Favorite Things

 

Reading and writing
Forever entwined; tangled ~
Lovely labyrinth.

This is my first offering for April–the month of poets.  A poem a day is like a vitamin a day – life enhancing.

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Published in: on April 1, 2014 at 1:23 pm  Comments (14)  
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Kick the Bucket Aside……..

This week’s newspaper column:

We are now entering into a sacred time—attention must be paid. It is now April and it is my birthday month. Just kidding—but seriously folks, we should pay more attention to ourselves—but not in a “selfie” gratuitous way, but in a way wherein we appreciate that we are still here with all the good, bad, and ugly life has to offer.

Sometimes I regret the fact that I am, in some circles, considered a “senior”. I do not feel quite up to the designation yet—nor do I feel wiser or older. I am not yet up to the task of being looked upon as someone who should be valued and honoured and respected because of my age. I do not deserve it yet, as I do not feel as if I have “arrived”.

What does that mean? I have not fulfilled what I believe is my mission: to rule the world. No, no—that was Brain’s mission (as in the cartoon Pinky and the Brain. If you have never viewed this iconic Warner Brothers offering—Brain and Pinky are mice, and Brain wants to take over the world. He has a huge head and is really quite intelligent. Pinky is a bit of a simpleton, but in the end he is the wise one—but I think I may be getting off topic here…)

I do not have a bucket list—or a list of all those things I want to accomplish before I die, as I do not relish the thought of kicking the bucket, so instead I have a life list—which if I want to put any dent in, I should get busy. Everyone should have a life list—a list of things which contains the obtainable but also the impossible; the practical as well as the whimsical; the necessary and those things of which dreams are made of.

So here is my life list—it does not take into account the things I have already obtained or experienced, but it is my wish list of things to continue to reach for. (I was feeling a bit low today and my husband reminded me of some of the things that I have already that no one can take away from me—this list is a complement to those things). Though I have numbered my list—the first is no more important than the last:

1. Have my words spread over all continents so that my wisdom will live on forever. Get published in a wider forum. Have my fractured attempts at writing haiku shared; my scattered thoughts put in book form; and Margaret Atwood finally invite me to tea (with ten of my friends) on Pelee Island.
2. Travel to the ends of the earth. The length and breadth of the world. Okay, I would be satisfied with seeing more of Canada and the States, visiting wine country in France and Italy (I have done my best in visiting the wine offerings locally), dropping in on the Queen (who shares my birthday), and…well, really why limit it—travelling to the ends of the earth (except the really cold parts).
3. Experience what I call “woo-woo” stuff—but not scary “woo woo” stuff. I like the idea of the ethereal but I seem to be stuck in the muck and mire of reality—then again, who says reality does not include these things?
4. Win the lottery. A big lottery. And then share it.
5. Clean up my bedroom. (In the scheme of things this seems inconsequential, but really if you saw my room—you would understand.)
6. Channel a little more of Martha Stewart and a little less of Erma Bombeck. (That is not true—I take that back—though I would love to be made up of the sterner stuff that is Martha, my beliefs are Erma all the way.)
7. Do whatever I can to help my kids have successful lives, but not do so much that it is not of their own volition and creativity.
8. Stay married for 50 years at least—that means I will have to live to at least 79. See you all at my golden anniversary—I will be having a big party—Led Zepplin (if they are still alive) will be making an appearance. It will be catered by Bobby Flay and Lynn Crawford. Dressy jeans will be the attire; and champagne with (local) ice wine the only elixir.
9. I will cook gourmet meals, have friends and family over to enjoy, and not have to clean up the kitchen. That will be putting to good use all those hours I have spent reading cookbooks and watching the Food Network.
10. Read to my heart’s content.

I implore you to make up your own “life list” while kicking the proverbial bucket aside—you may be surprised at what you come up with.

Who Am I?

Who am I?

