Sunday, January 30, 2011

Wordfuse (Hormone Edition)

strestrogen (noun): stress + estrogen = uh, what men experience when the women they love are having their lady problems. 




(Ladies: I begin with an apology because yes indeed, we men experience nothing in comparison to what you slog through and I can imagine you are thinking what the hell do our feelings even matter regarding this situation but I mean, I ask you to uh, I hope you can see our point of view, er, uh we do experience a little "collateral damage" from the whole PMS thing and uh, when I write PMS in uppercase it's not because anyone is yelling, I assure you no one is yelling at you and uh yeah, so there's a bit of stress and stuff and I'm sorta afraid to write anymore so I'll just stop there because I don't want things to "strescalate"....)

*This post is a bit of a tribute to my mother's patience. During my clueless tween years I noticed some mood swings and such and so daily, for years, I would ask her, repeatedly, "are you grumpy today Mom?" Older, somewhat wiser, and as empathetic as any guy really can be regarding this, I am truly amazed she did not snap my head off like a spear of asparagus. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Hoarding Lesson (No cats were harmed.)

I helped my teen son clean his room today.

Whoa.

You know that show Hoarders? It was just like that minus
a. the weeping relatives.
b. the petrified cats.
c. the patient therapist.
d. all of the above.

Yup, d. But with a special nod to c. In other words, I have no patience with this particular compulsive behaviour because I have my own compulsive behaviours, okay?! I'm a bit of a clean freak. My wife would say I'm more of a neat freak than a clean freak because her concept of a clean bathroom and mine differ greatly. (As far as I'm concerned if there's no poop stain on the toilet seat the place is pretty clean but she has standards I guess.) Nevertheless, I like a tidy house.

Although not your typical episode of  Hoarders, one thing was the same about our cleaning adventure today: anxiety was indeed buzzing around that boy's hoard-o-leum like a hornet trying to escape from a jar. A jar with heaps of clothes on the floor. And old Lego sculptures peeking out from underneath their blankets of fuzz-dust. And also a jar jammed with approximately 129 Airsoft plastic BBs and an ice cream pail with a target duct-taped to it. Grrr.

Anyway, if I had asked him on a scale of 1-10, I'm sure his anxiety level was a solid 7. Tense. My wife did pull me aside at one point and whisper, "remember what it's like for hoarders; what seems easy to you is often painful and difficult for the hoarder." But since he wasn't paying me $100 an hour I hucked the gentle approach out the window. Besides, according to the unquestionable authority of eHow, one should be cautious because "this process is often not as simple as it may be portrayed on television." Really eHow?! Reality television is unREAListic? Shocking.

Anyway, in keeping with my own pea-brained approach to curing hoarding (and let's be honest, parenting in general), my favourite part of this task was when my son realized that I was pocketing every bit of change I found in his hoardcrap-piles.

Teenhoardboy14You can't do that!
Me: Why not?
Teenhoardboy14: That's my money!
Me: It's not like you even knew you had it.
Teenhoardboy14: But I was looking for that.
Me: What for? You obviously think it's junk. Because if you really valued this money you've earned, these gifts you've received, your expensive clothes, all the keepsakes in this room, all the books, all the electronics, all buried under all this stuff, then obviously it wouldn't be buried under all this stuff. If this stuff actually meant something to you then you would care enough to organize it and keep it safe. Therefore, someone who understands how valuable these things are and knows the meaning of GRATITUDE should have them. That's why I've been taking any money I've found along with these other things in my pocket (one expensive guitar capo and a sweet new mini-flashlight I just wanted to steal).
Teenhoardboy14: *stares at items from my pocket, mouth agape*
Me: Here's the lesson: someone who DOES understand the value of these things should be using them. I understand the value, therefore these are now mine. *we stare at each other; in my mind I am wondering if all he heard me say was Charlie Brown parent-speak aka nada*
Teenhoardboy14: Fine. I get it. Let's finish cleaning. *glowers at me* But no more lessons.

And no mitts either. I was hoping to find some to steal. Bummer.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Wordfuse (Comments Edition)

grinput (noun): grin + input = those particularly clever, hilarious or just gut-busting nutty comments left on one's blog that immediately provoke an irrepressible and much-needed grin on any weary blogger's face; feedback so very much more than two cents worth (like at least sixty-eight cents worth).

