Category Archives: Humor

Summertime, and the living is …

Let me say right now I LOVE summer and am not in reality, a Debbie Downer. I am however a critical thinker, and I’m just not going to sugarcoat it anymore. As we officially embark into summer and I proudly display my chalky bare legs resplendent with spider veins and bug bites, I find myself pondering some of the “great” things about summer that if I’m honest – are not that great.  I’m talking about things that people pretend are awesome, but they’re just NOT.  Hear me out –  my top ten.

# 1 CONVERTIBLES.  If the day is hot enough to have the top down, that also means the seat is the temperature of the sun, and you will lose at least one layer of skin from the back of your legs.  Things will cool off somewhat when you get up to speed, at about the same time your head tries to fully blow off.  If you have hair, you arrive looking like you did that time you went to the science centre and put your hand on that thing (Note, not a science geek)  If you don’t have hair  – and many sporty muscle car owners don’t (these are mostly owned by senior men who are trying to recapture youth by way of finally owning a car that the actual cool guys in the ‘70s had) – then sadly the whole cool effect is lost with the Tilley hat with built in SPF and chinstrap.

#2 SUNROOFS – see# 1, with the added bonus of all your receipts and loose paper car contents swirling around you as you drive, like you’re in a vacuum canister.

# 3 What offers endless bending over, huge amounts of dirt, constant neediness and ultimate disappointment?  If you said parenting, you’re wrong (are you though?).   The answer was VEGETABLE GARDENING.  UGH.  Planting a bunch of stuff, then trying to figure out if whatever comes up is what you want or if it’s a weed, then WATERING it a whole bunch of times in a row, then trying to decipher what disease it has (ALWAYS has a disease)  or what exactly is the bug that’s eating it and then going to the Farmer’s Market to buy your produce anyway.

#4 FARMER’s MARKETS – Yes, please “Organic Sarah”  I’ll pay you $8.00 for 2 tomatoes and a sunflower, because I came up too close to your booth and so now I’ve entered into some sort of unspoken contract to buy something because we spoke and you’re obviously gifted because your tomatoes aren’t diseased or riddled with holes from pests unknown. And I want to look all Harrowsmith/whimsical-like in my sundress and take the visual focus off my aforementioned legs – therefore I’ll carry the sunflower out in plain view, preferably in a wicker basket #blessed.

#5 CAMPING. Enough said.

#6CAMPFIRES.  Can’t even concentrate on the singing of Kumbaya when it’s equivalent to having 6  chainsmokers sit 2 inches away and aggressively blow smoke in your face.  The burning eyes and air quality issues are only forgotten when nursing wounds of small children who have eaten charred marshmallows that are the approximate temperature of molten lava.  The smell of the campfire in your clothes and hair is a gift that keeps on giving, well into the fall.

#7 POND SWIMS   No thank you.  It’s always FREEZING.  Either your feet touch gross mud or slippery rocks.  SO many other creatures are in there too.  Creepy little spiders that shoot along the top of the water like aliens. Turtles.  Fish.  Crayfish. There COULD be leeches.   Once a watersnake almost touched me.  There was a bit of a scene.  Let’s just say I’m glad ponds don’t have that chemical in the water that turns purple if you know what I mean.

#8FISHING.  The ACTUAL worst.  You have to carry a lot of gear.  You have to be QUIET.  You have to touch the grossest stuff to bait your hook, then via trickery, you try to get an unsuspecting fish,  minding his or her own fish business, to lunge for it out of hunger, only to have it rewarded by getting unceremoniously dragged kicking (with no legs) and screaming (with no voice) into your boat or up on shore, where you then decide to toss it back in with the worst lip piercing story ever, or the other fate of it gets to become your probably mercury laden dinner. Thumbs down.  Two words – Captain Highliner.

#9USING MY CLOTHSLINE  This one I’m torn about.  I like hanging the clothes up.  I love watching them flap in the breeze.  But I then lose interest and I definitely don’t want to go get them off the line.  Sometimes they stay out there for days, and come back in the house with the addition of bird poop. When I do eventually bring them inside, I don’t like that the towels are stiff and can stand up by themselves and can also do double duty as dermabrasion device.  Plus, EVERYTHING needs ironed which, let’s be honest, was never even a possibility.

#10   SANDALS  I do like that they are cool and comfy.  But it’s hard enough keeping my hair/face/hands presentable to the rest of the world, but then there is the added burden of FEET. All winter they get to be hidden away in the deep dark recesses of my boots. Now add to the growing checklist of grooming tasks (eg – did I fill in the bare spots of both of my eyebrows or just the one?  Are there any new rogue whiskers that people are too scared/shy/mean to tell me about? Did I convincingly cover up that age spot that aspires to be a third eye?) … I now also have to worry about if my toenail polish is chipping and do my heels look like an ancient creek bed in the Sahara dessert.

