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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Stop Being Insecure

R.a.n.t. of week 09/21/14
I promise, this is the last week for a guest blog. I'll be back to complain once again, next week. It's been a rough few months, but I'm looking forward to getting back to my writing. This weeks blog entry from Jenni Long.

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After talking to a friend a few days ago, I got to realizing he was complaining about a non-issue. Something made up in his mind. But this isn't a problem he suffers from alone. Every day, things transpire in our lives which we worry about. Typically, the worries are unjustifiable. Each month, 'Fille Forte' receives many questions along these lines. I.E., "I think my friend is mad at me, what did I do?", "Why is my friend ignoring me?", and my personal favourite, "I heard my friend went out with another friend, but I wasn't invited. Why?" When you think of it, each question is just a form of insecurity; no real problem exists. When I responded to my friend, I told him the same thing the girls in the magazine are generally told.

1.) The problem is yours alone.
2.) You are causing the bad situation.
3.) It could be harming your friendship.
4.) You should seek to resolve the situation.

Let's take the first question, "I think my friend is mad at me, what did I do?"
"Dear Worried,
How certain are you your friend is mad at you? Did they tell you this specifically? Or are you just assuming? It's very possible you did nothing. In a true friendship, we should never try to read minds. When you start making assumption based on what you think the other person is thinking, you are simply inventing a problem that does not exist. If she is truly your friend, you need to develop trust. Trust she does not get mad for trivialities. Trust that if she is mad, she will let you know when she's ready. And if she is upset about something, she may come to realize it's silly and let it go."

Second question, "Why is my friend ignoring me?"
"Dear Ignored,
Sometimes we may think a person is ignoring us, but in reality they are involved in some other activity. If you send a text message to a friend and they do not respond right away, it does not mean they are ignoring you. Like you, they have other things going on in their lives. It would be hazardous to think you are the centre of your friends world. Perhaps they are dealing with parents, or have had chores assigned to them. Don't be pushy and selfish. Your friend will get back to you when they can. You wouldn't want them to think you are narcissistic. Whatever you do, don't complain about being ignored. This could actually push your friend away and they may truly start to ignore you. If you are having a hard time waiting to hear back from a friend, get involved in something else. Go for a walk, watch a funny film, read a magazine article. It's possible you are just being impatient."

Final question, "I heard my friend went out with another friend, but I wasn't invited. Why?"
"Dear Not Invited,
You are being insecure about something you needn't be. Like you, she has other friends to associate with. If you draw attention to this problem, you are likely to draw attention to your insecurity. Insecurity can be a turn-off, even among friends. It's not possible for you to invite all your friends to absolutely everything you do. The same is true for others. Let your friends have other friends. It doesn't mean they no longer like you. It simply means they decided to spend time with another friend. When you do something with a specific friend, does that mean you've stopped liking your other friends? No. The same is true for everyone."

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Jenni Long is a writer and editor
of the Canadian children's magazine
'Fille Forte'. That being said, her
thoughts do not necessarily reflect
those of myself.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Impossible Girl

R.a.n.t. of week 09/14/14
Like last week, I've decided to use a guest blogger this week before I jump back in to writing my own r.a.n.t.s once again. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

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When a situation is presented to most people, it is either greatly accepted or looked at apprehensively. Those taken to apprehension have various views on the situation presented. Either it's not accepted because it's out of their comfort zone, or they view it as something rather difficult. Either difficult to believe, or difficult to accomplish. "It's impossible", they may call out. But what is impossibility? Alice (in Wonderland) was encouraged to believe impossible things. And yet, is something impossible, truly impossible? Look at a few of the things Alice found impossible to believe in. A cat who disappeared leaving only a cheesy grin, a bottle of mysterious fluid that allowed her to shrink in size, and a deck of playing cards following the orders of a tyrannical Queen who seemingly wanted to see everyone without a head. And all this before breakfast. So how capable would you be to accept any of these impossible scenarios? And are they really impossible?

To illustrate, let's journey back a couple hundred years. On our trip, we will bring a set of walkie talkies a flash-light and a digital camera. Before showing any of these items to any of the locals, we will describe each item. To which, they will declare them to be impossible. How can one cause a beam of light to shoot from one's hands? Or listen to a person from a mile away, as though they were standing right next to you? Or hold the perfect image of someone in an instant, within the palm of your hand. That's impossible! And then when you show them the items, they may gradually learn to accept them as possible. If they don't burn you for witch-craft.

