Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rearview Mirror

DH and I bought our Schefflera plant way back when we first began cohabitating. She came to us in a little 4" green plastic pot, and we christened her Shiffy. Shiffy is now of such a size that I get a little herniated just thinking about the fact that she needs to be transplanted sometime soon. So she's been around a while but still, every winter when she invariably loses a whack of leaves, I invariably freak out over it. You'd think I'd have figured it out by now, but I'm attached, you know? I'd hate to see her go.

"Oh my gawd! Shiffy is losing all her leaves! What's happening to her?"

"Honey, you say that every year. It's just winter. She always loses some leaves in the winter."

"Some leaves? She's going bald faster than..."

[Editor's note: Hair-loss jokes are frowned upon in my home, for big, shiny reasons that shall remain unspoken and/or firmly in the realm of chronic denial, and as such have been removed from this post.]

Anyway, I'm sure Shiffy will be fine, but the situation did remind me of this one time, in Costco, when *someone who shall remain unnamed* and I were browsing the home security camera systems. They had this one with four cameras hooked to a TV display, and *unnamed individual* was checking out the split-screen view. I wandered a short distance away, when the unmistakable sound of schoolgirls screaming suddenly erupted from somewhere in the immediate vicinity. Confused and alarmed - but always on the ball - I shouted "I'm a first-aider!" and leapt into action, frantically searching for the source of the noise. Initial scene searches revealed no victims, but the sound was unrelenting. I finally noticed *unnamed shopping partner*, whose horrified gaze was fixed on the security camera view... that happened to be pointing directly at the top of his head.

It took fourteen free chocolate samples and numerous assurances about the poor quality of the store lighting, but I eventually got him down to a wail, then a whimper. I'm good, I know. But truth be told, I knew where he was coming from - it's just like the first time a woman actually sees the size of her own ass. *shudder*

And just like the size of my ass, it's something we never speak of.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

ATP-Binding Cassette C11

One of my favourite things about Christmas is the mystery of what's under the tree. Reusing cardboard boxes is not only good for the environment, it keeps that Christmas mystery going 'til the very last possible second - like, did I just get 1.5kg of chicken burgers for Christmas? Nooo - it's something else, wrapped in a chicken burgers box! Amazing!

With the exception of people who become slightly confused by the box decoy and thank you politely for the carton of low-fat microwave popcorn, I generally find gifts are percieved as being even better when wrapped up as something crappy. This is due to the recipient's expectations being momentarily lowered by the prospect of someone sending them the message that they needed more fibre in their diet (Raisin Bran box), or that they have a bat in the cave (Kleenex box), or some horribly cryptic and frightening message that may cause them to become gay or leprous or something (Tampax box - particularly effective when used on older male relatives).

In fact, you probably could send a message to someone using just such a technique. If you were dating someone with ear wax buildup you could use a Q-Tips box, for instance. Totally subversive! Actually, DH used to date a gal who reportedly had a bit of a wax problem. Just think - if I had started this blog several years ago, he could have stumbled upon my Christmas box trick, and she could have started cleaning her ears, and they could have lived happily ever after, and I would have no one to complain about so wouldn't be writing this blog.

Man, that is so chock full of back-to-the-futureness that my brains just imploded a little.

I stored that tidbit of ex-girlfriend trivia way back when DH and I first started dating, so naturally had it on instant recall seven years later when I read about the gene that determines whether one's ear wax is wet or dry. OK, so maybe it does more than just that, but the point of the story is that I immediately wondered, "Did she have stalactites or slime molds?"

The fourth thought that entered my mind (in rapid succession after, 'Who the hell cares?' and 'Why the hell do you still remember that?') was that, when I one day donate my shriveled corpse to science (more reusing!), they will surely discover I have the gene for wet anger.

You probably haven't heard of the Wet Anger Gene before, and that's probably because it hasn't actually been discovered yet. I can't possibly guess at the evolutionary basis behind such a trait, but you'd only have to know me for about one week* to be assured that baby, I've got it. If I actually ever experienced Dry Anger it would probably end violently. As it is, I generally just weep a lot. Like, a lot. And did I mention lots of weeping when I'm angry?

I don't know how he did it, but DH managed to cram every single Christmas gift of mine this year into waterproof mascara boxes. You'd almost think he was trying to tell me something.

* per month

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Show 'Em You're a Tiger

I overheard a couple of gals on the C-Train today passionately discussing the whole Tiger Woods fiasco, namely the plight of 'his poor wife!'

(Seriously? Are we still talking about this?)

Alrighty then: I hereby formally climb aboard the Tigergate bandwagon to call bullshit.

Aside from the obvious mitigating factor of a multi-million dollar payout, there's also the fact that most women who suffer the unfortunate circumstance of being linked to some cheating bastard have to do so without the consolation of being fabulously hot. You know what? There are days I might just be willing to trade in DH for a swimsuit model physique and five million bucks. Let's just check my estrogen levels... yep, try me next week. We'll talk.

But the most important thing when considering the case of Mrs. Woods is the revenge factor.

Sure, everyone and their sister knows Tiger was banging... well, everyone and their sister by the sounds of it. Before you feel too sorry for his devoted wife, consider that this woman is living a glorious fantasy that every jilted lover, ever, has only dreamed of: his sponsers are bailing (financial, if not actual, castration); he's the butt of every SNL skit and nasty blog around (public humiliation); and no woman is going to touch him with a ten-foot pole for a verrry long time (involuntary abstinence). And all this slandering and ruin occurred all by itself. She didn't have to lift a finger to make it happen, or tear out a single hair in impotent rage trying to figure out how it could be made to happen without, say, her ending up in jail. No doubt about it, Tiger Woods is getting his dues. And then some. It's like a freaking case study on the cumulative karmic effects of fucking around on your wife. What more could a gal ask for?

Oh, right, of course - but with that many millions you could just buy yourself some chocolate.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ask A Stupid Question...

"They're WHAT?!"

"You heard me."

"But... but why?"

"Probably so you can pee without having to completely disrobe."

"I don't like it. Nope, it's wrong. You're not allowed. You have to wear some pants over top. Go put on some pants right now."

"Over the Spanx, you mean?"


"And under the dress?"


"Oh my gawd, DH. That would completely defeat the purpose."

"Well, what is the purpose anyway?"

Men are so ridiculous sometimes - like, what isn't the purpose of a good control undergarment? A quickie Top 5 to summarize:

1. To render me more or less jiggle-free and unselfconscious for a night.
2. To hold my lip gloss and taxi chits, because I couldn't find a matching clutch.
3. To be trusted to maintain order once I've had too much to drink to remember to suck everything in with any degree of reliability.
4. To punish me for not working out enough* this year**.
5. To make your Damn, Darling Husband ask stupid questions.***

*i.e., at all.
**i.e., decade.
***Now, before you get all cheesed at me over this DH, please note that, 'To provide unrestricted access to coworker in fit of drunken debauchery at the company Christmas party' didn't make the list.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Coppertone Up 70 Points

It seems the following post (originally published April 14, 2009) doesn't display correctly for some readers, for some techno-freaky reason or other. My thanks to the loyal reader who brought this to my attention. Stay tuned for my regularly-scheduled post later this week.


Hey, have I mentioned lately that I am really, really white? Like, blue-white - fishbelly white. The woman who did my last pedicure said, in her charming little no-speaka accent, "Oooh, you need little bit more brown!" (Great - now not only can I not show my blindingly white legs in public, people are even criticizing my feet?)

