Saturday, September 29, 2007

Heading Off For a Relax and Renew Overnight With My Cousin

Ah, the bliss! The joy! As I've just explained to my dog Xena, I'm posting this blog, then I'm getting dressed, then I'm going to go for a walk with my little furry chum in the gorgeous cool fall day. She made a little sound of 'how can I wait that LONG?' and settled herself next to her blanket, not on the blanket, because that would mean she expects me to be hours yet.

I already slept in - sigh - went upstairs for coffee and breakie with my mom and read the paper while my husband went back to sleep. He takes medication in the morning and needs to go back for more sleep, till lunchtime. If I don't go upstairs with mom, I end up talking to him and keeping him from getting back to sleep.

Brad has bipolar disorder, and over the past fifteen years we've gotten this whole schedule thing working very well. He and his psychiatrist have worked out his medication to give him maximum functionality and minimum fatigue levels. He works in the evenings to accommodate this schedule, and as long as he gets his second sleep cycle things work extremely well.

Meanwhile, every few months or so he usually has an episode of some kind. At the moment he and his doctor are tweaking one of his antidepressants. It's reverted Brad back to the sleep schedule he had when I first met him - awake all night, only falling asleep at 6:30 in the morning. Brad's not too keen about it. He wants to go back to his old Welbutrin (his doctor was trying him on a newer version, a slow-release version, but it hasn't been good at all. We try them out because a lot of the newer meds have fewer side effects, and Brad is on a powerful daily cocktail.) Last night at work, for example, Brad was trying to say something to his manager and his ability to speak absolutely froze up on him, like a stroke. He found it very frustrating and embarrassing. But his manager is aware of Brad's situation and I actually think it's good sometimes for people to see what Brad pushes through.

Anyway, my wonderful, fantastic cousin Julianne (that's her with her dog Molly) has me over at her place whenever we can schedule it, and it helps me recharge so I can keep doing all the caregiving I do. On the weekends I give my mom a break from all the grandma-care, like this morning when Mom made a dash down to the farmer's market to order organic turkey and buy local produce. I stayed upstairs, helped Gram with her housecoat, fixed her tea and her breakfast and settled her into her chair in the living room. I do all the weekend morning puffers, eyedrops and nitro patches, too.

But now, I'm off for a walk with Xena, and then I'll be catching the bus out to my cousin's, where she has a bottle of Glenfiddich waiting for me. We'll have dinner and watch 'The Notebook', which is her favorite movie and which I've still never seen. Time to chill out, relax, enjoy my cousin's company and renew myself. Oh joy! Oh bliss!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Interviewed by Miss Frou Frou

I first bumped into this blog event over at Candid Karina. I devoured every juicy tidbit, and raced over to see what intoxicating answers Miss Frou Frou would have for her interview.

I then submitted my name to Miss Frou and voila! My first blogosphere interview. Here's how it all works:

A blogger interviews you, and you post the answers on your own blog. Then you invite readers to volunteer to be interviewed, and you interview THEM, and they post it on their blog, and so on, and so on...just like the old Faberge shampoo commercial.

I'll just take a little sip of my drink and flick my hair idly, and gaze off into the distance as I ponder Miss Frou Frou's first question:

Miss Frou Frou - As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Have you ever seen the Michael Apted series of documentary films, '28 Up', '35 Up', '42 Up'? I find them completely engrossing, especially since I studied early childhood education and find children forever fascinating. In these films, people are interviewed in 7 year increments starting at age 7, and the startling thing is how much of the original personality remains in each subject. If I were to look at what I was doing when I was 7, I'd be setting my dolls up in a row on the couch so I could tell them stories. Or I'd be constructing elaborate storylines for my Barbie family, some that stretched over a 2-week story arc. Or I'd be wrangling my little friends, sister and cousins to act out social play: "Ok, you be Nellie Olsen, I'll be Laura Ingalls, you be Mary, and you be Miss Beadle. Now, let's play that Laura and Mary are coming to school and Nellie's going to be mean, and then when Laura gets mad they get in trouble."

Miss Frou Frou - And what happened to that aspiration?

The desire to tell stories is something I'm going to have forever. I'm focusing on writing books and poetry at the moment, but I've put that social play/wrangling to use when I went to film school. I really enjoyed writing screenplays. I've acted at school, I've done some editing - everything to do with putting a story together, I love. I even take my photo albums seriously - I always rearrange them so they tell a story visually. I find working on my photo albums very relaxing.

Miss Frou Frou - Who was your first crush, or the first crush you're comfortable sharing?

My first serious heart-stopping crush became my first boyfriend. When I started high school he was in choir and drama with me, and for some insane reason he seemed to return my interest. Even though he was a year older, was totally charming, had no lack of female interest in him, for some reason he kept flirting with me. I remember singing in a concert once when he'd been sick and couldn't sing with us, but sat in the audience. He stared at me and I stared at him the whole time. I kept thinking, 'Am I imagining things? No, I really think he's looking at me...'

