Sharing My World 13


The names of my grandchildren in scrabble letters! The perfect gift from a gifted grand-daughter.

Share Your World 2014 Week 51

Would you prefer snowy winters, or not, and why?

You get what you get, depending on where you choose to live I suppose.  When we lived in the Arctic above the tree line, the winters were long and dark and frozen solid.  So living way down south in the middle of Alberta (which is way up north to many people) seems balmy in comparison.  I have never liked the snow and the cold, but a winter without any snow at all would probably seem weird.  So far this year we haven’t had too much of the white stuff, but now that I’ve said that we’ll get royally dumped on.  No worries, I don’t have to go out in it or shovel it or even look at it if I don’t want to.  That’s what spouses with snow blowers are for.  And snow always eventually goes away.  That’s the part about it I like the best.

So, you’re on your way out and it’s raining. Do you know where your umbrella is or do you frantically search for it all over your apartment/house?

Usually my umbrella is in a basket on the shelf above the coats.  If it’s not there, it’s in my car from the last time I used it and didn’t bring it back in to the house.  It used to get left at work all the time if it was raining when I left to go there and not raining at home time.  No matter where it might be, there will be no frantic searching.  Coats are made with hoods for a reason.  I like the rain.  It doesn’t rain enough here.

Do you prefer your food separated or mixed together?

I don’t really care.  Either way, it’s purpose is to satisfy hunger and supply nourishment.  Sometimes I feel like I’m living in the Hunger Games city of Panem where food is so plentiful we forget it’s not there purely for our entertainment.  We play with fashion and we play with food while there are people in the world who are going without proper clothes or food or shelter,  and who must look at us and question our priorities and our sanity in the grand scheme of things.  A starving child isn’t concerned about the presentation or the proper utensils.  Or what to do with the annoying cereal dust at the bottom of the Cheerios box.

What is set as the background on your computer?

Well, funny you should ask.  I just changed it yesterday.  I was tired of looking at this elephant.

The-beautiful-elephant-sunsetAnd now I am looking at this, where they should also have mentioned coffee and chocolate.

winter books


Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I am grateful for the best Christmas yet (every one is the best ever – funny how they just keep getting better…) with all the grandchildren and sons and daughters and dogs.  It was relaxing and delicious.  I shared a bedroom with W, so I had to either learn how to use ear plugs or live with sleep deprivation.  I chose the former.  When he snores, the walls go in and out, I swear, and you can’t hear planes flying overhead.  Now I know what to expect when what’s left of my hearing finally goes.  It was kind of nice in a way, getting up and wandering around and having no idea at all how much noise I might be making.

This week I’m looking forward to New Years Eve and maybe actually making it to midnight with my eyes open!  That seems like a reasonable goal and one that I won’t be too sorry about if (as usual) I don’t make it.


Art du Jour 2

I have a deep respect for anyone who can look at a face and draw it and end up with it looking like the face they’re looking at. My results always resemble distant relatives. If not complete strangers.  So I’ve learned to like surprises.

This morning the ground is covered in snow and it’s still falling in big fat white flakes.  A man with a black umbrella walks his little dog on the slushy sidewalk.  Our neighbour returns from his daily trip to Tim Hortons but he won’t be sipping his morning coffee on the deck today.  Kids on their way to school saunter by with snow on their backpacks and their hatless heads.  Tough northern teens too hardy and cool to care about frozen fingers and frost-bitten ears.  Who would not be caught dead with an umbrella.

Big plans for the day – fill up the bird feeders for the blue jays, finally go through my ancient paints and discard the ones that are old and dried up and useless.  Make a list of what needs to be replaced.  Pay some bills. Try not to die from all the excitement.  Stay warm.

What Happiness Is

Yay, it’s another LIST!  I live for lists.  When I got home from work yesterday I realized that I’d been relatively happy all day long.  How odd.  I need to figure out why so I can do that again sometime.

Happiness Is……

 – waking up before the alarm goes off and realizing I can go back to sleep for another hour.

– having enough time to finish my morning coffee.

– booking extra walk-in eye exam appointments for the doctor so he has a much less crappy day.

– finding out all my contact lens patients have rescheduled or cancelled.  Proving my theory that if people book on a Saturday they will always think of something better to do with their weekend.

– listening to a wild and crazy thunderstorm and the rain pounding on the roof.

– realizing the rain has finally stopped right after remembering my umbrella is in the car.

– getting everything finished and clocking out on time because no crazy person wandered in after I turned the lights out to ask if we were closed.

– finding out it rained so hard it beat all the dirt off my car so now I don’t have to wash it.

– not having to stop and pick up anything on the way home.

– discovering I didn’t leave the bedroom window wide open after all.

– eating a piece of toast slathered with Nutella.  Knowing nobody saw me do that.

– watching “Water for Elephants” on Netflix, skipping over the cruel and brutal parts and replaying the touching scenes one more time.

– knowing that I’ve made it through yet another day, unharmed, still breathing, and mentally sound.  (Well, two out of three ain’t bad.)

It’s been raining all night long.  Our lawn is as green as a golf course and the air is so fresh it makes me want to breathe in and never exhale.  Have a Happy end-of-a-splendid-week-end Sunday.  🙂

Umbrella Day?

Who decided that the 10th of February would be a good umbrella day?  Or maybe a better question is where in the world is it raining today?  Not here, that’s for sure.  It’s 18 below.

