The Passport Photo

Is there anyone on this planet who has a passport photo they’re proud to show off in public? I’ve just gone to get a new one done because suddenly my passport is five years old and expired and needs renewing. I have no plans to leave the country at the moment, but I believe it’s a good thing to keep it current, just in case.

In my original picture I look mad enough to kill somebody. My face was too shiny so the photographer made me blot it with powder until I resembled a mime. Then I was concentrating so hard on keeping my chin up and my face straight to the camera and my lips not smiling that I have not just an intense frown, but a truly murderous scowl. It would give your children nightmares. Completely awful. I can’t believe I’m sharing it with you.

This time around I was going for a result that looked a little less homicidal. I gave pensive and solemn my best shot. What I ended up with is a picture that does not say “I’m furious enough to rip your face off”, but instead “Please, for the love of God, shoot me now.” Honestly, people on their death beds do not look this disgusted and sad.


If you haven’t had a good laugh all day, you’re welcome. Who IS that freaked out woman on the left??. I’m worried that I still might be too shiny, but perhpas the passport people can dull it down a bit once they get it all pressed and pasted and shellacked with rainbow counterfeit lines or whatever it is they do to alter Canadian passports in order to make people look scary and fierce. I am from Canada. Be very afraid.

My driver’s license is also expiring this year, so I’ll get to pose AGAIN for another mug shot, but I have a couple of months to get over the trauma of this one first. This could be mental institution Before and After pics: Raging Psychotic to Heavily Sedated.

And that’s entirely enough fun at my own expense for one day.

Yesterday turned out to be ALMOST as pissy as it was supposed to be, but I lived through it. Two more nights at work and then some much needed rest and freedom. That face could use some serious cheering up.

A Furnace In Springtime

I’m so happy it’s the first day of Spring!  Seems like such a short time ago that I was taking pictures of our front and back yards and the mountains of snow that just would not go away.  A whole year ago, and here we go again, but this time around the snow is looking much more vulnerable.  Yesterday we missed a snow storm that went by to the south and east of us, so March isn’t done with us yet.

It’s a good day to be upbeat and perky, but I’ve read four different astrological predictions and looked at several tarot card readings and today for me is supposed to be crap.

…..get bad advice from a higher up, early morning disagreements, be careful who you trust, prepare for the worst, you will be very egotistical, upset the people around you, jealousy, conflicts……

It just didn’t get better, even when I put in a fake name for the Tarot cards to fool them.  Talk about the power of suggestion!  They’re trying to put me in a perfectly pissy mood.

That’s gonna be hard with three days left to work before I take 4 weeks off!  Or maybe I simply won’t care what havoc I wreak at work since there’ll be time enough for them to forget all about it before I return.

I met W on the first day of spring, FORTY TWO YEARS AGO!  Although way back then it was the 21st day of March.  Seems kind of amazing that we’re both still kicking around, doesn’t it?  And that we’ve been paying bills for four decades.  We’re having a new furnace installed (there’s a guy in my basement doing the preliminary measurements and messing about as we speak) and then while I’m off to Ontario for 2 weeks and W is here and not working I’m sure he’ll think of at least a dozen major renovations we can’t afford to live without.  As long as he doesn’t try to HELP or worse yet, do them himself, it’s all good.

Time for me to get my egotistical disagreeable pessimistic little butt to work.  Happy Spring!

Random Word Story

I like this kind of writing challenge – picking some random words and incorporating them into a story so that they don’t stand out in any odd-ball way.  Not as easy as it sounds, especially when the words at first appear to be completely unrelated to eachother.  I’ve used the Random Word Generator on www.creativitygames.net. and here’s what it gave me.

pocket, spit, nail varnish, telephone booth, gargoyle, stepsister

So here’s what you get.

Elise tucks some stray strands of her long red hair behind her ear and drives into the bright sunshine wearing the gargantuan sunglasses her stepsister Kate says make her look like some kind of giant bug.  She will never get a sunburn anywhere between her eyebrows and her cheekbones while she’s got them on, that’s for sure.  Her sensitive pale skin needs protecting from the sun, and so do her light blue eyes.  Sun damage and squint lines are probably completely foreign concepts to cute little dark haired Kate.         

