Do you want rats? Because this is how you get rats.

So remember the "I'm back" and a pithy title making fun of my ability to get sick all the time and never have any energy? Wasn't that funny?


A couple of days ago I got a phone call from my doctor's office wanting a follow-up on some blood work. But...I had already done the follow up on blood work. In which we determined I had way too much progesterone, remember?

"...different blood work?" the beleaguered medical admin guessed.

"Okay," I said, and promised to come in the next day. I figured my doctor was maybe having a senior moment? Even though she's not senior? But I should humor her because she was the one who figured out that I had too much progesterone and I was feeling much better.

Turns out there was more blood work, tests that had to be sent away to...Siberia, possibly?...and hadn't made the long trip back by the last appointment. Turns out that I have auto antibodies in my blood, which indicate an autoimmune disease. Probably lupus, but from what I can tell autoimmune diseases are like one big bad Venn diagram of labels and symptoms, and you might be in 3 of them or you might be in the middle in limbo, and it will probably change by Thursday, so a rheumatologist just picks one at random (I assume. Possibly there's more science involved than that). It doesn't really matter what your ultimate label is, if you have an autoimmune disease it basically amounts to: Your body is trying to kill you.

Maybe not today! But probably tomorrow. And possibly Wednesday. And then maybe it will take a little rest, or even a long rest, and contemplate the next time it tries to kill you. Maybe the kidneys? The brain? Nah. LET'S GIVE HER DRY EYES. SHE'LL FUCKING HATE THAT.

When my doctor told me and made the referral to the rheumatologist, I took the day off and went home and laid on the couch and cried a bit. To be fair, I was probably going to do that anyway because I had an infected tonsil and I was in a lot of pain and kept thinking I was going to choke to death reeeeaaalllly slowly, but the autoimmune thing really didn't help.

I sort of feel like I've been handed the world's worst decoder ring. I hold it over my medical records and it says things like "you had premature ovarian failure because AUTOIMMUNE" and "you have Hashimoto's because APPARENTLY YOU COLLECT AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES" and "you get infections from every little thing because AUTOIMMUNE" and "you get weird green numb fingers when you're cold because AUTOIMMUNE". And you're like, ohhhhhhh of course! This all makes so much sense! Let's hover the decoder ring over the part that gives you answers about how to fix it! And you get

That's all we know.


I'm still processing this, clearly.

In the meantime I'm going to be naming all of my posts with random quotes from whatever I'm watching right now because if I'm going to have psychic, predictive post titles they might as well be interesting.

So this week next time? Rodent infestation. BOOM.

(I'll probably be a bit more selective with my random quotes once I test this theory.)

One of these days this body is going to be the death of me

I had good intentions as I always do about blogging regularly again and then I sort of wandered off. As I always do. In my defense though my body decided that the hormone supplement that I've been on for almost five years was suddenly way more than it wanted to accept and so after about 20 vials' worth of blood tests to figure out why I felt like ass, it was discovered that I had fourteen times the amount of progesterone that I should.

Which, for future reference, makes you feel like ass.

So that should be all fixed up, dosage-wise, and I feel better already. You wouldn't think it would take that much energy to mash a keyboard, but there you go.

My dose is WAY lower than it was before which means it's not $85 a month, which sucks. You'd think that affordable meds would be a good thing but the $85 a month was covered by my insurance (most of the time) and so I'd pay for it up front with my credit card and get points, and ring it through with my drug store loyalty card and get points there too, and then I'd get paid back so basically it was 5 minutes of my time and a bunch of points.


Anyway, I'm back.

Sustainable building design, translated

The building I work in was built in such a way as to be considered "sustainable design". It's supposed to be more eco-friendly, and it has certification that "recognizes excellence in energy and environmental performance".

Which is awesome. I mean, I'm all about the environment. I love that shit. It's about time that someone recognized that maybe we can live in straw bale houses but we definitely can't work there, so maybe let's get on top of making commercial buildings that aren't a giant blight on the face of the earth.


It turns out that sustainable design in a commercial building is really awesome in theory.

Like communism. Or shapewear.

But in reality, sustainable design for a commercial building is a clusterfuck of failed expectations and broken dreams.

