Don’t Worry, Be Happy
Everyday in the media and social media I hear about happiness.
Gross National Happiness,
polls, songs, quotes…
what’s with all the happiness?
Is wretchedness and melancholy really that out of style?
Where are the memes celebrating the drudgery of everyday life?
Where are all the T-shirts promoting doom and gloom?
If happiness is sooooo easy why does everyone have to be constantly reminded to be happy?
When did we become so obsessed with measuring and quantifying happiness? When it became big business, that’s when. I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness lately so I was drawn to The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold us Well-Being by William Davies (Verso). I felt the book was overly academic, like I needed a degree in something to understand it, but it did have some fascinating, logical, brilliant, and disturbing points about how we’re being sold happiness and at what cost. Happiness is a new religion.
But what if we’re being sold a one-size-fits-all happiness coat? It seems to insulate us against heartache, but instead, it’s drafty, the seams are fraying, and oops, it’s not waterproof. I’ve been sales-pitched happiness for years, and I’m starting to feel consumer fatigue. I’m guessing a lot of people aren’t feeling ‘the happy’ the way they’re told they should be feeling it, especially if the amount of loneliness, antidepressants, and boredom are any indication.
I find people endlessly fascinating, though I could live to be a 1000 and still never grasp their full complexity. Maybe I don’t want to, there’s nothing more thrilling than a mystery. I’ve observed that people seem to think they have to add things and people to their life to be happier, but what if it’s quite the opposite, what if you have to remove things and people to be happier?
I decided to start my own Happiness Savings Plan – pool then diversify my assets and lose some liabilities. I want to make sure I keep falling in love, over and over again, with my son’s laughter, books, music, clouds, chocolate, TV, movies, loved ones, conversation, kittens, dreams, puppies, laughter, hope…I’m tired of hearing about: The Kardashians, FIFA, Bruce Jenner/Caitlyn (I don’t care about the choice, I’m just sick of endless publicity-seeking), spy pigeons, wrinkled selfies (pretty much all selfies at this point actually), drought shaming, fat shaming, age shaming, sex mad marsupials…sigh, I’m feeling less happy just thinking about it all.
So for the next 365 days my plan is to make changes, one per day, mostly removing things; perhaps it will make me happier, perhaps not, only time will tell.
I invite you, my dear readers to join, if you so wish, don’t feel like you need to, or do the same changes. And don’t worry, there won’t be endless posts about my C-C-Changes Plan, just an update here and there…
My first week is as follows:
1. Remove 15 minutes or more of internet time per day.
2. Remove 15 minutes or more of news/politics per day.
3. Remove 15 minutes or more of sitting per day.
4. Give up one TV show.
5. Change 15 minutes of screen time into reading or listening to a book time.
6. Take 15 minutes or more to organize .
7. Learn something new each day.
It might be challenging, but as G.K. Chesterton reminded us, “There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.”
P.S. I’m going for less.
I Can’t Make You Love Me
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a woman in possession of a blog, must be in want of readers.
For some, blogs take off faster than a Nascar driver chasing after sponsorship, for most others, like me, it’s a slow ride…
I know some of the reasons it’s been a slow ride, I’ve broken the first rule of The Blog Club, don’t talk about The Blog Club, no, that’s not it, oh yes, find a niche. Never have, probably never will. I figure if I get bored, you will too.
To me, giving blogging advice is like trying to explain to someone how to: dance, paint, drive, or make love in a canoe. Sometimes you just have to do it and make the mistakes, have the close calls, possibly tip over at the most inopportune moment.
When asked my blogging advice I offered https://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/04/10/im-hooked-on-a-feeling/
…but with a rebel yell you cried more, more, more…so here goes:
1. Choose a name for your blog. I didn’t know this was important when I choose mine. Live and learn.
2. Size matters, but it’s more about how you use it, mind out of the gutter, I’m taking about post size. Remember, it doesn’t matter how much they love your posts, your readers have lives.
3. Try to use images that work with your post. Adding a random picture of an adorable kitten just to suck up to the cats who run the internet might be smart, but come on, who does that?
4. Don’t get too stressed about the numbers, like right now, most numbers seem down on WordPress, who knows why? First, I blamed the Royal baby, but Princess Charlie is just too awfully cute. Then Mayweather/Pacquiao fight, Mother’s Day, elections, weather, labour unrest, but in the end I had to admit the truth – it’s WordPress. They probably changed their algorithms, come on, they’re always changing something, so statistically (and they love stats), it has to be them.
