Categories
Fur-Babies

A New (for me) Fur-Baby!

Photo ©Kyla Ward, April 16, 2016
Photo ©Kyla Ward, April 16, 2016

Meet Ringo! He’s a 7-year-old American Bulldog hailing from Georgia and most recently Florida.

I get to be Foster Mom to the little dude – he belongs to a very dear friend’s son, and he fits right in with our weird little pack of all-sorts.

Categories
Blog-Family Michigan Real Life U.S.A. Vicarious Tourism Zenishness...

Say “Apple”.

Axe Murderers Don't Wear Plaid - Click to see normal size and more of this gallery.
Axe Murderers Don’t Wear Plaid
Taken March 21, 2009 with Canon PowerShot A550

I know this post is so late that it’s near unforgivable. Here I am at last, though, having killed Photoshop and reanimated it so that I can use it again.

Our Detroit trip shrunk a little… thankfully. My sad attempt at “pre-planning” failed miserably enough that we ran out of time to get all the way to Detroit and back in the few days left of my RTO, so I was ecstatic when Cardiogirl emailed me with, “How about meeting half-way, Betch?!”

She and Mr. C. had decided that an overnight with their three girls as far as Grayling would be a nice little surprise for the family. Imagine being 8, loaded into the car to go to McDonald’s for supper, and ending up miles away in a strange hotel, face-to-face with a couple of whacked-out Canuckians. Surprise!

Ky and I decided we’d go a day early and stay over in Gaylord, simply to experience a certain Chinese restaurant we’d heard nice things about. That stay was worth it, just for the meal, which the hotel paid for. They also gave us our breakfast, a fabulous pool and mittsful of free DVDs to watch. I think we may have fallen asleep in the middle of Movie #4…

On to Grayling….

Check in was for 3 pm, and we were early, so we decided to drive around town. I happened to park directly in front of Ky’s idea of Heaven:

Heaven:  A Whole Store Dedicated to Jerky - Click to see normal size and more of this gallery.
Heaven: A Whole Store Dedicated to Jerky
Taken March 21, 2009 with Canon PowerShot A550

We got back to the hotel at around 1:30, where they let us check in early, and we wandered the most kid-friendly place I’ve been in. Ky started to get nervous over meeting CG’s three girls.

Ky loves kids, but as she says, “You never know if they’re going to be annoying, and what if they are?”

My nerves were shot, too. What if, even after all the blog-comments, and emails, and phone-calls, it turns out that I meet my best Shetbag face-to-face and… we have nothing to say?

What if her husband, whom I really know nothing about turns out to be an arse?

What if her kids are all run-amoks and she just lets ’em go until I want to stomp on them?

What if everybody at work is right, and these people turn out to be mass-murderers who troll the internet as a hobby, looking for stupid Canadian people (like us, for example) to entice into the States, and then they chloroform us and we wake up in the dark somewhere, drugged out, packed in ice, and missing important organs? I mean, they are from Detroit…

In CardioGirl’s post about the trip, she mentions her own misgivings, but she was a little more succinct. “What if she’s lame?” I guess maybe that’s what my own concerns boiled down to, but Canadians do tend to wax eloquent, eh?

Anyway…

After pestering the poor Front-Desk Man over and over, he promised he would have CG call us upon their arrival, so we went back to our room and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And then the phone rang and I climbed up onto the ceiling and clung there, afraid to go meet them. Ky managed to peel me off, dress me up a little, and we went to the pool area, to find CardioGirl, et al, waving and grinning and yes, I even got a hug from the non-hugging Betch, can you believe that?!

And her first words after “Hi!” were: “Say ‘Apple’.” Apparently, the Canuckian accent is funny as hell. And when “Eh?” slips your lips, an American will laugh really hard. Every time.

We spent a most wonderful less-than-24-hours, half-naked in a hot-tub drinking beer (yes, that would be my favourite part), watching Ky have way too much fun with the most well-behaved, articulate, cute, non-fighting little girls I have ever met; shared two meals, and generally got pruney soaking in chlorine.

And that pic up top is the only usable photo I managed in our entire visit.

We are going again.

Soon.

And this time, we’ll make it to Detroit.

(And this time, I’ll buy the beer, Mr. C.)

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Heart of Glass” – Blondie

Categories
Little Bits of Stupid Radio Les

Guess What I Found on the “Dance Floor”…?

Is It, or Isn't It...?Taken November 7, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550In a Parking Lot, Wellington St West, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada
Is It, or Isn’t It…?
Taken November 7, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550
In a Parking Lot, Wellington St West, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada

Right, so I worked a night shift today (or last night), and have not yet slept, although I’m working through the night again tomorrow (or today [or tonight]).

You’ll have to excuse me; my brains have had a stir. See above.

