Friday, September 30, 2005


So I'm actually working on the book, and I need to find out some more about certain trees so it sounds like I know what I'm talking about and I need to find out if rowans and mountain ash might actually grow in the same place because I have a brother and sister named Ash and Rowan and in my research I find this sentence:

This attribute, together with the similarity of its leaves to those of the ash tree (Fraxinus excelsior), gives rise to its alternative common name of mountain ash.

There is no way to adequately describe how much that delighted me.

Off to look up linden ...

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


I got to work today. I love the place, I love the people, I even love the mind-numbingly tedious work.

Only ...why I am so TIRED?!!?!? you'd think I was used to doing NOTHING all day ...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

This one is for Heather and Marcel

I remember what day it is today.

I remember that today is the day you held the body of your stillborn son, while 3000 miles south, I ached to be there with you.

I remember that his footprints are the same size as Beanie Baby teddy bear.

I remember that he had blond hair and that he was tiny and perfect and that it was so incomprehensible that he could be gone, when just the night before, the two of you had gone to sleep listening to "Sleep Sound in Jesus."

I remember Matthew.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

How to Entertain Yourself on the Highway

1) Refer to all people coming up fast in your rear-view as "Speedy McSpeeder" and say things like "Whoa there, Speedy McSpeeder!" in your head.

2) Spend 15 minutes pondering whether or not it would be correct to spell that "Speedy McSpeeter".

3) Wonder where on earth you heard the surname "McFeeters".

4) Spend at least ten minutes trying to come up with surnames that rhyme with "McFeeters".

5) While your conscious mind is wandering thusly, freeing up CPU space for your subconscious mind, suddenly realize that if you made the first line of that poem end with "vapor, wraith - nothing more", you could use "mist" to replace the inappropriate "wafted" in the second line.

6) Spend 17.5 minutes trying to scribble that on the back of an envelope, causing many Speedy McSpeeters to come up behind you and look annoyed.

7) Spend at least 45 minutes looking for a radio station and trying to get rid of the word "some" at the end of the second line of that poem, even though "some malevolent" sounds so good together.

and hey presto, you're home!

Nice to be away, nicer to be back. My kids hug good.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Is that a squirrel sneezing in the park across the street?

So TechnoSnorer fell asleep on the couch last night, and I left him there so I could get some sleep, because he really does snore a lot. I'm beginning to think, however, that's it's not that he snores so badly - there's a chance that I'm a light sleeper.

Evidence? TechnoLongSufferingSpouse slept on the couch two floors away from me (this is Canada, we have basements) and I STILL woke up in the middle of the night. Why? The guinea pig was drinking water.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Well they're off

My baby, lugging a bag of hockey equipment larger than his body, wondering if they have bathrooms at the rink, and his father, struggling not to hum "My boy's gonna play in the big leagues ...

And I am not either sitting here thinking about 20 or 30 kids flailing around in close proximity to each other with BLADES tied to their feet.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Random thought

The people right next door to us have a dog named Shadow. The people directly across from us have a dog named Shadow. Occasionally, while the Shadow across the street is outside playing his teenaged boy, the Shadow next door will get away from HIS teenage boy and make a beeline for That Other Dog, and there will be much barking and posturing and pretending to want a fight. So there will be a Battle of Shadows right in front of me, and wouldn't that be a great name for a fantasy novel?

Why my life is much too much fun

MusicBoy, and his wife, the lovely, misbehaving Lorna (See post way back in March, I can't for the life of me figure out to link to it, but I'm sure MsPromptings can find it for me Edittttted to add: I TOLD you she could find it for me! ) and their two uniquely enchanting sons are living FORTY MINUTES AWAY for the next 9 months. Yesterday I went to see them just for fun between school and supper.

C, their 9 year old, came running out. Without so much as a "Hi!" he asked "If a poisonous snake bit itself on the tongue, would it die?" I said I didn't know, but I didn't think so, and he replied, with deep satisfaction, "Nobody knows!"

N, their 8 year old, is the sweetest child on the planet. A says the only person nicer than him is Grandma.

MusicBoy taught B and N how to play pool. A and B and N laughed themselves silly over a ping pong table. Lorna and I played foosball. (I won, by accident, but L assured me that I'm stiffer competition than her children.) In the interest of laughing even harder, I challenged her to a game of ping pong (or gnip-gnop, as my Dad used to call it (you have to pronounce the g and the n ...guh-nip, guh-nop. When you get it, you've pretty much captured the essence of my Dad.) However, there were no ping pong balls. Next time, Babe!

And there will be a next time. Lots of next times! They're FORTY MINUTES away!!!

And also I just looked out my window and ther is a flicker soaking up the sun on my neighbours downspout.

And the only dishes in my sink are from breakfast.

