Category Archives: blogging

I’m Versatile Again This Week!

Yesterday, I opened my new friend Melissa‘s post over at Play 101…she had been given the Versatile Blogger Award, and had graciously passed it on to me and 14 other bloggers.  I encourage you to check out Melissa’s blog…she is a TV news reporter who writes both eloquently and sensibly about many different topics, including parenting her two young children.  She’s funny too!

Versatile Blogger Award

This is my third VB award, and one of several blogging awards that I’ve been given in the last couple of months.  The rules state that I must link to the person who gave me the award (done), list seven previously unknown facts about myself, and pass it on to 15 newfound blogging buddies.  I’m running out of people to pick on give the award to, so I’m going to tweak the last part a bit…I hope Melissa doesn’t mind!

Seven Things About Me I Don’t Think I’ve Told You (And You Might Not Want to Know)

1.  My feet are really big…I was wearing a size 7 by the time I was 11.  I am now a size 10.  I hope my feet stop growing soon!

2. I was my elementary school’s president in Grade 6 (I really wasn’t that popular…it was a three-room school with fewer than 100 students!).  My campaign slogan was: “Don’t Go Bananas Over Boys!”  Maybe I’ll let Hilary borrow that if she ever decides to take a run at the presidency!

3. I love feeling the bristles of somebody’s brush cut…I used to surprise the little boy sitting in front of me in Grade 2 by running my hand up the back of his head at random times.  I think he liked it…

4. My little brother and I were once interviewed by a newspaper reporter while our dog was delivering puppies in the same room (we used to do a community newsletter in our hamlet of 150 people – I was 13, and he was 10)!

5. Lilies are my favourite flowers.

6. I often have strange, inexplicable dreams: Last night, I dreamed that a former co-worker was playing the banjo (she doesn’t – I checked).  The night before, I dreamed that a guy I knew in high school was throwing me into the trunk of his car and kidnapping me (he’s a hairdresser who dabbles in photography, art and fashion design – very scary!).

7. I refuse to eat olives…they look like eyes, and don’t taste good to me at all!

Passing On the Award

Instead of just picking 15 people who have already been awarded multiple times, I’ve chosen some of my favourite posts to share with you…feel free to respond with some of your favourites too!  It’s all about sharing the love! 

1. 36 x 37: All Pipes Lead to the Ocean.  Maura has a devastating accident, and has to break the bad news to her sons.

2. Big Happy Nothing: May I Have Some Assertiveness Training, Please? Amiable Amiable and I have a lot in common…we’re part of the newly-formed Doormat Club!

3. BlurtI Am Not a Pharmacist, But I’m Willing to Try.  Omawarisan recounts how he deals with having a similar phone number to a drugstore. 

4. H is for Happiness: Phoenix.  Harsha remembers the Mumbai bombing in 2008. 

5. Lanny the Leopard: Guest Post (originally on Hippie Cahier).  A young man goes off to Boot Camp, as told by his faithful friend.

6. Ironic MomExplaining the 80s to Children.  Leanne tells her 6-year-old twins about a period of ancient history.

7. Jacquelin Cangro: Eighteen Minutes: The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.  Jacquelin relates the tragic story of a workplace disaster that led to safer working conditions for all of us.

8. Life is a Spectrum: The Long Distance Runner. Four-year-old Billy runs a race, and teaches us all a very important lesson.

9. Mostly Bright Ideas: Ideas to Live Without.  Contrary to the title of his blog, Charles illuminates some really bad ideas.

10. Murrmurrs: What We Have Here is a Failure to Procreate.  Murr explains the decision she and her husband made not to have children.

11. Plane Janer’s Journey: Male Readers Beware…The Ladies are Going Bra Shopping.  Jane’s piece supports her theory that “it is harder to find a well-fitting, reasonably priced, attractive bra than it is to find a good man to marry.”

12. Simply Diane: In Celebration…Red Mary Janes With No Buckles.  Diane recounts the story of adopting her daughter.

13. Sunshine in London: Not Just Another Winter’s Tale.  Sunshine remembers her late father-in-law in this love-filled post.

14. The $#!& I Think About: The Secret Lives of Cats.  Have you ever wondered what cats really do when their owners aren’t around?  Be sure to read both parts of this hilarious series!

15. Todd Pack’s Messy Desk: Cool Hand, Luke. Todd has a frank discussion with his 5-year-old son.

This is but a tip of the iceberg in terms of the talented people who are part of my blogging community (I only have great writers on my blogroll – check out He Said, She Said and They Said)…I wish I had to time and space to highlight all of them! 

What posts have you read recently that made you laugh, made you cry, or made you think?

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Filed under blogging, friends, memories

I’m Not a Ghost, But Yesterday I Played One in Real Life…

This isn't me...I'm a lot taller! (photo from daddytypes.com)

Have you ever had one of those days when you wonder if you’re invisible, a mere figment of someone else’s overactive imagination?  That was my day yesterday…all day!

