Improving History

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I was going to make a list of all the things that are just so incredibly wrong with this vintage ad, but rather than stay up until midnight doing that, I decided to fix it up instead.

In her next speech bubble our lady of the initial-shouting-words makes everything right by telling us this.

Don’t come to the wrong conclusion! Read on to discover the three things thousands of skinny girls have learned!

  1.  Ironized yeast tastes pretty disgusting.

  2. People who catch a glimpse of you and immediately run away have far more serious problems than you do.

  3. No matter how much weird shit we choose to consume in the interests of altering our physical appearance, it’s almost certainly guaranteed that in just a few weeks, these three guys will still be assholes.

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Picture Stories

Yesterday I took a photo album down from one of my library shelves and flipped through it looking for a picture to scan to my iPad.  (I have recently learned how to do this….so now there may follow a series of these scans complete with my observations and thoughts and general rambling comments.)  Don’t say you weren’t warned.

We have a couple of albums containing photos from my and W’s childhoods, and then the books are for the most part neatly organized chronologically from before we were married up until we had grandchildren growing up.  By that time most pictures were being uploaded from cameras and saved to hard drives and I imagine some photo album manufacturers have gone out of business between then and now.  So these albums will soon be museum worthy. Unless museums cease to exist.  Or the house burns down.

The album I randomly selected is one of the last ones I put together I think.  It is such a hodgepodge of photos it made me think of my mother.  She stuck pictures in books to keep them nice, but in no discernible order whatsoever.  (We did ask her why, and she said it was so that whoever wanted one after she was gone would get a bit of everything in one book.)  This one I put together isn’t that diverse, but it is pretty mixed up.  I guess I am becoming my mother in more ways than I know.

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That’s not a bad thing of course. Here she is in 1936, 19 years old, wearing a pretty dress and sensible shoes.  She was in Teachers College in Stratford, Ontario.  I wonder if this was a professional photo, because it looks like the colours were touched up, or even added later.  That’s a tropical rain forest kind of green.  She was doing something with her life, having adventures, and in no hurry to settle down.  It would be six years before she married my dad, (he was off having his own adventures in the Wild West) and ten years before my older brother was born.  She had her whole life ahead of her.  I think she would tell you now it was a good one.

William Lyon MacKenzie King was Prime Minister of Canada in 1936.  School children would have been singing “God Save the King” because that year there were three of them – George V, Edward VIII and George VI.  The start of the Second World War was just three years away.

It would be fun to pop back in time and let her know that this photo moment would be preserved for the next 90 years and end up on a picture album page shared with a few of her great-grandchildren.  But looking that far into the future might have felt like tempting fate.  And she would have pooh-poohed the whole idea and thought her dress was just this old thing and her hair was a sight and it would be ridiculous to keep anything for that long and that nothing about the picture was really worth saving at all…..

But here it is.  And I’m ridiculously happy to have it.

Why Breathing Space?

Jazzy and the Pussycats

Jazzy and the Pussycats (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daily Prompt:  All About Me

Explain why you chose your blog’s title and what it means to you.

Breathing Space  Life on the Sidewalk….where every day is a new beginning, take a deep breath and start again.

1.  It all started seven years ago and was inspired by the site called “myspace” and reading about other people and their adventures on their own “space”.  So I wanted a space too.  Being spacey and all.

2.  My fear of water and drowning and not being able to breathe, plus my love of being left alone to think, plus my inability to come up with anything even remotely unique, prompted the Breathing Space name.  You can find “Breathing Space” on Wikipedia, but it has nothing at all to do with me and everything to do with a band by the same name.

3.  Life in the fast lane is an expression I like, but have never EVER lived.  Life in the slow lane would be slightly more accurate, but life on the sidewalk is even better.  Because here I am, strolling along, watching the rest of the world zip on by.  Where the hell are they all going, anyway?  I’d hitch a ride if I really cared.

4.  Somebody said I should have more of a tag line or something to better explain what this blog is all about so that’s where all the deep breath new beginning stuff came from.  I keep thinking I should change that to something better.  You know, the whole starting over thing.  One day it might just go missing altogether.

5.  I am a grandma to five kids, ages 7 to 12.   W has always called me Lin, as if saying my whole name would wear him right out.  So those two things combined end up being grandmalin.  However, if you are French you might read it as grand malin which very loosely interpreted means big shrewd/cunning/crafty or clever person.  Voila.  It can also mean malicious or malignant, but I try really hard not to be either one of those things.

Il faut être malin pour réussir – You have to be shrewd in order to succeed.

Il m’a donné un sourire malin – He gave me a knowing smile.

There’s your French lesson for the day.  There is some French on my father-in-law’s side of the family but that’s my closest claim to being French myself.

6.  The name of my alter ego Jazzy is nothing but wishful thinking.  I’d like to be jazzy.  I like jazz.  I was reading a book in which there was a minor character named Jazzy.  This one kept showing up in random doodles.  Thus Jazzy was born.  She will die when she runs out of stuff to say.

7.  In the beginning my site was all about the history of my family and preserving the pictures and the memories for future generations.  After several years of that I got bored and branched off in a multitude of different directions so that now I have no idea what any of this is really about.  It’s a work in progress.  It’s a walk on the sidewalk.

Some days it’s just a long sit down rest on the curb.

When You Feel Like You Want to Climb Out a Window and Disappear

Just don’t do it.  Read this book instead.

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared  by Jonas Jonasson

100 year old man

Well, I’ve done it again – chosen a book based solely on its cover.  But what a find this one turned out to be!  The title made me smile, and the story made me laugh out loud.  If you like adventure and dry, deadpan humor, this is a book I highly recommend.  It’s the tale of a man who has had a long and eventful life and although he has slowed down considerably at the age of one hundred, he still has an escapade or two left in him.

