Saturday, September 29, 2012

Separated at Birth ... Prince Harry and His Cat

On occasion, people have called me ... insane ... and they're probably right.  I sometimes see things other people don't see.  My friend Carla had a photo of this stray ginger cat on her blog, and I laughed out loud when I saw him.  If that were my cat, I would name him Prince Harry ... a prince of a cat, lord of the alleyways, the master of mice.  And he's almost as cute as Harry.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Is Arson Illegal? ... Kidding, Kidding ... (Or am I...?)

The neighbourhood where I live is a quiet residential district in Vancouver called Kitsilano, or "Kits". The population of Kits is approximately 50,000, and the area is made up of mainly early 20th Century Arts and Crafts bungalows and beautiful heritage houses like the one in this photo. It’s a lovely, unique neighbourhood with great shopping and beautiful beaches. I have lived in Kits for several years, and in my current apartment for over 14 years.


The house next door to mine is an old turn-of-the-century house that has been renovated into separate apartments, and the owner, Mr. Robert Helgason of Port Moody, B.C., rents only to university students. It's like living next door to a fraternity house. Last night there was yet another keg party going on, and this time I took a video of the festivities. It was dark, so you aren't able to see much, but you can hear it. Oh, goodness, you can hear it

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to offer me some suggestions -- any suggestions -- as to how I can get rid of these folks once and for all. Perhaps the sound of bagpipes at 4:00 in the morning might do the trick. Or I would be happy to send them some of my wasps.  My friend Russell suggested lobbing a stink bomb into the middle of the mob.  I rather like that suggestion.  Anything to get rid of these noisy neighbours.

This video was taken from my bedroom window last night as I was trying to sleep.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I'm In Love...!

Is it possible to be in love with a vacuum cleaner?  I have discovered this wonderful machine called a Dirt Devil cordless, rechargable all surface vacuum, and now all I want to do is vacuum.  Anyone who knows me, knows that housecleaning is not on the list of my top ten favourite things to do.  It's not even on the top 100.  I like having a clean house, and I feel more relaxed when things are organized rather than topsy turvy.  But doing it?  That's a whole other story.  And way down on the bottom of the list is vacuuming.  I detest vacuuming.  Vacuums are heavy, they're noisy, they're dirty, and they always have awkward cords that get in the way.  The other day I decided I needed a new vacuum cleaner, so  I typed "cordless vacuum cleaners" into Google, and up popped this little Dirt Devil.  Where has it been all my life?  It's lightweight, it has a ball pivot just like the much more expensive Dyson, it lies flat to go under bookcases and furniture, it cleans really well, and -- ta-da -- there is no cord.  You just plug it into a charger and in a few hours it's ready to go.  In the past few years I have spent so much money trying to find the perfect vacuum cleaner, and each was as bad as the last -- heavy, noisy, clumsy and with a ratty cord that never ... quite ... reached ... that farthest corner of the living room.

I love my little cordless Dirt Devil.

Now, if you will excuse me, I see a little spot under the TV that needs to be vacuumed.

Monday, September 24, 2012


My Family, Edmund Tarbell, 1914

Is there a nice family out there who would like to adopt me? I'm housebroken, I'm clean and I don't bite -- well, hardly ever. And I'm so tired of the drama. I believe it is possible to go through life without constant anger, yelling, slamming down the telephone ... drama.  It just goes on year after year after year...  It can wear a person down, and the constant bickering can make a person feel anxious.  One gets tired of feeling inferior, not "as good as".  My mother used to say, "Life is short, and you're dead a long time..."  It's true, we only have today.  We need to enjoy it.  There are folks out there who go through life without any stress, tension or drama.  I want to be one of them.  All I would like is some serenity.  I don't think that is too much to ask.  Just serenity.  No more drama.  It's so tiresome.  Enough, already.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Imaginary Friends...

When I was a little girl, I had an imaginary friend named Patty Kaye.  I grew up in a house with two older brothers, and I very much wanted a sister.  Patty Kaye filled the bill perfectly.  She and I did everything and went everywhere together.  For my fourth birthday party I insisted there should be a place setting for Patty Kaye, because I knew she would be very upset if I didn't include her in the festivities.  And believe me, you didn't want to upset Patty Kaye.  She could be very mean when she was angry.  But she was my constant companion, and was always with me.  I can't quite remember when Patty Kaye left me, perhaps I left her, and I have a feeling that if I listen very closely, I can still feel her presence.  Perhaps she was my guardian angel, or perhaps she was just the lonely spirit of a child who had passed on, and needed to still feel connected to this world.

