Monday, May 20, 2019

Change Your Life: Fifth In A Series--I Tell You Where To Go And Ask You For Some Help

Before I try to change all of your lives with this week's Sentence, I want to ask you to help me with next week's post. We've reached the halfway mark with today's offering, so I'm ready to take a break or even call it quits and instead showcase some Honest-To-Goodness helpful sentences, sayings, tips, or tricks that have actually improved all of your lives in an authentic way. These helpers can be practical or philosophical, and they can be from any arena of life you choose:  cooking, driving, crafting, relationships, grief, whatever. All I ask is that you do NOT leave them in comments. Instead, please send them to me via email: deptofnanceATyahooDOTcom. I promise to corral all of them and put them in a post and share them with everyone, hoping that each reader will find some Sparkle Of Wonderfulness to make his or her life better in some way.

Again, no contributions via Comments. Email me your Helpful Wisdom, and I'll share all of them in a post next week. Okay, onward.

This week's Life-Changing Sentence is not the worst thing ever. I can actually see some people finding it to be a worthy philosophy, repeating it sagely to others, especially to adolescents in search of popularity.

Here is Life-Changing Sentence Number Five:

Go where you're celebrated, not where you're tolerated.

This Sentence reminds me of Rev. Jesse Jackson's or Simpson attorney Johnnie Cochran's rhetorical style--it's punchy and because it rhymes, it's memorable. (Can't you picture both of them saying this? I can.)

Its source is a motivational speaker and life coach, and the actual quote is "Go where you are celebrated, not merely tolerated", which makes a little more sense, but the sentiment is still implied in the above Sentence.

The philosophy here is good--to a point. It makes a lot of sense to avoid people who, quite simply, don't want you hanging around with them. As I said above, it's a valuable piece of wisdom to give to middle-schoolers who are desperate to break into the It Clique or sit at the Cool Table for lunch. They might endure some miserable conditions in order to do so.  Kids can be cruel and cutting.  Heaven only knows how this all translates to the various social media platforms. I am daily grateful that I raised my sons well before InstaTwitFace and WhatSnap.

As adults--and I know for sure I qualify since I turned (gasp!) sixty earlier this month--we instinctively know this already, we, really? Again, social media and the internet at large have probably not brought out the best in lots of grownups. But overall, we do tend to go where we are wanted and where people are glad to see us. It's behavioral science at its core--the stimulus and response of operant conditioning.  We love a big greeting, a warm smile, a happy hello. Humans generally want to feel wanted.

As adults, however, we also know that there are times when we have to go where we are "merely tolerated." Sometimes we're caught in a less than desirable work situation where a coworker makes our lives miserable, but go we must. Still other times we have to go to a gathering of our spouse's family, perhaps, where our reception is a bit frosty. I'm sure you can think of lots of examples where we have to put in an appearance and Be Tolerated because it is The Right Thing To Do, our comfort to the contrary.

But by all means, yes, if you find yourself saying about Book Club, perhaps, "Hey! Why do I keep subjecting myself to These People?" and there is no Good Reason, jump that ship and don't even wave goodbye. Then Celebrate Yourself and your Freedom. You've made some space in your life for something better.

Here then is Sentence #5 one more time: Go where you are celebrated, not where you are merely tolerated. Did it "give you the power to go on" and "change your life for the better"?

And don't forget to send me your Tips, Tricks, or Words To Live By for an easier or better life to deptofnanceATyahooDOTcom to be included in next week's post. (And not in Comments.)  Thanks.


Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Change Your Life: Fourth In A Series--So Many Words, So Little Sense

Whereas last week's Sentence That Will Change Your Life was more than a Sentence, this week's isn't even a Sentence. It's a Noun, really, modified by a bunch of phrases and clauses, and taken as a whole, it is so muddly and so derivative of other Life-Improving Exhortations that it seems Sad.

Here it is, in all its wordy glory, Life-Changing Sentence Number Four:

The most dangerous risk of all – The risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.

