Welcome to my humble hodgepodge of humour columns, quotes, tips, snippets, musings and ramblings. Ready? If so, get comfy and make yourself at home!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

the new blog is up!

For anyone who happens to stop by here, the new blog finally made its debut last month. Took much longer than I anticipated, but better late than never, no?

So go check her out. Okay?

Think Outside The Piggy Bank

Thursday, October 18, 2007

what?!

I haven't posted in nearly a month? I hadn't realized it'd been that long!

Well, as some of you know, I started a part-time job at the end of September that has me working 12-hour shifts every Saturday and Sunday. I'll give you a minute to let the reality of that sink in, snort. Needless to say the adjustment has been a bit difficult and is still ongoing, and it has rather interfered (work has such a pesky way of doing that, LOL) with the rest of my heretofore lovely and completely self-determined schedule.

To be honest though I'm also playing around with the idea for a new project, which means that I may let this baby either retire or "rest" for a while until I get it going. The new venture is a personal finance blog! Okay, that might sound kind of dull, but it won't be. It'll be written in the same informal, sometimes humorous style (e.g. if I find Maxine cartoons that tie in they'll definitely get included), but it will simply be more focused, and talk about everything related to money—a topic I've always found ultra-fascinating. So if you're interested, I'll let you know when I'm ready to launch, and hopefully some of you will follow me there. And if not, you can always still peek at my Flickr pics! :)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

who needs Dr. Phil when there's Dr. Seuss? :)

Or self-help books for that matter. I have a shelf full of the genre, but having been deprived in childhood of the excellent literature provided by Dr. Seuss, how was I supposed to know that all I really needed could be found in Oh, the Places You'll Go!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy
[gal] who'll decide where to go.

That pretty much sums it up, does it not? Snort.

(click here for the full version)

p.s. posting may be sporadic for a while as I start steering myself in the right direction…

Saturday, September 15, 2007

indeed again


indeed

"Inserting a Q-Tip deep into your ear is a great, undiscussed pleasure." —AMY KROUSE ROSENTHAL

Thursday, September 13, 2007

not an ordinary book

Remember that library book I was telling you about? The one that I kept putting down because I wanted to have my own copy? Well I did finally end up reading Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life as I wasn't sure when I'd be able to buy it, and with some reluctance returned it the other day. I'm going to miss having the book around, and my place feels just a tiny bit emptier. Kind of like the way it does after a good visit with a friend who has just left.

There were many moments when I'd exclaim, "me too, me too!" after reading certain facts or entries, delighted to discover that not all of my quirks are exclusively my own. What also emerged is that we both prefer coming up with an idea, rather than executing it, like writing down moments, memories, lists, quotes, and thoughts, and instead of fiction, tend to write about stuff that actually happened. Somehow, this gives me hope. :)

And in case you ever end up reading the book yourself, here are 21 of my favourite entries:

BAD MOVIE
DOING SOMETHING
EITHER
FICTION
GROUP PERSON
HAPPINESS
JACKET BIO
NOTHING
OTHER PEOPLE
PHONE, GETTING TO KNOW SOMEONE ON THE
POTATO CHIPS
RED GINGHAM TABLECLOTH
RETURN CALL
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
SILENCE
STATEMENT
TA-DA!
THANKFUL
TUESDAY NIGHT
WABI-SABI*
YOU

* The neat thing about this term, by the way, is that both the author and I discovered it in the same place: Utne Reader magazine.

(wabi-sabi: "As a single idea, wabi-sabi fuses two moods seamlessly: a sigh of slightly bittersweet contentment, awareness of the transience of earthly things, and a resigned pleasure in simple things that bear the marks of that transience.")

Saturday, September 08, 2007

when all else fails

Sometimes, when you have a really difficult decision to make, and the usual pros and cons list just doesn't seem to help (don't you just hate it when they balance each other out?) try asking what it is that your spirit needs right now. Not necessarily wants, but needs. In other words, what would be a good soulution? Okay, I didn't make up that word myself, and can't quite remember where it came from, but it's a term I really like.

And if that doesn't work, envision as fully as you can the outcomes from whatever decision you're trying to make, and see how each one makes you feel. Imagine that you've already decided the course of action you're going to take. Do you feel lighter, relieved, and happier, or disappointed, or worse, left with a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach? Your feelings often point the way as to what you really want to do, and this may be one way to reach that difficult decision.

Okay, off to follow my own advice. ;)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

enjoy what's left of summer

Because before you know it:

Come, little leaves, said the wind one day,
Come over the meadows with me and play;
Put on your dresses of red and gold;
Summer is gone, and the days grow cold.

—GEORGE COOPER

Mind you, at 34C at the moment, I probably won't be mourning the end of summer too much! ;)

Monday, September 03, 2007

what can I say about season 3?

Season 3 of The Mary Tyler Moore Show (she sheds the wig she wore in the first two seasons making her look older) proved to be just as enjoyable as Seasons 1 and 2. The only disappointment was the lack of bonus features.

I still love the theme music, the opening and closing credits, Mary's apartment, the house it's located in (gotta love THAT house!) and the acting of course. Episodes were funny, or poignant, always smartly written, and one of them even made me cry. I especially love how the characters of both Mary and Rhoda mature and evolve and reflect the changing times.

Episodes of note include Rhoda The Beautiful (where Rhoda finally recognizes her own beauty), You've Got A Friend (a touching episode about Mary and her father—this is the one that made me cry) and My Brother's Keeper (where a guest character is revealed to be gay—an issue not often addressed back in 1973).


But do you know what I really want? To be able to get a peek inside Mary's bathroom. Her apartment is a set of course, but I still want to see ALL of it! This season I was lucky enough to see the hallway and the stairs that lead to Rhoda's apartment, but I can't seem to stop wishing for a glimpse into the room that's never been shown. Snort.

Friday, August 31, 2007

a glitch

The good news is that I'm able to RECEIVE incoming email messages. The bad news is that I'm not able to send any out. Well, I can send them, but they don't get delivered. Snort. I'm sure it'll get sorted, but in the meantime I'm hoping that those of you who do get email from me read this before wondering why you haven't heard from me yet. :)

p.s. email is fixed!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

crashing and falling


Not sure whether my computer is suffering from old age, split personality, or demonic possession, but whatever the specific ailment, it's in dire need of a complete overhaul. It's been making me nervous lately by freezing up without any provocation on my part (honest!), occasionally refusing to load Windows even when I ask nicely, or telling me that my settings aren't correct when they were perfectly fine the last time we played together. Yesterday however was the last straw. Turning the computer on it had the audacity to greet me by just giving me numbers to look at instead of the nice pictures I've so carefully loaded. I wasn't sure whether to cry or throw up (or both!) and in desperation I called my trusty technician (read: brother) and wailed that my computer was now officially scaring me. So, I get a new (read: cobbled together from various parts collecting in his basement) PC tomorrow night. Yay! But that also means that some time will be spent installing this hopefully-not-too-much-like-Frankenstein contraption, and that I'll have to learn how to manoeuvre my way around. For example, goodbye Windows 98 and hello Windows XP. Hmmm.

