Friday, December 31, 2010

I Wish You

When you're lonely, I wish you Love
When you're down, I wish you Joy
When you're troubled, I wish you Peace
When things seem empty, I wish you Hope
Have a Happy New Year!

The new year is a good opportunity for new beginnings, whether it be to have a more healthy lifestyle, to become more mindful or to enjoy being retired! I plan to incorporate all of these beginnings into my life.

One of the New Years Resignations from BPHope magazine that I will try harder to follow:
I can't do everything I used to do. What I can do, I can't always do as well or as easily as I once did. But what I can do, when I feel up to it, I do pretty well, and thats good enough.
table is set

Today's word of the day is meld (MELD verb - merge, blend). Tonight will be a melding of friends from different worlds, work, family and horsey. We will have good food and good conversations, despite or maybe because of, our different backgrounds. We will have a long pleasant dinner to usher out the old year and welcome in the new. We'll start with appetizers, have a first course, wait a while, then have our main course. Dessert with bubbles will be just in time for the final countdown.

My idle pleasure today? Taking a break from the preparations to curl up on the loveseat with a freshly baked gingerbread cookie. It was still a bit warm from the oven, crispy on the outside with a soft, slightly chewy center. Delish!

Carm busy with the prep

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Day After

When I woke up this morning it took me a few seconds to realize that it was no longer a work day. It feels a bit weird. I feel a bit excited, but mostly disconnected and disoriented.

Last night I dreamt of work - people were wanting to change things but they didn't understand the full implication and I was powerless to stop them - I was like a ghost. I guess I have a bit of anxiety about leaving everything I worked at in someone else's hands (even though I have full confidence in the new person). It is a bit hard to let go after 29 years being responsible for something.

20 hours into retirement they were all sitting at the table having finished a breakfast of pancakes, bacon and eggs. And with tummy's full and faces happy they started their first day of the rest of their lives.

It was a busy first day - a bit of shopping for my niece's birthday, visiting with Olaf & Tammy and then to my parents for supper. It's the last supper together before Olaf & Tammy head back to New Zealand, for goodness knows how long.

28 hours into retirement they were all sitting at the table having finished a supper of prime rib and yorkshire pudding. 

And with tummy's full and faces happy the first day of the rest of their lives ended.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Day

office just about vacated
This is IT! The final day of work. My eyes popped open at the sound of the alarm - "lets get this day done so we can start our new life"! I made up my mind to savor all the last moments (lots of pleasures!) and make indelible memories. This day has been anticipated for so long that I wanted to make sure I remember it. However, the other side to that is that I had to try not think too much otherwise I got too emotional. Its a funambulistic act to balance between making memories and not crying!

Of course it had to snow with a bit of freezing rain last night just to make sure we will appreciate not driving in everyday (as if we needed the reminder). We got to work without incident though. The next few days are calling for temperatures above freezing and rain. So much for the lovely snow. Lets hope that its not freezing rain to ruin New Years Eve again as it did a few years ago.

On the way home from work we did our grocery shopping for New Years Eve and then picked up Olaf & Tammy to bring home for the traditional overnight visit. Bubbles were certainly in order so we toasted our future while I made supper (gnocchi with mushroom vermouth sauce and a mixed green salad). Its a new beginning. Occasionally I was struck with the fact that I don't have to go to work anymore - it was surreal and strange feeling. Reality will probably set in soon.

Today's word is plummy (PLUMM-ee adjective - full of plums ; choice, desirable ; having a plum color ; rich and mellow often to the point of affectation). Today was a plummy day (i.e. choice/desirable not mellow at all).

(FYI Olaf - from merriam-webster -> tradition - an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom))

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Day Before

Both yesterday and today were beautiful winter days - except for the wind which was howling yesterday. The forecast is calling for a few more sunny days and then maybe rain - just in time for New Years Eve.

Mom with the lutefisk
"Norwegian Christmas Eve" feast was at my parents last night. We had lutefisk and all the trimmings. I should say that some of us had lutefisk - most won't eat it (it is kind of gross - I like it though) but there was lots of other stuff for them to eat - meatballs, pork roast, salads, potatoes, cheese, cold cuts and the list goes on. It truly is a feast. My Aunt Kari, Uncle Trevor, their kids, as well as my 2 brothers and their families. It was a lively evening.

Carole & Tammy making lefse

The kids (all 4 of them) had grown electronic devices out of their hands! Even Erik at 6 had a DS Lite that he was glued to. The new electronic babysitter, replacing the old TV. And Kaitlin, my cousin, had a new phone so she was texting her friends - I can only imagine what she was saying about the boring old folks (that's us!). Kids are so much more connected to each other now - is it a good or a bad thing? A bit of both I guess.

