Sunday, November 30, 2008


It's been that kind of weekend. Actually, it's been that kind of month. I knew when Riley started school in September that we would likely go through that revolving door of virus after virus. And I wasn't far off except that the whole month of November has been either one virus morphing or 30 different ones performing the onslaught. The weird side of me was keeping count briefly but I gave up somewhere around the middle of November. Since then Riley has had an ear infection (his first ever) - successively in both ears, a severely clogged sinus, an earthquake cough, a drippy, runny nose and now the barfing has begun. The first time was at the end of day at school when the office called and I dropped everything at work and basically flew and swooped in to pick him up. Then yesterday morning I was trying to get that extra half hour in between the sheets and Riley was propped up on the other side of me watching TV. Suddenly he popped up, clamped his hand over his mouth and tore out of the room. He made it to the toilet just in the nick of time. We kind of laughed about that later, him with a self-satisfying arm pump and me a little nervously.

A week ago I had a message on my answering machine from the electric company saying they would be doing work in the area on Saturday (yesterday) and that the power would cut between 8:00 am. and 4:00 pm. What they p.c. call "a scheduled interruption". Me, in a brief moment of optimism, took that to mean that somewhere between those hours we wouldn't have any electricity. No problem, I can work around that, thought the confident and quite naive me. Yesterday at 8:01 am the power went off. Before coffee, before shower, before basically anything constructive. We managed to spend most of the day out, coming back around 4:30 when it was getting dark. We giggled as we passed street after street with their Christmas or porch lights on, happy to think that the house would be warm when we got there. Instead it was cold and dark. I called the 1-800 number for hydro and their machine told me that power would be restored at 4:30. In fact is was already past 4:30. I waited a few minutes and called again and was told it would be on at 5:15. At 5:30, holding a candle up to the one non-electrically powered phone in our house I called again to find it would be only 6:30 when I could expect it back. Do you want to guess the estimated time I was told at 6:45? Well, it was 9:15 in case you're wondering. It is the end of November. I also live in Canada. These days are cold and dark. WTF? Why, I wondered, don't "scheduled interruptions" happen in July when you can cook on the Bar-b-q and it is daylight until 10:00 pm? And the house is guaranteed to be warm.
As it turns out the lights came on around 7:30 after we ate a cold supper in candlelight and relied on conversation (gee, let's talk about the 13 hour day where we just spent our every waking moment together) instead of mind-numbing TV. I was able to give Riley a hot bath and get him into bed at a decent hour clean and warm and happy. The real fun of the day began when I was settled in my own hot bath a couple of hours later, my Saturday night face mask on, book in hand. When suddenly I heard the dreaded heave and splat. Heave and splat. Heave and splat. Riley's second round of vomiting had begun. I easily gave up my hot bath, stripped him and tossed him in. The bedding required two wash cycles just to get rid of the chunks. My oh my. And my dilemma of the day was where does he sleep? I like him to sleep with me when he's sick, like to keep a close eye on him. And now his bedding was soiled right down to the core, that left my own bed with quilts and pillows that don't wash so easily. Out came the blow up bed and we camped, plastic side up (!) sleeping on towels, just in case. And I wonder why the bags under my eyes are so heavy.

Friday, November 28, 2008

So Long At The Fair

This is a book that takes place in one day, with a fair amount of backstory. Best known for penning the Oprah book, Drowning Ruth, Christina Schwartz continues her examination of couples and what drives them together and apart. I found the backstory to be a bit distracting and confusing from time to time and didn't really see the relevance of it. In the end the relationships are unresolved and things could go any which way which I guess the author leaves up to the reader to finish in his or her own way. I would have liked to see another 100 or 150 pages taking the actual story much farther and most of the backstory relegated to the back or, the backstory cut almost entirely and this be a novella.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Haiku Friday

It is popular amongst some bloggers to post a haiku on Fridays , I thought I'd try my hand at it since it's been kind of a trying week.

Pimples, that's enough
I'm almost fifty years old
Give me a break, 'K?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Christmas is Coming

Lately Riley has been making me sing all of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. He'll suddenly say, "on the count of three we're gonna sing Rudolph". And then he counts... After a few times it started to annoy me, then I realized he was actually watching me when I sang and he was slowly learning more than just the first and last two lines. I don't know why it's that one song that piques his interest so. But I love being the one to teach him things like this. Now I am watching his chapped lips trying to follow me, and he's almost got it all. With just a little nudging here and there he can do it but he still likes to do it with me. And I think it is finally putting me more in the spirit of the coming season. Here's a snap of him at the park a few days ago when we met up with a couple of his school friends. We put our long johns on and bundled up because with the windchill it was -14C. Cripes. Winter hasn't even officially begun yet.


