Sunday, November 30, 2008

Things I learned today

We deviate from the previously scheduled post to bring you this list of Things I Learned Today.

1. Snow tires and rims cost a really huge amount of money. OK, technically I learned that yesterday, but still, a really huge amount of money. Which explains why I'm typing this on an elderly desktop Dell down in the chilly semi-finished basement redolent with olfactory reminders that the cat litter needs cleaning instead of typing this on a shiny new laptop as I sit cross-legged on the living room couch sipping a chai tea latte.

2. If you are going to bake Christmas cookies with the kids, and you choose Citrus Sugar Cookies as your first recipe, and you bring out your Lee Valley Tools rasp and zester holder to zest the lemons and limes, DO THE ZESTING YOURSELF. I cannot stress this enough. Sure, it *seems* obvious, doesn't it. But Mother of the Year I'm not. I let Rachel do it. Very soon we were on hiatus as Rae and I trooped into the bathroom to wash and band-aid her grated thumb. While we were gone, Leah decided to take up the slack. She promptly grated her knuckle. In retrospect, I'm really glad I bought extra lemons, because we had to discard the zest on account of Citrus Sugar Skin Cookies don't sound so appetizing.

3. And the BEST thing I learned today is that your votes put me in the finals for a Canadian Blog Award in the Best Family Blog category! You guys rock! Voting for this second and final round (1 vote per IP address) runs for one week, and I'd be ever so grateful if you'd take the time on my account to vote again.

I'm totally convinced that this picture helped, so imagine me looking like this, and please go vote:

Friday, November 28, 2008

News flashes

The first snowman/snowfort combo of winter 2008/2009 was built in the front yard the night before last:

(Yes, Mum, that is the hat and scarf you gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago. Don't worry, I'm going to chip it off the frozen snowman head unwrap it gently and bring it in soon.)

Also, this just in -- proof that Max is still all male even though he's had certain organs removed. (Right after I took the photo, he said,"Get me a beer, wouldja?" and changed the TV channel to hockey. It's in the chromosomes, people.)

And despite the fact that I've never been a Meat Loaf fan, I saw this yesterday, and I laughed so hard, I think I broke my diaphragm. (Ummm, I mean the internal organ thingie, not the birth control device.)

Stay tuned for more riveting drama, as in my next post I recount the reasons I got no sleep the other night.


Oh, and if you have just fallen off the turnip truck and are unaware that this blog, Party of 3, has been nominated for a Canadian Blog Award in the Best Family Blog category, and can be bribed persuaded to go and vote for me, please go here. First-round voting ends tomorrow, and only the 5 blogs with the most votes will move on.

If it would motivate you to vote, feel free to imagine me doing this:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Talk

Leah is almost nine now, and sad though I am at the thought of my baby growing up, it's time to conquer the fear (mine, not hers) and talk to her about sex. Why now, you ask? Well, driving home from my friend Shell's place one recent weekend, where Leah had met and been somewhat smitten by the boyfriend of Shell's university-aged daughter who was visiting for the weekend, Leah leaned as far forward as her seatbelt would allow and asked me in a loud stage whisper, "Do boyfriends and girlfriends have S-E-X?"

It's time.

Now both girls know that boys have penises and girls have vaginas, and where babies grow and how they come out, but they've never asked about the mechanics of how the babies got in there in the first place. I've been waiting for them to ask, but so far, no questions. Well, not til the question in the car. I responded carefully, because Rachel was in the car too, with, "Well sometimes, if they are old enough, and if they've been going out together for a long time and love each other, then yes they do." That seemed to satisfy her for the moment. And she hasn't brought it up since, or asked for any further details.

Leah is pretty innocent, but she has a good friend called Alice who has an older sister, and I know that Alice is wise in the ways of the world, well for an eight-year-old, that is. Probably due to her having that older sister.

Case in point: the movie Labyrinth. Leah loves this movie. Leah loves this movie with all her innocent eight-year-old heart: "Jareth the Goblin King is soooo cute! Sarah is soooo beautiful! I wish I had a furry giant like Ludo! Baby Toby is the cutest baby ever! I wish Jareth would give me a magic glass ball."

She couldn't wait to share the movie with her friend Alice. Alice came over to visit, and Leah put the movie on. It came to the part where Jareth is dancing around with his goblins (see clip below) to the song "Dance Magic" in, well, an admittedly tight pair of trousers. Leah was oblivious to that, all caught up in the excitement of the scene. Alice? Not so much. "Oh My God, you can totally see his penis", she pointed out helpfully, as they crammed popcorn into their mouths.


