Who’s the genius now?

I am a smart woman.  I have lived almost a half century and there is much wisdom stored in my grey matter.  Truly, I am a competent adult.  I function well in society with knowledge gained through schooling and book learning.  I have experienced many things in everyday life that have led me to believe that I am a bright individual; resourceful even.  So, why is it that when I try to figure out stuff on my iPhone my brain cells seem to pack up and go on permanent vacation.  Why is this so hard?

I never liked computers, rather, I never understood computers and hence my dislike of them.  Right from the good ol’ PET Computer and my inability to do any kind of sophisticated programming…or any kind of programming for that matter.  Sure, I use a computer now.  I am typing on one as we speak.  However, there are many things I am sure it can do besides letting me click, click, click on its keyboard.  I tell myself, “It’s a learning process.”  I tell myself, “I can always Google it.”  Oh yes, even dear Google can’t educate me on the basics on these newfangled programs.  There were signs telling me that I was slowly losing my “hip” persona on the ways of the world.  Old lady brain was just around the corner.

I realized my technological brain was fizzling when I couldn’t figure out the TV and cable remotes.  So many buttons to try to turn on one screen.  I had finally mastered that high-techiness (new dictionary word) when Wiseguy presented his fantastic new projection screen TV!  Gulp.  Was that another remote?  No wait…two remotes?  Did I see a third one?  After installing everything, including surround sound speakers, my wonderful husband scurried off to work and jealously left me to play with our new toy.  After managing to scare myself half to death (and deaf) with surround sound static from my “Poltergeist” TV screen, I hit every OFF button on every remote and proceeded to read a book.  So much for my introduction to technology and being a modern woman.

Now, when it came to the most profound new technology of my generation, I would say the cell phone.  Music lovers would probably say the Sony Walkman, but I was a bookworm so my vote was for the cell phone.  I had pined for it, begged for it, and finally got it.  This was actually not too complicated.  It reminded me of my high school calculator.  I remember using numbers to spell words.  We were so cool (lame…in 80’s speak).  I learned how to program phone numbers.  I could now call people while I was away from home!  Coolest device ever…until the phone’s battery died on me.  Besides not having an active phone I also realized my inability to recall phone numbers.  After that I made sure to memorize at least two numbers in case of emergencies.  Smart right?  Not as smart as the creative minds out there expounding their computer geniusness (new dictionary word) on the world.

Technology grew in leaps and bounds.  Suddenly simple things became super complicated things.  Most horrifically, the flip cell phones transmogrified into a … AHHHHHHH … A COMPUTER!  The thing I could never understand!  These TV-screen-typewriters that used to sit on a desk were now in people’s pockets!  When the kids showed me what they could do I was stunned.  Literally, dumbfounded.  My jaw dropped.  I couldn’t believe that this “phone” could take pictures and show videos and play music and provide instant information!  No more need to store information in your brain.  All you had to do was “Google” for the answer.  (Yeah…first time I heard THAT word I needed a kid to ‘splain to me what a “Google” was).  I was happy living in my flip phone world until that universe expired.

My phone battery died yet again so I went to get a new battery for my exquisitely ancient (7 year old) flip phone.  To my horror I was informed that my phone was obsolete which meant its battery was also extinct.  **funeral dirge**  There were other antique (5 year old) phone styles I could pick from, but Death of a Battery was not something I wanted to relieve again and again.  It was time to move into the future.  I bought an iPhone 4.

The very first thing I did was open the box and survey the instructions.   Then I promptly made sure all the kids would be home for a fancy dinner.  After our fancy dinner I would have them program my phone, show me some of the basics, and ply them with educated questions.  Three hours later I had numbers programmed and had learned how to turn my phone off and on.  I had managed to take fantastic pictures…of my thumb.  With the basics memorized, I followed up with my usual modus operandi…trial and error (mostly error).  I have learned lots via this intense and elaborate technique.  There is no real manual for using this computer…ahem… “smart” phone.  I rely on overhearing conversations, or watching others do stuff and then follow up with the excited “how did you do that?”

