Tag Archives: squirrels

Don’t Worry! Be Happy!

smileyI’m about to embark on another learning journey. Surprised? Me too. But if you have been following me for some time you’ll know that, not too long ago I attended Harvard where I completed a course that explored the rather esoteric concept of justice. Ok, to be fair, I didn’t actually attend Harvard. I took that course online with maybe a hundred thousand or so other people, give or take a few. But I passed and now my Harvard certificate is proudly displayed in a most prominent spot on my office wall. Don’t believe me? Then you haven’t been reading this blog carefully enough. Shallow people know there’s no shame in exploitation when no one gets hurt. And honestly, is there any harm in people expecting you to be just a little smarter than you really are? Or happier? Because you see, for my next foray into the world of academe I will become immersed in the exploration of the “science of happiness”. You heard me right. I’m going to learn how to be happy.

The funny thing is most of the time I am happy. Which doesn’t mean I’m never grumpy or sad or temperamental or just plain ornery. There are times when I am all of those things. Like when I’m driving, minding my own business and some lunatic decides the speed limit is slightly more than double what I am doing. And passes me. On the inside. Or squirrels eat my car, which, if I can be so bold to say, hasn’t happened since we have managed to successfully evict them from the garage. Which has actually made me quite happy. Unless they come back. Which will make me all of the above. Or my hair goes curly in the rain. Yeah, that’s probably the proverbial straw. Yet all of these aside, I’m usually pretty happy. So you may be wondering why exactly I would devote the better part of the next three months learning about happiness.

First things first. I’m taking the course from Berkeley and, besides Harvard, who doesn’t want to go to Berkeley? Let’s face it. Anyone who grew up in the 60s, and I know quite a few people who did, feels a little tinge of nostalgia at the mention of the name. I mean Berkeley. Man, that’s where it was at. Berkeley. The epicenter of  the cultural revolution. Who doesn’t want to groove to that beat? And what better place to go to learn how to be happy? Although, if this were the sixties, I suspect that you wouldn’t have to take a course to figure out how to get happy at Berkeley.

And I gotta say, after seeing the course syllabus I’m pretty excited about what’s to come. Because not only is this course about learning how to be happy, it’s also about discovering how to live a meaningful life. Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe it would have been better to have taken this in the sixties but since there’s no age limit on enrollment I’m guessing it’s not too late. Besides, there are readings and lectures, quizzes and practice exercises so surely something’s going to stick. But to be totally honest, my excitement for what’s to come is coupled with just a little bit of skepticism as I consider the implications of taking a course that talks about “measuring happiness” and provides a list (and you know what I think about lists) of “eight essentials when forgiving”. Do we really need to take a course that instructs us on how to forgive? I’m starting to wonder if the course about being happy could already be making me a little sad.

But despite my reservations I do think this course will be worth my time. As you know, every once in a while I have some trouble coming up with ideas for this blog. The truth of it is, I have an inkling that, if nothing else, I won’t find myself with that problem over the next few months. And you know what? That’s making me happier already!

Tagged , , , , , ,

Things I don’t get

jeansIf you have spent any time at all reading this blog over the past year and a half you will have gathered that, as a shallow person, there’s not a whole lot in my day to day life that troubles me. Sure, there are some things that make me sad, lots that make me happy and even a few things that make me want to … well I should probably just let those things go. All and all, if I had to put a label on me, I’d say I’m a laid back kind of gal. Except at four o’clock in the morning when I’m waiting for one of my kids to get home from the bar. No one would call “that woman” laid back. Or when I’m shopping on Boxing Day. Which is perhaps a story for another time. Nope, I can honestly say at this stage of the game I simply don’t come across too many things that irritate me. Which doesn’t mean there’s not a whole lot of stuff I just don’t get.

Like jeans with bling. You know how it goes. You’re sifting through a rack of what appears to be perfectly decent jeans. Sure some of them are darker than others but there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. And you’re wise enough to know that no good will come of trying on the “skinny”ones so you just pass those by. Anyway, you’ve been wearing jeans long enough to know exactly what you want. Something with 5 pockets, no holes (when you’re from my era you have to come by those honestly), just the right weight of denim and straight legs that glide effortlessly over the “Fryes” you just added to your coveted boot collection. As your hands work their way deftly through the rows of indigo they stop on what appear to be that perfect “made in heaven” pair. Until you turn them around. Astonishingly, right there, on the back pockets. Bling. In whose world does bling belong on an otherwise perfectly tailored pair of jeans? There’s nothing about it that makes sense. I can’t think of one reason I would want to have rhinestones sticking into my backside every time I sit down. Nor can I imagine pulling out my jeans the next time someone invites me to their kids Bar Mitzvah, one of the few occasions where bling might be part of my fashion repertoire. Jeans are about comfort. Rhinestones are not.  It’s simply incongruent and, if I may say so, borders on offensive because there are places for bling and places where it is quite simply wrong. And the back pocket of jeans is one of those places. So I just don’t get it.

