Why reading is magical

The one thing that I could not live without in this world is reading. I love reading so much its pathetic. Sometimes my husband will walk into the living room with me engrossed in a book and it takes THREE times saying my name to garner my attention.

It’s because books are magical. That is a fact. Sometimes when I see someone starting a book I’ve read already, I get this feeling like, “wow I wish I was reading these all for the first time.” It started when I was very young. My dad would leave picture books for me to find as I sat like a lazy lump because I refused to crawl. I loved them.

reading3

reading4

I remember bringing out the giant antique dictionaries we had and telling my babysitter that I could read them super fast in my head. She didn’t believe me and insisted I read it out loud which I did –a little slow. Whatever- victory!

The only time that I recall reading ever getting me in trouble was when my cool older cousin *Mary (*names changed to protect the innocent) came to stay with us for the summer. I think I was nine or ten and she was entering 20’s. Needless to say, I obviously thought she was the coolest person EVER. I wanted her to hang out with me CONSTANTLY.

Surprisingly, a hip 20-year-old and a tomboyish 8-year-old have little in common. I remember begging her to take me with her and her cool friends to see “Village of the Damned” the one about those evil kids that control thoughts? Yeah, she said no. Shocking. I saw her leave, her long hair flowing behind her and remembered thinking, “Man, I wonder what it’s like being her.”

So one day with Mary in the shower, I figured I had my chance to see what she was all about. Years of learning about mysteries from my dad had taught me tricks about being sleuth-like. Unfortunately staying at the scene of the crime we apparently hadn’t been gone over yet.

Yep, I found her diary. And I was enthralled.

mary1

So enthralled that I didn’t hear her return from her shower.

mary2

I have never been so quick in my life, I threw the diary up in the air, muttered sorry as I streamed past an irate Mary and never looked back.

mary3

Now, as you are probably aware finding a great book brings me a certain level of joy. Going into Powell’s Book store in Portland, OR changed my life for the better. I remember being so excited at this massive new and used book store that I threw up in my mouth a little. Every once in a while I have a series or a specific book I want and Powell’s usually has them or a good substitute. You guys, they have a Horror: Short Fiction SECTION. Like, a giant bookshelf. So great.

This year is the 80’s/90’s series “The Year’s Best Horror Stories” edited by Karl Wagner. EVERY time I go into a book store I look for them. Having a new one of those in my hands is something akin to pure anticipatory joy. The best thing about books is that I have been able to find new and exciting books that usually live up to my expectations.

So little in my real life lives up to its expectations that a good book really changes my worldview.

I remember the first time ordering a brand new book though- through the Scholastic book program. (I think it was Scholastic but it may have been something similar) They brought flyers to our classes with photos of the book titles and a short description beside it.

underwear2

I looked through them all a million times, but the one that I kept coming back to was “The Haunted Underwear” by Janet Bloss. And the summary was something like this:

When underwear start showing up all over the house in weird places, Kelly thinks it is the dumb tricks of her brother. But all she knows for sure it what she sees – is her brother to blame or is this a case of… Haunted Underwear?
You don’t need to be a genius to know I wanted this book.

You also have to know that money was not something we tossed around at my house. I didn’t have an allowance; I didn’t get money for good grades. I would ask my parents for something and was usually greeted with a, “Sorry, no.” and I would shrug my shoulders and have to be okay with it.

So when I brought home that Scholastic form home, I knew I needed to be aggressive.

Underwear

And my parents shocked me.

underwear4

It was happening. My parents said yes – My father was so big on my reading that he was willing to put out the cash to get me a brand new book. “You can never have enough good food or good books” he used to say. My belly and love for reading is a daily reminder that I live by this adage to this day.

My very own new book. And I knew exactly which book I wanted! The Haunted Underwear. My mom definitely tried to talk me out of it a few times and suggested books with fewer possessed undergarments but I could not be swayed. And so the order was placed and I waited until the blessed day it arrived, covered in clear wrap and waiting to be read.

underwear3

It was the best book my grade 2 self ever read. And it showed me the magic of reading, of having a plot twist, of a mystery needing to be solved. I was in the second grade, and I remembered everything about that book when I described it to my husband last night. That’s saying something.

books

And books have the amazing ability to have a character that you connect with. For me it was Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye (a cliché I know) when I was 15 years old. But when I was twelve, I decided that I was tired of my humdrum life. I wanted adventure. This is partly to blame from books. I specifically wanted to sneak in and stay overnight in The Metropolitan Museum of Art like Claudia in From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

underwear6

Also I was full of teen angst and thought my parents were lame. So I gathered my friends and hatched a plan.

underwear5

A little while later I was in my room, considering what I would pack for my long trip when my dad knocked on my door. He held out a small book.

underwear11

I remember thinking, “He knows.”

 

underwear12

And looking into my dad’s non-angry, non-judgmental face and broke down and told him everything. He said he knew and that books sometimes reach children in ways that parents sometimes couldn’t. And so we talked forever about what was bothering me and why I wanted to run away. He told me about all the runaways he came into contact with since he was a cop. We talked about safety and how he knew how I felt but that he wanted to keep me safe as long as he could.
I didn’t even have to read the book, the lesson had been learned. I would always have someone to talk to that wouldn’t judge me but would try to show me different points of view. He always did that.

underwear8

underwear9

underwear7

 

 

underwear10

Reading is magical. Start early with your kids. If you like reading silly books – KEEP reading them! If you like YA fiction and you’re 50 – who CARES?! You’re reading! You are transporting yourself to another world and expanding your mind. There is nothing wrong with that.

