Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Year In Review: The Shit I Didn't Mention

All right, you caught me. The blogginess... it hasn't happened so much in 2014. But that's okay—that's the way a self-run show works. When you're the boss you get to call the shots, and this year I needed a wee break.

That said, I figured we'd do a Year In Review post. Which would make more sense if I'd actually had blogged more this year, yes, and since that's the case, I figured I'd write a Year In Review post regarding all the things I didn't blog about.

(Yes. Go ahead, read it again. It's weird. Welcome to the program, and buckle your seat belts.)

Forging ahead, here we go...

The 2014 Year In Review: The Shit I Didn't Mention

13. For some reason this year I have dropped a record number of items in the toilet. (Thankfully no electronics, and mostly sweater sleeves.) I have no excuse. I can't remember ever having dropped anything in the toilet before 2014... it's ludicrous.

12. I keep taking photos of our cat, Minette, curled up on our duvet like the squirrelish princess she is, but keep forgetting to post them with the caption that it's her favourite bedding. Every time I wonder if this will be the most recent photo of her before she dies, and thus attempt the best lighting and angle possible for our snarky girl. Every time she realizes what I'm up to and gives me the stink eye before I nail the perfect shot. It's like she's reading my mind and doesn't want a flattering photo on her casket (Bitch. No one makes caskets for cats anyway, never mind, Google says yes, someone does—but it's not like we'd be buying her one. Pfft).

11. Mr Lannis and I began watching Doctor Who and made it through whatever numbered Doctor it was when the series rebooted in 2005, but when the shift came to the next Doctor we fizzled out and forgot about it (until now). Worst. Geeks. Ever.*

10. Over the last twelve months we have bought 30 fish for our aquarium, 3 cherry shrimp, and 3 African Dwarf Freaks Frogs.

9. The frogs all died. All of them. Within two months. (I'm borderline OCD. I track this shit like you wouldn't believe.)

8. So did the fish. There are currently two fish in our tank. Their names? Fat Guy and Jeff. Everyone else checked out via the porcelain bowl (or were MIA because their tank mates ate them. Fat Guy's an ginormous a-hole, hence he's still king of the mountain. Jeff, well, he's one algae eater who knows how to hide).**

7. The shrimp up and vanished completely. (I had one nightmare of rediscovering them living in our houseplants, grown large as that asshole Hamster before he died—rest in peace, jerkface. My mind... she can be a creepy place.)

6. I know far too much about the Jian Ghomeshi scandal. Was glued to it at one point. I may or may not have a secret Pinterest board devoted to blog posts and news articles relating to this garbage excuse for a human. Crossing my fingers the floodgates for dialogue have opened for abuse victims, as that's the only true silver lining I see emerging from this situation.

5. Lighter note: I have a Cards Against Humanity card with my name on it. Actually two. This makes me inordinately happy. Also? Twisted. (No surprise there.)

4. Another happy thought: I have tallied and written my clients' receipts for 2014 and am eager to begin my income tax return (Sandi, look what you have done to me!)

3. I permed my hair a while back, in September, in October (when the first one didn't take in my uber-straight hair). It only reminded me that I'm a low-maintenance girl, and now I wear it braided or in a ponytail, and, if you know me, means I spent an awful lot of money on a frizzy ponytail instead of my usual sleek one. Yippee! (Secret: I still like it better. Now it's interesting.)

2. Started going to a chiropractor in August. I have miraculously only had one migraine aura since August(!). Like, for reals, yo—this is HUGE.

But doesn't quite have the wow factor of:

1. That time I won a "neck massager" off a blog and almost blogged about it—because: fuck yeah, I won a contest! and what kind of a prize is a sex toy? weirdest contest ever—but then decided it was TMI and kept my mouth shut until I clearly had low impulse control while writing this post and blaaaaarrrgggg: now you all know. You're welcome.***

* ETA: Did some digging, discovered we jumped in on the ninth Doctor, and left off at the beginning of the tenth Doctor. See? Geek cred partially restored. A touch. Okay, maybe we have some work to do...

