Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In The Eyes of the Vice Squad

Mum loved to write little poems... one of her many talents. Here's one I'd like to share.  It's a funny one she had written in response to my brother, Mike's critique of a cute story she'd written about a gay old goblin!

In The Eyes of the Vice Squad

I was writing a tale the other day
- a sweet, an innocent one
At least that's what I thought it was
- until picked up by my son

"You're sending this... To the Church magazine!
- Mother, are you going mad!!
I'll have to go right through this
- you really are too bad.

"Very lucky for me I saw it
- just in the nick of time
If this stuff fell into the wrong hands
- I would probably have to resign!"

"What are you going on about?"
- I was quite unable to see...
"This highly inflammable story you've done
- full of homosexuality!

Now here, you can't have a Queen
- it will have to be a King!
You can't possibly have all the 'Fairies'
- and out goes the 'Fairy Ring'

What's this you've put!? 'Bent old man'!?
- a criminal! That's out!
Your "Gay" old goblin must go too
- that's what it's ALL about!

"Mother! "waving his big nobbly stick!"
- now that it out - but quick!
For that has sexual meaning
- you really are quite thick!

Now this bit here - oh no!
- leaping high on grass!
You've even pulled the drug scene in
- there's nothing I can pass."

So, here I am, left with my story
- what's left of it you see
A pixie - An elf - A toadstool
- and a very bewildered ME!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Jose Summers Scott - Story #307

Mum is never far from my mind.  As I come closer to Christmas I find she's even more often in my thoughts; Christmas hasn't been the same since we lost her. Mum's spirit was an amazing thing and there wasn't much that got in her way if she could possibly help it.

She suddenly found herself single again at the age of 60 and decided it was time to start traveling.  Her journeys to places as far flung as Rome, Rio, and Rangoon were an inspiration to me.  If I can do half the stuff she managed I'll be a happy woman.

I keep thinking about her stories... she had so many.  I promised myself once that I would write them down but sadly I haven't managed to gather many.  But here's a start.  It's a funny little tale that happened on an Alaskan cruise we took together the last time she visited us in 2003.

On the last evening, as were heading back into Vancouver, we were all instructed to make sure our suitcases were outside the cabin by midnight, so they would be ready to offload the next morning.

I woke up bright and early, went up to the top deck to meet Mum for breakfast so we could see the sights coming into port.  I started to get a little concerned after a while as she is normally up before me she was nowhere to be seen.  I strolled over to the elevators to see if I could see her.  As the doors opened, there’s my darling Mum surrounded by a group of very concerned people all looking down at her BARE FEET!  I will never forget the sight!

She’d been really diligent and had packed EVERYTHING - including all her shoes! She padded down to the restaurant and we chatted about what we should do. It’s all very well tripping about a cruise ship with bare feet, but the thought of heading through the cruise ship terminal was a real turn off. Half-way through breakfast a lovely lady we had not met during the trip came up to her and said, “Are you the lady with no shoes?” Apparently word had got around. She was so incredibly sweet and offered mum the spare pair of sandals she’d kept out of her suitcase. They were only a little on the large side, but good enough, so we took down her name and mailed them back to her in New York.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

OCD? Or just plain ol' ANAL?

Do I have a mild case of OCD? Or do I have a bad case of being anally retentive?

I often wonder what drives me to be picky over the silliest things.  Take for instance today when I picked up a paper clip to attach a card to an invoice.  The card was the BRIGHTEST of neon pink. The random paper clip I picked? It was red. And I couldn't possibly use it. It just wouldn't do.  It would clash... hurt my eyes... disturb my equilibrium.  So I put it back and used a blue one instead.  Why did it offend me so much?

It's a bit like my penchant for colour coded Excel spreadsheets.  It doesn't matter if they're for my own personal use and will probably never be seen by anyone else, but they have to be pleasing to the eye and perfect... with the spacing all even and the lines all neat.  And blue lines, not black. Crazy? Obsessive? Nah...I just like looking at nice things.