I’m on the iPhone 6 now.  I wait for the grandkids to show up for the fancy dinner.  They show me stuff on YouTube and how to download stuff.  Yeah…they’re smart.  Technologically smart.  They know how to use TV remotes too.

But just wait…my time is coming.  One day they will come over for the perfunctory fancy dinner and I will show THEM something they have never seen before.  I can write cursive.  Hah!  Who’s the genius now?

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The Adventure of the Special Cold-Pressed, Exotically Flavoured, Extra Virgin Olive Oil

I don’t know how these things happen.  Well, maybe I do.  I am talking about what occurred this past weekend.  I can’t believe it happened again.   Hmmm, actually, I can.  I LOVE TO SHOP!  The worst part is now I have Wiseguy accompanying me on my superfluous treks to the world of eternal shopping damnation.  Is it good to be bad?  Well, let’s analyze this shall we?

This past weekend I had the most difficult decision to make.  It really was a challenge and I thought long and hard about it.  Should I stay home and vacuum, dust, mop, wash bedding, prep my meals for the week, or should I walk away, closing the door to my eternal list of chores, and head out to the far away mall to spend coinage that I should not be spending?  After a heart wrenching debate, I came to the conclusion that life is short and the winter clearance deals won’t be around for long.  Besides, I was in need of my special cold-pressed exotically flavoured extra virgin olive oil and the mall was mere minutes away so best to leave my spring cleaning for when spring arrives in a couple of weeks.  Sometimes it is best to put off until later what you planned on doing today.  Yes, I have a very unique brain function.  So…off to the mall it was!

Wiseguy, not working that day, actually decided to accompany me.  Shock!  Surprise!  (Actually I think this was in the hopes of averting a major shopping spree and bags of blessed goodies to be added to the overstuffed closets at our humble abode.  There we were at 9:30 a.m. pumped up and ready for our trek.  We got to the mall and found the parking lot quite empty.  Beautiful!  Nice close parking so that when we ambled back to the car on tired feet, knees, hips, we wouldn’t have far to venture.  BEEP BEEP!  Car locked and off we went!

As I have professed before, shopping is not just about acquisition.  It’s not just about the bargain hunt.  There are actually many benefits to a day of shopping.

HEALTH BENEFITS:  You spend that day wandering from store to store.  That’s walking.  Walking for three hours is a good work out.  The particular mall we went to was actually a series of connected stores, but to get into each store you had to go outside.  So, we got to be in the great outdoors AND breathe the nice cool winter air as well.  The biggest workout was trying on jeans. That’s a pretzel challenge in itself!  The mobility you need to climb in out of denim while keeping your balance works your core muscles.  Quite the workout.

ENCOURAGE HEALTHY EATING:  After climbing in and out of a variety of clothes you realize that if you just ate more fruit and vegetables and less chips and pizza you could probably pull on those jeans without having to lie down on the bed to make yourself lanky as a piece of cooked spaghetti.  While you’re at it…throw in some exercise!  Nice shapely muscles would look wonderful in those sleeveless tops you just purchased.

SELF-APPRECIATION/LOVE a.k.a. SELF-ESTEEM:  Then again why think about diet and exercise when you know you are a remarkably beautiful person!  You don’t need to lose weight.  You are perfect the way you are.  Nice little love handles and a pudgy little belly are awesome for hugging.  Nice and soft and cuddly.  So, forgo the clothes and shop enthusiastically for shoes.  Shoes are safe.  Whether your body is pleasantly plump or wispily thin, your body size doesn’t matter, but your footsies will feel so spoiled and you will look MAAAARVELOUS!

ANTHROPOLOGICAL STUDIES:  Out of school?  Well, never stop learning as your shopping excursion will lead you to become a student of anthropology.  With enough treks to the malls of the world, you could technically become an expert people watcher and understander (yup, my new word for my very own dictionary) of the ways of humankind’s behaviour.  

