Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Not your typical NYE post

I want to tell you about my Christmas gifts. I got 2 things on my list and a couple of pleasant surprises. All of these were from Scott.

From my list:
That necklace I wanted with the moon phase on the day I was born. If I had opened this one first, Christmas would have been over. I absolutely love it. I'm wearing it now.

A rice cooker. The one I had before was way too big. I'd make the minimum capacity and still have enough for the rest of the week. And the kids hate leftovers. This one is a cute little Cuisinart and makes exactly 5 cups of rice at a time. Perfect.

Off list:
A DVD recorder!? This was not at all was I was expecting! I'm delighted by it. It "tapes" right onto a hard drive so it does all the things that my horrible clunky 20th century vcr couldn't. I can tape something and watch the tv, tape while watching the beginning of the same show, it'll tape while it's on or off as long as the show is on timer... Best. Gift. Ever.

A knitting bag.  Scott saw me knitting crappy, ill-fitting slippers in the weeks running up to Christmas. I never even gave them to my intended victims since they were so awful. My previous knitting bag was an old purse that, frankly, suited me just fine. I'm just not good at knitting. I pick it up only once or twice a year after I've forgotten exactly how much I dislike it. I can only knit scarves and the occasional slipper since I only know 2 stitches: knit and purl. I can't increase, decrease or do anything fancy. I drop stitches and generally make an absolute mess of whatever I try. Maybe it'll give me some incentive to do better.

Hope your Christmas was as fun as mine was. See you in the new year!


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Traditional Christmas

Well, a traditional British Xmas, anyway.

Before our dinner of turkey, stuffing and trimmings (including mac and cheese!?) we pulled our crackers. Kinda our version of saying grace. For those of you who aren't of the British persuasion, crackers pop when you pull them and have a dumb joke and a crappy toy inside. And we mustn't forget the paper hats. You wear them while you eat. I love this tradition.
The "jokes" (and I use this term lightly) are horrific. And the info is decidedly UK based but we don't care. One of my favourite things to do is to head over to the Scottish and Irish Store and pick up an overpriced box of crackers. So here is what was in our crackers this year. The parentheticals are mine.


Yellow paper crown
Q: When was the Automobile Association founded?
A: 1905
(Umm... Who cares?)

Who needs to eat a balanced diet?
A tightrope walker

Fake plastic moustache


Green paper crown

Q: Who was the winner of the 2002 British series of "Pop Idol"?
A: Will Young
(I knew that one!)

What do you get if you cross a shark with a snowman?
Frost bite!

tiny plastic bull

Yellow paper crown
Q: How many children did the composer Bach have?
A: 20
(His poor wife)

What travels around the world yet stays in one corner?
A postage stamp
(I like this one)

teensy whistle


Red paper crown

Q: Who narrated Thomas the Tank Engine?
A: Ringo Starr
(I knew this one too!)

What did Dick Turpin say at the end of his ride to York?
(We were all scratching our heads on this one. A definitely very British joke that us colonists weren't meant to get)

miniscule plastic crab


Green paper crown

Q: In what year was Elizabeth the 2nd born?
A: 1926
(I guessed but was really badly off)

If you have a referee in football, a referee in rugby and a referee in boxing, what do you have in bowls?
Prunes and custard
(How many times did we have to read that question aloud until we realized that "bowls" was a sport? Needless to say we didn't get it)

A little red plastic angel thingie reading a book


Aaaahhhh.... tradition


Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy Birthday Henry!

My baby turned 9 on Saturday and even though he's broken, he's the most awesome kid I know. And yes, I'm aware that I have 3 kids.

I think it's because he's most like me. I don't want to compliment myself in his special blog (okay maybe I do) but he's funny, dramatic, loyal, loving and has dimples. He only has to cut his eye at me in that way and I'm cracking up. I love him to distraction and think he's all that and a bag of Doritos. Nacho flavour.

