Dating, by the Book

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“If you did that during a zombie apocalypse, we’d all die!  Dammit, Misty, get down!” I hissed, trying to tug the girl I’d been crushing on since third grade back into the trench.

“Ugh, calm down, Jesse!”  Misty took a step out of my reach and continued brushing futilely at the green paint spattered across her cleavage and the low collar of her tight cropped tee shirt.  She continued standing out in the open, unprotected and indifferent to her surroundings like the ultimate noob.  She’d ripped off her goggles and the top of her coveralls the instant one of the snipers had taken her out.  Of course, if she hadn’t insisted on leaving her coveralls unbuttoned to the waist… not that I’d really pressed the issue with her looking like G.I. Barbie.

“It’s a stupid game anyways,” her sharp voice brought me back to the moment.  “Is this paint washable?  Why the hell did one of your lame friends shoot me?  Why the hell did we have to come here?  Next time you take me out, make it something fun.

It occurred to me that the girl standing before me and still looking like my wildest fantasy, only greener, was proof that you couldn’t judge a book by its cover.  I should have known better.

“The Op is still live, Misty, get down before you get – ” well… we’ll call that a real… concrete learning experience… I winced in sympathy as pink paint bloomed on the side of her pigtailed head.  Head-shots hurt.  “You should put your goggles back on.”

Misty’s eyes went very wide, and her lips pressed tightly together.  She crouched down beside me, and slipped the goggles back on, smearing pink down her cheek in the process.

“Show me how to use the gun again,” she said, her voice strained.

“What?  Look, how about we just… go?”  I’d tried to give her a lesson about aiming the gun before we’d started the Op, and she’d shown no interest.  I really had thought she’d have fun.  That it’d be a good chance for me to impress her with my skills.  Instead, she’d grumbled and complained through the first half-hour, decided we should leave and gotten shot right in the boob while trying to drag me toward the exit.

Misty finished tying the top of her coveralls tightly around her waist, grabbed my collar and dragged me close.  “SHOW ME” she hissed, eyes full of rage.

I hastily demonstrated the basics and gave her a hushed explanation of aim.  She stared intently at me throughout, nodded, and rose into a crouch.  “Your stupid friends’ rule is 3 shots?”

“Um… yeah?”

I watched in astonishment as she performed a precision tumble across an open area, came up and shot twice.  Kyle yelped from a tree, and Jim cursed from behind a brick panel.  She shot him twice more and stole his cover.  While Jim stalked toward the exit, she sprang up the nearest wall, surprising Amber in her hidey-hole and nailing her with three shots, ran along the top of the wall and jumped down out of sight.

It was chaos.  I could only track her based on my friends’ curses and yelps.  She was ruthless and, based on the people stalking towards the dead-zone, not averse to shooting people in the face.  Not that I could blame her.

I shot Jim when I found him sneaking up behind her, and she shot him again when she turned around.  We exchanged a grin and finished the rest of the crew off as a team.

When I was sure we’d cleared the field, I cleared my throat.  “Misty, I was wrong.  You would totally save everyone if there was a zombie apocalypse.  That was amazing!”

I had plumbed Misty’s unplumbed depths, and they were Aweome.  The guys were going to be so jealous.

Misty grinned at me and replied, “You’re not too bad yourself,” and shot me three times at close range.  She smirked.  “You said last-man-standing, too, right?  Can we eat now?  Winner gets to choose, and I say Thai.”

As she walked off the field, gun raised in triumph, I knew I was in love.  You really can’t judge a book by its cover.

***

In case you didn’t guess… no, I have never paint-balled before.  Click the photo above to read more prompt submissions, or submit your own!

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Scattered Marbles and Physics

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I’ve lost my marbles.  I was so good for a while, with the healthy eating and the flexing of my imagination and the general adulting at life, and then the seam ripped and all my marbles scattered.

The fitness one rolled under the desk and wedged itself in the corner with the dust bunnies.  I keep trying to get it out again, but the gravitational pull between my bum and the couch feels insurmountable.

