Thursday, August 31, 2006

I hate to share

I'm obviously in a "do as I say not as I do" situation when it comes to that declaration and setting a good example for my kids but there it is. I'm most keenly aware of this kindergarten-failing attitude when it comes to my car.

Some background: I was born and raised in Montréal. A city where the public transit system was so good and the parking situation was so bad that you were a "maudite imbécile" if you got you drivers licence. So I didn't. Fast forward to a move to Ottawa. A city where rush hour buses come every 30 minutes and if you live out of town you have to bike to the nearest bus stop. Luckily we lived downtown. But as we became more and more settled, we found ourselves further and further away from decent public transit. The day that broke the camel's back? The time I took the kids on the bus to church. It was a 45 minute drive straight out of Dante's Inferno. I'm not kidding. All that was missing was a weeping harpy... wait, I guess I'd count there. If we'd driven, it would have taken all of 10 minutes. If we hit all the red lights on the way.

Shortly after all that I got my drivers licence. But now there's another problem. Five people 1 minivan = chaos. We've got groceries to do, ballet and hockey to attend, work to get to... it's a juggling act. Scott's usually kind enough to take his motorcycle to work on nice days but needs the car when it's crappy. The dentist doesn't take kindly to cancelling an appointment because it's raining outside. They still make you pay the cancellation fee. There have been times when I've taken a taxi to work because Scott or Elliott has a hockey game. I get paid $8/hr for 2 hours work and the cab costs $25. You do the math.

And of course with Scott's salary being the only real one coming into the house there's no question of getting another car. Unless it was a gift. And even then we couldn't afford to insure it.
So we share. I try to be big about it as I wave goodbye to my only mode of transportation as it drives away on those shitty days but all I want to do is stamp my feet like a toddler and scream "it's not fair!". Who said being an adult would be "really cool because you can do whatever you want"? Oh yeah, that was me 30 years ago. Poop.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Oh my aching knee!

Last night was the kids' final soccer game of the summer so we had a barbeque and a parents vs. kids game to celebrate.

There were about 25 kids and 10 parents who were willing to put aside our dignity for the sake of our children's amusement. Before the kickoff the coach/ref gave us our instructions. "Play hard but LOSE". We were ready to go. Let me tell you, after the first 10 minutes my legs were begging for mercy. We were only using half the field but all the stopping and starting was more intense than I remembered. I'm obviously more the start slow and stay slow kind of exerciser rather than a constant sprinter and stopper.

The parents got the first goal before we remembered we were supposed to lose. We "let" the kids get 2 more goals then we mums realized something. We wanted to win. Screw the kids' fun. They were starting to get obnoxious anyway and were quickly nyah-nyahing their way to early bedtimes. The dads were making purposefully bad passes and "accidentally" falling all over the field but the mums were getting breakaways and dekeing out our babies. You'd think that it'd be the other way around. One mum said we're the consolers/cheerleaders anyway so why not give it everything we got? Hells, yeah. We tied it up (with the mums being the scorers) then the coach saw the fire in our eyes. He made crazy calls like "passing too well" and ignored the many hand balls by the kids. I definitely sensed a bias. The kids scored twice because really the game was now dads, coach/ref and kids vs. mums. But we were really playing hard. I even tackled a 7 year old. I actually picked him up and carried him as I dribbled down the field. What? Another whistle? Whatever for?

After an awesome cross from Tiara's mum who was bralessly wearing a pretty pink summer dress and sandals, I scored the last goal. So satisfying. It almost made up for the 40km/h soccer ball to the breadbasket I suffered earlier. That kid is so on my list.

So the kids still won but we mums got to show the kids and dads that we were a force to be reckoned with. Not that they didn't already know. It also got the fire in my belly about playing soccer this fall. If I can stop limping around the house, that is. Oh, my poor stiff knee.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Aaahhh, the Emmys

I know I'm a day late but I had to post that heartwarming story yesterday. What can I say? I'm a big old softie.

I love the Emmys. Even more than the Oscars since I've seen all or part of every tv show involved. And if I haven't watched the show, I know everything interesting about it. TV. It's what's for breakfast. And of course who doesn't love the Emmy fashions? And who doesn't feel a little schadenfreude at the stars who try to look hot but end up looking like they were dragged backwards through a hedge?

