The Top of the Summer

“August is that last flicker of fun and heat before everything
fades and dies. The final moments of fun before the freeze.
In the winter, everything changes.” -Rasmeia Massoud, author

I have heard August described as the top of summer, an apt description that summer lovers I am sure cling to. Sylvia Plath, not known for her particularly “sunny ways” said that in August, “the best of the summer (is) gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.” Although I do not adhere to her philosophy that the best of summer is gone, I do agree with her that it can be suitably described as an “odd uneven time.” It is still summer, yet fall seems to be waiting, breathless, around the very next corner. Some fight off the inevitable. I welcome fall.

Yet…I love August, as the remnants of summer are still available to us. There are still festivals and fairs to attend, a few picnics or barbeques if we are lucky, and sandy beach days are not yet behind us. August is a transitional month– its bonfires give us a hint of fall while we can still bask in the warmth of sunshine. Not a particular fan of summer, I am a fan of August. I can take the heat knowing that it will soon be a thing of the past.

August does remind us that time marches on, whether we are ready or not. Crestless Wave (a writer from India, whose real name is Anjit Sharma) says that “August is a gentle reminder for not doing a single thing from your new year resolution(s) for seven months and not doing it for the next five.” Somehow, I find that comforting. Especially since another new year for many of us starts in September. So, we can make new resolutions. And then break them.

I found a lovely poem by Elizabeth Maua Taylor, and it seems to sum up the eighth month quite well–ending on what could be a sad note for some, but a new beginning for all of us:

“August rushes by like desert rainfall
A flood of frenzied upheaval,
But still catching me unprepared.
Like a match flame
Bursting on the scene,
Heat and haze of crimson sunsets.
Like a dream
Of moon and dark barely recalled,
A moment,
Shadows caught in a blink.
Like a quick kiss;
One wishes for more
But it suddenly turns to leave,
Dragging summer away.”

The month of August will fly by, especially for kids returning to school. But let us enjoy the “heat and haze of crimson sunsets”; the last vestiges of freedom; and the (supposedly) carefree days of sun and surf.

I am not sure how Canadians rank August, but I suspect we like it a bit better than our American counterparts. According to a Washington Post survey (from an article written by Randy McDaniel who likes August best because it is his birthday month) August comes in 9th. Their favorite month is May followed by October (my personal favourite), December, July, April (also my favourite as it is my birth month) September, November, August, March, January and February.

Let us enjoy this month before it “rushes by like desert rainfall.”

Published in: on August 13, 2018 at 3:48 pm  Comments (1)  

The Living Is Easy

It is summer and the living is easy, carefree, and relaxing… or is it? Just because it is the traditional time of year for a rest, a pause, or for enjoying that book in the shade of the backyard with a glass of lemonade does not mean that the troubles of the world have taken a vacation. So, how can we take a much needed “vacation of the mind” when all around us seems to be out of sync?

A blogger friend of mine, Kathy Drue, writes on her site “Lake Superior Spirit” that joy lives in the ordinary. She says that the “world of senses, unlike the world of thought which seems predisposed to tension, often sparks pleasure.” Some of her pleasures of the senses include “lake water splashing through toes. A kitten rubbing against legs, fingers typing on a keyboard, paint splashed against a wall, simmering chili, (and) the thrill of footprints in the beach sand.”

Think about the little things that give you pleasure–especially in the summer. On the hot, hot, hot days, we find pleasure in a cool drink, a fan (okay let’s admit it, the AC), el fresco dining, and my personal favorite, the microwave that does not heat up the kitchen while preparing food. Kathy is much more poetic than I–some of the things that help her balance the unevenness of life are, “A tea date with a dear friend. Splitting wood in the shade (you would have to know that she lives in the northern woods of Michigan to appreciate this and wood is one of the ways she heats her home). The joy of summer’s freedom. Open windows! No mosquitoes. Cool air dancing through the room. A stranger’s smile. A loved one’s generosity. A new cookbook. An old ribbon.”

I think that once the snows have disappeared, and the coolness of spring is once again behind us–that we sometimes do not wholly appreciate the “joy of summer’s freedom”. But think about it. We have the freedom of being able to breeze out of the house with just sandals on bare feet and quickly donning a straw hat (conveniently hanging by the front door) to protect us from the welcoming sun. We do not need a warm hat pulled over our ears, or substantial gloves to guard against the cold, or a woolly scarf wrapped around our necks and tucked into a bulky coat. And the best bonus of all–no boots!

