Tag Archives: blog humor

Are Restaurants Too Loud?

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9781612360010_p0_v1_s260x420WHAT? 
Remember when you went to a restaurant and you didn’t come home with a raging headache and hoarse from a night out? Remember when you could talk to your dinner partners and have a meaningful conversation – and not have to shout above the music playing at inhuman sound levels? Can anyone remember those good old days?

Pounding baselines: It’s not just the music in some restaurants that beats your ear into submission. It’s the noise bouncing off the naked surfaces. Somewhere along the line, carpets, tablecloths and finished ceilings disappeared and were replaced with stone floors, wooden tabletops, gleaming chrome fixtures and open ceilings with plumbing and heating pipes on display. So there’s absolutely nothing to absorb the sound as it ricochets from one hard surface to another in booming echoes around the room.

Is it just me? What’s happening out there with this new dining trend? It used to be that I would research a menu carefully before making a reservation to eat out. Now, the menu is secondary, as my first question is always, “Do you have live entertainment?” A live band is the worst, but playlists can be piped-in at absurd volume levels too.

Up close and personal: Did you know that many restaurants play a certain type of music on purpose? First of all, research has shown that a noisy restaurant draws people in because it sounds like a fun place…and we all like fun! Second, studies have also shown that when they speed up the beat, the sound waves energize us, so we eat faster and drink more. That means they make more money on food and drink that we may not have otherwise consumed.  Plus, if we eat at turbo speed, they get to turn the tables faster with more butts in the seats. Certainly a win win for them, but not for our waistlines or our wallets.

I  can’t hear you! The basic principles of going to a restaurant is to enjoy a shared meal and have a conversation – not to sit mute while we listen to music or scream at our partners to be heard. In my view, the guest experience is ruined, when the restaurant is cluttered with room noise. Now I’m not talking about the normal buzz of conversation, the clattering of dishes or the lovely jazz trio in the corner playing soft background music. I’m talking about the musicians who crank up their amps like they’re playing a rock concert for a bunch of teeny boppers. The same goes for music blasting through speaker systems. And even if you ask the wait staff or management to turn it down, my experience is that it won’t happen.

Tweets not talk: Maybe I’m just too old-fashioned about this whole thing and people today like to speak in “tweets” mirroring their online interactions. Maybe people prefer to live more on the surface these days, without the added burden of actually being interested in connecting with another human being. And again…the less you talk, the more you eat…the more you eat, the more you drink…and so it goes around and around. Are you seeing a pattern here? But if the younger generations are becoming accustomed to communicating in this way, are we losing the art of conversation in the process? This is another whole issue for another day.

What can we do?
If we, as paying guests are dissatisfied with any of the above, we should speak up:
1.  Be vocal and tell the restaurant management that we are dissatisfied.
2. Encourage more food critics to add a new category for sound levels in their reviews.
3. Boycott the establishment and tell them why.
4. Post our complaints on restaurant review sites, to draw attention to the issues.
5. Choose a table farthest from music amps and speakers, and near soft surfaces if they have any.

Final word: What do you think people? Have I just passed my best before date or do I have a point here?

See you between the lines,

Follow me on Twitter @PatSkene

I Beaned Him!

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Here’s my story:

Gather round and hear my tale,      smileyEmbarsassed
My secret past, I must unveil,
The day I faced my deepest fear,
And beaned a groper in the ear.

Now please don’t judge my actions then,
I’ve never done that deed again,
But I can really be a witch,
When I’m provoked to be a bitch!

Looking back: I consider myself a peaceful woman who abhors violence or physical aggression of any sort. In my growing up years circa 1950, our household was always that of a quiet loving family. And other than whacking my older brother across the back with a broom when I was 8 years old, and knocking the wind out of him – violence was never part of my life.

Fast forward: Now let’s move ahead to a summer day, circa 1990 at the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto on a Saturday afternoon. The place is quiet, as most downtown market shoppers are early morning people. I have my 15 year-old niece with me. Hubsey is upstairs on a bench holding all the bags filled with cheeses, fresh fruit and fish, chowing down on a market-famous bacon-on-a-bun.

What a deal! Downstairs I find an end-of-day sale on fresh garden vegetables. My niece stands off to the side while I stuff a large plastic grocery bag full of green beans, for the price of $2. I’m delighted with my purchase and reach over the counter to hand my money to the vendor.

