Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Tale Of Two Sicknesses, or The White Plague

Republic of Genoa

October 14th, 1349

Paulo D'Agostino hated the night shift. He was tired all of the time, he missed his family and he could not stand his co-workers. But, he was now the harbour master for the Republic of Genoa. At night. Granted, his job consisted mostly of pushing paper, but he had his foot in the door. Old Endrizzi would probably never retire from his post as official harbour master, but the bastard couldn't live forever. All Paulo had to do was hold on until that day. He would be the logical successor and with the prestige of that title, maybe he could get his father-in-law off his back.

D'Agostino wasn't thinking about his future now though, he was actually out on the water for a change. A Portuguese slaver coming in late from Marseilles reported passing a ship on the way into port. They could see no crew and their hails were not answered, but the ship did have minimal sails set and were headed towards the city. D'Agostino and his crew of six were headed out to meet her.

It didn't take long to find the ship although spotting her had been tricky. Asleep at the wheel, D'Agostino thought disgustedly, but after closing with the vessel his assumptions changed. The ship looked as if it had been through a hurricane or attacked. Her main sail was the only one raised, and it was only three quarters up at that. The rest of the rigging hung in disarray. A lone lantern on the quarterdeck was the only source of light on the whole ship. Once they had closed enough for his own lanterns to illuminate the ship he realized she was a Genoese trader out of Caffa, on the Black Sea. Crews on these ships were never lax. The Doge made sure that examples were set for any sailor that strayed out of line. Paulo's stomach began to tighten.

He attempted to hail the ship several times as his sailors brought their smaller boat along side. Guards and sailors began exchanging worried glances as no answering call was received. D'Agostino allowed his four guards to board first after grappling hooks and a net were cast over her side. Once on deck, his sense of unease only deepened. "You two, lower that sail," he ordered, "Angelo, go forward and drop anchor." Hands on their weapons, the men set to their tasks. The deck was empty of men but strewn with equipment, sails and cargo. Worst of all was the silence. Paulo set off towards the lamp on the quarter deck, where, by its light he thought he could see a figure hunched over the wheel.

Sure enough, there was a man on the wheel, though he wasn't hunched over it. The obviously dead man had been lashed to the it at some point and now it was holding his body upright. Swallowing deeply, D'Agostino reached out with a shaking hand, grabbed a handful of hair and pulled the man's head back. The trio of screams from the front of the ship joined his own as the other sailors made grisly discoveries of their own. Removing his hand from his mouth, Paulo D'Agostino crossed himself quickly and crept back toward the body. "What in God's name did that?" he asked himself gazing in revulsion at the grossly swollen neck and blackened face of the dead man.

The Black Plague had arrived in Europe.

Six hundred and fifty-one years later.

Captain Dumbass watches the weather reports and looks fearfully to the skies. A frontal system full of cold air, heavy precipitation and hate is forecast to strike southern BC on Christmas Eve, the same day he and the family are planning to travel inland for the holidays. Little does the Dumbass know what else the storm is bringing.

The snow, much like the sniffles, starts small and unassuming. Throughout the evening though, they build with intensity and fervour. The trip is canceled due to impassable roads and white-out conditions. "Just as well," they think as their youngest spends night after night in their bed, racked with fever and a wet cough. Soon enough, the sickness spreads to the older brother. As with the younger, cough turns into fever, but unlike the younger, deep coughing causes the eldest to vomit.

Day after miserable day the colds march on. Captain Dumbass and Supreme Leader are on edge, each holding back the invader but weakening daily with the lack of sleep and constant attacks of bodily fluids.

Finally, the fever's break. The vomit inducing coughs, while lessening, continue on and with the breaking of the fever came the breaking of an apparent dam holding back an indescribably horrendous amount of terrible, terrible mucus in the second born. Thankfully that hideously freakish tide is almost spent, but just for laughs, the eldest decided to "evacuate" from the bottom end for a change today.

And with that, I will bid you adieu for a day or two.

(Sure, I could have just said "ya, kids have had a bitch of a cold but it's almost done," but where's the fun in that?)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Smoke & Mirrors

Ok, I had a blog planned for tonight, but after watching part of The Sound of Music and then all of War, Inc and then reading other people's blogs and then realizing how much background I have to do for the post I was planning on doing I decided it would be easier to fall back on You Tube. War, Inc. I love John Cusack, but this movie kinda sucked. Wait, no, it just plain sucked. But it did have Joan Cusack being crazy, and that's alright. I'd love to hear her lose it while doing Peep and the Big Wide World. "Shut the fuck up, duck!" I love Peep, even though my kids don't. Ungrateful little...

Anyway, I'm going to go work on this other post. Then I'll give up and work on lying in bed reading my new book, The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie. Supreme Leader got me Anathem by Neal Stephenson, but I'm gonna' hold off a bit before starting that big boy. This is an ad from a local credit union, thought it would give you a laugh.

And before I go, a big thank you to Surfer Jay who got me a copy of Irish Gumbo's banner. I tried and failed to get one for yesterday's post. Thanks, Surfer Jay.

Oh, and go check this picture on Surfer Jay's site.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

He Might Be Late, But He's Still Santa, Dammit

Just in case you were wondering, Blogger will not let you steal somebody's banner. Hmm, steal is such a negative word. Blogger will not let you borrow somebody's banner even for the purpose of writing a post about their blog. Better. The banner I was trying to "borrow" is from Irish Gumbo.

