Saturday 31 October 2009

Samhain Blessings

Wishing you all a wondrous night . . . . May the Crone guide you safely back and forth across the Veil Between The Worlds as we bid this year farewell and welcome another turning of The Wheel. Blessed be!

Friday 30 October 2009

Halloween Hijinks

Hello, my pretties! *cackle*

[Cough, hack, snort] Sorry, out of practice. Welcome to Halloween Hijinks for 2008. Yes, I know I'm a year late with these photos. So sue me, I've been busy!

Come closer to me, darling blog readers! Oh, don't be afraid of these little claws of mine. I only use them to tickle!

Every year my Rare One and I carve two pumpkins. We put these fearsome jack-o-lanterns on our front step, accompanied by our two very realistic-looking rubber rats named Cardinal Ratzinger and Archbishop Fang. Here are the pumpkins which we carved last year:

Oho, scary stuff, I know! I carved Athena's owl silhouetted against the Crone's crescent moon:

And my Rare One carved the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz. Her Royal Highness liked this pumpkin best. She's always secretly thought of herself as a lion, too.

On Halloween night, after handing out candy to many little trick-or-treaters, we took a wee ride around our neighbourhood to see the spooky decorations.

Even Her Royal Highness got into the spirit of Halloween and had a good time!

Thursday 29 October 2009

Samhain Preparations

Last October, my Rare One and I were in Italy. Among other things, we enjoyed a wonderful visit to Cinque Terre, which is the collective name for five tiny towns close together on the Italian Riviera. In the town of Monterosso, I spotted these beautiful witchy brooms carefully stacked against a small retaining wall. They were obviously someone's working brooms waiting there for future use. But I knew they were not just anybody's brooms nor were they just for any kind of work . . . . They must belong to the local strega and her coven . . . . Samhain is coming! The veil is thin. We fly at midnight!

Wednesday 28 October 2009

A New Model for Canada-U.S. Relations?

I couldn't help but laugh when I saw this cartoon over at Yellowdog Granny's blog a couple of days ago. Of course, we Canadians are much too friendly, nice and just plain polite to actually SAY this to our beloved American neighbour. But, you know, sometimes we like to THINK it when we're fantasizing about what it would be like if we were a rough, tough Superpower too. And then we give our toques a shake and go back to reality!

Tuesday 27 October 2009

Pimp My Blog

Like my new blog header? It was designed and created for me by Caroline of Whimsical Whispers, using one of her fabulous photographs! Caroline has started a new business doing blog headers, blog buttons and complete blog make-overs. You can find all her business info (including her very reasonable rates) at the appropriately-named Beautiful Blog Headers. Thanks, Caroline!

Monday 26 October 2009

The Deborah Award!

I am so honoured to receive this blessing from Sarah at Cottage Garden Studios! Thank you so much, dear Sarah, I am very touched by your generosity of spirit.

This award was created by Ces of Ces and Her Dishes to honour her friend Deborah of Midlife Poet -- "poet, friend, not just a mother but a soldier's mother too. Oh, the sleepless nights, the anxiety and worries, yet she is perpetually pleasant and cheerful, kind and gentle, diplomatic and tactful. She exudes courage, hope and faith."

This award honours "friendship . . . there is nothing more wondrous a blessing for anyone than for a friend who came and never left your side."

Now it is my pleasure to pass the Deborah Award on to others. I nominate everyone who is an "official follower" of my blog to receive this friendship award! It is a very special kind of friendship to voluntarily read someone else's thoughts, opinions, hopes, dreams, complaints and assorted mutterings over the course of time . . . and I thank all of you so much for doing so! If you want to accept this award, please post it on your blog and pass it on in turn to your special friends in the blogosphere.

Saturday 24 October 2009

Halloween Knitty Kitty Update

Woo hoo, I won! Thank you, Mrs. B and Thalia! The Halloween Knitty Kitty will have a good home with me, I promise!

Now I'm off to do my Happy Dance!

