Tuesday, December 30, 2008

And so that was Christmas

My Christmas in a bullet list:

  • Ate too many cookies.
  • Am running slower than before Christmas. But I'm running, so that's something.
  • Got new running shoes, they rock! And a gc for lululemon - gateway to pants that promise to make my butt look divine!
  • Kids got too much stuff, I blame the grandparents.
  • Everyone crowded into our tiny place and ate and drank and were generally merry.
  • The kids were amazing when they weren't too tired or hopped up on sugar.
  • Four of our five houseguests got sick after they left. I blame the children.
  • Managed to enjoy some eggnog/fireplace time.
  • Weather lovely and mild, although this made it icy as well.
  • Baking almost all gone, will have to make sure it's gone by the end of the week.
  • Made soup.
  • Made a couple of great salads. In-laws found them "interesting".
  • House still a disaster area. Must get things organized!
  • Dad got pneumonia and ended up in the hospital. He'll be ok, but it's still scary.
  • Didn't manage to get to see everyone over the holiday, but there's still a few more days!

I'm not biting

So I finally finished the first two teen vampire books by Stephanie Meyer. I wanted to know what the fuss was about. I hadn't even heard of the books until just before the last one came out and then the movie was released, so I already felt a bit under the rock on this one. How could I have missed this big teen girl cult following? Well, after reading two of these I can say, they're no Harry Potter.
The books are incredibly disappointing. They have all the components that make them so appealing, but they are so poorly put together that you just sit there thinking, “this could have been so good”. My biggest beef is that they clearly lacked a competent editor to help the author pare down the repetition, build the plot and fix the huge holes, and create a story that isn't a bunch of jagged scenes thrown together within a binding.
I realise that a few of my friends loved these books as-is, and that's fine. I understand the appeal, I've admitted that all the key ingredients are there: sullen troubled incredibly beautiful man, super powers, protective, impossibility of their love, the protestations, the revelations, the plain girl who is the object of total love for this god-like man, it's female bait, a checklist of it. In fact, you can almost hear the author checking them off one by one as the story goes on – and then repeating the list over and over until you just want to say, “enough! we get it!”. When you finish you want to scrub your brain with something really good and apologize for making it sit through it.
I'm amazed that these managed to get picked up by a publisher and sent out to print in this condition. On the other hand, if something like this can get published and make the author a very happy rich lady, surely there is hope for other bad writing to make it big out in the world, perhaps even mine some day ;-)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Don't know where she gets it

Getting ready for work/daycare/school earlier this week. Kids are dressed and playing in the living room, Steve is cleaning off cars, I am sitting at the table eating cereal. I hear a child come running down the hallway. It's Naomi, starkers except for a fake pearl necklace. She walks in casually, does a small turn, gives me a smile and runs down the hallway again. We have so much to look forward to........

dough, dough, dough

Got four cookie doughs in the fridge ready for tomorrow. Spice, cinnamon sugar, and two types of gingerbread. I also have a batch of ginger bens done. Stephie's coming over tomorrow for some baking which is great because we haven't seen her since the end of October. One of the things I love about Steph is trading crazy parent stories, between the two of us we have a truckload. She's also a crazy artist, so her view of life is nicely skewed. When we were first looking for a shadow for Ben, I put an ad on the university sites for a cheap student, hoping to find someone in psych who was interested in autism. We found Steph instead, an art education student, older than most of her class, from St Catharines so her French was so bad that she was looking for an anglo job that didn't involve telemarketing. What we ended up discovering was a perfect match for Ben in so many ways, she truly understands so many of Ben's quirks and sensitivities. A kindred spirit. Even after she left, we've continued to be good friends and she's still incredibly attached to Ben. In fact, everyone near Ben forms a strong attachment to him, it's part of his charm. His ability to become part of your heart so quickly has made finding people to work with him, and even go out of their way to help us, so easy. He's learned the first rule of people, and while I'd like to teach him not to abuse it, it has served him well.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Why my husband does not want me to write the Christmas letter

