Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Dear Santa Claus,
How have you been? I’m almost 11 so I don’t need as many presents this year. I do want two things and they are as followed.
Student sized double bass
I know you are busy, and if you can’t get these things, just do your best.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Today, John put up the lights on our front veranda, and I did magical things with cedar boughs, magnolia leaves, berries and other festive stuff in my outdoor urns. We watched another Christmas special before the boys went up to bed. In a couple of weeks we will go choose and bring home a nice tree to decorate. There will be baking and shopping. Sounds great, right?
Then why does it always seem to dissolve into a full-on stressfest?
A couple of years ago I resolved to be more organized as the holidays approached, and to spend more time actually enjoying them, instead of cursing out other drivers as I headed once again to the store to buy yet another gift I'd forgotten I needed to buy. I resolved to simplify things - to spend less money, to streamline things. To eliminate some of the stressors that the holiday season tends to bring.
I think I've been relatively successful. Except that the rest of the world? Apparently didn't get the memo.
I think what I need to do is to completely shut off from society during the month of December. I don't mean from the people I care about, just from everything else. From the endless TV commercials boasting diamond pendants that are just what she wants, starting at $999.00. People! We are in a recession! Or, if not officially a recession, a really, really bad economic place! Diamonds are not a necessity! Also I need to shut off from the mall where the big red letters tell me that everything is MARKED DOWN AND 80% OFF AND IF YOU GET HERE EARLY YOU CAN TRAMPLE A MAN TO DEATH! (see my post from yesterday if you're not sure what that's about).
Now I realize that crazy-ass commercialism is not new. Heck, Charlie Brown recognized it in 1965. This is probably why his Christmas special is my absolute favourite. And this is also why the title of my post is what it is. I have a couple of friends who feel the same way, about the pressures of the holidays. I brought up the idea of a chalet in Aspen (I have no idea why I picked Aspen, but I did, and it seems perfect). A chalet we could all retreat to for the holidays. For ski and apres-ski. Good wine and great food. A fireplace. Good conversation and catching up. Possibly a hot tub. Relaxing and laughing, and doing it all without the stressors and the pressure.
Of course this chalet exists only in our collective imaginations. But maybe that's ok for right now. Maybe even an imaginary place is all we need to get us through the tough situations. Meditate - on the gathering at the chalet and you will be stronger. Visualize - the hot tub and the kids chilling by the fire, and you will be content. Breathe - into the images of hot rum toddies with your best friends, and you will find peace.
In January, I will let you know how I made out.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Worker dies at Long Island Wal-Mart after being trampled in Black Friday stampede
You may have heard this already. It's a story that was picked up by our local paper, so I always figure if the Spectator has it, everyone else does too.
Now that I have the opportunity to write about this event, I'm actually not sure that I can. I mean, seriously? Is this not one of the saddest testaments to our society ever? As if that poor dude went to work yesterday thinking "Damn, I could die today. I'd better spend extra time hugging my kids and telling my loved ones how I feel." The guy worked at Wal-Mart. He was not a soldier stationed in a war zone. Although I guess, in a way, he was.
When shoppers are taking giant doors off hinges in order to get in to a store? I'm thinking it's time, as a society, to reevaluate priorities. I mean I know they call these sales "door crashers", but when a man is trampled to death because the sea of people just will not stop? I don't know, man. Of course there have been tramplings in other scenarios - concerts, rallies. But for some reason, when it's shopping-related, it just seems - to me, anyway - that much more sad and ridiculous. Is it really worth that $10 off the video game?
I don't know. Maybe I'm not in a position to judge. But I'd like to think that I wouldn't step over a dying man to get to the best deal ever.
I'm not making excuses, I'm really not. I disclosed my non-blogmanship at the restaurant last night. Then I went on to tell my dinner guests what I had planned to blog about. And if I had a mobile blogging device, I could have done it right there. But I don't. So I missed a post.
But this live-blogging thing, where you tell your friends your posts? I totally think it could catch on.
I think I'll call it "dinner conversation". I really think I'm on to something.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
If you've ever had a really bad flu, you know it's horrible. I'm not talking Norwalk-type-puke-your-guts-out stomach bug (not the flu, but distressing nonetheless) - I'm talking high fever, aches and chills, painful hair follicles, bad cough, delirious, skin that hurts to have the pajamas rub up against it, etc. That. Is the flu.
The last time I had a really bad bout of the flu was the first year John and I were married. On Boxing Day we went to my parents' for the annual family open house eats fest. I remember being there. I don't remember getting home. It isn't that I had too much Christmas cheer, it's just that I was so out of it, I only remember waking up in the night sweating but freezing, with a full-on body ache. I didn't remember ever being so sick. By our anniversary (December 30) I was still in pretty bad shape. Happy 1st Anniversary! Nothing says love like a wastepaper basket full of snotty tissues. I lay around and moaned. And John tried to find a loophole to get me off his hands, I'm sure.
Finally on New Year's Day, I was determined to take down the decorations that had been mocking me all week. So I got myself some drugs and loaded up. It was fine for a bit, I buzzed around taking shit off the tree, pulling down lights, gettin' 'er done. And then? Then I had some crazy-ass crash. I hit the wall, and had to go lie down. Except I couldn't sleep. I was nervous and stressed and felt like a junkie who needed a fix (except that I don't really know what that feels like, so I am taking some liberties, k?) My eyes were crazy and I was shaking. John read the package of Daytime Contac C or whatever the hell I was on. "If nervous feeling persists, do not continue to take". WTF? Nervous feeling? This is a side effect? Apparently it was. And a doozy of a side effect.
I don't know about you, but when I take some drugs for a condition, I look at the side effects, and then I completely disregard. "Pfft - whatev, grandma. Won't happen to me" At least that's what I used to do, before my fucked-up-Christmas-crazy-pants dance. I'm a little more careful now. I'm also pretty sure that this whole meltdown was prior to there being an available flu shot for regular peeps, so now I ensure that I get myself innoculated annually.
And in order to avoid the fucked-up-Christmas-crazy-pants dance? I recommend you do the same.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
me: maybe I should roll some change, you know, because we probably have like eleventy-seven dollars in pennies lying around here.
him: hmmmm...good idea!
me: yeah, we could maybe use it to buy presents!
him: haha we could!
me: or we could just give rolled change to people for holiday gifts and say "here, knock yourself out"
him: we could put it in socks! and say, "no, really knock yourself out!"
This caused me to laugh for like 10 minutes with tears and near loss of bladder control. Then, later on during the day if I happened to think about this conversation again I had another laughing fit. And then, in karate, when the instructor said something like "you can find weapons anywhere"? I thought of change socks.
For the record? We are probably not buying gifts with change. Nor are we giving change as gifts. Socks though? Are a possibility.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
So when I regained consciousness, I thought... no. No, e-L. Don't be afraid. It's only Christmas. And a month before Christmas is still an awfully long time. And take heart! Rejoice! Because when it's a month before Christmas you know what that means. That means it's time for this. Yes, it is.
Okay, I feel better now.
Monday, November 24, 2008
The last two photos they didn't get at all. One day I'll have to sit them down for some episodes of Happy Days and the Carol Burnett Show, I guess.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Now, for those of you unfamiliar with my mother, this means that whatever I happened to think of the gift idea is immaterial. She has thought of it, and therefore, it is perfect. Whatever it is. She may have decided that I need an anteater. And if that is the case? An anteater is what will be wrapped up for me under the tree Christmas morning.
Please. Don't get me wrong. I love my mother, she is the most wonderful mother ever. But sometimes her ideas of the "perfect gift" just aren't mine.
This year though, she outdid herself. But in a good way.
