Bedtime Cookbook


How far shall we flash back this fine Friday?  More than a lifetime for some of you, and just a drop in the time bucket for the rest of us.

What is more delightful than two recently bathed children with shiny clean hair all ready for bed?  Sitting together, sharing, being super good so bedtime will be delayed.

This was not a rare moment.  My mom often remarked on how well my kids got along with each other.  That changed for a while in their teens, but really, underneath the growing pains, they have always remained good friends.

I know it looks like the reflection of a halo on my daughters head, but don’t let it fool you.  She had her un-angelic moments.  And I never realized my son had such expressive toes.  I think that might be our polar bear hide on the wall in the background.  Hard to believe now we ever had such a thing.  But this is the NWT in the late 1970’s.  We didn’t know any better.  And that awful brown colonial furniture was in every government house.

One other thing I noticed in this faded photo is that the book they’re reading is not a kids book (although they had lots of those I swear). It appears to be a cookbook.  My poor children.  Is this what I gave them instead of reading them a bedtime story?  I can imagine the two of them pointing at the pictures saying – what is this yummy dish called?Mom has never made anything this awesome for us!  Maybe she doesn’t know how!  Maybe she doesn’t really love us!

Hey, they’re alive and clean.  Looks like it was a good parenting day to me.

Sharing My World 45


What my kids and I looked like when we lived in Inuvik, although not for the entire time because we were there for four years. We were not always sepia coloured.


Do you believe in extraterrestrials or life on other planets?

In the Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movie when Evelyn is asked if she is in a relationship with Douglas she says “Well, we are not NOT together.”  That’s how I feel about aliens.  I do not NOT believe in them. Still, if one were to come up to me in the grocery store and ask me how my day was going, I would be very surprised.  But just because I can’t imagine that happening doesn’t mean it isn’t possible.  I don’t think life as we know it is the only kind of life there is in the universe.  If there is something beyond death as we know it, perhaps we will be astounded at how limited and biased and deluded we were in our beliefs, no matter what they were, one way or the other, before we got there.  And if there’s nothing, there’s nothing.  No point in getting your shorts in a knot about it.

So I try to keep an open mind.  Live and let live.  It would be foolish to believe we are the most intelligent life forms in existence when you consider some of the bizarre things we’ve been up to.

How many places have you lived? You can share the number of physical residences and/or the number of cities.

  1. Saugeen township farm until age six (Ontario)
  2. Arran township farm until leaving home
  3. Orchard house while attending teachers college in Stratford
  4. Shared 2 bedroom apartment, substitute teaching in St. Catharines
  5. Room and board in private house in St. Catharines while attending Brock U.
  6. Rented garage sized house in Kenora after getting married.
  7. Basement apartment in private house, Dryden
  8. High rise apartment in Guelph when W went back to University
  9. Basement student campus co-op apartment in Guelph – baby daughters first home
  10. Government house in Cambridge Bay, NWT, baby sons first home
  11. Government row housing in Inuvik, NWT.
  12. Government house in Pond Inlet, NWT.
  13. Government house in Yellowknife, NWT.
  14. Current house in Sherwood Park, Alberta.  (Bought and paid for…yay!). It’s nothing fancy but it feels like home.

If you were given $22 million tax free dollars (any currency), what is the first thing you would do?

Put it in the bank and think about it.  I’m sure I would suddenly have lots of advice and suggestions pouring in from all directions filling up this open mind of mine.  I might move to a new house.  It’s been awhile for us nomads.

The Never List: What are things you’ve never done? Or things you know you never will do?

Never say never!  Because you never know!!  I’ve never communicated with extraterrestrial beings.  Or have I?  How would I know for sure?

One thing I feel certain about at this moment in time is that I will NEVER take a trip to the South Pole.  But if I do I will send you a post card saying sorry, I was wrong about that.  Wish I weren’t here.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Since I mentioned all the screaming going on in Midsomer Murders whenever a body is discovered (and there can be up to five in a single episode) there has suddenly been a marked lack of it.  I’m grateful for the depiction of other plausible reactions, even though now I could be seen as a sarcastic exaggerator for mentioning it in the first place.  Like that might be the worst thing I’ve ever been called.

