that time I lost the Vagina Monologues

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As I pulled into the dealership to have my car serviced last week I automatically reached out and turned the volume on my radio off. I suppose so the service guys wouldn’t  have to listen to my Sirius CNN at mega volume to compensate for my deafness.  After all, I drive alone most times so my cable news addiction can remain my secret. But then again, there’s the time I lost the Vagina Monologues.  Continue reading

he ate my signature

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The phone call totally made my week.  The guy calls and tells me he has a problem.  He says it’s hard to explain.

 He tells me he has a situation with the document he needed to sign and send to me and that he has a new puppy. Ok.  He tells me that he signed the paper and had it on the coffee table and when he left the room the puppy ate his signature; ate the bottom of the paper right off where his signature was. Ok, so of course I asked what kind of puppy it is and he says it’s a black Lab.

Say no more.

Always dangerous, that quiet was, and as if bursting from starting blocks on a track Benjamin gallops around the round oak coffee table waving my new peach satin Victoria’s Secret bra from his mouth with great delight.  Cups flapping on his ears like headphones that can’t get a grip, straps shinning across his nose, he’s clearly thrilled with his dresser surfing prize and is trying with all his might to entice me to join in the chase.  I yelled, I commanded,  and he raced faster and faster around the table reminding me of one of my childhood bedtime story books where the tiger races around in a circle until it turns into butter.  Totally  frustrated, I flopped down in the chair in the living room and decided to wait him out. Let him eat my bra, I was tired of the whole game. Benjamin walked over and with the classic Labrador soft mouth, laid my bra gently on my lap as he looked up at me with “you are my world” eyes. It’s hard to explain.

We take our fancy new RV trailer up in northern BC to remoteness. Rivers, bears and dead salmon.  The spawners that drift up on the bank and feed bears and eagles.  I make a special dinner and set the table in the trailer with placemats, wine glasses and flowers and Mark takes Benjamin out for a pee.  The short leash while walking along the river bank trying to avoid  the dead salmon mine field didn’t quite work as Benjamin found one that Mark missed,  flips over on his back and gloriously rolls  in stinking, slimy rotting fish, legs pumping the air as he shimmies and slides in the goo before Mark can yank him up.  I open the trailer door to a fuming Mark and a putrid Benjamin.  Did I mention that it was raining steady our whole trip? Like raincoat essential rain? Using all our shampoo to wash our stinking dog and all our towels to dry him, we spend the rest of the week convincing ourselves that we’re having a great time as campers do when they’re really miserable in the rain. We camped all summer in beautiful places and weather, but it was awhile before we lost the aroma of wet dog and rotten salmon with notes of Febreeze.  You just don’t pick that up in the fine air freshener aisle.  It’s hard to explain.

As I listened to the guy explain how his new puppy had eaten his signature, the Benjamin stories started popping up in my mind.  I felt a sharp stab of nostalgia.  It’s hard to explain.

 

Photo:  Benjamin – my best friend for many years.

 

 

 

cardboard box forts and things I’ll never know

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The summer before I started first grade was marked by moving to a new house on Woodlawn Avenue that came with a barn and a field that adjoined the property of a new elementary school being built. My school. King School.

My older brother, me and a loosely formed gaggle gang of neighbourhood kids spent August swimming, riding our bikes around and spying on the construction workers finishing up the school.  Our recon missions weren’t un-noticed and as the workers unpacked desks and furniture  they chatted with us and let us drag the large cardboard boxes across the school yard to the field behind my house.

Each of us got own box and working like a team of ants we wrestled them into place in the field.  From there we each decorated our cardboard box forts as our own drawing in crayon and cutting out windows as we set up our little village. KEEP OUT! signs on the forts of the older kids, and colourful scribbles on the rest.

The big kids, those 8 year olds, got the prime fort placements away from the spiders’ nests and dips in the field and soon social networks were established within the fort village.  I had to share my fort with my 4-year-old sister who most times was more of a pest than a compatriot. When one of the big boys invited us into his fort and asked her to lift up her shirt and he would let us stay, she started to pull up her t-shirt and I said “no” and we ran away not sure of what was wrong but feeling like something was.

Steve, the next door neighbour kid who came with the story that he was in an accident when he was little and had to wear a tight belt around his middle or his “guts and gizzards would fall down and he would die”.  Something I’ll never know.

The kid who lived catty corner to us who was from Pakistan and gave me a little brass camel that I still have.  How did he end up in Oregon City with his family from so far away? Something I’ll never know.

The old  man two houses away who never trimmed his hedge giving the yard the ominous look we needed to spin stories about him being scary.  Every Halloween he dressed up in a floppy green rubber Godzilla suit and became over six feet of stumbling lizard terrifying us all. He also gave out the best candy. What did he do when he wasn’t Godzilla?  Something I’ll never know.

