Medical (Ghostly) Mishaps

I knew I was in trouble the day I could no longer do a cartwheel. I was on the front lawn with Kate, about 10 years ago, on a beautiful summer day, and I decided to try and impress her by showing off my cartwheel skills. The next thing I knew, I was curled up in a ball in the grass, wondering what the hell had happened. And it’s been all downhill from there if this past week has been any indication:

1) The shoulder procedure that never happened

I have calcific tendonitis in my shoulder, and I’ve been waiting six months for a procedure using ultrasound and a very long needle to smash up the calcium. I finally got to the hospital and the surgeon (you may remember him from a previous post, the guy who had an issue with tattoos) took one look at the ultrasound and said, “There’s too much calcium. I can’t do it. I’m going to give you a cortisone shot instead.” I would have lost my sh*t and reminded him that I had an ultrasound in June that showed EXACTLY how much calcium—

(Okay, my house is definitely haunted. I’m sitting here writing after finally getting the dog settled and convincing him that there’s nothing upstairs when I just heard someone whistle. If I go into the other room and find Atlas staring and crying at the basement door again, I will run out of here screaming. And of course, Ken isn’t here—he’s following a miniature train around town collecting food for the Thanksgiving food drive. And now the dog is making woofing sounds under his breath from the other room and I don’t have a baseball bat or a hammer in my office, just a collection of oars and two tennis rackets, and yes, I know that’s a weird collection to have and probably ineffectual to attack a ghost with anyway.)

–I had in my shoulder and he might have let me know it was too much before I had to TAKE A DAY OFF WORK but I didn’t say anything because yet again, he had a giant needle stuck in my shoulder. Of course, the cortisone has already worn off, so I’m back to square one.

2) CAT scan for kidney stones

As far as I’m concerned, it should be common medical practice that there is a cat in the room when you have a CAT scan because a) it’s named after a cat and b) when they tell you mere moments before you go into the room that your scan will be done using intravenous dye, someone needs to give you a cat to hold so that you don’t freak out—

(Speaking of freaking out, the house is suddenly VERY quiet except for the clattering of my laptop keys and an intermittent thumping noise that seems to be coming from the basement…)

–especially when the information pamphlet they give you states that “very few people have ever died from this procedure and if you do have any issues, you are in a hospital and we are very equipped to handle medical emergencies.” And that is NOT as reassuring as they think it sounds.

I have scanned you and you look fine.

3) Emergency Ophthalmologist

On Monday morning I woke up and thought that I was having a migraine aura because I kept seeing flashing lights out of the corner of my eye. But then that stopped and then it seemed like I was looking through gauze so I called my optometrist. He thought it might be a retinal tear so he sent me to an emergency ophthalmologist. My appointment was for 3:10. The office was huge and full of people who kept arriving and being taken into exam rooms immediately while I just sat there. At 4:10, I asked the receptionist what was going on–

(and what’s going on here is that the dog just ran into the living room, jumped up on the couch and is now staring into the kitchen)

–and she said, “You’re an emergency case so you have to wait until all the other scheduled patients are seen.” Which is the most ludicrous statement I think I’ve ever heard and I don’t think she understands what ‘emergency’ means in this context. At 5 o’clock, one of the doctors turned the lights out in his exam room and ran past me, high-fiving HIMSELF and exclaiming, “It’s over! I’m outta here!” I finally saw someone close to 5:30 who diagnosed me with a posterior vitreous detachment–

(the dog is now in the kitchen growling at something and I am holding the smallest of the oars and typing with one hand)

–which isn’t as serious as a retinal detachment but still means that it seems like I’m looking through Vaseline in my left eye a lot of the time which is really annoying. The funniest thing about it is that my boss at work was horrified when I told him and asked, “So your eye could just FALL OUT?!” and I had to explain that it was a detachment INSIDE the eye, not the things that attach your eyeball to your skull or whatnot.

What are you staring at?!

And I don’t know whether I should just stay in here typing where it’s safe, or take my oar and go into the kitchen. Then again, after this week, how much more damage can a ghost do?..

Also, this is part of my insides. Apparently, I’m a Tesla.

Is It Just Me?

The internet is a scary and dark place sometimes, but it does have its uses. In fact, on occasion, it can actually be a comfort. Before the advent of social media and search engines, I’m sure people lived in frightened little bubbles, not sure if what they were feeling was normal. Now of course, we’re often frightened in a GIGANTIC way, but at least we aren’t in bubbles anymore. What the internet has taught me mostly is that the things I thought were strange and quirky about myself (“mydangblog…strange and quirky?!” I hear you whispering in shock) are traits that a great many other people share. Imagine 100 years ago not knowing that having upwards of 8 decorative pillows on your bed was perfectly reasonable? Or that there were other people who not only knew what “the good tea towel” was, they also got upset when someone used it to wipe the counter?

