Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Effective, chilling, or just way too creepy?

Check out the Heart & Stroke Foundation's new campaign -- Make Death Wait -- this is the TV ad that "targets" women. Women who are usually outside the target demographic, eh. It's called "Death Loves Women".

It's chilling for sure. Literally, for me. I got goosebumples. However, I've also had to hide from someone before, and this is in trigger territory.

It's true that many women (& men! - check out the ad targetted to them) take care of everybody but themselves, and I like that they address this. And heart disease runs in my family, and I'm trying hard to make time to get some sort of cardio in every day.

So the ad does make me think about doing stuff for my heart health, because I truly do want to make death wait. There's apparently a print ad out there somewhere that says "Death Loves Menopause". I'll post it when I find it.

I found it! See below*.

But the stalker trigger thing seems a bit emotionally expensive. I wonder how it would play with a female voice.


*Thanks to Sextherapistintraining for posting this (& I appreciate your option of it!) - I'd heard about it, but could not find it elsewhere. Here it is, "Death Loves Menopause".
My response: F**k you, Heart and Stroke Foundation. Or, rather, your oh-so-cutting-edge marketing company. We who live outside the target demographic have enough trouble being treated like we don't matter, or we're old hags, or we're the personification of ugly, but this makes it seem like we've got one foot in the crypt. Raising awareness about heart disease so we can do something about it is one thing, but just eff the fuck off with this. The thermostat. Jeezuz. Yep, hot flashes are always great for some yuks and lols at our expense. And what the hell is that rope for?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy campers camping: We got off our duffs and camped!

Thanks to Charlie, we did get out camping yesterday before breakfast and stayed out in the big, quiet November park for all three meals.

Cereal, fruit and coffee for breakfast. Chicken sandwiches, noodle soup for lunch, and hot apple cider. After we hiked around and climbed the big hill in the afternoon, we had hot chocolate, and played Scrabble in the tent.

Then as it began to get dark, we heated up bean and lentil stew with rice. Since we ran around all day, we were hungry.

We got home after dark, happy, tired, a little wind burned. And smiling a lot. Made me want to spend lots of time outside all the time. I do get enthused like that. I camp for one day, I want to do it every weekend! Whether I do or not is another matter, being human and all.

It's just so darn good to get off our duffs and out into the world. It was fun even just to see all our camping stuff again. We barely even sat down all day, ya know? And that bean and lentil stew was incredible.

The tent. Fun to put up in the light. Count your pegs if you're going to take it down in the dark.
It was a gray day, damp, but not too chilly or windy. Nice. We walked for awhile along the trail.

This log graveyard just begged to be in black and white.

A field of burrs along the Rouge River (more like a creek, imho).

A chat beside a yurt.

A tree, confused by all the warm weather, blossoms.

I can't resist taking pics of berries...
... and branches...
... and branches.


Friday, November 25, 2011

We be campers

For months and months, Charlie has been planning a camping trip. And we just haven't done it. Busy, adult excuses, we don't have time, blah-blah-blah. He's decided it's got to happen. And we've decided it's not very nice to keep saying we're going to do it and then not doing it.

So tomorrow, we're going camping! We're heading out super early (for a Saturday morning, that is), heading out to a great big conservation area, hiking in, pitching the tent, cooking breakfast, lunch & dinner(!) on our camping stove, and then just before actual bedtime, we'll come home. (Can't actually stay overnight in that park this time of year, and we don't actually have winter gear.)

The camping gear is all over the living room, the menu set, shopping's been done, and we're just negotiating with Charlie to be allowed to sleep in til at least 7:30.

Should be fun! Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Do you have an assistant? 8 simple tips to make her work better, starting with give your head a shake

I took the subway today with a couple of neighbours, and along the way we ran into a friend of one of them. She's a legal secretary and her boss is a psycho jerk asshole. She hasn't taken any vacation days this year. And he insists that he can't do without her for even a day. In the past two years, she's only taken 3 sick days. She's in her mid-50s (outside the target demographic, natch), she's worked for a lot of different lawyers over many decades, and this guy is the worst. She does not need this shit. I'm telling you, she's in such a bad way she can barely talk about it.

Also, did you know that most law firms don't provide short-term disability? One of this woman's colleagues had cancer last year. She used all her vacation time for her treatment. The rest was unpaid. Nice!

So for the folks out there who are fortunate enough to have an assistant (not just lawyers, eh), please answer the following questions (do it yourself):

1. Have you given your head a shake lately? Which means, have you given any thought to what it must be like to be your assistant? Put yourself in that person's shoes for a minute. No, not literally. Come on, you can do this. Examine how you speak to her (or him), just for starters.

2. Does your assistant have any remaining vacation days left this year? What's that? A lot? If she's (or he's) got any left, encourage her (or him) to take them, give her time to arrange a holiday, and call in a temp so there isn't a mountain of your shite to clean up when she comes back.

