Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

An HGTV moment.
a fancy garbage can. Seriously?

My wife insisted. Behold its leather exterior trimmed with genuine imitation stainless steel. A cow had to die for this? Fake stainless steel was smelted for this? Why would anyone ever need something so fancy to store his used Q-tips until garbage day?

And to further my point, see below to experience the home-decor statement said g-can makes when there's a bag in it....

Real life aka looks like crap.


Sunday, August 28, 2011


Now what?
Our apples trees went nuts this year and it all came to a grim climax yesterday.

My wife is going to freak when she sees this but what choice did I have? They were prematurely flinging themselves off the trees like mini bungee-jumpers stricken with hyperactivity disorder.

I had to save them.


Saturday, August 27, 2011


Look! There's stuff underneath too.
Image from here.
"Half of being smart is knowing what you're dumb at." ~David Gerrold

I love it when people share with me what they can't do. Yup, it's probably some sort of unhealthy inferiority complex overindulgence kinda thing but I can't help it. Describe to me your ineptitude and I will love you forever.

With that in mind, I must confess just a few (12) of what I like to refer to as my dumb-ats:

-mechanical things aka why does my lawnmower have a dipstick?
-consistently recognizing when someone is toying with me.
-losing weight aka shrinking.
-acting my age.
-shutting up.
-not thinking about when I'm in Walmart aka obsessing.
-feeling empathy for hoarders.
-suppressing my movie snobbery aka making stink-eye "noises" during chick-flicks; aka asking seemingly obvious questions during movies that no one wants to think about but because I can't just shut-up I have ruined their suspension of disbelief and they want to stab me.
-listening to my teens without making the "judgmental face" or shaking my head in disbelief.
-phones (A few days ago, I accidentally pressed *89 instead of *98 to check our messages and according to the disembodied voice I am likely responsible for climate change.)

What are your dumb-ats?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This is my hood?

Photo taken here
Someone left this, uh, important message on a sidewalk barrier.

What do you suppose it means?


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Wordfuse (Snacks Edition)

Sometimes one may need to disengage disengorge from snarfing down all the majority of the junk food in the damn hotel honour snack bar.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Things that are most likely the devil:

Can't. Resist. Freakin. Cheezies.
the hotel "honour" snack bar in my room.

"For your convenience during your stay, we've provided an honour bar which will be replenished daily. Please present this form upon departure at the front desk. All items are $2 each... If charges are not posted prior to checkout, your credit card will be late charged. [Neener neener.]"


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

sometimes, when I read a book, a particularly useful book, I have a tendency to do this sort of thing.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Just lower your standards.

Some people don’t believe in miracles. I guess I understand that. I can’t prove miracles happen any more than the next person. Nor can I disprove them and that’s why I’m open to them. In theory.

Now don't think I dismiss theories as less important than facts. For example, we all drive down the highway based on the theory that drivers are going to remain on their own side of the line. Sadly, that is a theory, not a fact. And yet we keep on driving, sometimes even blissfully singing to the music as we go. 

So anyway, since miracles are not really provable, I wonder if we should be more interested in the miracles' effects rather than the miracles themselves. You know what I mean right? That appreciation for the wonders. That sudden rush. That joyfulness. Isn't that what's more important? And we need plenty of that in our lives. We just do. So here's my pea-brained suggestion: just lower your miracle standards and then I honestly think you will see miracles do indeed happen. All. The. Time. Examples: 

True story: we were sitting around the campfire one evening not long ago when someone pulled out the fixings for s’mores and then suddenly out come these JUMBO marshmallows. Have you seen these things?! They look like toilet-paper rolls! I had to take pictures. Miracle!

True story: I recall at least once my wife told introverted me that I had no choice but to go to some big social event that I absolutely did not want to attend and then what happened? It was cancelled. Miracle!

True story: I was nervous about a meeting I had to go to recently but when I returned home for supper my wife was actually DEEP-FRYING potatoes. Miracle!

True story: our plumber told us our new dishwasher would magically stop leaking. It did. (I think it did.) Miracle!

True story: my son lost his wallet a few times so when my wife noticed it in some random location yet again, she hid it. Her goal was to teach him to be more conscientious and responsible but when he finally noticed it was missing, she couldn’t remember where she hid it. The “lesson” sort of failed but then about a week later, he found it. Miracle! 

True story: sometimes people read my blogging drivel. Miracle!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Get help.
My Uncle Perry always smelled funny.

