Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Why I Love Jane Austen

OK I know some people think Jane Austen novels are old and outdated. People they are classics CLASSICS. If you haven’t read them you should. I have read all of them many, many times. And I urge you to as well. Ok I will settle for you watching the movies...Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion (My personal favorite), Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey.

The reason why I think Austen’s novels are so good is because despite being written two hundred plus years ago, her characters are not trapped in a time warp. She writes about life, everyday life, what it was like to be a single woman in search of love during a time when women were expected to marry (sound familiar) and that was pretty much their role in life, marriage and motherhood. The alternative, was to be a spinster. Marriage during this time period in Britain for many women marriage was a contract one entered into, not a love match and often it was the only alternative to escaping home life and poverty. Women did not have rights as we do today, for instance women couldn’t inherit property, vote or have an occupation. Generally only poor women worked and the occupations available were limited to teaching, nursing and prostitution the later two were both considered unsavory occupations. Women were 100% dependent upon the men in their life such as, their husbands, brothers or fathers, to support them monetarily and to be keep them out of the poor house.

Austen writes about the times she lived in, of society and what life was like for many young women coming of age during that time period. However, her heroines are not pathetic creatures that readers feel sorry for. Austen’s characters are intelligent, thoughtful, witty, strong and independent. Austen’s stories are interesting because they are timeless. Women still experience many of the same things today as they did back then, pressure to marry and all that comes with it such as, social scrutiny and social expecatations. Austen’s heroines and characters are strong in both mind and spirit. They all go through hardships in discovering true friends, who they really are and what they want out of life. Her characters are intelligent and witty. They readily give opinions and are sensible...sometimes. Well usually sensibility follows periods of in-sensibility. Most importantly her heroines are not perfect; they have flaws, which they are oftne aware of themselves. However, it is these character flaws in combination with their other character traits such as independence and strength, which make her heroines timeless and lovable. Her heroines always come out on top but through their own choices. They never let other people decide their life path for them despite other influences. Austen has provided strong independent characters and great literature. I will continue to re-read her novels again and again and enjoy them everytime.

Food For Thought

" . . . it is happy for you that you possess the talent of flattering with delicacy. May I ask whether these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are the result of previous study?"Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fairy Falsehoods or Tales?

Have you seen Love Actually? It’s one of my favourite movies not because it has a happy ending for everyone because it doesn’t (sorry if I just ruined it for you). I like this movie because it deals with love in all its forms. Yip I like it because it represents a more realistic approach to love and relationships than most movies. And I have a tendency to be cynical especially when it comes to love and relationships. Let’s face it love isn’t all Cinderella like - not everyone’s love life resembles a fairy tale.

I think it is unfortunate that kids are brought up to think that one day we will meet our prince or princess charming, that all love stories are Fairy Tales. Let me tell you people, there are a lot of frogs out there that are just that, frogs! And no matter how often you kiss them they will always be frogs. I know and so do my friends, from personal experience. These Fairy Tales well I feel they just set us up for a reality bitch-slap, or several depending on who you are.

Don’t get me wrong I know there are amazing men and women out there and there are plenty of people who have found love, fulfilling and great relationships. My parents for example who have been married for 39 years, but not everyone has a Fairy Tale ending. Or do they?

Are there really “plenty of fish in the sea?” What about the fact that fish today are overharvested, their habitat in decline and more are on the endangered species list than ever before? Does this also apply to princes/princesses? How many frogs do you have to encounter before the right one comes along?

Is there really a right one? A Mr. Or Miss Right? A prince/princess charming? Do they even exist out of the pages of a novel? Even our best loved fictional cynics seem to find theirs in the end...just look at Austen’s Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy and Sex in the City’s Carrie and Mr. Big. But is this really realistic? I think it possibly is but I can’t help wonder if it is ever going to happen for me...and I have friends who feel the same way. I know friends have endured and witnessed the ups and downs of relationships and love and have found the “one”. However, I also know people, myself included, that have also gone through these same ups, downs and experiences in love and are still waiting for the “one”, as I age I am starting to doubt it will happen. I can’t help it – it’s the cynic in me.

Yet I still faithfully watch the chick flicks with the Hollywood and Fairy Tale endings...perhaps I just enjoy self-torture or perhaps despite all of life’s love bitch-slaps I still believe in my own Fairy Tale ending. You know, that it will happen for me, that Mr. Right will come along...eventually. I am more realistic now. I know he won’t be slaying dragons for me or riding a white horse, but I think he may still be out there waiting and looking for me, just like I am doing for him. I just hope we aren’t both riding scooters when we finally meet, you know the kind your grandparents do! I don’t want my prince to have to resort to prescriptions of Viagra or whatever because when I do find it my Fairy Tale ending I want it to be just as I imagined and that does not involve erectile dysfunction or senior discounts. However, if that’s how it happens so be it. So I send out good vibes to anyone still searching for their “one”. I hope it happens for us all sooner rather than later.

Food For Thought
Somewhere there's someone who dreams of your smile..." --Unknown

Monday, August 24, 2009

Pets are great because?