Back soon I hope! Wish me luck. :)

p.s. Maxine may have high-speed, but I still have DSL...

so true


Sunday, August 26, 2007

sundays

Ah Sunday. Is Sunday not the most bittersweet day of the week? A sense of finality, a vague longing that it not end just quite yet, regret perhaps when looking back, a squaring away, and yet a sense that a new beginning is just around the corner. Because it is!

And that brings us back to....

Saturday, August 25, 2007

saturdays

Saturday could be described as the most adventuresome yet relaxed day of the week. Oh the options! The first official full day of the weekend, lots of fun things to fill it with, and once again time suspends itself a little. Even chores don't always seem so bad on this day. :)

Friday, August 24, 2007

fridays

Friday is definitely the most playful day of the week. Yay, this part of the week is finished, let's go celebrate! Or commiserate if need be. No, Friday is the day you can let your hair down and chill out a bit, because whatever you haven't done yet can always wait.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

thursdays

Thursday is probably the most reflective and anticipatory day of the week. The end is undeniably nearing closer, the results are coming in, and you may or may not have done what you had in mind. There isn't that much time left to change course and steer the boat around, but it's always possible. And, the weekend is coming up!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

wednesdays

Wednesday is like the middle child of the week. Sometimes taken for granted and not given as much attention, it nevertheless plays an important role. Get to Wednesday and you're pretty much set. And with Monday and Tuesday successfully behind you, you now have a good sense of where you're headed next.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

tuesdays

Tuesday, I think, is often the least stressful day of the week. Still brimming with the youthfulness and vitality of a week barely begun, you've settled in a bit, tested out the gears, made the necessary adjustments, and are raring to go. There's lots of time left to do what needs to be done. No looking back yet!

Monday, August 20, 2007

mondays

Monday is the most hopeful day of the week. Like early mornings when time still stretches out before you, the slate is wiped clean and you're off to a fresh start. And no matter what took place last week, anything can happen THIS week. Hey, you might find the love of your life, or work that really fulfills you. Yes, Monday is the most optimistic day of the week. Get ready, set, go!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

an analysis of days

Starting tomorrow!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

instructions

The following is looted (once again) from my inbox:

Simple Instructions for Life


1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three R's: Respect for self, respect for others, responsibility for all your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
7. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day. *
9. Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honourable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
19. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

* My friend said that for me this one should be reversed: Spend some time with people every day! Snort.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

maybe Martha made it?


Monday, August 13, 2007

martha versus maxine

Another email find:

Are you a Martha or a Maxine?

Martha's Way:
Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice cream drips.
Maxine's Way:

Just suck the ice cream out of the bottom of the cone, for Pete's sake! You are probably lying on the couch with your feet up eating it, anyway.

Martha's Way:
To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.
Maxine's Way:
Buy Hungry Jack mashed potato mix, keep it in the pantry for up to a year.

Martha's Way:
When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead and there won't be any white mess on the outside of the cake.
Maxine's Way:
Go to the bakery! They'll even decorate it for you.

Martha's Way:
If you accidentally oversalt a dish while it's still cooking, drop in a peeled potato and it will absorb the excess salt for an instant "fix-me-up."
Maxine's Way:
If you oversalt a dish while you are cooking, that's too bad. Please recite with me the real woman's motto: "I made it and you will eat it and I don't care how bad it tastes!"

Martha's Way:
Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator and it will keep for weeks.
Maxine's Way:
Celery? Never heard of it!

Martha's Way:
Brush some beaten egg white over piecrust before baking to yield a beautiful glossy finish.
Maxine's Way:
The Mrs. Smith frozen pie directions do not include brushing egg whites over the crust so I don't.

Martha's Way:
Cure for headaches: take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away.
Maxine's Way:
Take a lime, mix it with tequila, chill and drink!

Martha's Way:
If you have a problem opening jars, try using latex dishwashing gloves. They give a non-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.
Maxine's Way:
Go ask that very cute neighbor if he can open it for you.

Martha's Way:
Don't throw out all that leftover wine. Freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.
Maxine's Way:
Leftover wine???????????
HELLO!!!!!!!

****************************

And what if you're a little bit of both? Would that make you a Maxi-Mart? Or if you're a bit more like Martha, but not nearly as obnoxious, a Mini-Mart? Ha ha! Okay, I'm shutting up already before you think I've drunk ALL that leftover wine. Snort.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

not sure I'd wear this button myself, but ...

... I find it pretty amusing!

p.s. I should probably provide a bit of context here and tell you that the above was part of a "mood buttons you can't wear to work" series that a friend emailed me

Thursday, August 09, 2007

the trouble with me

"The trouble with me is I have no imagination." —JAMES JOYCE

I think I know what he means. While I've always wanted to write, I've never wanted to write fiction, and unlike James Joyce, probably couldn't even if I tried. Invent characters and plot? Um, I wouldn't even know where to begin. In a nutshell, I just don't have that kind of imagination.


Creative non-fiction (personal essay, humour, etc.) is where I feel more at home. Although sometimes embellished a little for comedic effect, everything I write is based in truth, in part because real life is often funnier than anything made up. All the silly scenarios you have read about so far have really happened, snort, and at the possible risk of making myself look even more foolish, I relay them to you because almost nothing gives me greater pleasure than making a reader laugh. Obviously I have a serious side as well, but being told my words are funny is the biggest compliment I can aim for, so, keep 'em coming. ;)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

what NOT to do

Remember that helpful tip Krissa had about putting the shampoo in the fridge to stop it from melting in the summer heat? Well, I MEANT to do that right away, but of course got sidetracked and never did. So, before taking my bath today I cleverly decided to put it in the freezer instead to speed up the process. I knew it wouldn't be in there long, and was quite pleased with myself for coming up with this perfectly reasonable solution.

[Okay, you can stop snickering now, because even though I know you KNOW what happened next, I'm going to pretend you don't and tell you anyway.]

Well! Guess what? I got sidetracked once again, and ended up not taking that bath for several hours. I also promptly forgot about the shampoo. Yep, instead of melted goo, I ended up with a bottle of frozen gunk. Can you picture the look on my face when I realized what I'd done?

[Oh all right, laugh at me now if you want. Heck, let it all out. Snort.]

