Ivy, The Kindness Fairy

We started an experiment over here at the House of Whimsy. We thought, why not see if we could get a fairy to move in. It couldn’t be alIMG_4593l that hard: fairies just need a space of their own, and some faith and trust that they would appear.

In September Grunt and I picked out what we wanted to use for our fairy garden, and I assembled it one week while MiniSir was away. We wanted to make sure whatever fairy picked us as their people was comfortable and reminded of home. We included a little mail box too, because fairies are big fans of getting and receiving letters.

IMG_4717Then we waited. And a few weeks later, something magical happened! We came downstairs in the morning to discover our new fairy was a girl, and she was beautiful. We called her Ivy because her name was unpronounceable in English. She was wearing fairy armour and carrying a Bag of Holding, denoting she was a warrior fairy, so we knew right away she would fit in perfectly here in our army household.

Since she’s come to live wIMG_4829ith us, Ivy has not let us down. She reminded us around Thanksgiving that we should be generous with our thanks, and we invited 25 people to our home to celebrate the holiday with us.

On Hallowe’en, she reminded us that sometimes those who don’t ask for
treats need it the most, and the Whimsy family packed up a huge bag for the food bank, making sure to add all the ingredients for a few healthy meals, some juice boxes, and baby food for little tummies.

IMG_5023Once November 1 dawned, however, her Hallowe’en decorations were down, and she joined us in a period of solemnity leading up to Remembrance Day. We were surprised but pleased to see her poppy in the garden displayed in what looked like an old tin lunch box. She wanted us to know her thoughts were with us and our community. This in turn reminded us that we should make sure others knew of the importance of remembering, not just on November 11 but every day of the year, and I worked hard to make that happen through my Military History Twitter Essay.

IMG_5306Finally, it was time for Grunt’s Christmas letter to Santa. We wrote down the item he wished for most, and folded it up to send via fairy mail to the North Pole.

And when we came down the next morning, both the letter and Ivy were gone! She was delivering to Santa herself, apparently.

We sure miss her around here right now, but we decorated her home for her when we put up our tree in hopes that she will approve of the new decorations when she returns for the Advent. Stay tuned to Flat-Out Whimsy’s Facebook page to see what virtues Ivy will bring to our family over the holidays!




Attention Whimsy-landia! Some Happy News!

I have some exciting news! I have been working through the summer on something that I felt was missing from Etsy.

As of today, I have officially launched Tracks & Whimsy – Personalized Canadian Military Keepsakes. I am currently offering digital personalized prints for commemorating your Canadian military family’s postings, delivered to your inbox. They are available individually in 8.5″ x 11″ PDF format and in a group of 3 cities plus your family’s name card in 4″ x 6″, so you can create your galleryEtsy Logo Thumbnail as you see fit. To take a look at what I’ve got listed so far, click on the image to the left.

I am totally also willing to draw customized art for OUTCAN postings or deployments if you want to add those to your gallery. Just send me a note in Etsy and we can work together to get your keepsake perfect for your family.

I am hopeful that I am filling a missing niche on Etsy – personalized Canadian military stuff – and that my shop will do well. It’s exciting for me to get some work out there and take a chance. But I’m not looking to make a living doing this – just have a good time. Mostly it’s a labour of love for me dedicated to my community.

Thanks for taking a look!

Stay Shiny: A #100DaysofHappy Update

Have we all been taking the time every day to find one thing that made them happy? Are we spreading our positivity around? Is the law of attraction working for you yet?

No? Well, we are only on Day 21 today. Keep working at it!

This week wrapped up MiniSir’s exercise, so we focussed this weekend on spending time as a family. My Day 19 (Saturday) #Happy moment was when we were walking through West Edmonton Mall (on a Saturday, I know) looking to do a few errands, and I managed to find shoes for an upcoming army formal event that are actually heels but don’t make me walk like a trucker. YAY! Granted, the heel is about a half-inch high, but still – they qualify as heels. Big win. We also managed to exchange a sweater I got over Christmas that was unravelling when I opened the present for another nice sweater that seems perfectly intact. I picked up a birthday present for my sister, we avoided Target, AND we managed to get in and out of the parking lot unscathed. HUGE win there.

