Saturday, March 31, 2012

And suddenly it's April

The last few weekends we've been wearing shorts and riding our bicycles then it snowed like crazy yesterday and suddenly it's winter again. I have no idea why the tree in our front yard is so darned happy about it.

Everybody's talking about the A to Z Blogging Challenge starting tomorrow and, yeah, I'll be taking part. Me and more than 1,500 other people around the bloggy world. I did it last year and had a riot and made plenty of new friends. And honestly, as far as challenges go, it's not a tough one. Nothing like National Novel Writing Month, for sure.

Most participants I know have themes picked out for the challenge and many already have their posts written. To them I stick out my tongue, make obnoxious raspberry sounds and yell "KEENERS!"

Naturally I have no theme. I have written no posts. The whole concept of doing anything in advance, blog-wise, is as foreign to me as economic policy, how big the universe is and whether or not my cats can make it through the day without horking a hairball on the chesterfield. You might be surprised to learn I am exceedingly organized at work. I have time management degrees from all the best internet universities and, seriously, cannot fathom or put up with lesser mortals who scramble to meet deadlines.

Blogging, though, that's a different kettle of fish. Whatever comes out of my head is what flops down on the page, usually all squiggly, wet and writhing. I have to do it this way, for the sake of my sanity. What's left of it anyway.

I was reading a blog post by Rubye Jack this morning. She is one of the most honest writers I know. Her work is compelling and heartbreaking and inspiring, all at the same time. I admire that about her as I admire that in everyone. Honesty is the most important thing to me. I value it above all other things and when I see it in another human being I can't help but want to reach out and share in some of their spirited light. Dishonesty, on the other hand, makes me turn away.

That being said I can't always be perfectly honest in this space. I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings, first of all, and I don't want to get in trouble with family, friends, or at work. There are times when, more than anything, I'd love to load a blast of shite and level it at my job but to do so would hurt only me and, anyways, 99% of the time I love my job and love my pay cheque and would seriously love to have it continue plopping into my hungry bank account.

Which brings me to the point of this diatribe: while I say I don't have a theme I think I am leaning towards one. A little piece of honesty, a little piece of my soul, for every letter of the alphabet.

Sounds like a deal with the devil, does it not?

We'll see.


Now, off to split firewood. It's what I do on weekends in April.
And to my darling son, Angus, I wish a happy 15th birthday tomorrow, the first day of April. Happy birthday also to my Auntie Ellen, a gracious and lovely lady. April Fool's day has produced some wonderful people, including these precious two. Hugs to both.

Note to self: I am number 172 on the list. (It took me five minutes to find myself amongst 1,532 names!) I am going to take Alex's advice and start my tour with the blog following mine, number 173, which (and I just looked this up) belongs to Watercolors by Mimi Torchia Boothby. An artiste. Cool!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Mother of god, in the name of all that's holy, what IS that smell?


Sniff, sniff.

Sniff, sniff, sniffetty-sniff.


Ugh. What is that SMELL?

Smells like dog shite. Or cat poo truffles. Some sort of animal excrement.

I peer under the kitchen table and scout around for pliable land mines. Nothing.

Sniff, sniff.

Well, SOMETHING reeks!

In front of me is a cheerful bouquet of daffodils, a present from Dave in honour of the Cancer Society. Every year at this time they sell daffodils to raise money for cancer research. Which is great, right? But they might as well sell dog poop on a stick because those daffy flowers are stinko-amoondo.

A rose by any other name might smell as sweet but daffodils smell pretty much like somebody's dirty underwear.

Dave went all out - the flowers came with this unique vase!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Forget anything?

I had a big meeting today.


Like Mad Men big. Me. My idea. My presentation. Biggie-sized big.

Woke up at 5 a.m. because I was so excited I couldn't sleep. Christmas-morning big.

Dyed my hair because my roots were showing. Picked my prettiest blouse. Remembered to put eyeshadow on both eyes. Wore my new pleather biker's jacket.

Looked HAWT.

Got to work.

Realized my armpits were damper than usual.

Took an unobtrusive sniff ...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Slapping chipper and nineteen-sixty

"You've lost three pounds. That's great!" said the lady at Weight Watchers who weighed me. All bright and chipper-like.

I had a sudden urge to slap that silly chipper sideways.

I am such an idiot. I really, really thought I was going to lose five. So instead of being thrilled that I lost three pounds in one week I was grumpy. It's a wonder Dave doesn't kick me straight in my wide white arse. Instead, he sent me to bed like an overtired child who doesn't know they're overtired.

This morning I am back to my normal self – whatever that means.

And in the category of people say the darndest things ....

