saucy's playhouse

Scrappy Jessi is hosting a "Remembering Your Childhood Toys" event. Welcome to my playhouse. This is me, circa 1972.

Because this was my favourite TV show. I've always been a sucker for orphans, handsome older bachelors and gay (British) butlers. But I didn't want to be Buffy.

I wanted to be Cissy. I mean, seriously. A name like Cissy says something. Buffy says something else. Cissy says, "I'm really cute and I'm a teenager and I wear eyeliner and a jaunty cap and carry a bag and wear boots with my miniskirts and in one episode I will date a rock star". Buffy says, "I am the cute factor for this show and if this show runs longer than three seasons the producer will find a way to bring someone even younger than me to up the cute factor the minute I get my first zit or enter my awkward phase".

Regardless, The Fan had her own infatuation with that show and my hair was spun into two tight little sausages and off I went. For some reason utterly unbeknownst to me, The Fan took The Hog on a plane ride to The Big City and I got left behind. Who needs a plane ride? Besides, The Hog got stuck with holding this beauty all the way home in his lap, sans box.

Why? Because the box wouldn't fit in the luggage, so Mrs. Beasley had to come back carry on. Heh-heh. Score: Little Saucy 1, Big Brother 0.

And so I had my own Mrs. Beasley, sealing the deal for me to be a Buffy for the rest of my life, never a Cissy. I dragged that stuffed polka dot granny around... and I still have her. She taunts me over the rims of her square frames when she sees me prance out the door wearing boots and a cap as if to imply that she knows my secret: I am no Cissy.

In the late sixties, Little Kiddles were all the rage. Oh, my... they were so cute and tiny and you could hold the entire body in the palm of your sticky little hand and her head would poke out. They had delightful fruity scents and if I close my eyes I can smell the raspberries, strawberries, the rubber cement, sawdust, darkroom chemicals.

Why? Because, often, The Fan would go shopping. Sometimes she went to smoke long, long brown cigarettes in holders and drink black russians. I suppose legitimately she was also at PTA meetings but I imagine even those to be smoky dark rooms where Bob Dylan music played and there were spotlights on the president of the association while she spoke. I also imagine it to be very Harper Valley but that's another story for another day.

When The Fan went out, I was left with The Secret Weapon. I didn't own any Little Kiddles of my own. But The Secret Weapon, why, he had a few of them. If I came down to the darkroom while he processed film, or sat on a stool in the woodshop while he worked, then and only then, could I hold one of his Little Kiddles. It took me years to figure that one out. This was toy-bribery-babysitting.

Only The Secret Weapon knew where the Kiddles were stashed. Many a glorious afternoon spent clutching the glorious plastic while he worked at his goldsmithing table and me foolishly not playing with the loose diamonds.

One of my fondest memories, dear old Topo Gigo. What the hell is a Topo Gigo, anyway? Hybrid mouse-elephant-human? He spoke Espanol, I remember that much.

One day, The Fan stepped off the bus - which stopped right in front of our house - and I watched her sachet up the driveway with a parcel from Eaton's. I knew that inside that bag was something I coveted oh so badly: Miss America Barbie. She was brunette. She had quick-curl hair. She wore a tiara and a sash and carried roses and had a funny golden stick in her hand to beat off guys with. In short, she was awesome.

Unfortunately for Miss America Barbie, the only guy she had to beat off with her fancy gold stick was Malibu Ken. Something had to be done about Malibu Ken because Barbie had her eye on someone else.

My little brother Bug had a terrible baby-fever-hot-stinky-mess-sickness. I gave him Malibu Ken to ease his pain. He promptly stuck Ken's head down his throat, inducing the delightful gags that produced copious amounts of white-sticky-chunky-baby-vomit. It got stuck in Ken's mouth crack - and here is the best part: between his neck-turning device, rendering him unusable. Thus, Barbie was rid of that slick Ken.

