Tag Archives: rant

Me Too

“Do you want me to rape you?” he asked.  I’m guessing he had a big grin on his stupid face, which I couldn’t see because I was face down on the ground with his weight crushing my skinny body as he sat on me.

“No!” I croaked…all I could think about was getting away.

It was 1972, and I was 11 years old.

My dad was a social worker at the time, and thought it would be a good idea to bring home a couple of foster kids and give them a day in the country.  They were brothers, aged 15 and 9.  Larry was the older one…if he’d had any athletic ability, he probably would have played on his high school’s football team, although it was doubtful he’d made it past Grade 8 yet.  He had shaggy dark hair and body odor.  I can’t remember the little brother’s name.

My 8-year-old brother, Jeff, and I set out with the newcomers to show them our 43 acres of cedar trees on the hill behind our house…we even had a “dugout” we believed had been used by the military at some point.  We’d been walking out in the woods for a while by the time the little boys took off on their own, leaving me alone with Larry.

I began to feel apprehensive, and suggested we find our brothers.  He responded by grabbing my wrist tightly so that I couldn’t run away…I’m not sure how I ended up on the ground.  Luckily, Larry didn’t make good on his threat.

I don’t remember how I got away…the boys might have come back, or my parents might have called us for supper.

As soon as we got back to the house, I told my mom I didn’t feel well, and fled to the safety of my bedroom.  She came up to see what was going on, and I told her what had happened.  She told my dad, who took the visitors back to town.  I have no idea if Larry faced any repercussions for his behaviour.  We never saw them again.

This incident happened 45 years ago and I’m not “over it”…to be honest, I hope Larry died in jail.  I was one of the “lucky ones”…I wasn’t raped, but how many women did that piece of shit assault during his miserable life?

We need to do better: raise our daughters and granddaughters to be strong women, and our sons and grandsons to be strong, respectful men.

 

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Filed under rants, self-discovery

Things I Learned This Weekend…

Here are a few of the things I learned this past weekend:

1. That we have a new bird hanging around our back deck.  Anna called me on Saturday to let me know that we had a brown-headed cowbird.

Brown-headed cowbird (photo from allaboutbirds.org - couldn't find Anna's photo!)

  

2. That the Habitat for Humanity ReStore has neat stuff.  We went on Saturday morning.  In addition to every building material known to man, there were used books (nothing I wanted for the store though), brand new 1″ binders, used furniture and appliances, and even scented candles!  We were looking for lumber to extend our fence posts higher.  We got two bundles of nine 2″x 2″‘s, 8 feet long for $10 each.  We will string twine between them and put streamers and ribbons on the twine to hopefully prevent the deer from trying to jump the fence.  As the teenage boy loaded the wood into the back of the van, I drew a blank on how to thank him:  He was only about 17, so he wasn’t really a “Sir”.  I didn’t want to call him “Son”, because he wasn’t my son, and I didn’t want to sound ancient.  So I said, “Thank you…dear!” which is what Saint Johners call people that they’re not on a first-name basis with.  I don’t think he heard me… 

3. That Kaylee makes better homemade pizza than her mother (yes, I said that).  We had supper at her house on Saturday, and she made three awesome pizzas using essentially the same dough recipe that I do!  I need to get some pizza stones…

4. That 19-month-old toddlers are great imitators.  Scott set his ice cream bowl down on the floor for the cat to lick, and a couple minutes later, Elise bent from the waist, stuck her tongue out and her bum in the air, and tried to lick the bowl too!  We all wished we’d had a video camera going at the time.

Elise getting fit with mommy's weights...

5. That our van registration expired over a month ago.  As we drove home from Kaylee’s, there were four Rothesay Police vehicles setting up a roadblock…they waved us through.  Jim asked me to check the van registration in the glove compartment just in case…it’s a really good thing they didn’t stop us…it would have been a $185 fine! 

6. That even the deer don’t like Rebecca Black’s song.  When we came home from Kaylee’s house, there were about 5 deer grazing in the side yard.  They stood and looked at us as we got out of the van.  Then Hope had an idea:  she did a perfect rendition of Rebecca Black singing “Friday”, complete with nasal congestion.  All the deer took off running immediately! 

7. That people running extra-curricular programs in our schools expect way too much from the kids (and their parents).  Hope had a two-hour cheerleading practice on Saturday, followed by 8 hours of competition and another 2 hours of practice on Sunday.  Devin spent more than 24 hours at his school on Saturday and Sunday doing backstage stuff in preparation for the upcoming musical.  He’ll be at school every night this week until about 11.  Anna has two 5-hour+ cheer practices this week to get ready for their first competition on Saturday (about 7 hours).  At least, Jim enjoys driving… 

8. That I’m too old to stay up until midnight three nights in a row.  Late nights Thursday, Friday and Saturday led to a Sunday migraine.  I missed Hope’s cheer competition and my sister-in-law’s birthday party (Happy Birthday, Tracy)!  On the plus side, Hope’s team didn’t get any deductions this time (but she managed to leave her track pants and jacket at the host school – we hope to get them back tomorrow!).

