Wednesday, November 29, 2006

In which my mother-in-law and her oldest son do nothing to help me calm down

Me: So I'm baking the pies and freezing them tonight.

MIL: Oh no, that's much too early, do them right before Christmas.

Me: There are FOURTEEN EXTRA PEOPLE COMING TO MY HOUSE in THREE WEEKS!!!! This IS right before Christmas!

MIL: (laughing helplessly for some reason): You can cook the pie crust and freeze it but pumpkin pies just don't freeze well, in my opinion.

Me: Okay so I can make cherry pies and apple pies with the two entire recipes of pie dough I have waiting in my fridge.

MIL: (I don't know if she said anything. She was still laughing. Hard. Must've been watching TV or something.)

Conversation with TechnoBoy at lunch.

Me: (breezily) So I bought a 20 lb turkey so we're having that instead of chicken this year.

TB: (I believe he was weeping)

Me: Well the kids really wanted turkey so I got a turkey.

TB: Are you asking my opinion?

Me: Well. Umm. Yes. Kind of.

TB: My opinion is, why do peope even ever eat turkey?

So apparently I'm cooking a 20 lb turkey in January for no good reason. Except that I bought it and I have to do something with it. Won't TB be pleased with THOSE leftovers????

Okay enough blathering. Apparently Heather wants nanaimo bars. And I can't bake those until the butter tart squares and the ginger snaps are out of the oven.

So here's the thing

a) I'm not interested enough in my own life to post every day.

b) There are 14 extra people coming to my house for Christmas this year, and there are Projects going on. Other than the kids and I, there is nobody in this world that TechnoBoy loves more than his mother and his siblings, and there is nothing he likes to do better than surprise the people he loves, so I'll just say - there are Projects.

c) Some of the Projects are mine, and I can talk about some of those, like the baking. Oh my sweet flippin' schneefloggers, there is baking. I haven't done Christmas baking since I lived at home and my mother made me do it. It's not that I mind, it's that I am a bit overwhelmed.

Okay the rest of this post is The Baking. It all started innocently enough. I called my mother-in-law from the grocery store (yes she lives a thousand miles away and I used my cell phone - shut up. I NEEDED TO KNOW) to ask how big a turkey I should buy. (Yes, Family, it's turkey this year. My children want turkey and I'm letting their grandmother cook them one. I blame it on living in the states for four years, surrounded by Thanksgiving turkey hype. The damage is apparently irrevocable.) "So", she asked casually, "Are you baking the pumpkin pies?"

Like pumpkin pies are a given. Eek, I said quietly in my own head. "Why yes I am" I said brightly, because while I may be a mediocre, passionless cook, I can, by some miracle, create pie crust. I follow the recipe on the Tenderflake box, except the part where it says to be careful how much of the liquid you add - I just dump it all in. And it's been working for me.

So now here's what I don't know. What else is a given? Shortbread? Butter tarts? Nanaimo bars? (have you SEEN the nanaimo bar recipe??? there's like 200 ingredients.) So I went looking through cookbooks yesterday and made some small hard Snickerdoodles, and enough pie crust for several pies, that I'm going to bake today and freeze. (B has counted the Snickerdoodles and worked out many each of the 18 of us can have.)

So, FamilyThatReadsThis - what else should I make? And don't even bother with the "oh it will just be enough to see you" because all that will do is make me think you don't like my cooking (some of you do all the cooking when you're at my place, so have possibly never tasted any of my cooking) or baking and wound me to the core. And I don't want everyone to think they need to bring things just because it's at my place and the kitchen isn't my first love. So there.

I know I'm haphazard and last minute and stuff, but there is this wide streak of potential-to-panic that has been activated. And there are still new curtains to sew ...

Saturday, November 25, 2006


So I'm playing air hockey with B. This is different from playing air hockey with A. When you play air hockey with A, there is a complicated system of keeping score which involves moving the only marker (there should be one for each player, but one is broken off) right if one person scores and left if the other person scores, which pretty much results in the marker hovering on one side of five or the other forEVER. Or at least until Way Past Her BedTime.

With B, though, you just keep count in your head. This is not hard to do, because every time anyone scores, B joyously shouts the score at the top of his lungs. And that's loud. I keep expecting the neighbours to call and congratulate him on his win.

The tricky part is, you have to be an NHL team. I can so do that. B is always Carolina, last night I was the Ducks. I was so pleased with myself for knowing an NHL team. I scored. B shouted the score. And just when I was feeling really pleased with myself, he asked:

"So who on your team scored?"

