Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Amazing Trick-or-Treat Ideas 2018

For some reason, every year, a day or two before Halloween, this year it was 5, I am somehow reminded that this series is a thing. Even though it's one of my favorite things I write on this blog, since it only happens once a year, I end up completely forgetting about it by November first, which means that I end up rediscovering it like a day or two before Halloween the next year and scrambling to write a whole new post in time. So far I haven't missed one since it began, but every year I wonder if this one will be the last before I forget it completely.

If you're new to this series, every year, out of the kindness of my heart, I compile a list of unique treats for you to hand out to the little spooks and goblins who come creepin' round your back stair. Sorry. That was a Homestar reference, which was in itself a reference to something else. Either way, here are ten treats that are sure to make your house THE talk of the town for all the night beggars this Malloween. Sorry that was another Homestar reference. I'll stop now. Maybe.

If you're interested, the previous years' posts can be found at these links:
2013 - 2014 - 2015 - 2016 - 2017

Jiklebeanz & Twibblejinx - I don't know what these are, but they sound like something that a kid would love. I'd say find some of those to hand out, and your Halloween is sorted!

A Tweed Jumper - This one is for Britishes only. Americans only have sweaters, and those are no fun at all.

Insomnia - Most children hate going to sleep, so while you might hate the thought of lying awake until all hours of the night, children everywhere envy your commitment to the wonders of awakeness! The hardest part will be removing your own insomnia in order to gift it to the children, but I'm sure there are ways. The internet is like, super-smart about this science stuff. Just look it up.

Aunt Eggetha's Stamp Collection - You know you want to get rid of that thing. The pages are turning a brownish yellow, and the stamps themselves have no monetary value, since Great Aunt Eggetha licked them all to stick into her scrap book. Aunt Bivvia told her to get a proper collection and some archival-quality materials to catalog the stamps, but Aunt Eggetha just liked the pretty pictures and wouldn't listen. Now they're both dead and for some reason they left this junk to you in the will, along with Great Uncle Egger's whistling banjo. You know what? Let's get rid of that thing too. Some weird little kid out there will probably appreciate that creepy thing, whistling along to itself eerily in the middle of the night. Just give that gross book and the unsettling instrument to the next pair of kids who come along begging for candy. Sugar is bad for them anyway.

A Gross Pile of Mud!'®©
Did you forget to buy Halloween candy again? I know I did! (Actually I'm lying, I didn't forget, I just hate hate buying things for strange children.) If you're like me, and you have nothing to hand out to all the greedy little gremlins who won't stop pounding on your door, then you need A Gross Pile of Mud!'®© 
A Gross Pile of Mud!'®© is available wherever fine dirt clods are found. Backyards, quarries, public parks, sometimes they can even be found near local dumpsters! All you have you do to get your own A Gross Pile of Mud!'®© is to dig up a generous mound of dirt with your own two hands, and squirt it with a hose! 
Throughout the many several decades of human history, children have relished playing in A Gross Pile of Mud!'®© so why not continue this hallowed tradition, this next hollowed eve. A Gross Pile of Mud!'®© is all you need for your visitors to have good, clean holiday fun this Halloween. (I'm lying again, they're going to be filthy and their parents will hate you.) 
Eggs - It's called a preemptive strike. I'm sure I don't need to explain this one to you.

Goose Eggs - For when things escalate.

Ostrich Eggs - A very last resort.

Lobster Bisque - This next treat is not for everyone, as it will require a lot of prep and set-up time, not to mention some extensive home renovations. The biggest hurdle will be the installation of the large bisque faucet onto your front porch. After you get that out of the way, really, the only thing you have to do is fill the bisque basin with the best bisque you can buy. Or the cheapest. After all, this bisque is going to be dispensed directly into a plastic pumpkin that is already full of chocolate and religious pamphlets, and once it has taken on those cocoa and gospel flavors, the original quality of the bisque no longer matters as much. Anyway, I know that bisque hardware is kind of expensive, so feel free to skimp where you can for this one. If you prefer, similar results can be had with a five gallon bucket and a ladle, it's just not quite as fun. Either way, the night will definitely be memorable, both for you and the children.

