S is for the Stupor that Saved My Soul

HA!  That’s just a tad over dramatic.  Oh well.

Last night I sat here in a work-induced stupor watching old Guess Who videos on YouTube.  Everyone needs a Burton Cummings fix every once in a while. This one suited my mood – staring at a record spinning.  Wow.

My advice to you is to go there and type his name into search and that should effectively write off a large part of your day.

I needed to go to my ‘calm’ place, as opposed to the place where a control freak ego maniac (who also happens to be stupid and forgetful with a bit of meanness and spite thrown in to foster insanity) rules a few odd hours of my life.  Ever notice how the people who make up all the dumb rules also make themselves the exceptions to them?  Funny how that works.  And how impossible it is for me to change anything except the way I react to it all.  Or refuse to react.  Stupors will either save or kill me.

Normally I bite my tongue (or tape up my typing fingers) to avoid complaining about work here.  Sorry that slipped out, but exploding was the other alternative. And hopefully everyone has been so mesmerized by Burton that they’ve not read this far anyway.

And I think I’m over it.  Life’s too short.

The Story Behind Vanilla Grapefruit

The REAL title is G is for Grapefruit, but nobody would get sucked in and excited about that so I spiced it up a little.  Somewhere I read if there’s no “hook” right at the beginning of a story you might as well stop right there and type a letter to your grandmother instead.

Grapefruit is always sour and usually bitter, but has a lot going for it otherwise.  It’s an oblate spheroid for one thing.  I bet you were thinking it’s merely big and round.  The only way this fruit even vaguely resembles a grape is when seen from a great distance growing in grape-like clusters on trees.

Can you imagine buying a cluster of grapefruit?  That would be a lifetime supply for most of us.  I can’t remember the last time I bought a real live fresh one.  However, it’s managed to infiltrate my cosmetics and personal hygiene products in a big way.  Along with other fruits and spices and flavors.

Everything I know about marketing is from a consumer’s point of view, but I’d say they’re on to something when it comes to naming products which people like me find hard to resist.  I have vanilla/grapefruit, honey/apple and cocoa/shea butter lotions.  Nectarine/white ginger,  grapefruit/lemon grass and plum/sukura blossom deodorants.  Cherry blossom/ginseng, apricot/almond and tropical coconut/lime shampoos.  Pomegranate and guava and cranberry – I’ve worn them all.

I’m a great advertising target because obviously I’ll buy anything if it promises to smell weird.  Don’t even get me started on body washes, soaps, lip gloss and candles.  (I’d like to wrap this thing up before midnight.)  The thing about grapefruit is that it goes with just about anything.  It’s been described as zesty, energizing, uplifting, invigorating, crisp, kissed by sunshine, romantic, and refreshing,

Yeah, I know, romantic is a stretch – soft music, sparkling wine, grapefruit and candle light.  But who paired it up with vanilla and made that work?  Or gin, or jicama or mint?  Maybe the same people who mixed it up with orange juice to make it palatable.  Or with quinoa to make me gag.

My title was not just a hook, it was also misleading.  Because the truth is, I DON’T KNOW the story behind vanilla grapefruit.  I googled it and came up with some less than helpful information about Crown Royal Whisky – butterscotch, vanilla, grapefruit pith, simmering spices, and dusty rye.  Whoa.  They should make a body wash out of that.  I’d buy it.

T is for TA-DA!!

Way back at the end of December last year I set a 2012 goal for myself to complete a blog-a-day for a year.  On this glorious first day of July I am halfway there!  Just my crazy project 365  is now officially a half-assed success, day 183 and counting.

 
(Awesome art work (ta da by reiri sama) at http://www.deviantart.com/)

So when the fireworks go off tonight to celebrate Canada’s birthday, I’ll pretend some of them are for me.  The local Canada Day parade this morning got caught in a thunder-storm and pouring rain, but it takes a lot to dampen the spirits of Canadians in July.

The contenders for T-word in the alphabet soup category were totalizer, tallyman, trivet and tangelo.  I have them all on a list somewhere.  Along with trekker, which gets honorable mention for having two k’s in it.  A two k word is noteworthy but not weird enough to dwell on for long.  Although lesser oddities have ended up here depending on degree of deadline desperation.  Totally self-inflicted.  I’d go on at great length about all that, but the point of this paragraph is to show how much thought goes into blathering away about things no one in their right mind actually cares about, and I think I’ve made my point.  I’ve been doing it for six months. Six years if you want to get all technical about it, but the blitzing thing is a recent impulsive craze I’ve been going through.

