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Friday, December 21, 2012

Stealing her recycling - A snapshot of life

(My blog is not only about funny parts of my life but also where I feature my short stories. This short story was inspired by real events but I’ve protected the name of the guilty.)

"I am calling the cops," she yelled over her shoulder. Her fingers holding open the blinds as she peaked through the slats. "It's theft. They're stealing people's property" she informed him.

He pulled his gaze away from the TV screen toward his wife who was standing in front of the big Bay window in their front room. He knew better than to argue with her once she got something into her mind.

"If I see them doing it next week, I am calling the cops." She pulled her fingers away from the blinds and walked back to the TV room. Her husband was in between watching his favourite show and snoozing during the commercials. "It really bugs me to see them getting away with it." He nodded in agreement although he never really heard what she said. "You're not even listening to me!" she yelled. He jolted awake. "I am listening. I am listening. You're calling the police."

"It is theft you know. People put their recycling out every week thinking the City garbage people are picking it up. They don't realize that those thieves are going around after dark taking the bottles and turning them in for money. I've seen them do it several times now."

"It's not really theft dear. People are throwing it out. It's just garbage. Who cares as long as someone takes it."

"Who cares?" she screamed at him. "Everyone cares! People go through a lot of trouble to sort their recycling and put it out. They wouldn't do it if they knew someone was stealing it and profiting from it."

"People don't really care" he sighed. "I am going to bed. I am exhausted and I have to get up early." He pulled himself out of his recliner and staggered to the bedroom. She sat back on the couch fuming. "He has no backbone that's the problem" she thought. This was clearly an issue she would take on by herself.

The next morning she stood in the big Bay window watching her husband pull out of the driveway. She sipped her coffee while peering through the open blinds. She heard the screen door of the next door neighbour's house slam close and saw her walking to the end of the driveway holding two full green garbage bags. She slammed her cup on the coffee table, spilling some of its contents over the table. She didn't take notice. She ran to the front door, grabbed the two blue bags of recycling, opened the door and quickly walked to the end of the driveway. She anxiously darted her eyes over toward the house next door hoping to see her neighbour. The screen door opened again and the neighbour came out holding two blue recycling bags full of plastic bottles.

"Good morning!" she called and the startled neighbour looked up and smiled. "Good morning" she called back. She wasn't losing this opportunity and broke into a jog toward the neighbour as if she had important news to share.

"Do you put out much recycling?" She inquired. "Not a lot" the neighbour responded. "Well, I just thought you should know that someone has been stealing the recycling bottles from our neighbourhood. I wrote down his licence plate number and I am going to call the police if I seem him again. You can't trust these people you know" she spoke like an expert on the subject.

The neighbour looked at her watch making it known she was on a time limit and had to get to work. She couldn't help but ask, "These people? Which people?"

She looked across the carefully manicured lawn and knew exactly what people she was talking about. People like she used to be growing up. Poor people.

"Well, he drives a beat up old pick up truck. I think it's dark blue or black. I'll find out for sure next week because I'll take a picture to show the police."

"The police?" the neighbour inquired. "Yes. It's theft" she informed her. "Don't you think the police have more important things to do?" She cocked her head to one side like a dog. "No, I don't. That's what they are there for. To protect our neighbourhoods. These people are turning that recycling in and making money off it."

The neighbour lifted her full blue bag of plastic bottles. "This whole bag wouldn't get you $2.00." Then she remembered something. "He's not stealing. The lady across the street knows him. He collects the bottles in the night time because he works during the day at Canadian Tire or Walmart or somewhere like that. He brings them to the recycling depot because he has a daughter who has a physical disability. I can't remember what kind but anyway, he is saving for a wheel chair for her."

"That's what government is for! He shouldn't be stealing from us." The neighbour was stunned. "It's stuff we throw out. He's trying to help his child the only way he knows how."

She locked eyes with her neighbour. "Stealing from us is the only way he knows how? That's why I don't want those kinds of people going around our neighbourhood at night when we are sleeping."

"Do you mean poor people or disabled people?" The neighbour challenged her. "You've obviously never been poor. If you have nothing better to do with your life than peek out through your blinds and spy on your neighbourhood maybe you should find something productive to fill your life with."

She was appalled. How dare the neighbour talk to her like that. She had lived on this street for almost 30 years. She had seen four families live in the house next door. Each one more obnoxious than the last.

"I knew when I saw you moving in that you were no better than that crowd of hoodlums that moved out" she stomped toward her front door. This would upset her whole day. Maybe her whole week. She began to grind her teeth thinking if her husband had supported her on this issue last night she wouldn't be having this conversation with the neighbour.

She decided he would hear about it tonight.

"Maybe you feel sorry for those people but I don't" she yelled over her shoulder at her neighbour.

"Maybe you should look at those people and say ‘There but for the Grace of God go I’" the neighbour yelled back.

Imagine bringing God up to her she thought. Sure she ran the church. She was there every week giving money and her valuable time. Not too much though because you know it's never enough for those people. They always wanted more.

Besides they never once thanked her in the Sunday bulletin for all the good work she does. She decided then and there to call the Church secretary that day and complain.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I've got it in the bag

I actually do have it in the bag! My chiropractor tells me every week.

At each visit he lifts my purse and weighs it. He once clocked it in at 9 pounds.

It seems my purse and my butt have something in common, they are both getting bigger with age!
I have this weird attraction to big purses. The bigger the better. My purse is one size smaller than an airplane carry-on and one size bigger than a Sobey's bag.

My doctor told me to get rid of the big bags and downsize... and I did. I took everything out of my big bag and switched to a compact model. At my next visit the doctor noted the smaller purse then lifted it. "It still weighs as much as a small child!" she scolded me."It's smaller" I protested. "But you didn't lose any of the content! You don't need all the stuff in here!" she informs me.

So that night, I emptied the contents on top of my bed. My wallet weighed the most. So I decided to start there. Tucked in one side - 15 pictures of my kids. Starting with my son's kindergarten picture (He graduates from high school in June.) Then various Walmart Christmas poses of the kids together, me and hubby, hubby and kids, me and kids, etc. It dawned on me, I need to buy a photo album. They all have to go, except the latest pictures of the kids and the picture of me and hubby wearing cowboy hats, and the one of daughter wearing the angel wings and son's kindergarten picture. All the rest are going in a photo album.

On the other side of the wallet are receipts. Receipts from Walmart, Canadian Tire, Sobey's, Lawton's, etc. Apparently I shop a lot. The latest bill was from yesterday, so I need to keep that just in case I need to return that $7.00 T-shirt to Walmart. The oldest one was from 2010. A toaster I bought at Canadian Tire. I wonder if they'll take it back? I do have the bill!

I threw out a wad of bills that could choke a horse. Including the one for the $7.00 T-shirt from Walmart. If it falls apart I am just going to have to suck it up.

On the outside of the wallet is the zipper compartment that is swollen like a fat lip. I pour out the change and count $13.75. Lots of pennies. Am I the only one still using pennies? I blame most of my back problems on the Canadian Mint. Carrying around these loonies and toonies is hard work. I need to keep the change for coffee and parking meters. I put the pennies in my daughter's piggy bank.

Behind the zipper is a long slot for paper money. There's none there. Who carries money anymore? It's just an ATM and credit card. I need to keep both.

Now my wallet is about three pounds lighter.

On to the make-up bag.

