Thursday, April 30, 2009

I Hate Multiple Choice,Part 2

Here we are, the continuation of Monday's post, whereby I am being tested by French people. And when I say tested, I mean tested in every sense of the word.


Then, they finally open the corral, and allow the cattle to exit (no, this is not an instalment at Pioneer Woman).We all run for it, knowing we have to be back in 10 minutes, or else the doors will again be shut and we won't have the chance to write the second portion of the test, and we will also forever be forbidden from writing said test because we took too long in the bathroom.

Have I told you I hate the government mentality? Well, I do. I am not an animal. I am a human bean.

I run for the concessions because I am hypoglycemic, and if I don't eat something when I start feeling woozy, I get all wonky and fall to the floor convulsing and vomit and stuff, so I try to prevent that from happening at all costs. I'm thoughtful like that.

I make it to the floor where the one little tiny counter had been open initially upon my arrival to the building, and discover that it is indeed closed. Closed. As in, not open.

Panic rapidly sets in.

The last thing I need or want is a francophone person breathing stale breath on me as I lie on the cold government floor, promising me a menthol cigarette, diet Pepsi and a Joe Louis if I'll just get up.

So, I run. I run with a look of fear on my face, from one end of the damn building to the other, in the very minute chance there was something -- anything!! -- open for me to have. I'm not picky. A half-drunken bottle of orange juice with a cigarette butt soaking in it would have done at this point.

There was nothing. Nothing except for a few lonely vending machines offering aged cherry nibs, stale pistachio nuts, chocolate-covered almonds, and some chocolate-covered raisins. I go for the almonds and raisins. Twenty-five cents a shot. Out come four almonds. Another quarter goes in, and six puny little raisins come out.

They will have to do. I start going back the The Elephant Room to sign back in, all the while slowly sucking the chocolate off the little nuggets, hoping to make them last.

They actually helped me feel better, believe it or not, but they made my migraine worse. I can't win, I tell you.

This test, a test of written expression, is actually a little easier than the first, which pleases me because by this point, I just really need to go home. My head is throbbing, my stomach is rumbling, my nose is running, and I miss my family.

Most of the questions, I answer without too much of a problem. Toward the end, however, the questions get difficult, tricky even. I begin to snarl inwardly. No one talks like this, I say to myself as I try to guess which answer best fits the phrase. If only I could figure out what the hell it says in the first place. God help me.

Not only that, but much of this test is based on actual government slang and vocabulary, none of which I actually know, since I haven't ever working for the federal government. Now, tell me, how fair is that? Test me on anything else, and I can ace it. Cancer terms, childhood illnesses, rash types, anything. But not that.

I finally get through all the questions, and I have plenty of time to go over them one more time, so I do. And then, slowly but surely, I notice that I've been erasing quite a few of the answers I initially thought were entirely correct, and re-answering. Not good. Not good at all. Because we all know that, more often than not, our first answers are the correct ones. It's just the law of the world. An absolute, in fact.

By this time, however, I really don't care anymore. I just need to get the hell out of that place and get home, because I can feel the vomit slowly rising every so slightly in my throat, and the throbbing in my head is gradually getting to the point where I can feel my right eyeball pulsate with every heartbeat.

So, I hand in my test, and I leave the room, and I get lost in the building. Again. And this time I'm all alone. No smiling bald man to accompany me this time.

I finally find this lonely little security guard, sitting there all alone in this big building (you could not pay me enough money to do that job. I'd be scared shitless), and he directs me toward what he thinks is the right way, although really, he doesn't know because I don't know where I parked.

I get on an elevator with two other women, who also have no idea where they're going. I have never met so many lost people in one day in my entire life. Only in the federal government, I think to myself.

We all get off at the same floor, all entirely confused and beyond lost. We exit and finally see what little is left of daylight. I cannot for the life of me find a focal point, a recognizable something that will guide me to my car. So I just walk, and decide that sooner or later, I'll just find it.

No sooner do I make this decision than I see my car just a ways up in the parking lot. Sitting there all alone, waiting for me.

I make a run for it, believing that if I take too long, it will disappear, and I will be left wandering the streets of Gatineau searching for my car, my home, my bed. I get in, open the window, and breathe.

If you didn't read the first instalment in this saga, you can find it here.

Next instalment: my marks. I haven't received them yet, but I'll be letting you know how I did. Just so that I can either gloat or have you all feel really sorry for me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tornado Touchdown! Hup! Hup!


Overturned trees...


...ripped out of the ground by their roots...


Would you look at that tree? The Leaning Pine of Pisa.




So, apparently we had a tornado here Saturday evening, and I slept right through it.

It was a low-grade tornado and it actually touched down in a few areas, all around my neighbourhood. That figures. No one was hurt, which is what's important, of course.

But I still think what's more important to report is that I actually slept through it.

Let's think about that for a moment, shall we?

A tornado, ripping roofs off houses, and 70-year-old trees out by their roots. Me, asleep.

Gives you an idea of what kind of day I'd had. Although, I guess it helps that I can't hear out of my left ear. A relatively recent health issue. More on that another day, when I really have nothing else to talk about.

It was really strange, actually, to see these uprooted trees, because right beside them were tiny saplings, fully erect and happily growing. Not touched in the least.

Tornadoes are strange, powerful things.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

3.4.8.8.8.

Em with her friends, talking treats and scores.

Dee being Dee, all aglow.

Cool bowling photos of an unnamed subject, probably getting a strike.



Just numbers.
But they mean everything when you put this, $, in front of them.
That's how much money was raised at last Saturday's Camp Quality of Eastern Ontario bowlathon fundraiser. $34,888. Not just a simple number.

I am speechless.
This is a record, and in this day and age, it is beyond belief. Our next highest amount raised was about $32,000 a few years back.
The generosity of the Ottawa region Starbucks, as well as everyone else who participated and donated, reminds me that people will always continue to amaze me. In the midst of financial woes, of people losing their jobs, there is still so much generosity.
It blows my mind.
The children will have one more year of happiness at Camp Quality this summer.
Thank you everyone!



Monday, April 27, 2009

I Hate Multiple Choice,Part 1




I hate multiple choice questions.

