Chair Demons

I’d like to think it’s not just me. Doesn’t everybody harbour a few items in their home which, when considered out of context (which is to say, ‘by any sane human being’), are just a little… um… creepy?

Some things are intentionally creepy, and that’s okay. For instance, I love this candle-holding sculpture my sister gave me years ago: As the candle flickers, its eyes glow and seem to follow you around the room.

Totally creepy, but in a good way.

Totally creepy, but in a good way.

In the ‘that’s odd’ category of creepy, I also own a stuffed beaver.  *insert the revolting double entendre of your choice here*

No, really, it’s a child’s toy. I’m not sure I’d want to meet the twisted toymaker who one day looked up from his designs of cute, cuddly bunnies and bears and thought, “We need beavers!”

…Okay, I realize most guys have that revelation at some point in their life, but this guy followed it to its logical conclusion: “Everybody needs beavers!” And here’s the result:

He’s cuddly-soft, and his name is Bob. Don’t ask.

He’s cuddly-soft, and his name is Bob. Don’t ask.

Moving on up the ‘disturbing’ scale, I also own two rubber chickens that reside in the planter in my living room. Well, to be technically accurate, one’s rubber and the other is silicone, which is even grosser than rubber because it’s all wobbly and floppy.

But the rubber one makes up for its deficiency in the gross-out department, because:

  1. Its gaping beak is disturbingly reminiscent of a blow-up doll; and
  2. It squawks when squeezed – a horrible half-strangled wail like bagpipes possessed by the spirit of an evil piper who died in the throes of an asthma attack.
creepy chickens

I’m not sure which bothers me more, the gaping beak of the big one or the flaccid-phallus appearance of the little one…


But the top ‘Creepy and Disturbing’ award goes to our dining room furniture. You’d think it would be pretty difficult to make shudder-worthy dining chairs. And I’m not talking about physical discomfort.

No, I’m talking about the kind of creep factor that sends a shiver down your spine and makes you question whether you really want to turn your back on the item in question. I mean, seriously, what sick and deranged mind thought it would be a good idea to carve this on the back of a dining-room chair?

Would you turn your back on this?

Would you turn your back on this?

It looks like one of the minor demons from hell, perched at exactly the right height to chew a crippling chunk out of your spinal cord with its fiendishly gaping mouth. Then once you’re incapacitated, who knows what it might do?

This dining-room set belonged to my husband’s grandparents, and as far as I know they lived healthy, normal lives unmolested by denizens of the Pit… but these chairs give me the shivers anyway. I’ve lived with them for over a decade by convincing myself that, like gargoyles, they’re fierce guardians of our home. If anybody ever threatens us, look out! The chair demons will get them!

But that only works if I don’t think about it too much…

Anybody else harbouring satanic furniture or other creepy items?

* * *

Woohoo!  I’ve finished the draft for Book 8, and it’ll be off to my beta readers / editors this week!

Love My Beaver!

Well, it’s time for another “proud to be Canadian” blog post.  In previous years, my national pride has been stimulated by achievements such as world-champion profanity and the world’s fastest motorized toilet.

Fitting neatly into the topic of stimulation, this year I had originally planned to point out that we Canadians are a sexy bunch.  A recent study showed we indulge in lots of interesting bedroom shenanigans, with threesomes being a popular choice.  After all, it’s cold outside a lot of the time, so what else are we going to do?  But my favourite statistic from the study was this:  apparently 8% of Canadians have had sex in a canoe.

There’s one for my bucket list.  Fortunately, they didn’t specify that the canoe had to be on water to qualify, ‘cause Hubby can’t swim.  I’d offer to keep you posted on our progress, but I’m sure you’d rather not know.  So moving right along…

I had also considered informing birders that Canada is home to the little-known Kiki bird.  Although it’s an extremely common bird, most people in warmer climes have never encountered one.  The Kiki can be spotted year-round in extreme northern Canada, and throughout most of the country during the winter months.

It’s a very large bird, completely flightless, and its plumage varies through every colour of the rainbow, making it impossible to determine its gender at a glance.  You might think this would make it difficult to achieve a positive identification, but it’s instantly recognizable by its distinctive call:  “Ki-ki-ki-riiist, it’s cold!”

