The Knight’s Lover

Facebook reminded me that, 6 years ago today, I went to the Earth Body Spirit Expo in my hometown. At that Expo, there was a small booth for the local New Age shop. And in that booth, one of their resident experts was doing a small 3-card Tarot spread for $10. I figured it was kind of like an investment in my future, so down went my money and my name. When it was my turn, I was suddenly afraid. I only really half-believe in this stuff, and yet there I was, shaking with nerves; I still can’t explain why. I shuffled and split the deck as directed, and chose my three cards. The reader, a perfect caricature of a gypsy woman, smiled at me and began.

I don’t remember what the first card was, just what it represented: struggle. Struggle in everything – love, work, finances, health. Everything was a struggle. And it’s true. That summer was one of the toughest of my whole adult life. I was working at a job I had grown to hate (and I don’t use “hate” lightly). I was living with my parents because I was struggling with depression as a result. I had gained a lot of weight because I was eating my feelings and not interested in taking care of myself as a consequence. I was house-sitting for a friend, and so lonely that I would spend my nights watching Stargate SG1 reruns. So when she turned the struggle card over, all I could do was nod in resignation. Yes, life was currently a struggle, and here she was telling me it wasn’t going to let up any time soon.

Her mouth formed a thin line as she said, “the next card is the near future”, already fearing the worst for me. And then she turned the upright Knight of Wands. For those who don’t know, the Knight of Wands is a Casanova. He’s a flirt, representing passion and lust; a real lady killer. Upright means it was in the positive – I was definitely going to meet this man. And the details were even more important: he was a knight, in armour, riding his trusted steed. He was literally coming to my rescue. Her face lit up a bit, as though the good news was not what she expected. But she cautioned me, because the Knight of Wands is such a goer, he has a tendency to leave once he gets bored. So I’d have some excitement around the end of the summer, but it would be fleeting.

And then she turned the last card.

Her smile turned into a wolf of a grin. She had turned an upright The Lovers. I don’t think I need to elaborate on what that card means, other than to say that upright means everything is bathed in a positive, wonderful light. She began to fan herself as she told me what the draw meant, particularly in conjunction with The Knight before it. I would never have to worry about my struggles again, because before the year was out, I would have found my perfect partner. The one that all the books are written about, the soul that completes my own, the yin to my yang. He would ride in, save me from myself, and stick through everything. She suggested I visit the sex toy booth before leaving the Expo, because things were going to get hot.

I took it all with a grain of salt, but I couldn’t help feeling like good things were going to come my way as I stood and left the table. I didn’t stop at the sex shop, but I held tight to that image of my Knight in shining armour riding in to rescue me. And though I still had some struggling ahead of me, there was a bright, beautiful light waiting for me at the end of the tunnel.

6 years ago, two months after this card reading, I got a message from my good friend telling me that she had “met the man of your dreams”. A Captain in the Canadian Army, he was literally my Knight in armoured vehicle. It was painted green, and his trusted steed was a Leopard 2 tank. By the end of the year, he proved to be The One That Stuck. I did become the Knight’s Lover; he swept me off my feet and we have been riding steadily into Happily Ever After together ever since. But it all started with tarot cards on a purple tablecloth, a woman wearing a scarf on her hair, and $10.

So thank you, Marilyn, weird gypsy Tarot woman, for giving me the gift of hope 6 years ago.


Free Printables – True Patriot Love series

For those of you that are keeping track, yes, I did have an Etsy shop for a while, selling customized military-themed digital printables. And yes, that shop is now closed. Pity, because I enjoyed doing what I was doing.

However, do not panic! I have recycled the images I was using for that shop, and will be introducing a series of FREE printables here on my blog instead. I am excited to share them all with you!

TPL Printables Banner.jpg

There are 4 different backgrounds available for this first series (click the links below to download):

True Patriot Love – Blue

True Patriot Love – Gold

True Patriot Love – Red

True Patriot Love – Brown

Each PDF file comes with your choice of 8.5 x 11″ background with the phrase True Patriot Love on it, as well as 11 provincial images for you to cut out. You can choose your favourite province, your current province, or every province you’ve lived in! (Note that “11 Canadian Provinces” also includes Yukon Territory – these images were made with military postings in mind).

Please enjoy, tell your friends, and keep your eyes open for the next Flat-Out Whimsy printables series!

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!




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.

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.


Week in Review: What is that Annoying Noise?!

Gosh, what happened this past week? It’s such a blur I don’t even remember. Uhm…

We finished our #yegquesting – for those who don’t recognize what that is, you can catch up here. We officially have twelve entries in to win the night for two at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald. I really really REALLY want to win. Really. It would just be such an amazing first anniversary experience.

Speaking of which, we have something planned for the Labour Day weekend to celebrate our first year of being irrevocably bound to one another for all eternity. And when I say that, I actually mean that. We jumped over a broom together. It’s totally irreversible now. Unless we jump back over it backwards… But that’s never going to happen. Besides, I don’t know where the broom is anyways.


We had a lot of fun finding the last of the #yegquest clues. We got gelato and then rode on the LRT (Light Rail Transit) across the river to the University on a beautiful evening, and meandered through the buildings until we found the one we were looking for. It was completely relaxing. And then there was the park that was really pretty but after 5 minutes of being there MiniSir and I both agreed we would never live in the neighbourhood. I was half expecting Bible salesmen to jump out of the bushes at us. We gawked at all the people dressed up for the Edmonton Fringe Festival, a 10-day affair devoted to live theatre, as we stole a quiet moment for a photo at one of the locations. And on the very last day, we visited an urban fishing pond (I know, right?) that is stocked with rainbow trout for Edmontonians to fish inside the city. Totally cool.

Fishing is pretty darn relaxing. If more people fished, we’d have a lot fewer douchebags. Just sayin.

I started writing again. Like fictional writing. It’s something, anyways. I describe my current story to MiniSir as a “paranormal romance”, meaning I’m so out of touch with my inner writer that I chose something dumb. However, I have also been looking back through my many stories I’ve started but never finished. There’s a cool one about clones taking over a future society. There’s the ever-popular vampire buddy comedy. And the epic that I started when I was 10 and has had so many rewrites that it makes my head spin… Well, it could use another re-write.

Hey, why does gluten-free cake take so much longer to bake? At least I didn’t leave it out in the rain because I made up the recipe and will probably never have it again. Oh nooooooooooo.

Okay, I’m totally writing whatever comes to mind now. What’s that called? Conscious writing? Or am I just vocalising my inner monologue? That. I think.

So there you go. My insane ramblings have no point on this Review Monday, so here’s one I particularly like: You can’t eat your cake and have it too. If you learn just one thing in your entire lifetime, then learn to say this colloquialism correctly.

Mmmmm. Cake.