Monday 31 May 2010

Gypsy Letter # 7

I was wondering how long Lady Zaza's "perfect life" with Lady Gaga was going to last. Not too long it seems, according to this urgent email which I just received from my footloose feline --

Hello, it's me again. DISASTER HAS STRUCK!!!

On the weekend, Lady Gaga's tour hit Phoenix, Arizona. While the roadies were setting up and Lady Gaga was doing her sound check, I took a little stroll around the city to see the sights. You know Arizona's new law that allows the police to check the immigration papers of anyone they regard as suspicious? Well, they determine who is suspicious not only through RACIAL profiling but through SPECIES profiling too! A big cop stopped me and said, "You don't look like an AMERICAN cat to me, furball -- show me your papers!"

It's so unfair! It's not MY fault that I entered the United States illegally with my gypsy band. We were just seeking a bit of southern sun and warmth in the middle of winter! HOW COULD THAT BE WRONG? Everybody in Canada wants to do that! But not even Lady Gaga could persuade the authorities that they were making a horrible mistake. What is this world coming to, when a CELEBRITY is ignored?!?

To make a long story short, the fascists are DEPORTING me back to Canada on the next plane to Edmonton! DEPORTING ME!!!

Please come and pick me up at the airport at your earliest opportunity. Signed . . . your poor persecuted kitty.

Friday 28 May 2010

What Your Cat is REALLY Thinking

Now you know! Don't say no one warned you!

Thursday 27 May 2010

Auntie Beehive's Art Glass

My Auntie Beehive loved decorative art glass. She had two large pieces which occupied pride of place in her living room. "My EYEtalian glass," she always called them.

The first was a shallow orange bowl with two enormous asymmetrical arms spreading out for a total wingspan of at least three feet. It sat on a doily on the hi-fi. It was a truly spectacular piece of hand-blown glass.

While I have no trouble remembering the first piece of art glass, my mind is fuzzier about the second piece. (In my defence, it has been at least 30 years since I laid eyes on them.) To the best of my memory, the second piece was a large, blue, vase-like affair which sat (again on a doily) on a mahogany drop-leaf table. I don't think it impressed me as much.

For this post, I scoured the vintage art glass sites on the internet, hoping to find photos of that particular style of Venetian or Murano glass. But alas! The above photo is the only one that gives even a faint suggestion of the glory that was my Auntie Beehive's EYEtalian glass.

Wednesday 26 May 2010

Mind Blowing Blog Award!

Thank you so much, dear Mary/mxtodis123 of Dreams, A Pathway to the Soul, for considering this blog to be worthy of a Mind Blowing Blog Award! Yowza! I'm humbled by its receipt (and I just love that design!)

Now it is my privilege to pass the award on to five other mind blowing blogs. It's very hard to choose because every blog I like is mind blowing, IMHO. So I thought of different types of mind blowingness and picked that way.

Serious Mind Blowing:
Rebecca Harding of The Sustainable Soul: Natural Spirituality -- Rebecca writes eloquent meditations on environmental spirituality.

Artsy Mind Blowing:
Sarah of Cottage Garden Studios -- Sarah's whimsical and beautiful artwork, plus her fabulous photography, are always a joy to behold.

Outrageous Mind Blowing:
Elly of BugginWord
Corey James of madtexter
Jackiesue of Yellowdog Granny
I'm grouping these together because each of them never fails to make me say, "OMG, they said WHAT?" Kaboom!

Seriously, check out these blogs if you have a moment -- you won't regret it!

Tuesday 25 May 2010

Farewell, Law and Order!

So Law and Order has now been cancelled after 20 years. Last night I watched the final episode. I confess that I am a belated Law and Order fan. I didn't really start watching it until 2005, but by then it was in syndication five nights a week so it didn't take too long before I had watched pretty much every episode!

Some characters/actors I loved; some I hated. Here's my three faves:

Detective Mike Logan (Chris Noth) -- just the right mixture of sensitive guy and surly macho!

Detective Lennie Briscoe (Jerry Orbach) -- Oh Lennie, Lennie, how I miss your cynical, wisecracking ways!