Hi Everyone,
What a year! Actually, that's a cliched way to start a yearly letter, you'd think that I could do better than that, but the fact is I can't really remember what kind of year it's been. As most of you know, I have the memory of a gnat, so when I look back at the year I remember very little. In fact, the only things sticking out at the moment are the following:
  • We got bedbugs from our downstairs neighbour and it was a pain in the butt.
  • The kids have been particularly challenging, the girl especially. It's really a miracle that she's still alive.
  • My workload has increased exponentially without financial compensation.
  • My house is such a disaster that I've considered throwing out everything I own and starting over.
  • I think I've needed a nap since June.....
  • Wait! Ben started kindergarten! That's a good one. He now has more ped days than I have vacation days.
  • Steve is still alive. Our friends and family continue to be awed over how he copes with me.
  • The cat who pees on everything is still alive, although honestly I can't say why. This year has been non-stop sniff and launder....
  • Christmas is in two weeks and I have done no shopping, baking, cleaning, crafting, decorating, or party scheduling, and part of me doesn't really care.

Hope you all spend the holidays drunk and happy,

To the person microwaving popcorn at 10:30am

What the fuck is wrong with you? Seriously dude, don't you have a lunch? Save the waves of fake buttery smell wafting through my office until the afternoon when I can stomach it.....

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

An instructional recap

I originally posted this 4 years ago, but it's obviously time for a refresher.....

How to use an elevator:

When you arrive at the elevator, decide if you would like to go up or down and press the appropriate button ONCE. Frantically pressing the button every 1/2 second upsets the elevator god.

When the elevator arrives, stand back from the doors and give the people in the elevator a chance to get out. Barging into the elevator and pressing your floor number before people can get out will result in a thrashing.

When you get out of the elevator, keep going. I know that you think that you are very important and that the people behind you are either capable of walking through solid matter or, in fact, not even there, but some of us cannot walk through incredibly dense material. Be understanding.

When you see someone coming towards the elevator as the doors are about to close, OPEN the door. Do not pretend that you are pushing the open door button and shrug your shoulders.

freakin' nitwits

Adventures in momming

There's nothing like walking into the bathroom, stepping into a puddle of urine, and having no idea which child it came from.......

The Supermom conundrum

For the past two days I have been in charge of getting the kids ready in the morning and dropping them off and picking them up at daycare/school. It's actually gone a bit better than I expected. What I expected was quite a bit more screaming, which is what I normally hear. It seems that the novelty of having mommy do it and my ability to put on boots and coats in front of the tv has kept the hollering in check. Everyone at the daycare and the school seemed surprised to see me. I suppose I could feel guilty about never doing it, but I choose not to. I work outside the house by choice, and that means that the roles are reversed in my house a bit. I still do many tasks that are traditionally “women's work”, but childcare is something that mostly gets done by my husband. He shuttles the children, he takes them to doctor's appointments, he arranges haircuts, and shops for birthday parties. Part of me does feel bad about sometimes being disconnected from the majority of their out-of-the-house activities, but staying at home and working like he does just doesn't work for me, and frankly spending that much time struggling with the kids would kill me.
The whole supermom concept is so daunting. We feel guilty if we want to do less than everything perfectly. I think that I still try to do too much, but the only reason I can try is because I have the support of my spouse who does his share. Of course perfection is impossible, and we all realise that, but there's that desire to try and get everything right. Just remember when you're up making those cupcakes at midnight that there are loads of women in your boat, surrounded by laundry and dirty dishes and screaming children all trying to be perfect and keeping up that pretense, which is why we never invite each other over for coffee.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Once again, the online bookstores were calling to me. This time, it was initially for Gaston Bachelard's The Poetics of Space. I first heard the term "desire paths" about a year ago and since then I have been interested reading this work. It includes a foreword by John Stilgoe, whose own work on the American landscape is pretty interesting.
Next is a flyer called Simplexity: Why Simple Things Become Complex (and How Complex Things Can Be Made Simpler), by Times editor Jeff Kluger. It showed up in a 'you might like this list', and looked like something I could read.
The last is a book that I heard about ages ago, but didn't pick up, Hot Sour Salty Sweet: a culinary journey through southeast asia, by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. This book is full of gorgeous pictures and recipes, including a glossary of flavourings and a glossary of ingredients.
Now, if I can just resist the temptation of reading them before my exam.....sigh.....