5. Poofread, er, proofread or get someone else to (and you can always correct it afterwards). We all make mistakes.
6. I can’t make you love me, well, actually, my posts, but one of the best parts about blogging is connecting with your readers and other bloggers, without all of you, what’s the point? Like everything else, sometimes you have to take someone’s hand and other times, offer yours.
7. It’s not a race or a contest. Don’t worry if a post is going to go viral, or get Freshly Pressed https://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/03/26/why-i-will-never-be-freshly-pressed/ or be nominated for awards, or making you rich and famous. Take a deep breath. Right now is about right now.
8. Blogging advice can be confusing, here’s the problem, what I think is terribly catchy and clever might not be to others. Obviously I think I’m writing something good, otherwise why would I publish it? Do what you want to do.
9. To be a shameless self-promoting bloghussy like me or not to be, that is the question. Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous rejection while promoting on social media….aye, there’s the rub. I like Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest, but Facebook just lays there like a mouldy, old ad-filled sock.
10. Don’t worry about if you’re going to offend someone, it’s the internet, someone is always, and I mean always, offended. Always.
Who am I kidding? I have no idea what works. I’ve poured my heart out and had the post sit there, alone, shivering like the last leaf on a tree before winter. Just do what you feel is right, in the famous words of those sage philosophers, Cheap Trick, “Surrender, Surrender, but don’t give yourself away”.
What about you, dear readers, what would be your best blogging advice?
Happy Mother’s Day – I Just Ate Your Gift
Someone asked me the things I would have done differently as a Mom. I could lie and say nothing, I was perfect, but it’s not true.
I would have cared a lot less about what people said.
I would have cleaned less and listened more.
I would have ignored the heartburn, swelling, and other difficulties of my pregnancy because my son was growing under my heart even as he took over my heart.
I would have gazed even more at my son’s amazing face because it took me too long to realize it changed often, and permanently.
I would have listened less to what people told me was ‘right’ or what I ‘should do’ and listened to my heart more.
I would have figured out earlier that I didn’t have to be Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Martha Stewart combined; I was fine as just me.
I would have spent more time there, in that moment because in that moment, everyone was there and now they aren’t.
I’m glad I sat on the floor and played Thomas the Tank Engine.
I’m glad I rolled in the grass, built sandcastles, and almost threw up on rides.
I’m glad we ate popcorn in a couch fort.
I’m glad we made snow angels and laid in the grass finding shapes in the clouds.
I’m glad we laughed as we waded through muddy fields to get the best pumpkin ever.
I’m glad we ate ice cream and talked about all the ‘sharks’ in the river and giggled as we tried to name them.
I’m glad I never turned down a sticky kiss or told my son to wash his grubby hand instead of holding it.
Moms kiss boo-boos to make them better, go to appointments, love unconditionally, make sandwiches that may or may not be traded to other kids, laugh, cry, help with schoolwork, brush teeth, change diapers, read and cuddle, dance in bare feet to Elvis, nag repeatedly about cleaning rooms, and teach how to be in the world.
Enjoy the moment of being a daughter or son, of being a Mom, Dad, brother, sister, grandparent, friend, aunt, uncle, cousin – life is too quick and too complicated not too enjoy.
Hopefully this Mother’s Day you don’t have to:
Save the future of the entire human race by allowing your son to hang out with a Terminator (then again, you can’t pick their friends).
Break into ABBA songs while trying to remember who your child’s father is.
Send your supernatural darling to the prom.
Nag your son, even from beyond the grave to maintain the family motel business and to shower his guests with attention.
Date your son when he travels back in time to your high school.
Worry if your little girl is the best and most stylish vampire slayer she can be.
Expose secrets about corporations using toxic substances while in heels.
Stop selling Avon long enough to rescue an orphan with a cutting issue.
Raise little dragons to be upstanding members of the community – take that villager out of your mouth, honey, you don’t know where he’s been!
Keep a royal dynasty going by providing heirs…and spares.
Have enough children to make a baseball league.
Or keep the hills alive with the Sound of Music while escaping the Nazis.
Life is like a box of chocolates…Happy Mother’s Day, I just ate your gift.
Come To The Dark Side, We Have Cookies
“They were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Naturally they became heroes.”
Princess Leia Organa of Aldaraan, Senator
This is one of my favourite quotes from Star Wars, though it was never used in the movies. I don’t know how many times in my life I’ve been in the wrong place at the wrong time, or if one believes in fate, perhaps I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
Each day is filled with choices, decisions, some huge, life-changing and others little, although who knows, they might be life changing as well.
