Tag Archives: attitude

An Interesting Tale of an Ordinary Life

I have lived an absolutely incredibly fascinating life. And so have you. Of course, other people may not think so. They may not buy a book by an ordinary woman but then maybe they would.

I believe that each of us has a tale or two in our past that would amaze or perhaps horrify the general public.  But it was our life and we lived it as best we could. I am inordinately pleased that cell phones did not exist when I was a child. There’s a great deal of my childhood that, although I remember it fondly, I would not like to be reminded of in pictures. Bad hair days meant something completely different than it does today. We are so concerned with appearances that we often forget substance.

And while I was bullied a little bit when I was in my youth it is nothing compared to what children go through now. My bullies looked me in the eye when they were being mean. I had the option to go to my parents and name names. Then respective parents would get together and the bullying stopped.  Nowadays it is done anonymously with the protection of cyberspace and it hits much deeper. It hurts more profoundly. It causes significantly more damage. And the ramifications for being a bully? It’s rare that they’re caught. And that is a sad statement on our society.

I have always been a champion of Human Rights but what happens when those Human Rights interfere with the Individual’s Rights? Is enough, enough? I remember a saying about an old Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times”. Well, we do and yes, it is a bit of a curse. I’ll bet in the next few years there are going to be a number of books written by supposedly famous people about the struggles they survived during The Year of the Pandemic. Obscene amounts of money will exchange hands so that we can read about other people. Probably not terribly interesting people. But they are famous so that makes them readable. They still put their pants on one leg at a time.

I think the most interesting people are the ones who aren’t famous. They’re the ones who go out and get the job done because it’s the right thing to do. The people who show compassion, ingenuity and selflessness simply because that’s the kind of person they are. They don’t go looking for accolades or monetary gain.  They simply keep their eyes open for the next person that would benefit from their assistance. Those are the interesting people.

I think everyone of us has something fascinating we can teach someone else. And I think every other person out there has something I need to know. And that is what makes life so very interesting.  Don’t you think?

Mind Craze

Mini-mazes of the mind,

Where ideas go to breed.

They find a place they like to sit,

And then they plant a seed.

 

And in time there is a shoot,

A mini notion starts.

Then of course it gains it’s strength,

And plans those special parts.

 

Will it be a story,

Of lust and love and death?

Or will it be a poem,

About a baby’s breath?

 

I do not know the course,

The direction I will choose.

But I know I’m happy,

When words become my muse.

 

Mini-mazes of the mind,

A wondrous place to play.

Now I guess my time is up,

And I must say:  good day!

Conversations with Myself

I was washing my dishes the other day and trying to think of something to write about for my Sunday post. I was remembering conversations I have had with people, articles in the news I had seen or heard.  I even started listening closely to the construction banter outside my window.  It is annoying but necessary and the inconveniences experienced today mean that this small section of our lives will be better in the future.  Hmmm, Progressive Thought or Subversive Rhetoric?

As I was trolling through the flotsam and jetsam that meander through my mind it suddenly dawned on me:   I was talking to myself!  Not a conversation that one would have with a companion. Or maybe I am my own companion. Hum.  That does bear thinking about. I was not having a conversation like I would with a friend, a human or animal one. It wasn’t out loud. But when you make a decision aren’t you actually talking to yourself about whether or not to go right or left, up or down?

Don’t judge me but sometimes I think I split infinities with myself! This is what happens when I am left unattended. I turn inward and stroll through the corridors in my mind.  And I have over six decades of passageways in there with a whole lot of side tracks and cubby holes.  I am starting to sound like a Star Trek episode! But think about it . . . who are you trying to convince when you want that second piece of pie?  (Or the first one!)

I like my mind. Mostly. I can sometimes go off on a tangent or become so hyper-focussed that I see absolutely nothing around me. For example. I draw the little icons that you see on my Daily Quips and Shady Quips. Every year I draw new ones because I get bored. This year I spent hours hunched over my Paint Program deciding what I wanted to draw. I’m a couple of months early. I don’t need it until January but it had popped into my mind and I couldn’t let it go.