Summer is also a time to be a little lighter in thought–the political shows I am addicted to on CBC and CTV and Global are on vacation for the summer, and even though it is difficult, I try to turn off news of Trump’s latest “adventures”, Trudeau’s costume changes, and the world’s dilemmas. (This is much harder than it sounds–but does lead to peace of mind, at least temporarily.)

Kathy opens her piece on enjoying the ordinary by saying that “so many of our hearts seem troubled these days…we’re worried about politics, the state of the nation, the trials of the world, the gullies of the universe” but she is determined to drop “beneath thought’s volatile opinion and judgment and labeling and analyzing.” In other words, she believes (and I agree) that we have to rest our minds. Concentrate on those things that make us happy, not those things that make us angry. At least for awhile. We need a pause. And perspective.

One of my least favourite sayings, but one that always proves to be true is “this too shall pass.” Being a bit impatient, I generally want things to be better now. But things do not necessarily work on my schedule. I have found that sometimes you can facilitate “this too shall pass” to pass more quickly, but most of the time it has its own pattern, its own timetable, its own plan, and you have to let it play out. (This is hard for a soft “Type A” personality but I counter it with my propensity to procrastinate.)

List a few of those things you are happy to have in your life. The simple things. The ordinary things. But remember that you cannot discount the extraordinary or the more complex. They are part of life too– and some of those things add to the enjoyment of life. Kathy advises that “it is not about refusing to look and feel and see the woes of the world”, it is about tempering them with “softness, tenderness, with reminding ourselves of the myriad beauties whispering all around.”

It is in the ordinary that we find the extraordinary.

Published in: on August 9, 2018 at 4:04 pm  Comments (5)  

Just Grow Up

Have you ever heard of “sliding door moments”? I had not until I read a book by Sarah Wilson called “first we make the beast beautiful” (the beast in this case is anxiety). In the context of how Wilson was using the term I gleaned that it meant something important–something, if not transcendent, at least life changing. And I was right. Looking the term up on the internet I learned that it is defined as “opportunities in life where the decisions we make alter our very destiny.” Okay maybe it is transcendent–or at the very least, life altering.
I found the definition in an article by Deborah Murtagh called “Sliding door moments–Life’s moments that shape and define us…” She expands on the definition further by saying that sliding door moments are “Moments in which we turn left or right, towards change or toward more of the same. These are life’s pivotal moments in which new identities of ourselves are born and old paradigms and beliefs which no longer serve us fall away.” Well, that is a mouthful and a lot to take in–perhaps it could be more simply explained as deciding which way to go when we are faced with a fork in the road.
Wilson explains “sliding door moments” (or successful ones) as moments of grace–when things seem to come together through no fault of our own. I rather like her explanation, as it takes a bit of the weight off having to make a choice. But we all make these choices, and we make them many times not really knowing or understanding that they could have a profound effect on our lives. It brings to mind the song “Should I Stay or Should I Go Now? by The Clash. Although, if you read the words, the responsibility of the life changing decision has been placed squarely in someone elses lap: “Should I stay or should I go now? /If I go, there will be trouble/And if I stay it will be double/So come on and let me know…”
Grace, defined by Wilson “is the “is-ness” of life presented to you, on a cracker, ready to eat.” She goes on to say “It’s an openness that plants you in the flow of the river. Grace doesn’t bring the party to town. It’s not happiness. It’s not a fleeting high. It’s a delicate, yet whole, gift that whispers in our ear, ‘Life has this one covered’. It tells us that things fit. That you fit. You can’t try to earn it or deserve it. It just is. Just as a flower doesn’t try to bloom. It just does.”
So, let us put all these seemingly disparate parts together. Murtaugh says that “sliding door moments” are “key decisions which shape and alter the course of our reality.” Wilson believes basically “it is what it is”, and The Clash want someone else to make the decision. Is this not life in a handbasket? We want to be able to make decisions that matter, that count–we want to have some control. Yet at times we would not mind having someone else take the helm–or just letting life take us where it wants and hope for the best.
Confused? Yeah, me too.
There are no easy answers. Yet we keep looking for them. Perhaps the answer is on page 297 of Wilson’s book. I will let you be the judge if it works for you, but it makes sense to me. These beliefs come from the American Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron, who, according to Wilson believes that “the journey we all need to do is the experiment of sitting in uncertainty…The ultimate endpoint…is growing up. The journey offers no promise of happy endings. Rather the part of ourselves that keep seeking security (when there isn’t any) and something to hold on to (when such a thing doesn’t exist) finally grows up.”
So, that is the answer: Grow up. Who knew it would be that simple (I ask ironically). Now forget all this crap, go out and enjoy June and the official beginning of summer.

