Thursday, January 31, 2008

Gypsy Rose Rae

Rachel does not like wearing clothes. This isn't so bad in the summer, when she runs around the place wearing her bathing suit most of the time. But now, in the depths of winter, as soon as we get home after work, school and daycare, she starts undressing as soon as the door closes behind her, leaving a trail of clothes leading towards the living room like a newlywed's tease.

First it was just the socks. Then for a while it was the socks and pants -- she'd play with her Barbies wearing a top and underwear. Then it progressed until she was just wearing her underwear. Which is where I drew the line. Hey, I'm all about comfort, but her toilet hygeine hygene bum-wiping skills are somewhat rudimentary, and I like my furniture.

"Alison," I hear you saying, "you must be keeping your house much too toasty. You have only to lower the thermostat and Rachel will keep her clothes on." You'd think so, wouldn't you. Au contraire, mes amies. I did an experiment where I kept lowering the thermostat to see what temperature would finally convince her to put some clothes back on. It took some time, but I found the temperature: 63° Fahrenheit. At which point I was wearing jeans, socks, slippers, a teeshirt and two sweatshirts and my nose was red. I'm not spending all my time bundled up like that in my own home. So I've decided to live and let live, after all, it's just us three girls at home.

The downside is that she's so used to being undressed, she'll probably be pole dancing by the time she's 16.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Cougar's Corner

I'll apologize in advance to my American and/or overseas readers: unless you are hockey fans AND catch the CBC feed of the Saturday night games (Hockey Night in Canada) on your satellite dish, this probably won't make any sense at all.

For you Canadians (especially my fellow hockey chicks Josie and Susan and Becca), enjoy.

Oh, and the fact that I am in my forties, divorced, a hockey fan and I own a copy of this book (thanks, Natalie) does in no way mean that I endorse the views expressed in the clip. Honest.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I think that the cat is trying to drive me crazy.

Things keep disappearing around the house. Just *my* things.

Since Max has been living with us, the following things are nowhere to be found:

Both of my winter hats. The two hats that are warm and marginally flattering, that sit lightly on my head thus not squishing the hair style, and don't make me look like a giant doofus (mostly) -- gone. A hat is pretty much a necessity at -18°C. And it's not just one hat missing, but both. So I either wear a dorky looking tuque, or turn the collar up on my coat, hoping it'll catch my ears when they freeze solid and fall off.

The TV remote. The one that changes channels and adjusts the volume. And every time I heave myself off the chair to change the channel manually, he's lying on the back of the couch, smirking at me, all "You are a mere pawn in my master plan, lowly human."

I'm sure the hats and remote are hidden carefully away somewhere, like under Rachel's bed or in a safety deposit box in a Swiss bank.

Then this morning I was almost awake, still suspended somewhere between dreaming and consciousness, listening to his purring from somewhere on the bed. Then it stopped. That was enough to bring me all the way awake. I opened my eyes and stifled a scream. He was standing on my pillow staring at me intently from about 4 inches away. I have no doubt that he's planning on taking over. Either that or he was trying to psychically will me into buying and poaching him some fresh salmon.

I'm going to have to check my browser history pretty carefully. Because if it turns out that while I'm at work he's set up a Paypal account and is trying to order hypnotism lessons online, I'm in real trouble.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Leah's Anatomy

One of the things that Rachel got for her birthday last year was a doctor's kit. It was a nice one, and came with the usual assortment of toy medical instruments, including a blood pressure cuff and a scarily real-looking syringe. It also came with a lab coat and a clipboard complete with patient charts and prescription pads.

The girls had a blast pretending to be doctors. Leah, more advanced at writing, took over the clipboard to record their medical cases:

Hmmmm, let's see, the patient, a 44-year-old woman presents with a broken leg. And malnourishment too, by the looks of things. I had a sudden flash (probably brought on by withdrawl) of how this case would play out on Grey's Anatomy.

The staff would be clustered in the hallway, all staring concernedly at the chart, while beautiful, wasting-away patient Magiy (both doctor and patient are named for the girls' favourite people in the world), lies still in her bed.

Callie: "Let me just fix the leg.
Bailey: "It's not that simple, look at her blood presher, it's 110. Just 110. Not 110 over something else. I think the leg's infected."
Derek: "Damn it, we could use stronger antibiotics to fight the infection, if it wasn't for that damn racoon allergy. Stronger antibiotics might kill her."

Two things. My daughter has a great imagination. And I really want the writers' strike to be over.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

That'll teach me

Vanity is never pretty.

I decided put a widget in my template to show who links to me. (Yep, all 6 of you ;-) ) Then I changed my mind, and since I still futz with the template in code, I thought I was deleting the code I had added. In reality, I inadvertently deleted my entire template. Then I hit "save changes". I am an idiot.

