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Thursday, June 21, 2018

I want to be a traffic cop at Costco (inside the store not the parking lot)

My dream job is to be a traffic cop at Costco (inside the store not the parking

After five minutes on the job, I would be so drunk with power.

I want one of those traffic cop whistles and a baton too.

I would stand right at the top of the main aisle next to the big screen TVs blowing that whistle till I was red in the face. Only taking it out to scream “keep to the right. Come on lady, keep your cart in your own lane!”

I want a ticket book also. I would ticket people for walking too slow, letting their kids run wild, taking too many free food samples.

I would be the Costco cop from hell.

Seriously. I want Costco to hire me as their traffic supervisor. The first thing I would do is paint traffic lines on each aisle. With big white arrows pointing in opposite directions. So people would know which side of the aisle they have to be on. There would be dotted lines, so you could pass the slow shopper.

Then I would have parking spots painted in front of certain aisles. That way, if some one feels the need to stop and stare at the package of 500 toilet paper rolls and try to do that math on how much they would save per role, then they would have to pull over and get off the road to do it.

I would turn the fruit/ vegetable and the milk/ cheese rooms into round abouts. 

Just like the ones the city are putting all over St. John’s. They will operate on the same principle. Each shopper will have to look to his left and yield to shoppers already in the roundabout. Once a gap in traffic appears, shoppers can merge into the roundabout and proceed to their exit. I would also have parking spots available inside each room for those people who have to stare at the lettuce and wonder if they could use fifteen heads before they rot.

The strawberry section would be a ‘no stopping any time’ zone. Shoppers will be forced to take the strawberries on top. There’s no need to dig down to the bottom of the pile, they all came off the same truck at the same time. You’ll find a moldy strawberry in each one. Give it to the kid you least like.

Food sample tables would be a ten second stopping zone. That’s enough time to take one cracker and a squirt of cheese then move on. You don’t have to eat the entire box of crackers to see if you want to buy them. You’re not some cracker connoisseur trying to figure out if the olive oil used is virgin or refined. You’re from The Goulds for Christ’s sake. Get over yourself. It’s not lunch. Move along. Nothing to see here.  Repeat offenders will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

This part is ingenious… I would equip each shopping cart with indicators and bicycle bells.  So, when a shopper decides they are exiting the main aisle to turn down the food processor aisle, she puts on her right indicator so the person on back of her does not shove a shopping cart up her ass.

I love the idea of bicycle bells. How many times have you been standing in the fruit/ vegetable room dying of hypothermia, because you are stuck behind Marge and Janet who are catching up on their grand-kids? You politely say, “excuse me?” “excuse me?” “Can I get by you?” “Fuck Janet, call her when you get home. I’m freezing to death here!”

The bicycle bell will save you from having a complete menopausal meltdown and from getting your Costco card revoked. You just pull that little lever until the gabby gals move. Costco would sound like Christmas on steroids every day!

Don’t even get me started on the parking lot. I would like Costco to block the nearest parking spaces to their building every Saturday afternoon and allow a youth group like the cadets, scouts or a sports team to sell the parking spots off to raise money for their organization. Shoppers can buy a spot for $20 for an hour. As each shopper leaves, the spot can be resold. Cheap bastards can park over by Kent’s.

I know what you’re thinking; “why doesn’t she run the world?” I am wondering that myself.

I’m thinking when the Costco executives read my blog they will be on the phone to their head-hunters and I’ll have my contract signed by Saturday.

Oh sure laugh now, but next Saturday when you’re racing down the wrong side of the aisle to get to the huge apple pies don’t be surprised when you hear the shrill of my whistle, and I pull you over near pork chops asking ‘excuse me Ma’ma can I see your Costco card?”

#costco #shopping #ishopandtell #funny #supermarkets

Monday, June 18, 2018

Do you remember waterbeds? Bow chick a wow wow

When my husband and I moved in together, he convinced me to buy a waterbed. 

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I know, insert the ‘bow chick a wow wow’ here.

Remember the waterbed? It had a vinyl water-filled bladder with a temperature control device that was supposed to synchronize with human body temperature.
Waterbeds were all the rage back then. It was the 90s. Everyone had shoulders pads, big hair and waterbeds.

It was reported that Hugh Hefner had a huge waterbed at the Play Boy Mansion covered in Tasmanian possum hair. Can you just picture Hugh with his hairy chest and captains hat laying naked on his possum hair waterbed.

