Monday, October 11, 2010

Crazy! Search! Terms!

click to enlargeSome blogging people end up with fantastic posts about all the *whacky* search terms used to find their blogs. Things seemingly unrelated, but probably connected somehow by the spaghetti of connections - both hard wired and programmed - that hold this bizarre internet together. We need to explain things, to figure out *what* in my series of characters strung together caused this connection? WHAT? HOW DID YOU GET HERE?

Not me. I'm just glad I wrote this post a while back, or I'd get no hits at all.

I'd like to think that, though I've temporarily derailed their quest(s) for - uh - higher learning through teh internetz, they've gained something. And if one - just one - pauses to think about what they're doing to -- ahahahahahaha!!! oh mercy.... good one Harmzie.

In reality, I get a great thrill out of yelling "HA! SUCKER!" every time I see a hit with that source.

I'm shallow.

I'm good with that.

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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Do-As-I-Say Parenting

We went out for a family dinner last night. A little reward for the kids taking one for the team for the past couple of weeks: they had to be shipped off early to before-school daycare to accommodate a little blip in our logistics. We negotiated that in early. Plus some books to read in the hour before school for Norah. They drive a hard bargain.

So the conversation turned to swearing. What? We managed to use the fact that we were out at the "Fanciest Restaurant in Town" (the children use the fanciness of restaurant bathrooms as their gauge and this one is off the charts. Food's ok too) to steer us away from the usual burping & farting conversation.

Max: "so what swearing have you heard Mom & Dad say?" Nothing like asking a loaded question.

Norah: "Well, when driving, Mom has said 'bloody hell!'"

Me: "'Bloody'? That's not even a swear!" [phew]

Norah: "and also 'son of a *bleep*'" (she self-sensors, even when singing along to songs on the radio that have the "soft-swears" in them)

Me: "Well, ok. That's probably not the best"

Max and I exchanged some knowing glances indicating disbelief that this would be the worst that they've heard from us. Really, we try hard - Max tries harder than me - but quite regularly the *real* baddies slip out in whisper and somewhat-less-than-whisper form.

So today, Norah & Pepper were folding our hand towels on the couch (it's one of their jobs. Don't go thinking they just cheerily attack this job or anything). Norah mentioned something sticky on the couch and went to get a wet cloth to deal with it (ok, THAT I'm pretty pleased with).

Norah: "Goddammit! It won't come out"


"The sticky stuff. It won't come out"

"No, I mean what did you SAY?"

"I'm trying to wipe it, but it won't come out!"

"[sigh] what. did. you. say. before. that?"

silence and wiping.

"Goddammit, it's still not coming out"

"THERE! Do not say that!"

[nonplussed]"ok, how about 'oh my god'?"

"how about 'oh my gosh'?"

"Whatever. I got most of it out anyway."

It's a work in progress.

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Peanut Butter

I don't let the kids watch Family Guy (I do have lines)(they may be fuzzy)(and distant)(but they're there) but I showed them this:

... and then the "original" (or some variation):

Both were big hits. But then came the challenge of finding out how many times in a row the phrase can be repeated.

We haven't reached it yet, but I DO have this nice pen hanging out of my ear.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Things that make me happy

I've been in a funk.

Mostly a blogging funk, but when we had to cancel the family road-trip to the west coast (breaking my mom's heart) due to automobile kerfluckedness, THEN suffered a self-imposed home-exile due to abhorrence to dealing with lice or lice-related issues any more than we had to. We did some fun stuff on our holidays, but still, it was no road-trip, and couldn't even be considered a bait-and-switch.

Then there was BlogHer. I didn't go last year, it didn't even occur to me to go (it did occur to me to make fun of it). This year was the same, except it DID occur to me to go. I'd befriended some pretty cool people in February (I mean IRL, they were already befriended) and there were mutterings of several of them going. Plus it was in New York. NEW FREAKING YORK! I don't have a bucket list, but if I did, going to New York would be on it (Chicago? check). I would have loved to see them all again & party in New Yawk. Seeing the photos, and even the videos, made me so sad I was shocked at myself. There isn't necessarily "always next year", as the people I want to see won't necessarily be there.

I decided to battle the crappy feelings by taking Nenette's lead (sure it was a month ago. I told you: blogging funk. I PASSED UP A MEME for crying out loud!) & coming up with some of the simple things that make me happy. I used her criteria: none of the obvious – family, friends, socio-economic status...

