Baa…

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I finally joined Instagram (@sassygreenboots) and I noticed this week that everyone is posting a recent selfie next to a 10 year old selfie. I don’t know if it’s meant to be humourous or we’re really all becoming that desperate. Form your own opinion. It’s Friday and my brain hurts!

Go ahead and call me a sheep – baaa! I’m posting mine too. It can’t be any more humiliating than my wardrobe in 1978 ,which got shared in December. And I think the only thing that really changes is the length of my hair and the thickness of my glasses.

I find the older I get, the more conflicted I become about public opinion of me. Part of me just doesn’t care any more, while another part of me still wants to stand out from the crowd. I know You may think I look ridiculous in an Overwatch hoodie or skinny jeans. I don’t care!

But today is a “baaa” day.

20092018

Tomorrow may be different. We’re expecting a huge snowstorm, and subzero temperatures…and I have to go out in it. Early. Like before 9 a.m. so I may be dressed as an “individual” just to survive.

Happy Weekend!

Honeycomb & Flowers

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One might well say that mankind is divisible into two great classes: hosts and guests. Max Beerbohm

“Laverne & Shirley”, the affectionate names given to the two ladies who run the kitchen for our Ladies’ Morning Break Ministry, are grand hostesses. They serve faithfully in the kitchen preparing refreshments and washing dishes, while still gracefully gliding around the room to make each woman attending feel special. In addition to their weekly service, they also spend months planning our final gatherings to make them extraordinary. They bake special treats, set a beautiful table, and send each woman home with a small handcrafted gift. They are incredible!

 

Last May, Laverne & Shirley set a Spring-themed table for us, complete with tea cups and petite four. I snapped this photo of Laverne’s tea cup because the unique pattern really took my eye, and then I set out to research it.

lynne tea_ed

 

This “Honeycomb and Flower “tea cup was made by Thomas Forester & Sons. Their pottery business began in Longton High Street around 1877, and n 1879, they commenced production under the name, The Phoenix Works. In 1883, Thomas’ sons, Herbert & Victor Forester changed the name to Thomas Forester & Sons.

They expanded their business over the next 10 years, employing over 700 people and making them one of the largest employers in the Staffordshire area by the end of Queen Victoria’s reign (1901). The company ceased production during 1959, due to limited production during World War II and the introduction of the Clean Air Act (1956), which ended the use of bottle ovens or kilns.

In 1912, a printed china mark and the name “Phoenix China” were first used. Based on this china mark, this tea cup was produced between 1925 and 1959.

…Sipping ‘tea’ isn’t cute. But loving, supporting, giving, being grateful and perpetuating light, is. – Grace Gealey

Special thanks to Laverne for letting me share her treasure today!

Happy Monday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello & Goodbye

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Hello.

Yesterday, on the radio, the announcer shared an amusing list of cliches used in North American television shows & movies that sometimes cause confusion in other parts of the world. Some of these included:

  • how there’s an obsession with Hallowe’en – like neighbours competing to outdo each other’s Hallowe’en decorations;
  • how high school prom is hyped, as if prom was somehow a life-changing milestone – mine sucked but it didn’t “ruin” my life;
  • how baseball bats are conveniently stored next to doors in the event of a threat – are we really that paranoid or do we have ESP;
  • how everyone seems to eat meatloaf – eww…..; and finally…
  • how everyone ends telephone conversations without saying “goodbye”.

I chuckled along with the long list, but it was the last one that really caught my attention.

Not only do I always say goodbye at the end of a call, but if it’s a family member or close friend, I say “Love you” as well. We don’t have the foreknowledge that this is the last conversation we will even have, and so I want to be sure that very important message is conveyed. Sadly, on occasion, I have become so accustomed to saying it, I have blurted “Love you” to non-family members/close friends. I’m not sure who was more embarrassed. It was probably me!

Turns out I have a few pet peeves when it comes to starting and ending telephone conversations:

First, I hate it when I answer the telephone and the caller assumes I know who they are and they launch into the conversation as if I’m already fully up to speed with why they are calling. They are halfway through their spiel and I’m still trying to figure out the voice. By the time I figure it out, or interrupt them to ask, I’ve missed the context entirely. It’s worse with a voicemail message because I can’t ask questions, like why are you telling me this random-person-I-don’t-know, has died?”.

It’s almost as bad when they use “it’s me” and they aren’t someone I speak to regularly.

