Monday, December 28, 2009

Little murmurs

When Kid was wee, I would sit just outside his door and listen to him murmur and coo to himself, listen to the adorable little slurping noises that meant he was sucking on his foot, strain my ears to hear his contented little sighs. Now, halfway down the hall in my office, all I can hear at the moment (half an hour past bedtime) is KABLAMMY! TAKE COVER!! OH MY GOD HE GOT IT RIGHT IN THE GUTS!!! AAAAAAAARRRRRRRRGHHHHHHH!

And I ask myself, not for the first time, why there isn't some kind of Y Chromosome detector on those pregnancy tests. Just so I could have prepared myself for motherhood by watching UFC, reading "Modern Warfare" and poring over the anatomy of the bowel.

"Darling, who are you shooting in there?" I just asked.


"I'm not shooting anyone, Laur. I'm PUNCHING A TOMB ROBBER RIGHT IN THE GUTS."

Oh well, at least he's on the side of archeological rectitude.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


We feed the Kid. He gets a multi-vitamin just in case, but he doesn't really need it. He gets lots of milk, lots of protein, lots of fruit and vegetables. He looks like such a big strong healthy boy.

But appearances are deceiving.

Kid cannot walk without falling down. It is not right that such a boy should be unable to walk in the snow without sinking to his knees in worn-out despair after 30 seconds; to be unable to propel his young body from the kitchen table to the bathtub without dropping like a swatted deerfly; to be unable to manage the simple motion that so many of us take for granted.

Please give generously to the Oakridge Foundation for Gin-Based Parental Therapy. It's too late for Kid. Save his mother.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A quick tour of the workplace

My office, oh my office. What I thought it would be when we moved here and I began my life as a work-at-home mommy:

Sanctuary, intellectual and otherwise
Professional space in which to excel
Source of inspiration
Containing a comfy chair, a footstool, and a good reading lamp
Smelling of hydrangea or iris or something crisp and fresh and professional and intellectual and calm and organized and the pay-off for years of working with stupid mean boys with haircuts that cost more than my monthly rent and having to hear things like "we will engage the anchor-link technology" and "it's hard to get the inertia going and keep it going" and just sit there trying to look smart and pretty and not smirk AND GOD.

Oh my office. Without moving my head, this is what I see. This is just the desk. Part of the desk.

A rock.

Kid media.

Japanese masking tape. Because this was the year I would get, you know, all craftsy for Christmas.

Some kind of decorative bowl that I purchased thinking it would be great to float a single lily in. Currently inside: a partially completed necklace for one of Kid's friends (because this year I would get. . . . .) and half a corn chip.

When I need to escape to my real life on the Cote d'Azur, I spritz some grapefruit-y Hesperides. I get through about a quart every month.

Gramma's silver-plate creamer. Inside: a nerf bullet and two St. Benedict medals. No idea.

Remaining boozy cherries from Bernard Callebaut. I too would like to have marinated in Kirsch for five months. It needed to be said.


Going to read this. Yep. Any day now.

Ordered this movie from in August. Going to watch it. Any day now.

Wall hydrangea decals! Nothing says "professional writer" like vinyl wall art.

Two pens and a screwdriver.

I did not stage this: a mood ring, a postcard from the Cote d'Azur and a stamp from Dubai celebrating the 1964 World's Fair.

And the reason I sit here all day writing lies about software:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fridge magnet poem of the day:

As we all know, poetry is the art of not saying what you mean in as confusing a way as possible (thanks, Daddy, for clearing that up!). What I MEANT to say is this:
Dear Winter: If it weren't Christmas, I would wring your neck. Hate you, L

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Party on

Nearly recovered from Kid's holiday party yesterday afternoon. It had everything: 9 sugared-up kids, a voice-changing megaphone and some kid rap about poo, a cookie-decorating frenzy, the part where the pantry door fell off, Elvis in pipe-cleaner antlers, pee in the kitchen, and the Great Jelly Belly Mishap (still picking those suckers off the livingroom floor 24 hours later).

Works of high-fructose corn syrup art included:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Voodoo Igloo

Some families have winter homes in Mexico. We have this:

I pity the poor families huddled together in airports waiting for international flights, dealing with pasport control, getting hepatitis medications, studying their well-worn copies of "Spanish for Dummies," dragging wailing children through one crappy gift shop after another. We're at our destination in 7 seconds!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I Just Went Cressy

What have I done? I just invited 10 six year olds to a holiday chocolate fondue party.
I just looked in the mirror. I don't look crazier than usual. Not saying much, but still. . . .
It must be the egg nog. Curse you, Lucerne Dairies!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bad doggy

I'm upstairs drinking Di Saronno and two nice ladies are trying trying TRYING to vacuum up the Elvis poo problem in the basement. They think they can get the smell and the actual. . . you know. . . out of the carpet, but probably won't be able to get the stain out.

I am absurdly proud of that carpet. Was absurdly proud of that carpet. It's thick and beautiful and tasteful. And its loss to tacky stinkiness and stainhood is a little too much for me at the moment.

I think we have to move.

I love someecards

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Shivering Sands

You should download Warren Ellis's Shivering Sands from (hey--it's only $7) if only for the epigraphs, including this one:

Run away with me.
(I promise not to sell you for food later on.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Miracle Cure!

