No George I have not purchased an Xmas tree.
I hear you George
Merry Christmas to you you too George
No George I have not purchased an Xmas tree.
I hear you George
Merry Christmas to you you too George
Well George … Does everything have a day?
Seems so … October 10 th
I must remember that for next year George
I might even have a chance to win a golden spurtle award … To tell the truth George I had not previously heard of the golden spurtle either.
Sounds even better than the golden toilet-brush award I won a few years ago. Spoiled me. Ever since … Well I am not nearly so excited about cleaning toilets anymore.
Spurtle-operator … Sounds almost impressive … What if I were to spread the word that I have recently become a spurtle operator? And if I were to win the spurtle award? Would I receive cards of congratulations do you suppose … Things like “so excited for you … You must be so proud of your attainement … You see how things get better if you learn to keep your mouth shut … Didn’t I tell you things would pick up if you tried to be a bit more positive?”
Something like that … Do you suppose George? Or would it be the usual polite blank stare of utter boredom. Would comments on this new occupation be ignored outright because nobody really honestly gives a tinker’s darn what you are doing these days.
That is … Unless it is a professional international fund-raiser where you get to wear the same t-shirt as everyone else and everybody has so much fun walking or running together to raise money to send to the charity of the day.
I say professional because such charity-events are very professional and well-planned even though they may take advantage of an army of unpaid volunteers. But guess what George? Somewhere in the charitable organizations there are often people being paid large salaries. Then there are the free trips. These days George it is the professional charities that bring in the real money, especially if you can score a couple of lucrative board positions.
You want me to name them, give you particulars about which charities … You want documented proof? Not a report George! You don’t expect a report! Without paying me? Surely you do not expect me to work for nothing? Hmmm no George … No board either … sorry George … Not available … I’ll be too busy operating my new spurtle promotion enterprise.
Is it really true George?
… What they say about Black Friday … For instance … Everything I do from now until … Until when George? … That is the part I don’t get …
Anyway it seems that the results of my labours … My endeavours … My hard work … It is mine! All mine! I needn’t pay any taxes from now until whenever. Is that it?
Well George, I really don’t understand the whole concept.
Thick? No George. I simply don’t see how it can possibly make any difference to me. Here I am an elder artist and writer … One whose art and writings have no monetary value … Well if they did then I’d be making a living … Wouldn’t I George? … As I was saying …
Can we get back to this George? I am busy at the moment … Trying to determine how I am going to spend my salary this month … Well I think you call it salary … Although to tell the truth George I am not sure … Is under $150 a week enough to consider a salary. Well George what I am talking about is my Elder Security check George.
Well … Not exactly … No George I don’t know what it is called officially these days … Used to be called the Old Age Pension … Or am I getting that wrong … Well yes George I am happy to receive the check every month. It is an affirmation that I did my time and now am able to lay back and enjoy the fruits of my labours.
Labour? Do you think George that being a housewife is not labour?
Well yes … Labour of love … That too …
I’m thinking about a vacuum this month George. Well no not that one … It would take months of pension checks to pay for George. Yes George … I agree with you that I should be supporting by local business community by buying the more expensive vacuum cleaner from the local small business owner. But look at it from the perspective of my not having any money to spend on anything else for the next several months.
And don’t forget George! Christmas is less than a month away. Well it is after all the short period of time that holds small local business together. If they can make enough money at Christmas then they are able to pay the banks the interest due on the money they have to borrow in order to stay in business for the rest of the years.
The whole thing is a mystery to me too George. I guess it is something best left to Economists and Accountants … Oh yes Bankers too … And yes George … Insurance Agents.
So you see George although I don’t really get this Black Friday thing and cannot really tender intelligent comments on the pros and cons of the financial world … There is one thing you must know for sure George.
I am happy to report that I receive money from the Canadian Government. Yes George … Every month.
That little check might seem insignificant to you but it is mine and a lot more than I received during the years of being a stay-at-home mom when the family allowance didn’t cover the cost of … Well George let’s not talk about that right now.
