Monthly Archives: January 2014

Moe & Joe: Leave Your Shoes at the Door

Leave Your Shoes at the Door weekly writing challenge is set on an acreage near Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and is based on the tail end (pun intended) of a scene I watched unfold yesterday as I drove by on the highway.

Moe and Joe

Moe: Squirrel Squirrel SQUIRREL SQUIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRREL!!!!! (doing the running man in his sleep)

Joe: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz snort (fart stretch) Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Moe: Hmmmm good dream. (downward dogggggggggggggg stretch) Hey Joe. The sun’s getting low.

Joe: (Yawwwwwwwwwwwwwn) You’re right Moe. We should get ready.

Moe and Joe walk to the water bowl: schlop schlop schlop schlop …

Joe and Moe: (Shake my head … shake my ears … shake… shake … shakeshakeshakeshake, wiggle my ass wiggle my ass wiggle my ass, shimmyshimmyshimmy my tail and look pleased)

Moe: Is the sun in the right spot yet Joe? Is it? Is it?

Joe: Nope. Gotta wait. Go sniff something. I’m gonna take a pee over there.

Moe: (sniffing the ground sniffing the ground sniffing the ground – stop – inhalllllllllllllllllllllle dust particles, snow mold and a pine needle) SNZOPAZZZZFZST! (sneeze – sniffing the ground sniffing the ground sniffing the LOOK UP at the sky, watch a bird fly by, look at Joe)

Joe and Moe: (lie down side by side on the edge of the house deck and stare off into the distance)

Joe: (ears perk up. He sniffs the air) It’s time.

Moe: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I knew it I knew it I knew it. Oh boy oh boy oh boy

Joe: Settle down kid. Grrrrrr.

Moe: (scamper scamper in circles behind Joe)

Joe and Moe walk down the deck stairs, canter across the snow-covered yard and to the lane, Joe stopping to sniff here and there, Moe stopping to sniff what Joe sniffed and then running to catch up to him. They round the bend in the lane …


Joe: C’mon kid, you’re embarrassing your – THERE SHE IS!! SHE’S HOME!!! OMG SHE’S HOME!!

Moe and Joe sprint the remaining 50 metres to the school bus where their little girl has just stepped down from the open folding door. She sees them and throws her arms wide.

Joe and Moe: sprint, riggle, wiggle, bum wiggle, bum wiggle, run, skip in a circle, hop up and down

Moe: (a mass of riggling joy bouncing against her body) I missed you so friggin much OMG you’ve been gone all day AGAIN where do you go I was so worried about where you were and why did you leave me at home I could have gone with you I’m a good boy Do you love me do you love me do you love me?! do you do you do you YOU dooooooo.

Joe: (waits for Moe to calm down and then pushes his way into her arms) I told him you’d be back just like you always tell us. (tail wagging so hard his paws come off the ground) I missed you. (he touches his cold, wet nose to her cheek) Am I still your good boy? Let’s go home. I’ve been waiting to play ball with you all day.

The three of them dash back up the lane towards home.


Posted by on January 30, 2014 in PonderQs



Lunch Post Challenge: Men

Four of the guys asked me to join them for coffee break. I was happy to be a part of this different group of co-workers and interested to hear how they’d spend their break compared to how I spend my usual breaks with the gals at the other building talking gossip and kids and clothes. I imagined talking engines … talking cattle and crop prices… talking ice fishing and snowmobiling… New territory!

First, one said he couldn’t find shirts long enough in the sleeve for his frame and another said he couldn’t find dress shirts that weren’t huge in the body if he could find the right sleeve length but then a third said the trick was to look for the “long L” because it’s a specific fit but his difficulty was finding the right shirt neck size and the first guy said exasperated, “Do you know how rare those long Ls are?! You can’t hardly find them,” and another fellow showed up and asked what we were talking about …

And I sat there thinking, “It feels like I’m having coffee with my group of women co-workers. What the hell!”

I took it in quietly. I wasn’t planning on saying anything today anyhow. I wanted to get my bearings with this new group of buddies because I’m hoping we’ll have many more coffee breaks together and one day I’ll have something of merit to contribute.

