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Showing posts from January, 2010

Babel

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You know how some things just don't translate well? The problem with having to write in French when you're basically English is that you can only 'think in French' so far. Sooner or later you're going to have to translate something that you think of in English into French, with variable results.

Some French words seem to me to perfectly match their English counterparts. 'Oeuf' is just fine for 'egg'. "Vert" works for 'green'. 'Chat' practically is 'cat'. And how do you say 'appalling'? -- 'épouvantable'. Isn't that fantastic? When I was in Germany with a friend, we were flipping through the dictionary and collapsed into giggles over the word 'uberspannt', which means stressed-out, or 'overstrung'. Her German cousin later made us t-shirts with the word on them.

But sometimes the results are rather less felicitous. Angus is currently doing a speech on the Greek Gods (thank-you Percy…

Is it just one last kick at the January suck-can?

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I don't really know what the hell I'm doing posting right now. Monday is February 1st. I guess it's highly unlikely that I'm going to wake up all bright and shiny and January-bitchy-bitterness-free. Although now that I've written it down, it's more likely that I'll remember to call my sister and say happy birthday (is there something symbolically lovely about having a birthday on the first day that isn't January? Perhaps there is. Unless you're Elaine -- good thing it's my sister's birthday and not yours, huh, Elaine?). Truthfully, this January hasn't been as bad as past Januaries. For a large part of that I have many of you to thank, which I do, warmly, profusely, until you're slightly uncomfortable with my frenetic overzealousness. Being able to -- spew is such an ugly word -- vent, and have people acknowledge and sympathize and empathize is unbelievably cathartic and comforting.

Before I started to blog (back when I said, …

WTF just happened?

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Are your kids (if you have kids) doing the MS Read-a-thon in school (if they're in school)? Because holy crap, are my kids ever doing the MS Read-a-thon. Angus is quite into it but Eve -- she doesn't even know exactly what MS is, but this event, plus the 'contest' her class is in against the class next door to see who can read more -- has brought out shades of competitiveness and determination that were hitherto unsuspected. Okay, I'm lying, I totally suspected. Actually I flat-out knew. Since she was about four days old. Still, it's intense. Her teacher gives them little blue slips of paper that I have to initial and send back -- one for every 30 minutes she reads. And she's six. Thirty minutes is a long time to laboriously sound out words and fit sentences together. In fact, thirty minutes is kind of a long time to listen to someone laboriously sounding out words and fitting sentences together. But what am I going to do -- say that's enough reading fo…

Can I Get a Consult?

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So yesterday, Angus had a friend over. A friend from a family we met through baseball and really like. His sister was also here playing with Eve. For the first little while, Eve and the girl did crafts, Angus and the boy were in the basement playing Wii and then watching hockey, and I was baking cookies. Then the boys came upstairs with the girls and things got very loud. I went up to read in my room, and totally unintentionally fell asleep for about half an hour. I got up, folded some laundry, then went downstairs and we ordered pizza and watched Elf before the kids went home.

Today, I went on Youtube to look for Glee clips. As soon as I started typing in the URL, the history lit up like the red light district in Amsterdam: the words 'hot', 'h*rny', 'lesbian', 'sexy teen', 'f*ck t*t f*ck t*t f*ck' and 'bathroom cam' unfurled in a lurid display in the history column.

The look on my face must have been quite something. For a moment I was …

Sentimental about Education

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I've been working on my first assignment for my course. It's not terribly arduous -- I just have to compare the mission statements of five libraries. And it's pretty much done. And it's not due until February first. In fact, the lecture on which it's based only officially came out today. When the course started on February 15th, there was a message mentioning that the first lecture would be posted in the lectures folder, but I couldn't find anything in there other than the welcoming message. So I emailed the professor (great. First whiny annoying student with a hand waving in the air going excuse me, excuse me, I can't find the lecture, where's the lecture). So she posted Lecture #1, which was actually dated today -- the second week of the course. The welcome message was the first lecture. We were supposed to spend the first week familiarizing ourselves with the software (which is stupidly easy to use, and I use the term advisedly, since I can use it).

Once a Pona time

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I don't have time for a real post. My husband's away and Angus stayed home sick today and I went for a walk with Pam anyway and it was good even though it made my heel hurt because I ordered the stupid snow-runners from L.L. Bean in a men's size for some stupid reason and they fit my husband, so he took them on his oh-so-arduous business trip where they're going to fit in talking about how fucked the fibre optics business is around skiing in the fucking FRENCH Alps.

