Heather Smith
Yesterday, I was listening to Richard Stursberg (CBC's executive vice-president of English Services) on Ontario Today. He was taking calls about the recent CBC cutbacks and did a great job explaining the reasoning behind some of the difficult cuts that had to be made.

One of the callers caught my attention. An older man who had been a CBC radio listener for forty years asked why the older generation are being left out of the target audience. An old biddy at heart, I had been thinking the exact same thing recently.

I am a devout Q listener and thoroughly enjoy The Point, but lets face it, the old folks sitting around the home won't be tuning in, will they? What are they supposed to do? Listen to Kixx? That'll surely result in a premature and painful death.

What we need is a new radio personality. A Bill Richardson/Jian Ghomeshi combination. Someone with their finger on the pulse of both popular culture and the good ol' days... 'cause let me tell you, the only fingers on pulses these days are the ones checking if the CBC-deprived oldies have died of boredom.

So CBC, as a defender of old biddies and crotchety geezers everywhere, please, when you are in a position to do so, give us a cross-generational radio show. Something fun. Something witty. Think BBC's Just A Minute. Come on, you're a talented bunch! I know you can do it!
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Heather Smith
I like words that dance off the ol' tongue, but often these words do not play a role in every day conversations and trying to fit them in can be challenging. You may have noticed the use of the word 'phantasmagorical' in a couple of my posts. Saying that word makes me feel the way Maria Von Trapp felt as she spun around on the mountaintop bursting with song. Why, I can barely utter it without spinning around my living room, dodging Edgerton's big screen TV. But trying to fit it into a conversation with the supermarket checkout lady can be tricky. And Edgerton just doesn't take me seriously when I use words like phantasmagorical.

Speaking of Edgerton, he sometimes demonstrates an interesting use of the English language. Just yesterday he said that he did something "just for poops and giggles". Okaaaaay, then.

Being a Scot, Edgie also has the habit of overusing the word 'bloody' and The Youngsters get called 'little buggers' quite regularly. Also, in the way of the Brits, he tends to modify words by shortening them and adding "ie" on the end, as in sarnie for sandwich, bickie for biscuit and brekkie for breakfast.

Edgerton has introduced me to a couple of my favourite dancing off the tongue words: lovely-jubbly and fandabidosie. Such joyful words. Fandabidosie has to be the happiest word in the English language. But not all of my favourite words represent happy things. In fact, sometimes I don't like what they represent at all. Take muttonchops, for example. Great word. Giant sideburns? Not so much. And how about gibberish? Another fun word, but who wants to listen to a load of nonsensical crap? Ooooh - nonsensical. That's a good one.

Now I must take my leave as the day is young and I must find an opportunity to use the word serendipitousness (which isn't a real word but should be).

If you have a moment, please comment below - what's your favourite word?
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Heather Smith

The road to Biddydom and all of the swell stuff that goes with it has led me down the path to guided meditation. I take a few moments each day to listen to a podcast, courtesy of the Meditation Society of Australia. I have been doing this for a couple for months now and, like a hippie version of one of Pavlov's dogs, I instantly "go deep within my soul" on hearing a male Australian accent. A trip to Australia would spell disaster for me as a surfing lesson with a young blond surf dude would surely end in my drowning.

Through these meditation sessions I have trained myself to focus ... no longer does my mind wander to the grocery list, or to my imaginary life on the Yorkshire Dales. Instead, I concentrate on my breath and "breathe in the infinite peace of the spiritual universe".

I was a quick study at this meditation stuff. I thought I had it in the bag. Until I came to class twenty-six, a lesson ironically titled: Listening.

The dulcet tones of my Australian guru floated out of my super-cool burnt orange iPod ... wait that was very un-hippie and superficial of me, let me rephrase that ... the dulcet tones of my Australian guru floated out of my nondescript portable media player and into my ears and I immediately felt a sense of calm. I hung on to his every word as I sunk deeper and deeper into the inner depths of my soul:

"Listening is the foundation of change. Listening keeps us young and flexible - not listening makes us stagnant and unyielding."

I hear ya, mate. Stagnant and unyielding. NO to stagnant and unyielding. Ohm.

