Category Archives: satire

Ten Reasons I Should Have Been Invited to the Royal Wedding…

A grave error has occurred.  I didn’t receive my invitation to the Royal Wedding…I can’t imagine what must have happened to it!

Here’s why I should have been invited:

1. I have royal blood (sort of).  One of my earliest documented ancestors on my mother’s side, Ralph of Kingsley (his first name was actually spelled differently in Old English), was a deerkeeper for the British Royal Family in the 12th century.  Now I try to keep the deer out instead of in!

"I don't know Doris...I might not be able to make it over that fence!" (photo by Anna)

2. I have a lot of pictures of Prince William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.  I collected stamps from the age of 9…the Queen is featured on stamps from not only Great Britain and Canada, but also dozens of other countries (those Brits get around!).  I wish I had more pictures of her on money though…

3. I love British comedy.  I grew up watching Monty Python, Fawlty Towers (I do a wicked Sybil impression: “BASIL! BASIL!”), and The Two Ronnies.  My Grandad was a Benny Hill fan.  Today I love Mr. Bean and The IT CrowdThe Full Monty is still one of my favourite movies.

4. I’m a big fan of Elton John.  I’ve loved his music since the early 70s…his song, Levon, is one of my all-time top ten favourite songs.

The first Elton John album I bought...Captain Fantastic (photo from woostercollective.com)

5. I used to wear hats.  I had a lot of hats in the late 70s and early 80s, before I became aware that I looked stupid in them.

6. I once saved the Prince’s mother from a nasty concussion.  As a young Broadcast Journalism intern, I covered Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s visit to Ottawa in the summer of 1983.  My news director sent me out to try to get some tape of the Princess on her walkabout.  I’d never used a boom mike before, and it was swinging rather close to Diana’s head as I struggled to control it in the wind.  When the RCMP officer smacked the mike away, I didn’t try again!

Me as a young Broadcast Journalism student...do I look like the type of girl who would purposely try to decapitate a princess?

7. I laugh at Prince Charles’ jokes.  On the same tour of Ottawa, I was pleasantly surprised by how witty the Prince was…I wish I could remember the amusing anecdote he told as he addressed the throngs of people assembled to see him and his wife.

8. My daughter was also nicknamed “Wombat.” Apparently, Prince William’s parents called him by this affectionate nickname…my daughter, Kaylee, is four years younger than William, and I used to refer to her as “wombat” too.

My "Wombat" with her "Wombat"...(photo by Scott)

9. I make an awesome shepherd’s pie.  The kids beg me to make it for them, even though I’m the world’s slowest potato peeler…hamburger, onions, mashed potatoes, creamed corn…yummy!

10. I love tea.  I start every morning with a “cuppa”, and on weekends, might drink 4 or 5 cups a day.   I like mine with one milk, two sugar (which is probably sweeter than a proper Brit would like).  I am also partial to ice tea, which I drink in the summer time.

I’m sorry to have missed your wedding, Your Highnesses, but Hope has it on the PVR for when I get home tonight…Best wishes for a long and happy life together!

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Filed under satire

Yes, We Have No Wine, and Other Random Things…

Welcome to another chapter in my oh-so-exciting existence! We’ve got lots to cover…the transitions will be abrupt, so please keep a firm hold on your tea, lest it spill as we careen around corners!

1. Monday morning was sunny…I hated to have to work, but came into the bookstore anyway…I had three boxes of books to photograph, and 90 pages of our database to print off!  Hope was off school that day, so she came into town with me and helped take the pictures (it’s much easier for a 12-year-old to get up and down off the floor than it is for me!).  Anna and Brianna went to the mall…Anna used the money I gave her for jeans to buy shorts (because apparently 47 pairs aren’t enough!).  Brianna got some nail polish which is the perfect colour for my toes…maybe she’ll let me borrow it!

Anna and Brianna goofing around with the webcam last fall...

2. My friend, Dale, surprised me by dropping into the bookstore…I first met him in 1980 when we worked in two neighbouring stores in the Quinte Mall in Belleville, Ontario (I worked in a camera store, and he worked in the record store next door). I used to go into the record store and buy all kinds of albums (that was before I had kids to spend my money for me!). The following year, my boss decided to move his store to another strip mall in town, and Dale and I lost touch. Fast forward to the early 2000’s: I was receiving correspondence about an upcoming reunion of some of my buddies from Loyalist College, and saw a familiar name on the e-mail list. I e-mailed the guy and asked “Are you the same Dale who used to work in the record store?” Sure enough…turns out Dale went to Loyalist about the same time I did, and used to hang out with the radio guys I knew! We were reunited at the reunion, and have been in touch ever since…coincidentally, Dale now lives in Moncton, New Brunswick, which is only a little over an hour’s drive from where I live now. We chatted for quite a while, and then Dale left to get to a business meeting, promising to return soon to add to his “classics” collection.  We’re planning to meet up with some more friends from school this fall at the Gregg Allman show at the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in Fredericton in September.  I’m looking forward to seeing them all!

