Soda pop can be hazardous to your health…

This is a true story.  I am not proud of this occurrence.  I actually do feel quite idiotic about it.  I do, however, feel it is my duty to share with you the dangers of soda pop; specifically those in 2 litre bottles.  Please, heed my advice and make sure you share this with family, friends, and anyone else you see buying such a bottle.  You could help prevent such trauma entering their lives.

It all began one winter evening.  I was sitting in the living room watching tv.  Waldo and Lucy (my dogs) were snuggled up beside me.  I had just finished making some homemade chicken soup from scratch.  I had turned the heat down to minimum under the pot so that it could happily simmer for a couple of hours.  The house was already smelling good.  It was nice to sit back and relax and enjoy some quiet time.  Wiseguy was working the night shift.  No kids were in the house.  Peace and quiet reigned…until IT happened!

I heard a gunshot come from the direction of my kitchen.  I screamed out loud!  My heart was pounding.  I walked cautiously toward the kitchen entranceway; I was alone and afraid.  I stood in the doorway…my mouth agape.  I was in shock.  I couldn’t move.  My eyes slowly moved around the scene in the kitchen, trying to compute what had happened.  What HAD happened?

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This is what I saw as I looked around the room:  My walls and cupboards were covered in something brownish.  I looked at the pot on the stove.  The lid was slightly askew to allow steam to escape, but no evidence of an explosion.  I saw my floor covered in brown liquid as well.  Where had it come from?  Suddenly I saw drops coming from the ceiling.  I looked upwards…GASP!!!!  There were brown droplets falling from my now-brown-previously-white ceiling.  What had HAPPENED!!??  My brain could not compute it.  Then, as if guided by a higher power, my eyes locked onto the culprit.

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You have probably already figured out what transpired.  If not, here is the play by play.

  1. Soup pot simmering.
  2. Two litre, plastic Pepsi bottle a foot away from the stove; new…unopened.
  3. Pepsi bottle was slowly being heated; refer to #1 in play by play.
  4. Pepsi bottle no longer had room for expansion.
  5. BANG!!!  Explosion of said Pepsi bottle.
  6. There was about an inch of that beverage left in the bottle…the rest was catapulted into the ceiling and dispersed ungraciously all over my counters, stove, fridge, windows, blinds, floor, table, coffee maker, toaster, dishwasher, etc.
  7. Meltdown…no…not the bottle; I crumpled to the floor in the hallway in shocked bewilderment.
  8. I whimpered.
  9. I felt a small body brush up beside me.  CRAP!  The dogs were trying to get into the kitchen!
  10. I hollered, “NOOOOOOOOOO!” at the dogs who then proceeded to back off.

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So…where would you begin the mind-boggling clean up?  Floor?  Just watch out for the Pepsi drops from the sky.  Ceiling?  Yes, you could start there, but how do you get to the ceiling without stepping into one of the puddles on the floor?  How about counters? Cupboards?  Fridge?  What would be the best plan of attack to wash up a room, literally, sprayed in soda pop.  Yes, quite the conundrum.

Where did I start?  I don’t know.  I honestly don’t recall.  I believe I was so traumatized by it, that I erased the actual cleanup from memory.  I tend to have sketchy thoughts about towels on the floor and a step stool to reach the ceiling, but it’s all kind of muddled; dream/nightmare or reality.  Not sure.  For weeks and many, many months after that “cleanup” I would find sticky spots somewhere in the kitchen.  Oh, it had spattered into the hallway too.  I learned that when my foot stuck to the floor.  I’d open a cupboard to pull out a plate and find brown spots on it.  Just when I would think it was all gone, I would find evidence of it somewhere else.  Years later, when we decided to renovate our kitchen, we pulled out the fridge and the stove and guess what we found?  A Rorschach test of that spiteful drink.  After washing that wall, and covering it with tiles I can finally say that I have never seen another spot of Pepsi in the kitchen.  That was the end of the nightmarish soda fountain episode.

The one other part of this true-life horror story is really the irony of the whole situation.  You see, I don’t drink pop.  I can’t stand the stuff.  When I was younger and used to drink it, I actually preferred Sprite or 7Up…bubbly and clear liquids!   Ironic right?  I had a volcano of brownish sugar-beverage all over my kitchen and I never even drank it.

I learned a valuable lesson that evening and I urge you to share this knowledge…for safety’s sake.  I no longer buy two litre bottles of pop.  No more large, plastic potential bombs in my humble abode.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  Benjamin Franklin

I prefer to purchase the lovely, aluminum can versions of pop.  For safety reasons, these sugar drinks are stashed away inside the fridge at all time…far, far away from any and all sources of heat.

