exam day

This evening is my first exam for the second semester of Art History that I'm taking. I really do enjoy these classes very much... but I surely wish that it was warmer outside. The thought of trudging out after supper to go to a chilly examination room and write for three hours isn't very exciting.

But I must admit... and you'll keep this a secret, won't you? I sort of like writing exams. It's like a little game that I play with myself. I try to remember everything. I always secretly work to get the highest mark, if I can. Veto has a few nicknames for me, and one of them is "nerd."

So, I'm off... today I have to brush up on the art of Ancient Egypt, Greece, and the fascinating lost culture of the Etruscans. I know... he's right... nerd. Wish me luck!

top fives as requested

During Q & A this week, prettyinpink asked for some top fives. Here they are, plus five reasons I hate cats.
The mudslide. A delightful blend of Kahlua, vodka, cream and ice. Whir it in your toughest blender. Drizzle chocolate syrup around the bottom of the glass before you pour the drink in. Your guests (The Fan and Darling) will be amazed.

Tetley Green Tea in blueberry flavour. Always on at my house these days. I'm detoxing from all those mudslides last summer.

Kind of feel like ordering a cosmo but it seems like just a little much? Order an Absolut Mandarin vodka over ice with cranberry juice. Even men like these.

Yoo-hoo. Whoo doesn't like the Yoo-hoo? I can't get it here, so it's like forbidden fruit. When I am in the US, I must drink it.

The Saucy-tini. Served at our wedding, it was the cocktail of the evening. Mix equal parts pineapple juice, melon liqueur (like Midori), and vodka. Shake it, shake it, shake it!

Green onions or scallions. They are always in the grocery cart.

Bread crumbs.

Lemon: the juice of, peel, zest, squeeze of.

Real butter. I never use margarine. It just doesn't work at all, for anything. At least for me.

Extra-virgin olive oil.

Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser, used as the basis for the 2006 movie starring Kirsten Dunst.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Can't say exactly how many times I've read this book. Too numerous to mention. Almost named Loopy "Scout".

Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life by Queen Noor of Jordan. Absolutely fascinating and a completely different perspective on the Middle East.

Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy. My paperback copy is tattered and torn.

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray. Guess what The Fan gave me for Christmas this year? A first-edition copy of the three-volume set. Green cover with gold tips. Becky Sharp would be so jealous!

Marie Antoinette starring Kirsten Dunst (see above). Andrew and I went to see this on a date night. The best part was when she asked her hairdresser if her coif was "too much?"... it was so us!

Vanity Fair starring Reese Witherspoon (see above). She is exactly as I envisioned Rebecca Sharp. Oh, the scenery! Oh, the costumes!

Kate and Leopold starring Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman. Such a piece of fluff, but I adore it. Hello, Hugh!

The Shawshank Redemption starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. A perfect movie, I cry every time.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off starring Matthew Broderick. I can't help it. I'm a child of the 80's. Ferris for president!

The night Buddy Budderson was born. Everyone passed him around in the hospital room. My older brother totally hogged him. Everyone was there. We ate pizza.

When I found out Loopy was going to be a girl! I knew that I would name her after my Grandfather (Sid) and my Grandma (Jean). No other names were considered.

The courtship of Veto. *sigh*. I felt like I was living in a movie.

Coaching the Mount Royal Senior Varsity Cheerleading Team, 1997-99. A perfect storm of athleticism, dance ability, and music choices. Many victories, few defeats. Bus rides. Loopy in a miniature uniform at age two.

Seeing James Taylor in concert. Veto took me for our first anniversary. It was the best concert, evah! As witnessed by my weeping.

Mamma Mia! Veto and I saw this live on our honeymoon and Loopy and I saw it last summer, too. What a great toe-tapper. I love jukebox musicals.

Wicked the Musical. Saw it at the Ford Centre in Chicago, twice. Would see it again, in a heartbeat.

High Society starring Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. One of The Fan's favourites and mine, too. Best song: "Well, Did You Evah?". Fantastic outfits.

Across the Universe starring Jim Sturgess. When does that come out on DVD, anyway?

Moulin Rouge starring Nicole Kidman. Again, costumes and sets reign supreme.

I am so allergic. Seriously.... hives, red eyes, runny nose, blech. Cats.
They're so aloof. I don't get it.
The litter box. Just the idea. Pee in a box, in the house.
They climb everywhere.
The musical. Eeeeeww.

the moment of truth

Thanks for all the questions. What fun. It was like that new game show, except they weren't horrible questions and I didn't win any money. Here are my answers:

mlafayette asked me where I thought she could find a nice piggy bank for her baby:

Excellent question. All shopping questions are excellent. If you are going to visit Calgary then you should check out a store called Honey B's in the Kensington area. If you want to break the bank, there is a Tiffany & Co. counter at Holt Renfrew downtown. But on a more practical note, don't you just want to go to the Credit Union and open him a Fat Cat account? Seriously, that's what I would do. Interest is so much cooler than clutter.

