Just a bit of fun I had, taking the advice of a friend who told me that when I’m stuck in a “non-writing” phase (I refuse to call this “blocked”, anymore – sounds too damned permanent), I should rewrite other people’s stories.
I didn’t like that idea.
Then, while cleaning out the laptop, I found a link to a news story that I somehow saved for reasons unknown about how to avoid wildlife collisions on Northern Ontario highways. Why I saved the link, I haven’t a clue, but when I re-read the story, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” kept popping into my head.
So, I re-wrote the news story, and I’m still laughing. Yeah. Doesn’t take much to amuse me, does it?
Chicken collisions – reduce your risks!
ANYTOWN, ON – Anytown OPP is cautioning motorists on the increased incidents of chicken collisions on area highways.
Collisions with chickens can result in serious vehicle damage, personal injury or even death.
In 2008, Anytown OPP detachments cluster responded to 222 motor vehicle collisions involving chickens and to date in 2009, a total of 101.
Chickens are unpredictable at all times.
However, there are two peak times when the risk of a collision is highest: May and June when chickens seek road salt in ditches and try to escape biting insects and during the fall mating and migration seasons.
– Scan the road ahead from shoulder to shoulder. When you see chickens beside the road, slow down and pass carefully as they may suddenly bolt onto the road.
– Watch for the yellow chicken warning signs that indicate an area of increased risk. Slow down when traveling through these areas.
– Use high beams at night where possible and watch for glowing eyes of chickens.
– Stay in control. Watch your speed and take extra precautions when driving at night as chicken visibility is greatly reduced. Slowing down will give you that extra second to respond.
– Never swerve suddenly. This could cause your vehicle to go out of control or head into oncoming chickens.
– Brake firmly if a chicken is standing on, or crossing, the road. Never assume the chicken will move out of your way.
– Stop as safely as possible if a chicken is crossing the road. Remember, if one chicken crosses the road, others may follow.
If possible, avoid driving during dusk or dawn when most chicken collisions occur.
Swerving to avoid hitting a chicken may result in a more serious collision.
If hitting a chicken is unavoidable, remember to stay in control.
Watch, steer, brake and stop.
* * *
…and yes, folks, I am aware that Michael Jackson is no longer with us. I’m less upset over the fact that he’s dead than that he’s hogging all the limelight when Farrah Fawcett died on the same day. I was more a fan of hers than his.
With apologies to his family, his friends and his fans, I thought the man/boy was a freak.
* * *
Oh, and THIS?! You MUST click it. Read it. Die laughing. It’s SOOOOOO much more funny than chicken collisions.
Isn’t that a “deer” little picture? That’s actually what Ruby said to me when she passed it over her coffee cup, laughing, but I’m stealing it for myself…
I got to see a lot of Ruby’s old photos last night; most actually had The Lady Herself in them. Mushy’s instincts are quite correct: she surely was a “looker” in her day.
It’s unfortunate that she won’t let me post any… Ah well… on with the story.
That man – whose name I’m not allowed to publish, and I won’t make one up because his real name was just so spectacular that I couldn’t possibly come up with a better one (I swear there’s a hobbit somewhere with the same last name, and no, it’s not “Baggins”, but wouldn’t that have been groovy-cool?!) – owned a cabin right beside Northland Lake. The photo was taken somewhere ’round about 1942-43, if Ruby’s guess is correct.
The deer was a “gift” from a couple of men who “found” it in the bush, wandering around without a mother.
“Hmmmphf!” says Ruby. “No doubt they shot her and then found the baby.”
Ruby says Mr. Hobbit – there, I’ve named him anyway, haven’t I? – was a real nice fella. She and her brothers and sisters and all their crazy teenaged friends used to go visit him. They would swim in the lake in summer, and skate on it in the winter.
He never let them on the lake after the sun went down, though, afraid something might happen to one of them, and no one would find them in the dark. So, after sunset, they would all crowd into his little cabin, and he would wind up the old victrola so they could dance.
Or he’d pull out his fiddle and they would dance to that.