Friday 23 October 2009

Halloween Knitty Kitty

I love Thalia Took's wonderful Goddess art website and her great blog, Amused Grace. And I also love the whimsical little knitted toys which she makes from time to time and then features on her blog and in her Etsy shop, The Imporium.

Today, her Halloween Knitty Kitty is one of the ultra-fabulous giveaways in Mrs. B's 31 Days of Halloween contest (Giveaway #3, to be precise)! Isn't he just adorable? Because I covet this Kitty and would love to win him, I am earning two additional entries in the draw by blogging about him here.

Wish me luck!

Thursday 22 October 2009

Honest Scrap Award!

Thanks so much for this award, Julie Cornewell a.k.a. Blackened Phoenix! I'm inspired by your own honesty in living your life, so this award means even more, coming from you. Everyone, be sure to check out Julie's blog at The Domestic Witch if you don't already read it!

Here's the official guidelines of this award:

1. Share 10 honest things about myself.
2. Present this award to 7 others who have encouraged me or whose blogs I find brilliant in content and/or design.
3. Let them know of the award and the guidelines.

Okay, so here are my 10 honest things:

1. Unlike Bill Clinton, I inhaled.

2. I still love the Village People and I don't care who knows it.

3. I eat Nutella right out of the jar.

4. When I was a kid, it took me three years to pass beginners swimming lessons because I refused to jump off the diving board.

5. I can't stand to have anyone touch my feet.

6. I have a phobia about moths, butterflies or birds fluttering around my head.

7. I secretly yearn to be a Powerpuff Girl.

8. Now that I'm menopausal, I am easily distracted.

9. Since 1975 when I turned 18, I have voted in every federal, provincial and municipal election for which I was eligible to vote.

10. Yes, I have always been a nerdygirl.

Whew! That wasn't as hard as I thought (or feared) it would be! And now (drumroll please) here are the seven bloggers to whom I would like to give the Honest Scrap award:

2. Emma at Liminal Emma

3. Liz at Lizzie's Logic

5. Stacey at Stacey's Respite

Wednesday 21 October 2009

Thermostat Wars

Now that autumn is here and winter is coming fast, it's time to put the furnace on. And that can mean only one thing in our household . . . cue ominous music . . . Thermostat Wars!

Oh, the reasons for this situation are simple enough. The following cat represents me:

And the following cat represents my Rare One:

Sometimes the claws come out and the fur flies, but most of the time we achieve a negotiated settlement, LOL!

Tuesday 20 October 2009

The Lord's Prayer: Oktoberfest Version

Some of you may recall the series of alternative versions of the Lord's Prayer that I posted earlier this year in February and March. Well, I just found another one that's perfect for this month's Oktoberfest! Here it is for your enjoyment (and remember, be sure to drink and pray responsibly!) --

Our Lager,
Which art in barrels,
Hallowed be thy drink.
I will be drunk
At home as in the tavern.
Give us this day our foamy heads
And forgive us our spillages,
As we forgive those who spill against us.
And lead us not to incarceration
But deliver us from hangovers.
For thine is the beer,
The bitter and the lager,
Forever and ever.

Monday 19 October 2009

Oh Chantal, My Chantal

I have a major lesbo crush on Chantal Hebert, national affairs columnist for the Toronto Star and CBC political commentator. There, I've admitted it.

Every Thursday night, I watch The National's "At Issue" panel just to see her. "Shhh," I say, "Chantal is on! Chantal is speaking!" My Rare One rolls her eyes and sighs heavily. She is not caught up in Chantal worship.

But what's not to love? Chantal is absolutely brilliant, with piercing insight into Canadian politics. AND she has a sexy French accent. PLUS there's a very appealing butchy je ne sais quoi about her. Chantal does not compromise who she is nor what she thinks. No makeup or fancy hairdo for her, thank you very much! She always looks like she escaped unscathed from the CBC hair and makeup people. That kind of authenticity is so rare (on TV or elsewhere). Rare and admirable. More women on TV should look REAL like my Chantal!