Executive Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) -- He's the reason I started watching Law and Order in the first place. I love a good tenacious, crusading lawyer! When he got moved to the role of District Attorney a couple of years ago and got less screen time, I think the show lost its heart and soul.

And of course, the real star of the series -- that fabulous opening theme song!

Doink Doink!

Monday 24 May 2010

Victoria Day

Today in Canada we celebrate Queen Victoria's birthday with a statutory holiday. Woo hoo! It's the first long weekend of summer and is traditionally marked by much drinking of beer while camping. In fact, this holiday is sometimes called the May two-four weekend, the same way a box of 24 beer is called a two-four. We Canadians are nothing if not classy, eh?

Queen Victoria was born on May 24, 1819. I don't know if any other country in the world (including Britain) still officially marks her birthday like Canada does. But she was Queen in 1867 when Canada became a Dominion independent of British rule, so she has a special place in our history for that reason.

One year I happened to be in Victoria, British Columbia on the May 24th weekend. The City of Victoria prides itself on its British heritage. Each year they hold a big Victoria Day Parade which, apart from the usual floats, bands and dignitaries, features lots and lots of Pipe Bands. We luuuuuv bagpipes in Canada. So did Queen Victoria, of course.

Friday 21 May 2010

Auntie Beehive's Fad Diets

Like many women of her era, my Auntie Beehive was a relentless dieter. She was naturally slender so I think it was more of a control thing with her than a weight thing. But also, women were just expected to diet in those days. It was part of being a socially acceptable female. [Editor's note: have things really changed since then?]

Auntie Beehive was always experimenting with one fad diet or another. I think she tried them all over the years. The strangest one I remember her following was the Oranges-and-Metamucil diet. For weeks, if not months, Auntie Beehive lived exclusively on navel oranges and Metamucil fibre supplement. Does anyone else remember this weird diet? It can't have been very healthy.

Nowadays you can actually buy orange-flavoured Metamucil. Of course, you know who it reminds me of every time I see it in stores.

Thursday 20 May 2010

Canada's Sacred Sport (Part 2)

Hockey is Canada's Sacred Sport because it is the ONLY sport blessed by Jesus Christ Himself. While the Gospels are strangely silent on this fact, Canadians know the truth. Yes, there's nothing Jesus liked to do better than strap on the blades and play a little shinny on the Sea of Galilee every time it froze over (which happened regularly 2000 years ago, before global warming).

Don't believe me? Here's the photographic evidence, you Doubting Thomases:

(Nice stick-handling, JC! But helmets are mandatory so where's Yours? I know the breeze feels good blowing through Your mullet but that's no reason to risk a head injury, young man. Your Mom says "Wear a helmet, doofus!")

(And He coached, too! What a great guy! But set a good example and get those helmets on, for the love of You-Know-Who!)

(He was also pretty versatile between the pipes! And of course, He's the Captain of His Team -- see the "C" on His jersey? But Jesus, get a goalie's mask! Who the hell do you think you are -- Gump Worsley?)

(Oh, that one's just mean . . . . But hey, lookin' pretty sexy with that goalie's mask, eh? [Finally!] And Jeez! Jeez is wearing a Playoffs Beard!)

Wednesday 19 May 2010

Canada's Sacred Sport (Part 1)

You know, Tim Hortons isn't Canada's only contribution to religion. We created our own Holy Grail too. Casually referred to as the Stanley Cup, it is the highest quest of Canada's Sacred Sport of Hockey.

Here it is, in all its Divine Glory . . .

(please be silent and yes, you must kneel.)

The bravest and the best of Canada's hockey heroes seek the Holy Grail each year. Here's a photo from my own city of Edmonton's team of mighty questers . . .

(who unfortunately did not even make the playoffs this year and in fact were the worst team in the entire NHL but hey, it allows us to have the first draft pick for the upcoming year -- SO IN YER FACE!!! Oh Gretzky, Gretzky, why did you leave us? Damn you, Pocklington, for trading Him!)

