Monday, October 29, 2007

Ms. Attitude

It's hard to remember she's only five years old sometimes.

I had ripped my thumbnail opening a package of pancake mix, and I was nibbling at the nail.

Rachel [indignantly]: Mommy, stop biting your nails.

Me: Oops, you're right, I better go get the clippers.

Rachel [sounding very teenage snotty]: Hah! So, who's the mommy now?

I figured I had another nine years til I had to put up with this level of snark.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I planned the murders meticulously. I bided my time until late at night when everyone in the house was asleep. I tiptoed into the kitchen and pulled a steak knife from the block on the counter. The light from the range hood glinted eerily on the serrated blade. Swiftly, I went into the living room and found my first victim. One stab with the knife, and it was all over. I cornered my next victim and it too was quickly dispatched. Soon the floor was littered with limp bodies. I cleaned up the mess.

Crap, I hate getting rid of the left-over birthday balloons. I tried to suggest to the girls that they play that game where you sit on the balloons and try to pop them with your bum, but they want to keep the balloons. All of them. Leah might actually have named them. So every night this week, I'll cull the remaining balloons a few at a time, so that they don't notice that the balloons are gone all at once. Oh, I'll leave them a couple to play with, but there really is no need to have a living room full of balloons now the party is over. I am merciless and cold-blooded that way.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

About last night

Things I wanted to do last night:
  • Watch episode 3 of The Tudors which I missed last Tuesday because of book club, but Natalie tapes it, and loaned it to me until today, when she needs the tape back to tape something else
  • Work on the slippers I'm knitting for Leah. Two years ago, I made a pair for Rachel, and Leah's been waiting for me to make her a pair ever since. To say I'm a rank amateur at knitting is to pay me a big compliment.
  • Read. Seriously. I have a bunch of books out of the library, and I can think of nothing more desirable* than to curl up on the couch or in my bed and read for longer than it takes me to pee. Lately, my books have been living in the bathroom and are being ingested in pee-length segments. To say that this makes following the narrative difficult is somewhat of an understatement.
Things I should have done last night:
  • Laundry. More specifically, folding and putting away laundry. The pile of clean and wrinkled clothing on top of my dryer is very large and teetery. One day it will overbalance and bury me completely and I won't be found until the smell of decay is stronger than the smell of fabric softener sheets.
  • Clean birthday cake icing smears off the dining room floor and take down the streamers and balloons from Rae's birthday party Sunday.
  • Vacuum fish pellets off the living room floor. Don't ask.
What I did last night:
  • Turned the phone ringer off and went to bed at 7:45, right after tucking in the girls.
  • Lapsed into unconsciousness.

*Well, OK, I have to admit that curling up with Johnathan Rhys-Meyers on the couch or in my bed would be infinitely more desirable. Sorry, book.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

An inconvenient truth. Or four.

With apologies to Al Gore, I find that the most common inconvenient truths in my life spring from the mouths of my children. Small children delight in telling the truth about most things. They have yet to develop those social filters that stop most of us from saying things that, while truthful, might hurt feelings or cause embarassment or are just best kept to oneself. Some examples:

Rachel, to her friend while sharing a snack of baby carrots: "This carrot is long and skinny like my mom, and this carrot is short and fat like your mom." Fortunately, the mom wasn't there. I can only hope that that line wasn't repeated when the little girl went home.

Playing "I Spy" with Leah:
Me: "I spy, with my little eye, something that is grey."
Leah: "Your hair, Mommy? "

Leah when asked how she liked the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's version of the Nutcracker, which we dressed up for and stayed up waaay past her bedtime to see live at the National Arts Centre: "Well, it was exciting and boring."

Rachel to me (and everyone within earshot) at the grocery store: "Look at how big that lady's boobies are! They're HUGE!"

