The Shock Of Finding Out You’re Actually Canadian

So I just found out I’m Canadian.

I am not a Southern Hemisphere dwelling lover of surfing and cuddler of koalas. Maple syrup flows in my veins and I have a penchant for mooses. Or is it mise?

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Nah, don’t worry. There hasn’t been the big reveal of some deep dark family secret. I just took a quiz to discover my “inner nationality”.

The Internet is awash with pop quizzes that will tell you what job you should be doing, what breed of dog you would be or – my favourite – what Sesame Street character you are. (I got Mr Snuffleupagus. Of course.)

Some are a bit more obscure like the one that asks “What 4-letter word best describes you?” (Someone should develop one of those just for politicians with appropriate 4-letter word answers. I have a few suggestions.) Some will try to guess your real age or your middle name. (Actually, that last one is ridiculous…but yes, I still did it. They got it wrong. Duh.)

But you have to be picky. Some are annoyingly obvious and telegraph which answer you’re heading for so clearly, you could engineer the answer you want with your eyes closed. Or at least half-closed because, you know, you still have to see the screen to answer the questions.

Quizzes about your nationality that ask you what your favourite food is and give you options like Pizza or Sushi and what your favourite movie is out of choices including The Godfather and Godzilla are, frankly, a waste of time.

Yes, okay, so they’re all a waste of time, but I have found some of them so pinpoint accurate it’s almost creepy. And I can’t pick where they’re going with the questions either.

I was rather thrilled to be told my inner nationality was Canadian. All you lovely Canadian bloggers out there – no wonder I’ve felt an affinity. And we are soon to have a Canuck marry into the family so that’s all right. Here’s how they describe a Canadian:

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I’ve never been so proud to wear a knitted jumper sweater (sigh – this could take some getting used to) with a giant maple leaf on the front.

Oh, if you’re wondering which quiz site it is that told me I am a 20-year-old Canadian Writer who is Real and a Diligently good person, it’s this one. (Direct link to Nationality quiz here.)

So. Who are you really?

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It’s A Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Christmas

It all started with an angel.

A weeping angel to be exact. Well, a Weeping Angel. One that needs capitalisation.

Back in 2007, Steven Moffat wrote an episode for Doctor Who called ‘Blink’ and introduced probably the scariest monster the series has ever seen. The Weeping Angels. If you’re not familiar with these gorgeous creatures, check this out:

And then, this year, the ever-increasing Doctor Who merchandising machine introduced a Weeping Angel Tree Topper. You heard right. One of those to put on top of your Christmas tree.

I wanted one.

Well, because we do things a bit differently in the MOSY household.

And we’re not the only ones. I waited too long and they sold out. Seriously.

Devastated, I frantically searched the interwebs for anywhere that may still have one. And then I stumbled across a blog post explaining how to make your own Weeping Angel tree topper.

Oh, that’s more like it. We love a craft project in this house.

I can’t show you a photo of the angel I started with because, believe it or not, I don’t always do things with the thought, “I’ll blog about this.” I was just keen to get started. Needless to say, the $3 angel I found was crappy, all gold and white and serene-looking with ribbons and weird, fat, fabric wings.

Ribbons and wings removed, some new wings (courtesy of a pipecleaner and six ragged feathers found in the craft drawers), a can of granite-effect spray paint and…

 

But, really, if you’re going to put a Weeping Angel on the top of your Christmas tree, it only makes sense that the rest of the tree should match.

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So, have yourself a Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Christmas and whatever you do, DON’T BLINK!

 

PS: Yes, it freaks me out when I have to go past it in the dark. It’s especially bad when the lights are flashing and you’d swear it moved while the lights were off…

 

 

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The Crumb Wars 5: Terror In The Skies

 

A report from the Central Republic of Kitchen by our foreign correspondent Heath Dempster.

There has been a temporary cessation of hostilities between the government forces of the Central Republic of Kitchen and the rebels from the Northern States of Boys Rooms as they battle a new enemy invading both countries.

The CRK, Northern States and other countries in the region, including the Kingdom of Laundry and the United States of Lounge are under sustained aerial attack from the secretive terror organisation Clothing Moths.

