Thursday, March 31, 2011

Feel the love

Eve, lying on Matt with her ear on his chest, on the couch watching baseball: "Your heart is making it very difficult for me to hear the television". Turning her head to yell into his chest: "STOP PUMPING!" Matt: "Um...."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My GPS is not bilingual

So it appears that thinking about blogging doesn't get a blog post down any more than thinking about exercising makes my butt any smaller. Plus, just as I started this, Eve asked if she was Catholic, and when I explained that she's baptized but no, not really, she said "what does it mean when you're baptized?" Oy.

I continued my trend of starting the week off running - dentist, gym, groceries, piano, fairly involved dinner, some work on an assignment and BAM it was 8:30 (as opposed to doing a bunch of coughing, unloading the dishwasher and calling it a day). Of course, then I feel like curling up and reading zombie literature for the rest of the week, but it's a start.

Let's go back to March Break. We decided on a whim to go to Montreal. My husband called it the first step in cracking our Montreal Phobia. We live in Ottawa, so Quebec is very close geographically, but to me it still feels like an alien land. They speak a whole other language there. The stoplights are sideways instead of vertical. I feel like at any moment I could be snatched off the street, locked away, force-fed poutine and compelled to conjugate French verbs until I admit that Quebec is a distinct society. When I first started driving in downtown Ottawa I learned very quickly that if you zig instead of zag you can suddenly find yourself travelling over a bridge to Quebec with no clear idea of how to get back to Ontario - and my French is not bad, but I'm not entirely clear on how to say "oh fuck, I did it again" properly.

But Montreal! It's beautiful! It's charming! It's closer than Toronto! So we packed up the kids and programmed the GPS. Listening to our GPS's accent épouvantable was among the most enjoyable aspects of the trip. Boulevard Viau was abbreviated to Boul. Viau on the GPS, which you might think would be pronounced Bool Vee Oh. But no -- "In 600 metres, turn right on Bowel Vee Ow. Turn right on Bowel Vee Ow." She sounded like a sick cat; I hope she wasn't offended by the fact that we were all helpless with laughter by the time we finally turned.



We visited the Biodome. I got so caught up in telling the kids how cool it was going to be to see the penguins that I actually didn't realize until we were at the penguins that I've NEVER SEEN REAL PENGUINS before. Also, PENGUINS are FREAKING COOL. They walk so carefully with their wings poked out behind them. The crested penguins look just like the penguin in Surf's Up! When they swim by their feathers look like a wet suit! It's like they're uniquely suited to live in the Antarctic or something! Eve and I were about to settle in for the afternoon, but Angus made us leave. Dumb penguin-non-appreciator.





We stayed at a hotel with a nice pool. Eve met a friend in the pool and they played pool frisbee.

It had a nice front desk too. Angus made a friend at the front desk.



At one point we got ready to go down to the pool and then we all looked at Matt. He was wearing bright red bathing trunks and a burgundy t-shirt. It was the worst colour combination in the history of colour combinations. It made your brain hurt. It made your eyes scream 'look away, look away!' He thought we were just going to laugh a little and then let him proceed down to the pool. Fat freaking chance -- we made him change. You don't wear burgundy and red in Montreal. I think.

We walked through old Montreal to find a place for dinner. I ordered veal piccata and fettucine alfredo. The pasta was great, the veal wasn't. I wasn't going to say anything, but then when the waiter came I thought about how I'm always so gutless and I really should say something, so I said the veal was overly chewy and not lemony at all, and the waiter looked so stricken that I felt horrible and wished profoundly that I'd just shut the hell up. He brought us free tiramisu, which the kids fell on like starving dogs until they got to the booze part, whereupon Matt swooped in, which made the kids laugh their asses off.

Back at the hotel, Angus insisted on wearing his Montreal Canadiens t-shirt with his Quebec Nordiques cap, even though Matt said this meant his head was at war with his stomach.



