Monday, January 9, 2017

20 Random Thoughts About Random Stuff

No one should look this happy doing what this guy does. 




1. Why is the way people put toilet paper on the spindle a thing? This has been a thing even back when I was a little kid and read about the big debate in Dear Abby (I was precocious). Who cares what way the toilet paper roll is put on? The important thing is that there's a toilet paper roll and one to spare.

2. A president needs to realize that part of the job is that people will criticize and poke fun at you. Especially if you're the one that likes to do it to others. So either ignore it, apologize for your stupidity with grace, or grab a sense of humor from somewhere, anywhere.

3. I'm watching my sugar intake. That includes chocolate. I hate people now.

4. I'm exercising in the morning too. Before work. Which means I have to be up even earlier. I hate people now.
Random orange orangutan.





5. I'm grateful I'm Canadian. I think it's the racist in me. Turns out I don't like fair haired orange people. Or maybe that's just one orange person.

6. Someday my Prince will come. But with my luck it will be an incontinent Rottweiler that thinks it's a chihuahua - named Prince.

7. A handsome salesman of around my age came to the store I worked at and was totally charming. And married. We both know the flirting and compliments were completely fake.

8. Rape is bad. Sexual assault is bad. It's just bad. Supporting people who do it...well that's bad too.

9. America...three steps forward, ten steps back. Heading for the cliff while going backwards.

10. Politics seems to be on my mind a lot. I think it's like that evil vine in a horror movie I watched as a little kid with my mother. The vines took over and even wiggled into people's homes strangling them while they ate pudding.

11. I don't often eat pudding.

12. The current (Jan 9 2017) president has intelligence, heart, class, humor and dignity. The next guy isn't worthy of shining his shoes never mind filling them.

13. I think there's something called mass hypnotism going on. It affects people who lack empathy. Those not affected by it are standing around feeling like their in an alternate dimension in a horror movie. Canadians are watching the movie yelling at the screen but not being heard.

14. The writer in me develops plot... "Man wants to be president of the United States, but knows he would never be elected because he's boring and nobody cares about him. So he gets on the same ticket as a successful psychopath buffoon who has a following of other psychopaths.  Buffoon wins presidency making man vice-president. Buffoon gets sworn in. Assassination attempt at inauguration thwarted. So is back up attempts. Man gets frustrated. Comes up with other plans. Prison? Impeachment? Murder? Man becomes president.

15. I have to declutter my house this year because I'm moving. Throwing out everything that does not make me feel joy. The pots, the pans, the toilet bowl cleaner. Books, crafts, movies and music get to move with me. The apocalypse may come and I want to be prepared in case I can't leave my new home.

16. It's minus 100 out there. I need a beach. Or at least a rainy day in England. How about a sunny day in Italy and a handsome Italian man? Okay, how about John Stamos in Greece?

17. I am too fat for John Stamos. Sigh.

18. Now I want chocolate.

19. I could be a brilliant successful novelist. Too bad I can't convince anyone else of that.

20. Time to watch another episode of Supernatural, the show that proves that handsome men have nine lives - or in Dean's case well over a hundred.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Warning: Controversy and Religion Ahead, Drive Carefully


I have come to the conclusion that there is no one religion that has all the knowledge, or more knowledge than other religions. Instead I believe that various religions have pieces of knowledge that others might not have. Or course there are some religions (cults) that don't have any knowledge at all and are merely the brain child of a megalomaniac who wasn't good at business. But even some of those, God will use and give knowledge to if they're willing to listen.

Most religions are striving to do the right thing. Their followers hear the small still voice. They serve with open hearts and hands. They follow God in whatever way they see Him/Her.

It would make sense to me, that if you are God, and you don't want to hand your people everything, but instead want them to strive for it, and you want them to learn faith and humility, and to work with others, that you don't give the entire puzzle to one group, who can then look down on others and use it against them in some way.

Instead it would be wiser to give out the puzzle pieces and hope that people will realize the importance of sharing and working together. It eliminates the "I'm better than, know more than, am chosen by God," mentality that would happen to one group holding all the pieces.

