Thursday, 29 December 2011

love is...

giving the dog a ham-bone, even though you are unabashedly a cat person.

Cleaning up dog sick this morning. What could he have gotten into? Oh, yes, the hambone...

Cleaning up great gouts of dog sick tonight while murmuring sweet things to the frightened dog, kicking yourself for freely handing him the bone.

Cleaning his kennel, scrubbing out all nastiness while the dog comes over for a pat, his eyes sorrowful and sad, leaning into you while you rub out smells.

No, wait a minute. That's not love. That's my stupidity, coupled with some duty and just plain old guilt.

Love is letting the poor dog stick his face in mine and burp.


Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Why you should never use something given to you for blogging for a Christmas present. In one easy lesson.

One word: Floorspace.

Back in September, I got a very nice email from a company that specializes in eco-friendly playstuffs asking if I would like a cardboard, paintable playhouse for R.
Something she could play in and colour? Where did I sign?

It arrived promptly and I tucked it away under my bed for a rainy day project and forgot it.

Until Christmas Eve.

Bear and I spent about a half an hour putting it up. Santa tucked some stuffed animals inside, and we left it in front of the tree. Overnight, it grew (it did seem that way) and when we stumbled downstairs in the morning we noticed it...well, takes up most of the available floor space in the living room.

But she loooooves it. Slept in it the first night. Has painted and colour penciled all over it.

It's a great hang-out for a little girl to dream in. But it's just too big for my narrow little house!
So: a word to the wise. If you're not good with picturing how big something is going to be from the dimensions listed, don't  use a freebie without planning. Even if it is a lovely freebie.

Monday, 19 December 2011

it must be Christmas break...

Because Good LORD,  my two have decided they are mortal enemies, MORTAL ENEMIES I TELL YOU, and that someone MUST BE STOPPED.

And no amount of 'Santa knows!' 'Santa sees!' 'Stop before I stuff YOU in a box!' is working.

I remember this: the sibling rivalry, how breathing the same air as your brother made you want to annihilate him for the simple reason he was there, how I swore up and down I would never, NO NEVER have more than one child because of all the horrible things my brother and I gleefully did to each other, and how I promptly grew up, forgot (whimper) all this, and had more than one spawn.


Truthfully (and now that the howling has (momentarily, I'm sure) ceased, I love them to bits and wouldn't change them for the world.


Should school HAPPEN to open a few days early?

Their shiny keisters will be on the bus.


Wednesday, 7 December 2011

too busy to blog

But not too busy to have long, post-worthy conversations with myself. And definitely not too busy to miss it.

It's a rhythm, blogging. And sometimes I lose the thread of it.

Our Christmas tree is up, although it's unadorned and unlit - the two young cats have decided it's a giant toy that their humans put up, and have been popping in and out of the branches. Honestly, I may just leave it nekkid for awhile - watching Inky and Boo is more fun than worrying about ornaments plummeting to the ground.

Of course it will be a plastic/unbreakable Christmas ornament tree this year. I'll miss some of my favorites but not having to moosh (is so a word) all of them onto the tree will be okay.

I'm back where I was last year - staring down the barrel at Christmas as it roars toward me - and seriously I think I could give it a miss and I wouldn't mind. Not that I'm grinchy - peace on earth, good will to men, all that jazz - but I'm just so tired.

And, oddly, wishing for snow. (See, told you I wasn't right.)

I'll be back tomorrow. Because I miss y'all. And I miss blogging.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

literacy rocks

I did something I'd never thought of doing the other day.

I started a library.

Last summer, I contacted the local public library system here, and asked them if they'd be interested in setting up a branch in our village school. The mobile library is wildly popular around here, and pairing the books with a permanent home in our town's most easily recognizable and central building seemed perfect.

After many meetings and the forming of a committee and emails and some bated breath and waiting (not so good at waiting) our little Outreach Branch opened last night.We'll be housing the collection in our school library, in its own section, and it will be open to the public for a few hours each Wednesday night and Saturday morning. I applied for and received my own Village Library card last night - I'm thrilled and excited and have a feeling of this just being right.

I am so amazed and grateful to be part of the area I live in. And excited. Our school principal was enthusiastic about the idea from the beginning. We've had volunteers step forward to run it already.  I am so lucky to be around people that work for positive change.

And literacy? Rocks.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

i can be

 anything I want to be....

The song is a little annoying (especially when it gets stuck in your head and you're making up bawdy lyrics and humming because you can't remember the original wording) but it's unabashedly bouncy. Also, true.

Rosey has decided she can do anything. Or several somethings, all at once. She's got grit and determination, that one.  She has several terrific non-traditional female role models in our family, and I think seeing that these women that she loves and admires can 'get 'er done' is a terrific lesson for her to absorb at such a young age.

My Barbie dolls were moms or cheerleaders when I was growing up. Roo has veterinarians that rescue avalanche victims on the side. Equestrians that still wear the prettiest dresses ever to the fair. She has Barbie the Builder that fixes everything with a tiny hammer and her yellow construction hat. There are teachers and test pilots, prom queens and gypsies. It was a complicated thing to teach her, that women can do everything but that not everyone believes that, and that there will be be people along the way that will question her when she says that she can. (It's a philosophy I didn't really think I was going to have to teach my seven year old.)

But believe it she does. And is quite happy to tell you that when she grows up, she's going to be a doctor. And a veterinarian. And a fireman, too.

And somehow, I'm pretty sure she will.

Go here to read about a new website that gives girls tools to use to grow up healthy and strong and teaches them that yes, they can be....anything they want to be.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

halloweens past

My mom made all my costumes.

Well, okay, there was the one year I went as a bride and she had to cut down the Southern Belle monstrosity we'd found hanging poofily at the thrift shop, but for the most part? I was an original.

I don't make all my kids costumes, though. Crafty skips generations (or so I'm finding) and they're still delighted with bits and pieces. Last year, I made my son's costume (he was a zombie) and bought a wee witch outfit for R. The year before, he was a Transformer and she was a purple cat. (I didn't get the purple paint out from under my nails for weeks!)

Tradition-wise, we've started them young (they both went out their first Halloween (in costumes) - Cass was 26 days old, and Rosey just a couple of weeks) taught them the old-school spooky thrill of scaring people, hammered into them (or at least I hope so) the importance of saying thank you when strangers give you candy, and set them free to run in the joyous gloom of Halloween night. We live in a rural enough area that the houses are in places few and far between, and we usually end up taking our car. Wherever the houses are closer, the kids (and I!) hop out, and they swoop through the dark, looking for the next house with a light on, while B trundles behind, headlights on low.

The kids also like telling spoooky stories after the great candy hunt with only the light from the fire......great for sound effects and grandiose gestures (with the occasional crackling noise from furtive wrappers) and hushed, quiet, cliff-hanger voices that grow LOUDER at plot points and character changes.

After Halloween we say goodbye to the pumpkins and the gourds and the crazy spiderwebs hung over everything, and the world looks stark and plain for a few days.

But the candy goes on and on....

click here to read about more of our traditions and hear about what candy will be at my house this year!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

life underwater

One of the really beautiful, amazing things about living near a watershed is

You don't have to look up to see the sky.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

kicking it with ponies

It's been an amazing week over here. Last week, Cass went to his first judo lesson, and walked out an hour later beaming. He broke a board. WITH HIS FOOT. On PURPOSE.

This month alone, he's started drama club at school, a soccer program, and judo. He's trying new things and figuring out who he wants to be, and it's fun to watch.