Sunday we spent hanging out around the house, having late brunches and whatnot. Grunt decided that yesterday was the day he was going to bust out his words, so not only did we get a vigourous “Da-dy” from him, but were also treated to “Ba-ma” (Batman). Someday he may learn “mummy”, but I’m not really holding my breath. Interestingly, his babbles have begun to sound like certain phrases too. I could have sworn he said “yes please” to me the other day after I asked him a question, and this morning he gave me a hug so I said “Thank you for the hug”, to which I am positive he replied, “You’re welcome” in baby babble. My child is either a genius, or I may need more adult interaction. I’ll let you decide which one.

This week I am looking forward to some coffee dates and a real live actual date for Valentine’s Day, where MiniSir and I will be going out without the baby for dinner. We will see if I can communicate in anything other than baby language by then, and if we still remember that we like spending time with one another. Scarrrrrrrry.


In an effort to be more Facebook interactive and generate some blog post ideas, I’ve decided to start the #100daysofhappy challenge here at Flat-Out. Every day I’ll post something on my social media that has made me smile.

Arbitrarily (just because I came up with it this weekend), Day 1 was yesterday: Jan 19, 2015. While most of the day didn’t exactly go my way, there were two things that made me joyful:

First, I got carded at the liquor store buying a 6 pack of PBR. I kid you not. (Ha ha, suckers! I’m twice the legal age in this province!)

Second, my stepdaughter joined Facebook on her 13th birthday and chose to list me as her mother! I was over the moon with happiness. Being a stepmum is, as you know, one of the best and most challenging things about my life, but I wouldn’t trade my kids for anything.

Bored? Wanna be happy too? Positive thoughts and deeds bring positive changes into your life, so you should all totally join me in my #100daysofhappy challenge. Just use the hashtag in your Facebook or Twitter posts and I’ll share them with my readers.

Be happy like this baby!

Flat-Out Friday: Just Buy It In White

Ever since publicly announcing my pregnancy, I have received details on many “old wives tales” about how to tell the baby’s sex. MANY. It seems like everyone has some sure-fire way of telling whether the Flat-Out Offspring will be a boy or a girl. For kicks, I will list them below:

  • The Portuguese method: if your due date is closer to the new moon, it’ll be a boy.
  • The Italian method: if your due date is closer to the full moon, it’ll be a boy.
  • The Gypsy method: find or make a pendulum, and suspend it over your palm; up/down swing is boy, circular motion is girl.
  • The New Age method: find or make a pendulum, and ask it a series of yes/no answers to determine the swing for both yes and no answers; ask separately if having a boy or a girl.
  • The Chinese method: find out what lunar year you are in when you are due; complicated math and virtually throwing I Ching sticks later, formula reveals whether you’re having a girl or a boy.
  • The Vomit method: the more you throw up, the more likely it’s a girl.
  • The Heartbeat method: the faster the heart rate, the more likely it’s a girl.
  • The Cravings method: salty/hearty snack cravings suggest a boy; sweet cravings suggest a girl.

I’m going to invent a new one. It’s called The Dice method. If I roll 1-10 on a d20, it’s a boy; 11-20 is a girl. I mean it makes as much sense to me as the rest of these do. Wanna hear my results for each of the aforementioned methods?

  • Girl
  • Boy
  • Boy
  • Boy
  • Girl from Last Known Period; Boy from Conception Date
  • Girl
  • Girl
  • Boy

Unfortunately, I can’t find a D20 at this precise time or I’d include those results. It’d be the tie-breaker vote too!

Why is it that, after all the advances in modern medical science, myths like these still perpetuate themselves? One reason I think is because all women like to weigh in on a subject they feel they are uniquely qualified to speak about, especially if they’ve given birth at some point to their own children, and even more especially if one of these methods actually worked in predicting the sex of said children. One of the things you can always count on is that most people you run in to are going to have some sort of opinion about what’s happening with your body. Through my accident, I have learned that the best thing to do in these cases is listen, nod politely, and then forget everything they’ve said because dwelling on it will just make you cranky.