And Eve (who also got a hat for a souvenir), after mocking Matt's bathing suit/t-shirt combo, sported this cutting-edge ensemble all night:



We had a blast, no one laughed openly at our butchering of their cherished language, and we didn't get asked to leave and never return (mostly because Matt wouldn't let me steal a penguin). I call it a win. Oh, and one last picture for Pam, who has an inexplicable love of duck bums:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ava Lee Kicks Ass: The Water Rat of Wanchai


House of Anansi Press sent me a copy of The Water Rat of Wanchai: an Ava Lee novel, which is the first of a series by Ian Hamilton in Anansi's new Spiderline imprint. I cracked the book a bit apprehensively for a couple of reasons: Ava Lee is a forensic accountant, and numbers are not among my top ten favourite things; a good part of the action takes place in Hong Kong and Bangkok, and I often find that mysteries set in Asia are just not my thing -- I've tried reading David Rotenberg's Zhong Fong series, and I just couldn't empathize with any of the characters or get engaged in the action.

Ava Lee is a compelling character. She is Chinese-Canadian, tiny, highly intelligent, proficient in bak mei -- an ancient form of martial arts taught only to the most gifted students -- and gay. Her employer, who she calls 'Uncle', is a well-connected Hong Kong-based godfather-figure who has implied ties to the Triads. One slight drawback of this being the first of the series is the need to introduce all of this information, which impedes the action somewhat initially. Also, at first I was a bit unsure about how Hamilton was going to generate any suspense, since Ava Lee seems eminently capable of handing most criminals their testicles before they even realize what's what.

This actually turned out to be one of the things I enjoyed most about the book. Because Lee is so self-sufficient, the action is much more subtle and intricate than in many mysteries. She does go from Canada to Hong Kong, to Bangkok, to Guyana, and the drastically different cultures and landscapes are vividly portrayed and integral to the developing plot. The supporting characters are all well-drawn, including Lee's father, with whom she has a complicated relationship as a daughter of a 'second wife'.

The book avoids a lot of pitfalls of the female detective genre -- she doesn't brainlessly put herself in dangerous situations just to prove how tough she is (Kathy Reichs, hello?), she doesn't harbour any dark secrets from a tormented past that some hot-shot yet gentle FBI guy (or chick) has to help her overcome, and there are no showy plot twists. It was quite refreshingly different. I really enjoyed watching Ava Lee in action, and I think subsequent books will be even better once the character's backstory is in place and she becomes more familiar.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Am Go For Launch

Enough I say! Enough with the wheezy lungs and the palely loitering. Enough with displaying all the volition of brown winter slush. I informed my husband that, starting fresh after March Break I had big plans to...have big plans.

Sunday was bright and sunny and spring-like. Eve went to play at her friend's house and I went through her clothes to make the spring stuff more accessible and get rid of the outgrown things.

I buy my kids' clothes too big. Not stupidly big, and not things like shoes, but if I can reasonably go a size up and have something fit a little longer, I will. The problem is, then once it's in their drawers or closets, I forget that just because it's too big now doesn't mean it will be forever. Because kids -- they keep on growing, the little buggers. So here I am going through Eve's underwear drawer, the underwear that I put out for her to wear every morning, which she happily wears. And I find that the biggest pairs in there, the ones I thought were the exact right size, are size SIX -- and she just turned EIGHT. And there's only a few of those pairs -- and the rest are even SMALLER.

I'm not sure what to be first -- disgusted with my cluelessness, or impressed with how my daughter maintains her sunny disposition even wearing underwear that's four sizes too small.

After tossing out a bunch of tiny adorable undies, I walked over to Eve's friend's house to have tea with the friend's Mom and then walk home with Eve. The girls had been playing outside for hours and she didn't even know I was there for an hour and then I had to call Matt to come pick us up because she couldn't walk another STEP (her underwear was probably too tight).

