Thursday, October 31, 2013

Picture Perfect



Every time I go to a portrait studio to get a school picture redone because the first ones were wretched and the retakes, remarkably, were even worse, I see a ‘help wanted’ sign in the window.  It’s not that I consider myself to be a great photographer, but I know that if I had a camera set up with a stool and a backdrop, I could do better than some of the pictures my kids come home with after school pictures.  I thought with the advent of digital cameras, they could at least look at the picture and determine whether or not they should put that picture on every single one of a child’s student ID cards. 

Okay … the truth is; you would not believe what my kid came home with on every single one of his school IDs.  It was like my Dad’s Costco picture before they dropped the resolution so low on those photos that one of my brothers could rip off my card and no one would be the wiser.  “Your name is Stephanie?”  My brother then answers snottily, “I go by Steve.”  Trust me.  No one would question him further.

Anyway, I’m seriously confused about these photo studio people.  They give you options for packages that cost $300 but they won’t take 10 seconds to make sure the picture isn’t crap.  And they act like everyone in the world is so freakishly lazy that they won’t seek another option.

I’m also confused by the collages of kids’ pictures that consist of four pictures and there are only two different poses.  Or they zero in on the baby’s elbow or ear and put that in a little box by itself under the big picture of the baby.  I find that inexplicably weird.  If you want a picture of the baby’s toes, that’s fine and cute, but when it’s just an enlarged portion of the exact same picture, I’m torn to shreds.  It’s like a scientific picture book showing you all about lobsters or jellyfish.  Like there should be a caption underneath that reads, “This is a human baby’s toes.  At this point in human development, the baby cannot use the feet for walking, but they use them as a form of entertainment when squeaky toys are unavailable.”

So, I see the ‘help wanted’ sign and I know I’m missing a possible calling.  I would make a great photographer.  I just don’t have time to do everything I could be good at.  I’m gifted in so many different ways.  Alas, even though I can take adorable pictures of my kid on my own time, the picture the school would use to find him if he were missing is so grotesque and misshapen, they might not think he was the same kid if they grabbed him off the street.  “Is this you?” Glance. “Nope.  That’s somebody else.”

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sewing a Hole



I hate sewing machines.  Some of my lowest recorded grades were because I tried to use a sewing machine.  These days I have a sewing room, except I call it a craft room because I keep a lot more stuff in there than just a sewing machine.  I like sewing by hand.  It evolved naturally.

I like mending.  I think that if the piece of clothing is fine except for a missing button – then I sew a new button on and get on with it.  I also like to use obnoxious buttons.  Sometime when you’re around me notice the button holding up my husband’s pants.  It might not be your average button.  The ones I’m using these days are neon.  I know.  He’s such a trooper.

Actually, I mostly started mending socks because I hate it when a perfectly adorable pair of cute socks gets a hole in the toe.  I started sewing them up and I started hanging onto my funny socks much better.  My personal favourite pair of socks I’ve had for ages.  They have suns on the feet that look exactly like the ones I used to draw on my notebooks when I was 13.  I didn’t get the socks until I was in my twenties.  Yeah, I keep those socks.

Yesterday, I had a stroke of genius with sewing.  You must remember that I do not sew clothing from scratch unless I can make up the pattern myself.  Yesterday I bought my daughter a new dress.  It was sleeveless.  Beats me what those monsters are thinking.  We’re Canadian.  We need sleeves.  Anyway, the dress came with a shrug (oddly enough I had an identical one her size in my mending basket).  So, I took the identical shrug and ripped the sleeves off it and sewed them onto her new dress.  It looks fantastic.  The dress now has black velvet sleeves and a black velvet belt. 

I also sewed Halloween costumes for my kids by hand this summer.  Everyone at the fabric store thought I was crazy when I went in and bought the goods.  Who’s crazy now?  This has been the most stress-free October ever.  I also sew stuffed animals and Christmas ornaments.  Today I was sewing a Halloween costume I got a humongous discount on because there were three big rips in it.  Ha!  Those rips were a snap to sew up.

The nice thing about sewing by hand is that I can sit all cozy in my living room with the TV on.  It’s also nice because then I don’t eat when I watch TV.  It’s bad because most TV filmed in English sucks.  You have to watch subtitled TV to watch anything and I’m not too good at crafting while watching something with subtitles. 

Anyone know a good English TV show to watch?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Readers Around the World



Another really great thing about writing online for free is that you get readers from all over the world (and the free websites I write on keep a record of where your readers are from).  When you write for money, you don’t necessarily get that.  If they are buying your book they have to have money, a credit card – whatever.  But when you’re giving it away for free, everyone gets the love. 

I would like to extend a warm and loving THANK YOU to my readers in other countries.  Just from this month alone I would like to thank my readers from the following countries:

I always have the most readers from the States.  In all my years of writing I have only ever seen more from Canada a few times (and I’ve been doing this for around a decade).  Thanks to Australia, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Spain, The Philippines, South Africa, India, Iceland, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, Netherlands, Lebanon, Japan, France, Italy, Dominican Revar, Singapore, Austria, Pakistan, Malaysia, Romania, Brazil, Chile, Sri Lanka, Poland, Qatar, Czech Revar, and Panama.

