I wanna start a fight!

angry lady

courtesy iclipart.com

I got a brand new attitude
And I’m gonna wear it tonight
I wanna get in trouble
I wanna start a fight

Ever have one of those days where you wake up feeling tired and grumpy and each and every little insignificant thing  morphs into a massive soul-destroying catastrophe.

And you wanna start a fight?

Things like…

listening to your husband’s snoring all night, every night


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having to stay inside and work on a long-awaited gorgeous summer day


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going into your bathroom and finding no toilet paper, the toilet seat up, your husband’s nail clippings on each and every surface of your bathroom, except in the toilet or garbage and wet stinky towels on the floor


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the way the dog moans and whines and looks at you even after you’ve fed him and he’s done his business outside



discovering you have no coffee beans or milk in the morning and your usual routine includes 2 triple shot lattes


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learning that your daughter has been so busy working her four puny 6-hour shifts a week that she hasn’t had time to sort out a couple minor administrative matters that will allow her to graduate from university with good marks


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So you send the 5 second email on her behalf and are then livid with yourself for cleaning up her mess. Again!


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that critically acclaimed, multiple award-winning book you’re reading sucks swampgas – a technical term my kids use

bad book

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And you have a unwanted, unwelcome birthday coming up just around the corner, which everyone in your family will probably forget anyways


courtesy iclipart.com

Okay, so I had one of those days yesterday and rather than yell or kick the dog or hit my husband over the head, I decided to do something positive –  I decided to meditate. Yep, that’s right. I have officially gone over to that weird side – the one where the hippies (like my daughter) and the lazy dropouts (her friends) hang out


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as well as movie stars like Hugh Jackman and Clint Eastwood, celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Jerry Seinfeld and CEO’s like Arianna Huffington and Larry Ellison.

So this Terrible Awful Mother decided to do it – I mean there must be something to it if it`s good enough for all those folks. I should mention I have been attempting to meditate on a somewhat regular basis. But some days I don’t can’t find the time and some days I try but I can’t keep physically still, let alone focus my mind. Recently I’ve been working through Oprah & Deepak’s 21 day meditation experience called  Getting Unstuck: Creating a Limitless Life! Sounds good right? – I figure I could use getting unstuck and a limitless life sounds pretty darn amazing.

So yesterday I was determined to do it. I went into my office, closed the door and clicked on the guided meditation.


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I sat comfortably in my chair, listened intently to the discussion, got into the zone and repeated the mantra when…


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my husband, the Original Obnoxious One, kicked in the door, yelled howdy and shocked me right out of hard-fought focus


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And started to laugh uncontrollably and loudly. For a very long time.


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My response ?

Na na na na na na na, I wanna start a fight
Na na na na na na na, I wanna start a fight


courtesy iclipart.com

I hadn’t told the Original Obnoxious One about my meditation attempts because I knew this would be his reaction. And that he’d intentionally bother me during crucial zen moments. He just wouldn’t be able to help himself.

And he couldn’t. But as for me?

So what?
I’m still a rock star
I got my rock moves
And I don’t need you


courtesy iclipart.com

Yep, meditation works wonders for me! How ’bout you?


Song lyrics courtesy So What by Pink


Are we there yet?

Aren’t you finished yet?

Words that my children have said to me many, many times.

Words that have driven me crazy many, many times.

And now, words that my dear, darling husband Captain Dumb Dumb has said to me every single day for the past several weeks.

the Captain and I, courtesy iclipart.com

the Captain and I, courtesy iclipart.com

I guess three writers’ conferences in four weeks will do that. Plus the prep beforehand to perfect the pitch and polish the synopsis and rework  the first three chapters. Plus the mad scramble afterwards to incorporate all the words of wisdom and sage advice into the query letter and the synopsis and the first three pages and the whole bloody manuscript.

cartoon courtesy iclipart.com

cartoon courtesy iclipart.com

Then there’s the due diligence to ensure that even if so-and-so and such-and-such loved my pitch, are they really legitimate? I mean, are they really somebody I want to get in bed with? – metaphorically speaking of course. So hours and hours on-line being nosy (so tough for me to do) and hours and hours reading books championed, books trending and  books newly signed. And who should I get to proof-read my work in the meantime – my freelance editor? Captain Dumb Dumb? My mother? (actually all three, although I didn’t get much more than a couple of grunts out of Captain Dumb Dumb)

Oh yeah, and did I mention that I recently became involved with the most amazing not-for profit organization? It’s called the Compassionate Eye Foundation and these folks do some pretty incredible work all over the globe. It really is a creative community for change – be sure to check it out. Of course there’s been a significant learning curve for me – interesting and fascinating and of course, more time-consuming than originally anticipated.

