Anything But Syndrome (ABS)


Mankind is bent on discovering and labelling its activities and observations.  Take the weather-and all the terms you hear now that you never used to hear.  They aren’t necessarily easy to understand-a plain language course for some people who think these things up might be in order. Here’s a few in the weather vein (pun intended):

  • distant precipitation (aka I can see it’s raining over there)
  • micro-burst (aka boy, that was a short but heavy shower)
  • plough wind (aka a huge wind came through)

And so on.  


Then there are terms for the human condition, for maladies, for behaviours.  And if you look into the history of the condition, you can usually find who initially coined the phrase.  I figure why should I be left behind.  It came to me recently that I have a syndrome…it’s the Anything But Syndrome-shortened of course to its acronym ABS.  I plan to bring this up at parties and family gatherings.  It should flow nicely.  A conversation often might move towards an illness (someone has RA-rheumatoid arthritis or have you heard about the increase in the diagnose of ADHD-attention deficit  disorder) and I’ll slip in and say “and I have been having quite a time with my ABS”.  I should get credit for initiating the phrase-I googled it and it doesn’t show up yet. So it’s mine.  And the neat thing is the acronym is adaptable.  It can have subsets.

Anything But Syndrome (ABS)

It’s not clear just how long I have lived with ABS.  My life now-beyond full-time work has granted me opportunities to observe things I haven’t observed before.  There just wasn’t time before to notice it.  It hit me like a plough wind recently.  My cousin Cliff and I decided it would be fun and high time to hold a family reunion.  We got together in November 2011 and I agreed to do the next bit-contact some family members from each of the branches on the family tree and so on.  It wouldn’t take long.  We thought August 2012 would be a good time to hold the reunion.  And I had LOTS of time to contact people…there are 9 months between November and August.

ABS- in this case it’s ABR

I didn’t forget I had committed to contact people.  I thought of every other thing I could instead.   I asked people about their experiences in organizing reunions (let people know early , they said).  I didn’t have phone numbers, there were other things to do and so on.  The months passed and finally one day when rolling out of bed, I thought-there’s only 6 months left before a reunion no one knows about!  I had a full-blown case of ABS..more specifically ABR- Anything But Reunion.  That got me going and to make the rest of the story short-planning is underway and hopefully we will have a good turnout-despite one of the organizers’ living with ABR.

Over the years I now recognize several subsets of ABS in my own behaviour.  I have lived with ABC (Anything But Cleaning), ABS (Anything But Studying) and ABP (Anything But Practising) for as long as I can remember.  

I am likely not alone in living with ABS.  Perhaps we could start a support group.  Do you think you might be touched by the syndrome too?

The Ocean Was Noisy, The Alligator Was Not

We just returned from a very pleasant road trip to Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina.  We traveled with friends to visit friends.  A delightful getaway, it was.    Our route saw us drive through or into 7 states.  We stayed on the ocean front at Ocean Isle Beach and the weather was unseasonably warm.  The ocean was “on” the whole time, we walked, we visited, we enjoyed great companionship.  We golfed and learned to leave errant golf balls in the water hazards lest the lounging alligator take a liking to your ankles.  


To The Person(s) Who Stole Things In The Middle Of The Night

To The Person(s) Who Stole Things From Our Car In The Middle Of The Night

At our house we have always tried to pay heed to what is called loss prevention

We take measures to keep our stuff ours without going too far

And wouldn’t you know you’d come by when we’d lost our attention

And in the middle of the night you had the nerve to go into our car


Indeed it seems it’s the one time in forever that the car wasn’t locked

We are responsible for part of story but then, so are you

And you got a few things that might well be hocked

While it won’t change a thing, there are some things I will hope will come true


May the parking change you took buy a coffee that tastes terrible

And the sunglasses-may they have run out of UVA and UVB

May the thought of what you’ve done make living with yourself hardly bearable

And for the largest score, well may it not set you free


The GPS was out of sight but you found and took it

And for you may it direct you post-haste

Rather than to the address to a deep ditch in a pit

And there you find that coffee you bought was Ex-Lax laced


You are without face, we don’t know who you are

No matter, respect for others’ property doesn’t faze you a bit

If you are male, then a quote from a Judith Viorst as you stole from our car

“When you zip up your pants may your zipper get stuck with you in it”



Quilting-The Twelve Step Program

Until recently I thought I was a quilter.  I have a sewing machine and many quilting tools and a nice little fabric stash.  My friend Caroline and I have taken several classes together over the years.  During a recent class I had an epiphany.  I am not a quilter.  I am a class taker.  It starts and stops there.  I hope this will change over time but here’s the pattern we have observed-oddly enough it’s a twelve step program. 

  1. Notice a class and like the sounds of it
  2. Get excited about the class and the mythical outcome
  3. Ask the quilting ladies at the quilting shop- “how much homework?”.  They say “not much”
  4. Get the class instructions and supplies list.  Don’t look closely at the instructions
  5. Shop for fabric-very exciting-still on a high
  6. Look closely at the instructions-what?  You have to do a lot of things ahead of time?!
  7. Pack ALL the stuff you need and schlep off to class
  8. The quilting instructor is very nice and very accomplished
  9. There’s homework.  You realize the quilting ladies, nice as they are, lie
  10. You think-why did I sign up for this-so much work!!!
  11. You come to end of the class-hey that’s not so bad-but there are things to be finished after the class
  12. The items becomes a UFO in your closet (Unfinished Object)  

You may or may not be a quilter but perhaps you have taken classes or courses and then …well things wither on the vine-or in a heap in the closet.  Is our experience unique or are we among friends?

Snow plows and cinnamon rolls

A while ago I wrote about Snow Plow Happiness and the joy of pushing the snow off ones driveway and onto the street BEFORE the snow plow arrives.    The plow pushes the snow away to some far off place rather than me hoisting it up and onto our already large pile of snow on the lot.

We had quite a bit of snow Friday night and Saturday morning last week.  I got up Saturday morning early.  The driveway would need shovelling today.   I had a hankering for cinnamon rolls and had just put a batch in the oven when I heard the snow plow on our block.  Drat-I would really have to rush to get some snow out there before he got to our house.  It’s not fair to the driver  keep pushing the snow out after they have passed your house.   Out I go, madly pushing snow down the driveway and then sticking my head back in the house to listen if the oven timer has gone and the baking is ready.  When the rolls were done, I put two of them into a bag and out I went.  I flagged down the snow plow driver said thanks for great job and handed him warm baking. He seemed surprised and was very thankful.  

We had more snow yesterday and today.  After dinner tonight I went out to push snow onto the street-no snowplow in sight.   Just as I started shovelling the plow came around the corner.  Drat again-I’ll never get this out onto the street on time.  I had a few swipes pushed out when the snowplow turned into our driveway and in two fell swoops and 45 seconds cleaned what would have taken me 15 minutes.  It was the same driver as Saturday.

The power of cinnamon rolls.  And the kindness of a driver.

Good for a smile for a week.  And an incentive to share baking another time.