While DH has two seasons - Cold and Not Cold, you may recall - I was recently reminded that I also exhibit some seasonality: White and Pink. That's right, after over thirty years of vicious sunburns, I yet again neglected to apply sunscreen (it's only April, right?) and have a terrible sunburn. And if you are also fair of skin, you will know what I mean when I say, Of course I was wearing something with a decorative neckline!


Now what the hell am I going to wear to work all week? I'm going to have to go out again on the next pleasant day and try to get a more practical sunburn so I can wear my office clothes. To think I used to fret about obscuring mere hickeys - just try to camouflage a scalloped sunburn with a lacy openwork design! No artful scarf placement is going to hide that. (Ah, ah, don't give me that turtleneck crap, we've already discussed why we break up the canvas around here, remember?)

Not to mention the fact that the back of my neck is going to hit seventy about thirty years before the rest of me.

And thus begins the cyclic nature of the season Pink: sunscreen, aloe, sunscreen, aloe. Repeat.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Dud by Any Other Name

It was one of those conversations where you don't really know the person, but it would be rude to ignore him entirely while you wait for the elevator together, and you're not quite sure how the topic came up but suddenly you're telling him no, you didn't take your (now ex-)husband's last name. Like, apologetically or something. Who frigging cares, right? But the guy goes all silent on you and you know, deep in your heart of hearts, you're being judged.

Naturally, his perfectly perky yoga-doing, organic-foods-eating, stay-at-home-mom of a wife simply leapt at the opportunity to take his last name. It was all he could do to keep her from taking his first name, too!

O, you lucky fellow, you.

So I've asked around a bit, polled all those not-name-takers I know (at least those who will admit to it), and I've gotten some most excellent reasons from them: she earned her education and built her career under her name and didn't want to go confusing the issue; it seemed like a huge pain in the arse with little gain; his last name sounds really angry.

Me? Maybe I didn't really imagine it would work out anyways (10%). Maybe I like my last name (10%). Maybe his last name sounds a lot like dildo** (80%).

**My apologies to all actual dildos out there. I know he's a blight on your reputation for being hard-working, industrious members of society, spreading joy and peace in your wake. Among other things. As a friend of mine once said:

"Why would you call him a dildo? That's mean. At least dildos are useful."

Touche, my friend. I'll work on thinking up something new.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Retirement Planning

On my way to satisfy my falafel problem today at lunch, I witnessed a very elderly woman helping an incredibly elderly woman up the curb. The sight stopped me dead in my tracks. I'm not ashamed to say I may have even shed a tear at this touching scene.

Now before you chalk me up as some Tuesdays With Morrie-toting fruitcake, I've got some 'splaining to do. You see, I've always maintained that there are certain benefits to having your children at a younger age. For instance, the increased likelihood you may grow up to be a MILF (like me!). However, when I overheard Elderly #1 call Elderly #2 "Mom", a certain facet of early reproduction that had never before occurred to me jumped up and bit me on the face.

Hence the tear.

Studies addressing the demographic consequences of early primiparity do exist, and while some of them have focused on large iteroparous mammals, precisely none have considered the day approximately forty years hence when a seventy-year-old me helps my ninety-year-old mother cross the street. Perhaps we'll be accompanied by my middle-aged daughter trundling her hundred-and-four-year-old great-grandmother in a wheelchair, because surely the woman has been so thoroughly pickled in cigarette smoke and Pil that she'll still be around at that time.

We will be the Golden Girls, all by ourselves.

(Lord, please let me be the horny one.)

I raced back to my desk to email my mother but surprisingly, she took my curbside revelation in stride:

I've already thought of that, dear. You can come with me and the book club ladies. We're all going to move to the same nursing home and spend the rest of our days baking hash brownies and playing crib. TTYL.

Well, then. Now that my future is settled, I've only got one thing to say:

I'll bring my apron.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tall, Dark and Handsome

Know what the best thing about pregnancy is?

Actually, I was going to tell you something else, but it just occurred to me that the very best thing about being pregnant is that I'm not.

The second best thing is stretchy pants that are designed to look like real-people pants* (*everyone knows you're not actually human when you're pregnant). I loved my stretchy pants. So comfy! So forgiving! I wept a little when I finally had to give them up and venture again into the cold and unforgiving realm of The Muffin Top.

Know what the worst thing about Muffin Tops is? The damn cutesy name. The juxtaposition of 'adorably delicious name' against 'rather disturbing reality' makes it seem all the worse, don't you think? Like "Vegemite", or "Kirstie Alley".

Anyways, I managed to snag some precious time away from the children (!) last weekend by going Christmas shopping with my Aunt. Or at least that's what I told DH, but the joke's on him. Not only am I done Christmas shopping, but all the purchases I ended up making were for me!

Oh, damn. He reads this.

Uhhh... I hadn't intended it that way dear, honest. It just went all Pig A Pancake on me - an eggnog latte led to some conversation, and that conversation led to some browsing, and that browsing led to some trying on, and before you knew it I had fallen head over heels in love with a tall, dark and handsome... pair of real-people slacks.

With a stretchy waist.

And I'm not even pregnant.

Oh my gawd, my panties just evaporated from the sheer joy of it. I haven't been this happy since I last went bra shopping.

I bought three pair of these miraculous pants, and I must say I looked simply fabulous at work this week. Some people suffer for fashion, and I'm not going to correct those who may say it of me now that I have my beautiful, Muffin Top-Eliminating pants to wear, but only I knew how comfortable I was! At frequent intervals I would grab a camera or some other useful object, and stride briskly (but fashionably) around the office. Occasionally I would pause to gaze thoughtfully (also fashionably!) at a wall map.

The trick is to go once clockwise, then once counter-clockwise so it looks like you've completed whatever Very Important Task you were working on. To mix things up, you might try executing a dashing turn at the photocopier, or stylishly selecting an item from the supply room. And don't worry about eating that danish for breakfast! These pants can take it.

(P.S. It would be cruel not to tell you - you can buy your own at Reitman's.)

Friday, November 13, 2009


Working From Home is one of those things people claim to aspire to, generally in the same breath as 'acreage' or 'little place in the woods'. Idyllic, right? No traffic crunch, skip the hustle & bustle, wear your pyjamas all day. Put your feet up. Drink Nescafe or something. And then when you have children, you never have to stoop to subjecting them to daycare [delicate snobby shudder], you can simply carry on with the work you're fabulously passionate about doing, from your acreage, in your jammies, with your Nescafe, while your angelic future children play quietly, or nap, or, you know - whatever it is that children do.

I was fortunate enough on Friday for the Fates to grant me a tantalizing tittle of the ambrosia that is Working From Home. It went a lot like this...

* * *

"Mommy just has to work for one more minute, and then we can read a book. Why don't you pick out a book to read while mommy just works for one minute?"

Small Fry looked me straight in the eye and slowly, deliberately poured his cup of milk on the floor, then promptly began wallowing in the puddle.

"Milk, swim! Milk, swim!"

"Oh, you little [several choice terms not fit for a family-friendly blog such as this one]! Go! Go away! Mommy has to clean up your mess."

[Probably some more terms uttered at this point, if we're being honest here.]

