Thursday, June 29, 2006

sensory overload @ your library

So every kid in west Hamilton was at the library today, I swear. Most of them under the age of 8, half on the computers playing games, some reporting their books read to the summer reading program staff member; some at the train table playing with the trains, several running around spinning the paperback racks and some actually reading at tables. A room off the childrens' area had participants for a toddler circle time - there was much screaming and many toddlers trying to get away - not exactly toddling at all, more like running at full tilt, with a frazzled caregiver on their tail. As for me, well I just stood in the middle of it all, fascinated. No, really. The library is brightly lit, the staff are more than patient, and the area for kids is unbelievably fun and kid-friendly. Can I get a collective "duh" from y'all? Shouldn't the kids area BE kid-friendly? Indeed it should - and I know it is, I've been to this library dozens of times with the kids, and it rocks. But it never ceases to amaze me how different public libraries are now. Of course people, we're going back 30 years or more and I really don't want to start on the "when I was a youngun.." and bore you to tears, but there it is. Let's start with the "brightly lit" part. I remember the library being dark - like really dark - like "your eyes need to spend several minutes adjusting to the dark after you locked your bike on the rack outside and opened the great big door and stepped in out of the summer sunshine" dark. Which was ok - in a way I liked it - it added to the mysteriousness of the place. Next, let's revisit the "spinning and screaming" - my library was quiet. Ok not tomblike, but there was definitely not the buzz that you get today. Finally I'd like to address the "train table" - only one of the dozens of toys available at our library today. I vaguely remember a toy lending library as part of the whole library thing, but there wasn't really anything to play with while you were actually in the library. I never borrowed toys. I had lots of toys, I was there for books - always lots and lots of books.

Today both boys signed up for the summer reading program, and Max even got his very own library card. (side note - remember the Happy Days episode where Fonzie gets a library card? And he tells Ritchie "anyone can get one - and they're free!" and registration for library cards went up like 500% in the US after that episode? That's the kind of power I'd like to have....) So anyway, I told the boys about my favourite book when I was young - it was called "Rosa Too Little" by Sue Felt (see how I'm a natural in the library world?) and it was about a little girl who really wanted a library card of her own, but she was too little - she had to be able to print her name before she could get a card, so she always had to have her older sister sign out the books for her - until the very end when, of course, she prints her name and gets her library card. Classic.

So on the way home as we were talking about our books and I was telling the guys how great they were (they were - always good boys at the 'brary) I was also telling them how much fun I always had at the library when I was a kid, how one of my favourite things to do on a summer day was to ride my bike to the library (kids love it when you reminisce and tell them about your childhood - sure they do, don't they??) and Charles said "wow, it's no wonder you ended up working in libraries, you really love them..." And - as usual - he's right.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

my name is elizabeth...

...and I'm a Crystal Light addict.

That's right people, I said Crystal Light. Although I SWEAR it might as well be crystal meth. Now, I'm a good water drinker - always have been since I jumped into weight watchers about 12 years ago. I drink a lot of water, and I've never complained. I like water. Like the taste, like the coldness (although I can even drink it room temperature if needed), like the way it makes me feel as in I'm doing something good for myself. So one day while grocery shopping I came across this big ol' CL display (CL is code, like the street name for the stuff - uh huh, yo I've got street cred, know what I'm sayin'?) so I think ", you just add a pack to a 500ml bottle of water...nice...a nice change from regular water..." Yeah, and that's just how it started. Hooked from the first sip of Raspberry Ice. So now, I open the fridge and grab a bottle and I think "yeah, I'm just going to have this WATER" and then I'm in the cupboard digging around for a pack of Tangerine Grapefruit - which is ok and will do in a pinch when the raspberry is gone and WHO DRANK MY RASPBERRY and oh yeah it was me, but I've forgotten because it's all such a blur and now I'm adding 2 packs at a time to my big 1 litre Nalgene bottle and shaking it like a fiend and I just don't know where it will end. "Bring out your beauty"? Pah. Bring out your inner addict - and pass the vodka cos I'm pretty sure that raspberry CL & Absolut will be my summer drink - like I have a choice

Sunday, June 25, 2006

does the noise in my head bother you?

max: you know what mummy? sometimes there are voices in my head!
me: really - um - what do they sound like?
max: well, sometimes they sound like you...sometimes like darth vader! and sometimes like charles...or fireworks...
me: *getting nervous* ok....well.... what do they say to you?
max: hmm. wellllll....i forget. it ok if i have some kool-aid?
me: sure...


Monday, June 19, 2006

coming home...