That’s my 10 – and perfect timing – I couldn’t even make this up if I tried.  Hubby just stuck his head in and told me to water the vegetable garden.  So, here goes 30 minutes  and several gallons of water I’ll never get back.  I guess it could be worse.  We could be heading up north in a convertible for a combo camping/fishing trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Home and Garden, Humor, Thats Life

Superstition

….

Anywayyyy … I feel the itch to write something, but of course 2 years has flown by and I couldn’t decide what to write about, so I went to the WordPress blogging site “prompts” and this is the prompt for today.

Superstition

That’s it.  Am I for it?  Against it?

Let’s explore…

  1. I will walk under a ladder if it’s the shortest route.  I’ve  got any number of foot (feet?) issues, (some more unsightly than others – to the great dismay of the girl who does my pedicures) so every step matters.
  2. Broken mirror.  I’m not a fan of mirrors anymore, and haven’t walked around holding one since my 20’s, so I’m really okay with breaking them and not concerned about the consequence of a mere 7 years.  My lip gloss is older than that.
  3. Find a penny pick it up … get serious. I’m not doing that.
  4. Black cat in your path is bad luck.  I only find cats to be bad news if they are mine and I have to pay their vet bills. Plus this superstition discriminates so I’m against it.
  5. Lucky rabbits foot.  I don’t believe that carrying one will bring me luck, as it definitely didn’t work for the amputee rabbit.  For me, if I’m going to carry around a limb of something, I’d prefer it be a chicken wing, because that’s just good eatin’.
  6. Knock on wood for luck.  This superstition has changed over the years, and become quite sexualized.  Both knockers and wood now have a different meaning, and I refuse to comment because I’m a lady and certainly don’t want to discuss all the ways people go about getting lucky.
  7. Cross your fingers for luck.  That’s a bit harder than it sounds now that my skin looks like pleather and I’m semi-arthritic. Might freeze that way, don’t see the value, not doing it.
  8. Rain on your wedding day is good luck.  That’s just a lie, to make soggy brides with huge hair and runny mascara feel better.
  9. Friday the 13th.  For me, now that I get to work from home on Fridays, I couldn’t give a flying @#$K what the date is.  As long as I’m not doing the commute.  It’s lucky for everyone else on the road, because I’m safely at home  lounging working in my sweatpants business attire.
  10. Umbrella in the house.  How can that be unlucky?  How else can I act out my Mary Poppins /Singing in the Rain song and dance numbers in the privacy of my basement? Sidenote – empty nests aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

The only thing I’m on board with about Superstition is the song by Stevie Wonder.  My dance moves to this one are on point, and now that I blogged I believe I officially qualify for Dancing with the Stars – so my future may be very bright indeed.  Fingers crossed.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Aging, Humor, Thats Life

Retirement Aspirement*

*Not a real word

Well … it’s been rather a long time.  There’s no denying it. I know I just disappeared without a word, and I’m sure it caused many sleepless nights and maybe even one or two Amber Alerts.    It’s not you – it’s me.   But the answer to my extended absence is in plain sight in the of the name of my blog … I just got a little sick of me.  “Me, me, me all the time”.  I worried I might be approaching the point where I became one of those people who find themselves infinitely fascinating, and who simply cannot have an unexpressed thought. Stop me when that happens, will you? But … enough about YOU.

How is it possible that another year has blown by?  It’s 2014.  That’s frightening on so many levels, but this one in particular: In my “corporate” job that I started in 1997, from day one my HR information always said:
“Year eligible for retirement – 2014”

Sadly, that job came to an end, but that other date has stuck with me.  It is officially 2014 – and let me make it perfectly clear … I am in no way “eligible for retirement”.  For the following 10 reasons:

