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Welcome to Planet Nilknarf
As you can see, I'm doing things a little differently this month. For the time being I appear to have run out of ideas for the Monthly Birthday calender themes and I have no more comic strips until I have time to create more. Lately all my time and energy has gone into preparing for this fall's upcoming events. This month's cover shows my latest endeavors! These are four Completed Examples of the “Decorate-Your-Own” Plain White Ponies, pictured left. Each one has a mane and tail made out of something completely different. Although “Princess Sevilla's” hair matches my own, it is not my own hair that her mane and tail are made with, but one of those hair-extension scrunchies that used to be sold at the dollar stores. I haven't seen these things available for at least the last two years. The second horse I made, “Molly” has a mane and tail made out of this gorgeous turquoisegreen yarn. I'd used it on one of my smaller “Christmas Tree ornament” Horses and thought it was such a yummy colour I just had to use it for a larger one!
So as you can see I've been extremely busy working on all these horses for at least the past week or two, maybe even this entire last month as I've kept up steady momentum since the start of creating Janette's “Honeymoon Horses” The National Carousel Association's convention runs from September 18th to the 25th this year and takes place in St. Joseph Michigan. Once again I will be going and providing you with upto-the minute coverage as it happens all around me. St. Joseph is one of those funny little places that is actually closer to Chicago than anywhere else you may have heard of in Michigan. It may sound kind of exhausting and convoluted to think I'll be whizzing through
THREE different states in one day but Chicago Illinois, Michigan City Indiana and St. Joseph Michigan are sort of crammed in one corner where three states meet so I land in Chicago, take a bus to Michigan City and then hop a shuttle to my respective hotel. And St. Joseph Michigan is one of those cities that's so small there's no hotel big enough for ALL of us so this is the first time we've all been broken up into THREE different hotels. At least they are ALL within walking distance of the carousel but mine would be the farthest away! However, it is also the least expensive of the three, $20 less per night compared to the other two. Since I'm staying there for five nights, that's a saving of a hundred dollars. As my mom always used to say “To have or not to have.” The important thing to me is that it MUST have a bathtub. Not only is there a tub but there's also a pool and a hot tub. I look forward to spending much of my downtime there. But I'll probably need a darned good nap for at least an hour once I arrive at my destination. Pretty much everything is taken care of. In fact I took care of most of it before Janette and I went on our Niagara trip way back in April! It feels like another lifetime ago! I got my plane ticket at the travel agent at the shopping mall which is practically next door to where I live, and got an earplug stuck in my ear trying to block out the awful music playing in the mall. I was able to phone the hotel of my choice and I booked the actual convention itself. The other day I went to the bank to get my shuttle bus money. I kid you not. This happens EVERY time I go to the bank these days. It never fails. ALWAYS when I'm NEXT in line, a mother with a toddler in a stroller comes bombing in. And when it's my turn in line the kid ALWAYS stops bawling! GRRRRR!! And it's not my imagination. Kids are definitely crankier than they were a decade or two ago. I mentioned this to the Childfree group on Facebook and had a very interesting response. “The devil's power grows stronger with each generation until he has his army to go against the forces of all that is good and silent.” Now isn't that a cheerful thought for the day... Anyway, I recently had yet another birthday. Doesn't seem so long ago that I had the one before! I guess the older one gets the faster time goes. Getting older doesn't bother me even though I like to joke that I'm 18 with 30 years experience. Seriously, I wouldn't want to be 18 again. I like to think these are the greatest years of my life. My younger days were so confusing. As I near my 50's I like to think that I know myself better than I did then and life is too short to waste any more of it trying to pretend I'm something I'm not, or trying to change for people I don't give a shit about anyway. I figure that if someone doesn't like me the way I am I don't need them in my life anyway. It's their loss, not mine. Anyway, my birthday was FABULOUS! Had an awesome time with Janette staying over here for the weekend, watching movies and noshing away at some of our favorite foods. I had some wonderful gifts from my hubby. There was a box of gourmet lollipops; chocolate, vanilla, butterscotch and coffee. There was a beautifully framed set of Gene Simmons guitar picks. And last, but not least, my ANGRY BIRDS MP3 SPEAKER!! It's the greatest!!! Dave kept the receipt because he was worried I might not like it because it was so much bigger than he'd imagined. But the device itself isn't all that big. I guess they put it in such a humongous box to make it difficult to shop-lift because the device itself is about the size of a cantaloupe.
