Sorry. Been busy. And boring.

These cracked me up. Show ‘em to all your real estate friends…

Though I do know more than one person who would consider the first pic with the horse a good thing.

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Robin Williams

Damn you, Robin Williams.
How dare you let me down? How dare you not just be there so I can take you for granted as most of us have all these years? How dare you spend a lifetime making movies that sometimes were awesome and sometimes weren’t but that we still had as a way to judge you? How dare you live on only in Youtube videos that now will jack to the top of the ratings instead of two days ago because we’ve always taken for granted that there would be more?
How dare you stop getting older? I fucking needed you to keep holding the light so I could always think to myself, “well, hell, if someone like Robin Williams can stay ahead of his demons and keep being so funny and aware and so genius, that gives me hope on the days when I think my demons may eat me alive.” How dare you make me face my demons on my own? What if mine eat me alive like yours did?
Broken makes funny. We know why. Comedy, the kind that makes you weak with laughter when you hear it, is not about being outrageous. It’s about telling the truth. We are drawn to great comedians to face our fears, not escape them. You dove deep into the well of depression yet still managed to holler that you’d be right back.
It must be hard to know the cost. No, that’s wrong. We know the cost. You just paid it.
Damn you. You won’t be right back. I’ll miss you.

I put this on FB the other day. This one has hit me hard. It’s hit a lot of us hard. Not just the nutters – everyone. That doesn’t make me weak or weird or dramatic. It makes me human. I looked back over the past ten years or so, and realized while some deaths of famous people have made me sad – like James Garner, man I loved that guy, and the rather spectacular Molly Ivins – there have been a handful that have stopped me cold. Phil Hartman; John Ritter; Heath Ledger; Philip Seymour Hoffman, and now Robin Williams. It’s not the cause of their deaths, it’s the fact of them. Just, sadness. For most, the water closes over us after we’ve left for all but those closest to us. As it should. I’m not gonna hold up a lion cub and start singing, but it’s the way it should be. But Robin Williams has been hard. Keep an eye on each other.

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Batter up

Baseball, not pancakes. Awesome piece from my new love affair, Roger Angell.

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Ola, Raine

The ‘a’ should have a little doohickey over it.

That salutation just landed in my email, and it made me smile. It’s a spam from some hotel chain, and I can’t read it because it’s in Spanish, but even I know what ‘Ola, Raine’ means and I wish I were somewhere right now that I could be hearing ‘ola’ all around me. I think I need a vacation, so in a way, my spam gave me a minibreak, as the British call it.

Just had a long, excellent meeting on a project I’m working on, so my brain is full of interesting wonderful things but not interesting wonderful things that could lead me to say, get some work done on anything else. Last weekend I had a brutal migraine and lost 4 workdays; it’s the worst one I’ve had in years, and 4 days in a row is like carpet bombing my thinker. Not good.

If you’ve never seen this clip before with Henri the Cat, please go watch. I love it. Roger Ebert called it the best cat video. I miss Roger Ebert.

Speaking of cats, mine are sorting out a new pecking order, sort of. We have a chipmunk that lives under the front step, and Pea spends her entire day waiting for it to surface. She sits in the door with one paw on the edge of the window, and just waits. Problem is, JoJo figured out the game, so there were some skirmishes taking place. They’ve now sorted it out: if the chipmunk is actually on the step, Pea and JoJo are both allowed to sit and watch. If it is just Chipmunk Watch, they have to take turns. It’s hilarious.

Okay. Three brats are making wanting-dinner noises. And so are the cats.

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Critters big and small

Have you seen this great white shark footage yet? Of the beasts attacking an underwater dive cam? Oh, my. It’s only a few minutes, and it’s terrifying. Put the sound on. There’s barely anything to hear, but it’ll make you go all Jaws-theme again in your head.

I love Jaws. The movie. I usually watch it up north each summer. I also overuse some of the taglines, from “we’re gonna need a bigger boat” to “that’s some bad hat, Harry.” Even though pre-CGI days the shark was a prop named Bruce, and it shows, it was scary. Can you imagine if they remade that movie today? People would wet themselves.

I was walking the yard yesterday, and found a big, perfect tomato. Half eaten. Damn critters.

Speaking of critters, Pea’s chipmunk is a fat little sucker these days, and he came right up on Ari’s hand. I think he’s working the street like a 3 dollar chipmunk hooker.

*typo corrected for David Taylor
*another typo corrected for David Taylor. Who says he’s been told today already, but I’m telling him again.

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Pizza and chipmunks. And Florida

pizza bite

I get up before everyone else, and I plunked on the kettle and pulled some leftovers out of the fridge. Both boys had been out late, which meant leftovers would actually be a thing. If they’re home, no way. Especially pizza. That’s what I found. Nice.