3. When we got home in the afternoon, Hope checked her e-mail, and excitedly called me over to the computer.  “Look at this, Mom!”  There was an e-mail from the Marketing Coordinator for Market Square…on the weekend, Hope and Gabrielle had sent her a clip of them singing “O Canada” and had asked if they could sing the national anthem at the Canada Day celebrations on July 1st.  The reply said that she would like to have the girls sing, and would be in touch soon to arrange the details!  Hope called Gabrielle right away to tell her the good news!  We were really proud of her for taking the chance to do something like that!

Gabrielle and Hope singing at a Talent Show last fall...photo by Jim

4. Monday night (after writing my Easter blog post), I remembered that Tuesday was our long-awaited book club meeting…we hadn’t gotten together since bidding our friend, Selina, “Adieu” in December when she moved to Winnipeg. We usually bring food of some sort for book club. Our book was “Secret Daughter” by Shilpi Somaya Gowder, which is set mainly in India.  What I know about East Indian food would fit neatly on the head of a pin (and I don’t eat much spicy food), so I Googled a local store where I might find something to bring to the meeting.  Upon reaching the website, I was confronted with the name of the product, a photo, and the price…no description whatsoever.  Back to Google…Nanak Gajar Halwa: “carrot fudge”? That sounds disgusting!  Nanak Rasmalai: “Soft Cheese Patty in thickened milk and sugar sauce”.  My lactose-intolerant stomach actually did a somersault after reading that!  I decided to go with something a little safer…I had a bag of Ganong Chocolate Marshmallow Eggs I’d bought on the weekend…everybody likes chocolate in our book club (and these are made in St. Stephen, New Brunswick)!

5. Tuesday morning was rainy, but at least I didn’t have a lot of work waiting for me at the store when I got there…I took the opportunity to catch up on the 40-50 blog posts I hadn’t had a chance to read over the long weekend!  It took me a long time, but there weren’t many customers wandering in to disturb me, so I was able to get it done!  I bought a Meditteranean Chicken Salad from Sagratti’s in the City Market for supper, and brought it back to the store to eat (I picked out the black olives…yuck!).   I hoped the family would save me some of Jim’s famous Turkey Soup…

Jim's soup and homemade biscuits...yummy!

6. I was the first to arrive at our Succulent Bookworms meeting (as usual – I don’t like to be late!).  I chatted with our hostess, and one of her three cats soon curled up on my lap, where it stayed for the rest of the night (if only I hadn’t been wearing black…oh well…that’s why they invented lint brushes!).  My friend called to me from the kitchen and offered me a drink, apologizing that she didn’t have any wine on hand, but that one of the other girls would probably bring some.  I declined…book club is the only time I get to indulge in red wine…I would wait until it arrived!  When she came back, she extended a ceramic plate towards me with little brown things on it.  “Oooooh…what’s this?” I squealed, thinking these must be some of those unidentifiable Indian delicacies I’d seen on that website.

“They’re the marshmallow eggs that you brought!” she prompted.  “Don’t you remember?”

I’m sure I turned about three shades of red before muttering, “Oh, yeah…” (damn peri-menopausal mushbrain!).  The chocolates looked a lot classier on that plate than they did in the compostable bag they came in!

The other girls trickled in over the next hour-and-a-half…nobody brought wine, but we did have a nice selection of food to choose from by the time everyone arrived!  There were two kinds of naan bread with mango chutney and guram masala for dipping, some pita chips with yogurt dip, some mini caramel muffins, and some decadent squares which were purely Western but awesome anyway!  We had some delicious mango juice to drink, which I’m planning to seek out next time I’m at Costco!  The hostess’ 3-year-old daughter demonstrated some of her ballet moves for us before her dad took her up to bed (he was mumbling something about getting her away from us before we corrupted her…another Bookworm man thinks we’re “witches”)…

We chatted about the book for a while (everybody liked it – excellent choice for a book club read), and then got off on our usual tangent…that was the first Worms meeting I’d ever attended where no one was drinking!  It was weird, but good…I can’t wait for the next meeting!