When I got a wild idea to work out a comedy sketch about Romeo and Juliet (talk about your subtle plans, eh?) he actually agreed to write and perform it with me. Soon after that we just seemed to be pairing up. With the crowd we both hung out with, it was rather hard to tell at first, because we did things in groups all the time. But after awhile, we started spending time just the two of us. And then he gave me my first kiss. So by then I knew for certain - he was my boyfriend!

I'm still close to that group of friends and I see him whenever we can all get together. For some reason, he always introduces me to people as 'my old girlfriend.' We went out for all of five months! But secretly it's nice to know he keeps that persona for me in his heart, because he's my first love, and that is a role only played by one person. For me, it's Philip Savage.

Miss Frou Frou - If you didn't need to earn a living, and could do whatever you wanted to do, regardless of income, what would it be?

I would immediately start making films!! And obviously continue to write, of course. And travel around to all the home venues for all the great ballet companies all over the world, with my sister. And go to film festivals.

Miss Frou Frou - If they were going to make a movie of your life, who would you cast as you, and why?

Hmm. That's a toughie. Who could be me? You've gotta love a best friend that says I would be played by Natalie Portman!

My sister said Julie Kavner (Marge Simpson's voice/ 'Rhoda's sister)

My husband said a combination of Kate Bush and

Sophia Coppola

Miss Frou Frou - You can cast other people as well if you want to!

Ok, let's see. My husband is easy - he'd be played by Tim Robbins. They already have the same eyes, same nose, same smile - everything.

My best friend would be played by someone who combines the looks and essence of Elle MacPherson and

Judy Garland.

My sister would be played by Melissa Gilbert.

My cousin would be played by someone who combines the looks and essence of Jaclyn Smith and

Kelly Preston.

My other cousin would be played by Chris Noth.

My mom would be played by someone who combines the looks and essence of Rita Hayworth and

Shirley MacLaine

and Barbra Streisand.

My dad would be played by someone combining the looks and essence of Gene Hackman and

Mickey Rooney.

My aunt would be played by Blythe Danner.

My uncle would be played by Jerry Lewis.

Miss Frou Frou - Silly one to finish... are you a scruncher or a folder?

Definitely a folder. It's much easier to make piles of stuff when you fold things.

Thank you so much for my interview, Miss Frou Frou! Now dear readers, whoever would like me to send you your own set of questions, let me know in comments and we'll 'do lunch.'

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - 25 - 13 Things About Robbie Flynn

On this Monday's Poetry Train, I posted an excerpt of a WIP I'm working on. At the moment it doesn't even have a working title. I just refer to it as my gardener story.

The gardener to whom I refer is Robbie Flynn. For today's Thursday Thirteen, I'm going to borrow from fellow blogger Susan Helene Gottfried, who regularly features backstory gold about her fictional characters from Riverview.

Here are 13 things about my fictional character, Robbie Flynn:

1 - As the story begins, it is 1844 in Cheltenham, in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire.

2 - I've modelled Robbie on actor Ewan McGregor. It's hard to figure out whether Ewan has green or blue eyes, but the character of Robbie has green eyes. Robbie has Ewan's light brown hair color, though. He's 28 years old.

3 - Robbie is the middle child of five siblings. Unfortunately for Robbie, he's the youngest of the two boys. This wouldn't have been so bad if his brother Laurence hadn't been interested in taking over their father's flower shop. But Laurence loves every aspect of being a shop owner, including the magic of the flowers themselves.

4 - This means Robbie has to make his own way in the world. Since he's inherited his father's and brother's love of flowers, Robbie turns his passions to the gardens where the cut flowers get their start. He studies the art of landscape design from a fairly early age. Being the second son of a shop owner will not hold Robbie back from pursuing his dream.

5 - After pestering the minister to let him help out in the churchyard garden, Robbie garners a reputation for his skill even before he turns fourteen. Rather than having to seek a position at a country house, the head gardener comes to him. Mr. Sollows approaches Robbie's father to ask if he might spare his son for work at Ashbury Downs, the country seat of Brigadier-General Chase, retired of India.

6 - Robbie begins his apprenticeship under Sollows with a line mentally drawn between himself and the other servants he has joined. He doesn't think of himself as having gone into service, as all the others at Ashbury Downs have done. No, Robbie is the son of Timothy Flynn, Esquire, owner and proprietor of the Winchcombe Road Flower Shop. He is learning his more than respectable craft at the side of a talented head gardener. Robbie is very pleased with his situation.

7 - By nature an introvert, much more at home with his own thoughts than having to make conversation with anyone, Robbie manages to work for several years at Ashbury Downs without getting entangled in any of the daily dramas of the house staff. Even more thrilling is the gossip about the Chase family for whom he works. Robbie stays apart from most of it, though it's impossible to remain completely aloof.

