Wednesday, January 8, 2014

"You will know that forgiveness has begun....

when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well". (Lewis B. Smedes).

I have a plan. An idea. An idea for a plan? It isn’t original and it may not work so perhaps I should say I have an experiment to conduct. Yes, that’s much better: the Pixie Kind Thoughts Experiment.

I was going to go into a long background story but I don’t need extra grief at the office if it gets around. Suffice it to say that I am stuck where I am (for now: going back to school is part of the change THAT plan) at the level that I am at with no possible chance for advancement due to one person. No, not me. Duh.

I’ve had a couple of weeks of frequent headaches, and consequently spent a lot of time in bed, in the dark, thinking dark things. Making up devious plans of revenge. Plotting complex machinations that would result in my moving up and my adversary falling in a spectacular way.

I’ve never been good at being angry: too lazy, I think. Who has the energy to keep a temper going for so long? But apparently I do like lying awake at night dreaming up Machiavellian revenge stories. And this can’t be good. It really can’t. So I’m going to change that.

I’m going to start wishing good things to happen to she-who-blocks-my-way. I am going to send positive thoughts her way, and wish her well. I have no idea and no actual interest in whether or not this does anything for her. What I am hoping is that it does things for me. Not some magical “if you want it and wish for it, it WILL happen” things, just…less anger. Less plotting at night. And maybe, just maybe, if I do this – even if I am doing it as part of an experiment, not because I really want her life to be great – she will no longer bother me.

She’ll likely still be blocking my way, but it won’t impact me, or where I’m going with my life or my view of who I am. Maybe I’ll even reach the point of being genuinely happy for her when things do go well for her. Maybe not, but it will be a little less poison in my mind and a little

Monday, December 30, 2013

Don't Judge Each Day By The Harvest You Reap But By The Seeds That You Plant (RLS)

Big shocker here. HUGE. I can’t believe you didn’t notice. What’s that, you did? You did see that I haven’t written a Fiction Friday in ages? You’re right, I haven’t.

In fact, I am worried that I’ve lost it. Not my mind – not yet – but the ability to write creatively. Or write at all. So I am doing this 12 week thing that MayB is doing. Yeah, it is kinda hippie-dippie, but I’ve written up my own contract with myself to give it a go.

I am going to do all twelve weeks. All the tasks, all the things that are asked, even if they seem silly, or hard, or just useless. This is sort of like migraines: there comes a point when the pain is so bad you’d do just about anything to get rid of it. I am so broken up over my runaway muse that I am willing to give anything a try to get her back.

Here’s the book, if you are interested:

You may find posts here that are tasks from the book. You may find the odd snippet of something that happened that needed/wanted to be posted. There are likely to be recipes, cuz I’m worried that I am losing my cooking mojo too: I totally forgot that my Mister doesn’t like bread pudding. Remembering what people like to eat and don’t like to eat is, like, part of my thing. It’s what I do as a baker/cook. And I forgot something that relates to my most beloved significant other!

Not being a pastry chef anymore and not making bread for the deli anymore has made me lose some of my cooking chops, so I’m working on getting them back, hence the likelihood of recipes appearing. Yeah, hence!

I have no idea when the next fiction Friday will appear. I just hope it does!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

C n C

There are things in life you have control over and things you don’t. I am going to go over two things that are related to each other. One you do have control of, the second you don't, unless you're ok with not being true to yourself.
Introducing today’s topic: Committees and cliques.

The general gist of committees is from an interview on CBC radio with Anne Perry. I’ve taken a brief remark she made and expanded it. My thanks to her for opening my ears to my own committee!

Everyone has a committee in their head. That committee is made up of people like: that teacher that was mean to you, the one kid that would invite everyone but you to their birthday party, that person who broke your heart, the boss that continually passed you over and promoted employees with nowhere near your skills…those people are all in there. And they’re pretty quiet, too, until you want to try something new. Or if you’ve met someone you’re interested in. Or you're taking a leap of faith. Really, they’re quiet until you do anything that lack of confidence can undermine. And THEN they’re busy! “You can’t do that, you’re too old. And too stupid! He/she will never notice you, you’re too plain. Too tall/short/fat/skinny/normal/odd. Anything that they can say to shift your standing ground to quicksand, and they’re on it. It’s up to you whether you listen to those voices. The less you listen, the quieter they get. If you start listening, they get louder until they are running your whole life, and not in your best interests, either!