 

bernard-illust6The writing marble went off somewhere, I don’t know.  I keep catching sight of it out of the corner of my eye but when I turn to face it, it’s vanished, like the escaped class-pet in the ducts of every parent’s nightmares.  If the hamster came home not-pregnant and lived in the walls for all of Christmas break… then how is it now pregnant?  How?  I’d come up with a story, but my mind is a blank.

I keep finding and then dropping the arts and crafts marble – at this rate, those mitts will be ready to wear around June.  I’ll have to give them to my friend whose baby is due in June.  The magic eight ball’s sources say the likelihood of my starting and completing my baby themed project is no.

I know exactly where the ‘being a functional adult and taking responsibility’ marble is.  It’s kind of lego shaped, I step on it at the most inopportune moments and the instant stubbed-toe agony it produces tells me which marble it is.  I just don’t like it, so I leave it where it is, even if that means I’ll step on it again in a month or two.

Healthy eating is a slippery one, and I think it rolled under the fridge.  Every time I think I’ve caught it I realize I’m actually holding on to a gobstopper.  Which I then proceed to eat.  Lint and all.  Pretty sure there’s a magnetic field between junk food and my face.

This has been the status quo for more than EIGHT MONTHS.  Interspersed with random flare-ups of art or writing that are the equivalent of an “I aten’t ded” sign to the universe at large.  While this past summer can be blamed on my atrocious work schedule and location (10 hrs x 6 days of broiling hot site work for 3+ months WILL melt all the get-up-and-go from your body and leave you a dehydrated Iced Capp junkie potato), the rest of it is entirely on me physics.  I did the adult version of the toddler-flop and became an object at rest.

Has letting everything go made me happier?  More relaxed?  Surely I’m at least caught up on the laziest of pseudo-chores, the television? Hah.  My globe-trotting friend over at The Mundo Express is doing a better job of that while living out of a backpack and maintaining a blog!

 

Physics is getting tough on me and I hate shopping a lot, so with the goal of breaching the gravitational hold of the couch I signed up for Krav Maga classes last week.  This object had better get in motion if she doesn’t want to come down with a bad case of forcefully applied physics!

Next step: find something healthy and filling that’s faster to make than a  microwave chocolate mug cake (link… and paleo link… for when you want to pretend that it’s healthy.  Because I care about you and your sudden inexplicable desire for microwaved cake.  Blame it on me physics.).

Really Halloween

Amanda’s parents dressed her up like a vampire for Halloween.  A poor life choice, in retrospect, though cursed objects activating is a reasonably low concern on the parent-paranoia scale.

The thing about toddlers is that they have no impulse control.  Add an insatiable thirst for blood and what Amanda’s parents have is an awkward conversation with Becky the Babysitter’s parents in their future.  Becky would like to think that Amanda’s parents didn’t realize that their darling baby would turn into an actual adorable little blood sucking fiend twenty minutes after they left for their party.  She knew it the moment it happened.  Apparently the bunny ears she suddenly REALLY had also gave her a rabbit’s sixth sense about danger.

She’d also like to think that tiny adorable toddlers can’t rip the door off the closet, but wishes don’t build impenetrable hiding-places.

Becky the Babysitter doesn’t have long to contemplate these issues, because Amanda is always hungry and cranky when she wakes up from a nap.  Her one consolation in her final moments was that Amanda’s dad was now literally an ass, where before he was only figuratively so.

Mrs Kimbell down the street regretted her Lady Godiva costume almost as quickly as Amanda’s dad regretted his.  Next year she’d find a better way to show off the fact that she’d lost all the baby weight.  October is not the right month for the emperor’s new clothes.

Amanda is less hungry when she leaves the house, but, to reiterate, lacks impulse control.  Mrs. Kimbell’s extra long hair slows her down, though, frankly, it’s unlikely she’d have escaped even without it.

