What makes me laugh? This man! (Bloganuary challenge – Day 7)

Today’s prompt for the Bloganuary Challenge is:  What makes you laugh?  The answer is:  the late, great Tim Conway. His work speaks for itself, and I couldn’t do him justice if I tried to describe his impeccable timing and comedic talent. Anyone old enough to remember the Carole Burnett Show will certainly identify. And for those who have never seen any of his classic skits, it’s well worth watching the two below, even if the video and/or sound isn’t the best.  Enjoy!


Written for Day 7 prompt of the Bloganuary challenge: What makes you laugh?


One year at Christmas, a pair of pristine white ice skates with blades so shiny I could see my reflection in them waited for me under the tree.  The same year, my father built an ice rink in the backyard for us. He’d stand in the cold of the early-evening darkness watering a square patch of cleared snow. Overnight, it would freeze to a smooth, mirror-like sheet of ice.  Those skates and that ice rink were the stuff dreams were made of.

On that rink, with my skates tightly laced up, I imagined I was one of the beautiful, graceful figure skaters I saw on television. Bundled up in my heavy winter jacket and snow pants that made a swishing sound when my legs rubbed together, I looked nothing like those elegant creatures.  They were light and lithe. With perfect hair and makeup, they twirled and jumped on the ice in brightly colored leotards with flirty skirts.  And besides music, the only sound that could be heard during their performance was their blades neatly scraping the surface of the ice.  But in our backyard rink, I was one of them.

I would launch myself across the ice, leaning forward, arms extended straight out to the sides like airplane wings and one leg raised slightly behind me in a wobbly arabesque. The audience in my head cheered; the commentators praised my technique.  I’d come to a stop and acknowledge them with a clumsy curtsy.

Then I’d skate with bent knees, body twisting awkwardly from one side to the other urging my body to skate backwards to the other side of the rink. Usually I came to a full stop in the middle because I just didn’t have the momentum to go any further. Again, it didn’t matter. I was playing to the audience and judges in my head and they gave me a perfect score.

I never really wanted to be a figure skater; nor did I ever take a lesson in my life. But those skates taught me to dream, to imagine and to understand that sometimes, doing something just for you, even imperfectly, is enough.

Written for Day Four prompt of the Bloganuary challenge: What was your favourite toy as a child?

Advice to my teenage self (Bloganuary challenge – Day1)

Dear 18-year-old Linda,

Soon you’ll get a call from a good friend inviting you and another girl to join him on a trip to Florida. He’s going to pick up a company car to drive it back to Montreal and you’ll be invited along for the ride. All you’ll have to do is pay for your flight out.  The rest will be covered by his company.  Should you go? Of course!  A teachers’ strike means school is on hold; all three of you are newly-minted 18-year-old friends  and you’ll have a great time.

But before you go, consider this:  For some reason, you’ll want to rush through each stop (St-Petersburg, Clearwater, Daytona, Orland, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, etc.) to see what awaits you at the next one.  You’ll be like children unwrapping the gifts under a Christmas tree. They tear the wrapping off the first gift, give it a cursory glance, put it aside and move onto the next one.  At the end, they sit with a pile of shiny new toys around them feeling let down because there’s nothing left to unwrap.  Don’t do it.

Instead, take your time.  Stop and spend a full day at the beach. Feel the sun and the tangy, ocean spray on your skin.  Watch the waves (and in Daytona the cars) roll in.  Slow down. Savour. Enjoy.

In Orlando, see Disney World through the eyes of a child. Yes, it’s crowded and touristy but it’s also magical.  Stop trying to look mature – there’s plenty of time for that later – and look for the magic in the Magic Kingdom.  It’s there, I promise.  Do you know what will happen if you don’t? Years later your only memory of it will be the looped, tinny recording that echoes at the exit of every ride:  “Step to the left please.  Step to the left”.

I could give you other examples of what you’ll miss if you rush the trip, but I think you get the idea. So my advice is this:  Slow down. I know there’s so much to do, people to meet, places to see, jobs to try your hand at. And it feels like you have to do it all now.  But you don’t.  You’ll actually miss out on some pretty great things while you’re rushing to the next one.

Now start packing your summer clothes – your friend will be calling soon with an invitation to Florida.



Written for Day One prompt of the Bloganuary challenge: What advice would you give your teenage self?