Monthly Archives: October 2011

Lament for Bagel and Bongo

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I don’t often go to church.  I plan to go, I wish I did go, but the plain simple truth is, I don’t.  The only time I go is when I’m visiting my brother’s family, because they go.

I like church.  Well, I like THEIR church.  The idea of Unitarian Universalism really speaks to me, of deeds before creeds, and of making the world a better place for more people.  It’s a practical religion.  It’s open and accepting.  So, if I ever do “return to the fold”, that’s probably the place for me.  Certainly I feel very comfortable in their congregation.

My only problem is, I always cry at church.  I don’t sob, I don’t wail, but I always cry a little bit.  I’m not always sad, sometimes I’m just overwhelmed, I think, or feeling in a safe place to let it go.  I’m a little embarrassed by it, so I try to be as quiet as possible about it.  Usually no one notices.  That’s how I like it.

Yeah.

This particular congregation has a kick-ass choir, with an awesome pianist. At the end of the service, they presented a new piece, a postlude written by the pianist/choir director, “Peace is in Our Hands” (although I must admit I heard it as “Voices in Our Heads” when they were rehearsing it beforehand, but I was out in the foyer).

Great.  There was a young man playing the bongos in this piece.  I met him at a church potluck last month, and I remember him because he has the same name as my youngest nephew, and he went to Trent U here in Peterborough, so we had a little chit chat.

Years ago, when Ron Toufar had the Garden Cafe, he held coffee houses, and lots of people, me included, would go and sing and play long into the night.  Ron loved music, but he didn’t sing or play any instruments, except the bongos.  He was an enthusiastic impromptu accompanist, and I always found it quite endearing.

We lost Ron a few years ago, too young, and I miss him.  I hadn’t seen him often over the last ten years of his life, but he always took an active interest in me, we chatted online quite often, and he was always very encouraging of any sort of creativity.  He was a great, great guy.

So, I went up to the young man, after the service, to tell him how much I enjoyed the bongos, because they reminded me of Ron – AND I BURST INTO TEARS AND CRIED ALL OVER HIS NECK.

I’m such a jerk.  I’m so embarrassed.

Why Can’t Lynnie Read?

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I can’t read lately, and I don’t know why.  Last time I went through a bout like this, it was because I needed reading glasses really badly and didn’t know it.  This time – I just don’t know. 

I have the attention span of a gnat right now.  I have started and discarded Kiss of the Spider Woman, Blindness, A Monk Swimming, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter and Think on These Things.  I’m trying A History of Their Own – Women in Europe from Prehistory to the Present, but I expect I’ll discard that too. 

Either a) all of these books are just no good, which seems unlikely, or b) there’s something wrong with me.  I have always been a voracious reader, and this is a very big deal for me.  I don’t get it.  Is the internet sucking out my BRAIN?  Can I no longer process information that’s longer than 140 characters?  WTF?  LOL?  ROFLMAO?

I think I’m doomed to a life of LOLcats and Facebook.  My brain, of which I have always been so proud and so fond, is cybermush.  RIP, Lynne’s Brain.  We hardly knew ye.

Out There, Somewhere

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Odd when you find out that someone you thought was out there in the world – isn’t. 

I found out recently that a lawyer I used to work for passed away a year and a half ago.  I liked Alan, he was good to work for.  He paid me well, and was always very generous with his time and advice, as well.  He had integrity, he was witty and kind. He was respected in the legal community.  I never felt I had to be embarrassed calling up anyone and saying “Hi, it’s Lynne from Alan Harries’ office”.  

He retired in 1995, and I didn’t often run into him after that.  I know he and Pat traveled a lot, they loved sailing.  I thought of him the odd time, but I really didn’t have any more contact with him.

I’m saddened by this.  He was only 66, which really, these days is very young.  I’m more saddened by the fact that I didn’t even know, that I assumed he was still out there in the world.  This happened to me once before, when I found out an old friend from highschool Guitar Club days, Wendy Patterson, had passed away several years before I ever heard about it. 

What’s the etiquette here?  Is it too late to send a card?  Probably.  Should we look up everyone we ever knew to make sure they’re okay?  Unrealistic. 

I’m just a little sad.  He was a good man.  I liked him.

Cheers, Alan.

Don and Donna Go To Bat or Why I Won’t Wear Lieutenant Uhura’s Velvety Red Underpants

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One of my favourite picture books as a little one was called “Don and Donna Go To Bat”.  I don’t know who wrote it or illustrated it.  I remember it as the story of identical twins, a brother and sister called Don and Donna.

Hit the brakes, there, sparky, I know that identical twins are always the same gender.  But in this book, they weren’t.  It’s fiction, okay?  Suspend your disbelief.

So, they’re identical gingers, right down to the freckles on their adorable little faces.  They both love baseball, but of course Donna isn’t allowed to play because she has a vagina, which apparently is a big problem in baseball.  Not sure why.

Anyway, forward to the day of the Big Game.  Don comes down with some pussy wussy illness, and can’t play.  Oh no!  He’s the star player!  Whatever will they do?

Well, in a fairly predictable turn of events, Donna tucks her hair up under her hat and puts on her big girl panties, hits a fuckin’ home run and saves the day.  F**k you, Little League, F**k you.

I really liked that book.  See, those were different times.  My career options as a chick looked somewhat limited to me when I was little.  Nurse (ick), teacher (hell no), ballerina (hmm…Versteeg coordination working against me there), or mommy.