It’s a lonely vigil, the night shift. There’s nobody else to dance with, for one thing. Not that I mind dancing alone (and I do dance in the parking lot all by myself, through the long night. I do.), but there are fewer 5-minute conversations, because there are fewer people – which is why I’m alone to begin with; fewer people to deal with means no side-kick for Les to dance with – and those few people tend to be tired and grumpy. Especially when it rains.

Myself, I like the rain in the middle of the night. I don’t have to sweep the “dance floor” in the rain, although I kind of like that part of the job. It’s rhythmic and soothing, and sometimes I find cool things. Like money – in 5 cent, 10 cent, 2-bits, and sometimes (gasp!) even whole dollar increments.

And then there’s that thing at the top of the page, stuck up there before the words start. Yes, it does look like that, doesn’t it? Or what I’ve always imagined that that would look like, if ever I encountered it, and up until I came across that ziploc bag while sweeping prior to the rain in the middle of last night, I had never encountered it.

If that’s what it really is, anyway.

And you know I’m not going to tell you that, at least, until the end of the story, right?

Right.

I’m going to interrupt here, one day later, to add some audio. With thanks to Suzi and Dale, I’ve worked up the guts to record the remaining portion of this post, as practice for The Waitress AudioBook project – you know, test the equipment and software, find my public speaking voice again, blah, blah, blah.

I’m pleased to say, that I dropped back into it with very few mishaps, and no tears whatsoever. In fact, I actually enjoyed myself, which I wouldn’t have believed possible, previously. I may just do this again.

Click the link – have a listen – read along. Sorry about the lack of a bouncing ball to follow, but maybe I’ll work that in when I switch the blog over to flash, which should happen sometime next decade with the flash conversion success rate that I boast…

Introducing…

Radio Les!

Guess What I Found in the Parking Lot? – © Les Becker, 2008
Click it! Click it!

(You know you want to…)

So….

I stand there in the parking lot, broom in hand, staring down at this ziploc bag, and nudge it with the very manly steel-toed toe of my very manly steel-toed boot…. and I look around as nonchalantly as is possible when one comes across what might be seriously illegal ziploc baggie-filler in the middle of the night at one’s place of employment, with Han Solo’s voice running through my head: “I don’t know! Fly casual!” Or, in this case, sweep casual….

Eventually, I get up the guts to pick it up. It’s heavier than I would have imagined cocaine would be; packed into a hard little, perfect little, ultra-thin zippo-lighter-sized rectanglular-shaped brick.

A nasty thought strikes me: Is this some kind of test?!

Not a “set up from the Boss” kind of test… I’m thinking more along the lines of God, or the Universe, or Whomever/Whatever really runs things… a kind of like, “Here! Have some of this. Free, even!” kind of test. I mean, if I had found a baggie of pot in the parking lot in the middle of the night, I wouldn’t be blogging this.

And I’m pretty sure I’d be sound asleep right now, too… 😀

But it very obviously isn’t pot… and I’ve no idea if it’s what I think it might be, which is coke, and on top of that, no idea if, assuming I had the opportunity/nerve to open it up, I would be able to tell cocaine from anything else that might resemble cocaine.

All I really know, is that whatever it is or isn’t, it’s illegal, and I’d better “do the right thing”, or risk arrest, and the loss of my groovy-cool new J.O.B.

So, what’s the “right thing to do”?

Do I sneak off to the bathroom and unwrap the thing…? No. I’m not worried about temptation (although wouldn’t that be a bugger – to crawl out from under, find a job I like for a change, and then get hooked on coke in the employee bathroom the first time out because I found somebody’s lost stash and thought, “Ah, what the hell…?”), but opening it up wouldn’t exactly look good on me later, would it?

Do I take it in to the “inside” side of the parking lot, to Pretty Girl who’s working tonight and Show and Tell it to her? I decide against… Pretty Girl is nice (she dances when I tell her to), but I don’t really know her that well. What if she’s a coke-head? It could happen – maybe she dropped it.

I decide to go inside and call the Boss – yes, wake him up out of a sound sleep, and ask him what to do. That’s the ticket.

At which point, a 5-Minute Conversationalist rolls up to park, grumpy as all hell, and I stuff the baggie in my pocket and go conversate.

And then I forget all about it.

I KNOW!!! Can you imagine?!

But that’s what I do… until the sun rises, and I’m suddenly surrounded by 5-Minute Conversationalists and it isn’t until the Boss pulls up and parks that I remember it.

And then shift-change is upon us, and things go nuts, because we have to shut everything down for a whole minute-and-a-half and all the grumpy 5-Minute Conversationalists are freaking because they have to wait for their conversations, and by the time it calms down and I’m free to talk to the Boss about the baggie full of drugs I found in his parking lot, my Idiot Child (now don’t come down on me for renaming my formerly wonderful albeit sometimes stupid kid – she’s a full-blown teenager now, clinically insane and has recently earned the new name, believe me) comes flying into the fray to tell me she missed her bus, and can I please, please drive her all the way to the far edge of town to school?