Yesterday's word of the day was funambulism (fyoo-NAM-buh-liz-um noun - tightrope walking; a show especially of mental agility). Its a fun word that brings to mind circuses and high wire acts. Its a tough one to put into my own experience. I don't know anyone who tightrope walks but I do know someone who has a nephew who is training with Cirque as a juggler, he's probably also trained in funambulism. Most weeknights we watch Jeopardy, Carm always amazes me with his funambulism as he seems to know the answers to almost everything. Its slightly irritating sometimes (but good too). We used to make bets about final Jeopardy but since I lost most of the time I quit.

Today's word is galumph (guh-LUMF verb - to move with a clumsy heavy tread). We galumph through the drifted snow as we make our way around the hay field with the dogs.

A fun use of the word is from Louis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass. We watched the Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland the other night. It was a great movie done in the usual Tim Burton style.

Here's a snippet from Jabberwocky (see full poem here)

   One, two! One, two! And through and through
   The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
   He left it dead, and with its head
   He went galumphing back.

Today was a quiet day at home which is nice after so many days of running around. I'll mainly be tidying the house for my brother Olaf and his wife Tammy's visit tomorrow. We pick them up on our way home from work (our last day!!!) and bring them for an overnight visit. Tammy helped me pick out the paint and fabrics so I'm anxious for her to see how it turned out (minus the sewing). They head back to New Zealand on Friday - it will be sad to see them go.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boxing/pushing & shoving Day

We succumbed to the lure of boxing day sales today and headed out to the malls. Of course we knew it would be busy but somehow we forgot just how busy. The stores were packed, especially Future Shop, with people pushing and shoving to get down the aisles. Canadian Tire wasn't too bad and I managed to get a few nice decorations for 50% off. And then I lucked out at Bowrings and got some pretty placemats for just $1.99 each. I also got a pretty bird tealight holder (why didn't I pick up two?).

Yesterday Spike had a great time at his cousin Sonny's place. They raced around underfoot like two preschool children. Everyone seemed to enjoy watching them having so much fun. They aren't technically cousins, but do come from the same breeder.

My family has been afflicted with a strange gene that causes us to want to see the world from behind a camera lens. I think it came from my mother. My brothers got it the worst!

Today was another beautiful day - sunny but cold - the cold keeps the snow nice and light. If it gets too warm the snow packs and ends up with hard crusts which are hard on the dogs pads.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

May you have...
The gladness of Christmas which is hope;
The spirit of Christmas which is peace;
The heart of Christmas which is love.
   Ada V. Hendricks

Christmas morning dawned mostly clear, with just enough clouds on the horizon to create a rosy glow as the sun rose. We had a coffee, showered and then headed into town for our traditional Christmas day - my parents for stockings and breakfast, then over to Carm's brother's for lunch and visiting with his family.

We got home after dark fed the dogs and Grace and settled in with a bottle of bubbles and a few little nibbles. Its a long day with lots of eating so we are both too tired and full to make our own Christmas supper. Bubbles are just the perfect thing to end a long day!

Here's a few photos from Christmases from the past - the first photo was taken when I was a little girl, the second one from our 2nd Christmas together. How time flies!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Glorious Day before a Holy Night

I took a break this morning during my preparations to indulge in one of my favorite idle pleasures - lying down on the futon in a sun spot with the dogs and a good book. Spike had just had a bath so was damp and cold - he wanted to snuggle up. Kabira was warm and stretched out, Bella was curled up against my legs. My favorite choral Christmas music was playing. I had a yummy cup of coffee with eggnog (not spiked!). It really doesn't get much better than that.

Our local dairy has a version of eggnog which is the best commercial one that I've tasted. I've been putting it in hot chocolate, and this morning my coffee. Its rich, creamy and yummy. Its so good it doesn't need any additions, although tonight I'll try it with some rum - just for research purposes of course!

This afternoon as I stepped outside to get the mail "Holy Night" was playing, one of my favorite carols. Walking down the laneway I was struck by what a glorious day it was. I wished that I had to words to describe it or a carol to rejoice in its beauty.

The word of the day today is invincible (in-VIN-suh-bul adjective -incapable of being conquered, overcome, or subdued). One could say that my excitement is invincible but that's not really the correct use of the word, even though it does seem impossible that I will overcome it. However, saying that when I'm at this level of excitement (or mania) that I feel invincible probably is correct.