Nice guy, Ruby says. It was Mr. Hobbit that gave them the deer to take home. “Followed us home right smart,” as Ruby tells it. “It was a tame little thing.”
Ruby’s Mom, now (She of the No. Forearms.), wasn’t so fond of having a deer around. I would have thought she’d worry about the gardens, but no, it was the railroad tracks that scared her. Ruby’s dad was the Line Foreman in Northland, remember, and their house was right beside the tracks. Ruby’s Mom was sure he’d be killed (the deer, not Ruby’s dad – although she probably worried about that, too).
That deer entertained them for most of the summer. It lived outside, but was not in the least bit adverse to coming in for dinner. Ruby always knew when her dad was up in the morning, because once it saw movement in the house, that little deer would be at the door hammering on it with his head. Her dad always gave him breakfast, too.
The bigger the deer got, though, the more Ruby’s Mom worried about him playing on the tracks… she finally convinced the kids to take him back to Mr. Hobbit’s cabin. They didn’t want to, but they did. None of them wanted to find that deer lying bloody on the railroad tracks some morning.
Ironically, after he had been back with Mr. Hobbit for a week or two, a couple of “rough” boys started trying to catch him. Trying to get away, Ruby’s little deer broke a leg on the rocks by the shore.
Mr. Hobbit had to shoot him.
I swear Ruby had tears in her eyes when she told me this story. She very nearly wouldn’t let me take the picture with me, for fear I’d forget to bring it back to her.
No, not me, silly! Myself, I am quite content with singlehood, as of yet; it’s Ruby that told me this story, and isn’t it high time for another one from our favourite Little Old LandLady?
Yes. Yes, it is…
We were watching a ball game… the Jays were playing; Ruby’s favourite team, and for once they were actually winning while I was watching, which is unusual, because I generally jinx them into doing stupid things that cause them to lose the game…
During a lull, Ruby started to talk – took me a bit to realize she was speaking to me and not the umpire – my first clue should have been that she didn’t start the sentence with, “Idiot!!” (Ruby rarely calls me that).
“Remind me to tell you a story when we go back to the kitchen…”
Me: “Oooh! What kind of story?”
“It’s a cute story. Funny, but cute, I think.”
Me: “Yeah? Is it about you?”
“No. Shhhh, now!”
So, I had to shhh for about 15 minutes. I got up to get another cup of coffee. Ruby doesn’t drink coffee in her living room. She says she forgets about it, and it gets cold. Usually by the time she gets her coffee on baseball nights, there’s only enough for a 1/2 cup left, but she doesn’t seem to mind…
By the time I’d jinxed the Jays badly enough for Ruby to give up on them, I was wired on caffeine and worked up about the upcoming story…
Me: “So, give it up.”
Ruby laughed. “Well, like I say, it’s funny, but it’s cute. *I* think it’s cute, anyway…”
And then, of course, she took a long pause while she sloooooowly wandered around her kitchen, sloooooowly getting cream for her coffee, and sloooooowly adding the sweetener (after first discovering that her little sweetener container needed to be refilled and sloooooowly refilling it), and then sloooooowly stirring it all up…. I was ready to strangle her before she finally started to talk.
“Have you met my niece, Carol, yet?”
Me: “No, I don’t think so.”
“Well, Carol has a friend that lives in the middle of the bush somewhere down in Southern Ontario, I don’t know where for sure, but she doesn’t live there all year ’round, anymore. She comes and stays at Carol’s place in the winter. Her name is Dahlia.
And last winter, Dahlia got using the internet, and got herself into one of those chat rooms…”
Now, as we all know, Ruby does not like or trust the internet, and I was really surprised that she actually knew what a chat room was at all. So I waited for her to start shaking her head and talking about how Carol’s friend got herself into something she shouldn’t have, and wondered how this story was going to turn out funny or cute.
“And, of course, she met this guy…” Ruby chuckled again, and stirred her coffee some more, making me wait it out.