Recently, I have discovered that several things that I thought were unique and unusual about myself are quite common, and I learned this on Twitter:

1)

I was shocked to learn that I am NOT the only person who does this. Whenever I take a plate of chicken out to the BBQ, I grab the tongs, and the first thing I do, immediately, is to click the tongs together, like “Clang, c-clang, clang”. The only difference between me and Wil Wheaton (the author of this tweet) is that I don’t REALLY do it to make sure they work. I mean, that’s part of it for sure, but for me, it’s more of a swashbuckler-y type thing. I like to imagine that I’m a grilling female Errol Flynn, and when I clang them, I also do a little lunge and a quick parry. I sometimes end with a flourish and a bow because that’s how I roll.

2)

Even though I used to work for a secret agency, technically I am NOT a spy, and anyone who knows me knows that is true, because I do exactly what this person’s tweet says. I have two dresses with pockets, and I can’t count the number of times I’ve been complimented on them SOLELY because of the pockets. The other day at work, a co-worker was wearing a new dress, and when we told her how nice it was, she immediately said, “It has pockets!” Then we all stood around saying, “Ooh—pockets!” while she modelled using them for us, which is to say that she twirled around with her hands IN the pockets. It was awesome. Is there a male equivalent of this?

Frank: Hey Jerry, we really like your tie.
Jerry: Thanks guys! It’s a clip-on!
All: Ooh.

3)

The identical thing happened to me a few weeks ago, only I didn’t call 911, I called Ken.

Ken: What’s going on?
Me: So…I went to Winners after work and bought some new workout clothes.
Ken: Nice.
Me: Then I worked out.
Ken: Good for you.
Me: And now I am stuck half in and half out of my new sports bra. It was fine going on, but I’m currently unable to get it off. I’m calling you with the arm that’s NOT trapped in it.
Ken: Um…can you hook it onto a doorknob and then, like, drop yourself out of it or something?
Me: I don’t think you understand physics.
Ken: Gravity. Can you call the neighbour to come over? She can help you.
Me: You mean, she could grab it and pull it off me, and then I would be naked in front of her? No.

Eventually, with a Herculean effort that involved almost dislocating one shoulder, I got it off and managed to not be naked in front of anyone.

4)


A while ago, Ken and I had a family get together, and someone left a spoon behind. It was a f*cking weird spoon, all flat and plain and whatnot, completely unlike all my other normal, human spoons. But every time I reached into the cupboard to grab a spoon, IT was the one I always came out with. Once, I actually said out loud to it, “I hate you, stupid spoon.” Then one day, I got fed up, and I threw it in the garbage. So I apologize to whatever family member it belonged to, but seriously, if I come to your house and see the rest of your weird-ass spoons, they’re all going in the trash.
5)

This is kind of like the opposite of Number 4, and while the person who wrote this tweet doesn’t understand proper punctuation (and thanks to the internet, I know I’m not the ONLY one who cares about things like this), it’s true. Just the other day, Ken came into the room. My first reaction was to say, “What are you doing?!” His response was to pause for a moment, so that he could do a mental scan to try and figure out why I was asking him that.

Ken: Um…nothing?
Me: Why are you using my mug?
Ken: (nervously scoffs) This isn’t your mug.
Me: Uh, yes it is.
Ken: No, it’s not—your name’s not written on it.
Me: There’s a giant f*cking “S” on both sides, Ken.
Ken: We have tons of other mugs. Use one of those.
Me: I could offer you THE SAME ADVICE, KEN!!

And now, I have to hide my mug. Oh well, he DOES respect the “good tea towel” and he thinks it’s perfectly normal that I fence with BBQ tongs, so that’s something.

Intruder Alert

A few days ago, I was driving home from work and decided to call Ken. If you may remember, I was railing a while back about my car phone lady, who can never recognize Ken’s name. But this time, when I said, “Call Ken,” she right away responded with “OK, calling Ken.” Or at least that’s what I thought she said. But when the call got picked up, a very deep, very suspicious male voice said, “Hello?” and then I looked at my phone control panel and realized it said ‘Cam’. And I was like, “Who the f*ck is Cam?!” I don’t know ANYONE named Cam except my 12 year-old nephew, and he doesn’t have a phone, and also, how after ALL THESE YEARS of the car phone lady not recognizing the name Ken, is she suddenly able to understand CAM?!

So I mumbled something weird about trying to call my husband, sorry wrong number etc., and he hung up on me. At which point, I remembered that I’d changed Ken’s contact to Kenneth in a futile attempt to make my life easier, which it HAS NOT, but I called him anyway after several moments of conversation with the car phone lady during which she peppered me with questions like “Did you say Karen? Did you say Nancy?” until I finally got through to Ken.

Me: Do I know anyone named Cam, aside from our nephew?
Ken: I have no idea. Why?
Me: Because my car phone just called some rando named Cam, and I don’t remember putting anyone with that name in my contacts.
Ken: Did you ask him?
Me: No. I think he thought I was from one of those duck cleaning services and he hung up on me.
Ken: Duct.
Me: If I’m going to be a telemarketer, then I’m definitely cleaning ducks.