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Originating from hidden bases inside the tiny states of Wardrobe, the Clothing Moths have been attacking crops of Woollen Garments. While it is currently not Woollen Garment season, the attacks are likely to leave the citizens of all countries in dire circumstances in future months.

Together, the CRK army and the Northern State rebels have attempted to eliminate the threat by targetting individual Clothing Moths, but it is becoming evident that the assault is larger and more extensive than expected. There have been confirmed reports of the decimation of Carpet crops in some corners of the region.

The leader of the CRK, Mother, has called an emergency meeting of cabinet to discuss the possible action of widespread bombing to clear the region of this terror cell.

Even if the terrorists are driven from the region, the countries will undoubtedly require international assistance to clean up the extensive damage sustained by the attack.

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Scene of battles with the terrorist Clothing Moths.

In Related News:

The Crumb Wars: Battle of the Bench
The Crumb Wars 2: Expansion Into The Northern States
The Crumb Wars 3: Abandonment of Civic Order
The Crumb Wars 4: Rice Wars

 

 

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The Crumb Wars 4: Rice Wars

The following report is from our foreign correspondent, Heath Dempster, based in the Central Republic of Kitchen.

Information is just coming in that rebels in the Central Republic of Kitchen – who have for some weeks been waging a toast crumbs guerrilla war in the Bench fringes of the country – are being supplied with higher grade weapons from the subcontinent.

Locals say the first appearance of Basmati Rice was thought to be a one-off but there are eye witness reports of increasingly brazen use of this dangerous weapon in all areas of the Bench.

It is assumed that the weapons are being smuggled into the country via the secretive enclave of Pantry. The CRK has been in trade negotiations with the rogue state to open up trade routes but talks were abandoned last week over the suspected misappropriation of Biscuit Funds.

Government forces have been sent into the region to track down the weapons and to capture those responsible. However, it is feared that should the Basmati Rice supply route be shut down, the rebels may resort to the more lethal Jasmine Rice.

Observers from the United Household Nations are monitoring the situation.

More reports as information comes to hand.

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Evidence of the rebels’ use of the new weapon Basmati Rice. (Image copyright: Fisher Paykel, CRK)

 

In Related News:

The Crumb Wars: Battle of the Bench
The Crumb Wars 2: Expansion Into The Northern States
The Crumb Wars 3: Abandonment of Civic Order

 

 

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Colouring With Einstein

Why do you keep looking over at me? What am I doing that is so odd to you?

You keep staring. I’ll have you know that Einstein approves of this wholeheartedly.

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And Picasso.

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So there.

You’re just jealous. You’re wishing you’d remembered to bring your own, aren’t you?

It’s not weird, you know. Stop looking at me like I’m crazy.

What was I doing? Well, for a start, I was sitting innocently enough in a café with a large cup of coffee and a haloumi and salad foccacia for my lunch. Nothing odd about that, right? (Well, okay, haloumi is not to everyone’s taste but it’s not that weird.)

While I ate my lunch, I was using a present a friend had just given me for my recent birthday. That may have been it, I’m not sure. Is this odd to you?

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It’s okay to sit in a café and do colouring in with textas. At least, I’m pretty sure it is. I mean, they’re Connector Pens.

Actually, first I drew flowers.

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The two on the right were already there. The ones that look like scientific experiments are mine.

I didn’t think what I was doing was all that strange. Mind you, one of the waitresses came over to ask what I was doing. Then she went and got the other waitress to come and have a look.

Was it really that odd?

Are you not allowed to do colouring in whilst out in public when you’re a grown-up?

Oh.

Ah, well, see that’s where the get-out clause is then. I’m not a grown-up. Old, yes. Up, not so much.

I can’t wait to get stuck into some of the other pages.

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See you around. Next time, bring your own textas.

 

 

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The Crumb Wars 3: Abandonment of Civic Order

Central Republic of Kitchen

Our local presenter, Nigel Havenstock, speaks to foreign correspondent Heath Dempster about the latest developments in the Central Republic of Kitchen.

Nigel: Heath, thanks for joining us. Fill us in on what has been happening in the CRK.

Heath: Thank you, Nigel. Well, it seems the situation here has worsened considerably in recent days and there is a great deal of tension in the region.

Nigel: Tension? Why?

