My Greatest Accomplishment of 2010

English: Tony showcasing his "greatest ac...

English: Tony showcasing his “greatest accomplishment”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What seriously is up with this constant RATING of things? The BEST, the MOST the LEAST the FAVOURITE the single most IMPORTANT?

I do not know. I cannot choose. Perhaps I lack sufficient passion to absolutely love or hate. Most days I can’t make myself care enough about anything to spout my silly opinion by looking back or peering into the foggy future.

Here’s to wishy-washy indecisiveness and changing ones mind. I’ve answered one hundred and thirty-six plinky prompts this year. And by all indications appear to have retained some vestige of sanity doing it. What an accomplishment that has turned out to be.

I’ve stayed alive and have not strangled anyone. Yesterday I gave myself the most delightful home pedicure, and although that may not be of vital importance to the world at large, my feet are damned happy about it. I haven’t burned down the house or crashed the car or blown anything up.

So all in all it’s been a good year. I’d love to give it some kind of numerical percentage mark compared to all the other years I’ve lived, but I seem to have misplaced my score sheet where I tick off extraordinarily significant attainments, deeds and feats. (I think there’s also a column for movies and songs and celebrities to earn a few meaningless gold stars.)

Where have the writing challenges gone? Some of them were HARD, but I attempted them anyway. It was like being back in Language Arts with gawd-awful assignments that made me cringe, but coaxed small hints of brilliance from my brain by the end of the day. I miss that. I want it back.

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Missed Prompts

I’ve decided to answer the Plinky prompts I’ve missed this month.  Once you’ve read the questions (and my inane answers) it will be less of a mystery as to why they were passed up in the first place.   That is, besides the fact that I was spending time with family and the internet connection was less than ideal.  Mostly it’s because the questions just confused the hell out of me.

What’s the most important thing I’m putting off?   Well, if it was actually IMPORTANT, I wouldn’t be putting it off.  So although I put many things off in a day, something important would not be included on that list.

Ever considered becoming a vegetarian?  Not really.  I like meat.  I don’t think true vegetarians get enough fat and protein.  Life without fat and protein would be dull.

lol cats – sick of ’em, or can’t get enough?  The last lol cat pic that made me laugh was the one where a kitten is looking at a rubiks cube and saying WTF?  Haven’t seen any lately.  Never think to search for them.

Three things that I want to accomplish before 2011.  Well seriously, if I haven’t accomplished them by now, they better be pretty short-term goals.  I’ve ordered a new kindle so that my daughter and I can share our reading material.  I’ve started drinking protein shakes every morning.  Who knows if that will last.  I get lazy.  And I’ve gone to M&M meats and purchased two lobster tails.  Because OMFG they are so good.  There.  That’s three things.  Done.

What’s my favourite holiday movie?  I don’t have a favourite.  I like to watch new ones.  Although Clark Griswald never gets old.

If there were no consequences, what is the most evil thing you’d do?  Another question from hell.  Every act has consequences.  Otherwise, what’s the point?

Describe what your laugh sounds like.  I don’t have any idea, because for some strange reason when I’m laughing I never think to analyze that.  If I did, I’d probably stop laughing to listen, and have to start over.  If you really want to know the answer to this question, please feel free to tell me something hilarious.

Is it better to know the truth, even when it hurts?   Well, better than what – believing a lie?  Of course it’s good to know the truth.  Even if you don’t believe it.  The question is vague, it deserves an obscurely abstruse response.  Abstruse is my new favourite word, by the way.

What’s your idea of a perfect Sunday?  Having it as the first of two days off in a row makes it pretty perfect.  Any day on which I can curl up in a comfy chair with a great book is a perfect day.  Candles burning.  Dinner in the oven.  Warmth.  Quiet.  Nodding off.  Bliss.

Taking any trips this holiday season?  Yes, actually.  Already accomplished.  A 45 minute plane trip to Grande Prairie.  A three week holiday at “Chalet 2000”.  I don’t even know why it’s been dubbed that, but it’s also known as the ranch and our favourite Christmas destination.  Family is a beautiful thing.

Write a letter to someone you knew in highschool.  Dear Fred:   I’m terribly sorry for treating you badly in grades 9 through 13.  Well, not that I did anything so terrible except to ignore you and not take your crush on me seriously.  And throw up out of your car on the way home from our grad party.  I do hope that drunken episode helped you to put your ill-placed infatuation behind you and move on to better things.  Thanks for the ride.  I wish now that I’d gotten to know you better and had been less of a conceited little snot.  You were sweet.  Probably you still are.  Remember when I said you were too good for me?  At the time I think I didn’t really meant it, but it was completely true!  I hope you had a great life.  I’ll never forget you.  Sincerely, Mademoiselle McArthur

Name three countries you’d like to visit.  I don’t want to go anywhere.  I don’t like to travel.  I want to stay at home.  Leave me alone.

