Friday, 31 October 2008
Now that the big day is finally here, I'm a little bit disappointed, since D has to do chores and I have to hand out candy by my lonesome. But Neko is going to wear a nice orange feather boa, so I should at least get some good old fashioned pet humiliation satisfaction out of tonight.
Hallowe'en in the country is a lot different than H in the city. There are no adult parties, no bars having costume contests, and since we don't have cable, nothing scary to watch on the telly. Hmm. Maybe I'll just hide in the closet and jump out at D when he comes home from the barn.
Anyways, in honour of the big day, I'd like to share a new joke I heard at work. (Ahem)
Q: What do vegan Zombies crave?
Happy H everyone!
Thursday, 30 October 2008
Now this site I like. You take photos of your nearest and dearest, or your favourite colleagues, and mock them up in costumes or famous people's bodies. Cheap, good fun! Especially when the results turn out like this...mwah ha ha ha!
Create your own FACEinHOLE">
Create your own FACEinHOLE">
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
I was driving home to Kink from Waterloo last night after a busy day of work and a pleasant evening with my Aunt B. As I drove through Hawksville, I sniffed the air, and thought, "Hey, that smells like a fresh McDonald's hambuger. Yummy." Then I realized I was driving past the animal feed mill.
Monday, 27 October 2008
Friday, 24 October 2008
My friend Ginny sent me these photos, and I have to say, it DOES give me ideas about what to do to poor Neko. Do you dress YOUR pet up for Hallowe'en? If so, do tell.
You've gotta love how sad this dog looks:
Neko would probably eat this mask in about 4 seconds:
I am realllly not sure what this poor little guy is supposed to be:
And the best is for last - Count Schnauzerla!
Thursday, 23 October 2008
Well, Miss Jaime certainly gave me something to think about when I get ready to cook up a few Hallowe'en treats. Check this out if you want a reason to laugh AND grimace at the same time! Thanks Jaime...I think...
Monday, 20 October 2008
Long, long ago, I was an English Lit major. I actually enjoyed reading classics. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I pursued part of a Master's degree doing the same thing. I think it's because I was in an environment where most of the people around me also enjoyed reading mouldie oldies, and got a kick out of discussing plot, character, theme, setting and historical significance until they were blue in the face. I think I "got" the books back then, too - at least, my essays scored high marks, so I must have been doing something right. I was passionate about Bronte, mad about Dickens, and flushed rosy red at the sight of an Austen.
It was like reminiscing with old friends the day I unpacked all my books and set them artfully on the built-in bookcases in our new living room. Why, there was Wilkie Collins and his "Woman in White!" And there was my antique illustrated edition of "Wuthering Heights!" And so THAT'S where "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" had gotten to! Oh, they smelled good, just like classics should: a little musty, a little damp - like library books, except better. I wanted to spread them on the floor and roll around in them a little, but was scared D might catch me.
After the initial joyful reunion was over, I went back to reading un-classic books picked up at the airport or library. My classics would always be there - meanwhile, there were Lionel Shriver and Andrew Pyper and Xiaolu Guo to devour. It was only last month, when I ran out of reading material, that I meandered back to my shelves and plucked a dog-eared classic that I only vaguely remembered reading: "Mansfield Park," by Jane Austen.
Well, guess what? After a mere 17 years since graduating in Honours English, it appears that I no longer have a taste for the classics. I HATED Mansfield Park; I alternated between wanting to shake and pinch the heroine Fanny Price for being such a flimsy excuse for a woman. I wanted to smack Edmund for his priggish condescension. It served them exactly right to get married to each other in the end. Ugh.
Perhaps reading all sorts of modern trash has spoiled the finer nuances of classic literature for me. Or perhaps I just picked up a bad Austen book, if there is such a thing. Or, quite possibly, I'm dumber than I used to be and simply can't appreciate good lit when I read it anymore. I used to love it so - and now I'm afraid to pick up another volume in case I loathe it too.