To which I find myself driving in a downpour, with a minor child, and me with no purse (hence, no driver’s license), with my pockets stuffed full of cocaine.

I’m certain I’m going to be stopped for driving erratically. I am, in point of fact, driving very erratically, being in a panic about my pending arrest and all. The knowledge that I am about to become the much-honoured Family Cup Holder does not please me nearly as much as I’ve always believed it would.

I’m sure that, even if I don’t get stopped by the police, I’m certain to run a red light, plow through twenty-seven other vehicles, roll the Prissy-van, mow down a whole bloody mess of school-children, and eventually wake up from my coma in handcuffs because somebody is going to find cocaine in my pockets, dammit, and, somehow, I don’t think, “I found it in the parking lot,” is gonna fly… Nuh-uhhh.

I decide to drop my Idiot Child off at school, and then drive to the police station with my contraband and turn myself in. I’m pretty sure they’ll believe the parking lot story if I surrender the goods of my own volition, so I concentrate on not killing anyone, and driving safely, and I must be doing alright, because I turn into my driveway having had only two fists shaken in my direction, and three or four fingers, ummm, fingered at me.

Yes. I turn into my driveway… having driven by rote and gone home rather than the police station.

At this point, I decide, to hell with it all, I’m going to flush it and forget it. I get inside, lock the door, lock the bathroom door, you know, to be on the safe side, and unwrap the hard little, perfect little, ultra-thin zippo-lighter-sized rectanglular-shaped brick.

Which turns out to be a dead camera battery wrapped in a tissue and folded into a ziploc bag for recycling.

Lucky for me… because a few minutes later, I discover that my toilet won’t flush.

Some drug dealer I’d make. I’m disgusted with myself. I don’t deserve The Family Cup after all.

And Google is going to send me some wicked-weird visitors because of this post, I know it.

Not-So-Random Song-for-the-Day: “Cocaine” – Eric Clapton

Categories
It Helps If the Whole Family Is Crazy Oh Mother...!

The Chamber Pot

Kyla Nora Maude Becker - 1998 - JK - photo
The 1998 Version of My Aunt Blanche…

No, really, let’s compare, shall we? If only to piss off my daughter – who tells me she’ll kill me if I post this, but then laughs out loud when she looks at this photo of herself, so I think I’m all good…

Blanche Van Every - 1920-something - photo
Tell me that’s not eerie…

Yes, kids, it’s time for another Aunt Blanche story…

Categories
Little Bits of Stupid Real Life

When Does the Fat Lady Sing?!

DO draw up a floor plan for the new space before determining any furniture choices. Your favourite sofa may look like it fits in your new home — make sure it does! As well as assessing your furniture for room arrangements, measure large, wide pieces like sofas to see if they’ll fit through the front door, and keep in mind any stairs or elevators to be negotiated.

  blog it

Guess who hadda buy a new F-ing couch…?

You got that right.

And the new one didn’t want to go down the stairs, either. Fluffy-the-Car-Shark was in charge of that particular escapade while I was at work, thank God, or I would’ve just sat in the parking lot and cried.

Fluffy is not a crier. Fluffy is a Take Charge Kinda Guy. He stood between the building and the moving van with his arms crossed and wouldn’t let the delivery guys leave until they got the new and smaller hide-a-bed in the door, down the stairs and set up.

Then he made them clean the drywall dust off the sides of it, where they had scraaaaaaaaaped it down the stairwell. I now have a beddish kind of thing to sleep in, and although smaller, it’s a lot more comfortable than the concrete couch/bed that I bought at the J.O.B. And it goes nicely with the chair and ottoman that matched the original.

None of the above are completely paid for, but Fluffy got the New Couch People to store the Old New Couch until it can be sold. He also talked them into delivering the New New Couch at no charge and with no money down. I will have to pay somebody eventually, I suppose…

I still haven’t got the dregs out of the old apartment, or cleaned it. I’ll have to do that on Monday (I snagged an extra day because of the Some Kind of Canuckian Holiday Weekend that happens at the end of every August), because tomorrow after work, I will be accompanying Fluffy and four teenaged girls to a foreign country to witness the sacred insanity that the Fly-Girl has committed herself to.

And to drink.

We will be returning some time on Sunday evening, and with luck, maybe I’ll be able to get the last of the crap to the charity drop-off and clean the old place then. That way I could go hiking or beaching with The Oogily Bay Girls on Monday.

