Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays!

We made it to Christmas :-)
I seem to have found some holiday cheer... ;-)
Julia finally decided to open her presents...

We are (as usual) late to get to my mum's...

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

May we make it to tomorrow...

okay - so that's a little melodramatic ("I don't know what MELODRAMATIC means" says Prince Edward in Enchanted...)

Last Wednesday a little boy got hit in the eye with a mini hockey stick at lunch recess. He had to go to the hospital and now needs to see a specialist. Turns out it was my boy's hockey stick, thrown down in a temper (the boy who got hit was cheating apparently) and bounced up and hit the poor child who was lying on the ground. There have been repercussions - there was a lot of lying around said event. I am still not sure it is all over - we're waiting on the specialist to see the eye.

But let's just say that when the Ontario Police Association called earlier looking for a donation for "Fishing with Cops" I didn't hear much past the Ontario Police for the first few seconds and thought we were being called down to the police station in relation to the event (the boy's father is understandably very upset).

Do I need to say I have been besides myself for the last 4 days (I only found out Thursday afternoon). NO? Good. I've nearly made myself sick over Stu's part in the whole ugly mess.

Then Friday night Stu took a tumble out of bed and cut his head open on the corner of his desk. The chances of him actually managing that are - oh - close to NIL, but he found away (he may have a future with the Cirque du Soleil). Off to the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (as advised by Telehealth). Of course I only had the vaguest idea of where the hospital was and spent 1/2 the drive - the same drive where we were dodging snowplows trying to clear excess snow, cursing myself for not having done a trial run to the hospital - I mean we were going to end up there at some point right?

They, after many hours, glued his head back together (it's on the back where it will be covered by hair, so they were able to spare him stitches). I wondered if it was a fitting turn of events for young Stu, and without being all psycho pointed out that this is where Myles (boy with the eye) had to come because of him throwing his hockey stick.

Yesterday morning Julia threw up. Then again at 5:41 this morning. She has sore ears. I am on my 3rd load of vomit laundry.

All I want right now is for her to stop throwing up (touch wood it's been a few hours) and for the snow to stop so that we can drive to Montreal tomorrow and eat turkey.

And drink lots and lots of eggnog.

MERRY CHRISTMAS to all and all the best for 2008!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tis the season

About 10 days ago I had an email from my friend Catherine. She's spending her first Christmas in Europe and noticing the differences - no Christmas music in stores, feeling like it's not really all that holiday like...

I remember feeling the same way 8 Christmases ago. I had been in Luxembourg for almost a year and thought I knew a lot about living there. But then the holidays came and it didn't feel right. There were no Christmas carols on the radio or in the stores. There were lights up but still... I remember driving to Myles & Cathie's for Christmas dinner in the rain and feeling oh so blue. Though it was hard to stay blue with Cathie's perogies on offer!

Now I am suffering for the reverse effect. There has been Christmas music for going on 2 months now - even radio stations that have been playing nothing but Christmas music since the 1st of December! Everywhere you go you are bombarded by "Christmas Cheer" - it's a bit overwhelming to be honest.

For all our vows to not get caught up in the hype it's hard not to. Going to Toys'r'us almost a month ago was already a frantic occasion. I can't quite put my finger on where it comes from, but there all this pressure to buy gifts, the right gifts for just about everybody.

In retrospect, I used to have to get a lot of Christmas gifts done early to mail. Don't get me wrong, it was still stressful (why is it that gift giving is so stressful?) but at least it was usually done by the beginning of December.

I guess I can also blame a lot of my bah humbugs on other things this year too - Marc's consulting contract coming to an end without any job offers... luckily that one has been resolved in the nick of time and he started a new job on Monday. While I am immensely relieved and proud of him for landing this new job, he still needs to finish up his consulting gig on top of a new job, and at this time of the year that's not fun. Our plans to go to his parents over the holidays - down the drain. We've gotten so used to him not working over the holidays (got to love the NATO shut down for 2 weeks) and now we're happy that he's going to be finished work by 2 on Christmas Eve. It's a lot of changes - in a year where it feels like we've been turned upside down already.

This time last year we were looking forward to 2007 - the last 9 months of 2006 had been challenging (so we thought then!). Now we are looking to 2008. I am aware though in the back of my mind that you can't live your life trying to get from one thing to the next. And that I am turning into a negative person. I have so much to be thankful for in life. Gotta focus on that, and hopefully be jollier next Christmas.

And maybe spend it in the sun - where there's no snow to shovel ;-)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

This pretty much sums it up...

Got this from a friend today. Yup.

BTW - it's snowing again.

December 2: 6:00 PM:
> It started to snow. The first snow of the season and the wife and I
took our cocktails and sat for hours by the window watching the huge
soft flakes drift down from heaven. It looked like a Grandma Moses
Print. So romantic we felt like newlyweds again. I love snow!
> December 9:
> We woke to a beautiful blanket of crystal white snow covering every
inch of the landscape. What a fantastic sight! Can there be a more
lovely place in the Whole World? Moving here was the best idea I've
ever had. Shoveled for the first time in years and felt like a boy
again. I did both our driveway and the sidewalks. This afternoon the
snowplow came along and covered up the sidewalks and closed in the
driveway, so I got to shovel again. What a perfect life.
> December 12:
> The sun has melted all our lovely snow. Such a disappointment. My
neighbor tells me not to worry, we'll definitely have a white Christmas.
No snow on Christmas would be awful! Bob says we'll have so much snow by
the end of winter, that I'll never want to see snow again. I don't think
that's possible. Bob is such a nice man, I'm glad he's our neighbor.
> December 14:
> Snow, lovely snow! 8" last night. The temperature dropped to -20. The
cold makes everything sparkle so. The wind took my breath away, but I
warmed up by shoveling the driveway and sidewalks. This is the life! The
snowplow came back this afternoon and buried everything again. I didn't
realize I would have to do quite this much shoveling, but I'll certainly
get back in shape this way. I wish I wouldn't huff and puff so.
> December 15:
> 20 inches forecast. Sold my van and bought a 4x4 Blazer. Bought snow
tires for the wife's car and two extra shovels. Stocked the freezer.
The wife wants a wood stove in case the electricity goes out. I think
that's silly. We aren't in Alaska, after all.
> December 16:
> Ice storm this morning. Fell on my butt on the ice in the driveway
putting down salt. Hurt like hell. The wife laughed for an hour, which I
think was very cruel.
> December 17:
> Still way below freezing. Roads are too icy to go anywhere.
Electricity was off for five hours. I had to pile the blankets on to
stay warm. Nothing to do but stare at the wife and try not to irritate
her. Guess I should've bought a wood stove, but won't admit it to her.
God I hate it when she's right. I can't believe I'm freezing to death
in my own living room!
> December 20:
> Electricity's back on, but had another 14" of the damn stuff last
night. More shoveling. Took all day. damn snowplow came by twice.
Tried to find a neighbor kid to shovel, but they said they're too busy
playing hockey. I think they're lying. Called the only hardware store
around to see about buying a snow blower, and they're out. Might have
another shipment in March. I think they're lying. Bob says I have to
shovel or the city will have it done and bill me. I think he's lying.
> December 22:
> Bob was right about a white Christmas, because 13 more inches of the
white shit fell today, and it's so cold it probably won't melt 'til
August. Took me 45 minutes to get all dressed up to go out to shovel,
and then I had to piss. By the time I got undressed, pissed and dressed
again, I was too tired to shovel! Tried to hire Bob, who has a plow on
his truck, for the rest of the winter; but he says he's too busy. I
think the a**hole is lying.
> December 23:
> Only 2" of snow today, and it warmed up to "0". The wife wanted me to
decorate the front of the house this morning. What, is she nuts??? Why
didn't she tell me to do that a month ago? She says she did, but I think
she's lying.
> December 24:
> 6" . Snow packed so hard by snowplow, I broke the shovel. Thought I
was having a heart attack. If I ever catch the son-of-a-bitch who drives
that snowplow, I'll drag him through the snow by his balls and beat him
to death with my broken shovel. I know he hides around the corner and
waits for me to finish shoveling and then he > comes down the street at
a 100 miles an hour and throws snow all over everywhere I've just been!
Tonight the wife wanted me to sing Christmas carols with her and open
our presents, but I was too busy watching for the damn snowplow.
> December 25:
> Merry F****** Christmas. 20 more inches of the @&^%)*% slop tonight.
Snowed in. The idea of shoveling makes my blood boil. God, I hate the
snow! Then the snowplow driver came by asking for a donation and I hit
him over the head with my shovel. The wife says I have a bad attitude.
I think she's a fricking idiot. If I have to watch "It's a Wonderful
Life" one more time, I'm going to stuff her into the microwave.
> December 26:
> Still snowed in. Why the hell did I ever move here? It was all HER
idea. She's really getting on my nerves.
> December 27:
> Temperature dropped to -30, and the pipes froze. Plumber came after
14 hours of waiting for him; he only charged me $1,400 to replace all my
> December 28:
> Warmed up to above -25. Still snowed in. The B*TCH is driving me
> December 29:
> 10 more inches. Bob says I have to shovel the roof or it could cave
in. That's the silliest thing I ever heard. How dumb does he think I
> December 30:
> Roof caved in. I beat up the snow plow driver. He is now suing me for
a million dollars; not for only the beating I gave him, but also for
trying to shove the broken snow shovel up his ass. The wife went home
to her mother. 9" predicted.
> December 31:
> I set fire to what's left of the house. No more shoveling.
> January 8:
> Feel so good. I just love those little white pills they keep giving
me. Why am I tied to the bed?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Grumble Grumble

Have you seen my holiday cheer?

I think I may have dug a hole in the backyard (under the snow, so deep deep down) and buried it.

Grrr. Mmmhphm. Blech.

37cm of snow yesterday didn't help. Our street still has not been plowed. The Volvo with all wheel drive got stuck.

Grumble. Pfffft. Grunt.

Update : 10 pm and the plow finally goes by, a mere 40 hours after the snow began. Somehow the majority of the snow ends up on ours and our next door neighbours' driveways. Across the street? A few inches to shovel.

On our side (and I am not exaggerating, though I am wont to do so) - a mound of snow that was almost 3 feet high and at least 3 feet across. And the width of two driveways. They must have an in with the mayor (the mayor of Ottawa is likely to be charged for bribing an opponent to drop out of the race... not that I'm implying anything.)

Nice heavy stuff. Yeah. I just asked Marc to return my Christmas presents and buy me a snowblower.

Friday, December 14, 2007

What? a 5 minute window?

To post?? Wow...

That being said I am sitting with the dueling Magnetix building children. There's 200 pieces in the box Stu got for his birthday, how is it they are constantly arguing over a piece?

