Friday, July 8, 2016

30 Fun Facts About Canada

It is four in the morning where I live. My hubby is snoring, which means I am awake. I will need a nap later.

There is a moth attacking the television that my laptop is hooked to, something that seems to bother me more at night than in the daylight hours.

The tomato and pepper plants that I bought a couple of weeks back are loaded with fruit that is hopefully going to make it to harvest time.

Our small dog is settling into life without his "big sister"...  as are we. Swiffer is getting rather spoiled, in a good way. Life goes on without my girl, Niki and I miss her every day.

Although it is a week past Canada's birthday (July 1), I am a proud Canadian. I have traveled and have found many people outside of Canada to be quite ignorant about my country. I have always done my best to straighten out the fallacies I encountered as best I could.

My country is vast and the people are diverse. For the most part, Canadians are polite and nice... but we will defend our country strongly if push comes to shove. Although we are similar across this nation, what the people of Quebec or Ontario think or do is not necessarily what those of the other provinces or territories think or do. Although most Canadians experience snow for part of the year, we do not live in igloos nor get around with sled-dogs and some places either don't get snow at all, or get such a small amount that it is gone within a few hours of falling. Toronto, our largest city, sits on about the same latitude as Madrid, Spain while Calgary sits on about the same latitude as London, England. Alberta experiences Chinook winds during most winters, which clears away the snow for a day or two and brings quite warm, sometimes hot, weather. If you look on a map of North America that shows latitudes, you will see that there are 13 U.S. states that sit entirely north of Canada's most southerly point.

Those are just a few things that I've corrected over the years. Recently I discovered a few more things about my country that I found both interesting and rather fun. I thought I'd share them with everyone. Enjoy as you learn a bit about "my home and native land"...

  1. Canada is the second largest country in the world by area, second only to Russia. To put Canada’s size in perspective: It’s bigger than the entire European Union (33 times bigger than Italy and 15 times bigger than France), more than 30 per cent larger than Australia, five times as big as Mexico, three times as big as India and about the same size as 81,975 Walt Disney Worlds put together.
  2. Canada has the largest coastline in the world.  To put that in perspective, Canada has 202,080 of the world’s total 356,000 kilometres of oceanfront property.
  3. Canada  has a population of approximately 35 million. Our average life expectancy is about 82 years.
  4. Canada has two official languages - Canadian English and French Canadian.
  5. The Canada-USA border is the longest international border in the world and does not have military defense.
  6. The national Canadian police force is called the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Their "dress" uniforms are the "reds", however most of the force do not wear that uniform except for special occasions.
  7. Canada consumes more macaroni and cheese than any other nation in the world.
  8. Canada is the World's Most Educated Country: over half its residents have at least college degrees.
  9. Canada is the third largest producer of diamonds in the world.
  10. Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world's lakes combined.
  11. Over 80% of the world's supply of maple syrup is produced in Canada - mainly in Quebec.
  12. Canada is the largest producer of natural uranium in the world.
  13. Scarborough, Ontario makes most of the world's Halls "cough" lozenges.
  14. New Brunswick-based McCain Foods makes one-third of the world's frozen French Fries.
  15. Canadian maple wood baseball bats are a Major League favourite.
  16. Canada is the largest exporter of green lentils in the world - 95% of them come from Saskatchewan.
  17. The Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg, Manitoba produces coins for 60 different countries.
  18. Toronto-based Cervélo Cycles have been called the world's fastest and lightest bikes.
  19. Winnipeg, Manitoba makes the most of the world's "Scratch n' Win" cards.
  20. World's Best Cymbals come from New Brunswick - SABIAN cymbals are sold in 120 countries around the world.
  21. Canada has a world-class submarine fleet, Atlantis Submarines, headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia The company actually owns more submarines than many countries have in their navy - but the Atlantis fleet is used for tourism.
  22. Trenton, Ontario makes many of the world's dinosaurs - Research Casting International has created more than 750 of the prehistoric creatures for museums around the world.
  23. Thanksgiving was celebrated first in Canada in 1578 in Newfoundland, 43 years before the U.S. in 1621.
  24. Kelowna makes most of the world's water slides. Canada's Whitewater West Industries Ltd. is the largest water parks attraction company in the world.
  25. Peterborough is the Custom Aircraft Capital of Canada - they don't make the actual airplanes, but Flying Colour Corp. makes the inside totally unique for customers around the globe.
  26. Every Christmas, one million letters are addressed to Santa Claus
    at his own postal code: "H0H 0H0, North Pole, Canada."
  27. Roughly 30% of Canada's total landmass is covered by forest and most of that forest land is publicly owned.
  28. Canada has its own mysterious lake creature, Ogopogo, who reportedly lives in Lake Okanagan, British Columbia.
  29. There’s an estimated 249.67 billion accessible barrels of bitumen in the world and Canada has about 70.8 per cent of it — four times more than Kazakhstan and six times more than Russia.
  30. Our national and provincial parks are big, sometimes bigger than other countries. For instance, Wood Buffalo National Park, which is located partly in Alberta and partly in the Northwest Territories, is 44,807 square kilometres, which makes it bigger than Denmark or Switzerland.
So there you have them. Some of these things I knew... but some came as a surprise to me. How about you?

Monday, June 20, 2016

It Ain't Easy Being... Old

Although I am not as old as some, I am a lot older today than I once was.

Back in my teens life was hard enough without having to think about ever getting old. 'Old' was my mother... already in her early 40s, her life [in my opinion] almost finished.

A few years later I was in my twenties and I still never though about getting old. I was too smart for that. For some reason my mother had managed to live past fifty, although I didn't have the time to bother to ponder the mystery of her elder state. I was single, married, divorced... all between 25 and 33... so I did not have time to dwell on my getting older, let alone anyone else's.

Then it was years of working menial jobs, getting better educated, and then working only slightly better jobs. I worked pretty hard too. My education was 'business' at DeVry in Calgary, which was a good thing in a way. I had tossed around the idea of becoming a vet technician and that might have been better, but fate sent me to DeVry, so there I went. I mostly learned about computers and after graduation, although I never did have the opportunity to work as a manager, I did get on as a secretary with the government. The secretary part was rather ironic since my typing teacher in high school had told me it was something I'd never be. I was good on computers though, and was diligent, smart, and hard working too, so of course I stayed at the lowest level for secretaries. Bosses in government places don't want a smart or hard working secretary. That might make them look bad. LOL

At any rate, I found myself, at the age of 55, laid-off with a bit of a settlement in hand, so I went into partnership in a laundromat. Let me give anyone out there a word of advice about investing in a laundromat... if it isn't in the middle of a low-income area in the city, it must be located close to at least one 'reserve'. Otherwise there isn't going to be enough money in it to support anyone. I was broke, living in a small town, and close to 60 when I finally realized I'd made it to older than my mother was the last time I thought about her age with any amount of interest.

