Saturday, 31 March 2007

borrowing trouble

'Huh', he said, poking, 'what's that?'
I unwrapped my arms from around his neck and sighed. Now he wanted to talk?

'I believe you've been acquainted with those before, hon.'

He blushed. 'No, this hard thing.'

B found a lump in my breast the other day.

I had an appointment yesterday at the doctor's office anyway, so off I went, amusing the doctor hugely ('Do you have a minute to feel me up?') by having a small x marked on my breast in ball-point pen. 'Push here.'

He agrees with me - most likely a cyst, and we'll monitor it and see if it changes in size. If it's not gone by my next period, he'll send me for a biopsy.

(My mother and grandmother both have cystic breasts. My mother also gets small fatty lumps. I'm not terribly fussed.)

I told B the news, who somehow heard "He thinks it's a cyst and we'll keep an eye on it" as 'DANGER, Will Robinson! DANGER!' and spent most of last night distracted:

Me: 'Oh, look! There's the car commercial I keep telling you about!'
Him: 'Uh-huh. You know, we still haven't made out our wills."

Me: 'Ugh, the sauce is still lumpy.'
Him: 'Here - I'll whisk it again. you want me to feel that thing again? Maybe it's gotten smaller.'

I'm covered by his umbrella policy of things to fret about, and no amount of telling him that I'm not worried will change that.

'Sheesh. Let's not worry about this until we know we've got something to worry about.'
'But that's my job, Jess.'

'Now c'mere and let me feel your bump.'

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

rounding them out

Certain things a mom just has to do for her son.

Yes, the talk about penises and privacy (heck, just privacy as a concept) yes, the chew with your mouth closed - take your boots off - close the door stuff.

But the real challenge?

Installing a well-rounded love of the cheese. For every serious thing I teach him, I try to show him something corny and fun. Something I like.

He likes the Beatles, and Puff the Magic Dragon. He also likes (and sings along loudly to) Vertical Horizon, and Angels and Airwaves. (Ping! Point to me.)
I think I may be discovering a U2 fascination, but what five year old doesn't like to screech 'In The Name of Love' as they swing in the playground?

He also sat through three hours of National Geographic 'All About Rocks' or some such thing the other night - so now?

He's watching Godzilla Meets Mechagodzilla II. And laughing. Like me.

'Scuse me, I have to go make popcorn.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

raised with reading

BabelBabe's meme started me thinking about books I loved as a child. I started writing some of them down (after all, we'll have to have these in the house for the young'uns soon) and then realized how many of these books I don't remember reading so much as I do hearing the voices of those who read them to me.

My mother always finished my bed-time ritual with Goodnight Moon. I remember listening as she re-told the old favorite, snuggled down in my blankets, knowing the words but loving the way her voice washed over me. I recognize some of her cadences in the way I read about the red balloon and the bowl of mush to my kids.

My first chapter book? The Wind in The Willows, read to me by my father, who swept me away to imagine life in a hole on the riverbank, deep and green and quiet. I used to lean out of bed to peer at the book, hoping that the type went all the way down the page and that he wouldn't stop. Chapter breaks were awful.

My grandparents told me stories from the Bible. I don't remember the actual book being there, just the rhythms of their sweet clear Southern voices and their hands gesturing, trying to share their joy with me.

My paternal grandfather was a different sort of man. I'm not sure he knew what to do with a child in the house - deep down he was probably afraid I'd burst into tears or wet my pants or something intolerable. I don't have any memories of he and I bonding over books until one night he came in, found me staring goggle-eyed at the titles in his library, and before shooing me off to bed, let me have his copies of Tom Sawyer and The Travels of Marco Polo. I read them, loved them, and loved feeling grown-up and accepted while discussing them with him. Sitting on the creaky leather sofa, he'd answer questions about the story and patiently correct my mauled pronunciations. Granddad was a well-traveled and well-read man - I'm sorry we didn't find more to talk about.

There are books I remember reading but can't quite remember the titles - that awful feeling of just-on-my-tongue. Some were finds suggested by the small-town librarian where I would spend lazy afternoons, some I know I read in high school. Perhaps when my children are going through school they'll bring them home and I'll remember their bright covers like glimpsing an old friend.

Friday, 23 March 2007


My step-father's sister (which is slightly less clunky than saying my step-aunt, but only just) sends me puzzles by e-mail.

