The Dudess Abides

Dudess_abides_June17

THE DUDESS ABIDES

I know what you’re thinking: this is a blog about The Big Lebowski. There you’d be wrong. Or are you? It’s true, my love for Sam Elliott abides, in a pure and innocent way. But as we’re both married to other people, to covet each other would be wrong. But first, since I mentioned it….

The Dudess Abides

Alrighty, that’s enough. He’s mine.

What this is about is that I’ve been super bummed. Not totally depressed (that was before, when I wasn’t writing blogs… I don’t write when I’m depressed, I write after I’m better); but I’ve been bummed on so many levels and the bumtesence has slurred my crispy self into a mindless video game-playing mushpot (not real games, but silly tower defence games like Garden Rescue: Christmas Edition; but even that eventually bummed me out and I was busted down to PRIVATE from GENERAL.

Thankfully, I have my bae Paula to hold my hand through these dark times:

 


Stole_my_tree_June17

I left her a dirge-quality voice note thereafter. The vocabulary of which, I figure, only Joan Rivers (R.I.P.) would have been bold enough to share on a blog.

But as always, despite my whining, Paula was close-by.

 

Pride_goeth_June17

I tried to explain the plants’ mission: to save the Christmas trees from the peril of marauding, thieving insects and annelids. I quickly realized this was a proverbial exercise in futility. And besides, Paula knew my malaise and my penchant for popping-off terrestrial crustaceans had something to do with each other. She’s good. My personal semiotics are not lost on her. I was fighting my own demons but needed some sort of tangible battle to express my inner turmoil.

Well, she would have said that but I like to put words into her mouth. She was going to go there, but I cut short our exchange to write the preliminary notes for this blog. Because you see.. I was suddenly all messed-up on something kinda nifty….

As I sat whimpering in my self-imposed but ill-fitting Weltanschauung (pronounce it just as it’s spelled), I discovered:

I sold a book this quarter.

KDP-June21-2016

My life, suddenly, got better. I didn’t even remember I still had a book out there. I put this travesty up as a lark one day, at least a year ago, to amuse a few colleagues. Don’t ask. If it were worthy of your scrutiny, I would have posted a cover reveal, the blog tour, reviews. You get the idea. It’s a short story collection I wrote as impudent fun one day (seriously, a cumulative one day) and posted. The characters are named for former clients who irked me. Corporate flash fiction, if you will, with a sexually inappropriate bend (to the left, if you please).

So on the very day I’m exchanging emails with a fellow walking-away-from-it-all writer, I’ll call her Dana, I discover that after I’ve turned out the lights, someone was home.

Elvis had NOT left the building.

In other words: I was still in the game. I was, once again, an author.

The prospect of holding what was left, after Amazon’s take, in my hot little hands grew almost too much for me. The answer was clear:

Paula and I had to get tattoos.

Ok, I made that up. Although we did get tattoos, they were BEFORE all this. It just felt like a nice narrative.

Having said all this, I did what any other author (I don’t really think of myself as author though) would do: I checked for a review. bupkis.

I’ll update you all if someone actually does write a review, even if it’s a troll.

So after six weeks of the blahs, I returned to the land of the inked (on two levels, for those who appreciate a pun). I may actually finish one of the other six manuscripts gracing my desktop.

Instgram_heads_June17

Or not. Maybe I’ll just count my money ($0.35 CAD) and retire.


What I’m Listening to:

I’m all about audiobooks these days. So this month it’s been:

  • Diary of A Mad Diva by Joan Rivers (read by Joan Rivers, R.I.P)
  • 100 Ways to Simplify Your Life by Joyce Meyer (read by Sandra McCollom)
  • Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (read by Roy Datrice who is a freaking genius of a narrator)
  • Asapscience : answers to the world’s weirdest questions, most persistent rumors & unexplained phenomena by Mitchell Moffit & Greg Brown (read by the authors)

and PS to “Dana” who may be reading this… don’t worry, I’m still really out of the game. But that thrill… oh that thrill and surprise of seeing a sale… be still my foolish heart… 

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Best of Bridge: Baking with My Mum

BestOfBridge

Best of Bridge: Baking with My Mum

A few things have happened in the two months (plus) since I’ve blogged. One? I was very sick. No. Really. Very sick. And it changed my life in a way I’m not quite ready to share here but I can tell you this:

I bake more.

I cook and bake more.

Mostly I bake. I love to bake.

Another thing which didn’t happen to me but affected me? My friend’s mum died. My mum died going on nine years now; but today I was about to bake (peanut butter and jam squares) and it reminded me to dig up my mother’s cookbooks (my sister took the jewellery and THAT is another blog for another day: I took the cookbooks).

My friend had a rough go of it and I re-lived some of the mixed feelings one has when a parent dies: anger, frustration, denial, sorrow. I am too lazy to ask Dr Google the list of things one goes through after a death but you get the idea: it’s a bumpy ride.

But you see, for me it was different. My mother and I always had a bumpy ride of it but in her final years, as dementia took over, our relationship blossomed. I’m not trying to be funny here (usually, I try, but this time it’s just what it is). Our best years were likely her last two years. We had a beautiful relationship. Our antagonism was gone. I’d call her and every call was a joy. Even if I had called twice in the same day. She was always thrilled to hear from me and we chatted up a storm. She was jolly and happy. Sunny, for lack of a better word. Our best years. And I cherished them.

