Category Archives: Rantz in my Pantz

Gold Finger Salute Awards!

Standard

GOLDFINGER-LOGO-web

Hey, I don’t mean to be a brute,
With my new BOOMERRANTZ salute,
But Nominees had best beware,
Now read my blog-post if you dare…

Enough already! I can’t turn on the television these days, without bearing witness to yet another ubiquitous award celebration for the rich and famous. Night after night during the months of January and February, we’re seduced by the ornamental glitz of shameless egoism, showered on the synthetic world of the stage and screen elite.

Get real people! I think it’s time for ‘we the people’ to hand out some awards of our own. When we use our collective powers to select individuals for awards, perhaps more of us could maximize the potential of these impressive rituals of public display for a higher and greater good.

That’s it! Let’s use our people’s choice license to charter a new category of awards that would express opinions and experiences from our not-so-glitzy everyday real life; experiences that are not always pleasant and sometimes deserving of a Gold Finger Salute!

Fertile ground: These new awards could be used to acknowledge the weight of unwanted residue often left in our lives by people in our community, our government, professionals in any field – and yes, even the entertainment industry. Anything that puts rantz in our pantz is fair game.

Let’s get the ball rolling: Here are a few categories that I hope will generate some passionate nominations from the silent reservoir of thoughts and experiences, that pick-pick-pick away at us…everyday.

Categories open for my “Gold Finger Salute” Award nominations:

1. M.V.P Award– Best performance by a Medical Doctor who finds the ‘Most Vulnerable Patient’ and prescribes the largest number of pills in the shortest appointment time, without the distraction of actually listening to the patient or making eye contact.

2. GRUBBY FINGERS Award – The Corporate CEO with the dirtiest hands and the coldest heart who cooks the hottest books in the corporate kitchen, while leaving his hungry investors boiling with a bad taste in their bank accounts.

3. WINNING WARLOCK Award – The surviving Celebrity who melts down in millions of living rooms, while drinking tiger blood and proclaiming himself to be a wild thing – stronger than two and a half men.

4. GOTCHA Award– The most elusive and convincing General Contractor honed in the artful techniques of creeping scope, making the most money over contractual budget on any one renovation.

5. TRIPLE M Award– The Lawyer or Law Firm who can demonstrate the ‘Most Money Milked’ from any one client on any legal action, for the longest period of time, without ever actually bringing the case to a close.

6. JUMPING JELLYFISH Award – The cruise Ship Captain who manages to cause a shipwreck, jump into the first lifeboat to shore and abandon his 4,234 passengers. All the while singing his favourite rap song, “Imma Be Imma Be…a Rat From a Sinking Ship.”

7. MATING RITUAL Award– The Corporate Banker who can exhibit the deepest levels of profit-envy, during a courting dance with an equally greedy partner. The best dance and musical combos for this category include; the Quickstep for “Size Does Matter,” the Hustle for “Bank-Bail-Out Boogie” and the Cha Cha Cha for “Sub-Prime Fiasco”.

8. GRINCH’S CHOICE Award – A multiple award to all School Administrators who cancel Christmas concerts due to misguided apprehensions, and replace said performances with bland non-Christian events where nobody gives a damn.

9. BOTTOM FEEDER Award– The Television Reality Show with the most voracious appetite, exploiting the highest number of living organisms from the lowest point on the food chain for public display and humiliation.

10. GREAT PRIMA DONALD Award – The Celebrity Businessman who manages to Trump all his opponents, by building the highest number of skyscrapers, while exhibiting the lowest degree of humility – and simultaneously sporting the worst comb-over in America.

11. SOFT SHOE SHUFFLE Award – The Elected Official with the biggest smile who makes the most provocative empty promises for the longest period of time, while side-stepping controversy and dancing non-stop to that popular politician’s ditty called, ‘The Power, Perks and Pensions Polka.’

12. BARKENPOOP Award – A multiple award to all deserving Pet Owners who miraculously believe that a cacophony of barking canines is music to a neighbor’s ears, and that the muck left behind by their dogs and cats running amok on other people’s properties is a welcome bit of fertilizer.

13. NINCOMPOOP Award – Any trusting Traveller in a male or female role, who – while of sound mind – chooses a Mexican vacation destination and naively expects to return alive – or minimally – with their bowels intact.

14. A-Hole ROFO Award – The mayor of any major city who smokes the most crack and tells the most lies, while in and out of any number of drunken stupors, and drags his long suffering wife in front of the nation’s television sets, to witness his declaration of eating preferences.

15. A-Hole DOFO Award – To the loudest-mouthed male sibling of any mayor of a major city, who supports his crack-smoking idiot of a brother.

Final word: While this list is just a drop in that big bucket of tarnished gold fingers, our collective salute to deserving nominees in these selected categories could put a whole new polish on the all-powerful-award-granting rituals. I’m sure you will all have many very personal choices to add to this not-so-distinguished collection. Good luck with your nominations and may the biggest losers win!

Although my carpet isn’t red,
And my awards are in my head,
To Nominees I say, “Salute!”
But now I really have to scoot…

Pat Skene
See you between the lines…

One Day Indeed!

Standard

woman on swing

 “The nice thing about getting old, is you might become young again.”

                     Edwin Honig, American Poet and Playwright.

My rant du jour: Today is National Senior’s Day in Canada. It’s a nice gesture in a world where seniors are mightily ignored and largely    invisible to the masters of the universe. But there is a change brewing, as boomers come of age and take charge to voice their opinions.  This is a good thing.  So why do we need a “Senior’s Day” to be recognized as a valid part of society?