So... what to say. You know how when you have a friend you talk to every day you always have something to talk about, but then if you don't talk to them for a while you haven't got much to say? That's me right now. I am sure there is some argument to be made for our lives being made up of mostly small stuff.

In our world we have been busy. Rushed off our feet busy. The boy turned 6 on the 4th - 6!!! Was he not just a tiny baby? Where did the time go...

He also got his first report card - better than we had anticipated in a lot of ways. The transition has been hard on him. Skipping Sr Kindergarten was hard on him. But he did okay (even got a couple of A's).

Parent teacher interviews (another first in our house) were a bit of another matter. The arts teacher : "Stuart marches to the beat of his own drummer" as an opener. Bad mother that I am I giggled at some of the stories they told . I am not sure if it was nerves (in part) or the fact that I am so relieved that I am not the only person who can't mold his will to my way. He's a really stubborn little guy apparently, even at school. Smart as a whip, but a non-conformist. We're trying to figure out how to teach him to still hear his own drummer, but not leave the rest of the parade and end up falling off a cliff.

We had a hugely successful birthday party for Stuart - I say that in relation to the amount I was DREADING it. We booked an indoor playground called Midway. We could only get 5-7pm on a Sunday night by the time I got my act together. When I went to inquire I was too late for something else to look around properly (I'd heard it was an okay venue).

Invitations went out, I dreaded the calls saying that it was too late on a school night (what kind of mother books a party at that time? geeesh) but all the kids we really wanted to be there came.

The morning of the party we went to another party in Stittsville at a place called the Moo Zoo. It was a party for a 3 year old. The place was tiny. The play structure was no bigger than that at the Quick on Route D'Arlon in Luxembourg (think Belgian McDonalds). We'd only booked the play structure for Stu's party - egads, what if Midway was the same?

My son would be an outcast - victim of an uncool party booked by his socially challenged mother.

We went home from the morning party and tried to "add-on" to our party. They don't answer the phone at Midway, you have to leave a message. By 4:40 when we left I was in a state.

I need not have feared - we were able to add-on bumper cars when we arrived. We had a great party host. The "tunnels of fun" play structure went for miles. The bumper cars were a huge hit. The tokens for the arcade were a huge hit. THe food was inhaled. Marc and I were NOT STRESSED for the whole 2 hours.

And Stu is not a social outcast (until my next chance to mess up that is).

Tonight we have a concert at Julia's nursery school. They've been practicing for weeks now (she's in two classes, so two presentations to make). She's pretty pumped about it... I just hope she doesn't get stage fright when she sees the number of people in the audience. Tomorrow she has an open house at ballet - I dug out our video camera (which I realize we have not used since June 2004 - eeek!) and tested it out taping her talking to me. She loves the camera, our little prima donna....

On that note, it's been more than 5 minutes and I have rambled on for too long. We need to make & eat dinner and get dressed up and out of the house in an hour. Mission impossible?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

P.S. I love you

A few weeks ago I was putting laundry away in Stu's room and put a few things away in his desk. He loves post-it notes (thanks to Gill and David). I wrote "Mummy (hearts) Stu" on the top one of his post it notes.

Stu and I have been having a bit of a rough go these last few weeks. Nothing I can bring myself to discuss at 10:09 pm when I was supposed to be in bed an hour ago. But things have been more difficult than either of us would like. He's going to be 6 in a couple of days and there are days when I feel like I am under house arrest with this child who second guesses my every request, and yet other days I remember the day he was born... you know how it is, these moments of mother love.

He is clingy and yet not that pleasant to me lately. A weird and trying combination.

This afternoon I went into my room and saw a yellow post-it not on my pillow. It said "Stu (hearts) Tracy".

I didn't cry - miraculously. But I am going to try and keep it forever.

Friday, November 30, 2007

camp out, HT style

My children are both in Stuart's bed. They are, in their words, "camping out".

When Stuart broached the subject about an hour ago, I said I would think about it. Marc looked at me as if I had gone insane. But as he is leaving for hockey as I type he let me call it.

I eventually agreed to said "sleep over" or what is now being called "camping out". Stu is making his plans for breakfast in bed tomorrow. For us, not him.

Breakfast in bed is a new amusement for my children. Last week Stu brought us an apple and a piece of Halloween candy each in bed. On Wednesday Julia appeared upstairs with a plate that had 4 muffin tops on it - one for each of us. (please don't ask where the muffin bottoms were - I burned them soooooo badly. My oven and I have yet to bond).

So they are up there and I am way down here in the (quiet) basement. I know I will have to go up and separate them in a few minutes. Julia did not make it through night two (last night) dry, and is wiped out. Stu was up at 4 and though he will deny it, not much better.

But it felt really nice to say yes. I know it's a yes that will eventually turn into a "not tonight dears", but it wasn't a NO. I am so tired of saying no. Who knew how often a mother says it in the course of any given day. Some times it's fun to be the cool mum who says yes.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

And things come to mind

I have all kinds of ideas of things to write about today... well kinda.

Like I toyed with the idea of posting my random thoughts throughout the day - like "Gee, if I were a thief I would hit all the cars in the shopping centre parking lot between 2:55 and 3:05 - all the moms leave their purses when they go the 500m to pick up their kids." I wasn't thinking of doing it by the way - but it made me think that I should take my purse with me.

One thing that's been on my mind this month, with all this posting, is that blogging can let you think you're out there making contact. Now, I am not against virtual friends - I love them personally. And I think that sometimes people you don't know can... oh what am I trying to say (BTW - Julia made it her first night in underwear YEEHAW! But she woke up screeching for the toilet at 5:42 this morning and that's more than 12 hours ago and I am tired...)

So there's a tangent. What I was trying to say (I think) is that I have realized that I have been posting all month. It actually came at a pretty good time, I felt like I was not getting anything accomplished. I realize that the only thing this has accomplished is me being able to say I set out to do something and that I finished it - but that means something to me at this stage.

(OH! Would they please STOP with the wedgie ad on YTV?? Have they NOT shown that episode of Jacob two two yet???? Sorry, kids watching tv).

But what I have realized in the last day or so is that I have not emailed people. Or called anyone besides my mum. Even my facebooking has been limited (not a bad thing). It's a bit like I am having a one sided conversation, deciding what I am saying and putting it out there then running away. In other words, my interpersonal skills are going even more down the toilet. I worry that I will become a recluse here in the suburbs, fooling myself that I am expressive and reaching out to people. And when people comment sometimes I feel strange not discussing things further.

Boy, I must be tired. That sounds very - I don't know, like someone in need of therapy. Which apparently I am (in need of therapy) according to a little old biddy in the mall on Sunday. But that's another post. Some day.

So - do I have a point?? Um, I think so. I will try and spend more time in December actually emailing people and talking to them. Maybe even going out.

Oh who am I kidding? I'll have Christmas cookies to eat. Sounds more like a New Year's resolution (have I mentioned that my procrastination skills are phenomenal?)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

and my heart beat faster

Last night I ran away from home - for a little less than 2 hours. I had a valid reason for leaving the house... I had decided that 3 months into paying for my gym membership I should use it. The guilt over paying for it for 3 months and not once darkening the door of the gym got to me.

That and the 13 pounds I have put on since we moved back to Canada.

I of course had nothing to wear so I hit the Roots outlet near our house and picked up some workout clothes. And some shoes at Globo. Not to, um, forget the trip into Jacob Connexion (what?? they MIGHT have had workout clothes) that saw 2 new pairs of cords (okay, and a sweater or two, there was a sale!!) to fit over my ample hips. My pants are all a bit (big bit) snug and Christmas is not even here.

I won't even touch on what used to be my chest and is now what can only be referred to as a bosom. One big thing. Seriously, I feel like formidable school mistress or Scottish housekeeper. Or the prow of a ship. Definitely past middle aged (though supposedly I am not middle-aged yet).

Marc and I made it to the gym yesterday afternoon. I have a phobia of gyms. Really don't like them. It's pretty unfounded I'm sure, but I am really intimidated.

We were short on time so Marc suggested skipping the cardio machines and hitting the weight machines. Weight machines. My brain panics. I see a sign that says to warm up first - and desperately seize upon that. "We HAVE to warm up it says - I don't want to hurt myself!!"

I figured we'd kill some time on the elyptical trainers... Marc hops on and gets going (yes, he's in way better shape than me). I hop on and start - not so bad... um yeah. After 5 minutes I was puffing and dying to get off. Please save me weight machines!

That's when it hit me - I am in bad shape.

It's not that I thought I was in great shape. I rarely exercise with the exception of yoga classes I took in Lux - so many things to do, so little time. I haven't been happy with my weight for a while, but as long as I could still squeeze into a size 7 I thought what the heck, I'm not doing so bad. I have two kids I run around after, I must be getting enough exercise.

It was a bit of an eye opener. That I was so winded after 5 minutes. I'm still digesting to be honest, and I will have to figure out how I am going to rectify this in a way that doesn't have me at the gym every day (though I acknowledge that might be the fastest way).

I so don't want to be one of those people who can't walk up a few flights of stairs. Who are old before their time. Gotta get working on this (okay, maybe after Christmas... )

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

This is a test of the emergency broadcast system

This is a test. I repeat, this is a test.

Please be advised that there is a little girl who went to bed an hour and a half late last night. And got up an hour early this morning.

Citizens in the vicinity of H & HC roads are warned to expect noises at an unbearably high pitch which may cause dogs to whimper and cower in corners. We are calling for outbursts of impatience and crying jags if the child's mother fails to be anything less than perfect. And psychic of course, as said child will only communicate in fragmented sentences punctuated with disbelief at her lot in life.

There will be unreasonable demands for bread with nutella.

In worst case we are predicting maternal precipitation, followed by consumption of large quantities of chocolate.

This is a test of the emergency broadcast system.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Am I (gasp) becoming a grown up?

I have rediscovered the radio in the car.

I say rediscovered because for several years (shall we say, um, 6???) I haven't been able to bear noise in the car. Or maybe that's just MORE noise in the car.

The situation got worse after my fall 3 and a bit years ago. Apparently the impact to my mouth - though enough to fracture my jaw and knock all my teeth out of alignment - should not have caused any damage to my hearing. I don't believe it. Nor does my husband who has been running around turning things off due to near constant nagging and threats that my head is going to explode. I seem to have lost the ability to filter things out.

Where was I going with all this? Oh yeah, no more radio. Or at least very rarely. I generally try to tune out the backseat noise and sigh in relief when there is none.

Today I actually turned the radio on. No idea why. I think maybe it was the dark cloud that had ben following me around all morning. Or the frightening void left when I dropped Julia off at nursery school. She talked NON STOP, ALL MORNING. I actually heaved a sigh of relief when I dropped her off this afternoon - an audible sigh that another mother overheard and had a giggle over. Ooops.

