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Beth Caldwell - The View From Here

To contact Beth, email her at caldwellandcompany@gmail.com

'Buddha' battle about to go south

Sometimes when I look in the mirror, all I see is grey hair, crow's feet deep enough around my eyes to plant seeds in, breasts racing against each other to see which will reach my belly button first, and the beginning of a double chin and turkey neck.

And all of it makes me want to run screaming from the room.

To douse reality, I've thought about standing back from the mirror to the point where everything is blurry. But if I did that, I wouldn't know where I was as my eyesight, too, is slithering downhill.

Surprise visits worse than squishy toes

I managed to get through this past weekend without a sea of cat barf.

However, about halfway through my lazy Saturday morning sporting pajamas, raccoon-eyes of mascara, and a “Bride of Frankenstein” hairdo, I would have traded the incoming moment for something squishy between my toes.

My cellphone went off and I answered it to find the “FaceTime" video app open up and reveal my dishevelled appearance to the person on the other end, whose first words were, "Oh, good heavens, is that you?”

Wishing I could start the day over

The usual sounds and smells that are welcome to wake me up in the morning are the subtle waft of caffeine perking out of the coffee-maker and the beeps that spell “Ready,” the drift to the nostrils of fresh bread baked by timer in the bread-maker, and the smell of bacon (yep, bacon rocks).

Of course, none of these wonderful stimuli avail themselves in my neck of the woods. Nope.

There are benefits to being 'unplugged'

Sometimes everything in my life comes together—and sometimes I have to coax it into place like a scared dog.

I was in the shower enjoying my hot water therapy session Thursday night when I stopped scrubbing and opened my eyes as a sudden and impending doom washed my peace and tranquility down the drain with the suds.

I hadn't heard the sump pump (which at my house collects all the grey water in a reservoir in the basement and pumps it out to my septic tank) go off at all in the 15 minutes I'd been under the showerhead.

All that matters is 'the moment'

One of my favourite “what life is really about” pieces of writing was penned by the very, very wise female columnist, Mary Schmich, which garnered her the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 2012.

Reading it slowly (and it's best said out loud) takes about five minutes and holds, in my humble opinion, some of the best third-party advice I've ever absorbed.

The very best moments

If you had to name one—and only one—moment in your life that was your “very best,” what would it be?

Could you honestly do that?

I thought I could. I even picked “that one time when . . .” and gave it due credence. But then right in behind it, another good memory vying for best flowed in on the breeze of my many gratitudes.

Homemade macaroni and cheese can move me. It can move me to swoon, time and time again, over the very best moment when the warm cheesy gobs oozing over the spoon reach the palate and drown the senses in comfort and carbs.

Goal is to be happy

I’ve believed it for years and years. I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

I believe in the words of the “Desiderata”—created in 1927—and I carry it with me always. I most especially believe in the part that says: “Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should.”

So it shouldn’t surprise me that I am here once again on the crest of memory of a cold January day five years ago that unfolded, as I know it to be, into the most defining moment of my life thus far.

That was the day I learned what it meant to be alive.

Choosing to plug back in again

Back in May, 2012, I’d had enough of cult television and cancelled my satellite subscription, leaving me with only “Netflix” movies.

I lived in that bubble until just before this past Christmas, when I decided to re-engage with the “media-ogre” world.

I’d had four years of commercial-free living—save for the banner along the right-hand panel of my favourite online weather website, which repeatedly depicted a computer-generated “before and after” wrinkled face of a woman in an advertisement for some obscure miracle facelift company.

What I have learned from a rubber duck

In 1992, a shipping container fell overboard on its way from China to the United States, releasing 29,000 rubber ducks into the Pacific Ocean.

Ten months later, the first of these rubber ducks washed ashore on the Alaskan coast.

Since then, these ducks have been found in Hawaii, South America, and Australia, and are travelling slowly inside the Arctic ice.

But 2,000 of the ducks were caught up in the North Pacific Gyre—a vortex of currents moving between Japan, Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and the Aleutian islands.

Out with the old house mouse

“One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.”

A.A. Milne, of “Winnie the Pooh” fame, penned that quote long ago. But I’ll bet you a box of chocolate-covered cherries he stole it from his wife, Dorothy, when he overheard her whispering what he thought was an optimistic comment.