Monday, November 30, 2015

Day 30 - Not With a Bang But a Whimper

Totally forgot I had an assignment due tonight. Library and Archives Canada website and Online Computer Library C....something else. Eve came down while I was shouting "THERE IS NO FUCKING DINOSAUR ENCYCLOPEDIA!" at the computer and asked if I needed a hug.

I read everyone's reactions to the whacked-out revenge story and felt smugly and serenely vindicated for a millisecond, until I realized that I tend to hang with people who share my basic worldview, so I was probably reaping the results of a whopping filter bubble. Then I decided I didn't care. I hang with you all because you are right-thinking, wise individuals. Our filter bubbles are sparkly and iridesce with many lovely colours.

I drove Angus out to personal training and we saw an unusual number of vanity license plates. He thought the ones that just had someone's name were stupid. "If I have a custom plate, it's going to be to make the person behind me laugh or spend the whole drive trying to figure out what it means". On the way home we saw one that said UNIR ONE. Well okay then. We thought maybe they just spelled unicorn really wrong.

Angus just went up to shave. Here is the Movember progression. Donation to prostate cancer research has been made.





"Wow, it really balances out your eyebrows!" Eve said after this one.



Ding dong, November's dead. Thanks to everyone for riding along. It wasn't always pretty, but we got 'er done. As usual, it's my intention to keep blogging daily for as long as I can keep it up. As usual, this will probably extend to... tomorrow, maybe.

Now I'm going to try to remember where I hid the Advent calendars. Because, you know, we're so religious. About Lindt chocolate.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Day 29 - One More Day

That made me think of this Les Mis parody song, which came across my timeline in Facebook last year and made me howl. (I realize celiac is a real disease and people actually need to abstain from gluten. I have nothing against people on strict diets. It's just a funny song).

In my note to myself for what to write about today, I have written "p. 92 Songbook". It's not that I have forgotten what this means - it means I was going to include a quote from page 92 of Nick Hornby's Songbook, because it made me giggle helplessly for a while earlier today. It's that I'm too lazy to go upstairs and stumble around my dark, husband-occupied bedroom looking for it.

Still loving it, though. It has made me smile, well up with tears and laugh out loud, which made one guy at physio comment that it must be a good book and then go on to overshare considerably, causing me to regret my imprudent display of amusement - fortunately his appointment was almost over. I've downloaded several of the songs discussed: Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window? (Wilko Johnson, because I like many Bob Dylan songs, I can't actually stand hearing Bob Dylan sing them - sorry), One Man Guy (Rufus Wainwright's voice - delicious), and probably some others but once again, too lazy to check.

I was noodling around on Goodreads doing that dumbass thing where I'm actively looking for books to add to my ridiculously unmanageable to-read list. To backtrack, last year or the year before I read The Husband's Secret, which was kind of an It Book, which I usually avoid, and sort of seemed chick lit-like, which I also avoid, but whatever. And I really liked it. It wasn't Proust or anything, but it was well-written, the plot was genius and she dealt with some heavy subjects with a light touch. I've read two more of her books and enjoyed them both.

A few months ago I read A Corner of White (which I found by noodling around on Goodreads, which is why I keep doing it even though it's kind of like trying to catch rain in a teacup when you live in a spring-fed lake) and it cracked my head open and poured awesomeness inside and I was wondering why I'd never heard of the author before, so I looked her up and oh, she's Australian, maybe that's why... wait.... Jaclyn Moriarty, Liane Moriarty... holy crap, they're sisters!

Then I went through this whole complicated little exercise where I tried to imagine what it was like when the first sister became successful as a writer, and then the second sister got into the act later but now she's had this breakout book and is probably making a ton of money, but it's kind of okay because both their books are really excellent examples of their chosen genres, which are completely separate from each other and not really comparable (young adult fantasy and women's lit/mystery).

THEN I was on Goodreads the other day (oh shut up, I don't drink or smoke, except for drinking a little), and I was reading a synopsis of a book that sounded interesting and SONOFBITCH, there's another goddamned sister.

I need to read one of her books. But I'm kind of scared to - I'm now way overidentified with this family's sibling politics.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Day 28

Thirteen minutes to post.

We saw The last Hunger Games movie tonight. It was good. It felt like a satisfying ending.

I tried to order some books from Indigo and ship them to Matt's mom and her husband last night. I couldn't find the gift wrap option. There was an item in the total saying zero charge for gift wrap, and the help screen told me how to choose the gift wrap option but it wasn't there. I spent about ten minutes going back to the beginning of the process and trying it again, thinking I must be missing something.

I finally emailed customer service. Today I got an email back saying the gift wrap option was disabled for the Black Friday Week-end promotions. Sorry that this wasn't stated on our website, they said, so you didn't waste time looking for it.

Expletive. Angry gesture. Futile wish that I could truthfully declare that I was going somewhere else in protest. But we all know I'm going to wait until Tuesday and ship the gift-wrapped books then.

What's it like to have principles? Anyone?