She didn't need him anyway. She had speaking engagements, scholarship funding, and charity work to do.

But for some reason, she wanted to go camping. She desperately wanted the Barbie Country Camper, just like Wenda Osterhold who lived on Mills Crescent had. Even when Barbie went to Wenda's house for play dates clad in one of her fabulous gowns of satin and gold brocade, she loved getting in that camper. Wenda's Barbies had fashions crocheted by Mrs. O, and Wenda announced that Miss America Barbie was overdressed for camping.

Miss America Barbie knew that she would only find peace in the emancipation of having her own camper. She begged for one, but The Fan, ever the Gloria Steinem or Susan Faludi of the smoky PTA meeting, presented Miss America Barbie with the next best thing: The GI Joe All Terrain Urban Assault Vehicle.

Why, it was made from the same mold as the Country Camper but it was camouflage in colour and instead of having barbecue accessories, it came with guns and nets. Can't you see that? And, it was on SALE at the Eaton's Warehouse!

No matter. I told you, Barbie already had her eye on somebody else:

Chapter Two: Sesame Street Fever

I remember when Sesame Street premiered. What excitement. I played this record over and over on my Fisher Price record player. Bring your children close to the computer screen to see the LP. The Secret Weapon had worked many years at the TV station. He watched the show with us and just like Jim Henson, he fashioned us puppets made of socks and googly eyes.

Then, The Secret Weapon went on a plane ride to a convention back to The Big City. The entire family anxiously awaited his return. At the airport, we all held our breath: surely he would bring us presents. And he did. He emerged from the gate with three Sesame Street puppets, one for each of us! Oh, the excitement of it all!

The Baby, being the smallest, most vomitous and googly-eyed of us all would have the first pick and of course he took the Cookie Monster.

I got the next pick, being next smallest and the girl, and so I picked lovable, affable, Ernie. I loved the way Ernie always got the better of that stick-in-the-mud-dud, Bert.

Once again, the plane ride left The Hog with the short end of the stick:

Heh-heh. Score: Little Saucy 2, The Hog, still zero. In truth, the Great Puppet Dispatch of 1973 was a driving force in the affirmation for each of our future personalities.

At least, that's what The Bug and I tell The Hog, we take great delight in seeing the redness rise right from under his turtleneck collar up, up, up past his unibrow to his forehead.

What were your favourite childhood toys? Spill it.

warning to oak lovers

The wood will be painted over.

This is the kitchen I will demolish tomorrow, but salvage the oak cabinets.

A friendly warning to all you wood-lovers out there: we take possession of a new house this week and begin renos... the wood will be painted over. I'm sorry, there's no getting around it. I can't softshoe this at all. The wood has got to go.

Maybe it's not the wood. Maybe it's me. Maybe in my hest to do the opposite of whatever The Fan would like me to do (why start complying now, at 40?), maybe I've been a Martha Stewart Living subscriber for too long, or perhaps all those long dateless weekends before I met Veto are catching up with me and I fancy myself a Hildi or a Laurie, at the ready with a can of some ghastly hue to conceal perfectly fine cabinets. Yes, that's it. The Fan is my very own Paige Davis, replete with showgirl costume, dancing about the set saying things like, "you do realize that you're running out of time" and "you're going to paint those nice oak cabinets white?" and all of the other running commentary that the home viewers are sharing over their bowls of Orville Reddenbacher.

I can't help myself. I must have white cabinets. Even in a house I plan to sell. The white is so fresh, so open, so inviting... so Martha.

So summery. So beachy. So Cape Cod. I must satisfy this urge for serenity, for an utterly bare palate of colour.

Perhaps you, like The Fan, dear reader, are not a fan of painting perfectly good oak cabinets. But I must do it.

I must use even more white paint for this new house than I did for my current home. That would be 36 cans of Benjamin Moore CC-70, Dune White.