DISCOVERER:   Consider yourself to be like Christopher Columbus or Leif Erikson on a journey to discover new worlds…shopping worlds, that is.  New retail outlets are popping up all the time.  Perhaps it will be a gizmo/gadget store.  Kitchen supplies, hunting regalia, artisan foods, new inventions, the [shopping] world is your oyster!  Imagine how popular you will be with friends and family when you tell them about the 70% off sales!  You will become the most knowledgeable and reliable go-to person for anything that people might be in need of.  You will become, not only a famous explorer, but a hero as well.

UP TO DATE WITH COMMUNITY EVENTS:  With all the driving you will be doing, you will be “in the know” of what’s going on in your neighbourhood and other cities too.  You will see the signs for road closures and upcoming construction.  You will see high-rise condos being built and new houses springing up where there was just sparse land a few weeks ago.  Houses for sale, garage sales, grand openings…you will see it all and share this vital information.  You will be the divine Knower AND Seer .

RESTAURANT REVIEWER:  After an arduous day of trekking around from store to store you will have worked up an appetite.  Why not have a nibble at a nearby restaurant or café where you have never been before?  Adventure and full belly all in one shot!

So, as you can see, there are many virtuous reasons for my locking up the house and venturing out into the Shopping-sphere.  It’s educational, full of health benefits, wisdom building, adventure seeking, jolly good fun!

We return now to MY…ahem…OUR excursion to THE outlet mall.  Wiseguy’s hopes of a few simple items were dashed quite quickly (and painfully).  The hop, skip, and a jump for deliciously special olive oil and a pair of gym-worthy running shoes became the WINTER CLEARANCE EXTRAVAGANZA OF 2018!

Oh, I forgot to mention the mental marathon of all the math that is done while shopping. For example, check our these mathematical tabulations:

  • 3.5 hours of meandering from store to store.
  • 4.81 miles (7.741 km) of distance covered
  • 1001 calories burned walking and 800 calories burned trying on jeans
  • 6 billion calories after eating pizza / wings / bread at the local authentic Italian restaurant
  • Infinity smiles after a super successful day of purchasing really neat-o stuff
  • Overload – what your brain does when trying to calculate how much you ACTUALLY spent after all of your 70% off savings.  Yikes!

FINAL COUNT:  4 blouses, 3 dresses, 1 pair skinny jeans, 2 sweaters, 2 slinky spaghetti strap tops, 1 pair running shoes for gym, 1 pair high heeled peep toe shoes, 3 different flavoured herbal teas, gym clothing gear and for Wiseguy 6 Shirts, 3 pairs of shorts, 1 pair Wiseguy-size (14) comfy running shoes.  One fantastically yummy lunch at Café Amoré with my handsome man.

GRAND TOTAL:  Happy wife = happy life

EPILOGUE:   Almost, but not forgotten, I did get my special cold-pressed exotically flavoured extra virgin olive oil  

Pass Me a Cookie…

My life has been in a happy sort of upheaval the past few months.  I have mentioned that we have been slowly renovating our home.  The ugly walls have been smoothed and newly painted.  We have new elegant stairs and sturdy railings going both upstairs and downstairs.  We recently finished our main entrance as well.  Now, this isn’t a tale about renovations.  This little story is about the joys of unpacking things that were packed away during these renovations.  It’s about rediscovering and enjoying the simple things in life.

A long, long time ago when Wiseguy and I first got together, we were poor.  We managed to find a one bedroom apartment in an old part of town.  We had no furniture.  Well, we did buy a bed to sleep on.  Other than that, we were lucky to be gifted other pieces to fill our empty space.  An old motel tv that had a broken colour tube.  An old round banquet table.  Also a gift.  It was either donate it to us or bring it to the dump so we were lucky to win out there.  The kids slept on fold out sponge mattresses.  Well, you get the idea.  We were moneyless, but we were not short on love and enjoying the life we had together.  As time passed and our careers improved, our financial standing improved as well.  Life became more interesting.

