Wednesday, August 30, 2006


coupla things to keep in mind, Heather, when you finally do the right thing and stop depriving your children of someone to hug when they're mad at all the rest of you ...

If you get a small dog, and take her out for a walk early in the morning, her poop is small enough that if you forget a plastic bag, you can just rip a leaf off a nearby tree to clean things up. However, bear in mind that the resultant organic cabbage roll may not be something you want to carry for several blocks ...

*Yet another dog post

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

How many posts can I post in one day?

Here's a mini-rant that's been simmering, and I sincerely hope it doesn't offend anyone who has left heartfelt comments of good wishes in the past. I'm not sure how to word it, because I do NOT want to offend anyone, and yet, it feels like it needs to be said.

Please don't tell me I deserve my children, I deserve to be happy. What you're saying when you say that is that you love me and want me to be happy, and I appreciate that, but when you start down the "deserving" road, there's no good place to stop. Who doesn't deserve to be happy? Who doesn't deserve to have good things happen for them? Who doesn't deserve luck and love and someone to wake up with in the morning? Where do you draw the line? Who doesn't deserve to be a mother? Someone who yells at their kids? How often? Daily? How many times a day? Who gets to decide?

We don't get what we deserve. I once heard someone say "The only thing we deserve is to go to hell." and after I got over being offended by that, I saw where he was coming from. God loves us all equally, and to a greater depth than we will ever fathom, and because of that great love, He reaches through the unfairness and gives us what we don't deserve.

"For I know the plans I have for you" He says "plans to give you hope and a future."

So when I look at my kids, and I take a deep satisfied breath because of where I am and the life I have, I look up, and as Michael Card puts it, I "sing for the Giver, whose name is a prayer/and sing for the baby He's given so fair/and sing for yourself, be you husband or wife/and remember a child is a gift for life."

It's that time of year again

I drove by the school today and stuck my tongue out. Whose kids are they anyway?

You'll notice I'm not bothered enough to homeschool them :) but that's because I know my limitations. I hate this time of year. I hate it when people say "well won't it be nice when they're not underfoot?" No, actually, it won't be. I like my children. They're interesting and funny and they like me back and having had whole days off with them this incredibly short summer has been peaceful and delightful. I love who they are and who they are becoming and I love love love it that I get to be the one who raises them. And I love it that I get to do it with TechnoGuy, because I admire and respect his parenting skills.


It's all very lovely to have freshly painted window frames but I can't open a SINGLE WINDOW IN THIS HOUSE. This is mildly trying* for a woman whose husband maintains that she has a comfort zone of -2 degrees**. However, it has led to the entertainment for the evening, in which TechnoBoy trails a ladder around the house, knocking on windows as he tries to open them, and B runs from window to window trying to figure out where he is. If only the dog were housebroken, she could be following him. The fun never stops at this house!

*possibly understated

**no matter what temperature it is, it should always be at least 2 degrees colder or hotter. Or sometime both***

*** he's wrong, of course. No-one is that picky. I think my comfort zone is at least as good as -1 degree.

Evidence that even a smart dog isn't really all that, always

This is the way she apparently thinks.

"Maybe if I sit right on her feet while she's at the stove, and follow her and sit on her feet no matter where she goes or what she does in the next half hour, she will give me food."

She's in the kennel now, looking surprised and miffed. \

Sunday, August 27, 2006

You can't go home again

So. Renabie, Ontario. I lived there from when I was 2 until I was 8. It doesn't exist any more. We bumped over 20 km of logging road and got to a chain link fence half submerged in a marsh (maybe? we weren't sure where the water had come from). We found a few hazy identifying features, far fewer than I'd found 12 years ago when TechnoBoy and I were there. I couldn't figure out where the streets had been, all three of them. I couldn't find the big black rock that had been out in front of our front step when we lived in the pink house. (My Dad had itchy feet - we lived in a 3 street town for six years, but even then, we lived in three different houses)