Friday, November 27, 2015

Day 27 - Revenge of the Nerds, Sort of

Okay, so this is what I was going to post about yesterday. I've been reading a bunch of anthologies lately - this one, this one and this one, among others. They all came up in my library holds queue at once, and aside from the slight feeling of scatteredness that reading a bunch of short stories at once gives me, I've been quite enjoying most of them. I also just finished Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd, which "covers all things geeky, from Klingons and Jedi Knights to fan fiction, theater geeks, and cosplayers." 

Most of the stories were really good - some quite sweet and funny, some with a very loose interpretation of the term 'geek' I thought, and a couple utterly forgettable. There was one about a popular cheerleader trying to learn more about geekdom for her football player boyfriend who kind of likes Star Wars, so she asks a few of the school geeks to help her out, and ends up forming a bond with them and outgrowing the meathead boyfriend - I loved that one. Weirdly, I didn't love the John Green story. "Quiz Bowl Antichrist" by David Levithan was probably my favourite - it was the most subtle and bittersweet snapshot of a moment of insight in a teenage boy's life that I'd read in a while.

Then there was The Truth About Dino Girl by Barry Lyga. It starts out well, with a main character who eats, sleeps and breathes dinosaurs. She's also in love with a popular guy who seems cool because he doesn't rag on her for being smart and seems to find it silly when others do. Unfortunately, he has a beautiful, popular girlfriend. The main character tries to convince herself that the girlfriend is nice because she must be to be with the guy, but it turns out she's a classic mean girl. So the main character (sorry, I can never remember the main characters' names) and her best friend sneak into the girls' locker room when mean girl is half-naked after cheerleading practice, take pictures of her and then photoshop it to look like she's in a cheap motel. Then they post the pictures all over the school of the mean girl, with her boobs showing, saying that she sleeps around, and getting her ostracized by her boyfriend and everyone else in school.

Like.... WTF? It's clear that we the readers are supposed to be complicit in and approving of this completely disproportionate revenge. Like yay, child porn, slut shaming, probably ruination of the girl's life? Is this what passes for out-mean-girling the mean girl in the author's mind?

I had to go search the reviews on Goodreads to make sure I wasn't the only one shaking my head over this one. I found a few readers who said the same thing I was thinking, although fewer than I'd expected. I'm not sure if it should, but it does kind of make a difference to me that the author is male - it puts an extra-creepy spin on the whole thing.

Then I wondered if I was just being too sensitive-new-agey about the concept of revenge. I remember watching the movie version of A Little Princess, and when Sara's father returns and she has a chance to get back at the mean headmistress who treated her like a slave, I expected her to show mercy, being too big a person for petty revenge. I don't think I've actually read the book but in the movie, I was totally wrong - the mean headmistress was now treated just as badly as she'd treated Sara.

I'm not against the concept of revenge per se. I just think the punishment has to fit the crime and it's no good if the act of revenge drags someone lower than the antagonist. It's kind of like how if I'm writing an angry letter to complain about poor customer service or if I get into an argument on the internet, I find it more satisfying if I can be calm and cutting, as opposed to losing my temper and stringing together expletives and insults. Is this just loser thinking? Is Barry Lyga out-feministing me by proving that a girl can be merciless in the pursuit of revenge? Do I have some milk-toast politically correct concept of vengeance that would get me laughed out of the Justice League?

What do you think? 




Thursday, November 26, 2015

Day 26 - Crawling Towards the Finish Line

I feel like I'm just inflicting posts on anyone still left here, rather than sharing them. I've really got nothing tonight. Well, I've got something, but I noodled around doing Christmas shopping and Freecycling stuff for so long that now I'm too tired to do that something today. I'll probably do it tomorrow. Woo-hoo, I have something for tomorrow.

Right. We're still on today.

There's a little box in the bottom right of my screen that says Complain to Blogger. I get that it means if you have a Blogger problem, but every time it catches my eye I have the urge to click it and then type "my ass is bigger than I'd like and my kitchen is messy" or something.

Matt just found out he has to go to California from Monday to Thursday. Then he comes home for two days, and leaves again on Saturday for a week in China.

I can't remember if I talked here about the 12-year-old doctor filling in for my family doctor calling me to tell me my iron levels are lower than Atlantis. So at least I have a cause to address before deciding that I'm dying of some exotic tiredness disease. He told me I could either get one kind of iron supplement that's really hard on the stomach, or another kind that's easier on the gut but more expensive. I got the more expensive kind because I figured Matt would rather pay more and hear me bitch less.

Um...

I know! Let's see what was going on last year on November 26th. Oh look, I was talking about Freecycling then too. Wow, I was funny last year.

Okay, I've got nothing. Here's a cute (?) picture of Eve from my first year blogging, which kind of encapsulates how I feel right now.



Good night.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Day 25

Oh God. That means today is November 25. Exactly... one.... month.... *keels over*.

So, a local pub has been running a trivia night the past few months. Last month I couldn't make it, but the team my husband and friends were on actually won - they all got Sobey's gift cards (free ice cream, woo-hoo). Yesterday someone else couldn't make it so I went, even though I just found out my iron levels are scary low and my head has been aching all week and I'm so tired all the time I just want to cry. It was really fun, although we slipped from first place to third.