If I were wearing these Stuart Weitzman shoes, I wouldn't feel worn ragged in the slightest, even while, for example, hopelessly scraping burned oatmeal out of a brand new pot while the laundry churns out a pair of socks so that I could go outside. In these, I would not even need socks. Although perhaps (let me check. . . oh dear God, no) CERTAINLY I would require a fancypants pedicure before going anywhere even remotely populated with the non-blind.

What's this? ON SALE, you say?

Dilemma of the day: Hogwarts Lego to make six-year-old believe in Santa Claus OR mincing-down-the-Croisette heels for newly dreamy lilting mommy with Mediterranean clouds in her no-longer-bleary eyes to make six-year-old believe in home sweet home?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Shit Show

Either Kid can now read chapter books pretty fluently, or he has a photographic memory. Either one is kind of weird, but neither justifies why, once again, he was the last one through the school doors this morning. We careered to school, nearly took out a city bus and a cat (not really, but Kid believes it to be true), were temporarily blinded by the rising sun and the bits of frost on the window that I hadn't gotten in my frenzy of last-second scraping, and entered the alley in a cloud of gravel dust. He grabbed his backpack, scooted out of the back seat, blew me a kiss and took off running through the frozen field, shoes undone, jacket unzipped, arms and skinny legs flying in so many directions that it's nearly impossible to believe that he had a torso keeping them all together. Such fierce love for him as I have should surely be strong enough to get him to school on time so that he's not THAT Kid with THAT mom in THAT car. Every morning I seem to have a new excuse for the frenzy. This morning it happened to be that I discovered that Kid can read Jack Stalwart unassisted, so of course we had to read until I heard the school bell ringing 6 blocks away. Yesterday it was that I couldn't find a juice box for his snack. Tomorrow? Probably a rabbit will have been discovered in the laundry room along with a talking weasel.

And then I could be THAT mom with THAT talking weasel.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Workaround: brought to you by Pollyanna

Coffee percolator broken. Coffee fizz petulantly out of lid, all over counter, floor, coonhound. Coonhound disconsolate. Coffee addict jittery, cross. Percolator replacement cost $105. What to do?

Aaannnnnd: funny how the right hat can just change your whole mood.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


So I issued a cry for help. I mentioned DECOUPAGE. I thought that would do it. But no one invited me to a masquerade ball or to the opera or even for a pony ride in the country.

Which is weird--because up til now, my life has mirrored that of an Edwardian artistocrat.

Signs of Aging #1

When you get together with your best girlfriends and one of you brings along and distributes the feminine supplies she no longer requires. . . .

Thanks, menopause, for passing on the savings.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Theology FAIL

"Mom, what happens when you go to heaven and pick the wrong prune?"

If anyone can provide a reasonable explanation of how this happened, I'd be thrilled to know.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Now Playing

Periodically, I go through my iTunes library and clear out the "Last Played" and "Most Played" lists because if I should die horribly--or even, at my age, rather predictably of fatness, sloth, inattention, excitement at a Stampeders game--I don't think I could stand for people to know just how often I have listened to, say, Franz Ferdinand or Dolly Parton (whom you should really reconsider, you know) recently. I get on these jags perhaps not unrelated to my wackadoo case of OCD (you think?) during which I listen to songs over and over and over, until I have memorized every bass line, every warble, every chord squeak. I have been informed that I ought not to worry, teenagers do this all the time, but I have not been a teenager for pretty close to 30 years now.

Daniel Levitin says that we evolved to produce and consume music for six reasons: friendship, joy, comfort, knowledge, religion, and love. Overconsumption of music is for me a pretty clear case of requiring comfort. I simply need to know what will happen next. For 3:40, for example, I know exactly what I will be hearing, if left undisturbed during the length of "No You Girls."

Today however, 2:36 minutes in, right as the bridge was about to happen, predictably, with God in his heaven and all right with the world, I did not actually know what was going to happen next: namely, being pelted in the back of the head with two handfuls of fish crackers and an Alpha Percival Cyclone Bakugan. Nor was I comforted to learn that the Alpha Percival has amazing powers. Reading from the packaging, a small boy assured me that "Using its mighty cyclone spin, it can take down some of the largest opponents on the battlefield, striking with unparalleled accuracy and efficiency." But not with impunity. Oh no, not with impunity.

I shall now take comfort in the knowledge that for the duration of this timeout--roughly 15 minutes, shall we say?--I know exactly what will happen next.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Writing my truth

Cary Tennis, whom I adore, urges all writers to write their truth.

This is mine. Or at least part of it.

I am a ridiculously over-educated person with rich and various interests. I read obsessively. I think thoughts--gentle, obsessive, wild, hilarious, deep, sad, powerful thoughts. I genuinely enjoy the company of others, although on my terms.

And I am truly awful at playing with or teaching my only child. Right now, we're both home sick. He's downstairs watching TV. I'm up here listening to music and working, a little, but mostly just hanging out online playing SCrabble with friends. I hand down dill pickles, juice boxes and sandwiches. I switch videos. Periodically, I consult on the engineering of a lego rocket. Every once in a while, I read a chapter of Harry Potter. I give him an allowance, but do not use it to teach him the value of money or work--I figure there's world enough and time for that and he might as well have fun before all the shit hits his fan. I bake cookies and give them to him, but rarely give him the chance to help me make them. If he doesn't want to do something, like learn to ride a bike, he generally doesn't have to do it (barring essentials like brushing teeth and being polite).

He and I will never actually do the non-Newtonian fluids experiments. I'll probably tell him about it all and we'll find a joke in their somewhere, probably about one another's brains being neither solid nor liquid, but that will be the end of it.