That is how I spent my Saturday afternoon, sitting in a gargantuan, icy cold room that could fit 1,000 nicely fed elephants, freezing my buns off, writing a Second Language test to assess my abilities to speak Canada's 'other' official language. That would be French. Francais. Except I don't know which keys to use to type the little tail on the 'c', and for that alone, I'll probably fail this and all future tests.

I guess I should be happy I was even asked to write this test, because it means I passed the federal government's initial screening for a job I had applied for. So, here I go. Yay.

I would have failed had the test included actually finding the damn building and room, because the French, they aren't too good at giving directions. First off, there are no numbers on their government buildings that tower sky high over the Ottawa River. So, you're pretty much guessing where this place is. Thank god for Mapquest, which gave me some inkling.

Then, try to find parking. There is none. Nada. Rien (that's French for "This freaking sucks, and no one cares.")

I finally found a lot that I surmised might be somewhere near the building, but I had to pay to park there to take a test they wanted me to take, and that in itself pissed me off even more, because I'm spoiled that way. I usually find free parking somewhere, but no, not in Quebec. There, even god pays to park.

As I'm paying for my parking, and mumbling profanities under my breath, and trying to hold in the vomit that is trying to come out, (oh, did I forget to tell you I had a bad migraine? well, I did) this bald guy sidles up behind me to wait his turn. He's smiling. What the hell?! There is nothing to smile about, that's for damn sure.

So, totally confused now, I have to ask him whether he too is going for the testing, because if he is, and he's smiling, he's loony.

Yup, he's going for the test. He's certifiable.

So, because I have a death wish, I ask him if he knows where we are supposed to write, and he says he doesn't, so maybe we can go and get lost. Together.

I say, "Sure!", because what have I got to lose, except maybe my life. And at this point, that might not be such a bad thing, considering I feel like death has just warmed over me.

And together we walk the mazes, asking passersby and little animals for directions, and we finally get to our destination: the elephantine room.

Bald Guy turns out to be a really nice guy, by the way. He smiles all the time, though, which is strange, but whatever turns your crank is how I roll, so I allow him to continue smiling as we sign in for the test. All along, I feel like cattle, because we are all lined up to sign a little piece of paper ensuring we are who we say we are, before we can go through the big metal doors to sign away our lives. In French. And, by the way, I know cattle don't know how to write, or even have a signature. It was just a simile. I think.

The room is cold. Freezing. So glad they made sure they turned the air on when it's still just above freezing outside. Freaks.

Anyway, Pauline (the test administrator) spends probably half an hour going over all the minutiae of the test (for instance, "Please put your first name here. For example, my first name is Pauline. Your first name is usually the name people call you."). Well, Pauline, I have news for you. Your first name is now officially Asshole. Can we please move on, now that we've cleared that up?

We're finally ready for Part I, which consists of reading comprehension. They give you a bit of text, and you have to read it and answer the question they're asking, filling in the little circle beside one of the multiple choice answers. There are 65 of these questions, and overall, they're not too bad. I have 1.5 hours to finish the test, and I barely make it, but I make it. Many people didn't finish.

All through this test, my mind tries to focus on the task at hand, but I keep going back to thoughts like, 'I am so sick,' and 'I wonder how they'd feel if I threw up all over their nice little answer sheet and test booklet?', and 'Does Elmo have testicles if his voice is so high, and if he does, would he shave them, or leave the red fur?'

I was also starving. S to the T to the A...STARVING. Strange, really, since I was also so nauseated, but I hadn't eaten yet that day (first big mistake), and the test people said the concessions were open downstairs, so I thought a nice orange juice might do me some good.

Once we're done the test, they won't let us leave the room until they've counted all the submitted tests. And they're all French people, so you can only guess how long that took. OK, if there are any French people reading this, I am so so sorry. Just a joke.

To be continued ... since this post is taking way too much space, and time, and you're all probably asleep already, with the drool dripping down from the corners of your mouths, threads of drool dripping onto your keyboards and electrocuting you...and I have run out of things to say for now, and it's waaay past my bedtime, and I still have to get in my porn quota for the day. Ta ta.



Sunday, April 26, 2009

Uncharted Territory

Are you a Type 1, or a Type 7?

What are you talking about, you're probably asking me right about NOW. And usually, my answer would be, "I have no idea." But not this time! No! Believe it or not, you've come to the right place today.

You know the Type A and B personality choices, kind of like blood types, but not? Now we have a new chart to further identify your "type". And, in my humble opinion, this typing might be the most telling of them all.

Let me further illustrate.

Last week, Mr. Handsome, Dee and I were at the hospital, where we discovered that Dee will most probably need more surgery to correct a little health problem that's been plaguing him. Nothing serious, but it has to be taken care of. Not cancer-related, and so it's all good.

After the surgeon gave us this news, we were shuffled into this little examination room in the urology department to wait for a pre-op nurse to go through the rigamarole of the operation, what to expect, etc.

As we sat there, I noticed a little poster behind Dee's head, and it particularly caught my eye, the reason for which you will soon see.

Please remember, we were in the Urology Department at the hospital. Urology, if you recall, is the scientific, clinical and especially surgical aspects of the study of the urine and the genitourinary tract in health and disease. In plain language, it's all about the pee, the peeing, and the peer, or is that peeer. You know what I'm getting at.

So, we're all sitting there, and I, being the mature person that I am, start trying to get into the hospital's computer system because what else am I going to do while I wait there for the nurse? And seriously, what do they expect, when they leave their computer on when someone like me enters the room? I mean, would you just ignore it? Didn't think so.

At one point, while Dee is chiding me, and I am gleefully laughing in his face, I look up to see the chart. The chart behind Dee's head.

This is not just any chart, mind you.

It's a poo chart. A chart of poos.






What the hell?!

And what really blew me away? That this poo chart was on the wall in the urology department! Helloooo?! This isn't gastroenterology we're talking about here, people! Even a minion like myself knows that. Who poops through their urethra? If you do, get thee to an emergency room quickly.

So, after I get over that little shock, I ask Mr. Handsome what type he is, because inquiring minds always want to know. And of course, he has no idea what I'm talking about, as is usually the case. So, I explain it to him as only I can.

