Saturday, 31 May 2008

Look Who Gets to Use the Pool!!

Mother Nature has been a real bitch this spring. She is definitely experiencing some sort of menopausal flashes. One day she is hot and the next she is freezing. Unfortunately for us pool owners, the cold days have far outnumbered the warm. So it was with some satisfaction that somebody got to go swimming!! Enjoy!

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Eric Clapton Live!!!

We Canadians are a hearty bunch. We will endure weather extremes in order to enjoy our favourite entertainment options. Just look at the number of complete morons who will gather for an outdoor hockey game in February, or those same idiots who bare their chests for their hometown teams in frigid communities for the Grey Cup game in November. I will admit that when I planned to see the great "Slowhand" at the end of May at the Molson Amphitheater, I certainly did not anticipate temperatures in the mid single digits. The six of us were absolutely freezing our @#@$ off and that was with the winter gear and polar fleece blankets. Watching the almost 16,000 plus cram together in self-preservation while all the while sucking back Molson tall boys, was only half of the experience. The hot, unmistakeable sounds of Clapton's blues was the real draw and it was worth the mild frostbite. The husband and I were among the youngest in the crowd (with the clear exception of twin son's lovely XX who is responsible for the slightly distorted, but still viewable photos!) that was filled with aging Woodstock attendees and their progeny! The man can flat out play and when he pulled out an acoustic Martin dreadnought and a Martin twelve-string (very similar to my own) I was in heaven!! Turn on a bit of Eric and enjoy the photos!

Karma Came and Bit Me Right in the Ass!

Now, before I delve into a semi-rant as to what occurred on the mean streets of Toronto this fine and lovely May morning, I need to qualify all of my raving with the simple fact that I am guilty!! I am guilty of what I was accused of, and I am guilty of not really knowing the intricacies of every municipal bylaw. That said, I think that I got shafted this morning and I will leave it up to the blogosphere to determine my fate.

The husband had a medical appointment scheduled for this morning at one of the downtown hospitals. Given the fact that he has spent the better part of this week shlepping back and forth between the downtown core, and due to the exorbitant price of gasoline, ($1.29 and climbing!!) he asked me to drop him off at the subway kiss and drop at Finch station. I have been making this trip every single morning for the past two years because younger son attends a mid-town school and the TTC is truly "The Better Way" in this case. (It is a bit ironic that I was even on the road today as I thought that I was going to have this morning off because younger son was home recuperating from last night's senior prom!) The kiss and drop and it's surrounding area has been a traffic nightmare since September. There is a high-rise office tower going in directly across the street and the construction has made for tricky driving at the Yonge/Hendon intersection. Not only that, TTC crews have been repairing Finch station both underground and above-ground so that further traffic chaos has become the norm. For the past two months, the extreme right hand lane has been shut down right after the Yonge Street entrance to the kiss and drop, reducing the morning rush hour to two tightly bunched lanes. Now, here is a further complication. Yonge Street is a carpool designated street between the hours of 7:00 am and 10:00 am every morning. The extreme right hand lane is solely for buses, taxis and cars carrying 3 or more passengers. I am and always have been a supporter of the idea of carpool lanes. It really does make sense to encourage people to carpool or take public transit. So every morning, as soon as I make my right hand turn onto Yonge Street, I dutifully enter the centre lane of traffic and head south towards Finch station.

Since the lane closure at Hendon, I have begun to make my lane change into the right a bit earlier than usual. After I cross Cummer, I usually move into the right in preparation for the upcoming right at the kiss and ride. The traffic on Yonge, as you can well imagine, is nightmarish in the morning, and any opportunity to make a safe lane change is taken. This morning this decision bit me in the ass. Toronto's finest, (who by the way have looked the other way on carpool lane infractions for over two years) chose this morning to make their stand! As the husband and I approached the kiss and drop, approximately about 300 metres from it's entrance in an office parking lot, sat perched 5 traffic cops. Yup! I was nailed! I tried to explain to the extraordinarily young and handsome officer (I am old enough to be his mother!! OY!!) that I was just dropping off the husband at the approaching subway station, and I asked him how was I to meander into the right hand lane with the congestion and lane closure creating an enormously dangerous driving situation. He told me that I was in the carpool lane for at least 300 metres before and that I am only allowed 150 metres of drive time in the carpool lane in order to make my right. I stopped arguing. What was the point? He had me nailed and he knew it. 80 bucks!!!!! No points because I didn't violate the Highway Act. This is only a municipal bylaw. In other words, David Miller needs more money to funnel into his municipal coffers, (which probably won't get used for things like ROAD REPAIRS!!!) so I along with dozens more, had our numbers come up this morning. I wasn't speeding, driving dangerously, impeding traffic, (which I would most certainly have done had I listened to Dudley Do-Right!) or running stops or reds. I simply made the lane change 150 metres too early. As we pulled away from the stop and back onto Yonge Street and back into the carpool lane, the husband said "Well that was really slimy!" It was an obvious quota-filling money grab and it reeked of insincerity. Where have these guys been for the past three years before the construction?

