Wednesday, February 21, 2018

My Wanderlust Ways are Being Watched

I have no intention of spending less time on Facebook, but sometimes it is a bit freaky.

I am currently participating in a 28-day Daily Art Practice Challenge with Opus Art Supplies.

Each morning I am emailed a prompt word at 5:35am. I have no idea why it comes at this exact time, but every day I find myself waking at 5:36 and fighting getting out of bed until 6 o'clock to check my prompt.

I know this is a god-awful time and there is absolutely no reason for someone not enslaved to employment to be awake, but I convince myself that I will just check the word and go back to bed to dream of what I might paint.

I stumble to the kitchen and brew a coffee, in an act of admitting complete denial of any intentions of going back to bed, before opening my email.

Today's prompt was "Wanderlust."  The word itself seems old and outdated and is defined by Merriam Webster as "strong longing or impulse toward wandering."  And while the dictionary could probably post my picture as part of the definition, (I live a bit of a wishy-washy la-la-la artist-y sort of life) it's a word I could count on one hand the number of times I've ever used it. And I think they all happened today.

Nothing I have done in my life epitomizes "wanderlust" to me more than our trip across Canada on our Goldwing. And more specifically, August 11, 2007 when we rode the Cabot Trail. I just try to block out of my mind that it was more than 10 years ago - it feels like yesterday. Yet feels like another lifetime away.

And here I go wanderlusting away on a rabbit trail again...

I posted my Wanderlust painting to Facebook, both on my personal page and the Opus page, sometime in the morning:

I will probably go back and re-work parts of this painting. My favourite part of it is my hubby's sexy arm in the mirror reflection - A view I had for six and a half weeks. 

Within an hour of posting this photo online I began seeing this ad that appeared numerous times throughout the day on Facebook:

Seriously!!??! Wanderlust is NOT a common word. This is not a fluke. It's a bit freaky. And on the other hand, I used to set up the Google advertising for work back in the day - 5 or 6 years ago, and I know how it works with cookies, keywords, demographics etc. But still, it somehow seems different when you are the prey instead of the predator. 

Reminds me of a time a while back when I washed my kitchen floors with Pinesol and strategically cornered myself into the area where my computer was so that I could lallygag on Facebook while waiting for the floors to dry.  I opened my browser and one of the first ads I saw was for Pinesol. Yes. Pinesol. 

Do you ever remember seeing an ad for Pinesol? I didn't. That was bizarre. I get that marketing uses cookies based on your browsing history. I even can fathom marketers having access to your microphone and/or camera in a Big Brother sort of way. But smells?? (The computer is out of camera view of the kitchen and I certainly didn't talk to myself about Pinesol.) Too weird. 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

When is a "Challenge" not really a challenge.

The Tide Pod Challenge. Oh.My.Giddy.Aunt! Let it go already.

There have been numerous "challenges" on social media, more specifically Facebook, over the years. Some more rampant than others. Some more worthwhile than others.

These range from the "List three items starting with your first initial" to "post the 47th picture on phone" (I never know if they mean the 47th most recent or the 47th picture taken. And to be honest, the couple of times I have participated in this, I totally cheated and posted the picture I most wanted to practice my exhibitionism with.) to the "video yourself doing 'X' to prove you support 'Y.'"

And then there are the "click here to see who your celebrity doppelgänger is" (that's a fancy German word for "who do you look like") or click here to see what you would look like as the opposite sex. These apps can be very tempting to participate in. And I admit to caving to the pressure on occasion, knowing full well they are simple phishing sites who want access to all your Facebook information. Yes, you fully permit them access to all your photos and info when you "click here," usually without reading a damn thing they are disclosing.

Anyway, as usual, I am ranting off on a rabbit trail, so let's circle back around to the matter at hand: The Tide Pod Challenge.

Have you actually seen a for-real posting on Facebook from someone who has taken the challenge? No, I didn't think so.  It really hasn't happened all that often. Oh, to be sure, there are some dumbasses out there who have probably done it. thinking "everyone" is doing it. But the dumbasses are few and far between. I can promise you there are a lot more stupid things that a lot more stupid people have done in the last few months than eat a Tide Pod.

