Original Poetry Sunday: Wistful Thinking

sleepkidtoys Click for source.

Losing Sleep*

Oh! To sleep like a child again.
Those blessed nights, recall you, when ?
We wriggled into linen’s folds
Lay hot heads down on pillows, cold,
Flanked by bastions of fuzzy bears
Protecting us from unknown fears.

We drifted, swift into night‘s world
Of ice-creams, coned and sugar, swirled,
As blinking stars and lunar-eyes
Sifted through the clouded skies.
Our princess-fairies and cowboy-clowns
Battled, won and claimed their crowns,
Companions, all, ‘til break of day,
When, up and out, we’d charge for play.

What happened to those blissful rests
Why now is freshest sleep our quest?
No lifting off, to never-land,
Instead, we shift and squirm like sands
That run upon the shores of time;
No more the sweetest sleep, sublime–
Unquietness resides in mind,
To keep us captive ‘til we find
It’s nigh on new-born day, again,
And closer still to our world’s end.

Oh! To sleep like a child again.

Kathleen Mortensen©2009

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*Thanks to Lyn at Two Ghosts for the inspiration for this poem. Please visit her wonderful blog of original poetry and thoughtful posts.

For more of Original Poetry Sunday, visit these blogs:

Robert Frost’s Banjo
Amazing Voyages of the Turtle
Secret Poems From the Times Literary Supplement
Yes is Red


Miss Sporting Life

I was born early – a month early to be precise. I was meant to be brought into the world at the end of July, 1961. Instead, I made my entrance on June 24th at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Ontario. I weighed 5 lbs. 2 oz. and went down to 4 lbs. 9. I spent my first month in an incubator.
I was a puny kid. Scrawny, gangly, knock-kneed and in need of corrective shoes. I very early on learned that I needed glasses (in those days poor eyesight was discovered when in Grade 4 you were found to be squinting at the blackboard and not because you were regularly tested by a nurse).
So, here’s little me, four-foot nothing in size 4 shoes with boney knees and elbows and what does the school board expect? I should participate in the rough-housing activities that they call Physical Education and get this…it’s for the “good of my health”.

redroverA Flickr fan who understands (click for source).

Now put a teeny tot like me in a line-up of bruiser-boys with plastic hockey sticks and let the fun begin! Give me a baseball glove and let me catch those stingers that could snap my hand off at the wrist! Throw me out on a field in the middle of a game of “Red Rover” and just pray I make it out alive! “For the good of my health”. Yeah. Right.

I remember vividly the days when gym class would roll around. I had a calendar at home with the dates circled in red. My stomach started twisting in knots from the time I took off my royal blue bloomers and packed up my blue Keds at the end of each class.

It seems there was not a single sport for which I was suited.

Baseball – I couldn’t connect that bat with the ball if my life depended on it. This was probably due to the fact that I was so short, my eyesight was so bad and I bruised very easily. No one ever put me on a base – I was always outfield which suited me just fine. In fact, the further out field, the better (less likely to be hit and less opportunity to make a fool of myself). Occasionally a ball would head my way and I would make an effort to catch it, but the sun would blind me and the ball would either hit the ground and roll maddeningly out of reach, or else it would conk me on the head. Laughter ensued (and of course groans and yells from MY team).

Gymnastics – Don’t get me wrong, I think gymnasts are amazing to watch and I marvel at their abilities, but putting an awkward kid on a balance beam and trying to get them walk across with grace and balance is a lose-lose situation. I inched my way across like I was suspended over a pool of gaping gators and inevitably would lose said “balance” to land on said beam resulting in numbness of the privates I can only liken to being wacked with a mallet in the Brazil zone.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, there was my real nemesis to be faced: the box horse. I’ve seen enough war movies to know that the box horse was used in military training camps, so tell me what sadistic genius came up with the idea that KIDS should be doing the same thing? What health guru with the Ministry of Education decided that little girls should be stomping on a springboard and flying over a wooden box with a sheath of leather, covering its oviously cement interior?

