Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Hey Zit Face!

Is it just me or do kids now-a-days just not have zits anymore? (Hey, I just said "kids now-a-days").

When I was a teenager pretty much everyone in my school had zits. We didn't make fun of people with zits because, well, we all had them. Sure, some kids had it worse than others, but if you didn't have zit you were more likely to be taunted for late onset puberty than you would have been if you were a pizza face. Back zits or chest pimples were for sure off limits for taunting because it was just horrifying, like they had an extra arm or something. But less useful. You just looked away and hoped to God it didn't happen to you.

But I never see teenagers with zits anymore. Maybe I'm just not looking closely enough, which is quite possible because I don't like to make eye contact with today's youth. I don't want to see their expression as they look at me. That "you'll be dead soon" look of pity mixed with fear and contempt.

Not that teenagers really notice me. When I do register on their radar they see "friend of someone's mom". Or "what I don't want to look like when I grow up". When I look at them I see clear skin, slippers worn outdoors in winter and the homogeneity of people trying to express their personalities via the fashions of Old Navy.

But why the clear skin?

I had kinda nasty skin.

You can't really see the horror that is my full on zittage, but you can see that I had caterpillars for eyebrows.

I have very large pores that fill with dirt and oil like dermal tar pits. And most of those pores were active volcanos of pus at all times throughout my puberty.

My puberty lasted 14 years.

I used to sleep with Stri-dex pads on my face overnight.

I'd wake up with raw patches that were red and ready to make more zits. We didn't know any better.

And yes, that WAS Barry Manilow singing the jingle there.

Sea Breeze, Bonne Bell 10-0-6 lotion,

Does your skin feel "honest" to you? Does it?

Oxi-pads, Noxema, Clearasil,

I tried them all. They all failed.  Zits surrounded by ravaged red peeling skin. Looked painful and contagious. Like I needed to be on my own separate colony.

So I would cover the zits up with makeup. Makeup like Maybelline's cover stick that looked like a beige lipstick. You were supposed to put it on your zits to cover them up. I just ended up with a thick, yellowish bumps all over my face that made me look kind of like orangey tapioca pudding. And not in a good way.

So while I pity the next generation's burden of cleaning up the environment, managing worldwide food and water shortages and the inevitable pandemic that kills us all, I'm still pretty ticked off that they seem to have dodged the pimple bullet.

They'll never have to scrape their skin raw with a Clearasil "Buff Puff", which is basically steel wool with a handle and maybe some soap in it.  Lucky little shits.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Stuff And Such

Forgive me, Internet, for I have been lazy. It has been two months since my last blog.

I'd like to be able to tell you that my bloggish absence has been due to a round the world trip, or that I've adopted a baby and have been super busy wiping it's bum, or that I'm finishing up that novel I've been working on. None of the above.

Fact is, I am a lazy ass.

But I have been doing, I don't know, stuff, I guess.

So here's a quick run thru what I've been up to while you've all been super waiting time action party.

1. Took in a stray cat. Named him Wayne. Spent the equivalent of the GNP on fixing him up to make him presentable.

                             BEFORE: Infected eyes, super skinny, super bitey.


                                Scabby eyes,  swollen lip (someone is allergic     to fish. Really?).

Had to have his super impressive cat testicles removed. I'd never seen cat balls before. They're crazy!

                             Yes, those were cat balls at the beginning there. I know.

                             Now he's all perfect. Perfect eyes, normal mouth. Still bitey.

 He has a pink nose.

2. Did another walk for Farm Sanctuary. Again, my friends helped me to be the number one fund raiser for Toronto.

3. Continuing to volunteer for I have had to find a lot of images of turmeric. A lot. I'm thinking of suggesting to Dr. Greger (the guru of to change the name of his site to because there is a great deal of info on turmeric there. Apparently, it's good for you.

photo of turmeric by h-bomb/Flickr

4. Did a couch to 5k program to kick start myself back into running. Am currently running about 25-30 miles per week and feel so so so much better. I don't love running, but I love having finished running. My times are slower than they were a few years ago when I was running regularly. I'm saying it's due to aging. Right?

