Celebrating Tiny Houses

I would especially like a tiny house and a tiny car. Otherwise known as a micro house and micro car. What other things have been trending as micro or tiny? Computers of course. But, I’m not a fan of smaller screens. I like to be able to see what I’m doing.toptinyhomes

Join Gizmag as we give a big thumbs up to ten of the most attractive, innovative, and downright interesting tiny houses we’ve come across in the past 12 months.

Source: Thinking small: Celebrating the very best in tiny houses

All the Abandoned, Forgotten Pornography

How many scantily clad women have been abandoned this way? I found this photo via Flickr (the urban exploration group I moderate). Here are these women, posing in bikinis for their photo to appear on the cover of a publication. Is it something relevant to women in bikinis? Not so likely. But there it is… thrown out, discarded and forgotten about. Does it make you feel at least a bit sad?

Urban (and rural) explorers find old pornography magazines at abandoned houses (and not just houses). Most of it is deteriorated due to weathering, animals, time, etc. I don’t know if anyone saves any of it. Not so likely.
bikinijournal
Photo from Flickr: Julien Lefebvre

Ideas for Halloween Blog Posts

happyhalloweenTired of the same old holiday posts? Try writing about these!

How to make your lawn look ghastly for Halloween using simple stuff like zombie flamingos, garden gnomes and such which you can buy on eBay and poke into your grass.

How to dress like a slut for Halloween without alarming your Mother

Lingerie in Halloween colours to perk up the late night trick-or-treaters.

How to keep your kids from eating too much candy on Halloween – give them healthy snacks instead and threaten to hang them off the roof while they barf if they don’t eat the healthy snacks

Dress up your pets for Halloween so they can guard your kids from the pumpkin bashing bullies

How to store your Halloween costumes, especially those which are not flame retardant.

Halloween gifts for your boyfriend who didn’t return all your 1,000 text messages yesterday

Play with trick-or-treaters: Get a stuffed dog for Halloween and put on tapes with spooky music and a dog barking in the background. Let kids think the dog is safe and then sick your real dog on them.

What to do if your child is choking on Halloween candy? – feed him more until it all goes down

Decorate your house in pink for Halloween – for breast cancer. Don’t forget to use your husband for the big boob in the centre

Old fashioned Halloween costumes – spray paint your children

Gather all the children’s toys you’re tired of picking up and recycle them into Halloween monster toys like babypedes and other monsterish, gruesome things.

Shoes to wear for Halloween, wind, rain, snow or slime

Halloween movies to watch with your dog, or cat. Write about movies with dogs or cats, or goldfish with a Halloween theme

Halloween tapes like Monster Mash which you can play over and over to torment teenagers who don’t appreciate the 70’s… yet.

Use mannequins to create a Halloween family eating dinner around the table. Make this the night you invite the neighbours for dinner. (They don’t need to bring anything but extra seasoning wouldn’t hurt them).

Tacky, trippy or just plain terrible sweaters for your loved ones at Halloween

Safe chemicals to throw on your children when their cheap Halloween costumes ignite

More reasons why candles are not a good thing for children to carry while trick-or-treating

Creepy Halloween toilet paper to use for papering houses, cars, people, pets, etc 

How to make your own creepy sound recordings for Halloween without really harming any children or pets.

How to spray foam on cars which is not shaving cream (which melts paint apparently)

Use cookie cutters and hot wax to shave creative Halloween patterns in your chest (or back) hair

If That’s Life, I Guess I’ve Had It

I wrote this about my Dad, so long ago I had forgotten about it. Originally published to BackWash.com on May 28, 2004 and written when my Dad died.

My Dad would sometimes say, “If that’s supper, I guess I’ve had it.” This past week after his death that phrase has caught in my mind only I’ve adapted it to, “If that’s life, I guess I’ve had it.”

My Dad was 71 years old when he died. He was born in South Shields, Scotland in 1932. He had one sister who also came to Canada (the whole family did when he was in university). My Dad was an electrical engineer though he didn’t have the actual engineer stamp due to not finishing that last year of university. He could have many times over, but he chose not to bother. He chose not to bother about a lot of things.

