Saturday, December 29, 2007

Holiday travel*

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a child in possession of a bladder must be in want of a bathroom stop -- even if the child in question peed 32 minutes previously at the last rest stop and you are cruising along the 401 through Toronto doing 120, just passing Avenue Road in the far left fast lane of the express lanes which necessitates crossing the 12 or so lanes of express traffic, merging into the collector lanes, crossing the 9 or so lanes of collector traffic, finding an exit, finally exiting at Weston Rd and finding a McDonald's in the dark, in heavy traffic.

Holiday travel is so. much. fun.

I am posting from my sister's in Belle River, will be posting from home again by January 2nd. Happy New Year, everyone!!

*Apologies to Jane Austen

Monday, December 24, 2007

On the first day of Christmas

My true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear birch tree.

At least I think it was a partridge. It looked like a partridge. It might have been a ruffed grouse, maybe. I'm sure about the tree, though, 100%. But as I was sneaking around the house early in the morning in my bathrobe (back in October when I took this picture) I only managed to snap it in silhouette before my across-the-street neighbour came out of his house whistling, and the bird flapped away before I could get a better picture.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Enjoy the holidays however you celebrate them. Be happy and safe.

Now where do I find turtledoves?

Friday, December 21, 2007

All she wants for Christmas

4:17 a.m. this morning:

Leah [calling]: "Mom? Mom, can you come in here?"
Me [struggling out of bed]: "What's wrong? Are you OK?"
Leah: "Yeah. I just lost my tooth in my bed." [grinning an extra gap-toothed grin]
[A short search turns up the tooth in question.]
Leah: "Cool. Put it under my pillow!"
Me: "Umm, I think we missed the Tooth Fairy. It's almost morning, my alarm will be going off in an hour. How about we put the tooth under your pillow tonight instead?"
Leah: "OK."
Me: "Goodnight, sweetie."
Leah: "Goodnight." [Then, trying out her new mouth] "Crithmith. Merry Chrithmith. Hey Mom, I sound just like the song!"

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sorry I'm late

I think it's the U.S. army or marines or somebody who has the tag line: we do more before breakfast than most people do all day. I'm thinking that just for today I'm appropriating it and changing it to: my life sucks more before breakfast than most peoples' suck all day. Seriously.

The backstory. I've been late a lot lately. I've been really tired in the evenings and instead of preparing for the next day (laying out clothes, making lunches) I've been going to bed and doing the chores in the morning. So my leaving-the-house time has been severely affected and my arriving-at-work time has been creeping steadily later to 8:40 instead of 8:05. So last night I set my alarm half an hour early, so that I could do the chores I didn't do last night because I was at book club, and still have time to shower and fix my hair before work.

