10 tips for making your Deathday a day to remember

Funerals in this country follow a rather predictable pattern….some pretty flowers, a little heart-warming, tear-jerking music and lots of blah, blah about what a wonderful person so-and-so was. For many people, this routine is comforting. Personally, I’d prefer a less conservative approach.

The dear departed are probably going to a better place (seriously, how much worse could it be?) so it should be a day for rejoicing. The recent trend is towards a more celebratory atmosphere and maybe if funerals were as one-of-a-kind as the individual, we’d actually start to look forward to them. I’ve come up with a few ideas for deathday celebrations that you’re welcome to borrow, but don’t be afraid to improvise and come up with your own. We human’s are a diverse bunch of whackos, so make that final exit as unique as you are.

Party Line

When you’re making out your termination papers and setting up the plans for your family to follow when you’re outta here…there’s no reason it has to be another run-of-the-mill, hohum-another-dead-guy kinda day. The following list has a few ideas to get you started on your own path to perdition.

1)A movie theme might work well for some…if you were a couch-potato in life, request a comfy, couch-shaped coffin and a remote control.  Already, you’re half-way to a perfect deathday. Throw in a popcorn machine, a big screen TV and 3D glasses for everyone… now we’re starting to get excited about attending. Remember, it’s your day, so you get to choose the movie.

2)Dressing up is considered de rigueur at funerals, to show respect for the dead. But if you hated wearing a suit and tie in life you could request mourners wear a copy of your favorite ‘Zombie’ tee (these can be pre-ordered if you’re the organized type) and start the day in a more relaxed atmosphere….unless you pop up out of your coffin with a knife and fork in your hand, then things might get a little tense. There are as many variations on this theme as there are favourite tshirts…so personalize, personalize!

Zombie Wall

3)If you’re an actor/actress, why not get a stand-in for the day? In this case, it’s probably even better if they don’t look like you… just pick any old body off the street. Seeing the wrong body in the coffin will surely stir up a little excitement and provide mourners months of additional entertainment trying to figure out who that was, and where you are.

4)This isn’t my personal favourite, cuz clowns kinda freak me out, but maybe a circus theme would be your idea of the ideal deathday. Jugglers, clowns, an elephant or two (optional) and twisted-balloon-animal handouts for everyone. This theme works particularly well if you ever worked for the circus, were a juggler or clown. Otherwise it’s just kind of weird.

5)Pinatas…let’s talk deathday pinatas. I like this one. A pinata is so versatile……have it made in advance to your specifications. If you were an accountant in life, why not a entertain your guests with a giant pencil-shaped pinata stuffed with dollar bills? Maybe they’ll even forget how boring you really were. Or if you happened to be an obnoxious bastard, attach a pinata to your coffin and let everyone take a whack at you. This release of tension is guaranteed to boost your ratings and maybe even engender a kind word or two.

Money is a Tool, If You Aren't

6)Music is an excellent way to adapt your celebration to suit your personality. Don’t settle for ‘Amazing Grace’ just because everyone else does. If you’re into Radiohead maybe “High and Dry” would be a better selection for you. I like blues, so “Someday the Sun Won’t Shine For You” by Jethro Tull might be appropriate for me. However I’d advise caution when making this kind of last request….it’s bound to produce more of that weeping and wailing thing that can quickly ruin a good party. A good DJ should know how to keep the party upbeat, so spending a little time now to find the right one would be a wise way to start your deathday planning.

7)Scavenger hunts are fantastic….I love ’em. Write out your list beforehand …if you need help coming up with a list, google has endless ideas for your search list. Here again, this is an easy theme to make your own….use some of your own belongings…or relate the items to your own hobby, etc. Make sure some of the items are hidden under and around you in your coffin; this way you will be involved in the fun as people dig around you looking for stuff.

8)Remember, you don’t have to take it lying down…..this is such a basic fact that most people forget to take advantage of the opportunity. Why just lie there if you can stand up in the corner, or better yet, sit yourself in the front row and sport your 3D glasses with the rest of them. There are endless variations on this basic premise…just run with it, so to speak. Buttresses, pulleys, and some simple frameworks can create some amazing effects.

This Way Up

9)The following idea can be time-consuming, so if you’re planning on making this idea part of your last hurrah, be sure to get on it now. To avoid all the usual blah, blah, pre-write everything for your friends and family to say at your deathday celebration. For goodness sake, take pity on those left behind and do this pre-planning now. I would suggest a selection of the best jokes you’ve ever heard. Alternatively, if you have no sense of humour,  just give us all the real dirt on your life…. you’re not the angel people would portray you as, so give us the down-low and we’ll have a bit of fun with that. This one’s a great crowd pleaser and is sure to attract an audience. …a perfect choice if you have no friends anyway.

