My Return to Television

I was once a television commercial star. This commercial featured my cat Muffin and me lounging on a blanket in front of a fireplace. I was wearing a pink fuzzy housecoat. Muffin was not. I was the perfect actress because I was precocious, intelligent and looked a good three years younger than I actually was. Those are the makings of a child star, right there. People raved about my performance and called it “the most moving television commercial of 1992.” Continue reading


The Exterminator is Coming

I am staying at house with some friends of Joseph’s while I’m here in the south. They live in part of a big old beautiful house. They have been gracious enough to let me occupy the front room while one of their housemates is gone for the summer. One particular morning, I had decided to sleep in. I was in bed slowly beginning the waking up process when I heard a loud knock at the front door.

I knew that the person at the door was not there to see me, so I ignored the knock. Then came another knock. Then came a knock and a “HELLO?” Again, I knew she wasn’t here to see me, so I didn’t move out of my bed even though it was odd that the woman was now inside of the house. I figured it was a friend or another housemate that was supposed to be there. (I later found out that it was their landlady,Miss Somethingorother. It was a name from Full House that I can’t remember. Let’s just call her Miss Uncle Joey). More knocking, more hellos, each becoming more frantic and louder than the last, until one loud knock on my door was immediately followed by Miss Uncle Joey bursting into my room.

“Oh! I just wanted to let you know that the exterminator is here so you won’t be startled. Bye!”

Startled?! Too late. Totally startled. Before I could ask any questions, Miss Uncle Joey was gone. Cue panic mode.

Exterminator? What exactly does that entail? Is Miss Uncle Joey the exterminator? Is she licensed for that sort of thing? Where would one get an exterminator’s license? Is a man in a big suit with tanks on his back going to spray the house down with toxic chemicals? Will this affect my breathing? Will I come down with some incurable disease? Will I need to use my out of country traveler’s insurance? Does my travel insurance cover treatment for incurable diseases? Will the room fill with fog? Do I need to get on the ground and crawl to safety? Won’t I look like a bug if I start crawling? Should I be wearing a gas mask in this situation, because mine is at home in Canada. Are Canadians allowed to stay in homes of Americans? Is this legal? Am I allowed to be here right now? I’m totally going to get arrested, aren’t I?

Do they even have the right house? What if it’s not really an exterminator, but a creepy dude casing the joint for old family heirlooms? Are there heirlooms in this house that I should know about? Where would they be hiding? Should be hiding? My mattress is on the floor so I can’t hide under the bed. WHERE AM I SUPPOSED TO HIDE? Is the closet too predictable? I can’t go to the kitchen, it’s too far away. What about this sunroom thing? Is that like a conservatory? I bet there are lots of things for an exterminator to use as weapons if his bug juice doesn’t work.


Then Joseph sent me a message saying that exterminators are pretty common in the south, especially in old homes and that it was harmless and I had nothing to worry about.


Okay. Time to have a shower and start my day, I guess. Everything is ok. I am alive. The exterminator isn’t coming to get me.

I am calm.

I am collected.

The south is great.

This isn’t a boardgame.

I am at peace.

All is well.

Now time to open the curtains to let in the morning light.



While I was in Jackson, I somehow convinced THE Joseph Craven to take me to the zoo.

It cost us $9.00 and it took about an hour to see all of the animals. And we took our time. I was warned ahead of time that the Jackson Zoo wasn’t spectacular, but I didn’t care. I probably should have cared. It wasn’t that spectacular and most of the animals were sleeping. We avoided the snake house and saw some otters, so all in all, it was a pleasant day afternoon hour.

We did find some Kookaburras, which we both would agree were the stars of the zoo. Mainly because they weren’t sleeping. It doesn’t take much to be a star in the Jackson Zoo.

When I walked up to the cage, I immediately began singing the song (it’s only natural). I was quickly horrified to find the Kookaburra was having a little….snack. It wasn’t pleasant, but like a train wreck, we couldn’t look away. I took a short video for you to enjoy and be traumatized in the process. You’re welcome!

