Tom, Jim and Freddy

I am a little late in posting my newspaper column for this week – you will find some of the column is a bit personal and local–while I usually edit that kind of thing out for my blog–I thought I would give you the full flavour this week:

“Tom Sawyered”

My favourite quote of the week and possibly of all time comes from Jonathan Goldstein’s latest column called “You Call This a Party?” Among other things, Goldstein writes for the National Post, and his words this week hit a real chord with me: “Calling something a party doesn’t make it one….One can throw a septic cleaning party, but one would have only fools for guests.”

His statement was made in answer to an invitation from a friend of his to “a painting party” where the guests would get the lucky chore of priming and painting his house. Now his friend gets some points for cleverness, but many more for being a con à la Tom Sawyer. In fact there is a term for being conned into doing something you really did not want to do but ended up doing it anyway—it is called being “Tom Sawyered.” Tom, of course brought the whole thing to another level, in that he not only got his friends to whitewash a fence for him, he got some snacks and toys in return for “letting” them have the pleasure of doing his work.

There are other less polite terms for being “Tom Sawyered”. I am sure many of us have been on the receiving end of such a con. Goldstein was too clever to get caught up by his friend’s promise of making the job into a party—he recognized it for what it truly was and declined–at first. Then he thought about—and in an effort to score friendship points and a 4:30 a.m. ride to the airport he finally acquiesced. But, not to be totally “Tom Sawyered”, he demanded that there be expensive imported beer at the ready. And, oh yeah, he did not ask for the ride until after he had made his “friendship points”.

I suppose we all do it—gather friendship points—some to be bartered with, but many times forgotten—because dealing in friendship points is not a game one can win. In fact, I have trouble keeping up with my friends and family and all the favours they do for me. If they all tried to collect at once I would be in big trouble. Candy coating a job and turning it into a party can make the task more palatable—just ask Tom—but most of us would rather be asked honestly for help.

Happy Birthday Jim

Hey, this is my column and if I want to display outrageous and extravagant nepotism I will. Having said that, I am throwing a little party in this column for my brother Jim for his 70th birthday. His family is throwing him a real party and to that I will bring some food and drink and a gift—but this party is for any of you who know him—to call him (you could email or Facebook him but he has neither) or tell him when you see him around town—a big Happy Birthday. Do this in an exuberant fashion—shouting across the street if you have to. But keep this in mind: in my family, we only admit to being 39, so really this is the 31st anniversary of Jim’s 39th birthday. (I think this works out—my math is a little weak)

Jim is my eldest brother and having reached this milestone my family from far and wide, near and narrow are coming together to taunt him a bit, but mostly to celebrate him. As the big brother of our family (father, grandfather, and uncle too) he deserves both our reverence and ribbing, which I am sure will be plentiful when we come together on Saturday to eat, drink and be merry.

Freddy Farmer

Friend (in keeping with my nepotism theme here) and local author, Brian Sweet, along with local artist, Harold Burton have produced a new children’s book called “Freddy Farmer”. The story is endearing and the paintings come to life on the page creating a book that kids will love to read, or have read to them.

The illustrations are vibrant and the story is one that shows if we all “pull” or “push” together we can get a lot done. My favourite character is the pig Sloppy though, who at the end of the book, after the labours of the day have been carried out, goes back to “play in the mud”.

 

 

 

Optimistic……..

Roll up your silver sleeves
Get out the golden shovel
Garden fairies wake

 

Published in: on April 8, 2014 at 5:20 pm  Comments (15)  
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Promises……..

Sun strands streak the sky
Promise flip flop days to come
Warm my starving soul

 

 

Published in: on April 7, 2014 at 3:02 pm  Comments (7)  
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Because

The storyteller arched her eyebrow,

Paused, and without losing a beat

Answered the question

I had posed only in my mind ~

“Because” she said.

 

Sometimes, I think, “because” is the only answer to some questions. What do you think?

Published in: on April 5, 2014 at 1:20 pm  Comments (14)  
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Heard

My offering for Day 3:

Writing gives me voice
Parses my wilderness
Shatters my loneliness

Written words are audible

They are heard.

Published in: on April 3, 2014 at 10:28 am  Comments (12)  
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If I Could Turn Back the Hands of Time………….

WordPress Krista asked today: “If you could return to the past to relive a part of your life, either to experience the wonderful bits again, or to do something over, which part of your life would you return to? Why?”