What does this picture have to do with Irish Gumbo? Nothing at all. It's something I was going to use for Christmas Day, kind of a peace on Earth (Hoth) and good will toward man (clones) thing, but it didn't work out. Kinda like this post. It was supposed to have a picture, so now it does.

This was also supposed to be a long, meandering, heart felt plug for Kevin's site, but it's not going to be. I'm tired, I'm not feeling well and I smell like I've been used to wipe up everything that's gone into a five year old's stomach and come back out the way it went in. Repeatedly. Oh wait. That's because I was. Besides, if I go on and on about how great his site is, how he has not only made me laugh out loud but cry as well, how you should even try some fiction he's been brave enough to post, well, you'll start to wonder if we're planning on picking out shower curtains. And not that Kevin isn't an attractive man, it's just not my team. And if it was? Have you seen that new ad for Dolce & Gabbana with Matthew McConaughey? Carumba. Caught Supreme Leader wiping drool off her chin a few times when that's come on. But as I said, not my team. On that note, my deepest appreciation to GQ for their January 2009 cover. Well done, well done.

Look, go to Irish Gumbo, put it in your reader for a week or two and give him a try. He'll grow on you like mold in the bathroom that you'll never get rid of. But in a good way.

Merry belated Christmas, Kevin.

*Guess I should have mentioned this was my late entry for Spin Cycle.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Guesting And Spinning

Guest post number two, and you don't know how thankful I am for it. The BC Centre for Disease Control has now locked down the Dumbass family home and put one of these on our front door. In fact, they've locked down everything within a one kilometre radius of our house. Remember that scene in ET when they wrapped Elliot's house in shrink wrap? That's about it.

If you have children, I don't have to tell you the end result of not spitting out everything they cough up from the phlegm-a-thon in their little lungs. If you have children but haven't experienced this... pretend like you didn't read that. Go to your happy place.

So today I am very thankful for Krystal at Mommy's Escape 6.0 taking the reins. Krystal, with six children to deal with probably thinks I'm being a pansy ass. She's probably right, but that's why she's ten times the mother I'll ever be.

Hello Dumbass readers!!!! (Totally not an insult, I assure you of that) Today the Captain has been kind enough to allow me to guest blog while he is away doing God knows what with God knows who – honestly it might be safer if we don’t know. If we do, we could consider to be accomplices and I am too young to go to prison. Do you know what they do with cute little women in there? I do not even want to imagine!!! Oh the horror!!! But it might give me a vacation away from my insane family… hmmmmm… So on this auspicious occasion I have decided to answer one of the many mysteries that the Captain constantly asks me about…How Do I Do It?

Well, I do it just like everyone else, laying down, on the kitchen counter, in the shower, in the car, pretty much anywhere and everywhere. You gotta do what you gotta do and with the resources you have… OMG!!! You all need to get your minds out of the gutter, I swear!!! I am not talking about THAT – I am talking about parenting my six children. Yes, to those who do not know me, I am 25 with 6 kids all under the age of 8! You may bow down to me now, I will wait. Okay, that’s enough.

The Captain always asks me this question whenever I post something about my kids and I am obliged to share with him and the rest of the blogging world just how I do it….

As any typical parent, I wake up at the crack of dawn or sometimes before and wake up the little rugrats, I mean angels and get them ready for their day. This usually involves in me fighting with my 5 year old to get out of bed and get dressed while I threaten him with a time out, cold shower, trip to a ravenous lion’s den – none of this works. I usually have to call my husband for reinforcements here – how does he do it? I don’t know. Then I have about an hour long conversation with my daughter about the way that her uniform skirt should face, she is set on having it face the wrong way. I give up and let her do it her own way – when she realizes she needs to get undressed to pee she will fix it. Simultaneously I let the basher brothers out of their room and change their diapers and their clothes all the while practicing my wrestling moves on a three year old that can only scream “I want please milk” and a 4 year old that is laughing at nothing and flapping his arms wildly and tapping on my head while I put on his shorts. I make them breakfast and head on over to my 1 year old who is happily bouncing in his bed and flapping his arms as he bangs his head on the overhang of the Thomas Bed. I wrestle with him to change his diaper and get him dressed and set him loose to roam the house.

I throw out the diapers, wash dishes and make lunches, sign notes from school, brush knots out of hair and wipe runny noses. Then my newborn wakes up and demands that she be fed immediately before she breaks the glass in my house with her ear piercing shrieks. By this time I look at the clock and realize I have 2 minutes to get ready for work. (Where is my husband during all this? Well, he’s collecting the garbage and diapers and throwing them out seeing as we have to drive to a dumpster in our community to throw it away) So I run into my closet and put on a pair of jeans and hope they are clean and find a shirt in the closet and hope it fits me. Rush to the bathroom and brush my teeth and place my hair in a ponytail and rush out the bathroom while screaming “BOOKBAGS!!”

The kids are then ushered into the cars – my husband takes his set to school and therapy while I drop off the older 2 at their school and pray on the way there that my 5 year old behaves and I don’t have to worry about him running away. Usually around this time I realize I have stuff in my hair or on my face but it is too late to wash it off. We pull into the school, I kiss my children good bye and wish them a great day then I drive off to work.

