Category Archives: Banshee Life

The Art of Staying Upright


Sometimes staying upright is harder than it ought to be.

Today, in my never-ending search for a comfortable desk chair that doesn’t cause me pain in my back, hips, arms, and assorted other areas, I am writing while seated precariously on an exercise ball.

I’m not sure I’ll make it.

You see, I am a Banshee of very little core – as in, core muscles.  Everyone I meet helpfully and cheerfully tells me that sitting on an exercise ball for hours on end will strengthen my core.  I ask you, do you think they sit on exercise balls while working at their jobs? Hmmm?  I think not.

Not only must I master the art of staying upright, sucking in my middle, keeping my back straight yet somehow effortlessly relaxed, I must be creative at the same time.  Truth be told, I’m not much of a multi-tasker so this should be interesting.  Some of my characters might develop fitness issues.

My middle already hurts.  Muscles that have not been engaged in…well, a long time, are now being rudely awakened.  They are not happy.

So, in the next few lines if apeijs’phk’p … that happens, dear readers, you’ll know I’ve slid sideways onto the floor.  If I had a spacious office, this would not necessarily be a problem but in my corner, there are lots of hazards.  There is a sharp-edged nightstand to my left and a metal floor vent at my feet.  If I have the misfortune of rolling backwards off this thing, I’ll be knocked unconscious by my gargantuan IKEA dresser.

So.  Now, I must focus my attention on writing instead of falling.  I’m sure I’ll master the art of staying upright eventually.


A Dream of Europe – So Far Away


In my previous post, I waxed nostalgic about our BEV (Big European Vacation).  This year, we’re going old school:  overloading the Family Car, filling it to the brim with cranky teens, unhealthy snacks, a cooler full of caffeinated drinks and whatever map apps our phones provide.

Remember the good old days when maps were paper? The person sitting in the passenger seat would be in charge of the pile of folded paper maps.  This co-pilot would squint at them, fold them and unfold them, rip them and turn them every which way but the right way while the driver of the overloaded Family Car tapped the wheel impatiently waiting to be told whether to turn left or right.

Trips like these were the reason cheap, ugly motels were invented.  We’re cashing in our Visa points to pay for the hotels en route.  We are even able to stay in some pretty swanky looking places.  But, as you all know, photographs lie.

The trip has been designed to visit friends and to show the kids places where their mom grew up.  Yes, Banshee is attempting to go home again – always a tricky business.

What if these places that meant the world to me are so changed as to be literally unrecognizable?  This is a fear not without basis. Landscapes change, villages change, sand dunes get bulldozed, what if there is a Wal-Mart right down the street from the White House?

I must be very careful not to set my expectations too high.  The places where I frolicked in my youth will be different.  The Atlantic beaches might seem less like paradise now that I’ve grown up.  The salt water taffy shop that I begged my mother to take me to every summer might seem downright tacky and overpriced now.

So, as usual, this trip will become an educational trip for me- with a big lesson on managing my own expectations and not imposing mine on everyone else. And another thing: I’m American; I feel very strongly that my kids should get a taste of where I grew up, the places that mattered to me, the things that I took for granted in my own backyard. At the end of the day, though, I have to let them have their own opinions about these places.

My kids are pretty thoroughly Canadian now even though they were born in the States.  They have acquired very Canadian attitudes towards Americans – an attitude which is difficult to describe.  Consider it a sibling rivalry type of relationship.  I can only pray we do not cause some kind of international incident.

I will be blogging along the way just as I did last year.  Me being me, I’ve already catalogued a list of things to worry about:

American medical care should we become sick, injured, or otherwise impaired.  Hurricane season – late August is prime time.  Faulty memories about my hometown (where the hell is Foggy Bottom?)  My new phobia about  big city” traffic – Perhaps I should send Mayor Bloomberg a quick note of warning/apology…

I’m toast.  Stay tuned…

A Dream of Europe – A Holiday Remembered


Yesterday, in a hung over state, my husband and I lounged in the living room watching photographs from last year’s BEV (Big European Vacation) flash across our flat screen.

