Best and Worst

I thought I’d write about what I consider the best and worst in several areas.  I’m not going to think about this a great deal.  So I may later think of something better or worse, but it should be interesting.

  • Art.  BEST:  The Group of Seven artists and I don’t think there is one of their paintings I don’t love.  Tom Thompson is an honourary Group of Seven member and I love his paintings as well.  WORST:  Modern or contemporary art.  I just don’t understand it!
  • Music.  BEST:  Classical, especially Debussy, Chopin, Mozart.  It lifts me up.  WORST:  Rap and Heavy Metal. I just don’t understand it!
  • Movie (Musical).  BEST:  Sound of Music.  Never get tired of watching it.  It was the first movie I went to with my now Hubby.  WORST:  The Fantastics.  I didn’t get past about 15 minutes but it has one thing going for it – Try to Remember, a lovely song, sung by Ed Ames and others.
  • Movie (Drama).  BEST:  The King’s Speech.  A great movie.  I could watch it again.  WORST:  I’ve obviously blanked out the bad movies because I can remember some of them but not their names.
  • Movie (Romantic).  BEST:  Pride and Prejudice.  My all-time favourite.  WORST:  Nights in Rodanthe.  A total waste of time, and not even romantic.
  • Book (Mystery).  BEST:  Agatha Christie is still the Queen of mystery writers.  My favourite is The Man in the Brown Suit.  WORST:  Miss Seeton Solves the Case.  Terrible writing and the story wasn’t great.
  • Book (Fiction).  BEST:  Pride and Prejudice again.  The characters, the story, the setting.  All perfect.  WORST:  I don’t think I can pick one.  There are a lot of good books and a lot of bad books out there.
  • Book (Non-fiction).  BEST:  Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell.  I was captivated from the first page to the last.  WORST:  Some of the “diet” books I’ve read or tried to read.  Many are filled with questionable “facts”.  I remember one that said you had to eat a ton of sugar to lose weight.

I may think of a few more categories for a further post.  Best and worst sport, job, etc. 

Do you have any “bests” or “worsts” to share?

My Reads

I recently lost all of the information on my iPod, including everything on the “My Reads” app.  With this app, I entered all of the books I had read over the past year, and had reached “100 Books Read”, just before Hubby decided I needed to update the iPod and lost Everything.

All my Contacts?  Gone.  Email addresses of everyone I knew?  Gone.  The Notes app containing all my passwords?  Gone.  Calendar with birthdays and anniversaries?  Gone.  My Photos (all 700 of them)?  Gone.  Itunes?  All gone.

I’d like to give you a little sample of the books I’ve read over the past year.

  • Favourite Author – M.C. Beaton.  She writes mysteries, quite lighthearted, and always entertaining.  Two of her series are the Hamish McBeth Mysteries and the Agatha Raisin Mysteries.  Both very funny and I’d definitely recommend any of her books.
  • Most read Author – Deborah Crombie.  She is a mystery writer, a little more serious.  She writes the Gemma James and Duncan Kincaid Series.  I’ve read all of her books in the past year (13 of them) and am looking to buy her new book, No Mark Upon Her.
  • Favourite New Book – Extensions, by Myrna Dey.  This book follows a woman who is an RCMP Officer, as she tracks down a mystery spanning 100 years.
  • Notable Book (and Movie) – The Help. – This book was recommended by my niece and by her mother and it did not disappoint.  I loved the movie as well.
  • Book based on a TV Series – The Richard Castle books, Heat Wave, Naked Heat, and Heat Rises.  The first one was not the greatest but the second two were much better.  I think they got a new author.
  • Fun Romance Author – Kristan Higgans.  Cute, funny, modern romances.  Fun to read, with the exception of Just One of the Guys, which was too unbelievable.
  • Author rediscovered – Mary Jane Maffini.  Based in Canada, especially Ottawa, where I live now.  I read Little Boy Blues and enjoyed it.
  • Old favourite, reread – Pride and Prejudice.  I never get tired of it.
  • Just discovered – Janet Evanovitch’s Stephanie Plum books.  Read #1 and enjoyed it.  I’m starting #2.
  • Non-fiction favourite – Malcolm Gladwell’s books.  I love them and recommend them.
  • Thought-provoking book – The 100 Thing Challenge.  This book inspired me to get started on downsizing and because of that, I was able to make the move to Ottawa painlessly.
  • Favourite math book – The Golden Ratio, the Story of Phi.  I loved this one about the number 1.61803399…
  • An old favourite author – Romance’s Betty Neels.  I can’t figure out what I love about these books but when I want to relax and not think, I turn to one of hers.
  • Humor – Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town.  Funny and gentle.  The author, Stephen Leacock died in the 1950s.
  • Another favourite – Cassandra Chan.  She writes mysteries and I am eagerly awaiting the next book in her series.
  • Others worth mentioning – Debbie Macomber, Jo A. Hiestand, P. G. Wodehouse (Jeeves and Wooster), Bill Bryson, Graham Thomas, Mary Jane Forbes.
  • My all-time favourite which I read in total this year for the second time??? – The Bible.