Mum-July22-2007So when she died, I mourned but I was grateful to have had that time with her. All those angry moments and horrible things that came out of my mouth. They disappeared (she forgot, and hopefully forgave) and our relationship was fresh. New. When I became a mother, I saw my mum through very different eyes. I was sad she was gone when DS1 was only seven weeks old. But she got to see him, hold him as best she could. My last photo of her is her reaching out to him. My father (now gone, too) could never look at this photo, the last ever taken of his wife of 62 years.

Only two weeks earlier we’d been out for a visit and Mum was still at home, sitting up, all seemed tickety-boo.

So today, looking for recipes for my next venture, I happened across the fabulous BEST OF BRIDGE books I filched from my parents’ house. And for the first time. Today. I saw this note:

BestOfBridge

I was kind of blown away. Maybe this isn’t profound for any of you but for me, it caused me to burst into tears.

I was touched she wrote down who gave her the book, and when. Like it was important to her. And I guess it was. To me, I remember the book, loved it. But I don’t remember ever seeing the note before and I have used this book at least 100 times.

I guess the notes appear when the child is ready.

And I got to wondering: does my mother forgive me for being such a pain-in-the-arse kid? Mouthy. Self-righteous. Troublesome. Does she forgive me? Did she, when we were at our worst fights, think in the back of her mind that one day I will understand. One day I’ll fight with my own child and suddenly “get it?” About love, fights, harsh words. And forgiveness. We never had any “talks” and never addressed any of our issues. I only told her once I loved her (and she, me) and that was just before surgery on her aorta. It was an awkward moment for us both.

So I wondered, as I looked for a recipe for orange cake (found it) tears in my eyes: could she forgive me, would she, after the fights, the shitty things I’ve said, or thought, over the years? Just because we all do it doesn’t excuse it. Would she know nine years later—even though she’s gone and I have no way to tell her—I’m sorry and that I love her?

I am thinking she knows and forgives. Anyhoodle, Mum, I love you. Thanks for all that hamburger soup (p. 129) you made for me from this cookbook when I was sick.

And everything else. Every.

 

 

 

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Früit Löps

Früit Löps

I know what you’re thinking: you’re proud I’ve been adding fruit and fibre to my diet. I’m good that way. Oprah notwithstanding, Weight Watchers has been working for me and apparently I still get all the fruits and veggies I want, except for corn (fascists).

Eating gluten-based fruit for snackies has been a strange experience. Not the least of which: .

All the colours taste the same. A ersatz citrus hitherto unknown in this post-Higgs-Boson time-space continuum. Sweet, ephemeral, a lil bit bitter but not enough to make you make that face.

Having said all this, I want to point out this blog not really about:

Früit Löps

It’s about an article I read in New Scientist recently. Apparently, after one shakes hands, one sniffs one’s hands.

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Don’t believe me? Watch this.

Ok, so it was a year ago, not recently. But hey, I’m not one with the aforementioned time-space continuum.

This article perturbed me on several levels.

One: I know I don’t do this.

Two: I don’t know anyone who would do this.

Three: I threw up a little in my mouth when I read the article, nevermind watched the video.

These reactions say more about me than I would care to imagine. My latest and favourite-ist strawman hubs was brought in for a consult.

He agreed on a few points: he doesn’t do this. He’s never seen anyone who’s done this. Point the Third was left hanging though. Strangely  he wasn’t nauseous or revolted by the article or video.


It’s perhaps früitful to mention that one entire wing of my family calls me “Monk.” They’re the wing who knows me best. They’re the ones who, in the dark days, helped me get out of the house in less than two hours each day. The dark days when I carried a back pack the size of Alaska with every imaginable “necessity” tucked in. Because one never knows when one will need a change of clothes, umbrella, ziplock bags, Swiss Army knife (ok, everyone needs a Swiss Army knife but mine’s really BOSS), a week’s worth of medication, back-up shoes, a few books, a K-Way (not KY, you pervs), Purell, more Purell (for back-up), wet naps (screw you, septic systems!), a towel, granola bars, package of Fig Newtons… you get the idea.

And that was just to go to class. This was my back pack, not my school bag.


 

And the decencies had to be observed. The ritual. The order of operations. And every morning there was a very dear friend/family member (short version: I ran away from home, the neighbours took me in) waiting for me to do the rundown.

“Do I have the…”

“It’s there. I saw you pack it. You’re going to be late.”

“I need more food.”

“You’re only going to a two-hour Latin class.”

“I forgot my flashlight.” I run upstairs.

“It’s in your bag,” she calls up. “You never took it out.” She shoves me to the door. “Go,” she says. “There are only four people in your class. If you’re late, everyone will notice.”

You see? I am writing this blog and listing the items in my bag and even here I forgot the flashlight was in my bag!

Every morning this woman got me out of the house. Thankfully, psychiatry and medication took care of the rest.

All of this to say? The idea of:

a) touching someone else’s hand unless they were very well-known to me and

b) sniffing their rank effluence from my offended appendage

is more than I could handle. I’m no weirdo. Shaking hands is part of our society. I can shake hands. I just have to hold my hand at a distance afterwards and scour it later. That’s why we have hydrogen peroxide.

