Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Bucket List (In Links)

Things I Crossed Off My Bucket List in 2013

1. Wrote Book
2. Candlelight dinner for one
3. Smaller than the Mall of America, but still worth a  detour
4. Oh What Fun, It Is To Ride
5. Hi Amy, It's Mits
6. Chenoy's Smoked Meat Poutine

Things I Keep Crossing Off My Bucket List But They Do Not Appear to Be Taking The Hint

1. The Walk
2. November
3. Rome
4. 1.64 kg of Sunflower Seeds?

Applicants for 2014 Bucket List

1. Under-rated Quebec tourist location
2. Still Looking for Literary Agent
3. On Second Thought, More of a 2015

Friday, 20 December 2013

And You Must Be the Muslim Guy Who Likes the Easter Bunny

Family breakfast at the High School.

Gymnasium filled with festive parents, teenage children, pancakes, santa hats and hot coffee.

G's friend walks in with parents and sit at table next to us.

Lukewarm greetings exchanged.

It's 7:33am and kids are eating dessert the orange ice cream wasn't half bad which was clearly inappropriate and I absolutely did not put a mini candy cane in my purse for later.

Mom of G's friend taps me on the shoulder.

I'm so sorry that I didn't say hi to you more enthusiastically before. I have a very hard time recognizing faces, and I didn't realize that I knew you at first. My husband just told me you were G's mom, and I was like OMG I should have been way friendlier.

You have trouble recognizing faces? That's fascinating.

Oh, I guess you didn't hear. I had a traumatic brain injury three years ago.  Broke bones, suffered greatly, spare you the details.

Wow. That is amazing.  You look fabulous.  And the deficit you are left with is a lack of facial recognition?  Good for you.

Well actually I have many other deficits. I have trouble with short term memory for example.

Anyway, nice to see you again and I'll let you get back to your fruit salad.

Daughter T jumps up and tells me she would like more whipped cream on her hot chocolate she would like some more flax seed toast.

Lady looks at T and says.

Wait a minute I remember you.  You guys were at the school craft fair last year.  You bought a lot of stocking stuffers.

Yup, that's us! We were totally at the craft fair last year! We had a blast!

And you're Jewish.  I remember you perfectly!  You're the Jews that like Christmas!

Things Left Unsaid:

1. Yes. We are the only Jews that like Christmas.

2. You are welcome. Without Jews, there would be no Christmas.

3. Let me get this straight. You have a facial recognition issue, short term memory loss, yet you not only remember us but remember that we circumcise our boys when they are eight days old and eat unleavened bread for a coupla days in April? That's some kind of rehabilitation centre you went to.

4. We love Christmas and we also love bacon. You going to finish that?

Friday, 13 December 2013

See? You Can't Suck and Blow At The Same Time After All

Watching Say Yes to the Dress with my homies and on comes a commercial for markers that attach to as battery powered blower.  On TV this produces an airbrushing effect.

When piled in my basement on top of a Barbie dream house but under Pixar Monopoly it just contributes to global warming.

You think you have A Story, says H.  Listen to what happened to me.

Saw these blowy markers on TV.

Had To Have Them.

Battery powered airbrush worked perfectly.

Markers sucked.

Company name and number on side of box.

We are so sorry to hear this ma'am, we will send you new markers right away.

Three days later new markers arrive.

Battery powered airbrush still worked perfectly.

New markers dried out even faster than original pack.

Possible Complaint Lessons:

1.  When markers show you who they are the first time believe  them.

2.  Great customer service is not a substitute for poor product quality.

3.  People who watch bridal dress shows should stick to their knitting because we are obviously not great at picking toys.

4. Who needs airbrushing when you have a Rainbow Loom

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

It's like Netflix but for Magazines

Friend at work has brought a lot of joy to my life and once she even brought me a David's Tea.

Tells me that there is an unbelievable new app that gives you unlimited access to over 100 magazines for the flat rate of $14.99 a month.

They are currently offering a 60 day free trial.

Sounds too good to be true but I'll bite.

Download the app.

Enter your name and password.

I try a million possible combinations, nothing works.

Google Next Issue.

Oh I had to register.

Makes sense.

Input all the relevant info including my credit card.

Go onto app.

Still not working. Fall asleep unfulfilled.

6:52am roll over and grab iPad leap out of bed.

Go back to registration page.

Look at the email address I entered.  Oh no I didn't.

Instead of amyfish I entered amtfish.

This app is fabulous in every way except one.  They don't send you an email to validate that the info you (I) gave them is correct.

They also don't have a mechanism to change your email address once you've entered it.

So now this fabulous app is attached - with my credit card - to an incorrect email address.

And some lucky woman named amtfish is going to be reading all about this season's shoes while I am left in the dust with back issues of National Geographic.

Hey wait a second.  Maybe Ms amtfish isn't as smart as we think.  Maybe she is one of the eleven people left on earth who doesn't yet have a gmail account.

I will get the amtfish email address so that I can access my Next Issue account.

Great news.

Plan worked.

I love the app and don't want to lose it so I need you to work with me on this.

So if anyone asks my name is amt.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Day Thirty One

Uh, Amy.

30 days hath November.

I know.  But guess why we are here.  It's my cousin Brookie's birthday.  Brookie the fashionista who laughs at all my jokes, loves my kids like they were her own and truly has a heart of gold. I couldn't let her b-day go by without a good ol fashioned complaint department shout out.


That's it? One cousin with one birthday? 


It's also E's birthday.  E is a real true friend who has seen me through some very dark moments and if I needed someone in the middle of the night, E is my girl.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY E!!!!! Thank you for always being there!!!

Now are we back to our regularly scheduled programming?

Not yet.

We have a best friend who turned 9 today, S.  S is a life-of-the-party, lampshade-on-your-head kind of a girl who is always up for a good time.  Hope to celebrate many many many more birthdays, Halloweens, and other happy occasions together!


Saturday, 30 November 2013

Day Thirty (Woo-Hoo!)

Today is my cousin David's birthday.

The key things to know about David are:

1. When he was a teenager his wallpaper was the map of the world and my sister and I thought it was the coolest thing ever.

2. He has always had the most amazing record collection and makes a great mix tape

3. He has never, to my knowledge, met a tuna sandwich he didn't like

4. He lives in a town called Tedburn St. Mary in Devon, England, where there are only two pubs, and the one you choose to drink at defines you - sort of like the Bloods and the Crips.


Q: So, Amy we have spent the entire month together and all you want to do is drone on and on about your boring cousins and their boring birthdays.  Who cares about wallpaper in Thornhill circa 1978?

A: You have a point. But on the other hand, if I didn't have cousins and they didn't have birthdays, I don't know that we could have made it through NaBloPoMo by the skin of our teeth with the facility and aplomb that we did.

Q: We want to know what your reflections are on this month of blogging.  Because we read them all, and to tell you the truth, they weren't all funny.

