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

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.

The Ripsnorter Post

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The other day when W asked me what I was doing I told him I had to go see what my space people were up to.  How’s that for a ripsnorter of an answer.

“Ripsnorter” was the word of the day last whatever day it was, I can’t remember and it doesn’t matter, but it stuck in my head because my dad used to like that word to describe something he thought was particularly great.  Or terrible.  Or bizarre.  I liked the “ripsnorter of a storm” nights when he woke everyone up and herded us all downstairs into the living room where we waited for one of our big old maple trees to be struck by lightning and crash through our roof.  Best not to be on the top floor if that happened.

I think he might have called my sister Ann a little ripsnorter when she would jump into the pig pen with the dog making him bark and move the pigs around, generally causing mayhem in an enclosed space. It’s a wonder she didn’t get trampled.  She has calmed down a lot since then.

We have had such a mild and pleasant winter until just lately when the temperatures decided to plummet.  And I mean plummet in a completely ripsnorter-y fashion.  I am wearing big socks and a hoodie and drinking hot coffee mostly to warm up my hands.  Even turned up the heat at one point.  And I’ve hauled out my winter coat.  I think old bones feel the cold more intensely.

Or perhaps physical inactivity is a contributing factor, for example, sitting under a blanket watching multiple episodes of “Dark Matter” on Netflix and having a hard time remembering what the series is called and referring to it as a space show.  With space people.  They all woke up from stasis on their space ship with their memories erased.  Sort of like I feel some mornings before getting out of bed. What day is it?  Why am I singing “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence” in my head?  Why is this floor so damned cold??

The best character is an android. I love her. She has ridiculous hair.  It’s a ripsnorter of a hair do.

Also i am busy doing some Christmas baking even though I can’t eat any of it.  The fudge is done and also some rolled up concoction consisting mainly of chocolate and mini marshmallows and coconut which my kids once named the Christmas turds before they were unwrapped and sliced in to more appetizing cookie like shapes.

Shortbread today I think.  Then some butter tarts.  I came across a recipe for cranberry meatballs so I tried those last night.  Kind of sickeningly sweet, so maybe more of an hors d’œuvre than a main dish.  And this year I am going to make some kind of a steamed pudding and make everyone try some.  That’s the one thing I miss from my childhood Christmases.  Being absolutely stuffed but still digging into a plate of hot Christmas pudding covered in a rich butter and brown sugar sauce.

Neither my kids nor W liked it so I quit making it.  My moms version was the ripsnorter one for sure but I will make one less like a Christmas cake and tell them it’s something called sticky toffee pudding cake.  ‘Tis the season to be cunning and devious.  I love how steamed pudding makes the kitchen smell and steams up the windows, which will turn to ice which will make W freak out.

He has ripsnorter freak outs.  He will vehemently deny this, but its true.  After my baking I will be tired and grumpy so I’m looking forward to my space people having way worse lives than I do cheering me up.

In other unrelated non-holiday news, I have gone for my pulmonary breathing test from hell where I had to wear a clothes pin thing on my nose and mouth breathe into a tube for 30 minutes in various strange ways as instructed by some guy who has a very weird job for sure.  I will venture out into the cold again tomorrow to get some shopping done.  Less than two weeks to go.

Hope you’re having a ripsnorter of a December.  Stay warm.

Really Rudolph?

Amazon just sent me an email saying based on my recent activity perhaps I might be interested in this –

img_2867Holy.  Should I buy one?  It’s only CDN $6.95.

I’m trying to think what kind of activity I was involved in for them to come to this conclusion.

Behold the roomy rudolf tea strainer in raspberry red.  Perhaps I searched for an item beginning with the letter R.

Although my sinuses are happy I’m drinking hot water laced with lemon and Truvia at the moment, normally I am just another coffee addict with no love for anything even vaguely similar to tea.

And this does not look like Rudolph.  It very suspiciously resembles a moose.

I’m afraid Amazon will just have to try harder to get me to part with seven bucks.

Snorting Eucalyptus

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The view from where I’m sitting.  Yeah, I know.  Gives a whole new meaning to “still life”  

Yes, snorting eucalyptus IS what I’ve been doing for the past twenty-four days, which WP was kind enough to remind me is also how long it’s been since my last post.  Even W noticed this strange silence in November, the month in which we are supposed to be writing our little hearts out.  I did the polite Canadian thing and kept my comments about the American election more or less to myself, except for sharing a few news stories on Facebook.  That’s been pretty hard.  Are y’all batshit crazy down there??  Well I know you’re not, and have faith that sanity will prevail.  You know, before we all die hating each other.

In the summer I was blaming my stuffed up sinuses and chronic cough on seasonal allergies, but I’m not sure what the heck is going on now.  Rather than complain (and rewire my brain for negativity) (seriously, that’s an actual thing) I tried allergy pills and nasal sprays and decongestants, and elevated my blood pressure in the process.  So I ditched all that stuff, but I still wanted to breathe, so now I’m using my little air purifier even though there’s already an air purifier on our furnace.  Our air is PURE, man.  And I’m shooting a eucalyptus based spray up my nasal passages more than the recommended four times a day.  It does not cause rebound congestion and it works very well, for about twenty minutes.  Then it doesn’t anymore.

