It Helps If the Whole Family Is Crazy R.I.P.

Susan Barber – Celebration of Life

Sue-Crop The Celebration of Life for Sue was held at The Water Tower Inn yesterday – I think Sue would’ve loved it. Hundreds of people laughed and cried together for a few hours; I think we all needed for this to happen.

Harry Stewart, a close friend of Aub and Sue live-streamed it all and I’ve embedded the video below for anyone interested in experiencing it. The actual ceremony starts around 20-30 minutes into the video, and it will tug at your heart strings right after you fall off your chair laughing, over and over again.

Artsy Fartsy It Helps If the Whole Family Is Crazy J.O.B. Kyla Becker Little Bits of Stupid Real Life Terry Becker

So, 2015 Sure Started Out Weird…

Holidays are OverTaken February 3, 2015 with Samsung Galaxy S3
Holidays are Over
Taken February 3, 2015 with Samsung Galaxy S3
Greeting card for sale at Les Becker Designs

I’m not sure I even know where to begin…

I was asleep when the ball dropped – woke up when the kids all called for rides home at the same time. It took me three trips, and I drive a mini-van. That’s a lot of drunken 20-somethings…

That old saw about “how you ring in the New Year is an indicator of how your year will go” is flat-out bullshit, if my January has anything to say about it, by the way. I’d have thought January would be a calm and steady same-old, same-old kind of routine month.


It Helps If the Whole Family Is Crazy Little Bits of Stupid Terry Becker Video...

The Woman’s Curse…

Terry Becker waxes (not exactly poetically) about a scary womany subject. While both his wife and his ex-wife are in the room. Yeah.

It Helps If the Whole Family Is Crazy Photography

It’s Peaceful Only Once We Stop Moving…

Gros Cap
Gros Cap
Taken September 30, 2010
with PalmPre Camera Phone

Karen and I took a drive tonight out to Gros Cap, to watch the water, sit and visit, and relax a little….

Truthfully, it was only relaxing once I parked the van and turned off the engine.

My sister is not the best passenger. It’s not that she tries to tell me how to drive or anything, but…

She screams.


Oddly, she only screamed when I was turning right. I don’t know why this is, and it took forever before I realized that it only happened when I was making a right-hand turn.

The first time, I nearly jumped right out of my skin, and screamed back.

“What the hell?!”

“What…?” says she, calm as a cucumber, now that we’re travelling straight forward (sort of – it’s a curvy road, after all – but at least she isn’t screaming now).

“What was that scream all about?”

She looked at me very calmly when she replied, “I thought we were going to tip over.”

It took several more turns to realized she only screamed when I turned right, and another several turns to come up with a possible reason why that was.

“Do you have an ear infection?” I asked her.

“Why would you ask that?” Karen countered.

So, I told her – which was a huge mistake. I told her I thought maybe her equilibrium was off, since she only screamed when I made a right-hand turn, and took the left turns without batting an eye.

Why was this such a mistake? Well, I’ll tell you why.

The very next left-hand turn I made, Karen shrieked and clung to the dashboard with clawed fingers. I swear, there are claw marks in the dash. Deep ones.

After we’d been back home for awhile, I suggested a visit to the nearest Tim Horton’s for a treat.

“Is it close enough to walk?”

My Brother-the-Trespasser will be driving her to the bus for her trip home.

It Helps If the Whole Family Is Crazy Little Bits of Stupid Oh Mother...! Short Fiction The Father Chronicles

My Mom is a Biker-Chick…

Maude on her Hog
Maude on her Hog
Photo copyright either My Brother the Trespasser or My Sister Tootie
(Maude can’t remember who was standing behind the camera…)

I drove down to Teeny-Tiny Town today, having had no sleep since… well, I’m not certain when, but I’ve been writing – really writing – for real writing, so No Sleep Disease isn’t exactly a bad thing. This time.

