The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) opened it’s gates this past weekend. It’s one of the big events reminding us that summer is going to be moving on. One of the CNE’s trademarks is it’s food menu.
This year’s menu seems to have outdone itself. Following are a few of the stomach-turning options.
Cheeseburger Ice Cream - ice cream is served in a cheese-coated waffle cone, topped with a pretzel and pickle while the Street Corn ice cream features a lime, cotija cheese and chili seasoning.
Holy Moly Cannoli - This jumbo cinnamon cannoli is stuffed with veal cutlet, breaded and rolled in provolone cheese. It is then topped with provolone and Pomodoro, garlic aioli, rainbow sprinkles and topped off with hickory sticks. Don’t forget the sprinkles.
Malibu Pink Mac & Cheese - made with a pink champagne sauce along with three cheeses -- aged cheddar, gruyere, and parmesan. And, to make things a little more extra, it comes in a bread bowl along with an optional dollop of caviar.
Krispy Kreme blueberry chicken sandwich - features the signature crispy chicken breast sandwiched between two classic Krispy Kreme glazed donuts and slathered in sweet and spicy whipped blueberry cream cheese.
The watermelon burger! This combination features a juicy burger patty with feta, mint and spinach sandwiched between two watermelon slices. It’s then doused with balsamic glaze.
The piece de resistance: The four-pound taco. - composed of a hard-shell taco with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, pico de gallo, avocado, tomatillo salsa, pineapple, chorizo and french fries.
You can top it all of with some Pickle Cotton Candy.
If you dare to indulge, be sure to have plenty of Pepto Bismol and Alka Seltzer in your backpack along with your cardiologist and gastroenterologist on speed dial. Bon appetite!
We are in the middle moving toward the end. There’s still so much to enjoy the next couple of weeks – fairs galore, harvesting of the new crops, shopping trips for new school and work duds, still time for vacations, a super blue moon on the 30th and more. After coming across a couple of short poems that made me smile, I decided to stick with August one more time. Here they are.
Buttercup nodded and said good-bye,
Clover and daisy went off together,
But the fragrant water lilies lie
Yet moored in the golden August weather. - Celia Thaxter (1835–1894
All the long August afternoon,
The little drowsy stream
Whispers a melancholy tune,
As if it dreamed of June
And whispered in its dream.
The thistles show beyond the brook
Dust on their down and bloom,
And out of many a weed-grown nook
The aster-flowers look. – William Dean Howells
The months have rolled around once again to August. There’s something about this particular flip of the calendar that has an oddly positive affect on me. I say odd because I don’t feel quite the same for other months regardless of what they offer. I have not figured it out yet. Perhaps it doesn’t need to be figured out, just enjoyed.
Most of what makes August is still the same. The one thing that is not the same and concerns me is the weather. Once it became August there was a shift. A slightly cooler crisp quality that would start to replace the hotter humid air. Not this year or even in the very recent past. Climate change is hitting full on. There are record temperatures all around the earth, not to mention increased wild fires, floods and other natural disasters.
This ought to be a major wake up call. Especially to those who can actually do something significant about it. Of course, each one of us can do whatever small things we can. It can make a difference. The more of us that do our part the difference will be bigger. What shocks me is that there are still those who don’t believe in climate change. To what else would they attribute the current condition?
Anyway, I don’t want this to get depressing. There’s still much from which we can find fun and happiness. And, in case you may have forgotten or didn’t know tomorrow (August 8) is Sneak Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day.
Comments are welcomed.
As I was thinking about the current state of everything, Robert Fulghum’s book All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten came to mind. The lessons he sited are inter-generational.
They still hold value today. I revisited those lessons and thought I’d share some of them with you.
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life—learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
Wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup—they all die. So do we.
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned—the biggest word of all—LOOK.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.
Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or your government or your
world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all—the whole world—had cookies and milk about three o’clock every
afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and
to clean up their own mess.
And it is still true, no matter how old you are—when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.”
Comments are welcomed.
This has not been a good week to write a blog, or anything else for that matter. My body was invaded by some unidentifiable army of germs. It was not Covid as confirmed by negative tests. I thought it is some kind of cold. I had the good fortune not to have contracted any illness for several years. I was not handling this one well. The worst part for me was losing my smell and taste which is in day 5 now. Again this has not been due to Covid. Likely a sinus thing. Whatever the cause, it’s not something I’ve experienced quite like this before. I do recall, many years ago, not being able to smell or taste when I had a cold. Never did it last more than a couple of days. Truth be told, I am being a wus about it.
