Posts Tagged ‘boomer humor’

Bad Hair and Worse Ideas

October 7, 2009

Bad Hair DayMy curling iron went kaput. I plugged it in, and the red little button that says “Relax, honey, I’m here to help – refused to light up. Betrayed by my best buddy. I’d been abandoned to confront, alone, that most feared of all potential female catastrophes: The Bad Hair Day.

I’ve had too many to count. In fact, I’ve been having a bad hair decade. As a child, I used to think it was funny that my mother and some of her sisters had thinning hair. (Tee hee, I can see auntie’s scalp!) Little did I know that when Fate shuffled the DNA deck, it had dealt me the same card! With the Ace of Straight thrown in for good measure. So to say I rely on electrical allies like my curling iron is an understatement.

Curling ironEvery woman knows that a day that begins as a Bad Hair Day will shortly go from bad to worse. I headed out to buy a replacement curling iron. Drivers who appeared ignorant of the fact that I was facing a hair emergency (or were just plain ignorant) cut me off at every turn. Customers with trifling ailments had already snatched up all the parking spots near the pharmacy, forcing me to slouch my way in from the back lot, hoping no one I knew would spot me wearing that ridiculous hat. And then I saw it: every curling iron on the display was packaged in BLISTER PACK!

Blister pack leads the pack when it comes to my pet peeves. Not only are blister packs environmentally awful, they are virtually impossible to break into. Perhaps the athletically-inclined can actually wrestle these clamshells into submission, but – as previously mentioned – I am a klutz. I have many and varied scars to show for my klutziness – a good number of them obtained by approaching blister packs with sharp objects in an effort to make them give up their goodies. Putting a blister pack in my hands is a very bad idea. The blister pack itself is a bad idea – and the genius who came up with it should be plastic-wrapped permanently!

Still, a bad hair emergency trumps a bad idea – so I bought the blasted thing (after swinging by the band-aid aisle for the soon-to-be-needed reinforcements).

So much for bad hair, and bad ideas.  Have you had any GOOD ideas for limericks?

Sometimes good ideas can be hard to come by for writers.  Perhaps even Shakespeare had problems:

ShakespeareSaid Shakespeare,  “I’m tired.  It’s too hard.
I write. Then I edit, and discard.
I’ve worn out these tights
Writing daytime, and nights!”
She looked, and replied: “There’s no holes, Bard.”

Be sure to submit your best limerick  – or two, or three – to the MillarLITE limerick contest by October 21!  Details here.

What are YOUR pet peeves? Have you had run-ins with blister packs? Bad hair days that led to disasters?  Misery loves company!

© Judith Millar 2009. All rights reserved.

E-mail limerick entries to, subject line: Limerick Contest Entry.


Julie & Julia & Judith

September 2, 2009

Cook in kitchen

Talk about depressing. I just saw the movie Julie & Julia. It made me miserable. It made me realize I am no Julia Child. I am no Julie Powell, either. I am Judith Millar, culinary catastrophe.

Ah, you say, don’t compare yourself to a culinary icon. Does a gnat compare itself to Mount Olympus? The incomparable Julia Child – played by the incomparable Meryl Streep – how could a mere mortal ever measure up to this double dose of DEEVA?  Yet mere mortal Julie Powell steps up to the (dinner) plate, and manages to both outCOOK and outBLOG me! (Julie cooks her way through all Julia’s recipes AND manages to post about it, 365 days a year!  I am lucky to get a post up every Wednesday.) Like I said, depressing.

Yet I am handicapped in this cooking contest by my admitted klutizness (see Kayaking for Klutzes). Cooking utensils may not be as large as kayaks or box horses, but they are still inanimate objects – and, as kind reader Joanna noted in her comment on my kayaking post, inanimate objects can be evil.  Malevolent graters can leave slivers of “Fingertips Fromage” on one’s Monday Macaroni. Mashers can malfunction, mutilating more than potatoes. Spastic spatulas can – well, take it from me, they can, and they will! – in my ham-fisted grip.

After witnessing a few culinary catastrophes (picture a food-based episode of CSI) and ingesting a few helpings of my Mashed Potatoes Elmer (recall that white glue you used in Grade Two?), Kayak Guy (then known as Fiancé Guy) suggested he become the culinary half of our combo. It was the kindest thing. I am best left slaving over a hot keyboard, where the most damage I can do is the odd tasteless typo.

However, seeing this movie reminded me that, like Julie and Julia, I have (once, briefly) held a lobster. And even flung the poor thing into a pot. The result was no Lobster Thermidor, but there is one lobster in Maine who is sorry he met me. Our kids wanted to call him Larry. To me, he looked more like a Lawrence. I insisted he on naming him Lawrence. Here he is, with a younger (redder-headed) me.