Favourite Moments, Clothing Edition:
Loved that tons of women wore purple. But my favourite of the night? Heidi Klum. How pretty was she in that red toga maternity dress? If only I looked 1/10th of that good when I was pregnant, I'd have 14 kids. Yucky dress of the night? Virginia Madsen. Umm, honey? It was the Emmys... not the "golden globes". Sight that made me want to gouge out my eyes: Simon Cowell's chest hair.

Favourite Moment, Pre-Show:
Jeremy Piven making Billy Bush look like an ass. Not that it's hard. But Piven totally threw him off and I love it. Ahhh, the wonder and glory that is live tv.

Favourite Moment, Showtime:
I can't choose between Conan's opening montage, his hilarious monologue or his "Trouble in River City" parody. And Helen Mirren making everyone say "ass over tit" over and over again? Loved it! Oh, and Bob Newhart in the airtight glass case and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as a member of the finally cool Ernst and Young accounting team? Gold. I can't decide.

Boring Moments, Showtime: I'm sorry but I hate the backslapping, tearful, "heartfelt" tributes. Aaron Spelling, Dick Clark and Barry Manilow were only excuses to put my kids to bed, fire up some microwave popcorn and pour a tall cool glass of Orangina while I waited for Conan to come back.

The short version? I loved it. So that's my Emmy recap. A day late and a dollar short as usual. But you do still love me, right? Go on... I know you do.


Monday, August 28, 2006

What a story

I'd like to interrupt my regularly scheduled blog for this story.

I'm tired of hearing horror stories about MySpace. All the sickos, perverts and predators that like to use the place as their own personal candy store. When I put my profile on there 8 months ago I had friends telling me I was nuts and weirdos messaging me constantly. All it takes is a few keystrokes and the smarts not to post provocative photos and content to protect myself.

Anyway, here's a fantastic story about how the openness of MySpace can be used to people's advantage. I'm not the most mushy person I know but this story had me awwwing and a little choked up. So, give MySpace a hug today.


Friday, August 25, 2006

A couple of you asked me a while ago how I add links here

I guess it's time for a tutorial. Which I actually find hilarious as what I know about computers can fit in the indentations the keys make on my forehead as it bangs frustratedly on the keyboard.

Anyway, here's how I link. Frankly I'd prefer to have the links open in a new window but how can I put this? D'uuuh...

I write what I want in the little blog box. Then I highlight it with my mouse. Above the blog input box there's a little world icon with a chain link in front of it. When you click the icon a box should come up with what you've highlighted in the "text" area. Copy and paste where you want to link into the "URL" section then click "insert link". Voila. The text in the body of your blog should come up underlined and purple and ready to go.

I have to admit I love when I know something computer-y and people ask me how I did it. The best advice that I ever got when it comes to computers was from Scott when he told me "you can NOT break the computer". I've learned that it takes at least 2 keystrokes to delete any file and that eating toast over the keyboard is a bad idea. At least now I know how to pop off the keys to blow away that errant chunk of whole wheat crust. See, I'm learning.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

We just came from seeing the movie "Barnyard"

After 30 minutes of previews, anyway (you read that right). It was a lot better than I thought it'd be. I laughed till I cried at the part when the donkey kicked the farmer and I cried at the part when... well, I won't give it away.

Many of you don't know about this but I've got a condition. It's called Kidsmoviedrowsyitis. It's incurable and hits like a ton of bricks whenever I go see a kids' movie. As soon as the credits start my eyelids get heavy. If it's good I'll stay awake until the main character gets into his/her/it's first dilemma. If it's bad I'm out before the start credits are over. Case in point, the powerful narcotic otherwise known as Pooh's Heffalump Movie. I heard the music at the start and the music at the end and that was it. I had a deep restful sleep and woke up refreshed. And frankly a little pissed that I spent $9 for a nap I could have had for free at home or even in my car in the theatre parking lot.

Most movies are better. I had a rest during Robots, a beddy-bye during Brother Bear and a catnap during Cars. Good movie. I only slept about 5 minutes for that one. But I didn't sleep a wink while Barnyard was on. I stayed awake and alert the whole time. So if you have kids, check it out. I give it 2 eyelids way up.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Another fun summer trip

We just got back from being a tourist. I just love downtown and the market and we even did a bit of shopping.

We saw a lot today. My friend Julie came by with her kids and we went to the Rideau Centre. Then it was off to the Market where we wandered through the stalls. So much fresh fruit and veggies and funky clothes, jewellry and purses. We took a walk to Major's Hill Park, then to the art gallery's giant spider sculpture. We went to Notre Dame church where I lit a candle for my mum then to the bookstore to buy a book by an author I met at my friend Kathy's cottage over the weekend. In case you want to buy a book too, her name is Brenda Chapman. Then we came home. Whew.