  1. Still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.
  2. Not mature, in the maturity sense.  Still the first one to laugh at inappropriate times, dance like no ones watching when clearly, people are watching, and they’re horrified (usually because I’m in an elevator, store, or my car).
  3. Not disciplined.  Would just lay around in my PJs and eat mini chocolate bars instead of going to lawn bowling or to seniors get 15% off days at Shoppers Drug Mart.
  4. Still too good at driving.  I restrict use of my blinker to times when I’m actually turning.  Plus I go 20 kms above the speed limit at all times.
  5. Still have kids at home.  Sure, they are grown ass adults who spend most of their time trying to get away from my smothering ways … “What are you looking for?”  “Who texted you?”  “Where are you going?”  “Did you have a good sleep?”  “When do you work?” “Are you cold/hot/hungry/sad/drunk/crazy?” etc. etc. etc.
  6. Punctuality issues – still arrive everywhere late.  Couldn’t make an early bird special to save my life.
  7. Still HATE gardening.  I believe it’s still illegal and immoral to be “retired” and yet lounge around a weed filled yard with flower beds full of dandelions and skunkweed, drinking daiquiris in a leopard two piece.
  8. My bucket list still involves an actual bucket, and a list of things that I intend to “give a good scrubbing” when I get home from work.  If I retired, I would always be “home from work”. Hence my dilemma.
  9. My dog is too young.  Many retired people I know have a sedentary geriatric dog with warts and mysterious smells and no teeth.   My dog is a mere 3 years old and is full of piss and vinegar and just enough attitude to make coming home from work every night a bit of an adventure.  “What did he ruin today??”  It wouldn’t seem fair to him to just BE home from work every day, and cut his demolition career while he’s in his prime.
  10. Investments.  As a retiree, rumour has it that you’re supposed to have them.  I’ve been heavily-invested for years in things like ½ hour sit coms, Saturday Night Live reruns, and late night eating contests starring me …  going up against – me.  It’s not like I don’t have a financial plan – I’m not an idiot.  It’s just that so far every time I check my portfolio it says “NOT A WINNING TICKET”.

Sure, I’d be “eligible for retirement” if it only meant superficial things like:

  1. Endless repertoire of “in my day” stories.
  2. Brown spots multiplying at breakneck speed.
  3. Upper lip 5 o’clock shadow.
  4. Regularly reach the top/bottom of the stairs without even an inkling of why I went up/down there.
  5. Intermittent rogue nose hair.
  6. Constant muttering.  (I’ve been muttering the whole time I’ve been writing this.)
  7. Bunions that would put Paul to shame.
  8. Fascination with roller coasters officially replaced with growing interest in “Stairlifts”.
  9. Increasing crankiness.  For effect I was going to say , “I put the crotch in crotchety” – but who SAYS that?  That’s disgusting.  Suffice it to say – I’m sometimes cranky.  And lastly, and probably most important …
  10. Waning interest in getting out of bed in the morning to attend any sort of job.

If that’s all it takes, then YES, I couldn’t be more eligible.  I’m frickin’ GEORGE CLOONEY eligible.  But sadly, in spite of official Human Resources documentation from the nineties; I think my realistic retirement date is something like 2034.  So, co-workers —  you’re in for a TREAT.  Because I’m not getting older … I’m getting more and more eligible.polls_maxine_1653_940496_answer_1_xlarge

 
googleimages/quoteperfect.net

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Filed under Aging, Humor, Thats Life, Work

Living in Harmony, minus the “e”

Well, I think we were ill informed when we bought this place, and we would sue the real estate agent if we had one, but we bought it from Kijiji so I guess that’s out.

Nowhere in the fine print of the ad did it mention that the eventual purchaser would be rendered completely unproductive due to the spectacular view. I spend every minute at home with my increasingly ample butt firmly planted in a lawn chair or swing, staring out at the beautiful vista. If the weather is inclement, I sit in the house and gaze out the various windows. It’s all I can do to tear myself away and go to work! And blogging – well, forget about it. I thought I had better make an attempt though, or maybe WordPress will revoke my privileges.

Plus, when you spend your time staring out the window, you have time to reflect about all kinds of things you could blog about. For example, recently I thought about dating. Plus, I ran into an ex-colleague who, the last time I checked, was happily married, but things have changed in recent years, and on this particular day he was out on an “internet date” on a patio.

It got me thinking – I just can’t imagine inflicting myself on dating anyone at this stage in my life. Especially, those internet sites like e-Harmony that have you fill out a questionnaire and then match you with your perfect match. I can only imagine what the guy who ended up with ME as his perfect match, would have had to say on his questionnaire:

My Perfect Woman :

Physically, my preference runs to women with loose skin on her face and even looser on her neck, and she has a faint, light fuzz above her upper lip, and maybe even the occasional mole with a saucy rogue whisker. As for her hair, I’m not crazy about long tresses, but instead prefer thinning, shorter sassy cuts, with at least ¼ inch of grey root. Speaking of hair, I’m a big fan of the ones that sometimes peek out the nostril and occasionally glisten in the sunshine.

I have a bit of a foot fetish – well, bunion fetish would be more accurate. The bigger the better – ideally they are spilling out through the sides of her Tender Tootsies. And heels that are deeply cracked and are the colour of grey concrete are a real turn-on. Still with the feet – if hers turned out ever so slightly, so that her tracks in the snow resemble the letter Y, that would be adorable.