Last night I sat beside this cute little old lady at the Weight Watchers meeting. She was new and confused about how the program works. I explained a few things, suggested she talk to the leader (Diane) and gave her my best "be positive - you can do it" speech.

My Weight Watchers key chain had broke (you get it for losing 10% of your body weight) so at the end of the meeting I asked Diane for a new one – apparently they're insured for life so if you break one, they'll replace it! Awesome! So as I was replacing my charms on the key ring, the little old lady beside me asked what they were for.

"This one is for attending 16 meetings," I said.

"That's nice," she replied.

"This one is for losing 25 pounds."

She nodded, smiling.

"And this one is for losing 50 pounds."

She got a funny expression on her face. I waited for her to say, "Wow! That is fabulous! Congratulations!"

Instead she said, "So you were quite large, then."



I was stalking other bloggers this morning and came across a 49-year-old named Librarygirl in Melbourne, Australia, who says she is fixated on seeing what other 49-year-olds look like and so posted a scintillating array of photos featuring celebrities when they were her age.

Suddenly I had to find out what other people my age – born in 1960 – look like:

Sean Penn. Does he get better looking as he gets older, or what?
Wait, I'm gonna make him bigger. Just because he makes me all swooney.

Tildan Swinton. I know, you're having trouble placing her. She won an Oscar
for Best Actress in 2008 for her role in Michael Clayton.

Jennifer Grey. Remember Dirty Dancing? Yah, she had the Time of her Life then.
She looks great though. Real. Like, if she lived on your street she'd be the hottest
thing in the neighbourhood, right?


Julianne Moore. I just saw her on Anderson Cooper's show
and I was smitten with her. Her favourite animal is the BEAVER,
which is one of MY favourite animals. And we're the same
AGE. So really, we're like total sameys. See the resemblance?
I'm making her bigger, too, because we're so much the same.

Kristin Scott-Thomas and some guy. She's most famous for her
role in The English Patient. My reading glasses from the grocery store look
just like Kristin's. I'm sure that's where she got hers.

Stanley Tucci. This guy is great in everything.
One of my favourites is Big Night, in which he
plays a co-owner of a failing restaurant trying
hard to save the business. They make timpano,
one of the most incredible and complicated
Italian foods ever. I made it once. It was DELISH.

Daryl Hannah, having a bad day.
I'll always think of Daryl as the mermaid in Splash.

Kenneth Branagh. Saw him a short time ago
in My Week With Marilyn. He was, as usual, amazing.

Meg Tilly. She was the best thing about
The Big Chill. And doesn't she look cute?
She reminds me of my cousin Kelly in
this photo.

Valerie Bertinelli. How can she possibly lose all
that weight and still have boobs?
They're the first things to go! As soon as your
body hears the word 'diet,' it's boob-overboard!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Back on track

Floundering. Isn't it a great word?

Not when you're floundering around with weight loss. I need focus to get the job done but focus has been smooshed by flounder and I really haven't been doing well since Christmas. I hadn't given up entirely but when I missed two Weight Watchers meetings in a row and then gained seven pounds, I knew I had some serious attitude adjustments to make. So last week I went back to WW, faced the music, and resolved to climb back on that wagon train.

I also set a personal goal: I vowed to lose five pounds in a week. I've been watching Biggest Loser on TV and they don't seem to have any trouble losing five pounds or more in a week so I thought, if those guys can do it, so can I!

As a result, I have been a model child for Weight Watchers. I have been on plan, every minute. I have exercised every single day. On the weekend I split wood and I split wood and I split wood, blah, blah, blah – surely that counts as exercise because at this moment every single bit of my blubbery body is shrieking with throbbiness.

Tonight is weigh-in.

Tonight the bell tolls. I sure hope it tolls for me.

BY THE WAY: If you're into watching your weight, you'll want to check out this COOL blog I discovered this morning. I found it via my Weight Watchers newsletter and it's run by a tattooed beauty named Sheryl whose every pore oozes pink inspiration. You can find her here:

Friday, March 23, 2012

My surprise!

If you don't have a Dave in your life, you should get one. I love mine to bits.

There are a million reasons why, but one is he likes to surprise me. Last night I came home from my Muskoka Writter Wimmen meeting and there was a new PURSE on my pillow!

I've been needing a new purse for months and was mad at Dave around Christmastime when I tried to buy one and he talked me out of it. I figured there was going to be one under the Christmas tree and was cheesed off when there wasn't. I mean, my old purse was falling apart! A new one was WAY overdue.

