Monday 30 December 2013

Sunday 29 December 2013

Shit Happens

I was just thinking about what I am going to write about, and I have started three so far that just don’t interest me. If I’m not interested, then there is a very good chance that you won’t be interested either. I know and understand that a lot of what I write may not be interesting to you, but just keep that to yourself.

Earlier today, I was thinking that I should write about why some people are successful and others seem to struggle all through their lives. Some of us fall in between those two extremes. I realize that success can be measured in many different ways, but I guess I am talking about those people who life treats as a favoured child.

I haven’t collected my thoughts on the subject and there is a good chance I never will, but as it stands now, I will give some thought to this and write the blog about it tomorrow. I may not even get around to writing tomorrow because Maegan flies out early the next day and I would rather be sitting with her for as long as I can, than writing a blog no one reads.

I do miss Maegan and wish there was some way I could see more of her without pissing her off. That’s not fair; I would like to see more of her without impacting her life in a negative way. Anyways, maybe no blog tomorrow and really not much of one tonight.

Oh well, shit happens…

Saturday 28 December 2013

My Wrist Kind of Hurts

Sometimes it’s nice to just lie in bed for a while, drifting in and out of sleep, kind of easing into the day. This morning was one of those days. I knew that it was cold outside and I should go out and shovel the walk first thing, so I was motivated to stay in bed.

Louise mentioned that the flooring in the dining room seemed to be a little uneven by the far corner. I couldn’t figure out how she would have even seen the far corner with the Christmas boxes blocking the view. I had nothing better to do, so I moved the boxes and the table that was displaying decorations. It was a little awkward, but I managed to make a space big enough for me to get down with a flashlight. Louise was right, the laminate floor had heaved up a little bit. Well, more than a little actually.

I went and got some tools and took off the baseboard to have a good look. I figured that either Hurricane or Tornado must have spilled a drink and the wood had swollen up. I still have some left over pieces so no big deal really. I was surprised when I pulled up the fist board to find a small mound of clay with a hole in it. It kind of looked like the structures that mud wasps make. It doesn’t make sense though, because wasps mostly die out in the winter and I would have noticed wasps flying around the house for the past couple of months. Weird!
I gave the hole a poke with my finger and the mud kind of cracked. I heard kind of a humming and then thousands of translucent insects flew out of the hole. I threw myself back and out of the way of the flying bugs. It was weird, because just when I was doing that, I heard the scream of a little girl. I suppose it could have been me. The bugs looked like they were an inch to an inch and a half long, were transparent and I couldn’t see any wings at all. They looked like plastic tubes, but they came out and were flying around the house just like angry wasps.
One landed on my wrist and stung me, leaving a spot of blood and taking some. I could follow it as it flew off, because it was the only one that had any colour at all. Other than the one bug, they seemed content to fly round and round the living room. It lasted a couple of minutes, and then they seemed to form a line and flew back into the hole at top speed. I was more than a little freaked out. What if that bug laid eggs in my wrist? What if they have been feasting on Louise and me for months? What the fuck were they? I can’t deal with this kind of thing myself; I’m going to call in an expert or two.

That dream finally motivated me to get up. I hate bugs, whether they are real or imagined. Now I know why I don’t sleep in as a rule. Why would a guy dream of shit like that and what does it mean? I will probably never know, but I stayed as far away from the dining room as I could today, just in case.

The funny thing is my wrist kind of hurts.

Friday 27 December 2013

I Hate The Mess

I know I have gone on and on and on about the shitty weather so far this year, but it has been…really, really shitty!