The spa she’s headed for is very classy and modern, but it’s in a horrid old gothic buildling with two hideous gargoyle things hanging over the entranceway.  She zips her car into a cramped parking space off to the left of them where they won’t be staring at her with their ugly little faces.  She whips the car door open without paying attention, grabbing her bag, switching to her other glasses, shoving the keys into her pocket, clunking the passenger side door of the vehicle beside her.  What the hell, she shrugs.  Both cars are black, who’s going to notice if they’ve exchanged a bit of paint.  If there’s a scratch, a bit of spit and polish should take care of it.  She hopes.  She also decides not to look too closely at  it, or her own car door, because in situations such as this, ignorance is bliss.

Sitting high up on a vibrating chair with her feet in a tub of hot sudsy water is also pure bliss. She holds a magazine in her lap, but her eyes are closed and her head is tilted back on the rest and her mind empties of everything but the pressing matter of nail varnish color selection.  Purple?  One of those shocking vibrant reds, or maybe something weird like electric blue, or pineapple orange?  In the end she picks a boring coral, not too ostentatious, safe and ordinary.  It goes well with her safe and ordinary life and her boring personality she supposes.  The ugly stepsister color.  Maybe next time she’ll try one of those neon burgandy plum shades and her feet will look like theyr’e bruised and bleeding.  Right.  Maybe next time the gargoyles will fly off the buiding too.  

Elise is checking her messages on the way out when she hits a brick wall and her phone bounces out of her hands.  She bends down to retrieve it and notices that the brick wall is wearing tennis shoes, and his phone has gone flying too, and of course they bump heads and stagger backwards and appologize profusely to eachother.  Elise has backed herself into a phone booth she’s never noticed before.  My God, she thinks, do people still actually use those things?  This building is from the dark ages, with it’s gloomy foyer and narrow doorway where you can collide with some stranger who has obviously just had a massage because he’s got that faint red ring around his rather handsome face and hair that’s all messed up.  He holds the door for her and they head for their cars, which are parked side by side.  His has a small silvery dented scratch on the passenger side door and it sparkles in the sunshine.  She grabs her shades and shoves them on her face.  Messes around with her handbag and her keys and waits for him to leave first so that he won’t see her license plate number and report her for willful parking lot damage.  Never mind foyer head bonking.  

She is being paranoid and pathetic and Kate will laugh her ass off when she tells her about it.  And she’ll roll her eyes at the coral, no doubt about that.  Elise smiles to herself and starts her car.  The twin gargoyles stare distainfully into space as she drives away.

C is for Cinema

Last night I watched Mrs. Henderson Presents on NetFlix – without the benefit of a glass of wine – and thoroughly enjoyed it anyway.  I love Judi Dench.  Bob Hoskins was great but I couldn’t get Roger Rabbit out of my head whenever there was a close up.  And the story was an interesting one, supposedly based on fact.  But then, what story isn’t supposedly based on fact.  It’s simply a matter of how loose or solid the base.

A 1930’s London widow with lots of time and money on her hands decides to restore an old theatre and feature continuous nude musical revues.  Tastefully done, of course.  There’s lots of witty banter and some good laughs, plus bits of great musical routines that made me wish I could see the whole thing.

Now that I’ve watched one movie I quite liked from beginning to end I’m all optimistic about seeing more and Netflix is good to make recommendations.  Although how they come up with the connections is a little baffling sometimes.  It could be simply another movie with one of the same actors and a completely different genre.

I’ve worked the weekend and survived it, and my house is delightfully clean!  (C is for Clean with a Capitol C).  Hard to be unhappy about either of those things.  Having someone else clean my house is one of the smartest things I’ve ever decided to do. If you haven’t ever come home to a spotless fresh smelling squeaky clean house, you really should splurge and try it, at least once.  Best feeling ever.  And then you need to sit down amidst all that clean and treat yourself to some cinematography.  I would call that bliss.

And having three more working days until taking several weeks off is a pretty heady feeling too.  Perhaps I was some kind of royalty in a past life.  Being pampered seems to come so naturally to me.  Makes you wonder.

Sandal Season!

On his Facebook status, my cousin has declared Sandal Season officially open.  Open season on sandals!  Get out there and shoot yourself some of those strappy little things!

Really, the weather is incredible for March, but it’s also fickle.  I know what it’s like to get caught in one of those freak snow squalls with a light spring jacket and no socks.  I’m still wearing my winter coat!  I did take the detachable hood off, but that’s as far as I’m willing to go right now.

Also a pedicure would be a good idea before I bare my toes to the world.  But if I had green sandals I’d be wearing them today, I swear.

(image from) www.clipartpal.com

Hope everyone has a happy St. Patrick’s Day, and the luck of the Irish, whether you’re Irish or not.

