Tuesday, 31 October 2006

Halloween Party 2006
Batgirl Undercover
The Queen of * Everything Posted by Picasa
 Posted by Picasa

Happy Halloween to all!
Comics posted from http://www.ghosthumor.com Posted by Picasa

What If Monday! (Okay, Monday plus a day and a half...)

My apologies that What If Monday was not posted on Monday.....I had antivirus issues that took, of course, most of the day to correct.

So, here's your What If, just in case you were missing it:

If you could read the mind of any one person you know, whose would it be?
Me? I would have to choose my husband. So I could know what he thinks when he looks at me in that wonderful way, and that exasperated way, and that I can kill you way, and that are you stupid way, and that damn you're sexy way.

Thursday, 26 October 2006

The Joys of People Watching

To be published in the Mississippi Weekender Friday, 10/27...following is the 'Director's Cut'...

Have you ever found yourself getting caught up in watching people? Maybe you wonder what they’re thinking, what their lives are like, where they’re going?

Most of you are saying…um…NO. Well, I love watching people. I blame it on my Mom. When we would go out for dinner and there was an inevitable wait, she would entertain us kids by pointing at a couple outside the window and asking “What do you suppose they are talking about out there?” And that’s how my people watching got started. Truthfully, I became addicted when my mom and I concocted a story of a marriage betrayal, an angry mistress and a possible murder for hire. And this was all from a man and woman talking in the parking lot of our local pizza parlour.

In order to fully appreciate wandering humans, I must be out in public with nothing to do. Like waiting for my 90 year old mother in law to finish her grocery shopping at our local grocery store so I can give her a ride home. I've got the latest Candace Bushnell book to keep me company, but the people are so much more interesting at this moment.

Nobody knows I’m just sitting here in my car…watching them. Lanark County residents and visitors scurry through the parking lot, pretty much oblivious to everything except what’s on their shopping list. At least, that’s the safe thing to think.

I see plenty of friends wandering in and out of the store. I’m too lazy to get out and say hello, so instead I just wonder how they’re doing and make a quick mental list of people I need to catch up with. Beyond that, it’s more fun to pretend what strangers are thinking when they walk by. Not to mention taking a guess at what the heck they were thinking when they looked in the mirror that morning.

Case in point: There’s a woman in her late fifties, wearing bright orange spandex pants and a fuschia halter top under her parka. Now, a 'normal' person would look in the mirror and think:

1. I'm not in Florida or on a cruise ship
2. I'm not 19 years old
3. It's not June, and I'm not taking a trip to the sun
4. This outfit looks like crap, I can't go out in public like this!

However, since this grandmotherly woman took the time to keep her esemble on her body and subject herself to public scrutiny, here's what I must suppose she's really thinking:

“I’d better hurry or I’ll be late for my Vegas Revue. Must get more mascara and pasties, and check on my pole dancing class.”

See? That’s how it works.

There’s a lovely young man with a bouquet of flowers leaving the store. He wipes his brow and is talking to himself. Is he rehearsing an apology? A proposal? A request for a first date? The possibilities are endless, but I settle on the apology. It’s the middle of the day, after all. He probably stayed out too late playing poker.

There’s a harried father with two toddlers, one already pointing at the store, no doubt asking if she can hang out in the cereal or toy aisle. He’s contemplating it, but he’s also probably thinking his daughter will tell his wife when they get home, and that won’t be pretty. He pulls out the shopping list before he heads in through the noiseless sliding doors. He squares his shoulders like a man going off to war. His momma would be proud.

Sometimes, watching people is so entertaining that I’m almost disappointed when make-believe time is over. I didn’t even have a chance to think about the teenage couple holding hands, the gentleman that comes out with loads of soda cans, or the elderly lady getting out of the taxi.

The next time you’re waiting anywhere, make up your own story about the strangers walking by. They’ll be confused by the mysterious smile on your face…and that will be amusement enough....trust me on this.

Monday, 23 October 2006

What If Monday!

If you had to choose one job that you had to go back to, which one would you choose and why?

Me? I would probably go back to the Children's Hospital Central California. It was a fantastic job that was for the most part, quite rewarding. I love event planning and the promotional things I learned. Because of that job, I now run my own company. But if I could learn more from them (without the catty back-stabbing and promotion squashing), I'd go back in an instant.

Your turn!

Thursday, 19 October 2006

Hallowe'en Preparedness

When I was a youngster, I remember really looking forward to Halloween. The costume ideas would come fast and furious, and I couldn’t wait until my mother relented and took my brother and me shopping, blindly hoping that I would be able to find the p-e-r-f-e-c-t costume.

There were always so many brightly coloured choices. Did I want to be Wonder Woman? Batgirl? A princess or ballerina? Minnie Mouse? A witch? I wanted to dress up in every costume I saw.

