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Monday, February 28, 2011

Blog Jam


I was sick as a dog overnight. I didn't sleep a wink but spent most of it in the small room. Violently non stop ill. I had to cancel long anticipated lunch guests for today who are returning to the mainland tomorrow.
I'm still queasy. Whether this is a bug or a reaction to some food or elder body internal collapse is up for conjecture.
I was indoors all day. And it happened to be a gorgeous, breathtaking bite-the-blue day. A denim day. I took a picture from inside my prison (see above), testing my brand new zoom lens. Gawd I love my camera and its wee bits.
I entered another competition with a short story (a 600 word limit - you try it!)I've been playing with for about two years. Finally nailed it. It cheered me up with all the internal thunder and lightening I was suffering.
I wasn't worth anything at all today.
Isn't the news both depressing and heartening at the same time?
The world is doing somersaults. And so few of our fearless leaders are 'getting it'. But of course they don't have to. Being obscenely wealthy and never having to worry about jobs or enough oil or safety or food or heat.
The real revolution is over. The greatest transfer of wealth in history from the poor to the rich has taken place. Us peons all over the world are beginning to fight over the last few scraps.
Get planting.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

My February Friend


Every year, at this time, she shows up. Right on schedule. Just the one annual appearance. She explores all the wires and connections in my office and then marches all over the keyboard and screen of my computer. And leaves for another year.

She has no passport, no ID to show me her age.

Research discloses this:

Ladybird Life Cycle
Most Ladybirds mate in the spring or summer and the female lays a cluster of eggs (numbering from a few to a few hundred, depending on species) as near as possible to an aphid colony. In most species of ladybird these eggs hatch into a larval state within a week. This state lasts 10 - 15 days, and they then go into a pupal stage before becoming an adult ladybird. The entire life cycle of the ladybird is only 4 - 7 weeks.

Ladybirds lay extra infertile eggs with the fertile eggs. These appear to provide a backup food source for the larvae when they hatch. The ratio of infertile to fertile eggs increases with scarcity of food at the time of egg laying.

Like all insects, the ladybird is no different in that it undergoes complete metamorphosis through its life cycle.


It's weird - this single annual visitation. Perhaps it is cellular memory for my little tourist. Considering her life cycle is supposedly 7 weeks max, she must be the descendant of the original visitor many life cycles ago.

But I choose to think she is this anomaly. She lives eternally in her secret space and emerges, just to check up on me, when her calendar clicks over to February.

I think of her as my good luck charm. My harbinger of good fortune. My personal guarantee that Mistress Spring and I will connect. One more time.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Blog Jam


Our sheltered bay bounces high with the waves today, spindrift doing a fine job of gliding across the gallopping white horses, to dissipate in frustration on the shore. My bridge to the beach is awash in a strange mix of small icepans and detritus from the cowed alders. High winds with an underlying layer of....could that be Spring crawling in?

I watch in astonishment as the waves go higher, finding it hard to imagine their enormous bulk before they shrink on their long journey to here, our sheltered wee bay.

World news is interesting today. No surprise in Ireland with regard to the ousting of the decrepid, incompetent and criminal Fianna Fail, the lifelong party of my father, who incidentally got his glory moments on RTE in the sixties as a returning officer for the elections. He would be abject at their performance in the last decade.

I see Michael Moore has turned his eyes to Thompson, Manitoba and the mining industry there. More squeezing by Dems Wot Rulez on the little folk in the mines.

And speaking of the little folk, I see very little coverage of the civic protests that are strengthening in the states down south of us here. Oh, sorry, forgot. Corporatocracy controlled media. Again.

And gas is going up. And up and up. End of this year should see many of the Humvees, SUVs and monster trucks off the roads. At long last there will be a safe ride (and still cheap fill-ups) for us icky bicky little 4 cylinder drivers, takin' back da roadz.

By the way aren't we, like, owed some compensation for our frugal use of gas while the rest of the world took ten times their share with their obscene monster vehicle consumptions? I've often thought about this. If everyone had driven the little guys, and rail ferried Da Stuff around, we'd still have stockpiles of gas for centuries. Greed and conspicuous consumption yet again doom us to a very uncertain future and limited mobility.

