Fifteen Minute Funkbuster: No Running Or Farting

It’s February, and I don’t know about y’all but I’m in a rut. I’m stuck. In a funk. And I know I’m not alone, because as stated above, it’s February; days are cold, tempers are short and buttocks are very, very wide. Ok that last one just might be me, but mine is wide enough for all of us, let me tell you. Anyways, in this terrible, cold, unforgiving month, right in the dead center of winter (the cold season starts in October and extends until May where I live- your sympathy may be sent to sarahwritescreativethingshere@gmail.com), as I was moaning, in this frigid month that makes people do strange things like contract “you” and “all” despite not being from the South, at times, one can get into a routine. And not a good kind of routine, more like a “Why are the Kardashians contributing more to the world than me?” routine.

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Based on my observations, these ladies alternate between sitting on the couch and taking inappropriate pictures of themselves. Proof and point; they couldn’t even be bothered to get up from their chesterfield for this photoshoot. (Photo Credit : ranker.com)

Well, I’ve got a funk buster for you. Back when I used to run, (I know it was awful, the only reason I did so was because my mother would chase me the entire time with a giant spider. You may send your sympathies to sarahwritecreativethingshere@gmail.com) as I was saying, back when I used to run, and I wouldn’t feel like running, which was always, my mother would say “Just put on your shoes and run for fifteen minutes, after that time, if you still don’t feel like running, turn around and come home” then she’d shake the feared arachnid in my direction. This was a super sneaky tactic because if one adds this up, unless you’re in the habit of running fifteen second loops around your house, in all likelihood, you’ve been tricked into a thirty minute long run. A strategy almost as devious as my mother’s ability to animate that rubber spider into something that looked like an escaped nightmare.

So look at your To-Do list, or your Project List, or your List Of Things Too Awful To Make A List Of and grab the lowest hanging fruit. To determine which item is the low hanging fruit, subject it to the following test; upon reading or thinking of the item, is your next thought “Well, it IS slightly better than stabbing myself in the thigh with a fork repeatedly”, then do that, for fifteen minutes, that’s it. No tricks, no rubber spiders, just fifteen minutes. Pick one thing that you don’t hate, unless it’s running, because we can agree that no one actually likes running. Or farting, unless you live alone and have excellent ventilation.

It sounds overly simplistic, and that’s because it is, I actually learned an entire language using this method. My agreement with myself was that I would read a French comic book for fifteen minutes each night, no matter how tired I was, no matter if I didn’t understand much, no matter if I had read the exact two pages the same three nights past, no matter what, I read. And now I speak French.

So I’m using this same strategy because I have a baby. So my list is endless, and full of things like the art piece that I’ve been in the process of finishing FOR EIGHT YEARS. My painted covered albatross is hanging in our soon to be nanny’s room. So at present, the nanny will arrive and ask “What’s that?”. In it’s current state, my artwork looks like modern art that someone threw under a bus, then deciding that wasn’t bad enough, threw bits of sand and muck on for good measure. And I could lie, responding with “It’s our Paul Klee, one of his early years, isn’t it precious?” or I could tell the truth “That’s my art piece. I shall finish it when my mother finally gets around to cleaning the basement.”*

For the record, the art piece isn’t even at the top of my list, the reusable diapers with elastic so saggy that they could pass for an elderly gentleman’s underpants are the only items meeting the “Better Than a Stab Wound in my Femoral Artery” criteria. However, fifteen minutes adds up quick, especially on a daily basis, so I may very well get to my art. And if not, everyone is invited to come by my house and enjoy our young Paul Klee.

*Please nobody tell our nanny that my mother moved out of the house and it was sold before she ever got around to cleaning the basement.

I might have exaggerated slightly about the whole being chased by a rubber spider bit, but my mother DID sing and dance around my exhausted, still running body (my brain had floated away in self preservation) as a way of taunting me into finishing a run once. It’s also possible she viewed said action as “encouragement”. I love you Mom, I’m sorry I told your untidy basement secret to the interwebs.

These Penises Aren’t For Me

The following is a text message conversation that occurred this past week.

February 8th 10:17 AM The Great Unwashed to Sula

“Can you do me a favour?”

February 8th 10:17 AM The Great Unwashed to Sula

“Can I send you a whole bunch of pictures of animal penises to print off?”

