100 Best Cities in the World – the Count down Continues


So – let’s review – 50 cities – I’ve been to 28 of them. That’s 56%. Hope I do better on the next 25…

50. Dallas – Great start – I’ve been there several times. I’ve also been to Fort Worth, and most importantly – to Plano! Plano is actually a lovely suburb of the vast and massively tall buildings of Dallas. We once made the mistake of thinking that downtown Dallas might be worth a visit – on Saturday. Boy, were we wrong. Like many US downtowns – it’s a city of office buildings – alive during the day, dead at night. Really really dead on weekends. Unlike Montreal, with it’s bustle day and night – Dallas looked and felt dead that day. We left and went to the Science Center in Fort Worth (great place). But hey – things change and it’`

49. Atlanta – I was raised in Atlanta. Lived there from 1951-1966. My fondest young memory is feeding the ducks bread from our table at a lake (pond?) near our home. My memories of growing up aren’t all that wonderful generally – but I did love our yard. We lived on an acre of land – mostly woods with a creek running through it – and we had a gardener. One time a rattle snake came into the grassy part of the yard – and he had to kill it with a hoe. Very memorable. I also remember playing for hours and hours and hours in the woods. Basically by myself – but sometimes with some of the neighborhood kids – all of them boys. I was very glad to leave Atlanta when I graduated high school. At that time – 1966 – 50% of the girls in my HUGE graduating class got married within 2 weeks of graduation. I was a square peg in a round hole. I was the ONLY kid in my class who applied to college across the Mason Dixon Line. My favorite high school class – math of course. But I loved science as well. My senior year we had a science fair – and for my project – I learned to program a computer. The very first IBM 360 – it was in a AC room with a raised floor for all the cables. And the guys running it were amazed that a 16 year old GIRL (it was the GIRL that amazed them) was interested. I wanted to be an engineer. But in those days – Girls didn’t become engineers. So I settled on Math and Physics. Up hill battle even so. None of this described Atlanta however. Last time I visited it was a lot like Dallas. Huge downtown with towering office buildings and not many folks actually living there. Vibrant suburbs – still segregated to this day. Oh well.

48. Orlando. Another easy one. I love Disney anything.. I’m a Disney nut. I’d have worn Disney clothing with princesses if it came in boy stylings. I’ve taken my kids, I’ve gone with my sister Carrie (we rode King Kong at Universal so many times they allowed us to just sit in the front rather than run thru the maze). I’ve taken my grand-kids. I think that Disney blew it big time when they lost out to Universal on Harry Potter – but I love Harry Potter lands to death. I adore the Star Wars section of Disney Hollywood – and I’m a true believer in the Avatar lands. Memories of Orlando are many – although I think my favorite was when we took Sophie (about 3 at the time). She was up up up – then asleep. She slept thru every dinner, thru meeting Belle, thru truly expensive Princess dinner parties. But her highlight – having a short conversation with Rapanzel over how to wash hair…

47. Calgary – Wow – if this list sticks to North America – I’m golden. Ok- Calgary – definitely a yes. We took all 3 of my kids on a trip to Banff and the National Parks and started in Calgary. Huge empty streets except for the street walkers. My oldest son – Robert (12 at the time) – wanted to know what these ladies were doing. They would hang around the nearby all night convenience store because it had a pay phone. We’d go to the place to grab a treat before bed. Paths crossed. Questions were answered… maybe.

46. Copenhagen – well – I’m not surprised this city made the list, it’s cool. I’ve been to Copenhagen, but I was really young (like 20), I saw the Mermaid, I caught a ferry back to England. All I remember.

45. Tel-Aviv – Check that guy off too! After the war in 1976 we got really concerned about the long range life span of Israel, and felt we had to visit while there was still an Israel to visit. Went with my oldest (only at that time) son – who was just 18 months old. We camped our way around most of Israel, visited the Sinai (at that time part of Israel), and even went snorkeling in Elat. I managed to leave my passport at the cable car station at Masada, ended up driving back to get and went to the wrong side of the mountain! With an 18 month old kid and a stroller. And weather over 100 degrees. The Israel army took pity on me – and a solider went to the Cable car base, got my passport – took the cable car up the mountain and then RAN down the Roman road to where I was sitting in the shade with Robert. He gave me my passport and than RAN back up the Roman road. These guys are fit.