5. I continue to do laundry.

6. I have taken up eating mixed nuts. It's kind of a hobby, kind of a craft, you know. Just seeing where it takes me.

7.  I stubbed my toe really bad that time.

8. Discovered the joy of listening to podcasts while I run. These are some that I've listened to, and they really do make the time go faster.

9. I went for a latte with Ryan.

10. Just today I cleaned out my dishwasher's filter for the first time in 6.5 years. I think you're supposed to do it more often than that. It was basically a solid mass of goo made up of bits of paper, grape stems and apple stickers. I wish I'd taken a photo because it was really horrific and you probably want to see that, right? Sorry gang.

11. Have done some Christmas shopping. I'm sort of meh about Christmas these days. Once I see my mommy next week, though, all will be better.

I did some other stuff too.

But seriously, I have no idea what to blog about these days. So I give you scraps. So sorry. I love you. I love you like I loved that guy in the "67" t-shirt at Saints Roller Rink in Winnipeg, 1979 (Garden City Saints location). He never wanted to skate with me to "Sad Eyes". He had perfect hair. I think he smoked.

That is all.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

I Hear You 2.0

I am a notorious eavesdropper. I've mentioned this in a past post and discussed things I have heard. It's an ongoing thing with me. Everyone is super interesting in their own way.  I get a little frustrated if I'm having a conversation with a dear, wonderful friend and I can't sort of listen in to some other potentially hilarious conversation that some strangers are having. Darn you, loved ones, for trying to engage me in meaningful conversation. 

Here are some snippets of conversations I have heard and noted over the past several months. I'm surprised I have as many as I do considering I never freaking leave my house. My house is safe. There are no social obligations to frighten me here. Anyway.

Three teenage girls on the street:

Two guys on the street:

And then there was this lack of insight:

Two girls, maybe 14 years old, at the beach: 

Kid to mother, very excited:

Woman to man coming out of ice cream store, and I really don't  think she realized what she was saying and that someone would overhear her and blog about it:

Overheard from inside the change room at Yoka Clothing Store: 

And my personal favourite, overheard two sweet children running in the street:

Don't think you're safe either. I'm listening and taking notes.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The story of Carla and Dave

Once upon a time, in the far off, magical land know as The Netherlands, there lived a beautiful maiden. Her name was Carla.

Now Carla was a great gal and she was loved by every one she met.

She was fortunate in that she had a wonderful family that loved her,

and she was freakishly good looking.

But still, Carla felt like something was missing.

She moved to Canada and started a small business where she sold sweaters.

Then she moved her business into a store where she turned average housewives into awesome goddesses of golden power and sunlight.

She had great friends and co-workers.

But still, she felt like something wasn't... you know... wasn't quite right.

Then one day a handsome stranger named Dave from Goodlookingtown flew into Toronto in his magical unicorn powered airplane and told Carla:

Carla's heart grew 10 times that day.

Even though he had just met her, Dave knew. Dave knew this was THE girl. 

They went on travels and adventures. She missed him when he was off helping sick people get home safely. 

They jumped off waterfalls and got matching Dora the Explorer tattoos on their bums. (totally true)

After awhile it became very clear that being not married was the dumbest thing they could think of doing, so Dave bought Carla a ring that made Ellen both happy and somewhat jealous dazzled like a star.

Carla said yes, because in addition to being beautiful, she's also very smart and she knew this was the best, most wonderful guy in, like, the whole world ever. Plus she really wanted that deck.

Their families were thrilled.

So Dave and Carla got engaged and started planning their lives together. Pretty sure it involves me somehow. Pretty sure.


Monday, 24 June 2013

Mother and Child Reunion

As some of you may know, last year I made the difficult/easy decision to have Gracie move into the home of my amazing dog walker, Nina.

Nina was always very understanding when I'd complain about my love/less than love relationship with Gracie. She'd give me great advice, which I would either adopt and experience great failure, or would just look glassy eyed at her and say, "umkay" (yes, Nina I will start brushing Gracie's one crazy tooth. Umkay).

I would always joke, "Gracie you go live with Nina-New-Mommy" and laugh. Nina would respond that she'd take Gracie in a heart beat. But the guilt would come crashing down on me like big boxes of heavy guilt that rained down from Planet Guilt and I could not taker her up on it.