Soon enough we were off and chatting about fire and safety and resources and landowners and tractors and ploughs and I finally had to leave them to their heated discussions and get back to work but I still love that they spent the first half of the coffee break concerned with fashion.

“Dark colours (for the new uniform) might look good on everybody else but I’m so pale I just end up looking sick all the time!”



Posted by on January 24, 2014 in PonderQs


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Lunch Post Challenge: Rattled & Hummed

One of my oldest friends has been informed that her breast cancer is back and now in her bones and lymph nodes. It’s not an immediate death sentence and she’s one hell of a fighter but it’s definitely not good news.

She has four children younger than 12, three of them daughters.

She is 41, four days younger than me.

We have been friends since we were 14.

We met on a 2-week canoe trip and went on a 6-week canoe trip and worked at a YM/YWCA camp for years. I can’t explain it to those who have never been on wilderness trips like that but those canoe trips cement friendships for life. Even if you don’t see each other for long periods of time… it doesn’t matter. We’re sisters.

I’ve been busting into heaves and sobs on and off since I found out yesterday. Cancer looked at two women the same age and chose to afflict the one with four babies but not the one with five pets? It’s just so messed up.

So I fell asleep all stuffed up and puffy-faced and sad and wouldn’t you know who rescued me?

Love rescued me

Came forth and spoke to me

Raised me up and didn’t let me fall…

U2. My favourite band of all time visited me in my dreams and gave the concert of their life to 37 fortunate fans in an old run down curling rink in Calgary complete with a canteen, and at one point, someone walked in with a box of Tim Horton’s doughnuts.

It doesn’t get much better or more Canadian than that people! I woke up laughing.



Posted by on January 24, 2014 in PonderQs


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Lunch Post Challenge: Snowshoeing

I was snowshoeing

Snowshoeing at Kingsmere 040

And it was spectacular, a mild -28C with no wind. I could hear my heart beating, a few song birds singing, the river running

Snowshoeing at Kingsmere 036

and then a few too many twigs and small branches breaking close by.

My imagination got the better of me. I tried to be calm and face down my fears, so alone in the woods and far from any assistance. I tried to stop imagining sighting a cougar camouflaged in the trees and how it would feel to be ripped to pieces by one; my blood turning the pristine snow drifts red.

Snowshoeing at Kingsmere 038

I really need to stop watching Planet Earth right before bed.



Posted by on January 23, 2014 in PonderQs


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Lunch Post Challenge: Snow Men

He emerged from the house with a smoke at the ready just as the squall came blowing in sideways. We hadn’t seen each other to say hello since before he went north, before the first snow had fallen. We turned our hardened Canadian backs to the gale and got caught up; clipped conversation and laughter creating a cross-draft through surging walls of snow.


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Posted by on January 22, 2014 in PonderQs


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Lunch Posts Challenge: Pee Break

I live an hour out of town and while in town doing errands today, I really had to pee.

I stopped at the mall. The toilets there are gross but sufficed. Another woman exited the other stall at the same time as me and we shared brief eye contact. I smiled and she laughed a bit embarrassed. We all pee. Why is that embarrassing?

Then we both saw that the soap dispenser was ripped half off the wall and had no soap and we gaped a moment before rinsing in cold water side by side and air drying one after the other in silence.

As I headed back outside, ducking my head in anticipation of the driving winter wind, I noticed an elderly man holding the arm of an elderly, disabled woman and trying to get her through the first set of mall doors. I held the inside door open for them to pass through and he said thank you. I smiled and said, “No worries.” As they passed by me I noticed that she had soiled herself, the wet pee stain the size of a small dinner plate on her gray sweatpants and I thought,

I wonder who will lovingly care for me when I am that old and infirm?


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Posted by on January 21, 2014 in PonderQs


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The Curlnundrum

Several months ago it occurred to me that I might be able to rock a Rhianna-esque fauxhawk so when I went in to get my hair cut I suggested it. The stylist looked appalled and said no way would she do that to me.

I second-guessed myself and didn’t fight for it but admitted defeat.