It didn’t matter that they were ill-fitting, non-flame retardant and had masks that not only choked but came close to suffocating you before you could fill your pillow case with sugary treats. All that mattered was that every other kid in the city would be wearing one of those plastic masks, and I had to be one of them.

However, it usually came down to not enough money for store-bought costumes, so we would once again go home disappointed. But then Mom would help us discover a fantastical character that had never been heard of.

We may have been bitter, ungrateful children at the time, but looking back, I long for the days when it was all as simple as dressing up in Momma’s flow-y and flowered scarves and gold jewelry to be the coolest gypsy in town – again.

Then one year it happens. We’re no longer young enough to get away with begging for candy. You know the year. When the people that answer the door look at you like this had better be your last year saying “Trick-or-treat!” at their door. And those meanies are why we stop celebrating Halloween.

Now, a couple dozen years later, we’ve been invited to a costume mandatory party. I am almost giddy with excitement, and I think it’s the little girl in me, jumping up and down with the possibilities of what my costume could be, should be….will be!

So why am I writing about this a full two weeks from the actual day? To issue a challenge to all of us Halloween-humbuggers who have lost our childhood joy of Halloween.

Ladies, pull out an old party dress and prom tiara and proclaim yourself the Queen of Everything, or pour fake blood over your head and you’re Carrie! Grab some white powder, a long duster coat and a cowboy hat and make your man a Ghost Rider!

Go buy a spooky CD with some cool ghoulish sounds to scare the kiddies when they come knocking on your door. Use a creepy voice. Your kids will get a huge kick out of it, even if they do roll their eyes and call you lame.

Turn your town hall into a haunted house! Put bats in the belfry! Pipe some scary music through the town! Let’s all dress up and knock on doors. If we arrive en masse, there’s no way they won’t put candy in our bags!

Me? I have some costume shopping to do…oh, the possibilities!

Monday, 16 October 2006

What If Monday!

Here's your Monday question: Be honest with your answers, and don't be shy!

If you could suddenly possess an extraordinary talent in one of the arts, what would you like it to be?

And happy stinkin' Monday to all of you.

Wednesday, 11 October 2006

In Memory of Coty Lynne Russell

Please indulge me for a minute, as I am compelled to dedicate a small space here for a fresh-faced, bright-smiled twenty year old who lost her life in a tragic crash on Highway 7 on Monday morning, October 9th...Thanksgiving in Canada, 2006

I met Coty when she worked at The Thirsty Moose, a pub owned by my good friend Nicole. Coty worked part-time, and was always very friendly, complimentary and fun to be around. I remember that she also had a part time job at a hair salon, and her hair always had the coolest colours in it.

Coty left the Moose and got two or three other jobs - one as a part-time server at Slackoni's, another as the Assistant Manager at a Mac's, and also a part time job at the Tim Horton's in Perth.

I found all of this out when I ran in to Coty at the grocery store on Friday, October 6th. I hadn't seen her in a couple of months, because she no longer worked at the Moose. She was with her niece, and that little girl is gorgeous. We caught up for a few minutes, I complimented the cool new black streaks in her hair and told her it was good to see her again. She said the same and we went our separate ways.

My pal Lauren was the best of friends with Coty for years. They hadn't seen much of one another in the past year because they went to different colleges, with Lauren being an hour or so away. Then, because somehow, Someone knew... Lauren runs in to Coty on Saturday, October 7th. They caught up, partied and had a fabulous time. It was great to be back in touch, great to talk to her long time buddy again. A bunch of old friends, reconnecting.

And now Coty is gone. Just like that.

It makes one wonder why, why why? Someone knew. Many people said they hadn't talked to Coty in a bit and suddenly they'd seen her, talked to her. Because Someone knew she was leaving us.

Now there's only a bewildered, lost feeling that something is missing from the world as we know it. It's Coty.

You will be missed, Coty. May God comfort your loved ones, and may you right at this moment be glorifying in the wonder of the afterlife.

Tuesday, 10 October 2006

The warmth of a cozy fire…is it really worth all the work?

To be published in The Mississippi Weekender Friday 10/13/06 The following is the 'director's cut':

There are many things to enjoy as the weather gets cooler. One of the best parts of staying warm during the cooler months is being able to spark a cozy fire in the woodstove.

From the newsprint on my hands to the tangy smell of the sulphur as I light the match and put it to the pile, the anticipation of knowing I will soon be as cozy as a cat in a ray of sunshine makes me work just a little bit faster. Then, a brief prayer for that magical chain of events: match to paper, paper to kindling, kindling to logs, and finally, heat to my cold limbs.

I’ll settle on my giant pillow, waiting for the heat to emanate through the glass door of the stove. The warmth will make my skin tingle, get hot enough to make me wonder why my clothes haven’t caught on fire. If I could, I would purr. A strong gust of heat hits my face as I open the door to add more wood. The crack and snap of the logs, the smoky, comforting smell of the fire, a kitten in my lap doing the purring for me, I am mesmerized by the dancing flames.