Having a good focus is always positive but a hyper-focus can be a little disconcerting. I will honestly say that I now have several choices and I like them all. So now I have to do the other thing I’m not always fond of doing: making a choice between two or three. But I have a couple of months to do that so there is no rush. I do like to be prepared.

And isn’t that what life is all about: preparing for it? We cannot plan for every eventuality but we can be aware of the possibility of the unforeseen.  Rather tantalizing don’t you think?

 

 

 

 

 

Seeing

I was sitting on my balcony recently, causally glancing over the buildings in the near distance and I saw something I had never seen.  Now I have lived in this town, in this apartment building, in this apartment, for more than twenty-five years.  I have been venturing out on to this balcony literally hundreds of times. And I never saw it before?  It wasn’t the fact that it had been there decades longer than I have, it was that I hadn’t noticed it.

Our eyes may look but it is our brain that sees.  How many times have you walked into a room, looked around and missed seeing the person you were there to meet? They were standing in plain sight but you missed them.  How many times have you bumped into something or someone right in front of you?  Your eyes were open but your brain was distracted.

I was walking in a mall one day many years ago when I was startled by an old friend, just inches from my face.  He said that he had been waving and while I was looking at him, he realized I hadn’t seen him.  I hadn’t.  My mind, my brain was preoccupied.  So, while the saying ‘seeing is believing’ is catchy, I don’t believe it.

Four people see a traffic accident.  They will have four different accounts.  Ask any First Responder.  We all SEE things differently. Our eyes see and our brain interprets. And THAT is what we witness.

I look out over a pristine forest and I see great beauty in the flora and fauna. Someone who makes their living from cutting down those trees sees his children with food on the table and a roof over their heads. We are looking at the exact same thing and yet we ‘see’ something completely different. And therein lies the conundrum.

What is the truth? What is the truth to you?  There are some facts that are irrefutable and yet some people refuse to believe them. Why? Perhaps they are unable to handle the truth. And it is so difficult to sift through the masses of information and misinformation that we are bombarded with every day.  Sometimes it is easier to listen to whoever speaks the loudest.  Sad but true. What does that say about us as a people?  Mistakes have been made in the past that affected the entire world because the masses listened to the wrong voice. How can we ensure that doesn’t happen again?

Oh and what was it that I had not noticed?  It was the name of the building I was looking at in four-foot letters!

 

Auto Correct

  1. Auto correct

For sometime now I have been threatening to write ups about auto correct. Guess what today is? I Wai type using a set of headphones and a program that prints what I say. I must speak clearly and enunciate correctly. But I also must contend with the nefarious auto correct. It doesn’t always like what I say nor does it know the difference between 22 and two or which witch is which. It amuses me and it frustrates me.

There is a wonderful joke I remember about a woman who is texting her boss to say that she is home sick with a cold. The auto correct sent the message at home in bed with a clown. I laughed myself silly. Now I will admit that day I am being super careful to see how much I can get out correctly. And wouldn’t you know it, today the auto car seems to be taking a break. I spoke too soon but we all go through this.

I was doing an art show a few years ago and they asked me for a bit of a biography. Where did I get my ideas for painting and so on. I wrote about how I had canoed in northern Ontario and swim in the ocean off the Atlantic provinces. And you see auto corrected exactly what someone did to my biography. Instead of using the word swim, no my dictation will not take it. There are three chances, I said tenses: swim, swim, swim. Nope my dictation will not take it. So what I’m going to do is I am going to take this a few paragraphs and correct them. Some of the errors are AutoCorrect and some of the errors are my dictation program refusing to recognize words.

Does this frustrate me? Yes. But life is a continual speedbump. Some of them are easy to step over and some are a challenge. But it sure as hell ain’t boring!

 

2 . AutoCorrect

For some time now I have been threatening to write a post about AutoCorrect. Guess what today is? I am typing using a set of headphones and a program that prints what I say. I must speak clearly and enunciate correctly. But I also must contend with the nefarious AutoCorrect. It doesn’t always like what I say nor does it know the difference between to, too and two or which witch is which. It amuses me and it frustrates me.

