Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Sometimes You Do It Well, and Sometimes You Just Do It

Don't let the door smack you in the ass on the way out, November.

Oh wait, do. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Wordless... Tuesday?

There are only two female granddaughters on my husband's side of the family, born thirteen years apart. 

The other one visited us today. Her name is Lydia and she totally kicks ass. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

I Don't Feel Good Today

I know technically it should be "well", but that doesn't really capture it. I don't feel good. I feel bad. I'm having trouble finding the goodness. This makes me realize that I've had a pretty good November so far, partly because of everyone who commented here on what I'm not really that upset to admit has been my lamest NaBloPoMo ever.

I'm finishing my last course in my Library Tech Diploma. It's on Special Libraries, and the four assignments have all been progressive parts of setting up your own special library. The minute I hit send on my very first assignment, I realized that the library I had painstakingly set up was very slightly wrong for a special library. The instructor sent me a bunch of details about how it was, in fact, slightly wrong, but gave me an eighty percent anyway. So every successive assignment has been a struggle because it's all based on a flawed foundation, but I just didn't have the energy to go back and rework the first assignment. Bizarrely, I got a hundred percent on the second assignment, but she hasn't returned the third one yet and the fourth is due on Sunday.

I don't really care if I get a crappy mark in the course as long as I pass and can be done, but this assignment (it's about budgets, for fuck's sake) is giving me fits of anxiety and stomach-hurtingness. I keep trying to use the "if it will be okay, worrying won't help, and if it won't, worrying still won't help", but it's not really working because my brain is broken.

For something less whiny, here is a picture of Eve trying to get Lucy to hop on one foot and tilt her head because we'd given her a bath and thought she might have water in her ear.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Day 27

Seafood risotto:

Dave said he didn't feel like he could plate Janet's risotto without someone screaming at him that he's a piece-of-shit useless loser and the food is a steaming pile of raccoon feces. So we did. 

The aforementioned sweet potato gnocchi, arugula with orange-cinnamon vinaigrette and orange-basil mini-muffins (which were weird and off-putting when I tried the first one but grew on me, and everyone else loved them):

Grilled lamb and beet salad with walnuts and goat cheese (I think):

I forgot to take a picture of Collette's lemon soufflé even though it was my favorite thing ever in the whole world because I was drunk and eating lemon soufflé.

Over dinner we talked about politics and world events and how important it is to keep exposing yourself to viewpoints that aren't exactly like yours, and our kids. After dinner we went in the basement to listen to music and watch music videos, which inevitably results in everyone fighting over the controller, Mark loudly demanding Aerosmith and vintage REO Speedwagon, Dave playing weird Korean stuff and anything where someone gets spanked, and Margot falling asleep and then getting a second wind and torturing Mark and Michael with sappy Wham ballads. 

So pretty much a perfect evening. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016


Okay, so technically I missed Saturday, but I haven't actually gone to sleep yet so I'm going to say it counts. I was cooking most of the day for a dinner party (sweet potato gnocchi with maple cinnamon sage brown butter sauce, arugula with almonds and an orange cinnamon vinaigrette and orange basil mini muffins) and then actually at the dinner party, and then stumbling drunkenly home from the dinner party, but a high point of my day was when Eve called on the way home from her basketball game to tell me that her team lost by three points, which was frustrating, but she played really well and scored two baskets, and they were going to McDonald's, and also Daddy was being pissy because Angelica gets to pick up Angus when his bus from Burlington gets back home.

That may well be the longest sentence of my NaBloPoMo. Good night.

p.s. this is my 1066th post. Battle of Hastings!

Friday, November 25, 2016

It's Friday

It's Friday, so I ripped off something funny from Facebook again.

I'm also musing about how on earth, after looking at every single container of plain Greek yogurt at Loblaws trying to find one made with whole milk, and failing, and deciding to just get 2% milk fat stuff instead of 0%, I came home with Greek yogurt that was not only 0% BUT VANILLA-FLAVOURED.

