Sunday, 31 May 2009

groucho, harpo, chico, gummo, and zeppo

My mother has a fine sense of humour.

Once while (expecting me to visit her) in the hospital, she exchanged her glasses for a pair of Groucho Glasses and fell asleep, figuring I'd see her and get a kick out of it.

She was awakened by a doctor trailing five medical students, who did a check-over and asked her questions about her health, checked her reflexes, etc.

It wasn't until they left she realized she still had the glasses on.

Every few Christmases a pair of Groucho glasses will make the rounds. We all giggle and try them on, but for me it will never be as funny as the day Mom became a Marxist in front of her doctor.

Yesterday at the Spring Fair, both the kids played the fish-pond and brought some home. What better time to chronicle the next generation of social deviants?

Friday, 29 May 2009

thursday night commercial, scene twelve

Yes, yes, I'm late....

This whole thing cracks me up - from the cat to the dog's voice to the way the woman strokes the bony little ferret like he's the softest cuddly thing ever.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

if she could drive you'd think she was a teen

Having a boy first spoiled me completely for wash-and-go. For years, it was look-at-the-clock-and-whoops-we-have-to-leave-in-half-an-hour-is-the-boy's-face-clean?

And off we'd go.

Now we have conditioner. And hair styles. Hair things. Special brushes and bobby pins and pony tail holders and sparkly stuff.

And the shoes need to be just so. 'Are these shoes okay with these shorts and this top?'

She's four. FOUR.

I know this is just the beginning. I know I'm still in for matching outfits and tights and shiny patent shoes and purses and (oh, God) jewelry, for makeup, for color wheels and no-pink-does-NOT-go-with-red.

I just didn't expect it to begin so fast.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Rosey 2, Tooth Fairy, 0

About a year ago Rosey fell going up the stairs and knocked her tooth out. The ensuing drama made me glad we'd had our share of tooth-problems. It had to be all smooth sailing from here on, right?



One of Rosey's happy things the last few days has been that her tooth is loose. Her first (honestly) loose tooth! It was a BIG DEAL.

Then she ate an apple today. And swallowed her tooth. Again.

The tooth fairy celebrates ALL teeth, Rosey.
Even the ones in your tummy.


Wednesday, 20 May 2009

death and obscene messages

  • Seen today in a drive-thru: Spanking shiny new red truck with giant decals across the back that read: Ditch The Bitch and Go Goosin'! I was aghast.
  • Explaining death to kids, even with lots of resources (thank you, funeral home!) and patience is a very hard thing. Both B and I are guilty of saying 'He's gone' which Rosey has decided means he could come back if we'd only let him. (We are so mean.) - so then I have to use blunt phrases like 'Papa's body' and 'Never going to see him again' which makes B flinch, and then I feel I'm being unkind and wounding him on purpose.
  • We have a very sad little boy. Cass has been through death before with a dog and cat, so he understands the permanence of it, but he's never been through a visitation before. So I've been trying to describe what's going to be happening. (Bear flinches.)
  • Visitation tomorrow, funeral Friday. We're going to take the kids to the visitation and decide about the funeral afterwards.
  • Thank you, all of you, for your sweet messages of condolence. Y'all are wonderful people.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

the crickets chirp louder tonight

This morning was chilly and gray, with a heavy dew. I thought about laying a fire but held off for a few hours, opting instead to put on a sweatshirt and socks and go outside, sniffing in the good smells of fresh-cut grass and green wood, of twining, growing things and hearing the birds chirrup excitedly.

When the sun came out it was hurt-your-eyes dazzling. Scouring the last of the drabs away, it warmed the valley and shot sparkles through the river, making even the cormorants seem majestic and beautiful. The apple tree out back is beginning to show hints of pink where the flowers will be, and the watershed is a vibrant, almost lurid green - if you listen closely, you can almost hear the eager shoots shoving up through the muck into the light of day.

A day full of promise, of thinking of projects-yet-to-come, of dreaming about getting your hands dirty in the good black earth.

I don't know what the weather was like the day my father in law was born, but he -true to his personality! - chose a spectacular day to make his exit.

Rest in peace, Freeman. I like to think the clouds opened up and he went away on the sunlight and the blossom-scented breeze.

We're all going to miss you, Papa.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

never take the dog out at two a.m.

Y'know what's fun?

Taking the dog out really late at night (because he's rapidly developing a shy bladder that only allows him to pee when he's with you)

hearing a hooty-owl in the deep woods

and then, full of the peace and tranquility a rushing river and velvet darkness of Spring brings,

nearly stepping on a giant frog in the path and doing the shit-shit-shit-shit! dance with the perplexed dog, who didn't see the thing and so thinks you want to play.

Convincing the mutt (who's barely seen you in two days and thinks being out this late is wonderful, y'know, plus the whole pee thing) that you're not up for a late night game of romp around the lawn is not easy.

But at least you aren't scraping frog off your shoe.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

thursday night commercial, scene eleven

tip o'the hat to Giggle Pops Design Studio Thanks Ricki!

And this is why most of us have dogs. We could all use a little good press now and then.

Plus dogs will help you hide the bodies (they're natural born diggers, y'all!)

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

summat to say

Although it's not all that much, really....

  • Foodgawker is the work of the devil. Or a really bad idea to scroll through at work, take your pick. Now I'm trapped making goodies for the school Spring Fair that are much more complicated than conscience won't let me whizz out a couple of chocolate cakes now, no no, must be fancier. And prettier. And dinner for the next few nights is going to be...different.

