www.flickr.com

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

The Hick Chic 2014 Review - this time without awards, because Screw You, 2014!

What THE HECK 2014???  I do enjoy a good dose of weirdness, but that was ridiculous.  What a load of crap.  Seriously.  That's why you don't get any awards, 2014.  Awards have to be earned.  I hope you had a little talk with 2015 on your way out, and I hope that talk was entitled, "How To Not Be A Crappy Year."

But you, 2014, kinda generally sucked, so you probably didn't.  Therefore I will be giving 2015 a pep talk RIGHT NOW -- along with my review of the year in entertainment, stupid world events, weather, critters, mental health and life in general.  Of course this will be illustrated with Famouses.  Who better to demonstrate a year of weirdness than with people who pretend for a living?

As for me, despite my current state (generally depressed and wrestling with nasty pharmaceutical problems) I like to laugh.  I think laughing is ESSENTIAL TO LIFE.  Since I have decided to stay alive, I intend to laugh as much as possible.   I choose to start this thing off with a good shot of FUN because we need it!


Had you ever even considered how much fun it would be to photo bomb U2 at the Oscars????

Well I'm guessing it's loads of fun, and thanks to this interesting British fella (seriously, how can one person be so odd looking and so handsome at the same time??) we can vicariously experience something we'll never get to do.  

This is why Benedict Cumberbatch is one of my favourite Famouses right now.  His name is so much fun to say out loud, and also fun to say wrong.  He announced his engagement in the freakin' newspaper, like a normal person, like it's the 1980s or something.  Also my daughter got us into watching Sherlock.  Wow.  His Ice Bucket Challenge was the best (look it up if you haven't seen it.)  So that was all good.

But you know I like a good segue, and that's why I'm going to veer off into the absurd concept of dumping cold water on yourself to raise money for a good cause.   Whaaaaaat?  How does that…?
At least ol' Benedict called attention to the actual problem before going way over the top with the whole thing -- which again, absurd, geddit?  ALS is a horrible disease.  Anything to eradicate it is fine by me.  I just got really weirded out by the concept.  Maybe I misunderstood? You either upend the ice water on yourself or donate $100? Then pressure three others to do the same?  And it has to be displayed on every social media outlet possible?  Why not forego the freezing water and just donate??? And why make a public spectacle of it?  And why the public shaming to go along with it?


Just donate.  And donate to Huntington's Disease research too while you're at it.  Please.  Donate to the cause you feel strongly about.  Don't wait until it's the cool/ cold thing to do.  And let up on that bizarre need to do everything in a big public way.  Not everything in your life needs to be seen by as many people as possible.  I say this despite blogging for damn near ten years.




Could we all treat each other like that?

I'm talking about being kind to each other just because it is basic human goodness.  Not to get likes on Facebook or instagram.  Just because the world needs some kindness, even if it's quietly done, even if only the recipient ever knows about it.

That would be great, because a lot of truly crappy things happened in the outside world last year.  I'd like to set the record straight on a few things that I feel were largely gotten wrong:

-Police shouldn't shoot people over and over until dead, no matter what colour everybody in question happens to be.  Pulling out the gun shouldn't be the first negotiating tactic.

-People should not run up to a soldier guarding a memorial and shoot him.  That is just wrong.

-People should not kill soldiers or police officers.

-You know, just don't kill people.  Okay?  This is not a difficult concept.

-People should not destroy everything around them out of revenge or frustration or injustice.  This just makes things worse.  There are better ways to express your outrage.  (just a couple of examples?  Ghandi?  Jesus?  Rosa?)

-Do not physically abuse people, even if you're nationally respected and you think this is how people act on dates.  Dammit, this was not cool.  Not cool, Jian.  I like to think of myself as a basically easy going person when it comes to other people's private activities.  As long as nobody's getting hurt and I don't have to listen to it, that's cool. This is not cool.  

Jian Ghomeshi wrote a long open letter on Facebook explaining why he'd been let go from CBC.  Of course, being Jian, it was well written and had me cheering for him, even though he just admitted that he likes violence in the bedroom, and that's a line I don't cross.  How can anybody really be sure violence is consensual? It's too vague.  And yet, because it's charming intelligent Jian, I found myself thinking, "yeah it's your business buddy, nobody should tell you how to live your private life, even though I'm seriously squicked out now, but hey you're an adult, so it's okay, right?  Or maybe not?"  I remember reading it and saying out loud, "Listen, this has to be taken seriously… it's easy enough for him to say it's a jilted ex lover revenge plot, but she has to be taken seriously."  And then, shameful as it is, we started cracking jokes about S&M because honestly, we think it's kinda stupid.  

