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?

img_2250

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.

img_2251

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.

fullsizeoutput_2047

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.

gnomeimg_2217

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.”

The sun’ll come out…tomorrow???

I think I am finally over that horrendous sinus-stuffed / bruised-rib coughing / voice-losing bout.  I believe I am on the mend after four tortuous weeks of headaches and hearing loss.  I am alive and I am (almost) well.  I believe there was one main ingredient that I had been lacking and I also believe that this crucial element to my normal daily routine is what made this illness continue to haunt me.  It made my usual chipper self, quite miserable on a daily basis and I could not release myself from this funk.  I have been ill before (though not quite this like this) and I have managed to fib myself to wellness.  “I am not sick.  I’m not sick.  I am well.  I feel fine.”  This little mantra could always get me back to my happy, smiling self.  What was missing?

It appears that my good ol’ friend, the sun, decided to go away on vacation for awhile.  Had not been seen in weeks.  Why would this matter?  Well, I recall reading about SAD people.  No, not sad people, but SAD people; those affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder.  It seems that if we do not get our daily dose of those beautiful rays our serotonin (mood balancer) levels drop.  With the lack of Vitamin D that we get from the sun, our moods change and we end up in a sleep slump that could lead to depression.  So, while good ol’ fireball went into vacation mode, the rest of us trudged daily through our lives.  Our sloppy, squishy, rain-soaked lives.

So, here was I was thinking I was not getting enough sleep and that this was the cause of my awful, cranky mood.  True, I wasn’t sleeping well on those mega-cough nights, but then I’d make up for it with an almost coma-like sleep the next night.  Yes, my ears were plugging and unplugging, which was annoying, but I had really never been that irritable before.  After week three, and more rain in our forecast, it hit me.  I had not seen the sun in many, many, many days.  Living in Canada we are used to lots of snowstorms at this time of year which is accompanied by bright sunlight that bounces off the newly fallen snow and blinds you from time to time.  Here we are in January (one of our usually worse winter months) and no snow.  No flakes falling.  Nothing to shovel.  I was grateful for not having to perform that miserable task and yet, the daily rain forecast made me even more crestfallen.  What was a girl to do?

I did what everyone else around me seemed to be doing…skulking.  I would go shopping to get groceries and people were wearing their best scowling faces.  Cashiers would ramp up the: “Hi how are you?” when starting to process your order, and would then turn off the bling smile until the obligatory: “Have a nice day.”  Yeah, even smiling was becoming a chore.  What is the point of warmer weather if you are constantly walking through a downpour or even worse, the ever present drizzle of rain.  It was like wandering through a rain forest without the actual accompanying heat.  Not fair!  When was this going to end?

Update.  Weather forecast.  Cold.  Colder than the weather we had been having.  Hmmm, what was this?  Snow?  SNOW!  That meant NO MORE RAIN!  What else did that mean (besides shovelling)?   You guessed it. Look who came back!  I missed you!  We all missed you!  Gorgeous!  Absolutely fabulous!

img_2200

So what did I do?  I looked right up at that beautiful burning ball in the sky (and promptly blinded myself for several seconds. Meh…it was worth it)!

I am no longer SAD…yes, I think I did catch a quick spell of it.  It is amazing how this glorious Vitamin D provider can, literally, affect one’s mood.  This morning I was happy as a lark, singing as I went outside into the cold air to view my good friend above.  Thanks for coming back. You really were missed.

I would like to take a wee bit of time to review the lyrics to “Tomorrow” from Annie.

“The sun’ll come out / Tomorrow / Bet your bottom dollar / That tomorrow / There’ll be sun!”

My dear Annie, it was a few week’s worth of tomorrows, but the sun finally DID come out!  Hallelujah cause now I’m “Walking on sunshine / Ain’t don’t it feel good!”  (Shout out to the ’80s crowd!)

 

Life is like a rainfall shower head

I have read and heard many stories about the benefits of a nice, hot bath.  I have seen pictures where there are frothy bubbles and scented candles surrounding a tub.  There are spongy loofahs, wooden book holders, calming flute music…yadda, yadda, yadda.  I have foregone all these relaxing dunks.  I am sure that if I did try just soaking for awhile my mind would wander off to the fairy forest and my brain would stop overplaying lists of things I could be doing were I not sitting around in a watering hole.  I am sure I can hear your gasps of dismay and your degrading comments of how I am missing out on the special relaxing quality of the spa.  Maybe I’m just not that relaxing kind of gal.  Well, I thought I wasn’t until Wiseguy installed a new shower head.

My “new-to-me” Moen shower head was actually a gift that I bought for Wiseguy five years ago.  He is a tall man and I thought the two part shower head would assist him in washing off more quickly and efficiently.  (Yup, always looking for ways to increase productivity haha).  Wiseguy decided to reno his bathroom and remove the ancient green tub and put in a stand up shower.  I discovered he NEVER used the rainfall part of the shower head.  Meh, his loss.  The silver lining here is that he got a different shower head for his shower and I got gifted with the Moen.  Lucky me!

I was looking forward to using it, but not super excited.  I believed I knew what it would feel like.  I was wrong.  So wrong.  I used it for the first time today and I seriously almost fell down in the tub as this mini rainfall sprinkled upon my body.  I started with the small, main shower head.  Usual pressure.  Nothing crazy.  Then I turned on the rainfall shower head.  I cannot explain what it feels like to have little water droplets cascade from the top of my shoulders down to my thighs.  I will give it a try though.

Rain fall shower heads disperse the water so that it feels like little massage fairies walking around your body.  Little tap, tap, taps.  These hot droplets hit various pressure points all at the same time.  Your mind can’t function because you are enthralled with little wet fingers that keep gently striking you.  How can you think about anything while you are becoming jelly under these rain forest-like conditions?  You don’t realize how sensitive your skin is until you stand under a rainfall shower head.  I would recommend it to anyone!

For you bath people, I am sure that your method works well for you.  A nice, hot, steamy bath where you can feel your muscles unknotting as you soak.  Please continue to enjoy your method of decompressing.  I am happy to have found this glorious hot rain that won’t let me think about anything because I am too focused on where each water droplet is tapping on my body.  My mind gets erased.  My stress is removed.  The hardest part is realizing that I will eventually have to turn off this glorious stream and continue with my day.

This concludes my enjoyment sharing for today.  May you find and appreciate the little joys you have in your life.  There are many and we oftentimes miss them because our “want list” always seems longer and more desired than the “already have list”.

Quote for the day:  Life is like a rainfall shower head.  Feels good! (author: Maryann Jurcich)