Thursday, April 28, 2005


Now, let me make one thing very clear. I believe in the same Christian God as any other Christian religion and how that God is worshiped is not up to me to judge. But I am discovering and learning some things about Catholicism in the past few days that I find rather surprising. So as I do most every day I am going to share with you my reflections about these things.

It started out with me watching the Pope’s inauguration. When the cardinals kissed St. Peter’s tomb and the moderator said that this tomb contained a few bones believed to be those of St. Peter, I was surprised. Surprised because I thought that in order for anyone to become a Saint, this ‘right to be’ was signified by the rate of decomposition of their corpse after they die. I thought that people who became Saints were disinterred to check for the rate of decay. I don’t know why I thought that. I just did. Always have.

So when the moderator was speaking and saying that this tomb contained a few fragments of bone of St. Peter, I was somewhat taken aback. Surely Peter’s corpse, above all others, would have displayed the ‘right to be’ condition for Sainthood. So how did his body become, as described by the moderator, nothing more than a few fragmented bones? Too curious, I just had to start investigating my long held belief about the relationship between Sainthood and decomposition.

Nothing in my encyclopedias. So I turned to the Web. Not much there either. (looking on Google, Yahoo, etc. and muttering to one’s self ‘this secrecy thing has got to stop’).

Well eventually I did find out some things I thought were quite interesting, and yes, enlightening as well. Do you know why the Pope kisses the ground or why the Cardinals kissed the tomb of Saint Peter? This has to do with touching relics (something used or touched at one time by Saints). The ground, the earth, is a sacred relic because it was once walked on by all saints.

Okay, that much is cleared up. But then I had to come back to the relics bit because now I found out that there are three types of relics. A) a Saint’s corpse B) something used by that Saint, or C) any object touched by A. But now, things started to get a bit gruesome. I found that parts of a Saint’s corpse (which are called ‘First-class relics’) are placed in the altar of newly consecrated Churches. How are they housed in these altars? I have no idea. Maybe hidden inside or built into a little sealed display box? Now you know what bothers me here is the cutting up of bodies in order to make a large collection of ‘first-class relics’ that can be widely dispersed. My thought was ‘No wonder Pope John the II said he just wanted to be put in the ‘cool ground’ and have his heart buried in his native land’.

I know I’ve got a bit sidetracked here, but returning to my original belief about the decomposition of the bodies of Saints, it was not totally false. According to Deacon George Kozak:

"Certain Saints, at the time of their death or many years later after they were exhumed, were found to be incorruptable. That is to say, their bodies did not decompose….An incorrupt saint can appear almost as if alive or may look like a mummy with darked skin drawn tight, but the body retains a suppleness and has no signs of decay."

What do I know? I only know enough to know how much I don’t know. So I welcome your comments. I want to know more about Saints and more about relics. I want to know how each Saint qualified for Sainthood, and I want to know what relics equated to those saints are stashed in what altars. A roadmap type of thing.

I am a pilgrim (a wanderer in an unknown land) and I am on a pilgrimage. Any guidance would be appreciated.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Some people make such an unreasonable fuss about privacy, I can’t believe it. Mind you when it comes to privacy of SIN’s and bank cards, I’m as paranoid as anyone else. But there is another form of privacy panic that I just can’t understand.

And that is the people who panic if there’s a crack in the curtain or one warped slat in the blind. I’ve been to campsites where I’ve seen people erecting blinds around their campsites that took the better part of their three-day weekend. The rest of the weekend was spent making regular rounds to check for any tiny gaps made by wind, rain, or the like. The intensity of the attention to their "blind" left little time for any fun-stuff. And since all these campers were strangers from diverse ends of the globes, did anyone care how they operated within their own space? Though such intensity in the name of secrecy made even me, who cares so little how others live their lives, curious enough to want to have a look.