More please! I guess a few token hours out of one token day, is a nice polite gesture to celebrate our aging population and the contributions this generation has made to the country we live in. Do we really need a flag raising at City Hall to remember that seniors are an intricate part of the web of  everyday life? Could this day to focus on seniors be nothing more than a hypocritical salute to “old people” because of a lack of respect and understanding in all levels of society?  Why should we have one stinking day?  We don’t want “one day.” We want every day!

Senior immersion: Like it or not people, the world is flooded with seniors. I myself am surrounded by seniors because I am one of the gang.  Some of these cranky codgers and codgerettes walk the face of the earth in a constant state of angry birds.  Many more seniors tread softly with a quiet wisdom…like they’ve cracked the code of the Mona Lisa smile. I love this group. And I am honoured to listen to the stories seniors have to tell…the teachers, the lawyers, the nurses, the business leaders, the everyday people of yesterday, today and tomorrow…with all their successes and tragedies.

I digress: When I was a toddler, I was apparently fascinated by old men. I would crawl up on the knee of any old geezer I could find, much to my poor mother’s horror! I am happy to say, I no longer hold that fascination. But I still do like some old men, especially the old fashioned kind…like the gentleman who tips his hat, holds the door open for me, respects my opinion and treats me like a have a functioning brain.  Hubsey is an old man too, and I like him a lot because he never grew up. And I love to crawl up on his lap!

What’s old is new: So here I am, in the dawn of my twilight years, surrounded by a gaggle of gently used human beings. I live in a condo full of seniors, I sit next to them at the doctor’s office, my friends are getting more wrinkled everyday and my dentist is an old man.  Even my two younger sisters are getting long in the tooth. We used to giggle and talk about boys, fashion, careers, bringing up kids and planning vacations. Now we talk about old men, sciatica, knee replacements, grandkids and constipation. But we still manage a good giggle fest from time to time.

About old men: Have you ever noticed how the older generation of men in our lives clear their throats, like they’re constantly trying to get your attention? Or how they grunt when getting out of a chair to let you know they’re on the move, so you can get out of their way? Old men don’t talk a lot. But when they do, it’s mostly to tell you how it used to be, or complain about the government. And as any long-standing married woman, who’s had the same husband for a while will tell you, they’re very well trained and worth hanging on to.  Trading a used model in for a new one is out of the question for most old broads. Remember, your old man may come with some saggage, but a new old man comes with big baggage!

About old women: Here’s something about we older women…we worry about wrinkles and waistlines, instead of celebrating our cellulite and the wisdom of our years.  We worry about that whisker that popped out on our chin overnight, instead of taking comfort in the freedom that comes with getting older. We worry about our white hair and thinning locks, instead of enjoying that second cup of tea in the morning…happy that we no longer have to strap ourselves into a pair of pantyhose to go to work.  And we wear far too much beige and black…never enough electric blue and emerald green!

Warning: As everyone knows, when seniors are around, you must get rid of area mats because we’ll trip on them. Get rid of shoes at the door because we’ll trip on them. Get rid of toys on the floor because we’ll trip on them. Do we seniors never think to look down? Someone should invent a senior-sensor-sonar device to clip on our shoes, which would automatically make loud beeping noises like a truck backing up…and zap the floor of any debris as we pass. Is that brilliant or what?

Final word: Anyway, that’s all I have to say on the subject for today. Seniors are alive and well and we don’t need a special one day flag raising ceremony at City Hall to mark our existence.  We need every day to do that –  and it’s up to each one of us to shout it out and make every day count!

Pat Skene…see you between the lines.

senior_xing

Mickey’s Back in the Closet

Standard

NewsUPDATE: As you know from my last post, I was having watch problems and resorted to wearing an old Mickey Mouse watch whilst I waited impatiently for the return of my awol timepiece from Birks.

Miraculously, the manager at Birks called me one hour after I posted the blog below. The fact that I notified their head office about the blog post may have played a small part in that call. However, the manager was most apologetic, promised that my watch was alive and well, and said my beloved Tag Heuer and I would be reunited within the week.   And, she added, the battery would be free and she wanted to offer me a $250 Birks gift certificate for my trouble. What?

So I’m happy to tell you that, as of yesterday at approximately 3:57pm,  my watch is back on my arm and Mickey is resting quietly back in the closet. He’s a bit traumatized from the rather jarring experience, but what can you expect from an 85 year-old mouse? I did expect more from Birks, a 134 year old jewellery company. But then again, they did redeem themselves very nicely.

Something to think about: Henry Birks, founder of Birks Jewellers died in April 1928. And in the very same year Mickey Mouse was born in November 1928. Coincidence? I think not!

All’s well that ends well.

Pat Skene…see you between the lines.

You Better Watch Out!

Standard

watch

Greetings all – it’s been some time,
Since I ranted out a rhyme,                                          
But I am totally perplexed,
And don’t know what I should do next!            


Listen up! Do companies still give out golden watches with their golden handshakes at retirement parties? I sure hope not! It’s a sure-fire way to lead any unsuspecting senior down the path of financial ruin. Okay, perhaps I’m exaggerating just a smidgen,  but I hope that got your attention.

