Saturday, November 30, 2013

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 for commenting on the wrong post, or commenting twice, or commenting "blue clowns make the typewriter choose yogurt" or whatever. The fact that you're taking the time to comment while you're away from home makes me want to buy you a coffee, or tea, or spinach burrito or something - in fact, if I can figure out how to buy a gift card in Canada that works in the states, I will send you one in a Christmas card). I always worry that NaBloPoMo might turn out as a string of commentless, increasingly desperate posts, possibly with pathetic promises to give stuff away or flash my boobs as the month wears on. I consider you all pearls of great price.

I'm hoping we can get a Christmas tree tomorrow and start hauling out the Christmas boxes, although I think the door to the storage space is still choked with Halloween boxes - I always tell myself I'm going to get organized BEFORE December first, because if I wait to start on that day then nothing will actually happen until at least December fifth. I whiled away today in my reading chair with this book and this book and this book (well, those were the ones I read, I was also surrounded by piles of other books - I use one or two of them to prop up my ipad if the book is on that) and I tried to start this book and then I got very sleepy so I played Words With Friends and turned on some music and stood up and did jumping jacks, and then I sat back down and felt sleepy again, and within the space of about ten seconds went from the "no, I slept in, I can't possibly need more sleep, if I nap I'll just screw up my night, I'm going to finish this book today, I'll get up and do something and then come back and read" to an equally definitive "FUCK IT, I'm napping" and the bed was delicious and my white blanket felt like a cloud on top of me and I had the most blissful perfect nap of all time.

I played the piano three times last week. I worked out three times this week. I bought Advent calendars two weeks ago and just now I found them exactly where I thought I'd put them and laid them on the table for the kids to find in the morning. I'm not on top of everything by a long shot, but I'm not lying underneath it all, covered in dusty sheet music and limp strands of tinsel, either.

And that's something.

Friday, November 29, 2013

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 school and then I fed Angus and then I was very, very tired. But anyway, tea with Sarah was lovely and she agreed with me that having a pap smear is preferable to having one's teeth cleaned.

I also didn't talk about The Imperfectionists, which I said I would on Day 27. I wish I had taken better notes. I borrowed it from the library as an ebook and then it expired. I remember that I read a few pages and absolutely HATED it, but I can't remember why. Then I read a few more and liked it much more. It's a story cycle about journalists who work for a small, failing newspaper based in Italy; every chapter is from a different person's viewpoint. I can never decide if this is kind of a lazy, cop-out way of writing a novel, or an ingenious device, or if it's entirely dependent on the individual author, which is probably closer to the truth. Some people thought that many of the chapters didn't ring true, although some were very good. Others didn't like that there weren't more reappearances of characters once their story was gone, which made it seem like the book was marketed as a novel when it was really a book of extremely loosely linked short stories. There were certain moments that struck me in the heart, and overall I liked the book. I wish I could remember what caused the initial surge of dislike.

I've started reading The Shining again. I can't even remember when I first read it, but I think I was very young, and I missed a lot. I'm enjoying the reread very much. I'm planning to watch the movie again when I'm done, but I'm fairly convinced that my opinion of that won't change a whole lot.

Eve and I are watching Rose again next week. Stay tuned.

Zarah called today because she was laid up with a hip flexor injury and bored, which reminded me that I still haven't said anything about our week-end. It was fabulous. We had her friends over for a clothing swap, and drank wine and ate popcorn and walked around half-naked. We put on sparkly eyeliner and got dressed for a party with other women. One of them was talking to her girlfriend on the phone, and the girlfriend asked if she was going formal, to which the first replied "no, I'm wearing leopard print pants, red lipstick and glitter - I look like a ho", which led us to coin the phrase "Slutty Casual - it's the new Cocktail". We walked to the market and bought cashew corn chowder with cilantro cream for lunch, which I became briefly obsessed with recreating and then totally forgot about until just now. We went out again and walked downtown and shopped a bit and then stopped at a little store that had wild boar shank in a vegetable cassoulet, so we bought that too, because WILD BOAR and also, laziness. We talked and played music and talked and talked some more.

I'm still not ready to talk about the homosexuals being welcome in the Catholic Church thing, but I'm working on it.

Okay. I feel better. Husband is home from Tokyo. Tomorrow I shall be chair-bound and book-buried. Then we can deal with snowy driveways and busted fenders.

