Saturday, September 29, 2007

Differing ideas of hygiene

We were at the farmer's market this morning, the way we usually are on a Saturday morning. It was hay ride and hot chocolate day today. And a perfect day for it too. The sky was blue and the sun shone brightly, but it was cool. The Canada Rare Breeds organization had a trailer there full of heritage breeds of chickens and ducks, and a couple of sheep. The girls went through the trailer ooohing and aaahing over the heritage livestock, petting the sheep and picking up feathers from the grass outside the trailer.

We went on the hayride, and then lined up for the hot chocolate. The girls were sitting in the wagon, sipping on styrofoam cups of cocoa and marshmallows. Leah decided she didn't want her marshmallows, and before I could stop her, was fishing them out with her fingers and popping them into her sister's cup. "Hey!", I said, "Don't use your dirty fingers to put marshmallows in Rachel's hot chocolate. " "Don't worry, " Leah assured me, "I licked them first."

Ummm, yeah. That'll work.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


I read this post yesterday, by Andrea at a garden of nna mmoy. It was still fresh in my mind when I went home after work and picked the girls up from daycare. Leah had done well on her spelling test, Rachel couldn't wait to tell me that they were going to make fruit salad in class today. Rachel set the table. Leah put away some toys that were left in the living room without being asked. All things that I want them to do, but at the same time their growing independence makes me just a little bit sad. I won't have them forever. I know that. And it's healthy that they grow away. I know that too. But you still want to hang on while you can.

Which is why when Rachel asked me last night at bedtime if she could sleep in my bed, I said yes. It won't be too long before she doesn't want to sleep pressed up against me, hogging the pillows, and I'm going to miss that when it happens. She had a hard time settling down, calling several times for drinks of water, one more story, Huggy Bear and her biddy (blanket). An hour later it was quiet and I assumed she'd fallen asleep. "Mommy?", I heard. I went towards the bedroom, sharp words rising in my throat, Just go to sleep Rae, Mommy's trying to get the kitchen cleaned up. It's so late, you'll be so grouchy tomorrow and I can't be late for work in the morning. But I controlled myself and said, "What's up Rae?".

"Mom", she said, her voice full of quiet wonder, "Listen! I hear geese." The window over the bed was open, and through it came the wonderful autumnal sound of a flock of Canada geese honking and calling as they flew low over the house. The sound blew in with the mist on a cool breeze smelling of fallen leaves. "I love that sound, Mom," she said. "Isn't it beautiful?" She heard something beautiful and wanted to share it with me. And I had been about to be angry with her because my housework had been interrupted. Housework. How crazy is that?

I climbed into bed with her and we snuggled for a bit and listened to the geese flying over the house and she fell asleep in my arms.

Monday, September 24, 2007

This and that

  • Post-Carp Fair wrap-up: The fair was great. The weather was beautiful and the girls had a blast eating fair food, running from ride to ride, and petting the animals. And I was pleasantly surprised that everyone who parked along the street actually parked on the street. I only had to ask one person to move his car, which he did without complaint. But I was less impressed with the amount of litter I had to pick up off my lawn: 6 empty Smirnoff Ice vodka cooler bottles (Dude, I know when you're 16 it's cool to stand around on the street at night next to your buddy's pickup and drink, but take the empties with you, don't throw them on my lawn, or tuck them carefully inside the culvert in my ditch), a couple of blister packs of gum, two styrofoam poutine containers, a gatorade bottle, an Old Port package, and a Maaco damage appraisal form for a 2000 Honda Civic ($2400, ouch!). No underwear or vomit though, which was good.
  • It's weird to live in the country and work in the city. Today, on the way to work I saw the following:
    • Three wild turkeys walking along the side of the road (Run, little buddies -- Thanksgiving's in two weeks!!!)
    • Cows mating. It really is as uncomfortable-looking and lumbering as you'd think. And since I was whizzing by at 60 kph, I'm not sure that the one participant was actually a bull. It didn't look like one. It might have been a cow all gender-confused from watching Barnyard. Or maybe she just swings that way.
    • Some Hasidic Jews walking along the sidewalk in front of a Tim Hortons.
    • A lady in jogging gear pushing a jogging stroller wearing a cell phone headset and carrying a Starbucks cup
  • I probably could write a thought-provoking post about the dichotomy of mind inherent in living and working in two such differing environments, but screw it, it's Monday. All you're getting is bullets.
  • I watched Zodiac on Saturday night, and now I think I'm a little bit in love with Robert Downey Junior. And Jake Gyllenhaal. Ok, and maybe just a tiny bit with Mark Ruffalo too. My friend Ev says this means I'm scarily not picky. I think it was just inspired casting. Or too much merlot.
  • I fixed the cobblestone walkway. Finally. About a month ago, really hard rains washed out the sand and gravel underneath 7 or 8 cobblestones, and there was a dangerous sinkhole. Rae was drawing on the driveway with sidewalk chalk and watching me carry all the tools and sand over to the pathway. "What's that thing called, Mom?", she asked. "A crowbar", I answered. "Oh." [beat] "You better be careful with that, I don't want to be driving you to emergency." See, they really do listen. Not to absorb the info, just to memorize it to throw it back at you later.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Hey, look at this!

