Childhood Movie

This was not necessarily a favorite; I just tried to remember the first movie I ever saw. We didn’t have a t.v. until I was 9, but in the summer we used to go as a family to the drive in theatre, so that’s probably where I watched this tear jerker. It made me wonder where in the world such a smart dog came from, because we certainly never had one that was constantly saving us from injury and disaster. For months afterwards I quietly observed all of our farm animals for any of the signs and symptoms of rabies and worried about what we would do if it came up, because my dad didn’t own a gun. Ah, the traumas of childhood.

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The Year of the Chicken Bones

Long long ago, in a land far away, a girl straight out of highschool’s grade thirteen could pop herself into Teacher’s College and emerge one year later with an elementary school teaching certificate.  Sounds like a fairy tale, but strangely enough it’s true.

Taking the college route seemed like an excellent idea to me at the time.  One more year of school and I could be out on my own, working, making money, being all grown up at last.  It would be a lot easier for my parents to finance, and university could be an option at some later date.  What I failed to take into consideration except on the very shallowest of levels was that I would end up being a school teacher at some point in the future.  Dealing with children.  Helping them learn stuff.  It turned out to be SO not my thing I’m kind of amazed that I even gave it a go.  But that’s how I did a lot of things then.  On impulse, with little thought, confident everything would sort itself out.

This was also the era of  the boarding house.   A friend from highschool was my chosen roommate, and my mother found us a suitable house where we could stay from Sunday night to Friday afternoon and then travel home on the weekends carting gigantic bags of laundry.  Breakfast and dinner every day was included.  We were within easy walking distance of the college, so no vehicle was required.

Mr. and Mrs. Orchard were pensioners who took in boarders during the school year to make ends meet.  That must have been the reason we were there, I can’t imagine that they did it for love of students.  My roomy and I occupied one bedroom on the top floor and a girl from Toronto had the other one to herself.  Our room was barely big enough for two, but we had a lovely big closet and a little balcony overlooking the backyard.  Mr. Orchard was friendly and chatty and we eventually learned to avoid him if we didn’t have time to waste.  Mrs. Orchard was stern and strict and advised us of the house rules.  No boys could visit.  There was a weekday curfew.  Absolutely no food or drink in our rooms.  The previous year they had tried having young men as boarders and they were sorely disappointed.  They were brutes, boors, disgusting pigs.  Something like that, I don’t recall the exact wording, but we certainly got the message.  We were to be young ladies and respectful and professional.  How boring.  But we did try, honestly, we did.

All that walking to and from our classes in the brisk fall and winter air was great exercise, but we invariably had no time for more than toast for breakfast, and almost always skipped lunch, so we would arrive home with voracious unlady-like appetites in the late afternoons.  Mrs. Orchard was a marvelous cook, but her portions were inactive-old-people sized.  One pork chop, a round little scoop of mashed potatoes, three carrots, six peas.  One dollop of gravy optional.  Jello for dessert.  A cup of tea that we would load with sugar and cream simply to ingest some extra carbs.

We weren’t even halfway through September before we started breaking the rules.  It was two-for-one Tuesdays at Kentucky Fried Chicken that pushed us onto the crooked path of deception.   We were walking by and saw the sign.  Our stomachs grumbled.  We had enough change between the two of us to get a couple of dinners.  The place was closing and curfew loomed, so we got it in boxes to go and raced back home and snuck up the stairs to our room with the forbidden food concealed inside our jackets.  It was the best thing we’d ever eaten.  We promised each other that we wouldn’t do it again.  Then we hid the evidence.  We shoved the soiled boxes and picked clean bones into a white and yellow vinyl carry on bag, zipped it up and stuffed it into the dark recesses of our closet.

We didn’t mean for this clandestine Tuesday deceit to become a habit but it did.  Rarely if ever did we miss the weekly chicken run.  We kept meaning to take the yellow bag home on the weekends and empty it out but more often than not it ended up forgotten under our shoes and dirty laundry.  A couple of times we marvelled at its capacity and made wild guesses at what exactly it might weigh, and at what rate we could expect chicken bones to decompose.  On odd Tuesdays if the mood struck we plunked the bag outside in the snow on our little balcony to slow down the process.  We must have taken it home for Christmas.  We would not have wanted to risk Mrs. Orchard discovering it during one of her more thorough cleaning fits.