Is it because I am old? Because I enjoyed 40 years of non-parenthood--and really, really enjoyed it? Am I all dead inside? Lazy? Boring? He seems like a happy kid--he's smart and funny and active and opinionated--and that makes me feel better about the whole situation. Unless it's a mask. Is it a mask? Should I have given him brothers and sisters, even if it made me the world's oldest living pregnant woman? Is it too late? How does one learn to play?

Do I even want to learn to play? Should that matter?

Clearly, cold medicine creates more issues than it solves. Maybe I'll go watch some Harry Potter.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Properly, this post should go on Voodoo Bungalow, which is the receptacle of my non-mommy thoughts, more or less. You see, we are in desperate need of some remodeling around here. It's been five years since we entered the precious bungalow of the elderly couple who had lived here since the house was built, with our deposit check in hand, convinced (rightly) that we'd found our home. We talked in bed late at night about getting rid of the white petticoat-like curtains in the front rooms (check), about painting over the hospital yellow walls (check), about removing the craaaazy light fixtures (hmmm, sort of check), about lighting the floral valences on fire (check). And now we've just signed another five-year mortgage term and have buckled down to our aesthetic responsibility of demolishing the tragic kitchen and entering the 1990s, at the very least.


The Kid.

He lurves the linoleum, the dingy and sad beige linoleum. Its squares are just like the stepping stones that Indiana Jones has to tread so very carefully in a variety of booby-trapped temples across the globe.

He lurves the refrigerator. The refrigerator that chirps and sighs, piddles and moos all night long and that sticks out 6 inches from its niche.

He lurves the retarded countertop that sticks out of nowhere, eats up space and fails to supply even one inch of storage space. He particularly loves the plastic corner guard that I tacked up to prevent him from bumping the top of his head, the guard that now hits him squarely mid-chest. It is also sacred and must not be moved.

He lurves the wacky mitered oak valence above the kitchen sink that screams "key party!" to all the ghosts of ladies in caftans.

He cherishes the inappropriate red paint that I slapped over every visible wall surface in there over teh course of a frenzied half hour one day while going a little insane from all the nursing and writing and nursing and writing and making dinner and nursing and writing. And the nursing. It reminds him of milk, I suppose, while it reminds me of all those rest-cure short stories we were forced to read in college.

He adores the stair well separator that is also made of mitered oak. The one that says "this way to shag rug of an unconscionable color" (and thank GOD for the flood of 2004 that forced our hand on the matter of the entire basement).


Loves it.

The yellow metal pantry doors?

Loves them.

The maple cabinetry with ornate (wait for it) mitering?


Yesterday, when interviewing a renovator, I asked him how much he could accomplish between the hours of 8.15 on a Wednesday, when Kid goes to school, and 5.30 when he returns from karate. Could he get the whole thing done then, so I could present the kitchen renovation as a fait accompli?

He thought I wanted to pull a fast one on my husband and told me that he couldn't get involved in anything like that. When I explained that I wanted to pull a fast one on my six-year-old, he gave me a pitying "there, there, crazy lady" stare and told me that it would take at least 10 days. Given the extent of what needed to occur.

So we've scheduled our kitchen renovation for July 5-11, 2010, when, God willing, Kid will be at wilderness camp learning to climb mountains, scoot through rapids, tend to snakebite, etc. If it runs behind, we're holding Week 2 in reserve--that would be scat identification, spelunking and horsemanship. His splashy wilderness camp will cost us more than the kitchen renovation--rapid scooting knowledge does not come cheaply---but it is obviously the kindest solution for all involved.

As I am writing this, the fridge is piddling and mooing forlornly, as though it knew what I was plotting. If it tells Kid, I will freaking PULL ITS PLUG.

We're hot, we're cold, we're on fire. Yawn.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This just makes me tired all over

Look, I KNOW IT'S ART, and frankly, if Chinese people have the time to make art what with all the being oppressed and denied their basic human rights half the time, then that's all great with me. But these images still make me want to lock the bathroom door and hide in the bathtub with a bottle of warm gin and the latest copy of "Psychotic Today":

You just know that this got started in some poor woman's backyard, where it was sold as "innocent boyish fun."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fairyland Update

I have just learned a few things about the whole tooth fairy situation:

1. There is a boss tooth fairy, a girl. She is also known as the "ringleader."
2. The ringleader has an army of male drone fairies who do all the work of delivering coins because, like all boys, they love money. Marvin is one of them.
3. The ringleader has enslaved the male fairies.
4. The ringleader is watching to see how you spend your tooth money. If you buy unwisely, look out: you may be doomed to join her sad, sad army.
5. You could likely trick the ringleader by saying loudly "here you go, CHILDREN's HOSPITAL," as you are handing your money to the cashier at Toys R Us.
6. Although a ringleader and a fairy imperialist, the ringleader has a small brain.


You heard it here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

OCD Follies

Today I caught myself chanting "geriatric troll in a white Civic" over and over and over (and over--you know the drill). I also expressed some concern to my very patient husband over the fact that the phrase "iambic pentameter" is neither. Iambic pentameter HA HA HA would get us up to 10 syllables but the iambs...are not.

Just in case anyone was wondering why I didn't write, you know, a major novel this afternoon. It's because I was extremely busy.



Thursday, October 15, 2009


Falcon Heene, if you're reading this, I want you to know that you are SO GROUNDED right now. I'm glad you're safe but if you ever scare me like that again, you'll still be confined to your quarters for senior prom. Children falling from brightly coloured balloons is not something grown-ups wish to think about or worry over. So from now on, you stay on the ground. Do you understand me?

