18 Feb

The Toenail Incident…

We all have a memory from some time in our lives that has scarred us beyond words. Something so horrific, that the imagery, smells, tactile sensations, remain years after the event happens.

For my Husband it was a mammary accident, when as a boy he was asked to go and wake his Aunt from nap, as she rolled over, one of her massive flabby breasticles spilled out of her Moo Moo…to this day he cannot look at a large boobs without getting a bit queasy.

For me, it was The Toenail Incident.


My parents were insane, and at the beginning of summer 1974, with Great Grandmother, laying on her death-bed on the other side of Canada, it seemed a perfect time for a family road trip, with three kids all under 10 years of age. This was before my Dad invested in the VW Pop-Top Van, which would take us on many great adventures, and we all crammed into my Mother’s, 1965 Dodge Dart. Two adults who didn’t like each other, and three kids who liked each other even less.

Alberta to Ontario or bust.

I remember the prairies seem to go on forever. I also remember getting a few elbows in the face from my little brother, and a few whacks from my Mother when I gave him a few more elbows right back than he’d dished out. My sister delighted in tormenting me as well, because she was sitting behind my Dad and our Mother’s arm couldn’t reach her. The woman had an incredible reach, to nail me right upside the head from the front seat. It was usually me who got whacked, but honestly I don’t remember being that bad of a kid…

We did the usual sight-seeing along the way, and stopped at more than a few truck stops and Mickey Dee’s for food and piddle breaks. As I recall, everyone made a  big fuss about my sister…”oh she’s so pretty”, “what beautiful hair…”, “Such a polite young girl…”. My brother was, “Adorable!”, and “Oh look at that little smile… he’s so cute and quiet!”

Then there was me. A barefoot, wild-looking, ginger-haired, freckled, Helion covered in three or so layers of dirt, mud and a variety of condiments and food particles, with a perpetually runny nose.


Anyway, so by the time we got to Ontario, we were all tired and pissy. We pulled into our Aunt’s backyard, set up the trailer tent and crashed. The next day we drove out to see the Great Grandmother.

I remember being forced to wash, put on clean clothes and instructed to,”leave your damn shoes on!” We drove for a while, before we arrived outside a small flat-roofed building, and pulled into a spot along the fence. I always had to sit behind my Mother, on the passenger side so she could hit me, when she felt I required a good whack. My sister had already gotten out on the driver’s side and nearly slammed the door on my head as I tried to worm out behind her, so I scooted back over and slid out of the car against the fence. Right into a mass of spiny thistles. Naturally, I had taken my shoes off and was now barefoot and angry, as I bulldozed my way crying and whining through all the thistles until I got to the walkway.

Now if my Mother had, had her way at that moment, I’m pretty sure she’d have suffocated me with that handkerchief she put over my face, instead of yelling “Blow your damn nose you look like an orphan!”, and muttering, “You had to take your shoes off…”

It was a really old-looking building, old square tiles on the floor, and a weird odor of rubber and bleach. Lots of nurses in white uniforms and little white hats, with drab cardigans. We walked down the hallway and into a room. There were a few other beds in there if I remember right, and we made our way over to one in particular.

There was a woman laying there with just a sheet draped over her middle half with her legs exposed. I just stood there frozen. She made a weird sound as she tried to move her mouth and her arm flailed as it reached out for me, there was spittle dipping out of her mouth and she grunted loudly…I felt a push from a hand behind me and I lost it.

I panicked. I didn’t know what the hell was wrong with that woman but I wasn’t playing this game…I ran to the foot of the bed covered my face.

Now I had no idea that when I opened my eyes I was going to see something that would forever haunt me. Well into adulthood,the image of that “thing” would remain as fresh as the day I saw it.sunnitawnkingston22

The image of that gangly, gnarled and decidedly greyish yellow toenail…overgrown and thick as a tree branch…spiraled, lumpy and horribly huge. All of the toenails were like that. Attached to a skeletal foot with callouses and bunions as big as my fist.

I ran out of the room and wouldn’t go back. I had nightmares.

To this day, I can barely touch my own feet without gagging. Toenails must be short and trimmed and clean or I go a bit snaky. Feet are just gross anyway…

As an adult, of course I understand she’d had a stroke or five, and her motor skills were severely compromised. Her speech was virtually non-existent but she had her faculties about her. She knew who we were and why we were there. She got to see her Great Grand kids before she died and for her that was all that really mattered. I was too young and terrified to appreciate why we there. Too young to really comprehend that this woman was dying and this was her opportunity to say hello and goodbye.