On the way down, I saw a small plane tipped over on the four-lane median strip, surrounded by a single fire truck and a couple of cop cars. I thought I might be hallucinating at first, but then remembered that if that was the case, my imagination would have turned it into an airliner. I ought maybe check the news to be certain (I assume a plane landing on the highway might be considered news around here, anyway), but I think it’s safe to say I actually saw what I think I saw.

I think.

Lemme check…



Yup. It’s good to know I’m not completely nuts. Ahem…*

When I got to Teeny-Tiny Town, though, and saw that photo of my mother in leathers on a motorcycle… well…. that was something I was pretty certain was all in my own mind.

Until she started to laugh, and told me the story…

Seems My Brother the Trespasser (or maybe it was a nephew – I’ve had no sleep, and my mom can’t remember…) bought himself a new ride this past spring, and went down to show it off to my mom and my sister, who were both suitably impressed. Mom was so impressed, in fact, that she told one of the aides in the Nursing Home that it was her hog.

I don’t know why, but the aide didn’t believe her!

Mom said she would prove it, and got the Trespasser/Nephew/Whoever to fit her up, put her on the bike to pose, and then had [somebody] get a couple of copies of this pic printed up. The aide displays her copy on her fridge at home. I stole the other copy, to show you all how cool my mom is…

Look real close now… she’s not pointing at you. She’s giving you the finger (yeah, yeah, she’s flipping the bird backwards – give the ol’ lady a break – she’s 85).

Dad-gravestone-before-mom-diedWe had a visit to the graveyard (my dad’s monument is finally in place – his boat, sailing off into the sunset lasered into it somehow – he would have been right impressed, I think – and it’s an odd kind of comfort to see that boat on there, sailing away…), and went out for lunch before I sneaked off back home, pilfered photo safely tucked away.

On the way back, I saw an upside down tractor-trailer in the ditch, which my brain turned into a crash-landed Borg ship for a minute. The lack of armed militia tipped me back into the real world soon enough, but not before a whole ‘nother story clicked into place, waiting for me to start writing when the current project is put to bed.

Which is where I’ll be going… once I’ve pecked out a few more scenes.

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Graceland” – Paul Simon

It Helps If the Whole Family Is Crazy Oh Mother...!

The Chamber Pot

Kyla Nora Maude Becker - 1998 - JK - photo
The 1998 Version of My Aunt Blanche…

No, really, let’s compare, shall we? If only to piss off my daughter – who tells me she’ll kill me if I post this, but then laughs out loud when she looks at this photo of herself, so I think I’m all good…

Blanche Van Every - 1920-something - photo
Tell me that’s not eerie…

Yes, kids, it’s time for another Aunt Blanche story…

It Helps If the Whole Family Is Crazy Oh Mother...!

Aunt Blanche

Aunt Blanche - 192?
Aunt Blanche – 192?

Aunt Blanche was my mother’s older sister. She was the first born – and she wasn’t very old before my grandmother realized she was a little, well, different. I suppose the proper, “politically correct” term to describe Blanche would be mentally challenged. She never went to school, never held a job, and never married.

I have a photo of Ky, when she was about 4, that looks just like Blanche. Ky hates that picture, which is why I’m going to dig it up someday and post it, ‘cuz I think it’s cute that she looks like a modern-day version of my Aunt Blanche, and I’m the Mom, and she can’t stop me.

It Helps If the Whole Family Is Crazy Real Life

Just Call Me “Patches”

"Deadly"© Les Becker, 2006Taken April 8, 2006 with HP PhotoSmart R607
© Les Becker, 2006
Taken April 8, 2006 with HP PhotoSmart R607

So, I swallowed a big lump of pride. I’m on Day 2 of “The Patch”. The fact that I stopped smoking successfully cold turkey in December of ’06 (lasted damned near 5 months, too!), and that it wasn’t that difficult at the time, doesn’t make me feel any less a hypocrite now, for not admitting that I can’t seem to do it a second time.

I’ll bet I’ve “quit” smoking at least a dozen times since May of 2007 – the month of Kick My Ass – because I took a drag and then felt miserable enough about it to go out and buy a pack. I was up to about a pack a day in under two weeks. I wasn’t even smoking a half a pack a day before my so-called “successful” Quit Day that last December. Pitiful.

