Showing posts from 2013

Meme Mon...Saturday, and something about Festivus.

Nicole and I are bringing memes back, so in typical Nicole-and-Allison fashion, Nicole brought memes back starting two days BEFORE Christmas, and Hannah brought memes back very soon after, and me? Here I am straggling in on whatever the hell day this is, when it's really just a little pathetic to still be talking about Christmas television, but I'M OKAY WITH THAT. Nicole also takes her Christmas tree down the day after Christmas and ruthlessly sweeps out and puts away every pine needle, silver bell and sparkly ribbon, so we're clearly just barely the same species.

What is your favourite Christmas television special, and why?

A Charlie Brown Christmas. I love The Grinch, and Frosty the Snowman, and, truthfully, all the other dumbass specials that Family Channel spits out at this time of year. But nothing gets me right in the heart like a Vince Guaraldi soundtrack, those manically dancing little Peanuts figures and that pitiful little tree.

When I was still in the hospital af…

Ten Books

The lovely, talented, sweet-as-toffee-pretzel-bark and ever-so-bendy Nicole decided we should take this Facebook meme to the blogosphere. I have a tendency to overthink these things (I'm sure you never would have guessed) so I've been avoiding it on Facebook, but here it is three days since I've blogged AGAIN, it's 9:30 p.m. and I'm waiting for white chocolate and coconut to firm up enough to scoop into truffles, and who am I to look a gift meme in the mouth?

So. Ten books that have stayed with you. Ten books. Jesus. According to Goodreads I've read about 1500 that I've remembered/been willing to admit to. And these days even the things that stay with me don't stay with me, my memory being you know, that thing you use to sift flour and shit. And, unlike Nicole, I'm not a great rereader - not because I don't think rereading is a wonderful and worthwhile enterprise, but because I'm always feeling like I have to forge ahead in t…

Mondays on the Margins: Mending the Moon by Susan Palwick

Synopsis from Goodreads: Melinda Soto, aged sixty-four, vacationing in Mexico, is murdered by a fellow American tourist.

Back in her hometown of Reno, Nevada, she leaves behind her adopted son, Jeremy, whom she rescued from war-torn Guatamala when he was a toddler—just one of her many causes over the years. And she leaves behind a circle of friends: Veronique, the academic stuck in a teaching job from which she can't retire; Rosemary, who's losing her husband to Alzheimer's and who's trying to lose herself in volunteer work; Henrietta, the priest at Rosemary's and Melinda's church.

Jeremy already had a fraught relationship with his charismatic mother and the people in her orbit. Now her death is tearing him apart, and he can barely stand the rituals of remembrance that ensue among his mother’s friends. Then the police reveal who killed Melinda: a Seattle teenager who flew home to his parents and drowned himself just days later.

It's too much. Jeremy's not…

My Bark is Better than My Bite

This is what I did this afternoon:

The ones on the right (toffee shortbread or shortbread meltaways - my recipe is on a pink page from a flour recipe book, and I've miraculously managed not to lose it - this is almost exactly the same) has become my go-to Christmas cookie over the past few years, and one of the only cookies I can actually "whip up", which to me means very little recipe consultation - since my memory's gotten so bad and I'm a bit obsessive, following a recipe usually means frequent and repeated looking back at the recipe between adding and stirring things. The kids love them, they freeze like a dream well, shortbread, and Skor bits, so duh.
In the middle is salted chocolate toffee pretzel bark, which I found last year, I think by Googling pretzel toffee bark (okay, not the most gripping story - the recipe makes up for it). Every time someone tastes it, their first question is whether you need a candy thermometer to make it, and once …

Evan from EvoShield gets me. He really gets me.

Alternate title: "Most embarrassing thing I've had to ask about since going to Rogers Video and saying "um, I was wondering if you happened to have noticed that I mistakenly returned an Iron Man DVD case with a Dora's Mermaid Adventure DVD inside?" Well, the most embarrassing one I'm willing to admit, anyway.
Adams Family McCaskill Dec 07 10:14 PM (EST) I'm trying to get into my account to see what colour socks I ordered my son and it keeps saying my password is wrong (I didn't think it was, but it's possible), but I asked for my password to be emailed to me and still haven't gotten the email. And I need to order the right coloured freaking socks before Christmas. How do I proceed?
Evan (EvoShield) Dec 09 05:21 PM (EST) Hey Allison, Sorry you had an issues with locating your order. If the order was placed as a Guest then you probably can not access it without the order information. Do you know what name the order was placed unde…

In which I will not talk about The Shining the way I thought I was going to

Last year when I was about to embark on my -- hang on a second -- FOURTH NaBloPoMo (I was about to say 'third or fourth' and then I remembered that a couple of weeks ago I asked my friend if her husband's law practice had been open for more than a year and she told me it was FOUR, so I counted), a friend warned me that NaBloPoMo had killed her blog. I always think it kind of resurrects mine - the fact that I'm obligated (however artificially) to post every day removes a lot of the pressure to post only weighty or worthy or thrice-polished material, and it gets me back in the habit of writing, after a fall season where school and activites have started and my resolve is often flagging.