Judy_with_LobsterA cooking tip: If you must shortly cast a live lobster into a pot of boiling water, DO NOT adopt the writerly habit of naming the poor soul first. Lawrence met his maker in a pot in Prospect Harbor, Maine … and when I meet mine, I shall freely confess, he’s been on my conscience ever since. RIP Lawrence. I’ve committed my last arthropodic atrocity. None of your crustacean cousins have a thing to fear from me.

© 2009 Judith Millar. All rights reserved.

Is there a Lawrence in your past? Another kind of culinary catastrophe? Or can you compete with Julie & Julia?

The Intelligence Race

August 26, 2009

Male brain diagramIt’s high time someone dissected the male vs. female brain and conclusively determined which one works better. And who better than MillarLITE – the blog that fearlessly blathers what others fear to blab – to wade into the battle of the sexes? This is touchy territory. Last week fellow-blogger Sheila Wray Gregoire’s post stuck a toe across this cyber frontier, and led to her being accused of “male bashing.” You could argue that I am a Prince basher (see The Prince and I), but I am no male basher.

I am NOT saying that women are smarter than men. I am SIMPLY stating the facts. Fact #1: Scientists who enjoy mucking about in our grey matter have confirmed that women have a larger corpus callosum. And you thought size didn’t matter! It matters for multi-tasking. A quick check of the above scientific diagram of a male brain reveals that this poor chap has an embarrassingly small corpus callosum. Like most of his counterparts, he couldn’t juggle his way out of a paper bag, much less make progress on six fronts simultaneously, as most women can and must, to get their “to do” lists done.

Lest that sound like male bashing, I am forced to balance things out by admitting embarrassing Fact #2: Men are out in front when it comes to moving information easily within – rather than between – the brain hemispheres. We are talking the “one track mind” phenomenon. Men take the intelligence lead when running on one track. It’s a lead they could easily maintain if only they weren’t constantly being distracted by recurring thoughts about sex. Or cars. Or kayaking. All the while, we multi-taskers are coming up on the inside.

You read it here first: When it comes to intelligence, the sexes probably cross the finish line neck-in-neck. But there are some PRETTY PUNY corpora callosa north of the hairier necks. I’m just saying.

© 2009 Judith Millar. All rights reserved.

What differences do YOU notice in the workings of the male vs. female mind?  How’s YOUR corpus callosum working for you?  Tired of multi-tasking?  I’m just asking. 🙂

Kayaking for Klutzes

August 19, 2009

Kayak GirlI’ll come right out with it: I am athletically challenged. It has been a lifelong affliction. When my mother confirmed I was a breech birth, it came as no surprise. I think I vaguely recall tumbling around in there, trying to get my head part aimed down. I couldn’t get the hang of it. My left knee had become hooked over my right elbow. Aiming my tush part out seemed like my only option. It was the first of many humiliations.

The world is not sympathetic to the athletically challenged. We bunters are picked last in baseball. We, the flotationally challenged, do not make the swim team. I cringe to recall a bloody run-in I once had with a box horse at Eastwood Collegiate. (It was an evil box horse, a relative of that car with an evil mind of its own that Stephen King once wrote about. It had it in for me. It won.)

So when my husband – also known as Kayak Guy – began pestering me to enrol in Beginner kayaking, I felt that old familiar feeling known to klutzes the world over: Dread. This was going to hurt. The box horse in my brain snorted in anticipation.

“Dear God, just don’t let me be the worst one,” I prayed as we waited for our instructor to arrive. I believe I actually heard Him chuckle. As if. The student next to me mentioned she’s an avid hiker who plans to climb Mount Kilimanjaro next year. I sighed, and switched to my survival prayer.

2009 08 11 Judy kayaks_croppedK.G. snapped this photo of me from his kayak. I am at least afloat in the boat. Yes, I look intense. You would look intense too if your mind was screaming: “Look out. Look out! You are going to crash into the teacher’s kayak!!”  Which I unfortunately did. Or rather, which the evil kayak did, with me as its terrified hostage. The instructor was very nice about it. She said it was OK (although I saw her scanning her boat for damage with a strained look on her face).

That was two days ago. I would have typed this yesterday, but I could not turn my neck to the right. Pinched nerve. Today it’s a little better, thanks to the miracle of muscle relaxants. Soon I’ll be back to normal. As normal as we klutzes get.

© 2009 Judith Millar. All rights reserved.

 Any kindred spirit klutzes out there? What’s your worst calamity?

The Prince and I

August 12, 2009
Farewell, my sweet

Farewell, my sweet

I confess. I have been stalking Prince Charles. Well, not quite stalking. But following. I have been following His Royal Highness on Twitter. This is not stalking. Well, it is kind of like stalking. But Twitter is all about following people. If HRH doesn’t want me tracking his every move, he shouldn’t have signed up for Twitter. 

