Thursday, July 26, 2007

Naming The Man in My Life and Other Matters of Importance

Maybe it's because I now have a thesaurus, or maybe it's because I'm avoiding revisions, but today, I've been thinking about how women my age should refer to the men with whom they are romantically involved.

Introductions can be a little tricky. Do I say- this is my friend- and use voice inflection to put quotation marks around it? I'm not comfortable with saying he's my boyfriend since he is obviously not a boy anymore and anyhow, that word is entirely too cute. When I refer to him informally on a Web forum, I often call him my significant other. But I don't like the expression much. I'd use partner, but D. is averse to that one since it's often used by gay guys. Companion is rather appropriate I think. Best of all is amoroso, which appears in my thesaurus, but it's probably not good for use in casual conversation. Perhaps I'll just say this is D. and let 'em wonder.

One important thing occurred today.I went forth into the marketplace and after many trials and temptations, I purchased a new pair of jeans. The bank loan should come through soon.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Summer Daze In My Electronic "Cottage"

The magical delight of a perfect summer day. A few small clouds to define the sky; a light breeze to keep the temperature moderate; a long walk in the sunshine this morning; a traditional Canadian breakfast. Bliss.

And when I thought the day could not be improved upon, a surprise arrived. My friend D. called and asked if he could come over for a while this evening. When he arrived, I had to open the door wide because he was carrying a big box that contained a 20 inch colour television for me. After he'd installed it, complete with the better aerial, he proceeded to install surprise number two, a cable that goes from my stereo to the aerial. Now, I have a very clear FM signal for the first time since I moved here and I'm enjoying listening to a great concert on CBC radio 2 with absolutely no fuzzy sound or other interference. I can listen to the radio through the computer too and have a version of surround sound.

I tell you, it's all more than a little overwhelming for me. But, I like it, oh yes, I like it very much. Maybe someone should pinch me to make sure I haven't gone to Oz or La La land. On second thought, cancel that. I'll stay in my happy daze for a while.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Conrad Black Found Guilty - Now what?

The verdict is in and Conrad Black has been found guilty of some of the criminal charges laid against him. I know at least one person who is dancing around his living room as I type this. My friend D. worked for an American company for many years and when it was taken over by Hollinger Internationl. the pension fund was gutted. Dancing won't give D. back his money but there is likely some satisfaction in seeing Mr. Black get his comeuppance - and jail time too I'd assume.

Black gave up his Canadian citizenship so that he could sit in the British House of Lords. I wonder if that means he will choose to serve his time in a British jail? Maybe Her Majesty could speak to him - It's all rather a frightful mess, isn't it old chap? One ought to consider turning in the ermine.

At the beginning of his trial Black made comments about getting his Canadian citizenship back. I'm not sure how far things have gone in that direction. If I were the one making the decision I'd say no to him, on the grounds that we already have a more-than-sufficient number of ruthless business people with no principles, but without ermine capes. Maybe Black should give his cape to the next contender, but she who used to write for the Sun might not like that.

I cannot abide his uber right-wing ultra-snobbish nut cake (won't even type her name) 'wife'.

Sic transit dubious gloria, and it's about time.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Official Old Fart (Fartess?) Day

Today's the day.

It didn't happen on my birthday. It didn't happen the week after my birthday when things finally slowed down and I could reflect on the aging process. Nope. It happened today when I opened my mail box and found the big brown envelope from Service Canada a.k.a. Human Resources Development Canada. It's my application for the Old Age Security Pension. The pension won't start until July 2008, but there's no sense in applying late for it. I'd better give them lots of time to get ready to send me the money. It will probably take me at least that much time to completely accept my official status as an Old Fartess.

In the meantime, I've had tons of fun quarreling with banks, investgating the ins and outs of locked-in pension money. (Some free advice here - never lock-in anything if you can find a way to avoid it. At the time my money was locked-in against my wishes, it was required by law.) I discovered that some tellers don't know much if anything about what the investment specialists in their own branch are and are not responsible for. I won't limit my sniping to just one financial institution either. Both TD Canada Trust and Bank of Montreal have provided me with incorrect information.

The guy at TD, who might be all of twenty-one years old, gave me not one but two out-of-date telephone numbers to call for information from the Federal and the Ontario governments. He's consistent, I'll give him credit for that. Now that I'm an Old Fartess, I have time to search for numbers and to wait on the phone; and after only 35 minutes I got a real person from the Ontario finance department who was polite, kind and informative.

I'm afraid it took longer to figure out the BMO problem, but Old Fartesses are persistent. After two phone calls to automated systems that accepted my account number but refused the password that works online but apparently not on the telephone, I paid an in-person visit to the bank. I asked the pertinent questions clearly and carefully, but the teller said I'd have to speak to the Investment Specialist and to do that I'd need to make an appointment. It'll take five minutes - or less - said I. Can't be done said the teller - make an appointment. So, this morning I kept my appointment. Yes, you guessed it the specialist didn't deal with my particular problem and couldn't answer any of my questions. Call the number on your statement. Oh gee - why didn't I think of that? After I got home I called the number, again, and again and again, and ... by pressing the number for the wrong department I finally got a human being. And, goddess be praised, he told me what I needed to know.

Because I'm an Old Fartess, it will take me at least a week to crunch the numbers and decide what I want to do to ensure I can survive in the minimal style to which I have been accustomed until the government's largess arrives next July.

For the moment, I have been saved from applying for work at the local Tim Horton's, or, worse yet, becoming a Kelly girl, again.

This Old Fartess thing is not so bad after all. It's keeping me laughing.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Mail Woes, Telemarketers and Rabbit Ears.

I suppose summer is as good a time as any for a magazine to change locations. I mailed a submission to a certain magazine on June 14 and today, there it was - back in my mailbox. The magazine moved offices on June 19th. I used the mailing address shown in their website on the day I sent out my work. Perhaps I should be glad the submission came back to me and wasn't lost during the move. I wonder why they didn't pay to have their mail forwarded to the new location, at least for a month or two. On the other hand, maybe they didn't choose that option so that the mail flood would slow down and bills would be delayed too.

The only other mail I've received lately has been political bumph. That stuff arrives with great regularity. And I bet it won't be long before the phone calls start because there's a provincial election this fall. There will soon be a national do-not-call list established to help people avoid telemarketers, but political parties will be exempt.

This morning I received a telephone call from someone soliciting funds for TV Ontario. I'm a big fan of TVO, or at least I was when I had cable and could get the signal. I explained this to the caller. He then suggested that I should get someone to adjust my rabbit ears for me. I'll admit, there are things that I'm not capable of doing all by myself, but I'm pretty sure I know how to adjust an antenna.

Pretty sure, but not certain - because after all, I was pretty sure I had the right address for that magazine.

The only important thing I know for sure is that Tim Horton's is going to raise their prices. I think I'll get one last double double before that happens.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Bookstore Bliss and some Writing Blather

Two days after my birthday, I received another present - a Visa Gift Card. I'd never seen one before, but the bookstore had no problem accepting it. Thanks to a friend who lives in British Columbia, I was able to purchase a Roget's International Thesaurus.. So, if I want a substitute for itchy I can use pruriginous, though it's an unlikely choice, or I can lean on a broken reed, rather than go out on a limb and so forth. I've always wanted to own one and now that I do, I'll try not to become a phrasemonger with an obtuse style who is over-fond of virgules.

Because many literary magazines close up shop for the summer months, it's been a struggle to find markets for some of my stories that need to go back into the world. However, after some research I've found places to send three of them and they've been mailed out. There was no mail of any sort in my box today, but I'll content myself with the thought that I've accomplished something over the last two weeks.

It was a lovely quiet weekend here in town. A big thank-you to all of the people who went elsewhere for the holiday, and to the city works department for not working on the side road during the long weekend.