I don’t mind my curly hair. I had poker straight, thin hair as a little girl. My mom said that she’d put barrettes in my hair only to have them slide out. As I got a bit older we had a Sunday night ritual where I’d sit on a tall stool and she’d put pink sponge curlers in my hair then a blue net over top while I watched Walt Disney World. Monday morning, I’d wake up with big curls and she’d brush them out nicely.

And then I turned 11 and puberty hit. My hair started growing in thick and wiry and curly and uncontrollable.  It poofed out around my head like a parachute.

I remember an early spring day in Winnipeg that year, the snow mostly gone but still cool enough to need a jacket, I was outside pushing my doll stroller around the yard. My parents had some windows open to let the fresh spring air inside and I overheard my dad say to my mom something to the effect of, “What the hell are we going to do about that kid’s hair?”

It hadn’t occurred to me yet that it was an issue. I was in that in-between stage, still playing with dolls but transitioning into babysitting the real deal for pocket money. Still a little girl but in the body of a teenager. From that point on though, I could see myself with greater awareness and could also see that my hair was clownish. Early into Grade 7 I cut it short. Super short!

What I wanted was that awesome 80s style where you literally shave down nearly your whole head but leave a long wave of hair hanging down from the front of your head. I wanted to be punk. I won’t go down the story telling road now of how that wasn’t allowed and how I anguished over that unruly hair my entire teenage life. Actually I struggled to accept it short or long until I was about 30.

And then I welcomed it. What the heck! It’s a bit of a signature and though no man will ever be able to run his hands through it in some romantic gesture for fear of losing a finger, on accepting a challenge, I was once able to hide some 50 objects in it at summer camp.

And more often than not it’s schproinging wildly in all directions or cropped so short it does nothing at all, it’s mine and I’ll keep it. A fellow curly gal once offered to loan me her straightener but I wouldn’t know how to behave if I had straight hair.

Stylists always greet my hair and me, sometimes in that order. They seem compelled to make a comment about it as if it’s a third party to the event even though I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who ever pays the bill. They marvel, they talk to it, they grope; they say they wish they had it and then they remember that I’m attached to the mop-top and ask what I’d like done.

For the last several years, my challenge to different stylists has been, “What do you think? Looking at the shape of my face, what do you think I could do that might be fun and a bit edgy?”

If my hair is longer when I go in, they often refuse to cut it off without some sort of assurance. For whatever reason, it is apparently sacrilege to chop off curly locks even if you look deplorable in whatever style it has taken on. In one case, the stylist even made me sign a waiver that she wrote up on the spot that said I wouldn’t go after her legally if I didn’t like the cut.

And the cut that I usually end up walking out with is what I consider to be the generic middle-aged, suburban mom cut. It drives me WILD!!! It’s so boring! Yes I look good in it. Yes it looks good on my face shape. Yes it’s easy to take care of, but BOrrrrrrrring!

So today I walked into a place and the woman commanded me into her chair and said, “What are we doing?” and I said, “I don’t know. Just clean it up, I guess. I kind of like the mass of little curls all over my head so you could just clean up the nape and take a little off the top.”

“No,” she said.

I looked at her a bit surprised but not offended. Hope began to bloom in my heart.

“I’m giving you a fauxhawk. You’re perfect for that. I’ll shape it now and in about two months it will be the perfect length on top.”

And BOOM! She didn’t even wait for me to respond and started cutting away and the grin on my stupid face could have lit up the back side of the moon.

Finally I said to her that I’d suggested that very style months ago but the stylist wouldn’t do it.

“Well, I love cutting curly hair,” she said, hands flying, scissors snipping and snapping more by the feel of it rather than by any sort of calculated plan from what I could tell. “Too many stylists have no vision. They can’t see where the hair is going and how it’s going to end up.”

Cindy, with the gorgeous, sleek black, super long pony tail, an artist who freestyle shaves geometric patterns into the sides of men’s and boy’s buzz cuts, I think I love you. I love your flare and your confidence. I love that you’re willing to take a risk and have some fun and I love that you “got” me when I had already admitted defeat and was simply expecting the usual.

You kind of made my day.



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Posted by on January 21, 2014 in PonderQs


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