Tick Tock Tick Tock

Twenty-Five Seven

Good news — another hour has just been added to every 24-hour day (don’t ask us how. We have powers). How do you use those extra sixty minutes?

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I love to watch those tv shows where women are looking for the perfect bridal gown.

My favorite dresses are the ones that Gypsy women wear. They’re big and over the top and the drama behind it all…I love it. And do you know those dresses actually cause them physical pain? Bruises? Cuts?

And they do it anyway because this is the biggest day of their lives.

At least they don’t pretend otherwise. I know a lot of women who have marched down the aisle and when they got to the end of it that was it for them too.

They’ll never admit it though.

But I digress.

I noticed that the women who have a small budget and the ones who aren’t concerned about the cost have the same problem-

finding a dress.

One is hampered by the lack of funds and the other is hampered by their endless choices.

That leaves me with the question- what would I do if I had an extra hour everyday?

I could write, read, shop, eat.

In reality I think I’d sleep it away or do what most people do- I’d still be complaining that there aren’t enough hours in the day.

So instead of having 24 hours to bitch about I’d have 25.

But if I had an extra minute- I could use that.

It only takes a minute to decide to turn left or right- that’s life changing.

And who wouldn’t like to have a chance everyday for that to be a possibility?

When This You Read Think Of Me…

Reader’s Block

What’s the longest you’ve ever gone without reading a book (since learning how to read, of course)? Which book was it that helped break the dry spell?

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I have to have a book on me.

There’s one in my purse, one in my tote bag and another in the backpack I carry my laptop in.

I change them out, but for the most part  I travel with Dickens, King and M.R James.

I won’t say I prefer books to conversations, because I really do like to talk to people. But books, I love to read them. Every chance I get.

When I get my hands on a new book I’ll read it staright through. And whoa be to the rotten books because I won’t stop reading until I’m done.

If I invest that much time in a book, I feel like I have every right to tell anyone who will listen exactly how I wasted “X” amount of time on a piece of junk and how I will go to my grave and through all of eternity regretting the decision to pick up that book ever.

Or I will say, ” I can’t believe an innocent tree died for this piece of junk”.

There are times though when I will read one book for the pleasure of it, because the words are music to my eyes and I will read it slow. One chapter a night ONLY.

That book is Great Expectations by Dickens.

I love the way he uses the language, I love every single character, I love the darkness- both in the characters and the scenes- every turning point takes place in the shadows even when the characters are in full sunlight.

Lucky for me, I’ve never suffered from Reader’s Block…but then again I have had Charles Dickens in my life for a very long time.

That’s probably why.

You And Your Hand

Counting Voices

A lively group discussion, an intimate tête-à-tête, an inner monologue — in your view, when it comes to a good conversation, what’s the ideal number of people?

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According to the world of Facebook, most people have at least a hundred friends and they share their feelings, their thoughts and what they ate on a daily if not hourly basis.

I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid my Mom use to make me check in at least once an hour. And could I call in? Oh no. I had to show up say I was checking in and then I was  free to leave.

That is, until the next check in time.

I hated doing that- and I would tell her I did which is why I found myself having to run home to check in instead of calling.

I knew I was on my way to be independent when she stopped making me check in almost hourly to every few hours and then I could call- which I forgot to do.

But in those days we didn’t have Malls or computers or parents who drove us from block to block on demand.

So me and my friends were free rangers, just like the chickens.

Looking back on it, because we were wandering around so much it made sense to have check ins. In a few hour we could easily have ended up a  mile or two from home and not just blocks.

Nowadays people obediently check in via Facebook.

And we what passes for conversation is created by you and your hand and the few words or quips you throw into your status box.

We tell people we don’t really know details about where we are and who we’re hanging out with and what we’re drinking, smoking or eating.

In other words we tell Facebook things our parents would have given their eyeteeth to know…complete with pictures.

If I have anything to say about conversations on Facebook it’s this:

My Mom would have never accepted ” notes ” in the place of check ins.

One’s presence was required at those moments. You know, you had to actually be there for it to count.

It’s a different world now, isn’t it?

It’s A Living Thing

Dictionary, Shmictionary

Time to confess: tell us about a time when you used a word whose meaning you didn’t actually know (or were very wrong about, in retrospect).

There’s something to be said growing up in a family where English was not the first language  on one side  and not exactly mastered ( there are no Grammar Nazis hanging in this girl’s family tree ) on the other side- what can be said is this:

If you didn’t know the meaning of a word or needed one you just asked.

No problem.