Conversation wise, my preference runs to someone whose banter consists of mainly status updates on what each of her kids are doing, and who makes a habit of blurting out things like the household maintenance tasks that need to be done, and upcoming bills that need to be paid. Ideally she would also use me as a sounding board for her righteous outrage whenever someone like Bell Canada or Service Canada takes advantage of her good nature and deals her an injustice.

I like a woman who is health conscious enough to mentor me and educate me about nutrition , yet is edgy enough to singlehandedly dummy a family sized bag of Miss Vickys chips with such enthusiasm that she cuts up the inside of her mouth – giving us yet another conversation topic for the next few days.

I want a mature woman, but one who still has a playful, youthful side – like for example, can still pull off a major eye-roll, usually when I’m sharing my plans for an upcoming project – or just generally talking about my aspirations for the future.

Well, I guess it’s not out of the question – I do sound pretty hot when I see it all written down like that. ( I am REALLY HOT, actually). But there’s the whole communication thing, that would be a pain, learning to read each other. Like for example on the first date – he would probably think it’s going exceptionally WELL, just because my pants would be undone in the car on the way home from the restaurant, and my bra would be off and yanked out one sleeve seconds after arriving at home.

UGH …. just thinking about it is exhausting. I feel an overpowering urge to renew our vows.


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Filed under Humor, Marriage, Uncategorized

Glass Houses

A little over one month later, and it’s hard to believe, but we’re now settled into our new home.  And by settled in, of course I mean we have paths winding around all the boxes.  We basically stopped unpacking once we had located the essentials — various remotes, sweatpants, and the bottle opener.

In the final couple of days on the farm I nearly killed myself cleaning. I wanted to leave it nice for the new owners. I completely wore off all of my fingerprints through inexperience and aggressive use of SOS pads.  Housekeeping was never my forte and my complete disregard for dusting is world renowned.  After removing all the furniture I couldn’t help but marvel that my family members and pets are all functioning reasonably well without the aid of a respirator.

Luckily that means they are well prepared for coming to visit the new place, since the sellers did not share my enthusiasm for impressing with one last epic cleaning session.  And heaven knows I’m not about to start in cleaning this place too.  In a word, eff that.

Not to sound cranky, but the previous owners also ignored the part of the deal that said that window coverings were included, so all of our windows are bare.  We weren’t madly in love with the draperies or anything, but I worry that our  window  exhibitionism might prevent us getting invited to any neighbourhood events. They say good fences make good neighbours, but when you get to be our age and you’re so hot you sleep in your underpants, I think blackout blinds are also kind of a public service.  We may have trouble making any new friends if we don’t get some blinds soon.

We’re having minor issues getting adjusted.  The dog has claimed the basement bathroom toilet (did I mention we have 3?) as his personal drinking fountain.  But he can hardly contain his excitement as he gallops in for a drink.  He’s so enthused he can’t help but wag, and the door is on a bit of a slant, ­so the minute his wagging tail touches the door, it promptly slams shut behind him, and his awesome flushable fountain room changes instantly, becoming a terrifying prison. Eventually someone always finds him, but not always before he has a panic attack and rips up the toilet paper or takes a dog sized bite out of the shower curtain.

Hubby says “barn” instead of “garage” all the time. 2 of the 3 cats have developed agoraphobia/eating disorders. They have quickly forgotten their past lives as adventurous outdoorsy “barn cats”.  They are basically living my dream life, by eating constantly and never leaving the house.  The other cat regularly ventures out and about while the other two peek out the window at him, between mouthfuls.

Our issues are more than made up for though, with sweet amazing benefits like …. wait for it …. a truck comes and picks up our garbage and takes it away.  We were giddy the first couple of times it happened.  It’s like magic.  You put it out by the road, and then when you come home from work, it’s gone!  The first time the anticipation was too much – I phoned home at lunch to say “did they take it?”  Not that I minded those 20 years of wonderful Saturday morning rides into the dump, riding in the truck surrounded by recycles and odiferous trash bags. That was some quality time, right there.

I’ve changed jobs, and now drive to work via a big city on a highway. I’ve been trying a number of different routes, but don’t have the greatest sense of direction so have pulled a lot of u-turns.  Plus I’m not used to this highway driving, I always drove my commute along scenic country roads, and I used to amuse myself by honking the horn at the cows and horses in the fields, to see if I could get a reaction.  Now I’m surrounded by other commuters, so I amuse myself by staring at other drivers and grinning, and sometimes uncontrollably sit-dancing at stop lights.  Sometimes when I’m doing dead arm robot other drivers think I’m waving at them.  They never wave back.