Happy week-end, all.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

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 you'll pick me up after school?" and I said "Yes". And she said "and we'll go straight to the mall?" and I said "Yes." And she said " my pajamas?" And I remembered that her class was helping with the JK class's Teddy Bear Sleepover (cutest thing EVER, they've been doing it since Angus was in JK - the kids bring their teddies to school, they lock them in the principal's office overnight and when the kids get to school the next morning the teddy bears have broken out of the office and made a big mess in the classroom; Angus's teddy bear was making paper airplanes - Eve's was half-buried in the bead bin) and told her I would bring her some clothes.

Turns out a lot of places at the mall already had stuff on sale, AND it wasn't full of crazed bargain-hunters. AND I hate the mall less when Eve is with me because she thinks everything is AWESOME and EPIC and she laughs at my jokes and people smile when they see her petting all the fuzzy sweaters.

We went in the pet store and squealed at the adorable sleeping kittens. An older couple came up to us and the woman said "excuse me. I have a question. I don't know you, but..." and I was briefly terrified that we were about to have a horribly awkward encounter, but they just wanted to know what size pants to buy for their granddaughter who was the same size and age as Eve.

At one point Eve said "so there's extra small and extra large. I'm trying to imagine what extra medium would look like".

At another point she said "OMG (yes, she said the letters) I thought that mannequin was a real person who was TOTALLY STYLING. No one could ever wear that outfit now because that mannequin rocked it so hard."

We found a drop-dead gorgeous Christmas outfit at H&M - my jaw literally dropped when she came out of the change room. We had dinner in the food court. Eve got complimented twice on her t-shirt. We held hands and made fun of silly clothes and skanky clothes.

I got my teeth cleaned this afternoon, which I hate more than almost anything in the world, and it was STILL a kick-ass awesome day.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

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, which has snow tires, while my Van of Shame is parked in their garage and they are soaking up the sun in more hospitable climes.

So I made soup. And worked some more on the Christmas calendars. And fed Angus every hour or so when he wandered up looking for food. And walked around in the snow a little. And decided I could make it to book club because the roads were okay now and I couldn't go last month because Matt was away then too, and Eve had African drumming so I was going to just bring her with me and go late, but then she got sick so I couldn't. I said "I really don't want to miss two months in a row" and Eve said "well, they wouldn't really care, would they?" and then her eyes got big and she said "do you think they'd kick you out?" And I said ha ha, no, of course not, and then I thought crap, they wouldn't kick me out, would they?

No, almost certain not. Then again, it's November, and I am twitchy and paranoid. It's better that I went.

This was the book. I'll talk about it some more tomorrow. If I remember.

I have to go to bed now.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

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.

Monday, November 25, 2013

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 goddamned near perfect day if not for the small fact that, after dropping Eve off at school, I drove into a side street to wait for Pam to walk by after dropping Laura at school so we could head to the gym. I overshot where I wanted to be and backed up slightly.... into a huge, deeply-planted sign that I SWEAR wasn't there a minute before. And cracked off a piece of my bumper. And made a couple of kids goggle at me like I had descended from the sky in a cape and tights. And completely lost my composure.

Pam was nice. She offered to go drinking with me instead of to the gym. We decided that no bars were
probably open at eight-thirty a.m. and went to the gym anyway. She also said, "Look, if you think of it as a percentage based on all the times you back up and DON'T smash into a sign, the numbers are really in your favour". She also didn't judge me when I said I needed pudding.

My husband was nice. He texted "Shit happens. Don't worry about it." Of course, he can't see the damage from Tokyo. I should probably try to get it fixed before he gets home.

Eve was nice. She said "if it makes you feel any better, some kids at school were talking about some guy they saw driving around who drove into a sign and his WHOLE BUMPER fell off." Me: "...." Her: "OH MY GOD, WERE THEY TALKING ABOUT YOU?"

Last week-end when Angus was in Toronto for volleyball he left his prescription face-washing stuff behind at the hotel and we thought at first that the new refill wasn't going to go through our insurance and we'd have to pay full price for it. He was really upset and wanted to pay for it himself, and I said "look sweetie, we're a family. Sometimes Daddy and I do stupid crap that costs the family money too. It happens - there's no point beating yourself up about it." I guess I just modeled that extra well for him today.

Maybe I should stop dissing November. Also, if I hadn't been headed to the gym I would have just driven home with my unblemished vehicle, so I should OBVIOUSLY stop exercising.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

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 reread the book and then watch the movie and read Doctor Sleep and then report back. At the very least, maybe I can help Hannah decide whether or not it's safe for her to read Doctor Sleep.

On the bright side, my fabulous friend Pam brought me this tea when I was sick last week and now I'm trying to figure out if I can ship some to everyone I know. Even my tea-hating "lips that touch tea will never touch mine" daughter is currently having some with a hefty addition of milk and sugar. This also reminds me that I froze a chicken carcass a couple of days ago, and I can make chicken stock for the soup from paragraph one of this post this week.