Who am I? (Photo credit: BuhSnarf)

“Who *are* you behind your online words?” is a question asked by blogger extraordinaire bottledworder today in her post. Her byline is “easy reading is damn hard writing”.

That is a good question. Tell me, who do you think I am behind the posts I write and the things I reveal on my blog? I have a good idea who many of you are: courageous, smart, excellent photographers, funny, well-read, thoughtful and kind; some of you are my good real life friends; many of you I have met here in this blog space, and I consider you good real life friends too.

As many of you know, I have been putting together a book on “Bliss” from my posts and your comments from the first half of this year. Consider any comments you make some more fodder for my book—so comment away—and be sort of honest (lol).

And remember, bottledworder is right, when she says “easy reading is damn hard writing”. Sometimes I get it right; sometimes I don’t.

(Yes—I know this is a self-serving post—but it really will help with my book. You will be doing a  girl a favour. And any of you who know me in real life are exempt from this exercise.)

Published in: on August 16, 2013 at 2:13 pm  Comments (41)  
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Moments

My theme for this year is finding my bliss—and though I have given up writing about it every day an E-mail I received this morning from my sister Peggy reminded me of those glorious moments we want to capture and make last. While bliss moments may be fleeting, they are plentiful if we learn to recognize them.

First Peggy’s bliss moment: dangling her feet in the water while sitting on the dock at her cottage on a lovely little lake. It was just a few moments in time but moments that counted. And they counted because she appreciated them.

Summer can be full of blissful moments:

Sitting in the yard, smelling the freshly mown grass, reading a book, and sipping on a cold lemonade with your feet up. Even those tiny fluorescent green bugs that seem to love the tree you are sitting under are not too bothersome—in fact if you look at them closely they are just another wonder of nature. (Really, I am not on drugs!)

Summer Window

Summer Window (Photo credit: mystuart)

Sweeping off the back porch – a retro and simple thing – an odd bliss moment but one that is relaxing and productive at the same time.

Hearing the mailbox clatter shut and knowing the mailman has delivered the mail and there might be a magazine or a card, or even (gasp) a cheque waiting for you. And no matter that on some days you just get flyers and bills, there is always hope for tomorrow.

Looking out at the street after the garbage truck has been by and seeing that they picked up everything you put out.

The sigh at the end of the day when your work is done and you can relax. Not all days are like this—sometimes the work day goes into the evening, but those days when you can call time your own for a while are blissful.

There are so many moments of bliss—tell me about a moment of  unexpected summer bliss for you.

Published in: on July 5, 2013 at 8:33 am  Comments (49)  
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Setting the Bar Low

“Every man has one thing he can do better than anyone else and usually it is reading his own handwriting.” ~ G. Norman Cole

Tongue in cheek

Tongue in cheek (Photo credit: pcgn7)

On first reading, this quote made me smile. Then it made me think, as I am sure that is what it was meant to do, however tongue in cheek the wisdom may seem.

We do not seem to see our strengths but know all our weaknesses. Sometimes we bask in our failures. Marinate in what we deem our mediocrity and lack of success instead of seeing that success is in the eye of the beholder, but that eye is often much too critical.

I am not saying that we should be satisfied with just being able to read our own writing, I am saying it is a stepping stone–a metaphor for accepting ourselves and the fact that maybe we have something of value to say.

What do you think?

Published in: on June 28, 2013 at 9:50 am  Comments (38)  
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Sometimes Giving In Is Bliss

English: Various remote controls fot TV-set, D...

English: Various remote controls for TV-set, DVD and VHS. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love my husband. I do. But he has some annoying habits.

First of all, he thinks that the remote control for the television is his. He really does. It kills him when someone else has control of it. Perhaps he feels the world is out of control, so at least he can control something.

Second, he hardly ever watches one program at a time. Even if he likes a program, during the commercial he will turn the station to something else, and forget to turn it back, until I quite sweetly and politely ask him to. (Okay, maybe not so sweetly and nowhere near politely.)

