Merry Christmas Signed the Braggers

Merry Christmas Signed the Braggers

 

Do you ever get a Christmas card like this and want to stomp all over it? Does it make you ashamed that while everyone is out there making a difference all you have managed to do is to gain weight- after being on a diet for three weeks and you just lost your good job right when both your kids have decided to go to university? Are the only things that you have to mention in your own Christmas letter is that you have binge-watched an entire season of Outlander and are working your way through all of Grey’s Anatomy?

Here is an example of one of those annoying  Christmas letters, you know the ones that I mean—-the ones that sound like this:

Dear Friends and family:

I hate to brag, but I have recently joined the gym and now weigh less than I did in high school. See pictures of me in my new bikini. My husband just made a killing in the stock market —that is why we are standing in front of our new yacht! We have both decided to retire early.

 Poppy our brilliant daughter has figured out how to turn back global warming and our dog saved our neighbourhood just last week by barking and leading everyone to safety when a wildfire blew through the forest. Note the award hanging around his furry brave neck!

We realized that we are not only everyone’s favourite neighbour but now fashion designers are copying our funky hats that we invented out of locally grown hemp fibres that can be woven into adorable little hats- we send them to all the new babies throughout the hospitals across the nation. The paper that this card is on is made from deer poop that we collected ourselves and fashioned into this  Christmas Holiday card. We try to never use precious paper resources if we don’t have to.

We have recently been contacted by an alien race who wish us to join them in an intergalactic party to meet and greet with other species. We are very excited about this one! But don’t worry we will post lots of pictures on Instagram.

 

Merry Christmas Signed the Braggers

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Why Do Only the Good Die Young?

Why Do Only the Good Die Young?

from Penguin Random House

After reading and thoroughly enjoying Heather Havrilesky’s How to Be A Person In the World, it got me wondering existential questions such as why do only the good die young? Is it true, or only something Billy Joel was telling his girlfriend to pressure her into being bad? Do we tell ourselves little cliches to make ourselves feel better, or are these little nuggets of wisdom something that should be considered?

I found reading Ask Polly’s Guide Through the Paradoxes of Modern Life, really quite empowering- especially for women.

Warning: some swear words in this book, but in all the right places!

I may not have the same problems as many of the youngish answer seekers in this book, like troubles in a romantic relationship or with work, but I still found common threads of useful self-help tips embroiled in her hard-nosed wisdom. When life is getting me down I tend to reach for books to provide me with answers that I can’t easily solve myself; answers to questions such as why do liars and cheats sometimes win? Is there really a clear line between good and evil?

I think if Polly was answering my questions she would say, I am imagining her tone now-yes, sometimes life isn’t fair. Get over it. Some people are good and some are bad and if you think that you are one or the other that is really a matter of perspective. Even if you think you are completely angelic, haven’t you done something bad before in your life? Lied to your grandmother? ( No) Put your finger in the dessert before it was served, just for a little taste? (Yes) And although these can’t really be considered bad acts, I think what Polly would advise, is that there is no clear line between absolute good and evil. Sometimes bad people don’t get caught, sometimes innocent people get sent to jail- that is the hard realities of the messy world we live in. It is a world filled with ass grabbers and liars.

Is there any consolation for this?

Probably not. But to make yourself feel better I suggest that you go for a long walk in the fresh air. Spend some time with good friends or allow them to take you for a spa day! Bake a pie. Tell your family that you love them ( and mean it!)  even when they have carelessly left a crusty lasagne dish on the floor next to their balled up dirty socks.

These small things will make you feel better. And you may see that the world is filled with goodness again.

Honest.

ps need more feel-good advice?

Try Xandria Ooi- She overfloweth with wise wise words.

https://www.youtube.com/user/xandriaooi

 

You Can’t Read One Without The Other

You Can’t Read One Without The Other


 

With all this intense and dreary winter weather it is really a great time to nestle down under a warm blanket by the fire and catch up on your reading.  It is nice to read in the steaming hot bathtub ( not with a library book of course) or bundled up with a mug of tea in your car waiting in the ferry line up. But sometimes don’t you feel that you have read all the great novels already? Does every novel you pick up seem dull and passionless?