Or hell, maybe I’ll just hand them the car keys and sit in the sauna all day…

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Superman Can’t Walk” – Good Charlotte

Categories
Little Bits of Stupid Photography

If a Car Hits a Tree in the Forest…

If a Tree Falls in a Forest
Will My Dad Find Out?
Taken August 9, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550

Of course, my Dad found out. He always found out everything I was up to, and he always gave me a chance to own up to it, relating the dirty deed to me in a manner designed to make me believe he really didn’t know who had done it. You know, in case I wanted to get it off my chest. Which I never did. Even though *I* knew that he knew…. nope. Wouldn’t admit to it. Never.

Like that time when I was five, and the kids up the street and I set fire to the empty field behind my house. Somehow we managed to stomp it out before it got away from us, and we all went home for supper, absolutely certain we were in the clear.

And then, my Dad read the “Police Report” out of the newspaper (yeah, the one that had been printed before we found the matches, but I was five and that was beyond my scope) out loud….

“…The POLICE are VERY worried about the three children, 2 boys and a little girl, who were playing with matches in the long grass, today. They are VERY worried that these three children don’t know any better and could have been BURNED TO DEATH, because they don’t seem to understand that fires can very quickly get OUT OF CONTROL and BURN CHILDREN TO DEATH before their parents can get to them. ESPECIALLY if their parents believe their children SHOULD KNOW BETTER. The POLICE hope these three children, 2 boys and a little girl, have LEARNED THEIR LESSON, and NEVER DO SUCH A STUPID THING AGAIN…”

And he turned to me and gave me that chance to own up: “Do you know who those three children are…?”

Me: “No,”

“Well what do you think of what those three children did …?”

Me: “I think they’re very lucky they didn’t get caught and go to jail.”

Right up into my teens, I would stubbornly stick to the “Wasn’t Me” defense, even when handed unequivocal evidence that it was so me.

Like that time when I was 16, and was accused of stealing a magnum of Champagne out of the wine-cellar, drinking it, and hiding the empty bottle under my bed, I said, “Wasn’t me.” Even though the evidence was found under my bed… with the date of the crime etched on the label… along with the signatures of myself and the friends I passed it back and forth with.

“Wasn’t me.”

But about that tree….

When I was growing up, we spent almost the entire summer on the boat. We traveled all over the Great Lakes on one boat or another – at first, sleeping on the boat, which was cool, but then my parents built their camp on Cockburn Island (That’s pronounced “Co-Burn”, remember. Suzi, stop laughing.).

By the way, a “camp” is what Northern Ontarians call “The Cottage” – for those of you who might picture tents, or a lumber camp. The “camp” is now owned by my sister Tootie and her family, and it’s a bona-fide second home. It ain’t “camping” by any stretch of the imagination.

It was a slow build, though. The first year, we lived in the woodshed (huge by woodshed standards) while the main house was being built. We had an outhouse, kerosene lamps, and a woodstove. The refrigerator was a propane unit, and my Dad built a pump system for the water that pulled it from a cream can under the sink with the push of a button. He didn’t think my mom should have to lift a pail to the sink. He was a nice guy, my Dad.

Everybody on Cockburn drove old beat-up trucks and cars. When you bought a vehicle for “The Camp”, you either had it ferried over on a barge in the summer, or drove it across the ice in the winter. These old things could live forever over there, it seemed. Didn’t need a safety, either, although that was still illegal, but since nobody was gonna check…

And it was on Cockburn Island that everybody learned to drive. The unspoken rule seemed to state that once you hit the age of fourteen, you could drive on Cockburn. Everybody did it. That was my argument to my parents, anyway, when they wouldn’t let me drive over there. Their return argument was… well… inarguable: “Well, YOU’RE not gonna.”

But I was determined to be like everybody else and drive, dammit.

So, I went to the camp across the road and lamented to the Neighbour-Lady all my woes. Neighbour-Lady was a nice gal. She always had her long blonde hair wrapped around her head with pins in the mornings after she washed it, because she didn’t like the natural curl it had. She always wore green eyeshadow. And she always had a beer open.

Neighbour-Lady had cancer, but wouldn’t take treatment. Much of the time, she was “tight”, as my mom would say – not “falling down drunk”, but she generally had a buzz on. I guess it was one way to deal with cancer.

Anyway, I was over there complaining to Neighbour-Lady, and smoking her cigarettes. She wouldn’t give me a beer, but she gave me cigarettes all the time. And that day, she solved my “can’t drive” problem for me, by loaning me a car.

Now, to this day, everybody in my family thinks I stole that car. I did not. Neighbour-Lady loaned me that car. Never mind that the car did not belong to her. Or that I didn’t have a license. Or parental permission to drive. She handed me the keys and said, “Take it. Don’t smash it up.”

I was half-way up the road while she was still popping open her next beer.

Ahh…. the freedom! I drove up the long side road and turned right on the “main” road that would take me down to the Government Dock. There was a guy on the Island that summer, that I had a crush on. On the Mainland, this guy ran in a different circle, and wouldn’t give me the time of day, but on Cockburn he would talk to me. Probably because there weren’t many teenagers on the Island at a time. And I was there. So…

I decided to go to the dock, because he would likely be swimming there. I had to sort of “happen to run into him”, of course, so he wouldn’t know I had that crush, you see, or I would have gone to his camp to find out where he was.

