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Archive for October, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I like Halloween.  Dressing up, candy … what’s not to like?  I particularly like carving pumpkins.  But I did none of that this year.  Why?  I don’t know. 

So I thought I would go digging around the good ole interweb for some stories and pics that would put me in the mood. 

Immediately, I was reminded by how much Halloween has changed since I was a kid. 

Take this story for example:  Calgary encourages trick or swim, no treat.  I thought, “Well that’s a neat idea.  Obesity is rampant on this continent so why not promote a little bit of exercise over Sweet Tarts”.  But then I pictured a child’s expectant, wide-eyed face as you reach into the candy bucket, only to be handed a swimming gift certificate and I wondered how many children would consider it a “treat”. 

Then I stumbled across this story:  N.Y. school bans Halloween costumes after Captain Underpants costume caper.  If you read the story, the girls are fully clothed in their costumes but “the appearance was that the girls were naked”.  Disruptive?  Okay, maybe slightly… but they are high school students with raging high school hormones after all.  But did they really expect them to wear a princess or clown costume? 

While I’m at it, why is it that so many of men’s costumes look like this

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and so many women’s costumes look like this.  Guys, have you ever seen a librarian that looks like this?  No.  Okay, okay … maybe in your double standard dreams but that doesn’t count. 

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This one is from 2004:  School Says Halloween Disrespectful to Witches.  What?!  Are we really this concerned with being politically correct that we would worry that a child’s innocent image of a witch (green-faced, warts, pointy hat) is going to upset followers of Wicca?   Why is no one concerned that putting messy clothes on might upset a homeless person?  It seems that, more and more, people are way too sensitive to things that are just pure innocent fun. 

From Russia:  Russia schools ban “cult of death” Halloween.  Wow… do they ever know how to zap the fun out of something! 

I came across this game on CNN and it took me back to yesteryear…  you remember?  Those carefree days of bobbing for apples?    <Sigh>

And finally, the best group costume I’ve seen thus far. 

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I love that the person that posted this picture felt the need to point out “The white guys are sperm”.  Uh yeah… we gotcha, buddy.  I’ll be sure to let my bright red eggs know. 

Happy Halloween! 

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Mosaic #1 in progress…

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My neck hurts. 

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(Disclaimer:  By posting this image I, in no way,
endorse or support its improper use of the word ‘its’)

A good friend of mine turned me on to PostSecret blog a few weeks ago.  The idea is based off of the book A Lifetime of Secrets:  People send in postcards and e-mails anonymously and divulge secrets.  The secrets are everything from secret sexual fetishes to abuse (giving or receiving) to admitting to prank-calling your mother.  (Does everyone else in the world know about this site? … sometimes I’m painfully slow to catch onto things). 

Reading these postcards puts me through every emotion in the book.  Sometimes they are unsettling, sometimes funny, and sometimes drop-your-jaw shocking.   Sometimes I feel anguish for the author, to the point of welling tears.  Sometimes I feel lifted up by the jovial spirit of the card.  Most of all, in general, I find reading the cards therapeutic. 

Occasionally I come across a postcard that makes me freeze and think, “I could have written that”.  It jars me.  I read it again.  I give my head a shake and breath a deep sigh.  Have you ever had the feeling that you must be the only person in the world that has ever felt a particular feeling?  That you are completely on your own with your thoughts?  Reading some of these postcards comforts me because I am reading the thoughts of someone, somewhere, who at some point had thoughts that ran a similar vein as mine. 

Sometimes I feel better reading the secrets because it makes me feel good about my own life.  Is that horrible?  Don’t we all sometimes listen to a terrible story about someone going through a tragedy and feel blessed that it didn’t happen to us?  That doesn’t meant that I am taking pleasure in that person’s pain, but that I am happy that bad things didn’t happen to my loved ones.  And isn’t that in everyone’s nature? 

