October 31, 2006 · Falalalala lalalala

I know, I know! That promise about more frequent posts was kinda short-lived. whoops. There have actually been a few golden autumn days round here (and many not golden autumn days too) that I’ve been trying to capitalize on muchly. And there’s been some shopping… for ever so fetching coats with toggle buttons. Oh, how I loves me the toggle buttons!!! And some work. And some painting. And some… I dunno. Stuff!!! Time seems to be escaping me these days. I haven’t even carved a single pumpkin this year and I usually carve at least 3! I don’t know if it’s the cold, rainy fall we’ve been having or what, but my brain seems inclined to skip over Halloween this year for whatever reason. I’ve already jumped two months ahead and am thinking Christmas thoughts. So much to do before Christmas!!!

Regardless, I hope your Halloween is ghoulish fun and that many an adorable trick-or-treater alights upon your doorstep and brightens your evening!

P.S. Just so you know… Fester flails no more. But I didn’t have anything to do with it. He just upped and shuffled off this mortal coil all of his own accord, leaving my karma undented. Relief!



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October 24, 2006 · Tick Talk

Warning: This entry is NOT for the squeamish. Consider yourself duly warned.

Wow, okay. The world. It’s an amazing, intricate, phenomenal thing. On that, I’m sure we all agree. It’s filled with blooms and blossoms and acorns and seashells and puppies and butterflies and strawberries and all sorts of things that are spangly and delightful. But egad! Its got a ghastly side too. And lately, it’s the ghastlyness has been gnawing at the House of Wee. Or rather, ON the inhabitants of the House of Wee.

Johnny Quivers was the first victim. At about four a.m. on Saturday, I woke to find him sitting bolt upright, clawing at the bedcovers. This is a thing that happens sometimes. Johnny Twitch is prone to the most freaksome of nightmares… nightmares about decapitated heads floating in seas of fire and mysteriously animated and venegeful dolls and stuff. And every once in a blue moon, I wake to muffled shrieks coming from his prone form and have to gently nudge him into wakefulness, then mercilessly pry the details of his gore infested dreams from him. I figure that’s my duty as a loving wife and relentless busybody.

But as it turns out, on Saturday night, the nightmare was real. He was covered in scarlet bites of some sort, swelling rapidly across his leg, wrist and arm. He promptly dislodged the wolf and me from the bed, sending the pair of us stumbling and snorting to the living room where we collapsed on the couch and tried to continue sleeping whilst (whilst) Johnny Bitterbites stomped up and down the stairs, hauling not just the sheets, but the pillows and the duvet cover to the laundry. Took three loads total and a whole lotta stamping and cursing apparently.

I figured it was a flea. Years ago, when Finny J. was but a puppy, we had a similar situation where Johnny TwiceShy was attacked by a flea. As far as we could determine it was a single flea… just one. Hardly an infestation, although he did have multiple bites. Apparently, as luck would have it, I’m not allergic to flea bites… or maybe I’m just not as sweet as he is. Whatever the case, I had no bites whatsoever. None. But Johnny was covered. So we stripped the bed and set off a flea bomb (although I really thought that was overkill as we only found one measly flea after many MANY exhaustive searches of the entire bedroom, its’ every nook and cranny) and that seemed to get rid of the problem. For months afterward though, I would lay in bed thinking about all the toxins my mattress must have absorbed and wondering if they were slowly seeping into my system, stamping out all my good braincells.

So that’s what I figured was going on this time round too. More flea fun. Around 6:30-ish, the guilt of it all finally got to me and I roused myself from the cold comfort of the couch to go see how the room inspection was progressing upstairs.

I found Johnny Redspots combing over the seams of the mattress, all bent and disturbingly Gollum-esque.

“What’s the verdict?” I asked, ruefully scrubbing at the horrific crick in my neck.

“All I found in the bed was a spider… one of those little black hopping spiders.”

Um… okay. Ewwwwwwwwwww. I hate spiders. I really do. The thought that one was not only feasting on the body next to me, but was hopping around joyfully whilst (whilst!) doing it was almost to much to bear. He swears it was only one spider and that he corralled it and took it outside and I hope he’s right. And I really, really, REALLY hope that spider didn’t leave behind any hoppy little babies. Even now, my mind can hardly go there. Ewwww. Shiver, shiver.