One of the first things Wiseguy splurge purchased was a surround sound system.  We might not have had the best furniture, but when we watched our rented movies it was a theatre type experience.  Amazing!  We bought our first barbecue.  What a joy to have juicy, grilled chicken.  So much better than any of my attempts at cooking (burning) any kind of food.  A good coffee maker was added to our belongings.  A really nice 55″ colour tv.  Yes, we started accumulating the coveted things in life.  We also got to move out of our one bedroom apartment and into a semi-detached home.  This little splurge came with a finished basement and a lovely small pool in the backyard.  We were living the dream!

We are still living the dream.  We moved from that house into a detached home.  It contains seven bedrooms, which we needed to house three children, an elder parent, and a very elderly grandparent.  Years passed and the rooms began to empty as children moved out and the elders left this earthly domain.  Our accumulation of coveted things also grew.  Kitchen gizmos and gadgets?  I am the Queen of that realm.  You really notice the “things” you have when you need to pack them away.  With our impending home renovations there were many “things” that were carefully packed away to be revealed again once the construction was complete.  One of these items was a surprise gift that Wiseguy came home with one day.

Six years ago he came home with an authentic, Made in Italy, Espresso maker!  Mama Mia!  This was not the push-a-button-ta-da kind of espresso machine.

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There was coffee to grind and milk to froth.  There was a learning process and lots of noise and steam and….SO MUCH EXCITEMENT!  I had to make THE perfect cup of espresso and cappuccino and latte.  I couldn’t wait to use it!  I would come home at lunch and make lattes for me and my father-in-law .  It was a ritual!  It was something I looked forward to everyday.  Eventually, that tradition changed.

FIL couldn’t handle the strong coffee anymore.  I gave up coffee altogether and switched to tea drinking.  Home renovations led the magic coffee machine to a new home in a cardboard box to wait out the dust and dirt taking over our home.  Time passed.

Our kitchen renovation was complete and we unpacked the shiny espresso machine.  It sat on one counter.  Too overwhelming.  It was moved to another counter, but with a toaster oven and blender and drip coffee maker, our special coffee procurer was not fitting in with our daily living habits.  The espresso maker went back into hiding.

Our living room and dining room were the next rooms to get redone.  The living room furniture was moved out and a large harvest table was moved in with seating for twelve; room to dine with children and the newly added grandchildren.  The dining room became a nice small sitting room.  Two comfy lounge chairs were added so that Wiseguy and I could have a small nook to relax in.  A beautiful wood sideboard was added to the room and it created a calming rustic feel.  A space was made at the end of the sideboard for the shiny espresso maker.  I learned to drink coffee again just to be able to use this gift of ours.  I was ready!

I created a new Saturday ritual for myself.  After grocery shopping and house cleaning, I would make myself a latte, grab a biscotti, curl up in my lounge chair and just relax.  Since I enjoyed this ritual so much, I elevated it to a nightly after dinner ritual too.  I would sit in my chair, dunk my cookie..ahem..biscotti and just smile.  Life is good.  My home is a happy place.  My life is incredible.  So imagine my dismay when my trusty machine started spurting water out of places it should not.  Why?  Why was it doing this?

It was off to repair shop for diagnostic testing.  It would be at least a week before we could have it back and that was only if there was nothing majorly wrong with it.  Day one after drop off and the withdrawal hit.

The first evening after my new coffee companion was in absentia, I was fine.  Sort of.  Not really.  I missed having my relaxing cup of java with the glorious white foam topping.  I missed dunking my crunchy cookie…ahem…biscotti.  I missed curling up in my lounge chair.  It wasn’t the caffeine I was missing.  I was missing the serene end to my day and my “happy life” thoughts I would have while munching my coffee-drenched cookie and drinking my foamy caffeinated beverage.

