Keep Calm and Carry On – Delaying Gratification

Our fifteen year old son is building a gaming computer.  I am immensely proud of him but not for the reasons you may think.

You see, like other millennials he has a desperate (and often loud) need for instant gratification, so when he told the Mr and I that for his birthday he wanted to build his own gaming computer we realized here (at last) was our opportunity to teach him about the benefits of having a strong work ethic and of delaying gratification.

If you are the parent of a teenager you will understand how difficult it is for them to appreciate delaying gratification for any reason.  Their friends can be reached instantly via text or on Facebook and should they need to know if there are yaks in South America they’re a Google second away from having the answer.    Furthermore if they require feedback on anything like a new haircut or a pair of trainers they ask about it on Snapchat or Instagram.  

So imagine how he reacted when we said ‘Yeah sure bud we’ll get you the parts but a) you’ll have to work for it and b) you only get a maximum of four parts a month until you have all the necessary components”.

Well.  That, went down like this:

“I’m not sure I heard you.  Wanna text me what you just said?”

‘You heard us.”

“Did you say I would have to build my computer over several MONTHS?”


“I could be dead by then.”

Mr and I blinked in unison.

“Technology evolves at such a rapid pace I could be building a dinosaur computer.”

Mr and I blinked again.

“But the game I want to play on my new computer comes out next week!”

I got up to make cups of chamomile tea.

“There’s a law somewhere against doing this to children in Canada!  I know there is! I’ll google it! This is torture.”

When he calmed down to a hissing fit we explained our logic to him.  There are no free handouts in life.  You get what you work for and you have to learn to put things away (like money)and forget about it.  

When the first batch of parts arrived he was happy for 48 hrs and then he reverted to all kinds of shenanigans. He threatened to go on a hunger strike just before I decided to bake blueberry muffins.  He ate six of the twelve muffins.  He refused to clean up his room until I showed him that there was a massive sale on keyboards (50% off!) and that his laziness was costing us money.  He staged a silent protest beside the garbage bin on garbage collection day until I reminded him a black bear was spotted in our street earlier that week and well, if he wanted to deal with that problem while I was at work he was welcome to it.   

Maybe it is a generational thing.  I don’t know.  I have never had trouble delaying gratification.  In fact I get immense pleasure from saving for something I want or buying something small like a chocolate bar and hiding it away for a ‘rainy day’. 

Do you suffer from a need for instant gratification?

Since then our son has come a long way.  How do I know?  Well yesterday at the store he picked out a mousepad that reads: 

Keep Calm And Carry On

Trust me he would have never picked that one three months ago.






The Best Of Times…

It’s been the best of times, it’s been the …well, interesting.

So if you read my last post you will remember we had plans.  Real plans.  We were going camping.  Somewhere in the interior of beautiful British Columbia.  We were going to barbecue, bake on a rock, read books on a boat, drink lake-chilled beer, play with water guns….

Then my husband got promoted.  Very unexpectedly.  Twice.  In the space of two weeks in the middle of the best Summer in recent memory.

Getting promoted is really good news.  But.

No Summer road trip.  No getaway for the four of us.

So I’ve been working (and sulking just a little because I’m a child) and reading (I am determined to get through my Summer reading list no matter what).

Maybe, the Mr. tells me, later this year.  In the Fall.  When the bears are their hungriest.  The wolverines their feistiest.  We will lie on a carpet of molten gold and copper and shiver in our blankets as we watch the Harvest Moon rise.

I think not. I tell the Mr (with a stomping of feet).  No camping in the Fall.  I demand a hotel room, room service, warm towels, chocolates on pillows.  But I’m bluffing and he knows it.

We both want the bush.  Wild, untamed, gnat-infested bush.

For now I am home with my boys who in a desperate attempt to salvage what is left of Summer have the tent up in our backyard and the barbecue going.

What are you up to? 

Here’s a pic of a local rascal in our plum tree yesterday morning.

2014-08-09 10.57.44

Going Away

On the bus today, this short poem by one of my favourite BC poets (part of the poetry in transit series):

I’m waiting to write.
It’s like waiting for the bus. You know the bus will come.
I don’t know the bus will come. All I know is there’s a sign here that says “bus stop.”
You may have to flag it down.
I’m not flagging it down. I’m waiting for the bus that stops at this bus stop.
George Stanley

Wonderful, isn’t it?

