Thursday, January 30, 2014

Do you know who I am? by Margaret Ullrich

This has been a brutally cold winter just about everywhere.
Most of our friends have been staying in and catching up on chores.
We’ll be free to do a lot of socializing once it gets warmer.
If that ever happens.

Things collect when you've lived in a house for almost 26 years.
It's funny but things that once seemed so important, just aren’t.
To be honest, some of them didn’t even bring back a memory.

A while ago I compared the passing of two actors: Larry D. Mann and Cory Monteith.
They were both Canadians, but that’s where the similarity ends.
Mann was a steady worker with a very long career, but not famous.
Monteith had his problems and a very short career, but was very famous.

Fame sometimes makes otherwise sane people do peculiar things.
Last April Reese Witherspoon was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after she disobeyed an officer's instructions, and then asked him if he knew who she was.
Not one of her finest moments, and she soon publicly apologized.

One can have awkward brushes with celebrities even here in Winnipeg.

In 1986 Paul and I were about to leave Skinners, a local eatery, when an older fellow flashed a huge smile, leaned across the counter, and blocked our way to the door.
I glanced at him, and then walked around him so I could leave.
Apparently Skinners' exterior was being used as a set for a television show.
Well, I wasn’t into country music and hadn’t recognized Ray St. Germain.

Ray St. Germain is a Canadian musician, author, and radio show host.
He had written, produced and hosted the nationally-syndicated, award-winning Big Sky Country that aired for 13 years, has received the Aboriginal Order of Canada, and was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010.
Most Canadians would have asked for his autograph.

In 1997 I volunteered at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival.
After the staff made sure we knew how to make change they told us that once the play had begun, no one, and they meant NO ONE, was to be allowed entry.
The venues were small and it would distract the actors, most of whom were amateurs.

A local politician, whose picture had been in the papers while she had served in Premier Howard Pawley’s cabinet, arrived 15 minutes after the show began.
She demanded to be allowed in to see that performance.
We explained that the play had begun, and she’d have to wait.
Giving us a withering look, she announced, “Do you know who I am?”
This wasn't my partner's first time at dealing with celebrities.
“Yes, you're the woman who has to wait for the next performance.” 

It's a good idea to use some caution when agreeing to friend on Facebook.
Especially when one's last name is toward the end of the alphabet.
No, being in the same line of work is not a good enough reason.
Trust me.

A couple of weeks ago Paul and I were chatting with a friend on Facebook. 
A simple discussion that many seniors have at one time or another: downsizing, moving, other cities, housing, facilities, services, the weather.

A Winnipeg YA author with a Fine Arts Degree entered the conversation.
Starting with how her great-grandmother had chosen to move to and settle in Winnipeg, she continued with the tedious saga of her family's history, which, she added, gave her roots as deep as prairie grass.
As I'd never personally met this woman or her relatives, I couldn't see how all that should have any bearing on where we would spend our golden years.

She then added that she had visited Ottawa, where one of her books had been banned by a school division, and that she could hardly stand the humidity when she was there.

The Winnipeg YA author and I had seven mutual friends, so I tried to be polite.
The other woman in the conversation, also a writer whose family was rooted in Winnipeg, tried to humour the Winnipeg YA author.
The Winnipeg YA author then fell into a pattern.
She would post a long rant, then announce she was done and leaving.
Taking her at her word, we would pick up our chat before the family history began, only to have the Winnipeg YA author return.
It soon became quite annoying.

The other woman and I formed a strategy in the privacy of ‘Chat’:
We would avoid any further discussions with the Winnipeg YA author.
The Winnipeg YA author didn’t take well to our ignoring her.
After ten minutes the Winnipeg YA author's comments were disappearing.
I checked.  To my great relief she had unfriended me.
How wonderful to be done with her!

Yes, celebrity, even the small amount a big fish in a small pond has, sometimes makes otherwise sane people do peculiar things.

About tonight’s new moon in Aquarius…
The second New Moon in the same month is called a Black Moon.
A Black Moon is seen as an omen of change and a time when hidden truths will surface.

According to the folks at
Get ready for a hardworking year ahead as this new Moon marks the beginning of the Chinese Year of the Horse! 
Since Aquarius is a sign that loves teamwork, it's a great time to invite others to help you reach your goals… return the favour and invest your energy in group projects that make others' lives better. 
Spend more time with good friends - they can help you succeed. 
You now have an opportunity to make a fresh start… make a strong effort to pursue something, whether it's a goal, job, or relationship!

It’s going to be a busy year.
Without any fame involved.
But that can be a very, very good thing.
With all the chores done, there’ll be plenty of time to socialize.
Without the Winnipeg YA author.
Also a very, very, very good thing.

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