Tag Archives: Chapters

Deep Thoughts on a Shopping Bag

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It’s the attention to little details that make shopping at Chapters such a delight for people like me who love this kind of thing.  If there must be a shopping bag, why not make it say something wonderful?  I forgot to take a reusable bag with me and I was walking, so I reluctantly said yes to a bag, but happily this one will NOT go directly into the recycle bin along with my guilt about the environment.  I will use it again, because you don’t just recycle John Keats.

Not in any way trying to out-do Keats, and everything he mentions in this quote is lovely, but I would like to change the sentiment a little to reflect my own personal preferences.

Give me

a blank canvas, crispy bacon,

Argentinian Malbec wine

soft candle light

&

a little peace and quiet…..

Hmmm… are all these things meant to go together?  I’ve never had bacon with my wine.  Or painted by candlelight either.

I do have some other weird habits though, one of which is reading labels and product descriptions and getting bamboozled into buying them simply because they sound peculiar and interesting.  I bought a hair product once because it promised to deconstruct my hair in to loose textured beach waves.  It contained black figs and sea salt.  Really.  Eventually I poured what remained of it down the sink because what it actually made my hair look like was a very structured haystack.

What is a beach wave anyway?  And why did I think I wanted some of those?  Hard to complain to the makers of a product when you don’t have a clue what they are promising you.

Great books are just the beginning.  Isn’t that an awesome little statement?  Even though it doesn’t specify whether it’s the beginning of something amazing or the beginning of something horrifying we still want to have those great books.  Because beginnings, right?

And we want those great books in great bags!

Thank you Indigo.  For your bags and your words and your little in-store coffee shop making all your books smell like Starbucks.  I will be back for more.  But you know that, don’t you?  Yes, you do.

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Just Jazzy 265

Jazzy Does 100 Days of Happiness 52

Happiness is discovering a long lost "first chapter book" from your childhood has been safeguarded by your sister for all these years.  (Anyone else remember Honey Bunch?)
Happiness is discovering that a long lost “first chapter book” from your childhood has been safeguarded by your sister for all these years. (Anyone else remember Honey Bunch?)

Pens

Cin’s Feb Challenge :  Buy a new pen or dig out your fave one.

Yes, okay, I do have a few pens in my house….

012

….and probably should not be allowed to buy any more.  But hey, who’s going to stop me?

These two containers of pens and markers are on the desk in the bedroom.  I could gather up all the rest of the pens from their various locations around my home, but I won’t because I don’t have all day.

At work I always carry three pens in my lab coat pocket.  I panic if I don’t have three.  If I happen to set one of them down and you pick it up and wander off with it, I will hunt you down.  At one point I had eleven pens in my purse, but I don’t think there’s that many in there now.  If there’s more, that would be embarrassing, so I’m not going to look. Believe whatever you want.

010

Here’s three I quite like, but not necessarily more than all the others, because choosing a favourite pen is like deciding on a favourite child.  Very difficult to do, and no good can come of it.

The one in the middle I got at a little gift shop at Tintern Abbey in Wales in 2007.  If the writing hadn’t worn off the sides it would look more like a keepsake I guess.  I never use this pen because I want to keep it forever and I don’t want it to run out of ink.  So far this is working well.

The other two are sustainable pens made by Seltzer Goods  and are supposed to be eco friendly and write for seven years.  But that’s not why I got them.  I got them because I like Chapters and elephants and coffee.  And pens.

While I was writing this (without a pen) W actually had the nerve to take that black pen from this serious little group photo and claim it as his own!  He says he likes it because it’s not one of those inky gel things.  I started to protest that he can’t have THAT particular pen and he had the nerve to interrupt me by asking if I didn’t think I had so many damned pens that I wouldn’t miss it.  The nerve.

Of course I wouldn’t miss it if I hadn’t seen him take it.  Men are so weird.

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.

Hindsight is a Beautiful Thing

Daily Prompt:  Hindsight

Now that you’ve got some blogging experience under your belt, re-write your very first post.

Strange as it may seem, I really have no idea what my very first post was.  I’ve been writing in some form or other my entire life and this blogging thing just seemed to be a natural progression from writing letters and e-mails and insanely witty posts on chat boards.  I imported a lot of posts from a  previous blog site when I was deleting and extensively cleaning house and starting over with WordPress.  That was six years ago.  Then I wrote a lot of new things which got all mixed up with my pages compositions and pictures and general all-over-the-place chatter, prattle and nonsense.  Not much has changed, has it?  Unless you count the direction in which this blog is going.  It’s like a leaf in the wind – hard to pin down.