Or maybe black?

secret recipe unleashed

I am a deep well of secrets. I keep lots of secrets, including some of my recipes. Foolishly, I let a very bad person - and we shall call him Donnelly because that is his name - in the kitchen when I was making my Super Double Top Secret Ingredient Chicken Fingers. I found out from Veto that Donnelly was blabbing my double-secret-ingredients around town like nobody's business. The recipe fortress has been breached. Donnelly can no longer be trusted. I will now share my Previously Super Double Top Secret Ingredient Chicken Finger Recipe with all of you, in case Donnelly gets to you first and he gets it wrong, which is quite likely, since he is a simpleton.*

As I may have mentioned, you will have to get your hands on not one, but two secret ingredients. The first one will be easy:

The second top secret ingredient may be more difficult to locate. Check your baking aisle, where the spices are. It's probably located on the shelf with things like Mrs. Dash, Accent, and non-MSG seasonings. You can get it in a salt-free version, look for that in a blue label. Both will work fine.

When you have your secret ingredients, gather also: heavy cream, eggs, Miracle Whip type salad dressing, fresh (never frozen) chicken breasts, finely ground bread crumbs, pepper for grinding, and a light oil for frying such as canola oil or vegetable oil.

Prepare the chicken. This means washing the pieces. I wash everything, I don't know who has touched it or where it has been. It may have been on the floor at Costco. With a sharp knife, cut the breasts into nice little filet-style "fingers" (hence the name). It will be easy to figure out, each breast should cut nicely into about five fingers or so.

In a bowl, beat together the eggs and the heavy cream. How many eggs and how much cream is up to you. Here's a trick: after the eggs are frothy and before you add the cream, plop in a dollop of the Miracle Whip salad dressing (okay, technically another secret ingredient) and whisk it into the wet mixture.

Place the washed, cut chicken pieces into the wet coating mixture. Then, prepare your dry coating mixture: in the food processor, reduce the Captain Crunch cereal to a fine mixture. Add it to a bowl of an equal amount of dry bread crumbs. Grind a generous amount of black pepper to the mixture.

Take the fingers, piece by piece, from the wet mixture (let them drip over the wet bowl... don't let the dry mixture get too wet!) and put them into the dry mixture. Roll them around and coat them well. This is when you will be glad you used cream, and not milk. The mixture is nice and thick and attracts lots of the dry mixture.

Make a little assembly line of chicken fingers coated in the cereal mixture... you can place them on paper towel, and they won't stick if you're cooking them right away. Otherwise, throw some corn meal on the paper towel - and keep the uncooked fingers refrigerated. I cook mine right away.

All lined up and ready to go. This process can be a little messy, especially if you have helpers. Avoid helpers if you keep a clean kitchen, or you keep your recipes a secret. Guys named Donnelly are not good helpers.

Fill a shallow pan about 1/3 full of the oil for deep frying. I wish I could tell you the temperature, but I can't. I only know that the oil is ready when the first finger I drop in sizzles like this:

Another hint: move the pieces around in the pan as soon as you put them in the oil. This prevents them from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Sometimes I have more than one pan cooking at once. I'm not showing off today, because I am the photographer as well as the short order cook.

Turn those bad boys over once during cooking. You can test to see if they're done by cutting into one when it has the perfect brown colour. Chicken is cooked when it is no longer pink and it appears to fall apart. There is in fact an exact temperature the oil should be at and a temperature the chicken should be but as I said before this is a general guide and for legal reasons you would be obliged to look those numbers up for yourself.

Take them from the pan and place them on a paper towel to absorb excess oil. There won't be much if you do it right. At this point, pull your second secret ingredient from your apron pocket and sprinkle it on the chicken fingers with abandon. Yes, with abandon.

Keep the fingers warm while you cook the rest of the batch in a 250 degree oven... or so. It won't take long to cook them all up and they are delicious when served with Chinese cherry or plum sauce. You know, the kind that has never seen a cherry or a plum.

