Tag Archives: blogging

I’m Gonna Need A Forklift…

After the past several weeks of feverish work and stress-filled wrangling to get Book 13 safely into the retailers’ systems, my brain is completely empty.  Usually there are a few screwball thoughts floating around in there, but this week?  Nada.  Not even the sound of crickets.

(Although the sound of crickets would be worrisome, considering that I recently read a news article about a woman who had a cockroach take up residence inside her ear, BLEAH!)

Anyway, I had nothing but the whistle of wind between my ears, so I consulted a site that offered random writing prompts.  And I got this:  Write a post about anything you’d like, but be sure to include this sentence somewhere in the final paragraph: “He tried to hit me with a forklift!”

Something about that prompt burrowed into my brain like a… ech, never mind.

I know randomness was the whole point of the exercise, but nevertheless my mind rebelled.  Why hit someone with a forklift when there are so many more entertaining weapons?  A dead fish, for example.  A cauliflower.  A rainbow-coloured My Little Pony riding crop with marabou feathers on its… oh, wait.  Is that a little too creepily specific?

*ahem*

Moving right along…

How could I write a post about “anything I like” and somehow include a forklift?  I like music and ice cream and rare steaks and art and cold beer and gardens and a host of other things.  Excavators are fun.  Ditto highway tractors.  But forklifts?  Meh.

I considered spinning some flash-fiction:  Who was this guy and why would he try to hit me with a forklift?  Was he a wack-job smushing innocent people for fun?  Or had I done something to deserve smushing?  And why was I hanging around a forklift anyway?

Unfortunately, creating flash fiction requires brainpower; and I was fresh out of that.  (Not to mention, you already know the punchline.)

When I searched for “funny forklift” on the internet I found a disturbing number of forklift fails, but they were more cringe-worthy than amusing.

I tried to come up with some bad puns:  A fork lift; as in an elevator for forks?  A fork-lift, as in lifting a fork?  I even tried and failed to figure out some kind of filthy double entendre about getting forked.  It’s a sad day when I can’t even come up with a dirty joke.

So… I didn’t get hit by a forklift this week (which is good); nor did I get hit with inspiration (not so good).  I hope I’ll be able haul my brain out of its swamp of exhaustion soon.

But I think I’m gonna need a forklift…

Help me out here:  Anybody know a good forklift joke?

* * *

P.S.  Book 13 is available for pre-order at all retailers AT LAST, woohoo!  Click here for purchasing links

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Brain Food

I’m SOOOO close to finishing the draft of Book 13!

Each time I start a new book, I promise myself that I’ll write steadily within a realistic timeframe.  And each time, I end up writing day and night to finish in time for some self-imposed deadline.  In my quest for energy and inspiration this week, I’ve uncovered new FactsTM (see footnote below) about brain food.

Earlier civilizations believed that foods resembling a particular portion of the anatomy provided special nourishment to that anatomy.  So cauliflower, lumpy and brain-shaped, was ‘brain food’.  (This theory also explains the popularity of bananas and cucumbers; but I digress.)

Modern medicine informs us that ‘brain food’ doesn’t, in fact, resemble the brain; instead, the secret to smarts comes from complicated things like omega-3s, antioxidants, and flavonoids.

But after extensive research (a couple of hours at least) I’ve discovered that both ancient and modern beliefs are wrong.  Brain food isn’t brainish-looking.  It’s not complicated or difficult to obtain.

It’s…

*suspenseful drumroll*

Junk food!  And I have FactsTM to support my conclusion!

When I’m plotting a book, I usually pace; although I may also stand stock-still staring into space or drape myself over the furniture in odd positions.  (I bet you thought you were supposed to sit with your butt on the sofa cushions and your feet flat on the floor.  Pshaw.  The correct position is:  Belly on the cushions, arms draped over the sofa back, toes on the floor.)

Pacing is my favourite creativity stimulant; but even better is Pacing With Brain Food.

I can think better when I’m chewing; probably because jaw muscle contractions stimulate my brain.  My research supports this, because I’ve found that crunchy foods provide much more inspiration than soft foods.

