Tuesday, April 29, 2008

From the weekend

Spring finally remembered eastern Ontario and we had a lovely week and weekend. Her memory is short-lived though, since I drove to work through snow flurries this morning. Figures. I took some pictures on Sunday in an attempt to stay awake -- I had been at a party Saturday night and had had a total of 2.5 hours of sleep.

You know, when I was 19 I could stay up drinking til 4:30, catch 2.5 hours sleep, and still be fresh as a daisy and do errands all day long and then party the next night too. How the times have changed. When I got home from my girlfriend's place Sunday morning, I really wanted to nap but instead I had to run some errands, rake my yard (cause it was yard waste pickup Monday) and the girls from next door came over to play with my girls until nearly 4 pm. I was sitting trying to read and nodding off while they were playing (because common sense and the Children's Aid Society both dictate supervision for children), but managed to stay most of the way awake. Well, at least I woke up when I was nailed in the head with a barbie during some kind of aerial doll warfare that broke out. I'm still really tired this morning two days later.

I am officially old.

Here's what my Sunday looked like:

This nest, tucked up under the roof overhang of the garage, was built last year by robins. They raised a brood of babies and moved out. Then two broods of mourning doves were raised in it. I left it there over the winter, and the doves moved back in this spring. Doves are larger than robins and the accommodations are cramped, but moving into an existing rental appears to be preferable to building from scratch. There are actually two babies in the nest, but you can only see one peeking out from under the mom. I guess I'm a landlord.

This may be a little-known fact, but deer don't like daffodils. They prefer tulips. I have had tulips. Also on their list of favourite foods ever are my cedar hedges, apparently. Deer may be cute, but as neighbours, they suck are not ideal.

How many girls can you fit in an IKEA castle/tent/playhouse? Answer: four.

Max looking out through the front window, wanting desperately to join the fun. Or eat the birds at the bird feeder. It's hard to tell which from the expression on his face, but the smart money's on eating the birds.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I'm so much cooler online, apparently*

A very good friend of mine told me something the other day, and I'd like to pass it on to you, 'cause I believe what she said to be true. No, I'm not channelling Trooper. Oh. Wait. I kind of am. But the important thing that she told me is this: email and merlot don't mix. (Friends don't let friends drink and email ex-husbands.) I'd like to extrapolate that for a moment and let you know that from first-hand experience, filling out online dating applications after a few drinks is not. a. very. good. idea.

Remember back when I first entertained the idea of online dating? Yeah, me too. Well Friday night after the girls were in bed, I decided to have a drink and play on the computer a bit. Check my Facebook, my mommy board, read some blogs...you know, the usual. Time passed and I had another drink. And another one. Round midnight, I decided that maybe I'd check out Plentyoffish.com. I pulled up the website, posted a pretty innocuous head and shoulders pic of me (in a coat and scarf) and started to fill out a profile. Rather honestly. Maybe too honestly (in vino veritas and all that). I was having a blast: Interests? Chocolate, Monty Python, politics, hockey, mystery novels, guys who have their own houses and friends and won't be in my face all the damn time, but who like to cuddle.... It was probably 1 a.m. when I was finished. Then I stumbled up to bed.

I woke up at 4 a.m. Suddenly wide awake. In a slight panic. Thinking: What Have I Done? Well, for one thing, I hadn't bothered to create an email address with my fake user name on Gmail or Yahoo or anything. Nooooo, I'd used my work email. Nice move, Alison. (If anyone's read Iain Banks' "Dead Air", what I felt was somewhat the same as what Ken felt when he realized on whose answering machine he'd left the long, boozy, sexy message.)

I got up right then, went down to the basement in my pajamas, fired up the computer and deleted my profile, 'cause I'm a big old chicken. And I don't want weird guys emailing me at work. But get this, in the 3 hours that I was shilling myself online, I got two bites.

One guy, "Tyler", who was 23 and "really into older women because he thought they were sooooo hott" [sic] and who also "adores and worships BBWs". Which I had to look up. Hmmm. Big Beautiful Women. OK, so I'm old *and* plus-sized. Thanks, Tyler.

The second was some heavily Christian guy who I think wanted to convert me. He wanted "a Christian lady to have Christian discourse with". Christian discourse?? I'm wondering if he meant Christian intercourse. (I guess that would be missionary position. Heh.) Thanks, but I'll pass.

