April's Real Blog

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

This flashback brought to you by Liz

So Liz told me this story abt when she was a baby and Mike was five. The story is that Lizzie was sitting on the floor holding a rattle, and that Mike kneeled across from her, placed a hand on ea of his elbowz, then put his forearms on the floor (he useta B much more flexible than he is now), and went, "Hi, Lizzie." And Liz slammed the rattle in2 his eye while shouting, "GWONG!" And Mike grabbed @ her while yelling, "U little RAT!" Then Mom came along all, "Michael! How many times have I told U not 2 B mean 2 yr baby sister!"

When Liz told me this story (as we folded laundry), I was like, "Liz! U actually REMEMBERED all this?" And Liz looked a bit gobsmacked (what else is new?) and sed, "U know what it is? MIKE has been telling me this story for as long as I can remember. This is MIKE'S story!" Then she looked kinda pissed. Then she sed, "My stories shd really start in the mid-to-late...." She paused. "Um, 1980s. Not this when-I-was-a-baby stuff."

Then she told me another story from B4 she cd remember, but I'll hafta save that 4 2morrow morning, per the Patterson story-telling rules.


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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Prepare 4 flashback

R yr tray tables stowed? Yr seats in an uprite position? U know how sum sitcoms have special music an' wavy colours B4 they go in2 a flashback sequence? Well, if this were a sitcom, this entry wd B ending w/the special music and wavy colours.

Bored as I was, I actually started 2 help Liz fold her laundry after she'd retrieved it from the dryers. As I did, she asked me, "U adjusting 2 the new house?" And I was like, "Yea.... But it's weird. When Mom an' Dad R out, it's like I'm alone in my own apt. I wish I'd grown up w/a sibling closer 2 my own age. I mean--U an' Michael were much closer 2gether." And Liz was all, "Yes, but... Sumtymez we were so far apart...." And then she had a thot balloon over her head showing Dad swooping up lil' Nizzie, who grabbed his nose, as lil Mike looked on (standing behind Dad) w/a distressy, jealous look on his face.

Ru-uh, Raggy! Here come the flashbacks!


P.S. Thanx 4 the luv note "Anonymous Dood"--v. sweet of U!

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Monday, October 29, 2007

The Liz-Laundry Show

Liz came by recently when I was doing homework in the kitchen. She was toting a basket full of laundry, and sed, "Hey, Sis--Where's Mom an' Dad?" I was like, "They went 2 help Iris w/Grandpa. He went home from the hospital 2day." Liz asked, "How R U doing?" I was kinda shocked, but I was also bored, so I went, "I'm bored, I guess. ...Wanna go out sumplace?" And Liz was all, "I dunno--I was planning 2 do my laundry, watch sum mindless show and hang w/the family." Next thing I knew, we were @ the laundromat, eating pizza, and watching Liz's wash going "RRRRRR" in the machines. I did my pizza-eating and laundry-watching while seated w/my laptop on my (oh, hey!) lap. Liz was standing and leaning across the folding counter. She was saying, "Sometimes...U can have the best of both worlds!" Yeah, and sometimes, U kinda get the worst. I'm just sayin'.

For those who like 2 keep track of these things, Liz was wearing jeans, a white belt, and a white V-neck top tucked in2 her jeans. And her everlasting bun. Tho I can't talk much abt the bun, what w/my hair curse keeping me w/the prop bun. I had on a black top and pale pants [not undies 4 U Brits--trousers!].


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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Open-minded Dee?

Mike and Dee have been preparing 4 a Halloween party. Here's what Mike has 2 say on this:

Formerly little sis. There are some people who believe that the women of Milborough do nothing all day but try to find new ways to emasculate their men. After my lovely Deanna told me we were going to a Hallowe’en costume party where “All the women have to dress like men, and all the men have to dress like women,” I think they may be right.

My first thought in acceding to the party’s unusual dressing plan was to call mom. After all she is the biggest woman I know and she just gets bigger every time I see her. Deanna said she wasn’t that big, but I called mom to be sure. I said, “Mom? I was wondering….would you have a dress I could wear for Hallowe’en”? Mom responded with a long speech about how if I were to do this, then I would need to make sure I didn’t use real coconuts. My lovely Deanna interpreted her response, which she couldn’t hear, as a comment my mom wasn’t that big. I know for a fact, I can fit into mom’s dresses without any trouble. I wonder how big Deanna thinks I am.

Well, the next day, Deanna decided we needed to go shopping at the Almost New to find a dress for me. While we were driving I was contemplating writing a horror novel next where all the women have to dress like men, and all the men have to dress like women. It seems like a truly horrifying place and perhaps my second novel hero, Leonard Driscoll could find his way to such a terrible land. Deanna thought it was a great idea, but I wasn’t certain. Perhaps it would be easier to have the entire crew of Leonard’s ship, participate in a plain ol’ costume party.

We got to the Almost New, and Deanna took her arm in mine and said, “We should find something in here.” The sign on the outside said, “Childrens’, Ladies’, Mens’ Wear. Appliances, Furniture, Drapery, Toys and more. The Bargains start here.” Why the sign writer felt the need to put in all those apostrophes on a sign, no one can really see, I do not know. My majour objective was to get in, get a dress, and get out before Deanna started wandering over to the furniture section.

Once inside Almost New, my lovely Deanna turned into Deanna: Super Fashion Critic. I found a nice purple dress used as a bridesmaid dress in Shawna-Marie Verano’s wedding. It was a good dress, but Deanna said, “Ummm…Not colo(u)rful enough.”

Then I found a dress which bore more than a little resemblance to a kimono, but was more colourful. My lovely Deanna looked at it and said, “Nope. Not enough room, for your ‘bust.’” In case I failed to mention this, Deanna wants me to go big-chested, since no one in my family is. I said, “Oh” and this attracted the attention of a nearby shopper.

Finally I found a very colourful dress, with room for a big chest, and I approached Deanna with a look of triumph on my face knowing she was going to leap up and down with appreciation at my fine selection. She said, “Good. Now we just have to find you some heels that fit!” Needless to say I was a little disappointed at this reaction.

But after we bought the high-heeled shoes, in a colour which Deanna said matched my dress perfectly, I was finally able to get Deanna’s approval by saying, “OK. OK. I will prance up and down like a stallion showing off his new horse shoes.” For some reason this got Deanna really excited and she started shrieking, “Honey, you look fantastic!!!” The noise attracted some old lady who stared at us the whole time from around the corner in the dressing room.

The cashier had possibly the smallest head I have seen on a living human. As I was paying for the dress my lovely Deanna said, the lady who had been skulking after us came up to her and said, “Wives like you, dear, must have to be so open-minded and understanding.” Deanna said she tried to turn her head away from the crazy woman, because she had always been told not to make eye contact. I think I told her that actually, after the time I went to visit Grandpa Jim back in February. She left us alone after that.

Oh, by the way, thanks for taking care of the kids, while Deanna and I went shopping.

Michael Patterson
LOL, that nosy woman @ the store was rite, only she didn't realize x-dressing isn't the issue! BTW, U shd prolly know that Robin kept wanting 2 try on Merrie's clothes. Merrie was all, "We don't get 2 go 2 that party!" And Robin was like, "What party?"


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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Recycling Liz lines?

So that boring schoolday I was tellin' U all abt of course ended w/a bus ride home. I sat w/Eva, who was all, "Gerald was pretty bummed when U didn't want 2 do music professionally." And I was like, "Neither does Duncan... and Luis sez he doesn't know what he wants 2 do." Eva was like, "Well, I want 2 keep singing, but it looks like our band is gonna have 2 break up, so....." And I sed, "So--let's make the best of it, Eva. We still have sum time left! We're still 2gether!" And Eva was all, "Yeah.... We're still 2gether." U'd think we were going off 2 uni 2morrow insteada in a yr and a half. But whatevs. Then I had this thot, as Eva and I both had our mascara run out the corner of each rite eye--this thot was like if sum1 who was in charge of corny lines had 4gotten that Liz had already dun this was sum months ago: "Sumtymez, when U look on the brite side.... the sun gets in yr eyez." C what I mean? Oh, and also my hair curse remembered that it had retooled my bun when I turned 16, and it went back 2 its "April @ 16" variant.

Jeremy, that was pretty krayzee @ Koolhaus yesterday. Thanx 4 helping me w/the whole toy-bunny sitch. That replacement really does look identical 2 the one that got confisc8ed. I hafta say I kinda enjoyed what happed around midnite--Becky's Dad/manager Thorvald McGuire storming in, grabbing Becky while shouting, "What did Fafa tell U abt that not-a-Viking Gerald Forsythe! Fafa is setting U up with Dustin Jimberlake!" And then he carried her out under her arm, like she was a newspaper! And Gerald just kinda whimpered. U were pretty good abt restraining yr laughter.


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Friday, October 26, 2007

Boring thots abt my backpack

So, that schoolday I've been tellin' U all abt. It finally ended. My last class of the day, the teacher was all, "OK, folks! U have yr assignments. I'll C U here again 2morrow." As we were leaving the class, I was thinking, "Whoooo...I'm so glad 2day is over!" Just then, a fellow student whose name I may or may not share w/U l8r was like, "Hi, April!" Then she stood by my locker as I got my books 2gether and asked me, "Have U got that history essay 2 write?" After noticing that every single other student in the hall had gone in2 silhouette, I sed, "Yeah--an' a test 2 study 4 an' a science project 2 finish an' a book 2 review." Then, after I'd loaded up my backpack, I put it on me while shouting out "GRUNT!" Which is, like, sumthing all the kids in grade 11 R doing this yr. Then, while hunched with my torso almost perpendicular 2 the floor (cuz my backpack was heavy), I felt sweat droplets dripping from my face, my tung hung out, and I had this boring thot: "...Sometimes I feel like I have the w8 of the world on my shoulders."

