Friday, June 27, 2008


Scattered is a good way to describe my thought processes (or lack thereof) today. I had very little sleep last night and today will prove busy, with a French test in the a.m. and an afternoon to be devoted to wading through the 150+ CVs received for an English Scientific Editor job competition.

Yesterday, Leah had a dental appliance put in to curb her thumb-sucking. She's tried valiantly to stop on her own, but like smoking, it's a hard habit to overcome. I just wish there was a patch for her to wear, because looking at her tear-stained face last night was almost too much to bear. Positive reinforcement, rewards, bad-tasting stuff, all were overcome by her compulsion.

Night time was the worst. I took the girls to see Kung Fu Panda yesterday evening in an attempt to take Leah's mind off her mouth. It seemed to work until bedtime. And then it all became clear -- how was she going to get to sleep? All her life, she's lulled herself to sleep (and she always drops off within 5 minutes of lying down) by sucking her thumb. It wasn't easy. She tried sleeping in her bed, and couldn't. She climbed into my bed and tried to sleep. I rubbed her back. No good. More tears. I told her she could read for a bit until she got sleepy. Nope, Lemony Snicket just provoked more overtired tears. I finally put a movie on (after telling her it was a one-time deal) around 11:30 and I dropped off to sleep beside her. I woke up a half hour or so later, halfway through "Spirited Away", and she was finally asleep. I'm hoping that the first night was the worst and that it'll get better from here on out.

I really didn't want to go this way, but the thumb sucking was exacerbating an already narrow jaw that will need orothodontia, which can't start until the habit is broken. A bad Catch-22 situation evolved in that she has lost her upper front teeth and the appliance will be visible until the permanent teeth descend. But the thumb sucking is stopping the teeth from growing in, so we had to put the appliance in in order to help the teeth come in. At least I was able to postpone it until school was out. That's a small mercy, but at least she isn't worried about being at school wearing it.

This morning I told her that last night was probably the worst, and that things will get easier as she learns to find other ways to fall asleep, and she was in a pretty cheerful mood. I hope that the half pot of coffee I drank can get me through to tonight, when we'll have to deal with it again. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Andrea at A peek inside the fishbowl posted this last month on the subject of thrift shopping. I didn't get around to taking part in her challenge, but the post stayed with me, especially the part where she says (about thrift stores):

"Some folks wouldn’t be caught dead in a place like this because they think (a) the clothes have been stripped off bodies at the city morgue or (b) they’re going to catch cooties or something or (c) they’re caving to the stigma that second-hand shops are domain of the poor and no one else is allowed to shop there. Sadly, there are a lot of people who can’t afford to shop anywhere else, that’s true, but I look at it this way: I give tons of stuff away to second-hand shops to resell so my conscience is clear. Besides, this is the kind of shopping that’s actually good for the environment. By not buying new I’ve saved some cash AND saved something from going into the landfill. "

I love the second-hand stores and the garage sales. You never know what treasures you're going to find. We still have two working VCRs, and lots of people have got rid of theirs in favour of DVD and now Blueray disc players. My girls don't care what technology their movies are served up in, so long as they can watch them. You can pick up movies and books for a buck or two at the Sally Ann. My favourite dress that Rachel ever wore, periwinkle blue velvet, came from My Sister's Closet, a second hand/consignment store in Kanata. Here We Grow Again in Stittsville is a great second-hand/consignment shop too.

A couple of weeks ago after a periodontist appointment, I checked out the second-hand store across the street from his office. My score:

One pair of American Eagle Outfitter jeans (Long! Enough! For! Me!!!); a Cotton Ginny long-sleeved T; a Jessica Sport short-sleeved T; VHS copies of Scooby Doo 4 Creepy Capers (for the girls), Monty Python and the Holy Grail (for me), Lara Croft Tomb Raider (hey, don't judge me); The first book from the Lemony Snicket 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' series -- The Bad Beginning (but not the beaded bookmark, that was already Leah's [my mom made it, and if you click on the picture you can see it better, it's really cute]) and one of her favourite "A to Z Mysteries' books -- The Runaway Racehorse for Leah; Beverly Cleary's Beezus and Ramona for Rachel; and a pair of silver-toned candlesticks for me. Total cost: $23.45. I regretfully put back a quilted Columbia jacket, eggplant purple, with the original store sales tag still on it, seeing it was just a bit too snug.

I'm not about to stop buying things new, when I need them, but I'm trying to teach the girls about how advertising works, and how consumerism is not a good thing, and how, in our family we buy things when we need them and not just because we want something new. It's kind of nice to have a side of environmental responsibility along with the main course of living within our means.

And hey, I won a contest! I'm a long-time fan of MamaTulip, and I checked out a new celebrity gossip site that she writes for: Binkywood. I entered a caption contest, and I won! I'm very excited to read my prize, a copy of The Myth of You and Me, by Leah Stewart.

Monday, June 23, 2008

You thought I was kidding about the frog, didn't you?

I wasn't.

Seriously, could you sleep through that?

(Sorry the picture is so dark, I was using the movie function on the camera as a sound recorder)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Lesson learned

If you stay up late and eat a whole bag of President's Choice Wasabi and Honey Rice Chips and wash it down with a Vex Pink Hard Lemonade vodka cooler while reading a Laurell K. Hamilton 'Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter' novel in bed, you have no one but yourself to blame when your dreams are full of zombies and you get hardly any sleep and wake up looking like one of the decaying undead yourself. Only without the all the cool choreography.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Yay! Boo!

