Monday, April 28, 2014

Mondays on the Margins: The A to Z of Children's Health - A parent's guide from birth to 10 years

I was given this book to review by Robert Rose Publishing. I have to say, I really wish they'd come out with it ten years ago, because it would have been really nice to have around. This is the most comprehensive, up-to-date book of its type that I've seen - it kind of kicks What to Expect the Toddler Years' ass.

It's a fairly massive tome - about 450 pages, but well organized and indexed, and also featuring an alphabetical page-edging tab, so it's easy to find what you're looking for. It features everything from common childhood ailments (colds, flu, hand foot and mouth disease) to common childhood injuries (slivers, cuts, bruises, bee and wasp stings) and more serious and less common conditions and disorders (autism spectrum disorder, Epstein-Barr virus, obstructive sleep apnea). It also addresses anxiety disorders, bullying and cyber-bullying and school phobias and avoidance; this is clearly not your parents' guide to children' health.

There are charts featuring symptoms, treatments and red flags. There are pictures, which are really helpful (if not terribly attractive) when dealing with rashes and stool. There are case studies. There are useful and interesting "Did You Know" blue boxes: "Did you know you can use your child's palm to assess the size of the burn: the inside of your child's palm equals 1% of his body surface area". Did you know that? I totally didn't know that.

This book is extensive, frank, largely reassuring and constructive. I will be giving it to one of my friends with babies, and expecting the companion volume for the teenage years to surface just as my kids hit their twenties. *Rueful sigh*.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

I Forgot to Bring the Camera to Easter Dinner

I was raised Catholic. Easter week-end was basically one really long Church service after another. From the time I was twelve or so, I was in the choir or playing the organ, so there was also a bunch of rehearsals and getting their extra early for Easter Sunday mass, which was often the day after the spring time change, making it even earlier. Once when I was in university, my parents were visiting and my mother and I were going to Good Friday mass, and a guy in our residence said he'd come with us. As we left the church three hours later, he exclaimed, with several expletives, that he was trying to expiate his Irish Catholic guilt by going to one service for Easter and had figured this would be the short one. My mother almost died laughing.

Photo by Matthew Sabo
When I went to McMaster and belonged to the university choir, the choir director asked me to join his church choir and picked me up for rehearsals and mass for a few months. I remember singing a version of "Were You There When They Crucified My Lord" that gave me the shivers one Good Friday, and made my visiting-again mother cry.

Sometimes I do miss the ceremony and sense of solemnity and order of being a churchgoer. I definitely miss the music. But mostly I'm comfortable with the path I've chosen. Today I felt a tiny sense of melancholy, mostly because my kids are at the point where, if we're not visiting younger cousins for Easter, colouring eggs and searching for chocolate isn't a big priority any more. We went out to Brockville to take Matt's grandmother out for lunch yesterday, and I was planning to drive out and bring her back to my mom and dad's for Easter dinner today, but she woke up today with a stomach bug. And then I forgot to bring my camera to Easter dinner.

But that's okay, because most of the best moments were auditory anyway.

My mother: "Should I say grace?" Eve: "I don't even know what that is!" My mother: "Bless us oh Lord and these, thy gifts, which we are about to receive, from your goodness, through Christ our Lord, Amen." My father: "And Jesus Christ, why don't I have a napkin?"

My mother: "Allison, don't you like stuffing?" Me: "I took some stuffing!" My mother: "Hardly any." Eve: "Look, she doesn't need a buttload, okay?" Me: "I raise 'em classy."

My mother: "This is really good, even if I have to say so myself." Matt: "You're only supposed to say it yourself if no one else said it, and everyone else has already said it." My mother: "I know, and yet I still feel like I have to say it myself."

Eve, eating her chocolate bird's nest: "I don't believe you that you made these last year." Matt: "She didn't make THOSE ones last year, she just made the same ones this year." Eve: "I MEANT that I don't remember them from last year. No one's dumb enough to think these ones are a year old." Matt: "Why am I getting all the abuse?" Angus: "These pitches aren't coming from nowhere, Dad. They're right down the middle. It's too easy."