So I am driving home from nursery school and I turn on the radio. Flip stations a bit, nothing sounds like what I want to listen to. And then I find it.

Classical music. And not the type that I usually like, baroque or what Julia calls "Ballet Music". No, this was big loud, full symphony with tons'o brass and big drums classical. It mirrored my mood, all that banging and crashing of symbols.

I noted the radio station for future reference. No ads - yeah! The announcer came on and that's when I realized: I was listening to the CBC. And LIKING it.

Now, no offense to CBC listeners - the CBC has just always seemed like such a grown up or responsible thing to do. When I was a kid we only had two television stations : the CBC and CTV. CBC was always the more high brow, educational channel.

The CBC is kinda like brown bread in a white bread world.

I've been waiting for my grownup papers to arrive for years now. I think they may have come in another way today.

I continued to listen in the house as I baked an apple pie. I listened on my way back to the nursery school to pick Julia up. Funnily enough she liked the music too - and it wasn't all classical, there was some Oscar Peterson, some big band type stuff.
Maybe she's more grown up than I am...

On a completely different note - though still radio related - there is a group on Facebook lamenting the fact that Terry Demonte is leaving CHOM to move to Calgary. The voice of Montreal, 25 years on the air is leaving. People are pretty broken up about it.

Don't get me wrong, Terry and Ted in the morning is about as Montreal as you get (says she who has not really tuned in for years due to geography). I remember working in the bank next to their building on Greene avenue and seeing all the "celebs" at the muffin shop in the old Post Office. Terry is an institution.

But there is a part of me that wants to point out that he's done this before - he took off to Winnipeg at one point, and came back. Doesn't anyone remember how his sidekick Peppermint Patti never came back?? It's sad, but I wouldn't be surprised if he makes his way back home again.

And that is really all I have to say. Really.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

she's so tweet

Julia has just chosen a new nickname for herself.


I have no clue where it comes from or how long it will last.

But she's adamant. The Pumpkin era is done - oh well it lasted a couple of years.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Provence calling

5 days before the movers came to put all us stuff in boxes (very badly it would turn out later), Marc and I were in a tile store in Luxembourg. We were looking at some tiles that I had found there a couple of days before that could be ordered in North America and delivered to our contractor.

We were going to knock down the wall between our living room/dining room and the kitchen for an open concept. The logic behind this was that in an 1,100 sq foot house, you don't need two eating areas.

Before I even got a chance to show Marc the tiles, his Blackberry rang. And he talked for at least 10 minutes.

Once he hung up, he told me it was a company he dealt with regularly - based in Aix-en-Provence. Offering him a job. In Aix.

Being me I completely wigged out. We can't do this! I said, We have movers coming in 5 days!!!!

All plans for the tiles and wall removal were abandoned.

The ironic thing was that in April the company had offered an employee (and good friend) of Marc's the job - his #2 in fact. G wasn't interested, but I was all over it - telling Marc if G was qualified for the job, he was even more so. Looking up houses on the internet - I was all set to become a French resident. Use lots of herbs and tomatoes when cooking. Plant lots of lavender (who am I kidding, it was probably already planted). Drink Pastis if necessary. Complain if my husband worked more than 35 hours a week. Live in a Mas.

Somehow we never did anything about it. I really can't remember why. I think it had something to do with the thought of moving and not being any closer to home, closer to family, closer to support. Having to start all over again, from scratch. That and the mistrals?

And so here we are, home. 3 months in today.

The job offer is still on the table - the only one that is to be honest. Both Marc and I are a little shocked at how little response he's had to all the jobs he's applied for. We never imagined that he would have such a hard time getting an interview - let alone a job. With his consulting contract almost done, it's starting to be a bit worrisome. The job offer that was made by a company out West that was based on financing that was supposedly a sure thing (by the end of the summer)- no word.

He had put together a proposal to consult from here for the company in Provence - not full-time, but some of the tasks that could be done remotely. They seemed really interested. I magnanimously said we could spend summers in Aix so that he could work from the company's office (yeah I know, how hard would that be on me eh?).

They decided against it this week. The news was a blow, on top of the snow. But apparently the job offer is still open.

I have to admit that I actually started considering it this week. The weather was awful - too early in the winter for this. And with the exception of being closer to my mum which has been great, coming home has not been all I was hoping for. It's been hard - and not just missing croissants and fine cheeses at prices that won't bankrupt you. The point that is a deal breaker for me is that Marc would be expected to travel every second week. I did some calculations and worked out that it would be 120 days a year - or a 1/3 of the year. Not good.

We haven't had much luck in the friend department - the few friends we have seen are busy - understandable, they have made lives for themselves over the last 8 years. It's not that they aren't happy we're home, they're just busy, as are most folks with young families and often two careers. Other friends, who I have called to suggest getting together are inevitably thrilled that we are back and we talk for ages on the phone - only to agree that they will check their schedules for the next few weeks and get back to me to make plans. Calls that have yet to come. I know it's not personal - these friends have no clue how hard it is to move back somewhere, how lonely it can be. And while we're starting to make new friends, it's a bit like dating - sometimes you want to hang out with that person who's known you for years, the one you don't have to gauge reactions with.

Last night I was lying in bed with Stu and we had the laptop out. I showed him pictures of himself taken in the month before Julia was born (when we got a digital camera). He was so tiny! Then the pictures of Julia as a newborn and the first few months of her life - and colic.

Then suddenly - how could I have forgotten they would be there - the pictures of our vacation to Provence with my Mum when Julia was 4 months old. I had forgotten how beautiful it was. We stayed about an hour from Aix and only spent a day there, but we took a lot of pictures. A lot of beautiful pictures. A lot of happy smiling pictures on a bright sunny day.

I know it's not reasonable. I know that we haven't given this Canadian return enough time. That I can't run away at the first snow storm. That every 2nd week of being alone with the kid would do me in so far from my mum.

But that doesn't mean it's not tempting.

Friday, November 23, 2007

return of the bear

The snow has stopped... mostly.

Now it's cold. I know I am being a wus, but I thought we were going to lead up to this slowly, not go from +5 to -15 in a matter of mere days.

So - I am going to bed. There is a little man snuggling in with me - a little man who is only going to be 5 for another 10 days. Dad's out playing hockey, and won't be home until very late, so I'm bending the rules.

Playing bear, putting my head under the covers.

Don't wake me, I might growl.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The honeymoon is over

Okay, enough already with the snow.

It was snowing when I got up. 8 hours later - still snowing.

Cleaning off the cars was not as much fun this morning - it had rained for quite a while last night and there was ice under the snow. And did I mention it was snowing?

I cleaned both cars off at 7:30. And mine again at 8:10 to take Stu to school. I shoveled the driveway between 8:45 and 9:05. We came out to go to the library for reading group at 10:10. You'd never have known that I shoveled. And as for the car? Yup, it needed cleaning again. And it was still snowing.

Leaving the library at 11:05 we needed to clean the car again. I am talking about start the car, defrost, clean the ice off... ugh. In the snow.

Dashing into the shool to get Stu for lunch... had to do a mini clean off of the car again.

Do you sense a trend here??? I am not so fond of the weather today. The roads weren't cleared yet - getting back from school, the whole 1.4 km, was not fun. I decided to keep Julia home from school because I didn't fancy the drive to and from her school on uncleared roads.

It seems to be letting up now. Fingers crossed. But it's freezing rain in Montreal - so Julia and I won't be venturing out to my mum's tomorrow.

Ugh - it's not even December. Think I got soft in my years in Europe. Help!

If I could send some Portland way I'd gladly bundle it up...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Julia came thundering into our room this morning.

And came to a screeching halt (I'm serious, you could almost hear the screeching).

Huge eyes. "It's SNOWING!" Hands flapping.

If I could make that type any bigger I would - it doesn't do her statement justice. The enormity of her SNOWING. And it was enormous, a real winter wonderland, no wimpy snow, no sirree.

We altered the usual morning schedule - Marc fed the kids early while I showered so that they could come out and play before taking Stu to school. I cleaned off the cars, got Julia into her rain pants (it was above freezing yesterday, no snow forecasted - this caught us off guard). We all hung out on the front yard and soaked our mitts before 8 am. It was perfect snowball snow.

We had a great snow day - Julia flatly refused to go to gymnastics because there was SNOW! SNOW MUM! THERE'S SNOW!!!. It didn't helped that our neighbour took the day off to stay home with her 3 1/2 year old daughter - no chance of getting her to the gym with that on offer.

Natalie and I took turns pulling the girls around her yard on a sled. I started singing Jingle Bells. It was that pretty out.

My feet however were not happy. I had no winter boots (are they in a box? Did I get rid of them in Luxembourg - since they hurt my feet - and think I had lots of time to buy them before there was SNOW?). I had to buy some this afternoon between groceries and picking Stuart up... I bought some pretty serious Cougars with furry stuff coming out the top. My tootsies were toasty. Yeah!

They're forecasting another 10-15 cm before noon tomorrow. The kid in me is excited. The grown-up is going to bed because I get the feeling there is going to be some serious shovelling in the morning...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

guilty little pleasure

I like soap operas. I am embarassed to admit it. It's so not - cool, you know? (because I am the epitomy of cool - HA!)

When I was in university I taped Another World religiously. Even though I no longer watched it by the time it went off the air (when??) I taped the last episode.

Europeans have a fondness for Bold and the Beautiful - when we still had European cable, we used to be able to see it in multiple languages. I remember watching the first episode ever of B&B as a teenage mother's helper.

When I was pregnant with Stuart I was sick for about 6 weeks. And discovered that the Dutch channel we got, RTL4, showed As the World Turns in English with Dutch subtitles. I justified watching - despite the fact that they were about 2 1/2 years behind the North American broadcasts and were celebrating Christmas in July - by thinking it would help improve my Dutch.

I watched again for a while in the two months before Julia was born - in Luxembourg it's mandatory that pregnant women start their maternity leave 8 weeks before their due date.

The arrival of SKY (British satellite) put an end to my sporadic soap watching. No soaps besides British ones, and somehow Eastenders doesn't have quite the glitz of an American soap.

Yesterday I decided to tackle the mountain of laundry in my ironing basket. Of course I did this in the afternoon while the kids were at school. I have the ironing board in the basement. I flicked on the tv for entertainment and realized... it was soap time.

I watched As the World Turns for the first time in about 3 years. And I ironed. And thought how funny it was that Jack and Carly had broken up - again. And that Parker is now a teenager (huh??) It's quite funny how they recycle characters until you think a city will die out with people marrying what has to be their cousin.