It all started in the morning, after I arrived at the bookstore and sat down at my computer.  As per my routine, I updated our store’s Facebook page with a “Today in History” fact and a book relevant to it, and added a daily quote about books.  Then I opened my Hotmail.  Since it was Monday, there were lots of new blog posts to comment on…

I opened the first one, read it, typed my comment and posted it.  Everything was going swimmingly until I reached the fourth new post.  I read the post, chuckled heartily, wrote a pithy reply and hit the “Post Comment” button, making sure to tick the box so I would receive notification of further comments.  The page refreshed, and my clever comment had disappeared into the vast realm of cyberspace, never to be seen again!  After a few choice words (none of which were nice), I reconstructed my response as best I could, and attempted to repost.  ARRGGH!  Gone!  I thought, “Maybe it’s my computer.”  I rebooted, and reopened all my windows.  Version #3 of my formerly hilarious comment was a mere shadow of its earlier incarnations, which I suppose doesn’t really matter, because it vanished too!  I gave up on that one…I was sure that person’s blog had technical difficulties.

I opened the next new post in my e-mail.  Another brilliant post!  I congratulated the writer on his wit and writing skill, and sent my compliments hurtling once again into Never Never Land!  I tried once more (are you familiar with Einstein‘s definition of insanity: doing something over and over and expecting different results?).  Remembering one of the tag lines from The IT Crowd, “Have you tried turning it off and on?”, I not only rebooted, but flipped the router off and on as well.  That should do it!

With my Hotmail window reopened, I clicked on another new post.  This one was about blogrolls, a topic dear to my heart.  I offered my input in a couple of paragraphs, and confidently “posted” my comment.  NOT!  I looked around and briefly considered sticking my head in the oven, but our microwave was far too small…Instead, I sent an urgent-sounding e-mail to WordPress Support:

Subject: My Comments are Invisible!

I made comments on other people’s blogs (multiple times).  I saw: NOTHING!!! (one time when I was smart enough to copy and paste a comment before I sent it, I got a notification that it was a duplicate comment…still nothing showed up!).  I expected my comments to be visible!
I have cleared my cache and rebooted my computer (twice).
Help please!!!
 
Wendy

A little while later, I got a nice e-mail from a “happiness engineer” at WordPress apologizing for the “inconvenience” (at that point I’d been trying to post comments for more than an hour!) and advising me to send details to Akismet (the spamcatcher).  “They’ll be able to sort you out.”  I really hoped that somebody could…and maybe they could fix my problem with commenting while they were at it!  I sent a similar e-mail to Akismet, explaining my difficulties and imploring them to do everything in their power to remedy them!  I continued to read new posts, but knew that commenting on them at this point would probably be useless…I also wrote this post so that my friends would know that I wasn’t ignoring them on purpose.  I contacted a couple of the bloggers via Facebook, one of whom told me that my comments had ended up in her spam bucket.

In the afternoon, we had some of our regular customers come into the bookstore: a couple of book dealers from Fredericton accompanied by a friend who was a book collector.  The collector inquired about books by Mika Publishing (which happens to be located in Belleville, Ontario near where I grew up).  I checked our database, and found we had a Mika book about Lunenburgh, and asked Dad to locate it in its box with the other Loyalist-related material.  I went into the other room with one of the book dealers to find something for him.  Dad came back with the book and asked me what he should do with it.  “Show it to the guy who asked about Mika books!” I replied.

“Why…is it Mika?” Dad asked.

“Yes!” I answered, barely concealing my annoyance.  Is this thing on?  After Dad left the room, the dealer I was talking to burst out laughing…

“I wouldn’t have believed that if I hadn’t heard it for myself!” he said.

“Multiply that by 9 hours a day for 11 years,” I answered.  “And he lives with me too!  It’s a wonder I still have my sanity.”

Jim came and picked up Anna and I, and we headed for home.  Hope had an appointment at the after hours clinic for 6:15, and we would have to hurry if we wanted to eat before we left again!

We bolted some Sloppy Joes and fries, and arrived early at the office.  The doctor wrote a prescription for Hope.  We took it to the drugstore and dropped it off…the woman at the counter told us it would be ready in about twenty minutes.  To kill time, we went to the dollar store and looked for things that Hope and Brianna needed for school projects.  We amassed quite a pile of stuff between the three of us, and took it to the checkout (there was no one there).  Eventually a clerk came from the back and called to us from the other counter, “I can help you over here!”

“I was afraid of that!” I answered while smiling through gritted teeth, as I tried to scoop up our 57 items to move them.

“Oh, I can help you with that,” she said, cheerfully.  We paid for our purchases and went back to the drugstore.  There were six people in line at the prescription counter…Hope and I took our place at the back of the line.  The customer who was holding up the line had a prescription that her insurance company wasn’t covering the full cost of, and she couldn’t seem to grasp the fact that she needed to ask her doctor to call them.  We’d been in line more than ten minutes when one of the pharmacists came out and asked if anyone had any questions or if we were all picking up prescriptions.  No one had any questions.

The pharmacist asked, “Who’s next?” and a lady who’d been standing off to my left (not in line) piped up.

“I’m just here to pick up my prescription.”

I thought, “That’s what we’re all here for, Lady…that’s why we’re in this line.”