————————————————————————————————-

This blog entry is dedicated to my amazing Dad; Jim Szekeres.
The man who showed me the magic of reading.
Happy Early Father’s Day.
I miss you tons.
– PTL

Why you shouldn’t bury your change

I have always loved getting free stuff. I got a free slurpee cup from 7-11 once and could not stop talking about it for months afterwards. Free stuff is one of the best things in the world – it’s the universe smiling upon you.
But you know what’s even better when you’re a kid? Buying stuff yourself. The FREEDOM of saying, “I want that, here is some shiny crap in return.”
You get that money in your hot little hands and you can buy WHATEVER you want! Candy? Check! Toys? Check! When I found a five dollar bill on vacation once, I nearly lost it in excitement. I literally RAN over to the “Sugar Shack” as it was known and bought a boatload of candy (or what constituted a boatload when I was younger) to share with my brothers.
I was a HERO.
But, at the tender age of nine, I had decided that money was what made this world go around. Money was where it was at. And at nine, I had none. My family didn’t do allowance, you did what mom and dad asked you to and once in a while unrelated to what chores you did, sometimes they bought you stuff. It was a good deal and I never remember going without.
But one day, sitting by my doll house I distinctly remember wanting a candy and feeling powerless because, well, they cost money. I knew my Mom and Dad wouldn’t fund this sugar-laden treat more than once a month. But it would seem, fate intervened.
I came downstairs to grab a glass of water when I heard my Mom moving around in the kitchen and the unmistakable sound of coins. COINS = MONEY! I peered around the corner to see Mom tossing in her loose change into this small, black, cardboard tube we stuck on the lower shelf of our kitchen.

moneytree1
I always just thought it was decoration. When she vacated the kitchen, I rushed over to said tube and saw to my surprise and delight that it was FILLED with change! Shiny quarters, dimes and nickels – delightfully copper colored pennies. All I could see when I looked into that thing was: CANDY.

moneytree2
Specifically, the penny candy you got at “Macs” which if you spell it backwards is Scam. Is this a coincidence? I do not think so. Anyway, Macs = penny candy. Which in no world cost a penny, everything was at least a nickel. The really good stuff was a dime. And the rich stuff was a quarter each. When I looked into that tube, all I saw was all the penny candy I could eat and more!

moneytree11
I want to tell you that I had a crisis of conscience. I want to tell you that an angel and a devil sat on each of my shoulders and I weighed the decision thoroughly before eventually deciding to do the right thing.
But if I had, let’s face it, this blog wouldn’t exist.
The moment I knew my Mom had gone into the backyard, I rushed over to the tube and stuck my greedy hand into it. Even as a child I knew that I couldn’t steal all this money at once. I had to be crafty. I had to bide my time. (This is how I know it was devious. The forethought).So over a course of a month, I took small handfuls of change from that tube, stole away to the front yard of my house and buried it in a hole beside my favorite tree. Seriously, I actually DID that.

moneytree4

moneytree8

 

Then I would sit in my room, pretending to play Barbie’s with my giant dollhouse and secretly just scheme on the next time I would steal from the tube. Would it be Wednesday? No, I would wait until Mom went to mow the lawn. Dad would be at work. It was perfect. Then I would smile a Grinch-like smile and wait until my next covert operation.

moneytree5
I remember the thrill of taking this money. I remember the thrum of my heart in my chest as I scrambled with those coins (always replacing the lid so it didn’t look suspicious) and running to the front yard to bury my treasure.

moneytree10

Now, you’re thinking:
Hey Katelyn, wouldn’t your Mom find it suspicious when you came home with all this candy?”
I had that under control. You see, my brother Matt loved pirates. So much that my Dad made him a pirate ship in a tree. Yes, my parents rocked. And Matt was always going on about pirate treasure. BURIED pirate treasure. I had the scheme all hatched – I would innocently play in the front yard (with my Mom watching of course) and pretend to be playing pirates. I would then unearth this treasure and rush to Macs to buy candy. It was the perfect crime.

moneytree9

Except, you know, it wasn’t…
I went to the tube one afternoon, one of my last planned heists. And just before I could stick a hand into the tube, my Mom and my littlest brother Jon rushed into the room holding a plastic bag full of change.

moneytree12

moneytree13

 

Yep. My Mom knew all along. She’d watched me over the weeks rushing off, burying the treasure. She saw it all. And she made her move KNOWING that there was no way I could claim the money as my own. I’ll never forget that feeling of being super furious at the situation but feeling utterly powerless because I knew I was in the wrong.

moneytree6

Moneytree7

And so yes, I conceded defeat. Either I had to admit the money was STOLEN and get no treats PLUS get grounded and make my brother really sad. Or I could just pretend like my brother found buried treasure and let it go and accept my fate. My Mom was sure to dole out the appropriate punishment.

moneytree14

My mom knew the devastation of the event had hit me at my core. She didn’t even have to move the black tube from its shelf. It sat there until the day we moved from that house and I never touched it again.
Moral of the story: Don’t steal, bury your treasure and think you can unearth it a while later pretending its buried treasure. Someone will always beat you to it.
Oh, and also, just don’t steal.

When sleep evades me.

First of all: I decided to finally get a twitter. Because I actually found myself one day having a very funny insight into humankind that was less than 140 characters and I had nowhere to put it because I didn’t have twitter. And also because I don’t think anyone really checks facebook anymore.

https://twitter.com/OddbutNice1

You’ll notice –hey. Your handle isn’t Oddbutnice? Nope. Apparently I either signed up for it years ago and forgot or Odd but nice is just becoming a popular phrase. I can dig it. Anyway, that’s that. So I have to be OddbutNice1.

ONTO THE COMIC!

So, if you know anything about my life right now, you’d know that I am having a heck of a time sleeping. It continually evades me. Which is weird, because usually my relationship with sleep is usually very copacetic.

