popcorn on my tree

About this time every year, the trees in our backyard bloom, thought usually one after the other, along with the lilacs and the pink trees in the greenbelt across our back alley.


This year we've been blessed/cursed with all 4 of them - three apple trees and the mountain ash berry - exploding at the same time. On Friday before the Relay for Life, they were just buds, and by Saturday when we got home, it looks like we glued popcorn on all the branches.


The smell is overwhelming, like walking face first into a wall of perfume. The first 2 minutes are wonderful. Then I get a headache. But damn, they are beautiful. Just beautiful. I love my trees.


They look especially lovely with my bumper crop of tulips and creeping Myrtle.

The prairie crocuses just look weird, though...

flooded with emails

Well OK - I think I struck a nerve with that last post. There's a whole bunch of you all hangin' out in yer undies with me! Except for the one who I figured would chew me out. I know you're reading this. I know it's set up on your RSS feed. Your email has been deleted, love. That's precisely the kind of crap I don't have time for anymore.

Everyone else? PILLOW FIGHT! Let's all paint our fingernails alternating red and black and cruise the neighbourhood with flaming poo!!!

once a social retard, always a social retard

I wasn't sure what to title this blog entry. Initially, I had thought of calling it 'slap in the facebook' but it seems to extend beyond that and well into real life, as usual. I've recently had a rude re-awakening of some latent insecurities. Sometimes a bit of emotional nudity is good, and so I'm giving you a peek into the type of journal I usually write out by hand. And set on fire. There's a soundtrack that goes with this, brought to you courtesy of youtube - just hold down control when you click the link and it'll open up in a seperate window.

I've never possessed the social graces that make a girl well-liked and popular. I don't wear the right clothes, live in the right house, come from the right family, or say the right thing. I find myself thrown back to Jr. High again, 13, awkward, desperate to fit in. The popular girls knit themselves tighter and even if they have over time had occasion to hate each other, it's their disdain for you that reunites them. They write you nasty notes. They call you names. They talk about you behind your back, and speak in whispers and exchange knowing glances in front of you. They put tacks on your seat and floor your sweats in the hallway. How many times did I stand there on the verge of tears, face red and hot, trembling inside, wanting to scream but lacking the courage to do it. I'm sure I'm not the only one who felt like this, but most of us would never say it, for fear of further humiliation. No use putting ammunition in other people's cans.

Despite years of growing up and healing up, the emergence of Facebook has kind of thrown me backwards. I listen to lots of people talking about how great it is to hook up with people they haven't seen or heard from in years. They reminisce and share stories of the good old days like they were all kids from band camp. But some of us lived a waking nightmare through it all. *I* lived a waking nightmare. I was that kid that even the losers could and would pick on, not because they were particularly cruel, but because I was a complete social retard, with the ability to weird out even the weirdest of the weird and invite the scorn of even the lowest of the low.

I changed schools a lot. I guess I always hoped I'd make a fresh start and somehow figure out what I was lacking to make it 'in.' I was always optimistic that I'd get it right, eventually, and people would like me for who I am, without always feeling like I had to apologize for what I said or how I said it or who I said it to. In the beginning, the new kid is a novelty, and everyone wants to gawk, but the novelty (on both sides) always wore off. I'd flip flop between defending my thoughts and opinions, and apologizing for having them, and the people who just 'got' me were far and few between. Little by little I withdrew. It was easier to be alone than lap at the ankles of the girls who were just waiting around for someone to kick, then apologizing for making them want to kick me. Apologizing for who I was.

I remember a lot of my schoolmates not by their faces or names, but by the cruelty or betrayal they inflicted on me. Sexually immature and terrified of males in general, the boys in grade 8 who lifted my shirt and bra to poke and see if they were real ruined me for ever liking my breasts. There was boy who jammed his hand down the front of my pants while we were supposed to be working on a math project. When I politely refused him and left his house crying he went to school the next day and told everyone he wouldn't have sex with me because I smelled like fish. For two years after, no boy would even look at me, while the girls would leer and whisper loudly, "Fishy fishy," when I walked by. There was the girl who sucker punched me for I don't even remember what. The party I got invited to as a joke, and I remember was Milli Vanilli blaring in the background. There were the girls who put threatening notes in my locker, who stole my clothes during gym and guarded the door so the boys could come in, and the girls who turned their backs on me when I needed them most, and the boys who took advantage of me when I needed it least.

