I feel like an absentee landlady ..

Good Morning.

Putting the “novel” on hold while we hunker down for a happy sentimental week, and by hunker I mean frantically clean and search for bedding as we are ground zero this yero, and eldest is home from the Rock today and grand-parents are imminent. Even the youngest had to find his floor.

That said, I think it is a lovely time to get back to our two terrifying children, ignorance and want

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because I am a confused person who wouldn’t give money to a World Vision outreach thingee at the Newfoundland airport, even though it seemed very well-meaning on first glance, because they are an overtly Christian charity.

I got into a discussion with a very nice young lady who started out all wrong by saying she understood where I was coming from because she had thought the same thing too … and she was maybe 19. I had great discussions with a passionate niece when she was about the same age, and she actually told me, a mother of three children at the time [I hesitate to put it in quotation marks, because I will have it slightly wrong, but there was a witness, the father of all those three children] that “I needed to take control of my own clitoris”. In fairness, I think I was taunting youth by discussing starting a “Take Back the Rainbow” campaign to remove the growing association between rainbows and homosexuality. And I have managed to raise those three children and have had some very interesting discussions with them too.  I think there is a very natural tendency to be extremely socialist inclined when you are young and have no resources, and to be a little more of a capitalist once you are the one with the capital.

And it was one of those discussions where youth was strong in its arguments that has lent backbone to my being uncharitable because of my atheism, but not of course with any consistency. I do find missionary religions creepy in the extreme and am often the first to cry cult when anyone comes through the door with a robe and a book, but close to home I am much more open to the wonderful effects of charity, no matter which religion spawned it. But why should religion spawn charity? And can one move past supernatural superstitious religions and find charity from within? And how to satisfy ignorance when everyone has an axe to grind, but satisfying only want is insufficient?

Ha! You thought I was going to answer those questions, but no … my only answer really is that charity should start close to home. Don’t go saving the distant world by pretending to buy a goat somewhere … look around and see who is feeding the hungry in your neighbourhood … dang but it often all comes back to Dr. Stephen Covey and his 7 irritatingly effective habits. Own of his most effective visual metaphors is the circle of concern versus the circle of influence

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People have used this in many ways, and I think my favourite is to think of the circle of influence being the one where you make choices [and we make many more choices than we realise once we start imaging things in terms of a re-action where we choose how to respond and don’t get to say “I have to” nearly as much as “I am choosing to”] and the circle of concern being the one where you can’t make choices but still worry. And when you let your circle of concern swamp your circle of influence you drown in panic. Trust me …

The reason Dr. Covey is so loathsome of course is that he is right. You can slowly rebuild your circle of influence one choice at a time. I don’t mean this in a monster way like that fellow who used to tell you late at night that you could be just as rich as him, just day-to-day proving that it actually might be possible to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, as my parents used to recommend. I am not sure how old I was when I realised that this was technically impossible … but it was too late, the proof was in the pudding and for once theory met practice and whacked it down. 1 for ∞.

But back to those two children, lets just hope that what we are feeding the boy is truly nourishing, and not secretly divisive. I love Christmas [or better, Xmas, if you get my drift like the snow storm said to the highway] but because of the reminder to be loving and to be lovely.

Perhaps we might start calling it Saturnalia again, after all, we still name a day after Saturn, which is 1 out of 7, where as Christ only gets 1 out of 365, and he even had to borrow his from Saturn, who so graciously stepped aside for the renaming of the winter feast. Or at least I hope it was gracious and there isn’t going to be some WFW matchup with Saturn in red in one corner and Jesus in white in the other.

But today is most definitely Saturn’s day and I hope you can make the best of, unless of course you have made better plans!

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9:34 AM: Now I am superlatively, actually awake …

I remember, lucky me, seeing a documentary about a fellow who had completely lost the ability to lay down new memories and had been given a journal in which to write his thoughts and it consisted of line after line, each previous one crossed out, that said things like “Now I am awake,” or the one that stayed with me obviously, “I am finally awake.” I sort of feel like that everyday in a strange way, that each day is a new thing, but then somehow one mostly falls into the patterns of the previous days, leaving little room for change. [Note to self: little room does not mean no room – no wiggle room! [Note to ADHD self: Wiggle Room would be a great name for a baby exercise gym.]] And this is where being extremely lucky comes in, being able to remember those previous days and especially those little changes.

Now in a happy twist, it would appear I have mis-remembered the line that stayed with me … that is apparently because the more we remember a memory, the less accurate it is likely to become [in direct proportion to our growing insistence that we are right!]. At least here is the excerpt that made its way into Wikipedia [does Wikipedia know everything as well as the internet?] and I can always cling to the belief that I saw the line in the documentary [in fact I am certain of that the more I think about it!]:

8:31 AM: Now I am really, completely awake.
9:06 AM: Now I am perfectly, overwhelmingly awake.
9:34 AM: Now I am superlatively, actually awake.