For your viewing pleasure, I present the anatomy of my morning:
  • 4:35 a.m. - Alarm goes off. I stumble to the bathroom and shower.
  • 4:50 a.m. - I'm in the kitchen. Tea is not going to do it this morning, I make coffee. While it is brewing, I open the girls' backpacks which I didn't do the night before because of book club and I start making lunches.
  • 5:07 a.m. - Coffee's ready. I bend over to get the cream out of the fridge and I seriously misjudge the overhead clearance (possibly due to wet hair flopping in my eyes) and bang my head against the freezer door hard enough to see stars (Hey. Look. The Pleiades! Aren't they pretty?).
  • 5:08 a.m. - I carry the coffee to the living room and sit for a moment. I turn on CBC and watch the rerun of last night's The Hour, drooling a bit. But whether that's a result of the blow to the head or my strange subconscious fascination with George, I can't tell. I mean he's probably young enough to be my son if I were a twisted Appalachian stereotype. (I had myself figured for more of a Colin Firth kinda girl. Minus the reindeer sweater, of course. But I digress...)
  • 5:40 a.m. - The lunches are made. I'm back in the bathroom to dry my hair. I flip the wet strands out of my eyes, look into the mirror, and recoil in horror. You've heard of death warmed over? Yeah, well I'm looking at death straight out of the fridge. Still in the Saran Wrap. Maybe 4:30 was a wee bit too early to be getting up considering that I was in bed late and that beauty sleep isn't a myth.
  • 6:00 a.m. - The girls' clothes are laid out, and they are sitting at the table eating the first of the 37 pieces of raisin toast they will consume for breakfast.
  • 6:45 a.m. - The girls are dressed, washed, combed and teethbrushed. I have started the car so it will warm up and I'm loading it with backpacks and bags*. (*foreshadowing)
  • 7:00 a.m. - The girls have put on snow pants, snow jackets, neck warmers, boots, mittens and hats. We pull out of the driveway. Yay! Half an hour earlier than usual.
  • 7:07 a.m. - Have dropped girls at daycare and am setting off to work.
  • 7:09 a.m. - I notice that I'm almost out of gas.
  • 7:18 a.m. - I pull into the Mr. Gas on March Rd and fill the tank. After replacing the gas cap, I lean back into the car to get my purse. IT'S NOT THERE. I have forgotten my purse at home. I explain to the gas guy, hand over my work I.D. as collateral, and drive back home (at least I'm not going to run out of gas).
  • 7:28 a.m. - I return home and grab my purse. I have a moment of panic when I realize my keys are not in my hand and fear that I've locked them in the house (it's been that kind of day), but I find them in my coat pocket.
  • 7:42 a.m. - Intent on getting to work, I drive right past the gas station and go a couple of kilometres down March before I remember that I owe the Mr. Gas guy $50 and I need my work I.D. Perhaps I am brain injured from whacking my head on the refrigerator.
  • 7:50 a.m. - I arrive back at the gas station and pay for my gas.
  • 7:52 a.m. - I attempt to make a left-hand turn out of the gas station onto March Rd. in the midst of the hellacious traffic that I originally left early to avoid.
  • 7:56 a.m. - I pull out successfully.
  • 8:00 a.m. - I reach down to grab the travel mug of sweet, hot, delicious coffee I made when I went back to the house. It's not there. It is on the counter in my kitchen. Damn.
  • 8:05 a.m. - I pass a Timmie's and gaze longingly at it. I don't have time for a coffee now, as this is the time that I should be unlocking the door of my office.
  • 8:50 a.m. - I get to work. Five minutes later than the latest I've been all winter. After getting up and leaving half an hour earlier than usual. I think this might be ironic. I am not sure. I make a mental note to check with Alanis.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Enough with the snow already *updated*

Yep, we got dumped on. Bigtime. I think the final amount was 57 cm which translates to about 23 inches. Then the blowing and drifting started. It started around midnight on Saturday night. I went to a Christmas party Saturday night at Shell's place, and her daughter Becca was at my house babysitting. I drove the 20 or so kilometres home around quarter to one in the morning very slowly, since the snow was blowing all over the place. By the time we woke up yesterday morning, in the midst of the storm, it was clear that Becca wasn't going anyplace. Fortunately, news of the coming storm had started on Friday, and the girls and I spent Saturday going to the grocery store, the library and the video rental place.

We watched a bunch of movies, made cookies, and when cabin fever set in, we went and played in the snow for a bit. I spent a sweaty hour with Murray around 3, but as you can see, the snow just kept right on coming.

This is a picture of my back deck. You can use the height of the counter for scale:

Erm, the bottle of Grand Marnier is also strictly for scale. Honest.

The picture below is either my barbecue or a baby Alp.

The house across the street. The snow has drifted up as far as the windows, which are about 3-4 feet above ground level.

Update: Apparently, much like some of the other men in my life, Murray has let me down. After starting and blowing about 10 feet, he quit and I haven't been able to start him again. Why am I not surprised? So I tackled Mt. Plow Ridge the old-fashioned way.

I'm very tired now.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

And in other news...

I'm really swamped right now.

That gentle I'm-all-ready-for-Christmas-well-kinda glow that I've been cocooned in has vanished like the mist and I realize I'm not nearly as prepared as I thought I was. So it's bullets for you today:

  • Shell and I made 11 tourtières the weekend before last, 4 regular ones (beef and pork) and 7 venison ones, for the Christmas party. I always go over and trade labour (rolling out pie crust and fluting edges) for a pie to take home. This one was mine:

I took a venison one. That's some damn fine Bambi, I tell ya. Mmmmmm.

