Thursday, June 26, 2008


i felt that i had to squeeze in a post before june was over to keep up with my blinding post-a-month pace.
i have been on the road a lot, catching up with friends, always feeling like the visits were too short. sweet but not enough.
i have not been obsessing over the drawing board - the house plans have reached a slight hiatus brought on by bureacracy, over, literally, a matter of inches. tomorrow i am going to post a humongous sign on my lawn announcing our intentions and inviting public scrutiny. i am feeling a little self-conscious about it. i think i had imagined a much smaller sign.
people continue to urge us to move rather than renovate but we feel like we are supposed to be here and are counting on the house to come through for us. or at least to survive the onslaught. sorry house. just remember that we love you.
just because i am not currently spending every spare moment sketching and resketching and tracing and measuring does not mean that i am not horribly distracted on a deep level. i realized today that my response time to "hey mom guess what?" is about 6 seconds. a long hmmmmmm?
must wake up. must stay present!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

sniptious things

"Sniptious things for your style", in fact. My favourite junk e-mail subject line to date! I have no idea what they were trying to sell me and erased it before I could find out but now I am wondering about the snip-factor, you know? Maybe that is really what my style needs. Some sniptiousness. Sigh. Missed opportunity number fifty-three thousand and seventeen.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

looth tooth

The dust is pretty thick around here. In truth I have been avoiding this blog like a pile of papers that needs sorting and tending to but which will probably end up in a drawer somewhere. What can I say? I have been doing and making and thinking in three dimensions and the last place I want to be these days is in this little text box! Je m'excuse my sweeties. And I lost my digital camera and the deadwood dvd's just kept on coming in the mail and the laundry, oh god the laundry - nearly two solid months slaving down in the laundry mines!!!!!

Green things are growing and they are not in my fridge. The rhubarb that I transplanted last fall has survived both in its original bed and the new location. This makes me ridiculously happy. Almost as happy as the discovery that Joel Plaskett is playing Mariposa this year. Hot dog! Troutie is shedding like crazy. My brother tells me that he sheds so much because he is fat. Does this make sense? The scooter and the trike are out of the shed and wearing grooves in the sidewalk. Googirl is jealous of monkeyboy's enormous snowboarding/bike helmet. Googirl continues to pee on the pottie with reasonable regularity and great pride. We have paid our taxes and taken the snow tires off of the red car. I am still running but my hips are giving me trouble this week. They feel my achin bones. I have been teaching a lot of French lately and, strangely, my french seems to be getting worse. C'est dommage, n'est-ce pas?

But the big news around here is that monkeyboy lost his first tooth on Friday at around 3pm. He spent the remainder of the day sending whispered pleas to the tooth fairy and marvelling at the new architecture of his lower jaw. "Now the air doesn't have to go between the cracks of my teeth to get to my tongue - it can just swoosh right in!". He keeps asking me to look and see if his new tooth is coming in yet. I have an excellent little sarah apple pop-open wallet with a sad baby fairy on it that I wrecked the spring on that has found a new purpose as the tooth fairy wallet. The tooth fairy pays big bucks these days - two whole dollars! And let him keep his tooth besides! (On account of it being his first one, as she explained in her very messy reply note. Monkeyboy's note: "Hi TooTh FaiRy Look my 1ST tooTh"). He has a little lisp now that just makes smith and i melt.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

neglectful, I

It is officially spring. Hey dinga ding. And a hey and a ho and a hey nonny no. The forecast for tomorrow holds snow. Yes, snow.

Am I allowed to complain? I who have spent eight days out of the last snow packed, frigid month in Bermuda, sweet warm Bermuda, with sand in my toes and green grass all around? Thank you to Sylv, the hostess with the mostess, for that respite.

