Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gratitude Journal Episode 1

For a good stretch of time this year, I had a thing going on with three friends where we would each send out a list of our top three things that we were grateful for that day.  It was just for fun, and also to assist each other in appreciating the little things in life.  We stopped because of summer laziness or something, but I miss it.  I also have had some funny ones that never manifested themselves into print because I wasn't sure if the others still wanted my lists.  You want them though, right?  Here's the best of today:

Prune Juice!  Total magic!  (now you know why I held back)  I have never needed help in the digestive department before but something has been up lately and I had to do something.

I decided to give prune juice a try based on the testament of my good friend who has had such problems since I met her in Jr. high school.  She pretty much kept prune juice in a vial around her neck, brought it with her to slumber parties, and became famous for drinking it when she worked in a summer resort one year.  She probably invented a new mixed drink with it as well.

Anyhow, I chugged a glass of it yesterday, and hoped for the best.

This morning I had an appointment at 10:30 and then planned to drive home.  It was on the drive home when I realized that my experiment was a success.  Pity about being in transit though.  I was certain that I was not going to make it home, so I found myself pulling into my absolute favourite shopping mall, despite my plan to have a quiet day at home.

All went well in the ladies room, although I'm not sure any of the other ladies would agree.  I couldn't believe how great I was feeling afterwards and actually bothered to send a message to my prune juice friend to thank her for being there in spirit with me.  I'm sure that she appreciated the interruption in her work day for that.

Then I took a look around and realized that I was at my favourite mall.  The Universe loves me.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Ghost of the Valley

I never hear the howling anymore.

The first time it caught my attention was while walking the dogs in my local park.   OHHHHHHHHHWAOOOOOOOOO... was what it sounded like, off in a distance.  Wolves?  Coyotes?  I wasn't sure.

I continued on with my walk, all the while listening to the sound of maybe some sick animal that more or less resembled an eerie ghost from an episode of Scooby Doo.


It was getting louder.  I was obviously walking toward whatever it was, and noticed the fluctuating intonation.

Not an animal, I deduced.  But what, then?  It didn't sound human, but it didn't sound like anything recognizable from the standpoint of a walk along a wooded trail.  I became nervous.


It was almost like a crescendo.

Then I caught site of the source.  Alone by the riverbank, gearing up to let out another ghostly howl, stood an elderly Asian man, belting out opera at the top of his lungs.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My Good Deed of the Day. Sort of.

Now that Google Reader is no longer, I can assume that the traffic on my site will now be reduced to friends of mine who are badgered by me into checking out my latest attempt at crafting a funny joke.  Kind of gives me some artistic freedom though.  It's the blog equivalent of 'dance like no one is watching'.  No one really is watching! I can even start making fun of people if I want!

My intent is not to actually make fun of anyone here, but to detail a bizarre event I had recently with my friend's 85 year old mother in law.

I had not actually seen the elderly woman in a couple of years but while visiting this particular friend recently, her MIL was hanging out in the kitchen, waiting for us to leave so she could commence her babysitting duties.  I sat and chatted with her while we waited for my friend to get ready.

The next day my phone rang.  Recognizing the name on call display, I answered with trepidation, wondering why B's MIL was calling me.

She began by explaining that she didn't recognize me the other night due to her poor eyesight.  It wouldn't have really mattered to me as she was pleasant enough, and I tried to assure the woman that there was no need to apologize as I never would have known.

This was not the purpose of her call though.  She went on to mention that she remembers that I have two daughters.  She then informed me that she makes clothing for these little 'babies' all day. (she was referring to dolls and their clothes).  She explained, "I don't smoke, I don't drink, I don't go shopping, so making clothes for these babies is what I do to keep sane!  Now, the problem is that I don't have any more real babies to give my babies to".

Rather than questioning whether or not making doll's clothing was in fact actually keeping her sane, I let her continue on about all the babies that she's given to children over the years, including strangers on the bus.  Then of course I was invited to bring my daughters over to each pick a baby.  I told her that I would set a visit up with my friend, B, the next time I was in that part of town.

"NO, you'll set it up with ME, NOW!", came the reply from the older woman.  Imagine this with her South African accent and it gets funnier and scarier somehow.

Feeling bullied and somewhat like Hansel and Gretel, I explained that my kids are in camp all day so it would have to be on a weekend.  She then gave me an earful about putting my kids in camp for such a long day, and how tired they must be.  She eventually accepted our schedule and penned me in for an upcoming Saturday afternoon.

I begged B to join me for this upcoming adventure but she was all, "NO WAY JOSE! You're on your own!"

