Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - Quitting


"Who's a quitter?"

"You are."

"Just because I don't want to do something anymore doesn't mean I'm a quitter."

I don't quit. I give up. Sometimes that's what you have to do.

There are times in life when what you are pursuing just isn't worth the time, aggravation and effort anymore - perhaps the pursuit was the real endgame; when you've given it your all and there's no more to give, short of your life or your soul; when it's time to wave the white flag; when it's time to graciously step away and say, "Sorry folks, but I'm done". It's not a bad thing.

This is another one of those things I wish I'd known when I was younger, but then again, maybe it's something everyone needs to learn on their own.

For Sunday Scribblings

Monday, May 19, 2008

A booklover's dream - 1 million books

I came upon this Youtube video from a forum I frequent:

Love it when Lenore says their hours are "Every Saturday nine to five; anytime by chance; anytime by appointment."

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Another meme

Imelda at Greenish Lady tagged me for this meme:

The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers the questions about himself or herself. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

Ten years ago:
Thank heavens, I still have my 1998 calendar because my memory for these things get a bit fuzzy. Here goes.

May 1998:

  • My husband had his one-year post-cancer surgery check-up. It was negative – much to our relief
  • I was running around participating in my older son's Dry Grad events and fundraisers; and driving my younger son to and from orthodontic appointments (x4)
  • I went to a performance of "Stars On Ice" starring:
    · Kurt Browning
    · Brian Orser
    · Steven Cousins
    · Ekaterina Gordeeva
    · Josee Chouinard
    · Shae-Lynn Bourne & Victor Kraatz
    · Isabelle Brasseur & Lloyd Eisler
    · Elena Bechke & Denis Petrov
    · Jayne Torvill & Christopher Dean
    (The previous couple of years I also saw Kristi Yamaguchi.)

    This might also have been the year my husband coerced our younger son to go with me (so he, himself, wouldn't have to attend).

    If so, J's most memorable words to me were, "There aren't any other guys here!"

    To which I replied, "Sure there are."

    "Yeah, but not my age!"

    Perceptive kid. The audience was made up of women, girls, husbands and boyfriends-in-tow. You could tell the latter because they were falling asleep by intermission.

  • The family took me for a lovely Mother's Day brunch at the Pan Pacific Hotel, where we were one of the families interviewed by a Vancouver TV station for the evening news, much to the embarrassment of my younger son (he needn't have worried because we didn't make the final edit)
  • I did my usual packing for dh's monthly business trip to Toronto

All rather humdrum stuff, but it reminds me how those school-age years whizzed by.

Five things on today's "to do" list:
  1. Laundry (it's always on my to do list)
  2. Lunch with hubby in Richmond
  3. Stop at Chapters (bookstore) to look for a newly published book that contains some of my family's history
  4. Go for walk along the waterfront in Steveston
  5. Watch Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (part of my Indy marathon in preparation of the new movie due out this week)

Things I'd do if I was a billionaire:
I would pay off my sister-in-law's mortgage and make sure all my American in-laws have adequate health insurance. I'd make a list of the charities I support and set up ongoing trust funds for them; find myself a secluded South Pacific island hide-away for reading, writing and relaxation; travel to as many places as possible; stop working because I have to and work only at those things I want to work at.

Three bad habits:
  1. Procrastination
  2. Procrastination
  3. Procrastination

Five places I've lived:
  1. Vancouver, BC, Canada: where I was born
  2. New Westminster, BC, Canada: The so-called the "Royal City" because it was named by Queen Victoria and was, at one time, under consideration to be the capital of British Columbia. (where I spent most of my childhood)
  3. Burnaby, BC (after I was married)
  4. Toronto, Ontario, Canada (where my first son was born)
  5. South Delta, BC (a municipality south of Vancouver where I currently live)

Five jobs I've had:
  1. Line worker on a conveyor belt, sorting vegetables in a canning factory
  2. Dishwasher, prep person, then waitress in Chinese restaurant
  3. Unit clerk on Gynaecology/Obstetrics ward
  4. Grad nurse on Orthopaedic ward and Extended Care Unit
  5. Community Health Care Nurse

Five people I'm tagging for this meme:
(oooh! Will they want to do it? Will they say "Oh No! Not another meme!"?)