Turns out he had ordered one from his sister's husband, Zane Holden, who is a leather artist. He had asked for it some time ago but Zane was busy (he's so talented, it's no wonder) and didn't get a chance to finish it until recently. Zane had called our house a few times lately, ostensibly because he had car problems, and last night Dave told me he was going up north to visit his mom. What REALLY was going on was Zane was calling to say the purse was ready and Dave was going to pick it up. Sneaky beggars!

With some help from his wife Carol and daughter Aliceandra, Zane carves the leather, paints it, then stitches it together to create wallets, purses, key chains – you name it, he does it. And he can carve whatever you like. Wildlife, hot cars, pictures of your kids, pictures of your Aunt Molly, pictures of your arse.... you get the idea. A while back Zane made me a wallet which I haven't been able to use because my old purse wasn't big enough for it! Yet another reason I wanted a new one!

So THANKS to Zane for all his hard work. The purse is BEAUTIFUL and I LOVE it!

And thanks to you, dear sweet loveable SNEAKY Dave for such a happy surprise!


This is the wallet Zane made me!
On this side is a butterfly, roses and trilliums, Ontario's provincial flower.
In the photo at the top is my new purse. The birds are cedar waxwings,
such beautiful creatures. 

The other side of my wallet – I'm a cat lover, can you tell? 

"There are so many new SMELLS in this purse!" Misty takes a good sniff of
my present. I hope she doesn't decide to chew it!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lucky me, lucky Weezie

I am so excited about this! I saw the Lucky Seven meme floating around Facebook yesterday and was wish-wish-wishing that somebody would tag me because I have been dying to show off a little bit of my book! 

Imagine my complete joy this morning seeing that Helen Howell had tagged me! You must pop over and see Helen's Lucky Seven, by the way. I've been helping her with some editing and I adore her novella, 'Jumping at Shadows.'

Here’s the rules:

1. Go to page 77 in your current manuscript
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next seven lines as they are – no cheating
4. Tag 7 other authors (do it on Facebook)

Here’s my lucky seven. This is taken from my novel, my work in progress, the bane of my existence and my sweet, sweet love. I'm calling it Weezie Polk's Man Lessons and it's about a middle-aged woman with a cheating husband and a sense of humour who loses everything but gains a night in jail and a new perspective on life. Sounds familiar, right? It's based on my own story only it's more exciting and less pathetic. When it happened to me I was surprised how many so-called decent women become tangled up with the law and lose their children, their homes and their stature in society. I wanted to warn women to stay away from the emotional pitfalls that can swallow them whole in the chaos of marital separation. 

I also wanted to tell my story. It started as mine but Weezie has taken a life of her own and now the story is all hers. I love that woman. She's everything I want to be. Fierce and hopeless all at the same time. Imperfect in every way. So, thanks Helen! You don't know how much I appreciate this tag.

Anyway, here's my girl, who's in the midst of laying down the law to her cheating husband:

“The minute there’s any tension in this house, you’re gone. And no talking to that woman, either. Oh, and you’re sleeping in the basement.” 
Butch smiled. A tiny, tired smile. “I figured,” he said. “Thank you, Weezie. I’m sorry about all this. I am, you know. Sorrier than you know. You married yourself a real asshole.” 
Weezie ignored the apology. 
“No tension,” she repeated. “I mean it.” 
And then she invited the vampire into her house. 
Now, to tag seven authors: Lou Freshwater, Mark Kerstetter, Laurita Miller, Dawn, Paula, Linda and Sasha. The last four names are the ladies of my writer's group and I love them silly. None of them blog but all of them have stunning works in progress that I get to listen to every two weeks.

Thanks again, Helen!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A nice guy

I've gotta say I've fallen head over heels in love with my job this week. (I'm nothing if not fickle but apparently my reproductive organs claim it's my prerogative.)

The reason for this burst of starry-eyed affection is the vice president of the company. He's been working out of our office this past week or so, giving us leadership in a crisis. Our beloved general manager had a heart attack last week and is still in serious condition – we miss him terribly and hope, pray and wish he gets better SOON.

I never knew our vice president. Our company is a big one, encompassing most of Ontario, and the VP works in a city an hour away from me. I knew what he looked like. I'd seen him occasionally but usually his presence struck the fear of god into me. It was like, uh oh, HE's here – we're in trouble now! But, at the risk of sounding inane, he's WONDERFUL.

Every morning he brings his coffee, or his tea (Water? Hooch? Who knows? It's something in a mug!) and strolls casually through the entire building, saying hello to EVERYONE. Not just hello – he asks us how we're doing; how our projects are coming along. Heck, he even talks about American Idol with us! On Sunday he baked Montreal-style bagels with his own hands and brought them into the office along with real butter and honey. Yesterday he bought pizza for everyone at lunchtime. (I managed to avoid both treats – I appreciate the gesture immensely but I'm back on the Weight Watchers Wagon.)

