Hand lotion makes a great gift- Blogmas #16

December 16, 1996. It is a day that is etched in my brain forever. It was just nine sleeps before Christmas and we got a call early that morning around 6am. My parents and I got up out of bed and got into our car and rushed to the nursing home where my grandmother had been staying for the last few months. She was 86 at the time. In the two years before she passed her health had deteriorated. She had osteoporosis and had broken her hip when she rolled over in bed. Born in 1908, when she had found herself confined to a wheelchair, she refused to leave the house. For her, it was shaming to be seen anywhere in public in that wheelchair. My cousin, Laura, lived with her and cared for her, but by the fall of 1996, it became too difficult. My grandmother had also been diagnosed with breast cancer. She had also put a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) in place, probably because of the depression from being in the wheelchair or the depression from being in the nursing home or both. The call we received that morning was from the nursing home to let us know we had to get there quickly; my grandmother was close to the end. If we wanted to be with her in her last moments, we didn’t have any moments to spare.

sunny winter morning_InPixioI remember it was a cold but sunny morning. The sky had that pink glow as the sun was rising. It was hard to believe that something so terrible could happen on such a beautiful December morning. My dad is someone who always follows the rules. For example, most Canadians, when they do cross-border shopping in the U.S., lie about how much they bought when they come back into Canada. Not my dad. No, my dad is always honest and he would dutifully report how much we spent and then we would dutifully pay the duties on what we spent. And he never speeds. Never. But on this morning, my dad sped. It didn’t matter. When we arrived, my grandmother had already left us. I remember my cousins, Laura and Liz, sisters who were more like her daughters since she raised them being there. It was the first time I had ever seen a dead person. I was 22 at the time. Immediately, when I saw my grandmother, I realized it wasn’t her anymore. Yes, it looked like her. But the person I grew up loving more than anyone was no longer there. My cousin, Liz, who was hugging her body and crying didn’t seem to understand that she wasn’t hugging my grandmother anymore. She was hugging the home where her soul had lived, but her soul had moved on.

mini tree_InPixioChristmas is always hard when it’s the first Christmas you celebrate after someone you love has died. But it’s even worse when the person dies just before the Christmas holidays. Not only do you have to do all the usual Christmas stupidity, but you also have to prepare for a funeral. I remember in the weeks leading up to Christmas, my cousin Liz insisting we celebrate Christmas with my grandmother since we knew she wasn’t expected to live past Christmas. My grandmother, who was a no-nonsense, practical lady, often found my cousin, Liz, to be ridiculous, even though she loved her like a daughter. Liz brought in a little tree and decorated it and put up garland and lights all around the room and all of the family was told to bring gifts for this early Christmas. My mom and I both racked our brains; what do you get someone who is dying for Christmas? And I knew my grandmother well enough to know that she was going to roll her eyes at this whole “Christmas” before Christmas fiasco. My mother and I settled on a bottle of Clinique hand lotion for the gift, because we knew my grandmother’s hands got dry from the air in her room. And we also figured, whatever we got, we would end up getting back after anyway. When we finally came to the day of my grandmother’s special Christmas, she, surprisingly, didn’t grumble or roll her eyes as much at my cousin Liz’s antics as she usually did. I think she knew that the early Christmas celebration wasn’t for her. It was for Liz. It was something Liz had to do to deal with the pain of losing the woman who had raised her from the age of two.

graveyard_InPixioEvery year on December 16, I think about my grandmother and that first Christmas without her. She was the matriarch; I think most women are in their families. It is the mothers and grandmothers who are the glue that hold families together. The last time I saw all ten of my aunts and uncles together who were left at the time my grammy died was at her funeral. My grandmother was buried next to her three children who had passed away before she did. When you have twelve aunts and uncles and fifty-three cousins, it is difficult to maintain close ties with them all. When my grandmother was alive, she was the reason that family who had moved to Ontario would return home at least once a year to visit. After she died, our family fell apart. I rarely saw my aunts and uncles and cousins anymore and our Christmas tradition of going to my grandmother’s for Christmas dinner and spending the afternoon working on puzzles and playing cards ended.

My grandmother died 21 years ago today. Ironically, she always said as she was nearing the time of her death, that she wasn’t afraid of death. She said she was ready at any time. Her only stipulation was that her death couldn’t be at Christmas because she didn’t want to ruin Christmas for her family. That was the kind of woman she was. No-nonsense and practical, and someone you didn’t want to cross. She’d hold you to account. I like to think that when she got to the other side that she tore a strip off of God’s decision to take her at Christmas! So today, I ask you to be thankful for your family and friends, and to enjoy every moment you have with them in the days leading up to Christmas. Hug your loved ones just a little bit tighter and remember that every moment you have with them is precious. Finally, if someone you know is dying at Christmas, hand lotion makes a great gift.

Image sources:

Graveyard. Free Stock Photos. <http://www.freestockphotos.biz/stockphoto/9185> December 16, 2017.

Hand cream. Px Here. <https://pxhere.com/en/photo/634760> December 16, 2017.

Mini-tree. Flickr. <https://www.flickr.com/photos/daveynin/8251311244> December 16, 2017.