And just in case I wasn't crying over the spilled milk, while I mopped up the kitchen Small Fry ran to the living room, removed his clothing and peed on the floor.

"Water," said he, "mess."

And then my head exploded and I bloody well had to clean that up, too.

* * *

... for approximately eight hours.

I hope I enjoyed whatever naughty things I got up to in my past life, because Working From Home is a special kind of hell.

While I was still on maternity leave with Small Fry, I once dreamed that I went to work to take a break from home. I sat in a squishy, ergonomic office chair, put my feet up on a desk, sipped a coffee. My boss stopped by with a batch of homemade popcorn balls that he was selling from a cigarette tray. I bought one. It was delicious.

That was one of the best dreams I've ever had (sorry, Keanu). Admittedly, I've never been served popcorn balls nor lounged with my feet up at my workplace, yet somehow Friday's events triggered a vivid memory of that dream. It was clearly a message from my subconscious, and the message was this:

WARNING: Get your head out of your ass. Work should never be attempted From Home.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I'll Take 'Dentists Are Bastards' for Six Thousand, Alex

A: Two-thirty
Q: What's a dentist's favourite time?

'Cause when your tooth is hurty, they can really go in for the kill. I've heard tell they can suck your wallet right up through your jawbone.

I've said before I'm not a big conspiracy theorist, but when my two thousand dollar dental crown of barely a year ago completely shattered and left me with holding the bill for a four thousand dollar dental implant, I got the distinct sense I had been - 'ow you say? - screwed-over. If that had been a car part, I could have had the shoddy workmanship refunded or replaced under warranty. Because it was a dentist, it's thank-you-may-I-have-another and I'll be back to fork over more bucks in six months.

I repeat: dentists are bastards.

On the bright side, now I'm a cyborg. This calls for a pointier bra!

And hey, on that note, a quick internet search reveals that for six grand, I could have skipped the bicuspid implant and gone straight for some breast impl... bwahahahaha! Man, I couldn't even type that with a straight face. But, say, a tummy tuck? No laughing matter! Should have yanked the damn tooth when it first started giving me trouble ("Let that be a warning to the rest of youse!") and started saving up.

I'm sure there's a fable in there somewhere. Or at least a country song... hmm, nope, can't quite put my finger on it. Anyways, one thing I know for sure is that I'm not letting my babies grow up to be cowboys. It's dentistry all the way for them.

(Hear that, kids? Momma needs a new BMW.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I don't know about where you live, but people are constantly raving about Ultimate 'round these parts. I like a good Ultimate every so often myself, preferably with a cheesequake Blizzard to wash it down, but it's quickly apparent that this is not the Ultimate of which they speak.

Actually, the first several times I heard "ultimate" used as a noun, I thought the offenders were just a little gramatically addled and I let it slide. Who am I to judge, right? After a while, though, I realized there was something more going on, so I started asking questions. The conversation invariably took on a Who's On First? sort of bent:

"What is Ultimate, anyway?"
"Oh my gawd, it's just the best! It's so much fun! I just love it!"

Then they'd go all starry-eyed and gaze grinning off into space, and that would be it for my explanation. I surmised Ultimate was some form of recreational drug that I was too old to have dabbled in.

But there remained a nagging sense that, no - these people were all pretty Church of Latter-Day Health Freak, and mostly my age or younger, so I pressed on and eventually gleaned that Ultimate is shorthand for Ultimate Frisbee, which is a sport. Enlightenment! A little online sleuthing rounded out my search for the details, which go something like this: if you could take the top seventeen or so most dreaded activities for an overweight, undercoordinated person who could never quite get the hang of any team sport, ever, and cross-breed them all together into one great, jocky hydra, Ultimate would be that beast.

*shudder* Terrifying, isn't it? And just in time for Halloween!

But let's not dwell on what kind of nutballs get all twitterpated over extreme sports. Let's talk about how inadequate it makes me feel that people can actually enjoy that kind of crap when I've managed to slob my fat ass to my local Curves once in the past six months.

And it was closed early for a staff meeting.

So I went home.

And ate a bag of cookies.

Oh my gawd, I'm pathetic.

But if I've learned anything from my mother it's how to rationalize shoe purchases, which is a skill that lends itself surprisingly well to many aspects of life if you only try hard enough. So to all you wonderful moms out there who are already paddling like hell without adding supreme athleticism to your To-Accomplish list, come take a ride on Rationalization Rail with me and let's talk ourselves out of this Ultimate morale slump, shall we?

The following is pretty standard fare, but feel free to customize it to suit your rationalization needs:

Okay, so I'm not athletic, or maybe I used to be long ago and far away but just can't find the time for it anymore, but that doesn't make me an underachiever. My house is reasonably clean. My kids, spouse, family, employers, neighbours, dentist, doctor and bank are all reasonably happy. I've managed to maintain a reasonably good relationship with my breasts, despite our increasingly long-distance link. I've perfected the pie crust. I could probably make the Guinness Book for most times singing the ABC's in one year. I could take gold in every Olympic diapering event from Pile of Limp Spaghetti to Angry Greased Pig, while singing the ABC's, and not break a sweat. In short, I've got a lot on my plate, and I don't just mean burgers, and I don't need any other obligations - real or imagined - so just piss off already with the Ultimate.

A toast to you, O Herculean Homemakers! Keep up the stellar work.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Alllll Aboard!

Sometimes, you just have an extremely large pillow to take in to work. Is that really so hard to understand?

Judging by the overt gawking I was subjected to on the C-Train carrying the pillow home from work two days prior... yes. Completely incomprehensible. Didn't come close to the time I rode the train with a soil auger, but that's a different blog entirely.

Funny, when you're carrying something oddball, all eyes are on you. When you're nine months pregnant and would like to sit down, four dozen people become so deeply engrossed in Crowchild Trail that you're practically invisible.

But I'm not here to harp. I'm here to confess that I just couldn't muster up the fortitude to suffer another transit ride with the gigantic pillow - I asked a coworker to come pick me up in the morning on his way in to work.

*ring ring*
"Is this your address, that you just emailed me?"
"So how do I get to your house?"
"Just follow the directions in my email."
"I think I'll Google Map it."
"Sweet, see you tomorrow then, 'bye."
"No, don't hang up!"
"I just want to do it with you on the phone right now."

*wait for it... waaait for it...*

"Oh, shit. You're going to write about that, aren't you?"

And get this, folks - this conversation occurred on none other than a Wednesday! Having read (and I'm ashamed to admit, subsequently seen) The DaVinci Code, I'm now an expert at deciphering cryptic messages. And this one came through loud and clear to my highly-attuned senses:

Another Casual Hump Day convert!

Keep up the excellent work, minions, your recruiting efforts are clearly paying off. We're coming ever-closer to attaining that critical mass of willing participants!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Wonder Woman

I prefer mittens to gloves. Sure, it's easier to dial 911 or pick your nose if you're wearing gloves, but with mittens you can really work on perfecting your chameleon walk. Helps to pass the time at the bus stop in the mornings.

For instance, Thursday morning I had to wait until 6:30 for the 6:00 bus - by way of explanation the driver muttered something about the bus not starting. I just rolled my eyes independently of one another and muttered back how glad I am to see my daily $5 contribution to Calgary Transit being put to good use, like vehicle maintenance.