This year, she announced that what she would like to do for me for the whole of 2009, is give me 2 days a month in which she will come to my house and clean. That's right, I said clean. She will do baseboards, windows, blinds. She will launder curtains, clean rugs, polish furniture. She will dust, sterilize and wash. This 73-year old woman will spic-and-span my house at no charge. She will do it out of love, and out of respect for the fact that I just don't want, or need, any more stuff.
I cried. I really did. How great a gift is that? Now the thing about my mother, is that she kind of does this anyway. If she's babysitting the boys, she will also do the dishes. She'll organize stuff, sweep up the crumbs left from dinner, straighten the living room, stuff like that. Because she cannot sit still. She's not a TV watcher, really. She likes to read, but has only ever given herself the luxury of reading before she turns the light out in bed. She has worked ridonkulously hard her whole life. And now, in her retirement, this is what she wants to do. She's doing it so I don't have to. So that my weekends can be spent doing things I want to do. She's probably also doing it because she is appalled by the state of my house at any given time, but that's neither here nor there.
One time when she had spent a few days babysitting a sick toddler AND washing the floors AND cleaning our bathroom, I teased her that we just don't pay her nearly enough. And she laughed and said "I never had anyone to help me out, when you and Michael were little, and it was hard, with your dad working shifts and everything. So I wanted to make sure you did. Just promise me that you will do the same for Charles and Max when they have families, that's all I want."
Deal. You're the best, Nana.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
And the book? Is awesome. Please, please, go check out The Legend of Ninja Cowboy Bear and see if you don't agree. And if you do agree, and you are in the position to buy books, please consider it for your collection. Unless you are related to me. In which case please do NOT buy it, because there is a very good chance I have already purchased it for one or more of your children for Christmas. I'm just saying.
Friday, November 21, 2008
That's what Friday nights are all about, Charlie Brown.
I have so much more to say about so many things, I am considering NaBloPoing myself right through December.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Tonight was the first session, and can I just say? I am creatively exhausted. I totally promise to blog more about the experience once I have a few sessions under my belt. I will say though, that it was one of the most emotionally-charged events I've ever attended, and I am so grateful to be a part of it. It's going to rock. And we might even get a gala opening at the end of it. A gala!
The chance to express myself visually AND free drinks and finger foods? Dudes. As IF I wouldn't be in.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I'm not a big fan of candy, really. I never have been the kid who was all over the all-day sucker, the Mike and Ike, the Goodies, ju-jubes, etc. I like chocolate, but chewy candy, hard candy? Meh. Even the chicken bone - hard candy on the outside and chocolate on the inside? Does little for me. And really, what kind of name is "Chicken Bone" for a candy, anyway? Did this not totally mess up millions of little kids over the years? "Don't eat the chicken bones! Here have a Chicken Bone!" Yikes.
Anyway, I happened upon a website a few weeks ago that just might make me change my mind. Check out Lollyphile and see if you're not convinced.
Right now they only have three flavours - but probably three of the most original and awesome flavours ever created for candy. Wasabi Ginger! Absinthe! Maple Bacon?? Ok, not sure I would be all over the meat candy, BUT the other two are very, very cool. And I have to admit the whole maple bacon thing does have me intrigued, because those two flavours really are a heavenly match.
Apparently they have other flavours in the works, and visitors to the site can submit ideas for flavours too. Although, as they say in their FAQs: "...please understand that we're small, and we don't have the capacity to vacillate too far from our planned release schedule. Feel free to suggest flavors, but don't hold your breath."
I, for one, am heading there right now. The world needs a gin & tonic lollypop, people. Tell me I'm not right.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
So I'm asking y'all, blogfriends. Have you read any good books lately? And if so, can you recommend some titles? I'll read pretty much anything from any genre (genre - isn't that such a library-world word?) except maybe romance. Don't hate, romance readers. It's just not my thang. I'll also do non-fiction too, if it's an interesting read. The sky's the limit!
So please dig into your personal libraries of favourites and help a sister out, won't you? It doesn't have to be current bestsellers; this is not a test of your knowledge of what's new and hot on the NY Times list or anything. It might be a book from 10 years ago, or 100 years ago. I just need a little jumpstart. Leave any and all recommendations in the comments, ok? I promise to repay the favour one day.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Shortly after we moved in, John had to go away on business - to Atlanta, I think, but that's not important. What is important is that he left us for about 5 days in this brand new old house. This new old house of ours is about 90 years old now, so take away 9 years and yeah, it's pretty old. Not old by European terms or anything, but to put it in perspective, when this house was built, our street was basically on the outskirts of the city. So for those of you who have visited, you can confirm that today there is a lot of city to be had to the west of us. So it does go back a bit.
Where was I? Oh yes, husband/father leaving wife and child in new house for 5 days to party - I mean business trip - in Atlanta.
Now, in old houses, or any house in which you are a new resident, it takes some time to get used to the noises. The settling, the creaks, the way the house feels when you're in it alone. After awhile it becomes second nature, you barely notice the noises, but at first it can freak you the fuck out.
The first night John was gone, I was a bit nervous, but Charles and I did our usual bedtime thing, which probably involved a bath, a story, maybe a bottle? I can't remember. Nine years, people, there is only so much I can remember. So things went well, I'm sure - I do remember that he was a good little guy at that age - when I'm settling him down in his crib, which is at the back of his little room, facing the door. As was my style back then, I chatted a little bit to him, we talked about our day, and then I helped him lie down for sleep. But he was focused over my right shoulder, looking at something. He pointed. "Mummy? Who's that?" I said "Just me, Charles, just mummy tonight", thinking he was waiting for John to come tuck him in. At which point he leaned way over to look around me and said "No. Who's THAT?" I turned around, and of course there was no one. So I said "No, honey, just me, sweet dreams". And then? I freaked the fuck out.
I didn't sleep much until John got home a few days later. That totally shook me up. I've read about kids being more "in tune" with the spirit world, but I seriously never thought I'd have the ghost whisperer toddler. Jesus. Even today, his earnest little face asking me very clearly who was in our hallway gives me the shakes.
As time went on, of course, we got more and more used to the house, and it's all been good, with no signs of otherworldly-ness. Except for a few things. And it's always Charles that has the experiences when it's only the two of us in the house. For instance, I've been upstairs making beds or something and he'll come running upstairs shouting "yes? Did you want something, mummy?" And I'd say "Charles, I didn't call you" and he'd stop dead and say "whoa, I totally heard a voice telling me to come upstairs". Or, I'll be in the kitchen and he'll be in the front room and I'll hear the front door open and he'll yell out "Hey, daddy, how was your day?" And then we both realize that no one actually came in the front door. Weird.
After my dad died, Charles also used to tell us that he'd see grandpa at the foot of his bed, giving him a wink and a thumbs-up. Which is totally something my dad would do. Or he'd "talk" to grandpa and he'd insist that grandpa talked back, and whether or not this really happened, we'll never know. It may have been a way to comfort himself after losing his grandpa who he was so close to. Either way, those things never freaked me out. It was actually kind of comforting for me too.
For the past year or so, there's really been nothing strange going on at our place. Well, other than the usual strangeness that is our family, of course. But then one night a few weeks ago, I was moving Max to his own bed (he likes to crawl in with Charles sometimes). I got Max settled, and must have jostled Charles a bit, because he sat up and said something. I didn't catch it at first so I asked him to repeat it. And it was this: "Those people mummy. Those two people at the end of my bed. Who are they?"
At least John was home this time.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
And seriously? Who doesn't love the stripes?
I know I promised you more, but yeah. I made you promises, promises...you knew I'd never keep. Why do you believe?
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I graded today, for my orange belt in karate and it kicked my ass six ways from Sunday. There was running. And jumping. And self-defense. And a guy kicking me IN MY STOMACH. Then more running. And more self-defense. And so much else that I honestly can't remember, but that people were telling me that I did. For an hour and 45 minutes. So yeah.
Tomorrow's post will be better. I promise.
And if it's not? You can roundhouse me to the gut. Seriously. Apparently? I can take it.