The happy list (in progress):

  1. Pasta, specifically spaghetti, with butter & salt
  2. My Ecco shoes – I've always heard tell of the magic shoe that feels like pillows on your feet. These are them, for me.
  3. My bed. I was nearly 40 before I threw a hissy fit and got – no, invested in a real bed. Not going into what we had before, because this is about what makes me happy!
  4. Sushi. With my GFs; with Max; with the kids; when Max makes it; with my sister. All are completely different experiences and all make me happy.
  5. My sister's expecting. In February. I'm so freaking excited, but it's just not What We Do to be all weepy & squealy (besides, she'd slap me). I'm glad Norah did that when she found out. It was like I was jumping and squealing vicariously through her. She is going to kick my ASS for putting it here. HA! If she ever read it!
  6. Taking photographs (with film). Haven't done it (really done it) in a long, long time, but it did make me happy.
  7. Minesweeper. Shut up.
  8. Washing my face. After some 35 years of fighting with skin products, I was looking up some Major Home Exfoliation Ritual that I think I found through Bionic Beauty and at the end of it they said, "or just use a rough face cloth & hot water" (???) so that is all I do now and it feels sooooo good. Add a touch of light moisturizer, and it sure doesn't hurt the happiness scale that Max says "mmm you smell so good"
  9. Elizabeth I
  10. Lasagne
  11. My parents' cottage lot. It has coexisting promises of a future of family gathering & relaxing solitude at the same time.
  12. xkcd
  13. Getting @ replies
  14. When the clock reads 12:34
  15. Seeing hot-air balloon in the sky (haven't seen any this year, wtf?)
  16. Painting my toes. Well, ok, my toe-nails. Although with my skill-level, I should just stick to calling it "painting my toes". But whatever, it makes me happy.
  17. Getting a pedicure. Thanks to Rougie, I'm going to go by myself on my birthday (unless I get a better offer???)
  18. Working in the garden

Wow. Lots of simple stuff makes me happy. What makes YOU happy?

(OMG! I really want some buttery/salty pasta RFN!)

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Monday, August 2, 2010


Non-stereotypically of girls, I don't mind bugs. Bugs who bother me – eat my food or my person or that of my family & friends, or hang out in our immediate space – must die. It's simple. But they generally don't creep me out[1].

That was before lice. The other day I found a creepy crawly in The Boy's hair. And I lost my shit. It's been four days now and it hasn't found its way back.


It seems like I'm now in this exclusive club that includes, oh I don't know, EVERYONE! My casual discussions this week:

"Oh yeah, we were sitting eating breakfast and I saw this bug dart out of her hairline on her forehead"


"He said 'Mom, my head itches' and he hadn't had a shower for a few days so I scrubbed his scalp extra and when he got out he said 'MOOOOM it still itches!' so I checked him closer and yeah, he was crawling with them"


"She must have got it from a new hat I let her wear without washing it. She was crawling with them"


Rational thought eventually kind of took over with the realization that washing every single washable item in the house seventeen-thousand times is STILL EASIER TO MANAGE than rebuilding with null-and-void insurance and a jail-term for arson (full disclosure: Max hid all the flammable implements).


I understand that it has nothing to do with your cleanliness, or tidiness or how good or not good your parenting is. Believe me I understand this. With the nearly monthly letters sent home saying "someone in your child's class has lice, blah blah blah" they really try to hammer that home (rightly so). Besides, if it DID have anything to do with my ability as a housekeeper, I would have had lice since – oh, I don't know, my early 20s. But that doesn't keep me feeling like a filthy hobo (and not the sexy kind, that the gentlemen seem to find so endearing); OR my family from treating each other like lepers.

All told, I think it was caught extremely early. The cases above are more likely what would have happened if there hadn't been a miraculous fluke of me inspecting Stewie's scalp, as he'd been having some seborrhoea (what's called "cradle cap" in babies – also gross, but y'know, not a MOTHERFUCKINGPARASITE). [Aside: I now have a rock-steady handle on the scalp-health of everyone in this family.]

I bought the treatment (cornered and grilled the pharmacist for about half an hour) and applied it, then decided to go a little more CSI on everyone else. Norah turned up positive. Max & Pepper are negative (so far). Myself? It took the awesome nerd-slinging power of the microscope[2] to overwhelm my denial with scientific proof, so I've been treated too. (He climbed into bed in the morning before I found them. The little bastard is so snugly! And he still says "I wuff you, Mummy")

We'll treat again, as directed: 7 days after first treatment. And, by all accounts, about six to eight weeks from the "all clear", I might slow the meticulous checks down to every other day. Until then, I toy with the idea of shaving my head, but I can't seem to find any sharp implements, either…

[1] Don't test that, I said "generally"

[2] What, you don't have a microscope in your home? Get off the internet & don't try and call yourself a nerd until you've rectified the situation. Electron not necessary.

Live Tweeting the spectacle:

Found head lice on The Boy. From what I've read, for the amount of bugs I now feel crawling all over me, I'd expect to be way higher.

Lice: I mean, it's not like the bed didn't need vacuuming anyway, right? RIGHT?

Bad: Kid-with-brush-cut having lice. Worse: Kid-with-long-hair-who-hates-brushing-it-like-ever confirmed. Better: 3 of us remain pure.

Also: motherfucking headache.

Also: hot water tank (which was never really resolved) acting up. KIND OF NEED HOT WATER TO KILL IT ALL.