Day two.  It got worse.  I actually grabbed one of the Keurig cappuccino cups. It produced a nice, steaming hot cup of coffee, but it wasn’t the same.  No big head of white foam.  No manipulating the steamer rod to get the perfect steamed milk.  The java itself was too sweet, yet, I had a cup every night and sat wistfully hoping that my lounge partner would be back soon.  The days went by and Thursday arrived.  Would it be repaired and returned to my humble abode?

I arrived home from work and nervously opened the front door.  I removed my boots and coat (March and still winter in Canada), and trotted up the stairs.  I stole a sideways glance into our sitting and room and my eyes fell upon a glorious site.  The sun was beaming through the window and sparkling off the highly glossed stainless steel of my metal sitting room companion.  IT was back.  Sitting there splendiferously is all its shining glory!  Huzzah!

Life is grand.  Pass me a cookie…ahem…biscotti.

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If you got what I got…you’re welcome!

I love touting the fact that I don’t get sick.  If I feel like my throat is getting sore, or I have a slight sniffle, I grab for my bottle of echinacea and start taking a pill three times a day.   I ensure that I have at least a tablespoon of honey and that there is a nice hot tea that will keep me warm and hydrated.  Yes, that usually does the trick.  Oh, and I like to tell myself, and everyone else, that I am NOT sick.  Lying to myself is usually the best way to ensure that the little germs and virus and bacteria stay away from my humble body.  Well, this time the “bug-ger” got through.  No denying it.  I am sick!

I am sick of being sick.  I have actually been staving off this stupid illness since 2017.  It has been trying to lay waste to my body since about August of last year.  My tried and true methods were tried and true then.  When everyone had sinus infections, plugged ears, ratchety or phlegmy coughs, horrendous sneezes and other germ spreading conditions, I had managed to stay healthy.  Oh sure, there was the occasional whisper of a sneeze.  Sometimes there was a bit of a scratchy throat, but I prevailed.  Nay, I conquered!  What the hell happened this time?

Oh sure, I heard people at work sneezing, but I was fortified with vitamin C.  My apple a day, my healthy vegetables.  I washed my hands to the point of cracked dryness.  Why oh why did I suddenly end up like this?

I am weak.  The thought of getting out of bed leaves me in anguish.  That would mean lifting my 100 lb head off the pillow.  That would mean getting out of a nice, warmed up area and exposing my hot, sweaty body to the frigid cold of the room.  21 degrees celsius or 70 degrees fahrenheit.  Brrrrr.  The thought of motion, leaves me weak.  Can I make it all the way down those stairs to get to the bathroom?  Will my knees give out?  Will my head loll forward, making me lose my balance, thus having me careen down the stairs?  What if I can’t lift myself off the toilet once I have completed my duties (doody?).

Why do my eyes feel like sandpaper?  It hurts when I try to look around.  Even blinking doesn’t help.  There is this immense pressure just in behind them.  Or is that beside them?  Huh…seems like it’s in between my eyes.  Yes, that’s where it is.  If I manage to raise a hand to touch the side of my nose it feels like my eyes are going to bug out and fall to the floor.  I think my half-closed eyelids are managing to keep those vision balls in my head.

Oh…my head.  My brain is trying to think of stuff.  It’s trying really hard, but there is this weird fog up there.  As I type, I see my fingers moving, but am not sure how.  My burning eyes are looking at them because those flesh-coloured sticks seem to be moving on their own.  My grey matter can’t be telling them what to do.  All the penthouse presider is thinking is, “why aren’t we in bed sleeping?”

I recall being at the top of the stairs.  Then I recall being in the bathroom.  Then stuff gets misty.  No more recall.  Ah, I see a cup of tea beside me.  Huh…must’ve made that at some point.  Good call brain!

