Monday, December 31, 2012

dancing to the edge, of the land........

and so it begins - a new year - a new set of impossible expectations. i for one love it - i've been disappointing people in one way or another since my birth. i thrive in no-win environments. but let's not give away the ending before the show has begun.

the RESOLUTION. there it stands, an irresistible temptation.. it beckons and you can't help but be seduced. whether it be secret resolve or public declaration, you announce your intentions 

and so i come to you with list in hand and eager to proceed. my many pledges include...
- let my teats feel the breeze once in awhile
- gain weight
- discover i am talented embroiderer
- swear more
- be less cautious with perscription medication

i should tell you...
 i hoard normal like other people hoard money. i see a bits of it laying on the ground.- i snatch it up and carefully tuck it away. i tell myself, "someday i'll need that normal. someday i'll need to have my wits about me."  for now i'm content to keep it in my pocket, i'm not ready to raid my stash.

as my friend margaret atwood sort of says-
my mother and i fit together like a hook and eye - a fish hook in an open eye.

so speaking of her....
my mother and i conversed almost like a regular family on christmas day. well, almost, she spent about 25 minutes reviewing every present and when i say reviewing, i mean it in the worst possible way. "how much did that cost?" "i can tell you right now, that's not going to last." "the cookies are stale, god knows how long they sat on the shelf or did you have them from last year." 
and on and on it goes. it's like a lulaby to me. a soothing tirade that assures me everything is well with the world. she has decided now she would like me to purchase a "lay down" freezer for her. she thinks i skived her on her birthday present. she doesn't understand the $300 walmart card was for christmas and her birthday. i can't decide if she's really going off or she's just watching too many game shows and i have somehow become the host. "yes, bev i'll take the freezer for $400 and the year supply of omaha steaks. and bev, i think i'll use my free spin."

you should also know that courtesy of my sister, mother received one of those "i've fallen and i can't get up" devices for christmas. she's fantically old and i live 3500km away from her so i feel comforted knowing that she has easy access to medical assistance .....but my mother doesn't like to let any service go unused, so she's pushing that button on a whim. in lttle over a week she cried black hawk down 3 times - once to test thier response time. once to complain about the cord being wet after her shower and once in lieu of reading the instruction book. sorry medical alert people, you'll be earning your money on this one.

finally i would like to share with you my favorite tv bit from this year. i love british tv and film, so several years ago we bought a universal dvd player so i could indulge my vice. i love all the cursing, it's like all hbo, all the time. this is from an eposide "an idiot abroad".  i should warn you, there are proper nob and bollocks in this clip. so if you're uncomfortable with seeing a penis,  remember  - jeaus people, it's art, not porn. go on, have a peek best tv bit  (oh and elephant baba is featured too)

happy new year

Thursday, December 20, 2012

sally, the christmas horse......

magic and joy are sometimes not that hard to find. they are everywhere,  you must only be prepared to look in unexpected places. sometimes your blessings are so tightly wrapped in packages that they do not look like gifts at all. but when you open your heart and unwrap them, joy will just come pouring out.  i know i sound like boris karloff in "the grinch" but tis the season for such fancies.

sally, the horse, came to our farm one winter's eve about 2 weeks before christmas. she was by breed, a paint with red and brown patches - a stout little horse, almost a pony.  she was in fact the type of pony you may have seen many years ago, walking across the plains, pulling a travois and carrying a sioux mother and her tiny papoose.

in the farm house resides a girl. a little girl barely into her teens who is suspended somewhere between dolls and perfume. a little girl for whom christmas is starting to lose it's magic. a little girl who despite her tender years has already trained and broken two fillies. her calm, tender, no-nonsense manner is admired among the neighbours.  "she should be a vet," they say. but she has other romantic notions of someday attending university in england and marrying an irish folk singer. perhaps this will, one day come to be and the newlyweds will ride their ponies over endless green hills. but that is another story.......

this story is about sally and it started on the morning the diligent farmer came in after chores and announced the news.  now,  there is nothing in the world  that will interrupt home schooling quicker than to announce a horse has wandered onto the farm overnight. a streak of blond hair bolts from her seat at the kitchen table,  she pulls her boots on and rushes out. a while later that same blond head comes back in -  talking to me as soon as she opens the door. her cheeks red from the cold but her face expresses pure delight. "mom, mom she has one brown eye and one blue eye". "mom, she so wild and she whinnies so loud." "mom, she a pretty little thing" "what should we call her?" " i was thinking something for winter, like snow or tinsel but i think her name her name is sally." "well,  sally she is then," said the mother. "now come and finish your work. "mom do you think she's halter broke?"  "mom, who do you think she belongs to?" " mom can we keep her?"

sally settled into life on this new farm. she met her sisters tessie and abby and her brothers henry and old skipper. she met her donkey cousins biscuit, poppy and the cranky nancy.  she made friends with the big hound dog, birdie.  after a couple of days sally's owner was located and it was discovered that sally had already been sold and was heading for  market. she would end up being french cuisine or dog food or even the mystery meat in your stir fry.  the diligent farmer offered to buy sally but the owner said he was committed to the other sale. it was arranged that sally would be picked up in a few days when the owner had time to get her.

the diligent farmer tried to soften this news for the little gril by saying the horse was just a range animal. probably too wild to do anything with. everyone knew that horses like sally are sold for their meat but nobody wanted to talk about it.

the next few days came and went.   everyday, as the little girl fed and watered sally, she crooned her secret horse talk. sally stayed a safe distance away but her ears perked forward as she listened to the words of a love song only a little girl can sing.

in the end it was sally herself and mother nature, with perhaps a little help from father christmas that decided the pony's future. the day for sally's departure broke cold and the snow swirled thickly on the  north wind. the owner arrived to retive his wayward filly. sally kicked up her hind legs and began galloping in circles that made herding her in the snow and wind nearly impossible. after about 15 minutes of chasing the dodgy girl, the owner sighed and turned to the diligent farmer. the diligent farmer smiled and asked if perhaps he had changed his mind about the little horse's future. "yes", the owner said." i'm too old and tired to chase a little horse through the snow." so it turned out that a surprising small amount of money secured the christmas wish of a little girl and a pony.

the diligent farmer got to play hero that afternoon. on the way to her piano recital he turned to his baby girl and said "i guess we should feed sally a bale when we get home." the little girl asked, "why are we giving her a bale, isn't the owner coming back tomorrow to try and load her" "well," said the farmer, "i'm asking the "owner" if we should feed her horse."

sally has brought some magic to the farm this christmas. she is someone to be fussed over. a jaunty new halter was bought with the little girl's babysitting money to adorn sally on christmas day and a special bag of sweet oats for her and her stablemates to enjoy. this is another chance for the girl suspended between a child and a women to enjoy the delight of an unexpected surprise. it does a mother's heart good to hear here the constant chatter throughout the house - snatches of conversation about horses, making cookies, her older sister coming home......  for one more year we see get to feel christmas through the heart of a child. the care this family will give sally seems tiny in comparison to love and good cheer she has already given us.

today, with only 5 days until christmas i look out the window and see a mittened hand rubbing the forehead of a wild pony. i watch the pony follow the little girl as she goes for water and i know that sally is wishing that the mittened hand will reach out again soon. i see what love can do in such a short time. i am glad sally found her way to us this holiday season.

Friday, December 14, 2012

the christmas story..........

christmas is starting to do my head in.

the lovely terri posted her thought provoking piece surrounding the whole naivety scene. she brought up things i had never thought of before. here a bit of the post...