Here’s my story:
Two months ago, I brought my Tag Heuer watch into Birks for a new battery. And here I sit, still without my watch! The repair department tells me that Tag suggests a complete maintenance overall every 3-5 years, at a cost of over $500 each time. What? And Birks tells me that all high-end watch companies have the same requirement! What? I’ve had the watch for 20 years and I’ve never been told this piece of disturbing news.   I declined and said I had the watch fully reconditioned 18 months ago due to a swimming accident (at a cost of $620), and now I simply wanted a new battery. They would not be happy, I was told, and the watch may not work. What?  It worked when I sent it in! It just needed a new battery to bring it back to life.

Then what happened?
Since then and many phone calls later, I am still watchless in Oakville.  The poor frazzled employee in Birks’ customer repair department tells me they will no longer use the supplier where they sent my watch because of a barrage of customer complaints. Plus the company doesn’t answer their phones! What? For all I know, my watch could be hanging from the inside lining of some trench coat in a dark alley by now. 

Caveat Emptor! 
Whatever happened to quality workmanship and well crafted watches that last forever? Or is that the crux of the issue? Perhaps these watches are so well made that watchmaking companies need a new stream of income to keep their customers hooked and coming back with their wallets open. Would anyone knowingly buy a watch that needed reconditioning every 3-5 years at a cost of $500 or more? Does that even make sense to the average watch-wearer of today? Or are these expensive watches so poorly made that they need constant attention to keep them going? Either way, the customer loses.

Even Mickey is stressed out:
Without my beloved Tag, I’ve resorted to wearing a Mickey Mouse watch Hubsey bought me over 30 years ago. Mickey tells me the time with his white-gloved hands, moving around the watch face like a demented traffic cop with substance abuse issues. The problem is, Mickey’s been stuffed in a closet for so long, outing him so abruptly has affected his performance. He doesn’t keep time very well, plus I need a magnifying glass to see the hand signals he’s giving me. So our renewed relationship isn’t working out.

Bottom Line: I simply want my watch back!  Guess I’ll give Birks another call. Any suggestions?

So that’s my tale, it’s sad but true,
Now what’s a blogger-girl to do?
Perhaps I’ll kick it up a notch,
Next time I swear I’ll buy a Swatch!

Pat Skene

See you between the lines.

Once Upon a Word

Standard

Double trouble: I’m sorry to subject you to the subject of the english language when you’re probably having a nice soft day. But sometimes I think the word-inventors were verbally insane or just plain lazy. Why else would we have so many words with the same spelling and totally different meanings? Was the project team simply lacking in brain cells or imagination?  Or did they become bored halfway through the job? Perhaps it was an early attempt at recycling to save endangered letters?

To better explain what I’m on about, there is no time like the present to present you with my story-present. Happy reading!

Book with stars

The Sewer in the Sewer

Once upon a time, there was a Polish seamstress who liked to polish her husband’s boots. She was a lovely little woman who would shed a tear every time she saw a tear in her man’s work clothes, hanging in the shed. Wasting no time, she would always repair to her sewing room to repair the damage. The little sewer also liked to grow vegetables and could produce lots of produce for her family. But she drew the line at taking out the refuse and would refuse to carry out the garbage. And try as she might, she could never teach the sow to sow. But that’s a story for another day.

Now despite her protests, every garbage day her husband would take her by the hand and lead her to the garbage, then tell her to get the lead out as he went off to work.  And by the way, he also resented the fact that she didn’t know how to row a boat and she wouldn’t let him teach her. But again I digress, as that that has nothing to do with my story.

Anyway, one day as she was hauling the bags to the curb, a dove suddenly dove into her hair. She screamed and ran into the street, and the poor little sewer fell into the open sewer. She tried to pull herself out using her scarf, but the wind was too strong in the tunnel and she couldn’t hold the scarf steady enough to wind it around the pipes.  Then suddenly in the street above her, she heard an invalid arguing with a policeman about an invalid parking spot. She screamed for help and thankfully, they were close enough to rescue her and close the sewer cap.

While all this was happening, her husband was doing some construction work  at the Hot Sands Resort when his cell phone rang. Upon hearing his wife’s distress, he instantly made the decision to desert his job in the desert and rush to his little sewer’s side. He was upset to see that she had hurt her arm in the fall, so he lovingly wound a bandage around the wound.

From that day on, never again did he object to her objections about taking out the garbage, as this had become the object of her near demise. And he would intimate to his closest friends how intimate they had become after this incident.  Oh yes – and never again did they row about him teaching her how to row a boat either.

And so they lived happily ever after.  Cute Star

The End

Pat Skene

See you between the lines.

Don’t Buggy Me!

Standard

To working moms who ride the bus,
Your strollers cause some folks to cuss,
They clog the aisles and take up space,
We don’t want babies in our face!

Generation war:  An article in the news today got me ranting. A woman in her early sixties complained to the transit authority that there were too many buggies and strollers in the aisles on buses. She said they should impose a limit on the number of baby vehicles allowed on board, and mothers should be denied access if that limit is reached. What a wonderful idea!!! And thought up by an aging boomer who may need a walker on the bus someday. 

Lest we forget: Everyone knows that working mothers of young babies have it too easy. Refusing to let them on and making them wait at a bus stop a little longer to catch the next bus (if that bus has not yet reached its quota of strollers) is not too much to ask,  if you have a baby in tow, is it?  And as we Canadians know, our winters are very refreshing and we are fortunate to have the luxury of hats, mitts and coats to keep us toasty warm on those -25 degree days.  

Morning bliss: We all know that mothers with babies ride buses – not because they don’t have cars – but because they want to relax and enjoy the view on their way to work.  And anyone who has gotten a child ready for daycare before themselves in the morning, knows what a joy this experience can be. So who do these mothers with strollers think they are? And why should they expect to be welcomed by bus drivers and other passengers? Shame on them!