And the sound quality that comes from it is AMAZING!! I would have been happy with one of those suction cup devices that can turn any empty box into a speaker but the nice thing about my Angry bird is it's electric so my battery doesn't get used up. This is great because I use it all the time while I'm working away on my projects here at home. Another thing I like about my Angry Bird speaker is that it comes with several interchangeable plugs so I can use it if I travel to other countries. Who am I kidding. I don't think I can handle trans-Atlantic flights anymore. My flights to my carousel conventions are arduous enough. Seriously, though, it works with all MP3 players or iPods! Later that day Janette plugged one of her iPods into my speaker so we could listen to her Moon Landing soundtrack. Meanwhile, anyone who has been trying to add me as a friend or contact me on Facebook, please note that you will NOT get any response if you've been trying to contact me under “Margaret Ann Franklin” The above account has been SUSPENDED!! Back in June some soulless moron hacked it and the security tests to try to get that account back have been IMPOSSIBLE to pass! I have since been able to set up this NEW account. You will find me if you look for “Margaret Franklin” I decided not to add a link. It's complicated to explain. But if you find this month's cover picture on my userpic, you will know you're in the right place. True it could have changed by then. If you find the purple “No such thing as “Too Many Merry-go-Rounds” logo, it is my OLD account and it WON'T work. True, my email box still gets swamped with tons of notifications at this account but I CAN'T respond to them, so if anyone reads this PLEASE STOP SENDING THINGS TO MY OLD ACCOUNT! Especially adding me to groups I didn't ask to be part of. It's bad enough when I actually CAN leave them! So if you've added the “old me” to a group, please take me OUT because there's no way I can respond to you with an account that has been suspended! I am gradually adding several of my old friends to my new account but it hasn't been easy. I had close to 2000 friends on my account, most of them people I don't know anyway so it's kind of been a blessing in disguise to start fresh. But trying to find back some people has been like trying to find the proverbial needle in the haystack because there are at least DOZENS of Kevin Porters and Anthony Sclafanis out there. So if either Kevin Porter or Anthony Sclafani happens to google his own name, please take note; I am still alive, I just have a new Facebook account! Well, maybe not exactly new. It's at least nearly two months old already.
There were two young brothers, 8 and 10 years old, who were exceedingly mischievous. Whatever went wrong in the neighborhood, it turned out they had a hand in it. Their parents were at their wits' end trying to control them. Hearing about a pastor nearby who worked with delinquent boys, the mother suggested to her husband that she would ask the pastor to talk with the boys and he agreed. The mother went to the pastor and made her request. He agreed, but said he wanted to see the younger boy first and alone. So the mother sent the younger
boy to the pastor. The pastor sat the boy down across his HUGE, impressive desk. For about five minutes they just sat and stared at each other. Finally, the pastor pointed his forefinger at the boy and asked, "Young man, where is God?" The boy looked under the desk, in the corners of the room, all around, then said nothing. Again, louder, the pastor pointed at the boy and asked, "Where is God?" Again, the boy looked all around but said nothing. A third time, in a louder, firmer voice, the pastor leaned far across the desk and put his forefinger almost to the boy's nose, and asked, "Young man, I ask you, where is God?" The boy panicked and ran all the way home. Finding his older brother, he dragged him upstairs to their room and into the closet, where they usually plotted their mischief. He finally said, "We're in Bi-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-g trouble." The older boy asked, "What do you mean, 'BIG trouble?'" His brother replied, "I'm telling' ya', we're in BIG trouble. God is missing and they think we did it !!!"
