November 24, 2014

I never went to your school, I learned in a monkey tree…

Everything has been super crazy lately and today is my only day “off” between now and next Sunday, with some of those days working multiple times per day to cover people for US Thanksgiving-related stuffs. I had yesterday off technically but I slept all day because my body just needed it, I woke up, ate dinner, watched a show and basically went back to bed for the night. This is partially a byproduct of depression and winter, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) as the doctors/Health Canada say. I was supposed to see Shrinklet (the “almost-shrink” who works with my new shrink, who’s technically a doctor but not a full shrink) last Wednesday to get a lightbox to try to alleviate some of the aforementioned symptoms, but she cancelled on me, so I see her this Wednesday instead.

I’m training 2 new people at work now, my last 2 having graduated out of training with me with flying colours. Now we’ve hired 2 MORE and I’m trying to get them into my morning training sessions with the other 3 I train every morning. With all these new employees, I’m pretty excited about our work’s Secret Santa because some of it will be blind guessing and some of it will be pure stalkage. :o) I also signed up for Secret Satan with the Scratching Post kids this year, which I’ve never done before. We met up with them earlier this month for lunch/brunch, as we tend to do a couple of times a year in Toronto, and as always, it was good to hang out. I’d never signed up for Secret Satan before because I’d never had enough money to do it properly and I suck at making things on a deadline. Last year’s work Secret Santa cured me of this when I made the perfect thing for the person I got and they loved it. This year I know my work Secret Santa really well and my Scratching Post Secret Satan barely at all because the last time we spoke, she was probably 16 and now she’s an adult.

The whole near death experience thing taught me a lot of things, but most importantly who my friends are. That and getting older is teaching me that putting energy into friendships is a good use of one’s time on this earth. Further to that, I have a LOT of “stuff”, so if I have to spend my money on something, I’d rather it be on an experience than another “thing”.

Last Sunday we went to the Danforth Music Hall to see Mother Mother and they were fantastic as always, but we were in the balcony and they use a lot of light effects in their show and I was literally switching between my regular glasses and sunglasses for their whole set. Then on Tuesday we were supposed to go see Book of Mormon but there was a blizzard and it took us 2 hours just to get to the movie theatre in the city closest to us where we watched Interstellar and waited out the storm instead. Super bummed about that. Then tomorrow we’re going to see Amanda Palmer, which should be interesting. It’s a “book tour with music” so I’m not really sure what that means. Her book is called “The Gift of Asking” and it’s all about artists finding funding for their projects or something. I dunno, I still say it sounds a little pyramid-y/Tony Robbins-esque but we’ll see. We had a spare ticket so we’re going with a new friend, named Liz. She’s a writer and here site is here.

The week before last, our hot water heater died and getting a new one into our tiny, shitty house was an expensive 10 day ordeal. 10 days without HOT water, I can’t even imagine what it’s like to live in a place with NO water.

I got into Touched By Fire, the remedial art show for people with mood disorders. It’s December 3rd in Toronto if anyone wanted to go, and you can get tickets here. I guess all of the artwork is going to be up in the gallery for the full month of December though, so you don’t have to go to the show itself to see what I made. I honestly didn’t think I was going to get in. I submitted the maximum allowed size and honestly, my piece isn’t perfect. I submitted it anyway figuring, why the hell not? It’s a self portrait and I’m hardly perfect either. Touched By Fire takes 20% commission so I made the price $1250, figuring I need at least $1k to get my next project(s) off  the ground and the intention with those is Touched By Fire next year and maybe…other things? I dunno, it’s totally an “if you build it, they will come” situation.

The latest rage in chez Crittenden is Magic. Liiiiiike, the uber nerdy card game that I was told the other day was invented by a mathematician, which I fully believe. Madison started it, or rather, her friends have been playing for a long time and Madison got interested, particularly when she found out that the comic shop down the street from us has Magic Night on Fridays and they stay open until like, 3am, so people can hang out and play. And people do, I mean, it’s a small town/community and there isn’t a whole lot to do here ANY night of the week. So Madison learned how to play and I asked her if she’d mind if I played too, because this is something she does with her friends and I didn’t want to intrude on a “kid thing”. She said she’d think about it and then I sort of forgot I asked until she told me this week that she thought playing with me would be fun and good for me, if we/I started going to Magic Night.

On Wednesday Madison and I went to the comic shop so I could start building my deck. We discussed things ahead of time and decided I wanted to build a blue and white deck for a bunch of different reasons, so I bought the starter pack thingy (the $17 as opposed to the – I think – $35 one) in the appropriate colours and then a ton of booster packs. I don’t think I was super lucky with my booster packs. I got a red foil guy that Madison said she’d trade for me for something I can use (I did the same with the foil that came in the starter pack because it required 3 types of mana and that’s too complicated right now) and I got 2 or 3 cards that I couldn’t use, that the store bought back from me for store credit, which Madison used yesterday I think, to get me better creatures. I have a lot of spells, counterspells and enchantments but a distinct lack of guys who do actual damage. I know one is a Planeswalker of some sort and that that’s a good thing and that I should actually have 4 of them in my deck. The learning curve is steep and I’ve still only played twice with Madison who obviously beat me both times, and I still haven’t gone through and read every single card, which is my plan when I’m finished writing this.  I’m also shockingly bad at math and that played a factor in deciding to play. When I was like, 13 maybe, my step-dad decided he wanted to learn how to spell things better so he bought a Scrabble game and we played LOTS of it and he improved, so I figure I can only improve my math skills by playing this. And of course, it’s something I can do with Madison (and Wes when he gets his start from Madison for Xmas), whom I hardly see anymore, that potentially gets me out of the house and interacting with real, live people. It’d be super cool if I end up being any good at this game and we can play teams, which I’m told is a thing. It’s also entirely possible that I’ll get frustrated with it and give Madison and Wes all my cards. We’ll see.

