Friday, April 22, 2005

Ain't that the truth.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Scent of Your Past...

When I smell Lemon Pledge I am reminded of the Saturday mornings of my childhood, when all the windows would be opened on a spring day, and the house would be cleaned from top to bottom.

Scent is a strong memory trigger.

Have you ever smelled something, and stopped for a second to go back to a moment in your past?

Good or bad.

Profound, or inconsequential.

One summer, The Mister and I were at a cottage.
He was fishing off of the dock with a friend in the early evening, when the water is warm and the sun is setting on the lake.
I came down to the dock while he had his line cast. He was leaning back with a beer, just chillin'.
I leaned down and snuggled his neck and smelled the skin, sun and faint fishy scent of my childhood summers when all the men in my family smelled like that.
It was a good feeling.
A secure feeling.

A reminder of a time when there was nothing to worry about but playing, and being sent to bed too early.

When I smell Ponds Cold Cream I think of my mother at night as she hugged me when I was little, and thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world.

Chamomile reminds me of late evenings at my Grandparents home when family gathered to sit at the table outdoors until late into the evening.
Drinking, talking, arguing, laughing, teasing each other under the country moon, and grapevines my Deda lovingly tended.

Crickets chirping, and frogs jumping along the grass and cobblestones of the basta where the kitchen table stayed from May until the end of August, so that we wouldn’t miss one moment of the good weather.

Oh yes…scent can be a wonderful thing.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


I illegally parked my car in front of a coffee shop to run in and get a coffee.
There is never any parking at this coffee shop because the ONE parking spot is generally taken by the person I assume to be the owner.

While in line, I noticed a police cruiser pull up behind my car and park.
In my head I thought, "shit".
Well, it's too late now.

The cop came in and stood behind me in line.
He said:
"Is that your silver Saturn over there?"
"Yes" says I.
"You know you're parked illegally, right?" says he.
"Yes, but I'm parked in front of you", says I.

He smiles and says:

That's a good start to a day.

Addendum: Bad End to the Day
$110.00 ticket and 2 demerit points on the way home.

Monday, April 11, 2005

My Aim is True

I come from extremely modest circumstances.
I’m the child of a single, immigrant mother and grew up in Parkdale, considered dodgy if nothing else, nicknamed “Crackdale” because of its reputation.
The fact that I have come as far as I have makes me feel blessed.
I had all the needed components to fall, but lucky me.

That’s how I feel sometimes.
“Lucky me”

Once The Mister and I established ourselves in a home, and my stepchildren were old enough that they didn’t need to be monitored all of the time, I decided that because I was blessed, I should “give back” in some way.
I wanted to volunteer.
I searched for somewhere that I could help.
I eventually settled on Big Sisters of Canada.
It was surprising to me to find out that Big Sisters is not about young girls with no mothers…it’s about young girls in varying circumstances who need support in some way.

Young girls at risk.
Girls whose parents might be mentally or physically challenged.
Single moms who don’t have time or energy to go to the mall, or bake cookies with their daughters…much like my mother was.
I found that I as a young girl was the perfect candidate for Big Sisters, but back then, who knew about such things?

When I applied to Big Sisters, I was surprised to find that the screening of volunteers took almost 6 months.
I went to workshops, and orientations.
My caseworker Jean, came to my house and interviewed me for 3 hours.
She interviewed The Mister.
The Mister and my stepsons had to have police checks done (as did I).
During my interview, Jean implored that if I decide to make a commitment to a young girl that I follow through for at least 18 months, and if I wasn’t willing…to please pull out now and not disappoint and abandon whoever I was matched with.

Jean, I came to find out over the years is a wonderful woman with a big, fat, huge heart.

Then, the matching began…I went to meet and greets, and met many young girls waiting to meet one that I “clicked” with.
It was another few months before I met Tiffany, who taught me more than I could ever have her.
Tiffany became a friend, and a part of my life…not a “volunteer effort”.
A beautiful young girl, with an admirable resilience, and bubbly personality despite the personal doubts and circumstances.
One of the things that surprised me though, was the attitude of some family members.
It was assumed that I was using my spare time for “strangers” rather than spending every spare moment I had with my mother.
It was assumed by some that I was “longing for my own child” and that was why I was doing it.
I couldn't possibly be doing something altruistically.

The truth is that my aim was true.
I felt that I had finally stopped struggling with myself and was in a position to “give back to the community”, to “do some good”.

In the end, I gained more from my experience with Big Sisters than I gave.

Funny that.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

(a Hiroki, but not my Hiroki)

Years ago, I had a little boy in my class by the name of Hiroki Tanaka.
I loved that little boy.
He was odd in a very lovable way.
Often he would come out with pearls of wisdom out of left field.
Like he was some old guy squished into a childs' body.
He had the way of speaking of a child who speaks another language at home..a very slight Japanese accent, and a way of phrasing his sentences so that you knew that English was not his first language, even though he was born in Canada.
Hiroki wore his pants hiked high around his waist and he was always pulling them up, showing three or four inches of socks while he did it.
A little Spock haircut and ready smile.