I was happy to get home to bed soon after 10:30…it had been a long day…

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Filed under blogging, books, food, friends, satire

Easter, Elmo and Elise Come to Hammond River…

After another busy holiday weekend, I’m happy to say that we survived to go back to work this morning…

One of the things I wanted to do on Friday morning when I woke up was get my indoor seeds started…it was sunny and warm on our back deck, so it was perfect for it.  I also made an executive decision that it would be a “jammie day”, which for me consists of a T-shirt and yoga pants (I don’t do yoga…I just like the pants!).  I set my 130 small peat pots out on some metal trays that I bought at Value Village…13 to a tray.  One at a time, I brought the trays outside to fill the pots from the industrial sized-bag of dirt, and put the seeds in.  As I worked, the birds flew past me on their way to the 392 bird feeders on our deck, some brushing close enough to me that I could feel the wind from their wings (I was glad they were birds and not bats!).  I was leaning over the table poking holes with my finger in the soil to deposit the seeds into, when I felt something on my back.  Reflected in the glass of the deck door, I saw that a chickadee had landed on me.  I have no idea what he thought I was, since I didn’t resemble any local tree in my bright orange T-shirt!  I hollered for Jim, who was immersed in a computer game in the living room on the other side of the glass…by the time I got Jim’s attention, my new feathered friend had abandoned his perch.

After I’d finished planting, I carried the trays carefully into our back kitchen, where I set them on a table I hope is high enough to prevent a repeat of Jake’s destroying my plants like he did last year!

Trays of planted seedlings...

Saturday afternoon after picking a few groceries for our Easter family dinner, I decided to try out a new recipe for the rolls…Clover Leaf Rolls.  I spent all afternoon making them…three rises…they looked amazing!

Rolls before putting them in the oven...photo by Anna...

I put them in the oven, being careful to reduce the temperature by 25 degrees, as our oven is quite hot.  Fifteen minutes later, they came out looking like this:

Finished clover leaf rolls...

Unfortunately, I baked them a little longer than I should have, and I decided they weren’t good enough for company…I had Jim pick me up some more rolls that afternoon.

While I was baking, Jim had conned the kids into helping him raise the giant birdhouse from last summer into one of the apple trees…it ended up one platform down from its intended resting place, but at least it was finally off the ground!

Remember this from last year? (photo by Anna)

I dragged myself out of bed Sunday morning at 8:30…I had a 12-lb. turkey to make stuffing for and have in the oven for noon, 7 loads of laundry to fold, and mega cleaning to do for our company (Jim and the kids helped after they got up)!  I was still working on all that when Kaylee, Scott, and Elise arrived at 2:30 (dinner was at 6).  Hope had organized a small Easter egg hunt for Elise in the living room (Hope hid them in plain sight).  Elise fed Hope and Jake some of her Fruit Loops (much to Jake’s delight).  Later, Hope took the opportunity to improve on Elise’s hairdo:

Elise...hair by Auntie Hope, photo by Auntie Anna...the theme of Elise's bedroom is Dr. Seuss...surprised?

Jim presented Elise with a fun children’s CD by one of the singers from the Presidents of the United States of America (they did the theme song for the Drew Carey Show), Chris Ballew, aka Caspar Babypants.  We also gave her an Elmo building toy, which led to a rather hilarious slip of the tongue from Hope:  “Look Elise…it’s Elmo Kotex!”

Maybe "Kotex" is his horse's name?

Jim’s parents and his sister, Tracy, came a little closer to dinner time.  Jim had made his Grammy Clark’s dressing and gravy…I did the turkey, mashed potatoes, squash (from the garden), cauliflower/broccoli mix, and corn.  Synchronising all that food takes a little talent.  I realized as I was serving myself corn that it was still frozen, and took it back to the kitchen for a couple more minutes in the microwave.  When it was done, I brought it back, and spooned some more on to my plate.  It was only after I finished loading up my plate with other things, that I discovered I’d made two piles of corn!  Other people had noticed, but were too polite to point it out! 

After dinner, most people were too full for dessert…Jim and I put the food away in lunch containers, and he put on the bones to boil for turkey soup.  We chatted for a while and then I served apple pie to those who wanted it.  By this time, Elise was so tired she could barely stand up!  Her parents took her home, and Jim’s family left soon afterwards. 

We watched Amazing Race before I went to bed…we were all sad to see Jet and Cord eliminated…the Goths have gotta go, especially that whiny Kent!

Happy Trails, boys...you were true gentlemen and awesome competitors! (photo from cbs.com)

Jim stayed up to finish making the soup broth and finish his game on the computer…
 
I hope all my readers had a Happy Easter…I’m going to spend tomorrow catching up on all the blog posts I haven’t read yet…

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Filed under cooking, family, food, gardening, nature, satire

Reluctant Cheer Mom Tears Up, and Other Random Events…

Here’s what’s been going on around Hammond River the last little while (this stuff is true…not like my recent Mark Twain post!).

