Curious minds

You have to admire the curiosity of children. They explore with a sense of wonder, not knowing what the outcome will be,,,,and not anticipating the consequences.

I have a friend who has 3 young children. One day her toilet starts to overflow when she flushes it and after attempting unsuccessfully  to plunge the clog out she reluctantly calls for a plumber. (never a cheap call) The plumber, unable to remove the clog, proceeds to drain and disconnect the toilet. The plumber is puzzled by the solid blockage and the mother sees dollar signs flying out the window. After what seems an eternity (he charges by the hour) he produces the source of the clog,,,a big green apple. Two hours  and $175.00 dollars later the toilet is fixed and the plumber departs so the mother calls her children in to the kitchen to get a confession. Knowing neither of the three children will own up now, she washes up the now bruised apple and offers it to the children as a snack. Two immediately accept. The third says he’s not hungry….we have our culprit. Turns out he just wanted to see if it would go down. (now he knows,,,it doesn’t)

I went to school with a girl who shoved a cherry pit up her nose to see if it would come out the other nostril. It didn’t. In fact it had to be removed by a doctor in emergency. Lesson learned,,,the hard way. (wouldn’t it be easier to just ask someone?)

My granddaughter shoved a mint up her nose because she thought it would make me laugh. I didn’t. (at least not until after I’d extracted the offending candy with tweezers) Needless to say ALL candy is now distributed with a warning in my house.

When my son was 3 he wanted to see if the thermostat could turn counter clockwise. It did, of course, but once wrenched in the wrong direction it cost just under $300 to repair.

Children do what they do out of curiosity. They’ve no way of knowing if the outcome will be favourable or not, until the act is completed. The dilemma for us is that we don’t anticipate what they’re going to do. I would never have expected a child to try to flush an apple down the toilet, and I can’t imagine why anyone would shove anything up their nose (it’s gotta hurt) yet they do. Maybe we need to think like a child, with complete trust that all will be ok no matter what we do.

I suppose it’s this same curiosity that prompts a child to dip their popsicle into the flower pot just to see what it would taste like. (ok, that was one of mine)  Or the child who fabricates a story just to see what the reaction is. (ok, also mine,,,,,ok, that was me…I had issues)

At the end of the day I guess it’s a good thing that our children have this sense of curiosity. It reaffirms that their brains are at work, always turning things over in their minds, always asking questions.  Sometimes it just catches us off guard and sometimes it’s expensive so we need to be vigilant. If a kid is too quiet, something’s up….check it out quick before you need to pull out the cheque book or  make that mad dash to emergency.

Ideally most infractions are relatively minor and the resulting damage insignificant. In fact, more often than not we can probably thwart a potentially disastrous act of curiosity or comment  by reasoning. For example, recently my lovely granddaughter mentioned that a woman she spotted at the park, while we were playing, reminded her of me. I saw no similarities so I asked her what she thought was so alike about us and she replied “she’s spongy, like you”. Now this is a prime example of a situation where discipline and reasoning could be employed. I simply told her I saw no such similarity…..and advised that Christmas for the next three years was cancelled.

See, reason isn’t so far off……..

Character

The character traits that define us as individuals are the very ones that also distinguish us, and there’s an endless list of adjectives that describes our traits, good and bad, and we are all capable of both. To many the image of being in good character is paramount and they consistently strive to maintain their squeaky clean reputation. They’re the good Samaritans, the boy scout who helps the old lady with her groceries, the friendly neighbour who helps you shovel your driveway. They feel good being the good-deed doers, and the world needs them because they restore our faith in human kindness.

By contrast, there are those who feel no such ‘kindness’ to the world. They have a singular focus and it centers around them, their creature comforts, their popularity, and reputation matters little, as long as they have what they want. Now these are not stupid people because they know how they are perceived by others is integral to their mission. Without the buy-in of the public they cannot achieve their ultimate goal of self indulgence so they master the art of manipulating others to ‘see things their way’. And if that doesn’t work they just blatantly lie because, it’s not a lie if they really believe it. At the end of the day it comes down to their character traits and how much or how little shame they have.