"but I couldn’t abide another year’s witness to Mary, prodded upright and kneeling, minutes after giving birth........Eyes glazed, these resigned Marys perch up on their knees—all the way up, restrained even from resting their bottoms on their calves".

 bloody hell, mary kneeling beside the baby jesus. i have since found myself obsessed with the holy creche. i look at them everywhere i go. today shopping in every store i kept stopping to have a peek at mary's position. when i saw one where she was up too high i found myself saying, "jesus, mary sit down." i never was bothered by them one way or another before, but now i think about them far too much. quite by coincidence, i watched a travel show the other night where they visited bethlehem and saw the manager and the whole bit. people were bent over peering inside the fenced off area.  i wanted to shout at the tv, if mary's there, tell her to sit the hell down.  people at home, i implore you, if you do have a manger scene this holiday season and mary happens to be kneeling like she in the blocks ready to do the 100m dash, push her over and let her lay on her side for a bit.

i've been reading on facebook recently a lot of chatter about bringing "my christ" back to christmas. because i rarely think things through - i thought it must be one of those word scramble things. well obviously i found christ right away, but where was "my?" there was ma christ but that sounded gangster. man, let's hang for "ma christmas". i then found sam christmas. that was a sort of a da vinci code moment for me. had i found some hidden message. i decided not. so in the end i failed to find my christ in christmas which is probably just as well because i would expect a big present from him.

finally, i leave you with this

earlier this month i was talking to my mother on the telephone. she asked me for a $300 gift card from walmart for christmas. i know, pretty damn specific and pretty damn a lot.

she also said
"don't mail a parcel.  i don't want anything for my stocking. well, not a lot anyway. don't send a bunch of crap and don't get me heavy stuff because you're just wasting your money on postage."
i said "right, gotcha ya"
i thought to myself "my god, she's like a child, she'll be asking for a pony next

so the following week i talk to my mother again to find out if  "light, crapless parcel and the gift card" had arrived safely
and immediately
she says "i don't want a tv for my birthday"
right, gotcha ya. i say.
then she says "so you can just think of something else or send me a gift card to somewhere.
right, i say, did you not get the card i sent.
yes, she says but that is for christmas, not my birthday.
gotcha ya i say.

jesus christ i know she's 89 and i know she's forgetful but honestly, she got all the other detail about my life correct. she knows who i am.  does she think i've perhaps come into a bit of money. some big win at bingo or something.

happy holidays
ps follow the link to read terri's funny, poignant "away with the manger"

Monday, December 10, 2012

the santa diaries.....

christmas has always been a very big deal for me. sadly, with my family, it was all about the presents. steady on now people, we had a naivety display in our living room and we were all happy for joesph and mary and that fantastic story of theirs. but if we're being honest i used the naivety figures as foreigners in my barbie tales. i am a good and noble person but the biblical version of christmas didn't include any gifts for me. but santa on the other hand had flying deer and a sack full of toys. so, you see, don't be so fast to judge.

where i'm from, christmas was a community event. that was one advantage to being related to everyone in your village. well that and the wide spread present exchange. everybody gave everybody else a present. the gifts were not expensive - i remember my mom giving out boxes of kleenex. the gifts also had very strict gender lines. all the men received one sort of gift and the same followed for the women. my mom often gave each man a pack of playing cards and the women a pretty tea towel. children usually got mittens or a golden book. it was truly a lovely thing. small tokens of acknowledgement.

we also did a little thing called "see the tree".  after christmas, families went from house to house seeing the tree and the gifts. each and every gift under the tree had to be shown off by the recipient and admired. men were sometimes reluctant to join in but once they got started they proved to be quite the showmen. you would have a bit of a lunch or "mug-up" at the person's house and then you moved on. it was an intricate ballet with villagers dancing to and fro to familiar steps. now please don't get the idea it was all dickens' like - the men often complained they didn't receive the much coveted knitted pecker warmer and there were frequent nips of the demon rum

ok, so then there was santa. during the holiday season he was on tv every night -  right after the weather forecast. magically, there he was - in his grotto, beseeching us to follow the christmas pledge. the pledge had to be chanted aloud daily and it went as follows

i promise to be good in every way
so that i can help make everyday
almost as happy as christmas day.
ho ho ho

as a child i was rabid follower.  now i think, absolute damn genius on the part of the canadian broadcasting corporation.  our version of create a cult - scientology north. i'm here to tell you that while some may have said the pledge with absolute confidence, there were some of us that treated it as the ultimate hail mary. my anxiety level would sky rocket around the 1st of december. i mean to even imagine that i might be held accountable for all of my transgressions was enough to have me asking for pepto bismol every night. it wasn't enough for you to repeat the pledge and mean it, you had to actually plan to be good the next day.  whatever your particular behavior might be - nose picking, fire starting, excessive talking.... you had to give it up, cold turkey. i didn't stand a chance - i was a chronic hard core talker. how the hell was everyone around me going to know what i was thinking if i stopped talking?  strapping, dunce hats, corner standing, blackboard writing, head cuffs, knuckle raps with the ruler had all been tried. trust me, if the provincial school system hadn't been able to shut me up did santa really stand a chance?

the short answer would be no. i tried, i tried so hard but they snuck out, those little opinions, those little suggestions that surprisingly irritated people. and to make it all the more difficult, santa could apparently see into your living room through the tv screen. he sometimes gave a shout out to kids named bonnie or allan - good children. i never heard my name, not even something that could be mistaken for my name. he was watching me and he could tell i was a pledge dodger. so the build up to christmas was fraught with hand wringing and compulsive pledge chanting.

then the morning would arrive and i will say every year he came. but it would not always be immediately apparent,  because that god damn, little, elfin bastard would hide my presents. that's right he hid my presents. he seemed to be saying, all right little missy i brought you that farm-set but you're going to have to hunt for it. some years it wasn't too difficult - the aforementioned farm set was in the hall closet under the extra tea bags. the dawn dolls in the spinner of the hover washing machine. but really, my giant barbie head with the silken hair you could style, was in fact in the trunk of the car. i nearly come undone with that one. i feel santa was truly being pissy that year.

so, whatever your motivations for this holiday season might be, i hope you have a good one

Monday, December 3, 2012

miss esteem takes her self to market.......

i have been to a lot of farmer's markets in my day. why?  because quite frankly, where else would i buy my barbie toilet paper holder with the green and yellow variegated gown. well that and i have merchandise to flog. the farmer's market is by all accounts rural alberta's most promising retail hotspot. this past weekend we held our communities' christmas market. the grand finale for the year. the big round up, complete with turkey dinner.  it's almost more than one"s soul can bear. 

i love going to the farmer's market but i practically come undone in the days preceding it. i worry and i worry about anything and everything. will someone bleed to death from a  paper cut after purchasing one of my homemade journals? will someone develop a festering blister from one of my book making tools? will someone  be unable to afford food for their children because i sold them something?  these questions and more are the whirly, twirly thoughts that spin in my head. the day of market i listen to eminem, loud, on my ipod and drink diet coke for breakfast. this duo being my choice drug when i'm in need of a confidence boost. there's nothing quite like an angry white man and aspartame to make a girl feel like she can fly.