1. Regular readers of this blog know that even though three of our four daughters are or have been cheerleaders, I’m not a fan.  Anna’s first competition of the year was Sunday, and her team was so amazing, I actually stopped thinking about how much my butt hurt from sitting on the hard bleachers, and teared up a little!  Here’s Hope and Jake before we left:

Hope and Jake before competition (photo by Jim)...apparently you can tie Jake's ears in a bow...

Anna’s team made callbacks for the first time in five years! I guess those ten hours of practice the week before competition paid off! Here’s the team during the routine:

Harbour View High Cheer team...Anna is the one under the middle red banner (photo by Jim)...

The girls were even better in the callbacks, but ended up fourth (several spectators around us were as shocked as we were…we thought they’d won!). We’ll get them next week!

2.  Jim’s been buying camera equipment on Kijiji to keep up with the girls’ competitions…we met a guy in the Wendy’s parking lot on Monday night to buy a flash meter (Anna’s comment: “That wasn’t sketchy at all!”), and then drove to another guy’s house to pick up a lens.

3.  Monday night, I learned that not having a plunger in each bathroom is a mistake…Hope flushed the toilet in the “kids’ bathroom” and it started overflowing.  I panicked, and it took several minutes for me to turn the shutoff valve off.  By the time I found the “good plunger”, Jim had already used the crappy one to unclog the toilet!  Then I got to wash the mats and the dirty clothes which had been on the floor during the mini-flood.  Note to self…do not put clothing in the dryer with rubber-backed bathmats…little balls of rubber will come off, and permanently attach themselves to very expensive hoodies…

4.  Speaking of sewage, we found out this morning that the lot next to our place has been sold (bad news).  This means that the landlord is redoing the septic field (good news!), but that our yard will be torn up (it will be flatter when it’s finished…good news), and we will lose the lilac trees by our back deck that the birds like to hang out in (bad news).  On the upside, they will be redoing the driveway so that it actually drains instead of a 20-foot puddle forming in front of our garage every spring…the bad news is that the neighbours’ new driveway will be through our front lawn.

5.  Hope made cinnamon muffins, but neglected to read the mixing instructions under the ingredients in the recipe.  They tasted okay, but were rather lumpy and heavy.  She redeemed herself last night with some delicious chocolate chip cookies, which she proclaimed were better than mine!  I actually agree with her this time!

6.  Anna baked chocolate chip muffins, and almost forgot to put in the chocolate chips…she ended up poking them into the individual muffins just before putting them in the oven!

7.  Jim and I went to see the movie Source Code last night while Anna went to a school dance…I’m not usually a sci-fi fan, but I made an exception for the chance to drool over Jake Gyllenhaal.  It was quite good, and had us on the edge of our seats a lot of the time.  While we watched, I ate a couple of Lowney Cherry Marshmallow Creme Eggs…almost as yummy as Jake G.!

Jake with his "Source Code" co-star Michelle Monaghan...photo from tom-samp-journal.blogspot.com

8.  Anna found out this week that a design she submitted for the Drama Fest at her school had been the one chosen for use on posters, brochures and T-shirts!  Her teacher wanted her to submit a short bio to be included in the brochure…I wrote it for her.  We’re very proud of her!

9.  We’re hosting Easter dinner for the family at our house this year…Jim’s parents are serving Easter Breakfast at their church, and his mom says she’ll be too tired to cook.  We’re still on the hunt for a turkey (Kaylee can’t eat ham)…will try to find one tonight.  We also need to clean up our house for company!  I’m looking forward to seeing everybody, especially my “Puddin’ Pop”!

"Oh, dear...how did that get there?" Elise tries fingerpainting for the first time...

10.  I got a Facebook friend request from musician Thom Swift a couple of days ago…I “Liked” his fan page…maybe he read this piece I wrote about his concert last summer…

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Filed under family, food, rants, satire

Facebook Ads That Made Me Go “Hmmm”…Spring Edition

Last fall, I wrote a post about the ads that show up in the sidebar on Facebook while I’m trying to concentrate on my extremely crucial games of Scrabble, Lexulous, Wordscraper, Bejewelled Blitz, Hexagonized, Jeopardy, and Bomboozle…the marketers are still after me!

For goodness sake...keep your voice down! Someone might hear you!

The ad said:  “1 Tip for Wrinkles

Dermatologists don’t want you knowing this $5 wrinkle secret.”

My response:

Dear Wrinkle Guy:

I already know how to get wrinkles!  I got mine the natural way: from my children (and there were those years of picking fruit and vegetables in full sun with no sunscreen).  I didn’t pay money for them (the wrinkles or my children!).  Maybe Oprah can afford $5 for her wrinkles, but I can’t!  Besides, she’s steered me wrong before…I bought Ursula Hegi’s Stones from the River because it was one of Oprah’s Book Club picks…it was so depressing, I was tempted to call Dr. Phil!  What were we talking about again?