44. San-Paulo. Knew it wasn’t going to last. On my short list. Oh well.

43. Frankfurt – Been there. Got bumped off an airplane and had to spend the night. Toured the city. The sidewalks were covered in dog poop. In those days – they didn’t have ‘clean up after your pet’ laws – so folks just let the dogs poop as needed. Horrid. You couldn’t look up to admire the architecture or even straight ahead to watch for traffic lights. If you didn’t watch your feet – you walked in it!

42. Hong-Kong – Been There. Sadly. Unfortunately for Hong-Kong – we had to leave Kyoto to fly to Hong-Kong. I really didn’t want to leave Kyoto – and arriving in Hong-Kong was literally a flight into hell. The airplane had to dip between two mountain peaks on the way in – and the belly of the plane scraped the tops of buildings on the descent. The streets were packed – and folks walked around/over/ignored the millions of beggars in the streets. I’m not good with places where there are really really wealthy people living on top of really really poor people. And there are really really poor people in Hong-Kong living on boats with no proper water or toilets, living in slums, living on the streets. Our hosts did their level best to impress us – but I left thinking – never coming back.

41. Montreal – I live here! Wow – I live in one of the World’s Best Cities. But I knew that. I adore my city, it has everything except perfect weather… Outside of say February and March – when only the insane lie here – it’s great. Our version of a heat wave is when it get’s above 90 – and even then, it doesn’t last long. Our spring is too short (we go from covered in Snow to covered in flowers in under 30 days – often with a snow storm thrown in to make sure we’re paying attention). We have great theatre (read my blog if you don’t believe me), we have great Festivals – Fringe is just one – but there’s the Laugh Fest, The Jazz Fest, Formula 1, The Graffiti Fest, Movie Fest after Movie Fest – it’s a never ending cycle of things to do and see. Well – not during Covid of course. During Covid we’ve gotten to respect our multitude of fabulous parks, walking paths, bike lines and out door markets. Our restaurants have rediscovered the delights of having a veranda – and out door dinning – even out door FINE dinning is the newest in thing. No – we’re not perfect – but we’re close. I’m super glad I live here. And I dearly wish I didn’t have to stay in February and March like I did this year.

Ok – I’m Pausing again. Of these 10 cities – I’ve been to 9 of them. So out of 60 cities I’m up to 37 – or 61.666%… That’s pretty decent.

Stay tuned to find out who made the top 40 cities of the world… You might want to start making your own lists actually.

Signing off for now – but promising to finish the list some time this summer… (that gives me a lot of space, eh?)

The Soup Lady!

Fringing Out In Montreal – 2021


OMG – Theatre is finally happening in Montreal.

The Fringe Festival 2020 – like most things 2020 – was canceled. But this year the rules have relaxed sufficiently to encourage the organizers to take a chance. About 60% of the offerings are on line – via Fringe TV of all things – but they have 5 locations with live theatre happening.

And the Intrepid Traveler and I didn’t need a second invite! No sooner had they announced the line-up then we went on line to grab tickets. At $8 to $12 a piece, Fringe tickets are bargains – worth the price admission for sure.

We ended up with performances spread out over a week and a half. And we saw 6 different theatre experiences. (In the Fringe Universe – calling things ‘plays’ can be a bit of a stretch!)

Worst of the bunch – a forgettable two person musical experience called Blxck Cxsper: No Justice, No Peace. I think the mis-spellings should have been the indication that this was going to be a mistake. The main performer mumbled so badly into the mike as to be completely unintelligible. I think the point was how to explain how conflicted it would be to be a super hero – but this point was lost in the unintelligible mumble. Oh well. I wasn’t alone on feeling disappointed – the applause could be be described as tepid

My Favourite – Generations. Also a two person event – this was a one act play happening over several years. It mapped the development of a relationship between a mother and daughter – and explored how immigrant parents and their too Canadianized youngsters deal with that divide. At one point the daughter takes out her cell phone, and the two start swiping left and right thru potential matches. When the Mother makes a ‘Match’ – causing chimes to ring on the cell phone – she explodes in Glee – it’s a Doctor! I knew you’d get a Doctor! I had trouble stopping my laughter.

Interesting – The Celebrity Obsession

Awesomely good (but with a flawed ending) – for some reason, the heroine stripped naked. I’m not sure why though, and it kinda distracted me.

The Space Between – Much better. This is a wonderfully performed story of a chance encounter between one woman and another. The heroine has just suffered a terrible loss, and her new friend invites her to a seance where she could contact her lost buddy. Turn out it’s Halloween Eve that she decides to follow thru on this lead – and things decidedly go downhill from there. It’s cute – fast paced, and very cool. The ending is just that – and end – but the rest – adorable!