First memory: Second year university. Early Monday morning. I just returned to my dorm room from spending Sunday at home with my family and eating a wonderful dinner. It was 5 a.m. and I nestled fully clothed under my covers after taking care not to wake up my roommate. I was totally caught up in my school work, I had lots of friends, I liked my boyfriend at the time (he did not smother me), and all was right with the world. I want all to be right with the world again.

Second memory: The night I met my husband at a dance in the spring of 1980. We have been together ever since.

Third and Fourth memories: When I found out that my sons (one born premature in 1986 weighing 2 pounds 51/2 ounces and the other in 1991 at 3 pounds 5 ounces) were going to live healthy “normal” lives.

I am not sure I would return to these times to relive them, but they live on in my memory forever.

Published in: on April 1, 2014 at 1:49 pm  Comments (12)  
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Favorite Things

 

Reading and writing
Forever entwined; tangled ~
Lovely labyrinth.

This is my first offering for April–the month of poets.  A poem a day is like a vitamin a day – life enhancing.

Published in: on April 1, 2014 at 1:23 pm  Comments (14)  
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Kick the Bucket Aside……..

This week’s newspaper column:

We are now entering into a sacred time—attention must be paid. It is now April and it is my birthday month. Just kidding—but seriously folks, we should pay more attention to ourselves—but not in a “selfie” gratuitous way, but in a way wherein we appreciate that we are still here with all the good, bad, and ugly life has to offer.

Sometimes I regret the fact that I am, in some circles, considered a “senior”. I do not feel quite up to the designation yet—nor do I feel wiser or older. I am not yet up to the task of being looked upon as someone who should be valued and honoured and respected because of my age. I do not deserve it yet, as I do not feel as if I have “arrived”.

What does that mean? I have not fulfilled what I believe is my mission: to rule the world. No, no—that was Brain’s mission (as in the cartoon Pinky and the Brain. If you have never viewed this iconic Warner Brothers offering—Brain and Pinky are mice, and Brain wants to take over the world. He has a huge head and is really quite intelligent. Pinky is a bit of a simpleton, but in the end he is the wise one—but I think I may be getting off topic here…)

I do not have a bucket list—or a list of all those things I want to accomplish before I die, as I do not relish the thought of kicking the bucket, so instead I have a life list—which if I want to put any dent in, I should get busy. Everyone should have a life list—a list of things which contains the obtainable but also the impossible; the practical as well as the whimsical; the necessary and those things of which dreams are made of.

So here is my life list—it does not take into account the things I have already obtained or experienced, but it is my wish list of things to continue to reach for. (I was feeling a bit low today and my husband reminded me of some of the things that I have already that no one can take away from me—this list is a complement to those things). Though I have numbered my list—the first is no more important than the last:

1. Have my words spread over all continents so that my wisdom will live on forever. Get published in a wider forum. Have my fractured attempts at writing haiku shared; my scattered thoughts put in book form; and Margaret Atwood finally invite me to tea (with ten of my friends) on Pelee Island.
2. Travel to the ends of the earth. The length and breadth of the world. Okay, I would be satisfied with seeing more of Canada and the States, visiting wine country in France and Italy (I have done my best in visiting the wine offerings locally), dropping in on the Queen (who shares my birthday), and…well, really why limit it—travelling to the ends of the earth (except the really cold parts).
3. Experience what I call “woo-woo” stuff—but not scary “woo woo” stuff. I like the idea of the ethereal but I seem to be stuck in the muck and mire of reality—then again, who says reality does not include these things?
4. Win the lottery. A big lottery. And then share it.
5. Clean up my bedroom. (In the scheme of things this seems inconsequential, but really if you saw my room—you would understand.)
6. Channel a little more of Martha Stewart and a little less of Erma Bombeck. (That is not true—I take that back—though I would love to be made up of the sterner stuff that is Martha, my beliefs are Erma all the way.)
7. Do whatever I can to help my kids have successful lives, but not do so much that it is not of their own volition and creativity.
8. Stay married for 50 years at least—that means I will have to live to at least 79. See you all at my golden anniversary—I will be having a big party—Led Zepplin (if they are still alive) will be making an appearance. It will be catered by Bobby Flay and Lynn Crawford. Dressy jeans will be the attire; and champagne with (local) ice wine the only elixir.
9. I will cook gourmet meals, have friends and family over to enjoy, and not have to clean up the kitchen. That will be putting to good use all those hours I have spent reading cookbooks and watching the Food Network.
10. Read to my heart’s content.

I implore you to make up your own “life list” while kicking the proverbial bucket aside—you may be surprised at what you come up with.