We spent Christmas Eve with my parents and had an early tourtiere supper. My brother Olaf from New Zealand arrives with his wife Tammy late tonight, and my brother Graham stayed home with his family so that they might start their own family tradition (what's wrong with the one we have?). My sister Kirsten, also from New Zealand is not with us again this Christmas - this will be the 3rd one in a row that we've missed having her and her family with us. So it was just my parents and I for Christmas Eve. A bit sad. In the past we've had a traditional Norwegian Christmas Eve with ludefisk (cod soaked in lye - yes you read right - you have to develop a taste for it - or not), lefse (potato pancake, like tortilla), and other trimmings. After supper, in case the kids are not excited enough, we hold hands and jump around the kitchen shouting "Santa is coming, Santa is coming". Then my dad reads "The Night Before Christmas", we hang up our stockings and then get Santa's cookies ready. Its a nice tradition.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

One More Day

 One day to go!

Too exited to write!    Just cried a bit!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

One More Second

I did a little dance tonight outside in the fading light. Hurray - the sun is coming back - the dark is receding. Celebrate!

numinous (NOO-muh-nus adjective - supernatural, mysterious; filled with a sense of the presence of divinity : holy; appealing to the higher emotions or to the aesthetic sense : spiritual

She hung in the sky with numinous glow, her dress of grey flannel flowing to the ground where it brushed against the luminous snow.

(In other words the moon was bright. The clouds made a glow around it, the sky was a soft dark grey, the snow was bright white.)

My team lunch was today. It was fun but a little sad. I didn't cry though which is good 'cause I thought I might. They got me a lovely Sony e-Reader so now I know I'll always have something to do! I'll be able to buy books without having to slog through the snow which is totally wonderful. I looked online and there are lots of old classics that you can download for free, so I can even improve myself.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Creative Life

Its the shortest day of the year which means that tomorrow it starts getting lighter! Yeah! We get a whole additional second of light. As the days pass the seconds start to become minutes. It doesn't start quickly but at least its a trend to the better. Thank goodness for Christmas and the lovely lights that shine in the dark. Lots of people have them on in the morning too which is much appreciated.

Today I've been having waves of excitement and happiness that are barely controllable! I want to laugh and sing and shout and run. I've managed to keep a lid on it so far and keep it to just smiling and maybe a bit of humming. It feels like my head might explode though! Co-workers will soon want to kill me (maybe not soon - maybe already!). Its hard not to be insufferable in these circumstances!

Some words of the day are just too impossible for me to relate to. Today's is another one of those words - ekphrasis (EK-fruh-sis - noun - a literary description of or commentary on a visual work of art). My friend Cynthia has no doubt written several ekphrasis as she has a degree in Art History. Cynthia lives in Australia so I haven't seen her for years but we still keep in touch with email. I'm certain if we were together in a room again it would be as if no time had passed. Some friends are special that way.

This morning I had coffee with my regular "every morning coffee pals" and an additional pal from the past. Bernard joined us at Starbucks where he treated us all to fluffy drinks (thanks Bernard!). We worked with him for years and years but his contract didn't get renewed a while back so we no longer see him very often. It was nice to have the old foursome together. Sort of a farewell to the old group as now there will just be 2 left.

I read the quote below today and thought it very meaningful. Thinking back to all the safe decisions I've made, all the times I've had ideas but was afraid to voice them or too embarrassed to risk being wrong makes me realize how much innovation and creativity was lost. And I realize that I would have made a greater contribution to my team at work if I had taken those risks.

To live a creative life,
we must lose our fear
of being wrong.
Joseph Chilton Pearce
American Author

Monday, December 20, 2010

Its the Last Week!!

This is the last week at work (I'm not counting next Wednesday as its only a partial day)!!! I cannot seem to wipe the giant smile off my face :-)

Carm proof-reading my blog
This morning I had to stop to get some blood work done. This is something that's not fun at the best of time. As it is I get there at 6:30 am and the place doesn't open until 7:30 so its a long wait and by the time they open the doors there's a huge lineup. They usually have a lot of difficulty finding my vein so when she finally jabbed me, right away she said "Whoops!". I kind of laughed and said "That's not something I want to hear from someone who's sticking a needle into me! ha ha" and she retorted in a crabby voice with "Why not". Needless to say I kept my mouth shut after that. In case you are wondering, these moments did not classify as idle pleasures.

I did have a bitter sweet idle pleasure though. I ate my last "get me through a Monday" Thai takeout lunch. I will totally miss this lunch (although I won't miss Monday's in the office). I often get a beef/pepper/basil dish that is garlicy and spicy hot. A total taste treat. It will be a good excuse to get into town occasionally to meet up with friends for lunch (they like Thai too).