3. Do you realize that your assistant's work day is all about you? What would that be like for you if it were the other way around. Use your imagination. What was the last thing you asked her to do. Now imagine it was your job to do that for her (or him).

4. Is your assistant having trouble keeping up with the work load? Find out why, with a mind to coming up with a way to help. The best way to do this ask your assistant what the best way would be. I bet you $1,000,000 (seriously, I have it) that your assistant will say, "can you bring in some effing help already, you stupid, willfully blind git?" Maybe not in so many words. But bring in another person.

5. Do you look over your assistant's shoulder much? Stop it. You're in the way, you're obstructing the work you want done, and she's fantasizing about killing you right about now.

6. How often do you remind your assistant about a task she does routinely? More than once? Stop it. You're in the way, you're obstructing the work you want done, and she's fantasizing about killing you right about now.

7. How much does your assistant make, salary-wise? How much did you get for your bonus last year? If it's more than what your assistant makes, then grab the nearest newspaper, and smack yourself across the face a few times, then call in your assistant and give her a 20% raise, retroactive to the date that she was actually supposed to have her last salary review.

8. Last, but not least, remember this: you and your assistant are just two humans. You're not actually above her or him in any way other than the corporate structure. You both poo, you're both gonna die, and you both occasionally go "awww" at videos like this one of a blind kitten playing with toys for the first time. Do something nice for your assistant. In fact, just do something for your assistant, instead of it always being the other way around.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Charlie's Marvellously Efficient PB&J Recipe

Charlie invented a lunch recipe, called Sellgom's Piging Marmalade.

See official recipe below. (Note that Charlie wrote it with a real old-fashioned pen nib, dipping into a bottle of ink.)

Charlie and M3I have made it. See sample above. We are currently sampling it.

Hmm. Not bad, exactly.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Just a beautiful day in the not-so-smokey Big Smoke

We took a nice little trip today, right here in the city, to visit my cousin.

 We took the ferry to the Island.

 Hope the horn's not too loud!

 It's always neat to look back at the city.

 Helloooo Cousin!

 Let's walk along the boardwalk to...

 The Rectory Cafe!
 I had a bison burger. Can't show a picture of it because it's all eaten. Delicious!
 Off we go. In style!

 Beavers are damn busy.

 To the fire station to see if our friend Brad is working today.

Checking out the waves on the way back to Cousin's house. They're biggies.

Before we go inside to have some tea, let's look around.

 Why, hello, Bottom!

  Okay, let's go inside. It's getting chilly.

 Ah. That's better. Time for tea & cookies.

After Cousin gave us tea & cookies, we headed back to the mainland.

A not-too-smokey day in the Big Smoke!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Graham, I found your keys

I found a set of keys tonight on my bike ride home.They were in the middle of the intersection of King Street West and Peter. There's a tag that says "Graham".

Not sure what to do with them. One of the keys with a plastic holder (the car key) is broken - obviously a car rode over it.

I figured if Graham googled, "I lost my keys", maybe he'd find out I have them.

So, Graham, dude, if you can describe the tag, I'll send these to you.

What a drag to lose one's keys!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Books and bikes

Tomorrow night we're going to a Public Consultation Meeting at our local library. The wretched Mayor Ford & Co. want 10% of the library budget CUT. Yes, in this rich, cosmopolitan city of ours, they want to cut library service.

They also want to close 4 museums. Way to get those tourists to come, eh. Meanwhile, the mayor's dufus brother proposes a giant ferris wheel and a monorail. Presumably for free. Cuz we gotta cut spending, right?

Make no mistake. It's not about spending or gravy or money. It's about an ultra-conservative ideology that says they stand for smaller government while at the same time spending money hand over fist on bullshit decisions like removing bike lanes, cancelling transit construction and plans, listening to citizens less and less, and exerting more and more unilateral control over decisions that should be made through public consultation and listening to our municipal representatives.

The removal of bike lanes is particularly upsetting. It cost more money to remove them than it did to install them. So the Fords have made the city less safe, saving no money, revealing their lie about being all about cutting "gravy".

Happily, our ward has a wonderful councillor, who doesn't need to be convinced that the things that make our city great should be celebrated, championed - and funded.

Nature and art, the art of nature, and a mid-life crisis. Maybe.

It may be a mid-life crisis, but I think I had a wee bit of an epiphany over the weekend, early Saturday morning while the family was all asleep, and I looked out the window and watched the trees blowing in the wind (while I did my stretches for my back).

The particular tree that captivated me blew open my mind. As though I hadn't really looked at a tree before. Or, at least not in a long while.

I want more of that.