In every quiz, there's one word you have to spell. Tonight it was cantaloupe. I wrote it down, and three other people disagreed with me - they thought the second 'a' should be an 'e'. I was suddenly seized with self-doubt. Then I looked at my husband and he was looking at everyone else like they were insane. "Are you the least bit serious?" he said "There's NO WAY she's wrong."

We went with the others. I was totally right. We got the question wrong.

But man - sometimes he pisses me off, and sometimes he totally has my back. Which is nice, even when it's for the weirdest reasons.

I don't even like cantaloupe.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Day 24 - Clothes Make the Woman - NOT

I know I've been phoning it in a lot this month. It's a sort of Catch-22 where having to post every day makes me post something, but I don't feel like I have time to do anything really thoughtful or substantial, especially because November has been busier than usual. But before November, the lack of deadline and motivation meant I didn't have the drive to do anything really thoughtful or substantial then either. 

The cute-as-a-button Ukrainian sales girl that seduced me into buying the magical eye serum in Barrie threw in a facial scrub for free that she said I had to use once a week. She said (in an adorable accent): "Tell me you won't be too busy or too lazy." Sorry, darling, it appears I'm either one or the other ALL THE FREAKING TIME. 

One of the things I've been meaning to post about, back when there was another public furor about school dress codes and how they're fairly discriminatory towards girls. There was also a post on Facebook by a teen-aged or young adult woman (or someone pretending to be one), talking about how she was wearing jeans and a midriff-baring shirt, and how this was the outfit she wore while doing her job and making a baby laugh, while talking with her friends, and then when overhearing a mother tell her child that she was going to get what was coming to her because she obviously didn't respect herself enough to dress like a lady.

Yesterday there was another comment about how women should "respect themselves" on a blog post talking about how women generally deal with either flat-out misogyny and sexism or smaller micro-aggressions related to the same thing every day.

I'm still not taking the time to assemble the post I meant to write about this. I'm just going with what I can think of right now. In the first place, I hear a lot of people (some of them my friends) saying: "What's wrong with modesty?" Well, nothing is inherently wrong with modesty. If modesty is a part of your religious beliefs, or just your general philosophy, then by all means, practice it. But you don't get to make other people adhere to that belief, just like you don't get to make them take Communion or give ten percent of their earnings to the church.

A body is just a body. Every single thing you ascribe to a female body is just that - something YOU ascribe to it. Boobs are just boobs. We have them because we might be able to feed a child with them, assuming we choose to have one. They weren't put there for your gratification, and whether you like seeing them or find them offensive, that's not our issue - it's yours.

One of my friends said she has a male teacher friend who feels uncomfortable when girls in his class show too much skin. Suck it up, I say. He has the same right everyone has - to not be made to feel uncomfortable by someone else's actions or behaviour. If the girls are acting inappropriately towards him, they should be disciplined. If he's uncomfortable because of the very fact of a non-shapeless-garment-draped female body? That is SO not the girls' problem. Go have an argument with the goddamned rape culture that has existed since culture itself became a thing, and probably beforehand.

Now on to that fucking ridiculous empty-of-any-usable-content statement, "respect yourself". Apparently if I respect myself, that will prevent men from perpetrating a host of indignities on me, from paying me less for equivalent work to raping me. Right. All I have to do is respect myself. Good to know it's so easy. Oh, and respecting myself means I should make sure I'm covered up so no one can see "everything I have". Because everything I have extends solely to my boobs and ass.

Yeah, fuck that. If you ever see someone wearing a t-shirt saying "I don't respect myself", THEN you can base your opinion of their self-respect on their clothing. Actually, not even then - maybe they just spilled something on their other shirt and had to borrow that one.

Okay. So that's done. Now I'm going to go scrub my face, because she was seriously SO cute, and I promised.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Day 22


Every year, Collette invites a bunch of girls to her father's cottage. 

We drive up in the morning, dump our stuff at the cottage and head to Westport. We eat at the same restaurant, usually at the same table. Every year now the waiter brings us water, someone goes to take a sip, and someone else says "oh wait, the water tastes funny here". (It's country water. We're city girls.) The french fries are really good.

Then we go shopping at the magical Narnia store, where it looks like you're in a little country store and then you start wandering around and bam, right past the clothes and the shoes there's a bookstore, a full kitchen and a live band. 


Then we go back to the cottage and play games - this year it was some extremely classy Pictionary. 

It's the kind of thing that makes you feel like life is, well... 
Photo credit Collete Antaya.
(Oh, and that necklace? $492.95. Is that not just sheer insanity?)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Day 20

Tired. Hip hurts. Shoulder and neck all seized up.

My sum total of answers contributed to my team's total at World Trivia Night: two. Out of one hundred.

Lilith Crane's maiden name from Cheers (Sternin). And some Irish play called the (blank) of the Western World. (Playboy).

Cover myself in glory I did not. Cover myself in potato chip crumbs and licorice stickiness I did.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Day 19 - Slightly Less Surly Thursday

Random thoughts:

My hip hurts a little less today. I walked Lucy, went out to get blood work done and grab some groceries, and bagged up more stuff for donating and Freecycling.

I realized I'd forgotten about iZombie for a month which means FOUR WHOLE EPISODES, whoo-hoo!

