Feeds:
Posts
Comments

There are plenty of things I regret in my life. However, I have a feeling this post will be very “high” on the list. I know I will be inundated with ads that will never end but hey, desperate times call for desperate measures. Spoiler alert…I do not have an Aunt Mary.

The Government of Canada legalized, regulated and restricted access to cannabis on October 17, 2018. First, let me say that I am not against that. It really should have happened a lot sooner. In my humble opinion the benefits far exceded the risks. However, full disclosure I do not partake. 

That does not mean I’ve never tried it. It was a regular part of my “youth”. I just didn’t enjoy it. Because of that I usually volunteered to be designated driver and had a good excuse to pass the joint away from me. Most of my friends and family indulged. It didn’t bother me. We were actually taught the “dangers” of marijuana in health class, where we were shown a film that was produced in 1936 called “Reefer Madness”. There is no way to tell you how hysterically funny this film was. By the time I saw it in the ’70s it was a cult classic and everyone would get high and watch it at the theatre while laughing our butts off. This is the trailer for it …

If you have time and need a good laugh, watch the whole film. It’s on YouTube.

It was definitely a different quality of product then. We would roll joints and carry them in a pack of cigarettes (I know! We all smoked cigarettes then, too!). As an adult, but before weed was legal, well-meaning friends and family convinced me to try it again while I was undergoing chemotherapy. Let me tell you, the only thing worse than chemo is being high on chemo. That was my personal experience. There were all kinds of fellow cancer patients who used it and it helped them a great deal. I know people who would never have gotten through without it.  Now that it’s legal you can smoke it, drink it, and eat it. Not too long ago I was having some health issues and I was convinced to try an edible “to help me sleep”. I had some chocolate. Apparently, I had way too much and wound up wide-awake in the wee hours of the morning…panicing. I woke up He-Who telling him I was dying and couldn’t breathe. I made him wake up our house guest to help. She explained to me that I wasn’t going to die and that I was just really, really high and that there was nothing to be done but wait it out. The two of them sat there with me for several hours. Every once in awhile they would look at each other and giggle, which in turn would have me screaming at them to stop laughing and that I was going to die. Another spoiler alert: I survived and have sworn off the stuff for life.

Ok. So now it’s legal. They have practically replaced our maple leaf on the flag with a cannabis leaf. 

It has also become quite pretentious. It is available in high end, designer boutique stores! They are very much like the Apple stores — expensive and swarming with a Cannabis Geek Squad to educate us.

Heaven forbid you should slip up and call it anything but cannabis. With one quick search I found a list of 41 names that apparently are no longer acceptable. Although I am not familiar with all 41, I admit to have used several of these in my lifetime. Marijuana, Weed, Pot, Grass, Dope, Mary Jane, Reefer, Ganja, Blunt, Aunt Mary and my personal favourite, Skunk. I say my personal favourite because to me, it’s the most appropriate name. There is no getting around it. It stinks!

He-Who and I have been confined to quarters because of the pandemic for 14+ months. In this case, “quarters” are 900 square feet on the 30th floor. We do not know any of our neighbours but in that 14+ months we have come to know an awful lot about them. Number one on the list is that it seems everyone in the building partakes of cannabis. When a neighbour sparks one up, I get the munchies. Two, they never partake at the same time. First our neighbours on the left will spark one up, then the people below us and then the ones to the right of us. They finish just in time for the cycle to start over. Needless to say, the munchies are a permanent part of my evenings. The uncontrollable weight gain is tolerable. Disgusting, but tolerable. The smell is not. Our apartment permanently smells like Pepé Le Pew and not in a cute way. The hallways smell like skunk. Every time we get on the elevator someone who has skunk odour clinging to them always ends up sharing our ride. How on earth can they not smell it? 

With all the money and research they are throwing at the cannabis industry you would think they would figure out how to make it smell better. For the love of Aunt Mary, someone please figure out how to make it smell better! 

It seems like a lifetime ago that we started sharing Kate’s Glorious Northern Canada with you (Follow Heirloom Portraits Photographer Katelyn Krueger in Northern Canada through her pictures and thoughts.)

Of course our Kate is home in Ontario and riding out the pandemic like the the rest of us. Our Photographers were sent home from various locations immediately and travel between the Provinces pretty much came to a halt. After more than a year of this, it occured to us that we could still share Kate’s route through Northern Canada with you as she has done it many times and alway brings back breathtaking images. That being said, let’s “join” her in Igloolik, Place of Igloos.