Angela asked how everyone in the family got their nicknames:

Well, Buddy has been everyone's little buddy since the day he was born. His Great-Granny and Aunty called him "the Wee Buddy" and it sort of stuck. It really stuck when his sister was little and that was what she called him.

Loopy's name came about pretty recently, without giving away too much, we got her an emergency cell phone and she realized that the last digits spelled out "Loop". She's funny like that with her Aspergers... she's always looking for patterns in numbers.

Veto wasn't Veto until we started building our first house together. He pretty much gave me free reign of all design decisions (and rightfully so) but every once and a while, he'd "veto" a suggestion... I think on principle. We never argue about renos. But occasionally, he "vetos" and I take heed.

The Fan, a.k.a. my mother, was pretty much the only one reading this blog when I started it and she was the single commenter also, thus turning her into "The Fan" as in, Lone Fan.

My father is "The Secret Weapon" and seriously, that sums him right up. He can do anything. A world-renown artist, he designs jewelry (has won design awards from DeBeers), develops new printmaking techniques, paints, draws, has mastered chemistry, electronics, world history, politics, welding, woodworking, metalsmithing, photography, I could go on and on. No matter what silly project I've ever come up with, he's figured out a way to make it work. As a matter of fact, sometimes I casually toss out "I don't really think it can be done at all" and before you know it, the dollhouse has a moving ceiling fan. That's right.

My brother is "Uncle Bug" and it pretty much came from Loopy. He's been a few things over the years but that one stuck. When he was little, he referred to himself as "Robbie-Baby-Big-Boy" and I've never let him live it down. Sometimes I get him paged in public places as that, just to keep his genius self humble.

My sister-in-law is called "Darling" by the kids. They used to say to each other when Buddy was just a little squirt... "how are you, daaaahling?" and it was too cute. So instead of Aunty, she's Darling.

Natalie asked about my dream job... what was the best job I ever had and what was the worst:

I think I have a few dream jobs... stylist for a home decorating magazine, buyer for Nordstroms, catalogue stylist for Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware. The best job I ever had was teaching high school art to some very motivated art students in a great facility, with some amazing coworkers. Worst job? Hmmmm.... I worked at a wedding planning place back in the early 90's and had to mediate lots of mother/daughter/decorating arguments. Really, there have been too many bad jobs to mention.

Also, when I was young and single and Martha Stewart was an up-and-coming nobody, I thought about sending a job application to her. To this day, I wish I had.

She also asked me if I am religious, and if I could go back and change one mistake... would I?

Well Natalie, I consider myself to be culturally Jewish and am taking steps to become an active member of our synagogue. Religious? Not really, but I do try my best to live up to the ten commandments and all that... I think that all religions are a good starting point to live your best life, and that if there is a God, she just wants me to be a good person and do my best. She doesn't really care where I go on Saturdays.

Mistakes, I've had a few. But then again, too few to mention. I did what I had to do, and saw it through without exemption. I did it my way. But I should have sent that resume to Martha.

Uncle Bug asked - Friendly Giant or Jolly Green Giant?

duh! Jolly Green... and the Little Green Sprout! American readers probably won't know who Friendly is. He was c-r-e-e-p-y anyway.

Renee's three wishes question answers:

Renee, you tricky gal! That is seriously a good question. I honestly don't know. I'm going to think on it and post it with my fives.

And she also asked me what cookbooks or craft books I would recommend:

I just love "Where Women Create", "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain", and I have made every cake in the "Kraft Philadelphia Cheesecake" cookbook.

Jessi asked how long I've been scrapbooking and how long we've been working on the dollhouse.

Jessi, I've been scrapping forever... I've got albums going back to high school that I plan on lugging to the reunion next year. It wasn't scrapping like I do now, but I kept everything. I have theme books for each cheerleading team I was on or coached, for jobs I had, for trips. I saved bits of wrapping paper, gift cards and tags, magazine clippings, you name it. I made the leap into "archival" scrapping around 98/99.

The dollhouse became a family project when I was expecting Loopy... thirteen years ago now. The Fan and I found it partially-assembled as a demo at a lumber yard and brought it home for a song. The Secret Weapon groaned because whoever put it together hadn't done a very good job. It needed lots of repair to even begin the decorating of it. But, I've been collecting the miniatures in it since I was in sixth grade!

Melissa asked how long it took to set up the craft room:

Not very, really. I had it in my head all during the renovations and when we moved I repatriated the storage units from my former walk-in closet. It sort of came together after that, putting in all of my good junque saved over the years. It's a work in progress.

And she also asked if I do anything else besides scrapbooking and the dollhouse.

Yes, I puddle around with lots of things. I've taken a few clients for interior decorating, hoping to use my education for good rather than evil. I am an avid baker... I can make wedding cakes and fancy pastry. I like to think of myself as a jack-of-all-crafts, master-of-none. If I see it, chances are, I will try it.