Today's word of the day is exemplary (ig-ZEM-pluh-ree - deserving imitation especially because of excellence : commendable; serving as a warning; serving as an example, instance, or illustration). My attendance at work has not been exemplary - in fact I missed a day last week due to a headache and extreme tiredness. I slept until past 11:30 am on Thursday! Must be all the hard work of getting ready to retire!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Snow Stars

It was a still, sunny morning with a lovely pinky glow on the snow, cold enough that yesterday's snow was light and fluffy, inviting you to drop to the earth and make a snow angel. As the sun got higher overhead the universe of tiny snow stars under my feet sparkled in the light. The field was criss-crossed with trails from the playful dogs running and jumping in the snow. When we came inside the snow from our boots and dogs legs melted and formed cold pools on the floor, the magic of the morning just a memory.  This was most certainly an idle pleasure of the most excellent kind.

Last night I made Prime Rib roast with Yorkshire pudding. It was fabulous - the beef was perfectly done and the Yorkshire was perhaps the best I've ever made it. The Yorkshire recipe that I use is from Joy of Cooking which is a great basic book to have on hand. I have an older version that still has recipes for bear meat, and how to skin a squirrel (and other appetite inspiring recipes - not). A very handy book to have in case all grocery stores in the world cease to exist...

Today's word of the day is welter (WEL-ter: writhe, toss; also : wallow ; to become deeply sunk, soaked, or involved; to be in turmoil). Last night after a large meal, followed by a liter of water, I weltered in bed trying to ease my full tummy. I'm supposed to drink at least 4 liters of water a day but this seems impossible. I drink a coffee or two (not sure if they count), a few herbal teas, a few glasses of water, and then my liter after supper. Its not enough so I'll have to try harder.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Real Meaning for Feather Brained

The thing I'm learning about Idle pleasures is that anything can be one - you just have to stop the running commentary in your head and just live in the moment, savoring whatever it is that you are experiencing. That being said, it takes practice and constant reminders to myself. And it's harder on an overcast day (like today).

Today's word of the day is cohesive (koh-HEE-siv : exhibiting or producing a condition in which people or things are closely united). Working as a cohesive unit they wove their way through the dollar store crowds in their search for wrapping paper and other Christmas trinkets.

Like a ray of sunshine in a dreary day, Grace's cheerful whistles and chatter brought light and happiness to our home. Eventually, as if it heard the whistled summons, the sun peaked out from behind the clouds for a few glorious minutes.
Grace is not feather brained, or if she is she gives new meaning to the word as she often surprises us with her intelligence. For example, a couple of Christmases ago I was standing on a chair putting up decorations. The chair moved (it was on wheels) and I nearly fell - right away Grace called out "Are you okay?", I answered her with a yes and then proceeded to get up on the same chair. She immediately warned me to "Be careful!". I had to stop and laugh and yes, at that point I got another chair.

I decorated the house today - it finally looks like Christmas. We didn't end up getting a real tree but instead went into the basement and dragged out a 23+ year old fake one that's 3 1/2 feet tall and has 9 branches max. It could be the most lame tree on the planet - and perhaps the most depressing one as well.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Feather Brained

This morning when I woke up the sun was just above the horizon and shining a pinky glow through a frosty wonderland. The trees were covered in a dusting of sparkles. I had to go outside right away and take some photos. The beautiful side of winter. A perfect idle pleasure.

they left me a bit of room!

Later in the morning I lay down on the futon in the living room. I felt the warmth of the sun shining on me. The dogs were peacefully sleeping beside me. Paired with a good book it was hand's down an excellent idle pleasure. Lying in a sun spot on a cold winter day is always a pleasure.

And the Cardinal played "Little Drummer Boy" against the frozen window, his friends whistling encouragement from nearby branches.

These idle pleasures help to make up for my rather rude awakening by the "charming" cardinal that sits in the tree outside of our bedroom window and repeatedly throws itself against the window, making a loud fluttery bump each time. This bird (or one of its buddies) has been doing this every morning for months - yes months. They don't seem to hurt themselves, nor do they seem to learn from the experience. We are usually up by the time its light enough for it to start its shenanigans but that will change once we are retired. We may just have to get a cat. 

Today's word of the day is philately (fuh-LAT-uh-lee - the collection and study of postage and imprinted stamps : stamp collecting). When I was a child I had a stamp collection - I'm not sure who I got it from, perhaps my Great Aunt Jean, but there were lots of old stamps from strange countries. I used to like looking at them, especially the ones with animals, and would imagine what it was like where they came from. I don't know where that old collection is now - perhaps my parents have it tucked away somewhere safe until someone in the next generation shows interest.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

the love of your fate

Welcome to our newest followers "Margie and Roger" they are full-timers. They have a bunch of blogs, including one with recipes - I'll be checking that out for sure! It looks like they've been everywhere.