The truth is, I have been stalking – I mean following – Prince Charles for nearly half a century. Aggh. I’m a Canadian who remembers the fifties (well, parts of the fifties). Before Elvis became a household word by swivelling those sensational hips on The Ed Sullivan Show, Prince Charles passed for something of an idol to all us Canadian girls.  Sure, he had those big ears. But he lived in a palace.  A palace! How cool was that?

I was quite convinced that someday I would marry him. I spent hours picturing our life together at the palace.  That place was huge!  Big enough that the prospect of a resident mother-in-law didn’t concern me. Big enough that even if those ears of his began to get me down, I could easily slip away into an antechamber or something.  You must admit I would have been a better match for him than Diana. We all know how that ended up. I’m just saying.

But Charles never “rang,” as the Brits say. I suspect his mum didn’t fancy him hooking up with a girl from the colonies. So history took another course. Imagine my surprise, then, to sign up for Twitter last month, and find out that that HRH tweets! I can follow his every move on Twitter!  That’s the thing about Twitter. It gives you the opportunity to eavesdrop on someone’s life.

So here’s what I’ve picked up so far: Charles MAY NOT like Corgis. (I base this on his April 28th tweet: “Who says I like Corgis?”) He’d better hope mummy was not listening in on that one!  He definitely doesn’t like Harry’s choice in movies. He DOES like hot chocolate, with one white marshmallow, before bed. And he enjoys “pottering around the gardens.” On July 27, he was enjoying a lazy TV day  – hadn’t even gotten out of his pj’s!

You can imagine that all this has come as a shock. I happen to LOVE dogs, and DESPISE hot chocolate. I never “potter” in the garden, and couch potatoes – even ones in royal-crested jammies – hold no appeal for me. I am forced to admit that we would have made a bad match. So be it. Camilla is welcome to him. I am SO over him. And they say you can’t learn anything useful on Twitter!

© 2009 Judith Millar. All rights reserved.

Spill … are you stalking somebody special?

Dancing with the Star-crossed

August 5, 2009
... in my dreams!

... in my dreams!

 Fellow-writer Sheila Wray Gregoire recently posted a funny video on her blog and on YouTube about how her husband learned that ballroom dancing can have added benefits. Apparently Gregoire’s hubby finally figured out why the other males in dance class were grinning so much when he got her home later that night.

I don’t know what goes on in Gregoires’ boudoir after dance class, but ballroom dancing nearly put my marriage on the skids. My fantasy of a slim and sexy me (hey, it’s my fantasy, I get to say how I look!) wearing a figure-hugging, swirling-skirted gown; being dipped and twirled by my adoring and fleet-footed partner; then romanced until the wee hours . . . well, it played out a little differently.

It’s not that I didn’t know that my dear husband and dancing partner was dyslexic. He’s learned to live with it – and after twenty-two years, we’ve long since learned to laugh about it. I know to expect he will turn on the wrong burner, or transpose the numbers in a telephone message. It’s just that my fantasies were all about swooshes, swirls and twirls. It hadn’t registered with me that underneath swooshes and spins were actual feet, going: LEFT, together, LEFT … RIGHT, together, RIGHT. Or, in my guy’s case, going: RIGHT, together, RIGHT … LEFT, together, RIGHT.  Crash. OW!

It’s also not that I didn’t know I have, shall we say, somewhat controlling tendencies. It’s just that that woman in the backless gown, swooshing around in my mind, had no such issues. Let’s just say, when a dapper (but dyslexic) dan dances with a light-footed (but leading-prone) lily, bad things happen. And bad things hurt.

Sounds like the Gregoires drove home in a state of rapture.  The Millars drove home in stony silence. And heartily agreed to drop out of Ballroom Dancing 101 soon thereafter. It’s all for the best. Better to leave the dancing to Dancing with the Stars. The world isn’t ready for Dancing with the Star-crossed. There’s too much violence on TV already. 

© 2009 Judith Millar. All rights reserved.

Tweet, Tweet, my Sweet

July 29, 2009

Twitter birdPoet and spoken-word artist Sheri-D Wilson jokes that when a young “whippernsnapper” mocked something she said with a dismissive: “Now you’re dating yourself!” she shot back, “No, actually I’m dating someone younger than you.”

Ah, for the quick and witty comeback to this aging thing. I can’t keep up with Sheri-D in wit or energy (just the thought of dating a young guy exhausts me). But I am doing what I can to keep current. I’m Twittering. I’m Facebooking. I’m YouTubing.

