Santa’s Making Honey After The End of The World

Every year Canada Post runs an incredible program that is manned and operated by volunteers. In the months leading up to Christmas children can send their letters to the North Pole and Santa will write back. Of course “Santa” is probably a fifty seven year old retired female accountant but it doesn’t matter. The whole thing is magical.

Occasionally I like to spice up my sister’s life by sending her ridiculous things in the mail. Sometimes it’s a drawing.

This hangs on the fridge next to a mosaic made by our five year old cousin. Those are my mother's abs by the way, not an homage to snakes on her stomach.

This hangs on the fridge next to a mosaic made by our five year old cousin. Those are my mother’s abs by the way, not an homage to snakes on her stomach. I’m in the middle.

Sometimes it’s an awkward valentine professing my love for her roommate. Recently, I’ve felt the need to step it up a notch. So I decided to write to Santa on her behalf. We’ll see whether Santa writes back.

 

Dear Santa,

Lookin’ hot. I’m loving the black belt that you wear. So trendy.  Last year you were awesome by the way. I loved how all of the clothes you brought me also fit my sister which was fabulous because when I gave them to her, she found them very wearable.

For this year I would like clothes again however as always I’m a little picky. I would like a very specific garment- a bee keeper hat. Just the hat. Not the outfit, and preferably in beige. Living in the downtown of a metropolis can get kind of boring so I’d like to spice things up by plopping the bee keeper mask and hat on my head and then wandering through the streets pretending I’m in the middle of a post apocalypse movie. Also if you could bring me a guy who looks like Will Smith to help me out with the whole charade I’d appreciate it too. Don’t get too stressed about bringing me the actual Will Smith, I know you’ve got a budget. I’d also like whoever you bring me to be able to juggle. There is never enough juggling in post apocalyptic alien war movies.

Much love,

Diana

 

I should probably add that Diana and Phillip are very happy together and to my knowledge Diana has never expressed an interest in Will Smith or Will Smith lookalikes. I merely was drawing from my meager well of post apocalyptic movies which consists of “Men in Black”. Also I once saw a poster for “I Am legend”. Generally I don’t watch movies because that would requires for sitting for a period greater than ten minutes.

*Names of Diana’s boyfriend’s have been changed to protect their anonymity because they never asked to be a part of a family with a weirdo writer.

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Illicit Sugar and Job Confusion

Once upon a time, when I thought glitter glue was a necessary addition to all objects, my father worked for a company that made chocolate bars. Technically he was a marketing manager, but at seven years of age his job title was irrelevant.

Black Chocolate in Japan

The cupboard contents of my childhood home. (Photo credit: gullevek)

The more important part to my young mind and mouth was that this job resulted in every cupboard in our house being stocked with some type of delicious treat. Everyday my father was sent home with an edible good to sample and create a detailed description about. A man can only consume so much sugar before he begins to stash it with the coffee mugs, next to canned corn and behind the stand up mixer. As far as I was concerned this was the next best thing to being fathered by Santa Claus himself.

Life was not all rainbows and unicorns in my childhood home. Although we were surrounded by chocolate, my sister and I could not technically eat all of the chocolate. We had to ask permission. Nearly always the answer was “No”. However we discovered a loophole in the parental framework; what my parents did not know about, we could secretly consume.

Diana and I later parlayed this rule into the consumption of my parent’s old alcohol. As a teenager my sister spent an inordinate amount of time searching for dusty bottles of booze in our basement to decant into inconspicuous containers. Our crime was discovered eight years later when the house was being renovated and my mother was puzzled by a box of twenty cobweb covered bottles of hootch, each with only a couple of milliliters left. God bless my near teetotaling parents’ drinking habits.

I digress. In Canada the legal age that one may stay at home alone is ten. This was an excellent year for me as I discovered a fifteen pound box of abandoned chocolate chips next to a stack of two year old flyers advertising a new candy bar. I ate nearly a third of my bootleg bounty before sharing the news with my sister.

When I was twelve, my father changed jobs and began working for a tea company. Supposedly it was a better position but from my preadolescent point of view it was a step down. In my mind our family was probably one job change away from the poor house.

In high school, my father changed careers again, no longer was he concerned with the colour of tea or chocolate packaging however I never quite figured out what he did. To this day if asked I will answer “Um…..? He’s a banker? He works for a bank? He talks to a lot of people. Stocks?”

My dad has repeatedly attempted to explain his role but he always includes unnecessary technical details which confuse the issue. Once, Phillip my sister’s giant boy friend explained what he did, and everything made sense. Unfortunately then my father tried to elaborate on the topic and my understanding was lost.

Here’s what I know

  1. My father goes to work everyday
  2. He wears a suit
  3. He talks to a lot of people.

Based on this I like to assume that what he does is very important but it’s entirely possible that he could be a well dressed ice cream man.

My father's office. (Photo Credit: www.dreammakericecreamcarts.com)

My father’s office. (Photo Credit: http://www.dreammakericecreamcarts.com)

Giant Butt Bruises

As a fledgling writer it can be difficult to accurately capture the nuance and depth of relationships. My mother has complained bitterly for the past six months that I only write funny things about her whereas the stories I tell about my father are heartfelt tributes.