Junie Moon asked for the story of how Veto proposed:

It was on the bank of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec City. We went there for a convention he was attending a couple of days early. There is a famous, elegant hotel there. After brunch the first day we were there, we were watching the boats from one of the balconies. He just said, "marry me, okay?" and that was it. I was pretty stunned. We'd talked about it but I wasn't expecting it on that trip at all. At the moment I said yes, a marching band walked by playing "The Bear Went Over The Mountain"... and then Veto said he'd better sit down, he thought he was going to be sick. Isn't it funny how men can get all wound up about asking a question to which the answer will almost surely be yes? We walked around holding hands and giddy all day. I managed to phone The Fan and whisper "the eagle has landed" into the phone before I hung up. I thought I would burst.

We decided not to tell anyone until we told the kids. It was torture. When we got home, we went for ice cream and told them. Buddy smiled a wide smile and said "how cool" and Loopy... she was hysterical. I mean, really - what one might describe as clinically hysterical, she was laughing and crying at the same time and looking from one to the other of us... and she asked if it was a joke and we said "of course not" and she was so thrilled. And then Veto gave her a little gold and pink stone ring that we'd shopped for on our trip. He wanted to get a ring for her right away for when he asked the kids! I didn't get my ring until later. She wore the engagement ring for us.

We also decided not to live together until after the wedding. The kids and I lived with my parents and when Veto went out of town on business, the kids and I stayed over at his bachelor pad to "dog sit" and "watch the house" for him. That way, they got used to being there on their own terms and had lots of time to get used to the idea. We purposely set the wedding date a whole year later to give the kids time to adjust to the new arrangement.

Pretty in Pink asked for some top fives (as in books, movies and whatnot):

How about I do a top five list later this week? I've got a few fives.

Ladybloggerbug wanted to know more about the little bear family that inhabits the dollhouse. Why bears?

Since I was a little thing, I've collected teddy bears. Here's how it went: my dad hunted them, I tamed them. Or that's the story we told. He brought bears back from his teaching adventures all over the world, and a few of them were miniature artist bears. When we started working on the dollhouse, it just seemed natural that they would live there, not dolls.

Lisa asked who inspires me to be creative... and how do I get creative things done:

Firstly, my family is a great source of creativity. We are always into something together, it wasn't like growing up in a normal house. My father has a huge studio/workshop in the house, and we were always encouraged to come and help with things... or if we wanted something done, we had to sit with him or help him out. He made us amazing puppets and marionettes, crazy toys (a climb-in helicopter in the backyard) and his imagination is limitless. I couldn't begin to list all of the things we've done in that studio. I'll tell you some stories sometime.

Plus, I have a healthy case of OCD and that really helps to bite off more than you can chew and then stress yourself about finishing it.

Oooooh, this could be dangerous. The Fan asked how I earned my first year tuition for university.

Well, Mommie Dearest... the truth hurts. You can't handle the truth. I worked all summer at the grocery store and delivering papers, and even on weekends I cleared tables at the pizza place. But flying lessons cost mucho denero. And flight instructors are cute. I logged lots of hours toodling over the city in a Cessna 152.

At the end of August, some of the boys I flew with... you remember Bob and Todd... the boys I visited in California while they were getting their rotary-wing licences? Well, they wanted to go to the race track. I'd never been and thought, what the heck! I only had a few dollars of my summer savings left - almost every penny went to ground school that year... but I managed to put my last few bucks on three horses to finish in 1-2-3 order. And they did. I didn't even really get it, the guys were going crazy and we went down to cash in my ticket and I had over a thousand dollars. Enough money for my classes, books and drinks that night (back in the day when a thousand dollars was a thousand dollars)... and when you came into my room the next day to give me your famous what-for about dallying about all my earnings, I threw down that thousand bucks like I'd saved it or something, even though it reeked like horse and gin, and I rolled over and thought "heh, I sure pulled one over on her", but I guess not, since you're asking now.

That's about it... I've come clean. Any more questions? If you think you can tell the truth, let us ask you some questions!

let's play

Here's a good game that's going around the blogs... Natalie played a round. Do you have questions? I've got answers.

Go ahead, ask me anything. Except my age, weight and real hair colour. (40 years, 116 pounds, blah).

michael buble's cupcakes

On Friday night, Veto took Loopy, The Fan and I to see Michael Buble in concert. Let's all sigh a collective sigh of contentment, shall we? Sigh....

I don't just think it's because he's Canadian, but it helps. I think I luff him. To tell the truth, I expected him to be a little cocky. That could be for one of two reasons: one, he came off a little like that in an interview I saw once, and two, well... Canadians generally think that any Canadian who makes it big is probably cocky. Then we turn our backs on them. So you see, Celine Dion had to go to Las Vegas. We just weren't nice to her anymore. We seem like really nice people, but we're not really that nice to each other. I come from the same city as Joni Mitchell, and if you ask people around here what they think of her and they say she's over-rated. She went all crazy and famous and never came back, that's what they think.

