The Warmth of a Sunrise

On vacation I enjoy sneaking out of bed early to take photos of the quiet landscape before the hustle and bustle of the day. It is a magical time as the sunrises and the colors dance across the sky. The landscape turns from dark to light with not a single person around to disturb the serenity of the moment.

secret garden

A calm reminder that each gentle sunrise begins with a fresh start to  another day. You never know what the future will bring but the key is to embrace the little things when other bits of your life turn dark.  A quiet bench were you can sip your coffee as the warm sun beats down on your neck is one of those tiny  morsels of goodness.

Sometimes life brings chaos but with it moments of clarity. It teaches us to grow, not make the same mistake twice, and keep moving forward to reach our goals. I hope in the coming weeks as many of you face the wrath of the White Witch  that you all find a morsel of warm sunshine to brighten your day.

Onion Boy and his Hot Dog

My first minimum wage job at the age of fifteen was  working the late shift  at a small town convenience store .  On the night shift one of my duties was to clean the dreaded hot dog machine. I would take the hot dogs out that had been sitting there for fifteen hours, drain the water,  try not to gag, and  then clean it.

I can still smell the putrid aroma of rotting hot dogs floundering on the edge of hell. It was disgusting.

onions

Another part of that job was dealing with a wide array of customers renting and returning videos. My favorite customers were the ones who would attempt to rent a video while they had a  fifty dollar late fee for not returning the latest porn video on time.  Usually, they would blush,  give you a good  reason for it being late , and with  a “one time only” warning  I would waive the fee.

However, there was always the exception to that  rule with  the one belligerent jerk that insisted on berating you, calling you names, and then wait for you to remove the late fee.

It would never happen – I would get the very scary manager and she would tell him off.

Problem  solved! He would storm out of the store flabbergasted that: 1) He was out of line for verbal abuse 2) Expected to pay the late fee 3) And now looked like a complete asshole in front of everyone at the store.

So when I go to my local convenience store for odds and ends I remember being swamped at the cash, dealing with a wide array of people in the public, and all of the dirty jobs of keeping the store clean while working for very low wages.

Just the other day I felt lucky and popped into the local convenience store to purchase a lotto ticket.  I waited my turn in line as the clerk worked to serve each customer. It is when I heard one angry gentleman yell across the store, “Onions! Where are the onions?”

The clerk politely smiled “I will be with you in a minute.”

“There are no onions for my hot dog!”

“Just one minute, Sir!”

He huffed! He stomped! And he huffed some more! I was waiting for him to blow the store down.

As I watched his silly gesturing and anger I thought only one thing  - you sir are a huge asshole!

This  lovely clerk working by herself did not deserve to be bullied into rushing to the rescue with onions.   What I wished for this clerk was that her manager was standing close by to usher onion boy out the door.  No one deserves to be treated like a doormat over the simple case of missing onions.

So as I watched onion boy hold his hot dog all I could think of was the putrid smell and how long that hot dog had been sitting in the machine. I imagined the pain he would feel in his  stomach and  the sudden rush to go to the washroom countless times that night. One can only hope his stomach is weak!

If he had only been polite maybe someone would have warned him not to eat the hot dog.

My Week of Uncensored Tweets

I have a Twitter rule which is attempt to be upbeat and positive with most of my tweets. However, I recognize at times that I can be borderline snarky and sometimes cranky.  So if I am having one of those “special weeks” I think before I compose and tweet.

So I thought I would share with you all of my past week of uncensored tweets that never made it to my Twitter Profile.

to tweet

Day 1

Dear God! What is that smell? OMFG! What the hell is it?

Day 2

People it is a girl swinging on a wrecking ball. Big Whoop! Please divert your attention back to Syria.

Day 3

CRUNCH is the sound of my front bumper in the parking lot.  I think I might effing vomit.

Day 4

Holy Hell! It is 3 am in the morning and someone just tried to break into my basement window.  Holy Hell!

