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Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Clam Eater

One Saturday we had brunch at a small fish restaurant and shop near the Junction Market. This is where we saw the clam-eating girl.


Seated beside us were a grandmother, her daughter, and the five-year-old culmination of their gene pool, who ordered a plate of steamed clams. I thought to myself, Really? This little girl wants steamed clams? Does she know what she's asking for?


When they were set before her she dug in. The first two were so steamy hot she had to ask her mother to blow on them. And then, one after another she tackled the clams, prizing the meat from the shells, drinking the juices then downing the meat in a few fast chews and it was on to the next one. Her hands and chin were a mess of briny shiny liquid that made its way also in drips and drops onto her sunny yellow summer dress. But there was nary a scold from doting loving mother and grandmother who rejoiced, as did I, to see a five-year-old with such a gargantuan appetite for clams.


I, the more so because I have never met a clam I could eat: always too chewy.


Copyright © Ann Tudor
Food blog:

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Milestones and Headlights

Milestones speed toward me at a per-second-per-second rate; the headlights of my vehicle (in pretty good shape, given the circumstances) jump each one into brilliant clarity for a nano-second.


Headlights, milestones—reminders that eventually we will all run out of milestones on this route.


We can mash up those terms (headlights and milestones) to make headstones, which symbolize the end of our careening through existence in a body whose pleasures are offset by pains, whose pains are mitigated by pleasure. No matter what, this trip will end.


Long live the next journey, whatever that may be. (Maybe nothing.)


Copyright © 2017 Ann Tudor
Food blog:

Sunday, June 11, 2017


Reminders come from all directions:

Be aware. Be alert. Pay attention.

And they humble me,

I who spend hot summer days

gazing lethargically at my navel.

Time to revise and review

whether I want to continue

what I claim is my favourite activity:


(that is, paying attention to neither).

Time to take in the pleasure of my thrice-weekly

cafĂ© au lait with all my senses, consciously—

or just to stop drinking it.


Time to

(oh, I'm so sick of these reminders)

time to pay attention

not just to this twinge or that,

as I fearfully do,

but to broaden the gaze

and see what I see with loving attention

instead of turning away

to deflect my view of the outside.



It all ends abruptly.

Take care of your time.


Copyright © 2017 Ann Tudor
Food blog:

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Confrontational Deficiencies

I have long known that I am a non-confrontational wimp. Three recent situations have rubbed my nose in this fact.


First is the question of the jalapenos. Because my freezer stash of jalapenos was running low I asked the Family Shopper to pick some up. He came home with twice as many as I wanted, and they had been labelled "hot jalapenos." This was fine with me, because it is a known fact that farmers have been breeding jalapenos to be milder in the last few years. I would be happy to have a stash of them with some bite.


Guess what? Not only no bite, but also none of that distinctive jalapeno flavour, which is why I choose them over other peppers. In short, this new batch (of which we now have dozens) is virtually tasteless. Adding more than one to my three-avacado guacamole serves no purpose because 0 x 2 = 0. So does 0 x 3.


Now what makes me maddest is that No Frills had the audacity to label these as "HOT jalapenos". Hot according to whom? Compared to what?


So I've been thinking I should march into No Frills with the remaining jalapenos and demand either some heat or my money back.


Odds of my doing this? Slim to none.


The next example of wimpiness is my hair. I have been going to Oona for 25 years. She is Dutch, cheerful, pretty, relatively young (at least she was, 25 years ago) and has her own salon—so no people running around. Just Oona. She encourages me ("your hair is MUCH thicker than it used to be—no question! Just look at it!"). And by now she is almost part of the familiy.


But for the last six months I have been trying to get Oona to cut the hair at the back of my head shorter than the rest. It grows faster at the back, so by the end of the six weeks it is totally unmanageable. I want it shorter to start with, for obvious reasons. Oona agrees completely. Yet when she cuts it, she is so caught up in chatting (Oona's a bit chatty) that she forgets. And by the time she is finished I can tell that the back is NOT shorter than the rest and that I'll have the same problem in six weeks.


Do I leave Oona? Do I look for someone else to cut my hair? Or do I confront her very sternly: "Oona, I've been asking and asking you to cut my hair shorter in back. Please do it this time!"


What are the odds of my saying this? Slim to none.


And here's the embarrassing part. There is a third situation that shows me for the wimp I am. It predated the Oona story. I was remembering it by holding in my mind the picture of the jalapeno (did I mention that these wrongly labelled jalapenos are also WAY too big? They are the Baby Hughies of jalapenos). So in my mind I was picturing one of those over-sized, tasteless jalapenos and I knew that the second situation I wanted to write about was sitting in my head just behind the jalapeno story. I had no doubt it would be waiting there after I wrote about the peppers. And then, as a bonus in the depiction of me as a wimp, there would be the Oona story.


But it's gone. Whatever the second (main) story was, it has disappeared. It was, obviously, a classic story of me being in the right and needing to call someone out (most likely a store or a corporation) on their failings. I wonder what it was.


I accept that I will not ever become confrontational. It's okay. But I am going to change my attitude toward my failing memory. This new phase will involve being content with what I have: my mobility and health, and my great good fortune in having enough. Enough of everything: I have friends, a loving and loved husband as well as dear children and grandchildren—all that I have and more. I can let go of the fine memory I used to have, the fancy arithmetic I used to be able to do, even the easily accessible words and phrases that I would bring to writing. I can let them go and not regret them. This is my new phase of self-satisfaction rather than self-recrimination. How could I possibly ask for more of life than the plenitude I have been given?


Copyright © 2017 Ann Tudor
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