The other thing that has changed in the last couple of years is my privacy policy.  That’s a nice way of saying I’ve become progressively less embarrassed about all the dumb things that pop up on my screen and do a lot less thinking about who is reading it.  If my own family members couldn’t be bothered to see what I was up to, chances are complete strangers were not hanging on my every word.  And then I got some comments and some followers and an incredibly puffed up ego and that’s partly why I’m still here I guess.

But the main reason is that I can’t NOT write.  It doesn’t matter if the results are good or bad or ugly or loved or ignored.  I do it for me first.  And for my grandchildren second, so that if they’re ever curious, they will know who I was and who their ancestors were and why they all need psychiatric help.

98 thingsThis is the revised version of a post I wrote in November, 2006 called 98 Things.  (Don’t panic, it’s not one of those never-ending lists – I left out the bad and the ugly this time around.)

Today at Chapters I picked up this little book by Rebekah Shardy.  I had two good reasons for doing so.  I go through Chapters when I leave the mall after getting my hair done, and I cannot possibly do that without buying something.  Okay, three reasons.  There’s just something irresistable about a little four-inch square book.

Some of these 98 things I have already accomplished:

1.  Go a month without shaving your legs  (only a month? hahaha….I am SO past that it isn’t even funny)

2.  Invent a punch that will raise eyebrows and lower inhibitions (come to my house for Christmas.  You will not leave sober.)

3.  Serve something flambe (YES!  I really did do that once!  No buildings burned down!)

4.  Sing to a child.  (Even though it’s not ALWAYS appreciated.) (Rock-a-bye Baby used to make my daughter sob…..”Don’t song mommy!”)

5.  Tell Richard Simmons to just shut up and sit down ( not face to face but via the t.v., which is the next best thing)

These are the ones I really think would be worth trying:

1.  Paint a mural of your imagined past lives (it would have to be a damned big piece of paper)

2.  Teach someone, besides a child, to read.   (Like a dog?)  (I know she means an adult.  But I love a challenge.)

3.  Be someone’s fairy godmother.  Wand optional.  (I would definitely not leave out the wand.)

4.  Write an unauthorized biography of your family, including embarrassing photos, a tribute to the infamous black sheep, and favourite recipes.  (Except for the recipes, I think that’s a work in progress here!  Sorry family.)

5.  Burn a cd with music you want played at your funeral:  baffle generations to come by including the rap song “I Like Big Butts”. (Sadly, I fear no one in my family would find that strange.)

6.  Cry in the rain (If you have to cry, that would be the perfect place to do it.)

7.  Remember life is too short for ironing, non fat dairy creamer and regret of any kind.  (Check, check and check.)

8.  Don’t indulge in one judgemental thought for an entire day.  Okay, an hour.  (Sigh – I could try for ten minutes)

9.  Write three haiku poems about your most amazing, horrible and baffling sexual experiences and frame them for your boudoir.  (OMG.  If I can just keep the hysterical laughter under control for a sufficient length of time I’m sure there are great rewards to be reaped from such an endeavor.)

10.  Explore your inner pagan by creating your own seasonal rituals:

– at the spring equinox, detox with a juice fast, sauna, and deep muscle massage

– at the summer solstice, hire a manicurist to give pedicures to you and four friends while your pampered klatch sips mint juleps

– at the fall equinox, organize a black clad beatnik poetry reading with the themes of rain, dissolution, and romance

– at the winter solstice, plant a circle of globed candles in a snowdrift and make wishes every night until they burn out  (I’m going to put every one of these on my calendar. My inner pagan is giddy with anticipation.)

And finally, the ones there is no way in hell I’d ever attempt.

1.  Stay in a convent for a week.  (What in the world for?  Would it be a test for me, or for them?)

2.  Ride a motorcycle alone across the Nevada desert.  (WHY?  No good could possibly come of it.  Unless someone is trying to kill me and I’ve decided to save them the bother.)

3.  Learn to belly dance and integrate it into your lovemaking.  (Okay, this lady does not know my husband.  He already thinks I’m crazy – why add to his arsenal of proof?)

4.  Design a picnic around aphrodisiacs – raw oysters, champagne, rose petal jam on chocolate fingers – then whisper in another’s ear the sensual images that passing clouds suggest.  (See the belly dancing comment above.  He would have me committed.)

What a great little book!  It also suggests you write an autobiography about the life you didn’t choose.  Gah.  I’m having trouble writing about the one I did choose, complete with my own 98 gazillion things I felt were important enough to do in my lifetime.  It’s just fun to see things from a new perspective.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going out to buy some castanets, and then I’m going to practice telepathy with my cat.