The food was nice but was secondary compared to the fact he TALKED to us. It's easy, in a big corporation, to feel like you're a tiny mouse hiding in the corner of a gigantic building. There are so many levels of management; there are so many people. It's easy to get lost in the shuffle and feel you're not important; that your work isn't valued; that you have nothing to contribute.

This isn't anyone's fault but generally I feel like I'm hiding my light under a bushel basket. In the past I have worked for many small, independent newspapers where everyone helped do everything. There were no lines between editorial, or production, or sales, or circulation. I was a reporter/photographer most of the week; on Monday morning I was a darkroom technician; on Monday afternoon I was a graphic artist; and on Tuesday morning I had a paper route. On Wednesdays we had staff meetings where everyone got together to plan the next issue. We threw ideas out there; we got excited – it was fun! And we produced award-winning newspapers. Personally I won several newspaper association awards in writing and design categories. (There was no award for delivering papers – but there should be!)

Things are different in a big company. Sure, each of the departments have meetings but rarely does everybody in an office get together in the same room and hash out ideas. I understand that's hard to do but, honestly, you miss out on a lot of ideas when you don't involve everyone. You also risk dampening the enthusiasm of people who want to contribute but don't feel they're part of the team.

Our VP knows this. He knows that the simple act of talking with everyone brings out their best. And isn't that what every company man wants? Excited, enthusiastic employees who love their jobs?

I'm certainly loving mine.

Now excuse me – I've gotta get my butt moving or I'm gonna be late for work.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Geese on icebergs

Spring has sprung on the river. Maybe not even spring, so much as full blown summer. Yesterday was absolutely phenomenal. Sunny. Hot. No bugs. Paradise.

It was a perfect weekend for being outside. Some people did yard work. Some tried out their bicycles. Most everybody tried on their shorts to see if they shrunk over the winter.

What did we do? We split wood.

See, I had forgotten all about the splitting-wood-thing. Which is silly, I know, because there's been a truckload of logs sitting out front for two months now, waiting for a break in the weather. And how could I forget when we heat our house with wood and therefore carry wood in from the woodpile every darn day all winter long? How could I forget? How????

I think it's like childbirth. The pain is agonizing – so bad that your brain forgets about it. Even though there's a fully formed human being in your house to remind you of those labour pains, mooching your food, peeing all over the bathroom floor and asking for money, the pain part is blessedly forgotten (because changing diapers is its own special kind of pain). So firewood is like childbirth. Yah, you know every spring you work like a demon but the rest of the year it's just a hazy memory.

But – gak – suddenly it's spring. Time to roll out the wood splitter and the chain saw and, by the sweat of the brow and the throbbing pain in the back, transform an entire truckload of logs into wood stove-sized chunks. For those lucky enough to never have endured this process, it's monotonous and painful. Wet wood is heavy. I can carry a big armload of dry firewood with no problem but freshly cut wood is three times as heavy as the dry stuff.

Enough with the whining. Yes, splitting wood isn't my favourite way of enjoying spring's first brilliant days but I must admit I get an immense amount of joy listening to less energetic people complaining about their heating bills in January. Our last load of logs cost $900. The wood will heat our house for three years. People with oil furnaces can spend $400 or more for one month and not even be warm.

Splitting wood isn't so bad. Not really. It got me outside all weekend. It got me some sunshine. It worked all my muscles and it worked up an appetite and it made me feel like I had accomplished something.

Besides, if I hadn't been out in the front yard splitting wood, I wouldn't have seen this pair of Canada geese (above) sleeping on an ice berg. The Muskoka River isn't exactly Ice Berg Alley (as parts of Newfoundland are known) but we do get little islands of ice floating downstream when spring arrives. They're not unusual but goose hitchhikers are. They hop aboard these icy boats and catch a snooze or enjoy a ride. We saw them do it a few days ago but were too slow with the camera.

The weekend wasn't all work. We did go to a wake on Saturday to pay our respects to a family member. They are wonderful people and we had a nice visit. We went to a movie Saturday night. (Saw John Carter. Fell asleep.) We had a couple of fabulous bike rides. (I LOVE MY BICYCLE.) And we even got our canoe out of hibernation and went for a paddle.

It was a good weekend. OK, so now I need to stock up on Deep Cold and Tylenol, but it was a good weekend nevertheless.

Beautiful, beautiful weather. The snow is almost entirely gone (you can see a few small patches on the opposite riverbank) and the river looks so inviting. It's way too cold for swimming (like, barely above freezing)
but it sure looks pretty.

The water is as high as I've ever seen it. Our dock is usually a couple of feet out of the water
– now all but one edge is completely submerged.

