The alarm! Ah, six a.m. barks a merry greeting!  Struggling from the stupor of my dreams I struggle to the kitchen intent on the one saving grace of this early hour apart from solitude… coffee.

But in the gloom there are always intrusions on the path we have chosen in life.  It is very dark and I am far from feeling in any way ethereal, devout, at peace, or even at ‘one’ with my inner being.  I just want coffee.  Is that too much to ask?

Yes.  Chairs and my toes have always had a strained relationship.

The thin chrome protrusion had already sighted us as its prey the moment we rounded the stairs.  Maliciously it leapt out (I’m sure,) into the gloom knowing full well my little piggy was dazed and still asleep at he market.  Cramming viciously between my fourth and fifth toes I was convinced I could hear the inanimate four-legged beast snigger at my pain.

My knee jerked up as the excruciating pain coursed through my little toe. The knee slammed into the back of the chair lifting it clear off the ground and allowing the chrome leg to slam down on top of the toes of the other foot!

‘&%$#“#&%$’$ and then some!!

A mumbled curse to ‘be quiet’ came from the bedroom.

What can you hit, throw or pulverize in the early morning silence?  Why do things like this happen, are they lying in wait around the house?  Are mornings somehow possessed by demons that guarantee the toast will land face down, there is only enough milk in the jug to soak one cornflake or that the new toilet roll is across the room.  Why?

Staring at my coffee and nursing both my injured feet, I find the answer in a little book of proverbs,

‘If you meet no obstacles on the path to your goals then you are not challenging yourself enough.’

Bullocks!  I just wanted some coffee.  That is a necessity – not a goal!  It shouldn’t be a challenge – it should be a right.  Someone should explain that to the fiendish chair leg which consistently takes out my toe.

At least now I know my house is possessed of naughty little demons out to obstruct the harmony of my day and in some way I should be thankful they are only doing so to challenge and raise me to a higher level… NOT.

I feel stumped again.

I’m puzzled because I didn’t seem to get the same brochure at the life ‘Port of Life Entry’ as everyone else did… or at least I don’t think I did.

When we enter this world it is not as if we are at some random airport lounge or ferry terminal and there is a large array of colorful options stacked on a display rack so we can rummage through for a ‘life destination tour’ that we like.  We get the landing in the destination we are dealt, without consultation.  Is this Kurt Vonnegut’s idea of hazard?

Wouldn’t it be so much better if we could choose the vacation/life plan that we like from a shelf of options before passing through the arrival gate?  I could imagine a shelf with hundreds of different tours on offer.

This was made brutally obvious when watching the various age groups all taking in the sunshine while strolling with my bubbly other.  The individuals on view were not from an epic Greek odyssey with a hero confronted by challenges and obstacles thrusting forth, – it was just a day in the park.

From babies to seniors all seemed to be having issues with the tour brochure given at the birth departure/arrival gate.

The Dining and Drinks Tour – The baby had definitely enjoyed what was on offer during the tour, but things weren’t going down as expected and the whacking on the back brought up a spew of it across an offered shoulder.  It was very kind of the large ‘adult person’ to offer her angora sweater as the receptacle for the fluid.  Her own mother had taken to using a flannel towel on her shoulder (very rough on the cheek).

The teenager had also had a bellyful.  This was not the same formula that the baby had consumed but it was also sucked down in the hope it would appease the peers, swirled in the stomach and brought up on the park sidewalk along with a cheap chicken Korma from the all night take away. A flannel towel would have been a blessing.

The gray set was too concerned with focusing on keeping the muscles of the oesophagus working with little sips and nibbles to actually consume very much, a hanky was always nearby.

The Walking Tour.  The baby rocked up and thumped back down – everyone was amused.  The baby rocked up again and nose dived – everyone laughed again. The baby was lifted up, balanced, then smiled at all around before thumping back down on the super absorbent ‘Huggies’ butt pad.  The crowd were again charmed and impressed beyond belief.

The teenager scuffed and shuffled like a wayward elephant. Toes and knees splayed for stability – it was the only way to keep the jeans up.  The crotch of the jeans was just below the knee and the waistline below the butt cheeks – impossible to get on a bicyle.  The absorbent butt pad was replaced by a Calvin Klien brand at 20$ a pop. Someone’s wallet is depressed.

The gray set incorporated both approaches with a steady dignified thoughtful shuffle and the senior ‘huggy’ just in case a toilet is more than a two-minute walk. The senior quite rightly doesn’t give a flying fart about other opinions.