Today, it was riding a horse.  It was Rosey's birthday party, and nine of her good friends came out to eat cupcakes and hop up on the ponies. Most had never been on a horse before. They all did well.

Cass is very interested in riding. Rosey is too.
She's upstairs right now, wearing her brand-new Stables t-shirt, and ta-thumping her Barbie horses (and their riders) through their paces.

Welcome, horse-mad age! Welcome!

Monday, 10 October 2011


That was the best, the best Thanksgiving weekend ever.

My lovely-and-wicked-smart (and they are) sisters-in-law put their heads together and came up with a fantastic way to celebrate the holiday. Bored with the usual, they hatched a plan to get us all away from home - a way to have us all relaaaaaaaax this year.

Barely an hour from home, the spot we ended up in was amazing. AMAZING. 
THIS is the view from the kitchen of our cottage.
 And this is what you saw out the front door.

 And if being tucked into a gorgeous cabin in the woods with water and myriad shades of fall leaves around didn't clear away all the cobwebs and stress, right down the road was...

the beach.

And now I have pictures of my children frolicking in the Atlantic ocean in mid-October.
 Frolicking. Swimming. Running up and down the hard-packed sand and screeching with joy like young gulls and finding treasures and swooping from the water to the sand to where the adults sat with their faces tipped to the sun and back to the water again.

This beat turkey coma all hollow. 

Magical, amazing, incredible. 
My pictures don't do justice to the beauty of the place and don't show the depth of the absolute peace there. I'm homesick, and I can't wait to go back.

Friday, 23 September 2011

charmed, I'm sure

I was cleaning the bathroom tonight and found, coiled in one of the wooden cigar boxes that hold my mothers jewelry, something I haven't seen in years. Something that I'm so glad I have of hers. I can still remember how it looked against her neck.

It started out as bracelets. Charm bracelets. Someone - Mom? - put them together and created a necklace, a chunky, fun piece that she wore with many different things. There were charms bracelets filled with charms from Grandma Gebhart (my great-grandmother) my grandmother, my great-aunt, my mom, and a small, uncluttered piece that held the few I remember from trips we took when I was small. A silver horse and carriage from Mackinac Island. A tiny flag from the Bahamas. A hoop-skirted belle from My Old Kentucky Home.

My great-aunt Alberta had great charms - even a tiny silver cocktail shaker that when pressed, opens and a little devil head pops out. (Bertie lived through Prohibition.) There is a wee class ring from my mother's alma mater on her string, and my grandmother has a fantastic spinning top. I love telling the stories to Rosey and wondering with her about the ones we don't know.

There are a lot I'll never know about, since both Mom and Bertie are both gone.

Tonight, though, is no time for being wistful for the past. Tonight is also eleven years since I took Bear's (slightly damp) paw and promised to love and cherish him. So I have some celebrating to do!


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

do something little, help something big

Go here to see how Energizer and Evergreen are teaming up to make our world a better, more sustainable place.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

slipping in the snark

It's hazy out here, where I've been lately.  The weather is foul, murky-green shot through with bilious colours, and the footing is decidedly treacherous. If you ignore both the pond-stink of old water and whatever that was that just went squirming and shrieking off through the underbrush, it still looks sorta normal.

Kinda normal, anyway.

Ever get caught up in a relationship you look back on and know with a sick twist to your gut that you ignored your feelings, stuffed down the slightly-hysterical voice inside you that was giving you warnings, the i told you so i told you so i told you so clawing rampant under your skin? And then the ooze buuurps under your heels and you realize you're far too deep in to abandon ship now.

We bloggers get invested in each other. Hazard of the beast, really, when talking about our lives and families and children and carpool and work and work again. Then Facebook came along and catapulted us all into each other's laps, and I now know more about people I've never 'met' than some of the ones I've lived near for a decade now.

What do you do when you realize that someone you've looked up to isn't who you think they are? Someone who you've read for a few years, whose stories you've looked forward to and whose children you can call by name?

What do you do when the mask cracks and falls away and what you see beneath takes your breath away with revulsion - all the pretty stories sworn up and down to be truth exposed and crumbling in daylight, groups and websites sprung up to hammer home the point that you've believed a lie, a lie with a wide colourful bow, yes, but still a lie - what do you do?

I kind of wish I still was clueless. Because now? I gaze at my family in the light of the waning sun and know that I've lost something through this revelation, that the blogging community for me will never be the same again.

I mourn, yes.
And then I turn my back on the toad squatting in front of me and look towards the sun, clear at last.

**This has been bubbling for awhile, but I need to get it out and on the page before it festered from simple grief, disbelief and pity to hate**

Monday, 12 September 2011

purrs and mews

Surprise! We adopted the kittehs. (You never saw it coming, did you?) They had their booster shots yesterday (and a feline leukemia test and a squirt of revolution) and were perfectly behaved, and now they're officially part of the family.

They're lovely and playful and fierce hunters of toes and a lot of fun. They spend less and less time under things (Jasper still freaks them out a bit) and more and more time with their motors running full-throttle, being petted and flopping with all feet in the air for belly rubs. Wish I was that comfortable with people! (Well, maybe not. I think rubbing my belly might be a definite mood-breaker during committee meetings.)

They've also taken over the sunny windowsills in the living room (Fine, huffs Lucy, lashing her tail, I'll go out to the one in the kitchen) and do a fine job of napping, little bodies all wound up together like a jigsaw.

Now we need to figure out the great de-clawing question. But that can probably wait for a bit.

We're busy enjoying all the purrs and mews.

Monday, 5 September 2011

black and white redux

Boy, things are quiet here when the kids are gone! B and I just rattle around...

The two are having their last adventure of the summer - a weekend at a cabin on a lake with fun aunt, smores, and no parental supervison. and I'm trying to keep B from going dotty over the fosters.

It's not easy. Just look at the wee faces!

 This is Cirrus. (But we call her Boo.)

And the handsome fella is Nimbus (but he's Inky 'round here*.)

And Bear is a big puddle of goo over both of them. We're fostering them, I say, but I'm beginning to think I'm speaking a language he doesn't understand.

Lucy is aghast that they're still here and mutters quietly while giving them a wide berth. Since they spend their sleeping time under the couch and she prefers the luxury of a whole! kid's! bed! to herself! they haven't met much. She's not actively hostile - I predict that will come when they wend their way upstairs and flounce into the above-mentioned kid's room - but with them losing timidity by the day it seems soon Lucy will have to lay down her paw and assert herself.

I haven't had wee kittens like this (and they're three and a half month old, not teeny things) in years. They are awfully cute.  And sweet. And one of them licked Bear's foot today.

We're just fostering them, I say again. Really.

*The kids were all hot to name them. Great! Go for it! Then Cass rattled off a list of Greek gods and Rosey decided the boy should be named Sparkles.

Perseus and Sparkles. I figured the first chance they got they'd pull a MacGyver, slit a windowscreen and thumb their way back to town. Nope. So a couple of easy names (for the foster kitties, the ones we're not keeping) were decided upon.

And so it begins....

Friday, 2 September 2011

black and white

We have been watching the sofa intently for the last few hours, with breaks to go jiggle toys behind the couch and shake treat bags.

No, honestly, we haven't gone insane. We're fostering two wary kitties.

 They were found in a port town near here, and were not socialized as tinies, and it shows.  They came today from a foster home where they learned to trust enough to jump up in people's laps and be petted, but tonight is a whole new ballgame and they've been using the underside of the couch as homebase. Now that things have quieted down (I sent the kids to bed - of course, they're back down here now, but it's calm at least) they've been weaving in and out around the floor and taking tiny bites of food.  In the last half an hour they've progressed to jumping on the couch and checking out the windowsill, and I'm sure they'll be in the litterbox tonight.