“Located north of the Arctic Circle, between the Canadian mainland and Baffin Island, Igloolik is situated on a small island in Foxe Basin just off the northeast corner of the Melville Peninsula.

Spelled ‘Iglulik’ in Inuktitut, this vibrantly artistic community is considered to be a cultural epicentre for the Inuit people.

Although it is part of the Qikiqtaaluk region of Nunavut, the community has a mix of cultural traditions from all three regions, including Kitikmeot and Kivalliq.

This gifted little island is an ideal place to visit for an authentic arctic adventure: to go dog sledding; to view whales; to visit an iceberg; to experience the Inuit way of life; and to enjoy the Northern Lights.”

Our Kate in Igloolik — Place Of Igloos ᐃᒡᓗᓕᒃ

If you know Kate, you know she will find the Inuksuit in any community. These ones are actually just outside of the community on their way to the airport. It’s a bit of hike, but Kate is up to the challenge.

Night falls on Inuksuit in Igloolik

When we visit a community we usually have to set up somewhere that everyone can access. In this case, Kate was set up at the Co-Op behind this church.

One of Kate’s favourite memories of the people here happened while she was on her way to the school to work one morning. I’ll let her tell you…

“I was on my way to the school one day and there were crowds of people all along the beach and tons of boats in the bay. There were beluga whales coming through and people were hunting.
They would bring the beluga back to the shore and anyone there that wanted some meat would cut the Bulaga right there and share it with the entire community. It was pretty awesome to see and I was disappointed I had to work that morning.”
Throughout the community you will find beautiful murals and colourful buildings.
Not to be outdone, Mother Nature contributes colours of her own even when the Northern Lights aren’t turned on.
One of the most interesting buildings in town is the Igloolik Research Center.

Igloolik Research Center

It definitely looks like a spaceship of some kind. If you want to have some fun check out their website. It’s interactive and full of information about terrestrial wildlife and habitats, climate records and ecosystem modelling to name a few.

Before you know it, it’s time to head to the airport and the next community. We’ll see you there!

Igloolik Airport

Let’s face it. If you live in Ontario, lock-down seems to be the new norm. We are now in the middle of our third lock down. The reality is that my particular area never came out of the second lock-down before the third one was announced. However, fewer and fewer people seem to be adhering to it. You could have hurled a bowling ball down the highway on my way to my weekly appointment at the hospital during the first lock down. It was like a ghost town out there. Now there is so much traffic it’s as bad as it was pre-pandemic. He-Who and I are still trying to follow all the rules and protocols, venturing out only for my appointment and for food.

The boredom is overwhelming sometimes. I continue to fight the #Wordpress fight without really seeing any progress. It’s so frustrating. I have finally given into the lure of Instagram but mostly I just read other peoples’ posts. I don’t contribute much. There is now a game on my phone that I am not only active in but I am Leader of my Team. And occassionally (rarely) I will answer a question on facebook.

A few weeks ago there was a facebook question that seemed simple and I thought it might be fun.

This facebook question seemed harmless enough.

Now before we go any further I should tell you that I finally clicked on Birch + Fog and it turned out to be for “CBD Calm Capsules” which may explain what happened next.

My answer was …

“A Bloody Caesar is an appropriate cocktail for any time of day. Especially breakfast. “

Caesar – Pinterest Image

Now, for those of you who are not familiar with a Caesar, it’s a cocktail made with vodka and Clamato juice. It was cleverly created by a Canadian in Calgary. It is usually seasoned with Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces to taste and the glass it’s served in is rimmed with celery salt. Celery or lime are the standard garnishes. Over the years there have been many incarnations but the original was created in 1969 by Walter Chell. The Caesar is absolutely delightful and everyone should experience it. Unfortunately for my American friends, Clamato juice is not sold in the US (and a lot of other places) making it a uniquely Canadian treat. I use to attend NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) in Las Vegas every year. Each night after the convention the Canadian magazine Broadcast Dialogue would host a “Canadian” cocktail party. All that was served was Caesars and Molson Canadian Beer. It was packed every night. I once asked Ingrid, the publisher and owner at the time, where she found the Clamato juice in Vegas. She didn’t. They shipped in cases of it ahead of time from Canada.