Let’s just say I am appreciative. Yes … The check … That lovely little 500 $ plus a few dollars and a few cents … Every month George …
Yes … That lovely little greyish-brownish envelope … Is that what is meant by a plain brown envelope George … With the return address Matane Quebec, G4W 4N5
I love my little check from the Government of Canada.
What word? Hearing is not quite what it once was as you know.
Quit? Is that it? What kind of an attitude is that George? You know I will not give up … Not as long as … Well never mind …
You too George? And I considered you such a perfectly loyal magpie … Are magpies known for loyalty George? So why are you not going to share … Tell me what you saw back there?
You are very quiet George. Cat get your tongue?
So are you going to share or do I have to beat it out of you! What did the sign say?
Talk don’t fight? That’s it? Nothing more profound than that?
Oh! I see … Errrrr rather I understand … Well sort of …
You think we need better commmunication do you George? And how do you propose we tackle that one?
OK … Well you can’t say I have not tried.
Well George … Again this morning I was booted out of a site … Accused of vile deeds … I am innocent George …
Doesn’t matter where … False accusations … I did no wrong … Doing my Elder Duty is what I was trying to do George … Trying to post this notice that might help people in NYC
You know George … This communication idea might be bigger than you think.
Yes of course I realize that you are a thinking entity. I’ve been told I have the same flaw.
Yes George. Let’s talk.
Yes George … You told me … But I was only trying …
But … But … But … Yes George … I’ll try harder … You did warn me …
Ok what about music … I was thinking about turning some of my poems into songs … Oh too much politics you say?
Nature … Oh … Birds and bees fall under that sex category? … I see.
What can I talk about?
No sex … No religion … No politics …
Not much left is there George?
I do have this very old book … Dusty … Torn … Musty
A gift from my dearly departed long-gone favourite person … My Grandma
Surely George … Nothing written in 1923 could possible be unrepeatable today … Could it? Hmmm … Here on page 4 is a blurb for a Proctor and Gamble product … Ivory Soap … Imagine George
“Can good soap ruin a delicate silk blouse or a chiffon negligee”
Hmmmmm … What do you think George? On I go
“or even a woolen sweater – in one washing?
Yes, of course it can! Good soap may not be good enough!
How, then, can you tell — before you run the risk — whether or not any particular soap is good enough — whether it will ruin your really precious garments? Of course, a white soap is needed.”
That’s not offensive is it George?
“Here is a simple test that will prove soap safe or unsafe as easily as you tell night from day:
Would you be willing to use that soap. On your face?”
Like it George? You don’t suppose it would offend anybody? But boring is good too. Boring is hardly likely to offend many people — for one thing if it is boring enough or tedious enough or long- winded enough — well George who would bother reading it?
Ah now I get it — brilliant George … The acceptable blog must be so boring that nobody will read it so nobody will know what it is about. That way everybody will say they love it … Or hate it … Depending upon the writer … because they will be too embarrassed to admit that they didn’t even read it. Ok … more George?
“Think of Ivory Flakes in this way.
At once you are sure, for Ivory Flakes is just Ivory Soap in flake form — the very same Ivory Soap that millions of women during two generations have found mild and gentle for the skin.
What a relief it always is when a woman first realizes that with Ivory Flakes she need no longer fear for the safety of her most precious garments!
A teaspoon or so of these delicate, petal-thin flakes; instant suds; a few moments of dipping and squeezing — and the gentle cleansing soap has done its work — safely, yet thoroughly.”
Isn’t that lovely George? So inpirational … True art!
“Ivory Flakes is economical enough even for the family washing, but it has that unique margin of safety which distinguishes its use for the washbowl laundering of exceedingly precious garments.
May we send you a small package of Ivory Flakes with our compliments and a useful booklet of washing and ironing suggestions? You will find the proper address in the upper right-hand corner.”
Sure enough George — there it is — the adress: Section 15 AF, Dept of Home Economics, The Proctor and Gamble Co., Cincinnati, Ohio.
What do you say George … Suppose the free sample is still availabe?
… Nearly 90 years later … There is no expiry date that I see … There is a copyright notice … I imagine it would have expired by now however. Where did I hear that copyright expires after 50 years?
November 14, 2012 Wednesday
Macassar, Me and Emily Dickinson.