It'll be a day or so before I can get my blogroll back up, my links, my cool moon phase widget, and I guess I'll be starting from scratch with the cool map thing that was showing my hits from India, Australia and Indonesia. Sigh.

I would like to state for the record that the beer I drank at lunch had nothing to do with this.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Universe is listening

The other day, I remarked to my friend Natalie, "now that they've shown the last new episode of Grey's Anatomy that they shot before the writers' strike started, what am I going to do to get my hospital fix?"

One should be careful what one says within earshot of the Universe.

Turns out that I got my hospital fix last night after all.

Scrubs? No.

House? No.

ER? In a manner of speaking.

The girls and I spent the evening and a big chunk of the night in Emergency at the Queensway-Carleton hospital. Rachel had a neck and head so painful that moving was causing her to scream. One minute she was fine, watching TV with her sister while I cleaned up after dinner, the next she was crying and screaming and holding the back of her neck. I gave her some ibuprophen and the three of us set off through blowing snow to the hospital.

Sunday at swimming lessons, after I had finished ogling the neighbourhood children, Rachel had fallen on the poolside tiles and given herself a goose egg on the back of her head. She was fine Sunday night and all day Monday, but the proximity in time of the two events had my Grey's-fuelled imagination in overdrive -- skull fracture? Meningitis? Visions of ambulance transfer to CHEO danced in my head.

It was not the most fun few hours I have ever spent. The waiting room was full and I was trying to entertain two girls up past their bedtimes, one in pain, and the other sad with empathy for her sister during waits to see the doctor and X-rays.

It was torticollis, also called wry neck. Spasms in the muscles that run from the scalp down to the shoulders. X-rays confirmed it -- instead of the neck vertebrae being in a curve (normal) they were straight, pulled like that by the tightness of the spasmed muscles. No wonder the poor thing was yelling every time she moved. Very painful, but not long-lasting, and treatable with ibuprophen and rest. Rachel is fine today, although not going to school. A day of movie watching and lounging are on her agenda.

As a replacement for Grey's, the Emergency experience was kind of a bust. Although the suspense level and emotional involvement were much, much higher, the doctors were nowhere near as hot.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson

I took the girls to swim classes late this afternoon. Since they aren't the same age nor are they at the same skill level, they are in different classes. I couldn't schedule them at the same time, so Rae's class is 4:30 to 5:00, and Leah's is 5:00 to 5:30. Leah and I sit together on the pool deck and watch Rae's class, and then Rae comes out and wraps up in a towel and we watch Leah's class.

I had just finished reading Robert Munsch's Smelly Socks to Rachel, when a movement in the corner of my eye caught my attention. A man had come out of the changing room into the pool area and was walking away from me. Clad only in black swim trunks and (and this should have been the tip off) a red tank that said 'Instructor' on the back -- he was stunning. My breath was literally taken away for a moment. Blondish hair, wide shoulders, muscular arms, a nice back and legs. Yup, all in all, eye candy. Radiating lines of deliciousness (fans of Grey's Anatomy will get this allusion). I might have drooled. Just a little, you know, in a lady-like way.

Then he turned around. Turns out I know him slightly.

When I met him last summer at an impromptu backyard bonfire party, he was wandering around with a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows tucked under his arm and eating a Mr. Freezie. We talked about the book for a bit and he told me how he was available....TO BABYSIT so he could earn gas money for when he borrows his dad's car. CRAP. He's the son of someone in my neighbourhood, and she's younger than I am. He's maybe seventeen.

I just want to take my brain out and scrub it now.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Come out, come out, wherever you are!

Chris over at Rude Cactus has lit the torch and declared today to be Official Delurker Day.

So, come out, come out, wherever you are! Leave me a comment and let me know who you are and where you're from. Lots of you do comment on a regular basis. Thank you. Seriously. I really love comments, so you are my favourite people in the whole world (barring Leah and Rachel, of course).

I can tell from the ISP name that shows up on Sitemeter when some of you have visited (Hi Sara! Hi Becca!), but some of the visit details are mysterious. Which one of you comes in via Rogers Cable with a Lat/Long location that seems to be somewhere near Rankin Inlet in Nunavut? And I'm talking to you, Wylie, Texas -- drop me a comment, wouldja? Welland, Ontario? Fremont, Ohio? Raleigh, North Carolina? Ottawa people? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

(I apologise if any of you, placed, above are regular commenters whom I know and love but I just don't know where you're from.)

Anyway, I'm off to officially delurk on the blogs that I read regularly. I'll be back to check out all your comments soon. See ya.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Introducing Max

Famous Maxes throughout history.