The Vacation in Not-So Brief:
Get up at 3am, -24 outside, drive, fly, land, head immediately to beach,eat beautiful beet soup by Sylv and go to bed early.
Day 2: A long walk along the rail trail with Sylv's friend Zeudie. Then to Gibb's Hill Lighthouse with Ron the super charming, nattily dressed cab driver for stair climbing, view viewing and yummy lunch with pots of tea. Managed to spill a full pitcher of milk all over. Horseshoe Bay for the afternoon with Teresa and her beautiful girls. Jack flew his new kite. Sal got wet and chattered her teeth. Smith ignored the signs and climbed high on dangerous rocks with Sal to wave at us down on the beach. Saw a huge parrotfish swimming in the shallows, flashing emerald. Drove up the hill to Tio Pepe's where we drank Sangiovese and ordered a bit of everything ("Finally, people who know how to eat"; Teresa). Ate, ate, ate while the kids ran wild, crawling under the table and dancing to themselves in the cloudy mirrored wall. Drove home (Sal on my lap again - freaky!) for more play and bath.
Day 3: Dockyards with Teresa after lunch. Sylv took Smith on her scooter. Wandered through the glassworks and Sylv's favourite gallery (with 4 kids in tow - brave weren't we?) then past the grumpy gatekeeper to see the dolphins being fed. Jack and Aimee taking turns snapping with my camera and Sylv's. Great pictures of course.We meandered through the museum but spent most of the time playing airplanes in the irresistable wide green common. We stayed on for dinner at the pub and waited a long time in the cold evening breeze for a bus. A couple was kissing in the bus shelter so we didn't go in. Jack is exhilarated by his first bus ride through the night. Sylv meets us at the stop with the running stroller - she has gone on ahead with her scooter and we carefully make our way along the rail trail in the dark with lots of reassurances for Jack.
Day 4: 11am -My birthday present from Sylv - a 90 minute massage from an incredibly gifted Sri Lankan woman, who Sylv calls "The Hands of God". We stop to buy groceries on the way home - all of the vegetables look bionic to me. Sylv says this is not the norm. For three big paper bags of groceries the bill is $187. !! We head home for a relaxed afternoon of arts and crafts. Late that night, Smith and I sit on the lawn and listen to the tree frogs.
Day 5: Took the ferry over to town. Coffee in the park and then home again for lunch and several clothing changes before heading to the Aquarium. Instead of Harbourfront for dinner we end up staying at Teresa's, playing Wii and getting take out sushi and pizza from The Specialty Inn. The kids were very happy to just get down on the floor and play - lots of new toys for Jack and Sal.
Day 6: A good run this morning, Smith and Sal following along. Sylv runs errands while we head to Church Bay Beach. Lots of big rolling waves and wind but the air is the warmest it has been all week. Sylv eventually joins us and we stay for hours. A painter sets up his easel and works for most of the afternoon. On the way back up from the beach, Sylv recognizes him as her favourite Bermudian painter - the first time she has met him in the 9 years she has lived there. Smith's favourite day. Later that night, I am falling asleep on the couch so Sylv and I hatch a plan to scoot over to the grocery store and buy chocolate cake. Ken comes home from hunting in Florida with a turkey in his cooler. We sit at the kitchen counter in our pj's and visit.

Day 7 : Runaround in town day - busy sorting things for Sylv's birthday. Head to the Underwater Institute by bus - Sal naps on the way. We love the Shell Room. Beware the Poisonous Gastropods! I love learning that only two people have ever been to the deepest part of the ocean (More people have gone to the moon and scaled Everest). Go to Rosa's for lunch - TexMex, right across from the freight docks full of containers, visit Sylv at work, then order flowers for Sylv's birthday. I manage to knock over a large vase full of water at the florist's. People say hi to Jack wherever we go: "Hey young one." "Hello little man". "Hey small one. How are you?" He never responds right away. He needs time to see his way into a conversation. We grab another excellent coffee from the frenchman at the Lemon Tree and race to catch the ferry over to Dockyard to get Sylv's birthday present, a painting by the man we saw at Church Bay. We find a perfect one of figures running along a beach, entitled Winter Sunshine. Then the bus and home again, home again. My turn to cook dinner - good old carbonara standby.