I got some unexpected time in my studio today and took my painting for Paulette's Faces Class one step further. I'm not sure it's all that successful, I don't think portraits are for me but it was a tremendous learning time. I loved doing the collage, I know I want to do a lot more of that. I am going to put it away for awhile, I can't believe how long I've been working on just one piece, I think it's starting to get on my nerves. I'll pull it out one day and really finish it.

Oh my darlin'

I bought my first clementines of the season yesterday. I opted for the whole crate because it was only $3.99 and if I bought just a small bag it would be almost as expensive and the crated ones looked a lot better. Sweet! Well, a little tart, maybe but juicy and makes me think Christmas! My significant other, iMan, and I always dicker about which ones are better. I say the Morrocan ones are superiour, he says the Spanish ones are. So naturally, since I was doing the buying (and he's out of town) I bought the Morrocan. If I'm not careful that crate is going to be gone too soon, they are that good.


Yesterday Riley and I had a Kodak moment. After a deathwish trip through the Fairview shopping mall where the season is in full swing complete with parking lot disasters and kamikaze shoppers, we came home and ruined our suppers with a big bowl of buttery popcorn and watched DVDs. It was so nice doing n-o-t-h-i-n-g with my boy. I was even too lazy to set up the camera to take a picture.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hershey -vs- Cadbury

Well, Cadbury all the way of course! My Fruit and Nut Bar (no sarcastic comments, please) has no comparison. Except for maybe Caramilk, but that one makes me break out. That's what I thought until Hershey created those lovely Bliss raspberry filled thingies. Cadbury move over, the Bliss is moving in.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nineteen Minutes

Another Jodi Picoult novel came into my hands. Nineteen Minutes starts off with a bang. She is known for putting intense and controversial subjects as the focus of her books and this one I found hard to read. Not because it's poorly written or it doesn't hold my focus but because its subject is something that no one can imagine having to live through. A school shooting leaving ten dead, many more injured and lives changed forever. The perpetrator one teenage boy, a misfit, an overly sensitive outcast. I am imagining my own son, in some ways so much like the murderer. Small for his age, an easy bully target, very sensitive. Where does it all go wrong in a child's life? Can the parents be held accountable or is it just a bend of nature? It's horrific, from all points of view it is written from - the one girl who was intentionally spared, the mother of the murderer, the prosecutor, the police investigator, the murderer himself. Amongst many things it's a call to take a look at our children, about being more present in our kids lives even when they don't want us there anymore like in adolescence, probably especially in adolescence. Stop the world and get off from time to time, and acknowledge that we are all human and sometimes we as parents aren't right and don't have all the answers. As always, there is a surprise twist toward the end but this time I found slightly implausible. Also, I found an overuse of similes. But all that aside it is an intense book that left me feeling uncomfortable and slightly fearful for the future.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Content warning: words like period and mammogram inside