As I came up the road, it was fairly obvious that the dock was deserted, so I decided to make a left, and go to the other side of the Island to the sand beach. Maybe he’d be there. And I could drive there, because I had a car. I was cool.

I was so cool that I could light a cigarette while negotiating a left turn, having never driven a car before, and not end up in the ditch.

Or not.

It worked out okay, though, because the ditch was adjacent to a government building where large logging machines and road-maintenance equipment was stored. I found a guy with a grader that yanked me out of the ditch, and promised not to tell anybody. Oddly, I don’t think he did, either, because no one has ever brought the ditch portion of this story up to me.

So, on the road again, I re-lit my smoke without incident, and drove to the beach. And, oh joy! My crush was there! With his entire family and then some.

We swam for a bit. Talked for a bit. And then I tried to convince him to let me drive him back home. Because I had a car. I was cool.

But he would not get in that car. I think his reasons included the phrase, “death wish”, and the fact that he didn’t have one.

I’m not sure how I finally convinced him, but he did reluctantly agree to a lift. Apparently, it was just so he could wax derisive of my driving skills, though, because he wouldn’t stop wincing, advising, and clinging to the dashboard.

I finally got tired of the exaggerated terror he was exuding and decided I’d show him what scared was, and floored it. Of course, I chose to do such a thing while going up a steep hill, forgetting about the curve in the road on the other side of it.

For the record, I missed the tree the car was trying to hit. But I over-corrected, and hit a tree on the other side of the road, dead on. Very hard. Poor tree.

And poor car! The front end was smushed in. The driver’s door wouldn’t open. I still have a faded scar on one elbow – the only injury sustained in the accident – unless you count the car. Or the tree. And I’m sure my crush didn’t speak to me for years after that. He probably felt bad, because it was his fault I hit that tree. I mean, if he hadn’t been putting down my driving in the first place…

And what are the chances that the first vehicle to drive up that lonely road to happen upon us would be my father’s truck…?

Pretty good, as it turns out. He didn’t speak to me for a while, either.

When I turned 16, though, the first thing Dad did, was register me in Driver’s Ed. I passed, and got my license. And not once would my father loan me his car – not even when I was grown and on my own, and had a perfect driving record.

Except for the tree incident.

Which happened on Cockburn.

And what happens on Cockburn is supposed to stay on Cockburn, dammit!

But still my Dad always said no. Followed by, “Remember that tree you hit on Cockburn…?”

It’s the only time I couldn’t get the nerve up to try “Wasn’t me.”

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Cannonball” – Damien Rice

Categories
Real Life

Bleed…

"Bleed"
“Bleed”
Taken November 15, 2007 with Canon PowerShot A550

I’m feeling a little raw, lately. There are a lot of changes being thrust upon me, and, as you all well know, I don’t deal with change ummm… much.

I’m not having any luck becoming accustomed to the schedule at the new J.O.B., which kind of throws everything else out of whack as far as my family life is concerned. As well, my kid is about to graduate from… what should I call it…? Pre-high-school…? Grade 8, anyway. And another “landmark of Motherhood” being reached is difficult for me.

It’s an exciting time for her, though, because the graduation process is filled with trips, and camping, and dinners, and formal gowns, and what-all and what-not and God help me if any more gets added, because it all costs a frightening amount.

That makes it the “wrong” kind of excitement for me, because the J.O.B. wage is crap, and the schedule does not allow for a supplemental part-time J.O.B. (I never know from one week to the next what my shifts are). My small and hard-fought-for nest egg has been punctured in several places long before I’ve built it back up to where it should be, and the funds are leaking out in an alarming manner.

Other, scarier things loom ahead. The building I live in, which has been for sale for well over a decade, has finally got a serious offer. Good for Ruby – she’ll finally be quit of the huge headache the maintenance on the place has become for her.

Not so good news for me and the kid, as, rumour has it, the new owner wants to gut the interior and remodel, and plans on giving all the tenants notice. I don’t have a move built into the budget anymore, unfortunately, so I’m torn between hoping Ruby gets it sold, for her sake, and praying the guy changes his mind, for mine. Time will tell, I guess, and I’m trying to take my mother’s old saying to heart: “It’ll all work out.”

And I’m about to add another bill to the mess with the acquisition of The FlyMobile, which has now become a necessity if I ever want to see my parents.

They have moved back to Teeny-Tiny Town, where I was born and raised, the place they spent the first 50 years of their married life, to a facility that offers my father the 24-hour care he now requires, and allows them to stay together.