Matt: "Eve and Victoria weren't at the park anymore when I went to get them, they were back at Victoria's. I looked like a predator sitting there in my truck scanning the park. Tomorrow there'll be a note in Moms From Barrhaven saying...." My father: "Balding man in dark glasses seen lurking near neighbourhood park." Matt: "....." Angus: "...right down the middle." My mother: "It's not funny. Things like that really happen." Matt: "Yes. Men go bald every day and it's tragic."

My father, as we stand up to leave the table: "Oh, here's my napkin. I was sitting on it." Angus: "I guess the phrase 'not up your butt or you'd know it' doesn't apply in this case?" Me: "I raise 'em classy." (But funny).

And our Easter was happy. Hope yours, faith-filled or family-centered or both, was too.

And here's a picture from yesterday:

Monday, April 14, 2014

Meme Monday on the Margins Mash-Up

I had this mini-epiphany last week; usually in the morning I sit down with breakfast and check my email and return messages and work on course stuff and check Facebook before I settle down to writing. Sometimes I leave blogging until after supper. On Thursday morning, I wrote my blog post before doing anything else. And I felt this incredible surge of happiness and accomplishment. Now I realize I'm not always the quickest study, but the lesson seemed obvious.

So this morning I was all set to write my Meme Monday post, but when I checked, Nicole's wasn't up yet, so I wasn't sure if we were DOING Meme Monday, so I thought maybe I'd do a Mondays on the Margins post, but I only had one half-prepared, and when I thought about it I thought it probably needed some quotes, which would necessitate me having all the books, which I don't, so I waffled. And then I did other stuff. And now here I am, after dinner, needing to get on the treadmill, wondering why I NEVER LEARN.

I've had the scraps of a memory of this poem rolling around my head for the past few days (not for any good reason - somewhat uncharacteristically, I am NOT presently ragey or hate-filled towards anyone or anything at the moment). It took a little more internet searching than usual: I did a dozen search strings comprised of some variation of HATE + SILENCE + UNDERWATER + CAT + CUR + SLAIN. I came up with lists of "Silence" poems, lists of "Hatred" poems, a site for "writing dark poems about death, horror and evil" (yes, obviously I'm going there right after I finish this post) a perplexing effort entitled "Silence, sssst" by "Nadim, Lost Soul", and then, magically, like tripping drunkenly over a rainbow and finding yourself barfing into a pot of gold (okay, not really anything like that), there it was.


E.J. Pratt
From:   E.J. Pratt: Complete Poems. ed. Sandra Djwa and R.G. Moyles. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1989.

There is no silence upon the earth or under the earth like the silence
    under the sea;
No cries announcing birth,
No sounds declaring death.
There is silence when the milt is laid on the spawn in the weeds and
    fungus of the rock—clefts;
And silence in the growth and struggle for life.
The bonitoes pounce upon the mackerel,
And are themselves caught by the barracudas,
The sharks kill the barracudas
And the great molluscs rend the sharks,
And all noiselessly —
Though swift be the action and final the conflict,
The drama is silent.

There is no fury upon the earth like the fury under the sea.
For growl and cough and snarl are the tokens of spendthrifts who
    know not the ultimate economy of rage.
Moreover, the pace of the blood is too fast.
But under the waves the blood is sluggard and has the same
    temperature as that of the sea.

There is something pre—reptilian about a silent kill.

Two men may end their hostilities just with their battle—cries,
'The devil take you,' says one.
'I'll see you in hell first,' says the other.
 And these introductory salutes followed by a hail of gutturals
    and sibilants are often the beginning of friendship, for who would
    not prefer to be lustily damned than to be half—heartedly blessed?
No one need fear oaths that are properly enunciated, for they
    belong to the inheritance of just men made perfect, and, for all we
    know, of such may be the Kingdom of Heaven.
But let silent hate be put away for it feeds upon the heart of the hater.