I’ve certainly have not been myself these past 2 weeks. For example, I find myself thinking about all the foods and treats I enjoy eating knowing full well I won’t be able to taste them. That’s just nuts. There have been other things that are out of character for me. Really, no point to go into them.
I share this with you just to explain why I am not blogging. Hopefully, I will find myself firmly entrenched back on Earth One and feeling more myself by next week. You all have a good week and be well.
Is there such a thing as a watermelon with bad juju? Could the fairies or elves who watch over gardens have had a disagreement and accidentally let bad vibes penetrate some watermelons? Here’s the thing. My favorite part of summer is the sighting of watermelons appearing in the markets. My body seems to crave watermelon. Even a few little cubes at a time make a joyful jolt to my entire body. I always feel more alive and happier. Facts and health benefits are an easy find on the internet, but here are a few. Watermelon is 90% water. It can provide hydration, which can be more effective than water as it is absorbed into the cells. It has several antioxidants which can address a number of issues. The sugar content is actually quite low and there are no fats or cholesterol. Now on to what happened.
I had gone shopping with my grandson on a very uncomfortably hot day. We did a lot of walking , going in and out of shops. One of the last stops was at a market where I picked up a wedge of watermelon. When we got home, I cut up the melon into cubes filling a 2 quart bowl. I left It on the counter to say good-bye to my grandson.
At this point I was rather exhausted primarily from being short of sleep the night before and not doing well in the heat. Surprisingly, I was still functioning rather well. My last action before heading for a shower and dinner, was to put the watermelon in the refrigerator. I started to put plastic wrap over the bowl when it went off the counter onto the floor. I couldn’t believe how it could have happened. It wasn’t like I had tipped the bowl nor was it that close to the edge. Let me tell you those cubes of melon can sure travel far and wide.
I managed to get a colander without stepping on the mess. I gathered up the watermelon into the colander, rinsing it until there was no evidence it had gone on an adventure.
Then came the task of cleaning the floor. To make a long story a little shorter, I ended up, over 2 days, washing the floor 3 times on hands and knees to get rid of the stickiness. And, that’s not the end of the story.
The day after the final floor washing, I went into the refrigerator to get some watermelon. It was déjà vu all over again. As I was picking up the bowl, it flipped out onto the floor. OMG! Was this innocent looking piece of Citrullus bewitched? Obviously, for some unknown reason, I was not meant to eat that particular melon.
Trying to understand how that could of happened, I came up with 2 possibilities. First, it could have been our good friend Isaac Newton’s Law of Gravity. Gravitation is universal. ALL objects attract each other with a force of attraction. This force of gravitational attraction is directly dependent upon the masses of both objects . The conclusion I drew was that the floor mass was greater than the watermelon mass, consequently drawing the melon to it.
The second possibility was just bad juju. Take your pick.
Comments are welcome.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about being hooked on a feeling. Similarly, I realised I am hooked on a feeling about a word. The word is whimsical, defined by Oxford Languages as “playfully, especially in a quaint or fanciful appealing and amusing way.” When I hear the word or say it in my mind, it sets off all kinds of sparkles, delightful images and smiles. Whimsy wakes up my brain cells. It wakes up those brain cells responsible for imagination, creativity, playfulness, joy and a teeny bit of mischief. If those cells are dormant, how else could I slide down my favorite color of the rainbow? How else could I find the wizard living in a tree house in my daughter’s back yard? How else could I have tea and petit fours with the fairies that blow in with the wind? How else would I know that my appliances converse with each other when they think no one is listening?
I am grateful when whimsy comes calling. It is often an antidote for those awful, no good, very bad days or just feeling down in the dumps. What helps you get through those downer times? What helps you to not take yourself too seriously? In these difficult, crazy times our well being can be boosted or at least kept afloat with fun playfulness or whatever brings a smile to your face.
“Being playful is a key component in making us happier, healthier, more present and connected in all of our relationships.” - Meridith Sinclair
Comments are welcomed.
Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion states for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. That’s how I’m feeling about technology at the moment. For all the wonderful things technology has provided for us, there are also many annoying, frustrating, inexplicable and downright idiotic aspects. My current beef is with a new set of hand held phones. For a number of reasons I prefer these to using my cell phone at home.
