Wednesday, 31 December 2008

fireworks in the snow

New Years Eve isn't a big deal around here.

I mean, we don't pretend nothing happens, we just don't plan things that are very exciting. The old the kids are still small excuse.

Tonight, though, was fun.

Bear's brother brought by (try saying THAT five times fast!) some fireworks.

And then the forecast called for snow. And then it was supposed to be nasty snow. And then the blizzard warnings began.....

But the kids knew. And they were mightily disappointed.

So we conferred. B took a recon of the surrounding area and pronounced it okay.

Everyone bundled up, and we trekked into the back yard.

And it was magical.

By the end my camera was covered in snow (see big wet lens, above) and refusing to shoot. Not one more picture. As in 'It's wet and cold and snowing on my delicate circuitry and why, again, are we out in this slop???' Or maybe the battery was beyond depleted. Whatever.

We shot off about forty fireworks, in all sorts of colours, and it was gorgeous.

I'd never seen fireworks in the snow before.

The rest of our night? Probably Bugs Bunny re-runs until the kiddles shuffle off, then shrimp and crab in butter sauce and watching the ball drop. Board games in front of the woodstove.

Happy 2009, everyone. Here's to a big ol' sparkling year full of good things for you and yours.

first lines

I have written an astonishing nine hundred plus entries on this little blog. Over a thousand, if you count the ones I haven't published.

And yet words keep swirling 'round my head.

I started a wee poetry site, just to blow the lid off all the images that crowd my daylights. That should do it, right?

Well, no.

But maybe, in this new year, I can find something that will.

I think it's time I went back to my high school hopes and dreams. My aspirations.

Catch-a-tiger-by-the-tail - all that good rot.

Maybe this new year, will be a start.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

take those moments when you can

Snow days, that is.

The day before Christmas, everything was bitter cold and icy. Then, overnight, we had rain and woke Christmas morning to bare ground and a soft breeze.

The adults reveled in it. The children pouted and scowled and waved their new sleds.

So yesterday was a treat.
It was soft snow, that feathery furry stuff that domps down noiselessly and startles the senses with brightness. Good snow to clomp through with heavy boots, watching your feet disappear and rise again.

And it was good for sledding.

There was hooting and hollering. There were belly-flops and bum-rides and confidence-building swoops down the hill. And some spectacular crashes, too.

Last night it sleeted for awhile and subsided. There's still a bit of snow - I'm sure they'll be out there again today - but the texture of it has changed, muting the softness of it all. Instead, it's a little crisper, a little more jagged.

We'll see how the sleighing goes today.

Friday, 26 December 2008

is it friday already??

Wow. I feel like I abandoned you at the gas station or something.

Bad, bad blogger!

Well, how was your Christmas?

Mine was splendorous; we scampered over to my SIL's house and opened mountains of presents, drove back to our house and opened more loot (my kids are completely jazzed and haven't a clue what to play with first)
and were just about to leave to go back over to my SIL's for Christmas dinner

and the power went out.

Well, I thought we were screwed. But when we got there, all the side dishes were merrily finishing up on Coleman stoves, and the company was fabulous. The food, wonderful as usual.

Of course, about halfway through, Rosey turned to B and said in a plaintive little voice 'I ate too m......'

and then erupted all over B.

Christmas dinners are never boring 'round here.

(She's fine. Back to her sunny self this morning.)

*sigh* I wish I could say the same for my house. It's going to be a few days to knock the mess back, I think.

Maybe I can just eat more Christmas food and ignore it for awhile....

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

bah humbug!

Suzanne had a pictoral up a few weeks ago: A Tutorial for The Wrapping Challenged.
I skimmed through it and sighed, envious of her sharp corners and neat folds. Really, she does a lovely job.

Today, ALL DAY, I've been wrapping things. Big presents. Odd-shaped presents. Weeny little ones. My mood has been lowering with each press of the paper and each whhhiiink! of the scotch tape. The children wanted to wrap their presents* to their aunts and uncles (note to K: you DO have sharp scissors, right? Because our boy thinks tape is a condiment) and I started to growl instructions.

'This will actually work better if you do one side at a time! Look, it's wrinkling! Umm, could you PLEASE make the gift card while I try to (salvage) make this a little more....tidy?' (note to K: Rosey wrote the names on a lot of things. Good luck. I'll be in the corner, rocking back and forth....)

Then I realized I still need to get a few things and commenced whamming my head on the the desk to the beat of 'White Christmas.'

whimper. Next year it's going to be gift cards for everybodyyyyyyy (whump)

So I've now decided that I don't like Suzanne any more**, because she's not sharing the obviously pharmaceutically superior drugs she must be on to actually enjoy this @#$%*&^ chore.

I'm feeling a bit Scroogish, actually. I can feel my eyebrows beginning to beetle.

Or is that bits of errant scotch tape??

* The tradition is that Cass and Rosey pick out their gifts to their relatives themselves. I do guide them a bit on price and content (so the aunts and uncles don't all get Barbies and Matchbox cars) but the decisions? Are theirs.

**Big mwah to S.

Monday, 22 December 2008

spitting pits

Growing up, it was a necessary skill. How were you going to hang out in a cherry orchard without knowing how to separate the meat from the stone with your tongue and teeth and colorfully but nonchalantly sending it out over the fields?

Novices could be spotted by the deep blueish tinge under their lower lip where juice and pulp would ooze. But they weren't really worth our time, as they were either youngsters or city kids, up from Detroit or Ann Arbour for summer vacation.

Today I taught the kids the first steps of becoming spitters - how to scrape the solid cherry off the pit (Inside your mouth, please!) and let it drop into a container.

We'll tackle distance spitting outside in the spring.

It was fun, remembering the weight of the sun on my shoulders and the smell of the orchards and the lacy shadows the trees cast, even when the branches were heavy and bowed with fruit.