By the time I graduated, I was as anonymous as I could make myself. I hid in the hallways, in plain view, the weird girl with too-red lipstick, enormous tits strapped to my chest with tensor bandages, and a stack of hardcovers under my arm. I dressed in black clothes and bleached my hair out and pierced my nose and managed to alienate people without even opening my mouth. I was scary and repellent, and, in being so, invisible. I was lonely but safe in that little bubble I created for myself, no longer afraid of the rejection and pain that invariably came when I became the pariah, the one everyone loves to hate. I watched but chose not to participate in anything but debate, because debate had rules of engagement, and for this I was called anti-social and told I was intimidating, and later an intellectual snob. By detaching myself and learning to wholly separate people from their words and actions, I figured out how to forgive, but not to forget, and though I harbour no hard feelings, the hurt still lies there, just beneath the surface.

I've found lots of folks I attended school with on Facebook. There's a road-accident factor that makes me curious to know who they have become, what they are doing, if they have kids or a husband or if they travelled. At the same time I wonder if they ever spent a night laying in bed feeling bad for the living hell they put their classmates through because they were just stifled by their own insecurities and trying hopelessly to fit in too, or if they, like my husband, were just secure enough in their friendships they really never paid much attention to the people they broke along the way. I'm afraid to learn the answers to these questions, as neither would take away the hurt, and so I embrace the anonymity my married name allows me. I imagine if someone really wanted to find me that bad, they could.

Online communities also offer a certain degree of anonymity. But real life is never far off -I've bumped into a few people I know. Eventually the real and virtual worlds collide and I'm no longer protected with the on-off switch. So once again, here I am, feeling 13, rejected, embarrassed, confused. I've disappointed and hurt people, and the harder I struggle to be understood, the tighter the circle closes with me on the outside, curious why it is I even tried to pretend I would fit in in the first place. I don't like pretending I'm something or someone that I'm not, and I can only apologize so many times before I realize I'm beat. What is this subconscious need to be liked all about, when frankly, I don't give a damn? Is this just another remnant of the Catholic guilt I've been trying to reconcile with? The burning desire for someone to say, "You're a good girl, Hope," I guess hasn't been successfully extinguished or internally acknowledged.

It's laughable, I know. Everything is raw and right there just waiting to be nicked open and start oozing again. I try and try to be all crusty about it, putting on the game face when inside I'm turning to dust. There's one person I know who, as she reads this, is rolling her eyes at me I'm sure, scoffing at my insecurity and probably questioning her own ability to remain friends with an emotional weakling like me. I wonder how many of us, though, suffered the same turmoil and just managed to build up a thick enough crust to to keep it all in. I did pretty good all those years in between, but in the months since my father died, it's like I've lost any and all ability to reign in my emotions. From being told my Daddy was going to watch me burn in hell if I didn't accept Jesus into my heart to being asked to alter the way I relate to people, I'm feeling a little 'broken' and just don't have it in me to walk on all those eggshells and to worry if I'm doing it right. I never learned all those social graces, because I never developed an interest in being what one of my kindred spirits refers to as 'fluffy and pink.' I lack modesty and quiessence, and think political correctness is a state of mind not a way of communicating. I won't start apologizing for being who I am again.

Now that I've doffed my undies here, you probably think I'm nuts. Or maybe you can associate. Or maybe you feel defensive or superior or indignant, because you will read my experiences through the filters of your own lives. And that's OK. I'm beginning, once again, to be OK with the fact that I always have been and always will be a social retard. Let the Milli Vanilli play on, only this time instead of crying, I'll be dancing with myself.

Fairview, AB May 2007


I'll blog the story later - for now, here's the people album, and here's Sweet Dolly's album...

snagged

I got this from another blog, and had to share. 18 years worth of Mummified McDonald's burgers. And you thought your Hello Kitty collection was weird.

Anyhow, finding this took me back to the circumcision discussion, where something was mentioned about people keeping their kids' umbilical stumps, and if they would keep the petrefied foreskin as well. It wasn't until I found the hamburger museum that I was reminded about photographer Jerome Abramovitch, who is really big into body modification. I must warn you it has some very adult content, explores some very alternative lifestyles, and will be offensive to some, but if you're really curious to know more, you can check out his website here.

Definitely NOT for little eyes, so enter at your own risk, but the mannequin and fetish series are truly remarkable - haunting, funny, beautiful, and repulsive at the same time. If you've seen the movie 'Secretary' you'll definitely appreciate the first picture, when placed against the backdrop of the final scenes where she talks about how normal they are.


My brother in law actually stumbled across this guy's work, because he was looking for pictures of bikes.

Anyhow, I thought I'd share this one photo of his, depicting all his mummified body parts, including the tip of his right pinky, which he cut off, on purpose, himself. It really does take all kinds.

permission to be temporarily out of commission...