Back to Michael Buble... I do luff him, for now. He was cute, funny and sincere. He seemed genuinely happy to be playing a small arena. He looked good in his suit. What more does a fella have to do, except channel Frank Sinatra, to earn five out of five cupcakes... and maybe even some extra sprinkles for lookin' so good?

the rest of the story

As of today, I have 9,998 views on my flickr account! When will I have 10,000?

And now, the rest of the story... when I last left off, I was on a horrible date with Some Guy. I looked up and guess who I saw? No, not Veto. It was his friend Kim. She gave me a very funny look. Finally, she sidled up to me and said, "So, you won't go out with my friend but you'll go out with This Guy?"

I was mortified. Not only was I out on the worst date in history, I got found out by a friend who was trying to set me up, and I'd been protesting that I don't go out on dates. I stood there, still trying to convince her under my breath that I didn't want to be on this date, but she had a very, very skeptical look on her pretty face.

Back to Veto. He tried calling me again. Only this time, my mother answered and took a message. Now, when The Fan takes a message for you, you return the call. That's the rule in our house since we were old enough to use the phone.

What does a girl do when she is that confused? The only thing to do. Go to your gay hairdresser for highlights and advice. He laughed when I told him about the sparkly shirt and the horrible date with The Guy. Then he asked, if anyone else had called me. So I told him. He stopped the blow dryer immediately and got a very serious look on his face. Very serious. As if I'd just asked for a brush cut or something. He looked over the rim of his Versace glasses and said, "Now Ben, he is a good person. You are a fool if you don't go out with him."

Well, this got me to thinking. Andrew, he generally hates heterosexual men. He has a few heterosexual friends, and I know of them to be very good people. Andrew has exceptional intuition about people. Now, I'd pretty much decided to go out with Veto.

But it wouldn't be that easy. I'd told Kim to send him off. I'd told our mutual friend Karon to remind Kim to call him off. And now, it seemed like a bad idea. That day at lunch, I mentioned to Karon that I thought maybe I'd changed my mind. Immediately, she tried calling Kim, but she got her voice mail. All she managed to say into the phone was, "Abort, abort!" hoping that Kim would get the message and not call Ben.

When I got home, I called Ben. I finally returned his call. He was so polite. He asked me how my dog Wrigley was. He really was paying attention. He wondered if we could go out that week but I had a commitment. I asked about the next week but he had a commitment. It didn't seem like it was going to happen.

What about next Friday night? No, I was having a big birthday party for Loopy. All her friends and their mothers were coming over for the annual mother-daughter party. Saturday night? He said that would work... and guess what? We went for dinner that Saturday night at seven o'clock and we talked and we talked. We didn't look at the menu, we were so busy talking. Finally, the waiter came out and said the kitchen was preparing to close... could we order? That's how much we had to talk about. The best line of the evening:

Waiter: Can I bring you the cheque, sir? The we're closing now.
Veto: In that case, just bring me one more cup of coffee.

And I knew. I don't know if he knew, but I knew. He was leaving for a business trip to Jamaica the very next morning. He'd be gone for a whole week. He asked if he could phone me from Jamaica during the week. And he did. Just when I thought he would: on Wednesday evening, exactly halfway through the week. I knew that's what he'd do, after talking to him for five hours straight. I knew his favourite flavour of ice cream was grape, I knew he'd shaved off the beard he was wearing when we met, I knew that he loved his job but I didn't know much else about it. But I knew that he would phone exactly halfway through the week and that we would see each other when he got back. And he did. And we did.

The end.

top ten projects and the rest of the story

Some bloggers are posting their top ten projects of 2007. Before I finish the story of my first date and-happily-ever-after with Veto, here are mine, in no particular order:

I always like designing a new tree, and this year Loopy and I tackled a fun one for her room. It still needs some finesse, like a crazy-quilt tree skirt, but we loved the wild colours and the snowman theme. Everything came from the dollar store or Michaels $1.50 bin!

Renovated the entire house... our master bedroom is one of my favourite rooms and the most complete at this point in time. We dealt with soggy walls that had to be taken out and removed. But on the bright side, isn't that wallpaper fabulous?

And if a favourite project can have a favourite room then a favourite room can have a favourite feature. Behold, the makeup vanity. I'll tour you inside of it someday.

One of the top ten gifts I made this year has to be the Kansas City Chiefs wreath I made for Ol' Rempy. It turned out cute, cute, cute.

I was also pleased with the diaper cake I made for cousin Terry's baby shower. She just had that baby on the weekend, you know. A baby boy named Tyrus - Gramps' middle name. He was named for Ty Cobb of the Detroit Tigers back in 1915.

Over the summer, I participated in Club Little House again. It's always fun. This year I made twelve tiny ironing boards. It was more work than even I anticipated but of course The Fan and The Secret Weapon helped out.

