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