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In case you haven’t figured it out by now…

I’m a weirdo.

Tra-la-la.

Weird–for reasons too numerous to count–when we are not on Daylight Savings Time anymore.  We’re losing daylight with every turn of the calendar, my friends.  Focus on the precious hours of sunlight and stoke up those sunshine cells while you can!

Today, the weirdness refers to the fact that I’m nearing 50 years old and I still have a living grandparent.

She turned 91 yesterday.

Happy 91st birthday, Grandma Verna!

91 going on 61.

She’s always been my Movie Star Grandma, but I didn’t officially think of her that way until my friend, Corvette, pointed it out.

My wedding to Practical Man was the first time Corvette had ever met my Grandma Verna.  This is what Grandma looked like on our wedding day:

Grandma dancing, in a blue dress, at our wedding

Doesn’t she look like what Princess Diana might have looked like, had she been able to reach a luxurious age and attend our wedding?

No disrespect to the late Princess, but who needs Diana when you have our Grandma Verna?  You can sort of understand why Corvette gave her the Movie Star moniker.

That would make me the Movie Star’s granddaughter, tra-la-la.

I think I skipped the Glamour gene, so I’ll take my glamour by association, yes indeedy.

Grandma’s 91 now, but she seems 61 and she’s full of sass.

She drives all her friends around in her immaculate car.

She passes her driver’s test every two years and to my knowledge, she’s never left the right blinker on for miles and miles on the highway.

She celebrates Happy Hour with some red wine, most days, along with one friend or another and they giggle like a pair of 13 year olds.

She has a great giggle.

It’s hard to catch it in a photo, though.  She hates getting her picture taken so you have to sneak up on her all Secret Agent-like.

She lives, alone, in a lovely, lake view apartment (NOT a senior’s residence, retirement villa, or old-age anything).

I covet her apartment and fabulous style.

Shhhhhhhh!

Isn’t that written somewhere, “Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Grandmother’s Apartment and Fabulous Style?”‘

Maybe not.

She does all her own banking and noticed recently that there was $3.76 missing from one of her accounts and boy, was there (rightly so) a hulabaloo at the financial institution that day!

“Most seniors wouldn’t even notice that they were being ripped off,” she told me, “I have to stick up for all of us.”

Darn Right!

She’s kind of the Ever-Ready Bunny of Grandmothers, our Grandma Verna, that is, if the Ever-ready Bunny was WA-A-A-A-A-Y more stylish and had red patent ankle boots and a matching scarf.

These boots are made for Grandma, make no mistake.

Except, instead of batteries like the Ever-Ready Bunny, Grandma runs on swimming and one hour of her daily “stories” on TV.

Many of my friend have parents in their 80s or 90s, so having a grandmother who buys the same shoes as you do, is a little unusual.

Hence, the weirdness.

Even weirder:  I had four grandparents and a great-grandmother and a great-grandfather, until I was in my 20s.

I even had a great-GREAT grandmother, until I was 11.

She was my grandpa’s grandmother!  How weird is that?

Also, very lucky, dontcha know.  Those of us with grandparents really are the luckiest people.

But, Grandma Verna suddenly had a medical incident this week.

No sparkly dresses in sight, like the one she was wearing last year on her 90th:

My grandma, wearing a sparkly dress at her 90th birthday

It could have been a lot worse and we’re hoping she’ll make a full recovery.

She’s out of the hospital, after only 2 days, and recuperating at my parent’s house.

She’s doing the crossword puzzle in the paper and reading all the birthday cards she’s been getting, for days.

But, she fainted this week so she’s a little unsteady and using a walker to get from room to room, at the moment.  She’s sleeping a lot and tires very easily.

Sounds a lot like me, in fact.

She’s a little less Snazz and a little more Snooze.

Definitely, like me.

Not that this will last forever, but suddenly, she seems closer to 91 than 61.

That’s perfectly normal, of course, after an illness.

Just weird, for her.

So, now we’re both weirdos.

Tra-la-la.

Get well, Grandma.

I hope we get to be weird together, for a long time to come.

 

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Last weekend, I had a day when I wished I were a guy named Larry.

Let me explain.

