Category Archives: humour

Leftovers Again

Extension cords in a bundle are heaped on the mudroom bench and three garden rakes lean against the wall in the television room. A truck load of new lumber wrapped in places with duct tape and hammered with a few nails landed in my back yard and helpful neighbours have carried it away to repair their own projects. Other things such as a fat suit and a play sword have just been returned to a dance group. A few useful things such as a small carpet, flashlights and a one dollar charity shop lamp ended up in my son’s apartment. Some things were trashed and some were donated. A few boxes of things are still in the car. A rehearsal hall fan, purchased by me is stored away,somewhere. These things, related by their usefulness in a recent play directed by my son seem almost charged still with some kind of weird energy, like the props and costumes in my years and years and years old dramatic play collection, now totally dispersed. My long acquired collection was for school kids. This recent collection was for theatre.

Something else has arrived here waiting to be dealt with when the energy builds to face it. A form of anti-climatic mood lingers around the place like a distant relative, familiar, welcome enough but a bit tiring after an over extended stay. Time for it to go, run along, clean up after itself,” toodle-loo” and close the door. Routine needs to be enforced and motivation in the form of new projects, hard work and completed tasks should alter the clingy mood sighing to itself in the little piles of stuff in the mudroom and also in the back of the car.

Tomorrow is a new day. Up at sunrise. Clear the decks. Green tea (gag/trying to be healthy), journals, coffee ( finally), emails, scrambled eggs ( with hot sauce) and toast, garden rakes and extension cords. Then clean the car and put the boxes in the mudroom to sit for days and days and days.

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Opening Night and They Fight and Fight and Fight and Fight and Fight

Well now, if you are tired of the old run of the mill kind of song and dance type theatre offered up by the typical theatre companies and would just like to check your disbelief at the door and join in something that is a disturbingly funny storytelling and theatre experience, Have I got a show recommendation for you!

If my blog title doesn’t ring a little bell in your head try singing it in a jingle way…meh, maybe you won’t ever get it by doing that. Perhaps just google for the sake of time.

( Mr. Burns, A Post Electric Play, McManus Theatre,London, Ontario. )

Everyone involved in this madness of art, tonight, opening night, “bravo”in an old school way and I’ll be back to see it again!

( Yes, I am the mother of the director but this is my blog and I’m plugged in, shamelessly.)

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Stretching It Out

Billed as “local literary talent” the predicament of choosing the most suitable material for the event is upon me. Two weeks from now I will be the entertainment for an age group that ranges from toddler to adult and perhaps, senior adults.
With some concentration I can recall some fun songs and rhymes that I used in my days of Kindergarten teacher. Oddly enough, at first I had some trouble dredging them up. After all it’s been four years since I had to use them daily, almost nonstop from total recall. Where do these wee rhymes go once their time and usefulness has past? Fortunately, I remember a couple and one begets another and so on.
There will be the older children to contend with and hold them rapt while the evening unfolds. Something interesting and off beat and yet relatable to their experience and understanding is required. Fortunately my drama experience will fill the bill here. Oddly though, the little book of excellent ideas that I’d put away for a rainy day isn’t to be found. It’s here in a bin or a drawer or hidden away on a shelf, snickering at me because I can’t find it or recall where I might have used it last. Annoyed, I’ve come up with something based on a drama structure that I do recall and there is more than enough for a lively hour of preteen activity and creative inclination.
The older ones, the high school kids, will have their cell phones on so their time will be occupied nicely by texting each other in the same room and I need not worry too much about them . Yet, something should be included for their benefit. My poetry may fit the bill for them even though it is not written in a thumping rap or whine. It is unrhymed and melancholic, self absorbed stuff and therefore good enough. On second thought, maybe I should bring food.
My adult audience will consist of neighbours, family and church folk with a few unknowns. Hopefully, I won’t offend. For their edification, they can join in with the little ones and do the fishy dance song and soak up the vibe of the poetry non slam that I offer. As an added bonus for them I have some short stories from my stockpile or from blog archives. These are a style mix like if Maeve, Alice and Kurt were writing together maybe with a dash of Pym and side of Herriot.
This writing is gentle, at times gloomy, at times humorous but reflective. It has taken a couple of years to write out all the emotion to the point where it is now, still holding back some of the reality and as a result any art in that respect is still unwrapped. (What would the neighbours, family members and church folk think of it otherwise?
Hmmm, would anyone recognize themselves in the mirror?
My writing mentor and I haven’t worked together for over a year because of my irregular routines, the polar vortex, my aches and pains and my lack of focus. Next week though, we will work again and see where I am headed. All it took was the friendly invitation to be the local storyteller again to jolt me into seeking this focus once more. Apparently I don’t just write for myself like a reclusive artist content with elaborate stockpiles of unfinished work. I need an audience, even one that is prone to tantrums, texting, worrying and supporting.