Obviously I do know a bit about Caesars. My mistake was that when I answered the question I wrote down the first thing that popped into my head and unfortunately I referred to it as a Bloody Caesar. I have been hounded by Canadians taking offense to the fact that I used the term “Bloody” ever since. I have been schooled on the history of the cocktail (I knew it already). It has been explained to me that “a Bloody Mary is American” and that “Bloody” is a British term. My fear is that I have been barred from Shoppers Drug Mart, Canadian Tire and Hudson’s Bay. I swear I expected a knock at my door from officials demanding I turn in my Canadian passport. I finally broke down and edited the original but the numbers still increased in my comments and “likes” . They still are. I have had to change this image three times since I started writing. Check it out…

If I could get 584 likes and or 74 replies to any post on this blog I would be celebrating with several Caesars. Apparently, my fellow Canadians are as bored as I am and extremely protective of their cocktail identity. Seriously people, at least read the previous comments giving me BLOODY HELL before you repeat them over, and over and over. There is only one thing I can do to prove to you that I really am Canadian and that is to say, “Sorry”.

 

There it was, right in front of me. It was an experience of sudden and striking realization, an epiphany, if you will.

Full disclosure here, I am what could be called an extreme David Bowie fan. I could go on about it all day but I will try not to. It usually gets a bit over the top, then turns messy and becomes a little (understatement) embarrassing. Suffice it to say I follow several David Bowie groups/pages on facebook including his wife Iman. Blissfully, I am greeted with photos and anecdotes about him each and every morning. One of my groups posted this recently.

David Bowie – Facebook Image

It struck me like a lightening bolt (that epiphny thing). How amazing would it be for Cameron Monaghan to do a movie along the lines of Bohemian Rhapsody, about David Bowie? He would be perfect! For those of you not familiar with Cameron’s work (I really can’t believe that is possible) we litterally watched him grow up over 10 seasons as Ian Gallagher on Shameless.

Pinterest Image

He is also know for playing twins Jerome and Jeremiah Valeska (eventually the Joker) in Gotham.

Pinterest Image

Monaghan is more than your average chameleon, much like David Bowie.

“Why is this so important to you, Michelle?” You might ask. There is nothing worse than sitting through a bad movie/show about something or someone you care about cringing the whole time. Right now there are at least two really bad David Bowie pieces airing. They are crap. Sorry. That’s as kind as I can be.

My favourite book in the world is Trinity by Leon Uris. It was one of many Leon Uris best sellers including Exodus which was made into a movie by Otto Preminger with Paul Newman as the lead and QB VII which was made into a mini series with Anthony Hopkins and Ben Gazzara.

I first read Trinity the year it was published,1976, and I re-read this book once a year, every March, until recently. I even wanted to name my children after the hero of the piece.

“This book follows the events of an Irishman named Conor Larkin who, by nature, was larger than life.  It is a sweeping and powerful epic adventure that captures the “terrible beauty” of Ireland during its long and bloody struggle for freedom. It is the electrifying story of an idealistic young Catholic rebel and the valiant and beautiful Protestant girl who defied her heritage to join his cause. It is a tale of love and danger, of triumph at an unthinkable costa magnificent portrait of a people divided by class, faith, and prejudicean unforgettable saga of the fires that devastated a majestic land… and the unquenchable flames that burn in the human heart.”

Why this book was never made into a movie is beyond me. It would be along the same lines as Braveheart, an epic historical fiction film based on the life of William Wallace the Scottish warrior starring and directed by Mel Gibson.

At some point Liam Neeson wondered onto a screen I was glued to. I’m afraid I don’t even remember which of his brilliant performances it was (probably Rob Roy) . All I knew for sure was that this was our Conor Larkin, the hero of my favourite book. I obsessed about it but had no clue as to how to make it happen. In my naivete I just knew someone would see what I saw and know what I know and that Trinity would become an epic movie starring Liam Neeson. Needless to say, that never happened and I was heartbroken. Hollywood missed the opportunity of a lifetime.

Liam Neeson – Pinterest Image

Now all I have to do is figure out how to not have this happen again. Is it to late for me to become a casting agent for some big wig Hollywood Studio? Probably. A girl can dream though. Liam will always be my Conor and I imagine Cameron will always be my Bowie.

 

 

Does anyone really know what time it is? I barely know what day of the week it is any more. Various levels of “lockdown” for over a year now, have made one day blur into the next. Getting lost in “Rabbit Holes” has made hours disappear. And, I may have mentioned, that #wordpress has got me going in circles with the changes it’s made to their writing platform. It is really awkward for me to navigate. I decided to bite the bullet and sign up for one of their “Quick Start Blogging” online seminars. That’s right after 12 years of using this platform I have to start over. This is what I saw:

Quick Start: Blogging
You’ve got something to say. We’ll show you how to say it with style on your own blog.

