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Saturday, July 26, 2014

ALMOST ME, ALMOST YOU by E.M. McNulty

Go order this book and read it.  










Here's the blurb:

In Chicago, Catholics divide the city according to parishes, not neighborhoods. Your parish is your world. So what do you do when that world violently collapses?

Sixteen year old Maureen Hayes is a typical Catholic high school girl. When she and Jimmy Ryan, star of the St. Patrick´s football team, sneak out of a dance to fool around a little, she is certain that her popularity rating is about to go from lame to fame. That is, until she and Jimmy, hidden in the shadows of the locker room, witness something they weren´t meant to see: the celebrated new parish priest committing an unspeakable act. This horrifying incident unleashes a series of events that will thrust Maureen, Jimmy, and four of their friends into a world where many people and things are not as they had seemed. In the end, Maureen must walk a thin line between keeping a tragic secret, remaining loyal to her love for Jimmy, and helping to expose a dangerous criminal and a high-ranking Church official, who will stop at nothing to avoid being caught.

Almost Me, Almost You, is a powerful coming of age story set in the 1980s against the backdrop of Chicago´s Catholic South Side. Propelled in equal parts by suspense and the haunting innocence of first love, it is a heroic story of friendship, loyalty and belonging. 


I can tell you right now, it's a good book worth reading. My friend Erin is bravely stepping into the world of publishing, and I fully support her in this.  Go get yourself some reading material!! 

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

A little game called "Bad Idea Pony Of The Week"

I scroll through ads for houses I'll never live in and horses I'll never own.  It satisfies my need for being judgemental.  I can harshly criticize how people think they should decorate their houses when they're trying to sell them, and of course, bitch about how advertising a horse tends to bring out the stupidity in people. 

It turns into a game when I bring my husband into it.  Poor fella.  He gets regular emails from me featuring perfectly adorable and pretty much useless little teensy ponies and minis, all this while he's got like, eight musicians on the floor and the clock's ticking and he hasn't eaten in a few hours and there's probably a microphone cable somewhere in the building that's cacking out… and how can he concentrate when there's a picture on his iGadget of those little ears oh my gosh poking out of that fluffy mane eeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!

Recently I've been seriously considering scraping together a few hundred bucks and buying a pony.  I like ponies and I don't think they're evil.  I think many don't get trained well because they're little and adults don't want to bother with them.  I, however, am about the size of the average 11 year old.  I am pony sized.

Also people tend to treat ponies like kittens instead of what they are, which is basically shrunk down draft horses - full sized attitudes.  And strong.  Are you aware of how freaking strong a Shetland pony is?  The strength to size ratio is crazy.

I have a flaw that makes me kind of want to go plunk down the $150 and take home the saddest skinniest dirtiest little pony standing in the middle of the slop yard.  BAD IDEA.

JETHRO:  That's a vet bill.  That's not a pony.  That's a pile of dewormer and corrective hoof trimming right there is what that is.

HEIDI: But I really think just being taken care of would do him a world of good.

JETHRO: Damage.  Damage from the day he was born.  He's equine garbage.

HEIDI: Some clean hay and water, a few hours a day on grass… some good firm handling and lots of pats and snuggles… he'd be good.

JETHRO: Please don't.


Then there's the pony who basically just needs a different place to live.

HEIDI: Honey check out this ad!  Broke to ride, good with kids, done parades and shows, need gone ASAP BECAUSE SHE DISCOVERED THE STUD DOWN THE ROAD AND WON'T STAY HOME ANYMORE!  Bwahahahahaha!  Are they gonna use the $500 to put up a new fence?  hahahaha!

JETHRO: Oh dear lord.


Of course there's the "miniature pony" thing which is kind of… not the same thing.  I mean, I sometimes have a hard time telling a small Shetland from a mini, especially if they aren't exactly well built specimens, but I always wonder if people actually know what they've got.

My favourite?  The Percheron Pony.


Ummmmmmm….?????  NO.


HEIDI: Here's one.  Not sure if broke, was being ridden before we got her, haven't tried since, easily jumps 3 ft.  So….

JETHRO: And that's how she discovered the stud down the road?

HEIDI: That's a different pony.

JETHRO: Different pony, same story.  BAD IDEA.


Of course there's this scenario…

JETHRO: I don't think the two for one pony idea is good.

HEIDI: Oh come on, you'd love a little foal running around here.

JETHRO:  You wouldn't.  You already said you don't want to fuss around with foaling.

HEIDI: But wouldn't it be fun just to see what the offspring of the mystery stud would turn out like?  Hee hee hee hee!



Seriously, why are half the pony mares advertised already knocked up?  Please don't answer that.  We haven't got all day here.


My favourite one is the little pinto mare with the crazy headgear.  She's got a halter on and over top of that, a strange looking bridle with a big honking curb bit with curved shanks.  Why even make a bit like that pony sized?  Are we cutting cattle with Shetlands?  And what's with that bridle?  I enlarge the picture on my iGadget.  Oh my.  Wow.  That's not a noseband.  That's the brow band.  It's halfway between her eyes and nostrils.

