The Bus Stop

I went to the back of the bus.

I always do. It drives me crazy when people don’t move back. Being at the back of the bus is a tad more confining, causing a little more claustrophobia, whereas a spot in the middle makes people feel like they have more control. Access to the door. Access to escape. I understand the motive, but it isn’t practical. I would rather move back and not have my nose in someones armpit.

Just a personal preference.

I once decided to move to the back of the bus and ended up sitting right across from my ex boyfriends new girlfriend. Everything was pretty fresh, and it was the first time we’d seen each other since things had started to shift. Fairly awkward. She tried to avoid eye contact, but it just became foolish. I said “Hi” and we had a nice little chat. It was actually a good situation. I felt graceful and at ease. And I felt like she was, too. Because I like her, and it was silly to pretend that I didn’t.

Best case scenario.

But it doesn’t always work out like that. I’ve been sitting in the back of the bus with a crazy man across from me, staring me down and calling me a “Whore” and “Reject”. He wasn’t specifically verbally abusing me, everyone was a target. Children. Old Ladies. Inanimate objects such as Tim Hortons cups and crumpled up Metro papers. And every time someone would avert eye contact with him, he would bark like a dog.

Worst case scenario.

Except for the time I was travelling on the Dufferin bus and we needed to evacuate because a man was huffing paint thinner. On the bus. I had to help the bus driver open the windows.

Correction: That’s the worst case scenario.

Today, I was waiting for the bus. I had just finished an early shift that morning which was preceded by a late shift last night, and I was so tired that my eyes hurt. Throbbing. I could feel the weight of my eyelashes as I stood on the cold, damp platform and waited for the saviour bus that would get me to hot coffee and my warm bed. As I waited, back tense and eyes glazed, I noticed an older gentleman come out onto the platform and grunt at the realization that the bus was late. Back into the station he went. I turned back to my view. The empty space where my bus should be. I reached into my pocket and grabbed my phone. I took a picture. I don’t really know why. I just wanted to remember that vision, that moment, and I guess, in some ways, that man.

Our View, Ossington Bus Platform

We waited. And waited. And the crowd grew. And grew. Eventually, the gentleman came out of the station to the platform and headed straight to me. We stood, arm to arm.

“It’s like a painting from 500 years ago,” Said he, gesturing at the elaborate painting on the left.

“I know,” said I, with a small smile to denote pleasantry but a punctuated tone to denote finality.

I really didn’t want to talk. To anyone. I don’t feel like that too often, but when I do, it’s strong. An almost unbearable desire to lock the door to my mind and close my eyes and watch what I dream up in silence. And I was feeling it. My throbbing eyes were starting to tear in the wet cold, and impatience was building.

“I am 80 years old.” Said he.

Long pause.

“You’d never say.” Said I, with the same smile and tone.

“When I worked and was young like you, I would hear the older people talking about how they couldn’t wait to get old and retire.” He coughed slighly, and completed his thought.” I always wondered why anyone would ever want to be old.”

“I think it had less to do with wanting to age and more to do with not wanting to work.” Said I, as I craned my neck in search of the bus.

“I only take the bus a couple of times a year. Is it always this crowded?”

“Pretty much.”

“I have to take my driver’s test and until then, I will have to take the bus. They say my eyes may be too bad.” Said he. “I almost hurt myself shovelling. And when I did, I thought how nice it would be to live in a place without winter. And I’d never really thought about that. Have you?”

“Of course,” Said I.

There was a very long pause. The bus rounds the corner.

I had to ask.

“Where would you go?”

“I would go to Peru. It’s so flat here. Imagine how beautiful the mountains would be.”

We got on the bus. I instinctively went right to the back. And when I turned to see him beside me, he was not. He sat right in the front. Right by the driver. I tried to catch his eye to give him a smile before my stop, but he just stared straight ahead. He was having his own time, he had done talking. I wonder if he was thinking about mountain tops in Peru.

Thats what I’ve been thinking about all day. I am usually cured by a good chat.

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Search Results

Todays morning tea was accompanied by various Google searches. The most productive of the day: “Cheap Toronto Haircuts”, “Alan Cummings’ Macbeth” and “Will eating too much salmon skin kill you”?

The first search garnered no trustworthy results. And one third of the people weighing in openly chastised going to the salon to reshape hair you’d chopped yourself.