Today I watched two pairs of eyes. One pair was black and the
    other grey. And while the owners thereof, for the space of five
    seconds, walked past each other, the grey snapped at the black and
    the black fiddled the grey.
One looked to say — 'The cat,'
And the other— 'The cur.'
But no words were spoken;
Not so much as a hiss or a murmur came through the perfect enamel
    of the teeth; not so much as a gesture of enmity.
If the right upper lip curled over the canine, it went unnoticed.
The lashes veiled the eyes not for an instant in the passing.
And as between the two in respect to candour of intention or
    eternity of wish, there was no choice, for the stare was mutual and
A word would have dulled the exquisite edge of the feeling.
An oath would have flawed the crystallization of the hate.
For only such culture could grow in a climate of silence —
Away back before emergence of fur or feather, back to the unvocal
    sea and down deep where the darkness spills its wash on the
    threshold of light, where the lids never close upon the eyes, where
    the inhabitants slay in silence and are as silently slain.

March 1936 
I have issues with poetry - not disliking it, just having trouble reading it. If I could have someone read it aloud to me it would probably be better (although the one time a guy tried to do it in the romantic sense I couldn't stop giggling and he wasn't terribly eager to try it again). But this one, maybe because the metre is more drawn-out, or the images are so intense, really stuck in my mind (not enough to reproduce word for word, or reproduce the title, or the author, or... yeah, you see what "sticking in my mind" actually entails, I know, it's sad, let's move on). 
Do you have a favourite poem? (I'll wait here while you Google).
Okay, Meme Monday questions:
Is it spring where you are?
Sure. It thundered so loud and so long last night that I thought it was an earthquake, most of today was crazy windy but in a balmy, springlike, fragrant way, this afternoon some guy aerated my lawn in the pouring rain, and tomorrow it's going to snow!

What was the last book you read, and would you recommend it?
The last book I finished was called I Am the New God and I might recommend it to a very select audience. I got it from NetGalley for review and it was...odd. The last book I read without finishing was Louise Penny's The Beautiful Mystery, and it is beautiful - melodic and meditative and cadenced. I would recommend it to anyone. 
Reality TV - yes or no?

I think I outed myself as in the snobby contingent on this question in this post. In a word - no.
Who is your favourite cartoon character of all time?
Nicole says "that's easy" which makes me wonder what's wrong with me. Or maybe with her. :)
Um...... Anyone from Duckman?
Do you have a song stuck in your head right now? What is it?
I always have a song stuck in my head, usually for long, long periods of time. Often I become newly aware of it as if it's been playing in the room I'm in instead of in my head - it's like a brainworm more than an earworm. I was on a Billy Joel kick and for a while it was You May Be Right alternating with Christie Lee (I heard the man knew the Bird like a Bible/ yes the man could blow an educated axe). I went quite a while with Train's 50 Ways to Say Goodbye. None of it holds a candle to the tortuous three weeks I once battled with a bout of insomnia during which the sleepless nighttime hours were almost entirely colonized by Hoots the Owl's Put Down the Duckie. I try not even to let the title cross my mind....oh. Shit. But this morning when I woke up, later than I wanted to, again, I shit you not, the snooze button clicked off, and the radio came on just as some chick started singing "I sleep in late/another day/oh what a wonder/oh what a waste". So I slumped into the shower feeling wretched, thinking maybe I'd email Zarah for a pep talk after breakfast. Then I gave myself a pep talk in Zarah's voice, and it started with the assertion that even if I lose productive hours in the morning, I generally make them up at night, and ended with the conclusion that if my worst habit is sleeping in until I feel rested on mornings when I don't have to be anywhere, I'm probably not the horrible useless wretch that I sometimes feel like I am. 
Whew. Too heavy for a Meme Monday? Go back to Put Down the Duckie. You know, if you want to, you can put a dirty spin on it. "It's hard to play the saxophone with something in your hand?" Come ON. Tune in next week where I'll completely desecrate The Count's Counting Sheep Song. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

45 Reasons I Love Collette, On Her Birthday

1. She fed my kids chicken korma, which I never would have dared to try, and they loved it, which opened the door to chicken curry once a week.

