2017 A To Z Challenge – N

*Challenge2017

Our Canadian Postal Code is N2N 3B4.  When asked for it, to prevent mistakes due to misheard pronunciation, we tell people that it is, “Not too new, three before.”

For the letter

letter-n

I downloaded these prompts;
negotiate, no, new, news(papers), notes, not my problem, Niagara, night, name, nothing

In no particular order;                   

I have already composed and published a post about ‘It’s Not My Problem’ here, for anyone who wants to (re)read it.

I live about an hour and a half drive from Niagara Falls, Ontario.  It’s an unusual year that I don’t take the wife, the son, or both, for a day or a weekend there.  I published a 100-word Flash Fiction about it here,  including a great photo of the night-time colored lights on the American side, buried in the comments.

I’m so old that nothing is new anymore.  I’ve seen it all, done most of it, forgotten a bunch, and been caught at very little.

I’ve written about my lack of memory, a problem that I partially solve with copious notes.  See – prompts, above.

I’m sure like many others, my wife is addicted to the word no, and doesn’t even realize it.  (and I’m not gonna mention it)  The first word of response to any question or request, is likely to be, “No.”  Maybe it comes from raising children or grandkids. “Do you want me to put the rest of this stew in a Tupperware container, and put it in the fridge?  We could have it for lunch one day next week.” “No.  I want to save it for a lunch next week.  Put it in a Tupperware container and put it in the fridge.”

For no reason, other than that I never have, I continue not to reveal my first name on my blog-site.  I kinda discussed this back on M’s misidentification post.  Call me Ishmael Archon.

Several years ago, the Waterloo Region Record newspaper switched to being a ‘morning’ paper, guaranteed to be to your house by 5:30 AM.  When it was an afternoon paper, it was delivered by reliable school-kids after class.  Now, it is delivered to me by a Jamaican Negro in an old truck.  Since the son works midnights, he has the car, and the driveway is empty.

Rasta-Man rolls down the hill in neutral, rolls up our slanted driveway and puts the brakes on, flings the paper out the driver’s window left-handed, and rolls back out of the driveway. He’s only touched the house with the paper twice in that time.  Once, it landed on my porch roof, and the other time he pitched the heavy Saturday edition through the porch railing, snapping one of the support spindles.  I have found it in two different gardens, stuck up in our magnolia bush and so far under it that, like the porch roof delivery, I had to use a broom to get it.  Often it lands at the garage corner – right where the eave drips after a rain, or a snow melt.  Fortunately, they come in a plastic bag, although I’ve had to defrost an ice-coated paper.

Last summer, he must have taken vacation. On the first Monday, I called circulation because I didn’t get my copy.   Someone drove one out to me.  We don’t get mail home delivery, but I have a mailbox for things like newspapers.  Tuesday, as I went out to look, something made me look in the box.  Sure enough, there were Monday, and Tuesday’s papers, and so it continued for two weeks.

One time, at the auto-parts plant, I was invited to join the Labor team who would negotiate a new contract.  I politely declined.  It takes a particular type of person, and my boredom level is quickly reached.  Diplomacy is also defined as tact, or restraint, or good manners.  Like diplomats, people who negotiate Labor contracts have to get used to repeatedly saying ‘nothing’, for days, weeks, even months, until finally someone cracks.

One year, we mistakenly elected a big ‘Buffalo Biker’ as union president, to lead the team. We thought that he would frighten the opposition.  He screamed and yelled and stomped around the room, and pounded on tables….but, that’s not the way you successfully negotiate.  It was the worst contract we ever attained.  😳

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Poppa Attack

poppa attack

Just to show that procrastination isn’t the only reason that I don’t get accomplished, what I should. Like Mary and her lamb, I love (most) animals, and they love me.  When I stop in at the daughter’s place, I don’t usually sit down.  I get in and out quicker.

The above photo, dark and murky though it may be, shows what happens if I sit in the big recliner chair. Daughter is hosting two short-haired female Chihuahuas for a breeder.  One insists on licking my entire face – could be for the perspiration salt – could be because she really likes me.  The other doesn’t lick faces, but will clean out both of my ears.

