Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Wednesday's Words for April 24, 2019

This last Wednesday in April, in this (still in my mind) brand new year of 2019 finds me wondering why time is going so darn fast these days. It’s very annoying. I no sooner get a good start on my day, and bam! It’s time for my afternoon rest. Not sleep, but rest.

I can’t help but recall just yesterday, when I was a child, that time absolutely crept along, so slow, it lagged behind a snail. And I have to wonder if there is a way to change my perception of the speed of the passing of the days. Really, is there anything to be done about this blight on humanity?

The only occasion anymore upon which the passage of time still feels slow to me occurs during those few nights when I have trouble falling asleep. That doesn’t happen much anymore, unless I’ve just returned to my bed after a trip to the bathroom and having gotten out of bed my mind begins working at hyper speed. The clock tells me I still have at least four hours to go until I should get up….and then that time drags out, as I lay awake, waiting for my mind to shut up so it can go back to the Land of Nod.

Before my heart attack in 2002, I used to get by with a lot less sleep than the suggested average of eight hours a night. It was not unusual for me to have no more than four to six hours a night for several nights running. And then came the heart trouble, and the triple by-pass surgery, and I began to sleep a lot more. I needed to sleep a lot more, and if I didn’t get at least 8 hours a night, I would have to have a nap in the afternoon.

I don’t quite know how or why it happened, but in the last two or three years, I’ve returned to the old ways. Just now as I was composing this, I checked my Fitbit which records such information. It’s been a month since I had as much as 7 hours sleep. That generally only happens now—getting 7 or 8 hours—if I’m fighting off a cold or am otherwise a bit under the weather.

My most usual amount of time spent sleeping is anywhere between five and a half and six and a half hours. I might doze in my recliner for a half hour or so in the afternoon, but I don’t go to bed for a nap midday. I haven’t done that for a long time. The recliner is perfect because the whole purpose of my rest time is to get my arthritic legs up.

I’m not sure what my sleep patterns have to do with my perception of the passage of time, except I suspect that I might not be sleeping as much as I should because the darn world just will not slow down. I think my subconscious is afraid I’m going to miss something important.

Time does seem to go faster the older I get. Maybe that perception is based on the very real fact that the older I get, the less time I have ahead of me. It’s certainly a more precious commodity now than it ever used to be.

You’ve heard that saying, “life, when you consider the alternative, isn’t that bad”? Well, I have been thinking a great deal about the perception of the speed of time and I may be coming to the conclusion that time rushing past isn’t such a bad thing, either, when you consider the alternative. Not the end of time, but time slowing to a monotonous crawl.

I keep busy. Not all the things I do are of equal importance. Some are vital—that would include writing and keeping in touch with my readers, and time spent with family. Some are less so—I do enjoy playing different games or watching videos on line. I’m grateful I can do both. I’m very grateful that I have a computer, and that I know how to use it, a little. I can look up almost any fact, and I do learn a fair bit in any given day. I don’t know how to correct things that might go wrong with it, but that’s what the Geek Squad is for.

I’m fully aware that there are people my age, and some older, who aren’t able to keep themselves busy. There are people who are lonely or are what we used to refer to as being “shut in”, who have little to do to pass the time and aren’t able to get out and about on their own. For them, perhaps time doesn’t speed past. Perhaps for them, it crawls.

Given the choice between one or the other isn’t my preference. I’d prefer that time passed at a moderate, comfortable rate. And perhaps, in this, I’ve finally hit upon a possible solution.

I would have told you yesterday that I do appreciate each day, each sunrise, and each moment for the gift it is.

Maybe all I really need to do is smell a few more flowers—or cups of coffee.


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Wednesday's Words for April 17, 2019

My daughter has a clear memory, and I won’t dispute it because it is, after all, her memory. I’m just confused by it. She insists that when she was growing up, I was adamant that one simply did not use a light colored purse, or wear white, until after Easter. Apparently, I made this point to her on several occasions.

That is not a memory I share—at least the part about my being adamant, almost to the point of “pounding it into her head” (her words, not mine). Now, the ‘no white until after Easter’ was indeed one of the fashion rules when I was growing up. Along with having to have a brand new, pretty outfit to wear to church on Easter Sunday. I can recall the first purse I ever owned was in fact part of an Easter outfit when I was about five or six—a white plastic purse that gleamed so bright you needed sunglasses. The outfit also boasted a scratchy coat and socks, and shoes I was not to scuff, no, not one little bit. Even as a child, I couldn’t understand what all that had to do with God. I couldn’t imagine He cared if I wore a brand-new prissy outfit or if my white shoes were scuffed, or not.

Fortunately, fashion is an ever-changing concept. I might indeed change my purse after this weekend, but only because the new black one I bought in Texas is a fair bit larger than I’m used to. And yes, I have a beige purse hanging in my closet because, while I no longer proselytize about the necessity of changing purses (if ever I did), I still somewhat practice the custom. I’ll likely change my purse sometime before summer.