Now, I began this little rant by admitting my guilt. It is true--I did it! What galls me is the hoops that the city is making us jump through to get anywhere in this city due to road work and construction site, and now they have found a way of making us pay for the privilege as well. Both sons have said that I should fight the ticket, but I really don't have the time to spend in traffic court in the middle of town. The question becomes whether or not my time is worth $80.00! I will give it some thought, but right now, my inclination is to pay the f@#%ing thing!! Your thoughts?

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Summer Lists!

It has always been a goal of mine to publish my life list. (I guess I need to put this on my life list--oh the irony!!) You know all about these new-aged diaries. A list of things that one hopes to accomplish before one's life is at an end. While I am truly a long-range planner, I am not sure that I am ready to share my life list with the blogosphere. What if my nagging self-doubts take over and I am force to publicly acknowledge that I cannot follow through on some item or another simply because I am chicken-shit? So instead, I will attempt to publish my summer's list. A list of goals that I hope to accomplish before summer unmercifully draws to a close. It hasn't even begun, and her I am anticipating it's end. It feels like fall again here in the north country, so maybe that is what is spurring me on, but I do not intend to spend the best two months of the year wishing that I had done something, instead of actually doing it!

1. I plan on reading voraciously for pure pleasure. I love to read, but rarely find the time when I am at home. The winter home is a different story. When we are south, I consume books. Here-not so much. So I am vowing to finish as many of the 9 or so books that are sitting on my bedroom nightstand as possible. This includes the trashy along with the erudite!!

2. I plan on frequenting the local theatre scene. Toronto has some of the finest local theatre in the world and we take it for granted. Not to mention that we are within spitting distance of both Stratford's and Shaw's festivals. There are several shows on my radar, some big and some small. I am hoping that Luminato will kick it off, but if not I know that there are a plethora of choices. (The husband already knows that this is on the radar, but is sort of hoping that they are not all musicals!)

3. I plan on walking in the evenings with my friend. My dear friend has suddenly found a new-found penchant for exercise. (Ok-the reality is that she wants her clothes to fit better, but who cares about the motivation-she is willing to move!!!!) I love summer walks and while this probably won't replace my own workout regime, I am so happy to be outside at night without a jacket, (please GOD!!) that I am more than happy to help her in her quest for a trimmer physique. Anybody want to join us? the more the merrier.

4. I plan on not stressing too much about the High Holidays. (All of you who know me well, I command you to stop chuckling now!!) I know that my type A personality probably will not allow me to fulfill this goal, but I am going to give it a try. I have been doing High Holidays at various congregations for 20 years now. It is time that I accepted that maybe, just maybe, I know how to sing Kol Nidre. I figure that since the holidays are later in September this year, I can afford the luxury of enjoying my summer.

5. I plan on floating at least once a day, weather permitting. I really do love the pool. I just hate being cold. If the weather will cooperate, I plan on laying on my back in the water and float for an extended period of time to contemplate life, love and why I find this blogging thing so engrossing.

6. I plan on staying in touch with my boys while they are on their yearly sojourn to the midwest, but I also plan to not obsess if they don't call or email. I think that I can take the hit! (They better remember their father on his birthday, though if they want me to acknowledge their existences at a later date!)

7. I plan on closing the kitchen, but still eat healthy. I used to steal a line from my mother about summer cooking. "The only pots on the stove were flower pots!" With just the husband and myself to feed, I know that we can do it easily, nutritiously and cheaply. I simply refuse to order in, eat out and buy prepared foods everyday. I am on my monthly diet and as such can ill afford the extra calories. Our new kitchen will be used, just differently. When I fully figure out how, I will let you know.

8. I plan on taking a road trip with my girlfriends! Hopefully we now have a date and a place that we can all live with. 48 hours of shopping, laughing and eating (P.F. Chang's here we come!!!) sounds pretty damn good to me.

9. I plan on spending Labour Day weekend in the heart of the midwest with old friends to celebrate 50 years of Goldman Union Camp! There will be several posts about this as it approaches, but suffice it to say, I am so excited I could plotz! (or is that Klotz?)

10. I plan on sleeping in past 7:00am every morning. This could be a challenge in that I am truly sleep deprived and one of the millions who suffer from insomnia, but damn it, I deserve it and I want to sleep in. Frankly I will take 7:30am, but I am aiming for 8:00!!!

