The things we say

Now that I’ve gotten into the habit of sitting down on a weekly basis to blog, I find myself thinking about topics during the week. I’ve made some notes, you know, in one of those journals from last week’s post. It’s funny how simple, everyday things now make me think…hey yeah, that would be a good blog topic. So, a tag line is written in my blog journal and a red check mark goes through it when I’ve used that topic. I’m happy to say there are a lot more topics without check marks than there are with, so I’ve got topics to keep me going for a while anyway.

This week, it’s catch phrases. It seems most of us get caught up in the “phrase of the moment”. These days it seems to be, “Can we take this off line?”; when someone wants to take a phone meeting, usually a conference call with multiple people, into a discussion with fewer people involved. A few years ago it was, “due diligence”. Everyone had to make sure they were performing due diligence to ensure things ran smoothly….what the hell were they doing before the phrase became so prominent?

Those are more work and business related phrases, but we have them in our personal lives as well. Some come and go with the times, and others seem to stick with certain people, or geographic locations. “Cool” was a big one years ago, and some people continue to use it when their age just makes it kind of awkward to hear from them. Back in the days of the TV series, Happy Days, “Sit on it”, was also a catch phrase. Or from the show Alice, “Kiss my grits!”. OK, I’m really dating myself here.

For those of us in Canada, well sure, eh is a part of our general vocabulary. No, we don’t put it into every discussion we have, but I can pretty much guarantee is shows up in conversations without us even realizing it. It’s a part of our heritage and who we are and I’m damn proud of it, eh!

A currentIt is what it is one we, or I at least, hear a lot is, “It is what it is”, meaning there isn’t much you can do about it because, well, it is what it is. I know some people who use it regularly, and others who absolutely abhor the phrase. Love it or hate it, it’s one of the phrases of the times.

NOTE: photo is courtesy of my sister Sheree. She uses this phrase regularly and I happened to see this engraved sign when I was shopping one day. I just had to buy it and gift it to her and she was kind enough to take a photo and send it to me for this blog post.

I heard one recently, which is where the idea from this blog originated. An older gentleman contacted me to help him with some writing work. We had a wonderful chat, and repeatedly throughout the conversation he said, “The thing of it is….”. The phrase caught my ear and I jotted it down as we continued to speak. I actually did some research on this particular phrase, some of it quite interesting.

From Wiktionary;

The thing of it – English – Noun 1. (idomatic, colloquial) The important point to consider. Usage notes: In casual speech, and occasionally in casual writing, the verb be following this phrase is doubled, as “The thing of it is, is….” or “The thing of it was, was….

I also found that “The thing of it is”, is the title of a novel. Written in 1967, by William Goldman it’s the story of Amos McCracken, a 31 year old man who has written a popular show tune and who is having marriage troubles.

I know I’m going to have to get a copy of that book now as this author went on to write many wonderful pieces including; Princess Bride, Marathon Man, as well as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, to name just a few.

The thing of it is, we hear these catch phrases throughout our day and we quite often associate them with a particular person, period of time, or region of the world. Sometimes, upon hearing one, we may have a quick flash of memory of someone or something from our past. Love them or hate them, they are here to stay, whether temporarily as a passing fad, or written into our history.

With that, I’d done for the day. I’m out to enjoy the beautiful warmth and sunshine we are experiencing today. That’s it, that’s all, I’m done…apparently (as another friend would say).


It doesn’t seem to get easier

You know, it’s one thing to make a commitment to yourself to start a blog and post to it on a regular basis. It’s something quite different when you actually have people read it and mention they are looking forward to seeing your next post. It seems to quickly go from a thought of, ‘OK, I’ll basically start an online diary and write things when I feel like it’ to, ‘Damn, it’s Sunday again and I haven’t posted anything this week!’

Really, it’s not that bad but I do find myself thinking more about what I should post next. This is actually a good thing. For a writer, who can’t seem to find time to write, making myself sit down for half an hour a week to do this is pushing me to do other writing. I keep a small notebook handy to jot down blog ideas. I keep another, larger notebook, to keep track of projects I’m working on for, and with, others. I also keep two journals; one I should write in daily, but don’t right now, and one I that was given to me a number of years ago from a dear friend, that I write in when I take the time to meditate. That’s also something I should do more often but really folks, one step at a time!