Published in: on June 15, 2018 at 3:36 pm  Comments (3)  

Happy Dad’s Day!

“Handy as a pocket in a shirt” was one of my dad’s favourite sayings. I know it is not original to him, but it became one of the “dad-isms” that my family has come to cherish. Dad had a million of them, but for some reason that is the one that is most memorable to me.

What is a father? We all have a different answer to this– depending on our experience. But with Father’s Day coming up–the time is ripe to reflect on one of the the most important men in many of our lives. First and foremost, my dad loved his family–he was always there for me, and I suspect my brothers and sisters–but while we all had the same dad, we each experienced him differently. He loved and supported us all–but he supported each of us differently, I guess because we all had different needs.

When I was a little girl, then a preteen, a teen, and even a young adult without a licence, my dad would chauffeur me everywhere without question. And I mean everywhere. At any time. Sometimes he took his life in his hands when I just had to be somewhere, damn the weather. (I am amazed at the stupidity and urgency and selfishness of my youth.) When I was away at school and lived in residence, he would pick me up on Sundays and bring me home for Sunday dinner, then take me back to school on Monday morning, because it was on his “way to work”. It really wasn’t on his way–but at least it was in the same city. I fondly remember those 40-minute trips as time we had together to talk about things–his work, my schooling, our favourite houses on the way, and just life in general. I got to know him better during these trips–it was our uninterrupted time together.

Of course, he walked me proudly down the aisle at my wedding, and together with my mother “gave me away” by responding “we do” when the minister asked “who gives this woman in marriage”. As old fashioned as the tradition was, and as modern as I thought I was, I am still pleased that my dad (and mom) were there to give me away (a somewhat weird concept but one I am not going to question, lo, this 36 years later).

I miss my dad. I remember when I had a bookstore uptown a few decades ago, my dad would ride his bike uptown, get us both a coffee—and bring it to the store. That is how I would start my work day, with a coffee and little conversation with my dad. He was a funny guy, kind, and to my mind the best dad a girl could have.

He was also a musician–he could play the guitar, banjo, fiddle, ukulele, and a few chords on the piano. He played in a band with his dad and brother when he was a young man. At one time people would tell me they used to go to dances where my dad played. Those days are gone, as are the people who used to go to the dances. At home he was forever strumming on the guitar, something we took for granted–never really realizing his talent. After he retired, he returned to playing in a band–and nothing made him happier. I think it was then that I realized his talent, but still took it for granted. He passed his musical talent onto my eldest son–it skipped the generation of his own kids.

I would be remiss if I did not mention another father, my father-in-law, who quietly took over the mantle of “dad” after my dad joined a band in heaven. It was never official–never said aloud, but he served beautifully as my other dad. He was always kind to me, advised me more by his actions than words, and though he could not replace my dad, he was wonderful in his own way.

My husband is “dad” to my two sons. They give him a hard time sometimes–joking and kibitzing, but they respect and love their dad, who like my dad, is willing to do pretty much anything they ask. They are a bit “spoiled” that way, as I was. But I think we are allowed to do a bit of spoiling–after all, they are at an age now where they spoil us.

Father’s Day is an emotional day for me. And I must say I am a bit jealous of those whose dads are not memories–but I am happy for them. It makes me remember how lucky I was (and am to have the good memories.)

Published in: on June 12, 2018 at 12:47 pm  Comments (8)  


Published in: on March 28, 2018 at 3:30 pm  Comments (1)  

Easter Memories

“Most of us have fond memories of food from our childhood. Whether it was our Mom’s homemade lasagna or memorable birthday cake, food has a way of transporting us back to the past.” ~ Homaro Canto

Let’s face it, all our major celebrations are about the food. Okay, let us be honest here. Even our minor celebrations, and day to day meals are all about the food. But the holidays have their own traditions and steeped in our memories are the way things used to be–which informs how we celebrate today.