HEIDI: Oh look honey.  This one's broke to ride and drive and Heidi please get me out of here.



Truth is, I don't want the nasty run down sick unbroke pony.  As much as my soft heart wants to pluck them out of there and give them a good life here at the old homestead, I can't afford it.  Not with time or money.  And honestly, whenever we play Bad Idea Pony, I know exactly why it's a bad idea.



I have a cart upstairs in the barn that I can't get rid of even though we haven't used it in about 30 years.


I have pony sized tack.



I don't think I want three horses.


But two and a half might be okay.



I need to start inventing rules for a game called Good Idea Pony Of The Week.









Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Yes????

Leaves on trees.

Grass is green.

Plants are growing.

Horses are sleek and fat and muscular.

I am sleeping well.

I ride two or three times a week, usually only a half hour, but it's okay.

The thing I'm writing has been put into paper form and is mostly covered with orange marks.

The barn and the house are still a disastrous mess but Whatever, right?

So far, so good...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I need a break. (And a tractor to deal with all the problems…)

Hello.

I know at least four of you are waiting for me to tell you all about our trip to the Juno awards, which happened, like, three weeks ago.  And every day I think of more stuff I'd like to share with the world, or at least the seven of you who are still reading!

But it just ain't happening, folks.

This winter insists on dragging along… we had a few decent days of above-freezing weather, the snow banks were kind enough to melt slowly and not cause catastrophic floods, which was nice and I was very grateful.  The layer of scum hung on for a little longer until we got a decent rain.  More gratitude for a decent rain as opposed to a battering.  The place just stunk the high heaven though.  I need to seriously deal with some s**t.  For real, and metaphorically.  Well, anyways, now there's an inch of snow on the ground again.  And it's cold.  All weekend I mentally added up the list of outdoor work needing to be done, then having a lie-down to recover from the exhaustion of just thinking about gravel on the lawn, garbage that blew around all winter, dog poop, everything that didn't get done last fall before the winter hit.  Now I'm secretly relieved to have the snow cover it up for another few days.

It's not totally about the weather though.  I'm wrestling with depression again this year.  Last year I was feeling exceptionally well this time of year, but not now.

You know what the big difference is?  I KNOW THIS ISN'T PERMANENT.

So I'm feeling wretched.  It is what it is.  It's what's happening right now.  I'll deal with it and I'll get over it.

I can get cleaned up and leave the house and put on a smile, and it's a real smile.  I can laugh and enjoy people.  It's exhausting though, and afterwards I need recovery time.  The worst part is when people ask those innocent questions:  How's it going?  How are you?  What's up these days?  

I don't lie.  I'll honestly say, the last few months have been a challenge.

I've figured something out though…

I need to be writing.

Not here.

Why wasn't I writing all winter, when I needed excuses to not be outside freezing my butt off?  My brain felt frozen.  I'd open this thing up and stare at it and feel kind of blank.  I've written something that's full of knots and I couldn't figure out how to untie them.  The harsh winter is over now, it's spring, the season most normal people associate with new life, and which I associate with scum and dirt and manure and unpredictable skies.  Difficulty.

You know what order I keep seeing? Things get worse before they get better.

I just need to take a few weeks off here… and untie some knots, rake up some dead grass, shuffle some words around, move some manure...




Monday, April 07, 2014

Post Juno recovery time?

I've been home again for almost a week.  I still feel like all I want to do is sleep but that could be a result of winter kicking the snot out of me and leaving me pretty much used up and depleted.  Blech.  On that happy note, yay, I intend to get my pictures sorted out and tell you all about Winnipeg and our Juno-related hijinx.

Until then… I'm currently being held down by a Pug.  He's quite heavy.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

WARNING: this post contains awards shows, parties, horse manure, complaining about the weather, depression, bitchy computers, alcohol and ridiculous high heeled shoes.  Where else are you going to find all that, except here, eh?

Tonight, I am getting on a plane with my husband and kids, and we're flying out to sunny Winnipeg Manitoba! Some of you may be wondering why the heck Winnipeg.  IT'S JUNO WEEKEND!





From what I hear these days, it's sunny out there, but it's cold.  We were in Winnipeg nine years ago and it was like that.  It's a nice city.  Some day I'd like to go there when it's not the ass end of Canadian winter, because until then I will never see it looking like this:


We here in Ontario have kind of been getting the prairie winter.  Oh, yeah, technically it's spring now, but I call BS on that because I've still got snowbanks up to my knees out here on the ol homestead and it's still several degrees below freezing and I'm worn out.  Worn out and worn down.  


I keep thinking I shouldn't complain, except that my dad, who is 71 years old, says he can't remember a winter this consistently cold, with this much snow, that started so early and has held on this long.

Also I know people who grew up on the prairies who've said that, yes, the winters are way colder out west, but Ontario winter is much crueler.  It's windy here, and wet cold, and makes you want to cry.

Well, I don't know about the crying part.  That was just me.  I want to cry.

