Marketing: Snake Venom

When I was in university, my friends and I would occasionally go to the nearest Shoppers Drug Mart and buy some of their face masks. We would then go back to the dorm and, usually with a beverage or two (or more) in hand, do the whole cucumber slices on the eyes thing while whatever moisturising, nourishing, anti-wrinkle (a big deal at nineteen, you know), exfoliating goo did its work.

Aside from these luxuriating events, my skin care routine in those days consisted of soap and sunscreen. This hasn’t changed much other than I now also, occasionally, use a moisturiser other than sunscreen. Thus, I have never purchased one of these face masks to use on my own. However, I do sometimes think about buying one. I tell myself that I’m going to pick out a mask. Then tonight I’ll have a bubble bath, use my mask, pour a glass of wine…

I’m usually in Shoppers, because I’m out of shampoo or I need new nail clippers, when I have this idea. So far, I’ve only ever gotten as far as scanning the face mask selection before I remember I only enjoy slathering goo on my face when in the company of friends. The same rule applies to nail polish. The wine is good too, but wine alone is not sufficient to make the goo and polish fun for me.

All that to say, I was at Shoppers today perusing the selection of face masks. The expected varieties were there: aloe vera, argon oil, coconut and papaya, various citrus fruits and oils, cocoa and shea butter with a picture that looked like chocolate pudding (I was hungry).

Then there was the volcanic ash and blue-green algae mask. At this point, I would have raised one eyebrow if I were capable of moving my eyebrows independently. That brow would not have been alone for long, however, because next I saw the caviar and pearl dust mask. I can only imagine the high-quality pearls that went into this 5-dollar product. Neither of these were my favorite, though.

This was my favourite:

The synthetic snake venom anti-aging mask. Obviously, seeing as the venom is (gasp) synthetic, this mask may not appeal to the all-natural, organic-only community. I imagine ongoing debates about the merits of synthetic vs genuine snake venom are forthcoming. Note, however, this mask is labeled paraben free. Parabens are exactly what I’d be worried about while smearing snake venom on my face.

Yet again, I left the store without purchasing a face mask.


A Moment in Parenting: Squishy Eggs

I am convinced that while the rest of the household sleeps, any toddlers in residence are whisked away to a special place where they are taught how to be good toddlers. By ‘good’ I mean masters of the craft. Lessons provided at the mysterious toddler school include:

Lesson One: How to Wriggle Effectively

  • Whole-body involvement is key.

Lesson Two: How to Avoid Walking

  • Sit. The two activities are mutually exclusive.

Lesson Three: How to Avoid Being Picked Up

  • Arms in the air (straight up, give no warning, speed and surprise are instrumental to success).
  • This skill is often required immediately after implementation of lesson two.
  • If adult still manages to get a grip, refer to Lesson One.

Lesson Four: Food 101

  • Eating everything put in front of you? That must stop. Gross vs acceptable foods to be determined on a daily basis. A list will be provided at the start of each class.
  • If one of the day’s gross foods is offered:
    • Put head back, purse lips, shake head.
    • If adult does not get the message it may be necessary to exclaim, “No!”
    • As an alternative (or accompaniment) to “No”, you may repeat your food of choice from the day’s acceptable list (example: raisins, raisins, raisins…cheese, cheese, cheese).
    • Parents are slow, this may take persistence.
  • Spinach is gross, always.
  • Grass is edible (no matter what the parents say).

Scrambled eggs are among the food items that flip-flop between gross and acceptable. On this particular day, they were on the gross list. There was much head shaking and lip pursing. I might have thought Kiddo wasn’t hungry if it weren’t for all those requests for raisins and cheese. One bite was the goal, but even that was looking lofty. Then…

Kiddo: “More raisins, more raisins…” he paused and pointed to the eggs, “Yellow egg.”

Me: “Yes, the egg is yellow.” (much enthusiasm)

Kiddo: “White.”

Me: “You’re right. The eggs are yellow and white.” (more enthusiasm)

Inspiration strikes.

Me: (with as much enthusiasm as is possible when faced with cold scrambled eggs) “And look, the eggs are squishy.” I proceeded to demonstrate how much fun it is to squish eggs, first with my fingers then with my tongue.

He ate two thirds of the egg. I’ll take my Awesome Mom award now. Oh, scratch that. This was the same day he ate grass. Sigh.

Air Show

My son loves anything with wheels, or an engine, or both. Trains and dump trucks currently top the list, but planes are enough of an allure for him to point every time one flies overhead and attempt to guess its colour. Thus, when we learned the Kingston Family Fun Fest was going to include an air show, my first thought was: Great, he’ll love that. My second thought was: Kiddo is not a fan of loud noises.

Low flying airplanes are loud. Even if the Tutors flown by the Snowbirds weren’t so bad, the CF-18 demonstration certainly would be. On the other hand, we survived the planes’ arrival to town on a flight path very close to our house (during nap time no less). So, what the hell, we went for it.

Kiddo loved watching the Snowbirds make “big circles!” in the sky. He did get a little cranky when the CF-18 showed up, but I couldn’t say for sure if it was the noise or typical afternoon fatigue.

Also, in totally toddler fashion, the following were as (if not more) exciting features of the day:

-Throwing rocks in the water;

-Inspecting the racks of kayaks and canoes;

-Ducks swimming by: “baby duck!…mommy duck!…daddy duck!” We get enough mallards around here that he knows the difference between the male and female;

-Ants crawling on the concrete under his feet.


My phone’s camera does not do the day justice, but I tried anyway:

Eclipse 2017

Here is what the 2017 solar eclipse looked like in Kingston, Ontario.

Near the Beginning



These images were taken with the most refined methods and high tech equipment…I held my safety glasses over the lens of my DSLR. Without the glasses on my face I could no longer look to take aim, of course. So, I did a best-guess point of the camera (many times with quite varied results). Yup, nothing but pro photography for this blog.

As you can see, we were not in the path of totality here in Kingston, but rumor has it we will be for the 2024 eclipse. Whether or not I’ll still be living here seven years from now is another question entirely, but I think seeing a total eclipse would be pretty awesome. Here’s hoping.

Toddlers and Time Travel

There has been a lot of toddler screaming at my house today. The kind of screaming that has the less than rational part of my brain saying, “Extreme pain! Imminent Death! Freak out!” Meanwhile a hard to hear, but more rational part of my brain chimes in with, “Isn’t it time for those two-year molars to come in? How about take some deep breaths and order pizza for dinner.”

I dare not check for physical signs of these molars. Whether they are there or not, there are plenty of other sharp teeth in that mouth. In the absence of symptoms besides the screaming, I’m doing my best to focus on Rational Brain for now.

In other (happier) news, the anthology Time Travel Short Stories that, as I mentioned in a previous post, includes a short story of mine (Hostage) is now published (yay!). Currently it’s available through Flame Tree Publishing, and should be available through Amazon in September. Part one of a two-part author Q&A can be found on the Flame Tree Fantasy and Gothic Blog. Part two will show up on their blog next week (so my sources tell me).

And the doorbell just rang. Pizza!