When NaBloPoMo ends, I usually post again the day after or the second day after, and I think "yeah! I've GOT this! I'm going to keep posting every day! Or almost every day!" And then another day or two goes by, and I've got an idea of what my next post will be, but i…

Mondays on the Margins: Remember When I Used to Write Coherently About Books?

I have high hopes that I will again someday.

Today is not that day.

I wanted to write about a book of short stories that I took out of the library. I looked at the book notes that I keep as Word files, hoping that I had made notes on it, although I had no memory of making notes on it - I do many things that I have no memory of doing these days.

I didn't make notes on it. I also didn't order a copy of it when I ordered books the other day, using the gift cards Angus gave me because he had a bunch piled up in his room and was never going to use them (talk about a gift that makes you simultaneously exultant and despairing). I would have put it on my list of books to buy; in fact, I might have. But I can't find the list.

I feel a little like I'm walking on a disappearing path.

 Today while we were sitting waiting for our estimate at the collision centre, I told Matt that I was throwing in a load of laundry in last night, intending to go to bed right afterwards, then I went…

Thirty Days Has November

Last day. It always feels like I should have some big wrap-up 'ending' post, and I don't think I ever do. I don't feel like I covered myself in glory, but it's kind of like when halfway through a canoe trip I wonder why the hell I ever thought this was a good idea, and then at some further point it becomes clear that some things you just do to see if you can do them. You might not do them perfectly (especially if you're in a canoe with a crazy Austrian who periodically takes it into his head to see how well a canoe corners) and they might not change your life, but you commit, and you complete, and you feel a kind of quiet satisfaction, or it would be quiet if the thing itself didn't require you to GO ON TYPING EVERY DAY FOR A GODDAMNED MONTH.

Okay, clearly I'm still a little conflicted.

I am grateful beyond words to all of you for keeping me company through this bleak and bumpy space of days (Steph - you're so cute. Don't ever, ever apologize fo…

Batting Clean-Up

I can't think why I didn't mention that my kick-ass awesome day yesterday started with tea with Sarah after dropping the kids at school. Wait, yes I can; it's because I had been to the dentist, where I waited for eighty grueling years for the torment to end (I hate being tipped backwards and lying down. I hate people touching my face. I hate the horrible scritching sound. I hate all that more than I hate the pain, which is not all that bad. And my hygienist is very, very nice and understanding of dentist anxiety and makes it as un-horrible as possible, which is to say still very, very horrible) and then I went to get groceries and then I went home and felt hot and tired and dizzy and realized I hadn't really eaten anything all day because I was nervous about the dentist (although tea with Sarah was an absolutely splendid distraction) and then I went to get Eve and then we went to the mall and then we came home at seven and then I went to get Angus from volleyball at sc…

Gray Thursday?

The whole concept of Black Friday eludes me. I mean, Boxing Day makes a twisted, horrifying sort of sense, I guess - you just bought a bunch of stuff for other people, then you go buy a bunch of stuff for yourself, and it comes in...boxes...or something (I don't shop on Boxing Day either). But Black Friday? That sounds like a plague or something. Crap, it just occurred to me that if I Google 'Black Friday' I might discover some extremely good reason why Black Friday is called Black Friday.

I'm not doing it. Can't make me.

Anyway. There is no way in hell I will be crashing through anybody's door at seven o'clock tomorrow morning. BUT Eve needed a Christmas outfit and some pants that fit for the winter, and I needed some goat milk lotion from Crabtree and Evelyn (shut up, I totally needed it) and Angus was staying after school for the evening to referee the grade seven volleyball tournament. And it's Thursday, NOT Black Friday.

Yesterday Eve said "so…

Day 27

It snowed. I told Angus if we got 20 centimeters of snow I wouldn't be able to drive him to volleyball practice at seven. So he got up at six and shoveled the driveway. So, okay, I drove him to practice. Then he called me after second period and said there were only six kids in his class, and could he come home? So I said yes.