Guilty. I gave myself a haircut. A haircut inspired by freedom and financial depression. I am not ashamed. And not in the mood for attitude on this sunny day. Ponytail, it is!

The second search made me think of how long it’s been since I’d seen New York City. It was the first place I’d ever flown to and the only place that I had ever really wanted to go. I was 16 and so overwhelmed and invigorated. Just being there broadened my scope of what was possible. I had never thought I’d make it to New York City. And there I was. The realization of one dream breeds the hot pursuit of others. This Google search was inspired by the recent realization of a task I have been avoiding for a long time: renewing my Passport.

The third search is in a family with my most common Google searches. ‘Will blank kill/ poison/ make you sick?’. ‘How long can you store blank in the fridge/ freezer/ medicine cabinet?’. ‘If blank  touches your skin/ eyes/ mouth, should you go to emergency room?’

I think I have a slightly irrational fear of dying a preventable death. When I lived in Cow Head, I came home one night after a show during a terrible thunder and lightning storm. I had to pee so badly and my roommate was in the bathtub and couldn’t get out quick enough and I had to pee so, so very, very badly… I went outside. I went outside in the driving rain and quaking thunder and shards of sharp lightning and peed by the backdoor of our house looking out into the trembling trees in the woods.

Imagine if I’d been hit.

And the headline reads:

Local Actress dies by electrocution after being hit by lightening while urinating outside her own home.

Since that day, whenever I place myself in such situations, I imagine the news headline. I don’t want to die from eating a rotted tomato or improperly grilling a shish kebab. But I still keep a pack of cigarettes in my pocket. And I only got in the habit of wearing my seatbelt after making a solemn promise to a friend that I would do so. Now I am compulsive about it. I guess we choose some of the things we want to fear.

After my Googling, I moved on to my favorite morning activity.

Some people read the paper, I read Craigslist Missed Connections.

I find them joyous and funny and oddly inspiring. Today’s is short and sweet.

And, in case you were wondering, eating the salmon skin is fine. It is actually packed with lots of nutrients. The only worry is if the fish is harvested in contaminated waters, the chemicals seep into the skin. If you eat salmon a lot, you should avoid the skin half the time and probably choose smaller, younger fish. But if you are casual with your salmon satiation, the skin does more good than bad.

(Courtesy of


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Mind Matter

I like to lift weights. Strength Training. I’ve actually grown to like it very much. As my technique has improved, so has my confidence in pushing myself further. But sometimes, my mind blocks my progress. The simple action of lifting the weight is affected by the simple notion that I can’t do it.

And then I can’t. Well, I guess the more accurate term is that I won’t.

I am by no means a bodybuilder and all you have to do to figure out the laxness of my routine is to scroll back through my posts and count how often I refer to red wine, cigarettes and poutine. It’s also a time of year when some of my favorite activities include watching various series revolving around the exploits of Sherlock Holmes and reading Craigslist Missed Connections. The winter is dragging on with little sign of spring, so I guess I’ve taken a strong interest in sleuthing and general nosiness. And poutine.

But I lift the weights.

The other day, I experienced something that happens to me once every couple of months. I was doing a bench press and as I pushed the weight away from me, I thought about it falling on my face. Specifically, my arms turning to Jello and the weight just slamming down from above me.

I have an inside retainer and have had all sorts of dental work done. And I adore going to the dentist. Even after braces. Maybe because I was so happy to get braces. So excited to have nice teeth. My sister accidentally knocked my front teeth out with a piece of wood during a pseudo softball game when I was 5. She warned me to back up. But I didn’t want to be that far away. I can still remember the numbness and the calm and the taste of blood. Gross but true. I can taste it.

I think these are reasons that I have nightmares that my teeth fall out.

And daydreams that something will drive them out.

As I said, this worry comes to me every few months. But this time, I couldn’t disspell it. I couldn’t rationalize it away. My trainer spotted me and supported me and I kept going. I was proud that I persevered but disappointed that I’d allowed it to regulate me. It kept me safe. It made me just ‘get through it’, rather than drive it.

We are so very powerful. Our minds are so complex and amazing.

I used to have another fear. This fear also came to me every few months, and not while bench pressing. This fear would visit while walking down the stairs on the North East corner of Dufferin and Bloor, down to the Subway. I lived nearby for years, so I went down those stairs a lot, but every once and a while I would be presented with a thought.