Mike, I never suggested that MOM isn't my mother--only raised the poss that Dad's not my father. All yr "proofs" (even the lies, like yr insistence that I 8 rite out of the fridge, I don't know Y it's so important 2 U that U wanna spread that lie) are "Mom" tr8's--even puns, which I am making a conscious effort 2 avoid. EFFORT. It doesn't mean it alwayz works. But remember, Mom is a Richards, and she puns, 2. Say, MayB the fact that I don't WANT 2 pun supports my theory that I'm not a Patterson. U've got the pun gene from both sides, AND U embrace that stupid form of so-called humour. Hmm.

Jeremy, I won't ditch U. Let's check the movie listings and C if there's sumthing playing we mite wanna C. If there is, let's C a movie. If not, how 'bout we find an all-ages show 2 go 2, eh? And pizza either way.


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Thursday, October 25, 2007


When I was getting sum books from my locker, Ger was standing there all, "U changed over the summer, April. When U came back from Manitoba, U were... different." Hm, no1 else seemed 2 notice that I was NEthing @ all when I came back from Manitoba. Xxcept 4 being sum1 who likes butter tarts w/no raisins. As we started 2 walk away from the locker, I told Ger, "I had a gr8 time when I was in Manitoba. They trusted me @ the veterinary clinic. They taught me a lot and made me feel like I really belonged. " Then we randomly stopped 2 face ea other in the hall, and I sed, "I want 2 study vet medicine, Gerald. It's gonna take a long time, but it's sumthing I know I can do. --It feels rite 4 me!" And Ger was all, "So, we'll B taking v. different paths." We started walking again, and I kinda snuggled up to whom, linking arms, putting my head on his shoulder, while saying, "But we can still meet along the way."

BTW, my hair curse has been back 2 its standard propeller bun. Bleccch.


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Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Back 2 the school hallways. Ger and I had just walked in, and I was tossing away sum trash in its proper receptacle while saying, "It's not like I won't do the Halloween gig, Gerald.... I just wanted U 2 know that I'm not in2 this stuff like U R. I mean, U're an awesum drummer--and U've probably got a chance... Especially since U've been on stage with Rebecca[h]. But.... even tho I luv music, --It's not gonna B my whole life!" And here's what Ger sed: "So... it's over. I knew it was gonna end." I was like, "We can still B a band!" And Ger sed, "....But we won't B a couple."

Ouch. So mayB we're breaking up. Again. And I know we R in2 sum weird either/or thinking rite here. All or nuthin'. That kinda thing. That's Mboro. And R.P. Boire Senior Secondary.



Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fun and Fame

After what I sed yesterday abt wanting 2 party on Halloween, we all went outside. Luis, Ger, and Dunc all sat down on the front steps, and Eva and I stood behind them on the landing, wearing matchng jackets. Luis started having a pop and a danish cuz he gets the shakes if he doesn't snack every couple of hrs. Luis was all, "April's kinda rite, Ger... We don't plan on being professional musicians." Dunc sed, "An' work-wise, this is gonna B a heavy yr!" Luis was like, "Yeah... If I'm gonna pull in the marks I need, I can't perform on weekends." Eva draped her arms around Dunc's shoulders, kinda lookin' as if she was trying 2 get in2 his shirt pockets, as Dunc sed, "We can just... U know, play 4 fun!" Ger put a hand 2 his sternum, all, "FUN?! --U wanna B a band 4 fun? --I can't believe U guys! We are, like, the best in this area!" As in the front-step area? And Dunc was all, "Can't U B happy w/that?" Ger scrunched his eyes shut, extended both hands out, so the palms were parallel, and yelled, "I don't wanna B happy! --I wanna B FAMOUS!!" I stood behind him lookin' gobsmacky.

Hm. The fun-vs.-fame divide. I guess most of us have really absorbed my fam's ethos on this one. How many wanna wager that Ger's gonna end up playing in Becky's band for the longterm. And mayB play with Becky in other ways, 2, IYKWIM?


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Monday, October 22, 2007

Wherein I channel Fleetwood Mac

Keesha, thanx 4 giving me the link 2 yr interview w/Mike 4 the school paper.

Hey, did U know I'm still in a band? And that Dunc came back from Barbardos? Well, I am [that may B ending] and he did.

So, the other day, I was standing in the hallway @ school w/Dunc and Luis, when Ger came along. Ger was all, "It's totally arranged, guys. We R THE BAND on "Wicked Wednesday." Dunc went, "Cool!" and Luis sed, "Aw-right." I was like, "Yay." Ger's ears went way hi on his head as he sed, "Yay"? ...U sound less than enthused." And I went, "Gerald, we're giving up another Halloween nite 2 perform!" Which, now that I think of it, is an odd thing 2 say, cuz when have we ever given up a Halloween nite 2 perform. Last yr, we played @ Gym Jam, but that was during the day--and what did we even do on Halloween nite? I don't remember. And the yr B4 that? What big Halloween performance did we do? NEway, w/this new chip in my brain that sez we R alwayz giving up our Halloween nites 2 B the entertainment, I was like, "Y don't WE party 4 a change?" And Ger was all, "Party?!! But we're popular now! We're on the ladder of success!" Eh, since when? I was like, "I don't wanna B on this ladder!" Eva, who had been consipicuously absent, suddenly appeared, as if a bad storyteller had only just remembered that she's in our band and oughta B present. Ger asked, "U wanna sit on the stump of mediocrity?" And I sed, "No. ....I want to go my own way." Then Eva busted out w/"U can go your own way/Go your own way/U can call it/Another lonely day/U can go your own way/Go your own way." And then, the next thing that happened was--aw, nuts, my fone's ringing--I'll hafta tell U 2morrow.


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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Nightmares, then and now

Over brekky this morning, Mom was saying she had a nitemare she hasn't had since around the early 80s. She sed, "Back in the 80s when I had this dream, I remember waking up @ 3:15 in the morning, with a snuffle and a grunt and a 'GZZOWK!' Then I woke up yr father w/an urgent 'John! Wake up! PLEASE, John!' And yr father said, 'Huh? Wha?' And I sat up, clutched the sheets 2 me, and told him, 'I had a terrible nitemare! I dreamt U had found another woman and were leaving me! I begged U! I pleaded, "Don't go, John!" But U laffed... and the 2 of U walked away and left me... ALONE!' Then I got up, put on my robe, and sed, 'And, now I'm so miserable, ...I can't sleep! (sniff)' And yr father sat up as I left the room, and he sed, 'Er... I'm sorry!'"

I sed, "That's terrible, Mom. So, U had this dream again?" And Mom was like, "Yes, and darned if it wasn't at 3:15 AM again. I've been awake ever since." I asked her if Dad apologized again, and she sed, "No, he told me that I had the memory of an elephant. Then he rolled over and went back 2 sleep. And I thot abt waking him up again, but instead I just let him sleep. Tho I've been awake ever since." I sed, "Well, U know, it's just a dream. When I'm babysitting Merrie or Robin or the Mayes kids, and one of 'em has a nitemare, I always say, 'Dreams R just stories yr mind makes up.' So, like, yr mind kinda made up a doozy, eh?" And Mom was all, "Yup." And I was like, "More apple-cinnamon-walnut muffins?" And Mom sed, "Yes. Then I'm going to call Liz and Mike and C if one of them can spend time w/me 2day. I really need the support of my children, and sumtymes it's so hard 2 have them living away from me like this!"

And I sed, "Hello! Kid who still lives w/U, giving U muffins and sympathetic ear!" And Mom sed, "Well, goodness, don't get all defensive now, in my hr of need!"

I think Mom's on her way over 2 Mike's place now. Or mayB Liz's. MayB she'll get in a 2fer.


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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Michael's effect on Gramps

So, Mike's been over 2 Grandpa Jim's hospital room 2 wave Stone Season in his face:

Formerly little sis. Sometimes a son has to do what his mother asks him to do, even if it is against his will. You may remember mom and Connie Poirier went over to talk to Iris about how when Connie was a single mom she was slutty, as a way of helping Iris out. Mom popped up to the house today for her free copy of my book Stone Season, and she said, “I thought after Connie and I spent the whole day talking to her about Connie’s whoreishness, she would back off of my dad and let me come in to make unsubstantiated medical judgments about him and give him a miracle cure simply from being in my presence; but no!! I went there today and she was still there. It’s time to call in the big guns. Mike, I want you to go visit your grandfather and take your book. If the mere sight of it is not enough to bring Grandpa Jim to his senses, then I want you to read it to him until he is forced to snap out of it to stop you.”

I said to mom, “Does he still have the IV in him and the oxygen mask? I don’t want to see him with the IV and oxygen mask.” Mom said, “No. He doesn’t have those.” I said, “I still don’t want to go. I hate visiting him with Iris around.” My mom said, “Michael James Patterson. You will go there and cure your grandfather. I’ve edited your book, and I know that if there was any book in the world which could bring a man out of a coma to stop you from reading it out loud, it is this book.” That was quite a compliment, so naturally I had to go.