"I bet you're a Type 3 or 4," I say, with total certainty, because I know Mr. Handsome inside and out, quite literally.

Although, if you knew Mr. Handsome like I know Mr. Handsome, you'd actually think he was more like a Type 1. But he isn't.


Anyway, Mr. Handsome's eyes are directed at the wall, and he studies the chart, shakes his head, and says nothing.




I pester him, and finally get him to admit he is definitely a Type 4, with a bit of Type 3 thrown in for good measure.


Like I said, I know my man.


I then studied the poster in a serious attempt to decide which type I fell under. It's not easy, you know, when you have undiagnosed digestive issues which continuously plague you. Because, sometimes I'm definitely a Type 1 (which you could also call 'anal retentive'), and which is no fun, let me tell you. And other times, I'm actually a Type 7. And sometimes, I would be a Type 8 or even a 9, if there even was such a thing, which apparently there isn't. But there should be, for people like me, because if you're going to have a continuum of sorts, why stop at number 7? It seems a pretty random number to me.


So, all this to say that the next time someone asks you whether you're a Type A or B, you can now come back at them with, "And how about you? I bet you're a Type 5, with a bit of Type 2 thrown in for good measure."


If nothing else, it's a good ice breaker at parties.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Another Year Clear!





Dee's annual oncology appointment on Thursday went swimmingly. Another year cancer free! Not that Dee needs any reason to jump off the living room furniture and do cartwheels. The sun rising every morning is reason enough for him.

By the way, please excuse the mess in the living room. I've been too busy picking my toes.



Friday, April 24, 2009

The Chicken Caper

We are honest and good people. Unless we're buying chicken breasts that happen to be on sale.

Then, watch out. No holds barred is how we roll.





We don't like following senseless rules made by big ass organizations, especially when it limits one's poultry purchasing capabilities.



A limit of two packages per family, the sign said.


Two measly packages. We'll see about that. We'll show those big guys who's really boss in this town.


We form a posse, Mr. Handsome up in front, me behind him holding Dee's hand, Em bringing up the rear. All the while, our eyes do not meet, nor do we speak. We are alone in this endeavour. All alone. And yet, a team. It's poetic.


Mr. Handsome picks out two choice packages of chicken breasts. Skinless. Boneless. Priceless. He turns, does not acknowledge my existence, and quickly starts making his way to the cash at the front of the store.


Now, it's my turn. A smile forms as I watch Mr. Handsome leave, not sure I can believe what we are doing. Damn. Did an employee see me smiling at him, and now they know?


I'm safe.


I search through the freezer bin for the perfect poultry packages. My hands grow cold with the effort. I'm not sure I can fulfill the task.


I finally find the appropriate packs, and I look up to see Em staring at me. She quickly looks away, and again I do the rounds of the store with my eyes, ensuring no one has seen this obvious communication between us.


Again, safe. When will our luck run out? I ask myself, as I start walking purposefully to the cash.


I get to the front of the store, and get in line behind someone I know from the neighbourhood, and start jabbering, chattering away about everything and nothing, as such things are.


As I get closer to the cash, I realize I don't have a penny to my name. I don't have my credit card either. I'm screwed.


So, I make the effort to hiss very loudly, surreptitiously asking Em for some bills, knowing Mr. Handsome had given her some before our foray into this vast building of rules and poultry. I don't think I've been seen, and if I have, it's too late. I'll take the bullet for the team.


Em hands me a $20, and tells me with no uncertainty that that's all she has for me.


My poultry purchase will be about $25.


I start to panic. The sweat begins to drip down the back of my neck. My palms start losing their hold on the precious cargo.


I don't want to lose my place in line (the line-ups were atrocious), and Em hasn't quite gotten in place yet, so I coerce her to find Mr. Handsome and get some more money from him. But, I remind her, don't let anyone see you, or we're screwed.


She does it. She's coming back with a fiver. I see it in her hand. I stick out my hand, and more swiftly than David Copperfield makes the naked woman disappear, she puts it in my hand. She's good. Very good.


I finally get to the cash. Almost there, I say to myself. Just pay the lady and get out. Stay calm.


I leave the store. Breathe. See both children by the car, Em with chicken pallets in hand. Rain is pouring down on us.


Then I realize Mr. Handsome is still in line in the store, and has the keys to the car.


I have to go back in there. I have no choice. This isn't over yet. Far from it. Nothing's easy in this life.


Just as I start back into the store, I see Mr. Handsome leaving. He looks confused. He stops to read the wall, where people have left ads. I yell out to him, get his attention. And then I realize what I have done.


We make a run for it, through the rain, down the slick parking lot to the car. As we near it, Mr. Handsome deftly pushes the trunk button on his key with one swift movement of his opposable thumb, and the trunk pops open. With one fell swoop, we all drop our load, close the trunk and get into the car, and breathe again.


Mission accomplished.




Next week: The cereal aisle.



Thursday, April 23, 2009

Testing Slut's Devotion To Loit


My Saturdays are often spent prostrate on a couch, ignoring my children and husband, reading the paper and drinking coffee, or running errands, or just picking my nose and wiping it on an unsuspecting child.

This Saturday, that all goes down the toilet. Because this Saturday, folks, this babe is going to be b-u-s-y. Yup, that's right. No rest for the wicked, they say (whatever that means).

Saturday is the annual fundraiser Slut and I run for Camp Quality, which is a camp for kids with cancer. This year, Slut has pretty much run the show all by her lonesome, mostly because I am very lazy, but also because I've not been well. We've been doing this fundraiser for six years now (I think), although it feels more like sixty, and it's probably our last year, because we're both tired of doing it, and it's time for some new blood.

My kids have attended this camp for about seven years now. Slut's son attended it for many years as well, and Slut is actually the person who coerced convinced me to send my kids so I could have a week of slinging back margaritas and eating Beefaroni. It's a great camp, and Slut and I do this fundraiser every year as a way of saying thank you, and of helping a lot of sick children battling cancer have a week of joy in their hard lives.