But think about it. Isn't this just typical? Too hot, or too cold. Where's that happy medium?! ;)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

because I'm easily amused

A friend sent me the following email:

British Signs


Spotted in a toilet at a London office:
TOILET OUT OF ORDER. PLEASE USE FLOOR BELOW

In a laundromat:
AUTOMATIC WASHING MACHINES: PLEASE REMOVE ALL YOUR CLOTHES WHEN THE LIGHT GOES OUT

In a London department store:
BARGAIN BASEMENT UPSTAIRS

In an office:
WOULD THE PERSON WHO TOOK THE STEP LADDER YESTERDAY PLEASE BRING IT BACK OR FURTHER STEPS WILL BE TAKEN

In an office:
AFTER TEA BREAK STAFF SHOULD EMPTY THE TEAPOT AND STAND UPSIDE DOWN ON THE DRAINING BOARD

Outside a second-hand shop:
WE EXCHANGE ANYTHING - BICYCLES, WASHING MACHINES, ETC. WHY NOT BRING YOUR WIFE ALONG AND GET A WONDERFUL BARGAIN?

Notice in health food shop window:
CLOSED DUE TO ILLNESS

Spotted in a safari park:
ELEPHANTS PLEASE STAY IN YOUR CAR

Seen during a conference:
FOR ANYONE WHO HAS CHILDREN AND DOESN'T KNOW IT, THERE IS A DAY CARE ON THE FIRST FLOOR

Notice in a field:
THE FARMER ALLOWS WALKERS TO CROSS THE FIELD FOR FREE, BUT THE BULL CHARGES

Message on a leaflet:
IF YOU CANNOT READ, THIS LEAFLET WILL TELL YOU HOW TO GET LESSONS

On a repair shop door:WE CAN REPAIR ANYTHING. (PLEASE KNOCK HARD ON THE DOOR - THE BELL DOESN'T WORK)

Friday, August 03, 2007

how hot was it yesterday?

It was SO hot that:

a) KJ laid on the linoleum all day
b) the shampoo melted
c) I had to go outside to cool off
d) Hamilton broke its temperature record
e) I didn't wear a bra despite the negative gravitational effect

Okay, you have 30 seconds to come up with the right answer. Go!


Give up? Ha ha, it's all of the above! :))

Thursday, August 02, 2007

snort


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

she's back!

Sort of. But I'm still feeling too lazy to come up with anything original, so will be posting humour columns I've written in the past, or tidbits that conveniently find their way to my inbox. Still, better than nothing, no? ;)

Today's piece, appropriately enough, addresses the topic of laziness. Specifically, my own.

* note: as it was written years ago, some of the points may be out of date, but I'm feeling a tad too sluggish to point out which ones


LAZY IS AS LAZY DOES

The first time someone told me I was lazy, I dismissed it out of hand. The second time that same person told me I was lazy I started paying attention. After the third time, I was curious enough to consult my trusty dictionary. This is how The Houghton Mifflin Canadian Dictionary of the English Language (what a mouthful!) defines lazy:

1. Resistant to work or exertion; disposed to idleness; slothful.
2. Slow-moving; sluggish.
3. Conducive to languor or indolence.
4. Depicted as reclining or lying on its side. Said of a livestock brand.

Well! I'm no longer sure I can trust my dictionary, although I can't really argue with slow-moving (too many people, unfortunately, have confirmed that one), and I can see how long periods of unemployment could make some people label me resistant. I take exception though to slothful, and that reference to livestock, why, that's just plain unkind. So, rather than taking my dictionary at its word, I am going to make use of my underused sociology degree and look at the question of whether I am lazy in a scholarly, scientific, objective, and unbiased way. Okay, I might be willing to admit to a slight partial bias, but only slightly. The following are impartial arguments for and against the notion that I, Christa, am a lazy person:

FOR - some members of her own family consider her to be lazy
AGAINST - other family members recognize her deliberate attempts to slow down in order to achieve greater balance

FOR - even some of her friends think she's lazy
AGAINST - other friends just see her as deliberate and slow (or deliberately slow?)

FOR - she doesn't want to work full-time
AGAINST - she's hoping to be financially compensated one day by writing about not wanting to work full-time

FOR - she thinks dogs are too much work
AGAINST - she faithfully cleans her cat's litterbox weekly, and scoops daily

FOR - she likes having meals made for her
AGAINST - she makes macaroni and cheese from scratch, not Kraft!

FOR - she used to make her oatmeal in the microwave
AGAINST - since the death of her microwave, she's become a stove top kind of gal

FOR - she has a book called The Joy of Not Working
AGAINST - she has a whole shelf of books on looking for work, including Finding Your Perfect Work

FOR - she bought (at full price) The Lazy Person’s Guide to Success (the most damning piece of evidence yet!)
AGAINST - she also bought (on sale, I might add) To Build the Life You Want, Create the Work You Love

FOR - she's not always employed
AGAINST - but when she is, her employers just love her (except for the few times she's quit of course...)

FOR - she charged her neighbour $20 for snow shovelling one winter
AGAINST - she was kind enough to do it as she didn't want to do it in the first place

FOR - she bought one of those fancy ergonomic shovels
AGAINST - she was spotted shovelling snow as early as 6:30 am (in fact, she never gets up later than 7:30 am)

FOR - she won't walk the 20 minutes to get to the public stairs
AGAINST - she does up to 700 steps on her own set of stairs

FOR - she gets defensive when she hears the word 'lazy'
AGAINST - she prefers terms like: 'laid-back', 'heedfully unambitious', or even, 'contemplatively idle'

FOR - she doesn't like housework in general
AGAINST - she does the dishes (by hand!) three times a day (usually)

FOR - she doesn't like dusting in particular
AGAINST - but she vacuums once a week, and thoughtfully supports the Swiffer company whenever she can

FOR - she doesn't like the question "What do you do?"
AGAINST - she's been known to answer, rather philosophically, "I don't, I be."

FOR - she spends a lot of time on her computer
AGAINST - she sends e-mails to family and friends regaling them with funny stories in an effort to make them smile out loud

So, am I lazy? Well, I guess the jury's out, because I can't decide whether I can't decide, or whether I'm just too lazy to figure it out. So, to paraphrase a favourite heroine of mine: "Maybe I'll decide tomorrow, for tomorrow's another day."

Friday, July 20, 2007

a bit of a blogging break

So that I truthfully can't utter any of these source-less email-derived lines:

Ever stop to think, and forget to start again?

I don't suffer from insanity; I enjoy every minute of it.


I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me.


Out of my mind. Back in five minutes.

Snort. Actually, five minutes isn't quite long enough, but I'll be back by August. Hope to see you then!

p.s. the jealousy line cracked me up (ha ha!) the most; which one was your favourite?

a test—no cheating allowed!

