Wild Gratitude

I slept outside last night. Shortly after nine, I walked up a grassy path to a tent that had been set up earlier in the day. The thistles and overgrown grass were soft and bent under the weight of my steps. Illuminated by the spotlight that was the moon, the tent waited patiently on a soft spot of dirt.

The air had just enough of a chill to remind me that I was alive. The wind, which would pick up to a strong breeze later on, caressed my bare face and hands, “be happy you’re here” the gusts said softly as they passed over my ears. Above me, the sky seemed to grow, declaring its dominion over the slumbering world. “You are here, you are mine”, the blackness spoke benevolently to my eyes as I tried in vain to take it all in.

Tromping into the brush to relieve myself before retiring to bed, the trees chided my wobbling form as I struggled to find a good position. “Try not to pee on your shoes” they reminded, the branches chortling their amusement.

As I zipped up my sleeping bag, the coyotes sang me a feral lullaby. In the middle of their song, the wind joined in to create a harmony, swishing the through a nearby field of wheat. Through the nylon fabric of the tent, the moon became a nightlight. “Goodnight world, thank you” I whispered, settling down onto my pillow and pulling the warm covers closer to me. The cold kissed my cheeks gently and pressed itself against my nose. “You’re welcome” it replied.

Indistinguishable Mondays -Naked Backs and Wildlife Non-Sightings

It’s the first day of the work week. This can mean only one thing; time for more of my bad photography!


In the album the caption below this picture says “A bird!”

I have yet to find said creature. It’s my guess that I stumbled haphazardly into the woods and pointed my camera at the ground thinking that ten to one there had to be some sort of wildlife there.

At least I didn’t label it “Iguana!” That would really be a head scratcher because this was taken in Algonquin Park.

I began the day by sorting through all of the pictures I’ve ever taken so that my readers will know my starting point. In the process I managed to find some paperwork that I had cleverly hidden in a place I would never think to look, nowhere near where I store important documents.

It’s almost Tuesday so I’ve decided to make this a two-for-one post and throw in some Travesty Tuesday correspondence. The following is the actual email I sent to my mortgage broker, who is thankfully also my Aunt so she had at least some idea of how difficult it would be to work with me.

To : AuntyCamelia@superimportantsoundingnamebankinstituion.com

From : TheGreatUnwashed@whatdoyoumeannooneisintheirpjs.com

Subject :Who said Stacks of Dirty Pictures Aren’t Useful

Aunty Camelia,

Guess what I found while looking for pictures to put up for “Indistinguishable Mondays”?

My Notice of Assessment. Score one for completely inefficient and disorganized filing systems.
I will send it on later today when I’m not sorting through photos going “Whose naked back is that?’
and “Why do I have so many photos of naked backs?”
I am a very responsible adult. You should probably send your daughter to visit me during her February break, I shall teach her important grown up things like how to take months to file paperwork.
Much love and apparently many skin photos,
The Great Unwashed
In a show of poise and unshakable professionalism Aunty Camelia* sent me back a sincere and concise thank you.
*Names have been changed to protect the identities of those people who are helpful and patient, even if said person did once try and feed me puffed bulgur.

Death By Frozen Tundra

We’ve had cold weather warnings all week here in Canadatown. However this has not stopped me from walking to my beloved haunts like the library and campus. It has meant that I look like a larger, fabric laden version of myself; suiting up in no less than five layers up top and a minimum of two on the bottom.

Do they still count as kankles if I made them by tucking my pants into my socks?

Do they still count as kankles if I made them by tucking my pants into my socks?

Having walked in negative twenty degree temperatures for an hour several times recently, I concluded that today was the perfect day to drag someone who once called himself my friend (possibly no longer) into the wretched, frozen wilderness with me. So off we headed to the local park.

I insisted that we go to the beach. Because it’s January, and who doesn’t love the beach in January?

What we found was this.

I'm standing where the water line was in the summer. In the distance are the ice hills. I enjoy my rotundness.

I’m standing where the water line was in the summer. In the distance are the ice hills. I enjoy my rotundness.