Lucy is decidedly unimpressed but we expected there would be a few days of outraged shrieking before the order of things is settled.

They were named for clouds when they came. The girl is white with a grey smudge on top of her head, and her brother is coal black with flashy gold eyes. 

I say we're fostering (it's something I believe in whole-heartedly) but I've got a sneaking suspicion that while I went over and over the concept with Rosey and Cass until they understood that these kitties were temporary, I was having the conversation with the wrong person.

Yep. Bear might be a problem. He's been the one most actively gathering them up and ooh-ing and aah-ing over how little they are, how sweet, how their purrs are so loud....

('Course, now I'm remembering when Lucy came to stay, and how she picked Bear out within hours of her arrival, and sealed the deal with a big rumble purr and a lick on the cheek.)

And, of course (no fool them) they've been turning their volume controls up, cuddling, playing when he tosses the toy, etc.

I'll try to get some pictures soon as they don't run when they see me coming. But the house feels good tonight, warm and full.

Sunday, 28 August 2011


Waiting for Irene...(and feeling a little wordy)

I was darn near late getting back from my lunch break on Friday - I was listening to a great report on CBC radio about technology and 'unplugging'. (The interview is here - it starts at about 14:00) Fascinating stuff. There have been studies done that say that when you read a computer screen, if there is a block of text (much less a picture) that doesn't have anything to do with your reading, it shoots your comprehension of what you do read by 50%.

That's scary, thinking about how much of what we read is broken up by fancy, shimmery ads and different fonts and scrolling texts with coloured backgrounds.

Our brains use different pathways to process things - even things as similar as reading off a screen and reading off a page.Read all your stuff off a screen, and the pathways used to comprehend words off a page? Begin to shut down.

Getting all the news about this incoming was-a-hurricane-but-is-now-a-tropical-storm? Is like waiting for Godot - the bad news is still there, and you can look for Jesus' co-conspirators if you like,  but it...never...comes. Yesterday we ran around frantically tying down the tractor and tidying everything away, doing the storm checklist: Do we have food? Can we cook if the power goes out? Does everyone know where to go if a tree falls on the house? and then today.....we waited.
It's spit rain and misted a lot, and there have been some interesting gusts of wind, but listening to the forecasts and forecasts and forecasts is really just stressing out the kids and making them punchy.

So today we've been watching movies and reading books (we made a run to the library earlier) and treating this like any other rainy, might storm, y'know, day.

And I wonder if exposing them to two days of news broadcasts and footage of roiling waves and flooding streets is good for them. If they might not be better off not having so much to think about. So much lag time before the actual event, so to speak.

If we should have unplugged.

I am so grateful that all my friends and family are safe from the effects of this storm. Please do not think I am negating the good things that having an early-warning system does.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

the third act

When I moved to Nova Scotia from Michigan, I brought three cats with me. (Hey, noone ever accused me of packing light!) Panda, Katie, and Chumba. Panda died some years back, Chumba last year, and Kate....

well, we put my sweet old girl down today.

Last night she had (we think) a series of small strokes, leaving her blind, unable to walk more than a few feet, and with a permanent head-tilt.

It was time.

Bear took her in to the vets, and now she's buried up on the hill at the edge of the blueberry bushes where the sun warms the grass every morning, next to her best pal Chumba.

We'll miss you, Katie-baby.
Katie was the first one to greet both kids home from the hospital, the first to accept Bear, the first to bound on the bed in the morning and let us know it was time to get up! and see what the new day had brought! She moved across Michigan several times with me, enduring several different roommates and boyfriends, and then staked out Bear as her very own once she was settled in here at the house.

Tonight was spent in quiet cries with the kids. They both seem to be doing okay right now, since they knew she was frail and elderly. Lucy is lost, though.

I'm sure soon there will be the tiny feet of kittens running around the house, because remembering your summer as 'The summer vacation my cat died' is just awful. And seriously? Our house with just one cat?

Perish the thought.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

under cover of the night

Did I really not tell y'all about these? But they're so awesome....

We have four. Flossie, Freddie, Bert and Maeve.

They live happily downstairs (I think the main nest is towards the back of the coat closet, although last fall they were in the pantry under the cold storage for a bit) and seem to enjoy pilfering mittens and the odd sock or two. Maeve used to come upstairs (she's the most social of all of them) when the children were small (I think she liked the taste of Wet-Naps) but now stays down with the rest.

We don't really see them (they're a quiet pet to have!) unless we've been out of peanut butter for awhile, and then there are mini, ankle-threatening stampedes, and much loud bickering over territorial rights and whether the cat food bowl should be considered necessary and therefore captured rations or not.

Oh, and they eat tinsel off the bottom of the tree.

The North American House Hippo. Makes you want one, doesn't it?

Saturday, 13 August 2011

the cusp of the weekend

I hate how the edge of Sunday bites deep with the incessant chant of 'You have to work tomorrow'.

Whispering in the back of your head, tainting all the joy and fun of the last day of your weekend.

Can we do something after supper? Wow, that looks like a great show. Should I stay up and watch it?
A meteor shower? Sounds great! But....

I have to work tomorrow.

Blech. And Urgh.

Today is my Sunday - tomorrow I work at the hospital. I'm torn between making the absolute most of it (Wanna dye your hair with Kool-Aid*, Roseyroo? Cass, bet I can make soap turn into snow.** Wanna bet?) and floating, lazily and limply, in the pool.

Tonight we're having a great meal - stuff I've been waiting all week to cook, and dessert, and then...

and then the pool is mine.

*We may repeat this again some other day. It either didn't work or R's locks are too dark to show.
** Really? YES.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

this is planet earth

I'm watching 'Planet Earth' (no, not the Duran Duran video, the BBC series) and listening to David Attenborough talk about baby polar bears and wondering why, for God's sakes, why, I watch these (admittedly gorgeous and interesting) nature programs when I know there's going to be at least one baby animal that doesn't make it.

Tonight's cute and cuddly snack du jour  (well, so far, we're still not sure if the polar bear cubs will survive) is a baby caribou.

And now it's on to birds, which are almost as sparkly and purty as my husband today after Rosey got after him with her Glitter Barbie makeup. (He said I could blog about it, but drew the line at photographic evidence, sadly.)

Crap. The wild dogs are after the impala. Y'know, I understand that this is real life and not a Gary Larson cartoon, but I still can't help wishing that the impalas could just catch a break.

Elephants swim, did you know? I mean, all four-feet off the ground swim? And how joyous they look, carrying their trunks over their heads and 'creek-ing' at each other.

So many creatures, all of us, inhabiting the same space.

This film makes me wonder what Lucy is thinking when she chews off the zipper pull on my purse (does the leather make her think she's hunting something?  Or is she just....delusional? However far back her 'hunting memories' go back, I have a hard time believing any of my calico house-cat's family brought down a cow.)

But then again, all things are possible here...on Planet Earth.

(And yes, I'm humming the bah,bah,bu-bah from the Duran Duran song. Of course.)

Saturday, 6 August 2011


It's quiet here now.

The rest of the household is asleep - Bear might be awake - I think I just heard him cough - but the cat is snortling next to me and Jasper is sighing out in his spot in the kitchen. The tv is on low (PBS is playing a Foreigner concert, and I'm remembering all the songs and tapping my feet a bit) and I'm up reading blogs and messing around on the internet.