Easy rider: Young mothers are known to be quite relaxed when dropping children off at daycare, especially if that child is screaming or clinging to said mother’s leg. And the reward to the parent for this experience, is often boarding yet another bus to get themselves to work on time. Obviously these irresponsible mummies are taking advantage of the bus system, designed to help real everyday more important folks get about the city.

Teach them a lesson:  So it’s only fair to say that the self-serving behaviour of these young mothers (and babies) should be punished by any civilized society with a conscience. And certainly, banning them from getting on buses with buggies and strollers is a good start. Let them stay home and eat cake!

Money-maker: Perhaps imposing a hefty fee per stroller would work to discourage this selfish behaviour.  That would teach young parents to be prudent in their frivolous decisions to take baby vehicles on a bus, and inconvenience other more deserving passengers.

Radical thoughts: Alternatively, it has been suggested that a couple of rows of seats be removed from buses to allow for parking baby vehicles on board. In my view, this is far too simple a solution and should be discouraged at all cost. Our children deserve a much more complicated solution.   

Leave it at home: The more enterprising of young mothers could be encouraged to save money and leave the strollers at home. They could bulk-up their muscles, get in better shape and take juggling lessons. That way, they could more readily carry said crying-baby-in-snowsuit, complete with blankets, toys, diaper bag, purse and lunch bag onto the bus…without too much difficulty. And over time, many of these items could be strapped to the back of the toddler, as soon as they begin walking. No baby vehicles required. Problem solved.

Last word: Mothers of small children have had it easy long enough. I say we unite and take a stand…even if it has to be on a bus with a bunch of buggies and strollers!

So that’s my ranting, tongue-in-cheek,
I hope you know of which I speak,
Let’s think it through, for heaven’s sake!
And give moms everywhere a break.

Pat Skene 

Hello Blog? It’s Me, Pat

Standard

I may have left you in the lurch,
I hope I didn’t make you search,
There’s so much back-blog on my plate, 
But first I’ll bring you up to date.

I’m Back: Hello again blogger world – mea culpa! I’ve been AWOL for a few months, but my cyber-batteries are now fully recharged.  A change in routine is always invigorating. It tends to breathe new life into my ever-deteriorating-but-still-breathing  60 something body parts, and puts a sexy shine on my 50 shades of grey hair.

What’s Up? Okay, let’s get down to business. Before I give you something new, I want to give you something old and update just a few of my past post shenanigans. Just click on the post if you need a refresher on what started the rantz in my pantz in the first place.

SCARY WORLD of AGING:
Since I wrote this post, I discovered black spots and cobwebs floating around in my left eye. I keep swatting at the invisible bugs as they land on my book or in my food.  It’s all part of this wonderful world of  aging, I’m being told. And, between Hubsey and me, we have collected a plethora of frequent ambulance-ride-points to the local hospital over the past year. We plan to redeem the points at Christmas for a swanky new fly swatter.

BACK in the SADDLE:
Hubsey got his driver’s license back! Hooray! It took 18 months of wrestling with the motor vehicle department, the medical system, the eye-doctors, the bureaucracy and all the mistakes and delays along the way. And what a test! It was 3 hours long, part written, part cognitive, and part actual driving a car with an occupational therapist and a driving instructor. All this because he lost a minor bit of peripheral vision in his right eye. He’s only been driving for over 50 years. Anyway, he’s back driving with a bad case of wheel-envy because I’ve grown into such an awesome chauffeur during his reluctant absence.

WILD GOOSE CHASE
Well, this is still a big pile of political poop. I did meet with the Director of Parks and Outdoor Spaces, and with my local town councillor. That was in June. Promises were made to address the outdated Bird Treaty Act at the federal level – and to try a pilot project to control the geese, using one of the simple recommendations I made. Nothing has been done to date and the Director of Parks is not returning my follow-up attempts. I’m now in escalation mode and will keep honking until this crappy issue gets some action. TBC…

AS THE CONDO TURNS…
Where do I start on this one? I still spend way too much time and head space – hopelessly trying to change the way things are done here. But I remain relentless in my efforts to lift the plastic covers off the furniture and replace old girdles and corsets with a comfy pair of roomy bloomers. Maybe it’s the latex restriction or pants hiked up to the armpits – that makes these old codgers, dowagers and all things ancient –  pucker their mouths into that soul-sucking-sour-lemon look when I try to make changes. And despite my two-year effort, I’m sorry to report that I haven’t made a pinch of progress with the condo board. But I’m not giving up…so stay tuned.  

FARRELL’S FIRE:
On a happier and more successful note, I am always trying to be the best grandmother I can be and follow the principles I wrote about in this post. I am so incredibly proud of this little girl, now 10 years old. Please indulge an old woman and her pride for a moment, while I go on… 

She’s Kicking Butt: Farrell has been studying tae kwon do for 4 years and achieved her black belt status in June of this year! What a kid! If only she was there to help me, when in self-defense, I whacked a guy in the head with a bag of beans at the Farmer’s Market in Toronto many years ago – or when I punched my boss in the stomach! But I digress – those are stories for another post.

She’s making Waves:  Anyway, I have something to show you. I went through an Emily Carr stage a few years back and couldn’t read enough about this fascinating woman. I bought my daughter a coffee table book of Emily Carr paintings and Farrell was looking at them last month. Without saying anything, she went up to her room and started to paint this picture to give Hubsey for his birthday. 

