May 30, 2009
May 28, 2009
Well, not exactly torn, but in my attempt to complete the numerous incomplete projects around the house, I've been working at updating scrapbooks. And I can't simply update them without taking time to look through them. Which may explain why so many projects remain unfinished.
While updating one of the scrapbooks of my son's life and times, I found this drawing. Expressing an early love of Halloween. With a definite affinity for grim reapers brandishing sickles.
May 27, 2009
Nevertheless, when I turned around, filled with the satisfaction of a completed project, there they were. Paint splatters. Tiny but numerous. On the back of the house and, most prominently, on the back door. My immediate response was a panicked attempt to wipe the paint off. Unsuccessful. Next, I tried an abrasive scrubbing pad. No good. What to do?
And it was vital that the paint splatters be removed before being noticed by any family members. Otherwise, I'd never hear the end of it. For the remainder of my days, every time I picked up a can of spray paint, I would have to endure a re-telling of my misfortune. A cautionary tale for the ages. This had to be avoided.
So I quietly entered the house, remembering to appear "casual" if anyone should walk in, and gathered some rags, a bucket, and a product which had been sitting under the sink and which boldly promised to clean almost any stain. Almost.
Then, in desperation, I grabbed a bottle of turpentine from the shed and tried that. Nothing. At this point, I considered the possibility of doing a commercial for this particular brand of spray paint. Because once it attached itself to something, it clearly wasn't going anywhere. I briefly wondered how much such a commercial might pay; enough to have the house professionally painted?
Then, I realized something. It was mid-October. Summer was over. I was now the only person still spending time on the deck. The cat and I. Maybe I didn't have to do anything right away. And so the paint splatters went ignored and thankfully unnoticed throughout the remaining fall and winter months. Periodically, I found myself hoping the cold might freeze them off. Or perhaps the blowing snow and freezing rain might deliver a sand-blasting effect to the back of my house. But no.
The warmth arrived and the paint splatters were still there. Any day now I might be sharing the deck with others, and while they are not the most observant group of people, they might actually notice black paint on blue and grey. The time had come to act. Luckily, my winter sand-blasting fantasies had given me an idea. The next best thing to sand-blasting: sandpaper.
It was one of the few times I've been happy that most homes on the East Coast are made of plastic. Or more accurately, vinyl. The sandpaper worked brilliantly on the vinyl siding. Sure, if you look closely, there are some scratches. But if no one noticed black paint, they're not likely to notice those. I was thrilled. Apparently, hibernating on the problem over the winter had paid off.
But not entirely. The sandpaper that had worked so well on vinyl was a total failure on a steel door. There was only one solution remaining. More paint. If you can't clean it, conceal it. Off to the basement. To the land of leftover paint.
I'm feeling quite pleased with myself. I wonder if anyone would notice if I painted jack-o-lanterns along the bottom.
May 25, 2009
May 21, 2009
May 20, 2009
May 19, 2009
Like Steve Austin. Or perhaps his evil overweight twin brother.
You could become Morticia Addams. After an especially hard day.
Or amaze your friends and neighbours with an uncanny likeness to a teen singing sensation.
May 18, 2009
This domed building, once a music room, is the only structure remaining of the 18th century estate known as Prince's Lodge. The prince in question was Edward, Duke of Kent and 4th son of King George the Third. As the 4th son, there was little chance of his ever acquiring the throne, so he was permitted to roam the world in search of adventure and purpose. Not needed in England, he was encouraged to make himself useful elsewhere. One such "elsewhere" was Halifax, where he spent several years in the 1790's as Commander of the British Armed Forces here and, by all accounts, straightened out the seedy little town.
But he didn't come alone. He was accompanied by his girlfriend of many years, Julie St. Laurent, and they lived on a newly renovated estate overlooking Bedford Basin, and soon to be dubbed Prince's Lodge. In his personal life, Edward was a hopeless romantic: he designed meandering footpaths on the grounds of the estate that spelled out the name "Julie" and he oversaw the creation of a small heart-shaped pond nearby.
In his professional life, however, he couldn't have been less romantic. He was strict, uncompromising and priggish. He was fond of rigid discipline for himself and he expected no less from the men under his command.
And that brings us to the ghost story. Although Edward entertained lavishly on the grounds of his estate, he expected his guests to adhere to his strict code of behaviour. No drinking. No gambling. No behaviour of any kind that he perceived as a moral shortcoming. One summer afternoon in 1796, Edward and Julie were hosting a large card party on the estate lawn. And as sometimes occurs at large parties, two guests, Colonel Ogilvie and Captain Howard, got involved in a heated argument. Tempers rose to the point that the matter could apparently be settled only through a duel. Swords were drawn. Howard killed Ogilvie but was also mortally wounded and died soon after.