I am doing better with this one. I don’t listen to that committee very often, although I know they are still there. They tried to convince me not to back to school, but I have a loving husband and family with much louder voices, so I’m back in school. At 51!

The cliques…now that’s a different story. We’ve seen them in elementary school. We’ve seen them in high school, certainly. I had lots of friends in high school so not being one of the popular girls wasn’t an issue for me, most thankfully. But for a lot of people not being in the popular group can make for some pretty depressing years.

This continues into college, but you can bury your nose in your books or sports or special interest groups and generally find a place where you DO fit in and make those years work for you.

It can be a bit of a surprise that this does not stop in the work place. This in no longer a surprise to me, anymore than it is to you, rather more of a disappointment, but goodness: the first time I didn’t get a promotion I was qualified for because the person hiring didn’t like me…yeah, that was weird. I read this somewhere a few months ago “for a second there I couldn’t remember if I was in elementary school or high school and then it hit me: I’m at work”. I’m sure you’ve all seen this scenario play out at the office, whether it affects your job directly or not.

The thing that did manage to surprise me is this: it never stops! I was out last night having supper with my Mister’s grandparents (yup, they are still here, hale and hearty!), listening to the old folks chatter at the surrounding tables. And guess what? Yeah, no surprises for guessing correctly: old age homes still have rivalries and “in” groups. If they were more spry they could have done a bit from West Side Story and it would have fit right it. I'm beginning to wonder if there is an in underground crowd at the cemetary!

Being in an in group is not really something you can control. Well, perhaps you can, a little: when I missed that first promotion I knew that if I would just join the party crowd I would be part of the in group and I’d be fine. But that wasn't me. Not to mention that I was a single mom with a baby and a toddler! Out for beers after work three nights out of five was just not in my budget or timetable even if that was something that appealed to me.

So I didn’t change who I was. Still haven’t. But I have looked around my office and taken a good look at who is in and who is not. And you know what? The “not” crowd? They’re pretty decent people. Proud to be a not!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


I think dreaming is a good thing. Not a big surprise that my vague attempt at fiction involves dreams. I also like making the occasional lottery ticket purchase and spending some day-dream time thinking about what I’d do with a win.

I don’t think it works if you get obsessed with wishful thinking and dreaming to the point that you have lost touch with the world you actually live in. I, in fact, live in a pretty amazing world. I’m happy and grateful for that. But I still like to dream. And I am planning on buying a lottery ticket tonight. And I’m going to share my day dream with you guys:

In the gulf islands there is a little island called Lasqueti Island.

14 miles long, 4 wide. You can find it between Texada Island and Hornby Island. And on this car-less island there is an acreage for sale. $898,000.00, but I think they’d probably take less if one were to pay cash. And since I am hoping for a two million dollar lottery win I would have the cash.

My mister has a job that he can do from a home office. And yes, the island is internetted. Yup, new word. I just invented it but it’ll be all the rage this time next year.

If he wishes to quit this job to run a Taiji school (his retirement plan) he can do that too. Doesn’t this look like a lovely place for outdoor Taiji? One would almost think it was meant for that.

What would I do? Well, I no longer wish to have a place with donkeys and horses, etc. But a garden? You bet. Fruit trees would be even better. Jam for us, fresh fruit and veggies that would go to food banks. There is a ferry connection to Vancouver Island, so getting foodstuff to where it’s needed is doable.

One can’t just do that, though. I mean I can’t. I’d need…guests. There’s a guest house! So people can come out and visit and yet still have some time to themselves. Got kids? Teach them to swim. There are two ponds, and one is swim-able. Kids need a break from city life. Send ‘em out for some free run around time. Like a week. We’ll send them back tired, well fed and brown as berries.