Day 5

In celebration of Friday the 13th I am becoming agoraphobic. Did I spell that right?

Day 6

You did not just say that! You did not just say that! #angry #weepy

Day 7

Wiping drool from my mouth after a long nap on the couch. Why is my dog on TV? Wait! I am on TV! I am a CBC rerun! #squeal

As I look back through the list I realize they are just the day and a life of an average person going through a very bad week.  Also, I actually would have tweeted Day 7 but I couldn’t find my phone (that was stuck in the middle sofa cushion next to the stale Cheetos).

My only hope for this week is a warm cup of coffee each day because my standards for the good life have succumbed to being very low. Can I  Tweet that?

I Have Been Held Hostage by FedEx

It is day two as I sit and wait for a parcel to arrive.

matter of time

The condition is scarce. I have not left the house.

I have not showered.

And I was brazen by taking a chance to bake blueberry muffins. I am hoping the scent of cinnamon and blueberries will lure the FedEx driver to my house and deliver the parcel within a reasonable time.

It was only yesterday I sat and waited, doing laundry, taking care of my to do-list,  only to trace the tracking number on my computer that evening to discover they were at my house at exactly 2pm.

I was in my house at 2pm! I will tell you this! There was no knock or note on the door and there was no ringing of doorbell!

I quietly wait and lurk through the back pages of McSweeney’s.

I am getting nervous , twitchy, and wonder if I leave the comfort of my main floor – will  he appear, sneak on the deck, and run-off again with the package.  I wonder what is this FedEx drivers game?

I contacted their customer service and explained my plight. Her only advice to me was “to leave a note on the door for them to knock or ring the doorbell.” If the FedEx man does not already have the commonsense to do any of that – I wonder is he playing with full deck?

Only time will tell as I sink into the stinky abyss of my stringy hair and day old yoga pants.  I wait as time marches on. I wait for that one hope of  a knock on that door, a friendly smile asking for a signature, and the freedom to go about my day.

Please keep me you in your thoughts my deodorant is beginning to fade and the odor. Oh! The horror of the insidious odor!

Reflections of Gratitude

Wilma our new travel trailer has become my first love and has finally rescued me from the drudgery of tenting. I no longer have to lug fifteen million things, over pack for unpredictable weather, and  I am rescued from blowing up the air mattress every waking hour of the night. My life has become camping heaven on wheels!

kelly's bathtub, William A Switzer Provincial Park

We vowed that we would make use of the trailer every other weekend exploring new parks and places outside the city.  This first month on the open road has been a wonderful journey and spending quiet time with my family has been the icing on the cake.The computers are put away, most places we visit have no cell  phone service,  and we spend all of our time outside.

I am grateful for these special  bonding moments and look forward to more adventures with us and Wilma in the future. She has opened a new window for our family and easy way to recharge from the hustle of the city.

I also love the moments where I can break away from the camping pack to recharge my batteries and reflect in the beauty of nature.It is at that moments I realize how truly thankful I am for all of the good things in my life.

How do you take time to reflect on the beauty in your life?

Silver Linings Playbook: We Are All a Little Broken

After a long day of drudgery, list tackling, and chasing one escapee dog down the street in flannel pajamas. I settled into my comfy chair with my fuzzy slippers and flicked on Silver Linings Playbook.  The movie is about a man attempting to put his life back together after plummeting his wife’s lover  and being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

silver lings playbook

As I watched the movie  unravel with  heart-breaking discomfort and then brought to laughter during  awkward moments of  triumph over the little things in life.  I was left rooting for the characters all trying to make sense out of their lives and how it can be better.

My husband afterwards commented that it seemed broken.

“The movie did not flow naturally as it should.”

But the whole point of the movie is we are all a little broken in some small way. Our lives are a rickety roller coaster ride that stops, jerks, creaks, full of highs and lows.   Nothing in our lives is guaranteed and when the world is falling part we need to have that one hope that we will be able to put all of the pieces back together.