Her next snack is the Johnstons’ dog.  Vampires might not drink animal blood, but Mippy had become two very short pirates carrying a treasure chest.  One of whom literally had the brains of a dog’s derriere, so they are very easy to catch.

As a large portion of the populations of countries that participate in Halloween find out exactly what being a zombie was like, an even larger portion discover the downside of dressing one’s baby as an inanimate object.

They are both lucky in that they are on the very short list of people a tiny vampire decides don’t appeal to her taste.

The curse lasts three hours.  The world is lucky that the guy who broke that vase was doing it while dressed as Indiana Jones, instead of his original plan (an ironic cabbage).  Indi, like a boy-scout, is always prepared, and it takes him three hours to super-glue the vase back together.

The zombies become very very traumatized people who have done very traumatizing things.  Most of the vegetables turn back into babies, with the exception of those whose parents thought it would be cute to dress up as an herbivore.

The death-toll caused by Amanda the vampire toddler was so high that it made the housing market bubble burst in Toronto.  Amanda’s dad is still a figurative ass, but her mom spent three hours as a queen, so she’s finally noticing that this is, in fact, a problem she doesn’t need to deal with.  This is the closest thing to a happy ending that this horrible evening can claim – just ask any of the guys who spent three hours as giant penises.

It was just like “Pretty in Pink”

You guys! I got asked to prom.

It gave me all sorts of warm and fuzzy feelings, it’s really a boost to my ego.

It was a very classy proposal.  He was in a shiny black SUV with PROM? taped to the sides in giant pink cardboard.  I can only assume he and his cohorts (someone needs to hold the reins) are artists, it was so skillfully done.  Let us also hope they are as skillful in paint touch-ups.

My suitor in particular leaned out the window when he saw me standing with my dog outside the drugstore.   “Wanna go to Prom?” he waxed poetic.

It warmed the cockles of my heart.  Me, in my sweaty gym clothes, hair in disarray, looking a hot mess, asked to prom!  And by someone strong and fast enough to claim a front seat!

I shook my head sadly ‘no’, to a chorus of teenage-boys going ‘Awwww’,  before my suitor was swept off with the light’s change to green.  Though Canada’s age of consent is 16, I’d still rather – at 27 – date one of his teachers.

but, oh, if I were still in highschool, you can bet your britches that I'd have... awkwardly and embarassedly said no, because teenage me would have assumed it was some kind of weird joke... I had some issues

but, oh, if I were still in highschool, you can bet your britches that I’d have… awkwardly and embarassedly said no, because teenage me would have assumed it was some kind of weird joke… I had some issues

 

Skunked or Bamboozled

With the warm weather, the skunks in my neck of the woods are emerging from their winter sleep.

The other week, my coworker got sprayed just outside the front door of our office – this led to the entire office reeking of skunk for the next two days, as a blast of skunky air swept through every time someone opened that damn door.  It’s not his fault, though, I blame immigration for failing to alert non-North-Americans of the key difference between Pepe and Penelope upon entry into Canada.  He’s Scottish, and they don’t have skunks.  If my nose weren’t so angry with him, I’d suggest that it’s kind of sweet that he was going out to find out what was wrong with the cat hanging out beside our front entrance.

Poor guy thought he was safe even if the cat were mean, since it had its back to him.

For future reference of people who’ve never seen a skunk.  If it’s between late evening and mid-morning, and it’s got white markings on it – even if it isn’t a skunk, it’s a skunk. Skedaddle.  If you want more particular details, they kind of look like a long haired black and white cat from a distance, but they waddle.  They stamp their feet when they’re angry/anxious, and the end you should fear most is the tail end.

I’ve had a few close encounters with skunks and their smell, but have not yet been skunked myself.  I’ve got a dog, though, and nearly everyone I know who owns a dog has, at one point or another (or, in the case of my neighbour with a beagle, 5+ times) gotten skunked, or at least had to deal with a skunked dog.  And, if your dog gets sprayed – there isn’t a chance in hell that you’re getting him clean without long exposure and contamination.

