I will eventually need glasses to find my glasses

4 Comments

Some realities are harder to accept than others. As I crest the hill of my fiftieth year and prepare to enter the next phase of my life, I have slowly come to grips with the fact that I can no longer read without glasses. I have not gone so far as to see an eye doctor for a prescription but that trip is inevitable. I purchased a pair of readers from our local apothecary shop and I have come to rely on them more than I care to admit. Without those readers, I liken myself to Schultz from the classic TV show Hogan’s Heroes, “I see nothing”.

This truth became much more apparent last night as I was enjoying my hobby of cake decorating. I had whipped up a batch of buttercream icing, iced the cupcakes and small cutting cake and began the more tedious work of creating the decorations. As I got involved in the intricacies of the smaller parts, I realized I was squinting and couldn’t focus on what I was doing.

I had accepted that I needed glasses to read. I had made myself comfortable with the fact that those cheaters also made it easier to navigate what was on my screen as I spent countless hours at my laptop. What I had not prepared myself for was the fact that these glasses would insinuate themselves into every facet of my up-close life. As I tried to convince myself that my cheaters were not required to create the decorations I had been working on, I could feel lines being etched into my skin the more I scrunched my eyes to be able to see what I was doing.

Whether I like it or not, this is me at almost fifty. These glasses have found a comfortable spot at the end of my nose so I can see things up close and look over the rims to focus on anything beyond that. This is now my every day life. I have even purchased a second pair of cheaters to keep in my car should I forget to bring my glasses with me. With age comes understanding and with understanding comes preparation. One day I know for certain I will absolutely need glasses to find my glasses.

 

It takes all kinds….

3 Comments

I have never been one to shy away from using my voice.  I have learned over the years that having an opinion is the backbone of our individuality.  Our beliefs and ideals are just that, ours.   We have a right to share them and we have the intelligence to know that not everyone will agree with them.

Social media has taken our tiny platform from parties and get-togethers to an extreme level and our opinion, should we choose to voice it, is subject to a wide array of conjectures and unpredictable feedback.  These days there is a very thin line between anything and political correctness.

Lately, I think twice before I post an update on my page or even post a response to someone else’s post. For every nine people who simply click the thumbs-up button to give you a like, there is that one person who can turn a simple post into their newest crusade.  They will mock you for posting it, they will admonish those who liked it and they will go to great lengths to channel their strong feelings and bestow their opinion upon everyone else.

Yes, some posts and memes can cross a line or two…but are we not allowed to maintain some sense of humor in light of what is going on in the world these days?  If we dissect everything we see and find offence in the slightest bit of offside rhetoric, we are bound to be very unhappy people in the near future.

I have a very open mind and a very twisted sense of humor and there are things on social media that I have found to be distasteful, even repugnant, but I have not ostracized the person who posted it….I have merely moved on and chosen not to engage in a conversation that wasn’t worth having.

it-takes-all-kinds

(image credit)

My mother used to say, “it takes all kinds to make the world go around”.   Now, more than ever, I know what she meant.  But it also takes all kinds to show some compassion and understanding and realize that we are all entitled to our own opinion without fear of recrimination.

 

The Church of the Fish

2 Comments

Times have certainly changed.   When I began my career in the hospitality industry, food allergies were not even a blip on the culinary radar.  The kitchen was, for a Chef, a playground with no rules.   But all of that has changed.

These days, I make a point of asking each person making a reservation at the lodge if anyone in the family has any food allergies or food restrictions that we should be made aware of before their arrival.  The answers always weigh more heavily on the ‘yes’ than the ‘no’.  And although some of the guidelines we are made to adhere to are more preference than necessity, the kitchen now has to deal with a list of these instructions for each week of our summer season.