Lucky Penny Ice-Breaker
Once in awhile when news is slow, there is a game I like to play in order to spark ideas and dig up stories. It's called the Lucky Penny Ice Breaker Game. Those of you who have been reading Planet Nilknarf for years know what it is but for those of you here for the first time here's how it goes. Select three random coins. They don't even HAVE to be pennies. I just grabbed three quarters from the container on top of the fridge. The name of the game is to come up with stories about significant things that have happened in each particular year. Today I happen to have selected 2004, 2005 and 2006. 2004: Dave and I celebrated our SECOND anniversary. It was the year I stopped being friends with Myla when I saw how shabbily she treated my merchandise. She must have lost and/or damaged at least $300 worth of the stuff she said she'd sell for me. It was the night I was mercilessly bullied by a whole swarm of obnoxious teenagers on the Go-Train. It was a year of unsuccessful sales and the year I discovered I had Asperger's Syndrome. Dave's aunt referred me to her psychologist. But it wasn't the psychologist who made the discovery. In fact she hadn't even HEARD of Asperger's Syndrome. I found out from my friend Lisa who has it. When I asked her what it was she sent me a couple links and that's when I KNEW I was reading about myself. 2004 was also a year of 40th birthdays. Janette turned 40 in January of 2004 and the four of us, her and Mark and my husband and I, all celebrated at Niagara Falls where we visited the Kingdom of Lost Birds. It was crazy weather that year. I seem FATED not to see the Festival of Lights. I remember once when we were outside there was such a heavy snowfall we were
up to our knees in a matter of minutes and walking back to the hotel in that much snow was so tiring that we didn't go back out again. At least Dave and I didn't. And we went back earlier while Mark and Janette stayed at least another day.
I embroidered this T-shirt for Janette. It may be hard to read but it says “Life Begins at 40” You can't buy that variegated rainbow thread anymore. I used to love using it for lettering. And here's me and Dave with the rainbow Lorikeets. You can't take pictures in this part anymore. I guess there have been issues with the birds damaging and/or pooping on tourist's cameras so now you have to buy pictures taken by the staff members there. I celebrated my birthday in July of that year with the same group of friends at Port Dalhousie in St. Catharines where we had several rides on the carousel, of course.
2005: The most noteworthy thing I can remember about 2005 is that it was the year I started taking computer literacy classes. In November of that year I started the IC3 program, but I never passed any of the exams. Classes started at 11:00 in the morning and weren't
supposed to end until 5:00 that afternoon but they usually let us go by 4:30 because we were all worn out by then The only people who passed this class were those who had plenty of prior experience working with computers. We even had a couple days where our classes were at the mall instead of at the school. I hated those days because we were separated from another classroom by a flimsy folding wall and I was constantly distracted by the other teacher's loud, duck-like nasal voice on the other side! I also had to eat lunch in the Food Court which meant keeping my CD Walkman on and finding whichever kiosk had the shortest lineup so I could be out of there as quickly as possible. In 2005 I also went to my second National Carousel Association convention since I've been married. Up until then I'd attended three conventions while I was living in Lindsay, the ones in Sandusky, Ohio, Boston, Massachusetts and Binghamton New York followed by one when Janette and I first moved to Toronto, which was our first trip to Denver, Colorado. For all the years I worked for Maggie I couldn't even afford to THINK about going to anymore conventions. The next one I went on wasn't until 2003 when I went to Binghamton for the second time. This was the year I went to Pittsburgh. Here are a few pictures from that trip: The first carousel we visited on that trip was the Alan Herschell at Del Grosso's:
I can't quite remember the order the rest of them were in but here are some from Idlewild:
And last, but not least, the Erie zoo:
These were in the days BEFORE I ever had my digital camera. Now I can't imagine life without this thing!! 2006 will always go down as one of the most difficult years of my life. The BEST part would be taking my computer literacy classes in Ardith Wood's class at A.E Lovell school. Same place where I'd been the previous November and December for the IC3 class. I was determined to get my three IC3 certificates and sure enough I did, along with these other students:
I've forgotten the names of the rest of my classmates, but that's Ardith in the middle and me in the peach sweatshirt with the carousel horses. I had started the year 2006 temporarily estranged from my best friend! Janette and I had an
argument shortly before Christmas of 2005 and weren't speaking to each other for awhile. It happened at the movie theatre somewhere in Thornhill while we were waiting for the new Chronicles of Narnia movie to start. I'll spare you the gory details of our argument. I ended up leaving the theatre before the movie even started. One thing I'll never forget is one of the stupidest questions I've ever been asked. Don't worry. Janette wasn't the one who asked it. I asked one of the ushers where the nearest bus stop was and he said: “Where did you park your car?” Hello!! If I had a CAR why the fuck would I be asking how to get to the BUS STOP!!! And people wonder why I'm so rude!!! Anyway, in February of 2006 my friend Jan Walton was struck down by an aneurism on her way to a Valentine's party with her new husband. I forgot to mention that another highlight of 2005 was their wedding, It was a devastating blow not just to her but to everyone who knows and loves her. She had to learn to walk and talk and do everything all over again. But she's come a long way since then and seems to be almost back to normal, even though it hasn't been easy. 2006 was the year I lost my Livejournal account. The less said about that fiasco the better. It was also the year my husband's leg became badly infected and he spent nearly an entire month in the hospital. It was also the year of my FIRST Geneva Autism Symposium. My sale was a HUGE success And I got to meet Tony Attwood and Temple Grandin.