Almost universally, all children have an imaginary friend.  They usually come to visit the children at around the age of three and they leave at around the age of six or seven.  My daughter had an imaginary friend named Katy.  She even introduced Katy to my mother, who managed to have a long conversation with her one day, and they all had a wonderful tea party.  Phinnaeus had two imaginary friends -- Bum and Bacon -- and they were like a comedy team.  Bum and Bacon used to wrestle with each other, and generally caused a lot of mayhem.  Phinnaeus was always trying to break them up, and he actually became quite exasperated with them at one point.  He would be sitting with us at the dinner table, or in the living room, and he would hear their commotion, and would get up and go into the bedroom to referee some sort of melee that was taking place.  I think he was relieved when they finally took their leave.  I don't know if Marigold had an imaginary friend, she never told us, but I'm sure she did. I certainly hope she did. Imaginary friends are a very important part of every child's life and are very real.  To many children they are indistinguishable from real people. Imaginary companions are an integral part of many children's lives. They provide comfort in times of stress, companionship when they're lonely, someone to boss around when they feel powerless, and someone to blame for the broken lamp in the living room. Most important, an imaginary companion is a tool young children use to help them make sense of the adult world. Kutner, Lawrence. Insights for Parents: Midnight Monsters and Imaginary Companions.

I believe imaginary friends are real spirits. I have always been able to sense the presence of spirits.  Sometimes it's comforting, and sometimes it can be disconcerting.  I remember Patty Kaye was my closest companion, and she could read my thoughts.  She knew what I was going to do before I did it.  She steered me away from danger and kept me out of trouble many times.  At other times she led me astray -- far astray.  I was once arrested, at the age of four -- for something Patty Kaye did.  My mother asked me to take the garbage out to the compost at the back of the garden.  The garbage was filled with potato peelings, and Patty Kaye decided it would be more fun to dump them over the neighbour's fence.  I couldn't stop her.  The neighbours called the police.  Constable Brooksbank marched into our living room, took one look at me and bellowed, "Is this the criminal?"

"No," I said, "Patty Kaye did it, but she's hiding."

Patty Kaye still occasionally gets me into trouble, and if I listen very closely, I can hear her giggling.

Who was your imaginary friend?  I'll bet he or she is still with you.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

It's A Conspiracy...!

Normally, I do not subscribe to conspiracy theories. I don't believe Princess Diana was eliminated by little grey aliens because she discovered that Elvis killed JFK, and he and Marilyn buried the body in Area 51, close to where all six moon landings were staged. And I don't believe the World Trade Center disaster was an inside job by the Illuminati. I mean, really, come on... Conspiracy theories are really just ghost stories for adults. Everyone loves to be frightened by things they cannot explain -- never mind the fact that for each and every conspiracy theory there is a valid, scientific explanation that can be proven. But, don't tell that to the conspiracy theorists. You would ruin their fun, and probably put Snopes out of business. People love to believe their lives are being run by aliens, or strange dark figures lurking in the background. It makes people's otherwise mundane lives seem so much more interesting. No one wants to believe that about 99% of the world's population just goes about the business of living their day-to-day lives. Believing that we are being manipulated by other people -- like puppets -- makes it all so much more fun. Conspiracy theories and conspiracy theorists will always be with us. According to one of Newton's Laws of Motion: To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction: or the mutual actions of two bodies upon each other are always equal, and directed to contrary parts. In other words, all major world events will have a conspiracy theory. It just goes with the territory.


What was the deal with MasterChef the other night?  This is a picture of the actual winning dish.  How did a bacon and eggs trump a beautiful rack of lamb with green curry sauce.  I mean really, come on...!  Christina Ha's dish was Vietnamese comfort food -- definitely not haute cuisine -- while Josh Mark's dish was beautifully executed and presented.  Christine's dish was cooked in a pressure cooker.  Really, judges?  A pressure cooker?  On MasterChef?  I believe the judges wanted Christine to win right from the start.  What a great human interest story, and wouldn't that sell cookbooks.  I also believe Josh was brought back to be the perfect foil for her to win against -- an even better human interest story.  The only problem with that was, as far as gourmet cooking is concerned, Josh out-cooked Christine in the final challenge, and the judges had to work very hard to find anything wrong with his dishes, praising his sophisticated menu, his sauces, his imagination and his presentation.  But in the end, Vietnamese comfort food won the challenge.  They should rename the show YourMother'sHomeCookedCornedBeefHashChef, not MasterChef.