 But then there's the case of my regular every day black and white plates. I've had them for 10 years or so and whenever I stack them back in the cabinet I have to occasionally have to STOP myself from placing them alternately black, white, black, white.  It's not a glass door, so nobody can see them.  Sometimes I let it ride and leave them looking all neat and pretty.  But occasionally, just to prove to myself that I'm not completely nuts, I will be strong and pile them up haphazardly, willy-nilly, 2 black, 3 white, 1 black... 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Remembering Dad... "Swinging on a Star"

Since I posted my first blog here about the loss of my Dad, lots of kind words and condolences have come in from friends and family.  

In particular, my cousins have sent me their memories of Dad; memories of an entirely different person… the person I’d forgotten.  They remember what a great character he was and how wonderful Mum and Dad were together when we were kids - always laughing and cuddling.  

They remember the summer vacations spent at our house in Portsmouth and speak about the gargantuan meals my Dad made for everyone.  Oh yes, and the enormous mess he always left behind after. I can't imagine Mum was too thrilled about that!    

My Dad taught me to cook; that's something I’ll always be grateful for.  Dad never did anything by halves.  His baking sessions were legendary.  I recall the baking days when all the kitchen surfaces were filled with mouthwatering goodies: mmmmm.... those chocolate eclairs were amazing. And the bread rolls fresh from the oven. Oh, and the pies too; I've never been able to recreate his custard tarts. 

One fantastic memory I have from my childhood was the Christmas menu he would pin up on the kitchen door every year.  He would list all the sumptuous meals we would be enjoying throughout the holiday season.  Our mouths would water reading what delicious feast was coming up next.    

My cousin Tony recalls an incredibly kind and generous man… and it made me reflect on that… and I remember an occasion that he came home without his coat.  He’d given it to a homeless man who he figured needed it more than he.  The fact that he was probably “three sheets to the wind” at the time is beside the point, but still it came from the heart.  Of course the day he came home with a stray dog on piece of string was not something Mum was too happy about...

My painting of Dad... on skates.

My brother Mike gave Dad a great send off the day before his 82nd birthday… it was something he would have appreciated.  Nothing religious; Dad wasn't into religion.  But they said goodbye to him to the sounds of Nat King Cole’s  “When I Fall in Love” and Frank Sinatra singing “Would You Like to Swing on a Star”.  

Dad was always a dreamer... and was forever wishing for the day when things would be better... the day his horse would finally come in... the day when he would be "Swinging on a Star". 

I sang a couple of songs for him that evening and raised a glass or two and tried to remember all the good things.

Dear Pussy Wilks...

That's how I would always start off my letters to Mum.  I have absolutely no idea where the nickname came from... Mum used to call me Puss (I know, kind of embarrassing really).  And she was always Pussy Wilks to us kids.  I think it may have been a stuffed puppet or cartoon character from from some ancient British TV show.  I tried googling it.  But when I saw what came up - well, you can just imagine - I figured I would never find the true origin.

But I digress... Hey, isn't that what blogs that record someone's rambling thoughts are all about?

After I lost Mum it took me a long while to stop thinking "ooh... I must tell Mum!" whenever something significant or, more often than not, something not so significant, happened in my life.

One very insignificant thing happened just now that she would have loved.  I took Zoe for a lunchtime walk. We usually head for the beach or the nearest park for a good run, but as Jim isn't feeling so great today I said I'd walk her around the block.  There's the tiniest little park at the end of our road with lots of wonderful smells, and then we continued around onto the main drag here in Tsawwassen. When we reached Pets 'N Us right there on 56th Street, Zoe starting getting all excited.  She loves that store... and she is literally like a kid in a candy store!

"No, Zoe... I don't have any money. We're not going in today!"

But she sat and held her ground and just wouldn't budge.  I got some nasty looks as I started to try and drag her little butt right on past.  And I mean literally dragging her along the sidewalk... there was no way she was moving.  I ended up having to pick her up to get her to the end of the street.  I'm just glad she's not an 80lb Rottweiler!

sensuality... celebrating when life feels good

I've been going through the notes I've made on Facebook and came across one I wrote just over two years ago.  It was strange reading it again and having the feelings I felt that day come flooding back.  It was why I originally wrote it so it's worth repeating here I think... 

From September 29th, 2008.

All my senses seem heightened today... it feels like I've been plugged in to a charger, getting all fired up and ready to go.

