Category Archives: My Crazy Project 365

Corybantic

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Word of the day – corybantic – frenzied; agitated; unrestrained.

My littlest grandson Corey has his agitated unrestrained moments, but underneath that he’s considerate and very loving.  A funny mix.

But the Y in this word is pronounced “uh”, not “ee”, and corybantic rhymes with “romantic”.  So don’t say you didn’t learn anything today.  Or that you wouldn’t love Corey if you met him.

My corybantic days of this long redecorating summer are drawing to an end.  The main floor is done except for a couple of light fixtures and some serious dusting.  There have been times when I would flop myself down, utterly exhausted, wondering why my shoulders ached, then think well you just moved sixteen pieces of furniture, you idiot.  I’m not always polite when I talk to myself.

The wall colour in bedroom one is called Swiss coffee.  It is not yellow, even though that’s how it appears in the photo.  More of a creamy white.  Bedroom two paint colour is called plantation tan and also not as lovely in the photo as in real life.  Since we are not familiar with plantations or what the sun on one might do to ones skin colour, we decided to rename this colour maple walnut ice cream, more in keeping with my edible colour theme.  Not sure if you would want to eat a pelican, but pelican is the name of bedroom three and the ensuite bath colour.  Nothing hung on the walls yet of the bedroom three/art area space because I can’t decide what “splash of colour” goes with pelican and cream.  Maybe blueberry?  Or raspberry?  Or some other fruit?

And that’s it!  No more painting of ceilings and walls!  I even cleaned out and reorganized my junk drawer, sorting things like screws into pointy and non-pointy ends, because nails and not nails wasn’t sufficiently specific.  So now what am I supposed to do with myself??

Happily I remembered I have a blog.  And a brand new art area chock full of misplaced and mixed up supplies, and a project, to do a couple of coffee pictures for my daughter.  And I have cupboard shelves that need cleaning and maybe painting and definitely new lining.  And things that need moving downstairs from up, and upstairs from down  and speaking of stairs, the carpet on them is awful.  And then there’s the basement, but that’s a project for another day.  Or series of months.  And the main bathroom needs renovating, which should have been done first, but too late for that.

So.  It appears I am not really done.  But it does feel like a chapter has ended.  Corybantic no more.  Until the next wave of redecorating mania hits me and sweeps me away I guess.

 

Santa on a Saturday

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This is my favourite Santa. I painted him many years ago and gave him to my mom.  She hung him up for a lot of Christmases. When she died, somehow I got him back with little effort on my part.  He was a gift and I didn’t expect he’d ever come back to me.  But I’m glad he did.

I love the softness about him, and the impossible floaty star-shaped balloons.  And the fact that he might not even be wearing pants or boots under that too-long dragging coat, for all we know.

Most of all I love the warm happy feeling I get when I see him and remember my mother.  Maybe he made her think of me too.

It’s just a funny little old Santa who surprised me by turning in to my best Christmas treasure.

What Are We Doing Again?

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These words are so simple, and yet….

I can’t get them out of my head.  What does this mean?  The phrase takes me all the way back to high school English and teachers who analyzed poetry in particular,  but also pretty much every other written thing, to death.  I admit I liked trying to impress them with my twisted take on things.  I expect a lot of authors would have been totally baffled by the garbage we came up with that they never meant at all.

Anyway, I want to know what you think.  Please take my poll.

There are no wrong answers.  Probably there are no right answers either.  Thank you class.  No going home for you until you finish this.  I will mail you your marks.

 

 

Things That Last

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What do you see when you look at these two pictures?  This is the kind of thing that makes me go “Awwww….” because here’s a relationship that has survived a lot of years.  It looks like they worked at it and took care of it just as they also so obviously (to me) took care of each other.  And they are still together after all these years.  It’s very sweet.  I think they are very lucky.

When I saw this I smiled, and all these things went rushing through my head, so I flipped my I-Pad around to share it with W.  I thought he would make the same connections.