Now, while I completely comprehend the severity of an ingested or inhaled allergic reaction to a food, it does not negate the fact that I am more than moderately amused by the inability of our Sous Chef to pronounce one of the more prevalent choices in the current realm of dietary options.  A Pescatarian is a person who does not eat meat but will eat fish.  And each time I have the opportunity to add that choice to our “allergy” list for the week, my smile cannot be missed.   As I walk into the kitchen with that list, I calmly await the moment that she will read the list aloud and say the word “Pescabyterian”.

church of the loaves and fishes

(image credit)

According to Karina, somewhere there is a church for vegetarians who occasionally eat fish.  And that latest hotel guest, that new addition to our list of dietary anomalies, is a member of its congregation.  Each time she reads the list aloud, the words Pescatarian and Presbyterian become intertwined and I am reduced to a public school version of myself, unintentionally (not really) laughing at the combination of the two expressions.

Pescabyterian – a member of the religion of vegetarians who consciously choose to eat fish.

It may be juvenile, but this marriage of words helps alleviate some of the stress in our summer.  It gives us the freedom to laugh at the increased amount of tension in an already volatile environment.  And it allows a break for laughter in a scene that is meant more for drama, creating an oasis of calm in a sea of chaos.

One simple word, whether Webster chooses to recognize it or not, has the power to change the trajectory of our day.   Let’s hear it for the Pescabyterians!

Willie, may the odds be ever in your favor

6 Comments

Superbowl Sunday has arrived!  The culmination of seventeen glorious weeks of watching the pigskin, followed by Playoffs and now it’s time for the Big Show!!  Even the groundhogs get a reprieve this year and get to watch the game in the comfort of their burrows without being dragged into the daylight until tomorrow.

Ah, Groundhog Day – that magical morning when we put our faith in an abundantly nourished, rotund mass of fur to predict the arrival of Spring.  This over-sized rodent is depended upon to prognosticate to the best of his ability and tell us, by virtue of seeing or not seeing his shadow, when we can expect the return of Spring.

Last year my post about this auspicious day focused more on the history and process of Willie’s predilection for weather.  This year I thought I would look at things from the perspective of poor Wiarton Willie (the Canadian version of Punxsutawney Phil).  First, he is rudely roused from his winter-long slumber to come out of his burrow and predict something even educated meteorologists cannot agree on.  Second, when he finally does make his appearance, he is greeted by a bemused but somewhat urgent crowd as they try to keep themselves warm enough to endure the period-costumed pomp and circumstance.

I am inclined to guess that Willie’s urge to get back into his cave has nothing to do with seeing his shadow.  I don’t know about you but, if I awoke to large crowd focused solely on me, I would be in one Hell of a hurry to bury myself back under my nest of blankets, shadow or not.  I feel somewhat sorry for Willie.  After being forced from his snug home out into an artic-like morning, the New England Patriots are probably not the only ones with deflated balls.

Given the success rate of these whiskered weather forecasters, the only prediction I would really take to heart is perhaps Willie’s prophecy about Superbowl 49.  Enjoy the game Willie and good luck with the madding crowd on Monday!

gh2

How a funeral home typo helped us get through our grieving

11 Comments

Dark red carpet and stained wood encased the visitation rooms in the funeral home.  The atmosphere was quiet, somber.  The air had an icy quality to it.  But beneath that chilled facade was a team of people full of emotion and empathy – a staff that was ready and willing to guide us through a tumultuous but necessary experience and to find the right way to help us get through a difficult time.

Butterflyinthesky1

There is no one way to grieve.  Each person will find their own way to overcome the loss of a loved one and each experience will be different based on the circumstance of loss.  When my brother and I lost our mother in March, we had been mentally preparing ourselves for the day that we would have to face the news that our mom was no longer going to be a part of our daily lives.  The phone call with the news was a still a shock, but we were grateful she went peacefully and no longer had to suffer the effects of her illness.  What we had not prepared ourselves for was the way that we would be able to celebrate her only 36 hours after we were told she was gone.

We received the news on a Friday morning.  The rest of that day was a blur.  Phone call after phone call was made to tell family and friends that she was gone and then Saturday morning was upon us.  My brother and I made our way to the funeral home to make the necessary arrangements and have the notice printed for the paper.  Upon proof-reading the notice, I realized that the funeral director had mistakenly typed my mom’s name as “June” and not “Jane”.  It was a simple fix and seemingly a forgotten mistake……until we went to my Uncle’s cottage for dinner that night.