The waiter who offers to clear a colleagues table on the pretense of helping out then he pockets the tip. The dog walker who ‘looks away’ and appears not to notice their pets ‘deposit’ to avoid having to clean it up (ok, ok, a minor infraction, but this one really cheeses me off) The one who steals, the one who lies, the one who intimidates, all with the goal of getting what they want, because their satisfaction is the ultimate goal and their reputation matters little. I’d like to believe these flaws in their character are learned because it would be hard to accept that we are born with such damaged character.

Watching the news recently I was astonished by a story about US President Trump taking excerpts of Doctor Faucis’ statements with respect to the handling of the global pandemic by federal public health officials, and twisting the words to make it look like a compliment to his presidency. (It was this that prompted my topic for this blog) The man has no shame and less character. Now granted, some would say there’s no such thing as an honest politician but to blatantly plagiarize anothers comments to build a political reputation?  How desperate are you for a compliment? And more over, how stupid do you think your public are?He points the finger of blame at everyone but himself, and takes credit for everything positive whether he’s the maker of it or not. (He is a cockroach, and as we all know cockroaches are resilient creatures. You can beat them with your shoe but they simply will…not…die!) If he can be so duplicitous in the bold face of the public, just imagine how shifty he likely is in private, i.e. what kind of character is behind the mask?

Character by official definition is “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual”  but I believe it should include “the behaviours one displays when no one is looking”  because that’s when a persons true character is revealed.

Great Expectations

There are some in this world who feel entitled. They ‘expect’ that everything in life should be good, if only for them, and this expectation can often manifest in positive outcomes. (are they on to something?) Poverty, illness, issues with family and friends; these are situations destined for others, not for them. And if they can get through life unscathed, lucky them, because the reality is that life will occasionally disappoint us, all if us, regardless of our ‘expectation’. And how we recover from these disappointments will form our mindset and dictate our path.

We all harbor feelings of insecurity – some just hide it better than others. Feeling ‘beneath’ others, not an equal, for no apparent reason. We expect others to surpass us, to live better….because why? Are they more deserving? Is it youth? Or maybe our upbringing? I took the better part of 50 years to find my confidence and now that I have it I see the error of my ways, the error of my thinking. I was so intimidated by others I perceived as successful…more successful than I, I shifted the blame on everyone and everything but me, until I eventually realized I was the maker of my own destiny, sort of. I ‘expected’ not to shine, so I didn’t, at least I thought I didn’t.

More importantly I came to realize that expectation plays a great part in our overall self-image. If we ‘expect’ that others are superior to us, they will be, because we have just inadvertently elevated them. And if we see others as more deserving than ourselves, they will get more, because in doing so we have joined the line that feeds them. They expect to be adored, and we’re right there expecting to adore. Until we mature. Then we get a better sense for what is and isn’t ours, what we should and shouldn’t expect from life and others. Maturity, it seems, gives us perspective, and confidence, and clarity, and it resets our expectations. (and it’s about time!)

Life isn’t a bed of roses, and if you plan on it being so, prepare to be disappointed. People will disappoint you. ‘You’ will disappoint you. It’s all part of the learning process and what we need to adjust is the ‘expectation’. I expect to make mistakes. I expect to suffer some hardships. I expect to disappoint another, not intentionally. And I expect that others will occasionally disappoint me. What I expect in return is knowledge, and grace, and the respect of those walking this path with me, and most importantly, I expect humility, because we are all flawed.

I’ve learned from previous experience not to anticipate the actions of another because in doing so I set my expectations too high and was ultimately disappointed.  My strategy is to aim for the mid line, just above mediocre, so I abandon any notion of ‘great expectation’, and to date I’ve not been disappointed. (I still set high standards for myself however….old habits die hard it seems)

So much of our expectation is based on what we think another is thinking, and that’s never good, i.e. it never works, especially when it comes to men. Here we need to be clear.

When my husband didn’t provide the worship I expected on past occasions I realized I needed to change his expectations.(I curled up my chubby little fist and told him if he didn’t start playing the role of devoted husband, he’d soon be the disappointed wife)

And for my anniversary this year I got 2 bouquets of flowers, 2 potted plants, a heartfelt card, and a lovely dinner. It only took 38 years, and a final but lethal threat of personal injury, i.e, I just had to change his expectation. Who knew it could be so easy?

Does President Trump really have covid 19?

