Uncategorized

Island Living-ya gotta be prepared

As many of you may know, I just recently moved back to a little Gulf Island. And although I am enjoying my return, I  realize that there are many things that one needs to prepare for in order to live here.

It is not just easy living out here you know.

Here is my list of important items that you must have ready at all times:

  1. One must always remember to pack your berry picking attire and keep it in the trunk of your car if you are able. You must have an old pair of jeans, a long sleeved jacket…or shirt, something that will protect the skin of your arms… an old pair of runners, gardening gloves and a clean bucket or I like to use a big stock pot with handles. I also like to bring an old metal hanger bent into a hook shape. I sometimes throw in a pair of snippers to cut back big ol thick spiky branches that are in the way of the mother lode of blackberries. This is serious business folks. I often fill my deep freeze full of free antioxidant producing berries, enough to feed my family and what ever friends come over for the year. Next-
  2. For collecting clams and oysters. One needs on hand and at the ready, a good shovel for clams, a clean bucket… not the one for berries and an oyster knife so that you can shuck it on the beach and leave the shells behind. You must have good rubber boots and a little clean yogurt container ready to go at all times so you are ready when the tides are right at Brickyard Beach.
  3. For swimming… always have a little bag in your car if possible, with dry towels, a good book, (don’t forget your glasses), your bathing suit and old sandals in case you pick a barnacled beach. The man ( as the blogger of Frugal Endeavors refers to her man, instead of significant other)– says we must always have his metal detector at the ready…we would keep it in the trunk if it wasn’t so full… we may have to buy a van for all this gear.
  4. For the ferry lineup-a clean cooler with ice for groceries. Some water and some healthy snacks,  a good book ( don’t forget your glasses) and a ferry card that one of your children have probably swiped–so cross your fingers that there is enough money on it! Don’t forget to tape the schedule to the sun visor, although it will be memorized soon I am sure.
  5. For power outages— candles, matches, firewood, butane for the little cook stove—–buckets of water for flushing, a good book ( don’t forget your glasses) and of course…some good wine and a secret stash of chocolate to accompany those stories from the good old days, so you can talk into the wee hours as one tends to do when you aren’t distracted by modern technology.

I think that’s it. I love the feeling of being prepared for all these very important aspects of island living.

Films

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

photofest

Sometimes my mind goes down a complete rabbit hole, without any chance of finding sunlight. I was thinking this the other evening while watching my new favourite movie channel, Turner Classic Movies— that here is Joan Crawford, playing a woman who is being tortured by her former child star actress sister. But then I couldn’t help thinking of the movie loosely based on Joan Crawford’s real life, where she torments her daughter in the movie Mommy Dearest and I think, ahhhhhhhhhhh…. this is hard for my little brain to compute.You want to feel sorry for the sister upstairs in her old fashioned wheel chair… especially when a rat is served for dinner. But alternatively you can’t help but wonder, what did the actress do in real life to her daughter?

Ya know what I mean?

There is a fine line between truth and fiction I suppose. But I don’t think Joan wrote the part of Baby Jane, but still. Maybe the horrible story crept into her mind unsuspecting. and she became a psychopath.

I don’t know, just thinkin… I still recommend this movie though. Just for bizarreness factor. You almost can’t believe what will happen next.

And even if they tend to over act… it doesn’t matter to me, ’cause the ideas are so darn strong and interesting and of course, it is the first time they are done.

Unless they have stolen the ideas from Shakespeare. Which could have happened.

Over and out from a classic movie fan.

Click the link below to the 20th-anniversary edition book written by Christina Crawford.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/374671.Mommie_Dearest

 

Films

The Marrying Kind

Okay, you know from many of my blog posts that I am a classic movie fan. I recently came upon a movie starring Judy Holliday that blew me away. It is called The Marrying Kind. Darn those great screen writers. And great acting. This is when I wish I had another fellow classic movie fan to watch these movies with me. To laugh and ugly cry together whilst eating buttery popcorn.  And some of those lines that they wrote in those days— like when Judy Holliday says after a long day, ” this day has been about three days long!”