Remember a couple of years ago when the "Ice Bucket Challenge" was all the rage? This was an actual challenge that actual people did and actually posted the videos for all to see. With the intention to raise awareness for ALS, a terrible debilitating and fatal disease. This challenge was one that actually served it's purpose.

I'm always a skeptic, and doubt the effectiveness of how 'secretly posting the colour of your bra' on a social media site can really do anything for the real women who are enduring the battle with breast cancer. But I do personally know of someone, here in my hometown, who financially benefitted from the awareness and funds raised by the Ice Bucket Challenge. So don't let my ranting discourage you from participating in fun ways to create community and promote a cause.

But I am getting tired of the Tide Pod Challenge. It isn't really so much a challenge to participate as it is a way for the 'normal people,' like me, to make fun of and belittle someone else in an attempt to make myself feel smarter than. Sorry folks, The Challenge isn't nearly as much of a 'thing' as we would like it to be.

***end rant***

And just so you know, though I like to rant, I am not immune to succumbing. Here I am if I were a man:

I've always thought of myself as a "Cutting" and my brother Ted as a "DeBalinhard." However,  this phishing site, which I knowingly gave full permission to access my info, will prove we obviously share genes from both sides. 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

I Can't Find the Door.

I've had an Instagram account for years. I'm not sure how many. Quite a few, but it's less than nine, because my username is grannyelzee and my grandson isn't quite nine years old, but it has been years.

I posted my third picture today. Yes, my third (my next most recent photo was posted almost 5 years ago.) Today I got 20-some likes in a few hours.

I have 78 followers.

One thing's for sure, no one will get tired following me cuz I'm not taking them anywhere.

I just don't get it.

And I want to get it. I do. Because there's obviously something there worth getting if EVERYONE is doing it.

If I can be honest here, the most frustrating part for me is that many of my followers are people who are, let's say, not so techno minded people. Some of them are even kind of elderly. And this freaks me out a bit.  Why can't I get it?

And hashtags ...  Remember when they were "number signs" and then evolved to the "pound key"? I sort of get what they do, but not really.

I can get around on Instagram marginally better if I access it on my computer, but logging in on my phone I see photos by natgeo, which I assume is National Geographic - I obviously figured out how to follow them at some point in time - and I see ads for Home Hardware and Penningtons.

On my computer I manage to see a few more photos from people I personally know. However I've already seen all the same photos on Facebook, so what's the point?

I'm trying hard not to be negative here, but...

Seriously, if there's actually something to it, I want in. But I can't find the door.

And Twitter?? Oh gosh. I don't even go there anymore. Lost in space, I am.

Here's a picture of my mother-in-law and me on Christmas Day, just because we match.
And I don't know how to put it on Instagram - she probably does though. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Mama Knows.

My dad always loved gardening and puttering with plants. But was never a real horticulturist - he just sort of did stuff and waited to see if it worked. And when it came to pruning, he just attacked whatever it was with a chainsaw or weed whacker  then fed it all sorts of chemicals to bring it back to life. 

Sometime around the turn of the millennium, he lovingly saved a seed from an orange and threw it in some dirt and kept it at work over the winter. It sprouted and grew, and in the spring he brought it home and presented it to mom. 

She sort of scoffed and reminded him his little sprig of green wasn't really meant to flourish Northern countries like Canada. However, she did humour him by faithfully watering it for him. 

And lo and behold, if the darn thing didn't actually grow into a 6-foot tree. It dropped about a billion leaves a year and mom would get tired of cleaning them up and throw the tree out on the deck each summer, only to feel sorry for it and haul it back in for the winter months.  

Dad would half-jokingly check for buds and fruit periodically. Mom would laugh. 

Then she found a story on the internet, or in a Reader's Digest or something, about a man who had a lemon tree and though he faithfully tended it, it never produced until the year after he died. So Mom began to tease Dad about the bumper crops she was going to get from his little orange tree after he died. (For surely, we were all certain, Mom was going to outlive him by years.) 

