Thursday, April 30, 2009

Four words for those in a panic about the Swine Flu

Wash your damn hands.

I'm thinking of looking for a cheap family flight to Cabo...


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Looking a gift horse in the mouth again

Mother's Day is coming and I wanted to warn the men out there about a gift-giving practice that we women aren't too keen about. The "gift" of an item the two of us have talked about getting previously.

Here's what I mean: A few years ago Scott and I were saying to each other that we needed a patio set. We talked about going to Canadian Tire to pick one up before the summer came. Unfortunately, Mother's Day came before the shopping trip. After my breakfast in bed, Scott led me to the backyard where a lovely 8 piece patio set was all assembled. I smiled and said something like "this is nice... so where's my gift?"

Well, he wasn't too happy about that. But he understood after I explained what I meant. See, you don't get someone a gift of something you already plan to get. That's not a gift. It's just a purchase that coincides with an occasion. Would you give groceries as a gift? It's necessary; practical even. But it's not a gift. After I explained, I got flowers. That's all I wanted... something that was a surprise, not a useful thing that we would have gotten for the house anyway in a few days. Let me repeat just so we're clear. Unless it was specifically asked for, a patio set is not a gift.

You can thank me later, boys.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

When is it eavesdropping?

The other night I openly asked the room while we were all watching tv what the difference was between eavesdropping and just listening to someone's conversation. Because I seriously didn't know. Audrey piped up and said that if you join into the conversation, you are eavesdropping but otherwise you are just passively listening ("passively" is my word, not hers... at 10 she's clever, not a fricking genius). That makes sense to me.

I mean when you're on the bus or other public place, how can you not listen in on people talking? Most people, what with cell phones or headphones blaring, have lost the fine art of whispering. So you are almost assaulted by voices. I think Audrey's right. The fine line is taking what you're hearing and making it your business in any way.

And just so you know, I make most new friends by eavesdropping. I have no problem doing it so just watch what you say in public. Also keep in mind that I understand French and American Sign Language.


Monday, April 27, 2009

17 Again

How much did I love that movie? Yes it was exactly like "Big" and "13 Going on 30" but Zac wasn't in those movies. Have I mentioned that the boy is fiiiiiiiiine? He even danced in this one and got to show some range with a tearful scene. I loved the character of the best friend. He was so funny and had me pissing myself when he and his date started speaking Elvish. Nerds, laughs, tears, kissing and Zac (putting the moves on a mother... eeeeee!!) all in one movie? Consider my cougar-y needs completely met.

When the movie was over, Audrey asked me what I would do if I was 17 again. I have to say that at 17 I finally came out of my shell. Yes, believe it or not, I was in a shell. In 1984 I finally made some friends, did so many amazing things and crammed every high school dream event into that one final year at Macdonald-Cartier. So I wouldn't do anything different. Except maybe re-think that jheri-curl. I'd love to stalk my younger self and take in everything that I said and did and everything that happened to me. I may be over-romanticising things but who cares? For me, 1984 was the absolute best year of my life until the year I got married in 1993.

What about you? What was your best year and why?


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Quick ridiculously expensive jeans update

Just a note to keep you all appraised of the handmade jeans situation. Got an email Friday that they've been shipped. Watch this space for when they actually get here. They're sending them UPS from Mexico so when that'll be is anyone's guess...


Friday, April 24, 2009

The girl with the pearl earring

I ran around all day Saturday grocery shopping at 4 stores, driving to and from hockey and horseback riding and I finally sat down at the movies with Audrey for a breather. I raised my hand to my ear and noticed that an earring was missing. Not just any earring but the only genuine earrings I own. They were gold, pearl and sapphire studs sort of fitted together to look sort of like white apples with 2 blue leaves and gold stem. Gorgeous. They were a birthday gift from Scott and me and my brother Mike and his girlfriend to my mother a 3 months before she died. She left them to me and I love them. And there I was at 17 Again crying not because Zac Efron was reading a heartfelt letter to his wife in court but because I lost a precious (not to mention fricking expensive) earring. Then I thought: my mother would have been happy that I loved them even though I lost one. They weren't in some dusty old jewelbox but out at the store and barn and arena and movie theatre doing stuff.