* I can call Donnelly whatever I like because he blabbed my secret recipe. That's how it goes.

a letter to my future self, 18 years ago

also entitled: what they don't tell you in the ultrasound or happy birthday buddy

It will hurt. Freaking hell, that will be the worst pain you will ever know. You will grimace and groan. You will squinch your face all the day long and then, in desperation, you will summon The Fan, grab her by the Pucci neckline, pull her face close to yours, and after months of insisting that you will not take pain relief, you will say, "I have been thinking about this for a long time. Get.Me.The.Drugs.Now".

After the delivery, you will be wheeled to your room and presented with something resembling goulash but the nurse informs you that since it is Wednesday, it is chicken pot pie. Since it neither looks nor smells like chicken pot pie, you will summons The Secret Weapon and the newly-anointed Uncle Bug to Pizza Hut wherein they will fetch you sustenance.

At this point, you will realize that the custom wallpaper that you ordered for the nursery hasn't arrived. Your careful planning and specific timelines required you to place the order several months ago and yet, there is no sign of it. You will pick up the phone, as you have done every afternoon for the past two weeks and you will phone the wallcovering store. In exasperation, the woman will inform you that there is "no rush" and you are being "impatient." Obviously, this woman was not previously informed that those particular phrases have a red-flag-like effect on your reactive trigger and you let loose on her that the rush is now in fact over, and the wallpaper is indeed late, why the child has been born and the pizza is on its way and surely, if she were adept at her job, she would have ensured that said wallpaper was already in place.

You will slam down the phone just as the nurse brings the sad, wallpaper-less child to you. You will enjoy him for mere seconds before your older brother, who until this point has been a faceless, nameless entity on the blog but will now be called The Hog - not only because of his law-enforcement career at the time, because he hogs your infant for the remainder of the day. The Hog looks intently upon the baby and pays no attention to anyone else in the room. When it is decided that someone else should hold the baby... say... the mother... The Hog passes the child for a moment or two and then "returns" to give you a break. The Hog then passes the baby to its grandmother, and after a few moments, decides to also give her "a break." And so it will continue for several hours, the entire family taking turns holding the eight-pound-beast that you just expelled for only seconds at a time, because The Hog is living up to the nickname he will grow into over time.

You will love the child more than you could have ever imagined. He will be the easiest baby to care for ever, sleeping through the night almost immediately. He will smile and coo and eat anything that you offer him. Stupidly, you will offer him an Orange Julius. For eighteen years, you will have to stop at that damned kiosk every time you are in a mall.

Oh, and by the way: on that day, he will fall into the water fountain at the mall while you and The Fan are engrossed in conversation. You should pack an extra set of clothes in the diaper bag, but you won't. You will look like a horrible mother, with a sopping child whose face is smeared with sugar drink when you take him into a store to buy a warm dry outfit to take him home in. You will be embarrassed, and it will hurt. You will laugh about it someday, but not that day.

He will grow and grow. Throughout the years, you will go on "dates" together, sharing special time discussing things that are important to him: Transformers, Sonic the Hedgehog, Star Wars. Wisely, you will create a "NO BARNEY" zone, ensuring that you are not subjected to hear the grotesque noise of "children's entertainment." You will play good music like Nirvana, Radiohead and Blind Melon. Before he can speak coherently, Buddy (as he is known almost immediately in the arms of The Hog) will shriek in delight when he hears "Life is a Highway" and beg to hear "Tom Popcorn" more, more!

You will take him to see his idol Tom Cochrane at the age of three, but you will never have heard of Gwynyth Paltrow and those tiny ear protectors that future-Apple wears at concerts. He will always love music.

He will bring you the greatest joy. When is is only four, he will sing Robbie Robertson songs to you in the car. You won't recognize the song "Broken Arrow" at first, but that's what he's singing. He will wear a Clash tee shirt at the age of five. You will have to make it from one of your shirts.