11. My brother told me that he plans to spend the summer making pies! (He is a computer executive who really wishes he were a chef, hence the need to bake pies!) He plans on making the perfect pie crust with every filling imaginable. I hope he gets there, but I will not spend the summer making pies. I would like to spend some of my time brushing up on my Spanish. I have 4 years of high school Spanish, but it is very rusty. (I don't think there is much call for this: "Esta Susana en casa? Si, Esta con una amiga! Translated as: "Is Susana in the house? Yes, she is with a friend!) I bought a Berlitz program for my computer this year that has barely had a run. I plan to be able to say a heck of a lot more by the summer's end. (At the very least, I hope to be able to figure out what our former temple president and his wife are saying to each other!! I wonder if it is personal?)

12. I plan to enjoy the city this summer. I would like to visit the various street festivals and landmarks that makes the city great fun. Besides, with gas close to a $1.30, who can afford to go anywhere else?

13. I plan on doing at least one thing this summer that is totally out of character. For this, I am willing to take suggestions. Please do not encourage me to skydive or bungee jump or some such nonsense. That far out of character, I cannot travel, but I am willing to listen to other thoughts.

That is all for now. Please feel free to share your own summer plans. If it sounds promising, I am not above thievery. Enjoy!!

Monday, 26 May 2008

John McCain unmasked!

While I realize that I have no vote or even a say in the American political situation, I do think that it is one of the most important elections in generations, given the impact that it could have on the entire globe. Arianna Huffington is doing a fabulous job of dissecting the wheat from the chaff! In her posting today John McCain unmasked she continues the process of showing the real John McCain. For every person who cares about women's health issues and reproductive rights, I urge you to read!

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Bryn Christopher - The Quest

I love this song!! I am a casual fan of Grey's Anatomy, but when I heard this song on the finale, I went searching for it. Love the music, lyrics and especially the voice of Bryn Christopher. I am a tough audience and am rarely this effusive about something new. Thanks to the friend who pointed me in this direction. Enjoy

Saturday, 24 May 2008

A Small Something for Your Shabbes!!!

Oh the joys of living with and raising men!

The most disgusting of things just happened! The male progeny are in the throes of camp preparations. Usually this entails the mundane task of underwear shopping (as previously posted), finding a new swimsuit or two and a run to Shopper's for essential grooming articles. This year, the husband and I decided that we would go through the old camp duffle bags to weed out the broken and decrepit, and repair and/or purchase new. Older son particularly has been on our collective cases about this, as he was convinced that his duffle had a broken zipper and would not tolerate yet another bout with American Airline's baggage handlers!! The husband dutifully made his way down to the storage closet to sift through our mismatched sets of luggage, when all of a sudden he lets out a "geshrie" the likes of which has rarely been heard!!! "Oh My God", husband cries out! I honestly thought that he found a nest of spiders. (the husband has a bit of phobic behaviour when it comes to insects!) I think that I would have preferred the spiders. As he is going through the litany of duffles, he came across older son's bag. Inside one of the end pockets, was a stash of camp clothes that had been sitting since last August. Several t-shirts, a few pairs of boxers and two pairs of moldy socks that have dutifully maintained that lovely camp odour all winter long!! I carefully removed the toxic waste with several plastic shopping bags and immediately threw them in the hottest wash that they could stand! Even if I choose to toss all of the items in the garbage later, the smell was too nauseating even for the trash! They may be salvageable, but I will not know until a few more times through the wash cycles! I placed an hysterical call to older son and found him enjoying the spring weather at the Blue Jay game.

"You won't believe this", I screamed hysterically.

"I emptied it all", he pleaded in complete denial.

"Obviously not, dumbass", I replied.

He apologized profusely and mumbled something about thanks for looking after the crud. The crazy part of all of this is, that older son is usually the meticulous of the two. It is younger son's room and possessions that have always concerned me. I always worried about mold and food stuff growing from his walls and if anyone had told me that one of the boys would leave moldy clothes in a duffle for a full calendar year, I would have guessed the younger. It just shows you, never presume and never assume. But I am starting to wonder if I have raised a crop of dillweeds!!!!

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Random Thoughts!

A few things that have been gnawing at me. You may comment at will!

1. Why is it okay for television programs to publicize "ripped from the headline" shows and then deny that they have any basis in fact? (Law and Order-Are you listening? Ba Bum!!)

2. Why would anybody attempt to place a phone-in vote for American Idol or Dancing with the Stars for upwards of three hours, but neglect to vote in a federal election?

3. Why would anyone believe that high calorie foods eaten in small amounts contain more calories than low calorie foods eaten in much larger amounts? Over half of Americans believe just that!!