One more week. Books and hot liquids. We can do it.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

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, it's Saturday night and I have a really bad headache and I don't have the energy to examine this closely enough right now.

But I'll work on it.

Friday, November 22, 2013

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 my mind as someone who writes children very well. There are some scenes that are extremely striking and moving. The plot as a thought experiment was interesting, and the end was logical enough, although it felt a little perfunctory. As an 'extreme logical conclusion' of small-town dynamics, it was credible. I felt sort of outraged on King's behalf by what had been done to some of the characters by the tv show.

Was it overwritten? My first impression is to say yes, absolutely, but by the end I also kind of felt like the experience of reading the book mirrored the experience of the people caught inside the dome - it's entirely possible that this was accidental, though. I don't feel like it was a waste of time reading it, although I'm not entirely sure it would have been a mistake to give it a miss either. I have higher hopes for Joyland and Doctor Sleep, both of which are on my pile. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

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 this song 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 - no idea whose. Later that night in bed, I tried for an hour to find that version on iTunes, fruitlessly, and now I have three or four versions of it and they're all nice, but none is exactly RIGHT, and it's vexatious.

Then I remembered this guy in university telling me that Taylor had written this song after some friends of his had bought his wife a plane ticket to see one of his concerts and the plane had crashed and she had DIED. I mean, Jesus, right? And, well, the lyrics: "Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone/ Susanne, the plans they made put an end to you", and "Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground". Plus, I was nineteen and highly credulous.

Thing is, it's a load of crap. A fairly widely-disseminated load of crap, because it's mentioned on Wikipedia. The actual story, that a friend had committed suicide but the news was initially kept from Taylor, is arguably equally as sad, if less Hollywood. The other night when I mentioned the first anecdote at a dinner party, my friend's husband immediately said "that has 'urban legend' written all over it". But like I said, young, unskeptical, and there was no internet back then. And the thing is, I don't even know if the guy who told it to me actually thought it was true or if it was a line (he did kind of segue into "oh, you look so sad, let me hug you after I remove these incredibly heavy and cumbersome pants").

I'd like to think I've become a bit more discerning in the intervening years. I hardly ever give money away to strangers with sob stories any more. Eve still gets me every April Fool's Day, though. I guess that's okay.

Now I'm going to see if there's a playlist for Moms Doing an Excel Assignment, or Music to Accompany Your Laptop Flying Through the Air.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

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 Jesus on Sherri's Facebook page and I LOVE it.

My whole body feels like hangnails. Everything is so Novemberish. Blah.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

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 weightier, more insightful posts prepared, because just posting every day is a thing, but I'm not sure it's a particularly valuable thing.

But it's okay. I have shelter. My husband is in the country (until Saturday). I didn't have any urgent volunteer commitments. I have a few days before my next Computer Course assignment is due. I shopped for Maple Gingerbread Cake ingredients on Friday and got a few other things, so there was stuff in the fridge to make dinner.

Plus my family is abundant with the comfort and entertainment.

Eve came home after school and told me various things about her day, while sitting in my lap in the rocking chair - and by sitting in my lap I mean stretched across me with her feet hanging off the end of the ottoman, but it works for us. She said "If I ever have a boy I'm going to name him Shaun, but I'm going to spell it the S-E-A-N way so he can be a smartass and say "No, my name isn't SEEN, it's SHAUN." I said "I'd call you weird, but I punched myself in the face in the shower this morning, so I'm not sure I'm qualified." A few minutes later, she said to Angus "you're a smartass. Just like my kid." Angus looked confused, so I clarified "her imaginary son named Sean."

After supper, I was working on my assignment and Eve asked Matt to get her some ice cream. He got her some, then asked if I wanted some and got some for me and himself. Then he yelled downstairs to Angus to ask if he wanted some, and when Angus said no thanks he said "fine, then screw you and the horse you rode in on." He asked Eve if she wanted sprinkles. She said "if I say no, I suppose you're going to screw me and my horse too?"

All of which is to say, I've been reminded that ninety percent of parenting is just showing up. And in this house, ninety percent of hearing your kids say hilarious and fairly inappropriate things is just showing up (and hanging around the kitchen, apparently). And maybe, when you feel like you're hanging on to everything in your life by the ends of your fingernails (one of which gave you a tiny, humiliating cut on your chin when you punched your own self in the face in the shower one morning) ninety percent of blogging is just showing up. And now that I know I can show up every day for a month if I force myself to,then when I'm ready to do something with a little more substance, I won't have lost the habit.

