Friday, October 31, 2008

I think therefore I blog

It's been such a crazy week that I haven't blogged because basically I haven't had the time to stop and think. There is so much going on with my job, Riley's school, Halloween (not to mention a last minute change of costume), the dogs, the freakin' wintery weather. I felt like such a grinch getting ready. Cursing running out for the pumpkins, cursing staying up late last night to clean them out getting ready to carve them this afternoon with my boy. And all the stuff and politics going on with the new job, it was hard to find the time to actually get some work done. And not a little resentment about how I haven't had a minute for anything creative since Monday morning.

Things turned around a little this afternoon. At my son's school the kids were allowed to wear their Halloween costumes after lunch. So Riley trundled home for lunch and we got him together for the afternoon. Up until last weekend he was going to be Catman (an invention of his). Which meant using his cat costume from last year with just a tweak here and there. And then he decided that he wanted to be Chloe the chihuahua from the movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Now already this poor little guy is getting bullied in school and I'm thinking, "you want to go to school dressed up like a girl dog??!!" But yes, he did and he does. So we spent half the weekend running around for the bits and pieces to make the costume and I shoe-horned in time this week running around to find the smaller details for it. When I saw all the kids going into the school yard in their costumes, so in the spirit of it, and the parents who also dressed up, they too in the spirit of it I thought it was time for me to get an attitude transplant. So what if the house is a pigsty. So what if I can't find the kitchen table for all the accumulated debris that came in this week that needs attention but hasn't yet got it. So what if I'm two weeks behind in Paulette's painting class. What mattered most was seeing my little boy's face light up when another child recognized him as Chloe, the chihuahua. My whole world was right there at that moment. Children can really help you focus on what is important in the moment, if you stop to be there along with them.

And here's a picture of a pumpkin supper I made this week. A while ago I started to make pictures out of Riley's meals. I was missing my art and needed to express some creativity. During my mother's last visit she was telling Riley how I used to be an artist, that I used to paint. And my beautifully observant son said, "now she paints with food". God I love that kid.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Unspeakable

About two blocks from our house, and on the way to Riley's school, there is a newly poured and solidified cement square of the sidewalk that some fresh, young wag decided to scratch in, in about a size 102 font, "F*CK YOU". Except it's spelled in full, without the asterisk. A couple of weeks ago, walking home from school, Riley stopped and read it out loud then said, "Oh Mum, that's not nice". I always blanche when he uses some of those four letter words. It's not like he doesn't hear them on occasion at home. But, you know. When he was two and wasn't yet talking I was afraid that the first words he was going to say to grandma was, "muthaf*cka" with a great big smile on his face. And the other night when I had him in the bath and we were comparing bruises, I told him how I got a nasty one on my knee from banging it on the side of the tub. And once again he said, "That's when you said, "M-F-er". Right. Well. I reminded him that I didn't like him saying "those kinds of words". It seems so out of place to have a small child use profanity. It's rare that he uses any of "those kinds of words" and we have a deal that when I do, he is supposed to call me on it. And he takes this job quite seriously. Sometimes it doesn't go over all that well with me when it happens and an apology becomes necessary when the heat of the moment passes. But getting back to the "F-Y" we pass each day on the way to and from school. Riley is getting a strange amount of pleasure out of saying "those kind of words" by claiming to be doing a simple reading exercise. They do say the darndest things.

Health Nut

Yesterday my boy asked me for tofu. (!) Actually, he asked me last week when I was cooking some fish in the same marinade that I do our tofu and he was so disappointed to find out it wasn't tofu. So this weekend I made him some and he was so excited yesterday when I started to cook it. That must be some good tofu!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What I Found Today:

Despite not picking up a pencil or a paint brush today I feel quite creative. I found this from a link from this. I've signed up, hoping that despite everything else I have going on at the same time (like Karen's class and finishing up Paulette's class) and things like oh, my day job, my boy, the dogs and even the weather, that I'll be able to participate. It just looks so appealing. It's free, go and sign up too!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Small Things

This morning I had to get my reading glasses to see a number in a phone book. Usually I manage by squinting or pulling away, or both at the same time. This morning it was impossible. And I saw bugs today. A cluster of tiny little things hovering over my half frozen jeans on the clothes line. And I wrote myself a note that I can't decipher. Sometimes it's the little things.