Everybody Should Have One of These Things

Early this morning I drove over to the mall and had my hair cut.  Every time this happens I manage to have a mild anxiety attack, but this time I’ll spare you the details.  It’s hair.  It will grow.  I must enjoy this process, because I keep repeating it.  The salon I went to is right next to Chapters and Starbucks, so it’s no great surprise that I spent another hour there searching for ways to get rid of even more money.

I got stuck in the Self Help section looking at books which want to teach me how to be happy.  And happier. And smarter and richer and more successful and focused and content and gawd only knows what else – I never made it to the bottom shelf.  I actually hate the bottom shelf and think everything in there should be placed at eye level for people like me who don’t feel like bending over.  If there was a book down there with advice on how to get over being so damned lazy I didn’t see it.

There is a happiness quiz in one of the books I decided to bring home with me.  If I pass that with flying colors I suppose I won’t have to read the rest of it. And without any advice at all I managed to buy something that has already made me very happy for inexplicable reasons.

It’s a desktop gargoyle.  I have never had a gargoyle before and until this morning I had no idea that I needed one.  Having inch long spiked up hair no longer matters.  The little book that comes with it says he will protect me from evil spirits and act as a warning to potential evil-doers.  It suggests I should get ready for an exciting life alongside my new beloved fiery-eyed friend.

Even without his eyes lit up he’s pretty impressive.  Available at Chapters.  If there are any more demented shoppers like me out there, these will be gone before you know it.  So get out there and get one NOW.

1,100 Ideas and Counting

No sooner had I finished writing about what I had for lunch than THIS little book was brought to my attention.

Really?  No one??  What if it was a tarantula and tuna eyeball stir fry?  Then would somebody care?

Margaret Mason, I hope there are lots of good ideas in your book because it’s now on my kindle, along with this book by Bryan Cohen.


Because 100 ideas are probably not enough for me.  I’m a glutton for punishment and opted for 10 times that amount.  That should get me through to the end of the year.

If it doesn’t, I might have to resort to listing various lunch items one more time. Sorry, I don’t know what came over me.

At Chapters on the weekend I picked up this book because of the delightful things it says on the back cover. It isn’t this crooked in real life.  Steampunk (which I had to look up because I’d never heard of it before) is a genre which originated during the 1980’s and early 1990’s and incorporates elements of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, horror, and speculative fiction.  Any book that can be both dreadful and sublime has to be worth whatever I paid for it.

The only drawback so far is that it’s hardcover and heavy and the slip cover kept falling off last night.  But right now that’s upside down in my scanner at an odd angle and I think I’ll just leave it there until I’m finished reading the book.

And then this is going to make an awesome addition to my library.  My first ever in the steampunk category.

Does anyone care what Joe Golem eats for lunch?  If I find out I’m certainly not going to tell you and risk being a mind numbing bore.  (Again.)

And I promise to share hundreds of ideas once I get around to finding out what they are.  Even if they’re completely nuts.  Or maybe especially if that’s the case.

Belonging to a Group

I used to belong to the Alberta Opticians Association, but now I belong to the College of Opticians of Alberta.  Because the name got changed.  And I have to belong, otherwise I can’t be licensed and practice opticianry.  Or whatever the hell it is I do.  I am regulated by the Health Professions Act.  I suppose there are worse things to be regulated by.

Also used to belong to book clubs but now that I live about a block away from Chapters and own a Kindle, there’s really no point.

In school I was never the club joining sort, lacking the passion I suppose for anything in particular.  When I was a stay at home mom living in the NWT I joined a Stitch and Bitch club, but the bitch percentage of our evenings was way too high for me.  Plus sewing makes me a little crazy.

Belonged to a chat board once that was great fun.  A select few, who were completely fed up with the Canadian Idol Forum and wanted a safer more sane place to converse, formed this group.  Then Facebook kind of took us over, but I still consider the people I came to know there, who are now my Facebook friends, as highly valued as any of my friends in real life.

And then there’s Plinky of course.  A group of blogging writers in various states of seriousness.  A wordsmith motley crew. Where some pretty amazing people keep me coming back for more.

Table Talk and Some Questionable Lyrics

It’s been another long summer, living alone, trying to entertain myself.  Not that W. is that great an entertainer, but at least when he’s around I have a reason for talking out loud.  Unlike now.  I sometimes talk to my fish, but who knows if he hears anything from under water.  Maybe he reads lips. And I sometimes make disparaging remarks to my computers, which up to this point in time refuse to converse with each other.  They both want their own home groups, and neither will include the other.  Obviously, there’s some little thing I’m missing and they don’t read lips either.

