This Is Not A Toy
Remember that label?
This is not a toy?
As a child I used to think, really, or is it a toy? As an adult I think, really, or is it a toy?
Labels continue to amuse me. Remove plastic from pizza before placing in the oven. Are we just stopping natural selection with all these labels? Then again, with the taste of some frozen pizzas, who’d notice? It’s also amazing how many “Do not eat” labels on things you wouldn’t possible even think of eating.
One of my all-time favourites is: if you can’t read the label, don’t use this. Huh? So basically, don’t spray deodorant in your eyes, sit on an oven door, don’t use a curling iron internally, don’t drink toner, pepper spray can irritate your eyes, hot beverages are indeed hot, and the list goes on. What’s your top weird label, dear readers?
1. Then again, observing people, I suppose these labels aren’t as weird as you’d think. Like those people who stand uber close to you in line. Do they think it’ll make the line move faster, or I’ll leave, either way, slow down, I’d appreciate dinner before you get that close.
2. What is with eating while driving? Really, is life that busy that people can’t stop and have a sandwich? Try the ‘o’ word: organization. And those poor little Stop signs, they’re getting a complex from being ignored…
3. Who writes these TV shows (“Do you have a swab?, “Did you get the swab?” “Are you out of swabs, how can you be out of swabs, we need swabs!”, what you need to get is a Thesaurus and out of Johnson & Johnson’s, ummm, anyway, I digress), books, and/or movies where all characters race around to keep, like, one main character alive? Does this person secretly have the cure for cancer? Other people drop like flies around them. or because of them, or to save them, but as long as they stay alive (more or less), it’s all good.
4. Money can’t buy happiness, sure, but it can buy food, shelter, security, I’d be way more comfortable crying in a nice house with a pool and not worrying about money all the time. Just sayin’.
5. No wonder young girls are so confused about body image. Women in music videos wearing clothes that could double as napkins gyrating against, well, anything. Men don’t feel the need to dress or act that way. Imagine the time we’d have for equal rights if we had never been told what shape to be, what to wear…who to be.
6. If you find politicians horrifying, pretend they’re children (not a big stretch), stop giving them so much attention.
7. The news keeps taking about how bad the economy is, not news to me, my economy has always been bad.
8. People who complain that you shouldn’t eat non-traditional foods for breakfast clearly haven’t figured out doughnuts are cake which is just like pancakes and you eat those for breakfast, right?
9. People who say they don’t do mornings are doing morning as they say it.
10. There’s nothing better we can do in this world, no greater kindness than making people feel safe, with food, shelter, comfort, love, and compassion, not fear, hunger, prejudice, poverty, and hatred.
My last post https://yadadarcyyada.com/2016/03/09/take-on-me/ had all that talk of adulting, this week I put adulting on hold, went to a March Break matinée (yes, alone and isn’t it a weird reflection on society that if I were a man, I would be seen as creepy doing so; a few rotten apples do spoil so much, still got some looks I was there without a child). I thoroughly enjoyed The Peanuts Movie for $3; $1 went to Kids Help Phone and I got coupons (free popcorn and movies) – charity, coupons, childhood, and reclining seats – you can’t see me right now, but I’m The Breakfast Club fist-pumping in the air.
My point? Labels are just labels (lawsuits aside), common sense is the best label. Hope your weekend (and the First Day of Spring/Spring Equinox) is a warm hug.
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.
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?
Revenge of the Nouns
As I age (totally gracefully, of course), I notice an ever-growing Pros and Cons List accumulating in my brain.
I’ve also notice one side of the list is getting much longer than the other.
The Pros (or what we gain as we get older):
More candles on your birthday cake
The Cons (or what we lose as we get older):
Keys and other stuff – although I prefer to think of them as ‘in a safe place’, er, somewhere
Hair – it’s ok, it just migrates to your nose, ears and chin
Ability to ignore distractions
Cells and stem cells lose their luster
The battle with gravity
Nouns – this one is mysterious, you find yourself able to describe the noun in great detail – the thing you wear, in the winter, to keep warm, two sleeves, zippers up…yet somehow in all that, the word ‘coat’ eludes you. It works somewhat better in writing.
Some things make both lists.
Is there anything some of my more ‘age-enabled’ readers have noticed they’ve gained or lost?