Now some may say that the, ummm, quality of men surfing the dating sites between 1 and 4 a.m. might not be representative of the online dating community as a whole, but I think the whole thing just feels kind of icky. It's probably not for me. I think I'll try a single-parents' activity group first (Thanks, Nikki).

Or I could always just adopt a bunch more cats and start drinking sherry out of teacups. Yeah, that'd work.

*Apologies to Brad Paisley

Monday, April 21, 2008

Thanks for the memeries...

I saw this on my friend Becca's Facebook page, and decided to put it up while I take my time writing up a post about my short-lived foray into online dating this past weekend (stay tuned). Plus, I had a lot of fun with the movie quotes meme, so I thought a lyrics quiz would be amusing.

The Rules:

Step 1: Put your music player on shuffle.
Step 2: Post the first line from the first 50 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing. (This seemed rather excessive, so I stopped at 30)
Step 3: Bold out the songs when someone guesses both artist and track correctly.
Step 4: Looking them up on Google or any other search engine is CHEATING!
Step 5: If you like the game post your own

Here goes:

  1. Bright cold silver moon, tonight alone in my room (Faber Drive - Tongue Tied)
  2. And she was lying in the grass (Talking Heads - And She Was)
  3. Play a little kiss and tell with poison pills (54-40 - Ocean Pearl)
  4. As I'm staring through this fire, it's too late to make you mine (State of Shock - Money Honey)
  5. Step right up and don't be shy (Tubes - She's a Beauty)
  6. Welcome to your life, there’s no turning back (Tears for Fears - Everybody Wants to Rule the World)
  7. Load up on guns and bring your friends (Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit)
  8. You make me weep, I wanna die (Journey - Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin')
  9. When you first left me I was wanting more (Lily Allen - Smile)
  10. I used to be a rolling stone you know (Elton John - Philadelphia Freedom)
  11. You can look at the menu but you just can’t eat (Howard Jones - No One is to Blame)
  12. Midway hawkers calling “Try your luck with me” (Rush - Lakeside Park) [Dani, I'm surprised you didn't get this one.]
  13. Don’t tell me I’m wrong cause I’ve been watching every move that you make (Blue Rodeo - Try)
  14. Take your baby by the hand (Wang Chung - Dancehall Days)
  15. So long, so long, so long he's been away (Tom Cochrane - The Boy Inside the Man)
  16. Why you wanna tell me how to live my life (Bon Jovi - Have a Nice Day)
  17. One, two, three take my hand and come with me (Jet - Are You Gonna Be My Girl)
  18. Someday soon and I don’t know when (Blue Rodeo - Trust Yourself)
  19. Your baby is a good cook, his baby has a cool look (David Wilcox - The Grind) Note, this is the Canadian blues/rock David Wilcox, not the American folk singer David Wilcox.
  20. If you would just be sensible, you’d find me indispensible (Honeymoon Suite - Feel it Again)
  21. I am the fountain of affection (Great Big Sea - When I'm Up (I Can't Get Down))
  22. I never knew, I never knew that everything was falling through (The Fray - Over My Head (Cable Car))
  23. I was happy in my harbour when you cut me loose (KT Tunstall - Silent Sea)
  24. You must understand though the touch of your hand makes my pulse react (Tina Turner - What's Love Got to Do With it)
  25. Working like a dog for the boss man (Aerosmith - Love in an Elevator)
  26. A wild ride over stony ground (Def Leppard - Animal)
  27. Won’t you come see about me (Simple Minds, Don't You Forget About Me)
  28. Give me that opener, pass me that beer (Teenage Head, Let's Shake)
  29. Early in the morning and I can’t sleep (Rod Stewart, Infatuation)
  30. Rumour spreading round in that Texas town (ZZ Top, La Grange)

Thanks for playing, everyone!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sadness in O-Town

Well, that's it. The Ottawa Senators were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs last night. Swept, actually, by Crosby, Malkin, and the rest of the Pens. Four straight games. Sweet revenge for Pittsburgh after last season's playoffs, but for us Ottawa fans, it sucks majorly.

This time last year, we were just revving up. The Sens Army, ready to bring home the Cup. It was a joy to still have hometown hockey deep into springtime -- I actually watched one of the last games last year out on the deck in my bathing suit on a 13" TV swiped from my daughter's bedroom with rabbit ears and an extension cord. It was wonderful.

