Thursday, October 13, 2011

Guilty pleasures

I have to confess something.  I LOVE looking at show homes. Those poor sales reps can spot me a mile off - I might as well tattoo "just browsing, please ignore" across my forehead.

I don't want to buy one you understand.  I don't need one.  I just want to look, and touch, and coo appreciatively.  Or pooh-pooh the whole design and layout, and critique the lack of space in the fourth bedroom.

I like to momentarily fantasize that I too could have a sparkly, clean and shiny home, encompassing my amazing design skills, colour co-ordination and the latest, greatest modern appliances and gadgets.  And there would be nothing out of place in my dream life/home.  My granite would sparkle, my towels would be fluffed and the toilet paper holder would refill itself.  Yes, I really can be that shallow for about half an hour every other weekend.

But let's get real.  That would be sooooo boring.  My home is, er, homely.  People actually live in it.  These people leave their crap everywhere.  The windows have dog-nose smears and small handprints on them that glow with such luminescence during these low-sun autumnal evenings. And no-one is capable of re-stocking the loo paper.
Look at this latest trend.  A boot room.  Isn't that a thing of beauty?  

Yeah, right.  Because we all own one pair of co-ordinating boots, a cute hat and one coat.  Can you imagine this scene when you swap "design" for "reality".  Chaos I tell you.

I laughed recently at a little cardboard notice in a show home.  It said "Have you got HDD?" House Dissatisfaction Disorder!

So, no actually - I am not dissatisfied with my house really.  I just like to be bloody nosy and see what trends are out there.  I'd hate to think I was missing something.

SkyWatch Friday

Taken a few weeks ago by my husband on his phone.  
See, even he's got the SkyWatching bug now!
Fabulous moody and swirling clouds gathering over 
Red Deer in Alberta.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

And now a story about a cat

A few weeks ago a local resident was walking in 
North Glenmore Park in south west Calgary, when a cougar ran across the path in front of him.
When police arrived they found a young adult male cougar in a tree, near the Canoe Club.
On this occasion, I do not think the fire department would carry this kitty down.

Fish and Wildlife officers tranquilised him, 
and he was allowed to fall to the ground 
(at this point I am thinking "Er, crashmat guys?")
... where he was hauled off, checked over and 
later released somewhere safe(r).

Apparently about 90% of reported sighting of cougars in residential areas turn out to be bobcats or foxes.  It was thought this healthy male probably followed the deer tracks along the Elbow River corridor into the 
Glenbow Reservoir Park in the city.

This fella weighed 140lbs, and while still an extremely rare event, shows how close we live to nature, 
even in our city suburbs.

(Posted with an acknowledgement and thanks to CPS for the pictures)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Looking out for the dogs

Hello - Smudge here,  hope you folks are doing well.  I'm still enjoying my riverside walks but it is getting too cold now to go swimming (unless I have to rescue my ball, in which case, needs must).
I'm writing today in response to a message we bloggers at Frostbite and Sunburn received.  The Reluctant Dog Owner was a little saddened that one of our readers hinted that we dogs were perhaps not being looked after properly, and that we might require the services of a dog walker.

This relates back to some flippant comments made in a September blog about us doggies feeling lonely now that the Little People have gone back to school again and everyone leaves us alone during the day.

I can confirm, whole heartedly, that we are well looked after and very loved dogs.  Misdemeanours of chewing sandals and cushions and peeing on the door mat were hinted at.  

Apparently, in a bid to promote some entente cordiale, we dogs have to now publicly admit that we have some weird habits.  No, I'm not sure how that works either, but anyway, it's obvious to even the casual observer that Honey is quite frankly an oddball.  We all know she's cute but er, well, stupid. So it's confession time.
First off, Honey is obsessed with shoes.  We think she has a footwear fetish and ought to seek some counselling.  This mostly culminates in gathering shoes that our family leave lying around (and believe me, they leave a lot of shoes lying around), and then placing them right beside her nose as she dozes.  She even sleeps with her face fully submerged in one of The Boss's old slippers.  I know!  Where there's no scents, there is no feeling.
Me - I have a penchant for licking the corner of cushions.  Day or night, in company or alone, there is something quite lovely about sucking on the blue cushion in the bedroom and that brown cushion in the lounge.  Yes, I am smart, good-looking and intelligent, and no, I don't know why I like cushion corners.  I've done it since I was a puppy.
As for peeing on door mats - that definitely wasn't me.  I have a bladder with amazing storage capabilities.  Honey may or may not (I can neither confirm nor deny rumours) have had a little piddle the other week.   The Little People decided to go to some friends after school and they forgot about us and our need for fresh air and toilet facilities.
(Hey, shhhh, what's that strange creature over there?)
So, to put minds at rest and assure our Anonymous and concerned reader, we are well-walked, well-toileted and well-catered for - and mostly well-behaved.  We are not destructive bored doggies, though we are obsessed with barking at any person, truck or leaf that passes by the Window for Nosy Dogs.