There is a wonderful joke I remember about a woman who is texting her boss to say that she is home in bed sick with a cold. The AutoCorrect sent the message “at home in bed with a clown”. I laughed myself silly. Now I will admit that today I am being super careful to see how much I can get out correctly. And wouldn’t you know it, today the Autocorrect seems to be taking a break. I spoke too soon but we’ll all get through this.

I was doing an art show a few years ago and they asked me for a bit of a biography. Where did I get my ideas for painting and so on? I wrote about how I have canoed in northern Ontario and swum in the ocean off the Atlantic provinces. And AutoCorrect did exactly what someone did to my biography. Instead of using the word swum, they used swam.  There are three tenses: swim, swam, swum. My dictation will not take it and neither will AutoCorrect. So, I am going to take these few paragraphs and correct them. Some of the errors are AutoCorrect and some of the errors are my dictation program refusing to recognize words.

Does this frustrate me? Yes. But life is a continual set of speed bumps. Some of them are easy to step over and some are a challenge. But it sure as hell ain’t boring!

 

 

 

Merriam Webster says:

 

Swim is an irregular verb; swam is the past tense of swim, while swum is the past participle. Swum is used after have, as in “I have swum in that pool before.”

 

A Perfect Cup of Tea

I am a snob. There I said it. It’s true. Anyone that knows me knows that I am, unrepentantly, a snob. Specifically, I am a tea snob. There are some things in this life that I will not skimp on. And one of those things is a leafy beverage that I enjoy, usually in the morning. No regrets, no apologies.

I once made a joke to a friend that coffee was the drink of the masses, tea was the drink of the elite. It was said in jest. But is it?

As says the all-knowing (sic) Wikipedia:

According to Chinese legend, the history of tea began in 2737 B.C.E. when the Emperor Shen Nong, a skilled ruler and scientist, accidentally discovered tea. While boiling water in the garden, a leaf from an overhanging wild tea tree drifted into his pot.

I have no idea if this is actually true or not but it is a nice story. And since there is no actual documentation of said incident, it comes down through legend. And we do know that many legends have a basis in truth… China is credited with the invention of tea. It is now worldwide and is grown in many countries. There are almost as many flavours of tea as there are hairs on your head. If you do indeed have hair. There are also a great many customs about the best way to drink said beverage. It is confusing world.

I grew up drinking tea after dinner. It was a family thing. My mother made a pot of tea with Red Rose tea bags. My cup was always heavily fortified with milk and sugar.  When I was in school a group of us used to meet for coffee. Usually the boys would go and get the beverages and I always asked for tea with milk and sugar. My Styrofoam cup would appear with a teabag floating in a milky liquid. I started to drink my tea clear, without the milk and sugar. I still can’t get that image out of my head!  Over the years I evolved as did my taste buds. Some 30 years ago my sister introduced me to loose-tea and I never looked back. It became an obsession. I investigated the correct way to steep tea, to store it, which pots to use for which tea, etc, etc, etc.

Now I use simpler means. I have a dedicated infuser for my black teas, I drink out of glass mugs so I can gauge the steeping by the colour of the tea not the timer. I also only use loose tea. A few years ago, I saw a documentary on tea and the process the leaves go through to be mass produced into those teeny tiny bags. And then I understood the comment about the masses and the elite. If the documentary is true, then those teabags are filled with the dregs after the proper leaves have been removed. Did I feel sanctimonious? You betcha! I am quite sure it’s not as bad as this. I do however believe the flavour of loose tea is richer than the bags. Is it convenient? No. But I can handle a little inconvenience for a perfect cup of tea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awkward

 

We have all had those moments that are a little, well, awkward. Sometimes they are funny moments, even endearing.  Sometimes you want the world to end to hide your shame. When I think of that word, I always think of an incident involving a stage, an audience and a pair of fishnet stockings. I jest not.

