All posts by Dorothy

Corrie Street Aug. 3/14

Fairy Tale

not-have-to-be-like-thatAndrea turns up, with a bag, at Lloyd’s flat. She is ready to move in and ready, willingly or not, to tell him she is married. But Lloyd has already found out. They ignore the flowers and champagne that were meant to welcome her.

Lloyd doesn’t want to hear her explanations or protestations of love. It was a fairy tale, he says, beautiful girl meets ordinary guy and and wants to live with him happily ever fairy tale our-sorry-little-taleafter. But fairy tales don’t come true.

They can, says she. Trapped in an ok marriage, she found her Prince Charming in Lloyd. She loves him, wants to live with him, has left her husband. Her suitcase is her proof, she wants the happy ending.

But Lloyd can’t believe her. Because of his low self-esteem, Steve’s harsh words about her, and the extent of Andrea’s deception, he if-i-did-think-about-itbelieves that once again he’s been played for the fool. He was her bit on the side, as Steve said, and he hadn’t been able to read the signs she had been giving out. So he had blundered on, hoping and believing.

Andrea is devastated. What will she do if Lloyd tells her to leave? He wants to believe her and almost does. He should talk to her husband, he says, try to explain, try to make things right.

She hadn’t told her husband about Lloyd. She had just destroyed his family, she said, why lloyd-grabs-baghurt him more? But Lloyd takes that avoidance of the truth as a negation of him, and Plan B for her. Out, he says as he throws her bag toward the door.

However, a question pops to my mind. Aren’t they on Facebook?  Wouldn’t somebody have checked out somebody else’s profile and have had social media FBcircles collide? Could Andrea so completely hide her two lives from each other for so long?

The Uncles’ Great War

Charlie-Scanlon-1950-London-ONAn uncle and two great-uncles are my touchstones for the First World War. The one I knew best was Charles Scanlon, husband of my mother’s older sister Ada. He was 20 years older than she. Uncle Charlie told wonderful stories, but I don’t remember any being about the war. I knew only that he was a veteran of the war before the one in which my father had been.

2nd Battle of Ypres

Looking through my aunt’s photos and papers recently, I found out Uncle Charlie had been wounded at the Second Battle of Ypres, in April 1915. That was the battle in which the German Army first used the First World War London Free Press 1997 re 2nd Battle of Ypresweaponry of poison gas. At Ypres, it was chlorine gas. I remember the tone of voice adults used, whispers almost: “he was gassed, you know”. Although I didn’t know what it meant, I knew it was awful and that it explained a lot. I don’t know if Uncle Charlie had been gassed. I don’t remember him having the chronic lung or eye damage that I’ve read are major effects of it, if you survived the initial blast.

Lymburner brothers

My mother’s mother had two brothers and both were in World War I. I knew one of them, Uncle Otto Lymburner, from visits to my grandparents’ house. But I never knew his brother Edmund. I mistakenly thought that he had died in the war. But Uncle Eddie came home, married and had a family. He had been wounded, and he died in 1948 at the age of 49.

They both Otto Lymburner 1960 First World War veteranjoined the Canadian Expeditionary Force early in 1916. I don’t know what they did in the war. Maybe my grandmother told me, or would have had I asked. I just remember her with eyes filled with tears, saying “poor Eddie.” It was a sorrow that came from the war, I knew, and it scared me seeing her sad.

We learned about the world wars in school. To me, they were ancient history. If we did any projects that connected us to veterans among our families or friends, I don’t remember them.

If we’d had such projects, or if I had paid attention if we did, maybe I’d know the cause of my grandmother’s tears. I might know if Canadian Army physician John McCrae had First World War monument with In-Flanders-Fieldstreated Uncle Charlie’s injuries. I remember memorizing the poem In Flanders Fields in school. Lt. Col. McCrae wrote it during the Second Battle of Ypres, where Uncle Charlie was wounded. I loved the poem’s sad beauty, but I never in my wildest dreams connected it to my uncle’s life.

Canada entered the war 100 years ago Monday, August 4th. CBC Radio is airing a 10 part series about Canada’s war. The Bugle and the Passing Bell, produced by Steve Wadhams, is here.