And I still have no idea who Cam is. I tried reverse look-up on the number but all I could find out is that it’s a cell phone in Toronto, so the mystery remains unsolved.

Then things got even more mysterious and a little scary on Thursday. I’d been out all morning thrifting and scored some fantastic deals. I walked up to the door of the house with my arms full of stuff, and sniffed the air because it smelled strongly of freshly brewed coffee, which to some of you might seem heavenly but to me, who despises coffee, all it meant was that Ken had come home early from volunteering in the food tent at a tractor show, as one does, and had snuck in a cup behind my back. So I opened the door, fully expecting to see him in the kitchen savouring his brew, but he wasn’t there. Atlas seemed very pleased that I was home, but there was no sign of Ken anywhere. Then I noticed that the door to the family room, which I’d closed before I left, was wide open. Maybe Ken was outside. But no. Strange. I started organizing my thrift shop finds when I realized that there was a noise like running water coming from the back bathroom, so I went to investigate. The hot tap was running. So I got a little nervous and texted Ken, and while I was doing that, Atlas suddenly took off upstairs and started running around up there like he was looking for something. When I called him, he refused to come down right away and stood at the top of the stairs like he was worried, which made me feel even more nervous.

Me: Hey buddy, whatcha doing?
Atlas: Jus’ lookin’ around.
Me: For what?
Atlas: Things. Peoples.
Me: Can you come back down?
Atlas: Did you say ‘Cam’?

Then Ken responded that one of our neighbours had called him a little while ago, but he couldn’t take her call because he was busy frying onions or something, and all I could think was that she’d seen someone lurking around, someone with a large cup of coffee perhaps, and that she was trying to alert us, and then I got REALLY SCARED. Ken offered to drive home but he was half an hour away and up to his elbows in onions and whatnot, so I did what any normal person would do. I walked across the street to the church that’s being renovated and asked the very nice man who owns it (you may remember him from the porta-potty escapade) if he could come back with me and help me search my house. And I can only imagine how a request like that might be perceived, like “Hi, you don’t really know me but I think there’s a psychotic coffee-drinking killer in my house, so could you be a dear and flush him out for me?” But I really was almost in tears at this point, and he immediately followed me back. I put Atlas outside, much to his dismay, and the very nice man and I went through the place together, opening all the closets and making sure the attic and basement were locked, much to my relief.

After the very nice man was gone and it seemed like we were safe, Atlas and I looked at each other:

Me: That was quite an adventure.
Atlas: Can I come in now?
Me: Did you say Cam?

Cam?

Lost And Found

They say, “Nobody gets through life without losing a few things along the way”. For example, despite having dozens of pairs of reading glasses in a variety of colours and different strengths, I regularly can’t find any. Ken says if he had a dollar for every time I said, “Have you seen my glasses?”, we could pay off the mortgage. So I’m no stranger to losing things every once in a while, but the last few days have been ridiculous, and now I know why there are so many quotations about losing things.

1) “Sometimes the things you’ve lost can be found again in unexpected places.”

It started with the loss of a complete room. A week ago, Kate and her boyfriend were getting ready to leave for a town far away where he’ll be doing a Master’s degree. They planned to get up in the morning and drive most of the day to the room he’d rented in a house with a few other guys. Then she messaged in a panic—he’d received an email from the ‘landlord’ telling him that he’d been replaced and no longer had anywhere to stay. Apparently, it’s a lucrative market and it’s not uncommon for people to get better offers for rent and screw their prospective tenants over. This, with school starting in less than a week. They left in the morning anyway, but instead of moving in, now they were desperately trying to find housing for him. He was able to get shared accommodation for October, but where was he going to live in the meantime? Thankfully, my aunt has a friend who lives in this particular university town, and despite never even considering renting space in her home to a student, she unexpectedly and graciously agreed to put him up for the month, proving yet again that for every sh*tty landlord, there’s also a kind stranger.

2) “Nothing is really lost until your mom can’t find it.”

Next, it was Kate’s turn to pack up and go back to school where she’s studying to be a veterinary technician. I had to go to work, so I left it up to her and Ken. I called at lunch:

Me: Are you on the road yet?
Ken: No.
Me: Why not?
Ken: We can’t find the cat.
Me: What do you mean you ‘can’t find the cat’?! How did you lose the cat?
Ken: We don’t know. But we can’t find her in the house. The back door got left open, so we’ve looked all over outside, and there’s no sign of her.
Me: Okay, I’m sure she’ll turn up. Shake the treat bag, and message me when you leave.

Half an hour later, there was still no message, so I called again:

Me: Did you find the cat?
Ken: No. Kate’s really upset. I don’t know what else to do.
Me: I’m coming home.

