Weekly Photo Challenge:

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This week’s challenge was “Against All Odds”. Anyone who has tried to take photos at night knows the challenges – and the disappointments! This weekend, I went to an old fort (built in the War of 1812) for a light display exhibition. I took lots of photos, knowing that most of them wouldn’t turn out. I was right – most of them didn’t. But some are ok for someone who was figuratively (and sometimes literally), in the dark!

To see more photos Against the Odds, click here.

Happy Family Day!

Wake Up the Zombie

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“You look like crap,” my sweet child says to me this morning. “Why, thank you child. Don’t hold back. I appreciate your honesty,” I said in my head, sarcastically. Instead, I groaned, “I know”.

And I did know! I hefted the suitcases into the car, confident that I’ve forgotten something important which will escape my notice until we’re stuck on the highway halfway to my parents’ house tonight. I purposefully averted my eyes every time I passed the mirror in the hallway at home. When my boss walked into the office, I didn’t even look at him – just told him “Don’t ask!” He was smart…he just flashed a smile and kept walking!

I’m weary of everything – blogging, housework, work work, cooking, even eating! I feel inspired to do things, but lack the energy to actually do them. I feel inspired to write, but lack the brain capacity to form intelligent sentences. I have a mounting list of deadlines and phone calls, but I feel my heels digging in, that nagging tension between what you should do and what you want to do.

You know that feeling when you’re dusting a shelf (to remove the faces your kids have drawn) and when you look back, the shelf is covered in dust again…and you’re still holding the cloth. And you start to seriously ponder existential questions like, why does the world hate me so much? And why do I bother to clean this shelf every week? [Listen up, kidlets, no one will ever give you a gold star for having a dustless shelf!] Your questions drift to other areas of your life…

Like getting dressed for work. Sadly…

Today I’m calling my outfit lazy hipster. Instead of fighting with my hair (which I got cut recently and while I said keep it long enough for a ponytail, it is not quite long enough), I’m wearing a hat. That should be a red-flag for y’all. I look stupid in hats! Add to that smashing ensemble, jeans (that I have to hike up every 30 seconds) and a thick sweater over my favourite shirt:

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It’s called the “new low”! Or may I term it “February blahs” (because “I hate my life” is too harsh and untrue, and “I’m hormonal – back off!” is also too harsh…but possibly true?).

Before you judge me too harshly, may I point out that today I was cut off by a chick in a black BMW with the same look – the droopy hat, the nerdy glasses, and the pasty white skin of a zombie – which by the way, is the song that inspired me enough to at least attempt a post for today!

You started forgetting who you really are, I’m getting kinda worried
You’ve been gone so long,
(And how) is your body sleeping?
(Where) did the human go?
…Wake up, wake up, wake up
Wake up the zombie!
We As Human, Zombie

Just so you don’t think I’m completely brain-dead, I had a great rant idea last Friday, but when I sat down to type it up, my computer decided it couldn’t open my account.

Maybe it has the February blahs too.

So in a desperate cry fun, upbeat gesture, I’m putting out a call for ideas – blogging ideas, midlife crisis adventure ideas – you name it! Please help wake up the zombie!

Happy Friday!

Wordless Wednesday: Celtic Quilt

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Celic Quilt

It was not a woman’s desire to be forgotten. And in one simple, unpretentious way, she created a medium that would outlive even many of her husband’s houses, barns and fences; she signed her name in friendship onto cloth and, in her own way,
cried out, REMEMBER ME!” – Linda Otto Lispett

NB: I wrote about my family and this lost art in 2014 as part of a Weekly Writing Challenge.

4th Annual Contest of Whatever

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Warning: Today’s ridiculousness was hatched by Jenn and her (best and not stupid son – wink!) as our entry in Evil Squirrel’s 4th annual CoW (contest of whatever)!

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I am interrupting Jenn’s stupid blog post (some mindless middle-aged rant about finding a long white hair. I seriously don’t know what her problem is! I am 40% white hair and I’m adorable)! I need to introduce myself before I harnass the humans to set the record straight. My name is Chloe.

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See? Adorable!

Last week, Jenn posted a cruel story, sharing with the world my private humiliation – breaking my front teeth. She thinks I was being silly, running around my cage and falling off my red plastic igloo. The truth is, I was in training for a secret mission. I was dangling on the edge of a cliff when my foot slipped and I fell into a deep chasm.

Jenn doesn’t know these things because I prefer to keep her in the dark. I’ve been living here for almost a year now and she has yet to discover that I am a supervillain!  (aside: Yes Evil Squirrel, I realize this is supposed to be a dialogue but a villain always monologues…) Where was I…?

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My evil lair is hidden within the walls of this house. Every night, Jenn thinks I’m staring at her, begging for food. Not true! I am using my extraordinary telepathic abilities to make her tired so she’ll go to bed and I can sneak off to my state-of-the-art lab! It works every night!