I started first grade without first going to kindergarten.  My brother went to kindergarten.  Why didn’t I? My parents never told me and it’s something I’ll never know now.

The answers and explanations to many childhood memories disintegrate into time like the cardboard box forts becoming soggy, folding in on themselves and tearing apart with the fall rains. Who cleaned up our cardboard box forts after we left our village in the field and stepped into the school year? Something I’ll never know.

 

 

from the passenger side window

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I feel like I’ve spent the past five weeks looking out the passenger side window at the world.  I’m not used to having to ask for help or what’s worse, needing help. And I’ve had to call up my Mother’s words “Susie, be gracious” rather than growl at the helpfulness of those around me.

The great thing about a broken leg is that it heals.  The not so great thing is that it takes time, crutches, walking boot casts and learning to navigate……not so great.  As I say to people who sympathetically look at me “it’s just not as much fun as it looks”.

My first week back at work (which in hindsight was at least a week too early) I hobbled out on my crutches with my armpits on fire – because well…… using crutches was a new experience for more than my legs – to my car parked conveniently in front of my office. My car parked in what had turned into a melted, then frozen, then melted  and frozen again lumpy mess of snow/slush/ice four feet wide and curb deep. Not to discount my terror of falling on the ice yet again since that’s how I ended up in this situation,  I was ready to cry until one of my colleagues basically lurch-carried me across the moat and tucked me in the driver’s seat of my car. (It’s the left leg – so I can drive 🙂

Every day until a week ago when I got off my crutches my colleagues escorted me out. Even when I said “nah, I’m ok”. The same colleagues who grabbed my coffee and carried it to my desk.  “Susie, be gracious.”

And shopping? My Daughter-ish person shopped for me and found me an awesome backpack since I discovered a dangling purse was more of a hazard than a convenience. Mark has been doing the grocery shopping and I’m liking the variety and sometimes surprises I find in the fridge. It sounds weird, but it’s hard to give up the control of being the one who buys the food but it’s been the good part of the whole experience.  I did have to tell him “no more Pecan pie since my fitness level consists of lurching around from place to place which I don’t think burns Pecan pie calories very well.

All in all, it’s been a real struggle and makes me more than thankful for usual good health.  I’ve been bored not able to do much and while I’m at work, it’s really very hard – which I won’t admit – because my leg hurts.

Mostly I feel like I’ve been looking out at the world, not able to do much in it and missing inspiration. Mostly it’s been a time of trying my patience with so much.  Mostly it’s been a time of gratefulness for the amazing support of family and friends even when I get a little growly.

And being grateful is good. There’s some inspiration for me.

 

 

 

Saturday afternoon walking

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The snow has stopped and the plow and grader have been by plowing the end of our driveway in.  We head out and climb over the smallish mountain of snow for our first walk in a week and what a magnificent day to be outside! So much to sniff and see!

As we head around the corner from the house we see a lynx cross the road right in front of us.  It trekked into the woods and stopped just long enough to look at us and tease Jasmine for being on a leash and not able to chase him.  Then he trudged off to look for the neighbour’s chickens or maybe some rabbits out enjoying the sunshine. IMG_4266.jpg

A shiny black raven did a fly by low enough to turn his head and look at us as if to say ” nice day for a walk, eh?” because of course, he’s a Canadian raven.

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We followed our shadows for a while; not able to catch up as we crunched in the snow that sparkled like diamonds. My transition lenses darkened probably to the max with the bright light but I still marvelled at the amazing blue sky made all the more so highlighted with the snow.  It’s the kind of blue my Dad used to say was the colour of infinity.  I hope he’s up there surrounded by the blue he so loved. IMG_4369.JPG

The trail of a jet long passed by made me momentarily long to be away.  Just someplace away. Then Jasmine turned to me with her big Borzoi-ish smile and said “thanks for the great walk!” and I’m right where I belong walking with my girl on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.IMG_4368.JPG

cherish the company you keep

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Taking my ratty 2017 calendar down and thumbing through the months is a time for reflection. The charity and minor hockey raffle tickets I purchased in support with draw dates long gone and no phone call. The receipts for my hair appointments paper clipped to the side and the dental appointment cards to be moved into next spring.

Never mind resolving to lose the muffin top; that’s important sure, but instead  I take stock of where I am and who I am.

I’m thankful that the close call to someone I love was left unanswered and he came back from the precipice to be with us.

I wave goodby  and wish those well who unceremoniously  unfriended me when I didn’t fit in with the changes they made.

I embrace the new opportunities and friends that showed up at the same time this year.  Both enrich my life.

I feel blessed.

It’s a time for reflection as I hang my 2018 calendar up and as a dear friend once said to me   “make new plans, Susie”.  I am, and in doing so I have good reason to cherish the company I keep.

Happy New Year, my friends.  I wish you all the best.