Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The fitness files: husband-wife Christmas presents

My hubby and I bought snowshoes for each other for Christmas. We did this for a few reasons: 
  • both of us (and I in particular) need to be in better physical condition
  • we wanted to spend more couple-time together (and how better to get a man committed than make him invest some money in the scheme? Mind you, we bought the kits at Costco)
  • we wanted an incentive to get out and do some winter exercise and enjoy all that sunshine and crisp fresh air
  • snowshoeing seems safer than most other winter sports, and it's something we can continue into our retirement years. A few years back, I fell and dislocated my thumb by (wait for it) cross-country skiing--the Nordic kind!  So I need something fairly fool- and klutz-proof.

I envisioned that we'd be doing this come December 26: 

The fantasy

And yet, here we are January 17:

The reality

The snowshoe kits have not moved more than four feet from the Christmas tree. Maybe the latter part of January will be kinder to us--and I mean that literally. No one can have "fun" with outdoor winter sports when the wind chill is -37 C.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The S word

Thou art jist as stoopid. Do not be thus. 

Post-modern society has become so politically correct and easily offended that I actually hesitated the other day to use the word "stupid" in my blog post. The S-word is so taboo these days that you can get busted in Kindergarten for using it. (But then again, you can also get busted in Kindergarten for drawing a gun, or declaring you have a best friend, or even for using the wrong gender pronoun, so what does that prove...)

Monday, January 15, 2018

You can't make this up

The same people who told us to "Let it all hang out" and "Everybody's doing it" in the 60s and 70s are now issuing "Hugging Guidelines" and forcing employees to spy and report on each other for "inappropriate" relationships, whatever that means. No more eye contact at the water cooler? Hester Prynne, call your office pillory.

(HT Dr JB Peterson on FB)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sunday fun

I still don't understand a lot about YouTube, or just, well...the internet in general (for example, I have yet to be convinced that Twitter is good for anything, but I remain open to learning). It amazes me how many funny and creative people are out there, creating content and basically building entertainment empires from the ground up. The Bad Lip Reading folks are a case in point. Their Star Wars music videos are hilarious.

Some of the more famous YouTubers are worth millions, which is kind of mind-boggling, especially since many of them started out with a laptop webcam, sitting on their sofas. But it's a different world than the one in which I grew up (one TV channel, I kid you not). And now I have zero--TV channels, that is. We've given up on the major networks entirely. And why not, since so much of what they do seems intent on destroying the foundations of Western Civ.

Whereas this is just funny. Enjoy.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

It is necessary to introduce a new category at DOH

Random internet photo: NOT the author's parking abilities.

The acronym for this category is YJAS. It stands for "Yer Jist As Stoopid" and of course, there is a story behind it.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Facebook is good for something

I "like" a page on FB called Hillbilly Cast Iron Cooking (I also love cast iron), and that is where I got the idea to make chicken pot pie in my cast iron frying pan. (I am so obtuse, it has never occurred to me in my whole life to bake something in my frying pan.) But does it ever work well! I fried up the chicken pieces (you can't say "sautéed" in relation to cast iron; it's too snooty) and onion in the pan while I steamed cubed carrots and potatoes in another pot. I made the gravy in the frying pan, right over top the chicken and onion, dumped in the potatoes and carrots, and threw in a cup of frozen peas. Then I topped it with a purchased pie crust--because I was lazy, and it was music lesson day, thus, I got home late. (They were on clearance sale at the grocery store, which was a bonus.)

I baked it for about 30 min at 375 F, just until the crust browned. My husband loves pie, so of course he was pleased with the meal. And this is funny: I felt a bit guilty about making it a single (top-only) crust pie, since he loves the pie crust. But since you had to scoop it out of the pan with a spoon, it showed up on the plate as a big pile of chicken stew with broken pastry on top. And he actually didn't notice that there was no bottom crust. 