At least I was wearing sensible boots.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Surly Thursday (not really)

Truthfully, I can only really be surly at myself today. And the stupid fucking weather. Doesn't it suck how much you think you won't fall prey to the inevitable depredations of aging and yet inevitably you end up needing reading glasses and hating fucking winter, when a few short years ago you blithely declared that you would miss living through the full might of all four seasons?

I had to go to the gym and a few stores to get ingredients for a dinner party recipe for the week-end. It was snowing and there was snow on the ground. I could have worn my old Bogs, which are no good for my back at this point but I wasn't going to have to walk a lot and I had my running shoes for the gym. Didn't. I could have worn my Docs, which would have at least offered nominal protection from the snow. Didn't. I slipped my feet into these low, fur-rimmed things I bought to walk Lucy around the block in the fall. The snow looked fluffy and light, but was actually heavy and wet and disintegrating into slush already, and here I was shuffling around in the equivalent of bedroom slippers.

And then there's the endless annoyingness of 'should I wear a jacket?' 'yeah, I should wear a jacket, it's cold, wearing jackets is what normal people do', 'now I'm too hot. I'm taking my jacket off', 'everybody's looking at me because I'm not wearing a jacket. Plus there's the slippers.'

Anyway, I made it to the stupid gym, and did my stupid workout, and almost left before remembering to change my stupid gym shorts back to leggings. Stupid Loblaws didn't have fresh sage, but Farm Boy did. I managed to get in and out of the Bulk Barn with only two things that weren't on my list, which has to be some kind of record.

I came home and decided to shovel the driveway since I was already sweaty and soggy. I put on sensible boots first. Lucy tore around in the snow and chased the shovel and was generally hilarious. Then I ate a grapefruit from the box of grapefruits that we bought from Tanis's daughter's band or something, and the grapefruit was magical. And the stupid slipper boots weren't even that wet.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Day 23

This NaBloPoMo has really been a slog. Sometimes I find that writing more generates more writing. This year not so much. I guess that's okay.

I'm just home from book club, which means I've been out every night this week. It was a very good book club. We talked about The Big Short and whose mother was a horrible cook and used too much Campbell's soup and too many substandard ingredients, and listened to Leonard Cohen and the people who love listening to Leonard Cohen were outraged by the people who don't love listening to Leonard Cohen (apparently there are people who don't love listening to Leonard Cohen, did you know this?) Then we talked about who we had seen in concert who was good and who was horrible - sometimes the same person was good once and horrible another time.

Angus is in Burlington until the week-end for OFSAA - I don't know what that stands for even though I just looked it up. It's kind of a funny story; he's been playing school volleyball for the past few years and loved it, but this year he said he didn't want to play because it was too much to do that and train for baseball and keep his marks up. This sounded eminently reasonable to me, but Matt was kind of grumpy about it because he thought Angus just didn't like not being the best at something. I told him to pipe down, it was fine. Then the coaches called Angus into a special meeting to ask if something was wrong at home or something to make him not want to play volleyball. I threw up my hands and withdrew from the whole process. He ended up not playing volleyball, until he came home six weeks or so into the school year and said "so they want me to play volleyball" and I said "uh, yeah, we know, been there, not done that" and he said "no, I mean, they REALLY want me to play volleyball". So although Matt says this just isn't done, where they let you onto a school team halfway through the season, it just sort of happened, and then they won all their stuff and now they're at the big end-of-season thing and his report card was really good, so he kind of got the best of all worlds.

And he's not here, which is fine, but weird, and I'm tired. And I don't know what to write about, so I'm babbling. Oh, I narrowly avoided buying Eve an obscene ugly Christmas sweater from some website on Facebook. So there's that.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Day 22

I realized on Monday that I have book club on Wednesday and hadn't started the book yet. The book was The Big Short, which is not in my normal reading comfort zone, and I read thirty percent of it last night mostly feeling like a total moron who could not get there from here. Oddly, though, the more I read it, the more the sheer repetition of the terms started to sink in, and when I watched the movie this afternoon I felt like the book had given me a good introduction, in addition to the very clever techniques the movie had for explaining credit default swaps and subprime mortgage lending. Also, the description in the book of the people involved and some of the snappy one-liners are really entertaining and made me glad to be reading it.