The grandson’s German Shepherd-cross never believes that the Chihuahua does my face correctly, and insists on re-licking it. With a much larger tongue, it should take her less time, but if I don’t insist on coming up for air, it could go on all afternoon.  She took out my sapphire ear-stud out one day.  I never noticed, and I’ve never replaced it.

The daughter’s younger male cat, who will not be picked up, has picked up on the fact that I’ve been practicing my petting and skritching at home.  He has settled onto the left side of my lap, while the little female loudly stands below him at my knee.

Not seen, on the sofa to my right, is Benny, the big son to my now-gone Contessa. He was battling a two-ear infection, with partial deafness and vertigo, but still loudly insisted that I reach out to him too.

The daughter sometimes babysits the breeder’s little, male, long-haired Chihuahua, when she’s on a business trip. He will let no man near him, but will run to the daughter when I arrive. She is allowed to pick him up, and hand him off to me.  There, he quickly settles into the crook of my left elbow, and closes his eyes as I stroke him.  He’d probably purr, if he were a cat.

The wife insists that I’m the reincarnation of St. Francis of Assisi. All this adoration is like high-octane gasoline; it fuels my soul.  It de-stresses me, and lowers my blood pressure, though it doesn’t help my memory or concentration.  “Why did I come in here today??  Shopping??!  What for?  What time is it?  What day is this?”   😕

2017 A To Z Challenge – F

Challenge2017

I’ve been caught – found out – laid bare. It gives me no solace to know that I am but one member of a large enough group who are also exposed, that there is a word to describe and identify them.  For the letter

Letter F

I am skipping the WOW, and using the A To Z Challenge to present the latest, and most applicable word, Forgettery

Definitions for forgettery

a faculty or facility for forgetting; faulty memory:
a witness with a very convenient forgettery.

Origin of forgettery

1860-1865

Forgettery is a humorous formation based on forget and (the pronunciation of) memory. The phenomenon is very common in ordinary life, such as that panicky moment when you cannot recall the name of your dinner partner or where you parked the car in the mall parking lot. It is a little surprising that such a useful term entered English only in the 19th century.

My life has been one long series of Forget-Me-Nots. One of my ways of ensuring that I remember something is to repeat, repeat, repeat!  One scientific study said, 35 times – and it’s mine.  It’s a good thing that I like to read.  I scanned school texts over and over….and over.  I understood the concepts, but you only get marks if you remember to write them down.

I describe my situation as ‘Trigger-Memory.’ It’s a long trail of the equivalent of a string tied around the finger.  My days are full of reminders.  A sour cream tub lid, wedged into the top of my boot on the shoe rack means there’s a plate of leftovers to be taken to the daughter.  An empty pill bottle sends me to the pharmacy.  An empty cat-food tin on the end of the counter has me bringing more up when I go downstairs for some Pepsi.

Out of sight, out of mind – or, as the Chinese translate, ‘When you’re blind, you’re also crazy.” If I don’t see it, I forget it. My office desk was always a bit of a mess, because I dared not put anything away until I’d successfully dealt with it.  Lists, notes, memos, reminders – thank (insert the name of your favorite real or imaginary deity here) for electronics.  Now it’s all on the computer….if I can just remember where I cached that file.

Have you ever walked into a room, and wondered why you did? I’ve walked into rooms, and had to look around to remember which room I’d walked into.  Use it, or lose it. As much as for my Asperger-type inability to make and hold friends, my lack may be because I forget people as soon as they walk out the door, and people get upset if you do that.

Once upon a time, I forgot to pick something up, probably food for a special meal. I got from the wife, that expression that every marriage gets at least once.  “If you loved me….you would have remembered.”  I pointed out that the forgetting had impacted me even worse than her.  If I can’t remember for myself, I sure won’t remember for her, no matter how much I love her.

Would she say, ‘If you loved me, you’d be an Optical Surgeon, and make lots of money?’ With the tremor in my hands, somebody would lose an eye.

If I forget to read your posts for a week, (or a month) or forget to leave a comment, please forgive me. I’ll remember eventually, probably triggering my memory when I’m looking up another odd word, like syzygy….now what does that mean, again?   😳

2017 A To Z Challenge – B

Challenge2017

When I sieved out the following list of B-word prompts, I was struck by how many of them could apply to me.  Rather than choosing only one, here are some random thoughts about a few of them.