In spite of that, I actually feel fine. I slept last night, I walked this morning, the kids have been great, they both shovelled in the sweet chili salmon I made for supper and now Angus is reading Percy Jackson and Eve is working on her book (writing, not reading) and I'm about to go tuck them in and hit the sack with a funny book recommended to me by Magpie on the screwy history of marriage and men who are hysterically, insanely, almost amusingly afraid of women's woman parts.

Eve just read me a li…

Also, I Gained Six Pounds.

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I had my yearly physical today. In the course of the appointment I mentioned that I seemed to have a sinus headache all the time lately; when she asked how I was sleeping, I said not great, and she asked if I felt rested when I woke up and I said huh? Does anyone? She also knew I was having breakthrough depression symptoms, which I wasn't that concerned about because I generally do in January. But just as she was about to leave the room and I was about to hop off the table and get dressed, she came back and said she wanted to give me a prescription for something that she thought would a) help me sleep more deeply b) be an adjuvant for my antidepressant and c) help my headaches, because it's often used as a migraine preventer.

I felt a little like Homer Simpson after Lisa tells him that bacon, pork and ham all come from the same animal: "Oh right, some wonderful, magical animal!". If this works, I'll be out in the street with a sandwich board shilling for t…

What I'm Reading

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I just finished The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. It was disappointing. It's supposed to be about a writer who's commissioned by a mysterious publisher to write a book 'with the power to change hearts and minds'. A dangerous book.

I love the idea of the dangerous power of words, and the Faustian aspect sounded intriguing. But the reality was much more telenovela/melodrama than sophisticated magical realism. You know what I'm really sick of? I'm really sick of men who languish and pine over beautiful tragic women who have absolutely nothing to their character other than being beautiful and tragic. What's fun about that? I mean, if she was beautiful and tragic and could fix a carburetor, or made a mean grilled cheese, or could pop your dislocated shoulder back in effortlessly, then by all means languish away. But nice boobs and long hair and an air of doomed misery? Bleah.

My first lecture for Introduction to Libraries was interesting and informative…

Isn't this Too Early for a Slip Jig?

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I'm two of the seven dwarves currently -- Sleepy and Dopey. I woke up wheezing in the night, and Eve had a special Irish dancing class early this morning (you know, for Just a Bit of Crack, I mean Craic). From the Youtube clip of the one two years ago, it promises to be a little more civilized than the feis, which was actually a competition -- that was kind of nutty. First of all, they have chairs set up in little orderly rows, but the minute the dancing starts people crowd up into the space between the chairs and the dancing area, leaving us rookies wondering why the hell we showed up an hour early for a front row seat if we were going to have to jockey to see over heads, some of which were clad in some truly mesmerizing curly wigs, making it hard to look away.

My husband ventured a guess that this is meant to approximate an Irish county fair, where the dancing takes place in the mud next to the pig auctioning and the ring toss. I say fine, but then they should give us tankards o…

I'm Mad as Hell and I'm Not Gonna Take it Anymore! Sorta!

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Yesterday the ever-thoughtful and balanced Amber had a post up on leashing your child. For safety, not, you know, just for kicks. A commenter posted a link to another post on using a leash for the purpose of not letting your kid hurl him/herself into traffic. A couple of the commenters to that post really spiked my blood pressure.
I don't like confrontation. It makes me dizzy and sweaty. I also try not to be too judgemental. I'm a firm believer in not thinking you can judge a person until you've walked a mile in their leopard-skinned boots or socks and sandals. Over the past few years, though, I'm realizing that there is a limit to tolerance. There's a difference between not being judgemental and being a wussy push-over who has no opinions. Following different religions is not something I have a problem with. But honour killings are wrong. Being passionate about your culture is great. But cutting off someone else's hands and/or feet because they belong to a dif…

Not THAT Kind of Rye

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I re-read The Catcher in the Rye on the week-end. It's been vexing me how little I remember about some of the books I've read. I really like re-reading, but it always feels a little like falling behind (maybe if I didn't surround myself with gargantuan, teetering towers of books to be read it would be easier). I realized that all I remembered about Catcher was the character's name and that he said 'goddam' a lot, and something about being at a teacher's house in the middle of the night. And angst, of course. So I read it again. A lot of people have said that they read the book as a teenager and really identified with the character. I don't remember this being the case for me at all. I thought he was kind of a jerk. Then again, I was kind of a goody-two-shoes rule-following teenager -- I smushed up all my angst and alienation in a tiny little unappetizing ball and rammed it so far down my gullet it wouldn't resurface until several years later in the …

Tag, You're It!

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I've been tagged by Jane to tell you seven things you don't know about me (which might be hard because, as we all know, I tend to share way too much with the Internet) and tag seven more people to play along. Much like in the real world, I hope I know seven people who will want to play along and not give me that look like Rachelle in grade two used to give me when I asked if she wanted to play -- that look that said 'even if you give me all the cookies in your lunch it's going to be a stretch'.

