Something stupid…………

Scan of Bad to the Bone cigar band

Bad to the Bone cigar band (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 A favourite word of mine is “Stupid”. Not because I like being stupid, but because the word covers a multitude of things. I do not swear (often) so I use the word stupid instead. I use the word stupid like most people swear because I was once told that I could not pull off spouting swear words. I was told that I did not look like a person who drank beer either, but luckily I shrugged that one off.

            I purchased a birthday card for a friend (Rhonda if you are reading this you must stop now) that is really stupid, but I just love it. On the front of the card is a picture of a bull dog who is saying “I want you to have a Happy Birthday”. That is not the stupid part. When you open the card, the words inside say: “You got a problem with that?” Now I would have written “You got a bone to pick with me about that?”  But since I do not make my millions writing for Hallmark I will let that one go. That is not the stupid part either.

            Now here is the stupid part—it is one of those musical cards and when you open it, the song “Bad to the Bone” growls out melodically at you. I just love it. And admittedly it is stupid. And if we don’t get together for a birthday lunch for Rhonda soon and I give her the card, I am afraid that the song will be played out by the time she gets it. It seems I just cannot resist opening the card randomly during the day and listening to “Bad to the Bone.”

            If you happen to be interested, “Bad to the Bone” was written by George Thorogood in 1981 and performed by George and his mighty band, “The Destroyers”. For your further edification, here are the lyrics to the first verse and chorus:

On the day that I was born…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… The nurses all gathered ’round
And they gazed in wide wonder
At the joy they had found
The head nurse spoke up
Said “leave this one alone”
She could tell right away
That I was bad to the bone

Bad to the bone
Bad to the bone
B-B-B-B-Bad
B-B-B-B-Bad
B-B-B-B-Bad
Bad to the bone

 Okay, enough of that stupidity. I have collected a number of “Quotes about Stupid” from the Goodreads site for your reading pleasure—hope one hits your funny bone (see what I did there—but if I have to point it out…):

  1. From that infamously wise man known as George Carlin: “Here’s all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid.” (Now this may seemingly be politically incorrect, but hey, a man said it—and I don’t mind being called crazy.)

 2. Now this next one, attributed to author John Green, is a little more subtle, but stupid all the same: “I figured something out. The future is unpredictable.”

 3. Bertrand Russell made this observation: “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are so certain of themselves, but wiser men are full of doubts.” Quite philosophical our Mr. Russell was, and I am certain he was not one to suffer fools gladly, but I could be wrong.

4. Victor Hugo said something I am not so sure I agree with. He said: “An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise.” Not to put too fine a point on it, but if you are in hell, do you really care if it is intelligent? Just asking.

5. And my favourite is this one, by a man after my own heart, John Green (remember you met him in number 2?) who seems to swears like I do: “Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, crap,….”

What is your favourite word you use instead of cursing?

Published in: on July 29, 2013 at 5:01 pm  Comments (25)  
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Are You Your Tagline?

Tagline...

Tagline… (Photo credit: Heartlover1717)

Michelle’s prompt: “Often, our blogs have taglines. But what if humans did, too? What would your tagline be?”

My answers:

My tagline would read much like the explanation of what my blog is about: funny, poignant, serious and quirky. I think these four words sum me up pretty well.

Funny can run the gamut from hilarious to facetious, from drool to waggish, and comical to amusing. These are all facets of the same word and the same person. Sometimes my humour is lame, sometimes it hits the mark. Much like me.

Poignant or tender, emotional, expressive, and heartrending are the lovely sides of this word, but it can also mean sad, heart-breaking and distressing—all of which are parts of me.

Serious. Life can be serious sometimes—sombre, staid, and quiet but also thoughtful. And serious things tend to have significance and honesty. I hope I am these last two things: significant and honest.

Quirky. Without a bit of eccentricity, unpredictability, individuality, and yes even oddness, we would be pretty darn boring. I sometimes think I am a bit boring, but I hide it behind my quirkiness.

Other tag words I would to be associated with are:  loving, kind, smart (hey, we can all dream), steadfastness, dependable, humane, gentle and generous. They may not all apply all the time, but they are my goals.

What would your taglines be?

Published in: on June 19, 2013 at 12:44 pm  Comments (43)  
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Possibility Revisited

~ Champagne  View ~

~ Champagne View ~ (Photo credit: ViaMoi)

Last Monday I posted this quote. This week I am reposting it with some context–it is my weekly column for the newspaper:

“When nothing is sure, everything is possible.” ~ Margaret Drabble, English author

“Things I Know for Sure” is a topic that Oprah takes on monthly in her magazine. She is sure about a lot of things, but I imagine a column called “Things I Do Not Know For Sure” would have a longevity far outlasting our lives on this earth.