Well, I got to Grandpa Jim’s hospital room and sure enough, Iris was there. He seemed to be lying on his back and sleeping; but Iris insisted he was actually awake with his eyes open. So I said, “Grandpa? It’s me…Michael.” Then I gave him a little pinch on his arm, so he would know it wasn’t a dream (come true). Iris, of course, had to reiterate what I just said. She said, “It’s Michael, Jim! You know who Michael is!”

Then I pulled out the book and showed it to him, just as mom asked. I said, “I brought my book to show you. (Note I didn’t say to give to you; because Deanna wouldn’t have let me have the copy to use otherwise.). It’s just been published.” This time Iris felt the need to reiterate what she felt Grandpa Jim was saying, as if she could read someone’s mind who was asleep. It was very strange. She said, “I know he’s pleased, dear…and very proud!” Then she put her left hand on my arm and her right hand on my…goodness, I don’t want to think about that again.

Just in case Grandpa Jim wasn’t following the conversation, Iris pushed me aside, and grabbed my book. At first I thought she was going to clock Grandpa Jim across the head with it, but then I realized it was not a frying pan, so Grandpa Jim was safe. She put the book close to Grandpa Jim’s chin (as if he could see it out of his chin), pointed to it with her thumb(?) and said, “Your grandson is an author, Jim! Isn’t it wonderful? This is his book! Can you see it? Do you know what I’m saying?—Hello! Is anybody home?

Well right about this time a miracle occurred, a miracle which allowed me to stop Iris’ caterwauling and to make a graceful exit while claiming I had met my obligation to my mother. Grandpa Jim got a funny look on his face similar to the one my son had yesterday. I figured it was a bowel movement, but I am not one to pass up an opportunity to get away from an old, sick person. I said, “He’s home, Iris!... He’s smiling!” Iris looked skeptical, possibly because she hates for someone to give an unsubstantiated medical diagnosis of Grandpa Jim aside from her. Nevertheless, there was an irrefutable grin on Grandpa Jim’s face, and I knew that I could leave and claim the miracle mom wanted.

Mission accomplished, formerly little sis. There’s the miracle cure, and I didn’t have to read my book to get it. I can only hope that Grandpa Jim has a bowel movement every time I come to visit him.

Michael Patterson
Oh, yuck, Mike! So, U're book, it's a laxative, eh? MayB Dee shd stock it next 2 the Ex-Lax and suppositories in her pharmacy.


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Friday, October 19, 2007

Making short stories long

In case NE1 wondered what happed next @ the l8est in Mike-congratul8ing parties, Mike sez this:

Formerly little sis. Getting back to my party. I should mention there was a point in the party where my friends did ask for their free copies of my book, which I promised them, and Deanna was forced to head up the stairs to get them from wherever it was that she hid them. When she came back she reported that my children were on the stairs and my daughter was definitely acting like she was my daughter and not her daughter.

To make a short story long, she went up the stairs and spotted my two kids lying on the landing at the top of the stairs looking in through the narrow door opening which led to the room where our party was being held. She said, “Hey, what are you two doing up?” This was a rhetorical question, since Deanna informed me she really was not interested in what they were doing up. My daughter did not realize the question was rhetorical and answered, “We wanted to see what was going on.” I think it was at this point my lovely wife realized either she had not actually told our children why people were coming to our house, or she did tell them and she forgot about their incredibly short attention span.

She grabbed each of them by the nape of their neck and said, “Some friends are here to congratulate your dad on his book. Come on…it’s bedtime.” According to my wife, my son was too fascinated by the fact he could cast two individual, unconnected shadows with both his feet to respond. In contrast, my daughter cast no shadow at all, and complained, “Awww!” Deanna said it was about this point she was wondering if our daughter was actually a vampire or some other non shadow-casting member of the undead.

My daughter did nothing to alleviate this suspicion, because she launched into the type of rejoinder a vampire child might pose, “Why do we always hafta go to bed? Why can’t we stay up as late as you do?” My wife reported that my son put his finger to his mouth as some sort of secret vampire signal to my daughter. So, Deanna responded, “Meredith, I am not going to argue with you tonight.” Vampires, you see, are much more powerful at night.

According to my wife, my daughter got a strange look on her face, which was not so much vampiric as “eyes too close together” –ic. Frankly, I don’t know which one is more frightening.

My daughter came back with “OK….We can argue in the morning.” Well, formerly little sis, that kind of argumentative style is pure Patterson. Make a pun about the time of day. My daughter was clearly not a soul-sucking vampire, unless you consider all Pattersons to be soul-sucking vampires. My wife simply concluded she was really my daughter. And then at that moment, she noticed my son had a weird sort of satisfied grin on his face, which could only mean one thing---time for a diaper change. I hope this doesn’t mean that hearing a good pun, causes him to lose control of his bowels. That could be very bad in our family.

Michael Patterson
Ooh, mayB I'll inform Mom an' Dad that punning makes Robin poop his pants! And that whoever it is who makes the pun is responsible 4 the diaper change and kid-cleanup. LOL, that would @ least cut back sum of the punnage!


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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Yet another party 4 Mike

U mite've thot the party Mike had @ Weed's place back in March wda been it 4 celebr8ing his book but U wda been wrong:

Formerly little sis. As it turned out, April, my wife’s obsessive cleaning actually had a purpose for a change instead of just being a way for her to work out her frustrations. Josef Weeder was there, and he had to bring Carleen Stein along. Gordon Mayes was there too. They all came over to our house to celebrate the publishing of my book. Unlike last spring, when Weed threw me a party for the exact same reason, this time I had an actual book to show them. I put on my best Patterson man outfit (pullover sweater and collared shirt), Deanna put on a slinky black dress, Josef wore his usual black, and Gordon came with his shirt untucked and the front unbuttoned down to his chest (which means he came from visiting the…well…the place Gordon likes to go after work before he goes home), and nobody cares what Carleen was wearing.

We broke out the wine glasses and I was just about to settle into a nice comfy chair to receive the adulation of my adoring friends, when Josef Weeder decided to make a toast in my honour, and I had to get back up to clink glasses. Josef said, “Here’s to you, man! Michael Patterson-writer, author, and all-round great guy!” It was a special moment. I could tell because everyone’s mouths were open.

Then my kids crawled on the floor of the landing at the top of the stairs in order to peer down at the party below and inadvertently cut the lights off downstairs. So enthused was my Josef, it did not even slow him down. He continued with, “This is just the beginning, you know! With a second book in the works and an outline for a third, you’re well on your way!” I don’t know if I mentioned my third book to you or not, formerly little sis. I am thinking that if Stone Season does well, I might have to do a sequel to continue the story of Sheilaugh Shaugnessey, perhaps calling it Stone Season II: The Revenge of Harvey Rood, the Undead or Rock, Paper, Scissors Season or Sheilaugh.

Nevertheless, Weed’s kind words touched my heart. Even in the dark I could clearly see the admiration and fondness in his eyes and I moved closer to let him know his well wishes were highly appreciated. Then Gordon Mayes turned the lights back on, and I discovered my lovely Deanna was standing right next to me. It was quite disconcerting and it shook my otherwise confident demeanor. I said, “I just hope the first one goes well…if it’s a failure…” Deanna reached down and grabbed a certain part of me that succumbs easily to pain and said, “It won’t be a failure!!” The pain made my eyes move into the center of my head and I am sure fear onto my expression. I hate it when she does that. Fortunately, no one was looking in that direction, not even Josef. Then Gordon Mayes said, “Hey—there’s no place here tonight for misgivings!” At first I thought he was saying my house was a lot smaller than his, but then I realized he was simply saying a few words to restore my confidence, I think.

Little did I suspect that Gordon’s overheard words would provide me with more consternation with respect to my son. At the top of the stairway, I heard him say, “Who’s Miss Givings?” My daughter gave him an open palmed gesture and rolled her eyes at him. I wish she had answered him. He has continued this line of questioning ever since. I tell my son, “It’s not Miss Givings. It’s misgivings. You have misunderstood what Mr. Mayes was saying.” Then he says, “Who’s Miss Understood?” Then I say, “It’s not Miss Understood. It’s misunderstood. That’s another way of saying misinterpret.” Then he says, “Who’s Miss Interpret?” I tell you formerly little sis, it is enough to drive a father crazy, even a father who is on the verge of setting Canadian book-selling records.

Michael Patterson
Poor Robin. Dee told me she's looking in2 sum of those early-intervention programmes. And Mike sure has a congratulatory buncha friends. Y doesn't he get the kinda friend who calls him "spoiled" and looks for an expiration d8? Or who tells him "refugee" stories meant 2 show him how good he's got things?


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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Stoned Publicity

Mike has sum more 2 tell U all abt this whole "book" thing:

Formerly little sis. There may be doubters out there. There may be people who have said that Michael Patterson will never get the full publicity push of a majour author, since I have only written the one novel and it is about the decidedly unpopular profession of sod farming. Those people would be wrong. After I got the box of books from my publisher, I called them up to see when my book would be officially in book stores. After all, you would think a first time author would be informed of such things. Well, formerly little sis, my publishers are so great that not only did they treat me a like a full time best-selling author, who could care less when his books hit the book stores; but they arranged an astounding publicity tour for me, all without consulting me even once. Not only that, but unlike some publishers who do publicity for a book before it is in the stores, my publishers waited until afterwards for mine. You see, April, that’s the way to operate a publishing house. I am running with the big boys now.

I was on the phone with the publisher as they were telling me their publicity plans, and I said, “Yes, sure! I can do that! Anything you arrange will be great!” After all you don’t want to disturb your publisher by saying, “No.” It was then I was really glad that I had quit my job at Portrait Magazine to be a full-time author. Those people who work other jobs while writing novels, I don’t know how they could do it. They might need some kind of advance notice to take off from work to go do publicity, but thanks to my unemployment, I am completely free.

I went into the living room where I found Deanna dusting the top of our console TV. I know you may think the flat screen TVs are all the rage now, but let me tell you formerly little sis, nothing says, “You’ve made it” better than a huge console TV. My son was on the floor with his Super Teddy (yay for me!) and a number of other ignored toys including, I might mention, that old leftover train track dad got him. To my right was my daughter wearing either a giant nightgown, or some kind of oversized witches robe. They were both watching a program about some kind of giant, cowboy bird. I ignored them both to tell my lovely Deanna, “That was my publisher! The book is already in stores, and he’s lined up some publicity.” Deanna was quite excited, but not so excited she responded or actually stopped dusting.

As my children peered on, I felt the familiar darkness of a silhouette fall on me as I tried to show my similarly-silhouetted wife my list of publicity. I always hate it when I go to silhouette just as I am trying to read something. However, it didn’t stop me. I told my wife, “Check it out!---CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for your American readers), CHCH (CHCH-TV, channel 11 out of Hamilton), the Toronto Star (Canada's highest-circulation newspaper), Hamilton Spectator (more publicity from Hamilton), and a signing at Eastgate Square (in Stoney Creek probably at the Coles or SmithBooks)!” Of course, I told Deanna those things without using my little extra notes for your readers. My daughter towered over my son and looked at me with her “I look like a professional model” face.

However, her unusual facial expression did not daunt her from taking pride in those items of publicity having to do with television and not the print media. Her interests betray her generation. My daughter turned to my son and said, “Daddy’s gonna be on television! Daddy’s gonna be on television!” to my son. With my son, you usually have to repeat things at least 2 times for him to get it. He clutched his Super Teddy to his breast and responded, “He is?!”

Then my son got up, walked over to the console TV and asked me, “Daddy---How are you gonna get IN there?!” He pointed to the television set, now featuring some program with 2 grotesque human beings interacting with a minority human being. I looked at him dumbstruck. Why would I need to be in that television show?

First I had to explain a few things to my son. I said, “Son. First of all. If you are going to continue to be overly literal, you should realize that your sister said, “on television” and not “in television” as you have repeated. It would be easy to get on television, if I were to take the TV out of the console and sit on it. You have altered a single word to make your joke, which is an effort I applaud. However, you should realize that by making that single word alteration, you have proved that you already understand what is going on and are simply pretending to be stupid for humourous effect.” My son said, “But how are you going to do it daddy?”

I mentioned it to my lovely Deanna and she said, “Cheeze, Mike. Just show Robin the video camera and how it works.” That was when I had you come over to show my son the video camera, and listened to your incessant comments about how I shouldn’t raise my kids to be ignorant. Naturally, after you left, my son asked me when you were going to take my picture to put me on television. I am beginning to worry about him.

Michael Patterson
Mike, I cdn't help noticing that the whole time I was xxplaining abt the video camera, U kept jumping in2 every shot. What's w/that? And tho Merrie understood perfectly, I have a feeling Robin still didn't quite get it, U know? And Y was Merrie dressed like the Statue of Liberty? Is she gonna B in a play abt the U.S.?


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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Blahblahblah Mike's Book

Mike's got sum more 2 say abt his book:

Formerly little sis. As you know, April, sometimes Deanna tries to hide things from me. You may go into a marriage thinking it’s about sharing everything and being open and honest; but a lot of a marriage actually is in the hiding. I was reminded of this just recently when I got my shipment of copies of my new novel Stone Season from my publisher Reiner and Browne. After my family got over its fascination with packing peanuts, we discovered there were 8 more books in that tiny box, which my son had not found.

Naturally I had to get on the phone immediately and tell people about the shipment and share the wealth with my closest friends. Of course, this was made a little difficult when I realized that Deanna had placed a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen counter and its similarity to my banana-shaped cell phone, detained me a little while until I realized which was the cell phone and which one was the oddly-shaped banana. I don’t know why Deanna bought those fruit. It’s not like Pattersons eat that kind of stuff.

Anyway, the first person I had to call was mom, since she edited my novel, so the editors at Reiner and Browne wouldn’t have to.

I said, “Mom! Mom said, “Mike. I need something to get Iris to relax and maybe have a good nap. Do you know of anything?” I said, “My book is out!” Mom said, “You mean your book is gay? No, wait. I understand now. That idea is perfect, Mike. That book will put anyone to sleep, even old tightly-wound Iris.” I said, “They sent me 10 copies!” Mom said, “I am not going to pay for it, Mike. I edited that thing, and I think that is payment enough. Just bring one over, the next time you come to eat out of my refrigerator.” I said, “I’ll get one over to you as soon as possible!”

That call reminded me it was close to supper time. However, I remained steadfast and the next person I called was my best, true friend in the whole world, Josef Weeder. I said, “Hello, Weed?” Weed said, “Look, man. Carleen’s voice does not sound like mine. What do you want?” I said, “Great news! My book is here!”
Weed said, “That was fast. What did they use for the cover---the house that doesn’t look like a sod house or the hunchbacked woman in a bonnet? I bet they used both, didn’t they?” I said, “Yeah, man—It looks great!” Weed said, “Look, man. I’d love to see it, but I’m not going to Milborough to get anywhere near that whacked-out family of yours.” I said, “I’ll bring you one!!” Weed said, “Great, man. Come by the apartment at 1 pm, when Carleen is out doing her hair.”

After talking to Weed, the next person to call was the main man of Milborough, the great Gordon Mayes. I decided to switch ears with the phone and use my left ear instead, and when I did that, I suddenly went to silhouette. I think because it was so dark, I didn’t even notice my lovely wife Deanna entering the room. However, I couldn’t stop my phone call to Gordon, just because of that.

I said, “Gordon!---It’s Mike!”Gordon said, “Mike who? Please let it not be Mike Patterson.” I said, “My book’s out!” Gordon said, “Crud!! It’s Mike Patterson. Now, Mike. I want you to listen to me carefully. Whatever you do, do not give me a copy of that book.” I said, “Of course you’re getting one!—A signed copy!!” Gordon said, “Great! When you come by to give it to me, could you come in the entrance marked ‘Danger! Killer dogs!”

That Gordon is always a joker. Now here’s the interesting part, formerly little sis. I switched the phone back to my right ear and the lights turned back on. It goes without saying that switching from one side to the other reminded me of my old buddy, Lawrence Poirier.

I said, “Hey, Lawrence! Guess what!” Lawrence said, “Mike. I am not lifting or carrying anything for you. I am not fixing your father’s roof for you. I am not recommending anyone to fix your father’s roof for you. I am done with it, Mike.”

Then I noticed my lovely Deanna picking up the box of books and walking away. I dropped the phone with Lawrence and chased after her. As she reached the second floor, I said, “What are you doing?” Deanna replied without even looking back over her shoulder (which is the usual Patterson woman stance), “Saving a few copies for US!” Then she was around the corner and the next I saw her, she didn’t have the box anymore. She had hidden it. I tried to find it, but when my wife wants to hide things from me, I can never find them.

I said to Deanna, “I thought our copies could be the two my son is playing with.” Deanna said, “Robin destroyed those copies in about 5 seconds. That left 8 copies, and then you were giving away 4 copies to your mom, Jo Weeder, Gordon Mayes and Lawrence. We need to keep 4 copies, just in case your grandparents or your Uncle Phil or your Auntie Bev might want one.” I almost laughed in her face. Those people are so far out of my life, I’ll probably never see them again. It wasn’t any problem to leave them out. However, sometimes you have to do what makes your wife happy, which is another way of saying, “I still can’t find those books she hid from me.”

Michael Patterson
Hey, Mike, speaking of your book. Something I thot U mite like 2 know--Merrie called me up yesterday 2 ask me 2 help her set up an eBay account 2 sell one of the copies Robin was playing w/yesterday. Namely, "the one that gots the front cover on the back and the back cover on the front." U mite wanna look in2 that, eh?


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Monday, October 15, 2007

Mike's book arrived

So, in case NE1 (ha!) was being all, "OMG, when will Mike's book come out? Will it B in stores in time 4 Xmas?" Here's the l8est from Mike:

Formerly little sis. I know you are probably anxious to continue telling the exciting story of mom and Connie Poirier regaling Iris with stories about how Connie used to be a slut when she was younger, but I think I have even better news than that. My publisher for my first novel Stone Season, finally sent me copies of my book which, as you may or may not be aware, is the first sign a published author gets that the publisher has taken the time to print their book. I have been waiting for this moment ever since I finished writing the book on Christmas Eve last year. The delivery man came to the door of our house and handed me the box, and I yelled with excitement so everyone could hear, “It’s HERE! My book is finally here!!” Naturally my daughter said, “Open the box, Daddy!” and my son came running with his Super-Teddy in hand (his current favourite toy, thanks to me).

My lovely wife Deanna came into the room wearing some kind of outfit, which looked vaguely medical in nature. It took me awhile to realize it was her pharmacist outfit, which I don’t think anyone has seen her wear for years. Despite her unusual appearance, Deanna said, “It’s sure late!” which I am sure was a statement designed to confuse me. You see, formerly little sis, you may remember back when I got the contract for the book, the publisher said the book would come out in their fall lineup . Well, fall means September, eh? At least that’s the way Deanna was thinking. But if she had been reading my old monthly letters carefully, she would have realized I said in my March, 2007 letter:

I signed my contract with Reiner and Browne, after making a few alterations and deciding on a title. The book will be called Stone Season and it will be published in paperback and will hit the shelves by October.

Clearly I did not anticipate the book until October. Of course, now I read my monthly letter again, I am confused by the fact I thought it was going to be published in paperback, when the book in the box is in hardback. Nevertheless, I managed to open the box and I was a little surprised to find it was one of those cardboard boxes, which only has 2 sides to its lid. Most times cardboard boxes have 4 sides to them. I think only having 2 sides should be considered an homage to the strength of my novel itself, and not an indication that my publisher is too cheap to ship books in decent boxes.

I stared at these white circular things in the box for quite some time, and neither I nor Deanna nor my daughter knew what to make of them. My daughter said, “Lemme see! Lemme see!” with such gusto and enthusiasm, I simply had to comply. I later discovered that my son had managed to pull two copies of my novel out of the box without the three of us seeing him, we were staring so intently at those white circular things. I think we would have still been there staring, had my son not said, “It only gots a picture on top! How come der’s no pictures inside?” I think I would have answered my son, if I had not been taken aback by his suddenly acquired Chicago accent. Instead, my wife replied for me, “It’s a novel, Robin. A novel just has words.” My son replied, “Oh.” It was then we realized he had taken the books out.

I went over to get my novel from him and I could see his little chin jutting out (in a very Grandpa Jim-like fashion), shaking the book up and down as if he were trying to shake the words out of the book. He later told me, he was really thinking, “That’s why it feels so heavy!” My son has apparently come to the conclusion that words are heavier than pictures, possibly because he is familiar with the phrase “A picture paints a thousand words”. If you do the math with that, then you get 1 picture = 1000 words, so if a novel was made up completely of words and only one picture then that would be 1 novel’s words + 1000 words. On the other hand, if you took one of my son’s picture books, which might have 30 pages of pictures and words, then that would be just the caption words of those pictures + 30 pages X 1000 (=30,000 words). That’s a lot of words in those pictures, so obviously my son’s picture books are heavier than…um…I think I am doing the math wrong.

Regardless of physical weight, I can’t wait until I see how my novel weighs in on the book-selling scale. I just know it is going to be a best seller and declared the great Canadian novel. In the meantime, you should come over to our house sometime and look at these circular white things which were in the box with the books. They are interesting to watch, and sometimes I think they move.

Michael Patterson
Mike? The white things are called packing peanuts and they're made of styrofoam. It'd prolly B a good idea 2 get them out of yr kids' reach, so U're sure Merrie's not feeding them 2 Robin. They're not meant for consumption.


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Sunday, October 14, 2007

No Sunday break from the past

Mike wrote in last nite w/this:


Formerly little sis. After the events of yesterday, where you usurped my wife’s traditional annual birthday party for my daughter; I was quite gratified when my daughter admitted to me her favourite part of the day was when I took out the old photo album and told her yet another story of my past life based on pictures.

I started out saying, “I remember one day when my mom was vacuuming…” This may seem like an ordinary lead-in for a story about my life, and the truth of the matter is that when it comes to my mom, fully 50% of her early life with me revolved around vacuuming. I sometimes think it affected me, so I get odd feelings whenever I see my lovely Deanna hunched over a vacuum cleaner with its long tube. Fortunately for me, Dee has never been able to recreate the look of absolute hatred and revulsion mom always seems to have on her face when vacuuming, and I think that helps.

Anyway, on this particular occasion, it was before our house had a central vac, and mom was using the portable vacuum, with her usual grimace on her face as if she were in great pain. The vacuum made a “RRRR” sound and the hose made a “Tinkle” sound, while Lizzie spent her time experimenting with different ways to electrocute herself using the vacuum cleaner cord. These were the days before there was child safety equipment for plugs and the like.

I, of course, asked mom “Have you seen my Batman ring, ma?...It’s about this big.” And I used an unusual finger gesture where it appeared one of my fingers was dislocated in order to show the actual ring width, as least as best I understood it at that age. My daughter said, “Why is the carpet blue, daddy?” I said, “Back in those days, daughter, our house contained many strange colours. I think it was before mom hired a professional colourist to work for her on Sundays. You may have also noticed the Canary yellow wall on the right.” My daughter said, “Yuck.” I said, “Life was hard when I was young, daughter.”

At this point I interjected in my own picture showing and said, “Mom was just trying to clean the house when..” My daughter interrupted and said, “Daddy. You just said she was vacuuming. I know you vacuum to clean.” I realized I had interjected in my own story about the picture in order to state something I had just stated in my prior interjection. It was unnecessary interjection interjection. It was a little embarrassing, but perhaps not as embarrassing as those people who don’t seem to realize that it is unnecessary to repeat yourself.

Anyway, the picture I showed my daughter was a man in a purple outfit. My daughter said, “What is this guy?” I said, “Vacuum repairman. He’s the man mom never called, except in an emergency.” My daughter said, “Was it an emergency?” I said, “Let’s look at the next picture.”

In the next picture, mom is playing with the bottom of the vacuum (as it throws dirt everywhere) saying, “No wonder this vacuum isn’t picking anything up---it’s plugged somewhere.” My daughter said, “Let me interject, daddy.” I said, “OK.” And then my daughter got a very thoughtful look on her face, and I could tell she was thinking of Grandma Elly looking the end of the tube and saying, “*!@*% machine!” I can tell you formerly little sis, there is nothing like the angelic look of a granddaughter thinking of her grandmother cursing like a sailor.

You may not have been aware of this, formerly little sis, but our mother actually had so much lung power, she could blow an engagement ring out of a vacuum hose. With a massive breath, which left her looking very red, she thought to herself, “Michael’s *@* Batman ring!...How I hate these little vacuum-clogging toys.” It is an impressive feat. When the same thing happens to me, I have to stick a stick down the pipe to get things out.

The next picture after that was a real blast from the past. Mom had removed Lizzie’s arms and put her in a stroller, while she was shoving a long sleeve shirt on me. The thoughts written for her on the picture said, “…can’t waste another minute---got to rush downtown before my bank closes…” My daughter said, “Why did Grandma Elly say that daddy?” I said, “Back in those days, they didn’t have ATM machines.” My daughter looked thunderstruck. I said, “Believe it or not daughter, but if you wanted your money from the bank, you could only get it at certain hours of the day, and if you didn’t get it then, you didn’t get it.” My daughter said, “Poor daddy.” I said, “Yes, daughter. Those were primitive times.”

The next picture showed mom at a bank teller with Lizzie clinging on to her for dear life, and my little tousled head in the bottom of the picture. The picture captions show mom thinking, “It must be my imagination—“ Then the bank teller caption is “Thanks, Mrs…er, Patterson…” My daughter said, “What is that?” I said, “Those were bank tellers. They still have them in some banks. You had to get your money from them, and it was not uncommon for them to mock you for you inability to handle your money, or to fill out banking forms.” My daughter said, “ATM machines. Thank you for ATM machines.”

The next picture had a little bit more of an explanation for the prior picture. In it, mom had apparently managed to leave little perfectly-rounded circles of dust around her left eye and mouth from dealing with the vacuum. In the picture, Lizzie looks at it strangely. Mom has a caption for a thought which says, “Ever since I left the house…people have been staring at me!!” My daughter said, “Where did those circles come from?” I said, “Remember, mom looked in the vacuum hose with her left eye and she blew through the vacuum hose with her mouth. That’s why those circles are there.” My daughter said, “Daddy. If it was that dirty, her whole eye and her mouth would be black.” I said, “It is best not to question these pictures, daughter. I certainly didn’t question things back then, no matter how ridiculous they were. I actually liked the bank tellers, because they made fun of mom and they gave me suckers to keep me from telling mom they laughed at her.” My daughter said, “Good ATM machine. I hope they still have them when I get older.” I said, “As long as at least one person remembers how rude the bank tellers were, then we will always have ATM machines.” My daughter appeared to be quite happy to hear that.

Michael Patterson

Gah, Mom and vacuuming. Sum things never change, eh?


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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ha, I was rite!

So, I was rite that the next bit Mom an' Connie told Iris was abt when Connie told Mom abt the d8 the next day.

Mom recalled that she was driving the car, w/Mike in the backseat (totally not belted in, so he cd, like, stand or kneel on his seat and poke his head up against the back of the front seats). Mom told Iris abt seeing Connie outside and yelling 2 her out the window, "Hi, Connie! How was yr big d8 last nite?" Connie let Iris know that she didn't really wanna have this convo shouted out in the street like that, so she got in2 the passenger seat of Mom's car B4 answering, "A letdown. The wittiest thing he sed all evening was "Yr place or mine?" And Mom remembered being all, "And-and AND...?" Like so eager, she caused Connie 2 bug her eyes out a bit (Connie's own eyes, not Mom's eyes) and Connie answered, "..He went 2 his place an I went 2 mine..."

OK, show of hands? Who didn't C that punchline coming? Hm, no hands up, eh?

Oh, if U C Meredith, B sure 2 wish her a happy birthday. Her b-day was this past Tuesday and she turned 5, but 4 sum reason, my fam totally ignored it! Poor kid. I'm gonna bring over sum cake an' prezzies this afternoon.


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Friday, October 12, 2007

And . . . Flashback!

So, Mom and Connie started 2 tell a story from when Mom was young, Mike was a kindergartner, and Liz was a baby. They described Connie wearing a black coat with a white fur trim, white belt, poofy white hat, and white mittens. She had Lawrence w/her. Mom, holding Liz in a lil snowsuit, had a stippled jacket and skirt which transformed into a stippled trench coat during her conversation w/Connie. She also had on a big, poofy hat, and she had Mike w/her. Mike tried smiling @ Lawrence, but Lawrence kinda sulked.

NEway, they told Iris that Mom was all, "Hey, Connie! U look gr8! Another d8 2nite? --U lucky dog!! ..And I've got 2 go home 2 meatloaf, diapers--and a tired husband..." And Connie told Iris abt being like, "Wanna trade?"

I kinda remember Mom telling me this story B4. I kinda think that 2morrow's installment is gonna B Mom and Connie talking after Connie's d8, and how it didn't go v. well. Poor Iris. What has she done 2 deserve this next reminisce-a-thon?


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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Time for more retcons and reminiscences

Mom sed that she an' Connie treated Iris 2 coffee in the hospital caf, and Connie told Iris, "It's nice 2 get 2 know U, Iris. Elly sez such gr8 things abt U." And Iris was like, "How sweet!" Then she asked, "Now, how long have U 2 been friends?" Mom sed, "Oh... for yrs! Since B4 we were married." And Connie sed, "And I was divorced. When Elly moved next door 2 me, I was a single parent." And Iris sed, "That must have been a difficult time in yr life!" Connie told her, "It was! But Elly thot I had it easy... and I thot SHE did!" And then Mom and Connie both remembered how they looked @ ea other while thinking stuff. Connie remembered thinking, "I wish I had her security." And Mom remembers thinking, "I wish I had her freedom!"

OK, now I'm confused. The past is being revised again. I remember that Mike told me how, when he and Lawrence were little, they were both told that Connie and Lawrence's dad had divorced, and he [the dad] moved back 2 Brazil. But when Mike and Lawrence were teenagers, the story changed 2 Connie having gotten preggers while she was part of that medical team in Latin America, and how she never married Lawrence's dad, who never came up 2 live in Canada.

Another thing was that Connie didn't live next door when Mom and Dad bought the house on Sharon Park Drive. The house that Connie lives in now was where Mrs. Baird, the lady who bred sheepdogs and gave our fam Farley lived. Connie useta live in the house where the Enjo family lives now--across the street from the Pattermanse. The Enjos moved in when Connie and Lawrence moved 2 Thunder Bay, where she met and married Greg Thomas. Soon after, Mrs. Baird moved in2 an oldfoax home, and Connie and Greg bought her place.

I wonder Y they're changing this stuff now. Especially since Connie has that new bio on Mom's website, and the new bio sticks with the "got pregnant/didn't get married" version of events.

How confusing.


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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Taking Care of Iris?

Mom sez that as she an' Connie were leaving the hospital room, Iris was all, "Jim's resting again. He has 2 rest quite a bit now.... But he's getting better! He went 2 the washroom this morning. He needed a wheelchair and sum help, but he did quite well." Out in the corridor by the room, Iris was all, "U don't have 2 stay and watch yr father sleep, Elly. U must have other things 2 take care of." And Mom was like, "I do. I want 2 take care of U."

When Mom told me this, I was like, "Mom, when U talk abt 'taking care of' Iris, R U being like movie villains when they're all, 'Don't U worry, I'll take care of him,' but U know that they mean they're gonna kill the person?" Mom got a faraway look in her eyes 4 a mo, and then was all, "No, no of course not, don't B ridiculous!" Then she muttered, "Who'd care 4 Dad?"

Gah, it's only Wednesday, and boy has this week been the sukkorz, U know?


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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Trying 2 smile

Mom got Connie 2 go 2 the hospital w/her. "I can't do this alone, Con," was what she'd sed, and Connie had been all, "What abt John?" And Mom pretended like she hadn't heard.

So, like, in Grandpa Jim's hospital room, Mom was all, "Dad? ...It's Elly." And Iris was like, "He sees U, dear. He knows who U R." Then Mom was all, "Do U remember my friend Connie? She's my neighbour." And Connie told him, "I live next door 2 Elly's old house." Mom sed, "I brought U sum homemade pudding." And Iris replied, "I'll give it 2 U l8r, dear." Then she leaned in toward Gramps and sed, "I know he appereci8s all the attention.... Don't U, Jim. He's trying 2 smile, C? He's trying 2 smile." And mom sez that she found herself thinking, "So am I."

BTW, Mike, I thot it was pretty hilarious when U came by the house in search of casserole 'overs, and U were all, "Mom, I hope U're careful when U visit Gramps @ that longterm-care facility." And Mom was like, "Careful of what?" And U went, "The catapults." And Mom asked U what on Earth U were on about, and U did yr explanation of catapults and "moving up." And it was like:

Mom: Oh my God, U really R painfully literal, Rn't U?

Mike: Not painfully.

Mom: I was referring 2 HEAVEN, Mike.

Mike: But U're not religious, Mom.

Mom: Just b-cuz I don't go 2 church more than once every 5-7 yrs doesn't mean I don't believe in the afterlife. Don't U remember what I told U abt when yr Grandma Marian was on her deathbed, and I asked her 2 watch over us when she was in Heaven? And she agreed? And I had this thot that she always keeps her promises? Does THAT sound like sum1 who doesn't believe in Heaven?

Mike: I'm changing the subject now b-cuz I don't like 2 be wrong.

Mom: OK, I can respect that. Take sum of that casserole w/U.

Mike: Nah, I'll just stand in front of the fridge and eat some w/my hands, rite out of the dish.

Mom: Atta boy.

Me: Ew.

That was all pretty funny. But Gramps in the hospital, that's sad. I wish he cd get all better again.


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Monday, October 08, 2007

Horrible, macabre pun

Mom just got back from a morning walk w/Connie. Oh, rite, she calls this a "power walk." ::snort:: She thought sum brisk walking mite dull the effects of consuming like 4500 calories in one sitting @ our T-day dinner yesterday. LOL.

NEway, Mom sez that Connie asked her how Gramps is, and Mom told her that he's sitting up and able 2 eat, but that he hasn't sed NEthing yet. She told Connie that she doesn't know how long he'll B in the hospital, and that "we" mite hafta transfer him 2 a long-term care facility.

Connie was all, "Rn't there long w8ing lists?" And Mom told her, "Yes, but Iris put their names in @ Sunset Manor 2 yrs ago. [Convenient much?] They say there shd B a vacancy soon. Then Connie sed, "Ppl don't move out of those places, El." And then, get this. Mom cdn't resist going in for sum awful, awful wordplay. She pted up @ the sky and sed, "I know. They move up."

When she told me this, I was like, "Mom that's horrible. It's totally insensitive and in poor taste!" She sed, "U don't understand! Connie is my oldest friend, and I'm under a lot of stress. I was just blowing off sum steam by engaging in a little dark humour!" And I sed, "Now I understand Y Liz is the way she is." And Mom actually THANKED me! Can U believe that?

I think I mite need 2 go B sick just thinking abt my mom's "dark humour." Happy Thanksgiving 2 my fellow Canadian peeps, Happy Columbus Day 2 our neighbours down south in the States, and just plain ol' "good day" 2 every1 else!


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Sunday, October 07, 2007

4gotten again

Mom just got back from dropping off one of her nauseating casseroles @ Mike's house, cuz we'll B having our Tgiving dinner there l8r 2day. It turns out that Liz was also stopping by w/a salad.

Mom sez that shen she saw 3 foto albums on the table, 1 of them open, she actually thot, "!!" She put the casserole on the counter (Ooh, fresh--I am soooo not having NE, not that I wda NEway) and she sat down, starting 2 look thru. Mom was all, "I'm glad U have these albums out, Michael. I haven't looked @ them in ages!" I'll bet poor Merrie wishes she cd say the same, since she got 2 do little else all last month.

Mike sat down w/Mom, and of course found a picture of himself: "Here's me on my 4th birthday!" Then Liz lumbered over, unable 2 grasp the obvious without assistance, all, "Hey, R U 2 looking @ pictures?" They didn't answer her, but she sat down on the other side of Mom, who pted out a pic 2 Liz: "This is the day I brought U home from the hospital, Liz!" Which is kinda weird--usually that's "we brought U home from the hospital." What, did Dad make Mom take Liz home all by herself? Was he 2 bizzy cleaning teeth or dropping crowns on the floor or having coffee w/Dr. Ted?

But no1 bothered 2 ask those kinda questions, and Mom pted out a pic 2 Mike: "There U R w/yr teddy!" Oh, gah, do NOT get Mike started on that teddy!

Then Liz and Mike took turns pting out pix. Mike: "Here we are, playing in the sand box." Liz: "That's us w/Santa!" Which got from Mike an "Awww!!" Then Mom put an arm around each of them, all "Yes, U 2 were the cutest, most precious little kids on the planet!" Mom told me that a moment l8r, she was all thinking, "...And, I kept wishing U'd hurry and grow up!!"

I crossed my arms in front of my chest an' sed, "Hm, well it's a good thing U only had 2 kids, eh?" Mom, w/out thinking, sed, "Yeah, that was just rite." Then she noticed me lookin' @ her w/one of those slow-burn kind of expressions, and she was like, "Until I had U, of course! Then having 3 was just rite, and besides, it's been so long since Michael and Elizabeth have been out of the house, I think of U as a separate 'only' child."

I was like, "Nice try. Well, I'm gonna get my cookbooks so I can plan sum food I'd actually eat." And Mom was like, "Ungr8ful Martian!"

Oh, and Mike left his own take on what just happened:
Dear April,

Formerly little sis. Sometimes people on Sundays think differently than they do the rest of the week, as you should know by now. In fact I have often thought that when I enter a Sunday, the entire fabric of the space-time continuum shatters and history rewrites itself in a wholly, more colourful and delightful type of story. For example, if I only lived on Sundays, I might have the impression that I did not spend almost the entire month of September looking at mom’s old photo albums with my daughter, and I had just now brought out pictures the very first time for the occasion when mom decided to make a casserole and carry it in the dish all the way from her house to my house. It is as if there is a whole group of people out there who only see us on Sundays, who are simply unaware of my September activities, and this is the first time they have ever seen me with a photo album out for viewing.

You might also have the impression that I left one of the photo albums open for mom to see I had been looking at the old pictures of little me with a bib on, or little me being held by mom and dad as I wore a cute little devil’s outfit, or a lonely green silhouetted man in front of a yellow silhouetted building. Unfortunately, I fear what it means is that while I was used to looking at pictures from Monday to Saturday and taking Sunday off, I will now be looking at pictures 7 days a week.

Sure enough, as mom began to look at the photo albums, I felt myself irresistibly drawn to the kitchen, with my sleeves rolled up and ready to do some heavy photo-gazing. I leaned on the table to brace myself for the worst. As mom held open a page which featured Grandpa Jim fishing, a large seashell, and pictures of multi-coloured silhouetted people, mom said to me, “I’m glad you have these albums out, Michael. I haven’t looked at them for ages!” All those silhouettes. You know, formerly little sis, it wasn’t until I was at university and I met Josef Weeder, professional photographer and artiste, did I learn there are ways to set up your camera so you don’t get all those silhouettes.

I looked at upside-down pictures of me on my 4th birthday and said, “Here’s me on my 4th birthday!” The pictures showed me and 2 friends standing around a bright yellow cake. Mom rested her arm on the table and propped up her head as if to say, “If you start talking about yourself, Mike, I am going to take a nap.” Fortunately that was not necessary, because Liz showed up out of nowhere with a salad bowl full of what appeared to part of a shrubbery from outside. (Yes, I know, April. She claimed it was a salad and insisted we eat it.) She saw me and mom and said, “Hey, are you looking at pictures?” I had to restrain myself as best I could from taunting her with a phrase like “No, Liz. Live action movies. Or… No. Liz. These are postcards from places mom and dad visited without us.”

Liz sat down and decided at that moment to turn her face into a duplicate of mine, except with a bun, and the sight was so horrible my eyes disappeared. Consequently, mom concentrated her photograph-looking on that page involving Liz. There was a picture of mom holding Liz, a photo of Liz wearing a pink hood, mom’s bong, and of course, more silhouettes. Mom said, “This is the day I brought you home from the hospital, Liz!” The picture of mom carrying Liz and dad carrying the supply of baby bad breath scent removers is priceless.

Then mom turned to me and said, “There you are with your teddy!” Did you know my teddy was actually blue? I certainly didn’t. However there was picture after picture in the album of me holding that blue bear. I didn’t know there would be a theme to the way these pictures were gathered. That sent a little shiver down my spine for some reason.

Now it was Liz’s turn to rest her arm near her head as I pointed the left side of the albums towards her. I said, “Here we are, playing in the sand box.” Of course, as was typical during this time period of my life, it was really me pouring the contents of the sand box over Elizabeth.

Liz’s mind turned to gift-getting, as it often does with her. She found the Christmas picture section on the page right across from the section on visiting people in graveyards. Liz said, “That’s us with Santa!” It didn’t really look anything like that, but I went along with her by saying, “Awww!!”

Mom felt a sudden rush of emotion, said, “Yes, you two were the cutest, most precious little kids on the planet!” and we went in for the first group hug I can remember any Patterson family members doing for decades. Liz nuzzled her head against mom’s face (just like her cat would do, so you know where she learned that behaviour.) I put my arm around mom’s back, put on my best “bask in mom’s glory” face, and tried to ignore the fact I had just grown breasts. I really hate when that happens. I have never have a bra ready, and frankly the jealous looks from mom and Liz when they realize I have a bigger cup size than they do, are a little tough to take.

Mom later confessed to me what was running through her mind at that very moment. It was, “…and, I kept wishing you’d hurry and grow up!!!” Of course, it always helps to remember that mom has never really liked “cute, precious little kids.” It took Liz and me a long time to achieve mom’s desires for us to no longer be cute and precious. I think that I am still quite cute, but I must admit that when Liz started wearing her hair in a bun all the time, her cuteness quotient went way down into the homely schoolmarm levels and has never truly returned.

The only real question remains, formerly little sis, will Liz, mom and I be looking at photo albums again next Sunday?

Michael Patterson
Yeah, ITA abt "Sunday world." I'll Cya l8r 4 Tgiving dinner, Mike. And I dunno abt U and pix next Sunday. U can only hope not, eh? Of course, since Mom's been 4getting abt me again, I doubt I'll B called upon 4 fotos involving me NEtime soon.


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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Liz Leans on Anthony

After not answering me abt when I get 2 make her feel guilty, Liz called up Anthony and asked him 2 come get her. L8r, I found out that as they drove 2 the lake, Liz was all, "I needed sum1 2 talk 2, Anthony." And Anthony, of course, was like, "I'm glad U called!" Liz went, "My grandfather's in the hospital again, my sister is angry w/me, Mom's upset...and I'm coping w/sum pretty tuff kids @ school." And Anthony was like, "Strange, isn't it.... How negative stuff all seems 2 happen @ once. 1 thing piles on top of another!" Then he parked by the lake and sed, "But... we're resilient. We resolve whatever it it that's weighing us down--and, in the end, we're stronger." What's w/all the we-speak, Queen Victoria? And Liz sed, "After what happened 2 U... do U feel stronger?" And instead of answering that (what happened 2 Anthony? Girl, please!), Anthony was all, "Lean on me." And Liz sed she just that, while closing her eyes and being squeeful.

Well, it's here folks. We're focusing on Liz and Anthony. Let's C if they make us sorry we asked. Who'm I kidding, I'm already sorry I asked. Sumhow this is all abt poor lil Liz w/every bad thing piling up on her. "Y does everything hafta happen 2 meeeeeeeee?!?!!?" Barfing now.


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Friday, October 05, 2007

Harmonica and Guilt

Well, Liz found another way 2 get attention this wk. She wandered over 2 the hospital and when she was in the main lobby, Mom spotted her and took her in 2 C Gramps. Afterwards, Liz came over 2 the TTH, and I was sitting @ the kitchen table, like, "How's Grandpa, Liz?" And Liz, taking off her jacket, went, "He's awake, but not responding. Mom and Iris R w/him." I sed, "I wish he was just like he used 2 B. I want him back!" Liz was like, "Me 2." I asked, "Do U still have his harmonica? I gave it 2 U when U went up north." I of course knew all abt her giving it away, but I felt like bringing it up. Liz sed, "April... I gave it 2 one of my students." I was all, "But it was HIS! It's a family keepsake!" And Liz did that indignant-Patterson gesture, placing her hand on her sternum, all, "Jesse was a special kid. I wanted 2 give him something that meant a lot 2 me!" I went in w/"Doesn't Grandpa mean a lot 2 u?" And Liz was like, "Don't make me feel guilty rite now, April!" while closing her eyez and pting her face up towards the ceiling. And I went, "OK... then when?"

Hrm, doncha just luv how Liz totally leaves out the part abt how Jesse STOLE the harmonica. And how the harmonica meant so little 2 her that she hadn't even noticed? And how Jesse is so "special" that she hasn't kept in touch w/him, despite her big, fat promise?


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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Gramps had another stroke

When Mom was babysitting Robin the other day, she got a call from Iris, who asked her 2 come 2 the hospital rite away. Mom left robin w/Connie Poirier and rushed off 2 the hospital.

Gramps was in a hospital bed all unconscious, and Iris told Mom, "It's another stroke, Elly. Even w/all the medication he's on--it's another one. They say it will take a few days B4 we know where he is.... Mentally and physically. What if he never wakes up? What if..." And Mom sed, "Don't think that way, Iris. We have 2 hope 4 the best!" A bit l8r, Iris called me, and she sed, "April dear, I don't know if I should tell U this, but after yr mother sed that, I found myself thinking, 'In this situation... What is the best?'" I told her that probably every1 is kinda thinking that, cuz if Gramps never gains consciousness, or if he does but he's worse than he was B4, that wd just B a terrible way 2 B alive.

I didn't have the heart 2 tell her that I found Mom on the fone w/Connie asking if she thinks playing Bobby Curtola music @ a funeral is tacky.

Pls think gd thots 4 my Gramps, ppl! I don't want 2 lose him, but like I sed, there R worse things than just plain dying, and we hafta hope 4 what's best, 4 real.


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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

MayB sum1 shd check on Gramps?

Mike came by w/a comment last nite:
Dear April,

Formerly little sis. I believe my lovely Deanna has opted not to do her reminisces about her youth, because she had a sudden case of whiplash brought on by going from her initial reminiscence about her youth, to disciplining our daughter about Super Teddy to the news we got about Grandpa Jim.

In case you had not heard, well, it’s probably better to start at the beginning. I know how much you like linear story-telling. Mom had come over to our house to do some baby-sitting of Robin for me, so I would be able to get some writing done on my second novel Breaking the Windjammer. After she was pelted by Super Teddy, I said to her, “Thanks for looking after Robin, Mom. His sitter isn’t well.” I am sure you must be wondering if the fact we are using a sitter during the day takes away any from the salary you receive for baby-sitting for us and the answer is no, because that baby-sitter gets real money. Of course, you may be wondering why I wrote in my monthly letter from April, 2007 about how my son would be going to a daycare at the same elementary school, H.G. Davis Public School, my daughter attends. My lovely Deanna decided it was important to have a sitter instead, since that is what my son was accustomed to with Ardith Narayan back in Toronto. So, the sitter was sick with something, flesh-eating bacteria, or something like that, and mom came over to take of Robin for the first time since last year. My son greeted her enthusiastically, with apparently no guilt from having just pelted her.

Mom didn’t seem to mind. She reached out her arms to hold my son by his belly, and said, “It’s a pleasure. The only thing I planned to do today was to drop in on my dad…He’s been behaving strangely lately.” My thought was “Lately?” My son reached out for his Super Teddy, which I dutifully handed to him. Then mom said, “He just sits and stares out the window…” As she said this, my son started biting on the ear of the aforementioned teddy bear. I had wondered where my daughter’s teddy bear had gone to, but seeing my son like that, I got the distinct feeling I knew exactly where the other Super Teddy went. I think it must have been the day Deanna asked me all those questions about the stuff she found in my son’s diapers.

Mom continued on about Grandpa Jim and Iris by saying, “He just sits and stares out the window…Iris has to try and guess what he’s thinking.” My initial reaction was, “And this is different from his normal behaviour in what way?” I, of course, restrained myself, but I could imagine Grandpa Jim, sitting peacefully in his comfortable chair, and enduring the tirade of Iris’ incessant questions, “Jim? Would you like to go outside? Are you hungry, dear?” Jim successfully avoids that kind of banter by refusing to answer and then Iris starts yelling, and this time the yell is “Jim!!!” He didn’t respond to that either.

The older women in my family are all concerned because Grandpa Jim won’t react with people screaming at him. Sometimes I wish I was the same way.

Michael Patterson
OMG, I have a bad feeling that sum1 shda checked on Gramps. MayB sum1 already has. I'll try calling over there B4 I leave 4 school.

BTW, I've scheduled my road test 2 get my G2 driver's licence. Monday, December 3. U hafta w8 12 months betw getting the G1 and testing 4 the G2, unless U've taken driving instruction, which I did. Then U can test after 8 months.


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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Authorized and Unauthorized Teddy Throws

So, like I mentioned in the comments yesterday, Dee told me she'd be coming by here 2 post abt her reminiscences, if she did reminisce. She came by last nite an' posted this:
Dear 'April,'

I'm 'happy' to do it! I planned to start 'reminiscing' today but unfortunately I had to discipline the 'children' for throwing things in the house. I carefully explained to them that it was okay to 'throw' toys, just not at people or 'breakable' things. At their 'ages' I'm sure they understood! Once that was done I was sure I could spend some time 'remembering' but then your mom came over :( As it was, I didn't even get to take that 'long' bath I planned with the new 'massaging' shower head I just bought. Oh well, maybe 'tomorrow!'

Heh, Dee, when Mom came home, she was all flapping and honking abt how she was "attacked" as soon as she got 2 yr door. And how she just can't believe Mike revived SuperTeddy, how she "hated that godforsaken thing." Ah, good times!


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Monday, October 01, 2007

Off the Wall

Gah, I can't believe we're still gonna B on SuperTeddy and Mike and the past. NEway, here's the l8est from Mike:

Formerly little sis. One of the more interesting things about living in our new house/my old house from living in our little apartment in Toronto is how the marital dynamic and parenting dynamic between my lovely wife Deanna and I have changed. When we were in Toronto, I was the breadwinner and I spent most of my time in my apartment attic, doing the work which made the money which allowed me to be the breadwinner. Deanna naturally was the children’s disciplinarian, and I took the usual role of the father, which is to play with them out of doors.

Now we are in the new house and Deanna is the breadwinner, she has gotten all kinds of strange ideas into her head. The other day, she was bringing me a box of Oaties cereal for my breakfast, when my daughter or my son (I don’t know which one), hurled their Super Teddy with their phrase “Hiiyaa Kowabunga Super Teddy!!” and the characteristic “Whap!” sound effect followed it, as it hurled into Deanna’s back and caused her to “float the Oaties” (I am sure you remember that commercial. Well, maybe you don’t. You are only 16, after all.”

Hanging the Super Teddy by his cape, as if it were a distasteful thing to her, Deanna put the Super Teddy in my face and said, “Michael, this Super Teddy thing has got to stop!” I immediately recognized, by its unique circularly-shaped muzzle, it was not the Super Teddy used by my son or daughter in either of its other appearances in my house. However, I did not point this out to my lovely Deanna. She was not in the mood, and she even wore black lipstick to emphasize this point. It took my mind completely off the bad news I had read in the Editor and Publisher where it discussed a nice lady named Lynn Johnston and the pain she was suffering from her divorce that she planned to pass on to other people via a national medium in over 2000 papers. I learned that on November 25, my wife Deanna will be dressing our children, and I expect that fact that she does this activity, common to parenting young children, will warm the hearts of all the other mothers in the world, who also dress their children. The mothers, who don’t dress their children, will probably wish they did when they hear my lovely Deanna does that.

But I digress. My main shock was that, as Deanna is now the breadwinner, she seemed to expect me to change and become the disciplinarian for our children. Instead of calling the Super Teddy thing to a halt herself, she expects me to do it. As you know, formerly little sis, my beliefs when it comes to discipline are: If it’s funny, you can do it. To illustrate this point with my wife, I googled my eyes around on my face and said, “I think it’s kinda funny.” This was another way of saying I had no plans to stop my daughter’s hurling of Super Teddy. Deanna responded in the typical Patterson woman way to adversity, which is she turned her back on the person with whom she had a disagreement and tossed comments over her shoulder as she walked away. She said, “Just because it’s something you used to do, doesn’t make it funny.” I don’t know where she got that idea, but I have a feeling I am going to use lots and lots of photographs from my early history to prove her wrong. After all, if something doesn’t appear to be funny to some people, there is no better way of bringing their opinion to match yours, than an unceasing series of old photographs.

So I said, “Come on, Dee--when you were a little kid, you must have done a few things that were off the wall!” My lovely Deanna sat there in a trance for a moment and then she left. When she came back, she was carrying a photo album and said, “I will show you just how ‘off the wall’ I was when I was young.” Then she showed me a picture of a woman wearing a Patterson man outfit, (collared shirt and pullover sweater and drab pants), looking down at a young Deanna Sobinski, who had apparently mastered the technique of drawing on a wall using a sponge and a bucket. The pictures on the wall were a monster in a dress, a disembodied head on a string, a sun, and a curled up horizontal snake in the grass. The pictures were a little disturbing for sponge art, but perhaps appropriate for October and Hallowe’en. I mentioned this to Deanna and she said, “No! You goof! I’m washing the drawing off the wall with the sponge and the bucket. That way I can use the phrase ‘off the wall’ to go along with your pun lead-in.” I was quite embarrassed that I had not realized my lovely Deanna was making a pun. It’s an activity she does not do very often; but now she’s the breadwinner, I suppose I better get used to it.

Then Deanna said, “Since I am the breadwinner and you spent the last month torturing our daughter with your reminisces of your past, it’s my turn to tell you about my past. Did I ever tell you the reason why I left Milborough, all those years ago?” I said, “You said your dad started a hardware store in Burlington and so you had to leave with your parents.” My wife said, “Michael. Michael. Michael. Forget I ever said anything about that. My story will have 3 purposes (1) Give people relief from having to hear about you and your family, (2) Tell the true story about why I had to leave and (3) Point out as many bad things about my mother and her parenting as I possible can.” I said, “That’s pretty ambitious. If you are not careful, you will make people love your mother and hate you. Perhaps I should write it for you.” My lovely Deanna refused.

So, formerly little sis, it looks like the next month will be of Deanna telling about her life with her mother (the most evil mother in the world) and why Deanna moved. I think I am going to go into an old room in the house and watch paint peel off the wall, while she tells her story. That way I will have something to sustain my interest.

Michael Patterson
Ugh. Oh, well, foax, like Mike sez, we'll prolly get a month of this. Gird yr loins!


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