The moon is high and half-full and the stars are out.

I have a soft spot for Foreigner - not only is it the music I remember from rollerskating at the rink (honest, am not ninety years old!) the theme song to my first serious relationship was Midnight Blue. Ahh, summer nights, rock music on the radio, driving with your guy.....

I still love the song, but whatinhell were we thinking with the hair and the clothes and the makeup?
Even better, those things are supposed to come back around soon, aren't they?Gahhhhhh

I've started journaling again, and the simple act of putting pencil to paper calms me, centers me in a way that  blogging hasn't yet.(Although I'm very fond of them both) Blogging is like writing letters - you're aware that someone is going to read it, somewhere, but writing in a journal can be entirely yours.

It's barely the beginni9ng of August, and Cass has begun the countdown to the beginning of school already, although I think even he's not quite sure if he's dreading or looking forward to it. A bit of both, probably.

R has decided she wants a short haircut this year and pierced ears. (sniff mah baybee!)

It's been a good summer so far. What lies ahead?
What's going on in your corner of the big wide world?

Saturday, 30 July 2011


Some days the blank new post page fills me with horror. And I can think of other things to tear myself away with -  Pinterest and Google +, Facebook and Twitter, email and CNN.

Some days, I don't want to write posts. Some days, my heart is heavy and my words come out thick and I can't stop the yammering in the back of my head - the famine, the pictures on the news, the death and horror and bleakness of it all.

Hard to believe all of this is happening a plane ride away.

It's hard to know what to do.  I've been surprised by non-profit organizations before (and recommend, wholeheartedly, that you check out and see how much of your dollar actually goes to help) but I wish there was some way I could help.

link to a very good blog post I read about how maybe I can do just that

Here? Today we played Trivial Pursuit,  (did you know that Iceland drinks more Coca-Cola than anywhere else, per person? I didn't!) made chicken chili mac and a giant chocolate cake, Rosey learned to skip rope and Cass discovered he just might like watching baseball after all. Tomorrow he's going to go hang out at a Pirate Festival (and so is busily practicing his arrrr!s), and Rosey is deciding where she wants to go after the library - the park or the playground.

Of course we're assuming it'll stop raining. It's supposed to, but this summer has been a little baffling in that regard. I can't remember another summer when I've been sure to have both an umbrella and a sweatshirt in the car in July.

Those seem like such small, inconsequential things compared to leaving a child to die by the side of the road and carrying a dead baby on my back, compared to the sweltering heat and the flies that are these people's daily lives.

I shouldn't complain.

And I'll be much more thankful for the cool weather and the rain. I will.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

no chlorine

Rosey and I were floating in the pool night before last (before all the chlorine tabs and pool-shock and whatever else that goes in there went in there) and I was trying to explain to her how if she dipped her head back and closed her eyes and just floated, how that was like my summers were like growing up, because I grew up near a lake.  And she looked right at me and said 'Awww, Mama. You never got to go to the beach?'

(Because 'beach' to her means the Atlantic.)
It's weird how different (in mostly small and indefinable ways) their growing up is than mine. I guess I never thought about how they'd grow up as salt-water kids, thousands of miles away from what I think of as home, and from another country to boot - and how alien that would make me feel. They've dipped their toes in Lake Huron on our last vacation, but have yet to see Lake Michigan - which is strange to me, as the big fierce body of water governed so much of my childhood. I'm sure I'm idolizing the bay, but there's just something about the memory of all that water and constant fresh-water breeze that makes me astonished that they don't have that as a governing thought in their bodies too.
  last August, on the shores of Lake Huron, in one of the tiny towns that populate the lake-side there.
A better example: last night Cass told me to shush because he wanted to hear the Pledge of Allegiance on tv. (Because he's never really heard it.) And I, of course, cannot bleat out O Canada at any time.
I'm not sure them being raised as Americans would make them any better. (I think they're pretty spectacular, after all.) This is all situational stuff.  But it's different than I thought it would be.

I wonder - do you catch yourself sometimes and think about how different than yourself your children are?

Today they're out at 'the beach', frolicking at the ocean with their beloved aunt, having a wonderful time. Soon they'll be home, sandy feet, windburned cheeks, and all, bursting with stories and adventures and pocketsfulls of treasures.

We're alike in that way. I can never leave a beach - freshwater or salt - without stuffing my pockets full of momentos either.

Hm. Maybe we're not so different after all.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

we have a new neighbor

We always have deer around
And birds.

And a few desultory porcupines, complaining their way (It's hard to be covered in spines! There's very little supportive hugging.) through the orchard.

In springtime we see turtles and hawks, eagles and monarch butterflies. Barney  (I have a suspicion he is Barney II, or at least Son of Barney by now - how long do garter snakes live?) makes an appearance every once in awhile, and gulls, terns and the odd loon show up on the river. Cormorants and even a few herons. Squirrels.

Maybe a raccoon now and then. Oh! And crows. We do see crows, and some of the biggest blue jays you've ever seen in your life.

Tonight, though, we discovered there's someone new in town. Someone we'd never met before.

 (a very blurry picture of a lovely pair of wild turkeys)

She politely even brought one of her young'uns to show us as well.

They seem to be hanging out in the watershed. Maybe I'll take some grain down and scatter it.

Y'know, to be neighborly. And welcoming.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

an afternoon of fortitude

Our property used to have a road running smack through part of it. A regular old country road, and people still remember driving it, how it wound around through the apple orchard and trees and gave you glimpses of the rushing river and then the woods and back again.

But that was awhile ago, and if you didn't know, you wouldn't know that cars used to vroom through the space where the deer now come out and graze. Wild strawberries and raspberry canes tangle where the old ruts used to be - the grass grows thick over the rest.

There is one, lone sentinel telephone pole left. Unattached to anything, it stands guard over a grove of pine trees and the edge of the watershed.

(Why is there a telephone pole at the edge of the field, all out by its lonesome? Because the power lines followed the roads.)

We had lots of long sticks left from different batches of wood-cutting and tree-thinning and the over-zealous beaver we had visiting us last spring and so this afternoon, after I got home from work and the cries of 'play with me!' started, the kids and I

the kids and I built a teepee.

It's big enough so they can both get in it and stand up.

They're pretty chuffed. Big plans of sleeping out overnight once we're finished (I want to take vines and weave them through, then toss on a couple of old sheets to cover it all.) and games of fort have already started. The doorway is on the other side, in an area shaded by pine branches, so the entrance isn't obvious.

It's much more like a real teepee that way.

Saturday, 2 July 2011


Holy crap, you guys. The chemical makeup of chloroform is easy.* Kinda puts a whole 'nother spin on the Casey Anthony trial.

B has been making Rosey some doll furniture out of stumps lately - he's been watching a video on chainsaw carving and started off making her some little doll chairs and a table, where her dolls have been enjoying many tea parties and get-togethers lately.
I know it's not very clear, but the back of the chairs are heart shaped.

It's his first attempt and R is thrilled. It's nice, sitting at the computer and hearing her murmur to them in the side-yard.

Much better than hearing her talk on the phone to her boyfriend.
(I cringe. And will maybe tell you the story later.)

But for now.....I'm going to take some strawberries out to her little bistro table.  I think those dolls might like a little treat.

*Nah, I'm not making it. But I was astonished at how simple it would be to make.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

first day of summer

The kids are sunburnt and happy, thanks to Beach Day at their school. (My kids' school has fifty-odd children in it, and for the end of term the teachers take the whole school to the ocean for the day. They're braver than I.)