And yea verily, a young Canadian Saviour has now arisen amongst us who is known as "Hockey Jesus" -- He who scored the Golden Goal for Canada at the 2010 Olympics -- Sidney Crosby, Number 87, Captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins, last year's Stanley Cup Champions . . .

(who just got their ass handed to them on a plate by the newly-resurrected Montreal Canadiens. Go Habs Go!)

Behold the two Icons together . . .

(and meditate on your own sinful unworthiness even to be in their Holy Presence.)

Go ye and sin no more by watching other lesser sports like football, baseball, basketball or golf. To attain the Kingdom of Heaven, focus your attention exclusively on the Stanley Cup playoffs currently being broadcast on a TV set near you.

Here endeth the Lesson. Amen.

Tuesday 18 May 2010

Miracle at Tim Hortons (Part 2)

Nancy White, Canada's favourite satirical singer-songwriter, wrote a wonderful song about Jesus's miraculous appearance at Tim Hortons. There's no video of the song on YouTube, so I'll just post the lyrics instead.

But first, for you Murricans and other Furriners, here's some info about Tim Hortons that will help you understand the lyrics:

(1) Every year Tim Hortons has a huge sweepstakes contest called "Rrrroll Up The Rim" where big prizes may be listed under the rim of your paper coffee cup. Canadians LIVE for Rrrroll Up The Rim.

(2) The original store was started in the 1960s by Tim Horton, an NHL hockey player from the Toronto Maple Leafs (that's why this song has a few hockey references). Tim Horton died about 10 years later in an unfortunate car crash. After his death, the business was franchised and turned into Canada's most successful restaurant chain. There are now a gazillion Tim Hortons right across the country.


1. I was driving to Cape Breton on a cold September's night
When a CBC announcer described an awesome sight,
It's causing folks to cross themselves, it's causing jaws to drop,
The face of Jesus has appeared on a Bras d'Or coffeeshop.

2. We've seen Elvis at the cleaners, and Hendrix at the zoo,
And aliens ate my uncle, but this is something new.
I figure when Our Saviour needs a break from all those boring hymns,
He's just like all us sinners, He can't wait to get to Tim's.

He wants to roll up the rim to win you, roll up to save your soul,
Teach you to love the donut and disregard the hole.
I've always been agnostic but I heard the Christian call
The day I saw Lord Jesus on Lord Tim Horton's wall.

3. Tim and Jesus met in heaven and they hit it off just fine,
Tim showed Him how to body check and Jesus made some wine.
He said, "I would not jive you, man, I'm not that kind of guy,
But I could walk on water!" Tim said, "Buddy, so could I!"

4. Well, He could have gone to Rita's where the scones are oh-so-sweet,
He could have gone to Lick-a-Chick -- it's right across the street!
He was thinking of cathedrals, He was looking for a sign,
When some musician told Him, "Man, Tim Hortons is a shrine!"

5. Well, some say it was the lighting, some say it was a fake,
But thousands went to see Sweet Jesus on their coffee break,
With crullers for communion, forgiveness was bestowed,
When the God of Heaven met the God of the Road.

(c) Nancy White 2002, from her album Stickers on Fruit.

Monday 17 May 2010

Miracle at Tim Hortons (Part 1)

As I mentioned last week, Jesus miraculously manifested Himself only once in Canada. In 1998, He appeared on the side wall of a Tim Hortons donut store in Bras d'Or, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.

See, Jesus is no eedjit. Everyone in this country goes to their local Tim Hortons all the time. If you want to get noticed in Canada, well, you know what to do. So He did. One Holy Icon appeared at another Holy Icon. (Yes, we Canadians take our donuts that seriously).

I think His miraculous appearance lasted about a week or so. Huge crowds of people came to marvel at the Holy Wall. Then one day, a Tim Hortons employee finally got around to changing a couple of burnt out bulbs in the outdoor security lighting and . . . Jesus disappeared! Seems He'd just been a trick of light and shadow all along.

I'll leave the theological significance of that up to you.

Friday 14 May 2010

May You Never Hunger

Behold the ritual offering of the Coven of the Pizza Pagans! Hooray, the weekend's here!

(Another great photo from My Food Looks Funny!)