Luckily, I work in a place where ‘cat emergency’ is a perfectly fine reason to leave in the middle of the day, so I raced home, white-knuckling the steering wheel, freaking out that she’d gone out the door and was chased by a dog, or got kidnapped, or hit by a car, or something equally awful. I finally got home and found Kate in tears. I immediately got the treat bag and started walking down the hall, shaking it and calling her name in the high-pitched sing-song way she likes, and suddenly Kate called out, “I thought I heard a meow!” I opened the guest room closet door but she wasn’t in there. I couldn’t hear anything, but when I turned, I saw the linen cupboard and remembered that every time I opened it to put towels away, Ilana tried to jump into it. On a whim, I opened the linen cupboard door, and there she was, snuggled up in the blankets, looking sleepy. She gave a tiny mew and jumped out, expecting treats, which I gave her because I was so happy and relieved.

3) “I don’t lose things; I just place things in locations which later elude me”.

Of course, that all took so long that Ken wasn’t able to move her in until the next day, and that night, she came into my room to tell me about another loss. Apparently her boyfriend hadn’t bought a parking pass for school yet, so he parked on a side street near the university. When classes were over, he went to get his car, and he couldn’t find it. Yep, he lost his car. He didn’t know if it had been towed or if he’d just misplaced it, but he’d been wandering the streets for an hour, pressing the lock button on his remote to activate the horn so he could track it down. I really wanted to say, “Tell him to buy a bag of treats and look in the linen cupboard” but I restrained myself. Half an hour later, she yelled down the hall that he’d located it. Exactly where he’d left it.

At the end of the day, it’s true what they say: “Finding lost things is one of life’s greatest pleasures.” Now, where did I put my reading glasses?

This represents approximately one fifth of the glasses I own. I couldn’t find the rest.

Very Superstitious

Things have been weird lately, like, if something could go wrong, it does. From sudden expensive car repairs to Kate and my parents all getting covid, to Ken almost being rushed to the hospital after a chlorine gas incident, bad luck seems to be hounding me. The other day, I started to wash my hair and the cold tap handle disintegrated right in my hand.

Then later my wine fridge suddenly stopped working so we took it apart, cleaned the fan and tested it—still nothing. Then I forgot it was still plugged in:

Me: Do you think there’s something wrong with the motherboard?
Ken: Maybe.
Me: That wire looks loose.
Ken: Don’t touch—
Me: OWWWW!! I just got electrocuted! Why the hell am I even bothering to wear my lucky underwear?!

Yes, my lucky underwear seems to have run out of good luck—no matter how often I wear them, I can’t seem to get a break. Like two weeks ago, Ken and I were at Werq The World, a touring drag extravaganza. We’d met some of our favourite drag queens, then settled in to watch the show. Suddenly, I felt a pain in my side. I tried to ignore it but it kept getting worse, until there was no doubt. I had another kidney stone. I made it through the show, but now I’ve gone through yet another round of X-rays, ultrasounds (I have to drink HOW MUCH WATER?!) and CAT scans. And I can’t even get a specialist appointment until the 15th.

But I don’t want to sound whiny. In fact, I’ve been doing some research and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m bringing this all on myself with a variety of bad luck symbols that I’ve been encountering lately.

1) Broken Appliances

See above. I was shocked. Literally. Stupid wine fridge.

2) The number 666

Thanks to the Wiccan healer I used to work with, we have two booths at the antique market with the number 666. And I have to regularly open them to get out spells and black candles and crystal skulls and whatnot. So maybe I’m exposing myself to curses that I’m not even aware of:

Customer: You know Satan isn’t bad, right? Like, he’s only doing his job.
Me: Kind of like me.
Customer: What?
Me: Did you want the red skull or the blue skull?
Customer: Ooh, is that a chicken foot keychain?

2) Stopped clocks

As you may remember, I have 53 clocks in my house at current count and only 16 of them work. Maybe it’s time to get rid of the broken ones. (Because it’s TIME. Get it?) Apparently, according to a “feng shui coach”, who is basically someone who comes into your house, takes your money, points at things, and claims they have bad chi, “broken things won’t bring positive energy into your life.” That’s very judgmental, KIM. I love ALL my clocks, and I’m pretty sure the charge on that wine fridge was positive.

3) Dried Flowers

I saw this on Realtor.com. The caption underneath a photo of dried flowers says, “Dried flowers will suck the life out of your home.” And wouldn’t you know, I recently cut some hydrangeas from my garden and put them in a vase to dry. Apparently, I have created an energy vacuum, which sucks (Because vacuums suck. Get it?) and also, do actual real estate agents really believe this sh*t? Like if I was selling my house, would Darla from REMAX take my hydrangeas and throw them onto the porch in a superstitious frenzy whilst stomping on them and screaming “Only live flowers in this house!!”?

4) Walking Under A Ladder

I do this all the time, because one of my booths at the antique market came with a ladder across the top to put or hang stuff on. I’m back and forth under it several times a week in order to restock my booth, which is making the ladder spirits angry, according to google.