(another email nugget with unknown source I'm afraid)

1. How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?
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The correct answer is: Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe, and close the door. This question tests whether you tend to do simple things in an overly complicated way.
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2. How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?
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Did you say, Open the refrigerator, put in the elephant, and close the refrigerator?
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Wrong Answer
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Correct Answer: Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe, put in the elephant and close the door. This tests your ability to think through the repercussions of your previous actions.
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3. The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. All of the animals attend except one. Which animal does not attend?
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Correct Answer: The Elephant. The elephant is in the refrigerator. You just put him in there. This tests your memory. Okay, even if you did not answer the first three questions correctly, you still have one more chance to show your true abilities.
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4. There is a river you must cross but it is used by crocodiles, and you do not have a boat. How do you manage it?
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Correct Answer: You jump into the river and swim across. Have you not been listening? All the crocodiles are attending the Animal Meeting. This tests whether you learn quickly from your mistakes.
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According to Anderson Consulting Worldwide, around 90% of the professionals they tested got all questions wrong, but many preschoolers got several correct answers. Anderson Consulting says this conclusively disproves the theory that most professionals have the brains of a four-year-old.

Snort. And um, no, I didn't get any right. ;)

avatar for Krissa

Who happens to be a great friend, and even prettier than this image suggests. :)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

do I resemble this avatar?

I ain't telling! Snort.
Created at www.simpsonsmovie.com

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

gotta love that alphabet

A friend sent me an email containing words that when rearranged, spell other words. (As always, I don't know his source.) Here are a few:

DORMITORY:
When you rearrange the letters:
DIRTY ROOM
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
PRESBYTERIAN:
When you rearrange the letters:
BEST IN PRAYER
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ASTRONOMER:
When you rearrange the letters:
MOON STARER
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
THE EYES:
When you rearrange the letters:
THEY SEE
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
GEORGE BUSH:
When you rearrange the letters:
HE BUGS GORE
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
THE MORSE CODE:
When you rearrange the letters:
HERE COME DOTS
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
SLOT MACHINES:
When you rearrange the letters:
CASH LOST IN ME
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ELECTION RESULTS:
When you rearrange the letters:
LIES - LET'S RECOUNT
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
SNOOZE ALARMS:
When you rearrange the letters:
ALAS! NO MORE Z 'S
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A DECIMAL POINT:
When you rearrange the letters:
IM A DOT IN PLACE
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AND FOR THE GRAND FINALE:
ELEVEN PLUS TWO:
When you rearrange the letters:
TWELVE PLUS ONE
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

and now for something a little different

This is what the forward of the book I'm currently reading states:

I was not abused, abandoned, or locked up as a child. My parents were not alcoholics, nor were they ever divorced or dead. We did not live in poverty, or in misery, or in an exotic country. I am not a misunderstood genius, a former child celebrity, or the child of a celebrity. I am not a drug addict, sex addict, food addict, or recovered anything. If indeed I had a past life, I have no recollection of who I was.

I have not survived against all odds.
I have not lived to tell.
I have not lived the extraordinary.

This is my story.

—AMY KROUSE ROSENTHAL, age 39
Chicago
June 2004

There's also a Reader's Agreement at the beginning which asks me, among other things, to agree to no pretend half-reading of the book while ordering takeout food, to agree that playwright should be spelled playwrite, to agree that while some women may look sophisticated wearing a shawl others look foolish, and to agree that while black is technically the absence of all colour, it makes more sense for it to be all colours combined. On the copyright page it tells me that it is not responsible for the weather, the scalding nature of soup, or for the short window of time between bananas not being ripe enough, and being rotten. These items, by the way, are in tiny print and easy to miss, so I'm pleased that I caught them.

What is this book I'm referring to? Why, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life of course. In it the author tells about the moments and emotions of her life in delightful and various-length alphabetized entries from A to Z. Now I can't seem to get very far because every time I start a new page I realize that I don't want to just READ this book, I want to HAVE it. So I keep putting it down thinking that I might as well return it to the library and wait until I have my own copy. And it occurred to me too that what I find so appealing about the book (apart from the fact that dysfunction does not appear to play a role) is that not only is it an entertaining and random (yet organized—woohoo!) hodgepodge of admissions, but it's the type of book I would have wanted to write myself. Could SEE myself writing in fact.

Now, how does that Edward Gorey line go again?
Ah yes:

Books. Cats. Life is sweet.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

quick wedding update

Well, I'm glad I went! It turned out to be really fun, and I got to spend time with family members that I don't see too often. And although I felt a bit cowardly about it at first, I decided to ignore my estranged brother and his wife completely, and didn't even look at them. In a sense, I didn't even "see" them, except out of the periphery of my eyes. My niece was the first of the next generation to get married, so I'm glad I didn't miss out on the special occasion, and I'm thankful that both parties chose not to air their differences at this event. I imagine there will be time enough for that in the future!

And thanks again, Krissa and Dakota, for keeping me in your thoughts yesterday. I really appreciate it. :)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

estrangements

They seem to run in our family. My mother is estranged from one of her sisters, my step-dad is estranged from his two daughters, two of my siblings are estranged from my dad, and I'm estranged from one of my brothers who himself was estranged from the whole family for almost four years.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, as some of you know, I'm attending my niece's wedding this Friday and it will be the first time I see my brother again. I'm not particularly looking forward to that (am a bit apprehensive actually), but don't want to miss the wedding because of it. How we got to be estranged is, not surprisingly, a long story, but the final incident that clinched it was when said brother uninvited me from the family Christmas dinner he was hosting in 2003. To add insult to injury, he left a message on my answering machine saying that if I apologized to his wife for being rude (which I hadn't been), they'd reconsider uninviting me, but that they didn't care whether I was there or not. His last words to me on tape were, "Oh, and a piece of advice: get a job, get a life." Click.

Needless to say I was not amused, and apart from a letter I wrote, we haven't had contact since. Now obviously there was a fair bit of bad blood between us already because estrangements don't develop overnight, or in a vacuum. But they are definitely one of our family patterns, and one that I wanted to explore. Which is why I'm writing about otherwise personal and private matters, and also why a few years ago I bought family members copies of Laura Davis's book I Thought We'd Never Speak Again: The Road from Estrangement to Reconciliation. It's a good book, and one of the appendixes includes a self-assessment quiz called "Are You Ready for Reconciliation?" I'm going to include it here because I think it's quite valuable and could be of benefit to others. You are to answer "yes" or "no" on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being no and 10 being yes.

1. Has a relationship with someone you once cared about ended because of anger, betrayal, or miscommunication?
2. Do you miss the other person and wish he or she could still be in your life?
3. Have you worked through your own feelings enough to approach this person in a new way?
4. Are you ready to take responsibility for your role in what happened?
5. Have you developed a sense of compassion for the other person?
6. Have you moved beyond fantasies of revenge and retaliation?
7. Could you move forward even if you received no apology or acknowledgment that you were wronged?
8. Are you being realistic about the other person? Have you stopped pinning your hopes on a fantasy?
9. If a limited relationship is all that is possible, would that be acceptable to you?
10. Can you be in this relationship and still feel good about yourself?
11. Given the risks involved in reaching out, are you willing to face the worst possible scenario?
12. Do you have what it takes to rebuild this relationship?