"Listening to others is the first doorway to flow of love between you. Listening to oneself is the doorway of infinite flow of love within and between all things."

The love is flowing. Infinitely. I am deep within myself. Ohm.

"For us to truly listen the first thing we must do is make ourselves quiet. Noise is all around and inside us there is a cacophony of worry and doubts and fears ...."

Yes I must make myself quiet ... wait ... did he say cacophony? Wow. That's a word you don't hear everyday. Cacophony. I like it. CaCOPHony. CacophONY. I must look that up later, get the actual definition. I know it means a hubbub of sound but I really like reading dictionary definitions of words. Who writes dictionary definitions anyway? It must be the best job in the world if you are a lover of words. I have a great job too ... being home with the youngsters is very fulfilling. Oh, that reminds me. I better not forget to help the Big Youngster with that French homework tonight. I wonder what cacophony is in French. I'll look that up too. Do we even own a French-English dictionary? I'll just have to look it up on the net. Or I can go to Chapters to get one. Ooooh Starbucks! Skinny Vanilla Latte - Mmmmm.

"Thank you for giving us your time, we know it is precious and we're honoured you've spent it with us. Namaste."

Huh? It's over? Oh dear. I wasn't listening.

I turned off my super-cool burnt orange iPod and contemplated how I had failed at listening during a class called "listening". But was it really my fault? Casually throwing a word like cacophony into the middle of a meditation lesson? What was my Australian man thinking? Cacophony? What's next? Phantasmagorical? Serendipitously? There is no place for words like these in guided meditation - they are far too distracting. How am I supposed to find my pathway to enlightenment when words like that are not flowing out of my iPod but romping out of it, loudly and rudely into my doorway of infinite love???

I took a breath and scrolled up through the list of podcasts. Time to go back to class twenty-two: Anger.
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Heather Smith

It was only when I noticed that my Coronation Street backlog was up to 28 episodes that I realized just how needy The Youngsters have been these days ... what with the tween dramas of the Big Youngster, the strep throat affliction of the Middle Youngster, and the constant attention-getting antics of Goo, the Littlest Youngster.

Still, they're good for something. Goo told me the other day, in a very loud voice, while in a very quiet library, that I was chubby. That was fun.

But I do have a word of caution for all of you childless Coronation Street fans out there. If you're toying with the idea of having kids of your own, you may want to have a little rethink. Might I suggest you do the following:

1. Get yourself a can of beer, pour it in a glass and pretend it is a pint of Newton and Ridley.
2. Get yourself a copy of the very special Corrie episode when Mike Baldwin dies.
3. Send your significant other to another room.
4. Get comfortable and start watching.
5. Try not to cry when Mike is dying in rival Ken Barlow's arms.
6. Just as Mike is uttering his last words "You're finished Barlow, Deirdre loves me, she's mine" have your significant other call from the other room, in an eardrum piercing whine, "Mooooommmmy, I've pooped myself again!"

If you still decide to have youngsters after this, you have both my sincerest admiration and my heartfelt condolences ... but, most of all, because you have the gall to call yourself a Corrie fan, you have my utmost repugnance.
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Heather Smith

I can't get up in the morning because at that time of the day I am usually in bed asleep. It's hard to get up and move around when you're asleep unless, of course, you suffer from somnambulism.

So for those rise-and-shine-the-early-bird-catches-the-worm morons who love to be smugly superior about "making the most of your day while the rest of us waste ours in bed": PISS OFF. It's easy to get up in the morning if you're actually awake. What do you want, a medal? Some of us, on the other hand, are still sleeping at the crack of dawn. If we were awake, we'd get up. Do you think we're stupid? We're asleep! So get off your high horses and give us a break.

Here is a great quote:

I have a "carpe diem" mug and, truthfully, at six in the morning the words do not want to make me seize the day. They make me want to slap a dead poet. ~ Joanne Sherman

Here are some vomit inducing quotes from dead people that I'd like to slap:

Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it. ~Richard Whately

(Not me, matey. I don't lose hours in the morning - I use them wisely by sleeping through them. And, anyway, I'm opposed to hunting so- na-na-na-na-na)

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don't go back to sleep. ~Rumi

(I am told secrets in my early morning dreams by John Denver as we frolic together on the Colorado plains and trust me, Rumi, his secrets are a lot more interesting than the breeze's.)