by the time i arrive at the market i'm a rock star. i confess right now that i love people. love, love, love  them all.  the big ones, the little ones, the babies, i especially love the cranky or peculiar ones. for me, they represent my best opportunity to hear a great story.  this week i hit pay dirt right off the bat -  a charming old lady,  who had on what appeared to be blue lipstick in a wide swath under her eyebrows. not the eye lids mind you,  just the brow bones above her little glasses.  she also had pink circles drawn on her cheeks. i think perhaps, to invoke that fresh as a daisy look. she was pure lovely, all white haired and she was smiling at me. oh lord i thought , i've found a friend. she was so pleased with herself that i thought it  just might be possible to inhale her confidence along with her avon perfume. 

to be honest (and why not) farmer's markets are, for the most part, uneventful. during my tenure there have been no armed robberies or assaults. sure there's the constant infighting surrounding table issues. location - location. and in case you're not in the know - the place you want to be is against the wall and near the front and nowhere near the tupperware chick. you absolutely do not want to be in the centre isle because of the back to back tables. i imagine this to be like general population in prison. except old craft ladies are covered in cat hair and they tend to smell a bit past their "best before date".  i don't mind spreading myself around but i don't do general population - . well maybe i might, given a lint brush and febreze. every saturday there's always some trash talking by the girls. opera whispering about what dot does to hang on to table 3. at lunch time  you buy your egg salad sandwich and you pray to god it does not contain any short curly white hair. just saying... this may all sound boring but i guarantee if you've got a diet coke  in your hand - it's a teenie bit like dinner and a show.

i occasionally get into trouble at the market. i usually come flying in just before the cowbell rings and hastily "ta da toss" my things across my table. sometimes there's dirty talk at my table and people laugh too loud and if i'm next to the candle lady she gets all pissy because she wants everything "serene". when the farmer's market director comes over to give me shit  i just want to hold her little cheeks in my hands and say "honey its ok. get it out. i need  to be reprimanded. i'm only sorry that its probably not going to work. but you go on and give to me just the same.

this week at the market  i was positioned across the aisle from an impressive display of normal. tight perm kind of normal - she was so sweet, i could have wept. it was pretty much love at first sight for me. not track lighting, vest wearing kind of love. the other kind. i spent the better part of  3 hours trying not to scare the bejesus out of her. she spent the entire show crocheting a shopping tote from plastic bags. and the look on her face - mother mary could not have looked more serene. hopefully she and i will become confidants by the end of the next summer

 when people are cranky and bitchy it in some ways makes me all the more happy. in my head i think "ok missy, we'll just see about you. i'm about to crack your misery like an egg." i always start with normal chitchat - "it's a pretty day!" that sort of thing. then if i can't bring her round. i say "where did you get that sweater!". or "my god, you smell good" if i'm still failing i move to the straight forward approach and ask "are you mad at me?". finally if she's still there and still not coming around i start to wane and just end it  by saying "you look so sad, did your man just get out of the pen" 

we're all there every week,  the farmer's market amateur players -  the tupperware lady (whom i'm a bit afraid of), the bubble shirt seller with her impressive spiel on how her bubble shirts will fit sizes 2 through 22. the knife lady with her razor sharp personality. the woman wearing the  jaunty hat selling lamb jerky. i know, lamb jerky! honestly eating that would be like poking the baby jesus with a stick. and the man who sells environmentally friendly household cleaner who says to each and every person "i like you. i'm willing to offer you a special deal".  these are but a few of the stars in our little troupe.

if you're ever in town and find yourself in want of something..... stop by -  we put on one hell of a show.  


Sunday, November 25, 2012

guest post........

dearest readers.

the lovely terri at "workin with what i've got" has asked me to guest post on her blog. she was looking for animal tales and i had a tiny story about one of our cows.

here's a tiny bit and if you would like to follow the link and read the rest that would be wonderful. terri and i will appreciate the love

A Cow's Tale

The calf who would become “Hornet” was born on chilly winter's eve on a small Alberta cattle farm. Her mother had indulged in an unauthorized relationship with the red Angus bull the season before and the calf arrived over 6 weeks before her herd mates. The temperature that night was well below -20 degrees and the baby calf froze instantly when it hit the ground. Her little life was saved by the diligent farmer (who asked to called “diligent” in this story). The calf that would be Hornet was first called Ugly. Frostbite had claimed her tail, the tops of her ears and the end of her nose.  As winter turned to spring and spring, to summer, Ugly grew and she towered above her half brothers and sisters. Her absent ears and tail made her a small embarrassment to the herd. The neighbor, Bill, a crusty farmer, was often heard to remark "Jesus, that's an ugly calf"...............

click for more of this exciting story -

thanks bev

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

the barbie monologues........

i struggle sometimes with suitable topics to write about. yes, i could tell you tales that would shrivel your balls to the size of raisins but i can't do that. i could do it if i lived in france with my boyfriend hugh and only returned occasionally to canada to buy maple syrup but alas this is not so.

but we must talk about something or someone. so off we go.

i played barbies a lot as a child. i had enough of them to stage some really great sagas. and as a child i was fascinated with disaster preparation and little house on the prairie so many episodes of my barbie soap opera involved panic and a covered wagon. i played on the bed and i constructed my roofless wagon from tea towels and knitted blankets. i had many more girl barbies than boys so stories had to be adapted to include cousins, maids and addled aunts who would often wander off in a storm. i (Malibu barbie) always had a great number of children. i was the octo-mom of my time. the children had to brought in from a variety of odd sources. i had a couple of dawn dolls and a few tiny dolls with giant heads that served as the babies. i filled in gaps with my troll dolls ( they were forced to wear toilet paper clothes)

 often i snuck my mother's small antique bisque dolls. although i was playing with these dolls on the sly and although my mother quite prized them (she kept them in the top drawer of her vanity) - i failed to protect them. sadly disasters do not lend themselves to gentle play and slowly but steadily the beauty of the little bisque dolls declined. any attempt by my mother to find out what was befalling her treasures was met with my standard defense - talk and talk until the person just goes away. my mother had given up trying to discipline my by this age. by 8 i was a mystery to her. i was a good kid and she probably liked me but she often would just look at me in way that suggested she had not encountered my species before. as often as not she would just say "you are so queer". this was back when queer was still a heterosexual adjective.  sometimes she'd say "i've just about have had enough of you" i'll admit when i first heard that i was quite taken aback. tiny little shards of fear  came hurdling at me. was it even possible for your mother to have had enough of you and especially enough of me - i was on the whole, rather wonderful. but that particular threat starting losing its sting when i started hearing it from other people like teachers or ministers. it was then i realized they didn't mean it - they were just letting off a little steam. i was safe to carry on.

my mother was a knitter and so my barbies were dressed head to toe in her adaptions of the latest fashions. sweaters and dresses were fine but the bikinis and pants were difficult for even my imagination to overlook. the clothes were not knit from delicate baby fiber but good solid mitten yarn. swimwear was so bulky it was impossible for barbie to lay on her back to get a tan. the pants proved nearly impossible to get up the rubber legs and often ken was forced to wear his red chunky acyclic pants for the entire winter. god love her though, no occasion was overlooked. i had knitted bridal gowns, and veils, walking shorts and tank tops. everyone went around looking uncomfortable and they were, as you can well imagine quite difficult to pose. but by god they could survive a blizzard, ken could last for days when he fell out of the wagon only the troll children in their 1 ply toilet tissue frocks succumbed to the bitter cold.

i sometimes played barbies with another little girl. when we played together it was not enough to have disaster and homesteading - we had to bring famous people into the mix. we were either part of the osmond or jackson family. but because we both liked the stars of the respective families and did not want to fight over them we thought it wise for us to become wed to one of the lesser family members. when we were the jacksons, i was the wife of tito and within the osmond clan i was betrothed to wayne.