I love being a tourist in this town. There's so much to see and do and I even took lots of cheesy photos along the way. Another happy day down as we hurtle headlong towards the first day of school.


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What happened to the summer?

There's only 2 weeks left until school starts. It went by in a flash, didn't it? Remember when we were kids and the summer seemed to last a whole year? When September came you were almost ready to be institutionalised again. We got a lot of stuff done this summer and had lots of great family moments and I'm glad. It was awesome having the summer off and being "the fun one" for a change. Once 5th September rolls around I go back to being the cruel taskmaster that drags each child out of bed by the hair, forcing them to make their own beds, fix their own lunches and do backbreaking chores like put their own dirty clothes in the hamper. I'm evil.

But before that happens we have one last summer task to complete. It's a tradition that we started a few years ago. What else does it involve but shopping? I take each child, alone, on a shopping trip for school supplies and clothes. And when we're done, we go out to eat, kids' choice (usually McDonalds). I love it because I so rarely get the chance to spend one-on-one time with the kids separately and of course who can deny the fun of shopping? Even for school supplies. The downside? McDonalds three times in one week. Ugh.

But we get to talk about how they're feeling about the upcoming year. I'm especially interested in hearing Elliott's take on his final year at Lakeview and Henry's on his first year at Bells Corners. Grade 1 and full days. I want them to tell me what they're excited about and what they're worried about. I really get to pick their brains. That day they get to choose their own lunchbox, knapsack and outfit for the first day. Audrey is always resplendent in pink. It really is a great last hurrah for the summer. And it helps me remember what great kids I have. Not that I can ever forget. I'll miss them when school starts. When they become the property of their respective schools, teachers and friends again. I'm going to hang onto them for dear life these next two weeks, that's for sure.


Monday, August 21, 2006

I'm interrupting my regular blog for one of these

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY! WOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! Way to go! I love you! Congrats!!! I'm doing a happy dance!
The person this is intended for knows who they are. Yaaaaaaaahoooooooooooo! I've been alternately laughing and crying all afternoon.

That is all.


Friday, August 18, 2006

What a husband I have

Guess what he's doing this morning. No, guess. Really. I'll wait..............Give up?

He's gone to a consult appointment for a vasectomy. Isn't he fantastic? He's the bestest guy ever. And I don't think he's doing this just so we can save money on my birth control pills. I find it so amazing that he's even looking into this. What a great husband.

This is one of the reasons why I'm glad I married a white man. Now I don't want to generalize here and please don't flame me about your terrific Black husbands/boyfriends. I like Black guys too. My dad and brother are Black, you know. Two pretty great homies. I'm just making a personal observation.

See, no matter how much you try to convince a Black man that this surgery is relatively painless, reversible, scarless and safe, you couldn't even get him to go for a consult. All he'll see it the doctor wearing a bloody butchers apron, wielding a rusty cleaver ready to chop half his penis off with no anaesthetic. And said doctor will send him home with a bottle of a vinegar/lemon juice/Clorox mix and a jar of cotton balls to disinfect it with every hour on the hour.

With Scott it was just a matter of daily, merciless nagging, plenty of "I'll never let you touch me ever again"s for over 6 years and using the doctor's website as our computer screensaver to win him over. No, in all seriousness, it was his idea, folks. I kid you not. I suggested getting a hysterectomy since I have fibroids. I also selfishly figured I could get a tummy tuck at the same time. But he freaked out saying that it's too "surgical" and among other things I'd grow a moustache and soul patch. To be honest I'd happily shave every morning for a stomach I could bounce a loonie on. But his procedure would be less than 10 minutes, no scar, walk in walk out so it was decided. No flat stomach for me.

So he's there right now in Dr. Weiss' office. I like to pronounce it like the original German "Vice" for obvious comedic reasons. I hope he's not getting scared off. Or maybe I do. I'd sure look great with a pierced navel.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Just call me the "activity queen"

I just set up a playdate at the pool for me and the kids. We'll be there from 1-3pm and while our kids are splashing about, I'll be catching up with one of my oldest college friends Marianne. I'm actually doing activities with the kids 2, no, FOUR days in a row. Why four? Because tomorrow we're going to our friend Bill's cottage for the weekend.

