Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Devil Made Me Do It!

My name is Clippy Mat, and I'm a teleholic.
Is there a 12 step program?
Giving up telly means i am spending much more time on the computer.
giving up smoking over 10 years ago meant i just ate more to fill the void.
giving up sucking my thumb (okay i WAS 12!!)
was replaced with smoking. (which did much more for my street cred)
see where i'm going here?
i'm an addict.
i don't actually give things up. i just replace them.
it's not how it's supposed to be.

monday night at 10 i HAD to watch damages. a new series with glenn close playing an uber-bitch lawyer. a part she was made for.
ooh she made my flesh tingle she was so nasty.
(and speaking of nasty, ted danson was doing the nasty. in a car, with a prostitute and they were doing drugs.)
tch tch
what would woody say?
i didn't watch any other tv that night but i knew that it was coming on and it was like an itch that needed scratching.
it was worth it.

last night i was here on the computer and american idol was on.
i tried to ignore it but m.o.h. was watching it.
i happened to take off my headset and lo and behold, simon was being rude to someone.
so i turned around and peeked.

an hour later it was all over and there was i, lying on the couch, dishevelled and spent and not liking myself.
went to bed and flipped on at 10 because i knew extras was on.
just going to have a little look that's all.
laughed out loud several times and fell in love with ricky gervais for the hundredth time.
a funny man is a sexy man, non?
i've been thinking...
what if i just give up 'bad television'?
that's stuff which is truly mindless (no, no, no, not american idol and the donald!!) shows, (and i use the term 'shows' loosely), which only require me to loll in front of the box with a glazed expression on my face, mouth slightly ajar, and the inability to press the 'off' button on the remote. like 'america's next supermodel' or 'big brother' or whatever.
i don't watch those anyway.
i'm much better than that.
i need help.

Monday, February 25, 2008

and the oscar goes to........

I confess.

i watched the Oscars on tv last night. four hours of it. that was my punishment. it was awful! boring! i kept on watching thinking something was going to happen. it never did. it just went on, and on, and i wanted to go to sleep. but i had to know who was going to get the upcoming oscar for best costumes in an animated musical foreign language documentary with sound effects didn't i?

i'm glad that the couple from 'once' got an oscar for their music from their movie. that was nice.

otherwise... serves me right i suppose.

now i will have to climb back on the wagon after backsliding. (I also watched american idol this week). and er, oh yeah, celebrity apprentice.

but that's it. i'm done now. back to the books. no more tv. promise.

i will put down the remote and back away from the television. ;-)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

D.I.Y. and Y I Detest it.

when we bought this house almost 3 years ago, we (and when i say "we" i mean m.o.h.) had just finished all of the renovations on our former home. we (i.e. he) weren't looking for a challenge as such but we were very naive. we looked around here at the 80's decor and said to ourselves; "oh yes, main floor-new doors, trim, window frames, pull up the carpets, refinish the hardwood underneath, paint and decorate. downstairs redo the family room, update the bathroom and make that other room into a hang out room for our youngest........... shouldn't take long, or much money..."

fast forward to today.
the money that we set aside for the projects was used up within the first few months.the things that we/he did re-do 3 years ago are ready to be re-done. we already need a new coat of paint upstairs.

downstairs is a nightmare.
m.o.h. works hard. he drives miles every day to get to work and he works 3 different shifts. but when he's not at work, he's hard at work here. yesterday he spent hours laying a laminate floor in the basement family room. and it's only 1/2 done. it should have been done much quicker but the floor underneath isn't straight/flat to start with i guess and the planks are not 'clicking' together the way they should.

it's past the point of no return he says and he will just soldier on with it. i, on the other hand, would have ripped it up and snapped one over my knee out of frustration before chucking it all back in the truck and taking it back to the store.
but it is my fault really, because he wanted carpet and i said, 'no, laminate will be much easier to look after'......

talk about blood sweat and tears. it's just one thing after another.
when this house is finally done..... when? i should say, 'if'', then it will be nice that we can start to have a life again.
there's only the upstairs bathroom to do, the downstairs laundry room and that 'hang out room' left to finish.

we should have run a mile when we looked at this place.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Be My Valentine?