When they moved from Kelowna they contemplated getting rid of the messy little tree. But Dad wasn't ready to give up on it yet. So the saga of the sad little orange tree dropping leaves all over the place in the winter, and perking up again on the deck in the summer, continued on in Kamloops. 

And then Mom went to heaven and left Dad on his own to tend the orange tree. And then it really became a sad little tree with Dad's inconsistent watering and harsh pruning - even though we all hoped beyond hope that Mama would pull some strings in heaven and let it flower for Dad. 

It never did. 

And when Dad passed two-and-a-half years later, in the middle of June, the sad little tree hadn't even made it out to the deck yet that year. And its leaves were sparse. It was my full intention to leave the thing in the house (or rather, out on the deck) when we sold it. But Ted decided he'd take the damn thing home and put it on his own deck and neglectfully water it when the notion struck his fancy. 

So today, as I'm casually wandering through Winners, I get this photo texted from my sister-in-law Diana to our siblings group, with the text "Holy Crap! Ed's tree grew an orange!" : 

Call me a skeptic, but my response to seeing an orange in her hand, not on the tree, was "It's a little early for April Fools, but nice try."  

They offered further proof, that although the orange was found on the floor beside the tree, it appeared to have come from the plant.  

So, imagine me, in Winner's not watching where I'm walking and texting and sort of giggling and really trying not to cry. And yet, with my Dad's blood in veins, I'm still sort of skeptical. "Check with your kids. They probably set you up."  But really, that tree has never had a growth thing like this: 

While peeling and preparing to eat the orange they wondered if it would be sweet or bitter.  

I told them it would be bitter because they never even noticed when he was blooming and producing fruit. 

And yup, they say it tasted like orange, but was bitter.

And there was one seed to plant and start the process all over again.  

Feeling marginally guilty for neglecting the poor tree and not even noticing it producing, my sis-in-law sets to cleaning it up, watering and pruning and showing some love to Ed's tree. And she lets out a scream, and sent another photo.    "There's another one!" 

Getting a bit giddy about the whole thing, yet still wanting to cover my butt from being gullible, I asked for them to stand beside the tree and send a photo. Ted sends us 'Dad's hand' with the new little orange. 🤘🏻It's true. Dad's sad little orange tree began producing after he got to heaven to start sending out instructions. 

Mama knew it all along!  I don't know how long an orange takes to ripen, but I'm hoping it it's ready to eat and sweet for March 14th, when Mama gets her 5-year pin in heaven. 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Who wants to take my addiction? It's Free.

There's probably not a person on the planet who doesn't have some sort of addiction. Or multiple sorts of addictions. Some are more obvious than others. Some are more socially acceptable than others. 

My most obvious acceptable addiction is wrapping paper. Yes wrapping paper. 

So here I am standing before you publicly declaring, "My name is Liana. I am a wrapping paper addict." 

I'm not even sure where it started. Probably somewhere in the early 90's when gift bags made an entrance. While they were a Godsend for the uncreative crowd, there were those of us who could never fully embrace them, feeling like using one was somehow 'cheating."  On who or what, I don't know. 

And so began my wrapping paper journey... 

Well, let's back up a bit. As gift bags eliminated the dilemma of what to do with a misshapen package, I, not willing to cave to the gift bag craze, began to collect boxes of various sizes to put misshapen gifts into before wrapping.  When we sold our previous house almost 13 years ago, I had a floor to ceiling stack of "perfect boxes" waiting for the perfect opportunity to put a misshapen gift into before wrapping.  I couldn't really justify packing up a stack of boxes and moving them. so they became fire starter for the giant "redneck-we-lived-out-of-city-limits" bonfire.  And since moving, I have refused to collect boxes. Yay me. 

However, I still refuse to wrap misshapen gifts as is. But I no longer save and collect empty cardboard boxes. Now, I don't like to put confessions in writing, but I may or may not have gone out and bought a new pair of shoes a time or two simply so I'd have an appropriate box to wrap a gift in. 