And finally, last Monday, Hoover Dog had a lump removed from his neck and THANKFULLY it turned out to just be a benign cyst. He’s recovering from surgery just fine, but he does ask for more ear scritch scratches because they gave him a haircut to do the surgery and I think it feels extra good without all that fur.

Okay time to make a “white sandwich” (turkey, mayo, havarti cheese and lettuce on toasted grainy bread) and read these Magic cards. Wish me luck and if you have any online Magic resources you actually use/trust, lay ’em on me! (If my site allows comments this time…which it may not, I think, because Blake keeps forgetting to upgrade WordPress.)

Peace oot!

PS. This song is so stupid but is so totally my current favourite stupid song.

December 30, 2013

Oh, Carolina what you been fed?

Above is “Raspberry” by Grouplove, as recommended by Alex and Ronny during our friend post-Xmas/pre-2014 party yesterday. Ronny said he was reading something about them or about the album (Spreading Rumours, downloading now…) where the writer said they made the best Pixies song of the last 20 years. I couldn’t agree more. The Pixies are currently touring without Kim and have new material created without Kim and I’m sorry but no Kim, no deal. Pun intended! I listened to the first song they released without her but I thought it was garbage so I never bothered with the rest of it.

In other Pixies news, I Kickstarted a big Pixies coffee table book for Blake for Xmas like, almost a year ago now? And they said they’d deliver by Xmas but like, 3 or 4 days before Xmas, they sent out an e-mail saying “sorry, not until February…” and I was like, “GEE, THANKS FOR TELLING ME THAT A FEW DAYS BEFORE XMAS” because I only got Blake 2 things and that was one of them and it’s not easy for me to get out and get something else, also I don’t exactly have money to buy more things so that was a bummer.

I also Kickstarted the game “Stonehearth” because I thought Wes would like it and their delivery date for beta was supposed to be December 1st but they e-mailed and said they weren’t ready and that instead they were going to release “alpha 1” version of the game that is super bare bones and glitchy and you can’t save your game I think on Xmas Day. I haven’t bothered to download it yet because…

…for Xmas I got the 2 newest Sims expansions so now I have ultimate power!!!!!! (For someone who refuses to play with mods or custom content created outside the Sims Exchange.) I’ve spent the last 5 days creating my family and building my house. I’m about halfway finished the latter.

Xmas was good, everyone liked their presents and we had turkey and stuffing. Actually, Xmas Day, ALL I had was stuffing for dinner, then later on I had a turkey sandwich. The next day, Boxing Day, we went to my mom’s with my brother and there was a super creepy moment there where John and I said the same random thing at the exact same time, “this ham has the texture of cat food” and it was like we were one. My mother just about had kittens, it was so funny.

I talked to my brother a lot about his girlfriend. They’ve been together for 9 months, met on a dating site, she’s THIRTY (he’s 28 ooooooooooooh la la), she’s Croatian and then at the end of the night when we dropped my brother off, I got to meet her. She’s a giant! But then again so is my brother so that’s probably good. Anyway, she seemed alright in the 20 seconds I said “hi” and “bye”. In that 20 seconds I could tell she was leagues more mature than my brother, also good.

I am SO grateful that my coworker could fill in for my mornings on Boxing Day and Friday because Boxing Day was an early morning with having to pick my brother up (and we were running about 2 hours early because Blake and I had a miscommunication) and a late night for the same reason, so I would have been useless at 5am Friday morning for work.

Not doing anything for New Year’s Eve because I never do and I have to work in the morning BUT the Winter Classic game is in the afternoon so that’s definitely in the cards. Speaking of cards, Wes is like, a Cards Against Humanity savant. This was one of his contributions last night. He’s TEN.

I made my mom a painting for Xmas but it wasn’t finished until late Xmas night so I didn’t have an opportunity to take pics of it. Well, good pics anyway. I wasn’t happy with how it turned out but she liked it and that’s all that matters. In the new year I’m going to post what I made my Secret Satan but I think she’s going to be in high demand so I’m not going to post her until I have prints etc. set up in my Zazzle shop, pending the pics I took before I shipped her off to the US are good enough.

So yeah. Happy New Year if I don’t post before then!

December 24, 2013

Sounds of laughter, shades of life…

I guess I’ll start in order of things happening, although honestly I’m a little foggy on when I was told what, specifically, but that’s neither here nor there I guess.

Saturday night was Blake’s work Xmas party and I had taken the day off work to get my shit together, get there, stay there and come home in one piece. Well, I was successful. The theme of the party was “black & white” so I wore what I wore to Blake’s grama’s funeral and probably what I’ll wear to my grama’s funeral (in a weird coincidence…), which was a black tulle skirt with a black tulle flowy Free People-y dress/top thing, fishnets, Docs. Oh and I wore a floor length hoodie over top because it’s winter and I don’t care how well heated a building may be, I’m probably going to be cold.

