Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hark the Surly Angels Sing Thursdays

I'm not actually feeling surly today, or not much. I did take Eve to get a flu shot at a Rexall pharmacy where there was one pharmacist and one counter-person working, and then spend an hour or so in Loblaws, so the surliness opportunities were multiform, but I imagine I'm feeling like a lot of other people: happy and grateful about my life and sad and dispirited about some stuff that's happened to other people. Also, wishing that Nan hadn't told me about how doing NaBloPoMo killed her first blog, and, naturally, still pissed off about the cancellation of Firefly.

Still, I'd hate to disappoint anyone who came here in search of surliness, so let me just send out a pinch of snark to that woman on Twitter today who tweeted "Really? No one has experienced this?" I was concerned that someone needed help with a problem, and also curious because geez, if there's one thing the internet has done for all of us is to show us that there is almost NOTHING you can confess to - alcoholism, resenting our children, strange sexual practices, nun bashing - that won't elicit a perky piping up with 'me too, me too!' from a wealth of supportive friends and strangers; so I clicked the link. Turns out it was just that she had an article up on Yummy Mummy that no one had commented on. So naturally that must mean that no one else has experienced the thing she was talking about, not that, I don't know, a large number of us are busy baking pine-needle shortbread and making candy-cane wreaths and searching for the perfect violent video game and shit because of a fairly sizeable holiday which is occurring a few days from now.

Also, the people that haughtily sniff at businesses who say they will donate to causes based on retweets or mentions, because they should just donate money without tying it to self-promotion. Um? Capitalism? Businesses in the business of making a profit? Sure, it would be nice if they would just give money out of the goodness of their collective businessy hearts, but if they're willing to give away money which they're under no obligation to give, I'm okay with them getting a little advertising out of it. And for Christ's sake, how hard is it to click retweet anyway? Sure, take companies to task for unsafe working conditions, or even unreasonable returns policies. Saying they'll donate money if we will, literally, lift one finger? Maybe take a breath.

End surliness. One more day of school, unless this Epic Storm lives up to its billing. Christmas tree is decorated, all of our mailed packages have arrived at their destinations on time, and whoever I've forgotten to mail a Christmas card to at this point is getting it in January. We find out tomorrow if my nephew can get the pins out of his arm then or if they'll be here on the twenty-ninth instead of the twenty-eighth. Either way, it's Christmas and I'm not travelling, so I'm all good.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Wordless Sunday

Because I'm feeling a little stuck for words, and I found this restorative today, I present: three-year-old Eve peeling a Christmas orange.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Communication Fail 2.0

Eve is fairly mature for an almost-ten-year-old. She expresses herself pretty well and has a reasonably extensive vocabulary. For this reason, I sometimes forget that she is, in fact, only nine years old and sometimes she doesn't catch all the nuances of a given situation. Usually it's not hard to figure out when she gets confused, because she huffs out "This is too confusing!" and flounces away, but sometimes she doesn't say anything and it's only much later that it becomes clear that she was completely in the dark.

Case in point: The final Harry Potter movie. Angus was going to the premiere with a friend and the friend's little brother was going so she begged us to take her too even though she hadn't read all the books or had them read to her. So we did. She said she liked it. Then later she was talking about the scene where Snape is watching his memories in the pensieve and he remembers finding Harry's mother dead after Voldemort kills her. It turns out that Eve thought that was Snape remembering KILLING Harry's mother.

Yesterday we were baking cookies and listening to Christmas music. Sarah McLachlan's version of River was on the playlist and we had listened to it a few times in the last few days (Eve can really belt out that high note thanks to the singing lessons but then she gasps theatrically and says "how does she hold her BREATH for that long?").

So the song starts playing again. She listens for a bit, playing with a bowl of flour, then says "I don't really understand this song, but it seems sad." Pause. "Did she kill her son?" I drop my rolling pin and say "NO! What the hell? No! It's not that kind of baby! Do you think Justin Bieber means a real baby when he sings baby baby baby?" She says "No, but", and Sarah sings "I made my baby cry". I say "okay, fair enough. But do you really think I would put a song about infanticide on our Christmas playlist?" Eve laughs. Sarah sings "I made my baby say good-bye." I say "SEE? How would he say good-bye if he was dead?" Eve says "Well I thought it meant goodbye in a different sense. As in, say goodbye to the world. Because I'm gonna kill you."

She's now learning I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus in singing lessons. And she still believes in  Santa. Can just imagine where we're going to end up with that one.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

What we have here is a failure to communicate

It's been a while since we had a good Esso episode around here. But last night I took Angus to the chiropractor and on the way home he asked what we were having for dinner. I had been out all day and I was feeling lazy, so I didn't actually want to make the pizza that I had bought the pizza toppings for, but I knew we had naan bread in the freezer that I could use for pizza crust. So I said "naan pizzas". He said "so what are we having?" I looked at him quizzically and said "what did I just say?" and he said "well if it's not pizza, what is it?" Then we picked up Eve at my Mom's and had the same conversation, until I finally spelled it out: "NOT n-o-n pizzas, n-a-a-n pizzas!"

They liked them. Eve now calls them anti-pizzas.

Then in the middle of the night, my husband having wandered his restless legs off somewhere else already, Angus came in and said he'd had a really bad nightmare and crawled in with me. Matt, having heard someone up and about, came in to check and I whispered "he had a bad dream". Matt said "oh, I'm sorry" and patted him on the shoulder and said "do you have your fuzzy?" We both looked at him oddly, but it was dark so he couldn't see us, and he said "do you want me to go get your fuzzy?" and I said "are you high? it's ANGUS." And Matt looked confused and patted the rest of Angus and shook his head and wandered away again.

This family is fun.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

So much better than Dr. Phil

We had a weird Sunday. We were supposed to go get a Christmas tree, but it was raining so we put it off. Then Angus remembered he had a design and tech project and tried to call the boy whose house the table was being built at and couldn't get hold of him and there was a big freak-out over whether the project was being done without him and he was upset and we were upset and it was a whole big thing. Then we heard from the boy's Mom (who's my friend) and she said they thought Angus was busy with baseball on the week-end so two of the group were building the table and Angus and the fourth person were going to write up the project so it was all fine. Which was good, but obviously there was a lack of organization and clear communication that needed to be rectified, and there were leftover unsettled feelings.

We were coming off a month of Matt traveling a lot and Angus playing a crazy amount of sports and my fun-with-drugs experience. So at five o'clock I called an emergency family movie night with popcorn and ice cream for supper. We watched The Avengers. My lame-o kids demanded apples and carrots on the side. There was laughing and cringing and startling and hulk-smashing.

My son is growing up and out and away from us. That's okay. Generally he's pretty responsible and self-sufficient and doesn't need to be micro-managed. But sometimes we need to pull him back into our sphere for a while. Sometimes that's hard. But sometimes it's not.

I'm telling you - there's almost nothing Joss Whedon doesn't make better.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I believe that children are our future. Sorry, future.

I was driving Angus to school on Friday. It was -18 with the windchill. We stopped at a red light out around the corner, which put us right in front of two girls he knew waiting at the bus stop. I said "should we offer them a ride?" He said "NO!" I said "why the hell not? It's freezing out." He said "It would be too weird! Stop looking at them!" I said screw you and rolled down his window and asked them if they wanted a ride. They giggled and said no thank-you. I rolled up the window and said "Great. I'm an embarrassing mother all around. My work here is done."

A few days ago I found a sheet of paper on the dining room table with Angus's name on it. It looked like a sheet of questions that he was answering in order to describe himself. I asked him if we needed to do anything with it and he said I could just recycle it, but I put it on the kitchen table beside my computer so I could look at the rest of it when I had time because I was interested in seeing how he'd described himself.

Today I looked at it. One question asked Quelles sont tes possessions les plus importantes (what are your most important possessions). I don't know what I was expecting. I know 'locket with my mother's picture' or  'log book of my charitable projects' wasn't going to happen, but really? "Mon money et mon télévision"? He failed at French AND being a decent human being.