Friday, November 14, 2008
People, I was seriously at one all evening. I don't care how excited the Tupperware lady gets, I just cannot get behind it. I mean it's useful and all but wow, no, it's not going to make my life THAT MUCH BETTER. It's just not.
Maybe that is a sad testament to my life, I don't know. And I don't care.
You know what is fun on a Friday night? Drinking wine. And hanging on the couch. And watching crappy TV. And knitting. Because today I learned how to knit (again, kind of) and I am on it like it's the crack I need and would sell my soul for. And you can laugh if you want, and I know my first attempts are pure ghetto, but I'll get better, I'm sure of it.
Suck it, Tupperware lady.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I always, always hate the episodes where kids suffer, I really do. But when the sufferers are little boys, it just adds to the stress. I have the same problem watching Tommy. That shit is messed up.
Until, of course, little Tommy turns into Roger Daltrey.
Then it's all good.
Yeah. I know.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
This is my friend Paula's kickass website, which tells you all about her amazing soap-making (and more!) prowess. You need to check it out, her stuff is so good. Especially the soap cakes - they seriously look good enough to eat. She is coming to my house in a few weeks to showcase her wares. You're all invited, although I understand that those of you in the Pacific Northwest, Jordan, Italy and Bombay may not be able to make it (aren't you glad I signed up for Sitemeter, so I can keep track of y'all?)
Anyway, if you love the looks of her stuff, feel free to contact Paula and make some purchases. I can vouch for it all, she is one seriously talented soap-making girl. And also a lot of fun to boot.
I also just noticed that I actually used the phrase "showcase her wares". Clearly I am way too tired to be upright.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Three of my dad's brothers fought in World War II. Two of them in the army, and one in the navy. They all joined around the same time, I believe, and once they were shipped overseas, contact was lost between the three of them, as you might expect.
My dad was the youngest boy in the family, the 9th of 10 kids, and a good 15 or so years younger than his oldest brother - dad was 4 when war broke out. He remembered letters from all of his brothers, but especially from the oldest, telling the family at home what was happening, what he was up to. Sometimes he sent my dad little souvenirs of places he'd been. I wish I knew what happened to them.
Our family was fortunate in that all three brothers returned home at the end of the war. None of them liked to talk about it much, and one of my uncles suffered some serious post-traumatic stress syndrome, and was never really the same after the war ended. He struggled for the rest of his life with bouts of depression and other forms of mental illness. War will do that to you, won't it?
So as I said, the three of them shipped off, in different forces, in different sections, and they only heard about each other through letters from family members at home who would try to keep them all posted.
At one point, toward the end of the war, one of the brothers was on leave in Italy and wandered into St. Peter's square. Shockingly, he recognized another soldier there - his brother. The two of them were blown away - what a coincidence. Shortly after their reunion, they happened upon a sailor whom they both recognized. The third brother. All of them, together, standing in St. Peter's square, all on leave at the same time. Incredible. Knowing my uncles, there were likely some beers consumed and some good stories told, until once again, they would have had to part ways.
Where would their next reunion be? Would there even be one? I can only imagine their emotional state as they said their goodbyes. As I've said, we were lucky in our family. All my grandma's boys came home.
They're all gone now, including the littlest brother, my dad. On Remembrance Day, I like to think they're having yet another reunion someplace. Complete with cold beers, good stories, and lots of laughs.
Monday, November 10, 2008
And no, I'm not making this up.
Now, I am all for the female orgasm. As a matter of fact I am a big fan of the female orgasm (duh). And if you're delivering your baby and you manage to have one, well good on you. I guess?
I don't know, people. I just think this is a LOT of pressure to put on a labouring woman. And you have to wonder, is this going to be another one of those "things" that women like to hold over other women. You know what I'm talking about:
'I was in labour for 873 hours, but I never even CONSIDERED using drugs. It's really a shame you had to have them, isn't it?"
"Oh, you gave up breastfeeding? Gee, how awful for you and for the baby, who will now likely succumb to the effects of toxic devil formula, not to mention how YOU must feel like a failure. Shame, that."
I exaggerate - but only slightly. What is it with the passive-aggressive shit?
Anyway, so now, thanks to Orgasmic Birth, will the conversations include "great that you were able to deliver naturally, but didn't you orgasm? Wow. Clearly you were doing something wrong, my birth was just rapture!"
I'm not telling you all anything new by saying that in our society there is so much pressure put on women to be so perfect all the time. To live up to ridiculous standards. And pregnant women get some of the worst shit there is - people treating their bodies as if they were some sort of freakshow and actually not attached to their person - commenting on their weight-gain, skin, how they're carrying, whether or not they're waddling, touching their belly, giving unwarranted advice. Not to mention the pressure of celebrity baby bumps and articles encouraging you with "Tips on Getting your Pre-Baby Body Back - Just like Christina, Angelina and J. Lo!!"
Birth is incredible, it's wonderful, it's miraculous. Does it have to be orgasmic too? When I read about this on Jezebel, one of the commenters said something like "how long before someone comes up with birth porn?" And I seriously wonder, probably not long. Why does everything have to be sexy? Again, I'm pro-sex and I'm pro-sexy, I just think damn, can't a girl catch a break? Isn't it enough to bring a child into the world?
So tell me, am I missing the boat on this? I mean, I don't know. I had two c-sections and trust me, there was no feeling anything below ribcage, so maybe I just missed out? Is this just unnecessary pressure, or is this something pretty amazing? The women in the video seemed to be having a good time, so...maybe?
Sunday, November 09, 2008
So what am I doing? Well, I'm glad you asked! I happen to be planning to get my Toronto on with my friend K - we're doing lunch, and some shopping and just general hanging out and having fun. She has to be home early evening to get to a dodgeball game. You heard me. Girl is playing dodgeball, how cool is that? So later in the afternoon I also plan to go visit Vivian and bug her at work for a bit, after which we will probably grab a bite to eat and then head home.
The problem with days off is that they never seem to have enough hours to do all the things you can think of. So lucky for me, I'm just planning to do the fun ones. Word.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
The crazy thing about the shower tonight though, was the stuff that the guest of honour received, that I had no clue about. No clue. Stuff that didn't exist when I was birthing my children. A Bumbo? Wow. So you know what that means, right?
I am old.
That's right, I have become the "old aunt". Everyone has them, right? The women at the baby showers who sit in rocking chairs and nod sagely and say "back when I was having babies, barley water was alllll they needed" Or: "we used to DREAM of having a crib, our babies made due with a dresser drawer and some cotton wool". *sigh*
Actually I'm not that bad. Yet. But I am still amazed by the stuff that is out there for babies today. And not in a "what the fuck, you don't need that" sort of way, but more of a "damn, I totally could have used that" sort of way.
I guess that's how it goes though. Sunrise, sunset and all that, swiftly go the years.* Even though my kids don't seem that old, in the world of "The Stuff That Babies May Or May Not Need But That We Have Invented For Parents To Buy Anyway"? They are.
And this makes me sad in a way, because I remember my own baby showers, and receiving a whole bunch of stuff that was awesome. And I remember thinking at the time "wow, that sleeper is huge, he'll never fit into that!" And now? All those sleepers are in boxes in the attic, along with all the toys, rattles, teething rings and everything else that was showered upon us.
I miss those babies of mine. But, at the same time, Charles is half-way to his black belt in karate, taking bass lessons, and is nearly as tall as me. Max is fencing, has an incredible talent for art, and possesses the world's greatest imagination.
I don't want to go back, really I don't. What I want to do? Is meet the new babies that we are all waiting for.
And part of me really wants a Bumbo.
*for the record, I hate Fiddler on the Roof with a passion, but that song just seems to sum it all up.