I love gooey goodies like cheese and ice cream, but they offer no inspiration at all.  Likewise, chocolate (while ever-so-yummy) doesn’t help me.  In fact, the more chocolate I eat, the less I can think; until my entire mind is subsumed by four words:  MUST… HAVE… MORE… CHOCOLATE!

Tradition holds that booze is a veritable fount of inspiration; but not so.  A moderate amount of booze completely drains my brain; and too much booze fills it up again with ideas that seem brilliant at the time but when reviewed the next day make me say, “What the everloving f…?”

So once again, the FactsTM bear me out:  It’s gotta be crunchy.  You can’t chew booze.

Fruits and veggies?  Meh.  They’re better than nothing.  But…

Popcorn.  Chips.  Beer nuts.  Pretzels.  Cheezies.  OMG!!!!

My brain goes into overdrive.  I pace frenetically, gobbling handful upon handful of crunchy brain-stirring goodness.  Ideas flow, like belly fat breaching the waistband of too-tight jeans.

It’s a good system; but it’s not really sustainable unless I want to buy a whole new wardrobe to accommodate my… *ahem* expanding creative process for each subsequent book.

So in a few more days I’ll be back to my usual sensible diet; but just remember, you heard it here first:  Junk food is the ultimate brain food.  It’s a FactTM!

*

1 FactsTM is a trademark of The Fake News Generation Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Bullshit Consortium.  FactsTM is defined as “any random statement, however ridiculous, which is shouted loudly enough to be reported by the media”.

P.S. I’m travelling today, so I’ll be checking in later – ‘talk’ to you soon!

P.P.S. It’s spring on the Island!  Hooray!

 

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Filed under Humour, Life, Writing

Unpredictably Predictive

This week I was delighted to discover that computers are now capable of writing stories for us using predictive text. I had already suspected as much, since these days my iPhone can pretty much compose text messages all by itself. If I type “Are…”, it will automatically fill in “…you still coming today?”

This is an unavoidable result of dealing with contractors who are genetically incapable of showing up as promised; and it also proves that my iPhone is at least as smart as they are.

Um… no, I’m not bitter; why do you ask?

Anyhow, back to predictive-text stories: Botnik Studios fed all seven volumes of Harry Potter to their computer, and then turned it loose to write the next great Harry Potter saga.

Amazingly, the computer did create a story that has taken the internet by storm. Not because it’s so good, but because it’s so hilariously bad. Check out “Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash”.

Better still, talented artist Megan Nicole Dong couldn’t resist the challenge of illustrating the particularly bizarre bits.

Inspired, I turned to my iPhone. Surely it had the world’s next bestseller locked away in its little electronic brain!

Here is its magnum opus:

I don’t know what to tell you about the other day but we’re not going to get any more time. Officially the best thing to do is to get a new job. Jobless claims are still coming up in a couple of months but I haven’t been able to make any changes to the company.

I forgot to ask you about the foundation of your job and how to make it work. The next time we have to make sure you get the house. The beams are not going to make it any better than the last time I had a chance to look at it and I haven’t done anything for the last week. I want to see what we can do to get the job done.

I admit I was disappointed in its painfully dry prose; but at least the whole composition was more coherent than a lot of business memos I’ve seen.

Moving on from ‘predictive’ to ‘predictable’… Christmas holidays are here again!

And that means I’m going to skip next week’s blog post so I have time to remove a few pounds of dust from Every. Single. Surface. In the house.  Including the Christmas tree, all the Christmas decorations, and the (formerly nicely) wrapped gifts, because the contractors (who were supposed to finish a month ago) exploded Dustpocalypse in our house the day before our houseguests were due to arriveGRRR!!!

*breathes deeply through a dust mask for a few minutes*

Okay, I’m all better now.  Ish.

I’ll also be taking time to prepare some festive calorie-laden goodies for my guests.  With any luck I’ll be able to keep the dusting separate from the cooking; but if not, at least I’ll be serving high fibre (if oddly-flavoured) meals.