  • Wednesday, April 14 at 4:00pm UTC
  • Thursday, April 15 at 6:00am UTC

Please tell me I am not the only one who responded with, “What the hell is UTC?”. Perhaps I am showing my age or some flaw in my education but I have never heard of UTC. 

Born and raised in Canada, I am keenly aware of the fact that their are six Time Zones. I have friends, family and/or business contacts in most of them. Eastern Time is where I live. Then there is Newfoundland, Atlantic, Central, Mountain, and Pacific.

Add in that some of the Provinces follow Daylight Savings Time (which changes the time by an hour +/- twice a year) and some have opted to stick with Standard Time all year round, things can get a little confusing. The one constant is that what ever time it is, they are all based on GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) which we all learned in school at some point, is clock time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. For the record it does not follow the  Daylight Saving Time clock changes.

So here I go again…rabbit meet hole. 

 First of all, apparently UTC is “a standard, not a time zone” and is the basis for civil time today. UTC stands for Coordinated Universal Time. It’s a 24-hour time standard kept using highly precise atomic clocks combined with the Earth’s rotation. You know when people synchronize their watches in the movies, well the world’s timing centers have agreed to do just that.

“Local time is based on time zone and Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). UTC is commonly referred to as International Time, Universal Time (UT)Zulu Time (U.S. military), or Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The earth is divided into 24 time zones, -11 to +12. Each time zone is 1 hour long, or 15° wide in longitude. Greenwich England is, by definition, in the middle of Time Zone 0, the prime meridian. UTC time is the local time at Greenwich England. Time in other locations will be the UTC time hour plus or minus the local Time Zone.” 

So, I’m trying to explain all this to He-Who — for the record, this was his first introduction to UTC as well. We both thought this was some new fangled thing the millennials cooked up to mess with us old folks. We were not best pleased. I continued down this particular rabbit hole trying to find when it started and who thought it up. Here is the kicker…wait for it…

Universal Time (UT) was created at the International Meridian Conference in 1884.

Come on! How is it possible I was not taught this in school? Why have I never seen this used on any other schedule accept for #wordpress? Heck, I have never even heard of it as a Jeopardy answer! I don’t have that many followers but I would really appreciate knowing how many of you had this knowledge in your “I’m smarter than you are” arsenal.

In the mean time (not Greenwich), this has exhausted me and I need a nap. I would set an alarm but…well, you know.

 

Reading and writing have literally saved my life on an occasion or two. I was fortunate that my Mom encouraged both…except when she would catch me with a flashlight in my little space under the covers in the middle of the night.

I have always been an avid reader and often escaped into a story or two, or three, or…you get the idea…when things got ugly in my real world. Always, in search of a safe space.

Writing became more important to me in those first years after my Mom passed. I slept little for fear of the nightmares that became my reality whenever I laid my head down. Luckily, a remarkable teacher became very attuned to my struggling and suggested I write about these things. I feared my horrors would become public knowledge, but he offered to accept my writing as his assignments. He would make corrections, add comments and grade them. He gave me space and promised to never make me read them aloud in class. Everyone should have at least one teacher like him. Writing about those dark things released me from the power they held over me. In later years (much later) I would find that same release (good and bad) by writing in my own space on my blog. Unfortunately, #wordpress in their infinite wisdom and like every other social media program changed their writing platform beyond my recognition again! It feels heavy and cumbersome and very awkward to navigate. So, during this past year, when pretty much everyone  on the planet is struggling to stay sane, (thank you COVID) every time I try to write something, it becomes a huge ordeal — so there hasn’t been a lot of writing. Kudos to my comrades who have turned this time into a cornucopia of literary creativity! I know a lot of you left this platform in favour of another space. Don’t worry, people will follow.

Not writing, however, leaves me time to read.  A lot of time.

Books…like magic, can transport you through time both backward and forward. You can visit any space in the world. And out of this world. Fantasies become reality. And you can learn anything from a book. Books are like family and best friends. They’re always there for you. I love this list of reading benefits of reading that showed up on Facebook recently.

The worst thing about reading a book is finishing a book. I have always dreamed of having a home library that’s the biggest space in the house, packed to the brim so that you had to slide back and forth on a ladder to retrieve the next offering. That never happened. (Probably for the best as I can’t even climb a ladder now.)

