Wednesday, April 23, 2014

S is for Sam's Funny Faces

My son Sam, who is 13 and a half, is handsome. He has big brown eyes surrounded by long black lashes. He has thick, wavy hair. He also has a fabulous smile but you wouldn't know it because every time there's a camera around, Sam makes funny faces. Take these photos, for example, which were taken last summer, mostly on our moving trip from Ontario to Alberta. We took our sweet time, and camped along the way. Dave and I had a great time but Sam swears he's never gonna drive across the country ever. ever. again. This is Sam and Dave having a pop. Note Sam's face.

OK, so he's not always making faces. If you distract him with a panting, squirming dog, you may catch an actual smile. You know, by accident.

Swimming ... floating ... a long ways from shore, Sam can relax ....

... that is until his Spidey senses make him aware of Mom's telephoto lens, then he manages an adorably sweet smile.

I have no explanation for his. Dave was relaxing, Sam was playing in the sand, my camera came out and suddenly Sam thrust his arm in the air ... Dave has no inkling what Sam is doing, which cracks me up even more.

The fake thumb's up pancake smile. A smile common to 13 year old boys, right parents?

The mesmerized by pancake syrup face. Perhaps he is imagining himself in an Aunt Jemima commercial. Perhaps he is imagining Mom losing her camera ...

HA! The dreaded Dave-is-touching-me face! I have a zillion photos exactly like this, Dave grabbing Sam for a photo, Sam trying to fight it, Dave wrestling him like a greased pig, Sam finally giving up and posing under protest. Yup, a million photos just like this one ... only they don't all have the Wawa Goose in the background.

This is Sam's patented holding-the-cat face.

This is Sam's in-front-of-the-house-of-a-Canadian-icon face. Margaret Laurence is one of Canada's most famous, bestest writers and I am SUCH a fan. Sam? Not so much... "I don't wanna get my picture taken. I don't even know who she is. I don't wanna. You can't make me. You'll buy me an ice cream at Dairy Queen? OK, hurry up, HURRY UP, PEOPLE ARE LOOKING AT ME, omigawd shoot me now..."

This is Sam's I've-been-in-a-car-for-five-days face, which could easily be confused with Canadian-prairie-scenery-is-the-most-boring-in-the-entire-WORLD face. Don't take it personally, Saskatchewan. It takes a lot to impress Sam. If you were a video game, he'd think you were gorgeous.

This is a genuine Sam smile. Notice he is distracted by a small dog. Notice small dog looks tortured. This pic was taken at the 4 Wing Air Force Base in Cold Lake. We were watching fighter planes take off and land, which mildly amused Sam for a few minutes. Then he decided to make the small dog act like a plane, which amused him greatly. *No small dogs, boys or planes were injured in the making of this photograph.

This is not an accidental blink. This is an on purpose blink. There's a difference.

Saskatchewan may not impress Sam but he was like, "LOOK! LOOK! A FIRE PIT!" That's what happens when he's denied video games.

Look familiar? This is the Mother version of the Dave-is-touching-me face ...

... only I can't hang onto him like Dave can. 

Dave's got big pipes. Sam better eat his Wheaties if he wants free of those big guns.

Happy birthday, Sam! This is Sam's I'd-rather-be-looking-at-a-firepit-than-posing-with-this-stupid-cat-cake face.

This is the BIGGEST MUSHROOM IN THE WORLD and it's just down the road from Cold Lake, in a blink-of-an-eye town called Vilna, Alberta. I found this online about the giant mushroom: 

The World's Largest Mushrooms are indeed something to behold, but the best part is the free tour you get from the elderly gentleman who lives across the street. He watched (with his own eyes!) its development from conception to maturation, and his knowledge on this sculpture is encyclopaedic.
When he sees you getting ready to take a picture, he'll saunter over from his perch across the street and start spilling astounding statistics ("... it cost $35,000 to build...Hurricane Andrew could blow through here and the mushrooms would still stand...").
I asked him if the mushrooms get a lot of visitors, and he said, "Oh, yeah, about once every half hour in season!" and, "There's a lot of stuff like this in these parts, but these mushrooms are the best. That pyrogy's nothing more than a half-moon." To which I replied: "But the pyrogy has a giant fork in it, and the mushrooms don't!"