Right before we left, Blake said something like, “your grama fell last night and she’s in the hospital, but she’s okay” and well, she has brain tumours so it’s obvious why she fell but what does that mean? But since it didn’t seem immediate, I just kept getting ready and figured my mom would tell me the next day that my grama broke her hip or something “not serious”.

The party was okay. We hung out with our friends Charissa and Gary, which was cool. A bunch of people came up to Blake and he introduced me to them but I couldn’t tell you what a single one’s name was or even what they looked like. I just smiled and nodded and played with my phone (which, Blake’s work being a telecomm, was perfectly okay). The food was not my thing. They started us with squash soup (barf) and salad that both looked and smelled weird so I didn’t eat that either. The main course was a small steak with fake grill marks (which I ate) and a piece of chicken that Blake says comes from some frozen food company (did not eat). And roast potatoes (did eat) and green beans (didn’t eat). Dessert was a chocolate mousse and/or cheesecake thing that I tried to like but it was just texturally weird so I left most of it on my plate. There were prizes. Charissa won a phone (all I know is that it’s Android, whereas she’s a Blackberry holdout)  and Blake won a stuffed panda to add to my collection. His work has animal mascots that swap out every now and then and right now it’s pandas, probably trying to capitalize on the fact that The Toronto Zoo has two brand new ones. Anyway, I have most, if not all of the mascot plushies, from the last 8 years. So that was cool. There were also light-up fake ice cubes at each of our place settings with the name of the party on them. After dessert, they announced dancing was going to start and as if on cue fucking Blurred Lines came on, which was funny because I told Blake earlier that week that I bet I’d hear it at LEAST once while we were there and it was the first thing the DJ played. Hilarious. That was our cue to exit so we left and came home.

On Sunday I think John texted Blake or there was some sort of silent communication that it was okay to tell me that my grama had fallen because one of the tumours in her brain had started bleeding and that she was at St. Mike’s, the big scary Toronto hospital, the ICU of which I spent a month in, having undergone brain surgery to fix the bleed. The finer details I found out yesterday from my mom in an e-mail. I guess my grama fell and pressed her Life Alert button to get help, so it’s a g0od thing she had that or who knows what might have happened.

After surgery she was in the ICU but could remember her name and the answers to all the questions they asked her so she was a-okay. Still has terminal brain and lung cancer, but isn’t going to die of a slow brain bleed at this stage of the game. So that’s good. And my mom just e-mailed me to say that my grama’s being moved to the less scary hospital closer to home so while she won’t be out for Christmas, she’ll be more easily accessible by everyone she’d normally spend Christmas with.

Last week or the week before when Blake, my mom and I were hashing out plans to get together for “Christmas” (which is happening on Boxing Day, just as it has been for most of my life), I asked my mom if she had invited my brother and his girlfriend and she casually mentioned that my brother had not been replying to her e-mails but that they were both invited if I wanted to ask them.

MINEFIELD!

So I hummed and hawed and dragged my feet and had started a conversation with my brother about random things last week but I was sort of dancing around the whole Christmas conversation because if he’s not answering my mom’s e-mails (and based on some things he said to me a few weeks ago), then I don’t want to get in the middle of whatever it is he’s mad at her for this time. Things are going good between me and my brother so I didn’t exactly want to rock what can often be an extremely volatile boat! But yesterday my mom e-mailed my brother about my grama with the subject line “important” and cc’d me on it, so I texted him to check his e-mail. He went into action mode and asked what he could do.

I don’t know what my mom answered (she doesn’t “reply all”, which is super annoying but you get used to it) but that’s when I asked him via text if he and his girlfriend wanted to come to mom’s on Boxing Day if we picked him up and brought him home. He waited a while before he replied and he wanted to make sure it was not an inconvenience. LOL We live 2 hours away from both him AND our mom and our car can only sit 5 people including the driver and we’re 4, so no, not an inconvenience AT ALL, Chad…but no, I promised him it wasn’t a problem and that Blake had made the offer ages ago (which is true and my brother and I had talked about in like, Sept.) and it was all good. So he said that he would be coming but that his girlfriend had to work. I felt like I’d won a marathon. I was totally expecting him to go off on me about our mother about whatever was eating him to not reply to her e-mails but he didn’t and he was gonna set aside his shit so we could all support my mom while her mom’s in the hospital having her last Christmas, so that was awesome.

The only thing I was worried about was the fact that I have to work tomorrow, Boxing Day and the next day, which would have been fine if it was just us, but with picking my brother up and dropping him off, we’re adding 4 extra hours onto the day. BUT! Since I worked Black Friday and will be working tomorrow morning for her, a coworker has agreed to do my mornings Boxing Day and Friday so we can start earlier and end later. Hooray! Total life saver!

Then on Sunday we’re having “friend Xmas” with Ronny, Alex, Deanna, her boyfriend Bradley and Madison’s girlfriend Ramona whom I don’t know at all. Much Cards Against Humanity will be played. Pizza will probably be eaten (unless Madison and I can find anything worth making on the Pinterests before then). Drinks will probably be had by those in the room who brought them.

And THEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN on New Year’s Day it’s the Winter Classic game between Toronto (yay!) and Detroit (also yay! but also booooo!) and I got myself a fancy Winter Classic jersey with part of my Xmas bonus just for the occasion. After I’m finished writing this post, I intend to write Ronny and Alex an e-mail inviting them over to watch the game. Ronny’s from Militiagan, he’s got a horse in this race. Blake’s from Militiagan too but loving the Leafs was just part of our vows and that is whose jersey he shall be sporting on the day of the big event. Truthfully though, I really like Detroit and always have so while I obviously want our team to win, honestly it’s just cool to be playing each other on New Year’s Day in an outdoor venue. I am fucking stoked.

And I think that’s probably all I got in me for the time being. I hope everyone who celebrates has a Merry Christmas tomorrow and to everyone else, enjoy your movie and Chinese food!

December 3, 2013

Thanks! I got it on Etsy!

I think if Etsy ever does a large ad campaign, “Thanks! I got it on Etsy!” should be their tagline. People are constantly saying to me “oooh I like your [whatever]! where did you get it?” and the answer is always, “Thanks! I got it on Etsy!” because chances are, whatever it is, if I’m getting complimented on it, I probably got it there.

I just spent the day tidying up my Etsy shop for Christmas and adding something new. Allow me to present to you the following:

This is a set of seven 4.5 x 2.7 inch rectangular stickers, featuring some of my most popular paintings.
Included are two mermaids, two princesses, an angel, a fairy and a bee girl.

On Zazzle, these stickers come four to a sheet but all of the same design, so I bought a whole bunch of sheets a while back of all the designs I had uploaded at the time in order to offer you guys a variety pack for Christmas, the idea being that they could be put in Christmas cards or used as stocking stuffers.

~*VISIT MY SHOP TO GET YOURS!*~
(Supplies are limited!)

But wait!
There’s more!

Have you ever wanted to buy one of my paintings but felt that it was too cost-prohibitive?

Well maybe this will help:

Use coupon code MARYSBOYCHILD on my Etsy shop during checkout and receive free shipping until December 16th!

Why December 16th? Because I figure that’s the latest date  to order a painting from me if you’re in the North America and still have it arrive by Christmas.

For overseas orders, I’d say the 12th of this month at the very latest for it to arrive by Christmas and even then I’m not making any promises.

Small things from Etsy, like stickers, ACEOs and zines, are sent by Canada Post letter mail and shouldn’t take anywhere near as long as paintings to arrive at their destination. The last ACEO I mailed out was going to Spain (from Canada) and it only took about a week. Again though, that was letter mail. Packages require duty and taxes etc. so they just take longer.


“Red and Gold 2/8” mixed media ACEO, 2.5 x 3.5 inches

So that’s what’s happening over on Etsy…
ZAZZLE is a whole other ballgame.

Zazzle has deals on literally all the time and unlike Etsy, you can’t create your own coupon codes so you’re at the mercy of Zazzle execs. Right now, for example, it’s “Cyber Tuesday” on Zazzle and if you use the code “CYBERTUESDAY” during checkout, you’ll receive 20% off your order, which is actually a really good deal, but it’ll be something completely different after midnight tonight.

My Zazzle shop isn’t the most well-designed thing on the planet but that’s simply because Blake and I haven’t found the time to get together and make it look like the rest of my sites yet. One of these days we’ll get around to it, but for right now it’s simply functional.

In my Zazzle shop I have all kinds of things: 1″ buttons, more stickers (different shapes and designs than the bundles I have on Etsy), postcards, greeting cardsposter prints, iPhone cases and silver-plated necklaces in about 13 of my most popular designs. And I won’t lie to you, the quality is actually really good. The greeting cards came out beautifully and I’m assuming the postcards are the same. The buttons are adorable, I have them all over my camera bag and purses. When I designed them though, I wasn’t really thinking and realistically I should have put my Etsy shop’s URL on one of the edges in mouseprint. Oh well. I’ve sold 3 of the iPhone cases, all to the same person, so I think it’s safe to assume that those look good too (I don’t have an iPhone so that’s one thing I haven’t purchased myself). The silver-plated necklaces should be like the 1″ buttons and since the 1″ buttons are great, I’m sure the necklaces will be too. And that brings us to posters…since my house is full of originals, it seemed like a dumb move to spend money on a poster of something I already own. I have little doubt that they are of the same quality as the cards, though

ANYWAY!

If you’re going to buy handmade this holiday season, which you should toooootally do, my shop is a good place to start!

Just sayin’.

Peace!

PS. Don’t forget! Back issues of my old zine, The Paper Blog, are also available in my shop!

December 27, 2012

Random Shit From a Random Folder/Xmas

So I came across this just now:

Dubber was just this guy I used to know.

