Monday, 30 November 2009

george foreman's sweater

In the back of my closet, shoved into a wheat-colored lump, is a darned, patched, stained, bleach-spotted old sweater that I can't get rid of.

It grew like Topsy. Or something. I don't remember getting it or buying it or having it foisted upon me. Every year I swear I'll put it in the donation box, I will, but I just never have the heart to. It's so comfortable, you see. And while brown has never been my colour - I know it washes me out and makes me look even more sallow (although sadly I'm not so sure that's possible) - it's handy to toss on over a t-shirt or jammies and go outside to walk the dog or have coffee with the moms at Literacy class.

Lately, though, my sweater has been doing the unthinkable.

It's shredding.

I was poking the thread through the needle, saving it one more time, when I started musing about how long I've had my sweater. It's been years. But where on earth did it come from? Did I steal it from a roommate? Was it a Mom gift?

Maybe the label would tell me.

Comfort Zone, by George Foreman.

Ooookay. I had as many nights of partying and rock and roll as anyone else, but I know I didn't date George Foreman. Or steal his clothes.

Comfort Zone, by George Foreman.

George Foreman had a clothing line? When, in the downtime between pummeling people and hawking the grill? I was turning the ludicrous picture of George Foreman in all his burly glory strutting down a London catwalk over in my head when I was struck by a horrible thought. This meant that my super comfy, long in the arms, ultra-casual, always-go-to sweater? Is a man's sweater.

And honestly, I don't know which I find more disturbing. That I'm now running through all the Lean Mean Fat Reducing Machine commercials in my head, trying to remember if I saw him dressed in brown,

or the fact that I stitched it up and wore it back out again today.

Friday, 27 November 2009


cross-posted from my review blog:

My review for Green Works

Go, read it. There's a survey at the end that will send money to a shelter in Toronto.

Monday, 23 November 2009


I hate math.

Really. Loathe the stuff.

Well, actually, that's not quite true. I really liked geometry. But algebra? Pah. There was no helpful visual, no absolute rules - just a bunch of letters mixed up with addition and subtraction signs, arranged whichever way to encourage maximum confusion.

But I know that math persists (like an evil rash) and that like it or not, my children would be learning it.


When Cass was a baby, I used to (oh, the shame! The misplaced-but-ever-so-earnest novice parenting! The determination to make my baby the best he could be!) whisper the multiplication tables to him as he fell asleep. (It beat croaking out another rendition of Blackbird all hollow.)

I don't kid myself that it did anything for him. It didn't give him some secret boost, some indefinable leg up in the grand scheme of things.

It did, however, keep me from falling asleep. Usually.

I'm pretty sure he has no memories of me hanging over his crib, hissing numbers at him, and that's probably a good thing....

So now we just practice. I'll be in the kitchen, and I'll holler.

'Cass! What's 120 plus 53?'

First there'll be some mumbling (and some grousing) and he'll think about it a bit and whip out the answer.

After awhile, he'll get tired and start shouting math problems at me. Usually of the 'One hundred million billion plus...lemme see....six hundred and forty-two. Plus three.'

Then he's amazed when I call out. 'One hundred million billion, six hundred and forty-five!' (He hasn't yet figured out that bigger numbers doesn't always mean harder math.)
'How did you do that, Mom? Did they teach you in school?'

And I think back to those nights when I'd watch his wee little eyes feather shut and lovingly whisper:

'Eight times six is forty-eight. Eight times seven........'

Oh yes, baby boy. In school.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

double vision

Yesterday was H1N1 shot day.

My two had their seasonal flu shots a few weeks ago, and C reacted badly, so we'd been working on tensing up all his muscles, blowing out his breath, and then relaxing his arms so he could have the shot over and done with quickly.

It worked stupendously until the actual moment the doctor came in the office.

And then all hell broke loose.

And I practically had to pile-drive the poor kid again.

Rosey the Roo watched her brother folded in a sobbing mess on the floor, then got up and re-settled herself in the chair next to the doctor. She flopped her arm on the chair and watched (watched!) while the doctor gave her shot, huffing in her breath only when a tiny bead of blood welled up when the needle was removed.

Why do I keep forgetting they're so different?