We had taken that photo of the mushroom on the way to Edmonton Airport. Sam had spent the summer with us, but he was headed back to Ontario to be with his father and go back to school. I flew back with him, and did some visiting while I was "back home," so this photo wasn't the last time I saw Sam ... but it is the last photo I took. Interestingly enough, it's an actual Sam smile... I haven't seen my darling boy since last August. I can't even tell you how this breaks my heart ... but summer is coming on fast and it won't be long before I'll hold him in my arms, and he'll squirm and make faces and he'll probably be a foot taller since I saw him last... Sam may be the king of funny faces, but to me it's the sweetest, most endearing face in this whole world.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

R is for Reading

Omigawd, there's an original R-word. (Watching hordes of friends fleeing from boredom.) Ah feck it. At least it's a word and since I'm behind a day, it'll have to do.

I have a READING this Saturday! 2 p.m., to be exact, at the Grand Centre Branch of Cold Lake Library.

I have never DONE a reading before. Should I be worried? I am, sort of, but how hard can it be? I get up in front of the six people who will attend (that's everyone I know in Cold Lake, including the librarian, and my husband, who I made take a day off work so he can hold my hand and the puke bucket) and I read a chapter or two from my book. I'll probably also talk about how I came to write Green Eggs & Weezie, how people can avoid turning a marital separation into a big ta-doo, you know, stuff like that. Stuff I talk about every day here in blogland. It really shouldn't be an issue. The biggest thing I'm worried about is what to wear and if the blades in my winter-rusted razor will be sharp enough to take down the forest growing on my calves.

I'm bringing 23 copies of each of my books to sell. I fear I am overly optimistic on this front, as the six people I know in Cold Lake already own copies (they were foisted upon).

I know a lot of you are writers – any tips on getting through the reading without barfing?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q is for Quiet

It has taken no lullaby to rock me to sleep this past week.

I sleep all night long. I sleep three to four hours every afternoon. When I'm not actually sleeping, I'm on the verge of falling asleep. This is apparently normal when one is fighting strep throat but I apologize profusely to my husband, day after day, for the amount of time I spend in bed. He's been cooking for me, and cleaning, as well as doing all the jobs he usually does around the house, like renovating the bathroom. Not to mention his full time job at the garage.

I am feeling better. The pain in my throat is almost gone. I'm hoping soon the accompanying lethargy disappears as well. In the meantime, I am as quiet as a tomb.

A tomb that snores.

Friday, April 18, 2014

P is for Poo-Pourri

Far be it from me to ever talk about bodily functions, but I've been dying to tell you about Poo-Pourri for ages.

I bought some last summer, with the specific intention of trying it out and blogging about it. (You can see how well blogging-in-advance works for me, since it's now April.) I had to try it because the company had the funniest marketing campaign video I'd ever seen.

I ordered the large bottle from – at $20.99 plus tax and delivery, it was probably the most expensive bathroom spray I'd ever purchased, but considering I've had it for nearly a year, it's a pretty good buy. What's more, it WORKS.

You spray some in the toilet before you have a poo. The essential oils form a pleasant herbal barrier on the top of the water. When your poop drops below the surface, the oils reseal the barrier and, voila, no smell! This seriously works – take it from someone with Crohn's Disease who is married to someone with Irritable Bowel Syndrome! We've really given it a work-out!

I wish I had this when I was still working. Back then I was so embarrassed about stinking up the washroom, that I'd hold it all day. Had I been able to leave a pleasant herbal scent rather than the stench of 1,000-cows, I would have had far less stomach cramping and gnashing of teeth.

Poo-Pourri - you'll never be stinky again!