~The Great Unwashed realizes how strange this request sounds and sends a text message explaining the situation.~

February 8th 10:25 AM The Great Unwashed to Sula

“They’re not for me, they’re for my Mom.”

Recognizing that this statement might need further clarification, The Great Unwashed sends off yet another text.

February 8th 10:32 AM The Great Unwashed to Sula

“For Valentine’s Day”

In a show of just how understanding a friend she is Sula replies;

February 8th 11:04 AM Sula to The Great Unwashed

“No problem. Only in black and white though.”

This is the Valentine I had intended to send my mother on February 14th.

On the cover:

“Dear Mom,

I know you hate flowers so I decided to send you images of the genitals of other animals instead.”

“Happy Valentine’s Day, “written below a giant walrus stiffy

“I love you very much” written above an excited elephant.

And on the back “May you have a fun and unique day loving others “the text encircling a  picture of a seahorse about to get it on.

For everyone who isn’t a biologist, flowers are the fun bits of a plant. My mother is a scientist, so I thought she would get a kick out of my strange Valentine. That is until I saw a whole bunch of walrus stiffies. They’re totally awkward and not at all safe for work. Also the sight of them is enough to put anyone off love of any kind for a good, long time. Thus even I, in all my weirdness, could not send something so bizarre and pornographic to my mother. She got a nice email instead. And Sula got points for being an awesome friend who was willing to print out pictures of kangaroo goolies. Although I don’t think the strangeness of the request registered with her, seeing as Sula broke her boyfriend’s electric razor last week trying to clean up a mountain goat hide that she had skinned out herself. Apparently two foot long erection bones are just another day at the office for field biologists.

Finding Inner Peace with Children: Namest-Hey Put That Down!

Once a week, I attend a class where women stand on mats, jiggle babies and talk about Namaste. It’s called “Baby Yoga”. Because babies need to do yoga because life is hard. Or maybe because moms need yoga, to find inner peace. Regardless, here are instructions on how best to discover calm with a small child.

10:14 – Arrive for the 10:15 baby yoga class. Do a small victory dance over not being late then sprint up the stairs because still need to roll out mat, set up “nest” for Mini-Tex that he won’t use and lay out range of toys for him to ignore.

10:15-10:18 – Shuck off layers and layers and layers of clothing because only crazy people decide to walk in the frigid cold with their babies. Run on tiptoe to not disturb other women who are supposed to be focusing on their breathing but are nursing or swaddling their babies.

10:19- Lie on mat with eyes closed, pretending to focus on breathing but actually listening to Mini-Tex crawl towards a group of unsuspecting three month olds.

10:20- Cock open an eye only to see Mini-Tex playing three month old’s head like a set of bongos. Forget all intentions of inner peace and sprint to move Mini-Tex away from bewildered three month old.

10:21- Am instructed to sit Mini-Tex on lap and do sitting version of cat and cow. The three month olds sit placidly in other mother’s laps. Mini-Tex wiggles his way out of my arms and takes off. Continue doing cat and cow.

10:22 – Inhale, am cat. Exhale, release all tension associated with carrying small person everywhere. Inhale am cat again. Exhale, am cow. Inhale, cat. Exha-where is Mini-Tex? Out of corner of my eye spot him ripping toy out of smaller baby’s hands. Jump up to return stolen plaything.

10:23 – Other moms are windshield wiper-ing knees back and forth. Attempt to convince Mini-Tex to play with toys from home. Mini-Tex has seen said toys and prefers other babies’ toys.

10:24 – Mini Tex takes off, invariably to steal someone’s rattle. Lay back into butterfly pose.

10:25- Feel tension releasing from lower back. Hear noise. Is sound of Mini-Tex climbing all over woman on next mat over. Leap up to move him, feel tension returning as apologize profusely to woman.

10:26 – Carry Mini-Tex to far side of room to area with lots of toys and blankets. Lay back down on mat and lift rear end into bridge pose.

10:27 – Breathe in bridge pose. Close eyes, love bridge pose.

10:28 – Breathe in. Fill self with air. Breathe out, remember how calm feels. Realize Mini-Tex is uncharacteristically silent. Open eyes to see Mini-Tex once more using woman on next mat as jungle gym.

10:29 – Grab Mini-Tex while repeating “Sorry. So sorry” over and over while transporting him back to “nest” next to mat.

10:30- Being in tree pose gives excellent bird’s eye view of Mini-Tex pulling leaves off of nearby decorative tree. Dash to relocate Mini-Tex and save greenery.

