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.