Anyhow - I have no intention of making this a daily or even weekly event (though I suppose ironing should be...). But it was a silly escape for an hour.

Monday, November 19, 2007

3 ring circus

Warning - I may rant. I may rave.

My father died over a year ago. His estate consisted of a house (which I sold in May) and a pension plan. There is one legal heir : me. Sounds simple no?

Apparently not. The notary we are using came very highly recommended (by a few people). We are using her accountant. And still nothing is moving forward. One tells you one thing, the other another and they don't seem to be able to communicate.

The accountant says he needs my father's taxes to be completed before he can request an exception to me paying the non-residents taxes (I was a non-resident when the house was sold, and 6 months later we have yet to receive the money). The notary claims this is not true.

This afternoon I spent 10 minutes on the phone with the company holding the pension plan to find out the value of the plan on the day my father died. The notary told me there was a problem because the valuation is from the 30th, when Dad died on the 27th. I pointed out that he died on a Friday and that the funds were probably priced for the 30th (see, all those years at JPM were not for nothing). The investment company confirmed this.

I called the accountant. Told him this. He tells me that this is not the problem - that he told her that he needs the T4, which can not be issued until I have sent in a clamaint form. Which I received on Friday.

I give up. Honestly. I can't imagine how a difficult estate would be settled.

Next up - I am going to insist on sitting them down in the same room. With flow charts and a signed agreement on how we proceed.

Either that or a proposal on how much to charge for popcorn at this 3 ring circus.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Breakfast is served

Yesterday Stuart made me my breakfast - bread with peanut butter and honey, his favorite breakfast. We were both in the kitchen but he wanted to make mine. Insisted on it (no, it wasn't what I planned to eat, but I didn't mention that and ate it all up).

He then started talking about how he was going to make breakfast in bed for everyone the next morning. How we were going to have apples and then something sweet. It was much discussed - between S & J.

This morning Julia did her usual heralding of the morning to the entire house (though to her credit, she managed to go to the bathroom first, so we didn't wake up to shrieks of "Me have to go PEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!")

Marc made a valiant effort to get out of bed and take her downstairs so I could sleep a little longer.

Stu came flying through our bedroom door, rubbing sleep from his eyes, "NO!!" he proclaimed, "I'm making breakfast in bed for you!"

And down he went. After asking where the apples were (in the fridge) and confirming his right hand from left (they were in the left crisper).

We heard a few bounces, and he appeared with Marc's apple on a plate. And then on the second trip, Julia's - the smallest apple he could find! The the third trip produced my apple - less bounced.

He perched at the end of our bed and munched on his apple. He announced that the next course was about to be served. The something SWEET as he kept telling us.

Now, we have a rule - no Nutella during the week. My kids live for their weekend Nutella. I figured that it would be Nutella on bread. He even alluded to something chocolate.

He disappeared down the stairs and returned - with a mini pack of M&M's for me and a mini box of Smarties for Julia. Halloween stash. He then proudly presented Marc with a roll of those tiny round candies (what are those called anyways) and he himself had sour gummies.

Several times during our meal he checked in on client satisfaction. We all shared.

I murmured to Marc "I was expecting Nutella."

"Me too" he murmured back.

Stu was so proud of himself - it was so nice to see. Not healthy maybe, but nice to see.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


The furnace is on this morning... I had forgotten the smell of hot air being forced into rooms. It smells so cosy.

I may well hibernate yet. I certainly feel like I need to make a big pot of soup and bake something.

Friday, November 16, 2007

sniff sniff moan

I have the flu.

I hurt everywhere.

Ironically I was going to take the kids (and myself) for a flu shot yesterday but didn't. Because I felt lousy.

Dang. Could have had the real flu and the shot side effects at the same time.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


The weekend after we got back to Canada, Marc and I attended a wedding reception in Toronto. We stayed with our friends Hugh and Miche and Hugh made a few comments about how it would be interesting to see what we thought had changed in Canada in the 8 years we were gone.

I thought at the time "Well not much I guess". Wrong.

In the interests of being brief (me? ha!) I will say that customer service seems to have gone sharply down hill. I could probably write a book on the experiences we've had since we've been back - the pinnacle of which was the UPS debacle of last week. It took them 2 days of telling us something different every phone call for us to go pick up our parcel (and even then when Marc got there he was told it wasn't). We live less that 2 km from the UPS depot and they still couldn't deliver.

Home Depot is now deserving of my frustration - the blinds we ordered on September 24th are still not here. 4-6 weeks they said, but the bedroom ones should be 4 no problem. My foot. I have placed 4 calls in the last 9 days to have them tracked down, only to be told that "they are with the vendor, can I call you back". NO ONE from the company returns your call. I asked for a supervisor today, was put on hold for 7 minutes and was then told (by the same person) that "They should be with the installer the first week of December." Which does not sound like any guarantee of delivery to me. And it's 10 weeks after we forked over 1/2 of what I think is an astronomical amount of money. I requested a call back from the supervisor that never came.

Tomorrow I am going to make more of a stink. It's bad enough that I don't have my blinds, but they're adding insult to injury by not calling back. And I am not impressed.

Going to take all my JPMorgan experience of dealing with dissatisfied clients and use it for my own purposes.

Sad thing is I won't get anywhere.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


No, I am not in control, I just have that ridculous Janet Jackson song stuck in my head.

Probably because I was so NOT in control today and got our forgotten roast beef in the over AFTER I went to get Stu at school (Julia stayed home with a sore tummy and Marc came home early) and then went to mail Myles and Cathie's parcel (a miracle! It's wrapped!) at Staples (where we couldn't mail it) and then to Loblaws to buy Stu's Christmas gift for Julia (Island Princess Barbie) and then to Shoppers Drugmart where we were able to mail the parcel.

But Cath - weird thing. Apparently because it was going to a STN Forces address it was FREE. Except that she told me it was $9.85 and then was confused (as was I) because it came up as 85 cents...? I'll send you the tracking number too...

SO - my roast is really late. It's a really easy recipe but it involves turning the oven off for 2 1/2 hours. Which is great most days, but tonight we are going to be eating late.

Marc made us cheese and crackers and wine. I still have no alcohol tolerance - as you can probably tell by the rambling of this post (just when you thought I couldn't ramble any more than I usually do...). Seriously, 1 glass folks. That's all it takes. I figure it justifies my fondness for French Champagne - I don't need much.

My girlfriend called just before the wine. She wants to take my kids for a night. Overnight. (We've been friends for 30 years and yes, she is crazy). She's been mentioning it for a while now (since we got home). She called with a date for said sleep-over.

I have failed to broach the subject with Marc - which I did behind my hand as we were having cheese and crackers. He replied with head nodding. I asked if that meant he was cool with it or if he wanted to talk about it later type of thing. He was cool, way cool with it.

So we broached the topic with the kids. Julia wanted to know which of Kerry's kids had taken her to the park and picked her up - and wanted to know if he would be taking her to lots of parks at his house. She wanted to pack her bag now.

Stu on the other hand - no way, no how. He's not going. Uh-uh. No, non, niet, nee... no way sirree bob.

Marc thinks it's a control issue. And that's where the song came from. I don't like Janet Jackson.

Hey! I need to make stuff to go with the roast beef. Better get on that...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Good Old Hockey Game

A little Stompin' Tom anyone?

I regret not having blogged as soon as I got home from the game last Tuesday - I am not sure my observations will be quite as funny after a week (or that some of you have been waiting so long that it won't seem all that funny). Geez, maybe it wasn't funny after all - I was fueled by a Caesar at the time (first since I got home - and it was potent!)

We had gret seats, in the first row of the 200 level, right behind one of the goals. The taciturn but friendly French gentleman sitting next to us told me that he had been in the same seats last year and that the Prime Minister had been sitting in the section just below us and had to sign autographs between periods.

Behind us were some rather interesting characters - first off I have to say it was Ottawa vs. Toronto, or what they refer to as "The Battle of Ontario" (you have to read that with a big deep announcers voice by the way). The Sens and Leafs are not the best of friends - two Swedish captains and a lot of history in the last couple of years.

There were a lot of Leafs fans in the building for the game - I have to give Toronto credit, their fans are faithful. And hold out hope for the impossible (ouch - that's the Montrealer in me bashing Toronto. But it's so easy to do - no?)

We were on an aisle - in the 3 seats behind us there were some serious Ottawa fans (though I am wondering if there are any other kind - I've never seen so many jerseys on fans before). They were pretty hard core though - they had nicknames for every player. I mean everyone calls Alfredson "Alfie" but they had "Fishie" for Fisher, "Reddy" for Redden, "Heater" for Dany Heatly... need I go on?

They also kept up a running commentary that I would normally associate with Hockey parents. They never shut up. They had something to say about every penalty - though I agree that the refereeing was definitely in Toronto's favour - we had the equivalent of a period of penalities by the end of the game. I think if the Sens were anywhere within 2 feet of a Leaf player tripping over a bad patch of ice there was a penalty.

One of the women in particular had a whole lot to say about the Leafs fans booing Alfie (though once I heard the story I could kinda understand it).

The man seemed to think he was an auxilliary coach - I almost wanted to frisk him to see if he was wired. 3 hours of :

"Come on guys, keep up the pressure"
"You can do better than that guys!"
"What was that guys?"
"Guys - it's just a 3 goal lead, don't let up!!!" (this one was in the 1st half of the 1st period - I wanted to slip something into his drink, he was so tightly wound).

Next to them was a young guy in a Leafs sweater (not Jersey). He had that look of "Daddy's money bought me these seats". He spent the 10 minutes before the game on his cell phone shouting "No! I'm behind the Sens goal - look, here I am!" and waving his arms frantically.

And then he did the unforgivable - HE BOOED THE SENS WHEN THEY CAME OUT ON THE ICE.

That is a punishable offence in my eyes. And bloody rude. I don't think there is ever a reason to boo the other team (okay, wait, maybe if they do something really heinous or unsportsmanly). And especially not in THEIR arena. Poor form young man!!

Jack Todd (a favorite columnist of mine) had a great article about the Montreal fans booing the Sens this weekend. I am mortified that Montreal fans were as guilty as Leafs fans.

He had brought a girl to the game. Think Barbie. Tiny, Asian barbie. She seemed sweet enough, if somewhat vacuous (I guess you'd have to be to be with Mr Congeniality). High heels, tight jeans, midriff exposing sweater under a tightly fitted blazer - probably a size zero. She had to be freezing - it was cold in the arena, I never took my Norwegian sweater with windproofing off. Hair perfectly coiffed, perfect manicure and more makeup than I would wear out to a bar (if I ever actually went out to a bar that is).

He quickly figured out that she had not a clue about the game. And sent her on a few drink runs. And that was just the first period.