Ruby laughed out loud. “I was thinking the same thing, when I heard about it! I guess she started chatting with this fella, and after awhile, he was the only fella she was chatting with… His name was George. Well, you can guess where this is going, can’t you?”
Me: “Yes, I can. She fell in love and ran off with him, didn’t she? Did he take her for her cabin in the woods and she ended up destitute?”
“Now, don’t go gettin’ ahead of me; you’ll ruin the story!”
So I shut up again.
“So, Dahlia and this fella started talking about meeting up, and I guess that’s when Dahlia got a little nervous about what she was doing, and she talked to Carol about it.
Carol read all the letters, or what-you-callems that they’d sent back and forth so far, and she told Dahlia that the fella seemed like he was on the up and up, but then again, who knows for sure? So, Dahlia decided to stick to chatting with him for a bit longer until she knew a little more.
After awhile, though, she decided to take a chance and meet with the guy. Carol said that Dahlia could tell him her address…”
Me: “WHAT?! You’re not SERIOUS!! OH. MY. GOD.”
Ruby laughed, and laughed, and laughed.
“That’s about what *I* said! Now, let me finish the story!
So, they set up a date and time that this George-fella was gonna come to town and visit Dahlia, and Dahlia got more and more nervous as the day got closer. If I’d been Carol, *I* woulda been the one that was nervous-”
Me: “Yeah, me too!”
“-but Carol didn’t let on that she was when she told me this, anyway.
So, anyway, the day comes, and Dahlia was so worked up that she darn near hit the ceiling when the doorbell rang. So it was Carol that answered the door.
And she took one look at the fella standing there, and said, ‘GEORGIE!! What are you doing in town?!’
It was my nephew, George, Carol’s cousin, standing there! At first, Carol didn’t put two and two together, figuring Georgie had just come to visit ‘cuz he happened to be in town… but, no, it turned out that OUR Georgie was DAHLIA’S George all along!
Me: “So did they hate each other?”
“NO, they didn’t hate each other! They got along just fine, and as far as I know, they’re still seeing one another. Turned into quite the match, I believe.”
Me: “Oh. So, then, he didn’t take her for her cabin in the woods and she ended up destitute?
“NO! Now you be nice, or I won’t let you blog this one!”
It was a wicked week. Ups, downs, and a few upside-downs, to boot.
On the “up” side, the Lily-Dawg has her new home. As I write this, I imagine she is either paddling in the creek or lazing on/tearing through the back field of “her” farm, located down the line toward Teeny-Tiny Town…
It’s possible, too, that she’s slobbering into the wind with her head stuck out the passenger window of her new owner’s car. The new owner, you see, prefers dogs to people, and the older dogs are spoiled right rotten. Lily, at 10, is now the second of what The Dog Lady considers to be her “older kids”. And the “older kids” get the Extra Special Treatment, which includes rides in the car. Every time The Dog Lady gets into the car.
The Dog Lady came to my work to get her. Kyla tearfully brought Lily over, introduced her to her new Mom, and ran her through her groovy-cool set of “gimme the treat” tricks. The Dog Lady was especially tickled with Lily’s high-five. And then, she promptly renamed the dog “Lillers” and removed the leash, saying, “Now, let’s get rid of this nasty ol’ thing, eh?”, to which LilyLillers readily agreed, very much approving of the disgust with which The Dog Lady threw the thing into the trunk – most likely never to be retrieved again.
When she went to let her into the back seat, though, the Other Older Kid told her to piss off. LilyLillers was unperturbed, however, and simply called shotgun.
It was unbelievably excruciating to watch Ky wipe the tears away as best she could, and turn her back on the dog to walk away. LilyLillers had a hard time at first, too, trying to scramble over The Dog Lady to get out the window and back to her kid. She settled down quite happily again, though, as soon as Ky disappeared around the building. That somehow made me feel worse.
And Sheikh the cat, who went from avoiding the dog to stalking the dog… to shooing the dog away from her own water dish so he could drink first… to doing this really hilarious “duck-down walk” while following the dog around very closely, making it necessary to continuously bob his head so as not to get hit with her tail… to sleeping beside the dog… is moping around, demanding to know where his dog is…
I kind of miss her myself. All her F-ing hair is still here, however, so I expect I’ll get over that.