In my obsession, not only do gifts have to be rectangular in shape, if there are more than one, they must coordinate. Each year at Christmas, all my gifts have a theme. Well, the gifts aren't themed but they are wrapped in a theme. In rectangular boxes. 

And this has led to a new addiction: wrapping paper. Every January I buy a ridiculous amount of themed wrapping paper for the following Christmas. And if I change my mind before November, those purchases go into storage, and I buy more. 

I'd like some input here... how many rolls of gift wrap do you have on hand? 

Moving along... 

With our current renovation, I feel like I have a new home. A beautiful non-cluttered living space. And we over-calculated the flooring purchase. So we have enough flooring to cover the concrete basement floor in the laundry/storage area. ( I do publicly confess that it wasn't really an "over calculation" on my part but a bit of an intentional buying enough so we can actually finish the unfinished part of the basement) 

And as such, I need to clean off the "junk shelves" so we can move them and install the flooring. 

Cleaning out this area of our basement has meant going through my boxes, bins and random stacks of wrapping paper, ribbon other assorted paraphernalia associated with gift-giving. 

Oh. My. F.... fancy frickin' flip. 

I shocked even myself. 

How many rolls of "curling ribbon" do most people own? Please tell me it's somewhere over 40. 

How many rolls of wrapping paper do you have? Is it nearing 100? 

Oh gawd. I think I have a problem here. 

And gift bags? I don't even use them!!! Why would I have dozens of wine gift bags?? I don't use gift bags! And I sure as hell don't give wine away!!!!! 

But in my purging of the basement, I drank the wine. And sorted. And got ruthless. 

I kept about 30 percent of the wrap. Less than 30 rolls. (Gawd, that still sounds ridiculous as I type it out) 

I couldn't part with more than 25% of the curling ribbon. Do I really need 30 rolls of ribbon, including 6 shades of purple? Apparently. 

I put the remaining ribbon, bags and rolls of paper - some partial rolls and some still new, into boxes for "donation." 

My track record for actually donating crap I no longer want is rather dismal. Generally it sits around for a couple of months till hubby does the next dump run. 

So... if you want my addiction, it's yours. If you ask and pick up before the next dump run. Please. 

I can't even say why I need this stuff or how/when I will use it. 

Kind of refreshing to know that all my wrap now fits in one rubbermaid bin. 

It doesn't look like that many rolls of wrap, but most have other rolls inside of them. 

I'm offering it all for free ... IF you take it all. No sorting, peeking or  picking.  

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Fancy Schmancy I Am Not.

Fancy-Schmancy I am not. 

You can count on one hand the number of times a year we eat a meal sitting at the dining room table. We belly up to the island bar or sit in the leather theatre seats in front of the TV.  And we eat from Corelle, which is a step up from Chinette. I love Corelle. It's not heavy, it stacks neatly in the cupboard and the dishwasher, it's resistant to breakage and easily replaced if need be. But it ain't fancy. 

Over the years it was a running joke in our family, especially between my youngest sister and I, to lay claim to the things in our parent's home that we wanted to inherit. We'd often use masking tape and a marker to write our names on the bottom of things in the china cabinet.  

And it was all funny. Until we had no parents and it was actually time to inherit the stuff. 

Suddenly I wasn't so adamant that I needed the crystal pickle dish with celery etched into it. And great-grandma's full set of fancy dishes with 22k gold trim. And the ancient blue bowl. The crescent shaped candy dish... 

However, I did end up with the pickle dish and my siblings insisted I take home the rubbermaid container of 8 place settings of carefully wrapped gold trimmed china and matching glasses. 

I use the pickle dish regularly and the bin of fancy dishes has been in my garage for 2 1/2 years. 

With our current renovation nearing completion, I decided to bring the dishes out of hiding and put them on display. Just like my mother had them on display. I don't remember them being used in all the years they were in her possession. (I might have used them at my wedding 36 years ago - I can't quite recall.) 