Well, I spent the first week in Gentle Jail reading the newspaper as more and more women came forward with darn near identical stories about how their dates with Jian went terribly wrong.  So I learned two things:

1) don't read the newspaper when you're in the mental health unit.  Nuff said.

2) it's possible for a person to be so deluded that he apparently believes every piece of bullshit he says about consent and sexual preferences and rights.  (and I was surrounded by delusional people at that point, so yeah.)


I am still bummed out.  I really liked Jian.  We had met him at many Juno events and he was awesome. Always remembered our names, up for a chat, very likeable.  I figured him to be the sly flirty type and never had any doubts that if I'd been single he would have gone full on with it.  Yeah, I totally pegged him for the kind of guy with a long list of girlfriends.  I never ever would have guessed that he liked to beat up most of the women he went out with.  Or stayed in with.  shudder.  

AND DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON COSBY.  This is all crushingly disappointing and infuriating.  

Let's just move on and say that from now on, abusing women (or anybody, really) is just plain wrong, no matter how influential or famous you are, and stop justifying your horrible behaviour. Alright 2015???  Go get help.  There are so many people who are in the business of straightening your wrong headed thinking.  Do that BEFORE you feel the need to get out ahead of the media crucifixion with your side of the story.  


-Being a feminist means that you believe a woman is an actual human being with her own decision making abilities and legitimate thoughts and yes, feelings, and is allowed to be herself.  Being a feminist  does NOT mean that she is automatically a lesbian, or a man-hater, or child-hater, or violent, or mean.  And besides if she wants to be four out of those five things, SHE gets to decide.  It'll probably make her miserable but that's HER CHOICE.  I can't believe we were even having this discussion in 2014.  Any questions?



THANK YOU PROFESSOR KNOWLES/ MRS CARTER.

And also, on the positive side of things!


Yeah, before we even discuss the fact that George Clooney got married, let's just take a minute to see that clearly, GEORGE MARRIED UP. 

Also she changed her last name to his.  BECAUSE SHE CAN IF SHE WANTS TO.  


Alright let's talk about more examples to support my Weird Year thesis.  (Yeah I know that's a big word for a little hick who never went to university.)

GEORGE CLOONEY GOT MARRIED.  He got married to a woman who is an accomplished adult who really didn't need him to further her career or buy her nice clothes because she already had all that.  It's quite possible that they got married because they love each other!!!!  (Let's have more of this okay?)

WEIRD AL YANKOVIC IS A HUGE MUSIC SUCCESS.  This is actually not weird at all and totally appropriate.  



I'm pretty sure he's just messin' with us by now, right?

Good job, man!  This was the kind of comic relief I needed and appreciated.

Which leads me to…

NORTH KOREA.  How did Weird Al know that this would be such a big news item?  And how is it that my teenage son now believes that North Korea is "hilarious?"  I have often worried that Bucky might be confused about the meaning of the word "hilarious." But when your supreme glorious beloved leader appears to be making a career of smiling at things being shown him by serious and slightly frightened people, I'm thinking that's weird.  

And then…

FRANCO.  ROGEN.  MOVIE.  NORTH KOREA DEMANDS MOVIE NOT EXIST OR BAD THINGS HAPPEN. 

What the everlovin' heck for real?  I am still scratching my head over this one.  North Korea cyberhacked Sony.  Come on, this doesn't even make sense in my crazy world.  You're saying an entire country messed with a giant corporation's computer system?  That's pretty broad and vague.  It's so bizarre that I don't feel like I'm going to be mocked for wearing a tinfoil hat and suggesting that the whole thing was an inside job to promote a crappy movie.  (Ask Weird Al about the tinfoil hat, okay?) 

which…

CYBERHACKING.