Thursday, November 23, 2006

I am a mean mean person

I handed my beloved wee dog over to a vet today so that she could be sliced open and have all her girlie bits removed. She also had four teeth pulled because her baby teeth had not yet fallen out, even though all her adult teeth are in. She is tiptoeing gingerly around the house trying to follow me around, making the most piteous whining sounds - every so often she stops and sits down and stares at the floor miserably as though she were wishing she could just lie down like she used to, if only it didn't hurt so much.

On the bright side, the vet kindly saved Toopka's baby teeth for the kids! And the roots were longer than the razor sharp wee teeth themselves, believe it or not. AND! I got to see a dog uterus!* And it's shaped like a Y! and each arm of the Y holds several puppies BUT each puppy has its' own compartment! And the mother dog releases several eggs over a period of hours or days, not all at once. (I had to google some of that - the uterus just lay there flatly, under gauze, yielding up none of the mysteries of life. Back when I got spayed, I asked to see my uterus, too, and the doctor said she'd take a picture of it, but she forgot, and it's probably okay, because what I really wanted to do was take the useless thing home and bury it in the backyard and dance on its' grave. Or burn it on pyre built entirely of feminine protection products and negative home pregnancy tests and books about the joys of home birth and breastfeeding. But I digress. The dog's ovaries were bigger than I thought they'd be. The bottom part of the y was hardly there.)

Anything else you want to know, I'll ask my vet. She already thinks I'm certifiable.

*What? I actually asked if they'd let me watch the whole operation but they turned me down. Thought I'd faint. HA. Just another thing to add to the list of things I'm going to ask strangers to let me observe one day. "I'm a writer", I'll say, and show them my notebook, and they'll let me in just in case I put them in my book.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

more poetry

I'm always delighted when I find songs where the lyrics stand alone. Here's a particularly choice bit from Jennifer Knapp's "Martyrs and Thieves".

There are ghosts from my past
that own more of my soul
than I thought I had given away
They linger in closets and under my bed
and in pictures less proudly displayed
A great fool in my life I have been
I have squandered till pallid and thin*
hung my head in shame
and refused to take blame
for the darkness I know I've let win

So turn on the light and reveal all Your glory
I am not afraid
Bare all my weakness, knowing in meekness
I have a kingdom to gain ...

*figuratively speaking, in my case

Monday, November 20, 2006

Match the statement with the child

So our church's youth group had a "Bigger and Better" night*, and one team came back with an air hockey table with a broken leg. As we meet in a community centre, there's nowhere at the "church" to store it, so it's in our basement. Piano practice and homework sure didn't take long today ...and these are some of the sounds drifting up the stairs.

"Okay!! I'll be Carolina Hurricanes and you be the Edmonton Oilers. And we're on the Edmonton home rink!"

"Score! After this, let's play in the dark, with our eyes closed!"

I await your categorization :)

*every team starts off with a paper clip, and then goes door to door through the neighbourhood explaining it's a church youth night, and asking if people have anything bigger and better than a paper clip to trade. And whatever they get next, they have to try to get something bigger and better than ...whoever gets the biggest and the best wins. I'm guessing the people who got the air hockey table won.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

There can never be too much poetry

Here's one of mine, a heartfelt snapshot of my beloved, composed while we were dating. Is it any wonder he married me?

There once was a boy with blond hair
Whose two ears* flapped loose in the air
One day in a gale
Gravity failed
and they found him again in Bel Air.

*yes, that's right. His ears are so big it moved me to poetry

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

sunburn at the n*de beach?

B: Do you know what my favourite game on this whole computer is?

Me: Tell me.

B: Red Ass.

Me: Pardon me?

B: Red Ass.

Me: (squinting a little) Try me one more time, buddy.

B: (getting a bit annoyed) Red. Ass.

There is a long pause while I try to imagine what kind of game this is, and where he got it, and how I've managed to miss it.

Me: What's that second word ?

B: ASS. A - C - E, ASS!

And he went back to shooting down airplanes.

pretend that date up there is the 14th

Sigh. I actually remembered at 20 to 12 but I was in bed already and fell asleep trying to think of something to say. Posting every day is fine - I'm struggling with not wanting to post something inane just to get a post in that day.

You know, like I just did.

Monday, November 13, 2006

There can never be too much poetry

When I was going to Winnipeg Bible College, I spent one long Saturday afternoon on the floor of the library reading a big fat book of quotations. I scribbled several of them on a piece of paper that I had for years, and the other day I googled three of them. Here's one I quoted so often that if I started into now, TechnoBoy would probably still have the eye-roll reflex going on, almost 30 years later. It's the last stanza in Longfellow's "The Rainy Day".

Be still, sad heart, and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

When I found that one, I found some others of Longfellow's as well, and here's an excerpt from one entitled "The Day is Done". It made me want to find someone to read to. Feel free to call me up and have me read Ulysses to you.

Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the thoughts of day.