Did I mention motherfucking headache?

New challenge: keep lice-free kid from picking through the head of infested one.

I really should have read through fine-print of the EULA for Parenting. Instead, we were all "oooo babies are soooooo cute!" [ACCEPT]

Are lice treatments tax-deductible? How about the booze treatments? You know. For me.

OH: "don't threaten your sister with your head". OK, it was me. I've just gone to my happy-place & am laughing at everything I'm watching.

OMG!!! This changes everything: "Stop [current offensive behavior] or you'll catch lice from your brother". How long can I pull this off?

If 10 yrs ago you had told me I'd be vacuuming pillows at midnight, I'd have said "who the hell are you?"

Also: "maybe you could foretell something a little more useful? Like what kind of car I'll be driving?"

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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Holding On By Letting Go

It was our anniversary yesterday. 17 years.

If some crazy old time-machine version of myself had told me 20 years ago that I would be married for this long, I would have either (a) not believed them, because hey, who believes crazy old versions of themselves claiming to have a time-machine? Or (b) stood on the edge of a lake and yelled "in your FACE Cosmos!" given that I came from the failed marriage of two people themselves products of failed marriages. Probably both, because "a" is pretty insurmountable, but I probably couldn't pass up the opportunity to yell "in your face" to anyone, let alone someone as daunting as The Cosmos (plus, when faced with time-machined versions of yourself, you may as well act out in equally crazy ways).

I don't feel very "in your face" though now. If it all fell apart tomorrow, it would still be a failure and History would have its way, repeating and all. So of course it's still a work-in-progress (Grandparents #2 split after over 30 years – though by all accounts 30 miserable years, marriage-wise).

It's best not to try and keep score with TC (it tends to have the upper hand, being Cosmos and all). So rather than try & beat odds and battle statistics, we've opted to work within and enjoy the ride. That's not a euphemism for anything (unless it is).


Yesterday, we didn't celebrate. We split off and I handled Stewie's fifth birthday party (mini-golf with seven 5 & 6 year olds and a 10 year old helper – HELP!) and he sheparded Pepper through a softball tournament (eight hours in scorching tropical heat with my sister's un-air-conditioned car. Hard to say which is the short straw.) Then, he had a stag to go to (Me: [snide, probing-but-indirect remarks intended to sniff out what's on the "menu"] Him: "We're watching Ultimate Fighting" Me: "is it girls fighting?" Him: "Wow. That *would* be Ultimate!" Me: [sigh][punch]).

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Except maybe a Spa day.

And maybe I'll go whisper "in your face" at the edge of a puddle.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My First Venn Diagram

I was about 12 when I created my first Venn diagram (that I remember). I didn't realize that that's what I'd done, nor did I (shocking Nerdlinger admission) actually *draw* it out.

I was in the bathroom, probably sitting on the toilet (though that point is not particularly relevant). I was playing with the plunger (remember, 12) when I stuck it to the floor & pulled.

Up popped a floor tile.


OK, I might not have cursed, but it was entirely possible - and possibly, you know, worse, as I'm pretty sure I've been a potty-mouth since I could talk. If I did, I *might* have been smart enough to keep it under my breath (but no guarantees).

"DAMMIT!!" Because I suddenly realized the following Reasons I Am Busted:

(Thank you, thank you. Yes, it's good to be back. OK OK, put down that rake, violence will solve nothing)

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Sunday, March 28, 2010


One hundred years ago today (March 29), my Grandma was born.

Left: She and I at her London Street house c. 1969; Right: About 30 years later, months prior to the emergence of her first great-grandchild

Grandma's been gone for just over four years, and I miss her terribly. But her mark on my life was indelible, so since she has passed, I have had far less of a sense of loss than I imagined I might. She has really not gone anywhere.

As a woman of my generation and socio-geo-nomic upbringing, it's easy to become complacent about my lot in life. It's easy to wave off the fact that I vote and have an education and a decent job. That I am surrounded by people who accept it as a natural decision of circumstance within a family, that the father be at home with the kids. Or the mother.

There are two kinds of people (yes, I said "people") who have put me here today: there are those who spoke out & marched & fought & litigated & fought & marched some more; and there are those who just did. Grandma just did. Every day.

The Three Lessons From Grandma, that she never, ever said out loud:
  1. Get yourself an education. And don't stop.
  2. NO ONE can make you feel inferior without your permission (I realize that Eleanor Roosevelt said that, but Grandma lived it)
  3. Do not take yourself too seriously, dammit!
Without words, every one of those lessons has been threaded through my person, as I've tried to emulate her spirit in an entirely different life & time. #2 is hard, but I think I'm doing OK.


Happy Great-Grandma Norah Day!
(Pepper named the day, on Grandma's first birthday after she passed. She saw it marked on the calendar, she decided we should do something about it. So we did!)