What I really wanted to be was Captain James T. Kirk, or possibly a land surveyor.  Well, wait – I kind of wanted to BE Captain Kirk and marry him at the same time.  It was a little confusing.  But no way was I wearing Uhura’s red underpants, I’ll tell you that much.  Seems like a little bit of an impractical outfit for the type of interstellar swashbuckling for which I pined.  I was pretty sure it had something to do with that vagina thing again…

I’ll Teach My Blog 100 Words

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This is my 100th blog post.  I wanted it to be something special and profound.  But honestly – I got nuthin’.  So, I just want to make a post to get the 100th blog roadblock out of my psychological path.  So, this is it.

Happy 100th Blogday!  Thanks for reading, sorry this entry sucks so muchly.

The Library – Check It Out!

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Like the divine Margaret A., I am a lover of libraries.

We were taken to the public library frequently as kids, and were allowed to sign out five or six books at a time.  Rather than reading them sequentially, I would read them all at the same time, hopping from book to book.  I still read that way.  I often have three or four books on the go at once.

When I hit school age, and we had access to the school library, I quickly tired of the picture book selection.  I was an early reader; my mother taught me at home.  I gravitated to the”chapter books”, but was told that section was off limits.  I was somewhat agitated.  Books had never been “off limits” to me.  Mum magically sorted that out for me, and ever after I somehow had access to any book my little heart desired, as all children, in my opinion, should.

I volunteered in that library as a student at BPS.  All kids of my generation remember Miss Lazzara and Mrs. Barnes, the librarians, tiny Miss Lazzara in her oversized cardigans and big glasses, and the awesomely buxom Mrs. Barnes and her violet tinted hair.   Colleen and I spent many lunch hours carding and shelving books, and were rewarded with an afternoon tea.  Afternoon tea!  Splendid, to an Enid Blyton fan like me!

In highschool, my grade nine homeroom was in the library, which suited me fine.  After grade nine, we would all meet there before going to our homerooms in the morning.  We may have been a little loud.  Sorry Mr. Jacques…  Mrs. Astin!  Whatever happened to her?  She was a lovely woman.

I worked in the Bracebridge Public Library all through highschool, as well.  I have fond memories of many hours working with Kit Boyer, Anna Crawford and Lis Rainey, and of poring through the stacks over forgotten oddities.  “White Pills” – did anyone else ever read that rather odd book?

I always enjoyed working the Saturday morning Story Hour, often with Joy Manson, where old Mrs. Ruth Taylor would sit on the steps to the fire door and read to the little ones.  She must be long gone now, but she was a lovely lady, and I think I enjoyed the stories as much as they did.

I remember Ian McTavish, the UC minister’s youngest son, lying on the floor in the children’s section all day reading Tintin comics, until his mum would call and ask us to send him home. I remember being sick in bed for a week and reading Mary Poppins and The Island of Adventure.  I remember the time we found some expensive colour plate art books, nudes mostly, hidden in the bathroom (eww…).  I remember the musty back storage room.

It was a wonderful building, full of light, with huge windows and ugly dark green roller blinds.  It had beautiful woodwork, and a little balcony inside over the front entrance where Lis put the Christmas tree every year.   I loved the heavy oak tables.  Those tables were forever tables.  They weren’t going anywhere.

The library was renovated years ago, expanded and updated.  It was well done, so far as I can see from the outside, they kept the beauty and integrity of the original building intact.  I’ve never been in, don’t know what it’s like. I’ve had dreams about it (one of them involved getting from section to section with a series of ziplines, waterslides and firepoles, but never mind that…).  One day I’ll go and see, but part of me doesn’t want to.  I’m pretty sure the big curved circulation desk in the children’s section is gone.  I’ve lost touch with Lis, Anna and Kit.  Anna and Kit must be long retired by now.  There’s no more date stamps or card pockets.   That little wooden box with all the pocket cards for signed-out books is probably long gone.  The library will be gone one day, I think, the internet will be where we get all of our information.  No more sorting and shelving, no more musty smelling books or browsing stacks.

That’s why I’ve never been in since the renovation so many years ago.  Too many ghosts, and I think I just want to remember it the way it was.  I spent a lot of happy, solitary hours there, and it very much formed who I am today.

I love you library.

The Socialist Hokey Pokey

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Okay, kids, line up, we’re going to do a little dance.

Liberal kids – shuffle to the left a little bit.  NDP kids – take one baby step to the right.

What, you’re all mashed into each other now?  GOOD.

I’m starting to think that we might need a two party system in Canada.  We just can’t seem to decide, and I think it’s because we’re divided into too many little factions.  Minority governments, while they do “keep people honest”, require an awful lot of time debating that could be spent working.  We’re all different, we all have our own agendas and our own values, I don’t think anyone can argue that.

I just think it would be more constructive to restructure the political Left to include all those agendas, and I think it would take just a few small compromises on everyone’s part. Recent elections at all levels have shown that it’s clear that most Canadians lean that way, but are broken into factions too small to defeat the Conservatives. 

So, if proportional representation isn’t going to be an option, maybe we need to go back to the drawing board and (I can’t believe I’m saying this) take a look at the American two-party system.  We don’t all have to be the same KIND of socialists, but if we can all agree on some basic values and work together, we can probably accomplish a hell of a lot more than we do all puttering and muttering from our individual corners.

Let’s play nice together!