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Testing, testing.....

So, studying for the EAC exam, final week, final push to try to pack enough information into my brain to finish this time. Like all exams, it's frustrating how little can be learned from the writer other than whether they know how to take an exam. There's a formula: you take the practice exams, you figure out what the examiners are looking for, and you deliver it correctly in the allotted time and you pass. Exams never test you on the inherent knowledge required to make intelligent decisions, learn new material, make new rules, apply your mind to changing requirements and being inventive. Those are the true tests that we should be able to pass in life, intelligence, adaptability, good management and decision making skills. Sadly, it always comes down to showing people that you can think exactly like them.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

For Emru

My friend's brother died last night. He had leukemia. His sister, Tamu, and all of his family and friends rallied around him to find him a transplant, but the disease continued on despite the success.
Things like this make me reflect on my life obviously, and this is what I think, please listen:

Love the good things in your life, love your family and friends, love the strangers who pass by you on the street, love the guy who cut you off in traffic this morning, love the jerky boss who made you work late, love your fat thighs, love your dirty house, love the people who bring you joy and the ones who bring you pain, love the laughter, love the sadness, love the obstacles and the terrible things that happen, love the sweet smell of a crisp morning and the smell of a truck stop washroom, love the experiences that have brought you to where you are, good and bad, LOVE IT ALL because you are alive to experience it and life is too short to waste not loving everything about it. With every deep breath you take realise how lucky you are to feel, to be, to continue to exist and interact with the world.
We are so lucky you and I.......
And do something good today, get yourself on a bone marrow donor list and save a life.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Picnic table wisdom

At the park across the street there are two sentences scrawled on a picnic table, the first one says, “I want him so bad, I wish I could kiss him”, the second says, “so kiss me”. I find this amusing in so many ways. The eternal question, do we or don't we?
Looking back over my years of men, I've discovered that although I've been pursued, I've never really been pursued by men I've wanted. On the contrary, I've almost always initiated relationships with men I've wanted. On some occasions I just walked up and kissed them. You'd be amazed at the impression you make by just honestly stating what you want. In fact, talking to many women, I wasn't surprised to learn that many of us choose our men. The men in question weren't disinterested or playing hard to get, they simply didn't have a clue that the women were interested in them. Some women had tried a more subtle approach before just being blunt, others have schemed a bit more to make their men think that they made the first move. I guess that some women would have trouble making the first move, but it depends on the type of man you're looking for. I have always been happier with men who appreciated that I am a strong woman who knows what I want.
When did I learn that I should just jump in and expose my desires and just hope for the best? It has to be one of the scariest things, exposing your heart to someone who could dash it in an instant. In the end it comes down to the choice between a few moments of embarrassment and a lifetime of regret. For me, there's no choice there at all.

adventures in traffic

To the woman in the silver Golf this morning:
Lady, you can have that turn signal on until the end of time, but if you don't move your car into the traffic, you are never gonna merge. Were you waiting for an invitation?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