I'll make Michigan kids of them yet.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

my beautifuls

YES, I am slow and procrastinating and leave the little details until the last minute. I AM.

But this year, the grandparents are getting copies of these two mugs, and I wanted the best shot.

So, first there was this:
I like to call it Blurman and the Poised Christmas Ball Of Destruction.

Much better. But still blurry.

I love this one - this IS Cass's smile, and R looks delighted and giggly (photo tip: make them recite parts of Great Green Globs....)

Getting fed up with the camera - R is flashing me the 'hurry up and take the darned thing' look.

But this one is the one that really works. Yes, Mom, it will go in the mail Monday. I SWEAR!

Friday, 19 December 2008

school stuff

Tomorrow I'm getting up and dressed, shoving some coffee in a thermos, and heading out to C's school. It's pancake day!

A few months ago, the students were told that if no one was caught running in the hall for a month, they'd get a special day. Suggestions were given to the principal, and the note came home this afternoon.

My boy will be going to school in his pjs. And having a pancake breakfast.

Actually, I'll have two there in pj's, as R loves going to the big school (it's been my month to do fluoride) and is busy making herself at home. After all, she says, next year it will be MY school!


I'm not really ready to have two in school. And while I'm not exactly beating my breast and wailing mah baybee (well, not yet) it's too bad for me, anyway..... because she is so ready I think I could leave her there and she wouldn't notice. I carried the trays of fluoride today while she watched The Wiggles with the Primary Class, and she was indistinguishable from them - same rapt attention, same height, same squashed posture on her little mat.

She looked....she looked like a BIG KID.

And you know, I think maybe she is.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

whutcha gonna do

I hate cops.

No, no, not police officers. But that damned television show.

We're a typical (quasi) Canadian family - we have over 200 choices of 'all crap, all the time' on the clicker, and believe me, it gets a work out. Winters are long and cold 'round here.

Some repetition of programs is to be expected. But holy jumpin' Jesus, every night? Every night* I have to hear the lame-ass excuses of people that can't remember that a) Drugs are BAD and b)oh, yeah, getting a drivers license is a good idea?

And they are, of course, Americans. A fact which my husband points out regularly, the snot.

I blame George Bush.** It's bad when the mis-handling of a country results in the apprehension of criminals good entertainment.

*Small house, open floor plan. Which means unless I want to go read in the car, I can hear the damned tv from anywhere upstairs or down.

**No, I don't really blame Bush. I blame him for (so many) other things, but not especially this ratty little thing that passes for television programming.

Monday, 15 December 2008

early morning wildlife

There are a few things more magical than staring at the surface of the tree-sky reflecting pond, watching a beaver streak by underwater.

A few things more magical....

but not many.

(I'll try to get some decent pictures of our back-yard acrobat this afternoon.)

Sunday, 14 December 2008

'round the back

The first two pictures were taken today. Yes, Mom, we have no snow.

The back meadow is filled with water, since we've had a rainy few days. Not high-water flood-warning beat-the-drums-the-house-is-going-down-the-river kind of high. Just full of water. B even saw a beaver casing the joint this afternoon, looking for a good place to put a dam. The first year we actually flooded, the water was lapping all around the woodshed and we had a beaver swimming up to it and taking logs out, one by one. His own private fast food joint!

The leaves have all skittered off the trees and have tucked themselves in among the stones, faded to bright crispy orange. I love the pattern on these, which match the trees

standing not ten feet away. Puzzle-piece bits of landscape! The water was still and ice-shrouded near the edges - perfect for tossing sticks and trying to see what was under the water.
(this picture was taken last February, hence the snow.)

We came in when feet and noses froze, and thawed out in front of the fire.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

i consider myself a kind person

but then why does my son look so sad? So sad....and horrified? So unhappy?

I mean, I didn't yell at him, or take away his DS, or make him go have his shower first (the horrors of -gulp- cleanliness!) or announce that he needs to play ponies with his sister, or anything nasty like that. Like I said, I consider myself a kind person.

A good
parent, you know? A good parent.

And one that believes in the finishing of brussels sprouts.

Behold the unhappy mug.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

rock on

For a girl that says her Santa list is all about Barbie, Miss R seems to be having a good time with other pursuits. Things like B's set of Tinkertoys and her Mom's love of old eighties bands combine to produce small girls' rocking out with a home-made guitar, belting out Night Ranger's 'Don't Tell Me You Love Me' and shaking her arse.

Not that we mind, of course. The less pink plastic in her life, the better....


Taken from Meggie. I promise to bring it back.....

Things you've already done: bold
Things you want to do: italicize
Things you haven't done and don't want to - leave in plain font

1. Started your own blog - well, um, yeah....

2. Slept under the stars. - Yes, but the crashing noises out in the woods almost drowned out the pleasure of the company I was with.

3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii - sorta? Not a burning desire of mine.

5. Watched a meteor shower- I have, in my entire life, only seen two shooting stars. I'd LOVE to see a meteor shower. Maybe I could talk to the person who schedules those things so late?

6. Given more than you can afford to charity - And I'll do it again. Cass rolled over last night from where he was watching tv and said 'Why aren't we sponsoring one of those kids?' To which my not-entirely Christmas-themed mind thought 'Oh, crap.'

7. Been to Disneyland/world - I SO want to take my kids there, too.

8. Climbed a mountain - yes, but it was a foot-trek, not a Sherpa-guide and crampons and so on. Less strenuous, but no less neat.

9. Held a praying mantis. They're cool! They look like old men.

10. Sang a solo (in the shower) Almost every time, usually the old songs I get stuck in my head. Lately it's been Stormy Weather, the Etta James version.

11. Bungee jumped - oh fer chrissake WHY??

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. Awesome and awe-inspiring.

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. Cross stitch, although I do it only sporadically.

15. Adopted a child. Would love to do this.

16. Had food poisoning. As a newly-wed. A lovely thing to have in front of your new husband.

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown your own vegetables. Those damned zucchini....