It's full with blush, concealer, mascara, powder and four different colour lipsticks. It just occurred to me, it's the first time I've opened this make-up bag in about a year! I never use this make-up. I put it on in the morning at my make-up dresser and don't touch it again till later in the day. (I keep the necessities - lipstick and face power in a desk drawer at work.) I never use this make-up bag but I can't let it go. The purse seems lop-sided without it. I may need it someday. I know if I take it out tonight I'll go looking for it tomorrow. I may need to do a total make-over while waiting at a red light. I decide to take out three lipsticks but the bag stays.

At the bottom of the purse is an endless mess of tissues, Tic-tacs, nail-files, more receipts, more pennies, two more lipsticks. How did I become "The Old bag Lady?" My Mother once found a harmer and screw driver in hers.

I once found the TV remote in my purse. It had been missing for about a week. We searched every chair cushion and nook and cranny in the house but couldn't find it. I was at the check-out at Sobey's when I reached in to grab my wallet and pulled out the remote.

The truth is, you don't know what you're going to find in my purse when you put your hand in. I could be stranded on a desert island for months and survive on what's in my purse. It would be based on a strict diet of Tic-tacs and Lifesavers, my make-up would be perfect but hubby would be pissed that he finally got months of uninterrupted TV but couldn't change the channels.

So I down-sized to a "lighter" model. I can't give up the big purses, size does matter to a woman too. But I lost about five pounds in the process. I can't wait to visit my doctor to see what she has to say about my sudden weight-loss. My back does feel better.

Just like the weight of the "girl" has been taken off my shoulders!

Monday, November 26, 2012

This city needs street smarts!

What's wrong with people? All of a sudden nobody knows how to drive.  Especially when they get to Stravanger - Aberdeen Drives.

Every time I drive by a collision in that shopping area I just shake my head. Traffic is always a mess there but what rots me the most is, it is so easy to fix!
Dennis O'Keefe! Here's some free advice that will get you elected again and again for the next fifty years!

NO LEFT TURNS ON STRAVANGER DRIVE or ABERDEEN DRIVE!!!! RIGHT TURNS ONLY!!!
See easy.

I hear what you're saying, "People will do it anyway and cause accidents!" I know. You make it idiot proof and the world makes better idiots. So put in a concrete barrier to stop people from turning left. I am sure the insurance companies will pay for it. Look at all the money they'll save instead of having to pay out thousands for fender-benders and whip-lash.
Oh I know what you're thinking, "I need to go to Costco so I have to turn left when I leave Tim Horton's." No you don't. Turn right. Turn left at the lights by Boston Pizza follow Stravanger Drive around the loop and you'll end up next to Walmart. You don't need to turn left.  Even better, other cities have  U-turn lanes at intersections.

Also, put service road connections between the stores. So when I leave Reitmans I can drive across the parking lot and go to Dominion. I shouldn't have to drive onto Stravanger and join the grid-lock there.  Service roads! They're cheap and easy to install.
While I am at it. Let me fix Torbay Road for you too.

If you hit Torbay Road between Major's Path and Stravanger during morning rush, lunch time or at five o'clock, you're in for a good twenty minute wait. Unless there is a fender-bender then you can cancel your plans for the day.
Once again, easy solution.

The traffic lights at the Torbay Road - Major's Path intersection are not in sync with the traffic lights at the Torbay Road - Stravanger Drive intersection. So even if the light is green by Major's Path, you can't move because traffic is backed up due to the red light at Stravanger Drive.
If one car comes down Major's Path, the lights turn red at that intersection and five hundred cars on Torbay Road are grid-locked.

Here's the solution. The traffic lights at Major's Path and Stravanger Drive have to be in sync. The lights should stay green for a full ten minutes to let the traffic flow to Torbay and Stravanger Drive. By that time there will be a line up on Major's Path  turning left. Then they can go through when their light turns green.
I can hear your protests. "So what about when I drive by at ten o'clock at night? I'll have to wait for ten minutes for the light to change!"

No you don't!
The traffic lights can be put on a timer. The ten minute lights will only happen between 7:00 - 9:00 AM, 11:00 - 2:00 PM and 4:00 - 6:00 PM. The rest of the day they will operate as normal.

These are simple solutions that cost next to nothing and will save a lot of frustration for people. The city of St. John's needs some street smarts.
It just makes sense.

I've had a lot of time to think about it. I wrote this entire blog sitting in Tim Horton's parking lot waiting for the idiot in front of me to turn left on a Saturday afternoon.  I hope when he gets to Costco he finds out Tim's gave him my coffee with one sweetner and two milk because I just realized I have his coffee with four sugar and four cream!
Tim Horton's, I feel another blog coming on!!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I am going to step on your humbug

So Shopper's Drug Mart stopped playing Christmas music because customers complained it was too early. Really? Didn't they care about the customers who loved it?

I play Christmas music all year 'round. I have, I guess what would be considered an antique stereo system. It has a turn-table. It also hold five CDs. It has held the same five CDs for a few years now: David Foster - The Christmas Album, Josh Groban - Noel, Andrea Bocelli - My Christmas, Country Christmas featuring various Country artists and of course, Elvis Presley - Christmas Duets.
When I turn the stereo on it automatically goes to the CD player. So in July when I start cleaning the house on a Saturday morning the first thing I do is turn on the stereo for background music and it's instantly Christmas! All my Angels are heard on high.

I am vacuuming to Elvis's Blue Christmas, dusting to Andrea Bochelli's Jingle Bells and folding laundry to Josh Groban's Silent Night. 
How can you get sick of Christmas music? What kind of cold-hearted, sick person are you?  You're suppose to have your Christmas spirit all year round.

When I hear people say "Oh no Walmart has Christmas decorations out!" Or "The neighbours have the tree up already." I just want to kick them right in the jingle balls.
My tree went up last weekend. I love putting the tree up. Every ornament on our tree has a special meaning: Our First Christmas together bulb, Baby's First Christmas silver boots, Baby Girl's first Christmas pink rattle. Ever where we travel we find a Christmas ornament to hang on our tree. I have a gold-plated Graceland ornament, Grand-Ole Opry bulb, even a piranha wearing a Christmas hat from Roatan in Honduras! The tree is full to the brim with twenty years of memories.

Putting up the tree is not about getting an early start on Christmas for me. It's about re-living Christmases past. I don't have three ghosts to show me how my life could have turned out. I have a tree full of ghosts telling me how lucky I am.
The kids love decorating the tree with me. They get so excited  going through the box of ornaments finding the ones they picked out over the years and the ones about their lives. My son is finishing high-school this year and plans to go to the Air Force to be a pilot. He will be moving to Kingston to start his Engineering degree in September.  Which means this will probably be the last Christmas that he'll decorate the tree with me. I had a hard time holding back the tears when he found all his Star Wars ornaments and lined them up together on the tree like he's done since he was seven.

What's wrong with people? Don't we need a little Christmas all year long?
I love Christmas. I love the parties, the decorating, the lights, the chocolate coconut-balls that everybody buys at Costco and pretends they made from scratch.

I love hiding the presents, wrapping the presents, opening the presents. I love going to Church to see the Christmas pageant especially when the kids were in it.
I love a White Christmas. I love dancing to Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree and I really love it when I am the Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.

How is it possible to hate Christmas music? Don't you feel the tears swell when Bob Seger sings Little Drummer Boy? Don't your heart swell when you hear John Lennon's Happy Christmas War is Over?
I remember being a Holy Heart cheerleader and dancing to Jingle Bell Rock from the Confederation Building to the Avalon Mall wearing three pairs on nylons to stay warm. Who doesn't do the actions to Madonna's Santa Baby? I always laugh when my BFF hears Feliz Navidad and changes the words to "Please marry Dot." It never gets old.

