Showing posts from February, 2016

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British Isles Friday: Parakeets in the Park

Parakeets in the ParkOn a beautiful day in May, 2017 my husband and I walked through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. It’s really not that easy to tell where one ends and the other begins. We were looking for the Peter Pan statue (next week’s post) when we came across a small clearing cluttered with people holding their arms in the air, offering perches for surprisingly green birds fluttering in the air. Parakeets, and so prevalent, and with so many people standing about in their midst I stupidly assumed this must be some sort of birder club gathering. Ding dong me! I didn’t know the birds were wild and the people were just regular folks like us trying to get a better look. 

Doing a little post-trip homework I discovered the parakeets are so abundant in the park—and the inner mile they’re actually considered a bit of a nuisance by some people! I wish I’d known before the trip that all I had to do was bring a slice of apple and I could get the birds to land on me too!

I thought this wom…

A Bit of a Ditz or Where the bleep is my phone?!?

It’s not like I wake up every day in a cold sweat, worried that I might have Alzheimer's. Or that if I'm not actually presenting symptoms right now, I'll be presenting them soon. Sometimes I can go for hours before I grope helplessly for a word and remember I actually have something to worry about. Alzheimer's is the disease that took my mother; frankly, knowing it's often hereditary scares the (fill in the bleep) out of me. It wasn't death that took her, it was her gradual disappearance in the years before she died; day by day, week by week, and month by month, when it was so hard to find the woman I knew, the mother I remembered, inside.

So, despite my husband and my son's insistence that my memory lapses are nothing to worry about, I do worry, and when I misplaced my phone this week, I couldn't help recalling my mother's constant refrain "Where's my purse? Has anyone seen my purse?"

"Has anyone seen my phone?" I asked, ai…

Oscars coming to my house Saturday night

Can you find George Clooney standing to the right of Stacy Kiebler in their last trip to the Oscars together?
What are you doing Sunday night? Please don't say live-tweeting the Oscars! I know it's what we do in 2015 (and continue to do in 2016) live tweet everything, share our every thought with the world but I won't be doing that. I'm not putting it down—I tried last year and it was an epic fail—I just don't have the capacity to watch and tweet. Even though I reserve the right to insist that as a woman, YES! I can do two things at once, I can multi-task—and bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan, I am woman, W-O-M-A-N but maybe it's time to leave the live-tweeting to you crazy kids under 30. Not to be a whiner but arthritic hands don't tend to fly across the tiny telephone screen with any kind of accuracy. I'm always missing the best things—the JLaw stairway fall, Alec Baldwin bungling Idina Menzel's name—as I'm stuck staring at my phone,…

Above Ground on the London Underground—Day 19: Hammersmith Pub Crawl

I’m taking a virtual walking tour ‘above ground’ on the London Underground. Using my Tube guide and my fitbit® device, my goal is to walk at least 10,000 steps a day roughly following along the Underground route, reporting back here on Fridays with my findings. Roughly following the Piccadilly Line. This is Day 19.
I’m feeling a bit blue to be leaving Chiswick where the Beatles shot scenes from HELP! at the City Barge and promo videos for Paperback Writer & Rain at Chiswick Houseback in the 1960’s. At the time, I was a half-crazy-in-love-with-Paul, pre-pubescent 12 year old tearing my hair out back in Canada. While I’ve grown up—and old— I’d still love to see Sir Paul upclose and personal (we could compare laugh lines). Not to worry, I’m counting on encountering my favorite Beatle another time on my virtual walk. Because anything can happen on a virtual walk. Like flying first class on Virgin Atlantic with Colin Firth & Daniel Craig for seat mates. McCartney still owns a house …

Made on Location [memoir]

On any other Sunday I’d be digging shamelessly into a steaming stack of blueberry hotcakes, purple compote oozing out all over the place. The Pig ‘n Pancake in Astoria, Oregon were famous for them, and I usually couldn’t wait to wade in. I didn’t need—and didn’t want—the calorie breakdown you can’t escape from on menus these days to know they were pound packers, all buttery and crazy delicious, the kind of food I would normally eschew in favor of leaner fare like two eggs scrambled, cottage cheese on the side, one piece of rye toast. 

But the rules are different when you’re on location. When you’re on location, stressed to the max working as production coordinator on a big Warner Bros. movie like Free Willy, you (me) reward yourself (myself!) with a guilt-free weekend treat. We’d walked the half mile down the road from the Red Lion Inn and we’d walk the half mile back. A full mile. That had to count for something. But on that particular Sunday in the summer of ‘92, I sat there, letting…

I’ll drink to that

I’m sick to death of writing about myself. I’m sick to death of my writing. It’s one and the same. I can’t write fiction. I’ve tried. It’s just another story about me, supposedly incognito as a brunette instead of a blonde—a bottle blonde, at that.  That’s this week’s excuse for not carrying on with my story about Derek. But really, do you even know or care who Derek is? Some boyfriend I had when I was twenty? Or was it nineteen? Is there a point? Right now I’m feeling like Richard Harris singing McCarthur’s Park —

MacArthur's Park is melting in the dark All the sweet green icing flowing down Someone left the cake out in the rain I don't think that I can take it 'Cause it took so long to bake it And I'll never have that recipe again Oh, no I usually relish disappearing into my girlish headspace, settling back into the mushy comfort of memory but I’m feeling too old and too cranky to even try. The cosmetics company that lured me into thinking I could erase my sixty two years with…

#9.1 Snow Day [memoir]

# 9.1    Cherry Grove Road, Niagara Falls, Canada

We hopped about quite a bit once we’d arrived in Canada from England via Turkey and Libya. We moved from Montreal to Toronto and finally to Niagara Falls where we first lived in a big old house close to downtown, before we moved to Cherrywood Acres. 

I'm marking this piece  # 9.1 of the “On the Street Where I Lived” stories. It’s a close up view of one day in particular.  

Snow Day

It was only a few miles from our gloomy old house on Ryerson Crescent to our family’s new split level across town in Cherrywood Acres but it could just as easily have been light years away. It was a whole different world out there in the barely built development where the cherry orchards used to be, everything bright and shiny and newer than new. 

We moved to the new neighborhood in the middle of fifth grade, in the middle of winter. I hated Niagara Falls in the winter, when sometimes it got so cold that the falls actually froze, the water turned into ice scul…

Above Ground on the London Underground—Day 18: HELP! I’m nowhere near Abbey Road

I’m taking a virtual walking tour ‘above ground’ on the London Underground. Using my Tube guide and my fitbit® device, my goal is to walk at least 10,000 steps a day roughly following along the Underground route, reporting back here on Fridays with my findings. I'm back on track, following the Piccadilly Line. This is Day 18.
Today I’m heading out from Boston Manor Station,  that beautiful example of art deco architecture, taking an inbound stroll along the Piccadilly Line route. 

Passing South Ealing my plan is to hit Gunnersby Park in Chiswick, where there’s a lake—do all British parks come with lakes? are there ladies of the lakes too?—a history museum, a ‘small mansion’ and several other ‘historically significant buildings’ including a folly or two. 

Follies are those imaginative little structures that don’t do anything except add a magical touch of interest to a garden. From the French for stupidity, a folly suggests some real purpose, but lacks it completely. American gardens h…