Friday, April 30, 2010

He's still a stinkpot

I’ve spent the last few days with my honourary nephew. He’s not blood but he’s pretty damn close, and sometimes it feels like he’s closer to me than my own family. To say it’s been hard is an understatement, but there’s been some lightness too and that’s what I will share today.

Christopher knows what he likes and what he doesn’t and has never been one to mince words. “No offence, but could you stop singing please? You’re not very good,” he told a good friend. “No offence, but I wasn’t talking to you. I was talking to him,” he said, pointing at The Man.

While he is speaking less and less these days, he still manages to communicate his likes and dislikes. Give him one too many kisses and he’ll gently swat your face away. Tickle his arm and he’s more than likely to move it to a position where you can’t reach. The oxygen is another story altogether and this is where the sneaky stinkpot comes in.

Christopher has many nicknames to match his moods. Grumpy Gus – that’s self-explanatory. Stinkpot. Sneaky Pete. He becomes both when it’s time to get his oxygen levels up and this means keeping the oxygen tubes in his nose for more than five seconds.

At first, he’s obvious about it, trying to whip the tubing away from his face. He sighs when we tell him he must keep it on, for at least a little while. He’s not happy but (we think) he’s accepted the situation at the time. Until the hand sneaks under a pillow – out of sight, out of mind, right? Yes, he thought so too. Ever so slightly the hand would creep up and out and before you know it, he’s trying to remove the tubes again. And, when we notice it, he quickly (or as quick as he can at the time) moves the hand back to his hiding place, ready for the next escape.

Auntie Leenie knows his tricks and has made a game of it, playing thumb wars, hand wars and generally teasing him so while he knows he’s lost the battle, he’s okay ‘cause he’s still in the running to win the war.

And yet, despite all of his moods and his knack of being brutally honest, people still love him and flock to him, all because he’s Christopher. The number of visitors through the house in the last four days has been astounding. One of the “Life Skills” classes at Christopher’s school even made a pot roast dinner for the family, complete with asparagus, potatoes, carrots and gravy. Coffee has been bought (and made), casseroles lovingly packaged and even pizza delivery arranged. One of Christopher’s EA’s even dropped off a sample of pool water to the pool company since Dad couldn’t make it out of the house.

And me? Besides throwing all of my love over Christopher like a blanket and watching over when his parents catch a few winks, I’ve become an expert at keeping the coffee carafe full, even grinding the beans for an even better cup of Joe. They’re just lucky they didn’t get my first vat of coffee when I was still learning the coffee making ropes or they would get coloured water or a vat of tar, all depending on the scoop levels I would choose.

It’s all for Christopher, my (and everyone’s) little stinkpot. I just hope there was more – more time, more we could do. But there certainly wouldn’t be more love.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Peace out, yo

Bloggers, I'm taking a small hiatus. I'll still be lurking around and stalking your blogs but will be off the radar when it comes to updating this blog for a bit. It's nothing you've done - I  love you all - but I'm spending time with someone who needs me more. Besides, I always pride myself on being upbeat and that's been hard to do over the last week and I don't want to bring anyone down.

Not everything sucks. There are definite positives, most importantly my outlook on life, so I've decided to create a thankful list before I depart on my sabbatical.

  1. A great group of friends, both online and in the flesh. Your words of inspiration make me smile, laugh, live.
  2. A renewed quest on the job front. I've handed my updated resume over to a firm with a promising venture. It pays well and I get a chance to work with great people. I believe I'm on the short list, so fingers crossed. Eyes and toes  too.
  3. Dedication and work in the gym and out. I'm still a little sore from my weekend warrior workout, gardening on Friday (planting) and hitting the gym and the treadmill and  eliptical on Saturday (I was up early, motivated and energized). And, it felt like a two-hour stint in the garden transferred into the feeling and fatigue of straight-legged dead lifts in the gym without the personal trainer screaming in my ear to do five more, four more, three more... you get the  picture.
  4. The Man. He may still give the dog a run for the money in  the flatulence department, but he's incredibly supportive. I'm blessed.
  5. Excitement for the future,despite recent happenings.
  6. Realization of my own greatness. I'm a good person and people like me, damn it. More importantly, I'm learning to like myself, flaws and all.
Okay, so it's ta-ta for now, bloggers. I'll be back before you know it. I've got to give you a chance to miss me and all my awesomeness.

