Sunday, November 30, 2008

on fleeing to Aspen

It's the day before the first of December. That would be the 30th of November, by most calendars. And we all know what that means. The holidays, they are upon us. I tend to look at the December holiday season as starting around the time of the US Thanksgiving holiday weekend. I don't know why, but it just seems to fit. So yesterday, we lugged the decorations downstairs and spruced the place up festive-like. Then we listened to the soundtrack from A Charlie Brown Christmas while I made dinner and after dinner we watched the Charlie Brown Christmas DVD.

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

what i had planned to blog about

I know. I'm not bitter or anything, but this is what I was going to blog about last night:

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.


And I was doing so well. But I had to race home from work, pick up Max, drive him to a birthday party, hang out and wait for him, race over to my mum's with him, then off to meet John and Vivian and Steve for dinner. Then we went to see The Sadies (who are awesome and you totally need to check out their music; they are some of the most talented musicians in this country right now, and they put on an amazing show).

So yeah.

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

4 for 1

Today the 4 of us went to our doctor's office, rolled up our sleeves and got jabbed with the influenza vaccine. Last year was the first time the boys got the shot, so they knew what to expect, which was good. And bad. But it all worked out and we're set for the season. Bring it on influenza! Except - um - don't, okay?

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

no, really, knock yourself out

The other day John and I were discussing our finances. They are sucking. This is nothing particularly new, we have never been known for our stellar ability to earn and save money. However. Shit is going down, and well, the finances, they are suffering. So here's a little conversation we had the other morning:

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

yes, it is

Yesterday Charles very excitedly told me that it was exactly one month until his birthday! How cool is that - just a month! Which, means, of course, that today it is exactly one month until Christmas Day. How the freak did that happen? But it's true. One month.

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


It's post number 24 of 30, people. And I got nothing. So here, have some Photoshopped pics of the boys, courtesy of my brother, who seemingly has nothing else to do with his time but manipulate photos. Not that I don't appreciate it, of course.

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

the gift that keeps on giving

A few weeks ago, my mother announced to me that she thought of the perfect gift for me for Christmas.

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

strength, agility and accuracy

We went to a book party today! I love that it was advertised as a "book party" as opposed to a "book launch". Since it's a book for kids, that was probably wise. I'm sure if we told the boys we were going to a book launch, they would have had visions of books being propelled across the parking lot. And hoo boy would they have been disappointed. But since it was a party, it was great. There was even cake, and balloons, and games!

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

girl time

So remember last Friday when I talked about how it sucked to have to spend the whole evening at a Tupperware party on the last evening of the work week? Yeah. Well this Friday MORE than makes up for it. You see, blogfriends, in about 45 minutes, Vivian is coming to pick me up and we are going to another friend's house to curl up on the couch, watch TV, drink wine and chat. And that rocks in just so many ways.

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

got art if you want it

So my place of work has rolled out this rad new program. A call went out a few weeks ago for anyone who might be interested in participating in an art project. Over the course of the next few months, local artists will be coming to our centre to lead projects in printmaking, book making (actual books, not, you know, betting), painting, photography, collage and a whole bunch of other stuff. Of course I signed up, because that's how I roll.

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

what the world needs now

I'm light on content again tonight, people, but you are going to THANK me for what I am about to post. Oh, yes you are.

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

in which i ask for audience participation

I've been doing quite a bit of reading lately, and because of that - and because I often forget to pick up my holds at the 'brary - I'm currently running on no books on my holds list. I'm about halfway through Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith, but once I'm finished that, I have nowhere to turn. The horror.

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

charles sees people, they may or may not be dead

Nine years ago last month we moved into our current house. It's hard to believe it's been that long, but Charles was only 22 months old, and Max hadn't yet even been conceived. So yeah, this is really the only house the boys have ever known. And we like it just fine. Usually.

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

we laughed like kids at all the silly things we did

And seriously? Who doesn't love the stripes?

I know I promised you more, but yeah. I made you promises, knew I'd never keep. Why do you believe?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

promises, promises

Okay, blogfriends, I totally know that this is another placeholder-type blog post. One that is ridiculously light on substance, while at the same time, heavy on wtf? But I have a super-good reason. I do.

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

you know what's fun on a Friday night?

Not Tupperware parties.

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

fulfilling the requirements

Dudes. CSI tonight totally kicked my ass. Any sad or scary or icky scenario involving little boys - especially little 8-year old boys (of which I am the proud owner) - reduces me to a puddle of goo. That's right, I said goo. I can't handle it. That little boy tonight, he might as well have been Max. It just freaks me out.