So there's the thing. We all have stuff that we save for special occasions. But do those occasions ever actually come or do we just wait and wait until it's too late? Yes, I was gutted that I lost one but actually kind of glad that I wore and loved them. So by the time that I got home, the feel-good movie was over and I was actually feeling better about my loss. I took the other earring off and went to put it away probably for the last time and I saw it. The other earring was still in the drawer. I had never even put it on this morning. D'uh... such a Karen move. But it made me think of something that day other than Zac Efron's dreamy smile.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Putting the f-u in fuming mad (I've always wanted to say that)

Or as fuming mad as I get which is not at all. More like quietly, grumpily irate. The "I'm-going-to-draught-a-pissy-letter" kind of mad but that's not a catchy blog title.

Anyway, here's the scoop. I ordered some shampoo online. It's the only product out there that works on Audrey's nest of hair. Unfortunately I can't get it anywhere closer than this salon in New Jersey. I was delighted when it arrived super fast but to my dismay the envelope was empty. There was a huge tear in it and all I could picture was a burly Canada Post truck driver with impossibly tangle- and frizz-free hair. I talked to the boy at the post office desk but he couldn't help. Let me just explain that he works at a postal outlet located at the back of a pharmacy and just leave it at that. He did, however give me a brochure with a 1-800 number I could call.

When I got home I called the number and the helpful (please hear a sarcastic tone here) operator told me to call the salon directly and that there was nothing they could do. EFF. I don't get upset but I was starting to work up quite a head of steam. I was starting to think that I'd never see that nearly $35 again. Yes, I know it's a ridiculous amount of money for a 10oz bottle of shampoo but Audrey has a ridiculous amount of hair.

So I call the salon. Hours are from 9-5 and it's 5:30. Grrrr. I leave a message. Then I find an email address and fire off one of my famous terse notes. Not angry, remember I really don't do confrontation well. Within 2 days I get this email in return:

Thank you for contacting Avenue You Beauty Store, where it's always all about you! We are sorry you received an empty package from us. This was a stupid mistake on our part, and we will rush you out another shipment today (4-16-09). Again, we apologize for the inconvenience.

Thank you and hope to see you back soon,

Help Desk"

Well how nice was that? Thank goodness I didn't have to let them walk all over me. Sometimes it pays to be a doormat. Okay, maybe not a doormat but a non-confrontational blancmange. Karma, people...

(I just want to add that I got the shampoo yesterday and there was no extra charges of any kind. I'm ordering something else from them as soon as I'm done here)


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Do people actually spend that kind of money on jeans?

And when did I become "people"?

I've always had a problem buying pants. I don't know why. Everybody I know is a size 12, has no waist to speak of, a non-Black girl ass, a 3 c-section round smooshy belly, jodhpur thighs that magically erase fabric and a 29 inch inseam.

So having some issues with trousers, I of course turn to the internet. I found a website that's the eHarmony of jeans. You answer 7 pages of measurements (some weird, I mean bra size? For jeans?) and ta da... your perfect pair of jeans. For $150. Ouch.

I hemmed (hee) and hawed for weeks. The unordered jeans sat in my inbox for ages. In fact, the website sent me a $15 off coupon when they noticed I hadn't pressed the "make my jeans" button on the website in over a month. I went back and forth but I finally went back to the site and pressed "send".

What the hell... it's only money. And finally (hopefully) the perfect pair of jeans.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I feel so old

This is how I know:

My kids' teachers are younger than me. Is it weird to still want to call them "Miss" and "Sir" anyway? I hate that they still make me feel like a little kid wedged into one of those chair/desky things. When they're young enough to be my own children.

My bosses are usually younger than me. In fact, at my other job, my managers and the owners of the store were younger than me. The owners, people. They were younger than me and could afford to buy a chain of successful stores. And still afford to eat every day. Where did I go wrong? At least at this new place the owners are pretty much the same age as I am.