My retirement was rather forced. I had given up my half of the laundromat, which didn't pay anything anyway. I couldn't afford to move and there were no jobs in the area. I was also struggling with medical stuff that begins to show up after 55 or so. For me it was high blood pressure and COPD. The high blood pressure is important to get the meds right but after that, it's pretty easy to live with. The COPD is something else again. Even with the right meds, it's difficult at best and damned hard when it gets bad. Breathing is rather important for a good life. Every change in the weather affects people with COPD for either good or bad. With all that, I became depressed. Which isn't helpful.

But of course that's not all that showed up after 55. Anything that you put your body through when you're young WILL come back to haunt you once you turn 50 to 55. It will get increasingly worse too. I wasn't a dare devil, but I had a few things happen. I broke my neck at 20 in a car accident (I was not driving), so I now have some headaches to contend with that I never had before.

At 29 I froze my knees when I had to walk out of the bush after the back axle on the truck I was in fell off in the middle of the forest in the middle of winter in northern Ontario. I was told that arthritis was going to happen later in life and it did. I might have been able to delay the bulk of the trouble for a long while, but my poor knees took a beating when I turned 50 and went whale watching. I haven't been able to kneel since. So washing floors on my hands and knees, washing the tub, and anything that involves getting down or squatting is impossible. Having a bath, for instance. I love baths but had to give them up after 50 because getting in and back out of the tub is really difficult and hurts my knees for hours after.

Eyesight is another thing. Yes, most people begin to wear glasses as they age. I used to have 20/15 vision so I wasn't expecting to have to begin to wear them until at least into my 60s. I never thought of floaters... never even knew what they were... but, although my vision is 20/20, I have very blurry vision because of the floaters. They ner completely go away. They are thick and heavy or lighter but always blurring my vision. Bright light makes seeing harder. They make reading, using a computer, driving, and just seeing a challenge.

As we age, 'stuff' continues to happen in our lives. My husband's little dog decided he didn't want me to groom him, so he bit me... hard. Fortunately I heal quickly. My white blood count skyrocketed and within a couple of weeks the wound was healed. Today (6 weeks later) there is barely a scar. All without stitches. But there is nerve damage and that hand is much weaker than it was. I can't close it completely... only sort of curl it. I have to do therapy and see if that will help to strengthen it. There is no guarantee it will help.

Being retired is nice in some ways, but not so much in others. I used to know what I should be doing every day. Even on my days off I knew what I needed to do. Shopping, cleaning, visiting friends... life stuff. Now it all runs together without structure. It's kind of nice at first, but after awhile the days don't matter. Especially where we live. Out of town in a house with no yard, only a little deck, and the view out the window. We face north, which makes the house cool in summer but not so warm in winter. I'd like to live in the city, but we can afford it here. Fixed income, they call it. Enough to survive. Not enough to live. We go nowhere for the fun of it and do nothing that costs extra. We have to save up for a birthday lunch. We buy our clothes at thrift stores. We stock up on groceries when they're on sale. We have no savings or investments

We are the baby boomers that no one bothers to mention. What people forget about most baby boomers is we came from LARGE families (6 to 15 children). So, if our parents do leave anything it is split 10 ways, not 2. And a lot of our parents spent or are spending what they saved... which is not something I complain about at all. They should spend it. But I do get tired of people assuming that all baby boomers are rich and are having a wonderful time tripping around the world sightseeing. That seems to be the bunch who follow us... you know... OUR children, the ones WE gave to. There are some who are rich... but not all baby boomers, not even most. 'Most' live like we do.

At any rate, as I age, life isn't getting any easier. Expenses raise every year and medical problems increase. Not because I was careless with my body. I never smoked, didn't do drugs, and hardly drank. Life just happens and there isn't a lot that any of us can do about it. You can try. You can think you're going to change it. But in the end, getting older is getting older. Your body will do what it will and you will die when you die. Of course, if you are stupid, you will likely rush things on a bit, but there's no guarantee about that either. I've seen smokers, druggies, and drinkers (sometimes all in one person) die in their 20s and live into their 80s. There doesn't seem to be any real rhyme or reason. You're born. You live. You die. The cycle of life. We live longer than dogs. Turtles live longer than us. No sense. No reason. Just life.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

February 9, 2016 - Spring

Spring has arrived where I live. Birds have returned from their winter homes and are singing their little hearts out as I write this. It is 18 Celsius (65 F) outside. The snow and ice are fast melting away. Spring is VERY early.

I live in Alberta, Canada. Spring usually arrives sometime toward the middle of May. We didn't have much of a winter so the farmers won't be happy. They need the snow for water on their fields. But I'm complaining. I love spring. I hope spring is long this year. I love the bright greens on the trees. I love the birds as they return. Of course, this IS Alberta. We could get a blast-y old blizzard in a day or two and be right back in to winter for another week or more. But today it is spring. The deer and antelope should show their wary heads soon. They generally show up shortly after the first warm days have past. They are so beautiful. We don't get them in the yard but they do show up in the fields around us, off in the distance, staring at us as we drive by. The deer are small whitetails; the antelope have their stripes. Beautiful.

I live with my hubby in a rented mobile home on 80 acres near the Canada/US border. The nearest town is four miles or so away. Our landlord operates a horse and dog boarding kennel but we have nothing to do with that. We just benefit from the peace and tranquility of the place, although we don't have a front lawn or a yard that belongs to the house we live in. The property is well treed but surrounded by grain fields that are run by the local Hutterite colony. We won't hear the tractors for another month at least... if the weather holds it could be sooner, but generally they wait to be sure the weather doesn't kill the seeds before they start.

It is the birds we get to see the most often... sparrows, doves, robins, geese, the odd finch or other colourful bird, quail. Many kinds arrive and leave all spring, some just passing through, while others make their nests in the trees on the property. Some are vocal, others are more quiet. The doves, once they start, will call to each other throughout the day and evening. The sparrows chirp all the time. Right now I suspect is nest building time for most of them.

At any rate, spring is here for a day or two at least, perhaps for the rest of this early time of the year... and I'm happy that it has arrived.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

It's a Question of Rudeness

I wasn't sure where I should talk about this... over on my "private" blog, the one that's only open to friends and family... or here on the public one, the one that is seen by a lot more people. I obviously decided that this topic needed a larger audience. Why? Because it's important. Because rudeness seems to be becoming accepted as part of life. Because by accepting rudeness as "okay", once we ignore it when we see it or, worse yet, don't even recognize it, we devalue ourselves and all the work and growth that went into humans becoming "civilized".

People who know me have this idea that I'm invincible, that nothing bothers me. Well, truth be told, I am actually very sensitive. I am not titanium. I am water. When I hurt, I hurt deeply, although I hardly ever show it. And the ripple-effects go on and on and on. Today I had "an incident" on one of my social pages. First, you must understand, I don't use social media very often. On this particular social page, I only have a very few contacts. They are all supposedly friends... and family. I have them as contacts because I feel I should be able to trust them.

Here's the story...