Maple Leaves - Admittedly, this one is only okay in Canada, as Maple leaves, at least as far as I know, are still illegal in most of the United States, and many other countries around the world. Why they were only just legalized in Canada this year I don't know, as Canada has prominently featured this humble foliage on its flag since 1965. Now, when giving these tasty treats out to the childr- Huh? Sorry, excuse me, my editor wants to talk to me, I'll be right back...
Sorry about that, I have just been informed that Maple Leaves are in fact NOT illegal, and never have been, in America, in Canada, or anywhere. I seem to have internalized some misinformation spread via Facebook, about which plant life has or has not recently been legalized in several regions of North America. Please forgive my mistake. I cannot not promise it won't not never happen ever not again.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

#TrueFacts (October 2018)

Did you know that in Canada, children have to recite the Pledge of Eh-Legence every morning before school? #TrueFact

Did you know that deodorant is full of hair seeds? You plant them in your armpits, and water them with your sweat. #TrueFact

Did you know that crabs eat dish towels? That’s why one of the pair always disappears in the wash. #TrueFact
 - What do you mean that’s socks?

Did you know that cuttlefish is a misspelling? It’s cuddlefish. Because it’s just so flippin’ adorbs! I just want to squeeze it! Now! #TrueFact

Did you know that clown babies are born colorless? Clown children are generally bald until at least age 6, and their distinct markings and color patterns only begin to develop around age ten. The only way to distinguish a clown baby from a human baby is the nose. #TrueFact

Did you know that if you put a slice of bologna in a CD player, it will play a previously unreleased Weird Al EP? #TrueFact

Did you know that popcorn is an edible, miniature, time-locked explosion? #TrueFact

Did you know that toads don't cause warts? Wart Fairies do. Toads and Wart Fairies look quite similar, but the fairy has wings. #TrueFact

Did you know that the best, worst flavor of cereal is Beef Krispies? Beef Krispies are served with gravy instead of milk, and children cry at the mere sight of them. #TrueFact

Did you know that aliens use tractor beams to plow their force fields? #TrueFact
- I feel like my brain probably stole that last one from some terrible joke book I borrowed from the library when I was seven, and then randomly resurfaced it one day as I was writing these dumb jokes. If that's the case, I beg forgiveness from the original author. And if that's not the case, then somebody had better pay me, because that joke was so dumb it was brilliant. Seven-year-old me would have been dying of laughter reading that thing.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Back To Normal?

My last two posts have been some of the hardest, saddest posts I've ever had to write, and it seems weird to jump right from those back into the silly posts I normally write. I have two coming up this month, one of which is more ridiculous than normal, and it seemed inappropriate to have two extremely sad posts followed up by two ridiculous posts, with nothing in between, so I guess that's the main reason that I'm writing this post.

Ultimately it doesn't matter, this is my personal blog, for my personal writings, and there is no one overall tone that I am striving for, this blog is all just me. Still, for my own peace of mind, I felt like I should address it before I go back to my normal posts, So I guess this post is sort of a buffer, between the sadness at the beginning of the month, and the ridiculousness that I normally write. I guess in a way it sort of represents my own state of mind in the middle of the month, as I try to bring myself back to a sense of normalcy.

It's not a perfect metaphor, the ridiculousness to come doesn't mean that the sadness is gone, but it is what it is. Anyway, I think I'm done now. Thanks for reading.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Grandma's Obituary

I wanted to share my grandma's obituary here on my blog, both as a way to archive it for myself, and as a way to share it with anyone who may not have been able to make it to her funeral. If you missed my previous post about Grandma I will link that for you HERE. I wrote that the day after she died, and it was significantly harder to get through than this one. I actually haven't gone back to read it since then.

Also, while he was home for the funeral, my brother Jared went over to grandma's to take some pictures before everything inevitably changes over there.

Four Generations
Jared, our dad, Jared's son Jackson, & Grandma.
I'm including a couple of his pictures in this post, but if you're interested in seeing them all, I'll link you to his album on Facebook HERE. Not sure what his privacy settings are set to, but hopefully at least family and friends will be able to see them. Those pictures got to me almost as badly as writing my original blog post.

