Someone Left the Cake Out

imageOn my first birthday I had already been walking for 3 months.  My sturdy bowed legs were something I always blamed on my mother but she said there was no stopping me.  Obviously the droopy drawers didn’t slow me down either.  Does anyone even remember pinned cloth diapers covered with plastic elasticized bloomer type pants?  No wonder kids were easier to toilet train before disposables became so dry and comfy.  There’s no motivation to get out of them like there was for this bulky chafing paraphernalia.

The old Kodak box camera had no flash, so photos were taken in bright sunlight streaming through a window, or the subject and the props were simply moved outside.  I remember this little three-legged table, one of a pair and eventually used by my grandma shoved up flat against a wall in the sunlight holding potted plants.

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This is quite possibly the least attention I ever paid to a cake in my life.
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That’s it.  Totally done with standing still.  My turn to play with the camera.

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Photo Shop 1960’s Version

imageEasy Step by Step Instructions

  1.  Enter a contest in which the prize is a trophy, and win first place.  (In this case it was a mandatory grade eight public speaking contest.  We picked a topic from a list, wrote a speech, memorized it and delivered it in front of an audience consisting of peers, judges, siblings, parents, teachers, unsuspecting friends and neighbours and people who wandered in from the street by mistake.)
  2. Bring the trophy home and pester members of your family until someone finally agrees to take a picture of you holding it, preferably on your front lawn with the engraved bit showing your name facing forward and yourself squinting into the sun.
  3. When the film is developed, be so dismayed by how the shadows make your face look like that of an angry gorilla that you feel like crying and burning it to destroy the evidence.  Wonder if you might actually look like that in real life.
  4. Decide that although in this photo you definitely look like hell you are still proud of your achievement and are not likely to have any other pictures of it to preserve for posterity.  Carefully tear the head off, although not carefully enough to save the cup and handles portion of the trophy.  Rip it up anyway and throw it away.
  5. Mount touched up photo in album and label it “Headless Public Speaking Contest Winner 1962”.

You might also want to prepare yourself for the following conversation.

“What the hell is this?”

“It’s a picture of the trophy I won for public speaking in grade eight.”

“What happened to your head?”

“Shut up.”

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.

Sharing My World 5

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Would you rather take pictures or be in pictures?

My dad used to say the only pictures people liked of themselves were the ones that didn’t look anything like them.  Maybe that’s why we can look back at photos from years ago and finally see them objectively because that’s not who we are anymore.  Hey, look at me, I was kind of cute back in the day, who knew?  In real time I have never considered myself photogenic so I’m the one snapping pictures and shying away from being in them.

What did you most enjoy doing this past week?

I most enjoyed being the recipient of attention and concern as to my well-being.  Who doesn’t enjoy that?  Best to milk it for all its worth when it happens, hey?  I have been filling my “healing time” with lots of reading, sleeping, coffee drinking, drawing, pencil sharpening, pill taking and movie watching.  Maybe I’ve died and gone to heaven.

What is your greatest extravagance?

I am always trying to curb my many excessive and unnecessary expenditures.  It’s hard to decide what exactly the greatest one might be.  You could sell me pretty much anything in a health food store, for instance, even though the same products might cost much less somewhere else.  I’m a sucker for skin care products.  Coffee is hugely important to me.    But for the sake of making myself sound slightly less self-indulgent, let’s say it’s books.  I would like to line every wall in my house with book shelves and fill them all up.  So far I’ve done only a wall and a half.  I could do another wall full if all my e-books were real.  I used to have a library card, but discovered that it was much too stressful having to give books back.  Now I buy them and keep them and cherish them.  I will never be rich as long as people keep writing books.

Which letter of the alphabet describes you best?

I don’t know – M?  It’s the thirteenth letter of the alphabet.  Thirteen has been a significant and even a lucky number in my life.  The top of a horned owls head looks like the letter M  and I like to think I’m at least as wise as some pointy headed bird.  I am a MOM.  I like M & M’s.  “Mmmmmm” is the noise I make when I can’t think of anything intelligent to say.

