Now With Less Barf

January sucks like a Dyson, doesn’t it? It’s cold, dark and the Christmas bills just keep pouring in. I ended up with a stomach bug and was abed for 4 days.

In my fevered and dehydrated stupor, I thought about you guys. No, really. I wondered what you were doing, if you were safe and warm and not vomiting every half hour. Then I sort of started to hate you, just a bit, for getting on with your stupid, happy, unvomitty lives. And I felt guilty for hating you all, as I’m Canadian, and we don’t hate randomly. We might express mild disapproval for something, but hating? No. We are the sort of folks who will gently put down our beer, put up our hand in a non-aggressive manner and with a slightly furrowed brow, ask you politely to stop doing that which offends us or we may have to raise our voice somewhat.

Like a good Canadian, I decided to channel my guilt and untoward feelings.

I thought, “How can I change the world? Make this a better, less nauseous place for all of us?” And I made these.

 

card 2

card 3

Less barfy greeting cards! I only put a couple of them up here, but you get the idea. Click on the card and it’ll take you to the store. I hope you like them.

And if you’ve got anything you think needs to be on a card, leave me a comment and I’ll see what I can do.

Love to you all.

xxoo

Wordless Wednesday (Sort of.)

When anxiety starts to overwhelm me, I take a walk or drive, get out of my head and look at the world around me. It helps me see the beauty and serenity in life.

The North side of my yard.

Some of my neighbours. They’re quiet and their yard is gorgeous.

A very small lake near my house.

Spring fields make me feel hopeful.

New baby neighbours. We watched them waddle across the field to get to the water.

What we call a fence. No pickets here.

I hope you enjoyed my hood. Come over sometime. I’ll make you dinner.

(Click on the pictures to make them larger.)

Back On The Horse

Writers Block is a bitch.

Last week, I had the start of my Red Dress Moment, and I had several thousand people visit my humble little place here. Quite frankly, it scared the shit out of me! All of a sudden, I felt like everyone was looking at me. And all I wanted to do was turtle.

It’s not that I don’t feel oh-so-honoured. (Thank you, Jenny!) I do. I’m glad you stopped by. (Oh hey, to whoever accidentally lit this place on fire? You can’t smoke in here!) But I’ve put this pressure on myself to do right by everyone watching and reading me. Which is ridiculous.

I am just me. This blog is a lot of satire, just to make you laugh. Because I love that feeling, making someone laugh. It breaks the tension, eases people. And if you have gas, a big hearty guffaw covers the sound of a big banging fart. (Yes, feel free. Break wind around me. Everyone else fucking does.) This is also my place to be very serious. With the only hope that maybe I can touch someone’s heart, just a little. You will definitely know the difference. I categorize things as Ducky (fun, good) and Not Ducky (shit that bothers me, or means something). Which also leads me to my blog name. (See the segue there? My god, I’m brilliant!)

I chose One Odd Duck because that’s how I’ve always felt. Different. Not quite the same as everyone else. But I’ve realized that this duck? Maybe not so odd. Methinks there are a ton of folks who think and go through all the same things I do. And that makes me feel less alone. Less odd. A bit more Ducky. So I thank you for reading me. For being here. Cheering me on.

A friend of mine tagged me in a meme today. Erin at www.myweeklyjoy.com. (Actually, I’ve been tagged in a couple of others that I’ll get to this week as well. Wink.) I thunk to myself  “Self, what better way to start writing again?” So anxiety be damned! I’m back on the horse! (And off the wagon!) YeeHaw!

This meme is called Eleven Things.

First off, 11 Random Things About Me.

1. Wait. My left foot is super itchy. Okay, better.

2. I sometimes have trouble focusing.

3. I wear a robe as a sweater at home. If you are a really good friend of mine, I will wear it to your house. And you will start feeling comfortable enough to start wearing yours in front of me.

4. I’ve become a much better friend as I get older. I fuss over my friends. To the point where I have heard the words “For Chrissake, will you quit it! My bowels are fine!” I guess I really value them. If you are my friend, I will show up at your house with a gun and a spade, no questions asked.