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Friday, March 26, 2010


Yesterday (Thursday) afternoon, I'm sitting in a colleague's office. We'll call him "Him". By way of background, we may have been known to banter a little. I might have just been riding him for stammering when I asked him what his wife did (he was really only pausing to determine into how much detail to go).

Him: "OK, so I'll get this [answer/drawing/chain letter] back to you tomorrow."

Me: "I'll be away all day tomorrow"

Him (faking incredulity): "How come YOU get a day off?!"

Me (getting attitude)(I know, strange): "*Actually*, I'll be in class all day. Saturday too."

Him (feeding on my attitude): "Really? Is it dance class?"

Me (now mustering all the bring-it-the-fuck-on-asshole I can)(possibly going for a smidgen of shock-value)(I can't say for sure)(it was a pretty snap decision): "Yes. It's pole dancing."

Him (not skipping a beat): "I didn't know you're Polish!"

Composure decimated.

I love my co workers (not like that)(don't tell them).

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Parenting... It's All About Communication


I whisper: "chocolate chips":

(Actually, everything in all of life is all about communication, but that's a topic for a different post. One filed under "d'uh".)

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Sunday, March 21, 2010


If you look to the upper right of your screen (assuming your screen looks anything like mine, which might be a huge assumption, me being only technically ept (how come "ept" isn't the opposite of "inept"?) enough to get myself into serious trouble and not necessarily out of it), you may notice the bio saying "something, something wife/mom/engineer something something". That might lead you to believe that I have some answers or at least suggestions about "balancing it all". HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! [cack-choke-cough]
Ohhhhhhmercy… (Sucker).

Really, that was just a lure to reel in those who might also have some ideas/notions/ANSWERS (preferably EASY answers) and then I could check them out, absorb them, and then I'D have life-balance, and then I could stop blogging and just sip G & T in my perfectly life-balanced back yard (where it would always be a beautiful day)(and summer)(and that perfectly balanced lounge chair would show up on sale, too). Or, OR I could keep blogging about frivolous stuff (without feeling guilty about it)(or feeling guilty about not feeling guilty about it)(and so on).

So anyways, that hasn't panned out (my GAWD you people have a lot of problems!) and I've had to resort to the HARD way (sometimes known as "the only way"). Which pisses me off. Well, not really. Except on some level. Maybe the level where I thought there was another way. This post is making less and less sense. I wish there was some kind of an edit button.

Was there a point? Kind of, though maybe not a strong one. I went in to work today (yes, Sunday). Work is nutty. Like, kind of surreal nutty. I went in to get a handle on it. On my way in, I was kind of pouting. "It's Sunday morning. I want to be lounging in bed, doing my Sudorku, or crossword" (no, that's not code)(or is it?)(no, unfortunately, it's not). After four hours of pretty successful focussing and dragon-slaying, I returned home. We were heading out to my folks place and it occurred to me that I had to switch gears (from engineer) and be those other things. Given the success of the day, and how I was looking forward to spending some (albeit short) time with my family, I started to think that maybe it IS about focus. Be in the moment.

There it is, an easy answer: Breathe, and move on. And breathe again.

[But not when you put the glass up to your mouth, because that will make you choke, and that is just a waste of perfectly good gin]

Do you have any more easy answers? Please?

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Sunday, February 28, 2010


Alternate title: The one where I do not get knifed in my sleep.

It's funny how things go.

Just over a year ago, and really new to blogging, I random Googled something for work (at work – I truly wish I could remember what it was. I imagine it's one of those things that ends up on your "what the HELL kind of people are out there" Google hit-list posts) and hit Chris's post about a dead betta fish. I sent myself the link home with the message "check this out later" (hey, I can recognize quality, even when it's disguised as dead fish). Several days (weeks?) later, I saw my email to myself & went browsing again. This time, a bizarre comment caught my eye; so of course, I followed it (duh). There, I met Marshall. I left some kind of obnoxious comment on HIS blog and the stupid fucker replied (his first mistake) (it took me several more visits and some poking around the rest of his site to figure out that he's a -- REAL -- LIVE -- AUTHOR --)(Who's the stupid fucker now? You ask) (Don't ask! MY story. Everyone ELSE is the stupid fucker in MY story) (Get your own blog.)

So I tormented Marshall for a few months and I'm sure he was regretting his personal policy acknowledging every idiot with an internet connection who comments on his (fabulously quirky, clever & funny – just like his books) blog. Then (I can only assume) he sent his daughter after me. And for some (awesome) reason we hit it off. On twitter. (I still torment Marshall, but not very often, because he posts even less frequently than I do. I KNOW!! We're thinking of taking away his card).

In the mean time, I can't remember how I stumbled across AndreAnna. She just kind of seeped into my (albeit online) life. Because we were separated at birth. And 12 years. Some conversation or another migrated toward visitation jokes. She said "absolutely you come here and drink on my patio" and then "No. I mean it." And I knew she did. I had learned even by then, you don't question her.