Sure is a strong word, a confident word: one that should not be bandied about lightly. This I know for sure. When you start to work with a word whose cousins are unquestionable, undisputed, certain, definite, unerring, infallible, and accurate among others (sorry to the cousins, better known as synonyms I have left out) then you should be certain of what you are saying. I am hardly ever “certain” of what I am saying, as so many factors make up a situation.

I like Margaret Drabble’s quote that, “When nothing is sure, everything is possible” as it gives you leeway. If you know something for sure there is no wiggle room.  Sometimes you do not need wiggle room, but sometimes you do. And in that wiggle room there is space for possibility.

I am going to take on Oprah’s generous mantle and give you some examples of things that I do know for sure. There are certain givens when it comes to being sure about something—I know for sure that I love a variety of people in my life: my husband and kids and my family among them. But most of us know these things for sure. (Not all of us—some of us were given families that are hard to love—I was lucky in this respect). But here are some other things that I know for sure:

1. Even though this is the last week in February, and it seems like spring will never come– it will. For sure. And it will surprise us. Every year I am surprised when the trees bud and sprout leaves; when the daffodils show their frilly heads; when I no longer have to don coat and hat and mitts and boots to go out the door.

2. Unless there is some other reason to do so, I will always write up this column and council news as the deadline looms dangerously close. I wish I did not know this for sure.

Cat Woman had a Jet too!

Cat Woman had a Jet too! (Photo credit: Felix_Nine)

3. I will never become a cat woman. Or Cat Woman. The first because I only sort of like the cat we have (the one my family loves to bits); and I am too old to be cast in a Batman movie. Also, I am not an actress (though I am not sure this is a real prerequisite to playing Cat Woman). There are a number of other obvious reasons I could not be Cat Woman, but my ego is too fragile to go into them.

4. I will never become a gourmet cook unless I have someone to clean up after me.  Sure, I would love to cook to my heart’s content, and I admit my fast and frenzied time in the kitchen is cut short by the thought of having to clean up the mess I have made. I would even try recipes that have more than five ingredients and three steps if I had someone cleaning up the havoc I have wrought.

5. I will continue to spray Pledge in the air and put the vacuum out to make it smell and look like I care about a clean house. I do care about a clean house, but once I clean it, I would like it to stay that way. What I know for sure: it will never stay that way. (And for good reason—people have to live here.)

6. I know for sure that now that Council is only twice a month, there will be no more surprise meetings of less than an hour. I am sure this will not happen—if we get out of there in less than two hours it is a miracle. Then again, do we want the business of the municipality rushed? I think not—but I do remember those short meetings fondly.

7. I now know for sure that I will not get an exclusive interview with the Queen. First of all she has acquiesced to a number of interviews over the years; and second, it is not in this paper’s budget.

8. I know for sure that I will not be writing a column about all the things that I do not know for sure. I will save that for Volumes 1-13 on the subject. Each a thousand pages. There is a lot I do not know for sure.

So, you and I are just going to have to placate ourselves with the fact that knowing things for sure really does limit possibilities—and who would want that?

Possibility is the ultimate bliss–what do you think?

Published in: on February 25, 2013 at 3:52 pm  Comments (45)  
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~Bliss is in the Details~

Last February I found my bliss in something simple and basic: hot water. This is a retread of that post—since it only received a couple of visits as I had not yet found my blogging community of friends.

Water drop

Water drop (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Here is the February 2013 version of an event that happened in February 2012:

If you don’t believe that it is the simple things in life that make life grand, then you have not been without hot water for five days. A week ago, our water heater decided it had had enough and emptied its warm watery contents all over the floor of our basement. Lovely.  After rescuing all manner of flotsam and throwing away some jetsam, I used the shop vac to clean up the water. Then I went online and watched a video that advised what you should do when your water heater dies and emits its contents willy nilly all over the floor. First if it is a gas heater, which is what we have, you should turn off the gas (light bulb moment) then turn off the water that goes into the tank (second light bulb moment).