Not once in all the trials I made against that looming mountain of wood, did I ever sail over to land on the dark blue mat on the other side. I stalled in front of it like a donkey who doesn’t want to cross the stream, I slammed into it like the giant iron ball used to destroy a building, I got stuck on top of it like I was paddling out to catch the big kahuna, but NEVER did I get over. I had nightmares of giant box horses lined up hurdle-style and a coach with a whistle, shrieking my name. Aaaargh!

It was never a good day either, when you walked into a gym class to find “stations” for various activities. Teams were selected by the Olympic-caliber athletes who dwindled down the crowd to a unlucky bunch of misfits – the chubby kid, the nose-picker, and me…the uncoordinated pipsqueak. Good times.

Of course on days such as this, there was always the torture wall with the wooden rungs and the Marine Corps-style ropes upon which we were meant to hoist ourselves up without any a) assistance from below and b) grips to hold onto other than the dang rope that ripped shreds out of your hands. I believe my big triumph in this event was to actually reach the point where my feet couldn’t touch the floor (approximately one foot up the rope).


If indoor activities were intimidating, they were nothing compared to the dreaded Track and Field events that came around every Spring. Apart from mere humiliation with the Long Jump and Standing Broad Jump (don’t even ask!), the most terrifying thing for me was the High Jump. I don’t know whether I was afraid of looking bad or getting hurt. Wait. Yes I do. I was definitely afraid of getting hurt. The ironic thing was that I was really, really good at the game “Jumpsies”. Remember that? You would interconnect a bunch of elastic bands to create a length about 5 feet long, then two people would each hold an end and they would put it at different heights: ankle, knee, thigh, hip, waist, underarm, shoulder, ear and top of the head. The idea was, you would take turns jumping over, but the difference between “jumpsies” and High Jump was that you could touch the line and push it down in order to jump it. With the High Jump, if you couldn’t get enough elevation, you were going down along with the bamboo pole that rested between the two ends.


I remember one time I was so fearful of doing the High Jump that I hid under my desk in the classroom as everyone filed out for Track and Field day. I had no intention of going out to do it. I was petrified. The sad thing is, no one even noticed I was missing—not my class”mates” and not the teachers. No wonder I quit gym class as soon as I was able after Grade Ten. No wonder I became an attention-seeking New-Waver who dressed like Cyndi Lauper!

I did have one shining moment of glory, sort of—it wasn’t all busted fingers from flying volleyballs, or nicked shins from random field hockey sticks. We were having a running competition around the big gym in my junior high class. Teams of three were making circuits of the gym from corner to corner all the way around. I was doing really well. I was actually ahead of the two other people on my team and they were no slackers. I was pretty pleased with myself when I rounded a corner and I tripped over my own feet. Splat! I hit the cold, hard gym floor and my bare knees skidded me to a halt. Limping off to the sidelines, I realized once and for all that I would NEVER be any kind of athlete.

It’s funny how some things never leave your memory. I carried the hurt and frustration and fear of being inadequate at sports for years. Even as an adult I would never join any teams for softball or play any sort of sport, ever.

A few years ago, while working for a big insurance company in town, I buried my fears and took one last shot at performing something athletic.

We were having a carnival on the front lawn and there was a dunking booth set up. No, I didn’t sit in the booth and let people take shots at me, I actually lined up to try my hand at putting somebody in the tank. I was in a fairly long line-up waiting my turn to hit the target and dunk one of the senior vice-presidents of the company. Frankly, I didn’t think I had a hope in H.E. double hockey-sticks,but I waited my turn (albeit a little apprehensively).


When it came my turn, I took the ball in my right hand, stepped up to the mark, said a quick prayer and hurled it at the black circle on the flat disc. Whomp! It hit dead centre and ker-plunk, splash!– Down went the Veep and I was the only one to sink him! I had finally done it! At last, I was vindicated after all those years. Sweet! So sweet!