People I have crushes on are younger than me. Or I should I say boys I have crushes on. Let's see... Will Smith (40), Neil Patrick Harris (35), Nico Archabault from So You Think You Can Dance Canada (28), Zac Efron (21)... no need to continue. Poor Zac is young enough for me to have actually changed his diaper. Ick.

I don't even want to mention the physical issues that make me feel old. I pee a little when I laugh or sneeze, I wrenched my back the other day trying to struggle out of my bra, and I make that horrible exhale sound when I sit in a chair. I squint at the screen trying to watch tv, teenagers scare me a little and music is always just a little too loud. And once I felt a stabbing pain between my shoulderblades. And what did I do to deserve that, you ask? I took a deep breath. And kids today. The way they dress... Hey you little twerps, get the hell off my lawn! Respect your elders, dagnabbit!


Monday, April 20, 2009

My Plinky prompt

I'm using a service called "Plinky" that sends me weekly ideas about what to blog. One of the recent prompts was to write a haiku movie review of a bad movie you saw. You all know me well enough now to know I couldn't resist. So here goes:

"Shopaholic" put
the "ick" in Shopaholic.
The book was better.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Holiday plans? Why can't I ever figure them out?

As a mother I deal with the kids' holidays very badly. I always wait till it's too late to sign them up for spring break or summer activities. Of course the fees are extortionate for 3 kids anyways so I'd be working for no pay all summer long. On top of it I have to work most PD days so the kids are usually stuck on their own for a big chunk of the day. No fun. Especially with our rules:
1) No answering the phone (unless it's me or your father... we have different ringtones)
1a) If you do answer the phone NEVER tell anyone you're home alone.
2) No answering the door
3) If you go outside, only in the back yard, please, and no leaving to go to friends houses and no biking
4) No turning on the stove (Scott only just let them use the toaster and microwave... I mean they have to eat, right?)

Could you imagine the crappy summer you'd have following those rules all day?

So here's what I'm proposing. Only 1 month off summer holidays. Let's say July. Don't freak, hear me out. One week March break, 1 week Easter break (April), 2 weeks Xmas break (December), 2 weeks Labour Day break in Sept. Plus a couple of stat holidays sprinkled in and yes, even a soupçon of PD days in there. It still works out the same but it makes it easier to plan and/or take time off for us working parents. Just a thought. Questions? Comments?

Not that anything I write in this here blog has any influence on anything, but still...


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Anybody Black read this blog?

If so, remember the hot comb? I could smell the burning hair as I read the article. And feel the sizzle when it accidentally touched my ear. And hear my mother chupsing and telling me not to move as I jerked away in pain. I still have the scars on my ears from it. Isn't it weird how the mind can turn what looks to outsiders like torture into a fond memory?

My mother heated ours on the stove element. That thing was red hot. It smoked before it even touched my head because of all the "grease" (Dax) that was cooked onto it. My mother stopped "ironing" my hair once she thought I was old enough for a perm (permanent straightening... not the White-girl curly "Annie" deal). That would have been about 13 years old. It it crazy that I miss the whole ritual of the hot comb?

When I sit Audrey down weekly to detangle her own curly mop (humanely, I may add but still a bit roughly... you have to show those knots who's boss) I hope she has nice memories like I do. Nothing says mother/daughter togetherness like being up to your wrists in tufts of your child's matted hair.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Are you still talking?

I'm an incessant chatterbox. You've seen my writing. Now picture it in person. I often interrupt strangers speaking amongst themselves to drop in one of my bon mots or a funny (at least to me) comment. It's what I do. I enjoy talking and hearing the sound of my own voice. Which is why sometimes this job is darn near impossible.