What if I forget how to do this?

This. Walking down the stairs.

If you think about the action of walking down stairs, it is actually terrifying. A combination of suspension and balance that requires timing and elegance. True elegance. Scientific precision.

What if I forget how?

I don’t. I don’t forget. My innate commitment to preserve myself keeps me going. I have fallen down stairs before. Being careless or tripping. And although that action was frightful, it’s pretty amazing how my body and mind cooperated to help me regain my balance or fall as safely as possible.

The power of perspective. And trust.

This is a video that a friend shared the other day. It has some interesting points on perspective. And it’s also just pretty damn cool. It made me think of being a little girl and going for long drives. I would turn in my seat and sit cross-legged, much to my parents chagrin, favouring the view behind than the one ahead. I imagine these astronauts in my Dad’s red Ford Escort, chugging down the road.


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Being Human

There are so many elements of individuality. So many little things that make you different from I, and vice versa. And such differences in our tastes and perceptions and needs and wants.

Individuality in Humanity.

A few years ago, I hailed a cab, like I often do. I said ‘Hello’, as I always do. I went to my email to figure out where I was going, which I usually must do.

My cab driver asked me if I was going to work, and I said yes.

“If you are going to work, how do you not know where you are going?” he asked.

“I am an actor, and I am going to record a voice thingy and I’ve never been to the studio. I am always running around to places I’ve never been before. It’s kinda part of my job.” I responded.

“Funny thing,”he quipped. “Thats kinda part of my job too.”

He asked me about voice work, and said he liked my voice. I thought the conversation had ended there, but he began to tell me a story.

This is one of my favorite stories. I will quote it to the best of my memory.

“I like voices,” he said. “I have a real ear for them and it is a very sensitive thing for me. I picked up a woman at Yonge and Queen. Years ago, this was, 18, 19 years ago. She was with two friends. Neither of them were particularly attractive, although they weren’t unattractive. And her girlfriends were very chatty. After a few minutes, she spoke. She had the most beautiful voice I had ever heard. Low, clear, and strong… even the words she chose and the tone. She was so direct. It was the sexiest sound. I fell in love with her. I fell in love with her because of her voice and I dropped them off and I never heard her again. And I think about her almost every day.”

I didn’t quite know how to react. We pulled up at my stop but I stayed in the cab for a minute or two, and the cabbie and I discussed his Love. I was almost creeped out by his admission, intimidated by his honesty, but I think a little part of me fell in love with him. I fell in love with him because of his honesty but I got out of the cab and I never saw him again. And I think about his story almost every day.

That woman will never know the effect that she had on that man. The stamp she left. I wonder if her husband or partner or lover could fathom that there is a man who thinks of her voice with such passion and esteem. Maybe her lover doesn’t really care too much for voices, and loves instead the smell of her hair or her delicate wrists.

If we all knew how many people thought so strongly of us, maybe it would stifle that beauty. Maybe that would be the apex of being human.

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A Song for Renee

My very first agent in Toronto was a super special lady.

She signed me on the spot. She said it was because she thought I had good energy. To be honest, I think it was mostly because she once had a pen pal from Newfoundland and my mere presence in her office that day brought back warm memories. She was very nervous about my accent, so much so that she would send me out, almost exclusively at the beginning, for roles requiring silence or an Irish accent.

The fact that my first commercial job turned out to be just a close up of my butt swaying by as I delivered a Pad Thai lends weight to the first requirement.

As for the Irish accent, I was sent for any Irish role that even closely suited me. Including roles in Musicals. I can carry a tune, but my skill is not Musical grade. My skill is barely Karaoke grade. But she sent me anyway. For some reason, Irish people were a hot demographic in Toronto Musicals at the time, and my darling Agent was not one to miss out.

She sent me out for one musical audition that required 3 songs and a salty Irish tongue. I learned the songs from a recording left on my voicemail by a sweet singing friend who was kind to help me jump the hurdle of reading sheet music. I arrived at the audition and waited my turn. And then I sang. I belted out the first number like the one kid in glee club who couldn’t sing but was proud that she’d memorized the words. That kid.