I was sad to learn of David Bowies death today, but I’m looking forward to all the tributes and flashbacks of his extraordinary life.

Death is such a funny thing.  We know it happens to every one of us, but no matter how much warning we might get when its imminent, we are never prepared for it.  There’s that ‘never’ word again.  It’s like a hard punch to your heart, ready or not.

So let’s be grateful for the memories.




Write A Letter

Cin’s Feb Challenge Day 11:  Write a letter to a friend and mail it.


All my life I’ve been a writer of letters – the old-fashioned, real-pen-on-real-paper kind that nobody bothers with much anymore.  I have saved random letters written to me, and written by me, and written by old dead relatives, (but don’t worry, they were still alive when they wrote them.)  My sister saved some of the letters I wrote to her when we lived in the NWT, and then she bundled them up and sent them all back to me years later.  I read them and hardly recognized myself.

Now I think it’s time to voluntarily retire myself from this practice partly because it’s becoming a lost art, but mostly because I tend to say some pretty crazy things off the top of my head.  There is no back spacing or cutting and pasting or spell checking with ink on paper.  It’s so much easier to dash off heavily revised e-mails to people and then hope they have the sense to delete them once they’re read.

Way back in the 1950’s and 60’s we were not only taught penmanship, but also proper letter writing skills in school.  I often think it would be nice if kids today learned better e-mailing and chat board and texting skills.  Including things like spelling and grammar and proof reading.  And checking to see what strange things have been auto-corrected before they hit send.

I still remember some of our great lessons in communication back in the day.  You just don’t see stuff like this anymore:

Dear Alice, How are you? I am fine.  What are you up to these days?  Nothing much is going on here…..

and so on, until one or the other of you dies from boredom.

A post card would always be some variation of these sentiments:

Dear Alice, greetings from Timbuktu, having a great time, wish you were here. 

With a lot of exclamation marks.  Never mind if you don’t really mean any of it, the important thing is to be polite and vague.

Okay, it is possible that I missed a few classes.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been watching “The Good Wife” on Netflix and if I’ve learned anything at all from this series it’s that things you are foolish enough to write down on paper can be taken out of context and used against you in a court of law, and that important pieces of police reports are always going mysteriously missing.  The same thing happens with letters.  If you make a statement on one page and explain it on the next, you had better hope that second page stays with the first.  Or future generations will be questioning your intelligence and/or sanity.

The picture above is of the pages of a letter I wrote to my sister from Cambridge Bay in January of 1976.  It states quite clearly that I have stopped wearing my wedding ring because I am thinking of having an affair.

See, you can say shit like that to your sister and she will get the joke and maybe even think it’s funny.  Because she knows you are living in a climate so dark and cold that the only reason you leave your house is for groceries and even then you think long and hard about it.  She knows you have an incredibly active little 17 month old daughter who wears you right out.  And most importantly she knows that you are eight months pregnant and therefore not in your right mind. The next page goes on to explain about puffiness and swelling in my hands and feet and having to grease my fingers to pry the ring off before it cut off my circulation.  No one looks good with a blue ring finger.

But what if that second page got lost?  Oh well, I did say I was only thinking about it.  It’s not likely that I’d send out announcements if it actually happened.

The only other vaguely interesting thing I wrote in that letter was that my daughter liked to wander into the baby’s room, grab hold of the bars on the crib and screech at the top of her lungs while shaking it as hard as she could.  I should have put a stop to this behaviour before her brother was born, but I didn’t.  So if he reads this letter he will know that my daughter and I are responsible for his disrupted sleep patterns if he has any.