On eBay – Canadian Expeditionary Force WWI items

 

Corrie Street July 27/14

Five Minutes

In the final five minutes Wednesday, two scenes we’ve all been waiting for.

 final five minutes where-did-you-get-the-braceletRob squirms as Tracy tells the cops that he gave her the charm bracelet that Steph claims was stolen from her apartment the night Tina was murdered. Steph barges in and gives the story of each charm, and notices one is missing.  Where did you get the bracelet, Mr. Donovan, asks the police officer.  Rob looks like he wishes the floor would swallow him up.

Outside on the street, Todd saunters arm in arm with his new man. Marcus comes around todd-says-nothing-going-onthe corner with little Liam in tow. Todd and new guy kiss. It’s not a ‘good to see you’ cheek peck. Hard for even Todd to sweet-talk his way out of this. Marcus leaves Liam in the dust and runs across to knock Todd against the wall and tell him what he really really thinks.

Liam headed out almost to the street, and maria-sees-liam-alonefortunately Maria appeared from the salon in time to grab him. And she didn’t go off the nut about it afterward to Marcus, who indeed had totally forgotten that he was minding a child.

If you pvr episodes, it would be easy – and unfortunate – to have missed these. Corrie Street started late that day due to the Commonwealth Games running overtime. “Hmm, just a couple minutes missed, probably nothing much but we might as well record it todd-against-the-wallagain later.” After watching those missing end moments, we thanked CBC for their late night rebroadcast.  There are some things you really want to see.

More thanks to CBC for now posting episodes online daily. When they started putting them online, that’s what they did. Then, for Rob stressed as cop looks at braceletreasons never adequately explained, they posted the whole week on Sunday. Inconvenient if you miss, say, Tuesday’s episode and want to watch in sequence. But now, thank you so much, we can watch them here any time, in order.

Corrie Street July 20/14

Designing Todd

My husband does not like Todd, at least not the manipulative and nasty Todd who designing gym-flyerreturned from London. But he grudgingly had to agree with Todd’s critique of the flyer Alya made to advertise the gym.

Too wordy and the wrong font, Todd told Alya. Jim hadn’t paid attention to what Todd was actually saying. He often ignores Todd’s words. I replayed it, saying listen carefully and look at the flyer.

Working in graphic arts, Jim often has advised clients against cramming too many words font-is-shockingin a small space. It looks cluttered and people just don’t read it. He agreed with Todd that “small print is overrated”. Of course, we can also read into Todd’s words a commentary on himself. Perhaps Marcus should heed the ‘fine print’ warnings that Todd carries. But his words to Alya are wise in terms of design if you want to “grab the punters”.

Jim’s advice to Alya was, if all the information is actually needed, put it on the back. Keep the front clean and simple so it catches the eye. In addition to the wrong font choice, Jim added that the blue and pink were the wrong colour choice alongside the others used.

never-grab-the-puntersDon’t crowd too much detail in, choose the right font in a big enough size to read easily and a pleasing colour scheme. Good tips if you’re designing flyers or pamphlets for a business or signs for your yard sale. Alya didn’t thank Todd for his help, but she should have.

Corned Beef Macaroni

A ‘how we think it was made’ recipe for corned beef and macaroni that my grandmother Burwell cooked. It should look like a stew or thick soup. Grandma said it was Pennsylvania Dutch in origin, as was she, and it was something her mother made.  I learned how she made it from my niece via Facebook messages.

Chat_bubbleAre you there?

Hi – I am now.

I was making Gramma’s corned beef pasta stuff and couldn’t remember if potatoes went in! All is well, it turned out :)

ok good. You’ll have to tell me how you make it. I don’t know how. Your dad and I have talked about it but can’t remember. We thought potatoes were in it.

Yes that was my question – potatoes or not! I added small cubes and onion. Dad doesn’t think there was onion but I’m sure there was!! He thought there was cubed cheese too but I don’t think so. lol

Ha! I don’t think there was onion, but I would put it in. No, I don’t think cheese, but that would be good. I don’t know how she creamed it – flour and water? I don’t remember mom or grandma using milk or cream. I’d use milk. When I made it, it wasn’t like hers. It was kind of like cream of macaroni soup. lol

eating macaroniNo cream or milk! Cook your potatoes and the potato water thickens with the macaroni. So yummy! :) Now you must remember. I was about 4 when I cooked this with great-grandma!!