It was pretty funny to see her tripping back to their seats, balancing on her high heels while crawling over the lap of the woman mentioned above (who was too large to keep getting up out of her seat). The first time she had two beers and a big bag of popcorn. She excused herself another 3 or so minutes later and came back with two smirnoff plastic cups (this is on top of the two she sat down with - hey - wait, that must be why she wasn't cold).

He suggested that she head out to the bar again with 5:25 left in the 1st period.

"But" she replied, completely perplexed, "there's only 5 minutes left and we can leave."

I, not the most sport savvy, had to stiffle a giggle when he informed her that there were 3 periods to a game.

Do I need to mention that they left 10 minutes before the final buzzer with Ottawa up 5 to 1? Guess not.

But it was a great night - I really had a great time (even thought I was sipping Timmy's peppermint tea instead of Smirnoff).

If only the tickets didn't cost so much. But someone's got to pay for Dany Heatly's $45 mil over 7 years I guess.....

Monday, November 12, 2007

What a difference and accent makes

I have long disliked the show Max & Ruby - in fact it used to drive me up the wall. Ruby's pompous know-it-all voice just is like nails on a blackoard. I banned it in our house.

That's quite a bit of dislke for a cartoon character. I really need to find better things to do with my time.

The other day I had the tv on for Julia - she was so sick nothing else was making her happy and I was beat. They announced Max & Ruby coming up on Treehouse. I cringed. Julia clamoured "Max & Ruby, Max & Ruby, Max & Ruby".

I gave in and debated looking for earplugs.

Surprise surprise... North American Ruby doesn't sound beligerent. Or like the future victim of dismemberment by her fed-up, put-down and therefore slightly psychotic younger brother (okay, I have a real issue with British Ruby).

No, north American Ruby sounds patient. She still talks too much (he's still going to need therapy) but she doesn't make me feel like screaming.

Late this afternoon we were fighting to get some curtains hung over the gaping hole that should, one day we hope, be our bathroom in the basement. We were getting a lot of "help" so we put on the tv. Max and Ruby up next... Marc grabs the remote - to find something else. He is shocked when I say that we can leave it - that this Ruby isn't so bad.

He agrees.

Not that I am saying anything about the Brits.


Saturday, November 10, 2007


I am thoroughly infatuated - with my 3 1/2 year-old daughter.

I remember phases like this with Stuart, but it seems like it's been a while since I've gone through one of these heart swelling with love moments.

Julia has been quite sick this week - just a nasty cold, but it knocked her for a loop. She was clingy - but in an endearing way, like a tiny monkey clinging to me. She was high-maintenance, but in a way that could only make you smile (most of the time - Marc can tell you a different story about 3:15 this morning when she refused cough syrup).

Maybe it's because I've had to spend so much time just focusing on Julia this week, maybe it's the slowing down a bit to cope with the fever and cough - I don't know.

All I know is that I think I am the luckiest mother to have such a beautiful little girl. Sappy, I know.

This afternoon she skipped into ballet - "I can't be late for ballet!!" she announced. Such a change from me dragging her everywhere. Some days it's like swimming upstream to get the child to do anything, even things she wants to do. I helped her get her outdoor clothes off and she was gone. "Bye Jools!" I call and she turns around and blows me a huge kiss over her shoulder and grins.

She wants "Mama Time". Apparently no matter how much she's had this week, it's not enough.

I just put her to bed. I asked if she wanted to start doing yoga with me in the mornings. She said "maybe when I bigger, I have ballet lessons now". I told her it's not instead of ballet so she said "okay Mama".

I asked if she likes ballet - huge eyes, head emphatically nodding yes.

I ask if she wants to be a ballerina when she grows up - "I already a ballerina Mama".

I smile - but is that what you want to do when you grow up? "When I grow up Mama all my ballet going to come out and I will dance".

"Mama - when I grow up I going to do something... (yawn) GREAT... I going to be... (eyelids drooping) a.... MAMA".

in praise of sleep and Lego

I fell asleep in Stuart's bed putting him to sleep last night. It must have been about 8:30.

I crawled out of bed (I had relocated at about 9:30 last night) at a few minutes to 8 this morning.

A pretty awesome night's sleep if you disregard Julia being up from 1:50 to 3:40 this morning. And Stu getting into our bed at 6:20 (we kicked him out after a while - I still have no clue what he did).

And today - while I am still tired - I look like a human being. There is actually some colour in my face - a welcome change from the deathly palour of the rest of this week.

My mum had lunch with an old friend of my dad's last week - she gave her a huge box of Lego that was mine when I was a child. There were some additions from her granddaughter - Julia is thrilled with the pink pieces. The kids have been playing with it ever since my mum showed them the box on Tuesday. This morning Stu and I spent an hour before Julia got up building a mummy and daddy dragon to go with his baby one. And a little house. It was refreshing not to want to sprawl out on the floor and close one eye while doing this.

After breakfast we hit the Lego again. Stu wandered up to find Marc after a bit (Marc the wonderful who took my car to have snow tires installed at 8:30 this morning). They cleaned the cars and played road hockey. Julia and I built more Lego.

I have long complained that Lego just isn't the same as it was when I was a kid. That you get specific sets now and that's really all you can build with it. This big box full of tiny pieces (and windows, doors, and some wheels) is so much fun because you can build whatever you want with it. Endless possibilities.

I am so happy to have it. And I am going to try enforcing an 8 pm bedtime on myself for a week. I am so much nicer when I am rested.

Friday, November 09, 2007

My conspiracy theories are coming true

In moments of sleep deprivation I have been known to succumb to the thought that someone is out to ensure that I don't survive my nice little life.

There's one about the kids trying to take over control of our home - usually rears it's ugly head when they are doing that sleeping in shifts thing they are so fond of. And enlisting the cat to howl for food in case they both close their eyes for more that 7 minutes at a time.

However, my latest conspiracy theory is : I AM NOT MEANT TO HAVE A TIDY HOUSE.

I finally succumbed this week to Marc's (sensible) encouragement that we need to have our closets "done" - we have such little closet space, and given that we are paying a little mortgage (for our little house), that we could afford to invest in some advice and products to organize our closets and fit all our stuff in them so we could live happily ever after.

I made appointments with two companies - one for Wednesday afternoon and one for Friday afternoon.

Wednesday afternoon rolled around. I was exhausted. I so badly wanted a nap (especially since we were going to the hockey game). My mum was here - I could have done something interesting with her. But I sat and waited for the woman to show up at 1:00.

At 2:00 (when it was too late to nap) the woman called to say she had overlooked our appointment - what did the next day look like? I sighed and said fine - hey everyone can make a mistake.

Thursday at a few minutes to 1:00 I was almost asleep reading Julia a book in our bed. I roused myself to get ready to have my closets measured. Because there was no chance she would overlook me again right?

Yeah, not so much. At 10 to 3 I left to get Stuart and she han't even called.

She called about 20 minutes ago - and told me that our appointment is next week (I actually never found out why she was calling me, I think she realized she'd messed up again). I told her that no, it had been yesterday and that I had another company coming today - I would let her know if they weren't able to provide me with what I was looking for.

But - if you can believe it - the other company hasn't showed up. And she's not answering her phone. We're cursed. Doomed to live in chaos.


Update : I went to get Stu and go to the drug store and when we got back she was here. We have ordered closets. All's well that ends well? Now if we could just get our blinds delivered that we ordered 7 weeks ago...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Just call me Bree

I wish it was because of my immaculate house and 4 course meal I will be serving for dinner tonight.


No, it's because of a note from Stuart's teacher today, which read "Hitting and throwing rocks at recess!! :-( !!"

Have you seen that episode of Desperate Housewives where Andrew steals Mary-Alice's garden gnome and Bree forces him to apologize and say that his actions are no reflection on her mothering skils because she has imparted right from wrong on him??

I totally get how she felt. Motherhood can leave you yearning for some kind of proof that you are doing a good job.

And negative feedback - that your child is hitting (again) and throwing rocks (??? WHEN HAS THAT EVER BEEN OKAY??? I want to holler at him) can really derail you.

I am trying to focus on Stu and what is going on with him - in the long run that is what is important, not that my mothering skills might be in question. Problem is we've been here before - and he also lies about these things. It's a little hard to take on top of his growing sensitivity - every day I pick him up (sometimes twice a day) he groans "not good" to my enquiries about his morning/afternoon.

He cries because other kids don't want to play with him at recess - we try to explain that if he's hitting that people won't want to play with him.

We've spent a lot of time lately trying to compensate for the move, to understand that he is going through huge changes etc. Today I got tired of being Nice Cop and told him (in a calm voice, so he should know to be scared) that I was angry and dissapointed. And that I was going to impose some consequences.

1) no field trip on the 19th if he hits again (the teacher actually has his name on the white board and has threatened that same thing)

2) no indoor soccer after Christmas if I hear that he has hit again - registration is the 21st of November, so he has almost two weeks where he has to be good.

Why does it have to come to this?? Why aren't my nice calm talks with him about wrong and right working??


In good news, Julia seems to have turned a bit of a corner this afternoon. She is still tired, raspy and prone to tears, but she was hopping!! Hopping I tell you! This child of mine who has been like a wet noodle all week - she hopped. And she giggled. Even her brother said "Wow Jools, you're feeling better arent' you?"

Now my mission is to get some sleep. Hopefully before this flu hits anyone else in the family.

Oh, and on the domestic goddess side of things - I just realized that dinner tonight has been marinating since this morning (frozen porkchops, but still), that we're having the leftover risotto that I spent an hour making last night, and that Julia and I baked Swedish Apple cake from scratch this morning. So maybe I am not doing so bad.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Too tired to post

Julia is still sick and was up at 3 am again this morning. Unfortunately I wasn't asleep yet, so it has been a very very long day.

So "overheard at a hockey game" will have to wait for tomorrow. I have to go negotiate an early bedtime with my children. Trying to find a way to get them to agree to a bath and warm milk and straight to bed - for me.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

No time to post

No time to blog... I am at the Sens vs Leafs game with M.

Though the people behind us are providing fodder for tomorrow's post!

Score 2-0 for the sens... Woohoo!! Go sens go!!!

But what is up with the viagra ads on the boards??????

Monday, November 05, 2007

toothpicks please

Julia went to bed with a fever at 7 pm last night - with the time change it was hard ot keep her up that long.

Sure enough 3 am came and there was a shout from her room. After a tip to the bathroom and a sippy cup of milk (which she haduncharacteristically refused at bedtime) I thought she was going to settle and go back to sleep. I crawled into her bed to cuddle with her and prepared to drop back off to sleep.

Boy, was I wrong. She was still going strong at 6 this morning when I sent her out of her room in search of her father. I had made the mistake of falling asleep (mistake in her mind) and ater a 15 minute cat nap woke to find her lying on my with her feet in my face.

