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Showing posts from October, 2010

Bibliomama! Is! Canadian!

This post comes from Mary Lynn via Dani Girl who posted about Canada Reads 2011 on CBC. Apparently this is a list of the 'best novels of the 2000s', winnowed from a list of 400 'after a hot online discussion and campaigning by both readers and writers.'  I'll be honest. I'll whore myself out to anything for an easy blog post. But in the words of one of my dear book club friends while declining to participate in a 'Survivor: The Book Version' game at our year-end dinner, "I think this is stupid." There's nothing wrong with discussing great books, and our society is one that cherishes its top ten lists . (Oh my god, I totally just typed it's instead of its and then ALMOST MISSED IT. The horror). But really, what does saying that these 40 books are The Best of the Decade even really mean? I guess campaigning by people who wrote the books is okay, because it wouldn't be any more 'objective' than if it was decided by so

Guns, Germs and Exploding Peas

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Last night at book club we were discussing Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies by Jared Diamond. It's a great book, an important book, one that takes a very complex subject and renders it comprehensible to the layperson. Tomorrow I will talk about the huge and far-reaching issues addressed by Diamond. Today I'm feeling shlumpy and under-the-weather and I'm just going to be a smartass. Because one of the great joys of this book was wading through paragraphs including weighty analyses of "politically centralized, socially stratified, economically complex, technologically innovative societies" and "autocatalytic processes" and then coming across phrases such as "Rhino-mounted Bantu shock troops" or "archaeological evidence of chickpeas". This splendid paragraph comes from a section on how domesticated plants often varied significantly from their wild progenitors: " A clear example involves peas, whose seeds (the

(Thank God it's) Wordless Wednesday: Fall-ing

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Good thing she doesn't know about child labour laws yet: Banzai! This was totally spontaneous and not coached by me AT ALL: Aaaaand heartwarming moment over: Payback's a bitch:

Short and Sweet. (And you can't really fault him on the logic).

Me: "What's that thing you call me sometimes? Bowl full of nuts?" My husband: "No. What I call you sometimes is 'honey bunches of oats'. What I think about you sometimes is 'bowl full of nuts'. Fair enough.

Smells like a Funny Friday

I actually slept last night, which means several things seem funny this morning that wouldn't have for the last few days. Like Elvira Kurt doing the cultural hall of shame on Q this morning -- talking about Willow Smith, Will Smith's daughter and her insanely catchy new song: "she's nine! Twenty is like the new ninety now. Parents everywhere are telling their kids 'put down the juicebox, get up from naptime and get to work on your brand!"  Okay, I probably would have found that funny anyway. How about this? Our first Halloween party of the season is tomorrow night and we're all being Greek god/desses. Eve has decided that she is Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty -- we're just leaving the whole sex part out for now, especially after the other day when I finally gave it to her dead straight about making babies, after she said "I understand how I can get things like loving books from you, but I don't get how I can get things from Daddy.&

Regarding Cynthia

This is my friend Cynthia's most recent Facebook status update: Cynthia (Blank): ' Word07 would like me to replace the word "spline" with "spleen". My sentence now reads: "...this data set was calculated using a multivariate cubic spleen interpolation." ' This reminded me of the time I was updating my résumé (which I just typed six different times with and without accents and it looks equally stupid both ways, so clearly I'm just having a moment, like that time when I was nine and there were a few hours where I couldn't say the word 'closet' without feeling really strange) and trying to type that I had volunteered at a camp for children with oncological diseases, and the word processing problem kept trying to substitute the word 'ontological'. Because yeah, the camp wasn't for kids with cancer, it was for kids who wonder why we're here and what it's all about. Cynthia is cool. And pretty. And smart. Sh

A real man?

Forget flowers and romance and remembering our anniversary and shit like that (he never remembers our anniversary. I don't either. We're pretty sure we got married at some point and it was a great party and we're both good with that). Forget knowing if you like iced tea or red peppers (he always asks me if I want iced tea in restaurants even though I have never ever ever in the twenty or so years he's known me ordered iced tea, and the other night while he was assembling dinner plates I heard from upstairs as he asked my kids 'does Mommy like red peppers?' -- I don't). Forget putting his damned socks in the laundry (on the floor by the couch. on a kitchen chair. on the bedside table --bleaaaah). A real man? A real man will hear you say 'shit!' in a loud whisper when you finish reading at 11:30 p.m., attempt to take off your glasses and lay them on the table and have the left lens fall out due to a tiny little screw coming loose in the frame

Get a Clue

Note to self: Try to write next book review so as not to convince fully half of commenters to resolve NOT to read the book based on the review. If it helps, I also recently read Hardball by Sara Paretsky, which is a V.I. Warshawski novel, for anyone familiar with the character. It was pretty good, except way too many characters had red hair. Really. Every second chapter she was meeting someone's wife with faded red curls, or a red-headed secretary, or a kid on the street with a baseball cap over red hair. It strained the bounds of credulity! If it was me, I would have dropped the investigation and concentrated all my resources on figuring out where all the carrot tops were coming from -- it's rare enough that I see one red-headed person a month. When I was walking to school to get the kids the other day, there was a mother with a brilliantly red-haired little boy walking across the field, then when I got to the other side of the field there was a father with an equally

Book Review: Far to Go by Alison Pick

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I've been putting off reviewing this simply because I don't see how I can possibly do it justice. Reading this book was somewhat akin to being stabbed very deeply with something very sharp -- you feel like you might get away okay, and then you walk a few steps and realize you're bleeding all over the place. Holocaust literature is such a delicate, marshy, minefield-laden thing. You have to respect an author -- a young one, at that -- who even attempts one more entry in the field, and this one is very, very good. The narrator of the book interviews Holocaust survivors and their children for her books, and says that "they can come off as selfish, these survivors and their children. As closed and cramped, dark knots of grievance. That too is Hitler's legacy: the poison never fully flushed out." This articulates something I have often struggled with, how the Holocaust killed six million Jews and also blighted the lives of so many who didn't die, by killi

Something to be Said for Skipping Mondays...