Today is May the 4th, some may know it as Intergalactic Star Wars Day. For some, that’s everyday.
Nerds greet each other with, May the 4th Be With You. Posts, memes, parties, hash tags, sales, and news stories converge, in greater numbers.
Although this May 4th, the news is more about Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana than Princess Leia.
Tomorrow, to a lesser degree with Revenge of the Fifth, although I think Revenge of the Sixth makes more sense. Is that a thing?
An old nemesis has descended upon me this May the 4th – my Darth Vader, my Boba Fett, Jabba the Hut (probably rather have Pizza the Hut), Rancor (although it smells better), Greedo, or Count Dooku – I’ve loosely titled it, Stars Wars VIII: Return of the Back Pain. Luckily it doesn’t hurt as much when I sit…and if I go over to The Dark Side, I hear they have cookies.
I think I know what brought it on, an unusual activity (not nearly as exciting as it sounds).
It also brings back horrible memories of the car accident where the pain originated and I’m left to watch my back, like the aptly titled book, Watch Your Back! by Richard A. Deyo MD (Cornell University Press). I read this last time my back pain flared, hoping for some answers. It left me with more questions as it’s straightforward information shone a light on The Dark Side of the medical profession which offers people less and less, for more and more.
We don’t like to think that our pain is a business, but it’s big business.
This book won’t be popular, it points out that the medical profession, like politics and other systems, to paraphrase George Lucas, is like a great tree, able to withstand any external force, but rots from within. The lure of money, power, and prestige can overcome common sense and decency.
I understand the temptation of the magic fix, but realistically I know I have to do most of the figurative heavy lifting.
As patients we should be pushing for more treatments that are sensible, empowering, and give effective, long-term results for moderate costs.
I’m used to being in constant pain with Fibromyalgia, it waxes and wanes, but never actually ceases, but in a strange way pain can also be freeing. You see past the Jedi mind tricks or I guess more like Sith mind tricks…you see the truth.
What about you, dear readers, do you ever see The Dark Side of people when they think they can’t get anything from you?
Do you also see the power of The Force of goodness when some people like you just the way you are?
The latter is what I choose to believe in.
May the Fourth be with you.
50 Things to Get Busy Doing Before 50
1. Reach 49.
2. Forgive. Doesn’t matter if they deserve it, you do.
3. Some people will be negative and hate, so what, what’s that got to do with you?
4. Learn your parents, family, and friends’ stories.
5. Ignore people who tell you to try surfing or skydiving or extreme sports if you don’t want to do it, they’re not going to spend the time in hospital or rehab.
6. Help someone who needs help and don’t tell a single soul you did it.
7. Learn to compromise.
8. Conquer a fear. Doesn’t have to be a big one.
9. Take the time to write that email, make that call, write a letter, visit, send a card, it may not matter, but what if it does?
10. Ask for help. Accept it gratefully.
11. Smile. Laugh. Often. Quit thinking about why. Smile. Laugh.
12. Cry. Into someone’s shoulder, a pillow, a cat or dog, a tub of ice cream, a gooey chocolate bar, but cry.
13. Walk. Look around. Walk some more.
14. Quit measuring. Your food. Waist. Accomplishments. What others have. Still measure before cutting wood, fabric, and when you bake.
15. Nurture yourself so you can nurture others. The world works best when everyone cares for someone.
16. Say yes more often.
17. Say no more often.
18. Do something you didn’t think you could do. Maybe you still can’t, but isn’t it glorious that you tried?
19. Read. Doesn’t matter what.
20. Laugh so hard it hurts and you think someone might call in help because there’s something wrong.
21. Don’t be too serious, it causes wrinkles and it’s no fun.
22. Believe in something, stand behind it, no matter what.
23. Find some magic, whether it’s in a book, a sunset, a blog post, a smile, a party, a kiss, a moment…Find it and keep it.
24. Belt out a song at Karaoke, especially one you don’t know or with inappropriate lyrics.
25. Watch the stars…sleep under them if possible.
26. Roll down a grassy hill with your friend (make sure there’s nothing in the way first).
27. Change your hair, not to follow a style, or to cover gray hair, or because someone tells you that you should.
28. Let go of hate.
29. Lay and watch clouds for a minimum of one hour. You’re welcome.
30. Sit alone in a restaurant, don’t hide behind a book or your phone or pretend to be engrossed in your noodles (they’re not that fascinating). Look around, be in the moment.
