Monday, December 19, 2011


Devastated, depressed and depredated are just a few descriptors of how I feel right now. My emotional well being is in the hands of two wicked cynics bent on ruining this most festive time of year. Mind you, they are nothing compared to their puppet masters, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

I promised not mention “The Event” that occurred in the summer ever again, but I feel my hand has been forced.

After opening my home to Dee, offering free accommodation and congenial hospitality, as he attends college, he found it fit to repay me in a most foul manner. He who has been blessed with an athletic prowess that earned him numerous awards, tonnes of trophies, a veritable mountain made of medals and accolades all through high school and beyond, orchestrated a heinous heist.

Sure, in grade 8 I won a home-economics award for sewing my name, Bobby, in pillows. And like all other ankle biters, I was the recipient of Participaction Awards throughout my grade school career. A couple times I even received the top award with the stars across the crest. There were also sundry Cub Scout and air cadet bits and bobs along the way, but for the most part my trophy case has collected little more than dust for the last 25 years.

So imagine my dismay and disgust when I discovered my dear brother, Dee, convinced my previously innocent niece and the ever dastardly IronGirl to STEAL my Golden Whisk. Luckily my Beeton Fall Fair ribbon is in a shadow box or I’m sure that would have gone missing as well.

Adding salt too the wound, and viciously rubbing it in, is the knowledge that IronMan, Dum, stood by while the crime was being committed and did NOTHING to stop it.

My Beech Bake Off trophy is now on a tour of locations unknown and I get horrifying updates of it being found in unseemly locales and compromising positions. The latest update included a photo of it in a snow bank and a caption that reads “having a “great time in our nation’s capital”.

I guess I can only hope to pull the pieces of my baking dreams, shattered like one of my delicate crusts as it's pierced by a fork, back together and with my usual brass bound spirit, overcome this seemingly insurmountable betrayal of trust. Dee better watch it next time we are hunting lest he be mistaken for a big goose.

As an aside, if you have any spare cash lying around, I suggest you invest it in coal mining stocks. Santa is going to need a lot extra when he makes his rounds Saturday night.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dollhouse Redemption

Blue Girl, who resides in the dollhouse, just down the street, failed to see how she could be to blame for my new found obsessive concern about my impending waddle. I hope she will be somewhat placated with the knowledge that the pendulum of blame has now swung the other way.

From the same “what book makes you laugh out loud” article in Real Simple, I have found a little slice of heaven. Christopher Moore’s Fool retells Shakespeare’s King Lear from the point of view of a court jester.

Included in this tale are quick witted clowns, back-talking ravens and interrupting ghosts. This cast of characters turns the normally devastating tale into something hilarious. A few select gems that have quite literally had me laughing out loud include:

  • "Well done lass, not so much as a comma between grief and robbery, and much the better when he's still so fresh his fleas have not sailed to livelier ports. The church wears well on you."
  • "I was seven before I realized that you could breakfast with your pants on."
  • "I have it on good authority that her feet are like ferryboats. They strap them up under her gown to keep them from flapping when she walks."
  • Drool pulled the dampened kitten out of his mouth. "But it were licking me first. You said it was only proper manners -" "I was talking about something completely different. Put the cat down."
  • A hundred brilliant witticisms died suffocating on the captain's heavy glove. Thus muted, I pumped my codpiece at the duke and tried to force a fart, but my bum trumpet could find no note.
  • "Did you know, in Portugal they canonize a saint by actually shooting him out of a cannon?"

    I know these might seem like right mad ramblings, especially without the context of the novel itself, but they are bloody brilliant is what they are.

    If you are after a good chuckle over the holidays, are maybe best you wait until February when the mid-winter blues set in real well like, then this is the place to find it.

    Might even have to resurrect ye olde book club so I can spread the good word. Bum trumpet indeed.
  • Wednesday, December 07, 2011

    I Blame The Dollhouse

    On Thursday evenings, Kitkat, Fauntleroy and I inevitably congratulate ourselves for looking good for our age. It could stem from a conversation about friends with youth stealing children, flipping through one of Kitkat’s magazines or just standing about in front of a mirror as we are prom to doing that you know. Doesn’t matter how, but we always give each other a little “well done”.