What’s this got to do with früit löps? You must be joking. The answer is clear: they’re touching.

IMAG5617Look at that jumble! Blues and pinks bumping uglies with oranges and greens? Chaos.  

And yet, there is hope for me. I can eat these now without sorting. I can actually stick my hand into the bag and not even look at what colours I’ve pulled before I shove the sugar-laden goodness into my yap.

This, dear friends, is progress.

A bit about OCD, just a bit. It makes me insane when people talk about their clean and tidy houses and titteringly refer to their OCD. They have no clue what a prison OCD is and frankly Scarlett, keeping a tidy kitchen does not a OCD-sufferer make. Sorry to burst that bubble.

The checking, the double-checking. Getting interrupted while checking means a return to the top of the sequence to start again. The intrusive thoughts. The bizarre ritual/remedy for intrusive thoughts. Compulsions to deal with the distress. Oh, I wish my only concern was cleaning and tidying the kitchen. Some nights I would lay awake wishing that would be my only issue.

But I’m sharing this not to bum you out but to cheer you: because I ate 200gr of these motherscratching carbs the other day and it was brilliant to just shovel things into my mouth with no regard for order and ritual. Brute alimentary impulse control was my only issue and to be honest, it was worth the 14 “smart points.”

The new Weight Watchers points system, by the way, can French kiss my arse. Another blog for another day. 

I think I’ll let Paula have the penultimate word:

Screenshot_2016-03-09-14-05-23

 

And the hand-sniffing? Well, that’s just gross. But the video doesn’t lie, I suppose. Too bad the researchers just didn’t find the 1-2% who, like me (and Paula), were packing wet naps (or P12 sandpaper)

 

 

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Windows Update

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Windows Update

I know what you’re thinking: this is a blog about Kim Kardashian. And there you’d be bang on.

There are a couple of things I don’t like to see on my computer.

  1. The neverending story of the Windows Update
  2. The amount of space celebrity discourse takes up on my Facebook feed.

The Windows update, apparently, is a necessary evil. So they say but I doubt it. I assume it’s just a means by which Windows datamines me. The celebrity discourse? Perhaps a necessary evil too. But not in the way you might think.

First of all, I don’t care how many nude selfies anyone takes. I can scroll on past. I was unsurprised to see the backlash (and frontlash?) about the International Women’s Day selfie:

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The first thing I noticed, frankly, was that she was a blonde. Who knew? I don’t follow the Kardashians. Never did. I only recently found out Jenner was even married to one. I’m rather clueless if it doesn’t involved Vin Diesel as far as celebrity goes. Nonetheless, I could have sworn she was a brunette.

The comments which followed, pro and con, tell me we all spend too much time on celebrity discourse. Whether we’re slut-shaming (a term I loathe) or cheering a celebrity on, I can scroll. I can #lookaway. I may resent having to look away and scroll but let me give my head a shake for a minute: I’m on Facebook. The world isn’t going to change much for the better if I click “like” or one of the new emoticons. I’m here to kill a few minutes, be distracted from my larger purpose (Facebook’s prima facie raison d’être…. howzat for two linguistic tropes in one phrase?), then move on.

The lashing Kim Kardashian took, fair or foul, reminded me a few things:

  1. It’s not her job to be our moral compass.
  2. She’s a grown woman and if she wants to post a nude selfie, she should.
  3. Cyber-bullying is still rampant.

One cheers her, another vilifies her. The simple fact is, Kim Kardashian or any celebrity is not responsible for the moral guidance of your kids, yourself, or anyone else. If she’s legally allowed to post nude selfies on Instagram, so be it. If you’re really chuffed, don’t look at it or seek out Instagram and see what they have to say about it. Report accordingly. But before you do ask yourself: do I really want authoritarianism to check my newsfeed for me? Do I look to celebrities for my moral and ethical discourse? If so, why?  

I would say it’s great they lend their celebrity to moral and ethical discourses but then wonder why and the answer is: because their reach and impact is huge. But does that mean since Martha Plimpton wore a pro-abortion dress, I should too and abortion is ok? John Travolta is a pilot and a Scientologist. Should I convert and get my license? 

Or here’s a thought: maybe I should just think for myself.

Maybe we all need to sit down and watch this clip from Life of Brian.

Armchair Activism

Whether it’s freedom of expression or publicity stunt is irrelevant to me. Yes, people are starving everywhere. Being raped, killed, tortured. In our own cities (let’s not point the finger always OUTSIDE North American, people). You want to make a change? Do so, but let’s not take a whack at celebrities and their selfies. Go work in a soup kitchen, donate money or time to a cause. Writing snippy comments about celebrity photos is armchair activism at its worst. Stamp your little feet if you must, then DO something. Clicking like or frowny face is not enough.

A mommy friend told me she was worried her kids might see the photo on Facebook and what would the kids think? Well, my 8 year-old and 4 year-old did see the photo and they laughed. The 4 year-old thought she was “going to poop soon… that’s silly” and a few moments later offered “maybe she’s tooting.” The 8 year-old just laughed “whhaaaa! Why is she doing that?!” then went upstairs, ostensibly to do his math. More likely, to watch a walkthrough since I’m here typing this. I doubt he remembered or cared after five minutes. He’ll pull through. 

