Quiet Minds

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Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.

[Robert Louis Stevenson]

And here I thought January was going to be such a boring month.  Now I want it to end for a whole different myriad of reasons.

I really miss my complacent quiet mind that didn’t involve itself much in world politics and all the fussing and fighting my friend.  It’s been MIA for almost two weeks now, off somewhere being frightened and perplexed I guess.  The clock during a thunderstorm is beginning to feel like a ticking time bomb.  It seriously needs to yell and scream at somebody.  Reading the news is like watching a friend self destruct and having no idea what you could possibly say to them or do to make things better.  Worried that they’ll destroy you and everything around them in the process.

This is life, though, isn’t it?  Never meant to be easy.  There will always be ignorance and fear and hate right along side all the understanding, compassion and love.  I always thought I knew which one would win in the end.  And then a white Christian male murders people in a mosque.  And the victims are the ones he calls terrorists.  There’s a special place in hell for the perpetrators of such senseless violence, right next to the ones who incite it.

Amidst the shared grief and despair there’s always something we can be grateful for, right?  How long is your list?  I hope it’s longer than mine.

  1. Humour.  Satire.  Political cartoons.  Protest signs.  Because if you don’t laugh you might start to cry and never stop.
  2. People with functioning brains saying intelligent things.  They are a delightful contrast to the ones who believe thinking isn’t really all that important.
  3. Protesters and reporters and journalists who refuse to sit down and shut up.
  4. Social media, freedom of speech, freedom of the press.  The right to ask questions and get truthful answers.  All things that could be taken away from us.  In this day and age.  It boggles the mind. Do I believe everything I hear or read?  Of course not. There is progressively more bullshit to sift through these days, but there is also thoughtful, actually factually backed-up information.  There are insightful gems.  These are well worth the time it takes to find them, and have helped to restore my wavering faith in the basic goodness of humanity.
  5. The love and compassion that’s out there and has always been out there despite all the misguided evil efforts to destroy it.  I am so very thankful that all the rampant stupidity and hate has not lured all of us into stupidly and rampantly hating back.  It is so very tempting to add to the chaos instead of the calm.

Here’s something we can all hang on to.  These mortal men (yes, take heart, one day they will die just like the rest of us) who have had power gifted to them can have that power taken away. They are not Gods. Some of them are not even that smart. Some of them are probably certifiably insane. They can be stopped.  And I know there are good people ceaselessly working on stopping them before going to hell is the least of their worries because they will have all of us living with them in some version of it right here.

Am I taking all this too seriously?  I don’t know.  But better to err on this side of the fence than to regret not getting it before it’s too late to change the downward spiral we’re all being sucked into.

So do not let them beat you down and wear you out and make you want to give up. Never doubt that therein lies the method to their madness in their gleeful rush to keep their so-called promises, one after another after another, so you can’t wrap your head around how little forethought or concern for legality or unhappy consequences has been taken into account before they’re slamming the next thing down on the table.  And the shit that happens after that is SO not their fault.  Wow.  They are counting on everyone to become overwhelmed to the point of weary acceptance, not knowing what is legal and what is truth or which way is up.  Too busy fighting with each other to notice or care any more what’s really going on.  And away they go.

Resist and keep resisting the things you know in your heart to be wrong.  Because to do otherwise is unthinkable.

Sorry I’m not my usual flippant frivolous self these days.  I’m just not ready yet for the world to end.

This Tree

“I read the news today, oh boy” (McCartney/Lennon)

Every morning while we sit drinking our coffee, W and I trade interesting or funny or unbelievable crap we read about on our different news feeds.  Sometimes it’s really entertaining tuning in to the next instalment of the current gong show going on in our neighbouring country.  Sometimes it’s downright frightening.  I’m afraid that all the attention, no matter how negative, simply feeds the beast.  I’m afraid we all might soon be buried alive in alternative facts (a new and improved name for bullshit). I’m afraid there might be some devious method to their madness, piling it on so high and so deep that we lose the will to claw our way out from underneath it.

So in the interests of not feeding the beast (while at the same time not turning my back on him either) here is a slide show of our wintry ice-foggy  backyard.