The most enjoyable swap was Little Melfie's fairy jar swap. I had the honour of making a jar for Melissa herself. She loved that little fairy with the eyeglasses and named her Ellie.

Some projects just work better than you can imagine. In the heat of late June, our friends Lance and Marlys asked me to take photos of them before their first baby was due. We ended up with over 120 great photos to choose from. Easy, when your subjects are good looking.

And the good-looking creation? Baby Chase, born in July. We took photos of him when he was just ten days old.

Back at the house, I'm thinking that Loopy's room turned out pretty well. She and I hung the textured wallpaper and she did most of the painting on it. I organized all of the bedding from sale bins at the Anthropologie in Orlando, Florida and the rest online.

Maybe I am most pleased with the pergola we put up in our yard over the summer. I bought it with my 40th birthday money. It was our first year with a garden and did we ever enjoy.

It took us an entire weekend - a hot summer weekend - to put slate on the front steps. I did most of the grouting and sealing myself. I also painted the front door red as a stop-gap until I can find a wooden craftsman door at a salvage someplace.

And now... back to the story. I almost didn't go out with Veto. Kim gave him my phone number. And I did a horrible thing. I call screened him.

Basically, when a girl wears a slinky sparkly shirt, she can expect some strange fallout. I got a few phone calls after that night, and I was avoiding them all. I cannot stress this enough. I was determined not to go out on any dates. One fella that had phoned me a few times before and I had successfully avoided also started phoning again... call screening was in high gear.

Now, what you also have to know about me is that I love to torment phone solicitors. I like to put them on hold for a very long time and check every few minutes to see if they are still holding. I like telling the ones who sell magazines that I'm blind, and I pretend to start crying and ask them to read aloud to me from the magazine they are selling. It's horrible. But.I.Have.To.Do.It. I.Can't.Help.Myself.

So the phone rang and in deep call screen mode, I saw that it was a local gym. Thinking they were up to their usual hawking of memberships, I decided to answer the phone and pretend to have no arms and legs... I know. This whole story is making me sound horrible, isn't it?

Only, it wasn't the gym. It was one of the guys I was call screening, calling from the gym. Shifty! He asked me if I liked musical theatre. Of course I like musical theatre, what kind of a question is that? Well, he just happened to have tickets for RENT tomorrow night. I didn't particularly want to see Rent, and I really didn't want to go out on a date with this guy. But you know in You've Got Mail, when Meg Ryan says horrible things and it just comes out and she realizes how mean it is after she's said it, or in Mean Girls, when Lindsay Lohan gets the verbal diarrhea? I got the verbal diarrhea and rudely spit out, "so somebody else cancelled on you and you're calling me the night before?" and then I realized what I'd said. Somebody was calling to ask me out, and I was horribly rude. And then I remembered some of the smartass things I'd said the night I wore that sparkly shirt and thought, "I'm not that person. I can't be that person." So I apologized right there and then and agreed to go to Rent the next night.

Only thing is, the guy wasn't Veto. It was someone else. And it was, completely and utterly, the worst date ever. Rent, the touring version. Ugh. And there are two empty seats beside us, and when they are occupied a couple of minutes before the curtain goes up, I am introduced to the guy's sister and her husband. It is a double-date. With family. And it went from Bad to Worse. Oh yes it did.

After the third-rate performance of one of the most depressing musicals ever, I cannot get out of going for a drink. Guy is talking about his car. Guy talks about his house. Guy announces that he bought a grand piano for the living room of his house even though he cannot play the piano, he just thinks they look cool. Guy asks if I can play the piano. Guy's sister peppers me with personal questions. Guy's brother-in-law is a doctor and he and Guy's sister have a fight about his pager.

But I can't finish the story tonight. Buddy Budderson needs to use the printer for school. You'll just have to come back tomorrow to hear the rest of the story!

Oh yes I do! Thank you for coming out in, uh, drove. Now that you are no longer lurking, you are friends and readers. So this de-lurking stuff really, really works! I have a few replies for my new friends:

Janet: Well, most of the time it makes me a lucky byeotch. But I guess no matter what size you are, the crappy diet catches up with you. Normally I subsist on doughnuts, coffee and soda. I was the original Lorelai Gilmore. Unlike everyone on "The Biggest Loser", I'm hoping to return to my horrible eating habits soon.

Beebuzzer from Nebraska: Thanks for coming out of the closet. I imagine living in Nebraska is quite like living in Canada, but without all the French packaging. Most of the time I try to imagine the French labels as rather exotique, but in reality, not so much.

Lisa: Let's just celebrate de-lurking week this week, shall we?

Renee :): You sweet girl from Detroit. Did you see my post about the Tigers? I love them. My husband hails from Windsor, so you are practically family.

crowbiddy: I said it before and I'll say it again, local is soooo cooool. Thanks for coming out of hiding. You really should come for tea sometime.