I know it’ll happen, though I do my best to fight the odds.

With all of this in mind, when I was out in my back yard this morning getting ready for a dog walk, and heard a strange watery spritzing noise right beside me, it’s no surprise that my response was a low wail of “Nooooooooooooo” and a Mr. Bean-esque retreat.

Adrenaline pumping, I ran right out of the  yard, unleashed dog close on my tail, with the sole purpose of getting out of the line of fire.  Panting and wild eyed in my front yard, I, bloodhound, I sniffed suspiciously at the air… the dog… my knees… before throwing the leash around Gwynn and quick-stepping out into the road.

From the safety of the middle of the road, I more securely fastened the dog and acknowledged that skunks probably don’t make a noise like someone charging a water gun before or during their spray.  And that, if our sump pump pipe had frozen almost solid, it would probably make just that kind of gurgling hiss.

If you see this view of a skunk then, well… it’s probably already too late. “Image by Ken Bosma under Creative Commons license

Halloween

My favourite thing about Halloween is pumpkin carving.  And costumes.  And candy.  And the movie ‘the nightmare before christmas’, and hocus pocus too.  But mostly the pumpkin carving.  In our family, it’s kind of the thing.

My office changed from having an office costume contest this year, to having an office pumpkin decorating contest.  My initial response was, yes, finally, I shall triumph over all! with maybe a bit of evil laughter.  I don’t often meet people who meet my level of pumpkin carvery.

my pumpkin from this year - tonight, he'll have a glowy tiny pumpkin hanging over his slightly baffled angler-fish face

my pumpkin from this year – tonight, he’ll have a glowy tiny pumpkin hanging over his slightly baffled angler-fish face

However, my office then clarified that, for insurance purposes, inviting us to come to the cafeteria and handing out knives and gourds would be a no-go.  But you’re welcome to come join us in the cafeteria for some pumpkin decorating!  We’ve got pompoms and furry wire things and glitter and paint!  Yay!

And I was just like, “no carving?  What does that even mean?  Why won’t you give me a knife?”

you don't trust me with a knife?  what about my carving tools?  I have many tiny pointy things

you don’t trust me with a knife? what about my carving tools? I have many tiny pointy things

FYI, painted on eyebrows are fun.  Trust me, it doesn’t matter what face you make to go with them, it really works.

Dinosaurs - Friday Nights at the ROM, in full costume only happens once a year, and it is MAGICAL

Dinosaurs – Friday Nights at the ROM, in full costume only happens once a year, and it is MAGICAL

I’m an ARTISTE, I don’t decorate pumpkins.  Look at my face!  Look at it!  And costumes aren’t even the most important part of Halloween for me.  PUMPKINS are!

FACE!  BOVERED!

FACE! BOVERED!

FACE!

FACE!

I considered just carving my competition pumpkin at home (I will stand by my convictions!), but decided I’d play by their rules.  It might have been a decision impacted by the fact that the ‘decorating’ party included a couple cauldrons of candy.  I might be an addict.

So I made a non-carved pumpkin, in exchange for sweet sweet tiny chocolate bars

So I made a non-carved pumpkin, in exchange for sweet sweet tiny chocolate bars

And on the morning of halloween, I woke up inspired not to paint my face, but to go for something easier and somewhat more work appropriate.

I've even got a beard.  But no axe... because if the insurance people were worried about pumpkin carving, I can only imagine what they'd have to say about an axe.

I’ve even got a beard. But no axe… because if the insurance people were worried about pumpkin carving, I can only imagine what they’d have to say about an axe.

Happy Halloween, I hope it’s full of spooks and ghouls and frightful things!  And candy.

Taking out the Trash

Dear Parks Staff,

I really hope you don’t have video surveillance in the park.  If you do, let me explain.