Don't get me wrong, I love the city. It's home. I love feeling connected. But I want some more of looking at the trees blowing in the wind. I've been craving a shake-up in my life - our lives. Longing for a bit of adventure. Longing for the smell of the woods and longing for a chance to look at the trees and feel the change in the seasons.

Not sure exactly what I'm going to do about this. But I do have an idea.

To be continued...

Friday, November 11, 2011


I'm trembling - TREMBLING! - with excitement because I managed to grab this, from here:

Happy Nerd New Year, everyone!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Finished with Constance, not in the mood for Janet

I need some reads!

I've finished up with my Constance Beresford-Howe-athon (read and loved A Serious Widow, Night Studies, The Book of Eve; gave up on Prospero's Daughter). I happened upon an ultra-large-print Janet Evanovich, and I'm just not feeling the love.

I may dip into an old Sue Grafton (just reread P is for Peril) to tide me over, but I need-need-need something I haven't read before.

Which means I'm open to suggestions. What have you read lately that you've loved and would like to recommend?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Two pains in the butt, a victorious friend and some schadenfreude

No, I most definitely should NOT be on the computer tonight! I've messed up my lower back in a big way, and the cause? Sitting at my too-high desk at work (it's also rather high at home too), sitting pitched too-far forward, my head leaning toward the computer screen, clinging with one foot on the bottom posty thing that leads to one of the wheels, on a too-big, over-praised Aeron chair.


I'm feeling happiness for a friend who has scored a really cool new job. She's been working for a toxic boss for some years now, but has handled herself with grace and class, putting all her energy into improving her qualifications by taking courses, learning from other people in her company and working damn hard.

The icing on the cake is a bit of schadenfreude, I'm guilty to say I'm experiencing, largely as a former toxic-boss-haver, and also because her boss is a total pain in the ass. He's a Blamer-and-a-Claimer*. The pleasure comes with this: Her toxic boss is away on holiday, and he ain't scheduled to return til after she's gone. And he's unreachable. He-he-ho-ho!

My friend basically holds his department together; she really does. And she's been underpaid and underappreciated and overdelegated to and told time and time again that she's "not ready" for advancement, when she's essentially running his department.

La-la-la, we're very likely gonna see him hafta do some actual work, oh yeah. I hope, anyway.

*Blamer-and-Claimer: something good happens, this type of individual takes credit, especially when it's not due to his efforts; something bad happens, he lays blame elsewhere, most likely to the person on his team who's not in the room.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The medium is the massage

I just had a kick-ass massage - holy smokes! The company occasionally brings in RMTs after very busy times. And this woman has just coaxed my left shoulder and "wing" back into its proper position. Amazing!

And, generally, I'm feeling a bit happier, my reduction in innocence notwithstanding.

I hear laughter around me, and kindness.

And the best thing to do when one is feeling the lack of kindness in the world? Add to it. Inflict some kindness around you.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

There's always good news to be found in small pleasures

Being a grown-up adult with decades of work experience, I've long known that even when things in the workplace are pretty great, there's always lots of unfairness going on. It's the way of the world. But I'm disillusioned today. Bloody hell.
Okay, on to happier stuff. I'm so crabby today about various things I can hardly stand myself.

The good news is that Charlie shares his Halloween candy. There's a bunch of stuff he doesn't like all that much, like Cheesies. He gave 'em to me. And, I'm uncomfortable to say, there's stuff he can't eat now because of his orthodontics.

So he had to give his last one of these to me.

Gawd, it was good.

Notice to men who hit

If you're a fellow who has ever smacked, shoved, hit, belted, punched, or otherwise assaulted your wife or girlfriend, or partner, or mom, or sister, or daughter, be assured that whatever you did to her:

- She did NOT have it coming.
- She did NOT deserve it.
- Flowers or jewellery or apologies do NOT make up for it.
- You need to get yourself some HELP, and fast.
- If she leaves you or tries to get away from you, it's YOUR FAULT. Not hers.

No buts; nobody wants to hear your bullshit. Get yourself to therapy and deal with your issues. Because you're NOT in the right. You're totally, 100% in the WRONG.

How would you feel if you were afraid to go home?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Brace yourself

The lad got braces today. Not the full train track experience, but an appliance that's cemented in on both sides of the top of his wee little mouth. And that's the issue, his wee little mouth with not enough room for all those incoming teeth. Same as his mother.

His mouth is aching, he's speaking a bit funny, and I can tell it hurts because he's being touchy about things that wouldn't normally phase him.

It may be silly, but I feel like crying. He's just 7 for Pete's sake. I had various achy appliances over nine years and so I know it's rotten. I hope for him it's worth it. We're putting a lot of faith -- and a lot of freaking money -- in the orthodontist.

That's all I got. Had a rotten day at work. Happy to be home with my dear, sweet Charlie and my beloved, strong, supportive M3I.