Sunday, 31 August 2008

maybe the service was really bad...

My god, what they don't do in California....

Now wouldn't that just put you off your patty melt and fries?

out in the woods

Today Bear hacked down some trees and then we all piled the junks* into the trailer, and now it's all sunning itself in a pile, waiting for the splitter next weekend.

I'm so glad that's done.

Next weekend will be busy with the splitting and the lugging and the stacking and the piling, but then it will be done. DONE.

Not to say it wasn't pretty back there. Our property runs back through a watershed rife with cranberry bushes and ferns to a mainly spruce-and-pine woods and is teeming with neat things to look at and find.

(NOTE: I was sweaty and covered in dirt and wood shavings. Not the best place to take my preshus camera. So alas, alack, no photos.)

The corner of the watershed farthest from the house (directly below the rock with the chain) was apparently the household dump during the 50's or 60's - a few rotting metal things remain and once in awhile we'll find a neat old Watkins bottle or an ancient beer can, but nothing disgusting.

Not much new junk today (some bits of colorful glass and a dried up chunk of paint fished from the bottom of a falling-apart old paint can) but we did see two mushrooms, white stemmed with lurid lipstick-colored caps, and a funky little 'kellapillar' (a Roseyism) - black with green stripes, large red-orange eyes, two long black fur horns, one long black fur tail, and four patches of thick bristly short white fur down his back. I'm not very good with caterpillar identification and I can't find this one on any sites, but he looked like a very regal sort of fellow.

We made it inside just before the sun switched off and the thunder began, and we spent the next few minutes with our noses pressed up against the windows, oohing and aaahing before it swept itself off, as storms tend to do around here.

Now it's cold and dreary, and tomorrow it's supposed to storm.

Not the best weather for lumberjacks.

*B says this is the wrong terminology, that they're stove lengths of firewood, but he junked it, so it seems to me that they should be 'junks'.

Saturday, 30 August 2008


Lucy the cat likes food, belly rubs, humans, an occasional crumb of cheese and the other cats. (well, sorta.)

She does not, however, like the dog.

The staircase demarcates the boundary lines in the house - the cats live upstairs, with their food and box and access to many comfortable beds, and Jasper lives on the main floor, where he can see easily if there's anything nefarious afoot that must be doggily commented upon.

The cats come downstairs mostly late at night, when J's in his crate and they can sit on the windowsills and thunk! their tails and look out at the moonlit landscape and think catly thoughts, but there is an uneasy truce - the stairs are neutral territory. There is usually a cat or two lounging about halfway up, keeping an eye on things. Jasper pretends not to notice.

Today, though, he had an attack of puppy enthusiasm, and rushed up the stairs at Lucy, who was horrified (horrified!) to see the big galoot rushing at her and smacked him smartly a few times, swearing all the while.

Jas, of course, backed off momentarily, the wheels spinning in his head. Then he shook off any rational thought and plunged again. Lucy puffed up to raccoon size and smacked him again. He barked. She gave him a glare, fluffed up even more,

and chased him down the stairs.

Not bad for a cat who weighs approximately 1/10th of what he does.

Friday, 29 August 2008


Rosemary is poised right on that threshold of not needing a nap anymore. Her brain - her busy, fiercely learning high-gear little brain - is telling her that there is so much more fun stuff to do than to to lay down with her blankie, that there are cars and dolls and skates and kites and bikes and computer games and what's mama making in the kitchen? and cats to torture play with and her big brother - how come he doesn't have to sleep?

She'll stay awake, fighting rest, determinedly slow-blinking and widening her eyes so she won't fall asleep, and she'll carry it off so well her father and I will nod at each other, a little sad that maybe our baby is growing up enough not to need her nap anymore.

But six-thirty she's worn out and spoiling for a temper. Nothing is good - it's all bad, and we're all out to thwart her. She's the unluckiest girl in the whole world, because surely - SURELY! - other parents are nice to their daughters. JUST NOT HERS.

It makes the putting-to-bed ritual a long process, dodging the one-slight-away-from-falling-apart ball of tiredness that Miss Rosey is in her napless state, and has us sighing with relief when she finally gives up and puts her head on the pillow.

Some days I recognize that this is all part of growing up. Necessary. A stage.

And some days I tremble inwardly, thinking what the hell is this going to be like when she's a teenager?

Thursday, 28 August 2008

all fired up

I've a stuffed head and an aching throat and I'm waving at the screen, clutching wadded up kleenex and wishing I was in Denver right now.....


Wednesday, 27 August 2008

we have some red leaves already

It's a grey day.

