Wednesday, December 15, 2010

To Shai With Love: Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes a few weeks ago for my aunt and uncle's 30th wedding anniversary surprise party. My friend Shainoor asked me for the recipe, but why just write the recipe out when I can do a photo blog for my bff? Her mom helped me learn how to cook, and is the reason why we didn't starve on our diet of Happy Meals and Coca-Cola in university. Now I'm going to help her to bake!

I've adapted a recipe from the cupcake bible: Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, but as usual I don't make it vegan because my son is allergic to most of the vegan substitutes for butter and milk.  We just won't tell the vegans that I do this, because I don't want to get lynched.  I also added some extra stuff and took liberties with the method.  Here is a photo of my ingredients before I started:


cupcakes 003


First thing, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  I'm bad at remembering to do this.  Then get a big bowl and whisk together one cup of milk and one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (use this kind just because it's more mild).  The milk will get chunky, which is good.  You can also use milk that has already gone chunky!  The best cupcakes I ever made were baked with some old-ass coconut milk that I had neglected at the back of the fridge.  Would I drink it on it's own?  Hell no!  But for baking it's pure GOLD.


cupcakes 006


So while you're letting that curdle for about ten to fifteen minutes, you can mix the dry ingredients together:  1 and 1/4 cup cake and pastry flour; 2 tbsp cornstarch; 3/4 teaspoon baking powder (you must use Magic brand because most others suck); 1/2 teaspoon baking soda; 1/2 teaspoon salt; the zest of one lemon.

A note about zesting a lemon.  Wash the damn thing first, I scrub them too because some stores put wax on them.  The zester that I have is from Lee Valley and it is worth it's weight in gold, but cheese graters usually have a semi-useful zester stuck on one side.


Then you can whisk in the other wet ingredients with the funky milk mixture:  1/3 cup canola oil; 3/4 cup sugar; 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (for eff's sake, get some good stuff and not imitation!); 1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract.


cupcakes 007


Then you can whisk the dry stuff into the wet stuff, or use an electric mixer if you want.  It should resemble this:


cupcakes 008


Pour it into those paper thingies that you put in the cupcakes pans, about 2/3 full.  Any more full and they'll overflow and will be a bitch to work with.  Use the shiny metal pans instead of the dark, non-stick ones if you can.  If you only have the dark ones, decrease the heat to 325 degrees instead of 350 because they'll cook faster and might burn on the bottom.


cupcakes 009


Bake them for about 18 to 20 minutes, or until they get a little brown on the edges, the tops are cracked and they smell like heaven.  I was kind of messy when I was filling the cups because I was trying to fend off the three year old from sticking his hands/face/tongue into it... but you get the idea:


cupcakes 015


These don't rise as high as cupcakes from a box, but that's because they're so much better than from a box and they don't have eggs in them.  But the flatter top is better for piling icing on!


The ingredients for icing:


cupcakes 011


The syrup might be a bitch to find right now because the factory is on strike.  But here is their website.  I bought mine back home in Newfoundland, but I've also seen it in Walmart, Zellers, and Price Chopper.  Anyone else who is not in Canada or who can't find this stuff can get some raspberry syrup from a barrista or Americans can just get some here.  It's not the stuff that you'd use on waffles, it's the stuff you'd use to flavour drinks.  Got it?


Cream 1/4 cup of butter with 1/4 cup of vegetable oil shortening.  You'll need electricity for this part because you really have to beat the fuck out of icing to get it to mix really well. ;)


cupcakes 012


With a fork, mash in about 1 and a half cups of icing sugar until it looks all crumbly.  Otherwise if you try to use your electric mixer it'll make icing sugar fly all over the place.


cupcakes 013


Now you can beat in slightly less than four tablespoons of raspberry syrup, about 1/4 teaspoon of lemon extract, and 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice from the lemon that you just scalped earlier.


cupcakes 014


If you don't like the consistency, beat in extra icing sugar one tablespoon at a time until it feels right.  You can taste along the way as well just to make sure. :)


So today I just quickly made these so I could take the pictures:


cupcakes 016


But if you wanted to get really fancy, you could always put your icing into a piping bag and swirl it on top of your cupcakes like I did last time:


IMG00456


I added simple drag√©es for decoration, and they looked pretty and tasted hella good.  Any questions?



That's all,

Twills

XOXO



 

Monday, November 8, 2010

No Boys Allowed!


I realise that this may be boring for most of you who aren't into clothes and shoes and blogs that don't have bad words in them (I don't mention dicks once!), but I started a new project.  One which caters to my narcissistic side even more so than what I do here, in which I take pictures of myself wearing clothes.  30 items, 30 days.  No freaking shopping for 30 freaking days.  *gasp*  If anything it will challenge my ideas on consumerism?  My apologies to the serious-writer type friends, I'm trying to keep the words to a minimum over there.


Link!


That's all,

Twills

XOXO



Friday, September 3, 2010

Meet: Holly Go Frightly!


Warning:  Girl Screams ahead!


I have just realised a dream of mine within the past few weeks.  I've always been the type to discourage myself, and to harbour a defeatist attitude when it came to doing the things that I really wanted to do.  Perhaps it's partially a self esteem issue, partly laziness, I don't know.  The only thing I do know is that it took a teenager from England that I haven't even met in real life to shake me up and tell me, "If you really want to do that, then you can find a way to do it."  This was just the sort of kick in the ass that I needed, and from an unexpected source.



So I did it.


I joined a roller derby team.


*squeal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*  <--girl scream


If you don't know what exactly that entails, it happens to be a lot of this:



And no, I'm not just doing this to have a valid excuse to wear fishnets and a tutu all the time, because my tattoos will fit in better in that type of environment, or even to meet hot lesbians.  It's not just because I want to shop more often at Sock Dreams, though I admit that's good incentive. ;)  Do you know how hard it is to find *my kind of people*?  I know I've found a good many on the internet, but I think I may have actually finally found some in REAL LIFE, and that *maybe* I'm not such a freak after all!  (Though I think I'll always be freaky.  Rawr!)  But seriously, *my* kind of people?