It’s not what it looked like, I swear.  I mean, yes, I did kick that garbage can.  Okay, I’ll admit, I kicked it three times.  I meant it for the best, though.  You saw my dog getting all interested in it, jumping up and basically just being all over that trash receptacle, right?  I couldn’t just let it go.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Why three times?  Well, the first time, I could have sworn I heard something, but that could just have been the hollow thud distorted by plastic.  The second, though, nada.  The third, I thought I heard something, only it was fainter, but the dog was still freaking out.

You work in Toronto.  You know what’s out there. R.O.U.S., we have them.  Full grown raccoons that outweigh my dog do exist.  They are the reason our trash-pickup compost bin is kept hung up on the wall with bungee cords holding the lid shut.  Possums – basically demonic characters from a Tim Burton movie sprung to life.

On a side note, We are really big fans of the gigantic new garbage cans the city implemented – 5 feet tall with a big heavy lid, we no longer need to bungee our bins shut, and the raccoons seem to get the idea that pulling the lid up enough to squeeze in would be a bad life choice.  I’m not so sure it was a good idea to modify the lids of the ones in parks to include a big permanent opening for easy waste disposal, though.

I think the book 1984 stuck with me in unusual ways, because I was torn between “some poor animal is TRAPPED in the garbage can” and “There’s a raccoon in there, and if I get too close, it’ll latch onto my head with its creepy little child-fingers and chew my face off.”

Which is why I tried poking the lid open with a stick, while holding my arm over my face like I was dracula.  It makes perfect sense – the raccoon latches on, but my arm is in the way and can push it off.  Science, that’s what that is.  Though the stick was less scientifically effective.  in order to get the lid high enough, I’d have been almost fully suspended over the bin, and in full danger of face-attack.

We retreated, temporarily, to discuss options.  With Gwynn tied up far from the bin of doom, I came around behind, and pulled the lid open, bracing myself for the explosion of bandit-faced doom.  So, yeah, nothing came out but an ominous hissing noise.

Part of me, at this point, was thinking “Oh thank god, it’s a cat!”, but the instinctive part of me was saying “Oh crap, it’s angry, run away!”  Don’t judge – you weren’t there.

Speaking of, Doodle suggested calling you guys, but I figured that at 7pm, in the rain, you and animal control would be indifferent to the plight of a garbage-can beast.  But you could thank us for doing your job.

We retreated – what might have appeared to an outside observer to be us conferring about how next to abuse the garbage can.  And waited, but nothing emerged.

Just to be clear, I wasn’t attacking the garbage-can beast, I was trying to give it an out.  But unfortunately I think the stick I threw (from a distance) into the garbage can probably just beaned him in the head.  It was meant to be a freedom stick, though, i swear.

We were still not entirely sure whether there was something in there.  Actual leaning over the garbage can was necessary.  Doodle and I pulled up our hoods, which might have appeared to be us trying to belatedly hide our identities, but was in the hope of reducing the things the beast would have to hold on to.  Dracula arm up, and prepared for face-attack, I leaned in.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s too bad I didn’t have my phone, because there was the cutest little (cat-sized) raccoon in the nearly empty garbage bin.  Completely unable to get out.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd looking really really pissed off while non-stop hissing.  Reach my arm in?  HAH.

It’s at this point, I know, that any footage of our behaviour would have gotten a bit strange (like tentatively attacking a garbage can wasn’t strange enough, I know).  It’s just that we didn’t want it taking its wrath at having been soundblasted with garbage can kicks and then thwacked with a stick out on us.

So we pushed the can over on its side and ran away.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat?  We gave it enough time to theoretically get out and scramble up a tree, and then checked.  Unfortunately, by then, it was full dark, so we couldn’t be sure that there wasn’t anything in there.

In conclusion, dear park staff, while there are plenty of jerks who knock over your garbage cans for fun, that was not our intent.  We knocked it over for freedomAnd didn’t pick it up afterwards, also for freedom.

Yours truly,

Concerned citizens willing to fight and defeat dragons garbage cans in order to rescue fair maidens potentially giant beasts of the night.  Trashy freedom fighters.

**Update – I completely forgot to mention that the artwork is by my fabulously talented sister and comrade in arms, Doodle!**

Summer Master Class #3 – Underdog

I was pretty pumped last round to get to choose the prompt.  I was really pumped that I got my sister, Doodle, to participate in it!  And really REALLY excited when her post won.  It completely deserved it – it was a combination of funny and adorable and Pratchett-y that was just golden.  Check it out HERE if you want.

She left us with the quote below (follow the link in the picture to go submit your own responses or to read the other responses to the prompt):

follow the link to Master Class summer edition # 3

He had learned quickly to deal with it.  You had to act fast to make it clear that it didn’t matter to you, but that it also wouldn’t be a good idea to keep doing it.

It was certainly a Character-builder.  If Character had to do with frequent visits to the infirmary and the principal’s office, scraped knuckles, and a wardrobe that was scrupulously analyzed to give off an air of “don’t mess with me”.  His father seemed to think so.

His mother might have preferred if he’d shown the kind of Character that included turning the other cheek, being polite to his elders, and the spirit of camaraderie.

Rossamund was a boy with a girl’s name, and he knew it from day one.  He’d tried explaining that it was actually a boy’s name common in Wales in the eighteen hundreds.  He’d told them about how his mother was Welsh, and her favourite old Welsh ballad featured Rossamund, a mighty warrior who went off on adventures, slaying dragons, helping damsels in distress, and generally being a badass, manly kind of guy.  Even saddled with a name most people read as “Roza-mund”, emphasis on Rose.

He’d only made that mistake once – trying to explain his way out of the teasing.  A visit to the park with his mother had cured him of that – no boy can survive being called Rosie in front of his peers.  The two years he’d spent at that school were miserable.  And most definitely a Character building experience.

He’d been ecstatic when his father’d been transferred out of town for work.  He’d learned a lot about fighting dirty at his first school, and took advantage of his mother’s nervous shopping the summer before the second school to acquire armour.

Rossamund smiled grimly at the recollections as he dutifully passed on Character to one of his fellow students.  The best that could be said about Billy was that he excelled at contact sports.  The unfortunate aspect of his achievements in sports was that he rarely left them on the field, choosing to educate the scrawniest of the boys in the least sportsmanlike manner.  Lockers rattled in his wake, papers cascading out of some poor unfortunate’s hands as he exercised.

“C’mon, Billy-boy,” he jeered.  SLAM.

“I thought this was how you trained for football?”

SLAM.  The burly teen whimpered a cry for help, but none of the students observing stepped forward.

Rossamund hoisted him by the shoulders of his letterman jacket.

“Eh Willy-boy?  Wee Willy?”  Plant the idea in everyone’s mind, check.  He could distantly hear some nervous titters.  It was a start  “You’re right, this is kind of fun.”

SLAM.

“Please!  I’m sorry!”  there was a distinct teariness in Billy’s voice.

“What’s that?”  Rossamund leaned forward.

“I’m sorry!” the other boy cried.

“I thought that might be it, Tiny.”

Rossamund dragged the boy up by the collar and leaned him, almost gently, up against the dented locker.  He slapped him on the shoulder, almost in a comradely manner.  He then grinned, an evil looking grimace he’d practiced for hours in front of the mirror, turned, and walked away.

“Wow.”

Out of sight of the crowd of witnesses to Billy’s defeat, Rossamund turned in surprise.  He vaguely remembered the bookish girl smiling wryly at him from a class – history, maybe.  He cocked an eyebrow, not letting down the facade, and said, “Yeah?  I am pretty impressive, I guess.”

She nodded slightly.  “It’s nice, what you did for John,” she said, referring to the horribly acne-stricken boy Billy had taken a certain extra glee in pushing around.

Rossamund looked around, checking that they were out of earshot of the other students.  “I don’t do nice,” he snarled.