The hi-tech recharge base is adorned with a ridiculous number of buttons. When all of the buttons are active, I doubt I would even need to have an actual conversation. The phone would do it for me. As soon as it rang I was getting a plethora of vocal messages. This device must be a relative of Hal. Hal, if you recall, was the computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey that took over everything. No doubt a precursor to AI. I immediately turned off all vocal functions on the phone. That allowed me to use it in the traditional manner with me in control, until…
I get way too many calls from unknown numbers including long distance codes. If I don’t recognize the number, I let it go to voice mail figuring if it’s really for me, they will leave a message. I have also come to expect the long distance calls to be spam or scams. Again, unless I happen to recognize a particular number, I don’t answer. You can’t be too careful these days.
Here's what happened. Remember, I disabled every possible vocal function on the phone. One day one of those unknown numbers came in. I have my phone set for 6 rings before it goes to voice mail. It rang 6 times when Hal spoke saying, “enter your access code.” What the heck was that? It kind of freaked me out. Maybe it was a one off glitch and I would check the manual if it reoccurred.
For the next several days it was business as usual,. Then a call came in. After 6 rings, Hal asked for an access code. Another freak out. I went through the phone’s manual with a fine tooth comb. There was nothing about this weird function. Not a word that could possibly explain why this was happening. Nothing. Nada. I asked a couple of tech savvy friends about it. They had no explanation either.
Strangely, bizarrely, seriously creepy, Hal was showing up more and more frequently. Enough was enough. Newton’s 3rd Law was in motion again. My equal and opposite reaction was to bring Hal to his demise. I unplugged the phones and packed them away. Fortunately, I kept the previous set and reactivated them. Now, when the phone rings, I answer. If not it quietly goes to voice mail. Wonderful.
I do wonder what that was all about. Why ask for an access code? What was it then access to? Is AI beginning to run amok? Many questions. No answers. We live in interesting times.
I don’t know if you are familiar with the song, “Hooked On A Feeling” by Blue Swede. Every time I hear this song I am hooked on the feeling I get from two of the lines and the music. The 2 lines being, I’m hooked on a feeling. I’m high on believing.” There is more to the second line, but I use my own words to finish it. Anyway, I am suddenly hooked on a feeling that I want to write. This unexpected desire to write is unusual for me. Since it’s my main creative endeavor, I find writing is more obligatory than pleasurable Although, I do occasionally have fun with it.
Now, here I am with the desire, but no subject matter. Tell me, did you ever get a feeling about something, but couldn’t quite define it? That’s where I am. I’m going to take a pause and consider where to go from here.
Okay. I’m back. Here’s the thing. Our brains actually have an aspect that is always in need to know mode. We want answers. We want to know the whys and wherefores. However, we may not always get those answers. My question then is, so what? What if we don’t know the whys and wherefores? Perhaps a little uncertainty now and then is not a bad thing. What if we just flow with the not knowing and see what happens? That’s what I came to, just enjoy being hooked on that feeling. If it leads somewhere that’s fine. If it doesn’t, that’s okay, too.
Comments are welcomed.
Wabi Sabi was mentioned in a post about what seems like months ago. I said I would offer a better description of this Japanese philosophy of aesthetics and way of life.
“In a few words, one could say that wabi sabi is the beauty of imperfect things. Of course, that would be overly simplistic explanation for such a deep and profoundly rooted notion in the Japanese spirit. Something between an artistic concept, a philosophy of life and a personal feeling, wabi sabi is everywhere
In Japan, wabi sabi is imperceptible but everywhere: a crack on a teapot, the wood of an old door, green moss on a rock, a misty landscape, a distorted cup or the reflection of the moon on a pond.
The term wabi sabi is composed of two kanji characters. The second part, sabi (寂) is said to date back to the eighth century, when it was used to designate desolation in a poetic way. From the twelfth century, the term evolved and referred more precisely to the delightful contemplation of what is old and worn. It was also used to talk about the beauty of faded or withered things. Sabi could also mean “old and elegant”, or “being rusty”, with an untranslatable impression of peacefulness.
The term wabi (侘) only appeared in the fifteenth century to designate a new aesthetic sensibility closely related to the tea ceremony, which referred to the general atmosphere and to the objects used during this formal service. The definition of wabi can be traced back to loneliness or melancholy, to the appreciation of a serene life, far from the urban hustle and bustle.”
Wabi Sabi is about appreciation and acceptance, striving for excellence rather than perfection, finding happiness in the simplicity and impermanence of all things. Of course, there is much info about Wabi Sabi that can be found on - where else – the world wide web for anyone interested. For great depth and history, I’d recommend taking a glance at japanobjects.com.
Comments are welcomed.
There I was, stuck with this expensive duvet cover that I couldn’t get off my bed fast enough. There was no shaking the images of birds, papayas and oranges floating around in my head. How did my friend and the store owner not notice they were part of the pattern? I was obsessing about this to say the least. The store policy was credit or exchange only. This could have worked out had the expiry date not lapsed. Perhaps I will try to sell the birds and fruit.