I still think that’s a good idea. And I googled it just now (because I wanted to show the kids and back when I originally posted this, there was only this one link that doesn’t work anymore with a video of them sinking/floating) and it’s true, full sugar pops/sodas sink in water while diet ones float because artificial sweetener is less dense than sugar. (Click here for the nerdy part of that.) I say that that gives Diet Coke the advantage over regular Coke (because who wants the density of sugar feeling full in their belly and that much sugar on their teeth?). And Pepsi, for that matter, which was the original intent, but I’m not sure how far Coke would realistically want to take my line of thinking with this or if the simpler idea is the way to go. I mean, if Coke wanted to rebrand Diet Coke based on a positive response to these pieces of art in major cities, that would be pretty cool, right? And what if aspartame was cheaper than sugar or that the potassium blah blah blah that they have in Coke Zero that’s apparently super bad for you, anyway? Worse than aspertame? (And I argue that sugar is just as bad and Coke is a cheap source of it anyway).  And that there is less aspartame in a can of Diet Coke than there is sugar in a can of regular Coke so wouldn’t that make sense that there’s more carbonated water in Diet Coke and isn’t more water content better for you? So that was just one of my ideas one day when I was helping my old friend Dubber with his book a long time ago. (Which, for the record, he said was stupid but I argue that he was stupid and that’s where we are today.)

Anyway, it was just an idea and I’m surprised that I haven’t already seen Coke or Pepsi use this floating fact to their advantage. I mean, pop is still totally garbage for you, I’m sure, but with how people drink it, it’s still a tonic too and this is all just chemistry. We know sugar is bad. Aspartame is kinda bad, you can find reports and studies to deem it safe and not safe, but I do know it’s definitely better for you as far as your teeth and your blood sugar than regular Coke and the potassium blah blah blah in Coke Zero is banned in some countries because it’s not necessary and there hasn’t been as much study on it than aspartame  so – and this is just me – Diet Coke comes out the winner every time.

And this just turned into a total can of worms, I know, because people are really crazy about what they will and won’t drink or what they prefer and there’s even drink etiquette when you’re at someone else’s house, I think, so the beverages industry is the bigtime, but it’s my favourite brand category so I think about it often.

So Xmas.

Well, we had Xmas with my mom, John and Chris on Sunday and that was pretty cool. My mom makes this cheeseball every year that Blake and Wes really like so she made that and invented this:

My mom's a hipster.

It is:
A little 2 inch long crustini thing, like a bit crouton. I forget the flavour.
Red pepper cream cheese.
Bacon marmalade.
Havarti cheese.
And a slice of cherry tomato.

I am personally offended by cream cheese as one of the nastiest substances on Earth and I would also put the mere idea of bacon marmalade in that category, so I didn’t have one, but I thought they looked nice and Blake liked them so there ya have it.

Blake is dumb.

Give me pouty!

“Give me pouty!”

Prince Wes.

Madison reading the joke from her Xmas cracker.

Princess Madison.

My mom made a honey spiral ham, scalloped potatoes, carrots, peas and perfect crescent rolls and everyone had a good time just enjoying each other’s company. The kids sorta formed a gang upstairs and the adults (term used loosely) stayed downstairs. We played a little Cards Against Humanity which is extra fun when you play with Wes, who loves the game but understands very little but he knows what sounds funny and the brat ended up winning. By like, a lot. What have we created? I realize the game is for 17+ but when we played at Squam, the whole time, while having a good time, I was thinking, “yeah, I’d have no problem explaining that  to my kids” with every card and believe it or not, I think the game’s actually a little bit educational in that it’s good for kids to ask “what’s the holocaust?” and “what’s the three fifths rule?” which are two of the white cards in the game. Of course, explaining a lot of the other ones is a little harder, but we’ve played all the white cards from the entire base game and there wasn’t one thing that I thought we shouldn’t or couldn’t explain to Wes. It’s definitely not a game meant for kids and your mileage may vary, but for Wes it’s fine and I’d much rather he play a gross word game with his family than play the latest bloody video game alone. And also coming up with explanations for things that he would even understand is part of the fun! Of the game AND of parenting itself!

Anyway, on Xmas Eve I had to see Rick, my support worker mental health nurse guy, and that was pretty uneventful. I told him about all of the things I’ve been doing and he said he wasn’t sure what the next step is and I said neither did I. Blake suggested that I try having an appointment with Rick by myself, to which I said no. Blake said okay and Rick fucking argued me down to 5 minutes alone and the rest of the meeting with Blake, which I agreed to but isn’t actually going to happen, I just wanted to end the conversation without crying. Rick is not someone I want to be alone with, he just has a vibe about him I don’t trust. He obviously doesn’t respect my boundaries or he wouldn’t have argued and bullied when I said no. Other than that, which can be fixed next appointment I think, the meeting was pretty uneventful. Blake’s fear is that with the winter weather, I’m going to be less likely to drive and that’s going to slow down my progress. I don’t think he’s right and I don’t think that I have to work on anything new right now  with how much I’ve already put on my plate to digest and deal with. I’m pushing my mental faculties pretty hard between driving, dealing with Rob at The Conservatory and potentially joining the artist’s guild I wrote about a while back. Throw in still trying to learn photography, painting, parenting and my job and it could all come crashing down like a house of cards if we add much more. I think I need to plateau where I am for a little while and if that means only driving on clear days  for the next couple of months, I think that’s fine. I can drive in Elmvale and to the beach and possibly even to Midland if the roads are okay. And by “okay” I mean, either just wet or completely dry. I’m not ready to drive in snow at this point, but I think there will be good driving days ahead. I’m fairly confident it’s okay.

So the rest of Xmas Eve Day I basically just farted around online and hung out with Madison. Blake went back to my mom’s house to pick up the full-length mirror my mom got Madison for Xmas that wouldn’t fit in our car with people in it.