Eve came in after school (I had told her on Monday that I hadn't started reading the book yet) and asked what I was watching. I told her, and she said incredulously "You're watching the movie instead? you've become THAT PERSON? Seriously?" I hastily explained that everyone else had already watched the movie while I was in Barrie, and that I was still planning on finishing the book, or nearly. She gave me serious side-eye, though. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Day 21

It snowed and got cold yesterday, so naturally I had to take Eve to get a winter jacket today, because why would you want to be all sensible and do that BEFORE you need it?

In the car: "I feel like everyone in French immersion has had that experience where you're singing a song from the radio and then your teacher hits you with 'parle en francais', so you try really awkwardly to keep singing the song while translating it into French. Davis and I were singing All Star: 'Quelqu'un m'a une fois dit que le monde va me rouler....'"

In Bed Bath and Beyond: "It's so INSANELY FESTIVE. I feel really bad for Jewish people trying to shop here."

In the food court when I came back with my food: "There was an angsty teenaged couple over there. So naturally I secretly photographed them and sent it to Marianna with the hashtag #goals."

In the car on the way home, I asked her to check the weather. She said "I can never get Safari when I don't have wi-fi." I muttered "maybe you can just ask Siri when it's going to stop fucking snowing". She picked up her phone and said "Siri - when is it going to stop fucking snowing? Hey, look, it worked!"

She got her first winter jacket that isn't from Land's End. It's a bittersweet day.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Choice Moments from Girls' Cottage Week-end

(I promise, no more frog porn)

1) Playing Exploding Kittens, "a game for people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats". It's kind of like Russian Roulette, with extremely rude cartoons and less having to mop up blood and brains afterwards (unless Collette doesn't take losing well, which she often doesn't.

2) Me playing my Nope card (featuring the Little-Known Ocean-Going Nar-Nope) to prevent Collette from using her See the Future card, and Collette countering with her OWN Nope card (featuring a double-middle-finger-wielding Pope of Nope) and then Cynthia standing up and majestically sailing yet a third Nope card (featuring a bowl of Canta-Nope) over the bowls of junk food to foil Collette's sinister plan.

3) Collette getting so pissed off at Cynthia not being able to figure out her masterful drawing of a finger puppet in Pictionary that she barked "Allison! What is this?", and held it up, and I said "a finger puppet" and got the point even though I wasn't on her team. Then Collette feeling bad and trying to suck up to Cynthia for the rest of the game.

4) Cynthia more than making up for the sucky guessing by drawing an airplane, then a perfect bunch of grapes, then the French flag, so Collette was saying "The Concorde" while the rest of us were all still going "uh, airplane? Fast? Air flow?"

5) Me, drawing something for fly and Susanne saying "butterfly" before someone on another team guessed first, and me sobbing that I'm a terrible draw-er, and Susanne saying consolingly "that's a perfectly good butterfly!" and me saying "But I was trying to draw an airplane!"

6) Me drawing this card in Exploding Kittens and laughing until I cried happy drunken tears at the sheer twisted brilliance:

Get it? GET IT? 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Friday, November 18, 2016

Thursday, November 17, 2016

WTF Just Happened?

Everything kind of hit the fan at four o'clock today. Lucy's sister dog from next door had escaped her back yard, so I had told next door where she was and brought her in to play with Lucy, and they frolicked in the garden before running back in the house with dirty paws. I was finishing a batch of pumpkin scones and making Angus a snack before his workout. I tried to bring Riley home, but she took off into the street just as two students were walking home and Matt was driving home to try to figure out why the TV wasn't working (I told him it could wait until he got home from Quebec City but he came home anyway). The two students kept Riley in one place so I could grab her and fortunately no other cars came, so I returned her to her house. Matt came in and was fiddling with the tv cables while I was trying to figure out Angus's report card (I have a habit of confusing the median with his actual mark), making a sandwich and trying to figure out who pulled all the cables out of the tv (it was probably the cleaning lady). Matt had to go back to the van to find his reading glasses. Angus was eating his sandwich and trying to pull on running shorts. I was flipping out over realizing that chemistry (hard class, difficult teacher) had resulted in an 84 mark with a 70 class median, GO ANGUS. Matt got ready to go to the airport, pulled me close for a kiss and said "be naked when I get home". I said "you're coming home at nine tomorrow. I'll be at World Trivia Night." He rolled his eyes and yelled good-bye to Eve up the stairs. I reminded him Eve was at band practice.