It's also the one year anniversary of my LuLu Lemon hoodie. Last year when my job was ending I went a little crazy buying some new clothes, clothes that would suit my upcoming house frau days plus I didn't know when I was going to be gainfully employed again and able to buy new clothes. So one of the things I bought was a rather expensive hoodie. Mind you every thing is, in my opinion, expensive in that store. I've bought a number of things in there - yoga pants, work out shorts and tops and that infamous hoodie. The pants didn't hold up well, my Costco yoga pants have turned out to be a much better buy. The shorts are OK but the tops fit strangely. Maybe I just don't have a LuLu Lemon body. But the hoodie represented the beginning of an era in my life, the return to casual wear and a more relaxed lifestyle. I can hardly believe it's been a year. And now I'm working again, gone is the relaxed lifestyle but there is a new sense of freedom with Riley in school and a couple of days a week to be creative.


I chewed on this book for over a week. I thought it would be a quicker read and I had been waiting for a number of months for it to be available at the library. This is definitely a book you need to take slowly. The characters are complex and for the most part strangely lovable. The ending was a little weak but I don't know how I would have ended it myself. I can see why it won the Giller. A class act.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Sometimes as a parent you have to be the bad guy. The one who says no, the one that brings the tears to the surface. The one who is very, very unpopular in the house. Single-parenting means that sometimes it seems as if you are always the bad guy. As a parent and often single-parent I can get caught up in the moment, the emotion. Sometimes my beautiful, wonderful, smart, sympathetic son just pushes my buttons and I later feel guilty for the things I say and the way I make him feel. And sometimes I get so tired of being the bad guy - either the one who says no or the rule/keeper/maker that I forget about all the times I am the good guy. All the times I say yes, all the times I make my son happy, make him sing or feel secure, trusting or loved. Can all of us parents who feel like we are too often the bad guy stand up and pat ourselves on the back and try, try, try to remember all the good times and things we do for our children?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Isn't this just the perfect leaf? We haven't had a spectacularly colourful fall here. Alot of the trees even still have the bulk of their leaves here in the city. A few rogue maples are red and shedding. Many oaks have just browned up and dropped their leaves. The last few years the snow has arrived with many leaves still on the trees, which makes it really messy in spring. I hate to admit it but I do miss the picture-postcard kind of falls I remember from when I was younger. But it is fall, a dreary, rainy, damp day, probably what England is like in February, without the promise of spring though.


I finally got a better photo of my first ATC. Here it is:

And much, much better photos of the two canvases I completed for Paulette Insall's Organic Dimension class:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Flora, scraps and other bits

I am a sucker for these peonies . My neighbor gave me a pink one and a red one a few days ago and I have been floating them in bowls of water. They truly are other-worldly.It has been cold here the last few days. Cold enough for gloves in the morning and today was a 2-fleece layer day. Thank heaven for fleece. I had to scrape the car windshield Friday morning, but first I had to find my scraper. For most of the summer it was getting under my feet or under foot in the passenger seat, so do you think it could be found when I had minutes to spare to get Riley to school and me to work?! Since these peonies are so far off the ground I guess they have been spared the nightly frosts.

I just signed up for Karen's scrapbooking class that starts on November 10. I'm quite excited since I was originally inspired by her to do some scrapbooking and have slowly accumulated some supplies. Soon I'll get to put them to use. And I'll only have to juggle the end of Paulette Insall's faces class at the same time! But I am very grateful for all this creativity in my life now. After the early years of drought, wanting and missing, I now am blessed with some time to pull it together and do it. Of course, it's still a matter of making the time but it's still so exciting for me. my life blood, in a way.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

This week's book

I like Jennifer Weiner. I liked In Her Shoes and Good in Bed. But I loved Goodnight Nobody. It was slightly out of the chick-lit genre, but not entirely. I liked Certain Girls a lot. It was a quick and easy read and it actually offered a few surprises. It wasn't totally predictable and although what she writes is very light fare, the author never talks down to the reader and I appreciate that. I've moved on to Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay. A Canadian novel, a Giller prize winner and not quite so light and easy. But well reviewed by the press and by other people I know who have read it.

What Not to Blog

Note to self:

I can't tell you how many blogs I have read where the writer has either regretted posting something or where the blogger has closed down site and set up again in a different location because of backlash over something he/she had written. And I don't mean a one-time post that might have been a hot bed of contention, I mean repetitive posts. So I thought since I'm new at this I could learn from some mistakes others have made and give myself a reminder of what not to blog. It could also serve me in daily life when I'm wondering, "should I say that?". Here goes:

1) don't post it if it's going to hurt the feelings of someone you know;
2) don't post it if it's going to hurt the reputation or another aspect of someone you know;
3) don't post it if you simply want revenge;
4) go ahead and rant but don't name names;
5) don't post it if it's inherently mean and, even if you haven't used names, the person or people would be easily recognized by others or by themselves;
6) don't post it if you are getting back at someone when it was your own fault for er...being human.