This was a good move for my mom and dad: they know everybody there already, having worked with them, and lived near them, and socialized with them since 1947. It’s also good because my sister,”Tootie”, is a nurse in the hospital that is housed in the same structure. She can see them everyday, without having to drive an hour each way and still manage the swing shift.

It kind of sucks for me and Ky, though, unless I can handle the payments on the minivan, which start in July. Money’s easy to get, though, right? It’ll all work out. Somehow. I hope.

Having a vehicle will allow us to visit once a week, like we’re used to doing. I’ll just have to spend more time on the stepper, which is currently gathering dust in my closet, to make up for the lack of weekly Walk-About to the other side of town and back. Now that I have an ass, I don’t want it to get flabby, do I?

We’ve driven down twice now, thanks to the generosity of The Fly-Girl, who has me drop her off across “the ditch” in Michigan and hands me the keys. “I’ve filled up the tank,” says she. “Go visit your mom and dad.” What would I do without her?

The Fly-Mobile is fair on gas, thankfully, and if the prices ever drop, I should be okay, assuming there are no more surprise grad fees dropped on me that I’ll have to suck out of the “transportation” category of the budget.

But, we’re carrying on with the carrying on… getting ready for Ky’s grad…. arguing over which photo to pick from the proofs…. pretending there’s nothing but happy, happy on the horizon, because what else can we do, really?

When, really, graduation for Ky may be a bust… Dad had a heart attack on Friday, and another on Sunday morning. He’s wiped on morphine and often confused, but for the most part, he’s holding his own. We’ve been down this road before….

Un-Brother Ken has come home from Alberta, and Big Sis will come up from Southern Ontario after her own graduation on Wednesday. We keep our fingers crossed, but our hearts are in our throats. There’s that “no resuscitation” order as per Dad’s wishes, after all. Again, good for him – it’s the way he wants it to play out – but I can’t help but feel selfish and wish they’d ignore/forget about/pretend they don’t see the yellow wristband on his arm, and just fix him, dammit!

I think he’s winding down, though.

Random Song for the Day: “Push It” – Garbage

Categories
Little Bits of Stupid

You Want Fries with that Burger…?

Les and Goldie, 1971
Ain’t I Angelic… “looking”?

Ah, yes, appearances can be deceiving, though, can’t they? The dog knows differently, you can tell by the look on her face.

This picture was taken by my father in 1971. I would have been around 5 at the time. The dog (her name was Goldie), was 4, and I think my dad might have loved her as much as, if not more than, he loved me. He never once forgot her name, whereas I still get referred to as “Vel-errr…Kar-errr… Lisa! No…. Diddly-Do-Over-There”. He does that to all his kids, mind you, so it’s not like I’m singled out. He had too many kids, and just the one dog.

Goldie is in nearly every photo taken of me by my dad from the time she was brought home to the time she was “put down” when I was about 13.

She was old and had been through some tough times – surgery for removal of an “India Rubber” ball she accidentally swallowed (my dad still has that – ask him where my first tooth is, though) … rheumatism resulting from being accidentally run over (by my dad!!!!)… poor ol’ dog.

My parents didn’t tell me they’d put Goldie down until 4 days after the deed was done, because I was in the middle of a monstrous school project. They were worried I would be so upset that I’d get a bad mark. I cried. A lot. Not because the dog was gone, so much as I felt guilty that I hadn’t wondered where she was for 4 days. Some friend I turned out to be.

ANYWAY…. that’s not what this post is about. It’s about an incident that happened around the year this picture was taken – and probably the reason I hate cooking so much…

I think we were on Cockburn Island (stop laughing, Suzi), but it could have been one of a myriad of other islands in the North Channel that we “boated” to. I know there were other families there –

1) because my dad (along with several other dads) was three sheets to the wind (ummm… for those not in-the-know, “three sheets to the wind” is Sailor-Talk for Drunk.), and it took other dads present for such a thing to happen, and

B) because My Brother the Trespasser wouldn’t play with me, and it took other kids present for such a thing to happen.

So, all the other kids, being older, were… I don’t know…. gone, and I was left all by my lonesome 5-year-oldness to amuse myself. Under the arguable watchful-eyedness of a bunch of drunks. I could hardly help but get into trouble.

We were BBQ-ing that night. Well, the other families were BBQ-ing. Ours was “Hibachi-ing”. My dad loved his little Hibachi, because it didn’t need any dismantling for storage (we lived on a boat in the summer, remember?), or have to be strapped down on the deck.

hibachi
It looked exactly like this.

Yes. Very small. Very low to the ground. About up to a 5-year-old’s shins. Reachable, in other words, to both a 5-year-old girl who only looked like an angel, and a 4-year-old dog who would eat anything within reach provided my dad wasn’t yelling “UUT! Oh, NO YOU DON’T!!” at the time. As I recall, that worked on both dog and girl equally well.