Work is a blur and I won’t get into that. Let’s just say I count the minutes until it is time to go home.

As I arrive home I am greeted at the door by screaming children and “Mommy, I want…”, “Mommy, Princess did this….” “Mommy, Little Man did that…” and of course my husband saying “They are all yours.” I hurriedly rush to change clothes, start dinner and attend the monsters, I mean angels. This includes feeding them their baby food to avoid more stains on my carpet, changing diapers, resolving sword fights over who gets to play on the computer, homework battles which usually include a lecture as to why it is important to go to school. If it is a Monday or Wednesday night – trying to keep the house quiet and all the kids in their rooms while Angel Eyes and Sneaky Monkey have Occupational Therapy which of course is a screaming battle all its own that I gladly hand over to the therapist. If it is any other day, I work on them with their words and sensory issues which seems like fun and games but getting them to participate requires the genius of Walt Disney! After dinner and baths it is like the Indy 500 chasing these children around the house to get them into bed. (This Casey is how I manage to stay slim and avoid HASAY). Finally once they are in bed, I sit down and try and enjoy dinner with my husband, by this time it is 9pm and I have to feed Tiny Dancer and put her to bed. My husband and I debate whether or not to do the dishes, I then try and get a quick shower in and sit down on my bed to sneak in some homework before the night is through all to go to bed for a few ours and have the cycle begin again.

So there you have it – this is HOW I DO IT – just like any normal parent who would do on any given day, nothing special, no super powers, just lots and lots of work but very well worth it! Except for the rapid aging process though…see below

Before Kids (this is from my license)

(Imagine a picture of a beautiful woman whose picture she included in a Google document was far too complicated for... someone... to extract from the said document as a picture and not a file clipping which totally wouldn't work.)

After Kids (this is at work)

(Imagine the picture of a still beautiful woman who trusted the person she was doing a favour for would be smart enough to figure out how to get her photo out of a document. Ho ho! Joke's on her 'cause that guy is way too overtired for that kinda thinking.)

"So there you have it – this is how I do it – just like any normal parent who would do on any given day, nothing special, no super powers..."

No super powers? For those of you who don't know Krystal, what she hints at with references to therapy but doesn't actually mention is that five of her six children have some type of autism. No, Krystal, you don't have super powers, that's what makes you even more amazing. So when I have to wake up in a few hours because the kids medicine has started to wear off and their coughing wakes them up, I'm not going to bitch that much. That much.

I noticed that Jennifer has a new Spin Cycle up today, resolutions for 2009. For 2009, I want to be more like Krystal.

Finally, with all the chaos of snow storms and pandemics I haven't finished my secret Santa spin. But spinning... oh, I can spin. I could be Press Secretary for the White House. To avoid being the sole Scrooge for Santa Spin, I'm invoking Eastern Orthodox Catholicism. I'm not late for my spin because Orthodox Christmas is still twelve days away! Mwah ha ha haaaaaaaa!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Hey! Bring Me a Beer!

The other day when our Christmas travel plans were in peril I threw out a half-hearted request for guest posts and, in the spirit of the season, I received two. Unfortunately, we did have to cancel our trip because the highways were just too treacherous. And, as these things always come in three's (frozen washer fluid and storms), little Liam has developed the Plague. (Ok, maybe not the Plague, but it's definitely a disgusting votex of mucus.) It wasn't meant to be.

And now I have two guest posts to use which means I can slack off some more. Score! First up is Dr. Detroit, Middle Aged Woman. Anybody remember Dr. Detroit (hoo hoo!)? Anyone? Whatever. MAW has recently embraced her masculine side. Her grade 6 class will be in for quite a surprise come January.

Last night before I went to bed, I stepped over the underwear that had landed on the floor next to my socks (it's hard to make a three-pointer with balled-up shorts), and paused to scratch that magic place that makes my eyes roll over. I wasn't worried about the stuff on the floor because I know the laundry fairy will take care of it. Always works.

Soon, I knew, I would be dreaming of power-tools, and plasma screens. For the umpteenth time I assured Husband that, no, his pajama pants did not make his butt look big, and got ready to drift off to sleep. Suddenly I sat up--oh my God! I can't go to bed yet! I didn't write that blog post featuring those manly awards from Captain Dumbass and goodfather! Oh, the guilt!

Hah! Just kidding. I fell asleep like a ton o'bricks. Guilt is for wussies.

Now that I've had my cold pizza and beer for breakfast, and left my empty can where the kitchen fairy can get it, it's time to talk about the manly subject of length. Which I can properly measure because I got this here award from goodfather:

Note the angle on that there heavy-duty measuring tape. I get a chubby just looking at it. It's too short, though. The tape, I mean. Obviously.

And what about this one?

And this is not from some pansy-ass, Johnny Depp-type, make-up-and-beads-wearing pirate either. The Captain is more of a walk-the-plank, shiver-me-timbers, run you through with a cutlass type of pirate. Supreme Leader told him he could be. Real men don't take chances with sh*t like that.

