Wednesday, April 27, 2005

And an A story, to balance things out

So I'm trolling the 'net, early this week, looking for birthday cake ideas because B is having a 6th birthday tomorrow (my BABY. Sniff) I find these really interesting looking pirate ship cakes that, amazingly enough, are fairly simple to execute. The main part of the ship is just two round cakes, cut in half, and then you skewer all the halves together and freeze them so you're dealing with a half moon lump'o'cake, and then you just cut off a bit of the round part so it sits flat, throw some chocolate icing on it, and add bits and pieces of pirates and sails and things until you're satisfied. I'm totally jazzed about this idea until I run it past B, cleverly concealed in a list of other shapes of cakes, and he gets all jazzed about a hockey stick cake. So I'm doing a hockey stick, but I'm still all jazzed about the pirate ship cake, so I describe how to make it, in great detail, to A.

Today at lunch, she goes and gets her two round EasyBake pans, and some chocolate cake mixes she mixed up earlier this year, and announces she's making a little cake for B, by herself. Intrigued, I ask her what it's going to look like.

A pirate ship.

I know, I know - it's not fair that I get to raise BOTH of these children. Believe me, I know how lucky I am. Especially today.

Again with the housework

So I've been sick all week. Not visibly sick, just vicious stomach cramps every time I do something rash like stand up. (Although today was better than yesterday, so I have great hopes for tomorrow.)

This morning I looked around my kitchen and saw every dish I own waiting for the Kitchen Fairy to waltz in and wash up. So I went back to bed. KIDDING. That was yesterday. Before I could do anything about anything, B walked in.
"Mom, can I play with a friend?" (He wakes in the morning with this sentence half-formed on his lips. I think he even asks it in his sleep, just for practice)
"No" I say (he's already been at everyone's house this week because I've been sick) "But today I'm going to do these dishes. Would you like to dry?"
"NO!" answers my Negative First Responder and leaves the room. He comes back ten minutes later, just as I'm starting to run water.
"Mom, can I play with a friend?" (he does this a lot too. I think he secretly hopes Negative First Response is a universal human trait. Like legs.)
"No, but you can see if you can get these dried before I fill up the dishrack." (Psych! I don't know what I'll do when he gets to the point where he can turn down a race)
"OH FINE" he says "Where's those things you use to dry?"
I find him a teatowel and he starts to dry. Life goes on swimmingly, we're having lovely little snippets of conversation, and the phone rings. It's R, the heaven-sent woman who watches my children when I bother to go to work, who has a son B's age.
"Just headed out the door - I know you're home sick. Would B like to come with us to SomeFunThingBWillNeverSayNoTo?"
"I'll ask him" I say, so that I don't feel guilty making her babysit while I'm at home (I used to have a day home. There's a lot of residual resentment lurking beneath the surface)
I ask him, this boy who has been begging to go play with a friend since his left eye opened this morning.
He stands in silence, indecision stampeding across his face.
"You want to go but you want to finish the dishes first?" He nods emphatically. R overhears this and offers to wait 45 minutes. Solves all B's problems.
I hang up and look at him, and the mound of dried dishes beside him. We're at least 80% done.
'I could finish this myself, buddy" I say, thinking - you're FIVE. You're too young to be chained to a sink!!!
He looked at me sternly. "I don't QUIT, Mom. I'm not a QUITTER."

Hold that thought, sweetie. The world needs people like you.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Somebody tell me one. There might even be a prize for the worst one.

Heads Up!

Not blogging until I can think of something lighthearted to say.

Could be a while. Go read Rachel's recipe for Ham and Egg Risotto instead.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Also ...

Why is this software working so well this morning? Is it attempting to lull me with a false sense of security so I don't save posts before publishing them?


(and neither am I, apparently)

oh dear, I thought I was done

On my way out the InternetDoor ...I found the headline "E-mail worm rears its head again."

I don't think this created the visual the writer intended it to. I thought of one of those delicate translucent green worms inching its gentle way along a leaf, waving itself vaguely through the air, searching for somewhere to go next.

There's sinister for you!

Soccer Snack Rant

What is the freakin' deal with having parents take turns bringing snacks for the whole team for soccer? It's one more thing to remember - I only have two children, but the Spring Soccer months are insanity - two nights per week per child and all at different times and then there's also piano and art class and gymnastics ...and I only have TWO. Some people have four. Or more. How is a predetermined snack schedule EASIER than "if you want a snack for soccer, you'll have to remember to pack it." They're already responsible for remembering socks, cleats, uniform, and water bottle - how hard is it to add "orange" to that list??? But NO, they have to eat an orange someone else's MOTHER had to remember to bring, IF she remembers, because we're all too freaking busy. And one more scheduled thing is one more thing to FORGET.
And in my universe (admittedly flawed, but not in this instance) if my own child is sick, my own child will simply not bring his or her own snack, instead of my having to deal with a sick child AND finding someone else to bring snacks if my child happens to be sick on the day we're scheduled for snacks.