Winter morning. Max Pixel. <http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Frozen-Season-Morning-Cold-Sun-Ice-Winter-Road-1881442> December 16, 2017.

 

“I knew you wouldn’t like it.” Blogmas 15

216api‘Tis the season for another exciting Blogmas post. It’s a busy time of the year. People shopping, shopping and shopping. Those who say online shopping is killing the mall haven’t spent any time trying to navigate the malls during the Christmas season. The mall parking lots are full now and it won’t get any better any time soon. Finding a parking spot at the mall is like winning the lottery during the Christmas season. And if the spot is near the entrance, it’s like a glorious early gift from Santa. Santa, I’m sure, has no problem finding parking. He just lands the sleigh on the mall roof, and he’s good to go.

216akfI’ve got almost all of my shopping wrapped up now. Literally. As soon as I get home with a present, I wrap it. No luck for any snoopers in my home. Maybe it’s because of one of my good friends in middle school. She went snooping and found an Esprit shirt her mom had bought her for Christmas.  Then she wore it to school before Christmas with the tag still on it. Then she put it back where she found it. I would never have been so lucky to get away with such a thing. I would have spilled food on it for certain. I did snoop one year, but realized that it wasn’t any fun on Christmas when you already know what your gifts are. Then you also have to be an amazing actress. The only upside to snooping is if you open a gift that is totally not you. It’s easier to hide your disappointment when you already know a gift you hate is coming.

216as6My mom is the worst for picking out gifts that I don’t like. I’ve realized over the years that I have to be very careful when I go shopping with her. What she tends to do is pick something up, and ask me what I think of it. Now what I used to think when she did that was, “What do you think of this for me?” But after receiving items that she asked me what I thought of over the years, I now know that “What do you think of this?” actually means “What do you think of this because I’m going to buy this for you for Christmas.”  So now when mom asks me, “What do you think of this?”, my first question to her is, “For you or for me?”

216a9rOne of the worst gifts I got from my mom was the year I asked for a plain white bath robe. What I got was a bath robe with sunglasses and lipsticks sewn on. I may have mentioned this before? But the best part was my reaction when I opened the gift. I couldn’t hide my disappointment. It looked like a plain bathrobe at first, but then I pulled it up out of the box, my face fell. My mom says and I quote: “I knew you weren’t going to like it.” She knew I wasn’t going to like it. But she got it anyway.
I love my mom and she tries so hard to make Christmas special for us all. In fact, she goes overboard every year, even now that my brother and I are well into our 30s and 40s. She braves those mall parking lots every year with arthritis in her legs, hobbling sadly around trying to find gifts that she knows we’re not going to like. She’s Santa with a wheelchair parking pass, and a list she only half reads. Instead of a red suit, she has red hair, but only because she dyes it. But she’s my Santa and I love her dearly. I can’t wait to see what things she knew I wouldn’t like this year!

A Christmas Card from Bexa: Blogmas 14

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The beautiful home-made card that arrived all the way from Brighton, England from Bexa

When I got home yesterday, there was a beautiful envelope waiting for me. It came all the way from England from a blogger I’ve met, Bexa. Inside was a gorgeous homemade card with some of the neatest printing I have ever seen in my life. Bexa’s blog is amazing. Her site is designed so well, and you can tell she is a very creative and kind soul. The main reason I found Bexa is that I was looking for Twitter accounts that re-post blogs. She had wrote a post asking everyone to send her their blog post for her Sunday reading. So I sent mine and we kind of started a bit of a blogging friendship. Please take a look at Bexa’s blog: http://hellobexa.com. She has great tips for people just starting out with blogging.

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Cute custom-made sticker inside the card

Looking at the card, I started thinking about the reaction I got to my “Merry Fucking Christmas” post too. I started to feel so thankful for the amazing people I have met through blogging, their kindness and their encouragement. There are so many people I have discovered through WordPress and Twitter who are such talented writers; people from all over the world, from different cultures and different religions. I love it! If the rest of the world could be as accepting and open and loving to each other as the bloggers I’ve met, we would never worry about nuclear war, famine, genocide or any other horrible things that people do to each other for no good reason ever again!

Through reading the blogs of others, I learn about other people’s lives and struggles and come to realize that we aren’t that alone after all. It’s awe inspiring how people connect through writing. I guess as an English teacher I shouldn’t really be that surprised, but blogging is quite different from reading a text that has been published. The main difference is that when I read text from a book, I can’t directly comment to the writer of the piece. With blogs, you can give immediate feedback, ask the writer questions, and interact with the writer of a piece. It is quite a remarkable thing.

 

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I loved the message inside as well as the added touch of the piece of paper inside reminding me to “Always wear your invisible crown.” Aww…. I love Christmas and Blogmas again!

Although I enjoy the interaction that blogging brings, I genuinely hope that books and paper texts will not be completely phased out. I can’t think of a better smell than the smell of opening that first crisp page in a brand new book. I love to just sink my nose into the middle and take long deep breaths. Aw…. the smell of words!  Some day maybe the  words of the bloggers I have met will be in the printed form with the aroma of “new book.” I sure hope so.