And yes, it doth pain me much to put a period at the end of it.

Okay, first of all, let me tell you that I sourced this quote and found that it was said/written by a venture capitalist, which speaks volumes, I think, about two words used in the "Sentence" (spending, buying). It's easy to be glib about Following Your Dream when you have big bucks and investors to do so. Also ironic is that venture capitalists sometimes use their cash to buy up other people's failed dreams at a reduced price. Just saying.

Anyway, this Life-Changing Word Group isn't saying anything new. Lots of other people have said it, and far better. How about Nike? "Just Do It." What about "There's No Time Like The Present"? "He Who Hesitates Is Lost"? "Someday Is Not A Day Of The Week"? "If You Do What You Love, You'll Never Work A Day In Your Life"? All of these are just as valuable, yet just as open to criticism as Word Group Number Four.

We all can see the pitfalls of Word Group Four, right? What if Some Guy really wants to be a rap singer rather than a mechanic? What if Some Woman really wants to be a clothing designer instead of a department manager? Oh hey! Word Group Four says, Go do that thing right now! Don't wait until you've set aside some cash, paid your dues, or even looked into your chances of success. Not fulfilling YOUR dream is Dangerous! It Is All About YOU. No risk, no reward!

Piffle. And might I add, I did what I loved for 30+ years, and I worked every single day. Every Day. Some Days felt like entire Weeks. So baloney to all of that bullshit. Everybody--stick out your tongues and blow the raspberries to that kind of crap. Go!

Thank you. I feel better.

Here's the thing: I can definitely get on board with some kernel of Word Group Four. In the interest of Self-Care and Enjoying Life and Seizing The Day (and there's yet another nice, neat way of expressing the idea in Word Group Four), I think more people, Women especially, should look into making some Dreams and Desires reality. At the very least, we should recognize that if we don't go out and make things happen on our behalf, they simply won't. But it's not a matter for words like Danger and Risk.

Here is "Sentence" #4 again: The most dangerous risk of all – The risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later

Have you found, thanks to its Wisdom, "the power to go on" since it changed "your life for the better"? Chat it up in Comments.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Change Your Life: Third In A Series--If At First You Don't Succeed, Build, Build, Build

I'm not even going to pretend that this week's Sentence has the potential to Change Your Life. It's so shopworn, so banal, so BeenThereDoneThat as to have formed the basis of innumerable Talks and Lectures given to not only Me, but my three siblings hundreds and hundreds of times Way Back When. The speaker was my father, to whom Character Building was not only the World's Noblest Pursuit, it was also the one in which we should become the most proficient. By the time I was about fourteen, there was nothing I hated more than Character Building, unless it was perhaps Building Character.

Here is Life-Changing Sentence Number Three (as I suffer a few shuddery flashbacks):

You learn more from failure than from success; don’t let it stop you. Failure builds character.

Okay, first of all, it's not A sentence; it's two. And it's way too long and wordy to be truly successful as a life-changing mantra or a motto. It's like they crammed three separate ideas into one:

You learn more from failure than from success!
Don't let failure stop you! (And isn't this implied in the first saying?)
Failure builds character!

(I added all those exclamation marks to keep myself from falling asleep.)

By now I want to remind a lot of people that, whilst many do, in fact, learn from Failure, a huge percentage of people do not. They go on to repeat the same mistakes, hoping for a different outcome and creating collateral damage along the way. The jails are full of Failing People, the schools are full of Failing People, the court system is full of Failing People, the republican party is full of Failing People, and hell--my grocery store was full of Failing People today who continued to leave their carts in the middle of the aisle whilst they wandered all around and gathered their items. I push their carts along, adding a few things I want them to have when they're not looking. Do they learn? No.

It is also clear to see that the Failure of the republican party to keep their majority in the House of Representatives taught them nothing at all. Nor did it seem to build any Character.

