Bits and Pieces

Chewing the Fat

When They Were Young




August 2015
March 2014
July 2013
April 2013
March 2013
January 2013
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
July 2009
June 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007

Complete Archives
Category Archives


September 2009

A heads-up for my U.S. readers

I read this and thought, if I lived in the U.S. this is something I would want to know. 

Apparently, the FDIC reserves are down and at present they only have around 10 billion dollars left.  Ninety some-odd banks have already failed.  And the losses the FDIC (that is who guarantees your bank deposits up to $250,000 per account) has taken on from those failed banks so far is running at around 25%. 

The bad news is, that according to estimates, around 1,000 U.S. banks are expected to fail.  If less than 10% of the banks expected to fail have already done so, and it’s depleted the FDIC’s reserves, just imagine what the rest of them failing is going to do to it.

And the worrisome thing to me, and I’m hoping I got it wrong, but appears to me, from reading this article, is that the FDIC at present, only has two-tenth of one cent in it’s reserves for every dollar it covers.  Yikes!  Their reserves are at a multi-year low and going fast. 

If the total of failed banks does indeed hit the 1000 level, that would make the FDIC’s dept load, around 300-400 billion dollars.  This is money they don’t have.

This is NOT good.

If you’d like to read the whole article click here.  It was on John Mauldin’s Thoughts from the Frontline.

As for what you should do about it?  I just don’t know. 

Well… you aren’t going to believe it but…

I GOT UP THE HILL!  Whaaahoooowheeeee!!!!!!

Birthdays, biking and other stuff

Well, I’m back to my early morning musings.  The restless nights went away for a while, but I guess they missed me, and so they are making up for lost time.

We celebrated Will birthday yesterday with the usual cake with candles, song and presents.  It was the same, but different too, because chances are with his birthday falling in September, that he might not be with us to celebrate it for quite some time.  And as I was walking towards him, with the cake ablaze with candles, singing, Don dancing around him singing as well, waving his arms like an abracadabra magician, Will smiling big, love in his eyes, the sun shining in through the side window, and there was this warm yellow light surrounding him, sort of like an angelic glow.  Like God was saying, take note of this moment, savor the beauty of your boy full-grown.  And I was struck with this full happy, but sad as well, feeling.  The last Happy Birthday as a child.  The last Happy Birthday as a teenager.  Possibly the last Happy Birthday song for him in our home.  It will be over the phone now, or maybe we might visit someday where ever it is that he decides to settle.

Unless, of course he settles close, but that is unlikely, because if he’s going to be an actor, he’s going to have to live in New York, L.A, London or the like. 


I had a taste of the future a couple of days ago.  Don was away on business, and Will was at the Toronto Film Festival with his dad, and I was here, alone with the dogs. 

It wasn’t bad actually.  I wasn’t as lonely as I had been a few days prior when everyone was in the house.  I expected to be, but I had the dogs and the beach and the brisk breeze blowing outside to keep me company. 

And then, surprise, surprise, the next day, Becky emailed to see if I’d like to go for a walk!  Which we did and it was lovely.  And we talked about life and menopause and family and stuff.  And then she drove home again and that evening, my boy, Dave did the long drive over, after he finished work!

He brought his bike and we went biking and there is this… I was going to say, MOUNTAIN… but Dave would probably call it a small hill, or an incline or something, but I’m telling you, it is steep.  Real steep!  I’d already attempted it twice and had managed to get around 1/5 of the way up.  Just past the first water drain.

I proudly pointed out to Dave how far I had managed. 

“Wow,” he said, face serious, eyes twinkling, like he was the adult and I was the child he was humoring. 

“It might look easy,” I said, “but it’s really, really hard to do.”

“I bet you could get further.  Do you want to try again?”

“Oh no.”  I waved him off.  “That’s as far as I can go.  I pedaled until the bike fell over.”

“Well, lets give it a go.”

“Oh Dave…” I didn’t want to do it.  My legs had already had a good workout on the hike with Becky, and Dave was a biking expert and I didn’t want him to see what a bad bike hill rider I was.  “I don’t think…” 

“You can get further, mom.  I’m sure you can.  I bet you could get past that second drain there.”

“The second drain?” My voice squeaked.  “Oh no, honey!  I could never get that far.”

“Just give it a go.” 

And he was looking at me, like he really thought I could, and I didn’t want to let him down, so I said, “Okay, lets give it a go.”  Even though, as I said it, my heart sank down into my socks.  He smiled big, so even though, my body was cursing me out, my heart was happy, because I’d made him proud of his old mom.  We started the approach.

