Monday, June 27, 2011

Anita Birt's Note book

I have made a momentous decision. I shall start a new blog about growing old and I need a catchy title, i.e. "Alive, and sort of well, and growing older by the minute."
Or, "Living graciously with aches and pains." Or "The Joy of Aging." I rather like that last one but its probably already been done.

Inspire me, please, and suggest eye catching titles for my blog. Or, maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree! Who wants to read about getting old? It's going to happen, like it or not. Books are written about getting old. There are organizations supporting the aspirations of aged people. What is left except to live it?

Well! I think I have persuaded myself not to try such a blog. If there is someone out there with a brilliant thought, please let me know.

I shall leave you now to write a short essay about a cat named Murphy - a true story. Murphy was saved from an abusive home and came to live with Ruth a friend of mine and her husband. Al. Ruth was using a walker after back and hip surgery (yes she was and is aging!)

Murphy loved his new home and became a well behaved cat and thought it was fine to have a harness and a lead to go walking with Ruth. When he became tired he jumped into the basket on her walker to rest.

Out for a walk on a fine summer morning, a woman approached Ruth. The woman had a kind of mesh sling on her chest and inside the sling Ruth spied two birds shifting around trying to stretch their wings.

The woman stopped in front of Ruth. "You're walking your cat," she said, "I'm walking my budgies, Peter and Paul. They like to get out in the fresh air and see the world outside my home."

Friday, June 17, 2011

Anita Birt's Note book

Yesterday is now past. Gone forever. I bravely faced drinking the chemically laced water necessary to have a Cat Scan. I drank one complete glass full (plastic glass)but I needed the encouragement of two women in the waiting room to swallow the last two inches of fluid. "Don't use the straw," they urged. "Take off the lid and gulp down the rest." Which I did making me feel very happy - well not quite I had to concentrate on keeping the stuff down!

The actual scan meanes having an IV in my wrist to allow the dye to course through my body, to mark whatever had to be marked. That was the easy part. The drink was the hard part.

Back to happiness. I must read Don Quixote again with a mature mind and paying attention to what the story is all about. It's about ideals and the value of freedom and justice. I'm quoting from a review I came across. Tomorrow I shall credit the person who made the notes. "Don Quixote teaches us about life and brims with generosity, absurd situations, loyalty and imagining heroic deeds of high spirit."

Does that sound like your life? Do you get out of bed ready to face the day whether you feel like it or not. Have you something to look forward to? Meeting your friend for breakfast or that first cup of coffee or tea to start your day. What pleases you about the morning?

I've always been a morning person. If you are a "late in the day" person, is it difficult to feel happy about putting your feet on the floor, standing up and making your way slowly to the bathroom and shower?

Christopher Plummer, a famous Canadian actor, was asked how to be successful. "Get out of bed in the morning. Put your feet on the floor." That's it. Is that a mantra worth following? Add it to the Don Quixote lesson in living. What do you think?

I'm off to listen to the news. I's sickened about what happened in Vancouver on Wednesday night after the hockey game when vandals infected the crowd outside the area with anarchy and mindless violence. It was horrible.

Comments are appreciated.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Anita Birt's Note book

Well I'll be damned. I had written a paragraph and started on the second when Norton cut me off to tell me about threats, etc. I was blethering on about happiness and how poorly dictionaries describe it. Is it a feeling? I think I asked that yesterday. It is difficult to describe a feeling.

I am feeling vaguely unhappy about the Cat-scan I have to have tomorrow. The scan is fine, it's the awful chemical tasting water I have to drink! A litre! If I manage to hold down half a litre I'll be doing well.

I'm half listening to the hockey game between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston. Boston is ahead 3 - 0 in the third period so it's over for Vancouver. Poor Vancouver fans they were convinced their team would win the Stanley Cup.

Read a funny story in The Globe and Mail to-day about Druids in Austria. It was in the Social Studies column written by Michael Kesterton. "Austrian officials were the first in the world to hire druids to tackle accident black spots but cancelled the project after three years because of lack of funds."

The arch Druid disagreed. "With our mystical divining rods we discovered negative rays coming from the area and these caused the drivers to have accidents., therefore we decided to erect stones to allow the energy to drain away..." He had proof that the system worked and there were fewer accidents on that stretch of road but the Austrian officials disagreed and cut the funding.

It never occurred to me there were druids for hire to make roads safer. Have you ever heard of them? Does it make you smile to think of druids doing word work? Picture "Road Work ahead," and instead of the men and women in hard hats, safety boots and tough clothing, you see druids in long green robes with their "Mystical Divining Rods" ridding the area of negative influences. It'd make a funny scene in a movie.

And how are you? I heard from an old friend commenting on my last couple of blogs. She had a funny comment about here mother's feet.

(Boston won the game. Three to nothing. Sigh. I live on Vancouver Island. I really wanted our team to win.)

What makes you happy? A feeling of contentment? An easing of pain? The lifting of grief after the loss of a loved one? Life with its ups and downs can break or make us. Do we have a choice?


