Party Like It is 1965!

A cooked hot dog garnished with mustard.

A cooked hot dog garnished with mustard. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Party! Party! Party! (Sorry that was a chant from 1973, the beginning of my university academic life–probably should have been study! study! study!–but just doesn’t have the same ring to it!)

Let the frivolity begin! It is Friday. Not only that, it is the beginning of a holiday weekend. The reason for the holiday weekend is superfluous to me; the important thing is that it is a holiday weekend.

Does anyone remember having wiener roasts? When it was okay to offer people hot dogs roasted over a real fire, with real wood in a brick encased fire pit? My parents had a sort of outdoor mini fireplace they built with my older brothers’ help and it was the heart of  summer at my house.

We gathered around the makeshift hearth for many a wiener roast, hamburger binge, and on occasion steak fry (it was not really fried, hence I do not understand the term, but hey, who am to argue with a time-honoured tradition?)

We did not have steak a lot, but my parents would buy a half cow or quarter cow at the end of summer from some farmer who had it wrapped in a million big and little brown packages secured with string.  At the beginning of the procurement of the partial cow, we had the steaks. The steaks were big T-bones, and if I remember correctly, I could eat one that was about half my size. Now mind you, as I get more mature (?) I may remember things a little differently than they really were—but I swear those steaks were humongous.

And we would have potato salad with egg (always with egg), cottage cheese encased in green Jell-O (which I would never, ever eat!), huge mounds of coleslaw, and for dessert there was watermelon. We would cut it so that we could eat it without forks, and of course have seed spitting contests. (This sounds like I am making it up—but I am not—just ask my brothers and sister—oh, sorry—they do not want me to divulge their identities—so you will just have to take it from me).

English: fresh potato salad

English: fresh potato salad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There will be no wiener roast for me this Labour Day weekend. We had to retire our barbeque a few weeks ago as it had just given up the ghost. We put it out at the road, and some poor guy came along and took it before garbage day, and as he was loading it onto his truck, all the burnt briquettes spilled out onto him. I just happened to be looking out the front window when he was loading it up and felt bad for him. Hope he got something out of it for his trouble.

Anyway, I digress. I am not sure what is on the menu for this weekend. Are any of you having a barbeque you want to invite a charming couple to—we will byob and some extra if you throw a couple more hot dogs on the *barby for us. Have the mustard ready!

*Friends from down under — did I spell this right – feel free to correct me and I will edit it.

Published in: on August 31, 2012 at 2:16 pm  Comments (38)  
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Comforts ~ Day 19 Or Last Day of Boring You ~

Electricity

Electricity (Photo credit: elycefeliz)

Gratitude is a funny thing. We take so many things for granted and are not thankful for them because they are just there. But when they are not, we are stymied. Last night I noticed a piece of paper hanging out of my mailbox.  I was curious, as the mail comes in the morning and generally the mailbox sits bereft after the morning offering. The notice was from the electrical company, and we were going to be without electricity for 2 ½ hours on Thursday morning. Okay, I thought, that does not sound too bad—I can handle that, and did not think any more of it.

This morning I tried to use what needed to be used before the hydro went off. And I have been quite patient—but it has been off three hours now, and not the promised 2 ½ and I am starting to get ever so slightly irritated. Even agitated. Am I suffering from blog withdrawal? Because when the hydro is off, so is my Internet, and that is not something I bargained on.

Midway through the last sentence the electricity came back on. (Seriously, it did – I am not making this up for the sake of this post.) The fan is whirling, the CD player is doing something (I don’t know what but it is making noise), and my screen just brightened up—as I am no longer having to depend on the battery for my laptop.

Just a minute and I will be back—must go turn on the AC as it is getting a bit warm in here.

Okay, I am back.

So, guess what I am grateful for? You guessed it—

1. Electricity is number one on my list today. We take it so for granted, but without it we are lost. Sometimes I welcome the loss of electricity during a storm at night—it is kind of peaceful—but during the day, it is just irritating.

2. I am thankful for my microwave, my stove, my fridge, my computer, my printer, the lights, my television(s), radios, stereos, and all those other gadgets and thingamabobs that need electricity.

3. And last, but not least, I am glad this is the last day of my gratitude challenge—not because I have run out of things to be grateful for—I have just run out of ways to make it interesting!

So what should my next challenge be? Any suggestions?

Published in: on August 30, 2012 at 4:57 pm  Comments (35)  
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Something a little lighter ~ one might call it flakier

THE HAGUE: Prison Gate

THE HAGUE: Prison Gate (Photo credit: Akbar Simonse)

I received an email today that I think was supposed to make me angry. But instead I was left relieved. It showed a beautiful building with a pool and game courts and some rather luxurious amenities. But it was not a new hotel or spa. It was a newly built prison. I was supposed to be outraged about how my government was spending our money—but I was not.

