My Life as a Movie Monday: Reality Bites

Thanks to “Words Become Superfluous” for a brilliant way to kick start on a cold and frosty morning… ah skinny white dudes with skinny black ties…

words become superfluous

Good morning !!! And a very special, soft spoken and dimly lit good morning to all of my Canadian readers. Have you recovered from yesterday’s excitement, or can I interest you in my signature giant sunglasses and vanilla soy latte the size of my head?!?

For those of you who don’t know, we closed out the Olympics in classic red and white style yesterday, winning the gold medal in ice hockey. It was a big deal, you guys – I don’t even watch hockey (sorry, Dad) and I made sure I was up early enough to watch the last period! But the real die hard fans were up a lot earlier than that, especially if they live here in Toronto: bars got special liquor licenses for the occasion, so that they could start serving alcohol as soon as the game started … at 7am !!! Hence the complimentary sunglasses.


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the Artist’s Project at the Exhibition Place, a good time!

Laura was kind enough to send me two coupons for tickets. She is an encaustic artist, does really great work, a lovely person and generous too. I would not have gone otherwise, probably. Not that I don't love the show but just because it is at Exhibition Place.

It was still quite a wintery day despite the warmer temperatures. The wind was fierce off the lake and as it happened, it was not in the building I thought it was in. I thought it was in the Direct Energy Building. As we walked from the streetcar to the building I was really excited to see how many people were going to look at art! There was a tall guy in a lime green kid's hat complaining about the show not being there. He didn't fit with the crowd I noticed. It took me a while to register that there seemed to be a lot of really badly dressed men in the line-up. Of course it was the motorcycle show… I know I sound like a snob but it's true. People are more likely to put on clean jeans for an art show than for a motorcycle show. I am fairly certain they do not wear lime green kids cartoonish type hats.

So we had to brave the cold wind and slushy sidewalks to get to the show, I felt bad cause Dee was getting over a cold…

I, myself, am still feeling like I need to curl up in a ball under lots of blankets most of the time for emotional warmth if not physical warmth. It is hard to throw myself into social situations. I either talk too much or not enough BUT and this is a BIG BUT, I had a really good time.

I like to pick up cards (if they have them) when something of the artist’s work strikes me. I try to do this without discretion, and only on impulse. I don’t get cards for all of the work that gets me only the ones that compel me. This way it is about my own “work” rather than some sort of critique. Peter A. Bareikowski’s caught my eye. I have noticed I am inclined to gravitate towards iconic or symbolic work that is child-like and including dream like images. This is from his bio:

His work has been about human conditions like isolation and alienation. Creating a paradox between his joyful colours and darker subject matter, his paintings attempt to play with our ideas around sadness. As a form of subtle escapism, the figures in his paintings are depicted in a one dimensional, cartoonish style – with almost grotesque undertones. By doing so, Barelkowski hopes to create the feel of another world.


Catherine Jeffery who does wonderful street scenes full of reflections and colour and just how I feel downtown when I don’t wear my glasses! She was generous in talking about her painting method, something I love to learn. Dee really liked her work.

I ran into Jamie and Russell from the Artist’s Network days…wonderful work this year from both of them, and nice to see familiar faces!

Dee and I had a long and interesting conversation about some of the pitfalls and challenges for creative people and what genius might be, also, she told me a wonderful story about time and layers in a space that she has lived in for thirty years…the conversation shifted in and out of our meanderings, heading home we got on the subway going the wrong way, even though we very consciously noted the Eastbound sign before heading down to the platform!!! At one point I imagined ourselves on the other train, engrossed in conversation but going the right direction in a different time! BRAIN EXPLODES!

My first time dealing with crowds for a long time,I had to eat some sugar to keep going but then got a bit loopy. Damn pancreas!

There was a lot of really amazing work. You can check out the website for The Artist Project. It was a great show but too far from public transit on a cold day. (I am an grumpy crippled old crone after all!)

Today is the last day. If you are in town you should try to check it out!

So I think I am done with ten things to beat the winter blues…

I don’t think I managed it. I think the winter blues beat me, in fact, the winter blues made me their BEE-ACH. (My apologies to those who know the proper spelling and use of the expression.)

I did however write a short piece about a psychopath with aspirations of working as a receptionist and I just found out it will be published in an anthology of stories about coffee. That’s exciting. *Sigh*

When I get my copy or whatever I will post a link or something…is that how this internet stuff works…? *watches brain shrivel up like a raisin*

Sigh. Did I spell raisin correctly?

Thing Ten to Beat the Winter Blues!

ImageGet really sick with flu, get better and then get bitten by the neighbours dog.  It puts things in to perspective right?  Unlike a trip to somewhere nice and warm that you have to return to only to find it is still winter, having an even worse time than you thought you could possibly ever have during one of the worst winters makes you appreciate things getting even a little better.

For instance, the site of the dog bite really itches now.  That means it is healing.  Now I just have to work on my fear of leaving my own house and being bitten by a deranged escaped dog.  Oh and I don’t have to take any more antibiotics!  Hooray!!! 

Things you can clean with vinegar…

This was originally posted in 2011. I found out that this was my most viewed post, probably because I tried an experiment. I put “boobs” as a category. Still it is one of my best. Funny.

