. Serious life skills indeed.

And that’s September done and dusted! Despite the state of the world in general, this month has been a pleasant one for us. I’m grateful for that. Hopefully a month to go before the snow.

Fall Before the Fall

We have lots of pictures of this amazingly big old tree in our backyard over the years, and this is one of the last. Of all the things people have lost this year I guess the demise of an old tree shouldn’t feel catastrophic in the grand scheme of things. But I miss it and I’m sad that it’s gone.

It was a Manitoba maple – the kind with all those annoying helicopter key seeds – and it had three trunks. Apparently as the trunks grew they put increasing amounts of pressure on each other. We noticed the leaning on the right side was getting worse, and we had discussed getting someone to come and trim back the top to make it less heavy, but these things have a way of slipping down on your list of priorities. After a couple of days of very high winds in which the tree swayed a lot more than seemed normal or safe, things quieted down to a peaceful calm evening. And that’s when the middle trunk split from the others with a resounding cracking noise and settled on the garage roof.

The many leafy branches actually cushioned the fall, so the shingles and the eaves troughs weren’t damaged. The roof didn’t cave in on our vehicles. Most of the weight was in the lower trunk and it stayed below the roof line. Our son and our neighbour on the east side of the house got up on the garage roof with chainsaws and were able to cut everything back and get it all off the roof, without falling off themselves. Watching them work was the most stressful part of this whole adventure for me.

Our son put those heavy duty yellow straps around the remaining trunks to keep them stable until we could get professional tree-type help. Our neighbour on the west side expressed concern, but I think it had mostly to do with the prospect of his fence being damaged or destroyed. And he might also have been quietly celebrating the demise of the tree that filled his yard up with maple keys and dead leaves every fall. Conjecture on my part, but I think I’m right.

We carted a lot of the branches and debris out to the front yard so the driveway wasn’t blocked. I called what turned out to be a great tree servicing company. They sent someone around the next day to make an assessment, and the day after that their crew arrived to take the tree down.

I’m still not used to the emptiness. Our bird feeders are still sitting on the barrier between the two levels of the lawn. We have a bunch of firewood we have no real use for, but I think cutting and piling it gave W something that, for him, was a comforting thing to do. A few nights after this the wind came up with a vengeance again and woke me up. I looked out the bedroom window and was surprised to see the moon and the stars in the night sky, no longer blocked from view by all those towering branches. And it was nice to know there was no longer a need to be concerned that the tree might blow over and kill us in our beds. Well I don’t think it was actually tall enough to damage the house, but nighttime fears are rarely rational.

Today is another beautiful, sunny and windy fall day, with a gazillion yellow leaves flying across our front lawn and dancing down the street. The back yard is pretty much leaf free.

In the spring I plan to visit a greenhouse and do some research on what we can plant back there. It won’t be another maple. It will be something that doesn’t get that big and is easy to maintain. That little pine tree on the right that popped up from nowhere a couple of years ago has really shot up this summer. But I want something with leaves that change colour with the seasons and eventually fall off and blow around like crazy things in the wind. (And maybe annoy the neighbours as an added bonus). That’s what makes autumn a beautiful thing.

Devilry?

In the interests of posting any old thing to let whoever is interested know I am still breathing, I present a photo of one of my home grown tomatoes for your perusal.

It’s the one on the left I’m talking about, in case that wasn’t immediately obvious. I don’t want to call it deformed or mutant, because maybe this is exactly how it decided to grow in an effort to stand out from the rest.

Wow, mission accomplished. I can’t even begin to tell you how sorely tempted I am to draw a face on it, but I can’t decide if it’s the devil or a cow.

Okay I’ve got to get back to my busy life, watching series three of Janet King on Acorn tv while listening for the timer to go off on the oven while crocheting a blanket while reading subtitles. What could possibly go wrong? I mean I’ve already got the tomato from hell, so whatever else the universe has in store for me I can probably deal.

Sharing My World 94

Share Your World, HP 9-21-2020

Share Your World Meets Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows

Roger’s Magical, Mystical Questions: 

1. Have you ever driven the wrong way on a one-way street? How did this come about?

Oh probably, but I tend to forget the details when I do something that stupid. It’s a self preservation reflex. Remember just enough to keep yourself from ever doing it again and forget the parts that make you feel like a completely brainless moron. No point in keeping a running tally of those moments from hell and destroying whatever notions you cling to about your self worth. There was an incident a long time ago where I found myself going the wrong way on an exit ramp, and some helpful driver going the right way gesticulating frantically to alert me to the fact, but I knew it already and just wanted him to get out of the way so I could turn around. Can’t recall how I got there exactly. Kind of the story of my life. It was a one time thing, so I must have learned something, thankfully without killing anyone.

