Tag Archives: where’s my gonch and other stuff

Today’s Giggle – Victoria’s Secret Model


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This Toaster Oven is Evil

Just when I’ve mastered our toaster we get a Toaster Oven – that magical thing that combines a toaster and you guessed it – an oven. Today the Toaster Oven burned my toast. Yesterday it didn’t toast it at all. The day before I baked it by mistake.  I have received numerous lessons on how to use the Toaster Oven and on Toaster Oven Best Practices – all of which have gone in one ear and out the other.

You see the Toaster Oven is like every other gadget or mechanical thing in my  life. I am genetically predetermined to not enjoy good relationships with most mechanical, digital, devices including screwdrivers, hammers, BBQ’s, tents, all IKEA furniture, stereo equipment when that was still around, and especially TV’s with more than one remote or any remote at all for that matter.  Most of my iPhone remains a mystery except for texting which I’ve picked up with a passion probably because it has something to do with talking. Right now I would like to have a piece of toast but with my luck I’ll set the house on fire so I’ll sit on my couch and have a tete a tete with my mother who is god knows where and discuss why exactly she passed that dreaded chromosome on to me.


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Edgar Rosee: Extraordinary Talent in Ordinary People You Happen to Meet on the Street

Edgar Rosee

Edgar Rosee

Yesterday we went to Pigeon Park and served hot baked potatoes and all the fixin’s to those in need. My friend Susan has been a Potato Head for a while and this was our first outing with the collection of friends and colleagues who gather monthly to serve potatoes. After we were finished a group of us walked back to our cars carrying our coolers that had earlier kept the baked potatoes warm.

We were delayed getting into our  cars because there was a protest taking place to bring awareness to the plight of women in the Downtown Eastsideand particularly to the issue of affordable and safe housing.  Verna Simard had died under suspicious circumstances the day before, the anniversary of another woman who had died a violent death the year before.

While we stood around waiting and chatting, a man walked by and noticed Dave’s vintage (well, I say vintage but what I really mean is old) cooler. He took one look at it and said , “This needs to be painted. What’s your favourite animal?” “Wolf”, Dave said. This guy dropped his artist’s portfolio, pulled out a tube of paint and a brush and created this on the cooler.
I am in awe of people who can create something beautiful so spontaneously and with such ease.  All in all, my whole experience of that day working with friends, meeting new friends and sharing a beautiful life moment just made me feel incredibly full and rich. It was a great day. I believe the artist’s name was Edgar Rose (actually Rosee with an accent on it).



So here’s to new experiences. And great art.

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How People React to Emergency Situations: For example, bear encounters, burning decorations and icy skids

So what was that I heard again?

I was listening to a news report the other day of a guy who came across a big black bear and he decided the best way to handle the situation was to lie down and play dead. The bear took his time smelling him up, down and around until he finally walked away. This got me to thinking about what I would do if I encountered a bear, the odds of which are quite high given that we live near bear laden woods where we walk Reuben.

You can never come to my desert island.

This led me to think about the time I was at a friend’s house and the Christmas decoration caught on fire above the fireplace. She yelled at me to go to the kitchen to get some water, call the fire department etc… Unfortunately the dancing flames from the fire had me mesmerized so I stood there admiring it while she yelled. Once the situation was under control (no thanks to me) she looked at me and said she would never want to be on a desert island with me (obviously doesn’t know the things I can do with my bra).

All of this has gotten me thinking about what kind of ‘responder’ I am in emergency situations. How does this fabulous brain of mine work when push comes to shove. Well, I’m starting to suspect that at this point in my life I’m a bit of a ‘stand there deer in the headlights kind of person’. If lightening strikes hug a tree. (while running from the bear possibly)

So let’s say I do run into a bear what would I do?

a) if Dave is there I would jump on his back and tell him to run . I know this because a rat was chasing me once and I did exactly this and thank god because it saved us both.

b) stand looking at the bear and try hard to remember the CBC Early Edition show I heard some time ago about what you do when you encounter a bear. What was it again? Wave your arms, scream and yell, look him dead in the eye and assume animal dominance.

C) or was it more like, whatever you do, don’t make a sound, only look at him briefly, wait, no don’t look at it him at all, stand as still as possible and hope he goes away? Or was that the grizzly bear?

d) continue hoping he goes away while fervently wishing you were somewhere else while hearing soundtrack  to be played at your wake (Body in a Box, please)

I had another situation when I was driving in a snowstorm. Suddenly the car skidded and my brain was forced back to driving school….that critical lesson of what to do when you go into a skid: a) turn into it b) turn out of it.

Well, I did the opposite of what I was supposed to do and ended up in a ditch.

Back to the bear briefly. I was hiking with some girlfriends yesterday and the question of the bear encounter came up. One woman in the group instantly said she would scream aggressively, wave her arms wildly, assert dominance but  not too much. I was impressed. She definitely knew what she was doing. If I was shipwrecked I’d want to be with her. She then went on to talk about how she had gotten trapped by vicious dogs in a bedroom and how she confronted them and engineered her husband’s escape. I had a similar situation and after yelling and screaming for help for quite a long time, I crawled through the world’s smallest bathroom window to safety. Apparently nobody missed me or could hear my shrieks.