She continued, “I was here before…I just came back!”  Guess who got served before I did!  I had Hope pinch me to make sure I really existed…

When we got home, I went to my computer and opened my e-mail.  Still no response from Akismet, but I decided to give commenting another shot.  I picked a blog I’d already tried to comment on, and typed a message about commenting earlier, explaining that the comment had probably gone into the spam.  I crossed my fingers and toes as my mouse hovered over the “Post Comment” button.  I clicked it.  SUCCESS!  Hooray! 

Apparently, I’m not a ghost after all!

58 Comments

Filed under blogging, books, family, rants, satire, shopping

WordPress Doesn’t Love Me Today…

Just a note to my blogging buddies…as far as WordPress is concerned, I am invisible today…none of my comments on your blogs are showing up (on my screen, at least – even though one blog informed me that I’d left duplicate comments – nothing to see!).   Please bear with me, and I will be back to commenting on your blogs as soon as WordPress Support can figure out what’s happening!

Wendy

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Filed under blogging

What a Difference a Year Makes!

One year ago today, I sat down at my computer and began an odyssey into a strange and wondrous place that I knew virtually nothing about: the blogosphere.  Armed with a desire to get back to writing regularly after a three-year hiatus, I sent my thoughts hurtling into cyberspace.  What a positive and enlightening journey it’s been!

The Readers

If people didn’t read my blog, it wouldn’t have a reason to exist…I am so thankful that each of you takes the time from your busy day to come for tea in Hammond River!  I would like to make special mention of my first blogging buddy, Jane at PlaneJaner’s Journey.  Jane’s been with me since the very first day, encouraging me and telling others about me!  I will always be grateful that we found each other, Jane, and am proud to call you my friend!  When I first started, hits on my blog averaged about 35 or 40 hits a day…now I’m getting 125 to 150 a day!  I’m closing in on 25,600 hits, and 4100 comments for the year!  If you’re a “lurker”, don’t be shy…please leave me a comment…I promise to answer it!

The Community

I really had no idea that there were so many crazy talented writers out there when I started this project…smart, thoughtful, funny people who have taught me so much about good writing!  I have blogging buddies on five continents!  I’m sending all you guys a virtual brownie (I hope nobody’s allergic to cyber-sweetness!)…thanks for “getting me”!  In honour of my “blogiversary”, I have added several new people to my blogroll today (see “He Said”, “She Said”, and “They Said”).  Please take the time to check out their blogs: there’s nothing that makes me happier than hooking people up with great writers!  Many of these folks have been Freshly Pressed, and most are the recipients of multiple awards…Mama don’t allow no junk on her blogroll!

Take two...they're small...I made them just for you!

The Posts

If someone were being really nice, they would probably classify my blog as a “cornucopia” of topics.  Truthfully, I write what I feel like writing…several of my readers have commented that they never know what I’m going to write about next!  I like not being “predictable”…that equals “boring” for me!  Some days, I’m a “mommy blogger”, others I’m a “foodie”.  I write about gardening sometimes, and tell stories about the wild animals that share our land.  Other times, I’m an amateur historian, or relate stories of my own childhood.  I rant…a lot!  I talk about music, and books, and our bookstore.  I’ve dabbled in fiction.  I even took an action figure on a tour of our city!  Changing things up is how I like to roll!

Recognition

Herding Cats in Hammond River has been Freshly Pressed twice by the powers that be at WordPress.  Thanks to the folks there for maintaining a quality blog site…there were a few technical issues last night, but they seem to have been resolved!  My fellow bloggers have been very generous about awards: They think my blog is “Bloody Brilliant”, “Versatile”, “Stylish” and “Memetastic”!  Thanks for the love, you guys!

The Family

I couldn’t do my blog without the love and support of my family…thanks for waiting patiently for dinner while I finish a post (or photograph what I cooked), and letting me make fun of you in public!  With you guys around, I’m sure I’ll never run out of things to write about!

Here’s to another year of Herding Cats in Hammond River!  Thank you, everybody!

Hugs,

Wendy

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Filed under blogging, friends, self-discovery

I Was Stylish Three Times in Three Weeks!

Or at least other people thought my blog was…I have received this award three times recently:

I was given the first one by Nancy at Embracing Myself on February 17th.  Then Todd at Todd Pack’s Messy Desk gave me the nod on February 28th.  Finally, Ian from The $#!& I Think About awarded me again on March 8th.  All of these folks are talented writers, and I am pleased to also call them my friends!  Please check out their blogs!

One of the requirements of the awards is to tell some stuff about yourself that people don’t know…that’s a tall order for me, because I probably share way too much in my blog as it is!  So, that’s been one of the things holding me up in officially “accepting” my awards!  The other barrier has been that I’ve gotten a lot of awards (not bragging…just stating a fact…well, maybe bragging a little!), and I’ve run out of people to pass them on to!

I visited a new blogging buddy’s site today after she commented on mine…Melissa at Play 101  had also been a triple winner of the Stylish Blogger Award.  Some thoughtful soul had provided her with questions to answer about herself, so I’m stealing borrowing the questions…I hope Melissa doesn’t mind:

1. How long have you been in your current relationship, and how many children do you have?  Jim and I are coming up on three years together…between the two of us, we have five kids (4 girls and one boy) and one granddaughter.

2. What is one thing most people don’t know about you?  That I’m not as big a “Goody Two Shoes” as I appear.  I’ve never broken any laws (that I know of), but I swear a lot (not in public usually). 