Several days later I was out with my BFF who understands my quirks and eccentricities including the color thing. I felt prompted to take one more look in the store of my recent purchase.
Something strange, mysterious, yet pleasant happened. The store owner brought a series of duvet covers that were not part of the dozens I saw previously. Where did these suddenly come from? Three appealed to me, but the price was prohibitive. Then, there it was. The exact color I had in mind and a Damask floral pattern. Nary a bird or piece of fruit to be found, and within my price range. Mission accomplished. But wait.
The cover is a Queen size for a double size mattress. One would expect plenty of overhang all around. Nada. How was this such a misfit? Oh, no! Will I have to do a return? Had my visits to this lovely linen store turned into crazy town?
My daughter stopped by the next morning to take a look. She asked what was described to me. After I told her, she said they got it right this time. Whew! I showed her the length shortage. She asked where the zipper was. It was at the foot of the bed where I always placed them. She turned it around, putting the zipper on the side. It never occurred to me to try that. Why would I? I’d always put the zipper side at the foot of the bed. Wonder of wonders! It suddenly fit properly all around. And, the pattern worked any which way the cover went. Go figure. Okay. Now I look forward to where the next adventure my quirks and compulsions take me.
As mentioned last week, my intent was to offer some of the main points of Wabi-Sabi. I am postponing it until next week. A situation came up with duvet covers that prompted me to write about obsessions, quirks, oddities. You know, those delightful character eccentricities that make life so interesting. I apologize up front for the length. I neither enjoy writing nor reading long blogs, but…
My duvet cover obsession has been going on for over a year. Thoughts of getting a new cover had been rattling around in the recesses of my mind even longer than that. I had very specific colors in mind. In addition it had to have a pattern free from geometric shapes, critters, and food items. One of my quirks is that I cannot have any of the afore mentioned on any décor item in my home. Don’t get me wrong. I am a big fan of birds, fruits and veggies in real life, just not on any form of ornamentation. A floral design is acceptable.
I began the quest last Spring searching every store that sold bedding in the greater Toronto area. Everything I looked at was flawed in some way. For example, one was absolutely perfect until we caught sight of birds. I simply cannot sleep when I know there are birds flying around on top of me. I never realized how many duvet covers had birds, butterflies and dragon flies as part of the motif. There was also a fair share of fruits and geometrics to be found. Eventually, I gave up deciding to wait until the next year, which is now.
I started out about mid-Spring. Once again I scoured every place that sold bedding. I kept running into the same issues as the previous year. Close to giving up, I decided to visit one final bedding and linen store. I was accompanied by a friend who along with the owner did their best to describe the colors and patterns of the myriad of duvet covers. Their kindness and patience was greatly appreciated. Finally, there was one that seemed to fit my requirements according to the description. I bought it, brought it home and placed it on my bed. It seemed to be okay, although I was not entirely sure.
To digress for a moment, it is worth noting that colors along with everything else in the universe, have their unique energies. Although, I am no longer able to see things, I can feel the energies of colors, which Is why I may be so particular. Some may say fussy and annoying. Thus, I had that scintilla of uncertainty about this cover.
Back to the story. A few days later my daughter and granddaughter came by for a visit. I invited them to see my new duvet cover. They took a long look and asked what I was told about the colors and pattern. Apparently, it turned out not to be what I believed it to be. And, horror of horrors, on the sides that hung down there were – wait for it – birds and fruit. Bleepity bleep bleep!!
Okay. I’ve written enough for now. Please come back next week if you want to know the rest of the story. Sorry, Wabi-Sabi, I have to put you off for yet another week.
Comments are welcome.
No one is perfect, which is why pencils have erasers. Good enough is good enough. So why do we mess things up by trying to be perfect? There might be some fear involved – fear of making mistakes, fear of disappointing ourselves or others, fear of falling short, fear of success, etc. It may come from our judgement about our worth. It may be about an image (only in our own minds) we created for ourselves to live up to. Whatever the reason, it is a recipe for continual disappointment.
What can we do about it? The answer may be simple, but not easy. For me, I can trace this back to my childhood. I got messages from certain family members, both verbal and through body language, that I had to always be the best. This was a tough message to be carrying around in my head. It caused much distress through high school and university. What made it worse, is that I knew I was not always the best which kept me from participating in certain activities.
Fast forward to the present, I decided there was another side to this story. A new mindset and a new story line was in order. Here’s how my new story goes.