Memories of a certain spunky second grade classmate come to mind: screaming the words to “The Banana Boat Song” at our 1990 spring concert. I don’t know why anyone decided to program a bunch of 8 year old Newfoundlanders to sing that song when there was still snow on the ground, but that’s what happened. And as usual, I am getting carried away.

The audition.

I sang with the fire of  ten thousand suns and finished with a flourish and the stale air of silence.

“Why are you here?”, asked the musical director, half jokingly but with enough sincerity that it alluded to genuine concern.

“I go where I’m told.” Said I, “Thank you for your time.”

I lifted my chin and walked the ten paces to the door. I gave it a good push and went straight through it, chest puffed and eyes smiling. I didn’t let myself deflate till I got back to my little apartment. I half laughed and half cried myself to sleep that night.

When I got up the next day, I laughed out loud. No more tears. A brand new day. I lifted my chin, dusted away my nerves and went straight to the next place on my list of places that I was told to be.

It’s turned into a long list.

Oh, it’s a hard slog but I got some good stories. Chin up, keep on walking.

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Alex is 11. She lives in Calgary with her Mom, Dad & baby sister. Alex started a small business that operates during holidays spent home in Newfoundland.


A salon in her Nannys basement. Her clientele include all of her family members that are scattered around the small town. There is a waiting area and a recliner acts as the salon chair, planted in front of an old dresser. She and her cousin have 78 different shades of nail polish and offer $2.00 manicures. She will give you a Classic bun for .40 cents. Anything ‘Classic’ is .40 cents. She thinks that they may have made $7 each through the holidays.

Alex is awesome.

Her mom has been one of my best friends since we ended up sharing a locker in Grade 9. We used to learn the dance moves to music videos and perform them in that basement. And now it’s her daughters makeshift salon. Wild.

Oh, the luxury!

Oh, the luxury!

I was very pampered at Flawless. Not only did Alex paint my nails like a pro, her mommy has a heavy hand with the Baileys and threw about a cup and a half into a glass with an ice cube. Pampered indeed.

When I was 15 or 16, I wanted to dye my hair blue. I don’t know why, I just did. When I broached this brilliant idea to my mother, she was quite nonchalant. She said, “It’s your body and you’re old enough to decide what you want to do with it. But I can’t pay for you to do something like that because I don’t think it’s a great idea. If you can get your hands on the money, you can pay to turn your hair blue.”

Amazing. It wasn’t really an enthusiastic ‘Yes’, but it sure as hell wasn’t a ‘No’. I just needed to make some money. So I started making purses and selling them around school. I had made one for myself and my friends all liked it, so I gave it a whirl. I bought meters of denim and made bespoke bags for the young ladies of Bishop O’Neill Collegiate. Orders piled in quickly. I charged $10 to $15 per bag, and sold a lot of bags. They were personalized PuddiPurses, and were made to order. I couldn’t make them fast enough. When I finally had enough money to go to the salon and dye my hair, I decided not to do it. I had worked hard for that money and I didn’t want to spend it turning my hair blue. I settled to buy a box of bright red hair dye. Feria, the permanent stuff. We always bought that brand because we figured it was more bang for our buck. Danielle dyed my hair in her bathroom. For free. Then we went downstairs and watched General Hospital.

I really like talking to Alex. She is a lot like her mom. If I was 11, we would be best friends. We talked about Taylor Swift songs and horseback riding and braids. She told me about Calgary and I told her about streetcars. We experimented with the ‘sock bun’.

Then I did her nails and she still ended up getting $2.

Alex is going to do just fine.

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Art Appreciation

I used to love to draw.

I would draw for hours every day, and did so till I left my parents house. I don’t know what happened to pull me away from it. I just focused on something else, I guess. I have been aware of this over the last decade, of course, but it’s almost as if I was done with it. Not terribly interested. The last few times I picked up a pencil or a brush, I felt lost. Almost silly.

Wesley likes to draw.

We spent a fair amount of time at my mothers kitchen table this trip. Watercolours and crayons and markers in hand, not really drawing anything in particular. A lot of shapes. A lot of colour. With no focus on an outcome, we came up with the most beautiful pictures. And lost track of time. And enjoyed being silly. I made us masks out of scrap paper. Wesley mixed his paints and smushed his wet paintings together. I drew a forest with red paint and made his bear mask blue. My cat mask was red. I have a new crush on the colour red.