Years ago, when I had a job working for people with intellectual disabilities, I had two clients named Larry and Ronald.

Those aren’t really their names, of course, because that sort of thing is confidential, but, what you need to know is that Larry and Ronald were brothers, who lived together in a two-bedroom apartment. Their elderly mother had passed away recently and they lived among her many, many possessions, as well as their own and seemed to be managing their bachelor life just fine (other than eating nothing but hamburger patties for 3 meals a day, 7 days a week).

Larry, the younger brother, loved gadgets and machines.  He (and his late mother) had collected record players (6) and cameras (they had everything from a Brownie to a Polaroid to a Disc camera to a Nikon SLR) and fans (29), among other things.

Larry liked to take things apart to see the insides of the gubbins and how they worked, so all of his many, many gadgets and machines were in bits and pieces.  Larry was better at taking things apart than putting things back together, it seemed.

Anyhoo, to get to my point:  one day, their landlord called and said that their apartment was a fire hazard because of all Larry’s and his mother’s junk, not to mention the 29 fans and the evolution of cameras and that we needed to get rid of some stuff pronto, or he would serve an eviction notice.

I hightailed it over to Larry and Ronald’s and began the process of trying to respectfully negotiate the removal of some of their treasures–some to storage, some to charity, some to garbage.  These were adult men, after all.  They had a right to live among their junk.

Heaven knows, I do.

But, only until the roof over your head is in jeopardy, I figure.

The conversations went something like this:

“Larry, do you think you need 5 vacuums?”

(Larry looked at me with sadness in his eyes.)

“Maybe you don’t need five, Larry. What do you think?”

(Puppy-dog eyes.)

“Larry?”

“Well,” Larry stammered, “I need one.”

(Pause and puppy-dog eyes.)

“And, Ronald needs one.”

(Pause and puppy-dog eyes.)

“And…”

(Pause and puppy-dog eyes.)

“What if one breaks?”

So, I managed to give away 2 vacuums, leaving Larry and Ronald with 3 vacuums, which is apparently the perfect number for a 2-bedroom apartment and no one who vacuums.

Last weekend, I was wishing I had the foresight of Larry.

I killed the vacuum.

Dead, dead, dead.

And, there were no spares, no sirree.

But, I do live with Practical Man so after explaining how the vacuum had inexplicably, mysteriously perished on my watch after a mere 15 years or so (maybe I shouldn’t vacuum, whot, whot?), he set to work.

In the meantime, I gnashed my teeth about having to spend hundreds of dollars on something as boring as a new vacuum.

Gnash, gnash.

While I was grinding off my teeth, Practical Man went about breaking into the vacuum.

There were no screws to remove anything to get at the gubbins inside on account of it’s very vintage to want to re-use and fix things you already own.

vacuum apart on the worktop

Very vintage.

Maybe you have wondered at times why I called this blog, “A Vintage Life?”

These are some of the times and the reasons, why.

I mean, seriously, have you ever seen the inside of a vacuum when it wasn’t in Larry’s apartment?

But, in our modern “green” society, practically no one fixes stuff anymore so why would you need to get inside something to look at what might be broken?

Y’know, unless you are Larry or Practical Man?

Practical Man somehow figured out how to break into the vacuum, without…um…breaking it.

I’m not even sure how that happened since it’s 98% plastic.

Crazy, mad, skills, that man has.

vacuum hose taken apart so you can see the electronics inside

He came back from the workshop and announced that the motor was fine, it wasn’t the relay (I nodded and tried to pretend I vaguely recalled something about relays from O-level Physics) and that he figured it was the switch.

I could barely hear him over my gnashing of teeth.

Vacuum shopping – blah, blah, I thought again.

Maybe I could console myself over having to spend hard-earned moulah on a boring vacuum by buying a nice yellow one, I reasoned.

Have I mentioned that I’m the yin to Practical Man’s yang?

Meanwhile, he was looking online for switches but they were expensive and likely imported, meaning more expense and duty and exchange, etc etc.

So, he found an electronics vacuum shop (someone spent hours working on that name, I bet!)  And, when we got there, he did something oh-so-vintage and awesome:

He pulled out the wiring schematic he had made for the vacuum:

detailed hand-drawn schematic on graph paper

Isn’t it adorable?