I know many people do not see the virtue of pets theirs or other peoples. Well let me tell you as a pseudo pet owner they are indispensable. I live with 4 dogs that are not mine yet they have included me in their pack no questions asked. I sometimes begrudge them when I have to carry poo bags for well poo, and when they don’t listen to me...which can be frustrating depending on my mood. However, they do provide one very important thing...unconditional love.

Pets and in my case the dogs are always there for me. I have to admit that I am biased towards dogs most likely because I have never had or lived with a cat. My “pack” provides endless entertainment and they faithfully follow me everywhere. By everywhere I mean I usually am stuck at my computer desk because I have a large furry creature sleeping immediately behind my chair. I have never had a fan club before, it’s pretty nice and I am thoroughly enjoying it. Whenever I have a bad day there they are there looking cute, cuddly and ready to spend time with me no matter how grouchy I am. All I have to do is provide some pats, water and sometimes I feed and walk them.

When I see them enjoying a nap on my bed and using my pillow like it’s their own it makes me smile. Because well, they get to enjoy the simple things in life and they remind me that there is more to life than email, a job and daily stresses. I know there are people who do not love or even like pets such as dogs and cats but really I think you are missing out.

I know that dogs/pets come with a lot of responsibilities you have to feed them, take care of their health which can be expensive and they do like exercise and currently my truck has a layer of sand and dirt that just doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

But there are also cute nose prints on my windows and they are so excited just to go anywhere with me, even if it’s just to get gas. Ok so they may chew and pee on things like shoes and picnic baskets, but no matter what, they are always there for you. I know many people who relied on their pets when getting over a death, breakup or divorce. They sense when you are happy or sad and provide love without ever saying a word.

Pets, especially dogs, just enjoy spending time with you and no matter how long you are gone for, 15 minutes to several days, they greet you the same upon your return. They are just so happy to see you. Pets never judge what you are doing in or with your life, bad fashion decisions or any decisions you make. They love you unconditionally. Who or what else does that? Quite frankly I can’t wait until I can have my own, dog that is. I think my pack will consist of two, me and my furry friend. For now I am enjoying spending time with my 4 furry companions, my pseudo pets.

Food For Thought

"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." ~ Roger Caras

Friday, August 21, 2009

Can you divorce your friends?

Right on the heels of my Friendships blog comes the news that one of my “friends” got June. I mean I am not mad or upset but I guess I definitely have viewed our friendship over the years differently than him. When you have been “friends” for 9 years don’t you think you are worthy of being informed of life changing news in their life like I don’t know MARRIAGE let’s say. Wouldn't you let your "friend" know that you were getting married? Don't I count? I guess not...So this brings me to the question: When do friends decide that you aren't really a friend? Or are there various definitions of many people.

I am beginning to wonder as one of my friends did “Can you divorce your friends?” And if so how is this accomplished. Is there some kind of friend therapy out there? Can I search the internet and find a legal separation document for friend divorce? The answer appears to be no – I checked.

It’s not that I personally want to divorce my friends, ok maybe a couple. Over the years some friends haven’t exactly embraced the term friend or at least my definition. Do I need to have a caveat before we are officially friends? Do we have some kind of fried-commitment ceremony? I always thought that most people understood what it meant to be your friend, but over the years that I have discovered there is more to being friends than sharing crayons.

Some people are under the delusions that being a friend is a one way street...for them. You know the people I am talking about. These are “friends” when acquiring either a boyfriend/girlfriend/or mate simply vanishes from your life until....something drastic happens and by drastic I mean to them, not in general terms. For example I think we have all had friends who only call when their significant others are out of town or have broken up with them and then you are their lifeline though you haven’t heard from them in eons.

Then there are the stealers...I think we have all had one of these. They are the friend that once you have admitted that you have feelings for someone goes for your jugular. They all of a sudden are also interested in that very same person. Maybe they aren’t even interested in they just don’t want you to be with that person. Whatever the reason they seem to make it their mission to seek and steal...and usually they are successful. I know people who have had so-called-friends sleep, and by sleep I really mean have sex with, with the person their friend was in-like or even in-love with and then act like it’s no big deal. Really what are these people smoking?

Of course these people aren’t really true friends and usually at some point you come to your senses and give them the boot, a bitch-slap or kick in the ass whichever comes first.

But what about those people who you actually consider your friend and you thought/think you are theirs? What do they consider a “friend?” Why can’t you oust them from your life when they seem to have no problem ousting you from theirs or at least leaving you out in the cold. It sucks to think you are friends with someone only to discover you really are not. Like hearing months later they got married or had a baby or something equally earth shattering in their lives has occurred.

I did find a website pertaining to divorcing friends; it provided me with 15 basic how-to-steps. The end result is that I will be “liberated”. Hmm... part of me thinks this is total BS. Sorry but seriously I don’t think it’s that easy. And for me personally to feel liberated I need more than just advise to “let them go”...

Maybe I need a burning ceremony or maybe it really is that easy and I just need to let them go. Really will my life be less enriched if they drift away? Probably just makes me a little sad to think they didn’t value my presence in their life as much as I valued theirs in mine.

Food for Thought

"False friends are worse than open enemies" - proverb