He stared at it with a frown for about three seconds and then he went on and on and ON about the car.  The make and model and year and paint job and tires and chrome and God only knows what else while I sat there in stunned silence.

When he finally wound down I said, okay, but what about the PEOPLE?  And he said, well, I guess they’re probably the original owners.

I guess they probably are.  I don’t know why I didn’t think of that.

Pictures and Pages and Seasons Oh My

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You might think, because of the nature of these book related pictures from various Facebook pages, that I have spent my entire Sunday reading.  But I haven’t.  I’m saving that for tomorrow, day two of two days off.   I’m part way through The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt, which is turning out to be a book with no end in sight.  Had to take a break.

What I’ve actually been doing today is making myself feel less sad about the fact that there are only two seasons of Downton Abbey available on Netflix by watching The Good Wife instead. I didn’t notice how many seasons there are to get through on that one, but I’ll take a serious stab at getting to the end of them.

It’s a hard life I know, but don’t worry,  I’m managing okay.

Intel and Espionage

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Although I say I never watch television, it’s not the whole truth.  For the second time, against my better judgement, I have been glued to Netflix the way I was with “Once Upon a Time” a few months ago.  This past couple of weeks it’s been “Covert Affairs” that has had me hooked.  And yes, I did watch the whole thing (well, as much as is available here on Netflix), episode after episode until the end of season three.  That is a lot of episodes.  And a lot of getting nothing else done and being annoyed that there were actually other things I should be doing.   Like going to work and eating and sleeping.

If you don’t know this Annie Walker, I think you might like her.  She’s a CIA operative who can do just about anything a man can do, but she does it all in high heels.  How impressive is that?  Her empathy is both her biggest strength and her greatest weakness.  She dodges bullets, tells lies, accomplishes impossible missions, solves puzzles and always breaks the rules.  My kind of girl.

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Okay, thank God season four isn’t on there yet.  I’ve started having dreams about high-speed car chases and double agents and people running around in airports.  You think they’re just late for their flight, but no, think again.  They are spies.  Or with the FBI.  Or some foreign intelligence agency. Once you get this, you may never want to fly again.  Or leave your house.  Or trust a stranger.

It’s unfortunate that some of my favourite characters have disappeared or been blown up in cars or shot dead in kitchens, but that’s how Annie’s world works. I hope Netflix decides to get the next two seasons so I can be immersed in her world again sometime.  Sleeping is highly overrated in comparison.

Music Lessons

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365 Days of Writing Prompts from WordPress:  Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse.  How is your life different today because of him or her?

My mother bought a second-hand upright piano when we were kids and announced that all of us were going to take lessons and learn how to play it.  I don’t remember being given a choice about that, but we embarked on the process willingly enough.  Music lessons must have been something my parents discussed and dad agreed to simply to make mom happy, although even buying the piano would have been a major expense for them and certainly was not a necessity.  Like all good parents, they sacrificed to give their kids opportunities.  And like all kids everywhere, we did not always appreciate the things we had to do for our own good.

Mr. Rhodes was short and round and serious and I never saw him dressed in anything but a suit and tie.  He had black brush cut hair, big dark rimmed glasses and a stern and scowling look, but he was, underneath all that, a gentle man.  He played the organ at our church and his wife was our choir director.  She was also an Avon Lady, and he was a high school industrial arts teacher who taught music in his spare time. They lived in a little white stucco house near the high school and although I must have visited it a hundred times, all I remember is the tiny living room with a table chock full of Avon stuff and the piano lesson room around the corner where I would sit on a hard bench for an hour at a time in the interests of obtaining a well-rounded education.

From the first lesson he had a lot of patience with me.  I had none at all with myself.  Much like how I wanted to be able to read books after a couple of weeks in grade one,  I expected to be able to play the piano well and to do it quickly without a lot of effort.  I wanted short cuts to mediocrity.  He was more bent on slowly fostering and developing an appreciation and a love in me for all things musical.  Music delighted him.   Lesson after lesson he painstakingly taught me how to read the notes on the page, the proper fingering and hand positions, and a lot of boring stuff about dead composers and sharps and flats and major and minor keys and keeping time.  I thought all the practicing would kill me so I did as little of it as possible.