So anyway, that was Saturday.

Last night, whilst petting the pup, I found a tick on Finny’s haunch, all swollen and pea soup green. Although this is the first time that we have ever found a tick on her, I’m all too familiar with ticks from my childhood growing up on a lake in Great Woods of Wisconsin. We were constantly finding ticks on our collie and on ourselves, but the worst story belongs to my brother, Scott.

One summer day, when I was about 12 and Scott was 9 or 10 (he’s not quite two years younger than me), my mom and I were in the kitchen making lunch when we heard this blood curdling scream and Scott came flapping out of the bathroom with his bathingsuit around his ankles, clutching his boy bits. My mom literally dropped everything and shrieking for my dad, shoved him into the bedroom. Over the next hour, much shrieking and cursing and crying was heard from that bedroom, and finally my parents emerged, shaking their heads, followed by my redfaced, much chastised little brother.

This is the jist of what happened: See, we lived on a lakefront property and in the summer, from pretty much the moment we woke up to the moment we had to go to bed, Scott and I lived in the water. We’d literally open our eyes, spring from our beds, change into our bathing suits and go running down to the beach, leaping off the dock for a pre-breakfast swim. Apparently, Scott, in all his nine-year-old wisdom, decided that underwear was pretty much unneccessary and that his swim trunks were a much better solution to the whole undergarmet thing. After all, they were waterproof and given that we were swimming pretty much around the clock, how dirty could they possibly be? And they fit well enough under his regular clothing, right? And further, he decided that since swim trunks were all about getting wet anyway, there was no need to remove them when he showered. And that whole changing bit before we ran down to the beach and dove off the end of the dock? So very bothersome and time consuming. So for at least a week, he didn’t remove his bathing suit even once. Not even once. Not to shower, not to sleep, and certainly not to swim.

But unbeknowst to him, six or seven blood thirsty wood ticks had taken up residence in the tender creases of his legs and had been roosting there in his warm little nethers, getting all fat with blood, until that fateful moment mid-tinkle when he felt something unusual clinging around down under.

I KNOW! I KNOW!!! It’s a wonder he ever recovered to become a normal boy again!!! One would think he would be scarred for life! But no… apparently not. My bro is a tough, manly cookie and if there was any lingering psychological effects, they have yet to manifest. And given that he is an air traffic controller now (and ironically, just moved back to Wisconsin where the original horror happened), let’s hope he doesn’t EVER have any proximity induced flashbacks whilst (whilst!) guiding planes full o’ unsuspecting passangers thru the clouds. ‘Cuz that would be… well, bad.

So… anyhoo. I tweezed the tick off of Finny’s haunches, and dropped it in this little plastic box that Johnny Lightsleeper’s ear plugs came in (’cuz apparently I snore**. Who knew?) because frankly I didn’t know what else to do with it. I thought, well I dunno, maybe we should ship it off to be tested for Lyme disease or something. I also thought it was dead.

But, um… no. I just checked on it before I sat down to write this post and it is very much alive, dragging its bloated grey green arse all over the plastic case, lusting for blood. Blllllooooooooddddd (yes, the tick speaks and it sounds like a B movie zombie when it does. Also, its vocabulary is predictably limited.)

And it is GROSS, people! Really gross. Disgusting, in fact. But now I’m feeling kind of sorry for it. It’s only doing what it was designed to do, poor ickity thing. And I’m feeling all sorts of uber-cruel too. I don’t want to kill it (I have a hard time with the whole killing thing, especially as I’ve been doing a lot of reading about Buddhism and Buddhists are famously anti-kill stuff) but I don’t know what to do with it. I’d better figure it out quick though, because as I stood there watching it crawl around, I found myself musing about names for it. I found myself wondering if it need more air in that box and thinking about maybe making it a nice little bed of grass. And um… I just don’t know if ticks are a healthy preoccupation or not. I’m assuming not. Isn’t there an expression like “crazy as a tick”? Mayhaps this is how that phrase got coined.

eek.

** he assures me it is a gentle butterfly of a snore, like angels laughing or lambs gambolling, all delicate and adorable. And yet he insists on the industrial strength day-glo orange ear plugs. Go figure.