On music

We went to see the MSO today, part of a children's concert series. Both of the children enjoy classical music so we thought that this would be a nice way to expose them.
It's cliché to go on about the magic of music. I understand the physics involved: a wave disturbing the air, the vibrations picked up by our ear drums which convert them into the sensation of sound. But that doesn't begin to describe it. I am not a musician, and therefore can only describe it from a listener's perspective.
The visceral tug on your soul as the notes align and and the frequencies and waves move out from the instruments and musicians and penetrate and flow through your body and the bodies of the rest of the audience. Everyone experiencing the sensual joy of the sound passing through them, no two people absorbing the music in the same way and yet all enraptured by its being, by its creation from silence. It's ability to invoke so much joy and sorrow and life, falling into the harmony and dissolving into the vibrations which run through your body in waves of sensual experience.
It allows me to feel awe, to rejoice and wonder at how amazing we are and how incredibly marvelous it all is, and it often makes me cry. I catch my breath and let my body flow along the notes, the chords, the fingers and breath that give the music life. The intimacy that is shared so joyfully, fully, completely between strangers.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Just one piece left

I made an apple cake for fika this week to share with my colleagues. I used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, one of my favorite food blogs. It's apparently mom's recipe, so I had quite a bit of faith in it. It said to cook it for 90 minutes, but at 75 it was well on its way to being over baked, so I would start checking it after 60. It filled the bundt pan used, and was moist. I might step up the batter a bit, it felt a little bland, maybe mix half the apple mixture into the batter and layer the rest.

At the end of the fika, there was only one little piece left that I brought home for Steve. A resounding success, but I found a few more similar recipes, so I'll have to play around a bit, you know me ;-)

Friday, November 07, 2008

My body

Perhaps in the spirit of getting back into the blog thing I should tell the one or two people who still wander through what's been going on for the past couple of years. We'll start with my body.
When Naomi turned one and I returned to work I was over 190lbs and pretty down about it. Now, I've never been skinny, but having kids and staying home for a year with each had really taken its toll. I was in nasty shape and fat as a house. A couple of months before, I got back in touch with my old friend Deb. We had lost touch when she and her boyfriend split. We invited her over for dinner one night, and when I opened the door to let her in, I took one look and said, "Cripe Deb, where did the rest of you go?". She had easily lost 30lbs and looked fab. She told me that she followed Weight Watchers. I remembered doing WW in my early twenties with a bunch of my friends and losing 10lbs. I also remembered how hard it was to keep track of the breads, milks, etc. After being reassured that it was not like this anymore, I signed up online for a trial free membership, downloaded all the info I needed to do it on my own, then cancelled and off I went. So that was two years ago. Since then, I've lost more than 50lbs and am down to a healthy weight.

I don't follow WW, but I eat reasonably and I continue to eat the normal, healthy food I have always eaten. Last year I returned to the gym and now I have a routine of 4 or 5 days a week. I started running, which now feels amazing because my knees don't hurt and I no longer feel winded. In short, I'm happier with my body than I've been in 10 years. My goal over the winter is to work with a personal trainer on my upper body and train for 10k.
I think my success is in part to do with the fact that I wasn't in a hurry and I never obsessed about the scale. When I reached a point where I wasn't steadily losing, I just kept doing what I was doing until my metabolism caught up. When it comes to your body, patience is the best thing you can give it, and a cute new pair of jeans of course...;-)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

number one or number two?

One of the things that they never tell you about being a parent is the quantity of bodily fluids you will have to deal with on a daily basis. When you are pregnant, you pee 25 times a day for 9 months, and I think this is to prepare you for the quantity of urine you will be exposed to over the first year alone after your first child is born. For the first few years, you cannot escape from it. You talk about poop, you examine diapers, you grab your children off the ground and smell their butts, you even stick your hands down their pants and grab their crotches, only to sigh and reach for yet another diaper and the box of wipes. Everybody poops, we all know this and yet it becomes this obsession that honestly? No non-parent would ever have guessed would become so all-encompassing. Then your second child comes and at some point you realise that you have not had a day without dealing with someone else's feces for years. Case in point: tonight when my son managed to poop in the toilet, across the seat, and on the floor while in search of another roll of toilet paper, and my daughter peed all over the kitchen floor. Every surface is fair game. My husband deals with more than his fair share and yet I still feel as though I am drowning in human waste. I have a dream, a dream that one day I will only have to look after my own functions. Of course, by then I may be using Depends.....