Here is my remedy. Get book ideas from other books.

Some books,  I find just beg you to run out and pick up another.

For instance, you can’t read- Reading Lolita in Tehran, without running out to your local library and picking up…Lolita by Nabokov. There are also many other book suggestions in this book.

You can’t read Truth and Beauty without putting a hold on Lucy Grealy’s Autobiography of a Face. You can’t not read Gogol’s The Overcoat after reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake. And what about The Storied Life of AJ Fikry? It is filled with new reading ideas.

Here is a link to all of the great little nuggets of literary references from this sweet little novel. This list should keep you going for awhile.

https://gabriellezevin.com/ajbooks/

Or how about After the Gingerbread Man you must run out to read the Stinky Cheese Man? Not sure if this is a good example., but I can’t think of what other books compel you to read more books… if any of you have any bright ideas let me know.

I always appreciate new book leads.

I would never have picked up The Daily Coyote without a recommendation from a dear reader of this blog- I feel a better person just for having read it. So thank you dear readers ( of this blog) and all readers in general. The Daily Coyote will also make you want to seek out the blog that gave her the material for her book.

This song will make you want to read even more books- My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors by Moxy Fruvous…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NUsKwYtGb4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Old Movies Are The Best Movies

As many of you may already know, I am a classic old movie fan.  I have to thank Shaw cable for including Turner Classic Movie channel into our small modest bundle.

I have heard of famous actresses from the good old days’ – actresses like Rita Hayworth, but I haven’t actively sought out any movies that she starred in. I had no idea how good she was until I stumbled upon her playing the role of Gilda.

Sometimes I make the mistake of reading the synopsis of a movie and think, Nah, boring. But this time, even though the premise sounded dull, set in a casino blah blah blah, but because the rating was hovering around 96 percent, it got me wondering.  I was intrigued.

I settled down and was soon caught up in a swirl of emotions. Two people raking each other over the coals, being cruel to each other on purpose. And Rita Hayworth was amazing. Truly mesmerizing. And those lines, who writes like that anymore?- “We don’t have to apologize because we were both stinkers.” Stinkers! Who says that anymore? I cried because that line was perfect at that moment, perfect and sad and funny and true.

Later, I found myself singing Put the Blame on Mame, even though I had no idea what it means, and I still don’t.

Do they make movies this good anymore? I am not entirely sure. After watching Sophia Loren in Marriage Italian Style I really wonder if someone from this day and age can come up with something so raw- and beautiful and original.

If you think about people portrayed in the movies of today, like for instance like in the very good little film, BlueJay- even though the characters in it are grown up and have problems, they don’t seem grown up at all. Their difficulties don’t appear to be anywhere near the level of complex adult problems as the characters in the old classic movies. But perhaps this was the point of BlueJay– that their younger selves were what they were mourning and the passion that went with it.

I recommend both of these movies for those of you that like to get into the thick of the complexities of human relationships, relationships that are tangled up with deep love, resentment, and passion.

click the link below for a great performance-

Rita Hayworth sings Put the Blame on Mame

And if any of you know what the hootchy koo is please let me know, also who is Mame?

Its Raining Men

Its Raining Men

photo courtesy of imgur robot playing guitar to a cat in the rain- (Goro Fujita is the artist)

 

Here is a word I bet you never knew existed….petrichor- it is the word for the earth scent that hits you right before it rains.

The scientific reasoning for it is that when raindrops hit dry soil an oil is emitted by some plants… it is the oil mixed in with freshly damp soil that you are breathing in.This oil is meant to slow down germination.

And did you know that if lightning is brewing somewhere, it is the ozone in the air that you may be smelling.

I wonder if is there a name for that sweet melancholy you feel when you know that summer is really and truly over.