31. Make an unrealistic wish on a shooting star.
32. Have a huge crush that can never be returned. It’s freeing.
33. Follow a dream, even if everyone tells you it’s ridiculous, especially if everyone tells you it’s ridiculous.
34. Move forward. You don’t have a time machine.
35. Compassion first. Compassion second. Compassion third. You get the idea.
36. Be so completely wrong you’ll never believe how wrong you were.
37. Be so completely right no one will ever believe how right you were.
38. Visit Niagara Falls, really, any enormous waterfall will do. You will walk away with a million and half questions about the universe.
39. Don’t follow trends or fads, do what you want, your time is limited.
40. Be like your parents.
41. Don’t be like your parents.
42. The answer to life, the universe and everything. Use it wisely and sparingly.
43. Stop saying, ‘Life isn’t fair’. It never was.
44. Be happy with what you have and what you are – at least it’s real.
45. Have goals. Fulfill some.
46. Stop using the word ‘impossible’. Substitute ‘improbable’ if you must.
47. Spend a whole day just listening.
48. Spend a whole day telling the truth.
49. There’s no scorecard, so be yourself, quit trying to get points.
50. Life is too short to do someone else’s bucket list. Be your best you….at any age.
It’s Not The Years, Honey. It’s The Mileage
Our bodies might be temples, but mine is starting to look like it needs an archaeological dig.
I’m going to agree with Indiana Jones, “It’s not the years, honey. It’s the mileage.”
Sigh, it might also be the years.
Maybe it’s just that women need more upkeep…or we’re told we do.
Women spend an inordinate amount of time trying to remove hair from their bodies…and if we can’t remove it, then we need to curl it, cut it, dye it, straighten it, lengthen it, wax it, shave it, shape it, and give names to the shapes.
Men generally just want to hold onto every single hair they have, for as long as they can.
Women spend hours they’ll never get back trying to pick out just the right shade, tone, tint, texture that’s going to: smooth, cover, cleanse, conceal, reverse, resist, beautify, bronze, define, alter, prime, primp, plump – for the dry, normal, oily, sensitive, acne-prone, combination; all of which will then be removed.
Men leave the house, perhaps after brushing the precious hair they have left and hopefully their teeth.
Women will do everything short of selling their souls (and that might be up for consideration) to keep themselves looking young, including being injected, operated on, rituals, who knows?
Women worry about every bit of food that passes their lips, weigh ourselves obsessively, worry about body fat, calories, diets. They will fast, cleanse, purge and look too often into the abyss (aka the full-length mirror).
Obviously these are generalizations, but why are there such differences between the sexes? Is it our brains? Bodies? Society? History? It should be about acceptance. Men and women aren’t that much different, except women usually get paid less and their products and services cost more.
We’re all human (well, most of us, there are exceptions), we should accept each other and work together.
In Raiders of the Lost Ark they should have said, we have top people working on it. Why? Because we may just be passing through history, but it doesn’t mean we have to keep reliving it.
Now You’re Just Some Bunny That I Used To Know
What motivates us?
I’m sure the answer is different for everyone.
Praise. Power. People. Passion. Puzzles.
Possessions. Prestige. Punishment.
Pleasure. Position. Politics. Possibilities.
I know what my motivation is to eat Benedict Cumberbatch, that is, the life-size chocolate statute of Benedict Cumberbatch. Seriously, there’s now a 40kg Belgian chocolate replica of most everyone’s favourite Aspergian detective, because he was chosen as #1 dishiest UK actor in a survey. David Tennant was the runner-up. Oh I don’t know, that would be a tough call. Can I have both? Er, in chocolate?
Today is Autism Awareness Day worldwide, and those on the Autism Spectrum have often been called, differently motivated. Too many people don’t (or choose not to) understand this. Their theory seems to be if you aren’t motivated by something they can understand then you must be: stupid, lazy, defective, foolish, or a loser. Intolerance shows itself in varied ugly forms.
We’re still in the beginning stages of a long journey to try to get people to understand Autism. It’s a neurological difference. Things changed, doesn’t mean it’s terrible or catastrophic.
Some things we used to believe:
Some thought the Earth was flat (those are called pancakes).
If an elevator is falling, jump up (you’ll just hit the ceiling).
Putting sugar in a gas tank ruins the car (still not a good idea).
Spontaneous generation from inanimate objects (er, no, just no).
The human body is made up of four humors – black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood (some days I wonder).
