Monday, December 10, 2007

Holiday Video Games

My son loves looking around the net for free games.

This one is a free holiday game that I have found to be both completely frustrating and addictive.

Games at - Thin Ice
Thin Ice

Cut holes in the ice to trap the monsters in the water!

Play this free game now!!

Have fun everyone! :)

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Now you might think that I'm speaking of one of my children... particularly my two year old.

I'm not. I'm talking about myself.

So, here I am, a forty-one year old.... wanting to do *everything* myself. And if I don't know how to do something... give some time... I'll figure it out.

Well, I haven't had a real hairstyle for about ten years. I did actually schedule a few hair appointments after my eldest child was born but it got cancelled for some need of hers... and then got cancelled because of the house... and then some other reason... and now I forget why.

So, I guess I haven't had a hair cut for ten years mostly because I was busy with other stuff; a little bit because I'm too cheap to pay for a hair cut; and then once it got long enough... because I wouldn't trust any hair dresser with a pair of scissors in their hand near me.

Anyone with waist length hair knows that hair dressers get really freaked out by any hair that's too long and have the insatiable desire to cut it. And over the years I had become quite attached to my fairly long braid.

Until... a little girl asked me if I was my one-year-old son's Granny.---!

Then, my ten-year-old daughter started telling me that my hair that was beginning to go salt and pepper, really wasn't doing me any favours.

I wasn't insulted. Kids think stuff and say stuff. They don't mean to hurt your feelings... and so my feelings weren't hurt. But it got me to thinking back when my Mom was about 40 and didn't colour her hair... and I thought the same thing about her. I was making an accurate account of my mother's 'appearance status' back then, and I'm pretty sure my daughter was giving an accurate account of my own appearance status also.

So, I went out and matched some hair colour to my dark-underneath hairs.

Big mistake. There was nothing wrong with the colour. It was beautiful. But it looked awful with my skin colour. It was almost too rich. So, I called the hair colour company and asked them what to do. They told me that because some of my original hair was blonde, I needed to see a professional or I might just end up burning the hair off if I tried to fix it myself.

Well, I've had more hair-tastrophes in a salon chair than I ever had at home. So, I picked up a 'streaking kit' put on the cap and had my darling husband pull the hairs out the back holes that I couldn't reach.

I kept a close eye on it and said a lot of prayers. It came out a lot less dark, a little more red but closer to the natural colour of my 'top' hair. So, I called it a day and considered myself successful.

Nevertheless, I was still plagued with feeling like I wasn't quite where I should be. My braid, that I was now so attached to, always seemed to get really messy around the nape of my neck.

I feel too old to walk around looking so 'unfinished'... and too young to have earned the messy, fly-away, waist-length hair that I'll be able to sport as an eccentric sixty year old, whose mind is just filled with too many thoughts and too much wisdom to be bothered with the inannities of hair.

I continued thinking about the 'why's of my looking older. I finally decided that having no bangs just meant that people could see the 'surprise lines' on my forehead... and with three children, two big dogs, fourteen chickens, two ducks, a husband and a solar gate, there are a lot of surprises around here!

Also, several weeks ago, my daughter got a burr caught in her hair. Her hair reached below her bum at the time. The burr was up, just above her waist. And so we cut her hair all the way up to armpit level. I just cut it straight across. Now, her really long hair always looked good and healthy and had nice edges. But this shorter, long hair has edges that are just, comparatively speaking, *much* nicer. And I've been thinking about that every time I catch a glimpse of her from the back.

I've also been thinking about how easy my 'layered' hair was when I was in my teens... and it always seemed to manage to just fall-in-place. I need that again. I want that again!

And so through this last week I began collecting my tools, and my thoughts, in the upstairs bathroom. One day, I put the hair straightener up there. Another day I brought up the hair scissors... another, the haircutting comb.

I didn't actually know I was going to do it *today*... but it turned out that today would be "The Day".

And though I'm sure to a practised eye, it looks awful... I have to tell you, I'm every bit as satisfied with it as I would be from a salon cut. And I *really* like the colour now too! This strikes me as being quite interesting because the hair colour was not changed at all today. It is exactly the same... but the cut really changed my whole perception of exactly how nice this 'new' (month old) colour is. (Consequently, my bio. Dad's wife, who is the *only* hairdresser I've ever trusted to give me my once-a-year trim, has been urging me for years to go a bit red. Now, that I've done it, I'm glad to admit that I think she was absolutely right! Thanks Fran!!)

Actually, truth be told, I'm probably more satisfied because I've still got two hundred dollars in my pocket.

