Tag Archives: family

Our Super Villain

A friend of mine, Michelle (who is the brains and the body behind Busy Weekends) asked people on her twitter feed if they wanted to do a fun project where they would create super heroes. I said I’d participate if I was allowed to recruit my family into the process. She was okay with that, and so we began.

Meet Perish:

CherNobyl1CherNobyl2We decided to create a super villain instead of a hero. Partly just to be contrary, but also partly because we wanted to do a play on our last name, and Perish works far better as a villain’s name, don’t you think?

Both of these images are linked to larger versions of themselves so, as Kyle Cassidy would say, Clickenzee to Embiggen!

As a family we settled on a concept for her, discussed the details of her back story and abilities and talked about her costume. Then Danica drew the picture of Perish and I coloured it (because colouring is cool!)


Name: Perish

Alter Ego: Cher Nobyl

Super Powers/Abilities:

  • Can generate focused beams of electromagnetic radiation.
  • Can see outside normal visible ranges (x-ray, ultraviolet, etc.)

Special Weapons: There is a gem in the center of her hood which she can use to super concentrate her radiation beams, effectively making it a ‘death ray’.

Costume: In addition to what you can see, Perish is always armed with irradiated throwing knives which she keeps in her boots.


  • Tundra, the Canadian Super hero
  • Pirot Guy, the Ukrainian hero of comfort

Background: Perish was born at Chernobyl during the core meltdown. Her mother was far enough from ground zero that Perish, though irradiated, was not killed. Her mother, however, was.


We had a lot of fun creating our super villain and I’ve already got a story in mind that she figures in. Even if I never get around to writing that one though, this was still time well spent doing something creative as a family. Thank you Michelle!


The Table

The Table

I don’t know anything about my father’s family, he was adopted and after he and my mother separated when I was five we never had much of a relationship. It’s a complicated and sad story and is not the point of this blog post at all. I only mention it because I think it may be one of the reasons I value the extended family on my mother’s side so very, very much.

My extended family from my Mom’s side is big. My grandmother had 10 children, 9 of whom survived by the time I was born. Those aunts and uncles married and had kids of their own and we all got together at the holidays at Grammy’s house for a big meal. It was noisy and chaotic and awesome.

The table is made of walnut and originally belonged to my great grandparents (my Mom’s father’s parents). They bought it in the 1930s or 40s (no one seems able to say for sure) and eventually passed it on to my Grammy and Grampy. As things tend to do in our family, (and maybe all big families?) this table eventually was passed down to one of my mom’s siblings, and possibly then another, but at some point it made it into our home.

It was Mom’s sewing table (and she sewed a LOT), where I learned how to quilt, the table where we put our Nintendo when we got it (like, the very first Nintendo system dudes) to play on a teeny tiny little television. It even became a diaper changing table when Danica was a baby. I went from sitting on the board beneath the table with my siblings and cousins, using the knob in the middle as a steering wheel to play imagination games while our parents played cards around us, to changing my own daughter’s diapers on it. This table means so much to me, I can’t even explain…

Then my Mom gave it to me.

By the time it reached me it had been through a lot. It was dinged and scratched. The “steering wheel” had been kicked, scuffed and even chewed on by a dog or two, and the table top had been painted dark brown to try and hide some of the water rings and such.

I decided to refinish it.

I had never refinished anything before in my life.

I was terrified.

What if I screwed up? What if I wrecked the table that probably meant just as much to other members of my family as it did to me?

What if?

But I swallowed my fears and did it anyway.

It took me a very long time, and I should have taken before pictures, but I think I’m finally finished.

Table Top

I stripped all the paint off and then sanded, and sanded, and sanded. A couple coats of stain (Cabernet by Varathane) followed, then three coats of glossy varnish (with more sanding in between, just for fun!) and a final coat of semi-gloss varnish for the top itself*. I think it’s gorgeous.

Also, for those of us who loved it, here is the steering wheel:


And here are Jo and Dani putting their fingerprints all over the top because they know it drives me crazy:


As for why I’m sharing this on my blog, well, I may have mentioned that I have a pretty big extended family. I wanted a place I could put these pictures for everyone to see. Despite my fears, I think I did a pretty good job here. I’m proud of the results and want to show everyone else for whom this table isn’t just a piece of furniture that I’m taking care of it and giving it the respect it deserves.

Oh, and for everyone who is like “Um, it’s just a table.” well, now it’s a really pretty table. So there’s that.

Now I just need to find some chairs to go with it and tidy up the room its in 😉

*Jo and Dani helped out too but I think it’s fair to say I did the bulk of the work.


So, I’m cheating a little bit today, but only sorta. As you can see, I’m still writing part of this blog, so I am not actually counting this as a cheat, but, at the same time, the bulk of today’s content isn’t coming from me, it’s coming from my daughter, Danica.