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train. Yes, in both a seat and an overnighter. I lurve trains.

21. Had a pillow fight.

22. Hitch hiked. No. There are certain things I still will not do because my father would find out. And kill me.

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill. - Do kid sicknesses count?

24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb. And baby goats, too.

26. Gone skinny dipping. In the Great Lakes. It was lovely. Now I look back on it and wonder why parts of me didn't fall off in that polluted muck. Oh, my poor Lake Michigan...

27. Run a Marathon- are you mad??

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse Yes!!

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset. Too many. (yawns the mom that has two kids that get up at the crack of dawn)

31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors - Germany. And Holland. Someday.

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language.

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing.

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David - I would love to go to the Mediterranean...

41. Sung karaoke - and there's a reason I sing in the shower....

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.

46. Been transported in an ambulance.

47. Had your portrait painted.

48. Gone deep sea fishing.

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud.

54. Gone to a drive-in theater. Miss these! Love them!

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class - although never liked it, and don't remember much.

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching.

63. Gotten flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a check

68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy - Sebastian, my first doll.

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten Caviar -beyick.

72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London

77. Broken a bone - not yet (knocks on everything)

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car.

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper.

85. Read the entire Bible.

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

88. Had chickenpox.

89. Saved someone’s life.

90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous.

92. Joined a book club

93. Lost a loved one.

94. Had a baby. Two.

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a law suit

98. Owned a cell phone. Yes. Don't anymore - I can't stand the thing.

99. Been stung by a bee - Of course!

Monday, 8 December 2008

snowflakes dance

It snowed today.

This time, the trees look like lace and the air is crisp and clear and the house is warm and snug. It was a perfect (if freezing cold) day to go outside and mess around in the snow.

Down the hill here, into the big trees down by the iced-over stream, to throw rocks and hear them ker-klumph through the ice crust, to poke at branches and knots in trees.

Turn about, run up the trail through the rocks, to claim the top of the hill. Shout to the world 'I am here! This is mine!'

Claim this snowy country.

As your very own.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

one crappy weekend

Friday night I went to a really great party. Lots of new people, great food and wine, a lot of laughing and talking and jokes.

The next morning we discovered that someone had taken everything out of my car while it was parked in the carpool parking lot. Made off with the emergency kit, two bags of (small) Christmas gifts, some stuffies for the kids and all the paperwork for the car.

(Flashback to me, riding in my co-workers car, spouting off about what a nice neighborhood I live in. Such a safe place.) *cringe*

The police said that there had been a call about some malicious mischief, and that there was a stuffed animal found beside the road up a ways. We went out that night and searched for our things by flashlight, finding many - but not all - of them.

But things are easily replaced, so we count ourselves lucky.

This morning B's father had a mild heart attack (doesn't that seem like a contradiction in terms?) and is back in the hospital. He seems to be holding his own.

He would not be replaceable. I would much rather lose the paperwork to the car.

All in all, I'm looking forward to Monday.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

slaughter and savings

Today is December 6th, the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. The day Canada remembers fourteen college students who were killed because of their sex and brains - women whom were bright enough to get into an engineering program.

I wrote about it here

And on a cheerier note, a cheap way to make some heat this winter...

Easy FREE Home Heat! - video powered by Metacafe

(Well, you know, there are other ways to make cheap heat. But this one won't alarm the children.)

Friday, 5 December 2008


Today at noon Cass's class went ice-skating at the local rink. We were in town at the same time, so we went in to see him. I stepped inside and was (except for the blast of cold air up my nose) swept back to roller-skating when I was young - although older than Cass, at any rate!

Lots of small determined bodies hurling themselves around while tinny music brayed from overhead speakers. Lots of colorful clothing and happy shrieking.

At least they weren't playing The Go-Gos. That would have meant I was experiencing either déjà vu or a break with reality, and I would have to had searched the place for my favorite skates, my Goody comb, and my hairspray.

I'm sure they were around there somewhere.

As the horn blew for times-up and the kids came off the ice, the thick rubber mats placed around the rink made them 'mince' on their skates, and suddenly I was behind this rushing wave of exuberant children, rosy-cheeked and swaying like debutantes wearing high heels for the first time.

Although come to think of it, I've never seen debutantes wearing snow pants....

Contrast that with the party I went to in the evening, where crowds of grown-ups discussed policies and stood in groups, little trays of canapes and bottles of wine, chatting and laughing while the Christmas lights shone down and painted everything.

Funny, though, the debutantes there? Were way less fun.....


stolen from Lemony Sarah, who's cool! And fun! And has great eyes! And always has the best stuff on her blog!

Watch it. Then watch it again. Really, it's that good.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

not so great ideas

* Oh, Children's Motrin, why do you torment me so? No, I'm not talking about the baby-wearing debacle, I'm talking about the commercial that's currently playing...
(and I can't find it on YouTube, so bear with me)

Scene: Mom on computer in home office. Mom has on a red tshirt, has dark hair - do you know which one I mean? Anyhoo -

Voiceover talks about how priorities change when your child is ill, and cue: small bouncy girl with pretty curls comes in sadly, and is checked for fever.
Commercial fades into the picture of the motrin label, and so on...

...but I can't watch anymore, as I'm too busy laughing. OF COURSE your child has a fever, you ginormous twit. You're wearing a t-shirt and your poor kid is in a shetland cardigan sweater over a long sleeve top, a skirt and woolly tights, and has just been playing. Gosh, I wonder why she's hot?

*I have no idea if Immodium is sold over the border - it's an antidiarrheal - but the chewable tablets have to be among the most vile tasting things in the world. I was pondering (and wincing at) the taste a few days ago and wondered - with the advent of so many medicines being aerosoled (and the huge number of drug addicts these days) could I just chop these up into powder and snort them? Doesn't that make sense?

No, I didn't, but Immodium people? Feel free to take that and run. Either that, or make the bloody things taste better.