Power? Solar, but back-up diesel generator. What would I do with my car? Sell it, buy a kayak. Or a sailboat. Or both, because two million should cover the house, the travelling back and forth to Regina until the youngest is done school, the setting up of the martial arts school and the planting of fruit trees. And the equipment one would need/want for an acreage. I’d say a riding lawnmower would be a must, wouldn’t you?

There. That’s my dream: cooking, gardening, hostess-ing and watching my beloved start his retirement dream long before he is of retirement age. Wish me well on that ticket purchase!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Practice makes closer to perfect. Or so they say.

I have a bit of a problem. Ok, yes, fine lots of little problems, a couple of medium ones and perhaps one large. But what I am really saying here is that I have a little problem that I am about to discuss with you:

You've probably heard the bit about it takes doing something for like a half-bazillion hours to become an expert. (I just looked it up: 10,000 hours of something and you’re an expert*). More recently I read that if you read an hour a day in your current field in seven years you will be an international expert.

*Auto-correct tried to change that to "and you is an expert". Ah, Otto, how you amuse me.

We have doing and reading, both important; for the doing part, you hear a lot about regularity and commitment. Weekly. Apparently (I checked with the universe) regularly does not mean jogging once a year on the same day. Yes, that is regular, but it isn’t the type of regular that makes you good at something. Except perhaps remembering the date of that one day?

I miss cooking. And baking. Pastry y’all. Getting married and doubling the amount of children I have doesn’t make a huge difference as the two that arrived part and parcel with my beloved arrived when my own two left to be all growed up. And – unless I want us all to be on TV as the two thousand pound family (come watch, they’re a ton of fun) - I really should not be making desserts each and every night. But…but it’d be fun. And the stress-busting that baking does is not to be dismissed lightly!

Come to think of it, I’d also be helping Canadian dairy farmers with the purchase of untold amounts of butter. And cream. And the poultry industry, eggs! Sugar, from Canadian sugar beets. Flour from Saskatchewan wheat. Apples, maple sugar, peaches, berries; yogurt, sour cream and buttermilk to go with that butter. Baking to keep Canadian agriculture afloat!

There is a solution. Two, actually. Perhaps even three. One would be to just not bake so we’ll go ahead and skip right to solution number two: bake, but share it around. Keeping in mind who can eat gluten and who can’t. Ditto nuts, dairy, chocolate, citrus and meat (because yes, bacon has a firm place in baking) and whatever else people have for allergies. I know a couple of people who can’t have corn or any of its by-products. I think the worst I’ve met is pepper. I guess if you were allergic to salt that would be worse, but I haven’t come across that one yet.

Solution three would be to work on either the dancing or get my mister to get me going with Taiji. Or yoga. If practice makes all the difference I could work off the pastry gained pounds AND become good at something! As much as I am able, of course. Because we know how this could end up:

I think I should combine a bit of two with a lot of three. Give/sell a fair amount of baking, work off weight/become proficient at some sort of activity. Too bad reading doesn’t get you fit: I’d be the fittest person in the province. Maybe even the country! I’d be less the above Taiji and more of this:

Wishful thinking. Gets to the best of us.

For those of you that managed to get all the way to the end of this ramble, there be rewards matey! Let me know if you are ok with being on the list for things I’ve baked that I want to give away, and if you want to be on the list of people contacted when I have baked goods to sell. I will even keep a baking distribution list! Worried about distance? Not necessarily a problem: I’ve mailed fudge to BC and Ontario, and cookies to so many places I’ve lost count. So sign up, o ye who read to the end of things!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday Eight

I got to Swensen’s before my Cajun cowboy did and that, for me, was a good thing. I’m not overly fond of ice cream, but I do love going to Swensen’s. The gorgeous jewel-toned stained glass, the marble topped bistro style tables, the 1940’s soda fountain feel of the place. And the people watching; so interesting it’s enough to make one wonder if ice-cream is some sort of truth serum and that day there were a lot of conversations to listen to. Yes, I suppose you could call that eavesdropping, but hey – public place, public conversation. Whisper or go somewhere private if you don’t want others to hear!

