Mr. Bloggle Is Too Good.

My spam filter never finds anything interesting. I’ve never once been offered penile implants, larger breasts, or German midget porn.

I do get the occasional ad for amoxacillin, which gave me a rash when I was two years old, and online poker, which I don’t know how to play.

Excellent work, Gecko Bloggle.

Dazed and Confused.

My grandmother has Alzheimer’s. It’s been a long, depressing slide from ‘slightly forgetful’ to ‘incapacitated’, and it’s only going to get worse. While she doesn’t necessarily remember who I am, she still is capable of speech. It cheers her up to have someone to talk to, even though she cannot hold the thread of a conversation.

We go around in circles of conversation. Sone deeply ingrained part of her remembers the pleasantries, so we have a lot of “How are you doing, dear?” and “Wasn’t that nice?” kinds of questions. She hasn’t undergone the kind of personality changes yet that are often attendant on later-stage Alzheimer’s patients. She is still gentle, sweet, and slightly fey.

I try to cherish the conversations that we have, because there will come a time when the disease has her totally in its clutches, and she will have a vocabulary of under ten words, she may become incomprehensible, or utterly mute.

Today was a hard day. She seems to have lost the toy dog that sat on her bed. Then she was talking about ‘the funeral for that poor little doggie’. Of course, I don’t know if she lost him and imagined the funeral, mistook the stuffed dog for a real one, and assumed he was dead, or a combination thereof.

Yes. Today was a hard day.

Hair Apparent.

I guess I have kind of distinctive hair. Saturday morning, on the ferry to go to my uncle’s funeral, I was preparing to sit down with a couple of acquaintances I’d run into on the bus, when one of them gestured behind me. “Do you know those people?”

I turned around. My cousin Sandra was waving frantically at me from across the ferry. “I do!” I saw that she was with the American Cousins, and waved back.

“I totally recognized your hair!” Sandra exclaimed.

I put a hand to my head. “You did?”

“Yeah. I recognized that curl, there.” She touched the one that tends to corkscrew down the right side of my face. “And the way you flicked it, I KNEW it was you!”

I know I have pretty distinctive hair. Not everyone can have hair that seems to explode from her head, lucky for them. Furthermore, not many people have hair that can equally be described as blonde, red, or brown, depending on the light or the day. But to be recognized for my hair by a relative who hasn’t seen me in about eight months, from a distance of about eighty feet? That’s some hair I have here.

The rest of me isn’t so distinctive. On my mother’s side, the gene pool is kind of small, and I have features in common with most other blood relatives on my mother’s side.

I’m kind of proud of my distinctive hair.

Ratface

My cousin Ratface was the son of the town millionaire and had a chip on his shoulder about it. We played together when we were little kids, but when I lived at his house the summer I was seventeen, it was like living with someone from a different world.

His nickname around town was a rather un-funny pun on the word ‘coke’, because he did so much cocaine. He fought like a runty wolverine, as well. I can remember several black eyes. In the bar he was that little guy who just wouldn’t stay down, no matter how badly he got whipped.

Funny, it was my mother who pointed it out. Ratface is good with babies and old people. There was no one more solicitious with our grandmother, and no one as willing to play with the babies and toddlers of our cousins. All the anger he showed in daily life seemed to evaporate when he was interacting with the very young and the elderly.

He looks like he watches The Sopranos carefully, and then shops by internet for the clothes he sees. That said, there is still something about him that says ‘small town trying to be sophistocated’. He appears as bland and smooth as a salesperson, although one in expensive leather. But when someone under the age of two, or over the age of seventy is his focus of attention, he becomes solicitous, mild-mannered and sincere. Our aunt came up to give him a hug on Saturday and remarked how great it was that he had come. He leaned down to her and said, “I always like seeing you.” And the thing is, he does.

He drove almost 600 miles to be there. Well done, Ratface.

Putting The Fun Back In Funeral.

Yes, I went to another funeral this weekend. My uncle died on December 30. So yesterday the family trekked to Nanaimo and said our goodbyes. In some ways, it was a nice service. It was retty well attended, and some nice things were said about my uncle. However, in some ways, it was not so much to my taste.

I have more notes for my own funeral.