Thus I took the morning to sweat over a warm, loving post which accurately described the gratitude I felt for my mother. It was hard. That post took significantly longer than most of my other works but at the end I was proud; I had created something authentic and very personal. I was excited to not only share it with my Mom but with others in my writing community.

As with any post that contains someone aside from Roscoe and me, I always obtain permission before putting it up for the internet to read. Despite months of statements and whining to the contrary when my mother heard the post she said “It’s wonderful but you can’t put it on The Great Unwashed.”

Apparently as much as my Mom wanted something heartfelt and lovely written about her she doesn’t want others to see it. So instead I’m going to tell a story about when she fell into bushes and bruised her backside.

Once upon a time when rollerblading was all the rage and frizzy hair was trendy; my family went to Disney World. Diana and I were very fortunate because we had both our maternal grandparents and our uncle with us. This meant that my mother and father had lots of time  to enjoy themselves while my Gran and Granddad took Diana and I on the magic teacups until my grandfather felt like he was going to puke. My father spent this extra time wandering around EPCOT like a normal person. By contrast, my mother chose instead to strap on her rollerblades which she had lugged all the way from Canada to go for a skate around our resort.

This was the early nineties so rollerblading was new and sexy. All the celebrities were doing it, in our home alone there were three “Rollerblade to the Oldies” VHS tapes. However it was still a new sport, especially to our family. Not surprisingly my mother had not yet mastered the finer points of the activity, like braking. Which was fine along most parts of the resort path where there were helpful ferns and innocent tourists to grab a hold of to slow oneself but then my mother got to a hill, specifically a downhill. Picking up speed as she raced along the incline, my young mother started to lose control of her rollerblades. This was how she fell butt first into the Disney landscaping.

Now this story is mortifying enough as is but it gets worse. My Mom spent the rest of the trip showing off the effects of her fall to anyone who would look at her purple and navy blue butt. The bruises were absolutely giant, covering most of her bum and upper thighs, they were the size of a two year old.

NOT my mother. Although she insisted on showing her bruises to anyone with a pair of eyes, my Mom refused to create photographic evidence thus I have no authentic depictions to share. (Photo Credit : slanchreport.com)

NOT my mother. Although she insisted on showing her bruises to anyone with a pair of eyes, my Mom refused to create photographic evidence thus I have no authentic depictions to share. (Photo Credit : slanchreport.com)

I hope everyone enjoyed that story, I had wanted to tell you about what a special person my mother is and the type of mother she is but my Mom didn’t want that. So instead you got giant butt bruises. I love you Mom, you’re welcome.

 

Travesty Tuesdays- Crazy Feline Felonies

 

Dear Readers,

The next three posts will be about cats. Please note this is not a blog about cats, mostly because I don’t have any. It would violate the agreement that we have with our landlord, where we commit highway robbery each time we pay rent and they ask us not to have pets.

This group of three West Indian manatees (Tric...

Endangered species or slowest assassins of the sea? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Also cats are not my favourite animal. If pressed I would say my favourite animal is the manatee. But that’s only if I’m not in the water with manatees. If I was I’d be shouting “Why in goodness name do you want to know my favourite animal? Can’t you see these manatees are going to kill me by swimming over me and not realizing I’m trapped underneath them?” It’s one of my greatest nightmares- death by an inert group of manatees.

That being said, for someone who is not an avid lover of cats I’ve spent approximately eighty percent of my life living with them and ten percent of my life cleaning their litter boxes. The disproportionate amount of litter box cleaning that I’ve done may explain my lack of unabashed love for the creatures.

My sister and mom on the other hand spend their life amassing cats and loving cats. They also enjoy taking photos of them and looking at photos of cats. It is my understanding that this is standard for all cat lovers.

Without further adieu, my most recent communication to my dear sister.

 

Diana,

I thought I should contact you first before the organization does.

Your Crazy Cat Lady membership is being revoked. I wrote a post about our recently deceased cat. Needing a photo to go along with the post I turned to your Facebook page. Not only did I fail to find a photo of said cat, but my search failed to turn up any cat pictures at all on your Facebook profile.

As you are supposedly “the cat lover” in the family I found this oddly suspicious. Further inquiry turned up a photo of a daschund that was once tagged “Diana’s best friend”. More searching turned up a comment you made of “OMG cutest thing alive” in response to a photo of a Golden Doodle puppy.

By this point I was quite alarmed and questioning who my sister really was, it was in that state that I telephoned the Crazy Cat Ladies organization.

They’ll be by at some point this week to confiscate both your cat tree and your floppy crocheted hat.

I think it goes without saying that you’re not to buy cat nip or any other feline related paraphernalia for a year.

Much love, I’m sorry I had to turn you in.

The Great Unwashed

An Uncommon Link

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Official ...