** Fuck it. Wrote this post, and by the time it published we'd lost Fat Guy to, uh, whatever, and I pawned off sent Jeff to go live in our friend's fish tank (seriously: as in, that's not a euphemism for being flushed. He is actually making new goldfishy friends).

*** Pfft... relax. It's not like I use it. It's not even quality.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Unorthodox Requests

So then out of nowhere I ask my then-almost-nine-year-old what he wants for Christmas and he replies, in all seriousness, that he wants a doll that resembles himself with clothes that resemble his own clothing...

What the nugget?!

I suppose this is what I get for not having cable or satellite, yes? (My children have not seen commercials in a loooong time. They also despise shopping. They have no concept of what toys are currently on the market.)

Hooookay, well. The first feat was to shift this request as naturally as possible from the realm of the Santa list to the general gift idea list, since—let's all nod in appreciative understanding here—said doll was going to be wearing remnant clothes of boys (yes, plural), and clearly would not be a product of Santa's workshop.


And then I was struck by the, er, voodoo-iness of the entire matter...

Is it bizarre that my nine year old wants a doll that looks like him? Upon reflection, he's only ever had my old Cabbage Patch Dolls to play with (he found them uninteresting). I suppose it's kind of neat to have a mini-me with clothes to dress it... especially if made by mom's hand, right?

Anyhow, with that out of the way, I got to work on creating rag doll boys and harvesting what I could from the ratty tatty not-good-enough-to-join-the-hand-me-down-network bag of clothes my packrattiness stubbornly refuses to let me discard outright.

(Yes, a wee voice in my brain is telling me this is the reason I held on to them in the first place. Going forward it is clear my ability to discard anything in this house is about to take a hit.)

And yet...


Scary shit, right?

Yes, I'm inordinately proud of these. I ordered the glasses for the oldest's doll on eBay, and picked up the fake fur for hair at a fabric store, but everything else used was leftover from previous projects.

And old clothes. Plenty of old clothes were ravaged in the name of cuff material alone.

Including pajamas, underpants, and socks. Because dolls need wardrobes, too, yo.

Not pictured: the teeny leather backpacks to house all those clothes. (I may have gotten out of control...)

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Unedited Footage of a Bear: Mr Lannis' Adventures in YouTube

Presented without comment... because I really, truly have no comment...

Seriously. What did I just watch?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


You know that moment when you're doing laundry and you're foolishly trying to match up socks and you realize your children—who are only nine, and seven-and-a-half years old—are wearing socks the same size as their mother?

And they've ALL of them shrunk in the wash?

Yeah... I just had that moment.

Article A: Mom's sock; article B: 9 year old's sock; article C: 7 year old's sock.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Jean Patching Rebooted: Skulls and Robots

Over the years I've patched a few jeans.

Okay, maybe more than a few.

Point being: "the monster jeans aren't cool anymore, Mom!" /whine

Then: "The star jeans aren't cool anymore, Mom!" /whine

So here I am, striving for a newer, cooler jean patch.

Because eff me if I'm going to let my kids' knees poke out of their pants. What else am I supposed to do—BUY them new jeans?!


Yeah, no. I'd rather pay my mortgage, thanks. [::snort::]

Anyhow. I figured in my continued quest to make patched play jeans cool again I'd better share my latest designs.

Skulls and robots, ahoy!

The instructions are simple, and the supplies few. You'll need the jeans-to-be-patched, some sacrificial jeans to supply some denim patches, a sewing machine with a little know-how, thread, and a pen.

I was hesitating to write out the instructions for this as most people comfortable with their sewing machine can eyeball my pics and know exactly what they're doing, but since I know I have my own knowledge blind spots, I'll outline the breakdown...