That gasp at 0:19? Totally and completely genuine terror. Along with snakes, I am also afraid of Kookaburras. Apparently.

Six Degrees of Separation

Someone once said that everyone in the world is six steps away from any other person on the planet. I don’t know what I think of that, but I seem to find myself knowing someone that knows someone who knows someone else. I love playing the six degrees of separation game, especially when it makes the world seem a little bit smaller.

In my city, we also call this “The Mennonite Game” but instead of figuring out if you know someone famous, you try to figure out if you are related.

Since you’re probably not Mennonite, I now present you with my six degrees of separation to several people you may have heard of, or a list of things that makes me seem cooler than I actually am.

1. My friend is second cousins with Matthew Thiessen, lead singer of Relient K.

2. My friend graduated from the same theater program as Rachel McAdams and has consequently had telephone conversations with her about acting and such.

3. I was the flower girl in the wedding of a guy whose best friend was best friends with Steven Page (formally of the Barenaked Ladies) in grades 4 through 6.

4. My sister in law’s uncle is the Simon Cowell of Argentina. He attended Michael Buble’s wedding.

5. My sister in law’s family is friends with the “Mista! Mista!” lady in Happy Gilmore..

6. My friend’s friend (who is now my friend….wink) ate Derek Webb’s macaroni and cheese while she was babysitting his kids.

7. My aunt and uncle live in Africa. That’s got to count for something, right?

That’s it. My list is short. Please help me add to it.

What makes you sound cooler than you actually are?

GUEST POST: A Second Hole

I have married friends named Mark and Esther. I have only known them for a couple of years (we met at a wedding…my friend also happens to be Esther’s brother), but their influence on my life has been huge. Seriously huge. I love third wheeling with this couple. They make me laugh very hard, and they always have a ridiculous anecdote to relate to any situation. I have a lot of fun with these two, but they also take very good care of me. When I was going through a rough time a couple of months ago, Esther was the person I called when I was upset. They had me over for dinner, they baked me gluten free bread (Mark doesn’t eat gluten either!), they made me stew, and they took me out for tea and Scrabble. One Sunday morning, Esther was sick but Mark showed up at church anyway,  just so I wouldn’t have to sit alone on a difficult day. They were there in the most practical ways, and I am so very grateful for them.

So it was definitely odd when they didn’t come see my play a couple of weekends ago. The only explanation was “bad timing” which was rather vague, especially coming from them. But then I heard that Mark had been in the hospital. And then I heard WHY Mark had been in the hospital. Let me tell you, it aaaaall makes sense now. Mark decided to share this story with all of you lucky blog readers.


Let’s face it – people don’t like talking about their butts. I think it’s probably the third least-popular discussion topic for polite company – right after sex and religion. That said, I’ve recently had an experience that while embarrassing and uncomfortable, I feel compelled to share.

A couple weeks ago I awoke to a pain emanating from my behind- yup, I had a pain in my butt. It felt like a bruise, deep within my right butt-cheek. It was a gentle but unwelcome visitor – just noticeable enough to remind you that its there – sort of like a stranger who insists on talking to you on the bus.

And like a random-bus-talker, I had hoped that if I just ignored it, it would eventually just leave. After all, there was really nothing to worry about – we had company, I was busy at work, and this was just a minor annoyance.

And so I ignored my butt for a couple of days.

The pain wasn’t going away, but it was nothing that a couple of Tylenol couldn’t fix. I began to think of all the activities that I’d taken part in over the previous week that could possibly be causing it- had I sat on an IKEA furniture connector? Did I pull a muscle when raking yard waste? Was I having problems digesting a gluten-free dark-matter bagel? Hmm. Nope, none of those seemed plausible.

Another day passed, and that’s when I knew there was a problem.

Look. I’m a 20-something male. Speaking in terms of demographics, we’re probably the least likely group to seek medical attention. Broken leg? Walk it off. Giant bleeding wound? Here’s some Polysporin and a band-aid. Swine flu? Drink some Buckley’s.

Anyway, my misbehaving cheek was now swollen– I was having a hard time sitting properly, I was sweating at night, and was having a hard time sleeping. So when I say that I was in enough pain to warrant a trip to the Doctor’s office, you’d better believe I was in a lot of pain.

