Call Mike Holmes…

Finally got tired of the WordPress message telling me to upgrade to 2.5.1, so I backed up and got going on the upgrade. And cocked it up, as usual. Worse this time, however, I think I’ve cleaned things up, and there’s no more upgrade message, so I think we’re okay.

That said, if you see anything borked, please let me know.

Bah. I need people to do this stuff for me. Where’s my four-hour work week?! πŸ™‚

Lovely designs

From the artist who gave us the Twitter Fail Whale (Fhale Whale?):

Yiying Lu

Something stunning on pretty much every eye candy-soaked page. πŸ™‚

At long last, average.

I would like to meet an average girl. An all-around average one. I never have, and can’t say I’m convinced they exist.

I do not have the good fortune to be an average girl, you see. A bit too short, a bit too pear-shaped, shoes that better fit the boxes than their contents… What fits me is on the fringe. Hell, even my hair insists on being difficult by being ridiculously fine.

Same with my friends. Too tall here, too petite there. No boobs, big boobs. No bum, a trunk fulla junk. Teeny tiny feet, or approaching sizes for which you have to wrestle drag queens to get the good merchandise.


And yet, the retail world seems convinced average girls exist. Overwhelmingly that’s who they advertise to and stock for. And man, those average girls have some great variety of choice. Us non-average girls? Half a rack. In the back. In flesh tone.

When you are not average, you are dunked repeatedly in the frustration of trying to be average, to live up to the social expectation that you will appear average. You will not, however, be given access to the resources necessary to pull this off, as I have noted.

I suppose if we were all fabulously rich, we could just keep haute couture designers in our pockets and sketch our our whims on cocktail napkins, to be lovingly crafted from gossamer and spider silk by industrious pixies, or however the hell that industry works.

However, I ramble. The point of this is, amazingly enough, that sometimes you get surprised. You will uncross your fingers long enough to slip something on, and you will open your eyes and… voila. You are an average girl.

No, better.

You are glam.

As background, I am going to be a bridesmaid in Other Sherry’s wedding in the fall. We were impressively lucky in the dress-buying category, particularly considering all three of us are completely different sizes and colouring, and there’s a 15-year age range. However, that left shoes, which we had to figure out on our own.

Remember the shoe box feet? Right. Triple that sentiment for shopping for dress shoes. Because women’s dress shoes are meant to make your feet look sexy, minimization is key — of the amount of material, of the size of your foot, etc. Big, flat, wide feet do not lend themselves well to either minimal amounts of material nor to visual sleight of foot attempts.

To say I wasn’t looking forward to this task would be a mild understatement…

So I decided to be creative. Attempt to forgo the inevitable mall miseries and try my luck online. Enter Zappos Canada. (I had a great experience buying Mom’s Christmas slippers with them, and they allow you to search for lots of parameters, including W I D E, bless ’em.)

And verily did I search for black, medium-heeled, wide width dress shoes. And lo, I found some I liked, that were sexy, and that came in “special needs” width. I said a little prayer and entered my Visa number…

A few days later they arrived, and I removed them from the box with trepidation. My history doesn’t give me innate confidence in experiments like this working, and the widest width the shoes came in was EE. I’ve never had my feet measured (at least not as an adult), so I didn’t know if that was correct or not.

I uncrossed my fingers, slid them on my feet, buckled the strap, and… they fit. Perfectly they fit. No pinching, no digging, no rubbing. And they have a plastic panel across the instep. (Women will understand why this makes the miracle of their comfort level extra amazing.)

And so I took a test stroll around the apartment. Success. Then I took a test strut, adding in a test sashay right at the end. Success. I made have done a little test dancing. Great success.

So you see, ladies and gentlemen, the moral of the story is that yes, it is possible, once upon a time, if you are a very good girl with a credit card, to be average.