Horrors! Just then, I’m jarred, as two hands come from behind and grab both my breasts. I see the filthy fingernails and realize it’s not Hubsey in a moment of unbridled passion. I whip around and look straight into the face of the filthiest looking derelict; his leering grin 2 inches from my face; his rotten teeth the colour of a dirty urinal; his breath like a distillery sewer.

Besmirched: I stand there in shock. He removes his hands from my body and with a disgusting grin on his face, he simply walks away. His clothes hang like rags, and his hair is matted and covers half his face. I glance at my niece a few feet away; her hands are clamped over her mouth; her eyes the size of dinner plates.

No escape! I watch as this disgusting piece of filth approaches the doors to leave the market and I am suddenly enveloped in a sea of black rage – and I snap! th

Kapow! I take off after him, swinging my bag o’ beans in wide circles like a Spanish bola, gaining momentum as I run. His back is to me so he doesn’t see me coming. He’s about to push the doors open to leave, when I make contact with his head. I bean him smack on his right ear and he howls like a banshee.

Big trouble: He whips around and screams in my face, “Hey! What the hell did you do that for!” (Is he kidding me?) It was then I notice he has a buddy with him. I back up as the two of them clench their fists and start walking toward me, their eyes locked on mine.

Solo act: Now don’t forget, Hubsey is upstairs enjoying his bacon-on-a-bun, oblivious to the rumble in the jungle downstairs, so he’s no help. My niece is still in teenage shock with her feet super-glued to the floor. Thankfully she’s turned to stone and stays put! It’s late afternoon in the market with not many people around. Truthfully, it all happened so fast, I can’t remember to this day if there was anyone who witnessed the assault, except my niece and me. But I digress.

Oh no! As the two thugs get closer, I can’t drop my beans and run, leaving my petrified niece there, so I have to think fast. All I know, is that I’m on my own to defend myself. I’m a small woman with no real physical strength or black belt credentials, so all I can hope for is insanity.

Release the hounds! So I stand my ground and face them dead on, legs apartth  in an aggressive stance while I scream obscenities and wave my fists in the air. (Like the way you do to make yourself bigger to scare away wild animals in the woods.) I go totally berserk and don’t budge an inch from my spot. My face is red-hot and I’m spitting saliva as I spew forth my venom, calling them all the vile words I can muster.

Eureka! Well, I’m happy to say it worked and the two thugsters look at each other, turn on their heels and leave the building…muttering something about a crazy bitch.

My violent past: I am not a violent person and I have never in my life hit another human being…other than my brother-of-the-broom incident of course…and oh yes, the time I punched my boss in the stomach. But that’s a story for another day.

A black place: The experience at the market rattled me for weeks. It wasn’t just the physical assault on me that kept me awake nights, although that was bad enough. It was my blind-rage reaction that scared the green beans out of me; a sheer black rage that brought forth that scary witch who came screaming out of my body to seek vengeance for what he had done to me. No woman should ever tolerate sexual assault in any form. And more women should bring forth their inner scary witch, or their own personal bag o’ beans weapon when it happens.

Buried deep: I don’t know from whither she came and thankfully, I’ve had no need of her services since then. Something tells me she would resurface if my daughter or granddaughter were in jeopardy. But she’s one scary broad and it’s no wonder that those two losers thought better of taking her on. Although in retrospect, I think they were supremely hung over and just wanted the screaming to stop and the drinking to begin.

Pressure cookers: I guess we all have a bit of that black rage simmering quietly below the surface. Some control it better than others. Some don’t control it all. And some get sick from holding it all in, in an effort to keep the lid from slipping off. There’s a fine line here as individual as each one of us.

Final word: My green bean story has gone viral in my family over the years and as I recently started writing my memoirs, it was time to write it down. We all have pieces of ourselves we will never get to know. Sometimes, those pieces are better left alone. As for me, I was frightened by my aggressive actions, but sometimes it takes a bag o’ beans in the ear to show them you mean business.

So that’s my tale, it’s sad but true,
He groped my boobs, what could I do?
I whacked that deadbeat in the head!
He should have grabbed my beans instead.

See you between the lines and on Twitter @PatSkene

Please Follow or sign up for new posts.

 

 

 

My Dirty Little Secret

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Cover16I can’t believe I’m going to tell you this!

I’ve chosen today to blab about my secret because I need some serious frivolity in my life. I’m going a little batty in this heat, trapped inside my condo with the AC cranked up. Plus I’m exhausted from listening to recent world events and disgusted by what I’m seeing in U.S politics. So bear with me as I create a diversion and tell you something I never talk about. Something I thought would go to the grave with me. Something I hide in my biggest sock under the bed.