*squeal!!!!!!!*

 

If you could suffer through Drew's insipid lisp to get the gist of what she was trying to say, she actually had it right.  Roller derby is intensely physical, even dangerous!  Those bitches make me feel wimpy!  It's about female empowerment; it's about being accepted for who you are regardless of age, body type, ethnicity, education or socioeconomic background.  You can be a newly separated mother of three with stretch marks and an ass that just won't quit and still be a roller girl!  In fishnets!


*squeal!!!!!!!!!*


So in a week and a half I start my vigorous eleven week training camp.  I have no idea who is going to be watching my kids, or how I'm going to cope with sweating my ass off and still have to commute one hour each way all the while craving a shower like a common wharf doxy, but that's okay.  Those things I will deal with as they come.  The important thing is that I pursued a dream of mine, and I alone am making it a reality.  If I  end up crushing every bone in my body I'll be a happy, broken bitch when I'm in traction.  That's something I can feel good about for the rest of my life.  Now if I could just stop gagging and puking every time my mouth guard is in, I'd be all set...  Pointers?



That's all,


Twills

XOXO

Friday, August 6, 2010

An Exercise in Joyful Meditation


If you're looking for humour or snark, you're not going to find it here right now.  I've been feeling particularly good lately, the sun is shining, I've even been unable to find things to rant about.  I first became interested in this "Joyful Meditation" blog idea because my e-friend Nanea used to write them often on that *other* social networking site that we used to be so *spacey* about.  I don't have anything to link her to, but you can try this, the link to her Etsy Shop.   Go there and buy stuff! 

I've been thinking of doing these "Joyful Meditation" blogs for about a year or two since I first saw Nanea's version way back when, then Megan from Whistling Up the Road reminded me with her recent blog posts.  At this point my joy can not be contained; it must be shared.  Ideally, I would write these at night after reflecting on the day that I've had.  I think that for me, I will try to do them each week for now because I am neither diligent nor consistent in any way.  So you start off by listing five good things about your day/week, three things you have done well, and two things you are looking forward to.   And yeah, it'll probably be Fridays, because everyone knows that that's the real end of the week, that weekends don't count, and Monday is the first day of the week.




5 things that were good:

1.  I'm always amazed that I have such great kids.  They play well together, they're smart, they love good music and not just pop music and shit they hear on the radio, and they always love to eat raw vegetables.  They have manners!  They are filled with compassion and kindness.  Seriously, sometimes I don't know how a snarky bitch like me ended up having such well-behaved children.  (most of the time)

2.  I'm so thankful for my dad.  He goes above and beyond what is expected of a father, even when he's not physically present.  Even when I call him from halfway across the country in tears, he's there for me.  I'm so thankful to have him for my father.

3.  Love.  I have a lot of love in my life right now.

 4.  Naps are just fucking awesome.  I am loving that I get to take a lot of naps because it's summer and I don't have to be anywhere.

5.   I moved house last weekend, which I'm not ready to talk about yet.  But I was thinking that when I'd moved into my previous house six years ago, I couldn't lift the same furniture with nearly as much ease as what I can do now.  31 and stronger than I was at 25?  Hell yeah! 


3 things I did well:

1.  I have a definite lack of booty shorts in my life, but the two that I do own and wear only around the house when it's hotter than hell are now way too big.  This leads me to the conclusion that my ass is shrinking, because of reason two.

2.  I can now ride my bicycle 12K, which is my favourite route, fairly easily.  I need to find a new route soon so I can go further.  But last week?  I clocked in at 60 K total, which makes me feel good.  And stronger. 

3.  I had a birthday recently and I didn't even freak out.



2 things I am looking forward to:


1.  My dad has been at home in Newfoundland on vacation since June.  He'll be coming back next week, and I'm so glad because 1) I miss him; and 2)  I'm so sick of the kids asking when he's going to be coming home.

 

2.  I am looking forward to just enjoying each day as it comes and living more in the moment with no time and no destination, because that's really what makes summer the most fun.  I want the second half of summer to be as great or even greater than the first half was.


That's all,

Twills

XOXO

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Times, They Are A Changing

I don't have much to say right now. It's summer, and I'm not in a blogging type of mood. However, I did feel that it was time to change my name yet again. Therefore, The Rural Canadian House Milf is now: The Backwoods Betty.

Reasons for this? People are pervs! They drove me to it! I was getting a lot of visitors from other countries on my blog, and you would not believe this kind of stuff they were searching for. Or would you? Things like:


hot canadian milf

slutty milf

naked rural milfs

milfy jacked pants (and really, wtf?)

milf jizz

housemilf

milf red hair freckles

activia milf

milf clinger fucking

young rural milfs

absolut milf canada


It just went on and on! My own personal favourite:

grandmother milf breastfeeding


Seriously, people. Why?!!! It would start to creep me out even more when I realised that people were hoping to see me engaged in carnal acts, but they'd end up on a blog about cupcakes and babies.


My apologies for what I imagine are some very stalwart people from Surrey, England who were searching for "charming Canadian rural scene". I didn't mean to frighten you with my vulgarity, slightly inappropriate stories about my dad, or talking about my emo feelings.

I try to keep this blog slightly less... racy? If you want my crass language and inappropriate jokes about dick, please feel free to visit my other blog where we talk smack all the time and boss people around, located here. I warn you, if we are related, if I have to see you on a daily basis, DO NOT click. You won't be able to look me in the eye; but you're not going to find anything like that here. Oh no. I've become respectable all of a sudden. Mmhm.

The Backwoods Betty? Yeah, she's all sunshine and puppies. Stay tuned.





