lsproule@thereview. There it was: a flash of orange in the ground which became visible after I pulled out a clump of dandelions. It was a chewed off carrot left in the garden from last fall. It was a reminder of our family dog, Zeke, who last year dug up and ate most of our carrots, much to my annoyance. But that was then. Later that year, just before Christmas, he developed a severe form of diabetes and did not survive. We miss him.
lsproule@thereview. A swath of yellow lay in front of the shopper, as his gaze swept from side to side. From a distance, I watched him look over the dozens of bunches of bananas. Finally, he selected one bunch and put it in his grocery cart. What, I wondered, did that bunch of bananas have that all the others didn’t? On this busy Saturday before Mother’s Day, I suddenly noticed the shoppers all around me, peering at a mountain of broccoli from every angle, holding their faces up close to bags of grapes, looking first at one bag, then another.
lsproule@thereview. When I interview a young person applying for a summer job, I can go right back in time to when I was in the hot seat. Although I, too, had the blessed gumption of youth to offer my incredible talent in the first place, it was quite another thing to come face-to-face with adults in the adult work world. I remember the sudden feeling that my insignificant self knew nothing and as my heart beat faster and breathing seemed to interfere with talking, I just wanted the interview to be over.
They’ll be sorry when I’m gone. You know that feeling: you’re home sick and you feel the weight of things undone while the world keeps happily spinning by, none the worse for you taking time out. For sure, it was only a sore throat that lingered and turned into a persistent cough that started keeping me up at night. I stayed home one day only because I couldn’t talk. I don’t like anything that holds me back.
I have always envied those people whose clothes seem to hang easily on their bodies. I imagine that these people choose just anything from a closet-full of stylish clothing which never wrinkles or drops off the hanger to the floor, where it can hide for days on end, revealed only after a frantic search for that specific garment.
But you could take it in here, like this. I was talking to a seamstress and she was resisting my request to alter a blouse. “It’s not going to work,” she insisted. I countered with the option of trying to remove just one inch at the shoulders instead of the two inches I had originally wanted. Then her objections turned to the ruffles. But enough details. She did consent to try the alterations, but only after I confessed that I, too, know how to sew, but my sewing machine had just stopped working.
I have only to see a movie from the 1950s or 1960s to remember the prevailing optimistic air that we breathed seemingly effortlessly in those days. It was a time when the words, “new and improved” were not cause for snickers and guffaws. We were surrounded by new and improved products, food, cars, houses, education, clothing and more.
As I sit at my desk every day, I hear the hubbub of staff voices rising as sales calls are made. Telephones ring and work talk ensues. There is the sound of the front door buzzer as customers come and go. This noise lives in the background most of the time. But one day, not too long ago, there was the distinctive sound of added commotion in our front reception area. Then someone started to play guitar and voices filled the building singing, “We want to wish you a Merry Christmas.” In February.
I call it the pendulum. Just when I have something figured out, there it is: the thought that is the complete opposite of what I have just decided. As I worried recently that no one would attend the upcoming fundraiser for the Higginson Tower called “A Small Good Thing”, this thought flashed into my head: What if we have to turn people away at the door?
Perhaps it was a silly conversation. We were talking about what the best course of action would be if one became the recipient of $50 million. What emerged was a list of what we commonly consider to be millionaires’ hobbies: hunting rare species, eating foie gras, and perhaps living in a home that is the size of this small town. We could drive the most outrageously-expensive vehicle and ignore almost everyone. Speaking of this small town, we could buy up the entire Main Street and follow our own vision entirely.
You know how it goes: you play a game and . . . you get to move forward. Sometimes you move forward by one space; sometimes you move ahead several spaces and if you play the game well, you move forward at a faster pace than everyone else to make it “home” first and win the game! It is one thing to be starting your adult life and see only forward, but even from that inspiring place, the many choices can create a daunting prospect.
There are many reasons why it is good to get away. But as I prepared for a two-week holiday, even the words “get away” seemed to imply that I was planning something closer to a jail break or a bank heist. The desperate putting-things-in-order, tying-up-loose-ends, reassigning-of-responsibilities that takes place during the few days before you “get away” had it usual effect: I wondered if it was all worth it.
I’ve been listening to the debate regarding proposed legislation that would give police and spies easier access to information about Internet users with great interest. Bill C-30 has been met with fierce opposition from Internet privacy and civil rights groups, while police argue that current provisions in the Criminal Code are not focused enough to track down child pornographers online.
firstname.lastname@example.org Sometimes, the best thing one can do is take a step back. When I hear people complaining about something or I am listening to someone who is discouraged, sometimes all it takes is a reminder that the annoying part of what is happening is part of a much bigger picture and realizing that the bigger picture is much more positive and moving in a forward direction.
email@example.com Perfection. There is nothing that makes me more leery of someone than this resigned, yet proud confession: “Well, I am a bit of a perfectionist.” Which bit, I always wonder. Sometimes I think that there really is no such thing as a perfectionist. Instead, there are people who are never happy with anything.
firstname.lastname@example.org It was an understatement to say that I was taken aback when in the midst of some of the best-known Cuban music there is, I heard reports that my “elevator music” was not appreciated. Did I have any Garth Brooks, someone asked? And so it was that I abandoned the mix of Buena Vista Social Club, Celia Cruz, Gipsy Kings, Compay Segundo and the like to play some crowd favs, including, “Who let the dogs out?” “That’s more like it,” someone called. At the chili supper last Saturday evening, I slunk back to my table, put firmly in my place.
email@example.com Let’s be honest. There are some days, by 4 p.m., when the only words I hear in my head are: Leave me alone! Those are the days I’ve had enough and it is in this edgy state of mind that I do my grand 60-second commute home around the corner to a partner expecting a pleasant evening in my company. If only I could find a nice way to say I need a few minutes to recover my sociable self. I am working on just that . . . because I do need more time alone.
firstname.lastname@example.org Everyone who knows me knows I am a big advocate of lists. It’s all about being organized, I tell myself. But whether you write things down or not, I think we all have lists running through our minds with the hope that they help keep us on track. I especially like to write things down when I get to work in the morning . . . usually my day list and maybe some things I need to accomplish sometime during the week.
email@example.com Sometimes, I wish I could turn it off. That voice inside my head that doubts decisions . . . that voice inside my head that tells me that so-and-so really didn’t mean that mean thing that came out of their mouth when a part of me wonders why they said it at all. It’s the voice inside my head that says do more, talk less, work harder and get smarter.