My friend was over for tea this morning and I told her about this. As consolation, she offered that her son had to do a project about an important person, and he started thinking he might do Barack Obama, but in the end settled on Luke from Modern Family.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Off the treadmill

I went to the gym today- oh wait.... yes, I really did go to the gym today. My ipod was dead and there wasn't an episode of I Didn't Know I was Pregnant on, so I consoled myself by spotting dubious grammar in various locations. There was a flyer for personal trainers and one of the benefits was that you would 'lose weight and tone'. Why would losing tone be a good thing? I wondered (no I didn't, yes this is kind of douchey, exercise sucks, work with me). Then the little stream of words at the bottom of the news channel said there was a drug raid in Quebec where the police seized 'heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana and vehicles'. There's a new drug called Vehicles, I thought? (no I didn't, well maybe I did for a second).

On the way out of the grocery store, an old woman pointed out that a bag of buns was falling out of my cart. Then she patted my arm and told me to put on my coat, which I hadn't because I was hot from working out and even though the temperature was low it was sunny and felt nice-cold rather than bitter-cold. Old people always tell me to put my coat on. She said "just don't catch a cold. Take care of your life. Have a nice day, dear." It could have been annoying, but it wasn't. It was sweet.

Angus was in his last volleyball tournament (stupid teachers' union, stupid government) and he said he'd like me to come watch. I hate going to watch. I have to find a place to park and figure out whether to take off my boots or just skulk around the edges of the gym and hope no one notices I'm wearing outdoor footwear, figure out which court Angus is on, feel conspicuous and awkward, he never knows exactly when he's going to play. I hate going to watch.

I love that he wants me to come watch. So I went to watch. It worked out well. I got a good parking spot, I found the court he was on easily and he played for a good half hour and then I could leave and I got to see him make a couple of good blocks and hit a couple of serves. Plus, Good Mom points IN THE BANK.

Last day of Nablopomo. I'm not sure how I feel about how it went this year except that it's done, and I did it even when I didn't want to, and sometimes that's good enough (I tell myself this at some point during every canoe trip I've ever been on.) Special thanks to Nan, who promised to comment on every post on day one and even though I emailed her and released her from the promise immediately because I thought she might have been overly optimistic or possibly high. And then she commented on EVERY SINGLE POST - even the lame ones that only got two comments. Thanks to everyone else who commented also; it's a whole lot of blathering to have to keep up with in a month.

Okay, let's all do that thing like the volleyball team does where we all come together and slap hands and whack each other's shoulders after every single thing that happens, and maybe call each other Man or Bro or something. Okay? Because I love you all. You're my people. (It's Friday, my husband's home after a week in France and this is my thirtieth post in thirty days - I'm non-drunk drunk.)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Surly Thursdays

I actually had a pretty nice day. I went to the gym - oh wait, no I didn`t, I had a headache and it was snowing so FUCK THE GYM. I made a hair appointment and recorded some cds onto the computer so I could donate them, and then I was all I`m gettin`shit DONE today and then I tried to watch Criminal Minds but it didn`t record because my PVR is all judgey and stupid. So I went to the library to shelve books and then Eve came in and sorted the picture books and ran around the shelves and made fun of silly book titles and it was like when she used to come in after morning junior kindergarten and we`d hang out in the library except it`s a new younger library tech now and she`s less cranky than the old one, who admittedly still was lovely to Eve, and once you hang around the library for a while you see how one could get burned out and short-fused, because man, the kids, they are loud, and you tell them not to run and they walk two steps and start running again as if they think they just turned invisible or you`re too stupid to keep watching or something. And they can`t find the Geronimo Stilton books, or the Guinness World Book of Records books, or the inventions books, and then you lead them right to them and then they decide they`d rather read about lemurs or origami and it`s just all very annoying after a while. This is why I go in late in the day and finish after everyone else is gone and a few teachers are practicing choral music at the piano just outside the library and people are leaving for the day and it`s relaxed and holiday-ish. Angus`s grade six teacher from last year stopped in to say hi on her way out. Eve was very bitter that the teacher talked to me in English and her in French (force of habit). She said ``It`s after school hours - I`M ALLOWED TO TALK ENGLISH``.

I had a random memory today of one of the first times Matt came home with me to my parents`old house. It was summer and we were playing badminton in the back yard and while he was backing up to try to hit, he fell over a planter and knocked out the flowers. I thought my Dad wouldn`t care, but he was actually kind of peeved. Matt and I were both pissed at each other for not falling all over ourselves to take the blame. His position was that my Dad had to like me no matter what. My position was that the guest always got off easier. Looking back I can`t help but think what a couple of whiny suckholes we were. Geez, way to stand up for your woman - your pathetic badminton-playing had some collateral damage, own it, man. Way to stand up for your man - clearly my superior sporting skills were to blame, I should have stepped up. And Dad, Dude, it`s a few petunias - suck it up already.

Also, I was wearing shorts and a sports bra and my boobs were ADORABLE.

NOW I`m surly.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday (thank god thank god thank god)












I've been making up Shutterfly calendars for Matt's Mom and Dad. I've been meaning to do them for years and finally got around to it and it's easy and fun and I had them shipped out today. Until yesterday I didn't have a good November picture.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Four Days More

Oh! I was just typing that to console myself that I only have to post every day for four more days, but it made me think of this, have you seen this? Okay, most of you are Facebook friends with me so you probably have, but if you haven't, it's very, very funny.

We went to Yuk Yuks on Saturday night with (counts in head) seven other couples. We did the dinner and show thing because you get preferred seating if you do this. After we did it, we realized we probably shouldn't have, because the food is pretty much as indifferent as you'd expect and then you get to sit NICE AND CLOSE to people who are going to notice if you're not paying attention and will probably ridicule you in front of a full house if they get the chance.

Anyway, it was funny. I was expecting to be doing quite a bit of polite laughing because I always feel bad if I don't laugh when someone's trying to be funny, but they were actually funny. I would put a clip of one of them from Youtube that I found on here, but the two clips I looked at were really kind of stupid, so he was having an off day or it was early in his career or something, and if I put it up I'm worried that you'll just feel sorry for me for thinking this dramatically unfunny person was funny, or suspect that it was the gin prompting my amusement and not the comedian, which screw you, he was funny, he liked raccoons and panthers that ate people, and he made fun of people who try to make smoking weed and dildos better and IT WAS FUNNY.

I took the van in to get an oil change today. Pam came with me. I was anxious, so she parked her car in the parking lot so she would be with me while I drove into the Express Lube lane. This is one of the many reasons I love Pam.

I'm tired. I'm going to make breakfast smoothies and lunches and try to remember which book I'm reading.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pass the effing sedatives

I had an appointment at the Royal Ottawa Hospital today to see my sleep doctor. This is the place with the small parking lot right in front of the main entrance, where every time I go I can't quite believe how easy it is to park.

Until today.

I don't know if it was a two-electro-convulsive-therapy-treatments-for-the-price-of-one Cyber Monday thing  (yeah, I shouldn't make jokes about the fact that the Royal Ottawa is for crazy people, except EVERY SINGLE PERSON I told I was going there for sleep stuff made jokes about me going to the Crazy People Hospital, and apparently if you're in a group you're allowed to make fun of the group, so...) but today the front parking lot was completely full, and there were cars parked all along the drive that led to.... nowhere. It looked like it should lead to more parking, because the lot in front is really quite small, but there was a staff parking lot, and a maintenance-and-delivery parking lot. You really had no choice but to drive along this path looking for a parking place, and then there was really no convenient place to turn around. There was a road that went nowhere, blocked with a concrete slab, so you could either make a fifteen-point turn or back up for half a kilometre, and then there was a big delivery truck I came face to face with and had to turn around in front of.

Did I mention I have pretty big anxiety issues?

