Thursday, December 30, 2010

Well, here goes

I'm going to have to commence with the rusty, awkward, been-away-too-long re-entry at some point, right? So:

We wore pajamas. For days and days we wore pajamas.

We were suitably grateful for our gifts thusly:

also thusly:

We demonstrated to others the proper use of their gifts (that's Eve showing me how I should look while sitting in my new sun-shaded chair watching her or Angus play baseball)

We made Eve set the giant square table because she can sit on it and is thus the only one who can reach the middle:

We took brief reading breaks when and wherever we could find them:

We invited beloved old people into our home and tortured them by making them wear funny hats:

There was comfort, joy, laughter, and enough wine to create some serious purple teeth (only my husband was smart enough for the end-of-evening closed-mouth smile):

There. I feel so much better. Now back to my long winter's nap.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Reasons I'm Glad I Married Him #176

He comes home from the grocery store seven days before Christmas, when all the decorations are deeply discounted,

Unloads the groceries, then wanders around the house with an enormous plastic tube, saying


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The story of my Saturday night

We got back to the hotel with about an hour before Adonis was due to show up. Anne Marie asked me to read her some of The Sentimentalists to see if she found it less impenetrable when read aloud. What I read was nicely written, but I did see her point. We were having a lovely quiet reading time while she was lying down on the bed, and then Bonnie came in from the other room with some ice and tried to move around quietly and failed utterly, so we gave up on the quiet reading time and started mixing drinks again and getting prettified for our close-ups.

Getting photographed was....odd. Adonis was great, and like I said there appeared to be no other guests in residence, so we sprawled ourselves and various camera equipment all over the lobby without disturbing anyone else. Bonnie said she got this idea from a friend of hers who had been surprised on her birthday with a bunch of old friends and a professional photographer, and she said she'd never had any pictures of herself where she looked so natural and great. I doubt that will happen for me with these, but in my head they're fantastic. At one point we went over to the bar and got shots of Goldschlager from a very nice and slightly bemused bartender. Bonnie asked him how old he thought we were which I thought was just asking for trouble. He said thirty-one, which obviously was just asking for a really good tip (which he got - duh). Adonis said he would go back to the other side of the lobby and bring over our stuff and I said "thank-you Adonis" because really, if you ever get the chance in life to say thank-you Adonis, shouldn't you jump all over it?

Then we piled into a cab with a driver who, strangely enough, didn't seem that overjoyed to see us, and went to Signatures. The deal that Anne Marie got from the hotel included vouchers towards a dinner there -- when I heard this I said "great! I've eaten there twice and people only got food poisoning once!" It's a great restaurant, but the time ten of us went for our Christmas party, they were a little overzealous on not overcooking the lobster, and it didn't turn out well for people who, well, ordered the lobster. Happily, everything was cooked to perfection on Saturday night, and our waiter was amazing -- after our fantastic dinner (manchego cheese soufflé, wapiti osso bucco, vanilla parsnip cream, seared tuna, something Anne Marie had with sweetbreads in it which led to the word testicle being said many many times) he gave us a tour of the entire place, including the kitchen and the place where people come for cooking lessons -- according to Gregory, mostly rich Asian women or daughters of Latin American drug lords, because Ottawa is safer and cheaper than paying ransom, and also real chefs with burns and cuts adorning their arms who are actually there to learn. Apparently missing classes is a total no-go, so if you have a broken leg you hobble in and cook, and one woman had really bad hypoglycemia so she would faint once or twice every class and then get up and keep cooking.

It was a fairly long walk back to the hotel, but the weather was perfect and the lights in the trees were gorgeous. We went back to the room and I left the rest of them to cavort and carouse while I eschewed alcohol for the rest of the night and retreated to the bedroom to study for my exam the next day.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Like fuck I did.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The story of my Friday and Saturday

The previous one, not the most recent one because I've been lazy and disorganized. Also, I'm too lazy to get up and get my camera so the pictures will have to wait.

So five of us, who went to high school together, who all turned 40 this year (I guess we didn't allow any of those tiresome grade-skipper overachievers into our little group back then). At the Hotel Indigo downtown, with which I was unfamiliar and where I'm reasonably confident we were the only guests, but it was nice, and it is my favourite colour.