Kathleen Mortensen©2009 Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Film Festival Friday: Movies that have me rolling.

pieface Click for source.
I have a pretty bizarre sense of humour. If we’re talking t.v., it ranges from classic comedy like I Love Lucy and The Cosby Show, to blue-collar Roseanne and more recently, The Big Bang Theory about a group of misfit genius-geeks trying to make sense of the real world.
I’ve been a fan of Monty Python since its inception in the 70s, loved John Cleese in Fawlty Towers, Rowan Atkinson as Edmund Blackadder and even gave in to the temptation of watching Father Ted. When it comes to movies, my taste is just as eclectic and I often find things funny that most people around me don’t. Today, I’d like to give you a sampling of some movies that really make me laugh out loud every time I see them. I only hope you see them for the brilliant comedies they are.
First up we have Ishtar. I’m totally on my own with this one. My husband doesn’t think it’s funny and not one person I know personally thinks it is either.
Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman play a really bad double-act of singer/entertainers. They end up in the Middle East involved in a crazy plot with spies and gun-runners and a beautiful girl. The scene where Hoffman’s character gets caught in a gun-exchange with terrorists brings tears to my eyes. Watch the trailer and see if something doesn’t tickle your funny bone. That’s all I ask.

Ishtar (1987) :

Twelve years ago, the movie The Full Monty hit screens world-wide and became a huge hit, ultimately spawning a Broadway show. The reason the film works is because it hits home. Out-of-work welders from Sheffield, in the north of England, find an unusual way to make some money and get off the dole-queue (job-search line). Led by Gaz, played by Robert Carlyle and Dave (Mark Addy) they form a group of strippers to entertain the local women.
The soundtrack, by Anne Dudley (also known for the wonderful Jeeves and Wooster signature tune) is clever and the hits from the Disco era, like Hot Chocolate’s “You Sexy Thang” and Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff” make this an unforgettable and hilarious movie.
The Full Monty (1997) :

Best In Show (2000):
Following the success of This Is Spinal Tap and Waiting For Guffman, Christopher Guest and co. explored the world of Championship Dog Shows, spoofing the great Westminster Dog Show with this riotous film, Best In Show. I can’t watch this scene without howling!

This can almost be classified as a Christmas movie because part of it takes place over Christmas, so here, in the Hyggehus, it often gets replayed for a few hearty, holiday laughs. You can watch it anytime.
When two brothers inherit a decrepit house from their deceased father, it turns out to be a fortune in disguise due to its having been designed by a famous architect. The only thing standing in the way of collecting on their dream is a tiny, persistent mouse. Hysterical!
Mousehunt (1997):

My heyday was in the 80s. This movie is a bit of a send-up of the pop industry of that era. One of my favourite actors – Hugh Grant – plays a has-been pop-star expected to write a new song for a currently huge music starlet. Enter plant-girl, Drew Barrymore to become his co-writer when she displays a knack for lyrics. Surprisingly charming, poignant and funny, this film has some great songs too.
This clip is the opening sequence of the film with a Wham!/A-ha/Flock of Seagulls spoof that gets right under your skin. The video is a hoot!
Music and Lyrics (2007):

So there you go. If you’re looking for a good laugh this weekend, look no further than one of these. You won’t be disappointed.

Theme Thursday: Suitcase (a Villanelle*)

readycase Click for source


My suitcase is already done,
I’m packed up if I need to go,
The time I’ve spent here has been fun.

As a child, I’d wildly run,
On my cheeks the breeze would blow.
My suitcase is already done.

In my youth, I yearly won,
Treasured trophies for to show.
The time I’ve spent here has been fun.

Tempts of life I’ve tried to shun;
Still the ale and wine did flow.
My suitcase is already done.

Out of shadows shines the sun,
That sinks into the evening’s glow.
The time I’ve spent here has been fun.

