Tag: sisters (page 1 of 7)

Sister Act

Dear Wendy,

Last week, knowing your birthday was just around the corner, I started casting back in my memory: what were my earliest memories of my little sister?

I realized that I couldn’t recall our parents bringing you home from the hospital—though I vividly recall Dad and Grandpa looking after Bruce and me while Mum was off giving birth to you.

Okay, even that’s not strictly true: I remember one moment in particular. Dad was cooking something in the cast-iron skillet (probably bacon and scrambled eggs, his standard fallback), and I stood on tiptoe next to the stove to peek. In the pictures of your homecoming, I still have a nasty scab on my chin. alt="IMAGE-grandmother-holding-baby"

I guess it’s normal that a 4-year-old would think more about a painful chin burn than about a momentous event like a new baby sister, but still.

Sorry about that. If it’s any consolation, I have even less recollection of Bruce’s birth a year earlier. Probably because no injuries were involved.

My general feeling about babies was that they were noisy, smelly, and sometimes dangerous—I spent many months ducking the bottles Bruce used to hurl from his crib whenever I entered the room. That kid had a wicked arm on him, even then.

In fact, I’m afraid I didn’t take either of you into consideration for much of our childhood (except for the infamous Chatty Cathy Incident, about which perhaps the less said the better). And when I did pay attention to you, it wasn’t usually in a kind way.

I wish I’d been a better big sister, but I wasn’t, and you can’t go back.

I do remember an incident shortly after we moved to Halifax—a couple of kids on Ravenrock Lane were threatening to beat you up, and you came home crying. I sprang into action. No damn stranger was going to pick on my sister! I grabbed Bruce on my way out the door, and the two of us stormed off in search of the would-be assailants, who wisely turned tail and fled.

Then we went home and resumed our usual squabbling.

Mostly, our battles were likely to be with each other, often having to do with disputed territory. We shared a room, and like WKRP’s Les Nessman with his taped-down “office walls,” I wasn’t very flexible when it came to allowing intruders on “my side of the room.” Yeah, I was a bit of a jerk. Again, sorry.

But it wasn’t until we were both in our teens that I think we came to the mutual realization that if we teamed up, we could be formidable. This realization coincided with us getting our own rooms–pretty sure that was a factor.

We started hanging around together, and for the first time I began to discover that the little sister I’d ignored/tormented for so many years was actually a pretty cool kid. Very cool, in fact.

We found the same things funny; we liked (much of) the same music; and best of all, we could mock our parents behind their backs. Suddenly, it felt like were sisters in more than just name.

I remember sitting out on the roof over the front porch of our house on steamy Ottawa evenings, drinking filched beer and talking long into the night. Or the night you heaved the pillow out the window…

Or when the parental units were at one another’s throats, the two of us taking off together to walk through our suburban neighbourhood until the coast was clear. I remember singing old songs together, ones our parents taught us back before they went mad—“Shine On, Harvest Moon” and “Goodnight, Irene” and “There is a Tavern in the Town” (In the town!). A true sister act, if ever there was one.

I wonder what the neighbours thought—two girls harmonizing as we walked through the dark summer streets. On second thought, does it matter how they saw us?

Those years cemented our bond, and in the 40ish years since then, you’ve been my friend, my trusted confidante, my partner in crime, my dearly loved little sister. alt="IMAGE-sister-act"

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Love,

Karen

p.s. Oh, right. Happy birthday! Almost forgot that part.

 

 

 

Adventures in family history: Getting started

Dear Readers,

Despite secretly suspecting we’d be spending most of our time here in Whistler seeing sights, shopping, and lolling about telling stories to amuse ourselves—in short, doing anything but the work we intended to do—we actually made some real progress in sorting, identifying, scanning, and labelling our family photos today.

We know, we like to live life on the edge.

Whatever. It’s what we came here to do, and we’re feeling pretty proud.

We started by collecting box upon box of loose photos, photo albums and a dubious-looking family tree from our downstairs locker.