How do you not sing out loud to Frosty the Snowman. The words are tattooed on your brain for God's sake and like you don't imitate Alvin during the Chipmunk song.
What about driving in the van singing "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Had a very shiny nose" and the kids in the back singing out "Like a light bulb!"

Like you're not marching around the store when Snoopy's Christmas comes on.
Hubby loves  Jim Reeves - Old Christmas Card. He sings it whenever it comes on and I love it when he does. I have kept every Christmas card he ever gave me because of that song. 

I love Christmas music all year round because it brings back such happy memories for me. Every song makes me smile, laugh, dance or cry. Even the VOCM Christmas song makes me cry.
I don't like people who don't like Christmas music.

Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun in September  1897.
She wrote:

DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.
Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

The Editor of the Sun published his much loved letter. Ending it with "No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood."
So Humbug to you people who say Christmas comes too early each year. It should be Christmas all year round. Turn up the music Shopper's Drug Mart. I'll dance in your aisles.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I'll tell 10 friends

Remember the days when the worst thing an irate customer could do was tell ten friends?

If you did a customer service or business courses over the past fifty years you have heard a professor say "Every irate customer who complains tells ten friends and influences their buying decisions."  Or "For every customer who complains there are ten more unhappy customer s behind him who won't take the time to complain. They just stop doing business with you." Likewise for happy customers, they also tell ten friends how happy they are.
Fast forward to 2012 and social media. The power of social media has killed that theory. Businesses no longer worry about irate or happy customers telling ten friends. Now it's more like telling ten thousand  friends and destroying your company on the internet.

Recently my 12-year-old daughter and her friend when to McDonalds on Torbay Road for lunch during her school day. The ATM machines at BMO went down and her card was declined. She didn't have any money on her and didn't know what to do. It was the first time her card had been declined.
I am sure as adults we all know what it's like to stand in front of the cashier praying that "Approved" comes up on the machine but to a tween-aged girl it is the ultimate embarrassment. One that may stop her from ever returning to a McDonalds again. After the card was declined for the second time the server behind the counter said, "Your lunch is free" and pushed her tray towards her.

My daughter didn't know what to do but the server simply said, "The food is cooked. Go ahead and take it. Today lunch is on us." My daughter and her friend walked away giggling like they had won the lottery.
A very important lesson was learned here. That server could have taken the tray away or made a big fuss to embarrass her and my daughter could have walked away humiliated and hungry. The server made an executive decision that sent a social media wave of good comments throughout the world without knowing it.

There's nothing more important to me than my kids. When someone shows them kindness it touches my heart. When my daughter told me what happened. I put it on my Facebook and Twitter pages and instead of telling "ten" friends, I told about 1500 friends! Three of my Twitter followers retweeted it to their followers, reaching about three thousand. A dozen or so people "Liked" it on my Facebook page, which meant all their friends saw their "Like" and who knows how many read it and smiled.
Here's the thing. My daughter has only been to McDonalds three times since the school year started. So she's not a "Valued" customer. McDonalds is not going to go under if she doesn't come back to spend $5.00 on lunch. As a footnote, McDonalds is cheaper than the school cafeteria.

My son had the same dilemma at the same time with the BMO debit machines down. He is in grade 12 at Holy Heart. Every lunch time for the past three years he has walked to Sobey's on Merrymeeting Road to buy lunch. The servers behind the counter recognize him and make small talk with him. They say "Hi" as soon as he comes in. On Friday, he was at Sobey's buying his lunch when the ATM machines went down. He called me to say his card had been declined twice and the ATM machine in the lobby wouldn't work.  He also didn't have cash on him.
I asked "Can they give you your lunch and let you pay for it tomorrow?" He said "No." So he went without lunch and walked back to school hungry.

My son is a "Valued" customer. He buys his lunch at Sobey's every day. Yet they showed him no good-will. That upsets me. Would Sobey's have gone under if the server had given him the$8.00 lunch for free or let him pay for it the next day. I don't think so.
Take a look at the top of this page. The number of people who read this blog is well over 24,500! I am not telling ten friends how pissed I am at Sobey's, I am telling 24,500!

Social media has not only changed the playing field. It is the playing field!
Remember Rod Stewart's song "You're in my heart?" Well that's considered an "Oldie but goodie" now. Today's version would go like this: "You're in my blog, you're on my social media role, you'll be in there till we grow old."

Every time someone Googles "McDonalds" or " Sobey's" my blog will show up. Every time someone reads my blog and "Shares" it with a friend the story gets told again. They'll tell 1000 people and they'll tell 1000 people and they'll tell 1000 people.
There's an old saying that "Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking."

I agree. McDonald you did the right thing when nobody was looking. Sobey's you failed.

Monday, October 29, 2012

You're not the boss of me!

I was a little shocked to read  the Central Health Board Authority  put a policy in place that says workers have to get a flu shot or face being sent home without pay if they are sick.

I don't work for Central Health or in the health care field at all but I do have a huge problem with this policy.

How far can an employer go when it comes to what you want or don't want to put in your body?

I had the flu shot a few years ago and I was sick every other week for a year. I swore I would never get it again and I am not! I am in reasonably good health. l take my vitamins including my vitamin C. My immune system is good. I fight off the flu at a pretty fast rate although I have had a few that kept me in bed for a few days. But that's normal.

What's in a flu shot? According to Google: In a flu shot which is actually a shot and not the mist there is the dead virus. It is the actual flu that is dead and then they make it into a shot to administer it into the body in order to help fight off the actual flu.

So you want to shoot me up with a dead flu virus so I don't get the flu! Not happening!

The real question here is how far can an employer go when it comes to your body. Well if they can force you to be injected with a virus against your will, how about forcing you to take contraception?

What about if an employer says, "Well we have a lot of young women on our payroll. I don't want them all getting pregnant at once so our new policy says all women of child bearing years cannot get pregnant until they have been with the company for five years. If you get pregnant without my permission you'll be fired."

Sounds ridiculous I know, but is it really? If an employer could stop women from taking a year off to raise babies would he?

Does an employer own your body as well as your mind?

How about telling women if they are allowed to have an abortion? Even after rape? US Presidential candidate, Republican Mitt Romney, stood behind Indiana Senate hopeful Richard Mourdock who said pregnancies that result from rape are "something God intended."

Not my God. He didn't intend that.

For a long time politicians with penises have been trying to tell those of us with vaginas what we are and are not allowed to do with our vaginas. 

Those same politicians with penises make laws that tell us who can touch our vaginas (apparently only people with penises like them) and who can live in our vaginas (Only straight babies whether they were a result of consensual or non-consensual sex).
 
Some people with penises even try to tell us at what age we should stop using our vaginas (older women don't need sex).

People with penises should not be sticking their nose in our vaginas any more than an employer should be sticking their nose in our immune system!

I'd like to say it's all too foolish to talk about but is it? Think about it.

You have to be injected with a virus to keep your job.  What stops an employer from making a person sign an agreement saying they won't get pregnant and take maternity or paternity leave for the first five years of employment?  Where does it end

Ever since Eve took the apple off the tree people with penises have been debating and making laws telling those of us with vaginas what we can and can't do with our vaginas for years. 

There are no laws about what people with penises can do or not do with their penis.

Is it legal to force an employee to be injected with a virus when they don't want it? I'll leave that up to the legal experts.

Is it immoral? Yes. I think so. Our employers may have our minds but our bodies belong to us.

This is my body. Don't stick your fingers in my immune system and while you're at it, take them out of my vagina too!