He will say "hellooooo dahhhhling" to The Hog's wife when he sees her, and her nickname will stick. Darling is a music teacher and when she presses her head to his, he hums with her and she announces that he has perfect pitch.

You will buy him his first guitar when he is twelve. Although you arrange for lessons, he learns to play by ear. He will serenade you when you are sick, and you will be sick often. He will beg to sleep at the foot of your bed after you have some of the countless surgeries that you will have. He will sing to you in the night. In order to get some sleep, you will have to insist that he stop singing. He will hum instead.

You will be in the hospital yet again on one of his birthdays. You have sworn to always be together at 5:03 p.m. on that day, forever, no matter what. The Fan will bring him to you along with some takeout and a small cake. The nurse will bring in a tray resembling something like goulash but she will tell you it is chicken pot pie. You and The Fan will exchanged shocked glances when the nurse assures you that since it is Wednesday, it is in fact chicken pot pie.

You will then light the candle on his birthday cake and set off the smoke alarm in the hospital. Nurses and attendants come rushing to your room, which is filled with the piercing sound of the siren and you will be embarrassed. You will go into surgery and it will hurt.

He will grow taller than you. For Christmas, he will buy you a guitar. He decides to give you lessons. You have severe arthritis, and it hurts. He thinks that playing the instrument is good for your crippled hands and he tries, every Tuesday night, to teach you. Some nights you can barely hold the guitar because it hurts so much, but he tunes it for you and he picks it up while you are in the kitchen and he plays for you. He will play a Blind Melon song and say that he always has liked that song, it reminds him of being little.

In eighteen years, you will look back on all of this with moist eyes and flushed embarrassment. He will be taller than you, wearing his own Pink Floyd shirt. You will carry home - all way from Arizona - a special guitar to celebrate this day. He will request carrot cake and lasagna, so you'd better find a good recipe. You will have a party and almost everyone who was there on the first night will attend, including The Hog and Darling and their three sons, who will probably bring their instruments and play along with your baby. The sound of rock music will echo from the basement while the adults are trying to visit and you should beg them to turn it down, but you won't.

Because you know that someday very soon, he will be playing one of those noisy guitars that you bought for him somewhere else and the thought of that will hurt the most.

no, mrs. g, I can't put him in a jar for you

The winner of my second blogiversary extravaganza is Mrs. G from Derfwad manor. This follows extensive conferencing with the judging panel: Veto, The Secret Weapon, The Fan and Uncle Bug.

The criteria, albeit loose, was to charm the judges with wit, candor and insight. In all likelihood, Mrs. G's comment, however charming though it was, was cinched by the mere fact that she attributed my "smokin' good looks" to The Fan. The Fan, unable to be dissuaded by this obvious flagrant attempt at cyber-bribery, was undeterred in her insistence that the custom fairy jar go to Mrs. G over at Derfwad Manor.

To that point, Uncle Bug acquiesced due to the fact that Mrs. G ever-so-slightly hinted in a comment long ago that he might someday be named on her list of not-so-secret boyfriends, based on one of my braggart posts about the fancy gifts he makes for me. It was obvious at the time that Mrs. G was just dying to have something made for her. Mrs. G. digs handmade goods and not that long ago made a pledge on her blog to buy handmade gifts from now on. As crafty artist-types, we like Mrs. G's pledge and her support of our kind, who usually have no money to buy food because "we work for our passion".

After reading her blog, it pained us all to see that Mrs. G neither wins small nor wins big on a regular basis. Why, such a needy individual surely needs to feel the thrill of winning a little sumthin' sumthin.

Further, the decision was finally etched in cement when it was agreed that a woman who so openly covets secret celebrity boyfriends is obviously screaming out for... well, secret celebrity boyfriends. The Fan, who has had not-so-secret boyfriends for many years (Andy Williams? John Kenneth Galbraith?? Sam Donaldson?? You've got to be kidding us) feels Mrs. G's pain and agrees that a fine husband in the suburbs is much nicer, even though she cops to having "feelings" for Irving Layton long ago - to the point that she sported a long black cigarette holder and a beret even after bagging The Secret Weapon.