So, long story short, and several "we should DO this" convos later, the three of us decided IT WAS ON. We picked a neutral zone – one that I could fly to directly, and a place that I've always wanted to go – Chicago. Cass and Sara said "HELLZ-YEAH, I'm in!" And it was done.

And then the Chicago contingent joined in. And Holy-Dinah! Suddenly the Whole World of Blogging had faces and names, and kids, and spouses, and exes, and parents, and lives. (Well, MY blogging world does. The rest of you are still robots. Very well-spoken, raw, snarky, hilarious bots, but still).

Given the course of actions over the previous year, it made perfect sense to me to hop on a plane & go. More importantly, it sat well with Jiminy Cricket Max. Had he given me one furrowed brow, I might not have given it a second thought (the cookies probably didn't hurt the case for there being a rational human being at the other end of the line. Yes, I use the term "rational" loosely.)(Cookies also came from Rougie – which helped the cause too – but I didn't blog about it, because, remember? I suck at this)

But try explaining that to the "outside" world. "You're going WHERE? And WHY?"

What most (including myself initially – and as I'm trying to rationalize this to others and myself) don't really get is that this (blogging/twitter) realm, can be not unlike friendships IRL. Some people you glance at; nod respectfully at; are aware of each other's work; despise, but can't turn away from; (despise and CAN turn away from); and, yes, grow with.

So, blah blah blah. I went to Chicago, drank an s-load, tried an Irish Car Bomb (wasn't exactly converted), climbed ascended "Big John". Met & hung with some really cool folks. HERE are my photos.

I had plenty I wanted to say about the fabulous time I had, but [something something busy/lazy asshat excuse] and all these ladies did a better job of it than I could anyway. Please go read, view the photos (the best & loveliest are by Cass) leave them obnoxious comments. Say hi for me & tell them I miss them:

Belle Plaine Living
Cass. Just Curious.
Annabelle Speaks
Chez Rougie
McMama's Musings
Back To Me

P.S. the "Alternate Title"? A nod to actual reactions I got when telling folks "I'm going to Chicago to meet up with people I've met on the Internet". I fully deny presenting the facts to them in a way which may or may not have elicited such a reaction. No YOU'RE inflammatory.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010


A few years ago, due to some unusual circumstances involving no one together that evening (plus Grandma in town for a visit), I decided to instead have a special family Valentine's breakfast. The more I explored the idea, the fancier and the idea grew. Our best china, champagne glasses for the orange juice, table confetti, flowers...

The funny part was that it was all very simple, and easily doable (even for me!) I had no idea what to have for a Valentines themed breakfast so I landed on biscuits. Made them heart-shaped, added whipped cream & fresh fruit (we splurged in the dead of winter)

The kids loved it, and the idea stuck. We've done it every year since.

This year, we were going to be at my parents' for a sleepover (unrelated to Valentine's day, but a different manufactured holiday combining Norah's birthday, Chinese New Year and mostly our desire to get together and make home-made ravioli one night an pad-Thai, chicken curry & spring rolls the next), and the kids got concerned about what we were going to do about our Balentimes breakfast!

So we took it on the road.

**UPDATED** see link to Pad-Thai recipe method!

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010


*Chicago post coming. Keep your pants on. Unlike you could in Chicago*

When I was 8 years old, I drove across the country with my aunt (how I was there is a long, weird story that is not relevant and I'd probably get wrong anyway, being 8 and all – I mean, technically, she drove so I've already screwed that part up). Every place we stayed, the TV was full-time Olympics. Yes it was colour. I saw swimming and running and horses (hey, I know, go figure, but it was cool to an 8-year-old).

Most significantly, I watched Nadia Comăneci score a perfect 10. I had a hero and I was hooked.

I got home and somehow the planets aligned to get me into gymnastics class at the University. That room was a dream world. They had every exact piece of equipment that had been brought to life by Miss Nadia. I bounded around, flipped & frolicked, swung & twisted. I WAS an, no THE Olympic champion. I WAS Nadia. Of course, no one tapped me on the shoulder. No one pulled my dad aside and chatted with him while I wondered what they were talking about. There was no one-on-one attention, but 8-year-olds don't notice those kinds of trivialities. We're on FIRE BABY.


I LOVE the Olympics. Time stands still. For two weeks! Everything is my little hopeful 8-year-old self coming to life within each competitor. And no, not just the Canadians.