F is for family, and my family are the biggest supporters of my writing. They put up with me living in my own head far too often, they don’t mind when I bounce ideas off them (and they don’t take offense when I shake my head and say ‘No, no, that will never work’). They contribute ideas to my fishbowl. They don’t complain that our house isn’t spotless, or that our income isn’t higher (as it would be if I had a paying job). They are always there for me and if it weren’t for them… well, let’s not go there.

I asked Danica if she’d like to write about what it’s like to have a writer for a mother for my blog. Her response? “You have a blog?”

LOL Okay, so they are super supportive, but that doesn’t mean they follow my blog :-p After I told her that yes, I did have a blog, she was happy to complain about me in public on it.


Hi, I’m Danica, Rhonda’s daughter. I really have no idea what to write about in this blog, so I guess I’ll talk about writing, and how living with a writer can sometimes suck.

My mom, as you can tell is a writer, and I’ve picked up a few things from her. For instance, if you have writers block, just write. What you write may sound stupid, but it usually helps to get rid of that pesky writers block.

One horrible thing about living with a writer is: If I say something  that is not grammatically correct, my mom corrects what I say. Or, if I’m just being silly she’ll correct what I say anyways. It can be pretty annoying, but you learn to live with it.

Here’s another thing: My mom said I have to write a conclusion for this, but I don’t want to. So here’s my ‘conclusion’. Don’t live with a writer unless you love them a lot, like how my dad and I love my mom.


Short and sweet, eh? This blog post is part of the Blogging from A to Z challenge over the month of April and was brought to you by the letter F. Please pop by tomorrow when I’ll be talking about… um… something… something Grrreat! My schedule says Goodreads, so maybe… 🙂


Truth is the slipperiest creature I know. I just wrote a long(ish) blog entry, complete with pictures and nostalgia, about my favourite ever Christmas present. Then I deleted it.

It’s so tricky when you write about real things, about real people. Even if you’re saying nice things about them, it’s never quite clear what you should share and what is best kept to yourself. Or at least, it’s never clear for me.

We were pretty poor when I was a kid. That’s a fact. We never went hungry, but money was tight and there are a lot of stories in there, but are they mine to tell? Is it really fair for me to talk about what it was like growing up? That doesn’t just affect me, but my whole family. Just because I feel comfortable talking about that, does it mean I can? That I should? What about my siblings? My parents? My extended family? When I tell my story I’m also touching on theirs.

In the case of the blog entry about my favourite Christmas gift, I loved the present because I could see how much love and thought had gone into buying it for me. I could see how proud the person giving it to me was because they thought they’d gotten me the thing I wanted most in the world. They were wrong, they’d misunderstood what I asked for, but it didn’t matter to me. In that case it really was the thought that counted and that ‘wrong’ present meant more to me than the ‘right’ one ever could have because I saw the love behind it. Still, I’d never told that person they’d bought me something other than what I asked for. If they read this blog and found out, would it hurt their feelings or would they be happy to know I saw their motivations, their love, on thier face and it made that gift mean the world to me? I didn’t have the answers, and I don’t want to hurt anyone, so I’m keeping that story to myself.

But then, what if I want to tell a story, a different story, about when I was a kid? What if I want to talk about elementary school, or junior high? What if our family situation touches on those things (because dude, how could it not?) how do I know what’s okay? How do I decide when it’s okay to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and when to pretty it up a bit? What if I want to talk about the less than shiny parts of our family? No one’s perfect, and certainly no family is. That’s part of my story, is it okay to share it?

I don’t know the answers, but I’m starting to ask the questions. I think, for now, I’m just going to have to keep feeling my way through, one story at a time and really take a hard look at my motivations for sharing each. I don’t want to hurt anyone, so that’s the only way I know to go. But in the end, it’s my story too, so I think I have a right to share if I want to.

Mostly I write fiction, so this doesn’t become a giant problem, but who I am, what I’ve known and expierenced, they all inform my writing, so even in fiction, it’s important, I think, that I consider these things.

Cheerful thoughts leading into Giftmas, eh?

I suspect the holidays are greatly to blame for my thoughts heading down this road, as is work on CONSEQUENCE which takes place in a small town much like the ones where I grew up in.* Sure, we didn’t have genies, but in a way, small towns are like families. They have secrets, they have truths and they have ways of functioning that are unique to them. I’m not trying to re-create anywhere I’ve lived for CONSEQUENCE (okay, that the last time I’m writing it in all caps :-P) but I’m definitely finding myself thinking about them a lot these days. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Families, small towns and truth. I could get lost thinking about them, but then I’d never get any writing done. So maybe I am, as usual, just overthinking things what I really need to do is stop the thought merry-go-round and just freaking write.


*and, it should be noted, never fit into