180 secs of your life. Pause to watch.


Live & Learn

and don’t quit until the finish…

Source and read more here: World Renowned Pianist Performs Concert Floating on the Arctic Ocean

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Published in: on June 24, 2016 at 7:04 pm  Comments (2)  

Not One of my Best….

It’s Only Words…

“It’s only words, and words are all I have
To take your heart away…” ~ Bee Gees,  “Words”

What are the ten most commonly misunderstood words in the English language? I am sure we all have words that we think should be on this list—but this list is one that had me rethinking my definitions. Derived from grammar.net they were shared on a blog I frequent called Writers Write. (You know I don’t care either where I got the words, but I have to acknowledge my sources just so you don’t think I am smart enough to come up with this stuff myself.)

Anyway, the ten words are:  enormity, nonplussed, bemused, redundant, plethora, unique, fulsome, noisome, ironic, and literally. Admittedly we do not use all of these words on a daily basis, which could explain why they are commonly misunderstood. You may be surprised that your definition is not the true meaning of the word. Then again, you may be absolutely brilliant and know the definition of each and every one of these words. I believe that I knew the true meaning of many of the words, but some surprised me.

Enormity does not mean enormous. Who knew? It means “monstrous evil, excessive wickedness, (and) outrageous.” So when someone describes the “enormity” of a situation, they are not just talking its size, they are talking about its badness. I must say that I did not know that and will certainly watch my words when I am describing a situation—and hope I never run into one of enormity. Though if you watch the news there are plenty of situations that unfortunately can be described this way.

Nonplussed means bewildered, extremely puzzled, at a loss. Not, unimpressed or unaffected. I find that I am nonplussed a lot. Bewildered is my middle name. Extremely puzzled is my game. And I am at a loss a lot. (Okay, I admit it, I am having a bit of fun at the expense of nonplussed.) Bemused is not mildly amused. It is apparently a cousin of nonplussed because it too means bewildered and confused. But here is where it differ–it also means “lost in thought.” I am not all that sure that when you are lost in thought, you are bewildered and confused, but maybe the meanings are meant to stand alone. Perhaps one is bewildered and confused OR lost in thought.  Now I am bewildered and confused.

Redundant does not mean useless. It means needlessly wordy or repetitive. Which I think can be defined as useless, but apparently I am wrong. Plethora is not merely having a lot of something, it is having a superabundance of something. And here I thought plethora meant having a lot of different somethings. A variety. But no, it is having a superabundance or excess of something. I believe that this paragraph has a plethora of the word something.

Unique means “the only one of its kind” not just unusual. Unusual is rare or uncommon but does not reach the pinnacle of being uniquely unparalleled. The definition of fulsome left me completely nonplussed and a bit bemused. It sounds like such a lovely generous word, but it is “offensively flattering and insincere” rather than being the “abundant praise” I thought it was. Dodged a bullet here. Thank you grammar.net.

Noisome is not just noisy. In fact it does not have to be noisy at all, though noise could fall under its umbrella. Noisome means obnoxious, harmful,  (and) offensive to the senses. I hope this column does not fall under the category of noisome. The last thing I want to do is offend your senses. Or bore you. “Hey you in the back corner: Wake up!”

Ironic is also on the list, and ironically it is not an “amusing coincidence” but instead,  the “opposite outcome of what is expected”. (I know, I know, I did not use ironic entirely correctly but I am calling this poetic licence for lack of a better excuse).  Last, but most assuredly not least, one of my favourite words: literally. It means “word for word” which also means I have probably never used it correctly. Ever.

Alas, the Bee Gees were right: “words are all I have” even if I use them incorrectly….

Published in: on June 22, 2016 at 3:41 pm  Comments (7)  

Wish I Had Written This: Dads

What Is A Dad?

A dad is someone who
wants to catch you before you fall
but instead picks you up,
brushes you off,
and lets you try again.

A dad is someone who
wants to keep you from making mistakes
but instead lets you find your own way,
even though his heart breaks in silence
when you get hurt.

A dad is someone who
holds you when you cry,
scolds you when you break the rules,
shines with pride when you succeed,
and has faith in you even when you fail…- Unknown

Published in: on June 19, 2016 at 1:56 pm  Comments (9)  

Zenku #358

smart advice….

Zen Kettle

Walking on the

first hot day

Go earlier

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Published in: on June 17, 2016 at 9:43 pm  Comments (2)  

The New Demon



Just finished reading an article on the new enemy that is taking Canada and most of North America by storm. It is apparently the new evil in our lives. Move over salt and fat and eggs, sugar is here to join you as the new forbidden food.  Fat and eggs have been redeemed somewhat—it seems it is okay to eat eggs again as long as you do not eat half a dozen in a sitting, and fat is getting a bit of a break as long as it is not the dreaded trans fat. The jury is still out on salt though.

My immediate family (my husband and two sons) LOVE salt. I cannot eat off their plates as their food is saturated with the stuff—which I use judiciously in my cooking and on sliced tomatoes, French fries, and corn on the cob. They use salt with little caution and without care. I try not to take it personally that they have to coat my cooking with the white stuff to make it edible to their seemingly salt-starved palates.

While I am somewhat cautious in my salt use, sugar is my nemesis. I seem to have acquired a sweet tooth that has made itself known more intensely as time goes on. I used to put up to three teaspoons of sugar into my cup of coffee—but quit cold turkey a couple of years ago. Now I have become a much more avid tea drinker, as I have never taken sugar in my tea. I am guessing that while the aroma and idea of a coffee are still pleasing, the taste without sugar is not. I now drink about a half a cup a day. I am proud to say I have not given in to adding sugar to my coffee again, but I would be lying if I did not say I am still tempted.