Our room didn’t start to smell weird until springtime, surprisingly enough.  It’s not like we hadn’t ever emptied the chicken bone bag, but with mid terms and finals and practice teaching weeks it was forgotten more times than was healthy.  We dragged it out of the closet and crossed our fingers that no one would ask us why we were taking a little vinyl bag out for a walk.  We meant to empty it into the nearest refuse container, but when we opened it up the smell and the mould caused us to quickly dispose of the whole thing.  It felt like we were abandoning a dear old friend.  Our little yellow partner in crime.  It was a sad moment.

I’d like to be able to say that long, long ago, in a land far away, a young girl straight out of  Teachers’ College gave up her childish ways and went off on her own to make the world a better place by enriching the minds of the little children entrusted to her care.  Didn’t happen.  It’s not a fairy tale, remember?  What I did learn was that kids scared the hell out of me.  I did not feel mature and responsible enough to be part of their education process, so I took the coward’s way out and headed back to school.  Still with no clear idea of where I was headed or what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, but with an undying  love of Kentucky Fried Chicken which has remained with me to this very day.

Loved, Lost, Lived

“…I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes. ” (Molly Bloom’s soliloquy, Ulysses, James Joyce)

Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?

YES, of course, the answer is yes. Yay for love. If it doesn’t last forever, well, so what? Neither does a broken heart.

This ‘loved and lost’ quote from Albert Tennyson’s “In Memoriam” elegy is beautiful both in and out of context because it covers so much ground. There are many different kinds of love, and just as many forms of grief. It’s not possible to truly know one without experiencing the other. We’ve all lost at love in one way or another, but wasn’t the joyful journey just so incredibly worth it?

Tennyson’s Victorian ballads are music to my ears – The Lady of Shallot in particular. Never mind all this love and loss talk, I’m also simply a sucker for poetry that rhymes. So what a lovely prompt. It’s made me want to write my own love-besotted ballad. Better to have written nonsensical garbage than never to have attempted it at all? Ha. Maybe not.

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Now that I’ve had a chance to read some of the other Plinky responses to this question I’m wondering if my answer sounds a little too flippant.  I did not mean to say that faithful and lasting love and committment is not important or not worth the effort you have to put into the daunting task of making it vibrant and making it last.  If you can do that, you are without a doubt one of the luckiest people alive.  But you also need to know when it’s just not worth it, and that true happiness may after all  lie somewhere else.  There should be no guilt in setting someone free.  It seems that there are people out there who are adrift, clinging to grief and remorse and sadness as though it were a life raft, afraid to let it go, terrified to move on, to allow themselves to discover joy again.  There is joy out there and it is not elusive.  Open up your heart.  It may surprise you what comes along to mend it and to fill it up.

Wish List

I’ve never made a ‘gift’ wish list. If I had to think up what someone else should give to me, then I would never feel as if it were a real gift from the heart. It really and truly is the thought behind the giving that counts. And if what I receive is no more than a loving hug and a promise, what more do I really need?

I wish we were not all so materialistic and greedy.

I wish that every single person in the world could SEE the world and know what a vital part each one of us plays in it. It should be unthinkable for us to do something in our own backyards without first considering the big picture.

I wish for tolerance and acceptance and an end to religion based violence.

I wish for less magical and miracle religion, less blind belief in “God’s word, brought to you by a crew of romantic idealists in a harsh desert culture eons ago; followed by a chain of translators two thousand years long….When I want to take God at his word exactly I take a peep out the window at His creation. Because that, darling, He makes fresh for us every day without a lot of dubious middle managers.” (The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I wish everyone would read that book.)

Reality based life philosophies and cultivating open minds could save this world. Fighting about right and wrong and black and white and forgetting to be benevolent and kind will probably destroy us all.

I wish that our global theme song for Christmas could be “Peace on Earth”, and not “Oh Shop All Ye Faithful”.

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Compared to Peanut Butter

I’m going to make another peanut butter sandwich. Want one?

(You love peanut butter more than you love me.)

Of course I don’t.