People are dying. They’re starving. People are also doing good deeds. There is a lot more going on in the world than Kim Kardashian at her toilet bemoaning the OOTD. So let’s move on. Let’s not even talk about slut-shaming which is a grossly presumptuous act no matter on which end of the political spectrum you squat. Annoyed? Click on by. Had a laugh? Yay, the day started well. Perturbed it was posted on International Women’s Day? Well, what did you do to advance the cause? Something? Then good for you. Or did you do nothing except write a crummy comment on KKW’s wall? One could argue both yea AND nay that she did advance the cause of International Women’s Day, if only by stirring up such a frothy reaction. Maybe she’s smarter than all of us.

And now, back to work. After 38 minutes it looks as though the Windows update is FINALLY completed. 

But like a celebrity and a selfie, it will be back. 

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Looking for My Lot’s Pillar of Salt

Looking for my

Looking for My Lot’s Pillar of Salt

A blog I kept meaning to write was to be titled “Life in the Vaseline.” But not having heard the Eagles recently, today’s blog is about about a different return of the repressed (or not). It’s one of those blogs which struck me one day thanks to my streaming a 70s station and a having husband who actually listens to lyrics.

I don’t listen to lyrics, much. And for what it’s worth, I barely made it out of 1979, musically. It’s unfortunate, therefore, that I love to sing. I tend to get the vowels right. It’s the consonants I confound, never mind the nouns and verbs. But when it comes to ululation, man I got that covered.

So there I was home with hubs and kids on a Snow Day (yesterday or last month, I forget) when I realize I’ve done Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville a huge disservice. To be fair, the song came out when I was 10. I knew little of margaritas, broken hearts, or even wasting away. But I was raised in a house abundant in devout Catholics, so I knew all about Lot’s wife.

Looking for my

 Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffett

It’s always been difficult for me to listen to lyrics. I tend to hear voice as instrument so make more than my fair share of faux pas when I sing (or make song suggestions: e.g. to my brother JG for his wedding, when I suggested he and wife Alison do their first dance to Elvis Costello’s Alison… which I thought was a good idea until my sister gave me five across the eyes and explained the song to me).

Alison by Elvis Costello


Curiously, Alison also came out in 1977, same year as Margaritaville. Perhaps not my best year, from an acousto-comprehensivistus perspective.

So listening to the song, I turn to hubs and say:

“Am I the only North American adult over 40 who didn’t know this was about his drinking margaritas whilst mourning a relationship gone bad?” The epiphany was real, friends. I even had a shiver when the penny dropped.

“Yes, Sweetie,” he replied. Tenderly, I might add. “You were. Now Jimmy Buffett can close the books and move forward with his career.”

“So there is no Margaritaville qua Margaritaville? I mean, it’s not a real place?”

“No more a locus than Brigadoon,” he said, crushing me to his chest as I wept, bitterly.


 

I know there are books written about mis-heard lyrics. In fact, ‘Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy is one I own, given to me, I now realize, pointedly.

Just for the record, I never mixed up the lyrics for Purple Haze. I have my pride.

But today’s blog is about that wondrous epiphany. Like when you’re little and you hear a dirty joke you don’t get until you’re 35. Being the youngest child–by far–in my family, I was victim to a sleazoid brother-in-law (ex-BIL for short) telling me dreadful jokes which only made sense well into adulthood (assuming I remembered them at all). I had such an epiphany for the following joke told to me when I was about 8:

Q: What’s grey and comes in quarts?

A: Elephants

You can bet I did NOT get that for a million years. Then one fateful day I’m pouring milk for my tea when the joke comes back to me like a bad burrito. I hadn’t thought of it (or my ex-BIL) in decades. I laughed and — perhaps metaphorically — spilled the milk.

What other deferred delights await me? I wondered.

A Child of the 60s and 70s

As a child of the 60s and 70s, my having watched Monty Python’s Flying Circus still randomly gives back. I recall vividly sitting in grade 10 health class and hearing the word “smegma” (warning: if you want to know what smegma is, click here but brace yourself for a photo of a dinkie) for the second time in my life and burst out laughing. Sister Annunciata was NOT amused and trying to explain And Now For Something Completely Different’s sketch No. 42 How Not To be Seen and Mrs BJ Smegma did not help my cause. 

It’s worth watching the whole segment, but for those of you pining to return to FB and click on one of the new icons (hey, drop a like on my page while you’re there), fast-forward this to about 40 seconds in.

Mrs BJ Smegma is hiding…

But back to today (or last week or a month ago) when we’re listening to Margaritaville and I’m having the penny drop. Hubs asks me “well, what did you think he was singing?”

“Well, it changed throughout the years.”

“Let me finish my tea first,” he says before he sits. “Ok, hit me.”

“At first I thought it was looking for my lost pepper and salt.”

“And then?”

“And then I realized it didn’t make sense so I figured it was lost pillar of salt.”

“Of course you did.”