It's only one o'clock and the day hasn't gone quite like I envisioned it. My biennial early morning mammogram was performed by a seasoned technician, but not the angel-incarnate I have seen in the past so needless to say (especially one week before my monthly "visitor") it was rather painful. I know men undergo the indignity of prostate exams but frankly I don't think it compares to taking a breast and squishing it like a pancake between boulders. "Hold your breath they say" - by god if I didn't I would scream and if I wasn't attached to the pancake making machine I would slug someone. "Breathe" they say as the machine releases, I guess in case we are in shock and forget to. Then what was to be my leisurely stroll through Chapters was indecently interrupted by a frantic cell phone call from my cleaning service (I know, it's a luxury and I am very grateful). It seems the dog I usually enclose while they are there had gotten free of the room she was in, and all cleaning procedures were to stop until I came home and locked her up again. Did I want to reschedule? they asked. Hell no! One of the cleaners is terrified of dogs, so I understood, but it was damn inconvenient. This morning was the one time block I had until December 5 to do some Christmas shopping without my son in tow and I had a list of places to hit up before I returned to my clean house. The house really needed the full treatment. Two dogs + shedding + mud season = I leave it to your imagination. I am not a horrible housekeeper and I do clean in between their twice a month visits but sometimes it's near impossible to keep up with the hair. Then there is my day job that gets in the way of that too. And all that sitting on the sofa eating bon bons and watching the soaps. So now the dog was back in her hovel, my one option (without driving all the way back to where I started from) was - collective groan here - Wal-Mart. I try very hard to stay away and usually I can. It is the only place in this city I have found the photo paper for my Canon Selphy printer so sometimes my shadow does grace their doorstep. But I also managed to score a few of those "I-want-that-for-Christmas" things that my subconscious mind has registered while my son watches Discovery Kids (way too many commercials on that channel even though the programming is fabulous). It was amazing how I could walk through the toy aisles and not be inundated with all the crap lining the shelves but instead have "Bakugan" and "Pixos" and "Magnetix" leap off and into my basket. The marketing is that good. I mean, I'm not even watching the television and it was all stored in my brain, complete with the theme songs. I fell short in the Crayola section though, I just couldn't remember whether it was the glow paint or the glow markers that are all the rage, I guess their commercials need some revamping. I didn't entirely succumb to the Wal-Mart hypnotic swing, though. I got out of there with my dignity in tact and realized that a Toys'R'Us was just a few blocks away so I trotted on over there and did some more damage. I did get a few games that are more intelligent including the Pirate Hide and Seek (gotta love those games that require only one player) and Riley's soon to be first Where's Waldo book. So although it wasn't the morning I had worked out in my mind, it worked out in its own way. And it's all good baby!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I need to buy new bras and I'll admit I'm terrified. Usually I'll walk into a department store and just get the standard 34B in a sports bra. I hate padding, under wires and all the other cruel inventions made by someone who likely never has to wear one. Think of the medieval Madonna cone bra or the lift-and-separate. Ever been poked by an under wire that has worked its way loose? I have. It was painful and embarrassing. I have also been going about my business and looked down to see a wire sticking four inches out of the front of my sweater. There is no way to gracefully shove that hardware back in. We can put men on the moon and cameras on mars, can't we design bras that don't pinch, rise up or dig in? Or how about making them affordable? Too much to ask? Honestly, couldn't we lock five smart women in a room and keep them there until they come up with a comfortable, humane bra? Of course we wouldn't starve them or anything. We would deliver sushi, designer coffees, chocolate and vodka while they work. Until then I'll be in the department store picking up my 34Bs.

Friday, November 14, 2008

One Hundred and Thirty-six

I don't get marketing. Or metric, and I live in Canada. I grew up learning the Imperial system then they did the old switcheroo when I was in grade 7 (I think). So my basis really is in inches, cups, pounds and Fahrenheit, not centimetres, millilitres, grams and Celsius. Minutes ago I tore off the tab for a new box of tissues. The count reads "136". Now what kind of number is that for an ordinary box of tissues, I ask? Why not 140. Or 130. Or even 135. Is it the metric conversion of an American box of 150? What is in a number anyway?


My son is a MacHead. At five he has realized that Mac is the way to go. Here's a picture of a computer he made today (notice the drawing of the apple in the middle!) :

Complete with "grossology" button at the bottom of the keyboard page. Man, that kid cracks me up.

It turned out to be a glorious day here. Sunny and only one-jacket kind of warm. After the morning of ferrying one dog to the groomer and back and another to the vet and back I managed to cut back the raspberry bushes and remove some of the fencing that protects the garden. Then I was faced with a dilemma. Do I spend the rest of the afternoon outside in the nice weather doing the obvious chores like, oh raking. Or do I do something for me inside the house. After this hair-brained week at work and a ped-day last Monday I have to admit I tossed the chores and watched my last video lesson for Paulette Insall's class. This month is just racing by and I'm not really unhappy about that. Once December is here I feel I can properly start feting Christmas. But something is a little different this year. Usually I just get by until spring arrives and with it the warmer weather, almost wishing away the time. This year I can feel myself taking each day as it comes, accepting that summer is gone and just experiencing what is going on at any given moment, weather included. I'm still frustrated that I don't get enough me time, that my creativity frequently takes a back seat. Maybe I'm growing up a little. But I no longer feel like wishing away these next months until the good weather returns. I am looking forward to just being. Ask me again how I feel when the blizzards are clouding up the windows and the sidewalks can't be seen, but for now everything is just perfectly alright.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