This is a picture I did not take at the nearby Chrysler dealership, where the gleaming new Dodge Challenger was parked at a rakish and inviting angle out out front. Two middle-aged men circled it in near-comic stereotypical TV commercial fashion, a combination of 40-year-old muscular nostalgia and naked automotive lust in their eyes.

Marketing: it’s a lifesaver!

A year or so ago, I opened a bottle of wine one evening, then sat down to relax and enjoy it. A new world red of some kind — Australian or Chilean. Within a few minutes, my face got really hot, and started to itch. I had no idea what was going on — I’d been petting the cat and thought maybe I’d suddenly developed an allergy to him. I looked in the mirror, and my face looked like I had the worst sunburn ever, bright red and a bit swollen. Yikes.

It went away within an hour or so, and I didn’t worry too much about it. I’ve never had allergies, I was okay, and hey, I’m not giving up wine without a fight. It’s happened again intermittently since, but usually more mild, though it has expanded its repertoire and has occurred with beer and vodka-based liqueur, too. (It occurs to me that for a long time I thought it was only red wine probably since that’s what I usually drink.)

Then this March, immediately after congratulating myself for surviving the winter without getting sick, I got a cold, which lingered a bit longer than normal (especially for me). And then even afterward, not all the symptoms went away. I was sneezing fairly regularly and blowing my nose a lot. (And, still being winter, getting nose bleeds — fun!)

After a few weeks I started to wonder what the hell was going on, because as winter turned to spring, this sure as hell seemed like allergies (which I’d never had). Sherry and I discussed some possibilities — Anatole (though I’d just come from living with cats before I got him), unseen mold in the building, etc. What was weird was that I felt best when I was outside. Cut grass, pollinating trees, etc. — none of it bothered me, though it would leave Sherry and Andrew sneezing and snotty.

Oh, I managed to get conjunctivitis and a strep infection, too, and pretty much ended up with my own parking space at the doctor’s office.

Anyway, I started thinking it might be a good idea to get checked out, which didn’t happen right away because I wanted to wait til my own doctor was back to work (she had been off for some time after a knee reconstruction following a bad skiing accident). And then there was France, etc.

The visit finally took place recently, and she said it sounded like allergies and food sensitivity (I guess they classify them separately?) I got booked in for tests with an allergist (coming up next month), and was prescribed a nasal spray (which, apparently, if I don’t use it right, could cause a fungal infection in my throat — lovely!) and EpiPens. Yup, like for anaphylactic reactions.

I guess she didn’t like the sound of what has intermittently occurred with the wine drinking. She was also concerned when I compared my reactions in severity to ones my brother’s had, but then I pointed out that he and I are not related… (She recently developed a bee allergy, so I think she’s just in extra cautious mode for everyone.)

Only got the prescriptions filled this weekend, since I was waiting for the policy/plan info at the new job. Since I’d never had either prescription before, I got the run-down from the pharmacist, who seemed to have a bit of trouble with the EpiPen. I guess they’ve changed the design and there are a lot of steps leading up to “jam into body, get the hell to the hospital”. Good to know that by the looks of it I’ll be able to save myself… if I go get an engineering degree first. Sheesh.

Oh, and then there’s the packaging. Cuz, y’know, if my sensitivity decides to randomly become anaphylaxis, I know I’m going to pause during my throat-closing panic to think, “Hey, that is a bold new design!”


This may or may not be 1993…

In honour of the occasion of a stag ‘n’ doe for someone I don’t remember, my brother decided that since lots of the old gang were planning on going, that he would have a get-together at my parents’ place yesterday. (The stag ‘n’ doe was in Ayton.) I was invited, and so invited Andrew to this fine example of a Grey County get-together. I also suggested we treat young Gordon to a day in the country.

The word of the day for part of the afternoon, anyway, was “decade”, as in that’s how long (at least) it had been since some of us had seen each other. Hell, one friend of my brother’s had been surprised to discover that I lived in Canada these days (and for the last, oh, eight…)

However, as these things do, everything fell back into old patterns. Beer coolers by the fire, camp chairs strewn about, a game of Cups going on the front lawn, etc. Only some crows’ feet, more tattoos, and, oh yeah, a couple of babies gave away the fact that a few years had passed.