Just say it!
Okay here goes…I love watching The Young and the Restless. There, I’ve said it and now my secret is in your hands.

I’ve been a fan of this soap opera for over 35 years. Obviously when I was working, I wasn’t a regular viewer as we didn’t have PVR’s back then and thankfully I had no idea how to work our VCR. But occasionally I would catch up and see an episode or two during holidays or on a sick day. There was always a degree of shock and awe, as I gobbled up the outlandish story lines where life was even more manipulating and bizarre than the corporate jungle where I spent my days.

Oh the drama!
But now that I’m retired and at home, I admit to taping and watching every episode. And after each daily plot shocker, I go to bed pondering the real meaning of life. I think about big questions, like how many times has Victor divorced and remarried his beloved Nikki, and will she take him back yet again? When will poor trusting Jack realize his scuzzy wife is having an affair with his younger brother Billy? And will Phyllis ever forgive Victor for replacing her husband with a doppleganger on her honeymoon? All this and more – dishing daily on The Young and the Restless.

Blowing soap bubbles
I’m happy to say, watching the lives of the Newmans and Abbots on this show has most certainly not been a waste of my time. A wide array of valuable life lessons have bubbled up over the years from the brilliant writing on this show, and  I’d like to share some of my learnings with you:

  • Contrary to medical reports, complete face transplants are performed all the time.
  • It’s quite normal to marry your stepmother, your sister’s brother and your father-in-law.
  • Amnesia is far more commonplace than we realize and happens routinely every day.
  • An evil twin has many lives and is much harder to kill than a good twin.
  • A coma is a medical state that occurs when someone is about to reveal a big juicy secret.
  • It’s normal for kids to skip from toddler to teenager in 15 months.
  • Breaking into a lab to change DNA/paternity test results is a piece of cake.
  • It’s fashionable to wear winter boots in the house and put your feet up on the sofa.
  • It’s glamorous to sleep in full make-up and a lacy under-wire bra. 
  • A non-pregnant woman can be drugged into believing she just gave birth to a baby.
  • Just because people watch you die and attend your funeral, doesn’t mean you’re dead!
  • And my personal favourite – it’s okay to lock someone up in a cage in your living room or abandoned warehouse for months on end. (Don’t these people ever poop?)

Final word:
So there you have it…a few important lessons I would never had known, had I not invested the time and energy to watch this important program over more than three decades. And judge me as you will, but you have to agree – I would never have acquired this type of sophisticated knowledge on the PBS or History channels. I’m just saying…

Now I know there are many more of you out there hiding in your soap cupboards. Come out, come out, wherever you are!

See you between the lines and on Twitter @PatSkene

Don’t forget to sign up for new posts.

Pat Skene

Dem Bones, Dem Bones…

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13653755-yoga-position-funny-cartoon-and-vector-isolated-illustrationDo brittle bones drive you insane?
Does bending put your back in pain?
How are your hips, your neck, your knees?
Do you need help? Keep reading please…

(originally posted November 2012)

What now? Last year, I noticed that everything in my body was tightening up like the sticky lid on a honey jar.  The doggerel lyrics of that old song about how the toe bone’s connected to the foot bone and the foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone, etc., blasted away in my brain. A cruel reminder that I was coming of age.

All pain, no gain: Every morning, my stiff joints and rigid spine felt like they would crack wide open if I moved too quickly. Well, I wasn’t happy about this decrepit state of affairs. Yes I was Living with Lupus, but I was swimming and walking regularly, so what more could I possibly do and why wasn’t my exercise routine working?

Out of the blue: Then my doctor recommended yoga classes…which in itself was a refreshing thing for a doctor to do!  Thank goodness for our new younger female doctors who know how to think outside the pill-box. But seriously…could yoga really help me?

Well-kept secret: What is it about the word “yoga” that conjures up images of skinny contortionists in leggings, eating raw carrots and tree nuts…while standing on their heads? Think again! Yoga is becoming a serious contender for seniors – to improve strength, endurance, balance, joints and spine. In my experience, it’s nothing short of amazing.

Scaredy Pat: At first I was reluctant because it had been 25 years since I uttered the Ommmm mantra. I would make a fool of myself without a doubt, and I wasn’t even sure I could get down on the floor – or more importantly – get back up again. But fear notwithstanding, I strapped my new yoga mat over my shoulder and hit the yoga scene with my aching bony knees a knockin.’