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No,Not Now…

Cat adoption, no, have one with issues, already.

Like cats though. Nice , cute cosy ones.

Will take an old winter bedraggled looking like death cat crying at the kitchen door out of a storm and keep the poor thing, sores and all in the basement in a warm place with food and water until granted time to recuperate further at the farm, surrounded by barn cats and made their queen.

Best cat ever, Duster also named Mistral because he was brought home the night of the first autumn storm that brings the dark clouds, wind and snow. Duster kept his fluffy tail poised to collect dust from underneath the chairs and table so the name stuck. Beautiful cat and my friend. My son’s cat too. Duster cared. Duster lived and lived and lived. His ashes are still here. Must find a quiet spot.

Little Buttons tossed on our porch by a crazy person. Alone wee thing,did ok for awhile and seemed ready for vet and the procedure but didn’t make it through the operation. My heart was broken because the wee thing had trusted me and had curled up around my wrist the first night like it knew I would love it like a mother, The neighbour and I cried about the poor little thing and gave it a Celtic burial in the garden.

Then Archie and Frances came along, siblings, from a long line of barn cats .Archie became famous and visited everyone for toast and affection. He was invited to parties. A car hit Archie and there was a big loss for everyone because he was just so nice. Children brought me cards and drawings of Archie and told me he was with God at the top of the big tree.

Frances is still here. Small, delicate, beautiful tortoise coloured, very loving but partly crazy. Frances has a time, almost every night when she has to beat up the bathmat. For an aging cat this is very strenuous. She loves me and wants to be petted however without warning she will swing a paw to scratch or bite an ankle or a hand she perceives as a threat. This early morning writing, she lays softly beside the keypad, just wanting to be beside me, stretching out her little brindle foot to touch my hand, rolling her head onto the edge of the computer and trying not to interfere too much.

Another cat, big and orange and from out of town has requested adoption but no, I have Frances and that is all I need. Out of town cat might be considered a foster cat if needed but I think he wants to just stay at his own house and learn his manners or have his space.

Frances and I, just us, enough.

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Seasoned

While the fluoride treatment completed its adhering process and I couldn’t eat an already postponed meal, I decided to browse for interesting things at the newish charity shop in town. Looking more for that special shabby literary farmhouse item rather than anything else I was ready to be charmed with a quaint but clever treasure.
Despite the large, well presented and clean ambience of the shop there wasn’t much that beckoned to me. Christmas in July was everywhere as a promotion theme and it rather saddened than cheered. In my mind I kept trying to visualize the people long associated with these items, gathered together with friends and family in urban and rural settings experiencing their own celebrations. Hundreds of Christmas mugs mixed together with dusty sprigs of holly has that effect on me.
After a couple of workarounds the entire store realizing rather thankfully there wasn’t anything I really needed or wanted I noticed a little boy with his grandparents. The little fellow was pleased to have found a Christmas bell and was ringing it to the delight of his indulgent grandpa and the aggravation of his less impressed grandma.
As I walked further to the back of the store towards the assorted used books I continued to hear the little bell .
Once engrossed in the books I forgot to listen for the bell and instead focused on finding my own treasure, scanning for titles and authors on my wish list. I found two almost immediately. Instead of being content with just the two I continued on and of course there were many others on the shelves enticing me to save them and take them with me. It was a couple of real oldies that seemed to unnerve me or perhaps it was just my sentimentality coming to the surface once more.
Leaving the book area finally and approaching the clerk’s desk to pay for the two selected books I gave a backward glance to the others but carried on sensibly ready to pay and depart smartly. Engaged in a bookish talk with the friendly clerk I found out that she had a whole collection of the one author and that reaffirmed my interest in the treasure I’d found. The other book by a much more famous author didn’t get discussed. I just wanted it anyway for my shelf. To sit there most likely unread for some bizarre reason. Some books are like that for me.
At my elbow came a soft chuckly and refined voice asking me if I was stocking up for my summer reading. The rather short person there was a long ago school friend. We chatted a little about those school days and neighbourhood and our shared love of books. She looked so much older and past her prime than she should, like some of the Christmas items surrounding us, and suddenly a little bell went off.