On November 11 at the end of the day I was driving my son to swimming lessons and I was catching up with him on what went on in his day at school. I had personally and privately observed a minute of silence at 11:00 that morning amid the chaos in the office where I work. When I was a kid in school we would all stand and hold that minute in silence, not really knowing or understanding the significance of it. So I was amazed to hear that my son had stopped at that hour and stood quietly. I am even more amazed that the teacher was able to stop a class of kindergartners half way through gym class and make them still. And even more amazing still is that our schools haven't managed to boil that tradition out of the curriculum yet. In my continuing state of astonishment a mention goes to those who refuse to wear poppies because they are against war, any war - pick one and they are against it past, present and future. I have to continually remind myself that they are allowed to express that opinion BECAUSE of the selflessness and sacrifices made by soldiers who lived and died for that very freedom and all the freedoms we largely take for granted here in modern North America. A nice story is over here at Chaos Theory and includes a YouTube video with a reading of In Flanders Fields.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Align LeftI feel like I should pull something out of my ass to put up today. It's just been so darn busy since Sunday morning. I went into the weekend thinking I had time, could take it easy blah blah blah. I had a three day weekend with Riley home Monday for a ped day. Then Sunday hit. Tornado. And it's all good, baby. Riley has been a peach, a real pleasure and fun person to spend time with. I managed to get rid of some of my old baby stuff (crib, high chair and booster seat, jogging stroller). Basically things that have been taking up space and I was hoping to find someone to fob them off on. A comment I made last summer to a neighbor ended up bearing fruit. Or rather, bearing space in my basement and garage. I'm happy and grateful. A few of the other things I find myself grateful for today is that we haven't had snow (to speak of) yet and after looking at some weekend pictures at Kal's website that makes me very, very grateful. I am also grateful I found a financial adviser that doesn't talk down to me, returns my calls and takes all my questions as if they are intelligent ones. I am grateful I have found time for creative work lately even though the rest of this week seems like it will probably be a wash-out in that area. I am grateful we got over our last cold viruses quickly with little impact on our daily lives. I am grateful I have a job in these uncertain times. I am grateful I have friends who will listen to me even when I am tired of listening to myself. And on a more superficial note I am grateful that today when I went shopping for a pair of black pants for work, I found a really great pair (on sale too!) after trying on only two pairs (one store! Yay Gap!). But mostly I am grateful for seeing my fabulous, funny boy "on tv" tonight.I found something else recently, I think I originally saw it on Mir's website, then after ordering some I saw it again on Andrea's. I had promised to make mention of it here, but I am hoping to make Christmas presents out of these, so I kind of want to keep it secret a while longer. I am going to test-run the ones I bought for our house and if they live up to the hype I won't be able to keep my mouth shut and I'll have to blab something. I am quite thrilled there are Canadian distributors of this product, the ones I ordered last week arrived in my mail box today, no extra duties to pay at the post office, no pricey US shipping costs and no border delays. Yay Canada!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Something in the Air

I have a talent I've passed on to my son. I have the ability to find and step in poop within a five mile radius of where ever I am. My feet are like heat-seeking missiles attracted to crap. As a dog owner I'm pretty careful about picking up when we're out. I also pick up religiously in our backyard, partly because one of my dogs is and will get it practically before it hits the ground if I don't, but mostly because it's unpleasant having chunks of poo around where my child is playing. Last night we were out walking the dogs. In the dark. And I was tromping through piles of fallen leaves, kind of enjoying the mild evening and the swish and crunch underfoot. I mustn't have felt the squish underfoot because this morning when I went to put on my shoes I noticed a funny kind of smear. I lifted one shoe carefully and brought it close to sniff. Horrors! It was not only thoroughly wedged in the decorative treads on the bottom of the shoe but somehow got smeared up the side and over the top. My nice black suede moccasins (Merrills, natch) that are also my shoes to wear to work. And as if that isn't enough, as I brought the shoe close for that tell-tale sniff, my son nudged past me to get to his shoes and yes, ladies and gentlemen, mashed the shoe against my nose. It's a talent, I say. One I'm proud to share with my first and only born because his feet, too, sometimes seem to be the ones who do the seeking.