    Exactly 5 months from today, a decidedly short horizon, I will encounter my 43 birthday. I don’t plan on looking or feeling any different but do anticipate an increased number of cricks and cracks that have come out of nowhere post-40. But yesterday, BAM, the alarm bells started sounding.

    I am currently reading “I Feel Bad For My Neck” by Nora Ephron. This is the part where Pink and Blue girl are culpable. ‘Neck’ was selected based on a recommendation in Real Simple, a source I usually find quite reliable in recommending good reads. It was not until I fetched it from the library did I realize it had a definite female slant. Should have considered the source I guess but as it was a guaranteed LOL I thought I’d give it a go.

    As the occupants of the dollhouse are the ones who gave me the subscription to Real Simple, this panic is entirely their fault.

    Nora states that her doctor, of what ilk I am not sure, told her that it in year 43 you will start reaching for scarves, turtlenecks and other articles of clothing to cover your neck. Why? Because it is at that magical age you start getting the waddle!

    And now I only have 5 months to prepare! Why I was not told of this scientific fact earlier is an outrage. On that note, Dr. Fauntleroy is also to blame. He should have shared this medical secret. Jokes on him though, he will turn 43 before me. HA! Or should I say wHAddle?

    Researching preventative measures on the Google is as nerve wracking as the impending epidermis elasticity loss. There are both surgical and non-surgical options available. One includes a complimentary facelift and the other is an endless list of creams, potions, exercises, devices and hollow promises.

    And you might be surprised how much debate there is out there. One camp states that exercise will accelerate muscle wear and tear and hasten the sag while others claim if “you don’t use it, you lose it”. What if I choose the wrong path? What if years from now there is a definitive breakthrough and all along I do the opposite?

    It’s like the great pee debate. They used to think if you held it, in the long run you were building up your bladder's strength and resistance, staving off the need for Depends. But now, now they change their minds and say go when you gotta go!

    All hope is not lost however, I refuse to admit defeat. Genes must have something to do with it. As I take after the Cosby side of the family, my spirits were somewhat lifted, and I’m sure that positive energy translated to my neck, when I noted my mother still has a taut neck. Not sure that is the best descriptor, but it sounds better than waddle.

    Next time I review the Real Simple list of recommended reads, I am looking for titles like “1001 ways to save your neck” and “43 is not the end of the plunging neckline”. And if they don’t exist, I’ll write them myself!

    Monday, December 05, 2011

    Titanic Tree

    "It isn’t bigger than the one you had last year” Ironman said as I stared at the tree towering two feet above my head. Despite my saying, and knowing full well, that it was taller, bigger, fuller and heavier than last year’s Christmas tree, it seemed like a good idea to purchase it anyway. Note to self, trees outdoors in a park are not smaller than they appear.

    If Ironman’s faith in his statement waivered, or any doubt seeped into his noodle his face didn’t betray it. Not when we had to lay his passenger seat down, remove the headrest and bend the top foot of the tree to get it in the car. Don’t even get me started on the argument about putting it on the roof (that has racks, just FYI).

    Not when we realized my fantastic flora specimen had to come in the house throw the second floor balcony because it wouldn’t go through the door from the garage to the house. And not when I had to take an extra four inches off the bottom to get it in the stand and to keep the top from scraping the ceiling did a bead of sweat form on his brow.

    Despite all that, she was in place and by far the biggest tree I have ever had. When it comes to certain things, and Christmas tree decorating is one of them, I am NOT a patient man. I told myself, leave it for a day, let it drink and the branches fall. As it was late in the day and I had to feed my man, I turned my attention to other things.

    Next morning, I was off to Fergus for a visit with me mum and then went to teach a yoga class. After that, there was no holding me back! I popped the cork on my traditional bottle of tree trimming champagne, prepared a plate of nibbles and got to work on the lights.

    Illumination perfection achieved, I opened the first of four, disgusting I know, Rubbermaid bins and started through my twinkling treasures. Side note, four bins is not all I have. These each contained one of this year’s four colours – red, green, gold & assorted traditional, but not touched and still in storage, I have bins of purple, pink, blue, silver and other sundry Christmas décor.

