Thursday, June 29, 2006

Thanks for the Memories!

My grandfather turns 93 today.

In honour of his life (and what a life it has been) here are some of my best memories of growing up with him and my grandmother. 60 years of marriage, 6 children, 11 grandchildren and scores of years later their story has inspired so many.

My earliest memories of my grandparents (who I call Nana and Papa) include those of spending nights at their house, which for all practical purposes was my home-away-from-home! It was the most exciting thing for me to pack up my little bag with my toothbrush and PJs and head on over to 34 Prof. Almeida Rd where they live. The actual sleep part of the sleepover wasn’t all that much fun. For one thing, in spite of the abundance of beds, couches and plain old floor space in the house, I was always squished between Nana and Papa in their bed. That compounded by the fact that the fan was set to “slow” (even in summer) causing the mozzies to feast on my little legs, that Nana used a wool blanket (which I’m allergic to) and that Papa occasionally went “hrrrrumph” very loudly in his sleep… some times the night seemed never ending! Still, after plenty of tossing and turning … I eventually would fall asleep in some crazy position! Honestly, I’ll take the fact that they kept saying “yes” to sleepovers as an affirmation of their unconditional love. Only dotting grandparents would put up with a wriggling, squirming (not to mention) kicking being disturbing their precious sleep!

As we got older, sleepovers got a little more exciting as sometimes my cousins would also be there. On weekend, we were allowed to stay up a little later than usual to watch a movie, often one of the family videos like Annie, Swiss Family Robinson and our favourite – The Sound of Music. Sometimes, rarely, Papa would join us and then we’d end up watching one of his favourites – The Song of Bernadette or Miracle of the Sun.

Prayer has always been foremost in the Mendonca house, but at certain time of crisis - such as major exams- Nana and Papa go into novena overdrive! I remember back when I was about to appear for my SSC exams, Nana mentioned to me that all would be well coz she was making a novena to St. Jude in my name. Now usually Nana is all about the Sacred Heart novenas, so I was touched that she’d say a special novena just for me. It was only later that I found out that St. Jude is the Patron Saint of Hopeless Cases! Still, I passed with flying colours so it was obvious Nana knew what she was doing! ;)

The evening rosary has been a long time tradition in the Mendonca house. I remember clearly one incident when I was very young; 4, perhaps even 3 years old and I was sitting between Nana and Papa on the couch. We had got to the litany when suddenly, to the surprise of everyone, Papa started laughing! As everyone turned to him in shock – for of all people, Papa was one to take prayer VERY seriously – he explained that he had just heard my replies to the litany. Apparently instead of “Pray for Us” I had been blissfully answering “Wafers”!!

I could go on and on about my “ Nana - Papa stories”. I have so many memories of life with Nana and Papa that sorting through those to highlight just a few proved to be a daunting task. Nana and Papa are pretty much everything to me. They’ve been an integral part of my life since before I can even remember, and even these past 4 years, the miles that physically separate us have not dimmed our relationship. And although I hope they know just how I feel, this is the perfect opportunity to actually say “Thank You” – for everything; for just being you!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Amazing Grace

My friend's dad passed away last week.

Somehow, its not really a sad event. Not that his dad was a bad guy or anything like that…. Just that he had been terribly ill for a while and it was an actual relief to know that he was finally at peace.

My friend seems to be taking his dad's death pretty well. But then again he is a strong person - not like me. I'd prolly crumble and shrivel up in the same situation. Only once before has a person's death really mattered to me. But even then I think I was too young and too far removed from the event for it to truly effect me.

But I know that soon will come a time when death will invade my little bubble of a life and force me to deal with its harsh reality. Every day now I wake up and am thankful that I have one more day with my grandparents. At 93 and 83 … both my grandpa and grandma have enjoyed a long and full life - a fact chronicled by a recent family project that outlined 60 years of their married life. And I have been lucky enough to enjoy their company for 20 wonderful years. But let's be realistic here… they're not likely to live much longer and when their time comes, I wonder if I will have the courage and grace to face death with the same downright ballzy courage of my friend.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Did you know…..

…. That St. Joseph is the Patron Saint of selling your house??!!

Cross my heart… this is all true!

A colleague has been trying to sell his house for a while now and was really despairing of ever getting a good buyer. He comes from an Italian family and one of his aunts mentioned that he should pray to St. Joseph. Well when his wife mentioned it at Church one day…...The pastor overheard and took it one step further. Apparently, if you're looking to sell your house and are having trouble doing so… all one has to do is buy a statue of St. Joseph and bury it (inverted) near the front of your lawn!!
Who'd have thunk??

And true enough, not 4 days after they buried the statue - they sold their house!
Twist of fate… or twisted faith??!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Boys are SO stupid!

Although I get along really well with 99.99% of Jibblet's friends… there's one or two that I really cannot abide by… for various reasons that are immaterial right now. I have told him time and again that I really do NOT like these folks - and one in particular - and would like to avoid all interaction with them. If he wants to meet and go out with them…. Fine by me… just as long as I am not involved.

Now while this seems like a simple enough concept to me - and you the impartial reader please feel free to vote on this - Jibblet just doesn't seem to get it.

Like most recently this weekend, he had invited a bunch of his high school buddies down to Toronto for a baseball game. And because I knew all of the invitees, I even made arrangements for the tickets.
Come Saturday afternoon the doorbell rings and I open the door - only to find Mr. Dirtbag himself on the doorstep! I tell ya- it took every bit of self control NOT to slam the door shut in his face! When confronted.. Andy merely shrugs and claims to have "forgotten" that he invited Dirty D for pre game drinks.

