Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween Pumpkin Fun

Sometimes we forget the fun we used to have.  Fortunately, we have our children to remind us.

My adult daughter recently mentioned that we should have a mom-daughter bonding time. She suggested carving pumpkins.

"Really?" I asked. "More than one?"

"Three," she announced. "We need at least three."

So I picked up a couple of small ones on my way home tonight. We already had a larger one ready to go.

This evening we began. Three pumpkins, cut open and cleaned out. Now what?
We needed to make a plan but had no fabulous ideas. I had scooped out the big one so I started by making my usual boring face, but soon after became a little more creative. Eventually, through no effort at all, my Jack-o-Lantern became a punk rocker...or perhaps Mick decide.
My daughter tried to recreate her own facial features by using some of her makeup. She wasn't happy with the outcome and after a bit of back and forth and a lot of laughter we thought of a chia pet. Wanting to make it current, we were thinking Miley Cyrus or the like, but eventually zeroed in on the Kardashian family. We're not familiar except for what we've heard on the news and through the Jenner connection. From this, the "Chia Kardashian" was born. I always knew there had to be a use for all that extra parsley that comes in supermarket clumps.

The realistic box was entirely my clever daughter's doing.

Since we were getting tired, we decided to punch a few holes to create swiss cheese and fill the final pumpkin with vermin. Here's the result.
Further crazy thoughts were to add a glass of wine with the cheese and the cheese knife or possibly make it into a Kardashian family wine and cheese party. Unfortunately it was well beyond the witching hour and by the time we had cleaned up all our mess....and yet, here I am writing a blog.

It's amazing how these simple creative and fun things can give us such joy. Unfortunately, we lose a lot of the lust for life and energy to want to do things as we get older. Why is that?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Wire Wrapping Not Wire Rapping

My friend and I recently registered for a wire wrapping class. Not to be confused with the spoken word poetry to music, this was a class in bending wires to assemble jewellery. We wanted to make a beautiful necklace. Registration was inexpensive and the class took place at a large craft store. We were the only two to arrive on a Friday night and naturally, appreciated the individual attention.

First, we selected and purchased our beads and wires at a discounted price. Next, we laid them on a tray provided, so that we wouldn't be chasing down tiny beads all over the floor.

Then our wonderful instructor gave us the beginner info. and tools. We were glad that we didn't have to purchase pliers, trays, and the like. Using her equipment, we attempted to begin our project. After several re-dos, sore and blackened fingers, and minimal success, we were out of time and I for one was out of patience.  

Here's what I managed to complete after a couple of hours. I connected three beads. In fairness, I did bend all the dozen wires creating the links. My friend was much more skilled and made several segments for her necklace. Clearly, we needed more time and fortunately were offered such on another Friday night, by our instructor.

We had a new plan for our follow up class. We decided more fun was in order. Since we were early, we shopped, snacked, drank, and acted a little silly. Lots of laughs resulted from our little purchase.  Not only that, Yoda, much attention he garnered.

We arrived at the class and once again were the only two. Our instructor was enthusiastic, Yoda watched and we completed our projects as we snacked on Pringles. What a fun time. Here's the result of our efforts...beautiful necklaces.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Indispensable Products I Know and Love

I am not getting any form of payment for this. In fact, I didn't think there'd come a point in my life where I would know or care about certain products. No, it's not that I have too much time on my hands. I just feel the need to share the most remarkable of recent discoveries. That is...discoveries by me. These things may have been around forever. What do I know?

I have, for example always used Lestoil. I will continue to do so. I remember the commercials when I was a child. "There's less toil with lestoil, so clean the lestoil way".  There was also some mention about washing away grease and oil but I've never tried this product in the laundry. I have raved about Lestoil for more years than I can remember. I love it as a grease fighter and a floor cleaner and have been finding it harder and harder to find in stores. I feared that it had gone the way of some other products from my younger years when, suddenly I located it at my local Canadian Tire. I immediately purchased a lifetime supply. In my case, about half a dozen bottles. I hoped I wouldn't expire before they did.

Now for something I didn't know about. Giving credit where credit is due, I have learned of a new brand from my realtor. The brand is called Zep and when I say new, I mean new to me. We recently had a property for sale. It sported some unsightly carpet spots. My realtor brought in Zep spot remover and it was amazing. Seriously, it was amazing. I've been scrubbing, and bubbling, and powdering carpets for years trying to get some type of clean from them. She simply sprayed on the Zep cleaner and lifted the spot with a cloth. Wow!

I had to have some, so I went to the local proprieter of all things magical, Home Depot, and requested Zep.

"Which one?" asked the young man helping me.

"There's more than one?" I responded, mouth agape.

It was then that I discovered a whole line of products. There were bathroom cleaners, carpet cleaners, window cleaners, oven and bbq cleaners, pet stain cleaners, spot removers and more. The price was reasonable. I believe I have now purchased most. I've tried the glass cleaner...phenomenal; the shower tub and tile cleaner...terrific, and I'm looking forward to using the rest. Yes, my life is just that dull.