I innocently shared an article from the news because it was something I was interested in and something I felt like sharing. As I said, I seldom post anything on social media and when I do it is something important to me in some way... big or small. I didn't expect anyone to bother with a response, although one or two might "thumbs up" it. I shared it, not for anyone but myself. Within a few minutes, I had someone respond with "Who cares?"

"Who cares?" How completely rude! How utterly hurtful! And from someone I considered a friend. Doubly hurtful then.

Rudeness abounds on the internet and particularly on social media, which is why I seldom use it. Usually it's trolls who are rude to complete strangers. Their goal is to incite an argument so that they can be rude to even more people. They think this might make them "famous". I pretty much ignore trolls because I don't believe in giving them what they want, but now and then I will speak out, if the situation warrants it.

But this wasn't a troll... this was someone I trusted, someone I thought cared about me. And that "who cares?" hurt deeply. What the article was about and what the rest of the comment was is neither here nor there. "Who cares?" cut deeply. It was rude, uncalled for, hateful... and aimed directly at me. Because that's the nature of "who cares?" It's like saying "who cares what you think?" or "who cares about you?" It's like saying "your opinions or ideas are completely worthless". And not one other so-called "friend" stepped up and said "that's just wrong". Not one. Which validated the "who cares?" and said it was okay.

Now, before you say I'm far too sensitive, let me put this same situation in the real world.
You're at a gathering with family and friends and someone brings up a news topic. Everyone around that person is listening. Then, out of nowhere, one of them says "who cares?" Is that not rude? Yes, it is. It is unacceptably rude (unless you're from an area where everyone treats everyone else with compete and utter disrespect). Everyone within earshot at that party would likely stop to stare and at least one would say "that's rather rude, don't you think?" or words to that effect. That's the real world. A world that is becoming more and more intolerant of abuse and bullying.
But on social media people are more apathetic (or is it pathetic?). Rudeness is accepted as normal more often than not. Bullying and abuse abound... and people seldom defend anyone, although there are some who defend the abused. But ponder this... just as in the real world, when we say nothing, we are telling the bully (because that's what it is, after all) that what they've said is okay. But worse than that, we are telling the person being bullied that she or he is worthless and that she or he deserves to be spoken to in that manner. And that isn't okay.

So I'm quitting that social media page. I don't need that sort of hurt in my life. The people there know where I am. Everyone else can read me here or on my other blogs. I hope you ponder what I've said, take it to heart, and help to bring change about. Because the world needs us all to bring more peace, more love, more hope, more magic, more art, more good... and to defeat bullying, abuse, fear, war, and paranoia.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

2016... Already?

As this new year arrived, I was pretty much forced to realize how many years have gone by since I was a young woman, just leaving home and having my first Christmas in my own apartment. That was 1971. I was 21. In looking back I smile at how naive I was, how innocent about life... and I thought I was so smart and worldly. Today I know that I still have very much to learn. Which is why I've renamed this blog from "author" to "late bloomer". I have decided that I will use this blog to talk about the different things that I do that have to do with "creative genius". We're all creative geniuses in our own ways.. some of us just haven't given ourselves permission to learn where that genius lies. I intend to give myself permission now, even if I am retired and "old". I want to explore all manner of creative avenues and I want to share those explorations here.

I was given a set of art supplies for Christmas by my life partner. He knows that I am quite artistic in many areas and that I want to paint again. I spent a year living and working in Vancouver, BC and completed about 30 paintings while I was there. I had started painting before I moved there, but really learned a lot while there. I spent my summer weekends in Stanley Park watching the street artists as they worked and admiring what they accomplished. I talked to the lady in the local art supply store about art. I spent hours in the Vancouver Art Gallery absorbing the various pictures. But then I moved and set that aside and it is only recently that I've wanted to pick up a brush again. Now I have the time. Now I can spend a few dollars each month on supplies. So, this year I shall write about my experience as a painter.

I also loom knit, which is a good way of knitting for people like me. I've been loom knitting for about three years now and always enjoy producing things. But I have a big tub full of items that I've knitted so I need to find a home for them. For Christmas this year I had a good time making scarves and hats for everyone and they all seemed to enjoy getting them, so I will continue to make things and will write about that here as well.

Of course, there is my writing, which I haven't done much of this last year. We've been settling into living in a house again and that's taken effort and time, so some things were set aside. But I do love to write, so I shall get back to that this year as well.

There may also be other things that attract me and I will probably mention them as the year progresses, but for now these are the things that my mind is concentrating on. So, I hope to see you here as I progress and learn and have fun doing creative things and learning about myself. Happy New Year and may 2016 allow you to discover at least a part of your own creative genius!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Review: "Fade to Black", by LT Vargus and Tim McBain

Book 1 - Awake in the Dark series
If you enjoy stories with strange, yet interesting, themes that twist a bit here and there, then you should read this one. There is also a lot of characterization in the story, something I truly enjoy! At first I found it a bit hard to figure out where the story might be heading, but I got right into it once I settled down and just let the story unfold. And I enjoyed it right to the last page.

The story centers around a young fellow (Jeff Grobnagger) who began to have epileptic seizures a couple of months before the book begins. Jeff doesn't have friends and he avoids people as much as possible. These seizures have been increasing in occurrence but Jeff won't see a doctor about them. During these seizures he goes into a recurring dream where someone in a hooded cloak is murdering him. The dream changes when he makes an effort to force it to, but he always ends up being killed, which frustrates him to no end. Once he's dead in the dream, he wakes in real life again, usually in a confused state.

Early on in the book Jeff has a seizure in a grocery store and when he wakes up he meets an older man (Glenn Floyd). They become friends and Jeff learns that Glenn is looking for his daughter (Amity), who has disappeared. She was heavily into the occult and has left behind clues, but they don't really make a lot of sense to either man. Glenn wants Jeff to help him, but Jeff is hesitant. He doesn't like being with people all that much and isn't sure about Glenn. Then Jeff has his life threatened in the real world and it becomes rather important that he find out who's out to kill him. He turns to Glenn because he's the only person he feels he can trust. Over the coarse of the story, both men learn that several occult-ish groups could be involved in different aspects of Amity's disappearance as well as Jeff's dreams and real life threats and they work together to try to solve them. Glenn is convinced that Jeff's dream world is somehow connected to his daughter, although Jeff isn't sure of that, but Jeff figures it can't hurt to work with Glenn at any rate. Jeff also has a mysterious woman (Ms. Babinaux) arrive on the scene who warns him of impending danger and tries to protect him somewhat. In the end, however, it's Jeff who must face his own fears and conquer them in both of his worlds in order to move forward in his life.

"Fade to Black" is the first novel in a 5-part series called "Awake in the Dark". There are currently three novels available. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series. And the ones that follow. :) I'd suggest you get this one and get reading!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Dominant Intelligence and Loving a Highly Creative Person

I took a test today. You know the kind... a few questions that don't necessarily link together that are supposed to tell you something about yourself. Today's test was supposed to tell me what my "dominant intelligence" is. Of course I had to take it, even though I wasn't sure what "dominant intelligence" means. After I'd finished, I did a search to see what the answer was referring to.