Despite my best efforts to merely survive the tedium, a lot of knowledge sunk in and eventually some talent oozed out.  He told me I was one of his best pupils, although now I think he was being rather generous with his praise.  I did get very good at sight-reading, sitting down with a brand new piece of music in front of me and playing it through without difficulty.  But I never felt like interpreting what was written into anything beautiful or sad or joyous with feeling and real emotion.  Watching a concert pianist play something classical and emote all over the keyboard with closed eyes and a rapturous face made me extremely uncomfortable.  I had no ambition whatsoever for that to ever be me.  When Mr. Rhodes would wave his pencil in the air and cry “Dolce!  Pianisimo!”  in the middle of a piece,  I would often just bang away all the harder to drown him out.

Less dedicated teachers might have thrown up their hands, but he looked for ways to encourage and motivate me.  He went out one day and bought me a big music book full of John Philip Sousa marches and told me to take it home and play my heart out.  Suddenly music was a beautiful thing.  Our piano took a real beating for a while after that.  Grandioso and fortissimo were definitely my thing.  I was never what anyone would describe as a loud or forceful person, but for whatever reason, playing the piano brought that out in me.

My brother got to quit the piano lessons when he’d had enough of them, and one of my sisters decided she wanted singing lessons instead.  I often said I wanted to stop, but I could see how much it meant to mom for me to keep going.  And Mr. Rhodes pronounced me almost good enough to take my grade eight practical and theory exams if I chose to work a little harder.  So I kept going for music lessons longer than I ever expected I would, with no real plan for ever putting them to any use.

You may find it strange to learn that I went on to play the organ at church after taking lessons on that instrument as well, and adding deep bass foot pedaling to my repertoire.   I learned to do soft and quiet background pieces, slow and funereal dirges, the kind of soothing music that can put some church goers to sleep.  But I lived for the glory hallelujah Onward-Christian-Soldier marching hymns putting fire in everyone’s soul, never mind leaving a lot of the older parishioners a little breathless and blue in the face.

My music teacher had a heart attack and died in his backyard on a summer afternoon when I was halfway through high school.  I don’t know if there were any warning signs but that wouldn’t have changed the fact that it was sad and shocking news.  I never got to tell him how bad I felt for not passing the music exams, although I brushed it off as totally unimportant at the time.  I did tell everyone I didn’t want to take them but they urged me on so I went through the motions in my usual lackadaisical fashion.   Even though I knew how disappointed he would be if I didn’t do well, I didn’t work hard enough and I’m sorry for that.  I passed the sight reading part with flying colors though. That was the only thing that impressed my examiners.

How is my life different because of him?  Well I didn’t really have much of a life going on before he and his piano were in it, so I can only imagine how different it would be without all my miscellaneous musical knowledge.  It drives me nuts to hear wrong notes and anything played or sung off-key.  I can still look at a piece of music and read it and hear it in my head.  Maybe I could still play it, but these old hands are certainly out of practice.  We couldn’t be hauling a piano all over the place when my kids were growing up, so they never got to be “Rhodes scholars” like me.

I’ve heard people say they wish they’d kept up with their music lessons, but I don’t mind that they stopped for me when they did.  It was never one of my passions.  I’m simply happy to have known someone who loved it all so very much.

365 writing prompts

Set Free

 Ondřej Žváček, Wikimedia Commons
Ondřej Žváček, Wikimedia Commons

That was the end, the first time I saw the real you.  Dawn breaks on a dark night.  The sad, the bad, the harsh cruel lies.  All of it done.

That was the day you set me free.

 

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Trifextra Week 100:   a 33-word response to the following snippet:  The first time I saw. . .

Here’s the catch: all of your 33 words must be one syllable each.  We’re going low-brow on your this week.  Or not.  Can you class it up under these restrictions?  Give us your best.
To clarify, we are giving you 5 words.  We want another 33 from you, for a grand total of 38.