In fact, the Reluctant Dog Owner thinks we get more consideration than anyone else in the house.

And quite right too, says I.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

SkyWatch Friday - Distracted

Like many other jurisdictions, Alberta has recently introduced a distracted driving law.  It is primarily aimed at people using mobile phones while they are driving, but the detail includes a few other examples too, like programming your GPS or trying to text.

But what about the sun-rises out here?  
They can be pretty damn distracting too.
Thank goodness no-one can legislate against these.
And as for the person who took the photographs?
Not guilty m'lud.
Four days.  Four distractions.

Monday, October 3, 2011

September, and money - both gone!

September - Week One - with rapidly fading memories of lazy summer days, and a mad, final dash around Staples, I am $200 poorer.  This sets the scene for the whole month.

We buy out half the store so that the girls can haul enormous and overweight backpacks to school, and then fret over the colour of the locker they will be allocated.  Sorry Sir, purple just isn't working for me this year.  And as the innumerate parent, I don't even know what all the symbols of the fancy new calculator mean.  

$270 on school bus passes.  And more dollars on new clothes.

It is exciting to return to school, meet up with old friends and show off sparkly new t-shirts.  Normality and routine will return. Allegedly.
Classy photo above, eh?  What do you mean, you have no idea what it is .... The Josh Groban concert was fabulous. What a lovely guy - amusing, self-deprecating and a bit of a good voice too.  Happy 18th wedding anniversary to us. 

Week Two - Children go back to school, and herein begins the daily madness of packed lunches, signing an abundance of school forms, writing random cheques for I don't know what, and washing the 'right' pair of jeans for tomorrow.  God forbid one would have to wear the wrong pair of jeans.  

Actually, let me backtrack slightly.  Waking children and attempting to dig them from their pits at 7am is a feat in itself.  Not attractive, that's all I'm saying. But they have not missed the bus so far, so that is a mammoth achievement. 

Oh, and mum, I need new shoes too.  It transpires that Daughter Number One has spent the last three months in one pair of flip flops and I hadn't noticed that she really had no other footwear that actually fits her.  Mmm, gonna need to sort that out before the first (shhhhh, say it really quietly now) snow falls.
Spectacular September sun-rises grace me on my journey to work, and all is calm for at least 30 minutes of commuting each day.

Week Two continued - the Weekend - more money.  The dance shop.  Holy Moly.  $340 later, and my two offspring are suitably kitted out in new leotards, miscelleneous dance shoes and other random but essential items.  What is it with kids anyway?  Why do they have to keep growing?  
In the meantime, ballet shoes have to be ordered in especially.  Apparently there is not much call for girls dance shoes in a size 11.  Maybe we should go to Mountain Equipment Co-Op and buy some canoes instead! 

That's in addition to the regular Dance Fees, which would bankrupt a small nation.  Just Say No.   
I spend two days in my garden - sorting, clearing, tidying and planting some spare perennials that a lovely guy from work donated to a good cause, ie, me!   Very exciting.  OK, exciting for me - not so much for anyone else.
Week Two continues.  Dad goes on a course for work, I return to choir and realises just how unfit my lungs really are.  I also commence a new college class because it seemed like a good idea at the time, and need to spend $140 on one text book.  All this somehow fits around taxi-ing children (ours and other peoples) back and forth to classes.  
The dogs go into a sulk.  Why are we being left alone in this house all day by ourselves?  I think we'll chew some sandals, this new cushion, and then we will just pee on the door mat in protest.   Hummmmph. (or Woooofph).

Week Three - hurray - children have managed two whole weeks, and Daughter Number One has not broken a bone, twisted or pulled anything and is still upright and in one piece.  This is indeed a miracle.  Both children return to dance classes and are walking like John Wayne as the muscles in their bodies go into shock and spasm.  But we have new dance teachers this year who are both "cool" and "terrifying" at the same time.

Ah ha but wait.  Week Three, part deux.  

The annual and inevitable ritual called "The-swapping-of-bugs-and-germs" has commenced.  
I hereby re-name the last week of September as Sick Week.  

Teachers get an early moment of relief because half the class calls in sick as some mutating, viral thingy circulates through the whole school, wiping out 50% of children for at least a couple of days.

And I hereby also declare that all employers should just give parents an extra week off at the end of September to attend to fevered brows, snotty noses and dirty toilet bowls (sorry - is that too much information?).  It would make processing annual leave so much simpler.  Let's just say this week has been stressful.

Week four - Repeat, with extra germs.
At least the weather has been kind, with continuing warm sunny days, beautiful skies when you have no camera to hand, and the bonus of no mosquitoes.

And suddenly it is October, and I'm exhausted. And skint. How are you?!