The last few days we have had near double digit plus temperatures and a good portion of the snow has melted. I was having so much trouble throwing the snow on top of the huge pile that I asked Santa for a sleigh shovel just to move the piles of accumulated snow. What do you know, he brought me the exact shovel I asked for and I moved the piles almost effortlessly. This winter is promising to be a real ball buster, so I have the feeling that I will be using that shovel more often than not.
Today started out at 9° C and it is now -7° C but feels like -18 with the wind chill. We are expecting about 5cm of snow and the city is under something called a “FLASH FREEZE” warning. I have never heard that term before, and to tell you the truth I am more than a little concerned about it. There was a movie called “The Day After Tomorrow” about something that sounded just like this. I guess I wouldn’t be concerned if I hadn’t seen the movie, but I did and this doesn’t sound very good to me.
I’d like to say that this will be the last blog whining about “poor cold me”, but when the weather is as dismal as it has been and probably will be for the foreseeable future, there is nothing better to do than complain. I have already helped dig someone out of the alley across the street and there was another one that needed help, but managed to rock the car out by themselves.
I worry about the accumulation of snow and how heavy the snow is or will be. My dad passed away shovelling snow and although it had more to do with his diabetes, I am cautious about moving snow because of him. I will try to shovel the heavy stuff when someone is home and expecting me to come back inside in a timely fashion. I don’t know why this gives me comfort, my mom was home when dad died and she was pissed off at having to come upstairs to answer the door for the guy that wanted to call the ambulance. She didn’t know at the time the reason for the ringing doorbell of course.

You know, that wouldn’t be a bad way to go. Get up, have breakfast, read the paper with your coffee and then go out to shovel the snow. BANG! Growing wings and playing the harp, or if you are an atheist, BANG! Nothing. Either way, give me a quick and relatively painless death as opposed to slowly losing my mind or being in pain with cancer for months or years.

Say, this is a happy blog. I think I will just end here or I may end up slashing my wrists. Nope, that won’t work either…I would just hate the mess.

Thursday 26 December 2013

The Circle of Life

Today is Boxing Day in Canada. Boxing Day is traditionally the day that stores have all of their big sales on pretty much everything, kind of like the poor man’s Black Friday.
There are a few theories as to how and why it came about, but the one I like the best is that since the servants and trades people had to be available to cater to their bosses and other rich folk on Christmas day, they were given the day after Christmas to spend time with their own families. They were also given a box that could contain money, small presents and some food to take home to the families. I suppose it is also the basis for the Christmas bonus which I never received because the Post Office were a bunch of cheap, tight fisted, miserly…

Today, Boxing day is as I said, a day of sales of electronics, clothing and a chance for merchants to get rid of all that Christmas crap they ordered but couldn’t sell. I suppose there are good sales, but there are also crowds of people who are trying to save a buck or two. I can’t blame them of course, but there isn’t anything I want bad enough to go shopping on Boxing Day. I am cheap, but I draw the line at lining up with a store full of cheap people like myself to spend money so I can save a couple of bucks.
I have never been able to time things to wear out or break down just in time for Boxing Day. I just can’t buy something on the off chance that the old one will need to be replaced in a week or two after Christmas. My fault I guess.
This is the first year that the retailers embraced the American tradition of Black Friday which happens on the Friday following Thanksgiving. Up until this year, Canadians have crossed the border in droves to take advantage of the Black Friday sales. I never crossed the border because I don’t like crowds…remember. There is some speculation that this might be the last year we will have any really good sales on Boxing Day, because the retailers just can’t offer big sales two months in a row. They could abandon Black Friday, but unless the consumer abandons it as well, they will have made their large ticket purchases online or when they crossed the border. No, Boxing Day will have to go.
Sure, they will still have Boxing Day sales, but they won’t be very good and most of us will have spent our sale money on Black Friday. I may even partake, because now there is online shopping and a lot of the stores are selling the same merchandise at the sale price. The benefit of course is that I can shop from home in my underwear if I so choose. Just a few clicks of the mouse, a paypal password typed and my new big screen 3D TV will be delivered to my door in under six working days. Another benefit is that with online shopping, the packages will come through the mail which in turn will employ people in the Post Office who will contribute to my pension. It’s the circle of life!

Boxing Day or Black Friday, it doesn’t matter to me, I will buy online.

Wednesday 25 December 2013

Nope, Not Tonight

Well, another major holiday has come and gone and I remain the same person that I was last year.

I haven’t physically changed to any measurable degree, I am still the same devilishly handsome guy I was a year ago, I’m an extremely talented under achiever and I remain modest to a fault.

I spent today eating too much wonderful food and I am just going to wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas.