4. Why is a movie trailer at the beginning of a film? Doesn't a trailer, by definition, belong at the end?

5. Why does the dry cleaner charge markedly more to clean a woman's white blouse as opposed to a man's white shirt? Do we sweat more and create more staining?

6. Why is the husband so pleased at the thought of beating his mother to a pulp at scrabbulous? He positively glows when the game is in hand. Is this any way for a son to treat his mother?

7. Paris Hilton? Explain!!

8. Why is our favourite sports team called the Maple Leafs and not the Maple Leaves?

9. Why do men need someone to blame when something in the house breaks? Case in point: "You opened the door wrong and that is why the knob came off!" I didn't realize that there was a right way and a wrong way to twist a knob and open a door!

10. What do the numbers on Lost really mean?

11. What exactly is a Hoosier? (This one has bothered me for 30 years!)

12. Customer service? An oxymoron for the new millennium!

13. Why are we having November weather in May? Does this mean we will get May weather in November or does this mean we will have November forever and ever?

14. How is it that Harrison Ford and Sylvester Stallone can make action movies while collecting social security, but women actresses in Hollywood can't get hired over the age of 35?

15. Stupidity defined? 249km/hr on the 400!

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Fear and Uncertainty!

It is the curse of any artist that one is only as good as one's last performance, painting or book. The artist is usually an insecure soul who questions their abilities at every turn, and who often requires positive stroking and reinforcement. Unfortunately for most artists, the reviews that are received are more often negative than they are positive, and more often scathing than they are glowing. It should come as no surprise then, that many performers withdraw from live shows as a result of debilitating bouts of stage fright. Barbra Streisand, in spite of enormous and unquestionable talent (and ego) refused to perform live for over 20 years. Carly Simon only recently returned to the live stage and only under the most strict and rigorous of conditions. While I would never presume to place myself in the company of these distinguished women, I truly can relate to the anxiety and nausea that accompanies live performance. People who know me well have seen my pre-performance ritual of tearing a new one to the closest victim around me! (To all of you who have been that poor unfortunate soul, I am profoundly sorry!!) I also cannot eat anything before I sing, as vomiting is not an unusual occurrence. Many will be stunned by these admissions, but it should be stated that public performance is among the most difficult things to accomplish. Anybody who has ever stood in front of a group to deliver a presentation, speech or song can relate to my feelings of anxiety. When surveyed as to the number one phobia or general fear, being in front of an audience usually finds its way to the top of the list. It doesn't seem to matter how many times I perform, I always seem to require a puking receptacle. And so, it is within this historical context that I throw myself to the lions once again. In November, the women cantors and soloists of Toronto are joining together for a community-wide concert in support of Kolel-the centre for Jewish learning. Why I have allowed myself to get involved with this project has been a nagging question of mine for months. (Yes-I know why!! I am representing my community, my congregation and myself-blah, blah, blah!!!) If ever there should be a time when I should question my abilities and talents, it is with these immensely talented women. At our first meeting, I felt very much the fraud. They were busy discussing possible repertoire and musicians and all I was hoping was that my underarm stains weren't showing. Tomorrow we meet again to finally sing together and, perhaps put together a tentative program. I am so scared that my stomach is already talking to me in that language that only the two of us understand. A dear friend, who is also involved in this exercise in gas and terror, assures me that I will feel better once the actual music starts, but I am less certain. Since there is literally no escaping from my fate, I will ask this question-Is it possible to e-sing a concert? I open it up for discussion!!! I will keep you all apprised of the exercise and egos over the upcoming months.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Boxers or Briefs?