And earning a – I’m so glad I went award – GlenMary Kate Moss. The description implied this would be a gender twisted version of the famous Glengarry Glen Ross. The first thing to note – it was sold out, and sold out fast. But why that happened became obvious when we walked into the theatre. This play was being performed in a standard theatre format – 6 rows of adjoining seats, tightly spaced together, about 120 seats altogether. In order to cope with the rules of Covid Social Distancing, the theatre folks had put black drapes over most of the seats – leaving just 25 seats available – all spaced 1.5+ meters apart on the sides and on the back. I’ll bet they could have sold out the original 120!

Anyway – back to the story of GlenMary KateMoss. The idea, like the play that inspired it, is that there is a group of people who are scam artists – knowingly selling folks on land that isn’t habitable. That’s a story as old as time – they are selling the dream. And these ladies are good at it. What they aren’t good at is liking each other! It’s the cat fights and the crafty manipulation of the facts and the story that keeps you focused. Add to that some pretty decent singing and dancing – and you’ve got great Fringe Theatre. I loved it.

And the best of the bunch – yes, better than Generations although less poignant and personal – Spiral. This one is truly challenging to describe. On stage is a giant Rube-Goldberg device, and there to make it work is the maker and fixer of all things. Our heroine starts off by creating light, then dark, then light – just to show that she can, and then proceeds to explain how disappointed she is in how hard we’ve been trying to break her inventions. She has the audience using raised hands to fess up to their part in making the mess she has to fix – Were you always nice to your parents? Did you ever Gossip? Have you ever stolen anything. Meanwhile she is tinkering with the device, fixing this, repairing that until – at the end – in a truly glorious reminder of how great she really is – the thing works!

I’m reminded of the MEME that my daughter once described to me. Folks are describing how bad things have become and a woman labeled “Mother Nature’ says – “Hold my purse for a moment” and rolls up her sleeves.

It was a fabulous Fringe – albeit shortened and tightened and abbreviated. I loved every minute of it.

Signing off to see if there’s any more theatre happening in my great city…

The Soup Lady

Day 243 – Last Commandment for Seniors (#12)


You sill haven’t learned to act your age – and hope you never will!

Hear-Hear! I never ever ever wanted to act my age. I never acted my age all my life, and now is most certainly not the time to rethink that strategy.

When I was in my early teens – and by this I’m referring to that torture chamber we call High School – I was way to studious and concerned with math and science in particular to take notice of the things ‘girls my age’ considered important – like clothes and boys. To be very honest – I’m still not overly concerned about clothes – See Commandment #2 for Senior – “In Style” are the clothes that still fit.

I did go thru a ‘boys are amazing’ period – but for my time – it was very late, and ended rather abruptly with me marrying my still to this day husband – Victor! I arrived at University as a ‘Southern Belle’ – complete with breathy accent – and was immediately considered a very desirable date. This was beyond amazing to me – no boy had ever considered me interesting outside of class before – and I would have 4 dates a weekend. One on Friday night, One on Saturday afternoon, One on Saturday night, and one on Sunday afternoon. With 4 different boys. And for the record – no kissing until the third date!

Sunday night thru Friday afternoon – I was the model student – taking high level math and science classes, and for the first time discovering that there was history after the end of the civil war (for the record – that ended in 1865). I was raised in Atlanta Georgia – and that’s when our history classes deemed that history stopped. Surprise Surprise – it didn’t stop!

So between fending off boys (I took to hiding in libraries to be sure to get my studing done) and then going to parties all weekend – I was very busy.

I suppose this period is the closest I came to acting my age.

After I met Victor – things got really interesting in the ‘boy’ department. Victor was in the habit of waiting until the last minute before making a date – and I would be ‘taken’ long before. After several ‘I’m sorry, I can’t go out with you, I’m busy” conversations, he learned to book me ahead – and eventually we agreed to go steady. I think the crisis was ‘Homecoming Weekend 1967’ when I was the Princess from one fraternity – not Victor’s – and thus too busy to be with him. I think he asked me to go steady so that he could stop having to ask me out so far in advance.

But I still had to keep up my studies – but now I had to hide out in new places – and just from one boy! Fortunately, Victor pretty much hated libraries – and there were lots of smaller ones on campus that I don’t think he ever found. I was able to keep up my work weeks, play weekends lifestyle.

Then I spent my Junior Year Abroad. I choose to go to London to study Drama – which for a Math/Physics Major was a bit of a stretch. But the folks in the Drama department were ok with it, and while the Math Department got their knickers in a knot (I had to drop my double major), the Physics Department agreed to it. So – London, without my boyfriend, for a full year abroad.