Easter is a deeply religious holiday, but it is also the official welcoming of spring for those imbued or not in the religious tradition. And in order to celebrate, we feast on what we think of as traditional spring food. When I was young we always had ham studded with pineapples and cloves on Easter, plus the requisite scalloped potatoes. Today I may have ham, but lamb is really the tradition in our household, studded with garlic, accompanied by tiny red potatoes, both complemented by mint sauce.

My mom never served lamb–and it goes back to a true story of when she was a young girl living on a farm. She made a pet out of a cute little lamb, and… well, you know the rest of the story. My uncle named a calf after me (and another one after my cousin RuthAnn), but I was wise enough to know not to ask whatever became of LouAnn the calf. I like to imagine that the calf grew into a happy chocolate milk giving cow, who was put out to pasture after serving her time, but I have a feeling the fate may not have been so picturesque. I refuse to think about it. Unfortunately, my mom had to face reality at the supper table. A reality that lived with her forever. I guess some childhood food memories are not idyllic.

I am fortunate in that my food memories are not marred with a regrettable incident. The closest I come to an unpleasant food memory is refusing to eat my squash when I was about eight or so. I remember having to sit at the table and eat the (by now) very cold and thus even more unappetizing orange-yellow stuff. I remember gagging on each mouthful–but I learned a valuable lesson. Or actually I don’t think I did. But I do like and eat squash with gusto now (although it could have something to do with the copious amounts of butter and maple syrup I lace it with.)

Easter dinner always followed a day where my little sister and I wore brand new outfits complete with hat and spring coat and white gloves even if it were cold out. Our legs may have bore goosebumps as we abandoned our leotards for the day to wear little white ankle socks with our white shoes. The outfits of course were for the morning church service, which was preceded by our Easter egg hunt, and a token bite off the ear of our chocolate Easter bunnies. I do not remember my brothers having special clothes for the day, but they always wore a suit to church–you just did in those days.

Sunday dinners were always special, but a holiday Sunday meal was extra special. Sometimes we would have asparagus for the Easter meal but we always had green Jell-O with cottage cheese in it. I do not remember really liking this combo a lot–but it did connote spring at our house. Dessert was always wonderful, as my mom excelled at baking. In later years, a carrot cake encased in cream cheese icing became our favourite go-to Easter dessert–but there were always cookies, and something coconut–for some reason Easter and coconut were bound together in tradition.

As we approach this Easter weekend we leave winter behind, even if it seems somewhat stubborn in overstaying its welcome. I have an arrangement of pussy willows and some coloured Easter eggs and a few bunnies scattered about, plus a vividly coloured hydrangea plant I am trying to keep alive until at least after the holiday. Some of my Easter traditions have gone by the wayside–I no longer colour eggs with my kids as they are now grown adults, but I still get them something chocolate and probably will until they are 70, or I die first.

We will have lamb and little red potatoes, some asparagus (and peas for those who refuse to eat the asparagus), and the requisite mint sauce (which goes wonderfully with peas and potatoes and lamb). Dessert? I am not sure–but I am thinking the tradition of carrot cake with thick white whipped cream cheese icing will be a good fit. We will eat, drink, and be merry, ushering in a new season of hope. Is that not what Easter is all about?

Published in: on March 26, 2018 at 6:33 pm  Comments (5)  

Irish Ides are Smiling

In like a lion, out like a lamb. At least that is the hypothetical theory for the month of March. But what about those Ides of March and St. Patrick? Both are coming up this week, when we all hesitate over the Ides, and are all a little bit Irish on St. Pat’s Day. I am legitimately a little bit Irish, enough so that I can drink green beer and talk to the leprechauns with the best of them.

I know that the Ides of March, (ides meaning “divided” in Etruscan, divides the month of March in half) is somewhat foreboding–but until I looked it up (in an actual book), I had forgotten why it had such shadowy overtones. According to “The Book of the Year” by Rudolph Brasch, it was in 44 BC that Julius Caesar was stabbed to death (despite being forewarned by a “seer” who told him to be “specially on his guard” on the Ides of March). We can thank Shakespeare though for perpetuating and popularizing the warning “Beware the Ides of March” having encased the now infamous phrase in one of his plays “warning of impending danger or calamity.” I guess we can both thank and blame Caesar (who was defiant of the seer’s warning) for the ominous take on the Ides of March.