I can’t think of anything to say and I’m sure no one wants to read anything I forced myself to write. Tune back tomorrow…

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Long Winters Nap

I wasn't going to bother with the blog tonight, because very few people will read it tomorrow. They will probably choose to open presents, visit family and eat until they just can't eat no more. Then I decided that they should have just one more thing to over indulge with tomorrow. Have fun!

There was so much to do today.

I’ll grant that most of it involved eating, drinking and relaxing, but that isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Especially when you are expecting a visit from Santa Claus. It’s hard to fall asleep for the little ones, but I have never had that particular problem.

We just finished watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the umpteenth time and it wasn’t my first choice. Don’t get me wrong, I do like the movie, but lately I have developed an affinity for those made for TV Christmas movies. You know the ones. Successful but emotionally unfulfilled woman/man leaves the big city and returns home to Mayberry USA. There they find the love of their life who has recently lost a husband/wife and they begin to reconnect. Some action or deed is misunderstood and inevitably I suppose they break up. Just when you think all is lost and you will never get that two hours back again, they both realize how stupid they have been. They kiss, the snow begins to fall and we are left to draw our own conclusions.

These movies aren’t “It’s a Wonderful Life”, but they do fill a niche. Besides, even after all of these years, I still tear up at the end when the townsfolk bring George the money and Clarence gets his wings, and that isn’t very manly. It’s okay to cry when old yeller gets shot.

The movie was Maegan’s choice. It seems that she has either developed taste in movies since she moved to Toronto or she always had good taste and I just never noticed. She doesn’t even like those made for TV Christmas movies at all! I still love her, I kind of have to since she is probably right and all.

I have to fly. To bed of course. There is a goodish chance that I’m on the NICE list this year. Even if I’m not, I could do with a long winters nap…

Monday 23 December 2013


Just a couple of quick things for tonight. I went sledding with Maegan and Hurricane. The weather had finally warmed up enough to be able to enjoy spending time out of doors. If you are in any doubt as to whether you are getting older, just go sledding with a six year old and someone in their early thirties. Tobogganing (sledding) is a very fast, uncontrolled, terror filled rush down a hill, followed by a slow slog up the same hill. The first couple of times the adrenaline created by the downhill part kind of makes up for the hard work of going back up.

It was fun and tiring for all concerned, but the younger you are the easier it is to bounce back. You know, the odd thing is that if I were to do that more often I would be in much better shape and I would more than likely laugh a lot more. I might just give it a whirl by myself sometime. First, I should put 911 on speed dial.

The second thing I want to mention is that I went to see Part 2 of the Hobbit, “The Desolation of Smaug”. Just in case anyone is wondering if it is worth going to see, yes it is. Pretty much non stop action throughout and if you see the 3D version there are more than a few times you have to duck and/or scream like a little girl. It was a very enjoyable movie and I recommend giving it a look.

That being said, it did stray pretty far from the book. I suppose it doesn’t matter to anyone but me and a few other purists that are out there. The movie wouldn’t have been nearly as exciting and it wouldn’t make the millions that this one will. I am looking forward to next year when we can all go and see part 3. Should be fun and I’ll get another pair of 3D glasses for my collection. 

Sunday 22 December 2013


It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or so the song says. People are wrapping gifts for their loved ones that they are soon to see. Often, it is the only time during the year when we see those relatives who live a goodly distance away. Cookies have been baked and decorated in order to show off our baking skills. I do appreciate the beauty of those iced, sprinkled and dusted cookies that look just like the cookies in the magazines that are at every supermarket checkout. I never really saw the point of elaborate decorating, but then I am all about shovelling the cookies down my throat just as fast as possible.
There is some last minute shopping going on and we do need to pick up just a few more things at the market to round out the Christmas dinner. Okay, Holiday dinner if that is your preference. I don’t really care, just so long as I get my share of the cookies. Like I said, there are last minute things to do, but for the most part we are waiting in anticipation for that generous man in red to visit our homes on Christmas Eve. I will keep the thermostat turned up so that Santa will be able to warm up a little while he is here. No sense taking the chance he might take offence in any way, after all, I have gone to the trouble to be good all year. Well, good…ish.
I woke today to find that a good portion of eastern Canada and the central US are having a horrible winter storm. My friends and family in southern Ontario are in the midst of an ice storm that has made the roads skating rinks. The trees are covered with a heavy accumulation of ice and consequently the branches are breaking off and as they drop to earth, they break the hydro lines. That has put upwards of 300,000 households without power or heat. I don’t like it when the temperature in the house drops below 18°, and the possibility of my pipes freezing would freak me out.