Friday, November 07, 2008
The alarm went off at it’s usual time, and John got up, went and started the coffee and then came back upstairs for his shower. My lazy ass stays in bed until all of these things have been accomplished. It seems to work for us.
So I was lying there, mostly awake, but still a bit drowsy, when I heard the water shut off. This is my cue to get myself up and ready, so that once John is out of the bathroom, I can head in. So far so good, right? Just a regular morning. I heard the bathroom door open and then a ruckus with John saying “oh no, not again!”
I sat right up, thinking the following in a nano-second:
the toilet has overflowed
the shower curtain rod has fallen off (this does happen, but usually only when I’m in the shower)
the bathroom door was off its hinges (this has also happened)
other random thoughts that were partially formed and involved intruders, fire, broken bones and killer bees (not that any of those have happened to us before, but did I mention this was in the morning? As in before 7am?)
So no, it was none of the above. What we had, was a bird in our house. Yes, and John was accurate in saying this, because this is the second time this has happened.
So up I get to watch a cute little bird perching and preening on one of the karate trophies in our library/guest bedroom. Adorable, right? Sure. (actually he was kind of cute) So we decided to close the door to keep him confined until we figured out what to do. In the meantime I decided I probably should have my shower, so as to keep on schedule for getting to work, etc.
Shower completed, I headed back to the bedroom to be greeted by “flap flap flap” – a bird between our blinds and the window, trying desperately to get out.
Wha'?? The bird was contained, what’s going on? I checked the door – closed. I looked underneath – not big enough for a bird to get through. People, that’s right, we had a second bird in our house which seemed to be turning into an aviary by the minute.
So I called down to John telling him that either we had a second bird or we had a super-powered-doorknob-opening bird. John came up and determined we had two. Great.
So John's plan was to close all the doors to the bedrooms and the bathroom, and then just open the front door. The bird will only have one path to follow, so he’ll take it and fly right out.
A most excellent plan. I stood in the boys’ room with the door closed and listened to the master at work:
John: *opening the first door* ok, hello bird – psst psst psst – come on, now, that’s it go go, psst psst. Great! That’s one! *opening the next door* ok now, psst psst, come on little buddy, let’s go, outside you go psst psst…
This was all said in very loving tones, very quietly, so as not to startle the birds, but caused me to laugh my freezing ass off while I stood in the other bedroom in my towel.
But it gets better:
John: ok now, come on – oh no, no don’t go in there! aaargh – he’s in the closet
(by this point my stomach hurts from laughing)
John: birds is so stupid.
Now I am full on laughing with tears at the hilarity of it all. Finally the second bird made its exit and all returned to normal.
Did I mention that all of this was prior to 7am?
So once we got downstairs, we started debriefing.
me: weird, huh? That's the second time we've had birds that seem to come from nowhere
John: yeah, but this time they were two different species
me: how do you know?
John: one was bigger than the other one
me: huh. *pondering the significance of the species difference while silently laughing at myself for wondering if there is significance and at John for even bringing up the species thing, because really?*
Later still, once we'd all had breakfast and I was getting ready to head out the door, John said he had to throw a shirt in the dryer.
John: but I’m kind of wary of going down to the basement, because that’s where those other birds came in too, right? I don’t want them to go all Hitchcock on my ass.
Seriously. Just when I thought the morning couldn't get any funnier.
As of now and forever more, any group of birds coming near me will be considered as “going Hitchcock on my ass”.
I could not make this up.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
But! The other reason it's a beautiful day is this:
Speedy Delivery: The Movie
It's Mr. McFeely, people! On the big screen! Ok, not really, I think it's a DVD release - but still! The man who delivered the post for 40 years. Props are due.
Watch the trailer, and see if you too don't get all emotional.
I think I'm going to be riding this wave of emotion for a few days yet.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
We're watching election coverage on CBC Newsworld. I don't know where else to watch it. CNN is too freaking loud - all those people, they just keep yelling! Really, people? Calm the fuck down. So CBC it is, and it's pretty good. I did notice something funny though - if you look at the tiny little photo of McCain at the bottom of the screen and then look up at Peter Mansbridge? I don't know, man. The similarities are way too close, or is it just me? Or maybe it's just the wine? Whatever. All I know is that you never see them together...hmmm....
Anyway, rock on USA. I've always been a fan, but tonight I feel like "Ich bin ein Amerikaner" or something. And seriously, the whole record number voter turnout thing? Fucking yes. Hi, Canadian people? Yeah, we should totally take a page out of that book after our seriously shitty voter turnout last month.
Oh and by the way, is anyone else enjoying Ian Hanomansing's commentary and interviews as much as I am? Can I get a witness? Awww yeah.
Monday, November 03, 2008
Okay, now we’ve got that out of the way, I really just need to tell you that after work today I will be boarding a GO bus to Toronto, meeting up with Vivian where we will then be grabbing some dinner, and making our way to the ACC to see Feist in concert! I’m excited!
This show will probably round out the “Elizabeth and Vivian Year of Seeing as Many Concerts as Humanly Possible Before Vivian Births Her Baby Some Time in Early January”. It all started in April, and it’s really been a fantastic wild ride of excellent live music with my great friend, and I’m getting a bit misty-eyed thinking that this may be the end for a good long while. Of course you never know what shows might be announced between now and baby’s arrival, so there’s still a slight possibility that we’ll hit a couple more gigs, I suppose.
After all, I did promise to make her a labour and delivery music playlist. Does it matter if we’re hearing it live at a club downtown?
Sunday, November 02, 2008
I don't know about you, but I noticed a severe lack of Hallowe'en specials on TV this year. I know there aren't as many of those as there are Christmas specials, but I seem to recall others, and for whatever reason (I blame that whole election thing to the south of us), there just weren't any on television. Of course we have basic cable, so maybe those of you in digital/satellite/awesome television land were better off? Anyway, lucky for us, someone has created this to jog our collective memories. How excited was I to remember some of these awesome specials! Fat Albert? Raggedy Ann? Paul freaking Lynde?? This is a goldmine, people. And the best part, for me, was the inclusion of Witch's Night Out. Oh, how my brother and I would wax nostalgic about this special! And yet neither of us could really remember much about it (save the theme song) and we never, ever met anyone else who could even corroborate that this show existed. Did we co-dream it? Did one of us just make it up, and the other believed them? No! It really happened! It was real! And it starred Gilda Radner and Catherine O'Hara! So not only did we remember it, it also had awesome casting!
So thank you, Adam Selzer. Clearly my childhood wasn't quite as messed up as I thought it might have been.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Rebel without a cause:
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
boys: "but mummy, EVERYONE is jumping off bridges!"
me: "OMG, well if EVERYONE is doing it, you guys TOTALLY have to!! You probably should also smoke some weed too, because eventually all the cool kids will be doing that TOO!"
Anyway, so I'm thinking about it. Let's see how it goes, shall we?
In other tasty news, I made paneer on the weekend, and it rocks. It's actually simmering nicely now in a batch of saag paneer which I am about to go and eat.
I wonder if I could spend November blogging about what I'm about to eat? Would you read that?
Yeah. Me neither.
Monday, October 06, 2008
max: So do you know what my name means?
me: Um - no?
max: Well, the "M" is for mature - because I think I'm pretty mature, don't you?
me: Actually, yeah.
max: And the "A" is - uh....
max: Yeah! I'm pretty athletic.
me: You sure are.
max: And the "X" - well, there aren't many words that are descriptive that start with "X" so let's say...um...eXtreme!
me: Cool. But what about the rest of your name, like if you used your whole name - what about "W"?
me: Good one. And "E"?
max: Energetic! Because that describes me!
me: Definitely. How about "L"?
me: I know! Lovable! Because you are definitely that!
max: Definitely. And for the second "L"...
max: Well, I was going to say lackey.
me: *laughing* Really?
max: Yeah. But that's really more of a description of you.
me: Wow. Really.
max: Yep. Really.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Here we have the selection of hot sauces at a very excellent and rather authentic Mexican restaurant in Greenville. And yes, I used them all during the course of my tasty meal. And yes, they were all pretty damned hot. But good. But I have to say that the green one? Just not a colour you see in nature. Kind of teal, actually. Weird. Tasty-weird. I am a sucker for hot sauces, so hence my documentation. What you can't actually see in this photo is the margarita the SIZE OF MY HEAD that I demolished in seconds flat, after which my wonderful friend had to put up with my ramblings. Oh those Canadians.