I went to a walk-in clinic and was seen by a doctor who hurriedly inspected my posterior and within moments deduced that the source of my “malaise derriere” was nothing more than a hemorrhoid. Great! Problem solved. End of story. Happily ever after. Let’s eat some prunes and celebrate.

Not so fast, buster brown.

I tried my ‘roid treatment regime for a few days, but nothing was happening. Sleep was getting more difficult, the pain worse by the hour. I was alternating between super-high fever and uncontrollable chills. The bump on my bump was getting larger – and starting to harden, and I was getting more concerned.

I booked an appointment with my family doctor, and was re-diagnosed as having a soft tissue infection – was prescribed antibiotics and cortisone cream, and sent merrily along my way. Awesome. Super. Let’s fix this noise and get on with life.

The next morning I woke up and my cheek was no longer just swollen and hard, but starting to turn red. It felt like I was having a reaction to the cortisone cream, or maybe just a sign that the antibiotics were starting to work. I don’t know – I’ve never had a soft tissue infection before.

When I got into the office, I promptly asked my boss for a couple of days off, citing my recent health troubles and mis-diagnosis. The hope was that I’d have an extra-long weekend to let the drugs do their thing, and I’d be right as rain for the new week. It was a great plan. I went home and collapsed on the couch for a few hours – and for the first time in days I was able to find a comfortable position, and catch up on a bit of sleep.

It was then, when I woke up, that I finally realized just how bad things were.

Taking a look at my sore heiny in the mirror, I noticed a giant blister had developed over the epicenter of the pain and swelling. Now it’s one thing to feel pain, not see anything, and just ignore it – but once the pain becomes tangible, there is no choice but to react. I rushed downstairs and told my wife that we needed to go to the hospital right now.

Twenty minutes later I am evaluated by a triage nurse. I have an unyielding heart rate of 145. I have a fever of 38.8. I am sweating profusely. I am in the worst pain of my life.

They admitted me immediately to minor emergency, where I was seen fairly quickly. The nurse practitioner takes one look at me and re-re-diagnoses me with (and I quote) “a giant frickin’ abscess”. Over the course of the next hour people are talking around me about booking an OR, surgery, and whether or not they can “get it all”.

I was worried, and rightly so. My comedy of misdiagnosis had lead to a point where my annoying little pain-in-the-butt had become something that would certainly have been fatal if left untreated.

Eventually, the medical team decides that they can deal with my problem quickly. The solution? Lance a hole in my butt to drain the swelling and infection out of the abscess, and put me on heavy antibiotics to handle the rest. The team assembles around my ER room bed and runs through the procedure, reassuring me that they are prepared to support my breathing in case I decide to stop for any reason.

The anesthetic fills my IV, and I slowly go blank. Fifteen minutes later I awoke in the same place, but in a lot less pain. The nurse tells me that while I was under the influence of the anesthetic, I was talking about skateboarding in the projects, and how mad people were going to be at me. Obviously there are deep thoughts at play in my subconscious.

[Guest-blogger’s note: At this point, I must warn you that if you are at all queasy, you should avoid reading the next sentence.] On a more disgusting note, the nurse informs me that they’ve managed to tap an impressive yield from my wound – Over a full cup of vile, disgusting fluid.

As I’m lying in my hospital bed waiting for the IV antibiotics to drain, I’m left with more questions than answers. Sure, I no longer have a butt-cheek on my butt-cheek, but now I’m left with a superfluous second hole in my rear. How long am I going to be off of work? How long will it take for my newly-minted hole to heal? How can that hole heal if it’s so close to the “other” hole?! How am I going to shower?! How am I going to go “numero dos”?!

Fast forward to today.

It’s now been a week since my emergency surgery and I’m slowly starting to get answers to my questions. Some of you may be wondering what it’s like to have a second hole in your butt. You may be disappointed to find out that it really doesn’t feel like anything – maybe I’ve just got a case of numb-bum, but there’s not a lot of pain or weird sensation in this peculiar new orifice. You might also be wondering if I’ve given my pain-in-the-butt a name – sadly I’ve yet to find something appropriate.