Stu had gotten up at 5 am and was in with Marc already. I drifted in and out of sleep until about 8 when they left to take Stu to school and then fell properly asleep until 9:30. Thank goodness for a husband who works from home on Mondays.

It made me think back to this time last year when Julia was getting her last teeth. We had these nights quite regularly - sometimes a few times a week. Inevitably when Marc was away, and the night before I had to go to work (I was working Monday/Wednesday/Friday). She would be up from 3-6 am and then pass out for the hour or so it took for me to get up and get ready for work and herd them both out the door late.

I don't know how I did it, though I acknowledge that it probably was one of the things the wore me down to the point where I got so sick.

So - while I am not thrilled with last night's events and hoping that there will be no repeat performances, I am taking advantage of not having to go to work and having a husband who can let me sleep it off a bit.

And hoping for children that sleep.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The boy is asleep!!

I love time change - our beautiful boy, the one who is up late at night is actually asleep (well I am basing that on the fact that Marc just went to check him and is bounding back down the stairs).

Guess we have his internal clock mixed up - let's see how many days we can get out of this...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

tick tock

I have been trying to post today - but something keeps coming up (or down - our wireless went down for a bit).

We just got home from seeing a movie (and groceries - I am such a fun date, but we have company for a late breakfast in the morning and were out of maple syrup) and I came to post right away.

I seem to like the obligation to post every day. Gives me something on my to do list to tick off. That I can tick off.

The lack of real structure in my day is a little difficult.

I've been sitting staring at that last sentence and trying to explain (in my head) what I mean. There is a lot of "structure" in my day, schedules to be met, drop-offs and pick-ups to be done. I guess I am just not sure what I think I accomplish most days.

Coming off a long week. this motherhood thing doesn't exactly give instant results. I am used to working to objectives - measurable objectives that were usually pretty clearly defined.

My kids expectations are not so clearly defined - Stuart was upset last night because he had a PD day on Friday and we didn't go to Cosmic Adventures (indoor playground) but drove to Kingston. In my defense he didn't mention it all day. And yet I let him down.

Fool that I am I stayed up until 1:00 am reading the last Harry Potter book (I will need to re-read certain parts - after 400 pages I was getting a little blurry).

I am now going to google Queen Elizabeth I and find out more about who succeded - we saw "Elizabeth - the Golden Era" this evening. I am curious what happened when she died in 1603.

And then I am going dodo.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Day trip

We got up this morning and the sun was shining - which made up for the temperature being just below freezing.

In the car and on the road - we headed to Kingston for the day. Fort Henry was open from 10 TO 4 on their sign (not 10 and 4 for tours as their site indicated). But it was almost lunchtime so we headed into town.

I haven't been to Kingston since Stuart was 21 months old... 4 years, is that all? I had forgotten how pretty it is. We had lunch, hit Cooke's Fine Foods where I bought all kinds of European-ey stuff (packaging with Dutch on it!!) and had to interupt shopping to find the bathrooms in the huge city hall building.

From there we wandered down to the St-Lawrence river where there are still some of the fortifications from the mid 19th century - back when we weren't getting along so well with our neighbours to the south. The Shoal Tower is now a World Heritage Site.

We got to our favorite art store, Cornerstone, but looking was not as much fun as we'd remembered - possibly the presence of two small people who thought their eyes were in their fingers???

The day disintegrated a bit from there - or at least my patience did. We still managed to find a nice cafe (avoiding the huge Starbukcs filled with students from Queen's in their really ugly university jackets - what's up with those??). Had a heavenly cake called Milky Way that was topped with caramel.

On the way home we got off in Gananoque and drove up to the inn where we had our wedding and the church we were married in (good call on getting married in the 1,000 islands, somewhere nice to go for anniversaries). We took the 1,000 Island Parkway back as far as Brockville and admired the gorgeous scenery... and speculated on what we would do if we won the 30 million 6/49 draw tomorrow night.

I'll give you a hint - it involves an island.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Mama Milton has up a post about National Blog Posting Month.

Try to post every day for a month.

Hmmm. I am not at all convinced I have something to say every day for a month that anyone would want to read.

But I will at least start off the month posting.

After beautiful weather for Hallowe'en fall seems to have blown into town this afternoon. Stu was freezing when I picked him up from school and has cited this as a reason not go to inddor soccer this afternoon.

I was slightly concerned at first and took his temperature (which was fine). I asked a few times if he really didn't want to go (he didn't). I tried to find some deep seated reason for him not wanting to go.

Apparently there is none - he just doesn't feel like it.

And to be honest - neither do I. So I have let the whole issue drop. (I know!! I let an issue drop!! WOW!)

I am wondering if we're hitting the hibernation stage of the fall - where you just don't feel like doing anything. His poor little body is probably thinking "heck, what's this arctic wind? Quick, get me food and a bed quickly!"

My poor son has no clue what winter has in store for him. I on the other hand have vague recollections. And my body is doing the whole "Quick, get me food and a bed!" thing too.

I think a sloth has more energy than I do today.

I've been trying to plan a day trip tomorrow since Stu has a PD day and Julia is off Fridays. I was looking at Kingston and taking the kids to Old Fort Henry, but it is only open at 10 am and 4 pm - we're not going to make it out of here by 7:30 tomorrow morning to arrive for 10 (facing facts) and we will need to be at least partway home by 4. So that's out. And I can't quite see the kids being thrilled with the sweet shops of Kingston all day without some other reward.

Trying to find somewhere else to go - am considering upstate NY, but again - what to do that would be fun for the kids. We're in that time of year when nothing outdoor is open.

Sigh. Marc is on his way home with Subway (agreed upon before I knew soccer was a no go) and a movie. Maybe we'll just stay in. For a few months.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Go big or go home

It's not that I didn't know that Hallowe'en is bigger over here. I did, really. I guess I just didn't have a concept of how much bigger.

Last night I realized that I hadn't prepared a veggie platter for Stu's school party today. We've had a lot going on between my reunion and Marc's birthday yesterday, and Stu was up most of the night before (okay maybe most is a bit of an exagearion - but from 2:30 to 5:00 am felt like most) and stayed home yesterday.

Marc said "just don't worry about it"...?????? So just before 9 I was driving like a madwoman cursing myself for promising a veggie platter - why a veggie platter? Why did I offer one of those?? Why not something simple like chips - that at least the kids would be likely to eat?? WHY do I do these things? (answer: teacher asked for a veggie plate, and as a SAHM I felt I needed to meet expectations).

This morning I hit the dollar store between dropping Stu off at school and taking Julia to gymnastics to rustle up a Hallowe'en platter for the veggies poor Marc had to help chop on his birthday and bowl for the dip that I (don't tell) BOUGHT. Marc thought I was going over the top with buying a special bowl for the dip - and couldn't completely understand why I didn't just leave it in the container it came in (I can hear you all gasping - go for it).

I felt vindicated when I saw all the treats in Madame Lynne's class after lunch - perfectly iced cupcakes, smiling pumpkin cookies... you get the picture. And I have to kiss my son - he wasn't interested the fancy cupcakes beause he wasn't sure what "the brown stuff was".

I wasn't so thrilled with the sugar high he bounded out of school on... if he hadn't been dressed like a teenage mutant ninja turtle I would have sworn I was walking with Tigger in a bouncy mood.

Julia's nursery school had asked for dollar store items instead of candy. What they asked for, to quote, was "dollar store items to put in our lootbags for the children". So I bought a little novelty eraser for each kid and figured that they would make appropriate loot bags.

Which they did. ONLY... there were some mothers (several it would appear) who made their OWN loot bags. Little computerzed tags proclaiming "Happy Halloween from Sxxxx!" and "To Julia from Axxxx. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!".

Please don't think I am a scrooge - I am the least scroogiest person I know a lot of the time. But I found loot bags with:

1) two small pots of play-doh, 2 sheets of stickers, 3 foam stickers, and a pencil
2) 1 cat stencil, one notebook, two really funky stickers that I can't describe, one sheet of stickers, one pencil, one eraser and something else I can't remember at the moment

a little over the top - no?

I came home feeling like a serious under achiever in the loot bag category (come one - they said "OUR lootbags" - I just followed instructions).

Then tonight our neighbour came over with goody bags for the kids (we were trick or treating with their daughter). Each one with a spider or snake toy tied to the outside. I thought I felt bad handing their daughter a couple of mini chocolate bars from our huge bowl of candy (see? HUGE bowl. We didn't run out. I am so not a scrooge).

I felt even worse when we opened the bags when we got home. 2 packs of gummi candies, 3 hard candies, 3 small plastic insects, 5 stickers, 4 foam shapes, two small skeletons and some other stuff that is no longer registering (see? If I am overloaded by these things how are my kids feeling?).

Is it just me, or are we just giving kids TOO much these days? WHY do my children need all of these things? And where are we supposed to put all this stuff (yes, I am still feeling the effect of donsizing to a smaller house).

Maybe I am mean spirited, but I don't think my 3 year old daughter needs 6 new pencils just because it's Hallowe'en. And while I am thankful to have such generous neighbours I will be cursing all the plastic insects which will litter my house for weeks to come.

I am fighting the urge to pick up my toys and go home. This is way too much in my humble opinion..

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

should old acquaintance be forgot...

We were in Montreal over the weekend for my (gasp) 20 year high school reunion.

I have to admit that the evening was tame in comparison to some of the banter going back and forth on facebook in the weeks leading up to the event. I was picturing people swinging from chandeliers (granted there were none) and partying til the wee hours. In the end only a few people stayed up until the sun was about to rise.

Marc and I arrived on Saturday afternoon after dropping the kids at my mum's (she's the best, this is such a plus to moving home) and then visiting the accountant to sign some papers for my dad's estate. It was pouring - absolutely dumping down - but Old Montreal is so pretty that it almost (almost!) didn't matter.

The reunion was held at a a new(ish?) hotel that was a few old banks renovated to make one really nice hotel. It was quite - well, quite upscale. While I liked the room and the shower (it had one of those shower heads hanging from the ceiling the size of a dinner plate that felt like rain) and I was thrilled to spend time in Old Montreal... well I couldn't help but feel that we were all dragged down there to show how cool someone (who helped organize the event naturally) had turned out.

We walked around Old Montreal, met up with Arian, my best friend from high school, for a quick coffee (she was also one of the organizers). I haven't seen Arian since my wedding - she moved to the States not long after and then to Calgary. We met Janet and Andre for dinner later and had wonderful Montreal Style Smoke Meat and greasy fries at a little hole in the wall deli - that is one thing I love about Montreal, the tiny restaurants with great food.