Anyway, this Saturday is the day for the fundraiser, which happens to be a bowlathon, and lots of people come and bowl and bring us lots of money which we spend on ourselves which all goes to running the camp. Slut and I spend time getting things organized, making sure everything runs smoothly throughout the day, and that any problems get ironed out immediately. In the past, we've raised over $32,000 in one day. Not too shabby for two middle-aged wannabes, eh?

I've been feeling rather terrible this year, because, as I stated above, Slut has pretty much put this year's bowlathon together all on her own. She is to be commended. If I had a badge, I'd give it to her, and it would say, "Good job, Curly Top Tay Tay."

So, as I said, I've been feeling just awful, and mostly because I have not been able to get myself in gear to help her out. It's all I have in me to get out of bed some days. Some days are better than others, but it hasn't been easy. Which doesn't make it any better. I'm just trying to garner as much sympathy as possible, which is how I roll.

Slut has been an island throughout this sojourn, and it breaks my little heart.

All this to say that I planned on being there 172 per cent on Saturday, to prove to Slut that my aim is true, my love and devotion is strong and deep, and I'm not letting her down anymore.

That is, until I got an email telling me I had been accepted into the cattle corral of government testing, and they want me to come and complete more second language testing (read 'Let us test you and spend lots and lots of money to see if you can write and read French better than you can English because you live too close to the province of Quebec, which means you are going to be treated entirely unfairly and screwed royally').

I read the entire email, and finally get to the part where it tells me where and when, and I gasp in horror, because it takes place the same day as the bowlathon, and now I'm about to shit my pants.

After I get over the initial shock, I start fretting over Slut's reaction when I tell her. She's going to hate me, I think, and this will be the end of our friendship. Although, now that she's already wanting me dead because of Tuesday's post, I guess it really didn't matter in the first place. Of course, I didn't know that at the time, because I'm not a psychic.

Slut was okay with it all, guys, so it's all good.

I told her the news while we were shopping at Costco, and after she throttled me with an industrial mallet and a lengthy piece of twine, coupled with a gargantuan plastic sack of unripe bananas, she then vowed she would never invite me to her momma's cottage again (although she tends to forget that her momma loves me more, and she says that a lot about the cottage, so it's all just hot air now, in one ear and out the other, as they say), and then we bought lots of Rockets and candy pacifiers and chips, and we're the best of friends again.

Life's like that for Slut and me.

The real test will come Saturday, guys, and I'll have to let you all know how it flies when noon comes along and I'm all, "Okay, bye Slut! I'm off to do my useless French language testing now!", while she has to contend with the second shift of bowlers who will start coming in shortly after I exit to sip margaritas on a terrace.

By then, Slut will be exhausted, and she won't have me to hang with, so she'll be really bitchy as well (yes, much more than usual), and all the bowlers will have their kids with them, and they'll all want a prize, and a loot bag, and a t-shirt, and it still won't be enough, and Slut will have to deal with them all alone, instead of having me there to remind them all to stuff it up the wazoo and just be happy they have opposable thumbs and can bowl, goddammit!

I'll let you all know how it goes, because I'm sure I'll get a minute-by-minute update from Slut, replete with expletives. Oh, she'll ask about how my French testing went, but I know what she's really saying. And I can't repeat it here because this blog is rated G.



Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My Piece Of Heaven Is Actually Quite Hellish


Remember those days, when going for a leisurely bike ride was actually a fun thing?

Well, no more.

Now, it's a plethora (yes, a plethora, I say) of agony and all things hellish, replete with moaning, whiny children who can't seem to make it past the first five blocks before needing a drink, a rest, and a long nap. And my children are 14 and 11 years old.

God help me if I ever go on a bike ride with my children ever again. It was that bad. And stupid me, here I was waiting for this day, counting the years until my children could finally go on bike rides with us, and what fun we would have! A big NOT.

It started when I looked out the front window and saw our neighbours across the street going for a nice weekend bike ride. And I thought, 'How nice. What a nice family. Look how wonderful they look. Don't they look like the perfect little nuclear family. Hey! We can be that family. In fact, we are that family. Dammit, we're going to go biking, and we're going to smile doing it.'

I scream up the stairs at Mr. Handsome, who is armpit-deep in taxes, and suggest a quaint, effortless family bike ride. "Sure!" he says.

Fifteen minutes later, we're off. Mr. Handsome gives me the awesome bike with many doodads, 3,521 gears and a very nicely padded seat for my bony ass, he takes his other, not-so-nice bike, and the kids each have their own.

As an aside, in Ottawa, we are extremely fortunate in that our fair city is connected by a tangled, yet wonderfully organized path system, so you can get from Point A to Point Z almost solely on very safe bicycle paths, some that wind through green forests and beside the Ottawa River or the Rideau River, and continue on into Quebec and the Gatineau Hills. We are blessed.

I surely didn't feel blessed, however, when we were on our way, and Em soon began complaining that her legs hurt. Of course, she's been working hard at waterpolo, and was doing some strange new maneuvres in gym class at school, so she had some reason, but still ... Then she began coughing up her lungs (to be fair, she's still recovering from a bad cold from March), and that just wasn't making her very happy. Her bike was also not co-operating, so that she couldn't change gears properly, so she was stuck in fifth gear or something, and was having a helluva time going up any inclines. And, of course, there were many. Inclines.



Photo taken by Em. She's good, eh?

Meanwhile, I'm singing to the heavens, trying hard to ignore my daughter's bleats, and focusing on the amazing fresh spring air that's entering my wintry, dead lungs, reviving my lagging body. I say to Em, "This is my heaven," as I easily pedal along the path. The trees are budding, the creek water is burbling, and I needed this break so badly, I realized. I haven't felt such happiness in a very long time.


Em's the one with the funny yellow cap on. She's about to whack the boy over the head. Great game, waterpolo is.

It was short-lived.

We finally stop at the river, and sit on the bench overlooking the water, and watch two Canada Geese make their way onto the shore, as well as mounds of people of all ages, shapes, and sizes walk, ride, and rollerblade down the pathway.

And then the bickering starts.

Dee goes over to where Em is lying on her very own bench, softly moaning. And he thinks it would be kind of funny to almost sit on her head. Of course, Em doesn't think so, and starts screaming at him, and swatting him with her hands. Dee retaliates, hitting her back with all his force, teeth bared. Wolf and sheep. Where did my innocent little children go?

