The Merry Month of June

“Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June.” – Al Bernstein

June is a month imbued with memories and memories in the making. If I were the month of June I would be stressed out—so much is expected of it and 30 days does not seem long enough to hold all of the expectations. It is the month when summer starts officially—in fact this year it raises its sunny head on Saturday at 6:51 a.m. I know this because I read the comics every day, and in the strip Mutts, Mooch the cat is told this fact by his dog friend. (Over the years I have gleaned much wisdom from comic strips—it is an education in itself). It is also the beginning of the summer wedding season; the month of graduations; the end of the school year and the beginning of summer vacation for many a student.

I graduated from public school, high school twice (grades 12 and 13) and from university. I do not remember a thing that was said at any of these graduations. I do not remember what any of the speakers told us and barely remember the essence of the valedictorians’ speeches. Mostly I just listened to hear if my name would be mentioned, and since I was not a memorable student, it never was.

I have quoted Anna Quindlen’s commencement speech (A Short Guide to a Happy Life) a few times because I think she had some wise words to impart, and I liked what she said, but I wonder how many of those who heard it really went away with anything of import. I ask this because I read an article in the Weekend National Post by Benjamin Errett in a column called “The Week in Wit”. His article, cheekily called “Good Luck With Life” addressed “the futility of the modern address to the graduates.”

Errett’s advice to anyone picking up an honorary doctorate is to “just collect it” and not give a commencement speech because (a) they are silly; and (b) no one wants your advice. He does not stop there, and I think he has a point. He is not addressing public or high school graduates, just university, so if you are giving a commencement speech to those under the age of twenty, I guess you have his blessing. Here is his reasoning for not speaking to university graduates:

“….commencement speeches are silly. No one wants your advice. Your audience will have spent the last four years acquiring and honing their skills, at least in theory. (I like that he adds this line: at least in theory). They will have learned from the best minds in the world, at least in theory (again with the theory…) and if they don’t know much in practice, they at least do in theory. (!!) So the idea that you will impart an hour’s worth of wisdom on How to Live to a bunch of cynical adults sweating under mortarboards (and if I remember correctly a very heavy purple gown with a stole that kept slipping on a day that was over 90 degrees F) is a bit out-dated, to say nothing of the fact that you made your name in a world that looks nothing like the one they face.”

I remember little from the day I graduated from university other than the fact that I wish I had worn something really light under my gown and not the little suit vest and skirt and long sleeved blouse I had donned. It was hot and I could not wait for my name to be called so I could venture across the dais to grasp my hard-won diploma in my sweaty hand. It turned out that the diploma was really just a rolled up piece of paper tied with a ribbon. The “real” diploma arrived weeks later in the mail. I do not remember a word that was said that afternoon. Not one word. Admittedly, it was eons ago, but I believe that as I was enjoying my graduation dinner with friends and family at a favourite upscale restaurant of my choice, I did not remember a word then either.

Errett’s advice to those who ignore his initial advice not to make a commencement speech is this: “…if you have to talk, be funny.” This is the best advice ever. I remember if not the words – the essence of the valedictorian’s speech from my grade 12 graduation, and while she was sincere and probably said all the right things, she added a dollop of humour—and it was the humour that I remember—not the ‘go forth be successful’ message.

Published in: on June 17, 2014 at 4:40 pm  Comments (21)  
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Wisdom Lite

Family of ocellaris clownfish, Miyako Island, ...

Family of clownfish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By far Anonymous is the wisest of all those who purvey wisdom.
A shining example is this, found in a little tome I have called “Kitchen Wisdom”
put together by Jane Brook:

‘Carpe diem’ does not mean ‘fish of the day’. 

                                                             ~ Anonymous

I liked this for its simplicity. Sometimes we all need a good laugh. Do you have any favourite quotes in the same vein?

Published in: on October 2, 2013 at 4:00 pm  Comments (23)  
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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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~ Scary? ~

This is a film my son  made for a film competition at  college for Halloween.  He won the competition. As his proud mother I am sharing it with you. I really had to talk him into letting me put this on my blog, but he finally acquiesced.

The judging for the competition was not over until after Halloween, hence you are seeing it in November. November can be scary too.

This is the same son that I posted a picture of a couple of days ago when he was six. He is now 21. I thought it was funny. If you do not think it is funny, do not tell me. Any accolades will be gladly accepted.

Without further ado–I present the next Spielberg, or George Clooney, or Godzilla–you decide:

Published in: on November 7, 2012 at 5:35 pm  Comments (30)  
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Random Things

English: Sorting a random list using merge sort.

English: Sorting a random list using merge sort. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cristian Mihai wrote a blog with ten random things about himself and he got 150 likes and over 50 comments, so I thought I would give it a try to see if I can garner stats like that–so far only my About page has come close to that in “likes”, over a period of a year, not a day. (I have had some good “like” days, but never 150).

So here they are:

1. Like Cristian, I thought driving was too complicated, so did not get my licence until I was 35. Cristian is right, driving is too complicated.

2. I went to University until I was 27.

3. I love frozen Hostess chocolate cupcakes (the ones with the squiggle on top). I deny myself this treat until I can deny myself no longer.

4. I love watching General Hospital. This is a very difficult thing to reveal as it is my guilty pleasure. I have been watching it since I was fourteen. I gave it up for years cause it got weird (someone froze Port Charles or something)–and I don’t get to watch it everyday–but my answer to all of those who scoff at soaps — it does not kill your brain cells. This btw is my big reveal.

5. I love to read cook books. I don’t love to cook. Actually the cooking part is okay, it is the cleaning up part. I can channel my favourite food network cooks and chefs all I want for inspiration, but I know they do not have to clean up their messes.

6. I am not half as interesting as some of my favourite bloggers, but that does not stop me from posting.

7. I love the fall and all things autumnal. I love the word “autumnal”.

8. I was born on the same day as Queen Elizabeth, just lots and lots of years later. I consider her my soul sister. Can two very white women be soul sisters? I think so.

9. I have noticed that when I make a posting–if it is one where I need to be bolstered, the blogging community goes all out with kindness and compassion.

10. Despite what I write about my cat, I really do like him.

There you have it — ten things you could have lived your life quite happily without knowing.

 

Or Not

Carl Sanburg's house where he lived while he w...

Carl Sandburg’s house. Now a Chicago landmark. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“It is necessary ….for a man to go away by himself …to sit on a rock…and ask, ‘Who am I, where have I been, and where am I going?’”* So said Carl Sandburg. My answer: “Or not.” Admittedly a succinct, even superficial response, nonetheless I sometimes wonder if we should really be so navel gazing. I have noticed in my numerous decades on this earth, that too much introspection can be harmful, and that those who do not put in the time to ask the questions that Sandburg put forth are perhaps happier than those of us who delve into these depths.

According to Wikipedia (that repository of somewhat questionable knowledge for the lazy), Carl Sandburg was born in 1878 and was the recipient of not one, not two, but three Pulitzer prizes. He was a much celebrated writer and editor–so, he can be forgiven for being a deep thinker—it obviously paid off for him. But I am still wondering about his choice of a rock to sit on to contemplate his wherewithal.  Why not a couch before a roaring fire, or a comfortable bench overlooking the park, or even a sandy beach? It seems we need to contemplate life from a hard place, or the proverbial spot between it and a rock.

Of course I am not a great philosopher (or even a poor one), but if I take my cues from my cat, strangely named Kitty Bob (try shouting that out your front door when you want your cat to come home), I note that he takes no comfort from hard places, nor do I think that he contemplates life much beyond eating, sleeping, partying hardy all night away from the house, and getting all the attention in the world from three of the four members of this household (yes, I am the holdout—but in my defence I feed him and clean out his litter box, and on occasion at the urging of those who love him, pet him).

Now, I am not saying we should all act like cats (or maybe I am), but a house cat with a good home and people who love him, has it made in the shade. (What would this post be without its clichés—I am single-handedly bringing them back into vogue).  My cat thinks he owns the place, and in essence he does. Pretty well anything Kitty Bob wants, KB gets. Here is an excerpt from some of the conversations that go on around this house all concerning the cat:

1. “Oh, let the Kitty Bob sit in your chair. You don’t need to work at your desk right now, do you?” (For some reason Kitty Bob has taken to sitting in my desk chair of late, and is quite put out when I have to move him.) He is very indignant when I unceremoniously dump him out of my chair and he must sit somewhere else, and it seems the members of this family think he should be able to sit where he pleases too. (For those of you taken aback at my dumping him out of my chair—really, I just gently lift him out and put him in another chair—I don’t want the Pet Police after me.)

2. “Kitty Bob likes sitting on my suitcase—I’ll get him another one to sit on, so he will be happy.” It seems that Kitty Bob’s happiness is a priority at my house. No rock for this guy. The back story: When my youngest son Tyler was home for Thanksgiving, he left his suitcase laying out flat in the hallway upstairs and Kitty Bob started to use it as his comfortable place to nest, so that when Ty needed to gather it up to go back to school, he went and found another suitcase (mine!) for the cat to lie on. And the cat is still using it as his upstairs “getaway” every day—taking his leisurely naps on it. He does leave it to eat and do his duty, but he spends hours on this suitcase. Who knew?

3. “Pet the Kitty Bob, mom, he wants you to pet him.” I do not think the cat cares if I pet him, but I give him attention to make the other humans at this house happy. And their response always is: “See, he is starting to purr, he doesn’t purr when I hold him.” The secret here is that I feed the cat; the cat knows that I am the purveyor of all things “meow mix” so of course he purrs–he wants to be fed, and he recognizes me as the giver of food.

Anyway, my whole point in this is–why go sit on a rock, question life, ruminate over your failures, and make plans to make your life more worthy if you are a cat? It is just us foolish humans who have not yet found the meaning of life: eating, sleeping, and getting a lot of love, who need to make ourselves uncomfortable in order to ask life’s questions.

*Thanks to grosenberg.wordpress.com for the quote.