Yeah, I know life isn't a bed of roses sometimes. Since September I have been trying to help my son who is being bullied at school and I can't help but feel it's all tied in. Adults bully too. Some use their words on the internet to do the bullying or for lashing out and you know, when they do, someone somewhere gets hurt. If you need to get something off your chest, get a journal. Or get a friend. Draft a posting and wait 24 hours before publishing it. Think how it would feel if what you were writing about was being written by someone else about you.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The importance in being five years old

This morning my son spent about thirty seconds trying to say "endangered species" correctly. I smiled inside listening to him. He finally got it right then went on to explain to me, "it doesn't mean that they are dangerous. It means they are in danger". So then I wondered if he really was saying "in dangered species" instead of "endangered species". But ultimately it doesn't matter. It appears that I am raising a saviour. Riley wants to save so many things. The rainforest. Animals of all shapes and sizes. I am glad this generation is so aware of the things that are important. Really important.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The remains of the garden

This week I managed to spend $12 on designer coffees. I won't say how much I spent on blue jeans except that if you find a pair that fits, you buy two pair. And I found a pair that actually makes me look like I have an ass so... I did save over $100 on a snowsuit for Riley because last night when we tried his on from last winter it still fit. And fit well. I couldn't believe it so I made him do all kinds of crazy contortions to make sure it wasn't pinching or binding anywhere. I don't remember it being that big on him last year but it must have been bigger than I remembered it. Now unless he has an extraordinary growth spurt we are good to go. With new boots, gloves, hats, neck-warmers we are indeed ready for the snow. But you know, I'll never be "ready".

And this afternoon since it was so gorgeous out we cleaned up the front yard and put out our Hallowe'en decorations. There isn't much left blooming, but a few stragglers. Most of the garden looks like this.

And this.
I do still have that incredible vine going strong, a handful of nastursiums, some raspberries and a cone flower or two.

And then there are my neighbor's incredible and rather sensual tree peonies.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

More garden updates

You know it's time to shave your legs when the hairs get stuck in the weave of your socks and cause pain. Time to get out the weed wacker!

Friday, October 10, 2008


When I got home today the Loew-Cornell mop brushes I ordered from Homecraft Express Inc. were waiting for me. I ordered these a mere ten days ago so I was quite pleased with the speedy service, especially coming from the U.S. into Canada. Thanks Homecraft! In contrast I made another order on the same day to another art supplier, this one in Canada and I only got an email yesterday saying they have received my order and will let me know when it has been sent. I won't diss them here just yet...

So now I'm ready for some art time and there's nothing like new brushes to get the juices flowing. Of course the next week is looking a little dismal for finding "me" time what with the Thanksgiving Monday and election Tuesday and schools closed accordingly. But looking at the glass as half full, I have the next four mornings without an alarm going off and four mornings to canoodle with my boy and lounge around before 7:00 a.m. rolls around. With a stellar weather forecast we'll be taking some time to put the garden to bed for the winter.

But for now I just have to get my head around the fact that today was Friday. I don't know why but it has been Thursday in my head and it's been messing with my sanity when I realize it's not. What with friends coming for lunch tomorrow and me thinking I have plenty of time to prepare I should be panicking more. Maybe I would if I really thought it was Friday.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

More books and Mercury

This week's book is The Inheritance of Loss. I found it very dark, I almost want to say depressing. Again, another book with a lot of history. I am glad I read it but just as glad to be finished. I have a hard time with books that are consistently dark throughout. I wasn't all that happy with the characters, I found that they wandered a bit and I couldn't really identify with any of them. The closest I got was feeling for the dog, Mutt, which isn't that surprising knowing me. It did win the Man Booker prize in 2006 and the prose is a step up from main stream fiction. I scored the motherlode from the library this week - another Booker prize winner, Enright's "The Gathering". Plus a Picoult which I haven't yet read, Jennifer Weiner's "Certain Girls" and Hay's "Late Nights on Air". I am ready for something quick and dirty.