Father's day yesterday, and while I never, ever want to minimize the importance of the holiday, and I naturally want to celebrate the lovely man who is my husband and "daddy extraordinaire" to our boys, I still find the day incredibly sad. The pain is lessening as the years go by, but I'm sure it will always be this way, won't it? Always a void. Finding the perfect card for him, but not buying it. Life goes on but I don't have to like it. :) I know it's a difficult day for my mum too - she of course feels the loss of her own father (26 years ago now) as well as her husband. The day was usually spent in the backyard, my dad at the bbq, lots of chat and celebration. It was home. We never went out for dinner - why bother? A Herb-grilled meal was the best steakhouse in town. Except for me, of course, who eats only "twigs & grass" (according to my dad lol, he never got the refusal to eat meat thing, but he loved me anyway) And Herb was a homebody anyway - better to have everyone over to our house than to try to take the party anywhere else.

My mum lost one of her oldest and closest friends a couple of weeks ago. Aunt J was not really an aunt, but such a part of my life from the time I was a baby, that she was just that - Aunt J. 65 years she and my mother had known each other, and her funeral was one of the most difficult I have ever attended. The sense of loss for her family was so intense, and it was so hard to see my mum grieving for yet another friend. The service was lovely, the minister knew her well, so he was easily able to speak about her in intimate terms. So that was hard, but for me the most difficult part of the funeral process comes at the very end. Leaving the cemetery while the casket remains has got to be one of the saddest walks a person will ever do. Leaving Aunt J there alone just seemed so wrong. And yes, I know that the representative from the funeral home waits alongside the casket until the cemetery people lower it into the ground, but all I could think was that if I'd had to leave my dad there...I would still be there. I couldn't leave him. I am so thankful for my parents' wishes - cremation just seems so right.

You see, whenever my dad was hospitalized - and it was quite often in the final years of his life - all he ever wanted to do was go home. "When are they letting me out?" "Bissy, come on, let's bust me out of here, what do we have to do?" Each time he did come home and couldn't have been happier. The last time, of course, he didn't. He stayed at the hospital, but then made the trip to the funeral home and then to the crematorium. A couple of days later we got a call from the funeral home saying that his ashes were ready to be picked up. So up we went to get him - now in a very plain urn in a blue felt bag - like a Crown Royal bag - we joked about that on the drive home.

Bringing the urn into the house, my mum said "you're home".

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

say it ain't so, john

John Cleese is retiring. Well, retiring from performing anyway. He's going on to teach people how to be funny. Which, in itself, is funny. It's nearly a Monty Python skit, that. Like "How not to be seen" or something. BBC has more info on the man himself - his contribution and past notables.

So I tried to think of my favourite John Cleese moments (as you do when you hear of a retirement or death of someone you admire) and am having a very hard time. Certainly Basil Fawlty was fantastic. All the roles he assumed as part of the MP troupe were incredible. And who could ever forget Archie Leach?? sigh.

I still find it awfully funny that he studied law at Cambridge. :)

Friday, June 09, 2006

the beautiful dilemma

Today is the beginning of the World Cup and I'm at a loss - I just don't know where to throw my support. Yeah, Canada hasn't appeared for more than a decade, so normally I back Ireland, as a tribute to a portion of my heritage. But they're not in this year - the horror. So who's next? (lol) I could go with the other part of my heritage and cheer on Germany - it's always nice to see the host country do well, so that's a possibility. Ukraine? Well, I know that's where John and Charles' support is going, and it's preferable to have a bit of a rivalry going on in the household, so hmmm.....

I guess I will have to go with my old standby - Italia! What's that you say? Ah, yes I realize there is no Italian blood in this girl, but growing up in the north end of Hamilton with loads of first generation Italian friends, I always had honorary status. And I will never forget the party in 1982 when Italy beat West Germany and Paolo Rossi became a god to Italian football fans everywhere.

Still, no matter what, it's going to be a wonderful month! I love the flags in all the cafes, the tvs all tuned to the games, and the crowds that spill out onto the streets afterwards, bursting into song and continuing the celebration as they make their way home, or to the next party. The beautiful game? Absolutely.

If you're interested, FIFA has a fantastic website with loads of video, stats, standings and team information.

And because I just cannot pass up the opportunity, I want to share this video of what is probably the best soccer game of all time... Germany vs Greece (Aristotle very much the man in form...heh)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

tarot no go

Last night I went with some friends to a spa in a neighbouring town where we all participated in tarot readings. The woman reading has been around for quite some time - her name was familiar to me, I've seen her ads, been to events where she has been reading, etc. So, one by one we sat down at her table and she proceeded to read the cards. Or so we thought. I've never been to a tarot reading where the reader didn't actually do a spread. I mean, even with a mini reading, normally there is a spread?? Anyway she had us each choose three cards and then proceeded to talk. Now, I know my tarot cards - and this woman didn't even explain to us which cards we'd chosen, what they can represent, how they might work together etc. Seemed a little dodgy at this point, and it went downhill from there. Since we all went in separately we compared notes afterwards and we all basically got the same reading. One of the girls even asked her about the deck she was using, and she couldn't tell her anything about it!

