Laughing With Animals

Lets get right to it, shall we?

Introducing the Comedy Wildlife Photo Competition.

Julie Hunt - Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

Julie Hunt – Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

See the winners … HERE!!!!

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This is my last post for the year. I wish you all the Blessings your Path may shine on you for this season. See you next year.

Goodnight to All, and to All, Goodnight. :)

Goodnight to All, and to All, Goodnight. 🙂

 

Some Swearing Ahead

Am I a bad person because I can’t stop laughing and watching this and figured out how to embed it into a post? …

Happy Birthday. It’s a rat!

Not exactly the post I planned as my reentry into regular blogging, I tell you!

Mrs Widds and I took a couple of weeks off recently to go do touristy things in the Kootenay Rocky mountain region of BC. I have pics of glaciers and snow-capped mountain tops, and we both realised we absolutely love breathing the air at 2000 meters above sea level.

So, that was going to be my lead-in story, however, the best laid plans of mice (rats, actually) and lesbians …

We’ve been aware of the pitter-patter of tiny clawed feet in the house for a few months now, but we thought that turning the house upside down looking for the little bugger would’ve scared it off.

Nope.

We’re not heartless beasties so before we left, we set out a bit of fruit for it, just in case it decided, for some unknown reason, to stick around.

We arrived home from our adventures to the gutted skins of two bananas, and knew we’d have to take drastic steps.

We bought this:

Threshold of Doom on the right with sneaky trapdoor open

Threshold of Doom on the right with sneaky trapdoor open

‘Critter’, as we now called our diminutive (and as yet of undetermined species) houseguest, turned out to be smarter than the average bear, (probably not an actual bear though, probably) and eschewed falling for the old pile-of-nibblies-at-the-end-of-the-trap trick, so we resorted to the trail-of-seeds-to-the-opening-of-the-trap trick.

Side note: Mrs Widds has a thing about rats ever since one of her cats, long since departed via the Rainbow Bridge to the Summerlands, gifted her with a very large and very dead rat … on her bed … while she was sleeping … about a centimeter from her face.

Let’s all have a skin-crawling shudder at that image shall we?

**shudders**

Therefore, I was the designated remover of whatever species ‘Critter’ turned out to be.

For two nights Critter snacked on the dwindling number of seeds in front of the trap but didn’t cross the Threshold of Doom. It was all part of my Plan though.

Last night, having got Critter accustomed to finding food near the trap, I only put seeds inside it. Critter’s fate was sealed!

Overconfident, Critter crossed the Threshold of Doom and the trap snapped closed behind it .. just about the time Mrs Widds got out of bed. (She’s an early riser. Me? Not so much)

I felt a gently tap on my shoulder, and woke to the immortal words, “Happy Birthday. It’s a rat!”

To her credit Mrs Widds spoke softly, in spite of what she felt about the slithery, snickerly, squirmy, freaked-out RAT, bouncing around inside the trap, trying to escape.

I got dressed, released Critter-rat outside and fell back into bed.

I am 56. Bring on that second Saturn Return

The Suckitude of Grief and Soggy Toast

It’s been a very ‘interesting’ two weeks-ish. We have Widdercat’s ashes back, (they’re sitting on our altar) and, in the mysterious ways that cats have, although she’s not physically with us anymore, (unless you count the ashes, which is interestingly morbid) the big hole she left in our lives is lessened.

On the other hand, grief sucks. It turns me inside out, gives me headaches when I have big sobbing crys. I feel as though I’m the only one in the entire cosmos who’s feeling this bad. (seriously, the rest of the world ought not to be allowed to just continue turning and have the temerity to look exactly the same when I do eventually surface)

On occasions, it’s also funny.

I don’t know if the ‘baby brain’ of pregnant women and new mothers is a myth, but I can personally attest that the ‘grief brain’ is alive and well. Take breakfast the other day.

I had just turned the dishwasher on. It’s one that connected to the kitchen sink hot water tap. I then set about preparing my breakfast of eggs on toast, one of my comfort foods. We’d recently retired our old frying pan and bought a shiny new ceramic one that was just for the frying of eggs. It takes some time getting used to the whims of new appliances, and after a few not-so-dazzling efforts on previous mornings I was determined this time my eggs would be perfect.

The scene is set. The play begins …

I plop the bread (Mrs Widder’s 1-day-old bread, ‘cos it’s a mortal crime to toast fresh bread the day it’s baked) into the toaster and prepare my plate. Usually I run a bit of hot water over it to warm it up, (there’s nothing worse that your eggs-n-toast cooling too fast on a cold plate) but of course the hot water tap is currently occupied. (by the dishwasher)

There is still some hot water in the kettle from my tea so I pour a bit onto my plate and set it to one side while I cook my eggs in our shiny new frying pan. I sense that this time they’re going to be perfect, and I’m right.