So I packed up the kids on a beautiful Saturday afternoon that would have been ideal for swimming, and made my way downtown to face my dreaded appointment.

The first thing I noticed was that the apartment was not air conditioned.  This particular day was a scorcher too.  She did have a window unit in one room, which we were led into first, as it was 'the room of dolls'.

It wasn't like a scene from Hoarders or anything.  It was quite orderly.  But in a 2 bedroom 700 square foot apartment, shelves and shelves of floor to ceiling dolls seemed somewhat weird.

Then the woman started going through each doll, one by one, explaining them to me.  "This one was given to me by my daughter, this one is from the gift shop at the hospital, and This one...well, if Rudy Huxtable can have a black Cabbage Patch doll, well so can I!  It went on for a while.

Then she suggested that we let my kids tear up the room while we go sit down (in the non-air conditioned part of the apartment).  While sitting there, she decided to show me her battery powered cat collection.  Yup, turn them on and they purr, and move their heads.  Next came the wooden mushroom collection, and then all the 'As Seen on TV' gadgets that she uses to help herself out with mundane tasks.

Looking out on the balcony, I noticed that it was covered in birds, birdseed, and copious amounts of less pleasant evidence of birds.

All the while, the kids thought that this was great!  They had so much to play with and no one was telling them what to do.  I suspect that this was the highlight of the elderly woman's day too.  She does have plenty of family in the city, but somehow came across as needy for company.

There is no punchline here.  Except that I was really weirded out by the whole event.  And oddly enough, I feel compelled to go back.  On a cooler day.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Talk About a Bad Omen!

On the evening of May 13th, the Huz and I settled in to watch what turned out to be the last Leafs game of this year's playoff season.

I'm not a huge hockey fan, but it had been so long since we actually made the playoffs that I had a little hunger for the excitement of it all.  I used to love watching the games with friends over wings and beer, but as friends got married, had kids, and couldn't come out to play anymore, watching hockey kind of lost its cachet for me.

There we were, ahead by two points, with about two minutes left to play.  "I can't believe this is happening!"  I said cheerfully, wondering if I'd be able to make some sort of social event out of the next series.

Boston managed to score two goals in those last couple of minutes, which tied up the game and sent us into overtime.  "I can't believe this is happening", I said dismally, trying to think of another reason to have company over for a night of booze and junk food.

My computer then started 'bleep blooping' in the familiar way that it does when someone calls me on Skype.  I knew it was my dad, since he's the only one who ever calls.

"Hey Dad", I started, bracing myself for a bad joke about the Leafs

As it turned out, he wasn't calling about hockey.  He hadn't actually realized that the game was on or he would have been watching it himself.  No, he was calling to give me the new details of his eventual cremation.

Before I go any further, you should know that my dad is not sick.  He just knows what he wants in death and has made certain that he gets it.  Actually, he and his second wife both thought that they knew what they wanted in death, and made their arrangements together years ago.  Now that they are no longer married, neither one wants to be buried in the spot that they originally chose and paid for, let alone side by side.  The lesson here is that it is sometimes possible to plan TOO far ahead.

Anyhow, my dad now has new plans, and he was calling just before the start of the game seven overtime period to let me know about them.

"Dad", I asked, "do you feel healthy enough to have this conversation after the next goal?"

When he realized that he was missing the game too, he quickly hung up, agreeing to talk about it later.

For those of you who followed the game, you know that the Leafs lost.  Shortly after Boston scored the goal that ended it for us, I got an e-mail from my dad offering his condolences.  And of course his cremation details.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


I put a fair bit of value on having good hair.  Mine is naturally curly, and I pretty much learned how to make it look nice at the young age of 32.  Ever since then, I stopped wearing baseball caps, pony tails, banana clips, you name it.  Now I always make an effort to leave the house with good hair.  (although I would still like to bring back the banana clip if I could only find a good supply of them)

As of this year, I have become a pool owner.  Leading up to the completion of the pool, I was actually giving thought to the hair issue. I wasn't sure if I was going to still style my hair each morning given the likelihood of my hair coming 'un-done' in the water.  And what if I needed to zip out after a morning swim, but prior to an afternoon swim?  Would I fix my hair in between?  Would I always be able to predict when I'd be going swimming?  Good hair vs. carefree swimming; quite the conundrum, dontcha think?

This past week-end was the inaugural swim-fest at my house.  It was a long week-end, so my family spent the better part of three amazing days turning into prunes while we enjoyed the new addition to our yard.  But there were some points in time when I had to step out.  There were people to feed and shopping to be done.