That's what I'm going with. If you have a dissenting opinion, just stow it and eat your ice cream, will you?

Monday, November 18, 2013

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.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

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 and Margot's marvellous Moroccan Salmon Cakes and Susanne's truly incomparable Beef Wellington which turned out perfectly even after Collette walked in and said "What are you making? Beef Wellington? That's REALLY HARD to make. It never goes well on that Gordon Ramsay show. I do NOT have a good feeling about this."

Anyway, here's the goddamned cake.

I also didn't get a shot of the maple sugar candies that Matt made because I was (incredibly stupidly) worried that after we cut the cake into ten pieces they would be too small for everyone, so he made them as garnishes for a (totally unnecessary) scoop of ice cream. I stuck one on top of the cake.

I'm a barely decent baker. I'm a truly horrible food blogger. I am unsurpassed as an eater. It's good to know your strengths, I always say.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Maple Gingerbread Layer Cake

With Salted Maple Caramel Sauce and Maple-Coated Pecans.

Pictures to follow.

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

Friday, November 15, 2013

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."

Thursday, November 14, 2013

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 cookies in the world were in there. The school secretary asked if I would be confident opening the book fair alone and I said yes because if I didn't I was afraid they would all pounce on Katy when she came in and chew her down to the bone.

Did I mention that the debit/credit machine wouldn't work inside the library, so every time someone wanted to pay with plastic we (mostly me because I don't get cold) had to go out of the library, around the tables where they were selling school t-shirts, and out the double glass doors into the cold November darkness? And then sometimes the machine would still fuck with me, like "take me outside. Now I'm thirsty. I'd like a pony. Is that five green bars you see? Oh, now it's two red ones. Maybe I'll connect to the wireless and maybe I won't, what are you gonna do about it?" An extremely classy operation, it was. One guy said he felt like he was going to get his books home and discover that there were a bunch of letters missing. At one point the principal said we should try the conference room, and one man yelled across the library to his son "I'll be right back, I'm just going into this room with this lady". So that was awesome.

Anyway. We made a buttload of money for the school. Eve was awesome, both for her math skills and her entertainment value. The kids were awesome. I always feel extremely useful at book fair time. Also, Eve just read the third paragraph of this post because she demanded approval rights if I was going to tell the world that she and Marianna talk too much, and she said "now I know why I want to be an author - I get those skills from you." So that doesn't suck either.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

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 family member that would NEVER learn to wipe its own ass. Then again, I told Eve that she could have a dog as soon as she was willing to pick up poop, so maybe that would be the turning point.

At this point, a very nice-looking older woman at the adjacent ATM burst out laughing and said she couldn't help overhearing and she had to share with me that she had had all the same reservations about getting a dog and now she couldn't imagine not having hers, that it sort of like how your own kids' crap was less revolting than other kids' crap, and she was the biggest suck for her dog ever.

We thanked her for her input, and as we left the bank, Zarah said "well, if you believe at all in signs from the universe, you HAVE to get a dog now."

Today as I was waiting for Eve to get home, I heard loud, furious barking from outside. My dad had driven Eve home, and he was following Eve to the house to get back some baking containers that my mom needed. And the dog from next door, who usually loves everyone, was in an attack pose looking at my dad, who dogs always love, and losing his ever-loving shit. It was as if my dad had said in dog language, I am here to steal all the bones and all the balls EVER. We all tried to calm the dog down, but it kept looking as if it wanted to eat my dad and bury him, then it grabbed a beer can someone had left on our lawn and took off. My dad shook his head and got in his car and drove away.

Someone tell the universe I don't do well with ambiguity.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

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 homosexuals and the Catholic Church. The priest on the show said "homosexuals are welcome in the Catholic Church."

Let's all just sit with that for a bit and maybe revisit the issue tomorrow.

Monday, November 11, 2013

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 erasers that look like lunch boxes, makeup compacts, video game controllers, moustaches, guitars and licorice.

I sold long sticks with a hand on the end that were meant for teachers to use as pointers for whiteboards but were being bought by children for the sole purpose of whacking each other.

I was paid fourteen dollars and ninety-five cents for two books - in nickels and dimes.

I said "okay, I can hold the Super Ear for you, but only until four o'clock."

I said "please don't bite the eraser, it's not made of actual food" more than once.

I said "no, nothing is free" more than once.

I almost hugged a little boy who came in, closed his eyes and said rapturously, "I can smell the books!