  • The bronze medalist that is more surprised than anyone.
  • The gold medalist who is known to be head and shoulders above all others and yet is still genuinely amazed at their score/rank/finish.
  • The silver medalist who is clearly disappointed in their performance.
  • The competitor who never really had a chance, but is hounded by their home-media as a rock star, because it's THE OLYMPICS!
  • Holding your breath as the figure skaters make their jumps – wanting them to nail it so badly you can taste it yourself (even when part of you wants to see them land on their ass so your own can squeak ahead).
  • Competitors persevering through injury to STILL come out on top. I'm looking at you Petra Majdič, Silken Laumann, Kerri Strug... did I miss any one? Or thirty? This is to say nothing of the invisible demons being cast aside at every turn.
  • The come-from-behind-because-everyone-else-has-crashed-and-you-stayed-the-course victory (I think snowboard & ski cross are my new favourite sports).
  • Feeling your adrenalin spike, ever-so, when you hear the starter's "pistol" (what the hell is that thing they're using now? It looks like something from Space 1999. Space 1999 is so 11 years ago!)
  • The rapid about-face, among the competitors, from the kill-or-be-killed focus during completion, to genuine elation for your rival for the best run of their career.
  • Commentators who have to fill two weeks of air time that end up saying things like "she is among the best in the world" Really? At the Olympics? Huh.
  • And for all the positives, there are the failures. Those that brought it this far and just could not slay that last dragon. They bring to light how significant the victories are. I feel immense pride for their accomplishments to bring them so far.


When I was in my 20s – probably mid – I was chatting with my grandmother. The conversation turned a little reminiscent. She laughed, "remember when you were taking that gymnastics class? One time I came with your dad to pick you up and was watching you at the end of class. Oh my goodness. You were the most awkward and graceless, gangly little thing out there. I felt so sorry for you!" Clearly, she figured I was old enough for the truth. I didn't have the heart to tell her I would not ever be. And my denial – in the form of multiple versions of "if only …" – rages on. Every two years I get to suspend all reality and re-view the world through those 8-year-old eyes. They tend to be a little weepier now.

On the weekend, I caught a glimpse of my kids outside "speed-skating" on the sidewalk...

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Sunday, January 31, 2010


We sit at dinner. Max is at work, so it's just the remaining four of us. Dinner has pretty much wound down. "Does anyone want any more salad?" I ask. Of course, the answer is no. (I mean, salad! It's delicious, but they're children, inexperienced in the wonders of salad.)

So (remember, no Max, so I don't have to use Queen's lunch etiquette – because he's ALL about the correct fork), I grab the bowl and start digging in (with a fork. What? Do you think I'm an animal?)

Pepper: "ew!! Gross!! Mom cooties!"

Norah: "Mom put the salad together. She actually *touched* it all"


Me (deadpan): "You realize I gave birth to you"

Pepper: [blank stare]

Me: "Every *part* of you has touched ME" [effective pause & intonation when stating "me"]

Pepper: [turns slightly green]

Norah: "Yeah, Pepper. And you KNOW where babies come from, too"

Pepper: [turns *really* green & fakes retching into a garbage can]

Me: "Relax. You've taken at least 1,000 baths since then. You're clear. As am I."


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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Well Red (not a typo)

So apparently this blog thing, like a pet (or so I would suspect) requires attention and feeding. Kids too, so all the books tell you. Or so other parents tell me the books say. Because, you know, the reading.

So I've been receiving nasty, passive-aggressive reminders from Blogging and Family Services [BFS - haw!] that it's time to attend to this dying pet before it gets taken away from me. And then I grow old alone -on the Internet - with no one to love me - on the Internet - and I have to rely on humans for contact. As an engineer, you can see the problem I'd have, so I'll be good!

So the outreach program outreached to me via my blogging mama Nenette. When Nenette tells me to jump, I say "how hi?" And she says "don't you mean 'how high?'" And I say "yes mistress" And so on. I think I might be digressing a little. Mostly, she knows I am a sucker for a meme.

This one has something to do with taking pictures of red shit. Well, not red shit, but shit that is red [hey, that's not better]. It would be helpful now if someone would shake me and say "you know you can edit this, right?", but I'm in kind of a stream of consciousness kind of mood. I'm so sorry. You can go if you want.

So here's all my red crap. I saw this meme and thought "Yeah!!! I LOVE red" and then looked around and saw that most of my home and wardrobe is black, white & brown (and variations)(well, of brown, since black and white are pretty well defined)

BUT it's those splashes of red that make me love that colour. [YES THAT'S A WORD!! Shut up Blogger, you let me have a home page, but you don't really mean it.]

So I gathered several of my favourite [THAT is a word too!!!] red things and assembled them on my bed. Please don't read anything in to that. It's just the tidiest surface in my home for taking pictures of stuff. I think it was supposed to be 7 red things. Turns out I'm either not good with counting, or not good with rules. Or lazy. Whatever.

Of course, every single one of these items has a story...

(1) Red bed sheet. When we moved into our house in 2001, I decided that Norah's room should have a simple theme of Primary Colours [I swear, Google spell check I'm going to fucking snap on you]. Well, just try and find primary coloured bedsheets. I did. This looks pristine, because it's never actually been used. I've only ever used the fitted sheet and a duvet with a cover, since that results in a bed actually being made every so often (I mean, by me).