Hope you discover or rediscover a book or author of your own.

What are you reading, and what would you recommend to me?

 

Old Girl, New Winter Sports

Over the last few days, my sister RVingGirl@wordpress.com and I have been engaging in a blogging duel, regarding winter.  Is it colder in Ottawa, Canada or in Bermuda, Subtropics?  Did you answer, “Bermuda”?

Wrong. 

One of my commenters (who happens to be my own flesh and blood) suggested that I stop my complaining and take up a new winter sport that will help me appreciate the beautiful winter weather and all the opportunities it affords. 

Possible Winter Sports:

  • Skiing, cross-country – bad knees
  • Skiing, Downhill – terrified
  • Sledding – downhill – fine; uphill – too much work
  • Snowshoeing – shoes are too big.
  • Snowboarding – are you crazy?
  • Speed Skating – don’t know how to stop!
  • Figure Skating – get dizzy when I spin
  • Curling – I don’t sweep ice
  • Hockey – haven’t had a fist-fight for decades
  •  Luge – Okay, this is the one for me, because…

In this sport all you do is lie down, move your hips a little, and you’re a winner.  I can do that!

What winter sport do you think I should take up?

 

Winter Wonderland

My sister has written a rebuttal to my rant post about her winter complaints.

This is a re-butt-al to end all this nonsense! 

BERMUDA                                                                                           

  • Subtropical
  • When it gets cold you don a light cardigan. 
  • When it is windy, you turn up the collar of your beach cover-up.  
  • When it gets damp, you shut the windows.
  • Near North Carolina

CANADA

  • Subarctic
  • When it gets cold, you don long underwear, insulated socks, two pairs of pants, a long undershirt, a long-sleeved turtle neck, a sweater, boots, ski pants, hooded jacket, scarf, ear muffs, stocking cap, gloves, mitts, and depending on the day, possibly goggles and cramp-ons*.
  • When it gets windy, you tie a rope to the heaviest  object in the house and then around your waist before venturing outside, lest you get blown into the next city.
  • When it gets damp…well…this could be either SNOW or SLEET.  For snow, you shovel it.  You have never shovelled anything like Canadian snow.  Then there are the wind-rows. This is the combination snow/ice that is left in your driveway after the plow has gone by.  It is impossible to shovel because it is the hardest substance known to humans.  You need to buy dynamite to shift it!  If it is sleet, you have to crawl to the garage, pry the door open hoping it is not frozen solid.  You get a bag of salt and throw the whole thing all over the driveway in hopes that enough of the frozen precipitation will melt that you will be able to get up off your knees to go to the store to buy more salt.
  • Near Greenland and Alaska.

* Cramp-ons – these are metal spikes much like those worn by the more vicious skin-heads, but these are attached to strips of rubber and affixed to the bottom of your winter boots.  Many people swear by them and state that they can walk without fear on slippery surfaces.  I am pretty sure that I have heard store owners swear by them as well, when a bunch of senior citizens wearing cramp-ons come clanking and clanging through their establishment, gouging the floors with those steel spikes!