So I emerged just in time to take a breath a couple of days ago and…decorate the tree and the house for Christmas,

courtesy iclipart

courtesy iclipart.com


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buy Christmas presents for everyone (including myself – not quite, but I did have to provide a very, very detailed list complete with pictures, prices and store information), mail boxes of Christmas presents to family in Ontario before rates go up (failed there – spent big bucks but don’t tell Captain Dumb Dumb), continue to de-clutter and pack and organize all belongings of our family in case someone one day actually does buy our house (yes our house is for sale, and has been for a couple a few several months now, but it’s not driving me crazy at all). Forget about Christmas cards this year – everyone can read my blog and/or check out my Facebook page. Plus it’s better for the environment to do everything on-line. As for Christmas baking, I’m just doing my family a favour and keeping them healthy – who needs all that sugar anyway? (although I really hope my daughter makes our family’s secret recipe for chocolate fudge when she gets home – I have a humongous craving!)

So hopefully everyone in my family will be happy, more or less…except Captain Dumb Dumb of course. You see, lately I’ve been a little too busy to have dinner on the table the second he steps in the door, a little too swamped to ensure that each and every morning he has sufficient quantities of fresh fruit available for his every whim, and sadly, I haven’t spent hours on the phone with our incredible travel agent organizing our fall 2014 trip of a lifetime. Nope, he had to send her an email all by himself – no people to do it for him. Poor dear, he really is hard-done-by.

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

Good thing he has Franklinstein!IMG_0007


Only the best for my babies

Yep, I feed my darlings ( the hairy ones) very expensive, high quality, hypoallergenic059 potato & fish kibble from a local producer First Mate because, after all, they’re worth it.

courtesy Firstmate.com

courtesy Firstmate.com

And they love it.

I’ve thought about a “raw food” diet for them – for about 2 seconds, but sadly, even I have my limits. Besides, I’m not sure just how discriminating their taste buds really are. Killer loves garbage and rotten sticks and barnacle encrusted clams, while Franklinstein adores drywall, dirty old shoes (the smellier the better), furniture and of course, how can I forget …poop.  I  hope think we’ve cured him from that one, but still.( see Help – My Puppy has Coprophagia)

Being the ever vigilant mother that I am ;), I am constantly on the hunt for yummy but low-calorie treats for them. I’m not one of those dog folks who keeps treats in all her pockets , cuz that would drive my babies crazy. Labs they have a tendency to gain weight pretty quickly, and if it was up to them, they would eat 24/7 until they looked like this:

courtesy iclipart.com

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And I’m in enough trouble as it is with my vet, who happens to think they’re both too fat. Really?! So, we have tried each and every one of the following treats, but they all have their issues:

  • doggie cookies – too many calories
  • rawhide bones – easy to choke on (apparently)
  • dentabones –  last barely 2 seconds

Imagine my delight when I found the perfect dog chew – all natural and loved by both, but especially by Franklinstein.

Courtesy Bullwrinkles.com

Courtesy Bullwrinkles

The packaging proclaimed:

Great for larger dogs that need a long-lasting treat.  Made from real dried beef… full of rich flavor with a crunchy texture. These beef chews are  high in protein and low in fat. Highly digestible and can help improve dental health.

There was only one problem – the price. Individual treats cost almost $8 each. I wouldn’t mind if they lasted awhile, but Franklinstein demolishes them in about 10 minutes. So I talked to the folks at the local doggie store and asked for a deal – well the deal was that if I bought a box of the dog chews for $200, they wouldn’t charge me tax. But wait, $200 for a box of dog treats?! Are you crazy ? Ordinarily I would’ve laughed and said forget it, but I spent over $1,000 repairing all the damage Franklinstein did to our home (not to mention shoes, books, etc.), so….$200 was a bargain…relatively.

Well the doggie delicacies were a HUGE hit. I  got into the habit of giving them one or two every time I went out – to pilates, to grocery shopping, to taxiing around my daughter, or whatever. I felt great knowing  my babies were happy. We’d go through a box every month or so, but I just kept telling myself that it was money well spent.

One day I waltzed into the doggie store and said to the cashier, “Can I have a big box of those bones?” She wasn’t sure what I was talking about, so I showed her the chews.

“Those aren’t bones ma’am”

“Well, what are they?”

“Trust me, you don’t want to know”

“No really, I do. What are they?”