Back to wave gazing.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Having Sex with Twelve-Year-Olds


Man who had sex with 12-year-old jailed

So goes - just the headline, mind you - in our newspaper, The Telegram, today.

Is there anyone else out there who gets enraged with those few words in bold black ink?

The man, 26 years old, 'had sex' with a child.

'Had sex' implies consent, does it not? It implies two adults agreeing to have sex with each other, right? Consensual sex.

It implies a twelve year old child can agree to have sex with anyone she chooses. It implies she is a fully functioning adult who can make adult decisions with regard to sex. But not vote, or drive a car or get a job or live on her own.

And the news story gets worse:

“ There was no overt violence,” Judge Robert Hyslop said during Skanes’ sentencing at provincial court in St. John’s. “(But) this was an intrusive act that caused (the young girl) psychological damage.”

Hyslop then gave Skanes a twoyear prison term.

As Skanes was escorted out of the courtroom in handcuffs, his wife, as well as members of the victim’s family, sobbed.

Skanes showed no reaction, only to hang his head.

The St. John’s man pleaded guilty to one count of sexual interference. A charge of sexual assault was withdrawn by the Crown in exchange for the guilty plea.

Skanes admitted having sex three times with the girl between April and June last year, when he was 25 years old and she was 12.

The two first began flirting on a computer instant-messaging program before beginning a sexual relationship.

Skanes told the girl to keep it a secret.

They used a condom each time they had sex, but the third time, the condom broke.

That caused a pregnancy scare for the girl, who went to Planned Parenthood to get tested.
“Fortunately,” the judge said, “she didn’t get pregnant.”

Crown prosecutor Heidi Wells had recommended a two-to threeyear jail term, pointing to the victim’s young age and Skanes’ lack of insight into the seriousness of the crime.

A pre-sentence report deemed Skanes a medium risk to reoffend, saying he seems to have distanced himself from what he did and fails to acknowledge he should not have done it. Instead, Skanes continued to point out that other adults knew about the relationship and didn’t do anything.


I can parse some of it here before I get too queasy. I leave the rest of the report up to you to sort out.

“ There was no overt violence,” said Judge Robert Hyslop

And Judge Robert, sir, what would be overt violence in your little law book? Would you say this about your 12 year old daughter if she had been thus raped and violated?

"beginning a sexual relationship". Again this implies consent on behalf of the child. A "relationship" originating in stalking by a paedophile of a child through messaging on the computer.

The words RAPE, PAEDOPHILE and PREDATOR were not used once in the whole article.

And oh yeah, he got two years. His wife wept as he was hauled off.

Rape and paedophilia apologia is alive and well and supported by the media.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Quote & Cartoon of the Week




"All across the Middle East in the streets, people are demanding democracy. It's amazing. The only way in America you get people to get worked up like that is to threaten to give them health care." –Bill Maher

H/T BartCop

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spare Me The Details


I was over at Time Goes By today, reading about childless-by-choice lifestyles.

I just survived a dinner party on the weekend where the guests and hosts went on and on and on about their grandchildren. Some of the stories I had heard two and three times before. These stories were replete with definite predictions about the future careers of the grandchildren - those children showing Picasso tendencies, or surgical skills or even self-chosen clothing styles way beyond their years. An added bonus were all the reasons why laid out for me like jewels on the tablecloth. Geniuses all.

One grandfather, a gifted actor and raconteur, had declined participation in the play I've written and directing as "the weekly rehearsals would prevent him spending time with the grandchildren on the off chance they became available" (they live 300KM away).

Even when my children were small, I never participated in the coffee klatsch thing among the mothers chattering endlessly about the benefits of certain babyfoods and diapers and prams and little Johnny's teething. My friends were all single or married with no children in sight by choice and we swapped books.

Don't get me wrong. I adore my children and my grandchildren and love spending time with them. But for me to drone endlessly on to others about their accomplishments (and they really do have them)is to drone on about stuff that has nothing to do with me per se. Apart from biologically and possibly the nurturing and hereditary factor kicking in.

