Stranger things.

My mother always told me never to accept rides from strangers.

This, in general, seems like sound advice.

Until it’s 8am on a Monday and you’ve been standing for an hour and a half out in the snow that forecasters swore up and down was going to melt overnight, waiting with zero success for a bus, ANY bus, that maybe perhaps might have the most remotely conceivable potential of getting you to a Skytrain station so you can make it in to work.

That’s when your priorities start to shift…when your fingers and toes are starting to scream at you in the early stages of frostbite despite several layers of woolens, and you can’t move around to get your circulation going because if you step even one inch out of the lineup at the bus stop, your place will be immediately assimilated like the Blob taking over a small Pennsylvania town…when the lady behind you with the complete lack of regard for your personal space keeps periodically deciding to shift closer and jostle you yet again because she spotted a few spare atoms’ worth of room she thought she could squeeze into…when the heavenly aromas of people passing by with sugary seasonal lattes and greasy McDonald’s breakfast items encourage your stomach to do its most convincing Chewbacca impression for the restless throng…

Suddenly, the idea of being stuffed into an axe murderer’s trunk doesn’t sound half bad. Gotta be warmer than the street corner, right?

So when a random woman pulls over in a large SUV, rolls down the window and calls out, “Anybody need a ride to Cambie?” you say, “Yes please!” and you and the four other strangers who responded in kind swarm into her vehicle like ravenous locusts before she has a chance to reconsider.

And because you have all the luck, she turns out to be a thoughtful saint of a person who drives skillfully and safely, is pleasant and easy to make small talk with, and doesn’t bring out a chainsaw to lop off all your heads at the first red light.

It’s a Festivus miracle!

Seriously though, to my mystery chauffeur – and all the other kind souls before her who stopped and offered lifts to various places to our sorry stranded crowd – my sincerest gratitude. I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t a million times over rather be at home in my pajamas sipping hot chocolate than sitting here making awkward eye contact with a big dying poinsettia in our drab little beige office, but okay yeah, showing up to work and getting paid like a responsible adult has its merits too, I guess, and I have nobody but you to thank for making that possible today and reminding me that awesome people do still exist.

I will pay it forward. Promise.

Anyway, enough of this gooey sh…show of emotion. Back to our regularly scheduled sarcasm.

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A plague on the Nut house.

An alleged friend of Nutty Hubby’s and mine sent us a Christmas card that sheds micro glitter like a sparkly vampire with the world’s worst case of dandruff.

I don’t know what we did to her to deserve this kind of punishment or how we’ll be able to properly atone so it doesn’t happen again next holiday season, but what I do know is thanks to handling that most egregious travesty of holiday correspondence I will now be finding glitter on my desk and in my carpet and in my pores for approximately the next fifty years. Assuming I don’t die before then, in which case my cremation will make for one very festive urn of ashes indeed.

Last night, as I tried for the eleventh time to get a single stubborn fleck of the godforsaken stuff off the tip of my index finger (an emery board eventually did the trick) I found myself wondering who it was we had to castigate thank for making the herpes of the craft world possible. So I typed my glittering way over to Wikipedia to find out.

“The first production of modern plastic glitter is credited to the American machinist Henry Ruschmann, who found a way to cut plastic or mylar sheets into glitter in 1934.” – Wikipedia1,2

Dear Wikipedia,

You misspelled “masochist”.

Dear Henry Ruschmann,


1 “Glitter.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 13 Dec. 2016. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.

2 Yes, I know people were using other shit as glitter long before my new nemesis Henry, but sometimes you just need to hate someone with a name.

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Walking in a winter wonderland.

Fact: I am still just as excited to wake up and see snow outside my window as I was when I was an itty bitty kidlet.

Only now I have a better camera than when I was an itty bitty kidlet, so it’s possible that these days I’m even more excited.

I left my car at home today. The only thing worse than trying to get up our steep driveway in the snow is trying to get back down it.

Instead I took about fifteen “me” minutes to just walk around in the white stuff and be enveloped by the stillness that came with it as it wafted softly down. I photographed the silent streets and breathed deep breaths of fresh, crisp air until my heart was as light and carefree as a helium balloon.

Then I reluctantly acknowledged the reality that it was Monday and I had places to be.

I joined a line of some two dozen texting and muttering people waiting anxiously for a bus. Approximately three minutes later, we got the word from a kindly couple in a truck that there were five buses stuck down at the bottom of the hill and not to get our hopes up that they’d be heading our way any time soon. At that, about three quarters of the line dispersed. Out of some misguided sense of duty, I decided to wait another ten minutes before giving up.

Exactly ten minutes later, the bus arrived.

Figures.

Two transfers later I was on a community shuttle, seated directly in front of a bunch of college kids who were just not having it.

“Who was it that told me it never snows in Richmond? Who? Was it you, man?”
“Nope, not me dude. I said it was gonna snow Sunday, remember?”
“Some motherfucker told me it doesn’t snow in Richmond. When I remember who it was, I’m gonna punch him in the face.”
“Heh. I kinda hope, like, class is cancelled, but at the same time I kinda hope it isn’t because I came all this way.”
“Seriously man, I know someone told me it never snows in Richmond. When I remember who, I’m gonna kick his ass. Punch him right in the face. This is bullshit.”
“You should, like, drive over to his place and block his car in. Be all, ‘How do you like it?'”
“And then I’ll pack his exhaust with snow. Freeze his carburetor.”
*laughter*

They got off the shuttle at the first stop, still churning out increasingly outlandish threats to the mystery misinformer. I had to stifle a smile as they passed by.

The silence closed back in around us when they had gone.

We drove onward.

