Tag Archives: senior blogs

Is Cursive Writing Obsolete?

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imagesCursive writing is dying and kids can’t sign their names.
This sentence hurts my heart. There is a strong school of thought that believes penmanship is an obsolete skill that kids will never need.

How did we let this happen? For some time now, most schools in North America no longer teach cursive writing as part of the school curriculum. Rather, basic printing and typing skills are favoured instead. Now I realize we live in a digital age and computer passwords have become our identities for accessing personal data. But unlike signatures, which are unique to each individual with their loops, swirls and dots – passwords can be hacked, duplicated and identities stolen.

It’s not enough: I know there is only so much teaching time in a classroom. And students need to learn new skills and become proficient with computers, a much-needed tool in today’s learning environment. But there is a real world outside of the classroom, and there are still many situations where people of all ages need to sign (not print) their names, hopefully not with an X. In my view, the very basic form of writing in any civilized society should still be a core learning for every child.

The nuts and bolts of it: How will this generation sign passports, bank documents, last will and testaments, or personal legal documents? How will they write a cheque or read a letter from their grandparents? How will they write Christmas Cards, or is this obsolete now too? Will they ever need to write a letter of condolences or congratulations to a dear friend? In some of life’s circumstances, a printed note or text message just doesn’t do the trick. Are we relying on computers, retinal scans, fingerprint technology and other digital identifiers to totally replace our individuality as flesh and blood human beings?

Talk to the hand: My mother had beautiful penmanship. And I’m proud to say, I have developed a nice writing style over the years, similar to hers. When I sit down to begin a new book project, I always write my initial thoughts by hand. There is a strong connection between the pen in my hand and the creative process in my brain, and I don’t move to the keyboard until this connection has been fully explored.

It’s important: For children, learning cursive writing not only stimulates the brain and helps to develop fine motor skills – it gives them back that uniqueness that is so easy to lose in the ubiquitous world of computers. So let’s get back to basics here and do what we can to encourage those in the educational system to bring cursive writing back into our children’s classrooms.

Double dog dare: And to all those who say…it’s a waste of time, it’s obsolete, they’ll never use it…I challenge you to try not using your signature (or cursive writing of any kind) at home and at work for at least one full month…and get back to me on that!

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See you between the lines and on Twitter @PatSkene

Check out my books at www.pressheretostartpublishing.com

I’m Thinking About Kissing…

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face-kiss-hiYikes! Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about kissing. Oh get a grip! It’s because of the recent kissing research released to the news media – not because I’m looking to recapture my youth with a few wild adventures of unabashed spit swapping. But then again, would that be so bad? Well, yes it just might be. According to what I read last week, every time you pucker up with a good old-fashioned smooch, you introduce 80 million new bacteria into your mouth. Now that’s a cringe-worthy thought.

Make it burn: I’m not saying that kissing is all bad. Good grief no! You get to burn 6.4 calories per minute by locking lips and you use 146 muscles when you do it. So that’s got to be a good daily exercise, filled with all sorts of perks. And what a great way to kiss, kiss, kiss your way into (and out of) your skinny jeans.  Some anonymous person once said that kissing is like peeing your pants. Everyone can see it but only you can feel the heat.

Learned or instinctual: So why do we do it? And does the whole world of humans feel this heat in their drawers when they inject saliva into each other’s mouths? Earlier research indicated that 90% of the world’s population engaged in the activity of kissing. But new research now finds that less than half of the world’s cultures kiss in a romantic way. And the rest of us that do, spend an average of 20,000 minutes or 2 weeks of our lives in mouth to mouth action.

Kissing cultures: Of 168 cultures studied, only 77 cultures did it and 91 did not. And of the 77 cultures who did, only 46 kiss in a romantic sense: North America 55%, Asia 73%, Europe 70% – and it was the norm in the Middle East although in private only, but no smoochers were found in Central America. We kiss for all kinds of reasons; comfort, passion, affection, bonding, making up, or just for no reason at all because it feels good. Lips and tongues are packed with nerve endings, so when those nerve endings intensify, we don’t want to think too hard about questioning our motives. Our brain functions drop into the lower extremities of our bodies…thus creating the aforementioned “peeing of the pants” scenario.

Why we do it: The most widely accepted rationale about why we kiss is that it helps us sniff out a quality mate. So let that be a lesson for the poor slobs who dare eat garlic on date night – for they shall be cast out and disqualified. There are people who actually study kissing – they are called philematologists. I wonder if they are really good kissers? Do they experiment with a wide range of kissing partners? Or are they simply professional peepers; watching others doing the job while they study technique, nose placement, measure spit output etc., while they take copious notes. Either way, it’s rather creepy.

Burning questions: And technique is everything ladies, we know that. We have all experienced the voracious kissers who make us question basic kissing etiquette. Like, what do we do when too much saliva enters your mouth when he locks onto your face like a large mouth bass? Is it polite to spit it out? Wipe your mouth on your sleeve, or his? Tell him you’re entering the convent and can’t ever see him again? According to the Rights of Kissing in the Modern Age Handbook, all of the above are totally acceptable responses.

Final word: So while it sounds kinda gross to pucker up and share your dinner juice with a potential mate, there is some reassuring research that says – all that new bacteria entering your system can help to boost your immune system. So let’s go with that. And so I leave you with a quote by the illusive Mr. or Ms. Anonymous:

I ran up the door, opened the stairs,
said my pyjamas and put on my prayers –          
turned off my bed, and tumbled my light,
and all because he kissed me good-night.

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See you between the lines,

Follow me on Twitter @PatSkene

Happiness Engineers

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Did you know there are real human beings in cyberspace, who actually want to help solve your problems? Can you imagine my delight at finding people out there with the sole responsibility of making the universe a happier place? These real-life employees have an innate desire to troubleshoot issues big and small – and they do it with grace, a sense of humour and excellent communication skills. 

Meet Irwin, Happiness Engineer: This week I was having some WordPress difficulties when I created a mess trying to set up another blog. With no human to call, I sent a note to the support line and voila! Irwin solved my problem within 24 hours and everything was fixed. He was efficient, clear and succinct in his communications and he even threw in a few happy faces! He signed his name – Irwin, Happiness Engineer. Now how cool is that?

And these positions are not just at WordPress to keep clients happy. Some forward-thinking-out-of-the-box companies are hiring Happiness Engineers to keep employees happy as well. They just may have found the key to getting the best return on human investment. It’s a beautiful thing!

What a concept: I think we need more Happiness Engineers in this world. I am totally in love with this job title and the responsibilities that go with it. Just think what a better place the world would be, if we had more of these individuals in every segment of our lives. Imagine what a team of these specialized folks could do in hospitals, doctor’s offices, schools and nursing homes, just to name a few. And why not include a troupe of “Travelling Happiness Engineers” to visit people who need them at any location, with Have Smile, Will Travel boldly announcing their skills on the side of the van?

Final word: We not only need to have more of these remarkable engineers in our lives…we need to become one as well. And no, I’m not getting all Pollyanna on you! But I am a glass-full kind of gal and I can usually see the silver lining in things, even if it turns out to be tinfoil.

It takes little effort for any of us to pay more attention to the people around us; to make them feel good with a compliment, a helpful hand, a solution to something bothering them, a phone call, a few daisies, an old fashioned note…and yes, sometimes it’s just knowing when to keep our mouths shut. Learning how to go the extra mile should be part of every school curriculum.

Making people happy, one engineer at a time. Thanks for the inspiration Irwin!

So c’mon people, talk to me! Where do you want to see more Happiness Engineers in your world? two-people-talking-to-each-other-cartoon-117

See you between the lines,
Follow me on Twitter @PatSkene

There’s Nothing Like a Dame

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“Never be afraid to laugh at yourself.  After all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century.” Dame Edna Everage. (81 years old)

Hello Possums! Sometimes there are moments in life you need to capture and swallow whole to keep them inside you. (Sometimes, there are moments you need to masticate into mush and spit out into the nearest spittoon.) Well, thankfully, I have one of the former moments – one of pure zen, that I want to tell you about.

Eureka! I was watching television with my 12 year-old granddaughter the other day, when an advertisement for gigastar, Dame Edna and her Farewell Tour flashed on the screen. There she was, her Edna-ship, complete with perfectly coiffed mauve hair, rhinestone-studded wingtip glasses and outlandish wardrobe. My granddaughter jumped out of her chair and said, “Nan! That’s totally you – on the inside!”

How awesome is that? For someone like me who values imagination, creativity and freedom of expression as my raison d’être, it was the highest compliment possible. My eyeballs were sweating tears of purple glee. What more could a grandmother want in life, than to know her granddaughter thinks she has a colourful, funny, nut-ball of a Dame Edna lurking on the inside?

Shake it up! As we get older, it’s easy to become crotchety and bad-tempered, as we deal with deteriorating bodies, death of spouses and old friends, and of course, lack of identity and loneliness. It becomes too easy to feel forgotten and left behind, as we see younger people around us enjoying a more robust lifestyle. And it’s natural to be afraid to step out of ourselves; outside of our comfort zones to try something new. Sometimes the only difference between a recliner and a grave is the view!

Inner Dame: In my opinion, we all need to channel our inner Dame Edna to shake us awake and make us feel alive. There’s nothing like boredom and complacency to cause wrinkles ladies…and for the men out there…Dame Edna is really Barry Humphries, so there’s a message in here for you too. And no, I don’t mean cross-dressing! Although, if it’s something you’ve always wanted to do…?

Outer Dame: So to celebrate this momentous gift given to me by my granddaughter, I bought some new face furniture – a pair of purple cat’s eye glasses, trimmed with pearl. So cool! But for now, I’ll keep my hair white and leave the “wisteria hue” to the Grand Dame!

See you between the lines,

Follow me on Twitter @PatSkene

Hear Ye, Hear Ye…

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thCalling all geezers and geezerettes!  

Come in from the dark side and learn what social media can do for you.

Well, if you’re reading this post, it means you have already seen the light and are proficient enough with technology to stay connected with the universe. So you might think this article is not for you…oh contraire!

I’m sure we all have a few senior friends with their heads buried in the days of old. They don’t know how to use email, don’t own a computer, smart phone or tablet. They don’t know what a blog is and frankly don’t give a blog about all this new fan-dangled stuff.  Well, it just might be time for a cyber-intervention.

I was recently contacted by a company in the US to answer some questions about how I felt re the importance of social media for seniors. And while I don’t endorse any commercial links on my site, I felt this topic was very near to the cockles of my blogger’s heart, so I chose to be a participant in the article.

As you know from my posts 50 Shades of MAC, i-Crazy, and i-Lied…I am fully committed to the wonders of technology; a converted cyber-geezerette if you will.

I know it’s very hard for some seniors to stay open to learning new things. Life always looks so much better in the rearview mirror. And although we will never be as proficient with technology as our children and grandchildren, as long as we have breath there’s always time left to believe we can continue to learn and improve our lives in some small way.

Even the grand Red Queen herself from Alice in Wonderland said, “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast”…and she was no spring chicken!

Fear is our worst enemy and change is hard work. As we age, our world continues to shrink one year at a time…like a balloon losing air in slow motion. It’s no wonder that we white-knuckle our grip on the days of yore when we were bigger and stronger players on the planet.

So why not pay it forward and do what we can to open up the universe for other seniors in our lives? Talk, encourage, demonstrate, and teach what technology can do to add value to everyday living.

I’m just saying…

Please click below to read the full article on Social Media Tips for Seniors:

http://premierreverse.com/works-social-media-tips-seniors/

See you between the lines,

Pat Skene

She Put a Spell on Me

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music_noteAnnie Lennox sang at the Grammies last night. WOW! Can that broad belt it out! And she sang with a real voice, without all the pyrotechnics we see and hear today with so many of the talent-impaired.

I think any beautiful female with a provocative costume, powerful thigh muscles and satanic dance moves might be fanciful entertainment for those of us practicing our couch-potato routines at home. But when it comes to wearing the big girl pants, you need real talent like Annie to show us how it’s done. Sadly, performers today keep upping the stage-ante, by adding special effects in the form of dancing human bulls ( Grammies) or ridiculous wiggling sharks (Superbowl) to name a few. All this in an effort to wow an audience into a trance-like state of shock and awe.

Okay I get it – I might be of the aging cogerette era and still love the old songsters like Tina Turner, and the soothing voices of yesteryear with classic crooners like Roy Orbison and yes, God help me…The Everly Brothers. But I also love listening to tunes of any era and any genre, including the talents of so many new voices in today’s music, thanks to my granddaughter. It’s really too bad most of these superstars need to uber-up their routines until we can’t hear the pure goodness of a beautiful voice at it’s best.

When I listened to Annie belting it out and simply being Annie, I thought…now there’s a timeless talent to be reckoned with. I had forgotten what a force she was years ago with the Eurythmics. And she has truly improved with age. When she sang I Put a Spell on You last night, she put a spell on me and I downloaded her music. Now that’s what I’m talking about!

Click here to listen to Annie: www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZEChv1AaOk

See you between the lines,

Pat Skene

 

Why?

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question-mark-face1Ordinarily, I am quite content to seek out the solitude of my own company. But recently, I’ve had a bit too much quality time with myself…and frankly, I found that I am quite lacking in the answers to many of life’s complex questions.

They say when you’re drowning, your life flashes before your eyes. Well, I’m happy to report this did not happen to me. But in my extended state of reflection and solitude, many burning questions flashed relentlessly before said eyes, and I was reminded of how little I knew about the many ordinaries of life.

My Top 20 Burning Questions:

1. Why do grandchildren and grandparents pass each other in opposite vertical directions so quickly?

2. Why does life bitch-slap you awake, just when you doze off snuggled in the comforts of old age?

3. Why is it always the patient’s fault when doctors make a mistake?

4. Why are all nurses not angels of mercy? Have mercy!

5. Why do men put fruit and veggies encased in sweaty plastic bags, directly  into the refrigerator?

6. Why do men put beer or yogurt encased in cardboard boxes, directly into the refrigerator?

7. Why, when I’m not well, do I look out the window and think everyone has a life but me?

8. Why are big honking boobs supposed to be so spectacular?

9. Why does my oldest besty Marjorie never email me from BC?

10. Why do socks in my sandals feel so flippin’ good and look so freakin’ bad?

11. Why does time go like stink when I’m well, then hang around like a bad smell when I’m sick?

12. Why do I insist that my toilet paper roll be placed in the “over” position and not the “under” position?

13. Why, if some words in the English language are considered bad, did we invent them in the first place?

14. Why are simple blue jeans not allowed in some places, but bad-ass-red or trailer-trash-white jeans are?

15. Why can geese poop their brains out in the park and we can’t kick their feathered arses outta there?

16. Why can’t parents get it right by being grandparents first?

17. Why can’t I find out how much wood a woodchuck would chuck, if a woodchuck really could chuck wood?

18. Why did I get cancer?

19. Why do I float effortlessly in the pool, but my daughter and granddaughter sink to the bottom like mafia snitches?

20. Why do so many people hate nature’s beautiful dandelions?

Help!! Does anyone out there know WHY?     

See you between the lines

Pat Skene

 

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

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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 “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.

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Mickey’s Back in the Closet

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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!

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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.

50 Shades of MAC

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I’m in love with my MAC!

As you learned in my Apple A Day post, I succumbed to the geeky side and became an apple junky.

Now I don’t mean to get all Mac & cheesy on you – but after 3 weeks of pure bliss, I’m happy to report that right here in my rusty years, I have finally found the perfect relationship. apple_heart

Who is he? As you can guess, my new guy’s name is Mac. He’s handsome and sleek in his shiny silver suit – and I love his blue tooth. He lights up when I turn him on, and he loves it when I play with him in the dark. We make such beautiful music together. Hubsey doesn’t care much for him, but he likes to watch.

What else does he do? Mac loves to tickle my fancy and teach me new things…like 50 ways to use my magic mouse. He responds to even the slightest touch of my fingers on his sleek young body. At times he can be frustrating as hell for an old broad like me to deal with, but then he rewards me with a eureka moment of pure technological ecstasy.

He’s considerate and always asks for my preferences, although he’s  usually one step ahead of me and seems to know exactly what I want. He never complains unless he’s feeling low and needs some time to recharge his batteries. And he doesn’t much care that the kitchen has never been my best room.

There’s still a lot I don’t know about him, but that adds just enough mystery to keep our relationship apple-fresh. I’ve come to depend on him, and when he’s down, I feel lost. But when he’s charged up, he fills me with energy and spunk!

Trouble spots: He responds to most of my commands but like most men, he has a jerk gene that surfaces now and then, so I give him a good reboot to refresh his attitude. And at times, his head is somewhere in the i-clouds when I need him most – but he likes to dream and that’s okay with me.

He never asks for much and is comfortable in any setting. What a perfectly symbiotic relationship. He doesn’t bring me traditional flowers or buy me jewellery, but he sends me anything my heart desires  – in beautiful retina display! What a guy!

My MAC – he’s a Pro in my Book.                                  heart8

(P.S…My MAC is not to be confused with my friend Beth’s husband Mac. Although I’m sure he’s lovely too.)

Pat Skene

See you between the lines.

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!