But to discuss privacy a bit further, when Daughter moved into her newly purchased house, the neighbour rushed into the yard the next day to introduce herself and to make a request. And this was how the request was made:

"I need to tell you something. My husband and I like our privacy. We like to roam around our bedroom and study with no clothes on. These rooms are directly across from your back bedrooms. So would you mind putting up heavy curtains on those two windows – you know, so we can feel comfortable about our privacy?"

I was stymied by the request. How was one supposed to interpret such a request? Was this a joke? A comical ‘heads-up and take a peek’, or was she dead serious? I think she was dead serious. So does that mean that curtains are like fences between neighbouring lots? They have a purpose jointly shared, so they must be jointly discussed?

I didn’t know what to think. Truth is, I don’t care what the neighbours are doing as long as it doesn’t affect me. I don’t watch the road to see who passes by and I don’t always see those who walk by unless they come into the yard to speak to me. But this privacy thing – I keep worrying that I am missing some very important aspect of it. Maybe there is a greater protocol then my simple expectation of common decency. Stuff like my part in maintaining a level of privacy between me and my neighbours. But I don’t know what my role is and I don’t know why privacy is so ultra-important to some and so unimportant to others? One thing I do know, when it’s ultra-important, I get sudden and unexpected full-blown attacks of a form of deadly curiosity that could lead me to crawl on my belly in the tall grass to see what I can see.

When I was a kid, we used to sing a song with these lyrics:

"I was looking back to see if he was looking back to see
If I was looking back to see, if he was looking back at me."

I guess if I look out my window at my neighbour and see him/her looking back to see if I am looking back to see…" etc.etc. I need to rush into town and get some heavier curtain fabric or boards for a high privacy fence – after all privacy is important. Right?

Monday, April 25, 2005


"They fail, and they alone, who have not striven." - Thomas Bailey Aldrich

One thing young people don’t realize, middle-aged people don’t realize and old people don’t realize is something I just realized and I want to tell you about it. What I realized is that failures can lead to success.

It was a small thing that led to this discovery. I was crocheting a hat. The work was gaily progressing when I discovered I could not understand the instructions. I raveled and re-crocheted and raveled and re-crocheted again. I was making a sun-hat for daughter out of cotton yarn.

Finally in disgust, I scrapped the pattern and just continued. I also scrapped the idea of giving this FAILED PROJECT to daughter for her birthday. Instead I rushed into town and bought her a gift. Later I showed daughter my failure. She adored it. Absolutely loved it. Danced around the room ecstatically with glee with her new hat on. And that was the moment of realization and the moment when I vowed to clean up the past of every day that I spend being remorseful about failures.

When it comes to projects on a grander scale than crocheting hats, the old saying is whatever you want out of life, if you do one small thing every day towards achieving that goal, you will achieve it. And I believe that is probably true. But I don’t hear any speakers of wit and wisdom telling us how to cope with our internal bitterness when we fail. I don’t hear any suggestions on how we should cope with the huge disappointments that plague our minds if through ill health, fate, insufficient money, physical circumstances, or lack of self-discipline or wisdom, we simply cannot do what it was we set out in our hearts to do. If I asked you, right now, to write me a list of all your failures in your lifetime, and if two thousand individuals participated in this effort, the lists would be so long the Web would probably crash and burn.

Since childhood, I swear I have roughly spent eighteen per cent of everyday feeling remorseful because of something I failed at. Something I wanted to do but didn’t do. Dreams and schemes I had that I never managed to accomplish. Things connecting to lifestyle, to career, or healthy living.

So now, if I take eighteen percent of every day and multiply it by more than forty years, the total is a mighty big chunk of my life that was less than pleasant. That is a lot of time out my existence to kick myself in the butt, lash my own back, slap my own forehead, and jab myself in the gut. All because when I came to a fork in the road, I occasionally made a turn to the left when I should have turned to the right.