And so, Mrs. G, as the recipient of a not-so-secret fairy jar, you are entitled to trap the visual likeness of someone you love inside a jar forever. It will be mailed to Derfwad Manor when spring dwindles toward summer and Saucy comes down from the high of the epoxy she uses when she glues the lid closed.

Here are the caveats (there are always caveats):

Please email Saucy a photo in jpeg format of someone near to your heart. Usually, those of the female persuasion work very nicely for this project, so think of the jar as a one-tenant Woman's Colony.

No images of the following: Tom Cruise, Newt Gingrich, Prince Charles (his ears are too big for the jar opening, we've tried), Bill O'Reilly, Sally Kellerman, Old Fat Elvis (Young Thin Elvis is okay), Eliot Spitzer, you get the gist.

If I may make a suggestion (or two), your lovely daughter Miss G., female relatives of any sort, sisters if you have them, inspiring authors (Bronte, perhaps) and these types of individuals make excellent jar fairies. They sit quite nicely, quiet and preserved for eternity, on the bookshelf or the windowsill.

If you care, enlighten me about your trapped loved one, so the jar may be personalized somewhat. It's what I do.

Lastly, to all who made such lovely comments, thank you from the bottom of my heart heart heart (Tammy Wynette reference) and I am absolutely honored that any of you would take the time to read my little blog. The pleasure it has brought me over the past two years is immeasurable and I hope in time I will be able to repay each and every one of you in some small way.

small changes for a big earth

Even Saucy does her bit for the earth. It's true! Being green can be fabulous, I just lurrve the colour green. I've made a few changes this year:

I ditched lots of the cleaners and sprays I was addicted to. Seriously addicted. I used to just lurrve cleaning products. Now, I try to use vinegar, baking soda and lemons. You know what? My house still smells delicious, and I have more room under the sink.

I've always been a laundry air-dryer. It's better for the elastic in your panties, you know. I air dry most tee shirts, all undies, anything cotton, Veto's dress shirts, you name it. The dryer is reserved almost solely for towels, jeans and sheets. I've cut down on drycleaning, and the amount of detergent I use... I hardly use a sprinkle anymore at all - and our clothes are still clean. I wash in cold water almost exclusively. When I do go to the cleaner, I put the clothes in a reusable hanging bag that is returned with the clean clothing. It has a handy spot for the wire hangers (no... wire... hangers..!) to be returned for re-use.

I'm way into recycling. We need a new roof on our house, and we're looking at getting one made of recycled tires. They are produced right here in our city. One roof uses more than 800 rubber tires, removing them from the landfill.

I switched to rechargeable batteries almost exclusively. We brought home a pack of batteries from Costco on the weekend and I realized that we used to go through bundles of those, now just one pack a year.

Only on a very rare occasion do I like to use paper plates. I pledged a long time ago to only run the dishwasher if it is completely full, almost stuffed. I use my self-clean oven less frequently and try to wipe up spills right away when they happen.

One very small change I made was to stop blow-drying my hair. I only blow-dry once or twice a month now rather than after every shampoo. Not blow-drying Loopy's hair alone - there's so much of it - has probably saved tons of electricity. And you know what? Our hair is in better condition. We embrace our waves.

I'm weaning myself off plastic bags as much as I can - I have reusable bags for the grocery store. Elsewhere, if permitted, I like to carry my purchases out sans bag, with just my bill in hand. I've gotten some funny looks walking out of the mall with a pair of shoes in my hands but most of the time, I stuff whatever I buy into my shoulder bag. This works best after I've paid for it.