With relief,
One of your million mothers around the world

Monday, October 12, 2009

Nuts to you

So I'm sitting here in the detritus of last night's Thanksgiving gathering. There are 1000 dirty plates, more or less, 12 be-turkeyed napkins, cranberry sauce on the dog's head, rougly ten thousand wine glasses, and two pots of turkey soup on the boil. Eventually they will require all the lovely things that they require: defatting, de-yuckifying, straining, mashing, etc. Not for the faint of heart. Really not for the faints of heart who also happen to be vegetarians 260 days a year. (Hi!) Downstairs where the children were milling about there are 17 tiny Jedi bodies, innumerable headless clones, two demolished Republic starships mauled for their parts, a wooden train set spilling down the stairs and over a trestle bridge into the downstairs bathtub, and all 12 disks of the Lord Of the Rings trilogy scattered over the carpet. I should really be getting around to making all of this right, to re-establishing the rule of Order over Chaos, to cleaning and herding and scrubbing and all that.

Instead, I'm doubled over with silent laughter in my office, listening to two little boys cataloguing different euphemisms for their you-know-whats. The people who insist that children call their body parts by their official names are really missing out on some great comedy.

Friday, October 9, 2009


So, inspired by Fiona, I went ahead and posted a hand-made Pay it Forward offer and am now scouring magazines and websites for things that, if they were titled for my convenience, would read: "Idiot-Proof and Easy-to-Make yet Exquisite Thingies that Your Friends will Love and Not Just Throw Out Right Away."

It's too late to make jam, unless I make it out of winter tubers because that's all that's left here on the frozen stupid tundra I call home. Parsnip compote is maybe better than it sounds?

No one will tell me where they've hidden the sharp scissors.

I want to make Lego-block rings with little diamonds lasered into them but I have no diamonds, no lasers, and my friends are generally the sort who might be freaked out by such a thing. Not by the whimsy but by the idea that anyone would let me play with a laser.

I cannot ship live animals across international borders--and besides, who makes art out of live animals anymore anyhow.

Decoupage? No. Embarrassed by the word itself. It's too close to decollete for my comfort.

Origami. (See above, but you know what I'm getting at.) (Plus it's not ecologically responsible.) (Origami, I mean.)(Plus Jane has already done it.) (Plus origami (I really am feeling weird writing that down.) (Catholicism, eh?) is hard to do when one of your fingers looks like a cocktail weenie.)

Re: origami. I just clicked here and now I feel worse.

I tried to make popsicle stick puppets and a theatre but I liked them so much I kept them. The Anna Wintour popsicle stick has to be kept in a special silk-lined box away from the Lauren Weisberger popsicle stick, but I secretly sometimes just throw them in a drawer together and let the chips fall where they may. The Bai Ling doll was FUN TO DRESS, let me tell you.

Where does one even find honeycomb?

It's hard to know where to draw the line between caricature and cruelty when making home-made nose glasses.

It has been pointed out to me once or twice that just because something has 17 syllables doesn't make it a haiku. Plus, I need to write down things in multiples of 5, so haiku kind of drive me mad unless I can write "la ti da" in invisible ink after the last word.

The last time I knit something, it was a 17-sided scarf for my father. When he's feeling a little low, he takes it out of the closet and cracks up at the memory that my parents used to think I was the smart one.

Off now through the snow and the bitter chill to buy the latest "Tea Cosy Quarterly."


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hot Flashes/Power Surges: All Hail The Queen

This is a comment I wrote at Queen of Spain in response to Erin's entry about how hard it is to find your tribe amongst the other moms at your kid's school. I'm actually lucky in that among the parents of Lief's pals are a number of lovely wackos whom I love dearly (TFlem and Di, I'm talking about you). Re-reading this, I've realized that I'm actually lucky--and have new appreciation for the fabulous women in my life who make this parenting adventure so much more fun than it would be if I were truly on my own.

I really shouldn't work late at night--it makes me maudlin. Anyhow. . . .

Those Grade One classrooms can sure rocket you back to junior high school in a flash, can’t they? And speaking of flashes. . . . here’s how I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the PTA.

Setting: Grade One meet-the-teachers assembly; classroom 18A. Silver-haired 46-year-old mother jammed inelegantly into pastel midget chair looks at 22 much younger (thinner, richer, more flexible, dentally superior, Beemer-driving) mothers who are nursing their babies, or waddling about pregnant and glowing, or making athletic runs to the bathroom with their toddlers. Silver-haired mother starts a slow freak out. Should have put on make up. Should have changed out of t-shirt. Should have walked instead of driving rusted-out station wagon. Should have tried to make Cool Girls like her. Now Kid will be alone on playground for rest of life. No play date invites for Kid. It’s his mother, you know. Very odd. Old, you know.

How old? Look at her, over in the corner HAVING A HOT FLASH. But that hot flash turned out to be a power surge in more ways than one. For through the heat and the sweat and the mud and the blood came the answer. My age is a diadem: I am clearly the Queen. Cookies? Are you mad? I AM THE QUEEN. What sort of Queen would be caught dead in Juicy Couture? Of course my knees creak: I AM THE QUEEN.

And like all queens, I have people who do things for me. Things like phone to remind me that Kid has come to school without his agenda or his sweater. Things like board school buses and go to wind-swept outdoor areas to observe insects and humus and the sad but true things that go on there. And especially to attend PTA meetings and then inform me as to what has gone on there, preferrably via email.