What the person who sent me the email did not know was that my plans for retirement include perpetrating a crime that will get me into one of these institutions of higher learning. It will not be a heinous crime—just one bad enough to get me incarcerated in one of the nicer prisons—sort of like when Martha Stewart went to jail and taught her “roommates” how to

Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

cook and crochet and make potpourri bundles.

I have not quite figured out the crime I am going to carry out—but it will be one I can undo once I have achieved my goal. If I steal a great deal of money, I will just hide it and give it back. If I get a stock “tip” I will give back the money I earned dishonestly. I am not going to hurt anyone or do any real damage.

This is what comes of being a freelancer – no pension, nothing saved, and not much earned to speak of. If you have any ideas for me of the perfect non-violent crime that can be undone once my housing arrangements are finalized, don’t be shy—share them with me.

Right now, I am supposed to be doing some bookwork for my husband’s company (something which involve my nemesis:numbers) so I am procrastinating once again and creating something  I like to call “a little less than literature.”

Published in: on August 29, 2012 at 6:54 pm  Comments (46)  
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Comforts ~ Day 17 or No Way, Jose

I know the deal is that I am to be grateful for three things a day for 18 days, but I am going to break this little contract and just be grateful for one thing today and that is the word

Jose Oliveiro

Jose Oliveiro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NO

I am reading a book by the same name written by Jim Camp, who subtitled it “The Only Negotiating System You Need for Work and Home.”  And though the word NO may superficially seem negative, it is one of the most positive things you can do for yourself.

How so, you ask?

Being able to say “NO”, makes you less needy, and if you are less needy then you have more power. Not power in the sense that you can be Queen or King of the world, but power over your life.

Camp says that when he introduces the word NO in his training sessions, he asks participants what it means to them—and their answers are all negative:  it means the end, walk away, never return, good-bye, total rejection, it is all over, failure. But in reality he says that by always saying yes, your mindset is both compromised and fear-based.

I have been guilty of not saying NO to things and ending up doing stuff because I was afraid or unable to say NO. NO seems like a dangerous word according to Camp, because “Everyone wants to be liked, and if you say no you’ll be disliked.”

NO is a powerful word. I have provided a very rudimentary and simplistic explanation of something which is neither rudimentary or simplistic, but I have to say that Camp has something here.  Think about it the next time you feel pressured into saying yes, and consider NO as an option.

Published in: on August 29, 2012 at 3:20 pm  Comments (29)  

Comforts ~ Day 16 or Grateful Does Not Need a Laugh Track

Lady Grey Tea

Lady Grey Tea (Photo credit: tyfn)

One of my favourite songs is from The Sound of Music. Called “My Favourite Things” I can conjure it up in my mind’s eye easily and  hear Julie Andrews singing it in her imitable lilt. The last stanza says it all:

“When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favourite things
And then I don’t feel so bad.”

My favourite things do not necessarily mirror those in the song—raindrops on roses is a lovely and lyrical sentiment and whiskers on kittens is cute, but not really my cup of tea or glass of gin and tonic with a twist (or for that matter a cold beer or icy Coke—but now I am just getting carried away). Some of my favourite things are the things I am most grateful for, and are little scenarios that get played out in everyday life. I am grateful for

1. Family gatherings at holidays, but also impromptu gatherings of friends. Too much planning kills my enjoyment—but just enough planning makes it special. When you hit that balance, it is gold.

2. A good book, a cozy corner on the couch, a soft blanket, with gentle music in the background, sipping a cup of Lady Grey tea and devouring half a package of shortbread cookies.

3. Watching the television program “Community” with my youngest son; attending a “gig” of my oldest son’s band (even at a biker campground); and watching Power and Politics with my husband and having a lively political discussion.

I like to write on the “lighter” side and throw in a few quips and what I consider clever asides—but I find it hard to do when I am being grateful, and maybe that is alright. Maybe being grateful does not have to be clever~

Gin and Tonic

Gin and Tonic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Comforts ~ Day 15 or Rain

Raining

Raining (Photo credit: Wikipedia):

Three things I am thankful for today:

1. It is raining so I do not have to water the garden.

2. It is raining so my husband is getting a much-needed day off work.

3. It is raining—but not too much—no gales, no tornadoes, no hurricanes, no hail.  Just enough rain to leak into my front hall closet, but nowhere else. And I have a big bowl in there to catch it. So no biggy. Nothing like the people in the southern United States. So I am grateful.

Published in: on August 27, 2012 at 5:16 pm  Comments (39)  
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Comforts ~ Day 14 Or Moving Day

Sunday Morning

Sunday Morning (Photo credit: jspaw)

“Nothing is worth more than this day.”  ~  Goethe

Go gently into this good Sunday. That is what I am going to try to do. It is early—4:21 a.m. and it is moving day. I am going to go gently into this day, knowing that it is going to be a long, busy, trying and emotional day. In a few hours we will be loading up the truck and finding our way back to my youngest son’s home away from home. His house is only two blocks from his college—so today these are the things I am grateful for:

1. Tyler is just a hop, skip and a jump from his front door to the college, which means he can get up a half hour before classes, get ready and get to school on time (unless of course he has to wash his hair).