Friday night four of us got to the hotel and had some drinks before going out for dinner. I still haven't figured out if I didn't drink quite as much as everyone else or if I'm just still a whiny self-conscious killjoy, because I did spend a lot of the evening once we left the hotel worrying that we were being too loud and obnoxious. We walked from the hotel to the Green Papaya and were served by a waitress who initially appeared very sweet and demure and then turned out to be a sarcastic smartass ("Okay, we have one fried tofu, one pad thai with chicken, one panang with beef and one eggplant with chicken, no - beef, no - chicken, no - tofu, no - chicken, with one chili pepper, no - two chili peppers" : Rachelle was feeling a little indecisive.) Then Rachelle told us about their family road trip from Whitefish, Ontario to some little town in Wisconsin to pick up a tractor, which made us double over and pound the table and gasp for breath and scream with laughter (while I occasionally shushed everyone). Then we ate a bunch of stuff. Then we walked back to the hotel. Bonnie produced print-outs of facts and trivia from the year we were all born, the information that we were all born in the year of the dog, and various other fun stuff, and she also informed us that she had engaged a handsome dark-skinned man named Adonis to come to our room the next evening. To take our pictures. I had designed necklaces and had them made by A Charmed Obsession on Etsy. Anne Marie gave us martini glasses and chocolate and Rachelle had some Chinese red bean things and some lychees that weren't actually lychees and we drank lychee liqueur with quasi-lychees and talked long into the night.

Saturday we went to The Holtz Spa for various assorted peeling, painting and kneading surfaces. I had a pedicure, with another smartass attendant who looked at the giant pile of foot-scrapings in her lap and said "people don't usually get pedicures in order to lose weight". Look, my feet are weird and it makes me walk weird and I have mother-freaking callouses and I'm a LITTLE SENSITIVE about it, OKAY? Then they put us in this magnificent white room with white couches and white carpets and white chairs and we drank red wine (this is what passes for risqué party behaviour at forty) and turned into ooze. Patti showed up and had a massage that added another inch to her neck.

I can't read really long blog posts, so I'm going to leave Saturday evening for tomorrow. Try not to die of suspense.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Story of my Sunday

On Sunday I woke up in the Hotel Indigo. No, this isn't the story of how I downed a bottle of quaaludes and a fifth of Jack Daniels and had a little desperate fifties housewife interlude (what the hell are quaaludes when they're in my medicine cabinet?). I was at the tail end of a smashing girls' week-end with four of my amazing friends from high school (should have been five but Sheila was having pregnancy complications and couldn't travel, which SUCKS beyond belief, not least because she is the driest of dry wits and she would have complimented the sweet lychee liqueur beautifully). The forecast had been dire, but my friend Anne Marie assured me that outside was just a little cloudy and threatening rain. Then Patti came back from her run and after we chipped the ice off of her she said 'it's freezing rain'.


So then we had breakfast because if you're going to subsequently risk your life and your academic future you might as well be full of the best eggs benedict a downtown Ottawa hotel can offer, right? (Actually I had a strawberry smoothie, but I thought the eggs benedict sounded better). Then Bonnie and Patti left to drive Rachelle to the airport and Anne Marie and I went and packed up and left to get her to the airport. Halfway to the airport they called and said Rachelle's flight was cancelled so they were going to hang out at Patti's, which pissed me off because if I'd known there was going to be flight cancelling and further hanging-out going on I never would have booked my stupid exam for stupid Sunday at stupid one-thirty in the afternoon (which, upon reflection and hangover assessment, did not seem like such a great idea even before the cancelling and hanging-out occurred). But Anne Marie's flight was leaving, and we realized Rachelle's was only cancelled because she was flying Bearskin. (Let the bear take you there. In a tiny little toy plane that can't withstand the weather. Okay, enough mocking my home town's airline. But seriously -- let the bear take you there? What the hell were they thinking?)

So I dropped Anne Marie off, very chivalrously (parked at departures and let her drag her own suitcases in -- I didn't want to be dripping wet for my three-hour exam. Lifelong friendship only extends so far). I drove slowly and carefully to Algonquin College, where I parked in the free parking lot and only after inching bit by painful bit over roughly a kilometre and a half of glare ice did I think that maybe I just should have sprung for the goddamned parking metre right in front of building C. I spent a few minutes sitting in my van because I was an hour and a half early, and I was just thinking that it was surprisingly pleasant just sitting there watching the windshield slowly ice over before realizing that I was in very real danger of waking up drooling in three hours and realizing that my exam was half over, so I better start my icy trek.

I had a good book, so the time passed pretty quickly. Actually it's a really good book, and I was faintly annoyed when they opened the doors of the auditorium. I took a seat in the front because you have to leave your coat and purse at the front of the room and I harbour a constant expectation that people are going to steal my stuff. These exams are for anyone that has to write an exam for an online course, so two women come in with boxes, you flash them your I.D. and they find your exam and read which course it is so you can confirm it's the right thing. Mine was called "Information Work II", which almost caused the poor woman to die of boredom in mid-phrase. I felt a fairly deep stab of envy for the person writing the infinitely more glamorous "Money Laundering and Asset Tracing" and briefly considered changing diplomas right then and there.