8 - He knows first hand about the devious nature of the second son of the house, Mr. Zachary Chase. I've based this character on Robson Green.
The young master nurses a grudge against Fate for denying him inheritence rights to the family seat. He uses his handsome face and irresistable charm to help himself to whatever takes his fancy, especially when it comes to the sexual favors of the female staff.

9 - Robbie has been the unwilling witness to more than one seduction of a poor maid, as Zachary enjoys using the conservatory to lure his victims and take his pleasure of them. No matter how much the staff attempt to prevent another incident, warning all newcomers about the ways of the young master, Mr. Chase always stays one step ahead. Robbie has taken to working late in the conservatory to try to dissuade Mr. Chase from using it.

10 - Immersed completely in learning his craft, Robbie goes through his twenties barely saying more than a few words at a time to a pretty girl. Beside the fact that he doesn't much know what to say to them, Robbie has a clear timetable for his life. He will not consider looking for a wife until he has become head gardener on an estate. Dalliances with girls are just a nuisance.

11 - A tragic accident makes Robbie rethink his moratorium on relationships. During a New Year's skating party on the lake, one of the laundry maids falls through the ice and drowns. Robbie realizes he'd never taken the time to speak one word to her, though she'd worked on the estate for some time. Shaken, he takes a special interest in the new girl who's come to replace her.

12 - Helen's arrival upsets Robbie's measured and manicured life. I've modelled Helen after Keri Russell.
Even if he hadn't resolved to force himself to talk to the new arrival, Helen's childlike delight in even the simplest aspect of life at Ashbury Downs is strangely contagious. Robbie finds himself inventing reasons to speak with her. And somehow, his normally tongue-tied attempts go smoothly when she's near. Simply the strangest thing.

13 - When he tries to warn her off of the young master, however, Helen bristles and refuses to believe such talk. It disturbs Robbie when he realizes how incensed this makes him. Stumbling upon an attempted seduction, Robbie steps between the young master and Helen. It's no surprise that Mr. Chase is less than pleased, but Robbie is not ready for the hostile reaction he gets from Helen. If she wants to be treated like poor Lucy, then let her. But who is he trying to fool? If Helen finds herself compromised by Zachary Chase again, Robbie knows he'll have to come between them - and damn the consequences.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - 19

Monday, September 24, 2007

Splat Designs Contest

I'm posting this contest to qualify, knowing full well that this will lessen my chances of winning. And yet I must if I want a funky new blog design compliments of Splat.

It's like that joke my grandpa used to tell. 'God,' the man prayed, 'Please let me win the lottery.'

'OK but you have to meet me halfway.'

'What do you mean?' the man asked.

'You've got to buy a ticket.'

Poetry Train Monday - 20 - Gardener Story Excerpt

Now that I've got all of my WIP's transferred over from my creaky little turtle of an old computer, I'd like to share an excerpt from one of my historicals.

This story takes place in several locations. It starts off in 1840's England, then follows my two main characters across the sea to Van Dieman's Land (now Tasmania.) This scene takes place about a third of the way into the story.

Robbie Flynn is an under gardener on a country house estate in Cheltenham, England. He plans to serve his apprenticeship under well-respected gardeners until he can be the head gardener or even a landscape designer. His attempts to warn new laundrymaid Helen Slaunwhite about the son of their employer have fallen on deaf ears. I've modelled Robbie on Ewan McGregor.

Helen has recently escaped a harsh life of poverty in the slums. Her time as a laundrymaid feels more like a life of ease in comparison. The master's handsome son makes her feel special, and Robbie's warnings about him just make her dislike the gardener. I've modelled Helen on Kerri Russell.

We pick up the story as it takes a violent turn. Zachary, the master's son has seduced Helen in the conservatory. Robbie attempts to diffuse the situation, but it all goes horribly wrong. The two men fight.


Chase bucked to free himself. Robbie saw a flash of steel and knew he couldn’t move to deflect it. Then he heard a smash and felt Chase go limp beneath him.

Hands too strong to be Helen’s wrenched Robbie off of Chase. A stout boot clipped him in the ribs.

“Mr. Chase, sir! Good God.”

Robbie fought to catch his breath. He was wet. Why was he wet? The hallboy took hold of Helen as Morrison saw to Chase.

“Don’t you touch her!” Robbie cried.

He struggled to his knees, only to get the butler’s Indian army walking stick across the face. He crumpled on the wet marble, head spinning, chin burning.

“Mind the glass,” Morrison cautioned as it crunched underfoot. “Let’s get him upright.” The crisp instructions of the former sergeant of the 13th Regiment inspired swift obedience even from the young master. He sat with help. More moans from the wanker.

“Don’t try to speak, sir. Your face is a bloody mess.”

Robbie got back to his knees and sat on his heels. No one moved to clobber him just yet. Now he could see what made such a wreck of Chase’s once-fine features. The glass fishbowl that once sat on the table lay in shards on the floor. The goldfish lay still amid a stretch of tiny pebbles and sodden water plants.

Helen stood as still as the little fish. The hallboy held her but she gave him no trouble. She had sealed her fate and Robbie's.