*And the last not so great idea? Decorating with pine branches, and leaving them low enough for the cat to get at. I'm wondering now how many bundles of soggy green masticated pine I'm going to find in the morning. Look, festive cat yuck!
Katie says yommmm....

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

carding myself

So! The annual rush-around-for-a-photo has begun! Actually, I'm late, but we'll ignore that....
I'm leaning towards this:

if I could figure out how to take the blur and the unfortunate lighting out
but remembering this:

still makes me smile, even if it is two years old.
Maybe I should go with this:
(one of my favorites!)
but I probably need both of them together for a holiday photo, and that presents a problem. The monkeys are both pretty independent that way, and it's harder than you'd think to bribe them both to smile nicely at the same time.

So I end up with lots of this:
"Cass! Smile at the camera! Rosey! Look at me!" Ahh! It's perfect! And then Rosey whips her head around to see what Cass is doing....and click"
and loads of what I call 'The look of Mom hurry-up-and-TAKE-the-picture-already', but I tend to delete those, because I refuse to believe my children aren't thrilled to have a camera stuck in their faces all.the.time....
So! Maybe this?
but....predictable. too haaaaard. Wait! I've got it!

Christmas Card 2008 -
picture it - lovely cardstock, a beautiful font....

Jasper and the people who live with him wish you and yours a Merry, Merry Christmas.
You may now return to your previously scheduled napping position.

What do you think??

This bit of fun brought to you by the Merry Sitmas all-day decorating party

Monday, 1 December 2008


I love old cookbooks.

This one, tattered, worn, spotted with age and careless drippings, has lived at my father-in-law's house for over forty years - it was a gift sent to my mother-in-law from people back home in Newfoundland in the sixties. Published by one of the flour companies (Five Roses, Cinderella, Cream of the West, Purity, and so on.) as a way to seal brand loyalty, this one is skewed to the hard-scrabble Newfoundland heritage of making everything out of nothing and being proud of what you had.

We own a re-print of another flour company cookbook (Purity, an example recipe here) and Bear's face always lights up when we cook things from it - it feels like home to him.

B is busy gearing up to begin his Christmas baking (what? Huh, you thought I was the one who baked? Ummm, no.) and I have little doubt that several of the yummy things listed on these pages will appear.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

they live claus by

So I was woken this morning by the sounds of giggling. And then the jangle-swoosh-jangle-jangle noise that comes from ornaments dancing on swaying pine branches.

And when I padded downstairs, two sets of toes peeked out from under the tree.

Funny, I didn't know we had squirrels in our attic.

Routed them out, of course, but I'm sure I'll find them under there again, whispering secrets and staring up at the twinkle-lights above their heads.

The past few years, my kids have had the pleasure and privilege of having a personal visit from Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. Santa takes a break from his busy night to come see the children for a moment, get a hug and give them both a hug, then he whisks away.

This year Cass has asked me three times 'when Santa comes to visit, is it really Uncle T?'

I always counter with a question: (Because we all know that Parenting Technique #34523 - The Great Stall works, at least for awhile) Do you think Uncle T would want to miss Santa? I'm pretty sure Uncle T's job makes him work every Christmas Eve.

Poor Uncle T.

Cass isn't totally convinced. 'But Uncle T always comes in right afterwards! And...I just think it's him.' He looked crestfallen and I wracked my brain trying to figure out what in the hell to say

- when suddenly, my boy made a colossal leap of logic* and began to smile again.

'I get it. Don't worry, Mom. I won't even tell Rosey that Uncle T is Santa. But, Mom,

....where does he hide the reindeer from Auntie K?

So - you see, there are great bonuses to marrying into a Canadian family. The Clauses are apparently my in-laws.

I love NaBloPoMo. There's such a camaraderie about it. Until next year!

*Those are getting scary. Today I was unloading the dishwasher and he was explaining to me how he does two-digit addition in his head. (20+22 is 42, right Mom?)
He's a

Saturday, 29 November 2008

is there a tree under there?

I caved.

Da tree is up. In all its white-lighted, ornamented glory.

It started out as a small thing - one of the nurses and I were talking about Christmas decorations, and I thought Ooh, I should get those out tonight. The kids are so excited, and they're bummed I'm being a hard-ass and won't get out the tree until December first.

Then, of course, half the decorations were tucked away in the tree box and once the tree came down from the attic it was all over.

But I learned several things tonight.

First, the begging and pleading goes four-fold when Cass and Rosey unite in a common goal.

Secondly, mention Christmas decorations and they'll clean anything. Cheerfully. (It was a little eerie, actually.)

And they're awesome at ornament hanging. My tree makes sense this year.

Lastly, I'm screwed if I don't get a second tree for next year. I have a collection of Christmas ornaments. Bear has a collection of Christmas ornaments. The kids BOTH have collections of Christmas ornaments. Collectively, we have a metric ton of Christmas ornaments and I know we're going to get more every year, what with grandparents and great-grandparents and teachers and other family members.
This year, we didn't even take any of the new ones from last year out of the boxes.

I need another Christmas tree. And it's not even December yet.


Friday, 28 November 2008

is it too late to interest her in crib toys?

Oh my god, my brain is slithering out my nose.

And it's all my fault.

Yesterday I brought home a movie from the library for Rosey - some Barbie thing. I figured it would be a good thing if it rains all this weekend.

And here we are, my life minus an hour I'll never get back.

Barbie and her band sing, people. They have hit records. They have big hair. They are bling incarnate.

And now that they're done with their 'World Tour Promoting Peace', there's only one place left for Barbie and her groupies zombies band members to go -

outer space. Yes, Barbie and the less pretty girls her friends are going to sing in space. Outer space. NASA is thrilled to help, natch. (Well, really, who wouldn't be?)

I think I need to be one of those moms drinking the 'fortified' coffee in the morning.

