One Sentence Per Year – 1972 – 1982

1972 – We fall in love with Dryden where we live in Mrs. Groening’s basement suite,  I work at Ella Lynn’s,  we ride our ten speed bikes all over town, and my Aunt Marguerite keeps us from starving to death and I don’t think we ever thanked her enough for that.

1973 – Back to school in Guelph for W so I go to work at the university book store:  I throw away my BC pills because they give me severe headaches, and use a diaphram instead, and we hope that it will work just as well, but oh well, what can you do – it doesn’t.

1974 – Our beautiful daughter is born in the middle of her dads final exams;  every work day morning dropping her off with her babysitter (no matter how loving) is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.

1975 – The Northwest Territories is where the work is, so that’s where we go next, carrying one baby in our arms with another one on the way,  into the snow and the cold and the dark and the isolation and after awhile we wonder how we ever could have thought it would be easy.

1976 – Our handsome son is born in a nursing station in the middle of nowhere, delivered by a midwife;  his eighteen month old sister names him Tookie and our family is complete.

1977 – This is the year I tried to be a teacher in frozen Cambridge Bay, but resigned before the year was up, and now we are moved to Inuvik, living in a rowhouse, in close proximity to utilidors and sidewalks made from boards, to dogteams and to cackling ravens and the delta and the mud.

1978 – Playschool treasurer, enumerator and election clerk, right fielder for the Snow Birds, mom extraordinaire:  I am woman, hear me roar.

1979 – I own a Volkswagen Beetle and we host and attend a lot of parties, but these two things are not necessarily related.

1980 – We take our poor unhappy daughter out of grade one where she is not big enough to contend with racial discrimination from a miserable teacher and go the homeschool route instead.

1981 – Another move, this time to the north of nowhere, picturesque Pond Inlet with it’s iceburgs and big scary ocean and random white people having various kinds of breakdowns.

1982 – There are people in my life that I love and will cherish the memories of forever – Jack and Karen, Chris and Dot, Peter and Nora, Big Jack Labine:  it’s the year we all learn how to ski at Grayrocks and have the strangest “garage” sale EVER.

Things I’m Thankful For

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.

( Oprah Winfrey)

I’m thankful that there is love in my life. I have someone I’ve grown old with and hopefully we’ll continue on this path for awhile longer – a lifetime partner is a blessing. Even on days when he’s grouchy and obnoxious, he’s still kind of worth it.

I’m thankful that I can see, and read, and write, and think. Even if I don’t do all of those things particularly well. These are abilities I hope I am never foolish enough to take for granted.

I am thankful that I have a house and a job and a car and money to pay my bills. All my basic needs are met. I am one of the luckiest people on this planet.

I am thankful for family. My siblings, my kids, my grandchildren, my aunts and uncles and cousins. I am thankful for the time I had with my parents who loved me and taught me the value of giving and loving back.

I am thankful that I am aging with health and beauty and grace. HAHAHA! And for my sense of humor and incredible ability to delude myself. That’s the gift that just keeps on giving.

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On Luck

Some guys have all the luck

Some guys have all the pain

Some guys get all the breaks

Some guys do nothing but complain

(lyrics by Jeff Fortgang)

Of course I believe in luck. I also belive in flukes and random accidents. Circumstances, coincidences, chance encounters, the luck of the draw. Good luck, bad luck, lucky breaks, misfortune. Lucky numbers and charms and horseshoes up your butt have whatever power you give to them and influence your life in whatever way you let them or can talk yourself into believing.

We are basically free agents charting our own destinies. But shit happens.

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If I Could Star in any TV Commercial

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind

Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

(Five Man Electrical Band)

I’ve kind of lost interest in TV lately. And one of the main reasons for that is all the stupid commercials. I don’t like flyers and I don’t like magazines because they are 90% ads. I love the channel changer and the recycle bin which allow me to rid my life of huge bunches of useless information. I hang up on phone solicitors. Sorry, it’s nothing personal.

I’m truly sorry that there are so many people out there gainfully employed in the business of advertising. They are creative and sometimes even inspirational but mostly their end efforts end up annoying the hell out of everyone. Except for the funny stuff, but have you ever noticed that when a commercial makes you laugh out loud, later you can’t remember what product they were trying to push?

Anyway, the point is, I don’t think I’d like to be a part of any kind of TV commercial, as the star or in any other role. Advertising has its place and it’s nice to know when something goes on sale I guess, but I don’t appreciate the constant bombardment and the information overload and the same assinine brainwashing blather over and over and over again. In case we’re all too dull to grasp it the first time around. Or maybe this moment in time will be the one when we’re not all off to grab a snack or take a bathroom break. Commercials do come in handy for that.