I have little to no interest in world politics but I am somewhat captivated by the events going on in the US. President Donald J Trump has (supposedly) tested positive for covid 19. Does he really have this deadly virus, or is he faking it to gain the sympathy of his followers and/or national attention,,,just in time for an election?  An election he’s losing ground in.

I was watching the evening news and the entire hour was absorbed by the story of his returning to the Whitehouse after just 3 days in hospital. He would have us believe he’s made a miraculous recovery from the very disease that’s already killed $210,000 Americans. But then he’d have to wouldn’t he? He did, after all, downplay the seriousness of it from the beginning. And if he were to, say, recover from said disease, quickly, easily, well now, that would make him look like the all American hero, yes? (and just in time for an election, how timely)

Renowned Doctor’s Jonathan Reiner and Jeremy Faust, interviewed on CNBC commented on Trumps return to the Whitehouse while still technically contagious, as ‘reckless’ and ‘dangerous’. They cite his actions ‘send a bad message’ and ‘he continues to put lives at risk. He removes his mask knowing he has a deadly contagious virus with little regard to those around him’, and Trumps’ response was “Don’t be afraid of Covid, don’t let it dominate your life.

Doctors acknowledge he has been administered steroids that could cause mania and psychosis, and it is at question whose decision it was that authorized his discharge from hospital while under the influence of these drugs (the unanswered question here is ‘what reputable doctor would?’) So far no one seems willing to give the public a straight answer.

The Whitehouse claims Trump is tested every day for covid 19, yet they can’t confirm his last negative test. Why?

If the president does in fact have covid 19 why is he given the benefit of  resources most don’t, i.e a top medical team on site, 24/7, all while he still downplays the virus. What about the people who died in overcrowded hospitals, waiting for ventilators?  Why weren’t they given the benefit of top notch medical care? At least they took it seriously.

I have some serious doubts that the US president has, or ever had, the covid 19 virus. If he does, I think he’s making a show of strength to reaffirm his initial message that covid 19 is nothing serious, as he slowly succumbs to it. But I wouldn’t put it past him to fabricate the whole event as a campaign ploy to bolster his popularity.

I watch, as the world does, to see how this unfolds, but I have little faith in the integrity of this individual and more than ever, I am grateful to be a Canadian.

My lesson in positivity

My daughter had her first baby this past July, right smack in the middle of a global pandemic. Now she was fortunate in that our infection numbers are quite low so her partner was able to attend the delivery but that’s where the ‘normalcy’ ends. Typical of any first time mother, she keenly feels the isolation of being confined to home with an infant, but the confinement is much more pronounced during a pandemic because she can’t even toss the stroller into her car and wander through a mall or a library to clear her head and get out once in a while. No coffee with a friend. No mommy-baby play dates…..no gathering with anyone, nothing. Her ‘outings’, such as they are, are limited to walks through her neighbourhood with the baby and her dog so I wasn’t surprised to note she was feeling a little blue of late. Who wouldn’t?

To try to cheer her up I suggested we do a road trip to a local seaside community. The drive has a lovely view and there’s a great restaurant right on the water with an outdoor patio so I told her lunch would be my treat for her. My plans for a wonderful day were formulating.

I knew she was excited at the prospect because when I came to pick her up she was all dressed up. Even the baby had on a special sleeper. She was running late when I arrived and needed still to walk the dog so I parked the car and we did the walk together. Once back she wasted no time putting the dog in his kennel and loading up my car with the car seat and stroller. We had limited time because her dog required medication in 4 hours so we needed to hit the road. (ok, cuts the day shorter but I can work with that)

While driving we both noticed the temperature was rapidly creeping up, contrary to the weather forecast, and we both acknowledged that we were over dressed for the humidity. Then the baby woke up, clearly hungry, so I suggested we stop at my house which was on the way. She could feed the baby and we could both change into lighter clothing, so we made the stop.

An hour later, baby changed and fed, I gave her a nice summer shirt to wear, telling her to keep it because it looked good on her (and I knew she liked it) and we started out again on our road trip, well aware that our 4 hour outing would now be reduced to 3 hours. I worried that this wouldn’t be enough time to give her the ‘outing’ she needed but it’s all we had.