That's all,

Twills


XOXO

Monday, May 17, 2010

Brown Skin

It's around this time of year that I start to really dislike White People.  White People, you suck!  Yes, I am *technically* also a White Person, but I tend to fall on the darker side of white.  Inevitably, in the spring and summer I tend to tan quite well.  I become so dark, that it seems that White People can't contain themselves.  The questions start; the darker I become, the more questions I receive.


"What nationality are you?"


@#$%!!!!!!!!


"If I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me that in my life, I'd have enough money to buy your pasty white ass for my slave, mofo!"


Okay, so no, I don't really get to say that.  But how awesome would it be if I did?  *vows to remember to say that next time*


Not only are White People so audacious as to ask what nationality I am, if I choose to just tell the truth and say that I'm a Canadian, or go further and say that I'm a fucking W.A.S.P., they can't be satisfied.  Said White People can't take that for an answer.  They need to suggest nationalities for me.


"You look like you're East Indian."


"No, she looks like she's Italian."


"I think you could pass for Greek."


"I have a friend from Singapore who looks like you!"


"Are you sure you're not Jewish?"


Ooh, and my own personal favourite, "Are you sure he's your dad with that red hair and freckles?  Was your mother overly fond of the milkman?  Bwahahahaha!!!!"  Yes, because apparently calling my mother a straight up ho who would pass off my questionable paternity onto her unsuspecting husband is sooooo totally hilarious.


Argh!  It's taken me a lot of years to become comfortable in my skin.  A lot longer than it should have taken, as far as I'm concerned, and I work hard to make sure that I stay that way.  I have come to love my "brown skin", and I've almost forgotten the teasing I had to endure when I was younger on account of not being "white enough" for the other white people.  I take pleasure in the idea that I look "ethnic", and that I can travel to many other countries and just blend in with the locals.


I am able now to laugh when people ask me the 'nationality' question, and have great fun telling them lies.  Currently, I'm from Sweden.   If they're going to be so rude as to ask me such a question, then I am not going to feel bad about deceiving them.  


Hej, älskare!


That's all,

Twills

XOXO





Friday, April 23, 2010

An Earth Life


Both kids came home from school yesterday with a flower pot.  Inside was a seed from a scarlet runner bean, and it was in honour of Earth Day.  They watched a movie about the Earth and talked about things they would do on Earth Day in order to help the planet.  Well aren't we twee?!!  One day per year, we get to care about the planet.  Don't even mention to the little kiddies how we should be doing this shyte every day that we are blessed enough to breathe whatever clean air is left on this earth.  Why aren't we drilling this into their heads every single day?  Or better yet, leading by example?


All this week they've been encouraged to send them to school with a "litterless lunch".  Litterless lunch sucks donkey balls!  In our family, we don't watch much tv, we dry our clothes outside in fine weather, we eat nearly everything home made and grow a lot of our own food in the summer.  We voluntarily walk to places we need to get to.  It almost makes me puke every time I go near it, but we have a compost pile as well!  We even have an all-consuming, manic passion for recycling.  If one didn't notice how groomed our armpits are, one could actually accuse us of being "hippies"*.


To me, litterless lunch is a huge smack in the face.  School lunches are about the only things in our house for which we use packaging, or single-sized servings of anything.  Even then, only rarely do we do such things because our kids eat like fiends and need mass quantities.  If I were to load them up with water bottles and storage containers every day for school, they'd need a separate backpack to hold organic carrots alone!  Seriously!  


As it was, all this week their backpacks were so heavy.  I couldn't manage to jam the zippers shut on their lunch bags because their reusable containers take up too much room.  I swear, the middle kid was unbalanced all the way to school in the morning.  I kept having to shove him from behind when we were walking up hills so that he didn't topple over, roll down the hill and land in a sodden heap of sandwiches and orange juice at the bottom.


I've been hearing radio announcements all day suggesting things like, "Hey fat fuckers, today it's Earth Day, so how about you recycle that soda can instead of chucking it into the nearest garbage bin, only to have it stay there for several million years polluting the earth for the children you can't have since you've gone sterile from eating so many TV dinners?".  They may have used slightly nicer language, but the same sentiment is there.


One day, one week, one month or a year even, is not enough.  We should be doing this shit every single day that we are alive.  We owe it to our children and other peoples' children, even if you're like me and don't like other peoples' children.  Heh.  Just kidding.


But not really, because they're bastards.


Our family is not perfect.  Shocking, I know!  We still have a great deal of room to improve.  However, being more environmentally conscious is something that's very important to us.  It should be important to everyone, quite frankly.  I suggest that instead of having an Earth Day, how about we have an Earth Life?  Devote your entire life, change your entire way of thinking and living, and just do little things like walking to the corner store, use cloth shopping bags, eat less meat, buy local produce from farmer's markets or grocery stores, shop once in a while at a thrift or consignment store, or reuse something several times before you recycle it.  The list goes on, but other people are better at it, so here are some links:


50 Green Tips

EPA

Earth Day Canada's Site


Teach your children well.


That's all,

Twills

XOXO




*Twills is aware that there are many hippies that do not have hairy armpits and that stereotypes are wrong, even when they're funny.

Monday, April 12, 2010

I Told Y'all I Was Down

I took my son to his first rock concert last week, as we had bought him tickets for Christmas.  I knew that the tickets were for him, but in reality I really, really did want to go.  It had been so many years since I'd been to a concert that I can not for the life of me remember which one it was, and I actually do really like the band that we went to see.  We go to outdoor music festivals a lot in the summer with our kids, but they're more the kind of thing where you'd see people wearing either tie-dye, mullets, or both.  This was going to be mayjah.


Several things have changed since I last went to one of these shindigs, though.  Well, this concert was geared mainly towards teenage girls and tweens with parents in tow.  When I was a teenager I was more used to the types of venues where they frisk you on the way in for illicit firearms, shanks, drugs and/or alcohol.  They did check my handbag, for which I apologised, mom-like, for it being so messy. 