Merry Christmas to those who observe it; and whatever your December traditions may be, I wish you joy, comfort, peace, and prosperity.

‘See’ you on January 3, 2018!

 

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Mactac, Mullets, and Manure

Anybody remember the Mactac of the 60s and 70s?  Maybe you knew it by another name, but it was all the same thing:  adhesive-backed vinyl printed with colourful graphics.

I suspect that people with taste avoided Mactac like the plague it was; but out in the sticks where I grew up, the only taste we had was in our mouths.  Every questionable surface in our house got covered with either woodgrain print or sparkly gold paisley on white.

It actually looked okay for a while.  But then the adhesive deteriorated and the vinyl curled up, creating tattered edges that looked as though rodents had been gnawing them and leaving a sticky residue that defied any attempt to clean it off or reglue it.

My love affair with Mactac faded when I realized that it inevitably suffered a slow and ugly demise, and the last time I applied adhesive-backed vinyl to anything was in the late 70s.

Until this week.

We needed a cheap-and-cheerful solution for a kitchen backsplash until our construction budget recovers enough to upgrade our kitchen counters.  So the other day I was walking through the store when some pretty glass tiles caught my eye, for less than half the price I’d expected.

Yep, adhesive-backed vinyl had reared its deceptively attractive head.  It’s even embossed with grout lines like real glass tile, and it’s insanely sticky.

I succumbed.  I’m really hoping it doesn’t curl up and die like the old-school stuff.

Looks like glass… smells like vinyl.

That blast from the past made me think about other oldies that are new again… like the mullet haircut.  If you’re not familiar with the mullet, it was an 80s hairstyle trimmed short around the face and ears, with the rest of the hair left long in back.  The instant the 80s were over everyone restyled their hair and pretended they’d never worn a mullet.  Overnight, it went from a fashion statement to a joke.

I had a mullet haircut back in the 80s, and I even wore it for a while after everybody else started laughing about it.  I loved that haircut.  It was comfortable and practical:  I had the long hair I loved, but it wasn’t in my face.  I still don’t understand why it became so universally despised.

But apparently it’s in style again for young male hipsters and Millenials.  So  I wasn’t unfashionable; I was only a few decades early… and the wrong gender.  Details, pshaw.

On to our next M-word:  Manure.  We got a giant load for our garden so of course I had to share it with you, my beloved readers.

Why, you ask?  (I’m hoping that’s a ‘why?’ of guarded curiosity, not an anguished cry of ‘oh, sweet Lord, why?!?’)

Well, it seemed appropriate since I’m usually full of shit; but ultimately it’s because I couldn’t resist the punchline:

Mactac, mullets, and manure… you don’t want to get any of them on you.

18,000 pounds of horseshit. That’s more than I usually manage to pack into a post.

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Polyester Flop-Sweat

Pundits say you should do one thing every day that scares you, to prevent yourself from stagnating.

Fasten your seatbelt, ’cause I’m digressing already:

I have issues with the word ‘pundit’ – my brain concatenates ‘pun’ with ‘bandit’, and I get a mental image of a chortling masked villain who barges into conversations to drop a vile pun and then flee, leaving behind shock, awe, and a punny stench.

Anyway, back to ‘doing the thing that scares you’:

I’m not up for a scare du jour, but I do think it’s good to step outside my comfort zone every now and then. So last week I started a 6-week watercolour class.

You may recall a post where I mentioned I’ve dabbled in oil painting; but I’ve never posted anything about watercolour. That’s not because I haven’t tried it. I’ve been trying it since the early ’80s. I haven’t mentioned it before because I completely suck at it.

But I’ve kept all my watercolour paints and brushes, and every decade or so, I think, “Jeez, how bad could I actually be? I should give it another try. Surely I don’t suck as badly as I remember.”

Then I try it again, and yes; yes, I do suck that badly.

So I’m doing what scares me and seizing watercolour by the brushes. With the help of the supremely talented Peggy Burkosky, I will figure it out. I hope.

Maybe.