I thought it was a good call.  I burnt my tongue.  Then again, it doesn’t matter because I can’t really taste anything anyway.  There is this blanket, a white blanket, covering my tongue.  So, burnt tongue may not taste anything, but it definitely felt something.  While its charred, maybe I should have some nutritious soup.  That should help heal me.  It has worked in the past.  I’ll add my echinacea to the mix and some man-made ibuprofen and the dinnertime cocktail with healing powers is ready to go.  This will entail more walking.

My brain is saying something.  Move feet.  Move feet.  *shuffling feet*  Well, it’s a start.  Now arms.  Lift.  Why won’t my arms listen to my instructions?  I command them to lift up and yet they just hang there, listlessly, by my side.  We need to heat up soup pronto.

“Go to bed,” brain murmurs.

“I need food,” says…is that my brain too?  OMG I am getting a split personality!

“Go to bed,” Brain 1.

“I’m hungry,” Brain 2.

Achoo! *sniffle*.  Great!  Now there is something running down my face.  At least I have feeling in my face.  That’s a good thing right?  Heading way too close to my lips.  Time to blow my nose.  Oh good.  One of the brains has decided that my feet and hands can work again.  Itchy, watery eyes have honed in on the box of facial tissue.  *shuffle, shuffle, shuffle* and hand reach.  Looks like the body is working in harmony again. Blow nose, discard germy tissue and while I’m funtioning as a human again I will get that soup going to boil.

(Time passes).  Empty bowl in front of me.  Numb tongue.  Belly full.  I think I ate my soup.  I feel full.  Time to lumber up, sloth style…nice and slow…and fall back into bed.

If all goes well, my energy conservation and my healthy meal should give me enough germ fighting energy to get me back up on my feet again tomorrow.  Another day in which my brain will function as one unit.  My body will listen to all its orders.  My sinuses will happily drain out leaving me with wide-opened, focused eyes and no throbbing pressure.  I will LIVE again.  I will be happy to have survived this debilitating flu!

I will be so thankful and grateful!  I will spread joy and happiness to everyone!  Or maybe I’ll just spread this virus around and share the misfortune.  Sometimes, by living through the bad, you really appreciate all the good you have.  So, if you got what I got, then all I can say is “you’re welcome!”

For the love of…seafood

Vacation. A time (and different place) when you remove yourself from the daily routines of life. A time to relax and maybe try new things. Wiseguy and I are in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. There is no snow (me doing BIG celebration dance). We are baking our pale skin in the sun so we become a nice golden brown. We swim in the salty ocean. We do things that we don’t normally do at home. Our routine is pretty consistent. There are no big adventures or escapades for us. It’s sleep, eat, swim, eat, nap, eat. Yes there is much eating on this, our winter escape vacation. For me it’s even more exciting as the abundance of seafood has me in awe. I LOVE seafood.

I am unsure of when my tastebuds first discovered the delectable pleasure of digesting water creatures. My parents grew up in a village in Croatia. Sure it was a 15 minute drive to the sea, but they weren’t seafood lovers. My father is a true carnivore with a hefty sprinkling of vegetarian. If he MUST have floater food then he might crack open a can of anchovies (weird but true). I joyously recall the first time I ate crunchy fried smelts. Sure, some of you call this fish bait, but to me they are similar to French fries. Yummy! My mother was delightfully surprised to see that one of her four children shared her seaworthy palate.

The next Friday (official “eat fish” day at our house) there were these caramel-coloured rings sitting on the table. Sure there was also battered cod fish (for those with the blander taste buds in our family), but my mother’s eyes fixated on mine as she winked over at me to try this ring of fried goodness. As I slowly moved fork to mouth, my lips curled around the deep fried treat and my teeth crunched into this new culinary delight. My tastebuds sang with joy! What was this? My mama read my mind. With a twinkle in her eyes she said “calamari” aloud. One of my siblings said “yuck that’s squid!” Huh…squid. I didn’t care. I loaded up my plate with this exquisite new food discovery. So it began.