After that, Em was in a bitter, bitter mood. She makes some other not-so-nice comments, and we are waiting for her so that we can start heading back home, and she decides she's not ready, because she still has to whine some more. Mr. Handsome then thinks it would be kind of funny to tie her shoes together. This just makes Em cry and not want to go anywhere. So Mr. Handsome helps her decide it's now time by pouring some very cold water onto her exposed back, which results in high-pitched screaming from Em's depths.

Yes, we are amazing parents. That I know for sure.

I softly remind her that she's embarrassing herself, she's 14 years old for Chrissakes', and would she just get the hell up and get on the damn bike.

She finally does, and we're off.

Then it's Dee's turn to create havoc in my little piece of heaven. Because he happens to zoom right through a stop sign, and across a street, oblivious to the fact that he could easily have been flattened like a pancake had there been a car driving by at that moment. We call him back, and point out said stop sign, and explain to him the dangers of ignoring stop signs, and Dee decides he's going to pout, and not move. So we sit there for a few minutes before I win that fight and he begins riding again, but more slowly than is actually humanly possible. Somehow, it's as if he's actually riding backwards.

Once I scream at him to get his ass in gear, he starts speeding up, but not without consequences. After a few minutes, he stops again, this time in full-blown tears. His chest hurts, he says, and he can't go any farther.

By this point, I am ready to ditch the bike and hike over to the McDonald's behind the trees, and drown my sorrows in a chocolate fudge sundae and a supersized fries, but I don't, because what kind of mother does that? So, instead, I again warn him to get going, just slow down, and he'll live. He doesn't believe me, and again rides so slowly I can't ride behind him without swerving widely from one side of the path to the other in an attempt to keep balance, all the while avoiding bikers coming from the other direction.

My heaven has now officially turned to hell.

Fortunately, we were almost home, so I ended up going up ahead a bit just to keep my sanity and enjoy the birds singing sans the children's whines. By this time, my heaven is non-existent.

We finally get home, and Mr. Handsome calmly opens the garage so we can park our bikes. Em decided to go up another street to get home, so she comes toddling up seconds later, teary-eyed and blubbering.

Oh.My.God.

Now she's worried that it's her turn to walk the damn dog, and she's so exhausted that she just doesn't know how she's going to do it, and the heavens are coming down around her as she speaks, and won't someone please save her from her misery.

So, I offer to walk the damn dog for her (Gryphon obviously has a new name now -- Damn Dog, not to be confused with Stupid Dog), and take him for a leisurely stroll after dinner, taking along my new camera, vowing it's going to be a walk full of birdsong, happiness, and amazing sunset shots.

Instead, the dog was in one of his moods and wouldn't stop pulling, he shit over a quarter of someone's lawn because he doesn't seem to know that dogs are supposed to stay still as they do the poop crouch, so I had to spend 10 minutes finding all his nuggets, and the only shot I got was this:


Awesome fence shot, by Me.

Amazing fence, eh? I know. I think I've got a future in this photography thing.

Might as well, because I've got to find my slice of heaven again.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Slut Needs An Intervention, And Now



Slut's given up on her flaky eyebrows, everyone. She's decided to live and let live, and has realized that she is probably the only one in the world with Flaky Eyebrow Syndrome, and isn't she one lucky bastard?

I'm always one to think outside the box. So, I'm thinking maybe Slut will go down in the annals of medicine for the only person with flaky brows, and she could become an eyebrow guinea pig, where she could donate brow parts to medical science, and the scientists could then dissect her brow parts and find out why they flake. Because this is serious stuff, people. Why the hell are we focusing on breast cancer?! It's time to get real, and start taking these orphan afflictions seriously. Are you with me?

Anyway, now Slut's focusing all her efforts on losing ass weight. Ten pounds of ass weight, to be exact. Although it might be more now. Or less. I can never keep up with Slut, because she's waaay ahead in this Game of Life.

I for one don't agree with her about needing to lose weight, but Slut never listens to me. Never. Just ask her. She probably doesn't even know who I am, for Christ's sake. She's just jealous, because her momma likes me more than her, if truth be told.

So, the other day, mostly so she could get a great deal at the drugstore, Slut went in for a little shopping spree. Besides the extra-large condoms, cartons of lube, some FDS vaginal refreshing spray in mint scent, and anti-dandruff medication, Slut picked up some Green Tea Fat Burner pills.



Because Slut, well, Slut is all about fat burning. She will do anything she can to burn the fat off her ass, because god forbid she actually have some meat on those skinny bones.

Slut has a gym membership. Finally. She hasn't gone in some time, though. She's been very very busy. Very busy. So, instead, she bought green tea fat burner pills, so that she could still burn ass fat even if she doesn't darken the gym's doorway.

Slut's industrious and sly if she's anything, flaky eyebrows or not.

Apparently, Slut believes if it's got green tea in it, it's got to be good for you. She also believes the advertising, that by simply swallowing a miserly pill, your ass fat will simply burn off. No effort needed.

She so believes this that, the other day, as she prepared for the annual Camp Quality fundraising bowlathon she and I run each year, she sat amidst piles of Rockets and other candy treats, knowing full well that popping a few bonbons now and then would do nothing to her svelte figure because, hey!, she swallowed a green tea "bonbon" just an hour earlier, and she could swear she could just feel the fat melting off her sweet little ass.



She spent over $150 on candies and treats at Costco for the bowlathon. Why so much, you ask? Well, I'm wondering the same thing, actually. She had the great idea of providing little loot bags for all the children attending, which I think is very thoughtful of her. Honestly. But, I'm now thinking that most of that "loot" is going straight into Slut's little mouth, and directly to her ass, because why else would she time the purchase of Green Tea Fat Burner pills in this way, at exactly the same time as the grand Costco purchase?

Exactly.My.Point.

Your wily ways have been exposed, Slut.

I'm now calling an intervention. A Rockets intervention. Who's in?



Monday, April 20, 2009

Gourmet Anyone?

A resplendent Saturday dinner.




