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Posts Tagged ‘M & M’

OMG The Horror!

It has taken me some time to write about this. Partly out of humiliation and partly because I gag every time I think about it.

There were a lot of changes in my household this spring. I realized I was coming up to a rather large number on the birthday scale next year and had better do something to get into better shape before I completely fell apart. I started walking every day in March and by the end of April had worked my way up to 5 miles a day. Along with actually moving physically I started back on my healthier eating plan. That means lots of veggies, fruit and chicken.

He-Who made some changes as well. Not exercise or eating healthy…don’t be ridiculous! That won’t happen until we find a diet that is developed around the consumption of Fresh Cut French Fries. For some reason…it may have had something to do with my Banjo Boy post, or the comments that resulted…he decided to find a new banjo teacher and start lessons again. He went faithfully for several weeks and practised every day. That is until the banjo injuries surfaced. He sounded like Ringo Starr at the end of Helter Skelter, “I’ve got blisters on my fingers!” Ok, maybe it was more like this…

Then came the bruising of his arm because he didn’t have an arm rest on the banjo. Professionals were consulted and arrangements were made to have an armrest installed by the only person qualified in the GTA.  That would be Grant MacNeil at the Twelfth Fret Guitar Shop in downtown Toronto. Unfortunately, Grant was only available on Saturday, when He-Who was not. That left me, always the encouraging spouse, to make the trek into Toronto with He-Who’s prized possession. I’m not a fan of tackling the “Big City” at the best of times, but to be responsible for a musical instrument that was worth more than I am, seemed to be a tranquillizer-worthy-task. Promises were made. He-Who was to put it in the case and Grant was to take it out and put it back in so that I never had to actually touch the banjo.  All I had to do was pick out the arm rest that matched. I did not want that added responsibility but eventually agreed.  On my way home I planned to run some errands and pick up a few groceries. There was a sale at the place where I purchase my frozen chicken breasts — M & Ms — and it was a good opportunity to stock up.

boneless-chicken-breasts

I was one hot mess by the time I got to the Twelfth Fret. There is no air in my car and as you know we have had some bitchin’ hot weather this year. My anxiety over having custody of the banjo just added to my level of sweat. Grant made the whole procedure relatively painless. It took very little time and it wasn’t long before the banjo was in its case and laying across my back seat, headed homeward. I stopped only to purchase three boxes of frozen chicken breasts on my way home.  I made sure I locked up my car like a vault while I ran inside the M & M store. I threw the chicken in the trunk and drove the final couple of kilometres without incident.  When I got home I carefully got the banjo inside, up the stairs, and laid it on one of the love seats in the living room. I collapsed on the couch watching the banjo like it was going to make a run for it. I swear at least one tear of relief slid down my cheek.

That was Saturday. On Thursday I went for my walk and came home to jump in the shower. I was feeling pretty good when I wrapped myself in a towel and walked out to the kitchen to prepare some chicken. I like to cook several pieces at a time to make it worth while turning on the oven and so I have a supply on hand already cooked. It helps me to not be tempted to have something less healthy. There I stood wrapped in a towel, with another on my head, searching in the freezer for my chicken. I couldn’t find it. It wasn’t there! What the hell!? I just bought some…the light bulb went on.

“Oh My God! Oh My God! Oh My God!” was all I could get out for the first several seconds. He-Who sauntered up to see if he could be of assistance. I just screamed at him, “Oh My God! O My God! Go out to my car right now and see if the chicken is still in the trunk!” Poor He-Who. He ran like that few seconds was going to save everything. He ran right back in carrying the bag with three boxes of not frozen chicken through the house and into the kitchen. I had smelled it as soon as he opened the door. It dripped all through the house and ended up in the sink. Do I have to explain to any one of you how gross three boxes of rotten chicken is? There are 8-12 pieces in each box, which means 24-36 pieces of dead chicken flesh were stinking up my house and dripping in my sink. By the time I was finished disinfecting the floors and the kitchen and the sink I know my face looked much the same as those rotting pieces of chicken. I gagged through the whole thing and was in a panic about what to do with the evidence. There is no way it was staying at the same address I was at. I wrapped it in plastic bag after plastic bag until I ran out of plastic bags. He-Who drove, I was in the passenger seat and the smell was in the trunk. I was sure I was going to pass out. We had to get rid of it. Someplace that would have collection the next morning, someplace that would not scare patrons from going inside to eat, SOME PLACE WE NEVER GO.  We finally found a spot and like thieves in the night, He-Who stopped right in front of it. It wasn’t looking good for me getting out of the car so he gallantly got out and grabbed the offending package from the trunk. As he approached the garbage can a man in shorts, no shirt, riding a bicycle pulled up to him and started talking. There he stood, literally holding the bag, talking to this strange man for what seemed like a lengthy period of time. I was about to have a stroke and probably puke all over the car. The man finally moved on and my He-Who dropped the bag in the bin and got back in the car. I stared at him and asked what the hell was all the socializing all about. I kid you not, this is what he said, “He asked me where the Aren’t We Naughty store was. I didn’t know so we were taking about where it might be.” I looked him in the eye and pointed to where the local sex toy shop is. It might have been the ashen colour of my skin or the gagging but he didn’t asked me how I knew where it was.