Thank you to all my followers and fellow bloggers for being such a wonderful and supportive community. As a thank you, I’m going to highlight a blog site I regularly visit to share with readers of this blog. Today’s is Bexa’s (obviously) and you can find her most recent work here: https://hellobexa.com/life/the-top-20-christmas-films-of-all-time/

A special thank you to Bexa for the beautiful Christmas card.

 

If you would like to make a card like the one Bexa sent to me, follow this link: https://hellobexa.com/blogging/how-to-make-washi-tape-christmas-cards/

Happy Blogmas 14!

O.H.

I’m Following You! [Blogmas 13]

not stalkingI’ve been following you. I’ve been following you for a while, but you may not have noticed me. It’s not like I’ve been purposely tagging behind you like an undercover police officer or a creepy stalker. I’ve been following you on Twitter.

Twitter, where all of a sudden you can have interactions with your BFFs Mindy Khaling and Melissa McCarthy. Okay, they are my BFFs, maybe not yours. Of course, they have no idea that we have a relationship. My bestie, Mindy has 11 million followers and “Missy” (as only I can call Melissa McCarthy because of how tight we are, you know) has 939 000 followers, but Mindy follows a mere 811 people and “Missy” follows a measly 121 people. Fuck you, Mindy Khaling and Melissa McCarthy! I thought we were friends forever, but it turns out, I’m just a pathetic celebrity stalker.

Of course, these are famous actresses/writers who used their talents and, in one case, their untalented cousin to achieve success before the up-rise of blogging. Any of us [me] who have tried sending off manuscripts without a social media presence realize quickly that no publisher will touch you unless you have already established a following on social media. That would be why our other BFF, Jenny Lawson, better known as The Bloggess, has 477 000 Twitter followers but follows a whopping 42 000 people. It is still less than the number who follows her, I know, but the ratio is still much higher than with Mindy and Melissa. I’m no mathematician (trust me, I’m not) but I’m pretty certain about the math. I’m about 20% certain. (That’s a lot, right?)

followingOriginally when I started blogging, I said to my friend Sam, the Blog Broad, that I didn’t need social media because “if your writing is good enough, people will connect with it and follow it.” Um… I couldn’t have been more wrong unless I was Fox News. And now here I am, a Twitter Newbie. I joined, “tweeted” and still no real following formed. I said to Sam, “It’s not working.” And Sam said, “that’s because you have to follow people in order for them to follow you.” And so I did. I just started going on people’s followers lists and clicking follow on all of the names there- I thought to myself, I’ll just do that everyday. I’ll have soooo many followers in no time. Then someone will notice my brilliance and I’ll be able to spend my time being paid for creative pursuits. Now, I don’t know if anyone else has done what I did to try to build followers, but if you do try it, a pop-up from Twitter will appear. Now, I don’t remember the exact wording, but it was something like, “Because you’re a insane, creepy, stalker person, we are suspending your ability to follow people for 48 hours,” or something to that effect. SOOoooo… I stopped doing that.

J Lo_InPixio
“Ass Ass” was just a big bare J Lo ass. Maybe it was J Lo’s ass?

Instead, I just started following people at random but just not as many. And then I learned another important lesson. You should actually read up on the people you’re following and take a look at what they’ve been tweeting before you start following them. It was when my Twitter feed showed a picture of a big ass. Now I know my profile picture on WordPress is of an ass too, but my ass is a donkey. This pic was of an ass ass. It was just a big, huge, J-Lo-esque ass. And in the self-description box, it said, “I’m kind of an ass.” I thought, hmmmm, that’s kind of funny; they must be being ironic like me and my donkey ass, but doing it with an ass ass. So I didn’t unfollow the person with the ass pic right away. I didn’t unfollow until I realized what all the person’s tweets were about, and I don’t want to be crass, so I’m going to use the technical terms. “Ass Ass,” as I’ll call her, used dirty words, but the words in her tweets featured semen, anal intercourse, breasts, and meeting places. So basically, I think I may have started following a ho. She’s either a ho or a slut. And that’s okay, I don’t judge. (Well, I try not to.) But I just didn’t want to be propositioned like that. I’m somewhat happily married. (Hey, don’t judge, no one is “happily” married- no one is happy ALL THE FUCKING TIME!) Of course, my hubby, C, probably would have wanted us to find Ass Ass and say what’s up. But I’m not into that. And so I unfollowed Ass Ass and I started just following people who posted things I thought were funny or thoughtful or who tweeted pics and videos of cute animals, and of course, those sites that retweet posts by bloggers.

When I really think about it, randomly following people on Twitter is like randomly following the car in front of you to find out where they’re going. It’s not likely to be anywhere you’re interested in going, so why would you do that? (Although my friends and I did do that once in high school just for fun. But we were in high school. We did a lot more stupid stuff than just that.) I totally connected when I came across this tweet on my twitter feed: “It’s amazing the amount of people who follow just to get a follow back, then if I don’t follow back they unfollow me. I won’t follow people for the sake of it, but follow people I genuinely want to connect with.” dASHing through the snow  ❄️ @FTLOBOOKS (Click on link to see her blog.)20171211_174331.jpg

I found out the hard way that you should only follow people who seem to be people you could connect with. At the same time, sometimes you have to go on that “first date”: follow the person and see what kinds of things they post before you figure out that they weren’t the one for you. It’s okay to unfollow. Maybe they weren’t, “the One.” But if you don’t first follow, you’ll never know. lurking memeFor those fellow bloggers out there, who have me as a Twitter follower, don’t worry. I’m not going to be dumping anyone on purpose, unless you start tweeting weird, perverted, sexual tweets that make me feel uncomfortable. And if you do unfollow me because I’m not what you expected, please do so, by all means. We’re all on this same journey to become leaders, not followers, anyway. Well, aren’t we?