10:31 – Lug surprisingly heavy tree into yoga studio bathroom and close door. Mini-Tex has made his way across room and is yanking lamp cord out of wall. Rush to prevent damage to lamp and store it with tree in bathroom.

10:32 – Instructor picks up Mini-Tex and carries him to demonstrate warrior one.

10:33 – Am strong warrior, focus on breathing and keeping knees over big toes.

10:34- Instructor continues to hold Mini-Tex to demonstrate warrior two. Am composed of straight, relaxed lines. Am zen.

10:35 – Mountain pose to chaturanga. Feel peaceful intention slowly returning while instructor wrangles squiggling Mini-Tex.

10:36 – Instructor lets Mini-Tex down to show class proper downward dog. Class follows along. Hear surprised yelp from instructor, look up to see Mini-Tex pulling on her bun as instructor tries to lower to child’s pose. Race to remove tiny baby fingers from instructor’s hair.

10:37 – Place Mini-Tex back in play area at far side of studio. Sit back on mat and rock foot like baby with fingers interlaced between toes.

10:38 – Switch sides to rock other foot and open up other toes. Mini-Tex crawls across room at top speed and grabs hold of curtains to closet, then yanks with all his might. Drop foot baby to catch actual baby.

10:39- 10:47 – Accept defeat and play with Mini-Tex quietly in corner while other women with docile babies in adjacent “nests” do yoga poses.

10:47 – Shavasna.

10:48 – 10:50 – Decide to attempt shavasna pose. Stretch out on mat while Mini-Tex blows raspberries on all available patches of skin.

10: 51- 11:05 – Visit with ladies and well behaved babies. Intercept Mini-Tex’s attempts at toy thievery. Apologize profusely.

11:06 – 11:10 – Layer up. Feeling surprisingly exhausted despite not having done any poses.

11:15 – Find inner peace as Mini-Tex falls asleep in carrier during walk home.

Famine, Pestilence and Trump: The Plagues of the United States and Preparing for those Horsemen

Dear America,

Sorry you’re cursed. Incredibly sorry, because as Canadians we’re neighbours, so if the United States inundated with milkweed and other noxious weeds, in all likelihood so are we.

But getting back to the heart of the matter, America, you’re cursed. Or at least, I’d like to believe you are. Because it would be awful to imagine that you chose to put Trump into power. Not that we your countrymen of the North have any right to throw stones. After all, we are the masterminds behind the global joke that was Rob Ford. The difference was we put our buffoon in charge of a city, America, you put yours in charge of a country. For FOUR YEARS.

A mistake of that magnitude can be the result of one of two things, mass idiocy or a mass cursing. Again, we chose this guy.

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He’s a winner. (Photo Credit: theglobeandmail.com)

So we can’t judge, consequently, America, I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt and instead believing that you’ve angered the gods.

In light of this smiting, there are a couple of precautions Americans should take:

  1. Move all laundry indoors, I know you people are all excited about the green movement, but given the events of the past couple of days, the locusts are coming soon and you’re going to need your underpants for what comes next.
  2. Contact that uncle who’s a carpenter. Yes, your computing friend who does work for Google, can solve any technological problem, but he knows diddly squat about ark building.
  3. Avoid all aquariums and the seaside, also possibly nearby lakes. The gods are ticked, at this point any marine animal might gobble you up. Being swallowed by manatees or invasive carp is just not a good way to go.
  4. Be wary of colourful outerwear and siblings. That brother who stuffed a sock in your mouth when you were little? He’s high on the list for selling you into slavery. Shove that brilliant red Isaac Mirzahi coat to the back of your closet and chose more drab garb for the time being. Canceling family brunches is an idea too.
  5. Find Charleton Heston. Moses is dead, so the next most likely candidate to lead persecuted people out of a tight spot is this gun toting specimen of a man. Even if he can’t part large bodies of water, my guess is that his stock pile of firearms would scare the dickens out of any adversary.
  6. Scratch that last one, apparently Charleton Heston is dead too.

America, those are all my ideas to help you aside from the obvious options which are prayer and hugging a Muslim because they’re having a rough time of it right now.