The Grinch's dog, Max:

Maxwell Smart:

Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor:

Max from Max and Ruby:

Everyone's favourite realty company:

Max, the butler from Sunset Boulevard:

OK, maybe that last one was a reach, I just keep remembering the Carol Burnett version of that movie where Carol (as Nora Desmond) keeps yelling "Max, Maaax, Max" and Harvey Korman (as Max) is slapping everyone:

But I digress... What was I doing again? Oh yeah. Introducing another in a list of illustrious Maxes. The newest member of our family. Max the kitten:

Isn't he cute? It's been almost a year since Elvis died, and I think the girls and I are ready for a new cat. I only hope the drapes will hold up -- he was swinging on them last night and I need to regain my spray-bottle accuracy.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Picture this

After reading MamaT's hilarious post about taking her kids to get their photos taken for Christmas cards, I was inspired (or really too lazy to think up anything new) and dug around in my pile of old postings to my online mommies group that predated me having a blog to find my story of taking Leah and Rachel to get their pictures taken at Wal-Mart. This was probably late spring 2004 -- Leah was about 4 and a half and Rae was just past 2 years old.


Well, Friday night I took the girls to get their pictures taken. "Do you want me to come?" said Dean. "No," I replied, "I can handle it". EEEEHHH, or however you spell the noise made by one of those loud annoying buzzers that signals when you're wrong. And I was wrong.

As usual, I waited until the last minute. The girls had received some beautiful summer clothes as presents at Easter, and I wanted to commit them to film before Leah and Rachel wore them and got them dirty and lived-in-looking. Oh, and I'm taking the girls home to Windsor in 10 days for a family visit, and I want to pack the clothes, so I had to get the photos taken sooner rather than later.

So I called up the Wal-Mart Portrait studio and tried to book a weekend morning appointment. Yeah, I could get one. IN SEPTEMBER. So, I think a minute and arrange for 6 p.m on Friday night. It'll be OK, I reassure myself, I'll pick them up from daycare, get them changed, fix their hair, bribe them to be good by promising McDonalds after the sitting, and it'll all be just peachy.

It starts out according to plan. I pick the girls up and we go home to change. I want Rae's hair to look really curly in the picture, so I spritz her hair with a spray bottle of water. I brush Leah's hair and off we go. It's cold, so I put pants on them under their summer skirts. We get to the studio 5 minutes early, and then the fun begins. The studio is at the back of the store, near the fabric and craft section. Rachel takes off her pants and is sitting like an angel. I turn my back for one second to help Leah, and Rachel's off like NASCAR driver, running giggling and screaming out into the store. I take off after her, yelling to Leah to stay put, and manage to grab Rae by the arm after chasing her through the fabric section. I pick her up, call her a monkey and take her back.

The photographer, Shauna, has no idea what she's in for. The deal is that you pay $5 for your initial package, but they take another 6 pix and charge you the earth for various sized copies of them. Well, it takes 6 times to get a decent picture of both of them together where Leah has a) her eyes open and b) a nice smile not a grimace; and Rachel isn't a) frowning, b) flashing her pull-up, c) flashing her whole bare midsection by pulling up her dress, d) trying to lunge off the platform to get at the toy the photographer is using to get her attention, e) trying to remove the backdrop from its holder at the back of the platform, or f) trying to pull Leah's hair. But we get that decent first picture. Barely.

Now Shauna tries to get an additional 6 pix so nice that I will have no choice but to shell out $60 (which I'm entirely planning on doing, by the way) when she hits the hard concrete wall of Rachel's Unwillingness to Co-operate (or, as we've acronymed it at home due to the frequency of its occurence: 'the RUC').

Shauna is squeezing squeaky toys and making faces, and I'm sitting beside the platform on my mandated parent's stool, promising her candy, french fries, ponies and trips to Disney World and threatening her with no TV unless she sits still and smiles nicely, but to no avail. She pulls her dress up, she tries to jump off the platform, she frowns, she yells, etc., etc. I can see Shauna's composure start to crack as bad picture after bad picture comes up on the viewing screen. We take a couple of Leah, but she has this weird smile on her face that looks like a chipmunk with full cheeks.

Now, time is passing and Shauna finally says, "Look, I have to take 6 pictures, let's just keep the next 4". And so we do. So, when it's time to look at the digital versions and do my ordering, (after I chase after Rae again, barefoot this time, into the Fabric section and retrieve her) the only picture that's good enough to order is the original 'package' shot. It's the first time I've ever gone to Wal-Mart and only paid for the initial package.

My $5.70 pictures will be ready in 3 weeks. I think Shauna might have recovered her sanity by then.

Oh and a post-script to this story. Later that evening, Rachel comes out of the kitchen rubbing her hair. It's wet. "What are you doing?" I ask. "Fix hair", she said. It smelled chemical-y. Dope that I am, I left the spray bottle of carpet cleaner on the counter. She remembered me using the spray bottle of water on her hair earlier, and wanted to do it too. Into the bath she went. Sigh.