"He puts the boys to sleep with boogie every night/ And wakes them up the same way in the early light"? While I am not unfond of boogie, in its proper place, neither of these things sounds terribly appealing to me.

I said "Sandwich before cinnamon bun!" He said "It's Backwards Day". He swam 5k today AND walked 1.5k home from school in the pouring rain. I decided not to quibble.


We were talking about what cereal we were and weren't allowed to eat as kids the other night, and I got everybody jonesing for Alpen. I bought some today.

We still  have a ridiculous number of stuffed animals. I am aiming to remedy that situation in short order.

My blood was taken by a beautiful black-skinned woman named Lemlem today. I was the only patient, so the other nurse there was telling us about how she won five thousand dollars in the lottery and we were talking about how people who win a lot of money often don't end up happy, and Lemlem said her mother knew a poor farmer in Ethiopia who won a large amount in the lottery and when they came to tell him about it he had a heart attack and died. So... well... make of that what you will.

It took me over six months to watch the movie version of We Need to Talk About Kevin because it was so disturbing. They had to completely change the chronology of things from the book to make it work as a movie, which I think they did admirably. Both Tilda Swinton (Kevin's mother) and Ezra Miller (Kevin) were in Trainwreck, and they were playing totally different characters, but it still gave me a shiver.

If this Lisa chick doesn't pm me back right quick, she's going to lose her shot at this highly desirable Sorcerer Micky Mouse. (Freecycle Without Pity)

Angus has a girl coming over to watch a movie tomorrow. I'm resisting the urge to make heart-shaped cupcakes.

I forgot to buy coconut milk. Fuck.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Day 18 - Hip Hip Goddamn It I Have a Lot of Crap

I'm feeling a little weary and demoralized at the moment for the following reasons:

1. My hip hurts. It hurts a lot. I'm accustomed to my feet hurting when I walk or stand a lot, and my knee got into the act a couple of years ago, but this is relatively new and sudden. It doesn't seem to matter what I do, it hurts, in a burning, grinding, miserable way, and it's sort of an integral part of most movements, so it's hard to ignore.

2. I spent most of today cooking and cleaning and organizing and Freecycling. This had a net effect of getting rid of one fleece vest and one pair of kids' boots, and moving a metric shit-ton of other crap around to different places in my house (I had a dining room table. Now it's gone). It also reminded me that my method of sorting through my kids' outgrown clothes every year and getting rid of a few more things, and then putting the rest back to go through the next year, while being a method that my sentimental and hoarding self can endure, is just a massively, MASSIVELY inefficient method of purging.

3. I ate a lot of crap today. I mean a LOT of crap. I was hanging around in the kitchen, close to all the food, and what can I say, mistakes were made.

This is how I'm addressing my concerns:

1. I can go to physiotherapy. I am in physiotherapy for my shoulder at the moment, which is a little bit improved, and it would be really nice if I could finish that and then not go back for a bit, but I'm actually very fortunate to have the option. They can figure out if it's a muscle or a joint issue and give me some exercises and do some treatment and it's possible, even likely, that my hip will not hurt forever, the way it feels like it will right now.

2. I can Freecycle more stuff over the next few days, and OFCP is coming by for donations on Monday, so I can get rid of a bunch more stuff in one fell swoop then. It won't be everything, and I will still have more small adorable pieces of clothing than I should, but it's a step. The basement looks much cleaner and more spacious than it did a few hours ago (Angus even commented on it). The last couple of boxes of Christmas decorations are neatly stacked back in the storage space just in time to come out again, but last year none of them made it back in, so I'm calling it progress. I also found a copy of Curious George plays baseball - Angus lives down in the basement so he hangs out and we talk and reminisce about the stuff I come across while I'm sorting, which is nice.

3. Tomorrow I will not eat crap Tomorrow I will eat less crap (let's not get all crazy now).

So. It's all good. Anybody want some Blues Clues VHS tapes?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Weird Deal-Breakers

I was in the middle of the Foreword to a new (to me) book of zombie short stories last night. The sentence I read was something like "We live, you see, in uncertain times", and instantly I was back in a little café by the rep theatre in Hamilton, whatever it was called - the Broadway? Maybe? Anyway, I was with this guy who I was sort of friends with in university, except he made it known now and then that he wanted to be more than friends, and I wasn't sure how I felt about that. He was really smart and well-spoken, but kind of uptight and borderline pretentious. We'd have interesting conversations, but I often felt a little like I was being lectured to. He would make me mixed tapes of classical music and then tell me about why I should like most of it more than I actually did. He sent me really nice flowers. I sort of did like the way he would help me put on my coat and then surreptitiously smell the perfume on my scarf before wrapping it around my neck.

So. We had just seen Othello, the 1952 version with Orson Welles. Then we went to have tea and talk about the movie (him) and various other stuff (me). We were having a nice night and I probably would have been amenable to a good night kiss, or something.

Then he started talking about Othello and Iago, and looked at me very seriously and said "they are, you see, the same person." I'm pretty sure this was literally the first time I had ever noticed anyone use two commas so very extravagantly in casual conversation.