We have no conference room here at inMotion. Whenever Pat has a meeting, he and his guest will sit on chairs in the hallway, oh, about 8 feet from my desk. Of course I can hear every word. Mostly it's all technical stuff with the odd recognisable adverb, adjective or swear word thrown in. Sometimes the conversation turns to what's going on in their lives. Here's where I run into trouble. Last week a woman came in and was chatting with Pat. She mentioned that someone she knew wrote some songs for HSM3. I stopped typing and gushed "I love HSM3!" before I realised that technically they're in a meeting and I'm not invited. Heh.

He was in a "meeting" yesterday. So many times I've had to bite the inside of my cheek to keep from interrupting and oh, say, losing my job. I just want to throw in the odd "No kidding!" or "that reminds me of a funny story...".

The short version of this blog? Either this office needs an effing conference room or I need big dj style noise cancelling headphones.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sometimes I hate living in this town

Don't get me wrong... most times I love it but the hug situation gets me every time.

The other day I brought muffins into work. They were for the office but prompted by one of the girls who'd finished a really long job. I put them in the kitchen then went to her office to tell her they were there and why I'd made them. She made super grateful noises, looked me in the eye, stood up and started coming toward me. Now, if this was Montreal I'd have been positive she was coming in for the hug. But in Ottawa I'm never sure since most people don't hug. So there she was coming toward me, likely thinking that she just wanted to get by me and go for those muffins. So I backed away and let her by. But did I sense an awkwardness there that I rebuked a physical show of thanks? Or was it my imagination?

Later at my desk, I can't stop thinking about it. What if she was coming in for a hug and I backed away like a scared rabbit? Wow, that would have been insulting. But what if she was just trying to get by and I attacked her with one of my squishy squeezes? She'd have grounds for a sexual harassment case.

Damn this town and it's spotty hugging record. It's totally throwing off my "hug-dar". It was so much easier in Montreal. Everybody hugged each other and if you didn't like it you were the weirdo. So now I'm constantly thinking: "Should I?"... "Shouldn't I?"... "What if I do?"... "What if I don't?"...

Aaargh! My tiny brain.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Resistance is futile

So I was beavering away Thursday and came across a guy with the last name "Borg".

Instead of thinking of famous tennis stars, my mind turned to science fiction. Wouldn't it be a laugh if when this guy got married he had a Star Trek themed wedding? The guests could dress up in Trek costumes and the bride and her family would be "invited" Borg-style to join the family. Resistance would be futile. How cool would that be? See? Total dork. But don't you love it when your brain does crazy stuff like that at the speed of light? If only it could be used for good instead of evil...


Friday, April 10, 2009

What's up with Easter gifts?

I'm going to do it again. Here goes: in my day, we never got gifts at Easter. After giving something up for Lent and spending the whole day of Ash Wednesday with a dusty smear on our foreheads, we prayed a lot, then Easter week (the week more important to Christians than Christmas, mind you) we went to church every evening from Holy Thursday to Easter Monday. I'm as serious as a crucifixion here. No Easter Bunny, no chocolate, no presents and, frankly, no fun. But a lot of church and praying, though, so that totally made up for it for 2 impressionable kids aged 5 and 7.

Nowadays I struggle with what to do with my own kids. I want them to have a ball of a childhood but I don't want them to abandon the church. As Dr. Phil would ask "How's that workin' for ya?". Well, it's not, doc. In an effort to scrub away the cross shaped smudge and not have it transferred onto my kids, I went in the complete opposite direction. The heathen direction. We go to church at Christmastime and that's it. I use non-denominational bon mots like "treat people the way you want to be treated" and "what you put out into the world comes back to you" so Easter to them means nothing more than a visit from a bizarre rabbit that lays chocolate eggs.

But I digress... this was about presents, right? I'm seeing lots of ads for toys that say things like "just in time for Easter!!". What's that about? Even with my limited knowledge of the heathen Easter (or Heathster as I'm going to start calling it), I was pretty sure that it was all about the candies. Not actual gifts.

Since my gang has been little, I've been hiding candies for them. It's been a learning experience for me. Like the time about 5 years ago after Scott and I had so diligently hidden 3 kids' worth of chocolate and jellybeans around the house. That year, 6 year old Elliott woke up first, quietly hunted around thanking his lucky stars, and ate everyone's Easter booty. That was his first and only spanking to my recollection. Happy Heathster!