Hey, check this out! I'm Rant of the Day at OttawaStart Blog. (I'm wondering now if it's taking attention whoredom to a whole new level to link to a site that links back to one of my own blog postings, but hey, I'll take the attention where I can get it.) Look, Ma, I'm famous. Sorta.

And this:

Josie at No Internal Editor gave me this last week! It's the 'You Make Me Smile' award. How cool is that? The only thing is, that having given it to me, I can't give one right back. And I want to, because she really does make me smile. Hearing about the things that go on in her single-working-mom life really resonates with me, and her son Wonder Boy is the source of many giggles and the occasional cup of tea spraying the keyboard. To steal one of her sayings, I heart Josie and WB.

It's hard to pick 5 people to pass this along to, since each and every damn one of you makes me smile on a daily basis. But here goes:

Meanie at Meanoldmommy. Fellow Ottawa mommy with two girls and a liking for punk rock. What's not to like?

Mamatulip at Where am I going...and why am I in this handbasket? Her stories about life with Julia and Oliver and Dave rock. End of story.

Danigirl at Postcards from the Mothership. One of my inspirations for blogging. How Dani manages to blog daily while working, caring for two active little boys, and gestating the Player to be Named Later is a mystery to me. Her self-deprecating humour and similar experiences to mine make me smile often. Also, I like her phrase 'attention whore', and I'm so stealing it.

Antonia at Whoopee. Strange, but killingly funny. I smiled for days at the thought of her and her husband checking into a hotel dressed as Roman Catholic Cardinals.

Alissa at Life's Little Adventures and Briana at Life with Boys (I'm cheating and giving out 6). Often it's their photos that make me smile -- pictures of Alissa's boys on the farm, sitting in tractor wheels or climbing on hay bales, or silhouetted against a sunset sky; pictures of Briana's boys playing ball or heading off to school, or being held upside-down by their dad. Their boys are much the same ages as my girls, and the similarities and differences in raising them that I get from reading their blogs (Alissa was my other inspiration for blogging) make me smile.

So that's it for today, a little bragging, and a little bit of thanks for all the smiles.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

An open letter to Carp Fair-goers

Dear Carp Fair-goers,
Yes, it's Carp Fair time again. That one weekend out of the year that you all drive out here to ride the rides on the Midway; see the farm animals and watch the heavy horses (damn, now I have that Jethro Tull song stuck in my mind); pay outrageous prices for drinks, fries, and cotton candy; and watch old rock acts in the beer tent. It's fun, I agree.
But see, here's the thing: I live here. I live in Carp 365 days a year, including the 3 or 4 days of the fair. So I'd like to just throw an idea out there for you. It's nothing revolutionary, really: Please be considerate of the people who live in the area where you park your car.
There, that wasn't so shocking, was it?
  • Please don't park on my lawn. The street beside my house is wide enough so that you can park your whole car on the roadway and it won't be in danger of being hit by passing cars. It's really hard to mow those tire ruts you leave on the edge of my lawn. So please don't get all snarly and rude when I ask you to move your car so that it's entirely on the roadway.
  • Take your little ones to the bathroom before leaving the fair. They have some quite nice bathroom facilities there, I've used them myself. Please don't wait til you get back to your car and then let your child relieve himself on my lawn.
  • If you're one of the people who like to stay late at the fair, good for you. Party on, dude. I have 2 little girls who will be in bed by that time of night. If you have to have a drunken argument, or fist-fight, or break up with your girlfriend, could you do it before you leave the fairgrounds rather than doing it loudly in front of my house at 2 a.m.?
  • Please don't leave any of the following on my front lawn (and these, I'm pretty sure, are from the people addressed in the above bullet point): empty beer bottles, empty pop cans, empty cigarette packs, a bra (I kid you not - it was pink), and vomit.
  • Could you do me a favour and leave the little reflective green sign with my street number on it where it is? It belongs on my lawn so that the fire truck or ambulance can find my place in case of an emergency. It can't perform that function if it's been pulled up and thrown in my neighbour's ditch.