My own answers revealed that I am not ready to pursue reconciliation, and that I'm closer instead to accepting that our relationship is probably over. Other family members have tentatively begun taking small steps to reach out and while I wish them success with that, I have no interest in doing the same. Still, I have to see my brother on Friday whether I like it or not, so it could be an interesting evening indeed.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

who better to quote? ;)

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those that matter don't mind." —DR. SEUSS

Thursday, June 28, 2007

a full moon the night before?

Had a really strange day yesterday. A near collision with a grey SUV while on my bike in the morning had me swerving into oncoming traffic, a sudden storm left our neighbourhood without power for over three hours in the late afternoon (horrible when you're counting on electricity to keep you cool!), AND I started my period again even though I just finished one last week.

But what really freaked me out was the bike incident because at one point I knew I was going to get hit, and I experienced that odd phenomenon where time slows down to a standstill, and the injuries the bike and I were about to receive flashed right before my eyes. I think I even yelled. When the guy in the vehicle did finally see me there was maybe an inch between us at most, and while the oncoming traffic wasn't the slightest bit happy to see me either, at least they SAW me! So my hope for today is that it's COMPLETELY uneventful.
;)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

another hot one


At an almost record-breaking temperature today!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

families

"All happy families resemble one another; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." —LEO TOLSTOY

I've always liked that quote, although I don't think I agree with it. While the latter may well be true, I suspect that there are as many ways for families to be happy as there are different ways of being a family. At least, let's hope so. But I've been thinking more about families and family life ever since posting about Father's Day and reading the responses shared by you. The consensus seems to be that there is no "normal" family, or that the screwed up family is the norm. And if that's the case, should we even really use the term "dysfunctional" when talking about family? I mean, if it's more typical for a family not to be functional, wouldn't that make the term in relation to family obsolete?


At any rate, it got me to thinking. I grew up (like many of you perhaps) watching The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie, and always felt wistful seeing those shows because while I knew that my own family wasn't like either one of those in even the remotest sense, I always thought that other families came closer to the ideal. And even though I realized at the time that those shows were cloyingly sweet, I still assumed that most other families scored at least a 5 or 6 on a scale of 1 to 10 in resembling the closeness of those TV families, whereas my own family scored a measly 1 at best. But maybe I was wrong. And that, strangely enough, I find comforting. Ah, but if only I'd known while growing up!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

first day of summer

(But thankfully cool enough to feel like spring!)

So to mark the changing of the seasons, here's a poem by my favourite poet, the incomparable Mary Oliver.

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass.
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Oliver, Mary. New and Selected Poems. Boston: Beacon Press, 1992.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

lend me your ear


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

hopeful thought

"The next message you need is right where you are." —BABA RAM DASS

Monday, June 18, 2007

a day late again

If my relationship with my mother is complicated, then the relationship with my father is relatively simple; we don't have one. At least, not one that's meaningful. After the birth of his first child, my dad decided that he wasn't interested in parenting after all, and so he didn't. (My mom and dad were married for almost 25 years before finally divorcing, in my opinion, about 24 years too late.) I grew up with him rooming in the basement as if he was a boarder, and I can count my memories of him from that time period on one hand. A couple of my siblings are completely estranged from him, a couple of them have sporadic contact, and I probably talk to him about twice a year (on Father's Day, and around his birthday which falls close to Christmas). Every year, like yesterday, I wonder why I even bother, but then go ahead and call him anyway. He usually seems pleased that I at least acknowledge the biological bond on this particular day, but after running out of things to say within ten minutes, we go back to our own lives.

Needless to say we don't have a "normal" (whatever that may be) father-daughter relationship, but then I don't know any better. As the youngest child in the family I sometimes think that it was probably harder on my older siblings, but I'm not sure. Why else the surge of anger every year at around this time? What I do know is that we were all affected, and that we didn't have the benefit of being witness to what a loving union is like. And that, I believe, is the best and most useful gift any parent can bestow on their kids: modelling a healthy relationship.

What I'm starting to realize though is that my dad is getting old (he's 81 now), and with him in frail health, I wonder how I'll react when he passes away. At this point I think I'd react to his death as if he were a stranger, which he is, and I'm beginning to question whether I need to resolve my feelings about his lack of parenting before he dies. Because if I don't, will whatever is unresolved come rushing back?


What about you? What is your relationship with your dad like? Care to share?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

there are more of us

After writing about Stayfree pads the other day (and if you enjoyed that wait until I fill you in on how crazy my menstrual cycle is becoming—believe it or not but I sometimes get TWO full periods in one month!) I happened to surf a bit and found this opinion site where 7/10 reviewers agreed that Stayfree should have stayed Scentfree. I feel vindicated. ;)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

not done complaining yet

(and because it's kind of related to yesterday's Monday's post)

So last night I wanted to send my friend Krissa an eCard, and when I got to the site that I always use, discovered that they had changed the set-up and not for the better. What was really easy to navigate before suddenly wasn't, and what loaded properly before, now didn't. Grrrr!

But it got me to thinking that this happens with websites and different consumer products all the time. I can't tell you how often I've used a product for years and years and then ended up hating it after they've "improved" it. A specific example? Stayfree pads. The best pads around as far as I was concerned and then, poof, seemingly out of nowhere they decided to add deodorant to every single one. Tried one package and thought they stunk to high heaven. The problem though is that they scented ALL of them and no longer offered any without the (IMHO) offending odour. Now I understand that companies change their products once in a while to get new customers, but why alienate the ones you already have? In this case specifically, why not offer customers a choice and have both scented and unscented pads available? As it was, I discontinued a product that I liked very much and have yet to find something as good. But enough of feminine hygiene products. ;)

The other day I saw my soymilk with the label "new flavour" and I felt like yelling (but at whom?) that if I'm already buying the product it's obviously because I like the OLD flavour. So if you ever want to see me break out into a visible sweat, just hand me a favourite product that says NEW AND IMPROVED. Aaaack!


And, um, sorry about the unsent card Krissa. :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

is it me, or is it hot in here?


Monday, June 11, 2007

bigger is not necessarily better

(a post where I gripe and grouse because that's what I do at times)

As some of my faithful readers know, I wasn't too happy when I had to open a Google account for the new version of Blogger. And because I can sometimes be a grumpy old sourpuss, my password reflects that I did not do this willingly. Snort.