Junebugg at Wasted Days and Wasted Nights
Joy at Joy's Updates - Straight from the Horse's Mouth
Donny at Rambleville (This is not the usual stuff on Donny's blog, so we shall see if he accepts)
Wenda at Daring to Write (She hasn't been blogging very much lately and I miss her writing. Maybe this will lure her out.)
Tamarika at Mining Nuggets (I've just started following Tamarika's blog and think she's had a varied and fascinating life. I want to know more)

Friday, May 16, 2008


I'm not afraid
of dark and light
flickering on the walls
of black cats
and shadow people
poltergeists and ghosts
campfire, Halloween and Grimm's tales
unbidden from the mind and
things that go bump in the night.

I'm not afraid.
They disappear at first light

Don't they?

For First 50 Words

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Photographs and Memories

Mother's Day has passed and I've spent the last few days reading blogs and articles about mothers. It has put me in an introspective mood about my own mother.

Mother's Day is one of the few occasions I think about my mother. The other times are when something significant happens in my life - like the birth of my sons, the death of my father – or when someone comments on how much I look like her. This latter happens less often now as I get further past the age when she died. My grey hair and increasing wrinkles are gradually obscuring what was once clear and unmistakeable.

She died when I was about twenty months old. I say "about twenty months" because I've never received a straight answer from my relatives about the exact date. Her gravestone only states the year of her death. From overheard stories, I've gleaned she became ill around Christmas and died shortly after in the following year. Thus, my guess.

I have no memories of her. What I know about her is only what others have told me. She was lovely, nice, kind, liked dancing and music -- platitudes for a daughter. Maybe she was all of those things, but I'd like more.

The closest I've gotten to more than platitudes was an aunt who said that when my father and mother danced, it seemed like there was no one else around. I like to hold onto that picture. I envision Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. Maybe that's where my love of old musicals and dancing comes from. Surely, I can dream.

My greatest regret about not knowing more about her is that I can't pass on more than a few photos of her to my sons. I regret that she never got to meet her grandsons. I think she'd like them.

I once tried to have a conversation with my father about her. I took him out for lunch at a quiet restaurant and thought we'd have a chance to speak more intimately. He would have none of it. He artfully dodged anything personal and insisted on talking about his mining investments. Maybe too many years had passed. After all, in the interim, he'd remarried and raised a new family.

I've come to accept this lack of knowing. I suppose it allows for some poetic license on my part.

Here she is on her wedding day.

Her name was Luna. She looks happy.

What are you doing?


“There’s no such thing as doing nothing.”

“I’m just reading.”

“There. You see? That’s not nothing. Reading is something.”

“Okay, okay. I’m not doing nothing. I’m doing something; and that something is reading. Happy now?”

“I only asked a simple question. Why can’t you just answer a simple question?”

Lately, all their arguments started like this.

For First 50 Words

Sunday, May 11, 2008

How "old" sneaks up on you

I was out walking with dh on one of our port stops last week. On vacation, we like to walk as much as possible and consider ourselves quite fit. We walk at a fairly good clip and tend to overtake and pass most saunterers.

This walk was along a popular scenic route in Victoria and several other couples were walking a few metres ahead of us. We were slowly gaining ground on them, when suddenly, one of the couples stopped abruptly in front of us, mid-intersection. We skittered quickly around them - a truck was coming - and we said "car coming" as we passed.

The stopped couple, meanwhile, was looking up at a tree; totally oblivious to the truck trying to turn the corner. Now, I must give credit to the truck driver who didn't honk or yell, but rolled forward slowly, waiting for them to get out of the way. They didn't.

Not until their companions yelled at them, did they look around and move out of the way.

My dh turned to me and said, "I hope we're not like that at their age" ("their age" meaning old I'm quite sure). To which I replied, "We ARE their age. Take another look." My guess is they were sixty-ish.

Funny how those years sneak by when you're not paying attention.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


I like to think I'm open to new ideas and the use of new technology. I hum along using current technology, perfectly happy and rather smug that I've mastered new gizmos and the concurrent jargon when, WHAM, it's obsolete.

The shift-over starts insidiously enough. A few brave souls try out the new technology. It's usually clunky, not that efficient and prone to problems. More people jump on the bandwagon and the technology improves. Then it's like a switch gets flipped. One minute everyone is using the old ABC, the next, they're using the new XYZ. Think about the switch-overs of vinyl LPs to cassette tapes; cassette tapes to CDs; typewriters to word processors; VHS tapes to CDs/DVDs; dot matrix printers to laser; rooftop TV antennas to cable. The list is endless.

I'm not exactly sure when everyone else changed from using rotary dial telephones to push button touchtone phones. I only know that our family must have been one of the last holdouts for rotary phones.