Our load of logs in front of the 'bunkie.'
Believe it or not, the pile used to be a lot bigger – we've already split and piled a quarter of it. 

Our progress as of lunchtime Sunday.
By Sunday night we had three full rows – about six cords.
Only 20 cords left to go! Woo-hoo!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Chat heads just wanna scream

We don't talk to each other at work anymore; we chat. Online. OK, so we do talk if we're all working in the same office but some of the people I work most closely with are not only in different offices, they're in different towns. That's fine, though, because we're all connected with this Jabber program (rather like Messenger) that lets us send documents back and forth and chat away to each other just as quick as our flying fingers can type. Come to think of it, we even chat to people sitting at the next desk, especially if we're talking about one another. The room may be devoid of actual conversation but you can tell by the sound of ticking keyboards that there's some hot gossip going down.

Each of us has a chat icon – an avatar; a little picture that represents us during conversation. You'd think we would all have an actual photo of ourselves, right? Something respectable and businesslike?


Our chat heads change all the time. Because today's St. Patrick's Day (happy green day everyone!), most the icons were shamrocks or leprechauns. For a while there I had a sheep with an Irish hat on it because I often have one of those Serta sheeps so it seemed appropo. OH! We also have room for a customized slogan beside our pictures. I think the space was intended to say something like "BRACEBRIDGE TODAY" or "NORTH BAY" or wherever because some of us move around from office to office depending on what day of the week it is. Like gypsies, we are.

Naturally we use the quote spaces for all kinds of witty repartee. When I'm a Serta sheep my message is a take-off on the Michael Jackson song: BLEAT IT, JUST BLEAT IT.

Another of my favourite chat heads is a picture of Lucille Ball and the slogan says "YOU GOT SOME ESPLANING TO DO."

I've had a zillion chat heads and slogans. You can pretty much tell what kind of mood I'm in by what's going on in Jabber.

When I'm sick I like to have a picture of Natalie Wood as my chat head and the slogan is a take-off from West Side Story: "I FEEL PHLEGMY."

I have a favourite, though. MY NEW FAVOURITE. It's some kind of meme - don't ask me what a meme is. I have no clue. One of the young guys at work – my pal Jason – tried to explain it to me but he's 12 and I'm a dork and there's just no point. Regardless of what the heck a meme is I fell in love with this goofy stick drawing of somebody with a really big mouth and promptly made it my chat head.

Another work friend, Mizz Sarah, sent me this pix because we were working on a crushing deadline and it pretty much summed up the shrieking fecking panic going on in our heads. The funny thing is, seeing this chat head all the time MAKES ME WANT TO ALL-CAP ALL MY MESSAGES. YEAH, I KNOW IT'S LIKE SCREAMING BUT LOOK AT THAT CHAT HEAD - DON'T YOU THINK THAT THING JUST WANTS TO SCREAM?

So that's what I do at work all day.

And they pay me. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!


Friday, March 16, 2012

The Descendants and aprés-show tearfest

Saw The Descendants last night, thanks to the FREE movie tickets we snatched up from a local car dealership who was giving back to the community for March Break. (YAY MUSKOKA KIA! You guys rock!)

I'd been wanting to see this movie for some time but we've been so broke lately that a movie night just wasn't in the cards. But you can bet my non-existant bottom dollar that I could have talked Dave into seeing some new comic book hero flick – but that's another story. Fact is, even he couldn't refuse what he thought might be a sappy chick flick when the door fee was free. So off we went, using our last-day-before-payday change to buy popcorn and Twizzlers.

Let me just say even Dave was impressed by The Descendants. It was a phenomenal movie. Funny and sad, brilliant and quirky, with outstanding performances by everyone in the cast. Yes, Clooney deserved an Oscar. That first scene, where he promises to be a better husband and father, just blew me away. And Hawaii as a set? I want to go there NOW.

One of the best things about the movie is how they don't play the tear-jerker card. It isn't maudlin. It isn't sappy. Even though, on the surface, it is about a woman in a coma, it's no Terms of Endearment or Notebook. Thanks to some fine writing it actually has a light pace, a gentle humourous touch that won my heart. Still, there's a woman on the bed, in a coma, dying. And wow, she really looked like she was dying. I say that from experience because I have seen more than one person in that state and it isn't pretty.

But here is where my revelation comes in.

When my father was bone-rack thin on his death bed, when he was in his casket as emaciated as a skeleton and unrecognizable as the dad I had knew and loved, I thought I would never be able to think of him as anything but sick – ever again. People trying to comfort me said, "Don't worry. Time will erase these images and eventually you will be able to remember your father as he was when he was healthy." I didn't believe them. How could I? He was sick for so long ...