Chapters, how do I love thee?  You reward me with little gems just for showing up and wandering around.  “Table Topics” is an all plexiglass lidded cube full of square cards.  Each card has a topic on it.  In a sane household the family would sit down for dinner, a card would be drawn, the topic read, and the various answers discussed in a lively and delightful manner.  Is ‘sane household’ an oxymoron?  Probably.

Here’s my plan.  On the days when Plinky “plonks” (i.e. asks something infuriatingly stupid) I’m going to draw a card from the box and blog about that!  My computer is on a table, so it should all work out.

what’s

the most beautiful

drive you’ve

ever taken

This is how the cards throw a topic at you.  They’re not big on capital letters or punctuation, so I find myself  imagining a monotone robot type voice getting the idea out there but not caring in the least what your answer is or even if you have one.  ….next…..card……please…..

Nope, I promised myself I’d answer whatever came up, no matter what.  So the most beautiful drive I’ve ever taken has to be the one through the Atlantic provinces last fall with my sister, her husband, and W.  And all the stops along the way, of course.  The rocks, the sand, the fierce winds, the ocean’s roar, beautifully offset by the flaming fall colors.

I think it was when we were leaving Hopewell Rocks that we put one of our new cd’s on and were listening to Paddy Lay Back, and other pieces of uniquely maritime music;  ballads and reels about drunken sailors and phantom ships and rolling home and sailing away.

‘Twas a cold and dreary morning in December (December)
All of me money, it was spent, (Spent, spent)
Where it went to, Lord, I can’t remember (Remember)
So down to the shipping office I went (Went, went!)

Paddy lay back, (Paddy lay back!)
Take in the slack,  (Take in the slack)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Take a turn around the capstan, Heave a pawl! (Heave a pawl)
About ship’s stations, boys, be handy (Be handy!)
We’re bound for Valipariso ’round the Horn!

That day there was a great demand for sailors,
For the colonies, for ‘Frisco and for France.
So I shipped aboard a limey barque, the Hotspur,
An’ got paralytic drunk on my advance.

Now I joined her on a cold December mornin’,
A-frappin’ o’ me flippers to keep me warm,
With the south cone a-hoisted as a warnin’,
To stand by the comin’ of a storm.

Now some of our fellers had been drinkin’,
An’ I meself was heavy on the booze.
An’ I was on me ol’ sea-chest a’ thinkin’
I’d turn into me bunk an’ have a snooze.

I woke up in the mornin’ sick an’ sore,
I knew I was outward bound again;
I hears a voice a-bawlin’ at the door,
“Lay aft, ye sods, an’ answer to yer names.”

‘Twas on the quarterdeck where I first saw ’em.
Such an ugly bunch I never seen before,
For there was a bum and stiff from every quarter,
(For the captain had shipped a shanghai crew of Dutchmen)
An’ it made me poor ol’ heart feel sick and sore.

There was Spaniards an’ Dutchmen an’ Rooshians,
An’ Johnny Crapoos jist acrost from France.
An’ most of them could speak no word of English,
But answered to the name of `Month’s Advance!’

I wisht I was in the “Jolly Sailor,”
Along with Irish Kate a-drinkin’ beer,
An’ then I thought what jolly chaps were sailors,
An’ with me flipper I wiped away a tear.

I knew that in me box I had a bottle,
By the boardin’-master ’twas put there;
An’ I wanted something for to wet me throttle,
Somethin’ for to drive away dull care.

So down upon me knees I went like thunder,
Put me hand into the bottom o’ the box,
An’ what wuz me great surprise an’ wonder,
Found only a bottle o’ medicine for the pox.

I felt that I should skip an’ join another,
‘Twas plain that I had joined a lousy bitch;
But the chances wuz that I might join a worser,
An’ we might git through the voyage without a hitch.

I axed the mate a-which a-watch was mine-O,
Says he, “I’ll soon pick out a-which is which,”
An’ he blowed me down an’ kicked me hard a stern-O,
Callin’ me a lousy, dirty son o’ a bitch.

Now we singled up an’ got the tugs alongside,
They towed us through the locks an’ out to sea;
With half the crew a-pukin’ o’er the ship’s side,
An’ the bloody fun that started sickened me.

Although me poor ol’ head wuz all a-jumpin’,
We had to loose her rags the followin’ morn;
I dream the boardin’-master I was thumpin’,
When I found out he’d sent me around the Horn.

I swore I would become a beachie-comber,
An’ niver go to sea no ruddy more;
For niver did I want to be a roamer,
I’d shanghai the boardin’-master an’ stay ashore.