5. My heritage is Scottish and Dutch. That means I really like to drink, but I don’t want to pay for it!

6. My kid is the best thing that ever happened to me. I look forward to every day because of him. He keeps me here, in this life, when my anxiety and depression are so overwhelming that I just want to go. He knows how much he means to me. He also knows that it is not his fault.

7. I almost brought a Bum home today. Well, I don’t know if he was a Bum, but he asked me for money for a loaf of bread and he looked dirty and tired. Was about 50 years old or so. I seriously thought about it because I hate seeing anyone or thing down on their luck. Then the little voice in my head said “You have a child. What if he is a pedophile?” And I hate that we as a society have to think that way. I didn’t bring him home. But I did give him money.

8. I just want everyone to be happy and safe. I know that’s not possible, but it’s what I wish.

9. I worked in health care for years, in all different areas. I was good at it, but I burnt out and started to hate it. I thinks it’s important to know that about yourself and quit when you need to.

10. I would marry my husband all over again. He is my mate. He surprises me all the time. He “accidentally” throws things at me. Like every time we fish, he’ll take an ugly slimy thing off the line to throw back, and it will come flying at my face. I think it’s deliberate. He says not. Sometimes I want to kill him, but I think that’s par for the course.

11. I’m a book-a-holic. I own too many books. I’m very learned on a wide variety of shit that doesn’t matter.

Okay! So, now comes the part where I respond to 11 questions Erin laid out.

(This is long! I’m tired. You probably are too. Go have a nap and come back later. I’ll wait.)

*whistling* *picking nails* I wonder if I can Yodel? *yodeling*

Hey! You’re back! Did you know I could yodel?

1. What’s the last song that made you want to dance? Metallica-Whiskey In A Jar.

2.  Favorite shoes you ever had? In my punk days, I had a pair of kitten heeled zip up boots that were ankle height and had three skull buckles to fasten the across the top of my foot. I bought them second-hand for cheap. I loved them. My mother threw them out 15 years ago. I am still mad.

3. What movie most resembles your life? Hmm. A tie between Steel Magnolias and Fight Club.

4. What is your passion in life? This. Several other things. I’d like to get good at them all.

5. What’s the first thing you would buy for yourself if you won millions of dollars. Perky boobs. Then I’d build a beautiful retirement home for disabled people with the best staff on the face of the planet. Then some Botox.

6. Favorite person in the world? My son. Then the Dalai Lama. I’d like to give that crazy old man a hug.

7.  Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella? Sleeping Beauty. I loves me some good snoozing. If napping was a sport, I’d go for the gold.

8. Favorite outdoor activity? I like doing yoga outside on my grass. It makes me feel like a kid because I get a great upside down perspective on the horizon. And I get to lay down at the end. Maybe have a nap.

9. Person who shaped your life the most? Pema Chodron. Dorothy Parker. Cher. Mostly Cher. This is hard, Erin!

10. What does your dream house look like? Exactly the one I have now. As long as the same people are in it.

11. What is your perfect date night? Date night? Wha- Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!! What is that? (Actually, me and hubby are going to a Full Frontal Nerdity expo in April. Date night? Date weekend! Hello! Did I mention the whole cast of Star Trek: Next Generation will be there? I’m taking Will Wheaton cookies and Flonase. His sinuses are bad. And I’d like to bake for him. Does anyone know if he has a peanut allergy? I don’t want to kill him.)

So, now it’s my turn to make up 11 questions to be answered.

1. If you could turn water into wine, would you share with your friends? And what’s your address?

2. If you had to be on a deserted island for an extended period with just your spouse, would you consider eating him/her?

3. Do you own a cat? (If not, I’ve got one for you.)

4. Are you ready for the zombie apocalypse?

5. Can you explain why my neighbour’s horses and dogs end up finding my yard to crap in? I’d really like to know.

6. Where were you on the 17th of November at 11:32 p.m? (Your wife wanted me to ask you.)

7. Why is my left foot so itchy?

8. Disco or Death Metal?

9. If Gretzky and Jesus were playing street hockey, who do you think would stop for a beer first?

10. What makes you snort laugh?

11. If I invited you for drinks and target practice this weekend, would you come?

Wow! That was hard. I feel a bit like a cop.