To all the members of the Commonwealth, enjoy your Boxing Day. To my American friends who have to go back to work today, should've thought about your holiday schedule before that revolution.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas Jupiter

Huh? That's right, you heard it the first time. Yes, Merry Christmas to you and yours, happy continuance of Chanukah if you're one of the Chosen Ones, but if you really want to show some appreciation to something that matters in your life, throw a shout out to the largest planet in our solar system.

I read recently that due to Jupiter's enormous gravity well, it sucks in a lot of asteroids that might otherwise hit us. So even though it's Jesus' birthday, lets ignore that it's named after a pagan god and throw a little love its way. You're only here because it is. Merry Christmas Jupiter, stay big.

Oh, and Merry Christmas to everyone else too. Unless you're food.

In which case, thanks for your sacrifice.

(My sister's fish Turk with his Xmas present. And yes, there is a JD as well.)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Oh, The Weather Outside Is Frightful...

Tomorrow, or today... you know how it works, the Us & Them family is supposed to be heading off to the Republic of Dumbassistan to share Christmas with my family. We try to rotate one year here and one year there, but because of holiday schedules it's been two years since we've spend it up there. As I write this it is only the second official day of winter and we have already had three major snowstorms in the past two weeks. Guess what is forecast to start tonight?

The drive itself, from Richmond to Kamloops is not that bad most of the year.

View Larger Map

Unless it's winter. And snowing heavily. And freakin' cold. Here in the greater Vancouver area it does not snow very often, so when it does, everything goes to hell in a hand basket. Most people do not have experience driving in snow so they continue to drive like it's the middle of August and they are the only ones on the road. So first off we're facing a Mad Max/Escape From New York get away out of the city. Then it's out into the Fraser Valley which is strangely flat as the prairies. Winds out there can literally blow large trucks over and cause frequent white outs. If we manage to survive all that then we get to cross a fairly sizable mountain range. But is the fun over yet? Hell no! Because later on Christmas Day we are supposed to drive even farther north to where my mom lives. I just checked the temperature and it's a balmy -21 C(-5 F), which is warm compared to what they've had for the past few weeks. Our van doesn't have a block heater. (Dear friends from Florida, Mississippi, Arizona & Texas, at these temperatures your engine will freeze up. Block heaters keep your engine warm, for reals)

Am I whining? DAMN RIGHT I AM! I want to see my mommy! Shut up. Anyway, the trip is not looking good right now. We were worried about how the kids were going to take it, but the mountain of presents around the tree seems to be easing them through these troubled times.

On Sunday, Church Punk Mom tagged me with that 'take a picture of yourself RIGHT NOW' meme and even twittered me to tell me. Um, ya. I found it today as I was leaving the house. I only cheated by getting out of the house since I was supposed to be out there anyway and not checking email.

I know I'm supposed to be passing this on like most memes, but I'm not good at this part. And it's late.

Merry Christmas and happy rest of Chanukha.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Impromptu Guest Post

I received an email from Kelly, or Kelleexo on Twitter, after last weeks Friday Santa pic. She sent a couple of pictures along with a story but by the time I received them it was far too late to include them. Not wanting her hard work to go to waste or to miss the opportunity to take a day off, I asked if she'd like to use it as a guest post. So. I'm taking the day off.

Before I do though, I need to send thanks and love to the great state of Mississippi and specifically Mama Dawg. I found some awesome Christmas cards on-line a few months back but unfortunately, since Canada seems to be in another dimension or something, the maker of the cards wouldn't ship here. MD, because she is truly an extraordinary human being, got my cards for me and sent along a little Christmas present as well.

(It's a Han Solo tree ornament)

And on with the show...

Creepy Santa is sprung up from the dense, snow covered hills of Somewhere. In the hills of Somewhere he lived with a gnome family in a burrow who harvested natural resources for the elves to use. Creepy Santa, who was originally born in Santa's castle but was too scary to live there, resided with the gnomes until he decided that lumbering and mining was just not the life for him. He decided to go spread his Christmas cheer with the Moffitt family (my mom's family), who had just lost their father to divorce...and Florida. Creepy Santa hated Florida and knew that the crazy Moffitt's needed to be perked up around the holiday season.
He traveled on a snowy, dark path for 8 days and nights until he reached the humble Moffitt abode in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan. Creepy Santa knocked on the door until John (my uncle) answered on a snowy Christmas Eve night. When John saw Creepy Santa his heart burst, the poor little guy was covered in dirty slush and was shivering. John brought him in, wrapped him in a towel and carried him like a baby to his mother. He then proceeded to get on his knees and beg Mary (my grandmother) to keep him... just like he did with all of the other stray animals he found. Mary, a nurturing nurse and mother of five, couldn't say no to John's and Creepy Santa's sparkling blue eyes, so the Moffitt's adopted Creepy Santa as one of their own.
Most of the year Creepy Santa lived in the upstairs crawlspace closet, playing in the insulation which he thought was pink snow. Then in December he ran downstairs and partied with the cheerful Moffitt family. His favorite night was December 21st where the Mofitt family gathered around and sang Christmas carols to the tune of their "Sing-Along with Mitch Miller" album, ate, and drank. Creepy Santa loved to drink special egg nog, eat fruit cake, and play ding-dong ditch with the Moffitt children.