Daily, I am so thankful for the wit, charm and banter-generating provided by my regular grinputters: DSWS, KevD, alittlesprite, Chelle, Nicole, paul, DP, Simple Dude, jono, Dr. C, VinnyC, LoC, Missy, DM, Elly, Artist & Geek (a total procrastinknave who unfortunately does not have a link, yet (just get a twitter account already!) and finally my long lost Scottish bro Alistair who recently suggested this bit of tomfoolery which has made Chewin the Fat my latest obsession (and I now use the following phrase repeatedly on my annoyed and nonplussed teens):

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chimneys

Do you ever notice chimneys? I walk every day and sometimes, especially in the winter, I do.

Here in the North, when the chimney smoke is horizontal it's likely cold, very cold. Sometimes it's so cold the chimney smoke sinks, or seems to. Most of the year though, I don't notice. But I think children do.

Remember all the drawings you made when you were a kid? Like most kids I'm sure, there was often a chimney with smoke arising. This might be somewhat particular to northern climates but I would guess that one could pick any generation of kids and many of them drew their homes with smoke wafting from the chimney in a sort of pig's tail curlicue. And if the smoke wasn't rising there was likely still a chimney detail.

For me, this added detail speaks loudly. Drawn by a child, a house with a chimney signifies warmth inside. More than shelter, a sign of security, a refuge from a world still so huge, and cold and somehow unfathomable, but yet not, because one's neighbourhood was profound enough back then. A house with a chimney says there's a warm place for everyone. And there should be. If only.

It's Robbie Burns Day. I offer you this traditional Scottish blessing: "Lang may your lum reek." Long may your chimney smoke. And mine too.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Things that deserve the stink eye (Ethnic Food Version):

Who doesn't love a variety of ethnic foods? My favourites? Hummus. Guacamole. Cabbage rolls. Thai peanut sauce. Sun-dried tomatoes. And so on. Ditto a variety of Chinese foods, except for those damn so-called fortune cookies.

What did mine say the other day? "What you lost will soon be found."

This is my fortune?! This is my good luck? As far as I know, I didn't lose anything. But perhaps I'm just not yet aware that I lost something. What was it? Where is it? When will I discover the missing item/money/child/twin/episode of Lost/vehicle/tooth/three-days-in-the-summer-of-1989? Will I only discover what was missing when I actually find what I indeed did not realize was missing?

Oh and what if the cookie's meaning isn't literal? Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket because the $2 I "lose" by purchasing the ticket might be re-"found" when I instantly win $12.9 million or whatever the latest GNP of an entire impoverished country is estimated to be? It could happen. Right?

Oh I know. I know. It all makes sense now. I'm going to gain weight. *instantly gains weight* Yup. *mocking sing-song voice* Looks like I found what was miss-ing.

No one should be licensed to bake anxiety into a sugar cookie, hand it to someone neurotic like me, especially after I've just eaten 2943 calories in one sitting, and then ask me to pay for it. No. One.

*If you, like me, enjoy wasting time ruminating about fortune cookie messages consider using this fortune cookie generator, created by idiot-geniuses no doubt.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Wordfuse (Road Trip Edition)

Kinda self-explanatory, on a daily basis. Sadly.
See Brick Tamland.




(Travel safely peeps. And be prepared for anything; this winter the weather seems to have the temperament of a 2 year-old.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mitt Wars

This is not a dilly bar.
It's science.
I can't find my mitts. I NEED MY MITTS. I walk 30 minutes each day to and from work. I live in Northern-Canada-nuff-said! And thus the MITT WARS will continue until one of us has a stroke and yup, it will likely be me.

Here's the back-story. My son swipes my mitts. Like 12 times now. As a teen, he rarely wears mitts because "like obviously Dad" they immediately lower one's social status; however, when rushing out the door to go snowboarding or snowmobiling he can't locate his own mitts. Why not? There are two reasons:

  1. Despite all parents' best efforts to supply sweeeeeeeet toques and pimpin' snowboard pants and such, it's the same reason all freezing, teeth-chattering, hopping-from-foot-to-foot teenagers cannot find adequate clothing to sustain life outdoors: they CONSTANTLY lose shit. Why? NOTHING is ever returned to its intended location where one might be able to access it without drama. The teen's typical movement pattern is willy-nilly with a side of uncoordinated (not unlike Paula Abdul). Due to this haphazard style, various things are left randomly all about in teen territory. For example, I once found a spoon on the clothes dryer, the peanut butter still clinging to it. This crap happens daily. 
  2. There's a dilly bar where a teen's frontal lobe should be. Seriously. I've done the research. All teens are like this. And oddly, we allow them to drive. And THEY STEAL OUR MITTS.