Plus that grandparent bragging competition replete with photos which unattractively kicks in at some point in the evening can be totally offputting. Like Geezer Olympics.

My eyes glaze. They droop. I stifle yawns into a FAIL. I feel a snore coming on.

But bring up the book you're reading or the play you just saw or why Stephen Harper has to go or the course you're taking, and I'm all ears, baby.

Monday, February 21, 2011

45


I've never written about one of the highlights of my week before and I don't know why. The thought kept getting shoved aside by others of more global urgency like the gift of my new visa credit card, etc.

Anyway, every Tuesday night in our community hall we have cards. Not just any cards. A card game called 45. Note to Wikipedia: You do not mention Newfoundland in your sweeping analysis of where this game is played. That frosts me. Thoroughly.

A little bit of history of the game:
Forty-Fives is a descendant of the Irish game Spoil Five, which in turn is a descendant of a game that King James VI of Scotland popularized in the 17th century called Maw. Maw was first seen being played in 1511 and the earliest written rules come from 1576 Scotland. [1]

I first learned this as a child in Ireland. So the game must have come across to Newfoundland way back in the mists of time when the Irish emigrated here for the fishing. So when I first heard about these weekly games in my village I headed over with Leo (who is a great hand at it). Ever since then I never miss it. All age groups play and my daughter and granddaughter when they are here join in.

We have great fun with it, the craic is ninety as we say back home, and we move around the tables as we(there are two people in a team)win. It is a great way of getting to meet people and the prizes are amazing:

The complete fixings for a Jigg's Dinner - a Newfoundland specialty.
A pair of chickens.
A case of evaporated milk.
24 rolls of toilet paper
6 rolls of paper towels.
Chocolates.
Beer
Wine.
Butter.
Detergent.


I pick up on a lot of the local lingo and folklore and the conversations really reinforce how connected with the land and sea and their bounty the people are. I find out all about the berry seasons, the different fish seasons, moose, rabbit and ptarmigan, etc.

This way of life has GOT to be maintained. It is the best kind for living sustainably in our future.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Y'all Want To Go On A Round the World Trip With Me?


I was thrilled to get this email in my box today (from Sir Alex Larry, no less!) and decided to share the good fortune with my readers.

Start packin'!


VISA CARD PAYMENT (822)
OUR REF: WB/NF/IMF/WA-XX027/N08

It is my pleasure officially to inform you that (VISA Card Number; 4278763100030014) has been accredited in your favor.

Your Personal Identification Number is 2900. The VISA Card Value is $6.8MILLION USD.

You are advised to contact the payment center via Email:(visa.cardteamcnt@focusedonreturns.com) with the following information;

* Full Name:* Delivery Address:* Age:*Sex* Occupation:* Phone Number:

Congratulations once again.

Regards,
Sir Alex Larry,
visa.cardteamcnt@focusedonreturns.com
TEL: +447045751729, +447011120244

Friday, February 18, 2011

Vanity


I got news today I was long-listed in a short story competition in Ireland. Something like 100 of us in the long list from submissions of around 2000. Stuff like this is a validation. A nudge from the universe to say:

"Yeah, baby, you can write. Keep at it."


We never fully believe in our own talents do we? What is wrong with saying:

"Yeah, I'm really good at this music-writing-painting biz, you wanna see it?"


I'm getting better at blowing my own horn. And what is wrong with that, pray tell?

I'll tell you what's wrong with it. It is the Catholic upbringing. VANITY was a sin. PRIDE was a sin. BOASTING was a sin. BRAGGING was a sin. PRIMPING was a sin. PREENING was a sin. One had to be HUMBLE with one's talents. As they all belonged to the ICH* anyway, who dealt them out carefully and usually to those MOST UNWORTHY of them. Proof of this unworthiness being one's VANITY. Circular thinking at its very finest.

I've been writing since I could read. Writing about everything. There was a long, long pause in there while I became an accountant and proceeded to earn a living with that and explore my nascent alcoholism which quenched my creativity and steamrollered me into semi-oblivion. I was out of touch with my innate artistry for nearly two decades. I never thought I was any good. And that was reinforced when I was younger.