There have been hovering clouds and a brisk wind tapping 'round all day; awhile ago it began (finally) to rain, plonking down on the windows and sending a chill through the house. I abandoned my plans for penne and instead made chicken chili - the aroma is eddying and every once in awhile the kids (or the dog - he's always hopeful about such things) will raise their heads and take a big sniff, wondering if dinner will be early tonight.

It's the sort of day where you use warm home-food to disperse the cold and push away the vague nagging feeling that maybe, just maybe, you should think about putting a little fire on. Not for heat, as there's just a nip, a hint, a portent of days to come, but as a way to make the greyness....disappear.

A good day for finding something new for the children to do (because without it they will quarrel and scuff like bear-cubs trapped in their den) and a good day to begin thinking about switching out summer togs and bedding for the heavier stuff.

Thinking about. I have no doubt we've a few good indian summer days left.

Today, though, it's too easy to feel the end of them, and to begin to think about what we need to do before winter begins in ernest.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

all aboard

Part of the fun of starting your own family is beginning new traditions.
One of ours is the birthday train.

It's ridden many birthday cakes the last few years - neither of the children remember having a birthday without it....

Today was Bear's turn. (I am married to an officially old man now.)

Anyhoo. Happy Birthday, Bear! Hope this is the best year yet.

finding the pearl

All good thoughts and prayers today to lawyerish and family, who received horrible news and could use all the support and love they can get.

Monday, 25 August 2008

psst...want a button??

free Obama button

And yes, damnit, it's for Amurricans only. By the way, Mom? Don't shoot me when this shows up in the mail, 'kay?

Sunday, 24 August 2008


I took the kids to the beach today.

Due to an unfortunate incident last time where Rosey lost her footing and bobbled for a few seconds before I could yank her out of the water, this time she wanted her life jacket. And Cass thought that way he could

skim the waves better as they crested around him.
After I floundered in the knee-deep (cold, damnit, really, really cold) water for awhile, I took my camera off - then we went to go explore. The beach has a small trench in the very shallows, so as you wade out, it goes to about waist high on Rosey.* Then it becomes shallow again until you are upon a lovely wide sandbar - good for hunting shells or running upon, or for a midway point if you have two kids that want to be in different places at the same time. Ahem.
Then it deepens, and that's where the big breakers roar in.

The first trench is a good place to find shells and sea grape - we even found a starfish, no larger than my cupped palm. It was a lovely pinkish-rose and so perfect I thought at first it was a plastic toy. Rosey held it in a careful hand and we watched as it curled a bit, then, realizing it was alive, found a better place for it then tumbling loose very near to the packed sand.

We found mussel and clam shells and gawked at sea snails and a tiny crab that menaced our toes with waving claws, then slopped, tiring, up the beach to watch the black ducks and seagulls ride the swells and knock the sand off our feet the best we could.

On the way home we stopped to let a young porcupine mosey across the road, then home to supper, a quick dip in the shower, and a lengthy re-telling of the days adventures.

Tonight they'll sleep well, and dream of running free, exploring.

*This is where she got in trouble in last time. A wave knocked her over and she couldn't quite get her feet under her. She paddled a bit until I got there.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

the long road to adoption

We almost had another foster kitty today.

Now, I'm not a fool. I know very well that the last foster kitty I brought in the house was technically our cat the first time she picked out Bear Bear saw her. But even I agree that three cats is enough.

But I can't say no to the foster kitties. I can't.

And really - why would I? They come with food and litter, ask for nothing but love.

Last night I got the call. This morning I ended up going to town and missed the hand-off - when I telephoned, apologizing, the lady from the SPCA had great news - the lady who fostered the cat I was to have received had called - some of her friends were interested in permanently adopting him!

It was the best reason in the world to not be fostering tonight.

Lucy says: I can haz pets now pls?

Friday, 22 August 2008

i like to eat

1)Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you have eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