When I was much younger, drinking green beer seemed to be a rite of passage on the day heralded as St. Patrick’s birth. But the thing that has stuck with me is the irony that he is thought to have been more likely born in Scotland than Ireland. Now, having both Scottish and Irish blood (plus English, French, and Pennsylvania Dutch) this does not break any cherished heritage bonds for me. The legend goes that Patrick was “captured by Gaelic raiders” when he was 16 and deposited as a slave in Ireland. Although not an auspicious beginning, Ireland is later where he made his name. He is of course best known for ridding the emerald isle of its snakes, by throwing a bell over the precipice of the mountain called Croagh Patrick. In fact, the very bell is on display at the National Museum in Dublin.

There is a lot more to the story, but most of us are happy for a day where the “wearing of the green” is de rigueur and having a sip or two in honour of St. Paddy is what is important (no matter what our pedigree.) In fact, it was St. Patrick himself, who on his death “implored people not to grieve overmuch for him” and that to alleviate their sorrow, “Irishmen should take a small drop of something.” Brasch, the seeming authority on all matters Irish says that “in lasting obedience and reverence, the Irish continue to observe St. Patrick’s Day in the manner ordained by their saint”, which could also explain why we are all Irish on St. Paddy’s Day.

The lovely third stanza lyrics to “Irish Eyes Are Smiling” were made famous by the crooner, Bing Crosby. Though he did not team up with David Bowie to sing these words, they stand by themselves as a hearty song to drink a little something with:

“When Irish eyes are smiling
Sure, ’tis like the morn in Spring
In the lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing
When Irish hearts are happy
All the world seems bright and gay
And when Irish eyes are smiling
Sure, they steal your heart away~”

An interesting aside here: As I opened “The Book of the Year” to the month of March, a four-leaf clover I had placed between the pages fell out. Dried and brittle it is still intact, and I am taking it as a good sign. Having done my good deed for the day in consulting a book about both the Ides of March and St. Paddy, I Googled four-leaf clover and found out from the site that it is one of the most common good luck symbols in the Western world. The four leaves represent hope, faith, love and luck, or fame, wealth, love and health (depending on your belief system). I am willing to accept any of the above. And the real kicker is that chances of discovering a four-leaf clover is 1 in 10,000. Think I will buy a lottery ticket.

Bibliography of sorts: The Book of the Year, R. Brasch, pages 32-36

Published in: on March 15, 2018 at 3:57 pm  Comments (1)  

Food Memories

One of the “tricks of the trade” for creative writers is to use “prompts.” I have been to a number of writers’ workshops where the workshop leader will employ prompts to help us get in the writing mode. One of the least useful for me was when some “musical out-takes” were used as prompts. I drew a blank. Not only a blank, but a total and complete blank. The music was meant to elicit some response in me that I was then supposed to translate into words. It did not work. I found the music chosen for the exercise was totally uninspiring, but it taught me something. It taught me that some things connect with some people, and some things do not.

One of my most successful columns was written years ago and it talked about Sunday dinner, and if I were ever in the position to lead a writing workshop, I would probably use that meal as a prompt. Who does not have memories of Sunday dinners, or who wishes they had memories of Sunday dinner? My mother created memorable Sunday dinners, and for years my whole family was expected to show up at the dinner table, married or unmarried, kids in tow, boyfriend or girlfriend included. There was no edict–we were not forced to be there–we wanted to be there–for the food and the comradery. (I want to spell this “comraderie” but my spellcheck insists on comradery).

According to “Eat Love Savor”, a self described “Luxury Lifestyle Magazine”, the “history of the Sunday dinner meal originated in England. The British Sunday Dinner or Sunday Roast as it was called, was the main meal of the week.” Our big family Sunday dinners almost always consisted of a roast of some kind–roast beef with lots of gravy being my favourite, but of course we had pork roast, roasted chicken, and on occasion ham, which for some reason is baked and not roasted. But by far, the meals that remain at the top of my memory were those with roast beef, copious amounts of gravy, mashed potatoes, roasted carrots, and of course a tossed salad that included everything but the kitchen sink and homemade dressing. And dessert was always something wonderful–fruit pies with ice cream, or a special cake, and sometimes mom would get fancy and create something new, which we gobbled up without discernment.

I have fallen out of the habit of creating Sunday dinners, and the special meals I fix are mostly for birthdays or holidays, or days when I can actually see the top of my dining room table. I am disappointed in myself for not continuing the tradition I so loved, but passed into oblivion when my mom died. But the lovely memories live on—and at times I do rise to the occasion to give my kids a taste of something I so took for granted.