Finally, in making the slow switch from paper towels to rags, I am using less and less paper product. I do one or two loads of "rag wash" per week. It's hard to change everything. I wish I could. I can do more. I pledge to keep making small changes everywhere I can, from light bulbs to phosphates. I need to use my cloth napkins more regularly. What changes have you made? I'd love to know.

welcome to my blogiversary party

Two years. 317 posts... welcome to the party. May I offer you a drink? I'm serving Saucy-tinis, my signature martini recipe. Equal parts pineapple juice, Absolut mandarin vodka, and green melon liquor... mmmmm... but they're a little potent. If you plan on driving back to your own blog, I need to keep your mouse with me.

No party of mine is complete without an array of appetizers. Just something to nosh on while we visit about crafting, decorating, fashion, family, likes, dislikes, and anything else that springs to mind.

No party is complete without a cake. I've chosen a handbag cake... yes, I'm a handbag girl. And a shoe girl, a jacket girl and a cosmetics girl. A girlie-girl. The cake looks almost too nice to eat, but we're diggin' in, sista! With ice cream. It's my blogiversary.

If you insist, you can help me tidy up. Even my trash bags are stylin'. There won't be any leftovers, just some napkins, broken glasses and maybe my banner will fall down.

But seriously, I have to celebrate two years of blogging. Many friends met. Some in person, even. I'm planning a big giveaway: friends, if you leave me a comment - not just a comment - I'm looking for something specific here. What have you gathered about me from reading this blog? What are your assumptions? If I were a flavour of ice cream, what would I be? What's my sign? Tell me something about myself... shock me. The comment that "gets" me will "get" a nifty prize that I will make just for them.

The prize: I will make a fairy jar with a photo of someone dear to you trapped inside as a garden fairy, an angel, or whatever you like, but no clowns. I have to draw the line somewhere.

All comments, assumptions, guesstimates and summaries will be accepted until Wednesday.

holding grudges (not illustrated)

I had a friend in grad school who, looking back on it, likely had the benefit of plenty of therapy. He said that when somebody offended him or caused him trouble, he said their name backwards. He explained that just by saying their name backwards, it de-personalizes the offensive individual, therefore removing negative feelings associated with saying their name, say, forewards.

This weekend, I was exploring Facebook a little bit. Since I registered a few months ago, I've been contacted by old friends from high school, university, cheerleading and old jobs. Most of the time I'm thrilled to see a new friend added to my list and I want to read their profile to find out what they've been up to.

Other times, not so much. I had a bully in high school. I'll call her "Enidal" because it depersonalizes her. She had a locker near mine in sophomore year, and was she tough. One thing about me, I don't come off as tough. Tough Girl Enidal, she dragged me down. She slammed her locker. She jeered at me. She intimidated me. Once, I stood up to her in my usual snappy-comeback way. She invited me to step outside.

She's contacted me on Facebook. She wants to be friends. She wants to read my profile. I've ignored her request but she requested again. Of this, I can only say, Enidal, if you're out there, I'm still ignoring you. I'm still a little scared of you. But I've depersonalized you. Ynohtna taught me that much.

spring organization

Seriously, I just love organizing things. Over the weekend Veto picked me up this cute vintage-looking dresser for the back hallway. It's a great stashing place for candles, candle holders and other odds-and-ends. I love its distressed look.

I keep magazine cutouts organized, too. When I see something I like, I pull it out and place it in my little sorting tray. Eventually, the cutouts end up in my binders:

I struggled with a springtime flu for the past few days. Only this afternoon was I up to doing much, and I sorted the winters' worth of magazine clippings into their rightful binders:

I try to make little notes right on the pages, lest I forget why I cut them out in the first place. That's happened more than once. Now that all my ideas are organized, it's time to actually get some of them underway.