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

I’m grateful for not having to make a Thanksgiving dinner.  Is that a selfish thing to be thankful for?  Probably.  I should have said my alphabet letter is Z because it figures prominently in the word LaZy and signifies sleep.   (zzzzzz…..)  I’m also grateful for four seasons of the 4400 on Netflix and a theme song that is now stuck in my head forever.

It drives me a bit crazy every time that bath tub overflows.

Next week I’m looking forward to sharing with you whatever happens next.

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Share Your World – 2014 Week 41

Thirty Days Hath September

…..April, June, and November.  Except in 2013 when Mother Nature decided to skip the month of April altogether and put a super long extension on to the end of March instead.  By my calculations it is now March 61st.  We had a lovely little blizzard on Monday.  I have a funny feeling March may continue to hold on for another couple of weeks.  I don’t know what month it’s going to be next.  Hope we don’t jump straight into October.

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This is the scene that greeted us from our kitchen window on Monday morning.  Where has all the green grass gone?  Ah well, no point in obsessing about the weather, right?  Might as well make a pretty picture and carry on.

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Sacred Henges of Standing Stone

Counterintuition is the subject for Prompts for the Promptless this week.  It is a seemingly simple concept representing a truth that is contrary to common sense or the expectations of intuition.

I would like to ramble on about how getting too much sleep makes you more tired, or how being extra active gives you more energy, but I don’t know how much sleep is considered too much and I don’t know what being active actually means, so I’m just going to post a couple of pictures.

Also my grandchildren will be arriving for the weekend shortly, and this is my last chance for some coherent thinking.  Whatever that might be.

This is my photo!  I was there!

This is my photo! I was there!

Okay.  Who thought Stonehenge was a great idea?  And then who decided it could actually be accomplished?  And how the hell did they manage to build it, never mind hauling the rocks halfway across the country before they could even get the whole thing started?

My intuition tells me that some ancient druids sent a message to their faraway relatives about an impending visit saying  “It’s cold up here, bring some big thick socks.”  And the message got misconstrued as “There’s no boulders here, bring some big frickin’ rocks.”  So they did.  And the rest is history.  Or pure conjecture, which sometimes turns out to be the same thing.

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It’s an amazing sight to behold, and still a mystery as to how these gigantic stones were moved and erected thousands of years ago.  Intuition (and common sense) tells us it simply couldn’t be done, but there it is.

It also defies common sense to believe that there is a portal hidden amongst the stones, leading to a different dimension.  We were not allowed to go close enough to find out.  Personally I’m not ruling it out, though.  This world is a magnificently strange and wonderful place.

Hindsight is a Beautiful Thing

Daily Prompt:  Hindsight

Now that you’ve got some blogging experience under your belt, re-write your very first post.

Strange as it may seem, I really have no idea what my very first post was.  I’ve been writing in some form or other my entire life and this blogging thing just seemed to be a natural progression from writing letters and e-mails and insanely witty posts on chat boards.  I imported a lot of posts from a  previous blog site when I was deleting and extensively cleaning house and starting over with WordPress.  That was six years ago.  Then I wrote a lot of new things which got all mixed up with my pages compositions and pictures and general all-over-the-place chatter, prattle and nonsense.  Not much has changed, has it?  Unless you count the direction in which this blog is going.  It’s like a leaf in the wind – hard to pin down.

The other thing that has changed in the last couple of years is my privacy policy.  That’s a nice way of saying I’ve become progressively less embarrassed about all the dumb things that pop up on my screen and do a lot less thinking about who is reading it.  If my own family members couldn’t be bothered to see what I was up to, chances are complete strangers were not hanging on my every word.  And then I got some comments and some followers and an incredibly puffed up ego and that’s partly why I’m still here I guess.

But the main reason is that I can’t NOT write.  It doesn’t matter if the results are good or bad or ugly or loved or ignored.  I do it for me first.  And for my grandchildren second, so that if they’re ever curious, they will know who I was and who their ancestors were and why they all need psychiatric help.