Spring has a history of bumming me out, which sucks, because everybody else is leaping and grinning and chirping while I'm grinding my teeth and moping.  Shouldn't spring make me feel optimistic?  It does not.  It makes me feel like all that excrement out in the yard, melting into a stinking pile.

Last year for the first time in I-don't-even-know-how-long, I felt okay.  I could handle it.

This year?  Bleccchhhhhh.

But whatever.  I AM GOING TO PARTY IN A BUILDING WITH ROCK STARS.

And I'm BRINGING THE YOUNGUNS ALONG.

They haven't gotten a whole lot of advantages from growing up in the music business, and they deserve some perks, right?

I got a $20 dress, I have crazy towering silver wedge heeled shoes -- they're so high I must be close to 5'6" in them!!!!!

I am not even going to lie... I will be graciously accepting the free drinks.

Not too much.  Just enough.

I mean.  Beer.  Right?

Anyways, my phone gadget and computer have decided they are two girls in grade 7 and are not speaking to each other.  Therefore, no blog updates.  However, I have Instagram!




Alright folks.  I'm leaving in 20 minutes.  Right after Selina folds laundry and Bucky and Jethro load the car and and I throw some feed at the horses.  I'M TOTALLY OKAY HERE, PEOPLE.  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Yesterday I had to end the life of a perfectly healthy young cat.

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.  Maybe we shouldn't have named her after a song that might have been about mind altering drugs. 



I had to.  What else was I going to do with her?

She was cute, petite, pretty, fluffy, and volatile.  She'd be purring and cuddling and affectionately vigorously smashing her head into my cheek, and then turn around and hiss and growl like the devil at somebody else.  She went after the dog a few times and I was concerned about his safety.  They used to play.  It devolved to the point that Dobby chased Lucy across the room, looking for fun, only to have her turn into a screeching dangerous monster.

Back when they were friends.  



My house was full of stress.  One by one, all of us humans got worn down by the constant pressure of keeping track of where she was and what mood she was in.

I tried.  Please believe, I tried.  I worked on behaviour modification, which is extremely difficult with a cat.  I tried medication.  She gobbled up her pills, and in fact, I was able to pick her up and pry open her little mouth and pop that pill right down her throat.  It seemed to help.  A little tiny bit.  She still had a hate on for the dog though.

She wasn't always like this.  When we got her, about five years ago, she was a scared little skittish kitten.  I hadn't ever had a female house cat, and it had been a looooong time since we had a kitten, so I waited for her to grow up and settle down.  She never did either.  I could handle sharing a home with a cat who isn't friendly to strangers.  I could handle a cat who would rather be looked at than cuddled.  I maybe even could have tolerated her mood swings.  But then she started getting violent.

And... this isn't my house.  I have to be respectful of the other people I live with.

So what were my options?  Take her out to the barn?  I'd take the risk of her attacking my beloved barn cats, Moe and Dice.  And, probably have her end up having a very difficult end. She'd always been an indoor cat, no outdoor survival skills, and we live next to a busy highway.

Take her to the pound, like where we got her?

They can't take her.  They're full to capacity.  Plus, we live out of county.  Plus, they can't take a cat with that many issues, and will therefore be hard to adopt.  She'd spend years in a cage, waiting for someone to choose a cat who may or may not turn vicious without warning.

Let her go?  To fend for herself?  Maybe become somebody else's problem?  End up in the pound as a stray?

Try to give her away to someone without telling them about her problems?  Have someone come back and tell me how she ripped open their hand and then what, I pretend she never did that before?

I had only one option left.  I took her to the vet clinic, tears rolling down my face, and had her put down quietly and with as much dignity as possible.  I'm sure it was the only quiet thing she ever did in her five years of life.

Call me crazy but I am sure she knew what was up.  She got really heavy when I picked her up and put her in the crate.  She was tense and heavy as we sat on the couch waiting for the vet.  I told her it wasn't her fault.  None of this was her fault.  I don't blame her; I really believe she couldn't help it.

We were told at the shelter she came from that she was part of a massive confiscation.  There were like, 20 dogs and 50 cats pulled out of a house.  Or 10 dogs and 30 cats.  Or 40 dogs and 100 cats.  Either way, I can't help but wonder if she missed out on some important socialization, with other animals and humans, or if she had some invisible problem on account of her mother being her sister-cousin. I don't know.  It's no use blaming the animal hoarder, or the shelter workers who didn't euthanize the whole lot of them right away.  She looked fine.  Sometimes she was really sweet and charming.  Other times she wasn't, and she got worse, and what's the point in analyzing it now?

This was harder than I expected.  It's not like euthanizing an animal that's old or sick or injured.

Dobby is agitated today.  It doesn't matter that the cat wasn't a good buddy to him anymore; he's a dog, everybody is a potential friend.  He knows she's gone and it bothers him.  He's had some solid cuddling today and he'll get more.  He and I will both need it.  I'll miss the cat chatter.  She was talkative.  I'll miss those occasions when she liked to be petted.  I'll miss the breakfast purr.  I won't miss the unpredictable moods and the sinking feeling of dread when the devil growling started.


Goodbye little cat.