Tag Archives: cartoons

…oh.

We have houseguests this week, so it’s a shorter post today.  Here’s a little cartoon that occurred to me moments after I cursed the aphids for ganging up on my baby fruit trees last week.

I guess the aphids don’t have a corner on that kind of ‘stupidity’…

 

And, in other news…

I’m doing a short public presentation in mid-July.  There are so many artists and writers and other creative types here on Vancouver Island, I thought it would be nice to offer my writing and publishing experience, for what it’s worth.

I’m not sure whether it’ll be a help, an inspiration, or merely a shudder-worthy cautionary tale; but I hope we’ll all have some chuckles in the process.  I hope to see you there!

Publishing and writing presentation by bestselling e-book author Diane Henders

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Unnatural Nature

So, tell me again how “It never snows on Vancouver Island”

Just to punish me for my smugness in telling my prairie friends that my spring bulbs were already up, it snowed again last weekend.  About eight inches.  It wasn’t quite what I’d been imagining when I’d heard other women brag, “I got eight inches last night.”

But I’m not going to complain too much about the unnatural weather.  It really is almost spring here – I saw some varied thrushes poking around in the yard last week and I’m hoping they have the inside scoop. I keep telling myself the snow probably won’t stay long; and it’s actually very pretty.

Not only that but it’s warm(ish) outside, so walking through the winter wonderland is a joy.  I snapped some photos that couldn’t capture all the beautiful sparkles, but I tried:

Hoarfrost on top of snow: It looks like sparkly polar bear fur.

 

More hoarfrost

 

Snow hanging off our pagewire fence in delicate scallops

 

Snow-laden cedar

I also enjoy the snow because it reveals the tracks of all the little critters that we don’t get to see very often during daylight hours.  I’ve only seen a rabbit once, but the snow reveals that there are several around… or else one very active one.  There’s also a rat or a very large mouse; or possibly an extremely well-hung squirrel:

I’m guessing “rat”.

But as I was strolling through the woods reading the tales of the footprints, I came upon a trail where a rabbit had crossed the road… and was apparently surprised by the ditch embankment:

Watch that last step – it’s a doozy.

Standing there looking at the skidmark, I started to laugh as this popped into my mind:

Rare And Majestic Nature Scenes

Happy winter!

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Okay, I Admit It…

Hi, my name is Diane and I’m a bookaholic.

My addiction has serious effects on my daily life.  I always need to have a book within reach, and I get anxious if my To-Be-Read pile dwindles to fewer than ten books.

Oh, I pretend to be “only a social reader”.  I pretend I could put down that book once I’ve started it.  Sometimes I even succeed; but then all I can think of is getting back to the book.  I lie awake in bed, staring at the ceiling and fighting the book’s siren call.  Sometimes I manage to fall asleep.  More often I slip out of bed and finish reading in the dark and secret hours of the night.

Whenever I finish a book, I feel a lessening of the need… but only until I glimpse the next book.  Then the urge is stronger than ever.

I fight it, to no avail.

“Only one per day,” I promise myself.  “That’s normal, right?  That’s only social reading… okay, two books.  Two per day, that’s still okay.  I can do a full day’s work, have an early supper, and if I start reading by six I can be in bed by eleven.  Midnight at the latest.”

But then I find a series.

Soon I’m reading three or four books a day, immersed in the guilty pleasure.  Meals go uncooked; laundry undone.  I forget important appointments and have to find excuses for why I didn’t show up at my accountant’s or dentist’s or doctor’s office.

I feel ashamed.  Other people can lay down their books.  Some people only read a few pages before bed and then stop.  Why can’t I do that?

Because I’m a bookaholic, that’s why.  An addict.

And no, I don’t want a 12-step program, thank you very much.  Just back away and let me read, and nobody will get hurt.

The other day I finished a book and went to look for Hubby in the workshop, but he was nowhere to be found.  I checked the garage, too.  Nada.

I’d seen him leave, so I wandered around outside for a while but I still couldn’t find him.  When I went back into the house, there he was.