But, as you will recall, my dad was three sheets to the wind. And he did a silly thing. He told me (ME!) to “keep an eye on the Hibachi and make sure Goldie doesn’t get into the hamburgers.” Imagine that! And then he went back to his lawn chair, his rum, his buddies, and Nat King Cole on the 8-track.

So, I picked up the spatula and “kept an eye on the Hibachi”. As well as any 5-year-old who’d never wielded a spatula before could….

Now, this is about the point where the way my parents tell this story and the truth part ways. Ahem…*

To my knowledge, my parents don’t read my blog… in fact, I’m pretty sure that My Brother the Trespasser is the only member of my family who ever has, and I’m not even sure of that, truthfully… but if I get in trouble for the following admission, I will be forced to inform my parents who it was that taught me how to remove a locked wine-cellar door from its hinges quickly and silently, and put it back the way I found it, equally quickly and equally silently. Not to mention the party I swore I’d keep quiet about in exchange for such a valuable education. I swear I’ll tell. Fair warning, oh Brother Mine.

My parents maintain that I was “playing house”. That I “didn’t know any better”. That I just “had quite the imagination as a child”. Ri-ight. Goldie would have ratted me out in a heartbeat if my dad had thought to offer a milk bone. As it was, I think she may have scored the whole meal.

I was trying to flip the hamburgers over. I knew it had to be done; I could smell them burning. No amount of arm-waving, or sleeve-pulling, or “excuse-me-ing” could get my dad’s attention, and truthfully, it never once occurred to me to go to my mother because this emergency pertained to The Hibachi, which was most definitely my father’s turf.

And he ignored me.

And I saw my chance to finally be The Hero, and save supper.

So, I gingerly slid the spatula under a hamburger patty, and attempted to deftly flip it over, whereupon it promptly flipped off the Hibachi. Into the sand. Of course. May I remind you at this point, that I was 5.

You may not be aware, unless you’ve dropped a hamburger patty into the sand, that sand does not scrape off a hamburger patty. Completely.

But it can be disguised.

With more sand.

On all the other hamburger patties.

You can fit about eight hamburgers on an Hibachi grill. It takes approximately ten minutes for a 5-year-old girl-that-looks-like-an-angel-but-who-has-an-imagination to drop seven hamburger patties in the sand (on purpose!), scrape as much sand off as possible, and return them to the grill, sand-side-down.

They didn’t catch on until the second bite, as I recall, but they haven’t let me forget it, since. I believe we had bologna sandwiches for supper that night. Goldie ate sandy hamburger.

Not-So-Random Song for the Day: “Ramblin’ Rose” – Nat King Cole

Categories
Little Bits of Stupid Radio Les

Wanted: Used Tuba, Suitable for Cat

Cat in a Tuba
Come on; you can do it!

RadioLes!!

 

Wanted: Used Tuba, Suitable for Cat – © Les Becker, 2008
Click it! Click it!

My site was reviewed today. The phrase “Cat in a tuba” was the the best thing about it. You can read the review HERE, if you like, along with my comment about it.

Needless to say, the “review” was disappointing. Not because it was a little pissy, either – I expected pissy. Pissy is this guy’s schtick. I mean, he calls his site “I Hate Your Website,” so he’s bound to get a little um… rude. In fact, I didn’t find the “review” nearly as rude as I would have expected.

But.

The few other reviews he has up, at least the few I read, actually have some honest (if pissy) constructive criticism about the site thrown in there. Yes! They actually, actually do! Not mine, though. This guy’s dislike of cats and old people is apparently intense enough, and my blog is boring enough, and my friends don’t like me enough, that my site is not worth any constructive criticism about design, layout, content (other than cats and old people), adspace, whitespace, or anything else that might give me an idea about how it might be improved for readability or traffic.

The only constructiveish thing he mentioned was that I needed an “About Page” – because he didn’t know how old I was or what I do for a living… information that is repeatedly interspersed throughout many entries; not that I could reasonably expect him to read enough entries that he could be guaranteed not to miss those two gems. I’m not sure how knowing my age would make him like my blog any better, but maybe I shall, from now on, end each and every entry with the phrase, “My name is Les Becker. I’m 42.”

Yes, Carl, I’m 42. That’s also “The Answer to The Ultimate Question”, how cool is that?! Pretty cool if you’re me, I guess. I’m not that cool, though. I’d be more cool if I owned a tuba.

Anyhoo, all because of Carl, who is also cool in his own little way, I have set up a separate “About Page” – just for him. I even dedicated it to him. Cuz he’s pissy and cool and inconsistent, all at the same time. That deserves recognition.

And –

I hereby declare that from this day forward, February 14th will now be known as “Cat-in-a-Tuba” Day, in honour of Carl. Oh alright, it can still be Valentine’s Day, too, but only ‘cuz it would be too hard to break you all of the habit. Happy VD, btw, people. You, too, Carl.