Day 8: The beach. The fabulous beach. Take the bus to Elbow. Stay until the snacks have run out and we are hungry. Then walk up to the Paraket to sit on stools at the bright green counter to eat burgers and drink milkshakes. Wait for the bus at the pole planted perilously close to the road. I sit on the rock wall and fear for my kneecaps while Smith entertains the kids on some nearby grass. (Grass -it was so good to see grass!) Ian calls with the news that it is snowing in Texas. Sylv and Ken bring home Indian for dinner. Mmmmmmmm. One last walk to the secret beach. Can see the lighthouse flashing out and around, out and around. We all stand around in the driveway for a while looking up at the million stars. We check the weather forecast for Toronto. More bloody snow. We hope for delays that might keep us here longer.
Last day: No such luck. Smith and I head to West Whale for one last dip. Then home to snow snow snow snow snow snow snow snow like crazy cakes all over the darn place.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

goo girl speaks up

boooots! booooots!
amo? amo? amo? amo? amo? amo? amo?
hi gittie. gittiegittiegittiegittiegittie! hi poonie. mrow!mrow!mrow! mrow!
uh-oh. hhhhock. hhhhhhock. (meaning, i've left my sock in my boot)
chakie! chakie! hiiiieeeee chackie!
cheese? cheese?
MMMMMooooooooooooooo! (meaning i want to nurse NOW)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

yes, you are

Today I taught a Gr. 1/2 class.

I asked "Who here is an artist?".

They ALL put up their lovely lovely lovely lovely lovely lovely hands.

It made my day.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


My first thought today when I didn't get called for any jobs was "Hey, since I won't be workin again til Monday, I don't really have to change my clothes for a few days". And the little warning light in my head didn't really go on until just now.

I blame it on not having any sisters to say "What the hell have you got on woman." (My brother used to do that job but it made me just want to punch his head. Sorry Jim.)

And also,winter. I hate being cold so much that I will sacrifice style for warmth in an instant. I know, know, I don't have to but I have a bag lady layering instinct. It makes me feel like...a real version of me. This makes so much gut sense when I clown. The layers of clothing are not just layers of clothing, they are my heart.

Take heart dear reader, I promise to change my clothes tomorrow and the next day. (At very least, my socks and undies). I also promise not to wear my jeans and a black shirt. Again. For you, I wear something a little crazy, hey? Like a tree growing out of my wrist and a bird's nest bonnet. And some big boots. I will make an effort to wear my heart. Not my mood. My heart.

Yeahhh, take that January!

Friday, January 25, 2008

running and rom

i am taking a learn to run clinic. i am into my second week (run 2 minutes walk 1) and although my dilettante nature is tugging hard at my elbow I am really trying hard not to rush out and and buy a bunch of cool looking high-tech running clothes. but i really want to! i am worried that i like looking athletic more than being athletic. so i am going to try to stick it out in my stretched-out yoga pants, ski-mitted, husband's massive hoodie look and focus on the things i like about running.

5 things i like about running:
1. being alone
2. being outside
3. running
4. being alone
5. being outside

i also went to the ROM this week with monkeyboy and googirl and was extremely disappointed by the new renovation. on the inside the crystal felt awkward and wierd, as though they had just put up a bunch of strange slanty drywall to hide other construction that was going on. i had to take the stroller up the elevator which took me through the old entryway rotunda. it has classical proportions, big marble pillars and a very flashy gold mosaic on ceiling, all of which reminded me of eating ice-cream with vickie in vienna.
my favourite part of the new renovation is the family restaurant in the basement. (which was good because we spent most of the visit there) it was clean, open, modern, big multipaned windows, a space i wanted to be in. in truth, nothing affects my opinion of a space like good food.
the dinosaurs are back too and it was not too difficult to get excited with monkeyboy over the size of the t-rex and the prehistoric sea-turtle.