Needless to say, I haven’t been able to even look at chicken since. When ever our paths cross all I see is this. Oh My God, The Horror!

chicken-trump

Google Image

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Life can be puzzling. I know mine certainly has been. Puzzles have always been a part of my life. So many kinds! He-Who loves to do the Crosswords and I have always enjoyed a good Jumbo Sudoku. These days, however, they frustrate me more than anything but I have to keep doing them for therapy.

SudokuThere were always Jigsaw Puzzles under the Christmas tree when I was a child. I can’t really tell you whose name appeared on the gift tag, but once opened, it became community property. In our home, we had a card table that would go up when the puzzle beckoned to be put together. Then, all the pieces would be dumped on the table. Someone would start turning them right side up, one at a time, and moving them to an edge of the table. Someone else would join in and start assembling the straight edges of the puzzle. Then, someone else, hovering and watching, would see a piece that fit, lean in, pick it up and place it into the picture. Before you knew it, we would all be sitting around and filling in the blanks. Many hours were spent this way with my sisters when I was a child — passing around the box cover to get a good look at what we were creating. At times there was no conversation, just concentration. Other times there would be giggling and laughing and stories shared. I’d forgotten about that. The puzzles stopped after my Mom passed and we were separated at various times and places.

As a young adult living on my own without a lot of disposable income, puzzles came back into my life. One caught my eye and it wasn’t long before I had the card table set up and was sorting out the pieces. After that, seldom would you enter my apartment without a puzzle at some stage of creation, welcoming you. Often, people who came by would end up sitting with me, coffee in hand (OK, more likely Scotch… depending on the time of day) catching up with each other while working on the puzzle.

house puzzleThere were a couple of issues with my jigsaw…shall we say, “habit”. I couldn’t stand to take them apart after they were done. I would find a board and glue the pieces down so that they’d stay put. Sometimes I’d have them framed and give them to someone to “proudly” (my word, not theirs) display in their home. Eventually I discovered plaquing. A nice coat of decoupage and then off to the plaquing place I would go. It would be mounted, sealed with a plastic coating and it was ready to be hung. I’m not sure if habit is the right word, perhaps addiction or obsession is more like it. One particular cold, snowy day, I came home early in the afternoon because of a blizzard. I remember walking into my apartment, glad for the warmth. From where I stood an illusive puzzle piece caught my eye. My thick gloves flew off as I walked over to the table. I triumphantly placed the piece where it belonged. Several hours later, I heard the phone ringing from somewhere far away. It was insistent and getting louder. It was my phone. As I walked to answer it in the kitchen (no cells back then), I noticed the storm must have gotten worse, it was so dark out. My friend said, “I just wanted to check that you made it home safely before I went to bed.” I was surprised she was going to bed so early in the day. Except she wasn’t. It was well into the night. I had been standing for hours, working on that puzzle. I hadn’t taken off my winter coat, boots, hat or scarf. I hadn’t sat down, drank, ate or even had a pee for crying out loud!

Most of the time I tend to think and work as if I am piecing together a puzzle. In the edit suite at the TV station it was always about piecing together a story. When I am writing I often have a beginning and an ending but need to make the stuff in the middle fit together. Once, I set up a puzzle in the lunch room at the TV station. It was a welcome distraction for everyone. We were having trouble making something work on the studio floor and with tension mounting and personalities flaring, a lunch break was called. After a bit of teamwork on the puzzle we returned and things just fell into place.

Put together by Staff and Crew at CTS TV.

Put together by Staff and Crew at CTS TV.

Over the years I tried to find more challenging puzzles. I tried a black and white one of a vampire and his prey. My nephew ended up with that one. Next I tried a round one. No corners. No problem. Then I got into mosaics. The first one I did was fun. It was a huge Mickey Mouse. The image was actually made up of thousands of little tiny cells from the original Disney animations and it hung on our wall for years.

Mickey Blog

The second…and last mosaic I did was the hardest. Not because of its level of  difficulty, but because of the emotional impact it had on me. It was of the New York City Skyline prior to 9/11. This photomosaic was designed by Robert Silvers and created from thousands of miniature photographs of people lost in 9/11. I cried for every one of the 1,026 pieces of that puzzle and saw those faces in my sleep for some time. It was plaqued and hangs in my brother-in-law’s home in Lewiston, New York.