Today's word of the day is vermicular (ver-MIK-yuh-ler - resembling a worm in form or motion; of, relating to, or caused by worms). Its an interesting word, but not one that finds a lot of common use (unless you are eating vermicular vermicelli!). Especially in this frozen wasteland where the worms are deep in the earth asleep. Do worms freeze solid in the winter? Or do they go below the frost line (that's 4' + here). Acccording to searches on the internet they do deep into the soil - up to 6'. Who knew!

This is from this morning's "Inspiration Peak". I occasionally look at who I am and where I am in my life and look back to the events that got me here. Not all are happy ones, but the unhappy, difficult times are the ones that caused the most personal growth. Looking at these events in this light makes it easier to accept and even find happiness in life's difficult moments.

still going strong - flowers from Carm's retirement party
   At a certain moment in Nietzsche's life, the idea came to him of what he called 'the love of your fate.' Whatever your fate is, whatever the heck happens, you say, 'This is what I need.' It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment - not discouragement - you will find the strength is there. Any disaster that you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow. Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see that this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not.
         Joseph Campbell, 1904-1987
           American Mythology Professor and Author

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Last Lunch at an Old Favorite

Horrible drive into work yesterday - just 10 cm of snow really screwed up the roads. They were very slippery and in fact the Subaru spun out turning a corner. I can only think of one other time that its done that. I will be SO GLAD not to have to do that anymore.

Bogus (not genuine : counterfeit, sham) was yesterday's word of the day. I can't think of any usage of this word that fits my own world. Especially as I am trying to be positive and find the best in everything. Sometimes though my positive outlook is bogus but it's best to keep the sham up as eventually I'll even convince myself to change my outlook.

Today's word of the day is quincunx (KWIN-kunks; an arrangement of five things in a square or rectangle with one at each corner and one in the middle). I cannot for the life of me think of how to use this word in relation to my own life. Okay - this is really lame - at lunch today we formed a quincunx with the food in the middle. Well, we would have but Bernard missed his bus so there were just the three of us - me and two co-workers/friends. It was our last lunch at this restaurant as it is closing next week. It will be greatly missed.

Here's my fortune from the Chinese restaurant "You have firmness, a clear sense of direction, and the drive to reach your goals.". I would say that parts of that are definitely true. I had the drive and direction to live my dream with the horses. We had a good aviary of breeding parrots. We have a nice property in the country. All of these things required a sense of direction and certainly drive to get us there. After living my life with a strong idea of where I wanted to be, it is strange that I now have no sense of direction at all. I feel a bit rudderless.

My idle pleasure today was while the three of us were having lunch. The food was good, the company of friends was good - all in all a pleasure.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Its cold and dreary again today - sapping the spirit and energy right out of me. Winter would not be so bad if it were sunnier... instead of day after day of grey, clouds.

Today's word of the day (thanks again Merriam Webster) is woolgathering (indulgence in idle daydreaming). This is something that I have been guilty of at work these last few weeks (months?). I would have enough wool to make sweaters for a whole village if actual wool was gathered! Yesterday I literally wool gathered as I have a big bag full of Bella and Spike's hair!

One of the things I'm going to have to learn is that I don't have to be busy of every hour of every day. This will be especially important after I've retired. Sure sometimes now I'm not busy, but usually there is still a feeling that I should be doing something. But you know what - we are human beings not human doings so I'd better start practicing just being.

For today's idle pleasure I practiced just being. It was quiet, the dogs weren't clacking around, Grace was quietly preening. I curled up on the love seat (like one of Friendly Giant's comfy chairs) and let my mind rest being careful not to let to-do lists interfere with my thoughts. I concentrated on letting the tension and stress leave my body and mind and finding my inner smile. In the end I almost fell asleep. In the New Year I'm going to do some reading on meditation and then put it into practice. I think meditation is something good to fit into my new daily routine.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Shave and A Haircut

It was freezing rain when I got up this morning and then it poured a mixture of freezing rain and regular rain the rest of the day. I'm glad its Sunday and we don't have to go anywhere.

Its funny how the word of the day often talks to what I'm experiencing or thinking already. Today's word is gulosity (excessive appetite : greediness). Yesterday we celebrated my father-in-law's 85th birthday at a Chinese food buffet. The food was good with dishes from all areas of China, dim sum, and even a bit of Sushi thrown in. My gulosity knew no bounds! I'm still stuffed... It was a fun time to catch up with family that we don't see very often. I forgot to take pictures though - dooh.