Grandma's obituary was written by my cousin Sarah, who took care of my grandma just about every day in her final years, and got her to share many of her stories from her years back in Canada. Sarah probably got to know my grandma the best of all her grandchildren, and was the perfect choice to write the obituary.

Sarah also shared a bunch of pictures with me, to use in this post, so the obituary will be a more illustrated version than the one in the funeral program.

Also, just to be a completist, before I get to the obituary itself, I wanted to include the inside of the program as well.

Marion North

Marion (Carleton) North was born November 14, 1926, to Clayton Carleton and Lillian (Dawkins) Carleton. She was raised on a farm in the tiny town of Orkney, Saskatchewan, during the Great Depression, living without electricity and hauling water, tending and butchering chickens for the family, shooting prairie dogs for the money by the tail, and attending a little schoolhouse by foot, or horse and cart, with her siblings.

It was at this school that she met her friend, Rose Marie, with whom she would have a friendship spanning over eighty years. Marion loved to ride her horse "Babe" across the prairie to break up the loneliness of living in Orkney, and would ride for miles in order to visit Rose.

Her paternal grandparents homesteaded near their family farm, and Marion would walk down to visit her Grandpa Charles, whom she called her "boyfriend".
They would eat apples and read each others letter's. Marion had pen pals early on, including a couple of young ladies from England. Her dedication to letter writing would shape her life, and others, for decades to come.
When she was 16, her future husband was hired on, as a farm worker during WW2. She kept in touch over thousands of miles between their home towns, writing letters by the light of a coal oil lamp, seeing him only during harvest season, for years.

Then on July 3, 1946, Marion Carleton, and Roy North, were married in Malta, Montana. She traveled, by train, with him to live in Ontario, where she was treated to many luxuries; like running water, and bread delivered to their door. In 1950, they moved to Transcona, Manitoba, and started a mushroom farm.
At this operation she was in charge of payroll and bookkeeping. In 1951 their first child, William, was born, and would be followed by five more children: John, Daniel, David, Andrew, and at last, her beloved daughter, Ruth. In 1971, the family moved to Spencer, Iowa, and then to Harlan, Iowa, in 1976.  

It was as a young married couple that Roy and Marion would profess Christ as their Savior. She would go on to teach Sunday School, do charitable work with other Christian ladies, and happily show much hospitality to preachers, missionaries, friends, and family. She loved to cook and bake for others, embroider, collect china, and cactus.

She was very faithful writing letters and sending cards. She kept written records of birthdays, anniversaries, addresses, and when she sent responses to letters. Through shaky handwriting, and memory struggles, she still made efforts in later years to write and call others, to keep in touch, and be an encouragement.

On October 7, 2018, her gentle spirit was taken from her home into the presence of her Savior, having attained the age of 91 years, 10 months, and 23 days.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Roy, brothers; Stanley (Lois) Carleton, Kenneth (Jean) Carleton; and her sister Mae (Thomas) Woods. She is survived by her children; William (Linda) North of Wheaton, Illinois; John (Cindy) North of Harlan; Daniel North of Harlan; David North of Harlan; Andrew (Sherri) North of Harlan; Ruth (Nathan) Klindt of Granby, Colorado; 11 grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren; brother, George (Sophie) Carleton, of British Columbia, Canada; other family members, and friends.

Thanks to everyone who came to grandma's funeral, or sent their support. It meant a lot to everyone, and thanks again to Jared and Sarah for the pictures. They mean so much now, and will mean so much to us all in the future.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Grandma North

Yesterday my Grandma died.

Marion North was one of the sweetest, kindest people I'll ever know. Most of my happiest childhood memories took place at grandma's house. Christmases with all our extended family, Saturday nights watching britcoms with our cousins in grandma's living room, even just getting a snack at grandma's like some sharp cheddar cheese and grape juice, or just a cup of plain ice cubes. She had the best snacks.

