Showing posts from May, 2013

Birds do it, Bees do it, Fleas are more educated than my kids about it

Remember when Eve and I talked a little about the facts of life and then she didn't want to talk about it any more? Turns out we should have talked about it a little more. Yesterday she was telling me about school. She said that they knew they were having health class and the grade fives in her class (she's in a four-five split) were afraid they were going to talk about where babies come from. (Let me interject that I felt the slightest bit smug about the fact that I thought Eve knew where babies come from, in a gigantic pride-goeth-before-a-fall douchebag moment). It turned out they were actually studying germs. But Eve said one of her classmates said "I know where babies come from. A man and a woman make them." Then EVE said "two women can make a baby". What now? I looked up from whatever I was chopping. She said her friend disagreed, but she got someone else to corroborate. I said "were you joking?" (please god, say you were joking). She lo

Distance Learning - and I use the term advisedly

There was a scheduled chat for my course on Mobile Technology for Library Technicians last night. There haven't been any chats in my last few courses. I haven't missed them, exactly, but they can be fun and productive. It's a rare chance to get a glimpse of fellow students and share ideas, when usually we're all toiling away in isolation and only seeing the odd remark on a discussion board. I tend to have a good time in chats because a) I can type really fast, so I'm always able to reply quickly and address people before ten more comments have been entered and b) I'm old now and, whereas I used to concentrate on getting the right answer the most times, now I try to get the most people to comment on how funny I am. I can't seem to stop myself from trying to get the professor to say "Allison, you're being slightly inappropriate." In the really tough course on subject analysis, wherein the Dewey Decimal System almost drove me to rack and ruin, the

Mondays on the Margins: Bone and Bread by Saleema Nawaz

Synopsis from Goodreads:  Beena and Sadhana are sisters who share a bond that could only have been shaped by the most unusual of childhoods -- and by shared tragedy. Orphaned as teenagers, they have grown up under the exasperated watch of their Sikh uncle, who runs a bagel shop in Montreal's Hasidic community of Mile End. Together, they try to make sense of the rich, confusing brew of values, rituals, and beliefs that form their inheritance. Yet as they grow towards adulthood, their paths begin to diverge. Beena catches the attention of one of the "bagel boys" and finds herself pregnant at sixteen, while Sadhana drives herself to perfectionism and anorexia. When we first meet the adult Beena, she is grappling with a fresh grief: Sadhana has died suddenly and strangely, her body lying undiscovered for a week before anyone realizes what has happened. Beena is left with a burden of guilt and an unsettled feeling about the circumstances of her sister's death, which sh

Surly Thursdays

You know what I hate? Those articles in the paper where people outline their diet and fitness habits and then get critiqued by 'experts'. They're almost always people that are goddamned near perfect anyway, and then the experts stomp in and say "that half a muffin you have every two weeks is basically cake - poisoned evil cake," or "okay, you ran twenty-five miles and did weights before you taught that spin class, but when you get off your own bike to correct your students' technique your not getting the full cardio benefits of the workout". I also read about this woman who wanted to lose weight so she "started with baby steps: she started running, kept a food diary and eliminated sugar from her diet". ELIMINATING SUGAR FROM YOUR DIET IS NOT A FUCKING BABY STEP! Enh, I can't really keep up the surly. I've had wicked insomnia all week and yesterday I woke up with my neck and upper back muscles completely seized and I have my period

Mondays on the Margins: NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

What's that? It's Tuesday, you say? Let's not quibble. No one in Canada is going to be sure WHAT freaking day it is all this week anyway. I stumbled across Joe Hill's writing in short story anthologies first - I think probably one of the Year's Best Fantasy and Horror ones, but I'm not certain. The stories were good enough that I looked for more of them, which led me to the Locke & Key graphic novels and his first full-length novel,   Heart-Shaped Box . I bought the first Locke & Key, and it was interesting, but graphic novels aren't really my thing and I haven't read any further in the series yet. Heart-Shaped Box I remember I really liked, although I didn't take notes on it and I can't remember much of it. Hill's second novel, Horns , I loved, and many scenes from it are carved on my memory even though I read it a couple of years ago. Somewhere in all this I discovered that Joe Hill was Stephen King's son. I wondered, b

In praise of Nicole, or How I Am an Asshole

Before I started blogging, I never had friendships with people I had never met. Wait -- actually, when I was ten or so I had a penpal. She lived in Italy. Her name was Giuliana and she had two cats named Felix and Pip, and that's pretty much all I can remember about her. Now there are many people in many parts of the world who I consider friends. Online friendships are weird. Or maybe what I mean is it's weird that they aren't more weird. I guess it's possible that I'm being catfished in one or more of these relationships, but in general, every time I've met someone after knowing them online, there have been no surprises - they have been exactly like they represented themselves on their blogs, or on Twitter, and in our emails. The first time I went to World Trivia Night to meet Lynn , my husband was keen to load me up with purse-sized weapons and pepper spray. I knew I was going to meet someone who was smart, funny, a great mother and super competitive, and i

How Deep is Your Love? How Full is Your Life? What Colour is Your Parachute?

