*~* 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”.

Get Over Yourself

English: Stillness by Eckhart Tolle, on a Park...

English: Stillness by Eckhart Tolle, on a Park bench plaque, facing Sacramento River, Redding CA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“It is my very favourite time of the year.”  ~ me

I write a weekly column called “On The Homefront,….and Beyond” for a small town newspaper, and I often start my rants, raves, or mere observations with seemingly simple, or to be quite honest, truly simple,  statements like the one above.  Then I wonder why people bother to read what I have to say because really, why would they care? I have been doing this for 51 weeks a year, for almost fourteen years now, and have only repeated one column due to a death in the family.  The strong desire that the space temporarily allotted to me on page 5 of the Kingsville Reporter not be filled with anything other than my column has given me the inspiration to find something to fill it, even in my grief.

I try not to think too much about my audience. Actually, that is not true. I write with my audience in mind, but I try not to think about what my audience thinks about me too much, because then I would not be brave enough to tap words into my computer, and email them off to the newspaper for publication.

I know my column is read in some of the local lunchrooms at the municipal office (I  cover municipal politics), the local grocery store, and maybe even at some of the schools. But I am not comforted with this knowledge, as I imagine that some of the readers wonder just who the heck I think I am to write about the subjects I comment on. Then I remember the words that get me through both the more grisly and just slightly unpleasant  events  in life: “get over yourself”, and continue my merry wordsmithing.

Ever notice when good things happen in your life, you do not need this advice? Because when the good things happen, many times you do not need to navel gaze, you just accept them thankfully without askance (perhaps with the slight uneasiness that if you look down the throat of a gift horse too deeply, you will find something you would rather not face. Remember the Trojans.)

“Get over yourself” is a rather crude philosophy with a lot of adherents, who put the advice much more gently. One of Oprah’s “gifts” to the world is Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now and A New Earth. He wants people to basically just ignore their egos and get on with life. Live and let live is basically what his books are about.  He is not really this clear—he talks around the point, about the point, and describes the point, but never says “get over yourself” in those exact words. But that is all he is really saying. There, I have now saved you the time it takes to slough through his books to get to his point. Although once I got used to his circumventing of the point, I did enjoy how he said it, without really ever saying it.

As I am a bit self-conscious, but not to the point of being paranoid—I shall keep my new mantra at the forefront of my mind when I write: “Get over yourself, get over yourself,……”, sort of my version of the Little Train Who Could: “I think I can , I think I can,….”

#1 – The Writer’s Devotional, Amy Peters

Writer Wordart

Writer Wordart (Photo credit: MarkGregory007)

In my eternal quest to expand what is left of my mind, I bought a new book called “The Writer’s Devotional” with some birthday money I had received that was just burning a hole in my pocket , or to be more authentic (shades of Oprah) a hole in my pink wallet. It has contained within its brown suede-like cover (which is why I suspect I purchased it, as I just love the soft beautifully etched surface) a promise. Actually 365 promises. The subtitle of the book by Amy Peters declares that the book contains: “365 Inspirational Exercises, Ideas, Tips & Motivations on Writing”.

Now, according to the sketchy instructions at the front of the book, I am supposed to read one of the tips, exercises, ideas etc. a day, absorb it, meditate on it, or use it to write something profound. But seriously, I know myself and cannot stick to that prefab routine. I have already completed the readings for the first week, and I suspect that very soon I will finish the book. I am not a page-a-day kind of girl. I am also not really a girl, as I have several decades under my belt past the stage of girl, but I refuse to call myself a gal, and woman is a bit too formal, and well….mature.

The book is set up with a Monday to Sunday format. On Mondays you hear some words of wisdom from a writer; on Tuesday you get motivated; Wednesday is writing class day; Thursday is about editing; Friday provides a biography about a great writer; Saturday gives suggestions on books that writers should read; and Sunday, well on Sunday you are given a writing prompt. So, all in all you get two prompts over the week, learn some unusual biographical info about writers, as well as a few words of wisdom, and get to give your muse a bit of a reprieve.

One of the things I do as a writer is write a weekly column, and I always need ideas. I plan on taking some ideas from this book, and elaborating on them both for this blog and my column. I invite you to join me on this journey, which I will number,  and include in my “Off the Cuff” section so you can distinguish it from my other contributions. I will be providing a little info from the book, but not enough to spoil it for you should you want to buy it (or enough to get me sued)—just enough to whet your appetite. Comments would be appreciated if you have something to add to what I hope will not be a one-sided conversation.  This is not just a journey for writers; I hope to make it interesting to all.

Published in: on May 2, 2012 at 3:02 pm  Comments (2)  
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