I know what you’re thinking…. Growwwllll. I am coughing up a fur ball just thinking about it.

Anyway, hubby insisted that it was the only bed he could sleep on so when we moved in together I gave in and agreed to the waterbed.

It was the old-fashioned waterbed that had the big wooden frame around it and a bookshelf headboard. It took up most of the bedroom. There was no changing the room around once it was filled. A hundred men couldn’t shift it an inch.

Back then hubby worked shifts and would often come home when I was still sleeping. This bed did not have the wave control that later models had. He would try to tip toe into the bed but the slightest movement at all sent me flying in to the air and I would end up on the floor beside the bed. On the way down to the floor I would hit something, an elbow, a knee or my face on that wooden frame.

He said it was like sleeping on a big cruise ship. I thought it was more like, victory at Sea.

Then we moved.

It took longer to move that bed than anything else in the house. It took a full day just to drain it! Then we had to take the bed frame apart and pack it all up. 

Setting it up in the new house also took a day. We had to run the garden hose from the bathroom to the bedroom and hook it up to the mattress. That was after we spent a day putting that huge bed-frame together. 

One of us had to stay in the bathroom to make sure the hose didn’t come undone while the other one waited in the bedroom making sure the connection to the mattress didn’t come undone.

You could hear the floor boards creaking as they tried their best to hold the extra 2000 pounds of weight.

We finally got rid of it when I was pregnant.

At around the eighth month mark I was as big as a whale. I couldn’t wear my own shoes anymore because my feet looked like flippers. I had to wear hubby’s sneakers around the house. I could barely get in an out of a chair let a lone a waterbed.

One night while hubby was working, I went to go to bed. At this point, it was like a diving exercise. I would sit on the side of the bed and fall backwards. The waves would carry me in, so I could haul my bloated legs on board.

It took a good fifteen minutes to get my pregnant body lined up in the middle. Once I finally got settled, I had to pee. That started the whole process of trying to get out of the bed. Remember this waterbed was one of the old ones that didn’t have the wave control or back support. It was just a big bladder filled with water.

I tried to roll over on my side, but I couldn’t get my body to roll. The extra weight around my middle was keeping me anchored down. I tried rolling to the other side with the same response. I was flopping around like a fish out of water.

I was trapped in the middle of it! Like a big pregnant turtle on her back.

Flailing around in the bed like that on top of a big giant bladder only made my pregnant bladder scream, “empty me now!”

I tried to reach the phone on the night stand to call for help. I was able to reach the receiver and knock it off the cradle but instead of falling into the bed, it fell on the floor. This was before cell phones. So now in addition to being held captive on a waterbed and holding my pee, I had to listen to the beep, beep, beep from the phone being off the hook. God love the 90s!

I was detained against my will on the Good Ship Lollipop for about an hour. By the time I broke free my own bladder was busting.

Hubby was working the all-night shift and by the time he got home the next morning I had the bed drained and the bladder rolled up in the front hall.

Never underestimate the strength and determination of a woman who is eight months pregnant.

That afternoon we went to Sears and picked out a chiropractic, pillow top queen mattress. I remember crawling in bed that nigh feeling like God himself was cradling my lower back under all that pregnant weight.

To this day he still wishes he had the waterbed because he would sleep better. 

That’s not going to happen.

I think that idea has sprung a leak.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Turning around and they are gone

My son, Daniel, attended the MUN Convocation last week and was presented with his Bachelor of Business Administration.

My emotions are all over the place. 

Of course, I am extremely proud of him. I also feel like time has passed me by. 

Today, I am thinking of all those times when the kids were young, people would say to me “you’ll turn around some day and they will be gone.”

Then it happened. I turned around and the kids have grown into adults.

I am thinking about my son’s next steps. He just started a new job, buying a car, a house, getting married, having children.

Then, one day he’ll turn around and they will be gone.

Wow, he is just starting his life and I already have him married with grown children in my imagination!

When I think back over the years, I really would go back and do it all over again. The birthday parties, the Easter egg hunts, hiding the Christmas presents, the first trip to Disney. Having my mother attend all those events.

I guess I am melancholy because I am thinking about how proud mom would be of him. I am reflecting on all the times I dressed him up and drove to her house to show him off; wearing his kindergarten school uniform, Halloween costumes, Christmas bow ties. Mom would look out the front window watching us get out of the car and wave to him. He would run into her house and jump up in her arms. 