I guess that Ontario Hydro is working overtime to get the power restored to as many as possible, but some will be without power for up to 72 hours. It is certainly survivable, but most of us have never had to survive winter without central heating or any way to cook food. I have often thought that I should get a wood stove for the house, solar panels for electricity and of course a store of dried food and water to get us through a couple of weeks without any power. Of course I didn’t mean dried water; dried water would be a container of air. I haven’t done any of those things, because they cost money and I am inherently lazy. I will look into some kind of emergency planning right after the holidays.

This storm will keep many families that planned to be together for Christmas, apart. The roads are impassable and only fools would willingly go out if they did not absolutely have to. Flights have been cancelled or delayed and more people will be spending the holidays in strange airports, trying to get comfortable while they wait.
With the power out, Christmas dinner might be peanut butter and crackers. Hopefully they will have some of those fancy cookies for desert. Everyone out east should keep their spirits up because Santa is an old school kind of guy. He was delivering presents long before electric lights, central heating and the Wright brothers. Let’s not forget that he has Rudolph for times like these.

I hope that all is back to normal sooner rather than later. God bless and may He protect you all from Mother Nature.

Saturday 21 December 2013

Stink Eye

I was just in the grocery store, following behind Louise who was actually shopping. I tend to daydream as I walk and will often look up to find that Louise has gotten lost, again. Today she stayed more or less in sight, or I was a little more attentive.

I am always fascinated by the fish section of the grocery store. I’m not a big fish eater or a fisherman at all, so I find this section endlessly entertaining. The variety of frozen, packaged fish is astounding. I suppose the fact that fish have been a staple of our diet since before recorded history would account for the diverse methods of cooking and preparing fish. Packaged fish is interesting, but I find the frozen fish captivating. They are flash frozen minutes after capture, and I can imagine them swimming in the ocean moments before the Russian trawler hauled them in. I wonder if they had any inkling that their number was up and in a very short time they would be frozen stiff, shrink wrapped and stored for later consumption by the species residing at the top of the food chain.
When I find myself in a large ethnically oriented superstore, I could spend hours just watching the “catch of the day”. I eventually have to leave when the guy behind the counter asks me for the tenth time if he could help me. My answer of “Nope, I’m just looking.” starts to sound kind of weird. I don’t think I would ever have security called, but some old guy hanging around the open fish tanks and laughing is a little suspicious I suppose.
I will admit that the clams and mussels are pretty boring. They don’t have eyes or fins to watch like the pathetic fish that are listlessly swimming back and forth along the glass in the tank. They can’t be thinking of escape, but from the looks of some of them, they wouldn’t be above suicide. In some ways, I guess you might say that what happens to them is sort of like assisted suicide…sort of.
I am most interested in the lobsters. They still have enough fight left in them that their pincers need thick rubber bands to hold them closed. I’ve got the impression that they have an inkling that we plan to drop them into boiling water and they aren’t very happy about the prospect. They have those weird antennas, six legs and the Popeye arms and look like they could really kick some human butt if they were just a little bigger. They are so ugly, it’s a wonder our ancestors decided to eat them. Unfortunately for the lobster, they taste delicious when served with butter after being boiled to a crimson colour.

Louise finished her shopping and gave me that “What are you doing?” look which ended my fish watching. I walked after Louise and wondered if the lobsters were planning an escape. There was some water on the floor and I could swear the big one gave me the finger and the ‘stink eye’.

