Friday, May 29, 2009


Oh my God how I hate to see that in blog comment boxes! I visit Failblog and used to regularly visit Perez Hilton and and often think what was blogged was either funny or thoughtful. I notice there are tons of comments and would like to see what other people think and the first ones I see are often ridiculous posts like:

-FIRST! Ha!Ha! I've nevr bin frist be4!!!!


-Thrid!!!! Wahoo!

You know what I'm thinking? You people should get a life and get some sleep. Seriously? This is the highlight of your day? You are idiots. Now that I think about it, I don't want to know what you thought of the blog. Your inciteful "comments" show me exactly the way your grunting troglodytic mind thinks.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Comfort foods

I take my tea most often with nothing in it. Sometimes just milk and rarely just sugar. Yesterday at work I took it with both milk and sugar. This is my "comfort food". When I thought about it I realised it was because my boss had just told me something that worried me.

I have quite a few comfort foods. They're mostly dishes that I associate with my mum. Things like macaroni and cheese on the Thanksgiving table, milky sweet tea, banana cake, cheese danish or blueberry blintzes from the cafeteria at the Jewish General Hospital where she was a nurse and her bakes (fried bread dough) that were hard as rock. As much as I love these things, I'm always compelled to examine why I crave them. Sometimes, like with the mac & cheese, making it is just traditional but other times like with the tea, I have to make this whole personal psychological examination. Why? Sometimes a tea is just a tea.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Shock Horror Canada's Governor General kills and eats baby seal!

So Ottawa was a-buzz yesterday about our Governor General, the Queen's representative in Canada, helped to gut and eat a seal and part of it's heart. Ew.

I wouldn't have done it but she's a diplomat and when these opportunities arise she has to go with the flow or lose face. What I love it that she asked to try the heart. Way to go Michaelle!

Most people's issue with the hunt is that seals are "cute". In Canada they're a pain just like deer and the hunt is part of a cull. Cows have big brown eyes and impossibly long eyelashes but you don't see international protests to stop killing and harvesting them.

They don't cram hundreds of seals into an unnaturally small place and force them not to move while fed weird stuff to make more delicious meat. They live free until the moment they're humanely bashed in the head. It's quick and they have a nice life on the ice floe or wherever until their last day.

Anyway, I imagine seal tastes just like sushi or steak tartare. I'd never eat it but I'll fight for your right to have a seal pup sandwich at your desk at lunchtime.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Remains of the day

Remember that movie? Well, my blog could be titled "minutiae of the day". See, this is what happens when you write a blog for any length of time. You start writing about every little thing that happens to you.

For instance, Friday I dumped chunky, curdled milk into my tea. Now here's the blog-sized story behind it:

I hate coffee. I prefer tea and bring my own to work. I drink it every day. Even though we have a coffee maker, at least 4 times a week someone will go to Timmy's for a "coffee run". They ask if I want anything but I always say no since the only other thing to order is doughnuts and my I'm already feeling short of breath just typing this out. I knew early on that they may stop asking me one day and I already feel left out of group-y things. I often say something like "keep asking me... one of these days I may surprise you by saying yes". Friday I actually did say yes because someone else ordered Chai and I realised that d'uh, they actually have tea at coffee places. I handed over my toonie and my tea came. I opened the lid and it smelled so yummy and spicy. There was nothing in it so I went to the kitchen to add the milk (you can't drink Chai without milk) and the rest is history. Crap. How's that for irony? The first time I try to be part of the gang it bites me in the ass.

Anyway, see how I can stretch a nothing incident into a blog-worthy post? I suppose blog-worthy is in the eye of the beholder but there you go.


Monday, May 25, 2009

What a neighbourhood

Very often I'm thankful for living in Ottawa. Daily, as I wave to neighbours or force the kids next door to yell "CAR!" as I drive by and break up their road hockey game, I think I'm fortunate to live on this street. Thursday cemented these feelings for me.

May 9th was a busy Saturday for us. Elliott was being promoted in cadets, Audrey was singing in her school's annual talent showcase and I had to man the Ottawa River Canoe Club booth at the event. Scott took a video of Elliott's event and I took a video of Audrey's since we all couldn't go to both. Before the school event, there was a bike parade where the neighbourhood kids rode their bikes through streets closed by police. Henry went to that with Scott as I got the older kids ready.