My hematologist said my chest was wheezy, and suggested I go back to my GP for an inhaler.  So that’s next.  I’ve had pneumonia.  I don’t want it again.  I keep running out of tissues.  My life is hell.  No of course it isn’t.

Other than wheezy breath I’m healthy enough I guess, because the hematologist said to come back in a year.  Her pre-screener gave me longer than that. I think.  The first thing he said to me was “…so, you’re sixty-seven, you’ve got another ten or twenty years to go.  Because, you know, eighties….” I did not know what the proper response was to that statement but probably because of the blank look on my face he quickly changed the subject and went on to other things.  Weirdo.

And speaking of weird, W said if I had nothing to write about I could always talk about him.  Wow.  He should NOT be encouraging that.

I never had much of a love for Christmas when I was growing up (too much church and  too many crazy relatives) (although the food was good), but when I met W his enthusiasm for the holiday was infectious.  He still absolutely loves Christmas.   He puts up the outdoor lights in mid November.  This year he added two spotlights which sit on the front lawn and flash revolving red and blue lights all over our house.  And the snow. And maybe the sky.  When I’m sitting in the living room they also flash all over the ceiling and the walls.  I told him it’s a good thing neither of us is prone to epileptic seizures and God help our neighbours if they are.  He didn’t find that even remotely funny.

Maybe my eucalyptus spritz is hallucinogenic.  Because he loves the lights.  He found out they are now on sale so I suggested he go get a couple more and the sarcasm was completely lost on him.

I wonder when my brain got rewired for sarcasm.  There’s probably a doctor for that, hey?

In other news, I put shelf liner in my cupboards this week.  Our washing machine (age 22 years) died a noisy death and has been replaced by a newer but amazingly similar model (but this one is water efficient, so there’s that) which cost less than the price of repairing the old one.  W also loves a bargain.

And I love my ordinary little life with a husband who thinks it’s funny that I find him funny.  There’s always something to be thankful for.  Like eucalyptus being a scent that kind of grows on you.  That’s a big one for sure.

Holy Bat Day Fogman!

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Yeah, that’s not quite right.

It’s how words get muddled up in my mind just before they exit my mouth.  Immediately after thinking this impossible thing I contemplated being a super hero called Dense Fog Woman.  Here she comes to fog your brain. Yeah, also not great.

Weird to have such dense pea soup fog days in our arid little part of the world.  Of course we all want to go out driving in it.  Our grandson, who flew here and then drove to Calgary with grandpa to attend a wrestling seminar type thing on the weekend (I know, foggy details) is making attempt number two this morning to fly home.  The plane last night was turned back, unable to land in the ice fog.  So of course there were irate passengers annoyed with the inconvenience but think how much more annoyed they would be if the plane crashed.  What’s a few trips to and from the airport in the grand scheme of things really.  So we had a very late night and a ridiculously early morning.

I got three times the goodbye hugs, so I’m good with it.

Friday was the day I took this photo, an extreme close up of two jars of homemade relish.  Made in my home, by me.  The one on the left is my first attempt, chopping everything with a chopper, and the other one was more labour intensive because I chopped everything by hand.  A batch makes about three jars each.  My food chopper has a fine line between big chunks and mush.  I personally never manage to get stuff to the mush point because frankly I’m just not that ambitious.  So jar number two is supposed to look more uniformly relishy.  It’s made up word day here.  And since there is no discernible difference in how they look, food chopper wins this one and all future endeavours.

My sister gave me a little jar of  low glycemic no sugar added sweet pickle relish, along with the recipe, to try. (you can find it here ) It is delicious. She does all this wonderful canning and preserving and freezing from her garden and I always think it looks like fun and not that hard.  Halfway through the process I’m likely to change my mind about both those things.  But I always learn something.

About six years ago (the amount of time it takes me to forget why I don’t can stuff) I made some hamburger relish which was lovely and red and very tasty, and some apple chutney which was just weird.  Unless apple chutney is your go-to condiment and you have it with at least six meals a week, don’t make a dozen jars of it.  I lost count of how many times we said, after a meal was finished, oh, we should have had some of that relish stuff with this. Okay, truthfully, I’m the only one who said that.   I discovered no one in my family really cares for red relish.  Or maybe just MY red relish.  Those jars took up space on my shelves for a very long time.  And then they all at once mysteriously disappeared because I got tired of looking at them.

Anyway this stuff is really good and gave me a mad craving for hotdogs, so I had to venture out into the Friday fog to buy some.  It is Monday morning and they are all gone, along with half a jar of my amazing relish.  I’m kind of sick of both of them actually, but let’s not talk about that.

The fog advisory for here has been lifted.  I think it might be safe to go back to bed.  But not before I mention I made some marmalade too this weekend using two big oranges, half a lemon and some fake sugar.  It’s supposed to be a paleo recipe using honey, although I can’t imagine cave people sitting around a fire canning jam.

Okay, now I can.  I need to sleep.