The gash oozed deeply across Chase’s forehead, leading down through his right brow. Robbie and Helen would be up before the Quarter Sessions in short order. The sessions over which retired Brigadier-General Chase, their master, presided. The young master's face was such a gruesome mess it actually made Robbie shudder to see it.

Morrison and the footman settled Chase on the very sofa where that bastard had wrought Helen’s ruination only an hour ago. As foul as that face was now and would be for the remainder of Chase’s days, Robbie knew it would never pay for the tears shed by all the maids whom that pratt had used in here. At least Robbie had given Helen justice of some sort.

Now they would both have to face the wrath of the brigadier-general, whose steps could be heard closing in on the conservatory. Robbie shut his eyes, bowed his head and took a deep breath.

He could do no more for Helen now. He could only face this ordeal with all the character he could muster. Perhaps that would give Helen the courage to do the same.


Helen kept her gaze on Robbie as she heard the master approaching. Her chest flushed with cold, fear stopping the breath in her lungs. Robbie still knelt in the wet from the fish bowl. She hoped there were no shards near him that he didn’t see.

Robbie raised his head as the master entered the room. The older Mr. Chase strode over to his son, tipped the younger man’s face forward and had a look at it. Mr. Morrison stepped close and the two men spoke quietly. Then both looked over at Robbie.

The butler motioned to the hallboy holding Helen. “Ask Mrs. Kamala to send for the doctor,” he ordered. The boy let Helen go and dashed off. Helen longed to join Robbie but knew she mustn’t move.

Young Mr. Chase moaned. He seemed in shock. His cut face must feel unbearable.

Just then Mr. Morrison and the master moved towards Robbie with practised ease. They’d served together in India. Their familiarity made them seem to move as one. Before Helen could blink, the butler yanked Robbie to his feet. Old Mr. Chase stood over Robbie by several inches, staring almost calmly into the gardener’s eyes.
Robbie met that gaze defiantly.

“Your handiwork, is it, Flynn?” the master asked in a strangely off-hand manner.

“Your son has wronged many, sir,” Robbie said.

The master looked back at his son. If only Mrs. Kamala would come, Helen thought. It couldn’t be good for the young master to bleed like that.

Old Mr. Chase turned back to Robbie. “Who is the judge of whom?” the master asked. He struck Robbie over and over, coldly and efficiently as Morrison held the gardener in place. Helen surged forward, then checked herself. Tears welled and words tripped over the sobs in her throat.

Finally Robbie hung in Morrison’s grasp. Yet he had barely cried out. The master turned then to look at Helen. That’s when Mrs. Kamala and Bernadette quietly entered the conservatory to see to young Mr. Chase.

How Helen would miss Bernadette. She’d been so kind. The maid stole a glance at Helen just then. Her eyes were shaded with the horror of it all.

Then the master was before Helen. She too looked up into his face as Robbie had done. What she saw was as unexpected as it was unnerving. There was shame in the master’s eyes.

“I trust you’d been warned about him,” he said plainly. Helen saw a string of faces in her mind’s eye – Bernadette, Lucy, Mrs. Tattersoll, Robbie. All had tried to warn her. She’d listened to none of them. Helen nodded, then hung her head.

“You will be out of here in the morning,” Mr. Chase said. Helen felt dizzy. But she nodded.

The master turned and Helen suddenly found her voice. “Please,sir,” she dared.

He stopped.

“What will happen to Robbie, sir?”

“He shall go to gaol to begin with. When the Quarter Sessions begin, we shall see.” Helen darted forward, grabbing at his jacket sleeve.

“Please, sir, you don’t understand!” The master shrugged her off. “It weren’t him, sir! Please, you mustn’t!”

“No Helen!” Robbie called out. Helen shook. But they must know.

“They were fightin’," she said in a rush. "And the young master pulled his pocketknife. He were goin’ to cut Robbie or - or stab him.”

“Sir, she’s just – she’s just trying to…” Robbie blurted out.

“Silence!” the master barked.

Young Mr. Chase protested Mrs. Kamala’s ministrations from the sofa. Helen couldn’t stop her tears. Old Mr. Chase strode back towards Robbie who tried to take a step back but could only press against the butler.

“Who cut my son?” the master demanded. Robbie opened his mouth but shut it again. “When my son recovers himself, he will tell me in his own words. Which of you cut him?”

Helen’s heart crushed inside her chest. Robbie meant to take the brunt of her wrongdoing on his own shoulders. Why? She’d only meant to stop the young master from hurting Robbie with that knife. Now look what she herself had wrought.

Blood mixed with water and coloured pebbles on the white marble floor. Mrs. Kamala and the maid worked swiftly to stop the bleeding, still waiting for the doctor to arrive. All because Helen wouldn’t listen. Her trembling grew worse, but she must get the words out somehow.

“It weren’t Robbie, sir,” she managed. Tears thickened her voice. The master turned. Helen’s gaze locked with Robbie’s.