So with the failed crocheted hat that turned out to be a roaring success, things are going to change. I do not intend to let myself continue to be robbed of eighteen percent of every day. And why should I, when that eighteen per cent keeps compounding.

I could give you many examples to prove this point if I wasn’t so handicapped by society’s way of thinking, namely that success and failure belong at opposite ends of the spectrum, and never the twain shall meet. The crochet experience has freed my mind to ‘think outside the box’ and now I see success inherent in my failures.

From now on one hundred per cent of each day is for optimistic living and eighteen per cent of each day is no longer up for grabs.

Note: There is an odd phenomena going on in Blog Space right now that may be connected to weather, ocean tides, alignment of solar bodies, or a biological urge connected to a spring-cleaning or soul-purging philosophy. Blogs are normally about day-to-day interactions or observations of others. But now I find an unprecedented numbers of bloggers beating themselves up for ‘failing’. If you are one of these, this blog is to provide you with a painless therapeutic cure.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


It’s finally happening. The window trim on the house is being re-painted. And although I have never been an activist in the tree-hugger category, I now know why we have to do something about trees.

My window trim is made from lumber from old trees. Very old trees. This house was old when we bought it. It has been here for more than fifty years, but despite that, the original window frames are still solid, still firm, still doing their job. The pioneers in this area tell me the lumber for this house came from a saw-mill in Canada’s northern wilderness in the fifties. Trees cut by hand and skidded with horses. These are window frames made from trees that grew in pristine forests, uninhabited by man, without acid rain, without rippers and heavy equipment rumbling around them.

They took in energy from the sun unhampered by a disturbed ozone layer or smog and gave off oxygen like they were supposed to. They were hale and hearty and undisturbed until they matured. And when eventually converted into the lumber that frames my windows, they have continued over all these years to reflect the well-being of their former life. They are healthy and resilient, unlike the new wooden frames on the more recent kitchen-add-on. These window frames are chipped, splintered, and when it rains, quite mushy.

I’ve spent a lifetime begging for new windows and window frames, but Hub has been adamant, "They no longer sell windows that can top those for being sturdy and workable." Now that I’m painting those window frames, seeing them close up, I can see that he is right!

But my deck. Shall we talk about my deck? It is made from more recent trees. Trees that may have been artificially grown in a replanted wood lot. Trees choked by pollution. Trees that were probably tampered with and tagged long before they were ready to be cut and made into lumber. Trees stressed in their childhood by having to daily watch while other trees were clear-cut and ruthlessly massacred. And the many decks Hub has built from those trees, exposed to the toxins and stresses of a modern age during their developmental period, rot consistently within four to five years. And the paint peels almost immediately despite assurances of longevity from the friendly-advice people at the local building store.

So what spawned today’s thoughts? Two things. One was my rethinking of Hub’s commitment to my old window frames. The other was a conversation with a friend who has only recently starting exploring the truths in her Bible. A few weeks ago we were having coffee when she said to me, "Roberta, did you know that in old-Bible-days people lived until they were 999 years old. How come our life span is only 75 or 80?"

I gave her the pat answer. "I think what we need to realize is that ‘time’ in old Biblical days was not measured the same. Obviously, it couldn’t have been because you know I believe in both God and an evolutionary creation (see post #285 THE EVOLUTIONIST AND CREATIONIST DEBATE – 11/23/2004) so I am convinced that creation took thousand’s of years rather than a week."

She laughed. "I prefer to take the Bible at its word. I think the people mentioned did live that long. It IS possible if you think about it. These were people born prior to any toxic pollutants poisoning the air. There were no factories, smoke stacks, sprays, chemicals, exhaust fumes, or cigarette smoke in the air. There were no refuse piles of burning rubber, and no chemical and sewage dumped in lakes and rivers. There was just crystal clear spring waters and oxygen that was pure and clean and abundant. Plants had no herbicides; animals no growth hormones or antibiotics. People breathing that kind of air and drinking that kind of water, and eating that kind of organic food could easily have lived that long."