Somewhere in the cosmos of the universe, it was determined that I should live my life in a houseful of "y" chromosomes. Even the old dog was testosterone-laden, although not as heavily due to a minor snipping procedure undertaken during his puppy days! It sort of seems appropriate. After all, I am the mom who understands the complexities of a 3-4 defense, who doesn't throw like a girl, who played Rotisserie League Baseball, (and won it all one season!!) and who suffers the humiliation, year after gut-wrenching year of being a Leafs fan! I am the mom who enjoys Aaaaaanold's movies and Marvel superhero comic books. I was the first mom I knew, who had her very own GameBoy and I am the mom who prefers Lost and Deadwood to insipid crap like American Idol and The Bachelor. (sorry to all of the fans who like the insipid crap!!) I actually have a great deal in common with the vast majority of "y"s! But, I am still a double "X"! While I am fairly low maintenance when it comes to fashion, I still like to keep current so that I don't look like a dork wearing the latest in 80's bustiers! The men around here, are definitely a different animal altogether when it comes to their apparel. The husband is NOT a shopper. His idea of shopping for clothes is to have me pick out an assortment of items in various colours and sizes, and have me bring them home for him to try on. Whatever meets with his approval (and mine!!) stays, and the rest should be returned from whence it came. I long resisted this method, (it doubles my workload!) but years of walking through malls without stopping at any men's store led me to my epiphany that this was the only way to have the husband dress like a mensch instead of a shlub!! If I left him to his own devices, he would be wearing jeans 15 years old and button down shirts hued in the most nauseating of colours. When I do manage to convince him that shopping outside of the house is a necessity, he employs what he calls the "man method"! Apparently men have very little patience when it comes to shopping, and require advance knowledge of where they are going, what they are purchasing, how much it costs, and how long the entire outing will take. While they are in the store, it would be helpful if spouses could please find coordinating clothing, such as shirts, ties, socks etc.. so that maximum efficiency is maintained! (I have spent many a day befriending the salesmen at menswear stores as the husband also has an aversion to help other than mine!!) Fast as lightning. Damned the fit, colour and fashion. If it works, buy it and get out! (I am aware that all men are not like the husband. My father is fashion maven and loves to look good! Still, his method of shopping is not far off from the husband's in that he scouts the stuff first and plans his shopping day ahead of time!) Men do not dawdle in stores. They rarely pore over the sale racks, unless something jumps out at them. That is what mothers, wives and girlfriends are for!!
I haven't just had to endure this shit from the husband over the years, he managed to pass this nonsense on down to his sons. When they were small it was easy. I bought the clothes and they wore the clothes. The only time I needed them with me was to try on shoes. I should have realized my fate way back then. Older son was a nightmare. After dismissing every pair in the store, we finally managed to squeeze something onto his feet, only to have him constantly whine about the toes, heels, laces or colour. No shoes were ever comfortable enough or soft enough. He used to wear his shoes literally off of his feet, before we would venture back for round 2! To his credit, younger son is more like his grandfather, in that he cares what is on his back, but he has no regard for price! I was thrilled when they started shopping for themselves, so that I didn't have to endure the traumas. Today, I re-entered the lion's den. Both boys had the day off and were in desperate need of a few essentials for the summer. Since the bank of mom is much deeper than either of their accounts, I was invited along. I discovered fairly quickly that the shopping window was finite and that we better get to our tasks immediately or nobody would buy even a sock! Neither dipstick knew their jean size!! How is that possible? Doesn't everybody have a notion of their jean size? Granted it may be off a bit due to make and fit, but not even an inkling? Store number one was eventually a success and we were off to obtain (gasp!!) shoes for older son. After making few quiet suggestions, I chose self-preservation and left him to his own devices. I wandered off and miraculously he left the store with a brand-spanking new pair of size 10s. (as an aside-given that both boys attend camp in the States, I usually like to buy them an updated Canadian t-shirt or shorts to show off their patriotism. In Olympic years, this purchase is usually a snap, but not this year. I have never seen such ugly and hideous wear as are being foisted upon the Canadian consumer this year by the Bay! Garish doesn't even come close to describing this crap. It is cheap feeling and truly nauseating to look at, but it is expensive! I felt a great sense of relief when both guys felt as I did!) We were on a roll now, but I knew that time was not an ally, attention was wandering (they were going into the video and gaming stores!) and that they still needed (ugh!) underwear!! Trying to determine the size of your adult male children's underwear is not something I would wish on any of you. Older son made it crystal clear from the beginning, that while this is something that he desperately requires, he would not even entertain the possibility of buying it while with his mother. (smart boy that one!!!) Younger son, always the pragmatist, and lazier in that he didn't want to put himself through another shopping trip, put his embarrassment aside and dove right in. He is now set for the summer. Hopefully older son will get it together before he leaves and will not be forced to wear his old stuff. Frankly, it is not my problem. As the husband said, men should not shop for underwear with their mothers, they should do it with their wives and girlfriends!! Ok sons!! The next move is yours!!!

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

dq commercial - like fish in a barrel

Here is said commercial! Watch and decide for yourself!

Much More than Lactose Intolerant!!