Yup, we've learned from that tragic day to not hide candy but to leave 3 complete, sealed baskets with their names on them hidden around the house. We take what we call a "ransom photo" (close-up, blurry, crooked and with very little of the location visible) and have the kids search for them. Works great. The baskets are filled with candies but no toys. Does that make me a bad mother? Should I buy toys? The more I think about it, the more I think, hell no. The kids get gifts for every damned occasion. Why are we spoiling them so badly? In fact, Elliott's birthday is a month away. I may bend and give a skipping rope, sidewalk chalk or bubble stuff but videos, bikes and skateboards? I don't think so. I'm still gifted out from Heathenmas.

Now, if they're interested in a dvd copy of Charlton Heston's 10 Commandments, then maybe we can talk. It's a 4 hour God-stravaganza that my dad just may think is religious enough for my little heathens. But don't tell him we're not going to church.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Do you remember the first book you ever read?

I do and I bought it for my kids hoping it'd be their first book too. It wasn't... the first book that Elliott read was Go Dog Go and I'm ashamed to admit that I have no idea what the first book was for the other two. What a mother, eh?

Anyway, my first book was Hop On Pop. There are so many images from that book that are stuck in my head like all the kids sleeping (except for one) in the same big bed or Pat about to sit on the cat ("No, Pat, no, don't sit on that!"). And I can never hear about someone with the last name Brown without thinking (usually internally)"Mr. Brown is upside down".

That book was the foundation for reading all the books I've since read. So because of Hop On Pop I can read all the chick lit I want. Thanks Dr. Seuss!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Food blog

Everybody has a bunch of fear factor things they eat that gross most people out. Being a minority I think I have more than others. Some ethnic foods can be icky to those who have never experienced them.

Weird stuff I eat:

Kiwi skins: They make the kiwi so sweet/sour and firm, I hate the flavour and texture of a peeled kiwi.
Blood pudding: Just yum. And no, the name is not a euphemism
Warm water: You read about that earlier.
Goat: With plenty of curry and wrapped in a roti. Heaven.
Peanut butter and bacon sandwiches: Don't knock it 'til you've tried it.
Liver: I love it with mushrooms and garlic. But I won't cook it. It looks vile raw.
Anchovies: Say what you want but a pizza just isn't a pizza without them. So smelly and salty but I haven't had them in years because the odour nauseates the family and you can't just pick those babies off your slice.
And in keeping with fish, Sardines: Right out of the can. Oh yeah.

Then there's the "normal" stuff I find gross and nasty. Here's my list. It's mostly stuff with a weird tongue/mouth texture:

Tomatoes: The seedy goop in the middle is what grosses me out. Strangely, I love the flavour of everything tomato, though: sauce, juice, sundried, canned, soup...
Jello: It just makes me shudder to think that it's just sugar and weird fake flavour. Jiggly nastiness.
Eggs: Only I can cook them so they're edible. Not any part can be runny or I'll vomit on my plate. It took me 17 years to even be able to sit beside Scott without gagging while he eats his favourite over easy eggs. UGH.
Olives: Yuck. The flavour is awful but the smell is terrific. I taste them every time they come around at a party and after one bite I have to discreetly spit out the rest into a napkin. Martinis are my favourite drink and I have to order them with a twist of lemon or a cocktail onion.
Cottage cheese: The texture is like boogers in yoghurt. And the flavour? What flavour?
Oatmeal: Boogers in pudding. Why do I have so much experience with eating boogers?
Orange juice with pulp: Boogers in... well, you get the picture.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Convenience fee?

So last month I bought concert tickets. For The Tragically Hip, if you must know. I could go on another rant about how "in my day" you used to get change back from a $20 for a really good seat but I'll save it for another day. This rant is about the "convenience fee". What the frick is that?