Here in balmy Calgary the entire transit system keels over dead every time the thermometer strikes zero. And by "balmy" I mean "eight months of crappy," so I find it best to have a dedicated bus stop pastime. Now that it's winter again I'm getting so good at the chameleon that one actually came on to me the other day.

Or maybe it was just some guy with mittens. Tough to tell.

Anyways, you should know I suffer from a rare genetic condition known as Crazy Hair. Crazy Hair generally manifests itself in the mornings, so I often arrive at the bus stop with damp hair from trying to wash the Crazy out before I head to work. Thursday was a Crazy Hair day, and during my marathon wait for the bus I ended up with such a chill that I decided to leave my scarf on at work. Admittedly it was more Arctic Expedition than Downtown Office, and didn't really coordinate with my outfit, but if Lady Gaga can get away with a Kermit cape I figured surely I could rock a mismatched scarf until I warmed up.

The first person I saw said, "Ooooh, covering up a hickey?"

The second person I saw said, "Ooooh, covering up a hickey?"

By around the tenth person I decided to roll with it:

"Sure, why not. Having kids does wonders for the sex life."

Guess they couldn't read my poker face, because there was a long pause before an incredulous, "Really?"

Yes. Really. I wonders where it wents.

With next week's wintry forecast, I should have plenty of time to ponder that at the bus stop.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mind Your P's and Moo's

I don't remember being taught about manners, exactly. I recall catching serious hell for throwing my pea soup on the walls and blaming it on my little brother, who was a) three and b) asleep at the time, so I knew for a fact that one was not to throw food no matter how much one disliked it.

On the other hand, my grandma's name was Mabel, so when she told me that rhyme about elbows off the table I thought it was just a story from her life.

So maybe my parents really did try to teach me, but I didn't register the lessons unless they were accompanied by a beating. Who knows where the blame lies, but the end result is that I'm still gleaning nifty tidbits to this day - Proper placement of cutlery when setting a table (age 16). Elbows off the table, for real? (age 18) If on a date, either all or none of the people involved may consume garlic (age 21). Napkin on lap (age 25). The fork was not intended for use as a shovel (age 30).

If you've ever been shocked by a revelation in etiquette (as I have), or been dumped due to lousy forking technique (which I can assure you I have not), you'll know the feeling: "How does everyone know about this stuff but me? And why didn't someone mention it before?" Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available to the decorum challenged, so if you really want to discern the correct placement of the tin of chunky soup in relation to the spork you can look it up.

I do have to say that during the course of my research on this topic, I noted some obvious gaps in the literature. Because I'm all about public service announcements, I'd like to propose a few items that, IMHO, should really form part of our collective codes of conduct:

- Photogenic is Swahili for you look worse in real life. Do everyone's self-esteem a favour and set the bar high - delete or destroy any photographs that are not eminently flattering to your subjects.

- Bring your own barf bags on the helicopter, so as not to deplete the pilot's supply.

- Wiping up your own pee splatters does not constitute "cleaning the bathroom".

- If you've been getting the milk free for seven years, you should at least take the cow on a nice vacation once in a while.

- If you're going to complain about your significant other in a public forum such as a blog, you should at least do so anonymously and/or under the guise of public service announcements.

- Cows really like the spa.

Friday, September 25, 2009

It's Business Time

Like many people, I like to celebrate the joyful things in life with a little caloric splurge. Say, a nice dessert and a glass of wine or three. And because I'm a bit of an emotional eater, I also tend to grieve with calories. And cope with stress with calories. And enjoy my holidays with calories, and have a romantic evening at home with calories, and snuggle up with some calories and just chill after a hard day. Or a relaxing day. Or a Wednesday.

So my waistline was relieved this week when a coworker suggested a revolutionary, calorie-free way to celebrate the lowly middle child of the work week. We were at a training course, and while he usually errs on the 'business' end of 'business casual', he was dressed way down for the day in jeans and a really chachi tee.

Me: Hey, you're looking casual today.
Him: Yep, it's casual Wednesday. Casual hump day.


When syntactic ambiguity and the crass double entendre collide.

The more I thought about it, the better it sounded: Mondays would still be pretty far from Fridays, but you'd have that glorious Day of Casual Humping to look forward to, smack in the middle of the week. And Wednesdays happen all the time, not like those other crappy holidays that you have to wait around for all year.

As I see it, the success of Casual Hump Day would rest on everyone's buying into the concept, or things could get pretty awkward around the water cooler. So until we reach that critical mass of willing participants, mark it on your calendar, friends, and don't forget to spread the word.

Presumably, you'll still want to wear your business socks.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Message to My Minions

I keep hearing what a pain it is to leave a comment on Blogger. I recently changed my settings, so hopefully you're able to leave comments now.



Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mysteries of the Unexplained

There are a lot of things in life I would like to know. Not enough to do any legwork over it, but sortof in a vague, "it's fun to think about it" sense. Some items in question:

- Why no stripedy dogs?

- Where do babies get their intestinal flora?

- Why do spiders always crawl into my roasting pan to die?

- How do teeth grow in? (And don't go saying gravity, because at least half of them grow up.) Or do they not 'grow' at all, but instead precipitate stalactite-style out of the rivers of snot and saliva that children exude?

- What is it about the Y chromosome that precludes correct execution of the act of laundry?

Ah, yes - the heart of the matter.

I'm not just talking the occasional red-sock-in-the-whites-load here. That can happen to anyone. No, men exhibit a special kind of ineptitude when it comes to laundry. As a public service, and to assuage my own irritation, I'm going to explain some common laundry mistakes here today:

- Agitation is the means by which the machine washes your clothes - no shaky, no washy. Handy hint #1: It's a washing machine, not a suitcase. If you have to sit on the lid to get it to close, it is too full. Remove half the contents and try again.

- Try breathing through a single layer of fabric. Now try breathing through four hundred. Note the increased resistance. The dryer notices, too. Hint #2: Remove the lint more than once a year to ensure maximum performance. (For advice regarding acceptable clothing density in the dryer, refer to Hint #1.)

- Bras have a series of teensy little hooks on the backs which serve to secure the bra around the torso. Those hooks are why you never got laid in high school, and also why every single sweater you own looks like it's been run through a herd of angry kittens. Hint #3: Doing the hooks up will reduce their destructive power, and placing the bra in the little mesh bag that lives on top the dryer (yes, that is why it's called a laundry bag, good for you!) will completely disarm it.

- It is called hang-drying, with hang here used in the same relaxed sense it is in the phrase "hang out". Recall that "hanging out" is a very passive, mellow activity. Hint #4: If you find yourself stretching garments to their full extent and violently binding them to the rack, you are channeling the wrong kind of "hang". Get out your thesaurus and start over.

- The wind speed in the basement in zero, thus the clothing cannot actually be blown from the drying rack. Hint #5: If you must use clothespins, consider your placement carefully - no one wants to go to work looking like they started their day with 12V to the nipples.

That's it for your lesson today, I hope you've found it helpful. Be sure to tune in next week for more hot topics, like "How to Tell When the Garbage Bin is Full".

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Hippiest Place on Earth

I *heart* recycling.

I like to imagine all the happy little elves situated somewhere in the bowels of Calgary, whistling joyfully whilst they sort through my recycling, which I can now - perhaps even more joyfully! - simply dump unsorted into my personal Blue Behemoth and wheel out to the curb on Wednesdays. And they're not just sorting my recycling, but everyone's recycling! Vast mountains of recycling! It's one of those things where you sortof wish you could see how it was actually done, but it might just spoil the magic. Like Disneyland. Or sweatshops.

