Just Letting The Weird Out

All my life I’ve been a weirdo-magnet:  If there are weirdos anywhere in the vicinity, they’ll unerringly seek me out and attach themselves to me.  (Sometimes literally – more on that later.)

I used to think it was something about my face.  Some label on my forehead that was invisible to me but glowed like an irresistible beacon to anyone looking at the world through weirdo-coloured glasses.

But this week while I was contemplating a pattern of knotholes in our fence that looks exactly like an evil face, I suddenly realized that I see faces everywhere.  Sometimes when I’m sitting on the john I glimpse faces in the blotchy pattern of our bathroom floor tiles.  I see faces on carsI see faces on potatoes.  This may be a little, erm… weird.

Then, as I sniffed the fall air, it occurred to me that autumn smells as though summer’s been wearing its underwear just a bit too long.  You know; that funky aroma when something’s not quite rotten but it’s well on the way.

You already know I’m not a big fan of autumn, but that was a pretty weird thought even for me.  (I’m also bothered by the fact that I referred to autumn’s ‘irresistible scent’ in that earlier post… and now it smells like funky undies?  Yikes!)

So apparently I attract weirdos because I’m one myself.

I’d like to say that revelation bothers me, but it doesn’t.  Weird is far more interesting than normal.  I’m fascinated by people who harmlessly travel a few steps aside of the beaten path.  Mind you, the ones that don’t even know there is a beaten path worry me; so I guess I’m not overly weird, as weirdos go.

Unlike the guy who attached himself to me when I was riding the C-train many years ago…

I glanced up and thought, “Uh-oh.  That guy looks weird.”

Sure enough, he gravitated directly to my seat and sat down.  Then, without speaking, he gently took my hand.

I’ve got pretty good people-radar and he seemed harmless, so instead of making a scene and/or breaking his fingers I dislodged his hand and said, “No, I don’t want to hold your hand.”

He just smiled and took my hand again.  Didn’t do or say anything else; just sat there smiling off into space and holding my hand like a little kid.

So I thought, “Ah, what the hell.”

I went back to my book, and we rode downtown holding hands.  His stop came before mine, and I was relieved when he did let go of my hand at last.  But he wasn’t finished with his ritual.  Reaching over, he gave two gentle tugs on my earlobe, then grasped my hand and moved it toward his ear.  I gave two gentle tugs on his earlobe in return, and then he smiled sweetly and got off the train.  Never said a word.

Definitely odd, but all in all it was kind of heartwarming.

So at least I’m not the weirdest weirdo on the planet, but it’s probably a good thing I blog so I can let the weird out in small weekly doses instead of letting it build up until I accost total strangers on public transit.

Have you got any harmless-weirdo stories?

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New discussion over at the Virtual Backyard Book Club:  A Rose By Any Other Name…  How important are character names in fiction?  Click here to have your say!

Dear Autumn…


Dear Autumn,

I’m not quite sure how to tell you this.

I know we’ve been seeing each other for fifty years, but I have to admit that for me it’s been more out of habit than any real affection.  And lately I’ve realized I want… more.

Maybe I shouldn’t have read all those self-help books, but it’s too late for regrets and what-ifs. Now I can’t help analyzing our relationship, and the more I think about it the more I realize what a vicious, controlling bastard you really are.

Oh, you hide it well. You pretend you’re all about new beginnings as you usher the kids off to a new school year. You’re everybody’s favourite season, with your handsome colouring and irresistible scent. They don’t realize you’re hiding your heartless personality behind that pretty façade.

Well, I’m onto you. You’re a actually the sociopathic poster child for dysfunctional relationships. You act sweet, but you sneak into my garden and kill my plants when I’m not looking, you force me to wear ugly bulky clothes, and you systematically isolate me from all the things I love.

Plus I’ve finally figured out it’s no coincidence that my dearest love, Summer, always vanishes when you show up. For years I thought it was just Summer’s way, to love me and then leave me with memories so sweet I couldn’t help but fall for him all over again when he reappeared.

But now I know that you’re the one who drives him away. What do you hold over him, you son of a bitch? What leverage could you possibly have that would make him disappear without a trace for months at a time?

I’ve got news for you, Autumn, I don’t care if Summer has other lovers. I don’t care if he loafs around and goofs off work. I don’t even care if he sometimes burns me.