I don’t know why they aren’t friendlier.  I’m always fully dressed.

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Filed under Home and Garden, Humor

It’s Awards Season

Ahh, awards season. Always so fun and unpredictable. I watched the Golden Globes a few weeks back, sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting for Ricky Gervais to do something shocking, and was hopelessly disappointed.  Then it was onto the Grammys, and the antics of big haired twangy, country singers both male and female,  followed up by the flying pink haired Minaj girl having a Cirque de Soleil style exorcism.  Once again – disappointing.

But nothing prepared me for the surprising event of this past weekend, when I was nominated for an award in my own right!  A “Versatile Blogger Award”.  Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather.  I pulled a complete Taylor Swift, all wide-eyed and open-mouth flustered.  Luckily there was no access to a microphone, because I can be quite wordy in my speechlessness (I am the queen of the 1,000+ word post). Suffice it to say that they would have turned off my mike and turned the lights off, and had the band start up just for good measure.

I’ve been called lots of things in my time, but I like “versatile” a lot.  It reminds me of an old Rosalind Russell movie with a child star Natalie Wood in it where she sang “Let me entertain you, let me make you smile” …. and then the last line of the song was “I’m very versatile”.  I’m leaving out key details, like the fact that the movie was about a stripper named Gypsy Rose Lee … but that’s neither here nor there.

It seems I was nominated by the lovely and talented Jonesingafter40 , a lady after my own heart, with whom I have at least two things in common – our firstborn offspring just happened to be dogs, and we both began something monumental when we turned 40.

So without further ado … let me get on with the responsibilities of the honor.  This tiara weighs heavy on my head.

PART # 1 –  I have to tell you seven things about myself.

  1. I started my university studies when I was 40, and graduated the year I turned 50. I have remained 50 for all the years since.
  2. I’m a stress baker.
  3. I have great posture, but it’s fake, because I have stainless steel rods in my back, from a scoliosis surgery when I was 15.  .
  4. I am a compulsive proofreader, and grammar corrector.  (Note – corrector is not a word.  I would have corrected that.)
  5. My dad was 20 years older than my mom.
  6. The last thing I won (besides arguments) was a joke telling contest at a comedy night in a bar.
  7. Erma Bombeck was my hero.

PART # 2 –  I get to tell you about 15 other bloggers that I enjoy.  They are clever and witty and make me wish I thought of that …

  1. becomingcliche
  2. randombraincells
  3. year-struck
  4. ashleygillian
  5. whatImeanttosay
  6. imonthebandwagon
  7. ramblingsandrumblings
  8. ohmygawdjustdowhatisay
  9. randomreasoning
  10. hyperboleandahalf
  11. crabbyoldfart
  12. formerlyhot
  13. lesleycarter
  14. emjayandthem
  15. theuglymoose

Sincere thanks for the nomination. I’m always surprised when people I’m not related to, read my stuff of their own free will.

I do hope this tiara doesn’t make me look fat.

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Filed under Humor

Time Marches On

"Totes" - not just an expression of agreement, but a sophisticated filing system for borderline hoarders

This has been a long span between blog posts, but I have a good reason.  We’re moving … for the first time in 20 years.  No more farm life for us.  When we signed the deal way back in September it seemed like a great idea.  “On to the next chapter”, we agreed, and high-fived to seal the deal.  But as our closing date of March 15th looms, a few troublesome realities have cropped up.  Like for example, before cutting us a cheque, the people who bought our place expect us to leave … and to take all of our crap.  Did I mention we lived here 20 years?  We have accumulated a lot of crap. 

We’ve always lived by the tried and true “let’s keep it and decide later” school of organization, and we have a giant barn, which served as great storage for innumerable Rubbermaid containers full of papers.  Each year we socked a few more away.  Out of sight, out of mind. Plus, being classic helicopter parents, we thought everything our kids ever created was brilliant and we kept every single piece of paper they produced from nursery school until roughly, yesterday. Believe me, they were quite prolific.

We’re now trying to get it down to one tub per offspring.  We can be found each night, rummaging through the dusty totes. We had a lot to get rid of , so did get progressively more discriminating and established new ground rules.  All school worksheets – gone.  All the math notebooks and tests – gone (It didn’t stick anyway).  All “that doesn’t even look like a horse” drawings – gone.  Can’t tell which kid did it – gone.  Anything in French – gone.  All “participant” ribbons – gone.  Assignments with any teacher comments that contain feedback that resembles criticism – gone.  I prefer to remember the happy times of enthusiastic and unbridled achievement…. so pretty much anything the boy did between grade 10 and grade 12 (both years) – gone.  