The rules for this meme are that I have to go tag 11 bloggers to do the same. I will, but I’ll just warn you all – you will not see me coming. I move like the wind and I fit in small closets so you won’t be able to get away. To anyone else that wants to respond to these, have at it! Comments are open for everybody and I’d love to see how you answer!

Well, I think I’m getting over my anxiety. Thanks Erin. (You should go read her. She’s pretty sweet.)

Thanks

The other day my son and I decided to take a different route home. We do that sometimes. Just find a new road and see where it leads. I glanced out my window and saw this;

Awesome.

It’s just out of the ditch, no discernible home nearby. Not in a pasture, just in a bluff of trees. Someone’s old homestead. Why would anyone plant geraniums there? They were all alive and had obviously been tended. Why?

Well, for me. And my son. And now you. A random act of beauty just to make every person passing by smile.

My son and I talked about it. He thought he’d like to make a sign.

Thanks, stranger!

Sometimes the best things are the ones that surprise you the most.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Soph

I first met Sophie when we were twenty-two. I was living with her cousin, a musician in the infamous downtown eastside of Vancouver. We were living the late night ‘glamorous’ artistic lifestyle. The best gallery openings were always one of our friends, the best parties started at one a.m. Poetry readings, indie films, too many cigarettes, tons of coffee, too much cheap booze. Various illegal things. Some people fell by the wayside. But in all, we hung out as a pack, promotive of each other, all of us feeling on the fringe of society. Very creative, very cool.

Then Sophie came to town. Pale blonde, blue eyes, clean-cut, good clothes. Piercing gaze. Sparkling with intelligence. Together. Smart. Too smart. In my thrift store clothes, with my crap hairdressing job, this confident, conservative, multilingual success set me to quaking in my fish net stockings and pointy toed skull boots.

Oh, fuck.

God, I was intimidated. Could barely speak for fear of my farm girl accent coming out.

My chap and I took her out for drinks. Yes, I was appraised. Yes, I think she thought I was a dullard. The pointed questions and my stuttering responses mostly likely left her no doubt. Silly young punk or not, I knew when I was in the presence of greatness. I kept my filthy mouth shut.

Eventually late in the eve, we found ourselves at a speakeasy with a punk band playing. Of course I knew all there, so grabbing my plastic glass of overpriced warm beer, I beat a retreat to safe faces and left the cousins to themselves. An hour, two, later, one of my fellows looked over my shoulder at the mosh pit and with wonder and wide eyes said, “look at that.”

There was Soph, floating above a sea of mohawks, safety pins and leather, her $200 blouse filthy and untucked, letting herself go to the anarchy of the music. She stayed at the front of the stage for the rest of the night, elbows flying, head bobbing, cursing, swearing, screaming and shoving. She held her own.

Well. I fell in love. I may have even kissed her on the mouth that night.

The next day over hung over coffee, we bonded. I dropped my guard and a true friendship, honest and unquestioning, was born. Nothing off-limits, no judgement.

My fella and I broke a couple of years later. Soph said that didn’t matter. I  was her family now, and always would be. I felt the same.

The trappings have changed. We’ve taken our lumps. Grown. Now we exist in children, mortgages, careers. The cars are better. The worries are different. But we’re not.

Some people stick. Thank god.

Love you, Sister Friend.

Stubby

One of the tough parts of being an only child is the loneliness. We live in the country, and most of the kids in our subdivision are somewhere between nine and thirteen years old. My kid is six and a half. That’s a bit of an age difference, but boys can always seem to find a common play interest. Gotta bike? Cool, c’mon. Hockey stick? You’re in. Wanna see a dead gopher my Dad shot that the crows have eaten the eyeballs out of? DO I! It seems the movie ‘Stand By Me’ rings wholly true when it comes to boys. Anything gross, tricky or dangerous to the point just shy of death can bring them together regardless of age or economic standing. Just as long as you are not a cry baby. Then you suck.

The local boys have started to include my boy. He’s old enough now. And he doesn’t cry.

Great by me. But, they have to come here or be in my yard. I make them fries, give them juice. I don’t hover but am always within proximity. They are respectful, say please and thank you and clean up when they are done. I’m the mom in the ‘hood the others can trust.

