Flawed of the Dance

Once again it’s show time for my choir.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know that at about this time every year I devote a post to whining about my sorry inability to follow the fairly simple choreography that accompanies a handful of the songs in our show.

This year, let me tell you, a mere whine will simply not do the trick. Our show is titled ‘British Invasion’ which is, in itself, a terrible misnomer. There are a few songs which were truly part of that notable period in British pop music history, but for the most part the music is just ‘from Britain’. I suppose that isn’t a particularly catchy title.

Having said that, we are singing some beautiful, traditional celtic and gaelic pieces. The best part about those ‘serious’ pieces is that they are usually immune to the machinations of our over-enthusiastic choreographer; but sadly, this year she has decided that they would be greatly enhanced by some twirling around, flapping of arms, and general prancing about.

Nothing too complicated, thankfully, but still, apparently a little more than my brain can master; particularly in combination with the effort of retaining both the words and the tunes. Half the time, if I’m remembering to dance I’m forgetting to sing, or vice versa.

The moves for the livelier numbers, on the other hand, are wound up about fifteen notches from previous years. It’s worth noting here that we are a mixed group of varying ages, sizes, shapes and dance abilities. On the one end of the spectrum there are those who can shimmy and shake with the best of them. On the other end of the spectrum there’s me.

And so the audience can look forward to another year of watching me dithering around with a look of horrified confusion on my face, all the while  trying to suggest some semblance of rhythm from the apparently random spasming of my limbs, and inevitably clapping on the off-beat.

When I joined the choir my intention was not to be the comic relief, but I guess it’s good to have a purpose in life.




Always Wear Lipstick

Style has never been my strong suit. I despise those people who can wear a ratty old pair of jeans with a plain t-shirt and still manage to look all put together.

Try as I might, that will never be me – in fact, I’m less ‘put’ and more ‘thrown’ together. I believe that dressing from Value Village is not in itself my downfall; I’m sure those annoying style mavens would get away with it by combining artfully conceived outfits with impeccably coiffed hair, manicured nails and flawless make-up.

Sadly, it seems, frizzy hair, cracked nails and streaked make-up are never going to be the style du jour.

As a teenager I always assumed that  I would blossom, at some magical age, from a short, scruffy duckling into an elegant, sophisticated (albeit, probably still short) swan. Still waiting. Now, here I am in my fifties, dumpy, frumpy and grumpy about it .

The point I am getting to, in my usual rambling, distractible way, is that the start of the landscaping season has not helped my plight. Already my fingernails are mud encrusted; my arms are criss-crossed with spruce needle scratches, and my hair is invariable adorned with a selection of twigs.Yes, I am totally rocking the ‘dragged through a hedge backwards’ look.

071So, I decided a few weeks ago that if I have to spend the season looking like a scarecrow then I was at least going to do it wearing lipstick and an awesome hat.

The hat has proven somewhat impractical as it spends most of the day snagging on branches and falling off, but despite that I’m pretty pleased with the results. It’s possible to disguise all manner of mascara smudges with a pair of sunglasses, and no-one can possibly know what my hair’s doing under that particularly fetching hat.

Plus, the advantage of being just under 5’4″ is that most people probably can’t focus on anything a great deal lower than the lipstick, so I’m golden!



Psycho Puppy

I’ve written about Megs here before, but usually in the context of glorious trips to the dog park or the joys of canine company.

Sadly, our dog park days have come to an end with the advent of a new phase in her life. My sweet, slightly nervous and completely neurotic pooch has suddenly started wantonly attacking other dogs. It began quite suddenly, and for no apparent reason, and now we can’t go anywhere we might encounter another dog.

But wait … it’s even worse than that. She mostly only attacks black dogs. Yes, I’m harbouring a racist under my roof. I can’t imagine where it came from – she certainly didn’t learn it from me. I’ve sat her down and tried to talk it out, but she is neither forthcoming with an explanation nor remotely contrite.

This isn’t the first time she’s demonstrated a complete disregard for social courtesies  – when my neighbour put up a ‘please stay off the grass’ sign and then claimed it was primarily aimed at the neighbourhood dogs she comletely ignored it; acted like she couldn’t even read it. But that’s a whole other story.

So, what’s gone wrong? Hubby is determined she’s jealous of the cat, which we accidentally acquired this spring. Her loathsome previous owner was moving house and decided that, as she couldn’t take the cat, she would just take her out to the country and have someone shoot her. I voted for shooting the *!#@$*!’ing owner instead, but I was outvoted. The upshot is that of course we rescued the cat, but Hubby said she could only come home with us if she returned to Vancouver with Roxy at the beginning of term. Which was definitely the plan until we realized she would be lonely and miserable all on her own in an apartment all day. Hubby is now convinced that we duped him with a pre-meditated and despicable deception. He would love it if the cat was causing Megs’ psychotic episode.

In the meantime she’s clearly ticked at the lack of walkies, and follows me round exacting her revenge with an array of gastric emissions that are, I assume, usually vented at the park. Right now we could both use some fresh air.

Murderous Intent

It might be possible that I watch too many murder mysteries.

