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Mrs. Borody

My BFF from childhood, her mother died yesterday.

The house where I grew up on a quiet suburb of Winnipeg was surrounded by Borodys. Literally.

On the south side was by best friend Carol-Ann and her mum, dad, brothers and a dog, Binks. And on the north side of our house was her grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. Borody, Senior.

Ev & CarolAnn snowballs

Pink Borody Senior’s House, my house, Borody’s house

Our front lawn was a path from the one house to the other. Which proved to be an interesting dynamic. Like the time when one Borody adult was chasing one Borody child across our lawn with “The Board of Education”.

Two families growing up, side by side, for years.

Mrs. Ward and Mrs. Borody

Mrs. Ward and Mrs. Borody

Leaning over the fence between our driveway and Carol-Ann’s house, our mothers would gab for hours. The regular kind of stuff that new moms share. I can imagine the joy, “I’m pregnant again!” “Oh my, so am I!”. The two mothers birthing one after the other. Within a couple of months, my older brother and hers, my middle brother and hers, and then we two, born within 3 weeks of each other.

Carol Ann & Ev

1964 Brownies

1964 Brownies


Mrs. Borody was so different from my mother. Didn’t your friend’s mothers always seem cooler than your own mother?

I thought Mrs. Borody had more fashionable clothes. She played Bridge. Didn’t she cook more interesting food? She played golf and travelled. They had liquor in their house, my folks were tea-totlers. Their house was nicer than ours, and a full two-storey.

145 River oaks drAND, (this is the one thing that totally proved it) she had a white Ericofon phone in their master bedroom! I used to try to sneak in there just to touch it.

ericofon phone

But I was totally scared of her. She spoke with a forthrightness that wasn’t normal in my family. She was part of that “Mothers Who Know Everything” club. Even until a couple of years ago we would laugh about that time when she caught Carol-Ann and I buying too much candy at Parkview Drugs across Portage Avenue.

1961, River Oaks Drive kids

1961, River Oaks Drive kids

Mrs. Borody was the consummate neighbour, the kind of neighbour everyone wants and needs. Who else would have been there at 6AM when we needed someone to take a picture of our family leaving on our monumental journey to live in California?

leaving for CA 1964

Mrs. Borody Sr, in pink

Our mothers rescued each other more than once for many things, like water leaks, Hallowe’en costumes, borrowing an egg, and boosting the car in winter.

Births and deaths. Tears were shed. Shoulders were there.

Mrs. Borody graciously hosted a neighbourhood bridal shower for my older brother’s bride-elect. Her own son Richard, the same age as my older brother, was tragically killed in a motor vehicle accident when they were both 18 years old. How bittersweet for her.

Doug BD 1957

1957, Richard and Dougie

I will never forget that summer day. The day Carol-Ann’s brother died.

Richard and Doug, two lifelong friends separated forever. How Mrs. Borody bore that grief was an education to me at age 12.

My whole life Mrs. Borody has remained a touchstone to my roots. I would enjoy getting my mom and her together long after they had both moved away from the old St. James neighbourhood.

Then when Parkinsons-like of symptoms robbed Mrs. Borody of her vitality a number of years ago I saw her decline from a stately woman of tremendous will and forebearing to a helpless shell who could no longer speak. It was tough to witness.

But her eyes still shone with remembrance.

I could never bring myself to call her Helen. It was always “Mrs. Borody”.

Maxine & Helen, 2009

Mrs. Ward & Mrs. Borody, 2009

Rest in peace Mrs. Borody.

Helen Borody, nee Bajurny (1926 – 2013)

A New Name for Multi-tasking

I have no idea who wrote AAADD- KNOW THE SYMPTOMS….. Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder so I cannot give credit. It’s all over the blogishere. And I laughed when my husband forwarded it to me. It’s exactly what the type of thing I was going to post myself anyways!

So this is my version:

I decide to make fresh salsa. Going to my computer to look up the recipe and I notice I have to reboot it because of a power outage caused by the morning rain. While waiting for the computer to reboot I decide to put some music on. While in the living room I notice the floor needs sweeping. While walking to get the broom I notice that the shoes I was polishing are dry enough to buff. So I polish the shoes and put them away when the phone rings. I take a long call from a young friend who needs some hand-holding.

After getting off the phone I ask my husband whether he wants to take this shirt on our trip which leads to me sorting through all his shirts.

