What Shall I Do Now? 4th try

I wanted to totally redo this blog. My goal is smart, funny, flighty, serious, well crafted,  insightful  and (dare I hope?) with a loyal following. Read: a teensy bit famous.
Then I realized that the redo is going to take some work. Fame is not going to find me in my kitchen. Hey, I've heard of the 10,000 hours and I'm not getting any younger. Do I even have 10,000 hours?
The challenge here is maintaining insightful, well crafted, interesting etc. etc. 
Should I share my experiences growing up in the wilds of Ontario in the olden days? Does anyone want to know about my year in a German convent boarding school? What about My Life as a Guest of the Government? Nice ring, that. 
The problem with being even slightly autobiographical is that sooner or later you are going to embarrass the shit out of your family. 
Then I thought, "Hey, I'm 66. In 66 years I should have learned something." So maybe I should write an advice column. But my advice would be mostly about silly, shallow things like buying a better bra or applying eye makeup. All you young things  - lining your eyes with black eyeliner...it makes your eyes look smaller. Spend money on a good bra. Spend money on a bra. Column done.
Ah, politics!  There's a nice can of worms to amuse myself with. The thing is: I don't want people to get mad at me RIGHT AWAY. We can save that for my 80"s.
Exercise guru? I could probably wing it but that would be too much like lying. My workout consists of two 25 minute walks a week on an indoor track.
Cooking? Child rearing? Book reviewer?
In the end this blog is going to be what it was. A bit of this and a bit of that. But I am older now so I think I will put a bit more of myself out there. My friends won't mind and the people who mind, well, they can just get over themselves.


A New Word

I'm an avid reader, and a good one, too. It's one of my little secret (and not so secret now that I'm blogging about it) snobberies. I've read a fair amount of trash -the better to tell what it is, my dear- but I also read some pretty good stuff. I love David Copperfield, The Cardinal, The Name of the Rose etc. However, just because I think Pax Brittania is riveting, anyone who loves Agatha Christie can't be all bad, can they?
Having confessed all this, you can better understand my pleasure when I discovered a totally new word! Not only was there this totally New Word but it was submersed in a paragraph with two other words of dubious meaning!!!! Are you with me? Are you feeling, albeit vicariously, the joy?
Otiose. That was it. I say again, otiose. What a lovely word! What a perfectly winning Scrabble vowel using word! What does it mean? Rush, rush to Google, the definer of all words ordinary, weird, and wonderful.
Useless. That's right, that's it, folks. Not having any practical purpose, in short, useless.
What a find! The next time I need to insult someone, but subtly,with that tiny vengeance seeking corner (second secret now out in the open) we ALL keep well tucked away from public scrutiny, I won't be so common as to whisper, "D***head." Instead, I shall say in a firm but necessarily quiet (just in case they've read this blog!)voice, "Otiose." Otiose, otiose. In and of itself, not otiose at all.


It's That Time Again!

Call me a slow learner, but every year I'm surprised when the last few days before Christmas happen! Up until last week, I had soooo much time. Look! There's still 2 weeks to go! Look! There's still 1 whole week! Oh no! There are only a few days left. Oh well. We survived dust  and unpolished silverware last year so I'm sure it will be OK this year, too.
I'm just glad that we are not suffering from "cat in tree"  this year.
A remarkable thing, the Christmas tree. Begun by the Druids, adopted by the Germanic tribes, brought to America by immigrants, brought to England by Prince Albert, brought to Chinese factories by heartless capitalists, brought to Charlie Brown by Charles Schulz and leaving a trail of fairy dust and happiness wherever it goes.
I simply love department store Christmas trees, so stately and untouched by commoner type ailments like scratches, mismatch and age (too young to be antiques, too old to be just "well used"). Things like grubby little fingers and wildly waving dog tails just don't happen in better stores!
But - you should never begin a sentence with but - a home Christmas tree has soul. All those kids to whom the grubby fingers belonged, all those long gone wild dogs, and tree climbing cats, all those memories, some good, some downright awful, are imbued in my tree and yours. All those decorations, some gorgeous, some just plain crappy, stuff to look at and think about, maybe cry a little.
That's why, all you old people, who are feeling weak and tired and thinking nobody is going to visit you anyway, so why make an effort? should do it anyway. Someone might come over and your tree will be the story, or maybe no one will and you can reread your own story made new every year by the magic of a tree.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from my tree to your homes!


This Break was too Long!

It's a good thing I don't try to write a book; it would take me years! After a few months of scribbling, I'd take a break of that many months and so on and so forth. It would probably take more than just years; it would take decades! Ergo, no book.

At least no book as in the traditional page after page of writing with "no peechers" as my small grandson says. After all, I am only in my early 60's; there's plenty of time to create something outstanding.

Ah, the arrogance of the early 60's. Still able to do everything with only the odd twinge to remind us that whoa! no longer 40! Still working, still under 5 medications a day, still able to wear those high heeled street shoes. There are losses, though. Whether we want to admit it or not, even now our numbers are lessening. Parents bury their children. Without being disrespectful, it's really really weird to see old people at their (let's face it, not so young at all) child's funeral. It seems such a skewing of the generational flow. It's like watching a row of dominoes fall except they don't because a whole section in the middle gets skipped over. Defying physics, somehow.

I know parents lose children all the time. At a certain age we can all say with heartfelt sincerity, "What a tragedy, such a terrible waste of a young life." When the old, old die, we say with equal sincerity, "It is not a tragedy, sad, yes, but so and so had a long life." It's that middle death that has me stymied. Too old to be tragic, too young to be old,.......... too close to home.

