Is being Wealthy the same as being Rich?

Money symbolRecently I finished another book on financial planning and how to become wealthy that my boss passed on to me.  While it is a little late for me as I am now retired (working part-time) and far from wealthy – I consider myself to be very rich.  For those 25 years and under I’ll give you the gist of what I have read on the subject of making money at the end of this post…because while money is a factor it isn’t just money that makes one rich.

For instance, I love to travel and wish I had started much sooner in life because the experiences while travelling have been educational, entertaining and life sustaining – not always – sometimes it is a vacation after all where the purpose is to relax and get away from it all … and sometimes things happen that dampen the enjoyment, but that is life.

I had a discussion with some of my friends recently on the topic of what makes one rich and surprisingly most didn’t say money but things like health, family, having a child, creating art, being in a job/career they loved, being in love, and getting out.  Don’t get me wrong they all thought having more money would help but they aren’t obsessed with it and the societal pressures from advertising to buy, buy, buy – spend, spend, spend!  By the way when I said getting out I meant outside the house, either on some level of fitness, to take in an event, interacting with others in some form of sport or recreation, just getting fresh air or watching a beautiful sunset.

 

Many people, usually ones that realize late in life their aches and pains are going to be a constant part of their lives are happy they are still able to do things and have their health so they consider themselves rich.  Others get together often with their families not just for Christmas and Thanksgiving but for summer barbecues, winter “games nights” and think that family is very important and that they are richer because of the number and quality of their friends and siblings or daughters and sons, etc.  And some people are interested in art and architecture, creating something, music and history and get out to have another shared experience and feel richer for it!  just like Scotia Bank says … you are richer than you think!

And now for that little nugget of info I promised at the beginning!  Pay yourself first, put that money into an investment and through the miracle of compound interest – watch it grow!  In other words, have your employer deduct a certain amount from your pay check at source – that way you will never miss it and put into a separate investment and leave it alone for twenty years – you’ll be surprised what you have at the end of that time period!  Easy, peasy! Lemon squeezy!  Right!!!


 

My older brother

Recently my older brother passed away.  He had been in a long term care home for seven years and had all his faculties until the end.  He had a sardonic sense of humour and I visited him regularly for all that time.  We got to know each other a bit better but he always considered me the scatter-brained sister who made lots of mistakes which he was quite willing to point out but I loved him because he was my brother and that is what family is all about.  You don’t have to agree with them or even like them all the time but you are there for them and vice versa.

I remember when we were all still at home and some of us believed in Santa Claus as children and we would all have stockings stuffed with various kinds of nuts and an orange or an apple, a few bits of candy and practical stuff like mittens or socks for the cold winter months.  We would draw names in our household and buy only one gift and everyone hoped that my brother would draw their name as he wrapped his small gift elaborately, taping and hiding coins and bills throughout and putting that small box into a bigger box like Russian nesting dolls (Matryoshka dolls) and when you were done, the rest of the kids could go through it all again and anything missed would become theirs so it was a very exciting game you didn’t want to lose and you felt special because he put so much time and effort into it.

Brothers can be a real pain in the ass at times but when they are gone, you really miss the sarcasm and the kindness shown, the teasing and laughter.  He was a book worm and having a conversation was sometimes awkward but when we played card games or board games he was very competitive and very good at trash talking.  May he rest in peace!

The art of Nick Park and Peter Lord

Chicken runAardman Animations was co-founded in 1972 by David Sproxton and Peter Lord in Bristol, England and are famous worldwide for their Wallace and Gromit features.  Nick Park who joined them won Aardman Animations first Oscar with “Creature Comforts”. Until Chicken Run, the focus of Aardman Animations had been animated shorts and TV commercials. Three of Aardman’s animated shorts have won Academy Awards for “Best Animated Short.” This includes “Creature Comforts (above),” “The Wrong Trousers,” and “A Close Shave.”

In Chicken Run a total of 534 puppets were made with 16 Gingers (heroine) and 12 Rockys (hero). Each puppet costs around £3,000 to make.

Chicken Run took 3 1/2 years to complete and the research into the film included a visit to a chicken farm in Yorkshire.  In case you don’t remember Chicken Run which came out in 2000 it is loosely based on “The Great Escape” – you know the movie where prisoners of war in Germany are digging all these tunnels and Steve McQueen is flying around on a motorcycle.

Chicken Run is an animation film wherein the characters are painstakingly created out of clay and filmed in a stop motion sequence where they take a shot, move the arm or change the expression and then take another shot of film.  It is something that I would never have the patience for but I certainly admire the talent and the process involved.