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Self Medicating

Looking today for(any) inspiration I reached for my daily journals. One journal is for my stream of consciousness and is often filled with things that are cluttering up my life involving cleaning, errands, bill paying and other things grownups have to do.
Another little journal is a record of the books I’ve read with a very brief comment about them. This helps me remember what I have in fact read as titles and author names sometimes are forgotten or confused. It seems I’ve also recorded many books and comments about them in my stream of consciousness journal, forgetting to put them in my reading journal. It appears that I’ve read a fair bit over the past year of journal keeping.
Another journal is for my weight release and eating habits which are incredibly boring to read but somehow, after a period of time seem to be effective, slightly, but hallelujah anyway.
Also there is a tiny little pocket journal decorated with a jaunty Christmas reindeer to record my efforts to walk more despite the aggravations of arthritis and other issues.
My journals are self obsessed and at this stage of my life that is perfectly understandable. There were the years, another lifetime, when demands were otherwise. ( Honestly I could write a book about it!)

Oddly enough there isn’t a journal about writing and there really should be one. Creative writing for me has numbed and withered on the vine so I will start writing about writing again and let the air get at it despite the irritants, rashness and discomforts of it all.

Thanks for listening, dear blog.

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Significant Bother

When the dog is here for holidays with me I do very little except take care of her. She seems to be less demanding these days which is a good thing. In March she will be two years old. In dog years , a teenager.

I still have to plan my day around her but it seems less hectic. She eats twice a day ,sleeps in her crate for part of the day , enjoys our little walks to the side of the house, usually leaves my plants alone now, responds fairly well to direction, chews fewer shoes and has almost learned to give the old cat alone time. She would love a longer walk outside but I find she is too rambunctious for my liking and I find it difficult to hang on to her, so we cut the walks short.

Given a big bone to chew on fresh from the pet store she will be a good dog for hours and exhaust herself enjoying it with gnawing and snuffling it all over the house. Almost everything about her has improved with her developing maturity except for the night time sleeping arrangement.

At night, she whines and carries on like a frantic newborn if she is in her crate. She is not going to get bed cosy with me if I can help it so the alternative is to stay up with her and we each take a recliner. Well into the night we watch television and read. She finds it quite soothing to be read to and seems to prefer the classics.

 Side by side we get through the night. She gets her ears petted and back scratched and likes to look bleary eyed into my face several times during the night. Sometimes  I even cover her up with my extra sweater or a handy blanket. My night gets painfully cramped and cold on the recliner and my sense of day and night is blurred. However, it is quieter. There is no whining. Only loud snoring coming from the other recliner. It’s almost like….

She goes home tomorrow. Holidays are over.

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Soup on a Pedestal?

At first, I thought I must have entered the wrong store absent mindedly, revelling in my new found freedom from intensive dog sitting. Looking around and beyond, I saw books on display but in my immediate space, entering the bookstore I was treated to a whole section of cozy grey wool blankets, tea making things, candles, table linens, dinnerware, yoga mats and baby gifts. Bookends, word games, giftwrap and you name it engulfed the side aisle of the store.

 Near the back of this long line of lovely things I found a display of children’s books that led in fact to a whole section of children’s games, toys and oh yes, some more children’s books.

Making a quick but thoughtful purchase of some children’s books for a family gift I made a dash out the door to avoid spending anymore money on stuff I most likely didn’t need. I was tempted but I overcame the impulse.

They didn’t really want me to buy books in that store. They wanted me to buy the illusion of the book reading lifestyle. Rare teas, rich chocolates, soft woolen throws and earthy looking pottery soup bowls on pedestals demanded my attention and my cash.

A  book lover all of my life, I keep warm while reading in woolen blankets crocheted by my sister, drink my tea out of mugs collected from garage sales ,enjoy the scent of finally using ancient candles stored for years in case of a power outage and eat my homemade  soup out of small tempered glass pot that can either be heated on the stove, oven or glory be, the microwave.

I used to go into the store to just look around at the books and breathe the bookish dusty atmosphere. I didn’t mind the scent of coffee brewing along the café side of the store. In fact I found it often a temptation I couldn’t ignore. Also appreciated were the many interesting chairs and tables around the very large store encouraging the buyer to stay awhile, read and then decide about a book purchase or not. Phased out a couple of years ago, the music section was another favourite spot of mine. Replacing the jazz, blues, folk and classical vibe are displays of electronic media stuff. Oh well. I can maybe find a music store before they are totally replaced by on line sources.