Laugh Lines

10)Lastly, if you want to really go out in style…..make it a SURPRISE party. Don’t tell anyone you’re dead. Granted, it’s difficult to pull off, but it can be done. Unavoidably, one or two people usually find out ahead of time, but that’s okay.  Bribe the nurses and doctors if necessary to keep the cat in the bag and then have a trusted family member send out your pre-printed invitations. Tell everyone it’s come-as-you-are, potluck and voila….a perfect deathday celebration.

What are you’re last requests? I’d love to hear them, even if it’s just a request for me to stay the hell away from you and your family.

Hopefully, my own deathday is a long way in the future because I’m not finished my planning yet, but if some of you adopt these ideas at least I might be invited to a few fun funerals in the meantime.
Happy Endings!
(If you’re pre-planning, all the above merchandise can be found on my zazzle website…see link on right)


The obsession

I confess, I am obsessed. Artwork absorbs me to such an extent that I forget to eat; I mean it’s such a colossal annoyance to stop for a meal.  Seriously, I’d love to just strap on some intravenous, vitaminized gloop and carry on with my work.  Daily hygiene is also a necessary evil. I’d skip it altogether if not for the other people in the world (taking pity on their sense of smell, I occasionally sacrifice the time).
When I’m working, nothing is sacred…my kitchen egg-flipper still has chips of paint on it from some long-forgotten adventure in art. I gather household items around me like Pig-pen’s cloud, as I foment the latest creation. It’s an obsession. Fortunately, my obsession brings me joy not anxiety. And there’s no stigma attached to being an eccentric artist…my OCD is socially acceptable. Everyone knows artists are crazy.

For the last couple of years I’ve concentrated on photography and graphic art. These two hobbies shouldn’t generate much mess, right?  Ha! When I’m taking photos, I can’t just snap things in their current location and condition….that would be too neat and tidy. No, I have to decorate them with bits of lace, or outline them with light from sparklers or freeze them in ice. At the moment I have a piece of glass out on my patio(rescued from some old picture frame) where I’m taking advantage of the current cold snap to coat it with ice.  I’ll use it later, for better or worse, to create some new images under ice.
For as long as I can remember, one project or another has cluttered up my living space. The freaky thing is, disorder upsets my equilibrium so I compulsively clean today, and I’ll obsessively create a new mess tomorrow.

To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, art is undeniably a jealous mistress (or in my case, mister). Relationships definitely suffer neglect when you’re wrapped up in paper mache and tubes of glitter….(unless you’re using them in novel ways outside my normal methods). People become extraneous and just as much an inconvenience as eating a meal… or more so…at least the meal doesn’t expect conversation.

Here is one of the harvests from my obsession. This one required burning sparklers in the kitchen, dropping remnants of ash in the kitchen sink, as well as coating the top of the range with dripping candle wax. I never notice the mess I’m making until I come out of the zone…..and then it’s back to compulsive tidying.

Photography Prints

and if I happen to scatter a little broken glass here and there, who’s to notice?

Art Prints

When I was younger, I tried to fit into society’s standard of a “normal” life…..someone else’s vision of normal. Now I’m old enough to understand that my life is normal….for me.

And it’s damn good.

Links to header images:



Dammit, I’ve been ripped off!

Apparently, other people have something called a soul mate and I feel I’ve been cheated. Where’s mine then, huh?  How come, in all my long years, I’ve never bumped into anything that remotely resembled a soul mate.

Maybe it’s because I’m not sure what a soul mate is? Is it anything like the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus?

Okay, I may be a tad cynical, but if there is a soul mate for everyone, mine is wandering around Tiffanys and I’m over here shuffling around WalMart (okay, I don’t really shuffle yet, but I’m sure I will be by the time he finds me).

Oh, by the way, Happy New Year.

This whole soul mate question began rankling me after watching “Crazy Stupid Love” with my kids over the holidays. One of my sons, who is now 38 years old, recommended it as one of his favorites. Now, biased mother opinions aside, he is a handsome, thoroughly masculine, hunky kinda guy with a ton of husband potential. Any guy sensitive and romantic enough to pick that movie, must have possibilities don’t you think? But he’s never met his soul mate. I have two other sons….same thing. No soul mates. Are we all delusional?