(2) This is one of my very (very) few pieces of jewelery. I bought it from a former boss's daughter who brought back a bunch of jewelery from New Zealand (or Australia? I forget because I probably wasn't listening, I was drooling and groaning: "oooooo... preeeeeetty")

(3) M.A.C Viva Glam VI. At least I think it's VI. The two digits (they're roman numerals, so YES they're digits!) wear off, and I can not ever remember whether it's IV or VI. BUT as scary as those ladies at the M.A.C counter look, they know their shit! I walk in and say "I need a Viva Glam IV" and they kind of stare at my face and say (this has happened more than once) "are you sure it wasn't Viva Glam VI?" Like they know IV just wouldn't work for me. I DON'T EVEN KNOW THAT!!! So, yeah. you had me at Viva Glam whatever. It's the only colour I wear. If I'm going bolder, I do it with the lip pencil.

(4) This is possibly THE best -- game -- ever. I picked up Apples to Apples Junior because a friend/coworker recommended it, and was she ever right. With this game, a group of ALL AGES can have a seriously great time. The only real requirement is reading.
My family sets up nights to come over and play Apples to Apples with the kids (and we're allowed too). This game was so popular that one Birth/mas I picked the adult version for my sister. And no, it's not p0rn. It's just more mature themes. I want to just keep going about this, but maybe I should do a separate post. If anyone wants to provide ME with the grown-up version of the game, I could do a review? hmm? hmm? Wait. I already said it was awesome. I suck at this whole Internet marketing crap.

(5) This is one of my favourite shirts (blouses?) Way back when Jacob was only in Toronto & Vancouver, my then high-school-aged sisters were all "Waaaw! Jacob is AAALL that AND a bag of chips" and I was all "what the hell is Jacob?" (with it, I have always not really been).
So every trip that anyone ever took to TO, Vancouver or Montreal, was required to stop for souvenirs. So my dad did one time and dropped off mine & my sister's when she was living with me. It was this and a kind of plainish t-shirt (still very nice). He dropped off separate bags with instructions on which was which. When we opened them, we both (I'm sure) silently thought they had been mixed up because mine was WAY cooler and hipper than hers. But I just shrugged and quickly said "awesome!! I LOVE it!" And then she proceeded to borrow it any time she could! (Which was a fine trade). It's still in great shape and I even wore it last Saturday on my date with Max (whole other story: kids were pissed that we waste time on such frivolities)

So anyways, fast forward to Jacob opening locally and now it's pretty much the only place I can get clothes that fit me (they sell suits as separates, and go down to size OH LOOK SOMETHING SHINY!!)

(6) These are my notebooks.

The spiral one is where I write crap down that I have to get out of my head and I can't get on to our computers (yes, plural. I suspect it will get worse before it gets better). Also scratch lists, sketches of other posts that don't have form yet. Also, the beginnings of Rougie's requested nerd graph. It hasn't been forgotten. That's just how I roll. I'm not proud of it.

The *nice* notebook is the one that we are using to organize our lives. We started with family meetings (idea courtesy of Nicole, the Planning Queen) and putting our notes in a formal book. We've been lax with that for a while (though we have to revisit it, because it was a great thing to do), but we have been having regular planning meetings to map out projects or tasks that would otherwise just get done "later". We list a small number of accomplishable tasks like sorting through that pile of crap on the table behind me that's NOT staring me in the back of the head saying "What the fuck? A blog post? Are you serious?" I figure when piles of crap are talking to you, the best thing to do is pretend they aren't. Or start swinging at them with an ax. But I don't happen to have an ax (note to self: get ax).

(7) This is the suitcase; that carries the clothes; that Harmzie will bring; when she goes to Chicago; and meet up with her bloggie friends; and try an Irish Car Bomb for the first time (it's a drink, people... I think.)

If we decide that we have to bring the ball-gowns, the Victoria's Secret wings or the oversized inflatable Grey Goose bottle, I also have the next size up in the same colour.

(7a) (Late entry) Was inspired by Rougie's similar photo essay. Also by the fact that I'm pretty sure it's the same colour and brand. I KNOW!! It's like we were separated at birth. And 7 years.

This is my fave toe colour. Every time Margo & I go for a pedi, I think "I'm doing something different, and then I go with OPI's "Edinburgundy". Or "Vodka & Caviar". (Margo, incidentally, usually goes with "I'm Not Really a Waitress". I could totally be a waitress. Except for all the personabilty things. And the servitude. And the requirement to not say things like "get your own fucking water!")

There it is. Now the instructions tell me to tag a bazillion (yes, some duplication. But I really want to see your red pics)

AndreAnna @ Diary of a Modern Matriarch
McMama @ McMama's Musings
Nicole the Planning Queen
Marymac @ Pajamas & Coffee
Samantha @ Back to Me

Go, minions...