Later in the week, I am wandering around the The Rooms, the Provincial archives, art gallery and museum. The Rooms towers over downtown St. John’s and it’s third floor cafe looks down upon the colourful row houses and out into the harbour. I end up there every visit, as my best bud works there. Every visit, we have a quick tea, and head to the art gallery for a stroll and a chat.

It’s so nice to walk in the quiet and just take in the work. The permanent collection houses so many beautiful pieces, and I love how Jason reminds me that they are mine. That they belong to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. He has so many interesting stories and anecdotes from the artists. I feel really blessed to have him to share the space with.

We come upon one of my favourite pieces in the permanent collection. It is by Mary Pratt, an artist from New Brunswick who has spent most of her life in Newfoundland. Famous for her still life realist paintings, Mary was married to another renowned artist, Christopher Pratt for decades. They built a family in Newfoundland and lived in a small outport. They also shared the same subject.


Both artists represented this woman in their work, with Christopher drawing her many times over many years. Christopher drew from memory, whereas Mary drew from photographs. This difference breeds such statement in their depiction of this woman.

Christophers interpretations of her are serene and demure, slight dimples at the curve of her back, tight stance and her face turned away.


Mary has a different view.

Donna looks straight at the viewer, in full colour, full light. Seated, almost crumpled.

They think differently of Donna. Or they want us to think differently of Donna.

The socks. The socks, or absence of. In Marys painting, the slight indent from Donnas removed socks puts a cast around her leg. She grasps her ankle, and these indents make her so very ordinary.

Specificity is the soul of all good communication.

I adore this painting. It says so much. It’s so raw.

I am glad it’s mine.

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The Diary of.

St. John’s is magical.

I want to share a random, excellent St. John’s Holiday Moment.

I got in a cab that was huge. Like a cargo van. A moving van. It felt like I’d been kidnapped. The driver chatted with me about how slow the previous weekend was. I soon noticed he had a blinking bright Christmas tree on his giant dashboard. In a big compartment underneath the radio were, what I guess are, his night adventure supplies: A big bag of Maltesers and a paperback copy of The Diary of Anne Frank. I noticed this and said nothing and before you knew it, we had screeched to a halt. I paid him and got out. He wished me luck. I wished him safety.

I am now slightly obsessed with finding him and finding out what he eats for breakfast and what his favorite movie is.

I might not find him, but I will remember him.

I have had a wonderful adventure this year, especially since I started sharing my stories. I have learned more about myself and gained so much because of it. Thank You for reading my memories and ideas. I demand this year to bring more wonderful experiences and tricky situations to share!!!

Happy New Year! Be safe and be your party.

xoxo roxy moss


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Animal Kingdom

I have made a move from Quidi Vidi to Patrick Street for a few days. I am undertaking a responsibility that is very foreign to me. I asked for my instructions to be written to me as if I was a 3 year old. I consulted various sites on the internet in preparation for emergency. I sweat and worried but here I am.

I am dogsitting.

There is a cat, too. But she may as well not be here. She likes to hide in dark corners and as long as her bowl is full and I let her sit on the table, she is ace.

There two small dogs belonging to my host and a big dog belonging to her friend. I know my friend is nice because she is. I know her friend is nice because she left me cabbage rolls and a detailed letter about the preparation of Tass’ food. He’s old and finds it hard to chew, and the simplest way I can describe his food preparation is to say that it involves boiling water and grating a carrot.

The cabbage rolls were delicious.

I haven’t had many pets. We had budgie birds growing up. My mom liked them and they were fairly easy to deal with. My primary school crush had a budgie bird, too. He called my house on an occasion in Grade 1 to tell me his budgie died and to offer me his food. I politely declined and said I was sorry for his loss. Then I promptly hung up the phone. He was my love but I was a very serious child. I didn’t say a hell of a lot before Grade 7. Strong silent type.

My mother used to put the bird cage in the bathtub and slide the bottom out. She would use the hand held shower head to give the budgie bird a little bath. It was great fun for the bird, and my mom used to say that it must have felt like going to a budgie spa. That activity ended when Buddy the Budgie passed away after one of these spa getaways. My mother deduced that he must have caught hypothermia, which I don’t even know is possible in the species. Either way, Buddy passed, we mourned and that was the end of budgie birds in our house.