Okay, I just zoned out for awhile, and now Barbie seems to be caught in a time warp. A time warp - taking her back to the Fifties? whimper. My brain huuuurts. Oh, thank God, Rosey is tiring of the relentless go-go. Good girl. Yes, there might be hope for you yet.....

Nooooooooo, not Max and Ruby! Augh! My brain is meeelttting.....

Where's my coffee?

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

coming clean

I do not like venison.

Oh, it's not for lack of trying, really. I've eaten chops and winced my way through sausage. Actually, the only time I've enjoyed it, was at my step-grandmother's house, and she marinates her roast in something for three days and then stuffs it with herbs and garlic cloves and berries and it's a veritable fiesta on the tongue. Unfortunately, her health is not good, and I'm afraid she wouldn't remember what she did with one roast, umpteen years ago.

But for the most part? Nope.

This is a problem, because Bear? Likes venison. Likes hunting.

Got a deer last week. (As he puts it. So far, I haven't said 'What did you get it?')

My freezer is full of nicely packaged lumps of Bambi's Mom. The kids and B enjoyed some 'deer food' while I stuffed my face with clementines and salad. (Not a hardship. Clementines are one of the nicest things about Christmas-time.)

B is crestfallen. "Don't you want to try?"

No. No, honey, I don't. But this isn't because I'm squicked that you went out and killed the thing. (Although we are having that discussion, as well.)

Just don't like venison. Now, where are the clementines?

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

something you do quickly

Cass's agenda for school has pages each week with little activities on it. He's started completing them, much to my delight. But tonight I was a little startled.

Hon? Tell me about this picture.

'That's Lucy! I pet Lucy quickly!'

I went upstairs to hide my snorts. Because that picture doesn't look like Lucy is getting a pet.

That picture...looks like Lucy is getting an exam.

The words underneath? Get his this our up, his weekly wall words - not a garbled key to what I thought was happening to poor unsuspecting Lucy-cat.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

round the corner

(the posts in this picture are the supports for the axe wall.)

I live catty-corner to the local fire hall. Convenient if I ever need them. On the far corner of their property, way back at the edge of the meadow, stands a tall stand of logs, built as if someone put up one wall for a log cabin and then abandoned the project. It's left over from when the area was known for their lumberjack games (this area being known for both logging and lumber-jacking.) Specifically, the wall was used for axe throws.

I took Cass over there before the snow came and he was wide-eyed and transported, quickly sucked back to a time when men proved what they could do by simple physical acts, before insurance coverages and dwindling fair crowds doomed the games. There are still hatchet marks in the greying wood, plenty left to satisfy him that this was another dangerous and exciting thing that he'd missed by being born too late.

And behind the wall? A rock. A giant rock, sitting like a giants dropped toy in the piney woods. The woods and fields around here are littered with these huge stones, remnants of glacial activity in the area many, many years ago.

He was torn. Which should he want to climb first?

Then, a little deeper into the forest - another boulder! And this time, a fallen pine made a perfect ladder.

(The bonus child? C's friend B.)

All this, and the river not fifty feet away.

Nova Scotia is magical, and a good place to raise a child who dreams are of yesteryear.

At least it was beautiful before all this snow came. Harrumph!

Saturday, 22 November 2008

bad little canadienne

Because I don't like snow.

Oh, it wasn't always this way. I tend to winge and wax poetical about 'when oh when is spring going to come' after Christmas, and I do get tired of the slush and mess, but I don't think I actively hated it until this year.

This year we had a warm, long autumn. The picture for yesterday? Was taken yesterday - see the lovely shades of fall?

This morning I awoke to a FOOT of snow. Blank whiteness as far as the eye could see.

Snow. It's a four letter word, isn't it? And probably not by accident.

Oh, the kids loved it, and it was pretty until it was all tracked-up, but cold and dreary and now I'm facing months of this, oh GOD.

Anyone want to annex Nova Scotia to somewhere warmer? Because I have a sneaking suspicion I've just officially become too old for this crap.

real versus robot


my next dog. But...really? I mean, it looks great, and I wouldn't have to make those gd trips outside in the SNOW and the COLD (oh did I mention it SNOWED last night? SO OVER all the white crap everywhere.) and I'll bet he eats less, but...

half the fun of having a dog is having it jump up near you. Or at least come when it's called. Methinks having a dog I could store in a closet might not be for the best.

Of course, everyone remembers the hoo-ha over Butterscotch*, right??

Yeah. The kiddles aren't getting any animatronic (especially not headless ones!) pets anytime soon!

Oh, and it snowed. Anyone want to emigrate somewhere warm? I suppose I'm too young to be a snowbird, huh?

*Please make sure you read all the comments on the Mama Drama site. Snort!

Friday, 21 November 2008


I knew Cassidy loved to read. He's a lot like me that way - begs for extra minutes before bed, won't go to sleep without a story, usually has at least two books on the go.

Last night, though, his math teacher said he does this lunging sort of wiggle dance up out of his seat when he knows the answer - and that it happens a lot. So much, in fact, that she tired of the sound of his chair being knocked over and gave him a big kid desk (with the stool attached). She feels he will do well in math and science all the way through school.

Really? Because I loathed math. Science was cool, but math was nasty stuff.

She grinned. Isn't B good in maths, though?

Hmm. Forgot about that. Not all those fabulously smart and funky genes are mine.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

mutual of ohama's wild kingdom I am not

Snort. Like we didn't know that.

I drive home over a Bailey Bridge every night.
Coming home tonight after Parent-Teacher Conferences, tapping my toes to the beat, thinking idly about the fact that it's 0 degrees (Celsius, people!) and that means the next thing I need to do is break out the snowpants, and I was to the middle of the bridge before it registered that I wasn't the only thing using the bridge to cross the river at that moment.

