Thursday, 28 March 2013

Thursday Thermals - March 28, 2013

The lull before the storm - well not a real storm, just a frenzy of activity, the quasi organized chaos that
accompanies any and every festival in my world.

Thank God I no longer have to stage church observances at the same time. For too many years family got sandwiched between the 8 and sometimes 9 worship services that filled up the space from Palm/Passion Sunday through Easter Day. And nothing ever went smoothly in Holy Week - accidents, illness and death were constant companions; so much so that I privately renamed the days "Hell Week". Now there's an experience begging for theological reflection - but not today. Phew!

How did I manage both my family celebrations, with all the trimmings - dying eggs, hiding eggs, hunting for eggs, and of course the big feast - and the Church? Well I know I had more energy 15 to 20 years ago than I do now, but I also know who got the shortest end of the stick - Me - and the Church got the most.

Well that was then. Now I only stage the family festival. What freedom! What joy! Way fewer rules equals way more room for love. My family will gather on Saturday not Easter Day, because that's the best time for us all to get together. I will find some time at some point to meet up with God in the garden (not mine because there's still way too much snow on the ground; a greenhouse perhaps?) and talk about gratitude.

There are still some rules though, traditions which must be followed, but they are neither empty nor onerous. Easter eggs - dyed but not hidden (no horrors to be found in July tucked down behind a bookshelf) - Paska (bread) - a Ukrainian Easter bread (not sure exactly how this made it into the family tradition, but it began with my mother). Then there's the supper - No feast, No festival! Ham, glazed with sweetened mustard and decorated with pineapple slices and maraschino cherries, and scalloped potatoes, dark brown around the edges, are the essentials, while the veg and dessert are variable. This year wilted arugula with roasted spring veggies (Longo's Experience Magazine: Spring 2013) will provide the colour commentary for the ham and potatoes, and for dessert, two pies: apple and lemon meringue. Of course there will be wine. I think a Riesling (Steelpost) from Thirty Bench Wines and for a bit of spice a Gewurtztraminer from Flat Rock Cellars, will go down well.

I gotta get to work; the lull is over.

Take some time to share a festive meal with loved ones this weekend.
Happy Easter!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Monday Moanings - March 25, 2013

I should have been at the gym this morning, but instead I frittered away the appointed time slot for this activity, parked in front of my computer, a steaming latte for company. It was all so very easy...

A brief check of my email - a few replies and satisfying use of the 'delete' key - then it's over
to the BBC World News. I see that the EU worked out a deal with Cyprus and, OH, Prince Harry is going to tour the US for 6 days promoting rehab for injured troops. Why is Canada left out? Hmmm... Well on to the CBC World News; not much different from the 'Beeb', but a click over to Canada and well, 'The Pandas are Coming, the pandas are coming'! There's a link to check out the plane's progress on a flight tracker. And the PM himself is going to meet them. Cute, even very cute, but it seems a little over the top doesn't it? How much is all this costing us? I leave that hanging in the air and click over to Facebook. A talented painter friend of mine has posted a picture of one of her paintings, an absolutely gorgeous apple blossom. Surely Spring must be coming any day now? Over to Twitter to have scroll through Chris Hadfield's latest pics from the ISS, and across to Google+ to check out a few new posts. Good time to check my security settings, again. All is well. "Bing Bing" announces a new email - just junk, but while there, my clicky finger finds the JigZone puzzle of the day; an ornate hawk needs piecing together.

Of course tempus fugits all through this April in Cyberland adventure and I look up at the big rabbit's watch on the wall; the little hand is on the 9 and the big hand -- well let's just say it's past 9. Oh Crap! I've missed the gals at the gym. I'm not even dressed yet. But then I am reminded of a recent workout study that found that less is more. Two 40 minute cardio workouts and two 40 minutes resistance training (Yay! I'll be good at that one. What? Not that kind of resistance?) a week is optimum. With this new intel I draw up a revised workout schedule and lo and behold, today is a rest day!

Oh look! A bowl of jelly beans!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Thursday Thermals - March 21, 2013

Ready or not, here comes 60!

I've given some considerable thought to this impending transition over the past year, some of it has been rather melancholy (regrets, I've had a few...) but now as the last days are spiralling through the hourglass of a decade, it's time to get a grip. Whether I want it or not, in just 14 days I will leave my fifties behind. Like so many before me have wondered, I too wonder how I got here -- so fast!

Time is such a contrary companion. When I want it to go fast, it crawls. When I want it to slow down, it slams into hyperdrive, and it never stands still no matter how much I plead. So 60 will come right on schedule, of this I am sure. While it is an uncomfortable fact of life that many more years lie behind me than ahead of me, what those coming years will bring me, the details of what 60 and beyond hold for me, is a mystery.

I have learned that there are really only two reasons for doing anything -- love and fear. There's nothing wrong with fear, a healthy, rational fear of real things. The biggest, scariest real thing for me now is future health. It's not just a fly in the ointment, but often seems more on the scale of a velociraptor. My body has already betrayed me in small but undeniable, occasionally embarrassing, ways. So you won't find me mountain climbing, roller blading, snake charming, bungee jumping, or even doing something so risky as drinking a full glass of water before a half hour car ride. You will find me working out four times a week (Check this out: Four workouts better) and maintaining a very healthy diet. You will also find me in the company of the people I love, doing the things I love, in the places I love, and grateful for the love and life I am so privileged to experience.

Something else I've learned: life is not about perfection. It took some fifty years for this avowed perfectionist to learn this one, and I'm sure refresher courses will always be a part of my life. Life is about doing the best I can, enjoying each day as it comes. And at the end of the day, it's about being content with what I have done and what I have not done, so that I can look forward to a new day, new joys, new possibilities.

Easy? I doubt it. More likely it will be some of the hardest work I've ever done. So be it.
Get ready to upend the hourglass...
Here comes 60!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Monday Moanings - March 18, 2013

What's this? Another snowstorm on the way?
Enough already, I say! St. Patrick's Day has come and gone with more than enough of a sprinkling of fresh white stuff (all of 3cm) to qualify as 'Paddy's Brush - at least in my opinion. I doubt my Newfoundland brothers and sisters would agree though; for them the brush is a really big snow happening on or just before St. Patrick's Day. 'Sheila's Brush' on the other hand sweeps in afterwards, March 18 or even a bit later.
The legend goes something like this: Sheila was St. Patrick's wife, or maybe she was his sister, mother, housekeeper or just perhaps his mistress (naughty boy!), the relationship varies depending on who is telling the story. Since today it is me, I'll stick with Sheila as the wife of Paddy, long before he made it to sainthood.

Good old ordinary Paddy married a fiery redhead named Sheila.  One evening Paddy left her at home to go out with the boys for a pint. Sheila was not amused; furious in fact she was. On his return, two-sheets to the wind, Paddy was met by an outraged Sheila who stormed after him with a broom (brush). In commemoration of that event Sheila's Brush now comes to us after St. Patrick's Day to brush/sweep away the winter. There is another take on this story: in a late winter storm, Sheila's Brush paints the land white one last time. Check out this evocative painting.

Paint it either way you like, pretty it up however you please, but let's have an end to winter's snow. The workers are coming today to begin installing solar panels (LIM Energy Inc). It just won't do to have them slipping and sliding on a steel roof. AND we ran out of firewood last week! The first time in twenty-five years - not so much because it's been a cold winter, but because it's been so dull and cloudy.

So listen up all - let's send Sheila (& Paddy) home to The Rock, where they are most welcome and appreciated.