Matt left for the airport. Angus left for baseball. I'm sitting here surrounded by pumpkin scones, scattered report card papers and puppy paw prints, with the sports channel still blaring.

Life is so weird.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Day 16

I just saw Arrival, which is based on a short story by Ted Chiang called The Story of Your Life, which I read a year or so ago. I've read it several times again since then, and I was fairly skeptical that they could make a movie that would capture the sense of the story, but they did a pretty good job. I've been working through the other stories in Chiang's collection Stories of Your Life and Others. and they are much harder than I'm used to (also more difficult). I'm impressed that someone read one and thought it would work cinematically.

I'm waiting for brownies to bake for the teachers' supper tomorrow at the kids school because they have parent teacher interviews and have to stay all night, EVEN THOUGH I don't have an interview. Angus just found this out and is terribly impressed with how nice I am. I find this really amusing. The recipe is incredibly annoying. It says to melt the first four ingredients in a bowl set in a pan of 'barely simmering' water, until the ingredients are melted and smooth 'and you want to take your finger out pretty quickly after dipping it in'. Then remove the bowl and wait to stir in the eggs 'until it's warm but no longer hot'. Excuse me? I'm all for intuitive cooking - a pinch of this, a dash of that -  but could I have just a smidge more precision please? If my sister tried to follow this recipe I'm pretty sure her head would literally explode.

Matt's out of town tomorrow night and Angus has a baseball workout out in Kanata. The dad who was going to take him with his teammate couldn't, so the mom was going to take them. This changed my sense of obligation, since I know the dad likes to go and hang out with the other dads, and the mom not so much, so I felt like I should offer to drive one way, drop them off and then she could pick them up. I didn't really want to, because I hate driving at night in that area, I find it confusing and stressful, and I would have had to get my dad to pick up Eve from band practice. I offered anyway. Then it turned out the dad's schedule changed back and he could take them after all. We really need a special word for that awesome high you get when you offer to do something crappy and then don't have to, but get credit for offering anyway. Don't you think?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Three Dominant Bitches

......and a croissant.

(They accidentally match at least once or twice a week. It's adorable).

Monday, November 14, 2016

So, It's Monday

I know I promised I would be less lame today, but it's possible that I lied. I can't seem to form a coherent string of thoughts.

I did some mending that I'd been putting off. It always takes me so long to get to, and then it's so easy and satisfying to pull the edges together and sew them up and cut the thread and have a whole thing that was previously in pieces. If only fixing everything was that easy.

Angus and I were watching The Walking Dead together until this season. When I was in Boston with Matt for our twentieth anniversary trip I realized I was missing the season premiere and texted Angus to tell him he could watch it without me if he wanted to, but he didn't. Then Matt and I went to Quincy Market the next day and there was a group of hip-hop dancers out front, and JUST BEFORE we left, one of the dancers said "move closer, folks, we're not the walking dead. Oh, Glenn!" JESUS CHRIST, hip-hop guy, it's only MONDAY!

And once I got home, I realized I didn't want to watch anymore. Not right now. I know it's a show about terrible things, and I should be prepared for more terrible things, but I am not mentally prepared for that particular terrible thing to unfold cinematically in front of me at this particular time in my life. In my mind, Glenn is still alive. I did sort of the same thing when I watched Cold Mountain. I had read the book, and felt cruelly mistreated by the heartbreaking real ending that followed the fake ending; so with the movie, I watched until the fake ending, then turned it off and they all lived happily ever after.

I'm watching The Good Place instead. I love Kristen Bell when she plays against type.

I just freecycled a massive pile of Rainbow Magic books. I had to split them into three lots and yank my hands back before they got chewed off. Thank GOD I'm out of the "Whoever the Whatever Fairy" book years. Eve is currently reading Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (we did see the movie, which was visually cool and started well, but the end was kind of a hot mess), and then she's going to start on the Colours of Madeleine trilogy, which makes me so happy I actually kind of wiggle when thinking about it.