(Also like communism. And shapewear.)

For example.

Energy efficient ceramic heating and cooling ceiling tiles: These sound brilliant, right? Dual purpose! Energy efficient! The cold air falls from the ceiling so you don't have to expend energy forcing it upwards!

What that actually means: Well, what that actually means is that it doesn't work very well. We are a province of temperature extremes. The 'heating' portion seems to do ok - we don't freeze in the winter, exactly - but the cooling portion sucks so bad that they've had to install a series of smaller standalone A/C units. Which sort of defeats the whole environmentalism thing. Also, it's not humid here by any stretch, but the ceiling tiles acquire condensation, forcing us all to watch out for drips and occasionally run a mop over them. It looks super profesh when you've got a number of buckets catching drips in your boardroom and your CEO is mopping the ceiling, I gotta say.

Bathrooms fitted with low-flow taps and waterless urinals to conserve water. Low-flow taps are tried and true. In a house environment, anyway. Where you aren't sharing your germs with 500 of your best friends. I think the 8 colds I had last year and the little signs they put up next to them at the office reminding us all to wash for ages to prevent germs speak for themselves though.

I don't think I can even sell the positive on that second part, because WATERLESS URINALS. What washes the urine down the urinals you ask? Well, more urine of course. What dries on the way down and consequently smells like a well-trafficked outhouse in August?

That was a rhetorical question.

Fun fact: I made that exact complaint to our office manager who then included it in her maintenance request to building management. There's paperwork floating around somewhere with the words "well-trafficked outhouse in August" - my legacy, y'all! Maintenance came out to "fix" it, so now it smells like the same outhouse in June...covered in fake flowers.

I'm beginning to understand why Greenpeace does most of their office work on a boat.




On creativity

Lately I've been thinking a lot about creativity. I spent the last 2 years or so in a creative desert, with no will to write or draw or build anything, and then suddenly, a few weeks ago:  bam! Inspiration hit. I wanted to blog again, I wanted to write a story, I'm even posting quasi-professional things on LinkedIn.

(That means I leave out the swear words.)

There's always lots of blah blah blah about how creativity is "1% inspiration and 99% perspiration", implying that if you just do the work you'll eventually be a Artist with a capital A. But without that 1%, that muse, you're barely a lower case 'a' if you're lucky. At least in my experience.

And yet I have no idea what planets need to align for the muse to start talking. I have no idea what happened a few weeks ago - nothing had changed, not even my brand of deodorant. So where does it come from? Where does it go?

(Where does it come from, Cotton Eyed Joe?)


It's easy to think of creativity like a finite vessel, with only a certain amount of emotional energy that can be expended. If you waste it on your job or your kid, you have nothing left over. But that doesn't always track; creative energy begets creative energy, after all. Surrounding yourself with artist types might make your vessel bigger, your flashes of inspiration happen more often.

I'm somewhat reluctant to overanalyze, in case I scare it off. I don't want it to go skittering away for another two years. But when I'm not paying attention I find myself wondering about the particular blend of physical, emotional, and social situations that must have to happen for me to feel "inspired". My brain tries to dissect that, to slice it up and put it back together in a jar on the shelf, so next time I can just add a generous helping to my lunch.

Yeah, I'm totally going to scare it off.

Random Tuesday Thoughts (Resurrected)

I'm home sick today. Sick! In the middle of summer! FUCKING UNACCEPTABLE. There are a very limited number of days in this part of the country where one can actually enjoy being outside, without freezing to death or getting blown away or coating oneself in industrial-grade bug spray. Summer owns the bulk of those days, so to be sick during the summer is a crime against humanity, really.

Today is not actually one of those days, though. It's pouring rain and there are tornado warnings. So I guess I'll stop being melodramatic. Ahem.

I forgot when I pledged to write a 'book' in July that there was going to be an entire week where I just opted out of life.

Okay, it was vacation. I went on vacation. Just shut up and let me be melodramatic, ok?

We go to Clear Lake every year and do nothing. Well, not nothing. Hiking and swimming and drinking and eating. Mostly those last two. (Seriously, there's a ridiculous amount of eating.) Writing isn't on the official list of Nothing, so it's coming along a little slower than planned, but I'm not bailing out on it like I bail out on everything else.