All you have to do is step outside whenever the temperature dips below -20 and you’re likely to hear at least one.  Go out in -30 or colder, and you’re guaranteed to hear a chorus.

The Kiki bird (winter plumage)

The Kiki bird (winter plumage)

Either of those things would have been worthy of a “national pride” blog post, but today I’m gratified to report our most significant achievement yet:  everybody sucks the ass of our national animal.

No, seriously.

My blogging buddy Murr Brewster pointed it out back in October, and she’s not even Canadian.  I was buried in writing the final chapters of Book 7 at the time, but it’s one of those things I just have to bring to the attention of my readers, even if I’m a little behind (sorry).

It’s true.  Beaver bum goop (actual words used by National Geographic’s columnist) is used in perfumes and as a food component, particularly in vanilla flavourings.  And beaver butt smells good.  I realize there’s a significant segment of the population that has always insisted beaver smells and/or tastes good; but I always kinda thought it was a subjective and largely gender-based opinion.  Now I stand corrected.  NatGeo says it’s yummy, so I defer to their expertise.

A couple of years ago, one of our senators had the temerity to insult our national animal and suggest we should change it to the polar bear instead.  The backlash was swift and overwhelmingly negative, and no wonder.

After all, what other country can boast that its national animal is industrious, a stellar structural engineer, a devoted spouse, peaceable when left to its own devices, and a formidable fighter when provoked?

In every sense of the expression, its shit doesn’t stink.

Yep, I’m proud to be a Canadian!


It’s interesting to be Canadian.  As a nation, we’re generally regarded as the polite, low-key, boring neighbours of the superpower south of us.  We tend to define ourselves by what we’re not, instead of by what we are, and we may get quite impassioned about the whole thing.  Especially if beer is involved.

We’ve got a lot going for us.  We’re superpowers in hockey and curling.  Our military, while pathetically undermanned, is generally respected.  We are usually laid-back and polite.  Until you get to know us.  Then we’re potty-mouths (language warning on this link).

Despite (or perhaps because of) the abundance of off-colour jokes about our national animal the beaver, we are actually quite attached to the furry buck-toothed rodent.  And every now and then, the beaver gets revenge on its detractors, though this may only happen in beer commercials.

And speaking of beer, despite my high regard for our neighbours to the south, our beer is generally much better than theirs.  I have a sneaking suspicion that most U.S. beer is just Canadian beer that’s been warm-filtered through a kidney.

We’re a nation of oddballs who are perfectly capable of starting a violently destructive riot over a hockey game, and then getting sidetracked partway through:

After all, which is more important, a hockey game or getting lucky?  (Note:  If you are a Canadian male, this question will cause intense indecision.)

You know you’re Canadian when you put on your parka and go out to buy a Slurpee in -30 degree weather.  (If you’re not from around here, a Slurpee is a slushy drink composed of crushed ice and a soft drink).  Winter is a great time to drink Slurpees, because they don’t melt and dilute the flavouring, and your hands don’t get cold while you hold the cup because you’re already wearing mittens.

Maybe because we spend a lot of time sitting inside to avoid the cold, we’ve also contributed quite a few useful things to the world.  We’ve offered up handy-dandy stuff like insulin to treat diabetes (Banting & Best, 1922), basketball (Naismith, 1891), and the Canadarm for the space shuttle (SPAR Aerospace, 1981).

There are many reasons why I’m glad I’m Canadian, but a couple of weeks ago, we scored another notable achievement.  A Canadian stuntwoman, Jolene Van Vugt, set a new land speed record for the world’s fastest motorized toilet:  75 km/hr (46.6 mph).

Now I’m really flushed with pride!

More Beaver!

A couple of weeks ago, one of our senators caused a kerfuffle when she took verbal potshots at our national animal, the beaver.  Calling it a “dentally defective rat” and a “toothy tyrant”, she suggested that we should change our national animal to the “noble” and much more photogenic polar bear.  Righteous indignation and off-colour jokes abounded.