2. As a kid, did you ever decide to run away? Did you have a plan? Take a pet? Sandwiches?

There was really nothing so bad about my childhood that I ever felt the need to run away from home. Home was a safe haven where things were familiar and people looked after me. The outside world was the scary place. I guess I was one of the lucky ones, wasn’t I? We also lived almost 10 miles away from the nearest town, so it would have been a long trek to get anywhere new. I probably would have eaten my sandwiches at the end of the lane way and gone back to the house for more. And then lost interest in the whole adventure.

3. You suddenly find you have a hidden talent for playing a musical instrument. What musical instrument do you hope accompanies your talent? Any particular song?

I’ve never tried playing drums, but I think if I was in the mood to make a big racket and pound the hell out of something I’d be very good at it. Sorry to all the talented drummers out there, I’m sure there’s a bit more to it than that. No particular song comes to mind because the older I get the more I feel like it’s all just a bunch of noise. So I’ll be the one in the back pounding out the beat wearing ear plugs and the rest of the band can carry on doing whatever they want.

4. Do you accessorize with jewelry? There was an opal necklace (cursed) and Slytherin’s locket (also cursed) in the Potter story. Have you had any heirloom jewelry passed down through the generations? Is it more ‘keepsake’ or do you wear it on occasion? (Hopefully, yours was not cursed?)

There’s a few pieces of jewelry I’ve inherited of sentimental value only, and nothing I’ve ever been tempted to actually wear. I got out of the habit of wearing rings when I worked as an optician and washed my hands constantly all day long. Good practice for the last six month it turns out. My ears are double pierced so I wear earrings every day. That’s it. The only curse involved with them is having one from every pair I actually like go missing, sort of like socks. So I buy a card of cheap ones that are all the same and wear them until there’s only one left and then I start over. Who says I don’t know how to plan ahead?


Melanie’s Ordinary Muggle Questions:

What ingredients go into YOUR favorite salad?

A variety of lettuce and greens, like spring mix with kale and spinach. Chunks of peppers, celery, onions, carrots, tomatoes. Chopped hard boiled egg, maybe some cheese cubes. A simple oil and vinegar dressing with my choice of garlic, honey, Dijon mustard, spices – the best ones don’t have an exact recipe and are difficult to duplicate. That’s half the fun. I made one once with no sugar added blueberry jam. It was delicious.

If you care to, share something that really irritates you.

Omg. I do that every day don’t I? Unnecessary noise drives me insane. Tuneless humming. The incessant squeaking of a rocking chair. A radio blaring. Snoring. Dogs barking like demented fiends. Loud one sided phone conversations. People breathing. Haha. Sorry that’s way more than one thing. Mostly I’m pretty tolerant but I have my moments.

What are your favorite ‘lounging around the house’ items of clothing? Now that a lot of people ‘lounge around the house’ waiting for the all clear in respect to Covid being shown the door, have those lounging items changed?

Everything I have in my closet is a lounging around the house article of clothing since I retired and no longer need to get dressed up for anything. One of the perks of getting old is wearing any old rag you have hanging around because who’s going to see you? And there doesn’t seem to be any point in buying anything new until your old things are all worn out. And since you are only lounging around in them they could conceivably last the rest of your life!

Well that’s all pretty depressing. But clothes shopping certainly isn’t a priority these days. I got some really great bamboo socks from Amazon the other day. In case you think I never EVER buy anything new to wear.

GRATITUDE (as always this is optional)

It’s another beautiful sunny fall day in our little corner of the globe. I’ve been lounging around all morning. Not playing the drums as it happens since I don’t own any at the moment. The neighbours have no idea how lucky they’ve been all these years. Time to venture out into the scary outside world in todays lounging outfit. Hope I can find my way back home.

Almost Palatable Oatmeal Breakfast

Sorry to go on and on ad nauseam about oatmeal. Medication for type 2 diabetes can raise cholesterol levels over time and oatmeal is supposed to be a super food battling that. So I have been experimenting with different preparation processes to help me choke this stuff down.

Happy to report a breakthrough of sorts today! I think I’m onto something so I’m sharing my discovery with all the oatmeal haters of the world. And anyone else who wants to try something a bit weird for breakfast.