The end of a wonderful woman, I never knew, and the beginning of a phobia.annarcher

18 Feb


Shit. You know, making a schedule is a hell of a lot like making a list, and I am notoriously bad at making lists.

That’s not actually true…I am notoriously bad at following lists and/or remembering that I have made a list at all.

My desk is usually covered in bits of paper, with scribbled lists. Like the grocery lists I make, and then forget to take with me when I finally make it out the door to head to the store. Sometimes I’ll remember the list and shove it into a pocket and then forget I have it as soon as I enter the store. Sometimes I remember I have the list but choose to ignore it, foolishly believing I have all the items committed to memory.

I read an article a while back that said most stores will pump pleasing scents into their air to encourage shoppers to buy. I am of the belief that stores pump stupidity into their atmospheres, because it doesn’t seem to matter where I go to shop, as soon as I walk in, I almost always stop just inside the door and wonder, “What the fuck did I come here for?”.

I don’t know what it is.

My greatest fear in life is that my memory will fail me. I actually have nightmares about it, and I frequently take the “Alzheimer’s Test” online. Seriously. I do.

My Mother has lost her marbles, and through the marvel of genetics, marble losing tends to run in families. My Mother writes post-it notes, to remember her post-it notes, to remember her post-it notes… last time I saw her, every cupboard door and her refrigerator door, was absolutely polluted with yellow post-it notes. Most of them were duplicates.

Nu-uh. I use post-it notes to leave love notes for my Husband. That’s it.

So making a blog schedule…I think I’d be setting myself up for a whole lot of irritation and undue pressure. Jesus Christ if I can’t even commit to a grocery list how am I supposed to follow a blog schedule?

I’m still hashing out my intentions for this website anyway. Chaotic and impulsive…loosely structured and full of ideas.

A lot like me.

18 Feb

You snooze you lose…

In a recent conversation with my Husband…recent as in just a second ago, and at least six or seven times a day, everyday for the last 6 years…

He has wondered how it is that I manage to drink all the coffee.

On average, I drink about 85% of the coffee at home. The coffee ratio between us is something like 4 to 1 per pot.

Okay so I drink an unusual amount of Joe. I love the shit. I even drink a cup before bed and believe it or not it helps me sleep. I have gone to bed without my bedtime cup of coffee, only to lay there for an hour thinking , “Mmm…a cup of coffee would be really nice…”. Then I’ll get up and make one, drink it and sleep like a baby. Seriously.

On average I make about 3 pots per day, sometimes more depending on the day. Our coffee maker makes 5 cups based on my mug size. It’s a large-ish mug…

To be fair I always announce when I have made fresh coffee. That conversation goes like this:

Me: “I made fresh coffee Baby.”

Him: tipping his mug to peer inside at the cold coffee already growing a milk skin on it, “I still have half a cup…”

Me: “That’s disgusting…you can have fresh…”

Him: “There’s nothing wrong with this coffee. I’ll get  a cup later…”

Me: “Ick.” as I pour myself a fresh cup.

An hour later… repeat.

An hour after that…repeat.

Three hours or so later, he’s finally reached the end of his cold coffee and is ready for a fresh cup, only to find, what he affectionately refers to as “scags” left in the coffee maker. That is old-ish, burned and bitter, coffee dredges. He empties the coffee maker into his cup and marvels at how I can drink so much so fast.

I give him ample opportunity to get fresh, warm, yummy coffee. I even offer to get it for him, because it grosses me out that he drinks “dead and dying coffee”. I have on occasion pinched his mug when he’s preoccupied, empty out whatever is growing in it, washed it and filled it with fresh Joe. Muddy with milk just how he likes it. He’ll argue that the coffee that was in there was, “perfectly good…” or that it was, “…still okay, it was just from yesterday…”


The man has a lead-lined stomach.

So the rule here is simple, if I mention that there is fresh coffee and you don’t get yourself some quickly…you’re more likely to get “scags”.

Sucks to be you…drink faster!

17 Feb

Things I shouldn’t do, but do anyway #2…

me-waterI am a  chronic “Toucher of Stuff”. It is pure curiosity.

I tend to be a little on the impulsive side as well, which can create some hazardous situations. My hands seem to shoot and grab things before my brain has really had time to process the possibility of injury.