“Gosh, that was a good trip.  Look how happy we were at the Acropolis.” I groaned, holding my aching head.

“Look at that sun-drenched Mediterranean coastline,” my husband murmured from the depths of his big leather chair.

“La Sagrada Familia is just weird,” I commented.  (Ok, that piece of dialogue was real; the others, not so much).

It was a very good trip.  We’ve talked about re-visiting Europe.  The conversation was pre-hangover because in the cold, harsh light of sobriety we know it will be years before we can afford to go again.

Yeah, I know all of Europe is deep in the throes of recession, depression, austerity, and in a month London will be enjoying a whopper of a post-Olympic hangover but I still want to go back.  The Banshee is getting increasingly restless.  We’ve stayed put now for three years…we ain’t gettin’ any younger and neither is Europe.  Venice is sinking, you know.

When do we say, screw it and just do it?  Take the leap we’ve been longing to take for nearly twenty years, trade the North American sizes of homes, appliances, roads, and land mass for the smaller, more economy-sized Europe?

London would be the first choice for a couple of reasons:  language and job.  I have nightmares about making a complete ass of myself in a foreign language whereas I do so daily in my native tongue with no qualms.  Also, Hubby can work in the UK on an “ancestry visa” because his grandmother was born there; London also provides the most opportunity in his line of work.

However, if money were no object: Buon giorno, Roma!  For pure romance, people watching, and authentico street-level lunacy, nothing beats Rome.   I already have my apartment picked out (it will have to be a BIG lottery win).

A photo popped up of me and the kidlets sitting on the Spanish Steps.  We looked footsore but happy. I remember how rushed we were and how many landmarks we simply couldn’t visit because we were  I was paranoid about missing the boat.  I regret not taking Hubby’s suggestion that we miss the boat on purpose and spend the night in Rome.  We easily could have caught up with the boat in Salerno.  Ah, the 20-20 rear view…

My son made an interesting comment.  The wise twelve-year-old said we should not live anywhere that felt magical because as residents, the magic would fade.  Rome would become like anywhere else – like Toronto.  I would bitch about the taxes, the hydro bills, the line ups at the market…I would likely die under the wheels of a Vespa…

So, ok maybe we don’t live in Rome.  Maybe we just have a nice, long visit.  We would immerse ourselves in the landmarks and enjoy leisurely meals off the piazza of our choice.  Then, we would return to our rented villa in the hills outside of the city. The air would be scented with citrus and the only nighttime noise – the sound of a breeze rustling through olive trees…

This is part of the “Lotto 649” fantasy loop…

The beauty of Europe lies not only in its history but also its compact size. Those of us corn-fed and raised on the wide open vistas of North America cannot conceive of driving through three different countries in a day. The sheer network of trains throughout Europe means you can go anywhere by train.  Lots of anywheres.

I long to experience that life before I get much older.  Mobility scooters don’t work very well on medieval cobblestone streets.  Nor do walkers.  Let’s do this, already.  I can hear my husband’s voice in my head:  Patience, patience.  We have to get the youngest through high school.

Ah, he’s smart.  He can skip a few grades, si?



Toronto the Good


As I consider the online options for bullet-proof windows in my home, I wonder about Toronto’s nickname, “Toronto the Good.”  Lately, my adopted city has been anything but good as the gun violence escalates into an all-out war with innocent Torontonians caught, quite literally, in the cross-fire.

I have always gravitated towards big cities.  I was born in DC (which by today’s standards is not very big at all), have spent oodles of time in Manhattan and surrounding boroughs, lived in Chicago and Atlanta.  A big city and its attendant woes is not new to me.

My hometown once held the dubious honour of “Murder Capital of the U.S.  In my early twenties, I was adept at discerning a car’s backfire from semi-automatic gun fire.  I drove through even the best neighbourhoods with the car doors locked, always vigilant for a bump n jack as some carjackings were called then.  On more than one occasion, I woke with an acrid burning in my throat caused by tear gas.