The next hour was therapeutic. While I drove the baby slept and we talked, or rather she talked. She poured out her feelings of isolation. She wanted so much to be the same high energy and outgoing person she was known for, but the demands of a newborn baby, the fatigue that comes with it, and the restrictions of a global pandemic, don’t make it easy to socialize, and, typical of a woman and mother, all this made her feel guilty. (why do we women think we have to do it all, all the time?) I confided my own feelings of isolation when I was a new mother (and I didn’t have a pandemic to deal with)  and assured her her feelings were quite normal. Every new mother goes through a blue period after childbirth. It’s a monumental change to your life and compounding this change with the restrictions of a pandemic only amplifies it. Talking it out and giving her someone to relate to who understood seemed to take some of the pressure off her. By the time we arrived at the seaside restaurant an hour later, she was laughing and joking, more like her old self, and it’s a good thing cause we’d just have time to eat before heading back home. I made a mental note to plan for more time next time and she commented on how much she was looking forward to a nice lunch on the patio with a glass of wine.

We unpacked the stroller, got baby into it, and walked up to the restaurant only to find it closed. The sign on the door said they were closed every Thursday (who closes on a Thursday?) Disappointed and knowing we didn’t have time to drive around looking for another venue, I spotted a hot dog vendor in the parking lot across the street. (I know, how lame is that? But I promised her lunch and there simply wasn’t time to go elsewhere) We crossed the road and she settled onto a picnic table by the water while I ordered our gourmet lunch, a cheeseburger, a bag of chips and a Pepsi (not quite the elegant lunch I had envisioned) but we made it work and on reflection, she didn’t seem as rattled by this as I was. I had so wanted to treat her to a relaxing day and nothing was unfolding as I’d imagined but she seemed ok with it. We joked about our fancy lunch, marveled at the view over the water and actually ended up having a nice time, despite the circumstances. I was stumped.

Once done we packed everyone back into the car and headed home taking the highway back instead of the lighthouse route because we were already late, and like before she chatted the whole way back. Her mood was lighter and brighter and by the time we got home we were both laughing and joking about our disastrous day.

I was playing with the baby and lamenting all that had gone wrong with this day, vowing to make it right, when I heard her answer her phone in the other room. It was her husband and he must’ve asked how her day outing had gone because I could hear her reply excitedly  “Oh it was great! We got a burger from some guy on the side of the road and I got a new  shirt!” 

And that’s when it hit me. She hadn’t seen the things that had gone wrong focusing instead on what went right. She was actually happy with how the day had unfolded, and I was humbled, because this was when I realized that this had been a valuable lesson to me, on positivity. My mission to help her see the brighter side of her life inadvertently taught me how to see the lighter side of mine. The disappointments of my planned agenda were inconsequential to hers because all she saw was that she got out on a lovely sunny day, had lunch at the seaside, and got a new shirt (ok, a used one, mine, but new to her) and nothing else mattered. Life is good, unpredictable, but good.

How’s that for a lesson in positivity!

It’s not you, it’s me

It’s no secret that men and women ‘see’ things differently, and we react differently to pretty much everything. A man will tell you we’re too emotional and read too much into a situation. A woman will say he’s insensitive. At the end of the day the woman will take the heat for two reasons; we simply want to see an end to the conflict (cause there’s another bone we have to pick and this is taking too much time) or, we’ve guilted ourselves into believing we really are at fault here….and therein lies the real issue. Women are too quick to take the blame when things go south in a relationship.

Now take my husband for example. I tell him he should vacuum, the floors are a mess,,,,so he does. The next day I notice the same dead bug on the floor behind the door, the feathers from the throw pillows, still on the floor by the couch, so I say again….”you should vacuum”. He looks affronted and says “I did vacuum, yesterday”. So I take him by the hand and show him….the dead bug…..the feathers,,,,and he takes a stand. How could I not show him where the dirt was? “You said vacuum,,,,you didn’t say where or what?….You should’ve told me”, and he looks at me accusatorily. So, I throw up my hands and say, ‘you’re right! How could I ask you to vacuum and not have the sense to tell you where the dirt was?’ (shame on me) But is it really just MY responsibility to ‘see’ the dirt?

Ok, so maybe it is you,,,,,, and me? (whoa, there’s a sobering thought…..me wrong? Could it be?) Perhaps, perhaps, being wrong is a collective effort.

Or not.