While listening to the music it reminds me to pray for a friend who is burying a family member today.

I go back to the computer to look for the salsa recipe and realize that I have to answer some emails. I have to look up a link for the friend on the phone, when my daughter calls and I want to visit with her. I go back to the email, remembering that I wanted to upload something to my website.

Then I realize that I better get back to the salsa because I want it to meld flavours before the meal. I see the shoe polish kit sitting on the counter and in order to put it away properly I have to reorganize the junk drawer in the hallway. Which leads to sorting through lightbulbs.

I go back to the salsa, however I spill some onions on the floor which I have to clean up. While doing that I realize how dirty the kitchen floor is and end up sweeping and washing part of it.

The music stops and I want to put on another CD which makes me think of a blog post I want to write. So I go to the computer to get my thoughts down and realize that someone asked me to update a website which I monitor. And I notice a link in an email which I want to look up. Which leads me to facebook where I ‘like’ a group which is interesting. And while there I watch a music video my nephew just posted.

I finally get the salsa made. It’s only noon and I wonder where the morning went.


Here is the original AAADD- KNOW THE SYMPTOMS…..

Thank goodness there’s a name for this disorder.
Somehow I feel better, even though I have it!!

Recently, I was diagnosed with A.A.A.D.D. –
Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.

This is how it manifests itself:

I decide to water my garden. As I turn on the hose in the driveway, I look over at my car and decide it needs washing. As I head towards the garage, I notice post on the porch table that I picked up from the postman earlier. I decide to go through it before I wash the car. I put my car keys on the table, put the junk mail in the recycling box under the table, and notice that the recycling box is full.

So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the recycling first. But then I think, since I’m going to be near the postboxwhen I take out the recycling paper anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my cheque book off the table and notice that there is only one cheque left. My extra cheques are in the desk in my study, so I go into the house to my desk where I find the cup of coffee I’d been drinking. I’m going to look for my cheques but first I need to push the coffee aside so that I don’t accidentally knock it over. The coffee is getting cold, and I decide to make another cup. As I head toward the kitchen with the cold coffee, a vase of flowers on the worktop catches my eye – the flowers need water.

I put the coffee on the worktop and discover my reading glasses that I’ve been searching for all morning. I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I’m going to water the flowers. I put the glasses back down on the worktop, fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote control. Someone left it on the kitchen table. I realise that tonight when we go to watch TV, I’ll be looking for the remote, but I won’t remember that it’s on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back where it belongs, but first I’ll water the flowers.

I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor. So, I put the remote back on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill. Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day:

The car isn’t washed, 
The bills aren’t paid,
There is a cold cup of coffee sitting on the kitchen work-surface,
The flowers don’t have enough water,
There is still only 1 cheque in my cheque book,
I can’t find the remote,
I can’t find my glasses,
And I don’t remember what I did with the car keys.

Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I’m really baffled because I know I was busy all bloody day and I’m really tired.

I realise this is a serious problem, and I’ll try to get some help for it, but first I’ll check my e-mail…..

Don’t laugh – if this isn’t you yet, your day is coming!!


Prime Meridian Trail

Today I saw a snake. A lowly garter snake along a bike trail and I was so glad to see it because we were in the garter snake capital of the world. Yes, Narcisse, Manitoba can boast that.

At the Narcisse Snake Pits, 6 km north of Narcisse, thousands of red-sided garter snakes emerge from the limestone sinkholes and tangle in a mating ritual during late April and early May.

I’m never around that time of year to see the roiling and tangling.

IMG_1059And that is about as close as I’ll get to touching a snake.*

We cycled about 20km of a trail which runs through Narcisse. The Interlake Pioneer Trail (IPT), formerly known as the Prime Meridian Trail, was once a rail line running through the Interlake region.


Now, it’s 106km of trail running from just outside of Winnipeg all the way to Fisher Branch. It’s mostly used for ATVers and snowmobilers. But we were wanting a little adventure on our bikes.

So we set out to get to Narcisse which was a half hour drive away. I didn’t notice on the map that over half that was a gravel road! So when we arrived in the hamlet, our bikes, located on the rear bike rack of the car, already had a thick layer of dust!

The trail’s name, Prime Meridian, comes from the fact that it is located near the geographical centre of Canada. And you guessed, being an old rail bed, it was flat and STRAIGHT!