Apparently dominant intelligence, in this instance, is referring to preferred learning style. As most of us are aware of, we all learn in different ways. That's one of the things that makes us each so unique. Some of the types of learning styles are: verbal linguistic, spatial visual, bodily kinesthetic, bodily musical, musical rhythmic, intrapersonal, interpersonal.

I turned out to be an "Intrapersonal Intelligence" and this is what that means, according to the test:
Not to be confused with interpersonal intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence is being aware of yourself. You have the capacity to be self-aware and in tune with your inner feelings, values, beliefs, and thinking processes. This does not mean you are an introvert, though most people who have a dominant intrapersonal intelligence are. You prefer to work alone and tend to be a bit of a perfectionist. You are very intuitive and independent and enjoy learning new things about yourself. You spend a lot of time thinking and reflecting. Some jobs that fit the intrapersonal intelligence type are: Writer, Philosopher, Psychologist, Spiritual Counselor, Guru, Researcher, Creative writer, Journalist, Self-employed.
I had to laugh at that last one. It doesn't seem to fit at all... unless you call starting your own spiritual movement being self-employed. Now there's a thought...

Having been rather artsy-fartsy all my life, I agree with this analysis for me though. Well, most of it anyway. Although I can be extroverted, I am actually introverted. I'd rather stay home than go out, especially into crowded places... unless I feel the desire to people-watch. Then I'm the one over in the corner taking mental notes on the way people are, clandestinely listening to conversations to learn more about people. These observations later become parts of characters in my novels. However, for the most part, I'm a home-body. I did notice in that list of perfect jobs that several have to do with spirituality. Spiritual councilor, philosopher, guru. Cool! So now I can write... and become a Guru! Content at last. LOL Is there such a thing as a PhD in Guruism? ;)

I also read an article this morning that some of you might be interested in reading, so I've quoted it below. I actually agree with it, for the most part, although lumping all creative people into the same description somehow doesn't sit well with me. It's like lumping any group into one description. It certainly doesn't work for every single person in that group. Some people will fit and others won't. But it is interesting to look at the list and say "yep, that's me, but that sure isn't".

"10 Things to keep in Mind When Loving a Highly Creative Person
Posted On 08 Jul 2015 by Justin Gammill

It has been proven that highly creative people’s brains work quite differently than other brains. That special brain wiring that can create such wonderful art, music, and writing can often lead to strain in a relationship, because of those differences. If you’ve ever loved a highly creative person, you know that it can seem like they live in their own little word at times, and that thought isn’t far from the truth. Here are some things to keep in mind when you are in love with a highly creative person:

1. Their Minds Don’t Slow Down
The highly creative mind is one that is running at full speed all the time. Although it can be a source of crazy, spontaneous fun – it can also be a burden. Highly creative people rarely keep normal sleep cycles, and are often prone to bouncing from one task to another throughout the day. It can be exhausting to try to keep up.

2. They are Cyclical
The flow of creativity is a cycle, full of highs and lows. Some people may consider this “manic” behavior, but in reality, it is just how the creative process works. Keep this in mind as your partner goes through these natural ebbs and flows. The low periods aren’t permanent.

3. They Need Time Alone
Creative minds need air to breathe. Whether it is their own little work space or an escape to somewhere quiet, they need a time and place to be alone with their thoughts. Some people are inclined to think that if nothing is being said that there is something wrong, but with creative people that is not the case. They are just working within their own head.

4. They are Intensely Focused
When a creative person is on task, they are fiercely intense. The change from being scatter-brained to hyper-focused can be difficult to deal with, so just understand that it is how their brains work. Don’t get frustrated.

5. Emotions Run Deeper
Creative people feel everything on a deeper level. What doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, can be crushing to them. It’s that same passion that goes into whatever they create that drives them to love you, so understand that with the good – comes the bad.

6. They Speak in Stories
Creative people often express themselves in experiences, instead of just saying what they want to say. It is a way of sharing themselves that personifies who they are. At times, it can be difficult to figure out what a creative person is saying, so don’t be afraid to read between the lines.

7. They Battle with Themselves
Being creative can be a serious internal struggle. Motivation, enthusiasm, direction, and drive can all be issues for creative people. Some days it is hard for them just to get out of bed, and other days you can’t get them to slow down. Be patient in the lulls, because there is usually a burst of activity right around the corner.

8. Intuition is Important
Creative people, because of their intense emotional tendencies, tend to rely on intuition over logic. They go with their gut. Some people consider this to be more on the “impulsive” end of the spectrum. The creative mind doesn’t rely on logic to make a decision, it relies on experience and passion.

9. They Struggle with Confidence
When people create, especially for a living, they are always struggling with acceptance. That is art. They have to wear their hearts on their sleeves, and so they always question whether or not what they are producing is good enough. Being supportive is the key to loving a creative person.

10. Growing Up is Hard to Do
Creative people are almost always children at heart. That care-free nature can seem immature and impetuous – but it is all part of the deal. Understand that the aspects of their creative brains that you love are the same ones that make them somewhat irresponsible when it comes to being an adult."

Well, there you have it, my learning for today. And I shared. :) Have a great day folks!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Winter's Tale

I just finished watching the movie "Winter's Tale" and I must say, at first I was really confused. 1895. 1916. 2014. The movie skips from one year to the other and, although I don't usually have a difficult time following a storyline, I was a bit confused in the beginning. I even had thoughts of just shutting the thing off and not bothering to watch the rest because I couldn't see how it fit together. But I am very glad that I kept watching "for just a wee bit longer".

After the first bit of the story, we get into a proper storyline that tells the story of a great love. I don't want to spoil it for you if you haven't seen it, but this isn't one of those mushy, girly movies. She is dying and the hero believes it is his mission or destiny to save her and there is a devil of a being who keeps getting in the way of the couple. There are moments for tears and moments for smiles and moments for just hating what that devil is up to. A good satisfying movie all around. And after it was over, I realized that the beginning wasn't confusing anymore and it actually made sense to do it the way it was done. I enjoy watching the added stuff, and in doing so I found out there is a novel... which the producers say has a much deeper and more involved story. So I just might have to go find that and read it. :)

If you haven't seen Winter's Tale and you enjoy love and feeling good at the end of a movie, then I highly recommend this one. You don't even have to buy it. I borrowed it from my local library.

You may not think of your library as a source for movies... but they are terrific. And you can even go online to order things and have them brought to your local library for you. The town I live near is tiny, yet I have access to all sorts of things through the library there: Television seasons of my favourite shows, movies, novels, books to learn from, audio things... the list has thousands of items on it. And if I want something that isn't available through the local system, I can reach out to the whole province of libraries to get something. You should check yours out. You might just get hooked!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Cozies and Libraries

I enjoy reading "cozies", which are novels, usually in the 100,000 to 150,000 word bracket (smaller books) with a background theme that relates to something such as baking, soapmaking, or some other career of that ilk. They are easy on the brain, generally reasonably fast-paced, and do not have a lot of garbage sex or graphic descriptions of dead bodies. The characters are intelligent and enjoyable as a rule, and there is often a good amount of humour as well. Some have recipes included, others have descriptions of processes of the "craft" in the background, so they are educational in their own way too.