I was also in the throws of my first (and hopefully LAST) manic episode and shortly after the Symposium I ended up in the hospital for two weeks. I have been on medication ever since then to make sure this NEVER happens to me again!!!
Shocking Truth/Opinion of the Month
Sex is NOT the greatest thing EVER “I've seen the future and it is needlepoint and nine-volt batteries in bulk” Amanda from “Ugly Betty” Welcome to my new feature “Shocking Truth/Opinion of the Month”. I guess the title is pretty
much self-explanatory. Every month I will share an idea and, in my opinion, set the record straight. This month's topic: Sex is NOT the greatest thing EVER ! Surprised? The world wants us to think it is. Every day we are being bombarded with images of sexuality. The media wants us to think we are losers if we're not “getting it on” with someone or even part of a couple. This is NOT the disgruntled rant of somebody who hasn't been getting any. For reasons I won't discuss, not that it's anyone's business anyway, my husband and I gave up on sex years ago. And we're okay with it. We don't miss it. Truth be known, the sexual relationships I've had in the past were more a source of frustration and confusion than anything else. I would rather be in a stable and secure relationship with no sex than in a sexual relationship with someone who abuses me and can't be trusted. And, truth be known, no form of birth control, with the exception of abstinence, is 100% effective. Even the pill is only 99% effective. My first landlady in Peterborough actually became pregnant while she was on the pill. My husband had a vasectomy before we were married and I was on the pill myself for a few years but had to give it up because of blood pressure issues. And I've always been too tokophobic to enjoy sex 100%! Too often the media tries to tell us that if we're not having sex we're not NOTMAL! Well, being normal is over-rated anyway. There used to be this annoying country song that often came up on my landlady's radio that went “If You Ain't Lovin', You Ain't Livin”. And there are other songs along that line; “You're Nobody 'til Somebody Loves You.” Keep in mind that sexual/romantic love isn't the ONLY kind of love. The ancient Greeks had different words for different kinds of love. I don't remember them all but at least I can remember phileo, meaning brotherly love, like the love you have for your family and close friends who are like siblings to you. Another kind is agape, which is the love of friendship. What society is always trying to cram down our throats everywhere we look is eros! One of my absolute all-time favorite movies is Aquamarine. It was the first movie Janette and I saw together when we became friends again after our horrendous quarrel at the Narnia movie. It is the story of a mermaid who can become human by day but needs to find out what love is in order to escape from an arranged marriage. Best friends Hayley and Claire try to match her up with the handsome lifeguard they both have a crush on, but as the story progresses it proves the point that there is more than one kind of love. She may not have been successful with the lifeguard but the love she shared with her new best friends was just as legitimate. However I had to walk out of the theatre the time my husband and I saw the movie “40-yearold Virgin”. I found it too painful to watch the way this poor guy was being so mercilessly bullied by everyone just because he hadn't had sex yet. Dave stayed until the end and told me how the movie ended and I've seen it on TV at least once or twice since then. Okay, so I've mentioned that there must be at least half a dozen things I like much better than sex. You probably know what at least three of them are already! And those of you reading “Planet Nilknarf “ for the first time, here they are. Long-time followers, I know what you're thinking: “Here we go again, ANY excuse to show pictures of herself on a carousel!
BUMPER CARS!!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXn2ccsAFTQ SEAFOOD!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iWrM8f_8NU The list goes on... I've heard it said before but sadly I've had to learn it for myself the hard way. A relationship based on sexual attraction is basically over before it's begun. If that's all you have in common then you basically have nothing. The more other interests a couple have in common the better, and a relationship based on trust, kindness, caring and friendship will stand the test of time better than one simply governed by the “urge to merge.” When my husband and I were dating we were sitting in the museum one afternoon and he said he could be happy just watching paint dry with me. I couldn't have agreed more. When a couple enjoys each other's company, they can find enjoyment in anything they do together. One of our favorite sources of entertainment is jst sitting out on the front porch late at night waiting for vehicles to run over ketchup packets we've placed on the road. Or mustard, or taco sauce or anything for that matter that is squishy and comes in a packet. The best was a packet of salad dressing that made a huge bang. The drivers of the jeep that hit it actually got out to see what it was and there we were sitting there trying hard NOT to laugh! I think Boy George said it best when asked his opinion on the subject: “Sex? I'd rather have a nice cup of tea!”