Next is the souvenir-gift I brought home for the boys - it's cheese! In a spray can! For real! Okay, I'm not such an idiot that I didn't know this stuff existed, it's just that it's unavailable where I live, and really, what could be a better gift to bestow upon two boys than cheese that you can apply directly into your mouth? 2 for $5 at Meijer. Now, I call that a bargain. Beats the hell out of any t-shirt or souvenir mug I could have brought, non? I do believe the words "you are the best mother EVER" accompanied the bestowing. I do what I have to, people.
Last but not least is my absolute favourite - FAVOURITE - road sign. Ever. I have seen this a bunch of times, driving along the I-69, and while I know it's coming up, I tend to forget until it's too late and I'm past it going "shit, I wanted to take a pictuuuuuure!! For my blogpeeps!! Damn." But this time? Oh this time, friends. I documented. And really, isn't it cool? And some seriously good advice, you have to admit.
Now, lest you think my trip to the Great Lakes Great Times state was all about cheese and sauce and prison hitchhikers, let me just say what a positively excellent time I had. We had fantastic weather and we did a lot of sightseeing. I should have taken more photos, but such is the case when you're just having too much fun, you get lost in the moment, and then a photo seems kind of cheesy. Which is ok if the photo is cheese (see above). But otherwise, it's just not right. At one point, and I can't remember where, we did drive past a church that had a sign inviting us to visit God's Love Closet. I'm pretty sure that's what it said, anyway. Did I mention the margarita? I really wanted a picture of that, because seriously, what does that even mean? I can think of a few things. But standing on church property and taking a photo of a sign, just for giggles? Well, even I have some standards.
Living where I do, in between two Great Lakes (Erie and Ontario for those of you not in the know), I always feel so comfortable knowing there is a lake close by. Does that seem strange? It probably should. And not just any lake but a great lake. Not like little lakes you can see across - those are ok, but they're just not great. But just my friend saying "so if we drove down that way" and pointing toward a large highway "we would get to Lake Michigan". And my great lake groupie self wanted to say "yes! Let's drive to the great lake!" It's like when she and I went to Cleveland and we were on the shore and I was thinking "man, this is my lake, where my cottage is, but I'm on the other side!" Comforting. Totally bizarre, I'm sure. But comforting to me, nonetheless.
So thanks, Carly, for a loverly time in your awesome state, and your pretty hometown. You Michigan types know how to show a girl a good time.
Friday, September 05, 2008
Also, can I just say that my husband got called a propellerhead at work yesterday. And he took it as a compliment. Dude is weird. Probably why we get along so well.
Happy weekend, blogfriends.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Anyway, so we were there yesterday for the second time with the boys. The first time, they just weren't interested. It's weird, because you think "man, this is crazy!" and then you're there with a 5- and 3-year old and they're all "seriously? it's water. can we have ice cream?". And then, a few years later, they are completely blown away by the awesomeness that is the Falls. So that part was cool, because their reactions were stellar.: "The water? Look! It just keeps coming!" "Whoa, look at the mist! We're soaked! Is this for real??" You get the idea.
So of course we went to the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch, which was cool and ridiculously overpriced but whatever, they have Bo Diddley's guitar, people. And they have Hard Rock TV playing throughout, in case you've never been to a HRC. So it's the whole experience, no matter that it costs you $90 for lunch. And one of the videos that was playing was this. And then that got me thinking of this, Cos you know, it's got the whole "church" reference. And then, that actually led to this, because, you know, same title and all. And then? Well, then it led to more Alphaville, as it does. And then I started thinking. That was pretty much all the churching I got in the 80s. Uh huh. Guess that explains it all. Yes it does.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
ANYway, so it's hot and sticky and really, what better way to celebrate this weather than by getting a haircut, which is what I did this evening. Nothing like little bits of hair stuck to you on the bus ride home. Mmm mmm! I really do love getting my hair cut though, and my hair stylist, friend, and owner of the salon where I go, is second to none. She rocks. And the appointment started out just great - chit-chat while I got in the chair, swoop on the cape, brush out the hair and then the usual question from her: "So...what are you thinking?" And then I said those three little words that carry so much weight, that can make or break a deal, and really shouldn't be said lightly: "I'm thinking bangs!" Whoa. Did that really come out of my mouth?? And it's true, I had been thinking bangs. For awhile. But I still wasn't sure, and then I said that. And she said: "Okay, cool." And that's how it started.
And really, is anything more debated and more discussed about women's hair than bangs? To bang or not to bang. I'm getting bangs. I'm growing mine out. Bangs suit you. I don't have enough forehead for bangs, but they totally look great on you. No, they're not too short. I need to have my bangs trimmed. It goes on, doesn't it? You know it does.
I'm no stranger to bangs, I've rocked them before without issue. Just regular bangs, though NOT gigantic 80s bangs. Remember those? Half a can of French Formula just to get those suckers to stay in place? Most of my highschool classmates were flammable beyond belief. Seriously, I can't believe we were ever allowed to use bunsen burners in the 80s.
Anyway, I had bangs all through highschool, but they were short and neat and stayed on my forehead. In grade nine, shoulder length hair. And bangs. In grade 10, unfortunate perm. And bangs. In grade 11 & 12, the classic bob. With bangs. In grade 13, shoulder length hair. With bangs. All through uni - bangs. In adulthood I've been back and forth with bangs, but usually with shortish hair. Now, though, my hair is long, people. Well, ok long-ish. As in to my shoulers. So, bangs? Really? Can I pull that off a la Bettie Page? Kim said I could. So then she cut them.
Now I have to wear them, and I have to admit, they're cute. Charles tells me "You look 5 years younger!" Wow, 5 whole years! Although he's 10, so that's half his life, so that's a big deal. Translated into mom years, maybe he means I look 20 years younger. Which would almost, but not quite, take me back to highschool. So maybe it's time for bangs again. Circle of life - er - bangs. Maybe it's time to even bust out the Howard Jones records again. (possibly the best bangs on a guy ever). And in case you need it, you can still get French Formula. Ooh-la-la.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
I try to like your show, I really, really do. For the most part, I think it's good - you often have interesting guests, and you usually play very good music as well. Sure, the topics are a little Toronto-centric, but hey, it's a Toronto show, so that does make sense. I can even tolerate your "devil's advocate" style of interviewing, because I understand that this can be a great way of getting politicians and other figures to actually answer questions in the 2.5 minutes you typically have with them. And finally, I can usually ignore the pompous tone that so much of your show takes. Again, it's Toronto! I get it!
What I can no longer tolerate, and the reason today is likely the last time I will listen to your show, is your daily invitation for people to "Google" - and not just "Google" subjects or topics, but actual websites. Today, for instance, after speaking with the Ontario Human Rights Commissioner, you asked people who might be interested in finding out more information about the new report dealing with discrimination in housing to "Google ontario human rights commission". Seriously? Aside from your use of Google as a verb (which annoys the hell out of me, but since I appear to be in a tiny minority, I will let that slide) honestly, what's wrong with spelling out the website for people? Now, I understand that chances are if you do type this into Google, you will mostly likely find the website at the top of the list. But this is a government department, so the chances are good. What about other sites? What about people who aren't sure of the spelling of the words that you're speaking over the radio? What if you told your audience to "Google Falun Gong?" Would everyone even know how to spell that?
