Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Salutations...

To all Friends, Followers and Fans,

Happy Holidays and the best in the New Year!

I hope it is a good year for everyone. Your generosity, creativity, spirit and optimism are amazing.

Salud!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Bit Of History...


Do you remember where you were in August 1973???

I was in Paris...My parents decided to show me all of the well-known hallmarks of the city one day, then the Louvre the day after. This was followed by a trip to Versailles and its Palace.

The whirlwind of these events remains in memory to this day. I was a gawky thirteen-year-old who spent much of my time craning my neck at paintings, in awe of towers, arches, speeding cars and growing crowds. While the Hall of Mirrors fascinated, it also repelled, as I could not imagine myself beyond what I thought of as the "ugly duckling phase" or walking in such a place routinely.

The day of my fourteenth birthday found Paris clear, bright and beckoning. I did not learn until then that London awaited yet another trio of tourists. Travel to England was so uneventful that I dozed until our arrival at the flat we stayed in that week.

The flat was near a park, and across the street, a Wimpy's, England's answer to the now ubiquitous McDoos. Never a fan of fast food, I nonetheless made Wimpy's acquaintance when my parents announced one evening that they had plans and I was to remain in with the telly. My dad said my dinner was in a bag in the kitchen, piping hot. I have no idea whether the Wimpy's creations of today bear any resemblance to those, but I do remember them as fresh and better than any burger I had thereafter. My choice to become a vegetarian in adulthood is no reflection upon Wimpy's.

It wasn't long until telly and burgers were supplanted for all time by a trip to the Piccadilly Theatre, featuring a production of Gypsy, with Angela Lansbury. It was my first opportunity to view professional actors on stage and I remained transfixed the entire time.

Sadly, the cherished playbill from that occasion, along with other mementos, have been lost. You can find out more about the theatre here: http://www.london-theatreland.co.uk/theatres/piccadilly-theatre/history.php.

The postcard you may have seen during a previous post. While this entry is of no historic importance to anyone but me, I wish every kid could have the chance to experience the London stage and the sights of Paris.

Until Next Time...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thank You, Whye and Megan...

As you'll note on the sidebar, my friend Megan from All I Need Is Everything and the beautiful blogger of recent acquaintance, Whye, of I wonder Whye, have bestowed awards upon this blog.

A heartfelt thanks to the both of you. According to Megan, I am to tell you seven things you may not know about me and then choose seven blogs deserving of the award. The award from Whye requires that I reveal six things you may not know about me, and choose the same number of bloggers to receive this award.

The first time I received an award and attempted to do that, my choices declined, saying that there are so many worthy blogs and bloggers, they did not wish to be singled out. With this in mind, I invite all bloggers to celebrate their unique and varied content and perspectives. Here is my combined list of thirteen:

1. I have become a night owl, much to my dismay. It seems my body clock now prefers sleeping into the afternoon to slumbering at night and waking during day light. I've tried a number of things to combat this problem with little success.

2. I have always been one who could never settle on one path in life and remain content. According to research, this is often a trait found amongst the very creative. When I worked as a writer, the stories and content I was working with changed all the time, thus, I was rarely bored. Unfortunately, the place in which I live doesn't provide its writers much more than a subsistence wage, so I became a librarian, and have since joined the ranks of the unemployed.

3. People often ask what one learns in Library School. The short answer: Research Skills. These are great to have no matter your profession.

4. I love languages and miss being in a multi-lingual environment. I speak more than one.

5. I would love to learn French...especially in France! I pick things up from films and radio, but that is not the same as having a proper teacher. The recent purchase of a workbook should help speed vocabulary development. I'll see.

6. Presently, I am studying Hebrew in preparation for reading Torah and bat mitzvah as an adult. I find Hebrew very difficult.

7. My first kiss was in primary school. The last was last week. I'll leave it there except to say that the last and the first were from different people and have nothing in common.

8. If I were able, I would probably join the Peace Corps.

9. I resent the loss of my knee, pain and restricted mobility. While I try to put a positive spin on things, that is the unvarnished truth. I am trying to work through this feeling, but quite frankly, I keep wondering why this happened and I'm angry that there is no good answer.

10. Chocolate is often better than sex.

11. There is more to life than work, but sometimes life is work.

12. I have lost faith in American political and other systems and institutions.

13. My favourite colour: Blue, especially the eyes of my Siamese cat.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Theme Thursday: Snow...

Growing up
the tropics were languid
heat and humidity
induce brevity of motion...