Anyway, my son tells me he finally found my mitts. Or thinks he has. He's pretty sure he left them in a vehicle belonging to the father of a cute girl in his class, one who invited him to go snowboarding. Each and every day, I ask him to retrieve my mitts from the cute girl. He doesn't want to bother her though. I ask him if my lawyer could bother her. So begrudgingly he inquires but every day she remarks, I keep forgetting to look for them. Giggle. And every day the dilly bar in my son's brain melts a little more.

Yup. My mitts are doomed.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Things that deserve the stink eye:

Something about this picture
seems really appropriate.
Whoa. Seriously. A lot has happened in the last week.*takes a deep breath*  A. Lot. Where do I begin?

Some incredible life changes.  More drama than any of those TV show developers at MTV (Tween Mom, Jersey Shore & Pregnant, et al) could ever dream up and pitch to grown men and women who should know better.

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned it before but I am a twin. Yup. But *choking sobs* not any more. Since the Zodiac got even more messed up, I went from being a Gemini to a Taurus. Yup. I miss my twin.

Someday *blows nose* I hope we'll find each other again and discover we have dogs with the same name (except mine will be a cat, but still.)

And furthermore, now it's confirmed: I'm total bull.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wordfuse

procrastiknave (noun): procrastinator + knave = the tricky enabler in our lives who grants us permission, perhaps even encourages us to defer, postpone, or play hooky from something important that we should be otherwise doing. This person's intentions could be straightforward or duplicitous. For example, the procrastiknave might actually have good intentions (unlikely) or attempt to exploit our general weaknesses and inability to concentrate by using any of the following remarks: 

  • "Don't work so hard." 
  • "You look stressed. I'm sure you'd feel better if you took a break and got some exercise by shoveling the snow in the driveway."
  • *yells from the other room* "I'm naked!" (Yup, this is wishful thinking; sadly, spouses/partners are rarely long-term procrastiknaves.)

Most frequently, we ourselves act as our own personal procrastiknaves. These little buggers live inside the right hemisphere of the human brain, aka the side stimulated by things that sparkle or a really good song or even an appalling rerun of Toddlers & Tiaras. Yup, I suspect the entire internet was created by procrastiknaves. My inner procrastiknave has kept me busy ALL afternoon making wordfuses, watching MadTV and playing with one of these


*One might refer to those who do not realize they are being manipulated by a procrastiknave as "procrastinaive."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wordfuse (Family Rodent Edition)

1. buninhibited (adjective): bunny + uninhibited = one free-from-her-cage bunny, unhampered, unrestricted, just chillaxing. Bunfettered? Bunflappable? See picture.

2. bunholy (adjective): bunny + unholy = one wicked-and-unreasonable bunny when she wants to be (growling, ninja type posturing, you-can't-stop-me stubbornness; when you rearrange the items in her cage she will wait patiently until you are done, then (Oh snap!) she puts them all back exactly where they were before. No picture available: I think she senses when to vamp it up for the photogs.

*To me, she resembles a rodent Rorschach test. What do you see?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wordfuse (Workplace Edition)

One seriously
old-ass photocopier.
Mayhemployee (noun): mayhem + employee = that blundering coworker we all know who commits any or all of the following on a fairly regular basis:
  • seems to have left a fork sticking out of the staffroom toaster
  • helps clean the workroom by throwing away all the recycling
  • wears something, uh, remarkably eye-catching and causes casual Friday controversy
  • accidentally shreds an important document but redeems self by taping it all back together but cannot find one important piece thus rendering the entire document (and attempt) void
  • uses the bathroom during a fire drill and argues it was multi-tasking
  • has not washed his or her coffee cup since before Jesus
  • jabbers on incessantly during staff meetings or has extended pauses while sharing irrelevant anecdotes ad nauseum
  • eats coworkers' food (or leaves the bathroom uninhabitable)
  • drops a monitor in a crowded hallway (Oh yeah, that was me. *sheepish face*)
  • mangles the photocopier so irreparably an emergency service call is necessary and people have to be rerouted to the old photocopier which smells like Chernobyl (Oh yeah, that was me too. *darting eyes*)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Things that deserve the stink eye:

Odd confession: I spontaneously clap. It just happens. And it has nothing whatsoever to do with turning the lights on or off. (Well. Kinda.)