I wish she could see him in his university cap and gown. I know she would wrap her arms around him and say, “I always said you were special.”

A lump formed in my throat as I watched him walk across the stage to accept his degree. When he knelt on the bench and the Dean put the business hood over his shoulders it took my breath away. I was incredibly proud.

My little boy has his degree in business and his first job. Where did those years go?

I will forever see him as my baby boy with the big blue eyes who taught me what unconditional love is.

If you’re lucky enough to still have your children young, hold on to those precious moments because one day, you’ll turn around and they will be gone.

#kids #children #mothersandsons 

Friday, May 11, 2018

The dresses of a woman’s life

Sabrina in one of her frilly dresses.

My daughter picked up her prom dress this week.  We have been waiting five months for its delivery like expectant parents. Getting the right dress was like finding the Holy Grail. She looked at hundreds of dresses in every colour and style. Each time she went into the dressing room to try one on, I would wait outside with my fingers crossed praying “Please God let this be the one.” I walked thousands of miles through shopping malls and bridal stores getting carpal tunnel syndrome from my arms being in the air searching through racks of formal dresses saying, “What about this one?”

Sabrina in a dress she wore to a friends
prom last year.
The day she bounced out of the dressing room in a beautiful simple black dress smiling ear to ear and said, “This is the one” was the happiest day of my life. Getting the right prom dress is extremely important to a girl. That dress tells the world that she is transitioning from a high school girl to a young woman. The pictures of her wearing it will be something she treasures forever.

It made me think of all the other dresses that are so important in a woman’s life. When my daughter was born I wanted her to have the most beautiful christening dress. I can’t remember what it cost but I’m sure I spent a small fortune on it. The sweater, bonnet and bootees were hand knit by a friend of our families. Now the whole lot of it is wrapped in blue paper and sealed in a plastic container. Someday I’ll take it out and give it to her when her baby is Christened someday.

The next dress I bought her was her school uniform. It was a standard, navy blue tunic like the one that I wore when I started kindergarten. She wore a crisp white blouse, navy blue socks, black patent leather shoes and I put her hair up in pigtails, which was the cause of a huge fight that morning. But when she came down over the stairs with her pigtails bouncing and her smart school uniform she looked like a little doll. I couldn’t wait to take her to my mother’s house and show her off. Her school tunic told the world that she was now ready to be educated. A privilege that so many girls in this world don’t get to experience.

She starts university in September and I guess the next dress will be the university graduation dress followed by the wedding dress.

Thinking about it made me go through my own closet of memories.

Me in my prom dress (it was the 80's)
I still have my prom dress. It’s in a plastic bag tucked into the back of my closet.  My mother and I designed it ourselves by going through stacks of Simplicity dress patterns we found in the upstairs of the Arcade on Water Street. We mixed and matched dresses until we had the perfect skirt and top. Then we found a seamstress who put it together. It was gray taffeta with a princess skirt. It was the first real dress I ever owned. When I put it on, on the day of my prom, along with make up and my hair locked tight with Final Net, I looked in the mirror and realized that that this dress would show the world that I had left my tomboy phase behind and really was a girl.

Next came the dress I bought to snag the man I knew was going to be my husband. I banked on that little black dress making him fall in love with me. I spent half my paycheque on that dress. I bought it at Le Ch√Ęteau and I knew when I looked in the dressing room mirror that an engagement ring wouldn’t be far behind. It was worth every cent because I knew from the look on his face when he saw me that it was mine, hook, line and little black dress!

Then came the wedding dress. I designed it myself and worked with a seamstress  I read thousands of bridal magazines and tore out stacks of pages of dresses that I liked. I knew I wanted something off the shoulder and a skirt that was straight. I did not want anything puffy. I went back-and-forth with the seamstress for months. Finally, she delivered the dress of my dreams. I will never forget the look my husbands face when I walked down the aisle. My dress was beautiful with a train that followed behind me and a veil of white lace framed my face. My future husband was smiling from ear to ear and wiped away a tear. This dress told the world that I was now a wife.
My wedding dress and 20 years later.
to create it.