Times change and fashions change, but apparently I do not, overly much.

My hair is very long now. Longer than it’s ever been in my life. My long hair is not a fashion statement, it is a testament to the fact that I don’t apparently seem to have any rats’ butts left, and thus can’t give any to anyone for anything. I just can’t be bothered going and getting a few inches lopped off my hair. I don’t like short hair, because I can’t make it neat. Bedhead, which I get every morning when I have short hair, has only one cure, and that’s water. Who wants a wet head every morning? Not me. I like my hair long enough so that I am able to put up without a thousand hair strands sticking out. My hair is well past that standard, now. Every morning I take about thirty seconds and use a scrunchy and a clip to put my hair up. It looks neat, nothing sticking out ala Albert Einstein, and that’s all I care about.

Despite the fact it’s now fashionable to wear colors and shades that are quite bright and in my opinion clash, I don’t do so. I’m sorry, but yes, my brain synapses that are connected into the part of my brain that denotes the concept of “eye-bleeding sights” have been completely formed, they’re solid, and you will never see me wearing orange and red together; nor pink and red; nor blue and green, which, according to an old saw, “should never be seen except, of course, in the washing machine”.

The fact that it doesn’t appear to be mandatory that women leave the house with their hair neatly groomed, smooth, and tidy-looking means hey, my “messy bun” original updo with a clip thrown in for good measure is just fine. I can’t tell you how relieved I am about that because, quite frankly I’m not. I really don’t care what others think. It’s what I think, at least when it comes to my appearance, that counts. I find it interesting that my inner curmudgeon, which has been emerging occasionally for some fresh air lately, doesn’t extend that same tenet to others. Sometimes, when I’m watching live television, I can be heard grumbling words to the effect of, “somebody ought to tell that woman about the modern inventions of combs, brushes and hairspray”.

The fact that I will think these things let alone say them out loud does not bode well for the kind of little old lady I may end up being when they have to put me in the home. I’m a bit concerned about that, because I really don’t want “miserable old bitch” to become a part of my name at that point. But I digress.

Springtime is unfolding, with a few fits and starts, but unfolding, nonetheless. We’ll soon be headed to the garden center to purchase our pansies, and indeed all the perennial flowers in my gardens are poking their little shoots up, checking to see if the coast is clear, or not.

Spring truly is my favorite season. It reminds me that life is a cycle, and that no matter how dismal the winter, or how discouraged we may become thanks to cold temperatures and ice, green shoots and tree buds will ever, in their own good time, appear.

The constancy of nature proves to us that in the end, there is something in existence much greater than ourselves. Knowing that, is, for me, a great comfort.

To those who observe it, I wish you a Happy Easter. To those who observe Passover, chag Pesach samech.

To everyone everywhere, may joy and laughter be familiar friends in the days and months to come. 


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Wednesday's Words for April 10, 2019

This past week I overcame my intermittent tendency toward procrastination and performed a task that I’ve been meaning to do for the last month. I registered for my Canada Pension and Old Age security.

When I turn sixty-five, in July, I will have reached the “official” age of retirement in this country. Official, not mandatory. And as a person who reaches this age in July, I can look forward to my first monthly payment at the end of August.

For the last dozen years, I have been earning money from writing. Every quarter, I’ve received my royalties from my publisher. Always on time, never late, and never wrong. Though my publisher, Siren-Bookstrand is considered “small press” there is certainly nothing at all small about the level of their professionalism, or their integrity. I have been blessed and highly favored.

I never have focused on the fact that I would someday receive a monthly amount based on all the years that I worked outside the home, contributing to the CPP (Canada Pension Plan). There were a few years when my children were small that I was a stay-at-home mom. But as they came to school age, I went to work. From roughly 1984 to 2002, I was gainfully employed, primarily in the field of accounting. I took some accreditation courses, though I never pursued a college or university degree. I’ve also contributed to the CPP these last several years, via my “self employed” royalty earnings.

Through my “working life” I took pride in doing the best job I could. More than once a colleague told me I treated my “job” as if it was a “career”. I’m reasonably certain I frustrated the poor woman by receiving the intended insult as a compliment. To me, that’s what it was. I couldn’t, at the time, see the point in not doing my best, in not working as hard or efficiently as possible. All these years later, I still can’t. I can look back on the positions I held and know I did my best and earned my salary.

While I enjoyed the various work through the years, I did have challenges getting along with coworkers from time to time. I’ve never been one to play games, or gossip. I could take a lot of B.S., too, without rocking any boats. However, I finally had to lodge a complaint with a company CEO about my supervisor, who believed it was quite acceptable for him to be rude and demeaning toward me—and in front of most of my coworkers.