Sincerely,

The Great Unwashed

Awkward Almost Flashings And Other Worldly Monster Knockers

I’m a vampire. Not in the “kiss me Edward, you delicious sparkly creature” sense but in the my skin in sunlight feels like how bacon sounds when it’s cooking sense. The lore of vampires and werewolves was started by a blood condition called porphyria. The bad kinds of porphyria make people blister when they’re exposed to light. After the blisters heal, hair grows out of them. Delightful right?

I have the kind of porphyria that just causes pain upon exposure to light and any sunburns result in permanent scarring. Understandably people with porphyria avoid the sun and consequently tend to have fair complexions. Thus how the whole vampire phenomena was started.

A cotton t-shirt only has a sun protective factor of ten. This fact is irrelevant for non-vampires but the summer that I worked outside,  this meant that every morning I would have to cover my entire top half in 110 SPF sunscreen before getting dressed. This process meant that I was so greased up that the whole world became a slip and slide until I had my t-shirt on.

That same summer that I began working outside, my boobs grew, like really grew. Picture the moment when the Grinch decided to save Christmas and his heart busted out of the device that was measuring it. That’s totally what happened to me with bras that year. The combination of a big cup size and a tiny ribcage made it difficult to find a sports bra. Yet my mother had searched and searched and finally procured me a size 30D brassiere. It was exactly the right fit but it was super tight which made it tricky to get on.

On this morning my mother had left early for work so it was just my father and I in the house. I went through my morning routine of slathering my entire body in sunscreen then reached for my bra. That was when everything went terribly wrong. Somehow while pulling it over my head, the elastic bottom got coated in sun cream and so rather than sliding down over my head and arms,  the bra rolled up onto itself like one of those pull blinds, forming a ring around my arms,  pinning them to my head.  So there I was standing there with my hands straight up like I was caught in a nudist stick up without the gun.

The elastic was tight to begin with, but when it was rolled up on itself, it became like steel;  impossible to bend or move. “Help” I cried,  waving my arms above the elbow in an attempt to escape. My father hearing my cries dashed from the other room. Hearing his footsteps I added “I’m stuck in my bra” at those words,  the doorknob which had been about to open, reverted back to its closed position.

My father is helpful but above all he is conservative. That meant that although he would coach me from behind the door, entering to unpin my arms from my head was not an option. “Is Mom home?” I asked despite knowing the answer. “No, she left already” my father replied. “Are you still stuck?” he asked. Turning this way and that in my undergarment prison, I sighed “yes”.

After some Houdini like movements and an inordinated amount of grunting, I managed to extract one arm. My Dad was relieved when I finally escaped. Getting flashed by loved ones has never been high on his list of fun experiences. I was much more careful the rest of the summer, applying sunscreen to my arms only after I was wearing the necessary undergarments.

 

Speaking Farsi and Interpretive Dancing With Engineers

My husband Tex makes my life nice. He’s an engineer, meaning he loves science, understands math and his entire life is organized by a series of intricate but straight forward systems. I, on the other hand am a failed scientist turned artist whose life contains no obvious organizational systems, however I cook so this arrangement works for us. I joke that he lives to solve problems and I create them by virtue of existing.

For the most part, that last statement is true. Broken door? Tex is on it. Excessively complicated taxes? Put away the calculator, the engineer is here. Hosting family Christmas on the same day a drop shipment of furniture is set to arrive to fill three empty rooms of the house? Let the organizational pro through, he’ll schedule this day into submission.

Artistic problems are a horse of a different colour though. Having dabbled in the arts throughout my life, I’m experienced at collaborating with other like-minded artsy people. In those circumstances, I will explain my vision for a project, listen to my partner’s ideas and together we’ll come up with a product that is infinitely better had I just worked on my own.

For the No Excuses November post, I wanted to recreate the John Snow “Winter is coming” meme.

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Only with my name because I am equally powerful as a season of course. Modified from makeameme.org

It was going to look like the original but with curly hair.

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It’s like John Snow is wearing a wig. Modified from makeameme.org

And of course Mini Tex would be incorporated.

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Because who doesn’t love babies with preternaturally long fingers on their left hands? Modified from makeameme.org

In his ridiculous bird/dragon/fish costume, because there is no point in purchasing a costume for your child unless you force them to wear it in all manner of situations. Admittedly, bringing a fish/bird child to that funeral was not the most popular decision but I stand by it.