To me, age is just a number, one that we should be proud of as it gets higher, hint, hint, it means we’re still living.
Is it sad that society worships youth? Definitely, age has so much to offer, even more if you can enjoy the distinctive and sometimes amusing parts of aging.
The truth is, we’re all happier or sadder at different points in our lives for different reasons. Enjoy each moment, as many as there are.
I’ve got to go, to watch that show, where the guy asks the questions. You know, you have to answer in a question form. It’s been on a long time. I’m sure I’ll do really well, answering the, you know, thingies.
So You’ve Ruined Your Life…Now What?
You ruined my life!
My life is ruined!
They’re ruining my life!
People use the word ruin a lot,
I do not think it means
what they think it means.
Your life can be altered,
sometimes in extremely
screwed up royally,
but your life
can’t be ruined…
So what if you:
1. Shared a picture, tweet, post, status update etc. that has offended, disturbed, cost you a job, relationship, friendship, and/or caused massive backlash? Learn from it. People are complex, multidimensional, social media tends to be flat, a moment frozen in time which you have no idea how people are viewing or why, what their filter is, what their life experiences are, etc. It’s so easy to offend on social media, if I haven’t done so already, keep reading, odds are someone will be offended by this.
2. Stayed too long and put too much into trying to save a toxic relationship, whether with a partner, friend, family member? ‘Bad’ relationships can lead to low self-esteem, depression, resentment, fatigue – a waste of time and energy. You’ve got to know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em, that isn’t just in poker.
3. Ate too much over the holidays? Spent too much over the holidays? Exercised too little? No use beating yourself up, accept responsibility and change.
4. Fell in love and fell hard…with stuff. It’s easy to do, shopping in stores, online, it’s exciting, it’s cool, it’s fun, everyone praises and envies your stuff; like any addiction you can choose what you feed it. Is the gratification worth the consequences?
5. Believed things you heard or read or watched. We’ve all done it, but there’s a lot of bad or just plain wrong information, especially on the internet. Take things with a hefty truckload of salt.
6. Been complacent. You hoped governments and corporations had your best interests at heart. They don’t. They should. But they don’t.
7. Forgot gratitude and took things for granted. I’m sure we’ve all done this, you get comfortable with people, things and you forget – they can all disappear. It’s so easy to accept, expect, and forget to be thankful. Broken record here, but learn from it.
8. Worried too much about what you say or do. Being yourself is so last year and what if you offend someone or they don’t like something you said or did? You can’t please everyone, so unless you’re hurting someone, this too shall pass. If they don’t like you when you’re really you, move on.
9. Gave up on dreams, decided to settle? It may not be too late, at least to have a modified version of those dreams. Keep trying.
10. You’ve fallen and you stayed there…There’s no time limit on getting back up. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, get up, dust off, you’re back!
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
Society is degenerating to a constant state of anxiety and fear, especially the fear of missing out. What if we missed an email, text, post, tweet, party, sale, invitation, night out, gossip, especially about celebrities, trips, trends…what if we just missed something? The only thing we don’t fear missing out on…voting.
While reading Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by the stunningly beautiful, talented, and hilarious Mindy Kaling (Three Rivers Press) I had an a-ha moment. The book itself was funny, charming, authentic, very much what you’d expect from the writer and star of The Mindy Project and The Office, she’s a hot mess and makes it work, but I started thinking about why more and more people are more depressed, stressed, anxious, suicidal, homicidal, etc. than ever, even children. I’m sure there are multiple reasons, but being in constant contact, rampant consumerism, extreme inequality, and fear of missing out must be high on the list.
So a bunch of money-grubbing, self-regulating corporations appeal to natural human curiosity, use culturally complex language, jargon, fear of missing out, pop culture references, celebrities, and even bullying to ensure we feel compelled to consume, which leads to wanting and buying and consuming even more which leads to, well, you get the picture. This isn’t just adults, we’re letting our children be groomed, to be exploited, for profit. Isn’t there a name for that?
The good news, there’s no need to stop consuming, or watching TV, or going on the internet…we just slow down and consider the source, who will profit.