I love sugar in its many forms. Its voice calls out to me when I need comforting but more and more research has led to some ominous conclusions. Here are just a few from the website body ecology. Writer Donna Gates says that:

            Sugar promotes wrinkling and aging skin, makes your blood acidic, can lead to osteoporosis, rots your teeth, raises your blood sugar level, contributes to obesity, can be addictive (jury still out on this one), provides empty calories with no nutritional value, contributes to diabetes, robs your body of minerals, robs you of energy, contributes to heart problems, can cause cancer, contributes to ulcers, can cause gallstones, raises serotonin, weakens eyesight, can cause low blood sugar levels, contributes to aging, feeds candida, and can cause arthritis.

Now truth be told this list came from an article touting stevia as an alternative sweetener, so while its claims are true, the degree of truth is something we have to discern for ourselves. But we have to face it: there is really no denying the fact that too much of a good thing can be terrible for our health.

I have taken steps to lower the amount of the demon called sugar in my diet, but I do give in to the occasional non-diet beverage, empty calories and all. I have declared the weekend my sweet spot, when I may eat a few things that contain white death but in a more moderate amount than I used to. At one time I used to eat four cookies, now I eat one or two. And I find that a bite or two of a rich dessert satisfies my sweet tooth while much more just leaves me feeling guilty.

“Guilt is a great motivator” my husband often says (and I must say there are times I have used it to motivate him—sometimes with more success than others) but I do find that a little well placed guilt keeps me on a more sugarless path.

There are only so many things that we have control over, and what we put in our mouths is one of them, although sometimes it is governed by the way we feel. I have learned the hard way not to go grocery shopping when I am hungry, but I have also learned that saying yes on occasion to a few of my sugary treats keeps me in line the majority of time.

I hope that some study finds that sugar is good for you just like they have come to the conclusion that eggs are good for you and we need some fat in our diet. Until then, I will not be adding sugar to my morning coffee. I believe that back in the day, two coffees with six teaspoons of sugar contained my allotment for the day. I can think of better ways to disperse my allotment….

Published in: on June 9, 2016 at 7:57 pm  Comments (21)  

Zenku #356

love this….

Zen Kettle

Jasmine and cinnamon

Springing the season

Garden brunch

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Published in: on June 9, 2016 at 2:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Best Season of Your Life


“Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.” ~ Wumen Haikai (1183-1260)

Have we made life unnecessarily complicated? Sometimes our lives have been taken out of our hands, and we struggle to get back to that place called peace. Back to the place where we have if not control, at least choice. Peace is not just a hangover from the hippie days of yore: imagined for some; reality for others. It is the thing we strive for no matter our age or walk of life.

I am not necessarily talking the language of the 60’s where “Peace, man”  was the de rigeur phrase of the day, but I no longer deride the movement as I may have back then. In 1975 I had an English professor who wore a brown leather belt with a buckle that depicted a large silver peace sign. Every day. He taught semantics (and to this day I am not sure what I learned). But I remember thinking at the time that he was passé—clinging to something whose time had passed. I have now come to the realization that though the topic he taught was unbearably boring (to me) he wore his belief, if not on his sleeve, at least on his belt. And that is admirable. He was willing to put himself into a niche and stay there.

But does the eternal search for peace, or its many derivatives—calm, quiet, harmony, serenity, goodwill, and of course the end of war, have a time limit? I think not. Back in the 12th and 13th century, Wumen Haikai (originator of the above quote) believed in peace as the thing that unclouded the mind, the thing that burst through unnecessary things to the realization of “the best season of your life.”

And just what is “the best season of your life”? I am of the theory that right now is the best season, because it is the only one we’ve got. Sure we have past memories—some good and some bad, and we have the future, which is uncertain at best–and worst. As with most humans I have a suitcase full to brimming of issues, troubles, and worries. But I also have a backpack full of wisdom learned, coping mechanisms, and things that ease my troubled mind. And it is from that backpack that I find some peace. Not all the time. But sometimes. And while I would like my suitcase to be flung from a ship sailing at sea, or a plane flying over the horizon, I wonder if I would enjoy the moments of peace without the discord.

At this point in my life I would like to think that I no longer need the contrast between peace and discord in order to discern one from the other. But lessons learned sometimes need refreshing. Christian McEwen in “A Day So Happy” sums up how I feel quite succinctly. He says:

“It seems possible to me that our culture of speed and confusion, busyness and overwhelm, has reached just such a state, and that the time has come for the quick double-flip of transformation, from greed to gratitude, from isolation and depression to community and calm.”

Gratitude is a trendy word oft-cited today and one that I, for one, am getting tired of. Yes, I know I should be thankful for the things I have—appreciate them and be happy that I am not out on the street pushing around a shopping cart with all my belongings. On the other hand, perhaps I should not grow tired of this trend, but instead embrace it and use it. I think that so often we become tired of something when we are reminded of it too often. But if you think about it, does gratitude ever really go out of style? And if we take the time to enjoy the flowers of spring, the autumn moon, the cool breeze in summer, and the snow in winter—tangibles that are available to all of us, are we not taking part in the best season of our lives?

Peace, man. High five. Cheers. Fist bump.


Published in: on June 6, 2016 at 11:02 pm  Comments (6)  


love this–thank you Audra….

Published in: on June 6, 2016 at 10:58 pm  Comments (2)  


worth taking the time to watch….

Live & Learn


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Published in: on June 5, 2016 at 12:30 pm  Comments (5)