I laughed heartily, but at the same time I had to admit such reasoning did make as much sense as the calendar-time theory. Just because I never heard this interpretation before, is not to say that she is wrong. She might be right. It’s quite possible. And it’s quite possible that this same theory is what keeps my old window frames in such good condition despite the badly peeled paint.

‘Nuff said for now. The painting must continue.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Today my thoughts are about trust. And in thinking about that I came to a realization that one can’t love, be charitable, have faith, good relationships with others, be motivated or even glad, without trust. Trust is what is at the root of security. Trust is the belief that those close to us are not back-stabbers, have no hidden agendas, and have a consistency of character that will not waver.

If relationships are rocky, if friendships are tattered, it is likely that the real root of the problem is a lack of trust. So then one has to consider if a lack of trust is because one has real reason to feel pernicious, suspicious, or cynical or because of human nature or because of DNA. And if researchers could just be trusting enough to view such an investigation as something worthwhile, they might get right on it. A recent issue of "Time" magazine has an article on understanding why some people are shy. Amazingly it is more than environment that makes a person shy, there seems to be physical causes as well that are linked to shorter chains of DNA. Because trust is an emotional state such as shyness, I can’t help but feel optimistic that research might also investigate causes of trust or distrust sometime very soon.

It seems to me that if we paid homage to trust, more attention to trust, if each one of us understood trust, and why we need to be trusting, we would not be in the mess we are currently in. It was not an enemy of aggression that started the Iraq War but lack of trust. Right now society is clamoring for something better but there is no one we can trust. Deceitful acts like corruption, lying and cheating are the weapons of mass destruction of our trust.

Back in what was called the Dirty thirties, people lost hope because they lost trust that some day things would be better, some day there would be jobs, and money to cloth and feed their families. Hope, charity, faith, and love flow from a feeling of trust. It’s hard to give money to a beggar, if you feel distrustful that begging is an act of deceit and that in real life the beggar is better off than the beggee. When a boss demonstrates strong loyalty to an employee one day and uses that same employee the next day as a scape- goat, there goes our trust. And likewise, many believers with strong faith lose that faith when some great disaster plows into them and slams them in the face. Because they think God allowed it, they lose their trust in God.

A hot topic nowadays is child discipline. Everyone focuses on methodology, but the reason the discipline of children is such a controversial issue has little to do with methodology. It has more to do with the psychological effects on a child’s trust. No matter how discipline is exercised, it must be applied in a way that will not affect children’s trust and their sense of security. What needs to be preserved at all costs is their trust in their parents’ unconditional love because this is the stuff that is ultra-important through all of life’s successes and defeats.

Can you imagine for one Utopian-minute what we would feel like if we could trust our children, our partners, our God, our politicians, our doctors, our lawyers, our educators, our teachers, our law enforcement, and all our countrymen, domestic as well as international, and last but not least – the weatherman. That would be security. Border security, security from war, security of jobs, security of faith, and security in government. Man, it couldn’t get much better than that, could it?

But the problem with trust is, like love it is a two-way street. One can only really love those who give love back and one can only trust those who, because of their own trust, are trustworthy. That’s one of the problems. The other problem is how hard it is to continue to be trusting in a society where most people think that trusting souls are just bloody naïve. But the upside is that in a trusting relationship, though opinions might be as far removed as the North Pole is from the South, security is never threatened even amidst an exchange of angry words.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


If you have half a serious mind, you don’t want to read this. You mean you’re going to continue? I think you might have more important things that take priority. Well, just remember, it was your choice, not mine.

"Prioritizing" is today’s topic. (Note to self. Remember what your eighth grade teacher said, "Priorizing is not a word; the word is prioritizing.)

My first observation is that the world in general has no understanding or ability to organize things in the order of their importance. Every day I see a sad lack of any ability to prioritize. It is so widespread it is even a deficiency within my own home. Here are some of the things I’ve noticed.

