It must be emphasized at the outset that my daughter is an excellent driver. She is mindful of the rules of the road. She is focused, observant and fully aware of what is going on around her. She is always hands free when using the phone. J has spent countless hours in the car the past several years. I have had the good fortune to share many, many of those hours with her – J in the car and me at home.
We discussed just about everything under the sun – good times, bad times, family, friends, holiday, dreams, hopes, aspirations, matters of the spirit, values, life purpose. The list goes on and on and on. What grew from those conversations was an even greater bond as good friends beyond the mother/daughter relationship. We know we will always be there for each other no matter what.
Generally, friendships, relationships are built over time being together talking, going places, doing things, etc. In this digital age on line relationships develop. They can be a source of connection for many who may not have other options for doing so.
Even though I do see my daughter, son-in-law and grandkids, there are stretches of time when I have been unable to get out and about. Those conversations from the car have been, and still are, time we spend together that I will always cherish. In fact, there have been conversations from the car with the entire family. The phone gets passed around to all the non-drivers. It doesn’t get any better than that because we are all in it together.
Comments are welcomed.
ClicPerhaps you might remember that old movie in which Judy Garland sings, “Meet me in St. Louis, Louis. Meet me at the fair.” Heading into the last 2 weeks of August, fairs pop up everywhere. I love those fairs with the array of homemade goods, farm animals vying for blue ribbons, cupie dolls and stuffies you can win by knocking down moving targets, heart-stopping rides and especially the myriad of foods peculiar to fairs.
I will focus on the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) and it’s annual menu of bizarre foods.
The CNE is Canada's largest annual community event. Founded in 1879, as the Toronto Industrial Exhibition, the CNE has enjoyed a distinguished history as a "showcase of the nation". It was "the place" where people came to experience the latest innovations in technology and commercial products as well as performances by many of the leading artists of the time. Although the CNE has changed over the years, it continues to be one of Ontario's great annual traditions. The CNE is one of the 10 largest fairs in North America.
Following is a small sample of this year’s wacky foods. Just reading it might move you to make dentist and cardiologist appointments. You may also want to have your favorite stomach and anti-nausea remedies close at hand. Here goes:
The eclair is a mix of sweet and savoury, with a piece of steak accompanied by provolone cheese, banana slices, chocolate sauce and whipped cream – all wrapped in a donut.
s'mores fried chicken:
A southern-style fried chicken sandwich topped with roasted marshmallows, chocolate, graham cracker crumbs and a chocolate brioche bun.
For the dessert lovers:
double chocolate walnut Brownie stacked with a scoop of non-bake cheesecake, followed by a sugar cone dipped in white chocolate, followed by jolly ranchers, followed by a confetti doughnut, and surrounded with cotton candy , topped off with powdered sugar.
“Blue Jay Nest” waffle bowl, a tribute to the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team:
Inside the waffle bowl is vanilla ice cream, pretzel, popcorn, caramel drizzle, cotton candy and a Bonnie+Frank's pork chop on a stick. They also have sugar-infused combinations, which include whipped cream and chocolate sauce, baseball donut.
Now, if you would prefer something more simple and straight forward, you can always get a scoop of pickle ice cream.
Are you thoroughly revolted? I am just writing about it. Crazy thing is that people actually eat this stuff.
Comments are welcomed.
To paraphrase Sidney Carton in a Tale of Two Cities, “It is the best of times. It is the worst of times.” That’s the story of my summer so far this year. Let’s begin with the worst. There were more changes in a short period of time than one would think possible. There’s no point to itemize. Just know they were changes that impacted my life on a daily basis. You know you have to accept and flow with what is. Most days you go along with the new normal, adapting as best you can. Other times there is a longing for ‘the good old days’, which, by the way were not that old. Many things were more manageable the way it was. Longing or not, there’s no going back. You find a way to navigate the new landscape.
There was one aggravation that necessitates some venting. I am convinced there is a conspiracy amongst all air conditioning units. I am also convinced there is an nefarious Grand Master who controls all AC’s. This GM activates a mechanism that determines which and how many of his charges will cease to function during the hottest and most humid days of the summer. Unfortunately, mine was on this year’s list. The very day the heat and humidity reached unbearable levels my AC quit. This began July 1 and continued until July 18 when the situation was remedied. Suffice it to say I would hope never to experience a repeat of a single one of those 18 days. I am now very grateful to have a new AC which I am led to believe is not under the clutches of that iniquitous GM.
That conveniently segways to the best of times. What I learned is that any time can be the best of times. It is all about the lens through which we view things. It is also about our choice of lenses. Do we want to see misery, self pity, worst case scenario, etc. Full disclosure, I have occasionally chosen that lens. That view is mighty ugly and appears to have no way out.
The other lens that I believe is the antidote to all things negative is viewing through gratitude. The thing to remember is as Brother David Steindl-Rast has said, that we can’t be grateful for everything, but in any moment we can be grateful for something. If we can just stop for a single moment and acknowledge something to be grateful for, it opens us to optimism and hope. Anything that can give us even a modicum of hope in today’s world is a blessing. Not to mention gratitude is known to lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, reduce stress.
You’re a little lost. You’ve been driving around for a while trying to find a way to get back to the main highway. So far, no luck. You’re coming up to an intersection that looks promising. You slow down and start to turn right and you see a sign that says, “Dead End.” You sigh. You back up. You wish you had a GPS with you.
But wait. Is it possible the “Dead End” sign is wrong? What about the sign that says, “Slow down for schoolchildren”? Maybe the nearest school is five miles away. A street sign with the wrong name? How about a “Moose Crossing” sign? We have those in Vermont. (When I was driving in Costa Rica years ago I actually saw a “Tarantula Crossing” sign - I’m not kidding).
Most road signs are reliable, so we don’t question them. If we see a “Dead End” sign we don’t usually keep driving to see whether the sign is giving us truthful information. We just turn around.
But our thoughts are not street signs. Much of the time our thoughts aren’t reliable. They’ll give us bad advice. They’ll tell us things that aren’t true. They provide inaccurate information.
Maybe you’re familiar with some of these “thought-signs.”
“Go ahead and have that piece of chocolate cake. You’ve been doing great on your diet. You deserve a small reward. Don’t be so rigid.”
(You eat the cake.)
“Why did you eat that cake? You have no self-discipline at all. No wonder you’re so fat. You’ll never lose weight because you never stick with your diet.”
Debbie Hampton, who blogs at https://www.thebestbrainpossible.com/ says:
“Sadly, many of us live our lives like a ping pong ball – bouncing from thought to thought and shooting up, down, off of the table, and across the room erratically depending on the ideas zipping around in our heads. It can be exhausting, anxiety-provoking, and maddening. I know. I did it for far too long.
When you realize that your thoughts are not facts – not even close – life gets a lot easier. You don’t have to believe, get distressed by or act on them. All you have to do is observe them, like a movie. It can even be quite entertaining at times!”
What a wonderful idea! Your thoughts are entertainment. You don’t have to treat them as wise or helpful. You don’t have to believe them. They aren’t necessarily giving you factual or accurate information. They’re just entertainment. Sometimes they’re not very good entertainment. But you can just watch them like you watch a movie or a sitcom.
You can even change the channel. You know how you do that. You pay attention to what’s actually going on around you. You pay attention to real life instead of thought-life.
Please don’t try to change your thoughts, because that just gets you more involved with them. Just observe them. Let them be. Let them put on their little show – their little drama.
Signs can help you find your way around town.
But you can get lost in your thoughts. By Gregg Krech, the ToDo institute.
Comments are welcomed.