Aaaaand we were done.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Day 16

Things that happened on my girls' week-end with Zarah:

I was stressing about my hair before going out in the morning and Zarah said "you ALWAYS panic about your hair and you get compliments on it ALL THE TIME." I said "Shut up, I do not." We went out for lunch. Some woman said she loved my hair.

We ate Thai one night, Indian the next, and leftovers the third. I found it kind of cute that Zarah usually loves her food all mixed together, but she had to make two trips because she didn't want her Thai curry touching her Indian curry.

I thought I wasn't going to spend any money this time. Isn't that adorable?


We were invited to merge our girls' week-end with two separate guys' week-ends. Thursday night we had book club. Friday night we got home after shopping and thought we'd take a break before deciding if we'd head out again. Zarah had heard good things about Aziz Ansari's new Netflix series Master of None. We watched two episodes, ordered Indian and binge-watched the whole series. It's fantastic - funny but sweet, not mean at all, very insightful about a lot of issues. Saturday night we got home after wandering around downtown, took a break and decided to watch Trainwreck, which we also loved. So yes - our week-end could be called embarrassingly girly and middle-aged. Fortunately, we're middle-aged enough that we don't really give a fuck.

I told her that I was feeling a little panicky about my reading total on Goodreads because my year-end book round-up post was going to be significantly shorter than the past few years. She said not to worry about it.

She told me about reading that tidying up book and said it was kind of ridiculous, EXCEPT.... and then showed me the stuff she'd changed and talked about why, and it made sense. I asked if the book was short (one more in before the end of the year!) She said really - don't worry about it.

One of the guys on one of the guys' week-end was her co-worker who kept making jokes about us having pillow fights in our underwear. So before bed one night we jokingly staged a pillow fight in pictures while wearing our pretty bras (Zarah and her Barrie bra store are responsible for all my pretty bras). Then we looked at the pictures and decided that texting them to her co-worker would be a really bad idea and just texted them to our significant others instead. Twenty minutes later I realized that after texting them I needed to erase them before they started scrolling across our television when the Apple TV went on screensaver - this is how Matt and I knew to ask Angus who the girl in his lap was at the birthday party he went to last week-end. Damn the Cloud.

We talked about All the Things.

We split the most perfect turkey, avocado and bacon crepe ever created.



We bought some cool stuff.



We got totally suckered by an adorable Ukrainian sales girl and I ended up buying some Magical Eye Serum because Zarah said it TOTALLY made a visible difference. The boxes were so fancy she had to help me figure out how to open them we got home.

We listened to a hilarious episode of The Debaters (as opposed to all those non-hilarious ones, yes, that was a rather uninspired choice of adjective) where Debra DiGiovanni (who I adore) was arguing with some dude about whether bad boys were desirable or dismissable. The other guy was listing Hollywood Good Guys, and one that he named I agreed with and Zarah gave me a strange look. While I was washing my face the next day I suddenly realized this was because I THOUGHT he had said Colin Farrell when he had ACTUALLY said Colin Firth. It was nice to achieve closure and harmony on that.

I miss Zarah. Stupid geography.



Sunday, November 15, 2015

Day 15

I've been in Barrie with Zarah since Thursday, which is why my posts have been short and lazy and I haven't been commenting on anyone's blog. I promise to catch up tomorrow. Right now I am highway-dopey and both happy and sad to be home again. Lucy is parkouring all over me with her caterpillar toy, Angus apparently went to a girl's house on Friday night and Eve has a cold - her current group chat with her friends is called "Get Your Flu Shot". I will come back and edit this to be less lame if I don't fall asleep in the next hour.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Friday, November 13, 2015

Angus doing Movember

Week One.

Week Two: ("I won't smile", he said, "so you can see it. Can you see it?")

Thursday, November 12, 2015

And They Totally Still Look Cool

When we were in London for Thanksgiving, my sister took us shoe shopping. 

I bought myself new Docs, because they remind of being young...

with zippers, because I know I'm not. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Poppies


Every year in November I am annoyed by poppies. I love them as a symbol, I love seeing them on other people, but I buy one the first time I see it, and then I spend the next two weeks losing poppies, buying new poppies, catching poppies as they leap off my coat, and getting poked by poppy pins. If they want us all to wear poppies to show respect, if pinning it through the centre with something that will make it stay put is defacing it, I think, can they not improve the design so it's less of a giant pain in the ass?

Then I think about how, after everything else, Grandpa came home to his little Ontario town on the train and on his way home through town he ran into his father, who didn't recognize him.

And I try to become less of a petty, first-world-problem-bemoaning suckhole. 



Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tuesdays on the Margins. Sorta.

So despite my passionate declaration that I was going to just stop reading books that weren't awesome and just read all my awesome books in a big awesome string of awesomeness, I have found myself partway through a dozen books again. Here's the rundown:

Songbook by Nick Hornby: According to Goodreads, I've already read this, but I don't remember reading it AT ALL, even while (apparently) re-reading it. It's magnificent. I was leaving for physio and had forgotten to find a book, and only grabbed it because it was the right size (small and light enough to hold in one hand while my shoulder was being buzzed, iced and womanhandled). Ended up grinning like a dork and laughing out loud through the whole physio appointment. You know that quote that says writing about music is like dancing about architecture? I imagine that Nick Hornby could do the kind of dance that would make you go "Hot damn! I finally understand what the Taj Mahal is all about!"