See the kind of trouble you can get yourself into?  So I will not be writing a letter to a friend today or quite possibly ever again.  The notes and lists I scribble and leave all over the place will be enough to keep any hoarder descendants I might have deep in thought for a long time.

Or they could just have a big bonfire.  That would also be fine.

Belonging to a Group

I used to belong to the Alberta Opticians Association, but now I belong to the College of Opticians of Alberta.  Because the name got changed.  And I have to belong, otherwise I can’t be licensed and practice opticianry.  Or whatever the hell it is I do.  I am regulated by the Health Professions Act.  I suppose there are worse things to be regulated by.

Also used to belong to book clubs but now that I live about a block away from Chapters and own a Kindle, there’s really no point.

In school I was never the club joining sort, lacking the passion I suppose for anything in particular.  When I was a stay at home mom living in the NWT I joined a Stitch and Bitch club, but the bitch percentage of our evenings was way too high for me.  Plus sewing makes me a little crazy.

Belonged to a chat board once that was great fun.  A select few, who were completely fed up with the Canadian Idol Forum and wanted a safer more sane place to converse, formed this group.  Then Facebook kind of took us over, but I still consider the people I came to know there, who are now my Facebook friends, as highly valued as any of my friends in real life.

And then there’s Plinky of course.  A group of blogging writers in various states of seriousness.  A wordsmith motley crew. Where some pretty amazing people keep me coming back for more.

A Memorable Job Interview

After we moved out of the Northwest Territories I was able to collect unemployment insurance for a year. My benefits were based on the rate of pay I had been receiving in the north (high due to the cost of living there) and all things considered it was more profitable for me to sit at home and collect them than to take a job for less pay. It was required that a person show evidence of actively seeking employment while getting this compensation, so I applied for a lot of jobs that I either didn’t have a hope in hell of actually getting, or that I knew wouldn’t come close to offering the pay that I wanted.

The strangest thing I applied for was a position as hall monitor at a local high school. I didn’t even know there was such a thing and couldn’t imagine what that person would be expected to do. It was high school for goodness sake. Surely high school kids didn’t need hall supervision? I imagined janitorial work of some kind might be involved. I went to the interview completely unprepared and clueless with no real expectations except for being able to add a description of the process to my weekly quota of job searches.

I was ushered into a small room and placed in a chair facing a semi-circle of five people wielding clip boards and pens. A panel of interviewers! They took turns introducing themselves by name only, and asking me questions. All of them solemnly and busily made notes and check marks and underscores and God only knows what else as I answered them. A lot of the questions were incredibly vague. I understand open-ended, but one fellow in particular kept describing various scenarios and asking me what I would do when faced with such a situation. I told him I’d have to know the rules and what I was expected to do, and then no doubt that’s exactly what I’d do. He looked disappointed that I wasn’t dreaming up my own personal hall dictator rules.

It was such a bizarre little group, so much hoopla, pomp and circumstance, and all for the purpose of finding somebody good at catching kids smoking or dealing drugs on the premises. My mind started to seriously wander, wondering why they didn’t just get an undercover cop to check things out if they suspected those kinds of problems. But part of the job would also entail helping out in the office as required, photocopying and collating and doing whatever other mundane things needed doing but were beneath the importance of the people already employed there. So why did the hiring of this person require the agreement of an entire board of people?

At some point I was aware of myself talking to all of them, and then there was silence. My voice stopped. So did my brain. We all stared at each other for a moment. Then since nobody else seemed to want to say anything I told them I was sorry, I seemed to have completely lost my train of thought. More uncomfortable gawking at each other. What was the question again? The process rather quickly petered out after that, although I still had a lot of unanswered questions of my own.

No, I did not get the position. One of them called me less than two hours later to let me know the job had been offered to someone else. Surprisingly enough it wasn’t a conference call. I hope I didn’t sound too incredibly relieved, but it wasn’t possible to drum up even the slightest amount of disappointment.

Never been interviewed by a panel of people like that, before or since. Never walked away from an interview since that one more confused than when I arrived.

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