Yesterday i picked up two of my grandchildren from their daycare. My oldest grandchild had some artwork in his cubby which i scooped up to bring home along with his book club newsletter.

but wait. what's this? it was a valentine made of 3 red hearts on a white sheet of paper.
and it was for me!
my own heart skipped a beat.
little 3 year old grandson had stuck little red hearts on those heart outlines with his own fair, pudgy little hands.
a picasso could not have had more value.

inside the first heart it said, "people i love" the second heart said 'Nanny" (that would be ME!) and the third heart said, "Pop"
that would be my other half.
this brilliant child's extremely lucky grandparents.
i was overcome.
this meant that he had thought of us.
when the teacher had asked him who he loved and wanted to make a valentine for, he had thought of us at that particular moment in time.
how special is that?

little grandson was preoccupied with putting on his boots so he wasn't really making much of my gushings of 'Oh, this is lovely, our very own Valentine! Pop's going to love it."

we picked up his little sister. i'm forgiving her for not making any valentine's because she's only 13 months and is very dainty, so i'm sure she doesn't approve of messy stuff like glue and glitter.... yet...
we get in the truck and i turn to my grandson again and start gushing a bit more about the valentine. he changes the subject, not interested.
but we get to his house and i'm getting him out of his booster when he spies the aforesaid valentine on the front seat, and the penny drops. i'm going to take his artwork home!
"NANNY!" he yells very loudly, and accusingly. "DAT'S MY BALENTINE! YOU CAN'T KEEP IT!!"

i managed to divert him and left it on the front seat as we got into the house.
i told his mom about it as i was leaving.
but i was overheard.
he looked up at me and said witheringly,'next time Grandma's picking me up from school!'
i'm obviously not to be trusted. :-)

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Good Book Has No Ending.

week two of non-tv watching.

i think i would have been better served if i had given up the computer for lent instead of the tv.

unfortunately i seem to have switched from wasting time in front of the goggle box to wasting time in front of the computer. i might have to rethink this one.

on the good side tho, i am getting lots of reading done. i'm onto another book and have cleared up a backlog of unfinished magazines which have been littering my nighttable for longer than i care to think about.

i finished atonement last week. sadly, briony turned out to be a right pain in the arse and the story's descriptive passages made reading it feel like wading through porridge. give me a bill bryson, a roddy doyle or a frank mccourt any day. the beauty of their sparse, but insightful prose or dialogue ignites the imagination and forces you to turn the page while making you laugh out loud. i'm sure atonement will be a lovely movie but perhaps the working class girl in me will never be able to relate fully to the uptight, upper classes and their nasal viewpoint of the world.

glad it is finished.

feel a sense of achievement about that.

when i grew up our family didn't have a tv. we couldn't afford one. therefore i was fascinated by it and made friends with girls in my neighbourhood who might invite me in to watch. i would watch anything. literally. and back in the day there was not a lot of choice. programming didn't start till very late in the afternoon and there were only 2 channels to choose from.

one day i was dawdling at the house of a new found 'friend' who lived in my street. waiting for the programming to start i made a pretence of being enthralled with our game of dolls but i knew her parents were hoping i would leave soon without them having to tell me to. back then, play nearly always took place out of doors, regardless of the weather, so i must have done some pretty good maneuvering to wangle myself indoors. when the ejection came i asked if i could come back at 7.25 p.m. to watch "all our yesterdays". it was a black and white, historical documentary about the days before and between the two world wars. i was about 8. the man of the house, my "friend's" father, looked at me strangely and said, as he shut the door firmly on my upturned questioning face, "go home pet. your tea's ready"

however, we had the radio. or the wireless as we called it. you had to tune in the stations by turning a huge dial until the signal came in. in the days of radio luxembourg it was particularly magical.

everyday there were plays, serials, dramas, comedies and music.

i grew up listening to serializations of children's books like "the lion the witch and the wardrobe." my mother listened to "mrs. dale's diary" the first post war soap opera which debuted (before my time) in 1948 and was told from the viewpoint of a refined doctor's wife. then there was "the archers, an everyday story of country folk." set in the fictional village of ambridge. that theme music is burned onto the neurons of my brain.

my favourite show was "the clitheroe kid." the kid, i was later surprised to learn, was in fact played by a man. he was a latter-day equivalent of maybe someone like today's fresh prince of bel air, albeit with a lancashire accent. his gift was a quick wit, fast one-liners and the ability to make kids laugh while putting bemused and unsuspecting adults in their places.

while the radio played and the coal fired crackled and spat i would curl up in the chair and read books. our house was full of books.

there were volumes and volumes of encyclopedia and tomes such as butler's lives of the saints. reader's digests, classic novels and ancient children's stories. i read them all. anything and everything i could put my hands on.

many of the books were already ancient when they came to us. we never turned down a donation. books with yellowed pages; books with odours so strong i can still recall them to this day. i remember several books we had were given as prizes to students as marks of achievement. i can see a red bound copy of a book whose name has escaped me but the bookplate inside told me that it was awarded to Posy Mary Sheilds for good handwriting at Central School in Newcastle, in 1911.
i always endeavoured to have beautiful handwriting myself after that.
i didn't want Posy Mary to worry in her old age that her book may have fallen into the hands of someone who scribbled.