1. Venison - Have had it cooked various ways. My step-grandmother makes a venison roast that is to die for. And I don't know her recipe.
2. Nettle tea - Back when I was young and foolish and liked other tea than plain old TEA.
3. Huevos rancheros - I will get up EARLY for those.
4. Steak tartare - Yum.
5. Crocodile - I went through a phase where I dared easily.
6. Black pudding - Can't say as I have.
7. Cheese fondue - I was born in the early seventies. What do you think?
8. Carp -Ayuh.
9. Borscht - YUM.
10. Baba ghanoush - I make a mean baba. God love Alton Brown.
11. Calamari - Had it. Ate it. Won't again.
12. Pho - Yes, please, and are you making it?
13. PB&J sandwich -Nummy. Still scrumptious after all these years.
14. Aloo Gobi- Curry is a good friend of mine.
15. Hot dog from a street cart- I like to live dangerously. Actually, I just like hot dogs.
16. Epoisses - Stinky cheese? Yummers.
17. Black Truffle- Yes.
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes - Blackberry, peach, apple, dandelion, cherry, blueberry.
19. Steamed Pork Buns - So, SO good.
20. Pistachio ice cream - My favourite, growing up.
21. Heirloom tomatoes - Never enough.
22. Fresh wild berries - Ha! You jest!
23. Foie gras - Enjoyed it until a friend sat me down and told me how the geese are treated. The same friend told me about veal. I'm still mourning.
24. Rice and beans - Oh YUM!
25. Souse and Brawn or Head Cheese - I've eaten it, but I don't like jellied things.
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet Pepper- Again with the daring.
27. Dulce de leche - Apple pie will never be the same.
28. Oysters - Rockefeller? Raw? Florentine? With hot sauce? Lead me to the table, please.
29. Baklava - Every time I can find some of that ooey-gooey goodness.
30. Bagna cauda - Really easy to fix. Good, too.
31. Wasabi peas - You know, I think I've only had these a couple of times.
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl - Waste of good bread. Good chowder should stand alone.
33. Salted lassi - Awesome. Hard to explain and to get people to drink. 'It's WHAT?'
34. Sauerkraut - Reubens! The most perfect sandwich.
35. Root beer float - I make these for the kids.
36. Cognac with a fat cigar -Wasn't overly impressed with the cognac. Haven't had a cigar in years.
37. Clotted cream tea - I wanted to be British when I was younger.
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O Don't like vodka, don't like jellied things. Scarred at a young age by a grandmother who used to make me eat aspic.
39. Gumbo -Love it. Still hate okra, so my almost-licked-clean bowl will have a small pile of limp green things on the lip.
40. Oxtail - I make oxtail soup every winter. I just don't tell Bear what the meat's from.
41. Curried goat- Goat isn't my favourite. Still love the curry though.
42. Whole insects - Does the grasshopper I caught in my mouth once count? I didn't chew, and I didn't mean to swallow....
43. Phaal - I like to sweat.
44. Goat’s Milk- My aunt raises goats. It's great except when they're in heat.
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more - Smoooooth.
46. Fugu - They're ugly, they have eyes, and they're staring at me.
47. Chicken Tiki Masala- Every chance I get.
48. Eel - Scarred from a lifetime of watching school movies about lampreys and The Great Lakes.
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut - Only had them a few times. But it was enough to hook me, probably for life.
50. Sea urchin They're ugly, they have spines, and exactly WHY again?
51. Prickly Pear - Good in salads
52. Umeboshi- Always a surprise.
53. Abalone - Love shellfish.
54. Paneer - No, have not, but wow! Looks yummy! Think I will make this.
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal -yes.
56. Spaetzle - My aunt makes spaetzle. I can't get mine to come out as good as hers, but yum.
57. Dirty gin martini - I’ve tasted them. Not big on gin. Do like the olives, though.
58. Beer above 8% ABV -
59. Poutine - French fries with cheese and gravy? Are you kidding??
60. Carob chips -Thank GOD the carob craze has abated. It was NEVER chocolate.
61. S’mores - Not since I was a Girl Scout.
62. Sweetbreads - Can't dare me that much, sorry.
63. Kaolin - This has to be a spelling error, as the google page talks about Chinese clay.
64. Currywurst - Seriously? Curried sausage? Never, really?
65. Durian - looks terrible, tastes like heaven.
66. Frogs’ legs - Yes. But I can't stop thinking of frogs in tiny wheelchairs.
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake - It's all fair food, and it's all GOOD..
68. Haggis - Never tried it.
69. Fried plantain -Good. Very sweet.
70. Chitterlings or Andouillette - pretty good.
71. Gazpacho - I liked it.
72. Caviar and blini - Nope. Thought it was blackberry jam. Had my mouth all set for blackberry jam. Was so NOT blackberry jam.
73. Louche absinthe - Yes.
74. Gjetost, or brunost- Cheese, cheese, marvelous cheese.
75. Roadkill - 'What! It was still warm!' A great line from Savannah Smiles.
76. Baijiu - Probably would be good with fugu.
77. Hostess Fruit Pie - Cherry. Half-frozen, if possible. Really good in the heat of summer. (Of course I'm remembering back to when I was eight, so tastes may have changed...)
78. Snail -Been there. Garlicky rubber. Not my favorite.
79. Lapsang souchong - Tea.
80. Bellini - Champers and peach juice. Yum.
81. Tom Yum- Yes, please!!
82. Eggs Benedict - Yummy.
83. Pocky -Have not been able to find these.
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant - Not yet.
85. Kobe beef - Worth the money and the time to prepare.
86. Hare- Have had rabbit stew. Once.
87. Goulash - Make a mean goulash.
88. Flowers - Although I don't nosh in the garden, I have had them during that foolish little fad of flowers in salad.
89. Horse - Never knowingly.
90. Criollo chocolate - Yes.
91. Spam - Good once in a blue moon, sliced very thin and fried crispy. (And then I'm disgusted with myself and don't eat for a day.)
92. Soft shell crab - Yes. With newspapers over the table so you can make a huge mess and not care.
93. Rose harissa - I like it.
94. Catfish - Can't do it. The first fish I caught was a catfish. I had nightmares for a week. *shudder* Whisker-y nasty slimy face.
95. Mole Poblano- Soo good.
96. Bagel and lox - And good hot coffee.
97. Lobster Thermidor - Yum.
98. Polenta - So good. So good.
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee - Okay.
100. Snake"What? It was still warm!" See 75.