Monday, January 14, 2008

back in the saddle

Yeah, I did it. Got my whistle and my yard duty boots on and took a job covering a Gr. 6/7 class. It was a good day for it: a snowy Monday. The kids were all still pretty relaxed from the weekend, I had a great EA in for the morning. But God help me I could not remember any of the arguments that the Patriots had for independance! I am a very quick study with names which always seems to impress and freak out the kids. In a good way. I think it makes them feel as though I actually see them. Although I always end up calling someone by the wrong name repeatedly, either the really high-strung one who freaks out at me whenever I do it or the quiet one who doesn't have the nerve to correct me. Today it was the quiet one and although I called her by the wrong name at least 20 times, it was usually to praise her. I don't know how Meg and Kelly (sorry, Roland) keep it straight in their classroom in Korea where all the kids have new English names, just for school. Crazy.
Anyway, it felt good to be out there again.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

crappy jobs that I seem to be missing

My current struggle with returning to work after an 18 month hiatus (thank you googirl) seems to be stirring up deep feelings of nostalgia for my old retail jobs. Jobs where I got to work crummy hours for even crummier pay in the employ of slightly (sometimes very) batty folks. What is there to miss? I worked retail for a long time. Granted, it was the best kind of retail - a record store and a used book store and NOT your shiny happy mall record and book stores but independant, old school storefronts, jam packed to the rafters, grotty around the edges, hand written label kind of places where people liked to linger. I got to do mindless menial tasks like straightening shelves, pricing, vacumming, data entry, stapling posters to the wall. And I got to have long conversations with strangers about music and books. At both jobs I got to listen to music all day, usually my choice. I think that is what I am nostalgic for. Solitude and good tunes.

Here follows a list of jobs where the listening was good.

1. My first job for my Dad who was a land surveyor. I worked alone in a second floor office in a red brick building on the corner of Elizabeth and First St. The air reeked of ammonia from the blue line printer. I drafted plans while listening to CBC - Peter Gzowski in the morning and Vicky Gabereau in the afternoon. Still a CBC addict.

2. Dish pig - Camp Kitchi, Beausoleil Island. God, I loved this job. Having never been to camp as a kid I was thrilled to be there even though it meant twelve to fourteen hours of rinsing, pulling the lever down on the Hobart, getting calluses on my hands from the scorching hot melamine. It was a big old wooden kitchen with windows hinged at the top. When it got too hot we yelled "Kitchen Dip!" and ran off the end of the dock in all our clothes. We listened to Cowboy Junkies - Black Eyed Man, Crash Test Dummies - Ghosts that Haunt Me, Barenaked Ladies, Moxy Fruvous and Laurie Anderson. Pop Quiz - 10 points if you can name that year.

3. Building giant puppets. We spent the first month of the summer building and rehearsing in a little old church just north of Queen St. I ate a roti almost every day for lunch. Potato and spinach. I spent the days up to my elbows in wallpaper paste, listening to Nirvana Unplugged-Live in New York, Hildegard Von Bingen, Ani Difranco, Alanis Morrisette - Jagged Little Pill.
Pop Quiz Part B - Again, name the year for ten points.

4. Record shop. List of albums too large to type here. Okay, highlights: Black Grape, Liz Phair, Rough Guide to Hawaii and Space Capades but Phil had to be there, Wilco's first album, Diana Krall's Nat King Cole tribute album, Lou Reed, Emmylou Harris - Wrecking Ball, Fugees, Eva Cassidy, Billy Bragg, PJ Harvey-Bring You My Love, Gram Parsons, ok it goes on and on. Sigh.

I was going to include my current stint as mom-at-home but I realized that smith's job is perfectly suited to good listening. I sometimes catch the fringe benefits of it on my way past to the laundry room or as I sweep in to retrieve a too-boisterous monkey boy or goo-girl but that's it really. I did get to witness monkeyboy's searing Queen sing-along this afternoon. "Can any-bod-ee faheeeeennnd meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee sumbuddy to love!"