See if you can figure this one out.

What do these words have in common?







Need the answer? (me too.)

In all of the words listed, if you take the first letter, place it at
the end of the word, and then spell the word backwards, it will be the same

Did you figure it out?

Thursday, 22 March 2007

the bookshelves

Borrowed (and not returned!) from Behind The Stove:

Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback?
I go for hardback more often. Something about them feels more significant, as if the words in them will mean more.

Amazon or brick and mortar?
Brick and mortar. I used to work for a outlet bookstore and when the store was quiet, I'd walk around, just sniffing the good ink smell and riffling pages.

Barnes & Noble or Borders?
Barnes and Noble - I've had several books suggested to me by clerks there that I've loved!

Bookmark or dogear?
Oh, the library despairs of me - I'm always leaving bills or photos in the pages.

Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random?
Grouped by author. But very random.

Keep, throw away, or sell?
I hauled all my books here when I moved here - we didn't have a sofa, but by God, we had books.Every once in awhile I go through and take a bunch to the library. That way, I can see them every once in awhile.

Keep dust jacket or toss it?
Keep it, although nine times out of ten it'll end up flattened in my night-table drawer. I sort them out eventually.

Read with dust jacket on or remove it?
Take it off. Too easy to rip, drip, drop or lose them.

Short story or novel?
Novel, unless it's interlocking short stories.

Collection (short stories by same author) or anthology (short stories by different authors)?
Anthologies are usually a great-sounding thing that ends up being mostly boring. Collections, I suppose. (Thinking Roald Dahl, Jim Harrison, etc)

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?
Harry Potter. I understand the Lemony Snicket draw even less now that it's been made into a movie.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
When my head hits the pillow or my eyes start crossing.

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?

Buy or Borrow?

New or used?
Either. I've met more interesting people in used book stores, though!

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation or browse?
Browse, followed by recommendation.

Tidy ending or cliffhanger?
Tidy ending.

Morning reading, afternoon reading or nighttime reading?
Nighttime is usually the only one I can get away with - if I could it would be all day, all the time.

Stand-alone or series?
Stand alone, with few exceptions.

Favorite series?
(reaching way back) Walter Farley's The Black Stallion series. My grandmother had all my mom's old ones in her basement - I read them all one summer and wished for horses for months. Now my grandparents have moved, and I'm afraid to ask - I'm pretty sure they were given away.

Favorite children's book?
The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Brighty of the Grand Canyon, Misty of Chincoteague, The Cay. The BFG.

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
A Fork In The Road, by Anik See (Canadian travel writer goes to small countries and eats different things. Recipes included. What's not to like? A wonderful book.)

Favorite books read last year?
Thinking, thinking...

Favorite books of all time?
Tales From Lake Wobegon, Lamb to the Slaughter, Coming Home, Watership Down. So many more.

Least favorite book you finished last year?
I don't finish books I don't like.

What was the last book you finished?
Me Talk Pretty Some Day by David Sedaris. Snortingly funny.

What are you reading right now?
The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf.

What are you reading next?
One Day As A Tiger, by Anne Haverty.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

just a hint

When a woman has a long shower and comes to bed smelling nice, with clean-soft skin and hair, freshly-shaved legs and a cute (although long-sleeved and not revealing) nightie on?

Maybe NOT the time to ask her to rub stinky wintergreen ointment on your back.

Complaining about Rehashing how hard your day was is also strictly forbidden.

Monday, 19 March 2007

the small brown dog

jumped lazily over the quick red fox? No?

Jasper is settling in well. He sleeps a lot, then revs through the house with the kids, inhales his supper then passes out again. It's sort of like living with someone on speed.

The kids are delighted, the cats are disgusted. Pretty much status quo.

Yesterday morning was a study in contrasts - when Jasper and I went out for a quick wee at dawn, there was ice and snow covering the ground. By nine am, that had all gone, the sun was out and it turned into a beautiful day.

I'm reading a fantastic book called Latitudes of Melt by Joan Clark - she's a local author and it's really a good story. A baby is found floating on an ice floe. No one ever comes looking for her, so she's taken in by a Newfoundland couple. The book chronicles her marriage to the lighthouse keeper, the lives of their children, and her granddaughter's determination to find out where her grandmother came from.
A very good book.

Library trip tomorrow - can't wait!