I stood on the bumpy rocky track across the marsh where Charlie and I had seen our first Great Dane. "We saw a pony!" we told my dad at supper. Dad was quite sure no-one in town had a pony - we said somebody COULD have a pony, how would he know? He came home the next day and said the Moore's Great Dane had gotten out. Irises grow in that marsh in the spring time. Off to the right, there used to be an above-ground concrete swimming pool, where Charlie decided to teach me to swim, so he pushed me in, and then ran along the edge telling people "It's okay, she can swim! she can swim!" as they watched me flail in terror. Thankfully somebody didn't believe him, or you wouldn't be reading this. Another time at that same pool, I came out of the water shivering and cold and found myself tongue-tied in a changing room full of Big Girls. I stood there in my homemade cotton bathing suit (two piece. I finally got to stop wearing it when my emerging bosom made the top snap right off in swimming lessons, a few years later) and in a desperate attempt to make small talk, blurted out the first thing that came into my head. "Wow! That water's wet!" The Big Girls burst out laughing and I, to this day, retain that level of social acuity.

Just down that road was the house that burned down one spring. My Dad came home with his face streaked with soot and sweat and sat for a long time at the kitchen table, his head in his hands, slow tears tracing lines down his face. "We found him under the bed" I heard him whisper to my mother, later that night. "I carried his body out but it was too late. He was playing with matches and thought he would get in trouble." There was an empty desk in the schoolroom the next week, and his many brothers and sisters were sporadic attenders for a while.

And the school house. Three rooms, Grades 1-4 in one room, 5-8 in another, and downstairs there was an assembly room with "Goodbye" painted on the blackboard permanently, because in a mining town, somebody is always coming or going. After Grade 8, you found relatives who would take you in, or your dad would find work in another mine in a bigger town, like Ear Falls, where you could take the bus two hours a day to go to high school.

I learned to ride a bike there, on my brother's black bike with the crossbar, and one of the first times I took it out on my own I ran into the town nurse's car because I couldn't figure out how to make it stop. She took me into her house and gave me KoolAid and Mecurichrome (google it! there's all sorts of nostalgia for that stuff!) and a Band Aid, then set me back on the bike and sent me home.

My puppy was born there, the "girl dog" I'd begged for, that I picked out myself, that died when I was 19. I heard my father cry twice in his life - when his mother died, and when he called to tell me that Taffy was gone.

Colette and Roger deGrace lived on the middle street, and their older brother used to sit with us little kids, in a big wooden box, and tell us ghost stories till we erupted, screaming, into the bright Ontario sunshine.

My mother opened her bedroom curtains one morning and there was doe and two fawns walking down the street. Another time we startled a bear back into the bush, and my parents tell a story about my brother, two years older than I was, coming into the house with his eyes bigger than his face and stammering "There's an animal out there with a tree on its' head!" (there was a moose in the backyard) My mother, taking the garbage out one night, dropped a bag of trash into the garbage can only to have it come right back out at her, followed by a bear cub, startled out of its supper.

Bobby Courchene and his little sister lived on the front street, and my mom sewed little dresses for her. Bobby and Charlie and I were together a lot, and when I remember some of the things we got up to, I'm not so sure it's a bad thing that we don't let our kids roam unsupervised like that any more. Still, it was a great way to live - we could go anywhere as long as we were where we could our Dad call us home at bedtime. Since that was pretty much anywhere on any of those streets, the world was ours. We just couldn't go up the hill, and that's where the mine was, anyway, so it didn't hold much attraction for us.

There's so much more - and it's all gone. I stood on the rocky bumpy road across the marsh and while I was pleased to see that the land had been reclaimed, I grieved. And I came home and wrote down as much I could so that that much, at least, is preserved.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Mission accomplished

TechnoBoy and I have successfully converted darien-the-commenter and her husband, Monsieur Mark.*

*this post is pretty much all for darien, folks.

Kids Holiday Update #2


I want to hold the dog. I want to walk the dog. I want to run around the backyard with dog. I like the dog.


(the above is what I wrote, trying to encourage B to start because it can be ...tricky get buy in from him. I've been authorized to add:)

We got to feed carrots to the elk.


As soon as we got to Auntie C’s house, we went into her backyard and Auntie C was barbequing hamburgers on the grill. Her backyard was filled with impatiens. She had flowers everywhere.

Some of the activities I really liked doing there was 1) eating chocolate fondue 2) baking bread and 3) we went to the wildlife park in Montebello, Quebec. We were only allowed to feed the animals carrots but we weren’t allowed to feed the otter, the buffalo or the bears. I fed an albino deer, some whte-tailed deer, lots of elk, wild boar and fish. The elk, if you didn’t want them to eat your carrot, and if you closed the window to your car so they couldn’t stick their heads in, they would snot your window.