Google is ubiquitous. I am a fan of Google. Google can help you find good things. But Google is a tool, like any other search engine, and I think you are doing your audience and your guests a disservice by telling them to "Google" everything. If your guest has a website, or their cause or their political party or whatever has a website, I think you owe it to them to spell it out, in order to direct people straight to it. I'm just saying.
And for the record, http://www.ohrc.on.ca/
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
This photo was taken on the day of Charles' Grade 5 Celebration. That's right, my firstborn is off to middle school in September. Seriously, how does that even happen? You can't see it in the pic, but the boy was totally rocking a nice new pair of Chuck Taylors. Too cool for school? Hells yeah, that's my boy.
So, school's out baby, and we are in full-on summer mode around these parts, complete with a trip to the cottage (and the promise of more cottage in the near future), kickass Canada Day fireworks last night, some outdoor concerts coming up and a whole hella lot more. Hope y'all are feeling the summer vibe too, doing what you love to do best.
In other news, can I just say I was pretty damned pleased to see Dr. Henry Morgentaler appointed to the Order of Canada? Can I? I guess I just did. I've linked to the CBC article for your convenience, and there's some more stuff there about the Dr. M., for those of you unfamiliar with the man. Just be aware that the article includes quotes from a representative of the Campaign Life Coalition, which may cause pro-choicers to bang their heads against keyboards and poke their eyes out with sharp sticks. Or maybe that's just me?
Happy summer, blogfriends. Let's tear it up!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
The whole "stuff" issue in LG's post was spot on, as I am a huge stuff-hater, although I wasn't always this way. At the present time I'm constantly in the process of paring down stuff, simplifying stuff, throwing out stuff, giving away stuff and refusing to bring stuff into my home. This is just a choice I've made over the past few years, and it's working well for me. I used to be more pro-stuff, but having acquired two stuff-magnets (aka small children) the whole issue of stuff has become a boil on a sensitive area of my person, and I really, really cannot handle the stuff. (seriously, I'm going to try not to say "stuff" again in this post.)
The thing that really hit home in the post is the bit about the books. I don't buy books either. Books are given to me as gifts, but honestly? For me myself, I just don't buy them. I'll buy books for the boys (Scholastic school book orders anyone?) and the purchase of a book is often an event celebrating an awesome test result, a newly-earned karate belt, or some other such occasion. But for me? I just don't want to own books. There, I said it. My books come from the library, and are returned to said library once I have finished reading them.
Lots of people are book buyers, and more power to them. In the conversation at my friend's house, our lovely hostess was talking about almost-receiving a Sony Reader for Mother's Day (I say almost because the Sony Store just is not down with the whole "sure it will be in for this special day") because she's a book buyer, and the Reader means downloading books at a likely less expensive rate, and also no clutter for bookshelves. (I am paraphrasing and probably not well - I had rocked a couple of gin & tonics prior to this conversation, so I can't account for total accuracy) I can totally respect this. And I might eventually even be able to get behind the idea of the Reader or the Kindle. But for now, library books r us. I mean me. Whatever.
Now those of you who know I work in a library are probably nodding sagely and thinking "ah, she's supporting the public library system, no wonder she isn't a book buyer", and you're partly right. I've always been a fan of the public library and the services it provides. I am fortunate enough to live in a large city with one of the best library systems in the province, so hells yeah I am going to take advantage of what I got. The other part of the equation has to do with just honestly not wanting to own books, and the last part of the equation has to do with Bookslut.
Bookslut's blog is one of the feeds I get in Bloglines, and while I used to subscribe to dozens of book blogs, I've slowly been paring them down one by one, until I was left with only Bookslut. Basically, this is the site that has recommended (or steered me away from) many, many books over the past couple of years. When I read a review and think "yeah, I need to read that" I go straight to My Account at the public library's website, log in (I have my library card barcode number memorized awww yeah), search the book, and request it. Seriously. Sometimes, if it's a super popular bestseller type, I will be have the dubious honour of learning that my "Position in Request Queue" is... 165. Am I depressed that it could take months to get this book? Nah. At any given time I have - on average - 20-25 books on request. That's right, people. And about once every 2-3 weeks, one of those books becomes available to me. I go to my branch, check it out, read it and bring it back. And by then another book is on deck, and it's all just so good.
One of the things I love about Bookslut is the fact that no genre is applied to any of the books being reviewed. The labels - Mystery, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance - are never used, and time and again this has proven a very good thing. When I browse library or bookstore shelves, I am always irked - that's right I said irked - by genres. And while I understand the necessity of giving labels to books, to help direct readers to the type of book they like, I also think the same labels can do an injustice to the books in question, and can eliminate potential readers, based on the genre to which they've been assigned.
Case in point. In a recent Bookslut entry, the book The End of Mr. Y was spoken of rather highly. I followed the link to the Amazon.com entry for it, read the blurb (still one of the strangest words in the English language), and went immediately to my library page and requested it. It's a couple of years old, so it didn't take much time until it was available for me to pick it up. I drove to the library to retrieve it, and as I was checking it out, I noticed the label on the spine: Science Fiction. Dude. I do not read Science Fiction. Ever. WTF? But the review was so good, and the blurb (hee!) so interesting, that I took it home and read it. And. I really, really liked it.
Having read it, I think probably the Science Fiction genre label was a fairly decent call, but there was so much more to the book that what is normally deemed Science Fiction. I'm sure someone did their absolute best in assigning the label, but if I had seen that book on the shelf with the blue SF spine label? I would have walked right by it, without a second glance.
I guess my point, if I have one here, is that it's always good to think outside your genre, whether you're a book buyer or a book borrower. As I said, I've never been a fan of the whole labelling of fiction, and I continue to take particular offense to the genre of "Canadian Fiction" - um, Canadian authors write in a whole range of genres, thanks. I still kind of feel bad about the argument I had with my genre fiction instructor in my library program over this very topic. I'm sure she's recovered by now - physically if not emotionally.
So really, if you're a lover of the written word, it really doesn't matter, does it? Where it comes from, in what format it's written, whether or not you own it, what label it's been given. But I'm going to leave you with a dare. Dare you to read something outside your comfort level. Dare you to read in a format you've never considered. Dare you to read a book from your local library, should you not be a library user. And me? I might just get myself to Indigo and buy something. Double-dog-dare.
Oh, and I'm painfully aware that in the last half of this post, I substituted "stuff" for "genre". Sorry.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Thursday night's karate class, in which we threw ourselves (voluntarily, I might add) down to the ground in a punishment known as a breakfall - back, left side, and right side. The throw down isn't the hard part, it's really the springing back up in order to do it again that gets you. In the quads, mostly, but also in other muscle groups that up until now, had remained hidden to me. So yeah, the throwing down, the springing up, the throwing down and springing up - about 75 times. For real. And yes, I often do question why it is I pay someone to have me do this. I'm an enigma.
Yesterday's kickboxing class where all of the previously hidden muscle groups were brought out, stomped upon and then twisted up some more, causing me to have difficulty holding a water bottle, and going up and down stairs. We have a 3-level house. See above comment about paying.
The gardening that I so bravely attempted today, even though I've been feeling like roadkill. I managed to (with the help of my mother) take down most of a tree, expand an already large-ish flower bed, topsoil said flower bed, de-weed the driveway and environ, dig and install a border dividing our front lawn basically in half in preparation for grass elimination and mulch spreading. Topping up yet another flower bed with topsoil and then cleaning up from the day's activities.
I did, however, want to come on here in order to congratulate ML for her winning entry for the Conrad Black contest. About freaking time, I know. And I apologize. But! The prison nickname that cracked my shit up completely was "Black Velvet, if you please". Because, come on! That is serious Canadian Content right there! An Alannah Myles reference, in relation to Connie? Give it up people! It also conjures up some awesomely awful images of Con in jail, that I am going to leave you to ponder on your own, as per my dedication to classiness in this here blog.