Moral of the story:   Soda pop can be hazardous to your health…especially your mental health.

 

 

 

 

Gnomenclature…

Yes, please feel free to “google” that word.  It does not exist…yet.  This new word now exists in my special dictionary where verbiage is absolutely a necessity.  Feel free to use it in your everyday vernacular!  The official, properly spelled word is:  nomenclature.  The definition is:  “the devising or choosing of names for things, especially in a science or other discipline.”  Well, my newly created word – gnomenclature – shall be defined as:  “the naming of garden gnomes based on their statuesque appearance”.  Yes…I think that shall do fine!  Why do I bring up gnomenclature?  Today I shall share with you the story of two garden gnomes and their ultimate destiny.  Our story begins…

It was Father’s Day.  A sunny day.  Wiseguy was excited to have the kids and grandkids over for this special day.  I must admit that every year the children try to find ways to surprise their father with unique and unexpected gifts.  Wiseguy is now at that point in his life where he lacks nothing, nor does he wish for anything.  The creative gift ideas were becoming a challenge.  One package he opened was not something either of us expected.  It contained a garden gnome.  True, none of those existed at our house.  The second package contained another gnome.  They were each about two feet tall.  One was jovial and the other was quite stern and serious.

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Happy Gnome (on the left);  Wise Gnome (on the right) – See??? Gnomenclature!!

So, there they were; our two new residents.  Happy made me laugh every morning when I saw him.  How could he not?  He always looked like he had just finished playing a trick on someone.  Wise gnome…well, he moved, a bit, but he never seemed happy about it.  We had fun moving them around and making the grandchildren think the gnomes pulled stunts while we were sleeping.  They would move from vegetable garden to table top.  They were ingenious (and obviously, so were we…way before that Elf on the Shelf thing became the big brouhaha.)

Cooler weather arrived.  Fall was starting to shut down summer.  We moved our tenants into a bench seat to hibernate for the winter.  Better to keep them hidden instead of having to clean snow off them.  Fall became winter, winter became a harsher winter, that part of winter finally turned into slushy spring.  After all the snow melted and the torrential rains abated, we re-introduced our ceramic/clay garden-variety (haha) gnomes into the backyard.  You recall them?  Happy and Wise?

The new year had begun and many new adventures for this fun pair!  Or were there?

It was the beginning of spring.  As I had mentioned, the snow had melted, the rain continued to cover the earth, but we felt confident that our two friends could handle the elements.  After all, they were garden gnomes.

One foul evening, the wind gods swept through our city.  They ripped shingles off houses.  Garbage bins went flying down the street.  You could actually hear the wind howling.  It whistled through the tree branches in an almost taunting way.  We hoped for the spring weather of yesteryear.  Luckily the winds died down.  The clouds had finally exhausted their waterlogged fluffiness.  The sun arose with a special kind of brightness.  The inclement weather ordeal was over.  I decided to venture outside and tally up the damage to our garden.  Sadly, my first steps through the rear door revealed devastation that I had not expected.

I opened the screen door and put hands to lips to stifle the scream of despair I felt clawing to escape from my mouth.  There, on the interlock brick, were pieces; many coloured pieces.  Blue, green, black, grey, red.  There had been a fatality!  I looked to my right and saw Happy.  The wind had turned him slightly sideways.  His eternally smiling face was there and his hand was still pointing as it usually did.  However, this was something surreal.  His hand was pointing at the remains of Wise gnome.  There he was, atop the bench seat, slightly askew from the night before.  His companion…the seriously, stodgy, Wise gnome was gone…in pieces…never to be repaired.  No Humpty Dumpty future for this gnome.

Comedic value?  Hands down, high five, fist bump…absolutely 100% classic hilarity!  Do I miss our elderly Wise gnome.  Meh…he lived…but not really.  Seriously…check out Happy!  Would you not want your life to be as happy as his everyday?  I know I would!

gnomeIt does not mean that you have to be mean to other people; although he does appear to be a prankster.  Those happy squint eyes and the smiling face…look at it!  That’s the model trouble-maker image.  Even with his disheveled clothing and half torn boots, he has found a way to make himself laugh.  I guess that’s why I like him.  No matter what adversity is thrown my way, I believe I can always find something to make me happy and appreciate all the good in my life.

So, if you feel lost and lonely or if you feel like you are being bullied or if you feel like you will never win…think of Happy.  Look at this picture and remind yourself…life is what you determine it to be.  If I can be like Happy (bwahaha) I will have a happy day, everyday.

P.S.  Gnomenclature states:  the naming of garden gnomes based on their statuesque appearance.  You can be whoever you want to be.  Stand in front of that intimidating mirror and decide.  It is your choice and your prerogative.  Just know wholeheartedly that you are beautiful just the way you are.  Love and be loved.  XOXO.

