Saturday, May 24, 2014

Farewell to costly illusions

It was one month ago that I decided to end an unhealthy relationship.

Sure, it provided me with company throughout the long winter months, adding a flicker and glow of comedic relief after dinner and many a long day in the working world.  

Problem was that this relationship became stale, intrusive - and costly. I needed a change in lifestyle.  I wanted to discard some unhealthy habits - and cut expenses.  I was starting to feel like one of my furry, floppy roommates.

On April 23rd, I gave the 30-day notice to cancel our cable TV service.  Apparently, I am not alone:

In my new phase of life, I want to explore new interests and embrace new passions. I still want relationships that provide joy and laughter but more so through social gatherings, live theatre and the lost art of story telling.  How about you?

We still use our huge-ass television set to watch movies via Netflix, DVDs and yes, even our cherished old VHS tapes. 

Last night, one of the young folk and I watched our copy of The Truman Show. It had been a while since we last viewed this family favourite during one of our regular movie nights.  

It's a very interesting story with Jim Carrey portraying a character who starts to question his life, what is real and what is fabricated.  Some of us need to do that on a regular basis.   

Philosophy links regarding The Truman Show:

I've often advised my children to ask questions, to resist virtual distractions and encouraged them to read Sophie's World, A Novel About the History of Philosophy by Jostein Gaarder [a review].  One of them even helped me with an illustration for a wee web project many years ago.

Some of us need frequent reminders to jog our curiosity, to challenge our perception of what is real, what really matters in our life and in our varied relationships.  

In most areas of our lives, we have the freedom to choose.  We are each the star of our own TV show, each the author of our own life story. How will it end? 
I think it's healthy to ask questions, to challenge the status quo and leave one's comfort zone once in awhile.  We may just realize that we have been conveniently led back into the cave of illusions and shadows.  

Thanks for dropping by.  Feel free to rate this post using one of the check boxes below or offer a comment.  You have a choice :o)

If you like my writing style, you may enjoy reading The Year of the Rabbit - A Novel About Fate, Family and Forgiveness.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Planning for one's death

It sounds a bit morbid


With all the baby boomers reaching their 70s, one cannot avoid talking about, planning for one's earthly departure. 

As someone who nearly met with an untimely death a decade ago, I wanted to ensure I had made proper arrangements come the time in the future - the far future, thank you very much!  I also wanted a sense of control over the entire affair. 

It was an interesting process last spring, meeting with the professionals who help arrange remembrance services, who document what you want to be done with your "earthly remains" and help you decide on a final resting place.  

Two out of three ain't bad. 

I'm still struggling with the final resting place concept.  I want to decide on an option other than expecting my adult children to take turns keeping Mother's urn on the mantle - or tucked away in the linen closet.

Some folks are taking the care of deceased loved ones into their own hands, due to the corporatization of the funeral industry and their need to reconnect with the ritual of death.  According to one professional, "’s important for our humanity to rediscover this sacred rite of passage in ways that each person is comfortable with and is comforted by.". 

Death is a part of Life. 
Some of us want to lessen our ecological footprint even after leaving our earthly bodies.  A recent article cites the increasing number of cremations in Canada, the growing demand for "green" funerals, and the advertisement of eco-friendly burials to attract customers.

One of my darlings once joked that come the time, about putting my ashes in a pot and planting a tree in memorial. 
I kind of like that. 

During the planning process, one can also purchase travel insurance.  Yep, that's right.  You can pre-arrange for your remains to be returned home if you meet your demise while exploring the world. 

I like that too because once the kids are out on their own, Momma wants to travel more - and not just jaunts about town and city parks or bus trips through wine country.  

Let's see how well these guys live up to their promise if they have to bring me back from some deep jungle trek or a tour of the great pyramids of Egypt.  

On a slightly related note, I invite you to read an excerpt from my novel where young Sera Fletcher discovers a beautifully carved casket in her father's workshop.  It's called Life After Death.  

Thanks for dropping by.  Next time I'll have something a little more lively to offer.



Saturday, May 3, 2014

Spring, New Life, Death and Taxes

I appreciated my recent days off to celebrate the beginning of my favourite month after many busy ones in the working world.  

It was a welcomed break from the long, cold winter in the Ottawa Valley.  I was ready to celebrate a renewal of life and was hopeful for decent weather. This Beatles song always comes to mind. 

Sure, let's celebrate and encourage the sun for growing those lush gardens and bountiful crops during summer.  This fair lady will be sporting a large brimmed hat and taking opportunities to enjoy cool drinks and charming company under the shade of large trees.

This weekend brings the tradition of Jane's Walk in many North American cities, presenting good opportunities to get outdoors and explore urban greenery.  Considering the weather forecast, I'm going to pack sunglasses and an umbrella.  You can't be too certain.  

In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.
 - A quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin.  

After you've participated in the outdoor activities and walking exercise you can breathe easy knowing the CRA has extended the filing deadline to May 5th due to that inconvenient web security certificate issue

You probably don't know many people who need to take time off just to get their income tax returns filed.  Some of us can't focus while working with complicated forms and would prefer to pay someone else to process them on our behalf.  At least I know well enough to dump receipts into a shoe box during the year.  

Hmm... I'm running out of spare shoe boxes.  I should buy a new pair of shoes.  Justified?  

Things seemed to come together nicely one evening once I forced myself to sort documents, list items and calculate totals.  CRA didn't answer my question about claiming dependents that I still shelter and feed.  

My visit with the tax preparation services was relatively short and sweet.  The gentleman was impressed with my organized files, notes and totals.  I was relieved that after the computerized calculations, I would receive a modest return.  Whew!  There was no opportunity or need to shout obscenities. 

Stranger Than Fiction - a wonderful romantic comedy in which Will Ferrell was bearable and sweet. Authors struggling with writers' block will love it! 

Another bonus was that I felt the liberation in stating a single status while filing under my new name. That's another topic to share on another day.  

I'm running out of steam and must prepare to head outdoors.  You're likely thankful I have wrapped up anyway.  Thank you for reading this far.  Permit me to offer a detour to an earlier post titled "What's in a Name".  It will lead you into some interesting family name history and suggest you obtain a copy of The Year of the Rabbit - a novel about fate, family and forgiveness. Please indulge with me. 

Until next time, have a lovely spring weekend.