 

sleep3

sleep1333

But I guess I get much like an overly attached girlfriend to my sleep and sleep decides it has to be a jerk.

sleep9

So my usual nightly routine involves me slowly growing sleepy, usually when watching previously recorded Jeopardy episodes. I feel my eyelids grow heavy and then I crawl in between the crisp sheets of my bed, welcoming the warm darkness.

sleep10

Except, it starts as a subtle restlessness. And then a hitting a brick wall and being even more awake than I was that entire day. Then the cycling thoughts that will NOT shut up.

sleep5

Sleep11

Then i try to calm myself by thinking nice thoughts, but they usually get away from me too.

sleep6

 

sleepv3

sleep4

Until its 4 am and I have to get up to start a whole new day in two hours.

If this happened once in a blue moon, yes I would be pissed off. But I’d get over it. But unfortunately, these bouts of sleeplessness usually coming in a prolonged series.

The following always happens as the days go by.

 

#1. My face looks like it was walked on by an elephant carrying a dinosaur.

 

sleep1

I wake up, having no rest, with giant circles under my bloodshot eyes, my hair looking frazzled, my skin having had no time to rejuvenate over the course of a full sleep looks sallow and droopy.  Bottom line:  I look like garbage.

 

#2.  As the sleeplessness continues, I make increasingly poor decisions as the days roll by.

sleep111

I should note that at this point the days which now seem like one, endless, horrifying day.

 

#3.  Daily tasks like opening mail, typing on the computer and generally anything related to hand-eye coordination seem daunting and at times impossible. My self esteem takes a nose dive because combined with the melting face, poor clothing selections and inability to do anything correctly I assume that I should be locked up away somewhere lest small children  gaze upon me and scream.

sleep11111

At this time I tend to cry over really stupid things. A lot.

 

#4.  My head feels like its floating and my eyes have trouble focusing. I get through my day by forcing a smile on my face and avoiding interaction with people at all costs- I try bargaining with sleep. I become desperate.

sleep8

sleep7

#5. When my sleeplessness has reached an unhealthy level, I become afraid of everything. Like, I genuinely worry about people breaking into my house even though there has been no issues in the entire building since we moved here. Or I am convinced that if I don’t wipe up the water on the floor immediately following a shower,  I will trip in the hallway, bang my head and go into a coma.

It usually gets unbearably at night. My husband tries, but does not quite know how to wrangle crazy yet.  He attempts reason. Sleep has no reason.

 

sleep1111111111

 

sleep1112

 

At this point, I usually have a full on melt down. I cry and whine and don’t understand that I’m not sleeping because I’ve now worked myself up into a frenzy every time the sky gets dark. Its at this dark time that sleep suddenly finds he has pity for me. This usually comes after finding me hunched on the floor crying and carrying on.

 

sleep2222

Usually I cry myself into a sleeping coma where I sleep for up to 12 hours at a time.

sleepalmostfinal

And then my friends, the beauteous joy of sleep.

 

sleepend

Goodbye, Dad.

When people you love pass away, life sucks. It’s the type of thing that makes the world ugly. It’s the type of thing where I hate everyone I see for being happy.
Recently, I had this exchange with Alex Trebeck on my television.

dad1

 

dad2

I don’t even hate Alex Trebek. Jeopardy is one of my favorite – if not my ultimate favorite- TV show. But in that moment I wanted him to just rot somewhere. And it wasn’t his fault. All he was doing was wishing his mother a happy birthday. Even that wasn’t what made me mad. What made me mad was this:
How come he got to have his mom around until she was 93 and I had to say goodbye to my 56 year old father two weeks ago?
My father passed away on April 17, 2014 from cancer. It had spread to his liver, esophagus, and stomach. He hadn’t wanted us to know he was sick, and every time we spoke on the phone he would say, “Don’t worry about me, I’m alive and kicking!”
He phoned me a few weeks ago to say, “Hey I got an x-ray and they found some lumps.”
“Cancer lumps?” I asked shakily.
“Not sure,” he replied calmly. I know I cried then, horrified at this moment. I collected myself and continued the conversation. I could tell my dad was a little shaken up, but he sounded fine. Plus everyone I spoke to told me, likely just polyps! Likely it’s nothing! So I let myself believe that. I let myself believe, “Its probably nothing!”
My dad kept calling to say he was fine and I believed it. I wanted to believe it. I asked if he wanted us to come up and visit sooner than Easter. My dad made it seem like I was getting worked up over nothing. So again I shook my head internally for getting dramatic.
It wasn’t until a close friend of my father’s called me to tell me that my father was on end of life care that I knew it was too late. There was no hope for surgery or miracle cures. We walked in, and my dad sort of had a look of “Well, the jig is up” and told us what he wanted for when he passed away.
I cannot explain to you the depth of pain and despair that a person suffers when you know someone who has been your hero is going to leave. Watching someone you love pass away is one of life’s cruelest requests.
You would think that as a Christian, my father’s passing would be easier. That I would have someone to turn to in my time of strife. This is not the truth. If anything, I truly believe it makes things harder. It gives me someone to despise. It gives me someone to scream at when I don’t understand the injustice of the situation. But in the end, it doesn’t change anything. If I believed in nothing, it would be easier.
When I saw my dad in the hospital, I saw how close he was to the end. I kept it together and cried in private. I prayed to God. I got so many others to pray for him too. I sat by my dad and prayed. I sat in my bed and prayed. I sobbed openly, I knelt at the side of my bed and ardently prayed. That if I had the one wish God reserved for each person, I was cashing mine in now.
Please God, I prayed. Please let him live. I’ll make you a deal – you make him better, make him fine. Let him continue to walk on this earth and I will do anything. If you want me to never see him again, I will. Do any cruel thing to me just please let my dad live. You brought Lazarus back from the dead, surely you can save my dad from something as stupid as cancer! 

 

But he didn’t. My dad passed away with me and my brother at his side in an ambulance.

You can take that to mean whatever you like. I still don’t get it.