Photo taken with my brand new Canon XSi

Beefaroni, canned corn, and leftover bacon. Ohh yeaah.

Doesn't this shot, not to mention this entire meal, remind you of
The Pioneer Woman?

Please, hold your applause. Really, it's not necessary. You'll only embarrass me. And no, we did not have guests. Just us chickens.

Next episode: Mary sitting on the toilet, groaning endlessly.



Sunday, April 19, 2009

It's Too Late

This is why I fight for my son, and will continue to fight for him. I found this awful news on Katie's site, over here.

Bullying is unacceptable. And I don't care what anyone says. People don't take it seriously until someone dies. And then we wonder why.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Soft And Furry Nub


I fondled my dog yesterday.

And I liked it.

Until I realized what exactly I was doing. And then I was all, "ACK!! OH MY GOD!! What am I doing?!" Because, really, who does that, even willingly?

You see, I was sitting on our couch, beside Mr. Handsome, enjoying a so-so cup of coffee and Mr. Handsome's company while we discussed the probability of Dee having to go in for yet another surgical procedure in the fall. We had just come back home from his follow-up appointment with the surgeon, and it looks like he may have to go under the knife again. More on that another time. I'm just happy because it doesn't seem to be tumour-related, and that's all I care about.

Anyway, the coffee was not strong enough, and we had run out of milk, so I was not happy. And, while Mr. Handsome and I were talking, I was absentmindedly fiddling with what I thought was a very warm and fuzzy flap of doggy skin on Gryphon's abdomen. Gryphon had sidled up to me and was leaning across my lap, his head upside down, and now we know why he was smiling.




The more I think about it, the sicker I feel in the very pit of my stomach.

It brings back memories of my shock when I heard the rumour that Barry Manilow was "doing it" with his two dogs (I think they were Afghan hounds, of all things). First of all, I couldn't understand why he would want to, and second of all, how.

Speaking of Barry Manilow, is it just me, or do you all notice how he's become almost waxlike in appearance, and skinnier than any man should be? He was never my idea of a handsome man, but I admit I liked his music, and would often find myself singing "Copacabana" in the shower. Admit it, you've done it too.

However, the last few times I've seen Barry on television, he scares me, almost as much as Michael Jackson scares me. And that's a lot.

This is what Manilow used to look like compared to what he looks like now:



Notice a difference? Just a tad, no? I'm thinking the guy's face has been cryogenically sealed, buffed and shined, and is now not even genetically his. Maybe it's just a masklike contraption strapped onto his old mug with some duct tape and rope, ingeniously hidden, because I know when he sings, the only thing moving is his mouth. It's spooky, almost nightmarish to watch. Nothing else moves. Not even his huge cheekbones, which could feed a small African country.

Hey! Wait a minute! Is it just me, or has there been an amazing transformation, and Barry Manilow now greatly resembles this?


I'm pretty sure I'm not imagining things here, Internet. He would just need to grow out the hair a bit.

I'm sure Gryphon sees me in a different light now. He's been sticking very close by since "the incident", as it will be called from here on out, most probably hoping for another little innocent feel. He keeps looking up at me with very loving eyes, longingly.
I have to admit I like the attention. Call me strange. It wouldn't be the first time.
He may want to start dating, which might be fine in and of itself, except when things get a little more intimate (although, how much more intimate can you be when you're already fondling a dog's penis?). I don't think we have enough in common for it to work long-term, though. And, not only that, but I stop at French kissing, because I know what goes into that dog's mouth, and it ain't pretty, folks.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Maddie


When I was introduced to
the world of blogging only a few short months ago, I was hesitant. Mostly because I didn't know what it was all about. But soon enough, I was hooked, and now I cannot live without it.


It's become more a part of me than peanut butter on a spoon.

Blogging, and the blogosphere (that means you!) has become very important to me, and for so many reasons. It's my way of venting, of being creative, of getting back into the writing groove, of having some fun, and of expanding my horizons.

But maybe most importantly, blogging has allowed me to meet so many wonderful people I would never have otherwise met. The entire world fits in my back pocket now, and although there are things about today's focus on technology and lack of face-to-face contact that I don't particularly like, overall I think it's a great thing.

It can also be a very sad thing, because all of a sudden, you get to know people and their intimate lives, and you get to know them on such a level that would never be possible otherwise. And when something awful happens to them, it breaks your heart.

I was sitting in the office last night, reading over some of little Maddie's mom's posts, and I was crying. Here is another little child who will never know what it's like to go on a first date, to go to school, to live a full life. Maddie Spohr passed away unexpectedly about a week ago. And many people had already spoken of it on their sites, so I didn't. But I grieved, and wished there was something someone could do to bring this little girl back.

I am now talking about it because of how it has hit me so very hard, and unexpectedly so. And again, the effect surprises me, because really, I don't know Maddie and her family. Probably will never meet them. But that doesn't seem to matter, because I now realize we are all the same. We're all in this thing called "life" together, and we are all connected by an invisible thread called humanity.

This is a little girl who had a very rough start to her life, and almost didn't make it. But she did. And she thrived, and blossomed into a beautiful, happy, amazing person.

As I sat here last night, watching a video of her life, I cried. I watched small bits of her short time here on earth, and was reminded once again of how fleeting life can be, and how we take the smallest moments for granted, and really shouldn't. And I for one should know that, and I do, but I still take advantage of the fact that my children are both thriving, healthy, and happy, and I still find that I would often love to hide from them because they can be so intense.

As I'm watching Maddie's video, Em comes into the office and whispers "good night" in my ear as she heads off to bed. I missed giving her a hug, but I did wish her a good night. Moments later, Dee makes his way into the office, and he's sleepwalking, all sleepy-eyed and drowsy, and he leans over and kisses me lightly on the cheek and mumbles something before heading back out again. It wasn't lost on me that he found me in his sleep, and kissed me. Unconscious love.

I then once again realize how very very fortunate I am. How many times does one need reminding?

When I climb into bed, Dee is asleep on my pillow. And instead of waking him up and making him go back to his room, I gently move him over and lie beside him, and cuddle him, and just feel so lucky.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Our Haven, Of Broken Appliances, Hallowed Be The Repairman Dude


I apologize, my lovely Internet
friends, for this, but I'm afraid I'm going to be more absent than usual for the next bit until I get my laptop problem solved.