So happy birthday my little lovey. Keep making people laugh and enjoy your life. You make every day brighter.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Rhyme time

I love helping the Henry with his English homework. He's really creative but because of his language delay, many times he gets it wrong. But funny wrong. For instance he came home the other day with a rhyming word test. He was sad that it had a couple of wrong answers on it that he had to correct. He had to come up with a word or phrase that rhymed with the provided word. Sounds simple enough.

The words he had to rhyme? Sting and Enormous. What did he choose? Bling and Ginormous. Poor kid didn't understand why he got them wrong. I barely understand it myself. What rhymes with enormous, anyways? You hear those words everyday especially on those "youth-oriented" channels he watches. How to explain they aren't real words? Slang words. Bleh.

I kind of think the teacher should have given him creativity points. I would hope she at least had a chuckle before she put those red x's on his paper.

I'll just keep helping him and try to stave off the illiterate word bombs exploding around us. Cover us, we're going in.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Xmas!

Please enjoy this video on this most holy of holy days. As a Roman Catholic it's full of the reverence and spirituality I feel on a daily basis. Enjoy and have a fantastic, relaxing, lovely day.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas card rant

Yes, I'm aware it's too late but it's my blog and I'll belate if I want too. See what I did there?

Here's the deal. I wanted to send them out I really did. But usually I think about it on the 20th of December and by then it's too late to mail. Everyone who sends me a card I really appreciate. Truly. I love getting cards from friends and neighbours. But the caveat: I only want to see your signature. Maybe a (very) short note wishing the Kayes a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. It warms my heart.

What I'm not interested in is your family letter. If you have to update me on what happened in your family every month since last Christmas, we're not good friends and I don't care. Am I being harsh? Maybe. Am I jealous that these families have cool, funky, fun lives... lives that are worth trumpeting about to virtual strangers? Kinda.

Now keeping a blog, on the other hand... yes, I'm aware that I'm trumpeting my life to virtual strangers but you have the option not to read it and I didn't spend a dime on stamps. The decision is in your hands. Besides, how do they remember everything that happened all year? Here's how mine would sound:

December: Henry had a birthday and Merry Xmas from the Kayes!
January: Umm... Happy New Year!
February: Scott and I did something for Valentines, I'm sure.
March: Errr... the kids had March break
April: Wow, what about that freak snowstorm? (There must have been one, it's Canada)
May: Elliott had a birthday
June: Audrey had a birthday
July: Whew, was it ever hot! (again, it's Canada...)
August: Scott and I had our birthdays. What fun! (I'm sure)
September: The fog is lifting! We went to Marineland. Ha!
October: Urk. More fog. Ummm. Thanksgiving was delicious?
November: Oooh! Henry broke his arm playing hockey! Yay! (yay for the fact I remembered... not because of his broken arm)
December: Henry had a birthday and Merry Xmas from the Kayes!

Wow, how pathetic was that? See? Would you be interested in getting that stupidness in your Christmas card? I thought not.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

You know, wrapping paper ranks right up there with toilet paper and garbage bags

How, you may ask?

Because you pretty much buy these things just to throw them away. It makes me nuts to spend any kind of money on them. Which is why you don't want to wipe yourself at my house. Pretty scratchy. Or pick up my garbage 'cause your fingers will go through the bag when you pick it up. Yup, we're that family.

Buying something only to destroy it makes me nuts. But do you know what makes me more nuts? People who delicately pick open gifts to save the paper. Really? Um, you really don't want to save the crap paper I used. Rip away. And don't get me started about those gift bags. What a lazy cop-out.

I don't know how many times I've wrapped gifts in newspaper. The comics page is colourful and fun. And really cheap. And tear-able. I've even been known to wrap things in cloth. What is it about wrapping paper? One of my many pet peeves that make me the incredible specimen of weirdness you see before you.

No go on and leave me alone. I've still got gifts to wrap.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Funniest Xmas website EVER.

I swear I hyperventillate with laughter everytime I see it. Please, do yourself a favour and check out some of these photos.

Screw being politically correct. Merry Christmas, peeps!


Friday, December 19, 2008

Headphones, earphones and the 7th circle of hell

I'm a huge fan of my mp3. It's the only thing that makes a potentially panic attack inducing busride enjoyable. I also use it at work to drown out talking (and here I include myself talking) and just discovered books on tape which is really comforting, like having your mother read to you. Moving on...