Well, I never! (as Grandma B would say). No wonder it didn’t taste right. Can you send me what you did, including the kind of corned beef.

Corned Beef Macaroni Recipe

corned beef and macaroni* 4 cups water, to boil
* Add 2 potatoes cut in small cubes and 1 small onion diced.
* Add 1 can of corned beef ( I just used no name – looks like spam)
* Let boil another 4 min.
* Add 2 cups of elbow macaroni. You may need to keep adding water as the noodles cook but don’t make it too watery. Stir often because noodles will stick.
* Add salt after cooking as the beef is salty!! Yum yum, the kids even enjoyed it!

corned beef canYou mean the rectangular cans of corned beef? Do you just plonk the whole lump in or chop it up first?

LOL sorry, yes, the rectangle one. I break it up first but it usually falls apart after a while in the broth :)

So, there is the recipe for our favourite meal at Grandma Burwell’s house.  I don’t remember my mother making it and, although I knew it was simple, I could not replicate it.  All this time, my niece could. Fortunately she had a memory lapse so I found out how.  Grandma, I think, would snicker and say “Land o’ Goshen!” if she knew we were doing this.

Corrie Street July 13/14

Happy 40th

who-decides steve on 40th birthdaySteve looking right in the eye of the big milestone birthday. The one where you really can’t pretend you’re young anymore. You’re really not old either but, at the time, you don’t know that.

40 years old, and what have you done. That’s what poor Steve is bemoaning in the cab office. Lloyd is doing well with the encouraging something for the houseand supportive noises. But he’s having trouble being truly sympathetic, still recovering from another type of milestone event himself – a heart attack.

Steve puts everything everyone feels about aging in a nutshell. It’s easier to confess fears and innermost feelings to a friend than to a lover, even a parent. Telling Lloyd helps him organize his thoughts, and decide on an immediate course of action. Forget it’s his birthday, forget the crappy presents he got (slippers and a coffee table) and take the long cab runs. So Lloyd has to tell him about the surprise party. Oh yeah, he really wants a big hoopla!

Michelle pursues him because that party is going to happen. So trapped with her in his cab, he bares his soul to her. For once, she listens in an understanding and caring way. Still, though, the only thing scarier than Michelle ranting at Steve about his schtupidity is Michelle being understanding.

I hope he doesn’t head down the slippery slope to 50 with Michelle constantly repeating i-specifically-saidback to him his words about ‘doing better with his life’ and ‘making something of himself’. Better to keep a big protective wall around your emotions, I think, than let Michelle actually see into your heart and mind. Happy birthday, Steve and Andy.

Corrie Street July 6/14

Memorials

hearse-windowIt was the side funerals for Tina that I liked best.

Steph missed the real funeral because she had second thoughts about her pink dress. Then she became distraught over what to wear instead and about losing her friend. For once, Katy had a moment of empathy and common sense. Let’s have our own commemoration of Tina, she said.

toast-to-TinaSo Steph, Katy and Luke told stories about Tina while drinking beer and listening to Tina’s favourite songs. Perfect, until Luke started casting lecherous looks at Katy. Ick, especially when she returned them. It’s not surprising coming from him. He’s been girlfriend hunting since he arrived on the street, and he didn’t really know Tina all that well aside from having put the makes on her. But Katy? Maybe not surprising either, despite her having known Tina better. Katy, despite the high horse she’s on about Anna ‘selling’ herself to Phelan, sets a far lower price on herself, I think. A compliment, a can of beer, and she’s all yours.