Tim Myers happens to write several of these easy-to-read-and-understand series but there are several other authors to enjoy as well. I have been reading the "Hannah Swensen" series (by Joanne Fluke) for the last several weeks and have grown quite fond of the main character. However, I have almost reached the end of the series, at least the end of the novels that have been written to date. This particular author publishes one or two books a year in this series and the latest one has just been published in March, so it will be a few months before another one comes out. I can't wait that long to read, so I will "test" out a few other authors... and I shall do that through my local library.

I love the library! Through it I can borrow any number of books, DVDs, CDs, and other entertainment items, read or listen to them, and hand them back in when I'm finished. The library allows me to check out new (to me) authors, series, and even types of books. If not for the library, I wouldn't have stumbled upon Hannah Swensen and the whole "cozy mystery" genre. I highly recommend libraries as a great source of entertainment.

It is through the library that I shall begin to read Tim Myers. Tim Myers is the author of several series and stand-alone books, including several "cozy mystery" series, as well as a few children's stories. He writes under aliases as well (Elizabeth Bright, Melissa Glazer, Chris Cavender, Casey Mayes, Jessica Beck, & D. B. Morgan). I haven't read any of his novels, so I have ordered two from different series. I've also ordered a few DVDs of television shows that I enjoy, but that's a whole 'nother topic. At any rate, I'll let you know what I think of Tim Myers as I progress.

I did want to make one comment about authors who write under different names. When reading through comments made by people who have read their books I have often seen negative or quasi-negative comments about who they really are. For instance, there was a person who was upset because the main (male) character in one of Tim Myers' books (Dead Men Don't Lye) was over 30 and still taking his laundry home for his mother to do for him. The comment went like this: " I have assumed that "Tim Myers" is a pen name for a woman- -at least, I hope it is, because I cannot imagine the man who could identify with, let alone create, Ben, the series protagonist." I found this comment quite humourous, although it wasn't meant to be. I mean, all the reader had to do was a little search on Google to find out who Tim Myers is. Would the author of that comment enjoy the book less if he thought a man had written it? I wonder. Personally I've met men like the protagonist who do this, so this character wouldn't be terribly unusual to me. I suppose if you haven't known anyone like this, the character would be.

At any rate, I am off for this time. I've put holds on my books and will pick them up this week. Then I can get to know "Ben" and make my own judgements. Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Temperance Brennan Character

We have been in our home a couple of months and we have been progressing slowly with getting things settled. We have furniture in our living room now, however, and that makes it much more comfortable. Instead of a couch and chair, we decided to get four chairs. In our storage we have a huge library of books and will be building bookcases all around the living room to accommodate them, so chairs just make better sense because you can actually set them in front of bookcases without it looking stupid or making it impossible to get at the books. We also bought a nice storage bench for our dogs. That sounds funny, so let me explain. The windows in the house are not at floor level. The dogs enjoy looking out the window. We put the bench in front of the living room window and they can sit on it to see out. The dogs love it... and so do I because there is that nice storage area in it.

And that catches you up with my life a bit. Now, on to my comments on Temperance Brennan...

I am a fan of the television series "Bones". I enjoy the show for its intelligent humour and I really like Temperance. I have been planning on reading the novels by Kathy Reichs since I discovered the television show but haven't had the first book until recently. I don't like to read a series out of order because then the background doesn't make sense. The television series says its based on the novels, so I expected to see references to Brennan's television life in the books. Not so. The only thing that is the same, it seems, is the name of the lead character.

On television, Temperance Brennan has a rather strange and distressing childhood after she turns 15. Her parents, it turns out, are criminals on the run from other criminals. They desert both her brother and her before Christmas of her 15th year, and her brother leaves as well. Temperance then goes into "the system" as a foster child... but she also somehow manages to get enough money to go to university where she earns her doctorate in anthropology (and, it seems, in archeology, since she is off on "archeological digs" around the world). She earns a reputation for being 'the best in the world in her field'. Temperance's name was changed when she was quite young, but she chooses to keep her assumed name after she finds out. She eventually gets working with the Jeffersonian Institute in Washington, DC. Her best friend is Angela. She marries FBI agent Sealy Booth, whom she also works with. Her daughter's name is Christine.

In the novels, Temperance Brennan is older. She has lived through an equally distressing childhood, although it isn't because her father and mother are "bad guys", but rather because her father is an alcoholic. She grew up with her parents in North Carolina. She hasn't had to change her name. She has moved to Montreal, Canada, where she went to school for part of her post-secondary education. She was married to someone named Jeff, whom she split with not long before heading to Canada. Her best friend (since university) is Gabby. Her daughter's name is Katy.

In both series Temperance is intelligent, has a good sense of humour, and knows her specialty extremely well. She is good at investigative work. In the television series she has an expert team of scientists to help her out. In the novels, she doesn't have that, although she does have people in various departments to test those things that she can't.

Each of these series has its merits and I am enjoying them both. When I began to read the novels, I thought there would be connections to the television series. Without those connections, I have decided to read and watch these series as separate entities and ignore the fact that each have a lead character that just happens to have the same name. Otherwise, the "picky" part of me will always be comparing the two, and there really is no comparison.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy

It has been ages since I last posted here and a lot has happened... but the biggest news is that my "other half" and I have moved out of the motorhome and into a house (at last!). That happened on December 31, 2014, late in the afternoon and we were so pleased to be in a house that it didn't matter that we didn't have any furniture to put into it. We cleared out the motorhome over the next couple of days, despite the weather (which really wasn't all that bad considering it was the dead of winter in Alberta), and set up housekeeping as best we could. It took until today to get into our storage and move a load in our GMC Yukon (yes, we even got a new vehicle, although we do still have the old motorhome).

At any rate, that isn't what I wanted to talk about, although it does catch you up a bit with my life. What I really wanted to talk about is in the title of this post. :)

I was reading a book called "The Peach Cobbler Murder" by Joanne Fluke (there are recipes in these stories, folks!) and there is a reference to "Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy" on page ... well never mind what page it's on because your book might be different from mine anyway, so there is no point. At any rate, the song was published in 1945 but the desserts have been around a lot longer than that. Once I couldn't get the words of the song out of my head, I just had to research the desserts and see what they are and where they originated and share it with you... 'Cause that's what I tend to do with useless bits of information. ;)

So, without further ado, here's what I found out...... 