Sorry folks - I've gotten myself into a bit of a time-crunchy pickle here. It'll be about a week before I'm back bloggin' like the old days. Bear with me as I make my way through the busy times... *sigh*

oh wow

...when you're bored or looking for a great way to fill the time while you procrastinate, go on youtube and do a search for "Japanese game shows" and I guarantee it'll take up at LEAST a couple of hours...

buccalo and frog blog

We decided to head out to Elk Island and do some froggin' today. (Pirate is my hero - she's the one who alerted me to the fact that if we were heading out that way we ought to be equipped with nets and a tub.) We made a pit stop at WalMart to grab some extra nets, a few kites (it was windy) and some bubble blowers, and off we went.

On the way in we did the buffalo loop. The children were especially intersted in the one buffalo who seemed to have his own flock of birds. They thought it was a total riot when the birds would roost on its head or back, but I wasn't quick enough to get a picture of the 'buccalo' (as Serejane would say) with the birdies on his noggin.


We walked the boardwalk for a bit, past a few piles of dung that looked like someone had flayed them. (Come on - it looks like meatloaf - admit it...)

There, the kids caught a few leeches, some fresh water shrimp, a water strider, and some minnow, dragonfly nymphs, and damselflies.

The girls got bored skimming for critters and decided to blow some bubbles instead.

Then we followed the trail past the beach to the pier the boys had made a fish jump out from underneath last autumn.

While we were there we were treated to some very colourful ducks and an enormous pelican! Although they had no success with making a jumpy fish appear, they enjoyed dock-rockin' anyways.

When we had first arrived, we drove slowly past one of the ponds and the chirruping of the wood frogs was almost deafening. We left Astotin Lake and headed for a quieter spot with more marsh to have a picnic and for the boys to go froggin'.

They ended up with a modest total of 5. Two of them were somewhat romantically involved, a great source of amusement for the boys, especially when an unsuspecting water beetle got caught in their tryst.After 4 hours of tromping through the trails, the boys released the frogs back to the slough, and we were ready to call it a day.

oh goody

Wil's at home sick today, complaining of headache and nausea like Bill was yesterday. He called at about 10:30 to tell me he was leaving school to have a Tylenol and go to sleep. I CAN NOT get sick, not until at LEAST Friday say 5:30-ish. Everyone cross your fingers I am spared until then... *sigh*

google fights

I keep hoping to wake up and discover this week is over, but alas, we're barely at the midway point. I woke up this morning to a flat tire, and Bill took the van to work with him. This would have been manageable - I can change a bike tire, and Bill actually just bought spare tubes for all of us last week.

Which he left in the van.

Pirate sent me this, which cheered me up. I made my guinea pig fight Bill Gates. What kind of man kicks a guinea pig's ass?

tech support

~snicker~

Again, I must give credit to Pirate for digging up this gem..

"Yookit, Mama! Bubblegum shoes!"

Today began as a bit of a gong show, so it only seemed appropriate that we ended it with a trip to the carnival...

I couldn't find the lock for Serejane's trailer (Bill had put it in his bag by accident) and so I spent the first 15 minutes of my 'travel time' this morning looking for a replacement or substitute, consequently making me 8 minutes late for work. Work was, as predicted, bonkers today, from the time I got there until the time I left. I worked through lunch, and at 2:30 I went out with one of my co-workers on her smoke break and DIDN'T SMOKE thank you very much (pats herself on the back.) I went because a) I never get a chance to talk to her since I quit and b) because if I don't smoke, I don't take breaks.

(Hang on a minute - Jane wants to type something.)

xxxxxxxxxxxxxmmmmcmbbbbbmmmmxbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjba33
fffthtttujijgu8tttttttuutyrtttttt5yu6987y948 9546879576657i

(Thank you Jane for that lovely interjection.)

Where was I? Ah, yes... gong show... at work... then Bill phones. Bill was *going* to pick Serejane up from daycare today, but went home sick by noon, and so I finished up fairly close to 4:00 and headed home. I get to the daycare, and fercryingoutloud, the KEYS to the TRAILER LOCK are GONE. Yes, the reasonable facsimile one I grabbed this morning. I'm not sure what happened, but I presume one of the other kids with magpie issues saw them sparkling and couldn't resist pocketing them. So Jane & I started to walk home. We stopped at the mall on the way home because I needed to order some more contact lenses, and as we're walking through the mall we see a hot pink bike, streamers, chrome, training wheels... and it's called the "Tribal Cupcake!!!" So the LAST thing we need is another bloody bike in our house. But it's taking every fibre in my being to not buy this damned bike, of course, because Serejane's nickname is Cupcake.