My seafood journey was and is a long and slow one. My dear husband prefers the boring cod. I got him to try shark once. He has been brave enough to take a bite of grilled salmon. Yes he tried. No good. “Rubber” rings of calamari are just as bad to him. Tuna stinks. Shrimp are the wrong colour and definitely a horrible texture. Clams are white blobs that slither down your throat. Lobster! Ah the Creme de la Creme of the seafood world…are unpalatable and indigestible to Wiseguy. As Jim Gaffigan prefers to call them: sea bugs. Crabs make my hubby crabby. Smell and flavour, or as my spouse prefers to refer to it as stench and slime, will never win over my main man.

So here we are abroad, surrounded by water, and my seafood dreams have come true. Every appetizer menu section is a dancing list of seafood. Main courses consist of former water dwellers. I am in seafood heaven! Lobster and shrimp and crab cakes… Oh my! I have devoured crab cakes 4 days in a row now. Their crunchy outside yields to a soft, velvety centre. Even when we arrived at the resort they had wee little appetizer scoops of ceviche in the lobby. Actually hubby and I walk through the lobby every afternoon at the same time so I can devour at least three helpings. Fresh seafood is incredible!

In some ways I feel a little sad for those who cannot experience what my tastebuds are experiencing. Oh sure they can shove shellfish in their gullet, but the joy is not there. I compare my seafood feasts to having a large rich morsel of decadent chocolate cake. Don’t understand? How about tearing into prime rib or rib eye steak…juicy and succulent. Still nothing? How about a cheesy and creamy big bite of lasagna? Well whatever makes your tongue sing hymns of food praises THAT is what bite after bite of seafood is like for me. It may sound strange and perhaps slightly obsessive, but after all it is for the love of…seafood. Bon appetit!

Young…at heart

As days roll by and weeks turn into years I do like to reminisce about bygone days. The tales used to begin with the obligatory “remember a few years ago”. Suddenly the recollections of 10 years ago have now become the musings of life 20 and even…dare I say it aloud… 30 years ago. Today I am NOT going to chat about old age, but rather my preference to stay young…at heart.

Wiseguy and I are enjoying a lovely vacation in a country with lots of sunshine and palm trees. We are at a resort where we kind of just hang out with each other and babble about mundane non-serious things. For dinner we made reservations at a Japanese restaurant. I wasn’t sure how my hubby would handle this change from the regular meat and potato of his dinnertime dreams, but he was up for a change…to please me. So sweet. Well that impromptu change led to quite an adventurous evening.

Besides enjoying the knife juggling, the food was hot and fresh and delicious! Sitting in a group with other resort folk, we had a blast conversing and joking with people from other countries. We laughed out loud and had, not only an incredible meal, but fantastic company. It didn’t matter that we were midlifers. We goofed around and had a jolly good time! That was an excellent evening. Actually it was an excellent start to the evening. Our unplanned outing was about to get even more unconventional.

We went walk about down to a hangout called the “Sports Bar”. I was itching to play pool. Rack ’em up! The balls were all chipped as they would hop out of the table once you sank a ball and would roll randomly somewhere across the room. It didn’t matter. It was all in the name of fun. After an hour of chasing after pool balls we decided it was time to end our pool tournament and let others have a go. It was at this time that our planned early evening to bed took a drastic and memorable turn.

Two young couples had taken our place at the pool table and were having a jolly good time competing for the win. Wiseguy and I cheered from the sidelines. As their game drew to a close they sauntered off to a table to continue the party. And then they invited us middle agers to join them! Wonderful! Absolutely fantastic turn of events! We joked and laughed until our bellies ached from convulsive laughter! Our cheeks needed massaging from the incessant liberating smiles. The hilarious tales told, some with visual effects, will be etched in our minds forever. We laughed. We drank. We ended up at the disco next door and danced away. We were of one mind…have fun!

I am sure we made the strangest looking group, but it didn’t matter what others saw or assumed about us. We, as a group, shared a wonderful liked mindedness. Life is meant to be enjoyed. Memories and friendships can enter your life at any time and any place. When you are lucky enough to stumble upon a random unplanned adventure go with your heart. Your common sense mind might rebel, but by properly ignoring it your life will become a more full and memorable one.