It's not a good feeling to see an old friend staring at you from the shelves and feel too scared to say hello again. Maybe I'll be more open to the Classics when the snow flies and I'm trapped indoors. I can pretend I'm sitting in a drawing room before an open fire whilst the wild wind whips over the moors. Let's just hope I don't throw the book into the flames!
Friday, 17 October 2008
I stumbled across this hilarious blog today (don't ask me how) and have decided that I shall post a few tributes to Hallowe'en, one of my favourite holidays, whenever the mood strikes. Consider this #1 in what will hopefully be a line of many!
Thursday, 16 October 2008
Not long after we moved into Someday Farm, I was proudly showing a neighbour our newly renovated upstairs. We went from room to room, admiring the clever closet design, the new windows, the hardwood floor that D had helped refinish. We advanced to the master bedroom where I happily babbled on about how I'd convinced D to remove a wall between two smaller rooms to make one giant bedroom, how we'd chosen our bedroom set of reclaimed Russian wood, etc...when I realized my neighbour had stopped listening. She was staring, instead, at the 8x10 glossy picture of me that D had found while unpacking and saw fit to prop up at the head of our bed. It was my Fall Fair Queen photo in all its goofy-grinned, teased-hair, 1980's glory. I promptly hustled my amused guest downstairs, but I think all she remembers about my bedroom is that photo.
Yep, I was the New Hamburg Fall Fair Queen back in '88. We weren't called Ambassadors then; no men in the 1980's dreamt of entering such a competition, so the Queen title was safe to use. Seeing my photo shouldn't have been a source of embarrassment to me; after all, being Queen of the Fair is a huge honour, and affords one the chance to get involved in one's community, meet lots of people, and do fun things like ride in a convertible in the Santa Claus parade. But I'm sorry to say that I was a lousy queen.
After politely declining to enter when asked three separate times (much to my mother's chagrin), I knew I was beaten when the entire Fair committee showed up at my front door one Saturday. I was in my pajamas eating chips straight out of the bag. When they asked me to reconsider and enter as a competitor, I gave in. They'd caught me at a weak moment; my mother was delighted. Seems she'd been a Dairy Princess back in her Wellesley school days and apparently, I was going to carry on the family tradition.
At eighteen, I didn't enjoy being the centre of attention. I didn't think I was very pretty, or very smart, and I didn't want to pretend I was either in front of a bunch of judges. However, encouraged by my enthusiastic mother, I did my best. I worked hard creating a poster to represent my sponsor, the Lion's Club. I rehearsed my speech on the historical importance of country fairs dozens of times. My mother took me shopping for my very first "sophisticated" gown (which, in retrospect, was a hideous shiny leopard print thing that mean girls in school later referred to as "my tin-foil dress") and spent over an hour teasing my hair into a big blonde pouf for the big night.
To my great shock, I won the competition. I still remember my sister and friends leaping around joyfully in the front row when my name was announced, the big smile on my mother's face, and the confusion of my Russian grandmother, who didn't speak English and couldn't understand what the fuss was about. And I also remember the look of annoyance on the runner up's face, which, incidentally, was captured forever on film by our local paper.
I don’t remember much else about the Fall Fair that year, except for the fact that my royal duties included leading a cow around a giant bingo square during a round of Bovine Bingo – yes, it’s as bad as it sounds. Especially when you’re wearing a skirt and heels.
The sad part is that after the initial joy of winning, I didn't do much with my crown. It should have been an opportunity for me to get involved in the agricultural community, join a board or two, or at the very least, volunteer for Fair duties in upcoming years. Instead, I quietly shrank back into oblivion and only attended the functions I was required to.
I recently attended the Ripley Fall fair, which brought back all sorts of Queen-related memories. It was great to see the Ambassador and her fellow competitors beaming at the crowd as they sailed by on their parade float. They all seemed friendly with one another and were undoubtedly having a good time. I even had the opportunity to meet the Ambassador herself a few times as I wandered around the fairgrounds. She seemed genuinely happy to be there, whether she was selling tickets for a raffle or proudly showing me the 4-H pickled piglet. She embodied the wholesome, fun spirit of Fall Fairs, and there was no doubt in my mind that she would be an actively involved member of the community during her "reign."