Oliver Rain: Medicine Hat! I've never met anyone from Medicine Hat. I imagine living in Medicine Hat is quite like living in Saskatoon, but with fewer personal taxes and all of the French packaging. I agree, why does the good-tasting stuff have to be bad for you? I get most of my caffeine from Coca-Cola. Or at least, I used to. Good luck with your effort to reduce. Try the new flavoured Tetley Green Teas. The blueberry is especially yummy.

Chandra: You lurky, lurky lady. Did I coax you out of hiding? What fun. The best part about people leaving comments on your blog is being able to visit them on theirs, if they have one. Do you have one, sweet thing?

ladybloggerbug: Yes, that map is freaky and accurate! Try zooming in on it sometime, you will be amazed.

Angela from Spokane: I wonder how that baby is doing... and really, all baby pictures are cute. I'd love to see yours sometimes. I really do love looking at other people's kids photos. Ask MJ, her kids are really cute and I love getting pics of them by email!

Cee: Osler! I imagine that living in Osler, Saskatchewan is quite like living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan with the same provincial taxes, French labeling and sketchy road conditions. I also have an account at Florist Supply... that's where I spend most of my lurking time. It's great, isn't it... but I only wish I could by from the fresh market side! But the ribbon selection is divine, nay?

And now, just for fun... to reward readers and lurkers alike... a Very Saucy Story. A friend recently asked me how I met Dear Veto. Do you want to know the whole, sordid story? It goes like this:

The year was 2002. I had been divorced for seven years. Buddy Budderson and Loopy and I were residing with The Fan and The Secret Weapon. During this time, I was completely focused on my education, my children and nothing else. Well, some crafting. You can't live with The Fan and The Secret Weapon both and not be busy crafting.

At the end of December, I was invited to a girl's night out at The Granary. Normally want to shun these types of activities, for some reason.... I decided to go. After all, everybody was pitching in money to adopt a family for Christmas and then stay for dinner and a few drinks.
I will now direct your attention to the photo posted above. You cannot tell from this somewhat relaxed yet provocative pose that the shirt I am wearing (the one I wore on that fateful December night) is a little... uhm... shall we say... revealing.

Disclaimer: mostly, I decided to wear that silly shirt on a lark. It can be described with the following adjectives... sheer, delicate, fitted, long, draping, sparkly, brown and plunging. But for some reason, not trashy. At least, when paired with nice brown slacks and boots. Remember, when revealing one of your, uh, assets, cover the rest of the up. 'Nuf said.

Back to the story... I was in a particularly Saucy mood that evening. It must have been the shirt. That's it. Shirt-confidence. First, to ensure that all of my comrades were comfortable with my wardrobe choice for the evening, I asked if they'd seen my "splendid rack". Splendid, Indeed!

Well, I only knew a handful of girls at the table. The rest of them were positively blinded by my splendid rack... and the fact that I referred to it as such. A few of them whipped out cellphones and dialed brothers, co-workers and other fellas they thought to set me up with. Oh great, I thought... here it comes. I need a man like I need a broken bra strap.

Kim, a friend of a friend, reached my now-adored Veto on her cellphone. Now normally, Veto wasn't one for jumping off the sofa and venturing out on a chilly night... but I suppose he just had to see that ridiculous shirt for himself.

Fast-forward about an hour later. You would not believe the comments a gal gets when wearing a shirt like that. One guy breezed up to me, glanced down, and said in a greasy voice, "I really like your shirt", to which I replied, "I wish I could say the same for your pants", also glancing down. Isn't that awful? It's like, one risky blouse selection and two rusty nails, and I don't even know who I am anymore.

Then, in came Veto. I was dragged to the center of the room - now a holy spot - where we were introduced. We were left alone to make polite conversation. And here is the good part... he looked right into my eyes while we talked. As in, he never cast his eyes towards the splendid rack, not even once.

Of course I was impressed. He mentioned that he had a dog (small talk) and I replied that I also had a dog... (very small talk). But then not to be outdone, I announced that my dog was named Wrigley... as in Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs, the greatest team in the National League. His eyes lit up for a moment. "Do you like baseball?" he asked (bigger talk)... to which I replied something like, "Of course I like baseball. Baseball is the greatest game on earth. I was raised on baseball. I live for baseball. Why, opening day is only 103 days away. Do you even know who Ted Williams is?"

There was a touch more small talk, and then he was gone. Only later did I find out that before he left, Veto said to Kim "It's good. I'll call you for her number." The baseball-loving businessman decided it was all good. He would get my number. Little did he know.

Shall I continue this story tomorrow? Let's just say, it wasn't as easy as just getting my number. In fact, six weeks would pass before our first date. And it was all my fault. I almost missed out on Veto.

whhaaaat? i missed it???

This is the way I feel lately. Except for the doughnut.... I'm trying a new arthritis diet. Diet, you say? At your weight? It's risky business going on a diet when you are a stomach flu away from looking anorexic. Without my meds, I'm willing to try anything. So goodbye refined sugar, chocolate, starchy potatoes and white bread... hello salmon and other omega-rich foods, green tea and (ugh) spinach. Like I said before - I'll try anything at this point. Plus a little prednisone, which I am starting a short-course of today to see what it does. More energy, anyone?

