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Sunday, 22 March 2015

I misquote a famous thinker

Often I find myself talking to my mother in my head...what doyou think of this shirt?  I just read a book you would love...Maddy said the cutest thing!

In spite of the Norman Batesness of this, I am really glad that I still feel such a connection to her, and that it seems natural to share things with her.  I always could, in the same way that I could always count on being able to check out the wisdom of my ideas or plans with my dad.  It's not that they had different parenting roles, but it did seem to break down that way with me.  Even as a parent myself, I still had them to share things with and to get feedback.

Mum and Dad on a visit to England
I was about to say that it's lonely after your parents die, and that's true, but an even clearer thought is that it's comforting in a way to be lonely, to miss something that was really good in your life.   It's comforting to work out your reactions to issues by imagining the discussion you could have with your parents, how their wisdom could still influence you or how their sense of humour would still be so clear in your mind that you'd know what would make them laugh.

My dad was a truly awful punster.  He could never resist, nor could he tell you a pun without lighting himself up with the pleasure.  When I was a kid, I used to hope I'd grow out of sharing what I saw as a base form of humour, but I still kind of bookmark puns I would tell him if he were here.

I'm not sure what has propelled me into this nostalgia-laden story, but it makes me happy to realize that, to badly paraphrase Einstein, time really seems to be a river you can dip your toes into at any stage. 

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Who You Gonna Call?

Sometimes when Dave is away, the house gets to me.

I can hear noises within the apartment that I can't identify, or match up to anything that is moving, could move or has moved in the last few seconds.  I tear around looking at doors, baskets, chairs, plants, pots and bookcases; I go over and yank back the curtains as though I were going to discover someone there for nefarious purposes. Today is one of those times.

It started when I woke up around 3:30 a.m, and thought someone banged on the door and yelled "Are you gay?"  I checked the little spy-window and there was no one there, but I was awake, so I got started on the day.  Lights that have always heretofore stayed on when I turned them on, turned themselves off, there was apparently a cow mooing in the upstairs apartment, the water wouldn't turn off after I filled the kettle for my coffee and the fridge was shivering, but with a bass undertone.

That was just the first four minutes, and it's been weird like that all day since.  Clack, zip, swoosh, hummm.

Tonight, the living room seemed warm, silent and ordinary, so I stood at the window, enjoying the view.  I was startled  while gazing at the War Museum across the street, where I could see someone or some thing, glowing and climbing up the wall of the museum that looks like the prow of a ship, with sparks running down to the ground every 10 or 20 seconds. 

I tried to imagine myself calmly telling a person at the number you call if you want to talk to the fire folk when there's no emergency, (just in case they weren't aware of the museum-climbing character), but just couldn't put words to it, so I shut the curtains and continue to hope for the best.

Feeling tired but somehow not wanting to go to bed.  And yes, there are still sparks.

Note to Dave:  I need a noise-repelling headset.  And maybe a jaunty scarf to tie over my eyes.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Classified Secret

I'm alone in the condo.  Some of the things I've been doing today:

  • opened a jar of olives, speared some with a knife and ate them (carefully) off the blade
  • turned the volume on the Bose up to 77 to play Evanescence  
  • lined up my nail polish by colour (aside:  how did I get 14 bottles of nail polish?)
  • left clothes in the washer all afternoon
  • wore unmatching clothes
  • had salted caramel frozen yoghurt for lunch
  • set myself to listen to 36 songs by Joy Williams
  • cut the hair along my neck with scotch tape and a hand mirror
  • spent a crazed 20 minutes looking for my tablet until I remembered I'd lent it to Emma, then read email on my phone
  • danced in the kitchen
  • shined up silver earrings with toothpaste
  • got lost in magazines while I was looking for a crochet pattern
  • did not crochet a stitch or look at the weather
It's been kind of a nice day.  Monday happens tomorrow, but I could actually have another day like this one

Friday, 6 March 2015

Why I'm thinking of moving to our non-existent basement

Did I mention that I hate having to keep track of my spending?  I really ought to just stop here, because the only reason I'm able to live in this house and use this laptop and eat my chocolate is because Dave always keeps track of his spending, and looking at his $$ success, I would be silly not to follow his lead.

Still, figuring out what is an acceptable personal purchase and what is a dodgy home purchase, is making me lean towards fixing my face using the pencils we keep for obliterating (ha!) the scratches on the floor, and brushing my hair with a clothesbrush, both things I can chalk up to home expenses.  Dave doesn't wear make-up or use fancy hair treatments or drink wine or buy tins of Godiva dark chocolate pearls, so it makes me feel pretty shallow when I claim two lipsticks for one set of lips and two kinds of wine-in-a-box so that I can drink red with my hot dogs.

And today, I accidentally bought a couple of books.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

I'm at my conscious level.

From Wikipedia

 The Pollyanna principle (also called Pollyannaism or positivity bias) is the tendency for people to remember pleasant items more accurately than unpleasant ones.[1] Research indicates that at the subconscious level the mind has a tendency to focus on the optimistic while, at the conscious level, it has a tendency to focus on the negative
I think of myself as pretty much that type.  I've been accused of it often enough, felt righteously indignant, then remembered that mostly I'm happy with my self and my principles, and the person who was annoyed enough to call me a Pollyanna has lots and lots of good qualities.

I'm having trouble with my Pollyanaism lately though, when I go on Facebook and see the absolutely unforgivable statements about gender, race, age, poverty and politics.  I know that I have been outspoken about some of these issues, and that my energy is used to combat them---all but the political.

I don't know the opposite of Pollyanna, but I do know that for the last 8 years I've seen a meanness, a contra-compassionate, a with-us-or-against-us kind of government that I feel is just as likely as not to gobble up all the things I've Pollyannaishly thought of as Canadian.  Being Canadian is important to me, for a number of reasons, both obvious and not.  Maybe it's been too easy to be complacent, but I've taken pride in our approach to multiculturalism, our progress in equalizing rights, our local compassionate programs, our general label as "nice".  

Damn it, I can't take on another cause, and I'm glad that Dave has waded in hip-deep into the "a different government" move, but even that has its drawbacks as it seems to have added a layer of give to our personal relationship, and I'm a bit cranky about that.

And all this because we really need some groceries, I'm not doing much winter-driving and Dave was on the phone being passionate and totally right for over an hour this morning.  

I am a shallow Pollyanna.  But mostly, I'm nice.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

One of the loveliest of sounds

Not baby gurgling
Not ice cream melting
Not people laughing at your stories.

One of the loveliest sounds is the one I can hear from this lovely Valentine's gift from our daughter Sarah
The bells on the outside of the bowl are moved in a circle around the stationary bells, and the sound is so clear, so gentle.  I've wanted one of these for so long, and that dear girl chose to give us one. 

Another of the loveliest sounds is hearing her babies wish Emily a happy birthday, which they did after she left to go to a celebratory dinner with Morgan.

A person can almost have it all.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Life chez Cunningham-Rushton

From the perspective of two of our oldest and dearest friends:

He: (checking calendar, but not compulsively)  Look, dear, tomorrow is Lorna and Dave's valentine Open House.

She:  Mmmm

He: (the next day)  Does Lorna drink red or white wine?

She:  (laughs hysterically)  it could be either, I would think.

He:  Well, they certainly picked a cold day for an Open House....but there still seems to be parking near the building.

He:  There's no answer to the doorbell----Oh, sir, would you mind letting us in?  We're going to a party and they must be making so much noise they can't hear the phone.   Thanks!

She:  Very quiet...they must be in the community room....oh no, here's someone...

Lorna:  Ohmigod!  You guys....with presents....

She:  (perkily)  Are we the first to arrive?

Lorna: (without thinking, and while trying to persuade hair on the crown of her head to lie down a bit)  I was asleep!!  I mean, ohmigod, you're here!!

They:  Well, this is your Valentine Open House, isn't it?