In fact, having reread this blog, I'm going to get in touch with my good friends at Shutterfly and see if I can't do something memorable after all with a minimum of writing and a folder full of peechers.


Sticky Fingers and Shrill Voices

The house and the pets have breathed a sigh of relief but oh my, the house is empty. A two- and a four-year old have a way of using a lot of space, both physically and vocally!
Our backyard looks like a shanty town; a plastic shack, teeny tiny chairs, myriad trucks and toys as well as a collection of small green rakes grace the lawn. A miniature picnic table in the centre of a (trying to be) grove of apple trees actually looks as if it belongs. Well, the trees are miniature, too!
The patio door is decorated with chocolate cookie finger and/or tongue marks; who really cares? That's why they invented Mr. Clean and Scrubbing Bubbles. They are great for plastic food. A dash of SB in a sink full of hot water, add plastic food, and one forgotten crayon (boy, the melting point of crayons is low!) and all is cleaned up for round 2.
This is such a nice role for us to play. We are not parents, so we're free to indulge a bit. It's our house, so we get to make the rules: no eating in the living room. We can play the 'old' card: Oma needs to go to sleep, so you do, too!
How lovely to be admired: you got a haircut, Opa.  How fortunate to be well enough to go to the park or bike riding with our little fans. How lucky we are that Opa can afford to be the go-to guy for shoes and sandals and that Oma & Opa can treat everyone to the zoo.
My growing up circumstances were just different enough that I remember life without a telephone. Our grandchildren will never remember life without Skype or Facetime. The inventors deserve every penny; they have given all long distance relatives great joy. Although, nothing can replace actual hugs and kisses. Blessed are grandparents and their connections to the future!


Dead Streets

I miss the sounds of summer; our streets and sidewalks are practically dead. All May long weekend I waited for someone, something to go by and really, nothing happened. We have had lovely evenings and it's a gorgeous Saturday again. Zip and nada for foot or 2 wheel traffic.
Remember Saturday mornings? Everyone who could, was out washing a car and the sidewalks were full of little kids learning to ride their bikes.
When my own children were small, the 'big kids' were busy showing off, to each other as well as the adults who looked askance at such recklessness. When my son joined the 'big kid' ranks, he became young Mr. Fixit, always fixing the bike he was busy demolishing by using it as a steeplechase horse. My daughters also lived on their bikes; it was how they got around. Their friends lived more than a (gasp!) kilometre away.
Summer meant outside: building forts, going for walks (watch for the bears), planting gardens, sleepovers in the tent trailer (come in if you think you hear a bear), playing at the school playground at 4 in the morning (just because you can, and it's getting light out), swimming and fishing. Tons of outside.
I've experienced summer in the city and in the bush. As far as kids go, there was essentially no difference. Everyone was sun starved and everyone went out.
I think we are still sun starved but now we are fearful. Fear has a way of gripping us by the throat and stifling everything. I do not believe that electronic devices are to blame for the epidemic of inside. Electronic devices are opiates; they quell our natural desire to do any thing other than use them and they have made our children more manageable. Fearing outside and its dangers, parents have turned to computers and their spinoffs to engage their children believing this keeps them safe.
I do not believe that the world is full of depraved people whose only mission in life is to kidnap my grandchildren but neither am I willing to send them out unsupervised just to test my theory.
Canada's children are so inactive and yet we have so much to offer. Should we then reverse test "Build it and they will come" meaning our parks and sidewalks, by "Demolish and they will scream."? Perhaps there is nothing so precious as the tree in the tree museum unless it is a bicycle mounted on a piece of sidewalk in the Outside Museum.


A Pain in the Ass

First I was, then I wasn't, then I was, so here I am - writing about a pain in the ass. Ah, you all say, "Here it comes, things aren't as blissful as she would have us believe. She's going to tell us her true-love is really a pain in the ass." Or conversely, I'm supposed to tell you that I can be a pain in the ass. Which I can be, sometimes, but not now.
Well, you're wrong. I'm going to tell you that I had a pain in the ass. No, I did not get a divorce or otherwise poison my relatives. I actually had such a pain that I thought I would faint. I had this pain while sitting on the sofa, by myself, all alone at home and it lasted and lasted about 5 minutes. Five minutes is a very long time when you're, say, in labour or passing a kidney stone or being bitten by a dog or smashing your fingers with a hammer. By now, you know that 5 minutes is waaaay too long for a pain.
It went away.
I thought it must be that most unladylike of complaints: hemorrhoids.
It is not...........always.
Google is great. You can actually ask it: What are some causes of a pain in the ass? Just like that. No fancy medical terminology. Just calling a spade a spade.
Google says it is either PROCTALGIA FUGAX or LEVITOR ANI SYNDROME. So I had to look up all these words and parts of words and it is so much fun! ASS PAIN FLEETING or PELVIC MUSCLE PAIN SYNDROME. Can you believe it? Calling a pain in the ass an ass pain. Why not call measles 'little red dot disease'?
Imagine meeting Prince Charles and Camilla. "How's life been treating you?" "Well, I have proctalgia fugax." "You do? Congratulations!" as opposed to "How's life been treating you?" "Well, I have this huge pain in my ass..." and being whisked away by the protocol officer before you can warm up to your theme.
As much as it lends itself to not so tasteful jokes, not very many people admit this kind of pain to their doctors. Actually, there are a lot of sufferers and sometimes very good reasons for it. Still, it would have to get pretty awful before I'd tell my doctor; he's not always as serious as I'd like.  In the meantime, all the articles say that once everything has been ruled out, it is quite a little mystery. Ass secrets. Proctalgia fugax everyone!