1/3 cup quick oats

2/3 cup water

Stir, microwave on high for 1 minute 40 seconds

Stir again and add:

1/4 cup trail mix (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, raisins, dried cranberries, almonds etc.)

1 T crushed walnuts

1 T chunky peanut butter

Artificial sweetener and/or cinnamon to taste (optional)

Eat it while it’s hot, and preferably just before you’ve reached the point of being hungry enough to eat almost anything.

Wash the bowl out before the residue of this concoction reaches the consistency of dried cement.

Well I hope all that was helpful and captured your interest for 30 seconds or so. There’s no picture for this recipe because I thought you might be more likely to try it if you don’t know what it looks like in advance.

Instead there’s cartoon me riding a purple hippo. That’s exactly how happy I’d look if I was actually bouncing around on one of those things. Just trying to keep things real. Stay tuned for future oatmeal updates. There might never be any, but you never know. And I’d hate for you to be sad if you missed one.

Last Rose of Summer

This morning I walked 2.435 km. It took me 39 minutes. Unlike these perky hot pink flowers, I am now looking a little wilted. It’s a gorgeous sunny autumn day and I just kept going. Until I just had to stop. And here we are. I’m trying to calculate a 2 km route, because to me that sounds like a reasonable goal for an old lady.

Another old lady thing to report. Yesterday I grabbed a spice bottle from the cupboard without looking at it and put CHILI POWDER on my oatmeal. Cinnamon would have been my first choice actually. Not some other random spice starting with the letter C. Then I thought what the hell it’s not possible to make it taste worse, is it? And I ate it. Let’s just say I won’t be creating a food blog any time soon to post that recipe.

Another thing I saw on my walk was a big pile of rocks with a “Free” sign beside them. I stood there for awhile wondering what I could do with free rocks and how I would get them home, as well as what an excellent plan the rock owner had devised to have his rocks hauled away for nothing.

There’s been a confirmed case of Covid up the street in the school that my kids attended when we first moved here. That’s a little too close for comfort. Who knows where it came from or where it’s going. This whole back to school thing is going to crash and burn I’m afraid.

And that’s all the random thoughts from wilted me for another day. I’m taking the afternoon off. Don’t ask me what from unless you want to hear it’s from sprinkling chili powder on stuff.

Stay safe. Have a great Thursday.

Three Things

Three ThingsChallenge 360

Terrible, Prone, Unlikely

Upon being presented with a group of three seemingly unrelated words meant to spur my creativity, I am prone to lumping them all together into one terrible sentence, thus completing the challenge in an unlikely manner with as little effort as humanly possible.

Such a cop out, I know. Terrible. Unlikely to impress anyone prone to taking their work and a challenge more seriously than I seem able to do today.

My photo is from yesterdays walk in the wilds surrounding our home. I’m always happy to come across anything I can take a picture of without looking like too much of a weirdo so that I can stop for a minute and catch my breath. There’s even a fake bird in the little bird bath. The whole thing is a perfect little splash of whimsy. I like it.

This cowboy on a broken gatepost though, is impressive in a whole other way. There’s got to be some wonderful touching heartfelt family story behind it, hey? Otherwise I hope these people are getting the help they need.

We had another frost warning last night! Not unlikely that there will be more of these in our terribly cold weather prone part of this wonderful world.

Okay I’m done now, as in – this challenge is done to death, sorry. Carry on with your day. Let me know if you come across any tiny cowboys in your travels.

Sharing My World 93

Share Your World Meets Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince

(Book/Film Six – there is one more to go!)

Roger’s Magical, Mystical Questions:

1. You have just been gifted a magic wand that specializes in completing household chores. You can request the completion of only two household chores. Which chores would you assign your wand to complete?

Vacuuming! After my back surgery years ago to remove a crushed disc my surgeon advised me to never ever vacuum again for the rest of my life if I didn’t want to risk certain death. Or maybe he just said vacuuming is bad, I don’t remember his exact words. I milked that one for a very long time. It’s still one of my least favourite things to do because my vacuum cleaner is heavy and hard to lug around and I bang it into baseboards and furniture and W’s feet. Let’s face it, it’s just not a skill I’ve perfected.

And then I guess cleaning the bathrooms. Think of all the disgusting things you can find in there and tell me you didn’t shudder.

2. At the local Wizards-R-Us store there was a sale on handshake shockers, instant darkness pellets, and levitation pills. Which of these ‘party thrillers’ are you more likely to purchase?