So Leah's going to hear about this stuff from her friends, and I know she needs to hear about it from me as well. But what's the best way to do it? I know not to lie. And I know that I should explain in age-appropriate fashion -- but that's just it. What exactly is age-appropriate for an eight-year-old?

Help me please... Any and all advice on explaining sex to my daughter is welcome. Because it's either you guys help out, or I slip Alice a twenty and get her to do it for me.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bloggers, awards, and not enough sex

It was a pretty stellar weekend, all in all.

Friday night I did something I don't do often enough. I got a babysitter and went out to the movies with my friend Shell. Quantum of Solace was pretty good, except Daniel Craig wasn't naked nearly enough for my liking. Hell, he didn't even have sex with the main Bond girl, and all the movie stills I can find show him disappointingly well clothed.

Still, my pretend fiancé looked pretty good, and there were chases and fights galore. Shell and I ended up at my place drinking wine and eating pizza afterwards. A very fun evening.
I had been looking forward to Saturday for quite a while. XUP and Zoom had organized an Ottawa-area bloggers brunch, and once again I found myself walking into a place where I knew no-one except for through their blogs. It was great! XUP was exactly how I had imagined her, though a little shorter (hee), and it was so cool to put a face to the words that I've been reading and admiring for some time now. Meeting Nat and Meanie was a real treat after reading them both for so long, too. It's weird in a way, but a good weird, to not have met people face-to-face before, yet still be able to ask how they enjoyed the trip to Chicago and commiserate with them on the puking Doritos incident, and say how cute their son's Halloween costume was. I also got to meet the dynamic duo of Jobthingy and Maven, who were funny and interesting, and made it all the more sad that I had to leave to pick up my kids long before I wanted to. I have been very lucky meeting fellow bloggers before, and this was no exception. Thanks to XUP and Zoom, and I hope we do it again soon, when I can stay longer and talk to more people.
Then, today, I found out I've been nominated for a Canadian Blog Award!! How cool is that? Party of 3 has been nominated for Best Family Blog. Wow. (I'd like to thank the Academy.....) I'm not expecting to make it past the first round, seeing as I'm up against biggies like the Redneck Mommy, Postcards from the Mothership, and Cheaper than Therapy, but I'm still all excited about this. (And if you'd like to vote for me, you can go here and do it. Please vote for me, please, for the love of God But no pressure.)

And now for those of you who skimmed down this far trying to find out about the 'not enough sex' part of the title -- I was talking about the movie. Sheesh. Minds in the gutter, all of you. But stay tuned. On that subject, the next post will be about having The Talk with Leah.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Revenge of the evil ninja assassin cat

I see you, Large One, bent over that machine on the desk, tapping away with fingers that move like a wounded mouse. But you do not see me. I am the evil ninja assassin cat. I move like the wind, like the darkness, and you are as helpless as a My Little Pony before me.

Your skin kittens are sleeping in their nests and will be unable to save you. You will pay for your crimes. Never again will you remove me from my rightful place on the kitchen counter or deny me the milk left in the skin kittens' mugs on the dining room table. Never again will you spray me with the unspeakable water bottle when I deign to favour your couch with the razor touch of my claws.

I will no longer eat a bowl of dry crunchies on the kitchen floor while you open that fishy deliciousness that comes in cans and mix it with foul mayonnaise on slices of bread for yourself. Your time has come. I will chew your entrails.

See how carefully I have followed you to the basement and chosen my vantage point to pounce?

Make peace with your God.

Lest we forget

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

— John McCrae 1915

Please take some time this Remembrance Day to reflect on the sacrifices made by our Canadian Armed Forces and Peacekeepers, and to pay tribute to all those who died in war.

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the time the Armistice of World War I was signed in 1918, we observe two minutes of silence to remember. We remember those lost in both World Wars, Korea, and the brave men and women serving today in Afghanistan.

They deserve no less.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Raindrops on roses

Danigirl, over at Postcards from the Mothership, tagged me with a meme. I haven't done a meme in ages, so here goes. (Meme courtesy of Dani, "u"s added to the word "favorite" courtesy of me.