Bibliophile
blood
baggage
belief
bold
books
beach
barn
blog

Letter B

My home town is halfway up the East coast of Lake Huron, in Ontario. It has 3 miles of lovely warm, soft, white sand beach.  It has become a vacation haven, and tourism is a large part of its financial wellbeing.

The town to the south gets only 1 mile of shoreline. The tiny tourist village to the north sits in the center of 10 miles of sandy shore.  Access to the water is good, and the swimming is wonderful but, in both cases, the sand barely reaches above the water level, and their beaches are flat, hard and damp.

My mother constantly read to me as a child, and I learned to read quite young. I became a bibliophile, a lover of books.  I am also a logophile, a lover of words, but all the wonderful words are in the wonderful books, so we’ll discuss that later.

Ray Bradbury said, “Libraries raised me.” My tiny little town had a tiny little library, about the size of a medium house.  It was only open two days a week.  The volunteer librarian was a former teacher.  It was here that I learned early, the value of linguistic precision.

The fine for late books was 2 cents, biweekly.  The intent was for 2 cents, per book, for each of the 2 weekly open days.  I stood beside a man who went and got a dictionary to show the librarian that ‘biweekly’ also meant ‘every two weeks.’  He would pay 2 cents, but not the 8 cents that she demanded.

A local man became a mining engineer. He located an ore field in Northern Ontario, staked a claim, and sold the rights to a mining firm which would extract the minerals.  With the initial payout and ongoing royalties, he retired early, as the town’s richest resident.

He and his wife were great readers, but they never had children. When his wife died, and he was facing his own mortality, he donated a large portion of his fortune to the municipality, to be used to build a library in memorial to his wife.  We got a fairly large (for a small town) new library, right beside the Town Hall.  His bequest bought lots more books, and an annuity paid for hired staff.

When I moved 100 miles to Kitchener for employment, it was easy to pack my luggage. I had very little.  I also had to pack my baggage – my propensity for procrastination, my learning disorders, my neurological syndrome which causes poor physical control and lousy short-term memory, as well as my autistic-type inability to read social cues, and make and hold friends.

I am more methodical, determined, and tenacious; I would never be described as bold. Having survived an interesting, if not terribly thrilling life, now in the twilight of my years, I can put these thoughts and remembrances down, and publish them in my blog.   😀

 

Slightly Singed Slacks

Pants on fire

LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE!

There are lies, damned lies, and statistics – about lies.  In an episode of Castle, after interviewing a suspect, Detective Kate Beckett asks Rick Castle what he thinks.  Castle responds, “He’s lying!”  Beckett replies, “Of course he’s lying!  Everybody lies, about everything, all the time!  We have to figure out what he’s lying about.”

I once worked with a young woman. When I was very interested in motorcycles, she owned and rode her own bike.  If I hung around with her, I could hang around with several of her male biking friends and score the occasional ride.

One of the first things she told me was, “I never lie. I have a poor memory, and can’t remember what I’ve lied to who about, so I always tell the truth.  It’s easier to remember.”  It took a while, but I started paying attention, and keeping track.

She had an active social life, but told me, “I’ve never slept with a married man.”  Then she took me to a Country-Western bar for lunch.  The manager was a businesswoman.  She told me that she’d had sex with the woman’s first husband.  She was not named as a respondent, because he had a number of dalliances….Then she told me that she’d slept with this woman’s second husband also.  “I couldn’t help it.  He’s just so cute.”

Riding a motorcycle is a big job!  It requires far more work and attention than auto-piloting a car.  She told me one day that, “I never ride my bike impaired, whether booze or drugs.  You could get hurt, or killed.”

On our afternoon shift, we got a half-hour for supper. One evening she realized that she had no recreational drugs to go home to – no weed, no hash oil.  She said, “Come with me at break.  We’ll ride over to my supplier and score something for me later.”

After a quick, five-minute scoot, she scored a ‘quarter of hash’. I turned to leave, but she broke it in two, and she and the dealer smoked half of it, while I tried to stay near fresh air.  (Cuz it’s only good manners to share, man)

When she was finally ready to return to work (half-baked), I held out my hand for the bike keys. “No way man!  It’s my bike, and nobody rides my bike except me!”  They say there are no Atheists in foxholes.  This Atheist prayed the whole ride back.

