Karma, Zen, & a $60 Waste of Cellophane…

Karma, Zen, & a $60 Waste of Cellophane…

Holy $60 Cellophane Halloweén Costume, Batman

Holy $60 Cellophane Halloweén Costume, Batman

Seriously. SIXTY. DOLLARS. I mean, really: Holy shit!

I had to remind myself (repeatedly) through Halloweén week of my recently adopted “Zen” Attitude. Throughout the scrubbing of ketchup and peeling of chewed-up chewing gum from doorknobs (actually, I thought that was hilarious, but that’s just because Ky, AKA Robin, was the one to turn the knob and gross out), to the near-heart attack over the SIXTY. DOLLAR. CELLOPHANE. SUPER-HERO COSTUME (!!!), to the broken tooth (yes, Karma for the ill-gotten gains swiped sneakily from Robin’s treat-bag), I’ve “Ohm”ed and “Zen”ed my way into a whole ‘nother plane of existence.

I’m Zen, baby.

I think I just like saying the word “Zen”. It just sounds , well… “Zen”, doesn’t it? If ever a word embodies its definition phonetically (now there’s a turn of phrase for you – I just made that up!), it’s “Zen”.

And I think I’ve just proven that just saying “Zen” often enough will make you stoned. Now, that’s “Zen”, right there.

Anyway, that’s been my only recent excitement of late. Behind the scenes now, I’ve been busyish with this new space. I’ve been methodically stealing posts from the old blog, “Where the Walls are Soft”, over to here – particularly The Landlady stories, and The Father Chronicles. Once I’ve got them all moved, I’ll actually begin to post untold stories.

And speaking of untold stories, I’ve been posting chapters of my novella, “Magic” here. They’re not “live” yet, cuz I’ve lost my nerve again. Workin’ on that…

Not-So-Random Song-for-the-Day: “Batman” Theme Song – 70’s

Chicken Collisions

Sorry.

No Pic.

I Don’t Have a Chicken

in my Portfolio…

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.

Watch

– 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.

Steer

– 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

– Brake firmly if a chicken is standing on, or crossing, the road. Never assume the chicken will move out of your way.

Stop

– 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.

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Let Me Go” – Cake

…Of Wheels and Walk-Abouts

Faeries in the Flowers

Faeries in the Flowers
Taken August 9, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550

So, the Mini-Van Saga is finally over…. and it turned out to be a trilogy, at that. I was originally going to be leasing The Fly-Mobile, so-named because it was The Fly-Girl’s ride, and she wanted to get rid of it.

I liked that mini-van. Turns out, the Fly-Girl did, too, and decided to keep it after all, even though she had to pay a bzillion dollars to get it registered in the U.S. after she got married and jumped The Ditch (Traitor!).

I got over it, though, when Fluffy (so-named by Kyla, because he’s, well, fluffy – 🙂 ), the Fly-Girl’s partner-in-car-sharking, found me another mini-van just like the Fly-Mobile, except fully powered and, um… purple. Which prompted Ky to name it The Grape-Mobile. And that prompted me to like it. I like pretty much anything provided it has a cool, freaky, and/or plain ol’ weird moniker.

And then the Grape-Mobile kakked on the operating table during the certification. And I do mean kakked. It barfed out every kind of fluid running through its veins, through all orifices, including new and bewildering orifices that no vehicle should have. So Fluffy shot it. Ky was pissed.

But, Fluffy turns out to be a Genie of sorts, and magicked us up a pristine (albeit older) one-ownered as-yet-un-named mini-van of the Chevy Lumina APV variety, that positively beamed throughout its certification, and Ky loves him again. The two cases of soda, three bags of potato chips, and two large jars of pickles he soothed her with may have had a part in the forgiveness, mind you.

The Pristine Un-Named was delivered to me Friday evening, whereupon, I immediately drove it the three blocks to Ruby’s house to show off. And I drove it the six-ish blocks to the J.O.B. yesterday, and then had to return to the mall from half-way home, having forgot it in the parking lot when my shift was over. Having wheels will take some getting used to…

Anyway… it was decided last evening, now that we have transportation, that we should pick up Ky’s doggish-type companion from her father’s place and get us to a too-far-to-walk-a-dog hiking trail with the camera. I put on a pair of sneakers for the first time in what feels like forever, and off we went.

During said Walk-About, I took the above photo, and noticed when I uploaded it, that there seemed to be a face peering out at me. This face looks eerily like my daughter, until it’s zoomed-in on, whereupon it just turns creepy.

Eeeee-Vil

The zoom-in just looks… Eeeee-Vil

Methinks, Shrinky may have sent a faerie over from the UK. She’s always catching them with her camera. I hope she doesn’t do it again, though, because it gives me the heebie-jeebies.

This afternoon, we will be traveling to Teeny-Tiny Town to visit my Mom, and bring some flowers to the cemetery for my Dad. We will be listening closely for the sound of him rolling over in his grave at the thought of me owning a vehicle. His response to my news, months ago, that I was planning this lease was: “God help the trees on the side of the road.”

Now, that’s a story I should tell some day…

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Love” – John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band

Great Aunt Emma

Great Aunt Emma

"Emma's Knight"Taken October 20, 2007 with Canon PowerShot A550

“Emma’s Knight”
Taken October 20, 2007 with Canon PowerShot A550

I must apologize to the memory of my Great Aunt Emma, for this horrible photo of her painting. It’s a water-colour, framed behind glass, hanging in an awkward niche in my parents’ small space. To get the shot at all, I had to jam myself between the fake gas fireplace and the stereo stand, straddling something or other – it might have been a speaker; I don’t remember. I imagine Emma, if she could somehow see them, would marvel at both the fireplace and the electronics in the stand, not to mention the annoying blinds that caused me problems with the reflection shining on her painting, 70-odd years after her death.

The knight in the painting is Emma’s depiction of a Crusader, having his sword blessed before setting off to convert the heathenish sinners into unwavering faith in a God they’d never heard of.

And if you can’t convert ’em, hell – run ’em through.

When I was little, I used to stare at Emma’s painting for hours at a time. I thought, then, that it was Joan of Arc. I used to imagine that maybe Emma felt a little like Joan: misunderstood… ostracized… martyred. Well… “martyred”, I guess, came later for Emma.

She was my mother’s father’s sister, one of three. As you can see, Emma was an artistic soul, at a time and in a place where that was unusual. The time was the late 1800’s or early 1900’s, and the place was a teeny-tiny farming community on the Manitoulin Island – a community of hard-working, God-fearing, good people. “Haweaters”, they still proudly call themselves, and I’m just as proud to be descended from them.

Emma was a “difficult” girl. She was not exactly… dependable. Her moods were sometimes… erratic. Her actions often confused people.

Sometimes, she could be extremely morose. Depressed. Her family worried over her. At other times, she became violently angry, and frightened them. There were days that she was giddy, and loud, or just plain “odd”. There were also days, and weeks, and probably whole months at a stretch that she was just plain “Emma, herself”, and they would be relieved and nervous at the same time, wondering which Emma would be there next, and hoping by some miracle that her “fits” had passed for good this time.

My mother believes, now, that Emma might have had Bi-Polar Disorder, or what at one time was called Manic Depression. I think my mother might be right, but that was an unheard-of condition way back then. And I’m guessing you have a pretty good idea where Emma ended up.

It must have been a difficult decision, sending her away. Committing her to an asylum. The Nut House. Booby Hatch, Funny Farm, Loony Bin. Horrible, terrible names, I know. Back then, though, they were horrible, terrible places to be “institutionalized” – places where, if you were shut up into them, whether by your family, or by a magistrate, you would be shut up with other people that may very well have started out with troubles similar to yours, but over time had really been driven literally mad. By the time you met your fellow inmates, most would be dangerous, psychotic, unrecognizable versions of themselves. And you would probably end up the same way. And back then, they almost never let you out.

Emma’s sisters, Marjorie and Lavinia, would go and visit her when they could afford the trip to Toronto. Sometimes, she didn’t care if she saw them or not. Maybe during those times, she didn’t realize who they were. But there were also visits when Emma was “Emma, herself”, her perfectly normal “self”, the sister they loved. Those visits were especially hard for Marj and Vine, because Emma would cry, and beg them to please, please, just let her come home. She hated it in the asylum. The other patients frightened her. She was going crazy. Please, please, just take her home. But they couldn’t take her home, and they would have to say good-bye and leave her in that awful place, alone.

After awhile, they didn’t visit anymore.

Emma died some time during the Great Depression. My mother doesn’t know if she was still in that asylum or not, but she was still in Toronto when she died. No one had any money then. No one could afford to travel.

There was a man who came from the Manitoulin, who lived in Toronto at the time. He saw Emma’s obituary in the newspaper, and recognizing the family name, he decided to go to the funeral. He knew Emma’s people, and he wanted to give his condolences. He wasn’t able to.

He was the only person there.

Not-So-Random Song for the Day: “Eleanor Rigby” – The Beatles