Sometimes the cards put me in a good mood because the content is so uplifting.  Example (posted today):  “I sing old songs out my kitchen window toward the old folks’ home next door … hoping that they will hear me and remember days when they were young and fresh and happy, so that in some small way, I can share in that memory.  ”  How can anyone not smile at the goodness in that person’s heart? 

As therapeutic as it is for me, I imagine how the authors feel when dropping the cards in the mailbox.  Even if it is anonymous. 

I want this book.  Hon, consider this a Christmas hint.  Mwa! 

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Short Term Forecast

 
 
Monday
    Evening
Monday
  Overnight
                  

                        snow.gif       snow.gif

Temperature

 

-5°C 0°C
Condition

 

Light snow Light snow
P.O.P.

 

60% 60%
Wind   S 5km/h S 5km/h

Humidity

      

71% 98%
Snow less than 1cm less than 1cm

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I can’t decide whether this guy is really clever or just has too much time on his hands.  This is a working Pac-Mac machine.  Can you imagine being in a bar with this on?  I find myself wondering if, while he was making this costume, he was picturing the hordes of beautiful women that would want to “play” with him.  How much you wanna bet the reality ended up being a bunch of nerdy guys hovering around him all night? 

Disclaimer:  I can tease the nerdy and geeky because I am both by profession. 

I don’t remember many of my childhood halloween costumes.  I seem to remember a princess, a hobo, and a clown costume.  Pretty standard stuff, all homemade. 

Then Junior High hit when the importance of the costume greatly paled in comparison to the candy itself.  Torn jeans and some dirt on the face?  I’m a bum.  Now give me some candy! 

Even when I was older I just didn’t seem to have the imagination for costumes.  In university I dressed up one year as a vampiress.  Another year I was a salt shaker with my friend the pepper shaker beside me (picture a box around your torso and a tinfoil hat with holes).  Sadly, that was probably my most clever costume ever.  It was likely the most misunderstood too as the venue was a frat party where all of the other girls were either a sexy nurse or a stripper.  Yeah.  You know what they say about hindsight…

But I still feel like I had more imagination than the <enter Disney-character-of-the-week> costume that $20 and a trip to the local Walmart will get you. 

Living in a rural area, Halloween consisted of going back to school in the evening for a party with your classmates.  Bobbing for apples and the like.  On the way home we would stop at the houses of a few people that mom and dad knew well.  It was fun and suited us just fine. 

I have no idea what kids do for Halloween now.  They no longer throw parties at the schools for reasons unknown to me.  Now multiple organizations have Trunk-n-Treats, the safer alternative.  My mom now gets about 6 trick-or-treaters at her house.  In the past three years, Brian and I have had one.  Needless to say, we don’t buy candy anymore because it just ends up being eaten by us. 

“Awww, look at you … what a cute fairy!  Here’s a carrot…”

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Laurie got me pondering my childhood which got me thinking about growing up in a small town which got me thinking about the simple life associated with growing up in the sticks.  I don’t mean Paris Hilton’s rendition of a simple life either… I’ve lived it instead of visiting it for half a second and pretending you know something about it.   

So I thought that I would compile a list of simple things that make me happy, some of which are also enjoyed by you city folk, I’m sure … 

The reds, yellows, and oranges of the leaves when they change. 

The goat that I drive by every day to and from work that is a companion to two horses (but really, any goat makes me happy 🙂 ). 

A bubble bath with a glass of wine.  Or beer. 

Laying on my deck in the sun and amidst the treetops.  And beer. 

Walking into the store and having the clerk pull my brand off the shelf without me even asking. 

Nailing a song on the piano.  Anytime. 

Walking through the woods, especially after a heavy snowfall. 

Being able to fast forward through commercials. 

Seeing the first sprouts after planting seeds in the garden. 

A back cracker. 

Sweating during a workout. 

Chips with my sandwich. 

A kayak trip.  Anywhere.  In any sort of weather. 

Early-morning fog lifting off of a cow pasture and being backlit by the sunrise. 

Seeing a smile on my dogs’ faces. 

The lightbulb in my piano students’ eyes when they grasp a concept I’m teaching. 

Getting a good support tech on the phone. 

An open stretch of road. 

Carrots from my garden. 

Muddin’ and doing donuts on Yammy. 

All of these happy thoughts have boosted my spirits enough for the rest of the day! 

What makes you happy? 

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How did YOU get here?

After reading an entry by Joe a while ago, I started keeping an eye on the search engine terms that people use to get to my blog. 

Some comments: 

  • There are a surprising number of people out there looking for a donair sauce recipe. 
  • And, apparently, a fair number of people curious about laughing gas. 
  • There are also a fair number of people searching for the rapper Nelly that stumble across pictures of my chocolate lab.  Hey, she is much cuter. 
  • To the person that searched for ‘virgin kayak’ … I’m sorry you were disappointed. 

Today is a high point in my humble blog-dom… I am on the Blog Watch section of CBC’s site for my response to the swearing article.  Really, I am!  Check it out! 

Okay, so it’s no big deal.  But my mom will still be proud…

Oct. 25th EDIT to add:  I also apologize for the disappointment that the person who searched for ‘deep hole’ must have felt when they stumbled across my site. 

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Kitchen Renos #6

Wait … what’s that I see?  Is that a light?  Could it be?  The light at the end of the tunnel? 

By golly, I think it is. 

Today is the final day of cabinet installation.  This means that I can finally … finally … clean everything and start unpacking boxes of food and dishes.  Oooh … my organizational senses are tingling. 

This is the view from the living room.  The only thing left cabinet-wise is a hutch to go in the left corner. 

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Very cozy indeed. 

The backsplash is being done by me, mosaic-style, something like this picture.  The tiles are leftover floor tiles so everything will match.  I can’t wait to get started with my creative juices on that.  Eww, that sounded a little gross.  Even to me.   

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There are other little details that need to be finished but they are all up to Brian and I now… ordering stools, lighting, finishing the painting, sealing grout, etc … so we are in a good place. 

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I am not a patient person.  I’m working on it, really I am, but folks … even a group of nuns on Prozac would be tried by the Regent Mall Walmart in Fredericton. 

I purposefully enter that store with silent, calming mantras going through my head.  Mental preparation, if you will.  I figure that if I continue to talk myself down through it, I will walk out of there with at least a small piece of my nerves intact.  I have tried this several times (without success, mind you) until finally, on Saturday, I came to a decision. 

I will never set foot in that Walmart again. 

It has nothing to do with the store, really.  It’s the same as any other Walmart.  I have had no problems with the staff or the layout of the store.  I even have no problems with much of the merchandise.  It’s Walmart … you know the quality of the merchandise going in.  If you’re looking for Gucci (and most Walmart shoppers are not), you’re just not going to find it and you know that when the sliding doors part to greet you.  In my opinion, Walmart has its purpose and there are certain things that I will go in there for. 

But not the Regent Mall Walmart… not me as of 1:32 pm Saturday, October 20th, 2007. 

The sheer number of shoppers is certainly the biggest problem.  At about 6 am on Saturday morning, Walmart starts sending out a signal heard by the young, the old, the rich, and the poor and then it goes through their address books to find all of their relatives within a 100-km radius.  The crowd can be so thick that your pass through the big sliding doors is a slow shuffle.  The greeter’s eyes do crazy rolls in his head as he tries to give a smile to the masses. 

I attack shopping very methodically.  I rarely walk into a big box store just to browse.  So, with list in hand, and a plan mapped out in my head, I hurriedly hit the aisles.  About 10 yards in I hit the first roadblock:  a group of tweeners with died-black hair and pants half-way down their asses and/or three sizes too small (but let’s leave that for another post) and they’re blocking the aisle. 

I’ll zip over to the other aisle to … nope, foiled again by a little old lady pushing a cart with nothing but her purse and a greeting card in it.  Damn!  I look ahead, surveying both aisles, to plan my next move and see a break in the crowd where I can pass by her.  I make my move only to run into a woman and her child coming out of the shampoo aisle without a look in either direction. 

I finally find what I need.  With the skill of a race car driver I weave in and out of the aisles, passing people on the right and then the left, narrowly missing a pair of 13-year-old boys standing at the condom shelf and talking about which style feels good for “both you and her”.  Mantra long forgotten, every roadblock I hit makes me mutter profanity under my breath and climb an inch closer to the end of my rope.  I reach my second destination, hurriedly pick out what I need, and then I’m playing the game again, squeezing by people, moving from one side of the aisle to the other, making leapfrog-like leaps over children… it was breathtaking. 

And then the heavens open up and I can see it … the checkout.  I come up behind a pair of 40-year-old women, shuffling down the hallway at the speed of 98-year-olds, and pushing an empty cart.  But that’s okay … the checkout is in sight and I can feel my blood pressure lowering slightly already.  But then I see someone coming down the aisle toward us and they wave.  I think to myself, “If they stop in the middle of the aisle to talk, I might just lose it”.  My palms get sweaty.  A bead of sweat appears on my forehead.  A frightened look passes over my face as I wait to see what happens.  I survey the other aisle and there is no escape.  And then … they stop. 

I catch a break in traffic and steer to the other side of the aisle to continue to the checkout only after giving the ladies a glare.  I’m sure they are dumbfounded and think that I couldn’t possibly be looking at them. 

People, I am not an unreasonable person.  I am only looking for a bit of manners and some common sense.  I get out of your way when you’re meeting me in the aisle… why can’t you move for me just once?  I slowly approach the aisle so I’m not doing a face plant into some fat guy’s beer gut… why can’t you?  If I happen to run into my fourth cousin’s wife’s sister’s cousin’s daughter and feel the need to stop for chit-chat, I make sure there is plenty of room for people to pass by … why can’t you?  All I ask is that you step out of your own little world of oblivion and consider the people around you … if only for a moment. 

It is there, standing in the checkout line, that I decide I just can’t do it anymore.  For the safety of everyone involved and for my own sanity, I decide that this is the last time. 

If not, I might just punch the greeter in the happy face button. 

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Stuff…

Maybe it’s too early but coming up with a topic seems to be difficult today.  Here are just some random things …

  • I hate commercials that have kids acting as adults because it feels like overrdone, cop-out marketing. 
  • I hate commercials that have people acting as cats.  You know who you are…
  • And while we’re on the topic, I think that there should be a limit on either the amount of time a commercial plays (e.g. a month) or the number of times a station can play it. 
  • I love olives and avocados and couldn’t care less how much fat content is in them.
  • I need to train my dogs better, especially Maggie.
  • I am a smoker and a vegetarian.  I realize that these conflict each other but don’t care.  I hate when people point that out to me. 
  • Sometimes I get a craving for fresh brook trout fried up in cornmeal.
  • I really want to quit smoking but don’t know how to go about it.  After 10 years, I feel like I am losing a part of myself by quitting.  The social aspect of smoking is what holds me; I know I can beat the physical addiction. 
  • Some days I wish I could quit my job and teach piano full time. 
  • I have no patience for slow drivers, especially when they are talking on cell phones. 
  • I enjoyed planning my wedding so much, I considered becoming a wedding consultant. 
  • As much as I love my small town, some days I wish I lived in a big, anonymous city.  And sometimes I wish I lived up north, far from civilization.   
  • I love chips but don’t think that meat flavors belong on them (e.g. Chicken and Gravy). 
  • I don’t like talking on the phone. 
  • I love Huey Lewis and the News and hold no shame about it.
  • Sometimes I worry that I won’t be able to get pregnant. 
  • I don’t like the way the internet and texting is changing the english language and worry about my kids’ chances at learning it properly.  I hate run-on paragraphs, bad grammar, and bad spelling and just stop reading when I encounter it. 
  • I think about my own grammar and spelling and realize that I use the ellipsis far too much…
  • I don’t drink enough milk.  Or water. 
  • I am annoyed that fast food joints put meat in all of their salads. 
  • And finally, I love Fridays 🙂

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