After our visit, it took eight hours to get to Grandma M’s house. We had lasagna for supper and the next morning I caught a baby frog. Later, Uncle P showed me their frog pond in the front yard. There was 11 frogs and I couldn’t count the goldfish. I caught all 11 frogs and B made sure that none of them got out of the bucket. We had a few rides in Grandma M’s yellow convertible and we got to ride on her yellow lawnmower. One night for supper we went and stayed at my dad’s uncle’s house. We had almost the exact same thing for supper as we had for lunch, except for one had corn on the cob and cucumber salad and bbq’d sausage, not bbq’d hamburger and at dad’s uncles’ house, we had peach pie.

Right now we are on our way to Niagara Falls.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A note and a note

Note: Check below for cleverly backdated posts. Wouldn't want you to miss a single scintillating minute.

Note to self: If you lock your MP3 player before you put it back in your purse after your son has been playing with it, you will not be trying to slip quietly into someone's house at 1:30 am only to hear Chris deBurgh shriek "Get thee hence to endless night!!" from the vicinity of your purse.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

What I meant to say was ...

we're on holidays and I'll post something when I get somewhere with Internet access, but then Blogger ate my post. It was funny and whimsical and just such a keeper, too. Pause a moment to appreciate it, won't you?

Okay now I'm somewhere with Internet access but it's all fun, all the time, no time to post, but I just BET I'll be back before the weekend is over!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Red Top Inn

Okay so here’s something good to know …

If you leave Thunder Bay at 11 am because you had a long and leisurely breakfast with your aunt and your cousin and your aunt’s cousin, and then every stop you take turns into 20 minutes while all five of you take turns peeing (or doing Things in the grass which require plastic bags and much seven year old gagging) and then you decide that you HAVE to go up into the Northern Ontario bush between Wawa (the big goose!) and Chapleau and find the now non-existent mining town where you spent 6 of the first 8 years of your life and by the time you are done bumping around logging roads in the dark it’s already 10-ish by the time you get to Chapleau and all (three of) the motels are already “No Vacancy”d, and then you take a wrong turn because, apparently even with SOFTWARE, you (and by you I mean me) can’t navigate your way out of your own garage, and you end up hurtling down a “highway” that has a nasty habit of suddenly becoming gravel until 2:30 in the morning, as your gas gauge cheerfully descends below E, and then you make it to Thessalon, Ontario, only to find nary a motel in sight, and then you head fatalistically down the 17 E towards Blind River, which is the next town shown by your spiffy stupid software that apparently doesn’t come with klaxons that alert you to wrong turns, a miraculous thing might happen.

You might find a town called Iron Bridge, Ontario, that Microsoft Streets and Trips doesn’t know about. There might be a motel there called the Red Top Inn, and there might be a sign at the office saying “Please ring for service” and if you have the *gall* to ring that doorbell at 2:30 in the morning, it might be answered cheerfully. Cheerfully, by a man in a white bathrobe, who chats quite nicely to you while he finds you a room key. Cheerfully, even though you have woken him up from a sound sleep and are babbling about wrong turns and mining towns and empty gas tanks. At 2:30 in the morning.

And then, just for icing on the cake, there might be a pool with a waterslide out there in the middle of the nicely maintained grounds, so that while your husband is sleeping off driving until 2:30 in the morning, the kids can go swimming.

And I only say *might* because this place isn’t on the map I had. Maybe it’s some kind of twilight zone-ish experience, but it’s been a good one!

The kids describe the holiday so far


It all began as soon as we arrived at Nikki’s and Julie’s house. The first thing Julie said to me was “Are you sleeping in my room?” I was hoping that both my cousins could sleep in the same room as me but it ended up I was sleeping in Julie’s room. I also got to see Abby. She was even bigger than the last time I saw her. Of course, the last time I saw her was in February. I went on to Old Navy with my aunt for my birthday and got a tank top and a white skirt.

One of the best activities that we did was with my family and Nikki and Julie and Maddie’s family. We went fishing and canoeing. I caught my first fish when I was fishing and later, I went canoeing and almost caught a frog. There were two frogs. I got to touch one of them but it slipped away. Dad and I found a dead dragonfly. Its' wings were like see-through paper. More activities that my family and N, J and M’s family did together is first of all, we went swimming in Falcon Lake and we each got our own pool noodles. Halfway through the swim, Auntie Heather took me and Julie to the store right close by to get some candy and pop to share. She also bought some batteries.