You're not the boss of me!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Paying to pee, parking meters and basic TV

Remember when you used to have to pay to pee at the mall? The urge would strike in the middle of Woolco and you would run to the bathrooms at the back of the store only to find out you didn't have a dime to put in the door. I guess employees at Woolco got tired of cleaning up pee on the floor and decided to let you have this basic human need for free.

Smart choice I think. There's some things you shouldn't make money off. Pee is one. Healthcare is another.
I remember one time when my daughter was about nine, she had the flu. It got worse by the hour. She was throwing up continuously and couldn't keep so much as a glass of water down. Her fever shot through the roof and I decided to take her to the Janeway Children's Hospital. The only reason I waited was a raging storm was happening outside and I didn't want to drive when the roads were snow covered and slippery.

I put her in her snowsuit, belted her in the minivan and made my way to the Janeway slipping and sliding all the way.
When I got to the Janeway parking lot there wasn't a space available. The lot was full. So I had to park in the Health Science's parking lot. By the time I found a spot she was sound asleep. I lifted her 90 pound body in my arms and made my way across the stormy lot like I was walking through the Arctic tundra. The snow plough had made a four foot high wall of snow around the lot and I bravely scaled it without dropping my daughter .

By the time I got to the Janeway I looked like a nomad that had been wandering the ice plains for years. I was exhausted and ready to pass out myself. After a four hour wait we finally got to see a doctor who confirmed she had pneumonia and needed antibiotics.
I bundled her back up and made the long track back to the minivan only to find I had a parking ticket!

A parking ticket!
Steam was coming out of my ears! In my rush to get my sick child through a storm to see a doctor I forgot to put money in the parking meter. I was furious. Why the hell should I have to pay this ticket. I wasn't in shopping. I had a child with pneumonia. A 90 pound child that I had carried through a snow storm, sat in a waiting room for four hours with and then carried her back to my van. I should have been given a frigging Olympic medal for the Mom triathlon! Not a parking ticket. 

When I went to leave my van was stuck in the snow. I had to keep putting it in drive and reverse till I could rock it out of the parking space. By this time my anger level was at an all time high. I put it in reverse and floored it. The van jumped out of its tracks and flew back a good two feet, hitting the meter. I got out to look. The pole was bent a little and the head of the meter slightly hung down in shame. So I kicked it and said "You deserved that you bastard!"
Why are there meters in hospital parking lots? Oh, so the university students don't park there and take up spaces all day. Really? There's not a better way to monitor that? We found Bin Laden but we can't catch a poor starving student trying to freeload at the hospital?

Another thing. What's up with the TV rentals. My 85 year old Mother was in hospital for weeks. Her kidneys are failing, a valve in her heart is leaking and her body is dying. She loves her soap operas. It would kill her to die and not know what was happening on Days of Our Lives. So she rented a TV with basic cable.
$11.50 a day plus tax! That's what they charged this dying senior on a fixed income! Who the hell is making money off my dying Mother and her soap operas?

Are you telling me the Department of Health can't negotiate a better deal than that? That they can't buy cable for the hospital and give it to patients for free? This is so wrong!
What happens to the people who can't afford to pay $11.50 a day. They just lay there in bed all day staring out the window. They're forced to eat hospital food three times a day. Aren't they suffering enough? You're telling me the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador can't afford free TV for the sick? Didn't they donate a million dollars to Haiti? What about our poor?

There's an old saying, "You judge a country, in our case province, by how it treats its most vulnerable, its poor, it sick, its weak."
There are some things you shouldn't have to pay for in life: When you want to pee, when you need a parking space at the hospital because you're sick and a TV when you're hospitalized.

If I have to pay an extra few cents in taxes to cover that, so be it. A dying woman should not have to miss her soap operas because she's broke. A nine year old girl with pneumonia shouldn't be given a parking ticket. A women with a bladder problem shouldn't have to pee  in her pants because she doesn't have a dime and governments should not have to be shamed into doing the right thing.
It's 2012. When it comes to healthcare our energy should be targeted at finding specialists to work in the hospital, not bickering over TV bills and parking lot slot machines.

Let's use our common sense. Get rid of the meters and ask Rogers for a good deal on cable.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The secret to a good marriage is pot-roast

A happy marriage is easy to achieve if you know what you're doing. I discovered early in mine that a pot-roast can greatly improve it.

Hubby never wants anything fancy. His idea of spice is salt and pepper. He's a meat and potato kind of guy. We take turns cooking. He BBQ's like a pro and I do my cooking in the kitchen.
Every morning for almost twenty years the first question he asks in the morning is "What's for supper?" Then he'll call me at some point during the day, make small-talk and slip in "What's for supper?" He'll call when he leaves the office to ask how my day was and ask nonchalantly "What's for supper?"

About ten years into the marriage I started to notice a pattern. In the morning when he asked "What's for supper?" If I told him "Spaghetti" He'd be in a bad mood. He'd call during the day and ask "What's for supper?" and I'd repeat "Spaghetti" and he'd go on about what a bad day he had. Then he'd call on his way home and ask "What's for supper?" and I'd say "Spaghetti" and he'd say how exhausted he was and how he wasn't even that hungry.
Then I noticed when he asked in the morning "What's for supper?" and I said "Fried cod" he'd be a little happier. He'd call during the day to ask "What's for supper?" and I'd say "Fried cod." He'd say his day was ok and we'd hang up. Then he'd call on his way home and ask "What's for supper?" and I would repeat "Fried cod."Then he'd say he was tired but hungry.

One morning he asked "What's for supper?" I said "Pot roast." He jumped out of bed and skipped to the shower. He was all smiles and jokes and before he left he asked "What kind of pot roast?" "Pork" I told him. He skipped out to his truck and went to work. He called me half way through the day and asked "What's for supper?" "Pork roast" I assured him. He went on and on about how great his day was and how much he loved his job. Then he called when he left work and asked "Are we still having pork roast for supper?" He sounded like a kid asking "Is Santa coming tonight?"
So I decided to experiment on him and started changing around some variables. In the mornings when asked "What's for supper?" I'd say "Pot roast." He'd skip to the shower as usual. Then when he called during the day to ask "What's for supper" I'd say "Pot roast" then wait a few seconds and say "With salt meat." I could hear him jumping  up and down with happiness. Then he'd phone on his way home and ask "How much salt meat did you put on?" I felt like a dominatrix at this point and say "The whole bucket." It would take his breath away. I thought he would pass out with happiness.

Then I'd change it around and say "Chicken." Chicken just got a yawn and a "OK kind of day" out of him. Pasta ruined his day completely. Taking out anything for him to BBQ would make him happy, but nothing had the effect that pot-roast had on him.
Our marriage is into the second decade and I have used three full bottles of gravy browning making gravy for pot-roasts. I have friends who's marriage never made it through one full bottle of gravy browning. Maybe that was the problem.

Over the years I have learned to shake it up a bit. When he'd call half way through the day I would say "...and I picked up a chocolate brownie cake at Sobey's for dessert." He run around his office giving everyone high-fives. Pull the car over on the way home and help elderly ladies cross the street. He'd be giddy as a school-girl.
Then there would be days when I was pissed at him for something. I'd take the pot-roast out of the freezer in the morning to thaw. He'd phone half way through the day and ask "What's for supper?" and I'd say "McDonalds!" Then he wine and say "But you took out a pot-roast!" So I'd go in for the kill and say "I am too tired to cook it." I could hear the let-down in his voice. I'd feel empowered like the Soup-Nazi" on Seinfeld saying "No pot-roast for you!" The power would all be mine.