We don't watch real TV in the UnMom household. We watch Netflix and movies and YouTube, and play a gross amount of video games, but no actual TV with actual commercial breaks. Except when we go to Clear Lake, where there is no WiFi and my poor 7 year old is forced to watch peasant-vision. (I have to put the 'un' in 'UnMom' somehow.) It's spooky how after a couple of days, he's wanting to visit "Sleep Country" and chiding us for not "taking out life insurance" or purchasing some kind of ear wax remover thing. Like, he is solidly committed to those products and how they'll improve our lives if we just buy them, mom, we should just buy them. How did our own parents ever survive the onslaught?

Pluto has a TAIL, you guys!

This is fun. I forgot how much fun verbal diarrhea is!

I never spell that word right the first time. Ever.

Annnnd now I need a nap. It's hard to believe that once upon a time I did this every Tuesday. Stacey still does, so you should go give her kudos.

Slow leak

Sometimes, stress and worry aren't loud, obnoxious roommates. Sometimes they sneak up on you.

Sometimes, you can be trucking right along, getting things done, being a regular person, with the regular amount of work-related concerns and the regular amount of personal ones. And then you maybe hit a small bump in the road, maybe a meeting runs too long and you haven't looked at the time and your phone rings and you realize you've accidentally stood your mom up for a lunch date. Obviously you feel awful, because what kind of asshole leaves their 68-year-old mother sitting by herself in a Thai restaurant?

Of course you feel awful, but a missed lunch date is not the end of the world, shit happens, so you can't understand why your heart is pounding and your stomach is clenching, or why you spend the next 20 minutes hiding in the bathroom sobbing like a pre-teen with an unrequited crush.

And you're not quite sure why a good cry doesn't fix things like it usually does. You feel deflated, drained. Like a flat tire with a slow leak.

Because sure, maybe you noticed that the tire was a bit soft or maybe you even have one of those fancy cars that gave you a warning light, and you thought you should probably do something about that, but you had a lot of things going on, and it's a pain to take it in, and really it wasn't that bad. You could get to it tomorrow. Or next week.

You could pump it up, of course, but it will just seep out again. Maybe you've even done that a few times.

I'm probably taking this metaphor a bit far.

The point is, sometimes you don't notice. You're Dealing With Shit but everyone else is also Dealing With Shit, because life is a giant pain in the ass. What makes the shit you're dealing with any more important than anyone else's? What kind of asshole makes it all about THEM when their shit is trivial compared to others?

But sometimes you deal with it for long enough that it lets all the air out of your metaphorical tire and, well, you can't fucking go anywhere after that, can you?

You have to stop.

I went to Scotland and all I got was this lousy epiphany

Recently, I enjoyed a two week vacation in Scotland. With my mother.

And now you have the same squinchy face that people get when I tell them that.  The crinkled forehead that says you're trying to decide between deluded and completely fucking insane.

But, really, it was great. In fact, it was my idea. Oh, sure, there was one day, about 5 days in, where my mom snarked at some Germans in the B&B because they didn't make small talk at breakfast and in fact excluded us from their conversation by speaking German, and later she huffed and rolled her eyes at some blokes who brought a 6-pack of beer onto the train and proceeded to enjoy it, at which point I thought, holy shit, when did my Mom become a crabby old lady? But that was the same day that I snapped at her for pronouncing "Perth" in a Scottish accent, "Pairrrrth", which wouldn't be so bad except it was the only word she pronounced in a Scottish accent, and managed to do so about 20 times within 5 minutes, and if you are going to do a Scottish accent then do the whole fucking Scottish accent, at which point I'm sure she thought, holy shit, when did my daughter become a crabby old lady?

After that we went back to the B&B and had naps and from then on, at least if we were crabby old ladies we were pretty much crabby about the same thing.

At one point my Mom asked, "What will you remember about this? What will stand out?"

Lots of things, but in particular a trip we took to Lunga, where hundreds (possibly thousands) of puffins were nesting. You could stand 8 or 9 feet away from them and all they would do was give you a worried look, which I'm pretty sure is just the default look for puffins.