5) A Black Cat Crossing My Path

Ilana is a tuxedo cat, so she’s mostly black with a white bib and paws. And she crosses my path continually, begging for treats and tummy rubs, which I’m happy to oblige because she’s so sweet, even though the tummy rubs usually end in her grabbing my wrist and biting me. Because she’s a cat, and that’s what they do.

6) Pointing Towards Feces

I saw this one on Wikipedia. It’s an English superstition, which doesn’t surprise me. And I actually did this a while ago, because I have to clean the bathrooms at work, and one of the toilets was super-gross, so I came out all disgusted and pointed in the direction of the bathroom/poo while exclaiming to my boss, “You don’t pay me enough to clean crap like this up!” Also, I don’t know WHY it’s bad luck—maybe people got sick of Sir Archibald Dungheap continually pointing at people’s poo and describing it, like “Pish posh, tally-ho, that’s a remarkable shade of ochre!” and then they beat him to death with broken clocks.

At any rate, it’s possible I’m looking at this the wrong way. After all, my car got fixed by our wonderful mechanic neighbour, Kate and my parents both recovered quickly, Ken didn’t have permanent lung damage, I ordered a new tap online, and I can drink lukewarm wine as easily as the cold stuff. Now if only I could pass this kidney stone quickly, that would be lucky. Knock on wood.

Take Me To Church, Lady

I’m getting frustrated with my car phone lady. The voice recognition system has no trouble with very complex names like Donna-Louise Martin, Suzanne Work, or Jeff Goldblum (yes, sometimes he texts me, and it’s really him, it really is), but when I say ‘Ken’, this inevitably happens:

Car Phone Lady: Ready.
Me: Call.
Car Phone Lady: Please say the name or number to call.
Me: Ken.
Car Phone Lady: Did you say ‘Karen’?
Me: No.
Car Phone Lady: Did you say ‘Joe’?
Me: NO! Ken. Call Ken!
Car Phone Lady: OK. Calling ‘Maria’.

So I edited my contact so that Ken’s name shows up as ‘Kenneth’, thinking that it was the one-syllable thing that was confounding her, but it made no difference. Every single goddamn time, it’s “Did you say ‘Kenneth’?” until I’m yelling “OBVIOUSLY, YOU ROBOTIC WENCH! IT’S ALWAYS KENNETH!!”

Aside from that, the only thing that happened last week was that last Tuesday, around two o’clock in the morning, Atlas woke up and started losing his sh*t, barking out the window. Ken and I woke up and Ken rushed to the window overlooking the church across the street that was recently sold and is being renovated:

Ken: It looks like someone’s trying to tip over the porta-potty from the construction site across the street!
Me: Tipping it over?! At this time of night? Are they drunk?!
Ken: I think they’re actually trying to steal it! They just loaded it onto their flatbed!
Me: Should we call the police? Wait—did you say ‘flatbed’? What kind of people drive around with a flatbed looking for porta-potties to steal?
Ken: They’re…driving it around the corner and unloading it. I think they’re just moving it.
Me: I should call the police on them just for being a-holes. Two o’clock in the morning—seriously?

Of course, the next day, I saw the guy who’s renovating the church, a very nice man, and he was shocked to learn that the company he’d hired to bring the potty, and who had already put it in the wrong spot a few days prior, had chosen the wee hours to relocate it. But this wasn’t the first time there have been shenanigans at the church across the street.

We live kitty-corner to two churches—I call them the “Platform Diving Jesus Church” and “The Other Church”. As you may guess, I don’t attend either of them. I got their names from the fact that a few years ago, the doors of the church directly across from us were painted with an angel on one side, and Jesus on the cross on the other, both in gold paint. It looks very nice up close, but from far away, it looks like Jesus is about to dive off a cliff or whatnot.

Am I right?

Anyway, from my bathroom window, I could see five men standing around a piano which was sitting on a flat cart on the church walkway. It looked like they had just unloaded it from a rather small mini-van—a feat unto itself, I would imagine. I could hear yelling, so I opened my balcony door. The men had surrounded the piano and were having a very loud discussion in what sounded like German. Were they an angry yet musical Saxon mob intent on a good sacking? After a few minutes though, it seemed like their intention was to put the piano INSIDE the church. And I say ‘seemed’ because they kept just wandering around the piano, staring at it dubiously, and talking a lot. I had nothing better to do, and it was a beautiful sunny morning, so I went out onto the balcony to watch.