And the thing about my Dad's headstone was just a clerical error and everyone can relax now.

And God loves me, warts and all.

Doesn't get any better than this.

What kind of Mom ...?

So there's the Moms who drop their kids off at school and their hair is perfect and they have make-up on and while I'm sure a lot of them have jobs, I know some of them are going straight home to do laundry* ...

And then there's the Moms who drop their children off wearing whatever was on the floor or the chair after they went to bed last night ...

And then there's me. TechnoWorkingStiff usually drops them off but if it's 8:10 and there's no way he'll get them there on time, I do it. Wearing - yesterday, for example - slippers, my nightgown, and a realllllly long coat. I sort of combed my hair, if running your fingers frantically over your head counts as combing.

I was REALLY careful not to break any traffic laws.

*most likely the types that do a load a day just to keep up

Monday, September 19, 2005


I'm sure I've moaned about this here before so feel free to skip it, but I JUST HATE IT WHEN I LET SOMEONE IN, IN RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC, and they don't acknowledge it. Makes me shout "YOU'RE WELCOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" at the back of their shiny new pushy vehicle.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Who are these people?

I just saw my blogger stats - on since March 2005, Profile Views: 239. Say what? Who's looking at my profile? Three people read this blog - okay, maybe a dozen.

I'm going to be up all night wondering who these people are.

Proof that math is Bad For You

So I've been doing laundry for the better part of three days (see previous post) As I'm lovingly folding underwear, I realize that by this time next week, everyone in this house will have used 7 outfits, give or take. Give, actually, because of B and his clean pyjama issues. So that's 28 pairs of underwear, 28 pairs of socks, 28 pairs of pants, 28 shirts, and assorted towels, teatowels, foundation garments and sheets.

I was planning to have all this laundry done by the time TechnoHero got back from shopping for skates with the kids. With supper on the table.

Now I feel much more like curling up under the table in a whimpering ball, and it's all because of Math. (don't even get me started on plates and knives and cups and spoons ...)

If there's a housekeeping gene, I didn't get it

You know you've gone and left the laundry too long AGAIN when:

- instead of complaining about no clean underwear, your children are complaining that they can't get their dresser drawers shut*

- when your dryer does that helpful little beeping thing to let you know it's done, you have to resist the urge to charge in to the laundry room with a sledgehammer

Okay I feel better now. Anybody want 700 pairs of socks to fold? (True story: I once took an ENTIRE OVERNIGHT BAG full of unfolded socks on vacation because I was up until 4 am doing laundry and didn't get the socks folded. The whole vacation, I spent 15 minutes every morning digging around for matched socks. I went barefoot in my sneakers a lot.)

*Notice they're still complaining. I'm just in this job for the positive stroking.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Just thinking ...

If you were a celebrity, and could get away with that kind of nonsense, wouldn't Hue and Cry be GREAT names of a set of twins?? It works on so many levels ...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The worst part ...

...about having a sick husband is there's no Rescuing Adult to waltz through the door at the end of the day.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Say What?

Me, pleasantly: "B. Buddy. Get a grip."

B, managing to look completely astonished and yet a bit hopeful: "Get a what??"

Me: "Grip."

B, obviously disappointed: "Oh. I thought you said whip."

Saturday, September 10, 2005

My Work Here is Done

or, at the very least, occasionally extremely satisfying.

A came downstairs last night with a Jack Prelutsky book ("A Pizza The Size of The Sun") - apparently she's ...

memorizing poetry just for the fun of it.

Somewhere there's a long line of antecedents smiling.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Needed: antacids on the farm.

A is wandering around the house, looking for something to do.

"Set the table for supper", I suggest.

"No, something that takes thinking", she says.

"Solve the global warming problem?" (I'm so very sympathetic and helpful, am I not?)

She rolls her eyes. "That's because of sheep burping."

Books books books books books books boooooooooooooooooooks

We are, at long last, unpacking all the books we own. Those of you who have helped us move will be wondering how we can afford the rent on the second house, to put them in, but what really happened is that we were given (given!) approximately 15 feet of 8 foot high bookshelves. (Wee perspective: this will hold all but 6 or 7 hundred of our books) So it's a bit of a Job.

Especially since I think if I'm going to put 700 paperbacks on bookshelves, I want to be able to FIND my copy of Out of Africa* when I want it, so I am insisting on alphabetizing the paperbacks. ("Please", I sobbed a few nights ago, "May I never see another book." And then I went upstairs to fall asleep in a bubble bath with ...umm ...a book.)

However, this post is only peripherally about how many books there are. This post is primarily to make fun of myself. We have 50 books in their own bookshelf, fancy leather bound editions of Classics or some such thing put out by the Franklin Library several years ago. I've just finished putting these, alphabetized, on their special bookshelf. They're lovely fancy looking books and I haven't read a single one of them, because I was saving them for ...brace yourself ...I was saving them to read, in a halo of lamplight apparently, while I nursed my children, in those long relaxed hours you have when you bring home your first child.