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I am greater than the Red Squirrel (he’s just insane) and smarter than the Brain (he’s just a megalomaniac)! I am also a master of disguises.

I am the greatest supervillain! I am Chloe, the cleverest cavy of all time!

Norman: Yes! Yes she is!

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Chloe: Oh crap! Who let this guy in?
Norman: Nobody. The door was open.
Chloe: Sigh…I’m an expert at robotics but can’t fix that stupid latch!
Norman: Aren’t you going to introduce me?
Chloe: No.

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Loooooooooong awkward pause

Chloe: Ok, fine! This, ladies & gentlemen, is the sole reason my ingenius plans haven’t been successful to harnass the humans. This is Norman.
Norman: Hi, I’m Norman.
Chloe: Norman has a brain the size of a pea, makes friends with the shampoo bottles, and eats his own poop!

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Norman: Hi! I’m Norman. This is my friend, Sheila. She’s from “down under”.

Chloe: Yes…well now that we’ve established that, you may now bear witness to my greatest feat as I demonstrate the awesome power of my latest invention – I call it the Gigantimiser. One flip of the switch by my trusty mimbo  henchman, No. 1…

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No. 1: ‘Sup?
Chloe: Not now Carl. Didn’t we talk about dressing like a professional last night? Go put some pants on!
No. 1: But dude, these shorts are so comfortable.
Chloe: Carl.
No. 1: They don’t pinch my…
Chloe: Carl!
No. 1: Yes boss.

Chloe: Carl’s not bad on the eyes but he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Since No. 1 is currently indisposed, let me show you what it’s supposed to do so that you will fear me…

Chloe: See the fear in their eyes? I will go on a rampage of epic proportions and..wait! Why do I smell cheese pizza and burnt hair? Norman! Norman, did you use the incinerator to make pizza again? Norman?
Norman: I wanted to watch G-Force in your new BlueRay player…
Chloe:  I don’t have a BlueRay…What did you do with the …
Norman: I just wanted a snack…
Chloe: Someone call the Fire Department…

Later…

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I just had a brilliant idea on how to harnass the humans. Mwa ha ha…

Happy Monday – everyone…

Toothless

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Chloe is our third guinea pig, and other than the occasional road trip to visit my parents and the night we discovered our guinea pig could whistle like a canary, life with cavies has been pretty tame. Except when I had to give Chloe a bath because she had cedar shavings glued to the hairy rooster comb on her butt.  After she roamed in the warm water in the tub, I towelled her dry, and combed/picked/trimmed those shavings right out. Guinea Pig Hair Stylist – that’s pretty weird…

Saturday morning, I woke up to an anxious boy because our fur baby now looked like a caricature of a Mad Magazine nerd.

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Her teeth aren’t supposed to stick out at that rakish angle…

We’re not sure what she did. Cavy teeth grow continuously…but not in that direction. Either a) she sustained an injury the other night when she was being silly and fell off the top of her igloo; or b) she has developed scurvy. Either option meant an emergency trip to a vet who treats “exotic animals”.

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Pinterest.com

I came home Saturday afternoon $250 poorer with a toothless (uppers), stoned fluff ball and a prescription for antibiotics, to be administered once daily.

Anyone who has ever tried to give a pet antibiotics knows my pain.

Chloe’s brain may be the size of a walnut but when it comes to avoiding her medicine, she’s a genius. The first time, I tried to hold her in a towel and squirt it in. I succeeded in getting 40% in. Then I left her alone for awhile. Round 2 – I gave her a celery leaf, then squirted in the other 60% before treating her to another leaf.

Day 2 – after one sniff, she went into flight mode. I chased her around her cage for 5 minutes, before I pinned her down and succeeded in getting 20% of her medicine all over her nose, the cage and me. I can tell you it doesn’t smell bad but it is very sticky! I waited for Hubby to come home and don the oven mitts. He only chased her for 5 seconds, flipped her on her back and I did the dirty deed.

Day 3…Hubby won’t be home until late tonight. Wish me luck!

Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. – Anatole France

Confession #10 :What’s under there?

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It’s been awhile since I’ve shared a confession. They can be embarrassing…but then, let’s be honest, embarrassing myself is a daily activity and sharing that embarrassment a regular thing in my blogs.  This time it doesn’t involve chocolate, or driving or even Halo Night! It involves something else…

Kid 1: What’s under there?
Kid 2: Under where?
Kid 1: Ha! Ha! I made you say underwear!

 

I like doing laundry – sorting, washing, folding, putting away. It’s an organizing activity that’s in my wheel-house. I fold everything standing up, and by everything I mean:

Hubby’s Socks – 1 fold (I roll the tops of mine)
Shirts – 5 folds
Pants – 3 folds
Wash/dish cloths – 2 folds
Pillowcases – 4 folds
Sheets – 4 folds
Etc.

That’s not the confession. This is the confession…

I also fold underwear.

When I fold other people’s laundry, I fold their underwear too. It’s less a “want” and more of a “need” to do it.