He shook his head in disbelief. She thought she saw tears starting in those green eyes.

“The fishbowl – I …” she stammered, feeling the weight of it in her hands again. Feeling the water slop over the rim. She looked down and saw the wet splattered over her skirt.

The master took hold of her, dragging her across the floor to the sofa. Mrs. Kamala and Bernadette leaned out of the way, giving her a clear view of the slick red mess of Zachary Chase. Dazed blue eyes looked up at her. How she'd waited through the busy work hours for those eyes to look into hers. Now he seemed a hellish fiend.

“You have made him a monstrosity,” the master growled in her ear. Then he flung Helen to the hard floor. She slid in the wet.

The doctor entered the conservatory, followed moments later by the town constable who arrived with several other men. Helen twisted round and sought Robbie’s gaze once again. The master strode forward. As the way cleared she saw Robbie already looking at her.

His green eyes were charged with anguish. His gaze asked her ‘Why? Why?’ from across the room.

The constable closed in on Robbie. The other men reached for Helen, pulling her roughly to her feet and yanking her arms before her. Helen didn’t look away as Robbie received the same treatment as she. The constable put irons shackles on the gardener’s hands as Helen felt the weight upon her own.

Every last moment her gaze sought Robbie as if she were swept away in a torrent and his image was the last handhold between herself and oblivion.

The pull of his green-eyed gaze pierced through the tumult of their arrest. His gaze never left hers.

Too late, she knew he loved her.

Copyright 2007 Julia Smith

Friday, September 21, 2007

100 Fascinating Facts

I just wanted to thank all of you for stopping by my cyber gallery yesterday. I was so excited about it, I didn't even try to go to sleep until 3:00 in the morning. My co-workers gathered around my computer first thing, and we took our first stroll past all the paintings. I felt giddy and bubbly all day long. I had a film festival screening to go to last night, so I was dressier than I normally am for work.

A special day all around, and your comments really touched my mom and charged her up to get back in the studio.

Today I'm doing the '90 Useless Facts' that Akelamalu posted last Sunday. But I've restored it to its previous 100-item format by adding a few more questions of my own at the end. And because I couldn't possibly bore you with 'Useless Facts', I've renamed it 'Fascinating Facts'. Here goes:

1. Slept naked? - I've tried, but it's not practical when you've got a heavy load up top. The girls need wrangling - that's a job for some sort of comfy shirt.
2. Taken a shower with someone? - Yes, with the hubster.
3. Kissed a member of the same sex? - On the cheek. Not a real kiss. That's reserved for My One and Only.
4. Driven a car? - I love driving.
5. Stolen anything? - Like blog post ideas? As in this one?
6. Been in love? - I'm in love now and highly recommend it.
7. Been dumped? - Not really. Both my prior relationships were a mutual recognition that we should move on. Still felt horrible to let go, though.
8. Stole money from a family member? - Steal, no. Borrow, yes.
9. Gotten in a car with people you just met? - Do cabbies count?
10. Been in a fist fight?

- No, but I grabbed a coffee out of a guy's hand and sprayed him with the contents when he made a remark I didn't like.
11. Snuck out of your/someone’s house? - No. It never even entered my mind.
12. Had feelings for someone who didn't have them back? - Luckily, no. With my husband, there was a long delay between first having feelings for him and when we started dating. But we were close friends during that delay, so it was complicated and wonderful all at the same time.
13. Been arrested? - No, but I was questioned by store security over my credit card use. This was before things were more electronic, and if my purchase went through at the counter, sometimes I was in fact over my limit. This was also during my stint at film school, when I was stretching every penny into a dime. I was absolutely, completely mortified.
14. Hugged a stranger? - Yes. When you work with the public, strange things happen!
15. Met up with a member of the opposite sex somewhere? - As in a date? I'll say yes to this question, while wondering if I'm missing something.
16. Left your house without telling your parents? - No. My parents were cool. I didn't feel the need to be secretive with them.
17. Had a crush on your neighbour? - Yes. When I was a girl, my teenaged next-door-neighbor looked like Donny Osmond.
18. Ditched school to do something more fun? - No. I was a square. No sneaking, no ditching. I enjoyed the social aspects of school too much to want to ditch it.
19. Slept in a bed with a member of the opposite sex? - I'm beginning to wonder if this group of questions started out with a much younger age category than me...Yes, after 15 years of marriage, I'd say that I have on occasion slept in the same bed with a man. And a handsome one, too!
20. Lost a friend in a shop? - I tried to make it look as if I lost her, but I was really trying to ditch her. Just kidding! Actually, I usually shop by myself.
21. Been on a plane? - Yes, generally back and forth between Toronto and Halifax.
22. Been to an island? I've been to Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia; to Tancook Island, NS; to the Tuskett Islands, also NS; to Prince Edward Island; to a little private island in McGregor Bay, Ontario to stay in a cottage for a blissful week; to Centre Island in Toronto; and to Mackinaw Island in Michigan.
23. Slept in until 3? - Of course. Night owls don't need any reason to sleep in until 3. It's the people that start slowing down and packing it up for the day at 3 that I worry about.
24. Miss someone right now? - So many someones! All my Toronto friends and relatives, and my Michigan friends and relatives. There's a constant ache for all of them. All the time.
25. Laid on your back and watched cloud shapes go by? - The laid on my back part, probably a while ago (as in years.) But sitting back and watching them? Whenever I can.
26. Made a snow angel?