To date I'm still not impressed with the whole takeover and personally do not believe that the acquisition by Google has improved this site all that much. At least, not for this particular blogger. One of the annoying things for me now is that I have to sign in every single time I access my blog even if I was there a minute before. According to Google this has more to do with my own security settings, but all my tinkering in the Tools/Internet Options/Security categories has been to no avail. Cookies are enabled and I've given express permission to always allow them on both the old and new Blogger sites. My logon is also set on automatic but that doesn't make a difference either. Maybe Google is personally offended by my password? LOL

No, I don't like the new set-up. I miss being able to search all blogs by just going to the navigation bar and frankly, I don't think Google is especially user-friendly or customer-oriented. Going to their "help" pages hasn't personally been very helpful for me as I find that if your question doesn't fit their pre-set categories then you're SOL. And what happened to being able to email customer support? Nope. Not on Google. All you can do is join a group and hope that someone will answer your question there.


But I think the bigger issue behind my irritation is the increasing tendency for sites and businesses to be gobbled up by larger entities. It's merger this and merger that and pretty soon everything becomes homogenous. Take grocery stores and newspapers for example. Once upon a time many of them were independently owned and operated. Now big conglomerates own almost all of the smaller grocery stores and that limits our free choice. And how independent can our local newspapers really be when one or two corporations have bought most of them out? No, I don't like this trend of big monopolies at all. And that includes you, Mr. Google. But I better shut up now.... ;)

Saturday, June 09, 2007

dutch-canadian humour

My sister sent me a list her daughter found on Facebook that made me laugh, and I thought I'd share a few of the items. Unfortunately though it probably won't make much sense to anyone who isn't Dutch, snort, and some of the items are definitely stereotypical, but I thought I'd post it anyway. ;)

You Know You're of Dutch Descent When


- you never trust that the yogourt or margarine containers contain what the label says
- most North Americans (other than those of Dutch descent) can't pronounce your last name
- you know doughnuts have nothing on oliebollen
- you know the only speculaas worth eating are the windmills because they're good luck
- you put sugar on bread with margarine
- you love Maggi in your soup, even if it doesn't need it
- you can say the Dutch 'g' that a lot of others can't pronounce
- you use untranslatable words like appelflappen and gezellig
- you're asked for your last name and you spell it instead
- you can say achtentachtig prachtige grachten without sounding like you have a hairball in your throat
- you brought beschuit met muisjes to school when you had a new brother/sister
- you have so many coupons they keep building up and there are too many to look through
- there is a calender in almost every room (including the bathroom) and at least one of the calenders is a 'birthday/anniversary' calender
- you are too cheap to pay for cable cause you can get 4 channels for free with bunny ears
- you have a special knife that you only ever use to cut cheese and you call this knife a kaas mes
- you like coffee that's way too strong
- you hear all the 'new ways to save energy' and you yawn and say "I've been doing that all my life!"
- you're not allowed to have both meat and cheese on the same sandwich
- you go sightseeing and only attend things that have no charge
- you have 500 rolls of toilet paper in your house because they were on sale!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

mary's back!

Mary who? Mary Tyler Moore of course. And I picked her up tonight. No, not in person silly. But the eagerly anticipated The Mary Tyler Moore Show: Complete Second Season DVD was anxiously awaiting my arrival at the library—woohoo! Maybe that'll lure me away from Flickrland.*

* haven't gone there yet, but checked recent activity via email ;)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

heeeeeeeelp!

I've been floating around in Flickrland for HOURS now, and I can't get out! There's too much to do, too much to see and too much to search. And searching is almost as fun as, well, list making. Aaaaack! Like I need another computer site to get addicted to. Somebody come get me? Seriously. I've got tons of other things that I still need to do today. :))

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

smile more?


Alrighty! So here's another photo (final one, I promise) to round off the collection. And may I just add that these pics unfortunately do not do me any justice (no way is my forehead THAT big), and are therefore not to be used to infer level of attractiveness. Hear me? Snort.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

botox: just say no ;)



Oh the things I do for my readers! Snort.

These two pics were inspired by Dakota's excellent
post about what women are encouraged to do in the name of beauty. In response I've decided to mount my own pro-wrinkle campaign using the pithy slogan in the title above. Anyone care to join me? :))

and because Dakota asked nicely ;)



Here are two pics to give you an idea of what my hair looks like post haircut. Mind you, it was cut about two weeks ago and as you can see, it's already starting to go wavy in the back. And I'm still waiting (quite impatiently) for it to go silver. Go, silver, go!

p.s. do you know how hard it is to take your own pictures? ;)

Friday, June 01, 2007

wanna know how smart you are? ;)

Take this test to find out! I took it a few weeks ago, but seem to remember that the key was to read each question SLOWLY and figure out EXACTLY what they were asking. Armed with that piece of advice you'll do just fine. And if not, well, I ain't liable! Snort.

wanna peek inside? ;)

If, like me, you love houses and taking walks at night to get a better glimpse inside people's homes (okay, not too many of you probably go that far, LOL), then this site is for you. No more having to sneak around and feel like a peeping Tom—these folks want you to look! :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

not a lotta grace

Do you know how difficult it is to run and catch a bus when you have a full knapsack on your back AND a grocery bag in each hand? Do you know how ridiculous a person looks even attempting such a feat? Think penguin crossed with, well, me. I'm quite sure the bus driver waited just because he was enjoying the spectacle. Never mind. One of the things I love about being in my early forties is not giving a toss anymore. Well, not as much. ;)

it's all relative

Dirt, cleanliness, pain, tiredness; I now realize it all depends on what you're used to!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

day 4

Slept. ;)

more before and after shots





ask me what WASN'T sore on Friday!

On second thought, don't. Okay, if you really must know, my hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, and legs were killing me. My knees however were fine because I used a folded-up blanket in a garbage bag to protect them. SO glad somebody told me about that little trick. It took me nearly six hours to clean the living room, but I was determined to get it done, and get it done well. After all, I have the Dutch-housekeepers-are-really-good stereotype to uphold, snort. But three days in a row of cleaning baseboards, floors and doorways in warm humid weather on the second floor of an old house? Go on; ask me how tired I was! (In a weird way though it was kind of fun. Well, satisfying at least to see the end result.) Oh, I forgot to tell you about the tall doorways with the large mouldings—there are three of them in the apartment—and if I remember I'll try to take a picture of one of them when I return next week. (Yes, I've been asked to come back and tackle the hallway and stairs, so no, the fun's not over yet, LOL.) I know, I'll stick the ladder in front and that will demonstrate quite nicely how I'm NOT afraid of heights.

So, I finally finish, pack up, leave, and happen to run into the tenant living downstairs. Who, upon finding out that I was cleaning upstairs, promptly invites me in so that I can decide whether I'd like to have a job cleaning her place as well. Of course at that moment the very last thing I want to do is even think about cleaning somebody else's place, but I was polite and took the tour and you would not believe the bathroom! I've never seen anything like it. It was actually two adjoining bathrooms EXACTLY the width of my claw-foot tub. I kid you not. In the first room a tub half the length of a regular one fit right in between the two walls on one side, and a litter box was on the other side. In the second room there was a small vanity on one end and a toilet on the other, with barely any room to move around. I got claustrophobic just peeking inside.