Was anyone else a bit creeped out by the latest Dairy Queen commercial? If you haven't had the opportunity to see it yet, it features a middle class mom visiting her local DQ along with her 10 year old daughter. (Honestly when I first saw it, I thought it was entirely possible that the young girl could be much younger!) Mom is getting ready to order two rich and decadent sundaes, when young tart spies young hunk! (remember now-maybe 10!!) Young tart tells mom to order only 1 sundae and mom expresses her surprise at daughter's change of taste, until DQ guys brings another over and states that it is compliments of the young hunk. Young tart replies, (and I quote) "It's like shooting fish in a barrel." Mom looks suitably shocked, but the message is clear. Women can get what they want by flashing their feminine wiles and sexuality. Here we are in 2008 and this is the message that we are sending to our young women and men? Now, I have not had the privilege or pleasure of raising a girl but I have attempted to raise my young men to be responsible, caring and feminist. They have been taught that girls (and by extension, women) are their equals in every conceivable way and that they should never, ever look at women as objects, but rather as people. (Now, as to reality-they are guys-young and healthy guys!! As their mother, I have no interest whatsoever in their personal lives, but I am also not stupid and I know that guys are still guys!!) That said, I believe that this commercial and others like it that display women as nothing more than sex-starved, vapid and emotionally bankrupt individuals do a tremendous disservice to the smart, sexy and brilliant generation of women that we are attempting to raise. I do not find this commercial amusing, cute or pithy! I find it sleazy, contrived and rather disturbing. How will society ever have a serious discussion on sexism if advertisers persist in these types of stereotypes? The United States is currently engaged in one of the most important elections in it's history. They are finally having a long overdue national discussion about race. But, where is the same discussion about sexism? Senator Clinton (By the way-she is rarely referred to in the mainstream media as Senator, but rather by the more familiar "Hillary", while one rarely hears Senators Obama or Mcain referred to by their first names!) has been described as "shrewish", "shrill", "mannish", "bitchy", and "difficult". She is forced to "man-up" in order to appeal to male voters. (Hence the pantsuits!) She is constantly being forced to show how tough she can be so that she might prove to be capable, yet she needs to be sensitive and caring in order to appeal to the soccer moms. Obama and Mccain are not being asked for their feminist credentials, nor are they being directed into sensitivity training, (something that should be mandatory for all candidates!) yet Mrs. Clinton is continually being asked to prove that she is as good as the guys! We do this to our girls. Dairy Queen has made a commercial that perpetuates sexual stereotypes and worse yet, it is directed at children. We can and should to better. This rant should no way diminish how much we LOVE Dairy Queen's products. The husband positively drools at the thought of a Blizzard, and there are times that I am almost willing to undertake the stomach aches and gas that will accompany a dish of soft serve. Last Saturday we drove almost 30 minutes out of our way at 11:00 pm with twin son and his better half, in search of a DQ!! Love the food not the ads!!!

Monday, 12 May 2008

Tom Paxton and Pete Seeger

Paxton is my hero!!

I have seen Tom Paxton in concert many times over the years, and every single time I think that I have seen the best. The man never fails to entertain, stimulate, entrance and provoke. He is simultaneously timely and timeless-not an easy feat! The pictures are not the best given that they were taken with a cell phone cam, but I appreciate the efforts of my friend who has bigger and brassier ones than I ever could hope to possess, in pursuit of the photos. BTW-if you are ever in the Toronto area, I urge you to visit Hugh's Room, one of the finest folk clubs around. Ladies and gentlemen-Mr Tom Paxton!!!

George W Told The Nation

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Mama, Don't let Your Babies Grow up to Be.....?

Mother's Day is a true puzzlement to me. I have very mixed feelings about a holiday that forces the average person to honour on one day, the one individual in their lives that they should never question honouring every single day of the year. (Please do not flood my mail with horror stories of unfit mothers and "Mommie Dearests"! We all know that the mother/child relationship can be a very complicated dynamic, but for my purposes here, I will assume the hearts and flowers ideals that hopefully exists between children and their maternal figures. Anyway, I highly doubt if Christina Crawford looks at Mother's Day with fond reminiscences.) The modern observance of the holiday most likely stems from Civil War activist Julia Ward Howe who intended it as a call to unite women for peace and disarmament. Sort of a 19th century version of the Million Mom's March! Her ideas were influenced by a young farmer's wife named Ann Jarvis who attempted to improved sanitary conditions on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line through what she called Mother's Work Days. Her work was continued into the next century by her daughter, who lobbied congress for a memorial day strictly for women. In 1914, President Wilson declared the first national holiday honouring mothers whose sons had died in battle. Within 10 years the holiday had become so commercialized, that Jarvis' daughter railed against the very holiday she fought so hard to establish. (How we went from Gold Star mothers to Hallmark mothers is a matter for discussion!!) Today, restaurant association statistics show that the number one day for eating out is Mother's Day! Florists sell more flowers on Mother's Day than on either Valentine's Day or Christmas and it is the number three holiday for chocolate sales behind Halloween and Valentine's Day!!! My personal relationship with the holiday is rather schizophrenic. Sort of a damned if you do scenario. I hate that Madison Avenue is dictating to me a day to love my mother, but if I totally ignore the holiday the guilt is tremendous. Yesterday, younger son asked if had to buy me anything for Mother's Day. While I have made my feelings of disdain for the day abundantly clear, (when have I ever kept my feelings under wraps?) I couldn't bring myself to give him the answer that I know that he wanted to hear. The mother guilt thing works wonders and I guess I am milking it just a bit. That said, son---you do not have to buy me anything for Mother's Day this or any other year, but you do need to remember that I exist and small gestures like cute emails, phone calls and the like are always appreciated. (OY!!! I truly do sound like a Jewish mother! I have started to chack my kids as to why they don't call!!) But, I am also a daughter and while I know that my own mother shares many of the same feelings about Mother's Day that I do, I also know that she would appreciate being thought of on this day. So please indulge me while I offer my mother a small gift.