I have learned (the hard way) to not say things within my kids' hearing that I wouldn't want repeated. Well, I've kinda learned:

When Leah was in Junior Kindergarten, 4 years old, she was invited to the birthday party of a boy in her class. She wanted to go, so I RSVPd and got directions. When the day came, we pulled up in front of a mansion. No other word to describe it. It was huge. I was muttering under my breath about the size of the place to myself as we walked up the long driveway. Apparently, Leah was listening to what I was saying. The little boy's mom welcomed us into the foyer, where 3 or 4 other moms were helping their kids off with boots and coats. Leah looked around in wonder at her surroundings. The front of the house -- foyer, formal dining room, and office -- was easily big enough to hold our whole small house. Leah looked at me, and in a clear, high, very carrying voice said, "You're right Mom, this is a big honkin' house!" OK. It was an embarassing couple of minutes helping her out of her coat before I could escape.

I think it will take a while for them to learn that while honesty is the best policy, sometimes honesty out loud is not. I'm sure I'm not alone. What inconvenient truths have your little darlings blurted out in public?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Happy birthday, baby!

You're not a baby anymore. You're five years old today. Five! But you'll always be my baby. You aren't always easy to get along with -- you're fierce, independent, sure of yourself, stubborn, curious to a fault, quick to anger, and quick with the hugs and kisses. You are easily one of the most affectionate people on the planet (when you're not beating on your sister with a Barbie). You love babies, acorns, frogs, cats, getting dirty, sidewalk chalk, playing at the park, my make-up, and your sister. You don't know the meaning of the words 'slow', 'gentle', 'walk', 'quiet', or 'don't touch that'. And I wouldn't change a thing about you. Well, except maybe the hitting Leah with the Barbie thing.

I love you Rachel. Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tagged or 4 is a beautiful number

Josie at No Internal Editor tagged me with a meme last week sometime. Since I really have nothing to say today, here we go:

4 jobs I’ve had

Counter person at the Dairy Delite (I was about 15, lasted one day -- the final straw was when I made a banana split and forgot the banana); junior geological assistant (a.k.a. grunt - I ran traverse lines through the northern Ontario bush with a pacer and compass, carried rock samples through the northern Ontario bush, hammered rock samples into rock chips for geochemical assay, portaged an outboard motor through the northern Ontario bush, you get the picture); scientific editor; managing editor.

4 movies I could watch over and over

The Princess Bride, This is Spinal Tap, Bull Durham, Bridget Jones's Diary

4 TV shows I watch

Grey’s Anatomy, Hockey Night in Canada, The Tudors (oh the man-candy in that show!) and Torchwood (just started watching that last one, not sure if it'll become a regular thing)

4 places I’ve lived

I was born in Hastings, U.K.; when I was really little I lived in Freiburg, Germany; spent most of my life in Ontario (Windsor, Toronto, Sudbury), and I now live in Carp, Ontario, near Ottawa.

4 favourite foods

Caesar salad, cheeseburgers, seafood linguine, dark chocolate

4 favourite colours

Dark green, silver, pink, black

4 places I’d love to be right now

Curled up on my couch with tea and a book; on a warm beach somewhere with sunscreen, Coronas and (great idea, Josie) cabana boys; touring the Niagara wine area stopping at wineries and B&Bs; in England visiting relatives.

4 names I love but could/would not use for my children

Gemma, Nina, Julia for girls -- my husband didn't like them. Matthew for a boy -- didn't use cause I had girls.

Ooooo, now I get to tag. Hmmmm, I tag Briana at Life with Boys and Meanie at Meanoldmommy. Tag. You're it!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Girls' night out, the recap

I went out with a few girlfriends on Friday night. Had a great time. Had the following e-mail exchange this morning with another friend who knew we were going out, but lives too far away (Nova Scotia) to join us. You have to read it bottom to top.

Friends with snark are the very best friends.


From: Evelyn
Sent: Monday, October 15, 2007 9:33
To: Alison
Subject: RE: how did it go?

Ok good to go! The mittens are always a dead give-away.

From: Alison
Sent: Monday, October 15, 2007 10:21 AM
Subject: RE: how did it go?

Oooo, ouch. Probably mid-twenties. I don't think his mittens were pinned to his coat sleeves.

From: Evelyn
Sent: Monday, October 15, 2007 9:20
To: Alison
Subject: RE: how did it go?

Was his Mom with him at the market or how ‘young’ was he?

From: Alison
Sent: Monday, October 15, 2007 10:08 AM
To: Evelyn
Subject: RE: how did it go?

Pretty quiet, actually. Shell and I went out for dinner at the Cheshire Cat. Natalie joined us after dinner for drinks. Krista bailed on us -- had a house showing/open house she had to prepare for. Stayed at the pub til 11:30 or so. Nat went home. Shell and I went to my place and had a fire in the fireplace and drank a bottle of wine and talked til 1:30. It was nice though. And the waiter was cute. Young, but cute. And I ran into him the next morning at the farmers' market and he remembered me and said hi.

From: Evelyn
Sent: Monday, October 15, 2007 8:17
To: Alison
Subject: how did it go?

How did the celebration go?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Happy Blogiversary to me!

Well, I'm not counting the lone posting last September which said merely "under construction, check back later".

My blog started last October 11, and I've been blathering on at you for a year now. Can you believe it? Work is crazy busy today, so I'm going to cheat and direct you back to my very first blog post, which I'm sure no one but me ever read. Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

There's got to be a non-pc joke in there somewhere

I don't get a lot of hits on my blog. Mostly, my readers are a small group of family, friends and a few bloggy friends I've made by commenting on other blogs. Most people finding me by accident are searching Google for "Noresund bed", and finding my post on putting together my new Ikea bed.

I cannot hope to match Danigirl's popularity as queen of the "Ikea dog penis" search. Nor can I compete with the varied and strange search strings that have lead people to Chris at Rude Cactus. But, hey, I will now relate my own story:

Last week I got a hit on my blog from someone in New Delhi, India. Googling "cow penises". Seriously. Holy cow*, I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

*OK, I tried really, really hard to resist saying "holy cow" in this context. But I am weak, people. Weak.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Be careful out there

I have several reasons to celebrate coming up in the next two months. Friends are coming to town to visit for different events. I have a couple of girls' nights out planned. Then, yesterday, I read this horrific story of a girls' night out gone horribly wrong and it gave me pause. Could this happen to me? I like to think that I'm too aware, too cautious -- but you never know. Please read it.

It also reminded me of something that happened, or almost happened, to a friend of mine. Nearly 20 years ago, I was living in Toronto with my boyfriend D and a room-mate S. S and I had gone to university together and now were just starting out in jobs in our field. The three of us went out one night to this huge barn of a bar in Mississauga to see a band -- FM. The place was set up with long tables, so we ended up sitting with people we didn't know. We were drinking beer. S and I were drinking at about the same rate, beer for beer. A guy sitting next to her, that we didn't know, struck up a conversation with her. He went up to the bar and brought her a beer back. Through a crowded dark bar. I think he put something in her beer. He was very attentive to her, leaning over and talking to her, putting his hand on her arm, pulling his chair closer to her.

A little bit later, S was really drunk, she was unsteady on her feet and when she got up to go to the ladies' room between sets, she was stumbling. I had drunk the same number of beers (4, I think) and was fine. I went with her to the bathroom, and she was hanging onto me saying "Please take me home. Don't let me go home with anybody else." As if I would. S was definitely not the type to leave a bar with a guy she'd just met. We went back to the table, and I said to D, "She's not feeling well, we need to take her home now." Mr Helpful at the table, the one who bought her the beer, was all "hey, why don't you guys stay and watch the next set, I'll drive her home." "No," I said, "Thanks, but we'll take her home." The guy was about to start arguing with me, but D stood up and loomed menacingly and told him that we would be taking her home, and the guy backed off.

S slept all the way home in the car. I helped her into bed where she stayed for the next 12 hours, emerging only to throw up periodically. By the Sunday she was pretty well back to normal again.