She came to close to me and whispered in my ear as if imparting the secret to eternal life.  “They’re bull penises.”

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

WHAT? So I did what I usually do in a situation like this: I went home to do research on the internet. Surely I could get to the bottom of this…situation. Guess what – bully sticks by Bullwrinkles are made from beef and steer pizzle and pizzle is a nice word for…penis. They cut them off, clean them, drain them, stretch them and dry them. Sometimes they braid them. Then they cut them and package them. Really! (See What are Bully Sticks if you don’t believe me!)

Well, there was NO way I could keep this information to myself, so I immediately texted my son, the Obnoxious One with the news of Franklinstein’s latest and greatest tendencies. My son’s response? (after the expected %#*)  – Just two words:



The Magical Allure of Books

As a voracious reader, enthusiastic writer, and aspiring author, I know a little bit about the power of words. Imagine my delight when a member of my philistine family finally showed some interest in really good books. Yes, my husband, the Original Obnoxious One reads – nonfiction economic, law and business books. How do you spell boring?! My son, the Obnoxious One reads – economic and history text books at university. My daughter the Weird One reads – existential angst-ridden teen fiction. It hurts just to look at her books – really! The Weird One recently told me, “Mom, in all the best fiction, somebody always dies. Think of Disney’s Snow White and the Lion King. So, you should definitely kill off someone in your novel.” Yes dear,a must-have inclusion for a humorous middle grade novel.

But this member of the family showed a fierce desire to go beyond all that, way beyond! This one wanted to gorge on books, to totally possess the written word. 

Who am I talking about? Why Franklinstein of course.

It wasn’t enough for him to chew my slippers, shoes, boots, chairs, baseboards, drywall or mill-work. Is it any wonder he has digestive issues?  Nope, he has officially moved on to books. Sigh – what an intellectual. And not just any old books, but the two books I purchased at the amazing Surrey International Writers’ Conference a couple weeks ago. And they were signed by the authors and addressed to me! Yeah, specifically The Rose Garden a wonderful story by Susanna Kearsley which luckily I read before Franklinstein struck, as well as The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great by Donald Maass. It was next in my pile of books to read. It looked really good; it looked really great in fact. So, can you imagine my reaction?

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I placed the two books on my desk in the kitchen, and left the house for two hours. Apparently Franklinstein enjoyed himself very much in my absence. Perhaps he was familiar with John Milton’s words, “A good book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit.” Yeah, that must be it.

In the words of my wise friend, coach and freelance editor Sylvia Taylor, “Good thing that dog is REALLY cute!”

You can say that again. Many times. Really!

Finally…a thank you!

Since I’ve had my nose to the grindstone the past couple of weeks, I’ve definitely neglected my blog here. Back to school, sick doggies and massive rewrites of my children’s novel seem to take up all my time these days. So first, let’s catch up on a belated thank you to the wonderful She Can’t Be Serious, for nominating me for …

The Kreativ Blogger Award

She Can’t Be Serious a very funny, very sarcastic blog, and I’m thrilled to be acknowledged by her.  Make sure you check her out!

The rules:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to the awarding
blog.  Thanks, She Can’t be Serious!
2. Answer 7 questions about yourself.
3. Provide 10 random factoids
about yourself.
4. Hand the award to 7 deserving others.

The questions:

1.  What is your favorite song?  Will I sound really lame if I say anything by Adele? Otherwise favourites include Moondance by Van Morrison and Moon over Bourbon Street and Fragile by Sting

2.  What is your favorite dessert?  I’m not a dessert gal ( I prefer wine), but I do like the our family’s secret chocolate fudge recipe when I’m feeling in need. And dark Toblerone.

3.  What do you do when you’re upset?  Yell, scream, slam doors, although lately I’ve been trying to act like a grown-up so I just stamp my feet.

4.  What is your favorite pet?  My yellow labs – big surprise I’m sure. 🙂

5.  Which do you prefer, white or whole wheat?  Whole wheat, preferably with lots of other grains and the more seeds the better. Really!

6.  What is your biggest fear?  That my novel won’t get published. In the meantime, here’s a little excerpt:

When Mom picked me up from school that afternoon all she wanted to talk about was how wonderful the school was, how important first impressions were and how I really needed to try hard at school this year. Geez, the stuff parents say. My mom, the super serious lawyer- trained brainiac had told me this stuff so so so many times this past summer. For a smart lady sometimes she acted pretty dumb.

“Remember Queenie,” she said, while driving down the big hill towards home. “Let’s try not to get into trouble at this school.”