Stitched Panorama

I suspect this may be my last “normal” post for the Summer.  Soon invited guests (as opposed to uninvited guests) :-) will arrive for a short visit and then in early August we leave the city to go on our annual Summer road trip which includes camping.  If all goes well, I will return with photos and news of our misadventures adventures in late August.  I know myself well enough to know there probably won’t be complete radio silence.  But then I could surprise myself and go cold turkey.  If I don’t (go cold turkey), expect to see me in the blogosphere leaving sun-addled/lake-chilled-beer-cheery comments on my favourite blogs.  I ask for your forgiveness for any odd or gobbledygook comments in advance.

I will be scheduling in some of my poems just so you won’t forget me.

I plan to get through a mountain of books.  I love reading under the shade of a tree with a view of water stretching before me.  Once I took a book out with me when we went tubing down a river and well, it didn’t work out so well for the book.  My Summer reads all return from vacation with shiny covers (tanning oil) and with sand between their pages (as opposed to toes). Sometimes when I need a whiff of Summer I just take out one of my Summer reads and smell the ocean on those rough sun burnt pages or run my fingers along a thin line of fine beach sand.

What about you? Are you going away? 

Happy Happy Summer! :D (to my Northern Hemisphere readers and is it ok to wish Southern Hemisphere readers a Mild & Happy Winter?)

Here’s to good times, glorious weather, happy gatherings and great reading!

Birthday Gal

Today is my birthday and on July 12th this blog turned 1.  So as a Big Thank You to all of you, my blog friends and followers for reading these scribblings, I thought I would share a list of some of my favourite things (things in Capital Letters are essential-for-life and non-negotiable like OXYGEN and WATER):

FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHOCOLATE, snickerdoodle cookies, ART, GREEN SPACES, sun-dried linen, CAKE, home-made pizza, animals, sun hats, art galleries, libraries, museums, comfortable shoes, MUSIC, dance, TEA (especially green and Yorkshire tea), POETRY, yoga….and it goes without saying BOOKS and WRITING.

Hubby insisted on taking these photos in our garden (with roses) he can be demanding like that sometimes (he’s a frustrated artist). Had I known I would be posing for photos I would have powdered my nose and brushed my hair :-) I hope you like them.

Summertime Soft FocalSummertime Pic

Uninvited Guests

When the call went out that our borders were open (and there would be no passport or security checks), I woke up to a tide of unwelcome guests in our family room.  Ants.

Now I’m no stranger to these seasonal invasions and have an arsenal of natural deterrents and homemade concoctions on hand, so without further ado I proceeded to shower them with finely ground cinnamon and while they were spiced up and confused I swept them up and resettled them in The Great Outdoors, which as I pointed out to them is where they belong.

But what to do with another variety of house guest?

I woke up as I sometimes do around 3am to check the clock (and reaffirm to myself that yes indeed it is 3am and I am awake for no good reason) and as I reached for said clock so I could turn it towards me I became instantly aware of a presence beside me – on the pillow.  I quickly flicked the bedside light on and there I was, eyeball to eyeball with a large house spider.

I am an animal lover and will even go as far as saying I like creepy crawlies but spiders are eight legged walking nightmares.  I mean I know why they exist but I can’t see one without levitating or having an out-of-body experience.  Once I realized I was the bigger creature I floated back down from the ceiling and watched him dash for cover on the underside of the mattress (they prefer hunting their prey under the cover of darkness).    I then spent the next hour or so trying to capture him with a glass and newspaper as he raced across the bedroom.  I am now of the opinion that Canadian house spiders are the Usain Bolts of the Arachnid Kingdom.  He is still at large.  I am thinking of reorganizing the furniture in our bedroom.  I’m hoping that will flush him out.

Green Plums And Other Offerings

I’ve been working on three short stories.  One is complete or as complete as it will ever be.  The other two are in various stages of draft.  I am hoping to have one more done, signed and sealed by July 15. Maybe it’s a good thing I have no idea who I am sending these stories to?  

Maybe not.  Please let me have your thoughts on this?  Do you sit down to write with a particular contest or journal in mind or do you just write the story that Must Come Out?

I subscribe to a few literary journals but I am not sure I am ready to get rejected by The Paris Review if you know what I mean :-) 

So as you know I haven’t been well.  Allergies.  Voice is still AWOL and yesterday I feared my mind may have gone the same way.  I can’t get to do the things I’m supposed to do for my ‘day job’ without The Voice so I’m home. Writing. Which is all fine and dandy except that I despise being cooped up inside like a battery chicken writer.

