Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Wish For You in 2012 and Ever After

May your days be filled with love and laughter.

Dream big. You never know what may come of it.

Write, paint, dance, sing, create something that comes from your heart not your head.

Send that little piece of you out into the world and see where it lands.

Think long and hard about what makes you truly happy.

Are you doing it? If not, ask yourself why.

Don't get trapped by should haves or could haves.

Don't feel guilty about following your bliss.

Grab that bliss by the ears and kiss it hard. On the lips.

Be good to those who deserve it, but also to those who don't, because being kind is more about you than them.

Take a chance, on someone or something. Honestly, what do you have to lose compared to what you stand to gain?

Do something that scares the crap out of you. When you are on the other side of it, you will feel a euphoria that is indescribable, whether it's paddling down a raging river, or giving a speech to your peers.

Every once in a while, treat yourself to the good stuff. The best of the best. Buy a bottle of fine champagne, a box of the richest chocolate, the most luxurious bar of French hand-milled soap, or shrimp the size of a baby's fist. Enjoy it with someone deserving, and by someone I mean you.

Happy New Year

Friday, December 30, 2011

Girls Want Superheroes Too

Is it me, or are we inundated by stupid? I turn on the TV, or radio, open a newspaper or just walk into the nearest cafe and it seems within seconds I am splattered head to toe with stupid.

Many prancing around on the pinnacle of Mount Stupid are women, so happy to be on-camera that they blather on, sharing their jejune theories with a world that gobbles it up and demands more. They do it for attention, and to fill their designer handbags with wads of money, made possible by yes, people like me who tune in and watch. I am ashamed to admit I am as powerless to resist certain reality shows as I am to resist that box of Purdy's chocolates in my desk drawer. But just when I think there can't possibly be that much stupid in this world, Barbara Walters announces, with her usual faux gravitas, that the Kardashians are on her list of the "most fascinating" of 2011.

The Kardashians? Really Babs? This is the best you can come up with? The word fascinating, according to my dictionary, means "interesting, entertaining, captivating, engrossing, and gripping." It also has an archaic meaning, that of a snake depriving a person of the ability to resist or escape by the power of a gaze.

By that definition, why not interview my dog Buddy? He probably has deeper thoughts than all Kardashians combined. Actually, I think we can do better than that.

For every Toddler in a Tiara:

There is a Riley in the toy aisle:

And for every Kardashian who spends time "take caring of my body":

There is Meryl.

Glorious, ethereal, intelligent, talented Meryl.

Thank God for Meryl.

Now there's a role model we can get behind.

She's my superhero.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Car in The Ditch and Regrets of the Dying

I am sitting here at 1 a.m. waiting for a tow truck. My son called a short while ago to say he'd spun out on the ice on his way home from visiting friends, and now our car is in a ditch. My husband and I drove over to pick him up and I knew he felt bad from his stricken face, but I also know he's a responsible person and, well, like the tee-shirt so succinctly states, shit happens.
"We've all done something like this, at one time or another," I told him. "The good news is, you're not hurt, and neither is the car from the looks of it. We'll get it hauled out as soon as we can. In the great scheme of things, this is minor."
The tow truck has been summoned, and I've sent everyone to bed, figuring I'm a late owl anyway and they all have to get up early to get to the airport (at 6:30 a.m.) and/or to work, so I can sleep in if need be.
Then I came across this post. It sure puts that car in a ditch into perspective.
From Arise India Forum:
Nurse Reveals Top 5 Regrets of the Dying

*It's now 2:15 a.m., the car is back in the driveway, everyone I love is tucked safely into bed, so all is right with the world.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Let it snow. And it will.

It is finally snowing here in the Great White North, and it is supposed to stay cold so there will be snow for Christmas, yay! I'm going into the home stretch now with baking and wrapping and stuffing All Things Which Require Stuffing (I'm thinking specifically of the organic, free-range "happy" gobbler but it could equally apply to my big gob) so you won't be hearing much from me for the next few days.

May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be white.

If you don't have any snow, you can go to google and type "let it snow" and it will! In just a few seconds, your screen will be covered in "snow" until you defrost it or wipe away the snow with your mouse.

And just for fun, type in "Santa" and you should get a string of lights.

Try "tilt" and see what happens.

Ho ho ho.

Much love and happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Brilliant little video

Pencils, telling a story. Love it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Drunk History Christmas

My sister Yutha sent me this video called DRUNK HISTORY CHRISTMAS and it serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of mixing whisky and recitation.

It's got Ryan Gosling and Jim Carrey in it.

And some bad language.

And some most excellent dubbing.

