Monday, May 24, 2010


My Gramma was born on October 5, 1909 and died on May 25, 2010. She was over 100 years old.

She lived during the Great Depression, the two World Wars and countless other historical moments in the last century. She was a school teacher in a time of one room schools and boarded with families in the community. She was a career woman at a time when career women were considered "old maids". She married my Grandad in 1940 at 30 years of age.

She had five children who celebrated her 100th birthday, who said their goodbyes as she was dying and who loved her, even though she had been difficult to love over the years.

She was my Gramma and I remember her fondly with all her imperfections. I have so many memories from my childhood:

- Eating a scrambled egg sandwich at the "kids table" while watching the Flintstones on TV.

- Having tea with Gramma and Grandad and drinking from the "Little Stinker" mug.

- Walking up 118th Ave to her house and watching for her to meet me to cross the street.

- Riding the bus to go shopping downtown.

- Looking for her in the living room window as I walked home from school.

But the memories from the last few years may be the most precious of all; these are the years when I got to know my Gramma as an adult and witness her becoming content with life.

In these last years my Gramma began to tell her children how much she appreciated what they did for her. At 99 years old she became best friends with a 96 year old woman (proving that you're never too old to make new friends). She ate ice cream as often as she could. She admired my shoes and clothing. She was sassy and had a quick witt. And at 100 years old she sang along to Christmas carols and knew all the words.

I'm turning forty next month and it strikes me that I am lucky - I have never known life without my Gramma. Thank you, Gramma, for letting me know you as an adult. You have made a difference in my life and I will miss you.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Squirrel Watching

I came home from work today to find a squirrel on my balcony. This is not unusual; my balcony is a hot spot for squirrels. What surprised me was that my squirrel friend wasn't moving.

This is not an account of a dead squirrel, rather it's an account of a still squirrel. I've searched the recesses of my mind but I can't ever remember watching a still squirrel. Oh sure, I've seen a squirrel suddenly freeze hoping that I didn't see him, but he's on alert and vibrating.

My squirrel friend today was lounging on my balcony railing. Sprawled, actually - as much as he could sprawl on a narrow railing. I opened my sliding door to let the air in and his head rolled toward me. As the second door opened he moved so he faced the other way on the railing and went back to lounging.

I sat on my red couch and watched him. Couldn't he have found a more comfortable place for a rest stop? His eyes were open, weren't they? As I studied him I began to worry that maybe he was injured and unable to move quickly. I decided that I better keep watching.

Eventually my squirrel friend got up, strolled along the railing over to the wall and after pausing, leaped onto the brick, scaling the building away from my balcony.

If I come home tomorrow to see a squirrel on my balcony wearing a leather jacket and shades, I won't be surprised. He was the coolest squirrel I've ever seen.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Sarcasm Font

I've been thinking about whether there really is a need for a Sarcasm Font. Certainly I can see the benefits: no more misunderstandings in emails, writers could play fast and loose with sarcasm and not worry about reader misinterpretation; it would probably even improve Closed Captioning.

But at what cost?

Sarcasm is often subtle. One has to develop an ear for sarcasm. True sarcasm is much more sophisticated than people generally assume.

Those of us who practise the Art of Sarcasm have reason to be concerned about the development of a Sarcasm Font. A font opens the door for misuse, overuse - all sorts of prefixed uses. Not to mention accidental use! That could destroy a relationship.

We must be careful that sarcasm doesn't become watered-down by convenience. All too often we lose something precious when it becomes convenient. French fries, chocolate, red wine - all examples of items that have become too convenient and so lost their preciousness.

Wait a minute-! What am I saying? Those things are still precious.

Okay, somebody get to work on the Sarcasm Font! Don't I have a friend who works for IBM?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


In intense discussions with a few sympathetic friends, it was determined that I am not (and likely never will be) a social networker. But why don't I write a blog!

Well. That made me pause.

Approximately one month and countless hours of reflection later, I think I will.

During my hours of reflection I asked a few friends if they would read my blog. I'm not really doing this so that people will become avid followers, but I wondered if my friends would want to read my writing.

The following is a list of responses to my query, "If I wrote a blog, would you read it?"
  1. Yes, I'd follow your blog! I think I'd enjoy it, until you write about me.
  2. Yes, I think that's a good idea!
  3. I'll read it. I'm looking forward to the Maya stories!
  4. Are you going to write about your friends? Should I be worried?
  5. I'll read it. You hardly ever answer your email, so it's not like there will be a lot to keep up with.

So this first post is for my friends, who encourage me to try new things while keeping their personal needs front and center. I appreciate you!

You can probably figure out which comment was yours. Sorry - I've already written about you!