I love science-y people.

So do guys in vacuum repair shops who almost never, ever meet a bona-fide Practical Man.

The guy’s eyes practically fell out of his head when he saw the hand-drawn schematic.

And voila!  New switch for $15.

switch

Today, he installed the new switch, fixed something else that also turned out to be broken and the vacuum is now put back together and very much ALIVE.

Also:  Not. Thrown. Away.

Also:  Not a Boring, Blah Blah Blah Expense.

Tra-la-la!

But, we still only have one.

Not one for Ronald, too.

Not one, in case one breaks.

Sorry, Larry.

Thank you, Practical Man.

 

 

 

 

 


It’s October, so my Christmas list is well overdue.

Of course it is.

Santa is so demanding.

And, lest you think this is all a tad early, let me inform you that Costco has been Christmas-ing since August, yes indeedy.

There are entire aisles you can Deck the Halls in, wearing your flip-flops (we can’t generally wear flip-flops during the ACTUAL festive season in Canada).

There are buffalo-checked Christmas doo-dahs as far as the eye can see (I try my best to avert my eyes back to the free samples they give out at Costco, which it’s really important to keep one’s eye firmly upon so as not to forget the real reason we shop at Costco).

Buffalo check pattern

Photo credit: Spoonflower

Practical Man does not approve.

Of the Christmas doo-dahs, I should clarify.

No sirree.

He’s a free-sample fan, though.

What kind of Practical Man would he be if his favourite thing was not anything, preceded by or followed by the word, FREE?

He never eats the free samples – he gives them to me, like some kind of Snack Saint.  He doesn’t snack and did I mention that he’s kind of annoying, sometimes?

Lovely, but annoying in a Snack Saint sort of way.

Or, maybe Snack Santa.

But, festive flourishes (even with free snacks for his beloved) before a respectful observance of Remembrance Day (Nov 11)?  Now, them’s grounds for grunting and Rick Mercer-esque rants.

I don’t disagree.

It’s only October, merchants!  My Hallowe’en costume is barely out of my head and onto the sewing machine, yet.

But, Practical Man still wants my Christmas list early, early, early.

He’s not a huge fan of all the commercialism and forced gifting that comes with the season but, he does like to make someone happy.

Tra-la-la.

“You know that I don’t go in stores after the beginning of November,” he warns in a Bah Humbug sort of voice.

Who cares about that when everyone knows that Santa doesn’t shop in stores?  Santa has elves making things in workshops and eating gingerbread, dontcha know.  They don’t shop at Costco (unless they are snackers, in which case, who can blame them?)

Ho, ho, ho.

Still, on account of their too early Christmas hullabaloo, I wonder if Costco has been listening to our conversations about overdue Christmas lists?  Like a George Orwell, big-brother-is-watching-you kind-of-creepy, Santa?

Oh wait, that’s Siri and Okay Google.  Neither of which we use and yet…

I’m feeling spooked.

Which would be fine because it’s nearly Hallowe’en:  the season of spookiness.

Boo!

And what with my distraction about whether my non-Siri/Okay Google devices are listening to my conversations without my permission, it’s a bit difficult for me to think of what I want for Christmas.

Except maybe a vintage, Fisher Price hospital, complete with X-ray machine and working elevator.

Vintage Fisher Price hospital with all people and equipment

photo credit: YouTube

Because, every woman in her 40s needs one of those, right?

And peace on earth, wrapped in buffalo check flannel.

Except, not yet.

Because it’s wa-a-a-a-y too early for Christmas-y stuff.

So says Practical Man–and me.

But, not Costco.

Boo Humbug.

 

 

 


Last week, I had my first bath in over a decade.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEK.

Why so traumatized, you ask?  Because, this, my friends, was not a good bath, with bubbles up to your neck and your favourite Ernie-and-Bert-inspired Rubber Duckie.

No, no, no.

Rubber Duckies - one large with a small one on its back

There was no lovely book or glass of wine (although I’m really not coordinated enough for any of that kind of nonsense).

Nope.

Not even the sort of lovely BAWTH that one of my favourite literary characters, Eloise, likes to take.

No sirree.

This was the kind of bath that your mother tells you to take.

Or rather, MY mother.

Because, I’m in my 40s, dontcha know.

You’re never too old for a little vintage, motherly, health advice.

Or, for a bath.

“With oatmeal”, she said.

“Or baking soda”, she said.

“Maybe some Epsom salts”, she said.

Possibly a cocktail of all of the above.

Yessiree, I am officially a geezer.

No Bath and Body Works jams and jellies for me.

I get to bathe with breakfast cereals and baking products.

I’m like Wilford Brimley, with hair.

This was the kind of bath you take because you have been itchy for nearly a month FOR NO GOOD REASON.

And, all the icky sticky goo and chanting of OM doesn’t make it stop.

OMMMMMMM…I’m so itchy!

And not only that but, this was the kind of BAWTH where you had to decide which third of your body to dunk in the water at a time, on account of, you are possibly eleventeen feet tall and your tub is a shallow, five-foot long, jetted, vintage relic from the late 1980s.

It was a complex dance of toes-ankles-calves for a while and then knees-thighs-abdomen for another while and then chest-shoulders-neck for an encore.

Slip sliding away.   It’s not as exciting as it sounds in the song.

Who, among the regular old, pre-every-bathroom-must-be-a-spa-thing-that-we-seem-to-have-going-on-now, bathtub owners, finds this fun?

You must be blessed with some short-ness, is all I can figure.  Me and my eleven-teen feet of tall-ness are jealous.

Anyhoo, this was the kind of bath where Practical Man had to set a timer in order to get me to stay in there for 20 minutes, because someone–possibly me–kept yelling, “Can I get out YET?” approximately every 32 seconds.

I am a delight to go through life with, as you can tell.

This was the kind of bath where, when I scrunched down so my shoulders could get a little of the water action–and my toes were creeping ever so elegantly up the wall towards the shower head–I was exactly eye level with the toilet.

Lovvvvvely.

As my friend Pippi has said, “Bathing beside the toilet is not my idea of luxury.”

Toilets figure prominently in 5-star resort brochures, I’m sure.

Um, yes and this was more of a long-term-care facility kind of bath.

With a little Nessum Dorma that Practical Man piped in, to help me stay put for the requisite time limit.

Nessum Dorma is the key to life, really.

Honestly, just close your eyes and listen.  You don’t need to be in a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad bathtub for it to be magic.

But, after a million-zillion torturous hours, when I was finally allowed to get out, I was victorious.

I had a few hives.

Tra-la-la.

Nearly a month of scratching and complaining about invisible sensations and I finally had something to show for my efforts.

I’m a little Type A that way.

Stay with me.  The hives mean that maybe, possibly, I’m not imagining the itching–just having some kind of allergic reaction.

To what, I don’t know.

New vitamins?

Pickled eggs?

Or maybe…don’t you think…it might be…Nessum Dorma beside the toilet?

The basic treatment for hives is, YOU WILL NEVER GUESS:

Take a bath.

Or as I and Eloise prefer it:  BAWTH.

With oatmeal.

Or baking soda.

Possibly some Epsom salts.

So says The Google.

And my mom.

Can I get out yet?

Me in a pink clawfoot tub, holding my book, "Career Cupid" - 2009

Yep, that’s me in a pink claw foot bathtub, in our driveway, circa 2009. The things I’ll do for book promotion.

 


A few years ago, we started buying wood furniture.

Vintage and second-hand, to be sure.

Rockefellers, we are not.

Buying at auctions and garage sales is good for the budget.  Plus, I like the hunt for old stuff, yes indeedy.  Usually, the more unloved, the better.

Rocking chairs with the rockers worn off?  Sign me up.

Cabinets, magazine racks, abandoned table at the side of the road?  I’m out of the car like a chubby magpie.

pink wardrobe and green magazine rack

Slowly, we have replaced any of the press-board, laminated stuff that we used to find at a certain lovely big box store.  (I still go there for the window shopping, tasty meatballs and $1 ice cream cone, of course.)

Forget grey hair:  the press-board-to-wood-conversion is a sure sign of advancing age.

Anyhoo.

The other part about buying used is that it lowers the guilt factor.

The guilt factor when I go about doing that thing that I always want to do.

You know–that thing that makes some people cringe or exclaim in horror.

(Insert Practical Man’s cringe and horror here.)

That would be painting.

Painting (say this in breathy, hushed tones):  Real Wood.

As in, our fireplace mantel (giant chunk of pine).

As in, our kitchen cupboards (giant room full of knotty pine).

As in, this china cabinet that used to belong to my Grandma Verna.

40s china cabinet - brown

It’s been “wood” coloured for as long as I can remember, including the last 20 years that it’s been in our house.  I think it hails from the 1940s or thereabouts.  Definitely vintage and lovely but, oh so browny-brown-brown.

Which is really only good if it’s made of chocolate, yes indeedy.

This fall, I could no longer let the china cabinet live in peace.

So, it went under the knife.

Rather, the brush, as the case may be.

Don’t be so dramatic, wood lovers!

All that wood was going away.  Even though some of it, on the underneath part, was cool vintage crate wood with retro advertising.

We kept that.

Bottom view of china cabinet - one half of the interior floor of the cabinet was made from an old crate

Practical Man did some considerable muttering under his breath.

It might have been because he always seems to end up finishing the painting that his paint-happy wife barely started.

Or, it may have been an apology chant to the wood–the wood which his callous wife had so gladly forsaken.

He and my dad are both woodworkers.  They make beautiful things which I have (cross my heart) never painted.

The struggle is real, my friends.

But, back to the china cabinet, which they Did. Not. Make.

Bye-bye brown!

40s cabinet with lattice-work door closed - painted cream

Hello, dreamiest cream and robin’s egg blue!

Oooh, how I love your new tra-la-la.

If you do too, check out more great ideas at Vintage Chic – A Room by Room Guide by Laura Preston.  I hope to feature her as a guest blogger here soon!

Cabinet painted cream outside with robins-egg blue interior on three interior shelves and walls

Now, the cabinet is just perfect to house fondue pots, vintage melamine and Pyrex galore.

None of it brown, as you might have guessed.

Today’s dilemma is this antique tea cart, with its original shade of woody-wood-wood.

antique tea cart with wheels - brown

Of course, I want to paint it.

Pinterest wants me to paint it.

What do you think?

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Every year, when we take the tree and decorations down, I am startled.

I don’t think I have reached the Griswold level of festive decor, so that can’t account for the Disturbing Disappearance of Decor.

Triple D – that’s a thing, right?

foam cut outs that make a white fridge look like a snowman

Okay fine, I made the fridge into a snowman–that’s proof of nothing.

Yet, take away the seasonal dressing and everything suddenly looks bare and forlorn.

I guess it’s to be expected when you remove a giant conifer and acres of greenery and glittery things from your Not-So-Great Room.

(Our house was built at a time when Great Rooms were not yet a thing, so we only have an ordinary living room or as realtors probably think of it:  a Not-So-Great Room.)

Our Not-So-Great Room looked perfectly fine in November.

In early December, it suddenly got bulge-y with a seriously extraverted Tannenbaum and all its festive friends.

I think we might be kindred spirits, me and the Not-So-Great Room.

I feel quite bulge-y in December myself.

“Deck the Halls with crates of Toblerone“…isn’t that how that song goes?

Anyhoo.

Every year during the time when the Not-So-Great Room is still looking seriously festive, Practical Man and I head out to admire our neighbourhood lights.

First, I admire the heart he stamped in the snow of the front lawn, with our initials in it.

Swoon-y swoon.

Then, we cruise around for a while (we used to walk when we lived in town but we’d have to be Santa to make any time, now that we live rurally), surveying the crop of Griswold-esque specimens.

Deciduous trees lit with blue lights

I’m not really keen on the blow-up thingys, so I haven’t photographed those.

suburban house completely outlined with lights as well as lit trees and Charlie Brown Christmas motif

Nor the keel-over-inducing light shows (even when coordinated with music).

Completely lit house, yard full of lights and a steeple on the garage!

Give me a loaded, over-the-top, plain old, static light show any day.

Country house in Battersea, lit modestly but fully

Or night, as it were.

Once we have oooh’d and aaah’d for a good while, then comes the hard part.

We have to choose.

We each get one thank-you card, that we filled out before we left the house:

Thank you for your beautiful lights.  Your house was our favourite!

We don’t sign our names.  We simply slip the thank-you card into their mailbox.

house and garage completely outlined in multi-coloured LED lights

It’s seriously festive and fun.

Fa-la-Tra-la-la!

Then, we return home to our own festively-adorned, albeit slightly bulge-y Not-So-Great Room and cuddle up.

Even though I don’t think I’m quite at Griswold level of festive decor, I can still love those who are.

I’m just too lazy for that sort of outdoor, holiday hulla-balloo.

Forget the 12 Days of Christmas, I’m all about the 12 Days of Pajamas.

Zzzzzzzzz.

Happy New Year to me!

Except, that after all the Disturbing Disappearance of Decor, our Not-So-Great Room will soon look like the Nearly-Naked Room.

Naked, I say, in January.

Please agree with me that naked in Canada in January is sometimes not such a good look.

‘Tis the Season for down-filled puffy coats, thank goodness.

But, having no such down-filled puffy coats for the Not-So-Great Room, it has to spend the first parts of the new year standing around, naked.

Naked in the season of diet and exercise commercials galore.

Naked in the season of resolutions and recriminations.

After a little while, we get used to our naked, Not-So-Great Room again and can see it for all the beauty that it holds.

Unadorned and lovely, in its year-round state.

Naked.

Perhaps, a lesson for us all.

Copyright Christine Fader, 2016.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet


It’s nearly Christmas so naturally, we are going camping.

Yes, I know we live in Ontario, home of frosty windows and big, fat snowflakes and other wintery stuff (like -40 antifreeze for the car because we need that, yes, we truly do) but, camping in December is not such a stretch.

We’ve got trees in the forest on our property.

We’ve got a fire pit, around which to toast marshmallows and the like.

We’ve got the super-duper, flannel, camping sheet set and three or twelve duvets (and a partridge in a pear tree.)

Okay, fine.

We’re not camping.

That’s just Practical Man, driving around the lawn on your average Tuesday, towing our vintage Boler travel trailer.

I’m pretty sure the neighbours are whispering about me.  They wouldn’t blame it on Practical Man because they all know him.  I’m the mysterious person who drives up the driveway into the garage and disappears inside (away from The Nature).  He is the guy who is always out in the yard on one tractor or another, or on the roof, or in the forest, or building something or growing something.  Plus, he fixes things for the neighbours, regularly.  People who fix things don’t drive around the lawn on your average Tuesday in December in Ontario, towing their travel trailer, unless they are very sweet and have been put up to it by an annoyingly festive ELF.

Like this one:

me, dressed as an elf, standing beside our Christmas tree

Tra-la-la.

Or, as I like to say at Christmas, when I’m wearing an elf get-up that I made out of a green sweater, some felt, and a pair of socks:

Fa-la-Tra-la-la!

Aren’t you glad you don’t live with me?

(The socks are at my wrists, in case you can’t concentrate, after my costume-making teaser.)

It all began when I joined one of those groups on Facebook–or maybe, I can blame the Facebook algorithm.  You know the algorithm:  it thinks I need bifocals and wrinkle cream.

Evil algorithm.

Yes, let’s blame it.

Anyhoo, I kept seeing pictures from some group foisted on me by the evil, mind-reading algorithm.  Disturbing, provocative pictures–you know the kind–pictures of pretty barns and burlap all swirly-dirly and bells and thing-a-ma-bobs that bring out the inner decorator dictator in me.

Mere minutes scrolling through these groups and I get obsessed with teeny, insignificant details…like angels and angles.

Now that sounded a bit confusing.

That is to say, I’m obsessed with whether the angels on our shelves are at a 45 degree angle to…I’m not sure what.

They looked so good on Pinterest.

There are evil algorithms there, too.

Algorithms and angled angels anon.

(That’s called festive alliteration.)

Lest you think I’m reaching, I’ll have you know that “anon” is the festive word for “and other junk that I feel the need to copy, for reasons that must be based in my primitive, lizard brain because it is un-explainable, even to me, why I would care about this kind of fluff”.

To get back to my point, I was on one of those groups and there were other vintage trailer weirdos like me and well, they don’t live in Ontario.  They live in warm climates where there is still green grass visible on the ground, not to mention palm trees (public service announcement:  it’s very un-Christmassy to blatantly display aka gloat about your palm trees at this time of year to a Canadian).  Then, to add insult to palm-tree injury, they post pictures of their vintage trailers all dicky-doo’d up for the holidays.

I do love a little festooning and such.

So says the evil algorithm.

Insert lizard brain here.

But, I live in Ontario, home of frosty windows and big, fat snowflakes and other wintery stuff (like -40 antifreeze for the car because we need that, yes, we truly do).

Year-round festooning.  What luxury is this?

The luxury is living in San Anbambino or some place where they don’t know what long underwear is–that’s what.

Still, all I see is post after post of cute, vintage trailers with Christmas lights and mistletoe and plaid blankets and stuff.

Sometimes with snow (why oh why doesn’t our snow fall when I have a camera in hand?)

Sometimes without snow (and avec the aforementioned gloat-y palm trees.)

‘Tis the season to be jolly.

Or, as I like to say,

‘Tis the season to be jealous.

At any rate, before I knew it, out on the lawn, there arose such a clatter.

The clatter being due to the fact that I had batted my not-insignificant eyelashes (Rimmel’s Extra Super Lash mascara) and asked Practical Man to hitch up the “sleigh” (aka vintage Boler travel trailer) and move it to a more photogenic location so I could get my festive festooning underway.

On the one day we haven’t had snow in the last 2 months, yessirree.

Practical Man is forever granting my Christmas wishes.  Year round.

But, even he can’t summon the snow where the snow won’t be summoned.

Palm trees, either (although with enough notice, I have no doubt he would have grown something from a pineapple nub he got at the grocery store).

The point is, there I was, in the front of the front yard’s brown-ish grass, throw cushions and wreathes in hand, decorator dictatorship rearing its ugly head.

Cue the whispering neighbours.

green and white boler decorated with red chairs, ,pillows and a vintage metal cooler

My lizard brain was desperate to decorate and I love our tiny Boler but, its figurative chair (or vintage, metal lawn chairs, as the case may be) is never at our Christmas table, on account of it’s always put away for the winter at this time of year.

It’s kind of the Tiny Tim of our yard.

Sob.

But now, joy of joys!  Thanks to Practical Man and my lizard brain, here was my very own Tiny Tim, in the front yard.  So, in the repentant manner of Ebenezer Scrooge, I got busy with the festive festooning while also reflecting on the 2016 ghosts of past, present, and future.

  • Practical Man had a near record maple syrup crop in the Spring.
  • I learned more songs on the guitar from musicians too-soon taken.
  • We met new friends who joined us as I twirled my way through our first Bolerama.  And, Practical Man survived!
  • We shared wonderful memories (and mosquitoes) with family and friends in the summer.
  • We worried about people fleeing violence around the world and here.
  • We cried for Practical Man’s Mutti, who died in October.  She will be cried about for some long time to come.
  • I made a snowman, tobogganned and shovelled snow with some English sweeties, before Winter was really due.
  • We are trying to be advocates and people of hope in the wake of an earthquake-y election, even though it wasn’t ours.

I feel so lucky to have a small, safe place like a Boler.

It’s a little nest.  A place to curl up and take a nap or maybe just stare around the inside or pretend you’re Laurie Partridge for a while (because when you’re a Boler geek like I am, that’s a fun afternoon).

Of course, the Boler is not my only blessing or refuge, by a long shot.  I am sheltered and fed and loved and safe.

Occasionally, I have useful eyelashes.

I am so, so lucky.

I hope you all are, too.

Except for the evil algorithm.

Sorry.

That was my lizard brain again.

A Very Merry Christmas and Happy Everything from our house to yours.

Green and white Boler travel trailer decorated for Christmas, with 2 red chairs in front, a vintage, plaid cooler, red wreath, bell wreath and "Santa, I can explain" sign.