Wednesday, 20 August 2008

it's worse when she goes to the dentist*

What do these things have in common?

a) whistle on a string
b) small kazoo
c) bouncy pink ball
d) mini-size highlighter marker
e) Star Wars toy that whistles
f) cherry bar
g) half a banana
h) ice cream

If you guessed 'Things Given to Rosey Throughout The Day', you won!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go get my whistle-shrieking, kazoo-humming, ball-bouncing, fiercely coloring, high on ice cream daughter to go take a bath.

This could be tricky. First, because she doesn't want to, and secondly, because she's convinced that her brother will swoop in and steal everything if she puts it down for a second.

*alternative title: How many things can I hide tonight while she's asleep?

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

spell ck saves my liefe


Scotia (I know! I want to put in another I)




What about you?

image from here

Monday, 18 August 2008

of recklessness and water

The kids have a pool.

It's not a big pool, nor a deep one, but it's perfect for my two jump-arounds, whose idea of a good 'swimming' is to jump in, kick frantically, then jump out and go tearing around the yard, coming back panting to splash! in again.

I've been dumping and re-filling the pool almost every night to get rid of the dirt and grass stems that cling to their busy little feet.

Today was no different. They went off to bed, snuggled in jammies, smelling of mango shampoo and toothpaste, and I went out to clean the pool and re-fill it for tomorrow.

And then I got immersed in email and only remembered the hose was on when there was a dull sloshing sound coming in through the window.

I went running for my shoes, turned off the hose and stared down at the (full-to-the-brim) sagging pool, one side listing to let out a good stream of water.

There was something in the warm night air, something soft and familiar, something about the crickets and the night sounds and the way the evening trembled on the edge of becoming night. Something tugging at the edges of my memory.

And as I pushed on the side of the pool and let the cold water from our well flow over my wrists I was reminded of night swimming in the bay, of nights where the end of day didn't mean the end of having fun, of swimming in clear fresh water that ssshusshed on the shore. Of times spent playing in the falling dusk- feet up, floating in the shallows, breathing in the sultry summer air



The moon is low tonight.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

blackberry pie

I may have started something here.

Everyday since last week's berry picking, the kids have been scouring the side-yard for edible things. And they keep finding them.
Eat your hearts out, city-dwellers. Who knew such bounty existed right outside?

Today's haul was blackberries. With a few unexpected raspberries and a handful of blueberries. We're also seeing a lot of apples ripening and some chokecherries.

I pointed out the fluffy fronds of wild carrot and the thin, gorgeous red-stemmed vines that hold wild strawberries in the spring. We nipped a few purple clover heads and inspected the area where Cass has been planting his apple cores for the last month. (Nothing yet. We still have hope.) I'm thrilled that they are enjoying being connected to the earth this way - and woefully aware that I don't know enough to teach them much more. I think we'll all be visiting the library - soon.

Tonight's pie should be spectacular.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

nose firmly stuck

I'm reading three books again.

I have this terrible habit of leaving my book downstairs (and being too lazy to go back down and get it) and starting another in bed. Then I'll get interested (aka paw through the bag that holds all of this weeks' library finds) and start yet another. It's chaotic, but it works.

What am I reading?

The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson. I was given this book when I went away to Niagara Falls for the BFF convention - shout out to Random House Canada for being so smart as to sponsor bloggers drinking, and thanks so much for the books!

Anyhoo. I resisted starting this book. A burned man and a schizophrenic? Relates to my life so well! But I found myself reading bits, tempted. Begrudgingly remembering how so many people had told me they liked it. Falling under the writers' spell. And while I'm not crazy about the beginning of the book, where it details his accident and subsequent recovery/rehabilitation, I am fascinated with the wheels of story within a story within a story that this book has. Every character is so sparkling, so alive, so memorable, so different from the rest - it makes this a very compelling book, and very hard to put down.

Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, by Vincent Lam. There is a small rolly cart near the door of my library where they put books that people come back and tell them they really enjoyed. I grabbed this off that cart and read a page, supposing it to be a book about medieval medicine, and tossed it into my carry-all. It is actually a book of short stories about the becoming a doctor that all medical students go through, and is both tedious and skilful. Worth picking up, although you may want to just read the stories that grab you in by the first few sentences.

Freeze My Margarita, by Lauren Handerson. Free-spirited and smart female lead solves murder mystery while bagging a dishy guy and creating some pretty neat sculptures for a play. I gather this isn't the first in this series, although I haven't read the other. Although - now? I probably will.

So - what are you reading lately?

Friday, 15 August 2008

things have changed since the seventies

Scene: I shuffle downstairs seeking coffee. Ah, life-giving fluid!! The kids are sprawled on the couch laughing at Big Bird. (Or torturing the dog. Whichever.) I take a big sip. Life is good.

Perky Voice From TV: Okay, boys and girls, today we're going to talk about incest.


Perky Voice From TV: Does anyone know what incest is?

The Hell? I launch myself from the kitchen towards the living room and skid to a stop (the kids lean towards the tv, mouths agape) to hear...

Perky Voice From TV: Insects have wings!

Must.Get.More.Coffee. And possibly a shot of bourbon.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

walking with a giant

When I was very young I lived in a small town in lower Michigan near a town called Kalamazoo. Actually, it was outside Battle Creek and Paw Paw* - lovely names to roll off your tongue when you're learning where you live and how you fit in your world.

We lived in a yellow house on a corner lot with a giant black walnut tree. My dad hooked up a tire swing, and I spent hours swaying underneath the big branches, listening to the thunk! of the big walnuts hitting the tin roof of the front porch.

My room faced the street. I could lounge on my yellow gingham canopy bed and look out through the leaves of the trees and dream about the book I was reading or the Disney record I was listening to. It was a good room for adventures.

The library had all the books I could want. There was a huge playground and a tennis court, where my parents would play and I would chase a tennis ball around and pick great armloads of Queen Anne's Lace.

It was where I first started taking walks with my father.

My dad is six-and-a-half feet tall. I had to grow into taking strolls with him - one summer we started out walking around the neighborhood, and I kept up, amazingly.

I felt so grown up.

We walked all over. Places I'd never seen, places I never knew existed in my small town. I don't know how he found them, but every night he'd find a new neatest thing to show me.

An abandoned pickle factory. (We climbed up one of the tanks and he lifted me up to see the few fat off-whitish things spoilt in the brine)

Train tracks. Magical things to run and leap on, with neat things like bent pennies and railroad spikes to find and the smell of the creosote from the tracks rising up while the cicadas chirruped.

We found odd half-grown over trails that twisted and turned and led to sudden glimpses of vistas unknown.

I felt grown up. I felt like my opinions mattered.

me and Cisco the Wonder Dog - the World's Most Patient (and long-suffering) German Shepherd (she ate marshmallows for me. Ever seen a dog eat a marshmallow? She was my best friend) twirling on the merry-go-round (as we were wont to do)

But still young enough to hold my Dad's hand and skip.

*Hot? Ever been to Lawton?

photo credit - both images, Edward J Van Dyne

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

one flew over blackbirds nest

and stole this meme.


Eye Color: Hazel
Hair Color: Brown. Just brown.
--Dyed or Natural: Natural. Some leftover patches of blondish highlights and the occasional white renegade.
--Curly or Straight: Straight. Thick. Hair which must have product.
Right- or Left-handed: Left.
Tan or Pale: Pale-ish. Olive-y, actually.
Jeans or Khakis: Jeans.
Country, Rap, or Rock: Rock.
Heritage: German and Dutch. My peoples? We take over the world and make you all wear wooden shoes.
Shoes you're wearing today: Dr.Scholl sandals. Woot fashionista me!
Your weakness(es): Indian food, a good book, a better glass of wine.
Your perfect pizza: Donair, with extra tomatoes. (Similar to a gyros, Americans!)
Favorite color: White
Favorite place: The beach
Goal you'd like to achieve: Writing.
Your most overused phrase(s): What?
Your thoughts first waking up: Is it morning ALREADY?
Your best physical feature(s): Mah smile.
Your bedtime: midnight-ish. I have insomnia a lot. (Isn't that sort of a pre-requisite for being a blogger?)
Your most missed memory: The town I grew up in.
Pepsi or Coke: Pepsi. Or Diet Coke. I'm strange that way.
McDonald's or Burger King: I love Burger King, but I haven't eaten there in six years - the closest one is over an hour away. So...McDonalds.
Single or group dates: Group.
Adidas or Nike: What about them? The advertising campaigns? Just do it, I guess.
Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea. Don't like fake tea.
Chocolate or vanilla: Chocolate.
Cappuccino or coffee: Coffee.