Why would I want to waste my time writing when if I crunched numbers I could actually house and feed myself? Even though I was published as a teenager and winning major writing competitions. Misdirection much? Frustration with one's life's path can create many demons. And sometimes we don't live long enough to set aside the addictions and forge a new path.

I feel truly fortunate that my life took a positive turn some 25 years ago and I was able to slowly rediscover who I truly was.

And I honestly don't care about the Short List. The Long List is a huge big thrill.





*ICH=Invisible Cosmic Housekeeper.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Stormy, Snowy, Rainy day.


Stormy precipitation through the window.

Days like today get cancelled. In theory. Trips to the city with a long list are abandoned. The wind howls. The fire crackles. The precipitation can't make up its mind. One minute it's snow, next it's a hard rain. It drifts everywhere. I can't get at the bird feeders without risking a limb. The birds line up along the railing, their feathers in complete disarray, shivering. Glaring at me.

It nearly brings me to tears. My front door has the storm unit put up from outside, so I can't open it in the winter. And I have to go out the backdoor and along the ice and through the drifts to reach the bird feeders. It's not happening today.

I whisper to them: "Can you hear me? Double rations when the storm breaks. Seriously. And all your favourites too."

Leo tops up my wood pile. The only reason he is out in the storm is because he has to fight his way to the shop for his daily cigarettes. For once, I am grateful for someone else's serious smoking habit. I have enough wood in now for 3 days.

I watched A Dog Year as I ate the lasagna that has fed me for three days now. And cried over the movie. Therapeutically of course. And gave Ansa some extra cuddles as I tried to engage her in the dog scenes in the movie. Ever do this with a dog? They really try for a while, head cocked to the side, looking at you, looking at the screen, and then yawn and get bored and wonder, I'm sure, how their crazy humans could watch something so mind numbing.

There is something about the wind howling down the chimney and the house so toasty warm from the fire, a good movie on the screen and the feeling that all is well within my four sturdy walls.

Peace out.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Prayer


So many friends and acquaintances are suffering these days. People are sick. People are injured. People are drinking too much or stuck somewhere up north way over their 'off time'. They ask me to pray. They are so baffled when I tell them I don't pray. Some are shocked. But all of them are reluctant to ask me why. So I'm putting it out there.

Prayer- the act of asking the Invisible Cosmic Housekeeper to set aside all the natural established laws of the universe on behalf of one individual, confessedly unworthy, whilst Unworthy assures ICH to go ahead and do what ICH wants anyway.

When ICH does what ICH wants and not what Unworthy wants, there is gratitude for the ICH Great Plan which only ICH is privy to and will not share with anyone. Ever.

When ICH does what Unworthy wants, i.e. there is a 'cure' or the 'job is attained' or 'the mate returns' or the 'ring found' there is great rejoicing over the boundless goodness of ICH.

If the prayed for events get much worse, the faith of the Unworthy in ICH is being tested by ICH.

If prayed for events result in death, then ICH has called Unworthy to the ICH Mansion as Unworthy has suffered enough.

Can anyone explain why anyone would pray then?


No! Please! Don't pray for me!

Monday, February 14, 2011

T Time


T Time

Toast,
Tea,
Thoughts.
Temptation.

Tarts.
Tamales.
Tomatoes.
Torrid.

Tortellini.
Tosca.
Tagliatelle
Thrill.

Time.
Trip
To
Trinity.

Tantalizing
Touch.
Testing
Trust.

Tears.
Temper.
Tragedy.
Terminate.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

In All My Born Days


In all my born days I've never lived in a place like this. We've got the beauty, we've got the talent, we've got the community, we've got the sense of place. We've got the love.

The love. What else do you call it?