Hub doesn’t understand priorities. He thinks I should tend to the itty-bitty cobweb in one corner of the living room when the dog hasn’t been bathed for three weeks, the laundry needs to be folded, and I haven’t yet peeled potatoes for dinner.

The medical world doesn’t understand priorities either. Efforts are being made and may already be in effect to get pills like Viagra eligible under medical plans, addicts can get clean needles and sometimes even drugs for free, and meanwhile diabetics and others with chronic diseases must keep on paying for medical supplies or aids for living.

And while we banter over insufficient doctors, over overloaded medical facilities, and long waiting lists, television commercials are sneaking into the medical priority line-up. Every day, ten times a day, maybe even more, a voice on the box tells us we may have a problem and for that problem we need to ‘see our doctor’. All day long there is a bombardment of commercials that conclude with – "See your doctor". See your doctor if you feel muscle weakness, if you pee to much, if you can’t be there when the time is right, if you feel down, if you sneeze, if you wheeze, if you itch, if you scratch. If you have diarrhea or constipation, etc. etc. These commercials scramble priorities by encouraging people to look for phantom symptoms that make it necessary to compound visits to the doctor far beyond what is reasonable.

Priorities are scrambled in so many other arenas of living as well. Take, for example, the manufacturers of high-tech gizmos. Just this morning I read an ad for a new camera that has a jiggling transparent imaging sensor that shakes off dust particles at 35,000 vibrations per second. Wouldn’t it be better if my coffee tables did that, or my scatter rugs, or my television set? These are the real dust collectors. In one year these things collect enough dust to fill five dustbins.

In thinking further about these back-to-front priorities, I can’t help but think the time is right for someone to look at the bigger picture and start prioritizing things with a little more forethought and wisdom. For heaven’s sake, isn’t it time men and women could have rectal exams with something as comfortable and natural as a litmus gas, rather than the invasive procedure that continues to be the standard?

And on a more practical front, while I can open my car trunk, or even the hood, and a light automatically comes on, why doesn’t this happen when I open my travelbag or handbag to search for something in it’s depths? And while medical technicians are installing birth control and other medical devices under the skin, maybe more importantly a light installed somewhere else could eliminate the discomfort of rectal and internal exams. It could be. Just spread your legs and the light goes on. No more lost keys when you drop them in the grass on the way home from the New Year’s party unless you still have your underpants on.

And when is someone going to finally market a lazer light that I can flash on a cotton-knit shirt to highlight those bloody invisible grease stains, that suddenly surface as soon as I get to the office or out in the sun? And furthermore, when is someone going to make a product that efficiently removes those stubborn stains without rubbing and scrubbing them with laundry treatment, only to find that the next time you wear that shirt under florescent lights in a busy mall, that you still missed a spot.

Politicians don’t understand prioritizing either. They make laws about trivial stuff to distract us from bigger problems. Education Institutions don’t understand either. They teach Living Skills, Political Science, Women’s Rights, Organizational Behavior, Critical Thinking, and more recently, courses in Ethics. But with respect to these subjects, the things they teach are more damaging than helpful if the masters and students of these theories cannot wisely prioritize the real-life situations relevant to these studies. That’s the important piece that is missing. Within each of these subjects, there needs to be a well-polished and understood ability to prioritize the factors that come into play – children’s needs, personal relationships, individual responsibilities, tolerance, acceptance, understanding, peace and war strategies, etc. Come to think of it this paper is probably the first and only preliminary draft for a course in the skills of Prioritizing. And I think if you give it some thought you might agree that such a course is long overdue.

The general public doesn’t understand it either. Special interest groups rage about their own small circle of concerns rather than the good of all. And in the past few weeks it has become apparent that society is letting the business of dying take priority over living when I think it should be the other way around.