There’s another umbrella day coming up in May and I think I’d rather celebrate that one.  So I’m going to make this one “Start Looking For Your Umbrella Now So You Have A Slim Chance In Hell Of Finding It By Springtime Day”.  I do have one somewhere – it’s kind of purple-y and pattern-ish….and little enough when collapsed to fit into very small spaces.  So that I can carry it anywhere, and also misplace it quite easily.

The first umbrella I ever owned was baby blue.  Then I went to black, having become much more sophisticated and boring.  Since attending a funeral where it was raining at the grave side and black umbrellas were everywhere, I don’t like them anymore.  Rain on my face would have been infinitely better than how it made me feel to look up at that ugly black barrier between myself and heaven.

Umbrellas are sometimes pretty useless.  I walked home from work once in such a down pour that the rain was hitting the sidewalk and bouncing back up, a foot high, I swear.  I was soaked from the waist down by the time I got home.  I’ve had an umbrella turn inside out in the wind, and opened a brand new three dollar one that had three broken spokes which were either there to begin with or happened with the trauma of being opened.  I should have taken it back for a refund, but seriously, who in their right mind thinks a three dollar umbrella is going to last longer than it takes you to walk to your car.  Live and learn.

I’ve never had a red umbrella, and I think it’s time.  So if I don’t find the purple one, at least I have some sort of back up plan in place.  Last July the two little girls next door went out walking down the sidewalk in front of our house all decked out in their yellow rain slickers and pink rubber boots carrying their Dora umbrellas – in the bright summer sunshine.  If little kids with vivid imaginations can get away with that, I see no reason why eccentric old people shouldn’t also be allowed to use their umbrellas whenever they feel like it.

And that gives me a clue as to who the Umbrella Day in February founder may have been.  Someone for whom every day is a potential umbrella day. So here’s my sage advice for this umbrella day in mid winter.  Carry an umbrella with you wherever you go.  Get one that stands out in a crowd.  Spend more than three bucks on it.  And in the case of high winds or torrential downpours, call a cab.

Perfect Weather

How often do we get perfect weather here? Absolutely every day.

It’s always perfect weather for something.

Like taking a walk in the pouring rain. Carrying a bright red umbrella, splashing through the puddles and breathing in the fresh clean air.

When the wind is strong and the sun is hot, I hang my laundered sheets and towels outside and watch them billow and snap and dance on the line. Later when I gather them up in my arms and carry them inside they smell like heaven.

When its dull and overcast and cool, it’s perfect weather for throwing some comfort food in the crock pot, lighting a couple of scented candles, curling up in a comfy chair with an excellent book.

When it snows and blows and is dismally cold, that’s the perfect weather for digging out those fuzzy red socks with the reindeer on them that I got some long ago Christmas and swore I’d never wear. If I’m really lucky, I’ll also stumble upon the matching fuzzy red sweater and scarf that came with them.

When thunder rumbles and lightning flashes in the night sky, I love to sit in the dark and watch it through my rain streaked windows. I know some great, spooky, blood curdling stories. If you’ve heard them before, I can make up more. This is the perfect background weather for sharing spine chilling tales.

Tornados are great for hiding in the basement under the stairs. I’ve lived through one, and if there’s ever another, it will be a good time for learning to more fully appreciate nature’s powers. While I sit quietly contemplating the odds of an afterlife.

And really, no matter what the weather is like – hot, cold, wet, dry, not co-operating with whatever activity I’ve planned – it’s always the perfect topic for starting a conversation or filling up an awkward pause. The perfect reason to whine and complain, with no expectations on anyone’s part that anything at all can be done about it.

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My Experience with Natural Disasters

I was five years old when Hurricane Hazel swept through Toronto, Ontario, southeast of where we lived. I don’t remember a thing about it, except for listening to the adults exclaim and carry on forever after it was over. To me it was just another big old rain storm. But they couldn’t get over remarking about how bizarre it was to have a tropical Atlantic hurricane make it so far north and so far inland. All I could think of was the big bustling lady we knew named Hazel, all energetic and noisy. She had a bunch of kids and a no-nonsense attitude – I thought it was wonderful that they named the storm after her.

In 1987 I watched the tornado that swept across the eastern side of Edmonton, through the ‘green belt’, right beside the office building where I worked. The reception area was in a big glass dome, so the view was great. We had no idea what was going on. Once again, looked like a big old rain storm to me. The power went out and the sky was black at four in the afternoon. Someone remarked that it looked like the end of the world. Another person with a little battery operated radio was going on about flooding and people being killed and blown off the highway and disaster and havoc. He was quite annoying, and we were sure he was blowing things all out of proportion, but no one told him to shut up. I remember hoping for the rain to let up enough that I wouldn’t get completely drenched going across the parking lot. I didn’t have an umbrella.

Ignorance is bliss, isn’t it? When I got home and the power was back on I watched the devastation on tv in utter amazement, and still some disbelief. My husband and kids were on holiday in Ontario on the island, and I couldn’t reach them by phone. I did talk to my parents finally, to tell them I was fine, but they hadn’t heard a thing about it yet. I was kind of miffed, home alone, no one knowing or caring that I had been that close to a tornado and was still alive. Now when you mention our own Black Friday here, even after all this time, everyone has a story to tell.

In comparison to some of them which are ten times more dramatic, mine is rather lame. I tend not to panic about things I suppose. But then my house was still standing and I didn’t personally know any of the people who lost their lives. As far as experiencing disasters go, I guess you could say mine were not that bad.

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