A duck’s quack doesn’t echo (it does, it does, it does).
Dropping a penny off a high building could kill someone (how about a quarter?).
Quicksand sucks you under (only in the movies).
Earth revolves around the Sun (you’re not our only friend, Sun).
we’re the center of the Universe (actually, a lot of people still believe that they’re the center of the Universe).
My son, who is the center of my Universe has Asperger’s. He’s differently motivated, but that’s not always a bad thing. He doesn’t succumb to peer pressure. He doesn’t believe everything he reads or sees – he questions. He doesn’t worship at the altar of consumerism. He thinks outside the box, actually, I’m not even sure he knows there is a box.
We should stop measuring everyone by one standard and enjoy the differences.
So whether you celebrate World Autism Awareness Day, and/or Easter – all the best!
Viva la difference!
Old Habits Die Harder
Don’t you think this would be a perfect title of the next Die Hard movie? Call me Bruce, we’ll talk…
Oh, you know there’s going to more, this isn’t over yet.
I woke up in the night with my leg in a bear trap. The pain was excruciating. It was dark and there was no one around to help me. As I struggled to my feet, feeling at my ankle for blood I realized I’d been dreaming. My mind, trying to process the pain of the fist-sized charley horse in my leg had incorporated it into my dream.
I’d done a prolonged and unusual activity the day before, sadly, it wasn’t nearly as exciting as it sounds. I had broken a habit of procrastination and avoidance. OK, maybe I’d at least dented the habit.
The trouble with habits, these sometimes helpful, sometimes hurtful patterns of behaviour – they so can easily become addictive and breaking them is complicated.
Phase 1 – Some call it denial. You don’t have a problem, everybody else does. This habit isn’t hurting anyone. Phase 1 can last for years and years.
Phase 2 – You consider you might have a bad habit and contemplate whether to part ways with the habit. This phase can also last a long time.
Phase 3 – You start looking at the good, the bad, and addictive. I like the habits, no, I hate the habits. Pros and Cons lists are made. Arguments for and against are hotly debated in your head.
Phase 4 – The most public phase. Until now you fought the habit war in your head. With action, people will know. It’s all out there. You’ll get narrow-eyed looks, comments, praise, questions, and/or criticism. But your resolve is firm.
Phase 5 – Staying the course. You’ve done it, kicked that habit to the curb! It’s not going to run your life, you are in charge. This is when you have to maintain. They can take our habits, but they can never take our freedom!
Phase 6 – When the ugly stats that 9 out of 10 people relapse back into their habits within a year. And the older the habit, the harder is it to break. You get the bad news, you have Chronic Reversion Syndrome. The tests all show, the habit is back. Your family and friends fear the worst, but you know you’re going to fight it.
In your rush to recover, you should be careful, to change a habit, you need to move toward something new and better, not just away from the habit you’re trying to kick. Or try to replace a bad habit with a good habit.
How do you quit bad habits, dear readers?
Have you had success or like me, do you suffer from Chronic Reversion Syndrome?
March Madness Spring Fling Blog Party
Depending on where you are, this week is:
Spring Break, March Break, March Madness, Spring Equinox, St. Patrick’s Day or maybe it’s just March.
So for our own form of March Madness, a Spring Fling to get us in the mood, let’s have a Blog Party!!!
Please use the comment box below to tell other bloggers about your blog –
don’t forget to include your blog link!
Tell us something about yourself and/or your blog
and share it so other bloggers will find out about you and everyone else!
I started this blog for relaxation (although sometimes, especially when WordPress makes changes, relaxation is not the word I use), but now, over 500 posts later, I look at my followers and views with wonder.
As a single mom with Fibromyalgia, raising a child with Autism and other health concerns, relaxation is important because most days I feel like Wile E. Coyote with his tiny umbrella.
I’ve learned a lot, but the best part has been my dear readers.
You make it all worth while.
Finding each other in this giant virtual haystack is astonishing and awesome.
I’d hoped it would also lead to fame and fortune; that part hasn’t panned out, but who knows?
Till then, still broke and just a tad less obscure.I’m thankful for all the awards I’ve received, but narrowing down other nominees has become too challenging as I find more and more astonishing bloggers whose insights thrill, stories chill, make me cry, laugh, smile, remember, make me think, wonder, and dream.
I love that you think of me, but my time and energy are limited so I’ll use them by responding to your comments and leaving some on your blogs, Tweeting, Retweeting, and sharing your posts.