In Chicken Run, audiences will notice that nearly every chicken wears some sort of scarf or necklace. While this method served well to help identify each chicken, it served a more important purpose of hiding the seams from where the heads of the chickens detach. Each chicken had up to 60 different beaks to properly recreate vowel and consonant sounds for realistic talking. Like the chickens, the humans had a series of detachable mouths to properly recreate speech patterns. Forty animators worked on the film to bring the chickens to life and the process is highly time consuming.  Consider that one second of film requires 24 frames.  Aardman had to shoot one frame at a time with the chickens being animated in each frame for seamless transition of movement….so, for just ten seconds of film, Aardman had to worry about 240 individual frames.  One minute of film is 1,440 frames long.  They also had to be diligent about lighting, synchronization, speed, camera control, shadows, etc.  One scene could take weeks to accomplish.

And that my friends is where the art comes in because as a member of the audience you are not even aware of all this work – you are caught up in the action, the characters and the story being told just like any Bruce Willis Die Hard, Transformer, Iron Man movies – ONLY WITH CHICKENS.

Trivia note:  Mrs. Tweedy, the ‘villainous’ of the piece was based on Alan Rickman’s villain in Die Hard apparently.

If you have never seen it, I highly recommend you stream it, rent it, buy it, borrow it, whatever you like and watch it.  If you love animated movies like I do you will thoroughly enjoy it though you might have a little problem with the accents but then that’s why you have subtitles!

 

 

Live the Life you’re given

A few months ago, I had to empty, donate, distribute and clean my niece’s apartment.  She had been found dead by the police whom I had called because her brother and I were worried about her and hadn’t heard from her.  They came to my door just before midnight and you just know when you open the door what they are going to tell you.  The funeral arrangements, service and few weeks after are pretty much a blur though you manage because you have to.  She died from complications of diabetes and other medical issues.  She had spent a year trying to find out what was wrong with her and why she couldn’t eat, etc.  She spent most of that time in and out of the hospital becoming more depressed with each visit.

I have been blessed with relatively good health most of my life and even though I have abused my body with alcohol, etc. it ticks on like the ever-ready bunny and I take it all for granted.  The hard part about life is knowing that sooner or later it will end – guaranteed!  You can talk all you want about cryogenics and other means of extending life but in reality you only get the one chance to live.  Depending upon what you believe in, you might come back – either as a human, an animal or plant.  You might go to heaven or hell.  You might just return to dust, again; it doesn’t matter – you’ll be dead!

Don’t be that person who says I wish I’d done more, been there for people, helped that homeless person on the street, loved more!  Make that happen!

While carrying out stuff from the apartment to the garbage bin outside, I dropped something on my foot and still have a blue bruise on my big toenail.  Every morning when I have a shower I look at it and remember my niece and the good person she tried to be despite all the tragedy in her own life.  She looked after people who were dying.  Talked to them, helped them with bathing and taking medication and bonding with them even though she knew their time was short.  She ensured that there would be someone with them in their final moments and let’s face it – that’s what most people are afraid of – dying alone.  It takes a special kind of someone to do that week in and week out and I’m grateful that they had her there.  I only wish there had been someone there for her when she took her last breath.

It is comforting to know that she is with her grandmothers and grandfathers and all those close to her who went on before her.  While I grieve her loss because she was still young and I miss her even though we weren’t particularly close and I wish we had been better friends, I feel guilty that I didn’t reach out to her more when she needed someone.  Why is it so hard to let people you love know that you do love them!

swimming

The Importance of Family

You are not meant to get along with every individual on the planet but when you choose your friends you are likely to choose those that see eye to eye with your ideology than not.  You do not have that luxury when it comes to family.  More often than not they are completely different from you and actually not someone who you would choose to be friends with but sometimes you do end up having an appreciation for the differences between you and a respect for that different viewpoint.  That is one of the reasons I feel sorry for only children.

For one thing, they are the oldest and the youngest child at the same time.  They don’t have anyone to look up to or have mentor them throughout the complexities of growing up.  Mind you, they don’t have anyone to beat them up either or tease them mercilessly and humiliate them in front of friends so there are certain benefits to going solo.

There were several occasions when I wished I was an only child or that I at least had a sister to confide in and ruminate about how beastly my brothers could be but they also came to my rescue on more than one instance and talked me out of doing some stupid things in life and I always could depend on them if something serious was happening and I needed guidance or strength at the time.

I still do not understand the lifestyle choices of some of them but there is something to that “being blood” bond that if they needed me I would go out of my way to help any of them because I love them – I may not always like them but we all had the same great parents and have some wonderful memories to share of growing up and becoming the people we are today because of that love.

Family helps define you and shape you and keeps you sane … or maybe I’m mistaken and it’s pets that help keep you on an even keel.  At least they don’t argue with you!