Meanwhile, the buses for Eve's school were cancelled. I used to send the kids when the bus was cancelled, and then at some point I decided that I wouldn't, not every time - not for any really good reason, there are a lot of walkers and the classes usually aren't that empty, but they never get REAL snow days like we got because of the weird funding formula that means the schools stay open even when the buses don't go, and I am a big fan of periodically playing hooky and not driving in heavy snow. But today she said "but would you MIND driving me?" Well no, because Angus already shoveled the driveway. And I have my parents' car, w…

I always lost at hide and seek too

The prompt for today is "tell us about the last thing you hid".

When I got home from Zarah's, I had two shopping bags that had presents for the kids in them (mostly for Eve, because pretty much everything Angus is getting comes from Best Buy or Evoshield, not quaint little shops in downtown Barrie). I was exhausted from the drive, and I stuck them in a corner of the living room, intending to deal with them better the next day. Five days later, I realized that they had been sitting there, not particularly well closed, right next to where Eve practices the piano every day, and she hadn't looked in them. I realized this because she reminded me that they were there, and asked me if I could move them because she was having a progressively harder time resisting the temptation to investigate.

And that is what kind of kid I have.

Perfect Days are Overrated, Right?

So, coming off a week where I felt like absolute hell and couldn't fall asleep before two a.m., I was heading into a week of solo parenting without even MY parents for back-up (how's Costa Rica, Mom and Dad? said with only the faintest undertone of bitterness) and feeling a little nervous.

BUT, I took half an Ativan and a Benadryl and a few puffs off my inhaler last night, went to bed earlyish and slept hard with only a couple wake-ups from 11:30 to seven. Made lunches, got kids to school, went to the gym, got groceries, cleaned out a cupboard containing eleven boxes of stale crackers and made chicken stock and curried crock-pot beef and croissants (okay, the croissants were frozen in a box and I just let them rise and baked them, IT COUNTS, MOTHERFUCKERS.) Had dinner with the kids, watched The Simpsons with the kids, helped Eve practice piano, then worked on my Christmas calendars.

It was a good day. Compared to what I was expecting, it was a great day. It would have been a g…

Deep Sigh

Do I always doubt that I'm going to finish NaBloPoMo at this point? I could go back and look, but I don't feel like it. I probably always doubt that I'm going to see the end of November at this point. I probably always think I have cancer of the eyebrows or some similarly exotic wasting disease. I'd go to the doctor, but I can't see putting myself through a phone call and the drive downtown just to sit on an exam table and say "I feel weird".

Further to the last couple of posts and the comments: I didn't like The Shining (the movie). I'm quickly realizing that I'm in a very small minority on this count. I'm not sure if it's because I read the book first, although I strongly suspect that is the case. I agree that Jack Nicholson's performance was admirable, but I just didn't feel like it captured the spirit OR the letter of the book, and the things they changed seemed senseless and I found them enraging. I think maybe I should re…

Books and Movies

I saw Catching Fire with my kids and Collette and her kids (our movie buddies) today. I liked it, maybe even a little more than the first movie, although I'm not sure it's possible to assess that fairly because the first movie had to set everything up and the second had the advantage of beginning in media res. Somebody on Facebook mentioned that Jennifer Lawrence's lack of affect was becoming grating, which I found in the first movie, but in this one I actually thought she got to demonstrate more of a range. I found Peeta more convincing as the male lead in this movie too.

Further to yesterday's post, and the comments; yes, what IS with Hollywood optioning Stephen King's work and then rendering it utterly ridiculous and nearly unrecognizable? But then I thought, is that fair - some of the movies have been good, after all. Some have been really good. Is it just that he's written so many books, or just that the bad movies have been so very bad? And THEN I thought…

Under the Dome by Stephen King

I started watching Under the Dome on tv when it came out and wasn't overly impressed. Somebody on Twitter (I think) said the book was better so I got it out of the library. It's big. It's really, really big. In the acknowledgements, King thanks someone for trimming it down from the oversized monster it started out as. This 'trimming' took the book down to roughly a thousand pages, so I shudder to think what it started out as.
I finished it last night, with my husband sleeping beside me on one pillow instead of his customary two, because I had to borrow one to prop up the book.
Overall? I kind of liked it. It was better than Duma Key. Not as good as 11/22/63. It did some of the things King does well, sketching characters quickly but well, giving you short, sharp glimpses into their lives, painting an ensemble cast and then setting them loose to interact with each other. The group of kids was fun and endearing, reminiscent of the children in It, who cemented King in…

Taylor-Made to Make Me Feel Like a Chump

When I was at Zarah's last week-end (why have I not written about my fabulous Week-end at Zarah's one day this week instead of the endless, grating whinge-fest? Why, I don't know, it's a perfectly valid question) we enjoyed a wide variety of Songza playlists while cooking, eating, cleaning up the kitchen or getting ready to go out. Okay, it's probably slightly inaccurate to say we enjoyed a WIDE variety of playlists. We figured out in short order that if we were presented with any option containing the word "Mom", (Mom-friendly pop hits! Classic hits for Moms! Mom's hanging-out music!) we should just take it. Apparently, as far as Songza goes, we are eminently predictable and mainstream and Mommish.