A big relief!  Thankfully my yoga instructor was excellent and he modified each pose to the comfort level of the participants. It wasn’t pretty at first. I initially had to do some positions with the help of a chair and some poses were easier if I leaned against the wall, instead of getting down on the floor. But that was only in the beginning. There was a natural process from there to feeling stronger and eventually finding my way down to the mat.

Tempus fugit: Now here I am one year later, still attending yoga classes twice a week and loving every minute of it. And listen up!  The improvements to my knees, back and hips is nothing short of amazing. This is serious stuff! I still have some neck problems, but I’m working on that.  And although I will never perform advanced yoga postures, my progress to date is remarkable. But most remarkable of all is how good I feel and how much I look forward to every class…the postures, the deep breathing and the meditation.

The secret’s out: I simply wanted to tell you and pass it on. And do I recommend yoga to everyone out there who wants to slow down the aging process? Absolutely! And not just for flexing your arthritic joints, or lubricating your dried out vertebrae. Yoga also teaches us relaxation techniques and everyday coping skills for life  in general.

Things I learned: But before you run out and book your class – here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Do your homework: Start by researching the different kinds of yoga in your area…at community centres, YMCA or yoga studios. You may not be up to trying a “hot yoga” class where you sit in a 105 degrees Celsius room and sweat out the garlic from last night’s dinner. Instead, I suggest that you look for a yoga class with the words, ‘gentle’ or ‘beginners’ or ‘therapeutic’ or even ‘chair’ yoga if you have more serious disabilities.

2. Speak to the instructor: Before you book your classes, make sure the instructor is willing to modify the poses as you go along, to accommodate different levels of ability. Ask if you can attend  a trial class to see for yourself how that will work.

3. Choose the right class: While there are many places offering yoga for the 50+ crowd – as long as the instructor is open and accommodating, a beginner’s class for all ages should be fine. You might want to avoid the ersatz yoga classes – where the attendees are all lulu-lemoned-up and the focus is more about image than the practice of yoga principles. Use your good sense to sort out the fakes.

4. Don’t compete: Don’t worry about your abilities to keep up with the class, if others around you are more flexible. It’s not about who can twist themselves into the tightest knot, or do the most impressive downward dog while trying to locate their third eye. Push hard, but pay attention to your body and don’t go beyond the edge of your ability. Go at your own pace and I promise you – the benefits are awesome at any level.

5. Ignore the scale: Yoga classes are all about relaxation, stretching and toning. Your motivation should not be weight loss, but overall good health and healing from the inside out. This is the greatest gift from you to you.

6.  Be committed:  Try to go once or twice a week. But if a live class is not available to you, there are many level-appropriate DVD’s out there you can purchase. And while this is a viable option, nothing can replace the positive energy you get from a class of like-minded people and a qualified instructor.

7. Stick with it: Don’t get your yoga pants in a pretzel if you don’t get instant results. Be patient and committed, even on those days when you’d rather stay in your stretchy sweats and eat a tub of rocky road. And although you should feel results in 6-8 weeks, please give it a good year. I promise you a better, more flexible body, with less pain and a noticeably improved sense of well-being. Have I ever lied to you before?
(Okay maybe i-Lied once about being i-Crazy…but only that once.)

8. Be brave, be bold and be healthy: You may want to google “yoga for seniors” and read more about this important emerging trend. Yoga should be safe for everyone. However, if you have specific health issues, you may want to check with your doctor before beginning.

Final word: This has been my story. I know it’s easy to dismiss all the reasons why you need yoga. But all I can say to that is, blah, blah, blah! We boomers and zoomers need all the help we can get! Our aging bodies are going nowhere but down that long mudslide to perdition. (I’m just thankful wrinkles don’t hurt!) So get off your sorry excuse, stuff your chakras into your sports bra – and give it a try! You won’t ever be sorry you did.

This message brought to you by Pat,
Was dreamed up on her yoga mat,
For this, she doesn’t charge a fee,
‘Cause bloggers do it all for free.

See you between the lines and on Twitter @Pat Skene

Please sign up or Follow for new posts. Thank you.

Bully for me…and for you!

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(Portrait of a Bully)

Fob Ford, scaring the crap


 

Rant du jour: Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. Sadly they’re in our lives to stay, because there will always be damaged human beings and egos that need constant feeding on the entrails of a kinder gentler folk.

Big and bold; Some bullies are larger than life, like Toronto’s jackass mayor, Rob Ford (ROFO) and his dumb ass brother, Doug (DOFO.) You might get the idea that I don’t care for Toronto’s mayor…I tried hard to be subtle.