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I snuck in a couple of shots of my bad hair day to show you how I am becoming one with nature.  By resembling a half dead tree.  Or something way more poetic than that.  This awesome big old tree is the same one in which my sisters grandson discovered an alligator nest last fall.  We had no idea it was harbouring such an amazing thing. Around Christmas time this same grandson explained to his grandma how he could recognize Frosty from the other snowmen by the brown hammer in his mouth. For sure this boy is going places.

I hope gazing at this tree with its magnificent icy alligator nest sheltering branches towering above the other frozen things in our yard on this cold grey January Monday gives you a brief respite from whatever doom and gloom crap is taking up valuable space in your brain.

If not, here’s something completely different.  Not all news is bad.

Family of boy in Justin Trudeau town hall photo to name baby after prime minister

Sharing My World 64

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Share Your World – January 16, 2016

Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?

My closet door is in the rafters in the garage.  It’s one of those folding in half ones with little wheely things that screech along an overhead runner.  The runner is also gone, along with the lower left hand side holder for the pin that kept it in place at the bottom.  I sincerely hated that thing.  In its place I now have a curtain rod and a curtain flat against the opening, almost flush with the wall.  It’s pretty much always closed because sometimes looking into my closet can be a strange mix of depressing and frightening.  Nothing would want to live in there, so I have no worries about anything popping out from behind the curtain to disturb my sleep.

Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotels?

Yes I do, because they’re just going to throw them out anyway.  They’re the perfect size for travelling to places where I’m not staying in a hotel. And if I don’t go anywhere I eventually throw them out myself, saving hotel staff the trouble. When we had a dog I used to use them on him  when he had a bath.  What a strange thing to remember.

What is your usual bedtime?

Anytime between 8:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m.  Sorry I can’t be more specific.  There’s just too many variables.  What I’m binge watching on Netflix, what I’m reading, how much coffee I drank too late in the day, whether or not I can keep my eyes open. I do aim for ten/ten-thirty but it’s hit and miss.

Do you like to use post-it notes?

OMG post-it notes are the absolute best notes on the planet.  If you ever want to give me something nice, forget the flowers and go for a big package of rainbow coloured post-its instead.  I am so serious about that it’s not even funny.

When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?

Years and years and years ago when there was really no other way to communicate over long distances other than by telephone.  I used to write to my parents sporadically because my mom was so good to write to me,  but my letters were done on the computer in large font and printed, with only the odd hasty p.s. and a scribbled signature added by pen.  I treasure what I saved of her cards and letters but I fear the handwritten note will soon be history.  Cursive writing and beautiful penmanship will be an oddity from the past.  None of us will remember how to spell anything without auto correct.  We will converse in short forms and emoticons with questionable grammar.  One day we will forget how to talk.  Ok now I’m thoroughly bummed.

Any phobias?

I don’t like large deep bodies of water.  Even as I typed that I had to take a big breath of air.  I’m sure in a former life I either drowned or suffocated.  Or fell off a cliff.  Into the ocean.  I also don’t like extreme heights.  I cope with these fears with funny little mind games and try not to dwell on how silly I’m being.

How tall are you?

I used to be 5’4″ but I’ve shrunk an inch apparently according to the people who last measured me at some medical facility or other.  Maybe my posture got worse.  Maybe my younger taller self was delusional.  Anything is possible.  I used to love wearing three-inch heels or wedges or platforms way back in the day and gazing down at the tops of short people’s heads.  My ankles were less than thrilled about that though.  Can’t remember the last time I wore anything with a substantial heel.  Would probably break both my legs at once if I tried it again.

Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

The weather is completely bearable!  Hovering around zero Celsius.  There’s a bit of melting and freezing going on so the sidewalks are not exactly safe, but I’m not using them anyway.  They are my latest excuse for staying inside. One of my many varied and far-fetched excuses if you want the truth.  Some of which make very little sense but I stubbornly cling to them anyway.

I am looking forward to making Rice Krispie squares to use up the bag of marshmallows left over from Christmas baking.  But they will have to wait until we finish the brownies I baked yesterday in a serious chocolate craving fit.  They are sweetened with dates and orange juice, no added refined sugar.  So I feel maybe half the normal amount of guilt eating them.

It’s always a bonus when you can cut your guilt in two.  I should make a list of ways to do that…..