- Oh yes - hundreds. I can still hear the squeak of my snowsuit pressing out the shape in the snow.
27. Played dress up? - I used to do that with my Gram's clothes and jewellry (the one I live with now) all the time. I'd go get all dolled up with my little sister while Mom and Gram visited, and then we'd shashay out and pretend to meet them for tea.
28. Cheated while playing a game? - My sister and I used to play the 'Star Trek' card game that Kirk made up in the gangster episode, 'A Piece of the Action' - Fizzbin. The rules were printed up in a Star Trek magazine I'd bought, and we would laugh so hard, because one of the rules included wrestling your opponent down if it was a Tuesday or a Thursday, or something to that effect. Freakin' riot!
29. Been lonely? - I sort of have a low-grade loneliness for Toronto going on every day, really. When I lived in Toronto, I had the same longing for Nova Scotia. I'm just fated to be homesick, no matter what.
30. Kissed more than 4 people in one night? - Only in a New Year's Eve or a party or post performance cheek-kissing way.
31. Touched a snake? - I think I would remember something like that. I've seen them in a natural setting, but they're always too speedy to get ahold of.
32. Ran a red light? - Not intentionally...
33. Been suspended from school? - Definitely not. See answer #18.
34. Had detention? - Only when the whole class was kept behind.
35. Been in a car accident? - Yes, while riding in a streetcar in Toronto. I barely felt the impact, but the car was toast.
36. Used a fake id? - No, but I did slide through into restricted movies with a group of friends, and into bars when I was underage because my also-underage boyfriend was playing bass in the band.
37. Crawled through a window? - Yes, in my childhood house, if it was locked and we forgot the key, I could climb up on the oil tank and slide the locked window open by rocking it back and forth. Really secure house, eh?
38. Been lost? - Not really. I have my dad's sense of direction, rather like being a human GPS device. Not that I can't get confused sometimes, but if I've been somewhere once, I remember how to get back and forth.
39. Been to the opposite side of the country? - No. The farthest west I've been in North America is Chicago, Illinois when I was 3.
40. Cried yourself to sleep? - Definitely when I was a baby. I was colicky. Now I'm really mellow. Go figure...
41. Done something you told yourself you wouldn't?

- I'm really extreme about keeping my word, especially to myself. So if I must go back on my word, it's after a major internal struggle. The worst one was when I vowed never to work in retail again. I could see the inevitable coming, and how I fought it inside! But I ended up going back to it for 3 lo-o-n-n-g years.
42. Laughed until something u were drinking came out ur nose? - Of course. I laugh a lot, and unfortunately I get what can only be described as a laughing attack. It's actually painful. Something strikes me as uproariously funny and it's like I'm having a seizure. I totally can't breathe (it activates my asthma.) My husband always goes on emergency alert when I'm laughing like that.
43. Caught a snowflake on your tongue? - Still do.
44. Kissed in the rain? - Does kissing in the house while it's raining count? My husband hates the rain. He would never get the urge to kiss me while standing in the rain! LOL!
45. Sang in the shower? - But of course. Sounds great in there.
46. Had sex in a park? - Ahh, no. I'm too private for that.
47. Had a dream that you married someone? - Well, now that you ask, I've had several dreams over the years with weddings in them. They all had to do with the state of my relationship at the time. The best dream like that was when I dreamed my very, very good friend Brad and I were getting married, and then a few weeks later our relationship had changed and we were seeing each other romantically. And then we really did get married.
48. Glued your hand to something? - Nothing that couldn't travel around with me, like sparkles.
49. Got your tongue stuck to a flag pole? - Funny, I never once had the urge to do something so ridiculously dumb. Then watching 'A Christmas Story' cured me of it, that's for sure.
50. Ever gone to school partially naked? - Luckily, when I was in school our fashions included clothing that didn't reveal torsos, etc. Lucky me!
51. Been a cheerleader? - No! LOL! I'm the non-sporty girl. Drama Geek, yes. Cheerleader, no.
52. Had more than ten boyfriends? - No. I had my first boyfriend at 15, then a year later I had my second boyfriend, then six years later I had my third boyfriend who became my fiance and then my husband. I'm not the Betty & Veronica dating sort.
53. Didn't take a shower for a week? - Probably got close to that, some of the times I've been really sick. Too sick to move me kind of flu.
54. Ever too scared to watch scary movies alone?