There was another parking lot across the driveway that said private parking lot, which I thought maybe just meant more expensive, and I would have paid almost anything at that point, but I got over there and realized it was just a parking lot for some business that put its parking lot right beside the hospital parking lot just so they could experience great hilarity at the expense of hospital patients. Also, I almost slid into another car while trying to get out of that schadenfreude-laden parking lot, because did I mention it snowed a bunch last night?

My appointment was at 10:30. I got there at 10:20. At 10:40 I was still driving around trying to figure out what to do. Bursting into tears and going home was high on my list of preferential options. Heading for the nearest Tim's and filling my van with doughnuts was a close second.  I thought I should probably at least call the doctor's office and let him know what was going on.

Did I mention I forgot my phone?

I took one more pass. There was one spot. I would have to parallel park.

Did I mention I don't parallel park?

I took a first run at it. Ended up with my rear bumper against the curb and my nose sticking out into the drive. I thought maybe I'd misremembered where i was supposed to start relative to the other vehicle, so I took a second run. It was even worse. I figured I was remembering correctly how to do it, and remembering even more correctly that I sucked hard at it. I took a deep breath. There was no one coming down the drive behind me, so I took it as a sign. I tried once more. Now I will have to stop mocking movies where they do the big fake two-failures third-time's-a-charm thing, because I parallel parked that motherfucker like a rock star('s professional chauffeur). I got out and stood there gaping in admiration for a long moment even though I was later than I've ever been for a doctor's appointment by now.

Then I had my appointment and I've always liked this doctor but it was never more apparent than today that we just really don't speak the same language. He kept asking me things like "do you feel more rested in the morning? How much more? Is your reading comprehension better? How much better?" Um.... thirty-six percent? What do you want from me, Dude? I was sitting there feeling a bit demoralized that I don't feel that much better yet. And THEN he says, "well, the benefit from a CPAP machine really maximizes at four to six months". THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN HELPFUL INFORMATION TO HAVE UP FRONT, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

He's a nice man. I hope I never have to see him again.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pass the effing kleenex

When I was young, I cried all the time. It pissed off my mother, which seems unfair because she always cried a lot too. And it drives me insane how people think you should just be able to not do it, because duh, it's not like we do it for fun, or on demand. I got a little older. I still cried a lot. Weddings, funerals, auto shows. Then I stopped. I hardly ever cried any more. I thought maybe I was maturing. Maybe I was developing a nice hard cynical shell. Maybe I'd cried all the tears and there were none left.

Then I read a blog post where someone mentioned that she didn't cry any more because of the antidepressant she was on. I was thunderstruck. It was the drug? How did I miss that? I knew it made my eyes and mouth dry. I knew it made it hard to lose weight. How did I miss that it made me not cry? Which I was all in favour of, by the way - the less snotting up in public the better.

Now here I am. Since I started on the CPAP machine, I've gone to an extremely low dose of my antidepressant. And oh, fanfuckingtastic, I can cry again. Which would be fine if I could cry elegant, restrained movie-star tears - you know, just enough to feel in a sort of glamorous way that I'm able to hear the mournful music of the spheres, or feel the elegiac sere sadness of human life - shit like that.

But no. It's all ugly crying now. When Eve was at drama camp in London this summer and we went to the end-of-the-year show, the campers all sang this song and then the counsellors sang this song to the campers. If I'm ever caught in the car and one of these songs come on the radio? Good Christ, I have to pull over, it's freaking tearmageddon, the windshield fogs over, there are salt stains on the upholstery, HELP HELP, I NEED TO BE DEAD INSIDE AGAIN. I started watching this show because I stumbled over it on the Space channel and I needed to fill the space for a postapocalyptic tv show left when I realized that I couldn't force myself to watch the vapid, belly-button-exposing, generically-good-looking-leads dreck that is Revolution. It's mildly diverting, but it's not like I'm glued to it or anything. In fact, I was half-reading the paper today while watching. Then this woman is in labour and the baby is breech and this grizzled old soldier-guy walks in and washes his hands and says he helped the midwife turn his own daughter in utero before his wife's home birth. And suddenly I'm squishing up my face up so hard my chin is bumping my forehead in a desperate attempt to NOT START SOBBING ABOUT THIS STUPID ALIEN INVASION TV SHOW.

It's humiliating. It's undignified. Who the hell wants to walk around in constant danger of an incipient GLURT of weeping and wailing showering innocent bystanders? I'm going to have to up my dosage. Or get my tear ducts cauterized.

“Eventually something you love is going to be taken away. And then you will fall to the floor crying. And then, however much later, it is finally happening to you: you’re falling to the floor crying thinking, “I am falling to the floor crying,” but there’s an element of the ridiculous to it — you knew it would happen and, even worse, while you’re on the floor crying you look at the place where the wall meets the floor and you realize you didn’t paint it very well.” 
― Richard Siken

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Going Postal

Every year, we send Christmas presents to Matt's two brothers and their partners and children (in Toronto and Edmonton), his Mom and her husband and his Dad and his wife (in Thunder Bay at two separate addresses - oh, I did make it clear that they were divorced and remarried, so obviously they'd be at two separate addresses or whoo, that would be weird). That's fine; these are all people that I love and I'm pretty good at finding the right present for the right person. What is not fine is that, for the duration of the acquiring/wrapping/packing process, which can take up a good part of November and December, my entire living room and dining room are full of boxes and presents and wrapping paper. Nothing gets bought all at once, and then somehow even when most of the packages are ALMOST ready to go, there are always one or two more finishing touches left, then I remember that I need to include a card, with a witty summation of our year, and some pictures, and THEN when they finally ARE all ready to be mailed, it takes my husband those extra few days to get around to it, and then it costs as much to mail the wretched things as it did to buy them. And it adds a bitchy little twist to the holiday cocktail that I always wish wasn't there.

Last year I vowed that things would be different. I'm a good present-shopper, but an inefficient one. I tend not to make lists and cross off each person as their gift is acquired, but instead to pick up things that feel right and then often end up with eight gifts for one person and a depressing lack of presents for another. This year I would shop online and ship directly to the recipients and I would not buy anything unless I knew who it was for.

It hasn't worked perfectly. My campaign to get the downstairs storage closet cleaned out unearthed a veritable cornucopia of clothes and toys that need to be shipped to the small boy cousins in Edmonton, so I didn't restrict myself to online shopping for them. There were a couple of things I'd ordered for Matt's Mom and her husband LAST year that didn't come until after we'd shipped the package, so those need to be mailed. BUT, I have already ordered and received delivery confirmation for the stuff for my father-in-law and his wife and Matt's brother and his girlfriend in Toronto (even though I buggered up entering their address even thought it was RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME, and they're doctors so they've probably despaired of my intelligence). That's FIFTY PERCENT LESS boxes in my living room this year. Okay, that's not really correct, strictly mathematically speaking, because the Edmonton stuff has already filled three boxes, but whatever, shut up, it's a better success rate than I expected.

Also, I stopped myself from buying one of these at the craft fair. Because how would I decide who to give it to? I would have had to go back and get one for everyone. And my living room would have been full of.... okay, forget it, that would have been insanely cool and now I wish I'd done it.

Friday, November 23, 2012


I should go back and read last November's posts to see if I felt as disenchanted and resentful at this point as I do right now. Posting every day? Craziness! How is this a good idea?! What the hell was I thinking!? Would anyone notice if I stopped? Wouldn't everyone just be kind of relieved?

While I'm waffling, a couple of amusing anecdotes about testicles:

When I was living in Toronto, my parents were visiting and we were sitting out back drinking beer. The cat belonging to the people who lived in the basement was frolicking around and my dad, who loves cats, was playing with it. After it went back inside, someone asked if it was a male or female. My dad said it was a female. I said I was sure I had heard them say it was a male. He said it had rolled over and he had seen it didn't have testicles. I said maybe it was just fixed. He got very indignant and said "well I'm fixed and I still have mine!" And that was when we all realized my father didn't know that male animals didn't just get vasectomies when they got fixed.