THE FAVOURITE MEME. Fill in your favourite for each of the following:

1. Political show Rick Mercer Report and This Hour has 22 Minutes. It's a tie.

2. Picnic food Cold fried chicken.

3. Mixed drink Rum and Coke, or vodka tonic, or rye and seven. NO, wait, it's a Pole Dancer. Yeah, final answer: Pole Dancer. (does this make me look just a little bit too fond of the booze?)

4. U.S. President I'd be hard-pressed to even name a favourite Prime Minister (OK, I wouldn't. It's totally Pierre Trudeau), but I really haven't thought much about American presidents, at least not enough to have a favourite one.

5. Kind of student to teach I'm going to have to train a new editor soon. So my favourite kind of student to teach is one who listens and doesn't think they know it all already.

6. Hobby you do or wish you still did Read, baby, read. I always get that little thrill when I'm heading home from the library with a book I've been dying to read. I put the girls to bed and then curl up in my green chair with a cup of tea or glass of wine and indulge.

I also snarl large quantities of yarn in an amateur fashion knit.

7. Sports commentator I have a crush on Ron MacLean. Totally.

8. Sport to watch on TV Hockey. Preferably Ottawa Senators hockey, but pretty well any NHL or OHL game will do. It's the only sport worth watching.

9. Animal to have as a pet Cats.

10. Halloween costume you have worn One year my mum made my sister and I robot costumes out of cardboard boxes that had been covered with coloured paper. They were great.

11. Kind of dessert Home-made apple crisp.

12. Comic strip The Far Side.

13. Style or make of footwear Comfy running shoes.

14. Ice cream flavor Rolo.

15. College or university president Seriously, who has a favourite college or university president?

16. Internet news source or

17. Vacation spot Harris Lake, Ontario

18. Wine Yvon Mau merlot

19. Way to waste time instead of working The Internet!!! Blogs/Facebook/Wikipedia.

20. Student excuse for late work I usually handed stuff in on time, even if I had to stay up til 4 in the morning finishing it up. This happened more than was good for me.

21. Reality show I don't like reality shows. Give me something with a plot and some actors.

22. Jewelry on a man A wedding ring, I guess.

23. Pizza topping You *have* to try this: bacon, green olives, onions and pineapple. It's really freaking delicious, a great blend of salty and sweet. Yum.

24. Children’s movie Beauty and the Beast

25. Celebrity you wish would retire Tom Cruise.

And now, the tagging. Hmmm, I tag Jen, Jen, Stacy and Holly, 'cause I'd like to know a few of your favourite things. Anyone else can play along too, if you want, just leave me a comment so I can hop on over and check it out.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Dear Universe

Are you there Universe, it's me, Margaret. Just kidding... kidding. Seriously though, there are a couple of things I'd like to get off my chest.

First of all, thanks for the great weather the last few days, it was a lovely birthday present. I cannot remember another birthday that had me wearing a sweater to work rather than a jacket. Kudos. I figured it was karma from all the nice, good things I do occasionally on a regular basis. So I might be pushing my luck here, but perhaps there are a few other things you could take care of for me? My to-do list is pretty full, do you think you might be able to help me out?

  • Could you perhaps slow time, or maybe slip an extra month into the year this year? November is here and I haven't done any Christmas shopping or giftmaking. And wouldn't you know it, every single book I had on request at the library came in at once, which is seriously putting a dent in my knitting time seeing as I'm reading instead.
  • Leaves. I'm so freaking tired of raking leaves. Could you perhaps arrange the prevailing wind to reverse itself til, say, December, so the leaves in my yard blow into my neighbour's yard instead of me bagging endless piles of maple leaves when I don't even have a maple tree in my yard? Thanks.
  • Dish fairies would be a nice idea. Ditto laundry fairies and picking-up-crap-around-the-house fairies. Barring that, maybe you could curb the slob tendencies in my children. Because that's something I'm apparently unable to do.
  • Oh, and if you could make them eat some new things, I'd appreciate it. True story, Universe: Rachel tried home fries the other night. I wheedled and cajoled and threatened, and she gingerly took a bite and chewed and said, "It tastes good. But I don't like them."
  • Maybe you could intermittently change the physical properties of wood, so when I bang my head on the table in despair at things like that, I don't get those annoying forehead bruises.

I'll check in later and see if you've managed to get any of that done. I have a couple of work projects to finish, some interviews to schedule, the vacuuming, and of course some raking to do before starting to make the pizza dough for dinner. Maybe we can sit down later and have a beer together and check some things off our lists, K?