Bill's cottage was the first one I ever went to. It became the gold standard of cottages. It has a flushing toilet, tv, vcr, microwave oven... the only thing to distinguish it from a suburban house is that it's right on a lake. So one Valentine's Day when my friend Daphne and her hubby invited Scott and me to her cottage, I jumped at the chance. When we got there I saw that it was a glorified tent in the woods. There was a gas oven (all the better to off yourself, I guess) and we had to switch it on and keep it open to warm the cabin before the wood burning stove kicked in. No electricity and worse yet, no running water. The kitchen sink was just for show with the taps only there to mock me. Every so often I'd twist them willing water to come out, thinking that the water fairy would make all my wet dreams come true. No such luck.

That was the longest weekend of my life and peeing in a rickety outhouse in the dead of winter was not my idea of the most romantic Valentine's Day ever. In fact it's second only to the time that Scott was in Europe for work that day and our hot water heater exploded sending scalding water all over the furnace/storage room. SO much fun. At least at the terror cottage we were together.

Anyway, I digress. The point I was trying to make was that we're doing lots of fun, outside things over the next little while. So next week I plan to do nothing. That's the plan, anyway.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What a good mother I am

After two days of slugging around the house (seriously... I haven't showered since the weekend and Audrey has been wearing only underwear since Monday) we actually did something. Scott left us the car and we went to Little Ray's Reptile Zoo.

My friend Julie and her 2 kids came with us and off we went. Thirty minutes later when we pulled up to the place, I wasn't too sure of what to expect. It was a redone strip mall and looked tiny. On the website it said that the admission was $38 for a family and I was really starting to regret dragging us all out there. And the smell. Who thought that lizards could stink so bad?

After our "we're sisters-in-law so can we get in as a one family?" ruse didn't work (hey, it did at Upper Canada Village), we ponied up the dough and had a look around. The place was a twisty, turny maze of lizards, crocs, bugs and frogs. I saw an anaconda that was 12 inches around. Halfway through the tour there was a demonstration where you got to touch some of the animals and yours truly held a tarantula in her hand. If you know me in real life, you'd know that I do a visual bug sweep and fatally gas anything that moves before I go to bed. Spiders are the creepiest for me. I'll gas spiders that are on the outside of my bedroom screen for goodness sake. So having a tarantula in my palm was amazing and exhilarating. Believe it or not, it's feet felt like pussywillows. I kid you not.

After we watched them feed mice to the alligators, we saw a bird of prey show. There was a vulture, owl, hawk and falcon buzzing the crowd. We all stood up and one of the birds flew around us, it's wings brushing Audrey's hair. So so cool.

So since I was a good mum today, I guess I can have a pass for tomorrow when I fully intend on going back to the nothing thing. Don't worry, We'll get out Friday. Hopefully.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

This one is about Audrey

My 8 year old daughter Audrey is a strange cat. I call her Diva because, frankly, she is one. Things have to go her way or she (and everyone around her) will be miserable. But on the flipside, when she's happy, all is right with the world and it's raining gumdrops. So many times I find myself trying to guess at the way she'll take things so I can make decisions based on her potential reactions. It's hard work.

Many times I get things all wrong. Like the time I thought the two of us would have a fun time shopping together at the mall. After buying us both a treat at Laura Secord, she asked (nay, demanded) a toy. When I refused, telling her we already got treats, she told me that she hated me, that I was ugly and the worst mother in the world. She stated unequivocally that she'd never ever EVER go to the store with me EVER AGAIN. Good times.

Then just when I think I've got her pegged, she surprises me. She lost her tooth last week and when she does, she gets a toonie from the tooth fairy. She uses it to get a little Winnie-the-Pooh-in-a-rubber-costume toy from a vending machine at the grocery store. They crack me up since Elliott hilariously calls them "dolphin Pooh", "tiger Pooh", "giraffe Pooh"... I guess you have to be here. Anyway, we all go to the store as usual (I still don't know why the family all go grocery shopping but we do) and at the checkout we're all getting ourselves organized. Scott is bagging and I'm maneuvering two carts out of people's way. The boys are kicking at each other near the exit doors and I see Audrey hovering at the Pooh machine (hee).

We finally get in the car and drive away and I ask Audrey what kind of Pooh she got today (hee). She told me calmly she didn't get one. I told her I saw her near the machines, did she get candy instead? She said, yes, she got a Pooh but it rolled away under the Coke machine and she couldn't reach it. Wha? She didn't cry, make a fuss, flip out, nothing. If it was me I'd have made such a ruckus they'd have had to use a forklift to move that machine or at least give me my $2 back. Why didn't she cry? Why didn't she tell us? She didn't even cry when she explained to me what happened. That is so not like her. She got me again.