I am anal, therefore I must research each and every avenue possible before deciding where to go and what to do. In fact, I must first discover whether it is indeed my laptop cord that is in need of replacement, or the little thingy into which the cord goes, because right now, it could be either. I do know, however, that it is not the guinea pigs' fault this time, and I also know I am not going bonkers. Yet.

I'm actually kind of liking sitting up in the office and working on Mr. Handsome's lunk of a computer. I like it because I can sit here, in relative peace, while downstairs I hear all hell break loose. Both kids are screaming bloody murder, the dog is humping Em (unless that scream I hear is the dog humping Dee), and Mr. Handsome just walked out the front door (I think). And I don't care, because I am upstairs in the little office, happily typing away. This is like a whole world unto itself, where I can pretend I am on a beach somewhere with a Mai Tai and a nice little Mexican dude fanning me and calling me Angel. Except then I realize I went through Conquest, who has just gone belly-up, and now I'm stuck in Mexico with no way to get back home. Hey! Wait a minute! This little fantasy is getting better by the minute!

If my laptop was working, you see, I'd be in the middle of all that is going on downstairs, and probably having my 100th nervous breakdown of the day.

So, maybe NOT having my laptop fixed is a good thing? I don't know, guys. I just don't know anymore.

I do, however, know that our dryer came yesterday. And it's white. Not yellow. And I also realized that our old dryer wasn't harvest gold like I said it was last week. It was white too. What does that tell you?

Not only is it white, but it's very basic, which I think sucks, but Mr. Handsome says it's great, because what more do you need from a dryer, but that it dry clothing? I'm thinking a dryer not only has to dry clothes, but it also has to be able to fluff well, tumble with air, sense dampness, and also barbecue a chicken and massage your feet. But this one? This one does none of that. It dries. Period.

Oh, but that's not all. Of course it isn't. It's never that easy, is it? Not in this house it isn't.

The dryer delivery man, who smelled like he'd just smoked a carton of Polish cigarettes, told me he wouldn't hook the dryer up because our venting was not metal. What the?! We've had plastic venting for probably longer than forever. He told me our insurance wouldn't cover a fire if we had plastic instead of metal. It even said it all over the front of the dryer on this blue plastic wrap stuff they wrap the appliance in to keep the delivery men from scratching it all to hell.

So, I called Mr. Handsome to let him know, and he was not happy. Not at all. He mumbled something about why should we pay $87.50 to have the effing dryer delivered and hooked up if it isn't hooked up. And how can I argue with that? I can't, so I didn't.

Mr. Handsome did some researching, and he's discovered that the metal vent does not exist. Nowhere. Because he would have bought some and replaced it, being the amazing handyman that he is. But his hands are tied, folks. Tied in double knots.

So, now we have a dryer, but it still doesn't work. And meanwhile, our laundry pile, which was already backing into the garage, is growing, and is about to overtake the neighbours' house, and they're very neat and tidy people, so I really don't want to aggravate them any more than I already do.

And my laptop doesn't work either.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

We Need An Exorcism


Okay, so yesterday it was all about my friend Slut and her flaky brows. Today it's about me again.

I'm having computer issues, guys. Really bad ones. Not quite like when there was some creepy guy sitting in the bushes somewhere in Tanzania and playing around with my computer insides. No, this is more of a physically technical, hardware nature. Basically, the power cord on my laptop is close to kaput, and I only have 26 minutes left before my battery runs out, and then what will I do?

This is the second power cord for this laptop. And I don't know about you, but I for one am really sick and tired of things breaking down all around me.

First it was the dishwasher, then the front door lock, then the dryer, and now the laptop cord. It's like our house is haunted. Maybe I need to do an exorcism? My brother Gee (or as he'd rather be called, Adonis or Zeus), should probably have a say in this, because he's all into these hoaky, spooky, non-terrestrial type issues. What do you think, Adonis?

Adonis and his wife, Ess (who shall from now on be known as Wood Nymph) both read this blog, so I'll now throw this question up to them and see what they say. The only problem is, I don't think they know how to leave comments.

I don't want to have to go out and spend $150 on another damn power cord, but I think that's what it's coming down to because this cord I bought secondhand for $50, and see where it's got me? Nowhere, that's where.

And my first cord, the one that came with my laptop, got a bit damaged when the guinea pigs were running around loose in the living room one day, and lo and behold, no one was supervising them, and they managed to find my power cord and began chewing through it, as guinea pigs are wont to do. No, we didn't have roast pig for dinner.

So, I'm just so flustered, everyone, and now I'm down to 16 minutes and then I will be laptopless, and I don't know what I'll do with myself. I could use Mr. Handsome's computer, of course, but it's in the office, which is colder than Satan's asshole, and I refuse to be put in such a situation. I need warmth, a blankie on my lap, the dog at my feet, a warm cup of tea at my side, and the 50-inch television blaring ridiculous shows. I'm not high maintenance, but I am definitely middle-maintenance, which is sort of akin to middle management, I think.

Now I'm down to 14 minutes, and I'm starting to sweat. I still have to come up with a title for this post, let alone edit it, ensure it makes sense and doesn't go all off-tangent in all the wrong spots. And I can't help it, but we PVRed Sunday's episode of The Celebrity Apprentice, and I keep getting distracted by Brandy Roderick's voluptuous breasts.

OK, Adonis. Do I get an exorcism for this hell hole of a home? Tell me, bro. I need ya now like I've never needed ya before.

Oh, yeah, and our new dryer comes today ... unless, of course, I cancel delivery so that the priest can come instead.



Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Slut's In Trouble

Slut needs our help, guys.

She's in bad shape, and it's my duty to help her.

Slut, if you don't already know, is my dearest friend, and I would do anything for her. Anything. I'd even have another transvaginal probe put up my Precious for her. Yes, that's how much I adore her. If you want to
know more about Slut, you can find out here. She's as crazy as I am, if not more so, in fact. Although, of course, she'd disagree. She's like that -- disagreeable. But I still love her, because that's how I roll. She's also a blast at the restaurant, and in church.