So I stick to imagining. However, in my view it would be stingy of me not to share all my fun imaginatings with all those happy elves/sad children. But how to effectively pay the joy forward? I mean, a big shout out to 'em and all, but there's so much recycling to do that I doubt they have time to read my blog.

My opportunity presented itself while canning yet another batch of jelly. (Cherry-rhubarb, if you really want to know.) The problem: DH and I don't own a funnel, which makes pouring boiling cauldrons of syrup into weensy little half-pint jars a real bitch. So, because we a) didn't have time to go out and buy a funnel, b) are incredibly enterprising, and c) used to smoke a lot of pot, we created what we like to call a "jam bong" to fill the funnel void.

Pop quiz: How many of you immediately deduced what a jam bong would consist of?

Answer: Frankly, I'm so confident in my friends' sordid pasts that I'm not even going to bother detailing my construction methods.

Anyways, our jam bong eventually came to the end of its useful life, and the question of what to do with the component parts arose. Call me paranoid, but what might people think if they found it in the recycling? (And since we're talking green here, you know it's not even a question of throwing it in the trash.) But then I got to thinking - if I were employed as a sorter of recycled goods, even if the job paid alright and kept me out of the Nike factories or whatever, I might find myself substantially bored and longing for a little something to tweak my imagination. Seeing the occasional recycled makeshift bong would probably make my day. Possibly even my month.

So there it was - and here it is. My message in a bottle, as it were, to all you variously happy, always hard-working elves out there. Keep up the good work.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

In a Pickle

Maybe it's a little TMI for some of you, but lately the instant the offspring hit their respective pillows, DH and I have been really steaming the place up. We've been going at it for hours, then finally collapsing into bed, utterly exhausted and drenched with sweat. I don't mean to gloat, but we've been doing this every night for weeks! It's like an obsession! It's the best it's ever been!

Yep, we just can't get enough of canning season.

We've canned pickles, tomatoes, corn, fruit, jelly, and so incredibly much jam that nearby bread products have begun to orbit our house. I have to launch the kids out the door in rigorously-orchestrated trajectories to reduce their risk of collision with items in the debris field (a stale baguette to the head can be life-threatening, you know). Fortunately, I'm about as handy with a calculator as I am with a pair of jar-lifting tongs, so multiple unmanned spacekids have traversed it without incident.

Haven't figured out how to keep them from coming back, yet, but I've got a call in to NASA. I'll let you in on any handy hints they provide.

I used to know this fellow who saved money by only ever carrying large bills in his wallet. He just couldn't bring himself to break a fifty. Now, I do not have this problem - sometimes I even break several at once! - but I do have a problem cracking into my precious jars of homemade preserved goods. They represent countless hours of planting, weeding, watering, peeling, chopping, and general slaving over cauldrons of boiling water.

Plus, they're just so darn pretty. And if I eat them now, I won't get to artfully arrange a few on the counter whenever someone drops by so they can properly admire my inner earth-mother/pioneer spirit/Martha Stewart/latent psychopath made flesh.

Ah, jewel-toned jars of potential admiration. That's what it's all about.

But don't tell DH, he actually thinks we're going to eat the stuff.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Date Night: The Final Frontier

"Computer, activate outsourcing of child care."

Babysitter activated, Captain.


"Computer, activate presentable appearance."

Mascara deployed, Captain.

"Computer, do we have any dinner and candlelight around here?"

Yes, Captain.

"Make it so."

To explore a quiet, civilized meal! To seek out new life in our overburdened relationship! To boldly go where no parents have gone before!

"Computer, activate sparkling conversation."

Computer does not recognize command, Captain.

Hm, that's a little scary.

"Computer, umm... engage intelligent banter."

Program no longer exists, Captain.

Oh, shit.

"Uhh, computer, a joke? Witty remark? Anything?"

Number One: Honey, you look worried - what's up?

Shields down, Captain. All systems failing.

Aborting mission.

Thus go our voyages and our adventures. *sigh*

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Breaking the Glass Ceiling

The single, solitary, measly hour of so-called free time I get per week, and I get to spend it removing body hair. I'm thrilled, really. Whee. Boy golly, I'll bet every man just wishes he could be so lucky as to do something solely for his wife's aesthetic enjoyment on Saturday nights rather than, say, play poker or something.

But seriously, one poorly-executed bout of brow tweezing in Junior High, and I'm pencilling in eyebrows for the rest of my natural life - why are my
legs so sadistic? They thrive on this shit.
Grumble, grumble.

Alright, Step 1, wax warmed and stirred. Gaaa!, too hot, administer first aid to burnt thumb.

Step 2, yah yah, no lotions or whatever on my skin. Blah blah blah.

Step 3, pull skin taut.

Is that some sort of joke? The last time my skin was taut it didn't
have hair. I am so not in the mood for irony right now. Where's the phone?

*ring* *ring*

Thank you for calling _____, this is, like, Shanna talking.

Hi, LikeShanna. I have an issue with your product.

No sorry, it's just, like, Shanna.

Exactly. So about that issue with the product?

Okay! I can, like, totally help you out and stuff?

... ... Was that a question?
Can you help me?


Alright, if you say so. Listen, Step 3 is tripping me up a bit. It says I have to pull the skin taut.


That's the problem, Shanna. My skin doesn't
do taut.

Like, what does that

Sorry I don't speak Valley for you. I'll try to dumb it down a little: my skin. It's old. Not taut.

Um, can I like, put you on hold for a second?

Sure, whatever.
Mitzy, hey? There's this, like, really old chick or something on the phone, and she's like, confused about her skin or something?

I can hear you. You didn't put me on hold.
What's wrong with her skin?
She says it can't be taut.

I can heeear yoooou.
Like, what does it need to know?

Holy shit.
I dunno, but she sounds kinda scary. Do you think she's a Code 37: Bitter and Distorted?

Maybe she's a Code 29:
Generally Angry.
I'm taking offense now.
Totally! I'll, like, read her the stuff out of the manual for that one. Hi again! This is, like, Shanna talking?

Hi, Shanna. I'm feeling Generally Angry right now.

way! How did you know that? I was just going to read you the stuff out of the manual for that! Let me just find the page...

No offense, Shanna, but may I please speak to the manager?


... ... Um, can I speak to the manager

am the manager!

Heaven help us.

Yah, it's totally awesome! I've been here, like, three weeks
longer than anyone else, and also they said they needed more girls in management or they were going to get sued or something?

Your parents must be so proud.

They totally
are! They keep saying to all their friends how glad they are that I'm not working at that place with all the owls or whatever?
You mean Hooters?
Yah, totally! I guess I'm like, allergic to birds or something, so they didn't want me to work there.
Hey, Shanna, it's a miracle, my problem just went away. 'Bye now.
No way! But I didn't get to read you...
One small step for Shanna, one giant leap backwards for the women's movement.
Bitter and distorted my ass.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Who is Santa Claus?

That was a rhetorical question. I already know who Santa Claus is. Katie Holmes is Santa Claus.