We picked something with a Joni Mitchell theme at one point, and thissong came on. Without thinking, I said "I love this song." Which I do. But I didn't know it was a James Taylor song. I heard it in my head sung by a sweet, high female voice…

Sorry, November: I love you not.

I just feel gross today. I feel bad, I look bad, the mother of all bad hair days is taking place on top of my head and there's something unspeakable going on in my right nostril. Matt and I went to watch Eve's African drumming class do their last-class performance. It was cool. Then we were supposed to mingle with the other parents, and while they all seemed nice, we didn't know anyone and it was as excruciatingly awkward as you might think that kind of thing would be when you're me.

So here, have some funny stuff that other people showed me.

I got this from Nicole and showed it to Eve when she got home from school. I was walking away and she was yelling "THE BUNNIES ARE SO CUTE". I said "just wait for the duckling" and she said "geez - spoiler much?"

I read this to the kids as Eve was eating before African drumming and Angus was skulking around the kitchen; the sandwich one actually made me cry and gasp for breath.

I often see Coffee With…

Kill the Wabbit (has nothing to do with this post, but it's on TV as I'm writing it)

This week has been - not bad, exactly, but wonky. After the book fair, which wasn't overly onerous but did deplete my introvert tank a little, and then having the kids home and extra kids here for project-completing and babysitting here on Friday, and then the dinner party on Saturday, I was feeling depleted. Then I felt more sick (when I'd been sick but feeling better) or sick again. Then the weather got blustery and my head went all thumpy. I'm out of sorts. I drop stuff. I bump into stuff. Solid glasses seem to leak when I try to drink out of them. This morning in the shower I punched myself in the face. I think maybe I was reaching for something and my face got in the way, but I'm not sure - I probably knew before I got punched in the face, but then I experienced some short-term memory loss. I'm feeling like I've provided a less-than-stellar showing in NaBloPoMo and wishing I'd done some more preparation, so I had a hook, or a theme, or at least some we…

Post called on account of someone beating on my mood with the ugly stick

Pro tip: rifling through the top bathroom drawer in search of that peppermint cream headache cure someone gave you or sold you when the headache in need of curing is already in full bloom and you can't really remember what kind or size or colour of container the stuff was in is unlikely to turn up anything more rewarding than some ancient and unforgivably frosty eyeshadow, some hand cream samples that have taken on the colour and texture of ear wax, and a fresh gripe to add to your surly little store, along with a couple more degrees of headache thanks to the frustration and the search angle.

I guess I'll just stick to drugs.

Why I'm Not a Food Blogger

Because when I finally decided at the last minute that I was making this for the dinner party, I should have assembled my fancy ingredients all at once to take a picture, but I didn't. Instead, I tried this, but Rose was sleeping on Eve and I was distracted and didn't manage to get a decent shot.

Then I realized that it probably would have been a better, more balanced shot if I had put the pecans, the ginger and the maple sugar all together, but by that time I had already chopped up the ginger and baked it in the cake. Also, you can't see the pedestal from this angle so it just looks like a tippy plate.

Then I was hemmed in at the table by other people who were drunk and pitiless and didn't care that my camera was unreachable in my purse and I have to post EVERY SINGLE DAY in November, so I didn't even get BAD pictures of Collette's amazing peanut soup with smoked chicken or Janet's fabulous Boston lettuce and feta and pomegranate salad with Cajun shrimp an…

Maple Gingerbread Layer Cake

With Salted Maple Caramel Sauce and Maple-Coated Pecans.

Pictures to follow.

(I know. Totally phoning it in. Sorry).

Something Before Midnight

I was supposed to babysit Rose today while Eve went to Marianna's. Eve got wind of this and refused to go to Marianna's until after Rose left. Which was good, because Rose completely prefers Eve.
First she was like "musical toys! Spoons! Cups! This place rocks!"



Then she woke up and she was all "WTF?"

Then she was all "My Mom's back.... LATER, LOSERS."

