Friday, October 28, 2016

HALLOWEEN MEMORIES


 
           Here we are closing in on another All Hallows Eve and we might not even need a snowplow to go door to door this year. Sorry about that. I hope I haven’t jinxed it. Time will tell, I suppose.

            I’m fast approaching my sixth decade on the planet so I’ve accumulated a fair number of Halloween memories over the years. There have been years when you’d swear you were trick or treating in Antarctica and then there was that one year…

            Thinking back, I believe there were probably eight or nine years when you are at the age to trick or treat. That’s it! Nine years, if that. Somewhere around six to fourteen years-old, unless you were one of the short ones, and then you could probably stretch it out for another year or two. I gave it up at fourteen, I think, as I found it easier to snitch the treats from my little sister’s bag or the stash in the pantry.

            My first time Trick or Treating was in Lethbridge when I was about six-years-old and we went door to door calling “Halloween Apples” instead of “Trick or Treat”. That was back in a time when you could trust, and welcomed, fruit and home made food treats from the homes. The apples were usually pretty beaten up by the time we dragged them home but Mom could always whip up some Apple Brown Betty with them.

            I wasn’t much of a trickster, though. A little window soaping or egging or something like that, nothing too serious. I just wasn’t that comfortable with the destruction of public property for fun. Just didn’t work for me. Others, mind you, couldn’t get enough of it.

            Back in my high school days, in the early 70’s, Kipling’s Volunteer Fire Department members used to assist in policing the streets on Halloween in an effort to curb the vandalism. Thankfully, you just don’t see the kinds of things that kids used to do in the name of Halloween anymore. Stuff was moved everywhere. Farm implements, lumber, vehicles, hay bales, there was some outhouse tipping going on, of course, maybe a few farm critters were freed for the evening…that kind of thing. There was usually a lot of clean up that’s for sure. I don’t know how long the Fire Department kept up the practice but the real bad stuff soon fizzled out in the late 70’s or early 80’s I think.

            Then there was my best bad choice of Halloween costume. I wasn’t dressing up for Trick or Treating I was dressing up for my first school Halloween Dance. I was in Grade 7, my first year at Lindale School in Moose Jaw and it was the first school dance of the year, and my life, and it was going to be a Halloween dress-up dance.

            Now, here’s where things get foggy. Someone or two or three thought it would be a great idea to dress me up as a girl for the dance. I know!  I have five older sisters and three of them were still living at home at the time and I think it was their grand idea. Well, I know it was. I don’t think the decision was ever in my control.

Oh, but did they have fun on me with their hair pieces and bobby pins and brassieres and nylons and mini skirt and heels and make-up and all. I guess I made a pretty cute girl for a twelve-year-old boy! Not a great choice if you were going to try to catch the eye of Rosemarie Drackett at the school dance or explain to the chaperone why you were in the Boys Washroom! I think I was a ghost every year after that.

Here’s to creating your own Halloween memories. Have a Happy Halloween Everyone!

 

“We used to go around tipping outhouses over, or turning corn shocks on Halloween. Anything to be mean”.-Loretta Lynn (1932-).

TECHNOLOGY AND PATIENCE!


            Do you want to hear something ironic? The theme that I had running through my head for this week’s column was patience and technology, and, wouldn’t you know it, my technology just exhausted my patience. Weird how that works sometimes, eh?

            You see, I was all geared up to get writing this column so I could get back to the TV for the baseball playoffs and such so I fired up the old desktop and it took longer for the darn beast to come alive than it usually takes me to write the whole column!

Did you hear a foot tapping incessantly? That was me. “Oh my goodness…this is taking foorrreeevvverrrrrr! Why isn’t instantaneous instantaneous? Hmmm? What is taking sooooooo long?”

But that’s the thing, isn’t it? We’ve done it to ourselves, haven’t we? The technological advances have spoiled us into thinking that everything is going to be done immediately. We don’t have patience for anything anymore because we want what we want and we want it NOW!

