Who Says History Is Boring?

A small voice, accompanied by a gentle tug on my shawl, asked me why we bother to learn boring things, like history. If the small voice had belonged to an adult it would have been an easy answer, but it didn’t. It belonged to a colleague’s young son who was part of “take your child to work” initiatives.

Probably not the most fun place to take a child, where we work. Even less fun to sit through your father’s lectures about history and the formation of nations when all you want to do is take advantage of the sun shining in the blue sky. It also probably didn’t help that our school lacks a playground for children to have fun and burn off excess energy.

So why do we bother to learn boring things? Is it because “they” say it’s important to have knowledge in these “boring” areas? Is it because we are too young, to uninformed to know what is boring or exciting? Is it all a matter of context.

When this little boy explained to me that all of history was boring, he wasn’t aware of all the amazing adventures that took place in history. He hadn’t had his mind opened to the incredible sea faring journeys of the Vikings. He liked the idea of the Vikings, the softer and friendlier version I told him about. No need to teach a young child that everything is violence and strength just yet.

The idea of boats with fantastic animals to guide them and keep them safe seemed to really capture his attention. So did the idea of exploring and making discoveries in newly discovered land for your people. He expressed concern about having to row the boat though, so he needed to be in “the front and in charge” to “make sure everyone row’s properly”.

See fun is what you make of it, as is boring. And why do we have to learn about history? Because it tells us a little about the people who came before us. If we are lucky we can hear their thoughts in their own written words, see how they learned about new challenges and realize that we aren’t that far off from them after all.

Oh, Surprise Me!

Life is always full of surprises. Some of them pleasant, some of them not so pleasant and some of them just surprises.  Depending upon the type of surprise as well as the type of person you are, it can be a simple process that is just life or it can be jolting.  Each and every time.

Friends of Beloved’s recently decided to throw him a surprise party as a means of celebrating with him.  The thing is, Beloved is at a point now where surprise parties are no longer his idea of fun.   Once he got over the whole surprise thing, he was able to celebrate and enjoy himself, but that wasn’t his initial response.

The four-footed bundle of energetic joy in our lives is constantly full of surprises.  She has brought in all sorts of surprises when she’s been outside, from shrivelled leaves to mushrooms she has unearthed.  She has surprised us by her ability to climb chairs as well as squeezing into impossibly tiny holes.  Of course she also surprises us every day with a new adventure, something funny and another way to show affection to us.

Id prefer for my life to be pleasant surprise only.  I don’t need to have the crystal ball forecasting ability for the surprises,  but I’d like to just know when the surprises happen they will be pleasant.  Granted life will become well perhaps less in some ways.  We need the balance of the unpleasant to savour the pleasant surprises.

So next time, when my four-footed companion comes home from a ramble with Beloved and she has a bit of bird, I will give that to someone else.  To share the surprise of course!

A Little Baty

There must be something that the bats know that we don’t know.  Apparently hanging upside down is good for our spines.  Or so say some experts.  Of course the problem with hanging upside down is that, well, we aren’t really designed for this.  Something to do about blood rushing or such.

it appears that my four-footed companion also believes that the bats know something we don’t know.  She likes to stand upright or her hind legs and then counters that by standing on her front legs, like a handstand.  To be honest it’s rather cute when she hangs upside down.  She has sort of bat like ears when she does it!

She also isn’t opposed to eating bugs.  Now she doesn’t  have radar to find said insects the way the bats do.  She stalks them and when they land, or take to flying very low, she pounces.  Most often she appears to be successful with her bug hunting.

Sure the bats won’t eat the flies she chases.  And I’m fairly certain that bats understand that to eat a wasp is to flirt with danger.  My four-footed companion hasn’t figured this aspect out just yet.  She ether is a slow learner or she likes to tempt danger.  I’m not sure!

And while she may not have wings, she can fly when she decides to run.

On second thought I’m not sure that bats and I really have a lot in common.

Autumn’s Bounty Is Prolificly Pumpkin Spice

Autumn is now the official season. Which means leaves changing colors, if they haven’t already. It means cooler temperatures, less day light in some places. It means piles of leaves to rake up and woolly sweaters toss on. It means being able to see your breath some times.

Autumn is the season of apple pies and maple flavors. And now, it is not just the season pumpkin pies, but pumpkin spice lattes. And here is my problem. You see dear readers, I think, that maybe, perhaps, we have overdone the whole pumpkin spice latte thing.

The first time a pumpkin spice latte crossed my lips it was in the form of a tiny cup, a small taste of a drink that was being considered for the seasonal feature menu. A very tiny cup, with a lot of delicious whipped cream. It seemed, that maybe, just maybe it might be okay. Until I ordered the full on real thing. In a small size. It was still too much.

Since that time it seems that the pumpkin spice movement has taken on a life of it’s own. Probably some type of mind-altering life, but still. Pumpkin spice candles are in my house. Pumpkin spice coffee creamer has been in the fridge for days now because some visitors expect this delight. Pumpkin spice air fresheners assault my sense of smell. And the list goes on.

I’d like to see pumpkin spice just go back to a more controlled, less in your face type of presence. I don’t suppose that will happen though. There must be a huge market for the stuff, given the ways we have managed to incorporate pumpkin spice into everything. Which is fine if you like pumpkin spice.

But what about those of us who no longer, or never have, liked pumpkin spice. What flavors and scents do we get to replace that particular theme? Because I know I am not alone in my need for the pumpkin craze to settle back down into it’s own little patch of things, just over there. And please let me be clear, I adore pumpkins. I love the actual pumpkins…but there is a time and a place for everything. All of autumn should not be dedicated to pumpkins and most certainly not pumpkin spice.