There were six of us.  My brother and I, my mom’s two siblings and their spouses.  When I regaled my aunts and uncles with the story of the misprint it was, not offensive but, really amusing.  We raised our glasses and had a toast to “June”.  Thankfully we all knew my mother would have seen the humor in the mistake and toasted right along with us.  For the rest of the memory-filled evening, through tears and laughter, we continued to raise our glasses and make the heart-felt toasts to “June”.   If I listened really hard I could hear my mom laughing along with us.

We had mom’s celebration of life two months later.  I had gone into the funeral home to have the notice done for the paper and the same funeral director asked if I wanted it to say “June” or “Jane”.   We both had a good laugh and I felt comfortable telling him how his simply typo had made our evening so much better than the sorrow-filled night it could have been.  During the course of the evening, we changed my mom’s siblings names as well.  (Eight months later I still refer to my Aunt Carol as “Cheryl” and my Uncle Peter as “Proctor”)

The simple change of one vowel that day gave us permission to laugh that night.  It allowed us to hold the grief close to our heart but let our minds remember all the good in the world when my mom was still in it.

 

 

 

 

There’s a lot of DNA and it’s not a Criminal Minds episode

11 Comments

I am officially glad I am no longer in my twenties.  Even when I was in my twenties, my regard for a sanitary living space and the respect of my roommates trumped any need to party like it didn’t matter.  I have recently discovered that this is apparently an old-fashioned way of thinking!

A new friend has had the challenging job of being the General Manager at a fast-paced restaurant in the area where I live.  I have frequented there many times and become friends with the staff through our mutual jobs and our shared love of football.  Sure they are a younger crowd and they like to party, but I had no concept of how many of the rules of human nature those parties violated until just recently.

I had a few drinks with the GM last night after he and the head of maintenance had spent the last two days cleaning the remains of those parties once the staff had vacated the houses for the season.  The pictures he took of the damage and the items left behind were shocking to me.  I would have requested a full hazmat suit before I even entered those seasonal dwellings.

dna

(image credit: dnaproject.co.za)

From 10 staff houses, they collected over 90 bags of garbage, repaired holes in drywall that were cleverly disguised by newly purchased plastic vent covers, disposed of a few comforters that would easily have contained so many samples of DNA they would keep a Forensics team busy for months, steam-cleaned carpets and collected an arsenal of bottles and cans from each yard.  The description of some of the parties left me speechless, and that is a tough feat considering I have a writer’s brain and nothing is off-limits when it comes to a story.

There is something extremely soothing about walking into my house and not fearing the unknown.  There will be no naked parties taking place, there will be no food on the counters and tables that have become science projects over an extended period of time and there will be no risk of seeing things that cannot be unseen.

I sure hope the two responsible for the clean up get to reward themselves with the accumulated amount of security deposits and bottle returns.  After those crime scenes, they deserve it!

Are you sure you dialed the right number?

15 Comments

There is a distinct advantage to having a truly bizarre message on your cell phone or answering machine.  Those few audacious lines can thwart unwanted voice messages and cause callers and telemarketers to rethink the redial.

cell phone

I had blogged here about finding the comedic genius that I have since “borrowed” for my outgoing message and how many times I had to call back to get all of the information but my persistence certainly paid off.  I have had many missed callers who have failed to leave a message for me and, since I do not run a business from my phone, I have no qualms leaving things at status quo.

I can discern which callers took the time to listen to every word.  The messages I do receive from people who have never heard the message before generally begin with light giggles and a true appreciation for the silliness the message represents.  I have been encouraged many times to change my voice message but I cannot imagine any other string of words that would amuse me as much as these words.

This is what callers hear when they dial my number:

You have reached the Port Carling Mental Health Hotline.

  • If you are obsessive or compulsive, press 1 repeatedly.
  • If you are co-dependant, please ask someone to press 2 for you.
  • If you have multiple personalities, please press 3,4,5 and 6
  • If you are paranoid, we already know who you are and what you want, but stay on the line while we trace your call.
  • If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully and a small voice will tell you which number to press.
  • If you are delusional, press 7 and your call will be transferred to the mother ship.

There are extended versions of this message but, sadly, I am only afforded so much time to record my outgoing greeting.  If you ever need a good laugh, call me!