Stop saying this word.  It's a stupid word.  What does it even mean?  Also, stop doing it.  Whatever happened with Sony, a lot of innocent people just trying to make a living got their privacy invaded.  Not cool.  

and speaking of conspiracy theories…

PLANES DISAPPEARING.  This was nature's way of tearing down our tower of technological Babel and reminding us that despite all our innovations, the planet is still a very large place, and we are no match for the uncaring vastness of the cruel ocean.  It's that simple.  Well, apparently Courtney Love had some answers but nobody ever listens to her.  


Nobody listening too…

U2 GIVES AWAY A FREE ALBUM, EVERYBODY COMPLAINS.  Wow, the music biz really is screwed.  Musicians literally cannot give music away.  To their benefit, the band handled it with decency, made some comments about humility and how they were probably shouldn't have assumed that they are a gift to the world (which wouldn't have been necessary if the album had been received differently) and then went on to say that it's cool because it's just music, they're not in the business of creating world peace or saving lives, which is pretty much what Jethro says every time he heads into the studio.  Perspective, I guess?


TAYLOR SWIFT "SAVES" THE MUSIC BUSINESS

Look, I don't really get her music but I'm in awe of how she's handled her career.  As in, on her terms.  



SERIOUSLY HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO CONSUME MUSIC NOW?  

Pharrell made less than $3000 from streaming revenues of his giant hit "Happy."  

Let that sink in and then tell me how we're expecting anybody to make a living at this.  Young artists are being advised to sell lots of T shirts at the merch booth because that's how you make enough money to fuel up the bus and keep the tour going.  Meanwhile, in this family we're still buying this old fangled thing called compact discs, because when I want to listen to something I don't want to screw around with gadgets and updates and version 2.0 crap.  I want to stick the thing into the thing and press play.  So easy.  And yes, we pay for music because we value it.  


And now for a left turn into something truly awful that I couldn't write about at the time and still, up to this very second, am considering not writing about.

ROBIN WILLIAMS DIED.  This is so hard to take.  There was a lot of talk about how such a comic genius could be brought down by mental illness and addiction.  Sadly, it makes way too much sense for me.  Very few of us get to be that brilliant without an equal measure of deep internal torture.  I still haven't figured out if you can't have one without the other or if it is a coincidence.  All I know is that when I heard about his suicide, I was wrestling with a depression that just wouldn't let me go.  I thought, of course, about all of his performances that made me laugh for decades, but I also kept thinking about his role in Good Will Hunting, which is possibly one of the most moving portrayals of a complicated person that I've ever seen.  

Well, eventually, and I hate to say this, I ended up spending a couple weeks in what I affectionately call Gentle Jail, known to others as the Mental Health Unit, and please stop me from cracking jokes about how aspiring fiction writers should check themselves into the psych ward because YOU CANNOT MAKE THIS STUFF UP.  



Can we talk about Johnny?

This wasn't his year.  His big movie was a flop.  I didn't see it.  I might.  I might not.  I don't know. 



But the worst thing is that he seems to be a little off, in general.  A very big deal was made of his awards show appearance where he staggered and slurred and met up with a weird looking microphone.  


But maybe we're being unfair.  When has he ever shown up to an event like this and not looked some degree of sloshed?  He always appears to be burning alive when he's expected to behave in public. 


All I can say is, I hope he was just drunk.  I'm actually wishing for that, because the alternative, that he might be showing the beginnings of some horrible disease that will make him jerk and stammer and slowly fall apart, is way worse than good ol' fashioned alcoholism.  That's the kind of year it's been.  Alcoholism is preferable to debilitating incurable diseases.  

I don't know Johnny (at least, he is not aware of some little imaginative hick's harmless pretend world in which we are non-biolgical half-twins) but his work has brought me a lot of happiness over the years.  I wish the best for him.  I hope he's okay.

And I think he was better off with Vanessa.  It's none of my business.  I get no say in this.  And Amber seems like a totally cool chick who for many reasons would be super compatible with him.  Maybe her timing is off and she's getting him at his difficult phase.  Maybe right now Kate Moss is the one rolling her eyes and muttering about dodging bullets.  I should shut up and not have an opinion on these things.  But I'm just saying, his Vanessa years were productive, seemed to be happy, and was he ever super sexy when he was her man.  I just want the guy to be happy.  Even if he never makes any more movies.  I want him to be okay because someday I'd like to read his memoirs.  Please Johnny make this happen, for me.  


See, she and I might be on the same wavelength too, because I totally did this whole "American Hustle" type thing last year.  Or in my case, "Manitoba Hustle" but geez, it's not a competition ok?