Friday, February 15, 2008

somewhere over the rainbow..............

yesterday was valentine's day. today is the sixth anniversary of my mother's death. she was married to dad for nearly 60 years. theirs was not a love story as i remember it. but i'm sure it started out that way. they looked so young, so innocent then. it would have been nice if after the struggles of bringing up six children, (it should have been eight but two died) if they could have lived out their golden years in peace and harmony together. but it wasn't to be.

there should have been the satisfaction in seeing six grown children with their children, and then the great grandchildren. but it didn't turn out that way.

life was hard. it was short. and it's hard to understand why.

they loved us. they were loved. and we miss her very much.

until we meet again..............

Thursday, February 14, 2008

looking good, feeling great......

When i get out of bed i am not one of those lucky girls who can just run a comb through her hair, add some lipgloss and look fresh and glowing.
i wake up in the morning and, no matter how tidy and bouncy my hair looked as i fell into bed the night before, you can guarantee it will have that just-dragged-through-a-hedge backwards-look. as if i'd gotten off my motorbike after driving through the countryside in a hurricane, sans helmet.

i shower, shampoo, condition, moisturize; apply mousse, styling lotion, then blow dry for volume, add finishing hold and styling clay and then a squirt of hairspray. a minimum of 30 mins from top to bottom.

then there's the make-up, moisturizer, foundation, concealer, powder, blusher, eye-liner,eye shadow, eye shadow contour, mascara, translucent powder, blusher.... i like to think of it as the 'natural look'. another 10 mins.


believe me after doing this for about 40 years it's getting very annoying. cos the older you get, the more patching up there is to do! i could use that time doing something else i really like to do. (perhaps staying in bed for an extra 30 minutes)

the other day i saw a youtube video of cher. she's got to be in her mid to late 60's. even with all of the plastic surgery she's had which makes her expressions a tad scary: the make-up! the hair! the stuff she was wearing to make her look not as old as she should!

oy vey, i was tired just thinking about how long it must take.

i bet she resembles me first thing in the morning.

i bet she looks like nick nolte's mug shot too.

*(thanks kee.)

Monday, February 11, 2008


day two.
no telly today, or yesterday.
but i did get thru several chapters of atonement.
got that for christmas and hadn't as yet opened it.
i think my powers of concentration might be returning.
i'm sitting with my back to the tv, while i'm on the computer, and listening to feist with the headphones on so i can't be distracted.
it's not hard to ignore the telly in this room because m.o.h. has it tuned to soccer/sports for the most part.
i felt a little withdrawal last night beause the grammys were on and i usually like to check out the red-carpet and goggle at the celebrities.
i could hear it from upstairs and overheard a couple of celebs being interviewed as they posed up and down the red carpet.
i was momentarily tempted to take a peek but resisted the urge and got back to the book.
(briony was about to change the lives of everyone around her with her somewhat naive interpretation of events seen and unseen.)
anyhoo, according to the radio on the way to work it doesn't look like i missed much in the grammys.
they ran down the 'highlights' in under one minute.
amy winehouse, kanye west and herbie hancock. and that was it.
herbie hancock?
i have no idea what happened on corrie.
but it's only the ken/deidre/denise triangle.
worth missing that one.
so far, so good.
lent lasts for 40 days and 40 nights.
i think we're into day 35.
not that i'm counting.
no messages from God yet.
i think he must be watching telly.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Switching Off!

i watch a LOT of tv.
i watch reality shows like survivor, the apprentice, american idol, to name but a few.
i watch eastenders and coronation street.
i watch home makeover shows; and sometimes i've watched the same one twice!

anyway, it's lent.
the lead up to easter.
a time when we should be thinking about our spiritual selves, which we know are there, somewhere, buried down deep.

the priest this morning at church thought that people should consider giving up tv. for lent.
(IS HE MAD? luckily he wasn't talking to me.)
to stop the bobmbardment of images, news, and consumerism.
he said it's hard at first, but when you do it, you find you have more time for other things.
like, reading, exercising, visiting people.... (what if they have their telly on tho?)