My neighbour’s kid came over for a couple of hours. He’s twelve. His folks aren’t together, they work a lot, and he seems to have spent too much time with games and computers. I think he likes our family and he’s kind to my boy. He asked for some paper to play Dungeons and Dragons. I know it’s a fantasy game and I just assumed it was about dungeons and dragons. Apparently, I am stupid and do not know what those words mean.

When I went to tidy up, I found this:

What. The. Fuck?

First off, I  have to give this kid a shout out for artistic merit. This boy has one hell of an imagination, although, granted, a bit violent. Okay, really fucking violent but whatever. They were never alone and after this never will be. I don’t think he’s dangerous but I think he’s had free reign over the remote.

I want to go through this picture a bit.

First off, why is this rogue named ‘Stubby’? That’s not a scary name! Stubby’s the short guy from high school whose folks bought him a car so you’d hang out with him. He’s the guy who always had cash and beer. He’s the guy who took the leisure of an extra three years in grade ten just to get to the top of the social scene. Your parents always liked Stubby, even though they watched him.

‘Who drove you home?’ ‘Stubby.’

‘Who helped you clean the garage?’ ‘Stubby.’

‘Who drove your mom home from the bar?’ ‘Stubby.’

‘Who took your virginity?’ ‘Stubby. Oh, wait…’

Maybe Stubby does have a secret homicidal streak I’m just not aware of, but for chrissake! Look at him! He’s got a goddamn curling rock for a hat!!! That’s got to hurt. And piss a guy off.( The rock hat may explain the lack of stature. Those things are heavy!!!)

The immunity to ice? Wrong, wrong, wrong! NO ONE is immune to ice. Ice is awesome. Cools your drink, makes boo-boo’s better. If this kid thinks ice is a weapon, he needs my motherly touch more than I know.

The ‘shiv’.

I was 39 years old before I knew what a shiv was. I know, I’m sheltered. Every prison show I watched, when they talked about a shiv, I truly thought they were just saying knife wrong. I felt so sorry for the guards. I was all like, “Listen to them! They’re illiterate! They’re just making a guess at the word knife and fucking it up! So sad.” My husband finally explained it to me. I said something like, “Ohhhhhhh. I get it. Still doesn’t make sense, but I get it. Want a sandwich?”

Now I want a sandwich. I digress.

The order of the violent “talents” for this rogue ? All wrong. To be most effective, it should read like this:

1. Sap the guy. (To knock him down.)

2. Stab him. (So he doesn’t get back up.)

3. Backstab.(Only if he tries to get up.)

4. Double backstab.(Fuck me, why won’t this guy stay down HOLY JESUS! HE’S A ZOMBIE! I FUCKING KNEW IT WHEN HE WOULDN’T STAY DOWN!!!)

5. Agility.(Obviously. Jump fences, dodge cars to get away from said zombie.)

6. Thow shiv. (It can’t help you anymore. Don’t get weighed down.)

Where has common sense in kids gone?  If you are going to slaughter, do it right.

I always knew I’d find horrible things in son’s room one day, but I thought it’d be more along the lines of  garter snakes and dirty magazines. And yes, the neighbour kid needs me a lot more than I thought. He needs me to teach him what the words dungeon and dragon mean. He needs to learn it’s only okay to draw people like this only if they are going to kill zombies. He needs to learn a less angry, scary and stab-filled form of play.

To that end, today I bought a big puzzle for the boys to do. It has ducks on it. I may not be able to help him, but perhaps I’ll bore him to the point he won’t come over anymore. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Head Trauma And New Toys

I have caved. Yes. Me.

I bought my son a zuzu pet. And armour.

Why, yes! I did bang my head really hard this week! On Monday. I got a goose egg and a bit of a shiner. I went to pick something up off of the floor by my kitchen table, and as I had carefully placed my black bathrobe over the back of a chair (where it is SUPPOSED to be. Duh.), the chair was invisible. I went full force, eyebrow first on the corner of said wooden chair. When I came to, I decided I should probably clean my house. And purchase some brightly coloured padded leather chairs. Maybe a helmet.

I digress.