All I know is that Summer encourages me to get out and have fun with my friends, he likes it when I wear shorts and tank tops, and he’s out there with me every single day in my garden.  Summer encourages me to eat right and take care of myself, too. He brings me all kinds of delicious healthy fruits and veggies, but he’s not a stick-in-the-mud – he makes sure I get to enjoy lots of treats like ice cream and cold beer, too.

And then you come along and spoil it all.

Well, I’ve finally had enough of you. It’s over between us. Pack up your pretty clothes and get the hell out of my life.

Oh, and by the way? Take your rotten sidekick Winter with you when you go. He’s all sparkles and charm until he convinces me to go out, and then he gives me the cold shoulder. And you can tell him this for me: that white-on-white look went out with the last episode of Fantasy Island in the 80s. It doesn’t make him look sophisticated; it just shows he has no imagination. You two are real pieces of work, you with your garish wardrobe and him with that weird monochrome thing going on.

Both of you can go take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut.

With the utmost sincerity,


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A couple of days ago I was bemoaning the impending loss of my garden and I took this photo:

I thought this was bad...

I thought this bit of snow on the roof was bad…

This morning I woke up to this:

Snowpocalypse.  This is AFTER I went out and knocked the snow off our trees.

Snowpocalypse. This is AFTER I went out and knocked the snow off our trees to keep them from breaking. Trees are down all over the city, and we’re having power outages.

But just because I can’t bear to leave this post with such a repulsive image, here’s what I rescued before the snow started to fly:

Summer's last gift. Now you know why I love him. :-)

Summer’s last gift. Now you know why I love him. 🙂

Thinking About Drinking

It’s autumn, and I need a drink.

It’s partly because autumn is my least favourite season, but mainly because the crabapples are ripe.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may remember I mentioned I love food and I’m helplessly addicted to gardening.

The result of those traits is a back yard containing an apple tree, a crabapple tree, grapevines, raspberries, gooseberries, rhubarb, haskaps (a very cool variety of honeysuckle with fruit like blueberries on steroids), strawberries, asparagus, a hazelnut tree, and a greenhouse full of tomatoes and peppers.  My “real” garden is about 3,000 square feet of vegetables outside the city.

The back yard in mid-summer when it still looked nice

The star of the backyard show is the crabapple tree.  Every year, it droops under the weight of its crop –  deliciously sweet-tart, juicy blush-pink apples.  (The variety is Rescue, in case there are any other hungry gardeners out there.)  Every year, I cart away a couple of wheelbarrow-loads of crabapples.  I make jelly, fruit leather, applesauce, and spiced crabapples.  Then if there are leftovers, I ferment them into hard cider.

This process begins with an explosion of pulverized crabapples and ends with a product that ranges from rotgut to rocket fuel to rot (if I don’t get a high enough alcohol content).

Juicing was a laborious process until a few years ago when Hubby bought me one of those newfangled kick-ass juicers – yet another reason why he’s on the best-husband-ever list.  The new juicer works like a dream… except for one thing.  No matter how fast I slam the pusher into the chute after adding a handful of apples, the shredding action is so aggressive that bits spray everywhere.  The first time I used it, I was picking apple flecks out of my eyebrows and off the ceiling.

This year I wised up and did the juicing on the back deck where I could hose everything off afterward.  (The neighbours didn’t even bat an eye.  After the radish/toilet incident, they’re probably afraid to ask.)

Once all the juicing is done, it’s a glorious exercise in hope.  What yeast should I use this year?  What part of the process will I tweak to get the absolutely perfect batch of cider?  Then there’s fermentation, racking, fining, bottling with just the right amount of added sugar to get a delicious sparkle in the finished product.

Then there are months of anticipation.  It takes about a year before the final product is ready.

Then comes the first taste… and the final classification:  rotgut, rocket fuel, or rot.  But I keep hoping somehow, some year, I’ll magically produce something drinkable.  Well, something other people might consider drinkable.  I drink it anyway…

But in the mean time, all that work and hope has made me thirsty.  Think I’ll crack open a bought beer.  At least I know it’ll be good.

What’s your favourite autumn beverage?

Oh, and loosely related to gardening:  I can’t believe I actually managed to snap a bee in mid-flight in my garden a few days ago:

Bee in flight just below the smaller sunflower