The list could go on and on. But I pride myself on having a reasonable grip on priorities. And right now an itty-bitty cobweb in the living room takes priority over these dregs.

I suppose you’re saying that while I might think I have prioritizing skills, these skills are not evident in the stuff I write. I wander here, I wander there, putting the reader in a climate of annoyance and confusion. Well you are wrong. This paper was prioritized. It is more important for me to laugh than cry, so I made silliness a priority over seriousness. So you see, I do have my priorities right.

Lots of stuff to comment on here – grease stains on cotton, the medical system, wish list for new products not yet developed, views on prioritizing, criticisms or atta-girl’s. So let me hear what you have to say. This is a rather long rant, and it seems a shame that you spent that much time reading it at the expense of some other priority and then didn’t even comment.

Monday, April 11, 2005


As a young girl I spent time during summer holidays with an older married sister. At the time my niece was a small infant. One day, Sis pointed out a very special occasion to me. While the baby was lying in her crib, one day she discovered her hands and fingers. And this new discovery to her was so exciting. She cooed and laughed and crooned and talked to those hands at great length. And then a few weeks later she discovered she had feet, and unbelievably fascinating little toes. She drooled over them, sucked them, passed them through her fingers as if counting them, and talked to them with baby squeals of joy. It was incredible that such simple discoveries brought that wee babe such fascination. Both instances were special moments that I have never forgotten – a baby’s sheer delight at her new discoveries.

Now hold that simple thought while we move to a much bigger topic – our view of life and purpose. We treat life as such an enigma. As some great evasive truth and unsolvable mystery. But we make this business of the purpose of life such a colossal problem when it is all as simple as an infant’s first discovery of their fingers or toes. The purpose of life is simply that – discovery.

And thank goodness for that. If that were not the case every day of living would be as disdainful as what Hub and I refer to as ‘the dreaded trip to town’. I hate being elected to go to town. I hate the dreaded trip to town because I made that trip every morning and night for more than 20 years. There is nothing more in that trip to see, learn, or discover except a change in weather which I am quite able to see from my kitchen window. So having to go into town is bloody depressing.

Staying home, on the other hand, and browsing the Internet, or reading is far more appealing than the ‘dreaded trip to town’. It is my need for new discovery that makes me read what others have written. I am looking for something new. Newly coined phrases, newly minted thoughts, a new insight, or new perspective. And when I discover a bit of new insight or a precious bit of new wisdom, it adds a sweet dose of vigor and enthusiasm to my day-to-day living. If you don’t believe me, ‘Member last time you were in the dumps. So discouraged. Didn’t want to post; didn’t want to write, feeling oh so blue. Wasn’t it because too many days had gone by without the excitement of a new discovery? So I have to conclude that the purpose of life is discovery. Simply that and little more.

So I am grateful that the world is so full of the wonderment and intricacies of nature and individuals with their varying perspectives and personalities. If I live forever I will still never know as much as there is to know. As Hub always says, instead "I will only know enough to know how much I don’t know."

So now these reflections lead to another question. If I ‘knew it all’ or ‘thought I knew it all’ would I be as unimpressed with life as I am with the ‘dreaded trip to town’? Ooh, that would be so bad.

I’m glad I’m not so smart, not so clever, that I smugly think I cannot learn from others. I’m glad I don’t exist in a vacuum of knowledge and sophisticated learning that might make me avoid the opportunity or motivation to examine other’s truths. Thinking like that (and admittedly I am opinionated and do that at times) makes me far too cynical about life and what others think. It limits my opportunities for new discoveries and I have found that does lead to depression. I know that because I do have occasional days of sadness that are, more often than not, spawned by my stubborn refusal to examine others thinking, or my refusal to let others tamper with my thinking. Without new discoveries, sometimes complex, other times as simple as an infant’s discovery of their fingers and toes, life is a real drag – no meaning, no purpose.