I experienced total brain-lock while trying to perform a fairly simple subtraction. I think actual smoke came out of my ears. We usually have calculators. Tomorrow I'm bringing a calculator.

I bought Eve this book and this book and a few other books. Then I let her buy a poster with puppies on it. I guess I was weak from all the math.

Eve came in for the hour we were open after school. She's better at math than I am, so she was helpful. We were looking at books and she picked one that Katy said was really good but had a few inappropriate words, and Eve said "that's okay. I'm an inappropriate child." Katy said that was understandable considering who her mother was. Before we left, Eve did a killer version of Walking on Sunshine with one of the stick-hand-pointer things, which had Katy and me practically on the floor, although that was maybe partly fatigue. And math.

I'm exhausted. I'm going to bed. With a book. I think that's fair. Ha.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

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.....

Saturday, November 9, 2013

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 had made all his money off the movie up front, and that ticket sales wouldn’t put anything extra into his pocket. He also said that he has no difficulty divorcing the art from the artist, so he would have experienced no moral dilemma either way.

I’m honestly not entirely sure where I stand on the matter (I’m sure that comes as a great shock to everyone). If I buy a book by Orson Scott Card, I’m endorsing his writing, not his views on sexuality, right? Should I boycott every author who holds an opinion I find objectionable? Every movie starring an actor who’s gotten drunk and spouted racist slurs? I did publicly state that I would never eat at Chick fil a – by the preceding logic shouldn’t I be saying that if the chicken was good enough I would eat it even though the place was owned by bigots?

On the whole, I would say it does make a difference, however unquantifiable. I can’t say I won’t ever buy a book by Orson Scott Card again. I don’t want to refuse to read or see anything made by people I disagree with, because that furthers no one’s growth. I guess I need to think about this some more.

As for the movie, it wasn’t blow-your-mind wonderful, but it wasn’t as big a disappointment as it could have been. Some of the exposition was pretty ham-handed, which was partly regrettable and partly understandable, given the time constraints. The two boys who read the book and the boy and two girls who hadn’t all said they really liked it. Harrison Ford was good, Asa Butterfield was really good, and Angus and Eve and I couldn’t get over the fact that Bonzo Madrid was played by Rico from Hannah Montana

Friday, November 8, 2013


I went in to the school library on Tuesday to shelve books, as usual. I also helped the library tech staple Book Fair flyers, with the help of an absolutely charming 6th grader named Anna. She told us at length about some of her favourite books, including Rules, Out of My Mind and Wintergirls (“I love books about characters with disabilities or diseases!” she exclaimed, with completely unabashed sweetness and sincerity.) This reminded me that I have to tell you, and all my friends and family, and everyone else I meet ever, that you must not miss reading Wonder.

It’s one of those books where you keep hearing the hype and you think the book can’t possibly live up to the hype (similar to how I thought “oh come on, there’s no way The Bloggess’s book will make me laugh OUT LOUD”, and then my husband stormed downstairs to sleep on the couch) and then it lives up to the hype and more. For me, anyway – if there’s one thing we’ve all learned here, I think it’s that different people can love each other and NOT love the same books, although if I’m totally honest I have to say that there are people I now think an infinitesimally bit less of now, but I try not to dwell on it.

It’s a first novel. If I think about that too much, it makes me weep. It’s SO FUCKING GOOD. It’s deeply moving and revelatory without being preachy, it’s beautifully written without being flowery, it’s funny and honest and the characters are wonderful and the way the family deals with things reminds me a lot of the way my family deals with things. I love it. I LOVE it. Katy, the school librarian, let me borrow it from the school library over the summer, and I wanted Eve to read it to, but she didn’t get a chance, which is fine because I’m buying ONE copy at the VERY least. 

Read it. Get your kids to read it. If you don't love it, that's fine. Just don't tell me. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Wrinkles of various types

First of all, running drop-tackle hugs to Maggie - FUCK the leaves, Maggie, FUCK them - and Jenny - make the boys iron, Jenny! Just kidding, that's a terrible idea if your boys are anything like mine - and everyone else who is making me feel like forcing out a blog post every day in this miserable month is a wholly worthwhile endeavour. Also, the Denver Hayes never iron shirt? Is a filthy lie perpetrated on the iron-hating public. ALSO also, Angus and the team wore shirts and ties over to St. Joseph's high school for an exhibition game, changed into their jerseys and promptly stuffed their neatly pressed shirts and pants into their drawstring bags - so yeah, still love the coach, but shaking my head a little.

Because tomorrow (today) is Thursday and I will be (am) driving to Barrie to spend the week-end with Zarah, I have decided to review tonight's (last night's) dinner for this post.