What I hate are headphones, earphones and earbuds. Here's my list of beefs:

Headphones: you know the ones... they have big pads that go over your entire ear. They sound great in the house but you'd look like an überdork if you wear them on the bus.

Earphones: better but they never fit quite right on my bald, (what Scott likes to call peanut-shaped) head. No matter how tight I make them they still fit badly.

Earbuds: I hate these with a fire and passion that burns. The loathing rises like bile in my throat that bubbles and writhes with the pain of a thousand... what? Oh. Where was I?

Yes. Earbuds. These are the earphones that despite my all consuming aversion are the ones that I want to work the most. The ones came with my iPod fall out of my ears at every opportunity. When I turn my head. When I sing. When I chew gum. When the sun hits them. When I have a negative thought. You name it. The ones I bought after those came with different sized silicone ends. The small ones fit "best" but they still pop out irritatingly often.

The ones I bought lately are best. The good: They stay in my ears really well because they have these ends like earplugs that you squish then cram into your head. The bad: They're going to kill me.

I can't hear anything at all besides my music and lately my book. People talk to me and I just smile and nod politely hypnotised by the way their mouths move. Hopefully they're not asking me to wear a puffy shirt. I can't hear sirens or traffic or anyone coming up behind me. When I sing out loud I can only hear that weird tone inside my head. Which makes me sing louder. Obviously these things are a danger for the outside world, too.

They can send a rocket to the moon but they can't make a decent, cheap set of earbuds. So until they can tap the High School musical 3 soundtrack directly into my cerebral cortex, it looks like I'll be buying a set of these once a month for the rest of my life. However short that'll be. When they discover it flag me down because I won't hear you calling. I'll be the one wandering into oncoming traffic listening to Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Daycare v. Playdates

Most of you know I used to do daycare out of my home. At first I did it all day long, then before and after school, then just after school, then I was done. Frankly I was fed up and knew I had had enough when we'd have "film festival day" (popcorn for snack and the kids plopped in front of the tv) 3 times a week.

Fast forward to this past summer. Henry has a friend named Jacob who a couple of times a week comes over after school to hang out. They are in the same class, take the bus home together and Jacob's backyard and ours touch. Very convenient. One day Jacob's mum Sarah asked me if I could please (pretty please) to watch him after school for a few hours. Really, how is that any different from the average day? How was it different? I'll tell you. She wanted to pay me. I hemmed and hawed and told her I wouldn't take it. She insisted so I took her $20.

It was weird, though. What about all the other days I took her son off her hands? I've even given him snack and even made those boys do their homework. Where was my money then? You know what they call charging for playdates? Daycare. And I'm not doing it again. Aren't I? I'd better warm up the vcr.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

One of my favourite kitchen tools sucks

I say one because you all know that my very favourite kitchen tool is Terra. If you don't know who that is (where have you been?), use the search tool above (isn't Blogger cool?). Put in "Terra". There are lots of photos (those links actually work) and one of my faves is of me kissing her. Anyway, this isn't about her, it's about another one of my kitchen tools.

I have these 2 weird little knives. I have no idea when I got them. They could have been leftovers from Scott's previous live-in girlfriend Darlene's kitchen. She took everything but a couple of eggs (remind me to tell you that story) but left those 2 babies behind. They have yellow handles and are terrible for spreading anything. In fact they're pretty crappy at doing everything except cutting cheese and peeling potatoes That's it. I've bought many potato peelers and many cheese slicers but I always go back to these crappy little knives. They're old and I love them to bits. A lot like Scott.

Okay, I had to put that in. How could I let the opportunity pass? You know I don't really mean it.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Boy, you look great in those genes

I was at Costco on the weekend and the little girl behind the checkout complimented my skin. She was about 18 and was a bit pimply but very cute as only an 18 year old can be. She stared at me a bit before saying that my skin was "amazing and smooth". My usual comeback is "it's makeup", but then go on to thank the complimenter going on to say that I've been lucky because I didn't have pimples and blemishes when I was a teen. I did this as always. I know how to take a compliment.