Adding More To Life

A wise man once told me that you must have another life, a different kind of life, to look after in your own life. It was his way of saying everyone should have a pet of some sort. He believed that a pet would only enhance your life, help you not take things so seriously and allow you to manage your stress.

He told me that this other kind of life would never take me as seriously as I would take myself. And it was for this very reason that my life would become more enriched and more full.

While I may never have actively considered his statements when I was getting my four-footed companions, he was right about everything. None of my dear four-footed companions have taken me too seriously. They are too busy living in the moment and making the most out of each of those moments to worry about using the right word, or not looking foolish.

Each of my companions have let me vent to them, share my fears and my joys with them. I was safe in knowing they’d never be able to tell that to another person. They have provided me with comfort when I thought there was none to be found. They have reminded me of the importance of play in life. They show you that life can be as simple or complex as you want to make it. Life is what you choose it to be.

And I choose to have my life shared with four-footed companions who will sometimes drive me to the point of insanity and at other times make me wonder how some people manage life without them. Because frankly I cannot resist a puppy who does summersaults because it’s her nature. I can’t resist the wag of a tail that shakes the whole body with excitement and happiness. I can’t resist the way that small, warm body curls up against mine when I feel like death twice warmed over or wonder how we move forward in a world so full of negative emotions and behaviors. And yes that means I choose a life with a four-footed companion who will never exceed the toddler stage of human cycles. Which means sometimes we have odd hours, temper tantrums, naughty behavior and stubbornness. I choose it all, because I can’t imagine a life without the companion and therefore I accept that which is a part of my four-footed companions.

Crosses To Bear or How I Was Told I Had Lupus

A specialist once told me we all have crosses to bear in life. He proceeded to tell me that lupus was my cross to bear just as hair loss was his. Somehow this just didn’t seem fair back then. To be honest it still doesn’t seem fair.

I can appreciate that everyone has his/her own trials and tests in life. And no two people will experience things exactly the same way as perception is a funny thing. We are shaped by our experiences, understanding and interpretation of words, sounds and sights. So it is possible that to this doctor his hair loss was just as traumatic and terrifying to him as hearing I had lupus was to me.

There are days that lupus is a “minor annoyance” in my life. It’s there, but it doesn’t impact my daily life too much. I can manage doing what I want to do without too much concern. Those are the days I understand that my specialist’s comment best.

There are days where lupus is in full control of every outcome. Including will I be able to get out of bed, or what happens if after I’m out of bed I have no more energy? Those are the days I want to march back into the specialists office and show him that this cross is much heavier, much harder to bear than how I perceive his. Of course those are the days I haven’t the energy to actually do anything, but it’s the thought that counts right?

Some else once told me that if I had to choose between my cross to bear versus another person’s I would gladly pick my own up again. I understand part of that in being that we do tend to go back to that which we know. But I’m somewhat certain I could find a way to rock a scarf or custom wig better than how I manage to deal with the fact that some days I just can’t do things.

Does lack of hair make you feel inept? Inadequate? Worthless? I struggle with these words, words I say to myself on the days when I really should be showing the most compassion to myself. I know it’s unfair of me to have this type of self-talk going on, but I suppose I repeat what I have heard said from society in some way or another over all the time of living with lupus.

If I were in the same position as that specialist so long ago, I would hope I would respond with compassion. I hope I would be able to reach out and create an environment where the other person could feel s/he could lay down that cross, if only for a moment, or at least take a rest while we find a way to make things work better.

Granted I know that there are dangers to caring too much, to worrying too much and becoming to close to things. However, in that moment, all those years ago, what I needed to hear most was that yes lupus sucks, and yes we will find a way to work through this. Instead a felt alone, and also somehow responsible for soldiering on as best I could without giving into the exhaustion or pain. In other words, lupus was diminished and it was up to me to carry on trying to appear “normal” because after all we each must carry things that are heavy for us.

She Doesn’t Cotton To Them

My space has been overrun with cotton balls or cotton wool balls if you will. Large, fluffy cotton balls that drift about here and there seemingly with no rhyme nor reason other than the mood has struck them. They are not driven by current of air in my space. I’m not sure what is driving them, but their form of locomotion is the mundane form of four legs.

The balls of pure white cotton seem to have taken over the space, claiming every portion of it without regard to others in the area. I had always thought cotton balls would make nice companions, but evidently not these two.

Sure they look nice enough with all that fluffy soft fur, but do not underestimate the power behind the cotton ball. They purr to make you think they are all sweet an innocent while they plot your demise. Will it be with those incredible sharp teeth? A swipe of the cotton ball paw with the claws extended? Or will they smother you when you least expect it?

Okay so technically they are cats that are being looked after. But they look like cotton balls, with one smallish ball for the head of the cat and then a much larger one for the body. Four slightly stretched yet still rounded balls for the four legs and paws and then one extra-large cotton ball that has been stretch out to become a huge plume of a tail.

They settled in just fine, showed their typical disregard for anyone or anything and made their aloof selves at home in my space. They have made themselves at home on top of my items, leaving behind bits of their soft, cottony fur when they move on. I believe they are on a secret mission to spread as much of their cottony fur throughout the house as they can in the short period they are to be here.

Oh they were smug as they started to claim the keyboard and monitor as their places for lounging. They exuded confidence as they hopped onto low shelves and dared me to remove them. What they hadn’t counted on was another four footed being in the house in the form of an overly energetic and highly curious puppy.

She has chased them, barked at them and basically kept them confined to a small area. She has snapped her teeth when they have dared to reclaim the shelves. She has growled when they have moved back towards the keyboard and she has nipped when they deemed the monitor would fit both of them.

She is the ultimate means of controlling these two cotton balls. Hopefully she continues to maintain control…