Monday was snowing. I forced myself out to the gym anyway (big plans will not be derailed by snow. Or really bad hair). I went to three different grocery stores for the right yeast and Eve's coconut yogurt, went home and made a honey-curry marinade for pork tenderloin for dinner, carried Eve's cast-off clothes downstairs and sorted them, took the kids to piano, went to the library and paid off my fines (I think of it as a donation), brought the kids home, made dinner, helped Eve with her science project, read Still Alice, felt absolutely certain I was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's, went to sleep. I know -- it's a slow day for most people, but it's more than I did for most of the last six weeks. And I did it all without crying. Or coughing. Much.

Today...wow, me not obsessing about being slothful and despairing is almost as boring as me obsessing about being slothful and despairing. Among the normal Tuesday stuff, today I am finally at the point where getting my hair cut, as horrible as it is, is still better than NOT getting my hair cut. In other words, I can't live like this any more. I also FINALLY called the dishwasher guy, which is HUGE -- I'm finally over thinking that it's quaint to have half your dishes come out covered with multi-coloured glued-on crap, AND somehow at the exact moment when I decided I was ready to dial the number and use my words like a big girl, the tiny purple scrap of paper I wrote the phone number on was magically available -- isn't it great when Me and The Universe suck less concurrently? Tomorrow I might do something crazy like make appointments with the eye doctor. Stand back, folks. I'm unstoppable.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Knowing Me Knowing You - March

Gotta love when Shan the Fairy Blogmother comes along to rescue me from blog oblivion with another Knowing Me Knowing You.

1. Do you consider yourself a foodie?

I looked at this question a couple of days ago and my first thought was 'what exactly is a foodie?' Then I read a piece in the paper last night that made it sound like 'foodies' are sort of snobby and elitist about everything they eat - organic this, local that, molecular reduction of the other thing. In that case, I'm most emphatically not a foodie (I kind of hate the word foodie the more I type it). I enjoy cooking and I try to have most of what we eat have ingredients I can pronounce and not have to look up online, but one of my friends the other day says she can't even think about a McDonald's cheeseburger without feeling nauseous and, while I sort of wish I could say the same, I can't (although I do feel dirty inside after I eat one. A little.) We've been doing dinner parties with four other couples where everyone tries to cook something interesting, preferably something they've never cooked before, and that's been really fun (pork belly! celeriac! chocolate meat!).

2. Are you a spender or a saver?

Tough one too. I spend too much on books and clothes for my kids, and groceries when I get away from planning my meals well. I don't enjoy shopping that much, so if I don't go I don't spend -- my husband observed the other day that having pneumonia for a good part of February did wonders for my bank account. Then I went shopping with Pam -- we'll see how happy he is about how much better I'm feeling the next time he checks the bank account balances. I don't enjoy trying on clothes, so if I find something great that fits well, I will buy it just so I don't have to keep trying stuff on. And Angus still gets excited when I buy him clothes and Eve is just so much fun to dress still. The more honest answer is probably that I'm a spender, but I think I'm saving until we get to the end of the month and I try to figure out where all the money's gone.

3. What was the last movie you saw?

The Adjustment Bureau, on a date with my husband. It was okay -- Matt Damon did his customary great job of probably acting a lot like himself, Emily Blunt has a nice screen presence, I love movies based on Philip K. Dick short stories -- the ending was a little trite, but I sort of expected that. Right now I'm listening to my son and my husband guffawing at people getting injured on Home Alone 3. It's a guy thing.




4. What is the closest book to you?

The book at the top of the pile on the table beside me is 36 Arguments for the Existence of God by Rebecca Goldstein, so I can make notes on it before I return it to the library. It was very enjoyable -- I had read a non-fiction book about Spinoza by her and then a novel that I found kind of derivative, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but this book combined her work on philosophy with fiction, and the writing was exuberant and playful, although some of the female characters were a little one-dimensional. Overall I really liked it.