After a lot more Germanic discussion, the youngest-looking guy ran over to the mini-van and brought out a long strap, which he looped around the piano. ‘Here we go,’ I thought. Nope. They all just stood back and stared at the piano again. I wanted to yell, “Just push the damn thing, for Christ’s sake!” which seemed appropriately church-y, but then the guy ran back to the mini-van. He reappeared with what looked like a gas can and at first I thought maybe they were going to set the piano on fire and claim an angel spoke to them from within it, like a ‘burning bush-type scenario’, so that they could blame God for not getting it inside the church. However, it was only a toolkit. The young guy took out a hammer and started hammering at something while the rest just stood around. One of the other men put his hood up, like he didn’t want to be recognized, and frankly I don’t blame him because I was at the point where I just wanted to march over and push the piano through the doors myself. Then the one with the hammer ran back to the mini-van and grabbed what I thought was a blanket of some kind, but it was just his coat, which he randomly donned, then he looped a harness around his shoulders and waist.

‘Aha!’ I thought. ‘He’s going to hook himself to the piano and pull it in like a team of oxen’ but again, I was disappointed. And then I was really confused because they started pushing the piano down the walkway and I had a moment where I thought they were going to take a run at the door with it, but again, NOPE. They wheeled it back towards the mini-van and I was like “What? Don’t give up Hans, Karl, Kristoff, Otto, and Gunther!” (which is what I had affectionately started to call them in my head), but then they wheeled it PAST the mini-van and kept going. Down the street. I watched until they were out of sight, then I quickly got dressed and hopped in the car to see where they went, but they, and the piano, had disappeared like some kind of biblical miracle. But then I had a terrible thought–what if I had just witnessed a crack German heist squad, not unlike the villains in Die Hard, actually ROBBING the church?! So I tried dialing 9-1-1, and the Car Phone Lady asked, “Did you say ‘Kenneth?”

The Things I’ve Seen

It’s been a quiet week, so today, I’ll simply be sharing with you the 4 weirdest things I’ve seen lately.

1) Wooden Armour For Sale

Apparently, this armour belonged to a medieval French knight who thought he was being very clever.

Knight 1: Ooh lala, I have invented zis new kind of armour for zee battle.
Knight 2: Zis new armour does not seem très practical, mon ami. ‘Ow does one get up on le cheval wearing zis gigantic wooden suit?
Knight 1: Non, non! C’est for le ground war. We line up in our wooden armour side by side, and the English cannot get through. Also, c’est parfait for ze castle invasions. If you are spotted, you simply pretend that you are le furniture, a cupboard in ze corner par exemple. No one will ever suspect that we are les chevalier!

At least not until someone needs to hang up their robes.

2) This is a statue that I saw for sale on Facebook Marketplace. But I have no idea what it’s a statue of. To me, it looks like the girl is being attacked by a ferocious lamb. She’s been bitten A LOT and now she’s about to faint. Although this scenario seems highly improbable, I googled “Do sheep attack?” and the answer was “a young sheep, called a lamb, is easily spooked and older sheep will attack without thought in order to protect them against a perceived threat.” There you go, Mary. You spooked the lamb and paid the price.

3) My new Facebook friend?

For some strange reason, I don’t think the person who contacted me and wants to be my friend on Facebook is REALLY Rich Bradley. I don’t know why—I just have a feeling. I mean, he LOOKS like a nice dude, but…don’t you think the heart and flowers is just a little too ‘try-hard’? Also, is he saying he’s a god? Like, a god who fears nice things? At any rate, those aren’t exactly key selling points if you’re trying to become my friend. Unless you actually are a god and can do something about all those lamb attacks.

4) At first glance, this doesn’t seem that weird. It’s a picture of a lovely little girl surrounded by pumpkins, posing for a fall photo. From a distance, (particularly the distance between the checkout counter at work and the booth across the aisle where it’s being sold as “portrait in vintage frame”) it seems like a really cute tribute to autumn. But then you zoom in on the little girl’s face and suddenly, it’s very disconcerting.

Is it just me, or does she look terrified, like she’s about to cry? And all I can think is, what did they do to this kid? Was she promised a special new doll if she posed nicely, and then they showed her the doll and it was Chucky? Was she about to be attacked by a lamb? (Seriously, this is my new fear. Sayonara, quicksand).

Who would frame a picture of their child looking like Michael Myers is the photographer? I mentioned it to the vendor who was selling it:

Vendor: Huh. You’re right. She does look unhappy. I thought it was one of those pictures that comes with the frame, but now that I see it up close, it’s not a stock photo. It’s a stalk photo. Get it? Like a pumpkin stalk. Maybe she was sitting on the pumpkin stalk.
Me: Or maybe she was being stalked. Either way, that’s one sad child.

And I have to look at her every day until someone buys that damn vintage frame.

Creative Wednesdays: Tiger Lily Book Launch!