We had the last of the carrots from my dad's garden - those were fantastic, obviously. We had some berries from Farm Boy, which were pretty good, although obviously it's not the best season for them. I also cooked a box of President's Choice Coconut Chicken Lollipops and a box of President's Choice Moroccan Cigars, both of which I picked up on a whim at the grocery store yesterday because I thought a finger foods night before I leave might be fun.

Both were really good - good quality chicken and beef, the coconut coating was nice, and the Moroccan cigars had an authentically Moroccan flavour (based on my expert opinion, which I base on having spent two whole weeks in Morocco once). Both my husband and I were impressed.

Eve's review of her toasted kaiser bun with melted cheese on it and Angus's review of the box of timbits he filled up on after volleyball which meant that he wasn't hungry - also thumbs up.

My review of my kids? They SUCK.

(This is not a sponsored post, in case that wasn't clear. It probably was).

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Skip this if you have anything important going on

I don't generally do the 'what do you think' post-ending thing. It's not because I'm against it. Often I appreciate it when other bloggers ask me what I think on the subject they're posting on (although when it has to do with books it's annoying because when somebody asks me "what's your favourite book?" or even "what are you reading?" my mind has this annoying habit of freezing in panic and refusing to cough up the title of a single book I've read, ever). I kind of assume that people will tell me what they think in the comments.

So, to be clear, this is a blatant and shameless post-generating gambit - it's Nablopomo, all's fair in love and daily blog-posting.

Angus is on the grade eight volleyball team at his school. He has the same coach he had last year for the grade seven team. I love this coach - he's enthusiastic, committed, puts in a ton of time, is demanding without being abusive, has given me zero cause for complaint.

This week-end the team is going to Toronto for a tournament. Driving down Friday morning, playing a game or two Friday evening, sleeping in a hotel, playing games all day Saturday, driving home Saturday night. Angus thinks it's the coolest thing ever.

The coach wants the boys to wear a shirt and tie on the drive down. This isn't totally new to me - we showed up at hockey tournaments with Angus in a shirt and tie, we go to baseball games in the summer with his jersey on a hanger, not to be put on until the game starts. I get that it's a thing. But for a four to five hour drive in the car? While sleeping and snacking might be taking place?

I sent a short email to the coach asking if maybe he'd rather they wear a t-shirt in the car and then put on the shirt and tie just before arriving. He sent one back saying in previous years they've always done it this way, the boys take pride in stopping for lunch dressed like this and other years he has never had any issues.

I had a brief moment of going hot-and-cold at the thought that I am now an "issue". Then I shook it off. I don't really have a horse in this race. I'm going to be in Barrie by the time they leave. Angus doesn't seem distressed at the thought. I have sensory issues, so the thought of wearing a shirt and tie or anything similarly confining on a long drive gives me the vapours, but he's not me. Angus tends to live in t-shirts and athletic pants, as I assume most of his friends do, and some practice at wearing grown-up clothes is likely not the worst idea ever

At the same time, I think it's a little silly. The boys "take pride" in going into McDonald's in shirts and ties (I don't know for a fact that it will be McDonald's, but it's ten 13 year old boys, so it's probably not going to be fine French cuisine). Look, it's your team, if this is what you want, just say it's what you want.

That's what I think, at first glance. If you feel like devoting a moment to this, whether you're a sports parent or not, what do you think?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

One thing at a Time

I'm practicing that thing where you treat yourself like you're somebody else instead of yourself.

Wait, that's not exactly it.

Where you treat yourself like you would treat someone you actually like.

Not good either.

Where you tell yourself what you would tell one of your friends in the same situation - yeah, THAT'S it.

So I either get up very early or very late, in general. That's how it goes - either I get up with the kids, when Matt's away or I have stuff to do, or I let myself sleep until I feel rested, which is never, so I force myself to get up when I'm too embarrassed to actually stay in bed any more, and that's late. The CPAP machine hasn't been the miracle cure I hoped for, but I don't snore any more and theoretically at least I'm getting more deep sleep, so that's good.

But for the last two days I haven't had to get up for anything, and I've gotten up earlier than usual. Just been awake, and felt able to get out of bed without throwing up or feeling dizzy and heavy-limbed and weepy.

So maybe, after a year, the CPAP is actually doing its work, and maybe I will gradually improve until I am able to experience waking up at a normal time as a normal human activity, rather than a hellish, screaming ejection into agony and harm.


maybe I won't, maybe I'll stay the same. That's okay, because this week I had a couple of good days.