The girl only smiled.  “Yeah, well, if you ever want to try it in a less… aggressive… way, you should stop by the shelter sometime.  Plenty of underdogs there who could use someone to root for them.”  She held out a pamphlet which he accepted without thinking.

A swarm of students came around the corner and flowed around them.  Most looked cautiously over at Rossamund, to see what he would do next, to get out of the way if possible.  Conscious of observation, he stuffed the pamphlet into his pocket, out of sight.  She smiled again, and he wondered why he’d never taken notice of how pretty she was before.

He couldn’t resist smiling back at her, but turned it into a disdainful sneer as he turned to face the crowded hallway.

He figured he’d count helping out in a building full of four-footed allergens as yet another Character builder.

Adventures in Paddle Boarding

My aunt and uncle have all the best toys.  They wind surf, kneeboard, wake board, water ski, canoe, kayak and anything else you can think of involving water.

So when I first started to see people stand-up paddle boarding, I knew who I should go to for information, and possibly even a chance to try it out.  Since I spent last summer watching and becoming increasingly jealous of the paddle boarders going through my construction site, it’s clear it’s just taken me a while to get there.

By this past weekend, when I got to try paddle boarding, I’d seen friends post about stand up paddle board yoga at dawn, I’d read posts about people doing it with their dog on board, and I had seen all sorts of people doing it, even on the Toronto shoreline.  Lake Ontario may be lovely elsewhere, but on the Toronto shoreline, the ideal water sport is one that keeps you out of the water.

I was pretty excited to get up to their cottage and give it a go.  Even more excited when I saw my uncle just coming back from a paddle.

A paddle using a stand up paddle board paddle… and a windsurfing board.  Their sturdy crossover board (good for flat and wavy water) was at home, where they live by a lake large enough to get some actual waves for them to use it on.

My uncle assured me that this one was better anyways – less stable means more core workout, and it’s narrower, making it skim through the water more quickly, ideal for the nearly glassy surface of the lake at their cottage.

Seeing my uncle glide effortlessly off into the distance, I figured he was right.  And that my aunt was right that maybe this wouldn’t be the time to try bringing Gwynn out with me.

Stand up Paddle Boards differ from windsurfing boards in a few key ways.  They have a rubbery foam surface for gripping your feet to the board, wet or dry.  They vary in width and length, depending on what kind of conditions you have planned for them, but looking at a good beginners’ type board, I’d say it’s about the same length as a windsurfing board, and considerably wider.

Wider is more stable.  It doesn’t glide as easily through the water, but it isn’t as wobbly.

Having helped me in previous attempts at new water sports, my aunt and uncle made sure the life jacket they provided me with had an emergency whistle.  They also strongly recommended that I start off kneeling, at least until I was far enough from the dock to avoid knocking myself senseless, should I fall.

Not that I would, they hastened to reassure me.  You’ll be fine.  It’s only water, anyways.  Just don’t go too close to shore.  Rocks, you know.  I left my sunglasses behind, just in case.

Using a windsurfing board to paddle is definitely harder than I suspect your typical beginners’ board would be.  Either type is a great core workout.  The windsurfer added a bit of legs, and kept my core tight regardless of if I was paddling or just standing there.

Paddle Boarding was really great.  It’s a quiet and relaxed activity, once you get used to the wobble, just you and the sound of water, and a great view of the surrounding land.

It didn’t take long to start to feel like I was really getting into the groove of things, really feeling confident.  At which point, of course, a spider crawled up my leg.

Wobble.

Daddy Long Legs aren’t really spiders.  In any case, I’m not afraid of spiders.  Or Daddy Long Legs.  When one is creeping up the inside of my leg while I’m precariously balanced on a floating piece of plastic… I have trouble keeping that knowledge in mind.

Cue swatting frantically at the inside of my knee, paddle held rigidly out in front of me to try to maintain balance.  Insect gone (or at least relocated to the surface of the board), balance regained, aaaah, peace, isn’t it a beautiful day.