It was very tasty and a fast way to make savoury pie. Thanks, Facebook Hillbillies!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Poor January gets such a bad rap

Rightly or wrongly? Most people I know hate January--at least the ones who live in the Northern Hemisphere. It's cold, dark, and post-Christmas depressive. I don't know about you, but come January, I usually find myself 10 pounds heavier, lots of dollars poorer, still tired from the holidays (moms don't usually "rest" much over Christmas, even though we do enjoy it, so don't feel guilty, kids!), still wondering where the previous 12 months (or 45 years) went, and feeling just a bit overwhelmed about starting a new year (it's depressing when you get depressed over having no Resolutions, because ultimately you know that they'll end up where the Resolutions from the last 50+ years went).

But you know what? The sun is rising earlier; life is pretty much what you make it, and God is watching over all of it, and willing to hold our hands if we let him. Just don't forget that he's there. One good thing about time going quickly is that January is 32.258064516% over. That's about one-third. The inspirational quotation below seems to be for Jan. 1, but really, you can use it any day of the year. Because, Behold, God makes all things new.

PS,  you are less likely to have a good year if you spend January like this, so make a different plan:

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

"Drive forth, O Lord, all darksome things"

Image: St. Peter's Church, Toronto
This is why we need poetry in our lives. Isn't that one of the best lines you've ever read? It comes from the opening hymn from Morning Prayer (Liturgy of the Hours). If you do not pray the LOTH, you should seriously consider it, because it's the next most legit thing to attending daily Mass. (Yes, it's even "better" than the daily rosary, and that is saying a LOT.) If you don't know what it is, or where to begin, read this book. Available in ebook format, so you can start within the next 10 minutes if you want. I can't overstate how important this form of prayer is in my life.

We all have suffering and darkness in our lives, and we want God to take it away. Sometimes, the only prayer we can muster is, "God, help me; I can't deal with this crap."  But if we're going to pray that prayer, we might as well use beautiful language--not because God needs to hear it (he knows all the words, even the bad ones), but because we do.  God is everything that is true, good and beautiful. And good Art is the same thing. True Art leads us to God.

The LOTH is based on the Psalms, which contain some of the most beautiful words in the Bible.

The Bible also has a lot of cool metaphors. This one came from the Reading from Midmorning Prayer today: (1 Peter 1:13-14): "Gird the loins of your understanding..." Ha, I love that! In other words, 'Get it together, man!' Know what you believe; know why you believe it, and be ready to explain/defend it when asked/challenged.

By the way, I don't usually pray so many of the hours, so don't think I'm some kind of saint. In fact I was kind of cheating and listening to the LOTH audio while I tidied my bedroom this morning. It had become rather messy over the holidays. (You know it's bad when you get all the way through the podcasts of Morning Prayer, Office of Readings AND Midmorning Prayer, and you only cleaned half the room.) Disorganization, laziness and clutter: just a few more those darksome things that need to be driven forth from my life. Pray for me; I'll pray for you.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The joy of children

This is a short conversation I had with my teens the other day. 

Mom (plaintively): When I wake up in the morning, I look like Rex Murphy. [They didn't know who he was, so I showed them his picture online.]

Monday, January 8, 2018

Waiting for dawn

The houseplants near my kitchen patio door, waiting for sunrise. 
Christmas is almost officially over, as Ordinary Time begins tomorrow.  I hope you had a nice Christmas; our family certainly did. It's always sad at the end of the holidays to see the adult and college-age children going back to their jobs and studies.  This January is more poignant than usual, since Daughter #5 is leaving home, and there are various other changes afoot, some of which I did not anticipate. As they say, "Change is the only Constant" (actually, "they" is the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus, which I just discovered this very moment. Isn't Google useful sometimes?)

Despite the various challenges of life, my spirits are lifted because: 1) God; 2) we are POST-SOLSTICE: more hours of daylight--yay! I have trouble getting up early in the morning at the best of times, but winter is even less fun. When one of our daughters was little, she called everything between midnight and sunrise "Dark Morning," and the label is apropos, literally as well as metaphorically.