For me, that last stretch of 2014 was basically all about new medication and if you've been lurking around my neck of the woods here on the internet, you already know what that means: nausea! fatigue! shaky hands! mental confusion!  

My new doctor is a nice enough fella with a soft voice, an absolutely charming Indian accent, and wears totally nondescript normal-guy sweaters.  I haven't come up with a fun name for him yet.  On one of my last days in Gentle Jail, he noticed that I was reading Jeremy Clarkson's "Top Gear Years" and with a little grin told me that it's his favourite show, and he watched it when he was a young guy in India.  He prescribed watching episodes of Top Gear for therapy.  I mean, he's gotta be a good pshrink if he figures watching three English guys whipping super cars around a track in the rain is good therapy!  On my first outpatient appointment I deduced that the slick charcoal grey Audi in the lot had to his car.  The license plate was a good clue, but if you were a kid who grew up in India and trained to be a psychiatrist and moved to Canada and had to be a respectable citizen but still craved a little hit of hp wouldn't you drive an Audi?  Not too ostentatious, not dangerous, reasonably grown up and still fun.  

Maybe I'll name him Dr Speed.  Haha.

If you're wondering about Dr Santastic, well, he apparently got a job offer he couldn't refuse, and he's since moved to the US of A, Pennsylvania, if I remember correctly.  If you're somewhere around there and you're kinda crazy and need some help, you'd do well to end up in Dr Santastic's office.  You'll know him when you see him.  Tell him I said hello!

Anyways, it's not his fault that he called it wrong on the last day of 2014.  He said this Zoloft stuff doesn't have severe withdrawal effects.  Well, for normal people, maybe.  Oops.  As of today, I'm on day 7 of an unintentional cold quit.  By the time I was four days in and realized that the back of my head was going numb and my eyeballs and lips were getting prickly, my pharmacy was closed and I couldn't get the new prescription anyways because they have to order it AND I'm not driving like this so I have to wait until I can get a ride into town.  

This is possibly the most disorganized blog post I've ever written.  I BLAME YOU 2014!

I'm not even sure when I'll hit the publish button.  I have to get out to the barn which will take a long time with me moving so carefully to slow down the shocks all over my body.  Screw you Zoloft.  You're not as much fun as your name which sounds like a cartoon super villain would suggest.  




Speaking of super villains - why have I not seen The Lego Movie yet?  President Business sounds like fun.  

Movies - right now as I type this I can't remember if I actually went to a movie theatre this year.  In fact the only movie I can remember seeing is the one I saw recently - 20 FEET FROM STARDOM which is amazing and I highly recommend it.  



My kids saw a few movies.

EDGE OF TOMORROW or as Bucky likes to call it, EDGE OF TOM.  He can't believe this thing bombed.  First of all, it features Tom Friggen Cruise.  Jokes aside, leave his larger than life persona out of it, he's one of our greatest actors.  But let's have Bucky tell it like it is.  He's purdy smaaart, this kid.


"Awesome, because it combined great practical effects and CGI.  And it had Tom Cruise not being Tom Cruise.  It had a simple plot, but complex in implications. There's a lot of action but you didn't have to turn your brain off, like a Michael Bay movie, however it didn't quite capture the Michael Bay aesthetic, which is the gold standard of action movies.  It's called "Bayhem."  There was comic relief but it wasn't like a bad side character, like Jar Jar Binks, it was more situational, and visual.  It was a great standalone movie -- no pretext needed and didn't call for a sequel.  It was a good movie."

JOHN WICK  


"Keanu made Liam Neeson look wimpy."  (Me- whoaaahhhhh!!!!)  "It was shot fantastically - the lighting was amazing.  Everything was so sharp, the colouring throughout the movie was just top notch, it looked amazing.  Again, you could keep your brain on, but that was what was so amazing about it. The plot was minimal, and kept the violence from being totally mindless.  It was also fairly realistic in terms of effects.  There's a part where he has to reload in the middle of an epic gunfight - usually the reload is some sort of plot point (runs out of bullets right at the perfect time for some thing to happen) and it's sort of played for comic relief, because he rolls his eyes like,  oh right, this isn't an action movie which is great because it is so it was somewhat self-aware. In a lot of ways, better than EDGE OF TOMORROW.  It wasn't as complex of a story and the universe it exists in is more localized, but overall it's hard to say if it's the better movie. " 

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY


Bucky  "There was some good stuff and some decent stuff.  I'm not a big comic book guy myself, so I might have a slightly different opinion than other people.  It felt slightly rushed at times, there were a lot of main characters in this movie and it was hard to fully develop them all.  It wasn't exceptional but it was pretty good."