I am thinking of applying for a government grant to do an actual study on "The affects of pot-roast on men." I think it's a stupid enough idea to qualify for thousands in grant money. Then I could round up a room full of husbands and feed them pasta one night, chicken the next, then pot-roast. I'd get them to fill out "Happiness charts" and measure their endorphins. I'd become famous and write a book called "Saving Your Marriage with Pot-Roast!" I'd be on Dr. Phil and probably get my own reality TV show.
My Mother always said, "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach." Although my sister Rose says, "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach then you have to pull up on the knife, go through the rib-cage and then you'll get to his heart."

It's the simple things that make marriages work. He brings up my coffee every morning. I cook him a pot-roast. It's all good. It comes down to trying to figure out what makes each other happy.
For me, it's shoes. For him it's pot-roast. It works for us.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Goldwing and the Cat

Fall is in the air and hubby says it's time to put the Goldwing in storage for the winter. He is going to start winterizing it this week. It made me think back to a couple of Falls ago when I drove a mini-van that I could never park properly.

Our house is on a corner lot. There is a one car driveway in the front of the house where the garage is, which is mine and a two car driveway on the side, which is for hubby's toys.
One Saturday I left with our daughter to go to her dance classes and hubby stayed home to winterize the Goldwing so he could store it for the winter.

After dancing for two hours and trying to recover from a birthday party sleep-over, my daughter was not in a good mood to say the least. She was cranky, tired and just hard to handle. By the time I got back home she was having a complete melt down and looked like the Exorcist in the back seat. I was trying to back into the driveway while looking into my side-mirrors to make sure I was staying on the asphalt. At the same time I was trying to keep an eye on Linda Blair in the back seat to make sure her head wasn't doing a complete 360.
Then I heard a "Bang!"

I looked in the rear-view mirror but couldn't see anything. I looked in the side-view mirrors and couldn't see anything. I was too far away from the garage door to hit it. So I put the van in park and jumped out.
There laying wounded on the driveway was hubby's pride and joy, his only reason for living, his prized Goldwing. Lying on its side... softly crying.

I knew I was going to be killed. I had to think fast.
I pulled the mini-van out of the driveway and parked it on the street. I got the Exorcist out of the back and dragged her in the house kicking and screaming. I called out to hubby but he didn't answer. So I ran upstairs looking for him. By the time I got to our bedroom I could hear him in the driveway cursing and swearing. I ran back downstairs and out to the driveway. Before I could say "Sorry" he looked at me and said "I am going to kill that cat!"

"The Cat?" What did the cat have to do with anything?
He saw the question marks in my eyes that were holding back the flood of tears that I was getting ready to spill while I begged for forgiveness.

"That God damn cat knocked over my bike. I went to the basement to get something and when I came back the cat was sitting on the bike. She must have jumped from the porch roof." He stood there scratching his head looking from the porch roof to the bike.
"The cat! Yes that damn cat" I agreed with him. I was a woman on death row if I had to sell-out the cat then so be it. "I've always hated that cat!"

"Help me pick it up" he asked. So I did my wifely duty and helped him put the bike up right. The tail light was broke and there was a big black scratch from the asphalt. "There's no damage at all" I lied. He was pissed. I tip-toed back into the house where I knew I'd be safer with the Exorcist.
Now, hubby is a retired police officer and a damn good one at that. He spent many years at accident scenes and was considered an expert witness in a court room. So it didn't take long for his police gut feelings to kick in.

About 20 minutes later I had calmed the Exorcist down and let her have a nap. I was enjoying a cup of tea while watching TV when hubby comes back into the house. He calmly sat in his armchair and said, "You know that cat is only about ten pounds." Immediately my brain said "Dead Woman Walking!" I had to think quick. "Nooooo. She must be handy on thirty pounds. You should see what she eats. She looks like a seal with legs." He quietly nods his head and answers "Even at thirty pounds. If she was propelled from a rocket launcher at a 1000 pound motorcycle, she still wouldn't knock it over."
"It was probably one of those perfect storms" I was drowning here "When the cat jumped from the roof and the wind was at a perfect speed and the bike was at the perfect angle. You know like one of those freak accidents."

"Or" he says "Like when someone backs their mini-van into the driveway without looking in the rear-view mirror to make sure there's nothing there first." Dead woman walking! Dead woman walking!
"Who would do that and not tell us?" I asked shocked. "Well maybe it was someone with my bike paint on their rear bumper" he answered. I knew he had me. My only hope was to throw myself on the mercy of the court and to turn it around and make him believe it was his fault.

"Well you shouldn't have parked it in my driveway. You know I can't park on the best of days. This is your fault."
He calmly got up and said, "I am going to Canadian Tire to buy a tail-light for my bike. It's in the front driveway. Try not to kill it the next time you park the van." Then he left.

I watched him walk away thinking this is a trap. He has booby-trapped the house to blow up when he gets to the bottom of the street. Or maybe he cut the break-lines on my van. Or maybe cut the heals off my favourite stilettos. There has to be retaliation for this.
I've been waiting two years. Still nothing. Whenever he mentions putting the bike away for the winter I start sleeping with one eye open. I know it's coming.

Maybe revenge is best when it's served cold, but does it have to be moldy too?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What were you thinking?

Remember that scene from "Sex and the City 2" when Miranda quits her job as a corporate lawyer because her boss refuses to listen to her. He even goes as far as to put his hand up to her face when she tries to contribute at a meeting. Then halfway through the movie she has a revelation and says, "It's not that he didn't like the sound of my voice. It's the fact that I HAD a voice!"

Well last week I felt like Miranda Hobbs!
While flipping through the Sears catalogue I came across two pages of Playboy items which are now being marketed in pink and white. It was obvious to me that they were targeting a very young female audience. Not a lot of grown women want pink flannel sheets  or hot pink plastic purses with the Playboy logo on it.

I honestly though my handful of loyal readers would read it and be as outraged as I was. I had no idea I was lighting a fire storm that went across the country.
Almost 10,000 of you heard about my blog and sought me out. I know as a busy, working mother there's not a great lot of time left over at the end of the day to read blogs or anything else. So I truly appreciate you taking the time.

The comments were wonderful. So many women and men from all over the planet took the time to add their voice. Chrissy brought children's Halloween costumes to our attention. That's something that has been bugging me for years. We went from home-made costumes to being able to buy exact replicas of every TV character on the tube! Then it started to change. The French maid costumes changed to the slutty pirate costume. Then they just morphed into Happy Hooker costumes. You couldn't help but raise an eye brow or cover your eyes completely when you see the normally sane soccer mom prancing down the block Halloween night dressed in fishnet stockings and a plastic hooker costume. It is scary.
Then the costumes got younger. Teens were being targeted to be a "Sexy Witch" or a "Sexy Pirate." Then it got even younger. Now you can get the sexy witch with the fishnet stockings in size 6X!

I'd think to myself, "Who would put that on a child?" Then the Toddlers and Tiaras show airs with the toddler dressed as the hooker from "Pretty Woman" for a pageant. People were outraged. The mother didn't understand what the fuss was about, "It's just a character from a movie!" she exclaimed.
Really? Just a character from a movie? Why didn't you pick a Winnie the Pooh costume? Oh, because that's not sexy enough to win a toddler beauty pageant. She needed the spray tan, fake teeth, fake hair, fake nails and hooker costume to look like a natural little girl.