P.S. I’ve dubbed it Fester Flail. I’m thinking I need to free Fester. Flush Fester? or Fling Fester. Somewhere far far away from here. Last night, I couldn’t sleep knowing Fester was in the same room. So I made Johnny Tenderflesh put him on the front step (still in his box.) We thought Fester might freeze, but no. Finny J. has a vet appointment on November 2nd, but I really don’t think I can shelter Fester until then. And besides, it’s unlikely that Fester has Lyme disease or anything (it’s not very prevalent in this area) so I’m not sure it’s necessary to hang on to him/her/it till then, despite what I uncovered in my Internets investigation. So what say you: Fling or Flush?



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October 20, 2006 · Soggy thoughts


Despite the fact that it continues to be oh-so-craptastic! and despite the fact that all the slogging thru the sog is beginning to give me the odd, distinctive, slightly vinegary aroma of a wet and woolly mitten, I am not gonna complain about the weather this time round. Nope. Not at all. I’m not even going to remark on the fact that yesterday I took over 450 photos on the wolf walk and the one in above is the best of the bunch and frankly, it’s just not that great. All my attempts at capturing the autumness have been thwarted but good by poor lighting conditions, dead camera batteries and a camera that is limping toward ultimate demise, I think. I suppose I should just suck it up and admit that I can’t blame all my photographic woes on the weather or my failing camera. Some of the blame should land squarely on me, no? And the fact that even though I’ve taken several courses in photography, I still don’t understand such basic concepts as “depth of field”. And even though my camera has several manual functions, I never take it off automatic. ‘Cuz then I’d have to think before I snap, and frankly, I’m just tired of that whole thinking thing. Which totally explains this little nugget I’m about to share with you. I like to call it This Week in Flake-itude, although in fact it was a couple of weeks ago.

A couple of weeks ago I made an appointment to meet with a client to go over a project I’ve been working on for eons. As it happens, I had never met this particular client in person. My contact on this project was laid off earlier this summer due to cutbacks and whatnot and I’d been pretty much flying solo ever since. The client’s official office is actually located in Toronto proper. I live in a much smaller bedroom community in the GTA … that’s Greater Toronto Area to those of you not in the know… and very rarely venture that far East. In fact, I’ve never ever driven to Toronto on my own… when I go, it’s either on the GO Train or Johnny Transport drives us whilst (whilst!) I make him completely insane by snapping pictures of my cute “town” shoes (as opposed to my regular, perpetually mud entombed, dog friendly footwear of outlandish age and style) propped up against the dashboard and blurry pix of traffic going by and also by perfoming this inane sing song thing I do where I sing out all the billboards and signs we pass over and over like a five-year-old on a major sugar high. The end result of all this sophisticated activity is that I actually have no clue whatsoever how to get there from here.

So I pleaded with my client to meet me midway for lunch at one of those bland chain restaurant places the following Wednesday at noon.

So Wednesday rolls around and it is POURING. Torrential rain. Like overflowing riverbank kinda torrential rain. Like flash flood kinda rain. Plus there is lightening and thunder and high velocity winds and flying cows and all sorts of weird and wonderful weather phenomenon. Driving there is horrific and terrifying and takes me an hour (it should feasibly take me only 25 minutes or so). I white knuckle it all the way because I can’t see ANYTHING. It’s like someone has wrapped my windshield in soggy newsprint, that’s how hard the rain is coming down.

But I get there. In time, even. In fact, I’m ten minutes early. I’m never early. This is a kind of break thru. I’m very pleased with myself. I think to myself that I deserve something chocolate for this, as a reward for getting there early even through the hurricane and the flying cows and the newspaper obscured vision and the severe lack of any sense of direction whatsoever.

I tell the restaurant hostess who I am meeting and that I’ve never met this person before. I am somehow convinced that even
though I’m reasonably sure she has never met him before either, she will instantly recognize him and know where to direct him. And she, being one of those extremely efficient women, perfectly coiffed and composed who has never had a flaky or frivilous moment in her lifetime (you know the type) seems pretty confident on that front too. It’s all good, she assures me. She will immeditately direct the unknown client (whom I shall call Brad for the purposes of this post, even though his name is Peter because I knew a cat named Brad once upon a time and I always thought that Brad was a hilarious name for a cat and I’ve been looking for a good excuse to share that particular bon mot with you for quite some time now) to my table. She even goes so far as to suggest I order a drink and relax.

So I order coffee because I haven’t had any yet and I really really need some. Because the drive over? Did just not make me jittery enough. So I order coffee and I locate the bathroom and I go pee… twice. Just to make sure I don’t have to during critical client discussion and to check myself in the mirror to make sure I look reasonably professional (but still slightly artsy and creative and stuff. It’s noon. He should be there any second.

I read the menu. I decide I’m having a turkey wrap for lunch. I arrange my illustrations all nice and neat on the tabletop, careful not to slop coffee on them. This activity makes me think seriously about my mad sloppage skillz and I wisely remove the illustrations from the tabletop and put them on the seat of the chair next to me, sliding it under the table. But then I suddenly become dubious about the hostess’s ability to recognize the unknown client and direct him to me and think that having the illustrations clearly visible might help him locate me, so I put them on the tabletop again.

Rinse and repeat. Twice. With the under the tabletop option finally winning out. It is now ten after twelve. Brad is late.

So I watch all the other people in the restaurant. They all look astoundingly like the cast of The Office. There are at least two dead ringers for Steve Carell and if you squint right, that guy in the corner in the red shirt could be Dwight Schrute for sure. With a little eavesdropping, I decide that the couple sitting next to me is meeting for the first time. It’s her birthday. He is very nervous. They met online. E-Harmony, I’m guessing. I think he’s Polish or something. He has an accent I can’t identify. He also has a really lame sense of humour. She has cats. I can see the cat hair clinging to the elbow of her black sweater.

Brad continues to be late. Brad is very, very late. It’s 12:40 and the waitress (who has been to check on me four times since I sat down) is giving me these sympathetic sidelong glances and half smiles. She thinks I’ve been stood up. She is wishing I would move out of her section because I’m taking up valuable lunchtime real estate and I’m cutting into her tips.

I have my cellphone, but I do not have Brad’s phone number with me, of course. Because that would require something called foresight and my foresight is limited to my ability to determine that at some point during the course of a meal, I will probably slop something I didn’t intend to slop, thereby staining some article on my person or belonging to my person which I would rather not have slopped.

Where is Brad? Brad is unknown and unaccounted for. How long should I wait? I start to dial Johnny Touchstone’s work number (Johnny Touchstone is wise about these situations and always has logical advice and foresight and is probably expecting a panicked phonecall from me right about now anyway, knowing how nervous I was about driving here) and look at the date on the cellphone. Wednesday, October 4th. Wednesday, October 4th?!! October 4th? No, wait. That can’t be right. There must be something wrong with my cellphone. October 4th?!!! Is that right? No, no, it can’t be. I’m suppose to meet Brad on October 5th. WEDNESDAY October 5th. I know because I wrote down the date and the time CLEARLY on a piece of scratch paper that I promptly lost before I had the chance to write it down on my calander.

With the horror of it all slowly dawning on me, I get up from the table and go ask the super efficient hostess lady what the date is. Wednesday, October 4th, she tells me in a tone which tells me she has never mixed up the dates of anything. Ever. And frankly? She really just doesn’t like me anymore.

It is then that I fully realize what I’ve been loathe to accept. I’m early alright. I’m 24 hours early.

And I could tell you about 98 stories JUST. LIKE. THIS. ONE. But not now. Now I have to go walk in the rain again and continue trying to refrain from complaining about the weather. The end.

P.S. I think this makes it 3 posts this week, but this one is extra very long and delicious so I’m gonna count it as two posts which means YAY me! i did it. I posted 4 times this week. And lived to tell the tale. And you’re just sooooo grateful for that. I can tell.

And P.S. the more… when I was looking at the date on the face of my cellphone? I noticed that some Finny fur has somehow become trapped beneath the glass (or maybe it’s plastic?). And it had arranged itself in the shape of a question mark. I’m sure you don’t think that that is particularly remarkable, but I think it’s delightful. ‘Cuz I’m a little weird like that.



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October 18, 2006 · black hole sun

I am beginning to feel like that little girl in the Ray Bradbury story “All Summer in a Day” where the sun only shines for 6 hours every hundred years or something and the little girl gets locked in the closet by her cruel classmates and misses out on seeing the sun for her entire lifetime. Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch, but all day yesterday it bucketed down with the grey grey rain and today the sky appears stuffed with steel wool. The forecast for the rest of the week calls for more of the same.

By nature, I am not one of those heat seeking summer lovers. I much prefer Spring and Autumn and even some Winter (in reasonable amounts. Reasonable in my book expires promptly on January 15th. ) And, in fact, I like summer too … just not the heat. Or the humidity. Or it’s affects on my hair and energy levels. When it comes right down to it, I do not like to sweat. Sweat is icky, sticky and really just unfun.

But I do like the sun. I can appreciate the occasionally rainy day, a good and stormy sky, but baby, this is OCTOBER! October! My favourite month of the year and I want my mellow yellow October sunshine, the crisp breezes, the azure skies and i want them now, now, now!!! If you could some how arrange for all that to happen now, now, now, I’d be much obliged.

Obviously the picture up above was not taken today, but I thought it sorta captured what I was thinking. I’ve also been thinking a lot about this whole blogging thing. I seem to have fallen victim to that virulent blogger’s ennui that seems to be sweeping the nation, particularly plaguing the blogs that are of smilar age to mine. I’ve been at this for almost five years now, and all the shiny newness has long sinced smudged off. A lot of things have changed. I think back on the days when I used to post something at least four times a week with a bemused kind of nostalgia. And frankly, a keen yearning to return to that sort of newbie joy.

I’m not so naive as to believe that I will ever recapture that, but you know what? It wouldn’t kill me to try. So I’m making a commitment to myself to try to post something, even if it is just a photograph, four times a week. Maybe it’s just a matter of getting in the habit again. Maybe it will all come back to me in a glorious rush of angels and whimsy. Don’t laugh. It could happen. It could!

But now I must go. The wolf is in a frenzy, poking me very deliberately with her nose and bumbing my elbow off the mouse. We’re late for the walk again and she’s determined she’s gonna nip this trend in the bud. And if there’s one thing I love more than the sun, it is my doggity.



15 Comments so far
October 17, 2006 · Orange you glad to see me?

O orange. I’m sitting here, still puddling from the wolf walk. It is POURING outside. It has been all morning. And there is a severe umbrella shortage round these parts, so I am soggy soggy indeed. Man… I so need a good raincoat. With a hood. And waterproof shoes. And mascara. But truth be told, though i delayed as long as possible this morning, hoping for a break in the weather, dreading the slog thru the sog, in fact I quite enjoyed it. With the tree trunks all black from rain, the October oranges and reds and yellows really popped. I’ve been really grooving on orange these days… leaves, pumpkins and mums. Tis an exceedingly yummy color. I even made an orange cake last week. mmm…mmmm… cake.

Not much of a post here, I know (can you say LAME?!), but I’m in total painting mode. I’ve been painting for three days straight, alternating between two canvases. I’ll post a pic when I’m done (one is just about there… the other? Well, hopefully by the end of the week.) No, really! I will. I promise!



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October 10, 2006 · Golden edges and rosy hues

At least five times today, I have come in here with the intent of posting something… anything. But nothing comes immediately to mind and then I twist in my chair, look out the window and realize it is full blown glorious autumn out there and I think about how the forecast this week calls for at least three days of rain and I feel compelled to get out there now, now, now to gobble it all up before it gets drowned and swampy, and I put off the posting once again. Johnny Bossman is putting in a day at the office, doing employee performance reviews and then he is off for the rest of the week. We have nothing but autumness and orange edged sloth planned. There are leftovers from last night’s massive Thanksgiving* feast (massive for two people that is). No turkey, though. Neither one of us gets that jazzed about turkey so we had roast chicken with leeks, parsnips and carrots, The Barefoot Contessa’s Potato and Fennel Gratin (thanks for the recipe prompt Alicia!), yorkshire puddings and lime banana salad (which is one of those old jello salad recipes from the ’60s that I’ve had at every single family holiday meal I can remember. I never have any room on my plate for it and wind up eating it for breakfast instead, but it just HAS TO BE THERE. You understand.) I’m still stuffed to brimming.

I am thankful for so very much. I’m thankful for everything in my life, but mostly for Johnny Handsome and my darling doggity. But that is a post for another time… I have a few errands to run (Finny J. is completely out of dog food and the all important doggity treats) and then it is off to the park for sunset meander with my wooflet.

*Thanksgiving is always the second monday in October in Canada for those of you not in the know.



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