That dress was followed by a power suit. A new addition to my life. It had a navy-blue skirt and blazer and I matched it with a white blouse and matching navy-blue stilettos. It was meant to impress those on the hiring board and tell them I was a professional lady who would be a great addition to their organization. The power suit was a new kind of dress for me but one that became my own uniform for years and served me well. It told the world that I was ready to take it on and win.

The day finally came for a different kind of dress. My first maternity dress which I bought at Zellers. It was a replica of one Princess Diana wore. It was red with a princess collar and a little black velvet ribbon tied around the collar. It made me look as big as a house and I cried when I put it on. But I was incredibly proud to wear it.  I knew wearing this dress was an honour that so many of my friends would never have due to infertility and other medical issues.  I put my big red flowing tent of a dress on with pride. It told the world that I would soon be the best mother in the world.

Then there was that after the baby was born dress. It took a few months before I wore that one. It was two sizes bigger than the dress I wore before pregnancy. I hated that dress. It told the world that I didn’t lose the baby weight and that my body was now going to be a new size. A motherly size.

Then there’s the yo-yo dress. That’s the dress I bought after I lost the baby weight which told the world I was back on track.

Then there was the dress that was three sizes bigger than my wedding dress that which told the world it was unrealistic for me to expect stay the same size I was when I got married.

Then there was the dress that was bigger than that one. It told the world I loved potato chips more than I loved my figure.

The dress after that that one was two sizes smaller. It told the world I had found weight watchers.

The dress wore to my son's graduation.
The dress after that one told the world I was now going to have a yo-yo weight that went up and down for the rest of my life.

I was incredibly proud of the dress I wore to my son’s high school graduation. I didn’t care what size it was. It was a big day to watch my firstborn graduate from high school and I cried the day I put that dress on. It told the world how incredibly proud I was of him.

Then there’s the dress I wore at my 20th wedding anniversary. That night we went to the Keg for supper and reminisced about everything we had achieved over the years. We raised our children to be good people, kept a marriage together, built a wonderful home that we both loved and reminiscing about the beautiful journey we had taken together. That dress told world I was now comfortable and confident with who I was.

A Christmas dress.
This month I shop for two dresses. One I wear to my daughter’s graduation from high school, and one I we are to my son‘s convocation from University. I am really looking forward to wearing those dresses. They tell the world that my children are successful and moving forward in life. They also tell the world that my husband and I have done our jobs as parents and helped our children achieve their goals.

In between all these dresses there have been so many others; Christmas party
dresses, New Year’s Eve gowns, summer dresses, winter dresses, spring dresses. So many dresses that define the life of a woman. What I have learned from all these dresses is, even though a good dress can make you feel beautiful, powerful, successful, proud and even magical, a dress can not define who you are. It’s your hard work, values, beliefs and actions that tells the world who you really are. The dress is just the frame for that picture.

#dress #promdress #weddingdress #LeCh√Ęteau 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Exploring the Masonic Temple: Full of Masonic secrets and ghosts!

Just try to find out what the Masonic password is or how to do the handshake.
You’ll never get it from a Mason, they are sworn to secrecy. With initiation rituals that include a noose and their worship of the sun, it all seems a bit archaic. Yet they still thrive. Their symbol, the All-Seeing Eye, is on the US dollar bill, above the pyramid. The Latin underneath is a Freemason motto, meaning “new world order”.

I saw the All-Seeing Eye up close when I toured the old Masonic Temple, 6 Cathedral Street, St. John’s with one of the owners, Kathie Hicks. For the past ten years, the building has been owned by Spirit of Newfoundland, who saved it from becoming condominiums when it went up for sale. It is now a theatre for the arts.
The building is a treasure trove of Masonic symbols and an explorer’s dream. This Temple is the only fraternal brick structure in the province. On the outside of the building you can see the time capsule embedded in the cornerstone. There's a double time capsule inside this concrete vault. The capsule from the Masons previous location, which burned down, was taken and put inside a newer time capsule.

I could wander around its beautiful rooms all day and marvel at the high ceilings, elegant staircase, and stunning ornamental plaster work. There is a piano in every room and it is home to the only Bluthner Parlour Grand Piano in the province. The Bluthner piano was favored by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov because of an extra string on most keys. But, the stunning Victorian architecture takes a backseat to the secrets this enchanting building holds.

Kathie and her co-owner, Peter Halley are working hard to maintain the historic
integrity of each room. Visitors there to see a Spirit of Newfoundland production will be seated in the main floor banquet area and before the show, can wander around the bar or Screech Room. They don’t see the upstairs because it is not open to the public yet.