3. What are your greatest fears?  Running out of things: time, money, food, love.

4. What is your favorite food?  Sour cream and bacon Ruffles potato chips.  And bagels.  And pie (any kind except cream pies).

5. What is your most rewarding memory?  I’d like to say the births of my three daughters, but that hurt a lot (I did it naturally).  I think that some of my happiest memories are of doing things together as a family: eating, playing board games, making music, or outdoor activities.

6. At which store could you spend an entire day by yourself?  I really don’t enjoy shopping, but if I had to be in a store all day without kids, I’d definitely pick an old bookstore.

7. What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?  Tough one…so many choices!  There was the time I walked around the mall in Newfoundland with my fly down for an hour-and-a-half before discovering it (no one told me!).  Once, I accidentally got on the Super Express bus to Toronto from Ottawa, and found out just before getting to Belleville that the bus didn’t stop there…luckily, the driver took pity on me and let me off at the exit ramp…I picked up my suitcase and walked into town!  One of my favourite activities is dancing when my teenagers have friends over…it’s worth it just to see the looks on their faces!   

8. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?  I once took a temp job doing data entry for a non-profit organization’s fundraising event.  The hours were 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., so I spent all but half an hour of my shift by myself, and the work was boring!  I also found it difficult to get up with my daughter in the morning and take her to school…I always needed a nap after dropping her off!

9. What’s the worst thing you’ve ever worn?  I made myself an absolutely hideous maternity dress when I was pregnant with my first child…the style and fabric were both ugly…I don’t know what I was thinking!  Thankfully, no photos exist of that one!     

10. What’s your favorite guilty pleasure? I read Cosmopolitan at the hairdresser’s.  Please refer back to #2!

Instead of passing the award on in the traditional fashion, I’m going to steal borrow another idea from my friend Kathy at Reinventing the Event Horizon: she suggested that readers respond in the comments with a post of their own that they’re really happy with, and a post of someone else’s that they recommend reading.  So here’s an early one of mine that not many people saw: https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/pickin-and-grinnin/.  My friend, Amanda, at Life is a Spectrum, wrote this heartwarming story about her son: http://www.lifeisaspectrum.com/The-long-distance-runner

Please read, enjoy, and tell us about your favourite posts in your comments!  That’s one of the best parts about blogging for me: hooking up my friends with great blogs to read!

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Filed under blogging, family, food, friends

It’s Not My Style…

This past Saturday, my friend Amiable Amiable at Big Happy Nothing passed me The Stylish Blogger Award.  My friend, AA, is very sweet (be sure to check out her highly amusing blog!), but clearly delusional in bestowing this honour on a woman whose children have threatened kindly offered to suggest Style by Jury do a makeover on her (“They’d give you brand new pearly whites!” says Hope, hopefully).  Nevertheless, being the gracious sort (and not wanting to hurt AA’s feelings), I am proud to accept this award, and pass it along to other deserving bloggers.

Stylish Blogger Award

 

The requirements I must follow as an award recipient are as follows:

1. Write seven things about myself. 

I’ve decided (since I’m likely to repeat myself in my advanced age) to share with you seven little-known facts about me and my lack of style (Stacy and Clinton from What Not to Wear dream of getting their well-manicured hands on someone like me!). 

2. Present the award to six bloggers.

There are few people on my Blogroll who I haven’t already picked on honoured with various awards, but I will offer up some of my latest additions for your perusal.  I may lack that “je ne sais quoi,” but I’ve got a whack of stylish writers on my Blogroll!

3. Contact those people. 

Will do (just as soon as the post is up!).

4. Create a link back to the person who honored me. 

Done!

Seven Fashion Tips/Facts About Me I Hope No One Chooses to Follow:

1. My first (and second pair) of glasses were cat’s eyes: the first pink, the second blue.  I was seven…I thought they were cool!

Me with my Aunt Nancy's ponies, ca. 1968...a fashion plate even then...not!

2. I made my own halter tops in junior high from a simple trapezoid shape with drawstrings strung through the top and bottom…I was a 34A until I was 16. 

3. My parents didn’t have much money when I was growing up, and I bought all my own clothing from the time I was fourteen.  One of the things I desparately wanted was a pair of Levis jeans.  One day, a local store advertised in the newspaper that they had Levis for $3.99.  When I got to the store, the “on sale” jeans were actually cords, and they were burnt orange in colour.  I bought them anyway. 

4. In Grade 10, I recut a pair of hand-me-down bell bottom jeans (remember the really big bell bottoms popular in the mid-70’s?) and sewed them into a long granny-style skirt…I spent the rest of the year tripping over it!

5. I was not a “girly-girl” in high school, and rarely wore regular-length skirts.  Girls had to wear skirts for band though.  I found out (from a photograph in the yearbook) that I had played my flute in a band concert sitting in the front row with my legs wide open (lucky that I wore granny panties then, just like now!).

6. Before I had kids, I used to have money to buy shoes.  Shoes in Canada were always more expensive than they were in the U.S., so I’d wait until we went to the States to visit relatives to make my purchases.  On one such trip, I was thrilled to find a pair of pointy-toed suede cowboy boots for only $38 (they would have sold for over $100 in Canada at the time).  Some unkind people referred to my prized boots as “pickle-stabbers”!