A: First of all thank you for reading them all. Your loyalty means the world to me.  I have a few reflections. Mainly, I am relieved that it's over, it was a lot of pressure.  Second, while it was a fun challenge and I'm happy I accomplished it, I am not sure that from a quality point of you there was anything great. I sort of feel like its the same number of good ones that we always see with an above average amount of blah blah blah below average material.

Q: I sent you some ideas and you didn't write about them
A: Thank you - really, I need all the help I can get.  Your stories are coming soon, don't worry.

Q:What is next for you, Amy?
A: I have big, big plans. La Petite Vie DVD Boxed Set.  Canada Reads finalists reading list.  And of course, I am sure a cousin somewhere will have a birthday I will have to attend.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Day Twenty Nine

Things that did not happen at this year's family gift exchange:

1.  No one started eating their gift immediately

2.  No one ran out of the room crying

3.  No one hid their gift so that it couldn't be stolen in the gift exchange auction

4.  No one tried to pass off a box of chocolates past its expiry date

5.  No one visibly re-gifted

All in all a huge success.

Hope all your holidays are equally happy and bright.


My Holiday Stats:

1. Candle time is over

2.  We are 29/30 for NaBloPoMo

3.  3/8 for Hannukah

4.  I am working Christmas week

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Day Twenty Eight

First night of Hannukah gave each kid a pair of ultra insulated gloves.


12 year old G walks out the door on this freezing morning.

Hands bare.

Where are your gloves?

Gestures to backpack.

Oh good.

Your textbooks will be warm and toasty.

Wonder what the math workbook will do with the socks I am giving him tonight.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Day Twenty Seven

New York City, 2004.

I have two boys, 5 and 3.

Take them to the Toys R Us in Times Square.  It has a Ferris wheel.

Guys, you can each choose one toy, anything you want in the whole store.

Husband looks at me like I need a lobotomy with love and sunshine in his heart and says what the f did you just do oh sweetie you are so generous and kind.

Don't worry I reassure him.

Watch this.

One kid took a Spider-Man keychain.

The other a pack of Pokemon cards.

No one asked for the giant stuffed gorilla or the Star Wars Lego extravaganza.

How did I know it would work?

Because I think the vast majority of the time it's the little things that make us the happiest.

So, on this eve of Hannukah and Thanksgiving, let's remember to appreciate all the small things that give us the greatest happiness.

(Plus, as my grandma used to say, the smallest blue boxes contain the best gifts.)

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Day Twenty Six

You know that thing about how after you meet someone you see them everywhere? Or after you hear about a restaurant suddenly everyone's eating there?

Phone rings again yesterday.

Hello, Amy.


I was at your talk Tuesday night.

(Who wasn't)

When I walked out, Shirley told me Who You Were.  I shouldn't admit this, I'm so old fashioned, it didn't occur to me that Fish was your maiden name.

(What's a maiden name?)

Anyway, I must tell you that my ex-husband usd to be business partners with blah blah who went to law school with your father.  It was such a coincidence, I just had to call!


And your mother used to go out with blah blah blah when she was sixteen?

Yeah that's true actually.

At that time, I was a friend of his brother.

Really? So you are practically my sister

Also, Your aunt is a contemporary of mine.  There are so many connections, I just had to call!

Yes I can see why you were compelled.  Tell me, by any chance did you recently enter a contest for free movie passes?

Monday, 25 November 2013

Day Twenty Five

Hi Amy I'm not sure if you remember me but I was at your talk last Tuesday night?


I entered an online contest for free movie tickets and I couldn't-

Let me stop you right there Ma'am.  I am unable to help people with their individual complaints.  I sometimes speak to over 100 people in a week and I'm sure you understand -

I don't need your help with the complaint.  I need your help figuring out what to write, who to complain to and where to send it.

(Yes.  We can see where this is completely different than needing my help with the complaint.)

Let me understand this.  You found an online contest for movie tickets?


And the contest is local, here in Montreal?


And you found out about my free talk on Tuesday night?

Well, yes.

You were able to figure out my office number so you knew where to call me?

It appears so, yes.

But when it came to complaining you were completely stumped.

Yes, I suppose I was.


Somehow I have a feeling you can work this out too.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Day Twenty Four

Today's my sisters birthday,
I wish her all the best.

We had a chance to celebrate this morning
Before I did my Hannukah shopping.

Yes this year was beyond last minute.
(Didn't even have a chance to pin it.)

I only went mildly over budget and I'm almost done
Plus I have an idea for the second to last one.

Also I went to Canadian tar-jay
It's fine but not as good as the USA.

Cooked supper in the crockpot
But completely forgot

To turn it on till four twenty nine
So tomorrow we will dine

On southwestern chicken tacos
I'll let you know how it goes.

So that's my stream of consciousness for tonight
Got to go do Candlelight

Oh that's right it's candle time
Perfect way to end this rhyme.


Saturday, 23 November 2013

Day Twenty Three

Poll results are in.

The question was What Book Should I Write Next?

The answer you gave me was:

29 Tips for Dealing With Difficult People (14 votes)

Next came Jewish Family Puts Quebec on the Menu (13)

The next two: A Mystery Novel and Complaints Treated and Lessons Learned got a very sad 3 votes each, except that my sister, who didn't vote in the poll, gave me her vote at the hockey arena, and she voted for Complaints Treated so it slid into third place on a technicality.

I didn't commit to following your advice, as you may have noticed, I was just kind of curious what you guys were thinking.

Then I sort of wondered if the numbers would be reflective since some people voted twice (yes I'm looking at you) and the vast majority of you didn't vote at all.

Amazingly, the votes exactly mirrored what is happening on my computer.

I am six tips into the 29, so chances are high that that will be the next one off my production line.

The first essay of the Quebec series has already been accepted for publication (and yes of course I will post a link as soon as it's up) so that is sort of inching along.

And the other two are just ideas that I am marinating with.

How cool is it that the poll exactly reflected the reality of my work.

Now I know how eBay feels.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Day Twenty Two

Fifty years ago today, President Kennedy was shot, may he rest in peace.

My Mom loved Kennedy and considered Jackie O a personal friend.  And that John-John! She used to say.  The look on his face!

That didn't end well.  We all know that John-John also died tragically way too young, and poor Carolyn really didn't-

Oh my gosh, Amy, How Depressing Can You Be.  Dead President, Dead Son of President and your mother in one fell swoop.  Don't you have a cousin or something that has a birthday today?

Actually, I do.  Thank you so much for asking.

Today is my cousin Henry the Actor's birthday.  He lives in New York City.

Really? Have I seen him in anything?

That is a very stupid question (and I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings).

Today's Complaint is about you.

Reasons Why This is a Stupid Question (and whoever said there is no such thing as a stupid question has not yet walked a mile in my shoes)

1. I have no idea what you have and haven't seen. How would I know if you have seen my cousin?

2. There is a huge theatre industry in New York City. All these shows are populated with working actors. Obviously, you don't know the names of all the actors in all the shows in all the theatres so there is no possible way you would know my cousin by name even if you had given his show a standing ovation even moments before.