Next hazard – people driving around in motor boats.  Like they own the place or something.  Of course, they’re polite about it, keeping to the opposite side of the narrow passage in the lake that I’m currently paddling through, but still!

Seeing a tsunami (at least a foot – no, foot and a half! – high) rapidly approaching me (at a moderate walking pace), I do my best to turn my wobbling vessel into the wave, to avoid being hit side-on.

All in all, I’m feeling pretty good about my amazing paddle-board abilities.  I survived all the huge waves sent my way, an attack by predators (daddy long legs are poisonous, you know… even if their jaws are too weak to pierce human skin) and managed to turn back towards the cottage with only a brief moment of panic at nearly hitting the shore head-on.  It’s just a really hard to notice obstacle – like a shoal or a reef.

If you’re looking for something new to try out, you should definitely head out and find a paddle board rental.  You might even get as good as I did this weekend!  I’m practically a professional, you know.

Grab the Bull by the… No

I have a dehydrator.

I also have an asian food store near me.  They carry all sorts of the more unusual butcher shop selections.

Gwynn doesn’t get rawhide treats, because I’ve heard horror stories about how it can expand in their intestines or wrap them up or… well… things that end up with a dead or very sick dog.

This is going somewhere, I swear.

I give Gwynn bully sticks as treats instead.  Do you know what those are?  I’ll tell you what they are.  Bull wee-wee.  more commonly called “bull pizzle” *cue any men reading this blog crossing their legs.

Bull

you wanna do what? gosh, is that the time?  I have to… go… over there for… the grass?

Based on my scientific observation at the Calgary Stampede, bulls are veeeery well-endowed.  And disturbingly in control of the movement of said equipment.

Have you bought bully sticks lately?  It’s like $10 for an 8″ piece that’ll last Gwynn all of 10 minutes, including the three or four minutes he  runs around the house with it, cigar-like, crying and trying to find a place to hide it.  That’s a dollar a minute, right there.

A few months ago, I was in the asian food store, and, because I do often buy organ meat to dehydrate for dog treats, I was looking at the part of the butcher aisle that I like to call “things I won’t eat, but the dog might.”  So that’s what a bully stick looks like pre-drying and off the bull.  Huh.  They’re… long.  And difficult to cut.

I successfully dehydrated it, the dog enjoyed it, and I thought no more on the topic.

My mother, though.  She had found her mission.  Bully Sticks for the masses.  Or at the very least, the people at work who also had dogs.

Which is how she ended up trying to communicate Bull Penis across language barriers to a very embarassed and uncomprehending older chinese man working behind the butcher counter.  Surrounded by people who could understand her, but couldn’t, for the life of them, figure out why she would want such a thing.  She used gestures. 

She came home defeated, pizzle-less.

Fast forward to this week, and here is the conversation I had with my parents (M = mum, D = dad, L = me!)

M – I got bull pizzle at the grocery store today!

L – cool, I’ll cut it up tonight.

M – Lots!

L – did you buy out their whole stock?  What was their reaction to this?

M – the store clerk wouldn’t touch the packaging directly – she used a plastic bag to move them through, and typed the code in by hand.

D – I doubt most of the people who work there actually eat much of the weird stuff they sell.

L – I wonder what they must have thought, crazy white lady comes in and all she buys is a ton of bull pizzle.

M – I didn’t just buy that.  I also got blueberries.  On sale!

L – So they think we’re making Bull Pizzle and Blueberry Casserole to feed the masses?

D – nah, it’s too hard to cut up, Blueberry and Bull stirfry!

M – They wouldn’t think anything of it.  They sell it, it’s fine.

L – Yeah, but I bet they don’t often see a woman go through check out with 10 packages of bull penis and 10 packages of blueberries.

The lessons learned in this?  We need to start attaching spy cameras to my mother whenever she goes to the asian food store.  I want to see peoples’ expressions.  Also, my family is very weird.

Can anyone tell me what people do with bull pizzle if they’re not feeding it to their dogs?