A little while ago, I got an email from a good friend, the amazing poet Susan Richardson of Stories From The Edge Of Blindness. She had just completed a collaboration with Scottish artist Jane Cornwell, and had almost finalized a collection that featured her poetry and Jane’s art. And she wanted ME to write the foreword. I was honoured, and a little intimidated—I wanted to make sure I did justice to the book, because it’s beautiful and profound and exemplifies the highest caliber of the written word and the visual image. Fortunately, they both were happy with what I wrote, and the book was finally finalized and now the launch is only a couple of days away! So if you’d like, you can join us on Friday, August 19 at 2 pm EST, which is 7 pm GMT in the UK where they both live, and enjoy our company, participate in a Q and A about the collection, listen to Susan read some selected poems and see the artwork that Jane created, and have an opportunity to read your own poetry at the end if you’re so inclined. The link to register for the event is here: Tiger Lily Book Launch – Poetry Party Tickets, Fri 19 Aug 2022 at 19:00 | Eventbrite

I hope you can join us, no matter what time zone you’re in. (Here’s a link to a time zone converter if you’re not sure.)

I’m In The Movies

If you know anything about me at all, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of the Alien/Predator franchise. I’ve seen all the movies, my favourite of which is Alien Vs. Predator and it’s my go-to film whenever I’m feeling down or bored. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to see a new addition to the series–the film Prey, starring Amber Midthunder. Ken and I decided to watch it on Wednesday night, and let me tell you, it was one of the most disappointing movies I’ve ever seen, for a variety of reasons. Never mind that it takes place in 1719 and in the first few minutes, the girl’s dog is caught by a metal legtrap, but instead of freaking out that there are strangers in the woods, she just calmly frees the dog and goes about her business. And I was like, is this an old school Predator using weirdly archaic weapons? But no, it was just the French. Luckily, I can read French really well, because despite the fact that the Comanches, most of whom were super-sexist, all spoke English, the French (who were also super-sexist) DID NOT, and there were no English subtitles so I was forced to translate all the French dialogue as quickly as I could for Ken. The only cool thing about the movie was that there was quicksand. Yes, quicksand. And because I grew up in the 70s, I knew exactly what the girl needed to do.

Me: Don’t struggle! Float on your back and make small movements!
Ken: I saw that on Gilligan’s Island once.
Me: I really thought based on my childhood TV viewing that I would have needed to know how to survive quicksand before now
.

At any rate, the movie was dumb and if I’d been in it, I would have taken my dog and gotten the hell out of there–let all those misogynist dudes fend for themselves:

Sexist Guys: Oh save us from the alien, mydangblog!
Me: Maybe you should have thought of that before you made fun of me in front of the Chief. See ya, nerds!

I would have been great in that movie. In fact, I would have been great in a lot of movies…

The Battle Of Upper Landing

1) Let’s start with Star Wars, at the moment before the Death Star is about to be destroyed…

Obi-Wan: Mydangblog, trust your feelings.
Me: I really wish you would call me Player One.
Obi-Wan: Concentrate, Mydangblog.
Me: But all the other guys get cool nicknames! There’s Red Leader, Gold Leader, Wedge, Goose…aw, Goose just got exploded.
Obi-Wan: Goose was from Top Gun. Will you please concentrate?!
Me: Ok, I’m going into the weird tunnel. I’m gonna blow sh*t up!
Obi-Wan: Use the Force, Mydangblog.
Me: No way. Imma use this visor thing with the targeting computer in it.
Obi-Wan: LET GO!
Me: Are you Force-splaining how to destroy a Death Star to me?
Darth Vader (heavy, pervy breathing): The lunacy is strong with this one.
Obi-Wan: Mydangblog, trust me.
Me: That heavy-breathing perv just shot my robot! That’s it! Tick tock, m*therf*cker—your time is up! (*puts on theme song which is obviously Boom Boom Pow, blasts everything in sight with my laser guns, manages to hit portal, Death Star detonates*)

I know—it ends just like the real Star Wars, but it was a lot more fun.

2) The Empire Strikes Back

Scene: Out on some glacier.

Me: Holy sh*t, it’s cold.
Obi-Wan: Mydangblog. Mydangblog.
Me: You again? I told you to call me Player One.
Obi-Wan: You will go to the Disco-Bar system and learn yoga.
Me: What the actual f*ck? Urghhhh, it’s so cold…
Han Solo: Mydangblog!! Come on, give me a sign here! There’s not much time! I’m going to cut open this Tauntaun and put you inside it to keep you warm.
Me: GROSS. I’D RATHER DIE.

So in my world, I only appear in two Star Wars movies, but I stand by my choice. Tauntaun intestines are disgusting.

3) 2001: A Space Odyssey

Opening scene:

Monkeys all screaming and having some kind of monkey war. I suddenly appear, like a strange female monolith. They stop and stare.

Me: Hey chimps! Which one of you wants to be my monkey butler?

(*One monkey tentatively walks forward. He picks up a big bone from like a Tyrannosaurus or whatnot, and advances on me.*)

Me: OK, cool. I shall name you Ralph Van Wooster.

(*Monkey shakes his head and waves the bone menacingly. More monkeys start to move towards me.*)

Me: I think I’ve misjudged this situation terribly.