A shopping trolley just lying about came in handy for carting the first load upstairs. And that, friends, is why we now have a trolley parked in the foyer of our apartment. We promise, we’re not turning into bag ladies. Yet.

alt="IMAGE-karen-rachel-storage-locker-family-pictures"

Deep in the bowels of the mountain, we found a treasure trove of family memorabilia in Wendy’s storage locker. Plus a grocery trolley. Score!

We spread our day’s work on the table.

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And this is only the very beginning…

Getting busy scanning photos and inspecting negatives.

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Wendy sorts through photo…after photo…after photo.

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Rachel, our intrepid and long-suffering photo scanning pro, hard at work.

Bucky felt lonely and unwanted, so we gave him an important job: Chief Apple Inspector. It made him feel needed, plus allowed him to have a healthy snack when no one was looking.

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Bucky takes off his hat indoors. Such a polite little fellow he is.

Our work is nowhere near done. Tomorrow we rise at dawn to enter the fray once more. Tally ho the fox!

(Not really, we just think it makes us sound hardcore.)

Love,

Karen, Wendy, Rachel, and Bucky (Chief Apple Inspector)

Awesome Advice Central is the cat’s meow!

Dear Awesome Advice Central,

I’m a loving sister, you need to know that first and foremost. I adore my younger sister, and think she’s the bee’s knees, Grade A #1, Top of the Heap, Queen of All She Surveys. Et cetera.

The fact that I love her makes what I’m about to tell you seem almost impossible to believe: I want to kill her cat.

I need your help: how do I do this?  And more important, because I don’t want to cause young S’tarrli’te any emotional stress, how do I ensure she never finds out Mr. Fluffles died at my hand?

Got it?

Perhaps you want to know why I need Mr. Fluffles dead.  It’s simple, really. 

alt="IMAGE-Grey-cat"

The Evil Mr. Fluffles.

He has ruined my life. He and I have never really gotten along all that well. He regularly bites my ankles, dive-bombs me when I walk past the kitchen cabinet where he nests, and hisses at me with such ferocity that I actually lock my bedroom door at night, to ensure he doesn’t maul me in my sleep.

However, the last straw was drawn yesterday, when I arrived home in a particularly happy, gay mood. I’d recently become engaged to my darling Algernon Himmel Pants (I call him Algie P for short) the day before and I was admiring my new ring in the afternoon light. 

I’d shown it to S’tarrli’te and the rest of the family and decided, after we’d imbibed two bottles of champagne to celebrate my good luck in snagging Algie P, that I should go have a soothing bath to calm my nerves. After all, it’s not every day a girl gets engaged to the man of her dreams! 

Mr Fluffles loves going into the bath—his favourite spot is the sink, where he enjoys rolling around, twisting and turning like a fish in water. He looks almost…cute when he does this, so I didn’t really mind having his company when I bathed. 

 

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Down the hatch, Mr. Fluffles!

Worried that I’d drop or lose the ring in the bath, I removed it and placed it safely inside the cabinet over the sink.  While reclining in the suds and just as I was attempting to shave my legs, I saw Mr Fluffles (or Mr Soon-To-Be-Snuffed, as I now refer to him) open the cabinet with his evil feline paws, pull my beloved 24-carat ring towards him, lean over, and SWALLOW it!

Hearing my amazing and undignified protest, he turned his cadaverous head in my direction and smiled at me.  Yes, sisters of advice, he actually smiled.

I struggled and slipped in my efforts to remove myself from the tub. I reached for that wretched cat, but he darted out of my grasp. I sprawled on the bathroom floor, screaming to mother and father to “get the hell in here, pronto!”

By the time I’d righted myself and they’d arrived, Mr Fluffles was long gone. He skedaddled out of the house, and stayed away for 2 whole days before returning. 

In that time, the ring had undoubtedly been, how shall I put this, ejected from his body, and hasn’t been seen since. 