But even if I don’t, I’m still getting a private giggle… because the classroom has black plastic chairs, and therein lies a story.

Back in the dark days when I had to dress up and attend excruciating business networking events, polyester pants were in style. If you’ve never worn old-school polyester pants, think ‘pant-shaped plastic bag’. Now add ‘hot summer day’. Plus ‘black plastic chairs’:

After sweating through a lengthy business presentation, I rose with relief… which was short-lived when I turned to pick up my briefcase and discovered that I’d left a butt-print clearly outlined in condensation on the black plastic seat of the chair.

I froze.

Should I just walk away, hoping the evidence would evaporate before anyone else noticed?

Or should I wipe off the chair?

But if I got caught in the act, what would I say? “Oh, ’scuse me while I clean up my sweaty butt-print. Hey, would you like one of my business cards? I’ve got them right here in my back pocket…”

Fast-forward to my first watercolour class last week. Blissfully unaware, I wore yoga pants made from spandex, which is basically a stretchy form of polyester. Fortunately the weather is cool now; but you can bet I did a quick little shimmy in my chair before standing up at the end of the class… just in case.

I won’t reveal my watercolour attempts yet; mainly because even after six hours of instruction, I still haven’t completed a painting. (And I might not ever admit that I’ve completed a painting. My crimes against art might go straight from the easel to the campfire.)

But hey, at least I’m not stagnating… unless you count the puddle of flop-sweat in my black plastic chair.

P.S. Remember those awful old polyester pants? What were we thinking?!?

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Shower Growlers And Barking Spiders

Depictions of the literary Muse always show some dreamy ethereal woman draped in a classical Greek robe, with brilliant ideas swirling like rainbows around her perfectly coiffed head.

Ha.  I wish.  Here’s the conversation I had with my Muse this week:

Me, strolling up to the Muse’s door on Monday:  *knock, knock*  Hey, there…

Muse:  What’s the matter with you?  Can’t you read the “Do Not Disturb” sign?  Get lost!

Me:  Oops.  It’s just that, well, I usually write my blog drafts today, and…

Muse:  Scram!

Me:  Okay, sorry.  Um… maybe tomorrow…?

Muse:  Yeah, whatever.

Me, shuffling bashfully up to the muse’s door on Tuesday:  *knock, knock*  Hi.  Um…

Muse:  You again?  Whaddaya want?

Me:  Um… a blog post…?

Muse:  You gotta be shitting me!  Didn’t I just bust my ass for you all morning on Book 13?

Me:  Well, yeah; and I was really happy with your ideas.  I appreciate it… but… you know I do a blog post once a week…

Muse:  Oh, for…  Okay, FINE!  Check out the Urban Dictionary for “shower growler”:  “When you’re showering you press your butt against the wall and fart, making a rumbling growl and vibrating the walls of the shower.”*

(*Note:  This was not even the Muse’s own idea – my friend Chris emailed it to me last week.)

Me:  Come on, I need more than that.

Muse, glowering dangerously:  Oh yeah?

Me, finding a backbone at last and glowering in return:  Yeah!

Muse, emitting a martyred sigh:  Fine.  Write a whole post about farts.  How about a page of euphemisms?  I got a million of ‘em!  Blow the butt trumpet, strangle the stank monkey, play the colonic calliope, roast your Jockeys…”

Me, snickering in spite of myself:  Well… I dunno…

Muse:  …Do the one-cheek sneak; drop a barking spider; hit 7.4 on the Rectum scale; a turd honking for the right of way…

Me, stifling giggles:  Stop!  I’ve been trying to behave lately.

Muse:  You?  Behave?!?  As if.  How about this:  “Shit a brick and fart a crowbar”.  Or hey; how about some definitions?  Like “Fartabout”:  Walking away from everybody to ease out a fart so nobody notices.  It’s like a walkabout, only you’re farting…

Me:  There’s already a word for walking around and spreading the stink.  It’s called ‘cropdusting’.