It's much easier my way. And yes, I'm That Mom who always forgets. There's only so much space in this brain for details, and the Soccer Snack brain cell is busy worrying about the laundry. Which I am going to go and sort right now, now that I've gotten that off my chest.

Childhood Poetry

So my friend Violet asked, on her blog, "What poems do you remember from childhood?"

Well anything my grandfather recited, of course. He memorized all kinds of things - when he was in his 80's, he memorized The Cremation of Sam McGee, and The Shooting of Dan McGrew just to prove he could still do it. I remember him and my Dad trying to remember all the words to Albert and the Lion (My Dad could get deliciously indignant doing Mrs Ramsbottom:

"Yon lion's et Albert,
And 'im in 'is Sunday clothes, too!"


"Wot, spend all our lives raisin' children
To feed ruddy lions? Not me!"

Grandpa had one that Dad loved to recite, and Mom hated to hear him recite. I can't post it here because I realized as I was starting to type it out that it might be considered politically incorrect, although I'm quite sure it's not meant to be ....I'll give you a wee snippet of the Lines That Bothered Mother:

"blahblahblah died, a happy thing to do
He'd been twenty years united to a shrew.
Released, he hopefully for entrance cried
before the gates of Brahma's paradise.
'Hast been through purgatory?' Brahma said.
'No, but I've been married.' And he hung his head.
'Come in, come in, and welcome, too, my son
For marriage and purgatory are as one.' "


And then there was one they would both do in a really bad German accent, that started out

"I'm a broken-hearted Dutchman"

The best, though, the absolute complete best, was one called The Two Thumpers, that goes on for pages and pages and is deliciously entertaining. Grandpa memorized before he left England at the age of 10, and I've never found it in a book anywhere, or on the 'Net, or anything. I can say most of it, but my AR side wants to know if I've got it word perfect and I'll never know :) It starts out:

In the Dashty 2nd Crashers was a Major Corker who
was renowned for telling stories that were very seldom true
There was also in the regiment a Captain, Goak by name -
a rival of the Major's, for his talents were the same.
When the Major told a buster that made everybody stare
then the Captain told a cracker that erected all your hair
then the Major, waxing furious at being thus outdone
would come down on his opponent with a truly fearful one.

Now aren't you all interested?????

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Well THAT'S a relief!!!

Amazing Race Commentary #whatever

Does someone have a million dollars that I can just give right to Joyce? Because THAT was AWESOME.

Bye boys, you were funny, but the Rob and Amber fixation got to be just a bit too much. (I warned you, didn't I?)

Meredith and what's-his-name, as Rob so sadly called you: How are you holding on this long??? I mean, YAY, and all that, but YIKES.

And All of You, All together - that was a very UglyAmerican episode. Stop screeching at people whose country you're stampeding around in, okay????

Thursday, April 21, 2005


11:20??!?! Where did the morning go??

A tale of two children

Expecting TechnoGuru's mother and her fiance for a visit the other day, I asked B to take the shoes out of the hall closet, sweep the floor, and put the shoes back. (For the rest of this story, you must bear in mind that the child is FIVE) When he got the floor swept, he noticed that it was very dirty, as closet floors are bound to be at the end of winter. Without missing a beat, he went and got some cloths and cleaning products and proceeded to scrub the floor. (And when he cleans the floor - you can't tell it was a five year old doing it. I think he does a better job than I do.) While he was in the closet washing the floor, he noticed that the closet walls were dirty too, so he scrubbed those. And then when he was done, he went out and CLEANED OUT THE VAN in case we wanted to drive them somewhere in our van. He even VACUUMED IT WITH THE DUSTBUSTER. All without being asked. I praised him to the skies, my earnest sweet boy, scrubbing his heart out, dispensing order to the universe to his heart's content.
A, sitting on the couch, studying Bible verses for Awana looks up with a frown. "How comes he's always the star?" she asks. (I was tempted to mention the WWII bombing site her room looks like, but that wasn't really what she was asking) "You praise him all the time, you never say anything nice about me."
I disagreed with her, and reminded her of something nice I'd said three minutes before that. She still wasn't convinced.
Two minutes later, she hands me her study book. "I think I can say this verse now." It's a long verse, she's been looking at it FIVE MINUTES TOPS, but I know by now, 9 years into her life, to just let her have the rope and see if she hangs herself or not. She gets it word perfect. I ask her to review the two she was looking earlier in the week, hand her back the book, but she doesn't take the book, and gets those two word-perfect as well. Because she HAD already spent FIFTEEN WHOLE MINUTES studying them two days earlier - why wouldn't she know them?
My praise is again effusive. "Oh" she says "I'm only good at it because it's easy!"

Aha. Why do I praise B more? Because she hears it when I praise him, discounts it when it's her. Interesting insight into my two, and a chance for a really good discussion, and hopefully a bit of a perspective change for her.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Blog Game Again

Don't worry, this time you party poopers don't have to do anything. Once again I have crashed a party at (you really should read this blog, it's highly entertaining and will make you want to be this woman's friend. Or I'm projecting, based on how I feel ...) Someone asked her five questions (someone she knew, I might add) and she offered to ask Five Questions To Be Answered on Your Blog or Hers to the first five people to ask for 'em. So I asked for questions, and she has apparently forgiven me for killing her Book Stick, because I got 'em. And here they are, with their answers. (and this is pretty impressive, because she doesn't know me from a hole in the wall. And she asked them really fast, but the answers are slower.)

1) What's the coolest thing about living in Calgary?

Any given day, you can be driving around running errands or being late for work or looking for pants your five year old will consent to wear for more than 5 minutes, and you'll find yourself pointed west and there on the horizon will be this wonderful range of snowcapped mountains. Even in the summer, they're snowcapped. I never tire of the sight.

2) Can you tell me a tale of slovenliness that will demonstrate that you hate to clean even more than I do?

Sigh. It's a quantitative problem, of course, who hates it more but here's my latest:

I host a Bible Study at my house every Tuesday morning. I invariably think that I don't need to do two hours of housework the night before they come, because I will get up at 6 and clean for two hours and get A ready for school and and and before 9. Even though this never happens, I always think it will. A few months ago I had to load the oven with dirty dishes so the kitchen would be presentable. A few days (!) after that, I flipped on the oven to cook something for supper, then changed my mind about what we were having, but forgot to turn the oven off. Several hours later, I asked TechnoWeenieGeekBoy to check if everything in the kitchen was turned off. He comes up the stairs with the remains of a soup ladel, I believe, and says "Oh things are off alright - more than you know."

Now I just hide the dishes in the nonfunctioning dishwasher. They're safe there.

3) Which of your poems do you like best? (today. I realize these things change)

My current favourite isn't finished, but it's my favourite at the moment because the last stanza has a marvelously sustained metaphor and arrived whole in my brain as I was typing. That stanza goes like this:

That's what I miss the most - the deep throated
bark of astonished laughter I could make
you surrender, as though my trolling wit
had slipped beneath the surface and yanked you,
gasping, into light, where I could see you.
There's heady power, in a trick like that.

If only the rest of the poem would be so easy.

4) Is the honey really that difficult, or is it just the world around the honey, expecting the impossible?

It may very well have been the world around the honey. The only good moment of that evening was my daughter, eating supper, saying "Hey, this chicken is GOOD."

5) Who are your top five favorite poets?

I'm going to try to pick poets other people might actually have heard of, instead of all my REALLY GOOD poet friends (some of whom are looking for their name on this list). In no particular order:

Mary Oliver
Billy Collins
Sharon Olds (although I'm not sure I like her poetry, I'm most certainly in awe of her skill)
Karen Connolly (actual number of l's and n's in her last name may vary)
Amy Lowell. (diva of the sustained metaphor.)

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Well that was interesting

I recently bought a book of poetry because I love the author's fiction. He writes breathtakingly poetic, contemplative prose and I'm always sorry when I get to the end of one of his books. (I currently have 5 pages left in the latest one and I can't bring myself to read them. That's like the novel Possession, by AS Byatt - I've been reading it for four years)

Anywho ...I opened this book reverently, prepared to be awed, and read a poem. And then another one. And then another one. And thought "Well, huh. I guess poetry really IS lyrical prose broken up funny." Okay I didn't really think that. But there isn't one poem in this book (well there might be one or two, I haven't read them all) that couldn't be read as prose. (Although where the line is between the two could spark a two year debate in any group of three poets, I'm sure) I was a bit disappointed.

And then I realized - hey, bite sized pieces of this man's lyrical prose. I could memorize this. Pore over it and not have to worry about story.

I'm all better now.

Monday, April 11, 2005

My oven ...

would not recognize 350 degrees if ...well that's a tough metaphor to come up with. If it bit it in the behind? How would that work exactly?

Jeepers, when I can't even WRITE about it, I'm in a low spot indeed.

Eating is now projected for some mythical point in the future. It is impossible for me to communicate on how many levels I feel like a failure at this exact moment.

Happy birthday, TechnoWeenieComputerGeekGuruBoy

Where does stuff come from?