Aside from the nitpicky or the obvious, this Sentence is okay at best. Lots of valuable information can be learned from Failures IF you choose to analyze your mistakes, own them, and correct them. And you can Build Character by being humble and learning where your weaknesses are and, if necessary, asking for help. But while this Sentence is generic and general, it's also potentially plain wrong.

I learned a lot from my Successes in several arenas such as teaching, writing, parenting. In some cases, I learned more from Successes than Failures. Not everyone has to fail in order to learn a great deal or a powerful lesson. Many times I found that piling up Successes taught my students more and was more helpful for them personally and emotionally. (That, my friends, helps Build Character!)

I learned an endless amount about Life And Other Things from my father. I still call up his wisdom to this day. Things he told me for the forty-one years I had with him occur to me far more often than I could ever have imagined. But after many of his lectures about Character or Character-Building, all I ever felt was exhausted and angry.

Here's the thing: sometimes, Failure should stop you. If you aren't good at something and it makes you miserable, stop it immediately. Go do Something Else. And not everything can be about Building Character. Sometimes lousy stuff is just Stuff You Have To Get Through and your Character is already fine with or without it. Not everything has to mean something.  Nor will it.

I think I would have felt way better if I had been told that and been given a big hug.

So here is "Sentence" #3 again: You learn more from failure than from success; don’t let it stop you. Failure builds character.

Did this "give you the power to go on" or "change your life for the better" as the article promised? Let's talk about it in Comments.

original image

Monday, April 22, 2019

Change Your Life: Second In A Series--Because It's There

As dejected as we all are by our lives remaining Unchanged from last week's first Sentence that was supposed to Change Our Lives For The Better, here I am with Sentence #2. Do get strapped in, put down your beverage lest any harm come to your Electronic Device, and let's prepare for Metamorphosis.

One never knows, does one? And at least we can chat about the Sentence should our Lives stubbornly remain the same.

Here is Life-Changing Sentence Number Two:

Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world.

Sigh. I really hate these Poster-Worthy, precious little metaphors. But that's probably just me. You go ahead and take a moment to reread it, and then we'll apply our test.


Firstly, is your Life Changed? Mine is decidedly not. Did this Sentence give you an Aha Moment? it did not. As I said, I became unreasonably annoyed by the metaphor for some reason, even though it is perfectly acceptable, but I guess I'm just being a snot.

Overall, the Sentence provides some valuable advice. You should, in Life, strive to accomplish some difficult things, reach some important goals, broaden your perspectives in order to build your own character and satisfy your inner self, not to gain attention or extrinsic rewards. And by doing so, you will (hopefully) have a wiser, more mature view of the world around you.

I prefer poet Pablo Neruda's quote, "You have to climb the mountain in order to see the view." Not only is it simpler, but it has a clearer message: don't expect a reward without putting in the work.

(Wise, but alas! still not Life-Changing. We all learned this stuff years ago. Even the colonists of Jamestown had a No Work, No Food law.)

We've discussed the self-obsessed nature of people due in part to technology and social media. We agree that the world is a much smaller place now, thanks to both. We can both see the world and be seen by the world now, thanks to the internet. Sadly, so many people forget how big their audience is and how widespread their impact is.

Every day, men and women--children, too--climb their own mountains. They're not doing it for attention, either. They're not doing it to build character or even to figure out more about how the world works. They're merely living their lives despite whatever obstacles block their paths: chronic illness, discrimination, hunger, poverty, disability, guilt, or loneliness.

So, here it is again, our Sentence To Change Our Lives For The Better: Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world.

Did this sentence, as the article promised, "give you the power to go on"...and "change your life for the better"? Let's talk about it in Comments.


Monday, April 15, 2019

Change Your Life: First In A Series, A Public Service Brought To You By The Dept. Of Nance

About a hundred years ago I found an audaciously titled article online that I read immediately, despite the fact it was so obviously clickbait that I felt outraged and insulted. It was right up there with the headlines that used to scream out from that grocery store tabloid The Weekly World News, which used to print things on its front page like HOW TO TELL IF YOUR DOG WORSHIPS SATAN and BIGFOOT KEPT LUMBERJACK AS LOVE SLAVE.