Thursday, 15 March 2007

praying for wine

Sake (the japanese wine served in thimble-cups)
has no accent mark in the spelling.

Brings new meaning to the words 'For Jesus' sake', and 'for our sake', doesn't it?

Maybe this is what DST does to my poor addled brain.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007



Spring has sprung and it's not much of a stretch to imagine the green creeping out over everything, the ground drying up and the smell of ice gone.

And I'm seized with both the thought of spring cleaning renovating at least painting

and of finding a new career. Or a job that I love and will get paid to do.
I find myself at loose ends - wanting more than I have, sure that anything I want to do will require more schooling, and paralyzed at the thought of
a) going back (ack!) to school
b) making final choices that will set me on that goal.

I've never been good at picking a career. It wasn't that I didn't want to do anything, it was that I wanted to do (and be!) everything. Now that I've narrowed it down a bit (I realize now that marine biologist/president/chef isn't really a viable option) I find myself on the edge of reaching out and taking the steps needed - and still held back by the thought that this will change most aspects of my life.

I think I need the Spring to bring me a little bravery.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

asian turkles to the rescue

Cass is obsessed with television. Even the stuff we won't let him watch - either too old, too violent, or just....stupid (which we usually couch in terms like: I don't think this will teach you anything, buddy)

but he sees enough on the commercials that at any given time Teenage Turtles (played by an assortment of different McDonald's figurines) can be seen lurking around, causing havoc to block-towers and dinky car garages everywhere.

"See? The Turtles live in a cave so now they're taking over the town and swoosh one of them flies through the air and drops down on the garage'

And the turtle in his hand tells the lego-people: "Hi! I'm Mishango. We just want spaghetti. Don't be afraid. We're cool."

"But the people all run away so the Turtles steal their cars and drive through the city. They wave hi to Scooby-Doo and go eat hot dogs."

Now, wasn't tv originally supposed to spark peoples' imaginations?

Sunday, 11 March 2007

things from home

We cleaned out the big toy-chest today.

The kids have slowly taken over the far corner of the livingroom with stuffed animals and blocks and legos (note to SG: Not just you!) and the sun porch looks like a toy tornado hit it. Today we worked on the living room.

Note to relatives: no more toy cars EVER.

So in the midst of matching puzzle pieces and assigning boxes and bins (and in the case of the dinky cars, a backpack*) to different things, I found a wooden train and car that had been my brothers', and seeing it in my daughter's hand made me realize how many things I have scattered through my life from home.

Big things - the kitchen table (it's the only one I remember my parents having) a hutch, a picture. My grandmother's bookcase is in the living room. My great-aunt Bertie's music box and all the photo albums my mother made. Little things - wooden spoons. My rings sit in a covered bowl that looks like a fish that I've had since high school. My baby cup. Books.

And yet... as I looked around I realized how much of Bear was here too. For the most part our stuff co-habits well (in large part because my house is (sigh) functional and not decorative in the least, so the mish-mash of common items works**) but in some areas - not so good.

At what point do things stop being my stuff and his stuff to my casual eye?

And I've lived here six years - when do the things I brought with me just become 'things I brought with me' and not 'things from home'?

*And it's FULL. Rosey almost went ass over teakettle trying to hoist it up on her shoulder.
**The best thing about our house? The side-yard. Definitely.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

grouchy with mother nature

By the time I finished typing the bulletin,
answering a few e-mails,
and returning three phone calls,

the day went from bright blue and bitter cold
to blowing snow and grey half-light.

Urgh. Isn't the start of spring supposed to be soon?*

Easter is approaching. At this rate, crocuses and jonquils will freeze before they actually stick their bright little faces up.

Not my flowers. I live in a deep freeze, 'member?

*Yes, I KNOW Nova Scotia has had an incredibly mild winter. That doesn't mean I can't be crotchety and complain that it's snowing NOW.

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

must keep an ear out for trouble

I've had my nose stuck in a variety of books for the last few days.

I read a lot. Usually multiple books (because I'm always setting the damned things down and losing them) and with no clear distinction on what I will read and what I won't.

Lately, my library runs have been short-and-to-the-point, since R doesn't seem to remember the 'inside voice' rule for more than five minutes, but someday soon I hope to get to pick books leisurely, instead of judging them by their covers and stuffing them in my book bag.

