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?

TMI

Well here it is–my weekly column. I know many of you await it with bated breath. This week I was channeling Joan Rivers before she became caustic, Erma Bombeck, with a little Carol Burnett thrown in for good measure (where is the King of the Jungle when you need him?)

Funny legs

Funny legs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was an abstainer. No way was I going to join Facebook. I did not understand it. I still do not quite understand it—but it has turned out to be fascinating. I have been on Facebook since January and to say it has changed my life would not be the correct assessment. But it has added another dimension. I can now see my far flung (and for that matter near flung) relative’s and friend’s antics. I have been able to connect to some friends I have not seen since university. I get to see my nephews and nieces and their kids (who are all exceedingly adorable—the originals and their offspring). I get to see what people think is important to share and it is a lesson in humanity and humility, fun and family.

 My picture is on my Facebook page, and while I do not think it does me justice (I am in a time warp—where did all those wrinkles come from?), it does depict me as I am today. A dyed in the wool brunette with a little gray on top I like to think of as my halo;  squinty (I prefer to think of them as sparkly) eyes  arrayed in glasses possibly a bit too prominent for my face; and a slight Mona Lisa smile to keep the jowls from sagging too much. (My niece Chay often gets after me when I humorously “put myself down” but it is a woman’s prerogative to make fun of herself. It does not necessarily mean I have trouble with my body image or the way I look—I kind of enjoy poking fun at myself. Note: I do not particularly enjoy it when other people do though—so if you see me at the grocery store, do not make fun of my nose.)

                I do not have many friends on Facebook and it is mostly by design. I befriended people I knew would not mind and most of those who have asked me—except for a couple of guys who seem kind of suspicious and look like relatives of the Duck Dynasty guys (hey, did you see a pic of some of them without their beards—wow!—but I digress.) Although, on second thought, the Duck Dynasty guys are kind of rich………..

Snoopy as "the World War I flying ace&quo...

Snoopy  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Facebook is great if you are kind of snoopy. Which I am. Being a reporter is a good thing as I get to peek behind the curtains sometimes. Do not invite me to your house unless you are ready to have the door of your medicine cabinet opened. I do not judge though—I am just curious. (Just kidding). I am amazed at some of the things people share, and not because they share things that are weird and strange (though I do find those things interesting)—they share their knowledge, recipes, family life, reflections, and pictures.

                I understand why some people do not like Facebook—I can see that it could get out of hand—but the way I use it, I like it just fine.  I also have a Twitter account which I understand even less than I do Facebook. I tweet my blog posts and on occasion stuff like “the bird has left the nest” or “the horse is in front of the wagon”. These tweets make no sense, but neither do many of the tweets I have read.

                I could take the time to understand these tools of social media. In fact I will Google Facebook right now and find out what it says. I just love Google—it is such a lazy way to do research.  Okay, according to Wikipedia, “Facebook is an online social networking service. Its name comes from the colloquial name for the book given to students at the start of the academic year by some American administrations to help students get to know one another.” Cool. Now I am in the know. About ten years later than most others on this planet known as Earth.

                Okay, now what does it say about Twitter? Just a minute—or few minutes—my Internet seems to be on a bit of a siesta right now.  All knowing and All Seeing Wikipedia says that “Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables users to send and read “tweets”, which are text messages limited to 140 characters.” So that about sums it up. And it is still as clear as mud to me. Maybe in ten years I will understand it and tweet to my heart’s content.

                I am sure this column has been illuminating. Think of all the things you have learned about me that you really didn’t need to know:

1. I dye my hair but not religiously, hence the grey halo.

2. My eyes are close together.

3. It is okay for me to make fun of myself but not for anyone else to make fun of me.

4. I am woefully behind the times.

5. I am in denial about my age.

6. You do not want to invite me to your house unless you have cleaned out your medicine cabinet.

7. I am not, nor have I ever been “cool”.

Published in: on November 12, 2013 at 9:00 pm  Comments (44)  
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~ ? ~ Or Commenting: A Dangerous Sport

Confused Winter Hummingbird

Confused Winter Hummingbird (Photo credit: Ed Gaillard)

Do you ever get comments that you don’t quite get? Or that you think may be humourous, but then again, may not be? And how about those ever so helpful comments you get that tell you that you are wrong about something (because they did not get your attempt at humour). And they always say: “I know you will not take this the wrong way,…..” (but I do). Then once in a while you get these people who take the moral high road and give you a tiny slap in the blog. It does not happen often. I have received (just a minute I am going to check here) 5,523 comments and less than ten were, shall we say questionable or insulting.

 But a few more were confusing—but I confuse easily.

 Because I love to read comments, I will sometimes answer with a ? and then the commenter will elucidate their thoughts (which it turns out was really quite clear in the first place—I am just a doorknob). Sometimes I will serve up a noncommittal answer to their comment with a clever emoticon, or thank them for stopping by when I am not sure what was meant.

When I first joined the blog world I made some mistakes in commenting. Once I was flippant, then tried to cover it up by making an apologetic re-comment. Once I corrected someone who needed no correction and found out that everyone loved her and that if I were to keep my place in the blog world, I better never hint at saying anything untoward to her again (sorry again Brigitte, though the angel that you are, you took no offence).  And once I did correct a spelling mistake in someone’s blog—because the rest of it was so perfect, I could not help myself. They thanked me, but I will bet they did not really want to.

So I have given. And I have received. But I have learned. And I am shocked that I have made so many friends—seriously who knew? I guess people who have a Facebook account know that you can have cyber friends, but I do not have a FB page. I have a Twitter account, but for the life of me, do not yet understand it. So my blog is my foray into having friends at the other end of a keyboard—and I must say I like it (I really like it – this is me channelling Sally Fields in a rather warped way).

So, if any of my comments ever offend you—I am sorry. If any confuse you, just ask me to explain, because I am sure it is my confusion not yours that is to be blamed.

 Adieu, and keep on commenting. (Yes, I mean you brother John. Sister Peggy comments on everything! lol)