So did Stacy and Clinton's ten years of training stick?

NO!  I didn't even swim today and I was at the grocery store in a baseball cap and minimal make-up.  Worse yet, over the week-end when I had guests here, I was all mu-mu and big floppy hat.

So that's my look now.  I'm either a frumpy 12 year old boy, or if you catch me at home, Mrs. Roper.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Home Brewed Rocket Fuel

My younger daughter does not have the best digestive system.  Her pediatrician prescribed a laxative, which we sometimes add to her morning beverage.  It is a white, granular substance that we have to measure out, requiring us to keep it in a wide mouth plastic container instead of the bottle it originally came in.

One morning I set out to administer a teaspoon's worth of magic powder when I discovered that we had none left.  You'd think I would have noticed that we were running low, but I attributed it to the Huz having given the most recent dose, and me just being a bit of a tool.  No biggie.  I figured that I'd just pick some up later.

Given that I couldn't help my daughter out in this particular department at that very moment, I turned to my pot of coffee to at least give myself a boost.  I added sugar and took a swig.

'It's not sweet'  I remarked to myself, feeling somewhat puzzled by this revelation

I added another two teaspoons and tasted it again.  Still not sweet!!!???

I gave it another try.  NOT SWEET!!!!!!!!

Prior to connecting the dots between the empty laxative container, the full sugar dispenser, the prior day's cleaning lady visit and her strange obsession with organizing my home, I had a somewhat neurotic moment that lasted an entire second:

I can't taste sugar!

I must have had a stroke!

Or maybe I finally destroyed my taste buds with all those ketchup potato chips!

I won't ever be able to enjoy chocolate!

I might lose weight!

But all foods have some sugar!  I won't be able to enjoy any foods!

Then I finally clued in.

I now label the laxative container.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Attention K-Mart Shoppers

The theme party that I'll be attending this upcoming week-end has got me thinking.  I kind of feel that the 'people of Walmart' are getting a bit of a raw deal. Should our focus only be on those shoppers?  Is it just because that Target customers have no devoted web page that we never make fun of the folks over there?  I think so!  We've got an entire untapped market here to mock.

As a Canadian, I hadn't really given much thought to Target shoppers.  The chain only infiltrated Canada a couple of months ago,  so we are still at the novelty stage.  My local Store took the place of Zellers, which I always likened to Walmart, but without staff.  And without customers.  And without inventory for that matter.  So clearly I was happy for the change.

On my inaugural trip to this store, I found myself in line to pay when I heard an obnoxious woman behind me.  "NO DIVIDERS?????", spoke the boisterous, smokers voice that belonged to the next person in line.  "A 13 MILLION DOLLAR STORE AND YOU DON'T HAVE ANY DIVIDERS????"

She was referring to the dividers for the conveyor belts at the cash that separate one's order from the next person's.  My order was already bagged, and there was no one behind her, so I'm not quite sure what all the fuss was about, but this woman was just livid.  Then she made a failed attempt  to catch my eye to form some sort of bond with me where I would validate her rage.

"FINE!", she screamed, as I made a 'holy crap' face while entering my PIN number, pretending that she wasn't there.

The next thing I knew, the woman had taken a large handful of gift cards off of the display by the cash, and lined them up on the conveyor belt in place of an obviously 'critical' divider.

I shot the cashier a sympathetic look as I picked up my bags.  As she handed me my receipt, she put on a fake plastic smile, and through her teeth whispered, "Don't leave me!!!!!"

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

When in Doubt, Ask the Experts

Every year I go on a week-end trip with an amazing group of ladies.  On the Saturday night of this trip, there is always a theme party.   This year's theme is ...  People of Walmart!!!!!  This is the first year that I've felt inspired enough to participate.  So much to work with here!

I have a feeling that I won't exactly be an original given that my outfit is a common variation of showing too much unflattering skin in ill-fitted clothing, but I'm putting some creative energy into it to be somewhat of a stand-out.

After assembling myself in what I believed to be my outfit, I felt somewhat disappointed with my cleavage.  On any given day, there is no disappointment in this area, but I was kind of looking for something a little more 'Katy Perry', and less 'middle-aged mother of two'.  So I did what anyone would do.  I took to the Internet, braving a search that could quite possibly have scarred my innocent little eyes.

My eyes lived to tell the tale, and I am now just a purchase of medical tape away from the look I so desire.  And I owe it all to the trannys on YouTube.  Thanks guys!  You know your stuff!