Thursday, January 31, 2013

All That Glitters...

In the Broadway musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, on stage in 1949, Carol Channing introduced the song “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend”. She presented a glittering unforgettable image throughout her career, diamonds or not.
Likewise, with Valentine’s Day approaching, it may be that more women than not are dreaming of a sweet treat that’s not chocolate!

It seems that there are at least two different ways in which the word “diamond” can be used. The noun, identifying the sought-after crystalline stone of pure carbon that is the hardest natural substance in the world – thusly used for cutting edge technologies and jewellery. An adjective such as “a diamond in the rough”, or “her eyes they shone like diamonds” (from the folk song Black Velvet Band). 

In the depths of Winter here in Bracebridge, we have had temperatures well below freezing – those days when the snow crunches as you walk and it’s important to avoid frostbite! If the sun is shining the rays appear to reflect off the hard snow in blinding beauty. This is what a colleague once described as a “diamond day”. So incredible it nearly takes one’s breath away.

Difficult to discover, and incomparable in its characteristics, you too will recognize it when you see it – a “diamond day” in Winter is all that glitters!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Ballad Of High Noon...

The familiar lyrics of this movie theme were written by Ned Washington, music by Dimitri Tiomkin for the 1952 film.

I recalled some of the words recently when a friend challenged my selflessness and felt strongly that I am a too-giving and caring person. My true confession is that the opinion was a bit of a sucker punch which left my head spinning!

Friends offer unconditional love, if there really is such a thing, and are stalwart supporters and encouraging – even if they don’t actually see the world from the same perspective. We try to protect each other with concern and attentiveness, but not manipulation.

There are plenty of “girlfriend e-mails” which are composed to reassure, uplift and reaffirm the values we share and care for each other; regardless.

Admittedly, it is difficult to understand clearly how other people think and feel, so the shoe must fit on their foot as well when they consider us. Each and every human is a complex creature, partly influenced by “how we were raised” and partly by choices we elect to make.

My own Mother shared that there are two kinds of people in the world, givers and takers.  Of the two, seemingly there are more of one than the other – so when this self-centered friend faulted me with derisive and sneering comments it reinforced for me that whatever differences friends may have; each deserves consideration.

The progressive ages and stages of life bring different challenges –care giving  may be one of them. Choosing to be a caregiver is not simply “throwing oneself under the wheels of a bus” – it is an adult and unselfish choice, not to be taken lightly.

It is all consuming, without adequate respite in most cases, and the commitment, from someone else’s point of view, may be unfathomable.

We need to implore our self-centered friends to offer help, not hurt.

Do not forsake me, oh my darling
Although you're grievin', don't think of leavin'
Not while I need you by my side

Thursday, January 17, 2013

In The Pink...

Now that the hubbub of the Christmas season is behind us and the glamour of New Years Eve (at home in PJ’s with a movie perhaps?) is history, many of us are daydreaming of a little pick me up.

Manicures, pedicures, spa days or a change of hairstyle may be just the ticket!
This past weekend I visited a unique small business in Bracebridge which offered an opportunity to fluff and polish. It’s a self-serve location as well, open 24 hours!

Upon walking through the door, in plain view is a metered timer – make your selection on the dial and drop in either the One Dollar or Two Dollar coins. The choices are Oatmeal Shampoo, Rinse, Conditioner, an intense Extra to eliminate strong smells, and then the blow dryer – which incidentally blows cool so as not to cause skin irritation. If you need more time to complete the tasks or repeat, just insert more coin!

A stainless steel tub is easily accessed up a slight rubber-coated incline – no slips or falls, and there’s even a tether to latch onto for anxious participants! The whole process from start to finish takes about 5 to seven minutes, not including nails of course, and the set-up is convenient for all shapes and sizes.

First timers have no need to feel anxious, they can enjoy the pampering and exit wrapped in a big towel! The Smelly DogWash is located on Ecclestone Drive near the Esso™ gas bar on the way into town.

It’s an amusing opportunity to pamper your pooch – like humans they need a little TLC on occasion to make them feel “in the pink” of perfection!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Belated Birthday Wishes...

On the eve of a new year, I’m filled with reflection, introspection and a measure of hopefulness. Sometimes we just need to give ourselves a good shake and clear any foggy notions – sort of  eradicating any shadowy thoughts that may be lurking in an unswept corner of our consciousness.

So many trivial thoughts! And lists in the making of “things to do/things to change/things to put aside/complications to ease or even let go. One of the most precious treasures a person will ever have is good health. Psychologically as well as physically, being on the right side of the grass is always a good thing – how solidly our feet may be planted merits discussion!

Many people are toiling under clouds of despair and even hopelessness – keeping their sunny side up is infrequent and takes a lot of effort! We have only to observe others to realize that we aren’t as badly off as we might sometimes think. Even a good walk and change of scene is uplifting when we feel troubled – my little Buddy walks like a  trooper !

I want to charge ahead into my next year with refined and achievable goals,  to dig deeper for compassion and understanding when my patience feels thin, to do my best, and of course to come through with shining colours!

Tomorrow will bring cards from several loved ones, perhaps a telephone call or two, and  renewed vigour. By today clearing my closet of unnecessaries and re-examining those little rooms in my mind stacked too full of stuff I will be able to make a clean sweep of it all.

This birthday comes with a push broom to keep my path clear – Happy Birthday to Me!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Across the Miles…..

When we stand in front of a varying array of greeting cards, our eye may be caught by a specific section where the opening lines are “Across the miles….”
Consumers who select a card from this particular selection recognizably have distinct reasons.

Proximity in miles, kilometers or time zones may well be the  basis of the appropriate title; however, it seems that there may be emotional or other significant reasons why a person may feel a distinct widening of and away from communication with other family members.

An aging parent may have a second spouse or other caregiver who may be a subconscious excuse on the part of adult children to widen the “gap” of closeness which may have existed in previous years.

The feeling of “nothing in common” anymore might come to mind, or a suppressed but undeniable sense of gratitude to the caregiver or newer spouse for relieving the family members from responsibilities of a parent who may be afflicted with one of the many diagnosed dementias.

Whenever emotional bonds exist between distant or distinct family members, and whether or not proximity is a circumstance, a hard effort must be made to try and keep the lines of communication open. It is failure to try harder that contributes to the breakdown.

In 2009, the AT&T telephone network in the United states developed a television commercial which encouraged everyone to “reach out and touch someone, they’re waiting to hear from you”.  The message stands the test of time, from its originator Marshall McLuhan through 2009 until today.

When the lines of communication are ebbing and concern grows for the “why” – pick up the phone and clear the lines of communication again. Whatever the message, it will be loud and clear.