My latest two are a very well-written book on exotic species in America (did you know that in San Fran 99% of flora and fauna are non-native?) (And that doesn't count the people!) and a tattered copy of 'Good Morning, Merry Sunshine' which recounts a baby's first year through the eyes of her father. I'd recommend the first. Merry S is a bit - well, I think the author lost the joy in the project about half-way through.

But I digress.

No matter how fascinating I think 'Tinkering With Eden' is, no matter how drawn in I am, shouldn't I still be able to hear
  1. the scrape as the kitchen chairs are dragged over to the fridge
  2. the plotting and whispering
  3. the snorkles of glee as the cookie plate is lifted down
  4. and...the sound of the (now empty) plate breaking??

Clearly, I need to restrict my reading. The first I knew of any goings-on was when R tugged on my sleeve and wanted the dustpan.

Or maybe I just need to pen the children.

Anyone know if they would be considered native or exotics?

Saturday, 3 March 2007

here comes the sun doo doo doo doo

And last night the wind howled and the hail fell and the ice pellets chinked against the window and then it rained. And rained. And rained.

This morning, there was a brilliant blue sky. (Cue birds singing, faint hallelujah chorus here) The snow sparkled. It was a perfect day to go outside.

C ran out, bent on getting to the best spot for digging with his trucks, and went sprawling.

Because under the pretty, pretty snow?

Was water.

Slush is good

They cavorted and slid around on their bellies and were soaking wet by the time the puddles weren't any fun anymore. Next up? A slush snowman.
C has been determined to make a snowman all winter.

So, even though there was some dissent among the ranks

I'm union, and I'm on a break.

the snowman was built.

Nova Scotia wins the weather lottery

Remember that old saying "If you don't like the weather, stick around a few minutes and it'll change?"

Queens County
Shelburne County

Winter storm warning in effect
Wind warning in effect.
Tonight..Snow mixed with ice pellets changing to freezing rain then to rain showers this evening and ending overnight then clearing. Snow and ice pellet amount 5 to 10 cm. Rainfall amount 5 mm. Blowing snow early this evening. Wind southeast 50 km/h gusting to 80 except 90 along the coast. Wind becoming southwest 30 overnight. Temperature rising to plus 5 by morning.

Saturday..Briefly sunny with cloudy periods. Wind southwest 20 km/h. High 7. UV index 3 or moderate.
Saturday night..Increasing cloudiness. A few rain showers or flurries beginning overnight. Wind southwest 20 km/h becoming light in the evening. Low minus 1.
(Environment Canada forecast)

We've definitely got the Crap-O-Wheel going now, folks. And look! Saturday night, it all starts again!

It's enough to make a girl cry. Or drink. Probably just cry.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

secret recipe

Granny finds grenade in groceries
Wed Feb 28, 11:40 AM

NAPLES, Italy (Reuters) - A 74-year-old Italian grandmother who bought a sack of potatoes at the her local market found a live grenade among the spuds.
"I found a bomb in the potatoes," Olga Mauriello said in a telephone interview with Reuters.
"I went to the market to buy some potatoes and that's where the bomb was. But this bomb was covered in dirt, and I put it in water and got all dirt off. And then I realized 'It's a bomb'!"

Police said the pine cone-shaped grenade, which had no pin and was still active, was the same type used by U.S. soldiers in Europe in World War Two. Authorities believe the mix-up happened at a farm in France, where the grenade was plucked from the ground along with potatoes.

To the woman's relief, police and explosives experts in the small town of San Giorgio a Cremano, near Naples, recovered the grenade and safely detonated it on Wednesday.

But Mauriello was still shaking off her close brush with death. It didn't look like a potato and it was heavier than one. But what if she had cooked it?

"If I hadn't felt its weight, I wouldn't even have realized that it was a bomb," she said.


So. Let me get this straight. Someone dug a live grenade out of the ground in France and trucked it to Italy - with all the attendant bumping, dropping, and jostling - without it going off. It sat on a grocer's shelf (again with the bumping and jostling) was taken home, discovered, and it still had enough juice to be detonated the next day?

I'm kind of glad I only found a rock.

But if B ever complains about my too-spicy cooking?
I'm referring him to this article.

Hey, Honey? You know I love you...least of all because I'm not killing you with the side-dishes.


I took about a hundred names off my facebook friend list tonight. Really, it went surprisingly quickly, with only a few 'who was this ag...