[Photo by John Macdonald. See his website here.]

Friday 16 October 2009

Over the Top Award!

Earlier this month, Claire at Clairdulalune gave me an Over the Top award! Thank you so much for this delightful surprise, my dear! If you don't already know Claire's blog, be sure to visit and check out her many inspired adventures!

The award comes with a list of 35 questions to which I must give one-word answers. Hmmm, that's pretty challenging. I suspect some extra words will sneak in from time to time.

1. Where is your cell phone? non-existent
2. Your hair? shaggy at the moment
3. Your mother? feisty
4. Your father? deceased
5. Your favourite food? Japanese
6. Your dream last night? x-rated!
7. Your favourite drink? Diet Coke
8. Your dream/goal? to live long and prosper
9. What room are you in? family room
10. Your hobby? tarot
11. Your fear? bad health
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Funky Town
13. Where were you last night? I have an iron-clad alibi, officer, I swear
14. Something that you aren't? athletic
15. Muffins? yes, please
16. Wish list item? trip to Japan
17. Where did you grow up? One-Horse Prairie Town, Canada
18. Last thing you did? answer phone
19. What are you wearing? Stewie Griffin pyjama bottoms, baggy t-shirt and slippers (oooo, sexy, I know!)
20. Your TV? Sony
21. Your pets? cat
22. Friends? oui
23. Your life? scheduled
24. Your mood? sardonic
25. Missing someone? the dearly departed
26. Vehicle? Japanese
27. Something you're not wearing? socks
28. Your favourite store? Where Faeries Live (Edmonton)
29. Your favourite colour? blue
30. When was the last time you laughed? this afternoon
31. Last time you cried? a while ago
32. Your best friend? My Rare One
33. One place that I go to over and over? pharmacy
34. One person who emails me regularly? friggin' spammers
35. Favourite place to eat? Shogun Restaurant (Edmonton)

Now I get to nominate 6 over-the-top bloggers to receive the award, answer the same list of 35 questions and then pass the award on to 6 others. Hee hee! Be sure to check out their blogs if they're new to you! Here are my nominees:

2. Lady Grace at Grace Dreamweaver

3. Suzie at Suzie Ridler

4. Blackened Phoenix at The Domestic Witch

5. Cameron at Walking the Labyrinth

6. Jackiesue at Yellowdog Granny [Yes, I know you just received this award from someone else, YDG, but you're SO over the top, you deserve it twice!]

Thursday 15 October 2009

H-R-H at the V-E-T

Her Royal Highness is one of those aloof felines. She is not a lap cat at all. When HRH does show affection, it is strictly on her terms and don't you forget it! Her regal behaviour befits her status as The Daughter of Bast.

There is only one exception to this state of affairs. When we are at the vet's office, HRH completely turns into a clingy, mushy, sucky baby. As she crouches on the stainless steel examination table, she presses against me as closely as possible. Only at the vet's office can I pick her up and carry her around without difficulty. Nor does she fight the vet, but endures every indignity without resistance.

But as soon as we're home, HRH again rules me with the Iron Paw. She Is Not Amused.

Saturday 10 October 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

This weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada. Time to count our blessings! I think the greatest blessing we have is the privilege of living in a peaceful, affluent and democratic country with socialized health care. Every day, we should feel profoundly grateful for our good fortune.

I'm off to Manitoba to visit my Mom, so it will be a few days before I post again.


Friday 9 October 2009

More Kreativ Bloggers!

Well, I've enjoyed writing my Personal Revelations (tame though they were, LOL!) The next step is to nominate others for the Kreativ Blogger Award.

Just to recap, the "official rules" of this award are as follows:

1. Thank the person who gave this to you.
2. Copy the logo and place it in your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that no one would really know.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them.

The bloggers that I nominate are all very Kreativ! Their blogs feature creative thinking, creative writing, creative photos, creative artwork, creative videos, or all of the above! Please pop by their blogs and see for yourself!