Then Xmas Morning rolled around and when I got off work, I tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t and Blake decided to get up and then Wes got up and then Blake and Hoover woke Madison up and we did presents, and then Blake made a million phone calls to his family all over the US and then we had Xmas in Orgrimmar, had dinner, played more Warcraft, watched Doctor Who and then I had to go to bed so I could work the next day. (I actually went to sleep about 20 minutes into Doctor Who, so we finished it yesterday morning.) Here’s some pics of Madison, Wes and Blake with some of the stuff they got for Xmas:

Her shirt is Rose Tyler, if it’s not obvious.

Still trying to convince Wes to make his Furby evil.
Apparently how you treat them counts as far as personality development.

And that was Xmas.

I think for the rest of the week, Blake is working in the Barrie office so he’ll get to see some of his friends there and he’ll actually be home before dinner. Bonus! I think for me, it’s just going to be an internet day. Or maybe I’ll go level battle pets in Warcraft. I dunno. I’ll figure something out.

December 18, 2012

It’ll Be a Pink Xmas Without You

On Sunday, when Blake and Madison were left to their own devices at Wal*Mart, Blake put a tiny pink Xmas tree in the cart and argued that our 4 foot tall green one was a pain in the ass and if I wanted to put it up, I could go out to the shed and get it myself and put it up. What a fucker! But the thing is, a pink Xmas tree is very near and dear to my heart, except he didn’t know that.

If you recall, last year (as they do every year), our grocery store held an Xmas colouring contest and I won. This was my entry (terrible scan though, it looks a lot better in person):

I’m not sure if I posted about it last year but the reason I coloured the tree pink is because my great grama, when she got too old to put up and decorate a big tree, bought a little 2 or 3 foot tall pink Xmas tree that came pre-decorated with white and silver ornaments. This Xmas tree is set up every year when my family does their Xmas get-together in November that I never go to and am not invited to anymore anyway.

So that’s the significance of the pink Xmas tree. Here’s mine (we don’t have any ornaments small enough for it though):

The cards are from Deanna, Alex & Ronny and Phaedie. :o)
The angel was my great grama’s.

I hung our stockings below the tree but they’re Xmas colours so I left them out of the picture since they clashed haha. We need to find pink stockings! I have 2 pairs of white, pink and brown knee socks, maybe we should use those? (They’d be too small for the stuff I have for stockings anyway.)

So that’s my Xmas story and I’m sticking to it. Xmas Eve day I have to go see my support worker, Rick, which should be a party and a half and the day before that we’re having Xmas with my mom. We still need to find something to get for Chris and John. I think Blake’s working on that and then our Xmas shopping is done (well, I still have one thing to get for Blake but it’s not here yet). Well, we still need to get batteries for Wes’ Furby and then we’re done. Maybe some stocking stuffers.

Now I’m going to watch the series finale of Twin Peaks and work on my snow fairy. Oh, but before I end this post, did anyone watch the Gossip Girl series finale last night? I watched it this morning and thought they did a really good job. Also excellent cameo from Kristin Bell, I dug that.

Okay, Twin Peaks and paint. Then work meeting. Then Madison’s bringing home friends to practice her Die Antwoord thing. Joy. (Oh and Blake’s picking up toner tonight after work at Sally Beauty Supply so I’ll be doing Madison’s hair later tonight or tomorrow.) Okay really going now.

Posted at 11:22 am in: Art , Beauty , Blake , Childhood , Christmas , Die Antwoord , Family , hair , Kids , Life , Madison , Music , Sunnyland , TV , Wes , winter , Work
December 30, 2011

I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.

That’s right. Q-tips AND styrofoam.
If you want this ugly thing on your Xmas tree next year, here’s how to make it.

Posted at 5:46 pm in: Christmas , Crafts , DIY , Internet , pinterest , winter
December 26, 2011

Recipe Schmecipe

So, I’m awake. I woke up around 3am and decided it was a great time to start making turkey soup in my brand new crock pot! The crock pot cookbook I got with it had a recipe for turkey soup and I more or less followed it, except I think I filled the crock pot a little too high. The instructions for the crock pot said to fill it 3/4 of the way full and I think I’m more like ALL the way full.

Sooooo I guess we’ll see what happens!

I started making the soup at 3:38am, see?

I started with a sweet potato first because the cookbook said to put your root vegetables at the bottom so they cook better. Honestly, I think sweet potatoes are actually pretty gross, but they’re good for you so that’s why I decided to throw it in.

Cutting sweet potatoes is a fucking pain in the ass which is why I only used one. We have really crappy knives and they just don’t mesh well with sweet potatoes. I actually had to use TWO knives to get the sweet potato peeled and chopped!

Next I cut up potatoes. Pretty uneventful. I used red potatoes because I think they look nicer, but really it doesn’t matter what kind of potatoes you use I don’t think, I just like to have really colourful food when I can help it. I don’t peel potatoes because I’m convinced that most of their nutritional content is found in the skins, so I just chopped them up. I didn’t end up using all 4 though, just 3, but really, I probably should have only used 2.

I almost forgot to add onions! I was getting the carrots out of the fridge and saw the onions at the bottom of the crisper drawer, so I got them out and started chopping. Truth be told, I’d rather have had red onions, but we always just get normal, everyday, ho-hum, run-of-the-mill cooking onions because they’re only like, $1 a bag when they go on sale.