Not too long after that, we got stopped at least three miles behind a big accident. I was told then that someone probably hit a moose or a bear. I decided to bike down to the very front of the line but near the middle there were three truckloads of pigs. The pigs were oinking like crazy and about two hours later the pigs really got hungry, and I could hear them oinking for food all the way where my van was. Right before we got caught in the traffic, I spotted a moose and its calf. That was the first animal, other than cows, that I had spotted first.

Just yesterday, I went downstairs in my hotel and there I found that some of my Mom’s relatives were waiting to have breakfast with us. After breakfast, we got back on the road. The very next stop we made was at a small motel with a shop attached. At the shop, I got a peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwich. I also heard that the real accident that we all got stalled for where I saw the three truckloads of pigs was an 81 year old man lost control of his car, ran into some trees and got his car all scrunched up. He died.


It all began when we were driving for fourteen hours. When we started this trip, that’s when I was fishing. I caught six fish. We started at Nikki and Julie and Maddie’s, we stayed there for two nights, we saw Abby and Caleb and Nat and we introduced the puppy to Grandma. Grandma loved the puppy. And we went swimming at Nikki and Julie’s and then we went to a motel and we went swimming there and we went down the waterslide. We watched TV, and we’re on the road right now, where we were watching a movie a few hours ago. Then we finished the movie, and then we did games on the movie, and in a few minutes we are going to watch another movie because it’s almost 4:45. And we’re four hours away from Ottawa!! We went up to Renabie and we saw a big goose and we saw another big goose and we went to MacDonald’s three times and I got three Hummer cars and I just got one today and we had a VERY late lunch today. Annnnnnnnnnnnd a nice breakfast! I had cornflakes with milk with brown sugar and white sugar in it, and toast. And we went to a three street town and we saw a gold mine from like a mile away. And it was flooded! It was flooded between it! And the two places where we went swimming the water was FREEZING and at Nikki and Julie’s they had lots of bugs in their pool and the fence was flooded at that three street town so we could barely even see it. And we threw rocks at that lake at the three street town, so we could get them out of the way of the van. And we saw moose tracks in the mud. We couldn’t see the streets at all. AND in a few hours we are going to see Auntie Crystal. And on Monday we’re going to see Grandma Milne. Alright. And the dog bit me to death and the movie we were watching a few hours ago was called Lord of the Beans and one of the guys name was really weird. His name was the sound I make with my throat, Ahem. And there was a magic bean that could do everything – it could change your life. You could get nice looking clothes, you could get big fruit, you could get big muffins, you could get a toaster, and small kitchen appliances. Okay now the dog is sleeping in her crate right now. Umm hmm alright okay kay kay. We went on the computer at Nikki and Julie and Maddie’s house and I’m going to describe one of the cars I got at MacDonald’s. It has grey and black wheels and the cover is painted orange sparkly and the lights at the back were red and the wheel at the back is to wind the car up and on the bottom of the car it’s black. Black and grey and the wheels could move. And we went camping and we were right beside the bathroom and we were right beside the playground and I swung and swung and swung. Alright! And we went swimming at Falcon Lake and that was freezing cold water too but after a while I got really warm in that water. And I got a green noodle. And I went very very very deep. Then after a while I climbed on top of a little playground thingy. And we swang on the swings again, at that park. And we bought candy and I had two Twizzlers and four fuzzy peaches and a Crush. And we’re going to watch a movie because the time has passed 4:45 or 4 forty I don’t know.

Isn’t mine long, Dad? Mom, do not do that, please. PLEASE STOP THAT!!!

Nothing to see here!

this is a test

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ok so maybe that made no sense

The Similarity Thang below was a continuation of the comparison between baby dogs and baby humans. Speaking of baby dogs, they are also all about climbing into the open dishwasher, which may not be similar to your children, but I am quite sure I have pictures of both A and B seated happily on the open dishwasher door, brandishing weapons of infant destruction. Or just, you know, knives.