Smoke: No, but mah GOD do I miss it sometimes.
Cuss: Yes.
Have a boyfriend/girlfriend: No.
Take a shower: At night.
Have a crush(es): Celebrities? Hot political correspondents? Um, yeah.
Think you've been in love: I'm pretty sure.
Want to get married: Been there, did that. Not sure I'd do it again.
Believe in yourself: Yes.
Believe in God: Yes.
Believe in your government: Believe what, 'zactly?
Get motion sickness: Yes.
Think you're attractive: I am passably pleasing. I have never been a raving beauty, which is okay by me!
Think you're a health freak: I am about as far away from a health freak as you'll ever meet.
Get along with your parents: Mostly.
Like thunderstorms: I love thunderstorms.

Drunk alcohol: Yes.
Gone on a date: no.
Gone to the mall: No.
Been on stage: No.
Eaten an entire box of Oreos: no.
Eaten sushi:
does fake crab count?
Been dumped:
Gone skating:
Gone skinny dipping:
Stolen anything:

Played a game that required removal of clothing:
Been trashed or extremely intoxicated:
Yes (sssh, you're ruining my good-girl image!)
Been caught "doing something":
snigger. Yeah.
Been called a tease:
Not by my husband.
Gotten beaten up:
Age you hope to be married:
I married when I was thirty.
Number of children you'd like:
Three. I have two. The third is up for debate.
Describe your dream wedding:
My wedding was lovely.
What do you want to be when you grow up:
Helen Mirren. So not gonna happen.

Best eye color?:
Green or hazel
Best hair color?:
Dark hair. Blond looks funny to me on men.*
Short or long hair:
Average or tall.
Best first date location:
Best first kiss location:
On me? On him? Around the house?

Number of people I could trust with my life:
Number of CDs:
Hmm. There's an entire shelf of them in the livingroom cupboard - maybe 200? None newer than six years ago.
Number of piercings:
Once in each ear. Used to be twice in each year, but the holes closed.
Number of tattoos:
Number of times my name has appeared in the newspaper:
Six? I guess.
Number of scars on my body:
One major, many minor.

*I pictured a dark haired baby (girl) my entire pregnancy. Then the night before my c-section, my father-in-law brought up the fact that B was a tow-head when he was born. My first thought? My baby will look like an alien. Thank goodness my son had a full head of dark hair when he was born.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

and the rain came pouring down, down

And the BEST part about sudden summer showers?

Definitely, hands down, no comparison...

Stomping in the puddles.

She came back in, laughing her head off, soaked to the skin.

Rain is fun, dont'cha know?

Monday, 11 August 2008

ingalls wilding

Today while the kids splashed and caroused and were kids, I stuck my nose deep in my really not-so-thrilling book and suddenly an image swam up, something so compelling it triggered me to salivate and swallow convulsively.

I suddenly wanted blueberry pie. Badly.

Our little piece of land here is rich in growing things - apples and wild strawberries abound. We've nibbled off the wild blueberries that line the edges of the forest*, but never baked with them, and today it struck me....why not?

Especially when I could picture a piece of blueberry grunt, all moist and clinging to the spoon, just waiting for the kiss of ice cream that would make it a work of art...

The kids noticed I'd grabbed a container and was taking off on them. Soon I had enthusiastic helpers. (They like blueberries too.)

The birds had beaten us to it, unfortunately, and we were reduced to sweeping the bottom branches, hunting for ones that had been missed.

We found a few - enough to mix with apples and make a pie, and then....I spotted something.

Blackberries. This was going to be a good pie.

Back to the house to make crust and toss apples in brown sugar and cinnamon, to pour the berries over, to assemble and send covetous looks through the oven door.

It's perfuming the house right now. I can't wait.

It's not living on the banks of Plum Creek, but it's a start. Soon the (cultivated) zucchini will be ready to eat, and then it will feel like I'm hunting and gathering and providing for my family again.

Nellie Olsen might be impressed.

*There is something very grand about being able to point to a bush when the kids get fractious and saying 'Here. Have a snack.'

canada has the best holidays EVER

National Sex Day

kinda makes you want to be a canuck too, huh?

Sunday, 10 August 2008

driving home in the dark

Driving home in the dark is the nicest thing after work. (At least on sultry summer nights.)

I'm free to open the windows, to let the cool(ish) air sweep in and clear the car, cool my body, clear my mind. It signals to me that work is over, that now is the time to relax and sift through things until that moment when I hop into bed and lay my head down.

And what could be better than a big draught of crisp sea-side air?

Saturday, 9 August 2008

mortality and keystrokes

It’s late, and I’ve been working on the Death Lists for what feels like hours, punctuated by registering patients for the ER and the phone calls by people desperate to say goodnight to ill loved ones.

I’m starting to welcome the distractions.

On the surface, it’s not a terrible task – input a health card number, start the process of closing out a deceased’s file. It’s all a series of numbers. HCN, the date of death (day first, Jess, you’re not in America now) the code for this hospital, and then mark it - EXO or EXP, dependent upon where they died – in this hospital or another, at home or in a cot surrounded by flashing lights and shrilling alarms.

I’m not used enough to the pattern of tab-tab-tab-enter-numbers-tab-tab to ignore the other things written in these brief missives of ended lives. Things keep slowing me up.
Grabbing my attention. Things like DROWNED AT HOME or the shorthand diagnoses of failing health, of PLEURAL EFFUSION to TIA to DIED IN HOSPITAL.

I think if I came upon a name of someone I knew I would weep.

I know that if I keep working at this that in a few weeks I won’t notice so much anymore, that I’ll be hardened, that it won’t be such a shock. And perhaps I should be thinking that these people are at peace now, met their Maker, out of pain.

But tonight, Death is not pretty. Or a release. Tonight, death is paperwork. Tonight, I’ve more than two hours to go.

Friday, 8 August 2008


I’ve always wondered what my life would have been like if I hadn’t blown off soccer.

Not that I was any good, you see, but there is something about the flexibility and fluidity needed for playing that makes me think that there were good lessons to be learned there on that muddy field, lessons I passed up in a storm of ‘Really? I really have to do this?’ and general whining and bratty pre-teen bitching.

But I wonder what would have been if I’d had the stick-to-it ness I needed to become good on the flute, as well.

(My flute teacher had a faint sibilant French accent that was, retrospectively, creepy as all hell. ‘You have not been practisssssing to your potential, Jessssica. Why would you wound your flute sssso?’)

There are so many twists and turns on our lives, so many paths we’ve never taken, so many intersection points where we switched lanes and jumped on a new bandwagon, abandoning the old in favour of the shiny new. I envy people that decided early on that they would stay with one thing – and then went on to be fulfilled with that. Clever.

I’m not clever. I’ve been hop-scotching through hobbies and pastimes my whole life – (clarinet to flute to piano to soccer to shotput to volleyball to drama to writing to cross-stitch to cooking to photography to ??) guaranteeing that while I’m an expert at just about nothing, I know a little about a lot of things – usually just enough to get me in trouble.

My father is not a hopper. While always learning and rehoning his skills, he’s been playing the bass and the banjo and taking photographs for ever. He’s good at it.

I’m a little jealous of that. Maybe if I’d just stuck with soccer……

(nah. I still don't like the idea of all the mud.)

Thursday, 7 August 2008

on a cold day they're ducks

We have a new kid-sized pool. And it's been a struggle to explain to the kiddles that 'damn it, it's cold, and you wouldn't go in there anyway' - so even though the day looked like this:

Rosey suited up and went for it. There was a lot of bouncing

and cautious dipping of toes,

and I was just suggesting that this be given up for another (warmer) day, when out of nowhere came this flash! and a splash!

and a kerr-rash!

And The Boy went in. Quickly, because it was really too cold. But he went in.

I think they think that if they pretend it's warm out it will actually be. I wonder if that ever works??

Monday, 4 August 2008

eight things to do

Tagged by that Hot Thing Ree -

Eight things I want to do before I die:

  1. Travel. This may be hard, as the man I married does not like traveling, even going so far as to mutter things about snakes and other local fauna. (NS, you see, has no poisonous snakes and very few creeping things.) But I dream of Greece and Italy, wonder about my German heritage and have a soft spot for the Ireland I learnt in books - so either we'll buy the worrywart a super deluxe first aid kit, or I'll hijack one of my sisters-in-law.
  2. Write. More than this blog. I've always had people and circumstances swirling around in my head - the trick seems to be that I need to take a few, flesh them out and stay with them. (sigh) Someday.
  3. Spend some time with my grandparents and my father, learning and recording stories of my forefathers. My great-Aunt Bertie was the keeper of many of those records, and when she died, a lot of them went with her. I didn't care so much when it happened (I was in my early teens) but now I miss not having that knowledge.
  4. See a grandbaby or two. Although I'm in NO HURRY, (hear me, kids??) there is something infinitely comforting about that image. Circle of life and all that.
  5. Learn how to do more handicrafts. I can cross-stitch, but I'm absolutely LOUSY with needles, and crocheting - well, I might as well be working with dental floss and two forks. I would really like to quilt, at some point.
  6. Garden. Every fall I draw up elaborate diagrams, every spring they get flung by the wayside. Not so interested in canning (see #5, all thumbs) but some fresh veg would be lovely. And I'd love to nurture something besides the dreaded (and still fast-growing, thank you very much for asking!) zucchini.
  7. To make a difference. My mom started us out early volunteering, and I've started that with Cass (and soon will with Rosey.) I'd like to work with the elderly, to take a more active interest in the local SPCA and to work with the community, not just as a CHB member but as an activist.
  8. My Peace Corps dreams were tucked away in high school, but perhaps teaching English as a Second Language somewhere?
Ooh, more people to tag...
TX Poppet
Molly Bawn
No Internal Editor
Beggars Shot Glass
The Looney Bin
Why Mom Drinks Rum

yes, yes, that's only six. Hey! If you haven't done this, and you want to, I'd love to read yours! Send me a note so I can follow you back!

Sunday, 3 August 2008

this post brought to you from Big Time-Wasters, Inc.

  • It has rained and thundered and lightninged and rained again. The kids are squirrellier than a pack of rabid monkeys. Tomorrow I'm taking them to the beach. As long as it isn't storming, what do they care if they get wet?
  • Eating too many salt-and-vinegar potato chips pickles your mouth. Weeally.
  • McCain and Obama are even in the polls? wrings hands What's next?
  • The beheading is taking up a lot of space in the news. So many unanswered questions.
  • R took a bath tonight with her babies. They both are the kind that drink and wet, so they end up full of water. The best way to get the water out is to yank the dolls arms and legs up in the air and get as much water out of the 'pee hole' as you can. Right now there are two dolls in that position wedged among the faucets, staring out blankly as they do yoga. I did take a picture but the more I look at it the less I want to post it.... Anyway, I'll know when B gets home tomorrow because I'll hear the Jesus Christ! coming out of the bathroom when he goes in to have a shower.
  • Also, in the 'Where The Hell Is My Head' category, I bought the second crop of plastic water bottles today. Why the WTHIMH designation? This second group, JUST LIKE the first one, is #7 plastic. My grandchildren are going to have overbites and fur if I don't straighten up. Must make list to put in purse......
  • B has been working nights lately. He went on a call last night and forgot to take his mouth guard out. I guess when he was telling the patient to lie still and not struggle on the backboard one of the nurses burst out laughing and finally told him he sounded like Elmer Fudd.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

we all love to dance

I found this today - it's cute until about the one minute mark, when it hits you that although we're all over the globe, in many different situations and lives, many that will never intersect, we're all willing to show and share joy.

(the picture is much better if you double click and go through to the you-tube site and click on 'watch in high quality' right underneath the screen)

Where In Hell Is Matt?

There's also a very funny video called 'Where in the hell are Matt's outtakes'. Happy weekend, folks!

Friday, 1 August 2008

pretty things

For days now I've been putting off the park. Somehow, between working and ball practice and missed naps it's been hard to get my monkeys there to play. So last night, I promised.
I would pack a lunch and we'd go, first thing in the morning. We'd stay out all day. It would be fun.

Cass woke me up at 6:50 am. Yanking his shirt over his head, he was all set to leave......

Not quite the first thing in the morning I'd planned. I settled him with cereal and went to hunt down the coffee, yawning hugely.

And of course, by the time R was up and dressed and ready to go and I'd glanced outside (the uncaffeinated fug lifting with every life-giving sip) it was graying over, and promising to rain.

The first giant splats hit the windshield on the way into town. Cass groaned.

So! Regrouping time. We went to the library, then thought we'd have a walk through one of the pocket wildernesses 'round here. That was canceled when it began to thunder. Now, I don't mind my two getting wet. Dampish never hurt anyone. But being out among the giant pines with the accompanying storm sound effects rumbling around our heads? Nuh-uh.

I pulled a leaf from my Canadian pocketbook and did what most other people in town waiting out the rain did - we went and got coffee.

And then the rain began to slow. So we went to the playground after all.

I love this playground. We come here quite a bit, and have for some time. In that time, we've seen two re-vamps of the playground equipment,
although they've left the benches.They're a bit mucky-looking but very comfortable.And they're right next to the old roses.

So while your son plays with the diggers and the jungle gym and your daughter alternates between the swings

and jumping on the rocks near the river,

you can sit and sniff up great draughts of fresh air and blowsy roses

and look at pretty things.


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...