I felt ashamed of my eighteen year old self, but proud of the Ripley Ambassador, and all the other Ambassadors in Tiverton, Lucknow and Kincardine. The newer generation of Fall Fair representatives gets what it’s all about to wear the crown for their community. And at least they won’t have to suffer through Bovine Bingo.
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
Tai Chi is one of those slow, low-impact exercises that is supposed to bring you feelings of peace and serenity. When you see folks practising it on the end of the pier, or in the park, they always appear very zen, very "I'm at one with the universe right now, so please don't bug me."
As much as I adore the increased circulation and the way it makes my popsicle stick body more flexible, I simply cannot believe how much rage is involved in learning Tai Chi. Cause it's really difficult to learn. I don't mean "Ooh, this is kind of challenging" difficult - I mean, stamp your foot, make loud huffing sounds, slam your fist into your forehead kind of difficult.
There are 108 moves in total. Instructors demonstrate each move three times and then the students attempt it themselves three times. Then the moves are linked together until you know the whole "set." It's frustrating to convince your body to do things like balance on one foot and kick the other into the air, not to mention learning 107other moves and remembering to do them in sequence. Worse still are the names of the moves. Apparently, snickering when the instructor teaches you "Golden Cock stands on One Leg" is frowned upon.
The philosophy for teaching beginners is that you never, under any circumstance, correct an individual in front of the class. I'm not quite sure why. Something about not discouraging people early on. So you have a few freak outs when you screw up the moves, and laugh about it with other people who are screwing up their moves, but you have no idea how awful you really are until you leave the safety of the beginner class and venture into the ADVANCED class.
Once you're out of beginners, the zen gloves are off. Instructors are more serious about providing "corrections." And they're not afraid to use your name or point you out in front of the other students. All the stuff I thought I'd finally figured out in the beginner class has turned out to be pretty much wrong. Either my fingers aren't pointy enough, or my foot is turned 4 degrees too far to the corner, or I'm not rotating my body correctly. It's enough to make me pitch the pot of green tea out the window at breaktime.
The worst part was when my instructor told me that no one ever really masters Tai Chi. It's a continual learning process. Even people who have been doing it for 20 years receive corrections. WHAT??! So I have to do it for eternity because there will always be something to correct? Good grief.
I've thought about it long and hard, and I still keep going back week after week. I've decided I can't let Tai Chi beat me. I can't let 108 floaty, slo-mo-karate moves drive me mental. I can't allow ten graceful retirees to outshine me in every class.
I am going to be zen if it kills me. And I am going to learn NOT to laugh at the Golden Cock.
Friday, 3 October 2008
My ex used to call me "birdy nerdy" due to my obsessive habit of bird feeding and bird watching back in Waterloo. Now that I'm up here, my habit has become even worse. I can't help it - I find birds fascinating little creatures. My sis gave me a bird watching journal when I moved to Someday Farm, and now it's almost full of my observances, questions and descriptions. Hey, at least I'm not spying on my neighbours.
I'm happy to report that the birdfeeder outside our kitchen window has become a drive-thru of sorts to all kinds of birds headed south on their migratory journey. Yesterday I spied a Ruby Crowned Kinglet, one of the smallest birds around besides the Hummingbird. It was so dainty and sweet, hovering from branch to branch on our ash tree. And for the last few days, we've had a flock (or, more properly, an "ubiquity") of White-Crowned Sparrows. They have the most incredible song and have been entertaining me with it all week.
The problem with my birdy-nerdiness is that I want to rush out and make friends with all the birds I meet. Which is disappointing, because birds are really not all that friendly. They tend to freak out and fly off in a huff when I come sneaking around the corner. In Waterloo, I managed to make friends with some chickadees and even had them eating sunflower seeds out of my hand. No such luck with Bruce County chickadees. They come close enough to check me out, but then look at me pityingly and proceed to eat bugs. Humph.
Still, I harbour some hope that eventually the birds of Someday farm will get used to having a crazy girl around who likes to get as close as possible to them. If only I could get them to like Neko, too.