Also, she drew this in her journal today:

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Day 13

I promise to post less lame stuff now that I'm home again. Tonight I'm inexpressibly grateful for a safe, beautiful drive both ways, my hilarious, beautiful, supportive friend who distracted me with so much fun stuff that I didn't have time to post anything substantial, seeing my kids and dog, and my husband who actually did LAUNDRY while I was away, and had dinner ready when I got home. Also, I got a mark back on an assignment and it was way better than I expected. Also, I bought a new fancy bra at the fancy bra store we always go to in Barrie. I'll show it to you later.

*blows kisses*

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Day 11

I'm hearing about horrible acts committed by ignorant, bigoted people gloating over Trump's winning the presidency and drunk with the power of having their racism, sexism and various other hatreds legitimized. I'm feeling enraged and unutterably weary that people fought and died in wars to secure our freedom and this is what so many choose to do with it.

On the drive here I listened to the song Good Day by Jewel, which reminded me that "this crazy mixed-up beauty is all that we have".

Tonight Zarah and I watched the movie Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, in which one soldier after losing his legs declares that "you embrace the suck. You move the fuck forward."

And that's all I have right now. Other than that I still miss Matt's Grandpa, and I lost a record nine poppies this year.

Nine minutes!

I got up this morning. I took Eve to the orthodontist. Matt got home from California on the red eye at ten. I left at eleven and drove to Barrie. I hugged Zarah. We had dinner. We went to her book club. We briefly discussed Frankenstein and Dracula and then the book club tried to decide on the Christmas book and somehow there was then a longish interlude of people searching out dirty Christmas titles and reading Christmas erotica (you don't even want to know how many ways "naughty and nice" and candy canes and sitting on Santa's lap can be made ugly). Then we went out for a drink and some guy offered to buy us shooters and we thought better of it (just barely) and now we're home just before midnight and I tried to post from the bar and couldn't, but I'm in just under the wire. I think.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I Don't Know

I don't know what to write today. I'm collecting smart and faintly comforting things my friends have said instead.

I haven't lost faith in humanity. I haven't even lost faith in America. America is full of generous, big-hearted, loving people that I'm proud to call my friends. We all know that humanity is variously capable of the most shocking cruelty, the basest stupidity and the most transcendent acts of beauty and kindness. We all know that change is possible, change is even happening - it's just very, very, tediously, mind-achingly, infuriatingly slow. There has been change in my lifetime. My brave friends and my loving, open-minded children have effected a lot of it.

Come at us, Trump. We're not backing down.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Day 8

I've got nothing, really. I spent the day sorting and pitching and wtf-ing in the basement storage areas again. I found books that my kids have outgrown, toys that I never managed to give them when they were age-appropriate, more gift bags than one person could ever use, and these:

That's right. Rocks. In a bag. Bags of rocks. What am I supposed to do, tell the kids they can keep whichever rocks have names? That's what we used to do with the stuffed animals (they all had names. Every single one.)

On the plus side, I can now open and close the storage closet door again. On the minus side, my dining room table is covered with crap to donate, give away or sell (which might give me another Facebook Groups blog post, so maybe it's a plus after all).

Also, here is a picture of Lucy objecting to me reading instead of paying attention to her:

She's extremely clingy right now and periodically driving me crazy, but I love her.

Alright, back to stressing over election results. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Stupid Things I've Bought Lately

I usually like to think that advertising doesn't have that big an effect on me. I like a clever, funny commercial (those ones are in the overwhelming minority), but as often as not I don't actually notice what it's for. I generally base my decisions on what brand to buy based on what seems like good value or what's better quality once we've tried it.

We also have an unwritten rule in our house that when a new chip flavour comes out, we buy a bag and try it. This went horribly wrong once or twice, because if there's a pack of gum or an open bag of chips on the counter, my husband shovels some into his mouth without really looking - I once told him that he could buy his own mints instead of always asking me for one of mine, but then we agreed that if he did that he would down them all at once and die in an agonizing surfeit of mintiness. So when he came across the open bag of Lay's curry chips (they were not good - the curry flavour was very unsubtle) it was very unpleasant. I said "didn't you look at the label first?" After he stopped choking and crying, he said "no, of course not! You know me - hey, free cocaine!"