Heath: As you will be aware, the leader of the CRK, Mother, attempted to force Clean Up After Yourself legislation through parliament a fortnight ago in order to combat an insurgency in the outlying Bench areas of the CRK. So far this move has been unsuccessful. For the past two days, Mother has travelled outside the country to consult with members of the United Household Nations. It is believed she has appealed for international support for these harsh measures.

Nigel: Yes, our reporter Beryl Maynard was present at the talks. We understood that some support was likely.

Heath: Yes, I believe the news that came back from the UHN Headquarters was that the talks were positive. However, it would seem that the UHN ultimately cannot affect any real control over the situation in the CRK.

Nigel: You said that the situation had worsened. Can you tell us what has happened?

Heath: Well, Nigel, it appears that while Mother was out of the country, all civil obedience was abandoned. Standard civic services, such as Dishes and Hanging Up Towels – that had until now been carried out without issue – were discontinued in the leader’s absence. This has lead to increased chaos and a deterioration in living conditions for residents of the CRK and nearby areas.

Nigel: But who has been responsible for this rebellion?

Heath: Nigel, that is the surprising thing. It was expected that there could be some trouble from the rebels who have been waging a guerilla war of crumbs in the Bench areas of the country. However, it would seem that much of the rebellion has been orchestrated, or at least been allowed to occur, by the former Deputy Leader.

Nigel: Oh yes. Father was ousted from his position as Deputy Leader recently by Mother, was he not?

Heath: That’s correct, Nigel. It is thought that his demotion from the Cabinet may be behind the recent encouragement of civil disobedience.

Nigel: I imagine that did not go down well on Mother’s return?

Heath: [laughs wryly] No, Nigel, it certainly did not. Mother immediately invoked her emergency powers of Clean Up Now which caused considerable tension in the region, particularly among the rebels. Order is slowly being restored but we are keeping a watchful eye on proceedings.

Nigel: Do you think there will be a need to evacuate?

Heath: It is difficult to tell at this stage. Things are reasonably quiet at present but the clean up is still underway in the outlying areas and, of course, the Northern States are still a problem. It is possible that the rebels could step up their campaign in protest at the compulsory National Cleaning Service currently being invoked through Mother’s emergency powers.

Nigel: Thank you for joining us, Heath. I suppose things will depend on Mother’s success in forcing through the Clean Up After Yourself legislation?

Heath: Yes, that is certainly what the international community is wondering. Thanks, Nigel.

Nigel: That was Heath Dempster reporting from the Central Republic of Kitchen. It certainly seems that order may yet be established in the region following Mother’s return from the UHN but we continue to monitor the situation.

 

 

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The Great Bread-Making Adventure

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The Great Bread Making Adventure

This was the great bread-making adventure of the century. Would you believe decade? Well, would you believe year? October?

Yes, okay, so it was the great bread-making adventure of Thursday morning…

I was sent the “Perfect Bread” recipe some time ago by my friend M-R, but I had thus far failed to undertake the task because:

a. It required a 2.5 litre lidded casserole dish that I do not possess.

b. It required an ability to plan in advance that I do not possess.

This, of course, was viewed very dimly by the great Margaret-Rose and through the usual haranguing and audible (all the way from Sydney) frustrated sighing, I found myself on Wednesday afternoon with a bowl and the necessary ingredients, inexplicably mixing up the first ever batch. In double quantity because the only receptacle I had was significantly larger than the required measurement.

And thus began the process of “baking by email” as I sent off panicked emails.

“Is it supposed to be lumpy???”

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Does this look lumpy to you?

Apparently not. But then, just as I was launching into my first nervous breakdown, I received the news that M-R was undertaking the bread-making herself to try and understand what on earth I was talking about. It turned out that these were not ‘lumps’. I’m still mystified as to what they were but I was assured all was well. Just put the lid on and leave it. Yes, ma’am.

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Put the lid on and walk away for 12 hours. Like I said, Advanced Planning required.

And it did look better in the morning.

Not lumpy, just holey.

Not lumpy, just holey.

But then, in the process of baking, confusion ensued.

“Is it 250 degrees Celsius?” This was not stipulated in the instructions but my question was treated with scorn. Of course it was Celsius – that’s what we use, right?