Yes, I paid for the tickets online instead of sleeping online at the venue like I used to 20 years ago to secure a good spot. But I just paid $89.50 plus tax PER SEAT for a concert and now you're charging me a nearly $5 per ticket convience fee? Explain just how this is convenient?

Yes, I'm going to say it again. In my day, $89.50 (+$5) would have been the price I'd pay to stay the weekend at a downtown hotel, 2 breakfasts included. Hell, for that price we could have slept in the band's suite. Hold that thought for a mo'... I'm having a lucid dream involving the members of Duran Duran and a jar of sparkle gel... SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGH!!!!!!!!!!!!

What was I saying? Yes! Convenience fees. So give your heads a shake ticket people. I'd love to clonk your heads together over this one. And can you fix this before the Jonas Brothers tickets go on sale? I really don't want to put another mortgage out on my house to entertain my daughter for a couple of hours.


Monday, April 6, 2009


You know how you're supposed to drink 2l of water per day? Well I tried and it's impossible.

I drink almost 1L per day and I find just that extremely difficult. I've tried every trick in the book. Fizzy water, flavoured water, water with limes/lemons/cucumbers/watermelons floating in it but it's still hard to choke down. Not even ice water works for me. In fact I hate ice water. But I've recently found the trickthat works for me. . The way I can get my 1 l of water. I drink it hot. I used to drink it lukewarm (room temp) but I've moved on to the hottest water the tap can provide. My water jug is empty before 2pm. And if I let it sit too long it's still at a quite desireble room temperature. Now if I could only stop peeing every 20 minutes.


Friday, April 3, 2009

More about the job

So Pat has asked me if I wanted to go on shoots. He said I could be like a P.A or even do wardrobe (as if I know how to do those things). Sounded cool at first blush. But the more I think about it the more apprehensive I become. What'll I do with the kids if the shoot is in a strange town or worse yet overnight? What if I'm asked to go out for coffee or pizza in an unfamiliar place and end up in Moose Factory? Hoo boy...

But maybe I'll get to travel and see the country a bit. That'll be interesting. But they don't go to cool places or world famous shopping districts. For instance they're getting ready right now to go to Sudbury. Not exactly a hotbed of consumerism. Also Val D'Or. Ummm yeah. Not unless they're giving out free souveneirs from the dank goldmine. There is the potential to go to Banff. Gorgeous place but I don't ski and I'm sure there won't be time to get a mud massage at the spa. If they ask me to go, that is.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Guys are a weird bunch

And I finally know this from experience. This new job of mine is in an environment of mostly guys. The only other woman besides the boss' wife, works in an office away from most of us so I only see her when she needs a coffee.

I've always worked with women. I've worked in hospitals, daycares and on my own. I've never needed to have a conversation with a man unless he's family or I'm sleeping with him or he's sleeping with a friend of mine. That's just how it's been.

When I worked with women, in a space of 30 minutes we would know what high schools we went to, our favourite foods and even when our cycles are. The chit chat never stops. It's so different here. I've been working with these guys for over a month and I don't even know their last names.

Guys don't chat. They have something to say, they say it and it's over. In fact, they'll quit before I feel like we're even done talking. There is no segue from one topic onto another. When the pertinent topic is done, they're gone. And I mean physically. They actually walk away.

After I first arrived at work, it took days for someone to strike up a conversation with me. At first I thought they didn't like me. Turns out they just had nothing to say. In fact I told my friends later that I was pretty uncomfortable and that I wasn't sure I liked it there. Then about one week in, one of the guys brought up Lost. As much as I'm thisclose to hating that show because half the time it feels like the cast is all speaking Urdu, I was grateful that I'd watched it the day before. I mentioned some of the names that were escaping them and they seemed really grateful. We talked for a full 5 minutes. I was IN.

Now they talk to me every day. Most conversations go something like this:

Me: Hey guys!
Them: Hey.
Me: How was your weekend?
Them: Pretty good.
Me: That's good to hear!
Them: Yours?
Me: It was great!
Them: *walks off*

Them like me. Them really like me!