I find it annoying when, unasked, people give me “helpful hints”, for example telling me great ways to clean this or that.  I also resent unsolicited decorating advice, advice on clothing, make-up, parenting, gardening, shopping and preparing meals.  I don’t like being told I should go on Prozac or take up yoga.  The last bit of advice might be the only useful advice I’ve been given but I still don’t like it.

I am now a woman of 50+. Is that meaningful?  I don’t know.  Apparently Feminism is dead. Apparently I am not. It might explain why I am cranky.  I repeat my age  whenever my mother tells me, (daily) that she is 89 years old.  Yes, 89!!! That means, as far as she is concerned, no matter how old I get she will always be wiser. I feel cheated.

I wrote this little article for a now defunct periodical called “Homebase Magazine”. It was published by MAW a feminist lobby group here in Canada, focused on the concerns of feminist moms.  I called it: “Helpful Hints”. I don’t know what year it was. It was before we had to watch television to know “reality”. 

There are people and pets mentioned who are no longer living. My brother has nursed many dogs since Kelly, the dog I mentioned here. I have also questioned the bit about people asking to smoke in the house.  WOULD ANYONE DARE NOWADAYS? The whole article was supposed to be funny/informative but with so many people on anti-depressants now and the fact that making things “shiny” could be considered a career, I am afraid it will not be.

These really are things you can clean with vinegar. 

 Dog Pee

 If your doggie pees on the carpet, apparently washing it with vinegar will discourage him from peeing there again. I don’t have a dog, so I have no idea if he won’t just keep finding new places to pee.  I suppose you can just follow him around with a bucket of vinegar washing where he pees until every inch of floor is washed.

My brother’s dog peed on a balloon in my dining room.  He peed on the same balloon when it was in the kitchen.  He is a very old dog. My brother has to lift him up after he’s been lying down for a while because he gets stiff and can’t move.  He also has to brush the dog’s teeth every day because they are bad. 

 His breath is terrible, the dog’s breath, not my brother’s at least I don’t think his breath is bad but I can’t be sure because I didn’t kiss him.

 I didn’t try washing the balloon with vinegar.  I just threw it out. But if his dog had peed on the carpet I could have told you if washing with vinegar really worked.

Clean Air

 This information I got from a Mennonite cookbook: “A saucer of vinegar will rid the room of cigarette smoke.” If you are like most people these days, you won’t let any one smoke in your house.  If anyone asks you if it’s al right to smoke in your house you will tell them that you think they are disgusting and that they have no consideration of their own health or the health of their friends and children.

Furniture Polish

 Use cider vinegar for dark woods; white vinegar for light woods.

 Mix 1 c. vinegar

2 c olive oil

Apply lightly and buff when dry.


 Combine ¼ c. turpentine

¼ c. vinegar

¼ c. boiled linseed oil

Shake and rub on the furniture with a soft cloth and polish dry in twenty minutes.


 Paint brushes that have hardened will soften and clean more easily if boiled in vinegar.

You can remove dried paint from glass by rubbing it with a cloth soaked in hot vinegar and then scraping it with a knife.

 Lime Deposits

 Here’s something that I bet you never thought of:  There are lime deposits in your kettle, shame, shame! Bet you won’t sleep at night now.  But there’s a solution! Equal parts of water and vinegar boiled in that nasty kettle and left to sit over night will wash them away! Rinse it in the morning with cold water and you will sleep better from then on.  Honest!

 Vinegar will also work on the lime deposits in your children’s pet hamster cage, if it’s not politically correct these days to keep pets in cages…well, I just don’t know.

Bob is really my son’s hamster but I don’t mind cleaning his cage at all.  I really love Bob.  I think he loves me too. A lot of people tell me that I shouldn’t get so emotionally attached to a rodent because they don’t live very long but I no longer feel that it is how long a relationship lasts that determines the value of it. I feel I’ve grown as a result of knowing Bob.

 This doesn’t really have anything to do with Bob, except that it illustrates how you should not judge the value of relationships by longevity, this is what I wrote:

  I joined an artist’s guild.  I had finished chemotherapy and my hair had grown back.  At a meeting a woman came up to me and said, “Where you the new member who was bald last year?”


“Oh, I thought so.  Sorry I didn’t introduce myself at the time but I thought you were going to die.

See?  You never know.

 Washing windows

Half vinegar, half warm water and a few drops of dish soap make an excellent solution for cleaning the dirtiest windows. Buff with old newspaper. It dries without leaving streaks. That’s all. Seriously, you just have to believe me.

Life is full of messes. I try not to gripe and to look after my own.   But I also believe it is not all about keeping things shiny.    It’s important not to confuse smells with stink.  It’s important to think.

“Raise a glass and promise to support love”

The subject line just appeared on its own. That’s what I said when I had to make a toast at my daughter’s wedding. I realize that when you have had a few glasses of wine it sounds pretty good. The reality is I haven’t really got a clue how to do that. “Love” is a hard thing to define. There is the emotion, but then there are actions that it can inspire, some good, and some bad.

I think that, if I were being generous in my interpretation of what I meant by that statement, I would say, whenever unsure, chose the kindest and most generous assessment because that creates the best environment for actions of unselfish heroics. I think that people who love unselfishly always end up heroes, though perhaps only known to a small circle of friends and family.

Of course I could be confusing apples and oranges. Benedict Cumberbatch can sort it though! Click on his name to see him sort it out with a little help from the Count.  (What a sweetie!)bc