For the first time in two weeks, my Pegasus Mercury Starlight Elixir failed me. I ran for the
commuter train only to find it had been cancelled. I ran back down two long blocks for the express bus to have it arrive fifteen minutes late, then we sat in traffic for an hour. When I finally did get to work (and now in desperate need of a shower), the printer jammed a record number of times and mail was returned for insufficient postage. WTF? It's that old friend Mercury stirring up a little trouble. The Elixir had pretty much protected me up until now, and after a stellar performance last February when I had done something silly like plan a trip which included both air travel and an excessive amount of driving during a retrograde period, I thought I was invincible. But alas, I am but a mere mortal. Add to that the fact that after yesterday's "great burn-off" at the dermatologist, I look like I fell off my bike, and I'm having an incredibly bad hair day. Uncle!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I finally finished my first ATC (art trading card for those who are wondering). I had been seeing "ATC" all over the blog network, wondering what the heck. And Janet from Paulette Insall's Organic Dimension class was kind enough to fill me in when she asked if I wanted to trade with her. So it's ready Janet, and on it's way shortly.
Done on 4"x6" Strathmore watercolor post card, 140 lb coldpress. I was very impressed with the way the paper handled. It has stayed relatively flat and has been quite resilient to all the layers and wiping that went on during its creation. The picture was taken out on my back deck as I am having so much trouble with the lighting on indoor shots. Doing this one card has made me lose a lot of my fear working on watercolor paper so I plan on blazing full steam ahead. Thanks to the mixed media class mentioned, I have all kinds of ideas and projects brewing.


My son, Riley, is going through a phase where basically, I am wrong. About everything. Here's one of our conversations last night, down by the water.

Me: Oh, I see two ducks.
Riley: (climbing a tree) No.

A few seconds later:

Riley: They do a good job looking like rocks.

Monday, October 6, 2008


Riley and I stopped off for our first batch of pumpkins on Saturday afternoon. We got a bunch, plus about a dozen other gourds which kind of remind me of that Star Trek episode with the "grups". This morning this is what was left outside. The large one was more expensive because it was known as an "edible" pumpkin. Indeed. The smaller one was just a little mini. And it got cleaned out. It looks like a bunch of teenagers went on a joyride but I caught the squirrel red-handed.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


After my back to nature jaunt the last few days I can definitely say fall is here in my neck of the woods. Literally. A hard frost the night before I arrived and plenty of wind to blow the failing leaves down. Here's a view from the road. Apparently last week was the peak for colors but the birches were still a dandy lot of oranges and yellows. A couple of confused maple leaves. And my son who throws a fit everytime I ask him to put on his (new) fall jacket. The only thing I can get out of him is that everyone will laugh at him because the jacket is so big. Frankly I thought it was perfect, maybe even a little small. I've tried a few, "fine, don't wear the jacket, get pneumonia and spend the winter in the hospital"s and "OK, go outside naked then"s but it's really not getting me anywhere.

Maybe he's just finding his own voice but this is the first time he seems to feel so strongly about any article of clothing. Usually he's thrilled with new stuff, even new clothes. And I can't figure it out or reason it out. And it's making me not a little bit crazy. He obliged me for a little while in the morning, long enough to get a few snaps but it's been hell. And the jacket hasn't been on since.

It's making me feel a little like these dried out wildflowers. Parenting can be so ageing.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Middlesex and technology

I finally finished Middlesex by JeffreyEugenides. It took me two and a half weeks although the first week I wasn't reading as much as I usually do. It had a whole lot more history than I bargained for but I was surprised at how easily I could become connected with the three different generations represented throughout the book. I liked it alot but I was just as happy to finish it. I guess I liked it enough to look into his other books. Now I've moved onto Kiran Desai's, The Inheritance of Loss. I'll need something light and chick-lit-ish when I'm done with that. I love libraries.


I actually left the house this morning without my cell phone, which I had only realized once I was far enough away to not go back for it. And I made it through the day without anything catastrophic happening like my nose falling off or an emergency coming up that couldn't possibly wait a couple of hours or for someone else to handle. Which got me thinking about what life was like before we all walked around permanently connected to someone or other. I will be unplugging tomorrow for a couple of days, taking care of some essential duties close(r) to nature - digging up the lid to my septic tank!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Mr. Eggplant

Dear Mr. Eggplant. When I bought you I had the best of intentions. An eggplant parmesan. Not a difficult recipe, just a lot of steps which require an hour of dedication. Originally I planned to cook you for my mother's visit. That came and went, along with a cold virus that had me thinking I was eating cardboard for a week. Then I was going to cook you when I invited a girlfriend for lunch but that came and went too. When I looked at you this morning you had seen better days. You won't be the first eggplant to hit my compost heap, I'm sure you'll find good company in there along with all the other things I bought with good intentions. Sorry for the misunderstanding. Sincerely,

The Bodhi Chicklet