7. In college, I went through a brief period where I wore hats all the time (it was the early ’80’s).  I built up quite a collection before I came to my senses and realized I wasn’t a “hat person.”

My Six Stylish Blogger Nominees:

The proper words in the proper places are the true definition of style.

Jonathan Swift

I have chosen my victims winners with Jonathan’s quote in mind…please check them out if you don’t already know them:

1. Another Stir of the SpoonJeanne and her husband, Curt, write one of two wife-husband blogs I follow (and they’re just as crazy about birds as Jim is!).  It is an eclectic mix of food, art, gardening, books and nature.  Just today, I learned about “real” ramen (as they do it in Japan), and “shino” glaze on pottery!

2. EduClaytion. Clay is the history professor we all wish we had in college…he makes history and pop culture fun!  There’s a rumour that the look of the “Flynn Rider” character in Tangled was modelled after him…the real Clay is definitely cooler and smarter than his cartoon twin!

Flynn Rider from Tangled…

3. Jumping in Mud Puddles.  I discovered Vickie after she was Freshly Pressed in mid-December…I kept reading because she cracks me up!  Vickie’s a fourth grade teacher in West Virginia.  One of my favourite posts of hers involves a lost ring

4. Life From the TrenchesAmy used to write mostly about etiquette, but has expanded the scope of her blog in anticipation of her imminent return to the “away from home” workforce.  She recently took up a challenge presented by one of my commentators to do a post on flatulence etiquette (we may collaborate on a book, but don’t hold your breath…or maybe you should!).  Amy handles whatever she writes about with good sense sprinkled with a liberal dose of humour!  
5. Loose Leaf NotesColleen is a poet, photographer, journalist, and a grandmother in Floyd, Virginia.  She shares my love of music and tea.  You never know what you’ll find when you visit Colleen…one of my favourites of her features is Thirteen Thursdays.
6. Reinventing The Event HorizonKathy is an artist and creative writing teacher currently living in Haiti with her partner, Sara, who works with a NGO doing relief work.  Kathy accomplishes the seemingly-impossible task of finding beauty in the ruins of a country devastated by poverty and a series of natural disasters.  Her writing is always thought-provoking and honest (she will probably be honestly horrified to discover she’s “won” another award…she just got the Memetastic Award…more homework!).
I’m off to dust off a spot on the mantel…maybe we should get those fireplaces working again! 

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Filed under blogging, friends, satire, self-discovery

A Premature Passing; Pecans, Pesto, and Pizza; and the Plowman Pops In…

The past week was pronounced…no matter how I persevered, people persisted in being a pain in my patoot:

1. A Premature Passing.  On Wednesday night, I was poking into the family photo albums, looking for the prized pictures of phenom puck-passer, Wayne Gretzky, for the post I published for his prestigious birthday.  As I perused the pages, my dad was peering over my shoulder.  “Oh, was that when Anna was cremated?  You looked good there!” he proclaimed.

Taking pains to prevent the peals of laughter that would probably provoke my pop, I parried with “I think we’ll wait until after Anna dies to cremate her (my very much alive 16-year-old was standing next to me at the time).” 

Putting on a pained expression, Dad picked up on his mistake.  “You know I meant christened,” he pouted.

Anna...not quite ready to be cremated...

 

2. Pecans, Pesto, and Pizza.  Thursday, the “powers that be” proclaimed a snow day for public school pupils.  My “pets” pronounced it “Piss Off A Parent Day.”  Anna and Hope passed the day at the bookstore with me, plundering my purse for every penny.  They prevailed that they were “parched” and might “perish” if their pleas for payment were pooh-poohed.  When not pestering me, they picked at each other.  Anna proposed patronizing Pomodori for supper.  Jim and I permitted it, since I had no prior plan for our evening meal.  I ordered the Spinach Salad with Sugared Pecans, Feta, and Figs, something I’d been pumped to partake of.  The progeny both had Chicken Pesto Pizza, and Jim got Spicy Italian Sausage Pizza with hot peppers.  After paying with pre-purchased gift cards, we polished off our plates, and the girls took some pizza home in a package.

3. The Plowman Pops In.  I preach to people I know that I’ve got “the best plow guy in the world.”  He was that every other day but last Thursday.  On our way home from Pomodori, my phone rang.  My dad called to tell me he was stuck partway down the driveway…he had tried to power his way through the plentiful snowdrifts…the plow guy had not been there at all that day.  As we approached, we saw Dad shovelling behind the paused vehicle.  That was when the plow guy made his appearance, approaching from the other direction.  Jim parked by the side of the road, and the girls and I plunged through the knee-deep snow towards the house to get more shovels.  When we got there, we were exhausted.  I changed my socks and was at the door putting on my boots, when the plow guy came to the door.  He asked if I wanted to pay him!  I was more than a little peeved, thinking I’d be more inclined to pay him if he’d shown up before my dad’s car got buried up to its rims in pesky precipitation!  I wrote him a cheque (a preposterous amount, since he hadn’t asked for payment all winter!), and then waited as he plowed near the house so that I could get back out to where Dad’s car was.  I made it just in time for his car to be freed, and for Jim’s battery to die at the end of the driveway.  Dad parked his car in front of the garage, and then helped me push Jim’s car until it started again.  It was after 8 by the time we got in the house!  We plunked down on the couch.  We were all pooped!  Our pooch was pleased to see us…he parked himself on my chest and pushed his head up under my chin.  After a few minutes of “puppy love” the pains of our predicament were forgotten…