(Tell me what qualities I have that are just as good as the ones peanut butter has.)

I can do that.

(Good. Go ahead. Think of five.)

You’re smooth.
And soft and soothing.

(Like music?)

Like a summer breeze, like a baby’s sigh, like gentle rain, like fruit in a blender…..

(You should have stopped at gentle rain.)


(It’s okay. Keep going.)

You can also be nutty.
And funny, and off the wall.

(I love to make you laugh.)

You do it more than you realize.

(Hmmph. What else?)

You never need to be refrigerated.
(Come on! You can do better than that.)

You never cause me to suffer a severe allergic reaction.
(Well yay for that.)

Anaphylactic shock is nothing to roll your eyes about.

(No, you’re right. I’m glad I don’t cause you to break out in hives and stop breathing.)

It’s a definite plus in any relationship.

(One to go.)

You are creamy and spreadable and luscious.
(HEY! There’s no need to get all graphic!)

How else can I make you believe I love you more than I love my precious peanut butter?

(Well, okay, that last one did convince me.)

What do you love me more than?

(I guess you would like me to say something profound like ‘life itself’.)

Or, you could just show me how much you love me and whip up that peanut butter sandwich…..

(I suppose you’ve earned it.)

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Let’s Talk Turkey

“I hate turkeys. If you stand in the meat section at the grocery store long enough, you start to get mad at turkeys. There’s turkey ham, turkey bologna, turkey pastrami. Some one needs to tell the turkey, ‘man, just be yourself.’ ” (Mitch Hedberg)

Our son was born when his sister was 18 months old. She wasn’t able to say his name, so she called him Tookie (rhymes with cookie). Pretty soon we were referring to him by that odd little nickname too. Until one day a friend asked me, in all seriousness, why we called our baby a turkey. Silly goose. So we stopped calling him that at once, or cold turkey if you prefer.

Our thanksgiving was the 11th of October, which gives us Canadians a much longer break between turkeys before Christmas rolls around and we get back into stuffing mode. I do love turkey and would roast one more often if they weren’t so incredibly huge. The leftovers seem to go on and on forever if you’re foolish enough to invite too few people over to share it.

My mom always put her turkey in the roaster upside down so that the breast meat would not dry out. Looks bizarre, but works like a charm. She also made a crock pot full of stuffing on the side. My mother-in-law always roasts plump sausages in with the bird. The juices from that combination makes the best gravy ever.

Okay, all this turkey talk is making me hungry, and our next turkey feast is still a month away.

“Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.” ~Erma Bombeck

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends.

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Blue Music

…..easy come, easy go

Little high, little low

Any way the wind blows

Doesn’t really matter to me……

(Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen)

Bohemian Rhapsody

When I’m feeling down….

It’s rare for me to feel down unless I’m sick, or crazily tired, or have run out of coffee beans. And the last thing I’d think of doing when that happens is to pump up the music. Silence and darkness and sleep (and a trip to Starbucks) will make for a cheerier tomorrow.

The world is such a noisy place, sometimes my head pounds with the racket. W. turns on the radio and I switch it off. The tv is in the basement so I rarely hear it. I haven’t downloaded any i-tunes onto my phone yet….maybe I never will. When I lose my hearing I will no doubt be the happiest deaf person alive.

It’s not that I don’t love music; I just don’t want to be bombarded by it all the time. I think Bohemian Rhapsody is the best song ever written. I love Queen and a dozen other groups and artists, but in small doses.

And then there’s the music that can make me laugh – 2nd best song ever written – Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, Monty Python style.

I’m having a better day than these guys! Woohoo!

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Everything Happens for a Reason: My Stance

“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” Marilyn Monroe.

Do I believe everything happens for a reason?

Well, Hannah Montana and CheNelle made money with that phrase, so it MUST be true.

What’s really happening here is that we like to reason out everything that happens, ascribe some deep and profound meaning to events we can’t explain.

Is there some master plan, conspiracy, destiny, fate over which we have no control? I don’t think so. Each of us is born with infinitesimal potential destinies. We make choices, change directions, interact with the people we encounter and deal with all the things in our lives that happen by chance.