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You can properly appreciate the randomness of the fin/wing/foreshortened arms of the costume at this angle. Modified from makeameme.org

But no matter how many images Tex and I took, or alterations that I made to the poses or suggestions for framing, the photos all looked completely awkward and not even remotely like the meme. And it wasn’t even like I was unprepared! I had fur! I had a giant heavy dark coat! I even had a giant sword-like thing! All of the elements were there but the fairies of luck and creativity refused to smile on us that day.

I concluded it was a one-off, that there was all the possibility in the world that Tex would suddenly morph into a free love spouting, organic eating, Burning Man attending, artsy hippie. I mean, I’m becoming like him after having lived together- just last week I used the words “anaerobic reaction” in a sentence and it wasn’t just an example of my mommy brain substituting words while trying to describe a new fitness class.

Only time will tell though. In his words, I’ll continue asking him to “take weird pictures of me” and hope that in the future we’ll be able to artistically trouble shoot together. In the meantime, my readers can enjoy my Microsoft Paint photos.

Celebrity Encounters and Near Beat Downs

I didn’t think he would beat me to a pulp but I couldn’t be sure. I was on a flight from my new small town to a big city to meet Sula for a conference that she was attending. Sitting in between me and the bathroom was a man the size of a house.

As this was two years ago, I was neither pregnant nor traveling with a baby, thus, I was wearing my standard twelve year old girl disguise. My short stature and high voice confuse people. When combined with rainbow kneesocks and a penchant for ridiculous actions, I end up being mistaken for a grade schooler on occasion.

At that moment,  my thirty going on thirteen year old self was debating the pros and cons of climbing delicately over the arm rests and pretzeling myself into the small space between the giant man and the roof of the aircraft, in order to get to the washroom. On the one hand I had to pee BAD. Next to the other hand was one of the most muscly and enormous people I had ever clapped my eyes on outside of a circus act featuring strong men.

“What’s the worst that could happen? ” I asked myself, pulling up my knees into a crouching position,  preparing to move spider-like over the seats and the huge human obstacle next to me. I had decided that it was best to exit facing the man, that way if he woke up instead of staring at my large and speechless bum, he’d see my sheepish smiling face. At worst, he would stand up, unintentionally tossing me over his shoulder like a the year old in a tantrum. Luckily,. just as I was making my move, it was at that moment that Jon Mirasty woke up.

To be clear,  I didn’t know he was Jon Mirasty. If I had,  I never would have considered climbing over him. It wasn’t until after I politely asked him to move and returned from using the washroom that he introduced himself. Even then,  he only said his name was Jon and that he raised horses a ways outside the town I lived. Only when I asked him why he was traveling did he reveal his celebrity status. “I’m heading to see a surgeon. I messed up my shoulder playing hockey” he said. “Oh?” I said “Do you play hockey often? ” Simply, Jon Mirasty replied “Well I was in the NHL.”

I can talk about a lot of things; the importance of hiding candy so you discover it later like some sort of human Easter bunny, the proper way to shellac your own bum and of course the best strategy for accidentally flashing church elders. Tragically hockey isn’t one of those topics, so I brought out the only factoid relevant to the conversation that I knew, “Jordin Tootoo is also a hockey player.” Awkwardness for the win.

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Knowing one player’s name is equivalent to understanding the game right? (Photo Credit: sportsnet.ca)

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Luckily Jon Mirasty skated over my odd statement to continue the conversation. “Yeah, I know Jordin” he said. “I’m sorry” I confessed,  “that is the sum total of my hockey knowledge and I only know it because Jordin is First Nations and I work with some indigenous people.” Jon Mirasty quickly corrected me “Jordin’s Inuit.” “I’m Cree.” He added pointedly to differentiate.

We then went on to have a pleasant conversation for the rest of the flight. Always a writer and therefore curious about other people’s lives and experiences, I peppered Jon Mirasty with questions which he happily answered. When I asked Jon Mirasty whether he missed playing in the big leagues, the former NHL player surprised me by saying that he didn’t because it meant a lot of travel and being away from his family.

With that response rattling around in my head, I was stunned to discover after Googling Jon Mirasty, that like Jordin Tootoo, he was an enforcer. A position dedicated to beating up and laying hits on the other team’s players. In hockey circles Jon Mirasty was called “Nasty” because of his habit of laughing while beating his opponents senseless.

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My seat mate in action. (Photo Credit : Marchhockey.com)

Given this unique reputation, I was somewhat relieved that he woke up before I took the opportunity to climb over him. I’ll think twice before deciding to leap frog over men the size of Volkswagens the next time.