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff: I'm going to Zarah's this week-end, and she's hosting book club, so she told me which book they were reading so I could check it out. It's about Mormons - the 19th wife is Ann Eliza Young, Brigham Young's 19th wife, who rebelled against polygamy and denounced it publicly and in writing. This history is intertwined with a modern-day sect that practices polygamy and a son who was thrown out as a child and returns to try to clear his mother's name. I have to say that the 'mystery' seems kind of lame - every time it returns to his storyline the mystery part is advanced so infinitesimally that you wonder why they bothered. But his storyline apart from that is compelling, and the parts dealing with the history of LDS are also very readable. It's long, but I'm getting through it faster than I thought I would.

Synchronic: 13 Tales of Time Travel edited by David Gatewood

I think I got this through Kindle Unlimited when I signed up for a free trial. I don't think I'll continue with Kindle Unlimited - a couple of books I've actually wanted to read were available free through it, but mostly it's self-published crap and nothing current or in demand. I'm a sucker for time travel fiction. Some of these are meh, a couple are almost great but rely too much on that lack-of-closure, not-spoon-feeding-the-reader crap (I get SO pissed off if I can't figure out exactly what happened and I feel like it's because the author was lazy or trying to be too cool) and a couple are amazing.

The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon: The enduring power of the printed word? A pandemic of decaying language called the word flu? Sounded right up my alley. But didn't grab me at all. I had the ebook from the library, read a bit, let it expire once, borrowed it again and didn't even open it. Not sure how I'll proceed.

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell: I loved Cloud Atlas (the book AND the movie). I borrowed this from the library, realized I'd never finish it during the lending period (David Mitchell requires time and space to stretch out in), so I bought it. I started reading it and was liking it. then stupidly read a bunch of negative reviews. Started reading other stuff. I will go back to this and finish it.

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs: I loved the previous book in this series, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and I think the only problem with this one is I should really go back and read the first one before continuing, so I keep reading a few pages and then putting it down indecisively.




Monday, November 9, 2015

Eve in Grade Seven Part Two

Thanks so much for all the comments. You are all very wise, and I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and stories (making a kid throw his art in the recycling? HULK FUCKING SMASH). I don't think I'm ready to talk to the teacher face to face, principally because I'm too chicken, if we're being entirely truthful here, but also because I don't really have anything to discuss with her about Eve in particular. I would also worry that it would blow back on Eve, because this teacher has shown time and again and she doesn't have it in her to be objective or impartial about anything. If a kid does something once that pisses her off, she refers to it over and over. On days when the kid has done nothing wrong, she expresses surprise that he hasn't done anything wrong. I fail to see how this creates a good learning environment.

I ran into one of Eve's mom's friends in the liquor store today (I was buying a bottle of tequila at 11:30 a.m., but that's another story). I cautiously mentioned the teacher because it was on my mind, and we had a small rant about it in the California Reds aisle.

So I'm pretty sure I will be emailing the principal. Not sure exactly when, or exactly what I'll say. But you're all right, something probably should be said, whether it will produce results or not. Who knows, maybe everyone else is assuming that someone else is complaining too, and nobody's said anything.

Now on to the next anxiety-causing thing. I made a doctor's appointment tomorrow to ask for my iron levels to be checked, and my thyroid, and whatever else they can think of that might be the reason why I'm feeling like hammered crap lately. It might just be depression or introvert exhaustion, because I knew I was due for a crash and we've had many social engagements lately. But I thought I should rule out a few things. My regular doctor, who I love, is actually on sabbatical until the end of this year, and she has a locum, who's male. It takes me a long, long time to feel comfortable with a doctor, and he's asked to see me a couple of times over the course of the year and I've ducked him until now. I could have waited until January for this, but then I thought I was being kind of dumb, so I made the appointment.

I'm pretty sure the receptionist said his name was Dr. Turkey. So that's enjoyable.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Eve in Grade Seven

I have no idea what to write today so I'm jumping on Steph's offer of talking about how Eve's doing in the Big School. When I was in elementary school, they went to grade eight and then high school started in grade nine. Some people apparently went to middle school. Here in Ottawa I think some schools are still K-8, but my kids' elementary school only went to grade six, and then they go to a 7-12. I wasn't crazy about this model, but the seven/eights are on a different schedule from the nine-to-twelves and have their own wing, and it's worked out fine for Angus.

I went with both grade six classes when they walked over to the high school for the field trip that introduced them. The grade eight WEB (Where Everyone Belongs) Leaders meet them at the doors and clap and cheer for them on their way in. Angus thought this was cool enough. Eve found it totally overwhelming and wanted to run and hide under something. I had assumed she would be excited about the new school, which has gorgeous facilities for drama and cooking, but she spent most of the summer feeling apprehensive about the first day.

On the whole, it's been great. She only has a couple of people from her old school in her class, but she's made new friends. At the old school they had to eat lunch in their classroom, but now they go to the cafeteria, and they eat in a big group. She's doing well in music (learning the clarinet). She loves her English teacher and her art teacher, and likes most of her other teachers. Except one.