In the article about rediscovering the tradition of Sunday dinner by Angela Tunner in “Eat Love Savor” she says that the Sunday meal “is compared in this culture to Christmas”, but in England it was originally “served each week by the squire to his serfs as a reward for the week’s work.” I guess I can be forgiven for not upholding the tradition as I have no serfs, but I agree with Tunner when she states: “There is something deeply comforting in simple rituals like a special weekly meal.”

She suggests that Sunday dinner can be made easy and that “it needn’t be complicated or too time consuming.” She says that “simply cooking the roast in a crock pot is fuss free” and gives her take on the new Sunday meal: “Mashed potatoes are just hot water and potatoes cooking…a few steamed vegetables…a lovely loaf of fresh bread…. a butter dish on the table…and a small dish on the table with a few olives, artichoke hearts and other jarred delights.” She calls this a “grand meal on a plate.”

Which brings me to my next memory–who remembers the pickle plate in the days of yore? I remember my mom had a big glass plate broken up into compartments where we laid out carrot and celery sticks, radishes when they were in season, sweet and sour pickles, dill pickles, and those little green olives with pimento (at holiday meals–we did not have olives every day). I have a friend who takes the time to put one of these trays together when she serves meals, and it brings back fond memories for me. I guess they are the forerunner of the ever-popular charcuterie trays of today.

In essence, perhaps I should harken back to the days of my fond food memories and create some memories for my own family. I wonder what they will remember fondly besides mom trying to fix the simplest meal in the shortest time ever?

What is your favourite food memory?

Published in: on March 7, 2018 at 4:18 pm  Comments (4)  

Spring Forward

Spring forward. Apparently, that is what we will be doing on March 11th. I don’t know about you but I am still recovering from Fall back. So is my cat. He insists on eating at 3:00 p.m. and has since we turned the clocks back last November. I am getting tired of changing the clock during the spring and fall seasons, and no longer adhere to the propaganda that it really does us any good. In fact, there are a few things that it does do that are not particularly good. In an article on the website bigthink by Philip Perry called “Daylight saving time 2018: 7 myths and facts about changing the clock”, he says:

“Losing or gaining an hour may not seem too big of a change. But in fact, it can jolt the body’s internal body clock, causing a higher risk of sleep disorders, heart attacks, strokes, and miscarriages. Sudden changes in circadian rhythms can affect fertility as well. A 2013 study published in the journal Open Heart, found a 25% increase in the number of heart attacks occurring the day after a spring DST. Fatigue, decreased productivity, and even cluster headaches are also more common.”

Sounds rather ominous doesn’t it? I guess we can blame Ben Franklin, who according to Perry originated the idea to conserve candles–he figured if people got up consistently with the daylight they would use fewer candles. While Perry says that daylight saving time (there is no “s” I learned elsewhere in the article) was probably first practiced in Britain, Germany was the “first recorded country to have taken up the practice in May 1916” to save fuel during WWI. America soon followed suit–determining that the extra hour of daylight meant more leisure time and the increased sales of baseballs, barbeque paraphernalia, and golf balls.

Now who doesn’t mind messing up their circadian rhythms for a few more leisure hours spent chowing down on burgers, perfecting their golf swing, or throwing around a baseball? In all fairness daylight saving time (DST) was enacted to save energy. Wikipedia, that “know all and sees all” source says that “DST is observed in all ten Canadian provinces and three territories. However, there are exceptions within several provinces and the territory of Nunavut, including most of Saskatchewan, which observes Central Standard Time year-round even though the province is in the Mountain Zone, effectively putting it on DST year-round.”

Ah, Saskatchewan–what a rebel! Jury is still out on Nunavut….

Anyway, back to the dilemma at hand. I am none too fussy about going forward in time–but it is a close to time travel that most of us will get. And the added bonus is that my bedside clock radio will now be the right time–at least until November. (Am going to have to figure out how to change the time on that thing.)

In November we are made to feel guilty if we do not make good use of that extra hour we are afforded, but at least in the (early, not quite) spring no one is there to chastise us about using our time well. We will have lost an hour that we have to wait for months to get back.

The thing that I most enjoyed about putting the clocks forward “back in the day” was when I used to go to church, and people would show up just when the service ended. They would take their seat just before the closing prayer–then be unabashedly embarrassed as people filed out of church, just as they were settling in. I know, my sense of humour is a bit questionable, but seriously, I just loved watching for the inevitable to happen.