Symptoms of a fear of missing out may include, but are not limited to:
1. Forgetting those you love or those in need while rushing around trying not to miss out.
2. Rationalizing buying products manufactured under deplorable conditions.
3. Describing wants as needs or worse believing wants are needs.
4. Obsessing about products, services, and activities.
5. Putting items above people.
There is hope. Some people might be doing things you’re not or having things you’re not, that doesn’t mean they’re happier or more content. It’s not a contest. Hopefully this will all level out and people will finally see what’s important instead of what’s advertised.
Since the holiday season is already being forced on us to stretch out the shopping and socializing so we’ll spend more, don’t fear missing out, celebrate what you have.
My 1 Year Blogaversary!
August 8, 2013 wow, that seems like a lifetime ago.
That blog post was, Fibromyalgia is a Four Letter Word (it still is).
Since then I’ve made a lot of mistakes, did I say a lot I meant a ton, or perhaps a tad more; probably said a lot of things people don’t agree with; and had some wanting-to-pull-my-hair-out moments, no worries, it’s still there, more or less.
I’ve learned a lot. Had some revelations about people I thought would be supportive, turns they weren’t, and still aren’t.
I’ll take it as a life lesson.
Plenty more people have been extremely supportive.
Thank you to family and friends, those who have pressed like, or shared, or reblogged, or followed, or subscribed, tweeted and retweeted, given me awards, or a combination. It means more than you’ll ever know, really.
I have ‘virtually’ met some awesome people who are kind, supportive, funny, helpful, generous, hopeful, caring, and have mind-blowing things to say and they share it. Thank you.
This year has opened up new portals for me.
I’m reading books I might never have read, learned things I didn’t know my brain could learn, but most of all it’s given me hope that maybe I can be more, it’s given me a glimpse of me, a me that I sometimes fear is gone forever.
So please join me for this virtual celebration of my 1st Blogaversary or Blogversary or maybe it’s a blogbirthday!
Drop by and say hi, read some of my older posts, apparently there are like 450 of them, hey, I did warn you with the tagline, Vague Meanderings of the Broke and Obscure.
Have a slice of virtual cake, wear a silly hat and join me for another year of who knows what!!!
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.
We stand in line for various new smart phones.
We have to decide between multiple versions of coffee. There are literally too many TV shows and movies to watch.
Too many pod casts, audio books, and musicians to listen to.
Too many books to read.
Giant grocery stores where you practically need a GPS to find your way around. I just wanted an apple. Sure, there are 20 varieties. Aaaaargh.
Huge malls where you need maps, like you’re on an Indiana Jones adventure.
Clothes, shoes, jewellery, cars, toys, restaurants, tablets, bars, news, clubs, blogs, theaters, social media, stores, computers, alcohol, laptops, medications, make-up, information, games, video games, apps, services, oh my!
We’re destroying our future and our children’s futures so we can have stuff.
We’re being controlled by our ability to choose.
Scarcity is unknown to too many of us. It’s difficult to even comprehend people still live in squalor with no safe water, no heat or cooling, no medical care, selling themselves, dying, even selling their children for food.
Comfort and abundance has lead to sloth, entitlement, intolerance, apathy, and waste.
“Having is not so pleasing a thing as wanting; it is not logical but it is often true.” ~Spock
The less you have the more you appreciate it. People dreaming of winning the lottery are often happier than those who win it.
Ever been eating something delicious and realize it’s almost gone? Those last few bites are savoured.
Reading a book, watching a show, time with family or friends – all taken for granted until you realize they’re almost over.
You’ll actually use less toothpaste as the tube empties, without conscious thought.
The last days of your vacation you’ll do more.
You’d think we’d be happier with more things, more choices. If stuff made us happy why are more people on meds for stress and depression with higher debt, more drama, more shopping, more self-help books, more diets…apparently more isn’t always better.
If you have one glass you will take care of that glass, cherish it because otherwise you will have difficulty drinking.
If you have one pair of shoes, you will treasure those shoes for without them you will walk in bare feet.
I’m not advocating poverty, just moderation. The ‘M’ word was more popular before we were told by corporations selling us stuff that we needed more stuff.
I love having the ability to choose, but there comes a point, especially with products and services that super saturation directs us to confusion, stress, worry, and disorder.
Abundance should be shared.
When will we ever have enough?
The book Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir (Times Books/Henry Holt and Company) is a well-written, amusing, comprehensive explanation with examples of why scarcity is so important. Scarcity in all forms. I borrowed it from the library…one less book.