Queen for a Day

It’s “Everything You Do Is Right” Day!  What a surprising and pleasant change that will be!  Although I didn’t stab anyone yesterday on the Ides of March so I’m already on a roll if you think about it.   And it’s St. Patrick’s Day Eve.  Should we be setting out pots for the leprechauns to fill up with gold?  Or rummaging through our closets in search of something green?  I do have Irish roots on my maternal grandfather’s side of the family but have never been tempted to drink green beer.  So genes don’t determine everything.

My astrological forecast says I’ll probably spend the day reviewing old issues, or trying to close the book on past matters. It also tells me I have a house of secrets and self created problems.  Hmmph.  I kind of hate it when they’re right.  Have to keep telling myself I can’t change screwed up people, I can only change my reaction to whatever screwed up things they do.  I’m sure there’s a much more eloquent way to phrase that, but it’s too early in the day to get all clever.

The Pulled Pork concoction I made yesterday was amazingly good, but we’ll be eating it for a week due to my inability to fill any cooking pot only half way to the top.  I also shook up some fresh salad dressing in a cruet (another part of my Epicure order).  Two things later and I’m pretty much hooked on their stuff.  Next up I’m going to try making some vegetable dip, substituting plain greek yogurt for sour cream.  After all that I probably won’t creatively cook another thing for a month.  I reach kitchen overload rather quickly these days.

Here’s a little brain game challenge for the day, taken from www.creativitygames.net where there’s all kinds of ways to work away at honing your writing skills.  Or lack thereof.

There are 6 words listed below.  In how many ways can you form a connection of the first word with every other word?

  • reject
  • wheelchair
  • chain
  • boxing
  • shout
  • queen

Being a feisty old lady with a mind of her own, Bella decided to throw a hissy fit and reject the new wheelchair the home had ordered specially made for her. Because….well, because –  it was sadly lacking a chain with which to secure it to the hallway handrails.  (It’s not a bicycle, the nurse patiently explained.  No one will steal it.)  Well, it would definitely make it much more difficult to take wild swings at old Mr. Crouch down the hallway when he annoyed the hell out of her. Sitting in that thing.  Boxing from a wheelchair!  So undignified. (Yes, the nurse had to agree with her on that one.  But perhpas she should consider giving up the boxing matches altogether.)  Bella wanted to shout at the silly woman.  Mr. Crouch would have no excitement in his day at all if he no longer had to figure out new and better ways to avoid her.  But she was being unceremoniously plunked into the chair and strapped up, feet secured on the rests, head supported, butt surprisingly comfy surrounded by all that plush.  The urge to shout was replaced with a rather sudden desire to lift her chin in a regal fashion, look down her nose at her kneeling attendant, and then, as she was being wheeled down the hallway towards the dining room, to lift her hand in a royal wave to Mr. Crouch, cowering in his doorway.  She felt like a queen on a throne. Well, this is quite wonderful she told her nurse.  I’m so glad I thought of it, aren’t you? (Delighted, said the nurse, depositing her at her table and going off to fetch Mr. Crouch now that his nemesis, for the time being at least, had been effectively distracted and disarmed.)

Well, after all that, I don’t think I’ve actually done what they asked me to do, but I’ll humor the feisty old lady in me and let it be.  Because everything I do today is right, remember?  Don’t forget it.  I have a wicked left hook if you do.

Getting Some Air

Ever had some crazy dramatic thing happen in your life that you’d just like to erase from your memory because it’s too stressful to think about?  I don’t believe I’m a horrible person, but I’m not proud of the fact that I have contributed to something that has come back to bite me in the ass.  Idle talk and meddling and the proverbial grapevine will get you every time.  I think my new mantra needs to be ‘shutup shutup shutup’ or something along those lines.  It starts out with little things and gets blown up into big nasty things when you can’t let the little things go and keep your big mouthed opinions to yourself.  I am so done with it all.  Not with being sympathetic and empathetic (or just plain pathetic) but no more fanning the flames.  And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

http://www.free-stockphotos.com

Last night I came home from work and poured myself a glass of red wine to lighten the mood.  Several hours and an empty bottle later my mood was quite improved.  The bottle had already been opened – I’m not a total lush.  Just a partial one.  I watched a Jennifer Aniston movie (Picture Perfect) because she’s a much better actress than she gets credit for, and because everyone needs a feel-good, happy ending chick flick every once in awhile to stay sane.  Then, because there was still a bit of wine left to finish off I watched “Fierce Creatures” starring the cast from “A Fish Called Wanda”.  Much weaker plot but still had it’s own laugh out loud moments.  Perhaps by that point a serious documentary might have made me laugh, who knows.