In the “keep” pile, are multiple, multiple “Lifetouch” sheets with 24 school pictures in the same pose with each kid, for each year.  Not sure why we always went with the “25 prints” package, when we only had one set of grandparents.  Also, not sure WHO dressed those kids and did their hair on picture day, but it was someone with a cruel sense of humour for the most part.  Also “Keep”:  any piece of paper/macaroni craft/tissue, that says “You’re the best Mom/Dad/Parents …  we do need that  validation and we’re not above digging through a dusty tote to get it. Plus, I want that evidence handy, and strategically on display when they are making our elder-care decisions.

Our ticket to the "Good" old age home

Something else I kept were multiple copies of the local newspaper if our kids made it in.  Cleverly though, I kept the whole paper, so have spent a good portion of my time this week thumbing through 10 – 20-year-old newspapers looking for likenesses of my kids or their names in small print, so I could reduce bulk and just rip the page out, which apparently I was just too busy to do in the 90s, because then it would have been too dangerously close to scrapbooking.   This has proven very time-consuming though, as I am easily distracted and inevitably end up poring through the classifieds, and beating myself up that I didn’t buy EVERYTHING at those prices.

There were other Rubbermaid containers too, filled with fun facts, by way of receipts. My wedding dress cost $279. Our honeymoon for two weeks to Bahamas all-inclusive cost $1080, for both of us.  Fuel to fill up our oil tank was 39 cents a litre when we moved into this place.  We got our septic system pumped for $70 in 1989.  Additionally, we had the good sense and foresight to keep a little brown envelope with somebody’s extracted teeth in it.  Also, I worked with someone somewhere whose name was Pat(?) who was sooo “sorry to see me go” that she/he bought me a card.  I have no memory of this co-worker, but ironically, I was able to name  every kid in a yellowed and ancient looking photo of my grade 1 class.

Yes, life has become a fun-filled, time consuming, teary eyed meandering trip down memory lane. Because we’re easily distracted  procrastinators by nature and we have to examine each piece of paper thoroughly and play the arguing remembering  game about the timeline of events of our lives thus far, we haven’t had time to exactly hammer out some details, like exactly where is going to be our forwarding address.  But we’re not too worried about it.  We don’t have to be out until March.  And luckily, it’s a leap year, so we’ve got that extra day in February. 

This year March may come in like a lion, and go out like a middle-aged couple and a dog  and 3 cats living in a van, down by the river.

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Filed under Family, Humor, Kids, Memories

Marley Schmarley – Timber was Golden

Our firstborn, Timber.

Saw a bit of Marley and Me over the holidays, and it makes me sad + mad.  Sad for obvious reasons – I always hate it when (spoiler alert) the dog dies.  And mad because I didn’t listen to my dear friend Charlotte back in the early 80’s when she urged me to write a book about my firstborn son who just so happened to be a Golden Retriever. My Timber was equally if not more interesting and a lot less messed up mentally than that Marley critter.  I could be the rich author raking it in instead of John Grogan (plus isn’t he busy enough singing  “You Raise Me Up”?), and Jennifer Aniston could have played me in the movie, since she’s basically my Doppelganger. My book would have been called Me ‘n Timber, because grammar wasn’t my strong suit in the ‘80s. 

We got him as a pup in June of 1981, and we did that obnoxious thing that people who love dogs do, of going to see the puppies at 3 weeks of age at the breeders, and picking one out and then going to visit him until it was time we could take him home.    I remember picking him up and putting him in the back part of our “Scout” truck, but he didn’t like it there so I had to stop and get out and put him on my lap, where he rode the rest of the way standing up on my lap looking out the side window.  That set the stage for how he was going to be brought up.

The beautiful run and house hubby built for Timber. We didn't ever have the heart to lock him up in it. This was a staged photo-op.

The first day that we left him alone while we went to work, he didn’t really like that either.  So every day after that, he came along to work with me.  I worked at a vet clinic and he basically became the clinic greeter.  He would sit by my desk in the back, or hover outside the surgery, depending on where the action was.  He would run out to the reception area whenever anyone came in and wag and look behind him as if to assure them that somebody would be right out.  Sometimes he slept out in the reception area, and would be too lazy to bother greeting anyone but would just lie there thumping his tail instead.