Thursday 13 May 2010

It's a Miracle!

As everyone knows, Jesus and the Virgin Mary have a long history of making guest appearances on food. According to Wikipedia, they've manifested on toast, tortillas, pizza, Cheetos, Marmite, pretzels and grilled cheese sandwiches. In Canada, Jesus kind of screwed up by appearing on the wall of a Tim Horton's donut shop rather than directly on a Tim Horton's donut, but we didn't hold it against him. Occasionally other Christian celebrities get in on the action too, like Mother Teresa who appeared on a cinnamon bun.

Well, the Goddess was recently featured in a long overdue cameo on . . . (wait for it) . . . a pancake! Yes, in this actual unretouched photo you can clearly see the Sacred Yoni (Vulva) of the Goddess manifested in golden panfried goodness! O sacred portal of Life, Death and Rebirth! You bless us with your miraculous appearance on this humble breakfast favourite! All that's missing is the sacred syrup.

Photo courtesy of My Food Looks Funny.

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Auntie Beehive's Surgeries

I've been thinking of my Auntie Beehive quite a bit lately because I just experienced major surgery for the first time. Auntie Beehive experienced major surgery many times during her life. Nothing phased her about doctors, surgery or hospitals. I guess she had seen and done it all.

But Auntie Beehive never said "I had surgery" or "they operated on me" or anything like that. No, Auntie Beehive ALWAYS said that she "had to go under the knife." She had to go under the knife for this. She had to go under the knife for that.

So when I told my Mom about my impending surgery, I made sure to say "Yes, I have to go under the knife!" That gave us a little laugh because we both knew whose favourite phrase that was! Thanks, Auntie Beehive!

Tuesday 11 May 2010

Auntie Beehive's Hard Life

My Auntie Beehive had a very hard life. The first symptoms of schizophrenia appeared in her teens. However, living on a prairie farm in the middle of nowhere, her mental illness went unrecognized and untreated for years. But after a major psychotic break suffered as a young wife and mother, she was sent to a mental institution. A mental institution during the late 1940s and early 1950s. You know what that meant, of course. Crude, ineffective drugs. Electroshock treatments -- lots of them. Ultimately, psychosurgery.

A lobotomy cuts brain circuitry to the prefrontal cortex, home of the personality and executive functioning ability. Lobotomies were pretty mainstream treatment until the development of effective anti-psychotic drugs in the modern era. In Auntie Beehive's case, the treatment worked quite well. She was one of the lucky ones who returned home and remained relatively stable.

Auntie Beehive told me once that the lobotomy's main effect on her was to flatten her personality and emotions. She didn't experience highs, lows or extremes of any kind, no matter what the situation. She just felt an unchanging middle-of-the-road sameness about everything. Auntie Beehive let me feel her lobotomy scars on each side of her head behind her temples. Her skull hadn't healed evenly and there were noticeable ridges in those spots.

But her hair hid those ridges from sight -- yes, the beautiful beehive that was her pride and joy and over which she fussed so much. No one begrudged her that small vanity. She had earned it.

Monday 10 May 2010

My Auntie Beehive

Every week my Auntie Beehive went to the hairdressers to have her hair washed, hennaed and styled. She always wore it up in a beehive. Always. Long after that style's popularity had faded among lesser mortals, Auntie Beehive maintained "her" look.

Auntie Beehive told me once how she kept her hairdo looking nice between visits to the hair salon. While sleeping, she wore a hairnet to protect it. More importantly, she trained herself to sleep on her back, without moving, for the entire night. This minimized any disruption to her hair.

If her head got itchy, she could never just scratch it with her fingers because that would mess up the 'do. So she used a special knitting needle for that purpose, carefully inserting it under her pile of hair to scratch her scalp. The knitting needle did double duty as a bookmark in the huge ornate Bible located on her living room coffee table.

Sunday 9 May 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Everyone's Mom (even Basement Cat's) is made of AWESOME!

Saturday 8 May 2010

Gypsy Letter # 6

I'm still calling this series "Gypsy Letters" although, Goddess knows, Madame Zara has long since abandoned her gypsy friends and joined up with Lady Gaga on tour. Plus she's even abandoned the name "Madame Zara" now in favour of "Lady Zaza" so as to better match her new BFF (*shakes head with exasperation and perhaps just a touch of jealousy too*).

Anyway, here's her latest letter:

Hello! I'm still having a fabulous time touring with Lady Gaga! But I don't want you to think that all I do for her is provide fashion advice. Oh no! I am also her Muse -- She Who Inspires Lady Gaga's unique musical offerings! For example, one night we were playing cards to pass the time and I just happened to say:

Well, one thing led to another and now Lady Gaga has a huge hit on her hands! I helped with the music video too. I suggested using large cats for the opening sequence but the fascist director overruled me and used big dogs instead. He said something about dogs being kinkier? I don't understand. Anyway, I did teach Lady Gaga that very sexy pelvic thrust that she uses to such great effect while wearing black latex -- doesn't she sort of look like Catwoman in that outfit? Hee hee -- that's my doing!

Here's the video to play so you can see for yourself:

Unfortunately, I don't have time to write much more but please, please know that I do still think of you occasionally, you poor ordinary person, you. I haven't forgotten the little people. And I'm not just "bluffin' with my muffin" as Lady Gaga says! Ha ha! Purrs, hugs and air kisses -- Lady Zaza.

Friday 7 May 2010

Pet Snuggies!

Thanks to Wendy of eWitch, I now know that there are Snuggies for dogs, too! Aichihuahua! Here's the actual TV ad:

I couldn't help but notice that the Snuggie people are not so insane as to suggest that cats should wear their product too. But then I saw this video:

Snuggies for everybody! EVERYBODY!!!

Thursday 6 May 2010

All Hail the Snuggie!

The first time I ever saw a Snuggie advertised on TV, I wanted to make vicious, savage fun of it and mercilessly mock anyone who would be so stupid as to buy one. But before I could utter a word, my Rare One exclaimed, "Oh, isn't that a great idea! I want one! I want one for Christmas!" So I had to bite my tongue. Hard. But I did it. And of course I bought her one for Christmas. And not just a regular Snuggie either -- a DELUXE Snuggie. Nothing but the best for MY girl.

You can see what's coming, can't you? I just LUUUUV the Snuggie. I use it all the time, much more than my Rare One does. During my convalescence, the Snuggie has been my constant companion during naps and at night. It is warm and comforting. I cannot imagine life without it now. How did I ever manage to live B.S. (Before Snuggie)?

Wednesday 5 May 2010

Life is Good Award

Jana of The Little Black Book gave me the Life is Good Award a couple of weeks ago. Thanks, Jana, what a beautiful and fun award! But to earn it, I must answer 10 questions posed by Jana, so here goes!

1. Favourite fictional character?
I love all the rabbits in Watership Down by Richard Adams -- Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig, Silver, Dandelion, etc. It's impossible to single out just one.

2. What or who would you like to be born as in your next life?
I want to come back as the Pope so I can drag the Catholic Church kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Women priests! Married clergy! Same-sex marriage! Birth control for everybody! Full reparations to sexual abuse victims! Redistribution of Vatican wealth to the poor! Bwahahaha!

3. Is there anyone in your life with whom you share all your secrets?
Aren't I doing that in answering these questions?

4. What was the most embarrassing nickname you were ever given?
I don't know because the worst ones are always given to you behind your back. But I shudder to think.

5. Who is your favourite Friends character?
Oh, no contest. Phoebe because of her exquisite song Stinky Cat.

6. Tango or the Ballet?
When it comes to dance, I'm afraid Lady Gaga music videos are more to my taste. Yeah, I know I have no class.

7. Blind date or speed dating?
Well, this shows how old I am but I've never speed dated. I've been on blind dates though. The worst one occurred about a million years ago and involved a guy named Suzuki who was a foreign exchange student. Aichihuahua.

8. A home-cooked meal or eating out?
I adore eating food in restaurants prepared by other people. But if a good cook is making me a home-cooked meal, that's great too! See the common denominator?