Hope in her sparkly eye makeup from the cheer competition…

9. That Anna will do laundry if I’m sick.  She even came up and asked if we had any darks in our hamper she could do for us!  It’s a good thing I was lying down at the time.  Now, if I can get her to pick up her dirty dishes off the family room floor…

10. That the price of lactose-free milk can jump by 25 cents a litre in one go.  We now pay $5.19 for 2 litres (a litre is a little bigger than a quart) of Lacteeze (three people in the family are lactose-intolerant).  We go through about 3 litres of Lacteeze a week, in addition to 4 litres of regular milk.  Thank goodness gas prices only go up 2 to 3 cents a litre at a time!

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Filed under cooking, family, rants, satire, self-discovery

I’m Not a Ghost, But Yesterday I Played One in Real Life…

This isn't me...I'm a lot taller! (photo from daddytypes.com)

Have you ever had one of those days when you wonder if you’re invisible, a mere figment of someone else’s overactive imagination?  That was my day yesterday…all day!

It all started in the morning, after I arrived at the bookstore and sat down at my computer.  As per my routine, I updated our store’s Facebook page with a “Today in History” fact and a book relevant to it, and added a daily quote about books.  Then I opened my Hotmail.  Since it was Monday, there were lots of new blog posts to comment on…

I opened the first one, read it, typed my comment and posted it.  Everything was going swimmingly until I reached the fourth new post.  I read the post, chuckled heartily, wrote a pithy reply and hit the “Post Comment” button, making sure to tick the box so I would receive notification of further comments.  The page refreshed, and my clever comment had disappeared into the vast realm of cyberspace, never to be seen again!  After a few choice words (none of which were nice), I reconstructed my response as best I could, and attempted to repost.  ARRGGH!  Gone!  I thought, “Maybe it’s my computer.”  I rebooted, and reopened all my windows.  Version #3 of my formerly hilarious comment was a mere shadow of its earlier incarnations, which I suppose doesn’t really matter, because it vanished too!  I gave up on that one…I was sure that person’s blog had technical difficulties.

I opened the next new post in my e-mail.  Another brilliant post!  I congratulated the writer on his wit and writing skill, and sent my compliments hurtling once again into Never Never Land!  I tried once more (are you familiar with Einstein‘s definition of insanity: doing something over and over and expecting different results?).  Remembering one of the tag lines from The IT Crowd, “Have you tried turning it off and on?”, I not only rebooted, but flipped the router off and on as well.  That should do it!

With my Hotmail window reopened, I clicked on another new post.  This one was about blogrolls, a topic dear to my heart.  I offered my input in a couple of paragraphs, and confidently “posted” my comment.  NOT!  I looked around and briefly considered sticking my head in the oven, but our microwave was far too small…Instead, I sent an urgent-sounding e-mail to WordPress Support:

Subject: My Comments are Invisible!

I made comments on other people’s blogs (multiple times).  I saw: NOTHING!!! (one time when I was smart enough to copy and paste a comment before I sent it, I got a notification that it was a duplicate comment…still nothing showed up!).  I expected my comments to be visible!
I have cleared my cache and rebooted my computer (twice).
Help please!!!
 
Wendy

A little while later, I got a nice e-mail from a “happiness engineer” at WordPress apologizing for the “inconvenience” (at that point I’d been trying to post comments for more than an hour!) and advising me to send details to Akismet (the spamcatcher).  “They’ll be able to sort you out.”  I really hoped that somebody could…and maybe they could fix my problem with commenting while they were at it!  I sent a similar e-mail to Akismet, explaining my difficulties and imploring them to do everything in their power to remedy them!  I continued to read new posts, but knew that commenting on them at this point would probably be useless…I also wrote this post so that my friends would know that I wasn’t ignoring them on purpose.  I contacted a couple of the bloggers via Facebook, one of whom told me that my comments had ended up in her spam bucket.

In the afternoon, we had some of our regular customers come into the bookstore: a couple of book dealers from Fredericton accompanied by a friend who was a book collector.  The collector inquired about books by Mika Publishing (which happens to be located in Belleville, Ontario near where I grew up).  I checked our database, and found we had a Mika book about Lunenburgh, and asked Dad to locate it in its box with the other Loyalist-related material.  I went into the other room with one of the book dealers to find something for him.  Dad came back with the book and asked me what he should do with it.  “Show it to the guy who asked about Mika books!” I replied.

“Why…is it Mika?” Dad asked.