It was a good time, and the food was most splendid. One of Chad’s friends is a butcher now, and appeared to have brought an entire cow in the form of really excellent steaks. At one point the entire bbq was covered with them. Dad was, of course, in his element.

There were also four salads, tortillas and salsa, corn on the cob, and a bit more meat: beef kebabs, chicken breasts, shrimp skewers, and potato sausage. Most of them had never even heard of potato sausage. It disappeared fast. πŸ™‚ I brought a chocolate hazelnut truffle cake and Mom had lots of strawberries, but everyone was too full after dinner, and then not long after headed out for the stag ‘n’ doe, so we got to enjoy those ourselves around 10pm. Nom nom nom.

Dad and I were on “drive the liquored people to the party” duty, which, just like old times, was fairly hilarious. I taught one guy a new word: elocution. He was going to use it to pick up chicks, he told me. Good luck with that… I felt vaguely bad leaving Dad to be the sole chauffeur back to their place afterwards (prolly 2-3am), but Dad wakes up and goes to sleep easily, and it’s not a far drive by any means. As it was Andrew and I were both head-bobbingly tired by the time we got home.

Chad with video camera

My brother with his favourite toy (was a birthday present). I took a picture of him videoing me. And then I showed him the picture (new camera) and he took a video of the viewer on my camera. Cuz we’re totally meta like that. πŸ™‚

Dad with meat, round two

The Master at work. πŸ™‚ This was round two — first bbq fill-up had been with steaks (you can see two extras on the top grill).

chicken, kebabs, potato sausage

Fortunately, there were no vegetarians present…

Dad and Chad at bbq

The Master and his apprentice. I had to include this one because of my brother’s fairly well-known passion for shrimp. Also, because after dinner they made us finish up the shrimp skewers, and I kept running into people walking around with beer in one hand and shrimp in the other. It was funny. πŸ™‚

the pack on the move

In addition to Gordie (on the left), there was Austin, the beagle, and Dexter, the golden. I felt bad for Austin, since he had to stay tied up while the other gents roamed and battled and whatnot.

folks around the bonfire

Yeah, so basically this picture could have been taken any time in the past 15-20 years…

Cadence saying hi

Miss Princess was quite popular, not surprisingly. (Wore Grandma out, though.) Nice to know that my niece, with her eye capsules, would qualify for Cute Overload. She’s not terribly knobbular, though… πŸ™‚

Cadence and grandma

Grandma’s all, “Who’s the most precious baby in the whole world?” and Cadence is like, “WTF, dude, what’re those dogs doing?”

Cadence mugging

The child may, perhaps, be accustomed to having her picture taken…

Dexter running

OMG, he’s coming straight for me! Sorry, dude, not so much with the menace. Heh.

Gordie running

Did I mention that this was the best day of his LIFE? Nice, long car ride with two windows to stick his head out of, loose all day running around in the country, other dogs to play with, and when one of Chad’s friends accidentally upended his plate, half a big, juicy steak right down the gullet. (He was trying to swallow it whole, but only managed half before Dexter got the rest.) Plus a few handfuls of assorted fat and gristle, etc. VERY mellow dog on the way home, thank goodness.

Andrew and Melle

Andrew and I while waiting for our turn to suck really badly at Cups. Don’t ask me about the yellow marksman’s sunglasses. Chad found two pairs of them in the house somewhere and so he and assorted other people were running around wearing them all day.

close-up of a lime

Chad and Patience got me a new camera for my birthday. Here I am testing out the macro setting on a lime. I know. Art. Srsly.

rose after the rain

Here’s a marvelously cliched picture of a rose I took after it rained the night before. (Took that with the old camera.)