Some things have not changed.  Teenage girls scream really farking loudly.  They don't wear very many clothes.  They will cut a bitch for the opportunity to rub up on the lead singer when he comes near the crowd.  They almost always dance, and know all the words to all of the songs.  Some of them sweat profusely and smell like armpits when they wave their hands over their heads.  You will leave a concert thinking you've caught the plague from all of the sweaty germs and your ears will buzz for a week.  Or is that just me?


We had floor seats, which I thought would be good because we were fairly close to the stage, but it's not good if you're nine and the teenager in front of you is 6'2".  Note to self:  When buying concert tickets for short people, no floor seats.  I didn't mind Tall Stuff being in front of him so much, because every time a beach ball or a bottle of water (we'll get to this later) hurled towards my baby's face, Tall Stuff would inadvertently act as a cloaking shield for him.  He did take short shifts standing on his chair to see better, because the teenager behind him told him that she didn't mind.  So yes, some teenagers are really nice.  There is hope for the world after all.


Remember how people would wave their lighters around during slow songs?  Well nowadays they tell the kids to take out their cell phones and digital cameras to wave those around.  That, and instead of saying, "Buy our album", they say, "Go home and download our album, burn it from a friend or pirate that mofo because as long as you're listening to our music we're happy".  I'm sure their bank accounts are quite happy, also.


The entire time, I kept thinking back to when I used to attend a lot of concerts when I was a teenager.  How I used to love boys in bands.  Punk bands, mostly.  Remember how your parents would be horrified if you brought home a boy with baggy pants and an earring?  I can just imagine how horrified my father would have been had I brought home boys with flat-ironed hair, skinny jeans and eyeliner.  Jeesh!


Not to mention how the three opening acts had songs about throwing your hands in the air, and waving them as if you just don't care.  Years!  Years, we've been listening to different variations of throwing your hands in the air and waving them like you just don't care.  Is it possible that this phenomena is not entirely played out by now?  Could it have been cool to raise your hands in the air and wave them like you just don't care throughout the eighties, nineties, and today?  Classic, yes; but how great is their sense of entitlement to think that they have the ability to improve on such a classic?  Ah, youth.


I did feel like getting all Mom on their asses, though.  Every time a band member would finish with a guitar pick or drumstick, they'd toss them into the audience.  They'd take a sip out of a water bottle, and toss those into the audience, too.  One sip!  Would it kill them to reduce, reuse, recycle?!!  I swore to myself that if a water bottle was hurling toward my son's head and Tall Stuff didn't end up taking it in the head first, then I was going to sue their asses!  As for us, we paid six bucks for a bottle of water that they then poured into a giant paper cup.  Bottles are life threatening, apparently.  Not to be used without supervision.  If I'd known they were going to give me a paper cup regardless, I would have rode their asses and told them to give me tap.  Mama recycles, yo.  *throws up gang signs*


See how hip I am?  Mama is down.  Recognize.


That's all,

Twills

XOXO



Part Two, which will come to you later:  How I accidentally found myself wanting to rip the clothes off of the incredibly young lead singer and ravage him like a cougar and the only thing that stopped me was The Child.



Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Willy Wonka: Womanizer


Zen:  Mama your hair so nice.

Twills:  Thank you, baby.

Zen:  Your hair so nice and it's wild.

Twills:  You mean curly?  Because I didn't straighten it today?

Zen:  Yeah, your hair is curly ta-day and it's wild.  Yeah, your hair is wild and you have a fro.

Twills:  Mm-hmm.  *It's not a fro! It is not!*

Zen:  You have hair like Willy Wonka, but not when it's wild.

Twills: Pardon?

Zen:  Willy Wonka hass red hair and your hair black, but you also can have Willy Wonka hair.

Twills:  Do you mean when I have bangs?  Because Willy Wonka has bangs?

Zen:  Yes.  You hass bangs and Willy Wonka hass bangs.

     *Puts hands in hair*

     Mama?  Willy Wonka not have wild fro, Willy Wonka is womanizer.

Twills:  Pardon me? What did you say?

Zen:  Willy Wonka a womanizer.

♪♪♪  Womanizer womanizer oh womanizer oh you a womanizer baby ♪♪♪

Twills:  Zen?  What do you mean about Willy Wonka?

Zen:  Willy Wonka hass red fro and Willy Wonka a womanizer.  He likes ladies.  He likes their boobs.

Twills:  *face|palm*

Zen:  ♪♪♪ You you you are!  You you you are!  Womanizer womanizer you're a womanizer baby! ♪♪♪

Twills:  Oh, far too much Britney.

Zen:  Mama, you put on Womanizer for me please?

     * bats eyelashes *



Here you go, Zen.  Enjoy.



Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Contagions


My grandmother has recently moved into the new nursing home that they've built in our town. It's easier for her there, because though none of us are from this godforsaken place, there are many more family members here than there are back home to care for her. We are better able to visit, or we can spring her out from time to time when we're having a function.  I go there as often as I can, and it's always a riot. 

My grandmother has her good days and bad days though. Sometimes she'll be completely lucid... other days she'll be telling you about the hot young stud that she's met that she's about to shack up with. Sometimes her supposed paramour is the Reverend (he's frisky!). Then there are the days when she's sad, which are the hardest to take.  The last time I went to visit my grandmother, I was not prepared to have it affect me so deeply as it did.

When I walked in, she was sitting in her recliner as she usually is but she wasn't in her usual jovial mood, ready to laugh and joke about old times. We talked as we usually do about how she was keeping, how many pills she takes, if she takes more pills than the lady next door, (she doesn't but hers are bigger, for the win), the bingo game she won big money at that morning, how she'd had her hair done since I'd seen her on the weekend, and then we stopped after a short chat about the latest geezer gossip. Man, those old birds love to bicker!


Then it took a serious turn. 