My name is Les Becker. I’m 42.

Random Song for the Day: “Something in the Way” – Nirvana

Categories
Oh Mother...! Photography The Landlady

Mish-Mash

Little Red Shoes
“Little Red Shoes”
Taken October 20, 2007 with Canon PowerShot A550

The Little Red Shoes sit in my mother’s Etagiere, if I spelled that correctly. Elle? Wanna let me know, Betch?! My mom calls it a “What-Not”. I think it’s because it’s to display all your knick-knacks and what-not in. Anyway, that’s where the Little Red Shoes are, when they’re not in the bathtub, with me and my camera. Bathtubs make great backgrounds for some pictures. Wet bathtubs are not necessarily good for cameras, but mine’s tough.

I love the Little Red Shoes, but I don’t have a story about them. I just couldn’t come up with a pic for this post.

I’m having trouble catching up with all the posts I have in draft. Hence the title – “Mish-Mash” is about what this one will be – just a couple of bits and pieces that I’d like to get out of my hard drive and onto the blog. This clip from today’s post by Cardiogirl reminded me of a bit about my mom when she was a kid, which, in turn, reminded me of one about Ruby’s mom…

clipped from www.cardiogirl.net

So essentially we have a socially-accepted version of a wealthy pretty woman (former Ford model who must have earned a lot of cash) whose hobby is traveling the globe and shopping. So she finds “amazing stuff” and brings it back to New York to re-sell it. Do I have that right? I thought so.

And these aren’t your mother’s baubles. A telephone table finished in frog skin. I’m understanding this, though I find it crazy, until I get to the shagreen part. What is shagreen? Is it like shazam?

  blog it

A million years ago, when my mom was a little girl of about 12, she and her sister were down at the nearby fishin’ hole with their cousin. My mom is the older of the three, but for some reason, it was Auntie and Cuz that did the ordering around of my mom. This was the story that made me realize that my mom was a little mouse when she was a kid. How she managed to grow up into a stern (SERIOUSLY stern) School Marm, I will never know. My mom was the teacher you didn’t want to get, because you couldn’t get away with any monkey business, and you might even (OMIGOD!) learn something!

At any rate (as Mom would say), they were down at the fishin’ hole, dib-dabbling around in the water, when the conversation turned to frog legs. As an appetizer. Because that was what the rich people ate. Probably every day, even. Imagine, they told each other, all the rich people in the big cities paying unbelievable amounts of money for a plate of frog legs, when there were hundreds of frog legs attached to hundreds of frogs right in front of them. For free.

And so Auntie and Cuz decided that they wanted frog legs for dinner. My mother didn’t think that was a very good idea. She thought it might be a little hard on the frogs. Auntie and Cuz didn’t give a damn about what the frogs thought of the idea, and they didn’t give much of a damn what my mom thought about it, either. They just sent my mom up to the house to get a knife. And my mom went. Slooooowly.

The whole walk up for a knife, she tried to think of a way to save those frogs. She couldn’t think of a thing. She considered just not going back to the fishin’ hole, but decided she might pay for that later, so instead, when she got to the kitchen she decided she would bring back a dull butter knife. She reasoned that it would hurt the frogs less than a sharp one would. At 12, my mom was all for “less hurt”, apparently.

As it turned out, a dull butter knife does NO hurt to a frog, because it wasn’t long before the other girls gave up trying to saw off frog’s legs and quit in disgust. They didn’t get their frog leg dinner that day, but there were probably a few pissed off frogs in the fishin’ hole before they gave up.

Years later, one of those girls ate frog’s legs in a restaurant – by accident. She saw someone else’s order of what she thought was chicken and just pointed to it, telling the server, “I’ll have that.” Served her right.

Ruby’s mom, now, would have got the legs off those frogs lickety-split. She was a woman who got things done (she also had no forearmsthere’s a story for the blog, huh? Soon. Honest.).

Despite being a woman who “got things done”, Ruby’s mom had a heart of gold, and hated to see any animal suffer. She lived a hard, rough life on a farm, though, and there were times that some animals just had to be “taken care of”. Chickens had to be killed. Pigs had to be slaughtered. Sometimes, you had to shoot your dog. And there were always kittens that couldn’t be kept, and had to be “taken care of”.

Ruby’s mom hated that job, but it had to be done. She believed that the most humane way to “take care of” kittens was to drown them. Most people would shove the kittens in a burlap sack and tie it shut, and pitch the poor buggers in the nearest river. Not Ruby’s mom. That wasn’t humane enough for Ruby’s mom.

No, Ruby’s mom would pull on a pair of heavy gloves, fill a pail full of water and, one by one, she would hold each kitten (gently) under the surface until it was dead. Oh yeah, and she would make sure to fill the pail with warm water, so the little dears wouldn’t die shivering…

Random Song for the Day: “Alive” – Pearl Jam