We are going to find out the sex if we can. By ultrasound. You know, that crazy technology that actually allows you to see whether your on-board passenger has the optional hose attachment or not. If we can’t find out out (my niece was turned completely backward and refused to let the technician see her girly parts; she’s still shy to this day), then I have a completely foolproof system for a non-gender biased nursery:

Get it all in white.

Week in Review: Back to… Darn, I’m Old

Hands up if you feel like you’ve been run over by a truck this morning!

I can’t believe it’s back to school time already. More importantly, I can’t believe that I have a niece starting kindergarten today that looked like this when I moved to Alberta:

Growing up should not be allowed. Look at those cheeks!

My stepchildren are starting grade 7 (GRADE 7!), grade 5, grade 2 and grade 1. I have a brother-in-law that’s starting a year-long college degree today, and I can’t even remember the last time I did anything academic. (Was it 2008? Maybe…) In conclusion, I am feeling my age this morning.

I am also feeling it because we have had such a busy week this past week. On Thursday we went to play trivia as we do every Thursday, and we WON! “The Del(ink)quents” are now in the trivia finals! It was a personal point of pride for us because we are the most heavily tattooed group in the bar (by far), and we managed to beat all of the groups that have been coming to trivia since the dawn of time. What a way to kick off the weekend!

MiniSir had Friday off, so he dropped me at my psychiatry appointment and went to run “some errands” (his exact words). I have begun my EMDR therapy now, and Friday was my first session. Basically what the doctor tells me to do is, after they hook me up to the incredibly non-complex machine, pull up in my mind the most vivid scene from the accident and hold it, experiencing it again. From there, I am just supposed to go where my mind takes me. Needless to say, the therapy is very powerful. You end up re-experiencing all the emotions and physical sensations associated with your memories. I told the doctor that next session I was wearing a bib because the front of my shirt was soaked with tears. He told me to never ever wear mascara to a session. Also sound advice. So in case you were wondering what happened to Flat-Out Friday last week, it did happen, at least for me. I got my chance to release anxieties and hurt over the accident – it was just in a private forum.

Friday afternoon MiniSir and I went to paint matching mugs at a pottery studio just off Whyte Ave as part of the celebration of our first anniversary weekend. We decided to do it this past weekend because he had four days off and we could properly celebrate. Our “Time Lord” and “Companion” mugs should be ready for pick up by the end of this week, and I can’t wait to start using them.

Saturday morning we took off for brunch and then it was off to Calgary for the night! We drove down and stayed in a hotel downtown. Our biggest plans were to visit the giant game store and eat at our favourite two restaurants. With a game store visit under our belt on Saturday afternoon, we headed out for supper. Halfway through supper, we connected with a good friend from Medicine Hat who also happened to be in Calgary that weekend, and so, plans for a quiet evening now only a dream, we met up with her. She brought along her old roomie, who we had known from our time in the Hat as well, and her roomie’s new beau. When he showed up wearing a Star Wars t-shirt, I knew we were in for a long night of nerdy conversation. Because if there’s one thing my love does best, it’s nerd out. We stayed out until 1:30am laughing, chatting, and catching up. The next morning’s checkout time came far too early. We had breakfast at our other favourite restaurant, caught some of the Pride Parade (it was Calgary Pride Weekend), and walked around the Eau Claire Market for a bit before hopping in the car and heading home.

I had a nap when we got home, slept all night, had a four-hour nap yesterday, and then last night’s sleep, and I STILL don’t feel like I’ve caught up. Oh, to be young and spry again, and not so very old and broken. Last night we went for supper at the home of another Strathcona officer and his wife. It was fabulous and we had a great time, and yes, stayed a lot longer than we intended because of that. Why does having a social life have to be so tiring?! A long, long time ago I was celebrating my Frosh Week on this day. I was a lot less tired then, and Frosh Week is hard work. But I guess I’ve got a few years and a second lease on life under my belt, so I should just take what I can get.