Snow was a foreign concept,
its flakes and sheets, falling, a quiet patchwork of white
leaving midwestern streets dirty with slush,
A memory I would have thirty years in the future,
now five years in the past.

Seasons are all about waiting,
For first snows, rains, buds, heatwaves, chills and cool nights
burrowing beneath comforters, languid once more.

E, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

In Desperate Need Of Mr. Toast's Geography Lesson...

It's a rainy day in the neighborhood and I decide to duck into a nearby diner/sub shop for the soup du jour. A regular for some years at this establishment, I know the owner, the handful of employees and a part-timer or two by name.

As I take a seat at the counter, extend greetings to the proprietor and glance at the door, a man carrying a small boy enters. After carefully arranging the child and his toys in a seat adjacent, he orders their lunches, then spends several minutes playing quietly with the boy.

My soup arrives, and after the first bite, I hear the man, a British expat, tell the waitress that he is going back to Europe for a visit. She, a high school graduate, responds, "Oh wow...Is Europe in England?"

I see the dimmest smile begin to creep across his face...as he says with a wink:

"Well, not all of it, only the best bit."

Methinks our high schools need to re-tool their geography curricula, assuming they still teach that...

Mr. Toast can be found at http://goodteatoo.blogspot.com. He has some lovely widgets and maps in case anyone has forgotten where they are or from whence they may have come...

Visiting his blog today brought this incident to mind.

I'll leave you to ponder...

Until Next Time...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Interesting Bits...

Rainy and cold, this weekend seemed the perfect time to review my bulging Netflix queue and recently streamed films. Netflix, for those who may be unfamiliar, is an American company which sends movies via mail to its account holders for a monthly fee.

Since their pricing and increasing selection rival cable providers, I elected to rid myself of the old telly and the cable company's bundled packages in favour of my own choices. These include mostly foreign films and British television fare. Except for PBS and the odd movie, I have given up on American television. It's a sure bet that when I enjoy a quirky, dark or comedic series, it is short-lived.

Among the more recently streamed films is Incendiary, a 2008 drama from British director Sharon Maguire. Based on a book of the same title by Guardian columnist Chris Cleave, this compelling adaptation features Ewan McGregor and Michelle Williams. Williams is a young mother who loses her policeman husband and their four-year-old son to a terrorist attack during a weekend football match in London.

The aftermath of these events and their effects on Williams and others is the film's focus, and Maguire and the ensemble of actors do a masterful job. I make no claims at being a film critic and do not want to spoil the ending or the film's twists. Those interested can find out more about the book here: http://www.curledup./incendia.htm. Further information on Chris Cleave is available via his website at http://www.chriscleave.com/main/?cat=5.

Other than that, I'm fretting over the burnt offerings emerging from my small oven, generally smelling up the flat. The postperson's holiday cookies will need re-doing and my heat's on the blink...

Until Next Time...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Theme Thursday: Friends

This is a bit of a thorny issue with me at the moment. It isn't that I don't have friends or dislike those I have, but painful truths have a way of asserting themselves into one's life when least expected, and with the coming of Godot, several long-standing friends have made themselves scarce while others have unexpectedly come to the fore.

The recent incident in which an acquaintance panicked as my head hit pavement, rather baldly illustrates the point that not everyone is comfortable with mobility devices, whether they have an old auntie that used a traditional fold-up or my ultralite. In speaking with other chair users of various ages and backgrounds, I've learned that this flight, and the fear and ignorance beneath it is common.

I will experience anew who can be trusted, who is comfortable with the fact that I am the same person I always was, sitting or standing, and who must be graciously shown the door.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that those at greater distance have actually shown more interest in terms of questions and comments than those in my non-virtual circle. My mother's remaining family, almost all of whom are geographically distant, have taken little interest in this situation. As I have never been particularly close to them, that is to be expected.

Several friends of years continue to write, call or come by, and I was thrilled the first time one of them dismantled Godot properly, stowed the chair and yours truly in his Jetta, and went to a nearby restaurant for lunch. This individual also has no fear of going to the cinema or other public venues with me and does not spend any of our time together complaining about what a pain in the arse it is to deal with Godot, something which cannot be said for many others. I should note that this person and I have a history of seeing each other through life's changes, and there is little about which we cannot speak. Such friendships are rare and to be treasured.

I'm still adjusting and learning about getting around in large spaces with Godot, and still making friends, in both the blog world and beyond, something I hope to keep doing until my last breath.

Blogging has opened my eyes to new worlds and I am happy to be a part of this evolving phenomenon.

Until Next Time...