Not from the grand old masters,
Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
Through the corridors of Time.

(much deleted)

... read from the treasured volume
The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet
The beauty of thy voice.

And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hey! Blogger is in a different time zone!

Or maybe its' clock is slow because I posted that last post a few minutes after midnight and here I was all sad that I'd already missed a day but the date on my post still says yesterday.


Also, did I mention B had a GREAT hockey game today? Also he washed his hair with shampoo so his head feels like silk and I can't stop kissing it. He's seven. He's not impressed.

Editttttted to add: SCORE! Blogger's clock and mine caught up with each other so I've already done tomorrow's post, too! I am such an overachiever*.

*(So now, in addition to being a control freaky over-reacter who drives while sleeping and calls everyone Dude! regardless of gender, I will also forget to post for three days.)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Toast and coffee, thanks, but you didn't have to ask ...

Er, umm, ahem, *blush*

If this morning is any indication, over the course of the next week I will, among other things, drive around looking like I don't need to be awake or breathing in order to be driving, chew gum in someone's ear (in, not with), and use an inappropriate nickname for someone. Possibly I will also have spasms of control freaky bossiness.

But, DUDE, that was a game!

Bear in mind that B's team is unbeaten in three games this year, and has only played one game that wasn't a shut out. Usually the mommies in the stands are pleading "Just let them get one goal, guys. Just one."

First period: B scores. Heads for the net, stick raised high, mother cheering in the stands. A few minutes later, he scores again, after making a sweet move around an opposing defender.

By the end of the first period, it's 3 - 1 Hawks. (yes that's B's team)

Second period: A dad hollers "Pete! other side!" at one of our players who is on the wrong side of the centre line because they've switched sides. A few minutes later, a Hawk makes a great move and smacks the puck off their own goal post. No goal. Phew.

And then the other team* explodes. It's 3-2 Hawks, then 3-3. And the buzzer goes.

If I was one of those raucous hockey parents who don't get it that this is only a game, possibly I would be pacing the stands by now. Possibly I would have balled my styrofoam coffee cup up and thrown it in the trash, and possibly I would be standing behind the top row of seats. Possibly I will not be running to follow the play. Yet.

Third period: B's line of forwards explode onto the ice. After approximately 57 offsides in the first two periods, B's team has figured out what they are**. They get across the blue line, and they stay there. There are more scoring chances than a person can count, and the stands are alive. There is groaning and cheering and shouts of "Keep it in!" and "Pass!" and "Shoot"***, and even one lovely gentle "Good job, honey!" Somebody clears it and after all that great action in the right place, a non-Hawk completely outskates our defenseman and puts it between the pipes.

If I were one of those tonsil-showing mommies, I might be banging my head against a wall at this point. If.

4-3 the other guys. 5 minutes left. There are still mommies sitting down not running their hands through their hair. I am not one of them. Someone's Dad says "Ok boys, let's do it" and ...the Hawks score. The mommies lose their minds. Some of them scream and yell and clap much longer than the others. Some of the seated ones edge carefully away from the crazy person, and plan blog entries making fun of people.

And then the Hawks score again.

And all I have to say is, there's no better place in the world to lose your voice cheering than at your own son's hockey game.

*oh shut up, their moms don't know our team name either
** I am in no way criticizing these children. There is so much to learn, and half of them are still learning to skate, it amazes me that they can put a game together, let alone play positions and pass on purpose and use the boards.
***In our defense, we were only trying to drown out some people on the other side of bleachers who were bellowing "Clear it!" for no good reason.

Friday, November 10, 2006

A good mother would tell them to go to sleep

...but even though it's 10:37 pm, and they are supposed to be asleep, but are giggling their heads off instead, I just can't tell them to stop. They've been getting along ALL DAY and they both cleaned up the huge disaster areas their bedrooms had become and now they're sleeping together on the floor of B's room.

Eventually. Apparently B wants to win a round of "Can You Rip My Socks Off Before I Rip Yours Off?" first.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

In case it ever comes up

If we're ever in a situation in which I have to ask you a question that you have to look at my computer screen over my shoulder in order to answer, please try to stop with the chewing of the gum.

Because if you don't, I may have to blog about you.

Other things I may have to blog about you for:

- If you drive past me on a frigid winter day with your driver's side window down and your mouth hanging open and your eyes half-closed. Dude. You'd freak me out.

- Yelling so loud at a sporting event that your eyes bulge out and I can tell what you had for supper because there it is at the bottom of your esophagus. Especially if this sporting event is your seven year old's hockey game.

- Saying Dude out loud in my presence.

- Totally freaking the freak out because you're behind in something that is, umm, my responsibility.