This reminded me of when I was playing Trivial Pursuit with my friend Kim and there was a question about an American President (I think it was Lyndon Johnson) who was 'publicly castigated' for pulling his dog's ears in public. I read Kim the question and her eyes got huge and she said "they chopped his DICK off?"

And she wasn't my dumbest friend.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Surly Thursdays Two-fer! (not really)

Pam and I went for a walk this morning on a trail we like. We were going to go to the gym but we figured we were running out of days where we could walk outside in the November sunshine. It's hard to maintain your surliness in the face of this:

Of course, the picture doesn't show the fact that the unusual warmth of the day really ramped up the essence of cow shit, but that isn't surly-making so much as slightly gag-inducing. Still, it was a good walk.

Then we went to the grocery store. The grocery store had Rold Gold Peppermint Dipped Snowflake Pretzels. Take that, surliness. Even the residual snark left over from when that woman had to pull into the parking spot right next to us so badly that she almost ran over Pam melted away, mostly. 

Then we went to Shoppers Drug Mart because Angus wasn't happy with the blackhead scrub I bought him, and insisted that he needed daily pore cleanser, because yes, I'm at that stage now, and it's a BARREL of LAUGHS, let me tell you. We ran into the woman that I volunteered with at the book fair - the one who almost got the vapours every time she had to tell me I was doing something wrong? She saw us and said "Oh hi! Pam and.... Wendy?", then became so distraught when I had to correct her that I almost said 'no, sorry, I forgot! It's totally Wendy!' She's very nice, but the field of chaos I emit constantly might just be too much for her. 

Then I went into the library to shelve books and Eve came in after school and shelved the picture books and read us Green Eggs and Ham and Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon and it was nice.

Then we came home and my goulash didn't suck. Angus said "what is this?" and I said "it's kind of like Hungarian curry", so he ate it, and pronounced it good.

Then I checked my email and told Matt that another couple wanted a ride to Yuk Yuk's on Saturday. He said sure, just tell them no funny stuff in the back seat. And Eve said "Oh GOD! DAD! I KNOW stuff now! Before I would have just thought you meant making faces and poking each other!"

Then Eve told us about her teacher talking to them about animals and having to say 'le phoque' which is seal, and then saying "yes, fine, everybody go ahead, get it out, phoque phoque phoque, ha ha ha." Which led to Matt telling us a story about going to an international sales meeting where his German friend had learned the word clusterfuck and was using it with gay abandon, not really realizing exactly what it meant, and then a very serious South American conference moderator stood up and said that this was the first conference they had put on and they had spent a lot of time and money preparing, so he wanted to make sure everyone there was prepared to focus - focus hard, focus well, focus focus focus.

Except his accent made the long 'o' sound more like a short 'u'. 

Then he told Eve that that little story had to stay in the kitchen. So she ran off to play the piano, but then pranced back in and said "BUT, since I'm still in the kitchen...." and has been playing her song and then running into the kitchen humming and then very quietly saying 'fuck us' periodically, then running away cackling like a mad fool ever since.

What's a surly girl to do?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Surly Thursdays or whatever shut up I've been posting for twenty-one days straight

I'm cranky. No-good-reason, hair-trigger, don't-fuck-with-me cranky. Is it just me, or are some times just more difficult to fix in the mind than others? Eve has singing lessons at 6:30 on Wednesday evenings, but for some reason I always think it's six. I have dinner ready and remind her to brush her teeth, and we're ready to leave, and then I realize it's not until six-thirty, and we live about four seconds away from her teacher, so we're way too early. Except tonight the teacher wanted to do it at six, and all day I've been confused because I'm actually right, but then I'm not usually right, so am I really right? Then Eve came home with a sore throat and a fever and it didn't matter anyway, so FUCK.

Also, fuck the fucking people with their insisting on being served a fucking meal every fucking night. I'm sick of cooking the same four things over and over, and when I try something different why on earth is it a meatloaf with oats and milk in it? And why did I buy not enough ground beef and forget to reduce the other ingredients accordingly so it turns out a barely loaf-shaped mushy oat-y mess? Actually everyone else ate it quite happily (once I buried it under a blanket of melted cheese), but I thought it was icky. My husband was a fan of the idea of meat loaf, and suggested that next time I just try adding a little more... meat. So fine, but FUCK.

You know what would be really different? If someone on a TV show went through something traumatic and then said "Wow. You know, that car accident/ watching my partner get murdered/ war really messed me up. I probably shouldn't be trying to perform any complicated or stressful tasks right now, and I think it would be really good for me to talk to some kind of professional". Because it's really not original anymore, the whole "I'm fine! I'm fine! I'm totally good being a policeman or doctor or whatever and then AFTER I do something unbelievably reckless and disastrous consequences occur, won't it be a heartwarming dénouement when I finally walk into that psychiatrist's office?" It's old. It's tired. It's annoying.

To cap it all off, I left a comment today in which I used 'they're' instead of 'their'. FUCK.

I'm going to bed. Or out for a cheeseburger. I might bitch-slap someone denying their PTSD on the way.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Upnea Apdate

I went to the CPAP supplier today (they're called Inspiration Medic, which is cheesy but I love my contact person so I'm okay with it). We finalized the purchase of the machine, which I've been trying for free. The Ontario government pays for up to $780, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the supplier bills the government on our behalf instead of us having to pay for it and get reimbursed (I'm sure anyone who's ever attempted a mail-in rebate understands my apprehension).

I'm feeling okay. Not fabulous. Not like a new woman. Not a hundred percent different. I'm still having trouble keeping the mask on past five a.m. or so, and it still feels like a huge relief when I take it off. I still have trouble dragging my ass out of bed in the morning, although I think I have a little more energy once I am up. The days that I've been home I've gotten a fair bit of clearing out in the basement done and delivered a bunch of stuff to Goodwill.

The last time my husband traveled I think I didn't feel as dragged out by the end as I usually do. AND (this is a big and) on the cottage week-end there were more people than there ever have been, so I didn't get a room to myself which I usually do. I've been incredibly self-conscious about sleeping with anyone because of the whole snoring-like-a-chainsaw thing. But I used the machine and we both slept well. According to my husband, even when I take off the mask I don't snore like I used to, which is probably because using the mask has reduced the airway inflammation that was making me snore.

So that doesn't suck.

It annoys me that, just when I figure out how to adjust the straps on the mask so it fits well, I have to take it apart to clean it, and then when I put it back on I'm starting from square one - and a tiny discrepancy in the strap adjustment can make a huge difference to how well the mask fits, which makes a huge difference to how comfortable it is and whether I feel like I'm suffocating or not, or whether air blasts out into my eyes or onto my cheeks, which makes sleeping a little difficult. Today I told the supplier woman that I'm going to make Sharpie marks on it so I'll know where to put them when I put it back together. She said that was a really good idea. I'm a tiny bit surprised that I was the one telling her about it. Maybe I should look into this as a career if the whole library thing doesn't work out.

Gah, this is boring. Need to work on another condom post.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mondays on the Margins: Inside by Alix Ohlin

From the publisher:
When Grace, an exceedingly competent and devoted therapist in Montreal, stumbles across a man who has just failed to hang himself, her instinct to help kicks in immediately. Before long, however, she realizes that her feelings for this charismatic, extremely guarded stranger are far from straightforward. In the meantime, her troubled teenage patient, Annie, runs away from home and soon will reinvent herself in New York as an aspiring and ruthless actress, as unencumbered as humanly possible by any personal attachments. And Mitch, Grace’s ex-husband, who is a therapist as well, leaves the woman he’s desperately in love with to attend to a struggling native community in the bleak Arctic. We follow these four compelling, complex characters from Montreal and New York to Hollywood and Rwanda, each of them with a consciousness that is utterly distinct and urgently convincing. With razor-sharp emotional intelligence, Inside poignantly explores the many dangers as well as the imperative of making ourselves available to—and responsible for—those dearest to us.

The lovely Trish at Anansi sent me this book. I was very happy, since I had been eyeing the pretty snow-globe cover and wishing someone would send it to me. Then I started reading it and I was conflicted, since for the first few chapters, all I felt was a fervent gratitude that I was not any of these people. So I put it down for a few days. Then I picked it up again, preparing for a slog, and found myself unable to put it down.