This Never Happened

However, the first time He-Who and I downsized from a house to a condo the reality of our book collection was overwhelming. Yes, He-Who is a reader/writer too. We were forced to cull the books. He-Who’s entire Stephen King collection went to one of his grandchildren. Others were shared, donated and passed on. Each one was a heartache to say goodbye to. Three moves and three downsizings later has left us with very few actual physical books in our household. Judging from the number of boxes of books I just packed (no I am not getting rid of them. I am just negotiating for space) our definitions of “few” may not align. We have been confined to quarters for over a year now and any illusion of having more space is welcome.

I have always been one of those people who thinks books need to be held, smelled, felt and you absolutely had to be able to turn the pages. That has not changed. A few years back we decided to try a Kindle. It was handy when a book was too bulky to bring along. It also beat the heck out of reading magazines that were six years out of date and covered in germs in a waiting room. We both still prefer a “real” book, but with space and shopping restrictions our Kindles have become our best friends. Reading has definitely prevented any phone calls to lawyers or coroners…so far. Really, all we need is a little more space.

 

 

 

 

 

Looking back, I don’t know how it happened. How is it possible I almost missed the Pandemic? I keep looking at my calendar and there in big bold letters on Friday, March 13th, 2020, I wrote “Quarantine begins”.

It seemed appropriate that this should be the day the world shuts down. Someone from the U.S. asked me the date Canada shut down. I looked it up and told him that I had it recorded as Friday, March 13th. Over the past week there’s been a lot of coverage about the one year anniversary of the Pandemic. The first mention I saw was on a friend’s timeline. That Wednesday, March 11 was the day. I questioned her on it but got no response. Then, every day, people were mentioning the 11th as being the day.

Now, you should know that for as long as I can remember, I’ve kept a 16 month “Engagement Calendar”. I’m a bit “obsessive” about it. Tests, Dr. Appointments, Birthdays, Anniversaries, etc. are all in there. Every year, I would buy a new one at the end of August and painstakingly copy info from one to the other. I have kept them all.

March tends to be a bit of a challenge for me. There are a dozen family birthdays in March. It is also the anniversary of my Mom’s death, my Grandmother’s death, my Dad’s death, as well as various Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and my Nephew. If something was going to happen, it would usually happen in March. Oh. Did I mention that mid March we also lose an hour of sleep? Can we just get rid of this Daylight Saving time thingy? It seems we pretty much all agree at this point, it’s well past its sell date.

The one thing that keeps me together in March is St. Patrick’s Day and plans are made for wardrobe and locations well in advance.

I don’t remember anything of note on Wednesday, March 11th, 2020. Thursday March 12, I put in a very long day at work so that I could take Friday off to prepare for St. Patrick’s Day. On Friday, March 13, He-Who and I went out for a nice breakfast. We took our time reading the paper and enjoying our food. Then, we headed to Costco to pick up prescriptions. We got within a block of the place but couldn’t get any closer. We thought there had been an accident and tried to re-route and come in a different way. There was nothing but long lines trying to get to the Costco parking lot for as far as the eye could see. I told He-Who I could wait until the next day and we headed home trying to figure out what was going on. Well, it didn’t take long once we got home and turned on the TV. By Sunday I was phoning the head office at Costco telling them they had better figure out a way for people to get their prescriptions without waiting hours outside and in. I said, “I am an overweight, asthmatic, senior with cancer.” I figured I had every one of the high risk boxes ticked. They took my number and He-Who and I went out to forage for supplies anywhere we could. They actually called me back and told me they figured something out and that we could go in the out door and someone would take us right back to the pharmacy. That was a relief!

Then I realized I had no Bailey’s, Guinness or Jamieson in the house and everything was closed. (As time went on, the liquor and beer stores became essential services, but not at the beginning.) St. Patrick’s Day was officially cancelled! Heck, they even made it illegal to “Kiss the Blarney Stone”. March turned into April, April into May, and so it went. Every holiday & celebration was cancelled. Borders were closed. Rules and regulations changed daily and it was hard to keep up.

Its a year later and I am still trying to figure out what the hell happened! I looked on line and the only big announcement I found regarding March 11th was from the World Health Organization.

“WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction. We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.”

They went on to say they hoped each country would act accordingly. Some did. Some didn’t. It was definitely a learn-as-you-go-scenario. I’m not really sure if we’re being graded on a curve just how we would do.