The stillness of the early morning scene enables me to take in and enjoy many things which pass me by during the bustle of the day. First, there are the scents, which seem even more generous with their offering than they are in the evening. ~Rosemary Verey

(What if the scent is cow manure or diesel fumes? Huh? Boo-ya!)

I leave you with one last quote:

Rooster today, feather duster tomorrow.
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Heather Smith
I cracked the ol' whip and got Edgerton moving on revamping the Old Biddy Rambling blog. It wasn't too difficult - I only had to make reference to Captain Jean-Luc Picard by saying "Make it so" and so it was. In warp time velocity speed the Old Biddy had a facelift! (Edgie loves it when I talk Trekkie to him.)

So what do you think of the new look? Is it as fetching as a freshly coiffed blue rinse hairdo or as disappointing as a run in your dark beige control top pantyhose? The Old Biddy wants to know.

(Although Edgerton didn't create the graphics he hooked me up using a funky blogger template - see link at bottom of page).
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Heather Smith
I think Shaun Majumder and I could be BFF's. And here's why:

He's from Newfoundland - I'm from Newfoundland

He's kinda ebony - I'm kinda ivory

He's funny - I try to be.

He has Mussels In The Corner listed on one of his playlists - I once killed Mussels In The Corner on the accordion.

See what I mean? If that isn't BFF material I don't know what is.

I'm tellin' ya - if I ever got hold of Shaun Majumder I'd grab him by the cheeks and shake his head back and forth saying, "Who's a funny boy then? Huh? Who is it? Is it my Shaunie? Yes it is! Oh yes it is!"

Is this blog post confusing you? It's not about my dream life on the Yorkshire Dales, it's not about my dear persnickety Edgerton, it's not even about my three children whose constant needs keep me months behind on Coronation Street. So where did the whole Shaun Majumder/BFF thing come from you ask? I'll tell you where. CBC's Canada Writes. Shaun is one of the judges. I listened last week and his talent is undeniable. He tickles me, I tell ya. Cracks me right up.

If you ask me, Shaun Majumder fits right in here at Old Biddy Rambling. He and Edgie would get along, I'm sure of it (I must find out if Shaun appreciates fine coffee made in the most anal of ways), and I am sure Edgerton wouldn't mind if Shaun appeared in one of my dreamy Yorkshire Dales posts (after all, there's room for three around the open fire inside my charming thatched cottage).

Yes, Shaun would be a perfect BFF. I can see us now, sitting atop a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It's beautiful. It's picturesque. The cold wind is eating the faces right off of us. The waves crash against the rocks, the noise preventing me from hearing anything Shaun says, but I watch his mouth moving and I laugh - oh how I laugh - because whatever he's saying is most certainly funny. It would have to be. It's coming from the sweet lips of Shaun Majumder. My BFF.
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Heather Smith
It's not what you think. I don't hate old people because they drive too slow or because I got swarmed by a pack of mall walkers as I tried to make my way to the Gap. It's worse than that.

Twice in one week, I witnessed something horrible. On two separate occasions I saw an elderly person struggle to do the zipper up on their coats.

Ugh. I hate that. As they fumbled again and again and again, I just wanted to run over and do it for them. But that would have just made things worse.

If I was a more clever person I would invent the "old fogey coat". It would look like a regular coat but would have a voice activated zipper. On command, the insertion pin of the zipper would automatically connect to the retainer box (technical terms - I wiki-ed it). The zipper would then magically zip itself up, the old geezer/biddy holding the pull tab confidently as if they were the ones in control. The voice command could be one that they program in themselves. For example, when they are about to zip up they could casually say (to a friend or to themselves) "I better pick up some Geritol today". Then Bam! On the word Geritol, the zipper's interlocking teeth would glide together effortlessly and easily.

Once, many years ago, I saw an old person running (well shuffling very quickly) to catch a bus. They just about made it to the stop when the bus pulled away. The driver, too concerned with schedules, didn't care. I was on that bus. It was a "kill me now" moment, one that has been etched in my memory ever since.

I find heartbreaking moments like these really, really hard to shake off. They stick to me like Poligrip to dentures.