It is a set of eight large plates, small plates, cups, saucers and bowls and a few serving pieces. And 24 glasses - 8 each of 3 different sizes. All pieces are there, with no chips or cracks and no fading of the gilded gold edges, so I suspect my grandmother didn't use them any more often than my mother did.  

As I unwrapped each piece the other day to put on the shelf, I realized the newspaper they were wrapped in was a March 2006 Kelowna paper. Those beautiful dishes have been sitting in the dark in a rubbermaid container for nearly 12 years. And for what? Seriously. 

What is the value of owning stuff that has no useful purpose? So that I can dust them twice a year until I get tired of it, and then wrap them and store them in a dark place until one of my children takes them home to dust and protect until it's time to pass them on to the next generation?

No, I decided. Life is too short to put the fancy stuff away until the elusive 'right occasion' comes up. I don't live a life of 'right occasions' and fancy celebrations. If I'm gonna dust those suckers off, I'm gonna eat off them.  And use a fancy, albeit paper, napkin. And I will light the fancy-smelling candle with my initial on it. 

Yes! Here's to living life! Not saving the good stuff until it's too late to use it. Crack open that $25 mini bottle of ice wine that in five years you haven't had 'the right' occasion to sip. Eat the red smarties first. Pick the bugles out of the nuts 'n bolts.  Wear your diamond earrings to the grocery store. Sleep under your mama's last quilt. You have one life. Live it. And leave your Christmas lights on until March if it makes you happy - who cares what the neighbours think, chances are they are jealous you live with such abandon. 

If I am going to amass and hoard fancy things, those fancy things can darn well enhance my life. 

Here's to grilled cheese sandwiches served on china! Let's hear it for mango-citrus candles just because it's Tuesday! Wearing diamonds in your ears somehow makes you feel like you can afford those 40-dollar-per-kilogram steaks that you would somehow justify even if you wore your sweats and slippers to the store. 

I have no idea the age nor the value of my heirloom china. But in my opinion, it's worthless if it's useless. 

Never having eaten off china in my Mama's home, I'm not schooled in appropriate layout of a place setting.  "Put it on the table and eat off of it" works in my world. 

Corn Chowder and grilled cheese never tasted so fancy. But that ain't no ordinary cheddar sammich. Layers of brie, apple slices and fig sauce take things up a notch.  

There's nothing more worth celebrating than people you love! Eating an ordinary lunch on an ordinary Tuesday. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Bark. Bark. Bark bark bark.

Isn't cinnamon just ground up bark? Why does it have an expiry date? And does the expiry date really matter?

Cuz, like, I make pretty fantastical cinnamon buns on a fairly regular basis. They always taste quite yummy and I've never had anyone refuse to eat one (occasionally people will pick off the raisins but never refuse to eat the bun.)

And yeah, after Maeve and I made bread and cinnamon buns today I was putting the cinnamon back in the cupboad and happen to notice the expiry date. Umm... October 2015. 

Poor little Maevey innocently adding 3-year out dated cinnamon  and 2 cups of Demerara sugar (but NO raisins) to her dough creations. 

No-one has died. No one has gagged on one. I'm marginally embarrassed about it. And I did go to Costco this afternoon to buy steak (and they were super yummy Ribeye with lots of marbling for $26/kg - wished I woulda picked up a couple of packs) And I bought a replacement cinnamon while I was there.

Maybe 3 minutes too long in the oven - I'm still getting used to my new convection oven.

303 grams in a jar. That's the most bizarre measure I have ever seen on a food item.  Thinking it must translate over to a nice even number in ounces, I googled it.  It's 10.688 ounces. WTF?? Who decided it should be 303 grams in a bottle? It obviously wasn't someone with OCD. 

So yeah, the old cinnamon is off the landfill (probably for no good reason, other than  for me to  publicly save face) 

The new bottle expires in November 2019. If I offer you a fresh baked cinnamon after that date, you might wanna check my cupboards as see if I've used up 303 grams of cinnamon by then. 

My Wanderlust Ways are Being Watched

I have no intention of spending less time on Facebook, but sometimes it is a bit freaky. I am currently participating in a 28-day Daily Ar...