Creepy Santa was glad he chose the Moffitt family. Instead of being a charitable gnome Santa, he decided to become a permanent fixture in the Moffitt family and to not offer his service to other needy families. After all of the Moffitt children have grown up and left home, after Kelly (me) and Clare (my sister) played with him until his arm stuffing began to tear, and after Mary found her way home to God, he moved in with Maureen (my aunt) in Connecticut. There he lives out of the closet yearlong, keeps Maureen (a single woman) in constant good cheer, eats a lot of peppermint and drinks too much coffee, and runs around with Maureen's underwear on his head (while she's at work). Although his arms are weak, Creepy Santa will never get tired of spreading holiday cheer even when it's not the holidays!

Merry Christmas!
Kelly (& Creepy Santa too!)

Kelly blogs at I Don't Want The World, which she hasn't touched since mid-November. Something about school, yadda yadda yadda, whatever. It's Xmas break, Kelly, time to write something. Guest posting and ridicule, served up fresh. Anybody else want to guest?

PS. Grosse Pointe Blank is one of the finest movies ever made.

PPS. (heh heh, you just said pee pee in your head) Anybody else want to guest post? The Us & Them family is off to the hinterlands for Xmas this year but we have to cross the freakin' Himalaya's
first. (shut up, Braja) Hopefully we don't spend our holiday living out of the back of a snowbound Dodge Caravan eating the frozen carcass of a caribou.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Because We're All About Diversity

And for all our geeky Jewish friends, the iMenorah.

And I just stole this from Robin at Cinnamon & Honey.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

From The Weather Network With Love

SNOWFALL WARNING: Greater Vancouver

Arctic outflow is continuing to wreak havoc in Southern BC. Heavy snow and strong winds are forecast for Saturday night and all day Sunday.
Snow is expected to start falling early Saturday evening on West Vancouver Island. The lower mainland will see snow later in the evening. The snow should taper off by Sunday evening.
The winds will be strong enough to cause blowing snow and whiteout conditions. Drivers should exercise caution.

Good day to stay inside and make others come to your house for an early Christmas dinner. Suckers.

Xmas iPod playlist (or a small selection anyway):

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Sarah McLachlan & Barenaked Ladies
All I Want For Christmas - Mariah Carey
Christmas Time Is Here - Vince Guaraldi Trio (the entire Charlie Brown Xmas album)
I Pray On Christmas - Harry Connick Jr.
Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt
O Holy Night - Nat King Cole
You're a Mean One Mr Grinch - Boris Karloff
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! - Ella Fitzgerlad (entire Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas album)
Ave Maria - Harry Connick Jr.
Winter Wonderland - Ray Charles

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Pics: Santa Pics

Friday again, and what a week. We've had snow twice this week and the temperature has plummeted. We've resorted to burning furniture and I'm eyeing the banister and railings next. What? Why yes, I do live in Canada, but I live in the tiny little warm part of Canada. The part that doesn't do "real" winter. We're civilized and keep our snow up on the mountains. Rain is depressing, but you don't have to shovel it or scrape it off your car. Christmas Eve we're headed up to see my family and they live on the freakin tundra.

Connor has missed three days of school this week. I took him into the doctor's today and what do you know, all his symptoms magically disappeared once we got there.

Connor: I'm not going to school today.
Supreme Leader: No you're not, you're sick.
Connor: I have to make sure I stay sick so I can stop this whole school thing.

They don't fall far from the tree, do they.

I flew solo on the Santa pictures this year. Should not have let Liam wear a toque when we left the house. His hat hair was... it was something special. I chose a close-up for this shot just to show you the look of utter madness on Santa's face. (need to click on it for the full effect) Thankfully it wasn't my children who broke Santa. The parents in front of us had two VERY young kids who LOST THEIR MINDS when they were given to him. They kept putting the kids down and taking shot after shot, like they were somehow going to magically forget their terror, dry their eyes and flash a smile just for mommy. Just take the screaming picture, it'll be great for future laughs and it will get my monsters out of here before the light Santa's tree on fire out of boredom.

Irish Gumbo: Its a Christmas miracle: I remembered! I didn't have any of my childhood Satan, er, SANTA pics. I did, however, have this action shot of me being assaulted by a light up Satan, er, SANTA decoration out on my front lawn. Bastard left a bruise on my ear...

Colepack: Corbin – does not trust Santa

Ashlan – terrified of Santa

Eli – loves Santa

Bad Karma: 6 month old Dumbass and Santa 1970. (yes, yours truly)

Me & You & Ellie: These are my sister Jane's (who was *at* the Obama victory rally in Chicago on Election Night) kids, about 4 or 5 years ago. I don't think the little guy will *ever* recover.

Apathy Lounge: This is my oldest son, Greyson, during a trip to the mall right before his first Christmas. He was nine months old. The apoplexy he's exhibiting indicates extreme displeasure with Santa...or abject terror. Possibly both. None of our other sons demonstrated this kind of behavior with St. Nick. Of course, we pretty much avoided Santa photo ops after this debacle. Greyson, who will be 20 in March, has fully recovered from his ordeal. Just so you know.

A Day In The Life Of: Now I didn't take this myself....but hey! It's Santa, that's what you asked for.