And then he has a habit which drives me even more crazy than I already am. If he cannot find a program he likes, he just keeps hitting the remote and changing the channel until I get up and leave the room. I am pretty sure he does not do this on purpose. All the time. But once in a while, he does do it on purpose even though he says he doesn’t.

Why he thinks the television is his domain is anyone’s guess – but I am guessing that he is not the only husband who has these tendencies.

Sure, he is wonderful on so many levels that I let this one go (most of the time). But really, how funny are wonderful things?

Sometimes bliss is leaving the room and reading a book. Does your significant other have a funny annoying bad habit?

books

books (Photo credit: brody4)

Published in: on February 17, 2013 at 11:42 am  Comments (77)  
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~ Reading Bliss ~

Cover of "Thinking About Memoir (AARP)"

Cover of Thinking About Memoir (AARP)

Some days this bliss journey gets a little long and twisted and I am baffled as to whether I can keep it up. As anyone who reads this blog on a somewhat regular basis knows, my 2013 resolution is to find my bliss. Some days I want to pack it in; some days finding my bliss is pretty….blissful.

Cover of "Old Friend from Far Away: How t...

Cover via Amazon

Before I run out of things to say about bliss, I really must address the thing that has given me bliss since I was about six years old. The thing that has stood me in good stead all of these years, through thick and thin, through good times and bad, through…..okay you get the clichéd gist.

Quite simply, I love to read. I can depend on reading to provide bliss. Even before I could read, I was read to—so the magic of the written word has been with me all my life.

Today I am going to share with you a few of my favourite books and authors—just off the top of my head, because I am feeling lazy (so lazy I put the Sunday roast in the crock pot with potatoes cause I am too lazy to pay attention to it).

Cover of "On Writing:  A Memoir of the Cr...

Cover of On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

My favourite authors are Margaret Atwood, Alistair McLeod, Elizabeth Berg, Natalie Goldberg, Julia Cameron, Annie Lamont, Ray Bradbury, Abigail Thomas, Stephen King, Ina Garten, Chef Michael Smith, and a whole lot of other people. I do not like everything these people have ever written, but I like a great deal of what they have written. I am  a voracious reader of non-fiction but the only name that comes to mind right now is Rabbi Harold Kushner.

My favourite book from childhood is Little Women—I loved Jo, and grew up to be a writer precisely because of her. My favourite character from my preteen years is Trixie Belden—she was smart and independent, and I read every one of her books several times.

My favourite books on memoir are by Natalie Goldberg and Abigail Thomas. I suggest that if you like this genre you should rush out and buy, or put on hold at your library, Goldberg’s “Old Friend from Far Away” and Thomas’ “Thinking About Memoir”.

If you could only read three books on writing—these are my picks: Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones”; Annie Lamont’s “Bird by Bird”; and Stephen King’s “On Writing”. My fourth pick is one I am re-reading right now, Jack Hart’s “Storycraft” which is “The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction.” He has reinvigorated my newspaper writing.

Cover of "Writing down the Bones"

Cover of Writing down the Bones

So for the record, just in case this bliss thing comes to an end—I need it stated that reading is my bliss.

Off the top of your head—what are your favourite books or authors. Don’t think too hard (it is Sunday after all)—you will miss some as I most certainly have.

Comforts ~ Day 9 Or Cookies and Milk

My three things today may seem pedestrian, but they are what get me through the hard times:

books

books (Photo credit: brody4)

1. My books – I can lose myself in a good book (or magazine, or newspaper, or mouthwash bottle, or cereal box – I will quite literally read anything)

2. The Food Channel, Community, Downton Abbey, The Big Bang Theory, and sometimes when I am feeling really low, I watch really crappy TV to make me feel better about my life (LOL)

3. Comfort food – which generally includes something sweet and a glass of milk. The glass of milk cancels out the guilt from eating the something sweet – after all, we all need calcium-right?

It may sound like I am not really trying today, but seriously these are the things I am grateful for when life gets just that little bit too difficult.