And when exactly did soul mates become a national objective? My parents never told me that a mysterious soul mate lurked in my future. It was supposed to be a knight in shining armour. Yes, I’m sure I remember that correctly. A clanking hunk on a white charger. Would have made for noisy sex, but hey, in those days you weren’t supposed to be doing it anyway. My siblings and I were all immaculate conceptions…..no rattling breastplates and crashing helmets in my parents bedroom; no need to even remove the gauntlets.

So, have I been duped? Was I watching for a white horse when my soul mate went charging by on a black stallion?

Or is the whole thing a myth propagated by the media to sell more movies and Valentine’s cards? What’s your opinion….do you still believe in the Easter Bunny? If you have met your soul mate, send me a picture.  I want some kinda proof that they exist.

Honestly, I’ve managed to have a wonderful life with no horse hockey messin’ up my yard…and I don’t have much interest in shopping at Tiffanys. But if you’re out there ‘soul mate’, and you’re not too senile to find it, drop by WalMart…I’ll be the little grey-haired lady causing a scene in the lingerie department. And hurry up, time is running out. I figure I might have twenty good years left in me, but after that you’re on your own.


The skeletons are out of the closet…

…and traipsing around England at the moment (click on picture for exact location).

Abbey Road Halloween

If you live in Canada, like I do, you’re probably safe for a couple more weeks. That’s when all the weirdos will come out to play…zombies, vampires, witches, and the odd (and I do mean odd) superhero. No silly,  not Saturday night on Granville Street. I’m talking super-freak night “HALLOWEEN”.

When I  grew up in the 50’s there weren’t any zombies for Halloween.  At least you didn’t see them much, they mostly kept to themselves.  I mean dead stuff mainly stayed in the cemetery were it belonged and we just didn’t spend much time there. And mom didn’t often say, “I’m just on my way to the cemetery dear, do you want anything?”

So we had boring old ghosts, and they didn’t do much except sort of float around immaterially and go “B0o”. Oooh, oooh, I’m so scared. Things are much more exciting  now with brain-eating zombies lurching around and blood-sucking vampires waiting to slurp your neck. Ahh, what a great time to be a kid. You can get the crap scared out of you and have nightmares enough to last ’til next Halloween.

And you won’t find any self-respecting youngster these days wearing a costume made from their sister’s old tutu..on no. Not when you can pick up a fake limb, including blood and mangled veins, at the local dollar store. Have you seen the Halloween goodies in the dollar store? Wow…it’s enough to make a 60-year-old woman want to trick herself up in blood-dripping wounds and hit the streets. Okay, 61, but don’t be niggly.

Just a brief word of caution:

If your children speak to you in Latin or any other language  which they should not know, shoot them immediately. It will save  you a lot of grief in the long run. However, it will probably take several  rounds to kill them, so be prepared. This also applies to kids who speak  with somebody else’s voice.

For the big night, find yourself a few other people who like to dress up in funny clothes (if your Uncle Joe fits that description, bless you, that’s family)…and have yourselves a party.

Or sit at home in the dark, hide behind the door and pretend no one’s home so you can eat all the Halloween treats yourself. No, of course I’ve never done that. I’m not some crazy old cat-lady you know.

I have been spending a lot of time in the dark but only to practice long exposure photography. You can see some new “painting with light” images on my photography website iiphotoArt including the picture in the header. And for some really unique Halloween fun, be sure to check out all the great artists at zazzle.com…see links in the sidebar.

I’ll talk to you again after things calm back down, when the skeletons are back in the closet and the bats are back in the belfry.

Is there an elephant in the room?

I was trying to decide on a topic for my next blog, and the word ‘elephant’ popped into my head. That’s just so totally random….and now there’s this big friggin’ elephant in the room.

Honestly, I tried to ignore it, but how do you ignore a seven-ton animal (that poops) in a two bedroom apartment? Go to the other room?
Might as well write the damn blog about elephants and get on with it.

Hey, think about this…how great would it be to be able to stick your nose in your mouth and smell your own breath? Okay, maybe not so great…but now that I think about it, elephants might have several advantages in the dating game.

For instance, they’ve got that yucky-green-stuff-in-the-teeth problem licked…no front teeth. And there’s none of that weight discrimination thing happening when everyone at the club is in the six-seven ton range. Have you always been self-conscious about your ears flapping in the wind?….mine are now looking rather dainty compared to dumbo’s. Even my wrinkly knees suddenly look kind of appealing.
Elephants do have their own set of problems I’m sure, for instance how often does your date put his nose in your plate and help himself to some of your french fries? (if you answered “all the time”, it’s time to have a relisten to “50 ways to leave your lover”).

And imagine if you accidentally sneezed while your nose was in your mouth?..you could blow the top of your head off. I don’t even want to contemplate the amount of snot a snozzola that size must produce.

But if size really does matter….weeeelllll hang on to your hat, we’re going to Georgia! (I have no idea what that means, but it sounded good).

Alrighty, I feel better now. The elephant in the room has been exorcized. I do feel obliged to tell at least one elephant joke before I go. Have you got a favorite? Remember this one?
How do you kill a blue elephant?
Shoot him with a blue elephant gun (insert groan here)
How do you kill a red elephant?
.. wait for it, wait for it….you choke him ’til he turns blue
and kill him with a blue elephant gun.

And here are a couple of the things I’ve been designing in the art department this week: (absolutely nothing to do with elephants, I’m over it) Click on the picture to go to my zazzle website.
I love these “Crazy About Polkadot” sneakers:

And this design called “Hot Metal” is available on business cards, greeting cards, mugs and more.

My photo website has been sadly ignored for a couple of weeks….taken lots of new photos but haven’t uploaded any yet. But there’s still lots of good stuff on there, so here’s the link: iiphotoArt

Are you a Dr. Dolittle…do the animals talk to you?

Do animals talk to you? I don’t mean the totally-whacked-out-voices-in-your-head kind of talk to you, but do you project human emotions and speech onto the animals you run into? I do. Because I can. It’s my blog and I can do whatever freakydeaky thing I want and hey, why not, it’s fun!

This gull for instance, in my feverish little brain, sounds just like my brother Neale, except with a sort of upperclass, English accent…slightly snooty and unfailingly polite.

And this handsome guy speaks to me in a Humphrey Bogartish kinda tone, oozing smooth and self-confidence…and he has an excellent pickup line.

But apparently, animals have a different mindset than us, because they say things that you just don’t hear in everyday conversation:

And are you like me? do you hover like a hungry lion over the card section in the drugstore …waiting to pounce on that perfect card? I could (and have) spent hours reading all the goofy animal cards. Mostly, I’m left feeling hungry. I end up looking at their cute little faces and have to write new lines for them because the cardwriters humour is just a little too bland for my tastes…I like something that packs a punch…maybe with a smidge of weirdness thrown in there for flavor.
Finally though, I have the perfect solution, I’m using my own photos and adding my own text…that means no more saccherine-sweet cards for Auntie Mable; no more lovey-dovey-googoo-gaga stuff for my sons’ birthdays. It’ll be nothing but poop and crunching birdbones from now on….now that I can talk to the animals and they are talking back.

For a visual treat, visit http://barbara-white.artistwebsites.com
and other fun gifts and stuff at iiphotoArt

How many ways do you know to skin a cat?

How many ways do you know to skin a cat?
My apologizes to all the cat lover’s for daring this gruesome question…but wait a minute…..don’t string me up yet!
 To reassure you, I do not know how to skin a cat. I have a distinct lack of knowledge in this area. I assume you could go from top to bottom, front to back maybe? tippytoes to tail? That would be strictly supposition of course…..I  have no personal experience with the situation.  It has got me thinking though, hmmmmm…..if I was going to, how would I…oh, sorry,that’s not really what I wanted to talk about.
The real question is, why in the world do I say ‘there’s more than one way to skin a cat’?!!! Okay, granted, I don’t say it often, but I have said it. And I say it with such authority…as if I really did know what I was talking about!  I use that and other weird, home-grown expressions…without giving it much thought. 
Did this saying originate back-in-the-day when people really did skin cats??? Was there such a day? Ugggghhh. All right, I admit I have no love for cats…they’re just so darned snotty, but I don’t skin everything I take a disliking to. As a matter of fact, I’m humane enough to  transport spiders outside instead of squishing them.
 Ok,  I’m a humane, blathering idiot….and, like a cat, I’m curious. Curious about everything. Including skinning cats, including this strange language that pours unintentionally from my mouth. Yes, I know, curiousity killed the cat. But wait…..do I know that? Is it really dead? There are  certainly enough of them running around alive. There’s this big orange tomcat who turns up his nose at me every day as he blithely poopoos in my garden…and he’s certainly curious enough to be the one they mean.
On reflection though, I use too many of these old expressions…more than you can shake a stick at.
Why are you shaking a stick at me? You look really silly.

Nevermind, this blog has all gone to pot (and you can interpret that expression any way you want)
For more humour, check out some of the wacky truisms on my new site at zazzle. Lots of great gifts for that person who has everything (including a sense of humour).

And yes, I’m still busy with the photography too. The header image above is a composite image called “Vancouver Lightshow”…you can find this one and more on my photo website for iiphotoArt

Keep having fun! talk to you soon.