Dave and I were on our way home from the movie last night and our thoughts were with our fathers – he lost his two short months after I lost mine. It's partly what binds us, this experience. After seeing the movie-woman dying in her bed I couldn't help but think of Dad on his deathbed. That's when I realized I was picturing him healthy! He wasn't emaciated, he was portly! There he was with his beer belly and his muscular arms, his strong back and his thick neck. He was lying in his hospital bed, hours from death, and yet I couldn't see anything but a healthy man.

And then I realized I couldn't remember what he looked like in his coffin. I mean, if pressed, I sort of remember. But I can't see it CLEARLY.

All of that – it's GONE.

This tremendous revelation hit me hard. I started bawling so bad I couldn't catch my breath; big gasping, ugly sobs.

It was true. What they said – all true.

I have been surrounded by death lately. So many dear friends have lost loved ones; others struggle with critical illnesses.  Like the ones who told me that some day I would be able to see my healthy father again, I can honestly say that there will come a time when you will only remember your mother, your partner, your spouse, your child as the healthy person he or she once was. It might take years, but that day will come.

Love to you all.

And go see The Descendants.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Going Bananas

Bananas cheese me off.

Like that little snark of a girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead, when bananas are good they are very, very good but when they are bad they are either green or they're black, hard as a rock or mushy enough to gag a maggot. Every once in a while, though, every once in a lonnnnnnnnnng while, I wind up with a perfect banana and It. Is. So. Choice.

So I keep buying the darn things, just in case the new banana is the Choice Banana but invariably I am disappointed. (This sounds like a metaphor for men and/or life, does it not?)

I bought the last bunch when they were green, because I had no choice. They were all green. Blargh. I sat them in the banana bowl and watched them like a hawk. Every day they were a slightly paler shade of green. Like fading phlegm. Then one day they were pale yellow with green edges. Then, like five seconds later, they were pale yellow with green edges and BROWN SPOTS. I grabbed one while the grabbing was good and peeled it before it could turn black. It looked fine but it was so firm that it wouldn't bend and my teeth wouldn't go through it. Seriously. It was like biting into a banana-flavoured brick.

This happened at work. I held up the offending banana with the bite marks for my colleagues to see and they were suitably appalled. For some reason the guys I work with shuddered ...

This story reminds me of a photo that was in one of our newspapers the other day. The picture featured a protester holding a cat. The cat, apparently, was named Meat Popsicle.

"What a weird name," I said to my co-workers. "Somebody named their cat Meat Popsicle."

They started laughing and saying how rude that name was. I was like, wha? What's so rude about that? I mean, it's stupid, right? But rude?

Then it hit me.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

For Bill

Just a note tonight to say my thoughts and very, very best wishes are with a much-loved colleague as he struggles with a serious illness. More than just a boss, he is a father figure to many and beloved by all.

Hugs to you, dear Bill, and prayers, and anything that might help your fight to get better.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Stupid Dog

I am ruled by my stupid dog.

This morning I got out of bed and there was Misty, spinning around like a malformed water bug. I looked down at her with disdain.

"You've already been outside," I said. Only one of my eyeballs were open. The other was crusted shut. My bladder was fully loaded and bumped up to the loading dock ready to hand-bombed into the great white porcelain bus.

The dog ran to the front door and spun there. If she could talk she would be saying

"gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now 
or I'm gonna pee on the floor, on the floor, right now" 

and it would be in a high-squeaky voice, not unlike American Idol's latest long-haired Bob Marley wannabe Deandre Brackensick. (Brackensick? Are you kidding me?)


I sighed. Heavily. "Really?" I asked.

The dog spun and looked sincere.

"Fine," I grumbled, "but you better get out there and go pee."

I waddled to the door, barely unable to see through my gummy eyelids, and opened the door for Her Royal Pain in the Ass.

"Go pee," I said, because the dog weighs seven pounds soaking wet and her brain is the size of a fava bean and you actually have to tell her to "go pee" or she'll just stand there like a dumb turd and stare at you.

I stood by the door, shifting my weight from one foot to the other, having to pee so bad my back teeth were ordering lifeboats. The dog stood on the front deck and looked at me, not a brain in her ever loving head. The fava bean had left the building.

"Git!" I hollered. "Go pee!"

She gave me a look that said I was torturing her and hopped down the porch steps and sniffed the closest snowbank. After 10 seconds of sniffing, she turned to see if I was still looking, then sniffed for a bit more. That done, she got a happy "I'm done!" look on her face and scampered up to the front door, wanting to be let in.

I was furious. "Get down there and go pee RIGHT NOW."