So TA-DA for me, and for Canada, on birthday number 145.  Here’s to all things Canadian.  Including cartoonists.  And the people who think we’re funny.


www.savagechickens.com

F is for Fifty Shades of F***ery

There have been so many horrible reviews written about the Fifty Shades Trilogy by E. L. James that my mind was made up to not bother reading any of it.  But Book One got downloaded to our shared Kindle (by either one or the other of my daughters, doesn’t matter who)  (and if I did it myself, I don’t remember!) and so there it was, and I thought, what the hell, and started reading.  Finished it and downloaded the second one.  Finished that and downloaded part three.  Seriously, it’s like some kind of strange addiction to the weirdest fairy tale ever written.  Somebody called it “literary crack”.  It’s a modern-day fairy tale fantasy for a day dreaming adolescent, unbelievable in so many ways, and yet I found myself reading away, wanting to believe the unbelievable.  Because it’s just so f***ing unbelieveable I can’t believe it.

Quick character synopsis – Ana Steele, a socially awkward 22-year-old virgin (rolling your eyes already?) who has no idea she’s brilliant, gorgeous and desirable,  meets Christian Grey, a drop dead handsome 27-year-old billionaire control freak who flies a helicopter, owns a jet, lives in a penthouse, employs full-time security staff, has darkly erotic tastes, plays the piano, suffers flashbacks and nightmares from early childhood trauma, was seduced as a teenager by a family friend old enough to be his mother, is heavily into sexual role-playing, has self-loathing issues and been in therapy all his life, and is using his vast wealth to combat world hunger.  Yes. Really.

Even Quicker plot synopsis – They can’t keep their hands off each other or be physically separated without feeling suicidal.  There is a lot of angst.  They work it out.

There is really not much of a plot, very little character development, repetition that will drive you mad, a bit of melodrama here and there, but never any doubt whatsoever that it will all end blissfully and happily like every good romance does.  Oh yeah, and physical intimacy and gratification on every other page. Sometimes every page for pages and pages and pages.  If there were a sexual olympics, Christian and Ana would definitely be contenders.

Who can say why this trilogy is a runaway best seller?  It’s not literary genius by any stretch of the imagination.  There are many more talented writers out there.  I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it.  But I did read the entire thing.  Just like I read the entire Hunger Games Trilogy.  As for Twilight and Sleeping Beauty – couldn’t make it past book one in either case.

Anyway, now I guess I have a better idea what all the fuss is about.  Much ado about nothing much.  So of course perfectly suited to being turned into a full length movie or two!  My head hurts just thinking about it.  Read it for fun or diversion or to be a critic or to become a six star fan.  Or not at all.  More power to Ms. E.L. James who is laughing all the way to the bank in spite of what we think.  And threatening to write MORE!  I am SO biting my lip (and rolling my eyes) in breathless anticipation.

U is for Undines

Undine by John William Waterhouse, 1872.

Undine by John William Waterhouse, 1872. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, you read that right.  It is NOT supposed to say undies.  Although underwear was my first choice until someone suggested umbrella, and then this word came up and the rest is history.  Or soon to be.

Undines (from Latin Unda – a wave) are fairy-like water spirits.  In European folklore they are said to be able to gain a soul by marrying a man and bearing his child.  (Surely there must be an easier way.)  After that, if the husband is unfaithful an Undine can curse him so that if he ever falls asleep again he will cease to breathe and thus die.  This helps to explain why there are so many men out there who are afraid of marriage, and also terrified of turning the television off and coming to bed.

Next time I’m hanging around a forest pool or a waterfall I’ll keep my eyes open for one of them.  Although I’ll probably not mention that to whoever I’m with.  Undines are also supposed to have beautiful voices sometimes heard over the sound of the water.  So look and listen and carry your Iphone with you so you can immediately upload the video image to facebook.  You will probably get a lot of likes.

Français : Ondines

Français : Ondines (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Undine
by Henry Van Dyke
‘T was far away and long ago,
When I was but a dreaming boy,
This fairy tale of love and woe
Entranced my heart with tearful joy;
And while with white Undine I wept,
Your spirit, — ah, how strange it seems, —
Was cradled in some star, and slept,
Unconscious of her coming dreams.