I’ve been electrocuted about 16 times in my life.


Ever see that amusing graphic of the kid with a fork (like the one up there ^), poised to jam it into an electrical outlet… yeah well… it was a butter knife, but the effect was the same.

I watched my Dad remove a broken bulb from a  light socket with a potato once…did the same thing to my night light with a carrot because I couldn’t find a potato.

Sneezed over the toaster, while peering into it waiting for my toast, and my spittle, sizzled and smoked when it hit the elements. Munching my toast and spitting into the toaster, I soon got bored with the small puffs of steam, so I poured a cup of water into it.

Using my Dad’s electric razor to give my Barbie a proper haircut in the bathroom…heard my Mother come home and panicked. Ran the damn thing under the water to rinse the Barbie hair out of it.

As I became an adult, I was a bit more cautious. Most of the electrocutions were not entirely my fault.

Washing walls one day I had a nice arc come from a switch plate when I ran the rag close to it. My cat chewed through the cord of the iron while I was ironing and melted the iron to my hand, I had a bit of blood ooze out of my nose…doc said I was all good though aside from the melted plastic still embedded in my palm… Removing a broken bulb from a socket and my friend insisted the power was off… only thing that saved me was I fell off the step ladder and broke the current. Pulling out my oven to do a full clean…it was wired in, and the wires had frayed over the years…as I pulled it out the wires touched – my body hit the oven as I jolted forward stiff as a board and it shifted the oven enough to separate the wires again. Once giving the dryer a quick wipe down while I had my hand on the washer… I fell and rolled backward breaking the current. Zapped by my curling iron…. there are a couple more…


I love texture too. Rock and stone. Have to touch it. Water features in gardens…have to have my hands in it. Wooden sculptures, crystal doodads, paintings and carvings, anything shiny or smooth. Stained glass. Anything old. Fabric of any kind. Slimey things too…

At the moment I spy something that peeks my curiosity, nothing else exists. It’s a freedom I get from nothing else. I am unconcerned with “how I look”, “what others think”, or if “I look stupid”.

All you’ll hear is, “Oooooh wazzat?” and I’m gone.

I hope it never changes. I hope I never loose that wonder and amazement. The world is so damn tangible and tactile…

Some people don’t understand it. I don’t touch people…just things. I have been known to touch a necklace someone is wearing, or the fabric of their shirt or dress…with permission of course. People have remarked on it rather negatively at times as well.

“Why do you have to touch everything?”, “Can’t just leave it alone can you?”, “You’ll hurt yourself.”, “You’ll break it…” “You’ll get dirty.” “It’s not really meant to be touched.”

It was hell as a kid. My Mother most certainly did not understand it and labeled me “destructive”, “embarrassing” and “retarded” (Can you imagine?). My Father however, shared the same quality and joy. My Husband also shares the same need to touch things.

As a kid, naturally I broke some things. Never with malice or ill-intent. As an adult I am conscious of how delicate some things are and I have refined my touching of things to suit.

I won’t shake your hand but if you have a cool brooch on your lapel you can pretty much guarantee I’m going to want to poke it…

I guess it’s a childlike quality. Learning by touching and inspecting. Investigating textures and designs in the world we live in. I don’t think it’s weird and I find it sad that some people do. I find it sad that most adults have lost that wonder…opting instead to just “guess” or “know” how something might feel. Or worse…to not even consider it at all!

I can’t walk down the street without wanting to touch something…the tree with the big burl in it, the shiny thing in the gutter, the funky mailbox the neighbor has…

If you ever see some crazy red head on your lawn inspecting your lawn ornaments and whirly-gigs…please don’t call the cops.

12 Feb

Once again…

You know when you think you know what you’re doing and you start messing around with things thinking, “I got this.”

I didn’t have it.

Well I did, but then I lost track of it and then with one click…it was gone.

I had my back up for the website in a folder,  safe and sound on my server. Somehow in my clicky-clickerson-ness…I checked the box and didn’t notice.

It was all deleted. ALL DELETED.


The last time I did it…I was messing with my SQL database and code. Didn’t make note of the changes I was making and then…well it was gone.

I found a few posts on the wayback machine..but most didn’t get cached.

Starting over yet again.

I have since set up my site  to back up automatically weekly. In the event that I decide to go messing with shit again…I’ll be covered.

So if you wondered…that’s where it all went.