I k
now. You are currently marvelling at the wealth of esoteric knowledge I have in my humble possession. And while it is wonderful to be me, don't think for a minute that it doesn't involve significant time and energy on my part to amass such a mental cornucopia. So just how did I unearth this stunning revelation? Is it because I laugh when I see her in spite of myself? Well, that too, but that's got more to do with her poor taste in men, and I laugh at a lot of people so that's generally a pretty poor criterion for me to use.

happened was this: Not long ago, I was walking alongside an incredibly fat man in downtown Calgary, savouring the rare sensation of being The Thin One in our - albeit fleeting - relationship (mental note: in next life, marry large so as to procure favourable comparisons). As I sauntered along enjoying the shade this fellow provided, I thought to myself, what the world really needs is more overpriced apparel designed specifically for the perfect Size 2 figure. But jeez Louise, no matter how hard I tried to figure it out, I just don't know how to make that kind of magic happen all by my lonesome. So that night I called in the biggest guns I know to assist me in my quest: I wrote a letter to old Saint Nick.

Nick, I wrote - we're pretty tight, I can call him that - I've been a really good girl this year. I've cut back on swearing sortof and tried out some new recipes and, uh... flossed my teeth regularly. And in return for all my hard work and firm gums, I have to ask for this one little thing from you. No, it's not necessarily for me - it's for all of humanity. Because I'm a good girl that way. And what humanity really, really needs is more overpriced apparel designed specifically for the perfect Size 2 figure.

While you're at it, could you maybe toss in some similarly overpriced children's wear - you know, the kind you can't let them actually wear for fear of the little beasts committing Dirt and Destruction on them. Thanks, man.



The very next day, I saw on the Yahoo! Canada home page - that bastion of high-quality breaking news stories - that Katie Holmes is starting her very own clothing line! And one for toddlers, too! My first thought was, I am in so good with Santa that I don't even have to wait 'til Christmas like the rest of you suckers out there! But once my initial euphoria faded I realized that maybe flossing my teeth isn't really all that much to ask of a human, and in fact maybe I'm even a little on the half-assed side of Good. But how else could my prayers have been answered in such short order? Unless... that's right! I had tapped directly into
the source of all things Christmas, which means Santa Claus is none other than Katie Holmes.

Really, the question is how she kept it hidden so long with that little sidekick elf guy of hers hanging around all the time.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mission: If You Love Someone

When it comes to parenting, there are basically two competing schools of thought: One reckons children are resilient and adaptable, and that the myriad minor tribulations of childhood serve to build character. The other maintains children are fragile and in constant mortal danger, and must be hovered over, catered to and sheltered from the cold realities of the world until precisely the age of eighteen, whereupon they magically sprout life skills, coping mechanisms and a work ethic and are ready to be set free upon the world, having made it through those perilous first years alive.

I generally consider myself a proponent of the first theory, but as I watched my eight-year-old rocket herself into the street today on her bicycle with her helmet askew and nary a glance for oncoming vehicles, I had one of those life-shortening surges of adrenaline that causes you to beat your child with a stick for being so fucking stupid, while simultaneously weeping with gratitude that s/he is not roadkill.

How *whack* many *whack* times *whack* do I have to tell you *whack* to look *whack* for cars *whack* before you run into the road!?! *whack* *whack* *whack*

Once I was done beating some sense into the little idiot, I got to drinking. Er, thinking. I would guess that most of us marvel at the fact we're still alive after all the ridiculous crap we pulled as kids: going off cliffs on our sleds; riding our bikes down those excellent 70's-era death traps of slides; running with our hands in our pockets; launching our younger siblings off of recreational vehicles; the list is virtually endless, and I'm not even going to touch on the teenage years.

Let's face it - kids do not necessarily act in their own best interests. They play in traffic. They eat dirt. They lemming themselves off the deck. When they get older, they exhibit poor fashion sense and jump off bridges with their friends. Or whatever.

However. Despite having no apparent interest in self-preservation, I really don't think the little gaffers need or benefit from helicopter parenting, and they certainly don't want it. If we could all take a deep breath and look past our collective hysteria for a few minutes, maybe we'd recall just how frigging awesome it was to run wild in Lord of the Flies-style packs and come home filthy - and occasionally blood-stained or smelling like a skunk or a swamp or whatever we'd been in that day - when the street lights came on.

That's it, deep breath... now remember... revel in the memories... yep, it's a miracle you lived through that one... or the beating you got when your parents found out... ahh, good times!

Now that you've taken a nice little trip down Memory Lane, look around you for a second. Walls? A good start. Food in the fridge? Also nice. Some cash in the bank? Hey, you don't need much to be happy. Maybe a diploma or degree or two? Someone you don't mind being around? Couple of kids? Jeez, I hate to suggest it, but you seem to have turned out alright. Good on ya!

And with this bit of perspective firmly in hand, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to give your young'uns a chance at having the sort of fun you did. Stock up on Band-Aids and laundry detergent, say a little prayer or ten, and - this is the tricky part - cut them some slack.

Say it with me now: "Be home for supper!"

(Good luck, Phelps.)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Frontispiece of Youth

Trends may come and go, but some things are truly classic. Every gal worth her salt knows the ultimate in upcoming-event-wear should always be grounded in timeless basics such as a well-coiffed 'do, neatly groomed nails, and one of those... oh, heck, what are those called...? You know, those big, round, shiny things? No, no - not bling...

Ah, yes: pimples.

Not part of a complete wardrobe, you say? Well, shoosh! You're going to hurt my forehead's feelings! It's been dishing up pimples for every gathering and assorted festive event for as long as your Great Aunt Millicent has been bringing her (in)famous jello molds.

Yep, I've got a family gathering coming up in T minus not-quite-long-enough-for-squeeze-marks-to-heal, so natch I sprung me a doozy just this morning.

But you know what? Joke's on you, pimple. I'm in my thirties. I don't have to care what I look like. No one's looking anymore anyways. So what the hell, why fuss over it?

Actually... wait a second here... I'm in my thirties. If my calculations are correct, this shiny beacon of adolesence should average out against my nascent crow's-feet to actually make me look younger!

Eureka! Sell your shares in Olay! This changes everything!

Oh, no! Everything looks good on paper, yet a quick glance in the mirror suggests I look like a person of my own age, just... pimplier. Some unknown variable must be affecting my equations!

Let me just - just give me a second here to work this through... take the natural logarithm of sebum... calculate slope of the frown line... divide by the radius of the subcutaneous inflammation... Ah. I've discovered the fatal flaw. Alas. Undone by the little-known coefficient @!#.

Or, to those of you less well-voiced in mathematical theory, the Occasional Chin Hair of Impending Middle Age.

Monday, August 3, 2009

It's Five O'Clock Somewhere

I like to use grated cheese on grilled cheese sandwiches. It melts more evenly, and at a lower temperature, so not only is the bread firmly attached to the cheese all the way through (so Small Fry can't pick it apart and eat only the cheese), it's also not as hot (so he can eat it sooner). Which is good, because usually by the time I get around to making the grilled cheese he's climbing my damn yoga pants imploring me for yum-yums.

Grated cheese, however, tends to be a little messier if there's a baby climbing your leg or you flip the sandwich too soon, both of which were the case this morning. Cheese shreds galore. At least Small Fry had a floor appetizer to scavenge while I finished cooking up his main course.

So I flipped the sandwich, cheese flew everywhere, and Small Fry let go of my pants long enough for me to dash away for a quick bio break. (Hey, you take what you can get.)