I come home from visiting a friend who's been housebound for a week, the snow intimidates her a little. She's 86 and still drives but not so much on the snow anymore. I don't blame her. I've slowed down a lot with the driving on snow and am aware, yeah, maybe in a little over twenty years I won't be quite so brave anymore either. My visit gave her an excuse to bake and to make her famous dumplings and her famous soup. Yummy. She tells me more of her history. How she was so trusted that at fourteen when she was put out to work in the big bad city helping in a huge boarding house she had no curfew so she gave one to herself. Of ten o'clock. She felt that was right for the time. In summer. In winter it was eight o'clock. She was born old. I was born far too young and stayed that way. Good thing, bad thing? I don't think you can label it. It just is.

Anyway, I get home and when I finally reach my kitchen I stand back in awe. And yeah, tears. Lined up on the counter are:

A loaf of homemade bread.

Homemade scones

Homemade muffins

Chicken curry (a really extraordinarily odd local delicacy with no curry that I can ever ascertain in it)

Carrot relish (can't pry the recipe for this out of anyone)

A jar of bakeapple jam.

And a whole tub of thick beef, vegetable and rice soup.


Three different friends had dropped these off.

"All within a few hours of each other," said Leo, who acted as point cop with all the traffic.

"Did I die?" I asked him.

I was rewarded with him laughing till he bent over double and lost his breath.

PS And another friend dropped by also while I was gone and took this picture of my house in the snow.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Health & Safety Meeting


I was over visiting at Stan's place when a memory I had submerged was triggered by his wonderfully humourous post on the nature of mergers and corporate madness.

And I am delighted to report that I started laughing at this memory until I wept. I can see all the characters so clearly still and the pompous pricks around the boardroom table and the one truth speaker being ignored.

I was the controller at a plant that made incredibly boring parts for roadways. The parts that held the concrete in place. The underpinnings if you will. I just wiped out my more specific terminology for such items as I realized this might breach some privacy concerns.

In the eighties, Toronto was busy with its suburban sprawl, so busy, that our plant was working three shifts a day to keep all that gear flowing out the door to meet the demands of sixteen lane highways being constructed.

Of huge concern to the self-important Health and Safety Committee at the plant were the frequent small fires breaking out on one of the production lines. They called many meetings to address the situation and had experts in to examine the production line in detail and to micro-manage the workers as they went about their duties, with no solution.

One of these workers was Seamus from Achill Island and Seamus and I had become friends and spoke to each other "As Gaeilge" ("In Irish") as he was a native Irish speaker and I had a lot to learn from such a man.

On the fifth such Health and Safety Meeting, they called in the line superintendent himself, my pal Seamus. The door of the boardroom was left open and as I had the office next door to it I was privy to what went on at the Seamus portion of the meeting.

C(ommittee)"All these fires, Seamus, maybe you can, ha-ha, throw some light on the subject?"

S(eamus)"Well, I brought up many times how the buckets the laminate is decanted into need to be replaced?"

C: "Seamus, this is no time to be bringing up that petty grievance, we will pay attention to the buckets when this crisis is behind us."

S: "But it's very important and I can tell you why......"

C: (patronizing, impatient)"Seamus, Seamus. The health and safety of the plant and its people is the utmost priority at the moment, please leave the matter of the buckets with the plant shift supervisor where it belongs."

S: "But..."

C (huge sigh): "That is all Seamus. Please remember in future that these meetings are no place for your petty grievances. That.Is.All. Go back to work."

S (passing my office, sticking his head in and winking and saying loudly, in Irish, to me: "They can all kiss my arse so. The aul bloody buckets are full of pinholes and they're leaking bloody plastic on to the burners and catching fire. They need to repair or replace the buckets!"

He was right. It took another two meetings and more experts to determine this, of course.

He was never given credit for his diagnostics.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Neologism


Once again, The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly neologism contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternative meanings for common words.

The winners are:

1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.

3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.

6. Negligent (adj.), a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.

7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle (n), olive-flavoured mouthwash.

9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon (n), Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster (n.), person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent (n.), opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men


My favourites are 9 and 15.

Thanks, Claire!