She got that hurt look on her face, like I was the world's meanest owner, and slunk back down to the snowbank. She didn't even sniff, just stared at me mournfully.

"GO PEE." I ordered, feeling like the evil dictator of a smallish country.

She took a few steps, sniffed half-heartedly at a pine cone and turned a baleful gaze back to me.

"oh please don't torture me anymore missus, i promise to be a good doggie, 
look how cute i am, why you be mean to cute doggie like me?"

Misty is such a creature of habit.

Someone gets out of bed, she has to go to the front door.

Someone shifts their position on the couch, she has to go to the front door.

Someone coughs, sneezes, farts, burps or breathes, she has to go to the front door.

It doesn't matter if she was outside two minutes earlier; if any of these things happen, she has to go outside.

Dave says it's my fault. "Why do you let her run you? She's a dog!"

True. You can't refute logic like that. (Whatever that means – she's a dog? That's supposed to make everything clear? Dave's theory of relativity – she's a dog.) But I am bound to the "what if" of the situation. What if she really has to have a crap? And what if she craps on the floor because I didn't let her out? Who would have to clean that crap up? Me, that's who.

Anyway, feck her. She wanted out so badly, she can stay there. Forever. Who cares if she freezes like a pupsicle? Who cares if she gets eaten by a bear? Bah. Stupid dog.


She's still at the front door. Staring at me. Big puppy dog eyes looking like she's the saddest dog of all the saddest dogs. Queen Sad Dog. Staring. I feel like I should let her in, like she has been punished enough.

Or I could make like she's a football and field goal her into the Muskoka River. *cue evil laugh*

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cookies and Baggy Pants

These are not pajamas. They are Baggy Pants. (And that is my cat and my dog and my pudgy toes on our crappy floor and our disintegrating carpet. Who lives a lifestyle of the rich and famous?)

My friend Pamela Steel (who lives up the road from me and, as well as being my Euchre Nemesis, is the author of TWELVE books and I am not jealous ONE BIT) gave me these pants and told me I could wear them all the time except when I have a meeting at Head Office during which time I should probably wear pantyhose and sensible heels and not forget my deodorant. Other than that, Baggy Pants are what she says we should all wear, all the time.

See? I saw people wearing this stuff around and I just thought, pajamas! Pffft. I know from nothing, obviously. They are the new fashion craze and can be seen in all the fanciest places, except, apparently, Head Office. And maybe at Buckingham Palace, although there are rumours that Prince Harry likes to romp around his grandmother's apartment wearing the Disco Monkey with Plaid pattern.

So I shall wear them to work tomorrow, even though they are rather tight across my arse and this is the opposite of what Baggy Pants are supposed to be, which is baggy in the arse, not so tight that the seams are about ready to burst with flesh, but it's not the fault of Baggy Pants, it's the fault of my flabby fingers which keep stuffing food in my great big greedy gob.

I have to stop EATING. If dieting well is the result of a light switch in my head turned to the ON position then I have every reason to believe that the switch has been turned to OFF. You may think that turning the light switch back ON is an easy thing to do but this is not true in my case. I am, in fact, challenged when it comes to light switches. I have lived in this house for two and a half years and still go through a bloody big rigamarole every night trying to turn off the lights in our house. There are two switches in a row, you see. One turns the living room lights on and off. The other turns the back room on and off. I am forever turning on the living room when I want the back room and vicey versa.

"Having trouble?" Dave says, drolly, from the bedroom where he is reading a Louis L'Amour book on his Kindle while I flick the light switches on and off.

On. Off. On. On. Off. Off. ON. OFF. FECK.

You should see what I go through with the cruise control on the Jeep. One control arm that does five different things. I am about ready to divorce Dave or at least punch him straight in the nose if he makes one more crack about the cruise control. I will. If I can figure out how.

So I'm at home sick today. Blargh. I swear, I'm going in tomorrow if it kills me. God knows, I've been away so long they've probably given my job to someone else. To keep myself occupied I have made cookies. These are healthy cookies, from Weight Watchers. I made some the other day to give to Pamela and I don't think I gave her food poisoning so I made more today. I swear to God, when I made them before they were only one point per cookie. Today they are two points. Same cookie, twice the points. What gives, Jennifer Hudson? You're not making a believer outta me today!

Usually I don't make cookies when I'm dieting because, even though one cookie only has one two points, I can't stop at one. I have to eat at least eight. Maybe nine if they're little. And these are little baby cookies, cute as can be, all stuffed with oatmeal and extra stuff I throw in like natural bran and wheat germ because I am a Health Nut now, or at least I'm trying to be. If I can only find that fecking light switch and turn it on ...