The Speaking Tour

The baby had a full vocabulary of terminology that the big people had not yet acquired.  It is amazing, really, that after all their time on earth they still haven’t learned baby talk.  Google translate – HA!  It does seem that baby talk like Latin, is unfortunately a dying, usually forgotten language.

The teenager mumbles a new language spiced with hood and techno jargon leaving a trail of adulterated text, profanity and abbreviations in the minced sausage that was English, still he too is not understood.

The gray set warbles a bit as faculties fade and hearing falters, continuing conversations which have long since finished twenty minutes earlier.  The gifts within their dialogue are all too often ignored leaving them to rue how their wisdom is misunderstood.

So as far as the walking, talking, eating aspects of the tour pamphlet picked up at the departure gate goes, I don’t see much in the way of highlights.

I know we can’t go back… the whole ‘in touch with the inner child’ thing doesn’t reach back that far, surely.

The only opportunity is to take the Eastern route and go for the reincarnation option.  This will allow more time to browse and select a better tour before entry into the next Tour of Life.

Right, I have it figured out, I can make a better tour choice as long as I have enough time in the departure lounge, but you know the mothers they always want to rush you through.  I don’t get that.

Hi what’s your sign? … No Longer works.

In truth, one must wonder if that line ever really worked.  Now though with the new zodiac signs it will be even more confusing. Yes it’s true, because of the earth’s shifting axis, (not just our morals), it appears our signs have shifted.

http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/01/13/horoscope-hang-up-earth-rotation-changes-zodiac-signs/

I can’t even pronounce Ophiuchus when I’m sober, how will I possibly pronounce it in a loud nightclub when I’m three-parts wasted?

To solve this dilemma I have decided to go with my own format, which I’m sure will catch on like wildfire in the clubs.  In all honesty we know all these signs, everyone does, and it is government approved so what could be better?  (See ordering details below and order before the spring solstice in Uzbekistan and enter to win your free avocado blender.)

By using these HARS or ‘Highways Approved Road Signs’ provided in a tasteful lacquered playing card deck, you will soon be tripping the night fantastic.  There won’t be any false starts or GPS quirks to cause this sign -EXPECT DELAYS to pop up.

Upon entering the club with its thumping music, don’t linger, approach the first likely attractive member and flip out your deck.  Here’s the technique.

Your eyes meet and you go for a direct approach.  You smile and play:

‘CAUTION WILDLIFE AHEAD’

She  smiles oddly and plays ‘DUAL CARRIAGEWAY.’

Ok, so you weren’t ready for that and need a way out.  This isn’t Monopoly and there is no ‘Get Out of Jail Free Card.’ However, safety features are built in.  You play ‘REST STOP’ and quickly shift to another section of the club. A subtler approach may be better and upon eye contact with a possible pick up you play, ‘GIVE WAY.’

A smile, she plays ‘MERGE.’

Not wanting to rush your ‘WILDLIFE’ card you choose a sophisticated route and deftly slip ‘BRIDGE CROSSING’ along the bar.

She plays her ‘YIELD’ card.

Ah, the game is afoot!  Confidence builds and you go for ‘SOFT SHOULDER.’

She shudders slightly and plays ‘CAUTION’.  You are okay with that but then she plays, ‘CHIPS IN ROAD.’

Oh, oh. This could be strike two. Attitudes and issues can lead to a ‘BUMPY ROAD’ card or ‘SLIPPERY WHEN WET’ and that is not what you are up for tonight, but you don’t want to give up just yet.

You play ‘LOAD RESTRICTIONS’ and then tentatively play, ‘PROCEED WITH CAUTION.’

She glances around and plays ‘SLOW,’ then lays ‘HAZARDOUS GOODS ROUTE’ very quickly which means she is either honest or a psycopath.  She suddenly plays ‘KEEP DISTANCE.’

You throw caution to the wind and flip ‘HIDDEN APPROACH.’

She eyes you oddly and flips ‘NO EXIT.’ Alarm bells start to ring, visions of the movie Fatal Attraction play in your head.

Then she eagerly plays ‘NO THROUGH ROAD’ and ‘CHAINS REQUIRED.’

This may be the end of the night.  You play ‘U TURN.’

She lands a ‘NO U TURN.’

Then a hulking ’OVER-SIZED LOAD’ pulls up and sneers at you.  He flips ‘DANGER.’

You play your ‘YIELD’ card.

He plays ‘DEAD END.’

You decide valor to be the better result of the evening and play ‘GO.’

She plays ‘STOP.’

He plays ‘RESUME SPEED.’

You don’t want to be caught in the middle of this and play ‘SERVICES’. You slip away from their company and search for anyone carrying a ‘SINGLE LANE ONLY’ card.