Roy-looks-at-dead-flowersBoth Roy and Mary were on the street to see the hearse off but neither went to the funeral. Looking across the street at the memorial bouquets in front of the building yard, both were saddened by how quickly they too had died. Roy quoted from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and an idea formed in his mind while he and Mary played chess. He suggested a trip to the garden centre.

ready-to-release-balloonsSteph too thought of something. She went out to the store, leaving Luke and Katy to cozy up together. And she was back. The three of them wrote messages to Tina and tied them to helium balloons. Then from the balcony that Steph had not been on since Tina plunged off it, they sent the balloons aloft. Lovely.

Roy-and-Mary-finish-planterRoy and Mary finished up their garden box. Hoping the flowers would do what we ask of perennials: give new beauty each year and remind us of when and why we planted them. These two groups celebrated Tina’s life in their own, and fitting, ways.

So did others. Deirdre consoled Eccles. Liz, with Tony’s help, got everything ready at the Rovers for the reception. Michelle took Deirdre-with-Ecclessome me-time and went shopping.

Everyone at the funeral did pretty much as they pleased too. Rita was gracious, respectful and heartbroken. David was rude. Peter was drunk. Simon had a tantrum. And there was a fist fight at the cemetery. Fortunately, no one fell in the grave.

Corrie Street June 29/14

Forgiveness

Owen-says-only-way-she-knowsFriday Owen tells Gary what Anna did. “Laid back and thought of England. Took one for the team.” Gary’s face registers shock; he can’t look at his mother. She pleads for his understanding. He explains he isn’t worthy to be in the same room with her after what she did for him, and neither is Owen. Then he wrapped his arms around her. She leaned into him and cried.

It’s about time one of them gave a big thank you to Anna for what she did. Izzy has been understanding and supportive but has not owen-and-anna-look-at-garysaid a heartfelt ‘thank you Anna for pulling us all out of that mess’. Owen has been distant and nasty. Katy has been nasty. You can understand Owen’s reaction: his wife slept with another man and, to make the humiliation greater, she did it to save him. There is no excuse for Katy. She speaks from the cruelty possessed only by someone with the self-righteousness of youthful inexperience.

Gary-wonders-what-Owen-will-sayWould Gary have been so quickly understanding if Owen were not there slagging off his mother and, by extension, him for getting them into the mess with Phelan? I doubt it. His sense of outrage probably would have kicked in, first toward Anna then toward Phelan. That was why they had all not wanted Gary to know, not wanted him to ‘kick off’ and make things worse. But he found out by Owen calling his mother a whore, with Izzy quickly following up with a warning about “punching first and thinking later”. That made him react the way no one expected: cognizant of his mother’s sacrifice and the role his violence had played in the whole thing.

forgiveness gary hugs annaMaybe Gary’s words touched Owen. Later Owen said his piece to Anna, about how he couldn’t get the image of Phelan and her out of his mind, of his own anger and shame. But maybe, with time, he could get over it. Anna was willing to listen to him. Then he said the words I hope he wished he could retract as soon as they were out of his mouth: “maybe I can forgive you”. Anna should need his forgiveness? I think it’s more the case of Owen needing forgiveness from Anna. He contributed to a situation that he, Gary, and the entire family escaped only by her prostituting herself for them. With his words, the compassion and love in Anna’s eyes died, replaced by justified fury.

Anna-turns-back-on-OwenToo late, Owen tried to make amends. He had no choice but to pack a bag and leave. Maybe they can find their way through this. I hope so, but Owen needs to get a deeper understanding of what sacrificing for your family really can mean. Anna now will not allow him to have anything less than that if they are to continue together.

Corrie Street June 22/14

Traitor

Michelle-yells-at-SteveThursday’s episode was a shocker. Michelle was without her trademark eyeliner. Less surprising was her attack on Steve for keeping Peter’s secret, although the savagery of her words was more than I had expected.

“Blood on your hands,” she said. He should have told her about Peter’s affair with Tina because a) nothing should be kept from her and b) she could have stopped Peter and all now would be well. Yes, Michelle, Peter would have listened to you, sure he would. Because you are the avenging angel, and all listen to your pearls of wisdom.

Steve explained his decisions. He hoped Peter would get back on the wagon with no one knowing. He hoped Peter would end it with Tina and no one need know. And he has had to live with his choices, knowing that he was keeping secrets from Michelle and watching the Tina/Peter/Carla situation explode before his eyes.” Anything for a quiet life,” Michelle sneered.

Michelle screams at SteveHow, I wondered, has Steve’s life been “quiet” with what he has been doing? The way for him to stay out of it all would have been to tell Michelle the whole story right off the bat. Let her make the difficult decision of what and when to tell whom, to choose whose lives to destroy. Steve could sit back and leave Michelle in the thick of it – for better or worse.

“But keeping his grubby little secret was more important than us, eh?” Us, not Carla, not Tina, not the equilibrium of the neighbourhood, but us. In Michelle-speak, us means me. Michelle-calls-Steve-traitorSteve dared keep something from her. Never mind that she had known about Carla’s pregnancy and did not share that with Steve – because Carla asked her to keep it to herself. But Steve keeping something to himself because Peter asked him to just doesn’t count for Michelle. By doing that, Steve was “a coward, and a traitor.” Michelle dresses it up in the vocabulary of trust and honesty in a relationship. But there is only one side of their relationship she is concerned with – hers.

Tina was murdered and Carla miscarried her baby, but it’s all about Michelle. Liz and Steve-and-Liz-watch-Michelle-leaveSteve understandably have been devastated by what has happened to their friends, but their greatest apprehension has been about Michelle’s reaction when she finds out Steve knew. They are right to be afraid. Michelle’s fury is really for herself, but she wraps her words of betrayal in the cloak of real tragedies that have befallen other people. By that, she takes the moral high ground and she further sears the guilt Steve feels into his heart.

Michelle-leaves-RoversIn perfect Michelle high dudgeon mode, with arms figuratively crossed, she stomps out. The upside is that she is out of Steve’s life! Maybe.

Kym Marsh was excellent, as was Simon Gregson as the object of her harangue.

Corrie Street June 15/14

Truth and Consequences

Tuesday, all scenes of three stories. Opening with what looks like Tina dead nearly - she gets up againTina dead in the builder’s yard. No, she’s moving – and talking!

Seeing her plunge over the railing was shocking. Hearing her moans, I was relieved. Maybe she lives after all. Rob was actually going to call an ambulance. But then she started talking, telling him what she was going to tell the police, what would happen to him, and Tracy and Peter and Carla. Not the best time to savour the revenge you do not yet have! Maybe wait until you’re in the ambulance, with witnesses. But no, she won’t shut up. Finally Rob beaned her with an iron rod.

My husband muttered, “reminds me of Peter Sellers in The Party, when he’s a movie Peter Sellersextra who just won’t die.” We watched it online, then watched Tina’s protracted death scene again. Tina’s scene is not being played for laughs, but it’s pretty hard not to after you’ve watched the bugler who wouldn’t die.

Meanwhile, Peter is in the back room of the Rovers telling Carla about his affair. He decided to preempt Tina doing so. His explanation and Carla’s reaction were painful to Carla-confronts-Peter-over-affairwatch. Every trite and stupid line ever said in the history of cheating mankind, Peter said. The hangdog looks, the barely concealed defiance when she didn’t reward him for his ‘honesty’. He made my skin crawl. Carla was brilliant; heart-broken and angry. Not likely to forgive him but terrified of being alone and pregnant. Feeling justifiably betrayed but almost letting his little digs of recrimination get to her.

And at the end, with Tina discovered and the police there, the looks Peter and Carla gave each other. They each know they did not attack Tina, but each fears that maybe the other did.

Another confession is taking place across the road, with Anna and Owen. In her fuzzy-bunny bathrobe, Anna tells Owen about the deal she made with Phelan to get him and Anna-pleads-with-OwenGary out of their problem. He gives her a chance to take an easy way out when he says, “so Phelan forced himself on you.” But having come this far in this difficult truth, Anna doesn’t try to absolve herself. Even though she would be perfectly right to say yes, he forced himself, she does not. She says, first by implication and later words, that she did it willingly. And that Owen cannot handle, despite it obviously being a situation of coercion.

Tina, Carla and Anna: three women put in impossible situations by men in their lives. Rob with murder in his heart. Peter vilified. Owen devastated emotionally as well as financially.