Puppy Love...(photo by Hope)

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Filed under blogging, cooking, family, food, memories, rants, satire

An Award, A Maniacal Kitten, and Lies I Never Told You…

Earlier this week, my friend Amanda at Life is a Spectrum foisted off bestowed a new blogger’s award on me, The Memetastic Award.  It was conceived by Jillsmo at Yeah. Good Times.  I had to Google “meme” to find out what I was “tastic” at!  Apparently, “meme” rhymes with “cream”, and describes a concept that spreads via the Internet.  Here’s the award:

Memetastic Award…

(I feel younger just displaying it…maybe I should start dotting my “i”‘s with little hearts?  It almost makes me want to start using Emoticons…ooh, the horror!).

The rules for accepting The Memetastic Award are as follows:

1. You must proudly display the “absolutely disgusting graphic” (her words) that Jillsmo created in your post [check].

2. You must list 5 things about yourself, and 4 of them must be bold-faced lies (I can totally do that…it will be fun!).

3. You must pass this award on to 5 bloggers that you either like or don’t like or don’t really have much of an opinion about.  I’ve decided to pick on pass it on to bloggers I haven’t previously spread lies good words about.  Jill claims to not care why we picked who we pick, but I’m going to tell you why (Amanda picked me because she said she thought I would provide a happy home for the “maniacally-delighted cat”…unfortunately, Jim and his kids are allergic to cats!  My daughter, Kaylee, has two cats with issues…maybe she has room for one more?).

4. If you FAIL to follow Rules #1-3, Jillsmo will become the stalker from hell (or something to that effect)…I’m not tempting fate on that one!

5. Once you’re finished, please link your celebratory post back to The Memetastic Hop, so Jillsmo can see how far her diabolical scheme has gone.

*****

Five things about WENDY…which one is true?

1. I was once a principal dancer for the National Ballet of Canada, but was forced to retire due to a mysterious epidemic of hernias suffered by my male partners.

2. I used to have a bread-baking show on The Food Network called The Yeast You Can Do!

3. I recently took an action figure of Angelina Jolie on a photographic tour of my city, and I’m still allowed to walk around unsupervised in public.

4. Jim and I have a villa in Tuscany.  We go there for a month at a time and stuff ourselves with food our kids don’t like, and listen to our music all day long!

5. My house is spotless, and filled with books, antiques and art.

*****

And the victims winners are (in alphabetical order, by blog name):

1. Big Happy NothingAmiable Amiable has got lots of room at her house for the kitten, who’s sure to provide amusing antics to entertain AA and her husband (now that their children have moved out).  The cat will help keep those pesky birds away from the bird feeder too!

2. Flying Gma’s Blog.  Jeanne can entertain the cat by taking it up with her when she flies her plane.  I’d suggest investing in a kitty-carrier, though…might be kind of hard to see where you’re going with a crazed cat wrapped around your face!

3. H is for HappinessHarsha is more a dog person than a cat person, I think, but her little fellow, Ishaan, would have fun with a kitten, especially a mischievous one!  I bet the maniacal cat has never been to India!

4. I’ll Have NunavutIan and Suzanne really need another cat to keep the older ones young.  They could always use it as a scarf to keep warm too!

5. Lady Justine’s BlogLady Justine already has a menagerie at her house in France…she’s such a soft touch with animals, she’ll be happy about adding a kitten to the mix.  Maybe it can help her potty-train Tilly!

Be sure to check out all their blogs and harass ask them when they’re going to post the obnoxious kitten!  Thanks again to Amanda for this honour…stop in at her blog too!

 

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Filed under blogging, satire

I’m a Little Bit ADD, I’m a Little Bit Rock and Roll (With Apologies to the Osmonds)…

Fasten your seatbelts, readers…it’s going to be a bumpy ride…I’ll be going through topics faster than my kids can make ice cream disappear.  You’ll laugh; you’ll groan; you’ll salivate; you’ll wish you were having dinner at my house!

1.  Best. Candy. Ever.  Utah didn’t just give us the Osmond family…they also have the Sweet Candy Company which makes the best candy ever: Raspberry Sticks, which are described on the package as “raspberry jelly centers dipped in luscious milk chocolate” (this is NOT a lie!).  I discovered these bits of deliciousness at our local Co-Op when they were marked down after Christmas last week…I bought three boxes…unfortunately, they were gone when I went back for more last night!

Sweet's Raspberry Sticks...

2. Did You Miss a Post?  It seems that my blog host may have been having issues last week…just wondering if everyone who subscribes got notice of my Friday post on the Bay of Fundy…it was a “rerun” from the early days.  I wasn’t the only one having problems: my friend Renée at Life in the Boomer Lane moved her blog to a different host, and her subscribers aren’t getting their notifications (if you’re a fan of Renée’s, the link in my “She Said” blogroll still works!).  Poor Todd at Todd Pack’s Messy Desk put up a post on Thursday that got far fewer comments than usual…he thought the post was bad, but I tried to access it twice, and got the message “Post Not Found” both times!  He ended up taking it down.