I need fresh air.  Green spaces. So yesterday I headed off in the direction of the forest near my home and really, it was glorious!  The weather has been wonderful and it was only right that I should be out with the bees and the butterflies and the humans walking their dogs…but it was not to be.  I got as far as the park’s tennis courts and had an ugly coughing fit.  One of those truly loud and disgusting I’m-A-Walking-Virus kind of fit that had the tennis players running for cover and the elderly lady on the park bench a good 30 metres away from me cover her nose and mouth with a tissue.  

Maybe, I thought afterwards, when my body stopped heaving and my eyes stopped watering and I staggered out of the Park, that not-so-nice lady should have offered me a tissue. 

So clearly I’m not allowed to venture outdoors.  Which is why I’ve been in my garden.  

You should know I wasted spent an hour yesterday on my deck chair trying to capture a visiting Rufus hummingbird with my iPhone.  An hour.  I think I heard him chuckle as he hovered helicopter-like over my head.  Really how hard is it to film a hummingbird?

Today has been more productive in more ways than one.  I made this discovery.

Green Plums


A plum tree.  It’s not actually our plum tree.  It’s the neighbour’s.  But it has reached it’s long arms across the wall (in neighbourly fashion) and very generously offered us fruit.  Yes.  I said shaking her green and lovely arms.  We accept but we will wait until they ripen.

Anyway – see, the mind is going.

Here are peas from our garden.  

peas in pod

So neatly and perfectly packed and zipped in.

And this is me working through the imagery on a new poem.  I don’t always have the time to map my thinking or draw but this particular poem needed the extra work as you will see from the seemingly disparate objects.  (One is an eel living in shallow water and the other is the Taj Mahal; a rather impressive mausoleum in India).

I hope to share this poem later with you this week. (I promise you it will, if nothing else, be interesting)

writing in book





Losing My Voice

I have been without voice or almost -mute for five days now. I communicate with my teenage savages sons via rude gestures sign language, iPhone messages and ape-like grunts. The savages teenagers have taken over the house as the alpha male has been away on business for over a week now and let me tell you all is not well.  If it wasn’t for the fact that I can still both see and hear I am certain they would have let all their Facebook ‘friends’ know there is a PARTY (!) at our house and I would wake up to toilet paper and other unmentionables hanging from the chandeliers. We don’t have chandeliers but you get the picture.    

I’ve been texting their father (my husband) for help.  Here’s an excerpt:


What’s up?

Teens In Revolt.

They must help you around the house.

U hav a sense of humour.

Take away their privileges.

Pleeze. My throat hurts when I laugh.

Take their iPhones.

I can’t.

Why not?

It’s how I let them know dinner is ready.

Why r u cooking for them?

‘They’re boys. If I don’t give them their greens and protein they’ll just go to McDonalds.”

Let them eat cake!

I’ll have to go buy some.

Anyway I know why I lost my voice.  Physically it’s because a forest of grass and ragweed invaded my airways (allergic rhinitis). But the emotional and psychological component to this ailment (laryngitis) is I didn’t speak/open up about certain issues with one of my clients.  For several weeks now she has been doing and saying things that are counterproductive to what was agreed upon.  I should have pointed it out to her the first time she had ‘a lapse in judgement’ and perhaps even said something about the fact that she had missed not one but two important meetings with potential clients because she ‘forgot to check her email’. (For those of you interested in psychological terms and definitions such behaviour is otherwise known as passive aggressive behaviour)  I stayed mum when I shouldn’t have. I hate to admit this but right now I can’t afford to lose this client.  I agreed to work with this person because I believed in her and her vision of success for her fledgeling business.   Since the body and mind work in sync my body is now ‘manifesting’ the ‘staying mum’ part of this story. It’s reminding me – in a painful, demoralizing way – that the choice I made went against who I am. I betrayed one of my fundamental values.

Personal integrity is important to me and has higher priority than personal gain.  And all my relationships personal or otherwise are based on honesty and openness.  I’m a straight shooter. Have to be if I am to be of real service to my clients but it became evident early on that this particular client does not take well to any advice or direction of any sort. (True success comes with a healthy dollop of humility and a willingness to learn).  Which explains why her business is not thriving but plodding along.  

I know what I have to do this coming week and I bet you anything whether I lose her as a client or not I will be 100% better once I’ve ‘cleared the air’.

Do you or have you experienced something similar? Are you aware of any particular physical manifestation to an emotional or psychological ailment?