How long will my new friend be a part of me? From what the nurses say, it’s going to be with me for several weeks to come.

How does it heal? This is a gross one. Essentially, it has to heal bottoms-up – that means that the wound remains held open by packing, which must be done daily to make sure it heals properly. There’s also a high risk of re-infection, so I have to be extra careful.

Work? No idea. I still can’t sit and I can barely walk, and apparently those are pretty big requirement for a desk job… working on the couch doesn’t go over well with the health-and-safety crowd as I’ve found out.

Numero dos? Bathing? Let’s say there are procedures, and leave it at that.

It sounds weird – but I’ve learned a lot from my second butt-hole. I’ve learned that sometimes you’ve just got to prioritize your own health and well being over your obligations to work, friends, and family. It’s selfish, but necessary – sometimes you need to take more than you give, and that has to be okay.

I’ve also learned that taking your health into your own hands is sometimes the only way to get the care you really need. While I’m frustrated with the failings of the system, we eventually got to the bottom of my bottom-problem. From now on, I’ll know to speak up and speak up quickly.

Finally, I have learned that I would be in deep trouble if not for my unfailing wife who has stepped up to not only take care of me with dignity, but also take care of my regular duties that I’m currently incapable of fulfilling. I owe her big time.

And so that’s the story of how I came to to have a second hole in my butt. It’s been a strange experience by all accounts (one I’d never wish on anyone), but it’s about as real as it gets.

Have you ever had a second hole in your butt? What about a spouse who is awesome?

If you don’t have either of these, feel free to rewrite wedding vows to include butts.

I’ll start: “In sickness and in butts…”

HalloWINNING: Part 2

If you missed Part 1, you should probably check that out first. Click anywhere on this sentence.


HalloWINNING: A Trifecta of Brilliant Costuming, Hilarious Antics and Candy I Could Not Eat

Part 2: Saturday

Before I begin, I should probably mention that I have been sick since the end of the summer. This weekend was the first that I felt even remotely like a human being. Since the summer. I’m still not better, but I’m getting there. Oh, and then I decided to get a cold this past week too. So what better way to celebrate being almost kind of healthy but still not really than to physically exert myself three nights in a row?  I know internets, I KNOW. It’s a genius plan.

My good friends the Smiths had a party. So what does a tiny, sick, exceptionally white Canadian girl dress up as to go to a “People Who Are Dead” themed party?

The answer is pretty obvious.

Bob Marley. Again, everything I wore I found in my own closet. I don’t know if that should scare you or impress you. All of the other ladies at the party looked fabulous:

And I looked like a dude. Typical. Remember how I said earlier that I’ve been sick since the summer? And that I was out Friday night? This is me dressed as a dead person and also feeling quite close to it. I didn’t even last until 9:00 pm. I had a long day coming, and I needed to be prepared for the third day of Halloween. The party itself was fantastic, as were the costumes and the people in them. I was the total sickie lame-o in this situation.

HalloWINNING Part 2? I did not live up to the potential this evening offered.

Trust me, I made up for it in Part 3. Stay tuned.

HalloWINNING*: Part 1

I am frustrated. In an attempt to blog my entire weekend, WordPress keeps DELETING my giant posts. TWICE NOW. It is clear that WordPress cannot handle that much awesome in one post.

Due to frustration and time constraints, I shall have to post in segments. I WILL tell you about my awesome weekend, internets.

HalloWINNING**: A Trifecta of Brilliant Costuming, Hilarious Antics and Candy I Could Not Eat

Part 1: Friday

My dear friend and improv coach Thomas had a 28th birthday party. A video game themed birthday party. I know nothing about video games, nor do I play them apart from a little Mario every now and then. Thankfully, Google knows lots of things. Here I am in my costume:



I’m rather proud of this creation. I made (yes MADE!) the head out of a beanbag pillow sewn to a headband, pink pantyhose, styrofoam balls and some felt. The vest was handmade by my mother (made when Snowmen were in vogue), worn inside out with yellow electrical tape edging. I also used yellow tape to detail the clutch that I carried that evening:

The dress was also made by my mother (I come by my crafting abilities naturally) and worn by her on her wedding day, post-reception, approximately 34 years ago. Clearly we kept the dress for such important occasions such as this. Here she is sporting the same dress:

Awesome, right? RIGHT.