After posting the best opening to a season EVER, something happened, and the team floundered. I can't explain what happened, but the self-destruction was sad to watch. They seemed to have everything going for them and then it all fell apart. John Buccigross of ESPN hit the nail on the head when he said that if Britney Spears was a hockey team, she'd be the Sens.

Making this sad situation even sadder, is the fact that in all likelihood, Wade Redden has played his last game as an Ottawa Senator, since his contract is up this summer. The second-longest-serving Senator, after Daniel Alfredsson, he's been a backbone of the team for 11 seasons. He's a team player, assistant captain, great defenceman, and a man who gives generously of his time and money for charitable causes in Ottawa. The son of a friend of mine has had the opportunity to benefit from one of these causes. Wade's World, a private box in Scotiabank Place, is filled with kids from CHEO (Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario) for every home game courtesy of Wade.

He's by far my favourite player, and in Derfwad Manor parlance, my secret boyfriend. (Here I quote the lady of the Manor: "Mrs. G. says secret boyfriend because while her love and esteem for these men is as rich and delicious as the mocha filling of an exquisite truffle, they have no idea that Mrs. G. exists." See? Secret boyfriend. What a concept.) In fact, I think that it's only the fact that Wade is a Canadian sports figure most of a continent away from Mrs. G. that has kept him from her purview and prevented her from drafting him into her stable of secret boyfriends to while away the hours with Johnny Depp, Viggo Mortensen, George Clooney, et al. (Hands off this one, Mrs. G. He's mine.) I mean, just look.

He's the complete package. I do realize that the fourteen-year difference in our ages means that this crush puts me uncomfortably into cougar territory. I don't care. Secret boyfriends are OK with that.

The Senators will miss him. Ottawa will miss him. I will miss him. But maybe a fresh start with a new team will be a good thing for his career.

And though the car flag and my red teeshirt are being retired for the summer, they'll be back again in October. And so will the Senators. There's always next season.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Overheard at the breakfast table

Rae: Why do you always sit with Flynn on the school bus?

Leah: Because I like Flynn.

Rae: Is he your *boyfriend*?

Leah: No. I like him, but I don't *like him* like him.

Rae: Yeah, you do.

Leah (through gritted teeth): No. I. don't.

Rae (singing): Leah and Flynn, sittin' in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love, then comes . . . salmon?

Leah: . . .

Rachel: I forget the rest.

Leah: Just eat your waffles.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Did you know that you can play notes on a harmonica when you breathe in as well as when you blow out?

Did you know that this means that you can play a harmonica non-stop for more than an hour because the breathing thing is all taken care of?

Did you know that you can clamp the harmonica between your teeth, leaving your hands free to play percussion on various surfaces, including the cat?

Rachel didn't. Until this weekend.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I fear for my grandchildren

Yesterday afternoon the girls resurrected a game that they invented and used to play months ago. It involves packing as many dolls and stuffed animals as possible in Rae's doll stroller (reined in by the strap) and running, pushing the stroller at top speed through the house. Then they suddenly put on the brakes and stop so that the strap unhitches and the 'babies' go flying through the air, bouncing off walls and carpets. Uproarious laughter commences.

The name of the game? Super Bad Mommies.

Am I doing a bang-up job with this parenting gig, or what?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Is it too much to ask...

...that a grocery store advertising whole chickens on sale in a flyer that goes into effect on Friday and lasts til the following Thursday actually has chickens in stock when I make a special trip on Sunday evening with two cranky kids in tow? (Yeah, March Rd. Loeb, I'm talkin' to you.)

A handwritten sign taped to the cooler display saying "Sorry, we are temporarily out of the advertised chickens" is not good enough. If you don't have a large enough supply to last the week, don't advertise. Now I'm not naive enough to not realize...wait.... yeah, I said that right, but let me rephrase: I'm not too stupid to understand the loss-leader concept, but I don't like that grocery chain, and that store in particular (really, what serious grocery store doesn't carry Bisquick?), so if they're out of the special, I'm not going to say, "Oh well, no chickens, but I'll buy my groceries here anyway". Hell no. I'm going to swear under my breath and drag my two tired and hungry kids home and make do with what's in the house until the next day when I can get to Brown's Independent or a Loblaws, where the produce is fresher, they don't run out of advertised specials, and they sell frickin' Bisquick.