That doll's creepy...let's just leave her hidden, shall we?

The ad said: “New Hidden Object Game

Play the new addicting hidden object game on Facebook!”

My response:

Dear Game Pimps:

I am already hopelessly addicted to seven of your games (see 1st paragraph of this post), which I play when I’m not reading/commenting on one of the more than 50 blogs that I follow, or writing my own blog.  I’m not quite sleeping at the keyboard yet, but that’s coming soon!  Besides, I spend a good deal of my real life looking for “hidden objects”: books that somebody’s ordered in our bookstore, Jim’s keys, teenagers’ homework, cellphones, iPod earbuds, the jeans with the diagonal pocket on the left hip, shoes, cheerleading Spankies, etc.  Thanks but no thanks!

She looks awfully happy about her profession...

The ad said: “$84/hr At Home Jobs

Can you type? Get paid $84/hr working from home.  Requirements: Computer”

My response:

Dear Mr. Scammer:

I can think of very few jobs where one can make $84 working at home…none of them require a computer or typing ability, and at least a couple of them are illegal.  I suspect that my body type would be unsuitable for the type of employment you have in mind…I also hate having my picture taken!  Find another sucker!

Kobo is for dodos...

The ad said: “Reading from your iPad?

Click here to get 20% off eBook Coupon!  Kobo has more than 2 millions of FREE eBooks and low-priced bestsellers.  get yours now!”

My response:

Dear Dodo Kobo:

I do not own an iPad, or a smart phone.  I do not Tweet, and I’m the world’s slowest texter.  When I read, I read books with paper pages…they are rarely bestsellers (unless they were bestsellers of the 1860s!).  If your last “sentence” is an example of the material available in your eBooks, I hereby offer my services as an editor.  I can help you reel in more live ones convince more people to buy your product!  I’ll use the money you pay me to buy real books!

Funcheez...really?

The ad said: “Try NEW Funcheez

Let your imagination go wild with NEW Black Diamond Funcheez Marbelicious Moons and Planets.”

My response:

Dear Black Diamond:

Even though I have a sentimental fondness for your brand of cheese since it’s made in Belleville, Ontario, where I went to high school, I feel compelled to comment on your latest marketing idea.  You’ve mispelled “cheese”, and “fun” and “cheese” should be two words.  Moons and planets?  I hope you didn’t make a “Pluto”!  When I grew up, the only cheese “shapes” we had were fresh curd purchased direct from the cheese factory on a Sunday drive…yummy!  The Black Diamond cheese I buy for my family comes in rectangles…I buy the 500-gram one (which used to be 700 grams but is getting smaller all the time!).  By the way, we’re running low…how about sending me some coupons?

Advertisers…you can’t fool this old fool!

  

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Filed under rants, satire

‘Twixt, ‘Tween, and Twain…An Exclusive Interview

I had just played a 28-point word in online Scrabble (take that, Mondo!) when I heard the doorbell ring.  I hadn’t even heard a car, and I wasn’t expecting anybody.  Jake began to bark his head off.

I looked out the window before opening the back door…there was an old man standing on my back step.  There was a buggy parked in the driveway under my crabapple tree!  What the hell?  I opened the door a crack. “Yes?” I asked cautiously.

“I’m sorry to bother you, Madam, but I seem to be lost,” said the man.  “I heard there were fiddleheads in these parts…I’ve travelled all the way from Connecticut so that I may taste them.”

Okay…he’s old and looking for fiddleheads…probably not an axe-murderer, I thought.  “I’m sorry, Sir, but you’re a few weeks early for fiddlehead season, but you’re welcome to come in for a cup of tea and some pie!”

“Thank you,” he answered as he came in the house.  I grabbed Jake to keep him from jumping on the man’s white suit.

“I’m sorry, Mr. –?”

“Clemens,” he replied, giving Jake a look that told me he wasn’t a dog person.  “Sam Clemens.  If animals could speak the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow, but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.”

“I don’t have a cat…my fiancé’s allergic.”  Wait a minute…Sam Clemens…that sounded familiar, I thought, searching my almost 50-year-old brain.  Holy crap!  “Not the Sam Clemens!  You can’t be him!  He’s been dead for 100 years!” I sputtered.

“The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” he smiled.  “Now how about that pie you promised?”

“Okay,” I agreed, reasoning that I might have overindulged in cold medication, and that I was having a hallucination.  I showed the visitor to a chair in the living room, and readied the food.

As I returned to the living room, I noticed the man had lit a pipe…damn!  “Do you mind putting that out, please?  Jim’s allergic to that too!”