The toast pops up … I throw it on the breadboard … turn the heat off under my eggs … butter the toast and quickly throw it onto my plate before my eggs get too hard …

… with frying pan and eggflip in hand I turn to deposit the eggs on the toast when I realise …

SOGGY TOAST!

By the time I toast some more bread my perfect eggs are somewhat past their former glory.

😦

I told this story, along with other non-funny stories of my journey through my grief, (they did ask first. I was merely being obliging) to a not-quite-an-acquaintance who then commented with the best of intentions that they didn’t really get why I was so upset, after all she was just a cat.

This person is still alive only because it was a public place and I couldn’t immediately think of anywhere to hide the body.

I’m willing to bet if they had an animal in their lives at all, they’d consider themselves to be ‘owners’ of a ‘pet’ rather than sharing their life with companion of a different species.

However, the incident made me realise what a wonderful genre Speculative Fiction (SF, Fantasy, Paranormal, etc) is, and how glad I am it’s my genre of choice for the writing and reading of. I think that more than any other genre, it has raised the awareness of other species as being more than just ‘pets’.

Mash-ups

A mash-up is when two (or more) segments of stuff  – in this case two of the great movie franchises of the 20th Century – are combined to form something else altogether.

Another form a mash-up can take is superimposing one thing on another, thusly:

 

Dandy and Judel

Dandy and Judel

 

Hermy and Harione

Hermy and Harione

 

Brangelina

Brangelina

I have no idea who created these but they’re a genius. And isn’t interesting how the women look a whole lot better than the guys?

 

This isn’t a mash-up, but it’s too cute to be ignored. Grrrrowrrrrr!

 

Best Laid Plans

Recently I’ve had an influx of new readers and followers on this blog, which is really nice, so I thought a bit of a catch-up/about me post was in order … but first, the weather …

The snow’s all melted except for the sad remnants of the little boy wizard-in-training’s snow fort. (he, of the wondrous wellies from my previous post) The bluejays and robins, and some sort of bird that looks like a cross between a starling and a robin, are still enjoying their baths, except that now they have to be content with puddles, and potholes that appeared in the middle of the road after the snow transmogrified into water.

It’s been raining for nine straight days now. This morning I found myself checking for signs of gill-ness around my neck and ribs, and web-ness between fingers and toes.

Such amounts of one particular sort of weather can sometimes bring on bouts of introspection. (much preferable to bouts of rain induced homicidal mania, or conversely, depression) Satisfied I had not sprouted gills or webbing, I sat at my desk, with cuppa, and stared over the top of my monitor at the garden and frolicking avians, not really seeing either. And reviewed the complex and statistically improbable stepping stones that brought me to this place and this time.

I was born in England, but before I turned two my parents decided to seek their fortune in the colonies. They had three choices, Australia, Canada, or New Zealand. Why they chose Australia I’ll never know. Perhaps it was so spectacularly different from Canada and New Zealand. However, to Australia we went. I wonder how I’d’ve turned out if we’d stayed in England. (or moved to NZ or Canada … another one of those irony things is I’m in Canada anyway)

The next big splitting of the pentiments was having to leave school at fourteen. Working at all sorts of low-skilled labouring jobs. I could’ve stayed doing that, perhaps working my way up from a factory floor into a managerial position. What stories would I have been able to tell of that life, I wonder? But no, I had a yearn to learn, and a short attention span. Everything I tried added to my list of things I didn’t want to do or be.

I thought I might want to be a world class athlete, but motorbike-meets-semi-trailer took care of that ambition.

I thought I might want to be an architect, and talked my way into university as a mature age student. (High school dropout goes to university. I still chuckle at that) I was good at it too. Architecture, not university. Turns out I’m too much of an iconoclast to play the academic game.

In the end architecture clashed with the spiritual path I’d taken to like a duck to water. I was studying architecture and Shamanism at the same time, but ultimately, ‘there could be only one.’

Now we come to a fun bit of this little wander down my memory lane. Finding romance on the interwebz. Let me tell you, there were a thousand ways that could’ve gone wrong, but it didn’t. OK, there were a couple of hiccups, but nothing that didn’t expand my horizons a little. (Moving from one side of the Pacific Ocean to the other qualifies as the ultimate expanded horizon, I think)

Throughout all my adventures, a thread ran through everything I did, became and evolved into. Writing.

If you’ve read my ‘About Me’ page you’ll know about my first foray into storytelling. Nothing much happened after that until my motorcycle accident, where I spent the first year of recovery alternately being tortured by a wonderful physiotherapist and writing the first draft for what ultimately turned out to be my first ever full-length novel that I actually finished, with ‘The End’ at the end, and everything!