Pay It Forward

I was drawn to this book because of the movie, which I never saw. I figure if someone has spent millions of dollars to morph it into another media then it must be worth the read. And it was. I did find the characters to be a little stereotypical though. But it was a quick read which I always appreciate; I get such satisfaction out of finishing something I've started. Probably a side effect of parenthood. And it was a fascinating concept, of course. I almost wished it wasn't fiction and that the world might be capable of such change.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Yesterday was unusual. For me, anyway. I got up at my usual 5:00 a.m., feeling pretty good. Got the dogs out, back in, did my work out and showered, all before 6:00. Yikes. Got Riley up, he dressed quickly (egads!), ate breakfast with minimal nagging and we were out the door with plenty of time to get to him to school, also with minimal nagging and none of the usual crazy screaming such as, "We're late! Faster! Move it! Come on!" I found a good parking spot near the commuter train station. The train was on time, although a little crowded. My two metros also arrived quickly and I made it to work in under half an hour. The weather even co-operated. Then I started thinking that this scenario was a little scarey. Should I be looking skyward for falling anvils or grand pianos? My two bosses quickly wrote me cheques for my contract work for the previous month and the morning passed peacefully. I was even told I needn't come in the next day as things were a little slow. Could it get any better? A whole, unexpected day to myself! Sweet! I looked around for the hidden cameras. Again my return trip home was uneventful. I took my dog for a long walk in the sunshine, caught up on last week's Coronation Street before fetching Riley and getting him to his swimming lesson. I also paid only this:

to fill my tank. Paranoia set in. I started to feel better when I realized I had chosen locker number 13 at the pool and then when the pizza we ordered for supper came with the wrong toppings I breathed an audible sigh of relief. What I really needed was a good toe-stubbing to put things right. The planets must have been slightly askew yesterday, I hope that doesn't happen again for a good long time. (P.S. - For my American friends that 93.9 cents is per litre which means if you mulitply that by 4, you'll see what we're paying per gallon. )

Monday, November 3, 2008

My Little Chihuahua

Who is so depraved as to steal outdoor halloween decorations? A number of the things we put outside have disappeared and no, they did not blow away in the wind. Perhaps because we were out trick or treating and nobody was around to man the door? We did leave out two full bowls of candy and a pumpkin stuck all over with lollipops with the hopes that kids would help themselves and not be too greedy. Maybe some older, unchaperoned kids came along and dumped the contents in their bag all at once.

After much ado, Riley got his Chloe the Beverly Hills Chihuahua costume. Here he is looking a little like a ghoulish chihuahua, but he was happy with the way it turned out and how he looked. I'd love to see what he looked like behind his eyes.

Now that holiday is over and done with, Christmas is fore front in my mind. I have barely started my shopping and usually at this time I am almost finished. For one reason or another I am not feeling as inspired as I usually am. Maybe it's the cash flow or lack thereof, my market fears, debtors prison fears. I'll have to pull it together soon although I do like the recent surge to support handmade gifts. Some of that will fly but with little kids it's hard to not have all the bells and whistles. I don't know who we do it more for - ourselves or them.


I stayed up late (for me) last night and finished Jodi Picoult's "Change of Heart". I have read a few of her books, usually enjoy them because they are easy reads and aren't too fluffy. This one really made me think a lot. It discusses many aspects of religions and belief with open discussions about faith, ritual and oddly enough, the death penalty. Without giving away any of the details I'll simply say I found it thoroughly engaging and recommend it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Time to waste

I must say I rather like having the clocks move back an hour. I like getting up at "six" and feeling rested. I like getting out of the house by "nine" and twirling around the grocery store and home by "eleven". I liked waking up and having it almost light out. I know I am not going to be crazy about the early sundowns, getting home from work in the dark. And the frost has finally finished off my garden. All the last stragglers that hung in there have finally given it up to the cold. I knew it was bound to happen. As of yesterday I find myself in my least favorite month of the year (next to January). November tends to be gray, bleak, cold and dark with very little to look forward to. At least December has Christmas, February has my son's birthday and by then the days start to get noticeably longer, you can often feel the heat of the sun when it's out. March you know you are in the final stretch of winter. April's rain means the snow gets washed away and the early bulbs starting showing us some much needed splashes of colour. But November? Sorry all you Scorpios but I just can't get up the energy to love this month.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Cookie Interruptus

I was standing in the kitchen eating the last half of a cookie left over from lunch. Riley was in the other room talking on the phone with his favorite aunt. I guess he heard me crunching or instinctively felt he was about to miss out because he wandered in the kitchen and said, "you're not eating the last cookie from lunch, are you?!" Quite indignantly too. I felt so guilty because I had told him I would save the cookie for him. But figuring he would be happy with the gallon size plastic pumpkin full of chocolates, gummies and other canker-inducing candies that the cookie could safely be mine. So I put it back in the paper bag, knowing he'll have forgotten about it by tomorrow and days later I'll unearth it, once it has become stale. My moral dilemma is, now that he is in bed, can I finish the cookie going on the assumption that he won't look for it tomorrow or should I be a good mother and just let the wretched cookie lie.