I love talking. My husband will tell you I even talk in my sleep. Nothing gets me excited like a good discussion and it's no fun unless someone disagrees with me. I love a good battle of the wits, but I would never fight with an unarmed person. Why would people take the time to seek me out and read my blog just to tell me I am not entitled to my opinion. Comments like, "Anonymous ~ this chick is just jealous because...well look at her picture dear. No way would she fit in with the 'Playboy' image. Ever notice how it's the unattractive people who complain about Playboy the most?"
First of all let me say, I am a 5'7" supermodel! I am Curvy like Beyonce and I have the moves like Jagger. Just ask my husband of 18 years. He tells me every day that I am the most beautiful woman in the world. As a matter-of-fact. He loves me so much we got remarried again two years ago at the Elvis chapel of Love in Las Vegas baby! My son told me when he was five that I was "The most beautiful Mommy at school." My daughter watches every move I make and copies everything I wear and do - imitation is truly the best form of flattery.  I posted a blog in July called "Girls Night" about the special relationship I have with my daughter. It talks about how daughters study their mothers so they can be just like them, or  be the complete opposite.

My friends are the main readers of my blog and my friends  are the dream-team of supermodels. They come  in every size from zero to 22. When we go out it's like Fashion Week for Mammas! We are successful career women, stay at home mothers or a bit of both. We are doctors, journalists, house cleaners, lawyers, computer programmers, check-out cashiers, you name it, we do it. We are fierce. We are the hand that rocks the cradle and we are the hand that rules the world. And that hand will bitch slap anyone who tries to sneak something past us that could put our kids at risk.
So when you say, "She don't fit in with the Playboy image." Think again. Playboy doesn't fit in with my image. Which by the way is not Photo- shopped, distorted and no one removed my flaws or wrinkles. I've earned them both. They make me beautiful.

If you're going to argue with me, stick to the conversation. Don't show your stupidity by attacking the person. But I did learn a lesson. I will take the anonymous option off my blog.
To those who said I couldn't change the world with my blog. You're wrong. I just did. Families coast to coast agreed with me. They told their friends. They told their friends and they told their friends. It will impact the sale of Playboy items in Sears Christmas Wish Book. We'll have to wait to see if it is in next year's catalogue.

I can't remember who said the following quote, but I like it:
Can one person change the world? Usually that's all it takes!

We have a voice. My father fought in the Second World War to ensure I would grow up in a country where a woman can speak up and give her opinion. 
So what was I thinking? I was thinking selling Playboy to kids is wrong. That's all.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wow! Thanks for supporting me!


Hi Friends!

I can't thank you enough for reading the blog on the Playboy products in the Sears catalogue. I know how busy we all are. I really appreciate you taking the time to search out my blog and read it. I think I have my Christmas spirit back!

Thanks for all your comments. Even those who think I should be stopping war and feeding the hungry. (I'll get to that tomorrow) For those who think I should get a life, I have a wonderful life. I don't see stopping kiddie porn products as a waste of my time.

If you're interested Global TV in Toronto interviewed me today about the blog. Here is the link:

I am watching Sears catalogue controversy on Global News http://www.globaltoronto.com/video/sears+catalogue+controversy/video.html?v=2280786348 via @globaltvnews

Helen

PS. Next week I will get back to writing about my menopause night sweats and granny panties. Right after I solve that world peace problem.

Monday, September 17, 2012

There's nothing funny about this blog, as a matter of fact, I am pissed!

Nothing gets me more excited than finding the Sears Wish Book in my mailbox. Every since I was a kid I loved this catalogue more than any other. It meant Christmas was coming. A week after it was delivered I would have every page memorized. My children carry on this same tradition. When I came home yesterday and found the 2012 Wish Book in my mailbox I was delighted. I boiled the kettle, poured my tea, ripped off the plastic cover and began to study each page.

Until I got to page 18. Then I was horrified!
It started out innocently enough. Pages 10 and 11 are full of Hello Kitty lunch boxes and snowsuits. Pages 12 and 13 are full of Star Wars. Who knew the light saber would last this long? Pages 14 and 15 are all super heroes. How often can Batman be reinvented? Pages 16 and 17 are rock-n-roll gifts. Pages 18 and 19 are full of Playboy....Playboy? What the hell?

Why are Playboy products being advertised in the Christmas toy section? Did I miss something. I flip through the pages again. No. Right in between Rock-n-roll T-shirts and hockey stuff is Playboy! And not just the usual Playboy stuff. This stuff is in bright girly pink and white. Directly marketed at tween and teen girls. The products include Playboy flannel sheets, Playboy 3-Pc comforter set, Playboy hanging organizer and Playboy bunny bling handbags. The page features a girl who looks to be around 12-13 years old with the bunny bling handbag over her shoulder.
The products have names like etched leopard, Leo hart bunny, Playboy Prep and bunny bling!

Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I am no prude. I will be the first one to stand up and defend a women's right to her own body. I completely believe what a woman does with her body is her own business. And what consenting adults do is their own business. As long as it does not involve children or animals, I don't care how you get your jollies.

But I draw the line when a men's magazine that features nude women starts direct marketing to tween and teen girls. I am also in the marketing business and I have to admit, Playboy's strategy is smart. They are target marketing their products to the 10-19 year demography.
But why? Why dumb the product down and target young girls? Easy one. To desensitize them and their parents from what their magazine is really about. The worst part is, there are parents who are stupid enough to buy Playboy products for their tweens and teens.

"What' the big deal? It shuts her up. It's not like she's posing for the centerfold."
Really? You're ok with a 12 year old girl going to school with a Playboy bunny logo on her. What do you think that tells boys about her? Or other girls? But the most important question is, what do you think it tells her? I just keep hearing PInk's song "Stupid Girls" in my head and the line "What happened to the dream of a girl president?"

I have nothing against Playboy bunnies. I admire what Hugh Hefner has built. He is a visionary and a smart business man. I don't even buy into the notion that the bunny costume is insulting to women. Once again, it's a women's body. Get your nose out of her cleavage.
The thought of a parent ordering Playboy flannel sheets and the bunny bling bag for her 12 year for Christmas upsets me. This will be one of her first introductions to what she thinks a boy wants. A Playboy Bunny, not a girl President.

I am so upset with Sears for going along with this that I threw my Wish Book in the garbage. On the inside cover, the President and CEO of Sears Canada Inc., Calvin McDonald, talks about the Wish Book as a Holiday tradition for millions of Canadian families. He talks about delivering the catalogues as a young child. Then finishes with how proud he is be part of this iconic Canadian Holiday tradition for so many families.
So, he does understand that families mean children right? He does understand that children will be making up their Christmas lists while reading the Sears Wish Book right? Is he ordering the baby pink Playboy Satin Sheet Set for his daughter? Will his daughter be sporting the bunny bling bag in the new year? Should I expect Hustler to have a two page layout in next year's Wish Book? Maybe Sears can reach that 10-19 year old male demography with some cool blow up dolls. I mean why stop at Playboy. It's just an innocent name like Nike or Pepsi.

Or is it?
Nike's advertisement campaigns target young people and inspires them to get active in sports. To "Just Do It." The Pepsi generation is happy and can do anything. (I know. I don't let my kids drink it either.)

Playboy. That's where young girls take off all their clothes and pose naked. Where you lay spread eagle on a fur rug in the centerfold, if you're lucky, with a staple in your vagina.
Where do we sign our daughters up for that? Let's start at Sears.

Is it bad parenting to buy Playboy products for your tween or teen daughter? Well, if you saw a 14 year old girl standing on the school playground when you dropped off your child and she was wearing sweatpants with Playboy written on the butt and a bunny bling bag over her shoulder, what would your first thoughts be? "There's the girl I hope my son marries!" "Boy I hope my daughter hangs out with her!"
Are we sexualizing young girls too soon? Can't they have a childhood anymore?