There was a cat running down the support beam ahead of me. A big, fat, rotund gray cat. Huh. What's that doing out here? Somebody's pet, out in the cold and wet and it's starting to snow, isn't it? Maybe I can get it to come to me and see if it has a tag. It's obviously not starving. Looks like a circle with a tail, actually. A big, long bushy black and gray striped tail... Huh. And it's stopping to look at me! It has a mask like Lucy! Wait until I tell....wait a minute!

I cut my speed to a crawl and followed the raccoon as it waddled over the bridge, speeding up only when it disappeared over the verge.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008


No, not here, thank god, that particular misery is over....

I'm over here, talking about little red spots.

Monday, 17 November 2008

on and on and on

Every once in awhile I start noticing how fast the kids have grown. One of those things where you've been aware that the jeans are getting smaller and wow, those shirts are starting to just graze her waistband and then there's a hey, Mama? and you turn around and there's this KID standing there where your preschooler used to be.

It's shocking. And crazy, how they can sprout overnight. R is just fitting into C's outgrown jeans - she's slim for them and tugs on the waistband, so her 'boy-jeans' are only worn at home and around the neighborhood, but she loves them and gleefully stomps around, insisting they fit fine.

These short fall days both the kids want to be outside. With the wind blowing chill and the air scented with woodsmoke and cold river water, it feels like biking days are soon over. It's this kind of weather that begins the odd fashion of riding a bike with a woolly hat shoved under your helmet and mittens.

But who could blame them? Especially when there are plenty of leaf-strewn lanes to race over, shrieking your freedom to a wide-open sky.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

lost: one genie's lamp. reward. if found, do not rub.

It was a day for counting your blessings, of hoisting two chortling children by their waists and threatening to toss them out the front door into the drumming rain.

A day to do quiet chores and listen to the wind pick up around the corners of the house, folding laundry to the tune of the weather outside.

A day for puzzles, for brushing doll hair, and good and lasting things like painting girl toenails and naming a plethora of rainbow-hued impossibly coiffed plastic ponies.

In the afternoon, there was time for learning the names of robots and bad guys and which thing transforms into another and the solid good weight of impossibly long boy legs pillowed into my lap.

A nice time for peeling potatoes and being sous chef for Bear's magical corn chowder and biscuits.

I wish that I could bottle these days, keep them safe for the inevitable times when harmony flees the house and we rub sore on each other, for the times when I stomp upstairs and take comfort in rubbing cat bellies, alone with a paperback novel for company.

It seems hard sometimes to take the good with the bad. Unfair.

I like the good so much better.

And today? Was a good day.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

sounds around me:

The wind is up, rustling the leaves along the ground and blowing the last of the rain-drops off the oak tree.

*click click click - Bear's on his lap-top upstairs

*snortle gzink gzzzonk - Jasper is sacked out behind me (and did you have to release the doggy odour of doom, dog???)

*The cats are padding up and down the stairs, eyeing the dog with a butchers eye (slices? haunch meat? What shall we go for first?)

the house is so quiet, gearing down for the night, and.....

*footsteps. (augh!) Quick, hurrying footsteps padding down the hall to the top of the stairs

(cats scatter)

a shuffling noise.....

then a thud, thud, thud down the stairs, fingers trailing the bannister, blankie clutched tight, eyes and hair tangled with sleep -

Hi, Rosey. Couldn't sleep, hey sweetheart?

Friday, 14 November 2008

neither broke nor crime-solving

I’m reading a new book today* and getting lost in it, in the sticky sweet remembrances of a different life than I’ll ever have, in the muddles and triumphs of not-mine and the descriptions of things that make half-remembered pictures form in my head.

While I’m loving this author’s prose, I’m also wary – I read a lot of books, and I’m so burned out on some situations that my teeth hurt and I can’t help thinking I know this when the story tilts in that direction.

One common theme seems to be poor girl growing up in the south. (Or the swamps, or in New England, but all hard-scrabble and abjectly-no-hope-of-getting-out poor.)

The other? Hard-boiled glitzy woman turned detective. (And wow, is that market getting huge.)

So what am I reading now? A lot of non-fiction, some juvenile fiction (Cass and I just started the Lemony Snicket series, woot, and holy crap can that kid read!) and a lot of cookbooks – the part of me that wants to be informed and well-fed with winter coming closer dipping to the forefront.

I’m sure soon I’ll be back to bestsellers, but right now? I’d rather read about soup.

Mmm, soup.

*Unravelling, by Elizabeth Graver (so far, great, eloquent writing about a dirt poor woman that lives in the bogs somewhere. Requisite odd siblings and stern father included. Just got to the (expected) sexual awakening part.)

Thursday, 13 November 2008

katie did

and then she asked me to do it, so....why not?

* Go to your Sixth Picture Folder then pick your Sixth Picture.
* Pray that you remember the details.
* Tag 5 others.

Okay. It's so simple, you'd know I'd have questions....

Sixth folder? Wha? All my photos are in Picasa and arranged by date, so sixth folder would be pictures I took a week ago Sunday, and it's the cat, Lucy.

but everyone knows the Lucy story.

The oldest photos on my computer are jumbled together in a folder called (prosaically)'Saved Photos From CD' (the remnants from a panicked The-computer-crashed-SAVE-THE-PICTURES!!!!) and the sixth image in that file? Is from January 17th, 2006. How do I know the exact date? Because I blogged about it.

Behold my (newly walking on fallen-snow) two year old daughter, after she'd lost her balance a few times and done a header into a snowbank:

Yes. Laughing at the two year old struggling to walk as she spits out snow and blinks this cold stuff off her eyelashes. I think I earned an express pass to Hades with that one....

and now my five victims! Hmm....

Coast Rat
Sarah Louise
Hey, anybody else doing this? Lemme know. I'd love to peep.

Hey, did I lose count there? Oh well.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

quack quack

Just stuff tonight:

The air is calm and crisp and so clear that with the light of the full moon the jet contrails still shimmer. It's the kind of night where you stop and take a deep breath and the peace of the evening fills you. So pretty, with the top of the car beginning to frost and the grass glinting with stars and the long, cold pull in your nose that snaps you back to evenings spent playing in tents and picking apples and nights where ghost stories and thick sleeping bags were the only thing that kept you from freezing solid.

(I keep forgetting it's November and thinking of late September, when we'd beg to pitch the tent one more night, Mom! in the woods behind the house and carry every blanket out of the house to stay un-popsicled before daylight.)

This is what you get when you don't supervise the four year old 'writing' (Coysive writing, Mama! It's coysive!) a letter to her grandparents. Note to self: Your address labels? Would not have fallen prey to interested fingers if you'd let dinner be late.

I did manage to bust up the party before she hauled out the glitter glue. (Fear not, Mom! I sent you a transcript along with.)

SO DISAPPOINTED. My mother, who isn't computer-literate past getting emails (and has health issues that won't let her climb stairs to get to the computer AND won't move the computer downstairs because it wouldn't be pretty)asked me for a print-out of my blog. I cut-and-pasted the first year, but that was before I really got going and frankly it would be a nightmare to do that for the last two plus years.... A friend suggested, which takes blogs and 'slurps' them to create books, but it won't work for Blogger...there's a solution available (It involves me re-creating my blogger blog on another platform and then pulling it back) but it all seems like a giganticus pain in the behindicus. *whine* This was going to be so easy!!

The window is still tacky and not dry.
We're all on cat-hair watch and clapping the cats out of the kitchen, but it's only a matter of time before one of them decides to baptize it. Argh.

My husband is downloading (and playing) Christmas carols. For the love of Pete.

Off to bed, with the moonlight streaming over the covers.....

they're back

Seven now.

I wrote about them before.

So......anybody missing a sneaker?

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

i'm spent

And my hands are eerily white.

Go, (she said, wagging her eyebrows) see what I've been up to.

I'll be back later.

Monday, 10 November 2008

mute monday

I have a picture somewhere with me in a hat that's almost the same. And the strange focus and odd light as well.

Some things are worth repeating.

Other mute mondays here

Sunday, 9 November 2008



I like the new stove.

It's not as good-looking as the other, not the same memories and continuance and the feeling of hunkering-down-and-this-is-home that the old one gave, certainly not as gorgeous and a thing of beauty lasts forever......

But man, does it have a big oven. And the light works. And when you walk into my kitchen and someone turns on the burners, you don't catch a whiff of gas.

(unless you're next to the dog. Sorry, couldn't resist!)

I kept the back panel of my late, lamented stove - the part that proudly announced 'Findlay' (and the conversations where we almost named Cass Finlay or Finn? Are rising to haunt me. You don't think...? Naaahhhh.) and I'm going to gut it of wiring and then figure out a way to hang it up. At least, that's the plan. It may look too odd and then I'll have to figure something else. But I'm loath to let go of it all so quickly.

But yes, I like the new stove. Amazing.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

she wets, she cries, she has chewmarks...

October's over, and we are Christmas music.

I have a theory - see, Thanksgiving 'round here? Is in early October. So Canadians gorge on turkey and pumpkin pie (and wow, I want to try this one) and then a few weeks later there's Halloween...and then there's NOTHING for two months.

So the day after Halloween (or as soon as the candy runs out) the mind turns to Christmas....

See? The American system of having Thanksgiving in November breaks up the waiting.
Anyhoo, the Christmas ads have started on the radio, the Wish Books come out any day now, and R is busy pointing to EVERYTHING and screeching 'I want THAT for Christmas!'

Exhibit A:


No. N-O. Hell to the no.

Yeah, I'm the hard-ass around here who won't let Rosey have that. (HOW on EARTH did she end up with such MEAN PARENTS, she'd like to know??)

Well, it's simple, kid. You leave any and all plastic doo-dads around on the floor....and then one of two things happen - either I step on them or the dog eats them.

And an itty bitty toilet? Looks like a hell of a chew toy.

Not to mention the trauma of R espying Jasper noshing on her doll as the air rings with cries of 'I need to go weeeeeee!'

Friday, 7 November 2008

chocolate is gooooood therapy

One Person Five Minute Chocolate Cake

  • 1 Coffee Mug
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 3-4 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional) (or a mini candy bar, or a spoonful of peanut butter)
  • Small splash of vanilla


  • Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well.
  • Pour in the egg, milk and oil and mix well.
  • Add the chocolate chips or other goodies (if using) and vanilla, and mix again.
  • Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!
  • Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.
  • EAT!
This can serve two if you want to share, but sharing? Is...sometimes highly overrated.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

hustle and bustle

Up early this morning, rousting two sleepy protesting whining burrowing-under-the-covers children up! and at-em! and tossing on an outfit myself - do I match? Do I ever match? - and coffee slurped with the quick run down of our respective days and then bundle, bundle, who's got your coat and where is your backpack out the door and go!

Fluoride treatment given at my son's school, set up the trays, take the trays down, watch twenty kids at a time swish swish swish and spit (did anyone swallow? No? Good...) R helping out by carrying Kleenex and wiping down the trays then wham back in the car and speed for town - your turn to be left at school, then your Mom has to go to work.....

and a full stop when she says plaintively, face half-buried in the remains of what used to be her baby blanket, thumb hovering dangerously near her mouth But I don't wanna go to school today, Mama.


Jus' don't wanna. Don't like school today.

Gave the usual pep-talk - You love school! You do! It's fun! And....Mama's going to work! So...let's go!

She pouted a bit, but unbuckled herself and followed me in, her Chicago Bulls cap bobbing along over the ruffled pink and white lining of her denim jacket (my girl is a study in contrasts) sat on the bench to exchange shoes for slippers, hung her coat and bookbag on her hook. Then she hung back for a minute in the hall, sending me one more hopefully beseeching look before giving me a hug goodbye. I opened the half-door to her room, exchanged pleasentries with one of her teachers, and was leaing down for a quick kiss when (right in my ear) the little boy who Rosey has happily shared tricycles carrot sticks and Legos with for the last few weeks said loudly, frowning at my daughter

'I don't want to play with you anymore.'