What is it? Well you might ask George. I’d never heard of it before today either. Apparently,
“Macassar oil was an unguent for the hair commonly used in the early 19th century. The poet Byron called it “thine incomparable oil, Macassar.” The fashion for oiled hair became so widespread in the Victorian and the Edwardian period that housewives began to cover the arms and backs of their chairs with washable cloths to preserve the fabric coverings from being soiled. Around 1850, these started to be known as antimacassars. They were also installed in theatres, from 1865.” (Sourcehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antimacassar)
An antimacassar (/ˌæntɪməˈkæsər/) is a small cloth placed over the backs or arms of chairs, or the head or cushions of a sofa, to prevent soiling of the permanent fabric. Also refers to the cloth flap on a sailor’s blouse, used to keep macassar oil off the uniform.
You know George this reminds me … And yes George this possibly is another of those peculiar connections that only I would make …
In any case, it reminds me of my personal experience as a member of Toastmasters International … Once long ago but not so far away … Before I was quite insulted by the president at the time … A man, yes .. some man George … Yes … Another story …
The man who insulted me also happened to be the district … Hmmm well I forget the exact term he used George but I recall him being quite puffed up with pride over being the district someone-or-other.
The point? The point of my story? Well yes George I am slowly making my way there. And really my connection is not all that far off. Macassars were made to keep men’s greasy hair oil off the furniture. As to how it relates to me … Well it really has to do with my love of poetry and my very special feeling of connection with Emily Dickinson.
No George I am not subtly suggesting that all those men who rejected Dickinson’s poetry were greasers … Well maybe one or two were a bit greasy in their attitude but I very much doubt that the term “greaser” had yet become was it was to be in the 1950s or maybe even the 1960s. Remember John Travolta and Olivia Newton. What year was that George? Hmmm I don’t remember either.
No George I am not off on a tangent … Not at all … Merely setting the table for the main dish so to speak.
So here we have these hairgrease prevention cloths called Antimacassars .
Yes George … Please be patient … As I was about to say … Somebody had to make them … The women did make them for their homes … My grandmother did George … Called them doilies … Much nicer … More feminine word … Don’t you think George?
What does all of this have to do with Emily Dickinson?
Look here George …
Have you ever heard of an American literary critic and poet named Richard Palmer Blackmur (January 21, 1904 – February 2, 1965)?
Well don’t fret George, I probably would not have heard of him either were it not for my love of poetry in general and Dickinson in particular.
” Blackmur in an attempt to focus and clarify the major claims for and against the poet’s greatness, wrote in a landmark 1937 critical essay: “… she was a private poet who wrote as indefatigably as some women cook or knit. Her gift for words and the cultural predicament of her time drove her to poetry instead of antimacassars ” ”
So what do you think about her choices George … Write poetry or make doilies …
And how does this relate to toastmasters? And where exactly do I fit into any of this George?
Well I was a painfully shy young woman who loved to write poetry and paint and draw. I joined Toastmasters hoping it would help me overcome my shyness and help me build the confidence and connections I needed to develop a career.
I was also a married stay-at-home wife-and-mother work-at-home-graphic-artist … The original attempt at being Super-Mom.
Which brings me closer to the point … Being insulted by the Toastmaster district someone-or- other.
No George I have absolutely nothing against Toastmasters. I would never have joined had I thought otherwise. Whether I personally received value for my money … Well … Something I’d need to really think about George … My dearly departed father used to tell me to say nothing if I had nothing good to say … Yes I must admit that my poor father despaired of ever having an obedient daughter.
Ok ok …. Here it is … What the Toasmaster said … Well … during coffee break we were having a friendly chat … He asked me about myself and when I told him I was a painter and draughtsman … As in being a graphic artist … Well George here it is … What he answered was,
“That is nice, something to do in your spare time, when you are not busy looking after your family.”
That was possibly the point when I realized that if ever I was to have a career it would certainly not be thanks to people like Mr. District someone-or-other and I might as well not have spent the hundred plus dollars I had scrimped together to join Toastmasters International.
Do you suppose … Would my life have taken a different turn if the group I joined had been named Toastmistresses International?