he said how can we live a spiritual life when we are never turned off long enough to listen to what God has to say to us?
i would have thought that some people might have started to look uncomfortable at this point. but i didn't see anyone squirming when i looked around.
i've seen the expression on some people's faces when i've mentioned something important that happened on a tv show that i watch regularly.
they look confused, perhaps because i'm talking about the person on tv on a first name basis?
they don't seem to be as concerned as i am that the tv person is going to be;
a) winning the whole shebang,
b) getting fired
c) unfairly treated by others
what is WRONG with some people? don't they CARE?
he WAS talking to me.

can i give up tv?
last year for lent i gave up my daily coffee with french vanilla and boy, that was hard.
i LOVE that stuff. or i used to. it doesn't bother me now...

i know in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter a damn who wins survivor, who donald trump fires (though i am intrigued by omaroso and the feelings of dislike she arouses in me, and last week, i even caught myself, much to my surprise, thinking how good she looks in hats)
will i be enriched by watching hours of american idol and investing my time in the hopes and dreams of another wannabe pop-star?
(i am really struggling with that one because, i have to admit, i do get completely involved.)
but, i do have a stack of unfinished books that i never seem to have time to finish.
i've noticed that my attention span is much shorter these days. i can only read when the tv is on in the background. if i put a book down, i forget about it and have to start again at the beginning of the chapter, or sometimes the beginning of the book.

it's like ADD.
brought on by years of laziness; being spoon fed characters and plots with fixed images, that i don't have to use my imagination to see.
i do have a list of people i promised myself i would write to more than just a line on a christmas card....i do need to be more in touch with my inner self;
will i go mad?
will i find myself unable to relax without knowing whether omarosa's headgear this week is as eye catching as last?
whether the donald will fire piers morgan?
whether paula, randy and simon can manage to pick the right idol if i'm not watching?
who will win survivor; the favourites or the fans?

we shall see.
watch this space.
but don't watch it too much.
do other stuff while you're waiting.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

"Friends and Neighbours..........."

we live in a neighbourhood that is full of students from the nearby university.
when a house goes on the market it is snapped up by an enterprising landlord who turns it into student housing.
the student houses are easy to spot. pizza boxes in the recycling boxes, couches on the front porches, beer bottles on the windowsills, canadian flags or beer signs on the walls inside, and many cars in the driveways.
they ignore me because they are 'just passing through' i suppose.
it's not the kind of neighbourhood where you know your neighbours.

one summer's day, i met an old lady who has a big house on a street running off mine. i can see it from my window.
it's a neat and tidy house, and through the window you can see the back of her couch where a cloth cat sits.
i had to look several times before i saw that it wasn't a real cat.
i was walking my grandson in his stroller and she was on her driveway.
she had just got out of her white car and it took her an awful long time to walk around the driveway to get to her house.
she looked pretty old and frail.
i was surprised that she could drive.
we stopped to chat.
she asked me about my grandson and i told her how old he was.
she told me her name was jessie and that she was 91!
she was as sharp as a tack.
she told me she had moved into her house the same day as kennedy was shot.
if you belong to a particular agegroup you will always remember where you were when certain people died; kennedy, elvis, john lennon.
i was 9 and i was going home from the local playground when i heard about kennedy.
as jessie and i talked i stopped to think that on that day as i was going home from the playground, so young and carefree, a president on another continent was shot and killed, and this little old lady, who was then younger than i am now, was moving into her brand new home.

there was an invisible thread connecting us if you like.
i could specifically pinpoint three things that we all did that day.

she asked me about our house and said she liked what my husband had done to it.
she told me about some of the other neighbours she knew, most of whom have now moved on.
she asked me about my daughter with the long black hair and the knee high boots.
i told her that was my daughter in law, not my daughter.
she had seen her dropping off my grandson before she went to work in the mornings.
and that was it.

about two years have gone by and we never did have another conversation.
i rarely walked by her house and if i did we never happened to bump into each other.
i always looked at her window with the cloth cat sitting on the back of her couch.
perhaps she was in there looking out and thinking to herself, 'there's that nice lady from across the street'.
i would smile.
just in case.

as is sometimes the way, our paths never crossed again.
but once or twice if i was on my front porch and she was on hers we waved to each other, from a distance.
her house is empty now.
i didn't see her go.
i saw a van pull up one day not that long ago and the driver went in and shortly after came out carrying some bags and boxes which he put in the back of the van.
he didn't look like he was visiting.
the next week the same van came back again and the driver did the same thing.
last week he came back and put some garbage out on the curb.
the cloth cat is still sitting.
the lights never go on.
her white car is never in the driveway.
jessie would be 93.
i don't think she's coming back.
i wonder who will move into her house?
i expect it will be more students.
who can't remember president kennedy.
who never knew elvis,
or john lennon.

or jessie.