#following you

@Ocean.Hayward

All pictures are my own unless the source information is listed below. Yes, even the ones of Mindy and Missy. I told you we are BFFs on Twitter. [In my best Napoleon Dynamite voice] “GAWD!”

Fatal Attraction Meme. Pinterest. <https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/47428602298479681/?lp=true> December 11, 2017.

“I’m following you” mem. Image Flip. <https://imgflip.com/meme/Zombie-Overly-Attached-Girlfriend?sort=latest&page=3> December 11, 2017.

“I’m not stalking you” Meme. Quick Meme. <http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3tpn3t> December 11, 2017.

Jennifer Lopez pic. IGN. <http://www.ign.com//threads/j-los-ass-is-overrated.454203957/> December 11, 2017.

Office Space Meme. Pinterest. <https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/47428602298479681/?lp=true> December 11, 2017.

 

 

Merry Fucking Christmas [Parental Advisory- Language that may be offensive to some.]- Blogmas 12

Okay, so my Blogmas post today is a rant.

I’ve been posting my Blogmas entries to a lot of different blogger sites that do retweeting. You see, I’m hoping maybe, just maybe, I could make a go with this writing thing. Seeing as how I’m very soon to be without a paycheque, I need to find another source of income. (Just a heads up, this post is going to be all over the place!) You see I’ve been on sick leave from my regular job of teaching because “I’m fucked up in the head,” right. Funny side story- when I wrote “I’m fucked up in the head” right, I was thinking of the lyric to the Limp Bizkit song, “Nookie” and for years I’ve been singing along to that song with “I’m fucked up in the head, right” but in looking up the lyric to give credit where it’s due, I discovered the lyric is actually, “fucked up in the head, not.” Huh.

Well, there’s no “not” in being fucked up for me- I have Conversion Disorder, Somatic Symptom Disorder and ADHD. And now, to top it all off, my paid sick leave is about to run out and because teachers get paid for the 195 days in the school year (September to June) and they start our pay year as of August 1, I have been overpaid.

merry
Image from Amazon. They are not paying me to feature this product, but hey, Amazon, feel free!

Which means when my paid days run out, I have to pay back $1000. I get it, I owe it. I’m not saying I don’t, but it’s stressful knowing I have to come up with that money somehow when I’m about to go on Long-term disability benefits and that’s ONLY if I’m approved! So yeah, Merry Fucking Christmas! Thank you, brain chemicals, neurotransmitters and brain wiring stuff! (I warned you, this would be a rant.)

 

Okay, so back to Blogmas and how I’ve been retweeting my blogs and all of that. So as I’m going onto these Blogging Twitter Groups, I’m also reading blogs that have been posted. And I am getting so sick of Blogmas!!! Blech-mas more like. (Maybe I’m just bitter because I’m about to have Broke-mas.) Every post is pretty similar. “Great gift ideas under $20” and a list of products that can be bought online, for example. I can’t help but wonder, did these bloggers even try out these products? If I have to look at one more Blogmas about make-up, hair, decorations and gifts and where to buy them, I’m going to stab someone in the throat, anyone, whoever is closest (probably my husband or his grandfather!)* My goodness! I don’t mean to be grinchy (that’s right, I turned Grinch into an adjective) but I’m starting to get sick of Blogmas!

blogmas_InPixio
See sources at the end of this post for the blog site this photo came from. The Blogger, Laura, had a very cool idea of writing a comment on other people’s blogs for Blogmas.

The blogs I enjoy the most are the ones that come from an authentic place. The writers are “keeping it real.” Now that said, and I imagine a lot of these bloggers who are writing about all these wonderful products, are probably getting paid by companies. I’m not going to lie: I would do it to if it meant money in my pocket. Shout out: “Hey Companies, pick me! I will write wonderful things about your crappy products because I am about to be poor!” Well, poorer. Not that I’m poor poor, I’m just terrible at managing money.

Anyway, my next few Blogmases are going to be a lot less Christmas-y because I don’t want to stab anyone.** And I think I’ll even skip the retweeting on those Blog Retweet sites so I don’t have to see them. I just need a Blogmas break for a few days. Thanks for reading my rant and sorry if I offended anyone.

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All I can scratch together is two Canadian nickels. [photo is my own]
P.S. Can you spare a dime?

*I won’t really stab anyone in the throat. I have conversion disorder, remember, so instead I’ll keep my anger and negative emotions in, and then have facial twitches, contortions and seizure-like shaking.

**Again, I must reiterate: I’m not really going to stab anyone. I’ll just twitch, contort, and shake like Linda Blair in The Exorcist (original 1973 version) minus the head spin.

Sources:

Laura. Blogmas, Well, Sort of Pic. “Blogmas 2016.” Constantly Curious. <\http://constantlycurious.co.uk/2016/12/blogmas-2016/> December 9, 2017.