Now I am a prairie girl, but there are parts of the Manitoba which really have little appeal for me. Get about 10 km west of Lake Winnipeg and I’m saying to myself, ‘how did the pioneers ever survive here.”

I guess you have to get out of the car and get slow.

I believe the website which touted this trail as “extremely fun” was, exaggerating just a wee bit. “See over 300 species of native flowers, 170 species of birds, 31 species of mammals, 4 species of amphibians and 3 species of reptiles and in a quiet and pristine landscape little changed for centuries.” Now that part was partly true. It was quiet! I did see one reptile. And I did see the rare Indian Paintbrush, which I had not seen since I was a child at summer camp.

IMG_1049 The wildflowers are tiny yet plentiful. That was the unexpected part. Bluebells (harebell), coneflowers, black-eyed susans, meadow blazing star, cut leaved anemone.IMG_1050Can you go anywhere in Canada without seeing the federal government’s propaganda signs! Trail improvements!  Really?

IMG_1053Other than the flowers and the quiet, the trail was a two lane road into scrub brush and farmland. We went past a sheep farm, with goats too. And long horned cattle.

Funnily enough I ended up collecting stray rail ties, which could really do a number on a bike tire.

IMG_1055What made it “extremely fun” was being with my best friend and getting slow. Oh, and the bag of cherries and chocolate bar we took for a snack.

*Addendum…. someone in our family HAS touched snakes, and a lot of them. Our son worked in the Interlake for Manitoba Housing Corp one summer. One of his duties was to crawl under the apartment complex in Inwood and clean out the dead garter snakes. Ranks right up there as probably the worst summer job ever!

Picture Taking

Odena Circle

It’s always nice to have someone else take your picture when you’re on vacation.

This location was in the heart of Winnipeg at The Forks. It is a national historical site where the Assiniboine and Red Rivers meet. We discovered this cool architectural instalment called Oodena Celebration Circle.Circle two

Later in the day we were in a beautiful park.  It is the type of garden where wedding parties go to take pictures. There was a couple waiting for the bride to appear and I offered to take their photo in front of the colourful garden beds. All dressed up for the wedding the wife was thrilled. The husband grunted, “There’s no way I want my picture taken”. The wife implored him. His answer was ‘no’.

I felt so sorry for her, having such a jerk of a partner.

Looking at the World Upside-down?

Our son lives in Australia. When you look at a globe it’s always kind of hidden underneath. So I decided to rectify that.


Especially after watching this engaging clip from one of my favourite former dramas, West Wing.

The Peter’s Projection map was an eye opener for me too when I was first introduced to it whilst working for Ten Thousand Villages back in 1991.Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 9.25.07 AM

Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 7.45.47 PM

Wasn’t Greenland nearly the same size as Africa? NOT

The ever-so Euro-centric Mercator map was all that was on sale when I was in school.

When my daughter found this cool old roll-up map to decorate her living room it brought the whole thing back into focus again for me. In fact this 1950’s map even shows the British Commonwealth and Greenland is enormous! Read about her map on her blog, Urban Spool.


Looking for the Peter’s Projection map I came across this one produced by a cheeky Australian in 1979. McArthur’s Universal Corrective Map of the World. This is the write-up which accompanies it.

At last, the first move has been made – the first step in the long overdue crusade to elevate our glorious but neglected nation from the gloomy depths of anonymity in the world power struggle to its rightful position — towering over its northern neighbours, reigning splendidly at the helm of the universe. Never again to suffer the perpetual onslaught of “downunder” jokes — implications from Northern nations that the height of a country’s prestige is determined by its equivalent spatial location on a conventional map of the world. This map, a subtle but definite first step, corrects the situation. No longer will the South wallow in a pit of insignificance, carrying the North on its shoulders for little or no recognition of her efforts. Finally, South emerges on top. Spread the word. Spread the map! South is superior. South dominates! Long live AUSTRALIA — RULER OF THE UNIVERSE!! © 1979. Rex Publications. All rights reserved.Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 7.25.02 PM

Because our son lives ‘down under’ I’m thinking a lot more about maps, globes and the size of everything. That’s why I turned my globe over, in order to reorientate by brain.

What do you think?  Do different types of maps disturb you, shake up your worldview or cause you to think differently about the way you have been taught? Leave a comment.