3. Some people think that the only way to be a successful actor is either to be wildly famous or to be one of the twelve actors constantly on rotation through Law and Order re-runs.  I disagree. I think the way to be successful actor is to act.

The way to be an unsuccessful actor is to have dreams of being an actor but actually become an accountant.  (Now that's depressing).


Thursday, 21 November 2013

Day Twenty One

Today is my brother in law's birthday.

Do I have a huge family or all they all born in November?

Probably a bit of both.

My complaint today is that I am experiencing technical difficulties.

First I dropped my phone in the toilet at work in a very sanitary lake of Evian water.  I wiped it off and it appears unscathed but it has left my home charger at the altar.  Romance with car/work cable still going strong.

Home computer not recognizing home wi-fi.  Repeated attempts at re- booting and re-introduction not working.  Plus we'd rather watch Boardwalk Empire.

That's why the good lord invented the iPad.

Remember when holding the Internet in your hand seemed like a miracle?

Now the miracle is if you can go an evening without holding the Internet in your hand.

Hope to Christ (What? Didn't you read yesterday's blog? It's all about the son this week) I can post this thing and not drop my twenty one day streak.


Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Day Twenty

Sales Guy comes to see my Husband (who is also a Sales Guy) to sell him something.

During Sales Guy small talk, SG says to Husband: Good friend of mine - we used to work together - was doing financial planning.

Transferred my entire portfolio to him.

Coupla weeks later, get letter from finance company.

Used to be charging you 1.6% management fee, effective immediately, fee is 1.87%

Steam was comin out my ears, Sales Guy says.

No sooner did I rip the envelope open, then my phone was ringin.  Financial planning friend on the blower.  No g-ddam way am I answerin that piece of scrap.  He shoulda told me what was up FIRST not after I got some g-dam letter.

Very long game of phone tag ensues, during which Sales is getting angrier and angrier.

Finally, Sales can't ignore his friend any longer.

Picks up the phone and I let him have it.

If you were going to increase my fee, you shoulda had the calls to tell me yourself.  Why do I gotta find out in the mail that YOU, MY FRIEND are making me bend -

Financial interrupts.  Why d'ya think I've been tryin to get in touch with you this whole time.  You got the letter by MISTAKE.  Secretary, nice set a cans, by the way, called in sick Tuesday.  Something about her cat pukin on the rug.  New girl, a little on the scrawny side, shows up, chewin her gum and actin like she owns the place. Sent out the 1.87 letters to the 1.6's.

Lemme get .this straight.  You were trying to call me to say the letter was a mistake. And I was  ignoring you completely.



Member the old office? There was that poster in the photocopy room, with the sand and the footprints?

Near the Irish Cream Creamer and the Dad's Cookies? Yeah, I know it.

Maybe Jesus was carrying me after all.  And I missed the whole thing, cause I didn't call him back.

Complaint Tie Ins:

1. Don't give your money to your friends to invest
2. Sick days are not for cats
3. Sometimes we jump to conclusions and we are wrong
4. Sometimes inspirational posters can actually be inspirational
5. Even people who don't necessarily believe in Jesus can sometimes be convinced

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Day Nineteen

First of all, now that we have been together nineteen days I have to tell you that I have absolutely no instinct for what makes a blog post work.

I thought the mayor one was great, and really, I don't think most of you cared either way (shout out to my loyal commenter V who did voice a controversial opinion).

I thought the birthday thing was borderline boring and everyone else seemed thrilled

All that to say, I'm happy I asked you what you think of the book thing because I would hate to work my fingers to the bone spend a couple of mornings throwing a few things together and ultimately produce something that while brilliant from a literary perspective actually bored you to tears.

Although, I can't say with any certainty that I will follow your advice, here's where we stand so far.


Poll Complaints:

1. Close to 1000 views and 24 votes.  Someone put my picture on a window and call Olivia Pope.

2. The book that will require the most research and actual work appears to be leading

3. The book that I have actually started writing appears to be coming in second

4. I want to write them all and I just don't have time

5. It looks like I said I would leave it up for two more days so what the H

6. Some people have admitted to voting twice so I actually have less than 24 votes

7. I don't know what happened to this font but I don't have the patience to fix it

Monday, 18 November 2013

Day Eighteen

Today we jump on the soapbox and discuss Rob Ford, Toronto Mayor.

He was caught on video smoking crack.

Which he denied.

He was rip-roaring drunk at the time.

Which he admitted.

He was accused of cheating on his wife.

Who looks like a helpless victimized victim.

(Victimized victim?

You can do better than that Amy.

Hey, cut me a break, it's Day 18).

This is setting a terrible example for our kids.

I agree.  A Mayor smoking crack, drinking excessively and eating Who Knows What - that is just terrible for our kids to see.

You see? You are setting a terrible example for the kids.

Me? I never even inhaled.

No. I don't mean by doing drugs or drinking.  I mean by vilifying this poor sick guy. By beating him when he is down.  By making fun of him mercilessly and publicly mocking him.  By showing him absolutely no compassion.

If your kid did that on the school bus, you would be called to the Vice Principal's office faster than you can say In School Suspension.

How can you possibly blame me? Everyone is laughing at this slob.  Late night guys. Radio hosts.  Even my barista got in on the act .  All I did was laugh at all of their jokes.


We took a look at this guy who clearly had made some completely idiotic, sick and irrational bad decisions and instead of throwing him a life raft, we threw him to the wolves.

Too bad.

I think he could have really used our help.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Day Seventeen

A few weeks ago someone in my writers group said Oh You have Writers Block? I'm really jealous.  That means you are a real writer.

Complaints About This Statement:

1. Of all the things to be jealous about me, I am surprised that Writers Block is your first choice
2.  When I was trying blog posts and deleting them this aft, the last thing I felt like was a real writer
3.  Proof that you are a real writer to me is that you really write, not that you get blocked
4. I use the term writers group very loosely to describe a few people from a writing workshop I took who meet monthly at the library
5. I use the term my writers group even more loosely because I've only shown up twice in six months and neither time did I submit anything for review

Poll results coming tomorrow and I have to warn you they have taken a surprising turn.

Also today is my Aunt's  birthday and she had her daughter on her birthday which is cool because my Uncle's birthday is the same as his mother's birthday and well I think we covered the rest of the story yesterday...


Saturday, 16 November 2013

Day Sixteen

Today is my Dad's birthday.

It's also my cousin's birthday which we always thought was cool but come to think of it if you know more than 365 people, there are going to be birthday duplicates.

Also, on my mother's side, my grandmother was born on March 17, she had her son on March 17 and I had my daughter on March 17 so T is the third generation St. Patrick's Day baby in a family of Eastern European Jews.  (A little green beer will wash that gefilte fish right down.)

Since the NaBloPoMo people have not yet discovered the month of March I think I am OK telling you this story today.

I have only met one person who had the same birthday as me and it was at a party when I was a lifeguard at day camp.  I didn't believe him, so I made him take out his driver's license and show it to me.  I hear he is now an accountant.