Pip is still besotted with the chipmunk under the step. She sits in the front door for hours, posed just like this, one paw up, waiting. Yes, that’s a wooden spoon propping open the window. It’s like Iron Chef meets MaGyver around here. She is adorable, and sometimes JoJo comes up and pushes her aside so she can have a turn. I call it Waiting for Chipmunk. Like Godot, but with a chipmunk.

pipster 3I snagged a bunch of library books to take to the cottage, and I’ve been plowing through them. I still prefer books. I read everything else, it seems, on line, and I haven’t got a daily paper since I stopped writing for the Star years ago. I do know what I miss, however: bus plunge stories. I’ve mentioned them before. When you’re laying out a paper, you have these little 2 inch gaps sometimes, and you hunt around for short pieces. A bus plunging off a cliff in some country nobody has ever heard of fits these spaces nicely. You will get a country, a bus, and side of a mountain. It’s like nobody needs any more info, maybe a body count, but that is all. The thing is, if you’re not reading a hard copy of a paper you miss all the little stuff.

Everywhere else, including the ‘serious’ papers are grabbing sensationalism and skirting real news all too often. In the old days, the phrase was, “if it bleeds it leads” which was kinda crass and cruel. Nowadays, it’s “if it’s Kardashian, it leads” which is even more crass and certainly reducing the collective IQ rather than adding to it. There are entire sites devoted to the things that happen in Florida. Florida itself is a punchline. I’m not sure if it’s a chicken-and-an-egg thing, or a self-fulfilling prophecy, but Florida produces some strange things. Don’t believe me? Check out this name. Told ya.

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O Brother, where art thou?

This Motherlode is from nearly 3 years ago, but we were talking about it yesterday and it made me nostalgic. So, rerun.

“We really need to eat at the table more often,” I told the boys as we sat down on Sunday evening, together, finally.
“You made us do that every night when we were little,” replied Ari, 17, as if I’d been meting out punishment.
“Yeah, but back then, it was so rushed and crazy. Remember we’d get in at 6, and start running around?”
“Hey, Ari, remember First Base?” asked Christopher, 20.
When Ari was in grade one and Christopher was in grade four, they’d started going to the afterschool program because I was working later. Thousands of working parents do it every day, but the momguilt (yes, that’s one word; I’d trademark it if I could) was overwhelming for me. As a child, I’d walked home from the very same school to the very same house every day. I’d always worked, but the divorce meant a different, less flexible job, and I was now working outside of the house. The kids bore the brunt of the change, as kids always do.
Though day to day the boys were locked in eternal combat with each other, when I wasn’t there Christopher was an excellent big brother. Ari hated being bossed around, but when trouble hit (usually trouble Ari instigated) he had no qualms about letting his brother step in to save him. I’m sure there were more than a few kids waiting for Ari’s big – and bigger – brother to graduate from whatever school they shared so some scores could be settled.
Sitting down to dinner – such as it was – was a chance to regroup each night and dissect the day. We’d stumble into the front hall, a jumble of backpacks and boots and art projects, and I’d stare at the kitchen and wonder what would take half an hour to make. They were typical kids: one would eat cooked veggies; one would eat raw; one would eat fruit; one would eat salad. If I changed things up and served fish or pork, they’d ask why the chicken tasted funny.
Now it’s their work schedules that make us compete for table time. They’ll eat almost anything, they still laugh until milk comes out their noses, and as I found out on Sunday, they’ll finally tell me stories long held back.
“Of course he remembers First Base,” I told Christopher. “You both made me feel I was made of evil for making you go.”
“No, you don’t know what really happened,” he said. I looked at Ari, who grinned.
“The first day we were supposed to go to First Base, Christer told me in the hall not to forget,” started Ari. “He said ‘remember to go to First Base’.”
“Well, that was good of him,” I replied. Christopher is not my remembering kid. Ari is. This was a mild surprise.
“No, Mom, listen,” continued Christopher. “I got to First Base, and he wasn’t there. They were doing attendance, and they asked where he was. I said I didn’t know, and then all of a sudden I did. I went out into the school yard, and there he was.”
“So, he went out like the year before, waiting for me to meet him,” I concluded.
“No. He was sitting on first base. On the baseball diamond.”
My baby waited 20 minutes until his big brother came to get him. They’ve both remembered this for 11 years, and I heard it for the first time 11 years later. And all this time I thought I’d been protecting them.

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What I’m Really Thinking

No, not me. It’s the title of a series that runs in The Guardian. It’s gossipy and judgey and occasionally mean, so it works on a grey day like this. People submit short, anonymous essays on what their job or situation is, and tell you what they’re really, well, thinking.