I’m heading out to get groceries and run errands so I ask my husband to help me by folding the laundry. (sounds simple enough, yes?) Well, first off, he takes no notice of the fact that the dryer never seems to stop. I return home, a good 3 hours later, exhausted, with a trunk full of food (having hit every discount food store I could to save money) and he’s still in his lazy-boy watching a golf tournament. I ask why the dryer is still on and he replies, innocently, ‘it didn’t beep’. Annoyed with him, and, dare I say it, the dryer manufacturer for building a dryer that fries clothes, I open the dryer only to find the whites and sheets I put in are so hot to the touch you could fry an egg on them, and you could smell the ‘burn’ in the fabric. Realizing he’d dropped the ball (but it really was a good tournament….) he scrambles to pull the clothes out and into the laundry basket while I haul in the groceries. (Because he can continue to watch the tournament while he ‘folds’ laundry, and I can carry in the 300 pounds of groceries…yes, this works) And you know what? I do it….because it’s easier than explaining why he should…and that’s my mistake.

He, on the other hand, folds my favourite camisole into the corners of our bed sheets (so I wouldn’t find it for a week), mistakes the foam cup of my sports bra for a kitchen sponge, filing it accordingly in the utility drawer, then complains that his golf cap ‘shouldn’t have seen bleach’ because it could smear the logo (Now I could at this point, note that it was HE who tossed his NAVY BLUE cap into my load of whites….but I won’t) Suffice it to say, I should know better….ya think?  So I ruminate on this and ok, maybe lose it a little. I lay into him about everything I do, and everything he doesn’t,,,,,,and he ‘shushes’ me. This is a critical shot in this tournament…it’s where the win happens, and he holds up a hand for emphasis.  And that, is his mistake.

Time for me to take a long hard look at myself. Did I overreact? Did I miss something vital? So I embark on a mission to evaluate the situation. I review in detail (ok I analyze to death) my criticism, my reaction, my judgement of him and his reactions, and after careful analysis I’ve come to the only rational conclusion.

It is you.

The glass is half empty,,,or half full

Funny how people can react differently to the exact same situation. I have 2 friends, unknown to each other, but both good friends of mine, and I’m not sure what they have in common that would place them in my circle because as far as I can see they are polar opposites.  If, for example, both were searching for mushrooms at the market and they came across the last 3 packages, one would delight in her good fortune at finding them at all, the other would lament in the fact that few are left and she has no choices. The glass is half empty versus the glass is half full.

To those who see the glass half full no problem is insurmountable. They have a passion for life and refuse to let anything pull them down and if they’d found no mushrooms at all they would’ve switched their menu to accommodate the veg they can find. They exude positivity and people are drawn to them for this reason because they know time spent with this person will make them feel better.

To those who see the glass as half empty every day is an effort. They bear the weight of the world and whenever things go wrong it’s just a reaffirmation that the Gods are out to get them (‘Woe is me’) and when they couldn’t get the mushrooms they wanted they’d sooner skip the meal all together because now everything is ruined and they’ve lost their appetite. They live every moment under a cloud of negativity. They thrive on it, because it’s easier to blame anything else than see the light side and look for options.

When things don’t work out as expected consider the alternatives and there’s always alternatives – you can’t just accept failure or loss. I believe everything happens for a reason, and if something doesn’t go as planned maybe it’s because a better plan is your destiny. You just have to trust. Besides, positive thoughts breed positive outcomes, so it follows then that  the one who is focused on the half empty glass is the one I measure my time with. I have to be in the right frame of mind to indulge their negativity because if I’m not strong enough to deflect it, they’ll pull me into the vortex of their negativity,,,,,and life’s too short for that,,,, so I limit my time with these people. (and I suspect many do for the same reason) Look in the mirror friends,,,,it could be you.

I think we all have the ability to focus on the positive in life. It just takes discipline. Focusing on the negative however, drains you of energy and joy,,,,so why would you do that to yourself? (it also depletes your circle of friends cause nobody likes a downer) Besides, I haven’t tried a recipe yet where you couldn’t substitute mushrooms for something else, (zucchini, tofu, eggplant?) get creative already, make an effort,  get positive.

If you see your circle of friends narrowing, take a good hard look at the energy you exude, and ask yourself what kind of person you’d want to spend time with. If you can honestly say you are upbeat and positive, you probably have a busy social calendar and people see you as fun to be around. If you find yourself alone more than you’d like (and I’m not returning your calls) you’re likely one of those who lives for the next tragedy to befall you, and unless you change that attitude prepare to be alone, a lot.