But every now and then, one slips past my mental firewall. I don't even try to pretend otherwise.

I mean, wtf even is this? At first I thought, "oh, it's Pepsi's answer to Coke Zero. No, wait, it's still Coke". It's not Coke. It's not Diet Coke. It's not Coke Zero. It's a magical NEW Coke thing. It's green! That means it's healthy! Wait, no it's not. It's sweetened with natural sources! Wait, sugar is natural.

There is literally no good reason for this product to exist.

And yes, I bought six tiny cans. It tastes like slightly sweeter Coke Zero, which I don't even like. I figure Collette and I will mix it with rum while decorating her house at an absurdly early date for the Christmas party.

I am suitably chastened.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sad Thing

I felt like crap today, but it was beautiful outside and I wanted to get out, so I walked over to Shoppers for a few things and then took Lucy around the park. I walked slowly and looked around at the burning blue sky - the leaves left on the trees, mostly copper and yellow but some still red - were eye-wateringly brilliant in the sun. Lucy was having a wonderful time crashing into leaves and following smells.

As we got halfway around the park, I became aware of what I thought was a conversation between two teen-aged girls that was loud and sounded a little angry. I kept walking, and the conversation started to follow me, and when I looked back it was actually only one girl. I thought she might be talking on her phone, but I couldn't be sure, and I kept thinking I heard the word DOG repeated and it was all a little weird. It was bright mid-day, but I was slightly nervous walking along the trees and sped up a little bit to get back onto the street by the houses.

As I was almost there, Lucy stopped to sniff something, and I felt like I was being stupid, so I didn't tug her along. Just as we turned the corner onto the street, the girl passed us. She was definitely talking to herself because there was music playing on her phone. She stopped and turned to face us and said, in a perfectly normal tone, "can I please see your dog?" So of course I said sure, and she bent down and petted Lucy and asked what breed she was, then started walking again, a little unsteadily.

I stopped a couple driveways up for Lucy to meet two other dogs that were with a man in front of a house. As I got up to leave, suddenly the girl was back. I asked if she was okay, and she said she was kind of lost. I asked where she was trying to go, and she said to her boyfriend, well not her boyfriend but he meant a lot to her - and it soon became apparent that she was either on something or mentally ill, and then she got it in her head that her boyfriend was in the man's garage, or with a man with a stroller.

I asked if I could call someone for her, but then realized I didn't have my phone. I asked her to come home with me so I could drive her home, but she didn't want to. She kept insisting that she wasn't on drugs, and I said that was fine, she just seemed confused and I wanted to help. I didn't know what to do, short of dragging her up the street to my house, which seemed inadvisable.

I brought Lucy home, grabbed my phone and went back to look for her but she was gone. The curious thing is that Lucy, who always wants to see people but then is often skittish when they try to pet her, went right to her, as if she knew she wasn't dangerous, just lost and hurt.

Now it's dark out, and I'm in my warm house, grateful that the worst health problem my own daughter has right now is a sore throat. And I wish I'd done more.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Therefore I Am. Or Might Be. It's Hard to Say.

Reading Paul Kalanithi's memoir got me thinking - ha ha, brain surgery, thinking, i kill me - a lot again, as you do every now and then and then have to stop because it makes your head hurt, about the whole question of what makes a person, and the whole intractable problem of metaphysics - trying to come at the issues of being in the world from outside the world, where you can never be -  and the mind and the soul and how trying to use the brain to think about the brain is very, very difficult, especially when your brain is forty-something and has raised two kids and weathered a lot of tequila shots.

Have you seen those medical shows where someone comes into the hospital with something sharp stuck in their brain, and when it gets removed they're ostensibly fine, but their personality has changed, like they're nice when they used to be cranky, or cranky when they used to be nice? Is that not really, really freaky? Something could happen to one tiny part of your brain and suddenly you'd be practically the same person except now you'd like olives, or think hunting sounds fun, or believe that Michael Bolton is a sound musical choice? I find this terrifying.