O is for Oh-Oh

Facebook Post: Wednesday, April 16
I had laid down for a nap after swallowing a couple of Tylenol 3s, and woke up to the sound of the doorbell ringing repeatedly. I staggered downstairs in a stupor and tried to focus on what this guy was telling me - something about furnace accessories and drumming up business, and could he put a sign in my window ... or maybe it was my door. I dunno ... I felt like I was drunk, swaying back in forth in the doorway, dried nap-drool with hair stuck in it on my cheek (you know how you drool, and your hair gets in it, then when it dries it sticks?), and what hair not stuck to your face resembles that flying cow from Twister? The guy handed the sign to me to look at but I couldn't see the fecking thing because I didn't have my glasses on, so I was doing deep-squinting exercises to see if it would focus, but then he abruptly took it away, I think because I was starting to scare him. I tried to reassure him that I wasn't feeling well. "I seck," I mumbled. The guy suddenly looked like a deer in the headlights. "I dunt enderstund wot ure tying 2 tall me," I said, and then reiterated, with emphasis, "I SECK." The guy looked relieved. "Is there something going around? The person in the house next door was sick." (I thought, BRILLIANT neighbour, faking it.) "How about I come back tomorrow when you're feeling better?" he asked magnaminously. I nodded and smiled, which caused the dried drool on my face to crack, and vowed never to answer the GD doorbell again as long as I live.

Thursday, April 17, approximately 2 p.m.
I let the dog out the back door and, as I was waiting for her to do her doggie bittnezz, it occurred to me that I should shut the blinds in the front window, in case the sales guy from yesterday showed up. Our house is open concept - if he's standing at the front door, he can peek through the living room window and see right through to the back door. Where I was standing. Waiting for the dog. Thinking about closing the blinds. And then DING DONG, the doorbell rang. FECK! He's EARLY! I ducked for cover into the kitchen, but realized he might still see me in the reflection from the glass cupboards, so I scootched down beside the garbage can and held my breath, not just because I was hiding, but also because the garbage stunk. DING DONG! He rang the bell again, and I just about crapped my pants. Sweat poured off me. My heart raced. I wondered if I'd have a heart attack next to the garbage can. The dog, meanwhile, was barking her fool head off outside, either wanting to be let in or warning me about the intruder on the porch. I hid, and waited. No way was I answering the door. I just hid. And hid. Minutes went by. The dog stopped barking .... the doorbell hadn't rung for a while. I was just thinking that maybe he had given up when he KNOCKED on the door. FECK! The dog started barking again. I thought I was gonna die from the smell of meatloaf from three nights ago, mouldering three inches from my schnoz. After a while the dog shut up again. Eventually I heard footsteps going down the front steps. "Maybe it's a trap," I thought, so I stayed hidden in the kitchen for another 20 minutes. Finally, only my need to go to the bathroom overpowered my fear of the dude at the door. I peeked around the corner, sniper style, didn't see him, and quickly scurried over to window and shut the blinds tight.

Thursday, April 17, approximately 9 p.m.
Dave had an appointment for a haircut, we went grocery shopping and picked up some take-out for a late dinner. We had just gotten home, and were still unpacking groceries, when DING DONG, the doorbell rang. Dave was standing in the front foyer, so he answered it. As soon as he did, I heard the sales dude's voice. NO WAY! HE CAME BACK AT 9 O'CLOCK! I assumed my position hiding in the kitchen and listened as my way-too-nice husband heard the sales pitch. Something about security systems. I still wasn't up to par, health-wise, and this guy had some kind of accent, so it took me a while to figure it out. Dave listened, and listened, as our supper grew colder, and finally he said he wasn't interested and hustled the guy back into the night.

I've been nervous about it ever since. We didn't even see him as we were unloading groceries, but suddenly he was there - where exactly did he come from? Was he watching to see us come back home? I'm telling ya, if we get broken into, he'll be the first person I suspect ... him trying to sell us a security system, and then a break-in... coincidence? I think not.