So, it seems that I was always destined to be a writer, it just took me a while to get here!

P.S. the rain stopped, as it is wont to do, and then the sun came out, finally!

 

Writing is a Business

Never forget that ‘Writer’ is a profession, a business … (someone who writes for their own pleasure, or processing, with the clear intent that no-one else, except perhaps a pillow-partner will ever get to read, is whole ‘nuther kettle of kittens) . .. and it behooves us to treat our profession, our business, with the respect it deserves.

Looking at it from this perspective, we create our product, we market it, and we sell it, whilst at the same time creating more product. We do this ethically and hopefully, efficiently.

There must be some crossover between our professional personas and our personal ones. It’s human nature. A broad line in the sand if you will, that allows us to engage with our readership empathically, BUT, and I typed that in capitals deliberately, but, the moment we lose our ‘writer’ sense in any interaction, in any media, then we are socialising, and not operating our business.

This isn’t a bad thing, and sometimes socialising will lead us back into ‘business’ mode, but that distinction needs to remain clear – if nowhere else than in our own minds – for us to be effective businessfolk in these modern times.

As any business critter will tell you, the only way to succeed is to have a product. No product, no sale. It’s that simple. Our products are these strange hieroglyphs we create, that  put together, form concepts, ideas, plots, information, stories.

That’s only step 1. Step 2 is how these hieroglyphs are packaged, because, that same business critter will also tell you that your product ain’t worth a damn unless your market sees it. And that’s called a marketing plan.

Hands up anyone who’s overwhelmed? Running your own business, usually a one-woman or man show, is just about the hardest thing there is. It doesn’t matter if you succeed or fail, it’s just as hard.

I feel overwhelmed quite often. I stare at my computer and ask myself what the bloody hell do I do next? Sometimes I walk, or bicycle, away, sometimes pick the next item on my (never-ending) list and take care of it. Sometimes I write a blog post about how I’m feeling, and sometimes I get back to that one basic premise; product.

Writers gotta write!

P.S. A sense of humour is mandatory in all circumstances.

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“Putting a little time aside for clean fun and good humor is very necessary to relieve the tensions of our time” Hattie McDaniel

 

And now … the One and Only …. Miss Bette Midler!!!

English as she is properly Spoken

That pernicious head-cold still has its icy tentacles wrapped around my sinuses, so I have delved into my bag of tricksy magical stuff and come up with this:

The English Lesson (version one)

We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes;
But the plural of ox should be oxen not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
But the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?

If I spoke of my foot and showed you my feet,
When I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth?

If the singular is this, and the plural is these,
Why shouldn’t the plural of kiss be kese?
Then one may be that, and three would be those,
Yet the plural of hat would never be hose.

We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
So plurals in English, I think you’ll agree,
Are indeed very tricky–singularly.

The English Lesson (version two)

Now if mouse in the plural should be, and is, mice,
Then house in the plural, of course, should be hice,
And grouse should be grice and spouse should be spice
And by the same token should blouse become blice.

And consider the goose with its plural of geese;
Then a double caboose should be called a cabeese,
And noose should be neese and moose should be meese
And if mama’s papoose should be twins, it’s papeese.

Then if one thing is that, while some more is called those,
Then more than one hat, I assume, would be hose,
And gnat would be gnose and pat would be pose,
And likewise the plural of rat would be rose.

–  By that perennial and prolific author – Unknown

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“Not only does the English Language borrow words from other languages, it sometimes chases them down dark alleys, hits them over the head, and goes through their pockets” — Eddy Peters or Booker T Washington – depending on where you read it.

The Wash

Today is washing day in the Widdershins household. And as we live in a goodly sized apartment building with a small laundry room (the building isn’t of this century) if I don’t time it right, the queue can be frustrating.

Working for myself usually means that my schedule is flexible, but some days it ain’t! Today was somewhere in between.

There are unwritten laws about large tenant population/small laundry that you only learn as your total loads of wash reach double digits, usually within the first six months of moving in.

I never lived in an apartment building before I came here (to Vancouver) so my learning curve was a steep one all round. There’s the land-line phone buzzer thing-y so your guests can get past the first gatekeeper, two front door keys, plus a storage locker key, a laundry key which is also one of the front door keys, the mail-box key, six flights of stairs (there’s also an elevator) …my list goes on and on and on … but I’ll stop now.

Right. Back to the laundry. I was first in this morning and I’m usually quite prompt in scooting down to the laundry room in time to move my wet washing in to the dryers just about as soon as the washing machine is done.

So, I scooted promptly but some nefarious person had already taken my wet washing out and put hers in. I knew it was a ‘her’ because just as I turned the corner of the basement corridor to our laundry room, she was exiting at the other end.