You spot a card. She waves it at you and follows with a ‘TOURIST STOP AHEAD.’

Oh dear. You realize that though she is attractive, she is still at a monopoly level and is looking to pick up 200$ and pass go. Or even worse it may be a ‘TOLL ROAD’. Respectfully you decline and play ‘BRIDGE OUT’. You slip out of the club and glance at the bouncer.  He can see the stress in your eyes and immediately flips out ‘NATURE PRESERVE AHEAD.’

You nod and show him ‘PROCEED WITH CAUTION’. You are about to enter when a figure in a long coat approaches and flashes a card (Thankfully that’s all). ‘PLAYGROUND ZONE.’

No. Not tonight. The cards are not falling your way.   You gaze at your own ‘RETURN LANE’ card.

This is just one of the many safety features built into these handy sign decks.  So much better than air bags.  These HARS decks will keep you on track through your club scene the way ACE of BASE did with their hit lyrics

‘I saw the sign and it opened up my life and I am happy again…’

ORDER your limited offer of  ***HARS CLUB ROAD SIGNS *** Today!!

Available in British, European and American versions, with speed limits in place for those pesky German drivers.

Get yours today for only $149… one round of monopoly with change.



After fourteen days most of us have given up and surrendered our souls to all the dreadful words that harbor the horrors of a suffix like ‘tion’ or ‘sion’.

Ah yes the …‘shuns’ of life.  How much grief have the ’shuns’ cast upon society, especially in the New Year?

As a suffix it has got to rank up near the top in the disappointment sweepstakes.

Vodka infusion

Vodka intrusion

Vodka delusion

Vodka confusion

Vodka contusion

Vodka retribution

This is not to mention devolution, revolution and evolution.  No, there is just one way to confront the ‘shuns’ of the New Year

You must have the dissolution of your resolution to achieve absolution…. There I’m safe now.

 

Do not waste time in conflict, never waste time in doubt,

For the bringer of ill tidings will always find you out.

And struggle not with turmoil, toss it in the trash.

Do not parlay any falsehoods it will leave you in a hash.

Wrestle with your resolutions to thunder in the year,

Never let them freeze you, paralyzed in fear.

They are well-intended, mere hopes to drive the fight.

They’ll leave you feeling better, or sort of just all right.

And if your intentions fall asunder, laying in the street

Worry not, for in a year that resolution, may very well repeat!

 

GUILT! – thy name is resolution.

 

Standing by my own impartiality I have posted a review by Book Babe, it is posted as is in its entirety .  Tara at  www.bookbabe.blogspot.com/  does reviews of chick lit/women’s issues (but not bodice ripping books). Her reviews are complete and I think provide a good guide when tackling the awesome world of Amazon.

She writes:

I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. It had a rough beginning. A whole bunch of characters were introduced at once and who they were was very vague. I was beyond confused.. Who is who? What’s this woman’s problem? What is it with this woman and a piece of cement? But I scratched my head and read further..

It’s a novel about four different women, each with their own problems to overcome.

My personal favorite is Thelma. She’s a very large African American woman who has been ridiculed and abused her whole life for being fat. She decides to rise above her “station” in life, to prove to others that she is more than a fat woman of color. She is determined to be an architect and is just finishing up school. She should be happy, right? Not totally… See, while she has been struggling to get a degree and a job with a good firm, friends of hers in her African American community consistently bash her for “forgetting she’s black” and trying make it in “whitey’s” world…

Then there is Sinead.. a feisty, red headed, Irish gal who works as a butcher. She is a bit self conscious of her appearance. She doesn’t feel sexy, desired, or attractive.. and her husband is no help in that department. But you wanna know what I love about this gal? When she catches her husband getting horizontal in another woman’s waterbed, she doesn’t sit there and cry about it.. She does something else. She’s got balls!!!

There is also Simone. Simone is the oldest, around 44. She was burned badly by a man.. (of course!) years ago and has carried a grudge ever since. She starts to realize that despite all her young boy toys, her gorgeous white Jag, her sexy gay driver, and her fashion business, she is lonely. Something is missing from her life.

Last, and the only woman I had difficulty relating to, is Patty. Patty has been grieving for 15 long years for a dead husband. I’m talking extreme grieving.. going to his grave for HOURS every Friday and refusing to date any other man and la de da.  The woman has issues. Is she going to “get with it” or pass on her issues to her teenage daughter?

