Aggie Knew How to Party Hardy

English: Agatha Christie blue plague. No.58 Sh...

Agatha Christie blue plaque. No.58 Sheffield Terrace, Kensington & Chelsea, London, U.k. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Trust me it gets more interesting near the end.)

Yesterday was supposed to be Writing Wednesday, and I forgot, as I was so inspired by a post by Kathy of Lake Superior Spirit about owning our imperfect selves. I think it is quite fitting that my imperfect self forgot that it was Writing Wednesday.

So, today is going to be Writing Thursday. And for that, I will turn to Amy Peters’ book, The Writer’s Devotional. She provides a short biography of Agatha Christie who once stated: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”  She obviously knew what she was talking about; she started and finished over 100 pieces of literature, which takes in her 80 crime novels and the play, Mousetrap, which is the longest running play in theatrical history.

But the thing I found most interesting in Peters’ short biography of Ms. Christie is the fact that she disappeared for eleven days after finding out that her low down good for nothing cheating husband had left her for another woman.

There was a nationwide (wo)manhunt for her. She was found in a Yorkshire Hotel, “claiming that she’d lost her memory.” Now I would like to explore what may have happened in those eleven days. I do not believe that she really lost her memory—I think at first she was probably shocked, then angry, then revengeful. And then she decided to party hardy. She spent one day of despair over the lout who left her and then, swearing the manager of the hotel to secrecy, she took over a whole floor of the hotel, invited all her friends, and partied like it was 1999 (even though it was 1926).

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie: Is this not the face of someone who knows how to “party hardy”?  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A little known fact is that when she was found, her room was littered with champagne bottles, a cabana boy had been imported from wherever cabana boys reside, and she was ready for a divorce.

Ah, the mind and its imaginings.

It is the epitome of bliss to let our imaginations roam sometimes. So what do you think Agatha was doing for those eleven days?

Advertisements

Bliss is Forgetting Perfection and Embracing Our Messes

Spirit Head

Spirit Head (Photo credit: eskimo_jo)

My response to a blog I read this morning:

Okay – in all of life’s mess, this was a perfect post that I read at a perfect time written by one of my perfect blog friends. Thank you for making the choice to share this–oh, how I needed to read what you wrote this morning. Life is a series of messes and if I would just give in to that I would be so much happier, so much more adventurous, so much less afraid–I will try to embrace this–and as I have before and I am sure I will do again–I will use this on my own blog as it is so perfect–but give you the kudos for discovering it and writing about it so eloquently.

Lake Superior

Lake Superior (Photo credit: kjell)

The blog I refer to is written by Kathy from Lake Superior Spirit, and titled  “Let’s mess up a little today, shall we?”  She used these words in her post from her latest favourite spiritual teacher, Jeff Foster:

Forget “perfection”. 

Forget trying to get it “right” all of the time. 

Here’s to doing your best, falling flat on your face, getting up again, falling down again, fucking up totally, failing beyond belief, being laughed at, ridiculed, mocked, even crucified, and losing what you thought was yours. And here’s to embracing the mess of it all, dying to the dream and waking to the reality of it, loving the perfect imperfection of it, opening your heart wide to all of it, continuing to live your truth despite everything, fearlessly meeting each sacred moment…

You cannot get it “right”, and that’s why you cannot get it “wrong”…

So many times I find that other bloggers define for me what is important in my life. They are brave souls, unafraid of putting themselves out there in order to share with the rest of us. Kathy is one such brave blogger, who captures so much of life on her blog in words that are at once poetic and approachable.

I am going to forget perfection, because in trying to attain it, I am afraid of falling flat on my face (though this has happened many many times due to my bountiful gracefulness); I realize I am going to mess up totally; I am going to chance being laughed at, ridiculed, mocked and even crucified, because really, where has the safe path led me?

I want to open my heart wide, continue to live my truth (and in living my truth, have the gumption to state it) and fearlessly meet each sacred moment—because if I don’t, will I really have lived?

Thank you Kathy for your post. Go and read her—she expressed this so much better than I (or is it me–I often get this confused—but hey, I am forgetting perfection, remember?)

Bliss is to me forgetting perfection: how about you?

There Is a Reason I Have Not Been Freshly Pressed

Anniversary wine

(Photo credit: kerryj.com)

I have not been Freshly Pressed.  The Food and Wine Hedonist was Freshly Pressed for writing an article about the three things you can find in her refrigerator. Then she asked her readers what three things are always in their fridge. There were all manner of answers. Some were quite eloquent. Some were so good, I would like to get to know these people who always have sparkling wine, a good cheese and something exotic in their fridge. The Hedonist herself always has roasted walnut oil, a specialty hummus, and pecorino romano cheese.

My answer was: mold, mildew, and crumbs. She did not comment back.