- The only thing that's ever creeped me out that bad was during the end of 'Twin Peaks', when Bob came creeping through the window. It was totally spinechilling. Then after the show was over, I went upstairs to bed while Brad was still watching TV. About a half hour later I sheepishly rejoined him because I didn't want to be up there by myself and have that image of Bob in my head.
55. Played chicken? - It seems to me I've played this in regular traffic, but only after realizing I'd been roped into it by idiotic drivers with death wishes.
56. Been pushed into a pool with all your clothes? - No, but I've fallen into a few marshy bog-type puddles in my time to aproximate the same result.
57. Been told you're hot by a complete stranger? - It depends on how the 'hotness' was described. Remember #10?
58. Broken a bone? - Hmm. Where do we get started? My right foot when a door smashed into it. My right middle finger when my family dog flipped over with my hand gripping her collar. My right shin when I stumbled on the cement steps at Queen St. subway. My right knee joint bone when I slipped in the woods and landed on a rock. Notice a right-side thing going on? All I can say is, good thing I never took up contact sports.
59. Been easily amused? - I'm a big laugher. I have a dark sense of humor, so what might not seem funny to most people can have me in tears from laughing so hard.
60. Laugh so hard you cry? - Question Person, are you distracted or what? I'll have to refer you back to #42.
61. Mooned/flashed someone?

- I streaked in the rain one time with my best friend.
62. Cheated on a test? - Drama Geek/Square, remember? We don't cheat, we actually try to retain things.
63. Forgotten someone's name? - I have, actually. And when I remembered who it was, I then realized I'd dumped this person into the Recycle Bin inside my head, which was awfully embarrassing, as she was so delighted to see me...
64. Done something dumb while drunk? - Are you kidding? I only get more fascinating, the drunker I become. Doesn't everyone?
65. Blacked out from drinking? - No, but I almost blacked out from eating a piece of pecan pie.
66. Played a prank on someone? - A few times. Both victims were absolute pricks, so my normal sense of compassion had utterly deserted me.
67. Gone to a late night movie? - A night owl, go to a late-night movie? What kind of crazy-ass question is that?
68. Made love to anything not human? - Do incredibly intense fantasy lovers count?
69. Failed a class? - I know this is going to sound suspicious, coming from the nerdy geek, but I only barely passed grade 11 chemistry. In grade 12 math, my marks were so low my teacher asked my parents if I would drop out of the class so his class average would go up. At film school, my technophobia threatened my ability to proceed to 4th year with the rest of my class. I HAD to pass 3rd year techie class or else. So my friend Robin borrowed gear from school and took time to walk me through setting up the camera, loading the film, etc. so I could pass that course by the skin of my teeth. Thank you, Robin.
70. Choked on something you're not supposed to eat? - I often choke on inhaled things that I'm allergic to, like cleaner fumes, paint fumes, fragrance, smoke, mold spores in the air, etc., etc. It always catches me by surprise, too - there I am, walking along, minding my own business, breathing away, and then BAM! Cough attack. Makes regular life that much more exciting.
71. Smoked pot? - Inhaling smoke just doesn't appeal to Asthma Girl. But I did get stoned one time at a post-theatre party in a small cottage where everyone else was smoking pot. After awhile of inhaling the secondhand smoke, I realized that fidgety me hadn't moved in a really long time. And that all the colors had gotten more brilliant. And that everything was so damn funny!!
72. Cheated on a boyfriend? - No. I'm of the opinion that if it's not working, it's time to stop. No need to cheat. Just break up and move on.
73. Celebrate the 4th of July? - I did for the first 6 years of my life, when I lived in Michigan. Now it's Canada Day for me on July 1st.
74. Thrown strange objects?

- Hmm. What could be considered strange when one works in film or theatre? For example, I might throw dirt past a fan so it looks like a sandstorm on camera. It's all relative.
75. Felt like killing someone? - See #10.
76. Thought about running away? - Not really. I usually want to run off, though - a totally different feeling. Like running off with my honey for a weekend together. We've never really been able to do that. I'm looking forward to it someday.
77. Got a piercing? - Each earlobe.
78. Made a parent cry? - Yes. Usually over some sort of card I wrote for them, or a poem, or something like that.
79. Cried over someone? - Me, cry? I cry over everything. I cry when I'm sad. I cry when I'm glad. I cry when I'm sad or I'm glad or I'm mad.
80. Kept somebody else's clothes you borrowed? - Not much of a clothes borrower. I've got a hard shape to match with anyone else!
81. Dated someone more than once? - In the realm of actual dates, no. I've only had a handful of those painful torments.
82. Have a dog? - Yes, my warrior princess, Xena.
83. Been in a band? - Not me, but my first two boyfriends were in bands. Boyfriend number one played saxophone, and boyfriend number two played electric and string bass. Second boyfriend is the true musician - he still makes his living that way. He was a bit of a prodigy. He went to a jazz clinic once (I went with him), jammed for the bass player giving the clinic, and when they finished the jam, that musician walked across the stage to shake boyfriend number two's hand. He was all of 17 at the time.
84. Drank 25 sodas in a day? - Not really, no. But I do drink a lot of water. I may have drunk the equivalent in water in one day.
85. Broken a CD? - Not yet.
86. Shot a gun? - Only an air rifle at the exhibition. And I was a good shot.
87. Wanted someone but could never have them? - Actually, I've been very lucky that way. I've only ever really wanted three people. Boyfriend number one. Boyfriend number two. And my husband.

