Here's to Spring and the fresh burst of energy the breezes in with it. Though I'm a bit reticent to embrace it just yet. Living in the country I do, I know well enough that this first spell of warmth and sunshine is but a tease and that winter always oversteps for a last hurrah... Or two. But I have hope in the robins poking around in the grass, worms littering the sidewalks. In everything starting to come out of its hidey hole.
Guppies. Why didn't I get guppies in the first place? So much cleaner. Only have to feed them once a day. The tank water stands the test of time so much better... So yes, a few weeks after the last goldfish kicked it, and I got around to cleaning out the tank, we drove up to the nearest Petsmart and bagged ourselves 4 guppies. One silver, one orange, one yellow and one black: Nook (3),Orangoo, James, and Olivia(2). Its been about a week so far and no trips to toilet bowl with the fishnet yet.. Actually the store has a 14 day guarantee - If I bag and freeze my tank casualties and bring them - I get a replacement. Though, if you do this, you will be scolded for your toxic fishcare by someone with nothing better to do other than scrub tank grime.
Been a while, huh? You know, I actually think winter is less tolerable without snow (obviously I don't shovel much).. It's all quite bitter and barren. And.. it looks like we're getting a few flakes finally, close to mid-February. We better be able to ski or sled or something out of this season, or so help me... S'alls I'm sayin'...
We bought a goldfish starter tank for our daughter's 3rd birthday. She cried and asked for another present. It was not a Dora tank... but the kids have ragging on and on about getting a dog, and that's just not gonna happen. I have to clean up enough poo without pets, thankyouverymuch. They like fish. I though fish might be and easy placating compromise. Mnnno.
We started out with two globe eye fantails.. a small, runty calico which my daughter named Olivia and and an orange unassuming one named Nook.
Nook kicked it pretty fast. I flushed him down the toilet. Boy noticed right away. A bit unprepared, I opted for honesty and told him straight up "He died. Sorry. Its hard on them to change tanks and sometimes they die." The boy took it in a stride, a pouty stride, but a stride nontheless. The scrappy fish, "Olivia" who I was convinced was not going to last - small, lean to the point of transparency, hungry looking eyes... was still swimming strong.
Oh yeah, and we had a defective filter pump. And goldfish are "high waste producers". Disgusting. But the yellow water didn't last.
Me and the boy returned to the pet store. I bought two more fantails.. one for insurance. They were named Mook and Nook (II)... ? That's the name they chose. And they actually lasted a few more days than Nook (I), but as the week wore on they became less animated and stayed low in tank. And Olivia is swimming around like, well, the equivalent of strutting. I read on some goldfish geek wiki that they can succumb to the stress of being bullied. I became suspicious of the runt. It's the wirey ones with hungry eyes you have to look out for. Always. Playground rules.
One more trip to the pet store. And I feel like the grim reaper picking out a fish. Come to me, my pretties... Muahahahaha... This time I choose only one. Guilt is limiting. This one is called Jingle Bells. Because it's close to Christmas, of course.
And things go swimmingly until Xmas confirms my hunches when Jingles too submits to a lethargic tank bottom existence. That was it - Scrappy the top is going into solitary. Although now that there is no one to intimidate , he/she/it rarely leaves the fish house.
Oh, my. Lack in "daily" draws these past weeks. You may slap my hands... I'll feed this blog soon.
But for now, some photos of the AWCA suits I designed on Podiumwear templates found here. I'm happy the identity is now clearly visible in photographs... I had to mess with the logo, which is kind of a no-no, but in this case I think it was worth the exception. Especially considering these people are usually in motion, and pretty fast at that...
I have three different holiday themed card sets now available on Etsy. Cards are sold in sets of 6 for $13.50 US + shipping. Cards are printed on FSC-certified matte stock and come with 100% recycled envelopes. All wrapped up in a bow. Possibility to mix and match between cards - just note how many of each type of card while making transaction.
I'm not so crafty. Creativity without the skills. Can't really sew or bake etc. to save my life... Martha Stewart I am not. You have the point a couple times over by now. But like Martha, It'd be cool to have an army of minions with the skills. For a while, at least.
Homemade costumes are the best - when they are unsuccessful, they still have charm. So much better than the overpriced, mass-market stuff. Still, my son's costume was bought at the supermarket. There was no need for a conversation about what he wanted to dress up as. Optimus Prime(Transformer). Duh. Optimus Prime and NOT Mommy's take on Optimus Prime. Which I admit, would be a compromised and last-minute effort. He has his official, licensed, crappy suit and he is a very happy boy.
I did at least try a little bit though...