“But that didn’t really tie the narrative together, since he was mourning. So when I was older I decided it was more metaphoric and determined it was Lot’s Pillar of Salt — meaning the dude’s wife or girlfriend had somehow been unfaithful. He was wasting away in Margaritaville — looking for her, trying to get back together maybe. [pause] But what really is kicking me now is figuring out there isn’t a place called Margaritaville. All this time, I thought he was in Mexico. So NOW I realize he was drinking himself to death and if life didn’t suck enough, he lost his salt too. That would suck, a margarita without salt.”

“That’s your take-away? What about blew out my flip-flop?”

“Well star me, kitten. I guess I better not tell you about Life in the Vaseline.”


I’ll leave you all with a clip from The Big Lebowski

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Earspotting

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I know what you’re thinking. This is a blog about spots on my ears. Or yours. Close, but no vape. While it is ultimately a thinly veiled attempt to bring topology to the rupture in the relationship between Lionel Richie and the Commodores, and make a cheap pun on Brick House and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse… what this is really about is my trainspotting whilst the …. well, see below:

Earspotting

The kidlets have been sick and I’ve been not able to work as much, thus left to the realm of my personal Zen kōans.

I was relegated to watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse which I secretly grok. But not having watched it in a while, I was reminded of something so trippy and cool:

The mouse ears are gyrostabilized.

Have you seen the show? Here are a few shots from it.

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IMAG5630

Do you see what I see? The ears are full frontal ALL THE TIME. So are Minnie’s. In the first image, Mickey has a full-blown EarHawk (which is like a Mohawk but for ears). As he turns his head to break the fourth wall, the ears DO NOT MOVE. They are still full frontal. At best, they tilt.

I think a wee video may show this better. For those of you who drink, I strongly urge you to grab a fifth of fortitude and tuck in. If you’re prone to dropping acid, grab some blotter (as always, eschew the brown) and come back in about an hour (but remember, don’t look into the mirror or this may happen to you).

 
I know! Right?  His head did a swish pan while his ears stayed front and centre. 

So that’s my first imponderable for this round of flu.

I wonder how that meeting went. Obviously it’s to do with branding and every show has a “book” which sets out rules. Meeting? There were probably at least ten. A few white papers, and a PowerPoint. 

Rules for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

Obviously rule #1 for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is:

The ears are never in profile.

Second rule?

No one talks about rule #1.

If only Mickey were real (don’t read this, children). Can you imagine his physiology? I wish we could do this, but for arms and legs. How many times have I wanted an arm BEHIND me. Seriously.

Disney, as always, really has latched onto something fantastic.

Something else fun? Toodles, the handy-dandy flying helper. Precursor to virtual assistants everywhere, limbless Toodles is At One with hammerspace, conjuring anything from behemoth-sized drinking straws (to be used as a slide, when one need egress from a balloon… because, you know, that happens) to power tools. Got it? Toodles. 

Toodles, from the Disney wiki

Toodles’ name, in French, is Tourniquet.

Yeah, you read it. Tourniquet. I wonder who was in that meeting. Or maybe that was a quick visit with Google Translate by some hapless intern.

I have pondered that longer than I have pondered how the Commodores managed to produce both Brick House AND Three Times a Lady and yet not foresee that Lionel Richie was going to take a walk.

Which is to say, you can see the points of connection, but also the wedge

Did someone say Brick House?

I don’t spend a lot of time on the hammerspace issue. I just accept that. I’ve grown up on Bugs Bunny so hammerspace and six dimensions and the colour infraorange all make sense to me.

The ears? I wonder that no one mentions it. I keep waiting for Donald or Goofy (or at least my kids) to go Whoa! Dude! Your ears! Doesn’t that hurt?

But then, I also wait for the Day of Equality where Daisy can walk around bare-bottomed like her boyfriend. They’re waterfowl after all which is, I assume, the reason Donald can zip around with his feathery bits waving about for all and sundry to admire. Doesn’t Daisy swim? Where does she keep her shoes? 

By the way, my kids hadn’t noticed the ears. I am not sure exactly when I noticed but it was early on: like the disrupture between the Commodores and Lionel Richie.

Sure, I was only 11-13 during those tempestuous times but even I knew that there was something there.


What I’m reading

Two goodies, people.

Body in the Landscape by Larissa Reinhart (cozy mystery, humour)

His to Keep by Terri L Austin (contemporary romance, erotic romance, and pretty freaking funny too)

Only just started both but I assure you they are both 5 stars.


 

I’ve had many food-blog requests recently… so the next blog may possibly include some stress-eat suggestions.

Or not.

And don’t be shy. It’s easy to subscribe to my blog. The form is in the right-hand sidebar at the very top. See where it says “Heck yeah!” That’s where it done be… unless you read on a mobile device. Then, like Keanu Reeves on Celebrity Jeopardy, I have no idea.

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My Lenten Resolve: Devotions for Douchebags

Be all the douche you can be

My Lenten Resolve: Devotions for Douchebags

I know what you’re thinking. How horrid to connect Lent and Douchebaggery.

Or maybe you’re taking the opposite view: how wonderful.

In both cases, you may be right, you may be wrong. Who am I to control your discourse? I’m no fascist (using the term loosely since discourse control is endemic to both the right and left and well, centre).

My Lenten Praxis

My Lenten praxis is to write more of my stuff rather than just clients’ and friends’ material. Aside from my Novel Which Never Will Happen (The Paper Bag Party), my pet project is Devotions for Douchebags.