Here are some other views that I found interesting. I especially agree with funny man Dave Barry who sums up the whole thing quite succinctly for me. *He said: “You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight saving time.”

Anonymous was a bit curmudgeonly in his/her point of view: “Daylight saving time: Only the government would believe that you could cut a foot of the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket.”

Lastly, I will leave you on a more positive note, looking ahead to November. Victor Borges stated: “I don’t mind going back to daylight saving time. With inflation, the hour will be the only thing I’ve saved all year.” Me too, Vic…me too.
*quotes assembled by Maria Vultaggio

How do you feel about this tradition that has been foisted on us?

Published in: on March 6, 2018 at 4:11 pm  Comments (7)  

Waiting, But Not for Godot…..

How much of our lives is spent “waiting?” In the book, “Birds Art Life” by Kyo Maclear, she defines the act of waiting quite clearly, if not definitively (for waiting is nothing if not endless), in this passage:
“Waiting for a late friend. Waiting in line at the movies.
Waiting for the phone to ring. Waiting for the mail.
Waiting at the checkout counter. Waiting in traffic.
Waiting for the train. Waiting for the plane. Waiting in
a darkened theatre. Waiting in a foreign country.
Waiting to give birth. Waiting for sluggish minors.
Waiting for elderly parents. Waiting for something to
go wrong. Waiting at the doctor’s office. The waiting of
chronic illness. Eroded public services waiting. Wait-
ing for the Messiah. Waitlist waiting. The hoping and
waiting, the waiting and hoping. The waiting of
childhood. The waiting to grow up. The waiting of old
age. Waiting to recover. Waiting for another stroke.
Waiting for the body to let go. Waiting for inspiration.
Letting-the-field-lie-fallow waiting. The thinking-of-nothing-
and thinking-of-everything
waiting. Waiting just as the storm
ends. Waiting for the sun.”
And then of course, there is Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” quote: “Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it’s awful”.
Waiting by my definition is being in limbo, a time and space in which there is no beginning or end, until, of course, it is over. Then we wait on something else. I used to be the late friend that people had to wait for, which is ironic because I normally do not like to be a bother. And a “late” friend is a bother. I have amended my ways, and try not to be late. That does not mean I am not late sometimes, but I put forth the effort now not to be late.
Some of the more interesting and more innocent synonyms for “waiting” are: for the future, in the offing, pausing, expecting, anticipating, and awaiting (which seems gentler than waiting). But waiting has its annoying side, as found in these synonyms: put off, wait on, lingering, stopping, postposing, and worst of all–delaying. I find that the term “delaying the inevitable” never has a positive connotation—why does it seem that the inevitable is never good?
Waiting for many (myself included) is annoying. But as evidenced above in Maclear’s little rant on the page, it is a big part of our lives. Much of life entails waiting—so I suppose we could live little “mini” lives in the waiting periods. Because if we don’t, there is a lot of wasted time. And depending on what you are waiting for (a diagnosis, recovery, the Messiah) you will be doing a lot of thumb twirling.
Right now, many of us are waiting for spring, and in doing so, not really enjoying what winter has to offer. We are in the “letting-the-field-lie-fallow” stage, so let us enjoy it. I do not like bitter cold, or having to don my boots whenever I go out, but there are many things I love about winter. I love the snow and how it transforms our landscape into a winter wonderland; I love snowmen and women with their carrot noses, jaunty caps, and scarves. And who doesn’t find discarded branches as arms on these makeshift harbingers of jolly, charming? When I do venture out on a dark and stormy night, I feel brave, as if I have accomplished something. And you have to admit that being warm and cozy inside is one of the best feelings—add a cup of cocoa and a book, and I for one, am in heaven.
I do not particularly care for waiting in any kind of line, but when you finally make it to the front of the line, it is as if you have earned a gold medal in patience. I particularly do not like waiting on the end of a phone line—when there are 493 in line ahead of me, or so that robotic nonhuman voice tells me, between messages of “thank you for waiting”. Now that I find beyond irritating, but sometimes you have to hang in there because it is the only way to get through. Thank goodness for computers—many times we can go online and forego the incessant wait for the “next available customer service representative”.
Sometimes, if we are so disposed, we can look at waiting as a “mini-vacation” or a little time to ourselves, when we can meditate, breathe deeply, and give in to the fact that some things are just beyond our control. Other times, waiting seems interminable, but alas, it is part of life.

Published in: on January 16, 2018 at 3:50 pm  Comments (7)