Once, when driving to Westchester County  New York, I was forced to detour via the Cross-Bronx Expressway only to be detoured again because there was a sniper on the loose.  I pulled the fastest U-turn ever that day.  I drove back into the city  under the dashboard of my mother’s Oldsmobile.  I once surprised a thief inside my car in an underground parking garage.  Not fun.

In spite of all the violence and risk, I’ve never wanted to be a suburbanite. I would choose an absolutely rural location before I would ever again live in the ‘burbs – my husband and I have always lived in the inner city by choice. This  decision divided us from quite a few of our friends early in our marriage.  To this day, only a handful of our friends live inside city limits and some have barricaded themselves inside gated communities – the modern version of a fortified city with walls and a moat full of piranhas.  That is their choice.

Our commutes are shorter and our kids are getting exposure to all walks of life – good and bad – which they will have to know how to deal with when they grow up anyway (unless they move to Australia’s outback or somewhere else equally remote).  My kids can navigate any big city, they can read any subway map (except the ones in Athens).  They have adeptly navigated Barcelona, Rome, and London.

My kids love the city.  They love the vibe, the crowds, the restaurants.  Recently, Toronto’s deputy mayor slammed all parents who want to raise their kids in the city as opposed to the suburbs.  He cited a particular intersection:  King & John Streets.  Ironically, we had the kids down there on Friday night to meet up with their cousin.  We had the BEST time!  The streets were filled with cars, the sidewalks and restaurant patios were jammed, the theatre district is right around the corner – the city was alive.  At 10 pm when we left the restaurant, our nephew’s girlfriend commented on the masses of people on the sidewalks – yes, that’s downtown life.  That’s how it should be.  Full of people, full of life and noise and streetcars rumbling by.

Of course I am freaked out concerned about Toronto’s recent violence.  It also concerns me that our Mayor’s only solution is an antiquated “run the gangs out-of-town” stance.  Seriously?  Where are they going to go?  Violence, especially gang violence, has deep causes requiring innovative thought  – something our current city government is not capable of.  That scares me more than anything.

In the meantime, my kids will still go out and play in the streets (ok, not literally).  We will take as many reasonable precautions as we can  But, we’re not going to hide in our bunkers or help the mayor build an island in the middle of Lake Ontario for all the gangs.  We will not be fleeing to the suburbs – where, ironically, the worst of the violence occurred.

By the way, “Toronto the Good” was just one Victorian mayor’s wishful thinking.  He had high hopes of changing  Toronto’s reputation as a pit of drunken squalor by giving it a “moral” nickname.  Today, when it is used, the tongue must be firmly planted against one’s cheek.

Toronto, I love you.  You just need a mayor with a brain and a posse of innovative thinkers, not gunslingers.

Creature of Habit


Every morning I indulge in the same procrastination…er, I mean…pre-work routine.  I eat breakfast, drink a cup of coffee, and read a retinue of newspapers and/or news site headlines.

If there are no interesting headlines, I spend an inordinate amount of time engaging in headache-inducing staring contests with the cat.  Most days though, there are plenty of headlines to pique my interest.  I’ve noticed over time that I am drawn to those of a more sensational nature.

For example, this morning on CNN’s website, I found the following to be (perhaps) worth a second look:

Pastor Dances with Poisonous Snakes (video)

A note about videos – I generally never watch them especially those sent in by what CNN calls iReporters – amateurs who take videos on their cell phones and then send them in to CNN.  I won’t watch the poisonous snake video; I just liked the headline.

Here’s another one:  Lifeguard Fired for Aiding Drowning Man – This is an article that bears reading IF and only IF the headline actually has anything to do with a lifeguard being fired for helping a drowning man – a preposterous notion.  I am constantly amazed at how misleading headlines can be.

Dying Teen to 911: “Grandma Shot Me!” – sadly, this headline speaks for itself.  If I’m feeling morose, I will read on.