5. Do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day?

Nope. I always mean to, but it frequently falls within March Break, and just gets swallowed up. I didn't even realize it was St. Patrick's Day until I was shopping with my Mom and Eve and they announced it in the Rideau Centre. It's not like my kids really need another reason to eat chocolate anyway. Also, green beer is icky, and leprechauns kind of scare me.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Maybe he accidentally packed my principles in his suitcase

Angus's hockey team has been in playoffs for a few weeks. Three weeks ago his good friend Noah showed up with a red stripe down the middle of his head -- 'playoff hair'.



My husband soundly mocked the mother, whose younger son was similarly flamboyantly coiffed. On the way home, Angus asked if he could dye his hair too. My husband said "How can I put this nicely? NO."



My husband and I have a general policy of trying not to undermine each other with the kids, even if we're in disagreement. I don't remember articulating it to myself, but I'm pretty sure I thought that if Angus tried to do an end-run and asked me if he could dye his hair I would say no.



You may recall that my husband then decamped for California -- a week-long trade show where he shows off testing equipment and switches and wavelength division multiplexing (yes, I TOTALLY know what all of this means and I'm TOTALLY using it correctly), and at night gets wined and dined by various customers and salespeople. In California. You may further recall that we had a blizzard that week, followed by freezing rain and then plain old soul-sucking basement-flooding un-frozen rain. Two solid days of it. Here -- not in California. So when Angus asked me if he could get playoff hair, I thought for a moment, then said...


"Sure. It'll be a nice surprise for your father."


Right now? As a mother, I could not rock any harder. As a wife? Maybe not so much.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Best Friends OR Opposites Attract OR Some other title I can't think of that's less cheesy

On Monday Angus was still firmly parked at the house where he'd slept over the night before. If you want to, you can savour the entertaining fact that a friend who moved six hours away a few months ago was also there, and that Angus came home with a dozen pictures on his ipod touch of... his friend Noah's new hamster. My husband said "you didn't take any pictures of Jon?" Angus said "I already know what Jon looks like."

Eve was bored, it was sunny out and we were supposed to walk the neighbours' dog while they're in the Dominican. So I proposed that we walk over to her friend Marianna's house and pick her up for a few hours. We called and set it up, then went next door to get the dog. The dog wasn't there. There's a friend staying there who might have taken him to work. It's a mystery I'm chosing to leave undisturbed for now. I'm not sure why I mentioned it except that it was another good reason for a walk. If I was an editor I'd red-pencil it. Anyway. We had a nice walk over. On the way, Eve said "when you think about it, it's funny that Marianna and I are friends. I can't climb a tree to save my life and she hates books." It's true that they don't have a lot in common except each other. Marianna is wiry and agile and never met a horizontal straight skinny thing that she didn't hang upside down from. Eve used to take twenty minutes to inch her way across the balance beam at gymnastics -- which was six inches above a cushioned floor mat. Marianna loves olives and squid. Eve doesn't even like sauce on her spaghetti. Marianna's own mother says that she lacks empathy -- if someone is sad she'll try to make them laugh, but she just doesn't get it. Eve is so empathetic she doesn't like watching golf balls get hit. Despite this, they've been inseparable since the third day of Junior Kindergarten, which, after two days of staggered entry, was the day they met.

I find it really funny how they're so aware of their differences. As soon as we got there, Marianna ran up to get her new toad to show Eve. She said "do you want me to put it in your hand or are you too scared to touch him?" without a trace of judgement. On the way home, we saw a long line of huge noisy vehicles -- the truck that chews up the snowbanks and a bunch of the dump trucks that it spits the snow into, one being filled and moving on, another empty one moving up to take its place. Eve said "I want to watch them, they're so cool!" and Marianna said "I don't really want to" and Eve said "yeah, I figured you were going to say that". As we walked on, Marianna said "It's the Big Slow-Moving Loud Truck Convention". Eve said "that name is a little awkward... but very descriptive!". Just as we were turning the corner for home, Marianna said "are we almost there? My legs are tired." and Eve said "I was just thinking it was weird that you hadn't started complaining yet. I know how much you hate walking." Their play dates are more of the same. One wants to play a board game, which of course is the last thing the other wants, then five minutes later they're playing the board game happily. They play with the hermit crab that Marianna gave Eve for her birthday, which she was too scared to touch for five weeks but now can pick up. They draw pictures (Eve's favourite thing) and play video games (Marianna's favourite thing). We bring Marianna home, which then turns into a post-play-date at Marianna's, and they both wail when it's time to leave.