The pool is no longer green. Yay!

It's still kinda turquoise and cloudy. Boo!

With any luck, I should be able to get it swimmable by the weekend. Yay!

It's going to rain on the weekend. Boo!

I had time between getting home from work and taking the girls to Rae's soccer game to work on the pool, and I got the pump and filter going. Yay!

There's a leak in one of the connections at the chlorinator. Boo!

I have plumber's tape. Yay!

That's not the problem. Boo!

I have a replacement part already. Yay!

The parts need to be glued together with special glue. And we all know how well I do with glue. Boo!

I didn't glue myself to anything. Yay!


I was able to teach the girls to respect nature and do a good deed by stopping the car and getting out to carry a turtle across the busy county road he was trying to cross. Yay!

As soon as I picked him up, he peed on me. Boo!


The girls are going to visit their dad overnight this weekend. Yay!

I should catch up on yardwork, pool maintenance and laundry. Boo!

Instead, I'm going to hang out at WestFest with a couple of girlfriends, then we're going to drink some Cosmos and catch the Sex and the City movie. Yay!


I finally got a new lawnmower. Yay!

I have to use it. Boo!


The frog didn't keep me awake last night. Yay!

The cat kept me awake last night. Boo!


What's going right and wrong in your life right now? I promise I'll comment on your comments.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sex and the Country

Pictures courtesy Google images

Around here:

Birds do it. Bees do it. Frogs seem to really, really want to do it, based on the volume and frequency of the mating calls. Mourning doves apparently do it a lot, judging by the fact that a third batch of babies is being raised in the nest on the garage. Teenage raccoons want to do it too, and are scrapping with each other over the available teenage raccoons of the opposite sex. Loudly, and at night. Did I mention loudly? Must be all that fresh country air.

And not a Cosmopolitan or Manolo Blahnik in sight.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Sorry, Kermit

I have an above-ground pool. It was here when my ex and I bought the house. Of course, now I'm the one responsible for pool maintenance, opening and closing, etc. We live on the edge of a ridge, and the winter winds howling up the side always managed to blow the pool cover off, despite everything my ex tried to stop it from happening. There's a deck that partly surrounds the pool, and it's hard to get the cover down in the crack between the deck and pool.

So, the first year I had to deal with the pool myself I went out and bought a leaf net instead, and put it on the pool in the fall, after cleaning and super-chlorinating the pool. The wind can blow through it, so it remains anchored. It keeps out the large debris, but smaller things that show up in the spring after the ice has melted, like tree pollen, those catkin-like things from the birch and poplar trees, and copious amounts of bird crap, can get through the mesh. Add sunlight and heat, and they've brewed up one hell of an algae swamp in my pool.

I'm too ashamed to take a picture of the green water complete with mats of algae floating on top. With help from friends, I've got the cover off, and the pump out of the basement and hooked up. I've raised the water level in the pool and have spent more than three hours skimming the algae out of the pool. Today, I have to drop a sample of pool water off at the pool place, and they'll run a test on it and the computer will spit out a list of the steps I need to follow, and the chlorine I need to add, in order to turn my swamp into a swimming pool again. (Seriously, the way it is now, I don't know whether to add chlorine, or stock it with bass.)

And I want to get it up and running as soon as possible. Why, you ask? Could it be the fact that I don't have air conditioning in the house and the temperatures over the next few days will hit 40 with the humidex? Well, partly. Is it because the kids are practically foaming at the mouth to go swimming? Ummm, yeah, that too. But the real reason that I would like to convert my swamp back into a pool is the fact that my bedroom is at the back of the house, and I like to sleep with the window open. And the frog that has taken up residence on my deck and has been swimming in my pool has started calling out at night for a mate so that he can raise a family in my pool/ecosystem. And I can't sleep because he's so freakin' loud.

(Note: I will ensure that Loudmouth is not in the pool before I add any chemicals. He's a Gray Tree Frog (Hyla versicolor), and since he's nocturnal, he should be sleeping safely under the deck when I'm working on the pool. Just in case you were worried.)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Newton, Murphy and me

Newton's First Law of Motion: An object will stay at rest or continue at a constant velocity unless acted upon by an external unbalanced force.
Newton's Second Law of Motion: The net force on an object is equal to the mass of the object multiplied by its acceleration.

Newton's Third Law of Motion: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

Murphy's Law: Whatever can go wrong will go wrong (and at the worst possible time, in the worst possible way).


Alison's Law of Differential Mass of Purse Contents: Objects that you need to find quickly, such as car keys, will sink to the bottom of your purse, while objects that you would not necessarily want anyone standing next to you to see, such as tampons, will float to the surface of the purse when you open it and often will jump out and land on the floor.

Alison's Law of Dark Laundry Entropy: When you take the time to sort out the darkest of the dark laundry, and use the proper dark laundry detergent so as to avoid fading, you will inevitably fail to remove a kleenex from a pocket of one of the items being washed.

Alison's Law of Guest-Affected Propane Consumption: When you invite guests over for a barbecued dinner, the propane will run out halfway through cooking dinner. That same propane tank would have had sufficient propane in it to finish dinner if it was only for family, even if the amount of food was the same. Corollary: if you go out and fill a replacement tank against such an eventuality, you won't need it. The current tank will contain enough propane to finish dinner.

What laws operate around your house?