We picked up the last of the slipcovers yesterday. It looks great. Now I just have to get sewing but that will wait until I'm retired - just 17 days away (8 working days).

Carm giving a helping hand
Poodle hair cut day - not their favorite but a necessary evil when you are a poodle. I clipped off their leg puffs in the fall - now they look funny and spindly legged - but the puffs just collect so much stuff. I'll let them grow back starting the next haircut. I like them to look their best when we are camping (although they do look a bit dorky with a poodle cut!).

Friday, December 10, 2010

I Dare You to Stop Shilly-Shallying Around and Live Life to its Fullest

Today's word of the day is shilly-shally (to show hesitation or lack of decisiveness or resolution; dawdle). I have not been shilly-shallying around with my decision to retire - that is a firm resolution! And with only 8 more "get up and go to work"s left (yes - just 8!!!) I feel less and less hesitation.

Carm's retirement party was this afternoon. It was a really nice party with a great turnout. I think every spouse should hear others talking about the other. It made me look at him from fresh eyes and a different perspective.

I ran across this poem this morning. I thought it fitting as I had just mentioned Mother Teresa just the other day. I dare you to live it.

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.

Mother Teresa
Catholic Nun, Missionary
Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Single Digits!!!

Can't believe it - I now have just 9 working days left - 8 1/2 really as I'm taking tomorrow afternoon off to go to Carm's retirement party. Time is really flying by, although at times it does seem to crawl. As the time draws nearer I find my emotions fluctuate between excitement and trepidation. You couldn't talk me into staying, but there's also something scary about the great unexplored beyond. Will I find enough to do? Will I find things to exercise my brain? Or maybe I'll just stop worrying about what might be and ENJOY! That is today's idle pleasure - stop worrying and sit back to enjoy thoughts of what life will be like AW - after work! (or A&W - yum - rootbeer and onion rings - now that's an idle pleasure!).

Today's word of the day is burke (to suppress quietly or indirectly; bypass, avoid). I've been invited to Carm's party, so I guess I'll go along. I wasn't keen on having one myself so I've let my co-workers know that I would like to burke the whole party thing. I'm not one for crowds, nor for being the centre of attention. That's Carm's domain.

I had lunch today with a co-worker at a place we have frequented almost weekly for several years - its got the best General Tao's chicken ever. We heard from the waitress that the business has been sold and the restaurant will be closing down December 21st. I'll have to make it over there one more time to really say goodbye.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Influence of Celebrity or would that be Music?

 Today's word of the day is rectrix, a noun for any of the quill feathers of a bird's tail that are important in controlling flight direction. Grace has amazing, bright red rectrix that she fans when she's angry. Unfortunately Grace never really learned how to fly safely and honestly its just too dangerous to be flying in a house (ceiling fans, pots on stoves, windows, etc.) so we never get to see her red rectrix in flight.

Grace has been fun to bring camping. She loves to travel and seems to get a kick out of camping. During the day she has a big cage outside to spend her time in. She whistles and talks and makes sure that whatever we eat we share a bit with her. I usually don't let her out of the cage outside as I'm afraid something would startle her and she'd catch a breeze with her wings and be gone. She's too precious to us to take that chance. Sometimes I'll hold her in my hand with my thumb firmly over her feet. We usually leave her locked in her cage when we go out for walks. Its not unusual to come back to find her in a whistling contest with a neighboring camper. She whistles one song, the camper returns with the same song, she does another one, and so on. She's quite musical and often people can't believe that its a bird playing the game with them!

Today is the anniversary of John Lennon's death. The local radio station has been playing his music and recollections from people all day. I find it interesting how much his celebrity has influenced. I can't help but think it strange, and a little sad, that someone like Mother Teressa (or any number of selfless people) who gave her whole life to others just gets a passing comment, if that. Perhaps they should have been songwriters. Its a comment on our society. But maybe its just as simple as the fact that we still play John Lennon's music so he is closer to our conciousness than the others. Music is a very powerful communicator that can touch a person at their very core.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Blustering Winter Wind

Today's word of the day is susurrous (full of whispering sounds). It reminds me of days spent under a light canopy of leaves, the warmth of the summer breeze caressing my skin while the leaves send susurrous messages of welcome to the birds. Its good to think back on summer on a dark, cold and windy morning.

Burrrr. Hurry up and let us back inside...
Winter is really here - today's drive into work was snowy and slippery, and cold -6C. There was blowing snow from a wicked wind as we drove into work this morning. The wind was not susurrous but blustering and roaring as it crashed against everything in its way.