“Would it be quicker to put the pot in the oven as it’s heating up, do you think?” As opposed to putting it in the heated oven for 25 minutes. I was instructed to get that pot in the oven toot sweet. (I already had, on a hunch.) Of course it should be put in there while the oven heated up. Why would I ask such a question?

It was not my fault. There was a wayward comma in the instructions.

Kids, proper punctuation is important.

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Baking Stage 1 completed.

Now, it is worth pointing out that while all this was going on, I was still required to complete the usual tasks related to getting three children to school.

Yeah, I don’t know why I chose to undertake this on a school night/morning either.

Plus, it was the Eldest Son’s last day at school so let’s throw in a costume requirement and a need to be at school early for breakfast, shall we? Well, because I am basically insane.

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Baking Stage 2 completed.

Then the phone rang. As a casual relief teacher this is a sound that strikes both joy and annoyance in the heart. I was required at work.

So my poor freshly baked loaf spent the day cooling its heels on the kitchen bench, all alone, while the rest of us were busy with, you know, life and stuff.

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The finished product.

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Darling, that is not your best angle…

It survived. And forgave us by still being a delicious accompaniment to a hurriedly prepared dish of pumpkin soup. Hurriedly because [points to self] parent of children with after-school activities.

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The lumps disappeared and left behind all these holes.

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Let me assure you that this will not last long in this house.

Through it all, there was dear M-R on the end of a virtual line, giving me tips, reassuring my nerves and dispelling my doubts. And carrying on her own baking extravaganza in her own tiny kitchen at the same time. Go check out her post about the adventure. It’s undoubtedly funnier and tastier than mine!

And one last thing. Because I am really probably completely insane, I figured since I was undertaking this delayed-gratification baking exercise with the bread, I might as well try out my friend Barbara Pyett’s ginger nuts recipe while I was at it.

Which just meant another bowl of something I couldn’t do anything with in the morning. They had to wait until after dinner. They also survived.

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Biscuits made for redheaded boys. Ginger nuts.

And I survived. Perhaps not with my sanity intact but then I’m not sure it wasn’t a bit shredded to begin with.

 

 

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The Crumb Wars 2: Expansion Into The Northern States

The following is a transcript of a radio interview with our foreign correspondent in the Central Republic of Kitchen by our local presenter Nigel Havenstock. It follows on from recent reports about The Crumb Wars on this same station.

Nigel: We recently reported on an unsettling development in the Central Republic of Kitchen where the leader, Mother, has recently declared Dishcloth Law.  We have just received news from our correspondent Heath Dempster in CRK that there has been corresponding developments in neighbouring states. Heath, tell us what is happening in the region.

Heath: Yes, thank you, Nigel. As listeners are no doubt aware, the leader of the government in the Central Republic of Kitchen recently declared Dishcloth Law in response to attacks by rebels in the bench fringes of CRK. It now seems that the CRK may be attempting to invade nearby states in an effort to gain control over Housework Laws in the region.

Nigel: So where exactly does the CRK hope to take control?

Heath: Well, Nigel, the key problem areas seem to be in the northern states of Boys Rooms. While the media has been warned from entering the states for security reasons, reports from local residents indicate that the situation is truly out of control. It is thought that the laws of Vacuuming and Dusting have been abandoned completely and it is uncertain when exactly social order was last enacted in these states.

Nigel: What is the international community’s response to this, Heath?

Heath: It’s difficult to tell. Until now, it seems that the international community and particularly the United Household Nations, has allowed the situation to continue as things have seemed stable. While the conditions in the countries in question have not been ideal, it has not been deemed sufficiently dire to warrant the introduction of suitable sanctions.

Nigel: And just what would those sanctions involve, should they be introduced?

Heath: The most obvious is, of course, financial sanctions – the cutting off of all financial support to the leaders of the states. That would be the first option. Should the northern states still not respond, it will be brought to the UHN for consideration of further restrictions on the supply of technology support, food aid and the provision of transport services.

Nigel: Heath, is there any hope for peace?

Heath: Nigel, from my view, peace is only likely in the event of a voluntary reinstatement of the laws of Vacuuming and Dusting by the leaders of the northern states. Of course, this will not be possible until General Tidiness is restored in the region.