LeBron James Balloon Sculpture – I will look at this only if I am really irritable.  How is this news?  It might lead to a nasty email to CNN depending on how energetic I am and how badly I want to delay diving into The Novel.

27 Must-Sees on Earth – I am curious that there are only 27.  I am curious to see if I’ve seen any of them yet.

Cat Litter Linked to Suicides – How can I resist?  How could anyone resist this one?  Even if there weren’t incidences of suicide in my family, I would be curious.  I have a cat.  I am the one who empties her litter box.  Am I doomed?

Can Spanking Cause Mental Illness? (video) – again, a no-brainer.  The first thing that struck me was that it’s a video.  I am from the generation of people who were spanked as children – again, am I doomed?  Must find out…

I usually read several newspapers as well.  I start with our local paper in Toronto where I can read about the heat wave, the increase in violent crime – due to the heat wave (Canadians have very little ability to tolerate excessive heat), our grumpy mayor, and more on the heat wave…bored, I move on to The Globe and Mail which is a more nationally focused publication.

I can read about how people in Quebec are angry, people in Ontario are getting poorer by the second, the Prairies are either too hot or too wet to suit the farmers, Alberta is rolling in money but still complaining about something, and it is raining in Vancouver (it is always raining in Vancouver but somehow it’s still newsworthy).  The Maritimes are feeling left out  of something and as usual, things are rather quiet in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Either that or there are no reporters up there.  Oh, and Canadians are generally disgruntled with their prime minister but are not inclined to do anything about it.

From there, I head across the pond to England and The Telegraph. I don’t know why I chose The Telegraph; quite honestly, it’s a grumpy paper. Or, maybe Britain is just grumpy these days   Photographs indicate that David Cameron needs to eat more fibre and could someone please buy that man some more interesting ties?

I read the Mirror only for their snarky, sometimes extremely witty gossip section, 3 A.M.  Today in the Mirror: What is Cool – Scientists Discover Secret of Coolness.  Presumably, these were the scientists not working in Switzerland at the super collider discovering the Higgs boson.

After finishing this routine of news-gathering and caffeine-ingesting, I sit and stare at my computer screen for a bit, chewing my bottom lip and trying to figure out what else I can do to delay working.  Ah, I haven’t checked Facebook yet today…


The Two A.M. Workout


My family is closely acquainted with my anxiety.  It ain’t pretty.  The usual symptoms include yelling, strange facial tics, leg jiggling, and copious amounts of tears.  Episodes usually occur in airport queues, the St. Lawrence Market on any given Saturday morning, or cobblestone streets of otherwise picturesque Mediterranean tourist destinations.

Members of my family have been known to resort to calming tactics endorsed by The Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan.  I am embarrassed to say the tactics work as beautifully on a 5’6″ Banshee as they do on a Schnauzer.

Last night, for the first time, I had an anxiety attack in the safety of my home, in the dark, while everyone else in the family slept blissfully on.  I’m not sure which is worse:  coming unhinged in dazzling Mediterranean sunlight in public or alone in the dark.

At first I thought it was just the usual 2 a.m. hot flash – which, by the way, is not a flash but more like a tsunami of heat spreading from my feet, up the length of my body until it reaches my brain.  Hot flashes wake me up and send me scurrying off to the loo to splash cold water for a few minutes.  No biggie.

Last night I went to the loo, did the cold water routine to no avail.  The heat rose and rose.  I flipped on the bathroom light, fully expecting to see steam shooting from my ears. Nope.  I gave up and started to return to my bed when my heart began to race as if I were in mortal danger.

I went back to bed willing myself to be calm. My heart rate went from fast to supersonic. I sat on the edge of the bed with my hands closed around my throat trying to prevent my heart from shooting out of my mouth and onto the floor (which would be bad for any number of reasons not least of which being when things fall onto my bedroom floor, I can never ever locate them again).

By now I was panting.  Marathon runners, Olympic swimmers, and women in labour do not inhale and exhale at the pace I did last night.  Husband snored on, undisturbed.  If sleeping through calamities (real or from my imagination) were an Olympic sport, he’d be a gold medalist.