I was indignant. I saw her in my minds eye, poised over my washing waiting, with carefully measured amount of washing detergent in one hand and her smalls in the other. (‘smalls’? – an English colloquialism – look it up) Waiting like a spider in the middle of her treacherous web, for the spin cycle to stop.

It wasn’t until quite a while later that I realised I would’ve done the same thing if I’d needed to do a load of wash and the machine was full – laundry etiquette.

My righteous indignation was due to two things. One – I had promptly got back to my wash, not like some people whose wet washing is piled up in the sink for days – not a pretty sight, or smell for that matter. And two – someone else laid their hands on MY washing!!! – Oh the horror of it all!

So I laughed at myself and made sure I was right there when the dryer cycle ended!

Isn’t ‘ownership’ a funny thing?

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“Love does not cause suffering. What causes it is the sense of ownership, which is love’s opposite” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery (Author of The Little Prince’)

P.S. Still haven’t decided on which new theme I might try … you might’ve noticed that! 🙂 

 

 

So, now I’m Back, from Outer Space …

… Betcha you thought that song was out of your head didn’t you?

 Back from the Interior actually, where I attended a lovely heterosexual wedding, accompanied by my wonderful wife. (Some straight friends of mine proudly announced a while ago that they were going to a gay wedding, rather than just simply a wedding of folk they knew, so I thought I’d return the favour)

Events occurred there that were post-worthy, but as quite a few of the rellies* read this blog, I’ve decided to wait until the guilty partys are safely deceased (or have moved to an alternate reality) in order to protect the innocent.

A bit like that bloke who wrote, or produced/directed (can’t remember which) The King’s Speech, and waited until the Queen Mum had turned up her toes before going ahead with the project. Quite respectful I thought (if it’s a true tale of course)

*rellies is Aussie slang for relations.

So, yes, I’m back in time to visit my dentist this afternoon. I had a very unfortunate series of dentists and appointments when I was a child that left me with a rather horrific terror of them.

That slightest anesthetic-y smell is enough to send a frisson of adrenaline into my bloodstream even today. Which is ironic since I’ve been in and out of hospitals (which are veritable dens of anesthetic-y smells) over the years putting my knee back together after that motorbike accident a couple of decades ago.

However I eventually faced my fears and had gazillions of dollars worth of work done, (teeth, not knee) and can honestly say, that now I don’t dread my six-monthly checkups.

However that’s not the point of this story.

I was walking to the train station on my way to the dentist and crossed a street that had recently been dug up in order to replace our aged sewer pipes.

The street used to be paved in cobblestones that dated back to the beginnings of this city’s existence. (maybe not quite that old, but close enough) I had wondered whether the old stones would be replaced or the public works dept would just smack down a layer of asphalt and be done with it. The asphalt won. Not long after I noticed two hand-painted parallel lines running the length of the new sparkly black surface.

“Oh dear.” I said to myself. “They wouldn’t.”

But they did. Today I saw what looked like a bench saw on GMO steroids (is that a tautology or just redundant?) cut very precisely into the new surface right along the yellow guidelines. They dug up the cobblestones and replaced them with asphalt only to dig up the asphalt a week later to lay some more pipes!

I want my taxes back!

After my dentist appointment, with teeth all smooth and polished, I headed off to my local library which is housed in the same building as our community center. It’s a hub of activity, a well used and appreciated resource in our very mixed income community.

I was standing on the opposite side of the street waiting for the light to turn when I witnessed a rather extraordinary sight.

Right in front of the generously sized glass doors and floor to ceiling windows of the neighbourhood center/library, stood a young man who thanks to genetics and a lot of time in a gym possessed a very impressive set of upper body muscles.

How could I tell this? Because he quite casually took his t-shirt off, completely unaware of a gaggle of young women who stood nearby being just as completely unaware of him, of course. His dilemma came when he had to decide where to store his t-shirt about his person. He tried first the left rear pocket of his board shorts, having flexed all his muscles whilst doing so. But that wasn’t working for him so he tried tucking it into the other side, also flexing muscles. I didn’t know these things took so much flexing. I was receiving an education.

Finally he gave up and walked right past the gaggled young women and placed the shirt on a bench, perhaps for some homeless person to make good use of. How generous, I thought.

Then walking by the young women one last time he sauntered up the street as a true hero should. I was certain neither the young man or the young women noticed each other. Really.

I’m sure I could turn these observations into a writing metaphor but I think I’ll just leave them as observations … of life.

P.S. Mabel – Blogger won’t let me comment on your blog. It appears that it doesn’t approve of the fact that I blog over here at WordPress. But rest assured I do read it every day.

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“That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in another”Adali Stevenson