Today's Special

Workin’ for a Livin’

Upon waking each morning, my first thought is an anxious one: “What do I have to do today?”

My second thought is, “What day is it?”

When the answer is “I have to go to work,” my heart sinks a bit. I like my jobs and those I work with, and it probably does me good to get out of the house, and I need the money, but this is still how I feel.

When the answer is “A day off,” there is an immediate sense of relief and even joy. I can relax.

Why?

Because NO PRESSURE.

No HURRY UP, GET READY.

I get up at least three hours before having to leave for the office, and still feel hurried when it’s time to go out the door.

Probably most people feel this way.

***

Unable to stay indoors for fear of half-blind hunters, I went for a walk yesterday and listened to THIS PODCAST. It’s a new show to me, but popped up while I was searching for something to keep my mind occupied out there. The host talks with Esther Perel, who never disappoints. Even when she is talking to her clients who are in a situation I’ve never experienced, I learn things that improve my own understanding, things that enlighten me about myself and others.

***

Swissie: It sounds like you’re cynical about marriage for good reason. I’ve never faced physical abuse, or even seen it close up — knock on wood — at least not more than a whisper of it. There are a lot of reasons to be cynical and they all matter. Glad you’re free of the gardener.

Sorry, Pamela. Spouses are missed when they die, whether or not partnerships are ideal. I remember when I got the news that Mom had terminal cancer, how suddenly any dissatisfactions I had no longer mattered. They were quickly put into perspective.

AC: If you and Sue never allowed your children to see you angry with each other, then her expectations of marriage may have been unrealistic. My parents adhered to the “don’t fight in front of the kids” rule; it wasn’t till after Mom died that Dad told me they’d had their problems, same as most couples. My approach with my kids was to let them see that there can be a knock-down, drag-out fight and it doesn’t mean the world explodes; it’s normal, it happens, and parents can and do still love each other afterward. I don’t know if it was the right or best way to parent; sometimes I’m afraid it isn’t. I did, however, have unrealistic expectations of how people should treat each other — and maybe still do.

Dkzody: “A wedding does not a marriage make.” Truer words were never spoken.

***

hand left

No sooner did I bitch about the state of my fingernails than they smartened up and did what they were supposed to. Perhaps I put the fear of the lord into them. 

***

another sunset

Another sunset

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Today's Special

Marriage Means Nothing to Me

I’ve been in some relatively lengthy relationships and one traditional marriage and have been in a common-law setup for the past 20 years or so. Although the soft spot in my heart for each of my partners, past and present, remains, I am not a cheerleader of living with a lover. “Familiarity breeds contempt.” Also blame and accusations, misunderstandings, hurt, anger, frustration, carelessness, and complacency.

I don’t believe in Happily Ever After — never did, never dreamed of meeting a charming prince or being a white-gowned princess for a day — and it seems to me that people, especially young women, expect that the sweetness in a romance before marriage or cohabitation is going to remain. They are never, ever prepared for what the reality will be. How can they be? It’s a shock to us all when we begin to see the unloving sides of those we love and who we believe love us, and when we begin to feel less than loving, ourselves.

And so I don’t get excited when I see a shiny new diamond ring on a woman’s finger. I’m glad she’s happy, but what I’m keeping to myself is “Ewww; it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, y’know.”

Usually my cynicism is successfully hidden when speaking to a newly engaged woman or a bride still in the glow of the big party day and the honeymoon status. But I slipped lately when texting with my niece who just got hitched for the first time. I don’t remember how my attitude was displayed, but she picked up on it right away.

I hate pretending to be Pollyanna when my real feeling is a kind of sympathy because I have some idea what they’re probably in for in the long run. It’s like not telling a pregnant woman that childbirth is the worst pain they may ever suffer; you don’t, because you don’t want to scare them, but … wouldn’t they be better off if they knew what was coming and didn’t have unrealistic expectations of a “beautiful” delivery?

I may not have said “Good luck, you’ll need it,” but this is how it came across, when it’s not luck she’ll need, but superhuman communicative strategies and some kind of rare karma and something else we humans have trouble maintaining … some kind of penchant for unconditional love, perhaps, and tolerance, and a forgiving nature. That’s if she isn’t damaged by deep disappointment and loneliness at times throughout the length of her marriage. Is it being negative to admit that deep disappointment and loneliness at times are part of life, that this is the human condition and being married doesn’t magically take any of that away?