Now I can understand when one forgets to pick up dinner… or the laundry… or even one's offspring as I hear happens from time to time…. But to intentionally invite someone over on a particular date and at a particular time and then totally FORGET that you did it… now THAT takes a person with immense talent for stupid and not to mention irritating behaviour!

Suffice to say I was mad as hell when I found out that I had to put up with the Dirt Bag for the entire evening (though thankfully I had 3 hours respite during the game!) and was inches away from calling and having the entire lot of tickets canceled. If it wasn't for the other 3 guys who's company I actually truly enjoy…. The entire day would have been a washout.

All I'm saying right now is that Jiblett had better wait a LONG time before asking me for tickets again.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

New Horizons

We did it! We bought a house! 

We had been thinking about it for some time now, as life in a condo was getting a little too cramped for everyone. About 6 months ago, my brother suddenly developed a passion for music and formed a band with a bunch of his weirdo friends. Not only did they feel the need to buy all sorts of instruments thrown away by the rest of the music world… but they also decided that our place had the best "feel" when they practised. Our condo had begun to look like the place where all old instruments (and cables) go to die and I think my dad irrevocably made up his mind to move when he tripped over my brother's amp for about the 451st time trying to manoeuvre his way to the TV!! 

Anyway… after a relatively short hunt, we decided on a pretty little bungalow just 10 minutes south of our current place. And since the seller was one of my dad's work colleagues, it seemed as if it were meant to be! Although we shook hands on the deal last night, there's still a lot of formal and legal mumbo jumbo to go though involving lawyers and permits and inspections etc etc etc. We won't have possession till end Oct - the 27th to be precise - as the current owners' new home won't be ready until then. Still, it gives us the next 3 months or so to sell our place and get packed. 

I went to see the house last week and although there are some things I'd like to see changed - like the butt ugly awning over the front bay window and the oh-so-seventies kitchen - overall, I really liked it. As mentioned, it is a bungalow (my Mum can't manage stairs) with 3 bedrooms, 1 bath/washroom, kitchen, living + dining on the main floor. The house has a complete basement with 1 huge bedroom and an ensuite washroom, a laundry room, foyer and family/ rec room with an exit to the backyard. Its not much of a backyard right now… rather neglected actually, but my Dad who has a real green thumb is looking forward to changing that real soon. We had a pretty little garden in Bombay and he's really missed potting around (pun intended!) ever since we moved here and into a Condominium. It’s a good area as well … old neighbourhood - the house itself is about 40 yrs old - but in good condition. And thankfully should cut down on my daily commute as it is not too far from the subway… in fact it would be a nice walk in the summer … about 15 mins. 

So I guess once again I'm looking at a summer filled with packing away memories and mementos… except this time there is no heartbreak - just new horizons!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

General Banter

I.T came by yesterday when I was at lunch and changed my computer monitor.
Apparently I'm NOT going blind… I just had a fuzzy computer screen all along! Whew… thankfully I didn't go out and book that terribly expensive eye appointment!

Heidi (my faithful and not to mention sole blog reader) returns home this Friday after 2 months of "jaunting" all over India. Lucky little b*tch! I can't wait to meet her and hear all of her stories. I've already checked out some of the 100s of pics she's uploaded… and wow am I jealous!

Btw if anyone was curious… I finally DID finish the book about my grandparents. I sent it off to them sometime last month and they were overjoyed to receive it… or so I hear! I'm glad we got that done… they've done so much for me and various other family members over the years that this "tribute" was the very least we could do to "give back".

Jibblett's friends from his home town -or as I like to call 'em "The barn boyz" - are in town this weekend. Hopefully I can switch my Sunday shift so that I can get completely knackered Sattyday night! (it’s a hope at least!) It should make for an entertaining blog entry later.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Transit in the T Dot

I had an unexpected day off last week thanks to the TTC (Toronto Transit) wildcat strike on Monday.

I woke up to pandemonium on the streets of the T Dot as the 800,000 regular TTC commuters found themselves locked out of the subways and no streetcars and busses running either! The Taxi services were going nuts and at one time I was on hold for 20 minutes straight. The second time I tried… held for about 10 minutes before a very harassed operator told me it was a minimum 1.5 hr wait! Upon which I called work and said I wasn't coming in!

I'm trying to upload a pic we took of Yonge St. just backed up all the way.... but stupid blogger isn't loading it!

Fortunately everything was back to normal the next morning… or so I thought! Just two days later on Wednesday morning … some m*f* decided that life wasn't worth living and so decided to ram into a train. This foolish - not to mention selfish- act resulted in the entire eastbound line being shut down - DURING MORNING RUSH HOUR. I mean seriously… if you ARE going to kill yourself… there's a perfectly good lake available… and you won't be inconveniencing anyone that way!

After I was unceremoniously turned out of the subway, I made my way (together with about 500 other irate commuters) up to the bus bays. Of course no one actually knew what was going on… and let alone actually knew where we were… so I just got on to the first street car going in a general downtownish direction! In all that pandemonium.... I befriended a Parsee couple from Bombay who were new to the city and after a meandering, but rather interesting streetcar ride through various parts of downtown… I finally arrived at work 45 mins late but having met some very nice people and an unexpected tour of some lesser known parts of the city!
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