If I were to hazard a guess, I would say that my answer was none too appetizing. Perhaps I was not supposed to be honest. Maybe my food hygiene came into question. So I think I may go back and reanswer her question, and see if she responds. What might be acceptable? Cheeze Whiz, cheese slices, and spray cheese? No, not sophisticated enough.

How about goose liver pâté, Freixenet, and caviar? (Do you keep caviar in the fridge–guess if I have to ask then I might not be too convincing.) I would love to always have Freixenet (Spanish sparking wine) in my fridge — I love this stuff.

Yogurt, soy milk, and celery? Nope, too boring.

Okay, I admit I was being tongue in cheek. Three things that are always in my fridge: mustard, mystery meat, and withered carrots. That is my answer and I am sticking to it. I have a feeling that Food and Wine Hedonist may not respond to that one either.

In keeping with the theme of bliss–what three things do you wish you always had in your fridge?

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)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Bliss is Equal Parts Joy and Woe

A page from scan of book containing a series o...

Songs of Innocence and Experience by poet and painter, William Blake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I read many blogs and believe that I am the wiser for it. The other day I ran across a blog called Joy and Woe, and found the explanation for the title intriguing. Jeni  of Joy and Woe is a fellow Canadian, and she said she chose the title for her blog from William Blake’s poem “Augeries of Innocence.” Here is an excerpt from the poem that includes her blog’s moniker:

All is right it should be so:
Man was made for Joy and Woe;
And when this we rightly know
Thro’ the World we safely go.

I love the simple yet sage wisdom in those words. Once we accept that we are destined for both joy and woe, and that in equal parts they are what make the world go round, then we can make our peace with the ways of life.

Is life fair? A tiresome question. Sometimes it is too fair, sometimes not fair enough—admit it, you have been on both ends of the spectrum of fairness. Life is not objective, impartial, non-discriminatory or fair. But sometimes it is.

Joy and Woe: they sum up life quite nicely. Coming to an understanding of these two elements gives me some bliss.

Do you find that life is made up of joy and woe—would we know bliss if we did not have a little woe in order to measure joy?

Published in: on February 24, 2013 at 11:11 am  Comments (59)  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Crazy Cracker Candy – And You Thought I Forgot That Today was Recipe Saturday

English: Six saltines and a fork on a large plate

Turn these into candy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am going to provide you with a bit of an eccentric recipe but one I made a lot when my kids were little. It uses saltines as the base and is super easy. It is a fun recipe to do with kids, because they love to line up the crackers on a cookie sheet and try to leave no gaps.

I was given this recipe during a phone conversation with a friend. I had tried the candy at her house and just loved it. As such, this is a rather “loose” recipe, but it works with just a few ingredients and is super fast to make.

Crazy Cracker Candy

Ingredients:

Saltine crackers; 1/2 cup butter or margarine; 1/2 cup brown sugar; chocolate chips; nuts if you desire

Instructions:

Line a cookie sheet with tin foil. Line up saltine crackers so there are no gaps or overlapping. Boil 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter or margarine. Spoon over the crackers covering them with the liquid “gold”. Put them in the oven for about a minute in a preheated 350 degree oven.

Take them out of the oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips and then put back in the oven until the chips melt and spread. When they come out you can sprinkle them with nuts (I never do this). Put them in the fridge for 1/2 hour to cool. Score bars and remove them from cookie sheet. (I usually just break them up).

Seriously, these are so good–and your kids will love them. You will love them. And most of us have these ingredients hanging around our pantry and fridge.

Do you have a recipe that is blissfully easy, but good, and uses really accessible ingredients?

Saturday Morning Sillies

Of Course: “When the Idiot Leaves”

Village Idiot sign

Village Idiot sign (Photo credit: dolescum)

When does a village become a town? While doing a little research on this I found out that a village consists of  500 people or less and a town can turn into a city when it reaches a population of 5000.  The answer varies depending on the source~so I guess I will just have to choose my own or go to Stats Canada.

The answer I loved the most in response to “when does a village become a town” is: “when the idiot leaves”. I love that tongue in cheek answer. We have all heard of the village idiot, and many of us, no matter where we live can probably name him. For some reason the village idiot always seems to be a man. And you do not have to live in a village to have one. My town has a few—but they will remain nameless as to me idiot defined has nothing to do with intelligence, and everything to do with social skills.

I am thinking of starting a novel, or short story, or novella, or who knows, maybe even an epic historical novel of 3,546 pages about a village that is on the cusp of turning into a town. If two more people are born to the village, then it will become a town. There are all kinds of things that can come from this premise: will Mrs. Keystone have twins, thereby turning the village into a town, or will the Baxter Family of ten leave town, keeping it a village for a little while longer?

These are the sometimes strange things that go through my mind. My question to you today is: Where do you live, and have you found bliss there?

Three Years Ago Today

English: Entrance to St. Augustine's Church un...