On the back cover, someone named Jay Parini is quoted as saying that Ohlin writes like an Old Master. I have to disagree. There are mistakes, even rookie mistakes. I never got over my annoyance with the fact that Grace, the therapist, seems to be chasing after Tug, the suicidal mystery man, like a classic prideless woman or a high school girl who thinks that a tortured moody character is more desirable than a man who can hold down a job and participate in a conversation. While there are ways that this could have been written that made it not so cliché, in this case I felt like a lot of it was just that. Grace thinks "she understood that this elusiveness had been part of his appeal: he withheld himself, and kept her wanting more." I wanted more too, from her and for her.

The other characters, though, were more satisfyingly complex, even if no more comprehensible to me. Grace's ex-husband Mitch's experience in Iqaluit and the parallel story of Tug's time in Rwanda are powerful and harrowing descriptions of what it's like to be a privileged person witnessing -- and trying with a certain futility to effect change in -- horrifying, life-changing, soul-destroying events. There are no heroes and no last-minute escapes, just people caught in the grinding machinery of history, and people left to return to their regularly scheduled lives, with varying degrees of success. Here, Ohlin deftly avoids sentimentality and melodrama, which makes the whole Grace thing doubly incomprehensible to me. The character of Anne, Grace's teenaged patient who then moves to New York to become the "aspiring and ruthless actress" is probably the most impenetrable, and yet she is convincing, as someone who had no positive adult role models and then enters a business where artifice and manipulation are king.

I also loved that Martine, Mitch's lover and the mother of an autistic boy, isn't painted as any kind of saint - in fact, she's a bit of a bitch. There isn't anyone in this book that you would call a 'protagonist'. There isn't any kind of linear story and people do stupid frustrating things and wander in and out of each other's lives. I didn't fall in love with this book; I had kind of a sustained argument with it. Which means that it made me think. Which I'm thinking is probably a good thing.

Memorable Quotes:

-"Not one soul knew what she'd done, and the air of corrupt superiority this secret engendered in her changed her more than either the accidental pregnancy or its termination had."

-"This was the worst part, his poems seemed to say: you believed your cynicism would save you from hurt, only to discover a secret, uncherished vulnerability in your soul."

-"But the fact that she couldn't explain it to herself was maybe as good a reason to do something as she'd ever had. Sometimes you needed to surprise yourself with randomness, to prove you have depths that even you can't understand."

-"The woman looked at him with an undisguised scorn that had a kind of desire glimmering around the edges of it. What she wanted, he thought, was for a better candidate to come along, but she'd take what she could get."

-"Mitch had always been the nice guy who wryly accepted that nice guys finish last, and now he discovered that he wasn't all that nice, and that he was finishing last anyway, with only himself to blame."

-"But longing was part of life here, and it made him happy to feel his lack of these things, as sharp as hunger. He was addicted to want. He didn't know how this had happened, whether it was because of his childhood or some quirk of his personality or genes, but somehow he had become a person who needed to do without in order to appreciate what he had."

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Our husbands think it's all pillow fights in our underwear

So I spent the week-end with six other women at a cottage. As far as I can recall, the same core group of us have done this in the fall for four or five years. Sometimes someone can't make it, but this time all seven of us who have ever come were there.

It's a pretty good cross-section of late-thirties, early-forties women. Two of us are divorced and happily remarried. One is unmarried and childless (by choice). Four of us have two or three kids roughly the same ages, one has a one-year-old, and one is pregnant. We work full-time, part-time, have just gone back to work and, uh, then there's me. Several of us wrestle with depression, anxiety and other issues and the attendant fun-with-medication on a regular basis.

We have lunch and go shopping in Westport and Newboro. There's this insane store called Kilborn's that's kind of like the Tardis - bigger inside than outside. It looks like nothing, and then you walk in and it's a complete shoe store, a complete women's clothing store, a complete kitchen store - they actually cook stuff -  a complete wacky-shit-you-don't-find-anywhere-else store, plus hot sauce. There was a live band in there on Saturday, which Collette didn't believe us about because she was there for an hour and a half and never heard them.

Then we go back to the cottage and drink have dinner and eat junk food and play Cranium. We couldn't do any of the sculptorades questions this time because all of the clay containers were empty. Cynthia displayed crazy pregnancy telepathy for much of the first game - Margot would draw one line and Cynthia would yell "Edward the Sixth!" and be right. In the second game when I was Collette's partner she made me do all the spelling for the Word Worm category even though after 'fahrenheit' I made a dismal showing (it's hard spelling words without writing them down - anyone could forget that 'millennium' has a double n under those circumstances, that's what I'm telling myself). I learned another word I didn't know - 'crapulous', which apparently means hung-over, from the Latin crapula (seriously). Susanne and I guessed the wrong definition.

It's a good week-end. I think it's good for the soul to laugh until you can't breathe over how badly someone draws a sea kayak paddle or tries to hum 'That's Amore' or says 'mountain chair lift' when they mean 'musical chairs'. And to flop down on a couple of couches and, when someone says 'tell me all your deepest darkest secrets', look around at each other and realize we all know them already, and we're still friends.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I'm not really here

I'm at my friend Collette's Dad's cottage with six other women, drinking and eating red curry sweet potato soup and seafood fondue and giant Costco muffins and playing no-holds-barred full-contact Cranium. What I have learned from playing Cranium: it's really really hard to figure out what a song is from hearing it hummed, even if you're very musical; almost anything one molds with playdough can be construed to be something obscene; the word 'nubile' does not mean what I thought it did; spelling words backwards is much more difficult than it seems like it should be; Collette is a hugely obnoxious douchebag when she wins.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Who's the Nuttiest of Them All?

I was just emailing one of the commenters from yesterday's post saying that I wish people didn't have to feel like they have to say "my anxiety isn't as bad as yours" when talking about their anxiety. I really don't think I'm the Queen of Anxiety. I'm not the anxiousest in the land. But also, wtf is up with all the anxiety? Is it the genetically engineered corn? Is it a by-product of people idling their cars? Is Dr. Doofenshmirtz blasting us all with an Anxiety-inator?

Everyone in the Tri-State area will henceforth weep with agonized indecision when asked 'paper or plastic?'

For me right now, transitions are especially bad. I changed clothes five times trying to get out of the house to go to the school. Then I went to the portable which is Eve's classroom but the teacher wasn't there. By the time I found the correct room, I was sweaty and breathless and ready to burst into tears. But once I was in the room, I was totally fine. Of course, the fact that the main message was "tell Eve to keep being awesome" didn't hurt, but even if there were issues I think I would have been okay. I just can't get myself from 'at home making soup' to 'at school talking to teachers and helping at book fair' without much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. 
The book fair was fine - fun, even. I knew most of the people I was working with, except one woman who was blonde and pretty and very nice but didn't quite get me, and I felt bad that I kept making her sort of freak out. I started filling out an order form and I did it at the top instead of the bottom which was not correct but also not the end of the world, but she was blushing and hyperventilating trying to point out my mistake and she kept saying "I'm sorry", so I patted her on the shoulder and said "it's fine. And believe me, this won't be the last time tonight that you have to tell me YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG",  but that didn't seem to help. She didn't stay long after that - I'm hoping that was planned and that I didn't scare her away.

Most people were incredibly nice, even when there was a line-up or we screwed up with the credit/debit machine. Then there was one woman. I was doing pretty well with the adding stuff up in my head, but it was late in the night and I was tired. Generally, I would tell people the total, they would give me some money and I would do the "13.50, fourteen, fifteen, and five is twenty" while counting their change out of the box. This woman did that thing where it was six-fifty and she gave me a twenty and then five dimes. And.... I was lost. I knew it should be simple, but my brain seized up and I was too embarrassed to use the calculator, and so I tried counting the change out. She just looked at me, so I said "did I do that right?" and she said "No. It was six-fifty and I gave you twenty-fifty and you gave me thirteen." And then just looked at me some more. Until I said "You need fourteen?" And she said "Yes." So I gave her another loonie and an unvoiced wish that her eyebrows would be infested with public lice because wtf? She needed to dispense a little humiliation instead of just asking nicely for another dollar? She's lucky I didn't take her out with a moustache eraser.