Scribe out, yo.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Gusafus

I don't have a lot of words for you  guys today. I'm fighting a cold and have had some terrible news too late into the night to do anything. Instead, I'll post a single photo.

It's a great photo taken by a very talented, tongue-pierced photographer of her little brother. I love her and I love him, and I wish I could take away the pain during an impossible time.

Gus is a wonderful little boy and I've had the joy of knowing and loving him for almost a decade. He's designed "contraptions" in my house and promised me he'd be careful if I let him ride a mattress down my stairs (I didn't, but laughed as I said no). He starts every sentence with "Actually" or "No offence but..." No matter what he's doing or what's going on he tells me he loves me and brightens up whenever he hears that I'm coming over or even if he says my name. His mom tells me he makes his happy noise. He has no idea how much he's brightened up my life.

Please take every opportunity to hold your loved ones close and tell them you love them. If you've lost touch with those people, make contact again. If you've had a fight, take the first step to forgive them. Life is short. Every moment lost is one you will never get back.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Just 'cause I can...

Thanks to Claire @ car dancing, I have a blog topic. Well, sort of. I had to share what I learned from her today while surfing the internetz.

When typing in the alphabet (yes abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz!) into Google search, you get a multitude of answers, especially when you're typing the letters one at a time and hitting search each and every time in between. I was too lazy, so I typed it all in. This is what Urban Dictionary, the first site to pop up, had to say: It's the fucking alphabet, dumbass. Yeah, I know...

It was also suggested (through mind control, obviously) that I should copy and paste these questions and then provide the answers since you know very little about me...

Here goes everything nothing...

Question #1 – What were you doing 10 years ago?

1. Living back with the parental units in my childhood home. It was a much-needed step back to regroup but damn! Living with one's parents again sucks donkey balls!

2. Working at a trade association, writing and editing their magazines.

3. Living and breathing the gym. It was a wonderful time, albeit a bit obsessed!

4. Debating on if March was a good time to take down the Christmas decorations.

5. Traveling, with visits to Scotland and Mexico. I learned that going on a gym-sponsored trip involves early morning workouts and stories that get back to the gym well before you do!

See, I have a really good long-term rememory. It's the short-term that needs help. Now where did I put my car keys again!?!?

Question #2 – What are 5 things on your To-Do list today:

1. Reworking my resume for the millionth time.

2. Heading to the WeightWatcher meeting to be inspired for one more week of greatness (and back for more inspiration on Saturday).

3. Putting curses on my work colleague. He's a douche-canoe and deserves to have needles placed underneath his fingernails.

4. Dishes. The Man made dinner so fair is fair.

5. Pay some bills online. Money doesn't seem to stretch as far as I thought it would when I was all grown up.

Question #3 – What 5 snacks do you enjoy?

1. Popcorn - with Sour Cream shakers (yummm!)

2. Sour Cream Pringles (do you sense a theme here?)

3. Weight Watchers Red Velvet bars. At only 1 pt., it's downright heaven.

4. Poutine (pronounced Poo-tin, as The Man keeps pointing out. Anasatan declared during Doristasia Night that "You're Feckin' English, Linda, It's Poo-TEEEN!).

5. Peanut Butter. It's the goodness and evil all rolled into one.

Question #4 – Where are 5 places that you have lived?

1. Aberdeen Crescent, Brampton, Ontario

2. Epsom  Downs Dr., Brampton, Ontario

3. Hanover Dr., Brampton, Ontario

4. Another damn street in Brampton, Ontario

5. Future living quarters - anywhere but Brampton, Ontario!

Question #5 – What are 5 things you would do if you were a billionaire?

1. Quit my job and take a year to travel - everywhere!

2. Pay off my brother's house and put my neice and nephew through university

3. Donate a hell of a lot to cancer research, brain tumours in particular.

4. Start my own communications company

5. Have two massages a day and pedicures every other day.

Now it's your turn! But don't try the alphabet thing or you'll get told you're a feckin' moron!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Out of contact, out of time

I’ve been away from the computer for too long. My Facebook status is weeks out of date, there are 50 billion emails in my hotmail account and Twitter no longer recognizes my tweet.

It’s been a full weekend away from the keyboard, from surfing the web and checking everyone’s updates. It’s been so long that I didn’t realize an old friend of mine was no longer. He was a year younger than me.

We’d been out of the loop for a while. He was my friend’s ex-husband’s brother and we had bonded over wedding preparations, me in a phlegm green dress with lace and roses and him in a rented gorilla suit in an equally appetizing “mint green” bowtie. We both looked dyno-mite, as defined by J.J. Walker.

A divorce later and there was little contact, as happens in many divorce situations, including mine. I hadn’t meant to pick sides but without that common bond, our friendship went on hiatus. I always thought of him with warm memories and a knowing he would always call me friend.

I logged onto Facebook this morning to catch up on the news, the gossip, the goings-on. My heart cried when I read the words: My brother is dead.

Which brother? He has two others. No, it was Gary - Gary of the great massages, Gary of the infectious laugh, Gary who will be missed even though I didn’t have direct contact with him. I wish I had kept it up, despite the drama and the labeling of his and hers. I wish I could have said goodbye.

I wondered earlier why I was so affected. After all, I hadn’t seen or talked to him in many years. But, I knew he was always there, living his life and smiling. It’s not the case now.

The fact it was such a shock played a factor too. There were no reasons. It was sudden. As far as I know, he wasn’t sick. He was here on Thursday and on Friday he wasn’t. I cried for his family’s loss, for the memories we made when we were in contact and I mourned the fact that they will never happen again. There will be no reconnection over an impromptu dinner party or a night of direct-to-video movies and a foot massage.

My only opportunity now to honour his memory and let people know of the impact he had and continues to have is at the visitation and funeral. It's a sad occasion, but what's even sadder is that I didn't get to tell him how much he meant before this. Damn tears. Damn death. Damn loss. Just damn it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


KFC  makes me hurl and shart... at the same time. I was even more mortified when I saw an ad for their latest creation, the breadless, bunless chicken sandwiches that uses, you guessed it, pieces of chicken to hold the cheese and whatever other heart attack-inducing item together. The KFC Double Down... more like double cardiac bypass...

I like junk food or fast food as much as the next guy, but come on!  The fact that the Canadian marketplace has yet to put its stamp of approval on this new take on a chicken sandwich speaks volumes. The Man noted this evening that KFC Canada is waiting to see the outcome of the situation in  the States. What's the situation? The fact that dieticians and people with common sense are reeling and screaming for the item's departure from the KFC lineup.

First, there's the fat. That's a given, since KFC will be doubling it's fried meat quota in one sandwich. But apparently the thing that warrants the most concern is the sodium of level in just one sandwich (and I use that term loosely). It's over the daily sodium quota, according to health guidelines.,  never mind about the always popular sides: fries, coleslaw and macaroni salad.

I thought they had scraped the bottom of the barrel of possible food items when they brought out the chicken bowl, which combined their ever-famous fried chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy, cheese and a whole salt lick (just kidding about the salt lick... or am I...). I realize now that it's just the start.

It will be interesting to see the backlash from Health Canada, dieticians and doctors here in the Great White North, but I suspect that there will be more than a few people willing to take a chance.

Meet Hank

The hairs on my arms are now standing up. I’ve just read a comment from fellow blogger Sharon, The Blogger Queen and she uttered words worse than ‘earwig infestation.' So what did she say? Termites. And then I threw up in my mouth.

My stomach is in knots, my mind is racing and my hands are sweaty. And, did I tell you I think I just had a stroke? Okay, maybe not but I’m seriously whacked, man. I mean mention the possibility of something and I’ve got it. Have a little bite that won’t go away? It’s a tick and now I’ve got Lyme Disease.

It’s not Sharon’s fault. It’s all me and my damned imagination. I suppose she’s right: it’s better to check out and make sure of what it is not than to be surprised and heaving into a large paper bag because I was caught unawares.

I think I need a drink. Or five. You people better get the smelling salts out.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Home obsessions

I've been watching a lot of home renovation shows lately. I have HGTV on permanent rotation on my channel changer, my thumb poised on the button to switch to another reno show whenever those pesky commercials pop up like a bad pimple on my 39-year-old face. (The older I get the more I transition between an adolescent and an oldie - how the hell could I have a massive pimplic eruption and a chin pube at the same time!?!?)

Hardwood floors are my obsession as my laminate is just not holding my attention the way handmade, hardwood planks are peppering my every dream - awake and in slumber. And, especially after seven years of living with a pukey Peptol Bismol pink carpet that cushions my walk upstairs to and throughout the bedrooms. I am not a pink girl, having  only a passing obsession with the hue when I was three and my mother dressed me in polyester dresses.

The issue, as always, is money, and the fact that I constantly bring out the age-old rule that it's a woman's prerogative to change her mind - and I do constantly - whether it's furniture placement or the more expensive  alteration of revamping my builder's issue kitchen cabinets now 30 years old.

I bought the house almost eight years ago, my entrance into adulthood. I bought it a year after my divorce, almost two years after buying and losing my first house bought with my first husband. A new build, by the time the house was ready, we were not. My house now needed a lot of work - new bathroom, new paint in every room and a massive clean-out thanks to the old owners - but it had the bones and it was all mine, an indication of my independence, of my foray into responsibility.

Now the bones are starting to crumble. Lately, I've become obsessed (who me!?!) about a dip that has creeped into the laminate at the entrance to the living room. I guess it has always been there, but after years of traffic and almost two years of the clickity-clack of Kao's nails on the floor (not to mention the boxing sessions, which really should have been taken outside), the uneven floor is even more noticeable, sinking deeper and deeper into my psyche.

The house is a constant work in progress, somewhat like me - new floorboards, new doors a metaphor for the self-discovery, the new self realization. And, like the present laminate, it's not always pretty.

Perhaps that explains my addiction to shows like House Hunters or Property Virgins - it's the outcome after the work, the bones, the flesh, the work already done and move-in ready. It's constant baby steps: hardwood, kitchen cabinets, the dream of tearing up that god awful pink carpet to unveil new skin, harder armour and a much prettier, sleeker and self-aware home.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Land of Nod

I used to love to hate my brother. He was my captor, my bully, the person's whose life I lived to mess up, whether it was his bedroom or his psyche, I was all over it.

He used to hide under my bed and grab my legs as I would walk by. I used to steal his penmenship books and mark them all up. He should have seen it as a compliment. I wanted to write as well as I thought he did. I was four. He was almost nine.

He used to punch me and throw things at me from across the dinner table and blame me when I retaliated. I used to tell him he was the mailman's child. He used to walk me to my kindergarten class and try to trip me as we walked or throw loogies at me (his). I would fashion a shank and try to stab him (I must have looked good in prison garb). We used to play this game of calling each other by our names spelled backwards. He was Nod, I was Adnil and we were the offspring of Eoj and Teragram.

I don't know when that dynamic changed. Maybe it was when he tried to protect me from the local gym lethario. Maybe it was when he stole my teen romance novels and I realized just how much of a romantic he was. Or maybe it was when we teamed up to convince my parents we were old enough to appreciate Disney World or the benefits of owning and taking care of a dog of our very own. We were a good team. He was my Nod.

We still are. I called him today, to say hi but to also hear a reassuring word. He didn't disappoint. I was worried, as I usually am since I worry if the sky is going to fall, if something, anything will go wrong. Usually it's something beyond my control but I worry still. This time it was about my car and the money that I recently had to put out to bring the car up to road-worthy. I had bad brakes, bad to the point where I was worried (yes, worried again) that I wouldn't be able to stop. One week the brakes were fine, the next they were not. A visit to my mechanic and $500 later and I was on my way, but I was left with almost nothing in the bank account and that had me a bit scared for the next week until my pay cheque came in.

Crap happens, Scribe, he said. You needed the brakes, you got them fixed. Do you have food in the fridge? Are all of your bills up-to-date? Yes? Then you've done everything you can. Crap happens and it's only money. You'll make more of it, but at least you have the car to get you to the job so you can make more money.

He didn't call me Scribe. He called me Linda, since he never calls me Scribe. He doesn't even know I have a blog. He did, however, lift my spirits. He reminded me of the time he had to buy two new cars in a two-month span, one to replace the broken down minivan he had been driving and a second one to replace the car in which he got into an accident. Crap happens. And as long as the good outweighs the crap, you're still in the positive, in the black.

Crap happens and I'm glad that I have my brother on my side to remind me of the positives, of the credits that I still have and to laugh in the face of my worries, no matter how minor, how small in the grand scheme of things. I have my family and that's a great positive in my book.