1. Barbara at A Bird In My Hand

2. Jaliya at A Post-Cynical Seer

5. Hibiscus Moon at Hibiscus Moon

6. mxtodis123 at Moon tides

7. Miss*R at Tales of Inglewood

Thursday 8 October 2009

First Snow

We're receiving our first snow of the winter in Edmonton today. And predictably, there are fender benders galore. Why can people never seem to remember from one year to the next how to drive in winter conditions? It's like no one has ever experienced snow before or something! Must be collective amnesia. Or collective denial perhaps. Anyway, in honour of the first snow, here's a video:

And please stay tuned! Tomorrow I'll be passing on the Kreative Blogger award to 7 other bloggers.

Wednesday 7 October 2009

Personal Revelation # 7

7. I once swam with the dolphins.

A few years ago, my Rare One and I holidayed in the Mayan Riviera of Mexico. While visiting Xel-ha National Park, we booked an appointment to swim with the dolphins! Of course, I did feel a few twinges of conscience about exploiting these poor captive creatures for my own selfish amusement. But then it occurred to me that they were simply "dolphins with jobs," doing what they had to do to put fish in the bucket. Just like me, really, doing what I have to do for 40 hours a week to earn my keep in the world. Oh, sweet valium of rationalization, how you soothe me!

I expected the experience to be kind of mystical and New Age-y, but it wasn't at all. The well-trained dolphins were friendly and fun. They swam around us, let us pet and stroke them, carried us through the water on their backs and leaped over us on command in stunning aerial displays of fishy athleticism. Two dolphins popped up unexpectedly from the water and simultaneously kissed me on either cheek. It was tremendous fun! And the dolphins were magnificent and beautiful creatures. It was a privilege to interact with them.

Tuesday 6 October 2009

Personal Revelation # 6

6. I despise camping.

I don't simply dislike camping. I don't simply hate camping. No, I despise camping. I despise it with every fibre of my being. I see absolutely no point to it. Why would any sane person want to sleep in a tent, on the ground, with inadequate or non-existent toilet and showering facilities, while having to haul every little thing with you so you can "rough it" at mealtimes?

My family never went camping. My father had served overseas with the Canadian Army in World War II. He'd had enough "roughing it" to last a lifetime. The only time I ever went camping was with Doofus at the Ukrainian Festival. He brought his tent but forgot to bring the tent poles. So we had to prop up the tent as best we could with a couple of fallen tree branches. That, plus the Manischewitz incident, confirmed my bad opinion of camping.

Refusing to go camping has been a real dating liability for me in the lesbian community. Camping is the official pastime of the Lesbian Nation. Lesbian women live for camping. They dream of it. They camp as much as possible. Entire festivals, like the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, are organized around camping. Just try to find a girlfriend who doesn't want to go camping! Not easy, not easy at all.

Monday 5 October 2009

Personal Revelation # 5

5. I once got completely drunk and disgustingly sick on Manischewitz wine.

Many, many years ago when I was young and still under the mistaken impression that I was straight, I had a boyfriend named Doofus. One weekend we decided to go to the annual Ukrainian Festival in Dauphin, Manitoba. Our plan was to camp, eat perogies, watch the dance competition and get drunk. There was only one small hitch. A liquor strike had just started that day and desperate boozehounds had already bought out all the inventory in Winnipeg. So we stopped at every one-horse prairie town on the road to Dauphin in the hope that their smaller populations had not yet cleaned out their liquor stores.

And yay! We hit paydirt in one tiny town! We scored the last six-pack of some obscure brand of beer for Doofus and the last bottle of wine on the shelf for me. Hmmm, Manischewitz -- never heard of that wine before . . . .

As I came to learn later, Manischewitz is kosher Jewish wine used for seders and other mealtime rituals. It is incredibly, extraordinarily, sickeningly sweet. A small glassful of it at a ritual is one thing. I drank the whole friggin' bottle on top of a stomach full of perogies. I have never been so disgustingly sick in all my life. I'm sure it was the judgment of Yahweh on me for misusing the sacramental wine of His Chosen People.