I know raising teenagers is hard. I know you get tired and sometimes it's just easier to say "Yes" to get them to shut up and leave you alone, but sometimes you have to hold your ground and fight.  I am not a crazy church lady or a hard core feminist. I am a Mom of a 12 year old girl. I also remember what it is like to be a 12 year old girl. We negotiate every day with skirt lengths, see through blouses and eye-liner. But Playboy is out of the question. My daughter will not wear the Playboy logo.
I am so disappointed in Sears' bad judgment on this. I trusted Sears to be a family store. I welcomed the Sears Wish Book into my home as part of my Christmas tradition. Now I feel betrayed.

Mr. McDonald you snuck one past me. You threw a men's magazine into the toy pile when I wasn't looking. You are the Grinch that stole.
I am pissed at you.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

September Blues

I love September. I always loved the beginning of the school year. New books, new clothes, new teachers and catching up with old friends. Remember sharing a pack of smokes in the Holy Heart parking lot? (I hope my kids don't read this.)

I love Fall. It's my favourite time of the year. I am in my glee when the leaves start to turn orange, red, brown and yellow. There's nothing better than a walk on a cool, brisk Fall day through Bowring Park. Running through my husband's freshly stack of Fall leaves like a woman off her Prozac.
Except for this year.

This year September and Fall sucks. I can't seem to get my Fall grove into action and I know why. This is my son's last year of high school and my daughter's first year of junior high. It feels like the Mom Club of Canada has issued me my "Notice of Lay-off" pink slip. My days of complete control over my children are slowly slipping away and I was just getting good at it!
I got a taste of this a few years ago when my step-son finished high school and joined the Navy. It was a great relief when he picked a career but it was hard to see him go. I really miss him supper time when I see his empty chair at the table and his crazy sense of humour. My favourite was when hubby gained a little weight around the middle and son pointed it out to him. Hubby protested that he had not gained weight. Son says, "Oh ya. If you were standing on a beach and there were a pack of whales in the water they would all stand up and start singing 'We are Family'.' It made me snort milk out my nose.

God knows when I first became a mother I did not know what I was doing. It took years to get a good system in place. I got to practice on my step-son and thought this is pretty easy. You just play with him all weekend and then send him back to his Mom on Sunday. It wasn't hard at all. No fighting about homework, or temper tantrums. Just feed him McDonalds and pack up his bag. He made it look so easy I decided, "Sure lets have one." Then I realized there's no one coming on Sunday to pick this one up.
Now, 16 years later I got a good feel for the job. If either kid filled out a "Customer Feed-Back" card I am pretty sure I'd be kept on and may even get a little raise in the next cheque.

Other women warn you not to wish your time away when you have a baby but the first few years have such a steep learning curb. It  seems like just yesterday I learned how to use a Diaper Genie. I still gag thinking about that long line of poopy sausages and the smell that burnt my eyes.  It's hard not to think "I can't wait for you to grow up!"
It seems like last night I wrote the date of my son's first smile in his baby book, the next day he was climbing down the side of the crib, then he learned to tie his shoes and now he's going to finish high school! What the hell?

I could have sworn yesterday I bought my daughter the most beautiful pink frilly dress for her first birthday, then her first tooth came in, then she lost it, then she hated dresses, then she liked them again, then she hated them again, then she dyed her hair black became a tweenager and started junior high. I should send out an Amber Alert! The dingos stole my baby!
I am in a complete panic. Hubby is already taking measurements to see if a hot tub will fit into my son's room. Every chance I get I tell him, "Don't feel pressured to move out" or "You should live home while you're going to university, it would be cheaper." Hubby is praying our son chooses to join the military because he wants to use the RESPs for a European cruise. Every chance I get I have my arms wrapped around him saying, "My baby is growing too fast! Stop it."

I can't let go. I am going to have complete and utter break-down if he chooses to go to university on the mainland. Then God-bless my daughter because all my craziness will be focused on her!
I understand the term "Retirement." I work for thirty years. I retire and take a pension. That's life. But I didn't know your could retire from being a mom. My life revolves around being a Mother! I have gone to great lengths to make sure my kids have an amazing childhood. You should drive by my house on Christmas or Halloween. People actually stop and take pictures of their kids on my lawn (My own kids are too embarrassed to do that anymore.) My week nights consist of driving to and from music lessons, cadets, dance, etc. I should be issued a chauffer's hat.

I have worked hard to instill a sense of family in our kids. One strict rule I have kept since the beginning is everyone eats supper at the supper table and there's no TV, cell phones or any type of electronics allowed at my table. Violating that rule could have dire consequences. I cook a big Sunday supper every week complete with special Sunday dishes. I have always raised my kids as "a team" as-well-as individuals. I make them pick up for one another and to respect each other. When my son says "She's being a pain!" I am quick to respond with, "That's my daughter you're talking about. You better watch your mouth!" As a result, they bicker like brothers and sisters do but they also love and respect each other. We're a team! Teams don't grow up and go away!
Now when I  think of me and hubby sitting by ourselves at the supper table with a small Sunday chicken the waterworks start flowing! What do we talk about if the kids are gone? It's all we know. I can't bare the thought of the kids moving out. How do I become a long-distance-mom? Can I phone my son at military school and ask him if he remembered to brush his teeth before going to bed? Will he remember to separate his whites and darks on laundry day? Will he know that there is a laundry day? Will he eat a vegetable every night if I am not there to supervise? Will his commanding officer cut up his potato for him and put butter on it before it gets too cold? He can't live without me!

I can only imagine after a year of living on the mainland by himself he'll come home 30 pounds lighter, suffering from scurvy, with underwear that have been reduced to just a thick line of elastic around his waist, his teeth falling out from decay and his whites all gray or pink. He'll beg us to let him come home and ask me to take over again and of course I will. I am his Mother damn it. I will live my son's life for him. It's the least I could do. I will fatten him up with tablespoon fulls of butter on his potatoes and carrots, wash his dirty clothes and put them away, make sure he brushes and flosses and then I will find him the perfect girl to marry. That's what good mothers do!
At least that's how it plays out in my mind.

There's still hope for me. My daughter wants to be a Pop star. So she may be home for a while. I may even let her stay a little longer after high school if she grows out of this moody tween stage. She may even let me buy her a nice pink frilly prom dress.
It's scary becoming a new mom but it's even scarier when you realize your days are numbered. I have always believed that the greatest gift you can give a kid is their independence. We raise them to be good people who love themselves and the world around them. We basically work ourselves out of the greatest job on earth.

Luckily I will always have my forth child... hubby. He will never grow up and leave me. He don't know where his socks are without me. It only took twenty years but at least I have him toilet trained now.
The week, months and years fly by, but damn it, the days are long!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Dream Girls!

For a summer night it was uncommonly hot. The room was full and the audience was ready to groove. If you closed your eyes, you'd be transported back to 1960s Detroit. Swaying to the new sound coming from 2648 W. Grand Boulevard,  "Hitsville U.S.A." more commonly known as Motown. Except tonight, the unmistakable Motown sound is coming from the Dream Girls production at Spirit of Newfoundland in St. John's.

The lights dim, band leader Bill Brennan recreates the famous Motown driving bass lines. The black music that gave America something to dance to. The Dream Girls take the stage and their voices brilliantly fill in that familiar soul music with the gospel undertones. Everyone in the audience is dancing in their chairs. They know every word and they sing along to every tune.
How could three white girls from Newfoundland pay tribute to three black girls from Motown so perfectly?  Kelly-Ann Evans, Janet Cull and Dana Parsons became The Supremes. From their perfect melodies to their sequined gowns. They take you through the history of how women changed the face of music.