This is the same teacher Angus had for homeroom in grade seven. Eve doesn't have her for as much of the day, fortunately. From what I gather, she's not a great teacher OR a very nice human being. She doesn't teach effectively, and then periodically flies off the handle when students don't have a good grasp on the material. She singles out certain kids for constant insults and punishment, whether their behaviour warrants it or not. She's told kids they're going to end up working at Wal-Mart. She used to threaten to give punitive tests or call parents to report on students' wrongdoing when Angus was in her class (the one time she said she was going to call me it never happened, and the tests usually didn't either).

I couldn't decide what to do when Angus had her. I really try not to be a helicopter parent, and for the most part he wasn't targeted by her. I thought maybe I'd let him finish the year and then email the principal, not in a white-hot rage or anything, just to suggest that someone should take a look at her methods and make her aware that people were paying attention.

And then the year finished, and inertia kicked in, and I just hoped we'd never have to deal with her again.

Karma. It's a bitch.

So, throw some opinions at me. I'm torn about the fact that her awfulness isn't impacting Eve terribly. Does this mean I SHOULD contact the principal, because it wouldn't, in fact, be helicopter parenting, it would be acting on behalf of the students that she IS impacting? (Because my feeling about this is, if there are kids who are at risk of becoming seriously disenchanted with school and eventually dropping out, her bullshit is going to give them a serious push in the wrong direction). Or does it mean I shouldn't, because it's not really my business? Angus had a drama teacher last year that seemed to peg him as a dumb jock from the beginning and then he couldn't do anything right - I didn't do anything except tell him that I agreed it was unfair, but sometimes in life you have to deal with people who are in a position of authority over you and aren't nice, and it sucks. I could do the same thing here. I just honestly don't know whether I should.

What do you think?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Random Picture Saturday


Random picture of Angus and a dude I don't know downtown on their French field trip.



Random picture of Lucy in one of her Halloween costumes (Eve made me!) We have since granted her burning wish to Go Medieval On Its Ass.


Random picture of the pumpkin pie Angus made in cooking class and then rode him with in his backpack. We redistributed the filling and it was delicious. His crust is better than my mom's, and she is extremely pissed off about this. 



Random picture of something I found while cleaning the music books off the piano. We have no idea where it came from. I think it might be an alien.


Random picture of Angus being pensive on a ferry. 



Random picture of a banana dog. You're welcome.


Friday, November 6, 2015

What We Have Here

When my sister was a teen-ager, she had a bit of a stalker. I was at university at the time so I missed the exact details, but I think it was more of an annoying clueless guy kind of thing than a possible police involvement thing. Years later when my sister and I were both home from university, we were sitting around drinking and talking with my parents and my dad proudly told a story about the last time the guy called for my sister and my dad said "She doesn't want to talk to you. Why don't you just fuck right off?" Which was great, except somehow my sister figured out that he'd been talking to the wrong guy.

Oops.

Fast-forward to the present, when my daughter has just gotten an iphone and we're all on the cloud so sometimes I start getting my kids' texts forwarded to my phone - texts sent TO them as well as texts they send. So a few days ago some guy starts sending Eve "hot or nots" - I'm not linking to it because I find it kind of loathesome, but it's some kind of attractiveness-rating website. Eve tried to politely tell the guy he must have the wrong number, and he texted "fine, kill yourself."

This didn't overly upset Eve - she told him it was the wrong number and he should chill. It made me see red, though, smacking of the very worst kind of male entitlement that makes me want to quit the world or start nad-punching. I was still fuming over it today when my phone buzzed, and I picked it up, and it was a text sent to Eve with a number but no name, saying "hi. I know where you live."

I texted back "I know where I live too. Lose this number, asshole." Did this punk really think he was going to screw with my daughter and not face consequences? I was reviewing my next move, from blocking the number to texting back a furious diatribe, when another text came back: "? why you so mad?"

Crap. I texted back asking who this was and explaining that I was Eve's mother and I thought this was another harassing text. A while later, after school dismissal, a text came from the same number: "Hi Mom, this is Eve and you just called my friend A. an asshole."

Ooooooops.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Surly Thursday - Midlife Edition

I haven't seen the movie This Is Forty, but if it's at all realistic I imagine that it's the characters experiencing, at ten-minute increments, things on their body becoming creaky, painful, droopy or non-functional, interspersed with things on their house breaking, leaking, molding or rusting and requiring intervention that costs some multiple of a thousand dollars.

My knee has been a problem since a few years ago when I got the stupid notion that running for fun and exercise (as opposed to only when someone's chasing me with a chainsaw) was a good idea. My shoulder (which I fell on when Lucy tried to kill me on the stairs) complains when I try to put on a coat or moisturize my back (in my memory I used to be able to put moisturizer on my shoulderblade, but I think it's more likely that my thumb used to graze the very bottom of it, and this made it feel moisturized, and now that I can't do that, it constantly feels dry and itchy). My hip is acting up now, I don't even KNOW why, maybe it just wanted some of the attention.