Meantime, I’ll just keep picturing LillersThe Lily-Dawg slobbering into the wind with her “laughy-face” on….
* * *
One of the “downs” of the past week was the mysteriousness going on at the J.O.B…. what with secret meetings, and the near-completion of several construction projects, and confusing replies to the “what’s going on?” questions… which all ended up being boiled down to most of the staff being laid off in a couple of weeks’ time, when a form of automation process kicks in… no more dancing in the parking lot. Sigh…* Those remaining will be trapped (trapped, I say!) behind glass.
No one’s saying yet, who’s staying vs. who’s going, but some have already put their notice in (thankfully for me, because the fewer there are when the axe falls, the better my chances of avoiding it, I think).
I’ve continued to apply for jobs in my New Weird Field as they come up over the last eight months, but generally don’t even get an interview. There are too many people in administration et al, who have been laid off, but at least have actual working experience, applying for the same jobs, I think. When I do land an interview, it invariably goes very well, but again…. I have no “real” experience in any of the fields I have accreditation in.
So, I’ve begun to apply for other “crap pay” jobs. And I’ll be crying on Louie’s shoulder over it all, mooching for more hours, just as soon as…
As soon as…
As soon as…
(Yeah, this is a hard one… the “upside-down” part…)
Just as soon as I go talk to the mortgage holder of the house that’s not supposed to be mine, because my “legal” papers, once translated to plain english only stipulate that The Sire agrees not to try and get money out of me for the place.
Worse, the mortgage holder is a credit union; the only type of banking institution that can legally suck my wages away whether I can afford it or not. Which I can not.
My new lawyer told me, “Now, when you go down there, and they ask you for your work number, for God’s sake don’t give it to them! Hopefully, they won’t find out where you work until you can get the place cleaned up enough to live in. It doesn’t look like you can afford both places…”
When I morosely pointed out that in a couple of weeks, I may not have a work number to not give to them, he jumped on it, very pleased, apparently.
“Good! You won’t be lying when you tell them that you’re looking for employment. With luck, they won’t foreclose before you can get things straightened out.”
I asked him if there was any way at all out of this, other than taking over the house….
“Weeeeellllll….. you could do what The Sire’s doing, and just ignore it altogether – they may not look for you if they can find him…. but when they foreclose, it will affect your credit something awful.”
“So, that’s a ‘no’, then, huh…?”
“You could claim bankruptcy…”
And that’s a ‘no’, folks. Not doing that. Nope.
And worse…. if all goes well, and I take over the payments, get caught up on the defaulted payments and overdue taxes and insurance, and then sink a shitload (more likely two shitloads. Three even.) of money into fixing the place up to sell, I can’t sell it unless The Sire signs off, or I can get a court-order.
And worser, even…. if I do all of that successfully (read: when pigs fly and other miracles), he could legally walk right back in and take the house out from under me, simply by beginning to make the payments himself, again. I don’t think he’d do that; I really don’t – but the thought that he could…
You see, the part in my “legal” papers that states that I give up all rights to the house, its contents, and any or all income or profit from its sale, is already in plain english and means sort of, almost, not-quite-exactly that. The house is “ours”. Or the house is “his”. It ain’t never “mine”, even if I get stuck paying for it. The only way around that is another court-order.
And, hopefully, that will be the silver lining I’m looking for… followed shortly thereafter by the sale of the F-ing money pit.
I’ve been looking for snowshoes for me and The Evil Hypnotist for years, now.
Last winter, we decided to get off of our flabby, Prissy-lazy buts (butts?!) and actually get out and exercise… except the snowshoe hunt was sorely unsuccessful.
You see, when I snow-shoed as a kid, I used the same kind of snowshoes that Ruby used when she was a kid. They were the old, wood and catgut lobster-trap-looking things (and I’m pretty sure the old-fashioned lobster-traps were probably made out of catgut, too) that my school had… and that my Dad had.