Having nice skin is a blessing. It can make the oddest looking person look terrific. I thank my lucky stars (and my parents) every time I get noticed for it. My skin, in fact, is the thing I get complimented most on. That and the fact that I can say without hyperbole that I look about 5 years younger than my 41 years. Works for me. Yippee. As my daddy always says, "Black don't crack." For those of you unschooled in Ebonics, this is a reference to the fact that we Blacks as a people have very high melanin in our skin thus making it difficult for wrinkles to take hold. Hee.

So what is my skincare regime? Why I'll tell you. In the morning I wash it with Clean and Clear Morning Burst soap then slather it with Garnier Shine Control Moisturiser. At night I wash the makeup off with Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser. That's it. Sorry. Like I said, good genes.


Monday, December 15, 2008

My Christmas list

This is the list I gave to Scott. It seems reasonable, no? I don't want everything (well, I kinda do but the things I don't get I'll pick up later in the year) just a couple...

-Panini grill with interchangeable plates (countertop not stove)
-Customised moon necklace (tell them my bday)
-Nice top (sz: LARGE)
-"Clean" perfume from Holt Renfrew
-Dr. H tee: either "You are not my nemesis" or "I don't go to the gym, I'm just naturally like this" women's size XL, black, from
-New eyeglass frames
-Picture frame for my Paris poster (this has been pending for over 4 years!)
-Flatware and mugs that match
-Rice cooker (5 cup max... the one I have is too big)
-gps for the van
-loose leaf tea from Teaopia... I'm not telling which kind. Surprise me. Keep in mind I don't like mint and let me know if there's caffeine in it (just so I don't go drinking it at bedtime)

Notice there are all normal things on this list. I've kept off my ubiquitous Smart Car, Louboutin shoes thing. What's the point? You all know what I want...


Friday, December 12, 2008

You've heard of mothers-in-law, now meet "knowledge-in-law"

Sometimes Scott really surprises me. We were watching tv one night and he recognised an actor way before I did. This is remarkable. Let me explain:

Scott doesn't often watch tv with me. And I love tv. A lot. I watch everything that comes on at least once. I often describe myself as being the lowest common denominator of the tv viewing public. Scott is far more discerning. He watches current affairs programmes, true life biographies, stories of World War 2, news, Coronation Street (!) and very rarely entertain-y stuff like The Tudors or Lost. We'll start watching something together and often he'll just wander off to the depths of his hobbyshop/office never to be heard from again until bedtime.

Once we were watching Mad Men (another one of his exceptions) and an ad came on. It was for some pain medicine and the actor was talking directly to the screen about how amazing the stuff was. Scott looked at it for a few seconds and says:

"Isn't that the guy from one of your shows?"

I look much more closely and realize that it's the actor who used to play Cass Winthrop from my old favourite soap opera Another World, a soap that was cancelled 9 years ago. Holy crap! For someone who I consider to "not watch tv", this was an incredible statement.

I call it my "knowledge-in-law theory". If one half of a spouse is rabidly interested in something, you can't help but pick up a few facts about it even if you're not the least bit interested in it. You never even know when it's happening. My knowledge-in-law theory is the reason why I can tell the difference between a Lancaster and a B-52 or a Spitfire and a Hurricane. They're circa WWII planes BTW.

The knowledge-in-law theory. Feel free to use the term. Just remember where you heard it first.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Excitement v. excrement

Is it weird that everyime I see the word "excitement" I read the word "excrement"? This unfortunate brain fart could make for some really funny stories. Like say I was a television newsreader reading the teleprompter: "Yesterday there was great excrement at Parliament Hill as Liberal leader... what's that? Oops, that is excitement... as new Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff..." See?

Unfortunately the only fascinating story and reason for this blog I could muster up was that I noticed this unfortunate fact on the bus recently when I giggled as I read the newspaper over someone's shoulder. Woo.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Xmas gift questions

1. If you don't get what you asked for do you buy it for yourself at a later date?

2. Would you exchange a gift a loved one bought you for a nicer/bigger/better version? I just read a PostSecret secret where a woman exchanged her diamond ring and her fiance didn't even notice. Would your loved one notice? Would he/she care?