The questions run out here, actually, so I've added thirteen of my own.

88. Have you ever been fired from a job? - No, but I've been laid off from one.
89. Do you like a clear blue sky, or one with big fluffy clouds? - Though the clear blue sky can be breathtaking in the fall against the golds, oranges and reds, I prefer looking at a sky filled with clouds. My favorite clouds are the types that have a bit of purple and blue mixed in with the white.
90. Have you ever strongly identified with a different country/culture than your own? - I love Scotland with the intense passion of a Highland Jacobite, yet I'm a thirteenth-generation French Acadian. I did grow up in Nova Scotia, and there is a heavy Celtic influence here. But not enough to explain my obsession with all things Scottish. The Scandinavian countries come up second. I think Nordic faces are mesmerizingly beautiful, and I really love listening to Swedish, Danish and Norwegian speakers. The folk art from there is a big favorite.
91. If you were a musical instrument, which one would you be?

- Hmm, that's a toughie. I have always had a fascination for harps, the big ones. And I love how they sound. I would probably be a gilded golden harp.
92. Have you ever been sailing? - Yes, boyfriend number one used to take me sailing in his family's two-seater sailboat. He lived on a lake. He used to pack a little lunch for us, sail us over to one of the little islands in Lake Charles, and play his Irish tin whistle for me. He was a very romantic and completely charming first love.
93. Have you moved around a lot, or stayed in one area? - I've moved around a fair bit. I've lived in Michigan, Nova Scotia, Ontario and back to Nova Scotia.
94. Were you ever escorted home by police? - Not so far...
95. Have you ever had an idea for which you considered getting a patent? - Not really. All my big ideas are usually social change oriented. I'd need to rule the world in order for them to be implemented.
96. In what sort of dwelling do you reside? - A single family home, which we have made into a two-family set-up. My mom and gram live on the main floor, my husband and I live downstairs, each with our own entrance.
97. What is your birth order? - I'm the oldest of two sisters.
98. Have you ever lived through a natural disaster or a major man-made crisis? - We went through Hurricane Juan here four years ago. The main power of the storm lasted a little over an hour, and because a hurricane is a massive low-pressure system (which gives me migraines) every single gust of 120 kilometer-an-hour wind made my head feel like it was going to explode like the 'Total Recall' heads.
99. Have you ever been resuscitated by medical staff? - Not from unconsciousness, thank heaven. I did have an emergency room visit with an asthma attack that got me close to that, though.
100. Did you ever wish you could time travel? - Yes, very intensely. I think every historical author wishes she could see the past with her own eyes.

Now, I tag Kelly, Christine and Amy.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - 24 - 13 of My Mom's Paintings

Welcome - feel free to stroll about my cyber art gallery. Today I'm featuring artist Paulette Phillips.

We first met 42 years ago as she donned the motherhood hat. From my perspective, an excellent fit.

Paulette began painting in the early 1980's, beginning with oils but switching to watercolor ink and sand. She prefers the textures she achieves with that medium. Enjoy your visit and thanks for dropping by!

1 - 'Lava Flow'

29.5 x 22.5 in. (75 x 58 cm)

2 - 'The Way Home'

5.5 x 7.75 in. (14 x 20 cm)

3 - 'The Voice'

13.25 x 8.5 in. (35 x 22 cm)

4 - 'Goat'

8.5 x 11.5 in. (22 x 29 cm)

5 - 'Jesus Blesses the Children'

14 x 10.25 in. (36 x 27 cm)

6 - 'Ships at Sail'

10.75 x 8.5 in. (28 x 22 cm)

7 - 'Fairy Dance'

17 x 14.5 in. (43 x 37 cm)

8 - 'The Bee'

8 x 10 in. (20 x 26 cm)

9 - 'A Study in Yellow and Green'

9.5 x 11.5 in. (25 x 30 cm)

10 - 'Earth Tracks'

14 x 10.5 in. (37 x 27 cm)

11 - 'Free Spirit'

9 x 6.5 in. (23 x 17 cm)

12 - 'Stare of the Dragon'

9 x 7 in. (23 x 18 cm)

13 - ' Triptych'

12 panels at 9 x 12 in. (23 x 31 cm)

Oh - there she is - let's get in a little closer. She's putting down her champagne - "Hi!" she's saying (big hug to you out there in the Blogosphere.) "I'm the Mom - Paulette. I want to thank my sweetheart daughter Julia for showcasing my art. I'm happy to share it with all of you and I'm inspired to create more."