Also speaking of baby dogs reminds me of one of my favourite B lightbulb moments. We went through an Air Bud fascination phase a few years back, and over the course of a few months, watched a golden retriever perform in every sport imaginable. (Except skeeball. Which Air Bud could totally do. Someone call Hollywood.) Where was I? Ah yes, in one of the Air Bud movies, "Air Bud Plays A Sport and Also Gets ...(let's call it) Married ...", there is a scene of a lovely female golden retriever nursing a newborn litter. As A and I are oohing and ahhing over the cuteness quotient, and TechnoCYNIC's eyes are rolling so hard it looks like he's having a seizure, a 2 year old B pops the pipe* out of his mouth and exclaims, with more astonishment than text can ever communicate, "Those is little baby dogs!!!!!!!"

*okay not really, but that's what we called his soother/pacifier/binky/whatever you call it in your homeland. Made for some interesting looks in the grocery store: Stern Mommy Voice: No, I'm not going to get your pipe for you. You dropped it, you can pick it up.

Check the time on this post

Similarity: As soon as you tell someone about their great sleeping habits, they make a liar out of you.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Okay way back when, when KiK's sixteen year old son was two ...

I babysat everyone's kids, all the time, as often as they would let me. We had just moved to this fair city* so my best friend's sister filled the childless void in my life by letting me look after her boys once in a while. As I remember it, this largely involved getting her then 4-year-old, now-18-year-old to show me how to win at Nintendo.

Her two year old was the cutest blond whirlwind you ever did see. In his rare moments of calm, when he wasn't climbing furniture at an Emergency room somewhere, dripping blood and plotting an escape, he could be so earnest and sweet and helpful you wanted to bottle it.

He walked into my house one day, holding out a very used tissue.

"Hi Sue!" he chirped. "I got Kleenex!! You got boogers???"

*(what a stupid expression. If you don't like the city, does it become unfair?)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Kelly in Kandahar

A friend of mine is currently working as a civilian overseas, in Kandahar, Afghanistan, at - help me out here, Beanie or Kelly - the Canadian base there?? Her husband has been in the military for years - this is the first times she's gone.

She has a fascinating blog at - you only have to read about one "Ramp Ceremony" in order to have the wall between home and "our military over there" knocked down. For good.

And watch this space - I'm threatening to tell stories of her children's toddlerhood :)

(either the formatting is strange or my browser is strange - you have to scroll way down to get the actual posts)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

oh and also one is human, one isn't

So when you get a puppy, Heather, an extraordinary number of people will say "It's just like having a baby again, isn't it?"

Well no. No baby of mine ever licked the inside of my nostrils because she was happy to see me. And then again - yes. There may have been a time or two that one of them woke up in the middle of the night and decided it was time to play.

So just in case someone else out there wants to ask, here are some more similarities and differences. (I will cleverly differentiate between them by prefacing each line with either an 'S' or a 'D' - figure out the code, and you win a Coke. Provided you have one in your fridge.)

S: Waking up at six in the morning thinking "what is that sou - oh yeah" and stumbling bleary-eyed down the hall to be nurturing, and being charmed wide awake by the unbearable cuteness

D: Neither of my children wagged their entire back end when they were happy to see me at six in the morning.

D: I have to find shoes at 6 in the morning, or freeze my feet in the dew on the grass.

S: gambolling at my feet in what she hopes is an adorable manner so I will share my snack with her

D: no baby of mine ever licked my ankle in an attempt to get me to share above-mentionned snack

S: toilet training took much longer than I'd sanguinely assumed.

D: no child of mine ever peed on the carp - oh wait. Make this an 'S'.

S: the distractive power of squeaky toys

S: everything goes in her mouth

S: frequent naps

D: no baby of mine ever put herself (or himself) to bed when it was nap time

S: cuddling at 3 in the morning in an attempt to get back to sleep without waking up the entire household

D: with a baby, you don't have to be careful to sit in a chair the baby won't jump out of the second you're asleep

S: barricading your house into safety zones

D: the babies were allowed on the carpet before they were housebroken

S: TechnoGeek is the favourite

D: TechnoGeek actually sought the children out from time to time

and the last similarity?

S: Staying up late on the computer because even though it is late and I am tired, if I go to sleep now I will just have to get up in half an hour to be Nurturing.

On that note - it's time for the 11 o'clock pee/convince her it's not playtime ritual.