The party itself was full of whimsy, improv friend bonding and costumes that I did not understand (thanks to those who patiently answered by questions). Much to my delight, many other Mario friends showed up, except – oddly enough – Mario. On our way to the bar/club/thing, I had in my car[t] the following: Toadette (myself), Spikey Turtle (Annika), Red Shelled Turtle (Tom), Green Shelled Turtle (Jess) and Happy Cloud (Ryan). We stopped at a stoplight, and lo and behold, who should be standing on the corner but MARIO HIMSELF. To say that all parties involved were thrilled with yelps of glee is a vast understatement. This is what dreams are made of, folks. After a little bit of dancing to some terrible music and lots of “nice costume” high fives, I headed home exhausted and tired of people squeezing my head.

HalloWINNING***: Part 1? SUCCESS.



*Blame Matt Gates for this title
**Again, Matt’s fault
***That one was all me. Sorry.


They’re Bookends, I Promise

For various reasons, I did not go to work this week at all. I am saddened to announce that no work means no Friday Field Notes.

I know. I’m crying too.


I did stumble across a conversation I had with my Grandma at Christmas last year. I had written it down, saved it as a draft and totally forgot about it. Gram doesn’t know what the internet is, so it’s all good. I’m quite certain it will more than make up for missing Friday Field Notes.

Grandma: What did you get for Christmas?
Me: A purse, a wallet, a cookbook and a set of hooters.

Grandma: What are hooters?
Me: You don’t know what hooters are?
Grandma: No, what are hooters?
Me: They’re bookends.
Grandma: Why do you call bookends hooters?
Me: Ask Dad what hooters are.
Grandma: Why?
Me: Just do it, seriously.
Grandma: Why are you laughing so hard? Dawna, why is your daughter laughing so – hey, why are you laughing?
Me: Just ask him what hooters are, he’ll tell you.
Grandma: Dave, what are hooters?
Dad: Ask Amanda.
Grandma: What are HOOTERS?
Me: Well, it’s also a restaurant.
Grandma: Really, where?
Me: I think there is one in Toronto. Ask one of your friends if they want to go to Hooters sometime. Better yet, call up Josh [my brother] and ask if he wants to go with you to Hooters. I bet he will.
Grandma: I’ve never heard of it. Is it good?
Me: Depends on what you mean by good.
Grandma: But what are hooters?
Me: Bookends. That are owls.
Grandma: Oh HOOTERS! I get it now! But why do you keep laughing?
Me: Don’t you think owls are funny? I certainly do.
Mom: Amanda, you better tell her what hooters are.
Grandma: They’re owls.
Me: Yes, but they are also something else.
Grandma: What?
Me: Well, only ladies have them…
Grandma: OH MY WORD! (holding head) Just! Oh! My land!
Me: …and they’re not ovaries!
Grandma: OH my land! The way you talk! Oh! Well!
Me: Are you going to pray for me?
Grandma: YES. YES I AM.
Grandpa (not hearing any of the last bit of conversation): Are you going to show us your hooters?
Dad: WHOA. Hey now. If you want to do that you have to leave!
Me: You might not want to go to the restaurant either, Grandma. It’s not named after owls.
Grandma: Thanks for letting me know.

So there’s that. Sorry for the lack of Field Notes. But. Maybe I’m not that sorry.

Search Terms

I probably use Google on a daily basis. I’m sure many others do, too. Sometimes odd searches lead people to this here blog. And then I get to see what odd things people are wondering about. It’s one of the many joys of being a blogger.

I must note that approximately 96% of search terms are related to facial hair. Awesome, right? Right. I usually exaggerate this type of thing, but I assure you, this time I’m not. Take a look at a screenshot of a few of the things people searched for:

Here are some of my other favourites:

Girl with bunions. This is not me. Go away.