She spoke about how hard it was for her when my dad died; how hard it was to lose her favourite son. How hard it must have been for me to grow up without a father. I started to get teary eyed when she did, and I pictured how it was that day at his funeral. As she told me about how windy it was at the cemetery, I could picture her and I holding each other at the grave site, weeping.  How the fact that it was a sunny day seemed like it was the Universe spitting in my face.  How can the world go on?  Why did the entire world not stop when my father died, since mine had? 

I hugged her and told her it was going to be okay, that he was in a better place and so on because I know she believes in that kind of thing, that he was waiting for us in heaven and all that, like you would... But I started to break down, crying and thinking about how much my dad means to me. I was thinking about his funeral and how we played "Electric Avenue" because it was his favourite song and the sole reason that Daddy always assumed that he was a fan of Reggae music.

I was getting really into the crying. Not just dainty little tears, but big ugly sobs with dripping nose included. I must have needed a good cry, and being a naturally melancholy person I was up to the job of letting a good one out. Grandma and I cried a little, and hugged each other. She may have rocked me at one point, but the rest becomes a little hazy; this was when I started to snap out of it.


The problem is, you see...

My dad is not dead.


My dad is very much alive.  He can attest to that himself and knowing him, I'm sure he'd tell us more information than is really necessary to prove how young and alive he really is. 


Yes, I can picture him dying, and it makes me incredibly uncomfortable. The very thought devastates me entirely! I got so swept up in the moment that I lost all form of self control and logic. Not to mention what I myself must have inflicted on my poor grandmother, needing to be comforted by her! I was a liability to her in her grief because even though she's knows that my dad is alive, to her at that moment her grief is real.  I was not supportive in the least and felt terribly for it later. 

Shame on me for being such a flake! I think from now on I'll make sure my visits coincide with Bingo or pub night, and I'll stick to the tried and true subjects when I'm talking to Grandma. Like who takes the most/biggest pills, who's the hottest ticket in the place, and who does the minister favour more? Always winners, and not quite so likely to make me emo. She deserves to be happy and joyful at the age of 90, otherwise, what do you have?


My sister always did joke that Dementia was contagious, and I didn't believe it until now.  So in that spirit, I will offer you a musical selection in honour of my Daddy:





That's all,


Twills

XOXO

Monday, March 15, 2010

Last Week


I saw my best friend last week. This would be an ordinary occurrence for most people, but it was strange for me due to the fact that I haven't spoken to him in twelve years. We're not separated by physical distance, in fact we've lived in the same town this entire time minus the short while I spent away at university. We pass each other occasionally, but normally we don't even glance at one another.   In fact, it's so extreme that we pretend not to recognise each other at all, and it's not in a cruel way; it just is.

Nobody knows that he was my best friend other than him and I. He was the kind of friend that I could talk to about anything, and he just "got" me. There are precious few people in this world who have every really understood me, and back then the list was even smaller. When he would call me, just by the way I said "Hello" he would know exactly what kind of a mood I was in, and what to say to me to make my day better. I've never had a friend since who had that same knack.


Every time we spoke on the phone, he would comment about how smart and funny I was, and coming from a home with a verbally abusive mother, that meant a lot to me.  He would always say, "Well, you learn something new every day.  Of course that's because I talk to you every day."  It was the first time in my life that anyone really made me feel especially good about myself, that I made someone's life brighter simply by being in it.


We spent several months in the summer before I moved away for school, just driving around in his truck. Entire bright, sunny days driving really slow on deserted dirt roads... sipping on a beer, chain-smoking menthol lights. You know, like you would. Doing a lot of talking, and a hell of a lot of laughing. Some of my fondest memories from my youth are from this time.

I've carried these memories around in my head for years now, and still there is not one other soul in this world that knows about this other than him and I. You see, he got himself a girlfriend. I was happy for him at first, because I did start to fear that he was starting to fall in love with me and I knew that there was no way I would ever feel that way about him. The girlfriend sensed this, and being the jealous type and a stage 5 clinger, she strove to cut me from his life like a bad weed.

I receded from his life quietly, because I knew that since I was moving away soon and starting a new life, he needed to have someone back home to start a new life with as well.  At the time, I felt that it was more or less like a natural progression of our friendship to end that way.  I didn't have any hard feelings towards her, and I still don't. 


I got a frantic call from some friends six months later, asking me to come home because he was about to marry her.  They thought that I was the only one who could break up the wedding.  Not being one for that kind of drama, I refused to do so.  He was an adult, I felt he was fully capable of making his own decisions.  Besides, in the movies when that happens the people usually end up together.  The thought of that was repulsive to me; too much like incest, not to mention showing up at a wedding and storming the place, which quite frankly is not the proper time to object!  I never did want things to get messy.

So we've continued on in our own lives like this for a good ten years, passing each other on the street, at different functions, having mutual friends... but still not talking.  We both have our own lives and families separate from one another and by all accounts he looks happy.

Fast forward to last week:  We passed each other on the street.  I was with my kids, he was with a group of people I didn't recognise.  For just one instant, we made eye contact.  After 12 years.  I looked at him, he looked at me, and there was an understanding:  We were best friends once, long ago.  We don't ever have to be again, we don't even have to speak; and that's perfectly fine.   No regrets.   We both smiled.


Life goes on, seemingly, without fail.


That's all,

Twills

XOXO

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hear Me Roar!

An anthem, shall we?



I've been called a FemiNazi Lesbian Bitch quite recently, though I'm sure it was in quite a loving way.   I am not afraid to identify as a feminist, and it doesn't have to mean that I am hairy and sapphic, or that I dress like a thrift store threw up on me.  It does not mean that I hate men!  I happen to feel very strongly that women around the world deserve to have the same basic human rights awarded to all citizens, and most importantly (heh) that we have the right to walk across a crowded club without some tickle-dick grabbing our ass.


Don't get me wrong.  If I'm ever on a sinking ship and someone calls out, "All women and children onto the the lifeboats first!", you know I'm not going to stop in order to argue with him about how men and womyn are equal.  I'm totally going to be too busy elbowing that fucker out of the way so that I can take my rightful place as queen of the life vessel.  Duh.


So happy International Women's Day, bitches.  Bask in the power of your uterus!  Or something...  equally... fun?


Just have a great day, in general.  Be whomever you want to be, because we live in a country where all of that is possible.


That's all, 


Twills

XOXO



Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dads Say the Darnedest Things: The Back Seat

It's time for another story about Dear Old Dad.  This one goes way back.  Heck, I wasn't even born to tell you the truth.  As usual, everything that comes out of that man's mouth is pure gold from a comic standpoint.  This is some kind of a "warning story" or something that my dad always used to tell us girls as a cautionary tale.  Somehow, we were expected to learn from this lesson and apply it to our own lives.  Don't ask me why; it only makes sense in Dad-speak.


Let's set the scene here:  Uncle Dave, a recurring character here at "Dads Say the Darnedest Things" and Daddy were out for a night on the town with their cronies, Davey and Francis.  This took place in Toronto, but all four were from back home in Newfoundland.  It was the seventies.  You can just imagine what they must have been wearing: velour shirts and patterned bell-bottomed pants, gold chains with exposed chest hair.  Added to this was the style in which Daddy was then wearing his hair:  a flaming red white-boy afro.  Sexay!


Whenever drugs of any kind were mentioned, or if we spoke about routine traffic stops done by police to check for drunk driving, which around here are called "The Ride Program", this story would be rolled out and dusted off.


The boys were driving around in Davey's gremlin that night, presumably cruising for chicks.  Davey stopped off and got some beer, which they then proceeded to drink while they were cruising around the area of Toronto in which they lived.  This area, though considered rough even then, is now one of the most dangerous 'hoods in Toronto where no one would want to be seen at night.  They each had a beer, but Davey was having two for each one of theirs, all the while still cruising the neighbourhood.  What kind of lesson is this, Daddy?  Drinking and driving?  For shame!!!


Well it got worse, apparently.  Francis, who really always did love his ganja even later in life (or so I've heard), lit up a joint.  There they were driving around while Davey and Francis were passing the joint back and forth.  All of a sudden they come up to a Ride Program.  The driver was drunk, with a joint in his hand!  Daddy and Uncle Dave are in the backseat!  Cops are everywhere!


Cue the panic!


By some stupid twist of fate, they managed to get through the road block escaping the notice of the police officers.


The End.  Thud.  That's all.


This was apparently the end of the story.  Anti-climatic, no?  This is some important life lesson?  Where are the repercussions for your actions, and all that sort of thing?  We could never seem to figure out what it was that we were supposed to be learning from this experience.  It wasn't until years later when I was an adult and my dad was my friend that finally when he told that story again my sister and I looked at each other funny.  I said, "Daddy, as if you were just sitting innocently in the back seat!"


My sister thought for a minute and said, "Yes.  With your hands clasped in your laps like two little church boys!"


All three of us looked at one another and suddenly could not stop laughing.  For years, we had been missing the point!


Daddy nodded his head at me, grinned and said "See?  You didn't know your poor old father was cool, did you?"


In that moment, we finally realised what it was that we were supposed to have been learning all those years.  Yes.  



Our dear old dad...


At one time...


Was COOL.



Thank you Dad.  You've hit another right out of the park.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Charlotte's Crotch Webs


Being Buddhist-ish is harder than one might think.  I'm down with the chanting and the meditating... striving to follow the "middle road" and all that jazz.  I believe in the underlying principles that form the foundations of Buddhism, but how does one deal with the bugs?!!


As a general rule, we don't kill bugs in this house.  I value life no matter how small, as part of the general ecosystem.  However, I'm scared to freaking death of bugs.  Terrified, heart-attack worthy, jump on a chair and squeal like a girl kind of scared.  Because of this paralyzing fear, in the past when I used to kill bugs I'd have to not only just squish them, but beat the living fuck out of them with a shoe until they didn't remotely resemble their former shape any longer.  In partially conquering this fear, it's allowed me to be calmer and more collected when I do see a bug.  It takes the same amount of energy to trap the effers and chuck them outside than it does to kill them, yet killing them has a greater cost both to your spirit and the circle of life.


Well that's what I felt until today, actually.


The Dilf and I have been lying in bed moaning a lot lately.  No, not for fun, you dirty buggers!  We've been really sick for the past few weeks.  Flu, colds, strep throat...  you name it.  The kind of sick where you can't really move or do much of anything.  Our kids turned feral and our house fell so deeply into a mire of dust, dog hair and dirty dishes that I'm still working on getting it back into a livable state.


That, and the spiders have taken over.


Yes, you heard me.  They knew we were sick.  They could sense it.  They moved in, set up shop and started to build webs all over the corners of our house.  If 'Miss Havisham Chic' ever came into vogue, I'd have a head start.   This morning as I started to revive through the miracle of conventional medicine (yay anti-biotics!), I noticed what they'd done the second my back was turned.


I Windexed, I tottered around in my marabou pumps with a feather duster (heh), I vacuumed, scrubbed, cursed, sweated, cursed some more...  Just when I finally thought that I'd rid the house of the scourge of webs, (and oh, what a tangled web we weave!) I noticed that some hooker of a spider had weaved a nest.  A nest containing little baby spider eggs:  In The Buddha's crotch!  Yes, nestled into the perfect little hollow in the statue was a safe little spot for Charlotte to drop her bastard children.  What a ho, that Charlotte.


It's winter in Canada.  The Buddha was taunting me.  I was tempted to vacuum it up and be done with it.  Was I going to get rid of the spider nest (from Buddha's crotch, no less) so that they'd die, was I going to put the egg sac gently outside where they might also die from exposure, or was I going to let the damned thing hatch in the house and deal with the hundreds and thousands of babies that might possibly hatch out of it later?


Well, I'm not a completely heartless bitch.  What do you think I did?  I gently cradled the nest on a small piece of paper and moved it to a really high shelf in the garage.  It's still part of the house, just not "in" the house, technically...   I'm sure the Dilf will never notice, having them in such an abundance out there already.  ;)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

TMI: The Gina

Like Pina, I grew up in the kind of household where we didn't discuss bodily functions of any kind. My mother never talked to us about our bodies, and any questions we had were met with copious giggling and avoidance of the issue. She just figured that it was the school's job to teach us all about this stuff. Imagine my surprise when they sent the boys out of the room and drew the curtains closed for the first time! I can say in all honesty without one word of embellishment that I fainted that first day in health class.


This of course is a strange background for a person to have when they went on to teach sex ed to their peers in high school. Oh yes, I did. People, I even did the "Health Announcements" over the PA in the mornings, wherein I would have to say things like "vaginal secretions" and "smegma". Chlamydia is such a happy sounding word when facing down some of the alternatives, no?


When I had children of my own I knew things would be different. I don't have any shame at all when speaking of body parts or answering questions about changing bodies or baby making. I refuse to call the genitals by any kind of pet name. Call a spade a spade. A penis a penis. A vagina a vagina. We let it all hang out at our house, both literally and figuratively.


I think what we need to work on is precisely when it is considered okay to use such words in public.


First thing in the morning, I'm rolling up into Home Depot with my dad and my two year old son Zen (nickname). Dad was talking to a sales girl about something or other, and just as she turned to go check her computer for my dad, Zen yells out, "She hass boobs!"


The boy does have good taste. Those knockers were huge!!!


But my dad, who had been flirting with this woman, was trying to shush him. Zen was cramping his style!


"Pa, she hass boobs!!!"


I don't think my father ever got the answer to his question... He was too busy trying to steer a shopping cart through the aisles at breakneck speed before the poor woman heard what Zen was saying. As my dad pushed the cart further and further away, Zen would yell it at me louder and louder, "Mama! She hass boobs!" I know I could have done more to shut that down, but I was laughing too hard to be of much use.


Eventually we collected the items we went in for and lined up for the cash register. Zen was playing with his "Lady Lego Man", which he carries around with him everywhere. The cashier started to speak to him while she was ringing our things through and said, "What's that you have there?"

Zen: Lady Lego Man. She hass a 'gina!

Dad: Shush!

Cashier: Pardon me? I didn't catch that.

Zen: Lady Lego Man hass a 'gina!

Cashier: I'm sorry, I didn't understand you.

Dad: Oh, it's okay. Really, it's his Lego Man.

Zen: Lady Lego Man hass 'GINA

Cashier: Really?

Zen: Yeah, Lady Lego Man HAS A 'GINA!!!!!!!!! *breaks out into loud guffaws for someone who is so small*

Cashier: Oh, wow! Isn't that cool! Aren't you a lucky boy!



The woman, thankfully, did not understand Zen's garbled baby language. My dad was mortified! I don't think he's ever said the word vagina in his entire life! I know for one that I've never spoken such a word in front of him, as much experience I've had using such terminology in front of hundreds, even thousands of people.


How about y'all? How are you with discussing such things with your parents versus discussing them with your kids? Any difference? Similar instances of "Too Much Information" or TMI? Discuss.



That's all,

Twills
XOXO

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Sock Pile

Everyone who knows me knows that I'm a laundry expert.  With three boys and a real "working man", I do laundry every single day.  If I skip a day, I have to do two loads the next day.  If I skip two days, there are three the day after that.  On weekends I do laundry pretty much constantly, because that's when I take care of the sheets and towels.  Heck, I'm such a laundry fanatic that I make my own freaking soap.  Not only because I have a son who has sensitive skin and can't handle conventional soap, but because I like it, dammit!


Being a laundry nazi (heh), I have a complex system of hampers and baskets that are organised according to colour, cleanliness and date soiled.  Anyone but me would need an engineering and possibly a psychology degree to figure that bitch out, but I've got that shit on lock down.


Then there's an extra box.  A shameful, shameful box.  One that I feel I need to hide if my mother in law or *gasp* a neat freak were to enter my home.


It contains....


This hot mess:








Okay, so that stuff is not exactly mine.  There are pink ones and the pile contains pairs.  Not to mention that the pairs are balled up, and I would never ball up my socks like that in a million years.  Doesn't this person understand that making little sock balls like that looks messy in the drawer and it ruins the elastic?!!!  Shame!  Shame on all you sock ballers!  Damn you, random Google Images!  You didn't deliver!


I choose not to mention that there's a cat in the picture.  Oh, but then I just mentioned it.  Crap!  Ignore the damned cat, I would let a cat in my house the day that I would ball up my socks and chuck them in the drawers.  Fold them, people!  Fold them with OCD-like precision and stack them neatly according to colour and warmth-providing qualities!


So my question is, where the eff do all of the missing socks go?  And what do you do with the odd ones that are left over?  Wear them anyway?  When my eldest son was 6, he used to love wearing odd socks.  Problem solved!  Now that he's 8 and thinks he's badass, odd socks just ain't gonna fly!  And if I hear "Mom, I can't find any socks!" one more time five minutes before school starts, I think I might seriously force him to wear mine.


What do you do with all of the odd socks?


You could donate them to a one legged person, I'm sure they'd be thankful to have such variety.  You could make sock monkeys out of them I suppose, but does the world really need any more sock monkeys?  They're so creepy!  And you can't really make a sock monkey out of a baby sock, they're too tiny!  Sock puppets... you can only own so many of those before they become as lame as Lamb Chop.   So what else?


I've asked the Dilf what he thinks you can use odd socks for, and OMG he won't stop talking.  Stuff about vehicle intake mixed with dryer lint... some other uses that seem like they'd be reserved for homeless people... yadda yadda yadda... bunk sock, dipstick wiper, something called a "black jack" which is some kind of weapon (remind me to Google that later) bra stuffers... yadda yadda yadda... penis cosy...  OMG, that's enough, Dilf!  Gawd!  He's still going... He doesn't realise that I've moved on.  Him and his odd socks can beat it, quite frankly.


Maybe I should keep them, after all.  I'm pretty sure that if I did throw them out, the very next day the matches would just suddenly appear miraculously.  I'm also pretty sure that I'm fanatical enough about laundry to go visit the landfill and search for my garbage bag containing the old socks.  Didn't I say you'd also need a psychology degree?  Don't say I didn't warn you!


Tell me, y'all.  What do you, personally, do with all of your old socks?  Discuss.



That's all,


Twills

XOXO

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Daddy Goes to the Psychic


My whole family went through a phase a few years ago, wherein they thought it was at the height of entertainment to visit a psychic. My aunts, grandmother and my dear old father would make it a habit of attending various psychic fairs, and also of trying out all of the local psychics in turn. They were trying to find "The One" and the more scarves, crystal balls and incense involved, the better. Like a chain-smoking Professor Trelawney.

Then their favourite psychic had a heart attack. She didn't see it coming! They were forced to find a new one, and pronto. How could they have gone on without knowing deliberately ambiguous events that could possibly happen in the future?!!

One afternoon the aunt who was the most invested in the project called with a revelation. She had found one! The vehicle was loaded with as many relatives one could fit into a Pontiac Sunfire and off they went to seek the spirit.

Of course my sister and I were anxious for him to return so we could find out how it went. We were worried that the bitch was going to rat us out for all of our pseudo-delinquent behaviour! That last wench told Daddy that she'd like to kick my sister in the ass for not realising her true potential, and he wasn't telling me anything she'd said about me, so I knew that bitch spilled the beans.

This particular visit did not go so well. She wasn't a proper psychic, dammit! She was an energy healer! They wuz robbed! Apparently she was able to remove the negative energy from everyone except for my father. I didn't know if he felt worse because he just didn't "mesh" with the woman, or if it was because someone thought he had negative energy that was impossible to purge.

We asked him how she would go about doing such a thing as removing one's negative vibes, and he said this:

"She took a pillow and put all of our negative energy into it, then she made us punch it while she shouted, 'Harder! Harder!'. I tried my best, but I was worried that her husband was going to walk in and think that I had his wife bent over the table or something and that I was giving it to her!"

Gah! Burn that unholy image from my eyes! Erase it's sound from my ears!

Thanks, Dad. I know we're your buddies, but there are just some things that should only be said in a locker room and not to your daughters.

Daddy has since given up on the psychic realm, and lives one day at a time; I like to think that he holds onto much less negative energy than he once did. He's still telling his daughters his stories, such as they are. Should I mention that I wish I had a stepmother who could relieve some of this burden?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tea-agra: Dads Say the Darndest Things


So where we left off... We were having some tea with dear old Dad. Tea. Reminded him of another story about tea. Dad and my Uncle Dave were sitting in a Chinese restaurant in Twillingate, Newfoundland. My Dad was most likely sitting in a spot within the restaurant which would allow him the very best vantage point for gawking; a family trait. Their conversation went as follows:

Dad: So Dave, who owns this place now?

Dave: Well, they say the woman who owns it is hot to trot, 'by.

Dad: They do?

Dave: Yes, they say she's hot to trot because she was living here with an old man before and they were running it together, they thought those two were married, but then he left and a younger man came in and now she's with him.

*enter waitress*

Dad: *flirting, as he is wont to do* I'll have some green tea. Dave, you should have some, too.

Dave: No, I can't say as I'd care for that.

Dad: Oh, but it has tremendous health benefits, Dave. Could you please tell my brother Dave here that green tea is good for him?

*Waitress puts her hand under the table and raps her knuckles on the underside of the table top rhythmically*

Waitress: It stand you up, right like that!

*exit waitress*

Dave: See, 'by? I told you she was hot to trot.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The 'Cock' Roach: Dads Say the Darnedest Things


Some of you may have read this before on my *other*, slightly more anonymous blog which is now defunct, for others this will be new. What it stems from is the fact that my father in recent years has come to regard my sister and I as his buddies and has started to tell us slightly inappropriate yet hilarious stories. I hope I can remember them all and that I can manage to write them down with efficacy.

Setting the scene, my father, cousin and I are having a spot of tea. Tea is serious business in our family; almost ritualistic in nature, but that doesn't mean that we're ever serious while drinking it. A lot of great conversation in our family is centred around tea-drinking. This day was no exception and netted me not one, but two priceless Dad stories. The other one will follow when I get around to it, dammit!

Back story: My father works at a zoo. Literally, a zoo. So this one fine morning, my father was doing his rounds to check on all the machinery and take readings, etc. such as he always does. As he explained to us, he spied a newspaper in the recycling box in one of the pavilions, and thought that it would be a good idea to take his break and read the said paper -- on the toilet.

Dad is sitting there (and I know, right? Ew! But it gets worse), and when he opened up the newspaper he felt something drop out of it... he looked around on the floor and so on but saw nothing. So by and by he was reading away... when all of a sudden he felt something. In his words, "My lord, there was something tickling my balls!" Squeals of horror from the girls at hearing this! Traumatised!

When my dear father looked down into the toilet to check out what was going on down there, there was a GIANT COCKROACH clinging to his ball hair! Cue more squeals of horror from the girls! Jumping sky-high and trying not to have a heart attack was apparently enough to knock the giant roach off of his balls, allowing him enough time to flush the fucker down before it tried to sexually assault him any further. That'll teach him to read on the john.

I don't know what was worse, thinking about the horror of the giant bug, or the horror of my father talking about his balls. It's a toss-up, really.