Needless to say, I felt overwhelmed and out of the loop, yet again. My idea of a bookstore keeps being made over and updated while I hang onto a dream place of quiet shelves, stocked with real books. The kind of store that the second hand type of bookstores have become. A little cramped, a little dusty, rather quaint but filled with choices and treasures of the literary kind.

I’ll go back. I always do. I know the books are in there…. somewhere.

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Dog Gone. Tired.

Three days ago the bulldog left the building. After five weeks of baby bulldog care and cleanup I was ready for her to go to her new home in the big city. The first day of freedom I just took off…. did errands…. honestly I can’t remember what I did exactly…. but it was good to get out of the house and not have to be back within a few hours for puppy parenting. The second day I spent mostly at my sister’s having a good visit and a nice meal. The third day I crashed from exhaustion and couldn’t rest because I had to clean but I couldn’t clean because I was too tired. Trying to visit with a friend who I’d met for lunch, I declined food and only sipped on soul restoring hot tea.

 By the end of that day I had swept up dog hairs, vacuumed, washed down surfaces but only in a haphazard way. The vacuum still sits in the livingroom as I need to really go over things again. Window cleaning materials are at hand and floor mopping equipment is waiting in the wings.

From the emails received I hear she is nervous of the big city and still adjusting to her new apartment. As much as I would like to help with things and this adjustment I will stay out of the picture and just give advice from afar. Just yesterday ,I sent cleaning advice by email to my very adult son on how to clean dog pee from a mattress.  Oh, they grow up so fast.

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Just A Phase

Drastic measures have been taken but only after some careful consideration of the dilemnas of the parties concerned. Those parties comprise of my old delicate, somewhat prim cat Frances, my adult son working at an exciting new job in the big city about two hours away, Miss Moneypenny ,his year old bulldog staying with me for a couple of months and myself, retired teacher. This assessment has come to be as a result of the full moon and Miss Moneypenny getting in touch with her inner werewolf.

Two days ago, the moon was full and Miss Moneypenny’s behaviour went from somewhat stubborn to somewhat obnoxious. She would not let me read my book and demanded my attention by jumping forcibly on my lap. While playing with toys it became quite evident that she wanted to tussle and wrestle rather than just have fun. Her expression changed from wide eyed innocent to ‘I’m gonna’ get you!”. Her funny little gurumphs and snuffles turned into big old yappy barks. When I felt the nip on my hand I knew she was at her limit of goodnatured play and succumbing to the dark side.

Responding to my big NO with a she wolf battle stance and a saucy head snap which is best described as a “oh no you didn’t!…” kind of attitude she tried to take dominant status in the house.  I put her in the crate and walked away and she slept all afternoon.

So considering all the needs of everyone concerned I had to re-establish some control over the situation and reclaim some authority in the house. I picked up every toy and chew bone and stored them away out of sight. Nothing was left to out to play with or left on the floor for me to trip over. Food bowls were kept empty except for water. When Miss Moneypenny was released from her crate rest session she was taken outside for her walk and breaks and returned to a quiet, no toy, no food situation that seemed to intrigue her interest for about an hour. She walked around and around the coffee table looking at me with little humble head snaps as if to say “Oh no, you didn’t take my stuff all away and I’ll be good if you give it back, I promise…please give me back my Lion, Rhino, chew things, Mr. Rope and my food.”

We started with food but only after she responded well to a command. Delighted with her food, and another outside break she came back in the house waiting for the next treat but she was commanded to get on her bed and stay. Well, she got on the dog bed but she will never learn stay. Too stubborn about learning stay, so whatever.  Anyway, she seemed rather pleased that I had adopted this more military approach to dog boarding and adapted nicely. I’m almost enjoying my dog sitting duties again.

She still needs constant supervision to avoid chewing disasters but seems more at ease and willing to do most of what I command her to do. Bored quickly with my quiet ways of reading, working on the computer and watching costume dramas on television she starts rooting around my stuff in another room looking for something to chew, eat and destroy. Like now.

Old, delicate, cat Frances remains outside during the day and well into the night as a survival tactic with her issues of dog integration into the household unresolved. My adult son continues to work in the big city at his new job responding cryptically to my frequent emails outlining the pros and cons of HIS dog.  My frustration level has been reached but my good nature has been restored by taking account of the situation and doing what I had to do.  This post ends here while I go and get her out of my bedroom and put her into her crate again for another little rest. Sometimes you just have to be a bitch.

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