So, dear RVingGirl@wordpress.com, aka Helen of Bermuda, why don’t you just give up and admit defeat.  I’ve got you beat, mittens down!

Mad at my Sister

I have three sisters, and I love them dearly.  BUT I am quite upset with one of them.  She is normally a very nice, kind, generous, lovely person, but every once in a while she lets loose a vicious mean streak and that’s what she did today!

My sister, (I’ll call her Helen, because that’s her name) lives in Bermuda.  This is not normally a problem!  I love visiting her there and have done so many times.  Do you know what it is like to visit a warm, sunny country in the middle of a typical Canadian winter?  It makes you want to weep! 

Every time I leave that country, I stand at the top of that little ladder they provide for you to get on the plane, and I close my eyes and try to memorize the heat!!!  It is very difficult to do but I manage it for the two-hour journey back to Canada.  It’s fine in the airport but as soon as I step outside, the blast of snow, wind and c-o-l-d knocks the memory right out of me.  I can’t even remember my name let alone the heat.

I know I am digressing but I have to set the stage so you can properly understand the perfidy she unloosed this morning.  It is rare that one has to endure such things but she showed a treacherous nature that shook me to the depths of my being.

It happened on Facebook!!!  Yes, in a public forum.  She … oh I can hardly say it …  she said, “Brrr.  It is really cold here!”  Cold!  And she was born and brought up in Nova Scotia, the snow capital of the world where the day after a winter storm you can step right out of your second floor window to wend your way to school!

I noticed that she got comments from as far apart as Vancouver and Cape Breton.  Her commenters were polite.  They were nice.  They were understanding when she said, in that little girl voice of hers, (well, I couldn’t hear her of course, but I know that voice), “You have to understand it is 57 º here but it’s damp”!!!

HAH!

In basically all of Canada, it is -236 degrees and don’t even ask what the wind-chill is!  The meteorologists at Environment Canada were going to tell us but their lawyer advised them not to because of the very real possibility of multiple cardiac arrests across the nation. 

Seriously, what do you think of a sister who would complain, (yes, complain, Helen) about the cold, when her older sister is on her knees praying for spring to come?

My sister and fellow blogger (Yes, you, RvingGirl@wordpress.com) will no doubt try to stir up your sympathies, but I know you’re on my side in this.  Aren’t you???

BA (Failed)

In some parts of the British Empire, it used to be considered very important to have gone to university.  Notice I said gone to university, not graduated from university.  I have actually seen, with my own eyeballs, a person sign his name like this:

John Smith, B.A. (Failed)

That’s right!   Failed!  I can’t imagine that happening today, in our society.  But just think of all the wonderful possibilities for padding your resume! 

  • PhD in Nuclear Science (Thought About It, Decided Against it)
  • Worked with Stephen Hawking (Cleaned his Office)
  • Teaching Degree (Didn’t Like Kids)
  • Team Player (Little League Baseball)
  • Good with People (Read People Magazine Every Chance I Get)
  • Fast Thinker (Have Slowed Down Somewhat)
  • Willing to Work from Dawn to Dusk (With Frequent Breaks)
  • Love to Work Weekends (When I’m Unsupervised)
  • Will Work for Minimum Wage (Minimum Work)
  • Interested in Your Company (What was it Again?)
  • Willing to Forego Pay Increases for Five Years (If the Salary is Huge to Start With)
  • Varied Interests (Internet Games)
  • Computer Expert (Specializing in Solitaire)
  • Qualified in First Aid (Treated  my Own Colds for Years)
  • BSc in Geology (They took me for Granite)

Honesty – you’ve got to love it!!!