I don't know how long they'll be friends. I'm not in touch with anyone I went to kindergarten with. Marianna's crazy Greek family has totally embraced Eve, which I find overwhelmingly wonderful, since my kids don't even have the once yearly experience of being awash in relatives that I used to have with my mother's Polish clan in Saskatchewan. I find it doubly amazing since, like me, they must not really know what to do with this kid that is so different from theirs.

I'm at a point in my life where most of my close friends are a lot like me. I like the idea of being exposed to different ideas and perspectives and paradigms, but in practice, I'm middle-aged and fairly settled in how I see the world, and if I'm honest, someone who views child-raising or religion or or marriage very very differently from me and is a very vocal advocate of their position (there's always room for someone who's as wishy-washy as I am) is probably not going to become my BFF. I'm not trying to make this more profound than it is -- I just find watching my daughter with her friend kind of neat. (and I'm not at all bitter about having to clean out a hermit crab cage every second day).

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Desperate Times

I'm suffering from a bad case of blogger paralysis. Whenever I sit down to blog, my brain seizes up and shows the test pattern (which in my brain is not a block of coloured stripes but a school of goldfish crackers with piranha teeth about to attack John Cusack). In the interest of cracking the paralysis, I'm going to mock other people to make myself feel better. I'm not proud of it, but there it is.

1. The woman who fell into the mall fountain while texting, and then got put on youtube. I'm not mocking her for falling into the fountain while texting. I might have felt a small moment of vindication for confirmation of my conviction that texting is evil and taking over the world and will lead you into perdition and might make you fall into a mall fountain, but this would have been much more satisfying if it was a teenager. I'm also not linking to it, because it's mean. But I really think her response should have been more along the line of a simple "whoever posted this is an asshole" message, and not hiring a lawyer and solemnly answering idiotic questions posed by an idiotic news interviewer who is even more mockworthy because he's not texting while asking his moronic questions: "so when did you realize that you'd had a bad fall?": "um, when I was suddenly all wet in a prone position? you braindead douchecanoe?" And let's examine the fact that, in the course of trying to sound halfway sympathetic, they've played the clip of her falling into the fountain upwards of a dozen times, from two different angles. Class-ee.

2. The people on the show I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant, or as Pam and I like to call it, People Who Are Too Stupid to Live, Let Alone Breed. The last time we were at the gym (it wasn't that long ago! There was some skanky sex song by Rihanna playing! Oh wait, that could be any time in the last four years) TLC was playing the show. I was so caught up in the (I've run out of synonyms for idiotic) drama, when I went to get a drink and my treadmill timed out I thought we had twenty minutes left until Pam informed me that we only had eight. Watching really stupid people apparently makes workout time go by really quickly. "Tammy had gained twenty-eight pounds and her boobs were two sizes bigger and she had heartburn and threw up a lot -- what could it be? It was mystifying!" And then when they go into the hospital: Doctor: is there any chance you're pregnant? Woman: No, I can't possibly be pregnant! Doctor: So you've never had sex? Woman: Well, yes, I have sex all the time, but... Doctor: So you always use contraceptives? Woman: "Well no, we never do, but... Doctor: So you've had a hysterectomy? Woman: No, but, aside from the weight gain and barfing and heartburn and these regularly spaced agonizing pains I feel TOTALLY NORMAL! To be fair, one of the women did have a birth control implant and...ah, screw it, fair isn't going to get my blogging brain unparalyzed.

3. My friend's ex-husband: He thought that hydro equal billing (when the hydro company estimates your power usage for the year and bills you equally each month, rather than billing you much more in the months when more power is typically used) meant that the power usage for their neighbourhood was added up and then divided by the number of houses so everybody paid the same. When I still liked him I thought this was kind of endearing. Now that he's turned into a five-star asshat..... LOser!

