Off With My Head

A few months ago, I decided that it was time to kill the red. I wasn't having fun with my hair anymore and I missed looking in the mirror and recognizing the girl staring back. It was no longer fun to be a redhead. The jig was up. The redhead dream was officially dead.

Or so I thought.

Turns out red is a petty little bitch who had a stubborn grip on my follicles and refused to let go.

Some dreams are easier to kill than others it turns out.

But my momma didn't raise no quitter.

I gave it a valiant effort. I paid a lot of money to have the red stripped out of my hair. And in the process I turned it into mud coloured straw.

I've never felt dead sexier than I have these past few months. If one considers dead sexy as feeling mousy and blue.

So I made an executive decision. One I hadn't made in EIGHT YEARS.

It was time for a hair cut. Not a trim. Not an inch. Not even two.

All of it.

The hair had to go.

Momma say wha? Also, BEST PICTURE OF ME EVER.

It wasn't that hard of a decision. After all, I've had short hair many times in my life. Just not since Shale was alive.

It's been a while.

And so, I marched into the hair salon and said, "Off with my head." Only I meant my hair.

It almost looks like I finally shaved my legs.

And so it came off.

And still, there was RED. I was actually eyeing the clippers, thinking the only way to kill the red was to Britney it off.

Luckily my hairdresser is smarter than I am.

Holy crows feet woman. 

It took a few hours and a couple of toners, but suddenly, when I put my glasses on, I saw her.

A me I recognized. A reflection of a person I used to know. It's a Tanis the Internet has never known. And I'm sure not everyone on the Internets will like.


I went public with it yesterday, in my offline life. The verdict? Some hated it, some loved it, one dude called me an ugly 12 year old.

If only they had seen what I looked like as a 12 year old. Even my mom laughs when she recalls how homely I was back then.

(My finger is covering my best friend Jojo. No need to bring her past into this pain.)

I had completely forgotten how strong people's reactions to short hair on a girl would be. Especially if they went from long hair to boy short in one quick cut.

People can be real arseholes with their opinions.

So I'm back to blonde. I don't know how long I'll keep it short, or when I'll grow it out again. I'm in no rush. Right now I'm just enjoying recognizing the face that looks back at me in the mirror.


The red is officially dead.

The hair is short.

Be gentle dear internets.

And if you don't like it, I expect you to do better than calling me an ugly 12 year old boy. Because that line is already old. Boris.

There Will Be No Tapping Out

When I was eight my grade three teacher was giving away kittens. And being an eight-year-old girl in a brand new school, with absolutely no friends, I needed that kitten. I begged and pleaded with my parents and when that didn't work I busted out the last weapon I had.

Puppy dog eyes.

My father was unable to resist and later that day I found myself walking home with a tiny black and white kitten tucked safely inside my orange nylon McDonald's backpack. Which is basically the same thing as walking around with a cat inside a pillowcase.


I named that kitten Casper and he was my very best friend. We did everything together. Which wasn't a lot because he was a cat who resented being carted around in a sac and I was an eight year old girl who finally made friends and spent more time on a playground than I did at home.

But Casper was my cat and I loved him and there was one thing we did together every night and that was hide under my covers at night with a book and a flashlight and read. When Casper was young he'd try and bat at all the pages and pounce on my head and my dad would hear me hissing at him to behave so he'd wander into my room with a rolled up newspaper to swat the cat and confiscate my flashlight.

Casper came back from the grave and wants to read with me. Or you know, my daughter's cat, FLUFFNUTS, wants to come in to eat. WHICHEVER.

That's when I soon learned I didn't need light to read. I could squint by the light of the moon and even though my eyes are now shot, it was totally worth it. Casper and I were reading buddies. It was the very first book club I was ever in.

Since then, I've avoided joining book clubs like I've avoided getting the herp. Only I was more successful in avoiding book clubs. Every now and then you'll see me with a swollen pus-filled lip and it's all I can do to refrain from chasing people with my herp-infected lip and spreading the love around.

Book clubs are different though. Being in a book club means standing there, figuratively naked (because public nudity is often illegal) and admitting that sometimes a girl just likes to read smut. It took me years to finally uterus-up and publicly admit that I love listening to NICKELBACK. The idea of telling the world what I read is terrifying.