3. Do you think a gift certificate is a sucky gift?

My answers:

1. Let's face it, we're all adults here. If the gift is priced within reason just not a priority then I would go ahead and buy it. For instance I have a little necklace on my list and if Scott doesn't get it for me, I'll get it myself. I don't think he'd be insulted.

2. I wouldn't exchange a gift that was bought for me. Not because of any misguided sense of loyalty to the giver but because I'm too lazy. I once bought a family sized block of cheddar cheese that I noticed was mouldy when I got home. And not in the good way. I never brought it back so I was out $8.

3. I think a gift certificate is the perfect gift. It's never the wrong size or colour.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

An apology

I just wanted to apologise to those of you finding my blog for the first time and checking out all my old (and for the most part, better) posts. I have a new gadget on the bottom of my blog that tells me where my readers are from and what posts brought them here. Mostly it looks like my blogs from 2006 and '07 are the culprits.

Those are blogs that wrote up to 2 years ago over on MySpace. There are lots of links that I brought over when I moved to my new digs here at Blogger which have since died. Again, I apologise. When I moved them over I should have removed those links but my priority was to quickly get my posts off MySpace as soon as possible. I was having premonitions of impending MySpace doom which haven't really materialised. Now it just seems like work that I frankly, don't want to do.

So please accept my heartfelt apologies for the dead links. My advice is don't click on them. They don't change the funny. Also, read my newer stuff. They are virtually link free. I haven't quite learned how to work it so links open in a new window so you'll have to right click on them and find that option. Oh well. Remember when you had to get up to change the tv channel or volume? This is easy in comparison.

Thanks for your loyalty and to my new friends, thanks for reading and making me feel loved. You all rock really hard.

kxx (for those of you who missed the post ages ago explaining that signoff, it's the k for Karen and the x's are 2 kisses, one on each cheek because I'm from Quebec)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Coronation Street haiku

Recently the writing prompt for one minute writer was "haiku". The instructions were to close your eyes, turn around, open them and write a haiku about what you see. Unfortunately the first thing I saw was Coronation Street on tv. I need relocate this computer.

Longest running soap
CBC better get smart
Nine months behind sucks

Wow, that was bad.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Come on everybody! It's a bread tag party!

Ummm, yeah. Actually not so much.

It's actually a quite boring blog about the reasons behind my saving of the insidious bread tag. And here it is. I got none. So why do I save them? I don't know.

Well, that's not entirely true. I save them because my mother did. Why did she save them? I don't want to be repetitive but again... I don't know.

All I do know is that I often have hundreds maybe even thousands before I finally throw them out. I have to change containers to bigger and bigger ones until finally I realise I don't re-use them for any damn thing and finally toss them. It a bizarre compulsion. Right now I have a little bathroom cup on the counter that's rapidly filling up. If anyone can think of a use for these little plastic irritants, send me a message. Daycares don't want them, charities don't have a use for them... I need help!


Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Twilight thoughts...

This movie and book are the biggest things since the last big things and I just have to give my learned opinion. I read the book in about 3 weeks. Why so long? The first half was for want of a better word, boring. All that talking and breathing in of each other's scents. UGH. In Bella's case it was his breath that smelled amazing. Huh? I'm not even going there. All that touching of clavicles, neck snorfing and arm brushing. And I get it... Edward is a hot little piece of 700 year old vampire ass. Let's move on. Does the author have to mention it everytime he shows up? Yes, I know the book is geared for pre-teen girls but it was needing something. Talk about sexually frustrating.

In the second half of the book it really got better. That's what it needed. Some action to warm up my cockles after all the cold showers I was taking. It was so good in fact that it changed my dim view of the whole novel. Now I can honestly say it was good. Did I mention I read the entire second half of the book after the baseball game (I'm not giving anything away) in one sitting? I couldn't put it down.