We used him at the clinic shamelessly.  He was in charge of keeping yappy dogs quiet who didn’t like to be left alone.  We would put him in the kennel room and he would lie there like an annoyed babysitter.  He was our in-a-pinch blood donor.  If a dog came in that had been hit by a car and was dangerously close to death, we would borrow some blood from Timber, tapping right into his vein in his neck and he would sit there still as a statue as we let gravity help us gather.  (Apparently matching blood types isn’t a must do if it’s only happening once.) He would let us place orphaned kittens or cotton-tail bunnies on him for warmth, in between the times when we would feed them with tiny bottles.  He would let them snuggle in to his furry belly, and he seemed to quite enjoy it, although if you made a fuss he always looked embarrassed like he wanted to stress that it wasn’t his idea.

Babysitting a lonely kitty

Doing candy striper duty, walking a patient.

Dr. Timbers, ready for surgery

He was a seasoned commuter, and our family of 3 would set out together each morning. I had to drop hubby off at work and then Timber and I had another 20 min. drive to the clinic.  We drove a big old 1967 Ford Galaxie, and he had the whole long bench backseat to himself.  He would sit leaning super-casually against the door, gazing out the window – he never did that dog thing of sticking his head out.  I expect he thought that was way too unsophisticated and dog-ish.  Occasionally he even used the armrest.

The Galaxie, our sweet ride

 Not that he was perfect.  He got into trouble sometimes.   One day hubby was driving us along in the a.m. and I was having my usual breakfast of a banana, when we both smelled something horrific.  We could barely breathe, and then looked in the back seat and a rather sheepish looking Timber had just yacked up an impressively sizeable cat turd, still coated in litter.  It was disgusting.

Another time he helped himself at home in the morning to an entire pound of butter.  Strangely, it didn’t agree with him, and though he held off his nausea until we got to work, he hurled up a pale yellow oil slick about 15 feet wide right beside my desk.  I couldn’t even clean it up, it was far too gross – the paper towels just slid around on it.  My co-workers cleaned it up while I gagged helpfully in the corner.  In spite of mopping, people were slippity-sliding past my desk (which held an abacus and a lot of carbon paper, because it was the 80’s) the whole rest of the day.

PLUS he once consumed an entire cheeseball that I had slaved over.  It was Christmas Eve, and we were entertaining and we went to the door to see our guests out, and he joined us a few minutes later, but couldn’t stop licking his lips.  We discovered that the coffee table now held crackers only, with a big gaping hole where the beautiful crushed-pecan coated cheeseball used to be.  (In his defense, he may have mistaken it for a giant round cat turd coated in litter.)

Timber loved every person he ever met, with the exception of one man, who unfortunately was someone we had to see regularly.  He turned into a whole different canine when the dead stock guy came to clean out the freezer of all the dead animals. As the guy would go up and down the stairs to the basement, carrying out the dearly departed “petcicles”, Timber would growl and back up, as if to say “You’ll never take me!”.  The guy was kind of a creepy ghoulish character – I mean who does that for a job, especially in the 80’s when the economy was booming? He could have been doing something awesome like pumping gas or renting out beta movies.  But I digress …

Timber was a remarkable boy and enjoyed all the privileges that went with being an only child, at least until we got some offspring of the two-legged variety.  Then there was a bit of a power shift and he begrudgingly took on the role of family pet. I always knew he was acting though.

Timber Darling, 1981-1988

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Filed under Animal Stories, Family, Humor

Hair today …. Don tomorrow

Recently I was watching Barbara Walters interview Donald Trump – and it occurred to me that one of them has almost the exact same hair as me…. and it wasn’t Barbara.  It’s official –  the Donald and I share lifeless looking, odd coloured clumpy yet wispy coifs  – not unlike the rather large full body mats my newly feral cats now sport.
speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

Image via Wikipedia

My hair has no real part, it just goes every which way it wants.  There are little flippy things at the side sometimes, whenever it feels like it.  There is no predicting what it might look like from one day to the next.  The level of ridiculousness seems to be directly related to the occasion, and the necessity to be presentable. If I have nowhere to go that day, and catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I’ll sometimes think to myself,  “Hmm, not bad – a Bonnie Franklin post-One Day at a Time thing going on”.  But then without a doubt, at my next event where I have a real vested interest in NOT looking ridiculous, like an old boyfriend is going to be there or something, (ha) then sure enough I will have something that either looks like I:
  1. am wearing a sideways Bump-it 
  2. have an aggressive head tumour
  3. am sprouting horns
  4. have purposefully flattened and parted it for my best Gomez Adams impression

Should I have something really important like a job interview, I can pretty much count on rocking something closer to the Donald Trump or even Don King look.

Don King

Image via Wikipedia

 I don’t know exactly when this happened – if I had to nail it down to a decade I think it would be the 90s.  I used to have normal girl hair.   At one point it even moved, and had what I believe they call “body”.  Now the texture is similar to the angel hair we used to put on the Christmas tree.   This new thin, dullness was further aggravated by a recent Groupon experience.