But…I know these things for sure. St. Patrick’s Day will always be March 17th. He-Who has promised to bring home corned beef and cabbage. (He-Who isn’t a sure thing because he won’t buy it too far in advance due to meat and veggies are perishable. And who knows? The vendors might be out of stock by the time he gets there. I’ll let you know.) Most importantly this time I’ve got Bailey’s and Guinness on hand.

It’s easy to “fall down the rabbit hole”. I tend to do it a lot more than I would like to admit. What else have we got to do right now? It’s Jan 3, 2021. We here in Ontario are in full lock-down again/still. Right now the rabbit hole is a welcome distraction from my usual excuses of not wanting to clean anymore. According to dictionary.com

“In the phrase falling down the rabbit hole, a rabbit hole is a metaphor for something that transports someone into a wonderfully (or troublingly) surreal state or situation. On the internet, a rabbit hole frequently refers to an extremely engrossing and time-consuming topic.”

In this case, it is the latter. This morning my son-in-law posted a clip titled “A Munchkin Welcome – The Wizard Of Oz” on his wife’s Facebook page. She responded, “The lollipop guild, really?!!! You just HAD to include that!” I laughed to myself and then posted this comment, “I use to drink with one of the higher ups in Munchkin land”. Apparently I had never shared this info with her before and she was surprised. I explained that we all use to hang out at a Mexican bar/restaurant in Niagara Falls, New York. So I googled the “the mayor of munchkinland”.

That rabbit hole opened wide and swallowed me whole! First let me say the gentleman we are talking about was not “the Mayor”, however, his role in the film had affectionately earned him the title in Buffalo, New York and the surrounding area. The first thing that popped up was an image that I recognized immediately. I recognized it because I had taken the photo many years ago. I assumed (yes, I know what they say) that I had written about him either here or on Facebook at some point. When I clicked on the photo it went to a story by someone I didn’t know in a group on Facebook called The Real “Old Falls Street” People. A fellow named Max Eddy had written a very nice piece on Tommy and Betty Cottonaro on June 17th, 2017. I was not a member of the group. On further inspection of the photo I realized it was not my original photo. It was a picture of my photo that lives in my hard-covered, scrap-booked photo album, with all the trimmings. Did you see that rabbit hole open up wide right there?

This is the photo that led me down the rabbit hole. Tommy & Betty Cottonaro at La Casa Cardenas in Niagara Falls, NY. With Sergio Cardenas in between them and Sergio’s Mom in the background.

I joined the group so I could comment on the photo and told Max Eddy that I was curious as to how he came by the photo. His response was,  “I forget exactly where I found it. Probably a Google or Yahoo search. Tommy & Betty Cottonaro were very good friends of my family.” Dare I say, “curiouser and curiouser”. Sergio and Tommy probably both had a copy of the photo but neither of them would have had access to the scrapbook this photo of a photo came from.

I googled every thing I could think of and the only version of this photo to come up was the one mentioned above. So began the search for where I could have posted it. I went back on facebook and twitter to when I first started using the apps but there was no post. I went through all of my blog posts and none included this photo. At this point I told He-Who. Now, He-Who is big on the whole conspiracy theory way of life so he jumped in that rabbit hole with me feet first. The next step was to go through all my digital files of photos. Every photo (thousands) I ever took with my phone prior to June 2017. Nothing. I went through thousands of digital files of photos from my camera prior to June 2017. Nothing. At this point He-Who hollered from the living room that he had found Sergio on Facebook. The rabbit hole took a detour for a bit.

Now this was making me crazy and there were no little pills to make me bigger or smaller to take the edge off. The only other thing I could think of was that I had scanned the page to get the photo. I have done that before when I needed a picture of something I had already glued to a page. Apparently, I have done this a lot because the folder labelled “Michelle’s scans” had hundreds of photos in it. Again, no joy. In the folder labelled simply “scans” there were but 79 photos. And there it was, scanned on March 4, 2014 was the page from the album.

OK. But how on earth did that end up getting on the internet? Then it occurred to me to do a google “image” search. Of course that Facebook page came up but one other entry also popped up. I still have no idea how Eddy found it but I do know how it got on the internet. Believe it or not it was part of a comment on someone else’s blog.

Mike Allegra has a blog called Hey, Look! A Writer Fellow that I have been following since 2011. He has written children’s books that my nieces and nephews love. Over the years we have chatted on-line frequently. He often runs contests on his blog to win his drawings or doodles. I always enter and am the proud owner of a few of them. In March of 2014 he had a contest to win one of his doodles. All you had to do was leave an “Interesting Tidbit” about yourself in the comments section. This is how it went…

SILKPURSEPRODUCTIONS

I have had drinks with “The Mayor of Munchkin Land” and his wife on several occasions.

