Monday, February 21, 2011

Cozy Tips & Reads for Attic Bedrooms

Attic rooms have always been an intriguing setting in literature. What better place is there for a small child to hide from an evil step-father and find a magic portal to another world or to lock-up embarrassing and crazy aunts? Since these draughty spaces tend to be freezing in the winter and broiling hot in the summer, the attic is also a handy place for housing the servants and poor relations.

My bedroom is upstairs in the attic of our old-timer house. In the winter, it does indeed get bloody cold. But we manage because we really pile on the coverings for our bed. We have six blankets, including a down duvet. It also helps to wear fluffy socks to bed. Another great discovery is the ultra-fantastic-auto-shut-off heating pad. Every night, just before my bedtime, I tuck my heating pad into the sheets and turn it on. Heavenly warmth!

Reading in bed used to pose another problem. While I could keep the rest myself warm under the multiple covers, my hands and forearms turned to ice while holding my book. I solved this problem by wearing leg-warmers. On my arms, that is. I got some cozy striped ones from the dollar store. These things are not sexy but they do help!

Here are some book suggestions that feature attic bed/rooms:

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
The House of Reckoning by John Saul
Flowers in the Attic by VC Andrews
What's Bred in the Bone by Robertson Davies

For the young at heart:

Jesse's Star by Ellen Schwartz
The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Secret in the Old Attic a Nancy Drew Mystery by Carolyn Keen
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone By JK Rowling
(there's all kinds of rooms in the Potter books, such as closets, attics, chambers, towers, etc.)

Saturday, February 12, 2011


A noun. From German Schadenfreude, from Schaden (damage, harm) + Freude (joy)
Malicious enjoyment derived from observing someone else's misfortune.

Schadenfreude pronounced 'sharden-froid-eh'. I first learned this word from reading Will Ferguson's hilarious book Happiness. It comes to mind again when I think of the now former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. There is no English version of Schadenfreude, so you can go around saying it to your heart's content and not be accused of sounding pretentious (or German).

Friday, January 21, 2011

Teen Trap

Puberty Boo: Hey Mom, I have philosophical question for you.

Mom: {apprehensive} Uh, yes Boo?

Puberty Boo: If you had to choose between the life of a really fat man and the lives of two innocent children which would you choose?

Mom: Can you elaborate, dear?

Puberty Boo: Say the kids are on a railway track and the only way to stop the train from mowing them down is to push the fat man in front in the kids.

Mom: Why not push the kids off the track instead of pushing the fat man on and so no one dies? Besides a fat man would not be enough to stop a train. Both he and the kids would get squished together.

Puberty Boo: Mom! {impatient, now} The kids are trapped on the track! They can't move! Say the fat man is sooo fat that he could indeed stop the train with his fatness annnd there is nothing else around to stop the train.

Mom: {sighs} OK, so I guess I'll have to shove the fat man in front of the train to save the innocent children then.

Puberty Boo: Then you're no better than Hitler, you know.

Mom: Whaaa...?

Puberty Boo: That was how Hitler saw the situation in Germany and how he justified genocide.

Mom: Boo, don't you have homework?

Puberty Boo: {to sister in other room} Hey, Mom is just like Hitler! {leaves room}

End of Scene

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lofty Thoughts From Puberty Boo

I hate armpits and the word armpit. Please refrain from mentioning the word in my presence. However, I do like the word squid -jigger. I think I will name my next pet or boyfriend Squid-jigger. It's really cute.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Some Old Cartoon Stuff from My Portfolio

Eight government workers to plant a baby tree (tax dollars well spent!)

Fond memories of a McJob

Cyclist Planet

A restaurant generous on carbs

Home Game

Fashion; Canada Style

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Home Invasions by Stephen Harper Thwarted!

Stephen and birdish henchman
Nasty little beggar.

Steve and his gang were continuously breaking into our roof and having nightly brawls in our attic. They screeched and scratched and thumped all night long. My husband on several occasions, hauled the ladder to each side of the house to look for where they got in. But he could not ever find the breech that allowed them entrance. We endured months of their noisy nightly partying right above our bedroom. I think that we were only separated by drywall. I had nightly fears that they'd gnaw their way through and land scrapping on top of our heads! Or worse pooping on top of our heads. Well, thank goodness for sharp neighbours. Russ, the guy next door, spotted the illegals slipping under a few raised shingles on our roof and he alerted us. My husband nailed the sucker shut during the day while Stephen and Co. played outside and, finally, we we are now squirrel-free. But we must always be on our guard...Stephen is insiduously clever and will likely be back!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Olympic Morning

My fingers are still smarting from attaching my big Canadian flag to the very prickly holly tree at the side of my driveway. There are now little gashes all over my knuckles!
It was worth it though. How many people get to watch the Olympic torch bearers from their own yard... and not only from the front at 10:30 (Royal Avenue), but also from the the side at noon (2nd Street)? I put up the flag on the 2nd Street side so it could be viewed by the Olympic procession as it came down the street. The prickly bush was the best vantage point.

I was quite not ready for the 10:30 passing, but as I was eating my Fibre 1 cereal this morning, I could hear a loud racket from the 'Coke' trucks coming from Royal Ave. I threw down my cereal and grabbed my (conveniently) red wool coat and my new camera. I did get some shots of the bearded torch bearer as he came up Royal and passed 2nd Street. I was unable to figure out in time how to zoom back in time to get a closer shot (new camera jitters).

At about 10:50, I went to Queens Park to watch the Lighting Ceremony. Whoa! there must have been thousands of people there! I got some shots of the crowd, and some shots of Krista Gibbard, a family friend and neighbour, who was selected to to sing the national anthem (she was great!). I decided to head back to my house as I wanted to be ready to take pictures of the new torch bearer when she passed our home. On the way, I was lucky enough to pose with a couple torch bearers. Laura Cuthbert ( a wonderful gal with the best civic spirit you could ever imagine) was one of the torch bearers and kindly took a picture of me holding her torch.

Finally at home, around noon, the loud 'Coke' trucks drove by with their exuberant dancing models, from which shouts of appreciation for my holly tree flag, were expressed. Well, I'm glad somebody noticed! When the torch bearers came down my block, I managed to get some decent shots. One actually in front of my house with the prickly flag! I followed the procession to Royal and 2nd St. and got some more there as well. I was finally getting the feel of my camera. All in all, it was pretty exhilarating morning. The only drawback was I was by myself and had no one to share it with!

I should've put polysporin on my cuts; there little red dots all over them now. Oh, well.