So I hit the school library bright and early this morning, shelved some books, got some kids squared away, saw both my kids with their classes which for some reason they love, got Eve to straighten up the Goosebumps books because they're on a very low shelf and it hurts my back, got confirmation from the librarian that this was not, in fact, improper use of my child, went to the other library, returned some books, picked up some books, went to Farm Boy, got some groceries, was driving by a gas station and remembered that I was almost out of gas so got gas because Eve has dance tonight and last dance night we almost ran out of gas. Then I hit the drugstore where I didn't have a list but I was sure I remembered everything because I was ON FIRE today. Then I got home and realized I'd forgotten the saline stuff for my contacts which isn't actually saline any more because I wear hard contacts instead of soft contacts, but the fact remained that if I didn't have the wha

It's Friday, Right?

I often miss the Crazy Mayor's Friday Funny thing because I'm just too disorganized and I can't be funny on cue, dammit! At my sister's wedding she said she wanted my speech to be funny, so I figured I'd have to do it on rollerblades -- me rollerblading? Now that's funny.  Matt was trying to get Angus to watch this show called The Quantum Tamers with him the other night. He was hoping that they would have some kind of father-son 'physics is cool!' moment born of quarks and particle/wave uncertainties. It didn't really happen, but hopefully it laid a little groundwork. This reminded me of an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati wherein Venus explains the atom to a wannabe high school dropout in terms of gang activity. This in turn reminded my husband that he thinks I'm a bit of a whack job with a fanciful imagination while somehow rendering him unable to recall that whenever he doesn't believe me about this kind of thing I'm almost invaria

Knowing Me Knowing You (with the usual whiny accompaniment)

Perspective is a funny thing. I have overly reactive, chronically inflamed airways, and when I get sick I get a rib-breaking breath-stealing consumptive cough that can last for months. I always think that my husband must feel really bad for me when he hears me coughing like that. Then when he gets a cough -- his normal wussy-man cough although he acts like it's the final stages of the bubonic plague, naturally -- I find it really annoying and ask him to sleep in the basement. Then I think maybe he doesn't actually feel that bad for me when I cough. I'm tired. It's been a good, kind of busy week. My husband had out-of-town people in at work so he's been wining and dining them while I meet the teacher and feed and bathe and supervise homework and piano practice more or less solo. Plus I've been sleeping like crap. Lying there with the same goddamned song running through my head a hundred and forty-two times, totally awake and yet yawning until my jaw crea

Teacher Feature

Tonight was Meet the Teacher night. It's an annual thing that takes place in many schools, with the actual date being determined sort of like they determine Easter. With Easter it has something to do with how Sundays fall in relation to the Paschal full moon and the vernal equinox. Meet the Teacher night always falls on a night in October when it's pouring rain and I have my period. Fortunately my kids are teacher-pleasers, so nothing really exciting ever happens anyway (one kid in Eve's classroom was wandering around hiding behind random strangers and shooting people with some kind of dart gun). It's one of those pain-in-the-ass things that you just kind of have to do -- or hey. Maybe I don't. I work in the freaking school libary. I know all the teachers. Oh, but then Eve wouldn't get to show me her art and writing, that's not at all different from the art and writing she does at home. And then we wouldn't get to walk around looking at ninetee

Further Eve-isms

Last night Eve was working on a project called My Life in a Box. She had to put in three things to represent things she liked doing (a marker, a book and a shrivelled up mushroom for drawing, reading and collecting 'nature-y' things), one thing to represent what she wanted to be when she grew up (a microphone because she wants to be a singer) and something that represented her family. She thought about putting in a picture of us but dismissed that as too obvious. Someone else had put in a movie that their family liked watching together so she didn't want to copy that. She finally decided on Yahtzee dice because we like playing Yahtzee together, and then she could tell everyone about the time her father picked up the dice to toss them into the cup we shake them in and tossed them into his drink instead, and it was almost empty but there was a little bit of wine left in it. Because, as she put it "I get to talk about booze -- (holding two thumbs up) -- Mom, that'

Mea Culpa

Some people have been commenting that September was a 'bad month' for my blog. Some people seem to think that if they click onto my blog on their lunch hour and there's no new post I've been a 'bad friend' and a 'disappointment to humanity'. Some people may have stopped short in the parking lot at Zehr's and driven my seatbelt into my windpipe and then suggested that I should start blogging more regularly again if I 'know what's good for me'. Okay, I'm paraphrasing. I had the most blissful, idyllic, big-sappy-smile-making week-end. On Thursday I drove to Oakville to see my friend Elaine who has an eleven-year-old boy, a six-year-old girl and a seven-month-old gestating little girl in her belly. She looks fabulous, particularly for someone who's clearly lost her mind (kidding! I'm kidding! It's the envy talking. Mostly.) We talked, we walked, we ate our way through the bakeries of downtown Oakville. We had Tha