But when we got to bully ol’ Vallaparaiser,
In the Bay we dropped our mudhook far from shore;
The Ol’ Man he refused ter let us raise ‘er,
An’ he stopped the boardin’-masters comin’ aboard.

I quickly made me mind up that I’d jump ‘er,
I’d leave the beggar an’ git a job ashore;
I swum across the Bay an’ went an’ left ‘er,
An’ in the English Bar I found a whore.

But Jimmy the Wop he knew a thing or two, sir,
An’ soon he’d shipped me outward bound again;
On a Limey to the Chinchas for guanner,
An’ soon wuz I a-roarin’ this refrain.

So there was I once more again at sea, boys,
The same ol’ ruddy business o’er again.
Oh, stamp the caps’n round an’ make some noise, boys,
An’ sing again this dear ol’ sweet refrain.

The beauty of these songs is that they go on forever and you can sing along to the refrain between every silly verse,  to the delight of youself and your sister and the dismay of your spouses who are trying to drive and navigate in the front seat.  Awesome drive.  Wish that IT could have gone on forever too.

98 Things…

April 21

98 Things A Woman Should Do In Her Lifetime

Today at Chapters I picked up this little book by Rebekah Shardy.  I had two very good reasons for doing so.  I have to go through Chapters when I leave the mall after getting my hair done, and I cannot possibly go through Chapters without buying something.  Okay, three reasons.  There’s just something irresistable about a little four-inch square book.

Some of these 98 things I have already accomplished:

– go a month without shaving your legs  (only a month? hahaha….I am SO past that it isn’t even funny)

– invent a punch that will raise eyebrows and lower inhibitions (come to my house for Christmas.  You will not leave sober.)

– serve something flambe (YES!  I really did do that once!  No buildings burned down!)

– sing to a child.  (Even though it’s not ALWAYS appreciated.) (Rockabye Baby used to make my daughter sob…..”Don’t song mommy!”)

– tell Richard Simmons to just shut up and sit down ( not face to face but via the t.v., which is the next best thing)

These are the ones I really think would be worth trying:

– paint a mural of your imagined past lives (it would have to be a damned big piece of paper)

– teach someone, besides a child, to read

– be someone’s fairy godmother.  Wand optional.

– write an unauthorized biography of your family, including embarrassing photos, a tribute to the infamous black sheep, and favourite recipes.  (Except for the recipes, I could do that!)

– burn a cd with music you want played at your funeral:  baffle generations to come by including the rap song “I Like Big Butts”. (Sadly, I fear no one in my family would find that strange.)

– cry in the rain (If you have to cry, that would be the perfect place for it.)

– remember life is too short for ironing, non fat dairy creamer and regret of any kind.

– don’t indulge in one judgemental thought for an entire day.  Okay, an hour.  (Sigh)

– write three haiku poems about your most amazing, horrible and baffling sexual experiences and frame them for your boudoir.  (OMG.  If I can just keep the hysterical laughter under control for a sufficient length of time I’m sure there are great rewards to be reaped from such an endeavor.)

There is no way in hell I’d ever attempt any of these:

–  stay in a convent for a week.  (What in the world for?  Would it be a test for me, or for them?)

– ride a motorcycle alone across the Nevada desert.  (WHY?  No good could possibly come of it.  Unless someone is trying to kill me.)

– learn to belly dance and integrate it into your lovemaking.  (Okay, this lady does not know my husband.  He already thinks I’m crazy – why add to his arsenal of proof?)

– design a picnic around aphrodisiacs – raw oysters, champagne, rose petal jam on chocolate fingers – then whisper in another’s ear the sensual images that passing clouds suggest.  (See the belly dancing comment above.  He would have me committed.)

And finally, these are all do-able and sound like harmless fun!

Explore your inner pagan by creating your own seasonal rituals:

– at the spring equinox, detox with a juice fast, sauna, and deep muscle massage

– at the summer solstice, hire a manicurist to give pedicures to you and four friends while your pampered klatch sips mint juleps

– at the fall equinox, organize a black clad beatnik poetry reading with the themes of rain, dissolution, and romance

– at the winter solstice, plant a circle of globed candles in a snowdrift and make wishes every night until they burn out

What a great little book!  It also suggests you write an autobiography about the life you didn’t choose.  Gah.  I’m having trouble writing about the one I did choose, complete with my own 98 things I felt were important enough to do in my lifetime.  It’s just fun to see things from a new perspective.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going out to buy some castanets, and then I’m going to practice telepathy with my cat.