- Let's say we live in the same house.* Let's say I always always always always take the dog out for a pee first thing in the morning. Let's say it has never ever ever ever ever been your responsibility to take the dog out for a pee in the morning. Let's say, don't ask me to take the dog out for a pee the first time you clap eyes on me in the morning.

Or I'd have to, you know, blog about you.

*This is so not about TechnoGeek. Honestly.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

oh the weather outside ...

makes me wish I was the stay-at-home mom of preschoolers and we could go outside tomorrow and play in the snow and laugh at how it sparkles on the trees.

It also makes me wish we parked the vehicle *I* drive in the garage.

and just to make sure this post is disjointed - the dog appears to love carrots.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

And that would have been a loss

If I hadn't posted a sentence that was entirely phonetic and vowels only, Allen Patterson would never have tried to guess what I said*, and I would never have gone to his blog, and I would never have read the post of his that contained these lines:

“I fear the Dark Spectre may come too soon-
or do I mean, too late?
That I should end before I finish
Or finish, but not well.
That I should, stain your honor,
shame your Name, grieve your loving heart.
Few, they tell me, finish well…
Lord, let me get home before dark.”

Robert McQuilkin, 1981

*The correct answer is "It tastes like relief."

Monday, November 06, 2006

Today's recommended reading

Writer Brandilyn Collins weighs in on the Haggard news story.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

home again ...

Going to sleep, if the dog ever stops barking. Good night.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


I'm off to Winnipeg in just a few minutes for a few days of visiting - this afternoon with my Mom, in honour of her birthday on Tuesday, and Sunday with a whole lot of my SIL's family and extended family, in honour of the first birthday of my darling wee neice. As this is not an "everybody and the dog" trip, I am really looking forward to it!

Look out everyone, here I come!

probably a bit late to be asking ...

but does anyone know what "redux" actually means?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Dry Socket Redux

I suppose I should clarify about the dry socket thing.

I'm happy to report that the website that said dry sockets cause "moderate to severe pain" were right - sometimes it's much worse than others. The first time I had a dry socket, no over-the-counter painkiller would touch the pain, and at it's worst, I felt like every nerve in my entire face (both sides and even down my neck) was firing on all cylinders* and both my ears ached.

this time I've just been on over-the-counter painkillers 24/7, and have been convinced all along it's NOT a dry socket because it hasn't hurt anything like it did last time. Yesterday I didn't take any painkillers at all - not because it didn't hurt, but because I could work through the pain. So it's not like it's trying very hard to be a dry socket. I think it's a bit embarrassed by all the attention, myself.

I must say, though, when the dentist made a disparaging comment about the taste of dry socket paste, I stood up for it. "i ay eye ee-ee" I said, oh so clearly, with his hands in my mouth. First person to translate that gets a cookie.**

*how's that for an astonishing knowledge of the human anatomy?
**provided you have one in the house, of course

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Lucky lucky lady

So this afternoon after work, I got the answers to two burning questions that were consuming me**, and then I took the irrepressibly cheerful puppy for a walk through the snow. The puppy is a nutcase. She loves the winter. Last night in an effort to solve burning question #1*, I took her for a forty-five minute walk, at 9 pm. My internal organs were attempting to set themselves on fire, I was so cold, and when we got to the front door of our house, the puppy stopped dead in her tracks and gazed at me in frank puzzlement and said "You can't expect me to go inside ALREADY, can you?" Today she gambolled through the snow, rooting out animal poop and chomping on ice and generally just making me kill myself laughing when she stopped dead in her tracks and would not move. I finally stopped tugging on the leash and turned around to look at what she was doing, and there in the trees just off the path, not 15 feet away from me, were four young deer, having an afternoon snack. They were completely unconcerned by either one of us.

I see deer almost every time I'm down there with the dog, and it still feels like magic.

*BQ #1 - will the puppy ever poop again? Last night's answer? Not so you could notice it. This afternoon's answer? Even she can only hold it so long
**BQ #2 - can I possibly have a dry socket again, after that tooth I had pulled last week? Answer - why, yes I can.

So ...

The last time I emceed a reading for the Alexandra Writers Centre, I wandered up to the podium before all the readers were ready and stood there feeling foolish looking into a (small) sea of faces. I finally said "I'm only up here so you can admire my new shirt, which my daughter picked out for me on our last vacation. She also picked out one that was skintight and tie-dyed in greens and purples so you can all thank her later."

I'm feeling a bit like that today, like I've picked up a mike and set some expectations, and now I don't have an earthly clue what to do with it.

How do you like my shirt?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I'm too lazy to link to it, but if you google "National Blog Posting Month", you'll see that there's veritable hordes of bloggers attempting to post once a day for the month of November. Because I love to set myself up for failure, I'm trying it, too.

Brace yourself for plenty of puppy stories and one-liners.