All these women meet to heal, laugh, and learn to love themselves again at a Spa/retreat type of place. I thoroughly enjoyed their banter, playing, arguments, and even the underlying issue about eminent domain. You see, all these women are connected by not only a spa, but their places of home or work.. One woman’s work could ruin another woman’s home..
Great book. There were some mistakes here and there but nothing to cry about. My only issue was the beginning.. though I finally put two and two together by the time I read the last page.. Thus, 4 stars.

So where has the blog been? Well Blog rhymes with BOG which in the gutter of British slang is only one step up from the loo or the Canadian North Forty, the throne, the John, or the ivory thought processor yes… the toilet.

You see most people want to mark the New Year with some form of reflective moment, even if it is a quiet moment of solitude when we release all the ‘Old Year’ waste and, after the first morning movement on January 1st, we head out boldly into the New Year.

Well that process took a bad turn at the Bog on New Year’s day.  Our lovely heritage cottage sewer line decided it was time to review the Old Year’s wasted moments and hold onto them for a little further consideration.

The sewer line froze and things sort of backed up.  THIS IS NEW YEARS! Do I need this?

Who wants this crap on the number one fuzzy hung over morning of the year?

Out of respect for the many illuminating ‘moments’ endured at the previous evenings festivities I shall not delve into the graphics of the deep and dark world of plugged sewers only to say that the first solution is not the best.  My solution was pragmatic (sort of), I figured that if this is some kind of ****ty psychic message I would counter with my own form of psychic retaliation, though in truth my arsenal of mental tools is at best weak and on this fine morning, for which I have the pleasure of only 2 hours sleep and it is now 9AM (thanks be to the Danish neighbors and their case of wine), it has reached unseen level of transparency.(?)

Using my powers of divination I stamp around the snow and try to ascertain where the manhole cover might be.  I probe with shovel, pike and pole to no avail.  Fortunately a friend from up the road has been watching my madcap snow rummaging and calmly points out exactly where to dig.  (The knowledge of long-term residents!) I however was close and if I’d had a fresh poplar branch I am sure I could have witched the sewer – why not, you can witch a well right?

So I dig down and removed the massive dais that covered the unknown.  So large was the lid that it could have been used as a sacrificial altar for the Gods.

The only thing that revealed itself as sacrificial was my olfactory system.  It’s New Years ands I am staring at a fetid pool of… well if you’re still with me you know.  I stared at the ¾ full abyss – is it still an abyss if it is almost full?

New Years day, hmm, a time of beginnings and I am confronted with a mass of endings so I figure it is best to approach the challenge with novelty.  I return to my psychic meanderings and attempt to walk up and down the assumed line of the sewer and project my telekinetic powers into the stubborn miasma below my feet which will release all the pipes in my home and allow my family the contentment of not having to drive to the nearest McDonald’s to use their loo!  My powers are strong, the connection is growing.  I can feel the resistance, (metaphorically okay!)  I relate to the obstruction.  ‘Are we becoming one with your nemesis?’ My wife asks, cell phone poised in her hand.  I wonder if she is trying to make a higher connection.  I beg of her to be patient.

I reach back to my grade seven science class and reason that we are all compounds connected through chemical ‘bondings’ and I should be able to empower the atoms of my mind to relate to the chemical bonds in the offending obstruction and rearrange them to reach… flow …a new and exciting exit strategy for the obstruction to pursue not dissimilar to the strategies used by the banking community when confronted with responsibility for the financial meltdown.  My telepathic messages swirl and thrust down through the frozen soil.  I’m sure I make a direct ‘contact’ with the ‘thing’ which is ruining my first day of 2011.  Combined with my telekinetic power it must budge.

 

Nnnnnope.  Is it my frequency?  Is there an offending transmission tower preventing me from making a connection? Is the CRAP not receiving!

Sweating and fraught with the mental exertion my friend returns with a sprung steel snake – twenty meters of hard, crushing, unforgiving thrusting steel power.

I ponder whether it is wise to forgo my newfound clairvoyant abilities in their infancy.

My adoring wife scowls and crosses her legs –someone wants to pee.  Yep get on the snake.

After an hour of threading and thrusting, gnashing and bashing, tears and jeers there came the most almighty connection to Hades from the six-inch pipe.  A whoosh, like some mistral screaming down a mountainside released and nirvana, enlightenment or sewer solemnity roared forth.  In a gush it was gone, faster than Saint Nick up a chimney.  Oh yes… like brown sludge – away it did shimmy!

Now, in reflection, I can see the importance of having enhanced my psychic stamina during this dilemma.  If I had not spent the time t indulge my mental intuitions I would not have come to the realization that every New Year’s is a crap shoot and you have to toil and keep your world flush with efforts.

Well at least mine is flush!