You know the girl baffles me each and every day. I never know how she's going to take a certain situation. I love my only baby girl to distraction but it's so hard to predict what she's going to be like from day to day (or minute to minute for that matter). She's a true Gemini.

I'm going to replace her $2 this weekend and help her get her Pooh out of the machine (hee) myself to make sure it doesn't get lost. And I'm going to hug her and tell her what a big girl she is. Maybe I'll even take her to Laura Secord for a treat.


Monday, August 14, 2006

Betrayed by my dreams yet again

I probably posted this before but after this morning, it warrants posting again. I had another dream. Another boring, mundane, typical Karen dream.

I want to fly. I want to be a superhero. I want to drive a cool car. What did I do in my fascinating dream this morning? I sprayed Febreeze on my sheets. That's right. I sprayed my pillow, both sides of the sheets and the comforter. When I woke up my first thought was "why would I get into bed when the sheets are still damp from the spray?" What do these boring dreams mean? Why can't I dream cool?

So what did I do when I got out of bed? D'uh, I Febreezed my sheets. I made my dreams come true, baby. Who else can say they did that today?


Friday, August 11, 2006

I'm suffering

I'm suffering from post-birthday hangover. No, I wasn't drinking but I feel a little like Bacchus. I ate really badly all day and night yesterday and even had my birthday cake for breakfast this morning. I was supposed to go for a run with my neighbour Norah this morning but I used a Jedi mind trick on her and we ended up sitting in the sun in the backyard chewing the fat. Thank goodness, not literally. I've eaten enough to feed a small African country in the last 2 days.

So with excessive eating comes excessive laziness. I haven't moved off the couch all day. Which is why the blog is so late. I even don't really feel like doing it now so I'll just tell you what I got from my sacred list and leave it like that until tomorrow.

-CDs: "Get Lifted" John Legend and Nelly Furtado's "Loose" (YAY! Thanks, Kathy and Chris)
-50 blog hits on 10 August (not sure if I got this one... MySpace has been screwy with the numbers lately)
-Peace in the Middle East (okay, not so much)
-DVD: "Love, Actually" (thanks Norah!)
-2 more blog subscribers (to make an even 10)... I now have 10! I feel like a novelist!
-PFD (kayak style... triangle shape, mesh over the head entry, red if available) Thanks, Poopie and the kids

Anyway, that's some of the haul and it was really great. I'm told to expect a package from the UK any time now. Even more than the presents, it's really nice to be loved by people. I know that sounds mushy and philosophical and not at all like me but I'm 39 now and it behooves me to act more mature. Quite.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

I love myself today

Well, that special day is here. The day when all of Karenworld rejoices at the anniversary of the birth of their empress. Stores are closed and all essential services have been cut back for the day. Ah yes.

The day started out strangely since at about 12:05 this morning the cat showed me his appreciation and undying devotion by puking on my floor. At least he had the decency to jump off my bed before he started that dreadful heaving. Thankfully, Scott, being my obedient servant (at least for the day) got out of bed to clear up the mess.

Then at 8:50 this morning I had a dentists' appointment. Why I knowingly scheduled one of the things I detest most on the one day I love most is beyond me. At least I got to leave the house and tell everyone who I came in contact with that it was my birthday. I keep telling people that it's my "first 39th birthday" but I don't believe in lying about my age. Why should I when I look so effing awesome?

So now the rest of my special day is laid out at my feet. Scott suggested we all go out for a meal later and I think that'll be really fun. And I baked my most favourite ever cake for dessert. Yes, I baked my own birthday cake. Is it my fault that in Karenworld no one can rock an oven as good as me? Or speak english apparently.

Anyhoo, no family gifts yet but I'll keep you posted. I did get an awesome bunch of CDs from my best MySpace pal Chris which arrived yesterday. Thanks, sweetie! I got birthday calls from my best friend Kathy in the UK, my dad and my friend Paula. And I know that Live88.5 played my favourite Bif Naked song just for me to belt out in the car on the way home from the dentist. I'm in heaven. No, better yet, I'm the Queen of Karenworld.

I Love Myself Today

You left me like a broken doll
In pieces as I took the fall
for you, you dumb chump!
You left me free-falling like space junk
Burning up in the atmosphere of life

Well I sound like a philosopherbut I'm a fool who's off her rocker
'Cause I let you in my heart that one last time
I've had enough, made up my mind
I'm gonna get up and out and wahhh!