  • From the department next to me, many many times a day: 'So I need my paperwork to register?' My thought (after many many times a day) Yes yes a thousand times yes. The pieces of paper your doctors office gave you are surprisingly not optional. (Not their response. They're friendly and not a bitter old snarky hag like the blogger next door.)

  • I have three cats. Katie the Elder (who is slowing, bless her heart, but still can munch green stuff faster than a speeding bullet) makes it impossible to have flowers or plants in my house. Cass took care of that Sunday - I now have a lovely bouquet of paper flowers that I can keep forever, and never have to water, either. And my little purple girl gave me a long purple flower to match her purple shirt, so I'm good in the fresh flowers department, too.

  • I know I'm running short on sleep when I think that my husband should be able to understand how to do my daughter's hair when I'm explaining it over the phone.

Me: Just take her bangs and the hair in front of her head and put it in a ponytail. Then pull it to the side a little so it's not sticking straight out of her head.

He: You want me to..... pull on her head?

Me: (crickets chirp) Wha?

He: I tried to put all her hair in a ponytail yesterday and it didn't work. It kept falling out.

Me: She does have barrettes, too, hon. Look, I don't care. But she runs into less walls when she can see where she's going.

He: (guffaws) Yeah.

  • Election time is here again in Nova Scotia! Giant election signs are blooming everywhere like early flowers. It's pretty.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

if a tree falls in the woods, do the birds stop and listen?

I'm torn between making soup and reading a book.

Not even a good book, really, a pot-boiler, but it sounds sort of decadent to curl up in a corner and get swept away for an hour or so to a place where children scream only when it furthers the plot and the weather is always a good indicator of what's coming up next.

It's grey and sodden today - a perfect day for soup: hot, nestled into blue and white bowls, small faces tipping down into the Chicken and white bean? Avgolemono?I would love to make reuben soup, but that's a crockpot recipe and I want it now.

Instead, I'll probably make chicken parmigiana and coax everyone into garlic bread-pasta carbohydrate-induced slumber.

Then, the livingroom, the lap blanket, the blessed silence....

will be mine.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

I love you, Mom

Mom -

I remember you used to braid my hair. With fat red yarn tied at the ends so I could just see it when I'd run and it would bob along with me. And you'd let me have a spray of your perfume, too - so I could smell like you, the prettiest Mom on the block. You were amazing and smart - you knew all the words to my jumping-rope rhymes, and then you astounded me by teaching me things my teachers hadn't - how could you know things before my beloved Miss Beers or Mrs Morey did? And how were you always right?

You pointed out the best books and told me finger-plays and stories about people that have stayed with me until now - I tell my kids those stories, have I ever told you that? I should.

You loved me ferociously, even when I was a knock-kneed, early teenager with a bad case of angst, and continued loving me all through the time it took me to figure out who I was. Even now I can still hear in your voice that I amuse you, that you're caught aback that your daughter thinks something so different than you do, and that you're proud of it.

You raised me to have an open mind.

I tried so hard not to be you while I was growing up that now when I blurt out a phrase you used it still surprises me. I can feel my opinions beginning to shift as my children grow up, too, to more closely mirror yours (although this does NOT apply to politics, hee, and probably won't, ever) and I love that I can call you, to talk things out or to share news or to tell you how much I miss you.

Because I do miss you, you know. It's not always easy living this far away from your Mom.

But I do know your love stretches and enfolds me even this far away.

As it always did.

Happy Mothers Day, Mamacita.

photo credit: Edw. J. Van Dyne. 1971

Want to write a letter to your Mother? Link to here so we can all read them!

Monday, 4 May 2009

little girl bigger

Miss Girl is now officially registered and orientated for Primary come September. I'm sure I wasn't the only parent there who filled out the paperwork and smiled at all the teachers with a lump in their throat, either.

(not getting all maudlin and teary...not getting all teary AM NOT)

But it seems a very short time since she was a chunk of black curls and huge smiles.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

keeping mum

I am lucky enough to have met some smart and wonderful people on my ramblings through the internet. EarnestGirl made me sit up and think when she published this today. I went through a similar crisis of conscience a year or so ago about pictures of the kids

(verdict: I don't feel my children's safety (living where I do, with the social skills they have) is compromised by my taking pictures of them when they are young like this. My son is seven and a half - when his face stops changing so much or he's bothered by having his picture up, I will stop. Likewise Miss R.)

and now EarnestGirl has brought up new questions. I disagree with her on some points (I believe she's speaking about an age group different than my children) but I like her reasoning and the way she explains herself....

Go. Read. I'd be interested in what you think.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

we are all children of fire

We had a fire here tonight.

Not a bad fire, a piled-up-brush-on-purpose fire, a fire that - despite the intermittent drizzle - hissed and crackled and smoked and was hugely satisfying to the kids, who were entranced with the way it chose that log instead of that one, and that brush over here instead of there.

Then the rain cleared for a moment and a rainbow appeared. R took to running full tilt down the meadow, open-armed joyous to be outside and feel the breeze on her skin, and C stood rapt and very close to Bear, listening to how he should be careful but not afraid, cautious but not scared, and I could see him soaking in the new information.

Dusk fell, and the world went muzzy and dark. We pointed out the moon overhead, watched the dark-blue clouds scud by, and listened to the peepers out back. Their faces washed in the colors of the fire as they gorged on (half-burnt) hot dogs and (blackened) marshmallows and had a fabulous time.

Remember being outdoors at night when the world seemed just strange enough to thrill and the fire snapped and popped and everything smelt different and alive?

Now I do too.

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 ...