You know what the literary equivalent of Nickelback is? Danielle Steel. Everybody reads her but no one admits to it. NOT EVEN ME.

So when this awesome company named Copia knocked on my email door, and asked if I would partner with them, start a book club and admit my literary tastes were as questionable as my musical ones? I said SIGN ME UP.

I may or may not have been high on herpes medication at the time. But it didn't matter. Because, you know, BOOKS. INEXPENSIVE BOOKS! READING! BOOKS, BOOKS AND MOAR BOOKS.

Thankfully Copia asked some other bloggers to join them as well. Bloggers with much better tastes than mine.  And hence, the Copia Parents Group was born.

I'll be honest; at first I was a little hesitant. I was also a little confused. I always thought the first rule of book club was not to admit there was a book club and clearly Copia was blowing it just by telling everyone they existed. But it turns out book club is totally different than Fight Club in that there is no sweaty Ed Norton, no Brad Pitt and no tapping out. However, like Fight club, there will be no shoes and no shirts allowed in my book club. No pants either.


Don't look at me like that. My book club is also a judgment free zone. So if you chose to be un-naked, I won't even blink. I may sigh heavily but I totally won't judge.

So it was all fun and games with my little naked book club with a membership of one, until Mr. Lady asked if I wanted to join a Copia group with her, Doug French of Laid Off Dad infamy and Jim Lin, a.k.a Busy Dad.

And suddenly, it didn't matter that the Copia app is pretty cool, or that you can read your friends' notes in the margins, create your own groups (and join mine!) and use it on an iPad, a laptop or even a Droid; no, the only thing that mattered was that I suddenly found myself in an honest to goodness book club with three of the smartest people I've ever known.

What do you get when you put a Harvard graduate, a teacher and the conference program manager for a huge company into a book club with a redneck?

I don't really know just yet. But I'm sure it will involve Nickelback and Danielle Steel at some point.

I'm actually kind of geeked out about the launch of our new little book club. It's a chance to do something I really love (read) on a social eReader platform I like (Copia) with people I adore. And I can do it NAKED, in my own HOME, with no one swatting at me with a rolled up newspaper while shutting off my lights. Unless of course my husband is home. Then all bets are off.

You should totally join our little geek tribe book group aptly named "Tanis, Doug, Jim, and Shannon Do Books" (you'll have to create an account and log in, but it's fairly painless and FREE, I promise, and TOTALLY WORTH IT) and then you too can add your notes in the margins or just read along and help explain the really big words to me.

I'd appreciate any help I can get.

You should hop on over to Copia and check it out. Grab an account and play along. We can talk to each other while reading books! And no one will shush us!!

To celebrate this new awesomeness that I've found myself a part of, Copia has graciously allowed me to give away a free book to TEN of different readers and the only thing you have to do is leave me a comment telling me what book you want to read, or the name of your favourite book, or better yet, tell me the worst cheesiest book you've ever read.

Just be sure to leave a valid email address so I can reach you if you win. All winners will be chosen by a random draw and not based on the quality of the literature they like to read.


Disclaimer: I'm totally working with Copia. Yes they're paying me. And I like it. (Also go visit Shannon, Jim and Doug because each of them are giving away ten books as well. It's like a book bonanza. We're spreading books like I spread the herp come Christmas time. 


The Greatest Inventor Of All Times

You know when you are hauling groceries from your car to your house and the weather is miserable and you really really don't want to have to make several trips, so you laden as many bags as you can on your arms and in your hands as humanly possible until it feels as though the bags are threatening to rip off your limbs and you can't feel your finger tips any more?

Last night. That.

I stood outside my retina-burning yellow front door, balancing a jug of milk on my hip while bags filled with groceries hung off both arms and several fingertips and stared at the door knob, knowing I couldn't twist it without losing my entire load. I momentarily debated setting everything down to open the front door but then I remembered I had children inside of the house so I made an adult decision.

I kicked the bottom of the door and shouted, "Open up now or I'm not feeding you for a week."

I expected someone to quickly rush to the door to help me like I've trained them to do. Instead I heard the faint sounds of shouting.


So I kicked the door a little harder, yelled a little louder and winced as I lost all feeling in my fingers as the heavy grocery bags started to turn my fingers a fun shade of purple.

