Nothing replaces great friends

It takes time, it takes energy and it takes effort but there is nothing like meeting friends for a visit. Called a couple of my mom’s friends from the manor where she used to live; she had to move from there in May because she could no longer live independently. We moved her to a care home a ways away from where she lived for pretty much her whole life. So phoned Margaret and Sally to let them know I would bring mom for a visit today and asked if they could let the other manor ladies know. No need to make anything special, we will just enjoy visiting with anyone who happens to be around.

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We were greeted by a dining room full of my mom’s great friends!

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“Git’er dun”

I’m trying to use my time for important things instead of wallowing away on stuff that is unimportant. The challenge is figuring out what’s important. I went to a craft sale last weekend and saw all kinds of stuff that people had made with their own hands and I feel so unaccomplished. I left thinking making stuff by my own hand must be important. Last winter, when we were at a weekend bonspiel, I bought some wool in the local discount store. And when we were in Mexico for a week’s vacation I started a simple afghan, single crochet, double crochet, I can practically do it with my eyes closed. Now here we are November 2014, and it remains unfinished, literally ignored for months.
Because of all those talented crafters at the sale, I have just dug my unfinished afghan out from the bottom of my knitting basket. Suddenly I am determined to finish this project before Christmas. I don’t know why. I have no specific purpose for it. Although I love the colours, they don’t really fit anywhere in my house. But I wanna “git’er dun” to quote the truck that was parked in my spot last week. Wish me luck.

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Fashion is relative

So I was at the beauty salon for an 11:00 am appointment on a Saturday morning. My usual Saturday morning routine consists of throwing on my most comfy clothing, drinking copious cups of coffee and reading a book. Knowing I had an appointment but not thinking too much about where I was going, I’ve arrived at the salon in my comfy sweats and sweat shirt, my favourite Canadian Tire black, quilted Work King jacket and my black runners that have fantastic bright pink “clashing” laces.

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Nothing coordinates. The only common denominator is comfort. My mismatched style doesn’t even cross my mind until I arrive at the salon. As I wait for my appointment, I notice the beautiful hair and make-up and clothes surrounding me and the thought finally seeps into my caffeinated brain…I must look like I’m between hell and gone…where the quilted black CT jacket is a fashion statement.

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Lessons learned from my Jedi Tech Master

So I had my second lesson with my fabulous Jedi Technology Master (you know who you are!). I have spent my evening trying to put my new found learning into practice. Jedi Master, you will be proud to learn that I downloaded app of the day onto my phone, I perused the list of free apps and downloaded one of them, and now I’m typing my first blog post via my phone. Continue reading

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E-read my way to better habits

I’m reading my first non-paper book on Kobo, an electronic book system. I have the app on my phone and I am reading the book on my daughter’s Kobo e-reader machine thingy. And the talk to each other; one knows if I’ve been reading on the other! It took me about 4 weeks from when the light bulb went on and I realized that I didn’t need to go to the book store and buy the actual book to figuring out how to get the app on my phone and then finally purchase and start reading my first electronic book.

Paper or electronic book?

Paper or electronic book?

I actually thought reading on my phone was going to be really hard and probably frustrating. But to my surprise, it is quite easy and extremely handy. While waiting to meet a friend at the coffee shop, I can read a few pages of my book on my phone! I don’t have to carry a heavy book around, just two clicks and the book opens up on the page that I was last reading. How much easier could it be? I actually think this app might change one of my notorious bad habits: arriving just in time for things. And why do I do this? I feel like I’m wasting precious time whenever I arrive early and then have to wait. But I might be motivated to arrive a few minutes early for appointments if I’m in the middle of reading a good book! And reading on my phone makes me feel like one of those super-fast reader people because I have to turn the pages so often! So what have I chosen for my first electronic book and this epic change in how I read? Overcoming Under Earning by Barbara Stanny, and it just might motivate me to clean up a few other bad habits…stay tuned.

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Can you imagine your own destruction?