Anyway, he married my Mother in 1964. They lived in farm houses and city apartments for awhile, back and forth until one run down farm in a town called Kincardine where my sister was born. She was the third of four kids. We moved back to the city from there cause the farm house had no running water and my brother and I were having asthma problems with the country lifestyle. Two more moves and we ended up in The Rouge. It was the town of Port Union then, later it became part of Scarborough and thus part of Toronto. When someone asks where I grew up I think of The Rouge. It was a very white middle class place. Nice though a bit sheltered.

Dad always loved jersey cows. He kept buying the Jersey Breeder magazine long after we had seen our last farm house. While I was growing up in The Rouge he was daydreaming about a jersey farm. He made lots of plans on paper and now and then we had family trips into the middle of nowhere Ontario to look at a farm he could buy. By that time Mom was pretty much prepared to veto them all. No more run down farm houses, no more him expecting her to run a farm and cows while he worked in the city and came back on weekends to supervise.

Dad liked to sing and whistle while he worked. Often the same old songs about ‘stay home and mind baby brown eyed girl, captain brown being down amongst the dead men and tally my bananas day o’. I’m not even sure what the names of the songs are. But I’ve heard them over and over all my life.

We started looking through his things, picking what to keep, what to display at the service and what to toss. There is a lot to toss. He wore his clothes till they were worn out, he was no fashion plate though he liked to think he looked good. Sometimes he did. Among his things I noticed an old program from a theatre performance of ‘Man of La Mancha” that he went to with my sister and myself a very long time ago. I was surprised to see that. Also one Father’s Day card from all the cards I had ever given him. Usually he left them sitting right where he had opened them and let Mom eventually toss them into the garbage. I put away the one card that he kept. There were also more pins and badges from the local Lions clubs that he had yet given to me to sew onto his Lions vest. Between my Mom and I we had kept them sewn on for him for the past ten or so years. He also had pictures of golf games and events with business associates and sometimes my brother or his current son-in-law too.

He had his first small heart attack while we lived in The Rouge. After that they came more frequently, over time, slowly. He ignored them. Even though his own Dad had died at age 65 from a heart attack which he ignored until he died in the hospital that same night. That just proves you can’t help people who will not help themselves.

I remember being in the hospital up here in Alliston with my Dad just a few days before they took him down to Newmarket for the quadruple by-pass operation. He wasn’t sure about having the surgery and I can see now that he was afraid. That makes me feel very sorry for him. But, I don’t see how we could have done differently at that point. It was likely already too late. Anyway, he had a very bad heart attack right before the surgery but they went ahead at that point cause he would have died anyway I guess. Either then or the next attack. Surgery seemed to at least give him a chance to survive. He did pull through for two more days and seemed to be feeling pretty ok for someone who has just had his chest opened and adjusted. But two days after the surgery he didn’t wake up. He was in ICU and stayed there. Being worked on, his body kept functioning with life support. The hospital staff seemed to think his chances were not too bad at that point. But he never got better and last Saturday, the very day they were going to pull the plug he died himself sometime before 6:00 AM.

Maybe it’s having the distance of time and now death, but I do feel less angry about him and things he did and said. In the end it doesn’t matter. It’s up to me to get on with my own life. On Monday we are having the memorial service. Mom is bugging me about what I will wear. I am not looking forward to having to make chit chat with people who think they knew him. Cause they didn’t really know him. Dad liked to make a show of his life. He was always Mr BigShot and we were holding him back, picking on him and making things difficult in general. He would tell his business associates, the local Lions club which he joined and others all about us, as he chose to see us. So, no, I’m not looking forward to two hours of hearing about what a good guy he was. But the service is for them I think. For me, I don’t care. He is dead and it’s over.

Right now beside me I have an old rolodex of his business cards which I’m sorting through for valid names to add to the guest list. If he could be there for the memorial he would be happy with the show put on for him, because of him. His due I expect he would think. For me it’s just something else I have to do. I wonder if I will think of him much after the wind down of everything. It seems as if we’ve been expecting and waiting to put on this last show since we were kids and here it finally is. Now we can do the show and put it into the past and leave it there. All the build up and the suspense will be gone. Just like Ian N. Brown himself.

How to Research the History of a House

housesoldEvery house has a story and a history to it. You can find out when your home was built, who lived there, and how they changed it. Once you begin peeling back the old wallpaper, taking up the old flooring or wondering why someone put a door in such an odd place… you might want to know more about the history of your house and the people who decorated, renovated and lived in it before you.