Sunday 4 October 2009

St. Francis of Assisi

Today is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. I've always been fond of the story of St. Francis and his complete devotion to the spiritual ideals of Christ. At this time last year, my Rare One and I were in Tuscany. We drove to Assisi in neighbouring Umbria for an afternoon. Assisi is a magnificent hill town, beautifully restored and maintained. How evocative it was to wander the same streets as St. Francis and his followers!

The one thing I wanted most to see in Assisi was Giotto's frescos of the saint's life in the Basilica of St. Francis. It was like a dream come true to see those famous medieval paintings. When we entered the Basilica, a Franciscan monk determined what language we spoke and then gave each of us a small holy card. The front featured Giotto's painting of St. Francis preaching to the birds. On the back was printed the beautiful and profound prayer of St. Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred . . . . let me sow love.
Where there is injury . . . . pardon.
Where there is discord . . . . unity.
Where there is doubt . . . . faith.
Where there is error . . . . truth.
Where there is despair . . . . hope.
Where there is sadness . . . . joy.
Where there is darkness . . . . light.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled . . . . as to console.
To be understood . . . . as to understand.
To be loved . . . . as to love.

For it is in giving . . . . that we receive.
It is in pardoning . . . . that we are pardoned.
It is in dying . . . . that we are born to eternal life.

I think that glossy little card was the most meaningful and valuable thing I brought back from Italy. Now, I'm not a big collector of holy cards. I'm not even a Christian. I think it touched me so much because the card was a simple but sincere little gift of welcome, offered to commemorate an important spiritual experience. And it did precisely that.

Saturday 3 October 2009

Personal Revelation # 4

4. My first and only knitting project was an utter disaster.

When I was a girl, I spent three years in 4-H being taught how to sew, embroider and knit. My knitting project was to make a very simple pair of slippers.

Oh, it started off well enough. I bought some nice red yarn that I liked. I picked an easy pattern of basic ribbing. I diligently knitted and purled and kept my tension firm but not excessively tight. However, for reasons that are still a mystery to me, my ribbing went terribly awry. Halfway through one of the slippers, the hills became valleys and the valleys became hills, if you know what I mean. There was no way to fix it without starting all over again, so I just sewed the slippers together and left it at that. The judge at Achievement Day pursed her lips a bit, but who cares?

My greater error became apparent after Achievement Day when I actually started wearing the slippers. It turned out that the yarn I had chosen was much, much too lightweight to withstand any of the normal demands made on slippers. After only a couple of wearings, the slippers had big holes in them. They were absolutely useless and went straight into the garbage.

I never picked up knitting needles again.

Friday 2 October 2009

Personal Revelation # 3

3. I have beautiful handwriting.

Back in the days of the dinosaurs when I was in elementary school, great emphasis was placed on the development of fine cursive penmanship. We used to have classes devoted to it. The teacher would make us practice endless circles with our pens on a piece of foolscap so it would become second nature to stay within the lines. Beautiful handwriting is all in the wrist, you know. If you have good wrist control, the world is your oyster. It also helps to have some natural artistic ability.

Anyway, not to brag or anything (well, perhaps a bit), I have beautiful handwriting. I used to win prizes for it at the local fair when I was a kid. It's hard to believe that penmanship contests once existed -- how antiquated that seems now! People still remark on my beautiful handwriting, probably because it's such a rarity these days. Now everyone types, prints in block capitals, or scrawls.

I am the practitioner of a dying art.

Thursday 1 October 2009

Personal Revelation # 2

2. I have beheld The World's Largest Perogy.

It's found in the small town of Glendon, Alberta which is a couple of hours north of Edmonton. A few years ago, my Rare One and I made a pilgrimage there to see The World's Largest Perogy and to take in the annual Glendon Perogy Festival. I have the t-shirt to prove it. Also, incriminating photos of me with The Perogy.