Stay! My story’s just begun–
When the Master knocks, I’ll know.
My suitcase is already done.
The time I’ve spent here has been fun.

Kathleen Mortensen©2009

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Oh! And how could I forget (Mouse’s photo jogged my memory) Ginger Takes A Trip a poem I wrote 2 years ago based on a true incident that occurred nearby.

Online Art Gallery? Nope. It’s AWARDS again!

fab1love1 neno1
Right. So, I’ve dilly-dallied long enough and it’s time once again to acknowledge some special people and hand 0ff some excellent awards. As you can see from this collection, I’m way behind. I’d just like to say that I’ve been building these up for a while – I didn’t get them in one fell swoop. So permit me to change all that. (Please forgive any and all typos or omissions. Ta.)
I’m going to handle this in a rather unprecedented way. I will name the award with a link for details, explain what it’s for (serious paraphrasing here) and name the recipients. Rules are standardized: Put the award somewhere conspicuous on your blog. Link to the person who gave it to you. Create a post and pass the award on at least 3 people (linking to each). Visit their blogs and advise them of their award. Link to the person who gave it to you. Here goes:
The Your Blog is Fabulous award (given to me by Mad Aunt Bernard*) is for a blogger who demonstrates continual features of fancy and interest – someone always captivating and unique and with a special, friendly personality as well.
The Your Blog is Fabulous award goes to: I’m stunned she doesn’t have this already since hers is the epitome of fabulousness, Lenorenevermore , plus two of my favourite fabulosas: One Happy Panda, and Two Ghosts.
*For one of the most witty, entertaining and imaginative blogs you’ll ever encounter, you MUST visit Mad Aunt Bernard!
One Lovely Blog from Lenore (see above) speaks for itself – I’m passing this one on to a few of the loveliest, most charming blogs I know:
The Browning’s Greenhouse, Fruit of the Carolyn and Thatchwick Cottage visit them soon and you’ll be treated to a visual and heart-warming feast of images and words.
The Neno Award from Andrea at the wonderful and inspiring Teach Me to Walk blog is for those who love to blog and encourage others along the way. This one is going to: Reya at The Gold Puppy, Quackster at Thought Streams and Ajay at The Odds are Good, but the Goods are Odd for always saying something nice and keeping the blog world a beautiful place to be.
The Friendly Blogger Award from my wonderful friend, TFE (Totalfeckineejit) who is on his own planet sometimes, but doesn’t mind visitors. I just love him! Self-explanatory is this, but I must pass it on to a few folks who have been friendly to me since the word “go” (as my mother and grandmother would say). In no particular order then: Miruspeg at Middle Aged Ramblings, Matt at My Side of the Story and Neetzy at Negative Space.
Premio Dardos Award was generously given to me by Lyn at Two Ghosts (see above) and is given to blogs of literary, cultural and artistic merit. I cannot possibly pass this award on without giving it to Hazel at The Clever Pup, whose blog superbly fits all these categories and then some. As well, I’d like to give it to Isabel at A Room of One’s Own, Protege at Life, Work and Pleasure and Sallymandy at The Blue Kimono.
The Valued Follower Award was created by Sallymandy (see above) and she passed it on to a great number of her loyal followers. I would like to recognize a few people who have been with me from almost the inception of this mad experiment and a few who just keep coming back (thank the good Lord): Linda at Linda and Her Twaddle, Shazza at Random Thoughts and Acts of Stupidity Deb Godin at Notes From the Cloud Messenger, and Scott from Poetic Leanings and Sandy at Ibeati, Jen at Are You There God, It’s Me, GenX.
Phew! This is hard work!
Okay. Now for some fun. I swiped the “Ewe Rock” picture (from I can’t remember where) and passed it on (to I can’t recall whom) before. I just love that sheep! So, now I’’m going to spread the sheep-love some more!
This time around, Poetikat presents the Ewe Rock award to*:

Totalfeckineejit in The Republic of Eejit
Mad Aunt Bernard
Michael @ Smoke and Mirrors
Dominic @ Dominic Rivron
Sarah @ Circles of Rain
Rudee @ A Knitting Nurse
Jeannelle @ Midlife by Farmlight
Megan @ All I Want is Everything
Brian @ Waystation One
Julie @ The Buffaloe Pen
***I’ve had a think about this since my earlier posting. If you haven’t received the above award from me at an earlier date and you are in my sidebar, consider yourself part of the “Ewe Rock” club. Go on! Take ‘er away!