I picked up the kids from my Mom and Dad's and we went home. Eve babbled at me for a bit, and then I explained that I'd been at the book fair all evening and I really needed some no-talking time, so she kissed me on the cheek and went upstairs. She came down a while later and said "I was thinking it was about six o'clock, and then I wondered why my eyes were closing and I really wanted a hug from you and I realized it's NINE." So she crawled into Matt's spot with her Fuzzy over her head and went to sleep and I came to bed and it was the first time she slept with me while I had my CPAP mask on and lasted all night. So that was nice.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I am anxious. And rambling.

So I'm shut of the bad drug. Well and good. I'm getting more good quality sleep than I have in years. Fine and dandy. But this week I'm having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep again and my anxiety is bad. Not for totally understandable reasons, like accidentally checking my luggage, but for really really stupid stuff, like picking Eve up at school for piano lessons or figuring out what to make for dinner or which book to read. I had stuff to do Monday Tuesday and Wednesday, which was good. Today I had nothing but making soup for a girls' cottage week-end and then my interview with Eve's teacher at four and then volunteering at the book fair until seven-thirty.

The soup is made. I drove Angus to school and went for a walk and mailed in an assignment and played Song Pop and took a shower and the soup was made before noon. I've been stuck ever since, waiting for four o'clock. Am I anxious ABOUT the interview? Hell no. My daughter is a teacher's dream. The interview will be dull in the extreme. Am I nervous about volunteering at the book fair? Nah. I can handle a bunch of hyped-up kids flipping out over moustache erasers and Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. So what am I anxious about? Dunno. Leaving the house? Getting dressed? A possible zombie apocalypse breaking out on the way? I can't even define the terms.

You know what annoys and baffles me? When people on tv who are related to or friends with someone who was murdered get questioned by the police and, upon being asked for an alibi, get all huffy and self-righteous and say things like "you can't possibly think I killed him". How stupid is that? The police don't know you personally, all they know is that a huge number of people are killed by their spouse or their parent or someone else they know. If the police asked me, I'd say "well yes, it's true that whenever he dropped French phrases into conversation or referred once again to his time in the foreign legion I imagined stabbing him in the head, but look, I've had such bad carpal tunnel since my first pregnancy I couldn't possibly have done it."

I read in the paper today that there's a mother in southern Ontario who's demanding that the school cut down some oak trees near the school playground because her child is nut-allergic and if they allow acorns anywhere near where her kid might be they can't really claim their school is a nut-free environment. All due sympathy to parents of kids with severe food allergies, but I'm thinking that if she wants the school to be completely nut-free she maybe shouldn't be allowed in it either. Is that mean? Sorry. It's the anxiety.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fear and Loathing on Via Rail

Forgot to share this fun little anecdote about what occurred on my way home from my awesome Montreal week-end. I had taken the train, because there was a half-price sale and I could go first class for a really good price. The trip there was lovely - I was right in the front and the porter either sensed my anxiety or was just really really good at his job, because he seemed to explain everything to me in extra-precise detail, including how to get to the escalator when I got off in Montreal. It was like he had visions of me wandering around on the platform with my suitcase or trying to drag it up a staircase because I looked just that incompetent. Also, the food was amazing and there was plentiful train wine.

When I looked at my voucher for the trip back, it looked like they were changing their baggage regulations between the Friday and the Sunday. Naturally, the written rules were completely impenetrable. I had a huge suitcase for only two days because my husband told me to take one big roller bag and stuff everything in it, including my fairly heavy CPAP machine, so I wouldn't be carrying stuff if I had to walk any distance. I wasn't sure if the bag was too big or too heavy, thought, although it had been no big deal on the way there, and I loved that it was sitting in the rack at the front of the car and I could see it the whole trip, because I have ISSUES, people!

So I went up to the counter to ask where the gate was for my train, and then I asked if I should get my bag weighed or something. She told me to go around the corner and the man would help me. I went around the corner and the man told me to stick my suitcase on the scale. I did, and it looked like it came in just under the weight limit, so I was about to take it and go to the lounge, but suddenly the man slapped a tag on it and said, "Great. You'll see it again at Fallowfield."

What I thought: "Wait. No. I don't want it checked. I hate checking baggage. I don't trust any of you to not lose or wreck my stuff. How did I lose control so quickly? Give it back."

What I said: "Er....okay."

I walked over to the lounge. I sat down. I looked at the baggage claim ticket. I realized I wasn't supposed to check medical equipment. I realized I had given away a fifteen-hundred dollar machine I was still trying for free. I realized that the kids were at my parents' house and if they lost my bag I would have to tell my mother. I flushed hot and cold and started to hyperventilate. I took out my phone and thought I might look for comfort on Twitter and then realized when I got my phone and Angus's that I told them to give him the internet on his phone and not to put it on mine because I wouldn't need it and WHY THE FUCK DIDN'T I REALIZE THAT I MIGHT ONE DAY BE HAVING HYSTERICS IN THE VIA RAIL LOUNGE AND NEED TWITTER TO TALK ME DOWN??????????

I really didn't want to have security called, so I realized I was going to have to talk myself down. I told myself that it was only a two and a half hour ride and that even if my bag didn't make it, it would only be in Montreal (the odds that they would stick my bag on a train to Australia or something were pretty low, right?) I checked my ticket and it said the right station name on it. I took some deep breaths. I went to line up for my train.

When I got on my train, I decided that my fear of looking stupid was less than my fear of the anxiety attack ramping up again, so I asked the porter where and how I would get my bag back, and then I said "they don't tend to.... lose bags, do they?" The porter said that the baggage car was right in front of ours and my bag would be fine. She didn't give any indication that she thought I sounded like a loon. I wanted to give her some cash but I thought that might make things awkward.

The train started. I ordered a large gin and tonic. I read my book. Why can't I remember what book it was? Oh my god, it was this book, and there was a train crash in it. Strangely, that didn't affect me at all.

I got back to Barrhaven. I got my bag (it took them just long enough to find it that I wondered if they were messing with me). It was all good.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I do not know what to blog about tonight

Or perhaps it's more accurate to say I don't really feel like blogging about anything substantial tonight. I'm tired, but tired because I've done stuff and not just too tired to do stuff, so that's good. Matt had a surprise trip to Texas come up, which spoils my evil plan for him taking the kids to get their flu shots at the nearby high school on Thursday while I go to my interview with Eve's teacher and then volunteer for the book fair all evening.

I took the kids out for dinner while our cleaning lady was here, and my parents came. It was nice. Our waiter was funny and my Dad is always funny with waiters, so it's terrible if the waiter has no sense of humour. Angus told us about playing dodgeball against the teachers and said his volleyball coach always fired the ball at him and all the other teachers said they were going to test him for steroids. Eve had spaghetti and french fries and cheese toast, so I guess I'll make her run a marathon before bed. On the way home Angus said "when I move out I want to live somewhere that has pillars." Um, okay.

I am going to make lunches and put my kids to bed and finish this book.

Monday, November 12, 2012


I'm way too attached to things. I know this. I've never been good at throwing things out, not because of any intrinsic value but because of the memories attached to the artifacts. I feel a deep, yearning need to own books I love - just knowing that they exist in the world isn't good enough, even thought I tell myself I don't have enough time to reread them anyway. My house is crammed with souvenir mugs, old photographs, ticket stubs, wooden spoons from my mother's kitchen, and items I won't even admit to.Naturally it's only gotten worse since I had children. Some people keep the outfit they brought their baby home in. I have bins of baby and toddler clothes I can't bear to get rid of. Many people are able to keep one or two pictures their children have drawn and recycle the rest. I have teetering stacks of drawings and paintings: rudimentary people with only facial features and belly buttons; the picture Angus drew over and over of a house, a lawn, a giant flower and a rocket ship flying overhead; pages and pages of the tiny circles Eve drew when she was one and a half and could finally grasp a pencil; formless blobs and millions of rainbows.