My husband's been away about three weeks out of the last eight. I found it more difficult than I have recently. I'm not sure why - Eve got sick both times, and it coincided with the craziness of school and fall activities starting up, and I just felt a little not-right mentally. For whichever reason, I felt like I was surviving, not thriving, and things in the house and in my course were a little bit neglected. A couple of days ago I picked up a book on hold from the library that I really wanted to read, and bought a couple of books because I was in Indigo to buy a birthday gift and, well, books. I gave myself a stern talking to, though, and said no reading the books until I got the basement storage room in order, even though the very thought of tackling that briar patch makes me go fetal.


I could realize that sometimes it's just hard being a solo parent for a week and a half, even when your kids are spectacular human beings, and that spending an afternoon or two with Fred Vargas BEFORE attacking a hideous chore might put me in a better frame of mind FOR that chore. Or even if it doesn't, maybe I could do it anyway, just to be kind to myself, because my course assignments have to get done (they have), but fixing the basement storage area doesn't, not right away. 

If I was a better blogger, I'd probably rack my brain now for a third thing to place in this pattern, because three things is a nice balance for anything like this, isn't it?


I could stop now and go read my book.

Be kind to yourselves, people. It can be done. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Mondays in Malariaville

I'm living in a plague house. Variously pitched coughs echo off the walls. My husband and I have about three-quarters of a voice between us - apparently Angus was wholly unhelpful and disproportionately amused when Matt was trying to yell his order into the drive-through microphone at Tim Horton's on the way to baseball. Strepsils are at a higher premium than mini Caramilks.

So although I had big plans for a really good Mondays on the Margins post for the first Monday in NaBloPoMo, I think I'm going to have to postpone it. I just realized my next assignment in my Computers Course is due next Tuesday, and I'm leaving for Barrie Thursday morning to spend the week-end with Zarah, and then committed to helping with the Book Fair every day next week. The assignment should probably be done before I leave. Therefore, I will be spending my evening making various format changes to a Word document entitled "Oceana Grill Cheese Promotion". So don't worry - I'll definitely be missing you more than you are missing me.

But just to stick in a book reference - I've started watching the American version of Let Me In, which is a remake of Let the Right One In, which is in turn the movie version of an absolutely stunning vampire novel also called Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist. I would have watched the Swedish version, but Netflix only had the American version. Truthfully, I wasn't totally disappointed, because Chloe Grace Moretz is in the American version, and I sort of think of her as the new Natalie Portman, if not the new Audrey Hepburn, so I probably would have watched this version too, eventually. It's quite affecting so far, and also appears quite Swedish despite taking place in Los Alamos, New Mexico - everything looks very cold and stark. I haven't finished watching it because my treadmill workout ended.

Other than the fact that it was a really original and emotionally wrenching vampire story, one where you end up almost rooting for the 'monsters', the most striking thing about the novel is that every successive novel I've read by the author has been disappointing by comparison - and from the reviews I've read, I'm not in the minority on this. I always wonder how this must feel for the novelist; does he shake it off, in a "different strokes, different folks" kind of way, or does it eat at his soul? I've read three other books by him - one was still quite good, the other two started strongly but then amounted to very little. It's a curious phenomenon.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Shambling and mumbling - zombies and teenagers have a lot in common, actually

Angus is thirteen. He's not stuck to my side like he used to be, voicing every thought. He no longer wants to help me do everything from fastening my bra to unloading the dishwasher. When my parents are about to see him, they take bets on how many questions he can answer with the single-word statement "Good".

Two or three years ago we asked him if he would mind switching bedrooms with Eve, since his was twice the size of hers and she spent more time in her room than he did. He said sure, so we got a nice tv to go with the video game console that he'd bought with his birthday and Christmas money and a nice beanbag chair and put them all in the basement.

Now he spends a LOT of time in the basement. He does his homework down there. He has his chill time down there. On week-ends and holidays he often sleeps down there, in the bed in Matt's man-cave. I don't really mind this - he works hard on schoolwork and sports; some days he leaves the house at six-fifty a.m. for volleyball practice and doesn't get home until around four. He does any chores assigned to him without complaining (much). I just sort of miss him sometimes.

A few years ago, my husband brought home a PVR. I thought it was stupid, that we were doing perfectly well with VHS tapes and it was a huge waste of money. Now I LOVE the PVR with a slavish, passionate devotion.  I love that whenever Matt and I have a Friday evening free we can watch two Doctor Whos and a How I Met Your Mother, or three Modern Familys and a Big Bang Theory, all without having to track down the right tape from the right day and hope that stuff hasn't gotten accidentally erased or recorded over. But partly because of that, and partly because of crazy sports schedules, we don't tend to be a family who watches tv together. When the kids were younger we had Sunday dinner on tv tables and watched the Wonderful World of Disney like I did when I was young, and when Matt's away sometimes the kids and I watch the Simpsons, but we don't really have a standing date.