Oh, and by the way, for some reason, TypePad and Wordpress have decided that I am SPAM, as have a couple of other domains. Either my email address or domain name is pissing them off somehow and I've been spamlisted. So, if I hang out at your blog and usually comment on your posts, and I've been strangely silent lately, I haven't a) died, b) left town, c) got amnesia, d) sworn off computers forever, or e) become pissed off at you. Check your spam directory and you'll probably find a couple of comments from me.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Rachel = Joey

Where did Rachel learn air quotes? And when?

She has no idea how to use them (think Joey on Friends), but that isn't stopping her.

Last night, I was heating up some curry in the microwave while the girls were eating their dinner. When the timer went off, Rae looked over at me and said, "Mom, your "Indian food" is ready." Her head was cocked to the side and her fingers were like curled bunny ears each side of her head. I cracked up.

Later, she asked her sister, who was already in the bath, if the water was too "hot".

I guess I need to be ready when she tells me that something is a moo point.

Note: maybe yesterday's post was a little TMI. I really don't want you all to think that we live in vermin-infested squalor. I just couldn't resist playing around with the movie poster and the mice/lice rhyme. I'm happy to report that the house is now free of mice and lice, and as of 2:40 p.m. Max was recovering well from what Rae would undoubtedly call his "surgery".

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Horror movie

Remember, a while back, when I compared my life to a movie? Well, it's happening again. The Universe is out to get me. My life is moving into movie territory again. Horror movie territory.

Along with Max bringing rodents to dinner, Rachel brought a few uninvited 'guests' home from school with her last week. I've been dealing with the laundry aftermath of the infestation for the last few days.

Call Ben Kingsley. We're doing a remake:

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

An award and a meme

Josie, at No Internal Editor, gave me this award the other day, and I'm downright honoured.

Josie also makes my day when I read her blog. She and I have so much in common -- single parenthood, twisted sense of humour, hockey, beer, geographic nearness. We shall meet someday, and the world may never be the same afterwards. So, thank you, Josie.

The rules:

1. Write a post with links to five blogs that make your day.
2. Acknowledge the post of the award giver.
3. Display the “You Make My Day Award” logo.
4. Tell the award winners that they have won by commenting on their blogs or emailing them the news.

This is going to be difficult. See those blogs in my blogroll? Every one of them makes my day. Each and every one. Each and every day. So I'm going to put names from the blogroll in a hat and pick 5 and explain why they make my day.

Life's Little Adventures. I've 'known' Alissa online now for at least five years now, maybe more, and it never ceases to amaze me how you can be friends, good friends, with someone you've never met. Alissa is shares her life with her boys and her husband Andy on her blog. The good, the bad, and the funny. And the photos... the photos are breathtaking and inspiring and endearing and enlightening and sometimes cute. Her pictures and prose make my day.

Pardon the Egg Salad. A relatively new read for me. Velocibadgergirl cracks me up with her stories of her new house and her pictures of lolkitters. I think I still have a small piece of toast in my lung somewhere that I aspirated while reading comments about crickets that contained the phrase "The Dread Cricket Roberts has come for your sooouuuuls!"

Hello World, It's Me. I love checking in with Nadine and her beautiful kids the Monkey (toddler) and Roo (just a couple of months old). Nadine lives in the Netherlands and makes me laugh with her stories of doctors who look like Hugh Grant and taking pictures of toys in compromising positions (I liked her before, but fell in love with her when she took a picture titled 'Brokeback Duplo').

Breadcrumbs in the Butter. I am in awe of Chantal. She has four kids, a job, a catering business and still manages to play soccer and run and ogle men at the gym. Her children are great, and often it's things they've said that make my day. Like Meghan saying that she knows it's spring because, "The truck smells like poo, and there are dead animals on the road again!"

Daysgoby. Jessica's wry humour, stories about Rosey and Cass, and wonderful photos are why I check in there daily. She brings a bit of Nova Scotia into my day.

Not content with just showering me with accolades, Josie also tagged me with a meme. The Six Words meme.

Here are the rules:

1) Write your own six word memoir
2) Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like
3) Link to the person that tagged you in your post, and to the original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere
4) Tag at least five more blogs with links
5) Don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

OK, here goes:

Learning life's what you make it.

I tag the following lovely bloggers: Dani, Briana, Holly, Meanie, and Stacy .