 

How To Differentiate Between Drunken University Students and Mothers

It’s been noted that new parents bare a startling resemblance to inebriated undergrads, the following is a handy guide which characterizes various behaviours to help tell if you are dealing with a tipsy twenty-something or a newly minted parent.

  1. Late nights

Drunken undergrads are known for staying up late, stumbling around and then passing out wherever looks softest. Mothers also are known to host all night parties. This behavior cannot be used to differentiate the two

 

  1. Little Sleep Followed By Excessive Napping

After these all night parties both new parents and fratboys have been known to take naps during the day. Once again, daytime siestas cannot be used as a way to tell between a new parent and a fratboy.

  1. An Excess Of Skin

If you find yourself surrounded by cleavage and boobs there are one of two places you might be; a sorority party or a breastfeeding moms group. Tread carefully, previously the presence of sequins ruled out the latter but since the emergence of stylish nursing tops, this is no longer a reliable way to distinguish between the two populations.

  1. Forgetting Items Everywhere

Misplacing one’s phone and identification is a time honored tradition of both intoxicated students and new moms. If the phone is lying next to a squeaky toy, it is most likely a new parent encounter but there is a trend of students owning dogs so this is not a definitive qualifier.

  1. Traveling In Groups While Engaging In The Same Activity

Undergrads are notorious for running wild in packs; jogging, playing sports or hollering in public places. Likewise, mothers are often found working out in parks as a group or practicing yoga, they have also been known to yell in commercial centers, in particular grocery stores. Thus unless one is standing next to the egg section, it’s questionable whether it is a parent or student meeting.

As evidenced by the lists of characteristics above, it’s almost impossible to tell a drunken undergrad from a new mother. The only truly reliable way to tell if the person sleeping at the park with their breasts showing with no identification or phone, surrounded by other similarly attired people, is whether or not they have a baby.

What’s In a Name? Would A Rose Called Monkeyrind Flapjack Not Smell As Sweet?

I met my friend Charity* during my first year of university. She was a shy, but academically driven student whereas I was a loud, party and boys obsessed person who often made it to class. Whether I was in any state to learn upon arriving to there was another thing, sometimes I’d walk in when it was twenty below out in just a t-shirt and short shorts while mouthing “laundry day” at those I passed. Other times I’d run in after the lecturer had started speaking, taking the stairs three at a time while sloshing my beverage everywhere. I almost never had my notes.

Not surprisingly, Charity wasn’t keen to hang out with a hot splashy mess. At first I sat next to my long suffering lab partner Niles*. This unlucky young man and I became friends because his habits of ironing his pants before class and wiping down plastic seats with his cloth handkerchief before sitting, let me know that this was a guy to follow- not only would he for sure have his notes printed off beforehand, he would be able to explain the concepts when I was totally lost. Because who else travels with a cloth handkerchief but the incredibly well organized? While Niles allowed himself one ditzy, flaky friend, the rest of his posse, including Charity, was academia and success bound whereas as I had more royal aspirations, specifically Prince Al’s, the diner frequented by students after the bars closed.

After some time, Charity and I became friends too. Charity quickly revealed herself to be the most responsible person I had ever known, despite being two years younger than me. She used breaks between classes to study, talked about studying more in the evening, was a writer for the science paper while aspiring for the post of the editor and played piano in her spare time. By contrast, if left to my own devices, I would head back to my residence for a nap any chance I got, studied infrequently and my extra-curricular activities consisted of macking on my boyfriend.

Charity regularly shocked me with her ambition and her ability, landing a coveted research grant during our second year. But even after witnessing all of her triumphs, when Charity revealed that she had named not only herself but her younger brother as well, I was shocked. One lives with their first name for a lifetime, bestowing that sort of power upon a child seemed unfathomable to me. I can recall distinctly going through as least four phases where I asked my mother (who refused) to call me something else; Tracy, Krissy, Jasmine, the list goes on. The fact that Charity managed to choose her English name at six years old when her family emigrated from China and stick with the moniker impressed me to no end. When she added the part about her sibling, I was utterly flabbergasted. Had I been given the same power, Diana would be known as Princess Sparklehorn right now, or some other equally ridiculous title.