Blog Jam


(Picture taken a few minutes ago. Click to enbiggen and find the bird!)

~~~~~~In the depths of winter I finally learned that within me is an invincible summer~~~~~~

The snow has stopped. Finally. I know we've had a breeze of a winter compared with most out there. Funny how that entitlement sets in. As if snow was a direct affront to our green winter. When winters past here are the stuff of legends.

"We used to walk across the bay!"

"Seven feet tall, the snow would be. Right over the roofs of the sheds!"

And now we get a light snowfall and the outrage is tangible.

I was cabinned for 4 days. I know cabin is not a verb but I like to create my own.

I didn't get much done. I slept. I read. I watched Series 1 of "House". Old-Ladied (there I go again!) in front of the fire. Memories. Dozed. Got on the phone a bit. Lost internet connection. Fired off some politician letters mouthing off yet again about the lack of basic business infrastructure (Broadband, Fibre Optic) that has been promised for over 10 years for the outports. They don't realize how insulting it is for all representatives of government to Blackberry (and again!) me a reply. The usual. I don't have to relay it here. Polipromises as I call them.

Days are longer. Sun is actually in the sky at 5.30 p.m. I walked the dog around dusk yesterday as if taunting the day to elongate even further.

There are many birds here that haven't been seen in these parts through the winter. Ever. I haul out my bird book as they feed in my feeders. So many strangers. Finding my feeders.

It is good to be alive. Reaching out and touching the face of Spring.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Theft of Innocence, Redux


I think I received (and still hear from readers privately) the most responses to this post.It comes to the forefront again with the death of someone who was close to the family. Never close enough as she could not relate to anyone in an intimate way. Her childhood had been stolen from her too. And then a psychologist entrusted with her care abused her also.

A friend, a child psychologist herself, once told me that it is impossible for any victim of child sexual abuse to relate to people normally or be capable of intimacy or nurture their own children in a healthy way. Therapy is just a sop to the outsiders. It has no effect on the victim or can bring them into 'recovery'. For there is none. She wouldn't tell her patients or their caregivers this, she said. They needed some hope, for what else could she give them? But there was no recovery.

From what I have observed over the years I reluctantly have to agree with her. It is a hopeless and heartbreaking situation. Apart from the victim, those surrounding them are left feeling helpless, angry and powerless. I tried to help this person who just died as did another family member. As I've done with others.

And my conclusion is always the same, there is something so dead within them as to leave the helper feeling chilled. As if the candle of hope or even simple humanity was extinguished a long, long time ago.

I saw this in another friend who had been incested since she was a toddler. Try as I might, I could never reach her or she reach me in the ways of true intimacy. Her sudden spats of fury out of nowhere, with me as a target, frightened me. Her chilly self- protection was animalistic at times. And we both tried. And tried. Until I had to walk away.

It's true. Therapy doesn't help. I've known people with years and years of it, still floundering, still solitary in their blocked out world, still terrified and usually alienated from their families who refuse to believe their narratives in spite of all the evidence. For to do so would rock their own foundations and break the silence forever. I can't count these victims amongst my own circle there are so many. Mainly women. But some men too.

I am very angry tonight. Angry at the world that allows this to happen over and over again. Angry at the lack of understanding of the lifelong imprisonment of such innocents on top of the original violations by the ones who were entrusted with their care.

They never leave this prison cell. They never get their trust returned to them. They are crippled and maimed and tortured. And bleak in their hopelessness. "I feel nothing!" one such victim screamed at me one night, dry-eyed, trying to make me understand.

What is even more disturbing is that only 1%, if that, of such cases ever get reported. To anyone. Most victims go on alone, dysfunctionally, fearful, lonely, permanently sad or angry or addicted. Unable to feel joy or happiness or peace of mind.

I am not a violent person, but if I could get my hands on their predators I would swing them from the highest noose and walk off without a backward glance.

Angry. Yeah.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

For ALS 1965-2011


The old, cold wounds
Open
In dead of night.

When the world falls
Silent.
The only sound

A lone sharp scream
Within
Lingering long.

Scraping the insides
Bloody.
