Rrroll Up the Rim

Things were much simpler when I was a kid.

The TV had twelve fuzzy channels. Anyone could operate it. Even me. Even me as a child.

In 2014 we enjoy digital sound and pictures so clear it’s like being inside the tube, except there isn’t a tube. It’s a magical flat screen that beams fantastical images accompanied by digital surround sound.

It’s supposed to be a huge improvement over the old poor quality sets, but it’s not. Instead of facilitating relaxation, the TV has caused numerous hissy fits when I want to catch the final reveal on What Not to Wear only to realize someone left the remote set to something other than TV. If there’s no one around to help me, I press buttons randomly, swear and toss the remote on the coffee table before grabbing a book. At least I can still open one of those without assistance.

Along with my beloved books, there are a few things that haven’t changed over the years.

The fridge still uses 1970’s technology. You plug it in once and that’s it. To use it, open the door and voila–cold food and snacks!

The dog is another fun retro addition to our home. She works in much the same way as childhood pets of years gone by–add kibbles, apply cuddles and walk daily. Anyone can operate the dog. Even me.

The Roll Up the Rim to Win contest at Tim Hortons is another of those familiar things I enjoy because I understand it. It never changes and the rules are pretty simple–buy coffee, drink coffee, roll up the rim on the cup and claim your prize if applicable.

I drink lots of coffee during Roll Up the Rim time at Tims. Who doesn’t like coffee, especially when it’s accompanied by the chance to win cool prizes like a donut or a Toyota?

Everything was good and I was happily rolling up my rims until I noticed something that changed everything on my third cup–a big blue arrow across from the yellow one.

This year’s cups have TWO spots to roll for prizes!

I might have thrown away two brand new Corollas!

I’d be tempted to just hibernate in my house until Roll Up the Rim to Win time is over if only I knew how to turn on the TV.


Skinned Knees and Flattened Dogs


Disclosure–no dogs were actually flattened or otherwise harmed in the writing of this post.

(I love all animals, dogs especially, and I support the SPCA through regular pay roll deductions so when I thought I drove over a small dog this afternoon, I was shaken, not stirred, and quite upset.)

Our department met for a going away lunch for a counsellor who is moving to a different district. Despite the weather forecaster’s promise of a cloudy dry day, it was misty, almost drizzly. Naively believing the forecast, I wore a jacket without a hood and left my umbrella at home. By lunch time my hair had swollen to grotesque proportions in the humidity, and as usual, I was running late, but I absolutely wasn’t speeding. I drove with my normal care and attention.

I passed a vehicle parked on the side of the street as the driver opened the back door. A small, Jack Russell-y dog leapt out and ran, seemingly straight under my car. I slammed on the brakes, my heart thumping like a jack hammer.

The dog’s owner, a weasly little man considerably less attractive than his pet, waved me on. “He’s fine!” He yelled. “You missed him!”

I never actually saw the dog when I looked in the rear view mirror, but I checked the car when I arrived at the restaurant and didn’t see any bits of dog stuck to the tires, so I have to believe I didn’t flatten that lovely little terrier.

Inside one of our group decided to take a series of photos to record the event for a co-worker who couldn’t make it. Given my frantically beating heart and earlier discussed hair issues, I didn’t want my picture taken, but she persevered, taking numerous shots from different angles from each end of the table to get all of us in. I looked away.

What’s the etiquette around taking the picture of someone who obviously doesn’t want to be photographed? Surely, having the technology to take multiple photos anywhere, anytime doesn’t give one the right to do so.

Oh, and the skinned knee? My boy fell down playing dodge ball in PE and now has a huge seeping scab as big as his knee cap.

I had to grab him a band aid on my way to the wine after school.

Acute Viral Nasopharyngitis

Thumping headache–check
Raw sore throat–check
Mucus everywhere–check
Annoying cough–check

I have self-diagnosed acute viral nasopharyngitis AKA the common cold.

I’m miserable, whiney and, in all honesty, no joy to be around. For the first time since his departure, my sailor is likely relieved to be in Afghanistan.

Last night I tossed and turned so much I woke the dog, not just once but several times. Disgusted, she finally heaved herself up with a grunt and sat at the foot of the bed with her back to me.

How did I react? Like a normal, intelligent adult who realizes the dog has a pretty good life if she’s sleeping in my bed in the first place? (I’ve read that many of her canine cousins live outdoors in unfurnished structures called dog houses.)