Conversely, Charity managed to give herself a name she liked and continues to live with. Her brother also still goes by the name Charity picked. As a result, Charity’s offhand comment that she regrets her choice of Unwashed nom de plume, on a Facebook thread about my last post caught me by surprise. To date, she is the only person who has picked their pseudonym on my blog. Four years ago, I was writing a lot of nonsense about naïve people in my life with hearts of gold and giving them stripper names like “Candy” just to be funny. To keep with the theme Charity chose her name here thusly, there was no way for her know that my blog would endure or that my focus would shift from strippers to bunnies.

Anyways, this is a long way of saying that I’m giving my friend the opportunity to change her name here. Because if one must have second thoughts about christening a person, it’s better that it should be in blog form; there’s less paperwork involved in changing it. So far for legal titles which end up on passports and driver’s licenses, my friend is two for two, let’s all wish her luck because in February that number will change to three when she has her little girl.

As for her online presence here at The Great Unwashed, I’m probably going to suggest that my friend shy away from the bunny theme; one never knows when I’ll take up a fascination with armadillos or blenders thus rendering all things Playboy passé.

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of those who are more intelligent than me and therefore able to carry out devious plans involving salmonella or some other such unpleasant species that they’ve worked with.

Merry Christmas, Here’s a Dead Baby

When I was ten years old my father quit his job at a chocolate company and started working as a marketing manager for a business which sold tea. This meant two things; our house would no longer be filled to the brim with delightful cocoa related goods- instead my father insisted on stocking our cupboards with old person drinks because what child guzzles Earl Grey? The second thing was that my tenuous grasp on any semblance of popularity from living in a house filled with candy bars was gone.

Life went on and before I knew it, Christmas was upon us. Previous years my sister and I had been packed in our snow suits and shuttled to the chocolate company’s Christmas party. The fete not only featured Santa Claus but the giant allergen that was the company’s mascot as well. Diana and I would take turns standing next to the costumed people for pictures. This would be followed by a draw in which every child was given a gift then we would leave with a loot bag as large as ourselves after being stuffed with candy, brownies and cake. In essence the chocolate company’s Christmas party was every child’s vision of heaven. I used to picture going there after I died.

This year of course there would be no company party, not for the children in my family at least. My mother and father dressed to the nines early in December and left my sister and me at home with a babysitter. The next night my mother presented Diana and I with a box. “It’s from the tea company’s Christmas party, your Dad said we should bring it home to open as a family.”

It wasn’t a garbage bag full of sugar but it was something. Furthermore after initially questioning the wisdom of his career move I had been buoyed up by a phone call my mother had made to me while on a business trip with my father two months previously.

“Guess where I am girls?” she cried ecstatically into the phone. Sitting at home with our grandparents Diana and I had a vague notion that our Mom and Dad were very far away but not exactly sure where.

“Scotland?” we said in unison.

“No! I’m in the bathroom!”

“Um” was our confused and faintly grossed out response.

“The bathroom in the hotel room is as large as our bedroom at home and there is a phone by the tub!” My mother’s excitement was contagious and I began to forgive my father for leaving his lucrative candy coated job.

As Diana and I unwrapped the small package I could tell we were both thinking of the enormous hotel bathroom with a telephone in it. If this new company had provided something as fabulous as that for the employee’s families on business what sort of wonders had they packed into this little box?

It was a dead baby. Or to be more specific; half a dead baby. The lower half of the infant was a ceramic bell while the upper half was dressed in what looked like a nubby, hooded ceramic jacket. Without a doubt, the gift was the creepiest, most homely Christmas ornament I had ever seen. The entire tchotchke was beige coloured except for the eyes which were painted blue, giving it the appearance that someone had dressed the baby crossed bell in a coat then thrown it in a snowbank to freeze to death. “Well, that’s um, nice.” said my mother looking at the ornament skeptically. The baby’s eyes stared back, sinister and unblinking.

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It likes to sing a song at night. It goes like this, “My cold, ghostly eyes are watching you”. (Photo Credit : The Great Unwashed)

Without looking at my sister, I knew what she was thinking “I would have preferred a bag of chocolate.”

My father and I aren’t able to celebrate Christmas together this year, so all of my gifts arrived in a large Purolator box. In addition to the presents, my Dad also decided that I would enjoy this bizarre ornament from my childhood because he knows that there is nothing I love more in the world than a good story. So Merry Christmas my Unwashed public, may each and every one of you receive a dead baby of your own.