Friday, September 25, 2009

What did this man do?

You go to J school planning on changing the world, meeting the famous, talking truth to power or whatever that saying is. And you wind up reporting on a statue of an elephant in a less-than-utterly-thrilling Canadian city on the bald prairie. And you've just got to be wondering to yourself: is this because of that time I didn't make my bed when my mom asked me to about 11 times and then finally had to yell at me in that tone of voice that makes her depressed and reach for a third cup of coffee?

Is this what happened to you? Because you're making a really good example for bad boys everywhere.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Huff? Puff?

Confirm this for me, someone. I find it odd that Kid's elementary school will be hosting a live timberwolf shortly. Am I wrong? Where does one draw the line? Grizzlies? Yeti? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? (All of which fall further down any sensible person's list than Brooke Shields. Just saying.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

On Canning

I just read an intriguing post from I'm Not Rosie over at The Absence of Alternatives, all about bacon vodka. The photos of the bacon marinating in glass jars puts me in mind of something from the annals of exceptional relatives, circa 1975.

It is a hot September afternoon. Four children sit on the front steps of a modest aqua-coloured suburban bungalow, contemplating the murder of many caterpillars, when a Canada Post truck pulls up. (Except they didn't call it Canada Post back then, it was something like "Earl's Very Reliable Caribou Express.") (Moving on. . . . )

The nice postman lugs two heavy boxes sent from my aunt in a faraway province. This lovely woman may or may not like to hit the sauce every once in a while. It depends who you ask. If you ask the people who live in her town, they'll bounce their heads up and down rapidly, indicating a strong affirmative. If you ask my mother, she'll knit her brows and waggle a finger. "Don't be vulgar," you will be warned sternly. Later, you will grow to realize that "vulgar" here is another way of saying "we do not utter such truths in front of the neighbors."

At any rate, Gem jars of plums, beans, dills emerge gleaming from the first box. Lovely. Mother coos. Can't wait. Yay. Wonderful relatives. Nice, nice Aunty.

But the best part about these particular jars of home canning products--and what distinguishes them from, for example, the jars in the second box--is this: among them there is no chicken face shoved up against the glass, one eye open, one eye shut, beak sort of broken in places, chipped, actually, from the part where Aunt has jammed the entire bird, possibly still living, into a jar, poured hot brine over it, and slapped a lid on it.

Bring on the bacon martini, 35 years too late.

The Annals of Exceptional Parenting, Part CVMXIVLVII

Kid and I picnic at his schoolyard at lunchtime. When I tell people this, they always go "Awwww. He must love that. How lovely for the both of you." And I can see in their eyes a new appreciation of the reassuring depths of my parental stability, far-sightedness and capacity for fun.

When in reality it's because there are no clean plates at home and if we're going to eat on the floor anyhow, might as well be outside.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cleaning tips

Nippon Style makes some very lovely things. But that's beside the point. The point is, really: It might just be worth $13000 for a sink that was ALREADY the colors that your average white sink turns into by the end of every day.

I wonder if they do flooring and wall paper. . . .

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Just Keep Walking

Me: What the heck are you doing in there? You've been in the bathroom for 25 minutes.

Kid: I'm learning to drive.


My paternal grandmother raised 7 boys and a girl in 1930s Saskatchewan. A widow, she kept mean geese, a kind dog and an army of hunting cats. She also made pickles. Dill pickles. Holy Mother of God dill pickles.

We shall never see their like again.

Primarily because they were a total pain in the ass to make. It's a wonder anyone got fed, or watered, or that the chickens were plucked, the pigs slaughtered, the well water drawn, etc., with all the work that went into making those pickles.

My brother-in-law Charles, goddess of pickles, has this amazing recipe/technique that works every time, takes almost no time, and leaves one feeling tingly with achievement.

If you want it, email me.

And believe me, you want it.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I Heart Wexford Jewelers

Oh, Wexford Jewelers, thank you. I might have to go break a couple more fingers, if I get to adorn them with such sparklies.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Well, THAT didn't work

1/2 cup left over white rice from last night's dinner, still in the pot on the stove because you were too lazy to clean it up before bed

1 sugar cube

the very last dribble of coffee cream

sprinkle of cinnamon

Heat at inappropriately high setting for two minutes longer than you really ought to have

Serves one unhappy housewife/writer/fashion disaster/unreliable nutritionist

Monday, August 31, 2009

Who Am I?

Kid's whole school is pursuing the concept of "identity" this year, and so he has to bring three personal objects from home to school tomorrow morning:

These objects should have some special significance such as a baby blanket, their first stuffed toy, an ornament from someone special and so on. These objects should not be something that would cause distress to the children if they were broken or lost by accident.

So. . . . something special that isn't so very special that Kid would care that it went missing. . . .

So far Kid's suggestions have included:

The remaining half of an ice cream sandwich in the freezer
That one sock, you know, with the bear and the fish
The apple tree in the backyard (we could just grow a new one)
His toothbrush
A mood ring

Overall, the entire exercise has turned into a weepy appreciation of things he suddenly realizes he would mourn upon loss.

"Dear Lord, not Bunny."
"Red Hat, Blue Hat? Lor, are you crazy?"
"What will I do without my glow-in-the-dark star? I won't ever be able to sleep again ever. I won't be able to keep my eyes open at school and will fall off the swing. Waaaaaaaah!"