I was at work today where its hard to think of Idle Pleasures (other than today's yummy Thai lunch). The dingy green fabric walls block all light from the outside while the overhead flourescent lights flicker overhead - not an environment of inspiration or pleasure. I hope that finding these pleasures will be much easier when I'm retired and at home, although really they are most important on working days and I should try harder to find them.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Oops forgot the title

Today's word of the day is Ear candy (music that is pleasing to listen to but lacks depth) - I'm listening to a mix of music from the sixties and seventies - a lot of ear candy - but fun to listen to.

This morning I ran across a poem I had saved a few years ago. Its not quite like the other poems I've posted here, but does speak to dog owners - I just have to share:

A poem - Ode to poop
  (author Unknown)

But, hark! What brown does yonder glisten
Left prior by the dog now pissin'?
A turd, most glorious and neat
Fortuitously not beneath my feet!
Softly nestled upon yon grass
'Tis data from my dog's ass
For wisdom's gained by those who snoop
'Mongst particles and bits of poop.

This poem seems especially fitting as my friend Cynthia used to call our place "Laura's Place of Poop" cause with 3 dogs, 2 cats, a bunch of parrots, and a few horses - it seemed like every time I turned around I was doing something with it.

I'm practicing not using my mouse today. I'm getting better, but have reached for the mouse a few times. Once I'm good without the mouse I can feel young and hip again (ha ha). This past weekend when we were out shopping we were served by several young men - in one store the young man had a nose ring and this other weird u-shaped nose ornament as well - I hardly look at him - and felt like an old fuddy duddy! At another store the young man had hair halfway down his back - it was nice hair and well groomed but he seemed so many generations away - I felt like I was 100 years old - not just 48. Now I know how my parents and their parents, and on and on, must have felt as we stretched the bounds of what was considered normal. I guess I just really don't get out much!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Missing my Computer

I experienced today's idle pleasure this morning at 6am when it was still dark. I took the dogs out and noticed that the step was covered by frost. The porch light was hitting it in just the right way to make it sparkle like a million tiny diamonds had been sprinkled across it. It was so ordinary, yet so beautiful. How many beautiful things do we not see as we dash though life eyes only on the future and rarely in the present.

My computer died Saturday morning and I am going through massive withdrawal. I pried Carm away from the desktop for a while Sunday morning so I could get a little fix but I missed my laptop! This prompted some searching on the internet and finally a trip into town to Best Buy where I got a primo laptop with 17" screen. Not as portable but lovely for everyday use. Now if I could just get used to Windows 7. I feel old as I struggle to get used to the new interface.

We also picked up the next round of slipcovers. One set is called sage green, but its really a blueish grey with a hint of green. It looks okay - I guess - but its gonna do. The other colour is dark brown which would look nice on the chairs but not so good on the loveseat by the window. Plus the fabric is a lint magnet so brown would be brutal!

Saturday's word of the day was vociferous (marked by or given to vehement insistent outcry). Carm was vociferous in his protest against trying another set of slipcovers (not really but its the only use of the word I could think of today). Here's another one - Laura was vociferous in her demands for a new laptop ;-)

Today's word of the day is corrode (to eat away by degrees as if by gnawing; especially: to wear away gradually usually by chemical action; to weaken or destroy gradually: undermine; to undergo corrosion). As in my dedication to my job has been corroded by the advancing days of retirement. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Yippee Ki Yey

My idle pleasure today is had by sipping a really yummy Cafe Mocha from Starbucks. Its got whipped cream on the top and a lovely hot chocolate/coffee mix below. Hot, rich and totally delish - perfect for a December day! Its my consolation for coming in to work on a Friday.

0C, cloudy, 70 % chance of flurries, clearing in the afternoon.

Today's word of the day is yips which is a noun for a state of nervous tension affecting an athlete (as a golfer) in the performance of a crucial action. I can't speak for this word, but I'm pretty sure Carm could. He's talked about the golfers getting the yips many times when we are watching golf on tv (yawn).

At Costco we picked up a set of glass storage/microwave dishes with the "lock" type tops (GlassLock). I think these will be great on the camper. They are a bit on the heavy size but make up for it in functionality. I don't like using plastic in the microwave, so these will be good dishes for cooking and then storing the leftovers. I will just need a couple onboard. It gives me a tiny camping fix.