 I’m against all “it’s me”s. So self-absorbed and egotistical. It’s like these hip musicians with their complicated shoes!
– George Costanza, Seinfeld, “The Burning” episode

Second, I get annoyed by people who sound annoyed at me because I didn’t answer their earlier call. I feel accused of purposely avoiding their call, and waves of guilt threaten to wash over me. How dare I have to use the bathroom or dare to leave my home to restock the pantry? Listen, I’ve ranted on this one before, and the message is the same as that blog post: Please Leave a Message…  I’d like to add: Get over yourself!

Third, if you ask someone “how are you”, for goodness’ sake, shut up and listen to the answer before launching into your pressing business. Usually the answer is “good” and that’s okay. But when you respond “great” as I’m still saying “good”, I’m not good anymore. Suddenly it’s no longer a friendly chat between 2 people. You just want something from me before you move on to something or someone better. That extra 5 seconds matters because I matter.

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening
to what another has to say.      – Bryant H. McGill

And finally, I have someone who tends to end calls with “let you go”, which seems to signal the end of the call with courtesy. The connotation may be “I understand you have other things to do so I will graciously hang up so you can get back to it”. But it feels dismissive…especially when I’m still talking, blunt when blurted out in a conversation that isn’t winding down, and rude when it’s followed by a click and silence. In this case, “silence isn’t golden” because you essentially hung up on me.

We bless people and we curse them by the way we speak to them or treat them. Sometimes we use words.
jennsmidlifecrisis

Closing a call is not a skill limited to salespeople…or good salespeople.  Try “thanks”, “talk to you soon”, or “take care” – followed by “BYE”. If you have to connect with someone else and get back to them, say so! Followed by “BYE”. If you can’t talk long or you’re busy and can’t talk at all, take the 30 seconds to explain, let them know when you can talk, and follow it with “BYE”.  Other acceptable final words are: “good-bye”, “bye-bye”, or “good-night”.

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It’s simple. 🙂

Hello. It’s Jenn. I just wanted to say thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a great weekend and I’ll see you next week! Bye for now!

CFFC: Colourful Monotones

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Yellow + Blue = Green

Big Guy once made that proud pronouncement to a roomful of guests, as he exited the bathroom. Think about it…

This post is for last week’s challenge Fun Foto Challenge from Cee Neuner for colourful monotones…Somehow I misread the list, but I’ve decided to post it anyway.

Yellow

yellow

Blue

Green

peas_ed

Man needs colour to live; it’s just as necessary an element as fire and water.
– Fernand Leger

Happy Wednesday!

Little Women’s Christmas

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“Nollaig na mBan” or “Little Women’s Christmas” is an old custom still celebrated by women in Ireland, hearkening back to the days of large families, whose care fell exclusively to Mom.

On the first Sunday in January (coinciding with Epiphany) these tired ladies got a one day break. The men would assume the household duties, freeing up their ladies to go out and relax in each other’s company.

Often, the ladies of the village gathered at the men’s domain, the local pub, for stout and sandwiches, pooling their small savings for this extravagant occasion. After chatting about the cares of the old year, they would make a pact to leave them outside the door, and spent their remaining hours carefree until the sun set and they returned home.

Even though this tradition involved stout rather than tea, it is awfully reminiscent of a tea party. Women gathering over refreshments to share sorrows and good hearty laughs, separated from the dreariness of the every day for a few precious moments. A tradition now ingrained in our culture in the midst of the everyday at Tim Horton’s and Starbucks across the country. We call it “going for coffee”! Whatever beverage you choose to consume today – be it coffee, tea or stout (or a bit of both), share it with a friend and raise a toast to the “little women” in your life!

Old Lady

Cheers!

https://www.ireland-fun-facts.com/little-womens-christmas.html

 

A Fit About a Bit

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Yesterday was my first day back to work after the holidays. It felt like a Monday. First, I woke up to this:

snow_2

Pretty to look at, but not enjoyable for driving. Armed with 2 travel mugs (one with black tea and one filled with coffee pu’er tea), I dragged my aching body to the car. Hubby commented I looked pale.

I had just left for work, when I scratched my arm and discovered my Fitbit was missing. Did the band break…or did I just forget to put it on after my shower? My brain immediately flashed to an image of my electronic device lying in the snow, or worse, crushed in the driveway…in the snow. So I pulled over at the second gas station and called home on my cell phone. Little Guy and Hubby were there, and they could find it. With any luck, if it was outside, they could find it in time.

The first time I called, someone hung up on me. The second time I called, Little Guy answered the phone. He sounded as sleepy as I felt. I asked him to look for my Fitbit, starting in the bathroom. He was on the cordless phone, so he took me with him as he checked. It wasn’t there. I asked him to check the bedroom and kitchen, and to have Dad call me at work if he found it. I still needed to get to work.