Before I was married, this behaviour was rare and it confused me. However, one of the benefits of losing my single status was an increased self-awareness (read: decreased desperation caused by *coughs* an increased ability to get lucky). In other words, I became capable of thinking with much more clarity. But my odd clapping continued, random like. It even increased. (I do not clap at work. Unless of course, someone does something amazing which might include bringing a homemade cake to the staffroom.) So before I really pondered on this oddity I typically had this sort of conversation in my head:

*random spontaneous clap (just one)*
Me: What am I doing?
Also me: *smiles*
Me: Maybe I have Tourettes?
Also me: *smiles* *makes the stink eye*

Now however, I know the secret to this clapping: it's just plain happiness. (Sorry I know it's a cliche.) Here's how I discovered it:

*random spontaneous clap*
Me: What am I doing?
Also me: I feel good. *smiles*
Me: Is that what this is?
Also me: Yup. *smiles*

This peabrained epiphany allowed me to accept my own and others' odd idiosyncrasies and by others I mean my own little family. (This may be nature or nurture, but either way, it's mostly my fault.) One periodically squawks like a bird; one makes faces and uses semi-coherent gibberish. (One does nothing of the sort but refrains from complaining. We make her answer the door.) But it's all okay. It may seem to the outside world that we are more hospital ward than family but I know this freakish behavior is just plain happiness.

And I like it.

Does anyone else do this? Or live with this? (Go ahead and lie if you feel compelled.)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Velkominn!

See that tiny little flag?

I was waiting for this. Someone from Iceland visited my blog. I like that. (Hello out there!)

When I was a kid people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said I didn't know. But I knew. Secretly, I wanted to be an Icelander. Not a doctor. Not a teacher. Not a firefighter. Not a cereal box author. Not a sandwich-artist. Not a foley artist either (but that would be cool). Not even a job apparently. I wanted to be an Icelander. Seriously.

Why you might ask? Well, I think my fascination began when I read about the country in my grandparents' National Geographic magazines and maybe that's how I discovered Iceland has 13 Santas. That's sort of a big deal for kid. But better than that, doesn't it just sound cool? Like a place where superheroes would train? Or at least vacation? (I read a lot of comics too.) Icleand still fascinates me for a variety of reasons:
  • Two words: fire and ice.
  • Two more words: active volcanoes. In fact, Iceland boasts the youngest place on Earth: one of its underwater volcanoes gave birth to an island in 1963. How many other countries make their own islands? (And islands of garbage don't count.)
  • They have names that freak my phonics like Hrafn and Eyjolfur and of course, Bjork who, btw, was way way waaaay before Lady Gaga.
  • They had the Cod War while the rest of the world just had the Cold War.
  • Despite it's name, it's warmer than England. 
  • Their police don't carry guns and according to The Geography of Bliss, Iceland is truly one of the happiest places on Earth.
  • They have no need, indeed no word, for please. But they certainly say thank you. See below
  • Chuck Norris was born there. (Yup. Completely fabricated. But that's how cool Iceland is.)
So to the person who visited my blog I must say: Velkominn!*

*If you accidentally found my blog by googling "creepy Christmas balloons" or perhaps "john wayne bahahaha" such as others have, let's just pretend it was intentional. Takk fyrir.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wordfuse (a Top Ten List)

glumped (adjective): glum + pumped = the quality of anticipating enjoyment at potentially indulging in depressing experiences.


Top ten signs you're glumped:
  1. You enjoy paying off your credit cards.
  2. You like to youtube it up with Martina McBride's Concrete Angel or perhaps you appreciate this song. (If you make it through this bizarre video in its entirety then you are likely third-degree glumped).
  3. Each morning you look forward to your job cleaning porta-potties. (I thank you because someone has to do it.)
  4. You can't wait to get to the grocery store to buy a hefty bag of chips and the family-sized dill-pickle dip container just 'cause it's a Friday night.
  5. Your favourite SNL character is Debbie Downer. *this sound effect makes you painfully giddy*
  6. You rewind that moment in Toy Story when Buzz Lightyear discovers he's actually a toy.
  7. You have actually heard of this upcoming holiday.
  8. You sometimes google Tammy Faye Bakker.
  9. You LOVE it when Oprah talks about "the ugly cry."
  10. You found this post even mildly inspiring. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Things that deserve the stink eye:


Go to http://www.culturebrats.com/ for more of this sort of tomfoolery. 














Seriously?! Some pointed questions & one honest comment:
  1. What's next to be caffeinated? Cotton candy? Water?
  2. A collectible box? Who is going to display that box? Hoarders maybe?
  3. And who would dare give these to kids? Certainly not anyone who knows anybasicthing about kids. 
  4. These are like stereotype threat hors d'oeuvres for the people who live on the Axiom in Wall-E. (Stay Puft? No shit.) 
  5. (And yeah, I secretly want six dozen.)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Which one would you choose?

This is where I would return to and reside as long as I could.

I'm reading this book right now where a character has returned home to stay with her father for a while and during this time her father has an accident. On the way back from the hospital her father, usually quite distant, suddenly turns to her and asks, "if you could live in one of your memories, which one would you choose?" When he asks her this question her father doesn't know she's secretly heartbroken about something that recently happened.

Here's my point: sometimes serendipity brings people together just at the right time and then begins a process where interaction and reflection and the way we all conspire to make each other happy leads us exactly where we ourselves rarely know we need to go or opens up something within us we didn't even know was locked. 

I believe this happens. I really do. At least sometimes.

Here's my question: if you could live in one of your memories, which one would you choose? And what would happen if you shared it?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Worfuse (Back-to-work Edition)

boldfacepalm (noun): boldface + facepalm = the act of placing one's hand over one's own face repeatedly (perhaps even using both hands) accompanied by intermittent somewhat audible sighs/moans/whimpers to communicate mainly through overtly melodramatic gestures a message of dismay abject misery most likely definitely related to being required to return to work after a significant period of holiday time-off.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Real Hogmanay (from a true blue Scot!)

I had to publish the reply I received from a true blue Scot regarding my New Year's Eve post in which I shared my jealous and pea-brained understanding of Hogmanay, Scotland's terrific New Year's Eve celebrations. For helping educate this Canadian who is now even more determined to someday partake in these festivities, Alistair totally made my day! His reply is as follows:




Hullo dbs. Happy Hogmanay!
A wee bit of help with the list....
  1. Nae longjohns. Nae Pants. Nae Nuthin'. It's tradition and we're very big on that over here. People who wear pants {that's underwear in our culture, the other things are trousers - troosers - AKA breeks. Don't ask. It's a long story} are weaklings or worse, possible English!
  2. Shit faced over here is fou, puggled, wasted, oot yer face, steamin or stocious. At Hogmanay you have to get this way. It's the law. Honest!
  3. This 'balls of fire' thing is our way of trying to heat the audience and share the love. Sometimes it's a way of retaining personal space in a crowd and preventing female tourists from checking that you're a real Scotsman under that kilt. Actually that last bit is fairly rare, but at New Year those hands can be bloomin cold.
  4. You have to bring food or drink to a party or you don't let them in. We're all for a party but we're still Scots!
  5. This is a rumour only. See No.4. We're no daft. The more food and drink the better the party.
  6. To be honest some of the music can be awful - but it's better with plenty of booze. [rule No 4 again] Even us Scots don't know the words to 'Auld Lang Syne' its more about having a wee dance about in preparation for No 8really.
  7. This nonsense - known as Up-Helly-A only happens on Shetland. These are a confused bunch of inbred islanders who don't really know if they're scots or Vikings - or how to work - or build - a BBQ that doesn't look like a boat properly. It's a bit of a shame really and we don't talk about it except in a really patronising way.
  8. I've never heard of this one but I've kissed a few dogs in my time. You can get arrested for kissing policemen - even at Hogmanay.
  9. If you made this up you're definitely Scots!!
Slainte {cheers}
Al.
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