Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The Long Goodbyes

When I think about my early childhood, I am fraught with memories of good-byes.

Whenever my mother and I went “home” to Petrovo Selo, my mother would never tell my grandparents that we were coming. It was always a surprise.

We would usually pull up in front of their gray mortar house in the middle of the night. My sleepy eyed grandparents would come to the door, and the tears of happiness and surprise would flow from all of us.

When we would leave to come back to Canada, my family would all gather in front of the gray gate in front of the house, and once again the tears would flow until we would get into the car, and I would watch them from the back seat as they stepped out onto the dusty road, waving until they were out of sight.

And I would cry.

Cry off and on, all the way through the small villages until we got to Belgrade, or Frankfurt and boarded a plane to come back to Canada.
Cry like a person who doesn't know when you'll ever see the people you love again when there is so much land and water between you.

When I got to be about 10 years old, my mother started sending me alone for the summer.
Preparations would be made, my Tetka Ljuba would sew me a traveling outfit, and I would be packed up with suitcases bigger than me full of gifts.

My mother would put me on a plane where I would be passed from one kind Air Canada Flight Attendant to another considerate Lufthansa Flight Attendant on my stopovers in Frankfurt. Then on to Belgrade, where usually my Uja Lazar would pick me up and we’d make the long drive to Petrovo Selo to my grandparents gray mortar house that had been the only thing in my life that ever stayed the same.

When it was time to come home to Canada, it was always the same.
My whole family would gather in front of the house like the Clampets waving goodbye until we were out of sight.

When my mother would pick me up at the airport here in Toronto, she would silently cry as I told her how everyone was, and of all of the things that happened over the summer.
She told me that she cried because she heard “home” in the regional dialect I had reacquired during my visits.

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been to Petrovo Selo.

One thing stayed with me though.

If you come to my house to visit…
when you leave…
I’ll stand on the stoop and wave to you until you are out of sight.

Old habits die hard.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Pumpkin Tarts

You need:

Preheat oven to 375F
1 16oz can of Pumpkin (yeah I was lazy..what of it?)
2 boxes of prepared tart shells (I'm not making hand done pastry for a fundraiser)
3 eggs (separated)
1 cup of condensed milk
1 cup of sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp (Mr. Goudas Mixed Essence)

Mix all ingredients together except for the egg whites.

Whip egg white into stiff peaks.

Fold in to other bowl

Bake until pastry edges are golden.

**this recipe is much better (in my opinion) by substituting the pumpkin with 1 large, cooked and mashed sweet potato. It's great with some whipped cream. Since you have the mixer out anyway, some 18% whipped at high speed adding sugar to taste goes really well. I would have done sweet potato pie...but seeing as it's October, it was a freakin' Pumpkinfest.

Thank you to the reader who nominated me for a Diarist Award for my September 25th post about my Grandfather. I really appreciate it.

Friday, October 15, 2004

I don’t smoke in MY car…but if I want to smoke in MY car, I will damn well smoke in MY car.
When the OMA buys me a car, I won’t smoke in it.
Until then,

Fuck off.

It’s MY car.

I swear, Communism wasn’t this intrusive.
Or even this invasive.

Between the soccer mom special interest groups, and the government, we’ll have to call someone for permission to have a pee in a couple of years.
Just equip us all with satellite tracking systems and be done with it already.

…oh wait…wasn’t that the flu shot campaign they were shoving up our nostrils last year?

In other news, I got a huge laugh out of this:

“ZAGREB (Reuters) - A Croatian armed robber abandoned a bank hold up after the
cashier laughed at his order to stick 'em up, state news agency Hina reported on

“The masked robber entered a bank at Zagreb's main square in
plain daylight and threatened the clerk with his gun.
Knowing she was behind a bulletproof glass, the clerk laughed heartily, rang her boss to say she was being robbed and asked him to call the police," Zagreb police spokeswoman Gordana Vulama told the agency.
The humiliated robber turned and took to his heels, she added.”

Monday, October 11, 2004

Years ago, before I met The Mister, I had bad taste in boyfriends.
The nice ones were “boring” and the bad boys were “commitment phobes”.
It took me a long time to figure out that it was me who was the commitment phobe.