Through the present hilarious romp, we’re doubly entertained by flash backs to his lifetime of one unbelievable adventure after another, in which he is thrown together with very important people all over the world.  Allan Karlsson never goes looking for excitement or trouble, but it always manages to find him.  He is delightfully unassuming, matter of fact, down to earth, polite, helpful, non political, non religious, and completely accepting of whatever fate hands him.  Well, up to a point.  He is also adept at wriggling his way out of difficult situations when the need arises.

It’s an oddball, funny story, like reading about a Swedish Forest Gump, with lots of history and world events woven into it.  Apparently you’re never too old to have some fun.  Why not pick up a feel-good book that makes you laugh?  May we all have such great adventures and live to be one hundred.  Or die trying.

If You Could Read Me Now

The Daily Prompt :  Audience of One – Picture the one person in the world you really wish were reading your blog. Write her or him a letter.

AP English Books

AP English Books (Photo credit: Dave Kleinschmidt)

Dear Mr. Thornburn:

I don’t imagine that you will remember me, one of a thousand students you taught over your long career, so here’s a little memory jog for you.

You taught English Literature to my grade twelve class in 1966.  I was seventeen years old.  I thought at first that you were way beyond the point where it was healthy for you to still be teaching, and imagined you must be in your seventies with your bifocals and your grey hair and your vivid memories of the ancient history that happened in your lifetime before we were even born.

Once you actually called me by my mothers name because you had taught English classes to her too, and I wanted to shrink down under my seat and disappear.  No teenage girl wants anyone to think she’s anything at all like her mother.  You shook your head as if to clear it and laughed and then went on to highly praise some little thing I’d written, reading it aloud to the rest of the class and explaining exactly why it was so brilliant.

Sketch of William Shakespeare.

Sketch of William Shakespeare. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was embarrassed, but I was also elated and inspired by your words.  You, lover of literature and grammar and composition, who made Shakespeare come alive for us by reciting some soliloquy on top of your desk while wielding a plastic sword – you  really liked something I’d written.  You made me want to write more.

That’s why I wish you were still around to read my blog.  It’s not Shakespeare, but it is words from my heart.  Almost always grammatically correct.  Except right there of course, since that wasn’t a real sentence, and this one is a bit of a run-on mess, but you know what I mean.  You were so enthusiastic and encouraging and supportive.  You always pointed out the good stuff.  You brought out the best in me.

You saw that spark inside me and you blew on it until it became a fire that would never burn out.  I am reading, I am writing, and I am appreciating the power of the written word. When a book or a story or even just some delightful little phrase makes me joyful, I think about how much you would have loved it.

So thank you Mr. Thornburn.  I will never be a best selling author or famous for any other reason, but that doesn’t matter.  Someone, somewhere will be inspired by some small thing I decided was important enough to write down.  I wish it could be you, because I owe you.

Yours sincerely,

Not My Mother, but finally able to see what a compliment it was to be the one who made you think of her.

W’s Return

W arrived home yesterday from his long sojourn in Ontario.  He was gone for almost six months!  We have a lot to catch up on.  You forget how different communication can be when it’s face to face, as compared to flat words on a screen when you’re texting.  Even talking on the phone, although better, can be hit and miss.  There’s all those facial expressions and hand gestures and subtle body language clues you can’t see that fill in a lot of blanks and missing parts.

Dona Paula Los Cardos Malbec, 2007

Dona Paula Los Cardos Malbec, 2007 (Photo credit: mmwm)

We went out for dinner because we’re both sick of cooking for ourselves.  (Has it really been months and months since I went out to eat?  I think it has!)  Then we shared some Dona Paula Malbec when we got home. Stayed up way too late.  I’m not used to the satellite radio being on 24/7 but something tells me I’m going to have to incorporate that into my previously quiet life alone.  As long as I can sneak in a lot of jazz stations, we should be okay.

Encyclopaedia Britannica

Encyclopaedia Britannica (Photo credit: septuagesima)

We are ‘inheriting’ the Encyclopaedia Britannica that W’s parents have had for 50 odd years – I am SO excited, although all he was able to bring back with him this time were the Book of the Year volumes from 1962 through to 1978.  Seventeen volumes of the back drop history of our lives.  Since I didn’t pay much attention to it while it was happening, I expect to learn a lot of new and amazing things.

But before I can get to that, there’s work.  I’ve been joking that now it’s MY turn to take a six-month leave of absence.  Maybe I’m not really kidding about that – the idea has a lot of appeal.

Anyway, it’s nice to have my main source of inspiration for sarcastic complaining back home safe and sound.

One Hour in a Time Machine…

I’m off to Stonehenge, 5000 or so years ago to discover its secrets and solve its mysteries.

I was there once a mere three years ago, surrounded by gawking tourists, shivering in the cool misty fall air, with an electronic device pressed hard to my ear. A droning voice spewed forth a lot of garbled information to my brain but not much of it found a place there to firmly lodge itself. Later I read a book on the subject, but as interesting as all of it is, there’s altogether too much conjecture and speculation and not enough hard facts to suit me.

So I’d like to see for myself how and why it was built. Find out who is buried there, observe whatever ceremonies were conducted amongst the great stones. Find out why it fell into ruins and its history got lost.

In the allotted hour (which I’m assuming is present time minutes, and that I’ll somehow have to skip 60 minutes of my life as it is presently being lived) I expect I’ll have to zip back and forth several hundred years every five or ten minutes to get it all straight. And knowing me it’s entirely possible that I’ll be just as confused when I get back as when I left.

Maybe some things were meant to remain a mystery, if only to stimulate the imagination.

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