Or one size fits all. Really? Let’s pretend I’m 5 foot nothing and just shy of 105 pounds. I go to my local department store to pick up a pair of leggings, mostly because they’re rather fashionable these days. As I sift through the myriad of options I notice a particularly attractive pair that meets my fancy. On closer scrutiny however, I find myself cringing at the “one size fits all” pronouncement prominently displayed on the front of the package. So you’re telling me that this single pair of leggings is going to fit both me and the long legged beauty who at this very moment is standing behind me, virtually reaching over my head to pick up the very same pair that I have cradled in my own hands. Who thought that one up? Please tell me how one can possibly make sense of this. Which fashion honcho came out of a meeting where a group of geniuses decided that the same amount of fabric would suffice for my legs and hers? Let’s face it. One of us is going to have to make some mighty uncomfortable adjustments to make this happen.

Maybe this was a mistake. The more I think about it the more it seems to me that while I don’t really get this stuff it is entirely possible that this “stuff” causes me just a tiny bit of irritation. And as I emerged from the shower (have I mentioned that some of my best ideas come to me in the shower?) it occurred to me that I might be on a bit of a roll and there are, in fact, even more things that cause me a tiny bit of irritation. Like car salespeople who ask me for my favourite colour . And squirrels that eat my car. Not to mention people who “like” my blog for the sole purpose of getting me to like theirs. I hate to say this but it seems to me that this just might be “Part 1” of a many part series. Well at least now I’ll have something to do while I wait for the kid to get home from the bar.

Tagged , , , , ,

A Little Help From My Friends

snow_squirrel from Stratsan http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1377032I have a problem. Before I get going, and just so you know, I realize this is probably not the biggest problem that anyone has ever faced. As a matter of fact, I happen to know that many of you have faced way bigger problems than this one. It’s not life or death or anything even close to that. But this problem is mine and I need some help with it. Now it’s not often that I ask my readers, or anyone else, for help. Ok, so come to think about it, I suppose I did ask for some help the other week when I was doing that big race. Of course that help wasn’t exactly for me, so it’s not really in the same category. And I admit that I haven’t actually done any cooking for about twenty years and I’ve been eating pretty well, which means I’m getting quite a bit of help with that. Though other people in the house like to eat too so that help isn’t only for me either, and anyway, we have long since stopped believing that a woman’s place is in the kitchen, haven’t we? Which brings me to my problem and the help that I need.

Let me start by explaining that this problem of mine is not a new one since it started about twenty-five years ago. That’s when I moved into my house in one of those lovely, desirable and sought after older neighborhoods where you pay a rather hefty premium for the privilege of being able to “make it your own” which translates into spending gobs of money to ensure that you can run the microwave while drying your hair, should the need arise. Most of the time when you get one of these houses you sacrifice features we have now come to expect from our dwellings like granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, ensuites, walk-in closets and, perhaps most importantly, attached garages. But to make up for all of those losses you do get big backyards with lots of trees. And therein lies the problem because when you have garages at the back of your house surrounded by towering pine trees laden with multitudes of pine cones, (might I add, as they should be) it is only natural to get something else. And that “something” is squirrels. Lots and lots of squirrels. And not just any squirrels but whole families of squirrels. More squirrels than you can shake a stick at.

Now don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against squirrels. Especially ones that mind their own business and do what squirrels are supposed to do which is mostly run around looking kind of cute, maybe burying a peanut or two in the garden and, once in awhile, unfortunately for the squirrels, find themselves losers in what they thought would be a fun game of chicken with the neighbor’s Volvo. Oh yes, and when they make their nests in those previously spoken about trees which it seems to me nature put there for just that purpose. But when squirrels decide that, like me, they prefer to live inside rather than out, and subsequently make their home in a garage, most notably my garage, using the insulation from the hood of my car to pad that little nest of theirs (and you know how I feel about my car), well that’s when I have a problem. Hence the need for your help.

You see, for the past few years I have been doing my best to try to encourage these little critters to do what nature intended them to do and that’s live anywhere but in my garage. Don’t get me wrong. Plenty of people have given me plenty of suggestions and I have tried them all. I’ve bought the thing you plug in that makes a high pitched sound that apparently all animals disdain, but I can hear it and I still go into my garage, and so do they. I’ve filled up cans with ammonia and placed them strategically around the garage only to discover that my friends (and I use that term lightly) have spent the evening playing a rousing game of “kick the can” with little regard to the contents. And I have liberally spread enough mothballs throughout the garage to ensure the safety of my entire cardi collection for the remainder of my days, and yet, there they are, each and every morning, looking down at me as I make my way to the office. Sometimes I think they even give me a little goodbye wave knowing they will have my garage to themselves for the rest of the day.

At my wits end I have now, at the suggestion of one of my co-workers lest you’re thinking about pointing fingers, acquired a trap. Don’t get too excited. It’s a live trap designed simply to encourage the rodent (well that’s what they are) to enter, get caught, and be relocated to a more suitable, parklike environ, where they can live out the remainder of their lives frollicking among the leaves and trees and perhaps the odd coyote. But I’ve run into a glitch. There are people in my house who are not quite as shallow as I. They think that this little plan of mine is akin to house wrecking and that breaking up the family is simply unthinkable. How, they ask, can I tear these children from the arms of their Mother? How, they ask, can I be so shallow?

So here we are at a standstill and this is where I need your help. Surely someone out there has a surefire way, a tried and true method to rid my garage of these guests who have long ago outlived their welcome. That’s it in a nutshell. We need your help before we all go squirrely.

Did I just say that out loud?

Tagged , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: