Monday, 30 July 2007

the girlification of....well, me

About the time we brought C home from the hospital the transformation from Wife, Pretty Pulled Together into Mom began.

It wasn't so pretty.

(sing-song voice) Isn't he cute look how cute the baaaaaabbbby is look how sweet...

By the time R skipped into our lives, I was firmly entrenched in the 'we're all about the kids!' stage - hair scraped back, jeans, where was my watch again?

There's a time when you're focused on your children, a time when you don't exist at all.
I've let it drag on far too long.

This is nothing new. Back in January I started with a cute haircut.
But the rest of me was pretty plain. Work into it slowly, and all that.

A friend of mine recently started going to nail school. I was right there with my hand up volunteering to be a guinea pig. Pick me pick me ohh pick me!

Now my nails are gorgeous and I feel flirty and cute and young. B loves it - amazing what a small thing it was that shook up my self-image! I have pretty hands.

I think I may have unleashed a monster. You see, there's a girl trapped inside me shrieking "but you used to love make-up!" and I've been happily stuffing her back down....but maybe, just maybe, I could let her out to play a bit?

As long as she doesn't try to make me go too far and actually find my watch.

Friday, 27 July 2007

a bit more natural than we intended

We've been eating the 100 miles thing recently. (And I had no idea how much food I eat comes from other countries.) It's actually been very easy, since we've been trying not to heat up the house and have been grilling a lot.

I was pretty sure B wanted some ears of corn or something when he called me at work.

B: The kids won't nap.
Me: (Of course not. It's freakishly hot.) Okay. Just put them in their swimsuits and take them out in the pool. I should be home soon, anyway.
B: Oh, Jess? Is that stuff in the fridge lip gloss?
Me: Eh?
B: Rosey just gave me this little plastic container that stinks to high hell. It's got some brown and grey goop in it. Is this one of those organic cosmetics you were talking about?
Me: Small plastic container? (dawning horror) Rosey didn't open that, did she?
B: No, she just handed it to me.
Me: Wash your hands. With soap. And Rosey's. NOW.
B: (running water noises, a hint of dread in his voice) That's not lip stuff, is it.
Me: No! It's cat shit.

The cat, you see, has problems. And the vet gives out teeny little lidded containers (and a tongue depressor), collection.

And I don't think I'm going to wear lip gloss for awhile.

Monday, 23 July 2007


Last weekend, we drove (and drove, and drove) to Cape Breton, an area of Nova Scotia reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands, and went to B's family reunion.

(Passing small towns with names like Monastery. ‘Magine that. ‘I come from Monastery.’ Bet they’re fun as prom dates.)

70 people (give or take) all related to his mother, and five of whom I had met before. And I was that Mom, the one with the bad kids, the bored kids who wouldn't stop wandering around. In their defense, though, dinners that start at eight and run until eleven? Not so good for youngsters.

We had a cottage, a one bedroom with a pull-out sofa, and shared a wall (and a deck) with another family. We had a great view of the (mostly grey and foggy) shore and the pool.

Note to self: Never get snortingly giggly with your husband about the methane emissions that are rocking the other side of the cabin. Your neighbors (they of the explosive asses) will get tight-lipped whenever they see you. Whoops.

(But I'm pretty sure they belong to a distant branch of the family.)

We took a break from all that family togetherness and went to the Alexander Graham Bell museum, where C was thrilled by the hydroplanes and R was thrilled by the room!to!run! After forty-five minutes of saying NO!, I just...let her go. She cruised the pathways and gardens (even in the persistent drizzle) and afterwards was calmer and much less likely to become a whinging pincushion.

They both slept much of the way home. Poor things. It's hard to recuperate from a vacation.

And B's twitch should be going away soon.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

film at eleven

Heinrik the One-Antlered Moose surveyed the tragic scene and sighed.

There had been a party. There were balloons. And it was obvious someone had gotten into his grass again.

It's always the superheroes, he thought.

Friday, 13 July 2007

years from now, we'll know this as the time the therapy should have started....

I was snorfling the boy this morning when he told me his friend has a girlfriend.


He rolled his head back and looked at me. "Yeah, and she plays with him on the computer and they talk about Superman and everything." He shot me a woebegone look. "Rosey's too little to talk about Superman. I mean, she pretends, but she doesn't get the bad guys or anything."

There was a giggle trying to force itself out of my throat. I clamped down tight.

'So you want a girl (here my voice went all high and funny from the bizarreness of this) friend so you can talk about superheroes?'

"Yeah, and play robots.* Rosey doesn't get that either."

'Mmpfh. Musn't laugh, musn't laugh... 'What about D? (other friend) I know he loves to play with all your guys, right?

C shook his head. "He only wants to be the good guy. All the time."

'So you want someone who will take turns?'

He nodded.

" could find me a girlfriend?"

* this is an intricate game starring six or seven action figures, a lego castle, a firetruck and a lot of 'peww! peww!' noises.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

card catalogs

The place I grew up in had a gorgeous library. It was an old Victorian building*, with all sorts of nooks and funny little rooms - most of the adult non-fiction was in a loft where you could spy down on people peaceably reading the paper and think up suitably thrilling stories about them - and my favorite room was one that not many people knew about.

This picture was taken in 1963 - by the time I started exploring there was an (ugly) modern addition built to one side, which became the children's section and the main entrance.