Nigel: Thank you, Heath. That was Heath Dempster reporting from the Central Republic of Kitchen on the suspected expansion of troubles into the northern states. A spokesperson for the United Household Nations was approached but refused to comment on the grounds of being locked in negotiations in the Kingdom of Laundry.

Battles have extended to the northern states of Boys Rooms.

Video: Battles have extended to the northern states of Boys Rooms.

 

 

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The Crumb Wars: Battle of the Bench

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Scene of the latest outbreak of hostilities.

In what can only be described as an outbreak of domestic tension in the Central Republic of Kitchen, the leader of the country has declared Dishcloth Law.

Mother, until now generally viewed as a benevolent dictator by the international community, has stated that unless all citizens implement the Clean Up After Yourself legislation being forced through parliament tomorrow, food supplies will be restricted and all citizens will be required to report daily for compulsory dishes duty.

A small rebel contingent in the country has for some time been waging a guerrilla war of toast crumbs in the bench fringes of the country.

Yesterday, Mother sacked the Deputy Leader, Father, as Secretary of Cleanliness. An anonymous source close to the leader said the Deputy Leader was found to be in line with the rebels. “He’s just as bad,” Mother is reported to have said.

The United Household Nations is monitoring the situation. At present, they advise there is no cause for alarm and it is hoped that the rebellion will be quelled peacefully and the country returned to its normal state of General Untidiness within the month.

 

 

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Not Touristing In The City Again

Do people who live in countries that drive on the left side of the road automatically walk on the left? And does the reverse apply for those who live in countries that drive on the wrong right side of the road? And is that why people kept walking into me on my city walk today?

I was back in the Big Smoke to do the hospital run for a friend and while I waited I took myself off to a different part of the city.

Warning: This is another ‘I am not a tourist’ excursion so there will be no photos. Well, maybe one. If you’re lucky.

I didn’t walk any great distance today because I was wearing my holy socks. No, they do not help me walk on water! What are you talking about? Oh.

Take 2: I didn’t walk any great distance today because I was wearing my holey socks.

Kids, spelling is important.

Anyway…

Lygon Street – known as Little Italy – is the mecca for Italian food and good coffee. Well, one of the meccas. There’s one thing to be said about this city – you can always get a good coffee pretty much wherever you go.

It was too early for the restaurant spruikers to be out so I had a peaceful walk down the street.

One of the last truly independent bookshops is on this street. Overheard inside:

Father to Young Son: You don’t need a bookmark. Just bend the page over. That’s what everyone else does.

Some people have no business having books. Or children.

I went to Brunetti’s café for coffee and cake. It’s almost illegal not to go to Brunetti’s if you’re in Lygon Street. Unless you’re a student at the nearby university. Then it’s a) boring to go all the time and b) you can’t afford it anyway.

Brunetti's - Cake Mecca

Brunetti’s – Cake Mecca

From Lygon Street I headed into the city proper. This is where I encountered the walking directional problem. Maybe we need arrows on the footpath to show tourists where to walk.

For a little while, I followed a small group of four women and one man. The women were carrying music stands but only the man carried what looked like an instrument case (but I can’t say what the instrument was).

“Singers,” I thought.

“Or harmonica players,” said Musician Me.

“What?”

“They could have them in their handbags. Or piccolos. Tin whistles.”

Sometimes I worry about Musician Me.

“They could be a Kazoo Orchestra,” said Always-Takes-Things-Too-Far Me.

Actually, when you think about it, there are all sorts of instruments you could hide about your person or in a small bag.

Ooh! There could be a Hidden Orchestra! No, listen, stay with me. Picture this:

One of the world’s great concert halls. On the stage are the seats and music stands of a great orchestra. As the lights go down, musicians in all their penguin-suited finery walk in and sit down. The audience is confused. Where are the instruments?? The conductor walks on to hesitant applause. She steps up to the podium, raises her hands and, as one, the musicians reveal from about their persons, small instruments – harmonicas, mouth harps, maracas, etc – and start to play.

Cool, huh?

I’m claiming copyright so no stealing the idea.

It was another warm Spring day but there was no lying in the sunshine today. I got my first quota of sunburn for the season last week so I was avoiding the UV. But a walk is always an endless source of writer’s fodder, eh?

And one last observation for the day:

It is very hard to watch a friend struggle against enormous odds and know there is nothing you can do to make it all right.

 

 

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