Friday, December 29, 2006

Ascending the Xmas Throne


Back to news of the Bunkle....

Santa left a new, simpler, not-broken, not neoclassical, water-conservation efficient toilet under the tree for the bunkle & me this year. One more thing about the bathroom is officially NOT hideous! Still hideous: everything BUT the cast iron claw foot tub and the toilet. This includes: grim and badly layed vinyl flooring; hideous tiles; hideous vanity; full sized disco mirror (well, at least that is what my brother called it). The toilet situation isn't perfect - it is too far away from the wall really (as was the old one but it was so massive it was less noticeable) but when the major reno happens all will be rectified. For those wondering - the door beside the toilet isn't in use - it is the one that my bed backs into on the other side, and is one of 3 (count 'em) doors into the bathroom. The reno will also include cutting the number of doors to a minimalist ONE.

Slow, slow, slow, but it IS progress.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gollies Gollies everywhere....

The Golliwog (originally spelled Golliwogg) is the least known of the major anti-Black caricatures in the United States. Golliwogs are grotesque creatures, with very dark, often jet black skin, large white-rimmed eyes, red or white clown lips, and wild, frizzy hair. Typically, it's a male dressed in a jacket, trousers, bow tie, and stand-up collar in a combination of red, white, blue, and occasionally yellow colors. The golliwog image, popular in England and other European countries, is found on a variety of items, including postcards, jam jars, paperweights, brooches, wallets, perfume bottles, wooden puzzles, sheet music, wall paper, pottery, jewelry, greeting cards, clocks, and dolls. For the past four decades Europeans have debated whether the Golliwog is a lovable icon or a racist symbol.
© Dr. David Pilgrim, Professor of Sociology
Ferris State University
Nov., 2000

Hmmm. Can it be both at the same time? Does my Golly-love make me insensitive?

The Golly army above is a group of send-away tags from Robertson's Jam, given to me by my unfailingly inventive gift-giving brother & his wife for Christmas, along with a Golly Mountie pin and Golly dishcloth. When I was young we used to send these off to get various Golliwog memorabilia from Robertsons - I have a full Golly jazz band (small ceramic figurines) and a Golly pin from that time, & love them all. My other brother had stuffed Gollies, and we all read the tales of Noddy, Big Ears and the trouble-making (but nattily attired) Golliwogs.

The fact that there was any whiff of racism in this symbol didn't even occur to me until it was pointed out by an old boyfriend's much more politically aware than me parents. Think I was about 20. I hid my Golly-admiration for a bit after that, but 20 years on I am coming out of the closet. Racist symbol? Yes, absolutely. Loveable icon? I know it's wrong, but I can't help it.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Felt felt felt and more felt

As mentioned I tried hard to scale back this Christmas....well, at least scale back on the crazed shopping hoards. Think I pretty much managed it. A few online purchases, a few things from funky little stores and craft fairs and the rest made by hand.

Preserves to start with (yes T. you guessed right!!): lime marmalade, cranberry citrus marmalade, and tropical kiwi lime jam.

Then some hand made cards using images of old (and strangely reminiscent of certain family members) wild cats that came from a book that was being turfed out of the U of T library.

And then out came the needle & thread for some hand made tree decorations.

First, the obvious - disembodied kitty heads wearing red scarves (to make them look a bit less disembodied).

Then for my brothers, some more specific beasts.

Jury is still out on the black thread on the clown fish - they do have black lines between the orange & white patches, which is what I was going for but I think maybe I'd choose white next time. You sew and learn. They are all very tiny - about an inch in size. I have a fantasy that I will make a whole whack of them for my tree next year. I gave a pair of cats to my pals A&J who are gracious enough to humour me by accepting a gift that is really kind of odd - does everyone hang handmade images of a pal's cats on their tree willingly?I think not!!! God love them for it.

Tracking the Gnarler...

Item #1: Wodgey bit of gnarled painters tape in the livingroom.

Item#2: Piece of paper formerly known as my bookmark

Wanted: The Gnarler

Friday, December 22, 2006

Counting down & burning my hands...

Unfortunately I'm going to have to be a bit cryptic as to what has been taking up my time for the last few days as some of the recipients of my labours do read this thing every now and then. What I can say is that my hands are both burned and stabbed, and my feet are sticking to the kitchen floor. This year I just couldn't stand the idea of fighting with the rest of the shopping hoards and have tried to bring it down a notch. Of course that doesn't end up simplifying the amount of stuff you have to do, but at least you don't have to fight for parking to do it. Will see how it goes & I will tell more after the fact.

And the Bunkle remains largely undecorated - a few things are up, but I've decided I'll hold off on the tree and the rest of it until next year.

The cats, of course, will have stockings. Maggie can't contain her excitement.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Pouring out the bottles & rejoicing...

For the last two and a half days I've had no electricity. I'm not the only one - a brutal windstorm Thursday night knocked out power for thousands. Of course, it also snowed - just a bit - so that gives you a sense of how warm it was outside. Inside? My place was 3C. I could see my breath and it was F&&KING COLD. Cats and I survived using candles/flashlights/and two hot water bottles (which I discover stay fairly warm if sandwiched between me and the cats). Thank god for my gas stove, at least I could use the burners. Was worrying a bit about Thomas this morning as he wouldn't lie down, he just sat all puffed up (looking rather like an owl) by my pillow, expecting me to rectify the situation I suppose. Maggie, who had given up on her friends the heating vents after sitting and staring at them in great disappointment, was smart enough to curl up on top of me to keep warm. Anyway, crisis is now over. But it makes me realize how ill prepared I am (and maybe this city is?) for a disaster. Will do my best to rectify that and soon.

In other news, went to a concert that has secured a firm position on my Top 10 live music experiences list - Akron/Family. Not to everyone's taste (but so much to mine I was grinning like an idiot through most of it), but my god it was refreshing to see musicians really playing - in both senses of the word - and making something new and exciting. Phenomenal fun, energetic, creative, loud stuff.

And for those who are interested & curious, here is my favorite source of new and unusual music: Spinning on Air. Go in, poke through the archives and listen to some great new music. There are well recorded live performances/interviews with Sufjan Stevens and Akron/Family as well as many many other new and interesting things.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Red houses

Christmas is coming...and that includes some time off from work. Hoping that I will get baseboards installed in the red room then, with Mum's help. Until then, here's a bit of fakery, with the help of a chunk of baseboard from my bedroom (which can't be properly installed until the door jamb gets replaced...and so it goes....). In case you need a reminder of where things started ...
It is very easy to forget how much has been accomplished in the face of the bazillion other things that still need to be done. Patience not one of my major virtues.

When I start getting frustrated with what has to be done I can always step back and remind myself that I am the owner of another red house that needs no work. I built the whole damn thing myself. And lighting the thing is a whole lot less expensive.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Things that start with "T"...

I've read posts about how hard it is to take photos with wee hands pulling at your sleeves. I have a different problem...but for those of you wanted to see Thomas in action, here you go.

The tile is a tin ceiling tile from the flourmill on Pacific Street in Brandon Manitoba, dating 1882 or so. It is beautifully framed, though the frame is still in protective wrapping & will stay that way til I hang it in the red den. The tile was a present to myself from a craft fair I went to with A. a few weeks back. I couldn't resist it, it fits with the Bunkle so very well. And it's from Brandon, home town of another favorite T.!

Saturday, December 02, 2006


The snow is melting. I can't say I'm sorry. I woke up this morning to no coffee, no milk, and frighteningly little toilet paper - the result of leaving my car covered in its snow-igloo. My brother dropped a snow shovel (on loan - these babies are HOT property in Vancouver right now) at my place yesterday, so I managed to get my car out. I have just finished my first coffee of the day. Phew.

Went to yet another craft fair with A. last night. Really good one, some inspiringly creative things, & some very nice live jazz in the background. At A.'s urging I splurged on a hat/fingerless mitt/scarf set made by a very affable woman who I'm certain would put A. on the payroll after that sales job! - so very soft, and the hat large enough not to give me hat-head (yes T., big enough for you too - maybe even at the same time ;). Love it.