This was, I admit, one of my favourite years (Fall of 68 to the Fall of 69)… and again – I wasn’t acting my age. I was interested in studying, getting good grades, visiting Museums and Art Galleries – and my Drama Department co-students thought me dull, boring, and not really a decent drama student. Push came to shove when I won a lottery to go behind the scenes at the Royal Vic and meet Sir Lawrence Olivier – then starring in Chekhov’s “Three Sisters”. Despite pressure to give up that opportunity to a ‘real’ drama student – I persisted in taking advantage of that win, a meeting I remember to this day.

My year aboard ended the way a year aboard for a square peg in a round hole must always end. I drove with my friends to Istanbul – then waved goodbye as they crossed into Asia on their way to India. I traveled alone by train and hitchhiking (ok – I was 20 – it seemed acceptable) back into ‘Europe’ and met up with a friend who I didn’t really know – but who wanted to do a bicycle trip thru the German speaking section of Romania. We met up in her university town – took our bicycles by train into Romania and spent 2 weeks or so biking from village to village. In those days (Summer 1969) the way you showed off your wealth was by the height of the manure pile in front of your house. I grew to love Lard Sandwiches – and we feasted off the garden crops of peas and green beans. One of the villagers bought my bra for her daughter for the equivalent of a weeks living money – and in a Youth Hostel in Czechoslovakia we swapped a $1 American bill for a day’s worth of food and lodging. Interesting times to visit behind the Iron Curtain.

I eventually made my way back to Paris, met up with my sister who flew in from the US, and we continued to wander thru France and eventually to England. We flew home from London – and while she returned back home to Atlanta and University – I went back to Tufts for my final year. Victor had meanwhile changed schools and was now at Cornell. Our plan was to see if we were still ‘an item’, and if so – I’d graduate and continue my schooling at Cornell – provided I could get accepted of course.

We did, I was – and we got married Sept 11, 1970. It’s 50 years and counting today…

Enough of this – bottom line – I’ve always persisted in being a tad different. I had my kids a bit later than other folks, I got married a lot earlier (I was 21 – Victor was 20), I was studious to the point of embarrassment to most of my peers, and when I got close to retirement – my friend ‘The Intrepid Traveler’ and I started our yearly trips to far off places. Not to be left out Victor and I did a fair amount of traveling too!

I’ve been to China, Mongolia, Taiwan, Hong-Kong, Japan, South Korea, Bali, France, Fez, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Russia, the Netherlands, England, Ireland, Scotland, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Malta, Liechtenstein, Vatican City, Belgium, Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, Turkey, Israel, Amsterdam, South Africa, Kenya, Botswana, Rwanda, Zambia, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Czechoslovakia, Greenland, Northern Quebec, Most of the US, Eastern and Western Canada, Venezuela, US Virgin Islands, Mexico, British Virgin Islands, Grand Cayman, Belize, Jamaica, Bermuda, Bahamas, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam. I realize of course that traveling now is not the same – but I was young, I was keen – and I was willing to travel cheap. Mostly – I was lucky to have a friend willing to travel with me! And grateful to have a husband who also found travel interesting.

There are so many places that I loved at the time I was there that I couldn’t imagine going back to – my ‘roughing it’ ability is seriously suffering from concerns about where there’s going to be a clean toilet – but I would recommend doing it NOW – don’t wait till you are your age to travel. It’s never too late – and it’s always rewarding – Masks on for safety of course.

Enough of this trip down memory lane. It’s getting embarrassing. Bottom line – I’m not planning on acting my age any time soon… Get over it.

Signing off to think of something else crazy to do… Mask on of course – The Soup Lady

Day 40 – To Mask or Not to Mask? The Question of the day


Here in Quebec, the likelihood that wearing a mask in public will someday soon be mandatory is getting closer and closer to reality.

There is talk of opening day cares and elementary schools – not because the virus is under control (it’s most definitely NOT) – but because so many parents need to be able to go back to work, and that can’t happen until there is some kind of day care for younger kids.

Today they opened schools outside of Montreal – and we are all waiting to see how that goes. The schools that have been open are splitting schedules to keep class sizes small, and doing everything they can to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

But conversations with friends who are teachers reveals how fraught feelings are in this regard. Parents have been told that they don’t ‘HAVE’ to send kids back – it’s optional. So my teaching friends are wondering – what do they do with a kid who doesn’t finish – fill in the blank – grade? Pass them anyway. I’m guessing yes.