 

Anatomy of a Cold

  • The first stage of a cold is the strangest.  This is when you think to yourself, “I haven’t been sick for a long time.  That’s just great!”  Whenever this occurs, start buying boxes of tissues and whatever meds you will need to survive the coming ordeal.  Because, it’s coming!  (Cue the ominous music.)
  • The next day you wake up with a scratchy throat.  You think you’re thirsty, and you drink so much water, your feet squish on the way downstairs to breakfast. 
  • You look in the mirror and think you look tired.  Okay, at age 66, it’s difficult NOT to look tired, but I guess I mean more tired than usual.
  • Everyone you talk to tells you that you have a very sexy, deep voice.  HA!  This stage is very quickly followed by:
  • No voice at all.  For teachers this is a form of torture unimaginable to the general public.  Have you ever tried yelling with no voice?  Oh wait, you know I wouldn’t yell, but without a voice, every whisper takes on a sinister form.
  • The nose begins to run.  And run.  And run.  Nasal passages seem to play a huge role when you have a cold.
  • So you take an antihistamine, which dries you up so that when you wake up in the  morning, your mouth is cemented shut and you can’t even croak, “I’m too sick to get up”.
  • Then your head begins to ache. I’m not sure if this is from the meds, the dryness, or the cold itself.  Even when you are asleep, your head aches and all night you are aware of this throbbing state.
  • You get a fever.  At this stage, you have all but given up on fighting the virus any longer.  You are alternately hot and then cold.  Nothing seems to help.
  • You make it to the couch.  You lie there but then you start to choke on the dripping in your throat and you are too tired to watch TV, read a book, or even think.
  • You decide on a different medication.  The non-drowsy kind.  Oh dear Lord.  Save me from this one.  You CANNOT sleep.  Your heart races and you are super-aware all day and night.  You don’t know what you are aware of, but you are definitely awake.
  • You send your better half out to buy more boxes of tissues.  And throat lozenges.  Your nose is starting to get that look about it that would cause Santa to ask you to guide his sleigh on a foggy night.
  • When you do manage to close your eyes, you are told by your sleeping partner that you are making snoring or snorting noises that would scare away any living creature within ten miles.  Turn off the burglar alarm system, honey.

Gradually you begin to think you may live after all.  You watch TV, read a magazine, and eat some toast.  The world is looking good again.  You have some tea and you are beginning to actually taste it.  Your voice comes back, your nose loses its crusty layer.  You’re going to make it!!!

 

 

 

A New Goal Met

As of this morning I am down 15.4 pounds since September 1st.

My eating has been wonderful but I’m going to try to increase the number of veggies I eat.  I have not had junk for months but at Christmas I ate lots of turkey with the usual sides.  We don’t live near “junk food” places any more so that temptation is gone.

I have not got back on to the Wii since the move but tomorrow is probably a good day for that.  I have found out that there is a mall-walking club at the St. Laurent Centre.  It is held only three mornings a week from 8:30 to 10:30, and I think I will investigate it.  Good for the winter months.  The pathways around our new house are great for walking and biking (in the spring) and are plowed early in the mornings.  I just love the one near us.

So to recap:

  • Not eating junk
  • No guilt feelings
  • No stress
  • More frequent exercise
  • Weight loss: 15.4 lbs.

My reward for losing 20 pounds, which I hope will happen by the end of March, is to buy myself a new pair of jeans.  Maybe I’ll even take a photo for that occasion.

 I think this “old girl” is learning some “new tricks”.

Thoughts on A Marriage

Seventy-five years ago today, my parents were married in New York City.  They were married for 51 years before Dad died, followed by Mom eight years later.  It seems like a good day to reflect on their life together.

Mom and Dad lived in Nova Scotia during the Depression.  Dad moved next door to Mom and he must have been captivated by her blond beauty and her pretty blue eyes.  She on the other hand must have been fascinated by this handsome man from a French Canadian family.  When he had saved up enough money, Dad proposed and Mom accepted.  She travelled to New York to buy her trousseau.

Mom’s four older sisters had gone to live in The States because there were more job openings for “convent-trained” secretaries and nurses, and they had all settled there and had husbands and families.  Mom’s father had worked on the Canadian National Railway so Mom was able to get a very inexpensive ticket to NYC.  But Dad got impatient and couldn’t wait.  She was there only a few days when he arrived and they decided to get married at St. Nicholas Church, on January 9, 1937.

