Friday, November 13, 2015
Discussing this with an acquaintance recently, I mentioned that I was not really the superstitious type. It dawned on me, though, that I been raised by a woman who would say the same.
After, that is, she had already knocked on wood a few times, fretted over the bird that hit the window and threw some salt over her shoulder. She wouldn't pass another person on a staircase, would refuse to sit down to a meal with 13 at the table and always left a home by the same door she entered it.
Strangely, Mom had been doing all these things for so long she was completely unaware.
This reflection gave me pause. Was I really as unaffected by superstition then as I originally thought? No black cat or ladder has taken me off my planned course. Neither have I sweated over a broken mirror. I've both accepted and returned empty dishes which used to contain food, given and received empty purses and wallets as gifts. When I spill the salt I clean it up, not toss more. And when a bird hits my window I check to make sure it's okay, not fret that someone I know isn't going to be.
However, in my considerations it came to mind that I too knock on my fair share of wood, not because I actually believe it helps, but because I want to cover my bases in the event it does. There was not a chance that my daughters wouldn't be wearing something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue for their weddings, not because I believe, but when it comes to my kids' happiness and health, I don't take chances.
I used to tease my mother about her superstitions, asking her what happens to all the people who don't know them. Because while some have notoriety, there are plenty of lesser-known old-beliefs.
Such as the one that I (See, guilty again) shared with my young grandson a while back. When walking over a railroad track never cross it at the same time a vehicle does, I told him. Asked why, I told him it was bad luck. Asked how I knew that, I told him I had absolutely no idea.
But, it would seem that just like my mother I too am 'not superstitious'.
In celebration of Friday the 13th, as well as all the other myths, old-wives tales and beliefs, here's a selection of clipart for superstitious minds. Some are well-known, some less so. See how many you recognize:
Thursday, November 12, 2015
You don't love Christmas the way that I do and not be starting to get excited. There are 42 shopping days before Dec. 25 so I'm on the mark and ready to go this weekend to get it done.
Well, most of it. It's always nice to leave a few things for the last week, particularly if you can pick them up downtown on a still winter's night, lights twinkling, snow gently falling, carols pouring from outdoor speakers.
For now though, I'm focussed on this Saturday and an annual outing with a girlfriend. On a November weekend before the rush, we have traditionally booked a room in a nearby city, a place with speciality stores offering unique inventories.
While shopping alone is a favourite pastime of mine, when you shop with the right person it's the best. My friend and I bounce ideas off each other. My if-you-love-it-buy-it attitude complements her pragmatic approach to purchasing. Presented with two options she can guide my decision in a manner that leaves me thinking it was all mine and I can push her reluctance when it's needed.
Of course, it's not all about shopping. After a long day of checking off the Christmas list, we find our way to the hotel, exhausted but satisfied. Following a restorative glass of wine or two, and a recap of the day's acquisitions, we dine then search out some music at a local pub.
It is, without question, one of the most anticipated outings of the year for me.
So, as we look ahead to the holiday season, to promotional materials and advertisements, here are some wonderful photographs with the focus on friends shopping:
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
This year, however, conditions will not distract those in this pocket of the country from the occasion's solemnity as we are blessed with balmy temperatures and a cloudless sky. We can stand with bowed heads in silence, reflecting on the sacrifices of others without trying not to think about frozen fingers and toes. We can remember and we can also think about what we have gained by others' losses.
Always on Remembrance Day I'm also given to reflect on the good fortune of being born in Canada. I'm proud of the country in which I live, yes. There is much to be proud of. However, in that pride I am able to find so much to appreciate about life here, from north to south, sea to sea. I have listed them before and a Google search would turn up most of the reasons anyway, so I will refrain from unnecessary repetition.
What I will say though, is like the weather here we are a country of endless variety and surprises.
So as I prepare to attend this Remembrance Day service, I think of the country I have been blessed to live in and offer these photos of her beauty:
iPHOTOS.com Canada Pictures
Clipart.com Photos of Canada
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
In my corner of the country, we have so far revelled in an unseasonably lovely autumn. Temperatures have been pleasing, on some days even balmy. Leaf raking has been done in t-shirts and there was even a late October campfire with the neighbours.
The urgency that typically happens as we try to put away the outdoor furniture and batten down the hatches for winter to blow in, just hasn't been there. Though there was a tiny trace of snow a few weeks ago, it soon disappeared and a calm complacency has settled instead.
Not to be confused with denial, of course. In Canada we know that the weather changes in a heartbeat. If it rained yesterday, it might snow today and tomorrow could promise sunshine and warmth. Clouds can scurry overhead, ominous predictors of inclement changes, while a mile or two out of town the sun is blazing, the sky clear.
When it comes to weather, variety is the word that comes to mind. No more so than in this country. We can live in the deep freeze of winter for six months some years, four another. Our world can turn milk bottle white with blizzard after blizzard, or we can enjoy my favourite — an open winter.
Spring can be wet and late, or arrive full of life right on cue. Summer brings the best and the worst with sunshine and intense heat, gentle showers and frightening storms. Autumn can be as sparkling as the sun on a dewdrop, or as bleakly depressing as missing the lottery by one number.
This all kind of gets me thinking about a quote I once heard, something about if you're not liking the weather, just wait a minute or two and it will change. No matter what you might be looking for, though, you can find it in these terrific collections of weather clipart: