Turkey Talk

Convocations have occurred with some fanfare and very little drama (thank Gawwwwd) and now, the final epic graduation of son will take place to end the graduation year ceremoniously, thus. Or something traditional and ceremonial like that….

His grad date and Mommy spontaneously dropped by to shake my hand and meet the mother of the young man who will accompany her first born on her graduation. I’m hoping I made a good impression what with the clean laundry littering the floor, Mags barking madly, Hubby chillin’ on the couch eating his snack and watching hockey news and me still in my stinky running clothes. WHO DOESN’T WANT TO MEET SOMEBODY FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THAT SWEET MESS?! She was sweet and then the turkey talk happened. Literal, turkey talk. Son and grad date will have pics taken at someone’s cabin or farm or something naturalistic like that. I went into a semi-conscious state when the question of ‘so what are your plans for that day’ was asked. I wasn’t aware I was to have PLANS. Like, real PLANS?!! Then on to the discussion, well really more of a statement than discussion, of having pictures taken where there was a wharf and water and oh yeah, could be turkeys wandering about. BECAUSE GRAD PICTURES AREN’T GRAD PICTURES WITHOUT A RANDOM TURKEY IN THE BACKGROUND. That’s how it’s done, people.  

If I get trampled on by a rafter of turkeys (I looked it up…a group of turkeys is a ‘rafter’. Now you can amaze your friends with your trivia and expert knowledge of turkeys. I DO RESEARCH! You. Are. Welcome) I want that escapade into awesomeness documented for future generations to peruse and envy. “Oh, yeah look at Grandma run from that wacked out turkey! HE LOOKS PISSED!”


It will be framed and hung in the most auspicious place in the house. The bathroom.

I’m still waiting for warm weather to appear, but the gods of Spring/Summer refuse to cooperate, so here we are freezing in our capris and sandals hoping for some temps above freezing to save our tulips and budding trees. Plants are defiant and trying to come to life despite the cold air and billowing winds. It’s dismal. All this while I sit in front of the fire and see that other parts of Southern Ontario are under a heat wave and have HEAT warnings. ACTUAL HEAT WARNINGS. “I’m just dying from this heat” said one lady on the news. “I have to jump in a pool to cool off” OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE, SHUT UP! And I think I may have hurled my wine glass at her. The dog looked scared and ran off. I may have frightened Hubby who suggested we go for a walk. THEN WE LOOKED AT REAL ESTATE IN MY HOME TOWN…which was so eye-opening. What’s with all the dark-stained moldings?

I don’t understand.

Also, EVERYBODY HAS A POOL!! WHY CAN’T I HAVE A POOL?!

Because I live in Newfoundland and have the fire going in the middle of June. That’s why.  

But, I still want a pool in my backyard and a cornfield in the park around the corner. 

 I CAN DREAM…. 

A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Tattoo Studio…

Apparently, when you turn fifty something inexplicable happens to your brain.  Decisions are made based on what would be fun, or what could transform a little life into something exciting.  Looking down the tunnel towards old age, it gets necessary to move in a more forward thinking direction.  What have I not done in my life that I really should do?  Like, now.  Do now.   Take a plunge.  Leap. Dance.  Get a tattoo.

A tattoo?  Yes.   With Daughter.  She asked me and in an instant I said ‘yes’.  I didn’t even hesitate or flinch.  I just jumped in. No debating, no weighing the options, just jumped.  It’s only a little ink, right?

Let’s do it.  She was so excited.  I was too…until we walked into the tattoo studio for our consultation and then I realized it was actually happening. A permanent drawing on my body.  Ready?  Hmm….

Oh, sure there was a lot of checking with me to see if I was on board.  Was I sure?  Daughter and I looked over literally hundreds of designs.  What size?  Did we want colour?  How about the image itself?  There were many I nixed based on size.  There were more she declined based on simplicity. I was going for simple.  At my age, simple was imperative.  A few weeks later and we had our first appointment.

We made our way down to the studio.  A little red door on a downtown street.  Colourful art and sketches cover the wall of an old walk-up; aged wooden floorboards creaked beneath our feet; plaster ceilings and vintage crown moldings.  There was a park bench and an old tattoo chair adorning a tiny living room complete with sofa and coffee table. Directly across from the green micro-fibre sofa hung precariously from an old nail, a shrunken pirate head with ginger beard and eye patch.  Perfect.

We sat down with the artist in that room to go over our ideas for our tattoos.  She was a young woman, grey haired and sweet.  I saw no visible tattoos, however, just peeking out from under the hiked-up sleeve of her sweater I could see a black swirl like the wispy end of a tail.  Ah, there it is.

She asked questions.  Allayed our fears.  Calmed me down a bit.  We went through our ideas and she took the time to get to know exactly what we had in mind.

We chose daisies and asked the artist to do a sketch and send it to us just so we could imagine what it would look like permanently inked on our skin.

The day of the appointment arrived and Daughter picked me up.  She was so excited, how could I not be?  She went first.  Watching the tattoo artist was like watching somebody paint a picture while doing a bit of surgery at the same time.  There’s the whir of the instrument, the chatter of voices and the wincing of Daughter’s face.  She was so determined not to move, she made herself shake.  I asked Daughter what it felt like and she said it was like somebody scratching at your skin.  Nothing painful.  Huh.  That wincing face, though.

She was done in thirty minutes.  A quick change up for the room to be disinfected and cleaned up and it was my turn.  Ugh.  My brain started going into overdrive.  Was it too big, really?  Maybe she can scale it down to one daisy…then mine would be different than Daughter’s and that would defeat the purpose.  I was back in the room with the shrunken pirate head.  I think I heard him sneer at me, “Oh, whaddya ascared of a little tattoo?!  Pfft…sure if I had arms, I’d show ya all mine!  Dey were good’uns, they were.  All done by a sailor with a hook for a hand and a needle dipped in black ink.  Hehehe…good ol’ days, dey were.  A’course I may ‘ave been a wee bit over da limit wit da rum, if ya catch me drift….”  ‘Oh, my Gawd will ya shut it, pirate!  Can’t ya see I’m panicking here?!’    “Jasus, girl it’s only a bit o’ink.  Nuttin’ to git yer panties in a knot o’er.  An daisies at dat!  Pffft…wuss.  Well, if ye were on ma boat-“      ‘YOU DON’T HAVE A BODY LET ALONE A BOAT!   TOO BAD YOU STILL HAVE A MOUTH! KEEP TALKIN’ CAPTAIN JACK AND I’LL PITCH YOU OUT INTO THE HARBOUR! ’    “Take it easy, Missy!  Where’s me rum…”  ‘ NOW, you’re talkin’…..’

She came out to get me and we were off.

She attached the design to my lower leg first to make sure the placement was accurate and straight.  Then I hopped up on the table and she set to work.  I was on my side, so I was able to have a lovely view of the harbour while she worked.  I think she did that intentionally.  Smart girl.  Captain Jack was laughing it up out in the living room, I’m sure of it.   I asked her intelligent questions like “Has anyone passed out from this before?  Ever been accidently kicked or swatted while tattooing?  What’s the biggest tattoo you’ve ever done and how long did it take you?  Anybody ever vomit on your table?”

She answered my questions with a degree of concern making sure I wasn’t going to do any of those things to her.  Nope.  All good.  Except for that annoying scratching.  “That’s the tattoo.”  Oh.  Then I’m good.

It went well.  The tattoos look great.

I wonder what my next adventure will be…hmmm.

As for Captain Jack, I don’t think we’ll be seeing each other any time soon, although I thought I could hear a verse of  ‘Yo Ho Ho and A Bottle of Rum’ as we were walking out the door….

 

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A Few Words to Newfoundland and Labrador

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I wrote this piece a few years ago when the Powers That Be were deciding whether to relocate us (mainly Hubby, we could join him if we wanted to) to another province.  I wrote it because even though Newfoundland and Labrador isn’t my first home, the one I was born and raised into, the province where I spent my childhood or even my teenage or young adult years, I have grown to be a member of its community.  To be rooted in its existence; to be placed within its confines and be a responsible member of its society.  We are raising children into young contributing adults, who are attaining education and part-time jobs, building relationships and creating independent flourishing lives.  This latest budget is like a kick in the guts for all of the work we’ve put into creating a family rooted in a flailing province.  We feel like fools for putting our lives in the hands of politicians we trusted into moving the province forward, so our children could make lives for themselves here, and maybe not be forced out of its doors with their degrees in hand and goals thrown over Signal Hill.  We were wrong.  Now, with the encroaching end of University life for two of our ‘children’, we are egging them to move onwards and upwards, out of the province into which they have grown, out of the province they have called home for all of their lives.  Out to get better jobs, better lives and a chance at moving forward.  We may be going with them.  It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve contemplated jumping ship…or were asked politely to heave-ho.  This budget may be the kick in the arse we need to get there.

 We still love it here.  We still think Newfoundland and Labrador has a lot to offer, however, we are dismayed and broken- hearted over the debacle they call fiscal responsibility.  It’s not all of ‘them’.  We did this too.  Ugh.  So, do we jump into a plane and head Westward young man with our young adults to start anew, or do we stay and weather the storm that is this brutal budget?  Tough times, ahead my friends and the decision to stay or go will be made more visible as the cuts keep coming.  I can’t sit and pretend my head is not on the chopping block.  The cuts to services like mine are always the first to get the axe.  Vulnerable populations are swatted aside in the name of ‘fiscal restraint’ and are forced to deal with already difficult challenges made even more arduous due to our inability to put humanity first.  Compassion and human dignity are too expensive to support.  And so it goes.  I sit and wait to see where my fate will fall in the grand scheme of the government’s budget. 

Thank you, Newfoundland and Labrador for the past 22 years…    

From An Open Letter to Newfoundland and Labrador

“…I’ve had the privilege of living in a world where crime was on a much smaller scale, the children that my kids went to school with have become life-long friends no matter where on the island they live, and we have had family close by and far away, but never completely gone.  From Danny Williams’, our former Premier’s mouth, came the phrase “Newfoundlanders have an innate sense of responsibility for their communities” and I have witnessed this several times over.

  There seems to be a sort of communal outpouring of care for each other that is lacking in other provinces or even towns west of our shores.  Here in St. John’s, we live in a neighbourhood that embodies that spirit.  No child can walk down our street without the mother or father being friends with other mothers and fathers.  We make sure someone is home; we make sure there is an adult present and if there isn’t by some happenstance, we step in.  That’s called community, people.  Fundraising for playgrounds, for sports teams, for Girl Guides it’s all in a child’s life and my kids have done their share.  The understanding that family is the main portion of a child’s sense of self and giving that family the support it needs to sustain a life is an inherent part of being and living in Newfoundland.  The past year we have seen many challenges to that family life, with the provincial cuts and layoffs, however, I have also seen a spirit here that will surpass these pitfalls with the never-ending belief that their home is not away, it’s here.  Even if the jobs are scarce and the times are difficult, the young people forced out to look for work in other provinces, come back with a fervor that this is always ‘home’.  We have made friends here that have become part of our family.  We vacation together, live on the same streets, share the same worries and celebrate each other every chance we get.  There’s a foreboding that this could all somehow end.  That we could lose something or someone to change.  No matter where we end up, I will have my SLS family, my family in Central, my family now on the west coast and my mainland family.    

These provincial cuts have had a hand in our impending future.  Hubby’s job is tenuous at best and with the thought of another move forging its way onto our doorstep, I can’t help but be grateful for the past eighteen years here.  We have been able to raise our children in an environment free from abhorrent abuses of power, bullying, crime and rampant drug use.  Oh sure, all those issues are here, but we seemed to have escaped their reach.  The recent drive-by shooting has all residents appalled and angry that such violence has reached our rocky shores and so we should be appalled.  So we should be angry.  This isn’t indicative of the province I have come to know and admire.  This is what happens on the mainland, not here.  A mainlander I am and a mainlander I shall always be, but crime to this speaks of higher issues and greater responsibility.   Get ye home, b’y we don’t want this shit here.  We don’t want to be like everybody else.  We are unique. We are the home of quiet acceptance and hospitality.  Warm hugs and raucous kitchen parties. Tea and biscuits kind of people.  We are Newfoundland.  The only city I know of that when a TV show is shooting in any area of town, they broadcast the street closures on the radio and then the star of the show tweets his apologies for the inconvenience.  He’s sorry that you had to detour making you five minutes late for work.  He’s from the Goulds, Newfoundland.  “Innate sense of responsibility for his community”.  Yeah. 

That’s Newfoundland.

Thanks for the eighteen beautiful years.  I’m just looking for eighteen more….

God love ‘ya.”

 

The Leaves Are Not The Only Things Changing Colour

I’m still catching my breath from the epic win from the Liberals and the election of a new Prime Minister, that I haven’t had a chance to see fall in all its glory.  The leaves are starting to change from their lush green to their auburn and golden hues and I haven’t been out with my camera to take any pics.  I’ll see if I can do that on the weekend if it’s not pouring out of the heavens.  This is Newfoundland…hail, rain and sun all in an hour.  I took some photos a couple of weekends ago, but the leaves hadn’t changed yet, so not so glorious.

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It seems the times they are a’changin’ along with the leaves and I can’t help but feel a little hopeful.  I may not feel a direct sweeping affect from a new government, but the shininess and brightness that has injected itself into our parliament has left me all giddy and schoolgirl-ish.  Ooohhh…what will PM Trudeau do now?  The Americans have pointed out the young handsomeness that is now our Prime Minister and I’m not above pointing out the obvious, as well.  I texted the crowd and pointed out I was pretty damned happy that our Prime Minister was a handsome young guy that we could laud over the world as our new bright young star…it’s a great feeling to be proud of our Prime Minister.  I think we’ve been missing that for a long time. ‘Look at our intelligent handsome PM who is going to stand for the environment and change the way the world sees Canada’…that’s the sentiment and the hope that goes along with it.  Everybody is holding their breath and waiting in the wings, watching the young man shake hands and smile with the people.  Watching him slowly move back into 24 Sussex and get to work.

This is our new Prime Minister...I hear you applauding...yeah, I know.

This is our new Prime Minister…I hear you applauding…yeah, I know.

Let’s see if Justin can do it…Let’s see if he can fulfill his promises to make Canada good again.

“Just watch me” says the note that is now selling on Ebay.  The note he wrote in response to the question “Do you think you can beat Harper?”

Just watch me…

Oh, we are Mr. Trudeau….We definitely are….

An Open Love Letter To Newfoundland and Labrador

We moved to Newfoundland in 1994 from the burgeoning cottage country of Ontario with the expectations of a quieter and simpler lifestyle.  We were partially right.  In the spring of that year, Hubby had his first foray into contract policing.  This meant wearing a uniform and taking down drunks on a Friday night.  A far different cry than the busting down doors of drug dealers and grow operators in the outskirts of Toronto that he was used to.  A few months into his new job and he had a brand spanking new concussion and bruised shins to prove it.  My first impression of our new life in Newfoundland wasn’t going so well.

Our first winter found us locked down in our house with gale force winds, snow and ice knocking out power to the Avalon Penninsula for three days.  Pregnant with my second baby, we were taken in by fellow transplanted mainlanders who were in possession of a butane heater.  There we sat eating whatever came out of the freezer and sleeping on their floor.  We were warm and fed and in good company. 

The two further years we spent in the Bay Roberts area were speckled with a faltering monologue of false starts and growing pains.  Mostly by me.  Hubby grew up in central Newfoundland, used to its dialects and tones.  I had a difficult time translating my brother-in-law’s mumbled and unsettled vernacular into actual English.  My sister-in-law noticed my blank smile signaling my uncomprehending fugue.  She was happy to translate and obliged by saying “She don’t understand what you’re sayin’, b’y.  Slow down.”  

We were moved to the central part of the island in 1997 with two young girls in tow and a whole new perspective hitting us in the face.  We spent seven happy years getting reacquainted with Hubby’s family, weekends at the rocky shore and a part time job for me that permanently cemented me in the working mother category.  Two years into our stay in Central, our son was born.  Our family was complete.  We were a young family living an island life and raising our kids surrounded by family and a stable environment.  Not bad for a three to five year posting.  We were now into year five and no hint of any further relocations making the rounds.  We continued to stay for another four years watching our children grow and marveling at our son’s incomplete grasp of the English language.  His preferred linguistic style was strangely akin to Cantonese.  Just as he was regaling us with his new found singing ability and obvious hatred for anything to do with crayons, pencils or creative work, an impending move came knocking on our door and we were uprooted once again. 

This time, it was back to the mainland and we called New Brunswick home for eighteen short months.  As lovely as it was, our hearts belonged to Newfoundland and we were shuffled back on ‘home’ to St. John’s in 2005.

We’ve now been in St. John’s for eight years.  Our longest posting yet.  We have been faced with an impending decision regarding yet another move and it’s daunting and heartbreaking.  Our daughters, now grown into lovely young women will be in University full time in the fall.  Our son, now going into grade nine.  Our children have had the best of both worlds, living on different parts of the Island and getting the opportunity to taste life on the mainland albeit, a short lived taste. 

I’ve had the unique opportunity to be an outsider looking in.  I’m not a native Newfoundlander like Hubby and I had some time adjusting to living on an Island when were first relocated here many years ago.  I still remember the long nights waiting for Hubby to come home after his shift, my young babies not sleeping and both of us exhausted and trying to grab sleep when we could.  The late night phone calls from residents threatening suicide and Hubby on call having to talk him down from the virtual and sometimes tangible ledge.  The long days when we lived in Central and Hubby was gone chasing down ‘suspects’ and saying “I can’t tell you where we are or when we’ll be home.”  Good times. 

Those were the days I relied on family to help out.  Those were days when having people close by proved comforting. Like when D2 had pneumonia and had to stay in the hospital for a week, the nurse looking after her being my next door neighbor and her Nanny and my sister-in-law taking turns looking after my other daughter and son when Hubby had to be working and I had to be at D2’s side; or the birth of my son being witnessed by my sister-in-law and Hubby and a thousand other in-training nurses at the local hospital that was, unbeknownst to me, a training hospital; or having the guys working Christmas shift with Hubby come to the house Christmas eve as I sat wrapping Christmas presents and watching Die Hard and happily ladled coffee and Christmas cake into their mouths before sending them off once again into a cold night.  Yeah.

I’ve had the privilege of living in a world where crime was on a much smaller scale, the children that my kids went to school with have become life-long friends no matter where on the island they live, and we have had family close by and far away, but never completely gone.  From Danny Williams’, our former and most prolific Premier’s mouth, came the phrase “Newfoundlanders have an innate sense of responsibility for their communities” and I have witnessed this several times over.

  There seems to be a sort of communal outpouring of care for each other that is lacking in other provinces or even towns west of our shores.  Here in St. John’s, we live in a neighbourhood that embodies that spirit.  No child can walk down our street without the mother or father being friends with other mothers and fathers.  We make sure someone is home; we make sure there is an adult present and if there isn’t by some happenstance, we step in.  That’s called community, people.  Fundraising for playgrounds, for sports teams, for Girl Guides it’s all in a child’s life and my kids have done their share.  The understanding that family is the main portion of a child’s sense of self and giving that family the support it needs to sustain a life is an inherent part of being and living in Newfoundland.  The past year we have seen many challenges to that family life, with the provincial cuts and layoffs, however, I have also seen a spirit here that will surpass these pitfalls with the never-ending belief that their home is not away, it’s here.  Even if the jobs are scarce and the times are difficult, the young people forced out to look for work in other provinces, come back with a fervor that this is always ‘home’.  We have made friends here that have become part of our family.  We vacation together, live on the same streets, share the same worries and celebrate each other every chance we get.  There’s a foreboding that this could all somehow end.  That we could lose something or someone to change.  No matter where we end up, I will have my SLS family, my family in Central, my family now on the west coast and my mainland family.    

These provincial cuts have had a hand in our impending future.  Hubby’s job is tenuous at best and with the thought of another move forging its way onto our doorstep, I can’t help but be grateful for the past eighteen years here.  We have been able to raise our children in an environment free from abhorrent abuses of power, bullying, crime and rampant drug use.  Oh sure, all those issues are here, but we seemed to have escaped their reach.  The recent drive-by shooting has all residents appalled and angry that such violence has reached our rocky shores and so we should be appalled.  So we should be angry.  This isn’t indicative of the province I have come to know and admire.  This is what happens on the mainland, not here.  A mainlander I am and a mainlander I shall always be, but crime to this speaks of higher issues and greater responsibility.   Get ye home, b’y we don’t want this shit here.  We don’t want to be like everybody else.  We are unique. We are the home of quiet acceptance and hospitality.  Warm hugs and raucous kitchen parties. Tea and biscuits kind of people.  We are Newfoundland.  The only city I know of that when a TV show is shooting in any area of town, they broadcast the street closures on the radio and then the star of the show tweets his apologies for the inconvenience.  He’s sorry that you had to detour making you five minutes late for work.  He’s from the Goulds, Newfoundland.  “Innate sense of responsibility for his community”.  Yeah. 

That’s Newfoundland.

Thanks for the eighteen beautiful years.  I’m just looking for eighteen more….

God love ‘ya.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attack of The Crows

Current events in our city has prompted this drawing.  Crows are attacking innocent peeps in a terrifying Hitchockian manner!  Residents walking downtown minding their own business and totally not shouting or mocking the birds.  Observe:

A picture is worth a thousand words...or at least a few hundred

A picture is worth a thousand words…or at least a few hundred

Now you are officially informed.

Pray for us….or send slingshots.  At least that way we could charge admission to the public for their chance to play the game called “Scare The Crap out of the Crows” If someone actually hits one, they win a free bucket o’chicken.

Artwork by Kayjai