At the time, we weren't certain that he had drugged her. We explained it away to ourselves: S wasn't a big drinker -- 4 beers was a lot for her. She had been coming down with a cold, and maybe that had affected her tolerance to the alcohol. Maybe it was drinking on an empty stomach. But now, in hindsight, it seems pretty conclusive that he did, and it bothers me that we didn't tell anyone, we didn't take her to the hospital, we didn't call the police. I think perhaps that we were just naive and couldn't realize that someone would do something like that on purpose. But some people will. And some people do. Now. Today. And the story Karen told on Meanoldmommy didn't have a happy ending.

So please, if you're going out for a girls' night, be careful, be aware, and look out for your friends. I know I'm going to.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


There's a wonderful cookware/kitchen gadget store called the Glebe Emporium over on Bank Street, about a 20-minute walk from my office. It's a great place for browsing or picking up gifts. It's the best place to find paté knives, wine glasses, giant stock pots, banana protectors for your lunchbox, or potato peelers with handles shaped like a tiny stack of spuds. Scattered throughout the store are little blackboards with quotations chalked on them. My favourite reads: "If life hands you lemons, make lemonade. But if life hands you pickles, you might as well give up, because pickle-ade is really disgusting."

Well, last night, life handed me a small bouquet of pickles. Nothing really earth-shattering or serious, no grave diagnoses or untimely deaths, but just enough to make a day where I came out of 8 hours of advanced Excel training (pivot tables, anyone? Vlookup? What??) with a dull throbbing headache just that much worse.
  • I was starved when I got home. I told the girls we would have to have supper before we went to do errands, including a trip to Dollarama which was a reward to Rachel for good behaviour. I took a pan of PC chicken sausage rolls (Rae's new obsession) out of the oven and she came over to sniff at them and she leaned too close and burned her chin on the cookie tray. Ice was needed.
  • Stopping to have supper first got us to the dollar store at 6:17. It closes at 6:00. Many, many tears from Rachel. I am a bad mommy. I was left in no uncertainty at all about this fact. This didn't help the headache.
  • We headed to the grocery store to pick up a few things. I promised the girls a treat at the checkout to make up for not getting to the dollar store. While chasing Leah around the various checkouts as she searched for white Tic Tacs, I wasn't watching the screen to see all the items rung up like I usually do. The beeping of the scanner sounded very loud and echoey in my sore head. I glanced at the running total: $121.89. "Stop!" I half-yelled at the checkout girl, "there's no way I've spent over a hundred dollars. Something's wrong." The people in line behind me looked mildly interested at this until it became clear that I expected the checkout girl (and she was only about 16 or so) to find the mistake and correct it, then there was a low muttering and some eye rolls. I cared not. Turns out she had punched in the wrong code. Instead of ringing up 2 croissants from the bakery, she had rung up two cases of rice milk at $33.99 a case.
  • After putting the groceries in the trunk and starting the car, I had to get back out of the car to help Rachel with her seat belt. While trying to unlock the driver's door to in order to get out, I accidentally set off the car alarm. It took me nearly a minute to remember how to shut it off and the loud honking was making us all crazy.
  • On the way home, Leah and I were talking about her new split class, and had the following conversation:
    • Me: I don't know how the teacher can teach you everything she would have taught you if she was teaching you 100% of the time, now that she has to spend half the time teaching the Grade Ones in your class.
    • Leah: I don't know. You could ask her, or the principal. We have a man principal now.
    • Me: Yeah, I know, I saw him at the back-to-school barbecue. He looks about 12 years old.
    • Leah: 12? No he doesn't.
    • Me: No, I didn't really mean that. It's just weird for Mommy that all the people that I used to look up to as being older and wiser are now younger than I am: doctors, teachers, police. Even your principal is younger than I am.
    • Leah: Yeah, waaaaaaaaaay younger.
    • Me: Ouch. Thanks.
  • Rachel slipped on the front porch stairs when we got in and added a skinned knee to the burned chin.
  • I realized I had forgotten to buy paper towels and Advil, and I'm out of both.
I gave up. After I got the kids in bed, I opened a beer and took it to bed with me. No pickle-ade for me.