Before she was born, I thought having two kids would be easier than one - in some ways, am not entirely deluded - but it seems as if the second go around ought to be easier - you're not so stymied by the stages, you have a better understanding of bottles and breastfeeding and toilet-training (or at least it's not a total wander-in-the-wilderness) just should be...simpler?

Oh, how the gods laughed.

But sometimes - just sometimes - when they're playing together and giggling over the same things....when their laughter rings out like bells......and their dark heads bend over something....

It's like they're halves of the same whole.

Monday, 16 November 2009

don't tell my husband I posted...

Ssssh! He thinks I'm studying.

I've been taking a course online, and it's been going gangbusters - except that most of the tests seem to be for People Of Very Little Brain (Really? One of the exam questions was on the proper attire for an office. How hard can it be to remember to wear a bra?) and I thought I was through the dumb 'let's learn how to study bs', I did, but tonight I had to listen to an audio file that not only had a redneck ax'in and fixin' and golly-gee-ing all over the place to SLAM HOME the point that GRAMMAR IS GOOD, accents are BAD.....

it also featured the music that plays on the Peanuts specials when CHARLIE BROWN IS WALKING AROUND TOWN.

If I end up wearing a yellow argyle sweater and NO PANTS to the office, I swan - I'll know who I'll be fixin' to blame!

Must get back to 'studying'........

Thursday, 12 November 2009

early morning appointment

I went to the gynecologists today.

It's a long, narrow, rather bleak sort of waiting room, especially at 9:30 in the morning, made even more beige and bland and sterile-ish by the empty magazine racks and signs bleating about handwashing, germs, and H1N1.

Although there is a table full of brochures. Go figure.

My doctor was MIA this morning - pissing me mightily, as I'd thrown the kids out the door, bolted a cup of coffee and driven the 'fast roads' there.* The office had unbent enough to tell me he wasn't in yet, but hadn't wanted to go into detail. Pity. I would have liked to know.

After all, if he was dealing with some sort of gyno emergency (Monistat! CLEAR!) then this huff I was working on would be wasted.

But for now I was trapped in a room with a slightly-off track ceiling fan (whick! whick! ting!) and one other woman, who was smacking her candy and staring out the window.

This could only get better.

I was sitting across from a poster extolling 'Top Ten Reasons to Adopt a School-Age Child' which I misread in my almost-decaffeinated state as 'Top Ten Reasons to Adopt Out a School-Age Child' - and while that was very progressive and New Age-ish (frighteningly so!) it reaaally didn't seem to fit - and besides, what could Cass and Rosey DO that would make me think about leaving them at the doctor's office?

I was musing burning down the house? when they finally called my name, and Laconic McEnglishman (he is of the imperious sort, and stares at me blankly when I crack up when he talks about 'marital relations') and I settled in to talk.

And yay! No nakedness. The ladybits were shyly appreciative. This was getting better!

The (big bad wolf) cysts were gone and/or smaller, and we both agreed that switching me to another type of progesterone would a) continue to keep my cycles....cyclical, and b) stop me from screeching don't touch me! whenever anyone came close for a hug. (Which should please Bear.)

If this type doesn't stop me from getting a bad case of the over-sensitives, I told him I'm stopping them. He'll just have to think of something else.

He didn't like that much - mainly because I think not many of his patients tell him what they're going to do - (the imperiousness, again) but it's my body, and I can't take feeling like leaning forward is going to snap me in half.**

So I smiled a lot and told him I'd see him in a few months and waltzed out of there.

Sometimes you just have to feel like you're piloting your own health-care ship.

Back in the car, where I drove quickly and expertly back to my job. Another beige-ish room.

But at least this one painting the cats? didn't have me wondering about getting rid of the kiddles.

*Am not leadfoot. I just get there more quickly than (ahem *cough* husband) some people do.
**The precautions list says to expect breast and ovary tenderness. Tenderness my ass.

Monday, 9 November 2009

need a new place to sit

Me: Rosey, it's almost time for bed!
Kate: YAWN. That was a LOVELY nap. Wait. Did she just say......bedtime?

Kate: I'm taking my owly ears and stripedy tail and getting out of.....

Kate: Oh, mzzzzimp. Huffswa. If we must.

Me: Rosey, do you have everything? Blankie? Did you kiss Daddy?
Do you have a cuddly toy to take upstairs.....
Kate: AHEM.