I was lucky to spend that last little remaining time with my dad. I will never regret that. I still try to make sense of what happened. It all happened so so quickly. We saw him on Saturday and he was gone on Thursday .My dad gave me a love and movies and he taught me about Patsy Cline and he showed me how cook awesome Hungarian food.  He loved it when I asked for his advice in this because he loved to cook. Where he worked, they are now naming the kitchen “Jim’s Kitchen.” What can I say, the man could cook!

Most importantly, my dad taught me to be a good person. He took me down to the less fortunate parts of Vancouver, to the homeless that he saw and worked with every day when he was a cop. He showed me that people are not as lucky as we are to have a house to cover us and food in our bellies. He showed me that every single person has worth no matter where they come from.  He left a legacy of helping others.

And now he’s gone.
I’m furious at everything and everyone. I hate everyone who passes me by looking happy and holding hands. I have to physically look away when I see a father with his children. I’ve always heard that saying of “having your heart broken.” I never believed it until now. A piece of my heart, of myself has been wrenched from me. I could physically feel it for almost two weeks. Two weeks of his horrible pressure, of feeling like someone was pinching my heart in their hands and taking a piece.
Talking with friends who have lost parents I have been continually told the same thing; it will always hurt. Time just makes the hurt happen less. I wish I could fast forward a year. I will never enjoy the month of April again. I just can’t. I’ve realized now that this entry is just a lot of me rambling and I apologize for that but I don’t really know what else to do.
I have been lucky to be given  the best husband a wife could ask for. I have also been enveloped by a loving team of friends and family that get when I need help, who have come to my aid to help make my life easier, and I also have a team of friends and family who know when I just need space.

 

Unfortunately I have also been surrounded by people that publicize things like this:

 

dad3

I’m really glad you beat cancer. Genuinely. I’m glad you got to tell cancer to f*ck off. This is not me saying you suck or that I wish any ugly fate had befallen you. I’m glad you put a positive spin on a horrible, devastating time in your life. What I hate is that people make it seem like you have a choice in the matter. You don’t. Some people get dealt great cards, and they get to live on with their lives. My dad got dealt shitty cards. So do millions of people every year. My father and all the other people that pass from the disease didn’t fight any less passionately than you or your mom or your grandmother or any other cancer survivor you know.
The horribly ironic part of all of this is the main person I would talk to about horrible stuff like this – religious issues, death, the meaning of life – was my dad. He was my even keel best friend that gave great advice without getting preachy. And everyone says, “You’ll hear him forever – in every decision you make” but I haven’t yet. Maybe that comes with time, but I think I’m sick of hearing it. I feel bad for people trying to help because at this point, the only thing that will help is my dad coming back to give me a hug, tell me everything is okay and then flying up to the gates of pearly white.

I’m not dumb. I know that’s not going to happen… So why do I still want it so badly to happen?
I’m sure you’re wondering what the point of this blog entry was. And that’s a fair inquiry. Aren’t you supposed to come here to laugh? Well, I have three answers. You don’t have to like them.

1.) The main point of this entry was this; there is never enough time, so make the most of what you have.

This isn’t to scare you, but to motivate you to make the most of your life RIGHT NOW. My dad is in hundreds of tourist photos all over the world – he saw so much in his few years here. He never regretted anything. He lived his life how he wanted and never wanted for more. He volunteered every Saturday; he spent his life trying to make things better for those that society overlooked. He left behind a legacy of kindness, dignity and love.

I hope you spend the right kind of time on your relationships. You will argue with people, most likely your parents. I regret the times spent fuming at my dad when all I had to do was talk things out. I regret the moments that I didn’t listen to the things he was trying to say. I regret that every moment he was alive I wasn’t there to enjoy the moments with him. Some of these are unreasonable regrets and I know this. But the next time your dad (or someone else you love) gets on your nerves just remember how much love they give you. How much support. How much you value them. Hold them extra tight – there may be a time when they can no longer hug back.

At the end of the day, everyone wants more time. Even if I had spent 100 years with my father, soaking up every moment it wouldn’t change how I feel now. A piece of me, a piece that created me, a piece that held me and loved me and supported me is gone of this earthly realm. I understand that. I guess what I’m trying to say is – for a lot of you, you still have time. You still have the time to spend with your parents. Do not pass it up. Live your life with love and purpose trying to make this world a better place. I know many people that regret the fights they get into, but very few regret the love they freely gave to those who were worth it.

2.) My dad was a hilarious man. I can’t even come close to telling you all the amazingly funny stuff he got into, his sharp witticisms and more. What I will share with you is when I was 12 and my parents were splitting up and my dad worked nights, we would talk on the phone. A tradition was born where every time we spoke my dad would have a new joke for me. He told me many, but the only one I remember now, 16 years later is the following joke which I hope will bring a smile to your face. (Remember I was 12 and he only told me PG jokes at that time).

A string walks into a bar. He asks the bartender for a drink. The bartender says:

“Hey, we don’t serve strings in here. Get out!”
The string walks out into the alley behind the bar. He ties himself up and comes back to the bar and orders a drink again.

“Hey aren’t you the same string that was in here before?” The bartender says

“I guess knot!”

 

3.) I miss my dad and needed to say goodbye this way I guess. The reason I started this blog in the first place was because of my dad. He is the reason the title is “Odd but Nice”. He said that about my siblings and I, that we are all “Odd but Nice”. He is the reason I want to be a writer, he is the reason that I thought I could be one.
This blog entry is in memory of my father Jim Szekeres. One of my best friends, mentors and the most amazing dad a girl could ask for. I will leave you with the last text he ever sent me; advice that I think applies to everyone lucky enough to still be walking this earth.

“My beautiful baby,
Nothing good or bad lasts forever. Hope is the necessary weapon in the fight against despair. It’s tough to be patient but look around you. You possess all the pieces to make you happy, you just have to put them in the right order.
Your Proud Dad.”