Inexplicably, I decided that jogging up and down the hallway between our room and the bathroom was the thing to do.  Mind you, my hands were still around my throat.  I am not a natural runner at the best of times; last night was no exception.  My pajama bottoms (no drawstring anymore) continually fell down around my ankles, tripping me.  My balance was off because my hands refused to leave my throat.  My form was more awful than usual.

At this point, the cat decided to see what was happening.  She watched for a moment before deciding she had an opportunity to accelerate my demise by darting under my feet – what cat could resist?  In my confused state, I thought she wanted to comfort me.  Let the record show that cats do not enjoy being picked up, squeezed tight, and taken for a jog.

The hyperventilating, racing heart, and sweating refused to abate (small wonder).  Naturally, I decided to do a stair workout.  Thank God the cat decided to sit this one out. I would surely not be around to write this if she had decided to join me on our narrow staircase, in the dark.

Keep in mind while you picture this spectacle, that we are in the middle of a heat wave and our air conditioning is not on.

The panic attack abated; I found myself sitting on the stairs sweaty but hopeful that I had managed to burn a few calories. The cat observed me with bemused disdain.  Maybe she felt a tad sorry for me  – she slept curled at my side for the remainder of the night.

Could 2 a.m. workouts in baggy pjs be the next big thing?

When I Love You is Not Enough


About a month ago, a girl killed herself.  A student at a local high school, on the honour roll, popular.  Her story was kept very quiet – there was no sensational, sentimental news coverage about yet another casualty to the shoal-laden waters of teenager-hood. There were shocked whispers from those who knew her. And then, silence.

I am not saying that every teen suicide should be plastered all over the front pages. I cannot imagine that helps families deal with the pain; no doubt it would heighten the already unimaginable grief they suffer.  What I want is for…God, what do I want?  Let’s think about that for a second.

I want teen and young adult depression, behaviour disorders, and mental illness to go away, as in eradicated.  This is an unrealistic wish because the stats are going in exactly the opposite direction.  There is a crisis of mental illness among our young people.  The children cannot be our future if they’re too ill to face today, never mind tomorrow.

There is a part of me that wants to run and hide from this information.    I don’t suppose the Amish community would accept me and my two electronics-addicted kids but sometimes I am tempted to try.  I can see us now, piling into our four-door sedan, driving to wherever the Amish live.  We would abandon our car, our iPhones, our Blackberrys and we would stand, waiting and hopeful…please take us into your simpler world…save us.

Nope.  They’d turn their buggies around and flee as if the Seven Horses of the Apocalypse were chasing them.

There is no escaping from the fact that our children are in jeopardy.  A multitude of factors can be pointed to – from our obsession with material things to various media to our lousy diets.  Are we, as some would argue, poisoning our own young with too much information, not enough sleep, and too much white sugar?  Their little brains are being affected by something; they are short-circuiting like so many overloaded electrical panels.

Depression has long plagued the human race – evidence shows that even the ancient Egyptians suffered.  I was born at the tail-end of the Boomer generation; I’ve suffered from depression off and on since birth.  However, for most of my life, I slogged through the fog undiagnosed, as do a vast majority of people who live with some form of the illness.

Todays young people are not allowed the luxury of sleep or downtime.  Busy children are children who don’t have time to get into trouble.  Well-intentioned parents over-schedule – after all, extra-curricular activities will mean well-rounded, successful children and isn’t that what we want for our kids? Maybe they think that if their kids are kept busy, they won’t have time to get depressed.  If only.

While parents over-schedule, the world over-stimulates.  Studies now show that Internet use is changing the way kids brains develop. Factor in the crap diet that harried parents feed their kids as they speed down the highway to hockey practice from piano lessons in the minivan and you have a timetable for disaster, a recipe for a nervous breakdown.  Don’t get me started on the genetics factor…

The principal at our local middle school gives a speech every September.  It goes something like this:  Your children, because of where they are in the developmental process, are about to leave you.  They, for all intents and purposes, are going to be snatched by aliens.  They will be returned to you in about 7-10 years when their frontal lobes are closer to being fully developed.  Be patient.  One day, your child will reappear as if they’d been there all along.  They’ll say “Good morning, Mom” and stand blinking in the kitchen wondering why they can’t find the cereal bowls even though you renovated the kitchen five years before.  It’s ok.  This is normal.  Good luck.