I grit my teeth. Move my hand off the debit card. Carry on. As we pass Buck or Two Serejane rips her hand from mine (I HATE it when she does this) and takes off into the store, gleefully squealing, "Yookit, Mama! Bubblegum shoes!!! My ones are purple!!!" She's found the rack of bubblegummy hued $5 and $6 Croc knock-offs, and is holding a pair of lavender ones, about 3 sizes too small. She proceeds to take down a second pair of slightly deeper purple shoes (that won't actually fit Madisyn Emma or anyone else for that matter) announcing, "And these are for Massin Emma!"

As she is loading up my arms with a third pair of purple ones for me, yellow ones for Kaelan, orange ones for Wil, and pink ones for Bill, I was laughing, reminded of our 2006 Christmas shopping trip where we set the kids loose in the dollar store with a list of people to buy for. Wil, Madisyn, and Kaelan all put quite a bit of thought into the gifts they chose, and Serejane, well... she copied Madisyn, mostly... Wil & Kaelan got cars, Madisyn got a wand, Daddy got a mug, Auntie Joanna got a water spritzer... and then came time to buy for Andreas. She hobbles excitedly to the front of the aisle, lugging her basket with her. She puts the basket down and grabs a pack of "Happy New Year Plates, holds them abover her head triumphantly, then proceeds to slam dunk them in the basket yelling, "dray-yesssss!!!!!" The whole mall knew she had located the perfect gift for Andreas.

After sorting out the correct sizes, and an unsuccessful attempt on my part to sway Jane into getting me green ones instead, we couldn't find any for Daddy, not even pink ones. 10 minutes and $30 later, we walked out with 5 pairs of bubblegum shoes; Bill will simply have to wait for Serejane to find a pair in his size.



We get to the optometrist, I order me up some contact lenses, Bill picks us up, and we head off to the daycare with some bolt cutters to retrieve the bike trailer and my bike. We get home, eat some supper, then head off to the lot carnival at Bonnie Doon - the kids to go on the rides, and Bill & I to gawk at the carnies... we mostly just liked the big slide.

This concludes our daily programming. I'm off to finish up my dishes and get to bed at a semi-decent hour, as tomorrow the gong show at work intensifies as we get right up close and personal to a couple of deadlines. Wheee!!!

google me this, too

Googlisms. Put your name in the box and go...

Mine's bloody poetic! I've taken the liberty of highlighting my favourites...

hope is the last to die
hope is here~
hope is a tattered flag
hope is gone
hope is in sight
hope is coming
hope is a weapon
hope is a joint venture
hope is a verb
hope is the catalyst by dorothy anne seese
hope is saying yes to life
hope is for all the talk to stop
hope is the last to die
hope is in him
hope is the thing with feathers
hope is a benefical possession
hope is a child
hope is there?
hope is not lost for local high school
hope is you
hope is important ~ thepriorities
hope is temporarily down
hope is a subtle glutton
hope is the thing with feathers
hope is g8 offering africa?
hope is for all the
hope is vital program for training actors
hope is the thing with feathers
hope is mission of light of life's new
hope is built
hope is gone
hope is a fast finish
hope is there for the human race
hope is an answer to terror us launches new development
hope is a hoax
hope is going on'
hope is just not enough
hope is like a golf ball
hope is where the heart is
hope is a letter that never arrived
hope is an official list of host names
hope is built on nothing less
hope is here ~
what is hope
hope is lost
hope is a tattered flag by carl sandburg 16
hope is a tattered flag and a dream of time
hope is the story of alexander hope
hope is just faith
hope is the brand
hope is important
hope is for all the talk to stop by howard fendrich ap sports writer august 28
hope is a weapon for 30 years
hope is a woman
hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul
hope is
hope is to play
hope is in him al's analysis
hope is built on nothing less than jesus' blood and righteousness
hope is on the way
hope is survived by his wife
hope is near one more year
hope is not lost for local high school
hope is a subtle glutton
hope is g8 offering africa? after successive initiatives
hope is not a strategy
hope is human
hope is always with us dear friends
hope is hard to find
hope is a muscle is the best book i have ever read
hope is vital
hope is eternal
hope is not lost
hope is a literate woman
hope is mission of light of life's new director
hope is found in the word of god
hope is a thing with feathers
hope is gone by rubel shelly
hope is a muscle
hope is a breeze across an open field
hope is not the creature of sensation
hope is free
hope is a privately funded
hope is a fast finish
hope is there for the human race? what is real? can evil be defeated? what hope is there for the human race?
hope is an answer to terror us launches new development initiatives after terrorist attacks
hope is the harrowing
hope is just not enough
hope is all i am and hope is all i have
hope is where the heart is by yvonne kaye
hope is an official list of host names richard w
hope is now
hope is important key to student success

google me this

1. go to www.google.com
2. click on "maps"
3. click on "get directions"
4. type " New York " in the first box (the "from" box)
5. type " London " in the second box (the "to" box)
6. click on 'get directions'
7. scroll down to step #24

just another Monday night

I decided I'd be lazy tonight and not do much of anything. It was a brutal weekend, and today was a brutal day at work, with tomorrow promising to be another brutal day, followed by a few more, and so I'm trying to make sure that I decompress as much as possible.