Shoo-fly pie or Shoofly pie is a molasses pie considered tradition among Pennsylvania Amish and Mennonites and Pennsylvania Dutch. Surprisingly, Shoo-fly Pie is not as popular in non-Pennsylvania Amish and Mennonite communities. It is found in Ohio; but in Indiana, if you ask for a piece of Shoo-fly pie in an Amish restaurant, the person who serves it will rather disparagingly tell you 'it’s made only for the tourists'.

The pie supposedly got its name because the sweet molasses odour attracts flies that must be "shooed" away. The Shoo-fly pie's origins likely come from "Treacle tart", with the primary difference being the use of molasses instead of golden syrup. A Montgomery pie is similar to a Shoo-fly pie, except lemon juice is added to the bottom layer and buttermilk to the topping. A Chess pie is also similar, but it's not layered. 

Shoo-fly pie comes in two different versions, "wet bottom" and "dry bottom". The dry bottom version is baked until fully set, which results in a more cake-like consistency throughout. The wet bottom version sets like cake on the top where it has mixed in with the crumbs, but the bottom is a stickier, gooier, custard-like consistency.

Recipe for Shoo-fly Pie

Pastry for a 1-crust 9-inch pie - you can use a prepared crust, boxed mix, or make your own.

1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 rounded tablespoon cold butter
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg
1 cup light molasses
3/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup hot water
1 teaspoon baking soda

1.     Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the pie pastry and line a 9-inch pie pan; set aside.
2.     In a food processor bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, butter, and salt.
3.      Remove 1/2 cup of the mixture and set aside. Transfer the rest to a medium mixing bowl.
4.     In a small bowl, beat the egg lightly. Add the molasses and cold water, and blend but do not beat; you don’t want bubbles in the batter. Set aside.
5.     In a small bowl, mix the hot water with the baking soda and blend into the molasses mixture.
6.      Add to the flour mixture and mix well.
7.      Pour into the pie shell and top with the reserved crumbs.
8.      Bake for 35 minutes. The pie will appear quivery but will firm up as it cools.
9.      Transfer to a rack to cool completely before cutting.

So now you know. The "Apple Pan Dowdy" was a bit more involved once I found it. And the recipe I'm adding is actually for Peach Pan Dowdy instead, but you can use pretty much any fruit you want, or a mixture of fruit if you prefer.

Fruit Pan Desserts, including Pan Dowdy 

“Back in the day”, when women had to cook for large groups of people (whether family or thrashing crews), desserts were necessary and expected... and for ease in the kitchen, they were often simple to put together. A pan with fruit and some sort of topping was baked and could then be served directly from the pan, sometimes with cream or ice cream. How are the different fruit pan desserts the same and how are they different? Most of these desserts are baked with fruit under a topping, which can be biscuit-like, crumbled, or drops of dough. Various sweeteners differentiate one from the other in many cases. Here is a brief description of various fruit pan desserts so you know who's who with them. :)

1.     Betty: This baked dessert dates back to Colonial times. The most common Betty is the “Apple Brown Betty”, so named because it is made with brown sugar. A Betty uses buttered bread crumbs.
2.     Buckle: Blueberry Buckle is the most prevalent Buckle recipe found. Buckles are baked and are usually made in one of two ways.
a.      The first way is that the bottom layer is cake-like with the berries mixed in. Then the top layer is crumb-like.
b.     The second way is layered, where the cake layer is on the bottom of the pan, the berries are the next layer and the top is the crumble mixture.
3.     Clafouti: This is a dessert that originated in the French countryside. It is a dessert that the fruit is topped with either a cake or pudding topping. The Clafouti is often considered a baked pudding.
4.     Cobbler: Another baked fruit pan. The fruit filling is put in a deep baking dish and topped with a biscuit dough. The dough may completely cover the fruit or it may just be dropped in handfuls.
5.     Crumble: Similar to a Crisp, the topping is crumbled over the fruit filling in the pan. A Crumble is baked.
6.     Crisp: In this baked dessert, the fruit filling is covered with a crunchy topping which is crumbled over the top.
7.     Grunt: A Grunt is a stewed or baked fruit dish. Biscuit dough is rolled and put on top of the fruit. The name of Grunt may have come from the noise people made while eating it. Grunts are also known as Slumps.
8.     Pan Dowdy or Pandowdy: You'll find both spellings for this baked dish. The dough is on top of the fruit and it is rolled out, yet it ends up being “crumbly” when eaten.

Peach Pan Dowdy

6 cups thickly sliced peaches
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream

1.     Preheat the oven to 3750 F (1900 C).
2.     Place the peaches in a medium bowl. Sprinkle lemon juice over them. Mix together 1/2 cup of sugar and cornstarch. Sprinkle over the peaches, and stir to coat. Spoon into a 2 to 2 1/2 quart casserole dish.
3.    In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter with a fork or pastry cutter until it is in fine crumbs. Make a well in the center, and pour in the cream. Stir with a fork until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
4.     Roll out dough on a floured surface until it is just big enough to cover the baking dish. Cut a 2 inch cross in the center. Place over the peaches, and tuck in the dough around the sides. Turn back the corners of the cross to reveal the filling.
5.     Bake for 40 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until filling is bubbly, and top is golden brown.

Well, that's it for this time. I do hope you enjoyed this little blurb. Try the recipes and let me know how yours turns out.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Song of Arda (copyright 2003 June Vollans)

She sat in her rocking chair, barely moving but for the slow tapping of one foot as it reached toward the fire and back again. Her eyes were closed and in her head she heard once more the eerie calling of the song of Arda, the elven music she had been privy to only once in her long ago childhood as she wandered lost through the deep green woods. She heard the music and stopped to listen, hearing the whole tune only once in her life and never forgetting a note of it. The fairies had found her and led her from the forest that very afternoon, setting her safely back on the path to home. She sang the song incessantly for a week after her return, until her father told her he never wanted to hear it again. After that, it had rung in her head, as it did now. When she grew and left home, she moved close to the edge of the forest, hoping to hear the song played by the fairy once more before she died.

Her fat, wrinkled body barely fit into the old rocker now, and her knees and arms ached with the chill of winter rains, but she could still move swiftly if she needed to. Her head swayed slightly with the music that ran through her head, eyes still closed against the sights of her small and dark cottage home.

The village people feared her, called her 'old hag' and only came to visit when they needed an herbal potion to still a disease or thought she should help them to harm another. They knew not what they asked of her at those times, that she would not comply. Instead she sent them hurrying off back to the village when she raised her broomstick in anger. They called her 'witch' and rumors spread of her powers. Those that she sent away, made up stories in anger, until quite a legend had grown. According to that legend she was now one hundred and fifty years old and was a great student of the black arts. In reality, she was neither.

Her head swayed gently to the music, her eyes closed, her foot barely moving toward the fire and back again. A smile perched gently on her aging lips and she felt the presence of Arda once again.

She'd seen him but once, on a clear night many full moons ago, as she sat on her stoop catching the cool breezes after a hot day. She was humming his song and he came to stand at the edge of the forest, head tilted, listening. She kept her eyes only slightly turned toward him, feigning ignorance of his presence as she continued to hum his song. He stood in the shadows, but the blue of his skin glistened in the darkness. He didn't speak until she was finished.