I can't help but notice that the suggestions offered--baby blanket, first toy, and one of those popular "ornaments from someone special"(?)--miss the mark pretty seriously, at least as far as Kid is concerned. Because let's face it, if we want to really get to the heart of his identity--not the pie-in-the-sky, say isn't that deep and interesting, what a sensitive boy you are raising fictive identity that this assignment seems to be asking for, but Kid's own understanding of his unique Self--he would be bringing his Nintendo DS, his Jedi robes, a DVD of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Count Dooku's Solar Sailor Lego kit. (At school they could then teach the dangers and mythologies of defining oneself according to material possessions.)

My real-life suggestions for things that define my boy would include:

His whoopie cushion

The lilac-bush slingshot that his grandfather made for him

His savings account book

His tiger-striped underpants

The complete adventures of Captain Underpants

His passport

The picture of him taking pictures of tourists emerging from the loo near Jasper

The comic books he creates (complete with copyright)

His sports goggles

The bronze acrylic paint tube that he uses to create gleaming armour in his art

His white cowboy hat

His fedora

His walking stick

His medal

His tie collection

The frog shorts

Now you know what's in my time-capsule. Sigh. . . it goes by so quickly, sometimes it's hard to catch my breath.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Celebrity Dogs

I admit it, I check on Coco and Chuck all the time at Like, I go there, on purpose, because I'm curious what they'll make Chuck wear this time. The day he was balancing huggies on his nose was a memorable one. And the bonnet! Hoo, boy, don't get me going. Not going to spend any time pondering my rationale--I am a creature of deep mystery. I'll just add something of my own.

Elvis here, the Elvis shedding all over the Spiderman couch in my office, the Elvis who just ate about a dozen green apples as they fell from the tree, THAT Elvis, should be wearing a diamond encrusted tiara and perhaps an ermine wrap.

If that is the sort of outfit worn by the world's champeen dog farter.

Overheard in Oakridge

On Day One of Grade One:

Me: How was school? What did you do?
Kid: Oh, just the same old thing.

At lunch:

Me: You seem to be making a habit of spilling your lunch all over your shirt.
Kid: It's not a habit, it's a hobby. It's not a very good hobby, but it's the only one I have.

While helping pick apples:

Dad: Will you please pass me that bowl?
Kid: What did your last servant die of?

While getting ready for bed:

Dad: Get in here, it's time to brush your teeth.
Kid: You weird imperialismed guy.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

On Lawnbowling

You know a girl's got it bad when watching someone else lawnbowl qualifies as a real treat. A night out.

Moving right along, here are some things I noticed while posing as a lawnbowling groupie.

--Hubby is WAY more competitive about the sport than he would like to let on. I counted four times when he asked the skip to move the mark six inches to the left, or the right, and once he just went commando (sort of) and made up his own mark in his own mind. I am of mixed feelings about this. One the one hand: yay honey! You're filled with integrity and athleticism and a healthy sense of sportsmanship! On the other hand: DUDE, IT'S LAWNBOWLING (with apologies to Heather Armstrong, QUEEN OF ALL CAPS).

--I noticed a man with a French pedicure. It kind of freaked me out. Why? Because if he had that kind of time, you think he might have, oh I don't know, combed his hair or checked one last time to see if the plaid pork-pie hat was dorky. On the plus side, he was a very nice person who offered to get me a beer on his way over to the cooler.

Here's one of his feet:

You totally cannot see the pedicure, but all the girls at the green noticed it. I believe it sapped the strength of this gentleman's team; they certainly seemed surprised by the trouncing handed to them. And if his mom knew about it, she'd have something to say.

--Lawnbowling might be the only activity in this city that unites mid-40s new media faux slackers, earringed attornies, grandmothers with flappy upper arms, 20-year-old stoners, men with French tips on their feet (as mentioned:), older men who resemble Colonel Tigh from Battlestar Galactica, and random French people hauled off the street to serve as subs for absent people. Thank God they eventually repealed the Act of 1541, which forbids artificers, labourers, apprentices, husbandmen, servants or serving-men, and other "low-born" people from participating in the game of bowls, except at Christmas in their master's grounds and in his presence.

--The bowls themselves look a lot like malted Whoppers to spectators who haven't yet had their dinner because SOMEBODY forgot something at home and had to go back for it and there was no time to eat before the first jack was hucked or whatever it is they do to jacks.

--Everyone who doesn't lawnbowl treats lawnbowling as a joke, but I am assured by all who play that it is a game of raw courage, Machiavelian strategy, and physical grace. Much like motherhood in that respect, except no one stocks a huge cooler of free beer at the front door of THIS place.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Child "care"

A lovely friend was recently horrified by the bucket of dirty blocks her angelic 2.5-year-old was handed at a soon-to-be-hastily-abandoned childcare in the neighborhood.

Today I'm hosting that particular angel, her equally angelic (though steely-willed) older sister, my cousin's angelic 12-year-old, and Kid (streaming trails of glory, etc etc). They're in the living room, just down the hall from my office, each in a different chair, all playing DS/Leapster in dead silence. The house is a tip, there's a drooling coonhound licking their feet, roughly 18 million fruit flies in the kitchen, nothing even remotely resembling a healthy snack anywhere within walking distance, and inappropriate music being streamed on my Mac.

And yet how much better this is, for all of us. I will actually be sad when they're all back in school and I am left alone here with my little career. But at least I won't have to share the Pringles. . . .

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The beds are made!