However, that blissful state of warm-well-being doesn’t come at a leisurely price. Sure, the cavemen stumbled onto something really good when they discovered fire. However, since the surprise of that first mystic spark, a legacy of painful, tiring work has awaited any soul that longs for the hypnotizing flames of fire.

Once we get through the finding and purchasing, there will be seven or eight face cords of wood in one huge pile in our yard. And unfortunately, that wood ain’t stackin’ itself.

Two and a half hours later, Peter and I have decided there’s enough wood inside to get us through until the snow falls. There are three cords of wood in the laundry room, as well as the following additions to my personal inventory:

1. A new form of wood pile arachnophobia. How do spiders grow that big, anyway? Do they dine on chipmunks? And why do they choose to say hello when you’ve got their log in your arms? Don’t they know how dangerous that is?
2. Splintered shins, arms and chin (yes, chin: but my hands are splinter free, thanks to my gloves, and no thanks to that giant spider)
3. A new hole in my favourite sweatshirt, compliments of last year’s downed cedar.</span> I knew the tree would get even eventually. I’m sure the scar won’t show after a year or so, and the blood will come out, compliments of my Tide Pen.
4. A back aching with muscles I am sure didn’t exist this time last year.
5. Bruises so colourful they look like abstract tattoos.
6. Bloody scratches from thorns. Thorns, you ask? Yes. After chasing the dog into the bush to retrieve the logs that he had managed to squirrel away from us when we weren't looking. Rumour has it that he's doing some DIY classes with the beavers back there.

Of course, it wasn't all a bloody battle. Here is a picture of our kitten, six-month old Wick and her first climb into a cedar tree. I was limping when I was finished, but it was worth the scratched cornea I received to take it.

And now, as I sit and let the heat of the fire soothe away my aches and pains, I adjust my eye patch and try not to think about doing this again in a few months. Maybe by then I’ll have found a magical wood-stacking fairy to do the dirty work for me.

Mondays....What IF?

Hello Readers-

I'd like to offer a new feature, but your participation is required.

Every Monday, I will post a "What If" question from 'The Book of If, Questions for the Games of Life and Love' -- by Evelyn McFarlane & James Saywell

Your requirement? If you read this, take a minute and post a comment with your answer. You can leave your message anonymously, so there's no reason to be shy!

Happy 'Iffing"


If you were to be granted one wish, what would it be?

Sunday, 8 October 2006

The Glory of Autumn and All Those Leaves

Posted by Picasa I read that our autumn colours are going to be disappointing this year because of the weather patterns. What they should have said was that there may not be the usual vivid, jewel toned panorama that takes your breath away, but the glory of autumn can be found in smaller doses, as long as you open your eyes to it.

For me, autumn is one young sugar maple tree; barely twenty feet tall in my yard. That one tree will turn an amazing rainbow of colours for me. It will make me wonder yet again how a green tree can turn so many different shades of red, peach, gold and orange.

Then one leaf will fall, and my attitude will change. Two leaves and my muscles shake. Three and the bottle of Advil rolls towards me. A heady gust of wind comes and just like that, the trees are nearly naked and my rake is banging itself against the shed door, dying to come out and play. This must be why autumn is also called fall. This is also where the glory of autumn ends for me.

After waiting as long as I possibly can to put off this chore, I make it out to the shed. The door creaks eerily as I open it. My hair blows around my face as the wind kicks up again. I turn and watch more leaves fall. I look back at my rake and cringe. It growls at me, hungry for exercise. I put on my gloves. The rake jumps up in anticipation, shaking off the cobwebs of a quiet month or two.

I look at the wooden handle, so eager to be in my hands. “Now listen,” I sternly tell my rake. “I’ve got only so much muscle power, patience and skin thickness on my hands. As soon as I reach the end of my play list on my MP3 player, you’re going back in the shed, got it?” The rake jumps into my hand in acquiescence of my rules. I plug in my earphones, press play and let the rake drag me unwillingly to the back yard.

When looking at an expanse of lawn the size of ours, with the gorgeous trees dropping thousands of leaves, I feel helpless. Where do I start? Should I do a pattern? A bunch of small piles? Is that my phone ringing? Is someone here? Maybe I’d better go check. The rake begs to differ and digs its tines into the dirt. Fine.

I plow ahead and groove to the tunes plugged into my ears. I make it fun, dancing as I rake for what seems like days, and only when my arms scream for a break do I stop. I am proud. My pile is huge. I turn around and realize I’ve barely started. I sigh. The wind blows. The leaves fall again. My pile scatters and the rake laughs. I’m done for now, because tomorrow I have to go buy a new rake.