"Where did you learn that song?" His voice lilted across the yard on gossamer wings and landed gently on her aging ears.

"In the forest when I was very young," she answered shyly.

"You've lived here for many years. I've never heard you sing it before."

She was surprised that he knew she was here, surprised that he'd been listening. "I sing it in my head," she told him softly.

"You say you heard it only once?"

She nodded, somehow knowing that he would see her do so even in the dark of the night.

"Yet you know it without error." It was a statement, something almost mumbled to himself.

"It's a very beautiful tune," she had said, and then she had boldly asked, "What is it called?"

"It is my own song, the Song of Arda," he answered, then he added softly, "You should not sing it aloud again."

He disappeared into the forest then, melting into the shadows to become one of them. She never saw him again but there was always hope that he would play for her once more before she died.

She let the music take her away from the cabin then, far away into the forest, deep within the realm of Arda. The music played in her head and she smiled a gentle smile. The wind began to mutter against the creaky old hut and she paused for only a second to be sure she wasn't going to have to tie down the shutters. But the wind abated and stilled once more. And the music began to rise.

She stopped breathing and listened. This time it wasn't in her head. This time it was coming from the forest. She stiffly rose, and shuffled to the door, bringing it open as quietly as she could, pulling her tattered shawl around her to try to stop the cold.

Across the yard, over by the trees, he stood, shimmering blue in the night. He never wavered as the tune was played clear, bright, full of promise and mystery. His song. The Song of Arda.

Suddenly she realized he was singing. The words. She'd never heard the words before. Only the tune. She sank to the stoop and listened, her eyes never leaving him. His lute played softly, his voice sang clear, telling how he'd been forced to fight in a great battle, the death of his father and mother, and finally of his coming to the forest, leaving all behind him save this song. And she understood. She remembered the song because his story was her own. They were joined by the music in the stories of their lives. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she listened and remembered. Sorrow for times past rolled over her as the words told their story.

But the words began to tell more, how his life became peace in the forest, how life held new meaning and hope, how it was that he could sing the song without hate or pain because the memories could not harm him any longer. He had found peace in the forest as she had found it at its edge. Her sigh of joy was felt across the yard and into his heart and he paused his singing.

"Yes," he said softly, turning to look into her face. "Yes."

Then he melted back into the trees, becoming the shadows once again. She waited for a time, then stood and shuffled back into her hut, shutting out the cool night breezes.

She sat in her rocking chair, barely moving but for the slow tapping of one foot as it reached toward the fire and back again. Her eyes were closed and in her head she heard once more the eerie calling of the song of Arda. Only this time, she heard the words as well as the music.

Positive Thinking (written in October of 2006)