Cut of the poo. I don’t know what this means. Can someone explain?

Hairy guys online content uploads 2010 irish hairy 202. This….is oddly specific. And this happened twice? Uh…?

Girls clubhouse no boys allowed. This was searched for several times, all worded differently. You’re very adamant, but you came to the wrong place. I write about facial hair.

Is it gay to remove facial hair? I’m quite certain it isn’t.

Whats the cause of blond facial hair plucking blonde upper lip hair and it feeling sharp and pokey. Oh honey. Oh. You need to find a mentor other than Google. Please.

Do Baptists grow beards? I am quite certain they do. Just ask John.

“toilet thing”. Why did you use quotation marks? Does it help you get your point across? I’m picturing a proper lady in a cableknit sweater using air quotes. When you say “toilet thing”, what do you actually mean?

10 week old miniature schnauzer puppy. I have one of these. Do you want it?

Pickle on a stick. Oh. Do you mean this?

seemed like a good idea at the time


Sad boy alone in love. It’s because the girls didn’t let you in their clubhouse, isn’t it?

My brother likes to touch my feet. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?

Things people think about. I’m thinking about why your brother likes to touch your feet.

Decorated poo. OK, so it’s apparent that I’ve blogged about poo before. That doesn’t mean I know how to DECORATE it. Go ask Martha Stewart. Again, I ask, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?

Hal Johnson awesome. Finally. Something that makes sense.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever Googled?

Obscure Things I Quote on a Regular Basis

I’m weird. There’s no denying it. Part of my weirdness involves funny voices. My strange faces are indeed odd. I like to sing bizarre songs. I’m also prone to quoting obscure junk. When I say “obscure junk” I mean stuff that most people have never heard of, or it’s a small part of something people have heard of, but since I provide no context, the meaning is obscure. I don’t mean quoting the  obscure part of a popular movie that has been made popular by quoting the part constantly, thus making it no longer obscure. No. That’s not it at all. I made a list.


Marcel the Shell with Shoes On


Mennonites. I have Mennonite stories from earlier this year. I have told them at family get togethers, when we’ve had friends for dinner or any time I find myself with a fresh audience. I just told these  stories this past weekend. I must note that I’m never the one who brings up the stories. It’s usually my dad who announces I have a great story to tell and proceeds to say bits of the story with no context, thus confusing everyone in the room apart from those who have already heard the stories. Or my mom tries to capture the accent but it ends up sounding mostly Indian. My brothers have even requested the stories. I don’t think I’ve ever had family requested stories (when you’re the youngest funny kid in a funny family, this is a big deal). I cannot explain exactly what makes them great but boy are they ever. So great, they can only ever be told in person by yours truly. Sorry, internets. No video could capture the nuance of the Mennonite stories. “Did you bathe it in Epsom salts?”


The little girl in this commercial.


The Wedding Planner. Of all the cheesy JLo and/or Matthew McDoesn’tweardeodourant I pick this one. The beauty of quoting this movie is that the lines are not that funny, and no one knows where it’s from, so I don’t have to be embarrassed. My go to lines:

Jezebel was the only queen in the Bible to be eaten by dogs.
Are you Nancy PONG?
Steve! Steve! It’s you, Steve.
You smell like sweet red plums and grilled cheese sandwiches.


The noise at 0:35.


The part in Stuart Little when the kid runs around yelling “It’s today! It’s today!” because he’s excited to get a baby mouse brother. I quote this whenever I’m excited about something happening on that particular day. I may or may not run around while I’m saying it. Depends on who’s asking.


RAISINS?! This guy named The Sneeze used to blog and it was great. When his son was 3, he gave him a 14 cent box of raisins for Christmas. He did the same thing the next Christmas and recorded his reaction. Please, PLEASE do yourself a favour and listen to the audio from both years. The 2007 Raisins gets quoted every time I encounter raisins.


What weird junk do you reference? Better yet, make some obscure references in the comments and we’ll all try to guess what it’s from. And we’ll all be wrong. That sounds like fun.