It’s quite obvious. Life’s joys, life’s purpose, our whole reason for being here is to marvel over new discoveries. So I’m not going to conclude with "Have a good day", I’m going to conclude with wishing you "a grand day of discovery!"

Saturday, April 09, 2005


The Internet is conducive to all kinds of amusing games – Memes, Questionnaires, Personality Profiles, Horoscopes, etc. Well today I am going to introduce you to a new game.

The game is to prepare a "To Do" list for your mate; assuming that your mate will do anything you ask. Now Hub is, and always has been, very much his own person, so with my incredible imagination I am going to pretend he is either ultimately accommodating or henpecked enough to react immediately to whatever I ask. So, if that were the case, (in real life it is not) what would I put on a ‘To Do List’ for Hub.

Without planning or forethought, I jotted down the following list.

1. Get off the chesterfield and shut off the Lone Star Channel
2. Stop feeding the dog candy, roast beef, lunch meat, and that expensive beef jerky that makes Dough-Gee scowl at me in disgust and attempt to push over my chair and push me out of my chair whenever he finds dog crumbles in his dish.
3. Drive slower. Stop yerkin’ me around with quick stops and quick starts, to supposedly ‘blow the carbon’ out of the engine.
4. Don’t cook me anymore breakfasts at the crack of dawn. I know you make the best omelets and your bacon and eggs are superb, but I hate eating that early in the morning, and I only eat those creations to avoid hurting your feelings.
5. Don’t salt anything for me – the popcorn you made me, the apple you peeled me, the steak or hamburger you grilled for me, or the breakfast you cooked me. Salt is not necessary to me like it is to you, and furthermore, it robs my body of much-needed calcium.
6. Give me a body rub with a luxurious oil and a foot massage with lavender and rosewater

After completing my list, and without allowing Hub to see it, I passed him a paper to write down a "To Do List" for me assuming that I would respond to his wish-list as quick as the day after yesterday.

I was certainly surprised at what he wrote. It was a lengthy list, some of which I prefer not to share. I mean, why would I want to tell you that he wrote, "If you don’t have your teeth in your mouth, stay locked in the bathroom until you do"? Anyway here are a few of the things Hub wrote down.

1. Shut down documentaries and CNN and Nancy Grace long enough for me to watch a few Westerns on TV.
2. Feed Dough-Gee more dogfood. No matter what I eat I have to share my treats with him because you’re not feeding him enough.
3. If you’re going to travel with me as a passenger, let me do the driving.
4. When I cook breakfast for you, would it be too difficult to be a little more appreciative?
5. Could you put more salt in the stuff you cook. And by the way, where’s the gravy? I love gravy on potatoes but I haven’t seen any for a good while. Not just gravy, but gravy with plenty of salt.
6. I’d like a back scratch or scrub. Can’t remember when I last had either.

These results were not what I expected. I was truly surprised, and so was Hub at the thinking that we exposed to each other through this silly game. They say if you live long enough with someone you start to look/think like them. Obviously, you start to think about the same matters, but that does not mean you think of those matters from the same perspective. Though I may feel I am right as rain, through different reasoning, Hub sees another side of the coin. And as far as the dog goes, Hub’s perspective versus mine certainly proves how misunderstandings can happen between two people without either being aware that there even is a misunderstanding.

This blog started out as a simple attempt to do something lighthearted and amusing, certainly I had no expectations of it being constructive thinking in any respect. But, amazingly, it turned out to be far more enlightening than I ever could have suspected.

Thursday, April 07, 2005


You’ll not find anyone more conservative than Son-In-Law (SIL). But despite that, when 2005 Calendars started coming into the house last December, he jokingly insisted he needed a girly calendar. Having a girly calender in the shop is a family tradition he told Eldest Daughter. But since I don’t have a shop I want one in the house.