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

shameless plug

In lieu of actual coherent thought this evening, I give you this.

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

on remembering

One of the most amazing stories my family has is this:

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.

Thanks, guys.

Monday, November 10, 2008

one more reason not to have your mother in the delivery room

Pregnant women, listen up! Why not have an orgasm when you deliver! Really! This video shows you how! (You can also read about it on, but for some reason the website doesn't work on my computer. There are some files that I apparently don't have the gear to support. I'm actually ok with that.)

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


Tomorrow is a holiday for me and my hospital. I assume it has something to do with Remembrance Day, which is Tuesday. But I don't actually know for sure. On our employee calendar of statutory and other holidays, it just says "10 November - 2nd Monday in November". As if that alone should denote a holiday. So Happy 2nd Monday in November, everyone!! Weird. Anyway, whatever though, I am down with a day off. Last year it was coincidentally a PA day for the boys, so we took a mini-holiday to Great Wolf Lodge. This year though, the boys are in school, John is working, so this day is mine and mine alone!

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

oh baby

I'm just home from a kickass baby shower for a friend of mine. She hasn't quite popped her babe yet, it's due to arrive mid-December, so another friend decided she needed a night of pampering. Enter a massage therapist and two aestheticians to provide said pampering. And all the guests got to partake as well. We also got to eat Chinese food and cupcakes and drink some wine and chat. Seriously? Best baby shower. Ever. Tomorrow I have another baby shower to attend. This one though, it's in a church. There will be little sandwiches, and probably no wine. So yeah.

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

just call him the bird whisperer

So here’s what went down in our house yesterday morning.

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

getting ready for camping

So John and I camp once each year. This is a tradition with some of our friends, and we look forward to Labour Day just for this reason. John has a spreadsheet, people - a spreadsheet with all the gear and food we need. The man has it down to a science, really. Because it's 500% fun. Last year we got a palatial new tent, oh we were the envy of the campers! A few years ago we got a drip coffee maker for our Coleman stove - really!

You can tell, of course, that we're not hardcore campers, right?

Anyway, I thought this little gadget would be perfect for our late-night bonfires when we're drinking and snacking:

A cooler light! It's brilliant!
You can read more about it here, along with many other gadgets that real campers would probably scoff at. Whatev. We rock the Provincial Park. And we leave it nice and tidy afterwards.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

it's a beautiful day in the neighbourhood

And not just because Obama was elected last night. Although that, of course, truly helps. Did anyone else see this article? (in my local paper, but picked up from LA). Astounding. Like I needed another reason to get all emotional today. And hopefully it's for reals, unlike the fake David Lee Roth stories from a couple of months ago. Oy.

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


Okay, I know the magic number is 270, but still, I'm pretty chuffed for y'all down there.

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

getting Feisty

Posting quickly today from work (shhhhhh!) And so you know, the “shhhh” is in reference to the fact that technically I’m not supposed to be blogging from work, and not in reference to the fact that I work in a library where silence is de rigueur, okay? Capice?

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

still with the hallowe'en theme

One of my favourite Hallowe'en specials has to be "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown". It's a classic, of course, and I'm sure you've all seen it. It's the usual philosophical Linus, ever-faithful to his beliefs, and you have to respect a dude like that, really. No matter how much the other Peanuts mock him, he is steadfast. In a way, he's a bit of a zealot, but somehow he just never crosses that line. Or maybe I just don't want him to? In any case, it's a great show, and one that the boys enjoy as well, so it's become one that we watch as a family each year.

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

you had me at NaBloPoMo

I hope y'all got your trick-or-treat on last night. The weather was perfect for being outdoors, and our neighbourhood goes crazy with the Hallowe'en shiz. There's one street just over from us where nearly every house does something full-on - like a maze to get to the veranda, a haunted veranda, crypts, zombies wandering around. It's kickass. Makes our solitary little jack-o'lantern look pretty sad indeed. But the boys had fun, and the nice thing about Hallowe'en street is that that's the only place the boys want to go, and so once we're done, we're done. Less than 1 hour, people. We don't mess around. You can tell by looking at Charles that he doesn't mess around, right?

Rebel without a cause:

Super Mario:

One down! Expect more of the same stimulating and informative posts, people! I need to do this 29 more times, yo.
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