It started as part of my education in lingerie! Our store had a round table for bras (try keeping those cups stacked) and a round table for panties, which ladies loved to rifle through! From lacy thongs to Winnie-the-Pooh bikini briefs! I don’t know if it was a fascination with what they didn’t have in their own drawers and we’re too afraid to purchase, but all that rifling didn’t result in many sales. But I digress…

Here’s a step-by-step demonstration (thanks to Pinterest) for how to fold your underwear on a flat surface. Doing it standing up may be too advanced for the uninitiated…

 

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I don’t “tuck” either. Who has the time?

Now you may be thinking, after spending so much time pawing panties, what’s in my drawers? You’d be disappointed. After being exposed to so many varieties, some of which I have scarred me for life, I have a very mundane collection of bloomers.

First, there’s no satin or lace in sight.
Second, there’s nothing with strings or “floss” to be seen.
And finally, there are no giant, scary, stomach-holding-in knickers!

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Photo courtesy of pinterest.com

You can tell a lot about a person from his underwear. – Rachel Bilson

Kourtney Kardashian said “Mom always told us to wear pretty, matching underwear”. I wear plain old cotton bikini briefs that match nothing. What does that say about me? I’d say I’m practical because really, who is going to see it? Besides you in the next 10 seconds… I want comfort, not a perpetual wedgie. And I’m not willing to pay $20 for something I can wear only 3 times because it gets shredded in the washer!

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But I do like my pink & black skull and crossbones…

My great-grandmother always said not to leave the house in dirty underwear (ew!) and when she called an ambulance for my great-grandfather years ago, she made sure he had  – clean underwear! So if I’m ever in an accident, I’m prepared!

And that my friends, is my confession for the day, and the answer to your question: What’s under there?

Boring, folded underwear!

This morning when I put on my underwear I could hear the fruit-of-the-loom guys laughing at me.- Rodney Dangerfield

Happy Weekend!

10 Minute Monday: Let’s Talk

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It was my Mom who pointed out the irony last week, during an emergency mid-week telephone conference Wednesday afternoon. In Monday’s post, I made a comparison – life with kids is like riding a roller coaster. I was pretty excited about it…until Tuesday afternoon when the seat dropped out from beneath me and everything sped out of control. When I crawled into bed that night, still physically and mentally shaken,  I knew an onslaught of nightmarish what-ifs waited for me. A week later, I’m still fighting to hold them at bay.

I can’t say a lot – part of my way of staying sane. But I can say this – if you’re a parent, talk to your kids. Even if you already have. Even if they appear to have it all together. Even if they roll their eyes at you. Again.

I know we want to protect our children from bad things and bad people. But we also have to prepare them, because bad things happen on the walk to school. Bad people lurk in your neighbourhood. Decisions have to be made when there isn’t time to think through the options or the consequences. If we lived in an ideal world, we could let them be carefree kids longer, but we don’t live in an ideal world.

January, it seems, has been a series of roller coaster rides with Little Guy, and with each ride, has come a series of conversations.

We’ve talked about depression and suicide – how to support your friends and how to advocate on their behalf. Someone I told this to commented that “he’s only in Grade 6”. When I was in Grade 6, I noticed a girl by herself at recess. I sensed I should talk to her, but I was shy. I did it anyway and she became my best friend. Two years later, she told me how she had planned to kill herself that week.  Every detail was in place. So yeah…he’s in Grade 6, but we started this conversation years ago. We’ve also talked how to ask for help should he ever feel overwhelmed or hopeless.

We’ve talked about peer pressure – how to recognize it and how to handle it. It may be skipping class now, but one day it will be sex, drugs and things that could rock his world. And not in a good way!

We’ve talked about secrets – what’s ok and what’s not ok. We’ve talked about what to do and who to talk to if someone is hurting him, or someone he loves. We’ve talked about bullies and strangers, and people who aren’t strangers but may be acting strange.

We’ve talked about how hard it can be to become an “adult”. We faced some of the same challenges and we didn’t always have great success.  As parents, as people, we’re far from perfect and we freely admit it. But we’ve have a little experience under our rapidly expanding belts!

“Adulthood is like looking both ways before you cross the street,
and then getting hit by an airplane.” – Anonymous

Most importantly, we talked about how much we love him. We let him know that he is never truly alone. We may not always approve of his choices, but we will always affirm him. And I think of all the conversations we’ve had, this one is the one that will keep him safe.

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This has been a “10 Minute Monday” post (where I write about whatever I want for a minimum 10 minutes, no editing – mayhem, memories, maudlin mumblings, or  “mwa ha ha” moments.

Wilderness Wednesday: Resilient Oak

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“The willow which bends to the tempest, often escapes better than the oak which resists it; and so in great calamities, it sometimes happens that light and frivolous spirits recover their elasticity and presence of mind sooner than those of a loftier character.”
– Albert Schweitzer

Happy Wednesday!