 

mydaddio

 

Actually, that’s too sad. Instead I’ll leave you with a video of my dad when he was in MacGyver. He’d probably prefer that.

Bye, Dad.

Why couch shopping was not as fun as I thought it would be

I don’t know why, but when I was younger and thought about getting married, I never really focused on the wedding day. I mean, it was there. But the part that always made me think: MARRIAGE was furniture shopping. Actually, specifically couch shopping. I was a weird kid.
So you can imagine my disappointment when I got married and my husband already had a couch because he already lived in his own basement suite. I wanted to buy a new one, but was greeted with this:

couchcomic3

My husband has owned his couch for over ten years. It lived with him through undergraduate school, graduate school, working life and into our married life. I figured “hey, its not pretty but it works.” But after ten years, it became apparent that we needed an upgrade. It came to my attention as we sat smooshed together, my legs all over my husbands lap and the two of us trying to find a comfortable position.

 

couchcomic1

It was also apparent when my Mom and stepfather came over to watch a movie with me and we awkwardly smooshed together.

couchcomic2

So finally, we agreed something needed to be done. And it needed to be done quickly. I alluded in my last entry about the experience – what I thought would maybe be an afternoon turned into a weekend long event with us sitting on every conceivable couch known to man; leather, pleather, corduroy fabric, weird furry, sectionals, separate pieces. Anything you can think of – we sat on.
During this event I also realized that salespeople like to approach me. You see, this is the expression of my husband and I when we enter a store to purchase something:

coc

 

And since I apparently look like the biggest mark on earth, this is what happens when a salesperson sees us.

 

nosy1

nosy3h

 

nosy3

couch

ccc

Well, luckily I may be nice but that doesn’t mean I’ll buy just anything. It was the end of day one and we had grudgingly agreed on this cheap piece from a warehouse. I went home that night, staying awake, thinking I was making a horrible mistake. What if it was uncomfortable? What if it looked ugly?

couchcomic4

So then the next morning I got a recommendation for a store that we’d never heard of. We entered and there, in all its huge grey glory was… dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuuun – my perfect sectional!

 

sofa1

 

Reversible for when we move to a bigger place, a durable fabric and it came with a chaise! A CHAISE! Surely a couch for royals! Best part was: it was almost 50% off of the original price!

cpic1
The only problem was… I was instantly in love and my husband… Well, he likes to be sure when spending larger sums of money. So after going back to see the other couch we’d been eying and deciding that it was now garbage because we’d found the holy grail of couches, we went back. I was ready to buy! My husband on the other hand, wanted to be positive.

couchcc1

couchccccccc6

 

coucccccccc7

couchccccccccccc3

couchcccc5

couchccc6

couchccc2

couchcccccc6

couchchc3

couchchc
So, we bought it! Delightful! Then when we got home, I went straight for the computer to look up photos of it to show everyone because I was so darn stoked. I was in the middle of something when I heard a dark laugh from the other room. I walk out to see my husband holding a measuring tape in one hand and standing in front of our patio door.

sad

sad2

So yeah, after measuring it out we realized that the couch reaches to almost the patio door. Meaning to get outside, we would definitely have to climb over said couch to BBQ. Here is an ACCURATE diagram for reference.

This is what the layout was before.

couchdia1

And this was after.

giantSo when the couch arrived, it fit pretty much exactly how it looks up above. Here is a before and after of the real couches, just to get an idea.

TheCouch1

couch2

But whatever, it’s the most comfortable couch ever. I love it and I can relax on it and if I ever have a sleep over like, 3 people can LAY DOWN and sleep comfortably on it! And it can probably sit around 8 people! IT’S THE BEST COUCH EVER. So basically, long story short, I’m in love.

There’s just one little thing…

relax2

relax

relax4

relax5

Why I didn’t write a proper blog post this week

So, I like to do my blogs in advance by about a week. That way when Wednesday crawls around I am not that worried about posting. But like anything I do in life, sometimes I leave things to the last minute. Like this blog. And no matter what I did or drew, my reaction was inevitably this

noblog1

So instead of trying to be funny, I will just tell you why I could not come up with a cohesive blog plot at this time in my life.
First, I have been in a horrible, grouchy mood for like, a week. I have no idea why but I am just soured on everything.

And because fate likes to sit, eat popcorn and laugh at my life, my husband has been in a RIDICULOUSLY great mood. And for some reason, the worst was when I was trying to take a photo of a meal I’d just plated and he INSISTED on sticking his head in the photo and pulling terrible faces. Instead of handling this like an adult, I stomped of saying “FINE, I WON’T TAKE A PHOTO!” with my husband confused and… no, that was about it. Just confused.

 

ncomic1

Secondly, because of my horrible, sour mood, I’ve been eating way too many potato chips. And also, singing EVERY song on the “Frozen” soundtrack even though I am creeping up to the age of 30. I’ve also been doing these things while wearing a red bandana to keep the awful bangs I cut at home out of my face. I look pathetic. Oh, and I cannot hit ANY of the notes. Like, None.

nocmic3

Thirdly, when cleaning my house I found a Dinosaur fossil kit. I mean, I feel like that speaks for itself but if its doesn’t, then…well I have nothing to say to you.

nocomic2

Fourthly I have become obsessed with bunting. I blame my friend Rachel because she is RIDICULOUSLY talented in like, every artistic endeavor. (Seriously, check our her photography blog and prepare to cry at your own inadequacies – its okay, I do it too). And she always has this cute bunting everywhere in photos or her office and its so adorable I kind of want to barf at my own sad attempts at decorating. And since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I was all “Yeah, bunting! I’m all over that!” Except, mine is kind of cheap and garbage-y. And I feel like it takes me way too long to make it. Seriously, its triangles on string why does it take SO LONG!?

nocomic6

Fifthly: Then my husband and I decided we needed a new couch. And I will probably make a long blog out of that gong show. But for now, here is a clear preview for how it went down.

nocomic5

Sixthly there is an old woman/man (I’m serious, I do not know which gender) across the street from me that intermittently decides to do WEIRD ASSED dancing at random times during the day. And I swear this person does it while looking into my window and smiling. And the dancing/exercising is so weird it makes me uncomfortable.

nocomic4

 

And then to top off what can only be described as a crummy kind of seven days, I saw this. And it stressed me out on a level that a 28-year-old woman should NOT be stressed about. Like, was this clown wandering? Would he end up near my place? Why was this person doing this? Wow I need a grip.

s

So then that was it. My reason for not blogging properly. I apologize, but really when a person has killer clowns wandering around their fair city – is it really fair to ask that person to write a humorous blog?