I looooooove carrots. Blake and Madison have a thing against cooked carrots, which I totally do not understand, but Wes and I like them a lot and they’re cheap so I always put them in soups and stews. Again, when they go on sale, they’re only about $1.50 a bag and I’ll also use them grated up for Hospital Salad.  Carrots weren’t on sale this week, I don’t think, but I didn’t check the flyer so who knows…aren’t they beautiful though? Look at those rings! Nature wasn’t fucking around when it made the carrot.

Now for the gross part, or at least I think so. I hate the smell of left over turkey so when I opened the container we had it in and it hit me like a wall, I literally almost threw up and had to leave the room. Something strange about the whole pancreatitis/being in the hospital for a few months thing is that ever since I got sick, my sense of smell has been like, a super power. I can be in the living room and smell Blake cutting CUCUMBERS, which of course have  barely any scent, in the kitchen.

Anyway, the smell of the turkey was gross so I had to wait until the air cleared a bit before dealing with it.

Once the air was clear, I just grabbed pieces and cut them up and threw them in the crock pot. One thing I love about turkey soup/stew is how stringy the meat gets when it’s really tender and that’s how the meat was this time. It’s going to be phenomenal when the soup is finished cooking!

We had a LOT of leftover meat.

And finally, spices…the recipe was like, thyme and fresh parsley. Well, I don’t have fresh parsley but I did have thyme so I put in about a teaspoon of that, along with a teaspoon of sage and a teaspoon of garlic powder. Then I threw in some cayenne pepper for good measure. Oh yeah and I threw in a can of diced tomatoes (with the liquid), as well as the gravy that Blake made because why the hell not?

I stirred it around a little bit just to make sure I could with it being that full and I could so we’re all good. I set the cook time for 10 hours and I got finished around 4:30am so it’ll be ready at 2:30pm tomorrow afternoon, just in time for my afternoon meds. I’m verrrrrry excited! It’s like, this is my magic cauldron and I’m brewing up some super nutritional food for my hungry family. Look ma, I’m cooking!

When I was in grade 4, I had this really amazing teacher named Mrs. Lewis. One day she came in and had us all sit at the front of the portable on a rug she’d brought in from home, with throw pillows all around and she told us the story of Stone Soup. She told us the story very slowly and in the beginning, when she got to the part about the stone, she produced a medium-sized stone and she placed it in the crock pot. Then she filled the crock pot with water and as she told us the rest of the story, she would add ingredients to it, like potatoes and carrots and onions and a can of corn and eventually, when she got to the part about the meat, she started browning ground beef in an electric frying pan and she added that too. Then some salt and pepper and maybe some other stuff too. Near the end of the day, we were all given a bowl of soup with some crusty bread and butter and it was probably the most delicious soup I’ve ever tasted and it’s one of my favourite childhood memories. I’d really like to make Stone Soup with Wes.

This same teacher taught us about Medieval times and we had a Medieval feast at the end of the unit. We put all of our desks around the edges of the room in a circle and we put garbage bags down on the floor. We drank mulled cider (from her magic crock pot!) and ate Kentucky Fried Chicken, throwing the bones on the floor in the middle of the room. Some people were serfs and we had a king and queen and prince and the whole royalty deal (we drew names from a hat) and a couple of people were dogs and we all dressed up to the best of our ability. It was awesome. (Oh and I was a serf, for the record.)

This same teacher also sent me to Literary Guild, which is this neat workshop thing where every teacher in the area chooses one student to go to it and you go there (a school hosts it) and you share your story and discuss it with others and you eat food and then there’s a guest speaker. The first time I went (I went in grade 4 and again in grade 6), the guest speaker was ROBERT MUNSCH! The world’s greatest children’s author!

Anyway, Mrs. Lewis was fantastic and I hope she’s doing well.

Now I think, since it’s 5:30am, that I’m going to go back to bed. I’m a little uneasy about going to bed with an appliance plugged in and turned on, but that’s what they’re meant for so I guess I should just “trust and allow”.

Goodnight!

Posted at 6:31 am in: Childhood , Christmas , DIY , Food , Life , recipes , Sunnyland , the 80's , winter , Writing
December 25, 2011

Xmas 2011

Dinner is finished, the dishes are being done. Blake and I ate so much we feel like barfing, although I’m probably the only one who really might. Xmas 2011 was an unmitigated success.

As previously mentioned, Ronny and Alex slept over last night and we all did presents this morning, followed by a big breakfast, Pokemon and eventually, napping. Ronny and Alex didn’t stay the afternoon because Alex’s dad was making turkey dinner at their house so they left about the same time as when I laid down to sleep.

After I woke up, I messed around on Pinterest for a bit and checked my e-mail and then Blake and I went into my office and watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes which I thought was just okay. I wasn’t as blown away by it as some of my friends were. I think I just really hate James Franco and I thought the ending was sloppy. When it was over I was like, “that’s IT?” because it seemed like there should have been more movie at the end. I mean, I guess they tied it up at the end with the epilogue during the credits but I still felt like there should have been more. While we watched the movie, Blake and I made paper snowflakes, which I’m going to use to decorate the living room window. (But we have a lot more to make before I can do that.) During this time, the turkey was cooking.