I'm making supper tonight (see previous post) and suddenly out of nowhere I remember driving down a winter road twenty years ago with a friend and she's whiteknuckling the wheel, moaning about black ice, and there's no ice in sight and I didn't say anything then but for some reason right now I want to say "It's just a bit windy. Relax."
Where does this nonsense float up from? Shouldn't I be using that brain cell to remember the last thing I said to my father? The day I met TechnoWeenieGeekBoy? (ComputerGuru wasn't working for me) All the times my mother told me she loved me even when I was in high school and cranky all the time? No, apparently THAT memory cell is busy holding on to the need to roll my eyes at a woman I will love with all my heart for the rest of my existence on this earth or any other. And it felt like it needed to serve it up at me today, in the middle of chicken skin and spilt honey.

The great unanswerable question

Why does honey have to be so difficult? Why can't you buy honey that's supposed to pour and have it pour for its entire shelf life? I bought honey in a cheerful little bear shaped container - how could that happy bear disappoint me? And yet when I go to make supper tonight, and mix the Heinz 57 sauce and honey together to dump over the chicken, the honey, she will not pour. So I put the bear in the microwave for ONE MINUTE and he is now a geriatric bear. Shorter than he was before, and definitely listing to one side. And the honey? She will still not pour. I had to dig it out with a knife. (Best to abandon the bear theme at this point) So instead of throwing the chicken in the oven in five minutes, it took me half an hour, between that, and trying to rip the skin off the chicken legs. (You don't know want to know how I finally accomplished it) We'll be eating at 8:30 tonight - which is PAST the kids bedtime. I'm so good at this domestic thing.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Something in honour of Poetry Month

This is the first poem of Amy Lowell's that I ever read, and it made me go search out many more of hers. (Note that the title is one of those perfect titles that tells you something the poem doesn't - genius at work.)

When you came, you were like red wine and honey,
And the taste of you burnt my mouth with its sweetness.
Now you are like morning bread,
Smooth and pleasant.
I hardly taste you at all for I know your savour,
But I am completely nourished.

Good question!

Talking about blogging with a friend the other day, she asked "Why do you call your husband Mr A$$H____ ?"

Erm. Guess it can stand for more than MR Accidental Housewife, and guess if you change the name of your blog ten minutes after you start it from Accidental Housewife to Accidental Poet, the acronym isn't transparent.

So from now on, he's ComputerGuru. I'll go buy him a robe.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Way Hay! #2

It was over 20C out there today. The worrisome thing is that no perennials are poking their hopeful wee heads out of the ground in the places I'm pretty sure I left snow-in-summer and tiger lilies and daisies last year. There's a primula being a good sport, and a gallardia sending out little green shoots like Noah's dove, but no snow-in-summer. And I really like snow-in-summer. However, if all the perennials in that front bed have refused to survive the winter, I'll just seed it full of daisies.

Way Hay!

I parrallel parked the van today! (now if only I could learn to spell paralell. parrallell. pair'o'lel.)

Saturday, April 02, 2005

A good day for me and several of my peers

Among the list of winners of this contest, which reportedly had over 300 entries, you will find these friends of mine:

Vicki Goodfellow Duke, with a moving poem about the Mary Magdalen in all women

Mary Lou Cornish, with a thought-provoking piece about the power of paradox

Ellen Gray, with a heartbreaking lament

Violet Nesdoly, with a poem with the marvelously intriguing first line "shut away inside this silken crypt"

Linda Siebenga, with a celebration of comfort

Judith Frost, "The Plowing" (the poem isn't posted)

Angela Erickson, "David's Lament" (this poem isn't posted either)

My poem is hidden in there somewhere too - a nice round of affirmation for those of us who struggle with the "difficult and late night art" of poetry.

Friday, April 01, 2005

On my way to cook supper, I found this story:

H.L. Mencken, when asked what he would like for an epitaph, wrote, "If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl."

Did I mention?

Clark and Buddy have been reclaimed by my dear friend bjH and we are again birdless. I might have to go buy a budgie this weekend and tame it. (Once upon a long time ago, I owned the tamest budgie in the discovered world. One of his squickly yet adorable habits was to routinely regurgitate seed for me, proving that, should I decide mate with him, he could provide for me.)

What the children are doing at this exact moment

I hear strains of Randy Stonehill somewhere in the house which baffles me because I'm the only adult home and the kids don't so much listen to that kind of music. I walk into the fireplace room, and there's my lovely girl, playing a computer game and rockin' to "It's the holy love of God ..." Gotta hate that.

B calls from upstairs. "Mom, I think you should come and see what I did." I say "I'll be there in a minute" wondering if I'm emotionally equipped to deal with whatever it might be. StopwatchBoy calls in a bit "It's been TWO minutes, Mom" so I go upstairs and the clever, darling child has MADE MY BED. Complete with all four decorative pillows. Again - gotta hate that.

April is Poetry Month

My friend Nell has astutely pointed out that April is Poetry Month, and she's going to post poems'n'things on her blog all month.

Well isn't that a good idea. It's such a good idea, I think you all should go to, scroll down to Violet's name, and read several of her poems. She's good at it, that girl.