3. Cooking Up a Storm.  Jim cooked twice last week, making a turkey dinner with dressing, mashed pototoes, and vegetables last Sunday (and Grammie Clark’s cheesecake for dessert!), and a lovely seafood chowder on Wednesday (with homemade biscuits!).  This past Sunday, I used frozen tomatoes from our garden to make some more pizza sauce (took several hours to cook them down), and made a deep dish pizza (which I forgot to photograph before people dove into it!).  For dessert, we had sour cream chocolate cake.

Homemade Pizza Sauce...I wish you had "Smellovision"...yum!

Leftover Pizza...I cooked the dough a little too long, but it tasted good!

 

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake...sinfully delicious!

4. Mr. James to the Rescue (Again).  When I came downstairs Sunday morning, Dad informed me that Jake was “having trouble” again.  He’d obviously gotten into something he shouldn’t have, and was pooping everywhere (Jake, not my dad!).  Consequently, the fuzzy white hair on his rear end wasn’t so white any more (still Jake).  After giving the dog a bath, I called our resident hairdresser and dog groomer, Jim (aka “Mr. James”) downstairs to do a quick trim on our schoodle’s bum.  I love that man!  We decided it would be best to sterilize the scissors with a little bleach before putting them in the dishwasher…

5. Valentine’s Day.  I’m finally taking down the Christmas books display at the bookstore and replacing it with a Valentine’s Day-themed selection.  Books with the word “love” in the title will be 10% off for the next little while…

Lover's Secrets...10% off...any takers?

6. Crossing Guards With Magical Powers.  As Jim and I were watching our usual Wednesday night comedies on ABC, a commercial that featured a crossing guard caught my cynical eye: she stops the kids in the middle of traffic to take a decongestant (?!!).  Jim helpfully pointed out that she had also stopped the traffic: “She’s an omnipotent crossing guard!” he declared.  I thought The Omnipotent Crossing Guard would make a great blog title.

7. Off the Map.  Speaking of ABC, I’m loving the new drama by the creators of Grey’s Anatomy, Off The Map.  It’s got interesting plotlines and characterization, cool guest stars (Michael McKean and Cheech Marin, so far), and a leading man from New Zealand named Martin Henderson, whose pecs are as sexy as his accent (don’t worry, guys…there are beautiful women on it too)!

Martin Henderson as Dr. Ben Keeton...hot in the jungle...

8. Just Call Me ‘Ms. Technical’.  Yesterday, Dad’s monitor started flickering for no apparent reason.  I got on the phone with Jim (the computer tech), who advised me to try my monitor to see if if would work.  After unhooking Dad’s heavy old-style monitor and hauling it down off the desk out of the way, I carried my slim-line monitor over from my office across the hall, only to find that it didn’t have the right connector to plug into Dad’s computer.  I carried my monitor back, and hooked it back up again.  I only swore a little bit.  Then I went into the back room and pulled out the old (massive) monitor to try it.  I connected it to Dad’s computer (right connection, but no picture…hurrah!).  Still flickering though, from what I could see.  Unhooking it again, I was getting ready to put it away when Dad insisted on carrying it for me (have you ever been offered help when you didn’t really want it?…sigh).  After reconnecting the regular monitor, the problem persisted, and I did a Google search, which suggested that if it wasn’t the monitor, it was likely the video card.   I called Jim again, who said he would look at it in the morning.  After we got home, I floated my “video card theory” for Jim, and was shot down.  Fast forward to this morning:  I turned on Dad’s computer and the monitor was fine.  I forgot the standard advice offered every week by the technicians on The IT Crowd: “Have you tried turning it on and off?” 

9. I’m the Last One Picked for Wii Games Too.  The kids conned me into playing Wii with them the other night.  I totally suck at baseball and tennis…at least I started to get the hang of bowling halfway through!  Damn that hand-eye coordination…I wonder if they have word games for Wii?

10. Classic Albums Live: The Who

Where?  The Imperial Theatre. 

When?  Saturday night. 

What?  An amazing group of musicians recreating the “Who’s Next?” album. 

Why?  I bought Jim tickets for Christmas, and we desperately needed a Date Night!

How?  Very skillfully!  This was our second Classic Albums Live show (we saw the Supertramp: Crime of the Century show last year and it was equally great!).  The band did an excellent job recreating the album note-for-note, and this folkie girl was instantly transported back 35 years to her “headbanger period” (age 15-16).  All the musicians and singers were very talented, and the drummer was awesome! 

If you have a chance to see a Classic Albums Live show, I’d heartily recommend it!

This concludes your tour through my rather addled Tuesday brain…I hope that the transitions didn’t cause any whiplash!