 The CEO, in his endearingly arrogant fashion, told me it might make my life easier if he fired the offending cad, but then he’d be out an accountant, wouldn’t he? I don’t think he was expecting my response. I didn’t want my supervisor fired; I didn’t want “compensation” for the mistreatment I suffered; I didn’t even want the cretin to be punished. When Mr. CEO asked me, then what I did want, my answer shocked him. I told him I just wanted the harassing behavior to end. Period.

The job I have now suits me better, not only because I’m doing what I love. It suits me because I no longer have any coworkers. I am my own boss, and in that regard, I have no complaints.

Despite being on the verge of collecting my pension, I have no plans to stop writing. As long as people are willing to buy my books, I will write them. I really do believe this is what I was always meant to do. Could I have started earlier? I don’t know. I think things happen when they’re meant to.

My first novel was published when I was four months shy of my 53rd birthday, at a time when I could no longer work outside the home. That was in March of 2007. Once I’ve finished this essay, I’ll focus again on my current work-in-progress, which will be my 60th title for my publisher.

I consider myself very lucky. Yes, there have been true tragedies in my life, but here I am, able to earn my way doing what I love, what I was always destined to do. We’re not rich, my husband and I, not by any measure. Our house isn’t fancy, it’s quite plain, and I must confess, perhaps not as spotless as it could be. But we’re careful with our pennies, our needs and our wants are modest, and we remain grateful for our many blessings.

We enjoy our routines, and our days speed by.

I have more stories yet to tell, and more readers I hope to touch. I have friends and family, and still, at my age, a bit of a curiosity about life and a thirst for knowledge.

All and all, I believe that I am living a most splendid life.

Love, Morgan

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Wednesday's Words for April 3, 2019

I’d like to know who it was that gave winter a standing ovation. As in all stage productions, you give the star a standing O, and the next thing you know, they’re back in front of you, with an encore performance.

The last time this happened, my husband blamed our daughter. She’d jumped the gun on spring, you see, and got her patio accessories in place. This time, however, she swears it wasn’t her fault. The canopy and sides for her gazebo are still in her basement. That’s one suspect down, and about a million to go.

We awoke on Sunday morning to find a couple of inches of accumulated pollen everywhere! It was one of those wet-snow productions, where the white sticks to every single tree limb and twig, no matter how thin. If I hadn’t had faith, that by the time I needed to post this essay that the kaka would be all gone, just a bad memory, I might have been truly disheartened.

My beloved got up on Sunday morning (a fair bit later, after I did) and trudged from the bedroom to the front hallway. We both have a habit of looking out the window of that front door first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. I heard his sigh. I told him not to worry, it wouldn’t last.

He told me he knew that, but it was still depressing.

Of course, by the end of the day, Sunday, the sidewalks and the road were clear, and only a little snow remained on the grass and on my car. But yes, I could concede his point. That new dump of snow just when we were about to start April felt like a bit much. I had to remind myself that I cannot discount the possibility of snow in this part of the country until after the 24th of May. This morning, looking out the window, I see now white kaka on the ground. I’m not standing and cheering. Don’t want another encore performance.

A cheery sign of spring, as I was driving through town on Monday, was provided by one of the variety stores that always sells hanging baskets. They had a nice selection of pansies out. I love pansies. Their little faces look so happy. They’re always smiling. The ones I’ll get in a week or two from the nursery just on the outskirts of town will be hardy enough, I hope, to withstand a bit of chill. Plus, I plant them in window baskets that I then hang off my porch railing. They’ll be about five and a half feet off the ground, so hopefully they’ll fare well when we get more frost. I might be tempted to cover them lightly if there is a frost warning. If I wait until closer to the middle of the month to get my pansies, I shouldn’t need to worry about it. But of course, that’s not a given.

I’m not as eager this year as I usually am to get my fingers in the dirt and my flowers in the ground and box. I’ve sort of been fending off a cold for the last few weeks. Stuffed up on some days, but most days not. It just seems to take a lot more energy than usual for me to get things done.

 I suppose I really need to try and get my ashes to bed earlier than I have been doing. A couple of nights in the last week, I was in bed just after eleven, and one night, just a bit before. And then I forget that I’m trying to do that and the next thing I know, it’s nearly midnight and I’m still at the keyboard.

I continue to be staggered be the crap weather my friends in the U.S. have been having to deal with. Honestly, it doesn’t seem as if you folks ever get a break. Here, the weather is downright idyllic in comparison.

So I’m going to clap only politely, no standing O, for the disappearance of latest little dump of snow. And I’m going to assume that we’ve seen the last of it. By the end of the week we should be basking in 60 degree temperatures.

The only problem with crossing my fingers at my age is there’s always a danger they’ll atrophy and stay that way.