It was a three-hour exam. I finished in fifty minutes. I like to think this was because I had absorbed the course work so well, but it's entirely possible I missed a page or four. It was only worth twenty percent and I got almost perfect on all the assignments, so I think I'd still pass the course. But I don't think I'll make a habit of scheduling my exams after two consecutive nights of extreme merriment.

Also: I had taken great pride in memorizing the definition of percentage increase (the variation between two variables, measured between two fixed points in time, expressed as a percentage of the earlier number), mostly because it just kept sliding off my mind as if my mind was buttered. I sort of took it as a personal affront that, in the definitions section, she used this as an example, with the definition ALREADY PROVIDED. Humph.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Merry Foot-Rot to you: the story of my Monday and Tuesday

gSo Monday night we went to a Christmas party. I was really freakin' tired from the week-end (more on that later. Yes, we're going to work backwards because then maybe I will get back to the first part of the week-end, which was magical), but the party was fun. My friend Collette usually hosts now, since we all had so many damned kids and they all got so damned big, and she has the biggest house so we don't have to be reminded of how many damnably large children we've all produced the whole time we're there. We all had a great time at the party and then we came home. Then the kids got their pajamas on and they were reading in my room for a few minutes before going to bed. I went into my room and Angus was lying on my bed with no socks on so I decided to take a look at this wart he's had on the bottom of his foot for a while because Matt had mentioned that he thought it was starting to bother him. So I lifted up his foot and looked at the bottom of it. Then I barfed for four hours and tried to rinse out my brain, then I googled wet gangrene and fatal foot fungi on the internet and then I called my doctor's office and said please call me in the morning and give my son an appointment so he can continue to enjoy the many benefits of having two feet. Then we went to bed.

The next day (Tuesday) the doctor's office finally called but they couldn't see him until Wednesday. Then he got to my Mom's after school with a fever and then we basically traded phone calls between me, my Mom and my husband for a couple of hours wherein my mother tried to diplomatically suggest that I was guilty of child abuse and neglect if I didn't come get him right this instant and take him somewhere to have his foot examined and/or operated on/cauterized and cryogenically preserved, I tried to figure out how I was going to do this and get Eve to her last dance class of the year where she was supposed to dance IN HER PAJAMAS using her TEDDY BEAR as a PARTNER (translation being no friggin' way was this class suitable for being missed) and my husband wandered around in various cell-phone-deadening parts of his building and surfaced occasionally to be yelled at. One of these conversations went something like this:

My Mom: "that's not a wart."
Me: "well I know it doesn't look like one now but it did until yesterday."
My Mom: "warts don't have blood blisters and pus in them."
Me: "I KNOW that. Those weren't there before. It just looked like a wart."
My Mom: "You should have taken him before now."
Me: "For a wart?"
My Mom: "It's not a wart."
Me (grit grit grit) "I KNOW that but until yesterday we thought it WAS a wart and I couldn't exactly take him to the doctor and say we have a feeling this might turn out not to be a wart, so what should we do when that happens?"
My Mom: "I've never liked your hair that way."

So my husband went and got him at my Mom's house and took him to the clinic and I took Eve to dance. The verdict: It's a wart. His body just isn't as down with warts as many bodies are and this is its little way of not making the wart welcome. She suggested Compound W. Oh, and he has a virus. By way of comfort, at dance class my friend Patti told me she totally would have assumed necrotizing fasciitis too.

I talked to my sister last night and she reminded me that I should probably just not talk to my Mom about this again, since there is every probability that she will say "I knew it was just a wart. It's too bad you all overreacted so badly", and then my head would be in actual danger of exploding.

Happy Wednesday, and may all your feet be shiny as Christmas bells and HPV-free for the holidays.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dreams, teeth, and Bert the Tree

Eve's been having nightmares and coming into bed with me at five a.m.-ish the past few nights. Yesterday I couldn't fall back asleep, partly because she was snoring in my ear and partly because something was really bugging me. The fact that I haven't started my Christmas cards yet? Nope. The fact that I have to write an exam on Sunday for which I've barely studied and it will be following two days and nights of partying with some of my high school friends? Uh-uh. That I haven't bought Angus's video game that he wants for Christmas and forgot to double check the name of it before he sealed his letter to Santa? Nah. It was that I couldn't remember what we had for dinner on Saturday night. It was driving me bonkers. I knew we had ribs on Friday and chicken on Sunday, so I was thinking it was probably meatless, but I couldn't see myself making it when I tried to picture it, or putting stuff on plates and handing it to the kids, and we definitely hadn't gone out, and I felt like I was going insane. For two hours. And then I got up.