Amazingly we got everything done and everyone breathed a sigh of relief at the end of that day. Fast forward to last Thursday. That's when we noticed that Henry's bike and helmet were gone. Tracing back we realized what happened. Henry left his bike in the rack at Audrey's school.Two weeks ago. Scott futilely went back to look for it just in case while I consoled a crying Henry by telling him that maybe now he could get the BMX trick bike he's been asking for.

Then we see him. Scott coming back wheeling Henry's bike and holding the helmet. It'd been in the rack the whole time. Unlocked. And although it's not a top-of-the-line bicycle, it's not crap either. I love this neighbourhood. I was delighted but Henry was strangely aloof.

Me: Hey, Henry! Why aren't you smiling? Daddy found your bike! Isn't that great?
Henry: I guess so. Does that mean I don't get the BMX?

Heh heh. Oops.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Kaye Way extra...

It's our 16th wedding anniversary today! I'd just like to publicly say that in 1993 I married the most awesome man around. Sorry ladies. There are none left. You snooze, you lose.

I found a letter I wrote addressed to Scott and me dated May 25 1999. It said on the front, "do not open until 2009". Wisely I had put it in the back of my bathing suit drawer so I only saw it a couple of times in the last 10 years. Here's what it said: 

***written on Lord Elgin Hotel stationary***

"Dear Karen and Scott,

Josee's looking after Elliott and Audrey while we have a romantic getaway. What's your life like now? As of today, Scott travels a lot because of his work for Foreign Affairs and I do home daycare. I currently have two kids, Matthew and Mateo. The 23rd was our 6th wedding anniversary and we had a wonderful time. We saw Star Wars Episode 1 and had a drink at the bar where we met. We're staying at the Lord Elgin room 701 and are now on our way to have breakfast.

We do hope you still have a wonderful life together and a couple more kids by the time you read this. Know that we think of our future selves often and hope and pray we stay as in love and good people as we are now.

See you in the new millennium!

Karen & Scott"

Wasn't that cute? I guess I'll have to write another one tonight. But first we're off to the casino to spend some of the kids' inheritance. See you Monday!


Friday, May 22, 2009

I hate country music

Speaking of things I hate, moths have to right up there. In fact they're in the top two. And now that moth season is coming and I have to steel myself so I don't look like a complete ass, freaking out and running away from what essentially is a butterfly.
Speaking of butterflies, I'm not afraid of them. At all. They seem to just be going about their business. Like bees. They don't come after you. Like wasps. It's the erratic way they fly. You never know from one second to the next where the frigging things are going to be. One minute they're a foot in front of you and the next minute they're down your top. What's up with that? Then there are their nasty papery, dusty wings and evil looking bodies. Brr.
Last week there was a huge one in the office. I don't know where the frigging thing was all day but just before I was to go home it showed up, fluttering around my desk, so big it cast shadows over it. Now after 40+ of summers full of hated and feared insects, I've learned not to do what I instinctually want to which is run out the nearest door screaming and waving my hands over my head. No, I calmly got up and walked to the kitchen area. Inside I was screaming and waving my hands over my head. Anyway, once in the safety of the kitchen I peered out around the door jamb to see where the nasty thing had got to. Imagine my surprise when it veered over to the common area where it made one of the guys shout "whoa" and back away from his computer. I'm sure it was more out of surprise than fear but I was relieved. Three people then set out to try and get rid of it with no prompting or hysteria from me. I was pretending to wash the dishes. What a way to lively up the end of the day. But I can do without those kind of short sharp shocks. Showcasing one of my humiliating fears is not how I wanted these people to get to know me.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Look what I found!

When I first started working at inMotion it was quiet. Too quiet. The silence was deafening. I'm one of those people who can only concentrate with noise going on in the background. Talking, music... anything but the buzzing of fluorescent tubes. It's the city version of the cricket sound they use to show silence. It's the sound of the absence of sound. Brrrr....

Anyway, I hunted around online for music when I finally got my computer speakers and chucked the earbuds and iPod that made me seem aloof and antisocial. At first I went to my favourite local radio stations online but their commercials drove me more crazy than they do in my car.

I tried something called songza which is almost like a free mp3 service. You collect songs you like in a folder and play them. My issue was that lots of the versions were crappy and sometimes you'd get a video as well. How can I work with not only Bono singing "Gloria" but his bouncing mullet tempting me to watch his teen self lurch (I mean dance) through the video? Not good.