I have reframed “being” the best to “doing” my best. If I do my best each day knowing my best will vary from day to day., that is perfectly good enough.
Another part of this new story has to do with mistakes. As I was growing up, I never got the message that it is alright to make mistakes. It is alright to be wrong now and then. What I know now, of course, is that mistakes can be a good thing, They are how we learn. Mistakes have led to some of the world’s great discoveries. Anyone who has never made a mistake likely never took a risk or tried anything new. Mistakes are just an aspect of being human.
It’s been very helpful using sound bites from this story such as everyone makes mistakes, it’s okay to suck at something, there is no shame or guilt being imperfect, accepting that good enough is good enough. The whole truth is that everyone of us is perfectly imperfect.
I am reminded of the Japanese philosophy Wabi-Sabi which is a concept that motions us to constantly search for the beauty in imperfection and accept the more natural cycle of life. Next week I will do a deeper dive into this wonderful philosophy of life.
Comments are welcomed.
Let’s see. Where was I? Oh, yes. It was about the shock of Petal Plumblossom blowing in my window with the wind . A quick recap, if you missed Part 1. I was intent on exercising my whimsy muscle which had been inert for too long. You know what they say. If you don’t use it, you lose it . At the same time, I was keeping an eye out for any muses who might deign to pay me a visit. I opened the window to get some fresh air, when the wind blew in with the fancy girl fairy, Petal Plumblossom. That’s where the story left off.
Let me tell you she was as surprised (understatement) as I. We just looked aghast at each other for a moment. Then, I introduced myself and explained that the other neighborhood fairies occasionally come here for tea and petit fours. From their chatter, I assumed that she was who she is. She confirmed my assumption. Seriously, it was obvious going by her haute couture and haughty airs.
I invited her to stay and have tea with me. Since I was not expecting guests, I did not have petit fours to accompany our tea. I was able to offer homemade cookies which delighted her. Apparently, homemade cookies were a delicacy in her world.
To make a long story short, preferable to making a short story long, I will leave out all the juicy stuff for now. I will say we had a very lovely and enlightening conversation. Things and beings are not always what they appear to be on the outside. P.P. (Petal Plumblossom) gave me permission to tell her story whenever I was so inclined .
I must confess I had made assumptions about P.P. from listening to the gossip of the other fairies. When we assume, it makes…well, you know what it makes of us. There are times when it takes common sense and humility to defer to those with more knowledge about a situation or person. There are other times when we ought to pay attention to our Spidey Sense and recognize there is another side to the story. That was the case with P.P. There was definitely another side to her story beyond fancy clothes and fancy airs. When she saw that I was genuinely interested and trusted I would not judge her, P.P. shared her story.
Although she gave me permission to tell you her story, I’m thinking that her story is not the story. The story may be more in the lessons learned and things to remember about what is really important.
Eeyore, who was a downer donkey most of the time, had his moments of insight . One of these insights is worth the mention here. “Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.”
Comments are welcomed.
A couple of weeks ago I gave myself permission to cancel this blog. Seems that having released the pressure of a self-imposed weekly commitment has created space for me to continue a little longer. I am currently on the lookout for whimsy and muses. Either one would provide the impetus to keep going. For a little while, anyway.
Let’s go for whimsy. Even though it has been elusive for some time, whimsy is a part of my nature. Besides, the muses are unreliable and unpredictable. They come. They go. They have their own agenda and time lines. If by some stroke of good fortune the muses detour from their flight plans and land in your home, you might get a big burst of creativity. However, we have no influence over how long they stay. Personally, I have found nothing that might entice them to stay a goodly while. Believe me, I have tried all manner of bribery – special baked goods, the finest coffees, teas, wines, full control of the TV remote and all my devices, etc. Nada! If it is their fancy to stick around and help you, well, that’s great. Otherwise, you just have to be happy with what you do get.
Now, back to whimsy. The cool part about whimsy is that it is always nearby. We just need to be open and notice. For example, if you are very still, you might hear the appliances chatting amongst themselves. You might hear elves tap dancing on the roof. You might discover a wizard residing in one of your closets. The possibilities are endless.
I just opened the window. The wind blew in with Petal Plumblossom riding on it. I’ve had visits from the neighborhood fairies before. Never Petal Plumblossom. She is the fancy-girl fairy who is often the subject of fairy gossip. She wears fancy clothes, fancy shoes, fancy hats and flounces around with her fancy airs. The other fairies find her rather irksome. I was quite shocked by her arrival. I thought it must be a mistake. Perhaps the wind took a wrong turn. To be continued…
Comments are welomed.