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Sharing My World 63

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Share Your World January 9,2017

If you lost a bet and had to dye your hair a color of the rainbow for a week, what color would it be?

If the choices were strictly red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet,  I would go with red. Bright fire engine apple red.  So that people would stop and stare and make funny remarks about the crazy old lady with the flaming red hair.  But if it was ok to go with any hue you can come up with, I would much prefer pink, the colour of fluffy cotton candy. And maybe not quite so many startled exclamations from strangers.

If you could choose one word to focus on for 2017, what would it be?

Writing.  Or maybe Living.  I can’t decide. They are both things I am trying to focus on, but so far I’m doing my normal lackadaisical hit and miss break-taking job of both.  Nothing happens.  Then things happen that I don’t want to write about.  I have days where I would rather just obsess over them in silence.

Last week I learned of the death of a 67-year-old man I knew through work.  He died two days before Christmas, halfway through his work day.  I joked with him once about retiring, but he said he tried it briefly and got bored because his wife was still working so he came back.  Stories like this drive me nuts.  It’s like people decide to work themselves to death.  He was too old to be working and much too young to die.  And of course it is absolutely none of my business how anyone else chooses to exist.  Or ceases to exist in this lifetime.  Sometimes it makes me sad, and sometimes I think deceased people are lucky they won’t be around to face whatever happens next.  I know, it’s messed up.  I don’t want to talk about it.

What was one thing you learned last year that you added to your life?

I learned a whole lot about cleaning up and sprucing up and redecorating an old house.  Mostly I learned it’s a lot of work and I don’t ever want to do it again.  I also learned you should do it completely for yourself without trying to please anyone else.  It will just make you sad when the next people move in and decide to gut the place.  So I have added serenity.  I have subtracted mountains of clutter.  I have greatly simplified our next move.  If I die before then there’s way less crap for the living to sort through.

If life was ‘just a bowl of cherries’… which fruit other than a cherry would you be..?

A peach.  You have to work your way through the fuzzy skin to get to the good stuff.  Obviously I have no clue what this question means.

Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I am grateful for my knee recovering from whatever its problem was.  I still walk around being cautious and aware of it, just in case.  And probably looking sneaky and weird in the process.

I am grateful for surviving a back-to-back full moon and Friday the 13th.  Although as many sources predict, next Friday could be infinitely more frightening.

Next week W goes for his one year follow-up on his hip replacement surgery.  Other than that madly exciting event, I’ve got nothing specific to anticipate.

More lists, though.  I’m not done with the lists. I will work on being slightly less morbid.  Yay for that, right?

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Mystic Sunday

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Keeper of Ancient Light.  Sounds plausible.

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I am a guardian and security is what makes me feel emotionally happy, but I express my needs and thoughts in a practical way.  When it comes to love I will be committed but when I get angry I become destructive so don’t test me.

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Some Tarot cards explained.  I totally identify with the Emptress.

Don’t say you didn’t learn anything today. Happy Sunday.

Old Lady Things

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Today’s list was inspired by the temperature outside and a rare bout of insomnia.

Old Lady Things I Am Ready For Already

  1. Bunny Slippers.  Big fat pink ones.
  2. A walk-in sit-down shower.  Ok, I’m not really sold on the sit down part of that yet, but my knee does not like stepping over the side of the bath tub these days.  And it’s not even a very high side.  I’ll be wanting ramps instead of stairs soon.  An elevator would be nice.
  3. One of those robotic vacuum things that bangs around your furniture picking up dirt while you sit on the couch wishing it was less stupid and more thorough.  But if I had one I would likely want to get a cat to ride around on it.
  4. A bunch of flameless candles unlikely to burn the house down if left unattended. With a remote control.  Might as well go all out.
  5. A granny shawl.  Actually two.  One for my shoulders, one for my lap.
  6. A personal shopper.
  7. A personal masseuse.
  8. A chauffeur.
  9. A pool guy.  And yes I know we don’t have a pool.
  10. A tiny home.  I watched a minimalist documentary.  I think I could live that way.  Probably have to give up the pool guy though.

Seriously right now I would settle for just some big ass warm and fuzzy slippers because my feet are freezing.  And I am wearing thermal socks.

This is what my life has become.  I need a nap.