Perhaps I should channel this angst and go volunteer in a nursing home or something. Maybe someday. But maybe it would be too much to handle.

My very first post ever was about embracing old age and becoming an umbrella wielding old biddy with a penchant for curse words. I still aspire to this. But I worry. What if I can't tie up my plastic rain bonnet?
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Heather Smith

I went to coffeegeek.com today. I actually went to a website with "geek" in the title. Will wonders never cease.

It's all dear Edgerton's fault. It all started when, on spying his brand new shiny French press on the counter, I suddenly had a craving for coffee. Many moons ago I would have just thrown a few spoonfuls of Nescafe in and sploshed in some hot water on top of it. A hasty plunge later and I'd be drinking what, at the time, I would have considered a decent coffee. But not now. Not since Edgerton.

As I typed coffeegeek.com into the browser I knew my anal retentive husband would be proud. As I preheated the carafe and carefully measured out the freshly ground Ethopia Yergacheffe Aricha Organic coffee beans from 49th Parallel Roaster I knew that, had Edgerton been watching, a tear would have come to his eye. As I stirred my coffee concoction precisely six times with the coffeegeek recommended chopstick, I realized that my husband had turned me into a coffee snob.

I have to admit - Edgie makes THE best coffee. But now I am spoiled. Tim Hortons, once acceptable, now makes me want to hurl. When Edgie's not around, I suffer greatly ... but I shall suffer no more ... not now that I have coffeegeek.com as backup.

Having Mr. Persnickety as a husband can be trying at times, but how can I complain when I am so often the recipient of lovingly made cappuccinos, often delivered with a latte art heart? I am proud of my coffee geek. In fact, on entering the coffeegeek's website I think that the front page image should be Edgerton himself , smugly sipping a fresh brew, the air of superiority wafting off the page. And that, would bring a tear to my eye.
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Heather Smith
There was an article at CBC.ca yesterday about an employer who received a text message from one of his employees saying that he, the employee, was stuck in a hole. The police were alerted and the search began. Turns out the employee was at home, drunk off his face, with trigger happy texting fingers.

CBC's headline?

WTF? False cry for help in text message triggers police search.

The WTF part of the headline generated many negatives comments on the CBC message board. Posters hurled words at the CBC such as classless, inappropriate, and unprofessional.

I, OTOH, LOL'ed and ROFLMAO'ed. Especially when the people commenting complained that they couldn't use WTF in their post because of the CBC language filter. OMG I almost PMPL.

The CBC have now removed WTF from the headline. :(

IMHO, it may have technically been inappropriate but, ATEOTD, it was a ray of sunshine on a website full of mostly dismal news ... and TBH, GMTA because I would have written the same headline.

Anyway, G2G. HAND, and remember, DFTT.

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Heather Smith

There are many words spouses fear hearing from their significant others:

We need to talk.
I don't love you anymore.
I've found somebody new.
It's not you, it's me.

Scary words indeed. But nothing frightens my husband more than:

Maybe we should consider....

Seems harmless enough. I suppose it would be if what followed was along the lines of:

... putting in another flower bed.


... having roast beef for dinner tonight.

But I have never followed "maybe we should consider" with the above phrases. Here is what I am more likely (and have) followed it with:

... moving to Germany for six months.
... getting a dog.
... having another baby. (to be clear, that one was AGES ago)
... doing a home exchange.

So, you see, "maybe we should consider" puts poor dear Edgerton on edge. His body stiffens, his eyes narrow, and the pens in his pocket protector shake from his rapidly beating heart. Ultimately, what happens is this - my smashing idea is rejected before it's even uttered. So I need a new opener. And it can't be "So I was thinking" ... that has already been exhausted and is now in retirement. Any ideas? Please post below.
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Heather Smith

I looked at my face the other day. Really looked at it. I have this big crease across my forehead. I showed my husband. "That's from years of wearing a grumpy frown," he said. I went back to the mirror. I frowned. No, that wasn't it. Frowning appeared to be the cause of the smaller wrinkles at the top of my nose, between my eyes.

So what was the cause of this ginormous gash in the middle of my forehead? I practiced some other faces in the hopes of finding out.

Feeling hopeful, I smiled. Nope, that wasn't it.

Wondering if perhaps I have spent most of my life surprised, I widened my eyes and channeled a sense of wonder. Nope, that wasn't it either.

Then I put on my incredulous look. Bingo! The crease deepened, the length and depth of it revealing just how often I have made that face over the years.

As I examined my incredulous face my head was instantly filled with echoes ... echoes of my own voice ...

Yeah, right.

What a bloody moron.
People are idiots.
What a jerk.

What was he/she thinking?

Are you outta your freakin' mind?

What the hell?

It may appear that I have spent most of my life thinking people are idiots and pshawing every five minutes, but on further reflection I realized that my incredulous face is also one I use quite often in an amused "you're such a jerk, that's why I love you" kind of way.

Am I bothered by the fact that my incredulity has left its mark on my once smooth forehead? Nah. Whatdaya gonna do? So I have a big wrinkle on my head ... so what? At least it wasn't caused by years of frowning. That, I'd regret.
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Heather Smith

I once toyed with the idea of a home exchange. Visit homeexchange.com to see what I mean. This is it how it works: you click on your dream holiday destination and then search through the listing of homeowners from that area who have your town/city/country in mind for their holiday destination. Then, after perusing each other's profiles (complete with house photos and touristy type info) you can swap homes! Saves a bundle on accommodation fees!

Enthralled with this idea, I decided to look into it further. The "pick a country" list was large and varied ... Australia, Peru, Japan, Norway, Egypt. But I had no need for exotic destinations. I went straight to the E's - England - click! Then, straight to the Y's - Yorkshire Dales - clickity click click click!

There were several listings. My favourite? The 150 year old converted farmhouse smack dab in the middle of the countryside. The exterior of the house was gorgeous - grand, yet rustic. The interior was fantastic - modern, yet cottage-like.

I read on.

The listing described the quaint country pub in the village, only two miles away. It described the river that ran just behind the house and the miles and miles of lush countryside, seen from their front room window. Feel the need for a trip to London? Only two hours away by train. (I say Pah! Who needs London?)

The owners of the house went on to explain that Fido, their sweet, beloved border collie, could be left behind if the holiday makers so desired. (Yes, please!)

They added that both the Range Rover and the VW Convertible would be available for use as well. (Um, well, okay, if you insist!)

Ah yes, this was the one. This home on the Yorkshire Dales would do just fine.

It would be marvelous. My children would be transformed. No longer would they need Wii's or Game Cubes or internet, for they would discover the simple beauty of a quiet game of Old Maid or, even better, Go Fish, in front of the fireplace. And besides, who needs Super Mario when you have Lord Fluffington? (The dog ... I renamed him).

The whole notion of a holiday home exchange with Peter and Petula McAllister (I named them too) seemed ideal.

Then I thought about the McAllisters coming, here, to my house. That's when my Yorkshire Dales dream crumbled. What could I offer these people? I'd get a magnificent view of the English countryside, while they'd get a view of ... other houses. I'd be bumping merrily down country roads in Chuck (the Range Rover), making my way to the village pub for a rustic lunch and a pint of lager, while the McAllisters would be rattling around in a crappy Dodge Caravan with a broken passenger side window and the slight aroma of cheesy feet, making their way to the neighbourhood Macs for a bag of chips and a Kit-Kat.

I faced reality. It was never gonna happen.

Turns out it wouldn't have happened anyway. My husband shuddered at the very idea. While he did not object to a trip to the dales, he strongly objected to the idea of strangers in our house. With a turned up nose and a just-about-to-vomit grimace he said:

"Ew! Strange people using our mugs and glasses and touching our remotes and computer keyboards and sweating in our bed? Ew. No. No. Blech. Yuck. No. Oh my God. No."

(My husband is a germophobe but that's another blog entry.)

So that was it. The end of the fantasy. But mark my words - some day I will be frolicking in the Yorkshire Dales donning a Barbour wax jacket and a fetching pair of khaki Wellingtons, a loyal hound with a grand name at my side.

In the meantime, homeexchange.com is a fun place to surf. Go ahead, try it. Even if you never plan on a home exchange, it's fun to see where/how people in other parts of the world live.

And sometimes, toying with an idea is as much fun as following through with it.
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