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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