Those are real headlines, by the way.

But I digress.

This article promised that within its contents were 10 Sentences That Could Change Your Life. I scanned it quickly and added it to my blogfodder folder (my life remaining unchanged; can you believe it?).

I'm a bit stuck for a post at present, so I'm going to pull these Sentences out, one at a time, one per post, and see if they are worthy of at least a bit of discussion, Life Changing notwithstanding.

Here is Number One:

People aren't against you; they are for themselves.

Firstly, is your life changed? Did this give you an Aha Moment? Nah, me either. I feel like this is a terribly worky way of saying Don't Take It Personally. I learned this Life Lesson a bit late, perhaps, during my teaching career and from the best possible of all teachers--teenagers.

Don't misunderstand me; I love teenagers as a group. They are a great deal of fun, very warm, intensely loyal to people they respect and care about, and when their fire is lit, it is remarkable to watch them take off on an idea. Having said all of that, they are also ruthless when they have an agenda, and if you are an impediment to that agenda, you are merely that--a roadblock. They will forget that you once sneaked them a Diet Coke from the staff room vending machine, helped them through a breakup, or did not bust them when they were late to an exam. Their hearts will turn to stone, they will lie to their principal, and they will swear up and down that they did/did not do whatever it was in order to help themselves. I can remember being wholly devastated the first time this occurred in my career. A wise assistant principal talked me off the ledge by saying, "Nance, don't take it personally. It's not about you. You could be anyone. It's all about what he wants and what's in his way, and you just happen to be standing in his way. This time." I'd like to say that I learned it right then and there, but I'd be lying.

It would be nice to think that, in this age of social media, people are never against other people, but we know that's just Not True. Bullying is real, and thanks to the ease of online accounts, it's easier than ever to victimize others and to even do it under assumed names. Hell, even the "president" does it, and with impunity. (Although he is the epitome of Being For Oneself.)

Perhaps there is room for some complexity to this Life-Changing statement: some people are against you because they are for themselves. It makes some people feel bigger, more important, and better about themselves when they act out against others. Again, 45* comes to mind--the perfect example. It doesn't make the victim feel any better, however, even though small-mindedness only captivates other small minds.

So, again, the Life-Changing Sentence was People aren't against you; they are for themselves.

Did this sentence, as the article promised, "give you the power to go on"...and "change your life for the better"? Let's talk about it in Comments.


Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Sign Language Wednesday: Try Not To Lose Any Sleep Over It

So much is...happening here that I can't even talk about it.

But it's real, and it's astonishing, isn't it?

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Lesson Of The Rap Star Cow

Longtime Readers here at the Dept. know these two things about me already, but for any New Readers, I will provide you with the Short Version of the necessary Exposition:

1. I love cows.
2. I love car rides.

Number two has many exceptions, but suffice it to say that when I am bored, fussy, and feeling stressed like a colicky infant, it's often a good idea to strap me into the passenger seat of the car and take me out to look at things. The promise of ice cream (or pie) if I behave is not insulting to me in the least.

One of our regular car rides takes us past a particularly attractive herd of beef cattle pastured meditatively on some rolling acreage with the typical red barns. My irritation with this group of--let's call them cows for the sake of simplicity--cows is that they never wander close enough to the road so that I can get a good look at them. Instead, they prefer to stroll and munch much farther away. One cow especially is my favourite; I saw it late last fall when it was a little closer than the others. It was exceedingly tall and almost blue-black and, when it turned toward the road, it had a startlingly white face, unlike the rest of its compatriots. I'm crazy about this cow. I even named it.

I call it Ghostface Killa.