            I have come to the conclusion that the single most valuable human attribute one must have to eliminate the most stress in one’s life is patience. My source defines the word “patience” as:the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.” Is that even possible? I don’t think so. At least for me it isn’t.

            I have found that nothing will get the dander up and try the patience more than technology and the reason for that is because we are too impatient to teach our selves the right way to do things because we don’t have the time, or something, so we go ahead and try to learn on the fly, because, you know, it cant’ be that hard now can it, so we learn as we go and we have to do most of it all over again and so we get angry because it was supposed to be so simple and usually the only thing simple is the operator and on and on and on it goes. It’s just a vicious circle.

            Funny, or odd as it were, how the word “suffering” is used in the definition of patience. “Suffering” was exactly what I was doing while I was programming a new piece of technology that was supposed to be a “1-2-3 ENJOY” type of setup. HA! The “1-2-3” setup was four hours long! And it’s still not done! That would test the most patient person’s patience, don’t you think?

            Oh yes, by the way, just for your information…if you come across someone who is showing the signs of total impatient meltdown, like a husband or father or someone like that… whatever you do…don’t tell them to calm down. Tsk, tsk, tsk…fuel on the fire people…fuel on the fire. You might want to just back away or maybe leave the house for a little while. Just saying.

             Technology has improved our way of life in so many ways, in its very exasperating way, making it is a necessary evil and I just hope that I can find enough patience to learn how to use it.

            “Patience is not the ability to wait but how you act while you’re waiting.”- Joyce Meyer (1943-).

Friday, October 14, 2016

THAT'LL STRESS YOU OUT!


          During this past Thanksgiving weekend many of our family members gathered at our house for the annual celebration. We had a great time feasting and visiting and the event went by all too quickly as usual. We did manage to cover a lot of our favourite activities as we shared an abundance of the holiday’s standard treats.

Led by our seven-year-old Grandson, Treyton, who reminded us to share what we were all thankful for by saying he was really thankful for the baby his mom was carrying who would become a little brother or sister to him and his sister Ava. That little gem got the ball rolling as everyone else also shared something they had to be thankful for.

            During the weekend the conversation naturally came around to news items and current events. Hurricane Matthew, Dumbass Trump, the sudden stop to the fall harvest, Brad and Angelina splitting, all sorts of bad news out there dragging us down it is not difficult to find something to be thankful for.

            Our daughter told us that she had stopped listening to the news because it was too distressing. She said it just agitated her so much that she had to stop. Being a working mother of two and having one on the way she has enough balls in the air at any given time that she cannot possibly take on any more stress because the world is going crazy like the news and social media lead us to believe it is.

            Our daughter was on to something, though. I did some reading on the subject of tuning out and during my research I found an article describing the effects of negative or pessimistic headlines and there was some very interesting information in there. In fact, one study showed that, “viewing tragedy in the media has proven to be capable of creating PostTraumaticStressDisorder.”

            Here’s an excerpt from an article I found on the subject: “After the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013, the University of California, Irvine published a study that assessed the level of stress symptoms affecting people who watched it on television, social media, in print and on the radio. They found that ‘Acute stress symptoms increased with each additional hour of bombing-related media exposure.’ As a result, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Center for PTSD concluded there is a link between watching the news of traumatic events and stress symptoms.”

            So she’s right-cut out the news coverage and you’ll lessen your stress level. I prefer to stay somewhat engaged but not overwhelmed but that’s a fine line, too, especially on the internet where one article leads you to another article which leads you to another article.

            Thankfully we are merely observers of many of the scarier events going on in the world around us and we remain somewhat insulated and isolated from a lot of the world’s woes back here in our little neck of the woods. Humans are hard-wired to be empathetic, though, so no matter how isolated we feel we cannot help ourselves from being affected by other people’s strife. It’s humanity.

            If you’re looking to lower the stress in your life, (and, really, who isn’t?), then simply lower or remove the negative current events you expose yourself to and it would be a good start.

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”-William James (1842-1910).

 

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