Mom-Thank you for allowing me the freedom to be myself and not a younger version of you. While I know that you hated the torn jeans and sneakers, you never forced me into a frilly lace dress just because I was "the daughter"! You allowed me the freedom to be myself, even when that included playing hockey instead of Barbies, and talking football instead of fashion.

Mom-Thank you for instilling in me the importance of family ties. While the little bro and I still cannot fathom how we both emerged from the same womb, we were raised to understand that the sibling relationship is amongst the strongest and most enduring. You have demonstrated this time and again through the involvement with your own family (even when it wasn't always easy to do so) and have shown us that family ties truly bind! (sometimes like a noose-but we get the point!!!)

Mom-Thank you for the cookie recipes. I know that you hate the idea that you are exclusively known for your baking, (as you have mentioned many times in that I am not allowed to mention it in your eulogy!) but it needs to be shouted from the highest points on earth: "MRS. C-YOU MAKE GREAT COOKIES!!!!" I am certain that I have many friends who have maintained their relationships with me simply due to the cookies. For that, mere thanks will never be enough.

Mom-Thank you for demonstrative love. I love that you and Dad still hold hands and are affection with one another in public without care or fear of embarrassment. Your grandchildren never fail to hug and kiss whenever they see you and that is because you have shown them that public affection is one of the best signals of love. You go girl!!

Mom-Thank you for being the organizer, planner, computer doctor, TIVO fixer, glasses finder, telephone locator, trip group leader, purse GPS, airplane reservation desk and directional navigator. It always amazes me all of the things that you can do, but honestly, if Dad doesn't kiss your feet every time you have bailed him out of shit, then he really doesn't know a good thing when he has it staring him in the face.

Mom-Thank you for the inheritance of lactose intolerance, all around stomach ailments, arthritic joints, big breasts, small feet, short stature, cyclical acne, and a gag reflex that kicks in when stuff gets too syrupy. (Yanni and Khalil Gibran comes quickly to mind!!) Thank you also for the inheritance of style, design sense, a love of beauty and a need for cleanliness that is so close to God it is frightening!

Other Mom-You thought that I would forget you! Thank you for sharing her with the little bro and me. Nobody will ever be able to truly understand the bond that the two of you share and we were just happy to be able to a part of it. Thank you for being there when Mom A was unavailable and thank you for never ever believing that you only had 2 kids when we all knew that you had 4! The term Aunt is far too benign a word for what you truly are!!!

Mom-Thank you for knowing when to offer opinions and when to stay silent. (OK- so the silent part took you a bit longer to master!) You allowed me to make my own decisions and mistakes even when you wholeheartedly disagreed with my choices. As a parent myself, it is only now that I am beginning to understand how truly difficult this is.

Mom-Thank you for knowing when to be a parent and when to be a friend. You instinctively understood when the parenting ended and the friendship kicked in. You are the type of friend who tells me the truth, holds a mirror to my face and kicks me in the ass when I need it. I truly enjoy spending time with you because you are the only person in my life who will tell the truth when I ask "Does this make me look fat?"

Mom-Thank you for accepting my choice of life partner and accepting him as one of your own from the beginning. We all know that it took him a while to warm up, but after 23 years I think that he is finally beginning to understand our family with all of it's baggage, bullshit and nareshkiet. (Maybe?)

Finally, Mom-Thank you for being my number one fan. You supported me, cheered for me, sat in the front row at every service, concert and play. You supported my endeavours no matter how odd and jumped in with both feet when asked. (Are you gagging yet-because there's more!) You bragged about me and nagged me when I needed it. You are truly my best friend over the age of retirement!!! For all of this and so much more, I wish you a very Happy Women for Peace and Disarmament Day!

Love Dawn

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Dinner and A Show--All in One!!