S’tarrli’te is useless. She refuses to recompense me for my loss. Mother and Father snort and get all giggly each time I demand to know what they’re going to do to help me. I don’t dare tell Algie P about this, as he told me to be careful with the ring, for which he’d paid big bucks. 

 

alt="IMAGE-grey-cat-looks-threatening"

“So what’re you going to do, give me an enema?”

Now I figure I might as well forget about marrying Algie P, as he’ll likely dump me once he realises I haven’t really sent the ring out for cleaning.

As much as I’m annoyed with my sister, I can’t kill her without serious consequences, and I certainly can’t harm my parents. That leaves the dreaded, malicious Mr Fluffles. 

He’s ruined my life.  Help me ruin his as well. 

M’oonnbe’am Honeyblossom

Dear M’O…m’Oo….Ms. Honeyblossom,

We believe we have an alternate suggestion, which would involve no bloodshed, either human or feline.

Because honestly, every time we spell out one of our deliciously fiendish plans to send someone to the Great Litter Box in the Sky, we get hundreds, nay, thousands of blistering emails threatening us with charges of animal cruelty. Some people really have no sense of humour.

All right, down to brass tacks.

We’re sure it hasn’t escaped your notice that you and your sister are in possession of rather…odd names. Names that must have caused you a certain amount of emotional trauma during your formative years, and which might serve as impediments to your progress as you enter the adult world? Come on, didn’t the other children laugh and call you names? Didn’t your teachers snicker when they read the roll call?

Let’s face it: how many CEOs do you know named M’o’o….moo’…whatever your name is?

And surely your parents must have had some say in this matter, correct?

So we’d suggest, in lieu of killing poor Mr. Fluffles, you sue your parents for pain and suffering, and use the money to buy yourself a nice new ring to show Algae Pee or whatever his name is.

As for the cat, we’re quite certain he suffered the agonies of the damned during the expulsion of the ring. He’s suffered enough, in our opinion. Not that it’ll stop him from ingesting other articles of jewellery—cats are notoriously dim about such things. So from now on, keep a better eye on the bright’n’shinies, all right?

Now, please go away. It’s nap time chez Awesome Advice.

Awesome Advice Central

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How to throw the Best Baby Shower Ever: Games guests love!

Dear Readers,

If you were paying attention yesterday, you’ll know we spent this past weekend in Toronto with Rachel and Kirsten, attending Kirsten’s baby shower. We promised pictures, and pictures you shall have!

Kirsten’s delightful mother-in-law, Margaret, hosted the shower, and she did a spectacular job of it—from sweet decorations to copious amounts of delectable treats, to some evil yet completely engrossing games. It was all planned to perfection, and it really was a wonderful afternoon.

Oh, and Kirsten got an astonishing number of gifts for the soon-to-be addition to the family. And when we say “astonishing number,” we mean “we don’t know where she’ll put it all.” We tried to keep count, but were forced to give up. Just trust us: this baby will want for nothing.

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Baby bootees…

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…and tiny sleepers!

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Books! and toys!

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Anyway, just in case you’re thinking of planning a baby shower, here are just a few of the wildly entertaining games Margaret devised. The woman is an evil genius.

Game 1: Crying Babies

Each guest had to take a turn looking after a life-sized (and very life-like) baby doll.

Sounds easy, right? Except that these demon spawn from hell sweet little babies have a secret superpower: they are programmed to cry from time to time. Not just “wah, wah,” either. Realistic, piercing baby wails of distress. The kind that’s pretty much impossible to ignore.

And when “your” baby cries, it’s up to you to find a way to soothe it: you can rock it, feed it, burp it, change it…eventually, if you’re lucky, the squalling will end.

alt="IMAGE-Karen-feeding-baby-doll-baby-shower-game"

Look! She finally shut up!

alt="IMAGE-Rachel-baby-doll-baby-shower-game"

“She’s being a little angel for me!”

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“Here you go, kid. It’ll cure what ails ya.”

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You have to know that Karen’s baby instantly started shrieking at the top of her little lungs, and refused to be soothed by anything.