Forrest’s “good-bye”

So there’s a few things you need to know about my family. #1 – none of us can draw cats. #2- We have great hair #3- We have very good intentions. Take for example, when my brother Jon had to leave for on campus living. He had to leave behind his beloved (and morbidly obese) cat Forrest (named for the actor).
Now, it was no secret that I hated Forrest. She was a jerk that liked to drool on me and left a coiler in front of my door for NO reason. Literally, no reason.

gang1
She loved Jon though. And when he left she was a little bit heartbroken.

gang02

Friskies treats and my mom’s spoiling of her quickly filled the void and soon she and my Mom were the best of pals. It just so happened that Mom began to give Forrest certain liberties that were beyond her capabilities. Like, letting Forrest (a permanent indoor cat) onto the small patch of grass in their backyard.

gang8
Sure, it was fenced. Sure, Forrest was a lazy sloth that could barely move a few feet without heavy breathing and trying to score more treats. But there had been sightings of an orange cat hanging around our neighborhood. This didn’t stop my brothers and I from trying to warn my mother against leaving Forrest unattended in the backyard with my mother responding in her typical way.

gang2

gang4

gang3

gang5

You see, my Mom as much as I love her, believes that she is always right. It is a trait she has passed down to my brother’s and I. So I can only imagine her horror when one day she let Forrest out into the backyard to enjoy the sun a few moments and returned to find the yard empty.

gang7

gang9

gang10

Now, you may be tearing up, blowing your nose on a hanky wailing, I know how this story ends.
But no. You really don’t.

Cut to a few weeks later. My Mom has finally admitted that Forrest is gone and my brother has begrudgingly accepted his cat’s fate. My Mother was out in the garden, planting some perennials when all of a sudden, a flash of shadows catch her eye. A familiar, chubby shadow in particular.

gang12

My Mother followed the shadows out into the alleyway and to her surprise – it was Forrest and two other cats looking chill and unscathed. (Think: The Jets in West Side Story but a little more gangster). And with the way my Mom described i:

It looks like Forrest joined a gang! And it looks like she’s the leader!”

This is how I imagined it going down.

gang13

gang12.5

gang13.5

gang13.75

gang14

gangfinal

So our indoor cat escaped to explore the world, one neighborhood at a time. Free from her captivity, I like to imagine Forrest is having new adventures all the time, fondly thinking back to us and living her life to the fullest.
So if you see a chubby black cat hanging around in British Columbia looking chill and like she doesn’t have a care in the world, offer her a Friskies treat- Chicken is her favorite.

The Hairy Fairy

I have always been hairy.
From the time of my birth, when I met the world with a fine dark down that covered my body and my mother exclaimed “It looks like I gave birth to a monkey!” I have always struggled with being a hairy little gremlin.
Up until the age of 6, I didn’t mind much. I barely even registered that I was different from any other girl my age. But sometime around the age of 7, as I prayed for a Barbie dream house and the ability to run faster than the grade four’s, The Hairy Fairy paid me a visit.
This is him.

puberty11
I was already fairly hairy, but the Fairy thought I needed a little more. For warmth? For fun? I will never truly understand his motives.

puberty4

puberty1

puberty5

puberty6

All I know is that one day I woke up, looked down at my arms and realized they were filled with cotton candy textured dark brown hair. I swear to you, looking back, they looked like little clouds on my arms.
pubert

My mother assured me this was normal. Every girl looked like this. I didn’t really mind all that much. Who really cared? Not me. I dug me. I thought I was a fairly fun kid and didn’t really worry about outside influences.
Until catechism class.
I sat next to a boy that had behavioral issues. He had no boundaries, he was not limited by social convention or manners. And I remember sitting there, paying attention to my catechism teacher and seeing movement out of the corner of my eye.
It was the boy. And he was reaching over to my desk.

puberty8
At first I thought he was reaching for a pencil and went to object when his hands rested lightly on my seven-year-old forearm. More precisely – upon the hair that sat there.

puberty9
I remember how suddenly silent the room got. The teacher seemed to stop teaching, the students all watching at the horror unfolding before them. The entire thing was so painfully intimately embarrassing. I couldn’t even speak, I could only watch as he delicately began to rub my arm, playing with the hair as I would brushing the hair of my dolls.

puberty10

puberty12

It was horrendous. And I recall the only thing I could do was catch the boy’s eye and shake my head in silent, “No. You can’t do stuff like that.”
Finally the teacher said something, but not before the giggles and whispers began to sound out around me. I felt my face go a shade of red before ducking my head into my book.
Shame. I had never felt it like this. I felt shaken, vulnerable.
I was different.
And it seemed to only go on from there. At school, I could suddenly hear snatches of conversation about me.

puberty15

Stuff that I would have ignored suddenly cut me to the core and I went home from the third grade with tear stained cheeks, rushing up to the bathroom and locking the door behind me.

puberty16
And so in the third grade, I found my mother’s pink plastic razor and decided to shave my body. My legs and my arms and even the little bit that grew on the upper part of my knuckles. Get that awful, disgusting hair off of me. I was a monster.And so I did… except with the lack of dexterity and experience my legs ended up looking like a carved Thanksgiving ham.

puberty14

I wept, finally dragging myself from the bath and getting dressed.