At work we put up a sign on the debit machine saying we can do cash backs at our till for up to twenty dollars only, and to please use the pen for the on-screen prompts. Nobody reads the sign unless we physically grab them by the neck and shake them until their eyeballs roll. Well actually I’ve never tried that, and I don’t know if it would work, but it would certainly make me feel better about my day. Seriously, people don’t pay attention to half the stuff that we’re trying to get across to them because it’s all TOO MUCH. Everything can’t be the BEST. Stop trying to make us believe it.

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So What Did You Expect?

Are there any book or movie genres that you were surprised to like?

I’m constantly surprised by everything, so yeah, probably. For example, I’ve been married to W for almost 40 years and he continues to baffle me daily.

Who gets to sort everything into different genres, anyway? Sometimes I find horror movies hilariously funny. Sometimes I have to turn them off because they’re so terrifyingly repulsive. I’ve read some brilliant science fiction and some pretty outrageous fantasy crap. There is good historical fiction and there is boring drivel. Either way I’m surprised to like it and just about as surprised when I don’t.

So it’s not surprising that I have no idea how to answer this question, being that I rarely have my mind made solidly up about anything and thus my expectations are generally all over the place.

You could call that having an open mind or you could call it having an empty head. Call it whatever you like. Surprise me.

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Death By Chicken

This picture has nothing at all to do with death by chicken, but I’m so proud of myself for catching the front end of a train going by, that I had to post it.  We were walking down to the landing, having just crossed the tracks about 2 minutes ago, narrowly avoiding death by freight train.

Getting you back in the loop…(and by LOOP I mean that hamster treadmill thing that goes around in circles but never gets you anywhere new) :  We are back from Camp Erika after a lovely relaxing holiday with too much together time entirely for W and me (!!) and not nearly enough with Ann and Murray, but, as always, promises to do it all again soon and for longer and when the weather is a bit more cooperative, although really it was the end of September so a bit of cold and rain should not have been all that surprising.  Then on the way home we hit temperatures of over 30 C. 

The Main Reason for this blog….The drive to and from Kenora is long and flat.  In more ways than one.  So in a brief period of semi-consciousness (did I ever tell you I can sleep with my eyes open?) I looked at some OMG facts on OMG facts on my I-Phone.  And one of the facts was that farmers feed chickens aresenic to  make them fat faster, and that a person around 154 pounds should consume only 2 oz. of chicken per day or risk arsenic poisoning.  What they did not explain is how come the chickens don’t die of it, but perhaps they’re merely in the final throes of the arsenic poisoned condition when they get shipped off to market wishing they were dead.  So I was mentally calculating all the chicken I’d consumed – chicken salad sandwich from Tim Hortons,  some kind of chicken ranch thing at Perkins, bbq chicken (at camp), roasted chicken at Barb T’s, a chicken club at Casey’s, Swiss Chalet when we got home,  some kind of spicy garlic shaved chicken lunch meat…or maybe it was turkey, and perhaps turkeys don’t eat arsenic.  Or they eat huge quantities of it and that’s why its only safe to eat them on stat holidays.

So, death by chicken, or chicken out?  These and other mind boggling stories still to come.  Stay tuned.

Art I Appreciate

Kid's art is my favourite. They draw what they see mixed with what they think

and there is always a great story behind the finished product.

This is a sign my son asked my grandson to make to remind his younger siblings to put away their shoes. The little ones can't read so he's added pictures, including the face of his dad when things are done properly and the face that he makes when they're not.

The message is: there will be NO FUN until the shoes are put away. And my son learned from this work of art that he's past due for a shave and a haircut. Hard not to appreciate something subtle like that.

I guess I appreciate any kind of art that says something to me, or at least tries. Graffiti, scribbling, doodles, play dough sculptures – there's beauty in all those things.

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One Sentence Per Year 1963 – 1971

1963 – High School is a whole new world, a kind of cuture shock going from country to town, one room school house to thirty person classroom, and I don’t know where I belong;  possibly with the brainiacs, but the bad kids are much more fun.

1964 – My brother warns me not to go out with any of his friends, no matter how keen their interest in “Ollie’s little sister”.

1965 – Riding in cars with boys, summer jobs, summer flings;  eating french fries on the beach, writing love letters in the sand.

1966 – Sweet sixteen, sweet JP, and raging teenage hormones that scare me silly.

1967 – Aunt Marie, Uncle Newton, Aunt Mabel and Uncle Tom take me and Shirley to Expo ’67 in Montreal where we celebrate Canada’s centennial by pretending to understand French and flirting with everything under the age of 25 in pants.

1968 – When you know deep down you really don’t want to do something (like go to Teacher’s College) and you do it anyway, it should not come as a huge surprise when a million little things interfere with your success and you start to long for that six year old’s confidence in being all grown up, because you’ve started to wonder if it will ever happen to you, really, and how will you ever know for sure, one way or the other?