People, in particular women, in desperate financial situations. It reminds me of this quote in Sam Bourne’s thought-provoking novel called The Final Reckoning:

“Never underestimate a man’s inability to imagine his own destruction.” wrote Bourne.

If we simply change it to “Never underestimate a woman’s inability to imagine her own destruction”, it can represent so many women who have made bad choices in men and other decisions, and have suffered negative financial impact as a result.

But this is not to blame it all on the male species and give women a pass or excuse the desperate financial circumstances they find themselves in. Ultimately each one of us is responsible for our own decisions and therefore, women themselves do contribute to their own problems.

Sometimes, they actively contribute to the problem through actions; Actions of overspending, racking up expenses on credit cards that they can’t afford to pay in full when the bill comes in, buying stuff on payment plans, which results in more monthly debt payments than their monthly cash flow can afford, not paying bills on time and in full when they are due, lending money to others (often their children) when they can barely afford or can’t afford to pay their own bills, and not clearly outlining a repayment plan, taking on responsibility for all of the debt when husband and wife (or partners) do split just to get rid of arsehole etc. etc. etc.

Sometimes they contribute to the problem by choosing not to take part in the decision-making activities, allowing husbands or partners or others to carry the responsibility for financial decisions that ultimately affect their own lives; choosing not to read and fully understand the contract they are signing, not paying attention to what’s in the bank account and how many payment plans they are committing to etc; trusting that others, financial planners, used car sales people, and husbands/partners have their best interest at heart.

Sometimes they contribute to the problem through indecision and inaction; not dealing with the problems when they are small. Not changing their behaviour or spending patterns, not having the difficult conversations with husbands, partners or children, not challenging their investment advisor; ignoring the bills and final notices, not analyzing their financial situation and outlining a strategy to solve the problems before they get worse. However to quote from the song Freewill, written by great Canadian band, Rush, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

Oddly enough, when financial disaster finally, actually strikes and something MUST be done, according to Dr. Moira Somers, neuropsychologist with a specialty practice in financial psychology, research shows that it is the women who are “the clean-up crew”. It’s the women who deal with the creditors, the bankers, the lawyers etc. to clean up the mess. It’s the women who deal with family, friends and community commitments.

As women, can we not see the red flags that are warning us of impending and greater financial problems on the horizon? What keeps us from cutting our losses before we lose everything?

Is it that we can’t imagine our own destruction?

And WHY are we not pro-active in ensuring our own financial health throughout our ENTIRE lives?

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Pleasures on a Winter Day

It’s a beautiful winter day today. What has contributed to it?
1. a walk down the river in the snow
2. a fire in the wood stove
3. a good movie
4. the scent of dinner cooking in the oven and
5. a mango margarita (and deciding not to worry about whether I’ve spelled margarita correctly or not, but instead, just enjoying it and dreaming of our upcoming trip to Mexico)
What would you add?

Getting ready for Mexico

Getting ready for Mexico

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Point-of-View

The other night, I watched The Graduate. Without a doubt, one of the best movies ever made for many reasons. Not the least of which is the scuba scene that clearly illustrates Point-of-View (POV) in movie-making.

“A point-of-view shot is when the camera is positioned to record what a character in the film would be seeing from his perspective.” From Movie Making Manual

What would it be like to be at the top...looking down?

What would it be like to be at the top…looking down?


As Ben, the Dustin Hoffman character in the film, walks toward the pool in his scuba suit, the camera angle gives the movie watcher the perspective of being the person in the scuba suit…the movie watcher’s view is through the scuba mask…even though you see his parents, and you see their lips moving and their animated facial expressions, you don’t hear what they say…the only sound the viewer hears is that of the self-contained under-water breathing apparatus working…just like you would hear if you were in the scuba suit.

I first learned about POV a few years ago while taking a film-making course taught by the Winnipeg Film Group. Although I learned about a bunch of stuff related to making films that makes me sounds smart at parties, POV is the one bit of information that I use in my everyday life…it’s like a transferable skill, I guess.