So it seems that the glass is half empty,,,,,or half full,,,,and it’s up to you to decide which one you’re going to drink from.

That’s Entertainment?

The Covid 19 virus has curbed, and in some cases, collapsed businesses everywhere, least significant of which is the entertainment industry. Theatres are closed so there’s no point in producing movies and tv shows, putting a number of actors out of work,,,,,and I’m not sure if that’s necessarily a bad thing, cause let’s face it, there wasn’t a lot of quality viewing to be had even before the global pandemic.

My husband and I tend to tape the shows we like for viewing at our convenience, but over the last few years there hasn’t been much worth taping so we find ourselves watching and re-watching the same shows. They are generally home renovation shows, cooking, documentaries, and of course, sports. I defy you to find a new sitcom or movie worth laughing over because the newest tv shows center around society’s basest, the so called ‘Reality tv”.

‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’, is a series about a band of American gypsies and their quest to put on a ‘society’ wedding. They have little or no means and even less taste, but they are determined to have an extravagant and splashy wedding. Now I get that much is exaggerated for television but I can’t imagine where the viewer would find entertainment in the antics of these mouthy vagabonds. Their ‘kinfolk’ almost literally crawl out of the hills to attend the prestigious event and the family chaos that ensues is nothing short of an excerpt from ‘The Hatfields and the McCoys’ (at least that had some comedic value). The language is colourful, the attire garish, and the storyline nonexistent. Who’s entertained by this crap? Surely not someone with a functioning brain?

How about the series of reality shows around ‘housewives’? The REAL housewives of Orange County,,,,,or California,,,,or Manhattan,,,or,,,,,,those that focus on a famous family – ’Keeping up with the Kardashians’ (mercifully on its’ way out). There is no storyline. These are shows about a bunch of botox  injected Barbie dolls whose faces and rears have seen so much plastic surgery they’re all starting to look alike (could it be they’re going for a secret society of clones?) The language is vulgar, the cleavage sightings high, and the intelligence quotient exceedingly low. Watching the day to day drama of a trashy family argue about infidelity, money, and their latest acquisition (usually an expensive car or shiny new bauble for the Barbie) is mindless,,,,,,and yet they have an audience, and a big one. How scary is that?

Now, these ‘informative’ shows aside, the only other options for new viewing is often shows about deranged minds. ‘Prodigal Son’ is a series about a serial killer who uses his ‘twisted genius’ (?) to help solve crimes. (ok, I guess that absolves him of the crimes HE committed,,,,cause he’s a good guy now) Yes, by all means, let’s put him on a pedestal and teach other warped minds how to get away with murder!

‘Luther’, a tv series about a police detective who has a ‘knack’ for getting inside the heads of killers often via disturbing and dubious methods (de-ja-vu). And most of these thriller/ mystery/ drama shows involve a lot of graphic detail and violence. What could an individual possibly find entertaining here? (good grief, isn’t there enough violence and unrest in society without stoking the fires of potential copy-cats?) How do people sleep at night after watching this stuff?

Now if you don’t like any of these options, there’s always romance to be found in shows like ‘My 90 Day Fiancé” or ‘The Bachelor’, where a group of desperate young airheads battle it out for the superficial affections of some guy they never knew, but hey, it’s television,,,,so they embark on a mission to get a proposal  at any cost. Cat fights, slander, and propositions are the theme so it must be true love (oh, and I think there’s a financial payoff to the successful little virgin)

Whatever happened to good old fashioned entertainment, where people actually had an aptitude for singing, or dancing, or acting, and when did we lose our appreciation of these genuine talents? And when did entertainment become about violence, and profanity, and deviation, and sex (I know everybody’s doing it, but do I need to see it on tv?) I don’t love serious entertainment because I think there’s enough bad news in the world and I like to keep my world light, but I can appreciate a good drama if it has intelligent value. Teach me something. I love a good comedy because it’ll probably replay in my head for days after, setting off spontaneous laughter. (Does anyone else remember ‘The Honeymooners’, ‘Green Acres’, ‘Gilligans Island’, ‘Bonanza’?) And a good musical (with a storyline, of course) will have me singing show tunes for years, without the nightmares. ‘The Wizard of Oz’, ‘Oklahoma’, ‘Showboat’, ‘Singing in the Rain’, Moulin Rouge’. Now THAT’s entertainment!