So maybe not all situations presented to us are as impossible as we feel they are. I know there are several things to which I consider impossible, that I'd like to at least hope are just illusions of impossibility. What about you? Is there anything that others claim to be impossible, that you consider within the realm of possibility? And for the record, no, I don't believe the situations in Alice in Wonderland are possible. They are quite impossible.

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Professor Sanee resides in Italy
and teaches the course 'the
Ethics of Humour' at I.M.A.
She's also author of the book,
"Why Isn't Anyone Laughing?"

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Fool

The fool dares think
that he is needed.
We laugh then cast him
to the side.

The fool dares think
that he is special.
We are delighted by
his merry joke.

The fool dares think
that he is loved.
We wink in glee
at his festive jest.

The fool dares think
But he is a fool,
and I
                  am a fool.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Thing of Beauty (Part 140)

R.a.n.t. of week 09/07/14
This weeks r.a.n.t. courtesy of Charles Winthrop. In order to restart my blog, I thought this part of his longest running series would be interesting to use. I hope you enjoy it.

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It's truly amazing what some people discard and treat as garbage, when in actuality what they have is a prized possession, something of great beauty and value. I was reading this morning of a women who went to a rubbish sale (flea market) and procured a box of various items for only seven dollars. One report suggests a Paul Bunyan mini statue was in the box which is what caught her eye. (A clear indication of the typical junk found there). Going over the items, the painting barely caught her eye. The frame was of interest to her, but the actual object of the frame was not, much like the previous owner. On a gut feeling, she decided to have the painting appraised. Turns out, what she thought was worthless or unimportant, was a lost painting from Frenchman Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919). An auction was established with hopes of raising as much as $75,000. Certainly, this painting was worth far more than originally thought. And someone just threw it away? There are countless tales in the art world of works of art turning up in the oddest places, usually in attics, basements, or behind paintings of less value. So what about us? Is there a true objet d'art in your life? And how do you treat it? Would you devalue it? Damage it? Throw it in the garbage? Certainly not. It doesn't matter if it's a painting hanging on the wall, an antique piece of furniture or even a person. How we treat our valuable possessions is certainly an indication of who we truly are on the inside. How sad it is some people are miserable, horrible people on the inside, who feel the need to damage, destroy or devalue things of beauty.

This excerpt from the online publication - 'Art Beautiful',
used with permission.

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Charles Winthrop is a Washington
state D.J. His interests include
music (both modern and classical)
and is a fine art connoisseur. His
articles have appeared in various
magazines including, 'Art Beautiful',
'Music of the Renaissance', and 'The
Walla Walla Whistler'.

♫ Like a beautiful smile
 That fills I know why
 Such a beauty won't die
 It's eternity's mile 
 That we walk all this while ♪

Bonus Photo - Les Deux Sœurs

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Closings and Endings

R.a.n.t. of week 05/18/14
Life is about continual change, so life is always changing. Much like a kaleidoscope. A poet once wrote;

Colours shifting, changing.
For a moment here.
In a moment gone.'

There are two aspects of change. One is when something new begins, but the other is when something ends. Sometimes the change (or end) is drastic, like the loss of a loved one. But usually, the change is something small or mundane (to most people). If you are like me, even the ending of a TV show or departure of a favourite character can be sad. I'll admit, I used to watch ER quite regularly, and when Dr. Green left the series I had something in my eye which caused it to tear. Seriously, THAT'S what it was. Just something in my eye. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Of course at the time I had no idea his 'wife' was going to become River Song or I wouldn't have minded his departure, just so she could move on.

Other times, a location you love comes to a close. Years ago, there was a 24 hour coffee shop on Milwaukee's North/East side. My friends and I went there quite often. A few of my friends would frequent the place and play chess till the wee hours of the night. We all loved that place, but it eventually went out of business. So I had to find a new place for coffee. I tried a few till I found one on Highland called, Highland Park Pies & Cafe. It was owned by an older lady but she informed me she had just sold the place to a lovely young coffee barista. So 'Birdies' (as it was renamed) then became my new place. I'd go quite often before work and do a little writing, or just chill out listening to the smooth jazz they played. In the Winter, they had a fireplace and Sarah (the owner) would ask if I'd like to have it lit. Always I'd agree. Usually I'd be there by myself but a few times I convinced someone to stop by. My sister, my dad, my friend Ray or my friend Mike would show up from time to time. I'd also see Terry, a family friend, there quite frequently. Then things began to change. The place didn't play jazzy music any more and I started to bring my own music. Gradually, I was there less and less. When Sarah remarried, she too was there less and less. Just a few short months ago, another friend of mine, Sandi, visited the place and told me how much she despised it because the service was slow. Stopping in with another friend they simply ordered coffee and sandwiches and waited a half hour. They were very upset and that was disappointing for me to hear. The place that had once been one of my favourite places to visit now had people complaining about it. The speculation is perhaps the family that owned it was just getting tired of running it. That may be true, because shortly after the place was closed. I've had to add Birdie's to that list of places I now miss.