Finally, and this is the biggest marvel of all, I discovered that there are such things as floor saucers. I have no idea what they're really called... perhaps moving discs, or magic sliders, or all of the above. Once again, the realtor is responsible. These handy dandy items get put under the legs of furniture, making it slide easily to a different location. Gone are all the pulleys, and ropes, plastic gizmos with small wheels, and muscle men that were once needed to move dressers or desks. These phenomenal discs let anyone move anything. You just need to be able to slightly lift the corner and place the saucer under the legs of the furniture.

So, whether you always knew about these items or whether they are new to you, I'm sure anyone would agree that most are indispensable.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

My name is Hilde, and I am Invisible

I know for a fact that I'm invisible. Just to clarify, in my mind, that's not the same as simply feeling invisible. Being invisible must be differentiated from being inconspicuous, indistinct, unassuming, or unnoticeable. Those are earlier degrees of invisibility, a developing state which must be mastered. Once one becomes proficient, being invisible is difficult to undo. Oh, you might dabble in being seen from time to time, but for the most part, you are invisible and you prefer it,

So, just as an alcoholic stands up and confesses, "My name is          and I am an alcoholic", I am now sharing that "I am Hilde and I am invisible."  Again, that's not to say that I don't have mass. I take up space...more than I'd like. It's not that kind of invisibility to which I'm referring.

“I don't need a cloak to become invisible.”  -J.K. Rowling

Some of us grew up during an era when parents, out of desperation said things like "children should be seen and not heard". Although I don't recall being a rambunctious child, my folks were known to use this expression from time to time. Sometimes, I sat under the kitchen table in order to avoid being either seen or heard. It worked. I was rarely noticed and seldom missed. I liked the feeling. Perhaps I was even praised for my behaviour, who knows? It kept me out of trouble.

A quiet kid is a good kid. But a quiet and invisible kid is an even better kid.”
  -Jarod Kintz

During my school career, I strived to be indistinct. I was the kid who sat quietly, off to one side toward the back of the classroom. I recommend this particular seating for people preferring anonymity. Don't sit too close to the front, the back, or the middle of the room. Those are always in the teacher's sights. I learned not to look down or away. This is an essential skill which must be mastered. Teachers always pick up on it if someone is looking down or pretending to be searching for a missing item in their desk. I simply stared straight ahead but not directly at the instructor to be sure I did not make eye contact. I was the one who didn't raise her hand, didn't talk, didn't do much of anything other than what was needed to progress each year while remaining unnoticed.

Unfortunately, I found out that I couldn't always be inconspicuous. The times I was seen were when something went wrong, when I made a mistake, or when I was embarrassed by what I had said or done. Not only that, it unravelled all my previous hard work. It overwhelmed me and I became obsessed with failure. I hated that. I had to work harder at being invisible.

As an adult, I believe I have mastered invisibility. I have also learned that the older you get, the more invisible you become. That is, if  "more invisible" is possible, since grammatically I think that simply "invisible" is the correct ultimate state. It's easy to be invisible when you're a senior.

"I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me." Ralph Ellison

Being invisible is not always a bad thing. In fact, on the days when you are wearing a shirt inside out, when you've dribbled food on yourself, or you have on two different coloured shoes, it's very good. Nobody notices. You're invisible.

So how do I know that I'm almost completely invisible most of the time?

When I speak, I can't really say that I'm heard. Sometimes I speak and others interrupt with what they need to say as if I'm not there. I perceive myself as background noise because that's what invisibility turns you into...a loud hum, a white noise. If I walk along a store aisle people jostle me, bump into me, or ram their carts into my heels. I rarely get the usual Canuk "sorry" anymore because I'm invisible. I go shopping and search for assistance. I don't get any, although that could be because store employees are also invisible. I'll line up in a grocery checkout or wait my turn at a counter and people will step in front of me as if they had been there first. Most recently, I went car shopping and wandered around a showroom climbing in and out of expensive vehicles. I was uninterrupted. See? Invisible.

I came across a Psychology Today article. There's mention of author Akiko Busch who thinks there are benefits to "social invisibility, positioning it as a salve to modern society's tendency toward narcissism",  Busch is further quoted as saying "we live in a time and culture that value display and are largely indifferent to the virtues of passing unnoticed". See? Invisibility is a virtue. I am invisible, therefore I am virtuous. I learned that logic in Philosophy 101 while sitting in a university classroom where everyone was invisible.

Besides the times when I commit a grievous faux pas, there are still some joyous occasions when I'm not completely invisible or when I don't want to be invisible. There's a quote that goes something like "love the people who see you when you're invisible to everyone else." I have a few close people who indeed "see" me and they are definitely loved.

I did not write this blog while playing the world's smallest violin. In fact, after reading the Psychology Today article, I feel quite good about my invisibility. After all, as Busch writes in a New York Times article, "Invisibility doesn't mean sacrificing one's individuality; it only means not having to assert it all the time. In this sense, blending in can reflect a deeper sense of self-confidence than standing out--even if no one else ever knows."

***"How To Be Invisible".New York Times, Feb. 7. 2015, Akiko Busch, 

***"Why Everyone Should Try Being Invisible", Psychology Today. Mark D. White PhD