The "event" started at 8. There were a few people there early, and by about 10 the room we had was packed and people were spilling over into the bar.

All in all, nothing shocking. A few people looked a lot older than I feel. A few others had turned out really well and were people I would want to hang around with now. There were also people there that I had been to elementary and nursery school with, so it was a long trip down memory road. There were a few who had yet to mature (one who announced at 1:15 am that he was going to be calling his mother to pick him up - it's a 35 minute drive at least!) ans seemed to still be stuck in 1987.

My only complaint would be the venue - it just felt a little pretentious to be in what is supposed to be one of the Montreal hotspots (so proclaimed by Mr.Cool of course - he was strangely evasive when asked what he does for a living and by the end of the weekend the rumour was that he is a drug dealer). I guess I am getting old, but my premature deafness seemed to reach a new high - it was difficult to hear over the blaring music and announcements (there were at least 2 for someone's 20th birthday... I was not alone realizing the irony).

I may be an old fogey (I am after all pushing 38) but I would have liked to have actually been able to talk to people without screaming.

Oh - and the effects of long term smoking were apparent on a few people - pretty girls who looked way older than me, sleep deprivation and all... there's an ad for not smoking somewhere in there.

Leaving on Sunday morning we had trouble getting onto the autoroute because of construction and ended up driving around a bit - along Cote St Antoine to Atwater near the old Forum (I was appalled that there is a Future Shop where the Canadiens used to play!! Wrong, just wrong I tell you!) It was a bright sunny morning and I saw places I haven't seen in almost 15 years. I had forgotten what a beautiful city Montreal is - and how much I love it.

Now if they could just resolve the whole ridiculous separation issue once and for all... it would be a great place to live.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

and in today's news

Two things on my mind:

1) on my way home from nursery school I got stuck behind a bus. A van pulled up (going the other way) to talk to two of the teenage boys who got off the bus (it's a nice day my windows were down).

"Is Hillcrest in lockdown?" she asked.

There is a serious (in my opinion) problem in Ottawa at the moment. As of last Friday (and I haven't looked into it since) there had been 17 anonymous calls to 9-1-1 saying that there were armed men entering a school in the Ottawa area (the first one seem to have been the Ridgemont episode 3 weeks ago). There were 5 last Thursday alone.

The emergency services are overloaded. Paramedics are sitting at schools that have not been "cleared" (as safe, that there is no intruder) and having to listen to calls that they can't take because they are waiting for the all clear. That's people caling 9-1-1 for an ambulance and not getting one - because of a prank call.

Apparently the stress level at the schools, at the police stations, with the emergency response teams is terrible - I can only imagine. Last week Stuart had an emergency lockdown test at school... while I know it's a good idea and proactive, I can't help but think all we ever had was fire drills.

Someone has a very sick sense of humour and it's just not right.

2) My father's house is for sale. Yup, you heard me right. The house that I sold to his neighbour's sick daughter who had dreamed of living next to her mother for 20 years and was finally moving home from Florida to be with her family - that house.

Apparently her husband didn't tell anyone (this is from my mother who spoke with her father about the $3800 Hydro bill she got for said house, even though it was sold 5 months ago) but he was in meetings for a job in Florida the whole time - and got it. The dream job, once in a lifetime chance. So the house - and it's thousands and thousands (and THOUSANDS!) of dollars of renovation - on the market. They never even moved in.

I have no clue how I feel about htis (I had wanted to keep the house but it didn't make sense financially). Just weird. It's just not the right week for this I guess - or maybe it is, since the whole thing is rather prevalent in my mind anyways.

can't see the forest for the trees

Sometimes I need a good kick inthe pants. Seriously - there are times that I am concerned by the huge resemblance between me and an ostrich with it's head stuck in the sand.

I had the pleasure yesterday of a call from a friend in Luxembourg - a Canadian who wanted to know how it was to be home, and see how we were doing (those who do not read this blog may think we've fallen off the face of the earth, but you can only lead a horse to water...)

Anyhow, the conversation started off with me being a bit down on being back - there are parts I love, and parts I don't.

"But how are you feeling?" was one of the first questions when I expressed that we're feeling a little up and down. "How's your health?"

Um. Good point. It's MUCH better (so far, touch wood).

"And how's Julia? Is she still coughing all night? Is she able to get a little more sleep?"

Um. NO, she's not coughing. She is sleeping (for the most part - now we seem to have some - ahem, digestive trouble - oh whatever, she has gas, got to get her off the cheese!).

"You must be so relieved."

Wow. As little as 5 months ago I would have given my eye teeth to not listen to Julia hacking her poor little lungs up all night, every night. No cough syrup (and we tried soooooo many) helped much.

And, while I had to concede defeat to one sinus infection, I am much better. MUCH better (where's that wood again...) I seem to have broken the non-stop cycle of antibiotics. I can sleep most night without gasping for air. This is a definite improvement.

I think back to the night in early May when we started to seriously talk about coming home. I was up at 3 am and running a bath because I couldn't breathe, gasping for air with a pounding headache- hoping the steam would help. Marc came in and sat with me - and whatever I said scared him to death, I was so tired of being so sick all the time, so tired of having a sick little girl. I would have given my eye teeth to be as healthy (note I am not saying well rested!) as I am today. I still have some way to go (and a lot of exercise to fit into my schedule) but it's so much better than where we were.

So I am going to try and put aside worrying about where we are headed and when my house will be finished, when my dad's estate will finally settle, when will Stu fit in at school (okay, i don't promise on that one) and just enjoy this beautiful sunny crisp fall day. Because I am well enough to take my daughter to the park, and Stu to soccer and this time last year I would never have know what was in store for us and this bad year has to have served some purpose.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A year

365 days - sounds so long. And can go so fast.

On October 23rd last year I saw my father for the last time. 365 days ago - it seems so long ago, and yet it feels like yesterday.

It was a shock to see him - I knew that his lifestyle would evenutally bring him down. I knew he had been in the hospital with heart problems. I knew, and yet I was not prepared for the man himself.

It had been close to 2 years since I had seen him. We hadn't been home in that long, and I was home alone - a last minute trip.

He was worse than I expected - he looked so old and frail. I saw him at my grandmother's house - he was staying there. They looked more like an old husband and wife than a mother and son.

I have not been comfortable with my father's health in years. Nor with my father.

I remember him hobbling out to the porch of my grandmother's duplex. Determined to see me leave. It was at rush hour, my grandmother was disoriented, trying to get her in the car was difficult... she was focused on putting her recycling boxes off the curb, my mother was concerned about being rear-ended - need I say more? I was a little distracted. And disturbed.

I got in the car, waved a cheerful goodbye and left. When i spoke to Marc the next day I told him I couldn't think about it yet, I would when I got back to Luxembourg - he was so diminished, this man who had such a difficult place in my life.

4 days later he was dead. And the time on the plane home, the time I was planning to be alone and think - well the flight got cancelled. New flights booked. Funeral arrangements made. Urn to choose. I left the funeral to head right to the airport to catch a flight (not as callous as it sounds, the funeral got delayed by a day after I had booked my flight). The whole thing is a blur - I was on autopilot, trying to get through.

And here we are a year later - no further along in a lot of ways. Estate not settled. My feelings obviously not settled.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

This week's resolution

Remove the sentence "Come on guys, or we're going to be late" from any part of my speech.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I can't think of a title for this post - maybe because I have just flown up the stairs at the library to see if there was a computer free for me to use for a few minutes while Julia is at her ballet class in the comunity centre that is attached to the library (I am going to make typos because I am rushing and not familiar with keyboard).

I was debating the sanity of ballet class this aft - Mlle J was fast asleep in our bed, with um, me. I didn't want to get up, it's been one of those grey rainy days that makes you feel like crawling under a rock, or at least your duvet. Marc came up (on instructions delivered via the Stu) to get us at 3:00. It took a while to get her going - I wouldn't have even asked her if she wanted to come if she hadn't started asking about BALLET (I love the excitement in her voice) 3 days ago and crying every time I said we were going somewhere else in the car.

But man, it was hard shifting her out of bed and into the car. "Me a little bit scared of ballet" she announced. Huh? As we left the house it started to rain again. Then pour. Then it started to hail. Nice, this is a good sign - not. Miraculously it let up just as we got out of the car (it's all of a 4 minute drive to get here).

When we got in she panicked to see them sitting in a circle - "Wait for me!!" Anyhow, we weren't the only ones a few minutes late (teacher)and she went skipping in to tell Miss Julie the teacher that she was wearing rubber boots (she has some really funky rubber boots, I am starting to envy my daughter's footwear).

So - here I am, with a spare moment to write. What to say.

I guess I should say that we had a great Thanksgiving last week - we drove to Exeter (45 minutes north of London ON) to visit Marc's parents. We got to hang out with Grandma & Grandpa and see Aunt Holly and Uncle Brad and meet cousins Shae (2 1/2) and Jayden (10 weeks old).

The drive was... long. REALLY long. We left at 9:30 in the morning and didn't get there until a few minutes to 7 at night - all with a 15 minute pee/gas/run the kids in a field break and a very quick pee break later. All that for 700 km.

What was the problem you ask? Well, we were making great time. We were scheduled to arrive at 4:30. Just before 3 we were almost through Toronto. And then the inevitable (in my opinion) happened - we sat for 40 minutes on the 401 without moving.

Now, before I go any further : I admit it, I have a problem with Toronto. Or more specifically driving through Toronto, because it can take an hour or it can take 4 (yes, we were stuck once for 4 hours). My phobia has only grown since having kids to try and entertain while driving through the monstrously big city (it goes on forever).

So - I got us a plan. Get off the non-moving 401 (this was when we'd gone 1 km in 40 minutes) and head up to highway 7 near Guelph, since my inlaws live off highway 7 (eventually).

What I hadn't anticipated was Betty. For anyone who hasn't heard me gripe about Marc's girlfriend - she's a Garmin GPS and we don't get along very well. I have a brain and can read a map. I am convinced everytime I am in the car that something short circuits in her and she takes us the wrong way (point in case - driving us through a fountain in a pedestrian zone in Baden-Baden Germany).

I won't go on too long about HOW hellish the GPS made the trip (and Catherine got an email all about it as she sent me one about her recent experience while we were in the middle of the trip - what are blackberries for?).

At first it started off jokingly, Marc accusing me of being anti-Ontarian (I admit I get quite Quebecoise at times like this)and we narrowed it down to me not liking anything past the Thousand Islands (I concede he is probably right, considering that I spend most of any trip in or around Toronto chanting "thank you for not making me live here, thank you for not making me live here").

We had a map. Or rather I had a map and Marc had Betty. I kept finding the route, and he would turn her back on (after I would get frustrated and he would turn her off) and we'd try and follow her directions, turn where she would say and be rewarded with "RECALCULATING"... grrrrr.

