Ask A Silly Question

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” ~Rumi

Publicity photo of The Supremes from The Ed Su...

Publicity photo of The Supremes from The Ed Sullivan Show. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daily Prompt:  When you were 10, what did you want to be when you grew up? What are you now? Are the two connected?

Art class was one of the things I loved most about elementary school, a close runner-up to reading everything I could get my hands on and making up long and involved (very loosely based on reality) stories of my own.  I remember the day our teacher gave us big blank pieces of art paper and told us to paint a picture which illustrated the answer to the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

In my short little life so far I had been asked that question about a billion times and was really sick of the people pleasing answers I felt compelled to come up with in response to it.  I usually said whatever I thought was most likely to get the adult harassing me to smile and nod and then go away and pick on somebody else.  It was my experience that grown ups really didn’t care what you wanted to be when you grew up, it was just a thing they asked kids when they couldn’t think of anything else to say.

This art assignment was less structured than normal, almost like being asked to paint whatever popped into our heads. So here’s what popped into mine.

I painted a stage across the bottom and a beautiful sparkly gossamer curtain across the back with lines and lines of flowing folds.  On the stage stood a beautiful blonde woman in a gorgeous white evening gown which looked like a wedding dress without the veil.  So I added a couple of gigantic red roses and a bow for clarification.  In her hands she held a microphone attached to a long black cord that coiled off to one side and out of the picture.  This was back in the day when microphones could be taken off their stands allowing performers to walk around trying not to get tangled up in a bunch of wires.  The lady’s eyes were closed and her mouth was a big round red O taking up half her face. There were musical notes floating around above her head.   It was a beautiful picture and I was incredibly proud of it.  Because that was going to me – drop dead gorgeous, blonde, dressed to kill and singing my heart out on the Ed Sullivan Show.

So how did that work out for me?  Actually, not well.  I can’t sing.  I don’t look so great with blond hair – tried it once and didn’t have any more fun than I’d had as a brunette.  Never in my life have I owned or felt the urge to purchase such elaborate formal wear. Or one of those big poufy wedding dresses either. Red lipstick makes me look weird.  I have never used a microphone or done anything on a stage where I was the center of attention unless you count being handed a diploma. And Ed Sullivan died before I could be discovered.  If he was alive today he’d still be waiting.

Today I work in the medical field and wear a lab coat at work every day.  Hey – it’s white!  So that part of my vision of the future was bang on.  The rest, not so much. Even as the picture took form all those years ago I’m sure I knew it was just a silly dream and simply an excuse to paint a beautiful lady in a stunning dress.

I try to make a point of never, ever, asking a young child what they want to do with their lives.  How can they possibly know?  What a kid does know is what’s fun, what makes them laugh the hardest, what games they like to play, which books are the best to read.  They’ve got years and years to live and so many things to experience and even then their life work decisions may never be carved in stone.

Now I’d answer the question by saying simply that I just want to be happy.  There’s time enough to discover all the ways there are to make that happen.

The True Cost of Living While Insuring Yourself to Death

Big House

Big House (Photo credit: Stephen Downes)

Prompts for the PromptlessTrue Cost is a term for the often-overlooked, comprehensive expense of something, including the time-related and emotional costs.

(Example:  You can purchase a cat for money.  Let’s say $100.  That’s the basic cost.  The True Cost of the cat, though, is in the litter box, food bowl, cat carrier, food, vet bills, litter, the time spent on the cat, shirts that are torn by tiny kitten claws, the worry you experience when the cat is ill, and the grieving if the cat passes away before you.)

You can try to calculate the true cost of things, but I’m betting once you get started you’ll wish you hadn’t bothered.  I thought for this prompt it might be interesting to add up all the insurance premiums we’ve paid over the years.  Because, let’s face it, we like to insure ourselves and everything around us against every possible calamity imaginable.   There is home insurance, insurance for household contents, fire, theft, auto, health, illness, mortgage, accident, travel, property, professional and personal liability, LIFE….and of course alien abduction.  That last one we were never offered and so we don’t have it.  Now that I’ve admitted to being lax about purchasing that particular insurance, no doubt the aliens will be around later tonight to take us away without any fear of being sued.