Now nothing left.

No one to hear.
Unloved.
Used. Abused. Shushed.

Friday, February 04, 2011

The Insanity of Banking


I went to the bank today. Like as in physically walked in the door and desecrated the hallowed hall for I had a larger than normal deposit and had a payroll to distribute. In cash. As is the way here. The cash withdrawal would have been over my daily ATM limit, set by me back in the day as a deterrant to anyone stealing my card and PIN.

Everything was awfully pleasant until the teller held up the largest cheque I was depositing and told me she would have to put a hold on the funds until the cheque cleared.

Me: Wot?

T(eller): We have regulations, we have to hold the funds on this until February 14th.

Me(gasping): You are going to hold my money without interest for 10 days?

T: Well no, not 10 days. Look here's a calendar, we don't count the two weekends in there.

Me: No offence, but I do. That's 10 days of holding my money. This has never, ever happened to me before. I've banked with this bank for over thirty years, you've never held my deposits and there have been ones far larger than this!

T (apologetic shrug): Those are the rules. But you could go to the other bank and get it certified, they would probably charge you $25 and then we could deposit it right away.

Me (sigh): No, driving off and finding another bank, waiting in line, giving them $25 to certify, coming back here, waiting in line again, I don't have that many years left in me. Go ahead and deposit it then.

Teller deposits, shows me how printed on the slip is the message that funds won't be released until February 14th.

Me (lightbulbs firing off in my head): Hang on a minute. I always deposit at the machine and my funds are cleared immediately. How come?

T: Give me your ATM card again.

click, click whir, click.

T: Oh, you have unlimited access to any funds you deposit using the machine outside.

Me: What do I do now? Can you reverse the deposit then and I run outside and deposit this in the machine?

T (astonished): Yes, that would work for immediate access to the funds. Are you sure?

Me(laughing):Why, do I look brain dead?

T(laughing too): OK, I'll reverse the deposit and give you back the larger cheque.

Me: This is why I never darken your doors I guess.

T (snorting, laughing): We don't recommend it, but don't tell anyone.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Blog Jam


Thanks to all of you who commented on my story. Writers are working in a void unless they have feedback. This was one of the stories my editor, no longer my editor, wanted to chop, change and strip. My workshop colleagues disagreed with her and judging from the kind feedback here, you all are in agreement with the workshop so the case is closed and I will move on and find another publisher. And yes, I will put more stories up from time to time.

I entertained the delightful Conor and his equally delightful partner to a loooong lunch here (a long lunch is 5 hours, ne'st pas?) in my paradise-on-the-bay on Tuesday, where we covered many topics and solved all world issues and wondered why we were not in charge of planet earth. Blogmeets are amazing. I am hooked. People who would never normally meet get to do so through their writing on the interwebz. At my age, I can take the two steps back from that and just shake my head in awe.

For many, many years I had an unidentified condition which I kept to myself it was so terrifying. I mentioned it to a doctor once, about 30 years ago, he did some tests and said it all had to be in my head. And how often do us women hear about all that stuff in our heads? It was a wonder our poor old heads don't explode with all the mad internalized ravings and fantasies projected onto us by Demz Wot Knowz Better. (Post Partum Depression? In your head. Get a grip. You're a mother now. Stop being so selfish. Give your head a shake. Grow up. Classics from my ObGyn back in the day.)

Anyway my symptoms were a sudden onset of tiny flashing stars in front of my eyes which gradually expanded and then faded off into the periphery of my sight into nothingness. The episode was random and would last about fifteen minutes. I have a weird other worldly sensation in my head before an event starts. Nothing I did or ate would trigger an episode. I had years where they never happened. And years like this one where I've had three episodes already.

My dear friend Mary, now deceased, broached the topic of 'silent migraines' one night over dinner about twenty years ago. I asked her to describe them. And was astonished that they were exactly like mine. Silent migraines. No pain. And I can't imagine them with pain. It must be horrific.

So after these latest episodes, I did some research on the web, and lo and behold, found an actual website dedicated to this phenomenon, stars being just one manifestation of the condition. And they have nothing to do with the eyes, interestingly enough. Just a vein/artery in the head spasming.

It's always a relief to realize one is no longer alone.