There’s a movie called Ondine, but it’s not on Netflix yet so I haven’t seen it, but the review I read says she turns out to be an imposter and not a real Undine at all.  The alternate spelling should have been our first clue.  I don’t know why, but the name just makes me want to write a country song about it.  Something like….

My sweet Undine,

Why do you treat me so mean? 

Come on, get out of the pool,

And marry this love crazed fool! 

Huh.  I probably should copyright that.

Well there you go.  Who knew there was such a wealth of information to be googled and waded through on Wikkipedia about Undines.  I’ve only skimmed the surface.  I hope I have inspired you to research this fascinating topic further and maybe set my poetry to music.  At the very least I trust you’ve found it all to be slightly more interesting than underwear. 

E is for Etymology

E is for Etymology, Origin 1350–1400; Middle English < Latin etymologia < Greek etymología, equivalent to etymológ ( os ) studying the true meanings and values of words.
One of the first things I do every morning is play my many word games.  Apparently, that’s what WRITERS do.  Ergo, I must be a writer.  Ergo is another lovely E word, way quicker to type than therefore, ergo I decided to use it here and if I continue on with this sentence for much longer you will begin to seriously doubt I have any talent for writing whatsoever.  Ergo I shall stop.

If you love words too, check out

PR Daily News 

and click on Writing and Editing.  Or anywhere else, for that matter.  It’s full of interesting stuff.  The article that convinced me I must belong to that elite group called “writers” is here.  Because I love all those word games and play most of them every day.

MOST days I feel very smug and smart with all the words I know or can figure out and sometimes am even able to spell correctly.  Other days it’s good to bring that ego down a  peg or two by playing Etymologic.  The first time I played I got 4 out of ten by making wild guesses.  The best I’ve done is 8 out of 10 by cheating.  You can totally rationalize cheating if you convince yourself it’s in the interests of learning something new and has nothing at all to do with getting a less embarrassing score.

These games are also something I can enjoy by clicking away with one hand while using the other to drink coffee, another activity which gives me great pleasure.  I wonder where the word multitasking originated?  From Latin multis (much, many) and French tâche (job or task)?  Although the word tache without the accent can also mean ink stain.  So another plausible meaning might be too many ink stains on your fingers from writing so much, and ergo, get a keyboard you moron.

Having a good book on the subject of etymology seemed like such a great idea to me this morning that I searched Amazon for just such an invaluable source of information.  There were just way too many choices. What I ended up downloading to my kindle was this:

English Swear Words and Other Ways to be Completely Misunderstood, by Peter Freeman.

I doubt that it will be helpful for cheating at  Etymologic, but it could prove to be wildly educational.  Sort of like learning a second language, and probably a lot more fun than Latin.

V is for Vanishing Point

Tunnel of Trees This long straight avenue has ...

Tunnel of Trees This long straight avenue has its vanishing point at the far side of this square. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The vanishing point

Is like tomorrow.

It’s always somewhere else

Fading

Fading (Photo credit: petalouda62)

And never here.

It’s not the point at which you vanish,

No matter how hard you might wish

 To run away.

You can’t make yourself dissolve

And cease to be.

You can gaze into the vanishing point.

You can walk towards it,

But you will never reach it.

Advancing on that point

Makes that point advance.

Give up this futile quest

And put it in perspective.

You imagine that others are able

To exit the picture,

Fade away

And disappear

Off the edge of the earth.

It looks like they can do it.

But they can’t.

They’ve only travelled on

To a different place.

The vanishing point is an illusion.

D is for Damp

This is the scene that greeted me out the front door a couple of days ago.  If it wasn’t for bringing the paper in I would have been quite happy to just leave the damned door closed.  I’m not even going to talk about the S word in April.  What we’re dealing with here is a kind of sem-solid dense white rain. It’s annoying to slog through but it dissipates quickly.  Although not before some of it’s been soaked up by the bottom couple of inches of your pant legs and seriously messed with your shoes.

All this moisture is of course a good thing.  It’s working hard to turn our brown world to green.  The lawn people have been out and about with a similar objective.  All those bags decorating my front lawn are filled with nasty brown crap that they raked up and SORT OF carried away.  Now the bags are awaiting final pick up (which is scheduled for the middle of May but I’m going to pretend I don’t know that.)  Any day now.  That’s my new mantra.

Damp in this instance is merely dank and extremely dewy.  I will not let it be deadening, demoralizing, diminishing or disheartening.  (Why are there so damned many depressing D words??)  Sorry for saying damned again.  But think about it – Damp You!  just doesn’t have the same effect.