Merry Fucking Christmas Bauble. Amazon. <https://www.amazon.co.uk/Santa-Balls-Fucking-Christmas-Bauble/dp/B00G450LBI> December 9, 2017.

“CUWTA” (Catch Up With The Acronyms)- 11 different ways to say LOL- Merry Blogmas 11

Has anyone noticed how often we use LOL (Laughing Out Loud) and LMAO (Laughing My Ass Off) and even LMFAO (Laughing My Fucking Ass Off)? People write it so much that it’s lost its meaning. How many times do you write LOL, LMAO, and/or LMFAO and you actually are laughing out loud or laughing your ass off, or laughing your fucking ass off? I would reckon not very often. I think it’s quite evident when someone had to come up with the acronym ALOL (Actually Laughing Out Loud). The Internet is allowing us to become either a bunch of fake people, lying to each other about how hard we’re laughing or a bunch of lazy people with limited diction. I’ve been thinking about how we have started overusing the LOL family of text abbreviations and thinking that there has to be a better way. LOL has become our go-to reply for a variety of responses in text-versations. So for Blogmas 11, I give you the 11 situations where LOL responses are used and more accurate text abbreviations to start using. I have found all of my text abbreviations thanks to Netlingo. If ever you’re stumped, feel free to use this handy little dictionary for help. And now it’s time to widen our texting vocabulary!

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  • What you read makes you slightly uncomfortable and you’re not quite sure how to respond. For lack of a more clear and accurate response, you resort to the old standby “lol.” Instead you could use “IRNCOT” (I’d Rather Not Comment on That) or “URSAI” (You Are Such An Idiot) or “WE” (Whatever)

 

 

  • You simply want to acknowledge that you agree with what you read, but again, the ol’ LOL is sent as the reply. Why not reply with: “ITA” (I Totally Agree) or “HTNOTH” (Hit The Nail On The Head)Nail

 

  • You connect with what you read because you’ve been in a similar situation or felt the same way. Often, it’s just responded to with “lol” as in “haha, been there” but to be more specific why not use: “IKWYM” (I Know What You Mean) or “ICWYM” (I See What You Mean) or “IKR” (I Know, Right).omg-i-know-right-diylol-com-16084744
  • You don’t know what else to say, so you fall back on the LOL like an awkward laugh. tenorBut what you could reply with is: “404” (I Haven’t A Clue) or “OUSU” (Oh You Shut Up) or RUNTS (Are You Nuts?) or “WABOC” (What A Bunch of Crap) or my own invention: “IDKW2S” (I Don’t Know What To Say)

 

 

  • You enjoy what you read, but have no visible reaction. If you were on Social Media, you would simply hit the “like” button. Since you’re phone texting, you type in those three handy letters: L-O-L. What you could use instead is “XLNT” (Excellent) or “WD” (Well done)

excellent

  • What you read is mildly amusing. and gives you an ever so slight smile but you just reply with LOL because it’s easier. Why not just use “G” (Grin) or “G1” (Good One)i-am-mildly-amused-skeptical-hippo-19401997
  • What you read is amusing, gives you a shit-eating grin. Well guess what, there is an actual text abbreviation for the exact situation: “BSEG” (Big Shit Eating Grin). You could also use “BS” (Big Smile but could be mistaken for Bull Shit) or “BAG” (Big Ass Grin).

chuckle-snort

  • What you read is very amusing, makes you chuckle but it still isn’t rolling on the floor funny or even worthy of a belly laugh. Instead of LOL, try using “COL” (Chuckle Out Loud) or, depending on the situation, “CSG” (Chuckle, Snicker, Grin).

laughing out loud_InPixio

  • When what you read is funny and actually makes you laugh out loud that would be about the only time you should be using LOL. To vary it up, you could also use “BL” (Belly Laughing). Funny story, found all the memes and gifs through Google Image search. Found this meme on another post about the over use of LOL… I guess I’m not as original as I originally thought, LOL! Oops, I mean, G. Read that post here (it’s really good btw): “Navigating The Term ‘LOL’: C’mon, you’re not really laughing”  by Alex Liev.

 

  • When what you read is hilarious and makes literally laugh out loud, so much so that your whole body is in it, but you are still able to stand, it would be acceptable to use LMAO in this occasion. Another choice for you is “BL” (Bursting With Laughter)laughing-my-ass-off
  • When what you read is fucking hilarious and again, you are in fact laughing out loud, you may, by all means, use LMFAO. But there are some other more interesting options to choose from. Why not: “BMGWL” (Busting My Gut With Laughter); “BRL” (Belly Roll Laughs); “CSL” (Can’t Stop Laughing); “FOMCL” (Falling Off My Chair Laughing); “FOFL” (Falling on Floor Laughing): or my personal favorite, “DNPMPL” (Damn Near Pissed My Pants Laughing)pissing laughing

 

 

 

Here’s hoping that in 2018, our texting vocabulary will become more varied and specific to reflect what we really mean. In any case, if you’re not LOLing, don’t text LOL!

LOL!

I leave you with one of my favorite clips from the Canadian Sketch Comedy series 22 Minutes about the dangers of text abbreviations. 7 years old, and still relevant!