I think snowshoeing was the only sport other than cross-country running that I truly loved as a kid… and the passion for cross-country disappeared around the time I hit teenage-hood and took up smoking (cough…*). Snowshoeing stuck with me, though.
Once I grew up (Ha! I said “grew up”!) and got married, I didn’t get the chance to snowshoe, even though I lived in the Middle of Nowhere – that’s a real place, you know – mainly because I didn’t own a pair of my own.
When Ky was being home-schooled in Grade 5, it was decided that snowshoeing would be the winter Physical Education Activity… until she flat-out refused. So I didn’t bother to waste the money on even one pair, let alone two.
And then… once in Grade 8, back in the public school system, Ky was forced to put on a pair of snowshoes – and yes, they were the “old” wood and catgut jobs – probably on account of the flat-broken-ness of our public school system.
And she fell in love with the whole idea of owning a pair of her own, and even said she would swallow the embarrassment of snowshoeing with her mother.
Except we couldn’t find anyplace that sold the damned things. All we could find were the new-fangled aluminum and nylon-strappy things no matter where we looked, and truthfully, we both thought they seemed really crappy.
For something so freaking expensive, they really looked cheap.
We also heard (a couple of my really rugged Boys-at-Work agree with this) that the aluminum ones are only good on groomed trails – something to do with the holes punched into the platforms – they bog down if you want to make your own path through virgin snow. Which would suck, because neither Ky or her Non-Embarrassing Mother are the kind of people to stick to a trail while wearing snowshoes.
We are the kind of people who would get bogged down… and probably freeze to death, to be found in the middle of the bush, rotting over our expensive-but-cheap-looking groovy-cool snowshoes, come the Spring thaw. If we were ever found at all, that is.
So, we started searching for used catgut snowshoes… but the only ones we could find, although affordable, were never in good repair, which is when it started to dawn on me, that catgut snowshoes probably require maintenance that I am not equipped to deliver…
What happens if/when the catgut gets old and stringy and starts to rot…? I would assume it needs to be replaced. Not that I have a shortage of cats around here, but I’m not sure exactly how to gut a cat. And if I did manage it… then what!? I haven’t a clue, and if I did, I doubt I could stomach it.
This morning though, unable to sleep, I began my search anew, for a pair of non-cheap-looking, groovy-cool, affordable, not-wood-and-catgut snowshoes.
I think I found a winner. No holes to fill with snow and bog us down. They look sturdy. They’re ON SALE!
I found them online at The North Face, and since I doubt I’ll make it to Vancouver before next winter hits, I’m going to buy two pair, condemned house, lawyer bills and all.
Click here to check them out. There’s a cool little blurb on the home page, by the way, about the retail outlet – founded the year I was born, so you know why they’ve been around this long… 1966 was an incredibly good year. 😀
Fun Fact: I typed “snowshoes” or a derivative of the word 17 times in this post. Count ’em up, if you don’t believe me.
“No Spitting” Taken November 26, 2007 with Canon PowerShot A550
It’s got to be the most disgusting habit – ever – and it’s the one pet peeve I have about my job. Everybody seems to think it’s perfectly acceptable to just hawk and spit on the pavement (or worse, in a trash can if they’re inside).
When did spitting in public become a socially acceptable behaviour, fer Christ’s sake?! It’s not like these people are all chewing tobacco… although, some are, I think.
Even baseball players don’t spit as much as the people I work with (and some of the customers, as well). In one 5-minute break during my shift last night, the guy I was working with spat on the ground a grand total of EIGHTEEN times, I kid you not. My stomach is still churning.
Even the “ladies” are doing it. My kid was doing it for awhile, until she got sick of listening to me bitch her out, loudly and publicly. When enough strangers stare at you while your mother rakes you over the coals in the mall parking lot for spitting, apparently you eventually stop doing it. I wish that worked for everything. Hell, I wish it worked on my co-workers.
Is expectorating in a public place not illegal – something to do with the unsanitariness (yeah, I know; not a real word) of it all? I could swear it was illegal, but if so, the cops in Sault Ste. Marie are not doing their part in keeping our streets clean. Then again, maybe they’re all spitting, too… it is the Brand New, Grand New Thang to Do, now, I guess.
I’m going to petition the city for a spittoon on every street corner. I doubt they could hire anybody to empty those things, for any amount of money. Uck.
Anyway – rant over. Until I have to look at that again.
Ky’s finally sleeping again, and is back to school for her morning classes, which is good. I’m assured by the school that she’ll manage to get those credits without a problem – music class, which is hardly surprising (the principal tells me she’d have passed that one based on her talent, never mind that she doesn’t bother with any assignments – I don’t know whether to be proud or pissed off), and geography. Now, that surprises me.
Two credits is better than no credits, though, I guess, isn’t it? I’ll try to be proud.
My own sleeping is not happening again, now. I’m a little concerned about my job. I’m getting there, but it’s difficult. Luckily, I don’t have to drive to get there, so no lives are in danger – unless I blow the place up, but there are safeguards in place against idiots, so maybe that’s not such a big worry…
I need to finish the latest novel. That’s that “hard” one I mentioned a while back. It’s still got a lot of the same elements that the sitcom had in it, but the entire pilot plot has pretty much disappeared, along with a character or two. I’ve kept the bare bones of what would have been the first season. I tried to change the main characters’ names, but they just will not be renamed. All I’ve managed to do is steal away their last names completely.
I had a lot of false starts trying to pick this project back up again. There was a time that I ate, slept and breathed it. That turned into boozing and smoking it, and I think I just wanted it to go away. Working on it kept bringing up nasty, bad thoughts that I didn’t want to think.
I lamented about this to Ky one day, and she surprised me by telling me I should be getting it done and over with. When I told her I didn’t want to listen/watch/write my main characters anymore, she rolled her eyes.
I told her I’d noticed she wore the one and only promotional t-shirt made for the project all the time, even though she’d once told me she was glad it was dead in the water so what’s up with that, huh?! And then, she made me laugh by paraphrasing Holden McNeil:“They’re fictional characters, Mom. Fictional characters. Am I getting through to you at all…?”
So I’m working on it. And it gets a little easier (and a little closer to done) every time I sit down to it.
My blog is turning back into a place to air my grievances, and although that’s part of what it’s for, I really want to get back to telling the Ruby stories (there’s a ton of them), and The Father Chronicles (there’s a ton of those left, too).
And I talked to my Mom today, and she’s feeling a little lost and lonely without my Dad. She said it’s gotten worse, lately, and she’s been rereading his letters from World War II. At first, they made things worse, but now she finds them a comfort and is glad she saved them…
Wait a minute…. “You have letters from Dad during the War…?”
All his letters…?”
Wow. I didn’t know this….
“Can I read them…?”
“Ummmm…… can I blog them…?”
So as soon as I can get myself down to Teeny-Tiny Town, I will have a new category here: Dear Maude…
Another worry is my imminent move. Far, far away.
I’m not certain how imminent it is, now, considering new and ugly turns of events of legal and financial persuasions that may (shudder) bankrupt me (not if I can possibly avoid it), but I will be moving to Vancouver and will be there for at least a year, once I manage it.
I’m going to be going back to school (yes, again), in an accelerated screenwriting program at the Vancouver Film School. I chose this program, because a Canadian school somehow seems more “doable” than trying to get into one in the States – although I’d rather be in the States. I have more friends there. 🙂
It’s going to cost me a mint, though. I don’t know where the money’s going to come from, yet, but then again, I bought the Prissy-Van with money I didn’t have yet, and so far, so good, she’s still mine. I’ll manage this. Somehow. Gulp…*
I didn’t think I’d be able to convince Kyla to go with me, so was working out an alternative arrangement for her, but when I told her about it (actually, I let it slip in a moment of upset over all this stress), she surprised hell out of me by telling me she would love a change of scenery.