You know the research that shows that the memory you have of an event is actually a memory of the last memory you had of the event? And if one detail changes once, then it's in the next memory, and then more details can get changed, until you think you're remembering your aunt's wedding when you've actually completely rebuilt a memory of watching your father build a dog house? Or something?

I read this really cool book called Betraying Spinoza. I say this only because I remember I read the book and Spinoza has something to do with philosophy, not because I remember anything about the book enough to converse intelligently about, Jesus what do you want, it was six fucking years ago. Actually I do remember that while I was reading it I realized how far back the whole anti-Semitism thing went, how stupid it seemed even then, and how depressing it was to realize how deep and ineradicable the roots seemed - much like when I read I Don't: A Contrarian History of Marriage and realized the same thing about women. Let's just get off this subject before I go out and dick-punch the first white male I see, which is more than likely to be my husband and that really wouldn't be cool - he's a good egg, he can't help it if his collective race and gender has its collective head up its collective butt.

Isn't it just really weird to think that who you are, your thoughts, your opinions, your political leanings, what you think about religious faith, your favourite colours, your favourite foods, whether you can speak other languages well - it all comes down to a bunch of neurons and electrochemical signals zipping around in the squishy gray matter in your head? It becomes more understandable why religious people came up with the soul - some glowy thing in the general vicinity of your heart and breast is a more palatable representation of selfhood than mushy colourless stuff between your ears.

I always have an indefensible knee-jerk reaction against philosophy - that it's silly to spend all of one's time in rarefied discussion of intangible issues like whether what we perceive is really real, or whether free will exists; spinning endless ostensibly logical frameworks for things that, in the end, can never really be proven or known for sure. If you step into traffic, does it really matter whether you'll never know for sure if the car that hit you is only a Platonic shadow? You're still going to have a grill mark on your ass. It makes sense, though, of course it does, that people want to understand the nature of reality. It's just that the study of philosophy seems often to result in one taking oneself quite terribly seriously, and that's just not my thing.

It all makes me think that maybe I should try reading some Kant and Aristotle (again), and at the same time makes me want to hide under the bed with cashews and zombie stories.

Friday, November 4, 2016

It's Friday - Have Some Funny Stuff

I was reminded of this while talking to Hannah (Hi Hannah!) about... something. I read it again and it made me laugh out loud again, so if you haven't seen it, you're welcome. ("We are just honking each other whilst saying "honk" for, like, ten minutes. I want a video of this played at our wedding.")

It's doubly funny because she used the word "whilst". Also, this reminding thing reminded me of another thing, which is that at my cousin's wedding the best man was introducing the groomsmen and for one he said "now Mike, here.... he's a pimp." And my other cousin sighed, "it's a good thing Grandma and Grandpa are dead."

This came across my Facebook again today and it always makes me giggle out loud too. "Fuck, fuck, the dog sees me."

Oh, and then there's this, which is insanely cool, and the kind of thing that I always think would make a great Christmas present for someone, and then I try to think who, and it's not quite right for anyone on my regular list, so I either don't buy one or I end up buying it for someone I normally wouldn't buy a Christmas present for at all, so actually, get away from me stupid cool thing, you're just going to make me spend more money and probably create a slightly awkward social situation.

And with this lame attempt at a post, I am now going to go smother my stupid dog who keeps barking at all the things that freak her out, like air and light. One week down! Not really, because it started on Tuesday, and it's Friday, not Sunday, but whatever! We can DO THIS. Or maybe not, but we'll give it a shot.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

First Steps

Yesterday afternoon I was mucking out the basement storage closet, a profoundly dreary and dispiriting task, when I realized it was an achingly beautiful fall day outside and I should go for a walk with Lucy and get back to the shit-shoveling when it was dark out.

When I first started walking Lucy, I would get annoyed with her for needing to stop and pee or poop or sniff stuff, thereby interrupting my brisk, even walking pace. Then I started to use those moments to look around and notice things - the colour of the sky, clouds or stars, trees and flowers, things I don't really notice in detail when charging ahead trying to get my heart rate up and my steps in. It was nice.