“Alright,” he called over his shoulder, “put it in a higher gear and pedal as fast as you can.  Then, once you are climbing, gear down, keep pedaling fast.”

I pedaled fast.  I pedaled hard.  I got past the second drain!

And the next day, when he made me try it again, “Push harder on the foot going down,” he said.  “You’ll build more speed that way.” 

I pedaled even faster.  Faster than I’ve ever biked in my whole entire life, the wind whipping past.  Me, bent over my steering wheel like Eviel Kanevil (I spelled that wrong, but you get my drift).  And I made it even further up the hill.  Very LOUD noises were coming out of my mouth, but I made it 3/4 of the way up! 

And guess what?  I’m going to try that hill again today, and maybe tomorrow and the next day too.  I’m going to work on getting up that hill until I actually can and then I’m going to call my boy, Dave and tell him that I did it, and he will be proud of me all over again.


Wonderful News!

Colin Firth has won the BEST ACTOR award at the Venice Film Festival for his portrayal of George Falconer in the film A Single Man, directed by first time director Tom Ford.  I was so excited when I heard the news.  So pleased for him.  He is a wonderful, wonderful, deeply talented actor and I am glad that there will be a film coming out that was written and directed in such a way to allowed him the luxurious opportunity to dive in deep and true.

So, all you distributors out there, get your butts down to the Toronto Film Festival, see this movie.  It is playing tonight.  Sit back and enjoy and after that put your bids in, because this film is looking for a distributor. 

And for all you movie-goers out there, when A Single Man appears in a theater near you, make sure you go and support this gem of a film.  And after you have, then rent A Month In the Country, because Colin’s performance in that was also a thing of beauty.  I wish you could have seen him play Aston in Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker on the West End.  He was in that play when Will was a baby and night after night we watched it and Colin’s performance, over and over, took my breath away.

Congratulations Colin!  All of us here are very happy for you.

A Sunday morning gift

Okay, you must go to because my daughter has made a video of one of her brilliant poems.  It is really, really beautiful! 

And I am not just saying this because I’m her mother.  It is very rare that Emily will offer up one of her poems and when she does, you have to grab the opportunity because hearing her speak her poetry is like a curtain is blown aside, just for a moment and you are allowed a rare glimpse inside, to the thoughts, feelings, complexities and emotions that are so unique and yet so universal all at the same time.

Seriously.  You must do it. 


Feeling sort of sad today.  Like what’s the point.  Maybe it’s because it’s that time of month.  Maybe it’s because my youngest is leaving home in a little over a month.  Maybe it’s because I’m at that age where women ask themselves that. 

I don’t know. 

I feel like I don’t know anything. 

I used to be so sure. 

Always a half-full kind of person.  Looking to the bright side of whatever life threw at me.

Don’t feel that lately.  Scares me.  Don’t recognize myself anymore.  Feel half-empty.  Don’t like it.  Don’t know how to get back to myself again.

Hopefully tomorrow will feel different. 

My thanks to the Bailey sisters!

The Bailey sisters are the three puppet-masters of Emily’s week 9.  And they sent my daughter over to the Island and what a treat for me!  It was lovely (as always) to see her.  And we did many things, that you can read about on my daughters site.  However, I beg to differ on one small point.  My goldfish dance was inspired, not “very strange.” 

Granted, it might have looked a trifle strange, but only to those that were not privy to what it was.  And besides, I did a very short discreet goldfish dance and faced only towards Emily, so the people in the waiting room would only see a rather hunched-over woman with her hands tucked under her armpits, flopping her elbows, a tiny, barely noticeable bit, hardly at all really, sort of like gills.  They wouldn’t have seen my bugging goldfish eyes or gaping, gasping goldfish mouth. 

I looked really good. 

I think.

It was a last minute idea.  I didn’t have time to race to the bathroom to see how it looked.  And I certainly wouldn’t have done it if Will hadn’t chosen to stay by the car . . . Unless, I could have encouraged him to be a goldfish too.  That would have been great.  But somehow, I doubt that he would have gone for it.

I was really surprised when Emily didn’t know instantly what I was doing.  It seemed very clear to me. 

Anyway, on all other points, she is correct.  I did pick her up, everyone but me, ate oysters, I did give her way too many options.  I tried not to, but it’s a habit hard to break. 

And last but not least, we made a very cozy abode for her to sleep in (she made a video that she posted on her site.  And yes, my hair looks messy in her video, and I’ll pretend that it was because we were working on the tent and not cop to the fact that it always looks that way).  I had so much fun.  It reminded me of when my children were young.