“Yes!” I answered, barely concealing my annoyance.  Is this thing on?  After Dad left the room, the dealer I was talking to burst out laughing…

“I wouldn’t have believed that if I hadn’t heard it for myself!” he said.

“Multiply that by 9 hours a day for 11 years,” I answered.  “And he lives with me too!  It’s a wonder I still have my sanity.”

Jim came and picked up Anna and I, and we headed for home.  Hope had an appointment at the after hours clinic for 6:15, and we would have to hurry if we wanted to eat before we left again!

We bolted some Sloppy Joes and fries, and arrived early at the office.  The doctor wrote a prescription for Hope.  We took it to the drugstore and dropped it off…the woman at the counter told us it would be ready in about twenty minutes.  To kill time, we went to the dollar store and looked for things that Hope and Brianna needed for school projects.  We amassed quite a pile of stuff between the three of us, and took it to the checkout (there was no one there).  Eventually a clerk came from the back and called to us from the other counter, “I can help you over here!”

“I was afraid of that!” I answered while smiling through gritted teeth, as I tried to scoop up our 57 items to move them.

“Oh, I can help you with that,” she said, cheerfully.  We paid for our purchases and went back to the drugstore.  There were six people in line at the prescription counter…Hope and I took our place at the back of the line.  The customer who was holding up the line had a prescription that her insurance company wasn’t covering the full cost of, and she couldn’t seem to grasp the fact that she needed to ask her doctor to call them.  We’d been in line more than ten minutes when one of the pharmacists came out and asked if anyone had any questions or if we were all picking up prescriptions.  No one had any questions.

The pharmacist asked, “Who’s next?” and a lady who’d been standing off to my left (not in line) piped up.

“I’m just here to pick up my prescription.”

I thought, “That’s what we’re all here for, Lady…that’s why we’re in this line.”

She continued, “I was here before…I just came back!”  Guess who got served before I did!  I had Hope pinch me to make sure I really existed…

When we got home, I went to my computer and opened my e-mail.  Still no response from Akismet, but I decided to give commenting another shot.  I picked a blog I’d already tried to comment on, and typed a message about commenting earlier, explaining that the comment had probably gone into the spam.  I crossed my fingers and toes as my mouse hovered over the “Post Comment” button.  I clicked it.  SUCCESS!  Hooray! 

Apparently, I’m not a ghost after all!

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Filed under blogging, books, family, rants, satire, shopping

Typewriters, Comedic Couples, John Boy, and Roller Skates…

No…I haven’t lost my sanity…these things in my title really have something in common!  Relax, and I will explain:

This is one of those days when I wanted to write, but didn’t really want to write something heavy, so I went to the handy-dandy Today in History website, and found some stuff that happened on September 14th that I could talk about.

1. Typewriters (for those of you under 30, that’s what we used to use before we had computers!).  On September 14, 1886, a guy named George K. Anderson of Memphis, Tennessee patented the typewriter ribbon.  I taught myself to type when I was 11 on my dad’s ancient Underwood typewriter (ca. 1940’s).  You literally had to pound the keys to get it to work (I was quite proud of my typing speed of 35 words per minute), and heaven help you if you made a mistake!  I am a veteran of rubbing holes in typing paper with erasers!  If you did manage to erase the error without serious damage, then you’d have to get back to where you were to type the correct letter.  That was fun (NOT!).  My early work sometimes looked like it was done by a dyslexic chimp!  Actually changing the ribbon was fun too…getting it in right was a challenge, and your hands, face and clothing would often end up covered in ink!

This is what I learned to type on...

When I moved out on my own, I bought an electric typewriter (a Brother, which I still have…I don’t know why).  It had a wonderful correction tape built in, which was great, until it ran out!  Going to the stationery store, I was informed that replacing the correction tape would require approximately a bajillion dollars (if they even had it in stock!).  At least my typing speed improved on the electric one…

After using typewriters for almost two decades, it was really tough getting used to a computer keyboard…totally different animal!  I wanted to hit “Enter” at the end of every line…wrong, wrong, wrong!  I was forever losing my cursor…where the hell is that little flashing line now?  It took me a month to get the hang of it…

2. Comedic Couples.  One of my favourite comedy teams, Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, were married on September 14, 1954 (and they’re still together, 56 years later!).  I first saw Stiller and Meara on the Ed Sullivan Show, which we watched religiously every week.  I liked them because even though they poked fun at each other, it was obvious that they were in love.

This still of Stiller and Meara is from a 1966 appearance on the Sullivan Show...

 

Another comedic couple I liked was Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz (they didn’t stay married, though).  The I Love Lucy show was one of my early favourites – Lucy had the best facial expressions, ever!  Even though Desi played a macho man on that show, Lucy still portrayed a woman who had some control over her own affairs – remember the episode when she and Ethel got the job in the candy factory? 