It's not that we didn't embrace the touchtone. It's just that, being frugal, we didn't see a need to replace the perfectly serviceable black rotary dial phone we had in the kitchen. It had made the trek with us from the last two homes we'd lived in and was a comfortable, solid as a rock appliance. When we moved into our current home in the late eighties, touchtone phones were provided by the phone company for two telephone jacks. The black rotary was an extra that we put in the kitchen. We never gave it another thought.

One day, our youngest son had a friend over to play. We had invited him to stay for dinner and he needed to call home and ask for permission. Fine. We directed him to our kitchen phone. He picked up the receiver -- then silence. He put the receiver back down. I thought perhaps he'd forgotten his phone number.

With an embarrassed look, he said, "I don't know how to USE this."

He had never seen a rotary dial phone, let alone used one before.

It had never occurred to me that there was an entire generation of children growing up with no clue what "dialing" a telephone number really means.

The following Christmas, Santa gave us a new push button touchtone telephone for the kitchen.

p.s. These days, I wonder how many young people can read an analog "face" dial watch or if they can only read digital time.

For Sunday Scribblings

Monday, May 05, 2008

"26 miles across the sea . . .

Santa Catalina is awaitin' for me"

I'm sitting in the lobby coffee bar. Classical music is playing in the background and I'm settling into this peaceful oasis, gazing out the windows, savouring a caramel macchiato.

But wait, two couples have converged and are sitting immediately behind me. They are starting a loud conversation - a very loud conversation. They are trying to explain the history of Avalon and Catalina Island to the barrista. I keep hearing snippets of conversation about Wrigley and Wrigley Stadium, dances and casinos. I'm having trouble concentrating. Aaaak. I cannot write.

Okay, I've now moved two decks up to a lounge with windows looking out to the Promenade. My fellow loungers (loungees) consist of readers and one couple who look like they're waiting for somebody. The man across from me has a leather-bound journal on the table in front of him and is reading a book by Michael Connelly. I can't quite make out the title, but he seems fairly engrossed int it.

We're anchored off the town of Avalon on Catalina Island. It's overcast and pretty cool (at 13 Celsius) with a brisk wind. The port time is quite short here and requires tendering (ship to shore transfer on small craft) and since we've been here several times, it didn't seem worthwhile to go ashore. We've decided to stay on board and relax.

Instead, we had a three mile walk/run on a mostly empty Promenade deck and a leisurely, healthy breakfast of oatmeal cereal, peaches and a poached egg. Of course this healthiness was probably undone by the caramel macchiato - although - on the plus-minus health scale, it should make me about even. Shouldn't it?

Another couple just sat down. They look like they've just come in from the tender ride from shore. They're still wearing their fleece hoodies and have order two Irish coffees. It's 11 a.m.

I'm relishing the feeling of unhurried calm. I love sitting back to people watch. The neverending parade of saunterers, determined rushers and meandering "I'm not sure where I'm going, but I don't care" strollers is fascinating. It allows my imagination to run rampant as I make up fictitious histories for each of them.

Tonight is Formal Night - a chance to get a bit more dressed up. Over the years, my formal night attire has been honed down to three outfits that I alternate between different cruises. It's become a no-brainer for me.

On the agenda this afternoon is a wine-tasting. A short nap afterwards sounds like a good idea. If so motivated, I might even finish my book (Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman) before dinner. It's a tough life, this cruising.

Tomorrow is San Francisco, my favourite west coast US city.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Another tax year over - another ten years older.

It's May 1st and I've made it through another tax season.

Didn't I write a similar post last year? Like my grandfather, I'm repeating myself more and more - something I swore I'd never do - sometimes realizing it - just as often, not. I didn't take into account slower brain synapses and all the convoluted pathways (from all the deep thinking, no doubt) doubling back on themselves in endless automatic playback loops. I just made that up - but it sounds plausible, doesn't it? Anyways, I'll have to go back and check. I digress. Where was I?

Oh, right. Finished tax season. In the midst of it all, it seemed like we'd never see the end of it, but we always manage to get everything that needs to be done, done. Somehow.

At the moment, my brain is still decompressing. About forty-eight hours ago, my head felt about the size of a twenty pound Halloween pumpkin with accompanying demented, fixed, jack-o-lantern grin. I actually slept in to 7 a.m. this morning and will spend the rest of the day doing laundry and packing. We (me and dh) are taking what has become a yearly ritual to visit family in LA, then take a coastal cruise back to Vancouver.

I was just taking a quick look over at First 50 Words and the prompt based on Natalie Goldberg's Letter from Taos caught my eye. If I can get a good internet connection onboard the ship, I may try something like that here.

Now, I must put Jaws or maybe the last half of Lawrence of Arabia into the DVD player and finish my packing. We leave early tomorrow morning.