i think it must have been quite a sight - mrs malibu barbie and her husband tito atop their tea towel wagon, each clutching one of their scantily clad troll children whilst trying to make their way through the swirling snow of a prairie blizzard.

tally ho

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

practical magic......

yes, yes. that is a genie - we'll get to him in second.  things have been moving right along here on the bald-ass prairie. i, as it turns out, have a fairly interesting life. well interesting, relative to the amount of population - not hollywood interesting but clean, rural living interesting. we celebrated halloween in fine style - over and over again. jesus, who knew. my lovely friend, that throws all the parties loves halloween. so we had a witch's luncheon, a pumpkin carving potluck and a barn dance. can you bear it?  i felt like a debutante coming out for the season.  it was lovely fun. i got to visit and laugh and laugh - which after eating is my next favorite thing to do.

a psychic was hired for the witch's lunch. we had a palmistry class and private individual readings. i am behooved to report that she and i did not get on. now, i know that all of you people are good, honest folks - i on the other hand, a wee bit dodgy. so the encounter  was liken to two people who are full of shit meeting each other and instantly recognizing that they are each somewhat like the other. when i met the psychic (whose name rhymes with pretoria) i thought to myself, hey lady i know you - in a metaphysical kind of way. and she in turn practically flinched upon our introduction. i thought "yes sweetie that's right, it's me". given the right circumstances,  i'm sure "rhymes with pretoria" and i could have become the best of friends. but not that day. she was there to put on a show and i wasn't going to be a part of it.

pretoria, let's just call her that, started with the palmistry class. i was already aware that my palms are perhaps the most nondescript palms on the planet. the lines on my hands are faded and light. just like  in real life, my palms represent my inability to focus and find direction. i think they (my hands) are embarrassed by their lack of prediction and helplessly throw themselves in the air, saying "don't look at us, we're just along for the ride". anyway, pretoria confirmed this finding. dismissing me and my trackless palms and moved on to those with greener pastures. the private reading also foundered. pretoria was a practical girl, with no mention of angels or spirits named eddie. she focused instead on possible vacations to hawaii in march (not so much), the birth of my son (strike two), but to be fair, i sometimes answered no when i should have said yes. i thought, "she's a psychic, she'll figure it out" she did somehow know that my mother had hurt her thumb. i thought "bravo my dear, you perhaps do possess some magic." of course i can't tell my mother about this wondrous parlor trick. she will only say "well i guess its a funny damn thing you can afford to hire a fortune teller when you can't afford a plane ticket to visit me."

ok, sorry that went on for awhile. i just have so much to tell you and i'm not going to get it all in today. i will though give you an update on my boobs. just in case you're new or have forgotten....  i,  in my late 40's have developed the ability to grow my own leavening agent. yes, who knew you could get a yeast infection in the dark recesses under an ample bosom. well it cleared up nicely but would only stay that way if i went braless. this was ok for home but a girl has to go out sometimes. my lovely friend invited me on a trip to the city for shopping and a horse show. i was forced to don my whalebone contraption that dug into my delicate newly, yeast-free flesh.  while shopping with my friend i spotted the "as seen on tv" genie bra which boasts complete comfort and respectable support. my friend pointed out that she was indeed, at this moment, wearing the genie and recommended it highly. "why your breasts look lovely", i said and right then and there purchased one.

fast forward to the bookstore where my friend said "change your bra in the bathroom. just step into your genie bra and pull it up."

me: pull it up over my ass
friend: yes, trust me
me: jesus i'm going to require the big stall

i was thinking right about then what a revelation this is. step into your bra and pull it up. my friend is a god damn genius. i would not have thought of this on my own. i'm sorry to say that my ancestors could never have evolved to this level of personal husbandry.

i finally got into my new apparel. i practically had to get stippy-stark naked to achieve this  and i'm just saying if there was a security camera in that stall and if that footage should show up on utube... i'm sorry but what with my lack of flexibility and the automatic flushing toilet. well you know and so...

friend: comfortable isn't it
me: yes, but why are these chicken fillets things on the top.
friend: show me
me: ok
(peep show)
friend: for f**k's sake those are the support pads, they go underneath
me: oh yes, that makes sense. how do i get them there
friend: reach in and grab them then wiggle them down under
(much grabbing, tugging ensues)
me: (looking down) god damn, they look good from this angle. how's the side view.
friend: your breasts are enormous, i think the genie is doing all she can.
me: what else can we expect.

fast forward to horse show. please keep in mind i'm not participating in the show nor am i an overly enthusiastic observer. just normal people clapping.

me: jesus, look those pads are back on top. they have migrated up and around.
friend: do you have the bra on right
me: i'm pretty sure there were only so many ways i could have gone wrong.
friend. they don't look bad up there
me: yes they are like little landing pads for my popcorn and the keep my monkey food free.

this is a true report of the magic in my life

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

where children fear to tread....

i come from a people that believe the dead do not always rest easy. the ghosts and shadows that have passed on continue to inhabit our daily lives. i prefer to entertain all of this as not backward thinking but rather traditional folklore. i grew up in flurry of signs, superstitions and forerunners. i am sure you are familiar with some of the more common ones - itchy hands foretells money coming, a dropped teatowel indicates a visitor. and burning ears meant you were the subject of someones conversation. a few of the more obscure ones included whistling after dark which made the wind blow. or whistling women at any time caused the wind to change direction. crows had to be counted and a fate determined. a bad omen could be softened by spitting on the ground. no money aboard the boat, especially any thing involving the number 2. never turn a bucket upside down and for christ's sake don't sit on it; for if you do you can kiss the fish goodbye. never look back at a hearse. birds in the house - certain death or birds tapping on the window - certain illness. really, i could go on forever.......

we played in the cemetery a lot especially when certain berries were present. we ate tea berries in the spring. i have no idea of the real name or even if they are edible. but we ate them because there was nothing else yet. no blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, fern roots which we called bananas, sea snails we called periwinkles or apples. a lot of our play involved finding things to eat. that said, we played among the graves, eating our tea berries and making up stories of the people who lay below the mounds. we speculated endlessly on the tiny unmarked baby graves in the back corner. we picked flowers and cleaned gull shit off the stones. we tried to find clues about inhabitants by tracing our fingers around the granite engravings and we would pick out spots to be buried. around dark we would dare each other to lay face down on the grave of someone who had had an untimely or violent death. soon we would start to hear things and the creepers would come over us. we would run for dear life out of the graveyard making sure to close the iron gate so none of the spirits could escape........

we regularly tied to call forth the dead. we held seances and secret meetings to try and raise somebody, anybody. we chanted, tried to talk in tongues, danced around fires on the beach. god knows what we would have done if they had responded - pissed our pants most likely. we wore out more than one ouija board. in the evenings we watched as our parents played uptable. where they tried to make a card table rise without touching it.. overall we were a people determined to keep a channel open between this world and the next.........

the telling of ghost stories permeated every layer of our existence. we eavesdropped when the adults told them to each other and listened entranced when they were told to us and we in turn told them to the younger children to scare them and keep them loyal. pirates, hidden treasure, ship wrecks, pacing widows with the spyglass, the phantom light that followed boats into the harbor, the restless spirits that walked the village looking for something. overall, the quiet men told the best tales - low and earnest they recalled sighting a ghost ship in the fog. the sails in shreds, the hull creaking and the cries of drowning men. these somber stories would leave us - hearts pounding and afraid to fall asleep......... 