It Only Takes a Second

I am ready to take the advice of a friend who is dealing with a bit of a tragedy right now. One that occurred in the blink of an eye. One minute everything was rolling along, if not smoothly, at least the ruts in the road were visible.

Then it happens. And changes everything. “It” can be so many things: death, loss, change—but today is not the same as yesterday. This minute is not the same as the minute before.

Her advice? And this is verbatim:

“Live every day to the fullest, have fun, party or whatever makes you happy—life is short and it can change in a split second.”

How many times do we have to hear that before we take it in, use it, and make it our own personal mantra? It has been expressed in so many ways by so many people, yet we forget that life is not a dress rehearsal—this is the only chance we get.

I need to be reminded of this over and over again. But each time I am, I take it in, and it becomes a part of me. So, today—Live your day to the fullest, have fun, party, or do whatever makes you happy. I am going to give it a try.

How about you—do you forget to have fun?

Published in: on March 28, 2014 at 12:46 pm  Comments (41)  
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I Don’t Care…………..

This week’s column:
Kim and Kanye

I don’t care. I don’t care that Kim and Kanye are on the cover of Vogue. Do you? Yet the fact that their picture appears on the magazine is causing a firestorm of interest in the media. Seriously, I think it looks good on Vogue, the fashion magazine that appeals to those who are in danger of drowning in a rain storm. (If you do not get that joke then I will explain it—it appeals to those who seem to perpetually have their noses in the air—not us down to earth folk who peruse the pages out of curiosity, and not as a catalogue).
Sarah Michelle Gellar of soap opera and vampire slayer fame tweeted that she was cancelling her subscription to Vogue and asked “Is anyone else with me?” as if she is the monitor of all things good taste and highbrow. Get over it Sarah. It is not worth your 144 characters to tweet about.
I have to admit though that I do love the take-off of the cover showing Miss Piggy and Kermit on the cover of barely disguised “Vague” magazine—they make a handsome couple, and surely they deserve their 15 minutes of fame. I know I am making light of the situation, but with all the things to be concerned about in the world, Kim and Kanye are not even on my list. Neither is Vogue magazine, though their encyclopaedic September 2013 issue did catch my attention—but upon sifting through the pages, most of the mag was made up of advertisements. Not of course that there is anything wrong with that—we all gotta eat, even fashion gurus, designers, and the copious number of shoe and purse makers who appeared in that issue.
Do not get me wrong. I love magazines—and have been an avid reader of them since I was a little girl—picking up my mom’s magazines and reading them from cover to cover (tips on making chicken dishes though I may have skipped at eight, I find weirdly fascinating now), and when I ran out of her Journals and McCall’s and Woman’s Day, I would read my dad’s Mechanics Illustrated.
In a book written to help you simplify life, I read that one should eliminate magazines from their life as they were just full of ads and the same old, same old. I could not believe that someone could write such blasphemy! Magazines are rife with hints, and life stories, and interesting tidbits that I for one could not live without. Even the ads do not deter me—I can whiz right by them, or pause for a moment and dream of perfect skin and the perfect vacation.
But magazines want your attention. There are a million of them out there, and in order to stand out they have to do something radical or irregular. And Vogue chose to feature a couple they knew would cause a tizzy. Well, good for them. It does not bother me in the least that Kim and Kanye got some more mileage—and anyone it does bother needs to put the important things in life in perspective.
I am not crazy about Kanye—he embarrassed Taylor Swift (in a way that made him look bad) but I think that called more attention to her accomplishments than less. Admittedly, Kim sometimes has the fashion sense of a squirrel and the morals of a rabbit, and the couple will most certainly never win for mentors of the year, but if they want to be on the cover of a fashion magazine—so be it. It is not like they are on the cover of Genius Weekly or Literature for the Literary–then I could see mounting an objection.
Let us turn our attention away from the attention seekers and focus our moral compass on those that deserve it. Here is proof positive that Kanye’s words of wisdom will not stand the test of time:
1. “I am God’s vessel. But my greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see myself perform live.” (pains me too Kanye, pains me too)
2. “I feel like I’m too busy writing history to read it.” (I am a total loss for comment here)
3. “I am not a fan of books. (blasphemy, utter blasphemy!)
4. “I would never want a book’s autograph. I am a proud non-reader of books.” (I have never known a book to give an autograph, but maybe I am being a little nit-picky here.)
5. “I am the greatest.” (shades of Mohammad Ali)

Published in: on March 24, 2014 at 9:08 pm  Comments (21)  
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