Name someone who deserves more credit.  That would be that guy who wants to buy something incredibly expensive for his significant other, doesn’t have the cash, and needs his credit limit raised.  He deserves it because he’s doing it for somebody else.  If it was just for himself, that wouldn’t be so deserving.

What are your favourite holiday beverages?  Coffee with hazelnut cream or baileys.  Spiced rum and diet Pepsi on ice with a dash of lemon or lime.  Champagne.

Share a photo of something that makes you smile. Kenzie with her “Bella” face.  And Kale looking cuter than Justin Beiber.







How do you stay entertained when you’re snowed in?  See the perfect Sunday above.

Who are the top three funniest people in the world?  Since I don’t know everyone in the world, it’s impossible for me to say.  Justin and Kristen and W. are all pretty funny.  In a funny kind of way.

Well, that takes care of all those days I missed blathering about stupid stuff.  Making it a perfect morning.  And it’s not even Sunday.

An Album I’ll (Always??) Love

I guess it’s possible to LOVE an album and feel somewhere in the back of your head that it will never get old, but to listen to it for the rest of your life? That would be some kind of supreme torture.

I have a friend on Facebook who often updates her status with lines from songs. That’s torture of a similar kind, because whatever song the words are from gets into my head and refuses to leave until she posts a new lyrical phrase and the process begins again. Some days I want to choke her. So I’m thinking the rest-of-my-life album would have to be really really long. Like REALLY a hundred songs long, or my life shortened to less than a week to avoid going bat shit crazy listening to the same thing over and over and over.

Although it could already be too late for that crazy avoidance thing.

I’ve always liked Rod Stewart and I’ve always liked the classic oldies, or standards, or whatever you want to call them. Those old songs that artists are always dragging out of the mothballs and re-recording. Like we need three hundred different renditions of “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” – that kind of thing. There’s an album called “The Complete American Songbook, Volumes 1 through 4”, and then bless his little vintage heart, Rod came out with volume 5.

So if I HAD TO, I think that’s what I’d choose to listen to for the rest of my life. Rod Stewart singing all the oldies in five volumes. Because I probably know all the words and could sing along, possibly even in my sleep.

Just thinking about it is a bit painful. Unless Rod comes out with volume six and I get to add it to the play list. If that happens, somebody please shoot me.

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I’m trying to figure out where all the various days in December disappeared to when I wasn’t paying attention.  This is a picture of a pre-Christmas one-gift opening for my five favourite little people;  Kale (9) Corey (4), Kenzie (9), Omayja (5), Madison (4).  (There are birthdays coming up shortly in Feb, March and April so we can up the ages of Kenzie, Omayja and Corey to 10, 6 and 5!)   But why rush things. 

It was a busy busy Christmas!  Our daughter-in-law works so hard it makes me tired just thinking about it.  Four kids, a correspondence course, community work, chickens, goats, dogs, rabbits, cats, vehicles, housework, cooking, laundry, arbonne and on and on and on.  The morning we left we got to meet a little emergency placement one year old.  My life looks like retardedly slow motion in comparrison. 

I asked the kids a rather boring question, but no matter how inane the query, their answers are always interesting.  If you were a teacher, what very important rule would you have for your students?

Kenzie – more time to read!  Read for longer!
Kale – always wear clean underwear to school.
Omayja – don’t run around knocking things over.
Madison – (aka Omayja’s shadow/parrot) – don’t run around ummmmm…spilling water!
Corey – don’t walk in lava.  And it’s okay to wear stinky underwear if you want to.

Their dad asked a much more thought provoking question:  If you were a super hero, what would your special power be and what would you call yourself?

Kenzie – I would have the power of healing.  My name would be Mother Nature.
Kale – I’d be Captain Timber.  I’d stand in the forest pretending to be a tree and when a bad person walked by I’d fall on him.  (This could necessitate a visit from Mother Nature, perhaps….)
Omayja:  I’m Rose,  the Rose Thorn Queen.  I can shoot thorns at people!
Madison:  My name is Peanut Butter Princess.  When people talk too much I can put peanut butter in their mouth to make them stop. (This would be a lovely power for Maddy to sometimes use on herself, several of us were thinking……) 
Corey:  (whose favourite phrase to anyone who will listen is “I’m THIRSTY!”)  With a little help he came up with The Thirsty Dragon.  He would be able to breathe fire, and as a result, get thirsty.  This power would also make other people thirsty.  Kale suggested his weapons in lieu of a shield and a sword could be a cup and a straw.

I made a lot of banana bread this visit, since Jen had been stockpiling black bananas in her freezer.  After the 5th loaf Omayja wanted to know if that’s the only thing I knew how to make.  Out of the blue Madison came up with the perfect chicken name, although we hadn’t talked about that for over a week.  Snowman the Frosty!  I had to admit it’s a good one. 

Wish I could remember more.  And figure out why I have an extremely sore right shoulder that doesn’t want to get better.  I’m positive it has nothing at all to do with the three gazillion angry bird flings it helped perform on the way to a three stardom Christmas. 