“As an example to others, and not that I care for moderation myself, it has always been my rule never to smoke when asleep, and never to refrain from smoking when awake.”  He grumpily put the pipe into his pocket.

“So you came all the way from Connecticut?  Our weather must seem quite different to you,” I commented, hoping I didn’t sound too lame…my ability to make small talk is limited.

The old man was staring at Jim’s big screen TV as he replied, “The weather has been a good deal of a disappointment. Canada has a reputation for magnificent winter weather…but the result this time has been a mess of characterless weather, which all right-feeling Canadians are probably ashamed of.  Well, never mind, what you lack in weather you make up in the means of grace.”

Then I had a crazy idea (not that I wasn’t feeling crazy already talking to a dead man!): “Mr. Clemens, as long as you’re here, I’d really like to interview you and publish the story on my blog…would that be all right?”

“What’s a blog?” he asked curiously.

“Well, it’s kind of like a diary that people around the world can read if they want to.”

He looked pleased, “People around the world have read my books!  I’ll do it!”

The Visitor...photo from openinglines.org

What follows is the transcript of my exclusive interview with Samuel Clemens, also known as Mark Twain:

Writerwoman61: What is your philosophy of life?

MT: Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other.

Writerwoman61: What is the secret to your success?

MT: The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

Writerwoman61: Are you happy with the person you are?

MT: The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.

Writerwoman61:  Everyone likes to be right…does it bother you when people think you’re wrong?

MT: Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

Writerwoman61: What happens when you lose your temper?

MT: When angry, count to four; when very angry, swear.

Writerwoman61: You must get depressed sometimes…how do you pull yourself out of it?

MT: The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.

Writerwoman61: How do you deal with people who put you down?

MT: Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.

Writerwoman61: What about people who are just using you for their own gain?

MT: Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.

Writerwoman61: How do you feel about honesty?

MT: If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

Writerwoman61: What do you think of our politicians?

MT: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

Writerwoman61: What about political speeches?

MT: If we were supposed to talk more than listen we would have been given two mouths and one ear.

Writerwoman61: Are you optimistic about the younger generation?

MT: The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop.

Writerwoman61: What is the biggest problem with young people today?

MT: Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.

Writerwoman61: How important is a college degree?

MT: Don’t let schooling interfere with your education.

Writerwoman61:  When trying to understand something, how important is it to ask questions?

MT: He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.

Writerwoman61: Do you have any advice about love?

MT: If you want love and abundance in your life, give it away.

Writerwoman61: Is one happier when one is in love?

MT: To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.

Writerwoman61: How do you find the right person?

MT: When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not your brain.

Writerwoman61: Once you’ve found that special person, then what?

MT: Let your joy be unconfined!

Writerwoman61: How do you want to remembered?

MT: Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.

*********

I jerked awake when my alarm went off.  “I had the weirdest dream…” I told Jim.

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Filed under history, satire

Things I Learned This Weekend…

Here are a few of the things I learned this past weekend:

1. That we have a new bird hanging around our back deck.  Anna called me on Saturday to let me know that we had a brown-headed cowbird.

Brown-headed cowbird (photo from allaboutbirds.org - couldn't find Anna's photo!)

  

2. That the Habitat for Humanity ReStore has neat stuff.  We went on Saturday morning.  In addition to every building material known to man, there were used books (nothing I wanted for the store though), brand new 1″ binders, used furniture and appliances, and even scented candles!  We were looking for lumber to extend our fence posts higher.  We got two bundles of nine 2″x 2″‘s, 8 feet long for $10 each.  We will string twine between them and put streamers and ribbons on the twine to hopefully prevent the deer from trying to jump the fence.  As the teenage boy loaded the wood into the back of the van, I drew a blank on how to thank him:  He was only about 17, so he wasn’t really a “Sir”.  I didn’t want to call him “Son”, because he wasn’t my son, and I didn’t want to sound ancient.  So I said, “Thank you…dear!” which is what Saint Johners call people that they’re not on a first-name basis with.  I don’t think he heard me… 

3. That Kaylee makes better homemade pizza than her mother (yes, I said that).  We had supper at her house on Saturday, and she made three awesome pizzas using essentially the same dough recipe that I do!  I need to get some pizza stones…

4. That 19-month-old toddlers are great imitators.  Scott set his ice cream bowl down on the floor for the cat to lick, and a couple minutes later, Elise bent from the waist, stuck her tongue out and her bum in the air, and tried to lick the bowl too!  We all wished we’d had a video camera going at the time.

Elise getting fit with mommy's weights...

5. That our van registration expired over a month ago.  As we drove home from Kaylee’s, there were four Rothesay Police vehicles setting up a roadblock…they waved us through.  Jim asked me to check the van registration in the glove compartment just in case…it’s a really good thing they didn’t stop us…it would have been a $185 fine! 