Friday 20 December 2013

Board Game People

Once the kids had become adults or adultish, Christmas day seemed to fade somehow. Louise and I were still excited by the season, but after the presents had been opened, there was a whole day to fill. We don’t have our big Christmas dinner on Christmas day. It never did seem right that Louise would spend a large part of her day making a delicious meal that we couldn’t really do justice to. We tend to snack on finger foods, cookies and chocolate for most of the day.
You can only make so many phone calls to relatives and friends who are far away. They have their own traditions and Christmas is a day for family. I also tend to get “phone ear” after twenty minutes or so. I think what happens is that I am getting a lot of words funnelling into my ear and the tube leading to my brain must be pretty tiny and the words back up and start to get all mixed up. That’s my story and I am sticking to it. We own many board games, in pristine condition. They are in pristine condition because we really aren’t board game people. Some of us are bad losers and I am a terrible winner. That’s nothing you want to deal with Christmas day.
In recent years, we have gone to the movies on Christmas day. It was easy while they were cranking out the Harry Potter movies, and most years there are some pretty good movies released around this time of year. This year we are planning on going to see the second Hobbit movie. Maegan hadn’t seen the first one, so we watched it at home tonight. I know some people haven’t seen it and some wouldn’t even if they had an opportunity, but I have been a Tolkien fan for close to fifty years and that will never change. Peter Jackson has done a wonderful job, the movie is fast paced and for the most part it is true to the novel.
For the most part. I am a purist and I have trouble letting go of the liberties he has taken with the novel. He has left out portions that I feel were important to the plot and worse, he has added scenes to pander to the masses. It is his vision, his millions of dollars and his prerogative what he does with his life and movies. I guess what bothers me is that there are people out there who will become huge fans of Middle Earth, having never read the books. To them, the story of Bilbo and Smaug will be Peter Jackson’s version, and although well done, it isn’t the original.
There is nothing to be done about it, other than to complain to a bunch of strangers on the blog, who probably won’t care and even if they do, I will never know.

I am sure I will enjoy “The Desolation of Smaug” and it will be a wonderful Christmas spent with family. In fact, I hope that all who read this will have the same good fortune that my family and I are blessed with.

Best wishes to you and yours no matter how you spend your Christmas, even if you are board game people.

Thursday 19 December 2013

A Fair Compromise

Have you ever tried to talk to someone that doesn’t understand your language?

I met a lovely French speaking girl a few years ago and aside from smiling and nodding my head, I had no idea what she was saying. I had to rely on Louise to translate for me, because it appears that she actually paid attention in school when they were teaching conversational French. I on the other hand had an agreement with my French teacher. She wouldn’t ask me any questions or expect me to pay attention in class and I wouldn’t disrupt her class. I thought it was a good compromise at the time, but she still got paid and I never did learn French.

I have learned how to get a person to sign their name for a registered letter in about 15 different languages. Okay, I basically held up the letter, the paper and made writing motions with the pen, all the while smiling and nodding my head. The odd time I would say “You need to sign here!” and they would look at me like I was speaking a foreign language. I was, but I figured I could get through to them by raising my voice. “YOU NEED TO SIGN HERE!” Still nothing… This is when I invented the waving the pen and smiling and nodding technique. I should have patented it, since then I have seen hundreds of people using it.

Tonight, Buster started to choke in the living room. At first I said “What’s wrong?” Buster ignored me as dogs often will when they are facing imminent death from choking. I raised my voice and said “WHAT’S WRONG? ARE YOU OKAY?” Still more choking, but now it looked like he was going to puke on the carpet. DON’T PUKE ON THE FUCKING CARPET!” I’d gone from concern to anger in a millisecond. I didn’t even bother with the paper, pen, waving and smiling method at all.

I hate cleaning up dog puke. I suppose I could just leave it and he would eventually get around to eating it, but that’s gross enough to make me want to puke. I chased him off of the carpet, into the kitchen and then outside into the freezing cold. Yes, I know it wasn’t one of my finest moments, but you have to remember that we are talking about dog puke here.

It was really cold out and Buster had been out there for about five minutes. Now, I am thinking I sent him out to choke to death in the freezing cold and that he is lying in some snow bank stiffening up right now. How long would it take for a tiny dog like him to freeze solid? I went out into the cold only to find him sniffing some of his two day old shit. He wasn’t dying, choking or even freezing to death. Now I am cold and mad. “GET IN THE HOUSE YOU STUPID DOG!”