Before my eyes even opened this morning I could feel it... I slowly stretched my body and gradually became awake and I could sense it was going to be a feel good day.

Everything seems to have an extra edge... like the morning sun streaming in through my bedroom window is extra golden, the crisp fall air as I walked along the beach and the salty smell of the seaweed reaches deep within... and I feel intense joy just watching my dog run and play in the sand. The sight of the sparkling North Shore mountains spread out before me is absolutely breathtaking. Yes, I'm so in love with this beautiful blue Vancouver day.

Even lunch was sheer perfection... a wonderful mix of tastes and textures... the delicate sweetness of roasted beets, the bite of the creamy goat cheese combined with crisp nutty pecans and the sharp citrus dressing on my salad was so incredibly sensuous. And the sultry sound of "Love is a Losing Game" over the speakers at the restaurant fit my mood exactly.

I don't know what else this day will bring... but I felt compelled to write it down for posterity... to preserve the mood, so one day I will look back and remember... life is good.


I'm incredibly proud of my grandson, Connor.

There he is... the kid on the far right.  He's just started soccer and I'm so happy. I love the game. I thought he'd never finally pick a sport, but I'm glad it ended up being soccer. I hope he sticks with it, because I think he has talent.

It's been fascinating watching him figure it all out since that first game in September.  Seeing him get to know the game and find out what he's actually supposed to do.  Watching the concentration as he plays, his enthusiasm when he goes for the ball and the big grin on his face when he comes off the field is a delight.  He's learning how the pass and think out the plays, and has made some great moves... his run up the left field yesterday was brilliant!  But that's not why I'm bursting with pride this weekend.

They actually won their game yesterday.  The team played really well together, including Connor.  But the coach picked one boy as the man of the match, a boy who'd never really shone before, but yesterday he finally seemed to get it and it was noticed.  I was watching Connor as Jonathan stood there in the middle of the group being praised by the coach.  Connor was beaming with delight and puffed up with pride himself as his teammate was being congratulated on a game well played.

But it was when I heard Connor start the cheer that the big lump came to my throat.  "Three cheers for Jonathan!! Hip hip..."  "HOORAY!!!"  It was fantastic... and so unexpected.

Sportsmanship at its best...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Smooth talker...

It never ceases to amaze me what a smooth talker I can be.  When I hear words spill from my mouth, a mouth that seems to be completely connected to my brain, spouting words that are, as far as I’m aware, totally unplanned, even I’m impressed with myself.  

Talking on the phone in my working day, fielding calls from the various folks who call us, answering questions from customers and occasionally being put on the spot HAS to be the ultimate Table Topics challenge.  So why, oh WHY does my brain freeze over and I appear to be a total blithering idiot when called upon to answer a Table Topics question at a Toastmasters’ meeting?  *sigh*  

I have to tell myself at the next meeting “I CAN DO THIS!!”    

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

No Regrets

Yes... No Regrets.  I've always said that.

I want to live my life to the fullest and not have any regrets.  I have absolutely no regrets about the choices I've made; no regrets about the things I say and the things I do.  But...

Perhaps it's not entirely true... the no regrets thing.   Because I definitely do have one.

I got the call today.  The call I'd been waiting for, for a long, long time. The call that told me that my Dad had died.  I can't say it was a shock.  As I said, I'd been expecting it.  I still can't believe he lasted as long as he did... and I find it so hard to reconcile with the fact that Mum went first.  I guess I'm feeling kind of numb. 

My one big regret is, that I was never able to get to know my Dad.  I mean really know him... on a deep personal level, to have had long meaningful conversations with this person who was my father.  The person my Mum fell for... there must have been something deeper there once.  I told her how I felt a few years ago and was shocked at her response.  She said, to be perfectly honest, there really wasn't that much more to know.  And I found it profoundly sad.

I can't say we had a troubled relationship... no major battles or anything.  At least once I'd left home. It was just a sort of nothing relationship really.  It puts it into perspective when I think about trying to buy a birthday card for him.  It was always hard.  If it mentioned all the usual "Thanks so much for everything you've done for me" "for your wisdom, support, advice... help",  Well, it wouldn't make the cut. 

Maybe it's because we all got so much from Mum... there was nothing left for him to give. 

And now he's gone.