Now, I have no idea how that name came to me, and I know it's not Original. And it's certainly not a Very Nice Name for such a lovely cow. The real Ghostface Killah is actually an American rap artist, about whom I know absolutely nothing. And I definitely don't think this ghostfaced cow is a killer itself, nor that it goes around killing ghostfaces. I'm fully prepared to lay the blame for this name at the feet of my Google Newsfeed, if you want to know the truth. For all I know, it could have stuck a bunch of references to Mr. Killah (I don't spell my cow's name with the final "h") in my daily articles last year, and my brain hung onto them.

Who knows?

On Friday Rick had occasion to drive that way, so naturally I asked him if he saw Ghostface Killa in his travels. After he stopped laughing, he said, "No, Nance, but I was driving. If I'm the driver, I can't always look for cows. That's sad, but that's the way it is."

Ah, so true! Being the driver makes us miss a lot of perfectly wonderful cows along the way. Don't you think so, too?


Monday, March 11, 2019

Signed, Sealed, Delivered...Well, Sort Of

Some Smartypants Thinkerhead once advised that if you are ever angry at someone, you should write him or her a letter. In that letter you should state your feelings in great detail about the situation and really let loose all the anger and frustration within you. Then, says Dr. Thinkerhead, tear up that letter. In that way you have the benefit of the Catharsis without the Damage.

It's pretty decent advice, but I feel like it was given in Ye Olde Dayes, well before Ye Internete, so I'm going to update it a little, and dash off a few missives here. (Hell, I'm being Olde Fashionede as it is, writing Letters on a Blog.)

Dear Google Newsfeed;

Why, Google Newsfeed, why? Why do you insist upon including stories about things in which I have Zero Interest and have never, ever clicked on anywhere? I get why there are stories about Lebron James and the NBA power rankings in my newsfeed; I have a fantasy team and do a lot of research. I understand why stories about Aretha Franklin's tribute suddenly popped up. But I cannot fathom why stories about The Konas Brothers or the Jardashians or Kick/Noe Konas and his wife Chiyanka Propra* are a recurrent and prominent feature.  Trust me when I tell you that not only do I have No Interest in these individuals, I also have--now!--for them all an exponentially growing Anathema.  *(I hope, Dear Readers, that you can figure out who I mean. I am afraid to use their real names, lest Blogger, owned by Google, tells my Newsfeed--wrongly!--that I'm a fan.)

Why, Google Newsfeed, do you refuse to let me delete these stories to improve your algorithm? How much longer do you think I'm going to let you Be The Boss Of Me?

Your News Is Not Good News,

Dear Dog Breeders Who Advertise In The Cleveland Plain Dealer;

I get that Dogs are your thing and not Spelling. It might be worth thinking about, however, that One Never Gets A Second Chance To Make A First Impression.


Dear FineLife Products;

I many questions. What kind of salad component is a bottled or canned beverage? What in the hell is HOMEGATING? If this is a Salad Bar, why is there only one bowl of a salad-like foodstuff? And, finally (perhaps most importantly to some people), where are the bacon bits?

For The Good Life,

Waiting to hear from you in Comments.

original image Vermeer's "A Lady Writing"

Monday, March 04, 2019

Monday Meme: Nature

It's March, and as a lifelong resident of Northeast Ohio, I know this means Zero about the arrival of Spring. Point of fact--today's high was 21 degrees; with the wind chill, it felt like 3. There is a light dusting of snow on the ground with a threat of more most of the week. Still, I'm aware we're better off than our seasonal brethren in Michigan, Wisconsin, and most recently, New England.

March makes me weary. It's a long, sloggy month with an Identity Crisis. It's Not-Winter and it's Not-Spring. My father, surprisingly chauvinistic at times, used to call it the Women's Weather Month because it's so changeable. That always irked me, but I do like the idea of Nature being Female (although the term Mother Nature, not so much).

Despite Her many vagaries, I am a great appreciator of Nature (in part, due to my father), even when She does Her level best to irritate the hell out of me with things like snow in general, wind when I'm trying to sleep, squirrels badgering my birdfeeders, and mice breaking into my garage or, worse, my house.

