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.


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.


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

And of course Mini Tex would be incorporated.


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.


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.

It’s a Vase, It’s an Oven, It’s a Mausoleum Where We Keep Your Great Uncle Arnie

Welcome my Unwashed Public, to another indistinguishable Monday; here we have an image taken while I was on vacation. I’m not entirely sure what this object is but clearly it wasn’t that important because I cut off the top. Sometimes while wandering around museums with my family I would take pictures of pieces that the guides would point to even if I hadn’t heard what it was. Otherwise I would have come home with a bunch of images that I thought were important like four pictures of a man’s moustache or a photos of part of someone’s hand. Mind you I came home with those same photos anyway but that wasn’t intentional.img006

My guess is this was taken in Europe. Or possibly on the Titanic. A place with old things at any rate. Europe is probably the better guess because I’ve never been on the Titanic. Although apparently that boat had grand staircases so it’s entirely possible that it had ornate vase-oven-mausoleums aboard to keep the flowered dead baked goods fresh too.


Happy Over Exposed Monday

So apparently I’m posting on Sundays and Mondays now. Strange, I know but luckily I’m not called “The Consistent Unwashed” so this will probably change by tomorrow.

At any rate, it’s time for Indistinguishable Mondays, a time where I delight your eyes and confound your senses with my lack of photography skills. Or maybe that’s backwards, or just completely untrue. One of the two.

This photograph was taken a decade ago when I went on a seniors cruise with my grandmother. It was three thousand old people and me. Well, if we’re being particular about it; three thousand old people, me and my breasts. This was around the time when I was still displaying my knockers at every possible occasion, by wearing tiny, low cut t-shirts. Somewhere around the middle of the trip, my grandmother got tired of the show and bought me a top “to cover my multitude of sins”.

I’ve since learned to hide my sins under cardigans.
img010 I took this photo in an art gallery. Obviously I didn’t really love the painting because I didn’t bother to center it or turn off my flash. Another possibility is my grandmother told me to snap the picture “Look at that girl, she’s wearing an adequate amount of clothing and still seems happy. You should use her as a role model.”

Happy Over Exposed Monday everyone; may your day be filled with post adolescent cleavage and or flashes of blinding light, whatever your preference.

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.

Indistinguishable Mondays

After the success of Death By Frozen Tundra, I’ve come to the conclusion that people like photos.

This does not bode well because generally speaking if a photo appears on my site it’s because someone who loves me has taken it. As a rule aside from images taken from the internet, the photos are either captured by Gordy or my Dad. On occasion I do take photos but they have a habit of being out of focus, poorly framed, or part of my hand.

But it’s a new year. And all of humanity is caught up in making resolutions. And I realized I don’t have any. So I’m starting up a new feature on the Great Unwashed- it’s called Indistinguishable Mondays.

Basically I will take a photo. And then post it. The idea is that my camera skills will improve. This is highly unlikely given how bad they are. It’s a known fact with my family. Once on vacation my ninety year old grandmother and I were on sitting, waiting for my Dad to come around with the car and a nearby family asked if I would mind taking their photo.

Although the spritely young person normally is the obvious choice for any task over an elderly person resting on a bench, when I sat down afterwards, my grandmother turned to me and said “You should have told them that you can’t take photos dear.”

These are from a wedding I recently attended

Such beautiful memories

Such beautiful memories

Apparently people are supposed to face the camera

Apparently people are supposed to face the camera

I would argue this one isn't my fault really.

I would argue this one isn’t my fault really.

If only the task was to make every subject look like a Dementor from Harry Potter, with black holes for eyes and a fuzzy look around the edges, I’d probably be crowned king of the photographers.

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