2. She fed Angus tuna, which he didn't like but ate out of fear, which amused me highly.

3. We like the same movies, and dislike the girl who interviews all the bands in the pre-show, and every time she's on we use the word 'sycophant' and giggle like idiots.

4. She has a nice rack.

5. She is honest. The kind of honest that can sting a bit at first but then becomes wholly refreshing and useful. When we were in Toronto to see Wicked we were staying at a friend's house and I came down after getting dressed for the show and said "does this necklace go with this dress?" She looked up from her magazine and said "yep" and I said "good, thanks". The friend's husband said "that sounded a little perfunctory", and I said "yes, but if it didn't go, she would have looked up and said 'nope'", and our other friends nodded in agreement.

6. She takes my kids or anyone else's into her house for a day or night or week-end effortlessly, while I have to psych myself up, make a dozen lists and meditate for two hours before I can do the same with kids that aren't mine.

7. When we sing the theme song to The Big Bang Theory, I know that we're both going to yell the second BANG and then look at each other and laugh.

8. When I invite people over for dinner and then get overwhelmed because I've planned to cook too many things that all have to be ready at the same time, she steps in and helps without making me feel like a loser.

9. She doesn't just say "we should get together" or "we should go out for someone's birthday" or "we should go to Toronto once a year or so and see a show". She gets that shit DONE.

10. She made me go ziplining and high-speed go-karting. Not in the sense of "forced me" but in the sense of "I wouldn't have done it if I didn't know her".

11. She thinks I have a nice rack.

12. Some people say they're going to lock their kids in the basement for their teenage years. Collette says she expects her kids to be living in her basement with her grandchildren by the end of their teenage years.

13. She reminds me frequently that my husband is a good man and I have a tendency to bitchiness, which is a good thing to remember.

14. She was the kind of friend that, when Matt went away and Angus fell down the stairs and I thought he broke his finger, said I could drop off baby Eve and take him to the hospital. Even better, she was the kind of friend that, when we got there, figured out that his finger wasn't broken and invited us in for dinner and Jello, which blew Angus's mind and was all he talked about for the next four days.

15. She was also the kind of friend that, when we had the massive power blackout in 2003 and Matt was away again, invited us over for a cold dinner and melting popsicles and tried really hard to get Angus to stay there for the night (even though she also had a baby), and gave me a flashlight to take home because the only one I had growled every time I used it.

16. She had her first kid ten months before I had my first kid, and was helpfully and hilariously and demystifyingly blunt about what I could expect from the process.

17. I hardly ever have to worry about being the drunkest girl at the party.

18. I can tell her anything.

19. She would scorn the label "intellectual", but she's smart in many ways that don't usually go together. She's intelligent and clever and witty and wise.

20. I had to interrupt this list because on Saturday she emailed "I'm bored. I'm coming over for drinks".

21. She's smart but her memory is so bad that I could put pretty much anything in this list and even if she had no memory of it happening, she wouldn't be 100% sure that I was making it up.

22. She understands my disproportionate and immoderate love for Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

23. When I was having a nervous breakdown over Angus being on the wait list for nursery school or any of the other million stupid things I had nervous breakdowns over, she was completely understanding and talked me down, even though she is emphatically not the nervous breakdown type.