But you will always have that one person in the family who will get it wrong on purpose. Because she has mastered the perfect poker face, because she is so focused on you that she will watch you cringe, or try not to laugh or feel embarrassed for her because…

she thinks it’s funny.

And no I’m not talking about myself, I’m talking about my Mom- the slayer of syntax, the butcher of innocent words, the serial killer of complete sentences.

My Mom would have you believe she doesn’t know better, but the fact is in order for you to twist things around like that you really do have to know what you’re saying.

Of course there’s no fun in that so…

My Dad and his cousin built my dog this great dog house and he hardly used it because he was an Alaskan Malamute and we lived outside of Seattle, so the weather never got so bad he had to take shelter in it.

My cats on the other hand loved that house because it was carpeted and warm.

So it was at Thanksgiving and the family is enjoying this great meal and we’re all dressed up when my Mom looks out the kitchen window and says to my Dad and his cousin John:

” Look at those cats, they’ve taken over Sham’s dog house. I’ll bet that’s why he won’t go in it. You know what you should do Bert? You and John should build a cat house. They’d really enjoy it.”

” So would the rest of the neighborhood. ” my Grandma said.

I bit down on my fork and the evidence is my still slightly chipped front tooth. My brother slapped his forehead- hard- and my Dad and his cousin both enthusiastically   agreed a Cat House was a good idea.

” The girls could make curtains for it- ” my Mom said referring to me and my sister- she led us to believe ” and put little beds in there…”

I couldn’t stand it anymore.

” Mom! Do you know what a Cat House is?” You do right?”

My Mom shrugged. ” Of course I do. It’s where Cats live.”

” Ma! It’s where Prostitutes live…”

One of my other cousins enlightened us all ” Oh, I think they just work there,  they don’t live there.”

” Well,” my Mom went on as if she hadn’t heard us say a word. ”  I always said the best cat to have around is one that works hard- you know catching mice- so why shouldn’t they have a nice bed to sleep on and pretty curtains? “

” Mom! A Cat House is a Whore House. You know what they are right?”

” Of course I know. And I also know you weren’t listening to a word I said.”

It took me awhile to figure out what she meant. She was right. I wasn’t listening to her, I was listening at her. I knew exactly what she intended to say. So why didn’t I let it go?

So now when someone twists a word around I sort of go with it. And when I use the wrong word- it’s no sweat.

But when my Mom does it I just stand there and drop what I’m doing and watch the carnage unfold right  before my eyes.

It’s like looking at nine or ten cars right after they’ve rear ended each other on the freeway- there’s broken glass and bits of cars and Fire Engines and First Aid Cars and Police  cars all over the place- and I know I shouldn’t- but I’ll look. And then I’ll stare. I’ can’t help myself.

My Mom and her impact on language have the same effect on me.

Fish Sticks, Pirates and Me

Ready, Set, Done

10 minutes. You and your keyboard (or smartphone. Or tablet. Or pen and paper). No pauses, no edits, no looking back: it’s free-write time!

When I was little I had two goals- I wanted to write, and become a Pirate.

On most days I saw no reason I couldn’t do both.

 I was eight at the time.

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Out of my two life goals the Pirate gig seemed to be doable and practical.

I could see myself sailing a ship, bossing around a crew of scurvy sea dogs and kicking heinie  in all of the Seven Seas and a few lakes and rivers to boot.

I didn’t care so much about finding treasure, but the idea of sneaking up on another Pirate ship in the middle of the night and stealing their flag and crew?

My little old heart would race with happiness thinking about what kind of things I could do as a Pirate.

I would go to church just so I could pray like crazy for God to please make me a Pirate.

Please God, I’d pray, I don’t want to be a stewardess or a waitress or a Mom. I want to be a pirate and sail a big black ship and have other Pirates be so scared of me and my crew that they’d all stay home and I would have the Ocean to myself.

And for some reason I had it in my head that I’d leave the Ferry Boats alone and probably fishing boats too.

Fishing boats because I used to love fish sticks and unless someone went out there and fished  I figured  I’d probably starve to death and as for the Ferry Boats? Well. Back in the day my family went to Victoria BC so I didn’t see any reason to give up on  my great family vacations  – so for sure the Ferry Boats wouldn’t have to worry about me or my wicked crew.

Nowadays there are times when I’m riding the bus home for work, or when I’m in line at the grocery store and I remember those days when anything seemed possible and I thought one day I’d be a Pirate.

And after a moment or two, I think…you know…anything is possible.

After all, I did manage to become a writer ( of sorts )

So anything is possible.

Anything at all.