Now to drag my tired ass to my other psychiatry appointment today, so I can see my other other psychiatrist. Happy Back to School to all the moms, dads, sisters, brothers, kids, teachers, and folk of the periphery I’ve probably forgotten. You’ll have to forgive me: my memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be. It does that with age.

Drawn Into It

I’m a grown woman and I’m not afraid to admit it: I like cartoons. When I was younger, I was always drawn to the happily-ever-after stories of Disney princesses, but as I matured, I realized that they don’t all have to be perfect all the time. In fact, I prefer the imperfect ones; the ones that make me cry, or squirm uncomfortably, or even just leave me in thought when the credits roll. I prefer stories that have an environmental impact to them, something that makes a hero even more heroic because he has failed at his task, or hard lessons about family life. Someday, if I’m lucky, I’ll be able to show my child the value of loss as well as victory, and that striving to be perfect is just living with an unattainable goal.

With that in mind, here are a few tv shows and films I enjoy because they don’t just portray the message that everyone wins all the time, and even if they do it’s at a personal cost or because of a lesson learned.

1. Studio Ghibli: an animation studio out of Japan, you may recognize this name because of its association with Pixar and Disney’s John Lasseter. Their first feature was Only Yesterday, a story about an unwed woman who was now too old to be single, according to her family’s strict standards. She spends the movie reminiscing about life when she was 10, and how much simpler it was. The movie brings up young love, periods, old Japan versus new Japan, and antiquated notions of what young women should do, including obeying their elders. It’s a hard look at a modern woman’s Japan animated in the mid 80s, a time when the feminism movement was hitting its peak there. Yes, there are follow-ups like My Neighbor Totoro or Porco Rosso, movies that you would not think had any particular message. But Ghibli, in its cleverness, just makes you think that upon first blush. I can assure you that each one of their films has a strong and vital message worth listening to.

2. Pixar: on the outside, this funny, childish animation studio may seem all sweet and innocent, but if we remember Toy Story, their first feature, correctly, we realize that Buzz suffers from some serious PTSD after the cherry bomb incident and Woody is prone to anxiety attacks. Finding Nemo is a story about a man who nearly loses everything and his realization that he cannot stop it from happening again – he can only change his reaction to it. That’s some pretty hefty cognitive behavioural therapy happening right there. I find that sometimes they do get off track a little – Cars, for example, wasn’t one of their strongest – but when I cried like a baby during my first AND second Brave viewings, I knew they had found their feet again.

3. Despicable Me: Universal really outdid themselves with the original movie and its follow-up. Granted, the sequel was, like all sequels, more laughs and fewer lessons, the thing that made the first movie shine made it shine as well: a man who believes he has no love in his heart and must therefore be evil finds himself suddenly caring, and three girls who have a dream of a perfect family and instead find Gru. It’s an ugly duckling story combined with Annie, and even though the ending is neat and tidy, there are real emotions and real feelings struggled with throughout the movie. Once again here is a man who, when challenged about what he loves most, makes the decision to put his family before his fame. It’s a good lesson to see, particularly in this age of celebrity drive-thru marriages and divorce.

4. Justice League and Justice League Unlimited: okay, so these two tv shows are about super heroes, but don’t just dismiss them out of hand. These two shows in particular deal with some very adult themes, and though they are rated 8+, I would be hesitant to have anyone younger than 12 watching them. They deal with hard issues like trust, failure, war crimes, genocide, and racial purity. In a world where heroes should win all the time by definition, the Justice League takes casualties. They lose sometimes. They fight amongst themselves. They keep secrets. Things end badly for them many, many times. This is when I would say it’s all sunshine and rainbows at the end of the series, but it’s not. If you are a fan of DC comics at all, you’ll know that it never is. These two shows are truer to the comic than any live-action movie I’ve seen revolving around these characters, which is good, because learning that even heroes aren’t invulnerable is a key lesson for anyone.


5. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: you all knew it was coming. I’ll keep it short. It may seem overly heavy on the lessons at times, but magic or brute strength are never ever EVER the answer. Hardwork, determination, and trust are always rewarded. For a young viewing audience, that’s the best thing you can hope for.