24. She's the only one who I told to watch Hemlock Grove who actually watched it.

25. A four-hour car trip or a six-hour kitchen table drinking session - we never, ever run out of things to talk about.

26. She's a better cook than me, but she loves my cooking.

27. Sometimes we laugh so hard we actually fall out of our chairs.

28. She offered to come to Grandpa's funeral with me, just for support, even though she had never met him.

29. She came and took me and Angus out for the first time when he was six weeks old and I was a total mess. She didn't even say anything when I left the house in what I see now was basically a nightgown. We went to Carlingwood Mall and walked around and ate in the food court and her one-year-old looked enormous and ate real food and freaked me out and Angus slept the whole time and it was magical.

30. She called me and said "let's see the new Wes Craven movie", and I knew without asking that she actually meant the new Wes Anderson movie, BUT she will also see scary movies with me, as long as her friend from England isn't here, the one who when I met her practically the very first thing she said was "I hate scary movies" and THAT's why I STILL haven't seen The Conjuring, HMPH.

31. We watched The Cabin in the Woods together and thought all the same things about it and every now and then one of us whispers "take off your shirt" and we laugh until we fall out of our chairs.

32. When we went with our friends who were shopping for wedding dresses, the sales girls at Justina McCaffery on Sussex Drive were insufferably snotty and mannered. As we were driving away, we were talking about what we should have said to discompose them, and Collette's remark was so crude that all the other girls told their husbands and the husbands were suitably impressed, and I tried to tell Matt but I couldn't even make myself say it. (I've come a long way since then).

33. She is so relentlessly thrifty that she once bought (and wore) a secondhand maternity bathing suit. With horizontal orange stripes. And a neon green butt.

34. She is so relentlessly thrifty that when we did aquafit together after we'd had our first kids, she bought a white bathing suit from Wal Mart that went transparent in water and when she got out of the pool everyone could SEE her butt.

35. She made the absolute best comment on this post.

36. When we were at our first Pampered Chef party, the woman was demonstrating this 'fabulous' cheese grater that wouldn't leave you with that annoying little ungrateable piece at the end, and with outraged perplexed disbelief, Collette was like "morons! YOU JUST EAT IT."

37. When I was pregnant with my second and she was pregnant with her third and we'd see people we didn't know that well, they'd ask how we were doing, and no matter what I said, she'd say "and I've changed my mind!"

38. When we went ziplining and I was terrified and husbandless, she did every stage first and then told me exactly how to do it so I wouldn't look (as) stupid or die. This one should have gone after the first ziplining one, but then I would have had to renumber everything so just deal with it.

39. Angus was outright unashamedly in love with her from the ages of two to four, and she put up with him parking himself on her every time we were together and if we were at their house and he wanted to answer the phone, she let him.

40. She's a very confident driver. And she knows how to change windshield wipers. And build a fire.

41. She didn't have a good mother and yet she is a really, really good mother.

42. When Angus broke his leg on the Labour Day weekend when he was two and I was pregnant with Eve, she came to the hospital on the holiday Monday. She left her two kids with someone else. She brought a photo album with funny pictures to amuse Angus, who was still in traction. She brought doughnuts for the nurses so they would be nice to us (they were already being nice to us, but still). She sat with Angus so I could put my head down and freak out for half an hour. It's one of the most amazing things anyone has ever done for me.

43. She made Angus one of his favourite Batman capes. Yes. There were multiple Batman capes. And there was a hierarchy.

44. She gave me a first edition of Bel Canto.

45. At the risk of sounding like a cheesy Facebook meme (for which she will mock me), she has helped me live a happier, more truthful life.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thank Goodness My Head is Attached

Last night Matt and Angus were out at baseball and I was in the kitchen cooking a bunch of stuff while Eve was reading on the couch. I told her I was just going to go upstairs and wash my face and then we'd have dinner. I took off my apron and threw it over the top of the couch. I kicked off my sandals which I wear in the kitchen because they have orthotics in them and it's better for my feet and back. I walked upstairs and into my bedroom and into the bathroom, stuck a scrunchy in my hair and washed my face. Then I reached for my glasses, because I always wash my face, dry my face, then wash and dry my glasses before putting them back on.

