Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I want my sweatpants

I wish I was at home right now. I don't want to be at work in these pants. The kind with a waistband and buttons and a zipper.

I am bloated. I am so bloated I feel like I'm retaining Lake Superior. In fact, I think that sharp pain I just felt was the Edmund Fitzgerald lodging under my ribs.

Send chocolate. And sweatpants.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Portrait of the artist as a young girl

Leah looks like her dad. Just like him. She has his chocolate-brown eyes, his distinctive family nose, his height and long, lanky frame. Other than that, though, she's all me, through and through. Her matter-of-factness, her easy-going personality, her willingness to go along to get along, her love of reading, and, most of all, her twisted sense of humour -- me.

So, when she asked me if she could take a couple of pictures with my digital camera, and I said yes after making her promise to wear the wrist strap so she wouldn't drop it, I wasn't sure what to expect. She and her little sister hurried off into her room and there was loud giggling from the two of them for a while. She returned the camera and told me very gleefully, "I took some cool pictures of myself. You should post them on your blog."

As requested, Leah's self-portraits:

As you can see, she doesn't mind making a fool of herself to make people laugh. Wonder where she got that from.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I blame Walt

I have mice. Yep, mice in my house. Mice in my house. We've been in the house for 5 years, and this is the first time it's happened. It's also the first fall/winter that we've been without a cat, as we lost Elvis last February. A coincidence? I think not.

Anyway, I was cleaning the kitchen, moving aside some of the appliances that sit on the counter, when I found them. Mouse turds. Crap! (In all senses of the word.) Then I made a really bad mistake: I told the girls the truth when they heard me exclaim in the kitchen:

Me: Oh no!
Rae: What's wrong, Mom?
Me: I just found mouse poop. We have mice.
Leah: Cool! I like mice.
Rae: Can I see the poop?

See, thanks to Walt Disney and the horribly cute vermin in his movies, the girls are moved to hysterics at the thought of baiting a few traps with rice krispies and peanut butter to get rid of the little critters. According to Disney (and now my brainwashed daughters), mice are cute! And sweet! And adorable!

I guess if the mice at my place were like Jacques and Gus, and helped around the house and made me couture dresses, I could cut them a little slack, but they're not, and seriously, don't you think that Cinderella occasionally found a pile of mouse poop under her toaster oven and wondered what the hell she was doing encouraging the mice to live in the palace?

So the upshot of the situation is that either I shell out for a live trap and then release the mice far far away from our house (where hopefully they will be a good source of protein for hawks), or bait the more conventional traps and leave them out when the girls are in bed, making sure to dispose of the evidence before they get up.

Too bad Walt isn't still around. Either way, I'd ask him to empty the traps. I figure he kinda owes me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A day late...

Two weeks ago, I made an appointment at the garage to have the winter tires put on my car.


This is what greeted me when I woke up this morning:

I am not known for my good timing.

Yesterday, when it was chilly, but still fall-like, greenish brown grass and leaves still covering the ground, Rae looked up at the Christmas lights that I had put up on Sunday and asked, "Mom, is it winter yet?".

I guess I can safely say: it sure is, Rachel. It sure is.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A word to the wise

Don't put a thick layer of cherry Chapstick on your chapped lips and then eat Bits & Bites. And especially resist the urge to tip up the foil packet and pour the last few crumbs into your mouth. I'm just sayin'.

Oh, and Meanoldmommy took me up on the bad hair dare. Check out another 80s iconic do here.

Friday, November 16, 2007

DVD generation

We don't have cable or satellite TV.

We get about 5 channels with the rabbit ears, and of those, 2 are French and one is kinda snowy. But that's OK, the shows I like to watch are all carried on the 2 channels that come in clearly.

There are a couple of reasons for this. One, I'm cheap. I don't watch that much TV (Grey's Anatomy, Law and Order - SVU, the Tudors, Rick Mercer Report, HNIC and the local news is about it) and I refuse to pay $50 or more a month to waste more time in front of the TV. I read a lot.

And two, I like that my kids aren't bombarded with the endless advertising, especially toys and junk food, that seems endemic to any of the kids' specialty channels. It's nice for me to choose what to get my girls for Christmas, instead of having Mattel and the other big toy companies brainwash them into wanting what the companies want to sell me. The girls get some kids' programming on CBC, and that's commercial-free.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fanatic. If they watch The Cartoon Network while over at their Dad's place -- cool. And don't think that they spend all their free time playing with educational toys or hooking rugs for the homeless either -- they get their fair share of screen time. We have a fairly large collection of childrens' movies on VHS and DVD, and that's what they watch.

Our TV is older, which necessitates a complicated series of hook-up cables, but both girls can set the TV and its peripherals up to watch a tape or a DVD when they want. Rachel seems to confuse the two technologies though -- asking where the Special Features are on the tapes. Leah patiently explains that only the DVDs have those. They are masters of the pause button and the scene selection.