From Martha and the Vandellas to Diana Ross and the Supremes, they bring you the music, the glitz and the glamour. It's still a Spirit of Newfoundland production so it is not without its sense of humour. The only thing missing is a dance floor because many a time throughout the show I wanted to get up and shake my groove-thing.
Kelly-Ann Evans is a performing dynamo! She's well known  in the Canadian music, theatre and entertainment industry as a force to be reckoned with. She brings a tremendous amount of energy to the show. She performs a solo of a Whitney Houston song that brought they entire audience to applause several times and to its feet at the end. It's a performance that leaves you saying "Wow!"

Kelly-Ann is the new owner of Rock City School  where she mentors and inspires young people to entertain. My twelve year old daughter is a student of Kelly-Ann's. I was sitting in my car waiting for her to finish a rehearsal for the final show last year. My daughter came out and plopped herself in the passenger side of my car. Her hair was covered in sweat and her face was beet-red. I asked, "Kelly-Ann wore you out?" She responded with, "Mom, she makes me believe I am better than I think I am. She makes believe I can do this."  Enough said.
Janet Cull is a star in her own right. She was awarded the Music NL Educator of the Year in 2010. She has also won Music NL Group of the Year, Music NL Jazz recording of the Year and Music NL CBC Galaxie Rising Star for the Janet Cull Band. Whether she is singing backup or lead Janet brings the audience to its feet. Her own solo of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", a song she dedicates to her son, will send shivers down your spine.

Dana Parsons is a graduate of Toronto's Sheridan Musical Theatre program. She is an award winning performer and singer with a list of accomplishments including a 2007 East Coast Music Award Nominee for Pop Recording of the Year.  Her debut album "It's You Not me!" garnered five Music Industry Award nominations  and a CBC Galaxie Rising Star Award for new artist. Her new album "Within The Dark" is online at cdbaby.com. You'll easily recognize Dana's voice and face from Nunsense and other Spirit of NL shows. She's so much fun and can leave the audience in stitches with the smallest of facial expressions.
Unlike The Supremes, it would be hard to pick the star of Dream Girls. They all do such a fabulous job. This is the first show I've seen that had several standing ovations. From the dazzling gowns, to the finely coiffed hair, these sisters of soul capture the sound of Motown. I was still singing along a week later. Berry Gordy himself would have been the first to his feet to lead the final standing ovation.

Simply put, you'll love this show. It's a great night out. The food is delicious, the service is five star and the entertainment is phenomenal. It's the best ticket in town.
http://www.spiritofnewfoundland.com/

Sunday, September 2, 2012

They called it puppy love

I just realized that I would never feed my dog "No Name" dog food, but I buy "No Name" cereal for my kids all the time!

I think she's spoiled. her name is Minnie May (After Elvis's grandmother) and she is a cross between a black Lab and a terrier. If you just picture that for a moment it must have been like Fifty Shades of Gray - the dog version.
She's not a designer dog. I got her off the internet for free. My daughter begged me for two years to get a dog. She promised on her life that she would walk it and clean up after it. That lasted for about a week until she realized cleaning up after it meant picking up poop and putting it in a bag. Apparently she didn't know dogs pooped. She thought they used the toilet like her brothers. So walking and picking up poop became Mom's job!

I was never a dog person. I had one years ago. It was a Dalmatian that a lawyer gave me for free. He was too busy with his law practice to take care of it. I took it not knowing what I was getting into. I should have known better than to take something free from a lawyer.
 I had always been a cat person and cats don't need anything except someone to open the food tin and clean out their litter box. Other than that, they could care less if you ever came home. Dogs are like babies. They need to be walked, cuddled, fed and checked on every few hours.

What the lawyer didn't tell me was that the Dalmatian was a thief. Insert your own lawyer joke here. Every time I let him out in the back yard he would take off and steal things from the neighbours. Every morning I would find kid's bicycle helmets, tools, teddy bears and other items in my yard. He even stole the steak off a neigbour's grill one night! My neighbour across the street was painting her window trim and as soon as she laid the paint brush down, he stole it! One day he came home with what looked like another teddy bear in his mouth. When he dropped it in the garden it started to run around. He stole a small dog from another yard!
The last straw came during Halloween. I let him out in the yard to pee that morning and let him in shortly afterwards. When I left for work I was shocked to see my lawn covered in orange Halloween garbage bags filled with leaves. He went around to all the neigbour's houses and stole their decorative Halloween bags. I had to run from house to house putting a bag on every lawn. After that I gave him to a farmer in The Goulds. I never told him the dog was a thief.

So I was very hesitant about taking another free dog.
For some strange reason Minnie May bonded with me. Everywhere I went, she went. If I am in the bathroom, she is outside the door. If I am washing dishes, she is asleep by my feet. Last year I had to go to Vancouver for six weeks for work. She wouldn't eat while I was gone. I had to phone home and get my daughter to put me on the speaker phone so I could tell Minnie to eat.

After a while she grew on me. I admit I like the dog more than I like most people. Because of her I now have to go walking everyday, which is good. She has become my personal trainer.
Last summer, I walked him around Quidi Vidi Lake. It was after raining earlier in the day and the pathway was still a little muddy. I keep a towel and a water bowl in the trunk of my car for Minnie.

So I am standing at the rear of my car with the trunk open pouring water into the dog bowl and she jumps up into the trunk. So I dried off her feet and let her drink the water. I was just about to take the towel and put it on the front seat of my car for the dog to sit on when this man sneaks up on me and screams "Take that dog out of the trunk!" I was startled first and then I started to laugh because I thought he was joking. People were looking at us. Then he yells at me "If you close that trunk I'll call the cops! People like you shouldn't have dogs." Then he walks away. I realized he wasn't joking. He really thought I was going to put Minnie in the trunk and drive home.
I couldn't get the words out of my mouth fast enough. By the time I got my thoughts together the man was stomping all the way up the road. People in the parking lot were whispering and looking my way. So I loudly say, "Come on Minnie. If you're finished with your water get in the front seat. Where you always sit. Up front with me. In the heated seats. Cause I would never lock you in the trunk." She happily jumped out and into the front seat. I tore out of the parking lot like I stole the car.

Lesson learned. Dogs aren't as stupid as you think. Up to that day she always sat in the back seat. Now she sits in the front.
When I was recovering from back surgery and on bed rest for ten weeks, Minnie May would  wait for my husband to leave each morning then she would run up to our room and jump up on the bed, curling up on his side and putting her little black face on by chest. She'd sit there all day. Only leaving my side to bark out the window at the mailman. She hates him.

Minnie May is two and a half now and she's grown on me. I just told my daughter we can't afford to go shopping for back-to-school clothes until payday, an hour later I spent $40 on a new red dog collar covered in bling.
She knows what I am saying to her too. I talk to her all day long. Minnie cocks her head to one side and blinks her big brown eyes and I know she's saying "You're right Mom!" You can see it in her eyes.

I still have a cat, Sylvester. They've worked out their living arrangements. The dog doesn't piss him off and Sylvester lets her  live another day. Every now and then Minnie gets a little brave and tries to play with Sylvester.  The cat just gives her the "Oh really!" look and she runs over to me with the "I think he likes me Mom!" look. I haven't got the heart to tell her the truth.
So now I am a dog person too. Every day I walk Minnie around the block and see all the other dog people. Just like motorcycle drivers we wave at each other "Hello dog person." Then we all take the most biodegradable thing in the world and put it inside the most non-biodegradable thing in the world and throw it in a land fill.

I'd be lost without Minnie May now. She has become this women's best friend and I really do like her more than most people. When I think about it, she's the only one in the world who can get me to pick up her poop!