You should always tell these people the truth. Except for when your truth takes a half an hour to explain, or your voice sounds like a hysterical chipmunk when you get upset or flustered. Then you should probably condense the truth, or just say “vacation”. Also flop sweating in front of Homeland Security is unacceptable regardless of the purpose of your visit . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s always important to tell the truth. Except for when you shouldn’t, like when you’re standing at the customs booth wanting to get into a country and the stern customs agent asks “What is the purpose of your visit ma’am?”

Under no circumstance should you be truthful then. You absolutely should not tell the customs agent that you’re going to San Antonio to be a travel nanny for your great aunt’s daughter’s son because the Homeland security employee won’t understand, and even worse he might not let you into the country. Admittedly, it isn’t the customs agent’s fault. At first glance your great aunt’s daughter’s son doesn’t sound like an important person to visit. It sounds suspiciously like “I’m a petit, blonde drug mule hell bent on your country’s destruction.” Because great aunts couldn’t possibly be that important. And great aunt’s daughters couldn’t possibly be that important either, but the thing is, for me they are.

Aunty Betty. I can’t actually do justice in talking about Aunty Betty and the kind of person she is so I’m going to tell a story instead.

Once, when I was eight, my sister Diana, Granddad, Mom and I all piled into Granddad’s van and drove for three years. That’s an exaggeration but only slight, because for an eight and six year old, the drive from Ontario to Manitoba might as well have been three years long.

So we drove, and then we drove some more, and then we stopped to play koosh ball with mom. After that we got back into the car and drove for another month. And finally, finally we pulled up to what seemed to be a very nondescript house. It looked like any other house in that subdivision; medium sized, well maintained with a picturesque garden. But it wasn’t any other house on the block, although Diana and I didn’t know that yet.

So Granddad’s van pulled into the driveway and out tumbled Diana and I like clowns from a small car, so eager were we to be free of our seatbelts. And we knocked on the door and it opened, and out came Aunty Betty and her husband.

Some people hae auditory hallucinations of their cell phone ringing, after listening to a funny story I can hear Aunty Betty’s laugh ringing through my ears. My Great Aunt’s laugh is the sound of appreciation coming from her very core, she throws her head back and it’s powerful. The sound is glorious and I know that Diana loves it too because why else would she have plied our dear Great Aunt with so many blueberry coolers at Granddad’s seventieth fete?

And then Aunty Betty spoke. Her words overflowed with kindness, you longed to hear her address you as “Luvie” and most often your keen listening was rewarded. She showed children the same level of respect as grownups. Truth be told she shows everyone that same amount of respect. But I’ll touch on where I learned the value of offering basic human rights in another story. And best of all was what she talked about; vegetarians, music, Autism, mod, everything under the sun that Diana and I had never heard of but wanted to learn more about.

After that we sat down to dinner and met Carter’s Mommy, but she wasn’t Carter’s Mommy then. She wasn’t anyone’s mommy then, so she went by Jessica*. Diana and I would probably have spent the entire meal just fascinated with Jessica, listening to her melodious voice and her laugh which sounded a lot like Aunty Betty’s if it hadn’t been for George**.

George was Aunty Betty’s oldest son and as soon as he sat down at the dinner table my and Diana’s eyes were glued on him and stayed there the entire meal.

Erica nose piercings

George had a normal nose ring. I imagine Diana and my little heads would have exploded from shock if he showed up with a septum piercing.(Photo credit: nebarnix)

A nose ring. A. Nose. Ring. A nose ring! Without looking at the other sister’s face we read each other other’s minds as our eyes tried to digest the concept of this small piece of metal. He seemed so friendly but then he had gone and shoved a silver circle through one of his perfectly good nostrils! Piercing your ears before fourteen was verboten in our house, so our young brains could not have fathomed something so foreign or strange as a nose ring.

After the meal Jessica brought out her guitar and together she and George sang so Diana and I could dance our hearts out. The four of us stayed in Aunty Betty’s home with her family for a week before heading back to Ontario.

On our last night there my eight year old heart was broken. How could I leave a place where everyone was kind and there were so many people to sing and talk with? I cried for so long that my mother eventually carried me from the bed where Diana was trying to sleep into the living room where the adults were talking. Comforted by the flow of familiar voices over me I nodded off.

I probably wouldn’t have been so tearful had I known that we would return again and again to visit Aunty Betty and her mother, my Great Grandma Kay. Or that they in turn would fly to my province to visit me. And that I would spend a whole week of my adolescence traipsing about after Aunty Betty while she talked to me about the world.

Unfortunately those things are hard to explain and nearly impossible to convey in less than sixty seconds to border guards. Even more difficult to comprehend is that in my list of favourite places in the whole world that the Kanaapali beach in Maui falls behind sitting in my Great Aunt’s kitchen. So returning home from the states my arms noodle-y from carrying Carter back and forth from the pool, I replied with a succinct “Visiting family” in response being asked the purpose of my visit.

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of both Jessica and her son Carter. It’s bad enough that I insist on sending oversized t shirts with monsters on them in the mail that Carter then wears around like a tiny muumuu.

**George is the only member of my family who hasn’t had my blog forced upon him like pasta at an Italian picnic so I don’t feel right putting his real name up on my site.