It's a messy tangle, my reasons for being a near-hoarder. I've always had trouble with organization, so whenever I feel the impulse to get rid of something I always feel a vague fear that I just haven't remembered what I need it for, or that the day after I get rid of it I'll find the companion piece that makes it a vital part of my life. Also, despite my hard-bitten cynical exterior (shut up, I do so have a hard-bitten cynical exterior) on the inside I am a melting morass of sentimentality. I also tend not to sort events in my life into major and minor - for me, almost everything is a major event, and requires a careful curation of the accompanying objects.

When I cleaned out the kids' rooms last fall so my Dad could paint and lay down near flooring, I knew that keeping everything wasn't an option, so I employed my newest technique for easing the pain of separation, which is photographing the soon-to-be-gone things.

I still have trouble getting rid of things that hung in their rooms when they were babies.

Or examples of how they wrote.

Or things they made with their own little hands.

Or things they were passionate about.

Or things that seem bereft without their larger context.

Or things like whatever the hell this is.

 Sometimes we change a room around and then I feel a sudden lurching panic because I didn't photograph it how it was originally. It's like I can't orient myself properly if I don't have access to every successive iteration of any possible environment.

I know that part of it is my unwillingness to let things go - stages of my life, stages of my children's lives. And I know that there's no way to not let it go. Part of the beauty of having children - and, well, every other beautiful thing -  is the transitory nature of every change, every expression, every wrongly-pronounced word, every tiny starfish hand and gorgeously rounded belly, every daisy-strewn little dress and every tiny mitten. And keeping all the things won't change that. It just makes me feel drowned in things.

Also, I don't want to pass down the madness. Yesterday I was going through a bag of clothes we'd lent someone that they'd returned and found a pair of giraffe pajamas that Eve wore when she was three. I showed them to her and she clutched them to her chest and said "we CAN'T give these away! I'm going to use them for my daughter! If I have a daughter." So that was okay.

A little while later I was at the computer and I saw her looking down at something beside the stairs and saying "oh no! Are we getting rid of this? That's so sad!" I thought it was more baby clothes.

But no. We got a new fridge that dispenses water and ice, and even after much excitement over this development and constant clamouring for 'a glass of fridge-water', Eve was stricken that we were getting rid...

Of the ice cube tray.

Folks.... we may be in need of an intervention

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Pittance of Time

I wrote this post last year. It still says everything I want to say about Remembrance Day.

Two Minutes

I was in my kitchen this morning when the clock clicked over to 11:00. I didn't know where to look for the two minutes of silence, so I watched my microwave clock. For two minutes.

It always feels longer than I expect, standing there doing nothing for two minutes. I tried not to let my mind wander, but I kept thinking about stupid stuff. I wanted to take out the garbage. I wanted to wipe the counters. I wanted to get set up on the table to start the assignment I should have started two days ago. I forced myself to be quiet and still for two minutes.

I thought about what it would be like not just to be annoyed about having to be still. About what it would be like to also be hungry, or thirsty, cold or hot, unwashed and weighed down with pounds and pounds of heavy equipment. I thought about what it would be like if I had to be quiet as if my life depended on it.

I can't find the exact quote, but I thought I'd heard something about war being equal parts boredom and terror. Fortunately for those of us who haven't had to go to war, we're much more conversant with boredom.

Remembrance Day. It's the other Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Anecdotal EVEdence

The other day my husband called me at home to tell me about what happened while he was driving Eve to school. She was talking about a series of books they were reading about a boy named Marcus. Everybody had noticed that Marcus's dad never showed up for things at school, like a play he was in, and nobody knew why. Then, Eve said, the book they were reading the previous day revealed that Marcus's dad didn't show up "because he was drunk". It was so unexpected and she said it so matter-of-factly that it caught my husband totally off guard and he burst out laughing. And then couldn't stop laughing. And laughed until he had to pull the car over. He wanted to tell me in case Eve mentioned it. Which she did, as soon as she got home. She said "Daddy laughed so much I thought there was something wrong with him."

Today Eve crawled into bed to snuggle in the morning. She has this habit of recounting the entire plots and dialogue of tv shows that drives me crazy. Today she was talking about Jessie, a show I found mildly amusing until I saw the same four episodes twelve hundred times. At least this was a new episode, so I let Eve babble on for a bit. She was talking about Jessie (the nanny) was supposed to decorate the apartment for a celebration of the day that one of the children was adopted. She decorates badly and then says "oh no, when Zuri sees it she's going to go like this" (makes an odd face) and the brother of the girl says "she's going to look constipated?" and Jessie says "no! That's my sad face. Now I understand why my drama teacher gave me a D." Pause. "And those bran muffins". And then I laughed so hard that Eve said it reminded her of Daddy laughing at Marcus's drunk dad.

What can I say? The girl has timing.

Friday, November 9, 2012

More About Condoms!

Okay, that's a total lie, but clearly that's what you filthy-minded people respond to - don't hate the player, hate the game.

I'm heading out for World Trivia Night shortly to fill my valuable position anchoring our team. And by anchoring I mean I'm dead weight. Seriously, I don't even know why they let me keep coming.

I'm hoping to post again before midnight, but if I don't get a chance you could do worse than to read this and this. One of these women I know nothing about, and one I heard read at Voices of the Year at BlogHer in August, but when I saw the letters this morning I thought to myself that if I did nothing but read these today it would still have been a great day.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

ProphylAxis of Evil

************TMI ALERT*****************

So. I've been on the pill until recently even though I'm a couple years past forty. I always had crummy periods off the pill and, aside from the headaches which I hadn't connected with it, it worked well for me in a number of areas, so I just kept taking it. I had a doctor's appointment last week and my doctor said if I have headaches a lot (which I do), this was a good reason (in addition to being past forty) to stop taking it.

Most of the men in our circle of friends had their appointment with Dr. Weiss (yes, that is pronounced 'vice') years ago, shortly after the second or third child; all the couples felt confident that their families were complete. Matt and I remained stubbornly on the fence about a third kid for a long time. At this point, when I confess this, people ask me "are you off the fence now?", with a tone implying "if you aren't, our further friendship and your sanity might be in line for some evaluation". And yeah, we are pretty much off the fence now, although with an everlasting sense of regret, on my part at least.

But now here we are. There's no good reason this should be a big deal, and yet I can't help feeling like it's going to turn into a big deal. Should I make the appointment for him? I feel vaguely resentful when I have to make his medical appointments, but if I do at least he goes to medical appointments, whereas if I wait for him to make the appointment the appointment will not be made any time soon. Of course, I'm almost as bad at 1) remembering I need to make the appointment and 2) forcing myself to pick up the phone and make the appointment, so if I do it, it still won't be any time REALLY soon. Then there's the fact that we'll most likely have to tell our kids what's going on, which is fine, but... awkward? Oh wait - we let Eve watch the vasectomy episode of Modern Family the other day. Problem solved - I'll just tell Angus to ask her.

In the meantime, I told Matt he should pick up some condoms. We've pretty much never used condoms because of my aforementioned liking for the pill. So when he said "I think I have some" I gave him a look that contained equal amounts of "wtf?" and "Dude, you got some splainin' to do". He said "remember, after Eve was born you didn't want to go on that low estrogen birth control pill that makes you even more crazy?"

"Hon," I said gently, "Eve was born NINE AND A HALF YEARS AGO." He was dumbstruck at the notion that condoms might have an expiry date. Clearly, if I  left the responsibility for limiting this family to four in his hands, all bets were off.

So today I was in the drugstore anyway, so I figured I'd pick up some condoms.