According to the online poll at CBC, 78.54% of respondents thought the beaver should stay.  Comments sections were overwhelmed by thousands of responses.  Most of the male writers stated a particular fondness for beavers, though many accidentally omitted the ‘s’.  A mere oversight, I’m sure.  Female respondents in general tended to exhort the good senator to leave their beavers alone.

In keeping with the typical ugliness of celebrity confrontations, the love lives of the contenders were brought into question, too.  Many observed that polar bears will pretty much screw anything that moves, while beavers mate for life, thereby cementing the beaver’s reputation as a morally superior mammal.  (No word on the senator’s love life at this time.)

To add to the mud-flinging, photos worthy of the most sordid tabloids were posted, showing a frowsy beaver with a deranged expression, contrasted with a soft-focus photo of a snowy-white, perfectly-groomed polar bear.  In retaliation, the polar bear’s weight problem was identified and cruelly ridiculed.

Almost as cruelly ridiculed was the senator herself.  The general consensus was that we should keep the beaver and ditch the senate.

In other news, I noticed an article about farmers hunting beavers to save their land from the destructive flooding caused by dams.  No eyebrows were raised over this article, though.  It’s not exactly news that much time, energy, and money is expended in the hunt for beaver.  Or, um… beavers.

P.S.  I’m still with my step-mom while she undergoes chemo this week, so I may be slow in responding to comments, and I might not make it around to comment on my favourite blogs.  I’m still thinking of you, though.  Thanks for visiting!

I’m Canadian, I Swear


Think I’ll get that printed on a T-shirt, along with a maple leaf.

Studies show (and I want to know who got paid for this one) that Canadians swear more than Americans, Brits, or Europeans.  We’re not merely foul-mouthed, we’re world-champion spewers of profanity and obscenity.

Unless we’re around people we don’t know.  Then we wouldn’t say shit if we had a mouthful of it.  ‘Cause, well, we’re polite, eh?  (Unless we’re rioting after hockey games, but that’s different.)

If I had a nickel for every time I said something vulgar, profane, or obscene in front of my friends, I could quit my job and live forever more on the proceeds.  But if I’m with strangers, I don’t swear.  There’s some bizarre internal filter that simply won’t let that language out.  Instead, it all gets saved up for the next time some fucking moron cuts me off in traffic.

I’m not the only one who does this, either.  The same study showed that it’s a Canadian trait to be restrained in public but a potty-mouth when with friends.  Guess they weren’t listening the day our Culture Minister publicly referred to Canadian television as “shit”.

This blog is an exception to the “not in front of strangers” rule.  We’re all friends here, right?  And I wouldn’t want the language in my books to come as a complete shock.  But still, I post the F-bomb alert.  Other bloggers just let ‘er rip, but I’m too… Canadian.

I’m not sure why we collectively possess such a deep well of profanity.  Maybe it’s because we’re trying so hard to be polite to every dipshit we meet that it just has to come out somewhere.

Maybe it’s the beaver jokes.  As you may know, the beaver is our national animal, causing no end of hilarity to those with dirty minds (which would be most of us).  It’s really hard to avoid a little coarse language under the circumstances.

Or maybe it’s our weather.  Let’s face it, when you live in a country where a third of the land mass has continuous permafrost, profanity seems like an unavoidable consequence.  In the southern areas, schools close when the temperature dips to -40 degrees Celsius.  If it’s only -38, well, suck it up, ya pansy-ass kids, and walk to the bus.  The swearing habit starts early here.

For those who aren’t familiar with Canada, I should mention that we do, in fact, have summer.  You can tell it’s summer when the grass turns a funny green colour, and enormous squadrons of mosquitoes attempt to carry you away if you venture outside.  But that only lasts about ten minutes, and then it’s back to fucking winter.

I’m exaggerating.  We actually do have other seasons on the prairies, called “goddamn hail again”, “holy shit, tornadoes”, and “sumbitch heat and humidity”.

Or, if we don’t know you:  “How about that weather, eh?”

Any other potty-mouths out there?  What are the seasons in your neck of the woods?