You can find this out for a house you are interested in buying or just interested in for any reason at all. You don’t have to live in a house or a property to be curious about it. I like to find old, abandoned or derelict places and find out more about them. The main thing is to start somewhere.

Where and How to Get Started

Take a look around the property and the house inside and outside yourself.

Conduct a search of the house and its yard. Don’t forget the garage, any kind of shed or outbuilding, the basement and attic if your house has any or all of these. A little knowledge of architecture would help you find more about the features of your home and their original use or importance.

This is a great way to introduce yourself to the neighbours.

Ask neighbours about the neighbourhood, how long they have lived in the area and what they know or can remember about the house you live in. You don’t have to feel you are being a snoop or a gossip if you are asking about the house itself.

Talk to people in real estate, especially your own agent if they are local to the area.

Real estate people should be willing and able to find background information about your house (especially if you are interested in putting in an offer to buy the property). Real estate agents will have access to property records from services like land surveys, assessments and such which you might not consider tracking down yourself.

Go to city or county records offices, court houses, the local library and historical societies.

Deeds, tax records, property abstracts, city directories, census records, insurance maps, and actual road maps will help you track down the past life of your house. Your city or county records office can help you begin. Some libraries will have a section or a whole reference room dedicated to local history. You might even find a photo or illustration of your house from it’s earliest days. Ask the librarian for assistance. (Check if they have searchable archives of the local newspapers too).

Find out if your property/ house is considered historically important.

Check with societies preserving local, historic architecture to see if your house is on the list or has been considered. Even if your house is not listed, ask them about your street, other houses on your street and which are the older houses compared to your own house. If your house is considered historically significant you will have to talk to the local government planning office before you do any renovations or changes to the structure. (If you are considering buying the property this is an issue you need to think about).

Articles About Researching House and Home History

Make Your Own Impact for Future History

Just for interest, try exploring your house and the yard with gadgets which let you see more than your own eyes are able (like a metal detector). If you are renovating a space in the house keep an eye out for anything interesting. People sometimes leave notes when they are renovating a house.

We the same when we wallpapered my old house. Each of the four kids and our parents signed the wall when we had all the old paper off. We added the date and a message to whoever finds that bare wall again in the history of that house.

Pumpkin City: Early for Halloween

Pumpkin city

I especially like this idea. I could make a row of them like a candlelit village. I’d rather have these than a scary jack-o-lantern face.

Pumpkin City

A passel of pumpkins provides the backdrop for a quaint village scene.

Step 1: Carve a hole in the bottom of each pumpkin, scoop out the pulp, and return the cut pieces.

Step 2: Print out these house templates. Resize on a copier, scaling the images to fit your pumpkins.

Step 3: Cut out stencils as directed on the templates and affix to pumpkins with masking tape. Trace on the designs with a felt-tip pen.

Step 4: Remove stencils, then carefully carve along the drawn lines of the houses’ windows with an X-Acto knife. Fill in the designs using a fine-tip brush and black flat acrylic paint; let dry. Affix a battery-operated votive candle in the base of each pumpkin with adhesive putty.

Read more: Country Living

Famous Women Gardeners

Famous Women Gardeners
By Gay Klok

Introduction

GERTRUDE JEKYLL
V. SACKVILLE-WEST
EDNA WALLING
LESTER ROWNTREE
ELIZABETH VON ARNIM

You may have heard of the first two but not have heard of the last two ladies. During the next weeks we will learn how these five women had an enormous influence on our modern-day gardens and I hope to open to you, with discussions and suggested readings, their fascinating gardening world and interesting lives.

These women had many things in common, though they lived and gardened in different geographical areas. They were all passionate about gardening, they lived mostly in the same period of time and they designed and planted other people’s gardens, creating a soft and romantic style. Perhaps we could say they planted with a strongly feminine style.

When we examine their personalities, we might remark they presented a masculine presence – the way they dressed, the physical garden labour they undertook and their strong belief in equality of the sexes. Although there are these shared characteristics, we will discover they all led quite different private lives! Continue reading Famous Women Gardeners

The View from my Front Door Today

This morning I heard a police siren and ignored it. We hear them now and then as they head to some location in our small city. We live in the almost suburbs, a quiet area with four elementary schools on the same street I live on. Traffic is limited to 40K through the school area and only goes up to 60K farther along. This street has young families and older couples with empty nests. It’s not the street for turning up 20-something young women dead in a dumpster.