I love myself today
Not like yesterday
I'm cool, I'm calm
I'm gonna be okay! Uh huh
I love myself today
Not like yesterday
Take another look at me now
'Cause it's your last look
Your last look forever

Well look at you you're all puffed up
In that big red truck- but you're outta luck (this time)
Well, that's tough
'Cause I'm on fire- too hot to touch
with a chatroom full of lovers on the line
Gonna step right up. Spit shine my soul
I'm gonna be proud and loud and outta control!
I love myself today
Not like yesterday
I'm cool, I'm calm
I'm gonna be okay! Uh huh
I love myself today
Not like yesterday
Take another look at me now
'Cause it's your last look
Your last look forever

I'm lookin' in the mirror and I like what I see:
I've lost the fear & the horror that's been eating at me
'Cause being with you is like a hangman's noose
I was living my life in dead man's shoes
I've had enough. Made up my mind
I'm gonna get up and out and wahhh!

I love myself today
Not like yesterday
I'm cool, I'm calm
I'm gonna be okay! Uh huh
I love myself today
Not like yesterday
Take another look at me now

I love myself today
Not like yesterday
You're dead and gone
I'm gonna get my way
I love myself today
Not like yesterday
Take another look at me now
'Cause it's your last look
Your last look forever!!

I love myself today!


Currently listening:PurgeBy Bif NakedRelease date: 03 September, 2002

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

My bizarre list of crushes

Just like any woman I get crushes on stars. Naturally, being happily married I would never act on them but it's a gas to go window shopping even though you're not buying anything. Ladies? Who's with me?

I usually like handsome yet quirky looking guys that no one would dispute or guys who aren't popular in North America. I'm talking to you Arjun. Don't ever tell me that East Indian men aren't hot. But lately I've noticed a disturbing trend in my liking guys that aren't at all good looking. I'm starting to wonder if I should have my eyes checked. But forget the eyes. The heart wants what it wants.

Here are some men I recently find myself drooling over. Don't judge me. Okay go ahead. If I didn't want judging I wouldn't have posted this would I?

Dr. Phil. I know, he's a chicken fried meanie but I find him hot as hell. How's that workin' for you?

Gordon Ramsay. Never has a stream of constant cursing sounded like sweet nothings. He can come to my house and yell at me for making lumpy mashed potatoes anytime.

Josh Blue. Something about his crazy eyes and his non-functioning right arm. Yummy.

Travis from "So You Think You Can Dance". He moves like a dream and is gayer than a parade. What can I say? I'm a smitten kitten.

Adam Savage. Yup, the red headed Mythbuster. He's wickedly funny and smart as anything. So who needs eyebrows, anyway?

Patrick Stewart. Just plain hot *and* captain of a Starship? Set phasers on sexy.

Shakira. Yes, she's a girl. Deal with it. Not crazy about her music and most guys would find her pretty but I'm not a guy. That's why she's here.

So there you go. My birthday wish list of freaks and geeks. Sometimes I wonder about myself. Because even after seeing this list in print I'm not embarrassed. I'm more in need of a cold cloth on my forehead. Sigh.


Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Miss me?

Did you pine and wonder where I was all day? Don't worry, I was here and fine all the time.

Scott's home this week waiting for the results of his french oral final exam and as you all know, when he's here he throws me and my schedule way off. Poor guy. He's been picking up the phone after half a ring all day and shooting me daggers when I'm on the phone for more than 5 minutes. He's been learning french for almost a year now and he's anxious to move on so who's to blame him?

Talking about the phone, Ottawa has started this 10 digit dialing thing a few weeks ago. Frankly it's not much of a change, it's only 3 extra numbers, right? WRONG. It's a total pain in the ass. I've been using the phone and dialing 7 numbers for over 30 years so getting used to dialing the area code is the most frustrating thing my middle aged brain has had to grasp over the last few years. I had to re-programme every number in my cell phone. Thank goodness I hardly have any friends. Then I have to deal with the kindness of the good folks at Bell Canada, who, when I forget to dial the area code, will let the phone ring 3 times *then* play the stupid recording telling me that my call hasn't gone through. In both official languages. Grrrr. How many times in the last 8 weeks have I called my neighbour Norah and forgotten the 613? By the time it rings, I hear the first few words of the effing recording, slam the phone down in frustration, swear like a drunken sailor, pick up the phone again, replace the battery that flew out post slammage, and then dial the 10 numbers, I could have gone over to her place, made our plans for the day in person, had a cup of tea and come home. Let it be known throughout the land that I loathe 10 digit dialing. There. Vent over.