Worse, my mom called me the other day to crow about My Brother the Trespasser having quit smoking. Again. This time he went on the Patch, and said smoking didn’t even cross his mind. Yeah, right… thought I. Ha.

But, I hated the idea of my mom putting him on the top of her fave list. It’s really hard to get to that position when you have a bunch of siblings. I’m not the favourite very often, and I never get to stay there for very long.

So, I marched my ass to the pharmacy about two minutes after I hung up the phone. No way is he going to beat me.

And I have to admit – I’ve only had even the most remote “wish” for a cigarette once since I put the first patch on yesterday morning. And that was early this morning, for all of about 30 seconds after I’d put a fresh patch on. The rest of the time, the thought “cigarette” sort of feels like when you repeat the same word over and over and over again. It’s kind of meaningless. I think the hard part, if there is one, is going to come on the first “patchless” day, which will be on either March 9th or March 16th (I have trouble counting weeks, don’t I?).

* * *

PS – Interesting idea I came across at a blog called “Today’s World Seen in a Different Light”… I will no longer refer to myself as “not quite a Baby-Boomer”.

clipped from

“Gen V” – The Virtual Generation

We may have found a way to bridge the generation gap!

In the past each generation has been referred in some way that lets people know what the most popular part of life was at that time, in recent years it has been given letters. How many remember, Gen X or Gen Y? The explained a single group of people in a specific age group. Today, however, the generations have come together to create, “Generation V,” or “The Virtual Generation.” The main difference with Gen V is it does not encompass only one age group – Gen V includes all ages, all backgrounds and anyone who has a computer, or uses one.

  blog it

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Dime a Dance” – Vicki Lawrence

It Helps If the Whole Family Is Crazy Photography Photoshop

This Post Brought to You by Remote Control

"Caught by Surprise"Taken October 2, 2006 with Sony DSC-S40
“Caught by Surprise”
Taken October 2, 2006 with Sony DSC-S40

This photo was taken last fall, and it took me forever to find the original. I have too many computers and too many disks and I finally found it in my now defunct Zooomr account. Since it was snapped during a free-for-all with an unfamiliar camera, I’m not taking any blame for less-than-perfect clarity. I was able to remove the two strangers milling around in the shot. The result is hardly more than crude, but gone they are, so I still feel proud enough to post the photo.

And I’m not really here, either. I wrote this yesterday and set the post on auto-pilot, just to say Happy Holidays to the blogosphere. It’s Canuckian Thanksgiving Monday. As you read this, I am on a farm somewhere, killing livestock, drinking too much beer, and setting fire to a barn full of goats and llamas. Family traditions, yada yada…

This year, I’m thankful for Photoshop. And beer. Still. 😀

This poor guy, on the other hand…

Not So Thankful...Taken September 20, 2007 with Canon PowerShot A550
Not So Thankful…
Taken September 20, 2007 with Canon PowerShot A550

Random Song for the Day: “Canadian Idiot” – ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic
(Honest – this is what came up on the playlist…)

It Helps If the Whole Family Is Crazy

Really? The Law Applies to Us, Too?

My Brother the Trespasser (proof that he's a nose-picker - been trying to prove that since the 70's) Photo © Matt Falls, 1969
My Brother the Trespasser
(proof that he’s a nose-picker – been trying to prove that since the 70’s)

Photo © Matt Falls, 1969

Apparently, for my family, “close” counts, not only in horseshoes and hand grenades, but also in trespassing.

For as long as I can remember, my family has had an odd fascination with the idea of being arrested, to the point that certain family members will actually make serious attempts to go to jail, just so they can lord it over those of us who have not yet succeeded. So far, none of us have managed. I think there must be a prize for the one who goes to jail first.

At family get-togethers, conversations generally center around past “close calls”.

“Remember when Kenny nearly got arrested for hanging over Davies’ roof and spitting on people? He was four, I think.”

“Yeah, and remember when Mom nearly got arrested for driving around in the middle of the night in her bathrobe…?”

“…and that time we tried to kidnap the photographer who threatened to call Children’s Aid?”

“No, that never really happened. No one felt like chasing him.”

“We scared him good, though.”

“Yes, we did.”

So far, no one’s actually been arrested, but it’s not been for lack of trying. I think my mother has given up hope, though, as she has begun to make up imaginary prison records for us. She has been known to introduce my brother’s wife to friends with the statement, “This is my daughter-in-law, Sue. They met in jail.” Sue goes along with it, because she wants a record as much as the rest of us, so she says, but it was Sue that spoiled the last attempt, so I think she’s not really up to the calibre of this family.

When Un-Brother Ken and The Bride came to visit the other week, they hatched a plan to get arrested for trespassing. On the day before they were to leave town, they decided they wanted to go see the new windmill farm. This is a cool place. Huuuuuuge windmills were trucked into these parts in pieces for months while it was being built, and for awhile there, everybody (and my brother) wanted up close and personal pictures of them to prove they had been out at the site. Which is Not Allowed. It is Against The Law. Which is why they went. I’m sure they waited ’til the last day only so Ken could add “renegade” to his record when he crossed the provincial border. I can’t say I blame him. That would have really impressed Mom.

Anyhoo. Un-Brother and The Bride, and Aub and Sue (who met in jail), piled into somebody’s vehicle (probably stolen) and drove out to the wind farm. They drove past many “No Trespassing” signs. Large signs. Impossible-to-miss signs.

They stood underneath mammoth windmills and took photo after photo while they waited for the heat. And it came. Off in the distance they heard sirens. Then they saw flashing lights. Then they watched while two ATVs “eluded” a lone officer of the law over and over again, zigzagging back and forth. By the time the cop noticed my siblings and their (probably stolen) vehicle, he was jumping mad. He gave up on the ATVs, and screeched to a halt (as well as an unmarked police vehicle can screech on a dirt road) like Roscoe P. Coltrane and stormed up to them, bellowing, “What are you doing here?! This is private property! Didn’t you see the signs?!”

I guess he’s not accustomed to people trying to get arrested, because when the trespassers admitted that yes, they had seen the signs, but ignored them completely, he went from angry, to confused, to downright friendly. When he asked for I.D., Sue (who may or may not have met my brother in jail) saw her chance. She had no I.D. with her, and so gave a fake name.

Sue refuses to use our family name, even after nearly two decades of marriage (no doubt out of embarrassment), but this time she used it. And Aub (who may or may not be retarded), promptly told the cop her real name.

Now, Sue could have used the opportunity to start an argument, and add “resisting arrest” to her so-far embarrassingly clean record, but she was so surprised that her husband ratted her out, that she lost her head and stormed off to the (probably stolen) car to cool off. And missed her chance.

Meantime, Un-Brother Ken decided that asking stupid questions might help, and requested of the officer to please turn his cool flashing lights back on so that they could take pictures to show back home.

Arrested Development 1
…and the officer kindly did so.

So Aub decided to redeem himself by blatantly and blithely continuing to photograph the windmills while the cop wrote his report.

Arrested Development 2
Look at him goading the nice policeman! For shame!

Not to be outdone, Un-Brother one-upped Aub by asking the cop if he could take a picture of him.

Arrested Development 3
And he did.

And then (now this really sucks), the nice policeman let them off with a warning. They were told that they’d all get a letter from the company that owns the windfarm, scolding them and telling them not to be so bad in future.

Arrested Development Documentation
And they did.

No arrests. No court. No jail time. Not even a fine, for God’s sake. I’m embarrassed by the whole attempt. If I had been there, I would have got us arrested. I would have won the coveted Family Cup.

They never take me anywhere, dammit.

P.S. Special thanks to My Brother the Trespasser for letting me blog this. See, Aub? I was nice… well… except for that “nose-picker” part.

Random Song for the Day: “Nothing As It Seems” – Pearl Jam