* Please see my sidebar for links (or see my profile for blogs I follow)…I’m too pooped to search ‘em out and fit them in. Thanks folks! I’ll be passing this on again soon (when next I feel like being magnanimous).
Now, don’t forget to read the actual posts below, okay?

Beware of freaks bearing gifts.

As a little girl I loved the rush of a party – the lead up to a festive day with girly dresses and balloons and loot bags and cake and gifts all packaged up with lovely bows and pretty paper. Sometimes it was so pretty that I hated to tear it off, but I still did, of course.
The fun of a party didn’t dwindle as I got a bit older. In fact, as a young girl I loved to host parties and my parents, especially my father, loved to get right in there and make them the best parties on the block.
I remember a Halloween party when I was about 14. My father somehow acquired a big metal basin and we all took turns bobbing for apples. It was so much fun to get wet when you stuck your head in that tub of water and then to have mom waiting with a fresh towel to dry your head was heavenly. Everybody had a great time. I can remember a few Halloween costumes that mom helped me put together. I think on this occasion I wore one of her bright printed skirts and a peasant blouse, lots of beaded necklaces and bangles and a scarf tied on my head to make me a gypsy-lady. It was glamourous and funny all at once.
When I had my first boyfriend in Grade 12, I decided that I wanted to have a Christmas party. My parents were cool with that as usual and so I set out to invite a group of my friends. I attended a Catholic all-girl school from Grade 9 until 11, before switching to the local public high school for Grade 12 and 13, so my selection for the Christmas party was rather an odd bunch of kids from my different classes who didn’t really know each other well. I had friends who were geeks, friends who were artsy and friends who were popular and sporty. I even had friends who spent a good deal of time in the smoking area at the back of the school (even though I myself was not a smoker). My boyfriend and his best friend (who happened to be my best friend’s boyfriend – are you still with me?)both came from neighbouring high schools and of course they were invited too.
What I remember of this particular party was that everybody had a really good time– the music was fun – a mix of new wave and progressive rock, and the snack food was good – chips and onion dip made from sour cream and onion soup mix, cheesies and pop from the Pop Shoppe, a fun store where every variety of soda pop imaginable was available and came in small, stubby bottles.
The other interesting thing I recall is that 3 couples emerged from that eclectic group. The mix of types ended up like being an episode of The Dating Game and a few people went home very happy having made a love connection with somebody new. My boyfriend gave me a sweet, heart necklace with rhinestones and I had a very good Christmas that year.
Since that party went so well, when I entered my first year of university, I decided to throw another party for the new friends I met. My boyfriend from the Christmas party was old news and I was free and single. I was into dancing at the Blind Duck Pub on campus and the latest album was Human League’s, Dare. It was around St. Patrick’s Day so I planned a party for that occasion. I remember still, exactly what I wore: moss-green woollen shorts, a green long sleeved, scoop-neck top with gold-glitter stripes and mustard-coloured wool tights. I know! Did I think I was a leprechaun, or what? Actually, I looked pretty trendy and my short, light-brown hair was a bit spiky, my ear-rings were dangly and my shoes were pointy (again – could be taken for one of the wee folk, I know).