That's all the vitriol I can muster for today. I promise to be back to my normal, more gracious (wishy-washy) self soon.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

TMI Wednesdays - don't say you weren't warned.

My kids made an adorable video of them singing happy birthday to my husband on Angus's ipod touch, since he's in California this week and his birthday was on Monday. I can't figure out how to get it on here, so you'll just have to take my word for it that it's adorable. You likely wouldn't find it as adorable as a video of your own kids singing happy birthday to your own husband in California, because apparently everyone else with kids is deluded by DNA and years of evolution into thinking that their kids are cuter than mine.

After he called home the first time, I told the kids that Daddy had used a bad word when talking about the hotel he was staying in. They giggled. I asked them if they wanted to hear what it was. They beamed happily and nodded. I said it quietly. A little later, Eve was talking about rockets and suddenly she said "but I probably shouldn't say it". I asked her what the heck she was talking about and she said "you know, like you said before about Daddy's hotel room... (whispering) it was a shuttle?" I said "I didn't say shuttle, I said shithole".

After my chiropractor appointment today I stopped at the drug store that's right on the way home, which is a Shopper's Drug Mart but not my usual one. The usual one is closer but I was going to the community centre to register Eve for swimming lessons and I would be going home a different way. Don't you hate going to a store that's the same but different from your regular one? Nothing's in the right place, but it all looks basically the same so it keeps fooling you into thinking it should be. I needed advil and kleenex and HEMORRHOIDAL OINTMENT (for which I blame the children). Once I almost stabbed a guy because he stood there for like twenty minutes lingering right in front of the HEMORRHOIDAL OINTMENT and I didn't really want to say "excuse me, I just need to reach past you to grab this HEMORRHOIDAL OINTMENT". Anyway, this Shoppers Drug Mart was stupid. I found laxatives and gas suppressants and all manner of stuff related to the ass, and no HEMORRHOIDAL OINTMENT. Shouldn't they logically keep all the ass stuff together?

And on that note, you should really read my friend Patti's very important post on a very important medical test, which I totally meant to segue into at this point because obviously I wouldn't go on and on about HEMORRHOIDAL OINTMENT just for cheap laughs. Although I did feel an explicable urge to giggle like an idiot when someone used the word 'rectify' the other day.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Family Sleepover

My husband left for California yesterday afternoon. At eight o'clock the kids and I generally all go and read in my room. Angus was reading in Matt's spot and he asked if he could sleep with me. They both end up sleeping with me at some point when Matt's away, but when it's for a week or more I sometimes try to hold them off until later in the stretch so I don't get overtired and bitchy right off the mark (or at least not due to sleep deprivation). But we were all snuggled in reading and, in a moment of weakness, I capitulated. Eve, naturally, declared that she was sleeping in the chair (my giant reading chair and ottoman, over which a fleecy fitted sheet fits as if they were made for that very purpose - she looks insanely cute tucked in there). So, the series of events:

8:30: I come out of the bathroom after getting ready for bed. Eve has switched off her lamp and says "I wanna go to bed", sounding half asleep already. I kiss her goodnight and climb in next to Angus with my book.

8:32: Angus and I look at each other incredulously as the long, even breaths from the chair make it obvious that Eve has fallen asleep before I've managed to read a full page.

9:00: Angus turns off his light. I take a sleeping pill -- trying to even the odds of getting a good night's sleep, husbandless and kidful.

9:10: I give up on the book. It's not any of the things it was promised to be -- witty, funny, scholarly. Maybe it's some kind of parody, but if it is it's missed the mark or I'm not smart enough. This is the first book I've decided not to finish for a long long time. I'm giddy with freedom.

9:30: I am happily reading The Living Dead 2 and worrying that my sleeping pill doesn't seem to be taking effect.