(*Monkeys stop their in-fighting and attack me with their dinosaur bones. Then they, after having united against me, live in peace and harmony until the end of time.*)

4) Psycho

Shower Scene:

Me, in the bathtub, splashing around and having a dandy time. For some reason, the shower curtain is pulled closed, which I would NEVER do in real life because I need to know if someone is sneaking up on me, but let’s suspend our disbelief for a moment. There’s the silhouette of a figure approaching, knife raised. The shower curtain is suddenly pulled back. Violins screech and then stop abruptly. Norman Bates looks confused.

Norman: Why aren’t you in the SHOWER?!
Me: Showers are the devil’s cleaning system! Get out of my bathroom, you psycho! (*grabs hammer that I always keep on the bathtub ledge and breaks his kneecap as theme song, Boom Boom Pow, plays*)
Norman: I wouldn’t even harm a fly!…

Get me out of this shower!!

5) Lord of the Rings

Gandalf: OK, so you’re going to take the ring—
Me: I know, I know—to the tiptop of Mount Crumpet and there I’m going to dump it.
Gandalf: No, that’s wrong.
Me: Come on, Samwise—I need you to pull my sleigh.
Samwise: Of course, MyD–I mean Player One.
Me: Sam, I’m glad you’re with me.
Gandalf: Fly, you fools.

Cue theme song, which never gets old.

Playing With Fire

As you might remember, I recently started my own online literary magazine called DarkWinter Lit. It’s going really well, and I’m getting some incredibly good submissions, but one of the things I’m really proud of is that 99% of the images that I use to accompany each piece are original, chosen for each unique story or poem—either taken by me or Ken. I’m fortunate that I work in an antique market, where I can easily find fur coats, weird statues, and driftwood horses. Sometimes though, I need to create a specific scene that I have in mind. And last week was one of those times:

Me: I need a picture of a gold coin covered in water, with a backdrop of fire.
Ken: I don’t have anything like that.
Me: I thought you were a PHOTOGRAPHER, KEN. Do you at least have a butterfly I can use for something else?
Ken: Ooh, yes, I have lots of those!

So it was up to me to create the photo that I needed, at least for that particular story. But then it struck me—we have a burn pit in the side yard surrounded by rocks and it was full of wood. I could prop a loonie (the golden Canadian equivalent of a dollar) on one of the rocks, start a small fire, then spray it all down with water before things got out of hand. It was a terrific plan…

I brought the loonie, some newspaper, and a bbq lighter out with me, and placed the loonie in what seemed like a great position. I crumpled up the newspaper and held the lighter to it. It immediately caught fire but then started to go out, so I tossed some dead grass in there for good measure. I sat back on the dry lawn (we hadn’t had rain for weeks) and contemplated the sad state of the gardens, suffering from lack of moisture as well. When did we last have rain? I thought to myself. It seemed like it was a while ago.

Suddenly, the grass, paper, and the dry wood in the fire pit all ignited at once and I quickly found myself seated next to a raging inferno. Where the f*ck is the hose??!! I screamed silently, berating myself for having forgotten an essential part of the plan. I ran to the porch, the flames getting higher and closer to the dry lawn, and I dragged the hose over to the burn pit.

Do you know what happens when you spray a large fire with a large amount of water? It creates an even larger cloud of thick smoke, a cloud that drifts over your entire neighbourhood, terrorizing your neighbours, at least one of whom belongs to the volunteer fire department. And at this point, Ken poked his head out the door:

Ken: What are you trying to do—set the neighbourhood on fire?
Me: I just wanted a photograph of a gold coin drenched in water in front of a backdrop of fire!
Ken: Did you at least get the shot?
Me: It’s a little smoky but yes.
Ken: Well, that’s one thing. I’m sure the fire department will take it into consideration when they hand you the fine.

I managed to extinguish everything eventually, thanking the universe for the fact that our burn pit is hidden by trees and the guy who kept driving by looking for the source of the smoke couldn’t see it. But imagine the conversation:

Firefighter: So let me get this straight. You set your lawn on fire because you were (checks notes) “trying to get a photograph of a wet coin in front of a large flame”?
Me (whispers): Yes.
Firefighter: And you thought this was a good idea in a month where we’ve had very little rain?
Me (whispers): Yes.
Firefighter: Wow. You’re dumb.
Me (hangs head and whispers): I know.

The things we do for our art.

How It Started
How It Ended
The Final Product

In other news, you may recall that recently, I got my license renewed and faced a barrage of disturbing questions about having my skin flayed off for science right before having my photograph taken. Well, the license arrived in the mail yesterday, and here’s the reaction on my face:

Now, you may think that’s just the way I always look in driver’s license photos, but here are other examples from 2007 and 2016:

I think it’s pretty clear that I won’t be getting any speeding tickets until 2027 when I no longer look like I’ve seen horrors that no sane person can contemplate … And the worst thing is that, along with the license, there was a questionnaire asking me the same questions that the woman at the license place had asked me PUBLICLY. I could have done all of that IN PRIVATE. And looked prettier in my photo.