Being hairy didn’t stop then however. The Hairy Fairy paid me another visit around the age of eleven. I remember sporting a pretty brutal pale yellow upper lip mustache. Why was it pale yellow? Because I bleached it. I remember the horrible acrid smell and the burn.

puberty4444444

Then there was the time I got my mom to wax my upper lip for me because I was too chicken. I’m telling you right now, unless your mother works at a salon for a living, do NOT go this route. Because mothers are loving and want to help even when they lack the necessary skills.

puberty5555

puberty55

puberty222

Bottom line: When my Mom pulled the wax y strip from above my lip, part of my lip went with it. Yep. It pulled off a bunch of skin, leaving me (inexplicably still hairy) and with a gash in my mouth that would appear to be a cold sore for weeks.

I’m older now, and I wish I could tell you that I’m hairy and fancy free, but I’m not. I still like the feeling of smooth arms and upper lip. I love shaving my legs and slipping in between bed sheets at night. The fundamental difference is that I do those things now because I like to do them. I like how I feel. I don’t do them because of others expectations. And some days I don’t shave and guess what? That’s cool.
Because you can be hairy, smooth, bumpy, lumpy whatever- it doesn’t make you less of a woman. And I wish I would have known that how other’s perceive me is not how I should EVER define myself. I wish I could go back to that grade three girl and tell her, “Chill dude. It’s hair. There are so many things you’re going to have to worry and fret about as you grow up. Just enjoy being you. Go back to loving yourself.”
Girls, woman, for the love of God, please just love yourselves. I implore you. Woman teach your daughters, nieces, friends, loved ones that being a woman is more than appearance. And to all the kids out there- BE KIDS. Stop worrying about looking like the women in magazines – the women in the magazines don’t even look like that!

And if there are young man, middle aged men, any men who fear the same things and read this blog – who want to shave their chests to look like the men in movies – its your choice. Do what you want. Not what the media says is cool. I know for me personally, a man with chest hair is more than delightful to behold.
Life is so beautiful and we are on this earth such a short time. Doesn’t it make worrying about a trivial thing like hair seem so silly?

puberty5555555555555555

RELAUNCH of oddbutnice.CA

Well hello my friends and welcome to Oddbutnice.CA

Over the past year I have neglected the blog due to a myriad of reasons – but after encouragement from loved ones and fans of the blog, I am back and ready to make it last! I’m also making some changes that you may be curious about. So I’ve done a sort of Q & A to answer your questions.

Q: Why is your website oddbutnice.ca now? Wasn’t it .com before?
A: One day back in 2012 I went to renew my website’s forwarding address (oddbutnice.com) a few days after it expired, not even thinking that someone would snatch it up. But some business did. They specialize in buying expired domain names and then trying to sell them back to individuals who previously owned them at an inflated price. This made me really sad and jaded about doing anything online so I stopped. It also made me mad because I had built up a small but dedicated following of viewers and I felt like I let them down, allowing the website address to lapse.
Also, I’m Canadian. GO CANADA!

Q: What made you decide to come back?
A: Truthfully, I didn’t think anyone looked at my website aside from a few old university friends and my husband. My husband was continually on me going, “Oh, that would make a funny blog entry!” until for his birthday this year, I made a comic for him. Then I remembered how much I loved it. Then I went into my stats for the year and saw that for the past year people have STILL been coming to my page to view it and enjoying it and commenting and laughing and I decided that I wanted to continue. I still love making those pickle shaped people!

Q: How do you intend to make revenue off this blog? Advertising?
A: Unfortunately, I am nowhere near popular enough to have advertisers care about my blog enough to try and cash in on it. Since I host this website on wordpress I am at their mercy in terms of that. Otherwise, the only way I can make money off of oddbutnice.ca is

1.) My loyal viewers make donations here:

2.) People decide they want to buy my creepy dolls/magnets/etc here at OAKI DOKES.

I tried selling t-shirts for Odd but Nice but a.) they were SO expensive and time consuming to make and b.) Only a few friends bought them! (Thank you to those people!)

Q: Why is the layout different?
A: This will continue to change from time to time – I want to make a website that is clean, fun to read and above all not crowded. My old layout while organized had a crowded, unruly feeling. Plus, a new start, a new layout!

Q: How often will you be updating the blog?
A: I am hoping to have new Blog updates 1x a week! I will strive to have these done on a Wednesday evening, but due to the nature of creativity, these parameters may change slightly.

Q: Is your contact information still the same?
A: It is! missoddbutnice@gmail.com. I LOVE getting e-mail. I’ve gotten messages from fans around the world and check it every day.

Q: This entry was nice, but I wanted there to be a comic.
A: Ask and you shall receive.

d

So, as many of you know, I enjoy all things creative. And for the last few years of my life I have done everything from painting to sewing etc. Due to being miserable, I hadn’t really been pursuing my creative side as much. A few months ago however, I saw a very cool drawing and decided I wanted to get back into the swing of things. I went out to buy nice art pens and came back, hunkered down and got to work.