“When did you sneak in?” I demanded.  “I was looking for you outside.”

He gave me an ‘are-you-nuts?’ look.  “I walked right by you twenty minutes ago.  I couldn’t have been more than six feet away.  You were reading.”

“Oh.”

He laughed.  “We need to rig up a cattle prod connected to a timer, to launch you out of that chair when it’s time to stop reading.”

“No,” I disagreed, with perhaps a hint of menace.  “That’d only piss me off.”

“Okay, how about an electric-shock cushion hooked up to one of those alarm clocks that comes on gradually?  It would start with a little tingle and then build up until you noticed it.”

“Um, no.  I’ve had that TENS electrical treatment for physiotherapy.  If you turn it up gradually you get used to it.  I’d just end up getting slowly electrocuted.”

“No problem; we’ll use a current-limiter.”  Hubby grinned.  “This could work.”

But I’m not convinced…

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Whew! …I Think…

house-is-sold-cartoon

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January 18, 2017 · 8:57 AM

Disgusting Butt Mounds

So tell me:  When you read the title of this post, what was your mental image?

Okay, maybe that isn’t a fair question.  After all, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I’d be shocked if you didn’t immediately leap to an off-colour interpretation just because you know me too well.

So let’s keep this scientific and unbiased.  I’ll rephrase the question:  What would you have envisioned if you’d seen that title on the page of a serious and established online newspaper?

At this point you may be shaking your head and saying, “Get a grip.  It’s just another one of your twisted misreads.”

You’d be completely justified in thinking that, but no; this time I had read the headline correctly.  In its entirety, it read: “Will Timmins council get rid of downtown’s disgusting butt mounds?

I read it once; then again.  Triple-checked to be sure I wasn’t misreading it.

Stared at it, wondering, “What the hell can they possibly be talking about?”

And then my brain exploded with speculations and vile mental images:

Speculation 1:  Maybe the denizens of downtown Timmins have frequent and/or intentional wardrobe malfunctions that expose their disgusting butt mounds, and everybody’s sick of seeing them.  (I visualize the follow-up headline: “Timmins eyes buttcrack bylaw”.)

wardrobe malfunction

Speculation 2:  Perhaps people are reacting to one of those ill-conceived investments in Downtown Art that leaves everybody questioning the sanity of both the city council and the artist.  (New headline:  “Timmins makes cracks about butt-ugly sculpture”.)

kiss this

Speculation 3:  Or maybe the Butt Mounds are some sort of natural landscape feature that the citizens of Timmins find offensive and their city council is coming under pressure to raze the eyesore.  (New headline:  “Environmentalists implore: ‘Timmins, support your Butt Mounds!’”)

butt mounds

Sad to say, I wasn’t even close with any of my speculations.  Nope, they were talking about mounds of cigarette butts in the outdoor smoking areas:  https://www.sudbury.com/around-the-north/will-timmins-council-get-rid-of-downtowns-disgusting-butt-mounds-328274

Well, shit.  Talk about anticlimactic.  But at least it gave me a giggle or three.

What’s funny in your world this week?

* * *

New discussion at the Virtual Backyard Book Club:  Two Guys, One Girl – What Do You Think?  Click here to have your say!

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My Life’s A Thriller

The weeks leading up to a new release are always stressful for me – so much to do!  So little time!  And after spending the last five years immersed in writing, I’ve developed a few habits that spill over into my ‘real’ life (such as it is).  For example, the habit of building as much tension as possible into even the smallest events.

Sometimes I get a little too caught up in my work…

caught up in my work

And, in other thrilling news:

First:  Is that a turtle in your pants, or are you just happy to see me?  http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/ont-man-fined-for-smuggling-nearly-40-live-turtles-in-his-pants-1.2792723

I suspect it wasn’t much of a thrill for the turtles, but, as my blogging buddy Beth Younker points out, if one of them had been a snapping turtle it might have been an exciting time for both smuggler and border guards alike.  Sadly, no snapping turtles were included, but the article does have a rather questionable reference to ‘red-eared sliders’.  Sounds like a euphemism to me…

And this:  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/wynne-photo-op-goes-wrong-1.3470752. ‘Cause seriously, how often do you get to see a premier posing with a giant pink phallic object?  I doubt if it did much for her, but the media got a cheap thrill from it… and the rest of us laughed our asses off!