Upstairs, is the Lodge Room which was the general assembly area for Masons. It is laid out East to West and North to South. In its original state it would have had seating along the walls of all sides. In the middle of the room is a rectangular black and white tessellated pavement along with a five-point red star, an object central to the moral teachings of Freemasonry. This room has a beautiful August Gern ornate pipe organ that is one of only two in the world. The other is in a cloistered nunnery in Nottingham. On the ceiling is
the All-Seeing Eye. It is symbolic of the Eye of God. It is the symbol of His Divine watchfulness and His ever-present care of the universe.

Off the Lodge room is the Chapter room and was only accessible to Masons who have a certain number of degrees. But the most interesting room of all is the dungeon or Chamber of Reflection which was used for those secret Masonic ceremonies.

Kathie took me into this small room on the second floor. There is a trap door in the floor with a wooden plug in the center. She lifted the door to reveal the Chamber of Reflection. A small darkened, concrete room. It is a somber
place of meditation and reflection for candidates for initiation into Freemasonry, and is sometimes used in higher degrees. As the Masons attain more degrees, there is a ceremony that
takes place before one enters in the dungeon. A person writes in a big book on a small desk outside, essentially spilling all their secrets before he goes to the dungeon, the trap door is closed, and he is deprived of light. The plug is removed when the person is ready to emerge marking his readiness to rise to a higher degree. The plug may be out to allow a small amount of light and then put back in for total darkness. There is a ceremony with the Grand Master before he can come to the surface. It takes as much time as the person in the dungeon requires to clear his conscience before entering the higher level of the brotherhood.

I descended the small wooden staircase down to the dungeon to look around. The room is not for the claustrophobic and the ceiling was very low. I can’t imagine being in there for days. It could certainly make a person go mad.

According to Wikipedia: Before the ceremony of initiation, the candidate is placed for a time in the Chamber of Reflection, in order to meditate and consider how Freemasonry is about to change his life. He is given a series of questions to answer. Typically, he is asked his duties to God, his fellow men, and himself. In some lodges he is also asked to make a will. At the end of this time, he is led to the Temple for initiation.

So where did all those books filled with the secrets of each Mason go? Well, the
Temple has a large vault on the first floor which was presumably used to protect the organization’s secret files, money and ceremonial tools.

The building also carries its share of ghost stories. There is even one man who visits the upper rooms at times to visit what he calls “his friends”. Staff have two clear ghost stories that involved old fashioned music. On one occasion, the general manager popped in on a warm summer evening and heard the band practicing up in the main Lodge room. When he went inside, there was no one. Just the music. Old fashioned music with lots of brass.

On another occasion, it was extremely cold winter morning around 7:00 when the kitchen staff were cooking turkeys, the chef could hear the band in the main dining area. When she went out to see what was on the go, again, no one there but the old-fashioned music lingered. In terror, she tried to call Kathie, three times. On each occasion the only sound on the line was heavy static and garbled language. Both say that at the time of the ghostly occurrence, they could feel it in your soul. They felt they knew what was happening.

The Masonic Temple was built in 1894 and the owners have been continuously
renovating it, desperately trying to maintain its former glory. Almost half of the space in the Temple cannot be used until certain safety issues are addressed. The restrictive building codes of the City of St. John’s requires the renovations to cut into walls and reshape rooms to accommodate fire exits and washrooms. It is a shame that the city planners are requiring the owners to make these changes that will take away from the original plan of the Temple.

With each passing season, the exterior erodes more and is in desperate need of repair. This is not your average building. It needs another $500,000 work on the outside. The intensity of the brick, stone and copper puts the cost of restoration in a league that is not feasible for a small theatre company like the Spirit of Newfoundland. In 2008, they started a fundraising project to help restore the outside of this magnificent structure.

The Masonic Temple is a registered heritage building and the owners believe it is worth saving. After touring all the floors, I truly understand how they fell in love with this building. If you would like to help restore it, you can contribute to their efforts by donating at

This grand structure is a jewel in the crown of the City of St. John’s, the oldest
city in North America. The next time you go to a Spirit of Newfoundland show, get there early and take a few moments to stand in the grand foyer and look around at this beautiful old Masonic Temple. 

#masonictemple #spiritofnewfoundland #ghosts # Mason #stjohns