Monday, August 7, 2006

Happy birthday, Poopie!

He hates when I call him that in public but he never reads this blog so nyah. If Scott ever did maybe he would have a say but as I like to say, TDB (too damn bad). I slaved over his favourite scratch cake with scratch icing all day yesterday and he got a travel coffee mug, a WWII DVD and a pair of those pharmacy reading glasses. Poor guy. Everytime he reads a magazine or the paper he claims that his arms are shrinking. He can't seem to hold the darn things far enough away from his 44 year old eyes to read them. Hee.

Now on to more bloggy affairs:

My Official Retraction

Okay, here's the deal. Even though I still don't agree with the bizarre chain of events that led up to it, My dad and cousins still came to visit Saturday and we had a great time. So consider this an official retraction to the vitriol that was Thursday's blog.

Frances ended up staying home and my dad came down with my cousins. I often grump and growl when my dad is due to visit but we always have a really fun time. And of course my kids love their grandpa. Since the cousins have never been to Ottawa, we had a whole list of options for their amusement. Museums, art, culture... the city was laid at our feet. What did we do? We walked around downtown and the Market. It sounds pretty boring but it was great. Why? We stumbled upon the Ottawa International Busker Festival on Sparks Street. How fun was that? We saw a tightrope walker, fire jugglers, a "Stomp" style act, acrobats and what's a busker festival without a guy playing not one but 2 didgeridoos?

Later we ate in a gorgeous courtyard pub then went shopping through the market. We looked through jewellry stalls, clothing stalls and my eldest cousin Ivo and his wife Janet bought the inevitable real-maple-syrup-in-a-maple-leaf-shaped-bottle souvenir. I think they had a nice time. I say "think" since my 13 year old cousin Sabrina said about 13 words all day and my 11 year old cousin Jovan wore earphones and played with his PSP nearly the whole time. But they acknowledged our existence a couple of times so I don't think they were totally paralysed with pre-teen ennui. I'm freaking out that I'll have three of those in my house in a few years. UGH.

Anyway, all in all a really enjoyable day.


Friday, August 4, 2006

Six more days!

You read that right, ladies and gentlemen, only 6 days until my birthday. You only have a few more days to find the perfect gift for your favourite blogger mum.

I'm not one of those people that shies away from birthdays. I love them. Even though, yes, I am getting older every year. I think it's because I (insert modest head bow here) look younger than my soon-to-be 39 years and I'm happily married with kids. The only thing I don't have is that massive amount of cash in the bank. Living cheque to cheque with very little savings is no fun but we manage and we're happy. And I guess that's the point of life, isn't it?

Well, enough of the philosophical and on to the material. Here's my wish list if you're so inclined this year. There's something here for every price range so be sure to pick the one that fits in best with your budget. Thanks in advance for your patronage.

-Metal measuring cups (set of 6, including 2/3 cup & 3/4 cup... hard to find in metal)
-CDs: "Get Lifted" John Legend, "Run Lola Run" Soundtrack, Nelly Furtado's "Loose"
-Bayshore Shopping Centre gift certificate
-50 blog hits on 10 August
-Family photo (professionally done)
-TiVo (ha)
-Gift certificate from the Running Room
-Peace in the Middle East
-DVDs: "Love, Actually", "The Notebook"
-Elliptical trainer (hee)
-Kitchenaid mixer (orange, blue or metallic)
-2 more blog subscribers (to make an even 10)
-BelleVue Kriek cherry beer (6 bottles)
-PFD (kayak style... triangle shape, mesh over the head entry, red if available)
-Tummy tuck

Except for the Middle East thing, I think they're all pretty doable.

I'll let you all know how many of these things I can strike off around the big day. Just to be frank with you all, I've had pretty much this same exact list since 1999. I've only recently added the PFD, the Middle East business, the blog stuff and changed the CDs and DVDs. Those I get. No problems... it's still my birthday. My unique special day that I don't have to share. Unlike Christmas where my personal Diva-ness is rivalled by everyone elses. And that thing with baby Jesus.

Happy shopping!


Thursday, August 3, 2006

Is this weird or is it just my family?

When people ask questions like that they already know the answer, don't they?