Perhaps marriage will fulfil all the hopes she has for it, for herself and her new husband. Perhaps it will if she isn’t expecting to live happily ever after. If she knows that change and anger are inevitable, as are a lot of painful emotions and situations that one cannot always process through to a better place of, at least, intimacy and peace. She probably does know this — she’s a smart cookie — and maybe it’s just one of those things we all know but don’t say out loud when someone is excited about getting engaged or married.

Scott and I, whenever someone asks when we’re getting hitched (as someone occasionally does), inevitably reply “What for?” I can’t even keep a straight face when once in a blue moon, usually after we’ve fielded one of these queries, to tease him I’ll say I’m waiting for the “big ring” and a grand-gestured, bended-knee proposal; we both have a good giggle at that idea. Or I’ll say I intend to ask him to marry me and he’d better be prepared not to break my heart by replying in the negative. We have some of our best shared laughs over these imagined scenarios. They strike us as absurd when picturing ourselves as the main actors in them.

We’ve both been married in the legal way once before; he in his early twenties in a large traditional wedding with a lineup of bridesmaids and groomsmen and all that hoopla, and me in my early thirties in front of a justice of the peace while I wore a new dress, with only my parents in attendance and a pretty wedding cake Mom and her friend made as a surprise, to help make it a “special day,” Mom said. Neither event was a guarantee of happily ever after, just as no marriage of any kind is. So I’m not sure just what the celebration is all about. I know what it’s supposed to be about: committing to each others’ care and happiness for a lifetime. Being there for each other through thick and thin. Loving and respecting. Intimacy. Faithfulness.

But no piece of paper can guarantee these things; no public vow in front of friends and family can reinforce our best intentions as the years wear on and we find ourselves irritated by the way our spouse chews. So why do we assume that marrying or living with our best lover is a logical next step, the inevitable desired outcome of romance?

***

box openbox closed

Open and shut case?

I was asked, when discussing marriage, what I’d do if I was with someone to whom getting married was important, even when to me it isn’t. 

It does seem as if at least some of the time, one partner goes ahead with it out of fear of losing the other if they don’t, or because they think it will make the other happy, it’s what the other wants or needs. 

I would have to understand what it is my partner expected out of the state of marriage. What do they think it would change? Why do they think it would be better? How much do they need it? Is it the only way they can be satisfied? What is the point of it, in their mind?

And then, finally, is it something I can live with? And if the ceremony and the piece of paper don’t matter to me, but seem essential to my loved one, then why not?

Fortunately I’m not in that position. 

***

Today's Special

Zucchini Patties, Books, Wine, and Radio

Another use for all that zucchini Scott grew this summer: patties. I made them for supper last night and they were good, but I’ll be tweaking the recipe before adding it to the blog collection. It’s scribbled onto a sheet of paper stuffed into an old stamp binder full of recipes I’ve kept for more than 40 years. The book’s falling apart and I’ve been curating the recipes gradually, transferring them to the blog or to Mom’s wooden recipe box on the kitchen counter. 
The zucchini was grated and frozen, and when it thawed there was a lot of liquid. I should’ve drained it and didn’t, so had to throw in a lot of extra “biscuit mix” (what the recipe called for, but I used the homemade Master Mix) to even be able to spoon the batter (instead of shaping it into patties) onto the griddle. They came out kind of pancake-y and tasty enough to be made again and perfected. 

***

Dkzody: Not being a wine connoisseur, almost all wine tastes fine to me after the first half-glass, if not sooner. I almost always buy Canadian-made, choosing to support our industry and shorten the distance wine needs to be shipped. That means purchasing wines made in British Columbia or sometimes Ontario. There is, or was, a rhubarb wine made in Saskatchewan and it was delicious, but I could never bring myself to pay for another bottle because of the price. I don’t buy expensive wines but don’t buy the absolute cheapest either. At $17 though, the Spanish one fits into the cheaper category. I don’t think I’ve ever bought a bottle that cost more than $21 and if we drank more wine than we do, I’d probably go for the $10 bottle of plonk and not notice much difference between it and a costly one. Every once in a while a wine from somewhere else in the world is a nice change.

AC: It’s been a long time since I bought boxed wine. Not for any other reason than that it takes up more space than a bottle does in the fridge or on the counter, and we are space-challenged in both places. And if there was always wine around, I might drink it more often, as I did for a while. Not something I want to do anymore.