we often combed the beaches that surrounded us looking for coloured seaglass, food, seal jawbones, and treasure. Sometimes we would come upon a rubber boot or a glove. we would encircle it and stand arguing over who should pick it up. would there be a skeletal foot or hand inside. we would scare the bejesus out ourselves thinking of what we would find. would the hand grab us in deathly grip or would the drowned soul appear and drag us into the sea to join him. it was serious stuff and we spent a lot of time poking at the object with sticks trying to get a sense of what was to come. usually one of us would grab it, eyes closed and fling it further down the beach. if nothing emerged we would eventually muster the courage to pick it up, disappointed when it revealed no bones or ghosts. we always left it where it lay......... 

i wonder sometimes why our lives were aligned so closely to the after world. was it because we lived from the sea and kept ourselves close to portents that helped protect us from such a demanding mistress. just like ancient tribes that prepared their hunters with spirit dances and rituals, we practiced our rites and tried to appease the gods. when i grew up i moved away from the sea and came to live on the prairie; there i found the air empty and oddly light. "where are your dead?" i wondered. "do they pass over without a fight?". i started to realize that people are rarely lost here on the land - they just die. where i'm from no one says all hands died, they instead say all hands were lost. and the lost can never rest.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

pull up a stool......

sweet mother of jesus i have to write a blog post. i must stop this madness. i have been sick but really i think i've lost my nerve, i'm intimidated by all the great writers and posts i've been reading lately. i read things i don't understand and wonder why i thought i could ever do this. i am no writer, i'm just a girl asking the world to listen to a story. self doubt is filling the room so right now i must bury my face into the pillow and do it for my resume. (yes, i know that's about sex but ...)

 i just wish i were brave.

when i was a little girl my aunt bertha had a metal plaque on her kitchen wall that read "if you can't dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with your bullshit." this is one of the first things i remember being able to read and thus it took on near biblical meaning. it  became in a way, my golden rule.  so with that in mind  i will try to tell you a story.......

after being in bed for over a week with the flu,  my husband dragged me to outpatients at the hospital. i was so, so sick but not so sick that i couldn't listen to what was going on in the next cubicle. you see, even when i'm in the depths of despair i can not mind my own business. i was placed in the room nearest the nurse's station and thus quickly found myself in the know. as it turned out, the gentleman next to me was constipated or "compacted" as we refer to it in the medical trade. his condition was discussed with great earnestness by the nurses and doctor. so with his, not 1 but 2 rectal exams completed my new friend was ready for the remedy phase of the program. first he was placed on his side, then a fleet enema was performed. we all waited patiently but  - no response.  some 30 minutes later the the high fleet enema was launched. i would like to add that the junior nurse carrying out this procedure was given the how-to instructions by the older nurse only moments before performing this magic trick. i strongly believe, given a visual on the apparatus i could have managed it - that's how detailed the tutorial was. but again, despite these seemingly heroic actions- no response other than a return of clear fluid .

 i began thinking, where is this clear fluid collecting. what have we done next door to prepare for success. What, if anything is on hand to receive the goods. the very word compaction suggests this business could inflate when it hits the fresh air. i don't think a sauce pan is going to do it. and why oh why are they keeping this man on his side. i'm just saying, it's not everybody who can shit lying down - never mind on their side. i know "on my side" is not my optimum position when having to do my business.  this gentleman, whoever he is has to be in distress.  he has not made a sound since i got there and considering his condition and the number of times he's been interfered with you would expect something - some tiny "ow" or "oh my"  trust me, i strained to hear what was or could be happening.

sadly, i had to leave without learning the outcome of my new friend.  it seems you can't just stay on to see how something is going to turn out. as the dr. wrote out my prescription i wanted to offer him some advice. i wanted to  say "doctor,  how about a cup of coffee and some squats for our friend next door or at the very least we should flip him on his back and assist him in doing some mock air biking" the grateful doctor would then say, "thanks patient #18, i never thought of that.  here's some medical marijuana to go along with your antibiotics"

ta da
don't judge too harshly, i'm creatively compacted.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

when you find your self in the face of bonnie (redux)......


sorry to do a repost - terri's post about "girl crushes" made me think about this.....

i have always been someone who has wondered who i'm supposed to be. i watch others in awe as they effortlessly waltz to a song that i have never heard. for the most part, people really have everything figured out. they don't have to think about creating an identity - apparently they came with one. i feel compelled to try on other people's personalities like sweaters, attempting to feel what its like to know who you are and where you're going. i just have never quite accomplished this without people wondering what the hell was wrong with me.

my first attempt to build a better me came shortly after my 5th birthday. on my first day of school i encountered bonnie and the die was cast. she was everything i was not. i was, at this point in my life described as awkward. my hands and feet were too big for me and i was forever covered in iodine and bandaids from stumbling over myself. mum would say "god, can't you see where you're going"?
(side note - in the 3rd grade my eyes were tested and i was found to be quite near-sighted. so apparently mum, i couldn't see where i was going.)

right before school started, my mum made the decision to have my hair taken back. she had had enough of my long curly hair.  mom had this idea that my curls would not come back if my hair was cut close to my scalp and against the curl.  her friend joyce carried out her big plan. i must tell you that against the curl  and close to the scalp was not my best look. my near military cut was accented with cow licks. not quite enough to form a pattern, just a enough to make people think i was unkempt.  but enough about me - bonnie on the other hand was petite and perfect. her limbs matched the rest of her body. she had long pale yellow hair that was rod straight . she had sweater sets and cotton skirts and was shod in penny loafers. i dressed almost exclusively in a blue, slightly too small, snoopy sweatshirt and a tartan kilt held together with a giant safety pin - my massive feet crammed in sneakers. bonnie was quiet and sweet and she never spoke out of turn.  but without question her most enviable quality was her delicate nature. she seemed to be constantly in peril and she quickly became the focal point of my little world. it wasn't just me, everybody  fretted over bonnie. does bonnie have her mittens? don't show bonnie your cut because she'll faint. the dear little thing also needed a rest after lunch. we all hushed as bonnie lay quietly on the cot at the back of the classroom. how i loved that cot - it was metal and had a grey blanket with red stripes. i longed to stretch out upon it. i tried inventing and carrying out various scenarios that would end with me reposing there and being the object of everyones' pity and concern. sadly, a strong constitution and a lack of acting ability stood in my way. mrs teacher would step over my twitching body as i feigned a nervous spell. she'd be heading to her desk to get the strap. i guess she figured a few quick smacks would bring me around a lot quicker than any old cot.

i tried to be bonnie countless times, i could not be deterred by a strap or the frank bewilderment of my classmates. dammit, i would will myself delicate. my performances reached a fever pitch when bonnie returned to school after having her tonsils out. she practically lived on that cot - with teacher running back and forth with sips of cold water and cool cloths. we all sat on pins and needles wondering if she would live. at recess we would gather to express our concerns and stand crying at the thought of losing our bonnie. i was as worked up as anybody else but at the same time i thought - what an opportunity. imagine all that love and attention. i begged my mother to have my tonsils removed. i tried to fake cough them out. i would repeat, loudly, over and over all day how bad my throat hurt. i would collapse, often and unexpectedly into a careful heap of woe. i made a fool of myself on a daily basis for over a month. bonnie did it so effortlessly and gracefully, during cot visiting hours she could lift up her tiny hand for you to hold and she would tear up when you discussed her impending death.

eventually, the school year ended and bonnie was forgotten but.... as luck would have it on the very first day of school the following year i met janice, a foul mouth, tomboy whose father was in the airforce. new grade, new me.