What My Home Says About Me

Mostly it says “for the love of gawd could you please roll out that vacuum cleaner sometime this month? And blow some dust off all the knick-knacks and bric-a-brac?”

It also tells people that I am a theme junkie. I love all things African, although I have no idea why. Started off with the living room with masks and elephants, zebras and lions and animal prints, and that motif over-flowed into the master bedroom. I’d be perfectly happy letting it spread throughout the whole house.

The kitchen has a beach theme. Seagulls, sand, blue water, anchors, lighthouses, a little fisherman in yellow rain gear. The room that used to be the toyroom when the grandchildren were little is now a guest bedroom, but still sports a yellow and orange zoo-ish kind of statement with walls covered in tole paintings. There’s a lot of northern stuff in the rec room and another bedroom with a south western vibe.

Perhaps all of the above helps to explain why interior decorating was never my forte. I decorate with things I like and colors that make me happy. Elephant grass yellow, chille pepper red, black, burnt umber, purple rain.

I’m a Taurus in love with creature comforts. I hope my house is homey; soft and snug and safe. A place where you can come on over and relax. Or maybe dust off an elephant or two, if the mood hits you. I’d be perfectly fine with that.

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The Beauty of E-Books

Amazon Kindle 2 Wireless eBook Reader

I’ve had my kindle since last Christmas, and the current count for my downloaded books is a whopping 82. Never in a million years would I have devoured that many titles in a year without it.

I love the convenience of carrying it with me anywhere and having immediate access to such an incredible selection of reading material. All the features of shopping at Amazon are right there, including reviews and recommendations. Obviously I’ve made good use of them.

Reading this way hasn’t replaced my love of picking up an actual book at all, just enhanced it. I still love the feel of a real book in my hands and glossy book jackets and page flipping and the awful habit of scribbling notes in the margins and handing over a copy to a friend.

But the kindle is my own little personal portable library zipped up in a padded cover. It never loses my page or misplaces a favourite title. The page flip is now a button click – different, but no less effective.

It’s hard for me to imagine that e-books will ever completely replace the real thing, but they’re certainly going to save a lot of trees. And they’ve already made my hard copies seem somehow more rare and even more precious to own.

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Useful Advice

Over breakfast I asked a couple of four-year-old chicken farmers for some chicken advice.

First off they told me some awesome chicken names; Blastoff, Darth Vader, Hulk, Alien, Dragon, Snake and Ninja were Corey’s top choices. Maddy was much more thoughtful and came up with Blackie, Frog, Balloon, Reindeer and Fox. They assured me that chickens would not get confused having these names.

If you want to raise chickens there’s two things you need to remember. Don’t let them bite your fingers, and don’t ever put eggs in your pockets.

Without a doubt, that’s the most useful advice I’ve received so far today.

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Favorite Sounds

Grandma! Hi Grandma! Guess what Grandma!

Are you staying here for a long long time? I have to tell you something! I need to show you some stuff! Are you going to be here all the way to Christmas? Do you promise? I can’t get my seat belt on! I need help with my boots! And my zippa!

Today we went on a fee-wod twip! We saw a play! And after that we went to Booger King! No, not Booger, BOOGA! Are you going to watch me play hockey? Do you play hockey anymore? How come girls didn’t play hockey when you were a little girl? When you were a little girl was your name still grandma?

Read a story! Tuck me in! Come and snuggle with me! Will you be here in the morning?

Well, that’s a considerably condensed version of yesterdays beautiful sounds. Give me a few more days of ‘grandma grandma grandma grandma!’ and the combination of four little voices all clamoring for attention probably won’t be my ABSOLUTE favorite anymore.

I do love the sounds of silence. But also the rumble of thunder, the call of the loons, rain on the roof, wind chimes, birdsong, the chattering of squirrels and tree frogs, and a train whistle in the distance.

Still none of those, and nothing else that I know of, can compare to the delightful music of a child’s laughter.

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Forever Food

One meal only for the rest of my life? The same meal over and over forever and ever? Does this mean I would never have to eat cucumbers EVER AGAIN? ALL RIGHT!

I think I could live with my version of a Cobb Salad for many moons. iceberg lettuce, romaine, watercress, spinach, arugula, buttercrunch; spread on a gigantic dinner plate. Chopped hard-cooked eggs, crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, diced carrots, chopped celery, slices of chicken or turkey breast, tomatoes, mushrooms, red onions, green onions, peppers, broccoli and cauliflower, creamy ranch dressing on the side. A slice of garlic cheese toast. Ice water. Black Coffee. Yogurt with nuts and berries for dessert.

Sounds disgustingly healthy. I could live for a long time.

I would really miss a grilled steak every once in a while though, with a baked potato slathered in butter and sour cream. Throw those in there somewhere too, please. No one wants to live forever.

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