At the beginning of this week, I woke up feeling absolutely wretched. I was utterly exhausted, my arms ached even though I hadn't been to the gym for five days, and my head ached like there were poisoned boulders rolling around inside. I decided I probably had Total Body Cancer and hit social media to say good-bye to everyone. Hannah kindly talked me down and offered the consolation that I was probably just about to get sick, with a huge assignment due, a husband in Florida and a bunch of stuff to drive my kids around to (I'm not being sarcastic, this actually WAS consoling). But no. I didn't get sick. Apparently that was just the feeling of daring to be alive and awake in my mid-forties.

Do I have wrinkles and pimples at the same time? I do. Frequently the zits land on my neck, which is painful and gross. Why is this? Are my forty-five-year-old zits so senile that they've forgotten where they're supposed to go?

Let's not even talk about my periods. Wait, we just covered neck-zits, why would we balk at the Crimson Tide? See this book title? IT DESCRIBES MY UTERUS ONCE A MONTH. I know I shouldn't be so eager to move my status from Mother to Crone, but Jesus, at this point I can't help thinking Yay Menopause.

I know, I know. Consider the alternative. I will just continue my pathetic cycle of three weeks of regular, invigorating exercise followed by three months of whimpering, limping and physiotherapy to heal from the invigorating exercise. On the days when I can't do squats or lift weights or go on long, hard walks, Lucy and I will take a slow turn around the park and remind ourselves that every day above ground is a good day. Well, I will. Lucy will chase squirrels in the passionate conviction that THIS TIME she will ABSOLUTELY catch one, and roll in anything that's vile-smelling or dead.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

New Heights

If you're wondering why I'm blogging about Eve's sixth-grade graduation, which took place last June, in November, please refer to this post. It's NaBloPoMo, people. Literally Anything Goes.

So yeah. It was graduation. They wore fancy dresses. Eve won a sports award, and apparently my face demonstrated a sort of insultingly high degree of surprise. Here she is with her BFF since Day One of JK.





After the ceremony, we went home for an hour or so, and then Eve and I went to pick up Marianna because I was volunteering at the dance. I went in and Marianna's mom said "she's just putting her dress back on", and I said "right. Was she outside on the trampoline?" And then we pointed at each other and gasped inarticulately at the wonderfulness of the idea that had just struck us both.

So, this.












Tuesday, November 3, 2015

So this is just my life now?

Went into the kids' bathroom to tidy up for cleaning today. Put away some mouthwash and moisturizer and moved a shaving kit. Found this. Because why not?


















Monday, November 2, 2015

Treats and Boo(ze)

I've been feeling frustrated with myself thinking that I've always kind of hated Halloween and now that Angus doesn't trick or treat anymore and Eve probably just did for the last time I should have appreciated it more. Then I realized that wasn't really accurate. I loved taking them when they were little. I just didn't like it when they got a little older and we knew they were going to go but it always took up until the last minute to plan who we were going to go with and I'm just bad at not having a plan, and at wandering around the neighbourhood awkwardly without a parent friend while my kid asks strangers for candy.

For a couple of years when Angus was going with friends, I made Matt take Eve with whoever she went with. Last year I sucked it up and we went with the crazy Greek friends to an elaborately decorated neighbourhood in Riverside South and it was really fun. This year Eve decided to go with two friends she's known since birth, and Collette and I sat and drank rum and cokes while they went around the neighbourhood together, without us, and that was pretty fun too.

I still kind of miss this:


and this:


But on Saturday, I baked pumpkin scones while Eve carved the pumpkins.


And Angus went for dinner with some friends. To the place where I drink beer every Tuesday night with MY friends (eep).
But he still dressed up for the Halloween party.



With so much of parenting, when you lose something you almost always get something equally (but differently) awesome in return. 


(Like your friend getting put in a chokehold by her kid when she goes in for an unsanctioned Tootsie-Pop grab). 




Sunday, November 1, 2015

Because This Mo can Blo Me

Go on, you can say it. We're all thinking it. I've been a sucky blogger for the past few months.

It was summer. Then my mild bipolar tendencies suddenly became less mild for a bit. For the first part of the fall I was full of energy - for getting up early, walking Lucy, working out, cleaning out closets and storage spaces, going out at night. I didn't read as much and I didn't have the focus to sit down and write.

Then came the ugly and inevitable crash. Couldn't wake up. The big assignment I had three-quarters done three weeks early languished unfinished. Had to drag myself to the gym and around the park with Lucy. We had frozen pizza for dinner TWICE last week (granted, on one of those nights there was no one here to actually eat anyway, but still.) Everything hurts. I've become borderline narcoleptic.

(You could be forgiven at this point for assuming that 'bipolar' means 'makes excuses for not blogging in both official languages').

And now it's November. It's cold and dark (except for my husband, who just left for Florida for a week, ISN'T THAT NICE FOR HIM?) and makes me question all my life choices and the cursed change is upon us and I don't know where I'm going to summon the wherewithal to finish my course and find my dining room table and feed my children, but NaBloPoMo is what I DO in November, and  I WILL blog every day. It won't be pretty, and it won't be easy, and there might be no one left here to read it, but it will be done.

Okay, I sat here staring at this for ten minutes trying to think of something witty to add, but how about I don't hurt myself the first day out?