Eat the cake already

A close friend recently recounted a conversation she overheard between her husband and his dietician. He had submitted his menu of the previous week and the dietician noted that he had ‘cheated’ 18 times. We had a good laugh over it, at his expense of course (because if you can’t laugh at your husband why have one?)  but in truth, we both acknowledged that his situation was not unique. We all struggle to eat well and everyone wants to lose that extra 10 pounds. I wake up every morning declaring this to be the day my diet starts….only to have it all go to hell by 3:00. (I can’t help it – we are surrounded by deliciousness and my resolve never lasts more than 12 hours)

The same close friend once lamented her own dieting issues, then questioned her very need to. She said we struggle all our lives to eat well, stay active, and maintain a healthy weight – surely by the time we pass middle age we should be entitled to slip a little, no? I have to admit her reasoning resonated with me. Why are we so determined to deny ourselves the pleasure of food? If you drop dead tomorrow are you going to regret that you passed on that big slice of chocolate cake with fudge icing the day before? (I know I would!)

I remember a young woman I worked with, years ago. She was heavy, no doubt and constantly on a diet. A group of us went to McDonald’s for lunch one day (ok, not a healthy diet establishment, for sure) and I recall being surprised that she ordered a Quarter Pounder with supersize fries and a ‘diet’ Coke (she whispered conspiratorially to me that regular Coke is exceedingly high in sugar and she was watching her sugar intake) Now I’m no genius, but by the time you’ve inhaled that greasy burger laden with cheese and scarfed down 3 pounds of fried potato your sugar ship has pretty much sailed – just get the regular Coke and book yourself in for an Angioplasty.

Now I’m not saying we can’t indulge occasionally. I love a Big Mac and fries every now and again but I’m not going to delude myself into thinking a low calorie beverage is going to reverse the effects of this junk food meal. Eat it, enjoy it, and make a mental note not to do it again for 6 months because denying ourselves the occasional treat (junk) is just stupid. And no one would be impressed by a gravestone that says ‘she lived a full life on 1200 calories a day’.

In my family we have a number of birthdays in August which means a lot of cake. Now we discussed celebrating all birthdays at one gathering and that’s fine, but don’t deny me my cake. I have one birthday and on this one day of the year I want to eat and drink whatever I like without worrying about the repercussions. And none of this low fat crap. I want a chocolatey cake with a sickeningly sweet chocolate icing because if you’re going to give me cake I want the real deal, and substituting flavor for low fat options is akin to going to Baskin & Robbins where they boast 31 exotic ice cream flavours, and ordering vanilla.

Now this rule applies to coffee as well. The low fat, low foam, no cream, no sugar, no flavor, latte is a miserable alternative to a freshly brewed coffee with a squirt of caramel and a dollop of whipped cream, full fat of course. Unless you drink 6 of these a day it’s unlikely you’ll break the scales over a specialty coffee. I guess what I’m saying is, I think we need to ease up a little. Maybe live a little more and stress about our weight a little less? Unless you’re morbidly obese what harm can a few pounds do? It’s a good cushion if you fall and great insulation for the winter.

I suppose at the end of the day it all comes down to moderation. Anything in moderation is ok. Indulge yourself. Eat the chips today – don’t eat any tomorrow. And if you’re going to celebrate an occasion, do it right. Pour a big glass of milk/wine, grab your fork, lock the door, and just eat the cake already.

Eat the cake

The Psychic

Every so often my girlfriends and I schedule an outing to a local tea room where we meet with a psychic to have our tea leaves read. Some come with specific questions, others just out of curiosity, and it’s all done with a sense of fun. For the most part we all take the ‘readings’ lightly, i.e., we do not take it seriously but every so often something will come up in a reading that makes you wonder…is it all just hoo-hah or could there be something legitimate here?

Let’s face it, it would be wonderful to know what lies in store for us. We could prepare for it, good or bad. On the other hand, sometimes the information from a reading lingers in our subconscious, casting doubt and fear because as much as you try to take a reading lightly, the bad news has a way of resurfacing. I once went to a Tarot reader with a friend and in her reading the ‘Seer’ saw her in a room with no doors or windows…how creepy is that? And don’t think that didn’t stick with her….even I felt a looming sense of dread from such an ominous foretelling because what could possibly be good about being locked in a room with no exit?