All: (for the rest of the afternoon, and into the evening)  Oh, we're so, we're so sorry; how could we have forgotten to let you know we'd cancelled?  Well, we should be going....Oh please, let me see if I can find some wine, and some biscuits and oh! why don't we have Chinese from our favourite place....only if we share the price (whispering) we can't let them pay for anything...they brought chocolates and biscuits and wine!
Cheers (glasses clinking)  Happy Valentine's Day.  Great Chinese food!  (whispering) We're going to have leftovers!!  Well, this has been the best Open House ever!  See you again soon...Ohmigod, I'm so  sorry!

Friday, 13 February 2015

How to have a Successful Morning

  • wake up at 4:00
  • get up, grudgingly, at 4:16
  • have coffee, a somewhat dry croissant and marmelade
  • read, read, read
  • draw a deep hot tub with lots of bubbles
  • immerse yourself in the tub with a book (in my case, In the Skin of a Lion)
  • read
  • fall asleep
  • wake up splashing
  • lose your book
  • save your life

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

To write, or to paint my nails?  the two are not incompatible, only not in the same timeframe.  Here's puzzling proof.
Name of gorgeous colour?  Thinking brilliantly
Confession of vanity? check!
Ability to move on?  distressingly unsure

Today I heard myself described as "fragile".  I laughed heartily to try to disprove it.  That didn't work,  so I had a discussion with my friends about the box marked FRAGILE (pronounced fra jill ay) in A Christmas Story.  Funny but still considered fragile.

A definition from google's favourite dictionary:

adjective: fragile
(of an object) easily broken or damaged.
synonyms:breakable, easily broken; More
"fragile porcelain"
antonyms:durable, robust
I am not amused.  I can walk for miles.  I can make my own breakfast.  I can carry two of my five grandchildren.  I can dance to celtic fiddles.  I am not weak, delicate, frail or debilitated, although the last has a certain wine-inspired appeal.

I am marching up on 73, and damn it, just because I sleep in sometimes, it doesn't mean I couldn't, and haven't recently, pulled an all-nighter.

Those of you who think of me as fragile, stop it or beware.


Saturday, 7 February 2015

The cost of vanity

I admit it.  I like to amuse people.  Mostly that's why I tell stories.

However, sometimes the amusing things were not done for the reason of making people smile.

Not long ago, I was very pleased to find a lipstick that was almost exactly the colour I have been looking for since my hair turned grey.  Almost, but not quite.  I bought it anyway.

I was wearing it when I went out the other day and stopped by a Shoppers' Drug Mart where the people who work in cosmetics are really helpful.  "Could you show me a lipstick a little brighter than the one I have on, and it needs to be moisturizing as well?"  Those were the words that flung me into more pain than I have experienced in a long time.

"You ought to try this one...." said a perky person, holding the very lipstick I was wearing.  We laughed at how silly we were.  "Oh, now this is just in, it must be the next improvement on the one you have with the colour on one side and the balm on the other."

I looked and it was SO right.  It came in a superior case and a slightly larger size for the same darn good price, and both the colour and the balm looked wonderful.  "This is a sealer, not a'll love it."  I'd paid and was gone in next to no time.

At home that night, I took off my makeup and remembered to try the new lipstick.  Hmm, it came with a brush instead of the soft pointy applicator I was used to.  Maybe that would make the colour go on smoother.  It did.  Smoother and exactly like applying acid.  I jumped around a bit, looked at the colour, and it was so right that I decided, even though my lips were both numb and screaming, to put on the sealer.

My dear God, my lips felt hard and slick like plastic and none of the colour was removable!  After a lot of smarting, and cursing, and wiping and scrubbing, I got it off, and placed it in my purse with the receipt.

When I went back to SDM, there was no trouble offering me a refund.  "No,'s just not the refund!  This is a dangerous product!" I said righteously.  He couldn't have cared less.   In high dudgeon, I insisted he come back with me to the place where I'd bought the product, so he would be able to tell people that it might hurt.  

When we got back there, I picked up the product in another colour, and somehow realized that though it was packaged like a lipstain, it was nail polish.  With a super sealer.