She’s One of a Kind: It took her 5 days to layer the paint and complete the picture. Emily Carr influence and all – this is an original painting from the delightful imagination of a 10 year old. So I’m very happy to report that the flame in Farrell’s Fire continues to burn brightly for all those around her.

So there you have it for today,
That’s it, that’s all I have to say.
My blogger fingers have been flexed,
Just wait and see what’s coming next!

Pat Skene    

 

 

The Green Thing

Standard

AWOL Blogger: It’s been a while since I’ve written a new post so I wanted to let you all know that I’m on a self-induced cyber-sabbatical of sorts…taking care of business as it were. I hope to be back shaking the rantz out of my pantz by the fall.

Have you seen this? I bumped into this article on the internet the other day, after a similar thing happened to me at the drug store. It left me in a frustrated blogger mood with no time to write a post about my experience – then I found this timely piece – not sure who the author is. I couldn’t have ranted it better myself! So the Duke of Url kindly allowed me to check it out of the cyber-library for you to enjoy!

Here’s the story: Read the rest of this entry

More Fortunate…Indeed!

Standard

 Too much good fortune can make you smug and unaware…
                                                                                                       
Rachel Lyman Field 

What’s up with me? I’m in a serious blogger mood for a change, so bear with me through my rant du jour.  Although my post is new, the subject matter is an old irritant and recent events have stirred up the rantz in my pantz. So I have to flap them around in the cyber-breezes for a good airing out. Here goes…

What’s bugging me? I’m very happy to live in a country that participates in so many fundraising events. But a few days ago, Toronto’s dumb-ass anti-media mayor made a rare public appearance at a downtown event – a World Partnership Walk to end global poverty. When asked by the shocked media why he chose to attend, he said that he wanted to help those less fortunate.  And in a later interview, he said he wanted to help  those who aren’t as well off as we are. Ugh! This has always been an offensive expression to me and it is used all the time.

A matter of need:  Good fortune might be about luck at winning the lottery. But if we think ourselves more fortunate than others because we are materially well off or prosperous, do we also consider ourselves supremely favoured and separate from the great unwashed?  Does it elevate us to the heights of being better than those poor unfortunates who need our help? Being in need is not a matter of being ‘fortunate’ or ‘unfortunate’, but a matter of circumstance. 

Us and them syndrome: Even when I visit schools I hear the same term being used by our children – “We are doing this to help children less fortunate than we are,” they say with pride. And with all good intentions in mind, this separation of thought is not a healthy path to global thinking. Perhaps our division from “those people” provides a first line of defense against our ever having to share that destiny.   

Giving thanks: As Canadians, we all have a lot to be thankful for and no one likes to think of themselves in a needful situation. But circumstances can change quickly in life and events both controllable and uncontrollable can catapult us into a place of need. The thing to remember is that we are all in this big lifeboat together. And our joint mission (should we choose to accept it) is to help each other find our way.

Helping hands: In the end, we are none of us more “fortunate” than the other. Our situations may vary and some of us may need more help than others. But in the overall scheme of life’s purpose – our fortunes, our net worth and our affluence, have nothing to do with who we truly are as human beings. But how we share our lives and help those in need has everything to do with it.

Final word: So could we please stop using the expression “helping those less fortunate” and simply say we are:
– helping someone in need? Yes!
– helping the homeless? Absolutely!
– helping the poor? You got it!
– helping to feed the hungry? Without a doubt!
– helping to eradicate world poverty? Right on!

But don’t be as arrogant as that buffoon we call the mayor of Toronto and consider yourself more fortunate because of it.

Now’s here a poem I wrote many years ago to bring it home:

The Fugitive  

The faceless man trudges on
In clothes of tattered rags,
His bloodshot eyes reflect his way of life,
He walks the beaten path each day
Not knowing why he died,
Dark memories of living and of strife.

Once upon a time
He was a man of many dreams,
The hours in a day went far too fast,
But fruitless were his efforts
And soundless were his words,
For much too soon his future had all passed.

Don’t scoff or scorn or ridicule
Unless your life is pure,
Of selfishness and vanity and sin,
For who’s to say the road you walk
But for a touch in time,
Is not the path of where this man has been?

Pat Skene  

 

Stupid Rules

Standard

I may be just a blogger punk,
But there are rules I must debunk,
Those dumb-ass things we learn from birth,
So here’s my rant, for what it’s worth…

What’s bugging me? Did you ever think about some of the idiotic things we do as a civilized well-meaning society? We go through life following the leader without doing a sanity check on our actions. Most of these are small spuds in the grand potato field of life – but they never fail to get my blogging bloomers in a royal twist!  

12 Rules (Not) to Live By:

1. No white shoes after Labor Day.  Are you kidding me? People who wear white shoes on any day of the year need serious help; especially when worn with black pantyhose! Other than running shoes, the only white shoes allowed on the planet at anytime should be for 1950’s reunions and hideous Halloween costumes.

2. Bring flowers to your hostess. Yes, this is a lovely idea…just don’t bring ‘cut’ flowers please. Your hosts are trying to get dinner ready, provide drinks and keep up with the conversation. And now your hostess must locate a suitable vase, arrange your flowers and find a place to put them on display. Bring a potted plant or cut flowers already arranged in a vase with water instead. Better yet, have the flowers delivered the day before the dinner.