That's it for Friday pics this year, I'll pick it up again in January sometime. A big thanks to everyone who participated. Feel free to send some suggestions for future posts.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

C Is For Cookie, That's Good Enough For Me

I wasn't sure what I was going to blog about tonight. I had some ideas about Christmas, grilled cheese men, stealing... borrowing things from other people, the usual. I just finished watching the Sarah Connor Chronicles and Heroes and I taped John Adams so I was kinda pondering doing nothing at all so I could go watch that, but then Supreme Leader squeed from the back room so I had to go see what she was watching and I should probably end this sentence at some point or at least find a subject you can desperately grasp onto but I've kinda lost control myself so lets just end it right here and start fresh. Whew. Sorry, sometimes they get away from me. Ok, more than sometimes. Maybe put aside the snide thoughts and let me get on with this?

How about a brand new paragraph? So anyway, as I was avoiding starting anything my reader told me that goodfather had posted something new so I squeed (in a manly way) and clicked over. He's doing some type of meme that I don't fully understand because I'm not good at instructions at all. Somebody starts explaining something to me and it's all wah wah wah. Yadda yadda yadda, first letter of your name and/or blog bla-dee-bla-dee-blah ten of your favourite things that start with that letter. Well, the first letter of my blog is 'U' and seriously, where do I go with that? Ukelele's? Not so much. Urine? Well, it's nice to get rid of. Uranus? I'm sure it's nice, but I prefer mine. AH! Gotcha! So 'C' it is.

1. Comic book movies. Ok, that's a stretch. (This was the reason for SL's squeeing)

2. Christmas!

Ok, I just wanted to show these off. Yes, the ornament in the fish bowl is old, but I have a three and five year old who couldn't keep there hands out of the bowl, so I flipped those bee-otchs upside down! (Bowls, not children) Come on, that's not bad.

3. Cookies!

4. Captains! Kirk, Picard, Janeway, Sisko, Kara Thrace, Lee Adama, Jack Aubry, Kangaroo, Jack Sparrow, Caveman, Hook, George Vancouver (thanks for stopping), Morgan, Trevor Linden, Stubing, Cook, & Tenille, Solo, Bligh, Mal Reynolds, Clarence Oveur, Marko Ramius, Steve Zissou, QUINT, WhiskeyJack, Ahab... I could go on and on.

5. Canada!

6. Coffee.

7. C C C? I'm running out of C's. Cows! Tasty tasty cows.

8. Caffeine? Commando (as in going)? Concerts? Credit (as in Personal Line of)? Couch. Calligraphy. Clouds. Cashews. Carbonara. Consciousness. CONCLUSIONS!

9. Cheese. As in, grilled.

10. Connor.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Olympics! Penguins! A Plague Of Locusts (kinda)

What a weekend, where to start? Winter Olympics? Snow? What else happened? There was something else... never mind, it'll come to me. Guess I should do the Olympics since I put this one off already. Friday night we bundled up the kids and headed off to the official opening of the Richmond Olympic Oval. The Canadian speed skating team has been practicing on it since October, but this was the first time the public was allowed in. The mayor was there, some city councilors, gold medalists and the Premier (US viewers-read governor). The Prime Minister was supposed to be there, but I guess he was too busy trying to figure out how to keep his job to show.

We've been able to watch them build it from the beginning because we have to drive by it most days of the week and it's on my bike route as well.

I'd like to tell you I took these amazing shots, but it was actually somebody from Reuters who probably wasn't using a Sony Cybershot. The majority of my shots sucked, but I did manage to get a few good ones.

The roof on this building is amazing. It's almost 6.5 acres in size and made up of a million board feet of pine which is the equivalent of 6000 trees. Whoa! Easy there, tree hugger, wait for the rest of the story! Those 6000 trees came from the interior of our province and were all killed by a rotten son of a bitch bug called a pine beetle. The trees were salvaged by the government in an attempt to show these trees can still be used commercially. Otherwise they'll just have to be burned. Sadly an area almost the size of Colorado has been devastated by the pine beetle and aside from cutting down the trees and burning them, there's not much else to do with them, so this is a good thing.

The picture above is a storm water runnel which captures run-off from the roof. The roof, because it is so big, collects a lot of rain water, and instead of just siphoning it all off into the river it is diverted into a big sediment pond beside the oval. Some of the water is brought back into the building and used to operate toilets. It's also used for some other stuff as well, but damned if I can remember what. Whatever, I know two little boys who enjoyed playing in them.

The most memorable part of the evening though would have to be returning to our car. Because the building isn't finished yet, it doesn't have a parking lot. Oh, and there was only room in the grandstands for two thousand people. And it was raining. We parked a few blocks away and walked along the dyke to get there. When we left the rain had been joined by gale force winds and the wind chill had to be somewhere near what emperor penguins have to endure in Antarctica. De-light-ful. I typed this holding a pencil between my teeth.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Snippets Of Saturday

Saturday morning, pre-shower, after pulling off my shirt and smelling my armpits (because I'm a man, it's what we do).

Supreme Leader: Don't tempt me. (There may have been a hint of sarcasm there)

Me: You can't resist my machismo.

SL: What? What kind of cheese?

Later on in the car.

Connor to Liam: I cutted your hand off.

Supreme Leader: It's 'I've cut your hand off,' not 'I cutted.' English has crazy arbitrary rules.

Me: Liam, what's behind your back?

Liam: I have a teddy bear in my bum.