Okey, dokey,…………

A quick and rather frantic call to my husband at work brought him home to turn off the gas and the water, since I did not want to blow up the house by turning something the wrong way. We called the water heater people who told us they would be there between 1:00 and 6:00, which sounds like quite a leeway, but as I had spent two summers working at Bell Canada while I was a university student, I knew that this was not bad timing. At Bell we expected people to take the whole week off to wait for us (I am just kidding).

red carpet

red carpet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had the red carpet laid out for the water heater fellow, and after leaving him in the basement to assess the situation I turned to go upstairs and told him to call me if he needed anything. I had not made it to the top of the stairs when he called me back down. Apparently new rules and regulations called for our chimney to have a lining before he could install a new water heater. The rules apparently came into effect about twelve years ago–our water heater was more than twenty years old. The new rules safeguard against carbon monoxide, so there was no getting around them.

So……….we had to have a chimney liner put in. It was late Saturday afternoon. Sunday, of course was a no go, and Monday was Family Day (in Ontario).  Tuesday, the guys came to put in the liner, but it was too big, so we had to wait until Wednesday to have the work done with the right size liner. In the meantime we got two big pots out and boiled water on the top of the stove, and got our kettle going every time a bath was to be had. Just so you know, if you want more than a tepid bath, it takes about 6 large pots of boiling water and three kettles full. And then it is only a little more than warm.

I decided that I did not really need to wash my hair as I had no big important meetings or lunches or dinners to go to—so I swept my hair up in a ponytail and got quite good at sponge baths. Must admit, I had a pretty good excuse to do as little laundry as possible (yes, I know there are cold water laundry detergents, but that is not the point). Doing dishes was another hurdle, but a few kettles of boiling water pretty well took care of them.

Water heater sm

Water heater sm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Wednesday night the water heater fellow showed up at around 6:30 and put in our brand new water heater. He was exceptionally nice, and when I told him to call me if he needed anything—he did not call me. Which was a good thing.  The five day saga had ended. Now we had a new liner in our chimney, a new water heater, hot water, and no carbon monoxide poisoning. What more could one ask for?

Hot water is a lovely thing. A glorious thing. Something we so take for granted. Now in my prayers before I go to sleep at night I “God bless” all my family and friends and my new water heater. No joke.

Have you ever found your bliss in something everyday that was taken away from you?

Would You Read This Book?

Reflections

Reflections (Photo credit: Swami Stream)

A prompt asking us to write the blurb on the back of the book we want to write is what “provoked” this post. I have written a weekly column for over fourteen years now called On The Homefront And Beyond–and before that had a column called Observations. Now I have this blog and write quite a bit of original material for it that could also be incorporated.

What I am presenting to you here is not the blurb from the back of the book, but an Intro. It is quite rough–but you could help me out here by telling me if you would be interested in reading such a book. Without further ado–here are some of my thoughts for an Intro:

“The writer experiences everything twice” are the words on my calling card, which is really just a business card but much prettier printed as it is on mint toned cardstock accented with lavish black filigree. I wish I had been the originator of these pithy words, but I am not.  Catherine Drinker Bowen wrote them in an article in the December 1957 issue of the Atlantic magazine. The full quote is this: 

“Writing, I think, is not apart from living. Writing is a kind of double living. The writer experiences everything twice. Once in reality and once in that that mirror which waits always before or behind.”

The mirror in this instance is in the writing itself. If that was not her original intent, that is the intent that I take from it. Writing to me though is not “a kind of double living”, it most certainly is a double living.

The columns that are presented in this book illustrate what she says quite aptly. Many of the things I write about have been experienced, either first hand, through the reading of a book, in my imagination, or vicariously. You can argue that living vicariously is not living in reality, but in my world it is. Sometimes ~ even if I do not experience something firsthand, it is as if I have.

The masthead on my blog says that it is about “Reflections on life: the funny, poignant, serious and quirky”, and it is my attempt in writing about everyday things and things that are not so everyday to reveal life, which at both its best and worst takes in these characteristics. This book is a compilation taken from my weekly column “On The Homefront and Beyond” and my blog of the same name. I hope they will inspire you to pause for a moment and consider your own “homefront” which is really just a metaphor for the platform of our lives.

So tell me, would you read this book? And do you have some suggestions of what I should add to or take out of this draft Intro?

  • My To Do List ~ The Sorry Story(onthehomefrontandbeyond.wordpress.com)

    English: Book and apparatus for writing. Engra...

    English: Book and apparatus for writing. Engraving (prints). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Published in: on November 21, 2012 at 10:35 am  Comments (93)  
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~ Just a Quick Thought ~

English: Crabgrass Source Richard Arthur Norto...