Grandma lived right next door, so when I was a kid, I used to love going over there to visit, for no particular reason. Usually I would just sit with her and watch Bob Ross, or Julia Child, or some other cooking show on PBS. She also used to love watching golf for some reason, which I thought was so boring, but when that's what she wanted to watch, I would sit with her anyway, and read her Reminisce and Country Magazines. I know it probably doesn't sound that exciting, but I wasn't a particularly excitable kid, and I loved just sitting quietly with grandma.

Living in Ames now, I haven't gotten to see her much lately, but every time I was home I would stop in to see her, or if she felt up to it, take her out to go get coffee. My cousins and I would try to convince her to go out at least once if we were having warm weather. These past few years Grandma hasn't really liked getting out to too many places, but she did enjoy getting coffee and a muffin at the little coffee shop in town. We hadn't done that in awhile, but those trips to the coffee shop with Grandma, Sarah, and Shaina, will be some of my favorite memories from these past few years.

The last couple of times I was home for the weekend, I made sure to go see her as I was leaving for Ames. Both times our final words to each other were exactly the same.
"I love you, Jonathan."
"I love you too, Grandma."

Goodbye, Grandma. I'm going to miss you so much. Say hi to Grandma Lillian for me. I love you.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Last Month Online (September 2018)

We'll start this month out with a video from the Gregory Brothers, remixing one of my favorite YouTube bakers, Rosanna Pansino! I lost count of how many times I listened to this. It was just so catchy. :)

And next we have a video from the Voca People! This group doesn't put out that many videos, but they will always be a favorite of mine, as they had literally one of the first viral videos I ever really became obsessed with. They aren't primarily a YouTube group, so they are usually too busy touring to make videos, but when they do I always enjoy them.

I also just realized that this makes two months in a row that I have featured an ABBA cover. No offense to Cher, I obviously loved her song too, but I think this was my favorite. I just love these weird a Capella aliens. :p

Another month, another video from Jonna Jinton. Don't worry, despite the title, nothing bad is happening to her cow. I was afraid this was going to be a horribly depressing video until I read the description. Stjärna is moving to another village for the winter, so she's telling her goodbye. :)

Side note: I love the name Stjärna. :)

I don't think I've featured Jacob Sutherland on my blog before, but he's done some great covers of songs from some of my favorite cartoons. When he put out this Adventure Time medley, I knew I had to feature it. It was so good, and I probably listened to it like ten times the first day it was up. :)

Here's a collab I never knew I needed, Walk off the Earth, and Gabriela from the Eh Bee Family! I never would have thought to put them together, but I loved the result!

And finally we have another hilarious video from Studio C! Tori is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors on this show, which will really help next year when the original cast leaves to form their own studio. (Sorry to break the news to you, if you hadn't heard) Tori's reactions and facial expressions here were some of the best I've seen, and I was dying of laughter the whole time.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

#TrueFacts (September 2018)

Did you know that bacne is cause by bacon? Bacon bacne. This knowledge disgusts everyone, and stops no one. #TrueFact

Did you know that the French army employs a squadron of battle mimes? The only problem is, they're pretty useless, unless the enemy is willing to play along with the mimed gunfire. #TrueFact

Did you know that the Incredible Hulk works part time as a model, posing for Generals Mills’ line of Green Giant vegetables? #TrueFact

Did you know that dinosaurs had stone skeletons? Since stones don’t decompose, these are the only evidence left that they actually existed. #TrueFact

Did you know that baby kangaroos were once called Jeffys? Bill Keane, creator of the beloved Family Circus character, Jeffy, sued Australia, and they were forced to change it to Joey. #TrueFact

Did you know that hair bows are just bow ties that have migrated north for the winter? #TrueFact

Did you know that hair bows are also the only way to determine the gender of both mice and ducks? #TrueFact

Did you know that before lemonade, the popular yellow drink was mustardade? This is why that period of history is known as the bad old days. #TrueFact

Did you know that babies are sticky because of the sticky fairy? So are your hands. #TrueFact

Did you know that potholes are caused by a giant hippopotamus jumping on the road? It’s known as hippo-pothole-mus. #TrueFact
I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry. I will leave now.