Then a co-worker told me about RadioIO (radio eye-o). Holy crap, where has it been all my life? There are different channels and I can listen to anything I want (although a show tunes channel wouldn't go amiss), but I usually listen to 80's New Wave and Idols. They play the most obsure stuff on the New Wave channel (when was the last time you heard Oingo Boingo's "Dead Man's Party" over the airwaves? And the Idol station plays stuff fresh from the night before so I got to hear Adam Lambert singing Mad World again the very next day. To top it off, if you make a request via email, they play it nearly right away. Sweet!

Yes, I know this sounds like an ad but I promise you they're not paying me anything. I just love it and have to tell everyone I know. It's seriously good.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Aw, MAN!

I go to one meeting for the Ottawa River Canoe Club and suddenly I'm on the board of directors? I just showed up because I missed summer and paddling and I wanted to see some old faces I hadn't seen since October last year.

I'd never even been to any board meeting before. My friend Will sat beside me and kept whispering things in my ear so I just kept smiling and nodding vacantly until all of a sudden he said my name out loud and someone else said "second!". Turns out he was asking me if I wanted to be a board member. Who-what-now?

So, they made me Camp Director. I pray every day that they don't ask me to do anything requiring a brain. Being a body for quorum I can do (I just learned what that is). But making actual decisions... that requires understanding, a grasp of the essence of the task, research and maybe some grey matter doesn't it? Oh boy, do they ever not know what they're in for.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What do I do?

Here's a head scratcher for you. Elliott has been in school with Kenneth since JK. Junior Kindergarten starts at 5 so they've been friends for 9 years. For 9 years they've been to each other's birthdays and countless playdates. On top of it, Kenneth has a younger brother named Kevan (their typo not mine) who's the same age as Henry so double that number.

The problem is Kenneth's mother. We call and speak to each other to arrange these dates. Every time we talk she calls me Kim. We've talked about 3 times a month for over 9 years and she thinks my name is Kim. She's a lovely woman. Always smiling, sweet, happy and she thinks my name is Kim. It's partly my fault. I should have told her my name is Karen right from the start. But now it's been too long. I can't tell her now. I'll humiliate her, won't I?

But then I think about her talking to another parent about me:

Raquel (Kenneth's mum): So I was talking to Elliott's mother Kim the other day and...
Other mother: Elliott's mum? You mean Karen?
Raquel: No, I mean Kim. I've known her for 9 years. 
OM: I'm positive her name is Karen.
Raquel: It can't be. I've been calling her Kim for years... surely she would have said something.
OM: I don't know what to tell you. She must be messing with your head. Her name is definitely Karen.
Raquel: That bitch.

See? So now I'm a bitch for trying to spare her feelings. I don't know what to do here. Little help?


Monday, May 18, 2009

I love you!

You know the normal response to that question, right? In case you're an alien, it's "I love you too." I'm now convinced Elliott is an alien. His response was "Okay!"

This was yesterday at his Laser Tag birthday party. He invited all boys except for Michaela who is his only "female friend". They hang around, she calls up, she comes over, they play video games together... but I can tell she wants more. Not that at 13 I'm entirely convinced that even she knows what that means but I know it. Even in the birthday card, she drew a manga picture of a girl chasing a curiously caramel skinned, curly-haired boy.

As the party wound down and her dad drove away, she rolled the window down and shouted "I love you, Elli!". And his reply? "Okay!". Okay? Okay? I'm so embarrassed. And what stymies me is why she puts up with his nonsense. Why when he's clearly not interested is she still chasing him? I just don't get it.

All I know is that I'm so glad 13 is behind me.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Someone brought up an interesting point to me the other day

When you marry young you grow up together and have to think of yourselves as a "we". An "us". A dynamic duo. A matching set. A pair. A COUPLE right from the start. Your adult self hasn't had the chance to fully form so when it finally does, it's as part of a couple.

When you marry older you are 2 "me"s that merge and it's harder to stay together. You grew up on your own then meet. You are an individual that met another individual and have to make sacrifices in order to co-exist. Not that it's a bad thing or that it can't be done. But it's a pretty good arguement for marrying young isn't it? I'm not sure I completely believe it but it sure makes sense.

Scott and I will be celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary next week. I'm sure that when we met as a 21 year old I was pretty unformed personality-wise. I did grow up with him. I'm not sure he was the same at 26 but what I do know is that our success speaks for itself. We are awesome. Deal with it.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

My teenager still loves his mommy!