Muse, huffily:  Well, fine, you obviously don’t need me, then. *slams the door in my face*

Me:  Wait, I didn’t mean it that way! *knock, knock*  C’mon, open up!  I need you, really I do.

Muse:  Get lost!

Me:  *sigh*

So there you have it.  I would have prepared a literary masterpiece for today, but my Muse had a bad case of brain flatulence.

Everybody else gets the classy chick with rainbows and perfect hair.  I get this:

Diane’s Muse

So how was your week?

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Filed under Cartoons, Humour, Writing

Having Words With Myself

Every now and then the playback needle in my brain skips a groove and ends up on a different track altogether.  (And if you don’t understand that reference, you’re probably too young to be reading my blog.)

When the needle skips, it’s as though I’m a foreigner looking at our language for the first time.  Words I’ve used for decades suddenly look weird and unfamiliar, and I feel compelled to discover their origin.  And if I stare at a word too long, no matter how familiar it is I’ll begin to question whether I’ve spelled it correctly – it looks wrong no matter how I rearrange the letters.

That happened to me earlier this week, and I’m hoping it’s only because the last couple of weeks have been immensely stressful:  It’s the usual craziness of releasing a book plus a spate of family illnesses and deaths, all in addition to the never-ending gong show that is our house construction.

At least, I’m hoping it’s only the stress that’s making my brain twist.  But even if my word-weirdness is the harbinger of some dire malady, at least I’m getting a chuckle out of the symptoms.

For instance:

The phrase “He’s holding his own” is meant to indicate that someone is holding up under pressure and not requiring the help of others.  But whenever I hear that expression my mind immediately demands, “Holding his own what?”  Which is quickly followed by, “I hope he washes his hands afterward.”

In the same vein, ‘He knows how to handle himself’ is also supposed to be an admiring comment, but you can probably guess where my brain goes with that.  (I wrote ‘he knows how to handle himself’ in Kiss And Say Good Spy; and I admit I was grinning when I did it.)  Whenever I hear or read that phrase I wonder whether it’s being used as a compliment or a filthy innuendo.

…And don’t even get me started about the word ‘innuendo’.  To me it sounds like The Godfather describing a kinky sex act:  “In-u-end-o!”

‘Feckless’ makes me giggle, too.  The online dictionary tells me it’s derived from the Scottish word ‘feck’, which means ‘effect’; therefore ‘feckless’ means ‘useless, incompetent, ineffective’.  I always think of ‘feck’ as an Irish expletive, so in my mind ‘feckless’ should mean ‘not giving a feck’.  E.g. “I’ve been doing this stupid job for so long I’m feckless about it.”  Or “If he fell off the face of the earth, I’d be feckless”.

‘Gormless’ is an intrinsically funny word.  Unlike the others, it doesn’t remind me of any other word (except maybe ‘worm’) but even if I’d never heard it before, I think I’d still identify it as an insult.  Like ‘flaccid’, ‘gormless’ is a word whose sound suits its meaning perfectly.

And speaking of the way words sound, I have to smother a smile when anybody says ‘Doing his/her duty’, too.  Unless the speaker enunciates very clearly, I hear ‘doing his/her doody’… which is another thing entirely.  (Please pass the toilet paper.)

What word or phrase never fails to make you snicker?

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Googling Bear Naked

It’s been a tough week and my idea bank was running low, so I consulted a ‘writing prompts’ site for some inspiration.  One suggestion caught my interest:  Check your site stats to find your three most popular posts, and write about the connection between them.

I checked my stats… and burst out laughing.

Excluding the pages of my official website, here are the blog posts that draw the most visitors, in order of popularity:

We’re All Free! And Naked!

Confessions of a Vegas Swinger

We’re All Naked

Gee, I wonder… what’s the connection here?  Let me think for a nanosecond…

When I went back and re-read those posts, the best part (as usual) was my readers’ comments.  Who knew that my blog would be the #1 Google result if you search ‘naked machete-wielding motorcyclist with fanny pack’?  Searches for ‘naked beer-drinking martial artists on motorcycles’ and ‘polar bear sex club’ also return my blog at #1.