  1. HEYLOOKAWRITERFELLOW Now this is, I think, the DEFINITION of an Interesting Tidbit! Two names in the hat for you! But I need more detail! Please, oh, please elaborate.
    1. SILKPURSEPRODUCTIONS It’s funny, I hadn’t thought about it in years and your post had me thinking about things I could share that would be OK for the young one pulling the name out of the hat. I have a picture here somewhere. I will look for it to show you.
    2. HEYLOOKAWRITERFELLOW Cool! Looking forward to it!
    3. SILKPURSEPRODUCTIONS Here is the picture I found.

  1. It is the Mayor of MunchkinLand – he was from Buffalo, New York – and his wife. The owner of the bar was Sergio Cardenas. That is his head in the middle and his Mom is standing behind. The bar was called La Casa Cardenas in Niagara Falls New York. The things that happened there will have to remain classified.
    1. HEYLOOKAWRITERFELLOW This is great! I met one of the last remaining Munchkins a few years ago at a giant antique and collectibles show in Atlantic City. I have no idea why he was there. He was a living antique, perhaps?
    2. SILKPURSEPRODUCTIONS The photo was taken somewhere between 1993 & 1998. Tommy has since passed. The bar has closed down and I lost track of my friend Sergio. Social media was not yet a tool to keep in touch.
    3. SILKPURSEPRODUCTIONS In trying to remember more, I was doing some digging and guess what?
      This is dated Sat. Feb. 10, 2001. In this morning’s Niagara Gazette I got a shock when I read the obituary page. I read that Thomas J. Cottonaro, 86 years old, of Ashland Avenue,
      Niagara Falls, NY, died Wednesday, February 7, in Niagara Falls Memorial
      Medical Center after a year-long illness. Who was Tommy Cottonaro? He was our very special Munchkin and was known around here as the Mayor of MunchkinLand. Why? Well, because he had been a film actor and was one of the Munchkins in the original 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz. Actually he was the “bearded man of the Munchkins. He was the last surviving Munchkin of the Wizard of Oz.” So all those years I drank with the man, no one ever set me straight that he was not actually the “Mayor”. He was the “bearded one”. All I remember is that both he and his wife were wonderful people. They were fun, funny and gracious.

As you can see, this whole conversation including the picture took place in the comment section of someone else’s blog. How on earth did Eddy find it there three years later? I think I will have to leave this rabbit hole for another day. Now all I have to do is pull He-Who out of it!

Really? In what universe does it feel like Christmas? As the pandemic rages on it laughs in our faces every time we even think about getting the Christmas Spirit. And, for my Jewish family & friends Hanukkah isn’t fairing any better. I just read a headline that said, “Parts of Ontario are literally colder than Antarctica today”, and whispers of “Polar Vortex” are popping up on the Weather Network. So, yeah, baby it’s cold outside! It definitely makes it hard to warm the cockles of your heart. I think it’s safe to say that people are struggling to have “Happy Holidays”.

I confess I had joined the masses, wallowing in despair over being deprived of the company of people who wouldn’t bother with me any other time of year and really just happened to be at the same event. Then there’s the usual nervous breakdown from trying to navigate the crowded shopping malls for that perfect gift that won’t be perfect no matter what, while trying not to get knocked on my butt by some bruiser with his head in his phone. Oh yes. Fond memories. “Had” is the key word in this tale. But things turned around rather quickly a few days ago when my sister sent me a photo. This simple photo got me out of bed (at around four in the afternoon — I wasn’t kidding about the wallowing part) and put a smile on my face that will carry me through the Holidays.

Thirty-six years ago we were blessed to meet the first female child born in our family in quite some time. We were all excited about all the “girly” things this would mean. Hinda was born in June, which gave us about six months to negotiate our way through her first Hanukkah and Christmas. I felt it was really important for me to learn, understand and respect the Jewish traditions this new bundle of joy would be raised with. At the same time, she would be learning about our Christmas traditions. I was determined that her first Christmas gift from me would be something she would want to have forever and perhaps pass down to her daughter. (I know, He-Who often wonders how I come up with this stuff.) It took me almost the whole six months — and a lot of blood, sweat and tears, as I struggled on an antique sewing machine I had inherited — to complete the task. This was the final result.