One day, Nina suggested she take Gracie for a week, just for a bit of respite. And I figured I could do that. After all, Gracie had stayed with her when Brian and I had gone away on vacations. I felt no guilt about that, so this would be no different.

So off Gracie went one Sunday afternoon with her little suitcase and promises that she'd be good for Nina while Mommy enjoyed not screaming and crying by 4pm every day. Is this what having a colicky infant is like? For 10 years?

At the end of one week, I asked Nina if she could do another week.

By day 10 I asked Nina if her offer to adopt Gracie was still on. And it was. And I could have wept with relief.

And horrible crushing guilt.

Followed by more relief.

After about two months of Gracie living with New Mommy, Nina brought her by one day.  She was soft and shiny and had a little pep in her step. She'd lost a couple pounds (She weighed 30 pounds on her last day with me, which was about 10 pounds too much. That's a lot on a little dog). I held her for a couple minutes and then got frightfully misty.

Gracie seemed pretty non-plussed.

Whatevs, old mommy. I'm living the high life now.

Anyway, that was all 14 months ago. She's lost a total of 10 pounds, and as Nina reports much of her odd behaviour has gone. No more having to pee at 3 am. And 5 am. And 7am. No more barking at all things in general, but molecules specifically. No more incessant whinging (pronounced Whin-Jing). I've had several little visits with Gracie but this past weekend, we had her for the whole weekend because Nina took her family to do something to do with bikes that sounds awful if you're a sedentary adult who likes TV and snacks. Say, like me.

Within two seconds of Nina saying "bye bye little Boo" to Gracie and shutting the door, the weird Gracie behaviour started up again - the whimpering and begging eyes and the tap tap tapping on the floor, trying to tell me she wants something, but I never get it right.

 THIS DOG IS A BOTTOMLESS PIT OF INDEFINABLE NEED. It's like playing a guessing game except it never, ever ends and the only way to win is to go sit on the front steps, alone, with booze.

So when Sunday evening rolled around and it was time to pack little weirdo off to her new family, it was not without both sweet frosted relief and a big dollop of shame.

Even though it has all worked out for all involved, I still feel like I've failed Gracie. I want to be like those mega tattooed women who rescue death row pit bulls and reform them into 75 pounds of muscle-y adorableness. I want to be the kind of person who does not project my fears and insecurities onto an innocent Sheltie. I want to be the kind of person who doesn't think her dog is judging her, and finding her very much wanting. But I am not that person. I am weak, dammit. And Gracie's will to be anxiety provoking is strong.

So maybe it's not  just me. And it's not just Gracie. Maybe we're just wrong for each other. Breaking up was hard to do, but it was the right thing to do. It was a mutual thing.

I still love the little bitch, dammit.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Blue Willow

I am obsessed with Blue Willow.

And now you are disappointed.

After a several week absence, I return with what? A post about dishes? How sad. Nothing about poops or something embarrassing I did when I was 11, or details of my mom's sordid past, or something Brian said that I've twisted into an insult about my fatness?

Nope. It's all about stuff I want and lately all I want, among a lot of other things, is Blue Willow.

My first memories of Blue Willow are of some plates we had up at our cottage near The Pas, Manitoba. They were probably chipped cast offs from some long forgotten set of the prior owners of the cabin. But to me they were the most elegant and exotic things going. I remember thinking that they kind of proved that our family was, like, totally rich.

Dreams die hard wen you're young.

Anyway, so now I've been thinking about finally decorating our bedroom, and the motif on which I have settled is, you guessed it, Blue Willow.  White, with a couple different blues, and a soup├žon of Chinoiserie.

I started by getting a big white dresser from IKEA (which i put together with only a little man-rage help from Brian and only putting something on backwards twice!). 

Yes. I've finally admitted that I am IKEA and not ABC Carpet and Home. I am everyman.

Next I have to refinish Brian's bedside table because he really likes it and it's awful. I need to learn how paint furniture. How much do you have to actually sand a piece before you can prime and paint? Like right down to the actual wood, or just enough to get the sheen of varnish/stain/whatever off of it?

I'd love to find this wallpaper, but I think Brian might put his foot down.