Puffins are nice and all but we were on Lunga for 2 hours, and that's a long time to stare at birds. So at after about half an hour I wandered off around the side of the island. Lunga was inhabited once, hundreds of years ago, and I poked about inspecting the ruins of the stone crofts and taking some pictures. 

I kept walking around the island, away from the puffins and the group of people. A rabbit spotted me and thrashed away through the heather. A bee the size of my palm droned by, interested only in the swathes of bluebells that were carpeting the island.

I followed a path and found myself, suddenly, in a small valley. I could no longer hear human voices, and the ocean was far away and down a cliff. The wind died, and I stopped walking. Complete and utter silence crushed down.

I panicked, almost. You are never that far away from some kind of sound or movement. You don't realize the constant humming, murmuring, clicking, rumbling, whooshing, going on until it's gone. It was like the world ended and I didn't get the memo.

Then another bee bumbled past and the undergrowth rustled and the panic lifted off my chest. But it continued to be so still, so muted, that I stood there for a good five minutes just being. I realized at some point I had started crying.

I kept following the path, around the island until I reached a small sign that said "paths may be hazardous, visitors proceed at own risk". Twenty feet past that was a sheer cliff that plunged into the sea. Just a bit hazardous.

So I turned around, and near the small valley I met my Mom, who had tired of puffins as well and followed the same path. We sat down on the springy grass and had a lunch of oat cakes and mandarins. The sun warmed our companionable silence. 

"I could die here," my Mom said, "In perfect happiness."

I felt the same way, but instead I made a sarcastic comment about how much of a pain it would be to get her body back to Canada, because I talk all the time, I never really stop, but when it comes to saying anything that might cut my heart, I have no words.

I'm as silent as that valley.


I said I would, and I did. I somehow cobbled together a half-assed plot out of "space" "rockband" and "orphan", and I even did it when I would said I would, and then I started writing.

So, um. The first chapter is up there, on the right, under "Next Big Thing". 

(I'm just calling it that because of my habit of moving on to the Next Big Thing, not because I actually think it's going to be the Next Big Thing. What I think it's going to be is mediocre but hopefully somewhat entertaining. Aim high!)

You can read it if you want. Please criticize, that's why I'm doing this. (But I've already written the outline and drafts of the next two chapters, so if your criticism is "Why the fuck is he in a rock band?" I'm probably going to ignore you.)

Clean Slate

I'm always looking for the Next Big Thing. I'm sure that Alfred is really tired of trying to keep up with my hobbies, because just when he's got one figured out and bought me a related Christmas present, I've already decided that I'm done with that and oooooh, that other thing looks exciting!

In just the last year I've toyed with archery, yoga, knitting, and coding.

(Anybody want a recurve bow and some arrows?)

One thing I always come back to is writing. At least, in my head.

One day I'll write a book. I just have to have some mental head space. I just need my kid to be a little bit more independent. I just need inspiration. I just need a physical space that's just for me. I wish we lived closer to a coffee shop. I just have to lose 10 lbs because then I can use the time I exercise for writing instead.

That last one is super logical, huh?

These are the things we tell ourselves, while other people are telling us, hey, just write. Start writing. Writers write. 

For some reason today was the day I decided I was just going to do that. In July, I will write a short book. Ish. Type of thing.

I'm not going to question it, I'm just going to run with it.

I still didn't have any inspiration so I just wrote down all the things I like to read stories about on scraps of paper, and chucked them into a hat. Shamefully, what I most like to read is YA fiction so there were a lot of... interesting... things in there. I asked my 7 year old to pull out three of the scraps.



Holy shit, he fucking sucks at this.  I mean, there were werewolves and pirates and Ancient Egypt in there. 

Well, whatever. That's what I'll write about. I guess. And in the interest of being accountable, I'll post it in all it's awful glory here. Aren't you excited?

Yeah, I have a stomach full of dread too.


Do you ever continue to do something that by all logic, you should have quit a long time ago?

Oh hai! How's it going with you? Good to here. How's it been going over here? Good, I guess. There has been Stuff happening, although it seems to happen at a rate that I can't blog about it. And then 5 minutes later it doesn't seem blog-worthy anyway. But I'm sure there has been Stuff.

All those spammy comments on my blog, for one thing. I get email notifications and think, "Oh, I should delete that Stuff," and then promptly forget 20 seconds later. 

(Apparently I've turned into a goldfish?)

And, I don't know, other Stuff. I can't think of it right now. I'm running again, now that there's no roller derby, and I've just completed the C25K program. Go me! I can maintain running a few times a week as long as I pay attention to my form, stretch extensively and roll out muscle tightness, go for a massage once a week, and now that I've written that all out I realize how insane it sounds. 

To make it crazier I'm getting up super early to run. Voluntarily. Without an alarm. I mean, I like a lot of things about running early in the morning. I get my workout out of the way for the day, I can have a shower immediately afterwards so I'm not stinky for too long, I don't feel guilty about bacon, I feel like I accomplished something. I occasionally get impressive views:

The mist rising off the lake made it look like King Arthur was going to come riding along. It's cooler in the morning, and I think I get that "runner's high". There are a couple of things I don't like about getting up early to run, though:

1. Running.

2. Getting up early.

I'm a study in conflict.

What kind of Stuff have you guys been up to?

This post is about childhood dreams and also apparently about how Canadian I am.

When I was a kid, I desperately wanted an Easy Bake Oven.

I’m not even sure how I discovered that they exist. We didn’t watch much television; we had what I, later in life, lovingly referred to as “PeasantVision” – the 3 channels you could pick up with rabbit ears. One of which was in French.

We were allowed to watch some Saturday morning cartoons, if CBC chose to show some. They were often pre-empted by hockey, or the Olympics, or news about farming, or Stompin’ Tom Conners. You know, whatever the CBC thought was important at the time. I don’t remember Saturday morning cartoons as any kind of reliable feature of my childhood landscape.

Sunday evenings, however, we religiously tuned in to watch The Wonderful World of Disney, and the Beachcombers. Then it was bath and bed and start our week back at the one-room log schoolhouse with our spinster schoolteacher.

(Or that’s how I just realized I was making it sound.)

Anyway, I’m pretty sure there was never any advertisements for Easy Bake Ovens, so for once television is not to blame.

And I know that I didn’t have any friends that had Easy Bake Ovens, because I wasn’t sure exactly how they operated. I didn’t realize that in actuality they used a crappy 40-watt light bulb to harden chemically powders into something resembling brownies. In my head, an Easy Bake Oven would sit in the corner of my room, and I could close the door to my room and it would produce wonderful-smelling, sugary baked treats on demand that were mine, all mine.

It’s possible that I was a bit deprived of sugar as a child, too.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I think the culprit was the Consumers Distributing catalog, or possibly the Sears catalog. I wasted many pleasurable hours flipping through those two bibles of childhood, coveting things that had no real purpose and were probably cheap plastic but were wondrous to me.

(Also, wondering what the hell a Personal Massager was, why it was shaped like a cucumber and why the lady in the picture was holding it against her face and looking agonized.)

The Easy Bake Oven was at the top of my wish list, followed closely by a Cabbage Patch Doll (a girl, not a boy, and when I got her I would send away my certificate to rename her Sally Rainbow). The Cabbage Patch Doll never materialized because they were insanely hard to get, but the Easy Bake Oven never became mine either. In retrospect I’m sure it had to do with not encouraging traditionally ‘female’ roles, not filling me with unauthorized sugar/chemicals, and the fact that I’d probably lose interest in it in about 3 minutes, blah blah. Parenting logic that I now, sadly, understand.

But oh…how I wanted that oven.

I wonder if they still make them?


(Edit: Oh. My. God.)


Write what you know

The other day my mother forwarded me some Writer's Guild stuff. "You should consider submitting something," she wrote. "And write more. You're SUCH a good writer."

I think she's a little biased, being my mom and all. I mean, I notice this myself; I congratulate my kid on being SO AWESOME at something when what I'm really complimenting is his progress, not necessarily his skill from an objective perspective. He's 6, so that's acceptable. My mom has been reading my stuff since I was an angsty teenager, so she's seen a fair bit of improvement...but that doesn't make me Shakespeare.

But, I think about it a lot. I want to write, I replied. But I don't have time, I'm busy, my head is crowded. In a year maybe, when this thing is done, when that thing is done. When my kid is in high school, when I can take time off, when I'm retired.

You know the drill.

My mom responded with an oft-cited nugget of wisdom from a local writer: Just write 15 minutes a day, she said. Commit to that 15 minutes, that's all, but maybe sometimes you'll write more.

I want to write, I said again, but I don't know what to write. I need mental white space to come up with ideas. I need less stress, more time. My 15 minutes of writing would be nothing but complaining and crappy haikus. What would I write?

Write what you know, she said promptly. Finish the complaining and then write what you know.

(My mom can be really annoying when I'm trying to be lazy.)

Okay. Write what you know. So I'm writing what I know....which is writing about not writing.


And now the Van Halen song is in your head too

Remember how I said Mother Nature is taking my simple purchase of a proper coat as a personal challenge? Yeah, that hasn't let up. I think everyone is getting hammered with it. They're calling it an arctic vortex, which sounds pretty doom and gloom. As if we weren't depressed enough about living in darkness and having to wear long underwear everywhere.

I mean, that shit flatters no one.

But with excellent timing, I have planned a trip in a few weeks to Panama. Where it's really warm, I hear.

I'm going with my cohorts from high school, the Four Horsewomen of the Wine-Induced Apocalypse. Except we're losing a Horsewoman, so there's only three, but I'm pretty sure that's enough for a few apocalypses.

We all turn the same age within about a year and a half. When we turned 30, we did something special for each person's birthday. We went on road trips, we went to the spa. I am the last one to celebrate, so my friends were out of ideas and just rented a limo and tried to kill me with liquor.

Speaking of apocalypses.

This time we figured we'd just do one BIG trip, and hopefully the liquor assassination attempts would all be mutual. Originally we thought Costa Rica, which got nixed due to finances, and after a lot of 'reply all' email chains we settled on Panama. Which has spiders, but I'm willing to overlook them if my friends are willing to stand between them and me.

They promised me they were. That's true friendship, folks.

I've traveled a fair bit in the past couple of years but rarely for pure pleasure, and I have suffered through every single bone ass cold January here since moving home from Vancouver over 15 years ago. So a hot weather vacation is due. I even bought a new bathing suit that makes me look like a super hero.

A slightly pudgy super hero, but hollywood is totally ripe for one of those, amirite?

Omg, it's going to be so fun. Sun, sand, booze, water, booze, two recently divorced friends.

What could possibly go wrong?


Touche. Bitch.

Last winter was fucking miserable.

We got so much snow that when this winter began, the dump site from snow removal still had snow from last year. I am not even making this up. There were giant piles of snow that survived all goddamn summer.

I'm pretty sure that's how Ice Ages get started.

Anyway, for someone who lives in a province where it gets really fucking cold, every single year, and who has lived there the majority of her life, I am woefully underprepared. I own but one pair of long underwear, stolen inherited from my mother, and one pair of gloves that would keep my hands warm longer than 20 seconds. I have coats which, on a scale of 1-10 for protecting against the elements, rate a "WTF". My boots are fashionable but wouldn't hesitate to sacrifice a toe to frostbite.

I really don't know how I've survived this long. It certainly explains why I bitch so much.

So this year I declared my intent to buy a big, fuck-off-mother-nature, down-filled full length coat. And a pair of giant boots made from animals that had sacrificed their lives to keep my feet warm. Neither of these things is a thrifty endeavour, but I was determined to just make the investment and be warm for once.

"You know," my mom said when I told her my plan, "That pretty much guarantees we'll have the warmest winter on record."

"I know," I gloated. If my life has taught me anything, it's that things always work like that for me. (And, apparently, my mom, since she was familiar with the phenomenon.) Get prepared for once? Totally unnecessary. Unprepared as usual? Here's 16 feet of snow. 

I was ready to tell everyone, you're welcome. I bought my coat and boots and some extra mitts and made a "bring it" hand gesture towards Winter.

That was kind of stupid. It's been at least as cold as -20C (-4F for you 'merican folks) ever since. Mostly -40 with the wind chill. 

(To everyone: I am so sorry. So, so sorry.)

Occasionally it warms up abruptly for a day, I'm pretty sure only because it has a debilitating effect on my sinuses. 

You know, so I have something ELSE to bitch about for a while.

Christmas rambling, are you listening?

And then she disappeared again! No, not really, I still feel like I have teh thingz to say. I don't know what those things are, but the urge to blog has not yet left me.

But Alfred has been stealing my laptop to play Everquest. This is due to a) his apparent lack of awareness of improvements in gaming in the last 15 years and b) he recently quit wrestling so doesn't have to go to practice any more.

No more derby, no more wrestling. We're fickle in our commitments around the Un Mom household.

Anyway, far be it from me to deny him some solace in reminiscing around an elven campfire.

So are you ready for Christmas? I feel like we've entered that very weird time of year, where things at work slow down enough that I feel relaxed, but yet still have this impending sense of doom about other things. I don't know why, I do not go "all out" for the holidays, but I usually feel angsty all December. I have things! To do! But not really because I've never done them and I'm not doing them this year!

I don't do a big dinner, for instance, or have parties or do a lot of baking or even buy gifts for anybody other than my immediate family.

Well, and the cleaner. And something for the inlaws. And I guess I should get something for the teacher this year, that's a thing now that we're into grade 1.

Maybe something small for my co-workers.

Aaaaannnd I think we just identified the source of my angst.

My tree also gets me a little worked up. When I was a kid, we had the same decorations every year, and they all had a story behind them or were handcrafted by my mother or were otherwise meaningful in some way, and the lights were all mismatched and it was a glorious glittery tree of chaos. We had a moldy lump of playdoh in a vague reindeer shape that my brother made in kindergarten residing under the tree until I was in my 20s.

My Christmas trees, on the other hand, have a different color theme every year. It started out as a few different sets of ornaments that I rotated, but now I basically buy brand new decorations each time. We do have some meaningful ornaments, some that were given to us or that we made, and I will put those on the tree.

If they match the color theme.

(This year is turquoise and lime green. In case you were wondering.)

I don't know why I do this, other than it allows me the thrill of purchasing new ornaments every year, under the guise of being completely insane. Every year I spend about 3 weeks before we buy the tree wringing my hands and haunting the Christmas aisles of major retailers, looking for my chosen colors. At least this year I chose a popular color - the year I decided to go with blue and gunmetal gray, I lost a lot of hair.

(Getting the actual tree part is up to Alfred, and I don't get overwrought about that. Maybe as my disease progresses, I'll care more about the perfection and fluffiness of the tree, but for now I don't care how spindly and and lopsided it is, as long as I can cover it in the correct color of glitter.)

The actual decoration of the tree I try to make as delightful and festive as I remember it from my childhood, but in truth I grit my teeth a lot and Alfred is extra cautious around me. I think the 6 year old still enjoys himself during decorating, and hasn't noticed what a crazy person his mother is yet, so that's good. Maybe next year I'll pre-load with nog so that I'm not such a bitch.

I'd post a picture of the tree, which went up last weekend, but. Um. I need to get a few more turquoise and green decorations. It's not finished.


I know I'm not the only nutjob during the month of December - what gets you all in a lather? Inlaws? Cooking? Wrapping? People who don't say Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas or Happy Hannukah or Happy Kwanzaa or maybe they DO say those things but whatever they say, it's not what you'd prefer?

Merry Ho Ho, by the way.



This is why I don't socialize often

This week is full of Lunches. Does this happen to you? You can go for a month just eating your salad in the lunch room or occasionally popping out to the mall, and then all of a sudden all the "we should do lunch!" conversations you've had in the last few weeks align like the stars and you're booked solid.

Although, my lunch date yesterday was with my Mom, so I'm not sure if that earns me popularity points. But she did bring me presents - some random stuff from my Grandma's house, which everybody has been spending the past 6 months cleaning and organizing.