My secret room (technically the Michigan History room, whatever) was accessible from the main adult fiction area by a rickety set of narrow steps leading up to a plain white door. Once inside, there was a deep old green leather sofa, an ornate desk, and an old telescope. The walls were lined in books about the state's history, and it smelled like old pages and deep exciting things about to happen. There were a set of high windows that led outside, facing into giant trees, so the sunlight was filtered (even in the broad heat of summer) into soft green light. I would take my books, creep up the old stairs (Because what would I do if the librarians stopped me?) and quickly dive in, shutting the door. Once in, I could sprawl luxuriously on the couch and read uninterrupted for hours, high above everyones heads. If I needed a break, I could people-watch out the great bank of windows facing into the library, all without leaving my cushy spot. Doing homework up there was terrific - quiet, undisturbed, and all the reference materials I could ever want, all within arms reach. The desk had a wonderful old swivel wood chair that kept one sitting straight and one of those brass accountant lamps, whose glimmering pool of light made me feel grown-up and busy and productive.

I fell asleep up there one hot afternoon and woke only ten minutes before closing time. I'm sure noone would have found me, and I'd have spent the night with my books. Even though there was a ghost in the women's toilet**, I would have loved to have done that. Imagine! The whole night to find new books, new authors....

I was thinking of this today at the library*** while checking out. The librarian mentioned that they've had a few instances of the alarm going off at night, attributing it to books piled up falling over.

Either that, or that ghost has followed me. Maybe she's looking for that comfy couch.

*It was an Andrew Carnegie Library, although I'm not sure anyone but Sarah Louise will be interested in that!
**Reportedly you see her in the mirror while you're washing your hands. She's nicely dressed and is pinching her cheeks to make them redder and smiles at you before fading away.
***The library here, which is in another lovely old building (it was a school) and deserves it's own post.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

roadkill revisited

On the highway coming into town there's a strip of rubber blown from one of the those giant truck tires. It's been there for a couple of weeks, perched almost at the top of a hill, looking twisted and rubberish as you pass by.

Except when you see it coming up the hill. Then it looks like a duck.

A perfectly fine duck, an alive duck - possibly drunkenly wandering too far out of its pond? Every day I pass by, thinking things about Superman and t-ball (Why yes, the kids are in the back, how could you tell?) and get a shock when I see it.

That poor duck! It's going to get hit! Ack! Must swerve! Then...ohhhhh. And I call myself all sorts of a twit and drive on.

This morning I was a few minutes early, so I stopped and prepared to kick it into the underbrush.

Aiming, I was startled by a voice coming from a car behind me:

"Hey, what are you doing to that bird?"

Sunday, 8 July 2007

pitty pitty bang bangs

It's the last day of the big summer festival around here - Privateer Days - and the weekend ends every year with fireworks. We had R (who was pretty well sacked out) fresh out of the tub, getting into her nightgown when the phone rang.

I heard B say "No, Dad, I think Cass and I will come and R will stay home with..." and then he was drowned out by a banshee wail of epic proportions I WANNA COME FIREWOK PEASE DADDY PEASE FIREWOKS

(note to self: perhaps B doesn't realize how his voice carries? Plus she had her Daddy-radar on....)

so we packed her in the car, nightgown, wet hair, blankie and all. It was her first fireworks display - heck, why not? We picked up my father in law and drove into the absolute hell that is trying to find a parking place in a small town on the closing night of a summer do.

We finally found a spot (note to locals - yeah, you think I'm telling?? phoo.) and settled down to watch, perching Cass on top of the car and B holding R wrapped in her blankie. She was almost asleep (again) when the fireworks started.

The fireworks were gorgeous. Rosey liked them just fine.

Except the noise. The noise was not okay. By the third display, she was inside the car, sitting in the drivers seat. She felt safer there, secure enough to bounce around and squeal and talk at the top of her lungs and deafen my poor father in law. "Oh my Rosey-Posey! Look!" LOOK PAPA PINK IT'S PINK PINK PRETTY PINK! And then she vibrated around in the seat so much she honked the horn with her belly.

Shushing her was a very temporary thing. Chickie was excited.

And just like her mother, when she's excited, she gets LOUD. I'm not sure Papa knew what hit him. At the end, she was bouncing around like a maniac and he had his head out the opposite window. (Probably to get away from the noise.)

When the finale ended, and C and R were done oooh-ing and ahh-ing, we headed back out into the mess of people leaving. R was fairly rocketing around, talking about the firewoks and the pitty colours and the bang-bangs and C was talking just as animatedly back.

Three minutes later my father inlaw suggested ice cream.

But the terrible two were both conked out in the back seat, so we passed.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

she sells seashells by the seashore

And on another note, what camera do you use? We're looking to up-grade - my poor little Olympus (which takes pretty darn good pictures!) is limping along, and I think it's time to move on...

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

bedbug variation

Rosey: Don't let the butterflies eat you, okay, Daddy?

mud puppies


Phone call from B:

B:What exactly do we use to wash the dog?
Me: Dog shampoo. Upstairs. In the bathroom. Why?
B: And what do I use to wash Cass?
Me: Boy shampoo. WHAT HAPPENED?
B: Can his crocs go in the washer?
Me: Actually, I've been putting them in the dishwasher*. WHAT HAPPENED?
B: I'm dirty too.

Apparently while I was at work yesterday the dog got away from Cass and went down in the watershed, which is nice and muddy and just slick enough to get the dog stuck in mud up to his belly,

which meant Cassidy had to climb down and get him, getting covered in mud in the process,

and then he lost his shoe and then his footing and was upset enough

that Bear waded in too.

The baby (smart girl that she is) just laughed at them when they came inside.

*and it works really well. Just take them out if you use a really hot sanitizing dry.

Yarn over and over

Someone, an old babysitter maybe, taught me to crochet when I was six. I remember making long braided loops of yarn and thinking how pretty ...