Here’s how I figured it was.
Stay with me…
I was so afraid of committing to loving someone, so afraid of being abandoned without being prepared, that I set up my relationships so that I would know the outcome.

Pretty clever, huh?

That’s right, date an asshole who treats you like shit…voila!...self-fulfilling prophecy with built in, “it isn’t my fault, he’s an asshole” clause.
I did this for a long time.
Until I got tired of the drama and pain…which is when I came up with my “dating system”.
It was shortly after that (very shortly) that I met The Mister.

Love is a leap of faith.
Once you allow yourself to love someone, you open yourself up to all kinds of anxieties (ok, maybe not you…maybe just my neurotic self).
Perhaps something will happen to the person that you love.
That they will be hurt while they are out in the world, and you will be in unbearable pain if this happens.
I believe that fear of this stops some people from loving others.
Men from loving women.
Women from loving men.
People from loving people.
Even parents from loving children.

It takes courage, and not everyone has it.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Shortly after I walked in and sat down, he started pulling chairs into a circle.

I hate roll play.

"Let's have a dialogue about this..."
"How are you feeling about what is being said?"
"Are you ok with that?"

I don't know how many meetings I've been in throughout my career where minutes spanned into an hour or more, where I came out of a meeting wondering what the speaker was actually getting at.
Exercises in patronizing double talk.
I am realizing that we are living in an age of no negatives".
Everyone is worried about "self-esteem", like we're all fragile and will fall into depression at the mere suggestion that we're not fantastic.

We need things to "dovetail" and "synergize".
We need things to be "seamless", "streamlined".
We need them to be "win win".
We need to "converse" and "convene" and be "validated" and "empowered".
To get in touch with our feelings about our goals and "who we are".
We need to ask permission to move on in a conversation.

With all of's a fucking wonder that any work gets done at all.

Monday, October 04, 2004

I might be going out on a limb here.

But, here goes anyway.....

What is up with indignant dog owners?

This morning I saw a woman have a hissy fit because the Bank Manager asked her to keep her two huge dogs with her, on their leash.
She had left them, unattended sitting at the entrance.

This is much like the parent problem.
Not everyone loves your dog.
Just like not everyone loves your kid.

Actually, some people are irrationally afraid of dogs.
How fair is it to leave your two gigantic dogs unleashed by the entrance of any public venue?

Same goes for those assholes in the park who think that their dogs running freely off their leashes is more important than the children playing in the park who are totally freaked out by a dog bigger than they are galloping toward them.
Not to mention those same assholes that don't pick up after their dogs, or let them drink out of the public water fountains.

Geez, get over yourselves.

Friday, October 01, 2004

It Ain't All That

I’ll preface this by saying that I now work just a notch north of the neighbourhood I grew up in. This is very wonderful for two reasons, I’m very, very familiar with the neighbourhood, and what teeny, tiny bit of my family that is here in Canada, is just down the street. So, I get to see them without much traveling time.

Now, on to my tedious thoughts…

On my way to work this morning, I saw someone I went to Junior High with. In Junior High, he was “IT”. He was the cutest, the most popular, the boy all the girls wanted to go steady with.
How do I know it was him?

He looks exactly the same.
I mean exactly.

Walking along the same street he would have been walking along to go to Junior High. It’s not the first time I’ve seen him in the neighbourhood since I’ve come back to work here.
It’s just the first time I’ve thought about it.

What is it like to stay in the same neighbourhood your whole life?
To never venture out?
I’ll add that he looks a little sad and scruffy too.
Which got me thinking about the popular people.

All the popular people I knew in Junior High and High School, that I’ve seen since we’ve all grown up, didn’t measure up in adult life to the status they had during their High School Heydays. In fact most of the geeks and misfits are the ones who seemed to have done well.
A couple of years ago I described “Lisa” one of the popular people who used her power for evil, and how a geeky girl triumphed in this memory .

I wonder why this is?
Why don’t the popular people do better when they grow up?
They have such a jump start on the rest of us.