This morning hubby sent me out to tag some trees at a farm outside Calgary. He was to join me a little later with his crew who would be digging them up and bringing them back into town.

A reasonable request, I thought. Until I realized that if he had put a hit out on me this would be the perfect place for me to be ‘randomly’ accosted by some passer-by ruffians. Me alone at a terrifyingly remote location and hubby with a cast iron alibi. Okay, so he happens to be the sweetest person alive, but, well most people don’t expect to be liquidated by ruthless killers for hire, do they?

Ridiculous, you say? Well, obviously … but logic and reason don’t generally have a lot to do with what goes on in my mind. For instance, when I get into my car after dark I check the back for vampires, because if one popped up behind me while I was driving I wouldn’t see it in the rearview mirror, would I? You and I both know that vampires don’t exist, but that is no reason why one might not jump up and rip my throat out.

Then when I arrive home I’m forced to sprint up the front steps in case there’s a werewolf lurking behind the tree. Incidentally, we can blame Being Human for both these examples. I stopped watching it ages ago, when it got really scary, but the damage was already done. Do we really know for sure that werewolves don’t exist? Well, yes we do, but that doesn’t mean there might not be one behind the tree.

I’m not proud of any of this, but, sadly it’s the way it is. There is a tiny part of me that has both oars in the water, but there’s always that other part waiting for sea monster to come up and grab them.


Somewhere in the larder I knew I had a fresh packet of ryvitas.  That’s way more important than it sounds because, what with me getting fatter and fatter by the minute, I’m trying not to eat wheat.  Ryvitas are a huge component of my diet.

Anyway, I just came home after a frustrating morning, and frankly what I really wanted was a doughnut, or a bacon sandwich, or toast and lemon curd.  Anything, really, jammed with wheat, fat and calories.  Nonetheless, I summoned up some willpower and tried to convince myself that a ryvita would do almost as well.  Except, the search for those crispy Scandinavian snacks did not go well.  Until – joy of joys! – I found a single hobnob tucked away at the back of a shelf.  Someone had obviously hidden it there and forgotten about it.  It was stale and soggy, but who cares – I was clearly meant to have it!

chocolate-hob-nobsIt’s amazing how things start to look up after a single hobnob; I even found the ryvitas.  Ironically I must have looked right past them to find the biscuit.

And now that I’ve had that morsel of sugary, chocolatey yumminess, I think I can even start to feel cheerful about the rivita.

Mixed Messages

I Got The Message – So, What Exactly Does It Mean?

Sometimes the universe seems to send messages so clear that they shouldn’t be ignored.  That’s what I thought I was getting!

It all started in the spring when I decided to quit copywriting for the summer to help hubby with his landscaping/tree farming activities.  The decision was ostensibly altruistic as hubby needed the assistance of a trusty sidekick and who better to fill than the role than … well, me.  The real reason, however, was my frustration with copywriting and my profound belief that I have a higher purpose than writing people’s websites; one that I will discover eventually if I keep looking.  I really want to make the world a happier, more beautiful place, and touting the talents of real estate agents online doesn’t seem to be fitting the bill (not that I have anything against real estate agents per se, if you are one and you need the services of a brilliant copywriter, but you get the idea).Apples

So, with a light heart and high optimism I volunteered my services to horticulture.

But, within days I got asked to help with a huge writing project for the zoo.  The zoo!  One of my favourite places in the world and home to a million wonderful memories from when the children were little and we virtually lived there.

“A message from the universe”, my friend averred, and it did seem to be telling me that I shouldn’t give up copywriting after all.

UNTIL … (dah, dah, dah!), during the course of my research, I stumbled upon a page on their old site for the horticultural therapy certificate.

Yes – horticultural therapy is a thing, and it’s what I’m supposed to do!

That was the message!  A message confirmed when one of hubby’s labourers declared that she was working in landscaping to get the experience necessary to become a horticultural therapist.  I mean, what are the chances?  Two weeks earlier I didn’t even know it was a thing.

Or at least I thought that was the message, until I found out that the zoo isn’t planning to run the course anytime soon, and the nearest place to do it is Vancouver – only you have to go for five consecutive Fridays for each of the four modules.  Not super practical from Calgary.  After extensive research it truly seems that, whether I’m supposed to be one or not, there is no way for me to actually train as one.  So, am I back to copywriting as the message?  Because if it is, I’m feeling a little let down.

Remind me – are you supposed to listen to the universe giving you messages, or are you supposed to persevere in your dreams regardless of the obstacles?

Verdict? Anyone?

A Triumph of Technological Wizardry

For ages now I’ve been thinking that it would be nice to customize this blog.  Make it my own.

Well after months of forethought and planning I managed to gather my children and coerce them into posing for an ’emptying nest’ picture.  With varying degrees of co-operation.  The exhibitionist of the group was just happy to have a camera pointing at her and she skipped and waved on cue.  The boys, as you can tell, were slightly less enthusiastic, but they walked where they were told and for that I am extremely grateful.

Picking a new theme was a challenge, primarily because I couldn’t work out how to change the header image, but google came through for me and together we worked it out.

Here’s the result – and I would love to hear what you think of the new look.