A couple weeks ago I dropped Elliott off at cadets. As we drove up about 4 cadets and a couple of mothers were gathered outside the door. I dropped him at the door, sitting in the van as he got out and grabbed his sax. I rolled down my window as he came by and he leaned in and kissed me.

One of the mothers who I didn't know called out "excuse me!" and ran toward the car.

Me: Hi! Yes?
Her: Excuse me, can you tell me how you did that?
Me: Pardon?
Her: Get him to kiss you in front of other boys like that.
Me (laughing): I have no idea... I don't even think about it much. It just sort of happens. I don't ask, it just never stopped happening ever since he was a baby.
My New Best Friend: Well mine stopped about a year ago and it's hard to get used to. You're my hero. (She sticks her hand through the car window for a high five)
Me (Returning the five): Thanks! I guess I should consider myself lucky that I'm not embarrassing him yet...
MNBF(laughing): Good luck with that!

It never occurred to me to think that I was lucky that this still happens between us. I can't tell you how often I've hugged and kissed him in public and even shouted "I love you" across his schoolyard (and still got an "Love you too" in return). I need to realize that these could be the last few months (maybe even weeks or God forbid... hours) of him being this demonstrative with me. I won't take this stuff for granted.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Elliott!

Elliott is a teenager today. He's an awesome kid but starting to do that sullen teen thing. You know, mono-syllabic answers, shoulder shrugs, neanderthal-like grunts, eye-rolls, that sort of thing. I'm told that's normal but I've never had a teenager before. It's driving me nuts. What happened to the kid that would squash my cheeks together before kissing my lips?

Anyway, thought today I'd talk about how we chose his name. We were determined not to find out the sex so we had a boy and girl name chosen. If he had been a girl, his name would have been Madeleine. Scott and I had gone through a raft of names. I worked in daycare and didn't want a name of a child I'd ever had. At the time I'd been working with children for 6 years. That was a lot of names ruled out. I liked Peter but Scott was reminded of one of the first kids that ever punched him. I liked Fraser after an old friend but the sitcom was really popular at the time and Scott didn't want people to think he was named after a tv show. Then there was the longest candidate: Malcolm. After both of us agreeing and loving it for about a month, someone said "hey, just like Malcolm X" and that was it for me. Really? Did I need that kind of pressure for my kid?

So one night Scott and I were driving behind a car from a local dealership. Both cars stopped at the red light. The car ahead had a licence plate frame that read "Elliott Chev-Olds". I shouted "ELLIOTT!!" and Scott said "Huh. That's not bad." And we never brought it up again. The rest is history.

I'm still waiting for my free car. Happy birthday, kiddo. I love you, babe.


(Just wanted to add a bit about his middle name William. My mother had died 11 months earlier so it was a no brainer to use her maiden name of "Williams"... if he'd been Madeleine, his middle name would have been hers... "Eliza")


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Damn geese

I don't like geese. In fact I just realised today that I'm not a big fan of any birds bigger than crows but that's neither here nor there.

Geese seriously freak me out. When I used to run through a local park early in the morning, many times I'd get chased and hissed at loud enough to hear through my headphones. Yes, I'm still talking about the geese. At the same park we have to wear rubber boots all spring because the goose poops are ankle deep. Yuck.

So anyway, you get the picture. I hate geese. But never so much as when they irritatingly get caught under the wheels of my minivan. Yup. Mama killed a living thing. And as much as I hate those stupid things, after the unfortunate incident I cried all the way home. I guess as much as I dislike geese, I hated taking a life even more. Ever since, I apologise under my breath when I see a goose by itself, thinking it's looking for its mate. And I can't pass by the spot without thinking about the moment of impact when the goose pretty much exploded like a down-filled pinata. And the feeling of its body under my car... sigh.

So now whenever you read my blog, know that I'm now an avian murderer. But at least I'm very sorry about it.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Why isn't Mother's Day more often?

I'm of the mind that Mother's Day should be on the birthday of each child you squeezed out or otherwise evicted from your person. Hell, we did (and I'm not exaggerating here) all the work. All the kid had to do was show up. If I got presents and had a party every time I showed up somewhere, the grocery store would be a whole lot more fun.

Each child should be obliged to give you a little something on their birthday. Nothing extravagant, just a flower or a book or a hand-drawn picture. Just to say thanks for conceiving and delivering me. Without you I wouldn't be here. Is that so hard? Instead I'm shelling out a fortune for a laser tag party for 10 13-year old boys on Saturday. Where's the gratitude in that? Are you with me?