TFR! (Thanks For Reading!)

O.H.

Sources:

Austin Powers Meme. Make A Meme. <https://makeameme.org/meme/chuckle-snort> December 8, 2017.

Donkey Laughing Ass Off Meme. Meme Generator. <https://memegenerator.net/instance/62604812/donkey-lolol-laughing-my-ass-off> December 8, 2017.

Jason Bateman gif. Tenor. <https://tenor.com/search/awkward-laugh-gifs> December 8, 2017/

Lee, Albert. “Hit the Nail on the Head.” Albert’s Tips. <http://albert.tips/hit-the-nail-on-the-head/> December 8, 2017.

Mildly Amused Hippo Meme. Me.Me. <https://me.me/i/i-am-mildly-amused-none-13291277> December 8, 2017.

Net Acronyms. Netlingo. <https://www.netlingo.com/acronyms.php> December 8, 2017.

OMG, I Know, Right Meme. Me.Me. <https://me.me/i/omg-i-know-right-diylol-com-11156318> December 8, 2017.

Stanley Laughing Gif. Good Reads. <https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23016369-troubles-and-treats> December 8, 2017.

Steve Carrell Meme. From Liev, Alex. “Navigating The Term ‘LOL’: C’mon, you’re not really laughing.” Odyssey Online. <https://www.theodysseyonline.com/navigating-the-term-lol> December 8, 2017.

Wayne’s World “Excellent” Gif. Inmgur. <https://imgur.com/gallery/iigLQ0Thttps://imgur.com/gallery/iigLQ0T> December 8, 2017.

Whatever Cat Meme. Quick Meme. <http://www.quickmeme.com/Whatever> December 8, 2017.

 

 

 

 

“It’s pretty, but that’s about it.” The First Real Snow Fall- Blogmas #10

It snowed today, December 9, 2017, the first December snow fall of the year. Just earlier today, I was reading Jenny Lawson’s post “Strange New Weather Patterns” and lamenting that here on the East Coast of Canada, we had not seen our first real snow fall, the kind that sticks to the ground. It makes me think of “Frosty the Snowman” and the first few lines of the TV special, “I suppose it all started with the snow. You see, it was a very special kind of snow. A snow that made the happy happier, and the giddy even giddier. A snow that’d make a homecoming homier, and natural enemies, friends, natural. For it was the first snow of the season.” Around 4 pm today, we got our first snow of the season. It is now twenty minutes to 9pm and it has not stopped. And even though, here in the Maritimes, snow is a regular occurrence during the winter months, it is still magical nonetheless. And after reading Jenny’s post, I saw the fresh snow with fresh eyes and happy memories of childhood flooded back. Trying to catch snowflakes on my tongue, making snow angels, and snow forts and after hours of playing in the snow, going into my warm, cozy house to a cup of hot chocolate served by my mother.

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The snow makes the street look like a scene out of “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

Inspired, I decided to go for a winter walk around the city of Saint John, New Brunswick where I am staying for the time being. As I walked, I took in the scenery around me, taking in its magic with each breath like meditation. Suddenly it hit me why I love the movie It’s a Wonderful Life so much. When the world is blanketed in white snow, it is like the black and white snowy scenes on the night that George Bailey is visited by Clarence, the angel trying to get his wings.

Walking in the snow in December with Christmas approaching fast means the added beauty of the Christmas lights shining in the snow. One of the first houses I passed were the Griswolds 2.0.

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Our local Griswold family.

Not only is their house completely covered with lights from top to bottom, they also have a speaker blaring Christmas carols as you walk by. And in the snow, what would usually be pretty tacky, suddenly becomes moment of wondrous beauty. With carols singing in my head, I continued toward the Harbour Walk Trail along the waterfront of Saint John. If you haven’t been to Saint John in a while, or ever at all, the Harbour Walk Trail is an amazing set of paths that run from the Reversing Falls to Uptown Saint John. That’s right, Saint John has an “Uptown” not a downtown. I have no explanation for you.

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Christmas lights are more magical when there is snow falling.

As I walked down in the direction of Uptown, I saw a display of Christmas lights arranged into the form of a giant tree. With no snow, it’s nice. But suddenly, with the flakes of snow surrounding it, it was the most fabulous thing my eyes had ever had the privilege of seeing. I kept walking, down into the bowels of the park toward the Reversing Falls. Instead of raining trees, like Jenny Lawson saw, I saw a raining overpass with a small pond forming below.

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Giant puddle forming under the overpass.

Snowplows going by on the overpass pushing snow over its edges were not any help to the situation. I looped up around into the North End of the city and I finally came upon an intersection with a church. I don’t even know what denomination the church is, but it doesn’t matter. I’m not sure why, but I think old churches are among the most beautiful structures created by humankind. And this church, amid the falling snow, did not disappoint. Even though a McDonald’s is right across the corner, our fast food addiction could still not dim the joy brought from the view of the church.

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I love old churches.