I usually took the bus to work, but it wasn’t far out of her way to give me a ride home. One evening, as we were leaving work, one of her active social life’s was waiting it the plant door, to take her out for ‘a couple of drinks’.  Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.  She handed me the keys to the motorcycle that only she could drive, and said, “Could you leave it at my place, and walk the rest of the way home?”

She lied to herself as well as me, about never lying. It’s likely that she even believed the lie.  She lied about sleeping with married men, and probably never noticed.  She lied about always riding sober – but that ‘bad memory’ thing can come from being smoked up.  She lied about never letting anyone else pilot her bike as soon as a delivery service became socially convenient.

She was a nice enough person, if a little(?) wild, but I kept track.  She lied to everybody, about everything, even stuff she didn’t need to lie about – where she’d been, and with who, how much she drank.  She lied about a potential newspaper job, and to herself as well as others about her abilities.

Cynical much??! Even before the Castle show, I developed a finely tuned ability to tell when others are lying.  Their lips are moving.  😯

Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, hubby’s new job, kids’ school grades – what do you lie about? Tell the truth now.  I’ll know.

Busy Brains

Brain

The Explanation

Brains of older people are slow because they know so much.

People do not decline mentally with age, it just takes them longer to recall facts because they have more information in their brains, scientists believe. Much like a computer struggles as the hard drive gets full, so, too, do humans take longer to access information when their brains are full.

Researchers say this slowing down process is not the same as cognitive decline.

The human brain works slower in old age, said Dr. Michael Ramsay, but only because we have stored more information over time.  The brains of older people do not get weak. On the contrary, they simply know more.

Also, older people often go to another room to get something and when they get there, they stand there wondering what they came for.

It is NOT a memory problem; it is nature’s way of making older people do more exercise.

***

A Catholic Priest, a Baptist Preacher and a Rabbi all served as Chaplains to the students of Michigan University at Marquette in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

They would get together 2 or 3 times a week for coffee and to talk shop.  One day, someone made the comment that preaching to people isn’t really all that hard, a real challenge would be to preach to a bear.  One thing led to another and they decided to do an experiment.  They would all go into the woods, find a bear, preach to it and attempt to convert it to their religion.  Seven days later, they all came together to discuss their experiences.

Father Flannery, with his arm in a sling, was on crutches and had various bandages on his body and limbs.

“Well,” he said, “I went into the woods to find me a bear.  And when I found him, I began to read to him from the Catechism.  Well that bear wanted nothing to do with me and began to slap me around so I quickly grabbed my holy water, sprinkled him, and Holy Mary Mother of God, he became as gentle as a lamb.  The Bishop is coming out next week to give him First Communion.”

Reverent Billy Bob spoke next.  He was in a wheelchair, had one arm & both legs in casts with an IV drip.  In his best fire and brimstone oratory, he exclaimed, “Well, brothers, you know that we Baptists don’t sprinkle!  I went out and found me a bear.  And then I began to read to my bear from God’s Holy Word!  But that bear wanted nothing to do with me.  So I took hold of him and we began to wrestle.  

We wrestled down one hill, up and down another until we came to a creek.  So I quickly dunked him and baptized his hairy soul.  Just like you said, he became as gentle as a lamb.  We spent the rest of the day praising God and shouting Hallelujah!

The Priest and the Preacher both looked down at the Rabbi who was lying in a hospital bed in a body cast & traction with IVs and monitors running in and out of him.  He was in really bad shape.

The Rabbi looked up and said, “Looking back on it, . . . circumcision may not have been the best way to start.”

 

Flash Fiction #80

Memories

PHOTO PROMPT © Amy Reese

WHAT A DRAG IT IS GETTING OLD

Senility or Alzheimer’s aren’t necessarily the only causes of memory loss. Lots of times it’s just data overload.  Young folks have few memories, and they find them easy to access.  Old people have been piling up a lifeful of memories of successes, failures, and regrets, for years.

It’s like going to your Grandmother’s house, and climbing up to the attic. There are lots of interesting things up there, but there are also things like dust and spider webs.  It gets more and more overgrown, and less and less fun.

After a while, it just doesn’t seem worth the climb anymore.

***

Daddy's Home

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Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story

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Click on the title to enjoy(?) the Rolling Stones’ ‘Mother’s Little Helpers.’