I loved that little kid.

Hiroki was a bit of a practical joker and I’ll always remember the times that he would hide only to jump out and scare me, and then he'd giggle and giggle.
He was successful (more than once) of scaring the shit out of me as he jumped out from behind a bookcase, or from under a table, or from his cubbie.

He was my Kato, I was his Inspector Clouseau.

One time I did him the same by hiding behind a door and then jumping out as he was coming in.
I surprised him.
Did he cry?
He said,( in that cute little accent of his) “Mrs. M., you scared me….ALMOST TO DEATH!!!”
And promptly fell into a fit of giggles.
In the one panoramic photo the school took, he searched the crowd to find me and when he did, he hugged me with force and love.
The photographer snapped the photo at that moment.
I have that photo somewhere….

I think about Hiroki every so often.
He must be about 16 now.
Please still be extraordinary wherever you are.

Monday, April 04, 2005

The Freaks Come Out at Night

There are people walking amongst us who are not like you and me.
I don't mean in the "I'm special and unique" kind of way.
I mean in the "I'm the reincarnation of Napoleon, and John Lennon gives me instructions via the TV" kind of not like you and me.
I'm not making light of mental illness, because if you've got someone you care about suffering with it, it isn't all that funny...well, sometimes it can be...but you know what I mean.

It goes without saying that many homeless people suffer with mental illness, and if you live in a large city you've no doubt encountered someone in your daily travels who has either engaged you in amusing conversation, or hurled obscenities at you for no discernable reason.

This brings us to my story:
One summer evening, a long time ago, me and The Mister were waiting to see a movie at the Uptown Theatre on Yonge Street (pre-sudden cave in) and we decided to kill some time at the KFC a few doors south of the theatre.
While we were sitting together and talking , we noticed a disheveled, crazed looking guy staring at us from the street.
He came into the restaurant, walked directly to our table and stood staring at The Mister like he was looking at his long time nemesis.
Now, The Mister is not one to beat around the bush, and asked scruffy if he had a problem.
His reply was to lunge at The Mister and grab him by the throat sending everything on the table flying, including The Misters gold chain.
The next thing I know, The Mister and The Lunatic are fighting in the middle of the restaurant.
I scrounged around searching for The Misters' chain, and came up looking around only to find every single patron in the restaurant squeezed up against the counter, and the staff behind the counter with their backs pressed against the refrigerators.
I yelled for someone to call the police, but no one moved.
The Mister had The Lunatic against the front window, but The Lunatic had what looked like a death grip on The Misters throat.
Me, being someone who just can't stand around while someone I love is in what looked like peril...I moved in with a bunch of trays and started banging The Lunatic on the head with them.
Well, apparently I was in the way because The Mister yelled, "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!?...GET AWAY FROM HERE!!!"

A few moments later, some men came in off of the street and helped The Mister eject The Lunatic from the restaurant.
The Mister and I thanked the guys who helped and we sat down in a booth to collect ourselves.
It was then that the other patrons came over to ask if he was ok, and how they had "seen the whole thing", and how "the guy attacked for no reason", etc.
But, while it was happening, they were all cowering at the back of the restaurant like a bunch of cockroaches when the kitchen light is turned on.

On the way out, The Mister gave me a lecture on not ever jumping in if that ever happened again...suddenly, we heard a commotion.
We turned to see the same lunatic engaged in another scuffle about a block south.

I wondered if he survived the night or if he continued attacking people at random until someone beat him to death.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Language is a Living Thing

A while ago, I posted my favourite Serbian Phrases as well as my favourite Guyanese/West Indian Phrases and lots of you shared your favourites from other cultures. Oswyn (who is Trinidadian) from hey, I'm blogging here sent me a bunch of great Trini sayings...enjoy them like I did.

~"Cockroach doh have no business in fowl party"
(Stay out of matters that don’t concern you)

~"Every stale bread have he stale cheese"
(there’s someone for everybody)

~"He/she doh eat nice"
(to say a person is arrogant or formidable)

~"Basket doh hold water"
(all threats are idle)

~"You can't play sailor and 'fraid powder"
(In Trinidadian Carnival, people who dress up in sailor costumes carry around bottles of talcum powder and squeeze the contents into the air. The powder irritates some of course so this saying was appropriated for any circumstance in which you must face the consequences of your actions.
It's the Trini version of "If you don't like the heat, stay out of the kitchen"

~"Playing dead to catch Corbeau alive"
A Corbeau is a vulture. Some animals are known to play dead in order to catch one of these that comes too feed upon them. This therefore means to act stealthily to achieve something)

~"Moon does run until daylight catch up with him"
(People who do wrong will eventually meet justice)

~"Monkey know what tree to climb"
(People who are up to no good know who to interfere with)

~"All skin teeth eh laugh"
(In Trinidad, to “skin your teeth” means to laugh. So this means do not be deceived by friendly appearances. “eh” means not or isn’t)

Thanks Oswyn for all of them. I particularly like:
"Moon does run until daylight catch up with him"