Friday, October 31, 2008


Three years ago, I woke up early and took a shower and knew that you were arriving exactly on time. I'd been waiting for you for weeks, expecting you to show up early like your brother. You would not be rushed, but when you made up your mind, you couldn't be stopped, as your land-speed record birth proved.
Your make-believe games always seem to involve mommies and babies, mostly dinosaurs. You have an opinion about what you wear and you love to clomp around the house in my high heels every chance you get. You talk so much more now than last year, and although it is mostly yells of objection, I am still secretly pleased with the headaches you cause. You engage your brother in play and refuse to take no for an answer as you drag him to the ground, giggling at his protests. Your smile and your laugh light up my heart and make your difficult days almost bearable. You are a force, a person with so much energy and infectious enthusiasm swirling around you that you sometimes leave me in awe that I created someone so amazing.
When I look at you, I see the essence of life - the enjoyment of every moment. The passion of your being comes out with every absolute joy and devastating disappointment. You wear your emotions on the outside of your strong little body, and you have an ability to irreverently scream at the world that I envy.
You are my daughter and my tiny little hero. You are my absolute joy.
I love you Nomi-noo,

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Putzmeister

They're doing a lot of construction on the expressway near my office. I walked past just now to
get a coffee and saw the name "Putzmeister" on a large boom pump. It's so obviously German, but you still have to giggle. Do you think it was designed by a bunch of men?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Vacation's an itch

Looking back at my list, I don't feel quite as defeated considering the incredibly inconvenient second week of my vacation. I got quite a lot of my visiting done (missed out of Irene and Shawna), I got the kids' clothes sorted and the dining room kind of organized, didn't wash my car, go to a wool shop, or catch up on my reading and forget about the cleaning because on the Tuesday of the second week we discovered that our neighbour's bedbug problem had migrated to our place - yay us!
I woke up with bites, we had to have the place sprayed, which means that you have to wash everything you own (except the floors because you have to keep that stuff on the floors for three weeks) because there's a fine powder on everything. Clothes, linens, carpets, TOYS, everything.
all aboard!
This and day trips to the Ecomuseum, Train museum, Biosphere, and the occasional picnics and park excursions rounded out the exhausting and stressful second week.
Me & kids
I'd pretty much had it by the end of Labour Day and was ready to get back to work for the rest.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Check the list

I'm back! I've been gone for a really long time, but figured that I'd try to post a couple of times while I'm on VACATION!
Yeah, I'm on vacation, but we're not going anywhere. Now that we have two children who require seats, we can't fly away every year. So I'm taking off two weeks and the first week the kids are in daycare and I have a list of stuff I want to get done. The second week we're going to take day trips and hang out around Montreal. My husband has informed me that the list is ambitious. Here's some of it:
Maggie (see basement reno)
Debbie (see final landscaping)
Lynda (see new baby - 9 months late)
Adriana (feed dinner)
Jon & Tanya (it's been too long)
Irene (see photos from France)
Shawna (she just got a new puppy!)

Kids' clothes
Kids' rooms

Get Ben's school stuff
Hem Ben's pants
Wash car
Bake cupcakes
Get hair cut
Check out wool shops
Sewing projects (too many to mention)
Find the perfect skirt (done!)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Five things I love about you


You think that any outfit is better with your airplane tie
The way you whisper "momma" when we're having some quiet time together
Your negotiation tactics that get you two cookies instead of one
When you come running to the door when I come home and tell me that you missed me today
That you still love to cuddle with me on the sofa
You are five today and you are your own little man. You pick out your own clothes, make up games, play with your sister, and love to help people. You start school in less than two months! It seems like it was such a short time ago that you were sleeping on me while I watched you breathe. When I tell you how big you're getting, you tell me that you're not getting bigger, that you're getting smaller. Part of me wishes that were true and that you would stay this way forever. You are my perfect little boy and I love you so, big or small.
All my heart,