9:45: Eve is snoring like a trucker. Make mental note to take her to the doctor and see if she needs a nasal spray for allergies.

10:00: I am reading this book after a delightful dip into this book. Angus has fallen asleep better than I thought he might, and his face is squished almost into my hip. I keep looking down at it and remembering how small and chubby it used to be. I savour the sensation of being surrounded by my sleeping children, then wonder briefly if my sleeping pill is just making me sappy and sentimental instead of, you know, sleepy.

10:30: I force myself to put down the book and turn off the light. I yank the covers out from under Angus, who likes to burrito himself, and lie down.

11:15: I realize Matt is going to call when he gets to L.A. at one in the morning, and there are two phones on either side of the bed. I turn the ringer off the one on the wall and take the other one off its base and stick it in the hallway bathroom and close the door.

11:40: I get up to pee and check if Eve is suffocating herself with her lambskin. She's not. She's just snoring really really loudly.

12:06: Angus rolls over and comes to rest with his face a half inch from mine. I say "hello". He giggles and says "oh sorry" and rolls back over.

1:15: I hear the phone ringing in the bathroom. It doesn't wake the kids up. Stupid sleeping pill

1:30: Eve is presumably having a highly amusing dream.

1:45 Angus flings the arm closest to me up above his head, which makes me remember when he was sleeping with me after my gum graft surgery and he whacked me right in the graft site. I experience a small post-traumatic episode, reach up and grasp his arm and gently place it back by his side.

3:30: Angus wakes me up saying he's going back to his own bed. It's possible I've joined the snoring chorus -- he's not saying and I'm not asking.

7:00: Angus comes in to get Eve because he doesn't really like going downstairs by himself. She tells him to bugger off for at least ten more minutes.

7:10: Angus comes back exactly ten minutes later. Eve sheds, with difficulty, a weighty mantle of fuzzy blankets and furry animals, and bounds from the chair onto the bed, while Angus attacks from the other side.

The rest of the day: I yawn a lot.

Today, 6:10: Eve tells me she wants to sleep in the chair again.

How many more sleeps til Daddy comes home?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Book Stuff

I think I've mentioned that, after I painstakingly showed my mother all the steps for finding the Ottawa Public Library's website and requesting books she wanted, she decided it would be much more convenient if she could just email me the titles she wanted, and then I could request them, pick them up when they were ready and then return them when she was done. Since she babysits my kids on a regular basis and keeps us in chocolate chip cookies and banana muffins (you know -- the basic necessities), I found it hard to object.





So just to make it official that February has departed with my marbles as well as a good part of my lung function, this happened. I came across a review of The Wife's Tale, by Lori Lansens. I had read one of her other books, and I thought this one looked good, and I also thought my mother would like it, so I planned to request it and give it to her first and then read it myself. Then Eve and I dropped by on the walk home from school and I saw this very book lying on the chair by the front door. I picked it up and she said "Oh yeah, it was great, thanks. I'm done, you can return it." Because I had already taken it out and given it to her. Less than a week ago.

Agh.

She also gave me back a book that I had just picked off the shelves on the off chance she would like it, since she was between requested material and desperate for a book (she's been a little less hyper-manic since she moved here. A little). I cracked it open last night planning to just read the first few pages and decide whether to continue reading or return it, and it totally hijacked my evening. It's about a fifty-year-old thrice-married woman who teaches at a Catholic high school. She's sarcastic, profane, dry-witted and I was in love with her by page seven. Amusingly enough, when I looked at the reviews, it's a very polarizing book - people either love it (and her) or loathe it (same).

I hope I don't find that I read it and reviewed it a few weeks ago.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

How does February maintain any kind of self esteem when everyone is so glad to see it go?