  • Our family has its own version of pig latin that's been used for generations for discussing things in front of the children. Handed down from my Mom's cousin Pat, (and thus called Pattish) it has proved useful in talking about birthday presents and so forth. Until the weekend, when I was asking my Mom if she had been able to track down any Junie B. Jones books for Leah. I had to repeat myself a couple of times, since my Pattish is rusty, and Leah, who was sitting nearby, soon had a knowing look on her face. Later, she came up to me and said, "I know what you were talking to Nana about when you were talking in cursive. You were talking about Junie B. Jones." I was amused. First of all that she understood. And second of all her word for it: cursive. She figured that if fancy printing (writing script) is called cursive, then fancy talking should have the same name.

  • I finally wrote a Christmas letter. I put a few photographs in, but not nearly as many as I would have liked. So I'm presenting you with a few that didn't make the cut. Or just ones I liked. With captions:
"One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong...." A cauliflower from the Farmers' market, August 25, 2007.

There really is no place like home. A view from the end of our driveway, September 11, 2007.

7 adults, 8 children, 2 dogs, 1 really good time. September 2, 2007.

Jackie O. drops by for a visit. November 17, 2007.

Showing their true personalities. November 4, 2007.

  • And that's it for now. I can put a checkmark beside 'post on blog', and get back to finishing shopping, cleaning, and baking. Oh yeah, and working.

  • Oh, almost forgot. Rachel's oh-so-classy take on a much-loved Christmas carol: "Deck the halls with boughs of farts. Fart, fart, fart, fart, fart. Fart, fart, fart, fart." Yeah, I'm sure Santa's much amused. Better trade the wood-burning fireplace for one that can use lumps of coal.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Snow day or I love Murray

I was inexplicably back in my old apartment in Sudbury, wearing babydoll pajamas, and having a stuffed-animal fight with George Stroumboulopoulos from The Hour, who was ducking and winging teddies and bunnies back at me while simultaneously trying to interview Kingsley Amis over the phone.

Which is a pretty good trick, considering he's been dead since 1995. (Kingsley, not George.)

(I think I need a boyfriend.)

Then, of course, the alarm clock went off. Five o'clock. I stumbled to the kitchen and put the coffee on. I'm teleworking today, since Leah and I both have doctor appointments this afternoon. I sure picked a good day to stay home. This is what it looked like earlier this morning. I can't see my driveway. Can you?

What you might be able to see, if you look carefully, is the plow ridge. I live on a corner. This is not an advantageous place to live during snowplow season. Plows turning the corner scrape up more snow than they do on a straightaway, and once they straighten out, incrementally more (or magnitudinally more) snow gets dumped across the end of your driveway than in driveways farther down the street.

I was standing at my front window with a coffee in my hand watching the snow falling and the chickadees at the bird feeder when the plow went by. It dumped 456 cubic metres* of snow across the end of my driveway. Not being satisfied with this, the driver backed up around the corner and plowed again, uncovering part of my lawn and depositing a further 1276 cubic metres of snow onto the pile (*all amounts are approximate). I was very visible in the window. He studiously avoided meeting my eyes as he slowly drove past. I sipped my coffee and resisted the urge to wave to him using only one finger.

In order to get to the doctor's later, I'm going to have to get the car outta the garage, down the non-existent driveway, over Mt. Plow Ridge, and out onto the nice clear street. This was a job for Murray. I love Murray. I can always count on him. All he asks is a drink of gasoline and a plug-in start, and he's good to go. Murray is my snowblower. Now, I'm Canadian enough to enjoy shovelling my driveway when it's a light couple of centimetres, but when it's a dumping and there's a plow ridge that hardens like concrete 5 minutes after it's been deposited, you pull out the big guns if you have them. And Murray is my big gun. See?

George is pretty hot and all, and probably pretty strong too. But I bet he can't clear a driveway like Murray.