Where I recently bumped into poor Clive Wearing, for that is the unfortunate fellow’s name, was in a book written by a much more fortunate young lady, who was saved by a real-life Dr. House, who figured out what was wrong with her brain because she failed the clock test, something my mum used to get asked to do. You are asked to draw a clock face on a piece of paper, just the circle and then the numbers 1 to 12 spaced appropriately. Which sounds simple enough to most of us. But that is enough of a spoiler.

I started reading

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on Tuesday morning and I finished it by Tuesday afternoon. I haven’t read a book that quickly in years, and it felt a bit like coming awake … and there was Clive Wearing, coming to every twenty seconds …

Lucky me is right, and extremely lucky Susannah Cahalan, whose brutal [and brutally expensive] experience has lead her to help many others and also pen a very personal story along the way.

Oh, and it would make a great Christmas present … which seems so lame compared to saving thousands of lives, but hey, time is passing for those of us still able to lay down those memories. It wouldn’t make a good Xty birthday present, I would like to point out, in case you have suddenly developed Clive Wearing disease.  But if you have done so, or even if you have not, let me wish you a good morning, followed by a another, and another and another …

And may you find yourself superlatively awake, finally!

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You are not connected to the internet …

Sad sad words followed by: posted from myPhone [I hope I just made that up] but posted from home sweet home of the freezing rain. Imagine, it was beautiful and sunny and 12 steaming Celsius degrees in Newfoundland:

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So it is bye bye bog and hello slog!

Have a Woden worthy Wednesday while we search for connectivity, metaphorically and cyberphorically.

Maybe seek and ye shall find?

 

Posted in LIFE, RANDOM | 18 Comments

Good boggy morning …

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last day of escapism … well, let’s hope not!

May your Monday be mundane, but in the best of ways.

Posted in LIFE | 49 Comments

World’s Worst Novel: Chapter Twenty-Eight

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Posted in RANDOM | 32 Comments

A break from reality and a chance to prove Roz Chast right …

Roz Chast cartoon 600x564  A break from reality and a chance to prove Roz Chast right …

Now I didn’t make yummy apple butter last night but I did make some yummy herb butter which made me think of dill which made me remember that I am tasked with getting the salmon for my father-in-law’s gravalox for Saturnalia, currently referred to as Christmas, although I believe we are now meant to refer to CE, the Common Error, rather than AD, Anno Domini which is sort of exclusionary as Wikipedia attempts to explain.

Terminology that is viewed by some as being more neutral and inclusive of non-Christian people is to call this the Christian, Current, or Common Era (abbreviated as CE or C.E.), with the preceding years referred to as Before the Common, Christian, or Current Era (BCE or B.C.E.)

And of course Jesus was born in the springtime so the whole thing is a confused mess. But we still celebrate his putative birth by putting a tree in the living room

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which we have yet to trim like Who’s, and I am all for traditions that involve family, friends, fabulous food and balsam fir smelling up the joint, no matter what you call them. But I know what you will call Bobbi’s gravalox: the one food you would pick if you could only eat one food for the rest of your life. Here is the recipe, as presented to the generation below me:

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The sauce alone is ambrosia … now to go and harpoon that salmon!

Have a tasty Thursday …

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World’s Worst Novel: Chapter Twenty-Seven

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Posted in WORLD'S WORST NOVEL | 72 Comments

They say you shouldn’t judge someone before you have walked a mile in their shoes …

but as John Handey [who knew? not me!] points out,  that “way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.”

But I find as I get older I am much more able to imagine the fit of other people’s shoes than when I was younger. And when I remember to do that, I find the fit of my own shoes very comfortable, almost too comfortable. As I pick which UGG’s to wear I cannot help but think of the Chinese proverb, “when there is food on the table there are many problems, when there is no food there is one problem.”

That dreadful scene from a Christmas Carol comes to mind, with the souls who want to intervene in the affairs of man but no longer can, wailing as they watch people starve. We have watched that classic, with Alistair Sim, on Christmas Eve [more importantly known as Xty’s birthday] since I was a baby, so initially for me it was a horror movie. The animatronic toys in the toy store window

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the happy jolly Father Christmas figure who turned out to harbour two starving children, one want and the other ignorance, whom I was to dread more than anything.

I can’t find a cheerful way out of this … Dickens often strikes close to the heart and he nails this one. The movie is very true to the book:

“They are Man’s and they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance and this girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.”

Wait, I do see a light out there … while we find ourselves in polemical times, ignorance is taking a beating [sorry lad] with the internet proving a remarkable levelling field for access to information as smart phones put a computer into the hands of literally billions. Maybe there is hope …

If only it were so simple … and we could all make Fred so very happy.

Best of luck on this wintry Friday.

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Happy Birthday Nana! A miracle of genetics …

Eighty-three today, and not a vegetable or standing prescription in thirty years. Beautiful as always …

OldPhotos013 Version 2 600x581  Happy Birthday Nana! A miracle of genetics …

and sorry for being such a pest …

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Who’s like us? Damn few, but we’re nay dead yet … and you made it to another year of Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, and I think I am up for a few hundred views …

starting this afternoon. Thanks mum.

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World’s Worst Novel: Chapter Twenty-Six

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Posted in WORLD'S WORST NOVEL | 29 Comments