Nan started the ball rolling by charting her own life against a "The 50 Ways to Live Life to the Full" list from the Daily Mail site; Nicole did it too. I just looked at the actual site and realized I was laboring under a misconception; I thought that some editors or columnists had compiled the list, which reads as incredibly skewed towards privileged, neurotypical, able-bodied (but probably overweight) people. It turns out the list was actually generated from a survey of 2000 adults - presumably mostly privileged, neurotypical, able-bodied mostly overweight adults, but it still lessens my ability to be snarkily contemptuous of whoever wrote the article. And hey, we all know I love a good meme, especially on a baseball night. And what if there's an easy way to live life to the full (is that even grammatically correct? Is that a British-ism? It bugs me) and I'm missing it? That would suck. 1. Stop worrying about money Okay. Do you think the grocery store takes P

Mondays on the Margins: Bad Things Come in Threes

So I'm still in a strange reading frame of mind. I'm all too ready to watch an episode of Buffy on my ipad when I crawl into bed instead of reaching for a book (I love my husband so much for giving me the ipad except when I think it might be the kiss of death for my intellectual life). I still read every night, but not always for the hours I usually do. And it's been a while since anything really sucked me in. I've recently accepted that I might as well just get used to living with really poorly controlled anxiety and depression, and sometimes some of that drips onto the reading experience, so I acknowledge that it's not (always) the books that are to blame. I also have this annoying habit that I can't seem to break, where I go to the library and pick up my holds, and then instead of going straight to the checkout, which I SHOULD BE doing, because IN NO WAY do I require more books to pile onto my.... pile. I have towers and turrets and elaborate mazes of books

On How I Like to Think I'm Open-Minded, but I'm Really Not At All

The other day I was on Twitter and someone was talking about how her daughter was eating broccoli and she was extremely pleased. The hashtag was #babyledsolids. And I thought, WTF? Baby-led solids? How does the baby lead with the solids? Do you make the baby mix up its own cereal? Do you carry the baby around the kitchen while it points out the ingredients for pheasant under glass? The baby doesn't lead! WE lead! Isn't our function as far as babies and solids to sort of lead the babies up to the kinds of solid foods that won't, you know, cause them to die? Babies aren't that bright, folks. A baby will try to eat a TV remote. They don't know that they can't eat celery and pretzels and marbles or hot dogs that we haven't cut in half because our mothers have informed us forty thousand goddamned times that a hot dog is the exact size of a baby's windpipe - it's up to US to provide the leadership in that regard.  And I stormed around muttering about rid


Today I'm like a couple of Ingrid Michaelson songs. This one and this one , to be more precise. I can't adequately thank everyone who commented on that last pitiful post, and I'm trying not to bother being embarrassed about it. It does get wearying - why do we have to keep learning the same lessons over and over? Why do I let myself slide down that same garbage chute of self-loathing? I know - I KNOW, for an irrefutable effing FACT - that I'm not the only one with too much stuff, or badly organized stuff, or lost stuff. Sometimes that's okay, and sometimes I really just need to spend a couple hours sorting stuff and getting rid of stuff, and sometimes just one look at the problem sends me screaming down a very dark hall, and I really really REALLY need someone (six or seven someones, preferably) to take me by the (figurative) shoulders and say "you're not the only one" and "it doesn't make you a horrible person" and "it doesn'


What have I been doing? How did I get here? I was looking for the kids' class pictures from this year because my mother puts up her four grandchildren's pictures every year and she says I haven't given them to her this year. I can't find them. I can find years and years of pictures - teeth falling out and reemerging, cheeks growing leaner and leaner, smiles becoming more self-conscious - but not this year's. Piles and piles of pictures, and frames, and assorted other crap. Then Eve came in from shooting baskets and tried to use an art string kit that someone gave her for her birthday two years ago and the glue is all dried and the string won't come out. I'm caught between "we can only be who we are" and "I can't keep living like this". Between "it's really not that bad" and "it's worse than I thought."