6. That even the deer don’t like Rebecca Black’s song.  When we came home from Kaylee’s house, there were about 5 deer grazing in the side yard.  They stood and looked at us as we got out of the van.  Then Hope had an idea:  she did a perfect rendition of Rebecca Black singing “Friday”, complete with nasal congestion.  All the deer took off running immediately! 

7. That people running extra-curricular programs in our schools expect way too much from the kids (and their parents).  Hope had a two-hour cheerleading practice on Saturday, followed by 8 hours of competition and another 2 hours of practice on Sunday.  Devin spent more than 24 hours at his school on Saturday and Sunday doing backstage stuff in preparation for the upcoming musical.  He’ll be at school every night this week until about 11.  Anna has two 5-hour+ cheer practices this week to get ready for their first competition on Saturday (about 7 hours).  At least, Jim enjoys driving… 

8. That I’m too old to stay up until midnight three nights in a row.  Late nights Thursday, Friday and Saturday led to a Sunday migraine.  I missed Hope’s cheer competition and my sister-in-law’s birthday party (Happy Birthday, Tracy)!  On the plus side, Hope’s team didn’t get any deductions this time (but she managed to leave her track pants and jacket at the host school – we hope to get them back tomorrow!).

Hope in her sparkly eye makeup from the cheer competition…

9. That Anna will do laundry if I’m sick.  She even came up and asked if we had any darks in our hamper she could do for us!  It’s a good thing I was lying down at the time.  Now, if I can get her to pick up her dirty dishes off the family room floor…

10. That the price of lactose-free milk can jump by 25 cents a litre in one go.  We now pay $5.19 for 2 litres (a litre is a little bigger than a quart) of Lacteeze (three people in the family are lactose-intolerant).  We go through about 3 litres of Lacteeze a week, in addition to 4 litres of regular milk.  Thank goodness gas prices only go up 2 to 3 cents a litre at a time!

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Filed under cooking, family, rants, satire, self-discovery

Gentlemen…Start Your Search Engines…

Last fall, I did a fun post about the search terms people had used to find my blog.  Six months later, I found myself facing an empty screen, so decided to put together another one (note to Ironic Mom and her “Tangled” accomplice – I am purposely leaving out search bombs)!
Technically-Challenged Searchers
use Plunger.  I sincerely hope this person’s toilet wasn’t overflowing while he stopped to Google what most people instinctively know.  That might be difficult to explain to the insurance company!

"Gee, which end should I use?" (photo from plumbinghelp.ca)

easiest roller coaster out of sticks.  Generally, I try to avoid amusement parks.  When I do get dragged to one by my teenagers, we have a rule that no one is allowed to ride the roller coaster made of sticks (at least not without a helmet!).
letter p blackberry fell off.  It is terribly inconvenient when my “p” falls off!  It really ‘isses me off!
Consumer Searchers
what kind of watch does jack carter from eureka wear.  A sexy one, of course.  It would also have all the latest gadgets.

Jack Carter with his sexy watch (photo from wormholeriders.net)

high school music hall pom pom girl wallpaper.  Bad news, ma’am…wallpaper is getting very difficult to find, and high school music hall pom pom girl wallpaper has to be special-ordered from Texas.
cast iron giraffe toilet paper holder.  A regular plastic spindle just will not do.  And it can’t be a rhinocerous either.
macho en calzones. This poor person was looking for men’s underwear…he was probably really surprised to be directed to a post about deer challenging electric fences and pizza pockets!
Spelling-Challenged Searchers
mr. been.  I assume this person meant Mr. Bean, who isn’t a has-been yet.  They still show his specials on CBC all the time.

Mr. Bean...still funny after all these years (photo from slidephoneblog.blogspot.com)

pumpkinks attack.  That sounds scary, and twisted, all at the same time!  This isn’t that kind of blog!
fune catsin wedes.  This is a head-scratcher: my blog is fun, I have the word “cats” in the title, and I have talked about “weeds” occasionally in gardening posts…any other guesses?
Food Searchers
garlic and brown sugar cheese ball.  This misguided soul obviously didn’t get the memo about cheese balls not being served at parties held after 1980…I was horrified to discover that an actual recipe exists for this abomination.  It is not on my site, and never will be!
define chicken heart.  Okay, bud…put down the plunger, and think really hard!

This is not a chicken heart...(photo from southviewfarmcottage.co.uk)

Medical Searchers
flatulence in 10 year old boy.  I can’t help you with that.  I only know about farting teenagers, and 48-year-old men who spend a lot of time “reading magazines”.
does zumba work make your legs chunky.  It’s possible.  My legs are definitely chunky after that one time I tried Zumba.  And it wasn’t “work”…it was torture!  I’ll never do that again!
Animal Searchers
the monkees with cats.  Did The Monkees own cats?  I don’t know.  I talked about them once (the musical group), but the discussion was about Mike Nesmith’s mom and her invention of Liquid Paper.