Hell elected this moment to break loose in my kitchen. Small Fry smacked his face on a chair and began gushing blood and saliva out the mouth, when a cheese fire ignited on the stovetop and my former in-laws showed up to return Medium Fry from their camping weekend. Screaming, smoke alarm, door bell.

And I, sitting on the toilet.

Did I say sitting? Toss an H in there, my friend - it's TMI, I know, but you might otherwise not appreciate just how wrong things can go in very short order. Hence, a special edition Monday morning post to illustrate why it is imperative that mommies everywhere maintain an emergency booze ration. Don't delay - get yours today. And while you're at it, mine somehow became sorely depleted this morning - would you mind picking a little something up for me, too?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


fre KUN dit ee, n., the horrible, heart-stopping realization that you may be pregnant

DH casually mentioned the other morning that he was feeling a bit off. "Hm, weird," said he, "I feel a little dizzy today. Maybe I'll drink some extra water." Once the water was down the hatch, he proceeded to carry on with his day as if nothing had ever happened.

He felt dizzy. In the morning. And it was no big deal.

I had to sit down for a moment to fully allow my brain to grasp the joy and peace that clearly is life without a uterus.

If I feel dizzy in the morning, the automatic logical leap is that ohmigawdmylifeisoverIamfuckingpregnantagain. This also applies to headachy in the afternoon. Or nauseous in the evening. Or at unprescribed random intervals, just to keep me on my toes. Aunt Flo a day late? Might as well start buying diapers. Gas bubble in the gut? Surely must be a baby kicking (never mind how I got to be four months pregnant without previously noticing).

The point is, everything in a woman's life points toward pregnancy. I can never be casually nauseous, offhandedly dizzy, coolly "a little late". Pregnancy is lurking behind every corner, waiting to jump out and deface me with yet more stretch marks.

If it can find anywhere that doesn't already have some.

Admittedly, the extreme paranoia may hearken back to my old pot-smoking days, but the first step is admitting I have a problem, right? I find meditation helpful in dealing with my myriad anxiety-related issues, and have perfected a bit of a mantra that assists me in finding my centre - balancing my life - shutting up my inner voices. You can borrow it if you like. Goes something like this:

Incision. Clip, tie and cauterize. It's like a Tupperware seal in there.
They can't get out.

They can't get out.

They can't get out.

Repeat as necessary. Vasectomies are da bomb.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Dead Car: The Musical

Watcha gonna do with all that junk, all that junk inside your trunk?
I'm gonna pile it, pile it up with all the other junk in my basement.

Frecklepelt: She just, you know, hasn't been feeling right. Sluggish. A lot of greenish goo. For a long time now. And then... no. No! I can't talk about it any more! (bites fist)
Mechanic: (gently) Go on. I'm here to help.
Frecklepelt: (deep breath) And then - the other day - she just died. Right in the middle of Crowchild. It was horrible - took the paramedics three shocks with the defibrillator to get her going again.
Mechanic: You mean someone stopped and gave you a boost?
Frecklepelt: Um, yeah, exactly.
Mechanic: Don't worry, ma'am, we'll take good care of her during her stay with us.

Watcha gonna do with all that gas, all that gas inside your tank?
I'm gonna be cheesed that I filled it up, filled it up right before my car died.

*telephone rings*
Frecklepelt: Hello?
Mechanic: Are you sitting down, ma'am?

Should'a known better than to forsake my car
And take the train when I could'a driven
Now I'm never gonna drive again
The way I drove with you-ou-ou...

Mechanic: 'I'm sorry, ma'am - the rust, it's metastatized. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.'
Frecklepelt: Noo! (sobs into hands) It's all my fault, it's karma, languishing in the driveway all day while I... while I took public transit! (more sobs)
Mechanic: Well, it's certainly fixable. Let's see, new water pump, exhaust leak, coolant leak, few other things - could get her back on the road for about $9300, including labour.
Frecklepelt: Are you kidding? That old piece of shit? Nuts to you, man. (hangs up phone)

Baby you can tow my car, 'cause you won't be able to drive it far
Gettin' me a tax break from, the Kidney Foundation
Beep-beep beep-beep yeah!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Testicle Festival

Being that I'm female, I've never given much thought to the problematic nature of "outdoor plumbing" - so to speak. However, through my various adventures in cohabitating with males, it has come to my attention that they, in general, have given the issue some thought. A LOT of thought. Entire Speedo-loads of thought.

The Junk (that being the preferred terminology 'round these parts, for the collective manly Parts) is a high-maintenance beast. It can be sweaty, achy, itchy, too hot, too cold, too hairy, compressed, confined, constricted, grazed, bumped, zippered, sat on or crushed betwixt the thighs. It can hang on the wrong side. The troops can become separated. Mosquitoes can attack.

I think if you cobbled it all together, men spend something on the order of hundreds of hours on itching, bitching, whining, scratching and general assorted rearrangement activities.

And then! If they should so deign to take their reproductive potential into their own hands and get fixed, by golly it's a whole new ballgame (oh yeah, I totally meant that): the procedure must be rehashed at least thrice monthly, in addition to regularly scheduled activities as described above. I've discovered I can usually make DH shut up about his "terrible ordeal" by airing my various feminine trump cards (there are so many to choose from - I find "giving birth" is an excellent standby), but if you bring something up often enough it's a statistical certainty that the topic will eventually collide with another feminine trump card I like to call hormonally-induced rage. Or, "Fuck Off Already with the Vasectomy Stories!" for short.

So, yeah, I snapped a little. What is with the stupid snip stories, anyways? How many frigging permutations of the same locally-anaesthetized two minutes of someone's life can there possibly be? And for the love of all things dangly, why?

Frankly, we may never know for sure, but one thing is certain:


And if those things are just going to keep getting longer, I doubt they're going to get any less annoying with age.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Retarded in the Mouth

I work with a lovely fellow - let's call him Cornelis, just for the heck of it - who is consistently, inexhaustibly positive. Under even the most trying of circumstances the worst you can get him to admit to feeling is "medium". Though incredibly irritating at times, it's an admirable quality, and I've left many a thwarted bitch session in his office wondering what the secret to his endless optimism is.

All was made clear to me the other day, when Cornelis revealed to me that he maintains a Feel-Good Folder in his email account - every time he gets a really good email, he files it there so if he's ever feeling down he can read through a few and recharge the ol' wellspring of happiness.

Totally gay, eh? But not a bad idea. So because I like making lots of resolutions, I resolved to start jotting down compliments in a little feel-good record of my own, beginning on my thirty-first birthday last week.

So far I've collected three, all from DH, and it has come to my attention that in my enthusiasm to get my resolution off to a good start, I've perhaps not been discriminating enough in choosing what compliments to record for posterity:

July 9, 2009 "I like your wavy hair. It's wavy."

July 10, 2009 "You really stack the dishes nice."

July 11, 2009 "You don't fart in your sleep as much as you used to."

Dubiouser and dubiouser. On reflection, it's obviously the quality, not the quantity, of the contents of your feel-good folder that count.

User discretion is advised.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Incontinental Drift

Sometimes, as a parent, you just have to lie a little bit to your kids. Yep, all you newbies with babes in arms or still in utero, give a little sanctimonious gasp, I'll wait. Because ultimately, when some jackass five-year-old tells your Precious that there's no Santa one day in preschool, you'll be falling all over yourself trying to keep the magic alive for just one more year. (And I guarantee you have no concept of how insanely many questions a three-year-old can produce over the course of a single day - I dare you not to say 'Because I said so!' at least once.)