Today I was noticing that my shins were hurting if I tried to keep up my usual pace. Maybe I need new shoes. Maybe I'm tired and my gait is off. Whatever, it was vexing, and I actually found myself thinking "oh no! I won't be able to walk!" Because when I'm too lazy or depressed to make it to the gym, I use walking Lucy as my main form of exercise.

Then I examined that thought and found it abominably stupid. I won't be able to walk? Oh wait, yes I can walk. I maybe can't walk for Canada in the Olympics. I can't break any land-speed records. Can I walk down the street, around the block, to the park and back, looking around, moving my body, breathing in air that isn't actually only meant for people who wear spandex and can run a four-minute mile? Well yes, I can. When Chief Inspector Armand Gamache walks his German shepherd Henri down the snowy streets of Three Pines, does he take his pulse regularly and think about whether this walk is making his butt look better? I think not.

I came across Depression-Busting Exercise Tips for People Too Depressed to Exercise a while ago on Facebook (at least I think I did - I know I came across something that really rang true with me, but I stupidly didn't save it and when I went looking for it just now I found this, which I think is what I meant, but honestly I'm not entirely sure) and thought it was brilliant, but obviously I haven't really taken it to heart. I think I need to stick it on the drawer where I keep my sports bras. Or on the front door. Or possibly on my forehead.

"Knowing what will help you isn't close to half the battle. It's a tenth of the battle at best."

"If you’re just doing it because you think that you should, though, or if it becomes just another way to punish yourself, that doesn’t work." 

"The perfect exercise is anything that you will actually consider doing. The perfect body is a breathing one."

"Listen to your body."

Reading it over now, I'm sure it's the thing I was thinking of, and I really want to give the writer a hug. Also, now I have Jane Siberry's The Walking and Constantly running through my head.

Every now and then things become clear.

Wordless Wednesday: My Niece's Pumpkin

No word yet on whether they got egged. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Scary Stuff

Me every year trying to decide on a costume for our friends' Halloween party: "I hate dressing up. I'll just try to find something that won't be too hot."

Me every year when I put on the costume for the party: "I look like a stripper."

Eve most years when I put on the costume for the party: "Nah, you're fine, let's just go."

Eve last Saturday when I put on the costume for the party: "Nah, y.... wellllll..... oh, it's fine, let's just go."

I borrowed a Dark Alice cosplay costume. I just tried it on to make sure it fit. When I put it on for the party, I realized it was basically a slutty French Maid costume with a picture of the Cheshire Cat on the apron. Thank goodness for body-positive, non-slut-shaming daughters.

At least it wasn't too hot.

Miss Clavel doing her best to bring me to Jesus

For years, Matt would let the kids draw the design they wanted for their pumpkin and then he'd carve it. When they got a little older, they'd clean out and carve their own. Now Angus has no interest, but Matt usually helps Eve clean them out and then she carves at least one.

This year Matt and Angus were away at a baseball showcase until late the night before Halloween, so Eve carved both pumpkins (we always get an Ernie and a Bert, for some reason), but I felt like I should help her clean them out. I really hate touching raw pumpkin.


My iron is low again. Every now and then when that happens, I start to experience a moderately severe form of pica wherein anything powdery or dusty suddenly seems appetizing. This happened when I was pregnant with Eve and our basement was being finished, and I had to limit my time downstairs because the drywall dust was suddenly extremely appealing. I had less access to Google back then and thought I was just losing my mind in a pregnancy-related kind of way - it was only afterward that I learned that it was indicative of severe anemia. Apparently there are people who eat a handful or two of baby powder a day on the regular, which makes me feel simultaneously less alone and just bewildered about the state of humanity. I recently read a short story about a pregnant woman experiencing pica which is tied up with her deteriorating relationship with her partner. It ends with her eating a mixed handful of gardening soil and powdered dish detergent which, I'm not going to lie, sounded like a totally palatable combination. I'm taking supplements. And trying really hard to keep my Lush dry shampoo directed solely at my hair.


I blogged three times in September and once in October, and it's NaBloPoMo. Gulp.