The doll was bigger than Hinda at the time. It had fingers, toes, dimples, a bum and even a belly button which I made sure every one knew about (by constantly undressing her). Her eyes were embroidered. She had bloomers, socks, booties, a dress and an apron. All hand made by me. I was so proud of it and couldn’t wait to give it to her. This is the only picture I have of the event.

She really didn’t seem all that impressed, did she? (Don’t even ask about that hat I’m wearing!) It had been years since I thought of that doll. Then, at the end of this past August, I received a picture from Hinda that brought me to tears (of joy).

Apparently, Hinda’s daughter Klara found the doll at Bubbie’s house. She put a seatbelt on her in the car and took her home to read her stories. Last I heard she was being called “Matilda”.

Although that picture made me so very happy, it was not the one that turned things around for me. I had made a living as a photographer for 20+ years then transitioned into television production. I should know by now that one photograph does not tell the whole story. The one that does tell the story captures the perfect moment better than the rest. This is what my sister sent me.

Joy! Pure joy! Hinda gave me the reaction I longed for that Christmas, and this was my reaction to Hinda! I don’t think I have ever seen me look happier. To me, as technically awkward as this photo might be, it’s the perfect photo because it captures the true Christmas spirit. I smile every time I look at it. Thank you to my sister Lu for sending me this. It feels like Christmas.

I hope all of you can find a way to capture that joy this Holiday Season, whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah (or a special time that I’m less familiar with). Happy Holidays!

Mirror, Mirror

Usually people post reflective offerings closer to the end of the year. That week between Christmas and the New Year seems to be the appropriate time for a look in the proverbial mirror. Yeah, well, I can’t wait that long.

Looking in the mirror these days is more than a bit scary. On so many levels I don’t recognize that person looking back. This year has brought out the worst in a lot of people and I confess I’ve not been unscathed. Yesterday, my current reality was smacked in the face when this showed up in my news feed:

The first thought in my mind was not kind. I didn’t say it out loud but I was stunned by the harsh reaction in my head. My thoughts weren’t that nasty when the sperm donor who impregnated his mother fell ill. It really upset me that I went to such a dark place so quickly.

I have not been mute in my disgust for 45, but I have tried to keep it civilized. This has required a lot of filtering from my brain to my mouth/fingers. Recently, I was having a discussion on line with someone I have known for a very long time who’s support of that vile being has shocked me. I was accused of being a meme. I’m not sure which upset me more, their support of the dumpster fire or the insinuation that I was unable to be that prolific. I may or may not have seen this as a meme but I did not intentionally steal it. It probably just seemed like a quote that best said what I felt. This is my “meme” version of it.

It turns out I’m neither as needy as I thought nor am I that desperate for “friends” anymore. I realized that I would never change the minds of the friends, colleagues and family members guzzling 45’s Kool-Aid, not to mention the haters, conspiracy theorists and “Rona” doubters. All that took me about seven months. Sitting at the computer turning purple and biting my tongue was not working. I learned to use the “unfriend” & “unfollow” options of my social media. It wasn’t easy but I only like purple for my hair.

One of the biggest surprises actually happened right here in the 900 square feet of living space we tentatively call “home”. I vividly remember realizing that my birthday & St. Patrick’s Day plans had just been terminated by the government. He-Who had not gone back to work yet and my work had just been “temporarily” postponed. We were in lock down. With each other. Alone. All by ourselves. If you had told me that eight months later neither lawyers or coroners had been called to our location I wouldn’t have believed you. But here we are, still surviving.

The Hype Theory

Hype,Decoded.

Girl in Niagara

Joyful Stories, Wine and Travel

50 Shades of Gray Hair

We all have roots and I'm exposing mine!

Tom Lucas

Writer

Remrov's Artwork

Montreal based autistic artist

t r e f o l o g y

all questions answered all answers questioned

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

I'll know it when I write it

I'm learning how to organize thoughts and words. Sometimes, that just looks like a hockey fight.

Journey of a UTM Lad

by Arian J. Salari

upside of sideways

embrace life :: explore design :: live simply :: laugh loud

julienoblog.wordpress.com/

The blog for those without a Blog

Wayne Paget

This blog is dedicated to my life as a photographer. I am a Denturist by trade, and a hobbyist photographer. I will be travelling to Nunavut to combine these aspects of my life. In 2015 I will document my travel experiences and the making of dentures for our Inuit communities.

You've Been Hooked!

Observations from the trenches....

Jenn's Trends

Understanding Trends in Social Media Management

%d bloggers like this: