The Republic Of Erin

New blog, y’all!

Always seeking ways to feed my GIF obsession, I have started a new blog on Tumblr called “The Republic of Erin.”
It’s my life.  In GIFs.

GIFs are the Western world’s shallower version of the Japanese kanji.
One symbol, one image, that expresses SO much.

Please stop by http://therepublicoferin.tumblr.com/

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry.  It’ll be better than Cats.

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The Truth About Cats And Dogs


Dog: I lof you. I lof you so much.
Cat: No.

I am a long-standing dog lover, though from 1987-2007 I had a cat, name of Alex, who was affectionately dubbed “The Little Black Ball of Hate.” Quite apropos.  And her long life, I believe, is a testament to the phrase ‘only the good die young.’

While I am now the caretaker of only kids and canines, I’ve always regarded cats highly, even volatile (see: batshit crazy) pieces of work like Alex.  I recall a greeting card I’d read back in the 90s, which stated on the front: Cats always know how you feel.  Opened the card and it read: They don’t give a shit, but they know.

Yup.  That about sums it up.

With that, let me share with you a highly amusing video entitled Proof That Cats Are Better Than Dogs. Brilliantly done, and remarkably accurate.
Enjoy!

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Fakking Hilarious

Found whilst scrounging around the Internets for GIFs.

OMG!  Pin!

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Hey, Jules

HeyJules
Life.

It never ceases to amaze me, never fails to continually cement my belief that we are all interconnected.  Happenstance, coincidence, fortune, serendipity; call it what you will, but I call it bunk.  I firmly believe that all of those weird little things that happen to us were always meant to be, and luck ain’t got nuthin’ to do with it.

Last evening, I’d planned to head in to my hometown to see a friend’s band, Ugly Dog.  Unfortunately, I’d had an awful headache since early yesterday morning, and was questioning if a night out – guaranteed to finish late – was a wise move.  However, once Don, lead guitarist for Ugly Dog (and my neighbor and buddy) called to say he’d be over at 8:15 to pick me up, I decided to throw caution to the wind and go.

The headache persisted, but I was seated with a fine group of people, enjoying the conversation.  Started chatting with a guy named Dave, and we discovered we both grew up in Burlington.  I went to Central High School, he went to Nelson.  Casually he mentioned that his sister is a secretary at BCHS.  I wondered aloud if she were working there waaaaay back when I was attending and asked how long she’d been there.  “Oh, a very long time” he responded.  And so I asked for her name.

Now, I’ve only ever known the name of one secretary who’d worked for the school.  She was a lovely individual, always had a sweet smile on her face, and I’d met her back in ’78, when she’d been the Brown Owl of my brownie  pack.  I adored her.

“Lynn Gray,” he said.  And sure enough, that was the name I’d had on the tip of my tongue.  Thus a happy chat ensued about what a small world it was.  Made me forget my aching noggin for a bit.

What I just shared with you, dear readers, was a mere tidbit, a preamble for the big story.  Now, my friends, is where it gets a bit bizarre.  Thinking retrospectively, perhaps my conversation with Dave happened so that what came next didn’t completely short-circuit my brain.

The band was just finishing their first set when a lovely, tall, 20-something blonde approached them to request a song.  The moment I saw her, I was struck with a feeling of familiarity and an emotion so strong that I was momentarily stunned.  I knew I had to find out her name, to confirm what I intuitively knew was true.  As I approached, I heard Tony, lead singer for the band, ask her her name.

“Julia.”  She said.  “Julia Shrive.”

A little while back, as some of you may recall, I posted a birthday message for Scott, a dear friend who had suddenly passed away on February 14th of this year.  I’d known Scott since we were in grade 9, and he’d been one of my best friends, despite a 15-odd year period we were out of touch (brought about by youth, pride and folly).  When I reconnected with him several years ago, we both apologized for past assholishness, and were instantly friends again.  Scott was my go-to guy for irreverent and immediate cheering up, and he never once failed to get me smiling again.  In fact, at one point during his funeral service, the emotion of  the day and of those around me began to wear down the thin veneer of composure I was trying desperately to maintain.  I started to panic, because I had been asked to read a poem, and the last thing I wanted was to lose my cool beforehand and become a weeping, soggy mess at the podium.  So I did what felt natural.  “Scott,” I addressed him in my head, “Say something.  Say anything.  I need to keep it together, if only for today.  Be a pal.  Get me through this.”  Immediately, he responded, “C’mon, you big pussy!  Suck it up!”

It was exactly what I needed, and I proceeded through the reading and the rest of the service with a grin on my face.

Returning to last night.  Julia Shrive is Scott’s eldest daughter (he has two other beautiful children, Elizabeth and Sammy).  While I have always known all about Scott’s kids (because if he wasn’t talking about his awesome wife, Steph, he was bragging about them), she and I had never actually met.

I tapped Julia on the shoulder and she turned, a pleasant and inquisitive look on her face.  I stammered out something about having seen her and thinking I’d recognized her, and then introduced myself.  Her face registered the same stunned shock I’d felt moments earlier.  Without a word, she grabbed my hand and led me through the crowd, searching, presumably, for a spot we could sit.  (I’d like to mention at this point that we must have been quite a sight.  Julia is a good head taller than me, with legs up-to-here.  I was scampering behind her like a wiener dog, just trying to keep up while avoiding falling over my own feet.)

I can’t speak for Julia’s impression of the next forty-five minutes, but for me it was one of the more wondrous moments of my life thus far, looking into Scott’s daughter’s eyes, talking to this articulate young adult about someone we both knew so well, yet in wholly different ways.  It was like finally getting the complete picture of him; me telling stories about he and I as goofy 16-year-olds  (and maturing into goofy 40-somethings), she relating love-infused tales of the man who was her father, his formative and enduring influence on her, his adult roles as soul-mate to Steph, and adored dad of three remarkable young people.

I have many reasons in my life to feel grateful, but every once in a while something unexpected happens that makes you realize what pure gratitude feels like.

Scott, my dear friend…I knew well before yesterday that you were beloved by those around you.  You drew people to you because you’d always had that something, that undefined and yet tangible quality that made you who you were.  I don’t know exactly what forces were in play that put Julia in my path, but that connection has made me that much more certain that you are right here with us, participating in every moment.  I am so much better for having known you as I did, and for being given this most recent gift that allowed me to see a side of you hitherto unknown to me.

With that, I will leave you with The Wailin’ Jennys‘ ‘Away, But Never Gone.’  It encapsulates everything I want to convey at this moment; that despite physical absence, the soul remains ubiquitous and eternal.

Scott and Julia, 2012

Scott and Julia, 2012

The moon’s on its way to its nightly shift
The frogs fill the creek below
The tall grass waves a farewell to the day
The wind moans sweet and low
The heron tucks his head in his wing
The fish in the lake float along
The sun sinks from sight
Away but never gone

The dawn brings the dew like a thousand jewels
A nest rustles high on a bough
A blue egg stays warm in the cool of the morn
Under a red breast of down
The clouds turn and stretch, the moon checks its wrist
gathers itself with a yawn
And winks to the sun
Away but never gone

And all o’er the world as it turns and it turns
the stars twinkle off and on
And we come and go
Away but never gone

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Let Us Read, And Let Us Dance

Hey kids!

I want to hear from YOU this time.  C’mon down to Polldaddy and take part in this survey on one of my favourite topics:  READING!

Follow the link here, or go to my Facebook or Twitter pages.

Survey closes June 21, 2013 at 23:30.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

http://leemcbride2020.polldaddy.com/s/let-us-read-let-us-dance

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If I Only Had A…Maid

MaidWeDontHave
I would wile away the hours
Nibbling bonbons and buying flowers
(A significant upgrade)
I’d be chill, I’d be happy
I’d be dressin’ really snappy
If I only had a maid… ♫

I am so fakking sick of housework these days.  I love the warm weather, but I’ll say this for the dead of winter:  it’s a lot cleaner.

In Spring, nature decides to come indoors to play.  Kids walk through the house in pool-wet and lawn-dirty feet and leave smeary footprints from the back door to the front.  There are damp towels…everywhere. Dust and other schmeg blows in to settle in corners, and it becomes impossible to have the glass-topped coffee table look remotely clear.  Flies get trapped between the sliding doors and die there, their corpses needing extrication (but not before driving me half-mad with their desperate and hopeless  pre-mortem buzzing).

The dogs begin to shed more (which is really saying somethin’), leaving blond, brown and black hair all over the leather chairs and couches, where it sticks until I wipe it off because static electricity.

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

With additional hours of light comes extended hours I am forced to look at my house As It Is, as opposed to October through April, when it looks ‘romantic’ by 4:30 p.m. because I turn the lights down low and can no longer see the dust.

There is definitely more laundry this time of year.  Aforementioned towels, plus bathing suits, shorts and jeans, t-shirts galore because no kid of mine is ever going to get through an entire Jumbo Freezie without slopping the melted bit all down their fronts.  Before I had kids, I would look down my nose at parent friends of mine who left overflowing baskets of clean laundry in the living room.  “How lazy!” I would think to myself,  “How hard can it be to put away?”  and “When I am a parent, my family will always have a wellspring of pristine clothes to choose from!” Well, a note to those as yet-childless, judgemental bitches: it is ridiculously hard to keep it up when you’re doing it all the fucking time for a houseful of people who (yes, I’m about to say something über-motherish) HAVE NEVER UNDERSTOOD HOW THE CLEAN CLOTHES GET INTO THEIR ROOMS.

This is not a GIF. This is footage. From my house.

Phew.  That was nice.  It felt good to get it out.  Really, really good.

A natural consequence to perpetual circuit cleaning is that while the other three are well put-out, I myself never get out of the clothes I clean in.  I have a closetful of lovely cotton sundresses that have yet to see the light of day this season.  But you see, even IF I had somewhere to wear them, even IF I took a shower, even IF I shaved my legs, I’d still have to iron them (the clothes, not the legs) beforehand, I mean, they’ve spent the past almost-year being shoved aside for cooler-weather clothes and are as wrinkly as Donatella Versace’s tuchus (and I wouldn’t be caught wearing that out in public).  And that’s just more work.  So.

If I had a maid, I would have her (yes, I assume it’s going to be a her, ditch Women’s Studies comments for now) do all sorts of things outside the norm.  Windows?  Don’t care, leave ’em.  Countertops?  Nah, I do those myself several times a day.  Water the plants?  You’re not taking away something I actually like doing.  Run the dishwasher?  Uh, nope, not paying you to press buttons.  Some of  the jobs that have occurred to me in the last 24 hours:

Hangers:  Go through my entire closet and make sure none of them are overlapping.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Paperwork:  Once a month, gather random papers from wherever you may find them in the house and shred them.  This includes bills.  I will never notice.
Bath products:  Once a month, go under the sinks of all washrooms and toss half of what you find there (exception: TP).  I will never notice.
Fridge:  Once a month, pull out the crispers and clean whatever nastiness you find behind/under there.  Most of it you’ll have to use your fingernail to scrape off.  I never want to deal with that shite again.
Rooms:  For God’s sake, capture and kill the dust rhinos under the bed.  My vacuum won’t do it, by the way, technically speaking, the sucker-part angles too much when you get the wand-part that low to the ground.  So you’ll likely have to lie on your stomach on the floor and get some Swiffer-y something-or-other to manage.  Or spray yourself with Pledge and git under there, yourself, and roll about, I don’t care.
Stickers:  This is a kind of I Spy exercise.  My children randomly place stickers around the house (including but not limited to: Superheroes, My Little Pony, dollar-store miscellany, Christmas, Easter, Hallowe’en and Valentine’s Day) with no visible pattern.  Grab yourself a bottle of Goo Gone and make ’em disappear.  I’ll deal with the tears afterward.

That’s all I got for now, though I’ll be adding as I come up with other stuff.

What would YOU have your maid do? (Those able to answer “Well, I usually have her…” need not apply.)

And for those wondering what I really think, this is the kind of maid I’d want, and I’d never have her do any of the grody things listed above, because I would love her far too much:

Sniff! I love you, Aibileen!

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A Day In The Life

low-self-esteem

I’m my own worst enemy.

I’ve been contemplating the vicious cycle of low self-esteem this morning.  It always takes the form of an internal conversation, between Me and The Bully (also me). It looks something like this:

Me: I really need to start training for that thing in July.

The Bully:  You haven’t even finished the laundry you started yesterday!  Or done the dishes.  Or cleaned up the gardening tools,  which have been sitting out for a week.  Or filled out the kids’ passport forms. You should get those jobs done first, slacker.

Me: But I’m tired.  I’m tired all the damned time.  And if I exercise, I’ll have more energy, and feel better about myself, which will, in turn, inspire me to do more.

The Bully:  You talk a good talk, but you never walk the walk.   Why don’t you start slowly, do the dishes, have another cigarette, play on Facebook a bit and then see how the day goes?

Me: That’s what I always do!  And it’s not working!  I feel like shit.  I look like hell.  When’s the last time I washed my hair?  If I could just get UP and DO, I’d be so much better off.

The Bully:  You think so?  You think you’re made of the same stuff as the people in all those inspirational YouTube videos you watch late at night while gnoshing pretzels, capable of overcoming tremendous adversity one step at a time?  You think you can deal with the challenges, frustrations and setbacks that come with any grandiose plan (of which you’ve had many)?  You think you can stick with it?  When have YOU ever stuck with anything?

Me: Well…I…

The Bully:  That’s right.  All the things you’ve “accomplished” thus far have been flukes.  It’s not like you’ve ever really tried hard to do something, get something, be something.  You just kind of lamely fall in to situations, and wait.  You’ve never been the proactive type.

Me: But…my university degree…motherhood…my writing…?  Surely those count as accomplishments?

The  Bully:  The only reason you started any one of those is because you had time to fill.  Let’s keep it real.

Me: But…I…

The Bully:  Allrighty, then!  I think we’re done here.  Let’s go have that cigarette and stare aimlessly off the porch for a while and dream impossible dreams for a bit before tackling the laundry.

Me: Okay.

It’s crazy-making.  And what makes it worse is that all the brains in the world can’t suss out how to stop The Bully from dropping in unannounced.  This isn’t something that is ruled by logic and reason. If it were, it would be so easy to build myself back up by looking at all I’ve done, as opposed to focusing on what has been left undone.  I could practice daily Stewart Smalley affirmations.

I could get a subscription to “O” and believe everything I read about self-love.

“Yogurt is the next Prozac!”

I could do yoga and start believing in chakras, and thereby clean ’em out.

I’m fairly certain I’m not doing this right.

Ah, folks.  It’s a hard row to hoe, sometimes.  I don’t have any answers.

But today the sun is shining, and I’m going to get out there and enjoy it, laundry and Bully be damned.

♪ I’m prancin’…they be hatin’ ♫

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