The first time I heard that speech, I burst into tears.

I want to cry now when I think of all of those under-cooked brains out there that are beleaguered by feelings of hopelessness and despair far beyond what the normal teenager feels.

The statistics are scary.  One out of every twenty teens is depressed.  Look at the average class size in a high school or middle school.  Do the math.  A great many go forth undiagnosed because these same children cannot articulate what is happening in their heads. Their parents, too busy negotiating traffic whilst eating something in a paper wrapper, aren’t listening.

Listen.  I’ll say it again in case you weren’t listening: listen.  This means shut up and listen.  Parents are great at talking and listening at the same time which…isn’t…really…helpful…it’s no wonder our kids spend a good portion of their time rolling their eyes at us.

Enter another girl.  Pretty and smart,she doesn’t think she is good enough for anything, not even living.  Another statistic, another teen suffering from depression.  She thought about doing what the other girl did.  The difference?  She asked for help.  She knew something was horribly wrong and she took the first steps to stop it.  She pushed her parents to listen, knowing that all the I love yous in the world were not enough.

People might sigh and exclaim, “But she is so young! So perfect!”  Yes but depression is an illness that knows no boundaries.  It can afflict anyone at any time. Is there hope?  Absolutely!  But, this other girl must work to re-wire her brain.  There will be setbacks and sparks might fly.  She must always be diligent, watchful, and aware.   If she can change the way she perceives herself now, she can carry that learning into her future like a torch held high to light her way.

The Dance


Fiction writers live in two vastly different worlds; the world of their imagination and the world of say, dirty diapers or  full litter boxes.  It’s a delicate dance sometimes – if a writer is not careful, hands could get…icky whilst daydreaming about a story.

I’ve never been much of a dancer, frankly.  I make no secret of preferring the land of make-believe to anywhere else; however, my reality is I have a husband and two children and a cat who is overly fond of her litter box.

A bigger danger than the aforementioned icky hands is when reality refuses to wait at the side of the dance floor for its turn.  Reality could be seen as an attention-starved brat who gets quite nasty when ignored.  Reality cuts in, not with a polite tap on the shoulder, but with a resounding thwack on the back of the head.

Let’s just say I’ve woken up with a headache for the last few days.  Reality wins; if it didn’t, I’d be carted off by some stern looking men in white jackets.

Because reality can be quite a bully sometimes, the writing inevitably suffers.  Unless, of course, you’re Aaron Sorkin who commented during an interview recently that he didn’t have to live in the real world.  Gee, that’s great for you Aaron.  Congrats.  I haven’t quite reached that level of wealth or arrogance. [Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of Mr. Sorkin].

Some say writers should just write and damn anything that gets in the way!  Well, ignoring reality might mean we end up homeless or sick or really, really thin – none of which will aid the writing in the long run.  An author quoted in this month’s Poets & Writers said a full-time job, kids, and a life meant that writing takes a back seat at times.  No other choice.

Dancing between two worlds can be done but I worry that I’m too much of a klutz to pull it off.  I am comforted to know that everyone suffers the same bruised ankles and trodden on toes that I do.  The dancing might have to go on without me for a while, the stories have to sit on the sidelines and rest their feet.  They will be asked to dance again, never fear.

Little Ships


Hello, my name is Banshee and I am an Anglophile.  I should be in an Anglophile protection program as my ancestors sloshed ashore at Plymouth Rock.  But I get all teary eyed at the first strains of God Save the Queen and I need a box of Kleenex when I hear Jerusalem.  Suffice it to say,  I got weak-kneed and goosebumpy watching video of the Jubilee flotilla on the Thames.