I hate when we need toothpaste. I hate buying toothpaste. There is a ridiculously high number of kinds of toothpaste available - whitening, brightening, gel, paste, sensitivity-reducing, tartar control..... it makes me dizzy and gives me a headache and makes me think about the decay of civilization in a way I don't really want to in the oral hygiene aisle at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Condoms are worse.

In the end, I pretty much closed my eyes and grabbed a box at random and tossed it into my cart. I got to the checkout, and while I wasn't embarrassed the way I probably would have been twenty years ago, I wasn't looking to broadcast the fact that I was buying condoms. But of course, the goddamned box wouldn't scan, so the cashier slammed it over the scanner a few times and then realized it was open. She gave me a knowing look and said "I bet there aren't twenty in there anymore", which made me snort at some poor broke or bashful teenager's expense. But when I said "I'll just go grab another box" she said "well just let me check" and she pulled the ENTIRE STRIP of condoms out of the box and counted them one by one. And they were all there, so then she shoved them all back in and I paid for them. And then walked out of the store while the rest of the line applauded behind me. And came home and called Dr. Weiss.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Movember (times seven)

The Sheriff

The Bruiser

The Square

The Weasel
The Hero

The Grandpa

The Hollywood

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Crap, I need a picture of a kitten

It's all very well to say yay, I'm done talking drugs for a while, but it's STILL NABLOPOMO people, and I sat down and all of a sudden I've got nothing. 

Book stuff: The book I mentioned in this post that I was trying to remember the title of in this post was The Stranger You Seek by Amanda Kyle Williams. I'll just go ahead and confess that, after determining that I had not recorded it on Goodreads (by scrolling through most of my one thousand three hundred and sixty 'read' books) I pored aimlessly over the list of 'Mystery' titles in the Ottawa Public Library's database until I found it. One might wonder why I can't apply this type of dogged perseverance to, say, attaining gainful employment or organizing my basement storage space, and one would not be alone, but one might end up with nothing but a vague sense of dissatisfaction and a yen for chocolate, so I don't recommend it. 

Anyway, the author did have a second book out. However,  I had just determined that, other than a sense that I had liked the book, I couldn't actually remember anything about it except that the protagonist was female, Asian and an alcoholic, which had cost her her job as a..... police detective? (nope, FBI profiler). Also, that the story took place somewhere hot.... Hawaii, maybe? (nope. Atlanta). So I thought maybe I should see if the first book stood up to a second reading.

It did. The experience didn't settle my worries about my memory at all, since I remembered much of the story once I started reading but the final twist still came as a huge surprise. But the book was solid and I didn't even skim it, just dug right in for the second pass. There's violence, but it's not gratuitous or exploitative - the description is mournful rather than titillating (ha, titillating). The writing is insightful and the main characters are likable, although some of the peripheral characters could be a bit more fleshed out. The main character is Asian but her adoptive family is Caucasian and extremely stereotypical 'Southern', and her adopted brother is African American; the family stuff is both humorous, infuriating and believable, and I look forward to it being further explored in later books. 

I only managed to note two quotes before I got lazy:

-“I’d been a licensed Bail Recovery Agent since leaving the Bureau. It bought the groceries while I built my private investigating business, and it still supplemented my income nicely. My shrink, Dr. Shetty, says it’s a power thing, that I have a brutal case of penis envy. What can I say? I like strapping on a big Glock now and then.”

-“Sometimes you only get one chance at something. Sometimes that’s a good thing too. When that door slams shut on the thing you couldn’t live without, what happens next is when the real education begins. You have to figure out how to make some peace with it all, how to have an interior life you can live with."

This is the type of mystery that keeps me reading mysteries. 

So, uh... Tuesdays on the Margins? Who's.... with me?...... 

Monday, November 5, 2012


Today I've decided to try channeling Harriet, whose gratitude posts I always admire and love reading. I know, I know, on my blog it should be probably be called Grattitude - I'm TRYING, people! Plus I'm only talking about drugs a little.

I am grateful for:

1) My whack-job of a daughter who turns everything into a laugh-fest. Today, after someone on YTV made a reference to helping 'old people', she said "a nicer way to say old people is 'elderlies'. It means they're wise. Well, no it doesn't, it still just means old. But it's a more sophisticated way to say it and sounds nicer."

2) My son, who is taller than me, but still wants me to tuck him in at night (which consists of holding on to the rail of his loft bed to pull myself onto the single bed under it, then leaning far enough over the rail to kiss his ear).

3) My husband, who has withstood a lot of bitching over the past week, including me asking him for Christmas present ideas for his family and then mocking, belittling and generally shooting down every single one of those ideas. Thank goodness The Oatmeal has a new book out.

4) That I had the option of choosing to stop taking the evil drug from hell, because I didn't need it to treat cancer or something else that's severe or life-threatening. People with mental illnesses such as schizophrenia often get chided for not taking their meds, and their reason is often that it makes them feel bad. After this past year, I have a deep and sympathetic (and empathetic) understanding of what they mean.

5) Pam, who is basically a happy-pill in person form, with very few adverse side effects (unless you count a little extra ass from the times we go to Suzy Q instead of the gym). We're going to the gym tomorrow. Straight to the gym. Honest.

6) Everyone who reads this blog and has been so kind and thoughtful in your comments over the past week, and every other time I fall into a drama pot-hole. You have all helped me more than I can say.

Okay, now something to cut the sweetness.

Does The Oatmeal not fucking rock so incredibly hard? I tried to make steel-cut oats today because everyone and their hairy aunt with the mole says steel-cut-oats are the freaking bomb, they don't get mushy! They give you energy! They soak up cholesterol! They never send you email chain letters! I kept waiting for all the water to be absorbed but I just got this big wet mess of oats with some burned to the bottom of the pot, with a layer of something disturbingly mucus-like on top. I stuck it in the fridge to throw out next week. The other Oatmeal is SO MUCH BETTER than steel-cut oatmeal

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Take This Drug and Shove It

So I woke up this morning. Ish. And I dragged myself into the shower. And I looked back at this nightmarish week (and I mean this in a sort-of literal sense - it's not that anything especially bad happened to me, it's just that everything felt uncanny and skewed and subtly but unmistakably wrong, like it does in a nightmare). And I pictured doing it all over again for another week, and then another.

And then I thought, well fuck that.

It gets so hard to get any clarity once you start putting something like this in your system. I know it feels bad, but I cling to this idea that maybe it has to be bad in order to then get better. He's a psychiatrist, he knows about the drugs, is what I've been thinking all week. But, I thought today, he doesn't know about me, or how my brain works, or what this feels like for me, or what my life is like - not like I do. I'm the expert in me.

Before I started this (in case I've been unintentionally cryptic about 'this': my sleep doctor, who is also a psychiatrist, added a new antidepressant which he said was different from most other antidepressants, worked on the two areas of the brain that produce physical and mental symptoms of anxiety, and was also a sleep aid. This is in addition to the antidepressant I'm still taking, at a reduced dose) I was feeling better. Not all better, but better. It was a little easier to get up in the morning. My anxiety was bad, but I was managing it. Now I feel like I've gone backwards. Waking up in the morning is ten times harder, which makes me feel lazy and more depressed. I have to save up all my energy to do one thing in a day before I have to rest because I feel like the world is constantly pitching and rolling and coming at me like sleet, or arrows. When I stayed home to answer the door at Halloween, every doorbell - which I was expecting - sent me into a full-body seizure adrenaline-dump (which I'm thinking is not a strong endorsement for a drug that promises to alleviate symptoms of anxiety). I had to leave a really great dinner party early last night because someone cranked up the music, and suddenly the loud-noise sensitivity morphed into this thing where I felt like the music was crushing me and squeezing all the air out of my lungs (is aural claustrophobia an actual thing, or have I actually invented a new, really-messed-up side effect?)

I could stay the course. I could put myself, and my husband, and my kids, and my friends, through another week or another month of this, in the possibly-vain hope that I will emerge with something better than what I had before. At this point, I don't think the cost is worth the possible future benefit.

Thanks for all the helpful words. I will try really hard to blog about something other than how high I am for the rest of November.