Anyway – Jokes about masking are making the rounds of the internet – and I share my favourites below:

Facemasks for Dummies (from my sister)
If we all run around naked and someone pees on you, you get wet right away. If you are wearing pants, some pee will get through, but not as much. So you are better protected.
But if the guy who pees also is wearing pants, the pee stays with him and you do not get wet.
Is that clear enough?

And to share some more Jokes.. Always a pleasure – here you go…

If you answer the phone with “Hello, you’re on the air!” Most telemarketers will quickly hang up…

Whe one door closes and another door opens, you are probably in prison.

To me ‘drink responsibly’ means don’t spill it.

When I say “the other day”, I could be referring to any time between yesterday and 50 years ago.

Interviewer: “So, tell me about yourself”. Me: “I’d rather not.. I kinda want this job”

I remember being able to get up without making sound effects…. Good times.

Remember, if you lose a sock in the dryer, it comes back as a Tupperware lid that doesn’t fit any of your containers… (This explains a lot!)

Sixty might be the new forty, but 9:00 is the new midnight

I finally got 8 hours of sleep. It took me three days, but whatever.

I run like the winded.

When someone asks what I did over the weekend, I squint and ask, “Why, what did you hear??”

When you do squats, are your knees supposed to sound like a goat chewing on an aluminum can stuffed with celery?

I don’t mean to interrupt people. I just randomly remember things and get really excited.

And finally…

It’s the start of a brand new day, and I’m off like a herd of turtles…

Signing off to see about buying masks – The Soup Lady

Day 39 – Sometimes Lucky is better than Smart


AKA – “Bridge was their Passion. Then People started to Die”.

That’s the title of a NY Times piece by Jack Healy published on April 29 – it’s the story of how Covid-19 did a number on a Bridge Club in Denver. Starting with one sick 83 year old (who died), contact tracing showed she’d come in close contact with 100 other people at the bridge club. Funerals, weddings, Choir Practice and family gatherings then provided for an uncontrolled spread of the virus . That Bridge Club became Ground zero for Covid-19 in that section of Denver.

And there – but for Luck – certainly not Smarts – go I.

I love playing bridge – and I have two favorite bridge clubs. For those wondering what a Bridge Club might be – it’s a place that holds regularly scheduled competitive (or not so competitive) games of bridge.

To play bridge at a club, you sit at tables of 4. Trays – called boards – holding the cards are circulated from table to table – and every 3 boards the pair sitting E/W get up and change tables. In effect – every person is exposed to every other person – well under any Social Distancing measure. And worse – the cards are held by every other person sitting in your direction at the match.

Plus – there are always snacks – with folks gathering to help themselves.

To make sure a Bridge Club is a perfect storm for Covid-19 – most bridge players are seniors, many in frail health, lots with compromised immune systems.

So if one person had contracted the disease – every person in the room would have almost certainly been exposed.

So why the Lucky? When I’m in Montreal – I play bridge almost daily at our club – and our club is located in one of the epi-centres for the disease in Montreal.

So why didn’t I get exposed? Because as you know from reading my blog – I was in St. Croix celebrating my husband’s 70th birthday. There’s only one tiny bridge club on the island, and with my kids there – playing bridge wasn’t happening for me. So I just never went.

My last day playing bridge at my club was March 7. Just before the Covid-19 fan hit the fire. Lucky – not smart!

Back to the story by Jack Healy. He reports that the 83 year old woman went to a sectional held at the Colorado Springs Bridge Center from Feb 27 to March 3. Over 150 people were there – and no one was taking any precautions.

And bridge is the ultimate of social games. You snack, you chat, you handle cards handled by other people, you handle the boards, you all touch the machines that record the scores. It’s almost impossible to imagine how a bridge club wouldn’t be a hot bed of Covid-19 infection.

And in the Colorado Springs Bridge Center – our game and our lack of concern cost 4 members their lives, and at least 25 others have spent over a month fighting symptoms of the virus.

So what of the future of bridge clubs? Right now, everyone is playing bridge on line – and our local clubs are setting up ‘Virtual’ clubs so that some income will come in – they still must pay the rent if they rent space.

But in the long run – hand sanitizer isn’t going to work. We’ll all have to wear masks, not come in sick or even with mild symptoms, we’ll have to have on gloves, and I’m not sure how to spread us further apart easily – bridge tables are generally 4’ squares at the most.

My guess – Bridge Clubs may well become a think of the past. And that’s a shame. For many going to the Bridge Club for a daily game gave their lives meaning and structure. Something to do when the weather wasn’t great – or even if the weather was good.

And for those seriously frail – it was safe. You could avoid moving too much by sitting North/South, you could even arrive and depart in a wheel chair. And your friends were there. You could gossip a bit while waiting for the game to start, you could share Grand-kid stories.

Bridge Clubs – RIP – a victim of Covid-19

Signing off to play bridge on-line – The Soup Lady

Day 35 – My Squirrels are wearing cleats


My view includes a long thin section of garden with a 6’ high wooden fence, a stone path way, a bird feeding station, and several ever green shrubs. There are also several large trees.

I mention this so you can appreciate how Squirrel friendly my home is! I have never managed to get an accurate count on the number of Squirrels that call my home – home, but I’m sure it’s well over a dozen

There are certainly several identifiably unique ones. There’s one with the rat like tail – I have no idea what happened to him, but trust me – he’s identifiable!

There’s also the Sex Pot. This Squirrel loves to sit on a fence post and whirl his big fat bushy tail around like a stripper whirling a set of beads. Quite the show, and I’m guessing it’s won him many mates.

I have a pair that love playing tag up and down the trees – they even play hide-and-seek. One will go 4 square against a tree – on the far side from the other one. After a few seconds – the seeker – who I think was peeking – always finds the first one. It’s not much of a game, but they do seem to enjoy it.

But the real fascination in my yard for the Squirrels is my bird feeding station. It consists of a long pole, a RACCOON Baffle, and then right now I have two feeders and a Geranium Pot hanging from the hooks above the Baffle.

For those who don’t know – a Raccoon Baffle is designed to prevent Raccoons from attacking the feeders directly. Fortunately, I don’t have Raccoons in my yard, but I have very very tenacious Squirrels. They can and will do anything that they can think of to get to my feeders.

I admit to wondering why all the effort. The birds gleefully toss the seeds that they don’t want onto the ground – so the Squirrels are hardly starving. But I guess the Squirrels figure that they too should be able to feast from the source.

One time I saw a Squirrel make a flying leap from a branch of a tree about 20 feet above the feeder. He missed. He never tried that again.

Yesterday I saw a Squirrel trying to make his way below the windows on my board, balance on the thin edge that runs along the outside, hoping to get opposite the feeders and from there navigate the 4 foot leap. I really thought he might make it. He got around 3 of the window edges, balancing super carefully and grabbing hold madly. But when he tried to get past the 4th edge, he slipped and plummeted the 4’ to the garden. Haven’t seen him trying again…

But I have my eyes peeled. I don’t think those guys will ever give up.

I have caught them sitting on my porch, glazing at me thru the door – clearly wondering why I haven’t been filling the feeder recently. They are almost as hard to resist as the two Cardinal families that call my yard home, or the very noisy, very large Blue Jays that love to announce to the world that I’ve filled the feeders and all is good in the world.

I shall continue to keep my eyes peeled for Squirrel oddities – but for right now – they are signalling that yet again the feeders are empty.

Hey – not my fault guys – you ate it!

Signing off to fill the feeders – The Soup Lady

Day 34 – Golden Finches are definitely bird brains!


I love feeding the birds – as useless and silly as this seems in the midst of a crisis of this proportion – I still get a serious kick out of watching them eye the feeders, size up their opportunity – then soar or flutter or stumble in.

The Crackles are a nuisance bird – they arrive in flocks and are picky eaters. I think the Squirrels might have them on speed dial, because the pickings left on the ground after the flock departs are enough to keep all my Squirrels stuffed for at least one day.

But the silliest birds have to be the aptly named Golden Finches. They are tiny birds, delicate and brilliantly coloured gold. I was convinced that if I put out a feeder filled with Thistle, apparently their favourite food – they would come.

So I did. I’m as house bound as everyone else – and there’s not much else to do. A friend of mine did the shopping (I’m not supposed to expose myself unnecessarily). I ended up with both Thistle – and a Thistle feeder.

Ok – so I filled the feeder – and fussed around trying to put it in the right spot. I wanted to be able to see the birds enjoying the Thistle, and I wanted the larger bird feeder to be near enough to enjoy the birds there as well.

I was delighted and amazed when the first Golden Finch arrived. He checked out the Thistle feeder. He checked out the larger feeder. And he left without eating.

Foo. But maybe he’ll be back? With friends?

Day later – he does return – alone unfortunately. But this time, he tries the food in both feeders – spurns the Thistles to munch down on the seeds and peanuts in the larger bird feeder.

You dumb bird. I bought that Thistle for you – what are you thinking?