How many times have I felt this but could never figure out how to explain it simply?

Or when the couple sits around the breakfast table after fighting all night and are forced to sing the good morning song with their daughter. I laughed until I cried. Who hasn’t had a huge fight and tried to pretend everything was fine in front of their kids? It was moving and funny and I am still remembering clever bits an hour later. Each scene is brilliant in its own way. When the couple is rushing to go out to a fancy dinner on their anniversary and the couple’s friends arrive late to babysit, they see that they are completely drunk ( unfit to leave with their kids)  so they make the best of it and join them for a dance party in the living room…

Even though this movie was produced in 1952 I still think the major themes of what problems can occur in a marriage are as relevant today as they were then. There is nothing dated about the ups and downs of a family trying to make ends meet while enjoying the good times and enduring the bad. I suppose that’s why some movies are called classics.

TCM had a little blurb after this movie explaining why it didn’t do well in the box office many years ago. It was promoted as a comedy, which it definitely isn’t. But you will laugh and cry too, I guarantee it.

Just like life.

Films

Brigadoon

After a long time away from living on a small island I have found myself back and it feels strange. It is strange to recognize so many familiar faces everywhere I turn. I feel like I am in Brigadoon, this little town has stayed the same—stopped in time, if you will. On the ferry, there is the same man who steals your newspaper right out of your hands, the same man delivering a truck of water in the dry season, the same person selling you meat from the deli. And I swear there is that same spider hanging out in the same corner of the ceiling.

The ferry line up is long and the tourists are fun to watch and listen to on the long waits. They are easy to spot, expensive sunglasses and fancy sandals, standing in the front of the ferry, faces in the wind looking expectantly to the island, anticipation of a holiday in their eyes. They take shamelessly happy looking selfies with the mountains and the sea in the background and I think, yes come and enjoy the island, where nothing ever changes.  And while it is comforting to know everyone’s name, I still enjoy the animosity of a new car ( new to people here anyways), where I can drive down the winding tree lined roads without anyone recognizing me at least for a brief time— I don’t have to wave at anyone.

Although it feels that time has stopped, it really hasn’t. Some people look a lot older, classic older men with long white beards Rip Van Winkle-esk… walking in their faded tie dye. Some have packed up and moved away- as we did, to try and find better jobs in the city.

Some have died.

Time has a different meaning on this small island. I have to shake off my impatience as people stop in the middle of the narrow two lane road that winds around the island, to stop and chat —-holding up the people behind them. I have to learn that long waits are the norm, at the ferry.  You learn to make your own ice cream, your own pot stickers. Now I have to learn to make Pho and give up going to the movies… just to not have to take the dreaded ferry. It is fun to get people riled up here, all you have to do is say BC Ferries! and you can get a reaction. They have been overloaded all month! 45 minutes late each time! Is the lament that I keep hearing.

But I think an island like this should be kept the same- it is beneficial to keep the outside world from transforming us too much—we have to realize, it really is that dreaded ferry that is keeping this little island at bay from too much rapid change. Like that spell on Brigadoon.

And like Gene Kelly who returns to New York after leaving,  he just can’t get Brigadoon out of his mind. Gabriola too will keep you under its spell, and if you leave, you may have to return. Even if Cyd Charisse isn’t here dancing around Drumbeg Park with her long legs and her Scottish accent.

 

 Note from the author: I am taking great liberties with my memory of this old movie…. it has been awhile since I have watched this film and I am filling in the holes with my imagination.