Although it sounds easy to see things from another person’s perspective, in reality it’s not…for me anyway, even though I have a very strong sense of empathy. When someone pisses me off, it is not easy for me to think about the other person’s perspective because mostly I just want to give them a piece of my mind; I want to go head-to-head with them until they see MY perspective.

But it really does help when I take the time to step back and contemplate: What must it be like to be in that position? How must that person feel? What is their perspective on the situation? It helps to think about it from the other person’s point-of-view. As we wandered the streets in St. Paul, Minnesota last summer, I took this photo from the sidewalk looking up…the spiral staircase seems to go on forever, the blue sky makes me feel like anything is possible. But what would it be like to be at the top of the spiral staircase looking down onto the dark, gray cement sidewalk? Point-of-view changes everything.

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Last day off and most important quality in a partner

In the blog entitled, I Should Really Write More, a list of questions writers should answer about their characters was posted in the article titled Getting to Know You, Getting to Know All About You. Some have said that I’m a bit of character, so I thought I should work through these questions. Of course, not all in one post (I don’t want to bore you to death…that’s foreshadowing on what is to come in this post…), but a couple questions at a time over the course of time…here’s the first two:

What did you do on your last day off? Had coffee with my Vietnamese friend, Lisa (not her real name, but her chosen North American name). She’s trying to decide whether to stay here and live a safe, yet ordinary life, or move to America’s 29th largest city where there is potential to make good money in a business partnership, the weather is more tolerable but the risk of dying in a tornado or by a simple act of domestic terrorism is significantly higher. And on this question, she consults me, her Canadian friend who has never lived more than 2 hours away from her birth place, and who is known for having burst into tears while on vacation in Europe when family thought it would be nice for her to talk to her mom on the phone. What did I think? Well, I think any well adjusted 22 year old can have a “first time at summer camp home sickness experience”, can’t they? After all, Europe is very far from home and I love my mommy. Oh, you mean, of Lisa moving to Oklahoma City? “It sounds like a great opportunity. I will definitely visit.”

  • Most attractive quality in a partner. If I have to pick only one, it is: Sense of Humor. Hands down, most important. The sharing of a laugh conquers all the challenges that come with relationships and life. I discovered when my dad was dying that regardless of all the pain, the fear and the sadness he felt, he still had a sense of humour. Today is actually a sad day for comedy; Harold Ramis died. His sense of humor has been influential throughout my whole relationship with my hubby. We were teenagers when Second City and SCTV came on, and our relationship began in those years. Together we’ve watched many, if not all, of the movies that Harold Ramis touched in some way or another, and inevitably we still find ourselves looking at each other and smiling and saying, “Hey, there’s so-and-so from SCTV!” when they appear in a movie today. As the lead for The New Yorker online article described, “The comedy of Harold Ramis made the world more fun” and that is what humour does for a relationship, for life in general, and even on one’s death bed. Humor just makes it more fun. Not that the reality or process of dying could ever be described as fun, but I found that when my dad was on his death bed, between all the hugs and kisses, and tears and hugs, and reassurances that I would take care of my mom, my final conversations with him consisted of telling funny stories and jokes. It’s it funny that a sense of humour may be all we ever really have.
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    Getting to Know You, Getting to Know All About You

    I will attempt to answer the questions about my character…

    I Should Really Write More

    I came upon a writing prompt the other day that suggested coming up with a list of questions to answer about your characters. Um, brilliant. So I did just that. Or, well, I have sincere intentions of doing just that anyway (totally counts, right?). But I did begin to compile the questions at any rate, which means I’m going to give myself a boatload of credit.

    QUESTIONS

    1. What did you do on your last day off?
    2. Most attractive quality in a partner.
    3. How do you feel about social media?
    4. How much do you typically spend when you go shopping for clothes? Can you define your sense of style? Where do you go?
    5. Worst high school memory.
    6. Last time you cried.
    7. Animal lover?
    8. Choice of vacation destination. Elaborate.
    9. Describe your kitchen. What’s in your fridge? Are there many appliances on the counters? Dirty dishes in the sink?
    10. How did your parents…

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