Me: Carry on, then.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Pics: Xmas Ornaments & Guest Posts

First off, I want to thank everybody for yesterday. Your condolences are appreciated more than you can know. It's also scary looking at all of those comments and seeing how many of them mention a friend or family member who has been taken by cancer.

But that was yesterday. Today is about Christmas and decorations and guest posts. Guest posts? Oh yes, but let's leave that until later. I have a lot of favourite ornaments so deciding on just one was difficult. And choosing this one had nothing to do with the fact that our house is dark as a cave in the winter and this was the only picture that didn't look like donkey ass. This ornament, a present from my dear friend Bill, is always a favourite though. By Executive Order I can't really go into why, but if I could... oh we'd all laugh and laugh!

From Colepack: This is my favorite. Do not remember where/when I got him but he’s got some magic in that old silk hat he wears!

From Gimme' The Juice: Someone gave me this ornament the first Christmas after my mom died. It's a girl and an angel and every year I put in the on the tree it's my way of including my mom in my holiday.

Kim from Jogging In Circles. If you click on her picture you can see the photographer and a very nice large screen tv reflected in the bulb.

From Mama Dawg: I LOVE this little guy. He actually has 2 siblings that look exactly like him. However, I will always know my little Bobo. He's such a cutie.

From Me & You & Ellie: We just put up a Christmas tree for the first time in 8 years -- our stuff has been in a plastic bin in my mother-in-law's basement all this time we've been On The Road. My friend Nancy gave us some beautiful blown glass ornaments years and years ago, and it was just lovely to see them again, after all this time.

From Middle Aged Woman: This is the last surviving glass swan from my parents. Nobody else is allowed to touch it. Husband even made the special storage box to ensure it’s survival.

Thanks to all the contributors. Next week... Santa photos! Kids are grown up? Scan an old picture. No kids? Scan an old picture of yourself. Or a niece or nephew or something.

GUEST POST! Tracy from Kaply, Inc does a 12 Days of Christmas, ah, 12 posts... let's try that again. Tracy assembles 12 guest posters and has them do a Christmas post for the last 12 days until Christmas. Just go HERE. I'm up first.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Live Strong

Tuesday afternoon we lost a family member to cancer. She wasn't actually a blood relative, but she may as well have been. She walked my mother to kindergarten for her first day of school and they stayed friends ever since. She was the woman my mother chose to raise me if anything happened to her. I was married in her house and she helped me to buy my own.

Over the years Randy fought off cervical cancer, breast cancer and bone cancer. With the help of chemo, radiation, experimental drugs and willpower she kept them all at bay. Cancer doesn't fight fare though. They did what they could once it entered her brain, but there is only so much you can do once it gets up there.

I wasn't planning on posting about this. I deal with grief in my own way and I'm not one to share it, but while I was browsing the web tonight I found this video from the Lance Armstrong Foundation. You may have seen it before, but if you haven't, I hope you'll watch it. Even if you have to wait until you get off work.

Fuck you, cancer.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Santa Claus, Jedi Master

Liam, while I was lighting the fire: Daddy, does Santa get burnt when he comes down the chimney?

Me: No, hon, he, ah... has special powers that protect him from getting burnt.

Connor: Like a Jedi?


Star Wars is better than Google or Wikipedia for explaining absolutely anything. Go ahead, try me.

*Picture: Liam didn't want me to sing Christmas carols while we waited in line for Santa. Everybody's a critic.

In Place Of Our Regularly Scheduled Program

Hi. Thanks for stopping by today, I appreciate it. I always do. Today however, I'd like you to take the few minutes it would have taken you to get through whatever drivel I might have come up with and go here instead. It'll be worth it. Promise.

Ok, I don't want to leave you empty handed. After all, you might be here for the first time.


Alright, seriously, get outta' here. Tell Krystal I said hi.

Pic by Khang Le.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Spinning Chicken: Why

Strangely enough, sometimes when I sit down here, I really don't have anything to write about. I could spew out some witty "I have nothing to write about" post, but it would be forced since I truly have nothing to write about tonight.

But now I'm back! I just came back from a little walk in the bloggerhood and blow and lehold... sorry, low and behold, inspiration. Inspiration of a rambling nature, but then, that's nothing new. The Spin Cycle! I've missed the last two weeks because... well, just because. This week is an easy one though, why I started blogging.

Why did I start blogging? Easy enough, because I'm terrible at picking up the phone. My family lives in a different city than we do so, being the lazy person I am, I thought I'd just put up one update with pictures for everybody else to come look at when they wanted. Much easier than all those emailed stories and pictures and phone calls. So I started a little page on Yahoo. Can't even remember what Yahoo calls their community, but whatever, that's where it began.

At that point, June of 2007, I'd heard of blogs but never actually read one before. Supreme Leader was reading food blogs, but short of looking at whatever was making her drool that I HAD TO COME LOOK AT NOW, I didn't really pay much attention. Until one day her maniacal laughter led me over to see what she was reading. She'd followed a link on one of her food porn sites to Dooce. I read what had started her laughing and was hooked. Hooked and confused. Why did her blog look so cool and mine looked so lame ass? So I poked around and found Blogger and my madness was released.