I arrived at work an hour and twenty minutes late. The snow is still falling softly outside the window.

I am happy.

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TGIFluffy.

As if the fact that today is Friday weren’t cause enough for celebration, the Boss Lady decided to bring her dog in to visit on her day off. He’s two years old and full of energy, and we all just spent a considerable amount of time chasing him around the office and talking to him in silly voices to watch his head tilt madly back and forth.

This may very well be the closest I ever come to having anything resembling job satisfaction.

*sigh* I need a dog, dammit.

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Beauty and the ginger beard.

I saw it coming.

I willed him to just keep walking; the man with the flannel shirt and shocking red beard and the joint perched jauntily in one hand. Move along, move along, nothing to see here. But he was slowing already, drifting over to where I stood with my camera and bringing with him the acrid stench of cheap weed and stale body odor.

I tried to ignore him. The sun had set and I was losing light fast. I adjusted my settings and snapped off a few more shots.

But when I pulled back from the viewfinder, he was at my shoulder, staring at me expectantly. “…Eez eet beauteeful?” he asked in a startlingly thick French accent.

When I didn’t respond, he gestured toward the rapidly dimming scene and then at my camera. “Eez eet beauteeful?” he repeated. I paused, weighing my options; I didn’t need a repeat of Angry Tree Lady. Eventually I shrugged noncommittally and said “I think so,” and returned my attention to the camera.

He nodded and turned away – I assumed to leave – but he only wandered a short distance before stopping again. I could see him in my peripheral vision standing some feet away, looking intently back and forth between my subject and I as if trying to solve some sort of advanced mathematical equation.

A few more shots and adjustments later, I finally arrived at an image I was happy with. Red Beard perked up visibly as I began packing up my gear. I could see the anticipation in his eyes before the question was out of his mouth.

“Eet eez beauteeful?” Such hope infused into the words.

This time I didn’t hesitate. “Yes,” I replied, smiling despite myself.

At that he grinned, and threw his arms outward as if to embrace the sky. And he strolled away down the darkening road, whistling into the evening air.

A/S/L

My best friend Katie and I used to love going into chatrooms back when those were all the rage. It was our third favorite winter pastime, right after hanging out in the hot tub drinking hot chocolate and playing the Nintendo 64.

We weren’t interested in the least in actually chatting about anything. Our sole intent was to see how quickly we could get one of the guys in any given room to ask us to cyber with them.

Granted, most of the time it wasn’t exactly the pinnacle of challenges. Sometimes all it took was answering “Female” to the “S” in “A/S/L?” and they were already tripping into a private room with their pants around their ankles.

Beneath this pillow lies the keyboard to my release.

Not to mention our screen name of choice, “Icegirl”, would inevitably provoke at least one instance of, “Hey Icegirl, I bet I can warm you up!” per session without fail.

But the more gentlemanly types, the ones who at least pretended not to have virtual booty on the brain – though we all of us knew better – provided much better sport. We would choose our mark carefully and then go to work batting him around like a cat playing with a stunned mouse. Flirt. Demur. Lead on. Rebuff. Pout. Forgive. Laugh.

Eventually either our prey’s temper or libido would win out. We were pleased with either outcome. Angry accusations that we were a “cold bitch” were met with the scornful response, “Well, what did you expect from someone called Icegirl?” Invitations to cyber resulted in our untimely “accidental” disappearance offline followed by peals of laughter, because clearly we were terrible people.

That was twenty years ago. It’s been a long time since I’ve thought any kind of “games” of that sort were fun. Truthfully, I can’t for the life of me understand why we thought being such little dipshits was so entertaining. And yet, for some reason, I still think back on those chilly winter evenings and chuckle at my time as half an Icegirl.

Memory is a strange thing.

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A little less conversation.

I have a little accordion folder of random bits of conversation that I either think up or overhear in passing and file away for later.

For some reason I always think they’re going to come in handy. Like I’ll be writing a story and be stuck on finding the right bit of dialogue for two characters, but *BOOM* my magic little accordion folder comes to the rescue with the absolute perfect one-liner for the situation.

This has yet to happen.

So around once a year I go through the thing, remove all the torn bits of paper with their random scrawlings, read them, toss out all the “Why the fuck did I think this was funny?” entries, and return the rest to the folder.

You know, just in case.


“WTF. My ex Tony became a fan of “Not being set on fire” on Facebook. How stupid can you be?”

“No kidding. I would never put my weaknesses on display like that.”

“…I have a lighter.”

“I have an alibi.”


“My IQ doesn’t know whether to go up or down right now.”


“What about her?”

“Nah, I slept with her back in college.”

“Wasn’t any good?”

“No, she was fine.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

“Do as I say, not who I’ve done.”


“Guess what? I’m in love!”

“Somebody get me a chair so I can fall off it.”


“I’ll have the fill-it mag-non.”

“You know, there’s a reason why the French hate you.”

“That’s a pretty stereotypical thing to say about Americans.”

“Not Americans, Bob. Just you.”


“Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.”

“For god’s sake stop. You sound like a chicken with Tourette’s.”


“Yes, it’s malfunctioning correctly.”


“I’m sure you’re an intelligent and honest man.”

“Thank you. If I weren’t under oath, I’d return the compliment.”

“Your Honour, I’d like my next remark stricken from the record.”


A bad memory can be good for the waistline.

Every so often Nutty Hubby remarks that he’s impressed by my willpower because he always goes through his frozen treats in a matter of days, whereas I manage to make mine last several weeks or more.

Yes. “Willpower.” Absolutely that and not “I totally forgot I bought myself a box of Double Caramel Magnums two (or was it three?) Fridays ago…”

Out of sight, out of mind.

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