Boats and sailing vessels of every conceivable shape and size plied the broad, tidal waters of the river that cuts through the heart of London; “our liquid history,” as one commentator said.  There was the majestic splendour of Gloriana, the first royal barge to be commissioned in over one hundred years, complete with gilded paddles.  There were kayaks and canoes (two that I saw from Canada!) and every other kind of vessel from kayak to navy warship representing the British Isles and the Commonwealth.

Nearly every boat had a story. The best of the lot was not Gloriana or The Spirit of Chartwell but that mini-but-mighty flotilla of ships affectionately known as Dunkirk’s Little Ships – a flotilla composed of both fishing and pleasure craft that sailed across the Channel in May 1940 to aid in the rescue of stranded troops on the beaches of Normandy.

The Daily Telegraph posted an interview with an owner of one of these boats today.  He talked about this special fleet and what they mean (or should mean) to Britons.  If not for the bravery of this impromptu navy, over three hundred thousand soldiers could have been lost.  That’s a staggering number.

The dramatic rescue of soldiers by these civilian vessels marked a psychological boost for Great Britain and yet harkened darker hours to come.  In 1940, things were looking grim for Britain.  The Germans had amassed a huge attack the Allies were unprepared for.  They fell back to the beaches and were trapped.   After “The Miracle of Dunkirk,” Winston Churchill gave one of his most famous speeches telling Britons to prepare for invasion as it became obvious they might stand alone .

When I was very young, I read a book about Dunkirk.  In it, two young children from the south coast of England stowed away on their grandfather’s boat, hoping for a great adventure.  The story has stuck with me – I wish I could remember the name of the book and author.Regardless of how you feel about the Queen, admittedly some of her subjects have embodied the meaning of valiant. “Operation Dynamo” shone a light on the  valour, pluckiness, and sheer British-ness of the British.  An island threatened, invaded, never truly conquered.



It’s been one of those days.weeks.  One of those weeks where I’m off-balance, off-kilter, off my friggin’ rocker. Some would say every week is like that with me and they might be right but this week feels worse than most.  Solar flares?  Dodgy planet alignment?  PMS? (re-named Perpetual Menstrual Syndrome)

A sampling as to why I might be nicknamed Madame Crankypants lately:

  • I can’t hear.  Seriously, my hearing is kaput, done.  I think.  I can’t be sure because my entire family mumbles and/or is plugged in headphones all the freaking time.  We could have been invaded by a family of howler monkeys yesterday my kids were so oblivious.  As it was, I stood in the kitchen talking to them without realizing for about 5 minutes.  WHAT?
  • I can’t see.  I tried to paint my toenails this morning.  I got more nail polish on the cat than I did on my toes.  In my defense, I have very small toes.
  • I had to go to Wal-Mart yesterday.
  • I lost my car in the Wal-Mart parking lot.  I nearly had to call my husband (not sure what good that would have done but he might have been able to make me laugh about it).  I had to pretend for 10 minutes that I was just casually strolling the pavement with my bag of melting frozen goods.  Tra la la…up and down aisles of cars…just out for a stroll, where the HELL is that car.
  • The Novel.  ‘Nuff said, y’all have heard enough whining about that for now
  • I can’t drive.  I used to be extremely competent behind the wheel.   Not so anymore.  I’m tentative, hesitant, distracted.  Awful.  I scraped the front bumper on the retaining wall of my own driveway.  With husband in car & neighbours watching.  AWFUL.
  • New stories are percolating in my brain.  They pop their little heads up at random times, distracting me – like when I’m trying to paint my toes.  Nothing strung together, just random bits.  They buzz like flies around my head.
  • The thought of a summe road trip down South.  SMACK! That’s the sound of the realization that I CANNOT, SHALL NOT go back to the land of my early 30’s in the shape I’m in now hitting me upside my head.  Working out makes me pretty; the thought of working out makes me cranky.

That’s just a sampling.  I could go on.  I’m just “off.”  Time to sign off and have a quick power nap.