Positive thinking. You’ve heard of it, but what is it really? I'll tell you what it is not.
  1. It is not answering the question "how are you" with "I'm great", unless you actually feel great inside and out. 
  2. It is not mentally hanging on to every "wrong" that has ever happened in your life (perceived or otherwise) while telling people you are fine.
  3. It is not telling others that you are "wonderful" while thinking or feeling that you are not.
  4. It is not pointing fingers at others and saying "that one made me feel this way" or "that one made me do that".
In fact, positive thinking does not have a great deal to do with outside forces. It has to do with YOU, internally and externally. Positive thinkers are not necessarily the happiest people you meet, although most are content with their lives. They are not necessarily wealthy nor do they pat everyone on the back, although they do try to be supportive. Positive thinkers view their life and all of the experiences they have as completely their own. This means they take full responsibility for every thought, feeling, and activity in their lives. Here are my personal beliefs on this important topic.
Whatever you want to hang onto about other people, you're going to. No one can stop you from doing that. However, you must take responsibility for that action, which means, you must accept that whatever you feel, YOU are allowing. No one else can hurt you. You allow yourself to hurt. No one else can make you angry. You allow yourself to be angry. No one can give you fear. You are the one who takes on the fear. No one can make you feel bad. You allow yourself to feel bad. On the other hand, no one can make you feel good. You allow yourself to feel good. You cannot blame… or credit… anyone else for the way you feel.
There is nothing for it but to accept that, and then to ask yourself why you are forcing yourself to feel that way. Does allowing yourself to feel pain or hurt make you feel better? It usually makes people feel worse, but some people seem to rather enjoy the pain that they allow in their lives. Some people use it as an excuse to do things. Whatever your reasons, they are yours and yours alone… so if you want to stop hurting, then stop. It truly is that simple. I don't need (or really want) to know your reasons or hear your arguments about this. You must work it all out for yourself and then you must do whatever it is you decide is best for you. I have said this many times… "YOU CANNOT CHANGE ANYONE ELSE. YOU CAN ONLY CHANGE YOURSELF!" Change your thoughts and you can change your life. Once you change the way you react to people and their words or actions, people usually change the way they treat you. Right now, your reaction to negative actions or words is to take on negative feelings. Try to be positive (or at least neutral) instead and see what happens. You do not have to suck in the negative. You can exude positive reactions instead. Even if the other person is being a jerk!
Meditation is a good way to reach inside and make changes to yourself. If you have never meditated, it isn't difficult. It is simply relaxing into a state of near-sleep.
1.      Get yourself a nice soft, soothing CD or tape and listen to it. Music is good… but make it music without words so that you don't sit listening to the words instead of meditating. Sounds, like bubbling brooks or ocean waves, are good too, but make them "pure" sounds without any music in them.
2.      Find a comfortable place to sit or lay down.
3.      Now, as you listen to your soft music or sounds, imagine you're walking very slowly down a huge winding staircase. Your hand is on the banister and you pause on each step for several seconds. Look around and take note of the things you see. Count the number of steps. There are twelve of them. When you reach the bottom, you will find the prettiest garden you've ever seen. Go ahead and explore it for a few moments before you begin talking to yourself. You may meet one of your guardians here if you wish. Just ask one to show up and then look for him or her.
The first few times you meditate, you might fall asleep. Don't worry about it if you do. Try not to meditate just before you go to bed or you will never get to the point where you can talk to yourself. You want to relax to that “almost sleeping” stage, but not actually go to sleep. Then you can talk to yourself and see what's up.
Don’t ask me "why" this and "why" that. My only answer is… How should I know? I am not here to figure out the "whys" of this world or its people. I sincerely don't care what they are! Perhaps God, the universe, mother nature… whatever you want to call that "higher being"… knows. Perhaps he/she/it doesn't. Perhaps he/she/it cares. Perhaps he/she/it doesn't. What the universe or anyone else knows or thinks has little to do with me. The only opinions or thoughts that matter in my life are mine.
One thing that you need to accept in order to move on is… You are the most important person in your life. If you can't accept that, you will never move forward. This is your life. It is the only one you get. You, and you alone, are fully responsible for what happens, for what you feel, for what you do, for who you associate with, for everything that goes on in your life. You can have good experiences with others or you can have bad ones. The choice is completely yours. Most people will not accept this fact and most people go through life blaming everyone and everything they encounter… or giving them credit… for everything that happens in their own lives. It's really too bad they do this because they would be so much more free and happy if they took full responsibility for their lives.
There is something that I believe is helping to make most of your troubles appear. My belief is that we draw negative things to us because of negative thinking. Let me explain...
The universe is there, waiting to give us everything our souls desire to make our lives everything we want them to be. However, in order to give us everything we want, the universe watches to see what it is we concentrate on the most. After all, it is only logical that we would concentrate mostly on those things we truly desire… right?
So, when we constantly think about negative things, we are drawing more negative things to us. That's the way the universe works. It knows no other way of being and it does not hear our occasional little pleas and prayers for good things. It sees us concentrating most of our efforts on negativity… it assumes that this is what we truly desire… and it brings us our souls' desires (what we concentrate on the most) in as large quantities as it can without overloading us.
Can you see this happening in your life? It has likely been happening for many years now... and you are still concentrating on the negative. If you want to see big changes in your life, you must make big changes in your thinking. If you change, if you begin to concentrate and think about more positive things, then the universe will gift you with more positive things. This will take time, however, because, firstly, you will not change immediately and secondly, you have loaded your "wish list" with much negativity... and those "wishes" will be supplied before the universe will switch to your new "wishes" for positive gifts.
At this point most people lie to themselves and say "But I am a positive thinker". Be honest with yourself. Look deeply at what you say and think about the people, places, and things around you. Listen to what you say and think... truly hear yourself. You will see that you are probably not a positive person.
Another thing that you need to do in order to move forward in your life is to forgive, even if you cannot forget, and toss out all of your garbage. The only person you are hurting by hanging onto the garbage you drag around is you. All that garbage you're carrying around in the form of "dislike, hate, discomfort, bad memories, etc." is just that… garbage. Visually put it into a green garbage bag, take it out to the curb, and wave good-bye to it as the garbage men take it away. It's not worth hanging onto. No matter what, all that stuff only hurts one person… that would be YOU in your life! No one else cares and no one else is hurt by it... although constantly making it part of your conversations with others will make people want to stay away from you. Positive people attract others to them like flies to honey. Negative people are often lonely and alone. Ditch the garbage, think and speak more positively, forgive anyone who has "wronged" you in the past, and you will be a happier person. Hang onto it, and you will continue to be sad, sorry, and lonely.
Another thought on your whole situation is this… perhaps you are going through some of this sh*t because you still haven't "got it". It is my belief when I am experiencing the same sorts of things over and over, that I must change something about the way I am reacting to it. When I finally "get" whatever it is I'm supposed to be learning, my life begins to move again. Until that moment, the sh*t continues to happen in my life. So, the sooner you figure out what you need to learn, and "get it", the sooner your life can get back on track. Again, it is a matter of taking full responsibility for your life. It isn't where you live or who you meet or what others say or do that has any bearing on how you feel, unless you allow that to happen. It is only how you react to what or who you encounter that affects you. Learn the lessons quickly and your life will continue to flow smoothly. Learn them slowly, and you will continue to experience the same things until you understand and learn.
Yes, there are things that come into our lives that aren't pleasant. There are illnesses and there are people and experiences and all the unpleasant things that life can bring to us. Personally I believe that these are our lessons and tests. Some, just like tests in school, are more difficult than others. It isn't what they are that matters. It's what you do with them.
There is always a negative and a positive way to look at things. There is always a "bad" and a "good" in everything. Find the good and you will have a good experience, despite the circumstances. Find the bad and you will have a bad experience… again… despite the circumstances. The universe teaches and tests us all the time. These are the things that help our souls to grow. Without the lessons and tests, we can't grow spiritually. Since spiritual growth is the main reason we're here, it follows that the lessons and tests are going to be with us throughout our lives.
People who have few tests to endure, do not have less to learn spiritually… they might have more or they might be learning their lessons quickly. As individuals, our spirits can only endure so much, so we are given lessons and tests that we can handle. Remember that, when you are going through a particularly difficult test or series of tests. You can handle it spiritually. The trick is to figure out the lesson or answer as quick as you can and come out a winner with it. Once the lesson is learned, you move on to the next stage of your life... and the next series of lessons and tests.
That's about all I have to tell you for this time. Don't get mad at me for saying any of this. Don't get scared either. The sooner you take your life back from the outside world (and remember… you gave it up!) the better your life will be. Your life truly is what you make it. In my opinion, anyway.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Distracted Drivers

In the last couple of years or so, we had a law put into place in Alberta called the "distracted driver law". Once it was implemented, signs were put up to remind people about this law. The signs read: "Distracted Driver Law in Effect".

So I'm wondering... why do they want the drivers distracted? Because I've always been rather reluctant to distract the driver of any vehicle I'm in, especially when we're in heavy traffic. I guess I could do my part, but it just feels so unsafe! And what sorts of distractions does the government want? How far should I go to distract the driver? Should it be enough to distract other drivers as well as my own? Or should the distraction be kept within the vehicle? Is conversation enough or does it have to be something more drastic? How distracted does the driver have to be before the police are satisfied? It's quite a dilemma and I've been trying to sort it out since they began to put those signs up.

When I first heard about this new law, I thought it might be a good thing. But that was before the signs. Now I'm wondering how sane the governing bodies are. To want drivers to be distracted is just so... um... distracting! And whose job is it to distract the driver? The passenger's? What if there is no passenger to do that? If I see a vehicle with only a driver in it, is it my responsibility to distract that driver in some way? Can I be fined if I don't? Can the other driver take down my license plate number and report me? Will the cameras at street corners be taking photos? Will passengers be sought out who are not performing their 'distraction duty' and sent a ticket in the mail?

What about drivers in buses? Does every passenger have to take the responsibility of distracting the driver or should one passenger do it? Do we have to take a vote for who distracts the driver or will people be assigned that duty? What about taxis? I suppose in this case each passenger or group of passengers would be held accountable if the driver isn't distracted enough. But what is "enough"? How does one know when to start... and when to stop?

Or is it all up to the driver to figure out? Does the driver have to plan for distractions for each trip? That would certainly make it easier for the passengers but how would anyone know if the driver was distracted or if he or she was just in a thoughtful mood? Would the radio be enough of a distraction or does the driver have to be obviously distracted? I mean, with all the availability of cell phones, tablets, and computers you'd think that the drivers could figure something out for themselves. Does the driver doing her hair or putting on makeup constitute enough of a distraction or must there be something more going on? It's a valid question. After all, these sorts of actions have been taking place since cars first hit the roadways and yet it's taken this long to make up a law to force drivers to be distracted.

There isn't any information available about this, just the signs, which don't tell me anything at all really... except that there is an expectation for drivers to be distracted somehow. I do wish the signs were more clear on what is expected of me... if anything!