But as I conveyed this final message, intending to hang up and keep going, I scratched my arm (wool mittens are itchy)…and realized, my Fitbit was on my right wrist (not the correct wrist). I had remembered to put it on after all (just not on the wrist I’ve been wearing it on for the last 18 months). Crap! I had no choice but to confess to Little Guy that I had found it…on my other wrist, and he snarked “I’m hanging up on you now”. That sounded about right!

I was alone most of the day, which gave me time to sort out my ransacked desk and re-adjust my chair. Someone had fun in my absence. Hubby and Little Guy were kind enough to pick up lunch…unfortunately my “digestive aid” pills had rolled from my purse at some point, and I couldn’t eat it.

But I made it through the day, and thanks to my fabulous chiropractor, I could breathe again. Just in time to get groceries. In the snow.

I know I’ve said it a few times already but – Happy New Year? Ugh…

And though he tries with all his heart, my horse couldn’t catch a golfing cart
Some days I hate to go to work. – Arrogant Worms, The Mountie Song

Enjoy the weekend!

 

Wilderness Wednesday: Focus

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So…another year has passed and we are at the beginning of the new. While a part of me embraces the hope that a new year may be filled with adventure, laughter and joy, there is a part of me that is tinged with sadness. 

Mom and I went for a walk one mild afternoon this week and I took this picture of bittersweet berries, which are pretty to look at, but poisonous to consume. 

red berry_ed

Our sweetest songs are those of saddest thought.
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Complete Poems

 As I wrestled with what to write for this post, I found myself becoming more discouraged, poisoned in a way by bittersweet memories, so I set it aside. Late that night, as I was now wrestling to go to sleep, I started thinking back on some of the challenges I have already faced, in light of my current state. And I made a choice.

I don’t know what this new year holds, though it already holds uncertainty in Hubby’s employment. But I do know that I am called to be a woman of hope, and to live in light. To entertain hopelessness instead of faith,  especially at the beginning, is an affront to the values I hold dear, and to the One who is calling me. God provided strength and resilience in situations beyond my control, and led me through some pretty dark places. In those places, I had to exercise trust and discipline, to maintain focus on smaller goals a day or a step at a time. Sometimes that goal was just to keep breathing. Therefore, I’m choosing a word for the year: Focus.

I choose not to focus on the losses, except to savour memories.

I choose to focus on the present, looking only to the past to marvel at how much I have grown, and the future as a destination for  maturity and adventure.

I choose to face new challenges with laughter and grace (& I will seek forgiveness when I don’t).

I choose to focus on making some changes in order to enrich my relationships and pursue some dreams. 

And I choose to let myself dream instead of rationalizing all the reasons why my dreams impossible, and I’d be a fool to even try.

Those bittersweet berries were pretty, but if I looked past them, there was an open field  beyond. It’s time to focus on the bigger picture. Welcome 2019!

Royal Albert: Treasure Chest

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While “Old Country Roses” is the most widely known and beloved of Royal Albert’s patterns, Royal Albert has always produced exquisite fine china in a myriad of shapes, colours and patterns.

This teacup, which belonged to my grandmother, is from the Royal Treasure Chest series. I have already shared some of the history of Royal Albert, but noticed this time that even the tea cup handles have different names. The handles on my Old Country Roses tea cup and this tea cup are similar because they both have a swirl and a point at the top. This tea cup has an Avon handle, which is simpler than Country Roses montrose handle, which also has a swirl on the underside.

juicy apple royal albert (2)_ed

These rich juicy apples, along with the dusting of gold, makes a lovely addition to a festive seasonal table.

I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. – Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Happy Monday!

Flashback Friday: Christmas 2018

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People say I’m crazy, but they haven’t met my family! – Anonymous

As hinted at last week, I am posting this year’s annual traditional “4 family on the couch”.

They are hardly perfect pics, but show me a perfect family photo, and I’ll show you a family that lies!

Having one child makes you a parent, having two, you are a referee. – David Frost

Family_ed (5)

Family_ed (4)

In the end, the merriment was too much for me. I woke the next day having finally succumbed to the doses Hubby & Little Guy had had in the weeks leading up to Christmas…and I threw my back out schooching over in bed. I spent the rest of Boxing Day in a chair with the remote, my sewing and a heating pad, watching Friends re-runs!

Looking forward, I have no idea what 2019 might entail, and rather than worrying about it, I’m going to boil the kettle and settle in for a long winter’s nap.

My doctor asked if any members of my family suffered from insanity. I replied ‘no, we seem to enjoy it’. – Anonymous

Happy Weekend!