I missed National Delurking Week? How did this happen to me? I've been obsessed with my lurkers for a while... longer than they've been interested in me, obviously.

I installed that funny widget in my sidebar and for the first week I was fairly goofy about checking it all the time... Madison, Wisconsin! Omaha, Nebraska! Kuala Lampur... uh... wherever! The geographical locations taunt me like a fresh box of Oreos.

And the map. Have you seen the map? The little flags denote readers... readers who have absolutely no comment to make in this one-sided conversation of blogging.

Well, I DARE you to comment! I'm sure you have something to say to me. Maybe you don't like my hair. Not all comments have to be compliments, by the way. Maybe there's something you'd like to see. What is it? Please remember, this is a family blog.

The only thing I won't give you, ever, never, is my top-secret crunchy chicken finger recipe. I'm sorry, but I just can't.

In spite of that, don't forget the Very Saucy Giveaway of the box of crafting eye-candy... all comments are entered to win. If you'd like to buy some eye candy of your own, Amy has brought back her limited-edition again this year and you can get it here. Amy is a busy stay-at-home foster-mom and her taste is flawless. You won't be disappointed. But leave me a comment anyway.

loopy's bathroom

Loopy and I are planning the renovations for her bathroom, hopefully to get underway soon. She saw the bathroom on her favourite show, "Hannah Montana", so we are using it as an inspiration. I could describe it to you, but it would sound horrible, so here's a peek instead:

Aqua and lime green walls, check. Beadboard wainscoting, check. Laminate flooring, check. We have a cool venetian glass mirror for over the sink. Now we just need to track down:

We need a new tub.... oh how we wish we could fit a clawfoot tub in a five foot space... some black and white bath towels. Maybe some cheetah print towels.
And if she tires of those wall colours, we can always paint the wainscoting back to white!

movies and celebrities

Tonight the family saw Juno. Loved, loved, loved it. All of us loved it. What a brilliant show. If you loved Gilmore Girls or Napoleon Dynamite, see it. If you have a weimaraner, see it. If you like quirky, offbeat screenwriting that tells a great story that will have all members of your family misty-eyed at the end, after laughing for an hour and a half, see it. Do you like independant music and odd little ditties sung by nobodies? See it. See it... see it! Five out of five confections otherwise known as cupcakes!

.... and here is a fun time waster and confidence-killer. If you upload your photo to this website, it will generate your celebrity look-a-likes.


an argument for arranged marriages

My friend Mrs. G over at Derfwad Manor revealed last week that her lovely daughter, Miss G, had turned seventeen years old... or what I like to call "marryin' age". I'd like to propose a little blog-promissary and suggest we betrothe Miss G to Saucy's very own Buddy. I used my mad PhotoShop skills to help everyone visualize just how wonderful this union could be. Aren't they just adorable?

And so, to build a case for this deranged marriage, let me just say that Miss G, you saucy little feminist, you'll fit right in around here. I come from a long line of feminists. Even post-feminism feminists. The best kind.

If you marry my Buddy, both Mrs. G and I will have the peace-of-mind in knowing that our eldest children have good mother-in-laws. You have no idea how important this is. But trust me, it's a whopper.

Plus, if you marry a Canadian, you can apply for dual-citizenship status and just imagine what that can do for you at tax-time and when declaring goods purchased on either side of the border.

Your lovely red hair and fair complexion would blend so nicely with the dormant red-hair gene that our family carries. Why, both of Buddy's great-grandparents had lovely red hair... I'm sure Mrs. G would be very happy knowing that her grandchildren would likely be cute little carrot-topped ragamuffins.

And now for the soft sell:

Have you seen how cute Buddy Budderson is? Downright handsome. And that hair. He has it styled by my gay hairdresser. You have to love a guy who's been going to a gay hairdresser since he was two.

Oh, and sweeeeet! He is the sweetest. He gave me a guitar for Christmas, just so we could spend more time together. He is unfailingly patient when trying to teach his little sister and I music. We jam the blues and recently he helped me master "The One Note Song". Most of the time, he is perched on the end of the couch, plucking away at some classical piece that he's trying to master. And on a practical note, he has high score in "Guitar Hero".

We lived in a golf course community when he was just fourteen years old, and he scampered out and got a job on the greens. He can rake a bunker in six minutes, flat. He spent all of his earnings on a trip to Italy with my best friend and her husband when he was fifteen. He loves to travel. And you can travel, too, back and forth between your Mom and Dad's place and here, where you will live part-time.

I homeschooled him for a time during high school and after we were done and he went back to the regular school system he announced that he learned more from me during one semester of homeschooling than a whole year of "PLAIN SCHOOL"... don't you love somebody who says "plain school"? Oh, and he wanted to go back to homeschooling. Cool. I still kicked his butt back to plain school. But homeschooling is another thing you two have in common.