I apologized. Sick and wretched in the middle of the night, instead of trying to make myself comfortable, I asked the dog for forgiveness. (I don’t even apologize to my sailor this profusely when my coughing wakes him, but then he never turns his back on me to demonstrate his annoyance.)

Did my apology work?

Not exactly. I had to pat the bed invitingly and give her a tummy rub when she deigned to come back to cuddle with me.

I need to add some cough syrup to my over the counter arsenal because I can’t face this disapproval again tonight.

Recovering From the Weekend

016It doesn’t seem long ago that recovering from the weekend meant drinking lots of orange juice and vowing never to drink again or at least not until the next weekend.

These days, although the weekends are never as fun as they used to be, it takes considerably longer to recover from an especially challenging one.

On Friday after work when all I wanted was a glass of wine and a half hour to myself, I discovered (shudder) a flea on Penny’s tummy.

On Friday evening I gave the poor dog a toxic flea bath, hoping only the fleas would succumb to the poison and the dog would emerge unharmed by this traumatic experience. Not one dead flea dropped off her when I rinsed her and neither my boy nor I have been bitten, so hopefully it was just a lone vermin and not a full-blown infestation. Just in case, I stripped the beds and washed all the bed clothes in hot water. Then I vacuumed the entire house, including everything upholstered to catch any malingering fleas hoping for a free meal from the delicious mammals in our home.

Then I had to scrub the tub because we humans probably shouldn’t bathe in flea shampoo residue.

On Saturday morning when all I wanted was to bring a mug of coffee back to bed so I could lounge and read for a while, my boy woke up extra early with a stuffy nose, a sore throat and a nagging head ache. (Oh the joys of back to school and exposure to the cocktail of germs and viruses to which our children are exposed!) At least the house was clean, so after grocery shopping and an assortment of other really fun errands, I could devote myself to waiting on him hand and foot while worrying that I’m going to get whatever he has.

Since I need some joy in my miserable life, on Sunday I accessed some much-needed mall therapy. Yes, I know I’ve vowed to limit shopping, but I exercised admirable restraint given current challenging conditions: a couple of books, a scented candle, lip gloss (for medicinal purposes) and a pretty robin’s egg blue notebook.

What I saw, loved and didn’t buy even though it called my name: a supple leather Kate Spade handbag at Winners.

Even my sailor was impressed when I told him.

His reply to the news: I can’t believe you left without the Kate Spade bag!

How many sailors understand the allure of a Kate Spade purse? Clearly we were meant for each other.

The Dog Did my Homework

003IMG_0501Which piece of environmental art is mine and which is the dog’s? I’m not telling.

I loved being a student. I would have stayed in school forever if I could have. As it was, I dragged my university years out as long as possible.

So while I’m at home feeling lonely and abandoned, what could be better than taking courses to keep myself busy? Free classes! Yep, that’s right. As well as providing me the opportunity to purchase expensive purses I don’t need, the internet is a vehicle for free non-credit university courses in anything you could imagine (and many things you couldn’t).

Coursera is just giving knowledge away. I worry there must be a catch, but so far I haven’t found it.

I’m taking Introduction to Fine Arts. In addition to weekly readings, video lectures and quizzes (which are surprisingly challenging–this is a unversity-level course, after all), participants have the option to create art in order to complete the course “with distinction.”

I like the idea of doing things with distinction, so I am producing art. I’ve made fantastic art, mail art and personal collection art, but my most ambitious project is the environmental art installation I created. I designed it on paper before constructing it and spent hours (well, about half an hour) writing my artist’s statement to describe both my vision and the story my installation conveys. I submitted photos to Coursera–close-up to highlight details and panoramic so viewers can appreciate how the work suits its location. I look forward to my peer evaluation reports because, hey, I love praise as much as the next person.

Yesterday my dog created her own piece of environmental art. She chose to use materials remarkably similar to the ones I selected. Although she isn’t sharing her artist’s statement, I can see her natural joie de vivre and exuberance reflected in this installation. It reminds the viewer to see beauty and opportunity everywhere. It’s joyful and optimistic with a puppy-like playfulness that engages the observer.

In short, it’s better than mine! Even worse, it’s too late for me to submit Penny’s work as my own. (No, the dog didn’t eat my homework, the dog DID my homework!)

I hope my Courserian peer reviewers are kind when they evaluate my work.