Vicious in black: Some bullies come in tiny packages, like Sister Alicia, the 4 foot 8″ nun in a black and white habit who tormented students daily in the girl’s school I attended a half a century ago. Bullies like this feast like gluttons on the intimidation and fear they create in our lives.

Unbridled ubiquity: During my life, I have met threatening and abusive doctors, nurses who ran their own domain of terror, Nazi receptionists, barking-mad grade school teachers, obnoxious waiters, engineers with explosive egos, pit-bull lawyers, alcoholic bosses, and on and on and on…you get the picture. Bullies come in a variety of disguises in all professions. Sadly, we meet them on a daily basis.

Badge of honour: After surviving decades as a female-executive in the male dominated war-zone of banking where testosterone saturates the boardroom, I developed a wonderful life-saving condition called BBS…or to the lay person, “Bully Block Syndrome.” This condition took years to develop and has now left me immune to the slings, arrows and emotional tactics of any bullies I now meet in my life. In short, they can’t hurt me anymore. I don’t fear them and as an added advantage of this condition, I can smell a bully at a hundred paces.

Dangerous liaisons: Bullies have different modus operandi. Most of us vividly remember the bullies who taunted us in the schoolyard with hard knuckle punches to the nose and even harder verbal punches to our feelings. But bullies aren’t always an overt threat, especially as they age. Young bullies often grow up to be professional bullies, where they work covertly in stealth mode and become even more cunning and more dangerous.

Bully spotting: Some bullies merely stand in a confrontational pose with fists clenched and a hard stare (like ROFO), daring anyone to challenge them. Others use their positions of influence to bark orders at underlings and leave no room for being questioned (like ROFO). Some intimidate and threaten their long-suffering wives into submission (like ROFO.) Many avoid sharing knowledge, in an effort to overpower and keep others dependent on them with a tight grip on their control, (ROFO has no knowledge of anything). Some take the coward’s route behind the anonymity of the computer through cyber-bullying, (ROFO doesn’t know what a computer is). And still others take every opportunity to treat you as a friend, while they secretly discredit you behind your back. (ROFO has no friends.)  These are all the acts of a despicable bully.

Prime targets: While children are thankfully being taught all about dealing with bullies in school…you know what? As a senior, we are just as vulnerable to bullying, because they… the grown-up professional bullies…think we won’t fight back. We’re much too weak , too stupid, too old.

Pushing back: Well they’re wrong! We all need to stand up, face them nose-to-nose and hold our ground.  And we can’t be shy about it. Call it what it is. We’ve lived long enough not to have to put up with that crap anymore.

Speak out: So the next time you snag a bully in your bully-radar, tell them exactly what you think of them! You’ve earned the right! And so have I. And as a final word…if you live in Toronto, for everything that’s holy…don’t even think of voting for another “FORD MORE” years of  that red-faced  buffoon below!

See you between the lines…Pat Skene



Rob Ford red face

Ford ford finger

It’s Spring Dammit!

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Rant Du Jour: Okay, I’m just as sick as the rest of you about this winter thing. And yes, I’m watching with my nose pressed    against the glass for even the slightest sign of spring. But today I made a big decision. Screw it! As far as I’m concerned, the calendar says it’s spring…so it’s spring!

Looking back: Some of it was fun while it lasted. I have to admit that watching marathon episodes of Breaking Bad, while chowing down on ice cream and cheesy nachos was a decadent winter indulgence. And furthermore, I enjoyed it guilt-free because of the raging blizzard outside. Nowhere to go, nothing to do and even if there was, can’t do it anyway in weather like this. It’s a beautiful thing.

Now what? So it’s time to put away the stew pots, the pizza pans, the bread maker and all things that scream comfort food. It’s time to get off to the grocery store and load up on fruits and vegetables before scurvy sets in. If you’ve already lost a tooth – I recommend an immediate infusion of lemon-gin and tonic.

Growing pains: And that leads me to our great Canadian winter waistlines! Our bodies are our biggest asset…but bigger doesn’t always mean better, even in these cold Canucky temps. Size does matter, regardless of what anyone tells you. We need to drop our tracky bottoms with those ever-expanding elastic waistbands, and slide into a pair of last summer’s pants to assess the damage. Reality sucks!

Mixed messages: Now if you’re like me and still have your Christmas arrangements outside…don’t even consider putting a few painted eggs in with the holiday ornaments to make nice with the Easter bunny. Throw them out! And do it this week or the evil winter witch will camp out at your door and invite all her witchy winter friends to party on. It’s still too cold to enjoy our beloved tulips and daffodils out there, so put them in the window to welcome the spring-angels of mercy. God help us all.

Get out! And finally – for all that’s holy – let’s get off our assets and walk in the fresh spring air, regardless of the temperature. And if you’ve still got snow, pretend it’s a beautiful white sandy beach. We’ve all closed our eyes and thought of England at some point in our lives. Well it’s time to exercise that skill again…we just need to change the thinking location to the Bahamas. All those butt-busting exercises we’ve been avoiding because…blah, blah, blah…are no longer valid. Time to shake and bake our booties!

So? It’s spring! Winter is over and that’s all there is to it! Now let’s get out there and enjoy it, dammit!

Pat Skene

See you between the lines.

 

 

 

Hanging Out With Mary

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Happy International Women’s Day: To celebrate this event, I attended a dinner this week where Canadian comedian Mary Walsh spoke to over 700 people…in a black bra! There was nothing sexy about it.

What’s this about? Mary is an entertainer of a certain age, who changed her costume in front of the audience, as part of her routine. She simply stood there in her underwear with all her jiggly bits jiggling, as she kept right on talking. It was a hysterically funny and incredibly beautiful thing.

Just hanging out! Now I don’t normally get excited about seeing an middle-aged woman in her underwear. But the sheer comfort and confidence Mary displayed, with her muffin tops muffin-topping, and her cellulite and wrinkles winking at the crowd…well, it was a vision of divine intervention. Especially for anyone in the room wearing Spanks, body shapers, control top pantyhose and all things that pinch and squeeze us into unholy togetherness.

Starving for attention: What a refreshing change she was from just a few nights before, when I watched the beautiful people of Hollywood parade their botoxed, surgically altered Oscar worthy bodies up and down the red carpet. The fact that many of them can no longer smile…or eat for that matter…doesn’t mean a thing. All that does matter is for someone to ask, “Who are you wearing?”

Mirror, mirror: Our obsession with perfect bodies is like a social piranha, eating away every day at our confidence and self-respect. Yes, the magazine and movie industries have nurtured this obsession, but so do we, as we continue to buy and watch and compare…in the mirror. And as we age, as Mary is doing, graceful acceptance of our sagging bits and bobs is a rare gift. We need to learn to embrace our softer squishier parts without wrestling them into a spandex torture chamber or underwire harness.

Key note: Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t strive to have as healthy a body as we can. That goes without saying. But if only we could be more like Mary…and let it all hang out with pride and humor. And while I enjoyed the entertainment value of Mary’s keynote address at the dinner, her confidence and charisma while standing there in her black bra and middle-aged body, said more to me about International Women’s Day than anything in her evening performance. It was downright liberating, even for a tough old broad like me.

Seriously: Mary made us laugh at her, with her and at ourselves. We need more women like that. And more real women who can stand in front of 700 people in a black bra ala muffin tops, and not give a damn. And as I am reminded by the sign on my desk, “She Who Laughs, Lasts.”

Pat Skene

See you between the lines.

Gold Finger Salute Awards!

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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!

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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

Once Upon a Word

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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!

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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.

An Apple a Day…

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New Arrival: I’ve changed my clothes 3 times before sitting down to write this post. Everything had to be perfect – hell, I even cleaned up my workspace for the occasion. It’s not everyday you get the Lamborghini of computers to keep you company through the long lonely hours of a bloggers life. I had to make a good first impression for my shiny new MACBook Pro 15″ with retina display and mission control dashboard. Oh baby – come to mama!  Image

You didn’t! Oh yes I did! I made the gargantuan leap from PC land to Mac island and I’m overwhelmed by alien widgets, icons and dazzling special effects. But despite the blank page in my brain and the piercing pain in my cyber-gut, I already know this will be a forever relationship. Like any good marriage, it’s just going to need a ton of work.

Salute! So with a saddened heart, I put my old Dell PC to rest yesterday after 10 years of loyal service. She was a good old gal, hardworking and carefree; except in her final days when the constant chugging uphill to make the grade, broke the tired old broad down. I’m sure she felt like poor Sisyphus, pushing all that computer guck uphill everyday, only to watch it crash back down again.  Then recently, through her coughing and wheezing, she asked me if she could retire and stop the madness. I reluctantly agreed. She will be missed.

New tricks: I know this PC/Mac change is a huge step for me at this age. But the way I look at it – why should all the new toys and gadgets be only for the young? What about the young at heart? Yes, my learning curve will be curvier than most, but I’m up for the challenge. As you know from reading i-Crazy and i-Lied, I’m nuts about i-stuff. And now with the syncing opportunities and creative possibilities,  how can I not fall even deeper in i-love? It’s a marriage made in the Mac store!

If truth be told: Of course it helped to have my brilliant niece come with me to translate what the fast-talking pimply-faced salesman was blah-blah-blah-ing about.  When the youth of today talk to me, I try my best to turn up the speed on my ear-intake control valve, but it’s all gobbledygook most of the time. And as everyone  knows, except those under the age of 25, higher vocal speeds cause glazing of the eyeballs, especially in the elderly.

Life Support: After arriving home with an empty wallet, my niece then helped me with the hook-ups and initial transition to Mac-dom. I couldn’t get her to move in with me, but she did promise  24/7 support for the next 10 years if Hubsey feeds her one of his delicious concoctions on every visit. What a deal!

Signing off: Well, that’s it from me today. In just 24 hours, I’ve gotten this far, so that’s a good sign. As we age, we tend to think we gather knowledge and maybe even know-it-all from time to time. But change is a good exercise in humility and patience. May the force be with me!

See you between the lines!

Pat Skene

In My Dreams!

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old-people-friendly-happy-coupleYikes!  Have you noticed as we age, we start looking more like our husbands? We wear our pants higher, our underpants looser, our hair shorter, our shoes flatter and we even have the odd whisker popping out in the darndest places. And don’t get me started on the old-man grunts I make when I get out of a chair!

It’s a crap shoot:  What is it about getting older that makes us want to get special deals and free stuff? Is it because we’re on a fixed income, or maybe because we’ve lived long enough to earn a better price? Or do we just get cheaper as we age; afraid we’ll outlive our money in the reality game of aging roulette?

Cheap cheep: And you gotta luv how so many aging boomers eagerly morph into early-bird cottonheads. Not only do they get the wiggly worm, they get 2 for 1 dinners, 1/2 price drinks and doggie bags filled with mushy leftovers.

Like crows on a wire: Years ago, before I was a woman of a certain age, I used to visit my aging aunt Bernice in Florida. She never cooked and ate out all the time. I was horrified at how we would always arrive early and line-up  for dinner at 4:00pm. It was usually a buffet so the old codgers and codgerettes could get their money’s worth.

Free take-out: I remember once, aunt Bernice had forgotten to take a Ziploc bag into the restaurant. But that didn’t stop her. She simply fished a plastic rain-hat out of her purse – you remember the kind that folded up like a cheap fan? Then she asked me to load it up with chicken thighs from the buffet on our way out. Kill me now!

Words to live by: My aunt has sadly passed on and here I am, the same age she was at the time mentioned above. But I don’t feel old, I don’t own a plastic rain-hat and I don’t steal food from a buffet…as yet. And, as  Hubsey always says, “I don’t line up for food or sex.”

Stuck in time: In my dreams, I’m always 32. I know this because people ask me my age (in my dreams). I’m never any older and never any younger; always 32 years old! Slim waist, long blonde hair, killer stilettos, and not an aching bone in my body.

Reality bites: But then I wake-up and see that strange old woman in the mirror, and I ask her, “Who the  hell are you?”

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Pat Skene
See you between the lines!

Great Leaping Refuse…As the Condo Turns

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Why another post? After my exit from this series yesterday, Britt Girl sent me a comment to say that one of her favourite things about condo living, was the garbage chute. Great leaping refuse!  How could I have forgotten to mention, nay praise, the almighty garbage chute! So I’m back to pay homage.

Picture this: The big-ass house I had before becoming a condoarian, was in the country. So the property was large with a long driveway out to the road. On garbage day, especially in the winter, I would don my parka over my PJ’s and go out to the garage.  There, with freezing fingers, I would tag each bag ( we paid for pick-up) and load one at a time on to a hand cart. Then I would wheel the damn thing up the driveway, tipping the bags off the trolley several times through the bumpy ride.

Beware of dogs: At the same time, I was armed with a stick and my trusty ultrasonic dog repeller to defend myself from the 12 neighbourhood dogs that roamed the area, despite their electronic fences. My nutty neighbour next door had 5 of them and those barking pooches watched my every move. She also had 13 cats and built an addition on her house for them, but that’s a story for another day. Okay, are you with me so far?