I’ve decided, however, that the coin of destiny, doesn’t know what it’s talking about, because at lunch, Emily let me hold it, and showed me how to ask it a question, and I asked it, what I thought was a no-brainer, “Will I have grandchildren?”  And it said, “no.”  So, I don’t like the coin of destiny and have decided that it was having an off day and made a mistake.

Oh and for those of you who want to know.  I’m actually supposed to be writing.  I was working very diligently on my manuscript and then a couple of days ago, I blogged.  And then the next day, I blogged and now today, I blogged, and did I manage to get any writing done AT ALL on my manuscript? 

No.  Of course not.  Because blogging is WAY more fun!  And I have fallen off of the non-blogging wagon BIG TIME!

I shall, however, try tomorrow to do some proper writing work.  So, if you don’t hear from me, be happy for me, because I REALLY have to finish this ... hmmm…I was going to say “dumb” but I won’t.  It isn’t a dumb manuscript and saying that it is, might make it even more stubborn and unruly to work with.


a ramble of . . . I don’t even know what.

I am sipping a glass of ice wine, (I say that like I always have a bottle of ice wine on hand, but really, the last time I had it was around the Christmas holidays.)  I’ve finished the dinner clean up, but still the house smells of salt and the sea and freshly shucked oysters.  It’s a nice smell, as long I don’t have to eat them. 

Everyone is on their computers right now.  Molly is licking her paw under the table.  Will is upstairs playing a video game of some sort or another.  And I sit here, typing to you. 

There, I reached over and took another small sip.  It’s a little sweet.  Not quite as wonderful as I remember ice wine being.  Like, I like the idea of ice wine better than the actual drinking of it.

Rog and Jim came over last week with Keith and his girlfriend, and they brought me, (along with two nice bottles of wine and some fancy kind of beer) a magazine that the government liquor store puts out, that has beautiful Martha Stewart magazine quality photos of delicious looking food and recipes.  Ones I even imagine trying out some day, which never happens.  And the other cool thing about this magazine is it has wine pairings for the food, and that’s kind of fun to contemplate.

Sort of how B____ likes to coordinate her undergarments to what she is wearing on the outside.  Socks, bra, undies, all of it matches the color scheme of her outfit. 

Now me?  I admire that kind of attention to detail.  Sort of like wine pairing.  But is it ever going to happen in my house?  Probably not.  But that doesn’t stop me from daydreaming that I’ll get around to buying matching outfits, inside and out, and learning about wine and tipping my nose in the air and saying, “Ah…yes!  Crisp, with a hint of honey, and a splash of rose essence, delightful.”  I can say it, but seriously, it would be 100% bulls__t.  I don’t know a thing about wine.  I know if I like it or if I don’t.  I know that I can drink it and enjoy it, and then all of a sudden, my tongue doesn’t like the taste anymore.  Which is quite handy, because I rarely have more than a glass, and even then it is an infrequent event.

Anyway, I am getting bored with this.  Who cares?  Not me!  I was just typing because everyone else was, but is that any reason to bore you senseless? 

Bye everybody.

Sweet dreams! xo

An update on yesterdays adventures

Well, after I signed out here, I dashed into the bedroom, grabbed some warm thick socks (black, which was sort of pointless, because under boots, who knows what color they are?)  I sat on the bed, yanked them on and ran out to the living room where Will was all ready to go.  I rummaged through the hall closet (No, my shoes are not lined up in neat little rows.  They were when we first moved in, but life has played havoc with them.) And found my boots.  On they went over my comfy hiking socks.  I grabbed my raincoat, slipped it on, tied it smartly around the waist, rather pleased with my problem-solving skills and my last minute quick-thinking adjustments, when I noticed my son standing by the front door, one foot on the stairs beside him, looking at me, with an odd expression on his face.

“I’m ready to go,” I said, flinging the strap of my purse over my shoulder.  He didn’t move, and he certainly wasn’t opening the door and heading out for the car.  “What?” I asked, suddenly feeling uncertain.  “It’s raining.  Why?  You think I shouldn’t wear the boots?  They’re pretty boots, sort of.”

“Mom,” he said, in that voice that makes me feel like I’m a two-year old girl.  “You look like you’re going to a funeral.”

“What?” I said, but I knew what he meant, the minute he said it.  A black sleeveless blouse and a flowing skirt, with sandals, no problem.  Add to it, a button up black cardigan, a black, calf-length raincoat, and big black rubber boots with a tiny rhinestone accent, and I looked like I just came from the old country.  All I needed was a rosary and a babushka on my head.  “Okay,” I said, looking in the tall thin mirror that was in the middle of the old hall coat-rack.  “Maybe I should . . .”

“Change?” Will said, helpfully.