After the movie, we all kinda went and did our own thing. Wes played his new Phineas and Ferb video game, Blake played his new Star Wars game, Madison coloured with her new Prismacolour pencil crayons (she now has more of them than I do! Brat!) and I ran around taking pictures of things, which I’ll share with you now.

This is No Drought by Lush, which Wes got me. It’s a dry shampoo.

You put it in your hair if you don’t have time to wash it, so it soaks up your hair’s oil.
It smells citrusy and wooooonderful!

This is Northern Lights soap, also by Lush:

Madison says it smells like Windex.
I disagree but I don’t know what to say it does smell like.
I just think it looks cool.

This is my new book, from Blake:

 I have no idea what it’s about but I’m betting it’s awesome.

Little known fact about me (?), I collect quartz crystals.
I don’t think Lisa knows that, but she got me a couple.
These are all of my little ones.
I have a bunch of large crystal wands too, but these are my little ones:

The two on the bottom left are the new ones.
The bottom crystal is actually a rusty amethyst, which I also collect.
(She also gave me the tin.)

This one’s kinda neat because it’s cut for the express purpose of rubbing in your pocket with your thumb:

She gave me two other stones too, that are supposed to be for “healing” but I think that’s bunk so I gave them to Madison. Lisa also gave me a book on “nutritional healing” all about using vitamins and herbs to heal yourself but I think that’s bunk too and a little insulting, I think, considering the nature of my illness, so I don’t really know what to do with it. I’ll just smile and nod and say “thank you”. She got Blake some weird mustard that he’ll probably really enjoy, which is a first (usually he gets chocolate, which he doesn’t like), so he’s happy. I got him the new(est) Bastard Fairies EP.

This is my new crock pot recipe book.
I flagged a few recipes…

This is happening tomorrow:

And this is my favourite gift, from Madison, because it was the most thoughtful.

I *love* Atomic Fireballs and Lemon-Heads.
They’re made by the same company and are pretty much impossible to find up here.
Madison and Blake went to a specialty candy shop to get them.
The Whistle Pops I remembered from when I was little and I’d told Madison about them and she found them at this shop.
There are also “party snaps” in the box, which are those gun powder things you throw at the ground and they make a snapping sound.

This is Wes with the wolf toy that Lisa got him.
In case I haven’t mentioned it, he’s obsessed with wolves.

Here’s the lovely young lady of the house…

Here’s my beloved…

This is what he was drinking while he made mashed potatoes and gravy:

Gobble gobble, motherfuckers!

Mashed potatoes, whipped smooth…

An Xmas feast…

And finally, mooches…

Hoover has had a crusty nose ever since we switched him to diet dog food.
He’s lost weight, which the vet is happy about, and she’s not worried about his nose, so I’m choosing not to worry either.

And that was Xmas 2011.
It was a lot of fun, but I’m glad it’s over.
I think it’s time for tea and then bed.

Merry Christmas, Wes & Alex!

For Xmas, I made Wes and Alex Golden Snitch* ornaments, based on this tutorial and I think they turned out pretty well (although I think I might have made the wings too big):

I used acrylic metallic paint for the Snitch’s markings and instead of tissue paper and glitter for the wings like in the tutorial, I used pre-glittered cardstock from Michael’s and I just sandwiched two wings with Gorilla Glue so there would be glitter on both sides. Then I attached the wings with a combination of Gorilla Super Glue and rubber cement, which I discovered made an instant bond when used together (I got tired of waiting for the Gorilla Glue to dry, so I put rubber cement on the wings and when I stuck them to the ornament, they bonded immediately. I probably lost brain cells from the combined fumes, but yay Snitch!) For the tag, I just used these little blank tags my mom gave me a million years ago (that I need more of *cough*) and then I used rubber stamps (at 3am) to write their names. When the ink was dry, I stuck the ornaments on the tree and went back to bed.

When Wes woke up, he immediately knew what it was and was really impressed by it. Alex seemed to like hers too, when she woke up. The Pikachu ornament was also a hit.

From “Santa”, I got a crock pot and a crock pot cookbook, which I just went through and flagged everything in it that I would eat, which was a lot! I probably used like, 25 Post-It flags!

In the book, there’s a recipe for “Boxing Day Turkey Soup” which is totally going to happen tomorrow, except I’m going to thicken it so it’s stew, and I’m VERY VERY VERY excited about this because it’s pretty much my favourite food! After that’s all gone, I think I’m going to try my hand at chili with ground turkey like Blake’s mom made once and I really liked. (I normally wouldn’t touch chili because of the spice and the beans but when she made it, it was really good and I’ve been wanting to make it for like, 10 years, and the book has a recipe.)

Right now Alex and Wes are playing Pokemon with Wes’ new 3DS and Madison is spending the iTunes card we got her. Blake is in the kitchen getting the turkey started while he and Ronny talk about music because they are nerds. And I’m just fucking around on Pinterest and contemplating a nap because I got up at 3am to finish the Snitches and get them on the tree, then I went to bed until about 6:45am and I’ve been up ever since. I am exhausted. (Thanks, hydromorph…)

Blake made us all a big breakfast of mini croissants, whole grain toast, eggs, bacon, sausage and waffles so I’m full too.

So I think I’m gonna go have that nap…I may write more later when things aren’t so crazy.

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(*The Golden Snitch is from Harry Potter. Thought I’d throw that in there since my mom is probably like, “huh?” :oP)

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