Anyway:

1) I can say pillow and egg in five languages (English, French, Spanish, Polish and Finnish). I got some guy to teach them to me in Berber when I was in Morocco, but I can't remember those any more.

2) When I was little I was terrified of car horns -- you know when, after a wedding, all the cars drive around honking like mad? My Dad says this is because I thought the cars had animal horns on them, and, while I realize this would make more sense than just being af…

One Small Step for a Stay at Home Mom, One Giant Leap for...Well, No One.

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First week of &*^%& January is over. Yay.
I didn't know what to do with myself today. There were lots of things I should have been doing, but I was stuck in aimless mode. I answered some emails and sat staring at the computer, thinking.... that I had considered starting library tech courses in January. I had said I was going to take the first year that the kids were in school full-time off, to clear out the accumulated detritus of owning a house and having kids for the past decade. And to walk and work out more, and learn to play the piano again.

But then I thought maybe I would start courses in January, because it would only be a few hours a week and...then I could say I was taking courses instead of just saying I'm a stay-at-home Mom (not that there's anything wrong with that). BUT then I remembered that January was *&*^& JANUARY, and that my husband and my parents would be away for most of it, and that I might have to try to do HOMEWORK for the fir…

Do You REALLY Want to Know?

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Description of which areas of the brain are involved in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder from The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, M.D.:
"We detect mistakes with our orbital frontal cortex, part of the frontal lobe, on the underside of the brain, just behind our eyes. Scans show that the more obsessive a person is, the more activated the orbital frontal cortex is.
Once the orbital frontal cortex has fired the 'mistake feeling,' it sends a signal to the cingulategyrus, located in the deepest part of the cortex. The cingulate triggers the dreadful anxiety that something bad is going to happen unless we correct the mistake and sends signals to both the gut and the heart, causing the physical sensations we associate with dread.
The 'automatic gearshift,' the caudate nucleus, sits deep in the center of the brain and allows our thoughts to flow from one to the next unless, as happens in OCD, the caudate becomes extremely 'sticky'.
Brain scans of OCD pa…

Teething Problems

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My husband's in New York right now. In a way it's easier when he's away when I'm feeling down, because I just have to worry about keeping myself and the kids on track, and I don't worry about him worrying about me. I was surprised how easy it was to wake up yesterday when I spent most of the Christmas holidays reading and/or coughing all night and sleeping in to an outrageous extent (on the plus side, sleeping for 16 hours gave me a couple less hours to eat). I got up before the alarm, went in and cuddled the kids for half an hour or so (Eve sleeps on the futon in Angus's room whenever he lets her, which is quite often), got them to school, went to the gym, came home and cleaned up Christmas decorations, stared bleakly at the wall for a bit, got Eve at the bus, did homework, took the kids to piano, did baths and tucking in and then didn't take a sleeping pill because I'd gone to bed late and gotten up early so falling asleep should be pretty easy, ri…

A Darker Shade of Blue

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Often, around this time of year, distressing things start happening to stuff around me. All the books seem full of teeth-grindingly beautiful and brave heroines, or plotlines that go around and around in circles, or people that say things like 'you do, do you?' (Good CHRIST, why would anyone ever use that as a line of dialogue? It's like a special palindrome for douchebags.) When I open the cupboards, cans of soup and jars of taco sauce throw themselves out trying to commit suicide. Dishes come out of the dishwasher with Cascade-scented tearstains on them.
Okay, maybe it's just me. I would say "for as long as I remember", but for the longest time I was totally unaware of the unparalleled forces of suckiness that were always unleashed in January. So I can't even call it a self-fulfilling prophecy. I would get through Christmas, get back in the swing of things, going merrily along, and suddenly wonder why I found myself huddling under the bathroom sink cud…

Can I Borrow a Cup of Sugar and Your New Year's Eve Party, Please?

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So New Year's Eve turned out pretty fun after all. Sometimes I think the best kind of party is one that happens spontaneously without a lot of stressful planning. Actually, what I really kind of mean is that the best kind of party is one that you let your neighbour plan stressfully and then crash at the last minute, after asking her to babysit your daughter so you don't have to drag her (the daughter) to the hockey arena an hour early (because it's a tournament) and you have it on good authority that this arena falls into the category of inhumanly vampirically freaking cold, and the daughter is playing so nicely with the little girl from next door that wouldn't it be more sensible to just let them continue playing, because after all what kind of plans could they possibly have on New Year's Eve?
My husband claims he had completely forgotten that it was New Year's Eve when he went over to check if they were okay with Eve staying there while we went to hockey. I w…