I’m famous!  Or maybe ‘notorious’ would be a better word, but let’s not split hairs.  All this despite the fact that I’ve never been naked on a motorcycle, and my only knowledge of polar bears comes from viewing them from a safe distance at Churchill, Manitoba.

Black bears, on the other hand, are far more familiar than I’d prefer.

You know the saying, “Art imitates life”?  Well, my art imitated life; and now my life has turned around to imitate my art:

In Book 11, I wrote about a bunch of wackos who protect their secret compound in the woods by feeding bears to keep them near the stockade.  That was based on the true story of some folks here in BC who did the same thing to guard a marijuana plantation.

Yesterday I discovered that I now live in a compound patrolled by my very own bear.

I’m less than thrilled.

We just had an 8’ pagewire fence installed around our yard to keep deer out of the garden.  Our crew put up most of the fence, and then ran dogs through the woods to make sure no deer were inside the area before they closed everything up.  They finished Monday around suppertime.

Only a couple of hours later I was walking around the house when I heard a distinctive “Uuuhhhh.  Uuuhhhhhh…” and the sound of heavy footsteps crashing through the forest not far away.

A bear.

Shit.

I didn’t glimpse it, so I don’t know for certain that it was inside our fence, but it sure as hell sounded close.

Needless to say I’ll be cautious around here until the bear decides to leave and pulls down part of the fence to do it.  After we repair the fence we’ll probably be okay, since there’s nothing inside to tempt a bear to return… except maybe a naked motorcycle-riding machete-wielding martial artist wearing a fanny pack.

But that only seems to appeal to random Google-searchers; and since it’s hard to operate a keyboard with paws and 2” claws, the bear will never even know about the internet star on the other side of that inconvenient fence.

I think we’ll both be happier that way.

Have you searched anything interesting on Google lately?

P.S. Preorders are available for Book 12:  Kiss And Say Good Spy!  Click here for links to online retailers

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Good Spies Finish First!

The votes are in, and the title for Book 12 will be “Kiss And Say Good Spy”!  I’m pumped because that was the title I’d originally chosen for it (before I second-guessed myself).  I would have been happy with any of the other titles, too, but it’s cool to see I was on the right wavelength from the start.

Many thanks to everyone who voted in the poll!  Even if you didn’t vote for “Kiss And Say Good Spy”, your vote was still important – it helps me understand people’s preferences better for future books.  And I’m looking forward to lots of future books – I love writing!

I’m lucky enough to enjoy all parts of it, including the hours and hours of editing (yes, I know I’m a freak).  I also amuse myself by setting mini-challenges for each book:  “Can I include (fill in oddball item) in this book somehow?”

In Book 10 I challenged myself to include “ballistic rutabagas”, which became the name of an alternative music band.  In Book 11 the challenge was alien porn (kindly suggested by @SomeRandomGuy); and I’m proud to say I found a way to work it into the story.  Tastefully, of course.  *snickers*

But Book 12’s challenge, inspired by @SueSlaght’s blog post Short-Beaked Echidna Australia’s Fast Tongue, was a little trickier:  Include a short-beaked echidna, also known as a spiny anteater.  (For those unaware of the short-beaked echidna’s claim to fame:  It has a long, amazingly fast tongue and a four-headed penis.)

I had originally thought I might use an echidna as a villain’s pet, à la Ernst Blofeld in the James Bond classic “You Only Live Twice”.  That idea was shot down when I researched echidnas and discovered that they don’t make good pets because picking them up causes them intense stress and can injure them.

But my research also revealed that there are exceptions to that rule.  F’rinstance, there’s at least one short-beaked echidna that enjoys being picked up… in fact, he enjoys it a little too much.  He had to be retired from his career at a zoo because he kept getting a giant erection every time he was handled.

You can imagine where my mind went with that:  a villain’s pet that pops an enormous boner at inopportune moments.  I so, so wanted to write that!

But I didn’t.

See, I have a modicum of… well, I hesitate to go as far as to say ‘good taste’, so let’s just stick with ‘restraint’.