9. Favourite movie?
Oh, Casablanca, no contest.

10. Last thing you do at night?
Pee. Hey, you asked.

So now I get to pass this Award on to six other bloggers who must answer 10 of MY questions! Here are the nominees . . .

Paul C at quoteflections

The Wizardess epi at Go out beneath the naked night

Eternally Distracted at Eternally Distracted

Corey James at Madtexter

. . . and here are my 10 probing questions for them:

1. What's the best decision you ever made in your life?
2. What's the worst decision you ever made in your life?
3. What's your favourite body part?
4. Whose ass would you most like to kick?
5. What's the first thing you would buy with a million bucks?
6. Star Wars or Star Trek?
7. If you could BE a movie star, who would you want to be?
8. If you could DO a movie star, who would you want to do?
9. If you were about to be executed, what would you want for your last meal?
10. Who's your favourite superhero?

Have fun, kids! I look forward to reading your answers!

Tuesday 4 May 2010

Blogger Buddy Award

In April, Sarita of A College Girl's Days gave me a Blogger Buddy Award, which is very cool! Thanks, Sarita, I appreciate it! And unlike other awards, there aren't any rules or requirements attached to it, which is kind of refreshing too!

But I'm finding it absolutely impossible to single out specific bloggers to pass it on to because as far as I'm concerned, EVERYONE who reads my blog is a special Blogger Buddy! One of the best things about blogging is the "cyber friendships" that result from it. I love getting to know you all through reading your comments and your own blogs, and communicating back and forth. Blogging creates a real little community! Thanks to blogging, I've met wonderful people from all over the world -- people who I would otherwise have never met in a million years!

So I'm passing on this Blogger Buddy Award to each and every one of you! Please accept it in the spirit of internet friendship and pass it on to your own Blogger Buddies!

Monday 3 May 2010

Mental Duck to Mental Swan Award

This week I'm going to catch up on some blog awards that were graciously given to me over the past month while I was recuperating.

Sarah of Cottage Garden Studios has honoured me tremendously with her Mental Duck to Mental Swan Award. This award was inspired by Sarah's friendship with dearly departed Renee of Circling My Head. Here's the story, in Sarah's own words:

This award has been in the past and is again dedicated to Renee as she was the inspiration for it. I repeated 2nd grade and was thereafter labeled as the slow one in the family. Despite graduating with honors in high school and being on the deans list in college . . . I was still the slow one. I was in my 40s before I realized I was not so slow and well, pretty smart after all. During a discussion one day with Renee about how this had kept me from doing so many things in my life she said to me . . . "Sarah, you have gone from Mental Duck to Mental Swan."

I can only say this had a profound effect on me . . . her words! So this award is dedicated to all of those who are just finding their beautiful big swan wings and those who encourage others to find and spread them. Thank you Renee for helping me find mine!!

This award is not one to be passed on . . . it is a gift from me to you . . . .

Isn't that a beautiful story about the origins of a beautiful award? To make this even more meaningful, Sarah gave out the award on March 28th, the date of Renee's birthday.

Thank you, Sarah -- I cannot express how privileged I feel to be included among those who have received this award! For many years, I was a swan in duck's clothing too so I know that there is nothing better than becoming who you are truly meant to be. Sarah, your wonderful example and your beautiful award encourage the swan in all of us! Many, many thanks!

Saturday 1 May 2010

Beltane / May Day

Every year around this time, my Rare One waxes poetic and recites (seemingly incessantly) a little verse that she learned during her youth on the Canadian prairies:

Hurray, hurray, the first of May!
Outdoor screwing starts today!

Now, as poetry, this doggerel ranks right up there with the equally popular rhyme from the hippy era:

If this van's a-rockin',
Don't come a-knockin'!

Nevertheless, the first of May verse does genuinely express the pagan spirit of Beltane, when Celtic people traditionally had sex outdoors in the fields and woods to encourage the fecundity of the Goddess and the Green Man. Did this verse have its origin in the ancient pagan rites of the Old Country or is it simply a randy 20th century expression of campground horniness? Who knows?

Enjoy your maypole dancing, everyone!