She got us lost in Acton (a town of about 500 people but famous for it's - wait for it - HIDE House leather furniture store - I mean really. HIDE house??? ugh.)

She got us lost in Guelph.

I eventually firgured out how to get her out of wanting to take us back to the 401 and we were doing just fine, got to Kitchener-Waterloo where Marc went to university. I think I have it all figured out from the map when he utters the fatal words "I haven't been here in a few years, let's just put Betty on to get through town".

Turns out my plan involved about 500m on a highway, which we were now avoiding (according to Betty) because I didn't want to go on the 401. So she decided to take us right through KW.

Except that the roads she wanted to use were closed - for Octoberfest.

The largest Octoberfest in the world outside of Germany (so I have been told).

I resisted the urge to get out of the car and spend the weekend guzzling beer (I don't even like beer) and instead, in a very mature voice (no, not really) told Marc to get us out of KW and to his parents and that there was nothing I could do for him if he insisted on using the @*%&#^#*&# GPS.

And he managed to (okay, I helped a bit).

So - very late, very tired, very cranky (me especially) we arrived at Grandma and Grandpa's. There were a few other side stops (like when Stu had to pee on the side of a road, he had to go NOW and I couldn't figure out how he had so much in him - only to discover that he had drunk the entire 600ml bottle of iced tea we had bought to "share").

And despite the heat wave (over 30 degrees? in October??) we had a very nice Thnksgiving.It was amazing to see the kids bond with their cousins and because we had both girls on Saturday evening so their parents got to go to a wedding, I got to spend some quality time with my littlest (and sometimes loudest) niece. I love babies - but I think I have hit the stage where I love being able to give them back. Sigh.

The drive home was much nicer - to be honest we left at 9 am and didn't get home until 8 pm, but we stopped in London for about 90 minutes to visit some friends we haven't seen in years (he's like Marc's second dad - and has become like mine too in some ways, he's always there to support us and help, offer advice etc) and then we drove to Markham (on the "right" side of Toronto for me, meaning east ;-) ) and had a lovely lunch with Dave & Jenn & the kids. Stu thought it was really cool to go and see his godparents and LOVED Joe's hockey room (and Joe... all we've heard this week is about 8 year olds and Joe).

And now I can't think of a way to end the post that I didn't know how to start!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

And in news today

For those of you who might know that Julia goes to nursery school in the Alta Vista area...

This afternoon (at 12:55) I was taking Julia to school. There were a lot of cops around at the corner of Heron and Alta Vista. And paramedic trucks rushing past. Because of this:


The nursery school is about 500m from Ridgemont High School. Apparently all is well, but I was relieved that they didn't take the kids our for their play time this afternoon. Better safe than sorry.

I am a little weirded out (not big time, but as I type the concern grows). And thankful that no one was hurt. And wondering what the whole story is and how much we will really find out.

I remember having a friend on campus the night Marc Lepine open fire on women at UQAM in 1989. My mother was just blocks away from the Dawson campus when those shootings took place. It is starting to seem like there are too many of these things - and I think in Luxembourg we were sheltered from the reality of them.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The bread issue

There are two sides to this current issue of mine:

1) I miss bakeries, especially the one on Blvd Pierre Dupong that sells the best Bauernbrot (Farmer's Bread). It's a simple "pain gris" (or "grey" bread) that is dense enough to make you feel like it's worth the carbs, but no so heavy as to feel like a brick in your stomach. A lot of breads pale in comparison (at least in my comparison), either coming off tasting like styrofoam or weighing you down.

I concede that I haven't checked out the few local bakeries yet, and have not given in to all the kinds gracing the racks at Loblaw's (somehow Sundried tomato, black Olive and Rosemary all in one loaf sounds a little over the top to me.) I need to do market research, I admit it.

2) when buying what they refer to as "commercial Bakery" bread here (as in already sliced and in the bag, good for a while) - what on earth to choose!! When I was a kid there was white bread (which we all know now as BAD bread) and brown bread (which no one wanted to eat). My kids are happy eating brown bread - when it's just plain simple brown bread.

Which can be hard to find.

I was trying to buy the brand that was special of the week, 2/$4.00. All I wanted was a simple loaf of brown bread. I had the choice of Flaxseed, 12 grain, 7 grain, stone milled, honey and oats, raisin and cinnamon... and half a dozen others.

Including my favorite of the bunch "Prairie Bran".

Do they really need to specify that it is PRAIRIE bran? Are they worried I will confuse it with suburban bran, or metropolitain bran? Or possibly think it's Ghetto Bran (Marc and I had a lot of fun with that at lunch "Hey ho, here's yo bran" - poor taste I know)

Then I thought I had a found it: "WHOLE WHEAT" the bag proclaimed. Until I took it off the shelf and saw the "and soy". Whole wheat and soy.

Things being what they were (me, in grocery store which still freaks me out, and I used to shop at Cactus) and the fact that my kids love soy milk, soy pudding and I think soy is just good for you, I threw a loaf into the cart.

It passed the Stuart test for desert tonight - then again it was slathered with Nutella. Will have to see how we do tomorrow.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mixed Bag

This morning after sleeping in (til 9:30!) Marc suggested we get in the car and drive to Kingston for lunch and to visit the little art store we used to frequent (Cornerstone for those of you with knowledge of Kingston - a couple of doors down from Lone Star.)

At 9:37 this seemed feasible, reasonable even. Desptie it being a 2 hour drive. I think we both needed out of the house, suffering a little from disillusionement on being HOME.

Factor in our slower than usual prep time (we achieve shocking levels of sheer length of prep time - no clue how we keep outdoing ourselves) and by the time we headed out the door it was 11:20. After some discussion in the car we decided Kingston was a little too ambitious (4 hours in the car return, Stu had some homework...) and thought, okay, maybe Brockville. It's on the St-Lawrence, is reputed to have a pretty main street, is an hour or so closer.

Consulted Betty, Marc's girlfriend (His Garmin GPS system) and headed off. Until I got the bright idea to go to Merrickville, which is on the Rideau River - we'd been there for our 1st wedding anniversary (a few short days before Marc's first trip to Luxembourg, which resulted in him coming home thinking there was a chance he would work there - in a few years, and then was gone within 2 months - but I digress).

For once one of my bright ideas wasn't a flop (or worse).

Given that it's off smaller roads it took us as long I think to get to as it would have taken us to get to Brockville, but when we arrived we realized it was one of those open-house, studio weekends for all the local artisans and the place was packed, but we found parking and had an awesome (simple) lunch at an outdoor terraced cafe (I so have to learn how to do accents on a Mac - we've had one for 3 years, I have no good excuses left!). It was a little grey and overcast - which is why if you see pictures of today Julia she will be wearing rubber boots, she got funky ones a week or so ago and uses any excuse to wear them.

We wandered a bit around town, visited some cute stores, caught a couple of glass blowing expositions, bought a heavenly lavender and herb scented cadle (it's not the prettiest thing to look at, but it smells awesome) and by the time we were back to the ice cream parlour it was sunny and beautiful so we had to indulge the kids (because otherwise we would never have eaten any - no sir!)

We ended the afternoon visiting the Blockhouse at the lock in town that was built in 1832-33 to protect us from invasions from the south - but after the war of 1812 it was never really needed and only housed militia twice. Because it was closing time (4 pm) the curator (?? it's now a museum) took us behind the counter and showed us the "dungeon" - a trap door that opened up onto stairs leading to the cellar where they stored the gunpowder. Creepy enough to impress the Stu - and stick with him enough that he tried to open a similar door inthe floor in the metalsmith (oldest in Canada they claim) we vistied on our way out of town (thankfuly that didn't turn into a whole story on it's own.)

It was a nice sunny family afternoon, fall breeze blowing, a tiny puppy (a She-Poo?? Whatever that is, it was tiny and cute) called Chloe who we ran into all over town and gave the kids licks - you know, just plain nice day, no workmen, no mucky house, no homework, minimal whining (Either the kids have bought my whole "dentist installed this special device" or I am starting to believe my own white lies and stopped hearing them).

And then we came home.

The whining began on the way home. Julia passed out, but we got off the 416 to take the "scenic route" back into Ottawa and stopped to buy some corn at a raodside stall. They also had other stuff and I got a basket of huge tomatos and asked Stu if he wanted the green beans. Now, green beans are the only vegetable, save cherry tomatos, that my son has ever asked for. He didn't know what they were called and we had a few mishaps in Lux over what it was he wanted (NOT snow peas, even though he said they were flat, and not peas, even though he said they had peas inside them.)

Well apparently green beans are no longer where it's at because he was indignant when I suggested getting some. I got them anyways and he cried all the way across the parking lot to the car. You'd have thought I'd said they were his rations for the week (as I write said beans are washed and trimmed and waiting to be blanched in the morning so I can freeze them - since there is no way he's eating them this week).

We also stopped at the Loeb (24 hour! We have a 24 hour grocery store!!) and Marc dashed in with Stu to pick up something for dinner. Because we had nought besides the corn (by the way, the corn was delicious. 3 cobs delicious - it was supposed to be 2 but then Stu opted out of his second... couldn't see it go to waste). Anyhow - Marc and Stu came out with pizzas (fresh) and we headed home.

At this point we realize we have DVDs to go back to the video store (next to the Loeb) and that we still haven't started Stu's homework yet. So Marc preheats the over, throws in the pizzas, tells me they take 15-20 to cook and leaves with Julia for the video store, leaving me, Stu and his homework upstairs.

After about 7 minutes I smell smoke - sure enough the bottom pizza is charred on the bottom (we missed the "middle rack" and "on a baking dish" portion of the instructions.)

Long story short? Fire detectorgoes off, open windows and doors, thinking the cat has run out the front door in terror, running around on front lawn calling cat (only to find her under our bed - which is of course the logical place to look). Call Marc to ask him to pick up new pizza for kids. Take my eye off the other (which is at least on the middle shelf of the oven) for the 47 seconds it takes to reply to a message on facebook and update my status ("Tracy is not at patient as she thought she was, Grade One homework with the Stu is doing her in." and lo and behold - I've charred the second pizza.

Call Marc back to ask for another pizza for us (he gets out of line...) and somewhow the evening got back to normal. Well kinda. And once Marc had made me his version of a Blue Lagoon. (loving those drinks where you can't taste the alcohol).

By the way - Catherine, if you are reading, we need to reopen our discussion on becoming testers for Garmin. The North American version says "Take H,W,Y 416 to..." Not HIGHWAY. Nope, H.W.Y. We laughed so hard the first time we heard it but it's wearing thin...

And so here we are at the end of another weekend... bracing for impact of the week ahead.