Honestly, there are things I don't like about it. The bangs are a little too short... especially near my temples... but I've had plenty of hairdressers do to that to me anyway... So, no biggie. Besides, by Christmas they'll have grown enough for me to give them a trim back to where I want them.

All in all... not too bad, if I do say so myself. :)

But like everything in The Gray Zone, mixed feelings abound. Because though I like my updated look, I'm still looking forward to being that eccentric Granny with my somewhat dishevelled, salt and pepper, waist-length braid.

It's not all good and it's not all bad... here in... The Gray Zone.


How I Did It

Now remember, this story could have easily come out with a horrifying ending. So, if anyone decides to give themselves a makeover the way I did... understand that you are taking your own risks and it's probably a 50/50 shot of really liking the outcome... or less...!

I certainly wouldn't have had anyone else to blame if I had really messed up my hair and I absolutely do not want to be blamed for anyone else's fiasco... So, as always, I must put in my usual disclaimer not to try this yourself at home.

I'm only listing the events for sake of the interest of the interested.

I did the whole hair cut dry. One thing I did do before cutting it though was straighten my hair quite well.

So I cut my bangs first thinking that it might be all I needed to do. Still unsatisfied with my look, I moved to the next step of cutting about ten inches off the back length using the ponytail method. Still.... Bor-r-r-ring...

I still wasn't satisfied with the result and had to really think about how I could go about giving myself a 'long-layered' look which is something I've been thinking about for quite a long time.

Once I realized my direction, I figured this was probably going to be a pretty drastic change and so it became a family event.

Everyone took their share of photos so that I could post what I did step-by-step. So mind, the photos were all taken by a ten year old, a seven year old and a forty-one year old who enjoys cutting off the tops of people's heads.

Third, I used the comb to draw up the circle of hair, just above my ears, and put it into a pony tail on my forehead. I made sure, especially with the front hairs, that they were pulled quite tightly into the ponytail so that they would cut fairly evenly. This was when I realized that it might be worth a few photographs because it wasn't something I'd be able to go back and 're-stage' later. As you can see, it takes off almost another ten inches from some of the 'top' hair.

My husband says that the photo above is my 'Flock of Seagulls' look....
Or my "I Killed The Seagulls" look.

Consequently, the third photo above was taken by my seven-year-old son. He had to get up on the toilet to take it because the photo from his normal point of view was so scary!

Boy, I didn't realize how old, tired and scary(!) I look to him... even when I'm in a good mood!

BOO! MwaaaHaaaaHaaaa!!!

He has since reassurred me that I don't look like this to him all the time... "only sometimes, Mom"... Thank you, my darling boy. :D :/

And here are the two sections of hair that I'll send in to a cancer clinic for wig making:

Note: Even though you can see that the cuts the scissors made were fairly crooked, I did not do any touch-up cutting after the fact. I shook the hair out, finger combed it and it looked like this:

And finally: Front and back shots after shooting a bit of hairspray at the roots on the top of my head and applying my contacts and some makeup.

I must admit, it feels a lot the same as when, years ago, I went from shoulder-length hair to a brush cut. Which I also loved... but brush cuts have to be tidied up every week... and who's got the time for that with all the surprises going on around here. :)

Maybe I'll try something with henna, around Christmas time...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Getting Chicks to Get Along

Chicks can make life difficult, that's for sure.

Now don't get your nose all out of joint. :D

I'm talking about poultry.

The first batch really is quite easy... but the subsequent, newer flocks are more difficult. Why?

In real chicken life this is not such an issue because the little chicks usually have a Mother around to defend them all the time. However, bringing home a bunch of chicks from a breeder, breeds a whole new set of problems because the bigger chicks will peck the tiny chicks to death if they're allowed access.

Then, you've got to deal with 'gentle introductions as the newer chicks become teenagers, so that the older chickens don't assault them continually.

Here's a method that worked well for us:

At first, we just put the little day old chicks in a kiddie swimming pool during the day. And we kept them in a rubbermaid bin at night in our back entryway to keep them warm enough.

As they got older, they needed more room, so we built a covered pen to protect them during the day from rats, hawks and the other chickens. The older chickens free-ranged around the little chicks though, which I believe, is part of the process. It's just a bunch of 2x2s covered with chicken wire and a tarp on one end for sun/wind/rain protection. The bin that's located on its side in the pen, gives really good wind protection for the chicks that feel they want more coverage. We keep a towel on the 'floor' of it.Once the chicks became teens, we simply let them free-range in the yard with the older chickens. No one seemed to really notice that the barrier was gone. However, we still kept the younger ones in our back entryway at night.