I’d like to thank some of my most stalwart supporters, those of you who follow, take the time to press the Like button; who humble me by reblogging; Tweet and Retweet, share on Facebook, Google+, Reddit, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr and more. I find myself looking forward to your posts, comments, insights, loving your stories, glowing…
I just want to soak them all up.
So join me here, it’s easy to Follow via email or WordPress
and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/yadadarcyyada
Twitter @yadadarcyyada for some Hashtag parties:
Sundays: #SundayBlogShare @suzie81blog
Mondays: #MondayBlogs @MondayBlogs
Wednesdays: #wwwblogs (Women Writer Wednesdays),
and #BeWoW (Be Wonderful posts on Wednesdays @RonovanWrites)
Any day with compassion: #1000Speak @1000Speak
Weekends: #WeekendBlogHop @WeekendBlogHop
Excellent ways to find posts and bloggers.
So thank you all for a memorable time here on this big bouncy web.
Please don’t leave without sharing your blog link and info below,
so other bloggers can find you
and you can find other bloggers.
Keep checking back, who knows how long this party will last?
Go ahead, make my St. Patrick’s Day!
I know what you’re thinking, was it a 3 or 4 leaf shamrock?
To tell you the truth in all this excitement, I kinda lost track myself.
Seein’ as how St. Patrick’s Day is almost here…
people will be wearin’ the green, singing, dancing and enjoying libations,
you’ve got to ask yourself one question.
Do I feel lucky?
Well, do ya, dear readers?
Go ahead, make my St. Patrick’s Day!
The 1st rule of St. Patrick’s Day, you do not talk about St. Patrick’s Day!
This St. Patrick’s Day I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse.
I’ve always depended upon the kindness of Irish strangers, except no one’s a stranger on St. Patrick’s Day.
Listen to them, children of the Irish, what beautiful music they make.
If you pour the beer, they will come.
I love the smell of shamrocks in the morning!
The Shamrock Redemption
I see Irish people. They’re everywhere. Some of them don’t even know they’re not Irish.
Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Ireland anymore.
May the Green be with you.
Nobody puts a wee Leprechaun baby in the corner.
What we’ve got here is a failure to excommunicate!
I feel the need, the need for Irish speed.
I’m still Irish, it’s the holiday that got less Irish!
Show me the blarney!
You do know how to whistle Toora Loora Loora, don’t you? You just put your lips together and blow.
We’re goin’ need a bigger bar.
Say hello to my little friend…they like to be called that now, the Leprechauns.
Life is like a box of Baileys chocolates, you just never remember what you got.
Hope you’ve enjoyed my St. Patrick’s Day-goes-to-the-movies edition. Remember, what happens on St. Patrick’s Day stays on St. Patrick’s Day.
Lazy SuperBowl Sundae
I know it’s Super Bowl Sunday
That means I should be
the gods of football
Yet when I hear Sunday
I think of many things
people might do:
day at the park
drive in the country
fun with family
The Walking Dead
Sunday Bloody Sunday
staying in bed
curled up with a good book
But mostly I think of
rivers of chocolate flowing
over snowy white
of ice cream
majestic whipped cream
caressing icy peaks
crowned by a plump
all on a lazy sundaeSo whether you’re watching
Or cleaning your toilet bowl
Hope this day, at least,
is treating you kindly.
Enhanced Christmas Infusion Techniques
Evil wins when it destroys our belief in good. Santa knew that better than anyone, he specialized in good, he had a list for it. He also had a list for naughty and he was going to have to add to that list.
Santa grimly looked out the window, his white gloves absently touching the papers on his desk. He knew this report would forever change the way people viewed The North Pole and possibly Christmas.
The CIA (Christmas Intensity Agency) could be a little overzealous in their protection and advancement of Christmas, but he hadn’t known or let himself think about the lengths they might have gone to in the War on Christmas.
In their zeal to make people believe in Christmas the CIA had done unspeakable things. People had been forced to: untangle tree lights for hours on end; eat fruitcake, gumdrops, candy, candy corn, candy canes, cookies; watch hours of Christmas movies, even the made-for-TV ones; had been sleep-deprived so no visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; were syrupboarded; made to wear holiday cheer; stand on broken candy canes; endless Christmas songs, and even had their families threatened. Not to mention blowing a large portion of the Christmas budget and for what? The conclusion was clear, the Enhanced Christmas Infusion Techniques were not only sadistic and inhumane, but ineffective.