Now I have to admit I have a favourite. Psychic, that is. She is delightfully eccentric and fabulous with analogies. She even looks the part, kind of a Mr Magoo with her wild hair and crazy nail polish, but at the heart she is genuine, sincere, and most entertaining (and isn’t that what it’s all about?) At my last reading with her she said ‘something I’d been wishing for was about to come true’. (Ok now we’re talkin’ value for my money!)

She has, on occasion, hit the nail on the head with her readings, and it’s stuff she had no way of knowing (I don’t care what you say) Most recently I brought  a friend for a reading and it was here we all became believers. (Ok, I was before anyway) My friend lost her father this past spring. He’d been ill with a number of age related issues and mercifully he passed at home before the brunt of covid and that brought much needed solace to my friend because her fear was he’d be in hospital and pass alone because of covid restrictions. As it happened he passed at home before the lockdown so all his loved ones were with him. Despite this she felt guilty. She felt he’d been short changed. Now I should preface this by saying she was nervous going to the reading because she was afraid something about her father would come up (which I poo-pooed) I assured her nothing ‘scary’ would surface.

My friend opted for a tea leaf reading versus cards and the first thing the psychic saw was an old tall ship, like the Bluenose. Nobody in the family sails or has any affinity for sailing so that was a no hit. She kept making references to my friend needing to ‘go to the ocean, and referencing again the tall old ship. Interestingly my friend has been obsessed recently trying to find a cottage to rent on the ocean, and she is adamant is has to be the ocean (I’m a lake lover myself) Then she said she saw an animal totem, a stingray. She admitted to having little experience with this particular animal totem and said she’d have to ‘chanel’ it, with the approval of the client, which she got. The ‘stingray’ was somewhat hidden and she struggled with trying to decipher it. Finally, and unexpectedly, she opened her eyes and said ‘who is Walter?”

My friend burst into tears. Walter was the father who recently passed, and NO, the psychic had no way of knowing. She didn’t even know my friends last name or circumstances. It was after this the other particulars fell into place. My friend admitted to recently finding 4 dimes (a sign from departed loved ones) A tall ship, the Bluenose specifically, is on the Canadian dime. The message from her father, the psychic went on, was for her to ‘go near the ocean’ when she needed to feel his presence. He had loved the ocean.

Now the reading really rattled her, and I must say it gave me cause to think as well. I’ve always believed there’s more to this realm, and I do believe there are those who can connect with those who’ve passed (and yes, I believe in angels too) but I also believe there are charlatans who capitalize on the emotional needs of the vulnerable. Now there are legitimate readers; people who can truly connect with the other side. And their only mission for doing so is to bring peace and closure to all parties. Can they tell fortunes and futures? No, I don’t think so, but they can connect intuitively with the departed, and that’s what I think is so wonderful. I would love to be the recipient of a message from a departed relative. I think it would bring me peace and a sense of joy knowing they were ok. (ok, in my 60 years of existence no departed relative has reached out for me….could it be I’m not as loveable as I thought I was?)

At the end of the day, I think we need to keep an open mind. And if connecting with our loved ones, on any realm, brings us a sense of peace, how can it be harmful?  My friend was emotional at the moment. Now, a day later she’s excited that her father wanted to reach out for her. How can that be a bad thing?

And is there any legitimate reason to question the abilities of someone who claims to have capabilities that might make us uncomfortable (or envious?) whatever the means? Fortune telling is dismissed by the scientific community and skeptics as being based on wishful thinking and superstition, and maybe that’s true, but if we take the information given with a grain of salt where’s the harm? (and what’s wrong with wishful thinking? Isn’t that the same as hope, and how can hope be bad?)

Me, I like to keep an open mind. I think there is more to this world than what we ‘see’, and I take comfort in believing that when we do pass, there is somewhere to go. (Surely our creator wouldn’t create us for one single lifetime – what would be the point?) Regardless, I like to indulge in these occasional outings with friends because it’s just fun and if it gives me something to dream about, and I ok with that……. besides, I’m still waiting for my wish to come true!

The Psychic