Job well done: After several trips up and down said driveway, while looking over my shoulder for canine attacks, I would leave all the bags neatly lined up at the edge of the roadway for the town garbage and recycle trucks to pick up.

Garbage police:  Then as was often the case, as I sat working in my den – the trucks would arrive. If a bag was too large, or too heavy, or the dogs and crows had ripped it open, they simply left the bag beside the road and drove away. And when the recycle truck came along, the workers would peer through my clear plastic bags, and if they saw something they didn’t like inside , they would also reject the bag – and leave a big yellow note attached to it.

Crazy old lady: Now I consider myself to be a sane, albeit feisty sort of gal. But the actions by these garbage police drove me into a frenetic state of irrational rage. I would storm out the door and chase the truck down the street waving my recycle pamphlet , as they left me in their exhaust fumes.

Ultimate insult! Now do you have any idea how it feels to have your garbage rejected? Your garbage! And for the whole neighbourhood to see! People would smirk and look at our house, as they pointed at our bags and drove by. My poor dejected refuse, slumped in disgrace with their yellow rejection slips flashing like neon lights.

Encore performance: And the worst part was having to schlep all those bags back down the driveway and into the garage, only to get more stinky until the next pick-up day – when I would have even more bags to schlep back up the driveway!

Have a cigarette: So you can understand my orgasmic state of mind, when I simply throw my garbage into a chute and walk away. It’s euphoric, blissful and sublime – I tell you. No fuss, no muss, no kidding!

Until next time – these are the days of our lives.

Enjoy the Good Life – As the Condo Turns

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In the final episode of this mini-series, I just have a few more things to say.

Buying a box in the sky and paying condo fees is something Hubsey and I said we would never do. And yet, here we are with no regrets, albeit on the ground floor.

Paying condo fees is not an appealing prospect for most people. But if the fees are commensurate with the location, number of on-site amenities and quality of the building – in my view, it’s worth digging deep every month to pay for it.

Tip of the day – Enjoy the good life!

Okay, I’ve talked about a lot of things over the past 9 days, including condo envy, codger-dodgers, good and bad condo boards, and crotchety old farts who roam the halls enforcing the rules. 

And if I’ve learned anything here, it’s that living in a condo community means you have to compromise, and you can’t always do things your own way. But like anything in life, you learn to put up with the bad, as long as the good takes up a bigger space.

So I’d like to sign-off this series on a positive note. Because despite my numerous failed attempts at storming the castle to change some things – I do enjoy condo living!

Top 10 things I love:

1. Swimming during a snowstorm.
2. Stepping outside for a walk along the waterfront.
3. Feeling safe and protected.
4. Enjoying the gardens from my ground floor patio.
5. Taking yoga classes right downstairs.
6. Mailing letters from the lobby.
7. Making friends with like-minded people.
8. Leaving on vacation with no worries.
9. Living in a smaller space where everything has its place.
10. Being 10 minutes away from my daughter and granddaughter.

And that’s it from me to you, in this (not so final) final episode of…As the Condo Turns.  Thanks for reading.

Until next time – these are the days of our lives.

Save Those Vintage Clothes – As the Condo Turns

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Hey condo-folks! This is my penultimate post on the subject…well, for now anyway.  After 9 days of this, I’m getting condo-brained-out and I’m sure you’re well into condo-overload by now. Tomorrow will be my last post in this series of 10 episodes about condo living. But in the meantime, here’s today’s topic.

Tip of the day – Save those vintage clothes

One of the hardest things about downsizing and moving to a condo is getting rid of some favourite closet items. This includes the sophisticated Jackie Kennedy ensemble you bought in the 60’s, your favourite Moroccan-style kaftan for entertaining at home in the 70’s, and the power suit, complete with linebacker shoulder pads you wore so proudly in the 80’s. Well, I can tell you that you don’t have to throw out a thing!

Going to a social event in a condo building can be like attending a period fashion show. While many zoomers keep up with current fashions, some of the older residents hang on to their vintage haute couture with the iron grip of an aging actress looking for one final screen test. And if you’re lucky enough to attend a formal gathering with sequined ball gowns and tuxedos, you’ll be catapulted back into a movie set of bygone days. It’s like viewing a ballroom scene on the Titanic! And good for them. It’s a beautiful sight!

So don’t throw away a thing! Keep all your lovelies and don them with pride. You’ll be wearing your memories and be right at home. 

Until tomorrow…these are the days of our lives.