Just making this list of all the types of insurance was traumatic enough, never mind calculating actual dollar amounts.  No point in making myself suicidal.

I also considered discussing the true cost of purchasing your own house.  We own a home which is mortgage free.  I always thought it would give me such a wonderful feeling of pride and contentment to be able to say that.  Now I realize the house actually owns us.  We are its caretakers.  It has NEEDS.  Once the mortgage is paid, the house feels free to start falling apart.  Appliances break down.  Floor coverings wear out.  Paint peels.  Furnaces die of old age.  Windows need replacing.

Being done with mortgage payments simply means there’s some extra cash left at the end of the month to put towards maintenance and upkeep and renovations.  Or in other words, keeping the damned place from falling down around you while you sleep.

I’m no accountant, but I think the cost of owning your own home is probably equal to your entire monthly take home pay plus about 15%.  You can own it free and clear for about five minutes.  Then you’ll have to dish out more money to keep it nice.

So, here’s my advice to all you people out there who are obsessed with knowing the true cost of something.  Stop worrying about it.  If you want something enough, (like pets or kids or ridiculously huge amounts of life insurance),  ultimately the true cost is just a number.  You will work hard to make your dreams happen, you will do whatever you have to do, even if it all seems at times to be hopelessly out of reach.  If its important enough to you, you will find a way.  And true cost be damned, you will be happy you did.

Nobody Likes This

nobody likes this

 

This reminds me of the suggestion to change my password to ‘incorrect‘ so that when I can’t remember it, the prompt will say ‘your password is incorrect’.

No, I don’t know why two such dissimilar things seem to me to be connected but there you go.

We spent an excellent weekend with kids and grandkids, and although I hate to say so and jinx it, the weather was BEAUTIFUL!  It’s actually still beautiful today.  We were sitting outside on lawn chairs beside our snow mountain watching the kids try to pummel it into submission, but it’s a pretty hard packed hill that will be around for a while yet.  There was also a dog catching snowballs.  Entertainment like that is hard to find.

When I got home from work today there were three messages with gorgeous artwork sitting on the pillows of my bed, and another one on top of my computer.  See how well these kids know me?  Those are the two places I would be certain to find stuff, that’s for sure.  And my fridge is completely papered over once again with delightful works of art.

I hope everyone had a great Easter weekend and a fun April Fools Day.   Think Spring.

Let’s Talk Turkey

“I hate turkeys. If you stand in the meat section at the grocery store long enough, you start to get mad at turkeys. There’s turkey ham, turkey bologna, turkey pastrami. Some one needs to tell the turkey, ‘man, just be yourself.’ ” (Mitch Hedberg)

Our son was born when his sister was 18 months old. She wasn’t able to say his name, so she called him Tookie (rhymes with cookie). Pretty soon we were referring to him by that odd little nickname too. Until one day a friend asked me, in all seriousness, why we called our baby a turkey. Silly goose. So we stopped calling him that at once, or cold turkey if you prefer.

Our thanksgiving was the 11th of October, which gives us Canadians a much longer break between turkeys before Christmas rolls around and we get back into stuffing mode. I do love turkey and would roast one more often if they weren’t so incredibly huge. The leftovers seem to go on and on forever if you’re foolish enough to invite too few people over to share it.

My mom always put her turkey in the roaster upside down so that the breast meat would not dry out. Looks bizarre, but works like a charm. She also made a crock pot full of stuffing on the side. My mother-in-law always roasts plump sausages in with the bird. The juices from that combination makes the best gravy ever.

Okay, all this turkey talk is making me hungry, and our next turkey feast is still a month away.

“Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.” ~Erma Bombeck

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends.

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