Hm, that's coming off a bit confrontational - it's not all bad. I have always tried to be honest with Medium Fry, but there have been times when it has seriously backfired on me and, conversely, times when a little (or large) white lie has saved the day.

There are loads of crazy things I remember my parents saying when I was a kid. Those black-and-white posts you sometimes see on the sides of roads? My dad told me they had bees in them. Who knows why he said it, but I was terrified of those posts. And I think I was about 15 before I understood how it was "the mailman" had brought me my red hair. But maybe the most frightening thing they told me wasn't a lie at all, it was actually intended as a riddle (or exceedingly lame joke, tough to tell with parents sometimes) - goes something like this:

Q. What is the one thing that everyone in the world is always doing?
A. Getting older.

And truthfully, I didn't find that terribly frightening until recently. We're all getting older. All of us. Always. Right there - I just got older. And there! I did it again.

And so did you.

Yuck, eh? Just one big downhill, with removable teeth and a package of biggie size diapers waiting for you at the end.

So when I hear people talking about humans living to 120 if they follow some miraculous calorie-restricted diet I can't help but wonder: why the hell would anyone aspire to be 120 years old? I canvassed some seniors to find out:

10) I never liked calories anyways. - Mitchell, age 80
9) 120 is the new 110. - Doris, age 94
8) I always wanted to be alone. - Alton, age 91
7) Rheumatoid arthritis: now eligible for medical marijuana. - Glenda, age 79
6) These dentures cost me five hundred dollars back in 1978. I want to get my money's worth. - Ben, age 102
5) Who would take care of my lawn flamingos if I weren't here? - numerous respondents
4) It's so convenient to be able to tuck my breasts into my waistband and head out for the day. - Matilda, age 85
3) Freedom 105! - Maurice, age 67
2) I just can't get enough of cat food on Ritz. - "Frankie", real name and age forgotten
1) To punish my children. - Beatrice, age 88

So am I sold on the idea of extreme old age? The medical marijuana thing is a solid selling point, but like so many of the big questions in life, it just Depends.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Who Lives on Drury Lane?

There exists in my mind - as I suspect there does in everyone's - a certain hierarchy of household chores. Face it, some chores just feel better than others. For instance, I don't mind folding laundry, but I despise putting the clean and folded product away. And vacuuming, total barf. Ooh, and making the bed - that seems more futile than just about anything in the world - I can cling to the faint delusional hope that no one will leave slime trails on my sparkly clean windows tomorrow, but I know for a fact someone is going to muss up the bed tonight.

If you're lucky, the person with whom you're sharing a home has a hierarchy that runs more or less opposite yours, so while s/he's picking dead gnats out of the light fixtures and you're degreasing the range hood, you're both able to be thinking, 'Hehehe, suck-ah'.

Fortunately for me, DH actually doesn't mind vacuuming, and he can't fathom how anyone could happily crawl into a tangled disaster of a bed every night, so things work out pretty well for us.

Except when it comes to baking.

In my mind, Little Red Hen fully held the moral high ground. I'm not exactly grinding the wheat here, but I did do the baking and damned if I am going to wash the muffin pans after all that work.

DH hates washing the muffin pans. His man-brains instinctually grasp the Little Red Hen-ness of his wanting to partake of the muffins, however, so he grudgingly upholds his end of the unspoken bargain.

If you want to know a little secret, I sometimes bake muffins when I'm pissed at DH just so I can enjoy his not enjoying washing the muffin pans. "M'mm, I made your favourite, honey! Too bad we were out of paper liners!" Admittedly it's a pretty elaborate sting operation, but it makes the relationship work, you know?

Things could be worse for him, though. My ex-husband adhered to no such moral standards as cleaning the muffin pans, so my options for revenge were never so subtle as, say, buttoning all his shirts to the top so he couldn't pull them off the hangers. So I cleaned the toilet with his toothbrush.

The divorce is finalized now, so I can tell you that much.

The rest you'll have to buy me a couple of drinks to hear.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Satisfy Your Epicuriosity

I like to cook. Perhaps more accurately, I like to eat, and cooking results in food for me to eat. Better still, I'm actually a pretty good cook, which means I get to eat delicious food. Everyone wins!

Now, if I could just massage my own back my life would be complete.

But I digress.

I also like to try new recipes. "Try new recipes" is a perennial fave of mine when it comes to making New Year's resolutions. (It's in direct conflict with the also-perennial "lose some weight", but I figure this gives me a 50:50 chance of living up to at least one of my resolutions.) So I like to surf recipe websites and magazines and cookbooks, always keeping an eye out for something new. I even snagged a few promising titles from the library a couple of weeks ago.

Have I ever mentioned that DH has a bit of a food fetish?

As soon as I got those suckers home from the library, he tucked them under his arm and scuttled off to his happy place. Was gone for hours. Practically needed a smoke afterward.

But what really tipped me off was his wholesale and rather gruff rejection of the ones without pictures. Cookbooks without pictures are frowned upon in my home.

He is not, I suspect, reading them for the articles.

But then, who can blame him? The glossy full-page spreads, artfully arranged, styled and airbrushed to perfection - just
look at those incredible (chicken) breasts... ooh, baby, you can almost taste those (sticky) buns... m'mm, don't you just want to dip your meat in that special sauce...

Kneading. Greasing. Grinding. Pounding! Stuffing!

Hope they don't mind a few pages stuck together. You know, from all that cooking.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Even My Socks are Down

Spring is here, and I just can't help but pen a little ode for the season:

You've kept me snuggly and warm all winter, and I won't deny I like the way you riffle gently in the breeze, and even hold my socks up, but it is high time for me to move on. It is time to embrace the new season, and bid adieu to the old: it is time to wax my legs.

More accurately, to pay someone else to do it for me.

It must be some sort of perverse cosmic joke that every single aesthetician in Calgary is Vietnamese. Frankly, I'm not a huge fan of having someone pour hot wax on my limbs and rip it off in the first place, but to have the tiniest, most hair-free and naturally flawless people on earth do it is just adding insult to injury.

'Oooh, you have so many stretch mark! What happen?' *
'Um, thanks for noticing. I had two kids.'
'Oh. I gain fifty-two pound with my youngest baby and I have no stretch mark. Did doctor say what wrong with you?' *
'Just my, uh, genetics I guess.'
'Oh.' *

At this point she was kind enough to change the subject to lighten the mood a bit:

'Ha ha, look at this! So much hair on the strip! I have to use lots of strip for you.'

Ha. Ha ha ha. Yes, I suffer from a unique confluence of unfortunately hairy genetics, coupled with a rather large expanse of thigh.
Lots of strip for me, thanks. My ancestors had to stay warm in the winter. Naturally I didn't say that, not because I didn't want to, but because Mary was already telling me how she doesn't grow leg hair - none at all. Or arm hair, or underarm hair, or facial hair. And she didn't mention it, but I'll bet you a nickel she doesn't grow the occasional obscenely long Scottish eyebrow hair, either.

then I had to ask her to please wax my toe hair before she finished.

And at the end of it all, injury upon heaping frigging injury, I did not get to wish her a friendly 'fuck you!' as I walked out the door. Instead, I left Mary a huge tip. Because I am sincerely hopeful that silence can be bought.