Supper went like this:

"And THEN we built a sand-cake and decorated it with shells and I ate two hot dogs and a cupcake and"

and the other country chimed in:

"And I got sand thrown in my face once but it was an accident and there were these WAVES and I rode them like I was on a surfboard and we had hot dogs and juice and I couldn't eat all the snacks I brought and..."

"I got wet and it was COLD but then I came out and I got a mouthful of seawater and it made me SPIT, spit all over the beach and it was dreckful stuff and then I went in but it was too cold to stay long so we built ANOTHER huge sand-cake except it kept breaking and we'd fix it and it'd break again and"

"Mom my cheeks feel hot. Am I sunburned a little? I smell like sunblock too. Can we go back to the beach again?"

"And then the tide came in and my sand-cake got washed up and...yeah, can we go back?"

I think it's safe to say they had a glorious time.

Happy Summer, y'all.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011


Lucy dreams big dreams, dreams where she lunges, all panther-like and sleek, to rake the unsuspecting canine across the eyes and hisses triumphantly as he falls to the ground, mortally wounded. He expires slowly, twitching and peeing himself, as she aloofly licks a paw and wonders how long it will take the humans to clean up the mess in her house.

'Stoopid dog.' thinks Lucy, and smiles in her sleep.

Monday, 13 June 2011


I swore, when I realized I was going to have kids, that I would NEVER be the kind of Mom who cleaned the kids rooms. My Mom didn't, so why would I?

(And a caveat here: I remember getting my bedroom door taken off the hinges for not cleaning it properly, and I remember trying to stuff more than God ever intended to fit under the bedskirt, and I remember staring longingly out my window while I had to FUSS with things,but I don't remember my mother cleaning my room.)

Rosey and Cass both put their laundry in hampers and bring them downstairs. They take their folded clean stuff up too, and put it away. They make their beds (okay, often.) They strip their beds on Sunday, and both can make them again, although R gets frustrated with the bottom sheet and C hates pillowcases. Rosey unloads the dishwasher when asked, Cass sweeps, they both love to mop. They take turns setting and clearing the table*. Cass feeds the dog, Rosey the cats.

Am I proud of them? Hell, yes. Am I an excellent task-master or an incredible parent or (oh, I laugh) some organized phenomenon?


My brother and I were taught from a very early age that we were part of the household, and that we were expected to do these things. So it made sense for me to carry that on with my kids.

Although, today, when I went into Cass's room and left with a bag and a half of assorted toys, old school assignments, crumpled paper, and bits of mystery plastic,  I thought for a minute I'd turned into one of those women who cleaned their children's rooms.

Then I realized I was just performing a vital safety service and making sure firemen could get to him should there be a fire, and left.

We'll see if he notices when he gets home.

Rosey's room will have to wait for a few days. But, Little Ponies? You're on warning.

*Which sounds like: 'Cass, it's your turn to....' But they DO it.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

the two

my gosh, they grow up too fast....

Cass needs his summer shearing. He keeps wanting 'cool-dude' hair, which I think is all well and good until the sideburns get too long and it all starts to look.....messy.  I think next weekend the reign of the Rockstar will come to an end. But wow, he's getting tall.

Friday, 10 June 2011

stanley cupping

Holy crap, I'm getting whiplash from watching the hockey game...

No. Usually I'm not a hockey fan. Or I am, but only in small doses. This year's Stanley Cup battle, though, has everyone gathered around, soda jolting out of cups and chips cascading over the floor (the dog is dee-lighted to help clean up, you betcha) when the puck goes wide and the players caroom off each other.

A study in aggression and motion.

How is this much testosterone legal? Seriously, I think the two teams would cheerfully hack each other to bits with their dull mouth guards given the chance.

But it's a good game. Lots of fast skating and swooping passes.

Maybe Canada will get their Cup back this year.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

tree of life

It lives in my father's backyard, back beyond the fence near the pool, near the garage, a cornerstone of the backyard. It watches over the house and the fields and empty barn across the road and sees whatever buzzes by on the county road.

The feeders are nearby, so the tree is usually filled with birds and squirrels, flitting about or caging a seed here or there. Woodpeckers briefly alight, then fly off to softer wood with better rewards. Last year the tree was so full and bushy branches had to be lopped off.

It looked sad and uncomfortable before all this spring rain, but now all the leaves have joyously unfurled and it sings in the breeze and celebrates itself.

Look at me! it calls. Look at me, and see!!

Friday, 27 May 2011

just deserts

Scene: I am on the computer. It has been a verah long day. Bear is watching hockey? something? on tv. The children are upstairs, supposedly getting ready for bed. In reality, this means they're irritating the hell out of each other and trying to make each others lives generally miserable.

I tend to ignore it until it reaches shouting level and I have to go do something about it.

Suddenly, into my quiet evening floats the sound of my much-beloved son's voice.
'Piss off, Rosey. Out of my room!'

My eyebrows climb into my hair. My jaw drops. I wheel around and stare incredulously at B, who is staring right back at me.

There's a small pause. Then Bear shrugs. "Why are you looking at me like that? I don't say that."

Yep. He learned that......
from his mother.

(Bonus points for using it correctly, but still.....)

I should probably go wash my own mouth out with soap. Time to have the 'grown-up words' talk again!

Friday, 20 May 2011

what friendly skies??

Swallowed-down rage in a senior citizen trapped in an airplane on a runway to nowhere smells like cantaloupe, wicked and musky.

The pilot was just admitting even he didn't know why we were still on the ground when she turned to me. 'This,' she intoned, knobby fingers flying with the injustice of it all, 'is intolerable. They act as though we are not human.'

I agreed. We were crammed into a small jet, every seat full, most people hunched in their seats to avoid the low headroom, afraid to fully extend their legs because they might launch the poor fellow sitting in the row in front of them into the seat in front of him (and so on - a domino effect of claiming your rightful space) breathing stale air, and since this was to have been a 'quick' flight, the flight attendant wasn't even bringing the drinks cart around. The idea that we were chickens crammed in a box ready to be taken to market began to take root in my head.

Rose, in the seat next to me, had been on plane after plane today (she was flying back from Italy) and was resolute and pale with the grimness of it all. She was quiet except for a few squawks, exchanging gripes with her friends, her head darting back and forth from where I sat, curving my spine to see out of the window.

Honestly. What good is a window that is placed at chest height? And I'd like to suggest to the airplane industry that they remember that North America is getting fatter and taller, and stop with making the legroom and headroom smaller and smaller, and narrowing the seats. Because if airplane travel is not convienent (which, with the full body scans, the charging for any checked baggage, the ridiculous ticket prices, and the general don't-mess-with-me mentality that 99% of the airport staff have, it's NOT) and it's not fast (over an HOUR and a quarter spent baking on the tarmac at JFK. No official word why.) and it's not comfortable, then why in hell aren't we all taking the train?

I'm not a chicken in a cage, after all.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

it's all gone green

and warm....and there's a softness in the air....

Yes, it's Spring. (And I hear you, wondering why on earth I'm talking about this now, I mean, isn't it Spring EVERYWHERE?)

But the sad truth is that in NS it's been pissing down rain for a week and today we finally saw the sun and....

And it was GOOD.

Life is a lot nicer 'round here with a dash of sunshine.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

how you doin'?

 (said in your best Joey Tribbiani voice, of course!!!)

Some Sunday night silliness.

Saturday, 14 May 2011


This has been both a cheese-grinder and a low, slow easy morning.