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Filed under blogging, books, cooking, family, food, music, rants, satire

‘Salt’y Tears…The Jolie Bids Adieu…

This is the final installment in a 3-part series chronicling The Jolie‘s visit to Saint John, New Brunswick.  I would like to thank my friend, Omawarisan, for his crazy idea ingenius plan that seems to have brought so much joy to my readers…this series was also incredibly fun to write!  Thanks again to Jim for driving all over town and putting up with rude stares as he photographically recorded The Jolie’s tour (he did all the touristy shots and labelled them too – he’s a lover, not a speller!).

If you haven’t read the first two parts, please take a few minutes and catch up…read quickly…The Jolie is anxious to be on her way!

Part 1

Part 2

Here’s the disclaimer (again):  This piece is purely for entertainment purposes and has no basis in fact (all Saint John tourist information is correct).  Any resemblance to living people (except my family) is coincidental. 

We left off Part 2 with The Jolie terrorizing exploring the Saint John City Market.  The Jolie did have an unpleasant encounter with the proprietor of one of the local fishmongers…for fun, I told her that “swimming with the lobsters” was a tradition in New Brunswick, kind of like swimming with the dolphins (a total lie!).  Well, The Jolie was bound and determined she was going to do it!  When she saw the lobster tank at the Market, she demanded to speak to the Manager.  The guy came out from behind the counter, and extended his hand to The Jolie…she ignored it. “I want to swim with the lobsters!  I came a long way to do that!”  The manager calmly explained that she might have some germs on her that could make the live lobsters ill.  “Do you think I don’t shower?” The Jolie asked indignantly.  While assuring her that everyone has germs, even movie stars, he offered to pack up a couple of big lobsters for her to take home.  The Jolie grudgingly agreed, “Well, I suppose…they probably taste better than Cambodian cockroaches.  Can you send the lobsters to Nunavut?  That’s where I’m headed after this.”  The manager wrote down the address, and promised to ship the crustaceans to the Far North right away.

Our next stop was King’s Square, which is across the street from the Market’s Charlotte St. entrance.  Until the mid-19th century, the Square was pretty primitive…people came to draw water from public wells, to view criminals in the pillory, or to celebrate special occasions with an ox roast.  The militia used it for training, and the butchers in town slaughtered their cattle there.  In 1844, city officials decided to make the Square more like an English country garden…a plan was made that included paths coming out from a central octagon, shrubbery, trees, and flowers.  Some work was started, but destroyed in the Great Fire of 1877.  The majority of the development at the Square was completed after that (in fact, most of the oldest buildings in the Uptown date to 1878).  The current bandstand was built in 1908 (restored in 1987), a memorial to King Edward VII.  The Jolie posed in front of it:

The Jolie and the King's Square Bandstand...the trees lining the paths were planted in the late 1880's...

The Jolie got a lot of stares from passersby as we walked through the Square…Saint Johners weren’t being their usual friendly selves:

The Jolie didn't get the attention she expected...

I overheard the following conversation between two old biddies:

“Imagine…goin’ out in the middle of winter in a tank top!  How come she’s not wearing a coat?” the first asked her companion.

The answer: “Maybe her money keeps her warm…she sure doesn’t have any body fat!”

Body fat must have been on The Jolie’s mind too, because the minute we arrived at our bookstore, Dave Shoots, Bookseller, she jumped on the scale to see if she’d gained any weight from the Timbits she’d eaten!

The Jolie tips the scales...

The Jolie proudly declared herself “weightless” (kind of like her performance in “Beyond Borders”).  At least her upcoming trip to Nunavut won’t cost much…maybe I should buy her a “fanny pack.”

While she was in the bookstore, The Jolie was photographed with a “local boy” who left Saint John and got famous (sadly, that’s usually how it happens!):

The Jolie and Stompin' Tom Connors...Prince Edward Island claims him, but he was born in Saint John...

Other famous people with Saint John roots include: film mogul Louis B. Mayer (born in Russia, but grew up here), actor Donald Sutherland (Kiefer’s dad, for you young whippersnappers!), actor Walter Pidgeon, and inventor Dr. Abraham Gesner (kerosene).  The infamous Benedict Arnold spent six years in Saint John after the American Revolution, but Saint Johners don’t like to talk about it!

The Jolie explored the bookshelves looking for reading material:

The Jolie checks out our fiction...

“Where’s your Danielle Steele section?” The Jolie demanded.

“Down the street, at the bookstore we don’t own,” I replied.

“What kind of bookstore is this?” she whined.

I smiled.  “A discerning one.”

The Jolie then asked to borrow a dictionary…I think she needed to look something up…

The Jolie consults a dictionary...

After returning the dictionary to its place, the Jolie headed for the children’s section…she wanted to send some books home for the Nanny to read to the kids.  I found her absorbed a few minutes later:

"Now I know my ABC's...next time won't you sing with me!"

Soon, I declared it was time to get packed up for the next leg of The Jolie’s tour.  She allowed me to wrap her in bubble wrap, and only whimpered a little when I put the packing tape over her mouth…for the first time since she arrived, The Jolie was speechless!

“Good luck in Nunavut, Dear!  Don’t let the door hit you in the arse on the way out!”

*No action figures were harmed in the writing of this piece (I left airholes in the box).  The Jolie will next appear in Iqaluit, Nunavut in I’ll Have Nunavut.  I hope she’s not allergic to cats!

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Filed under blogging, books, satire, tourism