No one is allowed to stand up there and explain bible quotations. Dude, it’s “To every thing there is a season.” I get it, okay?

People may make speeches praising me, but they are not allowed to exceed two minutes in length, each. No boring windbags, no elaborate setups for weak jokes, and, for God’s sake, no getting the names of my relatives wrong, or mispronouncing my own name. Sheesh.

No bagpipes inside smallish spaces. The bagpipes were an instrument created to strike fear into the hearts of seasoned warriors. Do not assault the ears of the mourners by playing the pipes in a small chapel where the sound cannot escape. Too scary.

No ugly flower arrangements. Yellow marguerite daisies, orange gerberas, red carnations and a few irises for height? Are you high? I’m dead, but I haven’t lost my aesthetic sense!

However, you may all wear outlandish hats, should you choose.

Buying Valentines Cards.

I should like this yearly ritual, right? The chance to show E my feelings, on paper, there for all to see. If they came into our house and read the cards, that is. A symbol of the depths of my feelings for him, right?

So very wrong.

I should take some Gravol before I go card-shoping, because the sentiments expressed in the cards tend to make me bilious. Even seeing that wall of red-and-pink madness makes my blood pressure rise. I don’t like it. It makes me uncomfortable and irritable, like wearing a wool sweater that’s a little too small, or knowing I could have done better on a test if I’d studied more. Squirmy. That’s it. The cards make me squirmy.

There’s too much flowing script, for one thing. And a lot of it’s pink and says things like, “Until there was you, I didn’t know the meaning of true happiness.” Hello, Codependent Relationship! I would NOT want to date the person giving a card like that. The giver of that card calls their husband Hubbie and calls him seven times a day “To see if you’re thinking about me.” Erm, no. He’s at work, honey.

For another, the poetry is deeply awful. I’d prefer Wordsworth, and that’s saying something. There’s never anything resembling a clever rhyme scheme, and the meter is invariably bumpy, so that the writer can fit in gems like: “Loving you means so much to me/Your face is in my dreams nightly.” Now, I did date a guy who used to buy rhyming cards (And underline the parts he REALLY meant with red pen and a ruler), but everybody makes mistakes, right?

The designs on the cards themselves are heavily involved in hearts and flowers and the blue bird of happiness, except for the ‘risque’ ones that mention S-E-X, and have cartoons on them.The cartoons usually have fat men waggling their eyebrows. It’s not sexy and it’s not funny, it’s just creepy. Most cards are pastel-coloured, or have lace and glitter on them. Is there some preschool sweatshop where little kids are being forced to glue glitter to cards for six cents an hour? It wouldn’t surprise me.

The problem is, none of these cards accurately reflect my relationship, which consists largely of fart jokes and arguing about who has to have the first shower. If the blue bird of happiness ever came to our house, it would probably just poop on things.

I Don’t Think You’re Ready For This Jelly.

So, Sunday night, I go to grab E at The Fringe and head on home for some quiet before the weekday starts. People are idly chatting and watching the Grammys with the sound off. Nigel has a mixed CD on while we gossip abut the acts and the clothes on the TV.

The song on the stereo changes. It’s a remix some DJ did of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Bootylicious”. How could I not love a song called “Smells Like Booty”? I start moving in time to the music.

I see Amrys out of the corner of my eye. She’s moving as well. Amrys is gorgeous, but she’s never going to be a supermodel. She is a fencer (epees, not stolen goods) who is compact and muscular, and as curvaceous as anything. She’s also a lot of fun.

We catch each other’s eyes and begin lip-synching to the Beyonce side of things, as well as headbanging to the Nirvana side. The hips start shimmying, the air guitar starts getting a workout. The embarassment is more than worth the fun.

We sink into the delicious shame of being in a room full of people, lip-synching and posturing to one another. I’m sliding off my stool, she’s out of her seat. Probably we look completely ridiculous to anyone looking at us, but it doesn’t matter. We are a living parody of the wriggling bodies on the TV screen. Our faces contort as we pretend to feel Beyonce’s disdain, our heads doing that back-and-forth thing, our hands springing up for the most obvious guitar parts of “Teen Spirit”. We end in a crashing crescendo of soulful faces and flailing guitar hands.