3. No jeans allowed. I could never understand the concept that jeans are not allowed at some venues. Denim is simply a material, just like cotton, polyester, linen and silk. It’s ‘material’! Fabric! Why should one type of material be disallowed over another. I can understand the bias against the ripped and torn variety, but so should that apply to other fabric as well.  Who thought this one up? Some anti-cowpoke-ascot-wearing snob no doubt.

4. Visit a sick friend in hospital. This one’s a doozy and my personal favourite. Other than special circumstances and close family – why would normal functioning homo sapiens feel the need to drop in on you in a hospital room? There you are with unwashed hair, no make-up, tubes coming out of your various orifices – while the pungent aromas of infectious waste  and bedpan juices waft through the air.  For all that’s holy – please stay home and send a card!

5. Clean your plate. Many of us grew up hearing this maxim and we were not allowed to leave the table until the order had been carried out. And while it may have helped to control wasted food, it also contributed to over-eating. Reducing portion sizes and stopping when we’re full is the best rule for all of us. Stuffing a few more brussel sprouts down our children’s gullet isn’t going to give them a love for eating vegetables.

6. Save new things ‘for good’. This one I’ll never understand. We all know people who save clothes, linens and a myriad of possessions for that special day. What special day? When? What if you die before you get to use it? All these carefully packed possessions rotting away at the seams, stuffed in cedar chests and storage trunks. Beautifully cherished things never to see the light of dawn. Hear ye, hear ye – I say unto you out there in blogger land – use it now! Take it out today and celebrate this moment, this hour, this life!

7. Match your socks. Why do we do this? I have taught my granddaughter from birth to always mismatch her socks. I believe it demonstrates a sense of creativity and imagination. Wearing colorfully mismatched socks expresses the ying and yang if you will, the complexities of the right and left brain and the playfulness of the human spirit. But they’re just socks, you might say. Au contraire my blogger friend. Your socks say a lot about you – and no one wants to be remembered as a boring person with matching socks, now do they? 

8. Never wear socks in sandals. This is one of the biggest faux pas fashion statements of the 21st century! So bad, it could start a bar fight! But have you ever tried wearing socks in your sandals? It’s pure bliss! I challenge you to find anything more comfortable. Who would make such a rule? It was probably devised by some frustrated fashionista with a Jesus complex. I think it’s time we unite in our mismatched socks and sandals and tell the fashion police to go to hell. You go first – I promise I’ll be right behind you. 

9. No swearing allowed. Have you ever thought about swear words? I mean, really thought about them? All they are, are letters from our alphabet that we have strung together to make a word that we then deem unacceptable for use in polite society. We created the words and then decided they’re not allowed to be be uttered. How stupid is that? They’re only words! Sticks and stones and all that…

10. Eat dessert after dinner. In the ancient days, I believe people ate something sweet after their meals in order to cleanse their palette (and their breath) after a stinky dinner of mutton chops. Not so today. But we have maintained the tradition of getting the so-called ‘good stuff” in first and keeping dessert for the end of the meal. As long as we get it all in – why should we care what order they follow? It’s all going south and to the same place. Life is short – eat dessert first!  

11. No singing at the table. It’s rude they say. This is a rather sad old rule, isn’t it? It fits right in there with ,”Children should be seen and not heard.” Why shouldn’t we rejoice and sing at the table, with family and friends? Why don’t we all sing grace instead of saying it so solemnly with eyes closed and hands clasped. As long as you’re not singing, “99 bottles of beer on the wall”, while the main course goes cold – I say let ‘er rip and sing your heart out!

12.  Separating couples at dinner parties. What are we – antisocial adolescents? Many couples are more comfortable when seated together and in fact, complement each other in conversation. This act of separation by a hostess can be insulting for some and awkward for others. Social situations are most successful when guests are relaxed and a controlling host will only add stress. I’m just saying…             

So that’s my list of stupid rules,
It’s nothing that I learned in schools,
I’ve said it all and took my chance,
To get these rantz out of my pantz!

Do you have some stupid rules in your life? I’d love to hear from you. I’m collecting them to have a huge bonfire of the insanities. I’ll be roasting marshmallows and white shoes and you’re all invited!

Pat Skene

i – Lied

Standard

I’ve come to terms with my last post,
These i-things have me all engrossed,
My nomophobia is real,
So listen up ’cause here’s the deal…

When I said I was i-Crazy, I was telling the truth. When I said I would try to change, I lied.

What’s up? I’m not sure what I was trying to prove with my last post. It was my birthday, so maybe I wanted to turn back the clock and make my world go back to the way it was…before i-things were around. Heck, I grew up with no electricity or telephone until I was six years old. Life has changed just a tad since then. Now after a bout of reflective noodle-flushing, I’m here to tell you i-lied. I’m i-crazy and proud of it, so get over it.

Why lie? Well I didn’t know I was lying when I said I was going to wean myself off the i-stuff in my life. After I wrote my i-Crazy post and went through the aforementioned noodle-flush, I realized that this new age is my life; this life filled with techno-conveniences and instant communication options. So instead of a 12 step program for drying out – here are my reasons for staying the course and enjoying my addiction. 

Top 10 Reasons I’m i-Crazy

1. Living with lupus has its challenges. On my bad days, staying in touch with family and friends with one of my i-things from the comfort of a stack of pillows is priceless. There’s something weird and wonderful about emailing and blogging  from my bed. No Skyping: make-up and hair brushes not required. Bathing optional.

2. Swimming with my waterproof i-Pod  helps me stay in shape. Yes it’s a special waterproof model! As a new condo dweller, I enjoy the pool so much more when I put in my ear buds and listen to music while I swim. Bonus: you don’t have to waste valuable exercise time nattering with other cotton-heads in the pool.