 In other words: Sorry for the inconvenience, but Birdie's is closed. PERMANENTLY!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

R.a.n.t. of week 05/11/14
I could sit at home and watch a baseball game on TV. Sit in the comfort of my own recliner with perhaps Taco Bell nachos, a bag of peanuts purchased from the local store and an ice cold Guinness, what could be finer? But what about seeing the game live? That would be finer. Being in the crowd when a home-run is hit! That would be finer. The fresh air, the excitement, going with a group of friends, a chance to sing 'Roll Out the Barrel', these are all great reasons to go to a game. So why don't I go more often? Typically I go to one or two games a year and that's about it. The biggest reason is I simply can't afford it.

Prices - At the Game:
Ticket - $ 25.00
Parking - $ 10.00
2 Mediocre Beers - $ 16.00
2 Hot Dogs - $ 9.00
Nachos - $ 5.50
Total - $ 65.50

That's a pricey trip to the ball field! Sure, the price may fluctuate depending on whatever professional park you go to, and assuming during the course of three hours you consume the food listed. But remember, these prices are for one person alone. Add children, add more money. Even if you cut back by what you take into the park, kids may hound you for mementos of the day. Key chains, mascot figurines, T-shirts, jerseys, whatever. So yes, the price may change drastically. But the point is......
Adjusted price - $ 50.00 to $150.00

Prices - At home:
Ticket - Free
Parking - Free
2 Quality Beers - $ 4.50 (average price)
2 Hot Dogs - $ 2.00
Nachos - $ 3.50 (from Taco Bell)
Total - $ 10.00

And if you are like me, you are not watching the game alone. I tend to invite my friends over when I want to watch a game. If you have friends like my friends, one may bring over a couple six packs for everyone to share, another may bring a large bag of peanuts and just about everyone chips in for beer. Sometimes I end up with more beer in my fridge than what I began with, and left over pizza or chips. I almost make money hosting my own ball game.
Adjusted price - $ Free to free with more beer in my fridge.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Throwing In The Towel

R.a.n.t. for week of 05/04/14
There are many times I believe what I'm doing, may be pointless. If something is pointless, why continue with it? The problem is, many people feel the same way, and not only because they feel it's pointless. What I mean is, some people give up quickly on something others may fight for. Me? I'm not a person that gives up easily. I'm stubborn and I believe in the adage, 'if at first you don't succeed, try and try again. I've discussed before how I'm learning a new language. It's a daunting task, and at times I feel like giving up. But so far, I have not. Nor do I believe I shall in the foreseeable future. Then there is my writing. In some ways, maybe I've given up a little. When I was younger, I had the dream of becoming a published author or a magazine columnist. I've never really pursued that, so it seems I may have given up on that aspect of my writing. I've just come to think, for the most part, my writing won't be appreciated by the masses. Even when it comes to something as simple as a poem or a r.a.n.t., I can't even get most of my friends to stop and take a look. If something isn't handed out on a silver platter, (some random, anonymous, inspiration saying) it's not worth looking into. But I do have a few loyal people who read, and for that I'm grateful. But I'm not ranting about readership today. You see, that has never affected my writing. A crazy person, is a person who does the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Well, I'm not expecting to suddenly be a well known writer. I write because I 'AM' a writer, whether people like it or not. So I'm not expecting a different result. I write for fun, and my own enjoyment. And if I motivate, encourage or entertain others along the way, fantastic.

So what am I writing about? Back to the people described above, it's always annoyed me some people give up way to easily. Try one thing, doesn't turn out the way expected, and suddenly the project, interest or task is placed on the back-burner. Suppose you prized a valuable gem (be that a hobby, a friend, even a belief). But others didn't like it or thought it was worthless. You still KNOW the value of what you have, but because others are telling you it's worthless, you decide to give it up. No, they have not convinced you it's garbage, but you give it up because it's easier to do so. That's what I find annoying. Sometimes, you have to do something for you and you alone. It may be convenient or easy to give in to peer pressure or to stop doing what you enjoy, but some times you have to fight for what you want. You can't give in just because someone tells you to. You really have to look at what you have and decide for yourself. Is what you have truly valuable? Is it really precious and worthwhile? If so, why give up on it then? Because when you give up and give in just for the sake of other people, you are selling yourself short. How sad and pointless is that?