It's so wrong. And yet...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sounds that have disappeared

I have an old, black rotary-dial phone and I love it, except, well, if there's an emergency. The thing is, it's fun to dial it and then wait for each ticka ticka tick, and to challenge yourself to see if you can flick it just so and get the number you were aiming for. So it stands to reason I especially love phone numbers with lots of zeros in it. The bell itself isn't connected, and apparently there's an easy way to fix it, but since it resides in my bedroom I think I'll leave it as is. The bell is so loud I don't want to have heart failure in the night should it ring. We used to get regular middle of the night phone calls from some of our kids' more mischievous friends who found it funny to wake us up and mumble a drunken hey-how-the-hell-are-ya at 3 a.m.

You know who you are.

And I know who you are.

Friends shouldn't let friends drink and dial. Especially with call display.

Anyway there are a few sounds that have disappeared and they've listed some of them on this website so check these out and see if you get all nostalgic on me. Remember gas station bells? And the sound old TVs made when you turned them on and off? Or when they went off air for the night?


I will probably be posting sporadically for the next couple of weeks.

I'm baking my ass off.

(If only that were true...)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Shit Girls Say

This has gone from a Twitter account to a web series.

There is absolutely nothing in this to which I can relate.


Not one thing.

All lies.

thanks Strombo, you rock

And speaking of web series, if you haven't checked out Jane Espenson's Husbands, stop what you're doing and go check out husbandstheseries.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Why Good Housekeeping Matters

Around 4 a.m. I was roused from a deep sleep by the sound of my pacing, frantic dog. Usually this means imminent diarrhea or vomit on our bedroom floor, often the result of eating someone's sock or thong, or more recently, two insoles from my son's running shoes. (Oh, and three of those waxed paper squares that separate cheese slices. Did you know, as I do intimately, that wax paper squares don't break down in a dog's gut, but twist into long rolls resembling shit-stained cigars? But I digress.)

I staggered downstairs in total darkness with the Budster right behind me, and flung him outside under a full moon (no pun intended.)

As he scampered across the snow-covered deck toward the backyard to relieve himself, I saw the real reason for his distress - hooked to one of his long, fluffy ears and trailing beneath his belly and through the snow was my black padded bra.
Realizing that he was seconds away from peeing all over it or worse, I flew out the door after him, and ran barefoot through the snow to retrieve it.

I have learned my lesson. No more flinging my clothes onto the floor, not even after a party that goes on until 3 a.m.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Deck the Halls, Falalalala-whatev

lac louisa cottage winter scenes, to add visual interest and provide emotional escape

After living the past twenty-three years in the same house, having raised children alongside dogs, cats, rabbits, and birds, we’re thinking it’s time to renovate. Our 70s era kitchen and scuffed floors could be upgraded with granite counters and fresh cupboards and gleaming hardwood.

I’m hesitant to commit because I remember our last big renovation - overhauling our basement. That was to be a six-week job starting mid-November, and the contractor promised completion by Christmas. I believed him, my first mistake. I also ordered furniture to be delivered December 23rd and invited twenty-four people for Christmas dinner, my second mistake.

The contractor was a stocky, red-headed Irishman who used to work as an undercover cop. He limped through our front door, apologizing for his “gimpy” leg, the result of a gunshot wound courtesy of some “Mohawk smugglers.” He'd pigeon hole one of my kids and reminisce in front of a rapt audience about the old days of drug busts and shaking down informants. “Did you know there’s this small community nearby made up of feral-like people all of whom live ‘between the tracks’,” he said to my open-mouthed son. “Their genetic pool is so shallow that these people all look identical - most have no nails, eyebrows or hair. And they’re illiterate, with names like body parts, well, it’s kind of rude, but one guy --“ At that point I intercepted and shot my protesting son off to school.

The rest of the workers were a hormonally-driven gang of young men. There was the blond ski bum Tatu, who cracked jokes about how he loaded he just got, how loaded he was going to get, or how he shouldn't be handling the electric saw because he might still be loaded. His pal Tabtab muttered and puttered alongside him. Rounding out the gang was a lanky Jamaican with dreads they called Captain Morgan who dug a large pit in the back yard then defected to Jamaica at the first sign of snow, with a vow to return in the spring.

The house was a constant state of chaos for weeks on end with no visible progress. Tatu and Tabtab would come for an hour then disappear, or not show up at all, or stay just long enough to leave clouds of dust and sawdust covering everything. Meanwhile, I canceled appointments so I could be home, delayed Christmas shopping, decorating and baking. One morning they woke us at dawn on a Sunday and worked for an hour but to what end? The contractor hobbled around and shouted orders, faithfully showing up even after he’d celebrated his fiftieth birthday with wild abandon and much beer, judging from his hangover.