Any thrills in your life this week?

Pre-orders are available for Book 11: The Spies That Bind!  So far Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Apple are up, but I’m still waiting on Kobo (as usual).  As soon as they’re all available, I’ll send out an email to everyone on the New Book Notification list.  I’ll also send a second email on March 18 when the book is released. 

If you’d like to sign up for new release notifications, just click here.  (If you already signed up for a previous book, you’re still on the list unless you unsubscribed or changed your email address.)

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A Very Vampire Solstice-mas

Woohoo! We’ve made it past the shortest day! I always feel better when we’re on the upswing and I know I’ll be getting more light every day. (As opposed to ‘getting lighter’, which I definitely won’t be doing unless I stop devouring Christmas goodies.)

The darkness of winter doesn’t bother Hubby, but then again, he’s basically a vampire – he’s just beginning to hit his stride around 10 PM every night.  And he loathes garlic. (I haven’t dared to try holy water on him.)

I’d never make it as a vampire – I love daylight far too much. Though, come to think of it, I burn to a crisp in ten minutes or less when exposed to direct sunshine, so I actually may be part vampire. Hmmm…

Anyway, at least the snow brightens everything up and makes the most of the little daylight we have, and we light up the night as much as we can. This video pretty much describes us for the entire month of December.

Okay, we’re not quite that over-the-top – for one thing, our LED lights just aren’t that bright. But they make up for it with the splendour of quantity, since we can now power all 5000+ bulbs off one 20-amp breaker. And hey, at least the City of Calgary doesn’t have to switch over to nuclear backup when we turn them on.

I realize that solstice, Christmas, and blood-sucking soulless creatures aren’t usually combined in the same post, but this is what happens when I get a massive shortbread overdose. And it’s actually not too much of a stretch when you think about it. I’m sure we’ve all been at an office party where we’ve looked around at our blood-sucking soulless co-workers and shuddered.

And now that I’ve made the mental connection, I just can’t get this thought out of my mind:

vampire christmas

I figure one’s social skills would get pretty rusty if one spent all one’s time locked away from the rest of humanity, absorbed in one’s own nefarious schemes…

Wait, why are you looking at me like that? I’m talking about the vampires, not myself. I swear I’ve never fanged an eggnog carton… Okay, once; but there were mitigating circumstances.

Oh, and here’s another digression (what was in that shortbread?!?): Eggnog makes me laugh.  Yes, it’s full of creamy spicy goodness and, if you’re lucky, enough Christmas spirits to make anyone laugh; but here in Canada all products have to be labelled in both our official languages.  So one side of the carton says ‘Eggnog’ and the other says ‘Lait de poule’, which is the French version.  The literal translation is ‘milk of hen’.  Chicken milk. *giggles childishly*

As you can undoubtedly tell, I need a vacation (or possibly an intervention, but those are harder to arrange). So next week I’m giving myself the gift of some uninterrupted writing time on Book 11 – woohoo all over again! My next post will be on January 6, so I’ll look forward to ‘talking’ to you then.

Meanwhile, Hubby and I would like to send our very best wishes to everyone:

Joy to those who celebrate; comfort to those who mourn; and peace and abundance to all, now and in the New Year.

xmas tree

If you celebrate Christmas, we wish you a very merry one!

* * *

P.S. Another cause for ‘woohoo-ing’: I’ve finally finished my cover updates! Here’s the last one:

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It’s A Dilemma…

Sometimes I struggle with a bit of a dilemma. I’m not good at interpreting the subtleties of social interactions, so I’m never quite sure whether people are genuinely glad to see me or just being polite. It doesn’t help that I live in Canada, where we’re polite to even idiots and assholes. I never know which of those I am.

That makes reconnecting with long-lost acquaintances an iffy proposition. Any time I send out a friend request or a ‘let’s keep in touch’ note, I’m reminded of the old saying: “The ones you hope you’ll never hear from again are the ones who never lose your number.”

I was thinking of that the other day while I was writing the letter to go in our Christmas cards. Normal people probably don’t worry about stuff like this, but ever since I became a writer I’ve been cautious about mentioning my career. I never know how people will react.

When I was an interior designer (*shudders*) or a draftsperson or a computer geek, people outside my profession usually responded one of two ways when I told them what I did for a living: They either nodded and changed the subject to something that actually interested them, or they pounced on me and tried to get free services.

But when I say I’m a fiction writer, the reactions are alarmingly varied. I still get “Ho-hum; well, how about that weather we’re having?” That’s okay.

The ‘pounce’ reaction translates to “Hey, I have a great idea for a novel! I’ll give you a ten-second snapshot of my idea, and you can spend the next six solid months sweating blood while you plan it, write it, edit it, proof it, and publish it; and then we can share the profits 50/50!”

Um… no.

It’s the third type of reaction that makes me reticent about dropping the ‘writer’ bombshell: Their eyes dilate and they break out in a fine dew of perspiration while they back away in squeamish embarrassment as though they’d just caught me smiling and humming with my hand down my pants.

Or worse, their eyes dilate and they start sweating, but they’re coming at me as if they’re hoping I’ll start smiling and humming with my hand down my pants. Then they whisper, “Do you write porn?”

It’s a fair question; it’s just that sweaty wide-eyed people with no sense of personal space really creep me out…

Anyhow, back to the Christmas cards. This year I decided to reconnect with my Grade 12 English teacher. He was a very cool guy back in 1982, and I’ve always wondered how things turned out for him. I also owe him a debt of gratitude for convincing me that English class wasn’t a dead loss, and for having the courage to share his love for poetry with a bunch of hormone-ridden country-bumpkin teenagers.

So I sent him a card, and when he graciously responded I wrote him an email thanking him for laying the groundwork for my writing career.  It should’ve been a pleasant, stress-free interaction, right?

But all the while, I was visualizing this:

everything I know

(That wasn’t how he reacted… Or maybe he was just too polite to show it…  You see my dilemma?)

P.S. Thanks, Mr. C. You’re still a very cool guy!

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A Mashup Of (Mostly) Food

(Don’t worry, it’s safe to read this.  I promise it’s not about gross squished food.)

I’m a little scattered this week. Between my usual writing schedule, my cover updates (only one more to go, woohoo!), the production of the Never Say Spy audiobook (up to Chapter 39 and sounding great), and the busy round of Christmas cards and baking and extra social activities, my brain just doesn’t seem to want to disgorge any sort of organized blog post.

So what the hell, why fight it? Here’s a mashup up of some goodies that have caught my eye and tweaked my sense of humour lately:

You may recall that I mentioned OBSL in a post a few years ago. At the time, I created that acronym to describe my hypothetical Optimum Beer Saturation Level: That perfect point of intoxication at which I become a deadly 8-ball player. When I wrote that post I assumed that I was (as usual) full of shit.

Little did I know that greater minds than mine were busily proving me right. In fact, a recent study shows that there is an OBSL, and it occurs where your blood-alcohol level is 0.075. Unfortunately for my hypothesis, they weren’t testing for 8-ball skill; instead they were focusing on the OBSL as it relates to creativity.  And shortly after science delivered its verdict, some brilliant marketers capitalized on it. Voilà! The Problem Solver: A beer that comes with a creativity scale on the side. Dang, I could’ve used some of that stuff when I started writing this post…

And speaking of happy discoveries involving my favourite foods, science has come through yet again with a discovery that turns peanut butter into… wait for it… diamonds! Apparently it’s messy, but it works. (It was also just a publicity stunt.  It seems peanut butter isn’t an optimum diamond-producing substance.  Go figure.)

Unfortunately, though, the news from food scientists isn’t all good. The latest studies indicate that comfort foods can actually be depressing. Bummer.  Now I need to go and eat a bowl of ice cream.

Moving on from science to silliness (though still food-related), here are a few fortune cookie predictions I could have done without:

“You learn from your mistakes. You will learn a lot today.” – Great, just great.

“Your true love will show himself to you under the moonlight.” – Uh… okay, so my true love is a deranged flasher.  Will there be criminal charges or jail time associated with this?

“You have an unusual equipment for success; use it properly.” –  I guess if I was a guy, I’d know exactly what to do with my unusual equipment, but under the circumstances I’m just not sure how to interpret this.

“Wisdom is on her way to you.” – This one might be intended to encourage, but for me it bears an uncomfortable resemblance to the cartoon about the guy reading a fortune that says ‘Big things are coming your way’ just as a grand piano drops from the sky above him. Wisdom sounds like a good thing in theory, but it seems to me that the phrasing is a little ominous.

I’ll leave you with a cartoon that sums up my attitude when things get as hectic as they are now.  And hey, it’s food-related, too!

* * *

P.S. Here’s Book 8’s new cover, with many thanks to John R. for arranging my great truck-driving adventure and letting me photograph his truck:

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The Terrifying ‘Bearrot’

My mind goes strange places when I’m half-awake (or half-asleep, depending on whether you’re a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty type of person). So it didn’t really surprise me when halfway through my shower, my brain announced, “Parrots! We should write a post about parrots!”

Me (grumbling into my washcloth): “What’s this ‘we’ shit? I don’t know anything about parrots. Where the hell did that random thought come from?”

Brain: “Come on, it’ll be fun! You could write about the World Parrot Refuge on Vancouver Island.”

Me (still cranky): “There was nothing funny about the refuge. It’s a cool place and it’s great that they take in unwanted parrots, but I spent the whole visit wishing I’d brought an umbrella to fend off the birdshit, and that creepy little bald cockatiel kept landing on my shoulder and cuddling up like I was his long-lost Mommy. Besides, I don’t trust any bird that’s capable of biting my finger off.”

Brain: “Oh, get over it. Parrots are amazing! They come in spectacular colours, they’re smart, they can live as long as humans, they can talk-”

Me: “Yeah, great. So now we’ve got a crafty old bird that lures you over with a display of pretty feathers and a cutesy ‘Polly want a cracker’, and then it bites your finger off!

Brain: “Aw, come on. You can find something funny about parrots. How about Monty Python’s ‘Dead Parrot’ sketch?”

Me: “Well, there’s that…”  (returning to the debate): “But that’s the only funny thing about parrots. Forget parrots. Maybe I could blog about my bear belt; make a few jokes about how dorky I look striding around the garden with that strapped to me.”

The bear belt: Everything I need to frighten a bear through sheer dorkage.

The bear belt: Everything I need to frighten a bear through sheer dorkage.

Brain: *martyred sigh* You’ve written about bears. Over and over. Everybody’s tired of bears. And they already know you look like a dork on a regular basis. Parrots, I tell you. You need to write about parrots!”

Me: “Piss off. Parrots are scary. Those blank soulless eyes…”

Brain: “Huh. Like bears aren’t scary? But you still manage to joke about them.”

Me (weakening): “Well, yeah, but…”

Brain (sensing imminent triumph): “Bears are terrifying! Parrots are much funnier.”

Me: “True, bears are terrifying…” *tries diversionary tactic* “Hey, you know what’s the only thing that could possibly make bears scarier?”

Brain (distracted): “Huh? Bullshit. Nothing could make bears scarier.”

Me: “Oh, hellz yeah! What if…” *pauses dramatically* “…you crossed a bear with a parrot?”

Brain: *stunned silence*

Me: “Imagine it! A bear that can not only chase you and eat you on the ground; it can also fly. Swooping down on silent wings with claws and teeth bared…”

Brain: “A bearrot. The most terrifying animal to stalk the earth…”

Me: *snickering* “…and you’d really want an umbrella…”

This is what happens when I blog while not completely awake.

This is what happens when I blog while not completely awake.

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