 

 

‘Cause I gotta have “Faith”…

Remember when I was telling you all about the rain drizzle weeks I lived through?  I know, I know “Stop talking about it already!!”  I promise, this is the last time I shall refer to it (this week anyway).  I bring it up because during those weeks I found that people had different coping mechanisms to deal with their SAD.  There was binge watching tv.  Extra snacking whilst watching tv.  Going out to eat instead of cooking.  (Ok, a lot of food references).  Going to the gym to exercise.  Movie night.  Those are just a few ways that folks were distracting themselves.  One that I did not mention, which I know makes a big difference and might be obvious is:  MUSIC!

Has anyone ever asked you, “Who is your favourite band or singer?”  Perhaps they have inquired about your favourite song.  In my younger years, while hanging out at THE bar after work, we used to play the Island game.  “If you were stuck on a deserted island, which album would you want with you?”  Good question!  This was not a judgemental question.  It actually led to a lot of great conversation about the type of music your friends liked and why.  Island living was basically forever so what could you tolerate for that length of time.

During my SAD time, I actually did turn to music.  I will be honest with regards to my listening choices.  In order to escape reality, my favourite thing to listen to is actually stories.  I subscribe to an old time radio show where stories from the 1930s up to the 1955s exist.  I love hearing tales and imagining the scenes in my mind.  It’s a beautiful distraction and my mind is fantastic at creating the scenes.  However, sometimes when I need to get into a better mood it is music that lifts my spirits.  I love upbeat music.  In most cases it is not even about the lyrics.  It’s about the beat.  I need a great hardcore thump-thump beat and there are so many musicians and/or singers that provide this for me.  So, when I hit my slump and I need a boost I turn to my recorded/downloaded tunes and dance away in my beloved kitchen.

Music has so many dimensions.  I used to play an instrument (looked like a mandolin, but it was a tambura).  I also sang in the church choir…from pre-pubescence to adulthood.  Music and song are a strong part of my life.  Listening to music on the AM radio was also a life changing experience for me.  When I finally got my own radio, it made me feel like I was friends with kids at school.  I was the outcast.  Being able to identify with the girls about music on the radio and the “rad(ical)” DJs helped with my un-coolness.  The AM radio phase became the FM phase (which I was not privy to), but music was still a huge part of my life.

Not only was I a member of the church choir, but I was privileged in that my parents let me quit the musical sect of Croatian culture (my tambura…prima) and let me join the dancing sect.  I LOVED (and still LOVE) dancing.  I was beyond grateful for this opportunity.  I sang well.  I played…mediocre.  Dancing…I was born for this!

I started off in the junior group because I had never done it before.  I did great!  I loved it!  I was absorbing everything so quickly that within a year I got to do stuff that I had only dreamt of doing.  I loved my group.  I loved our performances.  I appreciated everyone and everything that led me here.  I was enjoying living my life.  Even better…we got to go back to the “homeland” to perform in several cities there.  Us…from Canada…going to Europe. Pack your bags and your costumes and away we went.

Now, I know I have focused a lot on our Canadian dance group.  We were like a mini family. That was the greatest thing.  Not only were we traveling abroad, but we did have many practices to ensure our professionalism.  We had strict curfews.  Most importantly we were friends watching each other’s backs.  This was a trip that not only inspired us to do our best, but it created new friendships and several friendships led to marriages.  Quite the trip right?  The reason I bring this up is because there was one song that we, as a group, listened to over and over and over and over again in the travel bus.  It became our theme song.  It was a song that most did not know the words to except for one word.  When the tape deck (yes…it was a radio/tape recorder) came to that section of the song, everyone yelled it out in excuberance and happy defiance.  It became the anthem of our dance tour.

Thank you, George Michael, for the song that will always bring fond memories back into my life.  Your passing made me think about my life and how it would effect others.  If you can hear me, I would like you to know that your song “Faith” became a memorable part of our lives and perhaps the lives and memories of many others.  When we yelled out “BABY!” we all broke out laughing at our synchronicity.   You were special and so was your song.  If I were on a desert island, my go-to song for partying would be…

Paul Simon’s:  Me and Julio!

Sorry, not being mean, but truthful.  However our favourite line that we screamed and yelled out on our bus over and over again:  “BABY!”  from your (George Michael) song, “I gotta have faith” would lead me believe that I would be rescued.

P.S.  GM…you were so gifted.   You shared that musical talent with the world even though many did not understand you.  Thank you for pursuing your dream.  You were and are special in my life and the lives of many.  We truly believe that our lives will be great because we “gotta have faith.”