Santa couldn’t understand what had caused the CIA to do such horrible things. He opened the book entitled, The Naughty List, picked up his pen and dipped it into the inkwell, shaking his head again in anger and disbelief, they’d never even asked if those people believed in Christmas.
Evil only wins if it destroys our belief in good.
12 Hours of CyberMonday
In the first hour of CyberMonday my true love bought for me a Star Wars Christmas Tree (The Christmas Force Awakens?).
In the second hour of CyberMonday my true love bought for me 2 Christmas sweaters (or jumpers, either way, not sure I’m that cold just yet).
In the third hour of CyberMonday my true love bought for me 3 motion-activated candy dispensers (it says motion, that burns calories, right?).
In the fourth hour of CyberMonday my true love bought for me 4 boxes of chocolates (aaaand, they’re gone!).
In the fifth hour of CyberMonday my true love bought for me 5 Lord of the Rings action figures (you had me at action).
In the sixth hour of CyberMonday my true love bought for me 6 personalized mix tape pillows (really, couldn’t even make me a real mixed tape?).
In the seventh hour of CyberMonday my true love bought for me 7 robotic vacuums (wait, is he saying my house is dirty?).
In the eighth hour of CyberMonday my true love bought for me 8 paint your own rain boots kits (really, that’s a thing?).
In the ninth hour of CyberMonday my true love bought for me 9 zombie survival kits (be nice, I’ll share).
In the tenth hour of CyberMonday my true love bought for me 10 Disney Frozen Sparkle Princess Elsa Dolls (any guesses what my donation to the toy drive will be this year?).
In the eleventh hour of CyberMonday my true love bought for me 11 live video camera drones (I love what you’ve done with your bedroom!).
In the twelfth hour of CyberMonday my true love…oops, his credit card was declined.
The shopping force is strong in people around this time of year.
Shop wisely, regrets can be expensive…
Charlie and The Chocolate Factory Turns 50
I’m celebrating 50,000+ views on my blog (Thank you! Thank you!) and the 50th anniversary (published 1964) of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, published 1964.
Loved with this book, then I saw the movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – my mind was forever altered.
A factory full of chocolate? It was one thing to read about it, another to see a river of chocolate…
I still love the 1971 Gene Wilder version best (directed by David L. Wolper), maybe because it’s steeped in childhood memories or because for me, it’s Gene Wilder’s definitive performance.
This is where I fell in love. Gene Wilder and chocolate. Sign me up!
Wilder is the ultimate Willy Wonka. He didn’t go over-the-top weird, instead opting for a subtle, damaged man-child who was trapped in his own reclusion, a Howard Hughes-like creative genius who couldn’t cope in a reality that wasn’t of his own making. Wilder’s transcendent blend of cordiality, callousness, awe, and animosity make you think he is Wonka, he just is.
Jack Albertson was delightful as Grandpa Joe, who apparently couldn’t get out of bed to get a job, but could dance a jig and spend the day at a chocolate factory.
Charlie Bucket is the only child Dahl and Wonka even remotely like due to his meek and accommodating nature, but Charlie wasn’t as obedient as he seemed, he spent money on a chocolate bar that he wasn’t supposed to; so even in the most co-operative child Dahl found a fault.
The 1971 version was renamed Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory to cross-promote UK’s The Willy Wonka Candy Company who had bought the rights from Roald Dahl.
I never understood why Roald Dahl was classed as a children’s author, he clearly disliked children, at times rather intensely. His stories and books reflect this.
What he hated more than children were their parents, specifically parents who didn’t raise their children properly, at least from his point of view.
Imagine what Roald Dahl would think of children and their parents now?
I recently read A Brief History of Chocolate (Steve Berry and Phil Norman) which I must warn you will not only vastly entertain and inform, but make you crave chocolate.
Despite best intentions this book lacked something, what was it? Oh yes, chocolate. They should sell each copy with a chocolate bar or coupon for a free chocolate bar. There, a marketing idea, no charge…although I’d take a thank you in chocolate bars.
I also loved the darker, creepier Tim Burton vision of Willy Wonka.
Johnny Depp played him weird and it worked. Also damaged, but in a deranged-metrosexual-game-show-host-who-moonlights-as-a-rock-star-on-acid-way.
Veruca Salt was a bad egg or nut in all versions, but really, her parents spoiled her. Also, Augustus Gloop, Mike Teevee, and Violet Beauregarde. All annoying children, but allowed, even encouraged to be so by their parents.