Snow Day: One Tree Hill. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Three years ago today: It was a Monday. There was a rain snow mix, and the roads were bad so no buses were running. How do I know this? Just ran across my daybook/calendar for 2010, and from the notes I made that day I am getting a sense that time moves on in some ways, and not in others.

It moves on in that in 2013 the fact that whether or not the buses are running for school is no longer an immediate issue in my life as both of my sons are now out of high school. One is at college, the other is in a rock band just waiting for his big break.

I had a council meeting penned in for that Monday night, February 22nd, 2010. Things have stayed the same on that front as I have a council meeting on the Monday coming up.I noted that the meeting was only an hour and a half long. That no longer happens, as the municipality has eliminated one meeting a month, so now the two meetings on the second and fourth Mondays run at least three hours. That is a lot of doodling!

I was working for a magazine at the time, as I notice a reminder telling me to write up the articles due for Our Homes. I no longer work at the magazine. It is a choice I made that I sometimes regret (miss the money) but mostly do not.

For some reason I did not make a note to write my column and write up council news for the newspaper. Maybe for once I did it ahead of time. But that is doubtful—I usually work to deadline and that means writing my heart out on Monday morning.

I made note of where my husband was working that day (as a contractor he works at a variety of places) and that my eldest son was at work. At the time he worked in the printing press of the newspaper that I write for. (Yeah, yeah, I know I am not supposed to end a sentence like this—don’t bug me Robin!) Times change–as he no longer works there.

I am supposed to call Salisbury—but I think that is a note for my husband as I do not remember who Salisbury is. I also have a note to  email Charlene. Charlene is in my Writers’ Group so I was probably supposed to tell her when the next meeting was, or the prompt we were supposed use for our writing for the meeting. Hard to say three years down the road.

So that was my day three years ago—which proves that some things change and some things stay the same. The weather today is very much like it was three years ago, except we are getting inundated with snow right now, and the mix is coming this afternoon.

And since I have to work in BLISS, as it is the topic of the year—I find it very blissful that I do not have a council meeting tonight—as the weather looks foreboding. The good thing is–I no longer have to worry about whether the buses are running or not.

So what are you finding blissful today?

Fairy Dust and String Theory

Sheldon Cooper

Sheldon Cooper (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a revised post from last March, before I had readers. It gives me bliss to repost it.

The Big Bang Theory is one of my  favourite television programs.  I wish I could say it brought out my inner nerd, but I am not smart enough to be a nerd. Unlike many, I find the term “nerd” complimentary, but I always think of it in a scientific, mathematical context . I looked it up in my thesaurus and its synonyms are highly questionable: drip, bore, geek.

The Encarta dictionary calls it an offensive term and defines a nerd as a “single-minded enthusiast” who is “considered to be excessively interested in a subject or activity that is regarded as too technical or scientific.” (My argument—if we did not have people interested in the too technical or scientific, where would we be? We would still think the earth was flat, and the stars made up of fairy dust.)

I think the term nerd needs a “redo”, and the guys from The Big Bang Theory are just the guys to do it. Sure, they are overtly intelligent, some (Sheldon in particular) not socially attune, but I just love these guys. Is it an accident that the program is a particular favourite in Canada? I think not—we just love underdogs, and even though most of these guys have reached doctoral status, they are entertainingly sweet (most of the the time).

I think many of us are jealous of nerds and the things that they understand easily that we don’t. I was a particularly poor student in both science and math, and regret it somewhat.  Shakespeare and I get along just fine, but Einstein and I are unfortunately not on the same page.

"I don't mean to cast aspersions, but...&...

“I don’t mean to cast aspersions, but…” (Photo credit: Ario Fredewagon)

On a shelf above my head is my bobble head of Sheldon–a gift from my youngest son, who sometimes calls himself a nerd. He is not as enamoured of the program as I, as he says that it makes fun of nerds–in effect, laughing at them, not with them. I think I have a different perspective–I admire exceedingly intelligent people even if they have some quirks. Let those among us who have no quirks cast aspersions.

Are you a fan of Big Bang, or do you think my son is right? Can you cast aspersions?

Capturing Weekend Bliss

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Weekend? What is a weekend?”~  Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) from Downton Abbey

I heard the traffic girl on tv call today Friday Eve. I remember the days when that would have meant something to me. When Friday Eve would produce some excitement—the weekend was almost here, so adventure was surely around the bend.

I do not know when I lost my excitement for weekends. I would like to get it back in this year of finding my bliss.

The Dowager Countess was completely mystified when she came across the word “weekend’. It was obviously a foreign concept if you were not among the working class.

I would like “weekend” to no longer be a foreign concept for me. I think part of the problem is that I work at home, at a desk in the corner of my dining room, so I never really get to leave my work behind. Weekend used to mean a break from school or work—not so much anymore.

Any suggestions about how to make my weekends more blissful?

Published in: on February 21, 2013 at 2:52 pm  Comments (52)  
Tags: , , , , , ,