This past weekend, the husband and I did something that we haven't done for quite a while. (Minds out of the gutter people!) We went to a video rental store (the word video is so eighties isn't it?) and actually rented a DVD. It was an experience so out of the ordinary, that we actually had trouble locating the membership card and our slightly addled, middle-aged minds could not remember if the card was still valid. We dusted off the DVD player, made some popcorn and settled in for a surprisingly wonderful hidden gem entitled "The Savages" with Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman. (I love both of these actors in that they never seem to repeat themselves and play it easy. The stretch is always there but never seen. Truly brilliant actors-both!!) I mention the uniqueness of this mundane little episode because it highlighted a different issue, in that we rarely go out to the movies anymore. It is true that other forms of technology have enabled us to bypass the Cineplex. Pay-per-view and On Demand have brought first run films into the home much faster than ever before. Regular purchasing of DVDs to own is much more commonplace. Like many others, we have far more than we will ever watch. (Why I felt it necessary to own "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" will remain one of life's enduring mysteries!) It is so much more expensive to go to out to the movies. It has become increasingly commonplace to question whether or not the film on the screen is actually worth tickets and snacks in excess of $30.00! But, after all of that, it must be said that I am a movie freak. I love the movies. I love good stories and even better acting. I love seeing something that I have never seen before. With the glaring exception of slasher films, (Can somebody please explain the appeal of some nymphette being chased around the village by a sicko in a goalie mask?) I can find redeemable entertainment in almost any film! I am a sucker for a good "chick flick", but I also really like Aaahnold and his kind. I love animation! I think Hitchcock and his modern incarnations The Coen Brothers and M. Night Shymalan are geniuses!! I think that we here in North America forget how good the foreign film market truly is and I think that Hollywood has neglected it's golden age! I truly believe that film is an art form that can provoke, entertain and energize. And, I USED TO love the feeling of sitting in a semi-comfortable chair with several hundred other movie-goers, munching on heart unhealthy popcorn, eagerly anticipating the lights dimming and waiting with bated breath to be entertained. It was a true group experience. I have never subscribed to the idea that movie going was a very alone experience. My brother and I would have this argument (among many others) constantly. It was his thesis that the movies discourage human interaction and conversation. My thoughts were that the movies stimulated these conversations. In fairness to my only sibling, he shares my affinity for film and it is one of the topics that we can discuss without it devolving into a cage match!! But, the theatre-going experience has changed. Commercials now flood the screen for a good 20 minutes before the inevitable trailers, which last another 10! I believe wholeheartedly that anything that I have shelled out 30 bucks for, should be ad free. We are actually paying to be pitched and it really sucks! The trailers are not much better. Sequels, comic books, video game remakes and those still horrible women in crisis films are prominent. (We all know that Hollywood is all about the bottom line and the true fact is, is that males 18-30 makes up the ideal movie going demographic. Hence the boobs, babes and bombs!!!) I could deal with all of this, if only my movie was an uninterrupted and enjoyable experience. HA!!! When was the last time you were in a movie theatre and at least one phone didn't ring? Worse yet, these idiots actually take the calls!!! During Christmas break, the husband and I went to a movie in Florida. (As bad as it is here in the Big Smoke, mostly geriatric North Miami is much worse!) Just as the lights were dimming, a woman sat next to the husband and proceeded to make a phone call. She gabbed through the first 15 minutes, annoying the husband to the point of smoke curls exiting his earlobes. After she had completed her business, she then asked the husband to catch her up on the plot!! It is not uncommon to watch people bring their meals to the theatre, giving a whole new meaning to dinner and a show. Plastic wrap and tinfoil unwrapping! Styrofoam containers that are crunched and salads that are munched, interrupting everyone within earshot-which is basically everyone in the entire theatre. I think that this is why the films are so loud, to drown out the chewing and slurping. How about the talkers, the kickers, the hard of hearing, (HUH???) the seemingly incontinent, the theatre jumpers (you know the type-they don't like the movie they paid for, so they sneak into yours!) the less than sparkling bathrooms, the sticky floors-all making the theatre experience a lot less fun than it should be. The husband has proclaimed that he will not go to another movie theatre in Florida and is less than enthusiastic about attending here! I, on the other hand, am not yet ready to pack in the popcorn. I want to find a way to continue the experience. I want the theatre seating and surround sound. I want the social experience of being there with my friends. I want the excitement of seeing a film on its opening weekend. How? Maybe this should be our next reno project!! Husband? What do you think?

The Shithole was FINALLY here yesterday. Fixed the deck on the same day that the pool was opened. I hope to never ever see this moron again. If I didn't think there were liability issues I would publish his name, address, phone number and company name to warn you all away from him. Caveat Emptor!!!

Check out the new blog site away from facebook!!

This blogging thing is stimulating and creative!!