Something is clearly amiss in the universe. On Sunday our phone mysteriously stopped working -- I called someone, hung up, the phone rang, and when I picked it up...dead space. I think maybe it was the phone line making one last desperate appeal for help. Anyway, we were on out way out to the Oscars party so we decided to leave it alone and hope it got better on its own (that's the first thing we try with everything that goes wrong around here -- worked out really well with the thing on Angus's foot and the many-headed forked-tongued entity that resided in my lungs for most of February). When we got home Sunday night it still wasn't working, so Matt called first thing in the morning on Monday. They said they couldn't come until Tuesday. I was kind of annoyed (more about the internet than the phone), but whatever. Then a couple of hours later the phone magically started working again. Then a phone guy showed up -- A DAY EARLY. I told him the phone was working again. He went away. Then I called Rogers because Rogers on Demand hadn't been working for a couple of weeks. The woman on the phone did what she could and then said she'd have to send out a technician. On Wednesday. I looked at the calendar and said "you mean -- tomorrow?" She did mean tomorrow. And she said he'd be here between eleven and two and he was here at noon. AND he was funny and nice. AND he fixed the cable.

Isn't that weird?

Now, the cashew recipe for Nicole.

Now, things I learned in February because I jump on Amber's bandwagon whenever I possibly can:

Pneumonia sucks.

Having pneumonia when your husband is in Hickory, North Carolina, or Chamonix, France or basically anywhere except here taking care of the kids while simultaneously waiting on me hand and foot sucks even more.

When your son asks you about the 'restore' function for his ipod touch you shouldn't just tell him what it does, you should ask him why he wants to know, because chances are one of his apps turned the little apple into a skull-like face that he suspects is either a virus that is going to eat up his ipod touch from the inside out or a ghost that is haunting his ipod touch, and he's really worried about being infected/haunted/possessed and is trying desperately to figure out how to make the little skull-face go away. Don't make your ten-year-old cyber-ghost-bust all alone.

President's Choice creamy dill baked lentil crisps are AWESOME.

Eating the whole bag of PC creamy dill baked lentil crisps every time I open one probably negates the whole 'healthier than potato chips' benefit.

I never ever get tired of reading zombie stories.

The perfect days for skating on the canal will always be the days I am too sick to get upright or supervising fifteen little girls throwing paint.

February will eventually give way to March, and the school will call you and 'sorry we didn't manage to get the tickets that your daughter won to the Sens skills competition' will change to 'we have two free tickets to Friday night's Sens game'. And then your son will have to be very very nice to his sister for the rest of the week.

I don't care how March comes in or goes out. As long as it kicks February's ass on the way by.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Also, wtf was with Christian Bale's beard?

I can't just leave the cranky book review post lying there, even though I've really got nothing.

I'm less sick, just feeling kind of out of it. I went to an Oscars dinner party on Sunday night (well duh, going to an Oscars party on some other night would have been kind of moronic) and drank a bunch of whiskey sours, which I've determined to be good medicine indeed. I made "The Fighter" cauliflower (ear) fritters with smoked salmon and crème fraiche, and caramelized cashews with maple syrup and cumin (because the mother was nuts). I never used to watch the Oscars until my friend Collette had the brilliant idea of tying it to stuffing our faces. I read in the paper the day after that some people thought Melissa Leo should have been more prepared and professional, and this would have avoided the vocabulary malfunction (which apparently only we in Canada got to hear -- lucky us). Prepared and professional? Dude, her profession is acting, which means she acts how somebody tells her to and says words that are written down for her by somebody else. She was being professional -- how many professional actors don't swear at least seven times a sentence in real life? I remember somebody who did a movie with Melanie Griffith and said she couldn't say two words without a curse between them - a weiner in a bun was a 'hot fucking dog'.

I thought Anne Hathaway was adorable, but then I kind of have a crush on her. James Franco was high as a bloody kite or half asleep, or possibly channeling Charlie Sheen. I kept wondering if he was handing the winners their Oscar statue and telling them 'you put your weed in there'.

There was one man who won for one of the less-sexy awards - sound editing or something - who said at the end of his speech 'let the record show that I'm not wearing jeans'. I turned to Matt and said 'I totally thought he was going to say underwear'.

I often regret that I don't have more chances to use the word 'obviate'.