And R stared, struck dumb, and her face crumpled a bit and she looked at me but I was in full gotta-leave mode and her teacher swooped in, grabbing up my sad, sad daughter and twinkling at me that she would work this out and I went out into the hall and out the front door and paused on the front porch

and thought about what a jerk I am.
And how small she may be but how her feelings aren't and how I should never put a paycheck and being on time in front of my daughter's emotions.

(And briefly about how I'd like to put my foot into the seat of that boy's jeans)

And I turned and went back and stepped up to the door but it was circle time and I don't know how it ended.

Sometimes I just don't think.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

yes we will

And we did.

It was awesome, watching the map turn blue and the returns come in; Twittering then chatting then talking on the phone with Major Bedhead, almost-certain-yet-wary, giant knots in my stomach, until

'CNN just called it' she said, and gasped.

And it was.

I think we were both crying at that point - disbelief that we'd both backed the winning team (she's a die-hard Red Sox fan, so she's used to disappointment, to having victory be snatched away at the last moment) and elation and a feeling I can only describe as hope - hope that some of the problems that face the United States will be worked on now, that good people will come together and begin to trail blaze a new beginning that we may follow.

For the first time in a long time, I have hope that someday when I go home that there will be a home left to go to.

Thank you.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

i am sad

The stove? She is no more.

Oh, she's fixable (we think) but not for less than more money than god the cost of a new one, and it would entail shipping parts to a tiny town in Michigan and hoping they could re-build it - and waiting at least a month to get everything done.

Tomorrow, a new cooker arrives in the kitchen. So! It will be the beginning of a new era.

Y'know what would make me happy? Let's start the new cooking era with an era that's really cooking.

Tomorrow begins a new day. And somehow, I think I'm going to be up watching the election news a long time tonight....

(yes we can)

Monday, 3 November 2008


mute monday

'Western Wind, when wilt thou blow.......'

(That poem has stuck in my head since seventh grade. It still gives me shivers - the naked longing of it.)

The wind has been fierce lately.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

all about meme

imaginary binky tagged me for this

* Where is your mobile phone? Um, in the junk drawer? I really hate carrying it. It's de-activated, of course. I don't like being accessible all the time, and it was just silly bumping around with one.

* Where is your significant other? To my right about fifteen feet, hunched over his laptop on the couch. From all the disgusted muttering, I think he's facebook bowling.

* Your hair colour? Dark brown. There are a few (few!) remnants of some lighter streaks and a few (three or four!) grey strands.

* Your mother? Just hung up with her. She wanted me to count the Christmas ornaments she's sent to the kids the last few years. (Cass gets a fire engine ornament every year and a snowman ornament, and Bitsy gets angels and reindeer.) She found a bag of ornaments that she thought she sent to us last year and now wanted to make sure she wasn't inundating us with angels.

* Your father? I should email him and see if he had any trick-or-treaters, and where they're planning to spend Christmas this year.

* Your favorite thing? Right this minute? The patch-ed cat Lucy, who is snortling in my arms, passed out and happy that she's 'saved' me from the dog yet again.

* Your dream last night? Making an apple pie in someone else's kitchen. Never mind trespassing, I was upset because I couldn't find the measuring cups.

* Your dream goal? Published writer.

* The room you’re in? The living room. It has the pc and the laptop, the woodstove, and the tv. And the weight of the cat makes it hard to get up, even if I wanted to leave.

* Your hobby? Reading, writing, learning how to use my baybee camera.

* Your fear? Screwing up really badly in the motherhood department.

* Where do you want to be in six years? Tuscany.

* Where were you last night? Here. Giggling at Saturday Night Live. McC did a good job. And seemed to enjoy himself!

* What you’re not? Graceful. Poised. Chic. Daring.

* One of your wish-list items? Lenses for the baybee. 'How To Crochet For the Incredibly Needle-Challenged.'

* Where you grew up? Michigan, Illinois, Indiana.

* The last thing you did? Got a glass of ice-water and (ssssh!) two mini Crunchie bars.

* What are you wearing? A strategically placed towel and a red silk robe. No, not really, but now I know you're paying attention!

* Your TV? Getting old but I won't give it up until it gives up the ghost. B hates it because I won't listen to his dreams of having a big-ass wide screen. (rolls eyes)

* Your pets? We are a pet-happy family. We have:
the kitties: Katie, Lucy, and Chumba

Jasper 'Box O Rocks' the dawg

I like cats. You may have figured this out.

* Your computer? it's a pc. Other than that, I have no clue.

* Your mood? Getting irritated because msnbc is just going over things I already know about the election.

* Missing someone? My family, my friend C.

* Your car? Big old Blazer. Mommy's truck.

* Something you’re not wearing? A sweater.

* Favourite shop? Ebay. Etsy. Ikea.

* Your summer? Gone too soon.

* Love someone? Of course - what's life without love?

* Your favourite colour? Red.

* When is the last time you laughed? Tonight, while the kids and I were working with Cass on his math skills. If he got the problem right, I tickled him. If he got it wrong, I tickled Rosey. It was silly and wonderful.

* Last time you cried? Teared up a couple of times tonight watching the recap of the election. Some of the speeches Obama made still get to me.

Thanks Sarah! I'll try to return the favour (favor??) soon.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

technicolor spit

Of course it all ended in tears - doesn't every Stuff-Yer-Face-With-Candy night?

They went off to bed with wobbly tummies and.....well, the candy, she is mine now.

But it was a beautiful day! I love when I can yank out the toys I found in the dollar store months ago and they think they're wonderful and they run and run and run...

It was a great First of November.

(oh, and I'll be doing NaBloPoMo this year. While I'm already doing blog365, NaBloPoMo means I post here every day, not just somewhere on the internet. Let's do November together.)


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...