I have made it a rule as a parent to try to keep my child creatively engaged in the world. To that end, I only allow certain video games for certain lengths of time. I also do my best to steer away from ‘mindless’ toys (toys that need no active play). There are so many ‘push the button, watch it go’ toys on the market. Not good. I need him to use his brain. I need him to be able to think, problem solve and create. I also need him to not live in my basement until he is 45, watching television, smoking pot and compulsively masturbating while bitching about how ‘you done me wrong, ma’. It seems like such a small hope for a parent, doesn’t it?

I have a dear friend, Sophie, who has a couple of kids around the same age as my boy. Sadly, she is going through a divorce. I asked her how the kids have been faring. She said, “Good, I guess. But if the police start bringing them home when they are 13, I guess I’ll know I’ve failed.” (More on the Soph at a later date.) She is a great mom. This just goes to show you how high us moms strive. Please move out, don’t get arrested. Easy.

Back to the zuzu.

If you don’t know what that is, I’ll describe it for you.

It is a battery-powered, moving, babbling, squeaking, warrior hamster.

Who, I ask you, comes up with this shit?

I hate to be one of them ‘back in the good ole days’ but back in the good ole days, my parents shoved me out the door at 7:30 in the morning with a rock, a paper clip, an elastic band and a hearty “Go have fun with your friends, Dumbass! And don’t come home til 5:00!” (Of course I made a weapon. I had to kill my own lunch.) Maybe us kids were a bit violent and had a few more broken bones than necessary but damn it, we were creative! There was no time for mischief or drugs. We were too busy trying to stave off pirates and rapists with an elastic band, for gods sake!

This toy I caved and bought for my son? Good for nothing. Unless the impending apocalypse leaves freaky talking hamsters in charge. Could happen.

It is as creepy and weird as it sounds. And as I am slightly brain injured and tend to startle easily, if it crosses my path when I am not prepared, I swear I will tap dance on that motherfucker.Then I will replace my devastated son’s toy with a nice bag of elastic bands. And teach him how to kill his own lunch. And I will know I have made the world a better place.

Parenting is so rewarding.

*tearful sniff*

Payback

In case you didn’t know, I am an only child, who has an only child. It’s a little hard deciding who the earth revolves around but, we manage. I think I was a bit of a difficult child as I was too smart for my own good and I pretty much thought my parents were full of shit the moment I was born.  I was demanding, sassy and thought I could always get my way.

When I was about 10, I decided I wasn’t very cool. I needed to change that.  The first thing that popped into my mind was that if I had a monkey, in my small prairie farm  town, well, that would be pretty much akin to becoming a goddess. Those hicks would ooh and ah and line up for miles to gaze at my monkey. I’d be so goddamn popular I’d OWN that place and all 300 people in it. And only a chosen few would have the luck to pet my monkey.

So I started.

“Can I have a monkey?” No. “I need a monkey!” No. “Please can I have a monkey?” No. “YOU HATE ME! WHY WAS I BORN? YOU’RE TERRIBLE! I WISH I WAS DEAD! I MAY AS WELL BE IF I DON’T HAVE A MONKEY!”  And so on. And on. And on. For months. All day, every day.

It was absolutely terrible. Exhausting for all of us. I could not for the life of me figure out why those pricks were ruining my only chance of happiness.

I plotted.

I pictured myself in some Wonder Woman outfit with Dirty Harry’s gun and thought about sneaking up behind them, and calmly saying, “Get. Me. A. Fucking. Monkey. Now. GETMEAFUCKINGMONKEYRIGHTNOW! Or make my day!”

In theory, it probably would have worked.

About that time, my dad snapped.

I’m not sure if he said it to mom, me or the universe but he bellowed something like, “Monkeys jerk off all the time!!”

Now, I wasn’t too clear on what that meant, but it didn’t sound good.  I didn’t think I wanted something doing that around me all the time. (I’ve actually made that a personal philosophy in my life, but I digress.)

I let the monkey thing drop.

And guess what?  Son now wants a puppy. I have 5, four-legged, fur-covered shit machines in my house. So the answer is no. And I am completely ruining his life.

“I want a puppy.” No. “I need a puppy.” No. “Please?” No. “NOTHING LOVES ME IN THIS HOUSE! I NEED A PUPPY!” And so on.

Mom, Dad, I’m sorry. Excuse me while I have an Advil and chase it with a small keg of wine.