But then nobody read it. Nobody in my family at least. Other people were looking at it though. Not commenting, but I was getting hits. Whether or not they were reading wasn't relevant, they were looking at it. Attention! More importantly, I was enjoying myself. I'd found a creative outlet I didn't even know I needed. And it became apparent that I needed it. At one point I think I was up to six different blogs. I've managed to reign that in to just four now. One that I started to write stories in, one that helped me to sort out a whole lot of crazy in therapy, Us & Them and one that I just can't seem to get rid of because I like the name.

Now my blog does get comments and oh does that feel good. Is there anything better than getting comments? You know, aside from your children, life partner, health, sex, food, money. Shut up. You know what I'm talking about. Unless you're a lurker and you don't. Lurkers! Yes, you! The only way you'll ever get comments back is if you leave them to begin with. It's easy. It doesn't hurt. You'll meet amazing people and you'll make friends. It's so worth it.

So, that's why I blog. I was going to end off here, but rereading I noticed I wrote "inspiration of a rambling nature" which means that when I started off I had something else on my mind and unless I want to go back and rewrite that paragraph, which I don't, I'll have to come up with something else...

Ok, here. Unmitigated posted a picture of some Shoyu chicken she'd cooked so Supreme Leader decided we'd have it for dinner tonight.

The bok choy and black beans don't really go with this dish, but we didn't feel like fighting Liam over a new dish and since he would eat dirt if we put black beans on them, that was our side.

Maybe it would have been easier to just rewrite that one sentence...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Two Things

"I'm laughing 'cause I'm stupid rich!"

Two. I stole this from Waffles Waffles All Day Long, but I announced my theft and I'm giving props which makes everything ok.

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Ok, three. I was over at Irish Gumbo last night and he put up a link to a short story he's written and he wants some feedback. If you've got some time this weekend go read this then go back and tell him what you think. You'll probably never meet him so don't worry if you make him cry.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Pics: All. My. Friends, Know A Low Rider

Very important detail to keep in mind when doing a picture post about vehicles, take a picture of your own before it gets dark on the night before you have to post. Sigh. Oh well, it's not like you don't know what a metallic blue Dodge Caravan looks like. This is a pic from last year, we haven't had any snow yet.

What makes my man-van different is the toys. That's right, it's an Imperial Shuttle Craft. We support the Empire 'round here.

*Late entry from Blissfully Caffeinated: Dang it, I forgot to send in my car picture. It’s late, but here it is.

*Late entry from colepack: This is my favorite ride and where I prefer to be at all times! Had to toss in the socks since I can not *ride* without them!

Gimme' The Juice: Here is my ride - No, boring mini van for me - This is great on gas BUT is a little chilly in the winter.

Irish Gumbo: I remembered! Check out my sweet ride. Nuttin' says 'playa' like a '98 Honda Civic. Jealous, aren't you?

Steenky Bee: I'm not offering a picture of my current ride because I think I've seen Goodfather parked in an unmarked van down the street from my house. I'm nervous that he'll figure out which home is mine if I show my ride on your site. But I will share with you my previous ride, a 2003 Ford Focus that served as the best commuter car ever. Then one fateful Sunday the family was just returning home from church (first time in over six years) when we were T-boned by a teenager going 45 mph. She took off our entire rear wheel axle and spun us around 2 times. I think I jumped out of the car before it even stopped and ran toward the teen in the SUV screaming "You hit my babies!" I've also included a picture of me during happier times commuting in our trusty little car that was just one month short of paid off before it perished. Lessons learned: I am never attending church again andGoodfather is one sneaky stalker.

Embellished Truth & Polite Fiction: okay, i'm actually participating this week! what's funny though is that now that my brain is not being so consumed by all that nanonablomofoblahblahblah that i've actually remembered to do this.. the topic is tricky for me! see, our lease was up on our van yesterday - so we are.. kind of.. between vehicles. so i decided to share with you some pics of J's totally rad skate board.. here i am helping sand it down for him after i cut out over 100 little diamond shaped pieces of grip tape..

This Life Is Mine: Even though it rarely takes me to work, it gets me away from it all on the weekends. The warm ones that is. Plus, what is hotter than a chick on a big bike. The answer: NOT A DAMN THING! I have been riding this beauty for 3 years now...

Crab Goggles: This is my Tony Micelli (Who's the Boss) van. I hate it, but it fits 4 kids, a large dog, two weeks worth of groceries and a double stroller in it, so I suppose I should be thankful.

Me & You & Ellie: ...although the word "vehicle" is too harsh for our beloved Westy. Here she is in the Florida Keys. Seven loops through the United States in seven years and 131, 000 miles. She rocks.

Goodfather: Here's a picture of my sweet ride, The Crapolla. Also dubbed Dr. Bland by my 14-year-old daughter for its remarkable lack of personality. It's been a very reliable car, but that's really the only nice thing I can say about it. If I get laid off from work, we're planning on eating it. I hope its delicious.

Mommy's Escape
: Since now I am not carrying an additional 30 pounds I am doing alot of walking and these are my new favorite form of transporation. Aren't they totally awesome? I mean come on! They are the best chocolate brown, wood heel, ankle boots ever!! And they do great wonders for my figure!! Now I know why Hubby wants me to wear them to...wait, too much info. Let's just say they are HAWT!

And since it's December we may as well just start the holiday pics now. How about favourite ornament for this Friday. Whatever holiday you celebrate. Then we can do pics with Santa and trees.