No glasses.

I looked around, confused. I always put them down to the left of the sink on the counter. I moved the little baskets that have my nail clippers and hair clips and stuff in them. No glasses. I looked to the right of the sink, where my hair dryer and straightener live. No glasses.

So now I'm totally confused and also blind so it's really hard to LOOK for my glasses. I go out into my bedroom and check the bed in case I did something really weird and threw them on the bed before going into the bathroom. I go back and recheck the bathroom counter.
Photo from Flickr by kenny_lex

Finally I call down to Eve that I'm having a really embarrassing problem and ask her to come help me look. She can't find them either. I'm wondering if I have to put in my contacts to look for my glasses and feeling like I'm flat-out losing my mind.

Finally I go back downstairs. My glasses are sitting on the end of the kitchen counter. I guess when I divested myself of my apron and sandals I took them off too in the orgy of stuff-taking-off and didn't realize I was walking up the stairs blind. I guess I should be glad I didn't accidentally get naked.

Later on, Eve decided she was going to start watching Community on Netflix since she was done Merlin and her cousin Charlotte loves Community. Then she discovered that Community was no longer on Netflix and was pissed off and decided on Bones instead. Except when she came down to tell me, I searched Netflix on my computer and Community was right there. I asked her how she was spelling it and she was spelling it with a U instead of the first O. "How embarrassing for you", I said.

She came over and looked at my computer sheepishly. Then she pointed at me and said "look lady, you lost your glasses, so we're keeping this between us".

Unfortunately for her, she doesn't realize that after you have a couple of kids, embarrassment kind of becomes foreign territory.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mondays on the Margins: In Which I Attempt to Get Over Myself

I've never claimed to only read "worthwhile" literature. I hold hard to my trashy mysteries - okay, I hold hard to my love of mysteries, and when I was younger I read trashy ones, but at this point I try to only read well-written ones. I love science fiction and fantasy and I will go toe-to-toe with anyone who says genre fiction isn't valuable or worthy of respect.

But I'm not really an indiscriminate reader, either, although I use it as a label. I don't read much historical fiction or war novels. I don't like hard science fiction. And I don't read "women's fiction", where the main thrust of the plot is women's relationships with other women, or work-life balance, or romance. I always say that it's not that I think less of it, I just have a limited number of books I can read and they're all filled with other types of fiction. The same way I don't shun reality television because I'm above it, I just prefer my ridiculous television to be more scripted.

Naturally I'm sort of lying when I say all that. I DO think reality television is mostly nasty and horrible. I watched ten minutes of a Real Housewives of Something-or-Other once, and I was appalled, not at the fact that they were all so odious to each other, but at the low calibre of the insults they were flinging. Dorothy Parker famously said of the prom at Harvard University, "If all the ladies there were laid end to end, I wouldn't be surprised." On That 70s show, someone once told Kelso that if he was any dumber he would have to wear a helmet. Even Kevin Kline calling John Cleese a "pompous, stuck-up, snot-nosed, English, giant, twerp, scumbag, fuck-face, dickhead, asshole" shows a bit of imagination (and stamina). One of the Real Housewives took a breath, and I waited for what would emerge, and she said something like "you're stupid!" I switched over to The Blacklist and surrendered happily to James Spader's urbane, oily, polysyllabic charm.

Of course I think "chick lit" is sort of beneath me too. Years ago when we went to Saskatchewan every summer, I spent days lying on the cottage porch reading Harlequin Romances with my older cousin, and they were all uniformly formulaic, highly unrealistic and sometimes borderline offensive to women. I tend to lump all of this genre in with those.

So a couple of weeks ago I was browsing the library ebooks and somehow I came across a book called The Burning Air. I read the sample, and it sucked me in to the point where I put the book on hold, and read it quickly when it came available a couple of days later. I also read The Husband's Secret because the plot synopsis sounded intriguing and a few of my friends had reviewed it favourably.