Now, the teens have graduated to the large chicken pen where we keep the chickens when we leave the house. It gives them a fair bit of room to roam while covered with wire, while still being protected from the neighbourhood cats and hawks (they're too big for rats now).

Don't get me wrong, someone still gets pecked every once in a while... but they're not so small that one good peck will kill them. They're big enough to run away... and the older chickens just couldn't be bothered to chase them.

You can see that Cutie, our old girl who is more than 5 years old now, couldn't really be bothered with the teens that are right beside her.

Right now we've got a third batch of Barred Rock chicks, so the pen is still being put to good use because the 'teens' are really on a bit of a power trip and cannot be allowed any access to the very tiny chicks at all.

Later on, we'll disassemble the 'chick pen' and use the panels to keep the rabbits out of the vegetable garden. :/

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Here Am I
Under the blue sky
Crisp and clean
Slight and mean.

I leave a trail
Of wispy fog
In a hair of night
On a small green frog.

I planted seeds
Some years ago
A few grow fast
Most grow slow.

So here I sit
To learn a bit
Under the blue sky
Here Am I.

Tuesday March 20, 2007

Hello all. Greetings to everyone.

I must admit that many times in my life, I've felt like my name should be different considering the phase I was in... or to help me belong where I am at the time... I am still tempted...

But now at 40, I'm just me... and all I've sat and learned over the years has culminated and resonated in my life and made me... me... and I am Kim. So I suppose I shall keep it as it has done well enough by me up to now... as I sit and learn some more.

I came to love the earth as a small child. My favourite place was my Grandparents homes where strawberries grew and lightening bugs hovered. With no running water or electricity, everyone was busy every day and fulfilled in the evenings.

Then I forgot about them and became 'driven' in my twenties. I forgot about the earth and focussed on humans, their rights and plights in the working world.

Then I had my first child and came back to the earth. The longer I am a mother, the stronger the pull to be closer and closer to her and the more I feel part of her. It seems that she is rewarding me for my return... as life is only get better as time passes. She whispers secrets to me now.

My question for her this year is: Why won't she let me grow my food on her?


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Rottweiller? Rottweiller! Rottweiller.

Our Bouvier-cross, Sonja, adopted full-grown and with us 10 years, had just passed. It was horribly sad for us. I, in particular, still miss her as she was with me before I was either married or had children. It seemed, she was with me for my entire adult life. I guess she kind of was...

We wanted a mature dog because Czar, our GSD was 8 years old and a rescue who had recovered from heartworm. And honestly, I prefer the ease of training an older dog. They 'get it' so much quicker than a pup ever does. So, I did my searching on the net using the animal love foundation.

This 5 year old guy looked like a big couch potato in the photo. Perfect for us, I thought.

The previous owners drove almost two hours to bring him to us. It was important to them that he have a good home... that was obvious.

They had said that if they couldn't find him a home, they would put him to sleep, rather than risk him being adopted by the 'wrong person'. I appreciated their passion about his being safe and having a good quality of life. I empathized with their desire to ensure their dog's well-being, and sympathized with their position of being unable to keep their dog because of having to move to the city with a small lot and no fences.

Then when this big bag of muscle jumped out of the vehicle in our driveway, I felt my face do a twitch. :rolleyes:

This was a big rottie. Nothing I would ever think of wishing for in a dog.

He had mostly lived in a garage for three years. (Turns out he was two years younger than they remembered.) He had no manners. He fell up the stairs. He fell down the stairs. He chased my 18 year old, cancer-filled cat. :(

His name was Rush. (For Mount Rushmore - they said.) He didn't answer to it. They didn't take him off the leash for fear that he wouldn't come when called. Uggh! What had I gotten myself into? :eek:

I leashed him to me both inside and out, granted him privileges with appropriate behaviour, and he went from sleeping in the sunroom to sleeping in our bedroom within the first two weeks. He was soon following me from room to room without the leash. He still does, even though he's been with us for three years and doesn't have to so much anymore.

He didn't seem to know his name anyway and I didn't want a dog that looked tough to have to tough name too... So we sat around the table and made a long list of names. We got down to the last two... Fred and George. Between two 37 year olds, a 6 year old and a 4 year old, we couldn't decide. The dog just lay there, enjoying his bone near the kitchen table.