So the moment you've all been waiting for.... ML wins this fabulous prize:
That's right! It's a set of ironic magnets! Clever! Anyway ML, this will be on its way to you shortly. (actually I'll probably just bring it to your house next weekend)
I would also like to offer a congratulations to our runner up kibi for the entry Conrad, the Rad-con - because that is also quite excellent, and a very awesome play on word. And kibi joined the game all the way from Israel, and considering I had no idea this was an intercontinental blog, I'm tickled. Seriously.
So thanks for playing along. I will be back with another timely contest at a later date. Right now though? If I can summon the strength, there is a bottle of pinot grigio with my name on it.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
As you may know, just over three years ago, I had surgery to remove some of my ladyparts. Specifically the part that houses the unborn, should there be unborn to house. Two pregnancies and some other complications left me with a lot of problems in the nether regions, so it was determined this was the best course of action to relieve some pretty debilitating symptoms.
Okay, so if you thought that part was an overshare? You might want to stop reading now. I'm just sayin'.
Anyway, the rest of the bits were left intact, leaving me (according to my gyn) with normal function (whatever that is). Basically? It means that while I wasn't plunged straight into menopause (yay!) it became a lot more difficult to keep track of certain hormonal things that happen on a regular basis (boo!). As my husband so brilliantly put it: "same sentence, no punctuation." So for awhile, I did my best to keep tabs on things, and I pretty much was able to for that first year. "Wow, why am I so crabby and wanting to mainline salt and vinegar chips and Mars bars simultaneously?" Ah. *count count count* Okay. Makes sense now."
After the first year, things began to get a bit hazy and I just kind of had to roll with whatever the hormones threw at me. And it seemed to work out ok, I've managed to live a normal life, with the occasional normal monthly cravings, bloating and other normal stuff. Normal normal!
Over the past few months though, I've noticed that some of my normal symptoms have gone off the charts. And! There are new symptoms that have added themselves to the party! Is it hot in here, or is it just me?! Not to mention that this craziness happens more often than just once a month! What is up with this shit?? So, as is my style, I did a bit of research.
And, you probably already guessed it blogfriends. e-L learned that she is officially on the downward spiral to menopause hell. The official term is perimenopause, apparently. How quaint. At first I didn't believe it. Pshaw I said! This cannot be. I am only 41. I deluded myself for about 2 weeks. And then? Then, I had some kind of crazy raging hormonal frenzy fest that included actual throwing of oven mitts, stomping upstairs like an irate toddler, culminating in full-on face down on the bed sobbing and full body shaking that I just could not stop. Good times.
Apparently denial wasn't working for me.
I think the worst thing about this is the lack of control. I'm a fairly even-tempered person, by nature, and it usually takes a lot to get me riled up. And, even when I do lose my shit, I can almost always talk myself down from the ledge. With this stuff though, I don't know. It's just different. It's probably something I can learn to live with - I guess I have no choice. And from what I've read there are some good strategies to help deal with symptoms, but man. What a drag it is getting old. And boy howdy does it make me feel old. If lack of control is the worst part of this ordeal, the whole getting old part is a close second. Nothing like learning you're slipping into menopause to make you feel like a dried up shell of a woman.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm still vibrant! And sensational, even! And if I can keep a sense of humour about all this, I think I'll make out just fine. I can even think of myself as a trailblazer for all my friends - a pioneer, as it were. See? Just thinking about all the good I can do to help others makes me feel better already!
And if that doesn't work out? What's that federal department the US has - Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms? I'm gonna go party with those dudes.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
My first girl crush was my grade 7 teacher. It was perfect timing for me, as I had left my regular school after grade 6 to attend "the gifted program" at another school across the city. I know you're probably all "Dude, you were gifted? For real?" And yeah, I guess I was. But I didn't last long at gifted school, because I missed my people. It wasn't as though it was all "wrong-side-of-the-tracks girl goes to uppity prep school" or anything. It was more like "wrong-side-of-the-tracks girl goes to other wrong-side-of-the-tracks school for slightly more advanced book-learning". But whatev, I missed my friends and alla that. I left after about 6 weeks and went back to my school that I never should have left in the first place. One day I'll have to do a whole post on my 6 whole weeks of giftedness, but for now, back to the girl crush.
My teacher Miss C. was all sorts of awesome. She had this great wardrobe, with like 18 different pairs of funky leather boots and tons of chic clothes. She was from Toronto. She drove a freaking Camaro - the hottest car circa 1978, right? She smoked. Ok that part - not so cool I guess, but 30 years ago (ohmychrist, 30 years? oy.) the whole smoking thing was still sort of bohemian and decadent, and it just seemed so cool and so stick it to the man, you know, when you're a teacher and all. Because I had been gone for the first part of the school year, I was considered a transfer student, and even though everyone knew me, they still kind of treated me like the "new kid". Which sucked, but Miss C. saw that the cliques, they had been formed, and I spent until Christmas being "the new kid", so she kind of took me under her very stylish wing, and we bonded. Or at least I did. I adored everything about her, and really just basked in her awesomeness. She left the following year, which was sad, but we actually kept in touch via letters and the occasional phone call for quite awhile. And any time the retro-70s fashions reappear in magazines and stores, I think of her and her bitchin style.
Other girl crushes have come and gone, and the most recent ones include fabulous Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman (have you heard this woman? And have you been astounded at how fabulous she is? Totally crush-worthy for SO many reasons) and the woman in my neighbourhood who drinks really expensive wine (have stood behind her in line the LCBO so I know), has a kickass wardrobe, and drives a flame red Vespa in the warm months (which apparently we don't get to have around here anymore.) So there you have a few of my favourite girls over the past 30 (ouch) years or so. You may have your own girl crush stories, and I hope you do. And probably? One or two of them turn out like the story I am about to tell...
One day a few weeks ago, I was at work and standing in line for coffee, just minding my own business, when a young woman approached me. She looked vaguely familiar, so I smiled, and as soon as I did, this is what happened:
her: OMG hi!
me: hey, how are you?
her: OMG I'm great, thanks! How are you??
me: Oh - good, thanks.
her: That's great! Um - well, you probably don't recognize me, but I sometimes take the bus? And you're usually there at the stop, and you always look so cool, you know, wearing all black, you know, which is cool, and OMG I just love your boots! And you know, you've got your iPod - probably listening to something cool, of course right?? Of course haha! And you know, I've always wanted to say hey, and whatever but I never have, but anyway, I just wanted to say I think your sunglasses are so awesome, and well, I just wanted to say hi!
me: Wow. Um - thanks.
She went on with a bit more of the same while I paid for my coffee and then gave me a wave and left.
Dude. Could it be? Could it be, that I might actually be the subject of a girl crush? This is something in all my years of crushing that never once occurred to me. Seriously, this could be huge. I mean, maybe I'm like, projecting or something but what if I'm not? What if, for real, this girl thinks I am all that? I mean, with great power comes great responsibility, right? And really, um - me? Wow. So yeah, I don't know. I mean it's cool and all and totally flattering. Me, as girl-crush-worthy. Well, to be honest, it really made my day.
But, what if she ever finds out I was probably listening to, I don't know, Gordon Lightfoot or something?!
I'm totally busted.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
#1 I need to purchase a new toothbrush every 10 days to 2 weeks. You know how on the package it says "replace every 3 months" or something like that? Nunh-uh. No way. Once a bristle gets bent or there is toothpaste residue on it? It's history to me. Now, in my defense (something tells me I'm going to say that a lot in this post) in my highschool days I had a lot of coldsores - like monthly - at the same time as, you know, that other monthly thing that makes highschool so freaking awkward. So yeah, I was a hot mess back then. And my dentist advised me to get a new toothbrush whenever I got a coldsore, so as not to spread the virus love around. So the habit stayed, and now it's kind of obsessive - or quirky. I prefer quirky.