Before you get too far down that rabbit hole, let me explain. It was part of an avant-garde play I was doing in University. The majority of the characters spent their time hiding behind wooden boxes and would jump up and sit on a box to say their lines and then hide again. Think of a Jack-in-the-box.  Seems simple enough. Hahaha. Anyone who has ever worn a pair of fishnet stockings knows that they are tough, steel tough.  My costume was simple but those fishnet stockings tripped me up quite badly. They got stuck on a nail that someone had forgotten to remove from the wood box. Whatever the stockings were made from wouldn’t rip. So, I missed my cue to retreat behind the box, more than once.  It took me several minutes to work the nail loose so that I could retreat. I don’t think the audience noticed but my cast mates did. I took a little ribbing after that.

I’m not going to regale you with my many moments of awkwardness over the last 60 years because, well, this post is not that long. But it could be! I’ve been on stage, forgotten my lines and had to improvise. I’ve been on a date when I forgot my date’s name. Now that was awkward!  It’s OK I figured it out before he noticed. There wasn’t a second date.

Then there was the time I was visiting a friend’s cottage.  There must have been 10 or 15 people in the room when I inadvertently bumped into a floor lamp as I was about to sit down.   A noisy room for some reason went eerily silent as I turned to the floor lamp and apologized. It did not go unnoticed. Welcome to my world.

Someone once said to me that you can judge the integrity of an individual by how well they handle knotted Christmas lights. When you think about it, that is quite wise. I have seen the frustration, the anger that often arises. I have also known people to simply buy new ones rather than face the daunting chore of unravelling of last year’s.

I am not the first person to have to deal with an awkward situation nor will I be the last. But aren’t they just moments in our lives to be lived as best we can or as the worst we can?  It’s all about how we deal in the moment when it’s happening to us or around us. We can find the humour and compassion to survive both.

The Domino Effect   

I wrote this back in January 2014.  I hope you don’t mind. I just couldn’t come up with a new post this week.  I hope I will be forgiven . . .

I want to say something profound and memorable.  I wanted my first full post of 2014 to be something people spoke about to each other for days and weeks.  And then I realized I had it all wrong.  It’s not about the words I use.  It’s not about how I feel about what I write.  It’s about reaching out from the isolation of my home to the world. We are not alone.  We never have been.

I’m a big believer in the importance of chance.  You meet a stranger on the street and you smile in an abstract, bored sort of way.  The person you smile at doesn’t realize you are bored and his spirits are lifted just a tiny bit and when he gets home to his wife, he’s kinder.  His wife spends a little longer getting dressed that night because she’s starting to believe she’s beautiful because her husband was kind.  She speaks gently to her child that night and he goes to sleep feeling loved.  The next day he goes to school and does exceptionally well on a test because he feels good about himself.  His teacher is thrilled that her problem student has done well and she feels better about herself thinking she’s the reason.  She goes home that night . . . All of this happened because one woman smiled at a stranger.  It’s a domino effect.

We live on this little blue world made of dirt and water and people.  There are a lot of us.  There are wars and hunger, violence and apathy.  Every day we deal with our own perceived inadequacies, our own diseases.  But there’s one thing we must never forget: somewhere, someone is in much worse shape than we are.  Somewhere, someone is watching their life blood seep through a gaping wound, alone and frightened.  Somewhere, someone is watching as a loved one slowly succumbs to a painful and deadly disease.  A woman is raped and beaten, killed.  A man is shot dead by a stranger for his empty wallet.  A woman feels the hands of a lover on her throat tightening. Children are shot by children, men and women are tortured, planes crash, people are dying of hunger, disease and greed.

You have a choice.  I have a choice.  We can give in, be victims and wallow in our own self-pity.  Or we can take what quality of life we have, embrace it, relish it, enhance it if we can, and live.  Reach out to the stranger next to you and smile.  We are all in this together

 

Teach Your Children Well

It is a line within a song by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young that popped into my head the other day.  The title is ‘Teach Your Children’ and it was out in the seventies. It was good advice then and it’s good advice now.  Actually, if we don’t do it right, we are dooming ourselves, our species.

We screwed up. Racism, poverty, intolerance.  These are fixable issues.  They truly are.  So why are people still dying?    It is happening because of greed, apathy and intolerance.  Learned attributes.    So, what do we do?  We teach our children to love, how to show compassion. We teach them the truth:  we are ALL important.  Each and every one of us.  That is a truth too many try to hide with their hatred.

