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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Get To It!

Okay, get to it. Settle down here. Nose to the grindstone. Wear those fingers to a nub, your pen to a nib. The subject doesn't matter. The topic is irrelevant. Just do it! (That's me with my Nancy Reagan impersonation. No, my Nike impersonation. Nancy said, "Just don't do it." Or rather, "Just say no!")


Too many imperatives. Too many people who know better than anyone else. Isn't that annoying as all get-out? And truth to tell, where do I stand among this hierarchy of know-it-alls? Well, not at the very top, of course, lacking any real authority, but pretty high. I am an advice machine just waiting to be plugged in. (Once upon a time I didn't wait to be asked, but I like to think I've learned one thing at least: there's nothing as unwelcome as unasked-for advice.)


Now I was going to segue here into homemade cosmetic products and how I make them and how a friend recently made my day by asking for advice on how to make her own. But I apparently can tell that entire story in one sentence (see directly above), so it isn't a suitable topic for a long-term bit of writing.


I find myself caught more and more firmly in a personal net woven of old songs, advertising jingles ("you'll wonder where the yellow went . . ."), nursery rhymes, and sayings. And it reminds me of the observation that volunteers who work with Alzheimer's patients often comment that even people who do not speak or who don't recognize their own children join in with great enthusiasm when there is a sing-along of old songs. Words and melodies from the past have worn such deep furrows in the brain that they never disappear.


K-k-k-katy is there when you want her. Playmate keeps calling, "Come out and play with me." Little Sir Echo always answers back.


These and hundreds of others float through my own brain and are coughed up to the surface faster than any more "normal" response to a stimulus. I repress these inappropriate comments as often as I can, yet am still surprised at how often I find myself wanting to blurt out "you belong to me" or "I'd love to get you on a slow boat to China" or "when your heart's on fire, smoke gets in your eyes." There is a distinct possibility that one day these songs will be all that remains of my brain, everything else having been eroded by the daily friction of too many stimuli.  Perhaps that's it: would the wear and tear on my brain be reduced if I stopped submitting myself to my daily barrage of external stimuli, if I just stayed home knitting? Would my brain then last longer, allowing me to maintain functioning neurons beyond the ones that keep bringing me "Mairsie doats and dozy doats and little lamzy divy"?


I had another thought on this topic but it disappeared before I could capture it.



Copyright 2013 Ann Tudor

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Old Crow

The mind is a driven bird

that rakes forest droppings

to find the necessary

for the nest.

Repository of creation and yet itself

an act of creation,

the nest is both the end product

and the reason-to-be of driven searching

for dead and dying bits of trees.

For my part I offer

my brightly coloured lengths of yarn,

cut long enough to use

and short enough to carry,

for any bird who is making a nest

that will represent and cradle

what is coming next.


Old crone and crow together

make space for what will be,

feathering the nest

with bits of soft sheep's gifts.

Creative nest will hold creation.

Copyright 2013 Ann Tudor

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Hidden Keys

My childhood house had no keys, so the door was never locked. That idyll ended when I moved away from home and discovered the need for locked doors in big cities.


When I was the mother of a young family, keys were the source of much frustration. Toddlers love keys. You can give them a multicolored plastic set of keys and say, "Here, sweetie! Here is your own set of keys!" Well, toddlers may be young and have limited vocabularies, but they aren't stupid! They know full well that those oversized, bright plastic things aren't the same as the keys that you seem to hold so dear. They can tell what's important to you, and that set of keys seems to be one of the really important things in your life.


So the toddler wants your keys. And in a weak moment you give in and let the cute little kid hold your keys. Just for a moment. And then the larger toddler needs your attention, or the baby cries, and you forget about the keys. The next time you think of them is when you have five minutes to get to your ten o'clock meeting. Where are the keys to the car??

Where, indeed? The toddler can't tell you. He's forgotten. You must search. If you are smart, you have learned that the first place you look is in the toilet. And quite often you find them there, drowning at the bottom of the little pool. That's if no reaching hands have helpfully flushed the toilet in the meantime—in which case the plumber will find them for you later, for a fee.


Copyright 2013 Ann Tudor

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Toothpaste Saga

In my ongoing chronicle of the effects of age on my mind, I present the toothpaste adventure.


Three months ago I developed a strange itch on the left side of my waist. As usual when faced with a physical problem, I applied homemade creams and essential oils several times a day, but as time went by even I had to admit that nothing was helping.


Finally, at the end of those three months, I gave in and visited my GP, primarily to be sure that deep, severe, but sporadic itching wasn't a little-known sign of, say, cancer of the spleen. (Isn't that why we all finally submit ourselves to the medical establishment? To be sure that "it" isn't something serious?)


Anyway, after a cursory glance, Dr. Pauline said, I'll give you a steroid cream. That will do the job.


The cream was to be applied three times a day, which I did for two days, and then I moved to twice a day and then I almost forgot to put it on at all because the itching was gone. Score One for modern medicine, despite my underlying alternative belief that if you treat the symptoms of a rash or an itch, the problem will simply manifest in some other part of your body.


Anyway, the itch is much better. But when I packed recently for a four-day trip, I threw in the little tube of steroid cream, just to be on the safe side. I would tell you its name except that there were three names, and not one of them bore any resemblance to the English language.


My first evening of the trip, I brushed my teeth and went to bed.


The next day several of us were discussing—oh, I don't know—itches and rashes, skin problems, something, and I suddenly was struck dumb.


I remembered brushing my teeth the night before. I remembered taking the tube out of the black mesh bag in which I had packed my small supply of toiletries. But what struck me dumb was that I suddenly had a memory of double-bagging my toothpaste when I packed it. And I didn't remember double-un-bagging it the night before.


I raced to the bathroom and there, beside my toothbrush, was the tube of steroid cream. It did not say "Crest" on it. In fact, visually it bore little resemblance to the travel-tube of Crest that I could see, still safely double-wrapped, in the black net bag. They were both small tubes. That's my only excuse.


Now, I know you're going to ask me "what about the taste? Didn't you notice that it didn't taste like toothpaste?


And when you make me think of it, I have to acknowledge that it didn't have that typical minty, slightly sweet flavour. But at home (when not traveling) I brush with an essential oil toothpaste that is bland and non-minty. So the steroid cream just tasted like home.


On the bright side, any itching of the gums—any mouth ailments at all—that I might have suffered from have now been cured.


Copyright 2013 Ann Tudor