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Things I have done so far today: got out of bed, fed Sal, got back into bed and slept a little longer (which makes the whole day off to a fabulous start already), dressed, groomed and bundled the children, kept them both in good moods through the very blustery walk to school, dropped Sal off with no fuss (again!!!) - she practically ran in with hardly a backward glance, was not totally socially awkward during Jack's drop off, gave Smith a pep talk, made bread, put away the Christmas decorations, washed the cat pee out of the kitchen rug, ate a healthy lunch and now am doing a fabulous job of procrastinating when I should be doing accounting.
Things I have not done today: Gone to work! Gosh, no local schools called, only far away ones. For the first time I am relieved about my temporary driving ban.

I am really into making bread this week. This is my second batch this week - whole wheat this time around - it is looking a little dense. I like everything about it: short ingredients list, whapping the dough around, getting my hands all gloopy, shaping the loaves ( I don't use pans, I just make little round loaves on a stone), the waiting time and of course the smell.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Today's message from the universe: two postcards found in our copy of Kurt Vonnegut's Galapagos while searching for a quote about farts. One postcard is from Trinidad and Tobago and the other is a postcard of a deep Scottish lake.

We dragged monkeyboy to swimming lessons today. I watched from the observation benches as he clung to a post and refused to enter the water. He remained scrunched up and miserable for the whole lesson. Poor guy. I am having the same feeling about going back to work. I know I have to do it but I don't wanna! The good news is that if I know monkey boy, I know he will probably be sweet-talking his teacher and showing off by next week. I hope I can demonstrate the same resiliency.

I am supposed to be ready to go to work tomorrow if I get called. And so, perversely, I want to stay up really, really late, watching movies and eating junk food. If I don't get work for tomorrow, I plan to drop the kids off at school and then go and walk a hundred miles, at least.

I am also supposed to be preparing for an audition. Holy crap. I hate auditions. But I like what can come from them so it is a necessary evil. And it is Shakespeare which I don't really feel built for, except for the clowns. Ahg - nervousness and knee shaking.

On a final note, thanks to the universe for sending me several great visits with several great women over the past week. Wow, wow, wow, wow,wow. How lucky can one girl be?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

procrastination, resolutions, blessings, etc.

2007 was a good year in this house. I say in this house, because this is where I spent most of my days, with the kids and smith, and although I am feeling a little cabin fevery at the moment, the cabin has mostly been a sweet, cozy place of content. This year could very well have been the best of my life so far in its understated and unambitious golden fuzziness. But I feel the need to stand up and shake. To make 2008 a year of adventure and forward movement. The number itself feels good to me - very round, bouncy, resilient and astonished.

I was considering making an extreme resolution this year like No Plastic for a year, or Eat Only the 100 Mile Diet, or Talk Only to Strangers. But I really just want to try to be a good person. Who drinks more water. Eats right. Is active. Is politically aware and involved. Is pro-human. Has good hair. Teaches her children good manners and how to read music. Doesn't buy any more wool until the stash is empty. Who plays more music, actually practises her good old piano. Sees a little more of the world - in an environmentally responsibly manner, if possible. Who never throws out perfectly good food and saves every milkbag. Who never procrastinates. Who visits her grandmother more and grows a vegetable garden and doesn't blog or knit when her kids are pulling at her elbow. Who acts, writes, directs, and dances. Who finally gets to go to Clown Boot Camp on Manitoulin Island. Who goes to East Coast to see old friends. Who goes to the West Coast to see old friends. Who dances more. Who has a least one fantabulous conversation over a glass of wine with each of the people I love and admire the most. Who loves her family as much and as hardly (Bobcageon definition of hardly, as in really, really, really) good as they deserve to be loved. Writes daily. Spends more time in big open spaces of intense natural beauty. Who knows each day and names it. Who learns to keep it simple.

To quote Mr. Anton Chekhov:
"We shall find peace, we shall hear the angels, we shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds."

Happy New Year.