Selina  "I'm pretty sure everybody who left that movie wanted to now have a living houseplant that conveys emotion with only three words."




And because Selina and I are girls and we like pretty things…


He's kinda cute. 


INTERSTELLAR



I didn't go see it with Jethro and the kids.  I stayed in the hotel room for a nap.  The kids had already seen it and were blown away, which made me think that in my current state, I really didn't need the visual, mental, or emotional overstimulation.  I had a great nap.  And then ate a half a bag of Sun Chips.  What was I thinking.  

Bucky "It's in a league of its own.  I can't compare it to the other movies on this list.  Would you compare The Prestige to Transformers?  No.  It obviously wins because it's the only Christopher Nolan movie this year.  So it wins "Best Christopher Nolan Movie" this year.  The are some problems, like some sloppy edits, that's a given in a Nolan movie.  Otherwise it's fantastic."


Selina  "Crazy emotional, crazy mindblowing… a few minor plot points that don't exactly match up, but overall… awesome.  The space scenes, when outside the ship, are completely silent.  Really gives you a feel for the vacuum of space, and then cuts back to inside the ship and the rustling of fabric and breathing, and it's just there enough that you notice it."

Jethro  "Guy has farm, guy loses farm, guy goes to space, guy's daughter --"

Selina  "No! Just put etcetera!  Don't give anything away!"


You know how we were talking about WEIRDNESS?  Did you predict that Matthew McConaughey would be the biggest star of the year?  Well good for him, seriously.  I like the fella.  Up until this year I thought his best performance was in Tropic Thunder  but I thought everybody deserved awards for that piece of work.  Also his Lincoln commercials have been… epic.  I'm not sure if they're meant to be ironically funny.  I'm not even sure what ironically funny means, to be honest.  I'm quite sure though that anybody else in those commercials would come off looking like a pompous jerk but this guy is just… him.

Let's talk about music.  Here are my favourite records of this past year.



Monster Truck "Furiosity"

Do you want to just rock your head off and enjoy it?  Then get this in ya.  I don't even know what to say, other than, THIS ROCKS.  I love these guys!  I saw them live last year in a little club in Regina Saskatchewan and they were one of the best live bands I've seen.  The energy coming off those four guys is… life affirming!  And this is one of those rare records that captures it.  Listen to it in your car (Or better yet, in your truck!) listen to it in your dining room, while dusting your belt buckle collection, whatever, just listen to it and you'll end up smiling.  




Big Wreck "Ghosts"

Now if you want some thinking and music nerding with your rocking out, I highly recommend Big Wreck.  I am constantly shocked by how many people aren't aware of this band.  They're just so so so good!  The level of musicianship is high, and it's a excellent sounding record on top of that.  This is a record you put on and listen, but it's also good for a long drive.  I honestly haven't listened to it as much as I'd like, because Bucky has been hogging it.  He's a bit of a music snob, so if he's loving it, that's an indication of quality!  



Jack White "Lazaretto"

Where do I even start???  Jack White has never let me down! He's brilliant. These songs are inventive and different and strange.  He surrounds himself with interesting musicians and the results are somehow unpredictable and yet totally Jack White.  It all sounds slightly spooky but irresistible.  What is it?  Is it country?  Rock? Bluegrass?  Music made in some dark corner of a place you've never been to?  I don't know.  I just love it.  



Kacey Musgraves "Same Trailer Different Park"

It helps that she is so endearing. But the songwriting is everything I love about country music - clever words, innocence in front of a knowing wink, a little swaggering attitude - and the performances are honest and solid.  What amazes me about this record is how it manages to be very classic country, in terms of instruments and style, but still so very current.  It's not a throwback in any way.  This is NOW.   It has the vibe of a confident young woman who knows who she is and where she comes from.  