If your cat gets hit by a car, someone will say it’s oh so sad but it must have happened for a reason. Then there’s a litter of kittens that a friend is trying to give away, and that same person says, see? One of those kittens will take the other one’s place in your life! It must be fate! And when they’re all given away to other people and there’s none left for you, they’ll explain that away too by telling you it was just not meant to be. At this point it is entirely forgivable to tell them to shut up, your cat is dead and their platitudes are annoying the hell out of you.

Believing things happen for some pre-ordained reason can make us feel a little more calm about the chaos all around us. It makes the inexplicable easier to accept. But it certainly doesn’t mean that we have no power at all over what happens next.

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5 Things I’m Looking Forward to This Week

Tassimo T-Discs, assortment

Tassimo T-Discs, assortment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Coconuts (Photo credit: randomlife)

Smelling like coconut lime.
Not sure why that made top of the list. Surely to God there’s something more exciting in my life than having picked up a big tube of lotion yesterday while grocery shopping. Don’t worry, something is bound to come to me. The coconut lime won out by THIS much over pink grapefruit. It was a tough decision, and now I’ve resigned myself to living with the results of that choice.

Letting my skin breathe.
Well, the skin that’s not covered in coconut lime, at least. And the skin on my face is soaking up the atmosphere as we speak. No work means no make-up for me, and this is the start of my six weeks away from work. WOOHOOHOO!! Yep, my skin and I are uber thrilled.

Having sit down breakfasts with my husband of 39 years.
Our anniversary was yesterday. Almost 4 decades with the same man! That should be some kind of indication of my resolve when it comes to sticking with choices, no matter how bizarre they may be. We went out for dinner and had an argument about what the weather was like 39 years ago. It was not snowing, it was freezing rain. It’s amazing to me the drastically important things he can’t remember. So now we can have some leisurely breakfasts together and I’ll see how much of our personal history I can alter before he catches on that I’m just making shit up.

Drinking Tassimo coffee numerous times a day.
Whoever invented the Tassimo, if he’s not a millionaire already, he should be. Another one of my dubious impulse buys, but I seriously love that thing. It is SO deliciously lovely to brew one perfect cup of coffee whenever the mood strikes me. Espresso, cappuccino, au lait, crema, breakfast blend, Columbian, suchard hot chocolate….be still my heart. Well, like that’s gonna happen with all that caffeine.

Getting my Christmas Shopping done before December 6th.
Won’t that be amazing! And no, I haven’t started yet, but I have complete confidence in myself. On the 6th I’m flying up to ‘the ranch’ to spend time with my daughter-in-law and four of my grandchildren, all the way to Christmas. She actually asked me to come! How’s that for a hard to believe mother-in-law story. The rest of the family will fly or drive up closer to Christmas, so I have to get the gifts ready for my spouse to bring with him. I also have to train him in the art of caring for a fish, and will say my goodbyes to Phinaeus before I leave, just in case.

Huh – I guess that’s 5 things, so that’s it. Coffee anyone? It’s not like I have to get to sleep and be anywhere important first thing in the morning. Oh yeah, except for the breakfast thing. Smelling like a coconut. It’s going to be a great week.

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Technology I Don’t Feel Like Living Without

English: Mobile phone evolution Русский: Эволю...

English: Mobile phone evolution Русский: Эволюция мобильных телефонов (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What’s one piece of technology you can’t live without?

Have you ever had to go without it? What happened?

I should just not bother answering this prompt at all, it’s put me in such foul humor.

If I can’t LIVE without something, and I have to go without it, ergo, I DIE.

And it begs such a flippant drama queen kind of answer. OMG, without my cell phone I could not possibly SURVIVE!! Kind of makes you want to grab that little piece of technology and stomp on it to see if there’s any truth to the statement.

We need an adjective between the words ‘can’t’ and ‘live’. Happily, comfortably, sanely. Any of those would do.

And the term technology itself covers so much ground – our lives are chained to so many different kinds with links everywhere, who wants to risk breaking the chain? I think I could give up nuclear weapons technology, but medical technology, not so much. I’m also rather fond of electricity. And my car.

But people lived for a long time without those things, so we know it can be done. We all just love our conveniences and have become so absolutely spoiled by them that they’d now be complete hell to give up.

But would it KILL us? Probably not immediately.

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