It's a conspiracy, I tell you...

Friday, September 7, 2012

Marigold ... In High School...!

Well, it's official -- Marigold is now in high school. Okay, what I would like to know, is how did that happen? It was just last week, she was a little wee girl. How did she get to be in high school? I remember once, several years ago, she came to stay overnight with me, just by herself, without her big brother there. She was so sweet and adorable. As I was walking her home the next day, she said to me, "Oma, even when you are up in Heaven, I will still love you." That is one of my fondest memories of Marigold. It melted my heart. Marigold is rather quiet and shy, with just a tiny touch of Goth somewhere in there, but she is also very much her own person -- just ask her big brother. They are very different, but in their own way they're also very close. They are sympatico.

Marigold will probably take a few days to find her sea legs in the stormy waters of high school, but she'll be just fine. The day before her first day of high school, I asked her if she was nervous. She said, "No, but I'm a little bit scared that the work will be hard." If anyone can do it, Marigold can. And she has her big brother to look out for her

Right, Phinnaeus?

The high school Marigold and Phinnaeus are attending is a large school with loads of extra curricular activities -- band, drama, clubs, various sports -- and I know they both will shine. I just don't want the next few years go to by too quickly. Time has a way of doing that, and I don't like it

Hit the books, Marigold and Phinnaeus, continue to get good marks, but most of all, have fun. Make these high school years some of your best years.

Love and hugs,


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Beware My Sting...

On Sunday I was stung by a wasp.  Holy-freakin'-doodle those are nasty little b*ggers.  Apparently there is a nest of them just outside my bedroom window, and on Sunday morning I had eight of them cruising around in my bedroom.  One of them was on my bedroom mirror, admiring himself, and I slid the cupboard door open.  He was not happy about that, and flew into my nightgown and stung me on a very sensitive part of my body.  Okay, he stung me on my boob.


I was sidelined for the whole day, with pain, itchiness and a general feeling of being unwell.  I was stuck indoors because I could not put on any clothing, except a very loose-fitting shirt, and I found the best remedy for the pain was calamine lotion.

"If I be waspish, best beware my sting." ~~ Katherine, Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare

I can vouch for that.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Case of Mistaken Identity...

Yesterday I visited a wonderful exhibit of Leonardo da Vinci's brilliant inventions and paintings here at Science World in Vancouver.  Da Vinci was a genius, of that there is no doubt.  His paintings are  not only masterpieces, they are architecturally perfect.  It took da Vinci three years to paint "The Last Supper", which is a relatively short period of time, considering the technique he used.  Rather than painting on wet plaster, fresco, he painted it on a dry wall and then sealed it with pitch and gesso.  The painting depicts the moment just after Christ tells his disciples that one of them would betray him that night, and they are all vehemently denying it.  Notice their body language.

As I looked at the painting, there were two delightful little five-year old twins sitting beside me.  The little boy announced very grandly to his sister that "The man in the middle of the painting is Leonardo da Vinci".  To which the little girl replied, "No it isn't, it's Jesus Christ".  Much discussion ensued.  Their Mom finally stepped in and said, yes indeed, it was Jesus.  I chuckled.

It's true.  No one knows for sure what Jesus looked like.  The Bible does not describe his appearance, although his image has become one of the most recognizable images in history.  He is generally depicted as tall, blue-eyed and golden-haired.  Jesus was Middle Eastern, so therefore he would probably have been fairly dark and swarthy.  He would also, in all likelihood, not have been very tall.

Recently, an elderly woman in the village of Borja, near the city of Zaragoza volunteered to restore a fresco of Christ by the 19th century artist, Elías García Martínez, in Santuario de la Misericordia, a Roman Catholic church. Bless her heart, her intentions were good, even if her artistic talents were sadly lacking.  The new painting has taken on a life of its own, and has generated millions of Twitter fans, and has generated tourism for the small town in Italy.  And from what little we know of Jesus, it may actually be a closer representation of him than we think.  Would Jesus be amused?  I have a feeling he would have a really good chuckle. Would he forgive Cecilia Giménez for her embarrassing mistake? Well, what do you think?  She didn't really betray him; she just made him look a little bit like one of the Kardashians.  That's not a sin, is it?  Is it...?