Ethel, the Factory Foreman, and Lucy at the Candy Factory...

 

3. John Boy.  It was on September 14, 1972 that the heartwarming series, The Waltons, premiered on CBS.  We used to watch the show every week for the whole nine seasons it aired.  Truly a family show, it dealt with even the hard parts of life without cussing.  My favourite Walton boy was Ben – he was very cute with his red hair and freckles!  The tagline: “Goodnight, John Boy” caught on like wildfire.  I used to tease my brother by saying “Goodnight, Jeffy” (he hated that!). 

I wished I could have been the girl Ben Walton was kissing...

4. Roller Skates.   Back in 1979, on September 14th, Theodore Coombs completed a 5,193-mile trip on roller skates from Los Angeles to New York and back to Yates Center, Kansas.  According to Wikipedia, 25-year-old Ted undertook the stunt to protest the energy crisis, which led to gas rationing.  Luckily, United Artists was flogging a movie called Americathon at the time, and sponsored Ted’s journey as a way to promote its new release.  Ted set out from a Hollywood gas station in May of 1979, and reached his destination some four months later, despite a bizarre incident of his driver stealing the van and abandoning him in Mt. Sterling, Missouri (roller rink owners in Missouri and Kansas held fundraisers to finance the rest of his trip).  Ted went on to write some of the computer books in the …for Dummies series (although he sounds pretty smart to me).

I had roller skates too, when I was a kid…they clamped on to my saddle shoes, and needed a small key to adjust the length.  I was a terrible skater!  I did well to get from one end of our basement to the other.  Corners were the worst!  Kids never wore helmets when skating back then…

This skate is like the ones I had...I had two, though...

 Now you know how typewriters, comedic couples, John Boy, and roller skates are connected…you’re welcome!

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Filed under memories, rants, satire

Things I Learned on My Summer Staycation…

I’m back at the bookstore today after our first 11 days of vacation…here’s what I learned:

1. Laundry and dirty dishes never take a vacation…in fact, when everybody stays home, their volume increases!  Wishing clothes would fold themselves doesn’t work.

Why can't clothes do this themselves?

2. Cleaning under furniture once in a while is a good thing…on a hunt for the satellite remote (it has to go back to the company in a couple of weeks because we’re changing over to fibre-op TV), we moved our couch.  Lurking underneath were bowls, spoons, forks, plates, assorted food wrappers, pencils, pens, dozens of ponytail holders, and a mystery object, which we later identified as a petrified clementine which resembled an oddly-shaped peach pit.  All together now: EWWW!  Oh, and we didn’t find the remote there either…

3. Our dog hates the vacuum cleaner…I think he thinks it’s some sort of loud animal.  He barks and whines and tries to bite it…we have to put him out on the deck to use it.

Jake's worst enemy...probably because he hasn't seen it enough to get to know it...

4. Sleeping in never makes me feel more rested…it just makes me feel guilty that I’m not accomplishing more (I think I’m the only one in my family who feels this way).

5. Wallpaper is now pretty much obsolete…Jim had to go all over town to find some…it was on sale for $5/roll because the store was selling out of it.  It’s just as frustrating to put up now as it was 25 years ago (which is why I let him do it himself!).

This isn't Jim...

6. I’m grateful for what we have after finishing the book “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls.  This was our Book Club choice…it was a tough read because I was so outraged that no one did anything to help Jeannette and her siblings!  It’s amazing to me that they all survived with their sanity intact.

This book made me furious!

7. Small things excite me – finding out we had a cherry tree and blueberry bushes in our yard after living there a year-and-a-half was the highlight of my week (see https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/surprise-surprise-surprise/)!

8. The number of times Hope has to pee on a road-trip is roughly the number of miles divided by 25.  There’s Gravol for carsickness…I wish they’d come up with something for “travelbladder.”

We always give Hope this when we travel...

9. I’m loving the headphones Jim got me for my birthday…I can plug them into the computer, and listen to CBC “Concerts on Demand” while I work on my blog…Jim and Anna got a kick out of watching me “get down” to Garrett Mason and Colin Linden’s rendition of John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom” yesterday (I think they were both giggling hysterically) http://bit.ly/c0dJcL .

10. Our hummingbirds are fearless…one buzzed my head while I was picking beans in the garden the other day…they like the nectar from the scarlet runner bean blossoms!

Hummingbirds love these blossoms...

11. Kids “can’t hear” you when you ask them to do chores, but announce that food is ready, and they’ll knock you over getting to the table!

12. I like my regular routine…as much as I love the kids, I really don’t want to be home with them every day!  I was happy to get up at 5:30 this morning and come to the bookstore, even though I have a ton of work to do.

A corner of our store...

Next vacation is in mid-August…

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Filed under books, family, gardening, music, nature, tourism, travel