AAMOF-SunDOESShineI read a lot of devotions and like anyone of our era, I am on FaceBook where the pictographic meme reigns supreme (dadgum that rhymed) and I realized: making memes is not enough. I needed to build a site and write at least a few chapbooks (and of course design the requisite posters, mugs, t-shirts) devoted to helping some of the people I know best: douchebags.

It was to this end, kinda, that I met with Bueller a few weeks ago. Actually, she wanted to meet with me because she has a pet project too but I won’t post it here because she’s still ankle-deep in plotting it out. But it will be a doozy.

Bueller didn’t realize that I’m a bit like Oscar Wilde: we may have been talking about her, but I was really thinking about myself.

As she went on about her content all of which is purposeful, beautifully written, and focussed on helping others better their condition, I was struck by the dichotomy of our relationship and my own personal Weltanschauung as disparate from hers.

In brief (and summed up nicely by my first psychiatrist whom I hated): I operate best under negative transference.

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The scene of the crime… Bueller and I met in a mall. She watched while I stress-ate 15 Weight Watchers points.

So the more I hang out with positive people filled with purpose and love and joy, the more I hate and thus thrive.

But I wanted to use my super powers for good, not evil, so I focussed on the obvious: for some people, being a douche is the pinnacle of what they can and will achieve in this mortal coil. Who am I to take my douchey knowledge, garnered from years (still ongoing) of working in the corporate sphere? Indeed, I have learned that douchebaggery is not limited to the corporate sphere. Who am I to deprive the world of the necessary knowledge of how to be a better douchebag?

And the material writes itself. And when I’m stuck, I turn to someone like Bueller who is a better (wo)man than I. Whatever she’s writing, I put the word “no” in front, reduce it all to a tagline, add a photo (or better yet, a vector drawing because of its scalability) and I’m cooking with petrol.

For those looking for some sort of redemption in my project, there is none unless you read everything with a sense of humour and a pinch of salt substitute (btw, potassium will do you a treat too, so don’t get too smug on the fake stuff). Douchebags are (apparently) people too. And like the rest of us, they need a little help. Douchebaggery transcends gender, sexuality, creed, nationality. It is rampant where’er one goes.

Give a douche a hug. You’ll be glad you did … and at least you can see what they’re doing.

DBs aren't just born,t hey're made

 


Post Scriptum … These are the last days of my Heart & Stroke Foundation campaign. Don’t be a douche, throw a couple of quaatloos their way.

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Lemon Fresh Prosopagnosia

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I know what you’re thinking. This is a blog about lemons and freshness. How fresh lemons are. How lemons make things fresh.

And there you’d be semi-right. It’s a blog about my lemony fresh friend Boo Boo Kitty Fu (although Denis Leary shows up later.. in spirit) whom I saw this past weekend.

You read that right: I left the house and went to a public space.

Just my going out into the public sphere is blog-worthy enough but this time it’s a bonus because I was meeting someone (by the way, I went out in public a fortnight ago with Bueller formerly known as Melody, but I haven’t written that up yet for a very good reason to be explained later).

Why is it so significant that I was meeting someone, particularly my lemony fresh friend Boo Boo Kitty Fu? Because I am slightly tetched in the head. Yeah, I said “tetched.” The technical term is acquired prosopagnosia.

Lemon Fresh Prosopagnosia

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Sometimes a lemon is just a lemon. I think Freud said that.

In short, I bonked my head when I was a kid and have some impairment when it comes to recognizing faces. Voices? I rock. How you walk, your gestures? Awesome. I can name any of those tunes in one note. Faces? I’m sunk. I don’t have full impairment. It just takes me a really long time.

Yeah, dating was a nightmare.

But my beloved Boo Boo Kitty Fu whom I’ve seen only a few times (we usually text or “meet” on FartBook)… I knew I was in for trouble. I knew the basics: brunette, longish hair. Bespeckled and tattooed. I know her voice like I know anyone else’s. Even if she did a cartoon voice, tried to hide it, I’d see through that cheap trick.

Eric Northman: You Me Whipped Cream HandcuffsBut she cut her hair and it was bloody cold Canada so most of her tattooos were hidden. She must have thought I was nutso because I approached her tentatively after having discarded all the other persons in the cafe. Unfortunately, her back was to me (clearly she had never read Dune by Frank Herbert or she would have known better)… so I had to walk over to the last table and take my best shot…. all the while thinking “this woman, her hair is too short.”

Fortunately I saw the hole for one of her piercings, a peak of tat on her chest and arms, and she recognized me (which always amazes me because I barely recognize myself half the time).

Thankfully Boo Boo Kitty Fu loves me both despite and because of my insanity.

I guess you’re wondering about the lemons. Boo Boo Kitty Fu loves lemony things. When I think of lemons, I think of BBKF. She’s a super crunchy without being obnoxious. Essential oils, environmentally friendly cleaning products. Cloth diapers and hand-sewn mama cloth. She’s the crunchy dream.

And like me. she’s wildly introverted. So when she agrees to drag herself into the public sphere, I am honoured. I know it is not without some sacrifice that she’s come to a busy cafe on a Sunday to be almost not recognized.