English: Crabgrass Source Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) archive (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I pulled this little thought out of a paragraph in a post I wrote last October called “The Grass is Not Always Greener”. You are invited to go read the whole thing by clicking on the Archives for October 2011, or you can just “enjoy” this alone.

The First Law of Living states that “As soon as you start doing what you always wanted to be doing, you’ll want to be doing something else.” I have a bone to pick with this one—it is a sort of the “grass is always greener on the other side” or as Erma Bombeck would say: “the grass is always greener over the septic tank” type of thinking.

Gazing wistfully or wishfully over the fence, we have to remember that crabgrass is also green.

I personally have no problem with crabgrass—without it, I would have no lawn.

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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The Grass is Not Always Greener

Cover of "If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, ...

Cover via Amazon

A Bombeckian truism, and the name of one of Erma’s many books, ‘If life is a bowl of cherries, what am I doing in the pits?”—is both quantified and immortalized in the following nine laws I came across recently. They are far reaching in their grasp of life, whether you are a student or student of life. While acerbic in nature, they are thought-provoking. But more important, while they may cause you to pause, they may then make you laugh. And what is better than a good laugh?

The first is Kauffman’s Paradox of the Corporation. He theorizes that, “The less important you are to the corporation, the more your tardiness or absence is noticed.” Lampner, who I have on good authority, is Kauffman’s long lost cousin has an addendum to that law. His rule states: “When leaving work late, you will go unnoticed. When you leave work early, you will meet the boss in the parking lot.”

And just to make work life all the more attractive there is the Salary Axiom to contend with. It states that “The pay raise is just large enough to increase your taxes and just small enough to have no effect on your take-home pay.”  You can either lol (laugh out loud) or cry in your tea about this one.

The one I quite like is Miller’s Law of Insurance. I am not sure who Miller is (or was), but he/she is/was obviously wise. The tenents of this law? Insurance covers everything except what happens. How true is this? Yes, your insurance covers water damage but not Acts of God. Seriously, would God really flood our basements?  Does God not have better things to do than mess up our basement rec rooms? (Or in my case, basement dungeon.)

There is a law to cover every instance. For example, Murphy’s First Law for Wives is: “If you ask your husband to pick up five items at the store and then you add one more as an afterthought, he will forget two of the first five.” Okay, then, write them down for your husband. This is an easy thing and a very necessary step for me these days. If I do not write stuff down, it does not get done. It gets filed away somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind—to be left there until they no longer matter. This can be dangerous—the taxman doth not like to be forgotten.

There is one law that I have learned to circumvent (with help) very nicely. It is officially called The Grocery Bag Law, and states that “The candy bar you planned to eat on the way home from the market is hidden at the bottom of the bag.” Due to savvy checkout clerks, who tend to ask if you want the gum or breath mints or chocolate bar you have just purchased set aside to put in your purse, I no longer have this problem. I understand that this does not solve any of the world’s current problems, but it does make my little corner of the planet just that bit more pleasant.

"Never lend your car to anyone to whom yo...

“Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth.” ~Erma Bombeck (Photo credit: Foto_di_Signorina)

Staying at the grocery store, there is one other law which is simple, but so true. It is Isaac’s Strange Rule of Staleness. “Any food that starts out hard will soften when stale. Any food that starts out soft will harden when stale.” Bread which is soft gets hard. Crispy potato chips get limp when stale.”

Weiner’s Law of Libraries answers a lot of questions for me. It puts forth the theory that “There are no answers, only cross-references.” But you can thwart this truism by asking your librarian for help. “Easy peasy” as my sister would say. If you need a definition of easy peasy—it means more than easy.

The First Law of Living states that “As soon as you start doing what you always wanted to be doing, you’ll want to be doing something else.” I have a bone to pick with this one—it is a sort of the “grass is always greener on the other side” or as Erma Bombeck would say: “the grass is always greener over the septic tank” type of thinking. Gazing wistfully or wishfully over the fence, we have to remember that crabgrass is also green. Though I must admit, I personally have no problem with crabgrass—without it, I would have no lawn.

I was made aware of these laws through an email from a friend, and the Internet seems to be the foundation of their immediate origin. I would like to extend a personal thank you to Kaufmann, Lampman, Weiner, Miller, Murphy, Isaac and the unnamed for their laws, and add one more that I will attribute to Erma: “the bathroom is the place my kids escape to until the groceries are put away.” This, though is not something I find to be true. The arrival of the groceries is a much heralded event at my house–and the “kids” (which includes my husband) seem to come out of nowhere to go through the bags to see if I bought anything “good”. Suffice to say, they are not looking for broccoli.

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