 apparently, these were just the beginning of my near infinite number of lessons on how to find yourself. i can't tell you how many times over the years i have made a fool of myself, suffered public humiliation and made my people wonder "what the hell". bonnie began my quest to evolve through mimicry. i really owe her a lot - although i never achieved my initial objective i did end up with the spotlight shinning brightly on me.... and really, that's all that mattered.


ps i have left bonnie name uncapitalized to preserve her anonymity

Monday, September 10, 2012

keeping you abreast.........


our family just returned from another little trip to the canadian rockies. yes, i know it seems excessive, two trips in one summer is more than we are used to. we are not the high rollers my perfect grammer and sentence construction may have led you to believe we were. we are only slightly north of quite poor but we always pick entertainment over land taxes. plus, my sister and her husband had visitors from nova scotia and offered our little family the extra bedroom at the rented chalet.

we are not bogner dressed, high-end mountain park visitors. we do not quietly stare in awe at the majesty and beauty of the towering peaks.  instead we say things like "that's some high up there" "that's some god damn water pounding down that mountain'" for christ sakes, it's not a big bear, get out of the car." yes, we are those kind of tourists. in our defense we do not drink or litter or ski out of bounds (well if we did ski, it would be in bounds). i think the highlight of the drive through banff and jasper national parks are the fantastic, random animal pull-overs. you're roaring along, when suddenly you come upon cars lining each side of the road. you screech to a halt, grab your camera and jump out of the car. this past weekend  it was mountain sheep. poor, dear, mangy sheep, being photographed by tourist paparazzi. i have seen probably 500 mountain sheep in my lifetime but, well you know. ..... the sheep stand there, disinterested, hot and panting, licking salt and mineral from the white mountain stone. i take a picture, thinking you poor little bastards, i start to baa. baaaaaaa, baaaaa. not just some amateur story-time" baa" but  quality animal impersonation's sound. i scared the shit out of some poor german fellow standing next to me but i keep going. what i was actually saying to the sheep was "i have bottled water and salted soda crackers in the car, coooommmme, coooommmeee here." the sheep looked up and i didn't have the heart to take their picture. people did not start to baa along with me. i thought they might, but apparently i'm not that cool.

fast forward to this morning....i'm back home  i get up and start checking my favorite blogs. june - new,  rhonda - new, chris - new, katie - new and  terri - new. and the best bit, my sweet terri is talking about her floating boobies. well, i thought, i have a boob story. a current event boob story, a live from alberta piece of reporting.  terri has made it possible for me to talk about my boozies.

so rewind 2 days........

after a day of sight seeing, a lovely supper and laughter filled evening we all settled down for the night in our little mountain home  now i'm not the type of person who can worry about something for more than five minutes without sharing it with those around me.  so at about 11pm i went into my sister's room and said "what the hell do you thing this is". she peered at me, unfocused and startled. what was i doing with my pj top pulled up, inserting my ample chest into her face.

"i'm sleeping," she hisses
"your light was on," i retort
sister: what do you want?
me: i want you to look at my boobs
sister: yes, of course that's what you want
me: ha ha, now, smarten up and take a look
sister: they're massive
me: jesus christ, underneath, look underneath, at the rash.
sister: oh, that's a yeast infection.
me: a yeast infection, my breasts don't actually come in contact with my lady bits you know
sister: that doesn't matter, it's because your boobs are so heavy . you know all that sweat, heat and darkness.
me: those are the conditions for growing mushrooms, jesus, isn't yeast a fungus?  shoot me now. i've turned 50 and suddenly i'm the living garden.
sister: go away
me: are you sure of your diagnosis?
sister: yeah, someone at work had it
me: did you see it.
sister: no,. but she described it and we googled it.
me: that's comforting. what do i do?
sister: you have to get some monistat or fungus cream
me: how is sticking monistat up my front passage going to bring relief to my bosom
sister: you put the cream under your boobs, idiot.
me: i knew that

enter my sister's friend.

friend:  i can't sleep. the management has told the people in the next cabin to turn their music down and get out of the pool. why are there so many kids staying her?
me: it's the name. you can't very well name your resort after a native american disney character and expect the senior crowd.
friend:  i suppose, what kind of name attracts the old people?
me: " whispering winds", "the dew drop inn", that sort of thing
sister:  will you two shut the hell up, i would like to go to sleep.
friend:  yes, why are you still awake? are we talking about someone?
sister: yes, we are talking about beverly's boobs
friend: they are massive
me:  i have a rash
friend:  let me see.
me:  jesus, why not
friend: what do you think it is, pat
sister: yeast
friend:  i concur.
me:  have you seen it before?
friend:  no, but your sister should know
me:  maybe i should go outside and get the opinions of the revelers.
friend:  you should put some cornstarch and gauze on it.
me:  two items not readily available here in a national park at midnight
sister: i told her to use monistat.
friend: yes, half an applicator a boob, that should do the trick
me: well, i'm glad we go that sorted.

so on the way home i stopped at a drug store to find my sister's prescribed cream . my daughter said "please don't show the pharmacist your boobs."
me: you could always wait in the car
her: mommy please, we have all looked at your rash, that's enough.
me: what does it matter. we will never see the people in that drug store again
her: you maybe not, you're old but i might have to come her one day.
me: are you coming in me me?
her: are you showing?
me: i'll decide when i get in there. if there's a bunch of people, yes.
her: i'm coming
me: see, baby you like a big show


Monday, September 3, 2012

in lieu of angels.......


today is my birthday..

"all my life i have wanted to be older and now i am"  i thought this was a  margaret atwood quote but i have searched and searched and can find no credit for it. it is possible that i dreamed she said it. margaret and i sometimes inhabit the same dreams. maybe i said it to her. so i guess for now i'll own it. my little mantra for this big birthday. the year that dips the bow of my boat into the waves and i begin to take on water.

so, here's a tale about my yearn to normal

 i have a friend who loves to host parties. as a result we have get togethers for nearly every occasion.  when i say get togethers i mean lady get togethers. these are not swanky urban parties but instead low key and very rural.  we have egg decorating parties, christmas parties, halloween luncheons and of course home shopping parties, where we can purchase anything from scented candles to ladies' power tools. and when i say ladies' power tools i mean actual power tools not vibrators or giant rubber wankers that suction cup to the wall.

so on one of these occasions a fortune teller was hired.  and during the party we were to go off one by one and have our future looked over. i was eating deviled eggs and listening to those who had already gone tell their tales. one lady was weepy because she had received a message from her deceased mother, another was warned of a problem with her kidney but the most frequent talk was of angels. everyone had a varying number of guardian angels watching over them. benevolent celestial companions providing a supernatural buffer between you and god knows what.

when my name was called i jumped right up. my only thought being "i hope i have decent amount of angels." because you see, besides being needy i'm also competitive. so up the stairs i went to the hostess' back bedroom, now a mystic lady den.  the psychic was nice and normal looking - in a sweater set and a-line skirt sort of way.

the first thing she's says is "oh my, you have a very strong presence". i said something like "yes, that's me, what i lack in beauty i make up for in strength. so i sit down and she takes my hand and closes her eyes and i stare at her preparing to hear my final angel count.

she says:  you have many, many spirits around you.
i say: "excellent"

she says: you have one man that seems to be the leader and he's leaning over your right shoulder.
(i think: "oh that must be my dear father")
i say nothing.