The Carousel of Friendship
My latest quilt is ALMOST finished! Here's what I have so far!
The top row are all horses and menagerie figures from the St. Joseph, Michigan carousel which will be hosting this year's National Carousel Association convention. From left to right are Integrity the Police Horse, Peanut the elephant, Tracey the Butterfly Horse, Rotary Raptor and Midnight Run the Fire Horse. These were actually from colouring pictures available on their website. You can find and loaderize 'em here: http://www.silverbeachcarousel.com/downloads-and-media.html
OMG! WOW! I am excited to discover that they have added a few more pictures since then!! The second row alternates horses embroidered by Cathy Crawford with two horse I've embroidered by Autumn Zikic. Cathy Crawford and her husband,Chuck are also the proud owners of the beautiful little “Toll House Merry-Go-Round”. I own a copy of their delightful book about it. From left to right on this row are Cathy's Allan Herschell donkey, Autumn's Peace Horse, Carhy's C.W. Parker bucking Bronco, Autumn's Candy Horse and Cathy's Carmel stander. The third row is Autumn's Angel Horse, the Golden Flame horse by Shannon Townsend, my official logo in neon shades to match its border fabric Shannon's Hears & Stars horse and Autumn's Heart horse. The fourth row is the Rainbow horse by Cindy Terry, the Smiley face horse by Autumn's sister Hannah Zikic, the Flintstone horse by their sister Britney Zikic, my Lilac horse and Cindy's Twister Horse. The last row are all horses I designed while I was traveling this year. The Margaritaville Horse and the Niagara Bug horse were both created while I was at Niagara Falls. The North Bay Horse and Fancy Nancy were both created while I was in North Bay, of course. Since the last three are the most recent here's a closer look at them along side their original drawings:
Most of my “travel” horses are decorated with stickers I got during these trips, however “Fancy Nancy” who is named in honor of Nancy's restaurant where we often ate in North Bay, is decorated with the poem that hung on the wall there and assorted vintage gas station logos I traced from one of the road maps Janette bought at one of the antique shops during our journey. As for the last one, it will be a TOTAL SURPRISE! I am working on it now and it will be featured on next month's cover along with a picture of the completed quilt. At least I believe it will be done by then. From December 1st until January 31st, my quilts will be on display at the Boyd Heritage Museum in downtown Bobcaygeon, along with my wedding dress, papier-mache carousel figures and other creations. It is an event NOT to be missed. My 2012 Collector's Edition “Honeymoon Horses” will be there, designed by Janette, and numbered with their own Certificates of Authenticity.
Best of all, this will be an INTERACTIVE exhibit, as colouring books and Plain White horses will be available, inviting visitors to design your own carousel horses. That being done, I really want to see your completed results. You can send your pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org and I guarantee I will publish all of them and use your designs on my quilt. My big dream is to actually build a real carousel someday with everyone's horses but even if I don't actually have the space and resources to put everyone's horses on a real carousel, you can be sure that one day you will definitely see the horses you've designed on one or more of my quilts! You can use my colouring book drawings as templates or design something completely from scratch. My Fourth quilt has a lot of my “Scratch” creatures including the Frog Prince, dog and tiger-bunny. The Boyd Museum is located at 21 Canal E Bobcaygeon, ON K0M 1A0 (705) 738-9482
Beetlebomb's Book Nook
This month's selection of books are Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin, As the Pig Turns by M.C Beaton and Safety Skills for Asperger Women by Liane Holiday Willey. Something Borrowed is a book I bought at Bob Burns Used Bookstore in Fenelon Falls. It has also been made into a movie, one I watched on the plane on my way to Denver last year but never got to see the ending of because I had to go to the washroom and when I paused the film from its touch-screen on the back of the seat in front of me I couldn't get the movie to start again. That's my experience with the story until having read the book for myself. This book tells the story of Rachel White, whose best friend, Darcy, is supposed to be getting married in September. Anyway, on the night of Rachel's 30th birthday, she ends up having an affair with Darcy's fiance! What are they going to do about this? Read and find out. There is an unexpected twist! Spoiler alert; I must say I'm glad I didn't get to see the rest of the movie on the plane or I probably would have had to whip out my earbuds for obvious reasons. When and if I can find it I hope to read this book's sequel, Something Blue, which is told from Darcy's point f view. Again, I wouldn't want to see the movie of it, though! As the Pig Turns is part of the Agatha Raisin series of mysteries. I hadn't heard of these
books until I picked up this one. The cover illustration of a carousel pig on a music box attracted my attention. If I come across anymore Agatha Raisin books I will definitely be reading and reviewing them. This book takes place with the town's annual winter festival and its traditional Pig Roast. However there is something odd about the pig! It has a tattoo! Pigs don't have tattoos! It turns out that it is a pig's head stitched on to a HUMAN body with the arms and legs cut off. Hello? How can anybody mistake a human body for a pig body roasting on the spit? That sounds kind of far-fetched to me. However, the body is that of a local police officer who has done a great many horrible things that have gotten him despised by the community. Who wouldn't want to kill him? All in all it was a fascinating read from start to finish and another one of my finds from Bob Burns' Used Bookstore. Safety Skills for Asperger I recently purchased from Amazon.com. Go figure. This always happens. Well, this is the second time anyway. I just ordered a bunch of stuff from CD Universe and the very next day I see this book from Amazon I just HAVE to have! I am still waiting for my stuff from CD Universe but this book came practically the very next day and I read it from start to finish in no time! Liane Holiday Willey is one of my favorite authors. I bought my first book of hers Pretending to Be Normal at the Geneva Symposium in 2006. Having lived many of the experiences mentioned in this book there wasn't that much that I didn't already know, however I was fascinated by her chapter on travel, which is something I do a lot! She mentions dressing conservatively so as not to draw attention to oneself. I am thinking “Uh-oh! Does this mean I have to dye my hair back to its natural colour? Natural is a relative concept. For me it's been natural to have PURPLE hair since June! If my hair is still purple when it's time to renew my passport, I'm going to ask if I could get my picture taken in black-and-white in case I change it back within the next five years even though at this point I want to have purple hair forever, even if there are still people in this day and age who aren't used to seeing it! She also says I should have a cell phone and a doctor's note to alert airport personnel about my issues. So far I've done very well without a cell phone and whenever I've had to tell airport personnel about my sensory issues my word has always been good enough despite my fears that I'm probably their most difficult passenger ever! Liane shares her own experience about airline travel where she talks about waiting for the shuttle bus and non of them would stop for her. Finally another woman asked her if she needed help and she explained her situation. “You have to phone the hotel you're staying at first.” the lady told Liane. I can honestly understand her confusion because the rules are always different at every airport and they're always changing. It's important to be prepared pared as possible for anything and everything!
Dear Mom and Dad
Sunday, August 26th, 2012 Dear Mom and Dad Hello! How have you been? I miss you very much. Not a day goes by when I don't think about you. So many questions remain unanswered. Even questions I may have asked before but don't remember the answers to. Sometimes I really have to fight the feelings of frustration
about my family slipping away on me since most of my cousins don't really keep me in the loop about anything and most of my aunts and uncles are gone too. I hope that when it's time to go to Heaven, we will all be reunited. The Bible talks about Heaven being a beautiful city where everybody has their own mansion. Once Janette and I were talking about this back when we were living in Toronto and we were out taking a walk in my old neighbourhood. That was when we discovered, for the first time, that I actually lived not far from Casa Loma. It was such a surprise to turn the corner and suddenly see this big, beautiful castle right in front of us! I had been to Casa Loma before on school trips years before but never really knew where it was. I don't really need a castle. When the time comes a lake-front cottage will do very nicely. It made me feel really sad when Aunt Anne and Aunt Jean both told me that within the next five or six years they were actually thinking of SELLING their houses and moving back to Flesherton or Owen Sound!! What a shock! I guess the neighbourhood is just not the same without you. They miss you very much and as far as I know, although there have been vehicles on the property, nobody has been living in your house yet. I told Aunt Anne I wished I could live in her house but she wants more money than I could afford for it. She's selling it for $600,000 but she said she'd let me have it for $500,000. I would either have to get a hugely successful job or win the lottery. Probably the latter, because of course I would have to drive to get there and I never even got my license. If I ever did buy Aunt Anne's house I would want to do what Edna does and use the little shed as a studio to create and sell my artwork. And I would want to use the basement as a workshop. I would also want to get that bathroom fixed up. Although she's gotten the basement looking quite nice since the flood, the bathroom hasn't worked in years and it used to have a Jacuzzi. When we arrived at her place before we even had a chance to sit down, Janette and I had to help Aunt Anne water all those flowers. Usually by herself it takes her at least an hour but between the three of us we got it done in 20 minutes even though I was concerned about Janette and her problems with heavy lifting. She must have spent at least a year going to physio at least twice a week because of her frozen shoulder and blames it on all the times she's had to move from one household to another. I know if I ever did buy Aunt Anne's house someday, those window boxes would be the first things to go! You need a ladder to reach them and the ground is very muddy and slippery. It's not worth nearly breaking my neck just to water a few flowers! In my dreams I sometimes picture all the houses I've loved in the past together side by side in the same neighbourhood or the best things about each one all mixed together. I want to be in front of the lake, steps away from a sandy beach, sort of a cross between Aunt Anne's place and Edna's. I picture friends and family gathered around the premises enjoying the kind of parties and barbecues we used to have. I remember when Canada Day weekend was the big Family Reunion down by the lake in front of Aunt Anne's house. The Bobcaygeon area was a huge part of my childhood. And then we got the trailer. Many of my happiest childhood memories were there too although I don't know how I could have stood it in later years, the three of us cramped together in that tiny space and both of you snoring at night.
Perhaps some of the happiest times there were in the swimming pool. Uncle Alex got so tired of always having to drive me and his grand-kids back and forth to the man-made lake in Varney so we all pitched in to assemble the above-ground pool with its aluminum sides and blue plastic liner.
Dad, there you are with the vacuum cleaner in the picture on the left and there's me in the picture on the right standing there in my turquoise pants and that floppy red had I always used to wear when I was a kid!
Here we all are enjoying the fruits of our labour: Dad, me, Dianne, Russel, Aunt Jean and Brett. I am wearing a tie-dyed T-shirt because I had a bad sunburn. Here I am enjoying the pool all by myself. I was usually the first person in and the last one out. I must have spent nearly every waking moment in that pool except when I had to eat or answer nature's call! My friend Melody has a pool in her yard quite similar to this and I had a most enjoyable time there the other night. It was already night time when we took a dip beneath the stars and we stayed in there for about an hour or until it got a bit too cold. Her pool appears to have cloth sides with rectangular openings around the top to keep it from overflowing. I really had a lovely time at her place on Friday night. I enjoyed a beer with tomato juice and Dave bought us cupcakes to share. I am so thankful for my husband and my friends.
Poor Janette! While I was waiting for Melody to meet me at my house so she could come with me and show me where she lived, Janette phoned all distraught and upset with the latest bout of drama in her life. She was already in a bad mood to begin with. I'll spare you the gory details leading up to what happened. When she got off the bus she tripped and had a nasty fall and tore her pants! She's been feeling so angry lately. I feel so sad for her and keep praying for peace and a break from her tribulations! My trip is only 22 days away and I encountered more drama! I found out I'd booked my ticket for the WRONG day home! I blame it on the horrible music that was playing when I bought it! When it was time to tell the lady at Silver Beach when to arrange for the Michigan City shuttle bus to take me to the hotel I discovered to my horror that my ticket was for September 25th! NOT the 23rd! I was NOT a happy camper! $150 down the toilet to fix this little mess, thank you very much. At least everything else is still the same, my departure time and the fact that they could still get me an AISLE seat! It's less money than I would have had to spend if I decided to stay for two more days but it's still money I wish I didn't have to spend in the first place. The hotel is $109 per night, plus what I would have had to spend on food if I were staying there any longer. Plus I probably would have been very lonely if everyone else had already gone home. Usually when Convention time is almost over I am feeling good and ready to come home anyway. By then I really miss Dave and I miss my own bed. Hotel beds can be so uncomfortable! I was INCREDIBLY homesick on my last trip mainly because I was so SICK! And I desperately missed having a BATHTUB!! All the fun in the world can't make up for those two things! I hope I didn't disturb anyone. I was in so much pain I cried like a baby my last two nights in Denver! And I missed you even more because it's times like that when I wish I could have phoned you. Well, that is all the news I have for now and it's time to publish this latest issue of my newsletter. Love, Margaret P.S. Say hello to Phyllis Diller and Neil Armstrong!