I know I should try to learn dog, but maybe we can come to an agreement, I won’t ask Buster any questions and in return he won’t puke on the carpet. That’s a fair compromise…

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Make Up The Spare Room

I have heard that there are people in the world who don’t believe that water can solidify in any shape larger than a cube. I imagine they would be dumbfounded to see a whole lake frozen solid enough for huts to be built on it and cars and trucks to drive on the surface. I’m sure they couldn’t think of any reason why anyone would want to build a hut or drive a car on the lake. Personally, I don’t get it either.

Several years ago, a neighbour swapped homes and jobs with an Australian fireman for a year. One cold winter day I looked out the bedroom window and saw him, his wife and their two visiting adult children looking up and down the alley. I went out and found that they had never seen that much ice and couldn’t believe that anyone in their right mind would drive on it. Personally, I don’t get it either.

There are people who can’t imagine snow falling from the sky like it does in one of those cute snow globes, let alone 3 feet of it like Muskoka received last week. My daughter had a friend whose family moved to Texas and she was given a detention for lying when she told the class that in Canada it got so cold they had to plug the cars in to keep them warm so they would be able to start. That teacher was taken to school by an irate mother.

The reason that I mention this is that I am sitting in a Tim Horton’s waiting for Hurricane and Tornado to finish school so that I can pick them up and take them home. I have some cookies and candy that is crying out for some kids to eat it. Their mom and dad might just be a little slow getting home today since it is snowing, again, and the roads are just horrendous. I have mentioned before that the city crews who clear the streets of snow are complete and utter tools that haven’t a clue how to efficiently and effectively clear snow from the streets. These assholes couldn’t brush the snow off of their own coats without hiring a private contractor.

I have this anger building in me at the cold weather generally and snow in particular. There is a part of me that really enjoys winter, but it is the only part of me that seems to be shrinking. We should never have gone to Hawaii! On cold days I would come home from work and go to this web cam to watch Waikiki Beach, but that was small screen Hawaii. When you are there, it is a 3-D experience with smell-o-vision, touch-o-vision and shave ice-o-vision. The water is warm, inviting and surprisingly I am not bothered one whit that the fish and turtles urinate in the water with wild abandon.

I suppose I am just venting and sort of day dreaming about being warm without wrapping a blanket around myself or wearing five layers of clothes. Hawaii is a distant dream, but BC is a doable option. I have several friends that live on Vancouver Island and I’m sure that I would be welcomed for a prolonged stay till say May…ish? Make up the spare room Brian I’m coming to lotus land if this fucking weather doesn’t improve.

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Not That Interesting

It was a good day today.

Well, it was a good-ish day anyways. Nothing really stands out as exceptional, but there was nothing that was unpleasant in any way. I woke up early and slowly eased into the day. I had a cup of tea, skipped breakfast and opted not to read the paper. Who needs to start the day reading about how the government is spinning the latest scandal or about the fire that put a family on the streets just before Christmas. This is the time of year when there are articles about people helping people get through the season. I do like that, but I can read about it tomorrow.

I was long over due for my tri-monthly haircut, so I went to where Dennis the blind barber used to work. I’m glad he retired; now my hair looks pretty good. I used to think I just had unruly hair, I never considered that my barber was nearly blind. The woman that cut my hair was easy to talk to. She did make me slouch down in the chair because she was so short. Come to think of it, I wonder if she managed to cut the hair on top of my head.

The rest of the day just kind of went by. I had lunch…I was pretty hungry since I had skipped breakfast. My buddy called me to see if I could cut some wood for him and then we went out for a coffee and a trip to Princess Auto to return the wrong cable. Got home and did some wood turning. My project turned out pretty good, just a little heavy and over sized. If the weather holds I may do a few more of the decorations. I can’t show a picture because they may end up as gifts.

Made supper, then went out to Chapters to pick up a last minute gift. I love going to book stores at any time of year, but there is nothing to compare with a book store at Christmas time. The books all look so interesting and it is a time or the year when people who don’t read as a rule will find themselves walking up and down the aisles looking for some kind of inspiration for that special person. When you gift a book to someone, it not only makes a comment on the person receiving the book, but also on the person giving the book. Like most gifts, they are a reflection of how the giver views the givee. Just hope your wife doesn’t give you “Paradise Lost” or “The Gods of Guilt”.

I spent the rest of the evening sitting with Louise, watching TV and discussing the day.

It was a good day, but not that interesting for a blog.