So of course I had to rescue my lovely but doddering feline from the clutches of She-That-Squeezes-Too-Hard (that's her name in Cat, honest) and by the time that was all sorted out, I'd completely lost the thread of what I wanted to post.

Which might not be a bad thing. I seem to be running a little bit dry for the blog recently.

No, I'm not closing up shop. I love my place here. November is just rushed for me.

Hopefully, I'll find more words soon. Stick around, would you?

Friday, 6 November 2009

nationality confused, but heart in the right place

Veterans Day is coming up.

Both my grandfathers served in the Second World War, and I grew up hearing stories about how they served, the things they saw, and how they came back so irretrievably changed...

It chokes me, thinking of them so young and resolute, doing their duty for freedom.

So Thursday I was a hot mess while I was typing up the bulletins for the Remembrance Day service. Copying out the Flanders Fields poem always makes me gulp and waver and soften -I'm glad I was in the office alone.

In Flanders Fields
Written by John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Lieutenant Colonel, Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

I came home resolved to hug my children a long time that night.

We were in that after-bath-but-before-bed haze, reading books on my bed, and the drowsy girl next to me began to warble a little ditty she learned at school that day.

In Flanders Fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row by row...

(What? It's a song now?)

I stilled and she broke off.

That song makes me sad, I said.

'Oh!' she said, jumping to a new topic. 'Here, let me show you how I can speak Spanish!'

And then she let out a 'Yodelay-hee-hoo!' worthy of any Swiss Miss.

Monday, 2 November 2009

24 Hours London

Fun things pop into my inbox sometimes. Like this - a guide to London laid out in an hour-by-hour format, penned by a Canadian who grew up in the city near here and writes of intriguing, off the beaten path things to do morning, noon, or night - whenever you have time to explore!

I thought it was a great idea, and a nifty little book. There was one snag, though - I've never been to London - how would I know if it was realistic? Do-able? Better call in an expert.

So I turned to my friend Jen, who had a fabulous time in England last year, and asked her what she thought.

And this is what the well-traveled and worldly Jen said:

Jess recently asked me to review 24 Hours London by Marsha Moore and I am so glad that she did!According to the book's cover, this is "an hour by hour guide to London's coolest entertainment, eateries, and attractions" and, as I discovered once I dove in and started reading, that's not just hype. This book truly covers the gamut of possibilities.
24 Hours London contains a treasure trove of things to do, regardless of the time of day (or night). Having been to London both with and without children and with plans for future visits, I found plenty ideas for my next three, four, five, or more trips.
Some examples:
  • Feel like following London's ley lines? Check out 5 a.m.
  • Want to get in some parkour before having breakfast in a crypt? Check out 7 a.m.
  • Do you know what the London Stone is? Check out 8 a.m.
  • Want to have coffee with Mr. Darcy? (I swear I'm not making this up.) Definitely check out 9 a.m. (And pack a camera!)
One activity that I highly recommend is the Ceremony of the Keys (10 p.m.) at the Tower of London. Trust me on this one.
I love the variety that 24 Hours London offers. While most guide books cover the usual ideas -- the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, hearing Big Ben toll the hour, walking across Millennium Bridge from the Tate Modern to St. Paul's -- this one offers more of an insider's view of this wonderful city. Even better, there are lists of ideas based on common themes -- 24 hours of family, 24 hours of romance, 24 hours on the cheap, and more -- so there's something for everyone.
24 Hours London would be excellent for both the person who has already been to London or for a first-time visitor. (In the latter case, I recommend using it in tandem with one of the more traditional, but less vibrant, guidebooks.)
My family went to London last year and now, thanks to 24 Hours London, I have the urge to go again ... and soon!

Thanks for that, Jen. She's a peach.

Thank you for letting me read your fascinating guidebook, Marsha. I hope to try out out (rather than just dreaming about what I'd do and things I'd see) soon!

24 Hours - London. Book Launch on the 4th of November.

The author sent me a PDF file of her book that I read and commented on. No other incentives or payment was rendered to Jen or myself.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Breathe deep the gathering gloom

y'know, or something.....

Happy Halloween, everyone! I hope it was full of treats, not tricks.

*major cool points (dude!) to whomever can tell me where the song reference is from without googling....*

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 ...