Himalayan salt lamps. Image linked from http://www.himalayansaltshop.com/natural-shape-himalayan-salt-lamps.html

Another thing about Boo Boo Kitty Fu? She has one of those Himalayan salt lamps and I know that she’d let me lick it if I visited (get your mind out of the gutter, people).

As I sat with Boo Boo Kitty Fu, I realized two things:

1) I was glad my New Year’s Resolutions included “getting out” more (that’s not hard to do, actually) and

2) I really do make better coffee at home but thankfully, having coffee is not about the coffee.

Facebook has its charms but its overuse means I will more often message people rather than see them. Having said that, the bulk of my friends live in other countries. This goes to another point about social media, it separates more than it joins. True, it can bring people together who otherwise might not have “met” but then, one is left with the mourning and melancholia that one may possibly NEVER meet.. freals. 

And another thing? Although sound and visuals have transcended the boundaries of social media, lemony freshness has not. It is one thing to see and hear the words “lemony fresh” but another to experience it. To continue down my path of isolation is to deprive myself of sensory delights; and since I can’t recognize faces for poop, I should at least “see” a few people if only because I can recognize the smell of their laundry. FB doesn’t let me taste, smell, or touch (yeah, the “feelies” never really happened although there are “4D” films out now… whatevs).

No wonder one of my resolutions is to stay off FB as much as possible (I work in social media though, so complete abstinence is impossible). The sensory deprivation is making me insane (not to mention the level of banality of some discourses floating around); and I just can’t bring myself to reduce my social and political discourse to clicking “like,” little hearts, plus symbols or thumbs.

If I see one more photo of a shirtless Justin Trudeau I shall surely throw up in my mouth.

My NYR includes more Skype, more coffees, more face-to-face meetings with clients. I keep thinking of Denis Leary/Edgar Friendly’s eerily prophetic words in Demolition Man:

I’ve seen the future. Do you know what it is? It’s a 47-year-old virgin sitting around in his beige pajamas drinking a banana-broccoli shake, singing “I’m an Oscar-Mayer weiner.”

 

Now that I’ve made kale pancakes, I fear I’m already there. 

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25 Things – or — How My Fear of Terri L Austin Gave Me 10 Writing Points

25 THINGS - OR -

25 Things – or — How My Fear of Terri L Austin Gave Me 10 Writing Points

It’s no surprise that I am a fan of Terri L Austin and her amazing ability to consistently write excellent books (and even cross genres). Nope. Anyone who knows me, knows she’s on my list.

So when I decided to wallow in self-pity about my writer’s block, she was there to put the screws to me. If I ever go into the ring, I want Terri as my corner woman. And for what it’s worth, she won’t be throwing in the towel to save my snivelling tuchus. She’ll make me go all rounds. Evil wench.

Her challenge to me, while I was whining today about my narrative plot holes (not holes really, just the one: there is no plot) was to write 25 things which could happen. No matter how strange, boring, expected, unexpected, surreal. Write 25 of them as bullets and see where they take me. I’m lazy though so am only doing 10.

And apparently I’m not to sweat it out.

Then she told me NOT to blog the situation first, but to write them then blog. But as writing somewhat transcends time, I’m totally going to cheat, write the blog first, then do the 10 (not 25) things therein.

The context? It’s an awkward murder mystery.

So, without further ado

25 THINGS - OR -

  1. I looked down to see my foot had connected with a vintage Etch-A-Sketch. What was THAT doing at a party like this?
  2. Kinkaid knew better, but the prospect of leaving a tub full of peach gelatin untouched was too much for him.
  3. In her rush to make the proverbial quick getaway, Edie stripped the gears shifting to 5th. “Hey!” I yelped. “That’s a 1965 Sunbeam Tiger. Do you know how hard it is to replace the clutch?” “Eff that,” Edi replied. “Something bigger than your blown clutch is about to ram us to Kingdom Come and your precious Tiger is not equipped with wings ….or even a parachute.”
  4. Stephanie looked embarrassed. Nutella Nutella everywhere a not a, well, what does one do with Nutella?
  5. Pom-pom sockettes? A nightstand drawer full of them, chromatically arranged into a festive rainbow of poly-cotton blend. Pom-poms facing forward. Easier to grab in a rush, I thought. No flies on this perp.
  6. Despite my best intentions, I knew I would have to ‘fess up. “Those gloves are mine,” I admitted. “But I didn’t realize they were latex.”
  7. Kinkaid held my hand tenderly, pressing a soft whisper into my wigged ear. “Don’t look now,” he said. “We’re being watched. If we wish to avoid detection, I suggest we smooch.”
  8. Finding the luge sled surprised me. I had expected skis or snow shoes. We were a long way from Taum Sauk Mountain and to the best of my knowledge, there were no luge runs there. “It’s not a luge sled,” Kinkaid offered, no doubt seeing the play of questions furrowing my brow. “It’s something quite altogether different. Definitely a third-date thing.”
  9. Mother was right, but it took me 27 years to find a reason for always carrying a canteen and set of cutlery in my purse as she suggested. “No time like the present,” I said. Kinkaid looked askance, but knew enough to hand me the baby powder. “I know how you chafe,” he said, pressing a kiss to my forehead.
  10. Being limber hath its advantages I thought as I shimmied up the laundry chute.