We were running late now.  I ran back to my bedroom, flustered.  Grabbed something un-funnerial out of my dresser.  A bright red, bought on sale, never-worn-because-good-mercy-of-god-what-had-I-been-thinking blouse.  Ripped off my tasteful-mother-of-son top and on went this . . . thing.  So, floresently red that it almost made my teeth hurt, but there was no time to fiddle-faddle.  I already should have left 5 minutes ago!  I ran into the bathroom were there was a slightly larger mirror with Don on my heels.

“You gotta go,” he said.  Like I didn’t know that?

“Is this too wrinkly?” I fretted, pulling the fabric down, like that would help.  “Is this too wrinkly?” Smoothing my hands over the fabric.

“I’ll put on the iron,” he answered.

“No,” I said, patting at it ineffectually.  “I don’t have time.”  He started to head out the door.  I knew where the ever-so-helpful-hubby was going, but there wasn’t time for that. 

AND THEN . . . I was hit with a brainstorm.  “Wait!” I said, super excited.  “I’m going to blow-dry it!  I bet it will work.” 

“I’m putting on the iron,” Don said, and left, but that didn’t quell my enthusiasm.  Was I an-out-of-the-box-problem-solver or what?!  I whupped that ancient blow-dryer out of the bathroom closet and blow-dried that shirt.

It was nice and warm, and guess what . . . IT WORKED!  It was FAST!  All the wrinkles were gone by the time Don returned to the bathroom to tell me that he had plugged in the iron and set up the board.  GONE!

I felt so pleased with myself that I didn’t even mind that my bright red shirt was ugly.  It was wrinkle-free!

Anyway, after several hours in the car, Will driving some, me driving the rest.

We actually got to the city a few minutes early, so I stopped at a bakery and got a couple nice loaves of light rye bread, and in our walk back to the car, I noticed that I was the only person on the entire street that was not in summer gear.  Everyone was in flip-flops and shorts and sleeveless t-shirts and summery blouses.  The sun was shining exuberantly, and there I was clumping along in my floppy rain boots, rain coat flapping around my legs like a black crow. 

“Where did the rain go?”  I said, and Will laughed.  When I got to the car, I removed the boots and coat and put on my sandals.  Unfortunatly, what was going to be a tasteful hint of red, wasn’t.  I looked like a walking Stop sign with legs. 

Oh well.  At least Amy’s mother was nice.  And it was wonderful to see David and Amy again. (They were over here for Wednesday and Thursday, David’s days off.)

Not only that . . . but Dave took me to Oak Bay Bikes to see his friend, Derek, and I BOUGHT A BIKE!  A brand new bike with a basket for my groceries and a helmet and everything!  And I was going to get streamers too, but at the last minute, good sense prevailed.  That is not to say that in the future I won’t splurge on them, because 50 is just a few short months away, and if I can’t indulge in streamers at 50, when the h_ll can I? 

Will and I had a great little road-trip.  Cozy, companionable, with lots of good conversation.  And when we got home, I put a nice pot roast on the stove, with spices and red wine and cut up some vegetables and popped them in as well. 

Then I took my bike out and wobbled up and down the road a few times, trying not to squawk too loud.  I haven’t got the turning down and have to do a sort of straddle walk with the bike to face a different direction, but going straight(ish) I was finally good enough, to put Molly on a short lease and off we went.  Molly was happy, and I was too.

I love my bike.


Pre-meeting flutters

I’m going to be meeting my son’s girlfriend’s mother today.  I’m nervous.  Don says, “Of course she’s going to like you.  What’s not to like?”  But I don’t know.  Sometimes, I meet someone new and everything goes great, but sometimes, it’s like the stars are out of wack or I’m the kind of person that makes them uncomfortable or something and everything that could go wrong does, and it’s really awkward. 

So, keep your fingers crossed for me.  This is an important relationship for my son and I want it all to go smoothly.

Oh god.  It’s just started pouring rain outside and I am wearing a light skirt and sandals, and you, my faithful non-blog readers, KNOW how hard it is for me to ferret something appropriate out of my meager closet.  Dang!  It is really pouring.  I don’t have any stockings at hand.  Jeans aren’t the right thing to wear to meet my son’s girlfriend’s mother who drove all the way from Oregon!

Okay, I just had an idea.  I’ve got some cute rubber boots that are the same color as my skirt and blouse.  I’ll put those on and bung the sandals in the back seat and then if the rain has stopped by the time we get there, I’ll put on the sandals and if it hasn’t, I’ll sloosh in the door wearing my rainboots.  They are a bit big and floppy, but hey, at least they are black and so that must mean they match!

Bye for now.  xo