Without Groupon, I never would have considered going to that nice, trendy salon that was practically in the city.  It was all decorated in black and white, with lots of angles and flattering lighting.  It’s obviously for people who are extremely sophisticated – like those types who accessorize and dress differently according to what season it is. (Even though they’re going to be too hot in those sweaters.)

But – it was only going to cost me a fraction of the price of the normal fancy salon haircut, and since my nest emptied I’ve been trying to care about “me time”, so why not live a little and be adventurous?  I went in and sat in the chair and the chic girl looked up from her texting and with a thick, exotic accent spoke to me, while trying to hide her disappointment. 

“What are we going to do today?” 

Then I muttered a bunch of incoherent things about

“It’s too long at the back …. but I don’t like it when the back gets the clippers on it because then it’s boy hair.”

“I don’t really like bangs, but I really hate my forehead, and headbands are out so leave it long…”  

Yadayadayada ….  And then I ended my speech with my signature, “It’s only hair” tagline, that used to go over so well at First Choice.

The whole time, I was admiring her cute fashionable outfit and her long locks (which I now understand were extensions).  Anyway, I hated for her to have such a boring customer, and I just got completely swept up by the pounding dance tunes and complimentary trick mirrors – and  when she started talking about doing something “funky” I agreed wholeheartedly.  Bring it.  I’m all about the “funk”.  I’m practically Grand Funk Railroad.

When she was finished I looked pretty decent – old boyfriend decent even, with my dramatic, Twiggy-esque “statement” hair, all carefully “messy” and with dramatic sideburn things.  Luckily I had a date with hubby and some manual labour – I struck quite an impressive figure in my hard hat as I helped him drag and chip brush.

But … in the cold light of the next day, when the glow of funky chic had worn off, I had to deal with it myself.  It became evident that what “funky”  really amounted to, was her cutting all the hair away from around my ears.  Equally problematic, my ongoing funkiness was going to be directly dependent on me having to do stuff that I don’t know how to do.  Like use products … and pull my hair into dramatic “wisps” onto my face.  After working on it for half an hour, I had moved away from resembling high fashion Twiggy-esque model, and settled on a look that was closer to be “Sad elf with huge hairless arcs above ears” .

That was about 8 weeks ago.  It  gradually morphed from sad elf to Donald Trump.

Now comes the hard part – going back to my usual hair dresser like nothing ever happened.  I already have a reputation as a problem client, who takes in pictures of cute haircuts that I want to her to give me, that are virtually impossible for me to have. 

“Yeah, that’s cute – but that wouldn’t work on you.  Your hair is too thin/short/long/patchy/thick/cowlicky”… the list is endless.

Now that I cheated on her with Groupon, I feel like I need to make an effort to be more faithful and lower maintenance.  This time I’ll take in a picture of Donald.  And maybe a promise ring.

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Filed under Aging, Fashion, Humor

Regrets … I’ve had a few this year

an old post card

I don’t understand those people who say “I don’t regret anything because everything I ever did got me here.”

 What if “here” could be better, were it not for some of the stuff you did or didn’t do? For example:

Top 10 Things I regret from 2011

  1. Not using all those coupons that I’ve been carrying around that expired Dec. 31st.
  2. Kim Yong Il, I hardly knew ye. But now that you’re gone, looks like you were hilarious and I wish I had learned more about you or at least followed you on Twitter.
  3. The Groupon haircut at an obviously way-too-trendy-for-me salon that had/has me looking like an aging elf.
  4. Signing papers that mean my house is sold, because now apparently I have to get all my stuff out of here and find somewhere else to put it.
  5. Accumulating so much stuff. On a related note, using “Hoarders” as a compass as to how much stuff is normal.
  6. Worrying the whole time my daughter was travelling.  She’s home safely, but there is no coming back for my perma-furrowed brow and irritated bowel.
  7. Every second spent spying on my children just looking at pictures on Facebook. I vow to stop doing that this year.
  8. Turning down the offer to join Seal Team 6 early last year, because the practices conflicted with my Zumba schedule.
  9. That time I forgot my sports bra and went to Zumba anyway. Again –  no coming back from that.
  10. Most of the time I spent online…. yes, I’m looking at you Perez Hilton.

Lets hope 2012 has way fewer regrets.  According to the Mayan calendar I got in my stocking, it’s highly unlikely I’ll be racking up my top 2012 regrets on Jan. 1st 2013. 

To steal a line from numerous Facebook friends of my children this morning – “Happy New Year, Bitches”.

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Filed under Humor, Memories, Thats Life