When I was desperately shrieking at the doctors to take this baby out of me B was about to be born, the C section was scheduled for April 1 and my Husband worried about having a kid born on April Fool's Day. Turns out it was a perfect match between person and birthday.

And then when T was about to be born, her C section was scheduled for April 5, my middle son G's birthday and then the doctor said he doesn't deliver siblings on the same day as a matter of principle.  She ended up being born early on March 17 and this story has now come full circle.

Birthday Complaint:

1. People complain about sharing their birthdays with friends, siblings, parents and Christmas but a certain amount of coincidence is necessary just based on the limited number of days available in a year


Friday, 15 November 2013

Day Fifteen

The NaBloPoMo people, who invented the blog every day for the month of November project, encourage you to mix things up throughout the month.  If you always show photographs, post a video.

If video is your thing post a recipe.


So in the spirit of co-operation, let's try a poll.

Look to your right.

But first.

I have to tell you that I informally validated the poll among a handful of friends, and they all voted the same way.

(Which I guess doesn't really validate the poll)

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Day Fourteen

Just got home from giving speech.

Had my first heckler.

Asked if this was some sort of a game.

Asked if I was wearing purple by coincidence.

Asked if we were just going to have to listen to my stories ALL night.

Asked why I couldn't just get to the point.

Left indignantly when I was mid sentence.

Reasons This Was Good News:

1.  32 years ago today I was called to the Torah as a Bat Mitzvah.  Celebrated the occasion with another rite of passage.

2.  Have limited experience handling disgruntled audience members and must build skill if want to continue to speak to wide range of audiences

3.  Gave audience something not related to crack or hijabs to talk about over coffee and pastries

4.  Hey, it's Day Fourteen. I would get run over by a bus if I thought that would generate decent content.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Day Thirteen

Husband bought new phone.

(I use the term phone loosely.  If an iPad and an elephant had a baby, it would be this phone.  It's huge.)

Screen froze.

Returned phone, got new one.

Screen froze.

Called provider back.

Just got second giant tablet computer you are passing off as a phone, screen froze.

I am so sorry to hear that sir.  We have been having problems with this hippopotamus-Escalade hybrid phone.  Let me put you on hold while I find someone who could help.

Hello, sir?  Your phone has a fourteen day replacement guarantee.  You bought it fifteen days ago. So there is absolutely nothing we can do.

Are you serious?

Yes sir. Fourteen days elapsed yesterday sir.  Today is the fifteenth day.  You are a day late sir.  Is there anything else we can help you with.

Husband said no thank you and called the guy who sold him the phone in the first place.  The guy who enrolled him in the plan that includes more than six different business numbers.

Guy said you have a fourteen day replacement guarantee that expired yesterday.  You are twelve hours too late.

But No Problem.  We can absolutely replace your jumbotron phone.

Our pleasure.

1. Guy read yesterday's blog and was guilted into phone replacement
2. Phone companies completely inconsistent and unreliable
3. Small phones, small problems.  Big phones, big problems.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Day Twelve

N drives across border for weekend getaway.

Turns off data on phone to avoid unnecessary charges.

Returns from weekend getaway.

Turns data back on.

Three emails.

One from Phone Company saying Welcome to the US.

One from Phone Company saying Welcome Home from the US.

One from Phone Company saying you owe us $18.37 for the two e-mails you received while in the US.

N calls Phone Company.

1. My data was turned Off
2. The e-mails were from You
3. One of the e-mails was from when I crossed BACK into Canada, read it yourself

Phone Company says.

1. Thank you for calling Ma'am how may I help you today.
2. It says here you received two e-mails which used 600 MB of data so you owe us $18.37 Ma'am
3. I don't believe you that your data was turned off
4. No I can't think of any explanation as to why the only e-mails you were able to receive were from us
5. No I'm sorry there's nothing we can do about it.
6. Is there anything else I can help you with today.

N hangs up.

Calls Phone Company again.

Someone else answers the phone.

Re-explains absurdity of situation.  You sent me e-mails when my data was turned off, and then charged me for reading them a few days later when I was back in Canada with my data turned back ON.

Second Phone Company Person says.

1. Thank you for calling Ma'am how may I help you today.
2. I'm so sorry you are completely right.
3. I will cancel the charges immediately Ma'am.
4. Is there anything else I can help you with today.

Lessons Learned 
1. Phone companies are notoriously difficult to deal with and I am bringing you another example tomorrow
2. If something is ridiculously unfair you need to complain about it
3. If you aren't getting anywhere, feel free to hang up and try again. These call centres are huge and you might get lucky the second, third or fourth time
4. If you are NaBloPoMo'ing (blogging every day in November), you need a friend like N who gives the best story ideas

Monday, 11 November 2013

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Day Ten

Who wants to play Scrabble?

Me! Me! Me!

Great.  You get the Scrabble board, you get the cookbooks.

Maybe you misheard me.

I want to play Scrabble not make a blueberry bundt cake.

(Although that sounds good too).

Amy you know we celebrate Shabbat.  We can play Scrabble but we don't write. We keep score with cookbooks.

Everyone keeps a cookbook on their lap.  You put a slip of paper on the page corresponding to the number of points you have.  For example, AWAY, quinoa with roasted apple and pine nuts.   CHAIN, beef with a horseradish crust.

Brillliant and very practical.  Board game scorage and meal planning.

How come Oprah didn't tell us about this when she went to the Hassidic home in Brooklyn?

Guess they must have played Pinochle.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Day Nine

Parked in neighbourhood with old fashioned parking meters.

Have no change.

Hey is that E's mother walking down the street?

Hi Mrs E do you have a quarter?

Sure.  Go into my purse and open my wallet?

Just got your nails done?


No shellac?

Nope.  Ruins your nails.

(Tell me about it)

Grab quarter and put it in parking meter.

Smile at Mrs E.

 That wasn't A Quarter she says.  That was a dollar.


Choose a Moral:

1.  If Canadians are going to have coins instead of singles, we have only ourselves to thank.

2. If you introduce me to your mother it may end up costing her

3. Shellac may ruin your nails but it preserves your pocketbook.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Day Eight

Turns out there's a new way to peel bananas.

Turn them upside down and peel from the bottom.

Guarantees a lack of blemish.

Heard it around the Boardroom table.

Bring the big news home to the kids who are not fans of blemished fruit.

Oh Yeah Mom. That's how Everyone is peeling them now.  That's how monkeys do it.  It's all over the Internet.

Peeling bananas is all over the Internet?

Well, peeling bananas upside down.  No one would be caught dead peeling the old way.

There's a cool way to peel bananas?

Mom, you are so old.

Choose A Moral:

1. Bad enough to follow skirt lengths and lipstick colours, now we have to stay on top of fruit peeling fashion.

2. Thank goodness I have cool friends like K who are going to keep me apprised of latest trends even up to and including the peeling of soft fruit.

3. I'm not saying Darwin was wrong, I'm just saying he may have jumped the gun a little.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Day Seven

N having a fly problem in her house.