Tonight we picked up the car from the mechanics. It got a new, well deserved clutch. Our car, a Subaru, has almost 383,000 km and is running great (aside from the clutch which was its original one). We hope to get at least another year from it. Our last two cars, the Mazda 323 and this one, have been amazing cars, running virtually trouble free (touch wood!). We re-homed the Mazda when it was over 323,000 km - pretty good value for the money! The Subaru was a more expensive buy but has also proven itself to be worth every penny. I hope the truck gives as good service.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dump the Dump

I told Carm today that I wouldn’t put his childish and moronic ideas (his words!) in my blog – I have plenty of my own inane ideas! (Feb 19, 2010 word of the day – inane – empty, insubstantial; lacking significance, meaning or point; silly. Perfectly describes this blog!)

Today at work I helped with setting up the details for a new time tracking system that will track everyone’s time against certain projects. I have to admit that I got a certain amount of pleasure (not really idle but counts just the same),  knowing that I will not have to participate. These things tend to gobble up large amounts of time for what seems like very little benefit. I suppose having upper management know that your time is spent supporting some large, high profile projects helps to justify our existence.

It’s still a little warm for December – if you can call 1C, cloudy, chance of flurries, warm. The average temp for December is -7.1C (18.5F), a good bit colder than today. Historically the coldest day for December was -34.4C (-30F) – yikes! (Environment Canada has great tools for finding these things out – but do you really want to know that it could get that cold?)

Ecotone is today’s word of the day. It is a noun for the transition area between two adjacent ecological communities. Unfortunately I thought of a use for it right away. L

There’s a plan to build a new dump in our township, just 11km down the road from us. The proposal is for it to be built in an old brick quarry. While this might seem at first glance to be no big deal since there is already a hole, there are some ecological issues that have arisen. First off, the quarry collects a lot of water which is a problem in at least 2 ways; first – the geese use it on their migration; second – where will the toxic water drain to? The aquifer that feeds our wells? To compound matters, there is little to no ecotone between the dump and the neighbouring farms. What makes this especially frustrating is this dump is intended for a city that’s not even in our township. We will be the ones left footing the bill if there are environmental consequences.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I was stuck in the office for lunch again (rain) – I guess my idle pleasure is the same as yesterday – closing my eyes and imagining myself somewhere else (does it count for double if I do it in a meeting?)

Today’s word of the day is plangent (having a loud reverberating sound; having an expressive and especially plaintive quality). Plangent is not a word I have ever used in conversation or in writing – until today – strangely the first meaning fits perfectly with what I was already going to talk about!

Last night we watched Trans Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas program, a nice story with a great soundtrack. Their signature song (Carol of the Bells or Christmas Eve Sarajevo 12_24) is from this program; it starts softly with string instruments and builds up to a dramatic, plangent ending.  “Holy Night”, sung by Michael Crawford was so beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes.

O Holy Night Trans Siberian Orchestra - More amazing video clips are a click away

One of my co-workers is going to their concert this December – I wish I was already retired so that I could also go. She went last year and enjoyed it so much she's taking all her grown-up kids this year. When we are retired it will be easier to go to these events - no more getting up at 5am the next morning to go to work.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Two more work days have passed (14 left!). I’m busy getting things in order before I leave but unfortunately I’m also back to stressing, not about leaving, but about the work still to be done.

Zack and Bubbers
Today’s word of the day is cacophony, which means harsh or discordant sound, dissonance; specifically harshness in the sound of words or phrases. This is a word I used a lot when we had Zack and Bubbers, Blue and Gold Macaws. They were LOUD - harsh is a kind way to describe their voices. It was certainly a cacophony when they were vocalizing.

Zack and Buhbers were pets for a few years before they got their nest box. After they were breeding they only had eyes for each other, especially during breeding season – that’s also when they got really noisy. Despite the loudness, they were a lovely pair of birds with funny, charming personalities. They were also two of the nicest looking B&G's that I’ve seen. We have lots of fond memories of them, both as pets and as breeders. They had several clutches of babies, including a clutch of 3 that went to work with me to be hand fed. At feeding time they were the star attraction of the ladies room (men used to come in to see them too)! It was a sad day when Zack and Bubbers left to go to their new home – I still can’t really talk about it. Unfortunately unforeseen circumstances can sometimes change the course of ones life. 

3 macaw babies

On days like the past two, when I’m stuck in the office and the weather is cold and rainy, it’s hard to find an Idle Pleasure. They seem to be so much more plentiful when I’m at home or at least not in this dreary office. Perhaps I just have to try harder to find pleasure where there is none to be had. Okay – how is this – close your eyes and let the cacophony of the office fade from your consciousness, imagine for a moment that you are in another place. I  think I’ll practice this often for the next month.

I got another set of slipcovers from Sears – but they were horrible so they are going back and I’ve ordered 2 more sets. One of these next sets better be right otherwise I'm not sure what I'll do. I wish they had swatches of the fabrics at their catalogue outlets as that would save a lot of back and forth.