I wish I could talk to my Grandfather. He thinks the way I do, he doesn’t judge people too easily and he thinks well of everyone, expects people are basically good and care about each other. I’ve had some cynicism creep in over the years but, essentially, I still think the same way too.

My Mother is assuming the young woman was troubled, the type to be out drinking and screwing around. I don’t assume anything about her and I don’t feel like judging her or making any decisions/ predictions about who she was. I’m mostly angry, deeply, tremendously angry. I’m so angry I’m trying not to think about any of it too much.

I wish I could ask my Grandfather what he thinks about the world today, the “war against women”, the type of lives young women lead these days, the type of lives young men lead these days. I wish my Grandfather could tell me what he thinks. But he’s been dead a long time now. Cancer. So he can’t tell me a thing.

I don’t want to think about the women in my family, our experiences with violence against women. My own, personal experience. My sister who was raped and saved from being murdered and having her body dumped somewhere only because someone heard a noise and came to check. My sister has four children now, two of them are daughters. What will their future be like? In our family (my Mother, myself and two sisters) only one of us has escaped violence or predatory experiences by men. Not a great statistic for my sister’s two daughters. It’s not wondering which of them will be molested, raped or worse. It’s wondering if both of them will and will one of them be killed.

Like the girl, the young woman, in the dumpster today. Just three or four houses up from my house. I watched the police car parked to block the street all day. They left after 8:00PM. It was a long day to leave a car running with lights flashing. I wonder how they keep the battery from dying.

I don’t want to think too much more about it tonight.

TMI: 31 Sexual Favours

This TMI Tuesday let’s play our own 31 Sexual Favors. List 31 unique and exciting sexual activities or services you’d put on your very own tokens that are guaranteed to make you the favorite flavor of the week.

  1. Strip him down and just watch him stand there, doing nothing.
  2. Tie him to my bed frame then tease and torment him while wearing rubber gloves.
  3. Take him out for breakfast, put a bib on him and just smile at anyone who notices.
  4. Have coffee at home. Mine in a teacup, his in his doggie bowl.
  5. Give him a temporary collar, just for one day.
  6. Draw all over him with markers then wash it off when I’m done.
  7. Tie him in the doorway, arms and legs apart, then play with a feather.
  8. Give him a list of domestic duties, starting with making my coffee so I can ignore him while I read a good book.
  9. Have a big cage delivered to the house as a surprise. Then put him in it.
  10. Go to bed and leave him to sleep on the floor, nude but with a blanket.
  11. Take photos of him posing nude in the snow. Snow angels.
  12. Take photos of him at abandoned farm houses, nude or wearing just a leash and collar.
  13. Petting him like a good puppy for half an hour.
  14. Letting him wash my hair and my back in the shower. That is all.
  15. Take him out shopping for new clothes while wearing pink panties.
  16. Show him I’m wearing sexy undies then go out for the day and not let him touch me.
  17. Flash him just for fun.
  18. Flash him in the kitchen when he has important people over for dinner.
  19. Circle the pictures of cock cages in an adult toy catalogue and leave it for him to find.
  20. Tell him, “I’ve changed my mind.” Right before I leave the house. If he insists on more information just say, “We’ll talk about it later.” or “You know what I mean.” or “Have you forgotten or were you just not listening?” if you really want to keep it going.
  21. Lock him into some kind of bondage, then ‘lose’ the key until he really believes you have lost the key.
  22. Try Japanese rope bondage on him, when he’s all knotted up go unload the dishwasher or something else kind of boring and everyday.
  23. Use him for a coffee table (without burning him).
  24. Take my trained sex robot to bed.
  25. Let him pick out panties for me at the store, then buy them in his size.
  26. Tie a pretty ribbon around his cock, with a bow. But, take all day to open my ‘present’.
  27. Examine him. Taking my time and telling him what I’m doing and what will be examined next.
  28. Use a flyswatter to ‘punish’ him.
  29. Play Truth or Dare, by my own unfair rules.
  30. Blindfold him and play with his mind. The mind fuck.
  31. Send him this tweet (found on Twitter yesterday):