Very annoying little flies.

Probably the fruit.  Let's put The Bananas in The Freezer.

 Nope.  That's not it.

Neighbour says Same Thing Happened to Me.  It was Our Houseplants.

Out go the Houseplants.

That's not it either.

Looks online.  Finds two possible solutions.

First, Pour bleach down your drains.

Buys case of Javel.  Pours it down every drain.  Multiple times.  House smells like a public pool.

Flies laughing hysterically.

Time for Plan B.

But first let me ask you a question.

What is the Number One thing you are Not Supposed to Catch Flies With?


Pours Apple Cider Vinegar into a saucer.

Flies flock to it like, like uh, honey.

Drown immediately.

Fly problem solved.

Next you're going to tell me the cobbler's children are all walking around with shoes.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Day Six

Complaint Story I Haven't Told You Yet

Cousin goes to theatre in New York.

Sees Othello.

No she didn't have to. She wanted to.

Many students in theatre.

Students very noisy.

Cousin crutches over to theatre manager and says Students Very Noisy.  Shylock is peeling Benjamins out of his wallet and I can't hear a thing.

Manager shrugs Yeah, Whattya Gonna Do.

Crutches back up to her seat.

It is the East, and Juliet has a gun? is a nun? not much fun?

Cousin goes back to Manager. This is Seriously impinging on my ability to enjoy Shakespeare.

(Impinging? People who like Shakespeare are apparently also very articulate.)

Manager shrugs Yeah, Whattya Gonna Do.

(Clearly not a Shakespeare man, himself.)

Cousin leaves disappointed.

Bad enough that I have to use crutches.  Bad enough that I like Shakespeare so much I am  here by myself in the middle of the day. Bad enough that from where I was sitting it looked like some guy woke up in the forest and had turned into a donkey.

But to have the Manager dismiss my concerns like this? Unacceptable.

Cousin e-mails theatre directly. Asks for ticket refund.

Unenthusiastic response.

Cousin e-mails ticket company. You sold me a ticket to a show that I couldn't hear because there were too many noisy students.

Oh, Cousin, I say to her. This is never going to work.  It is completely not the ticket company's fault.  They are just processing the transaction.  How were they supposed to know that there would be a bunch of students? That the students would be noisy? That the Manager would refuse to have them leave the theatre?

Well Cousin says. I Disagree.  The ticket company needs to stand behind the theatres they do business with.  I hold them responsible.

People in audience always ask me if I'm ever Wrong.


Ticket company immediately issued full refund and apology.

One last question.

Who is Spot? And why was Lady MacBeth kicking him out?

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Day Five

The other day I went to a spectacular restaurant across from my work called TK Resto Bar.

It's a new kind of food called Filipino Fusion.

It is squeezed between the buanderie (laundromat) where we all bring our camp duffle bags and a depanneur (convenience store) which has the best bubble tea in town.

(Not that I've ever had bubble tea, but I have a colleague who's OBSESSED.)

They have cool adaptations of usual favourites like mac and cheese with apricot and lamb (which we didn't have) and ramen burgers (which we also didn't have).

I thought a ramen burger would be a burger with pieces of ramen noodles as a thickener.  WRONG.

Ramen burger is a burger where instead of the bun, there are two packs of ramen noodles.

Apparently it's delicious.

Oh and the decor is so cute. It's all wood walls, wood stools and wood tables - handmade or close to it.

They are licensed and they take credit cards.

Lessons Learned
1. Sometimes stepping out of my comfort zone is as simple as crossing the street.

2. Work lunches can be productive even if not held in cafeteria.

3. Salmon tartare tacos not as risky a lunch choice as perhaps you may have guessed.

3. Restaurants should not be judged by their neighbours. Rent is expensive.

4. It's only Day Five and we're already into restaurant reviews. This may be a long month.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Day Four Take Two

Phone Conversation Between Me and B (14 year old son)

Me: Did you read my blog?

B: Mom you read it to me.  I had no choice.

Me: What did you think it was about?

B: I had no clue what your blog was about, Mom.

Me: I thought it was about me being judgmental, you calling me on it and your sister having no idea what we were talking about.

B: that's great Mom can I go now?

Me: I don't think it came across though.  I got a text message from a friend who was clearly offended.  I feel terrible.

B: Who?

Me: Anyway I'm going to print an apology tomorrow.


Me:  I'm not taking the blog down I'm printing an apology.

B:  MOM THAT'S NOT THE WAY IT WORKS.  When I had a joke on Facebook that offended one person -ONE PERSON, MOM - you said that if any one gets offended the joke comes down.

So completely different story but same moral: when you teach your kids to be independent thinkers sometimes they tell you that you are wrong.  And in this case, as in yesterday's, my kid was right.

Subliminal Messages for You Know Who You Are:
1. I am sorry that I hurt your feelings.
2. You mean the world to me.
3.Thank you for bringing this to my attention.
4. Hope we can still have lunch.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Day Three

Walking past park bench and see lovely woman nursing her baby.

(Amy it's November. No one is sitting outside on a park bench nursing.

OK you have me. Either this is an old story or I am trying to disguise someone's identity.)

Strike up a conversation with Complete Stranger.

I tell her I like the way she just whipped out her boob and threw her baby on it.  When I see women building intricate teepees and yurts out of receiving blankets I find it so much less discreet.  All those flailing arms and waving fabric remind me of a Cirque de Soleil show.

OH I agree completely says Stranger.

In fact, she says, the other day I was at a baby seminar and I looked around the room.  All I saw were women with these giant shower curtains trying to cover up their nursing newborns.  And some of the curtains had Winne the Pooh on them.

I gasp.  That's the worst.

But you know what? That wasn't the worst.

Guess what these shower curtain nursing wigwams are called?


Put your hooters away, ladies.  We will let you know when we need them.

And by the way, if you can't nurse in a room full of other nursing women, where the h can you nurse?

If you are all about the bottle I support you completely.  And if you are all about the boob you also have my undying support.  If you adopted your kid long after bottles and breastfeeding, you too have my complete commitment.

But if you are all about covering up your choice - well, you should know that you are attracting way more attention to yourself by draping pastel cartoon characters off your nether regions than you would if you just stuck your kid under your t-shirt.

Then again, who am I to judge.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Day Two

Yesterday I told you about a new holiday called candlelight where you come home from work, light a candle and enjoy the flickering light.

Since we will be spending the month together you should know I'm a huge liar.

It's called candle time not candlelight.

Ok not a liar.

But I frequently make mistakes.

Like the time during nablopomo when I forgot to blog.

Oh wait.

That one hasn't happened yet.

2 down, 28 to go.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Day One

We are celebrating two holidays today.

One is called nablopomo - National Blog Posting Month which means you (well in this case I) need to post a blog entry every day for the month of November.  There are many reasons one would do this (listed on the website are things like "build community")  but frankly I'm just curious to see how hard it will be and what kind of excuses I will come up with when I miss a day.

The other holiday is called Candlelight. Candlelight was invented in 2009 by a friend of mine to help people embrace the oncoming dark wet cold winter.  To celebrate, from Nov 1-the day before American thanksgiving, you light a candle as soon as you come home. You enjoy your favorite drink and perhaps a snack while admiring your flickering lights.

I had big plans to link to the candlelight website and post a pic of night one.

But then I started experiencing technical difficulties and I realized.

We're going to be together all month.

What if we run out of things to talk about?

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Should Have Just Stuck to Tim Horton's

When I am being fleeced, I would at least like to know who is pocketing the change.

Last time I went to this Conference I spoke about Delivering Bad News and got pink sequinned sneakers.

This time was Ethics in Long Term Care and a book of $5 vouchers.

Vouchers? How boring is that.

Wait, it gets worse.

Vouchers were used to pay for breakfast, coffee, lunch, coffee and coffee.

An orange (they ran out of bananas) was $2.80.

I can only pay with a $5 voucher.

I give the cashier my voucher and she keeps it.

I am sorry, we can't give any change.

But I just paid for a $2.80 banana with a $5 voucher.

That's correct.

Who is getting the $2.10?

Is it the conference?

Is it the caterer?

Is it a forced tip for the cashiers?

I would like to know where my wasted money is going.

In fact I don't want to have any wasted money. I am whipping out a calculator  adding Nutri Grain bars and bottles of water to my order to come as close to $5 as possible so that No ONE will benefit from my voucher gap.

I am encouraging people to put their trays together to reduce voucher gaps.  In other words, if we put my $2.80 with  your $7.13 and pay with two vouchers - they only get 7 cents.  But if we each pay separately, they (whoever they is - we still don't know) get $2.10 PLUS $2.87 which is practically worth another whole $5 voucher. No sir. Not on my dime.

I imagine conference organizers frolicking on the beach in St Maarten, laughing uproariously at all of the suckers who used their $5 vouchers with complete disregard for the consequences.

I open unmarked doors looking for a poker game.

I look at the Keynote Speakers suspiciously wondering if they are splitting the take.

Finally Board Member sits next to me.

This is my big chance.

I lean in conspiratorially and ask about the Voucher conspiracy.  Is it the Conference? Is it the Board? Is it Lee Harvey Oswald?

Oh, no. Board Member says, don't worry.  The conference is only paying for the number on the cash register.

So wait a minute - when I was adding water bottles and apples to my tab I was actually increasing the cost for the conference?


And whether or not we put our trays together the cost to the conference would have been exactly the same?




Do you know where I can get a pair of pink sequinned sneakers?

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

I Am Thinking Either Stockard Channing or Ann Jillian With Extra Time in the Make-Up Trailer

New Brunswick, morning.

Oh Good. A Tim Horton's.

Pick the line with the seventy two year old EMPLOYEE IN TRAINING.

Wonder what happened. Was she a waitress? Did her husband leave her? Was he abusive? Do I watch too much Lifetime Network?

My turn.

She is still punching stuff in.

Glances up.

Extra large, two milk, two sugar.


(No. A bucket of extra crispy home made recipe.)

Yes. And can I also have whole wheat toast, peanut butter and jam.

Looks at cash register.  Looks at me.


Calls over manager.  Manager scratches her nose ring and looks at screen.

What is it you wanted?


We don't serve toast.

I glance at the baskets of rolls, english muffins, pitas and Croissants.

I glance at the toaster.

How are we going to solve this problem?

How about a seven grain bagel toasted?

Sounds great.

And would you like raspberry or strawberry jam?

Unanswered Questions:

1. How is putting a bagel in the toaster different than serving toast?

2. If you don't serve toast, why do you have a toaster?

3. Why is Tim Horton's whole wheat toast a regional delicacy?

4. If no one is eating toast, why do you have two types of jam?

5. If I am in Fredricton for a conference, why didn't I just go directly there instead of stopping at the Tim Horton's?

6. Who will play the seventy two year old EMPLOYEE IN TRAINING in the Hallmark movie of the same name?

Tuesday, 24 September 2013


Not sure whether there has been a statistically significant spike in grocery shopping this time of year but seems like wherever I go people are worrying about melting fudgecicles.

Here's the latest.

Honey can you stop on the way home and get milk.

I have a kid with me.

Great. Can you stop on the way home and get milk.

Stops at grocery store.

Gets milk.

Long line ups. (See what I mean? Everyone is grocery shopping lately.)

Dad we only have one item. We can go to the 6 items or less line. And buy five packs of bubble gum and we'd still be under the limit.

Milk + 1 pack bubble gum = 2 items.  4 to spare.

Dad why does that lady in front of us have millions of items?

The Dad (who is neither my Dad nor the Dad of any of my children) looks into the cart of the lady in front of him.

She does legitimately have many, many items. 24 items in fact.

The Dad asks the woman why she is standing in the 6 or less aisle with a 18 item surplus.

Woman says I have the same item 24 times, it counts as 1 item.

Woman also points out that store is very crowded (thought it was just me) and that she didn't want to wait in another line because she is worried about her melting fudgecicles (She is a huge liar. She has 24 cans of cat food, not a fudgecicle in sight).

Plus, the cashier only has to scan 1 of my 24 items, then press x@24 (or something like that, I'm not a cashier) so it will be quick.

The Dad and the Woman have a loud and obnoxious screaming match, hurling insults at each other in the grocery store free exchange of ideas.

Woman is completely exasperated.  AND YOU ARE HAVING THIS ARGUMENT WITH ME IN FRONT OF YOUR CHILD she shrieks.

Um, lady? says small and adorable child. Not only can I hear, but I can count.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

I've Been Using This New Story For Concede, Tell Me What You Think

My Great Aunt and Uncle have had a vacation home at a beachy destination for 47 years (I'm rounding up).

5km race happens every summer.

For the past 38 years (I'm guessing) they have had one of their guests run in the race.

And for 17 of those 36 years (again with the estimating) that has been us (Me, Husband, Kids).

Every year, Great Aunt and Uncle would drive to the community centre and register us for the race.

This year, the race switched to online registration only.

Great Aunt calls to tell me that they can't register us, we have to do it ourselves.

Go online.  Race reg opens tomorrow.

Go online next day. Race sold out.

1500 spots sold out in less than two hours?

How many people could possibly have Great Aunts and Uncles at beachy destination?

14 weeks later Husband is bringing bags in from the car and I blurt out: We aren't doing The Race. It Sold Out.

Great Uncle takes both my hands in his: I'm so disappointed.

Kill me now.

Wakes up the next morning and sips his coffee. I'm still so disappointed about the race.

(Kill me again)

Husband and I go for drive and notice that community centre is a-buzz with people picking up their race packets.

Husband says Let's go in and get Them a t-shirt for their collection.


Why don't you at least try and see if you can get me a number for the race?


Why are you drawing a line in the sand?

I'm not. It's just that this race SOLD OUT IN TWO HOURS.  OBVIOUSLY I will not be able to get you registered for the race.

(More coaxing and begging)

Fine. I stomp over to the T-shirt area and select a t-shirt for my Great Aunt and Uncle.

And then I see a woman holding a clipboard.

She is wearing a pen on a string around her neck.

She is clearly a race organizer.

(I am like a heat seeking missile with absolutely no willpower.)

Blah, blah, blah, Great Uncle I say to her. Blah, blah online registration, blah blah vacation home, blah blah I'm very disappointed.

Well, she says, Let me see what I can do.

A few minutes later she comes over to me clutching a race packet.

You weren't going to leave here without a number, were you?  She asks.

No. I smile.

But you were so nice, she says. I actually felt guilty that I didn't give you the number sooner. I don't know how you did that. I don't even have any extra numbers. But here's one for you.

Oh, Julie. (We are now on a first name basis).

Here is a copy of my book.

Can I take your picture?

Monday, 17 June 2013

Jamais Deux Sans Trois

(aka Thrice)

Y invited to a Wine and Dine.

You drink Wine. You Dine.  And (this part wasn't obvious) you can buy handbags, jewellery and watches all of which I'm sure are completely legit.

Couldn't show up without Wine.

Went to Liquor Store.

Well dressed 30 year old guy wearing tie is asking strangers to borrow cell phone.

Excuses Given:
1. Phone out of battery
2. Have no minutes left this month
3. All calls monitored by HQ and don't want to arouse suspicion
4. Mom/husband/Mother Superior will kill me
5. Cell phones are the devil's work

Y feels badly for Tie and says of course you can use my phone.

Tie grins and grabs phone.

Six long minutes elapse.

Y thinking she may have made big mistake.

Gets phone back.

Goes to Wine and Dine.

Drinks Wine. Dines.

Doorbell rings.

Tie standing there.

He is holding handbags, jewellery and watches (all of which I'm sure are completely legit).

Wow you are here he says to Y. I am so happy to see you again.  Now I can thank you for helping out before at the Liquor Store.  Here is a bag for you, my treat.  $1, 250 retail.

Morals of the Story:
1. You should let strangers in the Liquor Store use your cell phone because they might end up giving you free very fancy designer handbags when you least expect it.
2. If someone fixes your truck you may run into them in a dress store and they may be wearing a tie (you would have had to click on the link in the title to get this one)
3.  Being nice isn't always a bad idea.
4. Wine and Dine not as fancy a party concept as it sounds.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Where I Reveal Who Is To Blame For Gender Disparity

Let's say your daughter grows up and goes to College. Grad School.

Amazing job.

And Mom, the good news is I'm going to be paid $81,000 starting salary.  I know this is a lot of money, but you know it's weird,  the men at this job are being paid $100,000. 

You would be OUTRAGED.

THIS IS RIDICULOUS you would shout.  Are you telling me that the BOYS doing the EXACT same job are making $19,000 more than you a year? Just for having an extra body part? That is INSANE.

You went to school, you studied hard. You play the ukelele. You won the science fair. You are an excellent tennis player. And now, suddenly you are only earning $81,000?

And whose fault, you may be wondering, is this?

Oh, I'll tell you who's fault it is. The Group Bat Mitzvah, ladies and gentlemen, is completely to blame.

The Group Bat Mitzvah is a phenomenon where a bunch of girls get together, often have a full year program of study and good deeds, and then share the evening of their Bat Mitzvah. Usually they will each say a small part of the program, maybe present their project. They might sing together, or they might have some solos.

(A full year program of study and good deeds sounds terrific. How can you possibly find fault with that? Stay tuned, and I'll explain everything)

Boys on the other hand have no such option. A Bar Mitzvah is a solo affair. Some people have B'nei Mitzvahs with one boy and one girl - cousins, siblings, good friends. I am not talking about that. I am talking about a Group Bat Mitzvah which is organized by a synagogue, school or community organization.

I have no clue who invented the Group Bat Mitzvah, or why they thought girls should be lumped together for increased efficiency and decreased individuality, nor do I have any idea why this concept has caught on like wildfire in the last few years.

I am absolutely convinced that the Group Bat Mitzvah does a disservice to our daughters. I also think it, much like counting men only in the minyan, has survived mainly because no one thought to question it. 

I am begging you to question it.

Girls should have the exact same Bat Mitzvah as boys do. (If you are truly observant, and you believe in your heart that girls should not go on the bima and read from the Torah, I respect your decision and you may want to stop reading here).

If you are unreligious in every other way, and Shabbat is something that happens only in nursery school with grape juice and sliced challah, you need to think long and hard about why your daughter should not be treated like your son (or your imaginary son if you only have girls).

The group Bat Mitzvah gives the girls the message that they are less important than boys. Here's how:

1. When you put your daughter in a group Bat Mitzvah, she has to share the event with the other girls.  She will therefore automatically have a smaller part than if it were just her own personal Bat Mitzvah.  Right there you are telling her that she is less significant than a boy, who never has to share his Bar Mitzvah with anyone (except of course, the boys who share their Bar Mitzvahs with a sister or cousin but I already told you I am not talking about them so why do you keep bringing it up)

2. If you look at the group Bat Mitzvah as a money saving opportunity, you are saying to your daughter that she is worth less than a boy. If you had a boy, you wouldn't be able to throw him into a factory Bar Mitzvah group with a pile of other boys, split the guest list and therefore the expenses 14 ways and spend a year in committee meetings deciding what colour the sign-in book should be. You would have to do something spiritual for him - if only for appearance sake. If you couldn't afford a three ring circus for your son, you might show up at shul on a weekday and throw everyone a bissel schnaaps and a danish.  You can do the exact same thing for your daughter.

Some of you are thinking - budget is not an issue for me. I am going to put my daughter in a Group Bat Mitzvah and I am going to give her her own, separate Bat Mitzvah. What do you have to say about that Ms. Complaint Department?

(I am not impressed with that solution either. I don't like duplication.)

This brings us to

3. How many Bat Mitzvahs do you reasonably need? In the two Bat Mitzvah scenario, you are telling your daughter she absolutely must be part of the group. It is crucial that she do what everyone else is doing.   You do not need to stand out  you are telling her. You are instructing her to follow the group  even if it is not in concert with her particular values and morals. You are showing her that her role is to always compromise. She must be a good girl and go along with the group AND have her own Bat Mitzvah.

So here we are, teaching our daughters through the Group Bat Mitzvah that:

1. They are less important than the boys;
2. They are worth less money to us; and
3. They should always follow the group and try their best to blend in.

Then we wonder how they end up making less money.

Maybe we should be teaching our kids that:

1. Boys can have a group Bar Mitzvah too (even the playing field)
2. It's not out of the question to mix the groups and have B'nei Mitzvahs available for girls and boys together
3. Girls who like the group thing can learn together, study their lines and do good deeds together in preparation for their Bat Mitzvahs but ultimately can have their own ceremonies; and
4. It is INSANE that in 2013 women are still making only 81 cents on the dollar compared to men.

When you see injustice please question it.

A fairer world starts with you.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Another Reason Not To Change Your Name When You Get Married

N's mother very sadly passed away in 2004.

Dying wish was grass-only grave.

There will be no flowers growing out of my head, Mom of N declared. It gives me the creeps.

Several hundred rainy Sundays later, N is at cemetery visiting multiple deceased relatives.

Hey are those pansies on Mom's head?

Turns out there were, indeed, flowers in full bloom on the heretofore grass-only grave.

Waits till business hours.

Calls cemetery.

There seems to be a problem.


Cemetery says: Aren't you Mrs. Cohen?


Well we put the pansies on Mrs. Cohen's grave.

No you didn't. You put them on Mrs. Goldberg's grave.

You are Mrs. Cohen. We put them on your mother's grave.

I changed my name when I got married. I am Mrs. Cohen. My mother in law, Mrs. Cohen, g-d rest her soul, wanted flowers on her grave. You put the flowers on Mrs. Goldberg's grave.

Mrs. Goldberg didn't want flowers?

No. My mother, Mrs. Goldberg of blessed memory, wanted a grass-only resting place.

Mrs. Cohen?

Yes that's me. (Finally we are getting some where.)

We have just changed our computer system.  With the new  computer, you are the daughter of Mrs. Cohen.  There is no way on the new screen to have a Mrs. Cohen as the daughter of a Mrs. Goldberg.  Hey, that must be how your mother, blessed for all eternity, ended up with flowers in the first place.

Now that we have figured it out, can we update the screens.

I am sorry but that will be impossible.  I have to check with my boss before I make any changes in the system.  You understand, no doubt, that I answer to a higher authority.

Don't we all.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Hey, I'm Just Here to Drop Off A Book

5:26pm. Sun shining. Leafy suburban street.

Ring the doorbell.

Shadowy figure gestures Hang On A Sec.

93 seconds elapse.

Door opens.

Sorry we couldn't get to the door sooner, sixtysomething father of friend says.

My wife was naked, and I wasn't wearing any pants.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Book Complaint

Wrote book.

Turns out they give awards for best non-fiction and best first book.

Delivered my books in person.

Yes, to the right place.

Yes, I was also on time.

(Thank you for the vote of confidence).

Went to Edmonton. Hightailed it immediately to stopped at very crucial errand.

Checked e-mail.

Big Mistake.

Book disqualified.

No non-literary books allowed. No cookbooks. No "How-To" Manuals. No "self-help" books.

You must be so disappointed, e-mail said.

Immediately called and calmly asked for explanation.

Was told it was a grey area. Major concern: If book goes forward, and wins, and someone contests it because it is technically a self-help book, what will they say?

(Resisted the urge to recommend possible responses.)

So disappointed.

Called my husband.

Sobbed hysterically.

Left store empty handed as red t-shirted and beige panted employees gently backed away.

Complaint Tie-Ins

1.  Perfectly good shopping experience crucial errand ruined by checking e-mail.

2.  No amount of complaining, effective or otherwise, will change jury's decision, which according to all the fine print, is final

3. Book was disqualified because it is good. Had it been bad, and stood absolutely no chance of winning, it would have been no threat to anyone and would therefore not been disqualified.

4. Does this not remind you of the time I lost my cool in the library? What is it with me and literature that is just so damn sensitive? Maybe need to screw the book thing and take up basketweaving.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Not Sure Who Has A Bigger Complaint

Get on the plane, exhausted.

Lady next to me has no magazine, historical romance, crochet needles or earphones.

Bad sign.

As predicted, she gave me:

And that's when the 88 year old woman straddled Ginger, our miniature horse

the tree trunk all the way to the left of the page, showing that she lives in the past

So just because of that, Ron and I aren't allowed in our daughter-in-law's house any more

Ever since I gave Mom's eulogy, I've been attracted to the colour blue - before that, it was all about brown, but now I feel blue is a spiritual colour

the Victims Assistance unit of the RCMP, and I think the worst call was in December, when

My response:

I just wrote a book. Wanna read it?

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

How To Live to Be 100

Friend has Grandpa who has been driving same sedan for 16 years.

Just got admitted to hospital for variety of minor ailments.

Driver's License unfortunately revoked minutes shy of 100th birthday.

Much discussion about how to get rid of car.

Family trying to donate car to disabled children, foundation for lung disease, battered women.

Women and children understandably not thrilled with prospect of 16 year old sedan.

Found someone to take car off hands.

Grandpa, where are the keys?

To what?

Your car (sighing gently).

Got rid of the car. Put an ad in the paper, guy showed up with $4000 cash, gave him the keys.

Shocked looks.

Did you think I was waiting around for you to take care of it?

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Complaint about Childhood Cancer

Because six year old E has leukaemia, I couldn't take a shower this morning.

OMG! Is E one of your kids? Were you so busy with him that you couldn't wash?  Were you in the hospital where there was no shower?

No. E is my husband's first cousin's younger son.  He lives in another country.  We visited this weekend.

Oh - I get it.  While you were there, you contracted some visiting disease that prohibits showering.

Huh? What visiting disease would possibly prohibit showering?

I know, I know. Did you say they were American? You must be saving money to send to the family so you have forsaken hot water. And shampoo.

Yes, they are American. No, they have insurance. (And for your information, you can buy shampoo at the dollar store. Or so I hear.)

So the only possible explanation then is that you are refusing to shower to draw attention to the plight of childhood leukaemia. Hunger strikes are so 2012.

Nope, but good guess.  I'll tell you the truth.

We went to visit E this weekend. He smashed my knees several times with a baseball bat, played kickball in the yard and refused to try sushi.  Typical six year old boy.

He also has bald spots, a bag of chemo drugs and is prohibited from entering a shopping mall. Typical cancer patient.

I anticipated that it would be a difficult weekend. I knew we would have some good times, I knew we would share some emotional moments. We have been to hell and back Disney with these people. Our families are very close.

Still, I stupidly didn't anticipate that my three kids, aged 14, 12 and 8 would be so shaken up.

One has not stopped crying.

One has not liked any food I have served, including offensive meals such as salmon and rice, chicken breasts and in a particularly inspired gourmet moment, spaghetti.

The third has stayed home from school with a case of the vapours sick. For two days.

My kids are upset. They need attention. They want their Mommy, which as it turns out, is me.

I therefore have to give them a little extra attention this week.  Including a little extra attention in the morning. Which means that at 7am I was sitting and chatting instead of rinsing and repeating if desired.

E taught me a very valuable lesson.

Diseases like this, even if the prognosis is optimistic, are ravaging in so many different ways.

We worry about the ill child. We worry about the parents. We worry about the long road ahead.

And we watch our children worry.

E, I wish you the speediest of recoveries.  And to your parents, I wish strength and courage.

To my own kids, my heart breaks for you as you watch someone you love suffer.

And for myself, well, I'm setting the alarm a bit earlier tomorrow morning.

I really have to take that shower.