ED was dismayed, a little discomfited, a little confused that he would think such a thing was appropriate. And teen-age Granddaughter (GD) was equally appalled. Both insisted that it might be tolerated as long as the feminine-subject was tastefully and fully dressed. But SIL said, "A girly calendar pic needs to have a well-endowed woman with curves that are not completely covered – Don’t you bunch know that?"

So GD came to the rescue. She said, "I will make you a girly calendar and post it in the kitchen." And she did. To fully appreciate GD’s effort, I think you will need to make yourself a girly calendar picture so here are the instructions.

1. Get your materials ready.
2. You will need a pen, a square of paper, and a bit of tape or a pin to hang your completed craft in a prominent place.
3. Now write on that paper a number 3.
4. Turn the paper one turn to the right.
5. Now pin it to the wall. There you go. Project complete.

SIL’s politically-correct and tasteful girly calendar is posted at eye-level above the kitchen table. It has been there since January, and I still find that no matter how glum I feel when I go into ED’s kitchen, that calendar catches my eye and I end up chuckling out loud. It works like magic to turn glum days into better days. But then, isn’t that what girly calendars were originally meant to do?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


At first I concluded that my thoughts for today might only apply to people who are working in non-Union jobs. But then I realized, no, that's not the case. These thoughts apply to people in any job (and perhaps in any arena of life as well).

Why do you think people get released (fired) from their jobs? Most people would say because they were being careless, weren’t doing their work, disloyal, impertinent, spending too much on personal stuff – e-mails, Solitaire, etc. All the obvious stuff. But that is not the commonest reason. There is another reason that hangs around the workplace like an invisible toxin.

I know you must have worked with the type I’m thinking of today. In my working years, I’ve seen eons of them. The type that moan and groan about the load of work they are forced to carry. The type that look for faults in the boss, faults in the process, and faults in their co-workers. They know their stuff, and they know how things should be done and they don’t mind telling others how they can do better.

But oftentimes, they are hard workers and they have not the foggiest notion how much their presence each day pains the boss and other co-workers. And initially the Boss doesn’t fully realize what the problem is either – or indeed, that there is a problem.

But come nightfall when the Boss is home lying in his bed, contemplating how things are going at work, he is surprised to find that one person, one name, keeps recycling in his head. That one that tries to be congenial, oftentimes too helpful, but at the same time one that is not dedicated to being part of the team. Always pointing out others’ flaws, looking for a raise or better working conditions or less responsibility. And the next night that same name is cycling around in the Bosses’ head. And the next. And the next. Sleep evades him or her.

And after a few weeks of this, the Boss says to him or herself. "I don’t need this kind of stress. What I need is some peace and some sleep."

And so at that point a plan begins to take root. A plan to rid himself of stress. Without a Union the solution is as simple as passing out a pink slip. But if the job is in a Unionized place, elaborate restructuring may need to take place or job-description modifications put into effect. A façade has to be set up to allow ease of dismissal without Union interference.

Management know how to circumvent these situations and in the end the worker is released. The worker is given some limp, irrational reasons that he or she can’t understand. Co-workers are confused as well. They don’t fully understand why. And quite often even the Boss doesn’t really know why he must do this thing, except to rid himself of the phantom that disrupts his slumber. And in order to do that, with the Union howling down his back, he has to dedicate himself to the convoluted process of bringing about a ‘legal’ dismissal.

The problem is there is no Union Handbook that allows for dismissal of a worker because he is a bloody pain in the ass. But eventually, to the Bosses’ surprise and dismay, he realizes that in order for him to relax, to continue in a job he once loved, to have a good night’s sleep and to have the peace of mind, the solution lies in ridding himself of the apparition of his restless dreams.

And so that person is eliminated, one way or another.

Now while you are reading this, you are probably muttering. "Roberta, you don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve had to work with that Annoying Blowhard for years and years."

I realize that might be the case. Some bosses find their sleep in a stiff drink or a sleeping pill and so this is how they rid their private lives of the woes of the workplace rather than dismiss anyone.