I can hear people saying, four notebooks! No, there are actually more.IMG_0006

There’s the one I write my own story in, the one I am slowly researching and pulling together. The history of me. Then there is the small spiral book I keep by my PC where I track stats from my newly launched website. I guess it’s my way to pat myself on the back for finally putting the thing live. I check the numbers fairly regularly and it’s nice to see ‘hits’ coming from those who aren’t just friends and family. It’s only been live for just over a month, but still…it’s exciting to see the numbers change.

Finally, there is the pad of paper, also at my desk, where I write lists of call, emails, research, all the things I want to try to accomplish each time I sit here. I cross them off as I complete them, and move the ones I don’t get around to over to the next page for my next attempt at being productive. Yes, it’s the ‘So Many Men’ one shown there. I sometimes need aspirin when dealing with both, men and the lists.

One might ask, “Why so many notebooks? Why not put everything into one?”

For me, it’s simple. If everything is in one notebook or on one pad of paper, you can pick it up with the intent of dealing with one thing, and end up dealing with the numerous other items in that notebook or pad of paper, never getting around to the item you intended to deal with. Much like life, we can’t deal with and move on from one thing, if it’s all jumbled in with everything else. We quite often have to take a step back, sort things out, put them in their place and deal with each issue one at a time.

Well, enough of that! There are things on that list that still need to be crossed off today, or moved to another page for another day.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone and I hope you’re happy exactly where you are in life right now.


The roads we travel

My best friend and her sister came to visit a couple of weeks ago and, as I was telling them about my website and blog, I got onto a totally different tangent regarding a trip I took to Mississippi a few years ago. After I told them about the trip, my friend asked, “What don’t you do some travel writing?”

My response, “Um…because I don’t travel.” I really don’t travel. I go on adventures and take small trips, but to me travelling implies a visit to a foreign country or an extended time away. My trip to Mississippi was for about 10 days, driving to and from included, and was something I consider an adventure. Sure, I guess with me living in Canada and driving to Mississippi in the US, some would consider this traveling….not me. However, it did give me something to add to my travel globe.

OK, so it’s not so much a globe, as it is a glass display for a tealight. I’ve chosen to fill the base with things I pick up on these adventures of mine. It contains shells, small pieces of driftwood and an old rusty key found on the beach when my kids and I drove Travel globeout East and visited Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. It also contains a small plastic bottle of the red soil from PEI. We headed out knowing we wanted to see Old Montreal, the Bay of Fundy, and go either whale or seal watching. Other than that, no hotel reservations were made and we stopped when and where we felt like it. I still say that is one of the best vacations I’ve ever had.

My adventure to Mississippi found me bringing back cotton that I picked myself while there. I droveIMG_0038 past fields and fields of cotton, and wanted so much to stop and wander into the fields. When I went on a tour around Oxford Mississippi with my cousin, I told her I wanted to have this experience and she took me to a private field so that I could do it. Had I stopped to fulfill this wish on my drive there, I may have spent some time in a holding cell as many fields are state owned and I could have gotten arrested! But, that would have been one of those unexpected side trips I guess.

When I left to head home, I stopped at an old plantation. I guess a part of me felt that if I was going to be in the South, I should see the Old South as well. When I got to the plantation I was told I’d have to buy a ticket to tour the manor house in order to get onto the property. I love old homes, I must since my home is 80-years old, but I personally didn’t want to take a tour of a big old mansion and hear how wonderful this rich white man was to let his slaves go free when he no longer had a choice; so, I paid my fee and detoured to roam the property on my own. I spent at least an hour sitting on the grass with my back against the huge stone wall those same slaves would have built. I looked up at the manor house from that vantage point and could see and hear the people of a bygone era. I watched as the stable boys brought the race horses out for the men to view while the women, in the hooped skirts gossiped and sipped mint julep while sitting in old white rocking chairs on the front veranda.

IMG_0100                   IMG_0059

In reality, it was other tourists like myself; kids screaming and running across the lawn, men and women in their travel gear sitting on new white rocking chairs, exactly like those I found for sale later that day at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant. But for me, I traveled back in time to what was and that’s what I wanted to do when I stopped there.

I guess this particular trip, and possibly others, will become more detailed posts here as they help express who I am. I have no fear of traveling alone; I don’t like staying on the beaten path; I like to spend my time with the locals rather than at the tourist traps; and I prefer not to follow a detailed map. I figure out the major highways of where I’m going, check once in a while to make sure I’m still headed in the right direction, and I hit the road. I know that frightens some people, not having clear plans, but to me it’s how I live my life. Plans change all the time. As long as you know where you’re going, or what you want your final destination to be, the side trips along the way just make it that more enjoyable.