I suspect there is nothing I can do to improve my emergency preparedness. This is who I am. And I’m still alive.


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The Divide Between My Imagined Self and My True Self: Take Camping for Example

This Camping is For the BIRDS!

The thing I admired about my mom is that she understood clearly who she was. Take camping for example. We went camping once and she declared she would never do it again. ” Ohmigod” she said emerging from our tent dishevelled and undone. “This camping thing is for the birds. Why camp when  I can stay in hotels. Or a private island. Ohh Tess, can you imagine” Yes,  I could but I saw myself more as a carefree hippy girl than an urban Euro -chick who hiked in heels. “I prefer camping.” I said to her steely-eyed.

She Can Catch Squirrels with Her Bra! Wow!

My imagined-self is a self-starting handy girl who can whip out her no-frills high-tech tent, set it up in less than 6 minutes, start a fire from stones, sling a squirrel for dinner with her bra, make a natural bouillabaise from local weeds, whip up some bannack on an open fire, and sing Neil Young songs while strumming a 12 string guitar. Yes, this is the real me!

Go Get Me Some Kidling!

Well the truth is until three weeks ago I thought the word for “kindling” was “kidling” which Dave asked me to look for when we were camping so he could build the fire, after he set-up the tent (I don’t know how) and started the stove (last time I tried I burned my eyebrows off plus I didn’t want to be responsible for starting a forest fire). I am very good at taking things out of the car and placing them on the table and opening beer and wine and generally adding to the spirit of convivial, joyous outdoor life. Oh, I can also put pillows in the tent.

Blame it on Literature and The French Revolution!

So how do I explain the divide between my real self and my imagined courageous ‘courier de bois’ self? Well, I don’t think I’m alone in being somewhat different from how I imagine myself. It’s a human trait I think. But my imagined self is also fuelled by my love of literature where I can virtually feast on imagined realities. It took me years to complete my degree in History and English because I spent too much time re-enacting great moments in history and literature. The French Revolution took it’s toll. Trust me.

The good thing is that on our last camping trip, I overcame my fear of burning off my eyebrows and agreed to light the campfire stove. I’ll leave using my bra as a slingshot for catching unsuspecting squirrels for another day.


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The Story of Birdie and How He Was Almost Saved by a Spatula

Once upon a time a few years ago I went and visited my sister. My sister lives in a small town in a land far, far away. Ontario to be exact. She was a little under the weather at the time so I went to help out and visit with her.

At any given time her home is shelter to abandoned cats and birds. For many years she had Birdie and Olivia two cockatiels she inherited from a friend. This is how she keeps the cats from eating her birds.  “Don’t eat my birds or your gone.” And this has worked beautifully.

On my last visit I was quite horrified to see how Birdie had aged. He was mostly featherless with a large goiter on his shoulder. Bulging eyes.

So this is what happens: I was busy in the kitchen cooking away (while she bossed me around from the couch – don’t skimp on the salt – more butter – don’t forget the herbs – not too much, not too little!). Older sisters, as we all know, can’t relinquish their crowns, even if they have a raging fever. So dutifully, I listened – no more salt – no more butter I can’t stand it – and she won’t notice if I don’t put any herbs in at all!.

Pick him up!

Amidst my culinary drama, suddenly I look over and I see Birdie lying featherless and goiter-heavy on his back on the floor. So I call out to my sister “Oh no, Birdie is lying on the floor. What do I do?” “Pick him up.”she yelled from the couch. “Oh, ok.” I said.” With what?” “Your hands.” she answered. “What do you think, your teeth?”

Meanwhile back at the ranch

Meanwhile back at the ranch, my inner dialogue was going like this – She wants me to pick that bald obnoxious bird off the floor with my own two bare hands. NEVER. I can’t. I won’t. Those cats won’t kill him. If I wait long enough maybe she’ll get up off her sick bed and pick him up for me. They’re her birds and she is my older sister and therefore more capable and well, it’s just her job. What if I can’t do this? She’ll beat me with a stick. No wait, she’s never done that. She’ll want to beat me with a stick. She probably already does. Jeezus, what do I do? I can’t touch that thing. Where are the oven mitts?Oh wait. The spatula. That’s it. I’ll wash off this spatula and lift Birdie off the floor.

My sister leapt like Superwoman from the couch

No sooner had I grabbed the spatula and walked with boldness and extreme courage towards the ailing Birdie than I saw my sister leap from the couch in a single bound (not unlike Superman except in this case Superwoman) push past me in her narrow hallway and run and lift the ailing Birdie into her loving hands where she restored his dignity and showered him with loving kisses.

It was certainly one of those times where I was outside the moment. Birdie and my sister were suspended in a bubble of love – she kissing him -him looking lovingly into her eyes, his dignity (if not his feathers) restored.

She lovingly placed him back on his perch where he remained for a few more days until he passed away.

And that’s the story of Birdie – who almost got lifted up by a spatula by a heartless auntie but was instead rescued (as always) by my sister who’s heart and house is always open to abandoned critters.


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