The Most Wasted of All Days is One Without Laughter—E.E. Cummings

I remember being a little girl and tickling my dad’s feet, well, trying to. Not only did he not laugh, but he got so cranky. I have very few memories growing up of my dad being truly cranky with me but this is definitely one of them.   It was clear that this was not a game he wanted to play, certainly not that day, probably never. Later my Mum explained that while it seemed he wasn’t ticklish, it was really that he was so supremely ticklish that it wasn’t any fun for him- the complexity of something being too great to be anything at all was something my little girl self had never thought to consider.

Years later, I watched in horror as one of his grandchildren pulled off his socks to tickle him. He didn’t laugh but smiled and told them gently that he is simply not ticklish. Wha?!…But I thought?!..How?!…

It was then that he told me the secret. If someone is tickling you and you don’t want to be tickled, all you have to do is think about Rocks. Repeating the word and concentrating on the image takes the focus away from the external stimulation and gives the control to you.

A few nights ago I was cuddling the Lady before she fell asleep. As we lay in her bed talking about the day, to her delight I started to gently tickle her. Since the Monkeys joined our family, I have significantly less free hands, less free time for tickling. She wanted more. And then she wanted to tickle me. But I know the secret. Rocks. I am not ticklish. 
I tried to teach her  but she couldn’t do it. Her giggles were too exuberant. Her love for tickles too great. Her joy at the experience too full.
The metaphor of rocks in a proverbial backpack making it difficult to enjoy life isn’t a new one. Neither is the image of a stone held close to your face blocking your vision. That same stone held at arms length becomes less over bearing, less dominate- Perspective.

 

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“Why won’t you let me eat the Rocks??”
Could it be that we hold to rocks in our lives too? Chanting silently to ourselves “rocks rocks rocks negativity rocks-cynicism – rocks rocks-I would be happy if only- rocks– unwillingness to forgive rocks rocks rocks– criticism –rocks rocks. ..” all in an effort to feel control, to shield ourselves from what we fear will hurt us or let us down? Maybe these rocks are actually stopping us from enjoying the connection, robbing us of the joy and experiences all around us everyday.
Christmas is coming. As Children make lists of the toys they want and the fun they expect, it’s easy to also be busy making lists- lists of presents to buy, baking to finish, projects to sew. While the goal of all this hustle is to make our holiday more meaningful for the people we love, how easy it is for the activities and the gifts to become rocks- burdens to carry so everyone else can have a good time all the while making us too tired, too tense and if you are like me, too over sensitive to enjoy the time we have with each other.  “Not enough money to buy expensive gifts- rocks rocks rocks; my house isn’t nice or big enough- rocks; expectations of how other people should act during the holidays- rocks rocks; finding offense in the words or actions of a well meaning relative-rocks; wishing for more of what you used to have or didn’t have in Christmases past- rocks rocks rocks…

So put down the rocks. Enjoy what life and this season are offering now. Enjoy the people around you. The relationships. The food. The music. The Christmas spirit. Let yourself enjoy the over stimulation that can come with this time of year and enjoy the connection, the love and the happiness that comes from feeling all the tickles that life has to offer.

Merry Merry Christmas from Squdge, The Lady, Squidge and Buster

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This jelly is A.Mae.Zing. One of the Greatest compliments I’ve had about any treat I’ve made was last year. My sister took a bite and then called me over to tell me in a tone only she gets (and me when I’ve spent enough time with her) “You’ve got to try this!! It’s so delicious!….oh wait, did you bring it?”  Last night my mum ate it with banana and peanut butter  which really just says that it’s good enough to be good with anything.

It makes a great hostess or neighbour gift and should definitely be part of your Christmas get togethers this year.

Ginny’s Hot Pepper Jelly

  • 4  red bell peppers
  • 3 green bell peppers
  • 2 jalapeño peppers (or 3 if you like it a little hotter)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 (1.75 ounce) packages powdered pectin
  • 5 cups white sugar
  1. Sterilize 7 (8 ounce) canning jars and lids according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Chop the peppers into large pieces and remove the seeds. If you don’t have gloves when working with the jalapeños, in a pinch you can put plastic bags on your hands. The awkwardness is definitely worth saving yourself from pepper burn. .
  3. A few Cups at a time, Place the coursly chopped red bell, green bell, and jalapeño peppers in a food processor and pulse until they are minced.
  4. Put minced peppers in a large saucepan over high heat. Mix in vinegar and fruit pectin. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a full  boil. Quickly stir in sugar.
  5. Over medium high heat, Return to full rolling boil, stirring often. Check frequently until when cooled it has your desired consistency. For me this is about 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat, and skim off foam if there is any.
  7. Ladle the jelly into sterile jars, Cover with flat lids, and screw on bands tightly.

Serve with crackers and cream cheese.