Let's try and Manage March with a Nature Meme:

1. What part of Nature do you like best?
Trees, especially flowering trees.

2. What natural phenomenon would you like to see?
I'd really love to see a full display of the Northern Lights.

3. Is there an animal that you find awe-inspiring?
Lots of them. I recently spotted a bald eagle completely unexpectedly; that took my breath away. When I went whale-watching, I was awed. There is something about elephants that always touches me; they seem to have such an ancient, inherent dignity.

4. Have you ever ridden on a horse or any other animal?
I've always wanted to ride a horse. I've ridden a camel!

5. Are you more of a cat person or a dog person?
I love my granddog Zydrunas wholly and completely, but I am a cat person at heart.

6. Which version of (You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman do you like best, Carole King's or Aretha Franklin's?
I'll always have a soft spot for Carole King's version. Her Tapestry album is part of the soundtrack of my life. But when I think of that song, it's Aretha I hear.

7. Are you a Natural Woman (or Man), or do you avail yourself of a little Help?
I get by with a little help from my friends Mascara and Tinted Moisturizer. I'm far too lazy (and cheap) to colour my hair since it would require endless maintenance, and I'm too scared (and cheap) to get any cosmetic surgery (hospital infection! complications! wasting money!). I've even broken up with Blush for the most part. (Do they even still call it that?)

Your turn. March forth in Comments.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

In Which I Discuss The Grief Of Television, SADness, Hitting A Dog In The Face, And The News

Listen, I'm kind of showing up here because I'm afraid that if I don't write something--anything--right now, I might never write a single word in this space again. That would be sad, I think, for me, so here I go.

It would have been a good idea, probably, if I had thought a little bit about this ahead of time, but then I would have shrugged it off yet another day, and soon it would be March, and who knows what would happen then?

Perhaps a couple of General Categories Off The Top Of My Head will help Break My Writer's Block.

1. Television: Oh, yes, I am one of the Philistines Who Watch Television. Or tries to. We gave up cable aeons ago, so we suffer through commercial/antenna TV and use streaming services. When a series ends on Netflix, we are bereft and have that terrible period of grief followed by The Terror Of What To Commit To Next. We just finished Broadchurch, which we loved. But, because the lead actor had such a rapid and heavy Scottish accent, we had to be like The Olds and put on captions.  Imagine our shame and dismay.  And do not get me started about how many times I lose both remotes in the folds of my blanket.

2. Seasonal Affective Disorder: My SAD, which is usually on overdrive right about now, is not so bad. I think it's because we're seeing more sunshine than usual; I'm getting outside more often; and Sam got me a Happy Light for Christmas, which I use on cloudy days. I'm also getting better at what my friend Shirley would call Practicing Self Care.

3. My Pathetic Life: Jared went on an Axe-Throwing Date for Valentine's Day. Yeah. You read that right. Apparently, it's a real thing. He sent us pictures of him throwing an axe at a big slice of wood that was painted with a target. He said he "had a blast" and "hit a couple of game winners." I sent a text back that said, "I would do terribly at that. You should see me just try to throw stale bread out the back door for the birds and squirrels." And it's sadly true. Not only do I have zero arm strength, my aim is laughable. Ask Zydrunas, who has been hit in the face by innumerable ricocheting bouncy balls that I have attempted to toss through the doorway, but have instead rocketed squarely against the wall on either side.

4. My Newspaper Is Toying With Me: My Plain Dealer had the following headlines today, which I will place here for you, exactly and without comment: That 1 Guy Makes Music With His 'Magic Pipe' and France OKs Lightsaber Dueling As Sport.