Then Amanda got a goldfish. Henry o’ Fish. She took him to the bath to clean his bowl. She’d let him flop around for a few seconds in the tub while she rinsed the bowl, which now seems to be an unintentionally cruel manoever for a 11 year old girl. One time, he flopped and flopped until he flopped straight down the drain. He basically committed suicide. It was a big surprise, as he wasn’t that close to the drain and wasn’t flopping for long. He just caught some good air and did a perfect nosedive down the drain. Was he unhappy? He seemed like he was always having a good time. Or as good of a time as doing laps around a tiny fishbowl must be. Either way, Henry passed, we mourned and that was the end of goldfish in our house.

Then we got a dog. Our neighbours dog had a bunch of puppies and our mom let us take one. It was excellent. I named him Cassidy and he was my bud. He was a mutt and grew so big, much bigger than his mother and his brothers who were scattered about the few houses lining the highway. I was very proud of him for that. He was strong and kind and didn’t smell bad. At all. Living by the highway, we couldn’t let Cass run free. When he was outside, he had to be on leash, which I thought was just fine. One day, only about 6 months after we got him, I came home from ballet and Cassidy wasn’t there. I asked my mom what happened and she said that a nice farm owner was walking by and offered to take him to his farm. My mother said that she felt it was the best thing for Cass, and that he was going to be so very happy there. I now understand that he probably just got free and ran out to the highway. And I’ve never questioned her about it since.

Pause. I am calling my mom to ask her.

Game on. I just hung up the phone and now know what happened.

She asked me if I really wanted the truth. And I did.

“He went to the farm.”

One of Cassidy’s brothers used to come over and steal his food from the yard. There was little we could do unless we caught him. My mother came home from work that day and found that Cassidy had been attacked. Mauled. He was in pain. He was almost gone. She figured it was a fight with his brother. She called a man. A farmer. And he took him to farm. To put him down. To save him from pain.

I am happy to know the truth. Times like these really alert you to the amount of work that happens behind the curtain. As a parent, you have to keep some secrets. It takes such strength though. Every parent I know has a few secrets. I am so happy she told me. My heart broke a little but I think I always knew. I knew he passed, but I could never have guessed how.


Either way, Cassidy passed, we mourned and that was the end of dogs in our house.

I sat down to write this, and it turned out so differently than I imagined. That phone call changed the course of this story.

Cassidy was an awesome dog. I am really happy to have some pets today. Even just today.

My animal kingdom.

I have to add to this post some great quotes from tonights confessional with Roxy Moss, my mother.

In regards to showering Buddy the Budgie:

“I had to shower him. That bird had terrible hygiene. I bought every type of mirror and placed them around the cage to try to get him to have some respect for himself.”

In regards to burying Buddy the Budgie:

“You planned an elaborate funeral. I had to give him my jewelry box. And you spent an hour placing his body just so in the jewelry box casket. Eventually you put him in the corner saying “I will put him up here so there is room in case friends drop by.” You were so serious.”

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Everything and Everywhere

Wikipedia describes Roaches Line as a village. It is a very tiny town. And it seems very small tonight.

I am in my mothers kitchen, with the dishwasher swishing and my earphones in even though I’m not listening to anything. I always find it hard to sleep when I know that Santa’s coming.

I put up our Christmas tree this afternoon. My nephew Wes and sister Kim took over ornament hanging responsibilities while I held court with my soul sister Danielle, who I haven’t had the pleasure of a sharing a tea party with in way too long. When we went to check on their work, I found that Wesley had decided to adorn the tree with an odd decorative pear.

Phallic Pear

Phallic Holiday Pear

Our Christmas Tree rules.

I have had such a lovely time here. I am thankful for so much. This year. This week.

A Mouse House reunion. Carollers singing in little red kitchens. Meat pies and baby naming. Lobster and vinyl and bubbly, bubbly bubbles. Bedtime stories with brave little boys born to beautiful Little Women. Toms crosswords and Roxys cups and cups of tea. Video chats. Slot machines. A Nellies Night. The Beaver Plaza. The Signal Hill Star. Dances and drives. Seeing the little penguin lamp. And being so very pleased that it still works.

Jennifer calls to inquire about my adventures.

“What did you do last night?”


“Where did you go last night?”


Merry Merry Christmas. Santa was already here.

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