Eve and Matt have been watching the Lord of the Rings movies together, which has been nice for him because their movie taste doesn't generally overlap a lot. They were watching the second movie and she told him that she had to stop watching because she was afraid she was going to have a nightmare again. He said "why, what did you have a nightmare about last night?" "Dinosaurs." .......

Angus did something that totally reminded me of how he was when he was four or five. Last night he was in the basement and he came running upstairs and said "I lost a tooth! I bit some saltwater toffee and it came out!" He grabbed a kleenex and shoved it in his mouth and I said "well where's the tooth?" and he said "Downstairs, in the saltwater toffee!"

Eve asks for this song every time I put on Christmas music while we're baking. Has there ever been anything better than Sesame Street on TV?

I am happy.

(and it was homemade pizza and Matt and Eve made it, which was why I couldn't remember me doing it. Ahhhhh.)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Jury Rigged Advent Calendar

A not-great photo from my not-great camera. It gets the job done, and it's right where the stairs are so I can't go up to bed without remembering to fill it. And the kids are quite impressed. Every day gets a chocolate and a cartoon or a suggestion for a Christmas activity or a little Christmas thing. Today they got pencils with toy soldier toppers and wrote their Christmas lists with them.

I've read a couple of posts by people who are having trouble catching the spirit of the season. That's often me, but I'm feeling pretty good at the moment. I'm boxing up Christmas presents to ship to Edmonton, London and Thunder Bay, and it's only December sixth! Do you know what this means? This means we could possibly not have to pay the 'equivalent to your firstborn child AND your favourite limb and we MIGHT be able to get it there for Christmas' fee at the post office! I went to the library on Saturday (after my husband tried to vacuum my dress off me, but that's another story) and since I was already out I thought maybe I'll go to Chapters and get those last few Christmas gifts and then I thought what are you insane, it's Saturday and it's December, it'll be like those pilgrimages where people show their religious devotion by stomping other people to death, and THEN I thought, but those retail people, they KNOW it's a Saturday in December so chances are they'll have cheery teen-agers stacked up four deep just dying to aid and comfort me.

And they did.

It was a thing of beauty and joy. I searched and hunted and gathered. I perused and mused. I was selective and suggestive (not really, I just couldn't think of another good word). And when I walked out of there I was SO done. Partly because I just love buying people books and partly because I just decided that whoever I wasn't done was just shit out of luck.

Kidding. Mostly.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Juvenile humour

So today in the kids' advent calendar hat/stocking thingies I put chocolates and two of these cookie cutters, so we could make ornament cookies tonight:

I can't for the life of me decide if I should let them use this one or not. What would you do?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Strange Times

Look at me, posting because I want to not because I have to.

Angus got his Scholastic book order today. I recently read Nan's rant about Scholastic books and had yet another 'wow, sometimes I am wholly uncritical and sheep-like in my ability to just do stuff without examining its underlying potential for evil' moment. Gee whiz, man, it seems so innocent! They bring home flyers with wonderful beautiful precious BOOKS in them and I wrote a check which, come on, that's not like real money, that's like play money, and then I forget about it and wonderful beautiful precious BOOKS appear. Clearly I will have to spend some time examining the Scholastic ideology because I'm coming off a rough month and I've been migrainey that past couple of days and I'm still unclear on the exact nature of the evilness, but I'm willing to learn. But this is not about that. This is about the books I ordered before the evil was revealed in all its leering drooling evilness, and I'm not giving them back. Ignorance of the law may be no excuse but ignorance of evil is...wait...oh leave me alone, the voices told me to, you can't make me, I have hemmorhoids.

So I bought Eve the Usborne Book of Famous Paintings. She likes to
draw, she seems interested in art, it called out to me. I gave it to her after school. After supper and her bath and Hannah Montana, I was wrapping a few presents and I saw her on the couch reading something. I walked over and she was reading it! The book I got for her to read about art! The same day we got it!


Doesn't she know how we do things around here? I buy something because it's educational and topical and will surely give us some lovely moments of learning and sharing and discovery and revelation. Then the kid ignores it and plays video games and watches tv and loses it under a pile of crap and only reads it when I demand that they sit down and read it and have a lovely educational revelatory moment goddammit. They don't try to read it the same day and say "oh, Mrs. Goodsell showed me this Claude Monet (perfectly pronounced) painting", and "is this pronounced Van Eek?" and "WHAT? She's not really pregnant?! That's a terrible skirt then!"

Oh, now Angus has wandered over and they're reading it together. I am sore afraid, friends, sore afraid.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Quote of the Day

My husband: "You cooked. I'll clean up."

(cleaning up noises)

"This used to hold a grasshopper. Can I put food in it?"