After their electrician bailed, we hired one, and he regaled us with stories of his French Canadian childhood. His father was one of eighteen children, and the whole family still got together every Christmas, eighty-seven people in all, he said. They use sleeping bags and camp in one house, and his mother, well she cooks for the whole gang, using industrial-sized vats, he said. They were poor growing up, but they were never hungry, he said. What lovely tales he told as I poured him tea and offered homemade Christmas cookies. He even brought his young daughter over to visit, the most delicious child I've ever met, like something out of a Victorian fairy tale. She had long curls under her knitted cap and matching mittens. Oh, and if it wasn’t too much trouble, could we please entrust him with $2,000 in cash to buy the new baseboard heaters because he could get us a great deal that way. I did, and that was my third and final mistake, as that was the last we saw of him and my cash. Ex-Detective Contractor, showing a flair for timing, snapped his fingers and remembered after the fact that this electrician may have been known to him from a drug bust years before.

Small emergencies like a flooded fridge after it was jolted off kilter and a 2x4 through a basement window were handled along with bigger ones. We carved a small niche in the living room grotto and set up a tree alongside old computer monitors, boxes of baby clothes and spare suitcases. Kids arrived from universities, as did shrimp rings, cheese platters, and fresh salads to appease the newly released prisoners of school cafeterias. I finally accepted that I couldn’t do Christmas dinner that year so my sister-in-law offered to do dinner at her mother's place. When I asked what I could bring, she requested a roast turkey, with stuffing, hold the sawdust.

You know, I hear 70s d├ęcor is coming back into vogue. Maybe I should nix the renovation idea completely and just declare myself a trendsetter.

Deck the halls, indeed.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Red House at Cosford's Corners

When I was thirteen, my family moved to Aurora, Ontario, a tiny town north of Toronto. It was a bit of an adjustment, being the new "city" kid in a small town where most of the kids had grown up together. It was the kind of place where if you sneezed one day, a dozen people would ask you how you were feeling the next. Aurora was, and still mostly is, surrounded by horse farms and rolling hills. This old red brick home stood at the north end of town at Cosford's Corners. It was named after Thomas Cosford, born in 1795, who settled there in 1834 as a blacksmith and carriage maker. The house was built for his family in 1845, and it is one of the oldest surviving brick houses in Aurora. It's main claim to fame came in 1928, when Stephen Leacock's brother bought the house.

But when I was in high school, we all knew this as The Red House Studio. By that time it was owned by a local artist named Dorothy Clark McClure, and her daughter Kelly was a good friend of my sister Brenda. In fact, I babysat for Mrs. McClure and once agreed to spend the night when she had to go out of town.

What she didn't tell me, until I'd settled in, was that the house was haunted. Don't worry, they all said. Sometimes we hear party sounds, you know, glasses tinkling and light conversation and laughter drifting up the stairs from the first floor, but nothing to worry about. Oh, and every once in a while, the ghost of a young girl wearing a white nightgown will visit my bedroom and sit on my bed, said Mrs. McClure. (Wha-at? This was the bed where I would be sleeping.) So don't be alarmed if you feel her presence during the night because she means no harm, she added.

Needless to say, I lay rigid and on high alert the entire night. As dawn broke I stumbled down to the kitchen. I settled at the table, holding my head, when suddenly I heard scratching noises in the ceiling, directly above me. Now it was probably mice, or maybe a squirrel, but in my frazzled state I could almost feel that young girl's cold bony fingers reaching out to get me. I shot out of that house and into the yard where I paced and waited for Mrs. McClure to arrive while the kids ate their CocoPuffs.

Now fast-forward forty years. I now have Kelly McClure, the girl I used to babysit, on Facebook. And this is what she posted today.

I took mom to lunch at Jonathons today and we sat beside a family that I only noticed in passing. Halfway through the meal, the waitress came to us and said the woman who had been sitting next to us had instructed the waitress to wait until she had left to tell us that she had paid for our lunch, mom's wine, added a dessert and also paid the tip. She said the woman lost her mother 5 years earlier and watching us made her cry and think of her own mother. Wish I could have given her a hug! I don't know who she was, but the gesture made me cry.

Who says angels don't walk among us?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Double Take

This "awkward moment" was sent to me by my sister.

Take a good look before you scroll down.

This is an office party photo.


I was too.

I mean, why is this woman in the middle completely naked in an office photo?

But the real awkward moment?

It's when she realized that her friend's "fat arm" made her look naked in an office group photo.

Thanks, Yutha. You made me laugh until I ached. And Doug was on the floor.