OK, I’m learning how to Twitter. And how to Facebook. And if I’m still standing after that, I plan to ask someone to record me for YouTube. I want the whole nine yards. Or is it the whole 8.2296 metres? Much to my daughter’s amusement, I never caught on to the metric thing – and didn’t Trudeau bring that in back in the 70s?  How do I imagine I’ll ever get the hang of all this technological social networking stuff?

But I’m checking it out. And already I’m making my mark. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I’ve been bashing around in cyberspace, posting here and there. One I left on my daughter’s Facebook site prompted her to threaten: “Mom, don’t make me block you.” She knows I’m listening in. That’ll teach her to “friend” me.

I’m not the only baby boomer out there. A post I saw on Twitter the other day read: “Crap. My parents are on Twitter.” That kid’s right to be worried. Twitter’s like eavesdropping on the world, with the world’s permission. Frankly, most of what the world is talking about seems pretty boring. But I’m out here on the cutting edge, listening in, or blurting out – whenever I can find the time, that is. And whenever I can remember my username and password. Which is a whole other thing …

© 2009 Judith Millar. All rights reserved.

The Birthday Suit Blues

July 22, 2009

Eve with fig leavesYou may recall from last week’s post (“You Got Me WHAT?“) that some of my past birthday gifts have been, shall we say, underwhelming. I promised to share what my dear husband (sometimes known as “Kayak Guy”), got me for this birthday. As it turns out, he got me GOOD.

Kayak Guy was working all day. He’d announced the night before that he’d made dinner reservations at a restaurant overlooking the ocean. “Reservations for 8:00 p.m., so we can watch the sun set!” he’d announced proudly. Romantic! He’d redeemed himself – and then some.

I spent the day happily shopping with friends. Kayak Guy arrived home from work tired, and headed to bed for a nap. A while later, I too decided a nap made sense before a late night. I headed for the single bed in my office, so as not to disturb my slumbering kayaker. Not wanting to crush my clothes, I slipped them off, climbed under the covers and slept like a rock. 

Until the doorbell rang. I heard K.G. open the door (he maintains he thought I was in the back yard) … and with that, in came the PARTYGOERS, into my living room, to wish me a surprise “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!”  There I was, trapped in my office – which is RIGHT off the living room, so no escape route!  – AND  my office has only a sliding pocket door made out of GLASS!!   Yes, we are talking BUTT NAKED – and an aging butt, at that. I huddled there under the covers, with partygoers hollering for me to come out!  AAAGGHH. 

K.G. hustled the guests onto the patio, where they all laughed themselves silly over the fact that I attended my birthday party in my BIRTHDAY SUIT ! – well, the first few minutes of the party, anyway.

If last year was underwhelming, this year sure wasn’t. I’ve always secretly wanted a surprise party, so K.G. scored a direct hit. A good time was had by all – including the blushing birthday girl.  That’s my TRUE birthday story. Got one to beat it?

© 2009 Judith Millar. All rights reserved.

To blog or not to blog . . .

July 8, 2009
to blog or not to blog

to blog or not to blog

A blog? A “LITE”-hearted look at what’s going on in my life – or my mind – on any given Wednesday? Well, why not? It’s been on my “bucket list” of things I want to try for a while now. Just because it’s been on my mind, doesn’t mean it’s stayed there long.

That’s what happens once you’ve joined the 50+ club. Your short term memory snorts and snickers at your cheery little list of “must do” projects, and suddenly you see you’ve set off merrily in some other direction. You’ve sidetracked. The moment you realize that and try to execute your U-turn, you’re sideswiped by one of life’s little calamities. Somehow you twist an ankle doing your U-ee. Now where the heck did you put your tensor bandage?  And so it goes. 

If this all sounds familiar, you may be like me. In which case, this may be the blog for you. (If I can remember to write it, that is.)

My plan is to capture whatever’s on my mind – to nail it to the page (ok, to the internet ether, which is trickier) – before it slips down one of those rabbit holes in my cranium and vanishes forever. (Or pops back up next week while I’m in the shower without a waterproof pen, so it’s off again.)

I’m a writer. I love words. Humorous words, especially. I write to make myself laugh. If my readers laugh too, that’s even better. If you like to laugh, stop by occasionally (or subscribe to my RSS feed, if your memory also sucks).

I’ll be talking about anything that catches my fleeting attention – from my perspective as a baby boomer writer who reads voraciously, and loves performing spoken-word here on Vancouver Island. I might be talking about real life (mostly mine) or the writing life. Or books I like. Or gender differences. (Aren’t they fascinating? “Does this skirt make me look fat?” I ask my husband. “Define fat,” he says. Wrong answer.)

If any of this resonates with what’s on YOUR mind, wander by on Wednesdays for some Millar LITE.

© 2009 Judith Millar. All rights reserved.