In neither case did I immediately realize that the book would probably be classified as women's fiction. By the time I did realize it, I was interested enough that I kept reading.

I realized something. I read mysteries because I think that the best mysteries can get at the heart of our fears of mortality and of losing the people we love better than some purely literary works. Because they embody the idea of the quest, of sacrificing something in order to find an essential knowledge or wisdom or answer. Because I'm drawn to the idea of everyone having secrets, but it makes me uneasy. Because if they're really well done, they reveal something or cast something in a light that makes it new to me.

Turns out that if a novel classified as "women's literature" - wait, I should stop using the quotation marks if I want to come across less bitchy, right? - is well done, it's capable of doing the SAME THING.

Mind. Blown.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Surly Thursday: Infuriating Minutiae

I am a fizzing collection of small bodily irritations. The universe has placed tiny targets on all of my fingernails. A few days ago I smashed my left thumb into the washer, breaking the nail halfway down my thumb. I then managed to jam the tip of a sharp knife right into the wound while making dinner.

Turns out I do a LOT OF STUFF with my left thumbnail. How do I clean under the fingernails on my other hand? Do they just have to stay bacteria-ridden until it grows back? It takes me four times as long to get my left contact lens out - I manage to knock it off my pupil but then it gets stuck in the inner corner of my eye and I pry ineptly at it with my poor, blunt, useless thumb. It sucks.
Photo from Flickr by Gene Han

I have a paper cut that's actually a cut from the lid of one of those plastic clamshell salad containers, which I think we can all agree is MUCH, MUCH worse than a paper cut, on my left index finger (wait, is that the finger beside the thumb? The Peter Pointer finger? That one). My other thumb hurts in a sort of indiscriminate maybe-it's-the-skin, maybe-it's-the-ligament way. Plus the whole hand aches, I think from trying to hold my ipad to read in the hospital waiting room - stupid heavy ipad. Stupid weak hand.

Getting into the truck after getting groceries today I broke the nail on my right thumb and right ring finger.

Other things that have annoyed me this week:

1. Toilets without lids

2. Loblaws, who always has plantains when I don't need them, not having any plantains on Monday when I needed them.

3. Loblaws, who had a bin full of cilantro on Monday, not having any cilantro today when I needed more.

4. The guy who keeps making smart-ass comments on the email for Collette's birthday party, but won't say whether he's actually coming, despite my repeatedly asking. He's dead to me. I'm going to find out what all the foods he hates are and put them on the menu. If he shows up, I will NOT smile welcomingly at him.

5. The half-a-foot-deep puddle at the end of my driveway that I keep forgetting is there and having to stand in to unload my groceries.

6. My husband clearing his throat incessantly after dinner every night.

7. The series finale of How I Met Your Mother. Or maybe not. I'm still deciding.

8. The rash on Angus's face. REALLY? The poor kid just got a prescription that's been working for his face and found out he's getting his braces off next month, and now he has to deal with this shit? NOT COOL, Universe.

9. The slightly too-wide neck on the purple shirt with the sharkbite hem that I ALMOST totally love, except every time I put it on I remember that the neck is too wide and I can't figure out exactly how to position it on my shoulders and it makes me feel like there's too much of the wrong kind of skin showing, so it's eighty percent really flattering and twenty percent not, and I can never decide if I should get rid of it or not.

10. The pork roast I bought at Loblaws on Monday that had a best before date of tomorrow but reeked to high heavens when I pulled back the plastic wrap today. They gave me my money back, but I had to return it and I still keep phantom-smelling rancid pork.

11. Perhaps I should give some thought to frequenting another grocery store?

Anyway, Eve and I had a rather hilarious time grocery shopping and clothes shopping for her at Winners, which I will tell you about tomorrow, so none of this is really that surly-making. But it's Thursday. And goddamn, this paper-plastic cut stings. And I need help taking out my left contact lens. Who's coming over?