I hope I'm back, but I can't make any promises. February has been kind of a bitch.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

The Cheap Therapy Of Snow Shovelling

Many of us are locked in the latest Polar Vortex--or one of them, now that there are actually three daughter vortices--and the extreme cold and waves of snow are forcing us to stay indoors, avoiding much travel. I'm also playing Nurse to Rick, who had spinal surgery on 18 January. He's a Very Good Patient, but until he is allowed to bend, twist, lift, or basically do Normal Life Things again completely, I am pretty much Everything Person. (Assisted very ably now and again by Sam, who stops by and is On Call, should we need anything, like the Good Boy he is. Jared, who lives farther away, is the Backup.)

I just came in from finishing up the latest round of snow shovelling, which is my best source of real physical activity these days. I have to say that I am always surprised and gratified at just how much any outdoor exercise improves my overall mood and sense of wellbeing almost automatically.

And I especially do like shovelling snow, oddly enough, and this comes from a longtime Hater Of Winter. Maybe it's because it gives me power over two things I so dislike, Winter and Being Cold. These things often hold sway over me, both physically and emotionally. But when I go outside and shovel, it's like I'm bossing them around; I'm refusing to succumb to Winter and the Cold.

I also think a great deal of it is that I can see steady progress as I work. The shovel leaves clear swaths of driveway and sidewalk. It's obvious where I've been and how much I have yet to do. There's also a definite end, an absolute finish to the work. When the driveway and sidewalk are clear, I'm done!  I can put away my shovel and go in.  In my career as a teacher, that wasn't the case. Even when I was done teaching a particular novel or unit and gave the final test, I still had stragglers--kids who were absent and had to make up assignments, quizzes, projects, and tests. They had deadlines, hypothetically, but you'd be surprised at how much leeway there was, especially if parents got involved.  I was forever hauling out folders of answer keys, makeup versions of tests, moving backwards into my gradebook, trying always in vain to get everyone (for once) at the same starting/ending point. I even had kids trying to make stuff up after the final grades were in and the school year had ended! Trust me, even when the Fat Lady sang, it was never really over.

The rewards of snow shovelling are so tangible. A clear driveway, obviously; a job done; that feeling of accomplishment as I look down that stretch of clear concrete; stepping into the house and feeling the warmth envelop me and see it steam up my sunglasses; the satisfaction of shedding each layer of coat, mittens, headband, boots; and finally, sitting down with the contentment of a job well done and done all by myself.

I hate winter with a Passion, believe me. Actually, more accurately, I hate Snow with a passion. I could live with Winter were it not for Snow. I never find it pretty, ever. It's dangerous at its worst and an inconvenience at its best. But I try to make the best of it.

original image

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Offering Some Perspective (And A New Cooking Show Idea?) For 2019

The Long-Suffering Zydrunas
One of the last conversations I had in 2018, via telephone with my eldest, Jared.

Jared: Ma. Got any ideas for a killer sauce or something for salmon? Decided to stay in tonight for New Year's Eve, so she's bringing stuff over and we're making salmon for dinner.

Nance: Ugh. You know I detest all fish, and salmon tops the list. But I have a teriyaki glaze recipe for it from back when I thought you all liked it.

Jared: I've always liked it. You know that. I can do an Asian thing. I don't need a recipe.

Nance: You could do a traditional lemon-dill-butter thing.

Jared: Yeah, that sounds good, too. The pressure's on. I've never cooked for her before.

Nance: Well, then the two of you could just cook together. That way, there's no pressure, and it's more of a fun situation.

Jared: Here's the second problem: I usually cook with my shirt off. You know, I put on some music, take off my shirt, and dance around, throwing shit together. Then, when I sit down to dinner, I complain to the dog when I find a hair in my food.

Nance: Oh, Jared.

Jared: I hold up the forkful or the hair or whatever, and I look him straight in the eye. I say, "Zydrunas, this is unacceptable. I've found a hair in my food. I expect better quality from this establishment."

Nance: What does he say?

Jared: The usual. He huffs and rolls his eyes. He's so tired of all my bullshit.

Happy New Year, everyone.  We might all be Tired Of The Bullshit, but let's have some Laughs!
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