D is also for Draw Something, the App that teaches you very quickly that you have absolutely no talent as an artist and should not quit your day job to take up comic strip writing, even though what you have “drawn” is admittedly hilariously funny.  Just not something you’re likely to get paid for.

Here’s what the world outside my front door looked like early this morning.  I really should be venturing a little farther afield, but that would be risking personal dampness.  Because it rained again.  Look into that not so very distant area to the right across the street and you will see GREEN!  The grass is always greener on the other side of the street.  (And also in southwestern Ontario, but I’ve whined about that too much already.)  What this means is that our grass will eventually green up out of embarassment any day now.  I’m paying people to cut it, so damp it all, bring on the damp.  Just not the opaque stuff, please. I’m kind of done with that.

W is for W

It’s the first official day of retirement for W (second time around) and already midway through the day he’s showing signs of withdrawal and inability to cope.  If he says “Well, this is really weird” one more time I’m going to lose it.  He’s been off somewhere doing stuff no less than four times already.  Right now he’s driving across to the west side of the city to get a part for something because the exact part he’s after apparently does not exist here on the east side.

When I booked my two week trip to Ontario W assured me that he would still be here to pick me up from the airport when I got back on the 17th.  Of course I was way too smart to believe that for a minute.  Now that the ice is gone and Dan has been phoning and he has all this time on his hands, his own departure date gets bumped back daily. If he sticks around for Easter weekend I’ll be very surprised.  He can’t go until the furnace is installed though and I’m not sure if that’s going to be completed today or not, but the guy is still  banging around down there in fits and starts, because he keeps driving off to retrieve things he needs too. They both have some kind of parts neurosis.

W is also for WARP.  Lots of things can be warped – your mind, your sense of humor, your imagination, your values, your floorboards.  You can warp a ship into position, and travel at warp speed.  You need those warp threads to go with the weft or woof ones to weave.  Space and time and light can all be warped.  It’s a very handy word to use if something is twisted, distorted or perverted.  Also useful for insulting someone without being overly specific.  My husband is WARPED could mean anything.

I’m not exactly moving at warp speed getting myself packed and ready to go although I’ve done several things that could have waited.  Like wash my car.  We got splatted with a super huge mud spray yesterday which covered the windshield so thoroughly that we couldn’t see for a few seconds.  But now the car is all cleaned up for two weeks of being parked in the garage.  And the beauty of staying at my sisters house is that I can borrow whatever I forget.  I’m not sure if she’s aware of that but she’ll find out soon enough.

So after the wee hours of tomorrow morning, I won’t be seeing W for about five months!!  I’ve always said this is the reason our marriage has lasted so long.  You can be married for forty years if you spend half that amount of time never really knowing for sure where the other person is.  It’s worked out well for us, anyway.

Okay, this stupid suitcase is not going to pack itself.  Time to get serious.  Five a.m always gets here faster than we anticipate.

C is for Cinema

Last night I watched Mrs. Henderson Presents on NetFlix – without the benefit of a glass of wine – and thoroughly enjoyed it anyway.  I love Judi Dench.  Bob Hoskins was great but I couldn’t get Roger Rabbit out of my head whenever there was a close up.  And the story was an interesting one, supposedly based on fact.  But then, what story isn’t supposedly based on fact.  It’s simply a matter of how loose or solid the base.

A 1930’s London widow with lots of time and money on her hands decides to restore an old theatre and feature continuous nude musical revues.  Tastefully done, of course.  There’s lots of witty banter and some good laughs, plus bits of great musical routines that made me wish I could see the whole thing.

Now that I’ve watched one movie I quite liked from beginning to end I’m all optimistic about seeing more and Netflix is good to make recommendations.  Although how they come up with the connections is a little baffling sometimes.  It could be simply another movie with one of the same actors and a completely different genre.

I’ve worked the weekend and survived it, and my house is delightfully clean!  (C is for Clean with a Capitol C).  Hard to be unhappy about either of those things.  Having someone else clean my house is one of the smartest things I’ve ever decided to do. If you haven’t ever come home to a spotless fresh smelling squeaky clean house, you really should splurge and try it, at least once.  Best feeling ever.  And then you need to sit down amidst all that clean and treat yourself to some cinematography.  I would call that bliss.

And having three more working days until taking several weeks off is a pretty heady feeling too.  Perhaps I was some kind of royalty in a past life.  Being pampered seems to come so naturally to me.  Makes you wonder.