I did, however, manage to work the echidna into the story.  Challenge = Met!

So if you’re burning to know how a short-beaked echidna fits into a spy thriller:  The release date for “Kiss And Say Good Spy” is August 1, and preorders will be going live by the end of this week for the e-book versions (paperbacks will be released later).  If you’ve signed up for my New Book Notification list, you’ll get an email with links to the preorders as soon as they’re available.  I’ll also announce them on the Books page and my Facebook author page.

And…

I’m a little late with this since Canada’s 150th birthday was July 1, but one of my readers (Ethel: thank you) sent me this link and I thought everyone else might get a kick out of it, too.  It’s a music video created a few years ago by our favourite Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield, and his brother Dave:

Welcome to Canada, eh?  🙂

Now… off to ponder Book 13’s challenge…

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Off The Wall(s)

Well, we’re moving again:  Out of our current rental (our term expires Friday) and into our friends’ place to housesit for a couple of weeks while they’re on vacation.  We’re really hoping our place will be ready by the time they return.  (Not that they’ll kick us out when they get back, but we’d really like to be in our own house!)

So… yesterday afternoon I was sitting in the mostly-empty-but-still-disorganized rental, trying to come up with a blog post in fifteen minutes or less while the phone rang frequently with house-related questions.  My mind was in red alert mode:  “AWOOGA-AWOOGA!  NEXT CRISIS INCOMING AT TWO O’CLOCK!  DECISION-MAKING CAPACITY CRITICALLY LOW!  TOTAL SYSTEM FAILURE IN THREE… TWO…

I took a deep breath or ten and thought, “It’s okay, I’ll just quickly write something off the wall…”

That’s when my overstressed brain got nitpicky:  “No, idiot, you meant ‘off the cuff’; as in ‘informal, without preparation’, not ‘off the wall’; as in ‘eccentric, unexpected, unconventional’!  How do you expect to write an intelligible blog post if you can’t even form a coherent thought?”

It was an excellent question; and one with a very simple answer:  I can’t.

So I’m going with ‘off the cuff’ and ‘bouncing off the walls’, as in ‘nervous, confused, hyper’.  That, I can do.

Here are a few events from this week’s jumble:

  • One of my favourite aunts died this week at age 82, of complications from diabetes and heart disease.  Even though distance prevented me from seeing her as often as I would have liked, her passing still leaves a hole in my life.
  • The herring spawned in the strait outside our rental a few weeks ago and we’ve been enjoying all the action from front-row seats:  the water turned milky jade-green (yes, the entire ocean – that’s a LOT of herring milt); scores of fishing boats rushed back and forth; thousands of seagulls swooped in; followed by thousands of ducks; followed by hundreds of seals and sea lions frolicking and barking only a few yards offshore.  What a show!
  • It’s almost spring:  After the longest, coldest, snowiest winter on record (which must have been scheduled just for us newcomers), the snow is gone, the grass is green, and the rhododendrons and cherry trees are beginning to bloom.  And I saw this cute little guy on one of my walks:

He was moving very slowly – it’s still pretty chilly for salamanders.

  • Our housesitting gig comes with a friendly roommate:  Blue the cat.  After only one day he hasn’t quite forgiven us for not being ‘his people’, but it seems his affection can be bought with a can of Fancy Feast.

Blue the cat is a little blue without his ‘people’. (Actually he’s a LOT Blue – he weighs 22 pounds.)

  • Apparently my brand new 2017 Ford Escape had a leak from the factory-installed roof rack, so the body panels and spare tire liner have been marinating in stagnant water for the past six months.  The whole thing smells like stinky socks when I turn on the heat, but I’m on my third trip to the dealer and it should be fixed soon.
  • Work is proceeding on our house:  We now have electricity, a working septic system, half a heating system, and most of a water supply.  The walls of the garage/workshop/addition are all framed and the roof trusses are arriving today.  It’s happening!  It’s really happening!  🙂

Aaaaand that’s the wrap-up for this week, folks.  What’s new with you?

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