(My grandma lived in a 5-bedroom, 4-level split for over 50 years, the last 40 of them by herself, before going to a home. Why the hell would she throw stuff out? She had closet space to beat the band.)

The bag had some tea (unopened), a couple of christmas ornaments, and what looked like a dead squirrel.

"Um." I pointed to it. My mom isn't in the habit of gifting me with dead squirrels, although since she's basically an older version of me I wouldn't put it past her.

"Um, yes. We found that. Your grandma still had it." 

I inspected it more closely and realized what it was. My hair. From when I was 9 years old and decided to chop it all off. My grandma was so distraught at the thought of her only granddaughter cutting her long locks that she asked to keep it.

Probably nobody thought she would keep it for THIRTY YEARS.


(The note says: "Nov 10 - 1983, Keely's ponytail after having her hair cut she saved it for me". Then she initialed it. I'm not sure who exactly she was keeping a record for, but it's kind of charming, in a "one day this will all be dust in the wind so better write it down" kind of way.)

"Why would you think I'd want it?" I asked mom.

"I don't know, I didn't know what else to do with it," she replied.

(Well, neither do I. Does anybody know if Locks of Love accepts 30-year-old hair?)

The dead squirrel sat on the chair next to me until the conclusion of our viet-thai food lunch, at which point my fortune cookie told me, "That recurring dream you keep having? It is your destiny."

I only have one recurring dream. It's the one about the zombie apocalypse. 

So yeah. Here's hoping tomorrow's lunch date is less...weird.

What's on your agenda?

Too bad nobody in marketing ever asks me

I've been sick for a few days, as is customary at this time of year. When I was about halfway through the industrial-sized bag of Halls, I realized that there were tiny slogans printed on the wrappers. Things like, "Nothing you can't handle" and "Be unstoppable" and "Don't try harder, DO harder!".

(What does that even mean?)

While I appreciate my pseudo-medication essentially telling me I'm being a big whiner and to suck it up, what I would appreciate more when I am sick is a little comfort. Possibly wrappers that say things like, "I've called your mom, she's on her way" and "You're clearly ill, it's totally okay to stay at home with a hot water bottle and stream an entire season of Doctor Who on Netflix". 

Or even, "I heard that cute guy in Accounting thinks crusty noses and used kleenexes are totally hot."

Is that so much to ask? Cut me some slack - I'm sick, you know.

Random Bits & Bobs

In French, as in English, there are homonyms. The word avocat, for example, means both "avocado" and "lawyer". We can thank the Canadian government ruling that everything be labeled in both languages for my recent revelation that I have been moisturizing my face with Lawyer Oil.

Oooh, greasy.

I treated myself to a Wacom tablet a while back. I've been coveting one for years. Also, I felt that the reason I was not drawing very much was that I was awkwardly sketching comics on paper, and then scanning them into the computer, and then inking and coloring them digitally. Wouldn't it be ever so much more convenient if I could draw them digitally to begin with? Wouldn't I draw so much more?

I've had it 5 months and drawn with it twice. Clearly "convenience" is not the reason I don't draw much.

"Mom, if a bear eats a whole fox, that means it's his birthday." - my enigmatic 5 year old, completely out of the blue.


One of these days I'll promise to blog every day but today is not that day.


There's always an exception

The day after I blogged for the first time in ages, a co-worker said to me,

"I read your blog."

I froze. Oh. Right. This was part of the reason that I eased away from blogging. Because there is only so much material that a person is comfortable posting and subsequently having brought up during a coffee break. I'm trying to be a professional here and all.

"Oh." I said cautiously.

"Actually, like 5 pages of it," he continued. "I especially liked Jesus Snail."

I un-froze slightly. I don't know why I worry about this. My co-workers are awesome. They're not going to be offended. I'm always going to live in fear of my mother-in-law finding my blog, but I guess I don't care if my co-workers read it.

Another co-worker overheard this exchange and demanded the link. Which I happily gave her. Apparently, as of now, I give no fucks about who reads my blog.

(Except my mother-in-law.)

(Seriously, if I find out one of you told her about it, I will hunt you down and STAB YOU IN THE FACE*.)


*Not really. But please don't.