The shouting suddenly stopped and seconds later, just as I was vowing to never grocery shop again, the bright yellow door swung open and Fric looked sheepish.

"Sorry Mom," she said as she just barely caught the milk jug before it fell to the floor. "We didn't hear you knock."

"Ya, because you two were fighting," I accused her as I gracelessly dropped all the sacks at my feet and watched a rogue can of tomatoes make a break for freedom.

Frac walked in and scooped up the can and grabbed a few bags. "No, we weren't fighting. We were ARGUING."

Right. My mistake for not differentiating between the two as I was having my limbs amputated by groceries.

"And just what were the two of you arguing about," I asked as I started cramming boxes of cereal into my messy pantry.

"Oh you know, just who was the most important inventor of all time was," my daughter responded.

Right. Because doesn't every pair of siblings have that argument? I know my brother and I totally used to fight over that very same historical question.

Oh wait. We didn't. We were too busy fist fighting and hauling each other around by a plunger attached to our abdomens. My children are weird and I'm oddly proud of that.

"I see. And just who is in the running for greatest inventor of all time?"

"Well I have a soft spot for Madame Curie but over all I think Leonardo DaVinci rocks," Fric offered as she opened the fridge to put the apples away.

"Uh huh. And who does Frac think is the greatest inventor of all time?" I asked right before stuffing a rogue Oreo cookie into my mouth. (What? There was only a few left in the bag. Someone had to eat them.)

"Nikola Tesla," he shouted from the laundry room.

"All very good choices," I replied as I tried to hide my cookie breath. "So why the arguing?"

"Because Frac only thinks Nikola Tesla is the best because the Oatmeal said so," my daughter huffed.

"And Fric only thinks Leonardo DaVinci is the best because she liked the movie Ever After!" my son countered back.

"Wait a second. How do you know about the Oatmeal?" I asked.

"Jeez Mom. I can read. And there's this little thing called the Internet. Maybe you've heard of it," my fourteen-year-old dead panned.

"Don't be cheeky. I just didn't know you read the Oatmeal." I stood there, kind of rocked for a second. I keep forgetting my kids know about the Internet.

"Ya, I read the Bloggess too. She's funny. You should meet her," he offered. Sincerely and innocently.

"I'll get right on that, I promise," I said as I stuffed the last Oreo into my mouth.

I have no idea who Jenny is, or why her and Deb are kissing me. Also? This may be the WORST picture of me ever.

"So settle the argument Mom. Who was the best inventor of all time in your opinion? Tesla or DaVinci?"

Crap. I hate when they come looking to me for intelligent answers. Wasn't it enough I gave them life and Honey Nut Cheerios?

I stalled for time by pouring myself a glass of milk and ran through my memory banks about everything I knew about each of the men in question.

They stood in front of me, blonde wildebeests, waiting for me to pick a side. As though my answer would be proof positive I loved one more than the other. I held up my finger to signal to wait as I chugged back my glass of milk.

I really hate milk.

Swallowing the last drop, I turned around, put my cup into the sink, took a deep breath and then turned back to face them.

"Okay, first," I pointed to Frac, "you need to know you can't believe everything you read on the internet. Even if it's from the Oatmeal. Whom I adore. Do your research and back it up with facts. Preferably found from somewhere other than Wikipedia."

Then I pointed to my daughter. "Secondly, seriously Fric? Ever After? You do realize of all the sources on DaVinci, that may be the very worst one, ever? Have I not taught you to have better tastes in movies than this? What next? You'll be quoting Nicholas Sparks for literary purposes?"

They took a second to alternately look indignant and slightly ashamed but only for a heartbeat.

"Fine. But who do you choose?" they asked.

I looked at them, their big blue eyes mirroring one another's, their father's face shining through each of their reflections and I shook my head.

"You're both wrong. The greatest inventor of all time was..."

I paused for dramatic effect...

"The caveman. He invented the wheel."

Simultaneously, as though they choreographed it, they both rolled their eyes at me and whined, "MOOOOOOOM."

"What? What's wrong with the caveman?" I asked as they walked away to resume helping put the groceries away.

"Just think of how different life would be if they hadn't have figured out that wheel? Betty Rubble never had it so good!!"

Where's a pigeon with laser beam eyes when you need one?