Whenever you write (or do anything), there is always this lingering question over your head.  Why do you want to write?  I remember when I was in my early twenties and I was asking myself this question, I came up with three answers.  One of my answers was that I wanted people from all over the world to enjoy my writing and get swept away on the adventure I’d take them on.  Well, without having made much money – I have certainly accomplished my design. 

Thank you, dear readers, for loving me so much, for sending in so many reviews of encouragement, and for continuing to read my work for a decade.  All my love to you!   

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Take my Personality Quiz



Okay, I suckered you in.  There is no personality quiz.  I’m writing a post about how much I dislike personality tests and why. 

Lately, I was listening to the radio and they were saying that there is a new personality test that asks only one question.  What is your favourite kind of ice cream?  Then they have huge lists of what you are like based on your favourite flavour.  Another time, I was listening to the radio and it was a different question.  What colour is your car?  Maybe they should have just stuck with ‘when is your birthday?’  Talk about arbitrary.

Not only that but I do not have a favourite flavour of ice cream.  I am so capricious I can’t even choose one.  Also, I did not choose the colour of my car.  And if given free range to choose whatever colour I happened to like, I can’t even think.  I’ll take the shiny one, please.

You know what it is?  Everyone feels like their identity is threatened by everyone around them.  So if you find enough unique identifiers you can suddenly find your own individual pattern?  But you don’t want to be so far out of the group that you alienate yourself.

People do it with names too.  They have to find some way to make their child feel both different and the same at the same time, so they give them an ordinary-ish name spelled strangely. 

It’s also like those charm bracelets in the mall where you buy the band and then you go through zillions of little charms so that you can choose something that is all your own.  Except that everyone you know has one of the bracelets, so you are part of a group, but the individual pieces – those were all your choosing.

You go to a restaurant and all the women at the table have to pick something different from the menu.  Deep breaths …

I think a lot about pearls.  Once upon a time, pearls used to be more precious than they are now.  However, thanks to the cultured pearl industry, every woman in the world can probably afford a pearl necklace.  The price plummeted, but pearls didn’t really change.  Pearls are still made by an irritant being added to a mollusk.  They still get rolled around in the shell until they are shiny and smooth.  They are the same.  It’s only our impression of them that has changed.
   
People are the same too, but some twisted thinking has led us to believe that if we aren’t distinct from those around us we aren’t as precious.  It’s a lie.  Seven billion humans on the planet does not make one less valuable.  Humans are precious just for being humans.  Why isn’t that enough?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Another Tirade for Housewives



Today I was in the dentist office reading an article about how second wave feminists would hate the women of the world today because they believed that if women had the same educational opportunities as men, they wouldn’t choose to stay home and raise their children like little house wives.  Unfortunately, they are discovering that nowadays highly educated women marry wealthy men and now that they have the pleasure of choosing which sort of life they want to lead, an astonishingly large number of them are choosing to stay home.  Don’t you just hate that?

Loads of you know I’m a housewife, and I’m not dismissing feminism.  I am all about equal opportunity.  I just think that the housewives who angsted about being stuck home with the kids in the 60s did not have the same luxuries the housewives of today. 

I remember my mother making pancakes – a rare treat when I was a child.  And she used to cook them two at a time on two frying pans.  It used to take forever.  In my home, I have a humongous electric hotplate that can cook eight pancakes at once.  I say I’m making pancakes and there are pancakes for everyone five minutes later (even if I make the batter from scratch).  Fancy new appliances aren’t even scratching the surface of today’s power for housewifery.

What about the internet?  I am standing in my kitchen looking around at what I can make, I pull out my phone, tell it what I have and milliseconds later, I’m looking at recipes for things I can make.  I can even watch a movie showing how to make it and if the first movie doesn’t do it for me; I can find another one in seconds. 

Not only is there all that glory, but since communication is easier these days, being home is a lot less lonely than it used to be.  Miss your ma down in Tennessee?  It has never been easier to get in touch with her.

And not to be too much of a pain in the bum, but The Feminine Mystique was published in 1963. That was 16 or 17 years before baby wipes were invented.  No wonder those mommies were crying.   Just as P.S. here, once I read an absolutely stunning column by Erma Bombeck (who naturally had cloth diapers for her babies since she was old enough to be my grandma) about how society should stop using disposable everything to save the environment – except diapers.  My favourite was when she said she’d rather have boiling coffee poured into her bare hands in order to give up the disposable cup than see another woman on her knees swirling a poopy diaper around in the toilet bowl. Ah, she kills me.

Yeah.  I don’t think motherhood is as oppressive as it used to be.  Anywhoo – I’m guessing it was a man who developed the Bosch mixer.  In which case, they’ve served their purpose.