    After five hours of talking to my favourite pieces, literally squealing at extra pretty ones I forgot I had, the last of the ornaments was nestled among the branches. A couple times, I chastised myself for not following my tree decorating rules, none of the ornaments can touch and they all must hang freely; ornaments hanging at odd angles on a tree angers me.

    The aforementioned ‘last’ one was from the traditional box and was a HUGE hand painted glass Santa whispering to a little girl. It must have weighed a couple pounds. I say ‘was’ and ‘must have been’ as it is no more. I also mentioned my visit to Fergus and mother’s as it is an integral part of this little tale.

    After describing my lumber adventures, my wise mother said “I hope you tied it to the wall, you have a lot of glass ornaments”. I told her I did not as there was no need, me being an expert wood erector, and the wall behind the tree has a lovely mirror that reflects the light and there was not place to secure it.

    Listen up, your mother’s advice is always something to heed. Maybe not ALL of it at face value, but in there, somewhere is a seed, speck or nugget that you must follow. Setting that aside, and despite having had my own Futility experience years ago (IronGirl still claims her cat was in her room at the time) I ignored the experts for the glitter of the mirror and left my tree freestyle.

    Much like the first class passengers of the ship that holds such fascination for me, I went to bed last night, rather proud of myself and with a nice buzz from the bubbles.

    Those that know me know I am not a morning person. I don’t sleep until noon or anything and I am usually up by 7:00 on the weekends. But do I jump out of bed with a smile on my face? Nay, gone are the days of full blast Madonna mornings. I need to ease into the day and be thoughtful and deliberate with my actions lest I find myself peeing on the floor or poking myself in the eye with a spoon. Not at the same time or in the same room. Just for the record.

    At 5:37 this morning, the sugar plums stopped dancing and I heard the repeated tinkle and pop of glass dancing across the hardwood floor. “No no no no no no…..” was all I could get out as I raced downstairs. If you want me out of bed maintenant, push over my Christmas tree. And that is not a metaphor for anything.

    My ears had not deceived me, as I feared, it was ornament carnage. Being a tree snob, I don’t do plastic ornaments so the smash factor was all the more devastating. I am not one to panic and think I would be rather good in an emergency situation. Keep calm and carry on and all that. To back up that claim, I reference the party I went to where a tiki torch leaked oil and caught on fire.

    Damp cloths, flour and water attempts at dousing tried and failed, it was I that went to the hall and got the fire extinguisher. I also kept my cool during the pit-bull attack so snaps for me.

    Tree down and water already out of the basin, there was no point in trying to right to the tree. It would only lead to another fall and potentially more shattering.

    I plucked what favourites I could from the sides of the tree as they were clinging on like those on the overturned collapsible of Titanic herself. Setting vanity and decorating ego aside, I removed the mirror and secured two hooks into the wall and fed twine through. It was then time to raise the tree for the second time.

    Securing her with new guy wires, I mopped up what water wasn’t already collected by the tree skirt and then started the search for victims. The death toll wasn’t as bad as I had feared. There were 17 ornament tops in the rubble but I expect, much like the lifeboat found floating months after the Titanic disaster with bodies still in it, I will find more under furniture and down heating vents when I do a good clean in the spring. Among those lost was the JJ Astor of the tree, my monstrous glass ornament from Poland. I have to wonder if it’s weight, much like the ships too small a rudder, was a factor in sealing the trees fate?

    Luckily, none of my great-grandmothers ornaments were lost and most of the others I can replace either at Canadian Tire, Kitchen Stuff Plus, Peir 1 or, for my precious Martha Stewart ones, I hope eBay will prove a fruitful replacement stomping ground. It was her red feathered glass ones that produced the tears.

    Also unharmed were my corner cabinet, chesterfield, coffee table and sideboard. Falling to the right would have been a fateful blow to my miniature nativity collection and two oil lamps. If they were taken out and there was a spark, who know what might have happened?

    As a reminder about the importance of securing my tree in the future, will keep the little girl from the Polish ornament who, aside from being cut off at the knees, I still giving me that “your mother told you so” smile.

    I told you so.

    Victims above, Off tree survivors below