Later that year, in December, my oldest brother was born. He was the first of 11 siblings, and although Mom came from a family of eleven children, she was the 10th and was not a very neat organized housekeeper.  Our household was chaotic!  

Dad worked long hours to provide for all of us and I can honestly say that we had all the food and clothing we needed.  We had music lessons, art lessons, and dance lessons.  We took part in every kind of sport and if we wanted something, we got it. 

Everyone came to our house.  Well, half the town was already there!!!  Some mornings I’d come downstairs and find young fellows sleeping on the living room rug.  They didn’t have a place to sleep and one of my brothers invited them home.  Mom would be there asking them questions about their families and making them feel welcome.

There was always music, piano, guitar, and singing.  I’m sure the neighbours cringed when my brother took up the saxophone and decided to practice outside in the backyard.  Whenever Mom and Dad had a little disagreement, we’d find Dad playing some passionate composition on the piano.  I guess it was better than yelling and we knew enough to steer clear.

Mom and Dad loved each other and each of their eleven children and they made us feel special.  They taught us right from wrong and they taught us to be kind to others.  They taught us to work hard and to get an education.  They taught us to not give up but to keep on trying.  When they were in their 60s, they signed up for university courses.  Dad had retired but became a school crossing guard.  Mom had never had a paying job in her life but she worked for a charity once a week.  They belonged to church organizations and I know that Dad helped out many families who were having financial difficulties.  He started a group of businessmen who, anonymously, provided bicycles for children whose families couldn’t afford them. 

My own marriage has benefitted from seeing Mom and Dad handle the ups and downs of a life together.  My husband’s parents were very similar to my own.  They had 10 children and then decided to adopt two more for an even dozen.  They were married for 35 years until his Dad died at 59.  His mother is still alive at almost 91.

Marriage.  A life lived together!

 

Vows, Vowels, or Bowels???

I value my Canadian citizenship greatly and I was relieved to find out that I didn’t have to renounce my birth country when I received my “Senior” citizenship in February, 2010.

Just as new immigrants to Canada are tested on their knowledge of this new land and take an oath of allegiance to Canada, I had to demonstrate at least a minimal knowledge of “Seniordom” by answering the following two questions:

Question #1. When does a person become a senior citizen?

Answer: A person becomes a senior citizen at 65 years of age.

WRONG!  It could be 55, 60,70, 80, or 90, depending on the thickness of your wallet, the thickness of your brain, or the number of facelifts, liposuctions, and tummy tucks you’ve decided to pay for….or if you’re in prison, the number you’ve opted to have the Canadian government pay for.

Question #2. There is no question #2, or if there was, I’ve forgotten it.

Now for the seven (7) Oaths of Senior Citizenship.

I promise to watch every commercial and memorize every “800” number for:

 – Life Lines (“I’ve fallen and can’t get up.”)

– Stair Lifts

– Walk-in Tubs

– Walkers

– Hearing Aids

– Adult Diapers

– Motorized Wheel Chairs and Scooters

– Assisted Living/Senior’s Care Homes, (which for some reason are always located next door to a funeral home).

2. I promise to buy reading glasses at the corner store and scour the obituaries (using the store-bought reading glasses) for any familiar names.

3. I promise to complain daily about irregularity, sore knees, irregularity, arthritic joints, and irregularity.

4. I promise to forget everyone’s name from time to time and refer to my doctor as “that young fellow”.

5. I promise to never again do a shoulder check when driving a car, because I can’t turn around far enough, and even if I could, I can’t see anyway.

6. I promise to shout everything I say, even if the person I am speaking to is standing right beside me, because if I can’t hear myself, surely no one else can hear me.

Senior citizenship is a great responsibility.  I will uphold the laws of Seniordom and extol its virtues to anyone who is seeking to enter this fabulous state.

Oops!  I almost forgot the last item on the Oath of Senior Citizenship.

7. In restaurants, I promise to speak loudly to my companion about all my medications, operations, and surgical procedures. (The more graphic the better.) ((X-rays and MRIs would only add to the experience.)

Gotta go!  It’s senior’s day on the buses, and we ride free!  Really!

Thanks for reading,

Maureen