Pixie: I may well not read all those books. I order them as the titles come to me, recommended or mentioned on the radio or in another book or review, and that means there is no controlling the timing of their arrival. I can renew them online another two or three times unless someone else has put a hold on them, and each renewal is for three more weeks. It’s rare to have an overdue fee and upon those occasions I’m happy to pay it. Had I purchased all the library books that came to me this year alone, it would’ve cost more than $2k so far. So the odd 30 cents is no big deal, especially for an excellent service that is virtually free to me.
I feel no guilt if I read the first chapter of a book and it’s not holding my interest. Back it goes, and I’m glad I didn’t have to buy it to find out it’s not for me.
The librarian told me on Friday that it could be a long while before another shipment, as there has been trouble employing enough staff to fill the orders. Not that I ever run short of reading material. I have several unread books on my own shelf for emergencies, and there are little lending libraries in both offices where I work. Books galore!

books

I spread them out on the coffee table in the living room and decide which to read first.

They say we oughtn’t to judge a book by its cover, but this little sweetie delighted me so it’s the one I’ve started:

book

It’s one of a series so I hope to find it engrossing.

***

Look at THIS. It shows the geographical location of all the radio stations in the world, apparently. You click on one and it plays.
-Thanks to B. Sullivan for posting the link on the JMDL discussion list.

***

Today's Special

Scott Fears Kate Could Be Taken for a Moose

I’d like to say THIS (Work Life: Why It Pays to Raise Pay) is what was playing on my phone today while walking, but when I reached the road there was Scott, gazing after a truck that had been stopped nearby and took off when he got there with the half-ton. He advised me not to go, as there are unscrupulous hunters out there who can’t be trusted not to mistake me in my big black parka for a moose.

??? Ya think???

I should be wearing something orange or red, even though hunters are not, I thought, supposed to shoot animals from or on the road. Nevertheless they do, as we witnessed earlier this fall when what was left of a moose carcass was in the ditch not two minutes walk from our driveway.

I’d had to push myself to get out there in the first place this afternoon so it didn’t take much convincing to get me to agree to come back inside. I’m baking the batch of granola mixed up earlier, and staying put. The podcast will keep for another day, and staying home is preferable anyway. Which leaves me earning only $2 this week, at a dollar a mile. That’s not the important thing. It’s the cardio that counts — or the lack of it.

I’d tentatively planned to go to town afterward — you know how just getting outside can invigorate you — and pick up the farm eggs from Everett’s in case we want them tomorrow, but that too can wait another day. So can the little bit of shopping I might’ve done.

There were 12 books waiting to be picked up at the library, so I was in town yesterday anyway and am relieved not to go again so soon. I’d also fuelled up the car and checked the mailbox and bought groceries and isn’t that enough “towning” for one week? Yes indeedy.

***

In the end I did business in more than 4 places. After depositing grocery bags into the back seat of the car, which was parked on Main Street, I popped into the liquor store for some wine (seeing as I was right there). I bought one bottle of red and one white, stuck the white into the fridge when I got home, and opened the red while we were making supper.

good wine

This is a new one to us and we were delighted from the first sip. 

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Today's Special

Perhaps Someone Dropped Me on My Head as a Baby

You know how I said (maybe it was on Instagram) Scott’s idea of sticking a fridge magnet over the Bake button on the stove would remind me there was a gallon of honey softening in the oven, where I’d put the light on? Sure it did, once or twice. Yesterday? Nope. I turned the bloody oven on — even had to press a button inside that magnetic picture frame! Jesus! — and by the time I remembered, the lid on the pail was melting and misshapen. Fortunately I got the pail out before the honey was affected, but my ass is bruised from kicking myself and my brains are rattled from shaking my head. It’s back to tea-towels or oven mitts stuck in the door. Those I can’t ignore. (Can I? For heaven’s sake, I might as well be smoking pot. Clearly it makes no damn difference.)

***

What I listened to yesterday while strolling along my lonely (in a good way) road:

Pico Iyer and Elizabeth Gilbert

Fits in with things I’ve been thinking about lately.

***

The walk under the big sky:

cloudy sky

Arriving home from the walk (note Scott’s unused barbecue up against the row of lilac trees; he may have fired it up once this summer, but I wasn’t around to see it):

barby

And last but not least, sunset in the back yard:

backyard sunset

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AC: I had to look up Breton Brittle. Looks quick and easy. I’ve heard it’s tasty. 

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