I’m sure we played a lot of different music, but the anthem for the night was definitely “Don’t You Want Me?” off the Human League album. The front of our basement was the social area – with the reupholstered couches and ancient coffee table set. There was a lime-sherbet punch on the bar and we had meatballs and rice pilaf on Chinet plates because this was adult party-time now. Even so, there were still the obligatory chips and dip and dishes of cheese-sticks and pretzels too.
The back of the basement had been decked out with Christmas lights and our old wooden toy box that my dad had made was the music centre with the Dual turntable and speakers. We just took turns playing deejay. This is why, instead of changing the record, we ended up listening to the entire Human League album and then flipping it over again. No one seemed to mind – everybody took a turn on the cold, cement dance floor. I think the only alcohol was in the punch, but everyone enjoyed that and we all had a lot of fun.
When I turned 21, my parents decided to throw a surprise party for me. This can’t have been easy, since my friends came from all different backgrounds, just like in high school. They enlisted the help of my newest friend, Debbie, and pulled together a group of very interesting university buddies. I don’t remember that much about the circumstances – how they got me there, who brought me, who was there. It’s 27 years ago and only one thing stands out in my mind about that party. It eclipsed everything else.
utmlib Click for source (my campus library at Erindale College, Mississauga)
I had a (shall we say)male acquaintance in my circle of English-Literature student friends. We were not what I would call close. We went for coffee in a group with other people, we studied in the library with other people, we hung out – occasionally and chatted on the way to class – or in class, but we were NOT romantically involved. We were friends.
At my 21st surprise birthday party, I sat in a chair in the family room downstairs in front of all my (sadly, now-forgotten) friends and opened up each one of their presents. I imagine they gave me the usual thing you give your school-pal – a book, an album of music, maybe a fun tee-shirt or hat, a gift certificate; you know the sort of stuff.
Okay, so I reached for this flat, square, wrapped box. My “friend” was sitting alongside me literally on the edge of his seat, anxiously anticipating as first, I read his card (which as I recall was innocuous enough) and then tore off the lovely paper and opened the box. I thought it was chocolates. Yum!
Fortunately, some people were chattering and not paying attention, because what I was about to discover was not what I would ever have expected. Certainly, it was nothing I would want to pass around.
I opened the box to find some pastel-coloured tissue paper. I slid my hand under the paper and felt something soft to the touch. Slowly, I peeled back a floral seal and opened the two folds of paper to reveal a pair of lavender silk panties! Oh my Gawd! Like a shot I rammed the lid back on the box and held my arms down on top of it. No one seemed any the wiser until, the gift-giver said loudly, “What’s in the box, Kathleen?” I looked daggers at him, but to no avail. Now people were curious and I had no choice but to reveal the contents of the box to the assembled attendees.
I opened the box and lifted out the lingerie. They WERE lovely. As someone whose idea of luxury in the underwear department means black rather than white cotton, or even better—eco-friendly bamboo, I have to admit they were gorgeous!
My best friend, Debbie gasped. A few jaws dropped. I laughed it off and made some wisecrack about how he must have had me confused with somebody else. I quickly used my best diversionary tactic: Who wants some chocolate cake?
choc_cake2 Click for source
Thank heavens it worked. There was a mad rush up the stairs and I shoved the box with the intimate item under the upholstered chair.
Don’t get me wrong; I didn’t give the gift back. To this day, they are still the nicest panties I’ve ever owned.
So, if I didn’t say so at the time, thanks, Buddy!

Kathleen Mortensen©2009

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OSI: dropped

Click for source



Sometimes it feels as if
I may have been dropped
on my head–as a child.
Those days when I can’t
string two sentences
or I’m having
with myself,
like a little old lady
in her rocker,
furiously knitting
and muttering
to herself.

Also, I find I sing
quite a lot these days–
nothing on the radio
or even my cds,
just tunes
with words I’ve made up
that make no sense
at all.
The cats seem to like them,
at least,
or my imaginary audience
of fruits in the bowl
and crumbs
on the counter–
all listening
with rapt attention.

I know I was
born a month too soon,
but no-one ever said
if I was actually dropped
on my head.

Kathleen Mortensen©2009

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