she says: i think his name begins with an e. eddie maybe.
(i think: for christ's sakes whose eddie.)
i say: it may be my father, he's passed on.

she says: no, he is a stranger to you
i say: a stranger named eddie is looking over my shoulder. what is he doing

she says: he's watching you
i say: right. like an angel

she says: no, he's not an angel he's just a spirit. there are a whole group of spirits behind him
(i think: jesus, here we go)
i say: are any in that group angels

she says:  no, just restless spirits. there are men and women and one lady has sheep with her."
(i think: well, for god's sakes, i'm jesus).
i say: what are they all doing behind me

she says: they're just watching you and talking. i can't hear what they are saying, there's so many of them talking at once. eddie seems to be telling them what you are doing.
(i think: well i'm certainly getting my money's worth out of this.)
i say:  do you see anyone who could possibly be an angel?

she says: no, you just have this group of restless souls observing you
(i think: my god, my life is a side show even for the departed. could this be anymore like beetlejuice).
i say. excellent.

then she opened her eyes and peered at me through the dim. i was extraordinarily uncomfortable at this point as i was being watched from both sides.. so to speak  she says "i really would like to try and understand this more.  would you be willing to meet with me again. i wouldn't charge you." in my head i'm thinking" i'll talk it over with the group and let you know." out loud i said "i don't know." she handed me her card and i got up and went down stairs. 

like a spoiled child i kept thinking - i wanted an angel but no, i have to have eddie and some sheep. for one god damn time i just wanted to be special like everyone else.  after rejoining my friends one of them asked me how my reading went. "completely normal  i said," i had 5 angels."


Friday, August 24, 2012

shambolic mind wrestling...........

i worried about using the actual name of the restaurant "swiss chalet" in this post. well, i actually worried about it for a very short time. i don't have the capacity for long thought. i imagined instead, i would say "belgium bungalow" or "austrian a-frame", but in the end - what the hell. i'll risk a law suit. they can cross-examine mom in court. i'll willing to go broke to see that.

with that out of the way.....

people in my family do not openly fight with one another. we do not shout, scream or slam doors..  we find it distasteful to show emotion.  we instead pick away at each other, a lot like a vulture fight club. we posture and challenge and are awarded points on presentation


one hot and dusty, alberta afternoon when mom was visiting she and i were driving to town to pick up tractor parts. my mother had taken to sitting in the car when we went anywhere . she blamed sitting in the car on the airline and their one suitcase restriction. everywhere we went she would say. "i'm not going in, there's nothing in there that i need. even if i saw something i liked i can't buy it because i'm only allowed one suitcase and my suitcase is already full." if i could give you a kitten for everything i heard that....... well, you'd have a shit load of kittens.

and so it began. "the how to show displeasure with a loved one without letting on you're displeased thing"  we like to do.....

out of nowhere

mom: you know you don't dare leave your coffee on the table when you go the bathroom at swiss chalet.
me: why not
mom: because these men come along and put something into it.
me: really, like what
mom: they stir drugs in it and when you come back and drink it, it knocks you out
me: honestly! people are drugging coffee at the swiss chalet? where is this happening?
mom: in the cities. all over the place. these guys drug you and then throw you over their shoulder and cart you off
me: i fairly certain someone would notice if a fairly stout elderly women like yourself  were being carted away. what's the whole purpose of this carting off?
mom: well they interfere with you, of course.
me: old ladies in the city are being carted off from the swiss chalet and being interfered with?
mom: that's what i heard
me: i find that quite hard to believe. and by the way, where are your dinner companions in this scenario.
mom: in the bathroom

uncomfortable silence.....

and again out of nowhere......

mom: i'm not going in with you.
me: mom it's 100 degrees out, come inside. it may take awhile.
mom: there's nothing in there that i need and take the keys out
me: why?
mom: someone could take the car.
me: you're in it
mom: that's what i'm saying, people come along and take these cars with people in them.
me: who in the hell are you hanging out with or what are you reading. again, where is this crime den?
mom: in the city, in parking lots outside of restaurants and stores
me: well, i hope it's not swiss chalet, they can't take any more bad press
mom: you don't read the newspaper, it happens a lot
me: this town has less than 4000 people plus we are at a  tractor dealership. that does not scream car-jacking..
mom: that's the thing. you don't know where it will happen.
me: mother you are not going to be abducted in front of john deere.
mom: i'm not going in. i don't need anything in there
me: fine, but i'm leaving the keys in
mom: how long are you going to be, it's hot in this car.

this talking about nothing but talking about everything is how we get on. it is not, i've discovered how normal families do things. they say things like "you look lovely in that colour" or "you're an asshole" but they are usually said at separate times. mom and i like to combine the arts of entertaining and arguing. we like a big show.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

the devil in the deep blue sea.........

to begin i must tell you how much i love and appreciate the comments that you lovely, lovely people take the time to write. they are like those little love heart candies to me.  i read the message and then ingest it. remember, you don't have to say nice things about me, you could tell me about your day, your problems, items you have for sale. well, maybe not that. you can even say bad things about me because at least you're talking to me and i'm sure we can work it out. that said, i was mildly alarmed by the commenters on my last post that thought i might be sad. jesus, i don't want anyone worried i'm sitting around about to stick a fork in my eye. this is the thing, after mom went home it was like when the circus leaves town. you have entertained the likes of tigers and elephants and now the in-house talent is just not cutting the mustard. but real life is starting to reclaim its territory because after all the show must go on. so with that said. here's a tiny tale....

last fall, when i was visiting my ancestral home by the sea, my little family was spending a quiet afternoon going through bureau drawers. mom was sorting through 40 years of saved greeting cards  while i was assessing  her extensive plastic, swizzle stick collection. then my daughter pulled out a bunch of things i had made when i was young. valentines, colouring - that sort of thing.  i saw a drawing and suddenly i remembered.

me: it's a devil picture
mom: god yes, you drew those all the time.
me: i wonder why
mom:  who knows why you did anything.

the drawing was a typical one for about a five or six year old. a house, my family, a giant sun. green grass, flowers and then under the ground a devil. the devil looked like a typical devil. red clothes, horns, tail. i remember i always put him on the left side of a picture, near the bottom. he usually sat in a round hole with a path that led up to the grass or under the house. the devil was always happy, his smile as big as my those plastered on my stick family. i remember drawing him. i remember being so careful. i remember putting him in every picture. i don't remember why.

our family was religious in the most vague sort of way. i don't think i encountered satan on sunday in church. ours was not that kind of get together. but i know that he showed up in all my artwork for about 3 years. my lucifer worship period. i drew no angels, no white gods on fluffy clouds. just that little red pecker and his pitchfork.

me: didn't you think it was weird that i drew the devil all the time
mom: no, why would i worry about that.
me: i don't know why i put him in every picture
mom: well i guess you liked him

do you suppose that's true?  what comfort did devil bring me. the pictures were all happy. i even placed him under the ocean when is drew boats. i can't decide what is odder? the fact he's there in the first place or the fact i drew careful paths for him to reach ground level. i think he disappeared from my drawing sometime around third grade. i remember vividly drawing myself , my cat and him in miss perry's second grade classroom. i can't imagine what would happen now if a child repeatedly placed a happy devil under the ground in all her artwork.. did anyone ask me why he was there? did i have an answer?