For some reason, I still haven't gotten to them. Can't think why not.

*Or one of my copies. Apparently if it's worth owning, it's worth owning twice. Or three times, in the case of The Secret Garden.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

I've never been a preteen Canadian boy ...

So I don't get the thrill with the Zamboni's and the skates and the stick thing, but TechoDad certainly does. Against all my instincts*, I took B and signed him up for hockey today. Starts in 2 weeks. B has been asking to play hockey since early summer and I've just been pretending to be deaf. However, TechnoDad applied a little pressure and I caved.

We had to stay at the rink afterwards to watch the Zamboni clean the ice. B turned to me, stars in his eyes and glowed "I'd like to win the Stanley Cup!"

You and every other Canadian 6 year old, buddy. I'm glad I've summoned enough courage to let you join the club.

*I wanted him to play soccer. Soccer is nice. Big soft ball, no sticks, no blades waiting to crack and slice my baby into bits. (TechnoRightWing is rolling his eyes right now)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

It was only a half-finished container of yogurt ...

The joys of articulate children ...A came out of the kitchen at bedtime tonight, nose in the air:

"Looks like somebody's been eating puke soup" she sniffs, and marches off to bed.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

More of 'The Two Thumpers'

(I was going to be all clever and link to the previous post this is referring to, but I can't make Blogger tell me what its URL is, so it's the one in April called "Childhood Poetry", if you're really into avoiding the laundry today)

My daughter, the child that made me a mother after all those years of crying and begging and praying - she's an interesting child. A very satisfying child, I've told her on more than one occasion. And she has such a flair for being different. For example:

At the beginning of this school year, (our neighbourhood school started on August 16) as part of a unit on poetry, students in A's class were invited to go the school library or look through the teacher's library and find a favourite poem to share with the class. "Oh", says A "my favourite poem isn't in any book. It's one my great-grandfather used to recite. My Mom can recite it. Can she come in and recite it for the class?"
A's teacher, bless her heart, did not immediately shake her head. "Let's talk to your Mom about it", she replied.

And so it was that last Thursday I showed up in A's classroom half an hour before lunch and recited a four page narrative poem written, as far as I can tell, at least a hundred years ago. I had some misgivings. These are computer age, fast food, not-now-but-right-now kids, with no allegiance to me, or a fondly remembered grandfather or a very dimly remembered "Grandpa No Hairs". Would this brand my daughter as a geek forever and ever? Would I stand there spouting iambs with obvious glee while A's classmates threw spitballs at each other?

I am happy to report that it was MARVELOUS. Without an exception, all the boys in A's class were spellbound. Three of them immediately came and asked me if I'd brought a copy. And is so often the case - I came away with a gift myself. For the first time, I thought of my grandfather, in a schoolroom in the Yorkshire countryside, searching for a poem to memorize that didn't bore him to tears, at the ripe old age of ten. (roughly)

I was so thrilled by their response. For these kids, this was someone's Mom doing something interesting and different in the middle of their school day. For A, there's a bit more history, but not a lot. For me - there's so much. There's the first time I heard my grandfather recite this poem, and my astonished delight at the perfect ending. There's hearing my granddad recite it any time I begged him to. There's backpacking in the mountains, desperately needing to put one foot in front of the other, and reciting my Grand-dad's poetry in my head to set the beat. There's reciting the poem for my grandfather and 40 guests at his 90th birthday party, never taking my eyes off his face as he said it right along with me, under his breath. There's my father coaching me on how to deliver the last two lines with the most impact.

And I took this precious package to twenty assorted youthful strangers and was met with enthusiasm.

Some days just couldn't be any better.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Better late than never

Forgive the long silence, my two faithful readers who have e-mailed me a nudge. The reason for the silence has been the Gulf Coast, even though I live in a Canadian city. I have been overwhelmingly horrified by what is happening down south, and in no mood at all to be flippant, and flippancy, you may remember, is the Chief Aim of this blog. Not today.

Two things to say. Amanda at Wittingshire's post helped me know what to do with myself, lying awake at 5 in the morning thinking about living through a hurricane just to watch my children die without food and water. I went through each individual story that horrified me and prayed for those people, specifically. Thank you, Amanda.

And the news story I want to remember, when all this is said and done? In the middle of reports of people in Houston being afraid to be out after dark, and being told not to open the door to strangers, one white woman walked into the Astrodome and invited an African-American woman and her children to come and live with her.

That just about sums up the way I want to live: pray like mad, and then put feet on my prayers. All I can do here is pray - thank God there are people willing to do the rest.