Many years ago, two different groups of children were introduced to each other. They spent a week or so, in each other’s company.  They only learned the other’s names, no backgrounds.  Eventually it was discovered that one group was from Northern Ireland, the other from England.  They didn’t know that they were supposed to hate each other.  They truly did become friends. I couldn’t find the experiment on-line so maybe I dreamed it but I do not believe so. I read it many, many years ago and it stuck with me.  Hate is taught to our children.  And we teach it.

Okay, okay not all of us are so narrow minded that we instil our biases in our young but it happens far too much. If we can change that, we can make an enormous leap towards global acceptance.   It is probably pretty close to impossible to change the attitude of many of the adults. That may simply be because they have lived so long with their hatred, some don’t know to survive without it.  That doesn’t mean we should stop trying. Old dogs can be taught new tricks.

With everything that has been going on in the last few weeks it is no surprise we have reached a boiling point.  The pandemic has lit the match on an already volatile society.  We are cooped up and tensions are high.  But the problems are not new ones, just old ones we refused to face.

If we want a future, a viable future, we must change. It must start with the children.  Teach your children well.

 

 

Teach Your Children

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good-bye.
Teach your children well,
Their father’s hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you.

And you, of tender years,
Can’t know the fears that your elders grew by,
And so please help them with your youth,
They seek the truth before they can die.

Teach your parents well,
Their children’s hell will slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you’ll know by.

Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

 

Some People

Several years ago, I was sitting outside a mall in the sun with a friend. Both of us were in wheelchairs. It was a good day; we had made some great purchases and we are laughing, enjoying life.  When a complete stranger, an elderly woman (I swear she was pushing 200) approached us. Specifically, she approached me. She tapped me on my knee and said “It is so nice to see you out dear”. Without any reaction I replied “thank you” and then watched this antique specimen of female kind totter into the mall.

While I was still in a state of near shock I glanced over at my friend. I’m pretty sure her expression mirrored mine. Then we both started laughing. She pointed out that I showed great restraint. When I stopped choking through my mirth, I replied that given her age I’m pretty sure she meant well.

We have all been in situations where the reactions of other people are perceived to be condescending or patronizing. I have strong reactions to both. And since I am no longer that shy six-year-old, I can be quite pointed in my response.

When I returned home, I was inspired to write a piece called Conversational Comebacks. Some people saw the absurdity of the whole idea but others did not. And that is where my use of the moniker ‘Some People’ came from.

Especially with what is going around in the world today it is surprising how many ‘Some People’ are out there. They act as if they are the only ones inconvenienced by this pandemic. Inconvenienced. Now there’s a word that can get me going on a rant. But I digress.

In the world of the ‘witty comeback’ few people are consistently good at it.  And of course, how many of us come up an absolutely brilliant retort hours or even days after the original comment.  It loses something when you finally get the courage to say it.  To that end I compiled a list of witty, hopefully pithy, remarks that may find a home in your conversations.

I eventually repurposed my Conversational Comebacks into Shady Quips. There had to be a few changes to make it palatable and I have continued to add to the list. Here are a few examples of my original ‘Comebacks’. If I offend, I apologize. If I make you laugh, well, that is my goal.

  1. In a battle of wits, you are unarmed.
  2. I love what you’ve done with your face, is it new?
  3. You look like the before picture in an emergency make-over.
  4. So, you failed your personality test.
  5. If appearances are everything honey, then you’ve got nothing.
  6. Where did you find your personality, the refuse bin?
  7. They say that Homo sapiens and the common chimpanzee are closely related; in you I can see the resemblance.
  8. Our species was once a single cell born in the primordial sludge three billion years ago. You seem to be reverting back.
  9. Are you related to the Syrian wild ass or are you just a common bigoted ass?
  10. You have a winning smile and a losing personality.
  11. I didn’t think minds could be that narrow.
  12. Did you study hard to be an idiot or does it come naturally.

Whew, that felt good to get it out!  Regularly scheduled posts will now continue.  Thank you for your patience.