The first time I walked into the Hershey chocolate factory in Smith Falls, Ontario the smell was divine, like melted chocolate floating through clouds of more chocolate just before it rained chocolate.
I’ll never forget the look on my son’s face, the pure wonder as he watched row after row after row of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups racing happily along the conveyor belt.
I’m sure I had a similar look as I saw the giant vat of chocolate I wanted to swim in, not figuratively, literally.
No Oompa-Loompas, no chocolate waterfall, trees made of taffy, Everlasting Gobstoppers, no fizzy lifting drinks, or Wonka though, but lots of chocolate for sale and sample.
Alas Hershey closed the factory after 45 years, losing a great tourist attraction, and hundred of jobs. Several other large employers closed, shipping more Canadian jobs overseas, leaving 40% of the town unemployed.
Now a flame has been lit as Smith Falls rallies; the factory at 1 Hershey Drive now produces medical marijuana, which, in a great cosmic irony would have made more people buy chocolate.
There are still times, when I open a chocolate bar wrapper and think I see a flash of gold.
Baby it’s cold outside
Hate to be one of those super obvious people, but it’s cold outside!!! I’m more than sure there are really warm places, but I’m not in one of them.
I’m going to say this is the coldest I remember, I haven’t checked my facts on this one, I believe when it comes to weather it’s important to exaggerate and use as much hyperbole as possible, after all, you’re cold.
No one’s even touched upon the real drama of this Polar Vortex, flyaway hair…
1. Heat yourself, not your space. Best time for socks and/or slippers, long-sleeved shirts, pants, thermal long johns, sweaters (your choice of pattern), blankets, robes, hats, scarves, gloves, mittens, etc.
2. Candles add heat, as do fireplaces, but be very careful, fire is only fun when contained.
3. Thick curtains and blinds (open if the sun is shining; closed if lots of wind and at night).
4. Keep interior doors closed, stops the cold moving from unused rooms.
5. Bake lasagna, cabbage rolls, cakes, etc. Not in the summer when you need to use Central Air to cool it down afterwards. Use your oven’s heat to warm your house – smells fantastic and you get yummy food.
6. A great time for soups or stews, not sure if scientifically they keep you warmer, but it sure feels that way. More so if dumplings are involved.
7. If so inclined I’ve been lead to, er, believe hot toddies can be a lovely way to keep warm, or hot chocolate, tea or coffee.8. If you know any penguins willing to share body heat they seem dreadfully good at that whole sitting on someone to keep them warm thing. They’re also so adorable.
9. Fat might be bad for you, but comes in handy during these extreme cold spells. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that Mother Nature is freaking on us and the general obesity rate is rising. Food for thought.
10. When you’re going to brave the outdoors, be a Boy Scout, always be prepared. Remember, the key is layers. Cover exposed skin. Make sure you’re aware of places you can duck into to warm up, especially on a longer trek.
11. People think because they’re driving they don’t have to dress for the weather. Wrong. Wear or bring a winter jacket. Wear or bring winter boots. Have extra gloves, hats, scarves, blankets, candles, and other emergency supplies in your car. Just in case.
12. Body heat. Enough said.
13. Don’t be hating on the cold, embrace it. Go for a walk; shovel (lift with your knees, not your back. No twisting and take your time, it’s not a race). Go sledding, skiing, skating, throw hot water into the air so it turns into snow…
Relax. It’s winter, not Armageddon. We’ll be back to whining about the heat in no time.
Happy Birthday Buddy! Hard to believe it’s been 10 years since Elf first charmed us on the big screen and has been in our homes and hearts since.
Buddy (Will Ferrell) is everything good about Christmas and people.
He loves unconditionally.
He makes a rocking horse out of a TV unit.
He adds maple syrup to spaghetti.
He puts the star on the Christmas tree in a very special, Chevy Chase-like way.
He goes up an escalator like no one else.
He uses Etch-A-Sketch in miraculous ways.
He sees magic and joy everywhere.
He doesn’t judge.
He loves life and he enjoys every minute.
And the best part?
He gives his gift of joy and love for all to share.
Fun notes about Elf:
Remember Peter Billingsley who played Ralphie in A Christmas Story? He makes a delightful cameo in Elf as Ming Ming (the Elf who tries to help Buddy be a productive toy maker at The North Pole).
Yup, that really is Zooey Deschanel singing in Elf. Baby, It’s Cold Outside (not my fav Christmas song, it’s actually kind of creepy) is sung by Leon Redbone and Zooey Deschanel.