I wrote my art history final on Monday night. I loved taking that class. I went into the final with something like a 98 percent average. Do you remember the episode of Gilmore Girls when Rory went to her final exam and just stared at her paper? That's what I did. I came home and the flu hit me hard a couple of hours later. I didn't even attempt the final essay question. I think I was sweating and I remember the girl behind me kicking the back of my chair over and over. Then it occured to me, "I don't need to take this class. I'm taking this for fun. I'm not having fun right now. I had fun all semester, but the fun stopped about two hours ago." And then I left. And that was that. Someday, I'll tell you about the architectural shift between Romanesque to Gothic design, if you really want to know.

if martha could see me now

As my friend Mrs. G over at Derfwad Manor suggests, blogging is all about the connections. I've made wonderful connections through this little bloggedy blog of mine for two years now. Two years!

I started blogging myself after stumbling onto my now-friend Amy's blog, Inspireco. I was "googling" my new (at the time) fragrance, Shelly Kyle's Tiramani. Amy's post about the scent she was selling via Inspire Company opened the blogging world to me. Now Amy is not just a friend but also a daily read. I've participated in her Club Little House swap three times - and I'm going to be an inspired friend later this summer. What fun.

I ran into Derfwad Manor after the loss of my dear Uncle Hugh. It seemed that I'd found a blogger who also lost her Uncle Hugh. Now I am a daily visitor and the term "derfwad" has drifted into our vocabulary.

I count dear June among my friends and we had a chance to visit in person while visiting Tucson last December. Just like it did for penpals, the world continues to shrink for bloggers.

The blog world continues to grow. My grade-school friend MJ dipped her toe into the blogosphere last year. I'm starting a new blog soon to document the renovation of our newest property. My cousin has a wedding blog where guests can RSVP, get directions, check the gift registry. And who's also blogging? Martha. This is truly the one time in my life I've attempted something before Martha.

As I approach my two-year blogiversary (I'm planning a blog party and you're invited) I've compiled a list of my favourite posts... not necessarily the ones with the most comments, but the ones I have fond memories of. We've had a fun two years together, haven't we? Enjoy.

the bumps

There are babies coming at us from all directions. This is my sweet cousin Chantelle, she's got about eight weeks to go. My Aunt and Uncle are probably freaking out. Aunty Den is already Grammy (including a set of twins), but she is likely going overboard already for her new grandbaby. Remember way back when she gave us those fortune cookies? Chantelle is a phenomenal kindergarten teacher so you can imagine what a great mom she'll be. She's the kind of teacher who hatches ducks under lights in her classroom and then keeps them as pets... in her swimming pool.

This is my friend Lecia and her husband Jim. Lecia and I went to university together. She is a talented artist, teacher, scrapbooker and blogger. And check her out! Isn't she absolutely adorable?

"Baby bump" photography is all the rage right now. So is the phrase "baby bump" and actually I'm not that fond of it. Remember last year when I took pictures of Lance and Marlys? How fun to see maternity becoming so chic. Downright glamorous. Not in my day. Today's mothers have selection from the latest designers, in the latest colours. We had puffy denim overalls with a second set of buttons.

She hasn't posted any bump sightings yet, but Natalee over at 100 Percent Cottam is also expecting. How she manages her already-birthed cute offspring and blogging (often more than once a day) is beyond me. This fall our non-blogging friends Shawn and Andrea are also going to have an younger brother or sister for baby Cadence. I'd best get shopping.

Veto took Loopy and I to see our celebrity boyfriend Jim in 21 tonight. Although dreadfully predictable, it was entertaining... and the scenery (and Las Vegas too) was excellent.

Veto was trying to take my mind off the fall I took down the stairs today. I'd show you my bruise, but that's one bump you don't want to see.

Here's our little Arizona travel group: Is it just me or do the couples match? Jenn and Todd wearing matching reds at one end, Veto and I wearing black on the other end. We didn't plan it that way, really. I swear. The weather was beautiful, the shopping was (as usual) fantastic. We found a special guitar for Buddy Budderson's 18th birthday. This photo was taken in the backyard. Someday, surely, we will retire to this little piece of heaven on earth: Tucson.