Thursday, August 9, 2012

in the absence of oars.........

i wish i had something to tell you. nothing has happened since mom left. she, like a giant, ancient glacier scraped my soul to the bone. that was harsh. that poor, old woman, she doesn't deserve that. ok, so she scraped my soul nearly to the bone. it's actually quite hard to get anywhere near my bones these days. i seem to be building a rather wobbly but nonetheless thick protective layer. middle age sucks. well i'm sure old age and death suck more but i want to feel bad for myself right now. what is this new found padding for? that is the question. is it because i haven't prepared for retirement and this is what i'm supposed to live on? and what, oh what is the purpose of an ass this size. all i know is i awake in the morning to find pockets of chub where the night before there was sinewy, taunt flesh. ok, maybe not that but something like that.  jesus, i'm getting jowls and if my breasts droop any lower they may be mistaken for testicles. It seems that after a couple of burritos’and babies I changed. that is a god damn lie, i don't even like burritos', i just couldn't think of a food that started with b and one of my children was adopted so i have no real reason for the downfall. not that I ever was a tiny slip of a thing. when i was younger my mother used to say – yes, we're back to her.  she used to say to people. “feel her, just feel her. you think that's she's fat but she's not. she’s solid.” the “she” of course was me. growing up by the ocean, swimming and endless rowing had produced a body that could rival any east german female wrestler.

 i loved to row. to feel a boat pull through the water underneath you is something akin to joy. i had a small green rowboat or punt as it was called.  my friends and i would be in that boat every day that was fit to be on the water. recently, one of those friends introduced me to someone and said, "this is beverly, she's the one who told us what to play when we were little."  that was me, the imagination bully. when you played with me i decided what was going to be played, i supplied the plot, your lines and your fate. when we in the boat, i rowed and i was captain, we were either pirates, detectives or survivors of a shipwreck. even when we were just fishing, it had to be some sort of drama... we had to catch fish or we would be put to death by our fief holder or something along that line.  one of the girls was quite pretty so she was always the maiden and thus would sit in the bow and sing, the other girl being always jolly would sit in the stern and bail and the smallest girl would do the dangerous bits because she expendable. she was the one to go overboard to retrieve the bail can or untangle fishing line. she would sit wherever there was a spot.  there we were, out on the vast atlantic ocean, far from shore with no fear or life jackets. just me and my unfailing belief that i could control the universe.

i could use that girl that girl today. that girl with the oars. the one who was often heard saying,  “don't worry. i know everything there is to know.”

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

elder encounters - a field guide........

god, they look innocent enough. sweet, docile, fragile.....but don't be fooled, they will take you out.

well, the visit is over and i survived. sure, there are parts of my self-esteem i may never have feeling in again but the important part is i'm alive.

 42 days of observation and inspection. 42 days my answers never matching what i'm thinking. 42 days of internal laughter. 6 of those days were golden. my susan came all the way from the sea to visit and accompany mom home.

susan and i planned a little trip to canadian rockies. we set off much like we did when we were teenagers. a destination in mind but no firm plans. just drive and enjoy each other's company. and to keep us out of trouble my 13 year old daughter in the backseat.

mom was a bit put out about not going on the trip to the mountains. she didn't want to go because as she says "once you've seen them, the mountains all look the same". but the fact that people were off having a laugh and a look left her pissy. she predicted terrible weather and our demise. the trip was lovely, everything a mini break should be. loud music, beautiful scenery, talking and laughing and laughing and laughing. upon returning i had to give mom a detailed report of our actions. i was ready. my mother loves counting things. she's a kind of geriatric, lady rain man. i had numbers for her. the number of times i filled the gas tank, the price of the chalet, the price of bottled water, the number of kilometers i put on the car and so on and so on but the pride of my report was my animal report. i thought i am going to impress the women with these numbers. big mistake.

me: we saw 3 black bears, 5 elk, 3 deer, mountain 1 mountain sheep, 15 mountain goats and a grizzly bear
mom; that's nothing, do you know what walter and barb saw when they went last week?

me: (quickly deflating) no what?
mom: they saw 4 wolf puppies playing on the side of the road
in my head i thinking wolf puppies, are you f**king  kidding me. they saw 4 god damn wild wolf puppies frolicking in the ditch. jesus, jesus, jesus.

out loud i said... cool

never let them see you sweat.

in the end getting my charge to the airport proved to be a bit of a challenge. the weather was wicked - torrential rain, lightning, tornado warnings. mom was nervous and fretting which equals cranky. i felt bad but i was very tired.

me:  it will be alright mom. i'm sure the storm will be over before your plane goes out
mom:  well, could you tell me when you became a weatherman. you don't anything about when this storm will be over

me: we'll get to the airport mom
(what i'm really saying is we'll get to the airport if i have to body surf the whole way with you on my back)
mom: i guess we'll see about that. i'm not going anywhere if it's not safe.

me: hmmm mom, do you have any of your little yellow pills in your purse.
mom: why would you think i need a pill. i'm fine. it's you that might need a pill, you have to drive.

me: mom i'm going to make you a cup of sweet tea.
mom: that's what i'm saying, i need a cup of tea.

now i don't recommend people do this at home. don't judge me - the situation warranted some intervention.

so i got busy making the brew and i ground up a tylenol 3 and put it in the tea with the sugar. i know drugs are bad and you shouldn't drug other people but i was walking a thin line between exhaustion and hysteria.

me: here's your tea mom
mom: well, it's about time

fast forward to the airport.
i am assisting mom at the check in counter.

mom: i need a wheelchair
me: i will get you a wheel chair - right now i'm getting you a seat.

mom: i want a bulkhead seat
me: they are full.

mom: full, i need one. where is my wheel chair.
me: you don't need a wheelchair yet. we not moving. you can go sit down on the bench if you're tired.

mom: sit on the bench. if i go sit over there you'll have me sitting at the back of the plane. i want a wheelchair
me: fine.

go get wheelchair

me: better
mom: well i'd like to know how long it takes to get a seat on that plane.

move to security

security guy: do you have any laptops or tablets
mom: what is he saying.
me: no (to the security guy)
me: he's asking if you have a computer.
mom: a computer, why would i have a computer i'm 87 years old. i have a boarding pass.(waving it around)

security guy: do you have any liquids
mom: what's he saying
me: no ( to security guy)
me: he's asking if you have any liquids
mom: liquids, i have to buy water if you don't mind. i can't bring my own water because they think i might be a terrorist. i have my boarding pass ( waving it around)

in my head i'm starting to think this is getting a bit absurd. i feel like i'm in a comedy routine and
it's about this time that it dawns on me that mom is stoned.  jesus, i have gotten my mother high. well this changes everything, i have a slight bit of panic but then i think christ if my mom can handle chemotherapy surely one tylenol 3 will be ok.

security guy: you can only accompany your mother to the red line. from there a airline escort will see her safely onto the plane.
me: excellent

security guy: your mother can either be physically searched in the wheel chair or if she's able she can walk through the scanner.
mom: well i guess, i can walk,

she springs up out of that chair like a Olympic gymnast. the security guy and i exchange a look usually reserved for indulgent parents. i hand mom her coat

mom: i've got to go. i had a nice time. i love you dear
me: i had a nice time to and i love you too.

and off she trotted. i looked over and saw that susan had cleared security and she and the airline attendant were closing in on mom. my mom was holding her boarding pass like a flag bearer and asking where her wheel chair was. i turned and walked away.

mother and i parted on good terms but we were both weary. her from the weight of her winning gold medal. me from the thankless job of hosting the games.  there was no elaborate closing ceremony, no soppy good bye. a hurried hug at security with no backward glances. our eyes instead focused on the exit. both of us realize that we do better apart. long distance love.