[sorry about the formatting. It did one thing with one batch of pictures and another with the other. The codes are like a mile long and I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT ANY OF THEM DO. So yeah. Totally zonked. Zonked means tired]

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Mark(er) of Integrity

The girls got these from Santa in their stockings (one each - duh!):

What they said on the package:

What would make more sense to have them say on the package:

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

O Tannenbaum

I dismantled and put away the tree yesterday. As much electricity and excitement as surrounds the annual assembly of the tree, its putting away is the time that affords the most reflection.

Putting up the tree is usually done in the midst of about 17 other things on the list. It's done on THE night that has been scheduled for it as THE ONLY time that it can be done between x, y, & z Holiday Affairs. It's fun and is not rushed, but it's done with purpose and a certain urgency. It's also an exercise in "wait, no- put that... hang on -just- PUT THAT BACK IN THE BOX UNTIL---" and so on. But it IS fun. Really.

(life: spread on the table, with a little help from my friend Peter)
Taking it down, however, is done because it's time, and because we need the dining room back. Considerably less urgent. Also, it seems to be regularly done at a time when I am seriously hungover mellow.

With that frame of mind, I set about removing every single item, and reflecting upon its origin. It is not insignificant that it comes at a time when there are plenty of *new* distractions around [ahem]WiiFit/DS[ahem] that are far more exciting than a boring old box of decorations.


We first got a tree the first year we were married, because that was the first year we decided to embark upon our Annual Christmas Party (keeps the number of parties easier to remember, as it's the number of years we've been married, which is now - um - a number that is quite impressive in its magnitudinousness, but I won't be sharing for uh... privacy - no, not math - reasons). We only had a few little decorations we had received as part of a wedding present (excellent idea for a wedding present, by the way!)

Because we lived in an apartment with "rules" (turned out we were the only ones who followed them), we went out & bought a nasty plastic tree which actually looked not too shabby. We bought some plain but pretty decorations - red & gold bead garlands and red & gold glass balls. The tree looked absolutely perfect - and just like the lobby of an stark office building. BUT, it was great, as in the back of my mind, I knew that it was something that had to grow with us.

And grow it has.

In a couple of pre-child years, I took it upon myself to buy & paint a whole bunch of plaster & wooden pre-fab decorations (upper right in the photo). The second year, we gave away many of the little plaster ones as party gifts (I think the only time we ever gave out party favours). They are some of my favourites to reflect upon, as it reminds me of some of the things I DID do pre-children that I could not very well do now. Like I didn't just sit around watching Law & Order the whole time.

Others have come from friends as small "cheat" gifts. We have always had a no gifts agreement amongst our friends, but some have periodically figured there's a loophole for Christmas decorations; it's not a "gift" if you hide it for 11 months of the year!* (Also, it's not a gift if you can chug it consume it within fourteen days...) (Also, I think it's possible most people refer to these "cheat" gifts with the more politically sensitive term: "host" gifts. I'm not very good with semantics sometimes. Or grace.)

One year I added a flock of crystal-y geese. Not so Christmassy, but wintery and pretty. Also, a "band" of little cherubs with different instruments.

When we moved into our house, we switched to a real tree (that is to say, the "naturally grown & unceremoniously chopped down and dragged in a death-march to our door" tree, as Norah would be quick to point out that our plastic tree is, in fact, "real", as well). The first thing we invested in on that front was a magnificent Lee Valley Stand - tree has *never* even wobbled or given a hint of tipping (says "no longer available" gasp!) - and the tin stars and tin-tinsel as well.

Then came the kids decorations. They make them at school and at home. There are some with snapshots of time (a handprint or hand printing). They spend hours every year making snowflakes (my favourite is the "pizza snowflake" - draw a pizza and then make a snowflake out of it) and poke them on the ends of branches. This year Norah bought a book of Christmas crafts at the book fare and all three of them made several spectacular items.

In more recent years, my dad has seemed to perpetuate a very informal tradition of showing up one day in early December with a new decoration from 10,000 Villages for each of the kids. I probably wouldn't have even realized that it was a regular thing, except for the moment we spend with each one at take down time.

Lastly, every year, my cheap, bargain-hunting-born-&-bred local instincts have sent me out after Christmas, nabbing those 60% off decorations here and there. Just those things that are absolutely stunning (and - since it's 60% off - no longer make me choke on what they "normally" expect you to pay). This year, I've picked up some lovely snowflakes (three different patterns, representing the fact that all snowflakes are different!)(OK, so I couldn't find matching ones), and some TINY DISCO BALLS! I was thrilled to find some last year, only to discover this year that they weren't actually hanging decorations, but meant to just toss in a bowl (a bizarre concept if you ask me, but they're in a bowl, as directed). It's like an early Christmas present when you crack open the box next year, because I never seem to remember what I got the previous year.


So yeah! Took down the tree yesterday & got totally retro and introspective. I swear I wasn't high, either. But Peter totally was.

*[NOTE to Those Who Might Think They Have a Brilliant Idea: This is not a hint! I'm quite happy with the current rate of growth of our collection]

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