Except I think in between buying stuff and coming home I sort of forgot that I’m not really good at drawing things. My proportions and etc always come out cartoon-y when I want them to come out realistic. I think I haven’t found my style yet. But that didn’t stop me. I was insistent on the fact that I would be awesome. So I drew LATE into the night.

puppet4

By the time I went to bed, I was very pleased with the stuff I’d done, crowing over Facebook about my pieces etc. Except, when I woke up the next morning, it all kind of went sideways and looked like this:

puppet8

puppet7

So after I cried a little over the fact that I was no Caravaggio, I went looking in my art closet for something fun to do. I pulled out my polymer clay and just sat it there, looking at it angrily because I was not hit with inspiration.

puppet9

So then I did what most artists do when they’re telling you to get back into the swing of things. I just started playing with it, not hoping for an end result. Just getting my feet wet again. And then all of a sudden it was back to me. I was working late into the night like a mad woman, screaming at whoever dared to interrupt my process. Which considering I live with a man and a cat, the man got the brunt of my frustration.

puppet2

The worst part was, I think I thought I was really going to contribute to the family which is why I was so serious about them. I was picturing all the cash that would surely come flowing in when these creepy beauties hit the market. I would beam at them beatifically as their creepy faces stared back at me.

puppet1

I would stay up all night thinking of how to make them even more realistic, even more exemplary.

puppet3

The long and the short of it; I was obsessed.

puppet5

Unfortunately, the world was not and is not ready for my…erm, unique view of the world. More specifically dolls. So after setting up my etsy page and posting my creations, I waited for the cash to come ROLLING IN.

dolls1

dolls2

Yes. Its true. My Mom made an etsy account JUST so she could be my one and only follower. Its kind of adorable. But its also kind of sad. Until finally I realized that maybe, just maybe my dolls were not for everyone and that Francis Underwood’s saga of corruption is much more compelling.

dolls3

And so ended my saga of doll making for the general public. They are still up on my etsy page waiting for someone to love them. Truth be told I kind of love making them so I’m never going to stop. They are going to find me sitting in my retirement home, creepy homemade dolls kept in a separate room because there’s so many of them, creaking back and forth in a rocking chair talking to a camera that isn’t even there.

sdfsdf

In case you’re wondering:

The Suiting my Fancy Shoppe

Why I didn’t date in University

This may come to a shock to many of you- but sometimes I am not super aware of my surroundings. I bump into stuff, into people, into cars (once). I’m also kind of oblivious when it comes to the opposite sex. I think my problem is, I always assume that men want to be my friend.  I’m never fully aware that I’m being hit on until the moment is over or they actually come out with it to my face. I was convinced for months that my (now husband) wanted to be my BEST FRIEND. Yes. Not my boyfriend. Until he asked me out and I was stoked.

Now, I take you back to a time when I was eighteen. Even more naive. Even more brutally unaware of how to interact with the opposite sex. (*The name of the boy in question has been changed because I don’t want him to stumble across this one day and be embarrassed because I’m sure in the end he turned out to be a really nice guy.)

So, one fine clear day during my University Life;  my good friend and sometime-classmate Laura and I were heading to our Psych campus. When we arrived, we were overjoyed to see a note on the door which could only mean one thing.

                  fred1

On a scale from 1 to amaze-balls, classes being cancelled would have to be a +2000 because truthfully, while I loved going to classes sometimes, man I was a horrible student. Barely paid attention, fairly certain I slept during certain classes. I suppose that’s what spurned on what happened next.

On our way back we started talking about the upcoming project we were working on for said class. In a moment of unbelievable responsibility I put it to Laura that we should finish our project right now, taking advantage of the fact that class was cancelled. I also postulated that curly fries would go well with such scholarly aptitude.

fred2

 We didn’t hear the soft panting of a figure behind us, and until his lanyard laden with keys hit me lightly on the bottom we had no idea that *Fred was behind us.

fred3

Now, the weird thing is at this point, I thought Fred was rather dreamy. He had the bluest eyes I’d ever seen and a very manly voice. He’d always been nice to me and never really shown anything other than friendly concern. So when all of a sudden the following happened, I was unaware of its intent.

fred4

It was a simple, casual request. He suggested we see The Matrix Revolutions  and I also believed he was asking us out as a group.  It was also the reason that this was my response:

fred5

I suppose Fred thought this would be a slam dunk. He would ask me to a movie and I would jump on the chance. Unfortunately, I was pre-occupied with this project I was to be working on. Plus, again, I thought that he was saying that WE AS A GROUP should go to the movie and I didn’t even think Laura liked the Matrix.

fred6

fred7

At this point, I can only assume our companion Laura was beyond uncomfortable. She tried to walk at a safe distance away, but it was a narrow path and why should she have to move anyway? The more I think of it, the ruder Fred was. Note: Again, still did not get that he was asking me out. It was then he started appealing to my gluttonous sensibilities.

 fred8

fred9

fred10

This was my breaking point. All I saw was a boy insisting on us going to the movies and I had patiently explained that this was not going to happen. Come hell or high water I was going to be a responsible student.  In foresight, had I known Fred was asking me out I would have approached this entire thing differently. As it was, I thought he was being pushy and me response was thus;

fred11

fred12

That hideous silence. I remember it. It was terrible. But what broke it was even worse.

 fred14

Yes. Fred was openly mocking me, making it seem like the reason I was saying no to his offer was because I was a.) Afraid of dating/boys  b.) My parents were forbidding it. Neither were true, but I believe my horror was apt.

fred13

 Then to make it worse, Fred looked at me with utter hatred and literally went RUNNING OFF.  Leaving Laura and I staring after him in his wake.

fred15

 fred16

fred17

fred19

fred20

Yes, I think its safe to say that if a boy makes fun of you for not dating him then you’ve probably dodged a major life bullet. Oh, and I should state that after that horrific encounter Fred never spoke to me again.

However, now looking back and realizing what was happening, I felt for Fred. I feel so bad that it went so poorly. I wish I could tell him that it was immensely brave putting himself out and vulnerable like that. That lashing out when someone doesn’t give you what you want is childish. That I hope in the end he found a woman who was right for him.

But if you are a young man reading this, please DO NOT ask a girl out in front of her friends. It’s awkward for all parties involved and there is a chance you’ll get turned down. NOTE: If you DO get turned down, please do not pull a Fred. Maintain dignity at all times.

Bottom Line: If confronted with a person of the opposite sex that turns does not want to pursue a romantic relationship (or doesn’t know one is being proffered) – do not pull a Fred.