And when he banged on our door late some evenings I would always turn off the TV to watch him. Not because I wanted to. I had to. He was his own TV show. Not a sit-com though, not a comedy at all. Yet I laughed. And so did my parents, but I noticed my Dad shake his head and stare at the floor sometimes. I guess I learned from my Uncle Perry that sometimes people laugh because there's nothing else we can do.

Uncle Perry was loud. And big. He liked to slap his hands on his knees. Sometimes he would want to dance with my mother. They would waltz around the kitchen and my Dad would drink his coffee and open and close his fist. I felt sorry for my Mom turning in circles and circles, her brown curls bouncing, her chin pushed toward him, a smile painted on her face. When it was over she would reach for her cigarettes while Uncle Perry sat with his elbows on our kitchen table, his head hanging down like something almost unhinged, like a flower long past blooming and about to drop from the stem.

Maybe he was crying?

How would I know? This was thirty years ago. I was just a kid sitting in the living room hoping he wouldn't come in there. Sometimes I think I still am.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

This is my hood.

"Never bend your head. Always hold it high.
Look the world straight in the face."
~Helen Keller
Thanks Pickleope & Nubian.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wordfuse (Misunderstood Edition?)

I'm talkative. Often gregarious. I work with people. I am a leader in a variety of ways. I can speak publicly. I want to make you laugh. I'm assertive. I'm not afraid to express my point of view. Sometimes I don't even know when to shut up. I'm social. I have a minor in Drama. I even dress up for Halloween.

But more than all of this I am truly an introvert.

Although I hadn't yet learned the word, I absolutely knew this when I was a child. My hiding place was the roof of our house in Saskatchewan, one particular nook where I could disappear. I found it so comfortable there. You'd be surprised how rarely people look up. It was perfect for an introvert like me: hiding in plain view. In the middle of things yet not.

As much as I loved being alone then (still do), immersed in my imagination (still do), my thoughts morphing like clouds (still do), I wanted intimacy too. Still do. I crave it. People don't understand this about introverts. So I became an extrovert. And thank goodness I developed a lot of very useful people skills over the years even if it was exhausting.

But I don't play those games much anymore. And when I do I feel sort of fake. So I smile. Step back into the crowd, out of the light (onto the rooftop). Be standofftothesideish, not standoffish. Nor aloof. Or snobby. Please don't think that about me ever. I hate snobs. I detest pretension. It's just that now, in social situations, I know I'm not going to become friends with everyone. And I don't want to. And I certainly don't want to be the center of attention. Even so, I still want to know you.

Extroverts siphon their energy from others. If they don't have those sorts of opportunities for a while, they become bored, anxious, even angry. At least this is how it seems to me based on the three extroverts I love and live with. (Well maybe one of them is a little like me?) I am the opposite. Yet I must remember this about them, be understanding. At the same time though, I hope they don't forget about me because although I may not be outgoing, I am certainly ingoing.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Little Liebsters!

I like this word. (I like to imagine Heidi Klum saying it to me.) Apparently it means "beloved" or "dearest" or even "my love." I'm going to start calling my teens my little liebsters in hopes that it will make them docile.

In the meantime, I humbly thank both Life of Riles and Less than Perfect for cranking their spotlights over to my blog. I too would like to shine some light on my favourite blogs so simply look right, scroll down and find my blogroll. They're my little liebsters too but they don't usually back-talk me. If you'd like me to be more specific, I offer three blogs that intrigued me today.
1. Nostomaniac ~quirky times nine and she loves calculator watches.
2. Semi-Coherent Thoughts ~a bit of a micro-blogger; self-described social commentator.
3. Munk Davis ~I like the way he thinks too much.

Zoetic (Teen Edition)

See my teen son's tie? It's our Stewart clan Dress tartan. I bought that tie for him years ago after we enjoyed watching the Scottish army re-enactors in their period costumes here.

Not long ago we had this special occasion to attend so my wife bought my son a new tie but he decided to wear his tartan. Why? He knew I was wearing my Stewart clan Royal tartan tie. And he wanted to match.

Ya I know. Awwww. As my fave Scottish blogger friend Alistair might say: "My heart did a wee dance," or "That was a gemmie."

Believe me though: these sorts of moments are rare. It's rough raising teenagers. And he knows it....

My teens are well aware of how important education is to me. School was always my refuge and university saved my life. I want the same for them. But they've grown weary of my nattering. Recently, while visiting with a crowd of relatives, someone asked my son what he wanted to be when he grew up. Smiling directly at me and without missing a beat he replied, "a male stripper."

Lovable brat.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Things that are most likely the devil:

This is the pail of slop that I dug out of my eaves-troughs (aka gutters) yesterday.

Yup. This is my life. Take that Ashton Kutcher.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

Available at WalKILLmart.
What the crap would anyone need this for?
It was brought to my attention that apparently I did not invent the hornet sword.

What? Genghis Khan had a hornet problem too?!


Uh, not exactly a Swiss Army Knife is it? This thing gives me the serious heebie-jeebies. And I don't get it either. I admit that I am somewhat impressed with movie weaponry props as much as the next guy but those are intended only for "make-believe." Is there a gene that inspires someone to collect deadly knives as opposed to sea-shells or books or McDonald's happy meal toys like the rest of us harmless OCD'ers?

I have no idea. But just think of the future Hoarders episode where they feature some partially toothless guy with a entire room of these stockpiled. Gulp.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Look who's baaaaack.

Yet something seems different. Helen's changed. She's been deadheaded. And she's trimmer too, likely due to the equivalent of the The Kidnapping Diet® (similar to the Survivor Diet but without mudwrestling-type challenges). She clearly looks healthier but it's more than her physical transformation. She seems more...contrite. After enduring her harrowing plantknapping, I hope that humbled Helen will finally show some gratitude for the life we've provided for her here with us.

Now all we need is for someone to kidnap our teenagers so they too will undergo this transformation and thus appreciate their wonderful parents.

Oh I'm just joshing of course!

But maybe next time the plantknappers need two uh, babysitters they might consider hiring our teens and just drive onto our lawn, storm our house while wearing balaclavas and uh, throw them in the back of their jeep? Just an idea.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wordfuse (Crime Scene Edition)

utwerped (verb, past tense): usurped + twerp(s) = when fools* seize and hold something without legal authority, something that does not belong to them! Go here for the gistory.

*In this case, by fools I mean goofy friends. Harmless too...or are they?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Have you seen...?

We don't know WHAT TO DO?!?!

Our flowers were plantknapped [sic] right out of the front yard! *gnaws on fist*

They told us not to be "heroes," aka DON'T CONTACT THE AUTHORITIES but we had to do something. They even used the word "deadhead." *lip trembling* 

We hope they contact us soon. PLEASE.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

They curl my toes (in a good way).
See these pyjama pants? $3! I don't wear them to bed. But I have now spent entire weekends in them. Mowed the lawn in them. Greeted people at the front door in them. Visited with friends in them. I would live in them if I could. I would wear them to the bank. I would wear them to work if I could. My wife made me go to a friend's house and pick raspberries but I insisted that the only way I would do so is if I could wear my happy pyjama pants. Her reply? No prob.

So I guess I would even renew my wedding vows in them.


Monday, August 1, 2011

The Bus Dream

There’s this dream I have. There are different versions but I call it the bus dream.

It’s a city bus. It’s big. It’s cumbersome. So many windows. Everyone can see.

There’s no one on it but me. Watching myself. Driving it.

And I’m  required to drive it. It’s my bus. I am responsible. It may appear empty to those who might be looking from the sidewalk (yet no one ever seems to be on the sidewalk anyway). But my bus is not empty. It’s filled with everything I am responsible for, everything I’m trying to manage.

And I’ve been driving this bus for so long.

Which explains why I get distracted and I forget how big the bus is. Truthfully though, I know how big the bus is. I don’t kid myself. This job is important: everything I’m absolutely steering in life is on this bus. I’ve just been driving it for a while. When a person drives something so immense, after so many years even it becomes small. And stupidly, one can forget. Or get complacent.

(Do not think this means I have ever truly grown comfortable driving this ten ton behemoth.)

So I’m driving down this street and I’m half way through some sort of cage before I even notice there is no possible way the bus can fit into this cage. Think of a cage like the construction cages they put below skyscrapers along the sidewalks; they narrow the passage and prevent pedestrians from being hit with a hammer (or other debris) and possibly to hide the new facade. It’s supposed to provide protection but anything could happen to someone who gets trapped in there. By someone. Or something. So the bus I’m driving, it’s plowing through this cage, (could someone be in there?!) and it’s cutting through the sides of the bus and I’m cutting through the cage and that’s when I realize I'm not. Nothing is happening. Nothing. There’s no sound, no scraping of metal on metal, no windows exploding as these objects collide because I’m driving through it like a ghost slipping through a solid wood door.

Finally I’m beyond the cage and it’s like I need to keep going and that’s when I recognize where I am: my old street, 1st Street West, in the town where I grew up. It’s a familiar place but it’s not home. And I’m shaking so badly so I crank that bus right and then I wake up like I’m choking.
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