There is no partying going on here, and handshaking is currently tabu, says the ultimate party pooper. Levitation pills might come in handy for vacuuming, preventing you from dropping heavy attachments on your toes. I don’t know what instant darkness pellets do exactly, but they sound fun. And they’re on sale, so yeah. Give me some of those.

3. In the alley behind Wizards-R-Us, there was a tradesman selling a Love Potion. The sales pitch was too much for you and you yielded and purchased one vial. What do you do with it?

Take it home and hide it from my husband. He hates it when I purchase strange things without a solid reason, and he already gave me a lecture about those silly darkness pellets.

4. You are the Great Clearinghouse Winner of a new ‘good luck’ potion – Felix Felicis. It has to be used within the next thirty days or its potency becomes diminished. Do you use it? Do you give it to a friend in need?

I would use it. And then I would share all my good luck with the needy friend. It would suck if I gave it away to someone who didn’t share back. I sound like some kind of good luck potion control freak, but that’s my final answer.

Melanie’s Mundane Muggle Questions:

1. If everyone spoke their mind, would this world be a better or worse place? Why?

Oh I imagine in the long run it would be a better place once we all got used to it and were able to sort the sane from the delusional. Spend some time on Twitter for a preview of what to expect. It would be difficult for criminals and some politicians though if it also involved not twisting the truth and not keeping secret agendas.

2. Can achieving nothing make a person happy?

You betcha. Look at me, accomplishing dick-all and happy as a lark. It all comes down to what you call an achievement and your definition of happiness, doesn’t it? No one can figure those things out for you. And no one should try. Except maybe your psychiatrist.

3. How do you know if you love someone enough to marry them?

Well you one hundred percent don’t ever really know that for sure, do you? You just weigh some pros and cons in your hormone infused brain, jump in with both feet and hope for the best. My mom told me good marriages don’t just happen, you have to work at them. She was so smart. Set the notion of love aside for a minute and think about trust. Do you trust each other to do whatever it takes to make your life together work? Love grows from there.

Ambience

Blogging Insights #45: Ambience

Some people can write anytime and anywhere. Others require certain pre-requisites such as the appropriate setting before they can get their creativity going. In today’s Blogging Insights we discuss the necessity or otherwise of the right ambience for blogging.

TODAY’S QUESTIONS:

What, in your opinion, is the perfect ambience for blogging / writing?

Are you able to work in this setting on a daily basis?

Do you feel that the ambience has any particular effect on the quality or quantity of your output?

I’m one of those people who can write anytime, anywhere. The mood and the atmosphere are mostly in my head. A little invisible bubble forms around me shutting out distractions and my stream of consciousness takes over and the words just flow.

Of course they are not always great words, or even good ones, and can form a rocky relationship with each other trying to make sense out of themselves, and cry out for some serious editing. But I WROTE them. Because real writers write stuff. And then something pops the bubble and I have to click the SAVE button so that I can come back later and wonder what the hell my point was, or if I even had one.

Easy peasy. Anyone can write.

In a perfect writing world I imagine having a desk and a comfy chair in a quiet room, a window with a view, a warm breeze, a single serve coffee maker, an endless supply of pods, a little cooler for my cream, books on shelves on every wall, a scented candle or two, a cot with a pillow and a blanket because this is making me sleepy just thinking about it.

Where I normally write is in our living room, sitting on the couch, with my iPad (which has an attached keyboard) on the arm rest, my upper body twisted sort of sideways, facing the two windows that look out over the neighbours cars in their driveway. Here, I’ll show you.

All the necessities of life are at my fingertips. Tissues, coffee, pen, some kind of list and my phone. Truly not inspirational. But stimulating enough, along with the bad posture, to keep me awake. Always a bonus if you’re trying to be creative.

Yes, I am able to work in this setting on a daily basis. And also NOT work, if my head ambience is off. Or if the neighbours are doing something interesting like walking out of their house and going off in one of their cars. Or there are sirens in the distance or it’s raining hard or somebody is trying to leash train their puppy in front of our house. Well I HAD to watch that.

A change in ambience (physical or virtual) is probably conducive to both quality and quantity as well. If nothing ever changed there would simply be no new stories to tell. If I didn’t have strong feelings or get in a weird mood about stuff you’d never hear from me again. Thank God for my mood swings, hey? The world is a better place when I’m all pissy about something.

You did say “in your opinion”. I took that part to heart. And this productive output is the dubiously brilliant result. Thanks for the questions. Hope you’re not sorry you asked.