2. He bought himself a new bike for $40 from a charity store—so not only did he help someone out with his purchase, if something happens to his bike then he is not out much. And it is a pretty darn good bike, though not shiny and new.

3. He will be fulfilling a challenge and reaching a goal. How can I complain about that?

Yes, I will miss him. But this is just one more journey of life. I do not always like the bumpy roads on our journey, but I respect the fact that they have to be traversed.

Published in: on August 26, 2012 at 8:38 am  Comments (47)  
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Comforts ~ Day 13 Or What Is the Rush? ~

August 20 National Day 2012

August 20 National Day 2012 (Photo credit: HatM)

I don’t know about you, but I am getting tired of people telling me to live in the now, enjoy the present, don’t look back, don’t look too far ahead…you know the drill. But, what I am not sick of is the fact that they have a point.

It is August, it is still summer, yet our minds are jetting off to school, and thinking about Thanksgiving (after all in Canada it is in October, and early this year even for us) and Halloween. I am surprised the Christmas hullabaloo hasn’t started yet. It is only August 25th, people!  Let’s slow down, roll the clock back to today’s date and simmer down.

I have a friend who tried to buy some lawn chairs the other day and was told at the hardware store that they are now putting their winter stuff out. It is August for goodness sake—and in this area we could have warm weather for at least two more months. Last Thanksgiving I remember cooking a turkey on a day that reached temps in the 80’s (or high 20’s for those of us in Canada who think in Celsius—I still have to convert.)

Today I am going to be grateful for

1. The fact that we really have almost a month of summer left. It does not stop at Labour Day. Now summer is not my favourite time of year, and I admit I have been trying to rush summer along to get to my favourite season, but for now, I am going to stop, and live here, today, in August.

2. Not having to don a coat and mittens and boots to go out the door. Just put on a pair of flip flops and go!

3.  The fact that my AC has frozen up. This gives me even more of a chance to bask in this lovely season of summer.  (I am ironically grateful for this.)

So, what was this post about? Live in the now, enjoy the present, don’t look back, and don’t look too far ahead. (Here I am, being ironic again!)

Published in: on August 25, 2012 at 2:23 pm  Comments (42)  
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Comforts ~ Day 12 Or Can I Type Through My Tears?

Governor General of Canada visits Victoria

Governor General of Canada visits Victoria (Photo credit: BC Gov Photos)

Today we start packing. Tyler, my youngest son, is going back to college a week early to get organized, meet his counsellor, and look for a part-time job. This is the third time he has left for school. The first year was hard, but I was excited for him. The second year was hard but I was glad he was continuing his education. This third year—it is still hard. But, nevertheless, I have found some things to be grateful for:

1. He has become an independent being, able to do his own laundry, cook for himself, and schedule his time. He is not perfect with all these things—but neither am I, and I have had more practice.

2. I will continue my tradition of  writing my little emails to him every day. The Governor General of Canada did the same thing when his girls were in post-secondary school, so I figure that gives me the freedom to do the same.  I know that the only responses I will get will be “meh”, or when I ask him to write back, he taps this little note to me: “back”.

3. I am grateful  that he is just on the other end of the phone and that I am one of his frequent ten phone pals (so not only is the call free, I take this as a sign that he “likes” me.)

I am happy that he is going to school – I truly am. And I know that at 21 it is not unusual for kids not to live at home—they have a whole world out there waiting for them. But I often wonder where the heck did the time go? One day they are trying to get a bird to land on their hand (oh, the innocence of little ones) and the next they are flying free themselves.

The worst part of this whole exercise is after we have helped him move into his home away from home. When we take our leave, he always stands in the driveway and waves at us until we are out of sight. This gets me every time (yes I am tearing up as I write this), but I have done it many times before and I will do it again.

Grateful thing number 4 just for today: I still have him home for two more days!

Published in: on August 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm  Comments (46)  
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Comforts ~ Day 11 or “I am too Quirky for my Shirt”

Birds in a row

Birds in a row (Photo credit: The Wren Design)

Anyone can be grateful for the beauty of nature, the kindness of strangers, and that they have a roof over their heads and food on the table.  I have a few things I am grateful for that others might find questionable:

1. I am grateful for crazy glue.

2. I am happy that birds do not die when they perch on electrical wires.

3. I am glad that the cat next door is such a tyrant. Makes me appreciate my cat.

Synopsis of today’s post: Short and sweet sprinkled with a little weird and quirky.

 

Published in: on August 23, 2012 at 5:51 pm  Comments (32)  
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