Silver Linings Playbook is the reminder that when the chips our down no man can be an island. He sometimes needs the warmth of family and friends to help put him back together. In that hope of rebuilding  there is the longing for something more that we all deserve to be loved by someone who understands all of our faults and foibles.

Have you watched Silver Linings Playbook? What did you think of the movie?

Oblivion: Are We Asking the Right Questions?

The recent Tom Cruise movie Oblivion raises the question what happens when we are all connected but have never met? It is in this movie humanity lives in space driven from the earth from an alien attack in 2017. Jack Harper is one of the remaining humans left on the outskirts of earth skilled to maintain and fix the drones which battles the aliens on radioactive territory.

oblivion-movie-directed by Joseph Kosinski

As he works he being to question what is he doing? And why? In it is in this self-analysis with the quest of wanting to know more which leads him to discover a secret about himself.

Oblivion is about the connection of mankind with technology and how social capital can be twisted to an opponents advantage. It reminds us that the social impact of technology can be used for good or evil. However, it is not a living entity that has a soul.

Technology is  only a tool that connects us and inspires us to create for our own advantage. The problem is we do not question the ethics of the tools  that we are given and how they are used for the betterment of man.

As Jack Harper takes orders from superiors he never met and begins to break the rules. He uncovers a secret one which could save mankind and planet earth. It is this secret which raises the questions about cloning? telecommuting? And what is really out there watching above us? This movie is not full of action but twists and turns with ideas of beauty, what is the good, and the testament of mans  daunting struggle to survive based on the collective good of the community.

If you are looking for a movie that is full of action such as Aliens or Predator this move is not for you. At times the movie will seem slow, you will question the acting, but other times you will be riveted by the imagination of Director Joseph Kosinski.  

Do you think more ethical questions need to be raised about advancements in science and technology?

 

What Does Your Swimsuit Reveal About You?

As we lounged on the beach sipping our Moijtos an Italian Jennifer Aniston came bouncing out of the water, pulling her lounge chair directly in front of us, and with flair removed her bikini top. My husband’s face began to turn beat red and he shut his eyes tight turning to look the other way.

The expression on his face revealed  he was in an utter panic!

If I look she will make fun of me and write about it in her blog.

If I don’t look she will make fun of me and write about it in her blog.

It really was a no-win situation for him because of course I was going to write about it in my blog!

It was at that moment he let out a heavy sigh and exclaimed, “Would you like to go for a walk?”

In kindness I put down my Jackie Collin, slathered on the sunscreen, and took one last long sip of my Moijto.  On our walk I began to put several things together based on nationality and swim wear.  I could easily surmise the man in the blue thong was French Canadian, and the women in the string bikini was a modest Spaniard. It was on that  journey I created my own classification of Swimsuit styles.

Observations on Swim Suit StylesIn my assumptions I would like to point out that I did have to classify some nationalities together such as The Europeans (French Canadian, French, Italian, and Spanish). As well I would like to clarify not all North Americans are orange, flashy peacocks, but many of us staying at the resort were trying to don that fake tan ( I would also like to point out Canadians are much different from Americans with our own colorful history and are always modest to point out that we did win the War of 1812).

Well, for the Brits, they are always the best to share a drink with but are very shy in their swimwear selection.  My favorite, however, was the Russian Oligarch he sat by the beach everyday in his Daniel Craig shorts surrounded by two  beautiful women and from the looks of things they were not his daughters.

In theory this chart is full of stereotypes and I am positive someone is going to scold me for being off the mark! Perhaps, not all Brits are modest, and maybe there is a shy French Man out there lounging on the beach. Who knows? What I do know is long as there is sunshine, a beach, there will be swimsuits, and everyone will have their own style!

Are you modest Brit? Or a flashy European with your swim suit style?