Royal Blood "Royal Blood"

Whoa, where the heck did these guys come from?  Well, England.  But they burst into our ears in the summer of 2014 and blew us away. Only two guys, one going at the drum kit like his life depends on it, one playing his bass like it's a guitar, and making enough noise for five people.  This is a rock record, no ballads, no shoe gazing, all adrenalin.  It's pretty dark and sexy stuff.  And the fella can sing too.  We went to see them in a disgusting old club in Toronto in October.  WOW.  They blew us away.  We'll probably never get a chance to see them that close up again, because I figure next time they're in Canada they'll be in a much larger venue. 




Robert Plant "Lullaby and the Ceaseless Roar"

I asked for this record for my birthday without having heard a single note of it.  I knew nothing about it other than that it exists.  Good enough for me.  Robert Plant can sing the phone book and there's a good chance I'll love it.  He justifies it.  What to say about this?  He sounds amazing.  He claims he's learned a lot about singing in the last few years, which is a wonderful thing to hear from a man who's been singing for decades and doing quite a fine job of it already.  This record is fantastic.  It defies cultures and time periods, but again, I'd have to say this sounds current, even though I can't put my finger on why. He just refuses to rest on past accomplishments and always trying something new.  Always striving.  Listen to this one in your room, lying on your back staring at the dark ceiling.  

I can't talk about this record though, without stating the Robert Plant is still one heck of a sexy ol' lion.  Let's not say he's aging well because that assumes he's still young looking and pretty.  He's not.  He's wearing the lines on his face of every experience in his life.  And it's awesome.  



BOOKS I READ IN 2014 and that I would recommend you read too.  I read 44 books in 2014 but some were ancient poetry books dug up in my mother in law's house, some were out of print or not yet in print, and a few were selections from my book club.  

HYPERBOLE AND A HALF by Allie Brosh





This is possibly one of the funniest books in the world.  I got it for my birthday last Christmas.  It's amazing.  Just go get it.  


THE 100 YEAR OLD MAN WHO CLIMBED OUT THE WINDOW AND DISAPPEARED by Jonas Jonasson


Also funny!  Totally improbable, with a few waaay dark twists, but ultimately a feel-good story.  Plus there's an elephant.  


THE DINNER by Herman Koch



Definitely one of the most intense creepy books I've read in awhile.  Not what you'd expect.  It'll leave you with questions, one of which for me was, how did he pull this off?  It's two couples sharing dinner in a fancy restaurant… but it's so, so much more.


THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE by Neil Gaiman



Brilliant!  Scary! Beautiful! Horrifying!  Just how I love my Neil Gaiman stories.  



419 by Will Ferguson



It's supposedly about a Nigerian internet scam, but there's a lot more to it than that.  This was way better than I expected it to be.  The layers in this book are deep and complex. It's an emotional trip, that's for sure.   





PAPER TOWNS by John Green




Surprising little mystery aimed at teens but a great read for anybody who's ever been a teen, or been restless, or been infatuated with someone elusive.  And it's funny too!  I devoured it in one day in my bed.  



ORYX AND CRAKE by Margaret Atwood


What the HECK Saint Margaret?!  I waited way too long to read this.  This future is pretty darn creepy but depending on how you look at it, scientifically engineered to be efficient and practical.   Nothing really happens in this book.  Just the decline of good ol' fashioned humans.  As usual, starkly written and thought provoking.  You've been warned.  



WHERE I BELONG by Alan Doyle





I'm reading this book right now and I loooooove it.  It's new this year, it's funny and heartwarming and I think I might read it a few times a year just for a hit of happiness.  I've never met a Newfoundlander I didn't like.  So there you go.  Alan Doyle's band, Great Big Sea, is one of those unavoidable pieces of being Canadian, like stopping by Tim Horton's for a hot beverage or knowing the words to Tragically Hip songs.  If you're Canadian, you know a few Great Big Sea songs.  But being from Newfoundland is a whole extra thing.  On our one trip there, we found out how unique and special The Rock is, and how it shapes people.  I've never met Alan, but I've seen him at the Junos and he seems like a nice fella.  I think it must be exhausting to be him at that event, having to smile and nod at all 2000 people in the Canadian music business, even if he doesn't know them! Even if you don't know him, this book would be enjoyable.  He's a great storyteller, especially the way he ties his childhood experiences into his future career, and it's funny too.  The captions on the pictures are priceless.  