Lovely because there was sleeping in and johnny-cakes and fresh coffee sweetened with maple syrup and hard, fingernails on the edge hard because of a homework packet that Rosey tra-la-la'd her way into my bed with.

Math and trying to teach checking your work to someone who would (to be fair) reeeeally rather be hugging the cat too hard is sorta......difficult.

Especially for the cat. Lucy looked pained.

I'm beginning to see why so many of the kitchen table sessions I remember with my parents were excruciating.  (That said, I STILL remember most of the sneaky number tricks that you taught me, Dad. Even thought I bitched A LOT while you were going over [and over, and over] them with me.)

But now even the horror of realizing Rosey learns just like me (oh, I weep, I wail)  is fading when faced with a new book and a weekend of doing nothing but what I want to do.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

I like being your Mom

Because you both make me laugh. Every day.
You drive me crazy, too, but I think it's part of the Kid Manual that you do that. You are stubborn and sweet, achingly tender and outrageously catty, and either one of you can wind the other up in a heartbeat.

(That does get a little tiring, actually. Just an observation.)

You're loyal to a fault and smart and compassionate, with great big hearts 
that you use to teach me new things all the time.

I love being around you. Thanks for being my kids and calling me Mom.

Friday, 29 April 2011

public service announcement

  The playground should be for swinging, not dumping.

And if she catches you, you're getting The Look, because litter isn't cool.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Friday, 22 April 2011

growing up

Well, now, this turning forty (yes. ME. FORTY!!!!!) isn't so painful after all. I mean, it was a great day!

My family and I ate Chinese, then after a flying stop at home where I learned I now have a job (squee!) I went to my book club meeting (Love those women. I am BLESSED to have them in my life.) where I was caught up in rolling, choking laughter and camaraderie and a lot of wine and flowers (two different kinds!) and a lovely pressy and so much fun,  plus munchies and cake. Then I came home to two wide-awake kids (who then had left-over birthday cake) and this morning?

Bacon, coffee, and more birthday cake.

Really, who could ask for more?

I'm not sure how I expected to feel about turning forty. My mother (who was not expected to live past her twenties) used to say she thought of every year as a gift.  I always thought by the time I was forty, I'd be settled, with kids and a husband and a great group of friends....

Oh, wait. I am.

And I'm actually really happy about it.

Here's to another forty.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

playing catch-up

Last Friday, I was laid off from my job.

This was not the best time to have this happen - it never is, is it? - but it wasn't the absolute worst, either.  I'm counting my chickens before they're hatched, but I've had some (preliminary) good news on that front already, and I think bigger and better things are soon on their way.

My ticket's bought, my itinerary set - I'll be going to the States next month. A flying visit (no pun intended!) for my step-mother's memorial service. I can't wait to hang out with my Dad, and am going to see Erin too!  (Am trying to set up some other blog-friend meet-ups too, but everything's still up in the air. No worries - it's early days yet.)

I've been busy - Rosey's getting baptized on Sunday (it, uh, slipped my mind and we never had it done) and the preparations for that (The whys! The hows! The yes, the minister is going to get you wet(s)! The fancy dress! The anticipation!) are extensive. It should be a pretty service, full of pomp and circumstance and Cass reading a verse and her relatives grinning. I'm really happy that R is being baptized in the same church her brother was (although he was much, much smaller - darned second-child syndrome and lousy maternal memory) and that B and I were married in, and I'm happy that the minister that R and C happily chat with and are learning from gets to assist in the process of welcoming  Miss Rosey into the church.

Beyond that, we're having a lazy Saturday, planning to have a walk later - maybe some running through fields and kicking of rocks, maybe some exploring. 

After all, it's a beautiful day.

Monday, 4 April 2011

april 3rd

The hoarfrost was thick on the car this morning, of course.  But yesterday was gorgeous.

Yesterday afternoon the light was creamy and sweet and the air blew soft and I opened all the windows and let the staleness of winter waft out of the corners and away down the road. It was the kind of day where I wish I had a clothesline, the kind of day when I wander around the outside of the house, plotting I could put a sliding glass door here and a patio here, and the house would be brighter and seem bigger and oh, look at the green just peeping up on the ground and the light! the light has changed and the sandbox gets used and bikes get brought out and I finger my seed catalogs with loving intent.

It was fantastic, capped off with a soft sunset and peeping stars.

Welcome back, Spring.

Friday, 1 April 2011

stay strong

Rosey has had a hell of a a time lately.

She came down with the flu (despite stoically getting a flu shot last season - these germs are tricky little buggers!) and now they won't leave. They insist they like my girl just fine, thank you, and regardless of time and  medicines and just plain wishing them out, they've stayed. Set up housekeeping and everything.

Frankly, I wish they'd take their nasty little selves and go attack some other kid. Watching Rosey be pale and still is unnerving, to say the least. And she hasn't grinned at me in days.

She's mending, slowly. This morning there was a bit of colour in her face (still the terrible eye circles that look like we punch her regularly, damn it) and she wanted to go to school.  She came downstairs pretty quickly, but s l o w e d down while eating breakfast and it was obvious her energy levels are really, really low.

She stayed a school a few hours and is now ensconced at the babysitters, where she'll nap and veg out and please! feel better.

I miss bouncy Rosey. A lot.

B took her to the doctor the other day. A virus, of course, was the culprit - one that was quietly decimating the local towns, and had been lasting five days to a week. According to that time-table, she should be feeling better soon.

Just not fast enough.

Friday, 25 March 2011

be accountable

I am accountable for my words.

I'm indirectly involved in a situation that cropped up in the neighborhood recently - I say indirectly, because I wasn't a part of it but affected by the outcome. Situations that make me grit my teeth and knot my hands up are draining. And bad for the psyche. While it all seems to be blowing out to sea now, the things adults do in the name of pride astound me.

Communication-wise, we live in a digitally-based, always instantly recall-able world. I know that anything I write here will be tied to my name (and that of my children) forever. I can write rants about whatever I want, as long as I realize that  whatever I write will always be able to be found - and attributed to me.  Something that gets forgotten sometimes, in this age of facebook, twitter,  and instant messaging is that all this data is stored.

A perennial point for bloggers: Do I have the right to talk about my children?  Post pictures?  Refer to them by their real names?  Is there a cut-off point - a cut-off age? Should I worry that people will read what I've written here and use it to tease my kids? Are my children property? Do i put the kids in danger by posting their faces? There are a lot of different answers - the short and sweet one being to go with your comfort level. The rest is up to the individual blogger.

My stance is that I DO have the right to talk about my children. They are part of my world, and figure largely in my writing. I will not embarrass my kids here on purpose - I can't imagine?? - but I have no guilt about relating their stories. When I first started daysgoby, they both had nicknames, but those wore off after about a week. Referring to them without using their correct names felt stiff and wrong, like I was writing about paper dolls.
 My children are not my property. I don't own them. They have their own stories that they'll tell as they get older. While they live with me and interact daily, while their lives touch mine every day and our lives get bound up together? I think I do have the right to talk about them.

At least until one of them asks me to stop. (And yes, they both do know about this blog.)

Oh, and my husband. I've called him Bear for years - because at first it was a privacy issue (I had no idea how he'd feel about being outed on a blog) and then it was habit. Given his job, though, I think I'll keep him as Bear. Because I don't need him to be accountable for my words.

I can do that all by myself.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

a moment eclipsed

I was coming out of the supermarket tonight, not thinking, just happy to be heading home. I stepped out of the re-constituted air and out of the garish lights into the comparative cozy-ness of the car lot, and stopped, lifting my head and taking in as much as I could of the evening air.