Not-Quite-Surly Thursday

Have I mentioned how much I love everyone who reads and comments here, and how I would totally buy you all homes in the south of France if I could? Even though I still don't know if we should get a dog? Because I really really do, and I really really would. And we are completely maybe getting some kind of dog some day.

I picked Eve up at school dismissal to whip her over to piano lessons, then whip her back to the school so I could do my interview with her teacher and then we could work the book fair for the evening, which is always nuts because all the parents come in before or after their interviews.

I had my usual four-minute interview - Eve's enthusiastic, Eve's bright and interested and wonderful and when Eve and Marianna sit close together they talk too much. Check. I went back to wait with Eve for the librarian to arrive and unlock the library. She was six minutes late. There were people lined up and pounding on the library doors like they were high and the last coo…

The Thing is, Universe, I'm Easily Confused

On Saturday, Zarah and I were walking to the market in downtown Barrie. I was saying that I sort of thought Eve needed a dog, and I wasn't even necessarily opposed to the idea, but I'm such an inveterate waffler that I wasn't confident it would happen even if it was meant to. I HATE making big decisions. I do endless research, I go back and forth, I hope desperately that the final choice will be taken out of my hands one way or another - trust me, do NOT ever ask me to pick the restaurant unless you want to pass out from low blood sugar.

As we walked into the ATM vestibule, I was saying that I would love to have a dog around when Matt was away, and having to walk something a couple of times a day would probably be good for me AND Eve, and my dad loves dogs but can't have one because my mom hates them, so he'd like it too, but I couldn't get past the crap; I'm finally done cleaning up my kids' crap and something in me balks at the thought of taking in a …

Day 12

You know it's a bad NaBloPoMo post day when I resort to day-counting. I know it's a bad brain day when I have to stop and wonder how many days it's been and then I realize the Mo stands for month - IT'S THE DATE, STUPID.

Today I was getting dinner ready in the kitchen and Eve was asking me questions and her voice was coming from a place it doesn't usually come from - she wasn't in the bathroom or at the top of the stairs in the doorway to her room, which is where she's usually yelling from when I'm in the kitchen. I asked her where she was and she said "in here".

She was reading in the reclining chair in the living room. No one ever reads in that chair. No one even sits in that chair. Usually that chair holds Matt's briefcase and/or baseball and basketball crap. She was cuddled up in it with her book and a blanket.

It was like looking through a portal into an alternate dimension.

I listened to some of a program on CBC today about homosexua…

Mondays on the Margins: Book Fair Edition

A couple of months ago, Katy the library tech at our school said the principal didn't really want us to have the Book Fair this year.

Uh........ say WHAT?


Eventually she said we could have the Book Fair. A couple of weeks ago Katy said nobody had volunteered for the Book Fair. The newsletter is online now, which is great. People were always complaining about getting more than one newsletter if they had more than one kid at the school - having it online wastes much less paper. The only problem is that almost nobody reads it when it's online, so nobody knew we NEEDED volunteers.

So I said no problem. I'll just come every day.

As it turns out, we got more volunteers, which thank god because I love the Book Fair and I COULD go all day every day and today flew by and the library is my happy place, BUT my introvert energy tank is empty and I fed my kids leftover Chinese food and no vegetables for supper and I am brain. dead.

I sold erase…

I am spent

I'm home from Zarah's. I had a fabulous time. The last couple hours of the drive were miserable and I'm exhausted and half-blind and in bed at ten to eight after scrambling to find something appropriate for Eve to wear to sing at the Remembrance Day assembly tomorrow. I didn't schedule a post for today because I thought I would be able to write one tonight when I got home.

I was wrong.

But the Book Fair starts tomorrow. Stay tuned.....

Qualms and Quandaries

My friend Collette and I took our kids (her three, my two) to see Ender’s Game on Tuesday evening. Collette and I and her two boys, both avid readers, had read the book and all placed it in our top ten list of all time. A few months ago, I was talking to Collette and since she had once said she would never pay money to see another Mel Gibson movie, I asked how she felt about paying money to see a movie based on a book by Orson Scott Card, to which she replied “huh?”. After I filled her in, she added something like, “did you have to tell me that, you bitch?”
It’s a funny thing, the artist verses the art thing. Works of the most heart-stopping beauty and magnificence can come from the most reprehensible of human beings. I find it mystifying that writing that to me has always seemed suffused with the utmost kindness and generosity of spirit, comes from an intelligence that believes wholeheartedly that homosexuality is the gravest of sins.
Another friend consoled us with the fact that Card…