Barbara Frum, a witty wordsmith. Who knew?

Barbara Frum

For a research paper on the CBC radio show As It Happens, I’m skimming former (now late) host Barbara Frum‘s book As It Happened, and I’m falling in love with her tongue-in-cheek snark:

“Thank goodness for sociology–it fills in so many of the blanks. It tells you that people in elevators get squirmy if you stare at them, that ugly people make more grateful marriage partners, that short people aren’t as tall as tall people, that Italians and Jews are inclined to holler when they’re in pain, and that people read in the bathroom to kid themselves about what they’re doing there. Were tax dollars not paying for it, I don’t think I’d mind so much. If sociologists find it stimulating to observe the obvious and the useless, who am I to quibble?”

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How Freakin’ Fabulous Am I? (rhetorical question)

There are a few things I’d like to say:

1. I suck for having procrastinated from writing for ever so long. You may not care, but I know the truth: I officially suck for not taking the time to record all of the freakin’ fabulous thoughts I’ve had over the last several months. Some of the blame can be laid on the following inconsequential pastimes: work, two bands plus other music projects, and being there for my family.

2. While I initially anticipated the arrival of winter with fear and trepidation, now that it has been asserting its climatic domination of my area for weeks, I’ve mostly gotten used to it. I had some noteworthy help from a few contributors: the Fionas (my amazing knee-high, sexy black leather boots), elbow-length black leather gloves, snow tires, and CAA, with an honourable mention to hemp hearts and espresso.

3. At the risk of sounding blasphemous, I have a new bible that has very little to do with spirituality but everything to do with great taste. As happens with many great things, I stumbled upon this book in a local store that I hadn’t set foot in for a long while, and I can’t get enough of it. My new bible is written by What Not To Wear‘s Clinton Kelly, and it’s called: Freakin’ Fabulous: How to Dress, Speak, Behave, Eat, Drink, Entertain, Decorate, and Generally be Better Than Everyone Else.

Clinton’s approach is very humourous, but truly, truly fabulous. These pages are chock-full of common-sensical advice, from how to match patterns to how-to recipes for great appetizers to good manners. I love it, and possibly not platonically! I’ve been accused of being too proper, caring too much about grammar, and being picky about lighting, and now I find myself vindicated by Mr. Kelly. Alleluia!

I simply can’t leave it at that, I’m sorry. This book will likely stay on my coffee table for decades to come, and all of you who care will be able to leaf through it and glean its wisdom for yourself. Honestly, where else can you find all of this basic good advice in one very fun, well-published, entertaining format?

This is the book that I’ve been waiting to discover for all of my adult life. Or, at least since I discovered how fabulous one can be and my true potential for achieving it.

A great paragraph:

When throwing a party, you must sanitize and guest-proof your bathroom. If the bathroom that will be used by your guests is not absolutely spotless, you will quickly get a reputation as a dirty birdy. And then, nobody will eat the food you’ve made because they’re afraid of catching hepatitis.

Just sayin’: great writing, right?

Here’s another tidbit:

If chopping onions makes you cry, hold a few unlit matches in your mouth. The sulfur is supposed to absorb some of the onion fumes. You can also hold a slice of white bread in your mouth. Either way, you’ll look like an idiot. Also, try throwing the onion in the freezer for a bit before you chop it. The colder the onion, the less fumes. Personally, I don’t mind a good cry. In fact, if I cry while chopping the onions, I’ll run to the bathroom mirror and recite one of my favorite lines from Poltergeist: “Don’t you touch my babies!!!” It’s the part where the kids are being sucked into the bedroom closet for the second time and JoBeth Wiliams is at HER WIT’S END! It’s very dramatic. (Hi, JoBeth, if you’re reading this!!!)

I mean, come on! Mixing great advice with self-deprecating humour and pop-culture references? What could be better in a self-help book?

4. I have to go now. I have some more reading to do before I’ll be ready to host any freakin’ fabulous Christmas parties. Ta Ta.

the flies are lethargic but i had a wonderful day

Today was an unexpectedly wonderful solitary restful holiday day. Who could have imagined, after getting (or taking) only a handful of chances to hit the beach all summer, that I would be able to enjoy its inspirational warmth and beauty on the day after Thanksgiving?!

I got up late (again) and rushed to my massage appointment. I feel like I wrote that as if massage appointments are part of my regular life, but they

Article: A Story to Live By

I came across this story in Fresh-Brewed Life and I decided to share it. Please consider following its advice!



A Story to Live By

By Ann Wells (Los Angeles Times)

My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister’s bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package. “This,” he said, “is not a slip. This is lingerie.” He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite; silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached. “Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion. ” He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes that we were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me. “Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you’re alive is a special occasion.”

I remembered those words throughout the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister’s family lives. I thought about all the things that she had done without realizing that they were special.

I’m still thinking about his words, and they’ve changed my life. I’m reading more and dusting less. I’m sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I’m spending more time with my family and friends and less time in committee meetings. Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experience to savor, not endure. I’m trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.

I’m not “saving” anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event–such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom.

I wear my good blazer to the market if I feel like it. my theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries without wincing. I’m not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends’.

“Someday” and “one of these days” are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it’s worth seeing or hearing of doing, I want to see and hear and do it now. I ‘m not sure what my sister would have done had she known that she wouldn’t be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted. I think she would have called my family members and a few close friends. She might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think she would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, her favorite food. I’m guessing–I’ll never know.

It’s those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that my hours were limited. Angry because I put off seeing good friends whom I was going to get in touch with–someday. Angry because I hadn’t written certain letters that I intended to write–one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn’t tell my husband and daughter often enough how much I truly love them. I’m trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives.

And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special.

Every day, every minute, every breath truly is… a gift from God.

Longings

“We are like Swiss cheese, and the holes in us are actually supposed to be there. The holes are the things that make us who we are. The holes are the places God has reserved in us for Himself! The longings identify our real hunger. A hunger that drives us to Him to be satisfied. If... big if… we listen.”

Fresh-Brewed Life, Nicole Johnson

Life is not PG… a Quote.

That ocean of sadness, that nameless sorrow for me has not been a specific grief-causing event. It has been for me a realization that life is not rated G or even PG. A realization that life is not about easily resolved conflict. A realization that life is not happy. That realization for me created an ocean of sadness – because I didn’t understand why life should not be primarily about happiness. That realization planted in my a nameless sorrow. The beautiful thing is (and I mean beautiful not easy to look at or polished) that in coming to this realization, this naked and immediate experience of sadness I have begun to experience life, I have begun to embrace life to the full. Only, not life to the full in the Care Bear/Disney World sort of way, but life to the full in the streets of Toronto/Requiem for a Dream/grittiness, greys, and colors of life/good news of the gospel of peace/reconciliation/redemption/hope/healing sort of way.

–Aram Mitchell, aramgorn.blogspot.com