When Edward learned of the incident, he was incensed. Someone had neglected to remind the two men that duelling was high on the prince's list of unacceptable behaviours. He ordered the unfortunate pair buried in unmarked graves precisely where they had fallen, and stripped of all military honours. And that was the end of it.
But years later, long after the estate had been abandoned and had fallen into disrepair and the railroad was being cut through the property, two skeletons were uncovered. Their graves unknowingly disturbed, Ogilvie and Howard naturally rose and resumed their battle. From that point on, as the fog drifts in off Bedford Basin, people have been certain they could see two men, swords raised, duelling in the shadow of the old music rotunda at Prince's Lodge.
And what of Edward and Julie? They left Halifax in 1800 and several years later, against all odds, it appeared that Edward's three elder brothers would die without surviving children and it was now up to him to marry a princess and provide a legitimate heir. So, since romance doesn't keep the monarchy afloat, he said farewell to poor Julie, returned to England, married a German princess and provided the country with its longest reigning queen: Victoria.
May 16, 2009
But one day, as I was finishing off a bottle of wine, the cork beckoned to me. "Halloween tree ornament," it whispered. Perhaps it was the wine talking. I prefer to believe it was the cork.
And indeed, it was the perfect size for a tree ornament. So out came the paint, and it was transformed into a wine-cork-o-lantern.
Another bottle of wine; another cork-o-lantern. Another bottle of wine; another cork-o-lantern . . . You get the idea.
Two thoughts come to mind. The smell of burning cork is not among my favourites. And I seriously need to reduce my wine consumption.
May 14, 2009
Where I noticed an abundance of orange flowers . . .
May 13, 2009
May 11, 2009
May 9, 2009
Throughout my childhood, and for decades before, my family always planted a vegetable garden. And as I recall, it always thrived. Seemingly effortlessly. It produced enough vegetables to easily meet our needs. There was even enough to sell to local grocery stores.
Perhaps because of this successful gardening heritage, I was convinced that if I ever tried my hand at vegetable gardening, I'd be a natural. It had always appeared so simple. So basic. How could it fail?
It has only been in recent years that I have attempted to grow my own vegetables. Years of apartment living and summer schedules not conducive to weeding, watering and maintaining a garden made it impractical. Not to mention my general laziness and the proximity of great vegetable markets.
When I finally decided to add seeds to soil, I was faced with two obstacles: the pile of rock that I call home and a pathetically small yard. Both of which led me quite logically to containers. It made sense. I wanted to start small and I had been assured that most vegetables could be grown successfully in containers. So simple. So basic. How could it fail?
May 6, 2009
So I'm sitting on my back deck. Basking in the sunshine with my faithful cat, Lucky. Relaxing after hours and hours of raking, weeding, and moving plants around. Enjoying a glass of blueberry wine. Eyes turned toward the clear blue sky and the trees that line my backyard. And at that moment, a perfect combination of sunlight and shadow converged to paint the buds on the trees a beautiful contrast of orange and black.
Halloween just seems to sneak up on you at the most unexpected times.
May 4, 2009
And then one day . . . there it was.
Quickly shutting the mailbox door, leaving the bills for another day, I dashed back to my house. Parcel in hand. And eagerly began to tear it open with my bare hands. It wasn't long before I was faced with a hard truth. Bare hands don't work well on multiple layers of packing tape.
Returning from the kitchen with sturdy scissors, I continued the task. I successfully removed the outer layer of packaging. Only to reveal . . . more packaging. And it warmed my heart to know that my parcel was so safe and secure and well-protected on its long arduous journey. But now the protective coating had to go.
Perhaps at this point, I should explain.
Months ago, in the dead of winter, I began rambling about Halloween-themed beer and my love affair with the imagery that frequently graces the bottles. I came to the conclusion that it wasn't actually the beer itself that appealed to me, but rather, the labels. I felt I'd be perfectly happy to have someone keep the contents and simply send me the container.
And someone did.
Fellow blogger, Ghoul Friday, very kindly packed up and sent me an extra container she had in her possession. And packed it very well, I might add.
And that wasn't all. As an extra surprise gift, I also received this nifty Silver Snail Comics bag. Thanks GF! I love that store. How did you know?
May 2, 2009
Imagine my surprise when I learned I had been chosen to receive an award! For what, you may ask? Well . . .
"The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the Zombie Chicken, excellence, grace, and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse . . ."
Yes, I think that describes me quite well. I haven't gotten an award since Grade 4. It's been all downhill since then. Thanks, Diane. I'll put it over here on my shelf.
However, I'm going to live on the edge and NOT select five additional recipients. I'm curious to find out what a zombie chicken's wrath involves.
May 1, 2009
But the title "Most Annoying Children in Halloween Comics" undoubtedly goes to the team of Sugar and Spike.