Angus used to get scared of things on TV or in the movies a lot. We had to leave Finding Nemo because when the swimmer in the big diving mask popped up and captured Nemo in the net Angus freaking freaked. We had to screen all movies very carefully for many years. Eve was fine in Ice Age 2 - Angus was a basket case and spent most of the movie with his head in my armpit. He's gotten better, but he's still cautious; before we went to see Captain Phillips, which he had selected, he asked me some very specific questions about what kinds of injuries might occur in the movie.

So imagine my surprise when I came home from a week-end away last year and he announced that he had watched Seasons one and two of The Walking Dead on Netflix. EXCUSE ME? Some kind of developmental leap dovetailed nicely with some kind of lapse of parental judgment or attention on the part of my husband, I guess.

When the new season started being advertised, Angus asked if he could watch it with me. I hesitated. Was it inappropriate? Did I want to include someone else in something that was kind of a private pleasure? Would he ask a bunch of questions and be annoying? Then I thought, if my son wants to watch a zombie show with me, what the heck am I waiting for? And if my friend Collette can watch Game of Thrones with her 14-year-old son without prescreening, what the hell am I whining about?

So now Angus and I watch The Walking Dead together every Sunday night. There is no talk of PVR-ing it to watch later - it must be watched at the very moment it is available to be watched. For the season premiere, Matt and Eve were away for Thanksgiving and we were alone. Angus started out cocky, intoning "in a world without haircuts..." over the opening scenes, but by the end of the episode he was on the couch with his head in my lap. Then he announced that he was sleeping with me. He followed me up to my room and asked if I was going to take a shower before bed. "Yes," I said. "Do you want to come with me?" "No!" he said "uh, just maybe leave the door open a crack."

We watch the show. We talk about the characters. We wonder certain people do what they do - sometimes we argue about someone's motivations. We find different things different levels of disturbing. And we talk about all of it. Then we PVR Talking Dead (the after-show) to watch the day after.

Sometimes you just have to watch so carefully, or your bonding opportunities will sail right by.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Halloween this year

Last year (when she was the biker) and this year, Eve decided fairly early exactly what her costume would be and pulled together all the elements herself - well, I did order her biker boots online, but come on, how could I not bring the awesomeness of Eve together with the awesomeness of biker boots, given half the chance?

It was a leather vest in her closet that inspired the biker costume. I'm not entirely sure what set her off this year, and truthfully I found the whole thing a little bizarre, but she was enthusiastic enough beforehand and convinced enough that it was 'epic' when it was all finished that I decided not to intervene. I've always said that costumes pulled together from stuff you already have are better than costumes you buy. Right?

For your viewing pleasure, my daughter.......

The Vampire Rapper.

...named J.Z. Dawgy Dawg. (I suggested J.Z. Bitey Bite as an alternative. She was unimpressed.)

For the Halloween party at our friends' place, I was going to just wear pajamas. Eve vetoed that handily. So I found some zombie stuff in our costume box. But the day of the party I just couldn't face the thought of plastering myself in zombie make-up. So I found a blue dress and put on some blue lipstick and made this sign.

Get it? 

Yes, I did give some thought to whether proclaiming myself FREE for use of the PUBLIC for the evening, and inviting all and sundry to PULL to OPEN (have you SEEN the crowd I hang around with?). As it turns out, there was one ten-year-old boy dressed as The Doctor who kept trying to get inside me all evening. It was slightly inappropriate and yet adorable and hilarious. 

Angus was a bag of Eminems. Matt was in France. 

I know. I'm surprised Eve consented to be photographed with us. 

Friday, November 1, 2013


Halloween was a bit of a bust this year. Matt's been travelling an insane amount, and was away until the day before. I pulled out the Halloween stuff but couldn't motivate myself to do anything with it. Eve did some decorating, and of course there were her fabulous mini-pumpkins. We managed to get the pumpkins carved Wednesday night after African drumming. Both kids went trick-or-treating with friends that are nearby but not next door, so we weren't really involved in that, which was fine, good even, because I was sick and Matt was jet-lagged, but it felt kind of sad. We had some really cute kids at the door, and the bigger kids were all polite and grateful. So I guess all the bases were covered, if barely, but I feel like I faked most of it.

To console myself (or possibly make myself weep for the next twelve-to-eighteen hours), I'm revisiting Halloweens past.