By the time I started back toward “home,” I was soaked from head to toe with sticky snow. (This snow is perfect Frosty the Snowman snow, and if enough falls tonight and stays around tomorrow, I may just make a snowman too.) It’s funny how at the beginning of my short journey in the snow, it was full of excitement and wonder and how quickly that changes when the cold and wet sets in. Instead of breathing in each moment, feeling the joy of being alive, I couldn’t wait to get the hell home to enjoy a cup of tea and my warm PJs. As my mood shifted, I walked past a group of people hanging out at the Curling Rink and heard a lady say what most Maritimers say about the first snow, “It’s pretty, but that’s about it.”

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Me, at the end of my walk.

I am now all cozy in my bed with my laptop and my hubby, listening to the sound of sirens on their way to the nearby hospital, non-stop. It seems the magic of the snow mesmerizes us every year and we forget how to drive in the snow. Tonight I will be lulled asleep by memories of my mystic walk in the snow and the blaring sirens taking stupid unprepared drivers to the hospital.

I hope nobody died.

 

Nine for Nine: Nine holiday specials & films for December 9!

Christmas is the time for Christmas specials and films! Unfortunately, only a few come out per season and very few of the ones I enjoy are on Netflix… in Canada. That’s because there is a law in Canada that requires networks and broadcasters to carry a certain percentage of Canadian content. Often, I think, they count British programs as Canadian content because there seems to be a lot of British shows on our Netflix. So here are my top five picks for holiday movies that are currently available on Netflix in Canada, followed by my top four holiday picks that are not available on our Netflix but may be available where you live. Each will be rated out of 5 for hilarity, obscenities and sappiness, the three most important pieces of information about film in my opinion.

  • Mrs. Brown’s Boys A British comedy starring Brendan O’Carroll as the matriarch of a typical/atypical British family. There are several Christmas episodes of the program available on Netflix. They are all very good. British humor is the best! Hilarity-5/5 Obscenities-3/5 Sappiness-1/5 

 

  • Trailer Park Boys Xmas Special (2004)Trailer Park Boys Live at the North Pole (2014) The Trailer Park Boys are a true Maritime tradition. Although the show is based on stereotypes, [cue Bubble’s voice] “it’s f*&kin’ hilarious, Julian.” It’s Christmas fun for the whole family! Except for your children. Do not let your children watch this. You’ve been warned. Hilarity-5/5 Obscenities-5/5 Sappiness-0/5 

 

  • Elf Is any explanation even necessary? Will Ferrell. Buddy the Elf. Everything tastes better with syrup. Funny and family friendly, kids included.  Hilarity-5/5 Obscenities-1/5 Sappiness-4/5

 

  • Office Christmas Party A more recent Christmas comedy with comedic greats: Jennifer Aniston, Kate McKinnon and Jillian Bell, not to mention Jason Bateman. It’s raunchy and lewd and not anything you want to watch with your children nor with any uber religious family members. Jennifer Aniston’s character is eerily similar to her Horrible Bosses character, a connection made more obvious with Jason Bateman’s character being eerily similar to his Horrible Bosses character. In fact, you could just call this “Horrible Bosses: The Christmas Edition.” But I still very much enjoyed it, especially Kate McKinnon, who steals the show.  Hilarity-5/5 Obscenities-5/5 Sappiness-3/5

 

My four picks for Christmas films that can’t be found on Netflix (in Canada), but maybe you can catch them on television, Youtube, or go old school and watch them on DVD or VHS.

christmas story

4- A Christmas Story Oh, poor Ralphie, all he wants is that Red Ryder B.B. gun. My favorite parts: getting kicked down the slide by Santa, the kid who sticks his tongue to the pole, the lady’s leg lamp, and the fact that it’s got to be one of the only few Christmas films where you get to see the family open their presents! Hilarity-5/5 Obscenities-0/5 Sappiness-3/5

 

Christmas with the Kranks

3- Christmas with the Kranks The Kranks appall the entire neighborhood by deciding to skip Christmas and take a trip down South instead. Highlights for me: The Kranks hiding when the neighbours are protesting that they haven’t put up their “Frosty;” the Kranks hiding from the carolers; and the Kranks getting caught in the tanning salon in their bathing suits by their priest.  Hilarity-4/5 Obscenities-0/5 Sappiness-4/5

 

Christmas vacation2- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation I watch this every year and it never gets old. I was thinking about the new Vacation movie they did with Ed Helms and Christina Applegate and wondering… Could they pull off an updated Christmas Vacation? Because I can’t imagine that they could make a Christmas film any funnier. Chevy Chase as Clarke Griswold, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the snotty neighbour, and Randy Quaid as Cousin Eddy? Cousin “Shitter was full” Eddy makes the whole movie!!  Hilarity-5/5 Obscenities-1/5 Sappiness-4/5

 

It's a wonderful life1- It’s a Wonderful Life I love this film. The first time I watched it was Christmas Eve on CBC with my mom. There’s nothing more magical than watching It’s a Wonderful Life in black and white on Christmas Eve. The story is timeless. No, it’s not funny, but interestingly enough It’s A Wonderful Life was directed by Frank Capra. His grandson, Frank Capra III was an assistant director on National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. In Christmas Vacation there are two references to It’s A Wonderful Life. It’s A Wonderful Life is playing on the TV in the background in one scene of Vacation, and in It’s a Wonderful Life there is loose mill-post which George Bailey keeps complaining about. In the Vacation film, there is also a loose mill-post which Clarke fixes with the chainsaw when he loses his temper over not receiving a Christmas bonus. So the two movies that are likely at the top of most people’s Christmas Classics list are actually somewhat connected. I love and cherish It’s a Wonderful Life because it’s romantic, it’s spiritual, it’s inspirational, and, after all, it is a wonderful life. Hilarity-1/5 Obscenities-0/5 Sappiness-5/5 