Well now that we've got through all of that fun stuff, let's talk about actual real life.  What I won't talk about is the tragedies.  I've typed and deleted it all three times and I still can't talk about it.  Maybe someday.  I'm still a little raw.  Let's just say there are some holes in my extended family, and that last year was traumatic for a lot of people in the nearby town.  Sometimes, life is very difficult.

You wouldn't think that weather can be traumatic, but I'm not exaggerating when I say that the winter of 2014 was the worst in living memory.  My ol' man has lived on the homestead here for over 70 years and he says it was definitely something.  The snow showed up early and it left late.  There was a hell of a lot of it.  And it was cooooold.

Here's a picture I took last January after a storm.  I thought it would be fun to use the "1977" filter, because this was what 1977 looked like.  Lots of snow.  And all of our pictures turned out pink.  Yes, the 70s were pink.  

Here's Phoenix looking perturbed by a snowbank taking up valuable running space.  He's also peeved because I made him wear a blanket - something he doesn't normally need or want - and also he had a hoof abcess which I wrapped up in hot pink for him.  


Poor Phoenix.  There was no riding last winter.  None.  




Here's a shot of what is normally the lane between the house and barn.




Here's Dobby looking down at the top of the fence.  Think about that for a second.  yeah.




Here's Copper dashing through the snow.  It was up to her belly.  

And these next couple pictures crack me up.


He's standing on the snow bank.  He weighs 1200 lbs and he's not sinking through.  That's how hard the wind blasted the snow.  


Oh look, they're both on the snow bank.  And yes, they could have walked right over that fence.  AT least they know where their dinner was coming from and they chose to stick close to home.  

So the weather was brutal.  

It affected a lot of mentally healthy people. I'm not blaming winter for my eventual paralyzing depression, but it sure didn't help.


But we did go have some fun out west, y'know, our annual partying in a building with rock stars! It's a good excuse to get me out of my thermal coveralls.  This year we brought the younguns!  I'm so glad we did.  A lot of big projects came through our studio, and the first few awards of the evening including this big guy and our engineer getting a thank you from the stage!  What a buzz.  Having a client win is as good as getting an award! It was cool for the kids to experience that.  The music biz hasn't been all that great to grow up in, but in some ways it's very special.



I am wearing huge heels in this picture.  Everyone else is not.  

And no more nicknames for Selina, now that she is 20 and has her own web presence!






I got right sassy for this event.  What the heck.  Once a year, man.  






See, it's like we called each other first!  HAHAHAHAHA!






My favourite grad portrait ever...



PROOF that she is ours???



There she is in a nice jacket and I'm in my freakin' overalls.  Look at that farmer, eh?  What, I wasn't gonna wear my slinky black dress and my ridiculous silver shoes, was I? They had their once a year chance.  



Bucky with his dawg.


Selina discovering why pet photography is difficult.  And Dice being gorgeous.  


Speaking of gorgeous!  After months of searching, I found a saddle that fit my darling Phoenix better, and will hopefully not cause him any more soreness.  


Tough summer.  

Phoenix had to take time off work for his sore back to heal, but I was trying out saddles in that time and  he was not happy about all the hard rides.  We ended up with this new *NEW* Circle Y barrel saddle. I kind of wish my first *NEW* saddle had been purchased under happier circumstances, but I've decided to be okay with it and allow myself to be the proud owner of this expensive piece of tack.  Phoenix deserves it.  And I'm a girl and I like pretty things.  

Meanwhile Copper was off work too to get over some hind leg lameness, so overall I didn't make nearly enough money, and had big expenses.  That sucks.  I am blessed though, to have wonderful students who want to keep coming back to ride with me.  

I sure hope I'm feeling well enough to get back in the saddle this spring.  

Especially because of this little guy…





Hello Parker!







Love my little mare too.  This was her first time ponying and she was a champ about it.  I think I have some pretty nice horses.  And a nice family, and a sweet dog, and two cute barn cats, and that's going to keep me going in 2015.







Okay it's taken me two days to write this, and my head is full of little withdrawal shocks and I start the new Prozac tomorrow, aaaand I hope you got enough out of this post because it could take awhile before I surface to do up another one.  Your turn now -- head over to the comments section and discuss amongst yourselves and eventually I'll show up too.


And let's hope 2015 figures out how to behave itself!!!!


One more thing…         flickr.com/photos/selibails        Just go look.  Take your time.