1969 – This is the year of my thirteenth tale, the story I will tell you when I’m ninety three if I live that long and still have a functioning brain and the memories of it, the year the train went off the tracks and everything everything everything was turned around and upside down but I hung on; I did not let go and I carried on until at last I went beyond it and got through to the other side.

1970 – Curious twists of fate landed me at a Brock University residence party on the first day of Spring, and there was W – he made me laugh, he made me blissfully joyful, he made me believe there could be a happily ever after.

1971 – I marry W on a cold November day and we move into our garage sized little three room house where we have hand-me-down furniture, a bed with no legs, no money to speak of, and, surprisingly enough, a whole lot of crystal, compliments of some rather deluded wedding guests.

One Sentence Per Year 1949 – 1962

It’s been a long life, so even at just one summarizing sentence per year, I think this better be broken down into parts if we all want to remain sane and conscious.

1949 – My brother Ron makes his first attempt at killing me by pouring baby powder all over my face, into my mouth and up my nose;  but thankfully for the sake of the rest of this story, he does not succeed.

1950 – On my first birthday I have already been walking for three months, either trying to keep up with, or away from, my four year old sibling who still doesn’t appear to like me much.

1951 – I scare the hell out of my mother when I get the “bad” kind of measles where bright light is supposed to be avoided lest it damage ones eyes; but I refuse to co-operate and keep standing up in my crib and sticking my head up under the pulled curtains until she gives up trying to stop me and decides just to pray that I won’t go blind, and since it hasn’t happend yet I think it’s safe to assume that it was a good decision on her part.

1952 – Baby sister Ann is born and takes a special place in all our hearts, even Ron’s, but especially my dad’s;  she gets to sit beside him at the dinner table once she’s big enough to sit and will not relinquish that right for a long long time.

1953 – I get some kind of powdered fertilizer in one of my eyes and have to wear a pirate-type eye patch until it heals and my brother is jealous and wants one too, but he can’t have one, so it’s just another good reason he has for disliking me intensely.

1954 – My brother makes his second attempt at killing me by holding my head under water, finding it hilariously funny when I come up for air coughing and spluttering and crying, with a fear of water that will last me a lifetime.

1955 – I turn the magic age of SIX and believe that I am finally, finally, all grown up at last.

1956 – We have lived at Springbank Farm for a year,  and I am in grade two at S.S. #1 Aaran with my little red haired best friend Shirley who will feature in my life for over half a century.

1957 – At the age of eight I am baptized by my grandma’s brother, Great Uncle Iden, into the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (thankfully to be renamed Community of Christ in the distant future) by being dunked into the lake just like Jesus, and miraculously I do not drown and go directly to heaven although I had predicted and lived in fear of that happening for several weeks before the blessed event.

1958 – My maternal grandfather dies after he falls down our front stairs and I’m sorry I never got to tell him how much fun it was when he taught me how to ride a “two-wheeler” and how I was glad that he didn’t get mad when I ran into the rear bumper of his Pontiac to stop, and how nice it was for him to show me how funny I looked when I fell down so that I forgot to cry and laughed with him about it all instead.

1959 – My baby sister Verna turns one year old and I think she is the most interesting little person I have ever met and great fun to show off to all the summer picnic cousins.

1960 – My brother goes off to highschool and no longer has as much spare time to torment his sisters, and I discover that Ann is definitely in the running for all time best friend ever, because no matter what crazy lies I tell her or what stupid things I convince her to do, she keeps right on liking me anyway.

1961 – My last offical year of childhood I start to take an interest in my hair, and I part it on the side and let it swoop down in a big wave which I think is very chic, and I wish I had nicer clothes and beautiful ankles like my mother.

1962 – Like every other new teenage girl on the planet I am clumsy and awkward, self conscious and shy;  I have a new red purse and breasts that suddenly require a bra and a new talent  to attract the attention of BOYS, and no idea at all what to do with any of these things.

Speaking Without Consequence

If you could say anything to anyone without consequence, what would you say, and to whom?

Why in the world would I say something if there wasn't going to be a consequence? Isn't the consequence the whole point of saying stuff in the first place?

When something brilliant comes out of my mouth, I want feedback and rapt attention and results, dammit!

Plus I'm a firm believer in the idea that if you can't think of something nice to say you shouldn't say anything at all. It's the reason my tongue is often bitten to shreds. And if I've done nothing else in this life of mine I've at least learned when whatever I've got to say or suggest or advise is going to fall on deaf ears and I might as well save my breath for a time when it matters.

Well in a perfect world I'd be like that all the time. Mostly I'm not really the strong silent type at all and have been known to say things that generate the wrong kind of chain reactions.

But to say something and have NOTHING happen? That would be a real bummer. Might as well start talking to trees and door knobs.

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