Twin Towers pieces blog

Somewhere along the line, my older sister came to visit. When she saw I was working on a puzzle she went to it and started working. I was shocked. I said, “I didn’t know you liked to do puzzles.” She was quite surprised. “Of course I do. We all do. There was always one on the go when we were kids.” How could I have forgotten that? It was the closest I’d felt to family in a long time.

Michelle Puzzle

The puzzle pieces of my life haven’t always fit together perfectly. Quite frankly, there will always be pieces missing. But every once in a while, I find a piece and fill in another section. When I was 27, I met my birth father and three sisters I hadn’t known. More pieces that I wasn’t sure how to make fit.  A couple of years ago I moved back to Niagara Falls for a few months. I was able to spend time with old friends and family that still lived in the area. It was also an opportunity to spend some time with one of my “newer” sisters. The only thing she has ever asked me to do turned out to be one of my most cherished gifts. She wanted me to get to know her daughter Jane, who was only 10 at the time. I had no clue what to do. I’ve spent tons of time with nieces and nephews that I have known from the time they were born. I’ve baby sat, we’ve had adventures and special times. I love them all. All of a sudden I am looking at my sister thinking, “How can I do this without a history?” As usual I was skint and couldn’t take Jane places or buy her things. But I wanted to know this beautiful child as much as her mom wanted me to.

I showed up on their doorstep with…wait for it…a jig-saw puzzle in hand and nervous as hell. In all honesty, I think her father wasn’t too impressed and thought I might be missing a few “pieces” myself. Over the next few months we put puzzles together and really got to know each other. Jane’s piece fits perfectly in my heart and I will always be grateful that I was given the opportunity to know her. We even found a portable case for puzzles. Now we can keep one on the go for whenever I visit and it can easily be put away until the next time.

Puzzling Jane

I’m thinking that it’s time to start a new puzzle — at home. There are a few people around I’d like to get to know a little better. Yes, life can be quite the puzzle.

 

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One of my sisters (I say “one” because I have a plethora of sisters) gave me this for Christmas.

I love it.
I can’t help myself…
…and, apparently, neither can my friends, family, colleagues and clients who have contributed to my vast collection of The Green “M”.

It started innocently enough.
The first award I won for my work in television was for directing. My sister (the one we call “The Baby”) found this wonderful coffee mug with The Green “M” on it sitting in a director’s chair.

It was the perfect gift, my favourite colour is green. I have, for as long as I can remember, always signed everything with “M” and…come on, she was sitting in a director’s chair. Yes, I said “she”. As it turns out of all the beloved “M & M” characters the green “M” is the only female character.
This was my first “M” piece and it remains my favourite. I have had to glue her together a couple of time (oops), but I don’t cry anymore if she gets broken.
I don’t even really know how it happened, but other “M” pieces started appearing. Before I knew it, this seemed to be the gift of choice. My birthday, Christmas any occasion: that is what I got, another “M” piece. One Christmas I found myself in the very embarrassing situation of unwrapping the very same piece from three different people. My collection grew by leaps and bounds. Mugs, cups, bowls, plates, glasses, figurines, canisters, puzzles, tape dispensers, candy dispensers, earrings, watches, t-shirts, sleep wear, towels, cloths…do I really need to keep going? If you can think of it, there is a green “M” version of it. It wasn’t long before my office, where I proudly displayed the collection, was over run. I think it was the whole triplicate gift thing that broke that straw. They now have their own room in my home. If you think I am exaggerating check out the photos below.


Over the years I have collected, or tried to collect other things. I always wanted to collect music boxes but no one else would contribute. There was a bee thing for awhile, but I think the “M”s over ran them and they are in boxes somewhere. I still have a small collection of antique/old cameras from my days as a professional photographer. At some point those will probably go as well. It seems that at some point we become over run by all the stuff we accumulate over a lifetime and we have to make some tough decisions to purge. One of my favourite writer/bloggers (some know him as @BloggerDad), David Wright, has recently started a website called Project 30 Days where he is attempting to change 12 things about his life… one month at a time. His recent post talking about what he has collected over the years and his challenge to show him our junk, and the fact that I am once again in packing mode has me taking stock on my “collections”. Seriously, I have a collection that has its own room!
I know I have contributed to the green “M” thing with my own purchases and I have probably encouraged people a little with using this as my avatar on facebook,

or by making sure my new “grand niece” participated.

Ellee Rose dressing up for Auntie “M”

But, I think it is time to stop. Friends, family, people I barely know, step away from the purchase of the next green “M”…
…of course I really love those sneakers in the Franklin Mint Catalogue.

Here I am with my counter part “The Devine Miss M”

What collections do you have that are out of  control? I’d love to hear about them.

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