Monthly Archives: March 2010

The Wednesday Word – Sock

Sock: noun – a short stocking usually reaching to the calf or just above the ankle.

Through my teens and twenties I shoved my bare feet into moccasins for all but the coldest months of the year. Uninterested in, and unfazed by, social pressure to wear the latest styles, my feet were free spirits, non-conformists, the hippies of feetdom. Tiptoeing through the tulips in the most minimal of foot coverings, my feet lived in peace and happiness.

Alas, even free thinkers age and one day my feet realized that the times, they were a-changin’. They were tired by day’s end and the padded insoles and arch support offered by sturdier footwear now held much appeal. But how do feet bow to the need for sensible shoes without losing their identity? How do they acquiesce to the addition of socks to their wardrobe? Socks, for Pete’s sake – restraining tubes of navy or brown boredom enclosing tootsies in darkness for hours on end. “Say it isn’t so,” moaned the feet.

Trudging despondently through the department store on their first major sock shopping expedition, my feet soon made a surprising and joyful discovery: socks don’t have to be boring at all! They come in every colour and pattern imaginable. Feet can dress for holidays and display their favourite interests, hobbies and television characters all year long. There are even socks as souvenirs from favourite places. Socks are, in fact, a perfect way for feet to express their individuality.

So now my feet are content to wear stodgy shoes because, still unfettered by the fickle notions of our fad-driven society, they are free to enjoy whatever socks they choose. Sometimes they flaunt the day’s pick, carefully chosen to complement an outfit or celebrate an occasion. Other days call for more subtlety and my feet hide, chuckling, under the boardroom table, rebels clad in Spongebob Squarepants, surrounded by conformists. And if my feet no longer choose to tiptoe almost naked through the tulips, they now take enjoyment from wrapping themselves in colourful flowered socks. To everything, there is a season.

Peace.


A small sampling of socks.


The Wednesday Sock.

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Sunday Snapshots – Garage Guest

We had a guest in our garage this week.  I didn’t get a great shot of him because I have a new camera and I couldn’t find the green laser eye reduction feature.


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The Wednesday Word – Clock

Clock: noun – An instrument other than a watch for measuring or indicating time, especially a mechanical or electronic device having a numbered dial and moving hands or a digital display.

Clocks make great gifts. They come in almost every imaginable size and style, represent a huge number of hobbies and interests, are available in prices to suit every budget and, as an extra bonus, are even useful.

Dad's clock

I love it on those rare occasions when I find a gift that is so perfect for someone, it might as well have their name on it. That happened to me well over twenty years ago when I saw a timepiece in the window of a little clock shop that instantly brought my dad to mind. The clock had a figure of silent film star Harold Lloyd hanging from the minute hand, recreating the real Lloyd’s role in the 1923 silent film classic Safety Last!, a film my dad loved.

Harold Lloyd in Safety Last! (photo from haroldlloyd.com)

I ventured into the shop. I remember it as a tiny place,  absolutely stuffed full of working clocks of all sizes and styles tick, tick, ticking away. I didn’t see a sales counter anywhere, but suddenly the owner materialized, somewhat startlingly, from behind a wall of clocks and inquired if he could help me. (The shop would have been a perfect mystery movie set.)

I asked how much the Harold Lloyd clock in the window was and I recall that the owner was impressed by my knowledge of  Lloyd, as most people thought the clock figure was the better known actor Buster Keaton. The clock cost more than I could afford then, but from the moment I laid eyes on it I knew I was going to get it for dad, so my sister and I shared the cost and gave it as a gift from both of us. It was money well spent, because all these years later, Harold is still hanging on and circling the clock face every hour.

I wonder how many times dad had to explain the significance of the clock to visitors? I suspect it was often, because although the still shots of Lloyd hanging from the clock twelve stories above the city streets are some of the best known photos from silent films, not many people have seen the movie. It stars Harold as The Boy who promises The Girl (Mildred Davis, Lloyd’s real-life wife) that he will go to the city, make good and send for her. Naturally, things don’t go as well as  he would have liked.

The high point, literally, of the film is when Harold climbs twelve stories up the side of a building and, after a series of misadventures, ends up dangling precariously from the detached face of a clock. There is some disagreement as to whether Lloyd actually climbed that high himself  but film critic Roger Ebert notes: “Having seen a high-resolution 35mm print in which I am clearly looking at Harold Lloyd much of the time, I am prepared to believe that certain shots may have been doubled, but that in others the star himself was in mortal danger.”

For everyone’s enjoyment, but especially for those who have seen the clock and wondered about the film, here is a clip of Harold Lloyd in Safety Last!

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Sunday Snapshots – Windy Day

The shore of Lake Ontario after a few days of steady rain and a strong east wind.



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Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Ruffles doesn't like to get dressed up but his best friend, Camel, was happy to get into the spirit of St. Patrick's Day.

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The Wednesday Word – Day

Day: noun – (often initial capital letter) a day assigned to a particular purpose or observance: New Year’s Day.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! This is one of the official holidays noted on calendars, even though we don’t get time off work here, and everyone is invited to celebrate the day regardless of their background. I’m not Irish but I’m wearing Lucky Leprechaun socks and shamrock earrings today nonetheless.

What I want to know is, who decides when the unofficial special days are, the ones that aren’t noted, and how do you find out when they are being held?

Below is an account of what happened to me recently as an example of what you can expect when you are one of the uninformed.

The car ahead of me is turning right, I think – it’s moving so slowly it’s hard to tell. Apparently inspired by the recent Olympic Games, the driver is obviously going for the gold in his chosen driving event: turning a corner as slowly as possible without actually stopping. I’m impressed; a turtle with a sprained ankle would move faster than this car. I’m sure the driver would be on the podium if he could make it there before the Games were over, the crowds dispersed and his win just a distant memory. Still, I would prefer that he move a little faster … okay, a lot faster. Come on, spin that wheel! You can do it! Hurry! Finally he makes the corner and I carry on straight, but I have an ominous feeling about what lies ahead.  Sure enough, I’m soon stuck behind a car going under the speed limit. We crawl down the street and mosey onto the freeway. Despite my mounting uneasiness, I’m briefly hopeful that I’ll be able to pull around the slowpoke and get my car up to normal highway speed, but it’s not to be. Not only is the person in the middle lane driving under the speed limit, so is the person in the so-called fast lane. All three lanes of traffic are effectively blocked by cars travelling at the same slow speed, and my worst fear is confirmed: it’s Drive in Slow Motion Day and I’ve missed the e-mail notification, again.

If I had advance warning of Drive in Slow Motion Days (which occur regularly, although I’ve been unable to discern a pattern) I would allow extra travel time and the day wouldn’t be quite as annoying. Without notice, it’s an exercise in frustration.

Just as irritating are the days when I set off for work innocently expecting business as usual, only to find that suddenly everyone is acting as though you need a Masters Degree  in English to fill out a simple form and an understanding of advanced calculus to complete basic math. Oh no, I groan to myself on those days, it’s Take a Stupid Pill with Breakfast Day. If there’s one thing you don’t want to be, it’s the only person who hasn’t taken a stupid pill. Unfortunately, following the instructions for taking your medication is important so you can’t just go ahead and pop your pill at lunch or afternoon tea. No, indeed, if you miss the breakfast popping, you’re doomed to be the only person not dazed and confused for the entire day. I don’t enjoy Take a Stupid Pill with Breakfast Day.

I’m sure you have some special days specific to your area and you probably agree that it’s frustrating being one of the uninformed. So, if you find out where to sign up for e-mail notification of all the unofficial holidays, please let me know.

Meanwhile, may the luck of the Irish be you today and always, but especially on the unofficial special days when you may need it the most.

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Sunday Snapshot – Lazy Afternoon

Lazy afternoon at the pet shop.

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