So, I told everyone to be very quiet and said 'Fred'... nothing. Then I said, 'George'... and he looked up at me. We all laughed and figured he had chosen. He has answered well to that name ever since he chose it. (My Grandfather's name - could he be a reincarnation? :D) And it didn't take long for him to come easily when called, even when he's got half an acre on me chasing the birds or a rabbit... or the neighbour's cat. :eek:

The previous owners said that he wouldn't like it inside but I leave our kitchen door open and he only wants to go out when nature calls or if I'm outside. He really doesn't go outside just to sit by himself or even with Czar.

When he is lying down and being petted, he makes a growling sound. This made me very nervous. Soon, we realized that it was really his, very loud, version of a 'purr'. Later, I found out that this is common in rotties. It is referred to as 'the rottie rumble'. (Though I warn people that it must be assumed to be a warning growl until you are very sure it's a rumble... to be on the safe side. Even living with him, it took several weeks... a couple of months even, to establish that this dog is not a big 'growler' but is indeed a big 'rumbler'.)

He's not allowed on the furniture but does have a very big, thick cushion in the living room, a blanket in the kitchen and several blankets in the bedroom. He sleeps right next to my bed so that I can just reach out and give him a stroke through the night.

He also MUST do a sit/stay every time he gets food and he MUST go into a 'down' position if a visiting child goes near him (a 'sit' for adults). He doesn't mind doing this because he loves children and knows that if he goes into the 'down' position, the child will be allowed to pet him. We have 3 children from 9 yrs to 1 yr in the house and he gets loads of regular strokes from them... But there's just never enough love for George!

We've had him for three years and every person who comes to our house is, at first, taken aback by his size, and then reassured by his well controlled behaviour.

George, we found, also had hidden talents. He duck sits the chicks and ducklings, staying ever vigilant.  It seems that he takes extra special care of the babies with extra challenges.

After some training so that he knew not to kill our yard chickens, I found that he would help me 'round them up' at night when it was time to put them back in their coop. Chicken rassling for rotties 101 was, apparently, not a required course for him... it just came naturally.

We've got one nasty chicken. Blooie-the-wicked-chicken will wait until your back is turned and then sneak up behind you to peck you hard. Well, when George is on watch, he will chase that Blooie right back to the coop if he notices her taking her 'attack' stance.

And though the chickens will run from him, if he is in between them and a bucket of tasty kitchen scraps I've brought out, they will not think twice about using George-The-Great-Launching-Pad to get to the food post-haste.

This is the same dog who (with us only a year at the time), when my 5 year old upset a wasp nest, knew immediately that my son was in danger and went to the rescue.

George was snapping at all of those wasps, flying in the air, all around my curled up boy, until I finally clicked onto what was going on, raced over to them and pulled my son out. Then we all ran away together.

That dog took at least 20 stings in his mouth and around his face that day... on purpose. I just shake my head when I think of how George knew my son was in danger long before I did... and that he knew just what to do without being told. - You don't hear THOSE stories in the news too often. :frown: George will always be our hero!

We've also found out that rotties are the kind of dog whose world will stop when their person is away.  George waits for me by the door, by the gate or at the end of the driveway.  He never tires of waiting for me and he really has turned into the biggest baby I have.

I believe it is important to show people that this is a breed that is well worth saving.

I never would've wished for a rottie because I never knew one. Now, I'm glad they got his age wrong, because that means I get two extra years with him :)... and I just can't imagine my life without my George. :wink:

Please contact the Animal Love Foundation or Humane Society and ask about adopting a 'senior' in your area! We've had three and loved them all!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Blooming Period

What an artsy/philosophical title. That was my first thought. People will want to know what it is. They will be intrigued. It sounds wonderful. It sounds 'zen'ish.

And it is... kinda...

The other titles that came to me were 'Buddha and The Banshee' and 'On Being Buddha'. Any guesses? Anyone?...

It's my bloomin' period. It's finally started up again now that the baby is about 14 months old.

I can sense the readers groaning... Oh, just give me a minute! I'm sure I can twist this subject into something thoughtful, a little funny, somewhat educational and hopefully a bit different than anything you've read on the subject before. Just give me a chance!


Blooming is hard work for a brain. Waves of patience and impatience sometimes drift and sometimes crash back and forth.

On one hand, I have the patience of Buddha, which is highly unusual for me as I'm almost constantly stressed about how much I can get done in a day. The patience of Buddha, for a person like me is absolutely wonderful but also a sign of things to come.

...the pendulum swings...

On the other hand, I have to practically put myself in a straight-jacket and muzzle to stop from flying (on my broomstick) to the nearest mountain-top and sending out a deafening SHRIEK to the entire world (and a few space aliens who are in close enough proximity) to "BEHAVE!" and "LEAVE ME ALONE!!!"

Prestigious universities are doing many studies about brains and meditation and exercise and vitamins. These studies make me wonder what is going on in my brain during a bloom.

They make me wonder if my Anti-Banshee-Potion results are all in my head. Perhaps, later on when I can think straight, I will look and see if another doctor has done any studies of the female brain in bloom.

Nevertheless, in one respect, my family benefits because on the surface I mostly look like Buddha. Why is this? Because I have become painfully conscious that I could blow my top at any moment and I would feel awful if I turned the children into 'victims of the bloom'. And of course there's the Anti-Banshee-Magic-Potion...

It's helpful to have, not only a good potion but a good husband at this time too. He makes it possible for me to manage the Buddha facade even through the Banshee period(pun intended - as always).

It all started a couple of weeks ago. My body chemistry changed... again...

When I get pregnant (as I have been seven times now - so it's definitely a pattern), I don't need deoderant. Other bodily fluids also cease to be produced (but not spit and tears)... I'll let you mull that one over...

Then blam, almost like a lightswitch being flicked on and off, it all comes back in a way that my body is making up for all the 'non-smelly' days I've had for the last two years. I told my partner that I suspected my vacation from blooming would shortly be over. I think it's important to warn people in my immediate vicinity of this... especially him as he becomes a prime target.

Then, last week I started waking in the middle of the night and craving chocolate badly enough to get up and come all the way downstairs to sneak some. The second night this happened, I quickly ingested some Anti-Banshee-Potion (B50 vitamin, a good dose of zinc and a fairly big dose of Evening Primrose Oil) and tried to get some more good sleep. Two more nights of the same schedule and then... Voila! The Blooming Period.

And I could not follow through on anything! I frustrated myself beyond all comprehension! Time becomes irresolute. I cannot keep track of anything. And so I have two choices...

One, become an army sergeant, bellowing orders to everyone around, of the tasks that need to be performed.

Two, let everything go and let everyone do whatever they want to do. As long as they demand nothing of me, I can focus on Being Buddha.

The Anti-Banshee Potion allows me to make this choice. With it, I have learned that my tides lull back and forth, gently, the way petals open in the morning and close up at night, so that I can hang on to the Buddha surf even as the Banshee wave drifts toward me. Without my magical potion, enormous waves of Buddha and the Banshee come crashing down upon me with such speed and force that it is unnerving and I cannot brace myself... and the damage done spreads to all things near.

Okay, it's a little over-the-top, poetically... but it gives a good picture. The other thing the Anti-Banshee Magic Potion lets me do, is call my loving partner at work and let him know what he's coming home to so that he has plenty of time to get into his "Yes dear. Why don't I take care of the children and let you have some quiet time."-mode.

Now, I know that I'll probably publish this today and so it will look like I do nothing but worship my Love. This is truly not the case. I have, at least, 5 other essays in my drafts, that are not yet ready for public consumption. Not one of them has anything to do with him but they're just not finished yet. And so, dear readers, you get to read, once again, about my wonderful Darling.

On Friday, I called him at work to let him know that...

"The other day I was right... I'm in the midst of Blooming and my petals are feeling a touch bruised... And the children are not dressed... And the living room is a mess... And all I've fed everyone all day long is taco meat because I just can't seem to muster up enough emotional strength to do anything but heat up stuff-to-consume-that's-already-made.... And the only thing I've managed to do, somehow, is make sure that the things-that-eat-stuff got to eat stuff... And the things-that-need-to-do-math-and-music got their mathwork and music done for the day... And I'm disappointed in myself to the point of wanting to have a good cry, not just because I can't get anything done today (except sitting and reading) but because I'm refering to all the cat, chickens, dogs and children as 'things', which I'm sure makes me the worst mother on the planet. Waaaaaah."

He came home with 3 sunflowers (we have 3 children), did not say a word about having a bowl of taco meat for dinner and took the children out to their Friday night social, thereby letting me have some quiet time - alone - with me, myself and I, all in attendance.

And when he got home, he made me a lovely gin and tonic (which we only treat ourselves to on Friday nights) because half an hour alone was no where near long enough for me to get such a task done.

Finally, when I suggested that we had not seen our lovely neighbours (adopted local grandparents for our children) in a while and should have them over for breakfast on Sunday, He did not invite them. (I can hear the huge sigh of relief from all the way over at their house. And they also are thinking of Him in capitals now.)

Can you imagine a blooming brain on gluten?!

And though I may be a bit more smelly, my nursing babe and I have lovely, creamy, flawless, glowing skin to show for it.

Life is good and messy and crazy and calm and flaw/less... here in The Gray Zone.