Today’s is from a guy who knocked up the woman he was dating, and is now stuck with her and a kid that he doesn’t want. The headline says ‘reluctant’ dad, but that’s being downright cheerful as well as misleading. Dude is miserable, and has a bag packed by the door – mark my words. No matter; it’s that poor kid who will bear the brunt of these two idiots.

But I shouldn’t say that, I suppose. At least he’s being honest. Nobody says much that’s too honest anymore – too much risk of insulting somebody, somewhere. Every time I hit ‘publish’ or file a column, I’ve read it 6 ways to see who I’ll enrage. A few years back, I was writing dialogue – directly out of the mouths of babes, of course. One of the kids said something was lame. A reader sent me a diatribe (seriously; I bet it was a 2000 worder) demanding that I apologize. Because her son had been in a wheelchair, and was lame, and he’d died, and I now owed her a published column explaining why I would never again use the word lame. I got right on that.

I try to be conscious of situations somebody might be in, then I realize that I don’t get the least offended when someone tosses off crazy jokes, or boob jokes, or anything else. If there is no intention to wound, what’s the point? I find there are two scenarios: somebody can say “Oh man, she was acting crazy, I didn’t know what she was going to do next” and I’m going to shrug. Colloquial usage. Then there is “people need to not hire crazy people because they will come into work and kill everyone.” This is the one I speak up about, because this is the one that could damage. I pick my battles, or else I’d do nothing but battle, all damned day.

And you all know us crazy people need our rest.

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Outa here

Cottage bound. Various configurations of 7 kids (at last count) will be joining/arriving/departing and plunging the next 6 days into some manner of chaos, I’m guessing. But as Mama Anchor Pin, I”m going now. Pray for my sanity. Pray for my sobriety. Pray for my dock. Pray for Maggie, who is deeply opposed to change.

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When they give you a car, you drive it

I’m running ragged trying to get everything lined up to take the kids to the cottage on Wednesday. We are apparently at 7; I have no idea where they’re all gonna sleep, but they’ve assured me they don’t care and it will all be fine. This will be interesting; we have a 3 bedroom cottage, but one room is called The Coffin, and with good reason. It holds a set of bunks – barely – that we had to cut to make fit. You should see the look that comes over a newbie’s face when someone says “you get the coffin!”.

The blue room (we call it that because it has blue blinds) has a double/single bunk, with a double mattress that pulls out. It takes up the entire room. The red room (you guessed it: red blinds) has a lovely queen sized bed. And that is it. It is the largest room. Guess which room is Mama Lorraine’s? Ha. Yes. I have a little TV with a built in VCR, and we have a stock of over 100 movies that date back 20 years. I ditch the brats and go to the red room at 8, and watch Mel Gibson when Mel Gibson was still Mel Gibson. Hello, The Bounty…

That leaves the kids sorting out the living room (couch and love seat and open floor) and the other rooms. I don’t care where they sleep. I just dropped 300 bucks on the pre-shopping; I’ll get up there and go to town and drop another 200. Let the games begin. Thank you to LandRover for the LR4 in the driveway that will get us there safely and in extreme comfort.

I spent yesterday tooling around the cottage neighbourhood, doing a cursory check of things before we got in later this week. I had two goals: see the cottage, and make excellent use of the gorgeous 2014 911 Targa S that got delivered on Friday.
targa wonderland 2
Pretty, huh?

Sniffing out a column idea, I went on Twitter, where I have nearly 2000 followers (nearly; hear that? Go on Twitter and follow me. I’m at Tweeetlorraine; I’m funny) and asked who wanted to come with me. A woman in Hamilton was first through the gate, but Saturday didn’t work for her. Next up was Jay Kana, who writes car stuff for Mississauga Life. Off we went, 9am from Mississauga. Stopped in to meet another Twitter friend, Patti, in Bala, and then popped up in Pat’s driveway (from these boards) north of Parry Sound. It was a fun day. Jay was a good sport – you all know how mercurial I can be. How I love that word. For anyone raising an eyebrow, Jay was smart enough to haul in another friend who knows both of us to vouch for him. Smart guy.
targa bala
Oh, and did I mention that our dock is gone?

Sigh. All the way home, all Jay heard was “my dock is gone…” I’m not sure there is an answer for that. Except now I have to make 7 able bodied beer- soaked youth troll the lake in two canoes looking for a wayward dock, and haul it home. I don’t think it is even good enough to burn. After last year, it had only been held in place with a rope. As Roz said when told it was missing, “I’m sure somebody wanted the rope”.

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