With age comes wisdom…and creaking joints. You can choose to let your mind age your joie de vivre, or you can listen closely to your inner child and stay young…at heart.

(Shout out to our new friends: Amy, Ellie, Charles, and Sam. “Stuart” and I wish you all the best!)

Nature can Nurture

Wiseguy and I are planning a trip (escape) from this harsh winter weather to a destination of tropical warmth and subsequent bliss. To make myself appear as an even bigger tourist I decided to go for a mani/pedi. As I parked myself in the leather massage chair, I leaned back and heard wonderful relaxation music in the background. I looked up and saw the tv was on. Oh…it was like a meditation channel. Pictures of butterflies, green fields, snow capped mountains. The plethora of pictures faded in and out with a lovely variety of relaxing themes. There were the awe inspiring waterfalls, the colourful birds, the majestic horses. I noticed a common theme. Basically, if you want to relax, cut yourself off from manmade things and focus on nature.

Growing up in a metropolis…ok the burb of a metropolis, I was accustomed to loud noises. Imagine having your house on an airplane flight path. Every evening when you were just about to fall asleep you would hear the rumbling airplane engines flying overheard. Grrrr…after a couple of weeks it didn’t matter. I had grown accustomed to that particular noise and no longer noticed it. It’s funny how the mind can adjust to strange sounds.

When Wiseguy and I moved into our apartment we were so excited about the beautiful view we had from the balcony. There were no other buildings around us. There was a forest nearby. The main street was far away so we could barely hear the traffic. So peaceful. We were also close to the lake so it was nice being able to see the CN Tower in Toronto. Ahhh..peace and quiet. As we sat on the balcony drinking our wine, I opened my mouth to say, “What a beautiful view” when my words were overridden by the Toot Toot sound of a TRAIN! Holy smokes our building was near train tracks. These tracks were not just for freight trains, but for passenger trains as well. It was a consistent chugga chugga sound in the background. The 2 a.m. freight (a.k.a. “fright”) train was especially invigorating the first few weeks. Again, my mind got accustomed to the sound and I slept soundly through all the comings and goings on those rails.

I had become acclimated to planes and trains. No biggie. Then we moved into our present-day house. Lovely neighbourhood. No planes, no trains, but automobiles did abound and then the one quirky modern-day mode of transportation entered our lives; buses. Yup…hadn’t heard that sound before. There is the whooshing sound it makes when it stops to let passengers on and off. Then there is the gearing up as it leaves. The brakes…now THAT’S a sound that irritated me to no end. Yes, past tense as I have adjusted to that sound as well.

Imagine my surprise when I went up to the cottage. It was quiet. I could hear leaves rustling in the gentle breeze. I could hear the water lapping up on the sandy beach. By evening we were exhausted from breathing in the fresh air. My nose had never smelled anything so unpolluted. As I lay back on my pillow I found I couldn’t sleep. There was that awful noise. It kept me up all night. Crickets. Like, what the hell? There no planes or buses or trains. How could I possibly resign myself to peaceful slumber without the city racket?

The city girl finally learned to relax and breathe and enjoy the new sounds. The crickets dutifully chirped me to sleep for the rest of the week. The birds sang me to wakefulness early every morning. I would sit outside with my morning coffee and listen to the wind blow through the trees. I would hear a far off loon make its morning greeting. By the end of the week I had decompressed. My ears had forgotten the roar of street traffic. My nose had been purged of exhaust fumes and smelly smog. Nature and the natural life was all I wanted to experience.

The week away ended and it was time to return to city life. I do love my modern conveniences …my car to get me everywhere, the stores with all the joys of shopping, and all the spiffy gadgets that make life quick and easy. But that week away reminded me that when the daily grind gets me polluted and worn out, look up to the sky and clouds and the birds and escape momentarily. Nature can nurture.