A Year that Matters

I am going to be honest and reconcile that 2013 has not been the best year for me. I have been gritting my teeth, stalled in one place, and recognize that it is time to move forward on an unknown path. I have decided to move forward on this first day of spring as my New Year a renewal of who I am and who I will be in the future.

grassy lake

In Umair Haque’s short essay How to Have a Year that Matters he points that as we move forward we need to look beyond ourselves in order to live our life to the absolute fullest because our only enemy is time.

“Follow your passion, we’re often told. But how do you find your passion? Let me put it another way: what is it that breaks your heart about the world? It’s there that you begin to find what moves you. If you want to find your passion, surrender to your heartbreak. Your heartbreak points towards a truer north — and it’s the difficult journey towards it that is, in the truest sense, no mere passing idyllic infatuation, but enduring, tempestuous passion.”

It is that enduring passion which breaks your heart because nothing has ever been created without some fear of rejection. The thought of believing in something so big but the whole time it never believed in you. Was it ever really your true North?

As I turn a page in the next chapter and celebrate my new year by staring at the bleak outside and know that soon the snow will melt, the cold will vanish. The sun will rise, the tulips will bloom, and the world will shine, again. I will discover my North Star with trepidation and excitement. I will follow it and let it guide me through the roughest times.

As Haque points out:

“For the simple, timeless truth is: You’ll never find the rapture of accomplishment in mere conquest, the incandescence of happiness in mere possession, or the searing wholeness of meaning in mere desire. You can find them only — only — in the exploration of the fullness of human possibility.”

It is from this day I forward I am going to use my ability to make the choice to live my life to the fullest potential and possibility.  It will be full of laughter, happiness, pain, rejection, and heartache.   It’s time to starting have a year that matters!

How do you have a year that matters?

The Expressive Leap: Blogging and the Personal Essay

Janet Steen examines the question “Have Personal Essays Gotten Too Personal?” in a quest to determine what is the truth and beauty of the personal essay.  In her article she points out the shift of the personal essay has transformed with the evolution of blogging.   Steen states “Blogs were an inevitable stage, and a useful one, but often they were narcissistic and ranty and you, the reader, had to sift through. A list of gripes does not necessarily make an essay, but a well-crafted, meaningful list of gripes might.”

winter wonderland

It is these well meaningful list of gripes that many of us sift through to discover the blogs that are gems and acknowledge that there is a truth to their writing. It provides meaning and sustenance in our daily lives.

One of the many diamonds  in the rough contribute each day whether it is a ranty post about poor customer service,  an inspirational post about a walk in the park, the political manifesto that your never thought of,  or a humourous look at motherhood.  All of these have helped to shape and transform our world and bring people one step closer together within the global community.

Janet Steen  points out “A great essay takes some little leap out of the ordinary, it has alchemy to it, it has magic.” It’s when you discover that hidden gem which makes blogging more interesting and exciting!  It is underneath that gem which holds a truth of what is beautiful and imperfectly human.

I have seen and read comments on occasion that suggest every Tom, Dick, and Harry seem to have a blog these days. It maybe true but the rubbish usually fades into the sunset while many bloggers seek to find their own truth through the words of their own blogs. They seek out to be better, to express themselves with eloquence, and shine on their own page.

Seth Godin, points out in his  short novel The Dip “The people who are the best in the world specialize at getting really good at the questions they don’t know.”  So perhaps as many bloggers throw in the towel there are many bloggers out there attempting to be the best by expanding their growth as writers and taking the time to seek out the truth.

It is by pushing ourselves to the limits that we create new expressive thoughts in personal essays.  As the world evolves, technology pushes us too new limits, our thoughts, and dialog will change. It is our role as bloggers to break the rules and seek the limits of discovering the truth through our own creative work. It is up to us to determine what is good and thumb our nose at the rigid critics who are unwilling to change with the times.

Do you attempt to take a leap out of the ordinary with your blogging?

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