So that’s what I came up with and as you can see, I didn’t sweat it out.

Thank you, Terri, for making me cough out 10 (not 25, sorry) points from which to leap back into my narrative.


 

his-to-keepFor those who enjoy contemporary romance, please tootle to Amazon to pre-order Terri’s latest: HIS TO KEEP (Beauty & The Brit Series, III). http://www.amazon.com/Keep-Beauty-Brit-Terri-Austin-ebook/dp/B017HX12XG/

And if you have any ideas to add to my 25 things so I actually can reach 25, please add them in the comments.

 

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Failed Recipes # 2: Kale, Chia, Oatbran, and Chocolate Chip Pancakes

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Don’t get excited. These were for the kids. 🙁

 

You may think the title of this blog alone tells the problem: my use of the Oxford comma. Some people will tell you straight up that where I went wrong here was the use of the Oxford comma. But there you’d be wrong. I did NOT use “oatbran and chocolate” chips in my recipe. Not to get all pendantic on you or anything but I’m pretty sure (hopeful) that there is no such gustatory beast.

Screenshot_2016-01-28-09-13-16I regret to inform you all that I added kale, chia, oatbran, and chocolate chips to my pancakes yesterday. In an effort to continue to enjoy pancakes in general despite being on my Weight Stagnation Journey, I took the leftover batter from what I made for my kids and I added some fibre, protein, and omega-3 goodness.

Then — probably while I was in the loo — Shrek came by and pooped in the batter, turning it a luscious and ogre-fouled green.

When I saw what he had done, I sent a message to my organic vegetarian hippie graphic designer friend Sophia of The Blessed Type (who has my birthday card greeting as her profile photo, which is kinda meta, kinda strange) for validation and consolation. I think I heard Sophia whimper a little bit, then change her phone number. She’s probably tired of my trying to understand hippies.

Contrariwise, my friend Irene who, along with Bueller (formerly known as “Melody” on this blog), introduced me to kale, … anyhoodle, Irene wanted the recipe (and probably will actually eat it, minus the chocolate chips because Irene actually despises chocolate) and suggested I could blog about it. Will do, Irene.


 

Failed Recipes # 2: Kale, Chia, Oatbran, and Chocolate Chip Pancakes

The recipe is all so simple, really. This should make about 6 human-body friendly pancakes, plus 2 Elven-quality green slabs of drywall.

Batter

Screenshot_2016-01-28-09-13-27135 grams (1 1/8 cups) of all-purpose flour (or whatever you find, seriously… this is a gluten-free friendly recipe because you can use GF flour and the hockey-puck texture remains the same).

1 egg (or substitute w/ ground flax seed, or 2 egg whites)

245 grams of whole milk (or water or soy hippie crap) LESS the volume of aforementioned egg/eggwhites. This means, drop the egg/egg whites in (if you’re using flax seed, figure it out… nah, kidding, use about 200 grams of liquid or about 7/8 of a cup)

2 TB oil or use applesauce (I kinda slop it in, frankly)

1 heaping teaspoon of baking powder (go a bit cray cray because it has calcium, yo)

1/2 tsp of salt

1 TB of either brown sugar (whatevs… ) or white-death sugar.

1 tsp of vanilla extract

random handfuls of chocolate chips

Surely you don’t need me to tell you… ok, I will: preheat griddle blah blah.
OK, these are for the kids… make about six pancakes for the ungrateful creatures. You should have some left over. Take the remaining stuff left over and brutalize it in the name of higher health add your other ingredients.

Here we go for the win:

IMAG5522At least…. (all measurements are imprecise because I’m a “thrower” when it comes to pancakülar cooking).

1 heaping TB ground chia seeds

1 heaping TB ground kale powder

at least 15 grams of plain oatbran

Stir it up and plop, friends. Then go clean the house because these will take a while.  How long?

Well, I let the cat in and out and in and out and in and out and in and out while they cooked, so that’s at least 10 minutes.

Have you ever sat back and wondered what kale pancakes taste like? Earthy. They taste earthy. Lawny is another good word. Lawny, earthy, broccoloid.

These two pancakes have a modicum of carbs, but a goodly bit of protein, fibre, and a whole buncha vitamin A and C, for those of you fearing scurvy.

 


 

Having said all this, the pucks pancakes were actually quite edible and if you eschew syrup and butter, they can be eaten in the hand like hardtack or biscuits. But perhaps not for company. They are an acquired taste and I will be making them again.

Chocolate chips are essential, though. Like you didn’t know.

The leftovers were donated to the local Elves in my backyard, in aid of their winter home reconstruction. It seems the Elves use kale and chia pancakes as an organic and renewable source of drywall. Who knew?


 

Send A Little Love | Romance Has A Heart

I’m very happy to be part of a group of romance authors (even if I’m NOT an author… yet) who have pulled together the following project: Send a little love.

Know someone who needs a little love for Valentine’s Day? Head over to find a lovely selection of complimentary romance novels available to send to your friend as a valentine.

Ordering starts February 1st and ends February 15th; but the site is live now (and I’m uploading some new titles and authors to it the moment I finish this blog which is in 5…4…3…2..).

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