98 thingsThis is the revised version of a post I wrote in November, 2006 called 98 Things.  (Don’t panic, it’s not one of those never-ending lists – I left out the bad and the ugly this time around.)

Today at Chapters I picked up this little book by Rebekah Shardy.  I had two good reasons for doing so.  I go through Chapters when I leave the mall after getting my hair done, and I cannot possibly do that without buying something.  Okay, three reasons.  There’s just something irresistable about a little four-inch square book.

Some of these 98 things I have already accomplished:

1.  Go a month without shaving your legs  (only a month? hahaha….I am SO past that it isn’t even funny)

2.  Invent a punch that will raise eyebrows and lower inhibitions (come to my house for Christmas.  You will not leave sober.)

3.  Serve something flambe (YES!  I really did do that once!  No buildings burned down!)

4.  Sing to a child.  (Even though it’s not ALWAYS appreciated.) (Rock-a-bye Baby used to make my daughter sob…..”Don’t song mommy!”)

5.  Tell Richard Simmons to just shut up and sit down ( not face to face but via the t.v., which is the next best thing)

These are the ones I really think would be worth trying:

1.  Paint a mural of your imagined past lives (it would have to be a damned big piece of paper)

2.  Teach someone, besides a child, to read.   (Like a dog?)  (I know she means an adult.  But I love a challenge.)

3.  Be someone’s fairy godmother.  Wand optional.  (I would definitely not leave out the wand.)

4.  Write an unauthorized biography of your family, including embarrassing photos, a tribute to the infamous black sheep, and favourite recipes.  (Except for the recipes, I think that’s a work in progress here!  Sorry family.)

5.  Burn a cd with music you want played at your funeral:  baffle generations to come by including the rap song “I Like Big Butts”. (Sadly, I fear no one in my family would find that strange.)

6.  Cry in the rain (If you have to cry, that would be the perfect place to do it.)

7.  Remember life is too short for ironing, non fat dairy creamer and regret of any kind.  (Check, check and check.)

8.  Don’t indulge in one judgemental thought for an entire day.  Okay, an hour.  (Sigh – I could try for ten minutes)

9.  Write three haiku poems about your most amazing, horrible and baffling sexual experiences and frame them for your boudoir.  (OMG.  If I can just keep the hysterical laughter under control for a sufficient length of time I’m sure there are great rewards to be reaped from such an endeavor.)

10.  Explore your inner pagan by creating your own seasonal rituals:

– at the spring equinox, detox with a juice fast, sauna, and deep muscle massage

– at the summer solstice, hire a manicurist to give pedicures to you and four friends while your pampered klatch sips mint juleps

– at the fall equinox, organize a black clad beatnik poetry reading with the themes of rain, dissolution, and romance

– at the winter solstice, plant a circle of globed candles in a snowdrift and make wishes every night until they burn out  (I’m going to put every one of these on my calendar. My inner pagan is giddy with anticipation.)

And finally, the ones there is no way in hell I’d ever attempt.

1.  Stay in a convent for a week.  (What in the world for?  Would it be a test for me, or for them?)

2.  Ride a motorcycle alone across the Nevada desert.  (WHY?  No good could possibly come of it.  Unless someone is trying to kill me and I’ve decided to save them the bother.)

3.  Learn to belly dance and integrate it into your lovemaking.  (Okay, this lady does not know my husband.  He already thinks I’m crazy – why add to his arsenal of proof?)

4.  Design a picnic around aphrodisiacs – raw oysters, champagne, rose petal jam on chocolate fingers – then whisper in another’s ear the sensual images that passing clouds suggest.  (See the belly dancing comment above.  He would have me committed.)

What a great little book!  It also suggests you write an autobiography about the life you didn’t choose.  Gah.  I’m having trouble writing about the one I did choose, complete with my own 98 gazillion things I felt were important enough to do in my lifetime.  It’s just fun to see things from a new perspective.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going out to buy some castanets, and then I’m going to practice telepathy with my cat.