Apparently he’s thinking that the food in the larger feeder is better tasting – because he came back – with a friend – and they both proceed to enjoy the tasty morsels in the larger feeder – completely ignoring my so carefully bought and filled Thistle feeder.

Bird Brains!

Signing off to watch her birds – again – The Soup Lady

Day 21 – I’m getting desperate for laughter – so here’s some we can share!


My Daughter-in-law shared these with me – and I’m sharing with you. And you can feel free to share with your friends.

We all need some laughter in our lives right now.

Did you know that on the Canary Islands there is not one canary? And on the Virgin Isles? Same thing – not one canary there either!

If Cats worked at Home Depot – they’d say: “Welcome – go find it yourself”

I’m glad I learned about parallelograms in Hight School Math instead of how to do my taxes. It comes in so handy during Parallelogram Season.

You drop something when you were younger, you just pick it up. When you’re older and you drop something, you stare at it for a bit contemplating if you actually need it anymore.

One way to find out if you are old is to fall down in front of a lot of people. If they laugh, you’re still young. If they panic and start running to you, you’re old.

Musings of a dog: Look at my mom outside picking up my poop. She had better wash her hands before she even thinks about touching me.

I find, these days, that most of my conversations start out with: Did I tell you this already? Or What was I going to say?

Instead of a sign that says ‘do not disturb’ I need one that says ‘already disturbed – proceed with caution!”

The main function of the little toe on your foot is to make sure that all the furniture in the house is in place.

I finally did it! Bought a new pair of shoes with memory foam insoles. No more forgetting why I walked into the kitchen.

You never appreciate what you have till it’s gone. Toilet paper is a good example.

Heads up on this one – if you are still pro-Trump – skip to the bottom… But honestly – it’s irresistibly funny….

If Trump were Captain of the Titanic
– There isn’t any iceberg
– There was an iceberg but it’s in a totally different ocean
– The iceberg is in this ocean but it will melt very soon
– There is an ice berg but we didn’t hit the iceberg
– We hit the iceberg, but the damage will be repaired very shortly
– The iceberg is a Chinese iceberg
– We are taking on water but every passenger who wants a lifeboat can get a lifeboat, and they are beautiful lifeboats
– Look, passengers need to ask nicely for the lifeboats if they want them
– We don’t have any lifeboats, we’re not lifeboat distributors
– Passengers should have planned for icebergs and brought their own lifeboats
– I really don’t think we need that many lifeboats
– We have lifeboats and they’re supposed to be our lifeboats, not the passenger’s lifeboats
– The lifeboats were left onshore by the last captain of this ship
– Nobody could have foreseen the iceberg

And my personal favourite ‘Tumpism..”:

– I’m an expert on icebergs. I’ve got lots of friends who deal with icebergs. Some of the best. Really good ice people who know ice and their forms of berginess…

Signing off to go search for more things to laugh about in these troubling and frustrating times – and hoping that you and yours are safe and healthy – The Soup Lady

Where are you in the Global Economy?


Ok – I know – strange question from an admittedly old Grannie living in Canada – but I went to a ‘Chat Up’ at my local Theatre company yesterday, and the play they were discussing was ‘Shoplifters’ by Morris Panych. And during the discussion, the question of where we fit in the Global Economy came up.

I want to start with an awesome link – Are you in the Global Middle Class – published by the Washington Post in January 2019. So it’s up to date – and seriously interesting. You can quickly determine where an income of say – $59,000 US would put you relative to almost every country in the world. For those of us in Canada – who struggle with outrageous taxes – trust me, this is an eye opener.

Check it out.

Shoplifters is a very funny, very understandable, very mental challenging play about 4 people – 2 security guards, and 2 ‘shoplifters’. The guards are male, the shoplifters female, and the crime obvious. But how they deal with the crime – not so obvious. It is clear from the very beginning that none of these 4 people are in the upper class. And as the play proceeds – it is made clear that none of them are in the middle class either. So the question arises, what exactly is the ‘crime’?

While morally I can’t condone shoplifting, I think it just makes the prices higher for the rest of us, it is hard to avoid appreciating the protagonists point of view. As one of the security guards admit – I’ve never had a steak that good! And all 4 of them, as are most of us as well, are primary concerned about personally doing better. How to ‘do better’ is of course the real question. Is being a coat check girl for the rest of your life really ‘living’? Alma, the older and more experienced shoplifter, argues that this is not living. And I’m thinking that the folks in the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ group would agree with her.

We all want the very best for our kids and grand-kids. That goes without saying. Would I want them to think that shoplifting was ok if they couldn’t afford anything better? Or would I want them to try to find a way to afford that something better? I naturally think I’d go for the latter, but so far I haven’t really been faced with that choice.

There was a time in my life when I couldn’t afford steak. I could only afford a box of Mac and Cheese for dinner every night. But I always knew that this time would end – and maybe that optimism is what kept me from shoplifting. I don’t know for sure, one way or the other.

Bottom line – this is a great play – do try to see it when it shows up in a local theatre near you. And do check out that website. See if you in the global middle class – and where you fit in your local economy as well. Then consider the folks below you. How do they make ends meet?

Signing off to write another blog – about another topic discussed at that Chat Up – The Soup Lady

PS: if you follow my travels – my next trip with the Intrepid Traveller is to Japan – so if you’ve wonder if a low cost trip to one of the world most expensive countries is possible – stay tuned!

Zastrozzi, Bar Karpra and Bus Stops


3 Plays in 3 nights – color me Crazy! And color me lucky that I live in a city with so much relatively inexpensive live theatre! What fun it is to be able to pay under $15 to see great theatre.

And I’m not even a professional reviewer.

A statement that some of my readers might find disingenuous at the least. But marching on as always – I will attempt to both tease and torture my readers into keeping their eyes peeled for any of these to show up at a theatre near you!

First stop – Bar Karpra the Squirrel Hunter – which is a fringe winner trying way to hard to be a real piece of theatre. Cute for fringe, and not badly acted, and certainly well produced and staged – it’s a play in search of a strong story line. Unfortunately for the audience – it doesn’t find it. I read a review of this play that tried to defend this lack of point by describing it as a poem – well – it’s a badly written one then.

The staging however was quite cool – and I loved how the flowing side screens filled the darkened space with just the hit of forest green and white as the seasons changed. I also found some of the physical tricks appealing – not realizing until the very end that two of the ‘flat’ surfaces in fact were padded. Neatly done. But good staging does not a great play make.

Fast forward 2 nights to Bus Stops. Put on by one of our professional theatre groups – and costing the viewer significantly more than Bar Karpra – it suffered from many of the same ills. And given that the same set designer created both productions – I suppose it makes sense that both should be more about glorious set design than about story.

Too bad I care more about story.

Bus Stops – being far more polished and professional – is perhaps the bigger disappointment. If we pay more – we expect more. And Yes – Bus Stop delivered more – more tumbling, more special effects, more surprising bits and pieces – but still the lack of directed story line was so distracting that it took away from the whole.

Too often I was left wondering – why did that actor just do that? Why does that one seem so angry, that one so bored. We know from the start that there has been a tragedy – but we don’t know until the end exactly what happened – altough there is plenty of opportunity to guess.

And then there were the cute bits of switching clothing. Neatly done and very interesting – but how does dancing with shirts contribute to the story line? Are we to understand that each person is representing several other people? Ok – I get that. But did they have to dance with the shirts to prove it? Weird.

The set of course is another story. It’s a bus that has been bombed – and the frame work provides the actors with places to swing, hang, fold, fall, and pose. As time goes by – parts of the bus are dismantled – I’m guessing to show how the story is unfolding. Neat stuff – but just not quite enough to make up for the lack of a clearly developed and fully realized story.

Ah – but then we have Zastrozzi. Stunning, fabulous, intriguing, stimulating, challenging, exciting, fun, entralling, exciting, and well worth paying to see. As you probably guessed – I loved Zastrozzi.

It is primarly a fight fest – the 5 actors (3 men, 2 women) fight with everything on stage – bottles, fists, palms, whips, rapiers, and knives. There’s sexual tension – including a ‘rape’ scene where the two participants are sitting near each other – but never touch. There are several extended sword duels – with plenty of dramatic flourishes to keep the result of the duels in questions.

The set itself is almost completely empty – a trunk is dragged from side to side to represent various pieces of furniture – but that is all the set there is. And yet the lack of a set is not a problem. It doesn’t distract from the play – it actually contributes to the feeling of emptiness that all the actors suffer from.

And yes – there is a story. It’s not an easy simple story, and I’m not going to even attempt to summarize it. Enough to say that all the fights make sense within the larger pictures. And isn’t that what we want – things to make sense when seen as a whole.

Zastrozzi is not a new play – it was first performed in 1977 – so I suspect that it is likely to end up being staged elsewhere. But for now it’s on at the Mainline until March 20th, 2016. If you miss it – you will be missing something grand.

Signing off to see even more theatre – The Soup Lady.