Monday, June 13, 2011

Anita Birt's Note book

I'm on a happiness kick. What is it? Who has it? Is it catching? I have recently come across articles in magazines and newspapers about happiness. In the June 13, 201I edition of The Globe and Mail, Sarah Hampson has a column headed "Happiness." Turns out according to Ms Hampson "that intelligence, not ignorance is bliss."

Books have been written about happiness and scholars have weighed in on the subject. I asked a friend what happiness is and she said, "a house with two bathrooms." So why are some people happy and others are not? Is there a happiness gene inherited by some and not others?

Questions. Questions. Gretchen Rubin wrote a book titled, "The Happiness Project," that became an instant best seller. I have just purchased the e-copy and it now awaits me on my Kindle. My concise Oxford Dictionary has a few very dry comments about Happy - no specific listing for Happiness. "Happy: feeling or showing pleasure or contentment." then "willing to do something. Fortunate and convenient." That sucks. No imagination.

I should get up and go to my desk in the bedroom where my bigger Oxford dictionaries are shelved. Like Scarlet O'hara in Gone With The Wind, "I shall think about that tomorrow."

What makes me happy right this very minute is knowing I have books waiting for me to sit down and read. I have three on the go. "Alone in a Classroom," by Elizabeth Hay, "The Lion and The Unicorn. Gladstone and Disraeli," by Richard Aldous and "Corvus," by Esther Woolfson, A life with Birds.

As you read my blog please think about Happiness. What makes you Happy? Or unhappy. We might as well get in the discussion with the various scholars and non-scholars writing and commenting about Happiness. I need to hear from you; ordinary people like you and me. To begin, Smile! Get your face in the mood.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Anita Birt's Note book

Just for fun I'm casting a net and asking if anyone out there attended Huron Street Public School in Toronto between 1933 and 1936. Mr Gilbert was the principal. He had a daughter, June, she was pretty with fair hair.

When we put on the play, Cinderella, June was cast as Cinderella, Zelda Kamman and I were cast as the ugly sisters! We both had straight black hair. The play was put on at a small auditorium owned by a dairy. Can't remember the name. Was it Borden's?

I have a vivid memory of Zelda and me "bringing the house down." We had the audience laughing. Zelda and I were giggling. We thought we were the stars! Broadway here we come. We didn't make it.

I had two best friends. Helvi and Eila Karsikas. I wonder if they are still alive and well. I often played paper dolls with Myra Willinsky.

My thoughts are meandering back in time. My brother, Harry and I used to go to the York Cinema for the Saturday matinees. On the way home we'd stop at a fish and chip shop and buy chips to eat along the way. Delicious and greasy and tangy with vinegar.

Another of our favourite haunts was the Museum, the ROM. Those were the olden days when the skeleton of a huge dinosaur was right there at the entrance. We loved the museum but all has changed and the elegant front entrance in University Avenue has been closed and people have to enter through an ugly entrance on Bloor Street. The mystery of the museum is not the same. For me it has lost its charm.

I won't go on since this is only of interest to me. But it's my blog and I can meander along until whatever audience I have has yawned and headed for bed.

I'm reading a fascinating book called. "The Lion and the Unicorn. Gladstone vs Disraeli," by Richard Aldous. It's a page turner. I have to make myself put it away and go to bed lest in the morning I regret reading so late and find it hard to wake up to greet the new day.

Best wishes to everyone,

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Anita Birt's Note book

Behind again. No wonder I can't create a fan base eager to read my blogs. To-day I am blogging about FEET. We are born with a matched pair to take us through life. How often do you think about your feet? Only when they hurt?

They are the unsung heroes of our bodies. When was the last time you gazed fondly at your bare feet and congratulated them on taking care of you through rain, snow, ice, peat bogs (On high moorland in Wales)and blazing summer heat.

Many years ago my husband and I were on a walking holiday in Tuscany. I wore excellent waking shoes. Part way through the holiday I noticed a lump of some kind pressing into my right shoe, at the front. This was the start of a hammer toe which has plagued me ever since. It wants to twist over my big toe. I must never let my guard down or it will twist into an ugly mix of big toe and second toe and hurt. I keep it under control with special padding cut to fit the smaller toe. It's a tiny war I intend to win until I turn up my toes and disappear from this lovely earth.

When I think of the eighty-eight years of service my feet I have my my admiration knows no bounds. A pedicure every three weeks is a treat. If you can't afford a pedicure bathe your feet them gently, towel them dry and soothe with some body lotion. You may, if you feel like it, say a few kind words to your feet and promise to watch over them.

Feet may react to kind words as Price Charles vegetables are alleged to do. Your feet are yours to protect. Take care of them as you would your car, if you have one.

Two good feet are worth a king's ransom. And that is all I shall say about feet. I'd enjoy hearing from you. Do your feet hurt? Are they things of beauty?

I have my sixth chemo therapy next Tuesday, June 7th. That is the last one scheduled.


Why not order by book, "Too Young To Die" if you enjoy a solid well written murder mystery involving a brave young woman striving to save a three month old baby from falling into the hands of a killer determined to take them both down. There's also a love story. My book is available as an e-book.