Sure, instead there are many religions who have that mentality. "You have to be wrong because I'm right and I speak for God". But it would perhaps be better to have several believe this and be wrong, than to have one believe it and be right, for then there would be no need for humility, for helping, or for sharing information.

I come from a church that has the mentality that they speak for God and that no other church has that ability. It is taught that when the leaders speak there is no reason to question. Personal revelation is fine unless it goes against what the leaders say. Those who leave are on the road to a sad fate.

But inspiration is all around. God speaks to all who will listen.And sometimes He/She gives different directives to different people because He/She has different plans for them. It doesn't mean that anyone is wrong.

We need to learn to work together and fit our pieces together, not fight about who's right and who's wrong and come to the conclusions that if someone claims they've received guidance from God that it has to be wrong because it's not what we would do.

Our souls rely on our personal relationship with God not on what others tell us to do. We don't need intermediaries between individuals and God.

Now that's not saying that everyone can do what they want. There are basic human rules that must be followed to live in a free and safe society. But as long as those rules are not broken, then we are each free to have a personal relationship (or not) with the one we call God, and we should not give that away by handing over our free agency to a church that tells us what to think and what to do.

Because if we eliminate God from our worship, and replace that God with men (or women) who dictate to us, then we have lost the whole point of humility and faith.

Many are leaving church now often because they no longer believe the one size fits all draconian rules of their religion allows them growth, relationship with God, or fills their needs.

And frankly it's sad to see churches close. The church has historically been the center of community and still is for many people. Churches can do great good. They feed the poor, offer social activities and opportunities, provide a place of worship, have programs that fill in holes in the community, offer a place of sanctuary, and connect people.

But the "we're right and everyone else is wrong and if you don't agree you're going to hell" rhetoric doesn't work anymore with a generation that recognizes free agency, the intelligence to think and has copious examples of  dishonest controlling leadership in every type of community and business, which makes them suspicious of everyone.

So instead of arguing over who has the most correct information, or shutting out those who have different beliefs, or having lists of criteria that a person must meet to be accepted into your group, why not just share the pieces we do have.

We may discover something wonderful.

Because not one of us knows the truth about the universe. We're all just stumbling along and trying to figure it out.




Saturday, January 7, 2017

Out of the Comfort Zone and Into the Fire

Assuming auditions will go well, this is what I'll be working on for the next couple of months.

I will be directing this play for a community theater group in the next northern town from me.

I did not go after this. It was thrown into my lap. I had decided after my last acting gig that I was going to put theater to the back burner and concentrate on my books and moving - but God laughed.

I even had requests to join another theater group and I considered it but decided to really concentrate on my books and moving.

And God laughed.

And then he made one of the people in this theater group contact me and ask me to direct.

Bear in mind the production I was involved in with them was me as a nun trying to sing latin hymns in a voice that wasn't going to hurt anyone around me, during their production of Sound of Music. I think if you look back in time you might even find me in a nun's habit.

This was three years ago.

So imagine my surprise to have this brought to me. Now for some people stuff like this happens all the time.

But not for me. I don't get opportunities. That's not me whining. I'm simply stating facts. Opportunity does not come my way often.

But that's how I viewed it, as an opportunity.

Besides I could hear God laughing in the background.

So here I am, wondering if I can pull this off. I've never directed an entire play before. Yes, I just recently directed a small story from a bigger production - which I volunteered to do, and I've directed youth group 15 minute plays, but nothing like this.

When something falls in your lap, especially when you're about to make a big change in your life, and you can hear God laughing, you better just go with the flow and do it, because it just might turn out to lead to something pretty cool.

At least you can amuse God if nothing else.

Friday, January 6, 2017

My Wild Wild Partying

Way back in the dark ages, like twenty or thirty years ago, before we were all glued to the internet, there was something called "home parties" where women got together in one woman's home, sat and listened to a sales pitch for a product - plastic containers, clothes, jewelry, make-up, candles, home decor, crafts (the list is endless) - and then had fun visiting with each other while they bought something.