Thanks. Now have a good time. All-you-can-ride bracelet day at the Midway is Friday this year.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I never learn

Somebody, Albert Einstein or Ben Franklin (or Sheila Copps maybe, for all I know), once said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results". I must be insane.

Despite my past history with the stuff, I once again pulled out the Krazy Glue to fix something for Rachel. Of course it went horribly wrong. I ended up with the head of a red, jewelled, dollar-store flower glued to my thumb and forefinger while the metal stem in the little pot sat on the counter. Seriously, the tubes of glue should have "Keep away from children. And Alison" written on them. And despite what it says on the tube, it doesn't work all that well at sticking a cheap metal stem to the cheap metal back of the flower head. It works much better at bonding the cheap metal back of the flower head to skin. My skin.

Fortunately, (or unfortunately -- I can't decide which) I'm an old pro at removing objects Krazy Glued to my body (see link in above paragraph for more details), and it's off now. So, I have three choices. 1) Toss the flower, and hope Rae forgets about it. 2) Back to the dollar store to get another flower, 3) Hey, there's a soldering iron and some solder in the basement!

I think I'll pass on 3), even though the trip to Emergency might make a great blog post.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I have a seven-year-old daughter. I also live in a town small enough that the LCBO doubles as the beer store, but it won't accept the empties. For that I have to drive to Stittsville. You might be forgiven for asking what these things have in common with each other and with the title of this posting. I'll get to it eventually.

Meet my oldest daughter, Craftzilla Leah. Not a day goes by without her bringing home artwork from school. Not an after-school evening goes by without something being coloured, cut out, molded, or attached to a piece of yarn. Not a single recylable escapes her steely eye. Everything is fair game to be taped, stickered, glued and markered into something else. Toilet-roll binoculars. Cereal-box televisions. Shoe-box Little People apartments, complete with furniture.

It's worse when her friend Alora comes over, as the visit will inevitably produce a truly frightening number of crafts that I can't throw out. At least not right away or during daylight. I'm not sure if this is normal seven-year-old-girl behaviour, as she is the first seven-year-old girl I have raised.

Leah knows that the black box (paper and cardboard recyclables) is fair game. I don't mind if she fishes a box out of the black box for one of her little projects. On the weekend, it was making a guitar. You know, you take an empty kleenex box or cut a hole in a rectangular box, put rubber bands around the box so that they can be strummed over the hole, attach a paper-towel tube for the neck, and voilĂ : a guitar. Big deal, you might say. Well, Leah loves the creating part, but the finishing and prettifying -- not so much. She's too eager to move on to the next project. So the painting of the box or covering it in pretty paper; it doesn't happen.

Which is why we have a lovely Tampax-box guitar in the living room.

I guess it could be worse. She could have rounded out the string section of her little orchestra with a Trojan-box violin complete with the Canesten-box neck. It could have happened.

Oh, but I digresss. The beer bottles. Right. Last night after dinner, I left the girls doing a jigsaw puzzle in the living room and went to the bathroom. I was in there ten minutes, tops. When I came back into the living room, I stopped dead. My living room, which I had just vacuumed before dinner, was awash in rice. Yup, uncooked parboiled rice. It was on the floor, and it was all over the coffee table. As were a butchered Kraft Dinner box, several bits of cardboard, and two tape dispensers. When I finally was able to form words, I asked Leah what was going on. "Look, Mum," she said proudly, "I showed Rachel how to make maracas!" And from behind their backs they produced beer bottles half full of rice, with discs of cardboard haphazardly taped over the mouths.

After a decent interval, the maracas will be returned to the beer store. And I'm thinking of leaving them just the way they are. Beer store guys deserve a little artwork in their lives too.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I can't wait for the movie

Did you ever love a book so much that when you heard that they were making a movie about it, you were simultaneously excited beyond belief and scared that they'd get everything wrong? Scared that the characters would look wrong, or that good parts of the story would be left out? I know friends who worried in this way about the Harry Potter series, or the Lord of the Rings. For me, that book (and its new movie) is The Golden Compass.

The movie website is slick and from what I see, I think I'm going to like the movie. And they have a little quiz to take in order to find out what your daemon (the external manifestation of your soul) would be. I was all over that. I found this at Postcards from the Mothership, and Danigirl has her daemon set to change forms based on feedback from her friends. I think that I know me best, so mine is staying put: Adan the jackal.