There should be a word that explains  the way you feel when the rains keep coming and you wished that you weren’t cheap and had bought a cover for your new stainless steel BBQ. It pours and pours, and every time you pass a deer on the side of the road, you think, “poor deer- you must be drenched. But, sorry I still don’t like you and wish you wouldn’t keep breaking into my garden. I am still sore about the kale patch.”

Click below for the best songs for sitting all pouty on the couch as the rain pelts your metal roof.

Perhaps you have been jilted by your recent lover and now the rain is making you feel worn out, but still beautiful, wearing makeup for no one.

Stormy Weather by Billie Holiday on youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4JTE76Xnp0&index=9&list=PLyeezhUs5uh9gF1q5QTXBnBxderpiupCw

Or try I Can’t Stand the Rain by Ann Peebles

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnAXHm42MNk&index=5&list=PLyeezhUs5uh9gF1q5QTXBnBxderpiupCw

After all of your falling into sweet melancholy, I encourage you to watch this old video. I could not help but smile- such a great song and the old school video is a classic.

The Weather Girls- It’s Raining Men … Dance around to it, I dare you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5aZJBLAu1E

When Breath Becomes Air

When Breath Becomes Air

 

I find that since I am no longer working in a library, I don’t seem to read as much. Being surrounded by stacks books all of the time must have compelled me to pick them up and read them.

Recently, though I did manage to put a hold on a very popular memoir titled When Breath Becomes Air.

I am not sure why I have switched from fiction to non-fiction and particularly memoir- style books. Lucky for me there seems to be a plethora of titles to choose from in this genre that I can’t get enough of.

And it doesn’t seem to matter what the subject matter is, if it is well written, I can’t put it down.

When Breath Becomes Air is the true story of a young surgeon’s account of learning that he has advanced stage IV lung cancer  (in his thirties!) and how he copes with the last short bit of his life. It takes the reader into the surgery room with him, giving an accurate account of the long grueling hours of being a neurosurgeon. It was his last wish to write a book and he managed to do so.  It was fascinating and funny, precise and sad.  This small book is packed with prose, I still can’t shake parts of it out of my mind- weeks later. For instance, Kalanithi states, after cutting up a cadaver, he later craves a burrito, because apparently, formaldehyde stimulates appetite. When Breath Becomes Air- I could say that title aloud forever, because it sounds like poetry to me.

Somehow if the story is true, I always find it fascinating. After reading Helen Macdonald’s,  H is for Hawk, I wanted to go out and begin to train a hawk. This was something that never crossed my mind before reading this memoir.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a hawk in the family to help hunt? I would be the wildcrafting (hunting) envy of all of my neighbours.

If you have any great suggestions for reading some good memoir, please let me know.

 

 

Oh What It Is To Have An Unruly Family!

Oh What It Is To Have An Unruly Family!

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Some days do you ever have the feeling that you are Tabitha Twitchet

from Beatrix Potter’s Tale of Samuel Whiskers and the Roly Poly Pudding?

Instead of my kittens getting rolled up in a sooty dough to be eaten by rats, I have one family member dragging himself across the bottom of the ocean while an angry seal tries to bite his fins. Another family member is hangin out in Bolivia of all places-while another is backpacking in Peru, joining biking groups called the Death tour! ( I only learned about this fearful name after being asked to download her trip photos after her cell phone was stolen).

Yes—-what it is to have such an unruly family- This is what Tabitha Twitchet says in her  frilly kitty bonnet, as she locks her children up in the cupboard.

Why didn’t I think of that?

If you are one of the lucky people who have families that sit around a Turkey at Thanksgiving, be grateful!

Some how this is not my family’s fate.  This weekend I opened up my house for an impromtu art showing.

This allowed me to talk to many different people all weekend long. I only felt a slight twinge that there were families reunited for the holidays- happily filing through my living room.

All I could do was plan for the day in the future when we will have a turkey dinner together.

Of course only after I wash the soots from the dough  that the rats have stolen.

Waste not want not.