And within ten minutes I also realize that this 80-year-old-woman, bless her soul, has major memory problems as she tells me the same things over and over. I decide to leave until I realize it's raining outside, except that the term "raining" is inadequate as it's a torrential downpour! Again, I've never seen anything like it. (The next day I read that they suspect a tornado hit parts of Hamilton.) So we go to her kitchen to wait for the storm to calm down a bit when I notice mice droppings EVERYWHERE. On the floor, top of the fridge, on the counter, you name it. Before you know it I have a broom in hand and am cleaning the floor (telling her it's the one free cleaning she's gonna get) while she asks me the exact same questions she asked a few minutes before and I'm wondering if I've ended up in some kind of twilight zone. Honestly! Here I am, bone tired, cleaning the floor of a memory-impaired woman I don't even know living in a mice-filled house with the narrowest set of bathrooms I've ever seen PRAYING for the rain to ease up so I can walk the half hour to my own home and finally fall into bed. Too funny.


And that, my friends, was Day 3. Snort.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

black and white


Yuck indeed!

Better, no?

day 2

Which means that now I really AM tired and sore! Snort. One more day to go this week, but why, oh why did I leave the largest, dirtiest and warmest room for last? And it was hot today too as we got our first taste of summer. The worst part though was finding this poor little mouse stuck on one of those horrible glue traps first thing in the morning. It was obviously in distress, and while I can understand people not wanting mice around, I still hate to see any living creature suffer. I couldn't rescue it though, and I didn't see anything around that I could use to end its life quickly and humanely. Poor thing. I ended up leaving it because I didn't know what to do, but I hope it doesn't live much longer. Sigh.

Okay, a quick before-and-after shot of one of the baseboards to give you an idea of what I'm up against, and then I'm outa here!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

spring break

Well, more like spring clean. Except not at my house, not that it couldn't use it, snort. No, in addition to cleaning houses as a part-time income stream, I'm adding something a bit new this week by cleaning up a vacant apartment for a landlord before new tenants are acquired. How I came about this position is a bit of a fluke, but if it works out maybe I can clean up more apartments for him when tenants move out. The kicker is that the state of this apartment is the worst he's seen in 15+ years of renting. Yikes! That means I've got my work cut out for me. Big time. But, I've gotten super bored with regular weekly maintenance, and in all the houses I've been the biggest satisfaction has come out of getting it really clean the first time. I even made one client almost cry once when she saw how I had "magically" transformed her tub from black to white. Said she'd never seen it that white in seven years. Score! (Pssst, those Magic Erasers really do work if you have enough elbow grease.) So, this could work out well enough, especially if I could get some work from other landlords too.

But first I have to prove myself. And wash walls, baseboards, floors, stairs and who-knows-what-else. Apparently the place is so bad they're even completely replacing the bathroom and kitchen. So yes, I'm somewhat worried. I've seen a fair bit in my stint of cleaning houses (cat, dog and people poop in places you wouldn't even believe, for starters), but maybe this is even worse than what I've encountered so far. And I'm already anticipating a sore body (better start stretching now!) and very tired bones at the end of each day. Which hopefully a long soak in the tub WILL alleviate. For now though I better put up a little sign on my blog:

Gone Cleaning!


Hope to be back by the end of the week. Wish me luck!
I think I'm gonna need it....

Friday, May 18, 2007

shorn

Of hair that is. In a sort of science experiment gone mad, I decided to see what would happen if I didn't bother getting my really short hair cut for six months. Now that doesn't sound too wild, but you don't know my hair. Well! The results made even my hairdresser gasp today when I turned around and showed her the back of my head. I had somehow sprouted these enormous silver wings that while not looking too bad in front, appeared as if they were trying to escape out back but without a clue as to the direction for their emergency flight. Meanwhile, a disgruntled middle contingent of hair decided that they had had just about enough of this craziness and rose up en masse to leave. Yep, a whole section of hair had started curling upwards (I have naturally wavy hair) in the strangest-looking formation ever witnessed by any hair professional. I kid you not. That gasp I mentioned earlier was NOT just embellishment for comedic effect. It was a true, albeit horrified, appreciation for what my hair can do when left to its own devices. Snort. So, it finally came off today. My only regret is that I didn't think to take a photo first to show you just how rebellious my hair can be, and that I wasn't able to take a photo of the mounds of hair left on the floor. About three heads and six pounds worth! Well, that's what the hairdresser said. Who now regrets ever doubting me when I said my hair grows faster than the average person the first time I ended up in her shop. WAY faster. :)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

salad anyone? ;)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

a cleansing breath

"No thought, no reflection, no analysis, no cultivation, no intention; let it settle itself." —TILOPA

Monday, May 14, 2007

a day late I know ;)

Like many families, mine is incredibly screwed up, and like a lot of other mother-daughter relationships, ours is complicated enough that even picking out a Mother's Day card can be tricky. I still haven't resolved all of the issues between us, but yesterday I wanted to focus on some of the good things I've inherited or learned. These include:

* blue eyes (the only one of five kids)
* hair that will turn silver
* a love of words and writing
* a love of antiques and collectables
* the ability to stretch a dollar like nobody's business
* the skill to clean house in the most efficient way possible
* an eye for colour/design so that every home looks warm and inviting
* figuring out by example how I do NOT want to live my life
* recognizing the importance of being passionate about something
* most valuable of all, the ability to find humour in almost everything

Saturday, May 12, 2007

the life of a tulip











Thursday, May 10, 2007

"Oh, the noise! Oh, the Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!"

Snort. No, it's not at Christmas that I clearly empathize with the Grinch (although, depending on the kind of year I've had, LOL), but when the weather turns warmer and the windows get flung open and I have to listen to other people's music, that's when you'll hear me reciting the familiar line above. I mean, it's bad enough having to be privy to people's inane yakking on cell phones everywhere (what, you can't go for a walk or bus ride without talking to someone?), but being forced to listen to someone else's music is one of my major pet peeves. Being a not-quite-recovered-enough curmudgeon, I have MANY pet peeves, wink, but that one is probably the biggest. Maybe it's because I love the sound of stillness (although I don't mind things like birds chirping or trains whistling), or maybe it's because if I do have background music on it's likely to be of the classical variety. No, what I don't understand is people's need to have their car stereos blasting, or worse, bringing their radios outside with them. Um, hello? What makes you think I want to listen to your crappy music? Why should I have to be subjected to that? And why are you so afraid of silence? As far as I'm concerned it's all noise pollution. I appear to fall in the minority though as music is everywhere and others don't seem to mind it as much.