3. Playing online scrabble on my tablet and smartphone helps to keep my brain from getting too spongy. Plus I get to play and stay connected with friends and family members who live miles away. Warning: highly addictive. Big-point-words provoke dopamine-induced euphoria.

4. Text messaging is the ultimate in new age convenience. I love instant conversations translated into short-form babble-garb. Side effects: the need to hear actual human voices may be drastically reduced over time.

5. Honorable mention for my e-Reader, which lets me purchase and load a new book in minutes without getting off my derriere. Caution: may cause involuntary spreading of the posterior region. When this occurs, discontinue use and jog to the bookstore.   

6. My granddaughter thinks I’m super cool, because I have all these new gadgets and gizmos.  Grandparent advantage: i-things are an excellent resource for helping to make you the alpha grand and beating out the in-law competition.  

7. The i-Phone alarm feature helps with my fading short-term memory. Note: dependency will develop due to a growing need to hear the “Marimba” signal before snapping into action. 

8. My i-Phone camera captures those spontaneous moments, which would be otherwise lost. Downside: all my pictures are floating around somewhere in cyberspace instead of  in photo albums.

9. The Contact List in my phone  is with me all the time. With so many telephone numbers having strange area codes these days, I can’t even remember my daughter’s home number. Blast from the past: things have changed since my first job as a Bell Telephone Operator in the 60’s. Seems like just one ringy-dingy ago…  

 10. I can slouch on the couch and read my i-Pad. Checking the news, weather, sports and the myriad of fabulous blogs out there is a sinful pleasure I enjoy for hours on end. Danger: couch cushions may become dangerous to the elderly, as sinkholes are developed from overuse. 

Final word: There are many “smartphone-tablet-ereader” crazed people  like me out  there. Even we more seasoned citizens love conveniences. We love instant communication and quite simply, we love learning how to use this exciting technology to stay current. Embracing the new while appreciating the old is where I’m at these days. So I guess you can teach a crusty old blogger new tricks after all!           

And in the end, as I suspected,
It’s a wonderful life, when you’re connected,
‘Cause every time an i-thing dings,
A cyber-angel gets his/her wings.

Pat Skene

i – Crazy

Standard

It’s my birthday today and I’m feeling a rant coming on. So I have a confession to make to all you bloggers out there. My name is Pat and I’m i-crazy!   

My eyes are strained, my neck is sore,
i just can’t do this anymore,
There’s something that i must recant,
And that’s the reason for my rant…

In this world of cyber-madness, i believe we have morphed into a society of on-call junkies that holds on to our i-things with an obsession close to insanity.

What happened? Last week, my i-Phone died while i was waiting to get the car fixed. i love my i-Phone with a passion reserved for puppy loving. Panic ensued when i realized i had 2 hours to kill with no email, no phone, no news and no online scrabble games. i felt lost, alone and abandoned by my best friend…despite the fact that Hubsey was sitting right beside me.

“What will i do?” i shrieked.

“Read a magazine or talk to me,” he replied. Now there’s something i hadn’t considered.

Gizmo cowboys: In this fast paced age of broadband communications and networked economy, we wear our access mechanisms like digital gunslingers. All you have to do is look around and see the multi-tasking i-crazy people using cell phones everywhere – dangerously in cars, rudely in restaurants, arrogantly on sidewalks, destructively at school plays and collectively around the kitchen table. The family that i-phones together becomes unglued.

Call-us-interruptus: But what is the impact of these instant communication devices on our lives? How many misplaced tremors in the bedroom are the result of some pulsating cell phone shaking it up on the nightstand? When did the fusion of man and digital display units take priority over intimate whisperings between the sheets? And when did our on-call status extend to the boudoir?

Ambushed: i’ve come to believe that when private moments are intercepted by our i-stuff, vital energies are sucked out of that point in time – causing a disturbance in our connections to human contact. We rush to squeeze our thoughts into byte-sized pieces, as our interactions are interwoven into a virtual sense of reality.

Intervention: i used to read about 3 books a week. Now i’m lucky to finish one in a month! What am i doing instead of reading? i’m playing online scrabble, texting, writing emails, checking the weather and reading the news – all day long on my i-Phone! i carry it wherever i go. It sits on my nightstand and is the first thing i pick up in the morning to check the news, before my feet hit the floor. And i can’t seem to stop! i need help!

Tempus fugit: Oh it’s all fun and games when you’re i-crazy all right. i love every virtual minute of it…every cyber-hour of it…every 3G day of it. But i’ve also come to believe that i’ve lost something along the way – time. And i want it back.

Silence!  i think it’s time to stop the i-craziness and take stock of what we all have become as instant communication animals. i think we need to call a cease-fire on the tweeting, texting, beeping, buzzing and vibrating long enough to put our priorities in place – before we become i-roadkill on the information highway.

Alone again: i think we need to sit quietly in a place where we can’t be reached, for whatever time it takes to be comfortable with our own silence; and to enjoy our primal need for solitude, mating and feeding without interruption. i think we need to be alone with our thoughts to hear what we’re saying from the inside out.

Final word: And lastly, i think we need ongoing discussions with our families to stay the course and together with them, choose the right times to turn the noise back on – when we like, where we like and if we like. As for me – i promise i’m really going to try.

So here i sit without my phone,
i feel so lost and all alone,
If you can help me through my fog,
Please leave a comment on my blog.