Does Mickey have a cat under his poncho? (photo from 8notes.com)

wet tail.  What was this hapless searcher looking for?  Whatever it was, I don’t think he found it on my blog.
Searchers With Too Much Time On Their Hands
welcome sing to my room.  I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest this person may not have had English as his first language.
taylor swift just a zombie baby.  I wouldn’t go that far…she’s actually not a bad singer!

Not very zombie-like at all...(photo from theimproper.com)

“my holy pants”.  I have never been a religious person.  However, I do have a pair of pants which are not fit to wear in public, but too good to throw out.  I tend to wear them around the house on Sundays…hence “my holy pants.”
What are some of the strange terms people have found your blog with?

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Filed under blogging, satire

Post #200…What Do You Mean “There’s No Party”?

This is my 200th post…do I have anything earth-shattering to report?  No.  A profile of an extremely interesting person?  No.  Great news?  Not really.  What I’ve got is another collection of random things:

1. Dread of Deer.  About three weeks ago, we looked out the window into the back yard, and discovered with dismay that the deer have learned that they are capable of jumping the fence!  Unless I can think of a plan to keep them out, gardening this year is going to be a dangerous thing…I’ve been so obsessed that I actually dreamed that we had three baby deer in our living room (I let them out the back door)…

"Are you lookin' at me? Because I'll totally snort at you if you come any closer! It's way more fun on this side of the fence!" (photo by Anna)

2. Discriminating Darlin’.  My granddaughter, Elise, is almost 19 months old, and has recently learned how to count to 10…sort of.  She starts at “3” because she feels that “1” and “2” are too trivial to bother with!  

 3. Doh!  Every morning as we’re on our way into town to the bookstore, we listen to the CBC News World Report at 7 p.m., which is usually hosted by Peter Armstrong.  When talking about the ongoing issues in Ivory Coast, the illustrious anchorman reported that the militants were “fighting definitely”.  Um…I think “defiantly” is what your copywriter meant, Peter.  While we’re at it, can we talk about your improper pronunciation of potash (“pott-ish”), Afghanistan (“aff-gan-i-stun“), and Pakistan (“pack-i-stun“)?  Wrong, wrong, wrong!

4. Decisions and Debates.  Speaking of CBC, they’ve been promoting a nifty new “tool” on their website which is supposed to help decide which tool party leader to vote for in our upcoming federal election on May 2nd.  I used the Vote Compass, and was not at all surprised that I lean left on both economic and social issues.  I still don’t know who I’m going to support…all the candidates have not been announced in our riding yet.  The lone female, Green Party candidate, Elizabeth May, is fighting for the right to be included in the leaders’ debate…I hope she succeeds!

The Candidates..."Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe, and Curly" (photo from workliveplaycafe.com)

5. Dunce.  Yesterday afternoon, I received this e-mail from my daughter’s high school, I have copied it verbatim, except to remove the principal’s name and change his initial, to protect the  idiot innocent:

Good afternoon all,
This is Mr. B. calling to inform you that the school recieved a threatening phone call today. Although it turned out to be a crank call, we took it very serious placed the school into a lockdown. The police were called and very quickly resolved the problem.
I also want to tell you that this is the week of our musical and the tickets are going fast. If you are thinking of attending, you better pick up your tickets at the office or get them at the door.
Thats it for now,

Mr. B.

Hmmm…97 words…three grammatical/spelling errors that I can spot immediately.  My daughter tells me the students refer to the author as “Slow Marvin” (not his real name), and that he doesn’t actually teach any classes (what a relief!).  I’m so glad that the school took the threat “serious”…I wish they were as serious about grammar.  “Now Mr. B…please don this dunce cap and go sit in the corner!”

This isn't "Slow Marvin"...(photo from businessinsider.com)

6. Deliciousness.  A random Herding Cats post wouldn’t be complete without food!  Feast your eyes on these photos of Jim’s banana bread (we have to hide the banana bread bananas from my dad, or he’ll eat them!), and my cornbread-topped chili!

Jim's banana bread: regular, flax, and chocolate chip

 

Chili topped with cornbread...yummy!

You can do this chili yourself:  Make your regular chili, and then put it into a casserole.  Mix up some cornbread batter and pour it over the top of the chili.  Bake it in the oven until the cornbread is done.  Instant deliciousness!

Thanks for coming over to celebrate my 200th post…I sincerely hope that none of the stuff you’ve learned here keeps you awake this evening…

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

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!

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