For those who need to make these Health Nut cookies, which have no nuts, here's the recipe:

Health Nut Oatmeal Raisin Bites

1 1/2 cups uncooked rolled oats
3/4 cup whole grain wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp natural bran
2 tbsp wheat germ
1/2 cup margarine or butter (I use Becel because I am a Health Nut but Dave uses whatever is on sale)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup raisins, the good kind, not the kind with the crunchy bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl combine oats, flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, bran and wheat germ; set aside. Cream margarine and both sugars until incorporated. Add egg and vanilla; mix thoroughly. Add oat mixture and mix until just combined; fold in raisins.

Drop rounded teaspoons of batter onto two ungreased cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, about one inch apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes for chewy cookies and up to 14 for crispy ones. Remove from oven and LET THEM COOL. Don't be an ass and burn your mouth on a raisin like I did, OK?


By the way, I had a really nice time at the wake for Mrs. Champion. Lovely is the only word I can use to describe it. That family is so incredibly nice that I just want to hug them all. Also it was nice seeing my old neighbours, including Leanne Baird, who used to fight with my little brother in the ditches and is now a talented artist, and her firecracker of a dad who is NINETY YEARS OLD and is still a card and cute as a bug. I see where Leanne gets her sense of humour. What a sweetie.

Mark Champion, you get your arse up here and spend some time with us, you hear? I miss you.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Good-bye Mrs. Champion

Off today to the city to pay my respects to Mrs. Champion.

She had a first name, Mary, as well as a colourful, well-lived life with many friends, a loving family and worldly adventures, but she will always be Mrs. Champion to me.

I got dressed this morning, not wanting to be too funereal so decided on a plain black skirt and a purple blouse, and I put on some make-up, the first I have worn any since my cataract operations. As I did, I marvelled sadly at the lines on my face. It has shrunk, in these past few months, falling in on itself in a web of tired lines. I am not worried about this, per se, but I do notice it with a certain amount of resignation mixed with the realization that I'm not a kid anymore.

When I was a kid, I lived across the road from Mr. and Mrs. Champion and their houseful of kids. Their house was much like our own, being a cookie-cutter suburban bungalow built when subdivisions were the new love child of the 1960s and the world was everyone's oyster.

Mrs. Champion, though, she was a rare and exotic flower in my eyes. Known to enjoy a glass of wine on occasion, she could be found in her well-appointed living room that had actual paintings on the walls and a copy of her own book on the coffee table. She always reminded me of author Margaret Atwood, in looks and personality. Even her voice was similar. I imagined they were sisters, both authors, both with regal aquiline noses and austere wit and throaty chuckles. Her handsome husband, dear sweet Joe, always held her in the highest regard. After a lifetime together they still had a sparkle that danced between them. Their son, my friend Mark, used to say that sometimes he would look all over the house for his parents, only to discover them giggling in their bed under the sheets in the middle of the afternoon.

Joe, who used to take his evening cigarette on the front stoop watching the suburbanized world go by, has been gone so many years that I can't count. His sweetheart, the girl of his afternoons, soldiered on by herself for all this time, standing up to a multitude of health issues with her trademark stoicism and, I'm sure, a glass of wine from time to time.

Today I go to the city to remember her, but I will also recall the great love of her life and the indelible sweetness of their long romance.

My best wishes to all their children and their grandchildren and those who loved them most.

Friday, March 2, 2012

I miss my kids

I miss my kids, I miss my kids, I miss my kids.

I was looking forward to seeing my 11-year-old tomorrow morning. Yearning is more like it. Dave and I went out for dinner tonight and there were families there with kids and my heart was light with excitement thinking, tomorrow morning, I just have to wait until tomorrow morning, and I'll be able to see my Sam, my wonderful, wonderful Sam.

Then, just a short while ago, he phoned. He didn't want to come over. He was sick, he said. Didn't feel like making the trip. I tried to convince him to come. I tried really, really hard but he had made up his mind.

I feel like I have been run over by a truck.

Lucky those who see their children every day. Pray you never feel the pain in my heart.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Go home! Get lost! Stay home! FECK!

I am so MAD.

Thank you SO much co-workers for bringing in your lovely colds. Thank you SO much for giving your sickness to me.

You say, "I don't get paid if I don't work." Well here's $50, keep your sorry ass at home! Talk to the fecking boss about sick wages for part-timers. Ask for full-time work. Get a fecking FLU SHOT. FIX the problem but don't make everyone else in the office sick just because you are!


Well, guess what, I give up.

If you're gonna bring your germs to work well, by god, so am I. I'm gonna sneeze on ya and cough on ya and then go into the bathroom and smear my snot on the sink and the toilet and then lick the coffee maker for good measure.

I love the taste of coffee makers in the morning ...