Pat Skene


Wild Goose Chase

Standard

Today my rant is for the birds,
For Canada geese and all their turds,
For splattered playgrounds, walks and grasses,
I wish we could plug up their asses!

I don’t mean to cry fowl, but in the war against Canada geese (Mother Goose excepted of course), we humans are not even in the battle. If you live or walk anywhere near the waterfront, you’ll know exactly why my rantometer is in a big honking kerfuffle.

Here’s the poop: Canada geese are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. This was necessary at the time due to the dwindling goose population. Well, guess what? It’s 94 years later and those flocking birds have poop-ulated their numbers into an environmental catastrophe! And Bird Treaty or not, it hasn’t stopped the geese from declaring war on our waterfronts and poop-bombing everything in sight.

In a flap! Yes I’m in a flap about it and so should we all. Our beautiful waterfront walkways and parks are laden with an explosion of green goose droppings – all potentially disease ridden and parasite contaminated. The children’s playgrounds are smeared with the stuff and park grasses aren’t fit for human enjoyment. This not only creates a  health hazard for everyone, including our children, but a slipping hazard for the many people who must weave their way through the slime  in order to enjoy the waterfront.

Case in point: I don’t mean to put you off your Green Eggs and Ham, but as they say – a picture is worth a thousand turds. I took this on my morning walk a couple of weeks ago. Feel my pain?

A crappy situation: Each Canada goose will eat 2-3 pounds of grass and unload 1-2 pounds of droppings – everyday! In the urban area where I live – there are hundreds of these gluttonous grazers on our waterfront. And the resident goose poop-ulation doubles in size about every five years. No wonder our beautiful parks have morphed into bird toilets of convenience.

Wings of change: So what can be done about the problem you might well ask? The answer is a lot – and not much! Because of the aforementioned Bird Act, federal permits are required to destroy eggs or nests, capture or translocate, disturb or harvest (fancy word for kill) Canada geese.  So local municipalities must go through the Federal red tape bureaucracy to get approval for any action, before even one of these pooping machines can be culled or controlled. It’s a wild goose chase trying to find a politician at the federal level who will get involved, and there’s usually not much action going on at the local level either. 

Tricky techniques:  But before you think our collective gooses are cooked in this regard, there are various control strategies that can be implemented, if we all honk loud enough to our elected officials. Goose management strategies include everything from oiling or puncturing eggs, implementing various hazing or scaring techniques, use of scarecrows and dogs, erecting fences and wires, installing reflective tape, and a whole slew of other creative devices. Some experts say that introducing swans to the area is a solution. But we have about 40 swans who cohabit with the geese on our waterfront. The geese and the swans stay here year round to party hardy on our local waterways – like one big happy feathered-family.

Note: Re scaring techniques – it is permissable to harass Canada geese without a federal permit, as long as the little flockers are not touched or handled in any way.

For pity sake! Oh I’m sure the animal/environmental activists will want my guts for garters for writing this post. Well, all I have to say is – get over yourself and walk a mile in my muck-encrusted sneakers! Look at the picture above and you’ll see why I’ve chosen to ruffle a few goose-feathers!

Final word: So as I tiptoe through the green pooplets on my morning walks, I will continue to wage my war against this atrocious waterfront embarrassment. And I will persist in my efforts to hunt down some elected official who gives a damn. Now despite my revulsion at what has transpired since the Bird Act Treaty of 1918, I still find the Canada goose a remarkable looking animal. But as W.C. Fields once said about elephants, “I like to look at ’em, but I wouldn’t want to own one.”

Some people find these geese spectacular,
But I’m stuck here – in the vernacular,
They’re beautiful birds, I must admit,
Until you slip in their green sh__!

 Pat Skene

Cat Etiquette

Standard

Many families, including we aging boomers love to live with cats. Don’t get me wrong…I don’t hate cats; I just prefer to live without them. There are gazillions of cat lovers, which I totally get. They can be a wonderful source of comfort and companionship. My granddaughter thinks they’re human and has two loving cats, which are kept indoors where they belong.

Jeepers creepers: I’m talking here about the roaming kind; the kind that creeps around in your garden and whizzes in your Weigelas. I believe that those who own cats have a responsibility to follow good cat etiquette and ensure their pet is not a source of annoyance to others living in the community. There must be something we can do to stop them from peeing in our peonies!

No self-respecting dog owner would let their beloved dogs run around free all day, so why do many cat owners condone it? Why would otherwise caring people allow their little furry Snookums to run out into the street and get killed, lost or attacked by another animal? People who just let their pets run free in residential areas must not care what happens to them. Read the rest of this entry

Email: take me off your list!

Standard

Nothing rattles my hard drive like finding a bucket of junk in my email basket. What is it about cyber-mail that makes perfectly sane people spam their friends and co-workers with information they would never even consider putting a stamp on?

Don’t get me wrong. I love email. As a writer, I can’t imagine my life without it. But shouldn’t we exercise the same etiquette in this correspondence medium as we do in regular snail-mail? 

I ask myself…why would intelligent, professional and otherwise reasonable people, think nothing of forwarding bad jokes, threatening chain letters and inspirational mush to an entire personal address book? Imagine the effects on productivity in the workplace and the frustration of any busy email user, who has to weed through the milieu of mischief to get to the important stuff.

And we seniors are often the biggest offenders. Many aging boomers have computers, but don’t have a clue what to do with them other than send jokes around the globe. And while some of that is fine, most of it isn’t. Read the rest of this entry