Half-Baked Ideas

Things My Mother Said

woman in car, with fluffy plaid scarf, big round glasses, parka, whitish hair, and elbow crutches in the back seat behind her
Sunday afternoon taking Emil home; waiting for him to get into the passenger seat after depositing his crutches in the back.

“She has a nice face.” Another thing Mom was known to say when I, as a teenager, said someone was homely. 

I may have to start using ™TMMS, since I’m repeating her words so often.

Elizabeth Aquino uses ™TLMM (tiny little mother mind) when writing about her challenges dealing with the medical and health establishment in the U.S. as she raises and cares for her daughter Sophie. 

I was trying to describe to Faye last night, after my usual jokes about getting older (we were out celebrating her husband’s 60th birthday), that after the first decade of surprise, shock, chagrin, and eventually amusement about the changes one sees in the mirror as life goes on, how recently I’ve turned another corner. These days, I look at my face with acceptance and affection, and wonder, with genuine curiosity:

What is it going to do next?

It’s weird as hell, but kind of wonderful too. Like the face is a painting– melting in places, dried-up in others, wrinkled parchment cheeks all of a sudden — seriously, what is next!

man seated with woman's hands on his shoulders
Faye and the birthday boy.


This morning I have opened 7 envelopes containing requests for donations.

I’ve had to tear my name and address from at least one document in each letter, to be shredded in hopes of avoiding identity theft. It’s not that I have so much to steal, but I hear it’s a ridiculous inconvenience when it happens to you. 

More paper from each mail-out has gone into a bag to take for recycling. And I’ve written a request to be removed from their mailing lists, and stuffed it into the return envelope provided. This is irritating because it’s time-consuming; I have other, better things to do. 

In a way it’s my own fault for sending a donation at the beginning of each month to a chosen charity. “There’s a wide, wide world of noble causes,” as Joni has written in one of her songs. I’ve stopped doing it because of this consequence: not only do they each send me a bunch of paper to deal with, but they obviously sell or trade my name and address to other charities to raise funds for themselves. 

I’ll focus on a cause closer to home, or could donate without providing my name and address although that’s hard to do when you’re sending a cheque. 


Pixie, you said That woman has a beautiful voice, thank you for introducing me to her.

If you haven’t been aware of Alison Krauss before now, you are in for many treats while discovering her. Aside from her hits like When You Say Nothing at All, check out her collaborations with Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin fame (you did say you’re a ’70s throwback — just like me). Here’s a sample (have a tissue handy for this one). I still can’t listen to it without crying, thinking of Mom:

They’ve got a fantastic album called Raising Sand, one of my favourite CDs, and now they’ve got a new one out. Raising Sand is so perfect, I wonder if the second one can possibly compare.


Joan’s been at the hospital with our Ben since the weekend. They were having trouble stopping his seizures. It sounds like they’ll be going home shortly. After seeing a photo Joan sent from his bedside, I remarked that he didn’t look like he was feeling too rough. She said he is fine between seizures. I thought I had a picture of him to post here but now I can’t find it. Hate when that happens. Maybe it will turn up tomorrow.