In the summer months the water line began about fifteen feet from the dunes. As a result of this unusually cold winter, the waves have been freezing as they crash against the shore, forming a moonscape made of porous ice mixed with sand. It was stunning. It was rugged. It was so slippery I was reduced to bumbogganing at points. This sounds uncomfortable but I had a far easier time of it than Gordy what with my ample bottom being cushioned by three pairs of pants.photo 2

Initially I was hesitant to climb over the craggy surface, fearing that at any moment the ice would crack and the two of us would plunge into the lake. Luckily Gordy was all “To heck with safety!” and made a beeline for the sandy ice hills.

I followed after him, making sure to listen for sounds of the ice breaking and stepping exactly in his footsteps.

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of vulnerable possibly mentally incapacitated persons. Because those in possession of all of their faculties would not have spent the day wandering about in foot high drifts and exploring ice mountains. Either that or I have a nice friend who didn’t want me doing this alone.

Taking Awkward Photos in Public Places

So supposedly this Sunday I’m attending Candy Hooling’s* eighteenth birthday party, which means that my cousin with the stripper nom de plume will be the age of majority. Well not really, but here in Canada we let you gamble with both your money and your life at eighteen. She’ll be able to buy lottery tickets and enroll in the military without her parents’ permission. Sweet deal huh?

Anyway to mark this blessed event, I decided to put up a selection of the photos that Candy took and then altered of me when she visited during her March Break.

Please note these photos are not the only ones that Candy has worked on for The Great Unwashed, she also photoshopped the photos for Noctural Apparitions. However I’m not putting those pictures up because frankly she didn’t do a very good job. Not only did Candy fail to make me look thinner, I also bear no resemblance to Charlize Theron in the doctored photos. These were my requests when I sent them to her. She made some very poor excuse about Photoshop being designed to alter the light not your facial structure.

Anyway, without further ado, the photos Candy took as well as the stories that go along with them.



This is a photo of me looking pensive. Candy must have photoshopped the light in this picture a lot because I never appear reflective. For the record I’m staring out into a flooded park. This is where I take my guests, to areas where hip waders are both a fashion statement and a necessity. Little wonder that Roscoe and I have so few visitors.



So Candy and I were walking along when she pointed to the bench in the photo above and said “What can you do with that bench?”

Well as you can see I can pretend to dive into it. But one can only go head first into park benches for so long. Copy of DSC00871

This is how short people use benches, hence why one rarely sees a small person sitting down. Furniture is not designed for people of our stature so we’re forced to find repose in unconventional poses.

This was a particularly hard shot to get, mostly due to the fact that my core strength is what is holding me up. This wouldn’t have been a problem if Candy and I weren’t laughing so hard at my silliness.

After taking this shot Candy insisted that I take a “real” author photo and framed this lovely scene below.



She tried to make me look both serious and gorgeous. I think that’s about as serious and gorgeous as I’m going to get. Especially when you take into consideration that I had gone bumbogganing not ten minutes earlier to get the next photo.

Please note bumbogganing is similar to tobogganing except when bumbogganing you slide on your bum, and in my case directly into an icy river. It’s the stuff that good ol’fashioned fun and hypothermia is made of.



Not pictured- the moment when I let out an “EEEEEE” and slid down the log I was climbing on into the river. According to Candy it was entertaining to watch. Note I am wearing Candy’s gloves because at eighteen she has far more sense in her young head then I ever will in mine.

Copy of DSC00881


Whereas this photo merely looks like I’m leaping into the river. Although I am in the habit of hurling myself into disgusting, murky, silt-filled rivers when I feel the world is far too hygienic and sanitized, only to emerge a little downstream freshly filthy and ready to take on both Lysol and Lever 2000, as it was I had a youngster with me that day so high speed mud baths were not on the itinerary.

If I recall correctly Candy had to actually lie down in the snow to get this shot. Needless to say my commitment to dirt and a general lack of cleanliness inspires an intense devotion in youths.DSC00889


This photo is funny on a number of levels. Not only am I small and incapable of pushing anything larger than a two year old over. But my arms also resemble pipecleaners, in both their ability to lift things without bending and in their thickness.



Candy is an aspiring artist, she wishes to work in television and radio. DSC00928


This is one of my city’s many historic homes. Candy and I decided that this should be the new way for tourists to pose in front of the house. For some reason my city’s tourism board turned this idea down when I sent this suggestion along with the photo to them.

*Names have been changed to protect those who although are very grown up, cannot yet drink in this country. If you think you’ve got it rough here kiddo, try the States, you’d have to wait three years.

Happy Birthday and much love,

The Great Unwashed