But Slut is in dire straits, and needs our advice.

It's her eyebrows, guys. They're flaky.

Her eyebrows have dandruff.




Actually, her brows are not like that dude's. Not like that at all. They're more like No. 21 below, except when she's pissed, and then they're more like No. 22. And when she's constipated, they're more like No. 16 mixed with a little No. 27.





I know. Awful, isn't it? Not the brows, but the fact that her brows have dandruff. Have you ever heard such a thing?

So, now you understand her predicament, and that she needs our help, and fast.

You see, she's resorted to trying to rectify the sorry situation herself, and the results are not good. Not good at all.

So, here's where we come in. Because, dudes, she used Head & Shoulders on her brows, and the shampoo caused a rather nasty burning sensation on the nine brow hairs Slut actually has in the specific brow region, causing her to curse and scream, as only Slut can. She already had a bad redness sprouting within the brow area, and the last thing she needed was some dandruff-reducing shampoo burning holes into her forehead.






Then she resorted to using her daughter's cortisone cream, which has done absolutely nothing to curb the flakes emanating from her browline. All it did was give her bad flashbacks to her youth, when her hair was a greasy mess.

It's getting serious, because these flakes fall into Slut's morning Kashi, and it makes for a very disgruntled girlfriend, and then I have to listen to her whine and cry about her problem eyebrows for three hours straight, and I just don't have the energy for that anymore.

I have my own problems, guys.

Like, whether I should look for another clean pair of underwear, or just continue wearing the same pair until the new dryer arrives later this week. Or like, whether I should go to the liquor store in the morning after I've had a couple of chocolate martinis, or whether I should wait until after I've had my Xanax with my noon cocktail.

So, please, everyone, give me your solutions. And quickly, please. Because Slut is bound to go to any extreme in an effort to stop the flakes. I know her. And I know next she's liable to pull out one of these:






Because if anyone's brave enough to paint their bathroom blood orange, they'll obviously do anything.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Perfection

Our afternoon and evening with my brother and sister-in-law was fabulous, thanks for asking.



They live in Chelsea, Quebec, a tiny hamlet of sorts nestled in the Laurentian Mountains, also known as the Adirondacks, with a history as rich as many of its current residents. The village has gone through many a transformation, and is now a very desirable area of residence for those who have lots of dough. It's about 20 minutes to half an hour from our house to theirs, and I don't know why we don't get together more often. It's ridiculous, really. Especially since Gee and Ess are the only family on my side that we have left. My younger brother, Leo, is incognito, and that's the way he wants it. Long story. Maybe someday I'll tell you about it. Suffice it to say that I pretty much had written him off for dead and gone about 10 years ago. I don't talk about it much because it's still very difficult for me to accept.


My brother and sister-in-law do not exactly fit the stereotypical Chelsian (is that actually a term?), yet here they live, in heaven really, surrounded by gorgeous trees, wildlife, and winding roads through the mountains. Their home, a cottage really, backs onto a lake, down a long hill. In the winter, you can see the lake, but in the summer, when the leaves grow on the trees, you're pretty much encompassed in your own little cocoon, which is really something more people should have in this day and age of busy lives and stressful days.

I envy them for their life, a life of simple, but good, things: each other, lots of love and acceptance, and the knowledge that material things don't mean a damn thing without the above. Their home is simple, but it's theirs, and theirs alone, and they live in the midst of heaven. What more could anyone want?






After arriving and allowing their dog, Agatha, to reconnaitre with Gryphon, we gabbed for a few minutes before Ess (my brother Gee's wife) told us dinner was ready. Good timing, you say? Perfect timing, I say. Especially since I had barely eaten all day, unless you count a few dozen chocolate Easter eggs, a few cups of tea, and an anti-inflammatory.

Roast pork with peaches on a huge platter, gorgeous fluffy mashed potatoes, boiled baby carrots and green beans. Yup, pretty much perfection. As well, Ess made this wonderful sauce to go with the pork, with maple syrup and Worcestershire sauce and other goodies that rounded out the dinner just so. And, Ess being Ess, she's selflessly given me the recipe! So
here's the link for the roast pork dinner, so that everyone can now make this deelish dinner for their loved ones. You are welcome.

The rest of the evening was spent jabbering and laughing, having conversations using our parents' accents, and watching the dogs attack one another. And then Gee went through his old Beta tapes and pulled out a few that showed me with a mullet (no, I do not have a picture of that, unfortunately so) and pregnant with Em, Em as a newborn, and Dee at age two. I didn't remember that I actually had a mullet (I am pretty sure Gee just super-imposed someone else's abhorrent hairstyle on top of my much younger face), and I didn't remember being so sickly and skinny after Em's birth. But that's the great thing about video. Or is it?

At some point, I pointed out all of Ess's gorgeous artwork that hangs on their walls, as well as Gee's amazing sculptures, to Mr. Handsome and the kids. Ess and Gee are such talented people, and are unknown to the general public as of yet, but not for long. I am starting to work at getting them both some publicity, because in my opinion, talent like this should not remain invisible and unknown to the world.

Because this:


And these:






And these:












... are absolutely gorgeous. Aren't they?

Do you see what I mean?

She's amazing, isn't she?

Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of my brother's sculptures, so you'll just have to take my word for it, but believe me when I tell you he's very very good. So far, he's completed a couple of our late father, one of himself, one of Ess, and other odds and ends. Now he wants to work on one of our mother, who recently passed away. I'm going to try and get some good shots so that I can post them here so that you can see what I mean and I'm not accused of being the liar that perhaps I actually am!

By 9 p.m., Gryphon was lying on one couch, fast asleep, and the rest of us were prostrate on various other chairs and couches, watching videos and oohing and ahhing over tape of Em's first days on earth, her first birthday, Dee eating birthday cake in his high chair, and Agatha as a puppy. By 10 p.m., we were on our way home, and within minutes of driving off, Dee was asleep in the back with his mouth wide open, Em was silent as she listened to her Ipod, and Gryphon was lying quietly with his head resting on my left arm as Mr. Handsome drove us all safely home.

I'm pretty sure no one had a better Easter Sunday than we did.


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