He loves music. Good music. Mostly I can be credited for this. When he was just a little gaffer, I forbade any "kiddie muzak" (ie. Barney) to be played under my roof. Consequently, he was just two years old when we went to his first rock concert (Tom Cochrane). He boogied down in his OshKosh overalls to "Life is a Highway". Later, we went on lots of concert dates together during my years as a single mom. We saw Weird Al Yankovic, The Tragically Hip, The Barenaked Ladies and Great Big Sea. I also made him open doors for me, pull up a chair for me and slipped him cash to pay the bill at restaurants. He also has excellent manners and his teachers from the plain school often make comments on his report card like, "you are a pleasure to teach", "you are courteous and respectful" and "you make insightful observations regarding literature." Reading is sexy.

He is 5 feet, 10 inches tall. He's had all of his dental work done, including his wisdom teeth taken out, so you'd never have to worry about a dental claim on your group insurance. He has an awesome tee shirt collection. His favourite subjects are chemistry and biology, and music. His favourite colour is orange (just like Frank Sinatra) and he is learning to play the ukelele. What more could a girl want?

I anxiously await your response.

oh no!

Tonight, after a horrible day, I had a kitchen mishap. A big one. But still, I'm very lucky. I have a story to tell you.

The details of my bad day aren't important to this story, if only to add to the drama and perhaps make you feel a little sorry for me, my friends. The first part of my day involved the hospital, doctors, nurses, needles, and that sort of thing.

Later, I was back at home and feeling a little better so I decided to make a light supper. I was the only one in the house so I decided to cook some rice in our nice new-ish microwave. This was to be a very bad idea. Usually I cook rice on the stove but the allure of having a serving of brown rice in less than an hour was too great. I had one of those nifty microwave rice cookers and I'd never tried it, so tonight was the night. I read the directions. On the cooker and on the rice bag. The cooker said 25 minutes for brown rice and the rice bag said 30 minutes. Seemed like a good plan. Stir the rice after ten minutes with a fork. I did. I returned to the sofa and thought, "gee, that medicine I am taking really is making things smell and taste all burned today". (The last time I took sulfasalazine it perverted my senses, I volleyed between being unable to taste or smell anything at times and at other times everything tasted like burnt toast or had a strange metallic taste).

So you see, it was a good few minutes - until my eyes felt the sting of smoke - before I realized that I had a little fire going on in my microwave oven. When I entered the kitchen, I couldn't see anything for the smoke, but I grappled towards the sink and got the tap running. I threw a dish towel under the water and threw it over my face. Fanning the smoke, I saw the flames bursting out of the closed microwave! Somehow, I lunged forward and pressed the STOP button on the oven, and the flames extinguished.

Then I did something really silly. I opened the oven door to assess the damage - one melted, charred rice cooker, a burned hull of a stainless steel microwave oven, and tons more smoke billowing out towards me. I covered my face with the cloth and ran to open doors and windows.

Keep in mind, it is -20 degrees C, as in, twenty below zero, and it's a little chilly to throw all of your doors and windows open, especially when you've been sick all day. I managed to phone Veto and Buddy, who were on their way home from the hospital, bringing my car back from the parkade. They arrived back at the house as the smoke was wafting out the front door and the place smelled awful.

With the doors all open and everyone trying to open windows... the dog got out. He came in through the back door. With a wasp's nest. Yes. A frozen home of thousands of dangerous, flying insects, that can thaw very easily and bring all of its inhabitants out of dormancy. I realized that he had it and wrestled his new toy away from him and into a plastic ziploc bag.

Needless to say, I killed the microwave. It now sits in the backyard. There are smoke and flame marks on the wall near its shelf. We are so very lucky... another thirty seconds, and well, you know. Any tips on how to get rid of this smoky smell?

finished pages and the craft room

Previously finished pages from the fall (and beyond), finally posted:

I am really going away from the two-page layouts (it's about time) and am trying to tell the stories on just one 12x12" page.

And... the craft room. It needs a spring cleaning, badly. I got a few things done in the fall but I lost momentum at Christmas... does that happen to you? Plus, a little scrapper got in there over the holidays and worked on a school project... now the desktop is a mess.

Believe it or not, I know exactly where everything is. Pretty much. Can you "eye spy",

a lumpling by amy rue
framed Princess Diana stamps from the UK
jars of vintage buttons
giant lollipop decorations for Loopy's birthday in February
the two Very Saucy Giveaway heart boxes
Albert Einstein marionette
vintage paper cutter
Barbie with Frank Sinatra
Loopy's Valentine stuffed heart
new ornaments for the wedding tree

Well, if not, I really have to get busy and tidy things up. Then I'll take some better photos and post them here for another game of "eye spy." I love looking at other people's scrapbook pages, and other people's craft rooms. It's a sickness, really.