Anyway, get this:

My dad is having his nephew from England and his family over at his house for 3 weeks. Sleeping over. The whole time. Don't get me started on that one. That isn't even the situation I want to share. I live 2 hours away from my dad and he thought it would be fun to bring the family over here for a day trip and tour Canada's Capital. Fun. Let's do it. Problem. My dad's car only fits 5 people and there are 6 of them. So what's the best solutionhe can come up with? The win/win scenario that would work out happily for everyone involved? Here it is. Prepare yourselves. My dad drives the cousins here and his wife takes the bus. Wha? Instead of them all taking a nice train ride or, God forbid, Frances stays behind for some much needed peace and quiet, they're letting her come here alone on a crappy, stinky bus. If it was me I'd enjoy staying home those hours, drink half a bottle of wine in the bathtub with my latest novel... after all they're staying 2 more weeks. Is this not bizarre to anyone else?

Well, not surprisingly, my dad called a few hours ago to say that Frances doesn't want to ride the bus so the trip is off. Off? Here's my other beef. Why not come by yourselves? Because Frances doesn't want to come by bus (and rightly so), he's depriving me from seeing my British cousins? Come on, people. Is it so horrible to go somewhere without your significant other? Are they that suspicious of each other they can't leave the other's sight for half a day? What kind of mischief do they think the other will get into? And what must they think of Scott and me? We hardly do anything together. In fact, the last time I went out was with his sister and great niece. The last time Scott went out was to hockey and drinks with his team. To quote the lyrics of the immortal Deja Voodoo: How can I miss you if you won't go away?

Am I wrong? Is this whole thing as crazy as I think it is? What a family. If we were a sitcom, people wouldn't watch thinking it was just too outrageous and unbelievable. Sigh.


Wednesday, August 2, 2006


All I'm trying to do do find a practical lunchbox. For us, practical would be either hard plastic or metal, domed with a thermos. You know, like those construction worker ones. Sounds easy, eh? Well, it ain't. It's really pissing me off. I've been searching online and in stores and what with it being really close to back to school you'd think there'd be a few out there under $30 each but there isn't. I've been looking. And here I was thinking I was being efficient starting 6 weeks before school begins.

For years I've been buying those crappy vinyl jobs. One a year for each kid. They're about $5 and you seriously get what you pay for. Within a month the vinyl is torn and within a week of that someone spills their milk or juice in it so the spongy padding stuff in the lining smells either like wine or cheese. Or both. So by Christmas it's tossed out and they're using either paper or plastic bags. I'm no tree-hugger but that amount of waste drives me bonkers.

Last year I bought Henry a small, metal Spiderman lunchbox for snack at school. He loved it because it was cool and I loved it because I could run it under the hot water when the inevitable beverage spill occurred. It's pong free. The problem is that it's tiny and with him starting full time school in September, he'll need something bigger for a whole lunch and 2 snacks.

A lot of my friends are buying those "bento boxes" but my kids are traditionalists. The mini sub sandwiches, whole apples, homemade palm-sized cookies and yoghurt cups they prefer won't fit in them. And all those fiddly little containers and lids would drive me nuts.

So if anyone knows where I can find a reasonably priced one that meets all of my lunchbox needs, drop me a line. I'll be most grateful. Ahh, memories of my plastic orange Coyote and Roadrunner lunchbox from back in the day.


Tuesday, August 1, 2006

I love the credits

I love going to the theatre and watching the movie until credits are over and the lights come up. I don't know why, it's just one of those things I do. I hate watching a movie with friends who force me to get up before they're done. Hey, I paid a day's wages for this movie and I'm staying until the very end, dammit. And starting with Ferris Bueller's Day Off way back in the 80s, some movies have been rewarding me with little snippets of something yummy at the very end. The 40 Year Old Virgin and the first Pirates Of The Caribbean had good ones too.

Watching movies with my kids presented a challenge. They can barely sit still during a feature let alone during the boring, inevitably long list of 5000 animators that follows the kind of movies they like. So how did I get them to sit through the credits? Ingenious on my part, I tell you. I have them find their own names in the blur. And since their names are pretty uncommon, frankly, they're not easily found. Sometimes they'll pay far closer attention to the credits then the actual movie. I love it.

Last week we rented a DVD for them. When it was over they ran up from the playroom yelling "We found 2 Elliotts, one Henry but no Audreys!" They hardly recalled anything about the movie itself. It gives me a warm glow to know it's possible to mould the children to my will. Next stop, world domination.