We are totally stupid-looking, and we are having more fun than anyone else in the bar.

Lion Dance.

I’m in The Bay, taking a shortcut to the skytrain. I’ve just spent too much money on a new phone, as mine broke two months after the warranty ran out. I’m pretty much trying for zen state. So what if the new phone is pink? I can handle it. So what if it’s kind of lame in terms of screensavers? I’m okay with that. The main thing is that my students and work can contact me. That’s the big thing, right?

The first crash of the drums shakes me out of my reverie. I look up into a sea of red and orange and gold. There are two teenaged girls in red shirts, drumming. There are two lions as well. I can see the kids underneath them swooping up and then down again, prancing from side to side and shaking the lions’ heads proudly. The kids are wearing shaggy gold and red chaps so that the ‘legs’ match the rest of each lion. They’re beautiful.

I watch as a man coaxes a little girl from the growing crowd. He hands her a cabbage ands tells her to hold it out for the lion. The lion prances close, the kid inside swooping the head so that the little girl blinks and looks to her mother for reassurance. Emboldened, she thrusts out her hands, and the kid at the front of the lion deftly grabs the cabbage from her. She beams from ear to ear, and I am close to tears for reasons I cannot fathom.

Then I stop seeing the kids inside the suits. There are mythical creatures here in front of me, right in this store! Up close to one lion, I appreciate the magic of the mythology. The lion’s eyebrow, framing his bulging, crazy eye, is arched at an angle that is both villainous and flirtatious. I find myself moving back from this unknown creature, as though giving it space to get by me.

Gradually, the lions dance through the crowd, leaping and crouching, shaking their heads as though to disperse demons from their ears.

They head out into the mall and I am on my way, the experience conquering even my new-phone funk.

Seven Habits.

So it turns out one of my adult students is a devotee of that ‘Seven Habits’ system. You know, the one where you become highly effective? Yeah. Not sure how I feel about that.

Yun has explained the system to me in great detail, and I have to say, it sounds like a pretty cohesive plan for getting what you want from life. However, there’s still the sardonic, Urban Despair Child inside of me, snarling, “Fuck off, with you and your system! No one’s gonna tell ME what to do!” So I’m conflicted.

My only previous exposure to this system was when an ex of mine had to read it for work. I am not sure why. He worked at a printing press, where it behooved everyone, top-on-down, for the workers to be as INeffective as possible. Anyhow, he read it, became a devoted Coveyite, and I lost respect for him. Later, he became a drug addict, but I’m not sure if that’s related to the book or not.

So while I recognize that Mr. Covey has established a cult good way to organize and apportion one’s time, and while his system seems to make sense, I am not sure I am willing to follow the path and join the cult highly effective people.

Observations On Outside.

For two nights running (Whoo, what a streak!) I have actually gone out into the world, and interacted with people! Not all of them were barfing or peeing strangers. In fact, most of my time outside was quite pleasant, and entirely free of bodily fluids. It did not distress me in the least to be away from the imaginary people inside my computer.

Sunday was pretty fun, as it was a birthday party at Arwen’s. Now, she comments on my blog, but I know she is a real person, because, duh, I was at her house. There are other people who comment here whom I have seen in the flesh, so I can conclude that they are not imaginary. Obviously, because they cannot fit inside my computer.

Last night I went and interacted with actual people. They are not in my computer either(Too big for the computer).

I must say, being outside was exhilarating, and so immediate. Better than MSN, I swear. I ddin’t have to press ‘enter’ or ‘send’. I just said some stuff, and then they said some stuff, and before you know it, easy as pie, we were having conversations! It was really interesting to talk to real people.

You may ask how I know many of my computer friends are imaginary. Well, think about it: On one of the boards I frequent, I am buddies with people called “Princess Layabout” and “Lumpy” and “Mrs. Magic”. What mother would name her child like that? Obviously, they are imaginary. I can also tell because they are inside my computer, and therefore are very small.

So, to conclude: Outside is fun and there are real people out there. There is a low probability, overall, that you will interact with other peoples’ bodily fluids. However, in my computer are some lovely imaginary friends, and almost no chance of encountering barf or pee (Unless you want that kind of thing, in which case you can google it).

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