I've ordered a needlepoint pattern for a cushion, because what bed is complete without dog hair and an abundance of throw cushions for the cat to throw up on?

I'm a gonna makey this.

And when it's all done, I will sit in my bed with a posy of lily of the valley next to me and read books and talk to my cat. I will wear a bed jacket. Because that's what Castle's mom would do.

Gently darling, your
 auntie's hung

And for those of you who are still waiting for something more typical of me...


Thursday, 4 April 2013

The Secrets of Our Parents.

I'm visiting my mom.

I love my mom a lot. But I've said that before.

I think it's a universal thing -  kids don't see their parents as human beings, individuals with their own hopes, dreams, disappointments, failings, etc., until they are adults themselves.

 Parents are - ideally - food, affection and car key giving automatons, whose sole purpose is to provide their offspring with the necessities of life, plus a bunch of other crap that the other kids at school get because their parents have a great gig at Manitoba Hydro.

And then little by little you find out details of your parents' lives that you can relate to:

 first loves, 

addiction to online shopping

inexplicable urges to binge drink

lack of athletic prowess, 

or what have you.

And sometimes you find out things about your parents that take you completely by surprise. We find out things about our parents, dark secrets we wish we could bleach out of our consciousness, and go back to seeing them as the man in the La-Z-Boy watching Monty Python re-runs, and the woman eating orange peels while she reads improving literature.

This has happened to me.

I have discovered that my mom is money-crazed.

Now, we're good Scottish folk, and being a bit tight with my pursestrings, I should not have been surprised, but still, some things don't need to be screamed out for all to see.

Or at least not written down clearly in a day-book on the kitchen counter.

My mom is super organized. Every aspect of her day is planned and each errand or activity is written out and then gets crossed off as they are completed.

So, I guess she was just being thorough when she wrote down the following entry. This is what my mom has planned for April 14, 2013.

And it's all she has planned for that day, apparently.

Does she have some hideaway where she secrets off to, to roll around in wads of cash, gold coins  and pearls spilling out of ancient chests? 


Or does she go somewhere where someone else counts her cash for her, while she stand behind him holding a gun? 

Do we ever really know our parents?

So if my mom has to set aside an entire day to count her money, that means she must have a crapload of dough, right? She's a pretty good counter, so I imagine she could count pretty high in, say, an 8 hour period.

This brings to mind that for Christmas, I got pot scrubbers.

In spite of her secret, I continue to adore my mommy. And not because I expect that she'll ever share her wealth with me. No. I know she's going to donate it all to the church because she's so damned churchy. No. I love her because she's excellent.

Except at skiing.

She kinda sucks at that.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

My Selkirk, 2.0. The Outdoor Series

Yes, I'm back home for a visit, and I thought I'd do another photo essay of my town. Selkirk gets kind of a bad rap. I've heard it referred to as a "Scuzz Town". Well, every town has its less than perfect qualities, and even if Selkirk is a little rough around the edges, I love it, in all its pot holed, red-necked, Crime Stopper footage glory.

Frosty Chuck

8 am. Where is everyone?

look up. waaaaaay up.

Time for a new sign, methinks.

I used to go down this back lane when I'd go over to Pam  Stewart's house to play Jello Tree Farm. I tried to get  a picture our our old backyard, mom, but there was some guy peeing up against our old garage. I didn't like to disturb him.

Important Selkirk Staple.

Sidewalk. Super treacherous.

The street where I lived

Rosser Ave

the other street where I lived.

frosty trash

I took a picture of this two years ago. It's still the same.

Manitoba Ave

Tres charmant. I will be going there this visit.

ubiquitous mucky snow hill in parking lot

Selkirk Bridge

I've never been inside.

I'm thinking of doing a photo essay of all the discarded beverage containers along the main street  here in Selkirk, but I don't think there's enough space in the internet to accommodate it.

No parking here, bitch. Just for emphasis.

You can't really tell, but that's a kid shovelling snow wearing shorts. It's -12 Celcius. Only in Manitoba!

A puddle or a massive pothole? Only one way to find out.

Electric Avenue


This house stands out and is all sunny and cheerful on a cold grey day. Yellow house don't care. Yellow house don't give a shit.

They tried.