I purposely chose a table next to a couple sharing something known as “the Earthquake”. Picture a mixing bowl filled to overflowing with ice cream, fruit, sauce, whipped cream and a variety of toppings and you’ll get the idea. Takes forever to eat finish it, if you even can, and that only happens when you’re sharing. With at least three friends.

The two with the earthquake were obviously having a discussion of earthquake proportions. They were so intense: hard to tell if they were making up or breaking up. I wondered if there would be enough ice cream – even in something like the earthquake – to sort out whatever they were going through.

The door opened and my (the?) cowboy walked in. The man at the counter greeted him by name and nodded in my direction. What the hell? Did I have some secret sign on my forehead? He asked for coffee and a slice of hot apple pie, no ice cream. Two of us at the best place in the city for premium ice cream and neither of us having any. Figures. Not surprised at the pie, though. I don’t think I’ve ever met a man who would say no to fresh apple pie, with or without the ice cream.

He came over and sat down at the table. “Glad you showed up. Is your dad ok? As much as can be expected, that is?”

Can’t hate a guy who is concerned about someone you love. And given that I made what money I had at the time from baking for friends and family I couldn’t really hate him for eating pastry and still being slim in the hips. Some people have lucky genes.

“Yes, or at least he knows where I am, if not the why and with whom. But then again I don’t know about the why and the who either, so no surprise there. Not much I could tell him, is there?”

“So, do you think we could start over?”

Starting over; I’d thought that a million times, both with Jims and with mom. Wishing that I had done things differently. Told them things when I had the ability to do so. Done more with them when I had the time, said fewer hurtful things. Isn’t that what anyone wants, a chance to do some things again? Not everything – thirteen was not a good year for me. But some things, yes. And starting all over with whatever was going on with the hot Cajun and my maybe not dead brother…yes, I’d like to start over.

“Please?” I nodded.
“Bonjour, I’m Remy LeBeau. I work for a group of people who knew your brother. Do you have a minute to sit and talk with me?”

“This is only because you said please. So yes, I have a minute. Hello yourself. I’m Evina Sulwen Yates, Evi to my friends. Feel free to call me Evina”.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fiction Friday Seven

I slid of the bench and watched him walk away. Not because he was worth watching – which he totally was – I just…watched. He was right about not worrying my dad, so I headed back to the hospital. Everything seemed the same, which I found confusing. How can the world not be different when someone you love is dead? Or when they are, perhaps, dead and yet not dead?

I scuffed my way through leaves that had fallen and then started gathering them the way we did when we were little – like every kid does - trying to find the brightest reds and the most flaming oranges. We used to bring them home to show mum, and I swear every time she managed to make us feel like this time, this time we’d truly found what must have been the very best leaves of the year. She’d press them with an iron between sheets of waxed paper, to show dad when he got home. For someone who died far too young she managed, somehow, to imbue our lives with wonder and the ability to find joy in small things. Please heaven may I do even half as much with my life as she did with hers.

Approaching the hospital doors I slowly dropped all but one red and one orange leaf. I think I was intending to take them home, or give them to day. At any rate, in the end I looked down at the two left in my hand and changed my mind. I waited for a gust of wind and launched them into it and watched them fly away; it was a day for letting things go.

I hate hospitals. Sad faces, fearful faces, lost and angry souls. You’d never think that life starts in hospitals too. The long dingy corridors always felt they were overrun with rivers of sorrow, rivers that I would have to wade against to get where I was going. I don’t remember much of that bit of that day at all. I remember the leaves, and I remember telling my dad I was going out for a bit, to call me if he needed to. I had enough money for the metro and a train home if they needed to leave without me. I didn’t say I was meeting a friend; even that small a lie felt as though it would be too much, as if he would break if the smallest harm touched him. He was, for a while, more akin to a leaf from later in the season: folded in, brittle, without colour. More sorrow for the river to claim.