A cold clear breeze was blowing, smelling of mid-night walks in navy light and something awakening after a long, long sleep.  The kind of wind that makes you think of bare ground and ponds newly shed of ice and the absolute stillness of trees right before they begin to green.

I drew that air down to the bottom of my lungs and wondered if the reaction to the changing of the season hits all people like this, if there is some sort of primal thing that releases quiet joy in us all.

I rode home with the windows open, smiling at the moon.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

the wild, wild woods

It's pretty easy to get my kids to behave. All I have to do is take them out on their bikes and show them the dangers of living where we do.

Things like:
showing them the GIANT BEAVER teethmarks on the freshly fallen trees by the river..... (hungry beavers)

and how the ice on the river looks like sharp monster teeth, all jagged and cross....

and the MUTANT FISH ALERT signs that are everywhere.

Actually, it's kind of a wonder they go outside at all. Huh. Must be the spring air and the sunshine.
 Beware, children! Evil things lurk in that there underbrush!

It's been lovely the last few days, and there's been lots of bike-riding and running outdoors. Hurrah for spring! 

WHERE have you BEEN, lovely????? We've missed you.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

sheen is a nutbar

Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I'm supposed to be putting together quotes (uh, merchandise quotes, not copying the Emerson) and all I REALLY want to do right now is put my head down on my desk for awhile.  Damned cold. And I blame the time change too.

I should have some news on the school possible closing front next week - the big school board meeting is the 23rd. I think we've done about all we can do and now we....wait. (I'm not so good at waiting.)

Happy things! The sun is out, Rosey just went to her best friend's birthday party, and I heard a robin this morning! (Scintillating blogging, I know)

Somewhere deep in the archives of this blog is the account of Rosey's friend P's FOURTH birthday. P just turned SEVEN. I was one of those kids who had long-term friends as well (and while, okay, three years isn't that long in the grand scheme of things) I can see that tendency in R.  It makes me happy.

Now! This week, so I don't implode over the school issue, I intend to make a LOT of cookies and maybe some soup. Feel free to send recipes.

Maybe I'll make some nut bars too.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

power struggle

Most nights, it's just me and the dog in the livingroom. He grunts and kerfuffles and scrounches around on his rug and I read blogs, research small school statistics and wonder what those thumping noises are coming from the kids' rooms.

He's pretty good company.

Sometime between 10:30 and 11:30, I tell him it's bedtime, and he heaves himself to his feet, gives me a long, sorrowful Lab look, and leaves the room. Next, I hear him floof!ing down in his crate in the next room with a heavy sigh. When I go through the kitchen , I shut the crate door, and then he's all tucked in until morning.

Well, that's how it usually goes.

Tonight, he came back out from the kitchen and whined. Now Jasper and I have a routine of bathroom breaks, and he should NOT have had to go at that hour, but still....he whined. I was three-quarters of the way through finding my shoes and grabbing his leash (because the I's gonna 'splode whine sounds verah much like the I still kinda have digestive troubles whine, and NO ONE wants to mix the two up.) when I realized he wasn't looking anxiously at the front door.

Jasper was facing the kitchen.

Hmm. This was new.
I walked in, flicked on the light, and saw instantly that there has been a power shift in my household.

And there doesn't seem to be any chance of a reversal. Sorry, Jasper.

 *Alternate title: Please, Mom? Let me fillet him once? Stoopid dog.*

Monday, 7 March 2011


Every morning I peer at my Facebook and wondered if it's happened yet. Who will it be, I wonder, and what will they be liking?

I'm talking, of course, about the cross-over of friends lists.

I have a lot of blogging firends on Facebook, and I have a (smaller but no less important) list of local friends who don't necessarily blog, but know the blogosphere is out there and read, either occassionally or daily.

I'm waiting for the day those two worlds collide.

So far, it hasn't happened. But I can't shake this feeling it will be any day now.

I love exposing people to new writers. I still mourn the passing of my blog reader. Since I (begrudgingly) made the switch to Google Reader, the empty space where the people I wanted to promote still mocks me....

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

monarchy - it's what's for breakfast

Rosey was in fine bubbly form this morning, going on about the King and how he was good and

(I didn't catch all of it. I was too busy with my snout in the coffee mug)

and wait a minute? Where on earth was she getting this King business?

Honey, I tried to explain, it's the Queen. Her husband is the Prince.

No, she said, dragging out the milk container, it's the King. I saw him on tv.

I took a deep breath, ready to launch into my (lacking) knowledge of how the British monarchy impacts Canada, (was there a princess-Barbie angle I could use here?) and she rushed on

And he's magic, too! Magically delicious!

Damn Bear for bringing home the sugared cereals and unleashing them so early in the morning.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

the times, they are a'changin'

Well, shit.

This is going to take a little backstory.  Bear with me. Late this fall, the Province was warned that money was going to be tight this year, and that education funding (Oh! The short-sightedness of this makes me clench my fists and see all shades of red*) would be cut. The entire province started seething and churning and making hurried, worried plans about where the cuts could make a difference and yet not impact our students.

This was a very big deal. Numbers like 15-22% funding cuts for the school boards were bandied about. Public meetings were held where the school board laid out their doomsday predictions (If we lose that much funding, there will be NO AIDES WHATSOEVER! There will be NO READING RECOVERY! Any special trips that require the school to have extra busing are FINITO! The libraries will have ZIP ZILCH NADA NEW MONEY FOR BOOKS!, etc.)

There were hot accusations and yelling from both sides. It's been awful.

February 8th, provincial numbers came out. With cost pressures and having to cover raises (I really need to stop rolling my eyes about this one) my area of Nova Scotia is one of the hardest hit, with an anticipated cut of 3.97%, or 2.7 million dollars next year. (Link to news release)

During the Great 22%! We're All Burning Down! Budget Exercise, specific statements were asked to the school board by members of the public. Statements about schools. Closing schools. The public was assured that the classroom would be protected.

Guess what happened this week? ELEVEN schools have been named for review.
Including my children's school. AGAIN.

We're fighting it, of course. It makes less sense now than it did the last time the school was up for review.

Fighting for our village school, tooth and nail.

*Scene, ten years in the future:

Morris: At least Nova Scotia has a balanced budget, right, Cletus?
Cletus: Uh? (He has no idea what a budget IS) Whut?

Saturday, 19 February 2011


I dripped and hacked my way through work Friday. I was dragging tail. Of course, since I wasn't moving quickly enough, a lousy bunch of germs hitched a ride....and now I sound like I'm smoking again.

I'll try not to sneeze on the screen.

I got home from work, threw on my moose pants (flannel, decorated with mooses and loons and polar bears and elk and trees. I do look a TREAT in these. I couldn't find my orange tiger-striped socks, but the fuzzy pink and white ones were calling my name.)

B KNOWS I'm sick when I look like a bag lady.

So last night, Rosey began to sniffle too. We were sick together, taking up space on the couch, passing back and forth the box of kleenex, looking glazed and uncomfy. I already knew I was spending the night on the couch (to spend the night in the marital bed would risk infecting B and bringing down the last healthy parent.) and so I'd brought down my quilt, a few pillows, etc. I was checking in on Facebook and noticed that Rosey....wasn't talking anymore. Yep.

Rosey was sacked out in the middle of our couch.

I half-heartedly tried to wake her up, but she was sick, and tired, and she needed sleep too.

So last night I.....slept in the recliner. It wasn't the best sleep ever. I was assailed by a sense of deja vu, and I realized that the last time I slept in the living room chair, Rosey herself had been a baby, sleeping on me in the wavering blue light of yet another Law and Order episode.