But who is the worst offender on our street? If you guessed the lawnmower man who lives right across from me, then you're absolutely right. And is it the mowing of the sidewalk that bothers me the most? No, even though I think it's quite insane, that I can handle (even at three hours at a time), as it doesn't happen every day. Now, you might think me positively loony when you read what I'm about to say next, but it's his whistling that drives me around the bend. I know, I know, it doesn't seem such a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but his whistling is so high-pitched and shrill and loud and constant that I can hear it clearly at the back of the house, and even when I'm watching TV. No matter what the volume, his whistling (and he does it for hours on end) pierces through so that I have no choice but to close the windows. Does it bother others as well? Yes. Can I talk to him about it? No. After a, um, incident a couple of years ago (remember, I'm curmudgeonly), we are no longer on speaking terms. Have I considered strangling him with my bare hands? Yes, of course I have! Snort. In fact, enough people have heard me confess to wanting to do exactly that, so if a homicide were to occur more than one suspecting finger would rightly be pointed my way. Okay, I exaggerate, but it's not like I can call the police to report him. Can you imagine the exchange that would take place?

Police officer: What seems to be the problem Ma'am?
Me: My neighbour is making too much noise.
Police officer: How, specifically?
Me: Um, he's whistling. But really loud!
Police officer: [silence at first] Ma'am, is this a crank call?
Me: No! And you have to do something about it! Please?
Police officer: [click]

LOL


No, I don't think THAT would go over very well. I'm just going to have to practise being Zen-like as much as possible, I suppose. And enjoy the times when he's NOT whistling. But hey, blogging about it sure helped! ;)

hmmm, maybe I should try this?

Snort.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Cagney & Lacey

Anyone remember this show? It ran from 1982 to 1988 and was one of my favourites. I loved the characters (two strong female cops in a male-dominant profession played by Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly), their friendship, the storylines, and the exploration of personal/social issues. What has stayed with me the most though is the memory of the twinges of envy I used to feel watching any given episode, and recognizing years later that what I had been envious or wistful of was their passion. It didn't matter if they were tired or bored or had personal problems; they always seemed committed and passionate about their work. Struggling at the time with what I was going to do when I grew up, I hoped that there was work that I could be equally fervent about. I STILL don't know what to do when I grow up, snort, although I do have a better sense of what it is I love.

Well, it's the show's 25th anniversary (what, WHERE did the time go?) and MGM Home Video is releasing
Season 1 (technically season two when Sharon Gless replaced the original actress) on DVD today. It also contains a two-part documentary and commentary from Gloria Steinem. Hurray!

Monday, May 07, 2007

ta da!


Decided that since I no longer have a tulip outside, I'd buy and bring one indoors! I'll be taking a photograph each day until it no longer blooms (kind of a time-lapse project) and will post the sequence of photos when complete.

Be pink, my pretty! :)

Sunday, May 06, 2007

sunday humour


Saturday, May 05, 2007

snippet

At 3 minutes and 4 seconds after 2am on May 6th of this year (only a few hours away!), the time and date will be 02:03:04/05.06.07.

Make of that what you will! ;)

Friday, May 04, 2007

art is good for the heart

in the bathroom

in my kitchen

and in my computer room!

There's a sale at our local Hamilton Art Gallery this weekend, which I'm hoping to get to although a part of me thinks I shouldn't tempt myself. I'm only allowed to window shop, but have gotten into trouble before at various art shows when I've made that vow, LOL. Still, if I leave the credit cards at home there's little real danger this time. And since I enjoy the pieces of original art I already have, I thought I'd share my three favourites with you. They're bright, cheerful, whimsical, full of life (the artist paints in such a way that the pictures seem almost animated), and they make me happy. The last reason is the best reason, in my opinion, to buy art because even though these paintings are the only thing of any real monetary value in my humble abode (literally everything else is second-hand) and could be considered a future financial investment, I'd never sell them anyway. They're mine. ALL MINE. But you're welcome to have a look. ;)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

one of our cherry trees!


my neighbour's tulip


The photo's a bit dark, but you can see some of the white peeking out. I'm so jealous! But hey, at least I get to enjoy it as well. :)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

a few laws of the universe ;)

from the inbox:

Law of Probability:
The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.

Law of the Telephone:
If you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal.

Law of the Alibi:
If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tire, the very next morning you will have a flat tire.

Law of Variation:
If you change lines (or traffic lanes), the one you were in will start to move faster than the one you are in now.

Law of the Bath:
When the body is fully immersed in water, the telephone will ring.

Law of Close Encounters:
The probability of meeting someone you know increases when you are with someone you don't want to be seen with.

Law of the Result:
When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it will.

Law of Biomechanics:
The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.

Law of the Theatre:
At any event, the people whose seats are furthest from the aisle will arrive last.

Law of Coffee:
As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something that will last until the coffee is cold.

Law of Lockers:
If there are only two people in a locker room, they will have adjacent lockers.

Law of Carpets:
The chances of an open-faced jelly sandwich landing face down on a floor covering are directly correlated to the newness and cost of the carpet.

Law of Consumer Products:
As soon as you find a product you really like, they will stop making it.

And a new law proposed by sender of forwarded email:

Law of Gardening:

A lone tulip in the garden will be eaten only hours before it's ready to bloom!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

still can't believe it


The tulip bandit has struck again! I woke up this morning to see the awful sight above. The worst part is that it looked as if it was going to bloom soon (wish I'd taken another picture!), and the ironic part is that its life ended the same day it did last year.

There are lessons to be learned from all this I suppose, e.g., life is short, don't take anything for granted, etc., but I'm not really in the mood for lessons right now. Once again I have no idea of its colour (it was still hard to tell yesterday), so I've decided that it would have been a deep pink, like the luscious tulips in the post below.

Not sure if I'll still be here next year (you never know when renting), but if I am I won't be taking any chances. Come fall I'll plant a bunch of tulips of my own (safety in numbers?) and see what happens.

Aw, poor little tulip....

think pink!


Sunday, April 29, 2007

the Up films

"Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man." —Jesuit maxim

In 1964, Granada Television made a short feature that was to be the beginning of a most extraordinary documentary series. Fourteen seven-year-old children from diverse backgrounds in England were interviewed to explore the idea that personality and future outcome could be, as suggested by the maxim, determined by age seven. Although this was originally envisioned as a one-time venture, director Michael Apted went back every seven years to re-interview the same subjects. The result, a collection of seven films so far (Seven Up, 7 Plus Seven, 21 Up, 28 Up, 35 Up, 42 Up and 49 Up) is, in my opinion, one of the finest examples of the power of documentary filmmaking ever. Each of these seven films has profoundly moved me, and each one has made me exclaim, "This is why I love documentaries." Do yourself a favour and watch them if you can. You won't be disappointed.


My only complaint? Having to wait until 2013 for the next instalment!