All in all I thought it was way too chaste. Yet really racy. How is that even possible? I think a preteen girl reading this book would 1) be really disappointed in the actual world of boys out there; and 2) want to rip the next "real" boys clothes off his smooth and chiseled (oh please, oh please) body. Audrey is 10. I thank goodness every day that she's not interested in this series. Because I wouldn't let her read them. There's too much in it that I would have to explain.

That said, I myself can't wait to read the next book and I hope to see movie before it hits video stores.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I love my cat Taz but it makes me sad

The love:
My cat is awesome. He really is the coolest thing. Taz follows us around the house and many times he follows us when we're on a walk. He's great about that. He'll follow at our heels to the bus stop and once he even got into Audrey's school. A sidebar about how cute and tiny her school is... everyone including the principal, who called me on it later, knew his name and where he belonged.
I may scold him but I secretly love when he climbs onto my newspaper or journal while I'm reading or writing. He drools when he purrs and he purrs often. And loudly.

The sad:
Everytime I scratch his ears, everytime he snuggles up with me, everytime he comes when I call, I feel sad. I think about when he won't do those things anymore. I think about his "santa paws" Xmas stocking on the mantle next to ours and that awful Christmas in the future when it'll be empty. I like to think I'm trying to prepare myself for the inevitable but I think I'm just being ghoulish. Why can't I just enjoy him while he's here? Why can't I banish these depressing thoughts? I used to roll my eyes at people who paid for cancer treatments and stuff like that for their pets. Now I understand. Totally.
See, this is what goes on in the mind of a terminally cheerful person. Dark, eh?


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Moi j'aime la patinage artistique

Thought I'd hit you with some français this morning. Like it?

Remember the 6 things you didn't know about me a while back? Well I forgot to mention something. Actually this would have made it 7 and I'd have had to change the title and stuff but there you go.

Here's the thing. Back when I was little, I used to figure skate. Not for fun but competitively. You heard. The costumes, the music, the choreography, the whole nine. Of course I was only about 7 but still. I was a card carrying member of le Club De Patinage Artistique De St. Laurent.

We had to wear uniforms for lessons. White sweater, navy skort, white headband, navy blue gloves, beige tights and of course, my gorgeous, shiny, white, figure skates. We all wore gold sashes across our chests that our parents had to sew triangle shaped badges onto. The badges were to show that we completed a level. Stopping, forward and backward skating, crosscuts (front and back), figure eights, jumps and, spins, camels and jumps were all badges we could get. My sash was pretty full.

I got pretty far along in the years I was there. I made it all the way up to the badge with the skate with wings on it. That was the one for jumps. I could do a single salchow, a waltz jump and a single toe loop. Youtube them if you're not much of a skate fan. I'll wait....

Pretty impressive, eh? But that was then. When we moved from St. Laurent to St. Hubert and I started at the new club, I told my parents I hated it there and wanted to quit. My parents quickly agreed. A little too quickly, I think. I'll bet the club fees were crippling them financially and they were looking for any excuse.

I wish I had kept it up. Althought I still love to skate, I'm crap at it. As with anything you have to practice. And doing something whiningly and grudgingly twice a year while freezing off every extremity I own does not a happy figure skater make. Remember, my lessons were in a relatively warm arena. Yes, I was spoiled but darn it all, I can still do a waltz jump. After I get feeling back in my toes.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Funny story

And by funny I mean humiliating.

Way back when Elliott was about 3 I was trying to explain to him the differences between boys and girls. I told him that boys had penises and girls had vaginas. Short of showing him what I meant on myself, he just wasn't getting it. Or so I thought.

A day or two later we were shopping for sheets and towels. I told my toddler that we were going to get in line behind that nice lady over there. I manoever the stroller behind her but Elliott can reach her coat. He pulls on it and announces to her in the loudest voice I've ever heard on a child,


I calmly put down my sheet set and rolled that evil little traitor out of there. But not before I turned every possible shade of burgundy and had scarily vivid visions of abandonning him in the mall food court.

Seriously, no one mentions this stuff at the baby shower. It would have been nice to be prepared, no?