I not only joined in on these parties, but I was actually a representative for a couple of them. They were the way to have your own business and make some money while having fun, for women who generally had spent or were spending, a lot of time at home raising kids.

Some women even went on to get pink Cadillacs and tons of pins. Others like me didn't even have the nobility of going down in flames. We went out in a whimper.

But the real point for most women wasn't to buy stuff, or even for the hostess to sell enough to get free stuff. The point was really an excuse to have a party and hang out with your friends.

Women are strange. Especially women who stay home and belong to a church. See guys have no problem getting together to watch a game or shoot some pool.

Women need a reason or they can't quite justify it. They have meetings and make plans for other people. They go do service for someone (which is a good thing), or they plan classes where they can learn something useful.

Just hanging out is somehow sinful.

But then the home party idea came along. You went knowing that there was going to be a sales pitch and prepared in case there was something that you wanted. Most of the time you bought something to be polite. Sometimes you fell in love with the product. But the real reason? It was to get away from the kids, and the husband, and have a night of laughter.

The home party thing got crazy for awhile. Everyone was selling something or being hostess and pretty soon you became afraid to answer your phone because you just couldn't justify buying one more Tupperware container (especially when you could get the same thing at the grocery store for pennies), one more overpriced piece of costume jewelry, one more expensive candle, one more tchotchke  to gather dust, or one more outfit that looked sad and limp after five washings.

The other day I noticed a slight resurgence of it. And I mean slight.

Home parties have made their way to the internet. Now instead of having a hostess clean her house and make snacks, she can just host her party online to guests that can buy things at home while sitting in their pajamas.

Sounds great? Well...how do you smell things online? How do  you look at it to see what it really looks like? We all know pictures aren't always accurate. How do we try things on?

And most important, where's the social part of it that was the whole reason why women went to these things? Really, pretty much anything that these parties sold could be bought in stores for cheaper. We just bought it at the home party because it was fun to get out and we wanted the hostess to meet her goals and get free stuff.

I don't need a home party over the internet to buy things online. There's an entire world of online stores. What I need is more nights out with friends having fun.

Come to think of it. Forget the whole home party selling thing. Let's just play Monopoly, Clue and Scrabble, or a few hands of cards.

Now that's my idea of a fun party. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Mother's Piece of Advice (Is Anybody Listening?)

Today's suggestion for a blog post from the Ultimate Blog Challenge, was to write about one piece of advice.

I'm a mother. I have all kinds of advice. That's what we do. We give advice to anyone who will hear it and then be frustrated when it is ignored.

I was going through my head all the great pieces of advice I could offer. Such as

"Just because it looks like a piece of  chocolate, doesn't mean that it is."
"Life is filled with pain. Make a sandwich."
"If you wear your pants around your knees, it makes it really hard to run away from a fire."
"No one wants to see your thong."
"Aim for the stars. You won't hit the stars but you'll get a lot higher than aiming for the back fence."
"Do not run with scissors - unless you need them to kill zombies."
"Pay your rent first. It's a lot easier to find free food than it is to find free housing."


But instead of those ones, I'll offer this one.

Look at life as an adventure.

Really. Life is an adventure. It's an entire world of possibilities, places to see, people to meet, activities to do, and things to learn.

Change is another word for adventure.

When my children were babies they couldn't wait until they were old enough for the nursery at church. It meant that they didn't have to sit in boring church meetings, but instead could play with other kids. When they got older they embraced school, running happily onto the playground while just giving me a quick wave goodbye. When they grew up, they were scared and excited about getting their own apartment where they could make their own rules. No one wanted to live their life in the basement playing video games.

Because you see, to them, life was an adventure.

It can be hard, and scary and test the upper limits of your abilities, and there will be failures along the way. You can get lost, become friends with the wrong people, and make a lot of mistakes. But that's all part of the adventure, where you slay dragons, learn to use your wand, and create awe among the people.

So there it is. Life is an adventure. So bring your sword, your shield and your bag of magic and enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Four Part Harmony That Often Squeaks

I' m late, I'm late for a very important date, no time to say hello, goodbye, I'm late, I'm late, I'm late.

Well, it's not that bad. I missed my deadline for this post. But that doesn't mean I'm giving up. You see that's the difference between goals and resolutions. A resolution is a promise you make that you break in a matter of days, decide you screwed up forever, and then give up.

A goal on the other hand, is always there, just out of reach and if you have an off day, or week, or month, or year, you can still work towards that goal.

There's something about New Years that makes so many of us, including me, wanting desperately to change overnight because we are that generation of instant gratification. I blame Sesame Street. Bert and Ernie need to be responsible for something more than the letter R and the number 4.

Speaking of the number 4, that's the challenge today, the number 4 and I thought about how that relates to goal setting. See, tying it in together here.

If you think of yourself as having four integral parts it might be easier to set the goals. Four is a number of balance. It takes four sides to make a square. Four legs are needed for tables and chairs. Dinner service comes in fours and if you've ever danced or done aerobics, most counts are in fours.

So how do you create a personal balance of four?

Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

If something is missing it's off balance and we end up searching for something that we sometimes don't know we are missing. So let's talk about it. See I can even do this without one joke.

Physical

 Forget the Olivia Newton John song. The physical part of you is your core. If this isn't taken care of then nothing is right. Physical is more than diet and exercise and seeing medical professionals on a fairly regular basis. Physical also means taking care of your survival needs. Do you have a place to call home? Is there warmth in the winter and light when it's dark and water to wash with? Do you have a comfortable bed and pillows and blankets? Do you have a chair to sit on, and a lamp to read by? Is there food in the fridge and in the cupboards? Are there dishes, glasses and cutlery to use? Do you have transportation and insurance and money in the bank?

I know there are people out there who sing the Beatles refrain "all you need is love" and there will be spiritual leaders out there who will say to seek God first, but even missionaries know that you can't teach the spiritual if people are hungry and need a place to rest their head. Take care of your physical so that you can take care of the rest of you.

Mental

This is the computer part of you. What are you feeding your brain? I have a motto..."The moment you stop learning is the moment you start dying." Yes, I made that up all by myself.

This doesn't mean you have to chuck everything and go to med school. What it does mean is that you need to be challenging yourself. It could certainly involve going back to school either full time or even just a class for fun. Maybe you like doing puzzles. Maybe having intellectual conversations and arguments keep your mind sharp. Learn a new language, a new skill or more about your work or hobby. Read a book or a thousand. Play games. Study a subject. You need to keep your brain working.

Emotional

Without the emotional part of you, you're just a robot with a mind and body. This is where you connect with people. Mainly your family and your friends, but it can also be with yourself. This is where you care for others and allow others to care for you. This is your heart. So what do  you do here? You volunteer, help a neighbor, learn a skill such as first aid or how to care for a child, give to charity, but mostly you spend time with loved ones. It can be playing games with them or other activities. Talking it out, holding a hand, or even having that big fight that has been simmering on the back burner and needs to explode before it becomes a huge bomb that takes down the house. Reach out to people and make new friends. Did you know there's even a thing on the internet called Meet Up, where you sign up and find people who have the same interests as you. Yes, alone time is important, but so is people time.

Love this video from President's Choice.


Spiritual

Some will say they don't need the spiritual, but this is your soul. This is what makes you, you. For some God is involved, for others its a reconnection with self. The spirit can be fed in different ways. Going to church, going on nature hikes. Having alone time. Saying prayers. Reading inspirational writings. Creating something with your hands and mind. This is where your hobbies can come into play. Do you write, paint, do crafts, play an instrument, or build things with your hands? This feeds your soul. This is the part of you that is you, not the job you, or the neighbor you. It doesn't matter that you go to work as an accountant to take care of your physical, because this part of you might be the one where you play in a rock band on the weekends.

So is your chair a little wobbly? Does it need some bracing up on one or more legs? More than likely it does because it's almost impossible to achieve perfect balance in this life.

And that's where goals come in.

The only failure with a goal is when you give up on yourself. Even giving up on a goal is not a failure, because maybe it wasn't the right goal and you recognized it and changed it.

So go wiggle your butt at 2016 and start out on the path to your goals.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

If You Don't Put On Your Toque, You'll Forget Where Your Brain Is

It's cold outside.

It's cold outside and I don't have to go anywhere. Not really. But...  I need to start up my car so I can be sure to be able to get to work tomorrow.

And I need groceries.

I could wait until tomorrow to get the groceries, but that car still needs to be started so it doesn't freeze. And if I have to start the car I might as well get the groceries.

This is one of the reasons why I'm planning on moving to Victoria where I was born and grew up. Sure they hit freezing sometimes, like once every five years, but they don't get freeze your face off freezing ever, and you don't have to worry if your car will start. And  your fingers don't fall off because of the cold.

In spite of my day off, when I could have accomplished something, like that book which also includes working on the document that goes along with that book because I'm writing a series and need to keep everything straight, I spent time arguing on Facebook.

I fall into that sometimes. I argue on Facebook until I have to start turning off posts and notifications because I get sucked in again even though I know that arguing on Facebook gets me nowhere. Tip number one. Don't argue on Facebook. I need to make a sticker of that and attach it to my computer. If someone says something stupid, just decide they're too stupid to argue with. I should make a note of that too. Maybe I should make a meme and stick it on Facebook. I don't know how to make a meme.

J.K. Rowling doesn't waste her time arguing on Facebook. She makes a brief statement and stands back and lets others argue. She is a success.

 J.K. Rowling also has thousands of pages of information about Potter world that no one ever sees. I now know why. With my series I can't keep track of who owns what shop, and where they're all situated, and customers names and ages and back stories, without this document where I keep track of everything or try to.

It's fine not to have if you're only writing one stand alone book, but when you write a series, things start getting more complex.

Ever watched a show or read a book where you found continuity errors?  Like in the Brady Bunch when Mike. early on in the series. said the attic was only four feet tall and later on in the series Greg makes a bedroom out of it and there was no episode in between that involved renovating the attic or shrinking Greg.

Or in Supenatural the boys have their names and faces plastered everywhere because they're wanted criminals (they didn't do the crimes, demons taking on their images did), but later all is forgotten and nobody blinks when they meet them. Sure they were killed off according to the news reports, twice, but still, you would think someone would remember. No, instead these guys flash fake badges and are invited into homes where they get served tea.

Or how about when they find Cass who has lost his memory, in his new home with his new wife, which he leaves when he runs off with Dean and then gets his memory back, but has now completely forgotten that he has a wife and no mention is ever made of her again. And when he becomes human and discovers food and sex, he completely forgets that he already discovered food and sex in previous episodes even though he hasn't forgotten anything else.

So I'm trying to avoid that, which started off as a simple enough project but has taken on a monstrous life of it's own.

I'm in the rewrite stage of this book. Do I keep this? What do I do with that? How old is this person supposed to be? What day is it? Maybe this would be better in another book in the series? I need this document and it has to be updated with every new character, plot point and development that comes along.

The first draft is easy in comparison. You write until the story is told. The second rewrite is all about correcting and clarifying and adding and subtracting and multiplying and division. Who knew that writing included math? Sure, I'm good at math, but I never liked it.

I learned the painful way with the first book in the series. I didn't have a document then. But when I went to write the second book, I discovered that I forgot things and I had to spend a LOT of time making that document.

So here's my advice to writers writing series. I'm assuming that all hope is lost and I can't convince you to run away from being a writer.

You need to make a document that lists all your characters, your books in your series, your plot points and every other piece of information you might need. You think you'll remember everything, but you won't. You'll be writing merrily along and realize that you forgot when someone was born, or the name of their sister, or the reason they left their last job and it's important for your story and you can't just make it up because you already did and you published it.

Yeah, don't let continuity errors wreck your book. Your readers will notice. They remember things you've long forgotten like when angels become human and discover sex for the second time.

Now, I guess I better go and start my car and hope that my hands don't freeze and break off because if that happens, I won't be able to write anymore.