 

 

 

Art · Books Books Books

Don’t Judge a Book By its Cover

 

http://www.readerservice.com/content/vintage-harlequin-covers/

Don’t judge a book by its cover. I made this mistake when once, bringing out an array of world language books for a library presentation, I picked out a few novels off of the library shelf. I tried to choose books with pretty covers. I knew the Korean book was about sewing children’s clothes but the Chinese fiction was harder to guess at. It was a soft covered book, on the larger size and covered with brilliant flower images.I was hoping it was something that might draw someone’s attention and it did. I saw a young woman pick up the book to look at it and I was pleased, I said-

Is this a good book? Have you read it?  And slowly and gently she tried to explain what it was about.

No, I have not read this book.

What is it about? I inquired.

Oh, it is about a girl, she said hesitantly.

Hmmn, I said,—you mean it is about friends?

No no, she replied, it is about a lady, how do I say it—  she is a bad girl— she is a lady of the night.

 

Oh really?  I said, feeling silly that I displayed it….this was an outreach in a local church after all. She continued to read the back jacket to me, well—eventually she becomes good.

I believe she was trying to ease my mind that I had chosen a really trashy novel. I was aghast! How did I choose a seemingly innocent book off of our shelves? I was aiming for gentle ( flowery) fiction and was far off the mark! In my defense, there were no pictures of handsome men or half-clad women on the front, only flowers!

And so— my lesson of the day;

Do not judge a book by its cover– although I often can’t help myself if it is really pretty.

 

 

 

Uncategorized

There’s a Moon in the Sky- It’s called the moon

Trying to get ahold of my worrying mind, I search around the emergency waiting room for something that is positive. I didn’t want to see men holding bloodied bandaged fingers or elderly ladies wincing in pain in their giant chairs with wheels. I didn’t want to hear the bored and whining child or watch the children’s television that gruesomely showed someone cutting out an eye of a pumpkin. I was waiting to see if my husband’s eye would be okay after a weed whacking incident, I did not want to be reminded of eyeballs being cut out. And so I looked up from my book…. I was the only one reading a book, which seemed odd as I heard the waiting time was 3 hours at least or maybe the whole day if you weren’t in excruciating pain. But I digress. I looked up through the large windows and saw a painting inspired image of a crow clasping the metal something-or-other and the moon with all its intrinsic patterns. My photo doesn’t do it justice.

And so, on what would be considered a bad day trip to Nanaimo to go to emergency…. on a long weekend, unsure if we would make the last ferry, I found a sliver of beauty.I began to relax and listened intently to people who became chummy and bonded over the long wait times. I learned that the elderly lady on the far right was pushed into the side of a slide by her great- grandson. It was worth the small injury on her wrist for sure and a great tale to boot. Seeing the moon reminded me of the song by the B52’s- There’s a Moon in the Sky, it became lodged in my head and I sang it quietly in my mind on the trip back.

His eye is intact.

We made the last ferry.

All is good.

Here is a great song on youtube…

 

Uncategorized

Packin’ Up and Saying Goodbye

photo courtesy of imgur

Well, our bags are packed and we’re madly dashing around doing last minute chores before leaving the big city of Calgary.

Here are some of the things I will miss the most;

  • Nose Hill Park, the wildflowers that I walk by every day always amazes me. And how fun to walk by gaggles of children out on a field trip singing,”Down by the Bay, where the watermelons grow”, ad naseum, just like we used to do a million years ago.
  • I will miss the wild winds and the way they move the grasses on the hillsides… I always think of ghosts running up the hill whenever I see those stalks wavering in the wind, quite an amazing sight.
  • I will miss the bright blue colour of the cold river waters and watching surfers tackling the waves in the middle of the city.
  • I will miss walking through Kensington, enjoying Oolong tea with my family and running to an afternoon movie at a local theater just minutes away.
  • I will miss Shakespeare on the Bow and the beautiful setting of the Cochrane market.

But most of all— I will miss the people that I have met here. Really good people, kind and funny and full of life! How lucky to have met so many great and intelligent friends. Goodbye big city, you have changed me and very much for the better.

 

(  I meant to send this post off before we left— we have now unpacked our bags and are settling in to our new home)