Today I’m making Pulled Pork in my crock pot with my recently acquired Epicure spices.  I really think that should have a different name.  Sounds like something from a Monty Python skit.

I am continuing to read strange things on my kindle, and seriously need to cool it on the 99 cent specials.  Although there’s always the possibility that eventually something will be SO strange that it will warrant commenting upon in a positive fashion, rather than just thinking to myself “omg that was a complete waste of time and brain cells”.

Speaking of brains, I’m keeping mine from going completely numb by playing “Words With Friends” (a much nicer past-time than the real life gossipy version of words with friends) and a couple of other scrabble-like games on Facebook, plus a game in which I have to locate random objects in different pictures.  I’m trying to improve my powers of observation, being the kind of person who can stare right at something for five minutes without really seeing it.  Or with a brain that doesn’t compute to me what I’m actually looking at.  You might think I’m having deep thoughts and that’s perhaps true part of the time.  The other part there’s just nothing going on at all.

Empty head and a closed mouth.  Lofty aspirations.  Wish me luck.  I think I can do it where it matters.

John Cleese Alerts

This was recently on Facebook and bears repeating I think.  Loving John Cleese.

ALERTS TO THREATS IN 2011 EUROPE

By JOHN CLEESE

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events in Libya and have therefore raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out.

Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let’s get the Bastards.” They don’t have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide”. The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France’s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country’s military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”

The Germans have increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbor” and “Lose.”

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels .

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from “No worries” to “She’ll be alright, Mate.” Two more escalation levels remain: “Crikey! I think we’ll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!” and “The barbie is canceled.” So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

John Cleese – British writer, actor and tall person.

Another Day, Another Discourse

The 13th of March is Ear Muff Day, Good Samaritan Day and Jewelry Day.  So once you find your bejeweled ear muffs, you should be good to go.  Wearing them all day will make people think twice about asking for your help with anything, so missing out on the good Samaritan part will be their problem and not yours.  I completely missed Commonwealth Day yesterday (the second Monday in March) so shame on me for being an oblivious Canadian.  I somehow think I’m not alone.  We’d all pay better attention if it was a stat holiday.

I just took this blurry picture of my kitchen calendar in case you hadn’t realized what good advice you can get from trees.  There’s all kinds of fun stuff like this at  www.yourtruenature.com  -the site has nice relaxing music and a hummingbird flitting around while they share nature’s wisdom.  And attempt to sell you stuff.

Work was a bit hairy (as in ‘troubling’) as expected yesterday , but there’s really nothing to be done about it but persevere for now. Hairy situations have come and gone before.  And that brings us (by the round about scenic route) to the obscure word for the day: crinigerous.  It also means hairy, but in the “overgrown with hair” sense.  Legs that have not seen a razor for months come to mind.

Only a week to go before it’s officially spring!  The milder weather and the longer daylight hours are delightfully welcome. Trees will soon be looking like normal trees again.

Well, I’ve got to run.  (Ever notice that people who say this have no intention of actually running anywhere?)  The truth is, I want to make my plays in “Words With Friends” on facebook before I go to work.  I suppose ‘crinigerous’ is too much to hope for….

What’s In The Cards

Some days I probably shouldn’t even bother getting out of bed.

Monday, Mar 12th, 2012 — Taurus

You might want to put on your suit of armor as soon as you wake up, Taurus.  An all-out battle is raging out there, and it could seem like everyone has picked you as the main target.  Be careful about escalating an issue even more by becoming defensive without first understanding the full scope of the matter.  It could be that everything is coming to a head simply because of one slight misunderstanding.

Since that Taurus horoscope was kind of a bummer I decided to turn to the Tarot cards instead.

Today, obstinancy meets intransigence.  Under the influence of Justice, you will stick to your principles like glue and refuse to budge an inch.  This inflexibility is aggravated by the fact that your environment, represented by Strength, is equally recalcitrant.  So it looks like everyone’s convinced of their own infalibility today.  Not an easy state of affairs!  And the result;  conflicts of interest and heated discussions.  You don’t shy away from difficulties and you don’t give an inch to the enemy, even though you give the impression of making a compromise. 

Apparently there are also some days on which it would be wise for me to call in sick to work. There are certainly times when I feel like I’m caught in the middle or backed into a corner.  Passive agressive me, refusing to budge while appearing to compromise.

Of course all of the above, and life in general, should never be taken too seriously.  This too shall pass.