When it was Rachel’s turn to hold her, she was as good as gold. We hate Rachel.

And as soon as she was passed to Wendy, she started screaming again. Wendy’s solution: bottoms up, baby! Hey, it worked.

Game 2: Name that Poopy Diaper!

Six newborn diapers are laid out, each containing a sticky brown substance. The goal: guests can sniff, touch, and/or taste the substance, and must attempt to identify all 6.

Yeah, that’s what we thought.

In fact, the “poop” consists of 6 popular chocolate bars, melted and artistically placed for maximum gross-out effect.

Because we are pros, we approached this one scientifically.

alt="IMAGE-sniffing-diaper-for-baby-shower-game"

Wendy sniffs one for the team.

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Shh! Scientists at work.

We sniffed. We touched. We tasted.

We laughed…a lot.

We conferred.

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“I cannot believe we’re actually doing this.”

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“Getta load of this one!”

And while we thought we’d copied agreed with one another’s answers, somehow Karen came out a point ahead.

There was much moaning and gnashing of teeth. Because certain people are very poor losers.

Game 3: How Big is that Belly?

alt="IMAGE-measuring-belly-pregnant-woman-baby-shower-game"

Sorry about that, Chief.

Each guest had to estimate the girth of the guest of honour….and we each had to commit to our guess by cutting a piece of string that would exactly match the actual measurement.

We’re not sure how this happened, but both of us wound up guessing almost twice the correct answer. Bad mother and auntie.

Okay, enough jollity and merriment for now…but we’re pretty sure that if you were to discreetly borrow any of these ideas, no one would mind.

Just make sure you invite us!

Love,

Karen and Wendy

Wendy catches up with Karen

Dear Karen,

You were a busy little Bucky over the Christmas period, while I was lazing away in Whistler, eating and drinking too much and trying to work out how to injure myself in as interesting a manner as possible.  At least I didn’t go as far as Angela Merkel.  That’s a big ouchie.

Anyway, I wanted to comment on some of your letters, starting with the “eat the entire apple, Wendy, it’s good for you!” post:

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(Photo: Roger Karlsson, via Flickr)

No.  No, Karen, it’s not.  Eating the core of an apple is like eating row upon row of long, sharpened fingernails, interspersed with little brown hard-shelled bugs.  It’s not delicious, nutritious or any other kind of -icious you care to toss my way.  I eat the peel, which makes me a rebel in some circles already.  Don’t try to persuade me about the core.  Tell ya what, I’ll save mine up and post them to you.  I’m sure they’d make a dandy pie or stew.

The four top posts of 2013 belong to you and your clever brain.  Congratulations!  I knew I was teamed up with the right person when I decided to allow myself to be forced into blogging with you!  You’re so clever, so smart and have such a way with words, I’ve always enjoyed reading your letters, even when you’re on a rant about your fellow passengers in a cross-Canada journey by car in 1977.  Someone who can find genuine humour in their scalding anger, as you did, is someone I want to hang out with.

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Baby shower bears: the next big thing

Baby shower bears are adorable and must become a world-wide phenomenon.

We can do this as a team:  you do the rollmops, or whatever you call them, the spinning, the dyeing, knitting and felting, while I get down to the serious business of finding cute adorable names for each bear.

I think we should start with Oswald and Peregrine.  Very royal, noble names.

Now I’d like to discuss my star sign:  you haven’t paid me enough money;  I need more.  Also, while I do drink martinis, I’m not sure I’m ready to date a bartender at this point in my life.  You might want to modify my horoscope for the year.  Just saying.

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Attention, offspring: Wendy requires balloon animals. Get on that. (Image: Paula Rey, via Flickr)

Finally, New Year’s Resolutions:  my husband is going to take up yoga, my children will learn how to make balloon animals to entertain me while I’m bedridden (my ankle, remember?) and my kittens shall remain as perfect as they already are.

Resolutions are easy when they’re done the Karen Way.

There!  I’m all caught up now.

Happy New Year,
love,
Wendy

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