They truly are children of the digital age, though, in the way their thought processes work. The other day they were playing together in the living room while I was making dinner. It was some complicated imaginary game involving Barbies, small toy cars, and randomly cut pieces of coloured paper. They were quite happily playing when Rachel stood up suddenly, started hopping from one foot to the other, and said to her sister, "Leah, pause the game for a minute. I have to go to the bathroom."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bad hair decade

Last weekend, my friend Lori drove up from Windsor to visit. We've known each other since grade nine and our friendship has encompassed many drunken escapades, lots of barbecued food, several camping trips, the invention of the Ball Scorcher (1.5 oz. of vodka, E.D. Smith's vegetable cocktail, 7 shakes of Tabasco sauce, combine and serve in a brandy snifter), countless multi-hour telephone conversations, and a whole lot of being there for each other.

It was great to see her again. She brought along her two wolfhounds and a picture of the two of us taken circa 1982. It is very scary. It is very 80s.

Seeing as I'm decades a bunch of years lots a tad older than most of you reading this, I can only hope that you were young enough to be spared the worst of the 80s fashion-victim carnage: the curly perm. Second only to shoulder pads, iridescent green eyeshadow, and maybe headbands, the curly perm was an abomination that had its roots far back in history but only reached its full flower of awfulness in the late 70s and 80s.

How far back in history, you ask? Well, when Lori handed me the picture, and we were both convulsed with laughter, the first words she could get out were, "Geez, Al, you look like Louis the Fourteenth". I replied with the lame comment that at least I didn't have Satan's eyebrows, but she definitely won that round. In my defence (and echoing Grampa Simpson), it was the style at the time. And lots of famous people had that same hairdo:

Like the aforementioned King Louis XIV:

Olivia Newton John:

Sir Isaac Newton John:

Robert Plant:

Diana Ross:

All the members of Poison:

the Twenty-Minute Workout chicks:

And me (me and Sir Isaac -- separated at birth, don't you think?):

There you have it. Total 80s vileness. And I'm challenging anyone else who's old enough to have bad 80s hair pictures to post them. I dare you. I double dog dare you.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Things I learned last night

  • If your daughter says she isn't feeling well, and you cuddle up with her on the couch, make sure that she isn't totally pinning your legs so that you can move quickly to get her to the bathroom if she starts to throw up.

  • If you are half pinned under your daughter and she starts to throw up, instinct will make you cup your hands under her mouth to catch the throw up so it doesn't splatter on you, her, and the couch.

  • Cupped hands can only hold the output of about 3 heaves.

  • Children rarely stop puking after only 3 heaves, so vomit containment quickly becomes an issue.

  • If you yell to your other, younger, daughter to run to the kitchen and get Mommy a bowl so that you can unload your cupped hands of the vomit, it's a good idea to specify that you want a big bowl, otherwise your helpful child might return with a small glass bowl -- the kind you'd see on a cooking show holding the quarter cup of corn starch.

  • When the total insane absurdity of the situation hits you, don't laugh, or the puking child will think you're laughing at her, and not at the absurdity of the situation, and she will start crying as well as puking.

  • Once you have cleaned up the sick daughter, yourself, and the couch, and convinced the other daughter to put her clothes back on (for she has taken advantage of you being, ummm, distracted to strip to her underwear and get into the Halloween candy while watching TV) and got everyone into the car and have driven halfway to the after-hours clinic, your sick child will perk up and say her head and her stomach don't hurt anymore and that she just wants to go home and can she have some pizza please.

  • You will take her to the clinic anyway, even though you know they will tell you it's just a virus, because if you don't, it will turn out to have been a brain tumour or something.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Thursday, November 01, 2007

No princesses allowed

When the subject of Halloween, and more specifically Halloween costumes, came up at our house, Leah was very clear on one thing. Halloween is a time for being scary. "Why would anyone want to be something cute or pretty, Mom?", she asked, thinly disguised scorn in her voice. "I want to be a vampire. Or a werewolf." Rachel, still recovering from the indignity of last year's fuzzy pink unicorn costume (we waited too late to pick costumes, and ended up with one that very definitely didn't suit Rae's personality, all, really) chimed in that she wanted to be something scary too. A ghost. Or a vampire.

This decision went back and forth over a couple of days. Vampire. No, ghost. No, vampire. Until, in a flash of brilliance, Leah suggested that Rachel be the ghost of a vampire that died. I thought about going into the whole "undead" thing, but then decided just to tell them that it was a great idea.

So here are the scary vampire:

And a scary vampire ghost:

And a selection of pumpkins that the girls' father carved for them:

Pretty cool, I think.

A bit of sad news though, Halloween marked the loss of a family member. R.I.P. Steve.

Oh, and one last thing. It is a Really. Bad. Idea. to stay up late on Halloween night reading a Stephen King book alone in bed when you're the only one up in the house, and the wind is rising and all kinds of creepy noises are coming from Outside Your Bedroom Window, and the girls are muttering and tossing in their sleep, and you're sure you heard something moving in the garage. Seriously, don't do it. I think it was after one this morning before I fell asleep, with the Daily Show on the TV up loud to drown out the sounds of possible zombies/axe murderers/alien monstrosities/Steven Harper lurching, stalking, oozing, or waddling towards my bedroom.