Friday, May 8, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

A friend on a bulletin board I frequent posted this and I got all smooshy inside. What can I say? I'm a complete sucker.

But this one is for the complete dork in me.

Enjoy your weekend, mums. We so deserve it.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

10 song nano challenge

I put my Nano on shuffle and these are the 10 first gems that came up:

1) 321- Hedley
Love this band. They're Canadian and the lead singer Jacob was top two in Canadian Idol.

2) You Gotta Be- Des'ree
This is my funeral song. You heard.

3) Hairdresser on Fire- Morrissey
What can I say? Moz rules. Except when he's bashing (no pun intended) our seal hunt.

4) Humuhumunukunukuapua'a- from the High School Musical Soundtrack

5) Until We Burn in The Sun- (The Kids Just Want A Love Song)- Bedouin Soundclash
Another awesome Canadian band. Great worldly sound.

6) Spiderwebs- No Doubt
Gwen before she got all Hollywood.

7) The Garden- Mirah
Okay. I'd like to say I discovered this cool, funky song on an eclectic college station. Truth is, a couple danced to it on So You Think You Can Dance.

8) Poison Arrow- ABC
Long live the 80s.

9) Spybreak (Short One)- Propellerheads
The one thing I understood about The Matrix was the music. Cooool.

10) Blasphemous Rumours- Depeche Mode
"You can never have enough 80s music on your mp3" is my motto.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Another pet peeve

I always feel bad for the kid who is told by a teacher to look up a word when he/she doesn't know the spelling. Um, how are they supposed to look it up if they can't spell it? It makes no sense to me.

Here is a list of words I always have to "look up". Thank goodness for Google and their "did you mean..." function:

diarrhea (2 rs and an h? Insipid)
fluorescent (the uo gets me every time)
buoy (ditto... it always looks wrong doesn't it?)
rhythm (I always forget the h)
crystal (I always want to put an h in)
anaesthetic (the evil ae)

So what words drive you nuts?

kxx (in the spirit of honesty, I double checked all the above words except for buoy. I can manage not to screw up 4 letters)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I don't know why this is so exciting but there were rumours of the Google Earth car driving around the city taking 365 degree photos of Ottawa. I thought they'd only be doing the major Ottawa thoroughfares so imagine my surprise when I saw it drive down my sleepy little cul-de-sac.

On Friday I saw it again and it was going my way. I had enough time to find my camera in the depths of my giant purse, change the setting from video to photo and poof! Evidence of the Google car in all it's glory.

Why am I so obsessed with this? Other than the fact that if you someday see a street view of Richmond road, and see a pink camera inside a blue minivan, that'll be me.

Oh, and for those who think that Google Streetview is an intrusive invasion of privacy, I have two sage words of advice. Behave yourselves. Easy.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Thank you!

I just want to say a public and planetary "thank you" to Glen and Michelle. Both for reading my blogs and feeding our faces. Scott and I had an awesome dinner on the weekend with 2 old friends ("old" in the nice way) and I thought what better way to say thanks but in front of my 60-odd ("odd" in the nice way) readers and peeps.

Noteables were:

-the steaks done to perfection on a "big green egg" bbq. You could cut them with a fork
-the funky salad (who knew watermelon, feta and mint could go together? Michelle, that's who.)
- the kitchen (2 words come to mind: holey and moley)
- the margaritas (that contributed to the delinquency of a major... namely me Sunday morning)
- the cd "loot bag"... Glen, it was inspired. I can't thank you enough. Weirdly wonderful music.

So just to re-iterate, it was one of those yuppie-cool suburban parent evenings that you only hear about in stories. It was grown-up fun and awesome and I can't wait to do it again. Only not at my house because my kitchen's only modern convenience is Terra. Is it too late to ask for a shiny new kitchen for Mother's Day?


(added after posting: I know you guys told us not to bring anything and like obedient children we didn't. But I have to admit that I did buy something to bring you and naturally left it on my kitchen counter. I thought it would be funny. So anyone know what to do with a whole, fresh pineapple? It's pretty intimidating.)

Friday, May 1, 2009

I just realised

My perfect, new, expensive, custom-made jeans are coming from Mexico. Should I open the package outside and wash them before I wear them? You can't contract the flu from pants can you?