Sweet November

There is no denying it. It is November, or as William Hartston of the London Express says, “Having settled in over the weekend, the month of November is now firmly with us….” In preparation for the rest of the month he provided ten not exactly “fun” facts about November. I find his first rather odd, and once you have read it, I am sure that you will agree with me that it is your least favourite and possibly most puzzling fact. Now that I have built it up, I am sure it will be a letdown, so here is his first fact about November:

“The Anglo-Saxons called November “Blotmonath” after the blood of slaughtered cattle.” This seems like a very random and distasteful fact—perhaps you have to be British to understand it. His second fact while not earth-shattering is interesting. He says that, “In any given year, November starts on the same day of the week as March and ends on the same day of the week as August.” I am too lazy to check out the accuracy of this, so I will just believe he knows what he is talking about.

Number 3 on his list is something we could all live quite happily without knowing, but nevertheless it gives us some sweet insight into another culture. Apparently, “according to data from Twitter, the Spanish are more likely to tweet “Te amo” (I love you) in November than any other month.” I understand this, as in our part of the world November is the beginning of the end of any hope of warm weather, so throwing a few “I love yous” around is sure to warm the cockles of the heart. Maybe this should become a Canadian tradition too.

He quotes Louisa May Alcott of “Little Women” fame for his fourth fact. Louisa was not a fan of November I take it. She said. “November is the most disagreeable month in the whole year.” At one time I may have agreed with her, but no more. To me November is the month that I plan for Christmas without stress—once December hits—it is deadline time. Shakespeare joins Alcott in enthusiasm for the month of November, as according to Harston “There is no mention of the month of November in any of Shakespeare’s plays or sonnets.”

I have not checked out this next one with our local police force but I hope it is not true. Harston says that “More domestic burglaries take place in November than any other month.” I have no real explanation for this one. This next “fact” is a bit obscure, but one that some of you may find entertaining and even understand. I am not part of your ranks, but if you see me around town and you understand it, I would be pleased to be enlightened. It is old weather lore and predicts that: “If there’s ice in November to bear a duck, There’ll be nothing after but sludge and muck.” Sounds a bit ominous to me.

Since I do not care that two American Presidents were born in November, I will still supply the information to those of you who may. Warren Harding born in 1865 and James Polk in 1795 were born in November. I will now tell you who I care was born in November: my niece Gilly, my grandniece Sophie, and my sister-in-law Starr. Happy Birthday to all of you btw. And do not be depressed about the next fact provided to us by Harston: “According to research by Clearblue pregnancy testing, “November is the least popular month for women to want to have babies in.” Gilly and Sophie and Starr, I am sure your moms were happy you were born in November.

Last, and least in my opinion of Harston’s ten facts is this: “November is the only month when more rain usually falls on London than Paris.” Elucidating though it may be, this fact is only handy for those of us in Canada who are thinking of visiting London, or for that matter Paris.

Personally I think the month of November is much maligned. I consider it my “hunkering down” month. The month (at our house) when we finally take the window air conditioner out. The month we turn the heat on without guilt. The month we can snuggle under blankets in the corner of the couch with a good book. The month when a warm fire is welcoming (unless you are like us and do not have a fireplace—then it is just alarming). So enjoy this month of November, despite what the Bard and Louisa may think.

Do you like November?

In Between

Tea Time

Tea Time (Photo credit: Maia C)

This is my newspaper column for the week:

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lie our growth and our freedom.” ~ Victor Frankl

It is in that space, the one between something happening to us and taking action that we live and breathe and make choices. And it is those choices that form our lives. Yes, I am getting a bit philosophical here, or pseudo-philosophical as the only letters behind my name declare me as someone who is supposed to have read all of Shakespeare’s plays (hard to take part in a comparative studies class of Shakespeare if you have not read all of his works ~ I learned this the hard way). I am also supposed to be able to take a theory and turn it into something practical–and, oh yeah, back in the day, I could dolly a mean television camera.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. While we are trying to make the hard choices, the right choices, and live our life the best way we know how—a little respite from all the serious stuff is sorely needed. Today, while reading some posts from my blog friends (no they are not my imaginary friends—there are living breathing people I have just not met in person) I came across a list of “Ten Things That Might Improve Your Day” by a Scottish woman {tearoomdelights} who writes primarily about tea, but also about life.  Curious? Well, I am going to satisfy that curiosity right now. She had an explanatory paragraph to elucidate each of her thoughts, but I will take her headings and provide you with a few of my own scattered notions.

Ten Things That Might Improve Your Day:

1. a nice hot beverage—of course her first choice was tea, but I am a fan of hot chocolate when I need my day improved.

2. a fresh pair of socks – now I have to share a few of her thoughts on this one as I thought they were first, unusual; and second, ingenious. She says that putting on a new pair of socks halfway through the day will refresh you, and if you do not have another pair of clean socks, then take off the ones you are wearing, shake them out, and put them back on.

3. a small nap – we have all read that successful people take 20 minute naps in the afternoon. Sounds like a good excuse to me.

 4. a wee read – told you she was Scottish. This one appealed to me in particular. A wee read can take you out of this world into another one for a few moments—a good way to improve you day.

5. a bit of fresh air – we all know this one, but how many of us embark on a little journey outside for some bird song and a little breeze?

6. a hot water bottle – perhaps this can be used in Scotland year round—but this would be the ticket here for three-quarters of the year. Soothing.

7. a bit of comedy – there is a reason I am addicted to some sitcoms. Some are clever, slice of life, and need I say it—funny.

8. a moment of peace—this one is self-explanatory and oh so necessary.

9. a thoughtful gesture – think of someone besides yourself and make them happy; improve their day (okay this was really her thought—but it needed no tweaking).

And finally, one I find a little abstract but her reasoning behind it is solid:

10. A blob of sun cream or to Canadianize it: sunscreen. She says that putting on sun cream makes her feel like she is on vacation even when she is not. Can’t argue with that for improving my state of mind.

My number 11 would be pumpkins—I just love them—they seem friendly, and make me happy. I do not know why. They just do. I bought a magazine yesterday that had pumpkins and squash and all manner of autumn things on the cover—taking me on a trip to my favourite season while we are still enmeshed in summer. I am not wishing the summer away though—there are still lots of things to enjoy in the month of August, like the harvest of ripe tomatoes in our little backyard garden plot; being able to just leave the house without sweaters and hats and coats and boots and mittens; outdoor picnics; and walking barefoot in the sand ~ just to name a few. Happy August—take a few minutes to enjoy it!

What would your number 11 be?

*~* My Favourite Things*~*

Line of light

(Photo credit: Evil Monkey Ali)

Note: While I will not be writing any original posts this week–I thought I would “post” (sounds like I am mailing this to you) my weekly column that will be appearing in the Kingsville Reporter this week. So hot off the presses, I present this to you: ( now must get my nose back to the grindstone–I hear the sound of a cracking whip–better go~)

“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens; Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings ; These are a few of my favourite things.”

I know I do not have Oprah’s status (and money and fame and success) but I do have some favourite things. She does not have the corner on this (although she could afford to buy that corner).

Her favourite things include an Easy Rider electric bike with an ugly lime green helmet; $198 cotton knit cable sweater; some spa products she discovered at David Copperfield’s (when I was at David’s I was not that impressed with them); a $395 pink leather bag from the Tory Burch store, which she saw and just had to have as “she was strolling down Madison Avenue” (I am holding out for a Burkin bag); some soap that only costs $238 for 14 bars, which she gave to Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Colbert; a mattress for $2,699 (which she now has in every bedroom of her house—which means her mattresses are probably worth more than my house); an elliptical cross trainer that was originally $3,099 and is only $2,789 with a coupon; and the piece de resistance, and the only thing I can afford from her list of 95 favourite things is a blue velvet cake with cream cheese icing and sugar snowflakes. At $42, I could think about it.

A Hermès Birkin bag.

A Hermès Birkin bag. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am going to be upfront: my favourite things do not include things such “as raindrops on roses, or whiskers on kittens”. I am a bit less, shall we say, whimsical than that. I mentioned the Birkin bag, which is, according to Wik E. Pedia, “a handbag by Hermès, handmade in leather and named after (British) actress and singer Jane Birkin.” It is “a symbol of wealth due to its high price and elusiveness to the public.Its price range? $9000 to $150,000. Costs apparently “escalate according to the type of materials.” They are fashioned “on unpredictable schedules and in limited quantities” to create scarcity and exclusivity. I am sure Oprah has a few of these, but was afraid to include them in her favourite things as they are out of reach of everyone but the 2% (or is it 1%?). I am including it because I plan on the winning the lottery. Soon. The big one. (Did you know that people who think they are going to win the lottery do not have their feet planted securely on terra firma?)

I have no argument with Oprah–she chooses a bunch of lovely stuff, then proceeds to give it away to some lucky people—I have not yet figured out how to be one of those lucky people, so I have created a list of my favourite things. Much more modest than Oprah’s, it consists of:

1. Anything that sparkles—I think I was a magpie in another life. Sparkly things have a wide range in price—I am not too choosy unless it is gaudy. Now, gaudy does not include an 8 carat yellow diamond (in case you were wondering).

2. Books—all kinds—books you can write in, books you can read for enjoyment, books you can learn from (as long as I am not being tested—went to school for about a hundred years—no more tests!); books with pretty pictures, kids’ books—okay, I think you are getting the idea here.

3. Boy boots. Seriously an odd choice I know. But, my husband who looks out for me and loves, loves, loves Canadian Tire saw a pair of women’s boots (that look like men’s boots) on sale for 60% off. They have laces and felt liners, and big treads on the bottom (I am prone to falling down, hence earning the name grace). Now, they look clunky but are kind of gold in colour (almost sparkly) with black rubber toes. So, my feet will not get wet and stay warm and toasty in the winter to come. So, my boots, while they are not sleek and leather and fashionable, are my new favourite thing.

Oh, and I do like surprises as in “brown paper packages tied up with strings” but you can keep the raindrops and whiskers (sorry Kitty Bob), and bright copper kettles. The mittens though would go with my new almost sparkly “boy boots”.

~My Wish List for this Week ~ October 15 to October 20~

Homefront-USB-Stick (4GB)

Homefront-USB-Stick (4GB) (Photo credit: THQ Deutschland)

It is Sunday night, and we are on the cusp of another work week. Thought I might list some of the  things I need to get done this week and check it out at the end of the week and see if I made any progress.

There are a number of bloggers who make a list of things they need to get done or just want to get done during the week, post it, and then  survey their successes at the end of the week and gauge how they have done. It seems to work for them, and since I have not posted an Organizing Post for a long time, this should serve to catch me up. Without further ado, here is my To Do List for October 15th – 20th:

1. First things first: I must write my On The Homefront column for the week for my newspaper deadline, which is Monday, and as of 6:45 on Sunday night, have no idea what the topic will be.

2. Write up council news taken from last week’s council meeting—discounting all the drainage and sewage discussions this leaves me with a few hot topics: the parade that stood in danger of being cancelled; expansion of more greenhouses; and a development that got a reprieve and approval even though they “forgot” to meet their deadline. I am sure  a few more things will pop up when I peruse the agenda again.

3. Write up the article for the Wine, Writers and Words Workshop I helped organize for deadline so it makes it in this week’s paper.

4. Continue doing book work for our company. This involves a lot of filing, figuring, and finagling.  I found out this week that being half-organized  is almost worse than being totally unorganized. I just assume that nothing is in its place, and everything is unfiled and not where it should be–so  that when I find I have actually put some things where they belong I am surprised, so my next goal is —

5. Get everything into files—I have started a system, so now I just have to keep at it. I just have to retrace my half-organized steps so I do not have three files with the same name (you may not think this is possible, but in my world it is.)

6. Get some groceries and plan meals. Sounds easy but it is not. Or not for me. Will let you know how I do here. At least I have cleaned the fridge of any wanton leftovers from Thanksgiving.

7. Get the house in some semblance of order which means  get the pile of clothes off the bed and into the closet or drawers. Seriously, I cannot die suddenly, as my bedroom is in such a terrible mess I would be blushing in the next life over what I left behind.

8. Email my youngest son, Tyler who is at college and my sister Peggy every day. Expect to hear back from Peggy. Be surprised if Ty ever emails back. (I am one of his free calls on his phone, so we do talk often).

9. Do some kind of  post for this blog every day; keep up with my blogging friends.

10. Prepare a presentation for my Writers’ Group about blogging. (Something many of you have already generously contributed to.)

11. Work on my October book and an intro to my On The Homefront book—thinking of calling it “The Worst of On The Homefront.”

Okay, think I am getting carried away a bit here, but it will be interesting to see what I can cross off, what I can take a bite out of, and what goes by the wayside. Actually, on review, I am exhausted—whose idea was this anyway? This week may prove to be a long road with no turning,….

English: Fishes and Peggy Hill Farm One of tho...

A long road  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Published in: on October 15, 2012 at 12:33 am  Comments (50)  
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