#2 Whenever I see an acronym, I must know what the letters stand for. For real. For instance? OHLA. Ontario Hospital Library Association. PPCLI. Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. I can not rest until I know. And if I don't know? I make it up. So PPCLI could also be Ping Pong Champions of Long Island. (note: that one isn't mine, but isn't it awesome?) Maybe it's because I spent a lot of time in the military where it's all acronyms all the time. And also, I now work in libraries where - well, same thing. Also? Conversely, whenever I see a list of words, I try to form an acronym. And there are bonus points (in my head) whenever it's something really funny or dirty or something. Like on the bus the other day, I noticed a meter maid - or bylaw officer, I guess is the PC (politically correct) term - and they are known as Provincial Offences Officers. Or? POO for short. See? Awesomely funny. Apparently I am also a 10 year old boy.
#3 I stopped eating meat over 15 years ago, but I have a very, very hard time resisting a good Genoa salami. Make. What you will. Of that.
#4 I hate having the bathroom door open when I'm washing my face. This is due to a completely irrational fear of having someone suddenly appear in the bathroom standing right behind me, thus appearing in the mirror - probably an axe-wielding maniac, as can happen, right? This was a tough quirk to overcome when I had roommates. Fortunately, my good friend Karen had the same irrational fear, so we respected each other's weirdness when it was face-washing time. Always good to know someone has your back, and it's not an axe-wielding maniac.
#5 I can converse in song lyrics. Apparently not everyone can do this? So it helps to know someone else who can also converse in song lyrics so that actual conversations can happen (Viv, I'm looking at you). But I can also carry on a lyrical conversation with myself quite nicely if I have to.
#6 I have an almost Joan Crawfordian aversion to wire hangers, and I also must insist that all hangers are facing the same way in my closet. At all times. No exceptions. I know. You try being married to me.
So there you have it. I wish I could say "and those are all the quirks that I have!" But I can't. I suppose there will be another meme one day where I can list numbers 7 through 77 or something.
I'm going to tag Vivian and then anyone else who's quirky can feel free to play along. Just make sure you let me know.
Oh, and Lord Black of the Big House contest closes Friday April 4th so get your votes in!
Friday, March 28, 2008
Ric arrived part way through the school year (what is it with me and the boys who crash the school year party?) but I honestly can't remember what grade. It was either 10 or 11, but I don't have anything more concrete than that, he always just seemed to be part of my life back then. He was in my French and English classes and possibly a couple of others, but I remember those two mostly because we did a lot of laughing in both. We hit it off right away, same senses of humour, same interest in films and music, all of that stuff that's important. He quickly established a school newspaper, and my friend A and I quickly became his movie reviewers. We reviewed some of the crappiest movies of the 80s - remember Remo Williams the Adventure Begins? Yeah, we panned that long before Siskel & Ebert did, I'm sure.
In English class once, we were discussing a short story dealing with planned obsolescence, and the teacher asked Ric to explain in his own words what he thought that meant. So the boy goes on and on about growing up, and certain expectations of youth, and how parental influences dictate what you become. We were all staring at him and finally the teacher spoke: "um actually, planned OBSOlescence, not ADOlescence". And he was quick to reply "oh. well, then, I have no idea what I'm talking about!" It was awesome. Another time he and another girl and I were assigned the poem "The Woodpile" to analyse and we elected him the rep to actually get up and talk about our thoughts. So when he stood up to give the presentation he confidently said "So Camille, Elizabeth and I did it on The Woodpile..." and the crowd went wild, people. Again, nothing short of brilliant.
My yearbooks have inscriptions from him such as "I like you because you like David Byrne and plain doughnuts" and "my yearbook photo didn't make it in this year, so here is a self-portrait. No camera can capture the true beauty" and a drawing of a train on a track that stated simply "my train of thought".
We would go see movies together at the local rep theatre, The Broadway, he knew the guy that owned it. He'd pick me up in his Datsun without a floor (okay the floor was only missing on the passenger side of the car, and there was a strategically placed floormat, but if it moved at all you could just see the road whipping by) and we did a bunch of full-participation Rocky Horror Picture Shows there, and movie documentaries like Stop Making Sense were our faves (see David Byrne reference above). At one point I briefly considered that he could be potential boyfriend material, but quickly reconsidered. He was too good a best boy bud, and I didn't want to mess things up. So we continued status quo, hanging out and belly laughing everywhere we went.
After highschool we attended the same hometown university, me in History and him in Economics and Political Science or something jazzy along those lines. Our paths didn't cross very often, and we probably only saw each other a few times on campus. At the end of our time there, we somehow managed to learn that we were graduating on the same day, and both hated the thought of going. On graduation day, he picked me up (by this time, different car, fully floored) and we bitched and moaned the whole way there about how our parents were forcing us to go, it was like 5000 degrees out, it was going to be sooooo boring, and really who goes to their grad? Then we started talking about our parents - mine, working-class types who never graduated highschool, and his, Brazilian immigrants who also had little education. Then we were quiet for a bit and decided to suck it up and be happy we had the opportunity, realizing finally (duh) how proud we were making our parents. So we graduated and posed for a couple of photos together, and talked about plans for the future. Mine were simple: bum around for most of the summer, and then hit up the UK and Ireland for a full-on backpacking extravaganza. He had already been accepted at law school, and would be working his ass off all summer to pay for it. Always the responsible one.
After uni, I'd see him once in awhile, usually around Christmas when he was home. We'd go for a drink, and talk about how when he was a high-flying lawyer he'd hire me and we'd work together a la Perry Mason and Della Street. Good times those, and lots of good memories. We lost touch, but I was always so sure we'd get together again.
So how much of a shock was it this morning when I opened the Announcements section of the paper and saw his obituary. Full on body slamming punch to the gut shocking. I couldn't believe it, refused to believe it. I still don't. In his 41st year... Beloved husband of... Adoring father of... Loving son....brother... will be missed my many family and friends.... No fucking way. I cried long and hard. 41 years is not enough time on this earth.
When I recovered somewhat I could look at the photo. It made me smile that he looked the same, just with less hair. It's a great photo, totally capturing his personality, I think. It made me happy that he'd been happy - wife, two kids.. But then the crashing grief that they must be feeling, how can you even imagine?
Every day I am reminded that life is precious and short and should not be taken for granted. Every. Day. And while I'm reminded, seldom do I really think long and hard on it. Today though? That's all I can think about. I can't wait to go home and hug John and the boys, tell them that I love them. And to all of you too, consider yourselves virtually loved and hugged.
And seriously. Let's get together...before we get much older.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Can we talk about Heather Mills? And how she is absolutely and completely crazy - nay - batshit? Who pours water on a lawyer's head??? In court??? Maybe they need to go back to wearing wigs? Oy.
Can we talk about how China is seriously not doing much to prove to me (or anyone, really) that they deserve to host the fucking Olympic games?
Or what about Canada recognizing Kosovo, you know, cos all the cool kids are doing it? Can we talk about that?Can we talk about the amount of handwringing there appears to be about the prequel to Anne of Green Gables, "Before Green Gables"? And now there's a prequel movie coming out too, which no doubt will be a stressor for these same people? (aside: I don't know man, I think it's kind of a cool way to celebrate the 100th anniversary. But then, I was never an Anne-aholic, really. I liked the first book, but never got into the rest. I was more of an Emily of New Moon girl.)
Can we talk about smokers? Like, how they think that throwing their butt on the ground is a good idea? And that this somehow isn't littering? Do you know how many times I've had to dodge a butt at the bus stop this week? Too fucking many, that's how many.
Can we also talk about how, apparently, I am the mayor of Crabbyville, and if the sun doesn't start to shine immediately, I am going to have to open a vein? For real, people. I will cut.