It felt good.

Well, as good as it could with my blubbering snot all over the place.

'Scuse me while I go get another mug of something hot, will you?

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Eliot was wrong

April is not the cruelest month.  February is.

 A year ago, on Valentine's Day, my mother died. This year, on Groundhog Day, my father told me that my stepmother had succumbed to cancer.

We're still reeling.

Pat married into our family almost twenty years ago. I did not like her at first - was determined, actually, to find something terrible and deal-breaking about this woman who was marrying my father.  (I may be a bit of a Daddy's girl. Or a lot. But still, I was eighteen, and a hot mess of hormones and craziness.) I don't remember where we were when I first met her, only that she was kind, and smart, and not interested in being my mother at all. Peaceful is a good word - Pat brought peace wherever she went.

My brother and I soon stopped thinking of her as 'that woman' and began thinking of her as Pat.

Mum (for she became that, too) was a listener. She would set something up so she could be doing something (ironing, weaving, gardening, petting a cat or two) and listen, really listen and offer comments and sooner or later you'd realize that not only did you feel better, you'd figured out what you were going to do.

Mum believed if you were surrounded by beautiful things, beautiful parts of you came out. The house she and my father lived in is gorgeous, surrounded by flowers, filled with interesting and rare objects. She could tell you the history of every little thing in that house. She made it a home.

She made people happy just by being there, and we will remember her forever.

Also, I think it might be prudent for my family to stop celebrating holidays once and for all.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011


Ugh, I need to pay more attention to my blog! I missed my own blogiversary!

I've been blogging SIX YEARS.

Six years is a looong time in electronic years. A loong time.

Speaking of both six years and a long time, a certain girl is nearing the teenage years. I mean, it's been fun, it's been real, it's been all that and more, but.....wait......really?........

Oh, right. It's just her attitude that's pretending to be sixteen. The rest of her just fell in with the stomping and posturing.

Now, up until about a week ago I'd swear she was six.

But....lately....when she's asked to do something or told to go to bed or darn near anything, her head spins, she swings her body around and utters that horrid word "Whatever."

And then she rolls her eyes. And stomps.

I can't figure out where this is coming from. School? Her friends? iCarly? 

And just when I get my breath back from the sudden-death-puberty strike and open my mouth to address this inappropriate and egregious behavior, she'll....giggle. Or grab up her crayons and draw. Or start telling me about the (epic) story of what all her Barbies are doing.

And suddenly, she's six again.

Oh, it's gonna be fun being your Mama, Miss Rosey.  I think.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

she doubles as an alarm clock too

Wow, so much to tell you! I went to an Ice Wine festival with some very funny ladies and had an amazing time, and I can't wait to tell you, but right now I'm getting The Look:
Guess it's time for bed. Tomorrow, then!

Sunday, 30 January 2011

all I really wanted was a patch

For Rosey's snow boot.  It's got a place where the fabric is pulling open, and I dassen't put a stitch in it. So I told her I'd find some pretty little iron-on patches - snowflakes? A flower? Something, and then she could have her pink boots with the shiny pom-poms back.

We settled on Saturday being the day I would fix said boot. And, oh, by the way, Mama, my skate won't fasten anymore and we're going to the Oval.....aiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeee! (Sound effects provided by me)

Saturday ended up being an odyssey, spread over many many many stores. Because while Rosey clearly needed skates, she didn't want skates that looked like boys skates, and the selection is limited this late in the season to obviously boys skates and figure skates. R is a skating beginner - giving her a toepick in front would severely hamper any progress she might make.

And we couldn't find any patches. DAMNIT.

Three stores later, we trooped back to the first, where I persuaded R that sequined stickers on the sides of these (black) (*sssh* boys) skates looked stylish and fun*, and then we swung out of town to a sewing specialty shop that had nothing like what we wanted** and I threw in the towel, bought the kid an ice-cream., and went home.

I'll find the patches I want another day. Now, I need a glass of wine.

*Seriously - they look great. She has little black skates with sparkly flowers on the plastic bit of the blade of her skates, and she loves them.

**The closest thing I could find was a pink camouflage regular patch, like you'd put on jeans or something pink and camouflage-y. 

It is so not Rosey. Especially not for her pink sparkly-pom-pomed girly boots

Saturday, 22 January 2011

my job is done here

Last night, Cass got out of bed, came thumping downstairs and asked if he could stay up for awhile yet so he could read.

He was out of library books, so dug around in my bookcase and...

Cass now loves Calvin and Hobbes.

I'm calling this a parenting WIN.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

total recall

This morning at the gas station (yes, the same one) a woman held the door open for me. We locked eyes and she smiled swiftly. 'Well hi Jessica, how've you been?'

I burbled something and nodded and she zoomed off . I went in search of coffee. It wasn't until I was putting the lid on my cup that I realized I had no idea who she was - and I'm not sure the morning huhs? had anything to do with it.

I think my brain might be full.

Well, you can't blame it, for Pete's sakes. It's full of trifles like ancient phone numbers, words to Duran Duran songs, what we ate for dinner last night, multiplication tables and immunization schedules. It remembers things - book titles, household projects, no pink with red, table manners, how to make piecrust, websites. I can recall at a moments notice the smell of fresh-cut grass in the spring, how the sunlight striped the walls and the canopy of my bed when I was seven, my grandmother's fingers touching my arm. The melty goodness of ice cream. It knows the name of every boy and girl in my daughters' Grade One class, and can follow the plotline of (God help me) Star Wars the Clone Wars, with a side of Discovery Science.  Really, my brain should have had a stress leave years ago.

I'm probably not giving it fair odds, either. Wandering around and talking pre-caffeine is never a good idea.

So, friendly lady, I'm sorry I forgot your name. But hey, the next time you want to sing any Eighties pop songs?

I'm your girl.

Monday, 17 January 2011

convenience store

This afternoon at lunch I slipped out and went to go buy a soda at one of the nearby gas stations. I'd won a free bottle of water there a few days ago, so I gathered that up too. Checking out should have been quick and easy...except the winning slip on the water wouldn't go through, and then my debit card wouldn't connect.

We tried three times.  At that point, the woman running the register was about ready to drop-kick the machine and I was casting anxious glances at my watch - I'd only meant to be a moment..

And then we noticed., both of us at the same time....

I was trying to pay for my Pepsi with my library card.

I am obviously not equipped for Monday and need to be more caffeinated than I originally thought.

Sunday, 16 January 2011


January is usually when I get the blahs. It's not depression, not really, but I find the usual white-blankness of the scenery unnerving. Monotonous.

Of course, this year the snow has been sporadic and many of the birds that make themselves scarce during the coldest months are confused by the weather and huddle, dispiritedly. They make little croaks of disbelief at the temperatures when it's cold and sing their hearts out when it warms.  They make sunny days a joy to be outside.

This year, some really exciting things are happening at the beginning of February.
Halifax has the Canada Games Skating Oval (scroll about half-way down that page to see a picture of it) and there is a School Skate program. So the little school here  - well, everyone's going skating on some historic ice. Pretty cool, huh?

One of the local towns, Liverpool, is trying (and succeeding!) to catch the attention of the producers of the  CBC television show 'Village On A Diet'. The town that will be the subject of next season  will be decided at the end of January.

Sue is here!  I forsee a dinosaur trip in my future....

Oh, and I can't forget my night out with the girls. Icewine, here we come!

Yes, I missed De-Lurking Day. So tell me, what's going on with you??

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 ...