1. From the mountain of denim reserved for patching, select a colour that works with the jeans that need patching. (Or just whatever you've got, really. It doesn't matter too much. Play jeans, remember?) Settle on a shape (oval, square, or rectangle), that best covers the hole and any surrounding worn denim on the knee. Cut it out of the patching denim.

NOTE: Do NOT cut your patch out of the jeans-to-be-patched. Also? Don't sew while drinking, else you may have more sacrificial denim. Accidents happen, yo. And it's bad luck to scoff at free wisdom. [::shifty eyes::]

2. Iron both the (clean) jean pantleg, and the patch-to-be.

3. Using a pen, carefully draw on the details you're going to stitch in over and around the patch. It's the easiest way to ensure your lines are decent, as once you've got that pantleg hiked up around the machine, it gets difficult to see where you're headed.

4. Pin in place.

5. Using a close zigzag stitch, sew that mofo down! Remember to reverse to lock in the ends, and don't be afraid to jump from one eye to the next without clipping those threads—it's far quicker, and as long as you've locked in the ends of your stitching in each new area it shouldn't unravel. Clip threads close once you're finished sewing.

That's it. Really difficult, right?

Wondering which patches are the quickest of the monster patches; swirls, squiggles, and stars; and these robots and skulls? Well, the monster patches are the most labour-intensive and take the longest to make. The stars, squiggles, and swirl patches are the quickest (no need to mark the jeans and all lines are connected). These skulls and robots aren't that much longer than squiggles, stars, or swirls.

Things to remember: They're patched jeans, they're not winning any beauty contests. The can, however, be rather cute in a shabby chic kind of way, so don't get bogged down by perfection. Your best bet to land the cutesy homemade meant-to-be-imperfect style is to deliberately NOT go for perfection. Make them a touch wonky. Make it obvious you weren't going for crisp lines, and no one will question that it didn't turn out exactly as you'd planned.

I figure if you're too much of a perfectionist to loosen up and nail that shabby chic look, you're either (a) going to lose your mind during this exercise or (b) wouldn't let your kids wear patched play jeans anyway...

So loosen up. Relax. Pour yourself a glass of wine* and rid yourself of those idealist notions...

Happy patching!

* Never mind.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Adventures in YouTube: Retro Toons

Mr Lannis fires up YouTube, and this happens...

Me: Seriously?

Mr Lannis: I loved this song as a kid.

Me [shudder]: Seriously?

Mr Lannis: Yes. Seriously.

Me [closing laptop]: That's it. We're done. Clearly we're incompatible. 14 years together down the drain...

Mr Lannis [snort]: Hardly.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Attending Arguments

I've been missing for the last month. (Kind of.)

The reality is I've been exercising grace. (Kind of.)

Or well, that's how I like to think of it.

Mr Lannis would claim I'm babbling myself silly, ranting about our current provincial government's stellar ability to fuck up All The Things in the name of their bullshit election agenda.

But this post is not a political rant. I swear.

No, this is a Lesson from Pinterest.

Because lately? Lately I've been stuck in the Someone Is Wrong On the Internet mentality.

Gah, it's exhausting.

Self-appointing as the educator of all the idiots every misinformed person you encounter will burn you out quickly.


Hence this was a good thing to (re)discover on my Pinterest board...

Because it's true.

There are wrongs in this world. There are idiots spreading stupidity. Yes, you can change the world, yes, you need to speak up for wrongs.

But if it's becoming toxic? If it's controlling your days, beating through your veins, and making you miserable?

Forget it.

Just because someone doesn't agree with you and is clearly itching for a lively debate doesn't mean you need oblige them. The subtle pressure in your chest? That tick tick tick on the side of your throat? That's your blood pressure rising.

Step away. Exercise grace. Breathe.

You don't always have to have the last word, and I don't believe there's ever been a documented case of someone changing their mind because some random person on the Internet debated a subject so skillfully their opposition magically transformed into rational sense.

Seriously. Don't waste your energy.

Don't attend every argument you're invited to.

Your sanity will thank you.