So we all went for a beer afterwards, and we kind of laughed about it - how she told most of the girls "oh you'll be pregnant within a couple of years" how she asked me "do you have one or two children?" and my first thought was "uh, you tell me..." but I didn't play that game, although in a way I wish I had. So while we laughed about our experience, at the same time I felt frustrated and duped and I will certainly never participate in a reading by that woman again. And I started to wonder what the deal was. Was she having an off night? Not feeling the energy in the place? Did she get a bad vibe from us? (doubtful, I think we were all there with open minds) or is she just out there to make a buck? I'm a big believer in the cards - not in that you need to take it all as gospel truth, live your life according to what they tell you, etc. - but in the way that I think truly talented readers can give you some insight through the cards.

And if the problem *wasn't* in us or the place or whatever, has this woman made a reputation for herself by offering generic tarot readings? Does everyone that goes to her think "well that was rubbish, I'll never go back..." or are there people who really do marvel at her words and continue to seek her out? I suppose I'll never know. I do think, though that anyone who may have had some doubts about the power of the cards could easily have been turned off forever, which is a shame. Thankfully I still have faith that there are insightful and talented readers of tarot out there - they likely don't have the glossy brochures like the ones we were encouraged to take with us last night - and they probably don't operate out of spas. But I know they're out there - I know for sure there is at least one who will probably blow my mind with accuracy - and I think it's time to pay her a visit.

Caveat emptor indeed.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Saturday, June 03, 2006


I had the best title for this post - I had planned to call it "Saturday night's all right..." - and what happens? I go here and the man has already used it. I hate when that happens.

Anyway, I had planned to continue the quote but instead of "for fighting" today it's "for baking" because that's what I've been doing. Strange, no? I know. But every so often I get an attack of domesticity. Usually I lie down until it goes away, or mix a gin & tonic and then I forget what I was going to do. But today I answered the call and made muffins and banana bread. We tend to have a lot of frozen bananas (doesn't everyone??) so I figured it was time to start using them up. The boys are confused, staring at me with the "who are you and what have you done with our mother??" look. Poor deprived little boys.

So I just had to share my Divine YouTube experience with a friend of mine who appreciates the mighty D, and she sent me back some fun 80s videos that she found, with some comments - stuff like "Remember Man Parrish? They used to play this back in the day on CFNY...." and it got me reminiscing about the glory days of the station now known as Edge 102. The old CFNY does indeed have a website and here's the description for those interested:

"This web site is all about CFNY, particularly CFNY in the 1980's, the CFNY that was the vision and creation of one David Marsden. CFNY was about the music - music you couldn't hear anywhere else, on any other station. CFNY was about the people - some of the most talented, dedicated and interesting people worked together at CFNY. This web site is an attempt to capture a glimpse of the Spirit of Radio as it existed in the 1980's - one of the greatest radio stations in North America."

Ah radio...what has happened to ye? The only ones to my liking these days are the omnipresent CBC (usually) and college and university radio stations. The rest of them resemble a Girls Gone Wild episode, with more misogyny than you can shake a stick at. It's so sad that it's no longer about the music, it's about the humiliation of your listeners and a night out at Hooters. (and seriously, what is with all these "guy-centric" radio events?? does management not think that women listen to the radio at all?? it's like ads for strip clubs in the sports section of the newspaper - that has pissed me off since before, anyone? i seem to do that a lot lol)

Anyway what do I know? I'm a juvenile product of the working class....whose best friend floats in the bottom of a glass...happy Saturday night!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

hey you guys!!!!

We're gonna turn it on, we're gonna bring you the power
We're gonna light up the dark of night, like the brightest day, in a whole new way
We're gonna turn it on, we're gonna bring you the power
We're coming down the line, strong as we can be, through the courtesy
Of The Electric Company! The Electric Company! The Electric Company!

So people YES! This is the reference from my previous blog post - from - IMHO - the BEST kids' show EVER! (sorry for all the caps but i'm emphatic) Come on - it's Morgan Freeman! and Rita Moreno! and Fargo North Decoder! Sesame Street is ok, but The Electric Company is ALL THAT. And if you ever get the chance to see any episodes, I'm sure y'all will agree.


The skit is this:

A man shows up to the door of a house and rings the doorbell
A parrot says: "Who's there?"
He says: "It's the plumber. I've come to fix the sink."
So the parrot continues to say "Who's there?" every time the guy knocks/rings the bell
And each time he says (more and more exasperated) "It's the plumber. I've come to fix the sink!"
Finally the guy collapses out of frustration.
The woman of the house arrives home. She says: "Who's this?"
And the parrot says.......

"It's the plumber. He's come to fix the sink."

OK yeah, it's dumb but as a 6-year old, I laughed my arse off. And ok yeah, I still do, actually...

And Viv? Dahling, you are FAR too young, so I didn't expect you to get the Electric Company ref. I'm sure it was off for like 5 years before you were even sweet young thang
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