Serejane and her friend Owlicks took the guinea pigs for a stroll.

As you can see, Marmot is adjusting nicely to his new family.

We ended up having a bit of a sunshower, followed by a glorious rainbow.

I don't as yet own wide enough angle lens to capture the whole thing, but since I was particularly enjoying the texture of these treetops, and how they ever so nicely framed the rainbow, I was OK not having a fish-eye.

A little bit of bikeriding, followed by a wagon ride under cover, and our day was done.

Now I'm off to put the kiddles to bed, and do a couple hours of work before I put me to bed.

new glasses

This is our receptionist. She got new glasses.

Today was SUCH a Monday.

Cut-a-Thon 2007!!!

I'm happy to report that this year's Cut-a-Thon was a HUGE success!!! A special thank you to all the people who donated time and money to this event - the team members, bakers, card-makers, and haircutters alike!

Christine - thank you for getting the sidewalk chalk and bubbles for the kids, and thanks to Rosanna, my 10:00 a.m. client today, who let me take the remainder of the flower petals from her maternity session with me - they were a big hit!

I'd like to acknowledge the generous contributions of the Spruce Grove Safeway and the Cooperators for the use of the parking lot and tent respectively!

And congratulations to Stacie (above) our new team captain, for devising and organizing this incredible event, which netted the team over $1100 AND a braid long enough to send off to the wigmakers!!!


You can view the complete album here, and Tammy's album here, but I have to share about one very special young man who was the highlight of the day for a whole lot of us. His Mom drove by asking what was going on, and very excitedly said, "Oh! My son's been growing his hair and collecting money for a year!!!" and about 2 hours later she returned, her shaggy-headed boy in tow.
(I was operating Tammy's camera for most of this part of things, so you can see the rest of the head shaving here.)


His Grandma had cancer, and so he has decided that he's only going to cut his hair once a year from now on. Tammy had the pleasure of giving him his first-ever annual haircut for Cancer research. We were all touched by this young man's generosity and spirit, and we're grateful for the $150 he contributed.

With his very special and big-hearted donation, let me tell ya, he had half of us in tears when he left...

You're an awesome little man! A HUGE thank you for making our special day that much more special!
We finally shut it down about 7:00 p.m., tired, dirty, hungry, and greatly satisfied with a job well done.

Cut-a-Thon 2007!!!

I'm happy to report that this year's Cut-a-Thon was a HUGE success!!! A special thank you to all the people who donated time and money to this event - the team members, bakers, card-makers, and haircutters alike!

Christine - thank you for getting the sidewalk chalk and bubbles for the kids, and thanks to Rosanna, my 10:00 a.m. client today, who let me take the remainder of the flower petals from her maternity session with me - they were a big hit!

I'd like to acknowledge the generous contributions of the Spruce Grove Safeway and the Cooperators for the use of the parking lot and tent respectively!

And congratulations to Stacie (above) our new team captain, for devising and organizing this incredible event, which netted the team over $1100 AND a braid long enough to send off to the wigmakers!!!


You can view the complete album here, and Tammy's album here, but I have to share about one very special young man who was the highlight of the day for a whole lot of us. His Mom drove by asking what was going on, and very excitedly said, "Oh! My son's been growing his hair and collecting money for a year!!!" and about 2 hours later she returned, her shaggy-headed boy in tow.
(I was operating Tammy's camera for most of this part of things, so you can see the rest of the head shaving here.)


His Grandma had cancer, and so he has decided that he's only going to cut his hair once a year from now on. Tammy had the pleasure of giving him his first-ever annual haircut for Cancer research. We were all touched by this young man's generosity and spirit, and we're grateful for the $150 he contributed.

With his very special and big-hearted donation, let me tell ya, he had half of us in tears when he left...

You're an awesome little man! A HUGE thank you for making our special day that much more special!
We finally shut it down about 7:00 p.m., tired, dirty, hungry, and greatly satisfied with a job well done.