Sources:

A Christmas Story DVD cover.  Jewel 92.5 fm. <http://jewel925.com/tvs-live-musical-christmas-story/> December 8, 2017

Christmas with the Kranks movie poster. IMDb. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0388419/?ref_=nv_sr_1> December 8, 2017

It’s a Wonderful Life DVD cover. IMDb. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038650/mediaviewer/rm711430656> December 8, 2017.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation movie poster. IMDb. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097958/?ref_=tttr_tr_tt> December 8, 2017.

Christmas, Christmas, don’t be late; Today is Blogmas Number 8

It’s December 8 and the 8th day of Blogmas. Today I thought I’d share with you what I’m going to call “Fromage Friday”- some of the cheesiest Christmas songs and movies that I know of with audio and video clips included for your enjoyment (Thank you, Youtube!)

  • The original “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth” by Spike Jones and his City Slickers- from 1948. No video, just audio:
  • Christmas with the Chipmunks- Vol. 1
  • Christmas with the Chipmunks- Vol. 2
  • Mini Pops Christmas- 1984
  • Babes in Toyland- 1986 version- TV movie with Drew Barrymore and Keanu Reeves!

 

Even though they’re cheesy, they bring back great memories, right? I’d love to hear your Fromage Friday pics too. Happy Fromage Friday, everyone!

A Christmas Dumping Day and Creamed Lobster- Blogmas 7

Living where I live, on the East Coast of Canada,  in a region known as “the Maritimes,” the ocean plays a significant role in our lives. No matter where you live in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and/or New Brunswick, the ocean is generally not too far away. It should be no surprise then, that the fishery is one of the main industries in the area. In fact, Maritimers are often stereotyped as being just a bunch of ignorant, fisher people. In fact, only some of us are. And the rest of us live in trailers.TPB

That being said, Christmas and seafood go hand in hand. Instead of Thanksgiving, “Dumping Day” is our unofficial kick-off to Christmas.  Dumping Day is not emptying our bowels to get ready for the Christmas bingeing. It is not about dumping out old things to make way for new gifts. It has nothing to do with dumplings. Dumping Day is the first day of the lobster fishery when the fishers go racing against each other to “dump” their traps in the most prime locations. Probably the most popular seafood and export in and from the Maritimes is lobster. lobsterThe lobster fishery is divided into 20 districts which all have different seasons. Most of the lobster that is available during the Christmas season comes out of Southwestern Nova Scotia and Southern New Brunswick. There are Hercules Helicopters circulating because fishing is a very dangerous occupation. Very often during the race to drop their traps, accidents happen. However, for most Maritimers who are not fishers, rarely a thought is given to these brave people who risk their lives so the rest of us can feast on lobster during the Christmas season.

One of the first signs of the Christmas season is the lobster fisher on the side of the road, in a pick-up truck, with a hand-written sign: “Fresh Lobsters” and the price per pound. They set up shop on corners of high-traffic roads in the cities, for many making a 5-7 hour round trip in order to sell the lobsters. Christmas Eve is probably the most popular day for lobster sales because one of the most common Christmas traditions in the Maritimes is a seafood extravaganza. In our house, our feast was an appetizer of fresh boiled mussels with melted garlic butter followed by the main course: fresh, whole, lobsters, also boiled on the stove. Do you hear what I hear? The screams of lobsters being boiled alive? It’s synonymous with Christmas carols in our neck of the woods.

Another uniquely Maritime Christmas Eve tradition is the kitchen party. Basically, it is kind of like those parties shown on films like American Pie except with adults and no one leaves the kitchen. Also, a lot of times people show up with fiddles and play Celtic-type music and everyone sings along. But generally the drinks are provided in those red plastic cups. The biggest difference would be that food is provided, and it is generally seafood.

I’m going to leave you with a Maritime specialty made by many Lobster fisher families in the region. It is a tradition many families here enjoy on Christmas Eve. I am personally not a fan of it, but I will also die if I eat shellfish (oh, the irony! Living in a seafood mecca and having anaphylaxis to any fish with a shell!)

Nova Scotia-Style Creamed Lobster

Ingredients

Photo Sources:

Cape Breton Fish Harvesters Association. Cape Breton Lobster. <http://capebretonfish.com/sustainability/management/> December 7, 2017.

Graham. Berwick Shellfish Company. <http://berwickshellfish.com/merry-christmas-to-all-our-customers-friends/> December 7, 2017

Trailer Park Boys Image. 4k Wallpapers. <https://www.qrcodematrix.com/trailer-park-boys-christmas/> December 7, 2017.

Recipe Source:

Harris, Clara. “Nova Scotia Creamed Lobster.” Saltscapes.com. <http://www.saltscapes.com/kitchen-party/recipes/item/nova-scotia-style-creamed-lobster.html> December 7, 2017.