And here's how I'm going to do that (thanks, government of Indonesia, for the inspiration):

Yep, I'm going to grease me a totem pole, tie some treats up top, and -- where was I going with this? How will having the Kid climb a greased totem pole result in him cleaning his room?

Just a sec. I'm sure it will come to me.


Well, THIS is awkward.

Once again, "eyes bright with purpose" has not translated into "brain bright with logic" here in the voodoo bungalow.

I think I should maybe go back on disability for another week or two.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Time to grow a pair

An interesting turn of events:

When you have a spiral fracture on (in?) your metacarpals, you risk losing some centimeters from your finger length.

The relative sizes of one's ring and index fingers supposedly point to whether or not you are a transvestite or trans-gendered person. (Thanks, tflem, for forcing me into gloves for the rest of my life). I shared this info at the dinner table last night. Even I could not have predicted what would come of it.

My six-year-old son is now not entirely convinced that I am currently/have always been a girl. Evidence: the finger thing but also the fact that there is sometimes a long white hair sticking out of my jaw (clearly, a beard). Also noted by small brain: daddy often refers to "mommy" as "Pete." "Mommy" likes to watch Eddie Izzard (formerly the world's funniest transvestite comedian, now, one hopes, soon to be a Member of the British Parliament) in the afternoons and has been heard to say "I love that guy."

Note to the interested: when you say, "Time to man up, son" to a small boy worried that his mommy is really a man, you should expect a look of horror followed by questions about how adoption works.

Monday, July 13, 2009

You sure?

Had a manicure on Saturday. First one in years. It went okay except for two things--which, actually, when you think about it, is kind of a lot of things going not okay when all you're doing is sitting in a chair while someone else paints your nails pink.

First of all: the giant TV that was playing an infomercial for Plan Canada, which sponsors tired and hungry children around the world and is a very excellent thing and something that I personally support. That much said, it is still a horror to be paying the equivalent of two weeks' nourishment for a Ugandan family of five for the not-so-very-life-threatening service of cuticle removal--WHILE THE STARVING FAMILY GAZES WEAKLY AT YOU FROM A 50-INCH PLASMA SCREEN. I think I have been cured of manicures forever.

Second, half-way through the manicure, Queenie turns the light onto my face and says "You want me to take care of your brow too?" When I demurred, she looked at me incredulously. "You sure?" I was. Queenie again: "We do your brow, that lip and your chin. 20 dollars." THAT LIP? MY CHIN?

I went in looking for something pricessy and came out feeling like a selfish evil hairy troll--and, wait for it--a selfish evil hairy troll with "Your a Pisa Work" pink nails.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The H Word

Kid swears. He's picked up "damn" from Indiana Jones, and he and his little cabal mutter it under their breath when they drop crackers on the floor, break a pencil tip, or miss the sink when spitting toothpaste. I've decided neither to crack the hell up nor to overtly comment on it one way or the other and hope the thing clears itself up before school starts. Speaking of hell, Kid has also learned--probably from one of those damed 7-year-olds--that there is a swear word that starts with the letter "h," and he is trying like anything to figure out what it could possibly be.

Laur, halibabby.
That's not it, Lief.
That's "hasenpfeffer," and no, that's not it.
Cute, but no. Drop it.
Hoochalordy. Hink. Horrible-toilet-tongue-sandwich.

He got up in the middle of last night, stumbled into our room and pronounced "Halibut." As I scooted him back down the hallway, his eyes only half open and the rest of him almost completely asleep, he kept trying. "Hello. Helium. Hi. Huge. Henry."

"Go the hell to sleep," I whispered lovingly, as he drifted back to dreamland.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

For Alpha Monkey

Your peonies require sticky-footed ants. Mine require brute force.

Friday, June 26, 2009

One down, 22 to go

Assuming that he goes on to get a PhD in the family tradition (every family has traditions--ours are just dorkier and more desperate than those of normal families), Kid now has only 22 more years of education to complete, having graduated from kindergarten yesterday. We're just about free and clear!

He's clearly treating this occasion with all the solemnity it deserves.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Poor Kid. No more pop. No more ice cream. No more cookies. NO MORE SPEARMINT GUM.

If there's a bright side, I suppose he might not have such a fat mommy in a couple of weeks, if I stick to my promise to go on his anti-asthma diet with him. I might have worse breath, though.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Worn Ragged Productions Presents (again):

Indiana Jams and the Last Crusade (Part 2)


Miraculously revived, our hero tries again. This time he chooses a more plastic-looking cup:

So far, so good. Down the hatch!

AAAAAND: YES! Indiana wins his very own wooden Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword sword! Excellent morning!

Next adventure: Indy takes a bath!

Worn Ragged Productions Proudly Presents:

Indiana Jams and the Last Crusade

Part 1


Indiana Jones (feeling a little ill and hence still in his flannel jams at 11.30 am) surveys the range of drinking vessels, one among which is the chalice from which Jesus (whoever that might be) drank at his "final dinner."

He chooses a fine-looking piece of glassware, dips it into the basin, and drinks from it:


Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Genetics of Comedy

Kid started golf lessons today. Why I didn't do this earlier, I don't know.

Because it was the funniest thing I've seen in forever.

It's like Ralph Cramden, David Byrne and Wile E. Coyote are all wrestling for control of this tiny body.

Not all of the parents at the driving range shared my opinion: RE: the hilarity of the attempts of our children to hit a ball with a stick, but these are clearly people whose boy panties are on too tight or who didn't take the right pill when they got up this morning. About 80% of the photos I took will have to be deleted because I was laffing so hard that the images turned out all blurry.