My daughter wanted to be Dora. I hate Dora. But thankfully Dora has an episode where Dora dresses up as a cat for Hallowe'en. And whatever Dora does is good enough for my girl. Black leggings and turtle neck for the body. I bought the tail and ear-headband set from Zeller's and tacked the tail onto the back of the leggings. This felt incomplete. So I grabbed a pair of stretch mittens in the closet and the thrift store in town, by sheer luck, had a pair of black dress boots in her size, for like, a buck. Score. Now to the part that took longer to assemble than all the rest: the claws. Because it all still felt incomplete. I painted watercolour paper with silver acrylic paint and cut out a few triangles and glued them to the boots and sewed some to the mittens. An hour late, pleased with my craftiness, I wanted the ultimate approval from the cat herself. She put on her mitts and boots and ran off to growl at herself in the mirror and came back a moment later with all the claws torn off. After the why-do-I-botherness wore off. I set to work cutting a ton of claws out and reattached them with plain, old white glue and put the costume out of reach 'til the preschool party. Only thing left was to blacken the nose and draw on whiskers with eyeliner.
This effort was of course incomparible to the two brothers dressed up as Elvis at the preschool, complete with bedazzled jumpsuit. Their Grandma is a fangirl. Big time.
A collaborative effort - painted by my 2 year-old. With age- par tyranny. Because getting angry wasn't going to stop her from messing in my paint to reach over and add her own flourishes to whatever I had started to draw. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right? Well, I do at least have to pick my battles.
She was poised behind me on the chair, paint brush in hand, about to pounce on my next attempt... "What should we draw?" "Ummmmmm. A cat." "Ok.." "DWAW!" "Alright. Jeez..." And already she is pushing my hands out of the way to paint over the lines before they are made. "NO. I paint NOW."
Sketches for something I'm working on.. The thing with billy goats, at least for me, is that it is suprisingly difficult not to make them look like a satanic altar piece. I thought lederhosen might be endearing. Not really.
Quick sketches of the animals up at the Dutch Mill Market, top of the escarpment from town, done today. The only challenging part was keeping the kids in my visible notice at the same time so as to keep them from feeding their fingers to the animals.
I live in Southern Ontario. Where there are not subdivisions and "power centers", there are deer. Co-existence, even. Overpopulated with deer I've read. Must be why they keep building yet more Walmarts and Starbucks.
On a short run today, just before dinner, I took a pee detour. I stepped off the bicycle path bordering conservation land, the university campus... And a very busy road... To find prime peeing locale. With my eye on a dense bunch of trees, I waded a few metres through tall grass.. And almost stepped on a coyote. (!). It bolted out from underfoot and I got a really nice pissed-off glare from the security of a bit of distance. Then I saw why ; three deer popped their heads up and leaped away. It was dinner time afterall..
Today we hit the Metro Toronto Zoo. Awesome on the whole. Can't think of anything better to do with small children, and I enjoyed it as much as the now exhausted 15-month, 20-month, and newly-minted 4 year olds of our gaggle did. Though I'm not sure what they took away from the coital romp going on in the Baboon area. I know I saw more than I wanted to.
We stopped in at Stingray Bay, a visiting exhibit where you can pet a couple of dozen of slimey stingrays. Very cool, but was a bit below my expectations. It felt kind of miniature. I was expecting to see big ones flapping around.. Only on the baboons as it turns out.
My son sings all the live long day. By no exaggeration. He sings all day. He sings (period). The newest addition to his repetoire is There Was An Old Lady (who swallowed a fly etc.). What she ends up swallowing around here is rather arbitrary. I last heard tree monsters, though the classic fatal swallowing order is fly, spider, bird, cat, dog, goat, cow, horse.
My fear of the water wilds feels it a has a smidgun more validation: http://www.geekologie.com/2007/01/rare_sight_of_ancient_shark.php
I read a book in first or second grade about sharks. I read about fresh water sharks... In lakes. Illustrated with a kid in a lifejacket bobbing both obliviously and innocently at the surface. Not unlike Bambi munching on berries before starved wolves. So I was the last kid to do a running cannonball into the lake that summer. Adults reassured me there was no such thing.. At least not in Muskoka. Likely.. But I didn't believe them. http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1821684,00.html
And yes.Yes! Fish are toe sucklers: http://www.geekologie.com/2008/07/for_the_geekologie_ladies_fish.php
Keen to get out of town, we drove to Port Dover today.. a bit less than an hour away on Lake Erie. It's always bustling in the summer. The Biker types love it. And there are plenty of foot-long hot dogs awaiting visitors if you get hungry. You can have my share too.
So we arrive and the boy is having a meltdown because when we drove past the airport he got it into his head that he should go on an airplane today. His sister joined in the screaming for kicks, I guess. They are placated by setting foot on the beach. Holding hands we wade out into the water... Of the very big, dark lake.
I'm terrified of open water. I get nervous in water where a) I can't see the bottom, b) I don't know the depth or who and what is sharing all the space around me. I imagine the depths below are teeming with Life. Slimy, treacherous Life that will come and nibble at my toes. In fact I am certain of it. I've seen some of this Life, and, let's start off by saying many parts of Lake Eerie aren't exactly pristine. It's been a test of survival of the fittest, the fittest ain't pretty. I'm talking big eels. Eels that are just lips, teeth and eyeballs with a cloudy, glassy stare. Ugly as fuck. Oh, and the famous Lake Erie perch... You are bound to see some floating belly up along with a bloated muskrat or two in the marina. I wanna take a dip with stagnant, sun-boiled death too.