I rolled my eyes and corrected her. “Mom, I never try to get into trouble. Sometimes trouble just happens. And sometimes it sticks to me, you know, like gum on the bottom of your shoe. Nobody wants gum there, but sometimes you just end up with it.”

7.  What is your attitude mostly?  Generally positive except when my daughter &/or husband give(s) me too much sass. Then look out! – I can hold a grudge for a long time.

Ten Random Factoids About Me

  1. My husband is an only child, which has made the past 27 years exciting, and sometimes rather challenging – oops just kidding darling. Everything is always wonderful as long as he is always right…which is always!?
  2. When we first got married, my husband wanted as many children as possible – “at least 9 or 10”. After having 1 and being pregnant with the 2nd, he tried very very hard to convince me  that 2 was a really good number. Turns out he was right – in terms of both kids and dogs.
  3. My daughter was diagnosed with ADHD at age 9 – after doing a ton of research, my husband & I concluded that she got it from him. Even though she has largely outgrown many of her symptoms, there is never a dull moment in our house.
  4. My kids are total apple fans – ipods, iphones and ibooks, while my husband & I like our blackberries and our PC’s. Okay, we are partial to our ipods as well.
  5. I’m a huge fan of fiction – historical, thriller, fantasy –  and have read a ton of books lately, but not updated my Have You Read page. On my to-do list.
  6. I don’t like reality shows, except for The Real Housewives of Vancouver and the Liquidator.   and 
  7. As a kid I played classical piano for many, many years — Mozart and Beethoven and Bach and Debussy and more. I played in music festivals and High School concerts and took many written and performance exams. We’ve had a piano in our home for over twenty years, but I haven’t played it in…a very long time. I also played clarinet and acoustic guitar. My daughter took piano lessons for a few years but that was a disaster since she never wanted to practice and it was just another thing for us to fight about. Now she’s mad that I let her quit!
  8. We have a tiny cabin “off the grid” up Indian Arm – no electricity or phone and boat access only. (We do have solar panels & a generator and we get our water from the creek behind us) The foundation is rotten and has been under construction the past two years so I haven’t been up at all this summer. Here’s what it looked like kayaking last summer – heavenly!
  9. As I write this my husband is in Beverly Hills and I am at home. Then he goes to Calgary and Saskatoon, and I will be home. Then he goes to Miami and I go to…Surrey (Surrey in BC not Britain) Hmmm…I’m not jealous or anything though…not really.
  10. Our outdoor renovations are almost done, almost. Only took 7 months to do a 2 month job. No big deal. Not really. Well yeah, actually.

    our driveway in May

our driveway end of August

So now for the deserving ones. As usual I’m going to provide a random list of blogs I follow,some funny and some informative.

dirtyrottenparenting – very funny

crappypictures – she has a real knack of putting a funny spin on the everyday

thewaiting – sweet and smart but not too much – always enjoyable and well written

talesfromthemotherland – a plethora of thoughts from a smart lady going a million miles an hour

Carly Waters, Literary Agent Blog – very informative

A Detailed House – tons of inspiration on decorating, DIY projects and more

Angelhorn – thoughts on writing

Strocel.com – a crunchy granola mom from Vancouver (her words not mine :))

But now, back to the grindstone – The Trouble With Queenie is calling me now. Really!

Would you believe…the weather is the culprit?

Yup, I blame the weather … it’s just been too fabulous to do anything. Well, almost anything…except hike in the alpine at Whistler and the canyons of the north shore of Vancouver and hang out at the doggie park on the ocean. And swim.

For the past week or so the Pacific Northwest has been at its most glorious. But don’t tell anyone.We wouldn’t want the world to move here.


P.S. I actually have been doing some work rewriting The Trouble With Queenie, my Middle Grade novel, with the help of freelance editor extraordinaire Sylvia Taylor. My goal is ito have a polished manuscript ready for the Surrey International Writers’ Conference in October.

Beware my Weapon of Mass Destruction

There – you’ve been warned. The others – the Obnoxious One (my son)

and the Weird One (my daughter) paid no attention to my warnings and suffered the consequences, as did many of their friends. Severe consequences I might add.

topsiders and toms

Yes those are uggs

Even I let down my guard for a moment and endured terrifying results.

The house also has terrible scars to bear.

note the top and bottom corner

The interesting thing is that my hubby, Captain Dumb Dumb is the only individual who has not succumbed. I wonder what his secret is?

He must smell really, really strange. Plus he does make the appropriate sacrifices on a regular basis.

Weapon of Mass Destruction in happier times