Thank you genetics: you might have blighted him with poor vsion and a nose of dubious straightness, but you have blessed Kid with built-in comedy. I feel that he is going to go far (probably straight into a sand trap, but oh well). He is downstairs watching the Golf Channel right now, looking for tips to improve his swing.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Organic marshmallows

Braved the rain and the SNOW (fer the love of GOD) on the weekend and hit the famers' market to pick up some fixings for a dinner with "the elderly"--Kid's way of referring to his grandparents. (Isn't that hilarious, btw?) The first fruits of early summer piled in shiny mounds. The fragrance of ripe strawberries. Carrots so beautiful that you'd want to wear them as a tiara. If you were weird. Moving right along. . . . Beets that you would want to neck with in the back seat of a car. Gorgeous, earthy, primal, good-for-you goodness.

After hearing us exclaim and sigh and gasp and instruct him on the various wonders of the vegetable kingdom for 45 minutes, Kid sized up the entire place and picked this for his treat:

Organic Froot Loops and fair-trade marshmallows, no doubt.

Took 5 hours to get Kid down from the ceiling, he was so wired. Not all bad: he managed to get some of the winter cobwebs out of the corners up there.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Soul Pancake Prompt

List Five Details About Your Life That Distinguish You From Others

1. I broke my wrist while unfastening my own bra.
2. I once had a nerve bubble in the vicinity of my right elbow that was so large that the surgeon photographed it and submitted it to some freaky nerve-bubble surgery journal.
3. My witchy Scottish grandmother passed some of her gifts to me but they hardly ever work--except that I sometimes get an uncomfortable feeling that I know too much about what some people are really thinking.
4. I once saw an angel in my college apartment kitchen. He was washing his hands. Great wings but I have often wondered what he had to get clean from. That was also about the time I first started to understand that sleep was not just for the weak.
5. I write it all down. All of it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Oooh, I Want This

Oh, Jacqueline Sanchez, you have captured my heart right here. When I am rich, I will buy this from you. I will buy TWO.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Comment of the Day

Re: organic quinoa pilaf. "Mommy, I don't want this mush to be the last thing I eat."

Friday, May 22, 2009

This Week in Wisdom

1. Never regard the threat " . . . or I'll poo in my Batman jammies" as idle.
2. Even those of us with classic profiles can suffer the indignity of nose zits.
3. Booking a holiday more than two hours in advance of departure tempts the gods to throw some mucus your way.
4. It is completely worth however much it costs to have someone else deal with the coonhound's "fish bum" issues.
5. It is not as easy as you'd think to find a red Lego lightsaber beneath the deck. It's easier to, say, find two wasp nests.
6. Wal-Mart isn't the hell hole I'd imagined it to be. For an evil empire, it is at least brightly lit and features an extensive array of baseball bats.
7. The whole "guys in trucks" thing is STILL NOT OVER.
8. You will miss the coyotes howling when you can no longer hear them.
9. The little indigenous grey squirrel? The cute little one with the white rings around his eyes? Yeah, he's a shit like the rest of them.
10. Always make it clear to the arborist that he is free to use your bathroom. Otherwise, you'll catch him peeing on the raspberry bushes outside your bedroom window when woken from your sick bed by the sound of. . . oh no is that a burst tap in the garden??

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Strategic plan

Hey, DARPA plagiarized my strategic plan!

The only thing they changed was the little truck at the bottom right, which is supposed to be a station wagon.

Check out Danger Room for more. If you want to know why I read something called "DangerRoom," you've not been paying attention.

Take it easy with Malcolm Gladwell

Just finished up Malcom Gladwell's "Outliers" -- and MAN did it ease my mind about not being able to afford private school. As it turns out, the incredibly successful amongst us get that way by putting in their 10,000 hours of practice and then, essentially, being in the right place at the right time.

Now all I have to do is figure out where that place is, and stand there with Kid waiting for DESTINY.

Note to Malcolm Gladwell's mommy:

Try to get him to do something with his hair.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Summer Camp Redux

This summer, I hereby pledge: no summer camp.

Instead: ice cream in the park.
Swimming outside (or inside if necessary) at least twice a week.
Bike riding without training wheels.
Teaching Elvis more stupid tricks.
Camping in the backyard.
Early morning strawberry shortcake pigouts.
Midnight awakenings to look at constellations.
Memorization of all Star Wars openings.
Building a bat house.
Learning to work a yo-yo.
Setting hula hoop records for the voodoo bungalow.
Learning to turn a cartwheel.
Face painting.
Bakugan tatoos on bottoms if desired.
Freezies and pop.
The great smell of Deep Woods Off!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Some days are better than others

Tonight, I had to pretend that I was really (*really*) the Emperor Palpatine in order to frighten Kid into bed. As I turned off the lights I could see in his wide glassy eyes that he and his shrink will be discussing this episode at some length one day.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Mariama makes peanut butter for a living. Do you like peanut butter? Do your kids? Why not support Mariama this mother's day.

Blessings on us all!

Friday, May 8, 2009

All Worth It

Okay, look, I know I've had some. . . unkind words for Kid's kindergarten teacher--who is in truth a lovely, intelligent and kind person with loads of imagination. It's just: Cuddly Pup. And the taxidermy. The owl pellets. The field trips to frozen dales.

Ah, but the Mother's Day gift Kid brought home from school has wiped the slate clean. Behold:

She's taught him to have a good ear:

And a good eye:

Good taste:

No flies on this Kid:

And best of all: