Thursday, December 31, 2009

parting thoughts to 2009

Freedom is for honest people. No man who is not himself honest can be free – he is his own trap. - unknown

People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I've learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one's reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one's master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person's view requires to be faked. And if one gains the immediate purpose of the lie - the price one pays is the destruction of that which was intended to serve. The man who lies to the world, is the world's slave from then on. - Ayn Rand (1905 - 1982)

Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory. - Gandhi (1869 - 1948)

The path to the truth is found in the spaces between the lies. - Rain Bojangles

Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity. - Lord Acton

No good ending can be expected in the absence of the right beginning. It is too late. - I Ching

Self-conceit may lead to self-destruction. - Aesop

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end. - Seneca

When small men begin to cast big shadows it means the sun is about to set. - Lyn Yutang

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning. - Louis L'Amour

Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. - St. Francis of Assisi

What the caterpillar calls the end the rest of the world calls a butterfly. - Lao Tzu

Wishing you all the best for 2010 - the hope and promise of a new year.

Friday, December 18, 2009

watch this space

Wow - three months without a post.

I'd love to say that it's because nothing interesting has happened to post about. But that would be a lie.

For anyone reading this who does not already know this news - Marc and I are separating. It's been a tortuous couple of months. There is so much to say, and yet I haven't been able to say it here.

If I try to summarize it - be succint, to the point - we want different things. I want a family, a home life, to find what I want to do for the rest of my life - balance, peace. Marc wants a big career. These things are not mutually compatible anymore. It has taken me a long time to hear him, to hear what he is saying - that he can't do it anymore.

I just read a brilliant statement from someone over at the Women's Colony from someone who is going through something much more difficult than I am:


I'm on my way through. It's not a fun trip, the scenery sucks to be honest, but there is something on the other side of this. And I will be okay. As will my precious babies. They have an awesome mother you know (modest aren't I?).

So from me and mine to you - Happy Holidays. May you have wonderful times with your families and all the best for 2010. A new year, new opportunities.

I think On being European-ey has run it's course. I will be back - not sure where or when, but watch this space in January. I should be plenty stressed getting ready to move (3rd time in 2.5 years! Oi Vey!!) and I am sure I'll have something to say.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

what do I say to that?

I just had the following conversation with my seven year-old son (who is going on eight in a few months):

Him : Phew, that was easier than I expected.

Me : What?

Him : Dealing with Julia. (sounding like he is more like 7 going on 38).

Me : Oh... okay... Um, Stu, thanks for telling Julia that you were down here, but you know it's Mama's job to deal with Julia right? I'm the grown-up.

Him : Well yeah...

Me : Stu - do you feel like you have to act more grown-up when Dad's away?

Him : (non-committal noise)

Me: Stu? You don't have to be a grown-up you know. I appreciate when you help me with things and try to get along with Julia, but you don't have be a grown-up.

Him : Yeah, I know... it's just that... when Dad's away and Nana's not here I feel like I am the Dad replacement. You know, so I have to act like an adult.


I explained that he doesn't have to but I am not sure he believes me. I gave him a really good answer about being a kid and that Mama was the adult etc etc etc... and he kind went "uh-huh..."

Then again, he just tattled on her. Sigh. The bickering is what I would LOVE to have them stop.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I have a rock in my bra

No seriously, I do.

It's a blue aventurine crystal that is an Aries stone (I'm an Aries). It is a small, lovely, blue stone with soft smooth rounded edges. The best place to carry it is close to your heart - thus the whole bra-stuffing. It is supposed to help me through what is going on in my life right now.

Honestly? I think it's a bit weird, and after my mum and I had left the store I said "You know who I've turned into? Mrs R!" referring to the mother of a close friend who went through a phase with crystals and such and we all thought (with much respect) that she was one sandwich short of a picnic when she did all this stuff 20 years ago.

Hmmm. Don't you just love it when you think you know about something and it comes back to bite you in the ass?

Sorry Mrs. R.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

explanation required

My sweet daughter woke up at 3:15 this morning.

I was up with her until 5:45, when I succumbed the heady combination of sleep deprivation/sinus infection and sent her in to her father and passed out in her bed.

Marc and Stu left for work/school at 7:30 and Marc put the tv on for her. No I am not proud, but hello, I figured it was one of the only ways we were going to survive today. I crawled back into my own sweet bed and passed back out until 9:15.

She is bright and chipper and talking a mile a minute. She has been up since 3:15. I on the other hand who was only awake for 2 1/2 hours of that time feel like I've been hit by a truck.

How exactly does this work?

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Day Two

2:30 found me holding me breath again.

When I dropped Stu off this morning he suddenly bordered on whimpery, half-heartedly dragging the bag of extra school supplies he had to take in. It was TOO HEAVY he whinged, and he couldn't possibly carry it up to his 3rd floor classroom. The bag contained 4 packs of loose-leaf and two kleenex boxes, hardly the two tonnes of bricks he was intimating it felt like.

But he came out smiling. His day was great. And while I have yet to get many details (besides the fact that two boys asked him, one right after the other heaven forbid if he'd had toast for breakfast... I am still working out what the problem there is) I am going to chalk this up to another successful day.

Marc, Julia and I went for an interview with her teacher. Who spoke to us for 35 minutes instead of the 20 minutes allotted. Who not once made me want to go home and take Valium (as opposed to crazy lady from last year). I think this is going to be am uch better environment for my kids.


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Alien abduction

Stuart started his new school today. I have a wicked sinus infection (started antibiotics at lunch) so I was pretty much dreading it.

All the way there in the car he said he was nervous.

We got there and he told his teacher he was nervous. She leaned over and whispered "You know what? I'm a little nervous too." (I think I might love her).

The three of us went to pick him up after school. I know my brain is not clear in this current state of sinus crisis, but I think I was pretty much terrified of him coming out the door of the school. I am pretty sure I sprinted over to where he was as soon as he walked out of the door.

Me: Hey Stu! How was your first day?

Him: GREAT!! (he was grinning and almost jumping up and down)

Me: That's great! (Inside voice piped up with "did funny little green men take you away on a spaceship and brain wash you?" but I kept it to myself - barely)

Later I tested the waters again...

Me : So - do you still hate school?

Him: NO!!!! (again with the grinning...)

It wasn't perfect (someone called him Stuart Little but the teacher noticed he didn't like it so she asked everyone not to call him that... and he is satisfied that it has been dealt with...). But it was great. And I know we've still got a long way to go, but can I tell you that...

To my knowledge, my son has NEVER come out of school grinning and saying his day was great. Certainly not in the past two years, that's for dang sure.

Fingers crossed people. But I may be able to exhale for the first time since the 4th of June when I realized that his little world was messed up. Phew.

Oh and in other news - Stu's best friend who moved off our street but was still going to go to the old school for one more year? He changed schools too. Want to know who didn't change schools? The BULLY. He's back. I wasn't having any doubts about our choice, but for once it's nice to know I got my ducks lined up and made the right decision.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

change is in the air

Fall is coming - the days are cooler (or the pouring rain today) and you can feel that it's time for a change.

Change of school next week - my stomach is in small knots for the Stu. They were big knots until we went to pick up his school supply list yesterday and met his teacher. She is lovely. Lovely. I have a good feeling about this. Now let's just hope he clicks with some of the kids. It's hard sending him in there on his own, my sweet boy who can have so much trouble communicating with other people. I hope this school will help him to feel comfortable in his own skin.

I am tired of my blog - look at that hideous template (which I liked at the time, but that time was an insomniac night). I have been feeling like a fraud as of late - not so european-ey. My blog title almost mocks me, I think it's time for a change. A move to another title. Possibly even change from blogger. Hmmm. I have some long afternoons in the cafe around the corner from the school in my future. Maybe I will finally get my blog how I would like it.

Marc is touching up paint (legacy of bad contractor). Feels like moving on a bit. I am going to go and pack up all those baby gifts I never seem to mail and get them out the door. The wheels are turning... new school, new season, new, new, new... it's kind of exciting.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Well hello there!

Well it's been a busy summer - I've lost 30 lbs, jogged 15 km a day, my skin is perfectly clear, I look 10 years younger, the kids have been a joy to have around every single day, no bickering, it was almost too difficult to drop them at camp the few weeks they were there...

Yeah, no.

Not that it's been a bad summer, it's just been - busy. Busy in ways that have not involved any of the above-mentioned fantasies...

Busy in:

- finally going to small claims court for our settlement conference and paying the *(&*#&@*^(%#*^@_*#^%_^#*^_*^# contractor a couple of hundred dollars to go away. And spending the last 6 weeks feeling like a complete and total chump. But - he lied. He lied lied lied lied lied at the settlement conference (did I mention that we were the 4th in a group of people at a certain time and I had to spend close to two hours sitting in the waiting room with him? UGH). I didn't feel too badly when I left the court - I felt like I had taken the moral high road, he was a liar and a cheat and was going to continue to lie and cheat and obviously had been in this situation before and know how to muddy the waters - I would much rather be an honest person who was taken advantage of than be a slimy bastard like him. But it still stings that he walked away with even a dime more of our money. I just decided that he wasn't going to be fair or honest and the judge was about to decide that we had to go to a full small court trial - at which he could have lied further and who knows what would have happened. Slimy nasty beast. I just don't understand people who lie like that.

- two kids on holidays... overall it's been great. We've had lousy weather so it hasn't felt as much like summer as we would have liked. No sense in crying over bad weather. I'm nearing the end of my summer patience though - the bickering is getting to me. And J has not had any activities in August and is getting a little... she's a bit of a pain in the ass. Stu was at camp this week with his BFF (who lived on our street and then - sob - moved a 10 minute drive away). They both did swimming camp (different weeks) Stu did hockey camp (the last day they had a game and they "announced" them as they came onto the ice - too cool!) and J did ballet camp for 6 mornings over two weeks. Lots of packing lunches, snacks, bathing suits and sunblock.

- vacation! We spent a week in Prince Edward County, about a 20 minute drive from Picton. Loved the area. Ate lots and lots of good cheese, drank good wine and cider. There is an amazing new cheese maker there called Fifth Town that claims to be the greenest dairy in Canada and makes only Goat and Sheep cheese... great for this cheese lover with a cow's milk problem. Downside of the vacation had to be the really bad beds - hard as a rock, creaked so much if you so much as moved a limb (rolling over and/or getting out of bed woke the rest of the household. No joke.) It was wonderful to have Marc all to ourselves for a week (cell phone OFF! Only checked once a day!! No laptop!) We had the most beautiful afternoon at the Dunes beach at Sandbanks Provincial Park (gee, I should be linking all these things...)

- trying to start getting ready for back to school in 10 days. I am so certain that we are making the right choice moving the kids. Stu had been getting in our bed every night from March to the end of June. The day after school was over? He started sleeping through the night again (he's still up too late and wakes up too early, but you can't have it all, right?). I really had no concept of how much he hated going to that school every day. My poor little man. The kids in this area are really intimidating to him - we went to a local park with a splash pad last week and there were 4 kids (3 girls, 1 boy) of a certain background there, yelling, screaming, pushing, shoving, generally wreaking havoc as children of a certain background in this area always seem to be doing (with no parental supervision even though the two younger girls appeared to only be about 6) and Stu just really hung back, walked around the periphery, tried not to get involved... even Julia didn't want to go near them. This must be what he felt like every day at school. So I am glad we are changing schools. But can I confess something? I'm scared too. I'm worried about my kids fitting in, about them making new friends and being happy - and also about ME fitting in, making new friends and being happy... I've spent a lot of energy in the last two years to do what I could to settle us all in this neighbourhood and especially in the school and now I'm starting all over. Ugh.

- looking at houses... no, we are not moving. But I am quite disenchanted with our area. I feel like a fool for not seeing it before we bought this house last year. I am also dreading the drive to and from the new school - it will be about 20 minutes each way (could be more depending on traffic). When Marc is home he will take Stu in the morning and I will take Julia at 12:00 and be there to pick them both up at 2:30. Which doesn't leave a lot of time for doing much if I wanted to come home (not to mention the gas) and Marc is already scheduled to be away a lot in September. So a move closer to the school was so tempting but unfortunately far too far out of our budget. Our budget that just got a pretty serious overhaul in order to possibly afford moving sometime in the next couple of years.

- trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up - or more specifically a job that I can do mostly from home when Julia starts full days in September 2010 that will enable me to be home at the end of the day for them and be here in case they are sick etc... Everyone is telling me to start free-lance translating from home but my degree seems a million years ago and I am very intimidated. I need a lightning bolt (or some very good suggestions... anyone got any??)

- eating. Guess what? When I am: stressed, bored, irritated, worried, tired (etc... you get the idea) I EAT. I had been doing well with losing weight (I was down 23lbs in May) but I've fallen off the wagon and gained about 7 over the summer. I still weigh as much as I did 9 months pregnant. Bleah.

Other than that... hmmmm. Not much. Where on earth did the summer go??

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I know I should trust my own instincts but...

This morning dropping Julia off at Kindergarten (Stu is still sick so no bus for us) I ran into the retired teacher from last year, the outspoken one who had been in Stu's class for several weeks when his teacher was so sick (read: burnt out). She was replacing one of the kindergarten teachers today and I just caught her as they were going in.

Me : Mme XX, I'm glad I ran into you. I wanted to thank you for the talk we had about Stuart.

Her : Well I really wasn't very discreet.

Me : No, I wanted to tell you how much it helped us. We've decided not to come back next year, we're changing schools.

Her : Good! I'm glad to hear it!

Me : We're going to take the kids to the Alternative school (and which one).

Her : PERFECT! What a great environment for Stuart! That's a wonderful decision.

Me : Oh thank you - that means a lot to me. We feel it's the right thing but your opinion means a lot to me.

Her : I think that's a great decision. And... I strongly suspect that he might be gifted. I would think about having him tested next year...

Anyhow, that's not the whole conversation, she also said it might Stu time to settle in and things might not change right away (his motivation) but all in all a great conversation... Not to mention she was a teacher for 35+ years and part of the committee that started our school board's gifted program.

I know I should just trust my own instincts, but honestly? I am a sucker for feedback.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dry those tears

The bump was a good, loud, resounding one.

Our dining room table is made of heavy oak. Pretty hard on a little head.

The tears were immediate - loud, big... a wail.

I bit my tongue - the tongue that after a long day with two under the weather kids and a travelling husband wanted to say things like: "I told you to stop chasing the cat!" and "What were you doing under there?!".

Instead I held her and rubbed slow circles on her back. Let fat tear drops fall on my foot.

"It h-h-h-HURTS Mama!"

One day what hurts her won't be made better by a hug and slow circles on her back. So I bit my tongue and held on to my baby and tried to commit the moment to memory.

Memory that I hope will help when I feel helpless to stop her tears in years to come.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

just because I got this far without my head exploding

So - it's been one of those weeks.

2 sick kids. Had to pack them into the car on Monday to head to Montreal (after driving back from Montreal the day before - lovely weekend en famille in a hotel thank you very much) to see my grandfather in the hospital. Where he'd been rushed. And he has decided that he is dying. Which at 92 isn't shocking except for the fact that he has always sworn up and down that he would live to be 105. And he is stubborn enough to do it (tough old Dutchman!). So that he is saying he's done? Yeah, disturbing. I did have a lovely visit with him though in case this is it, and I am thankful for that.

In Stu's class today I had the longest talk with his teacher. Who dropped the "You need to insist they test him next year, I think he's gifted" bomb on me. Huh? She even admitted that because he has such strong support at home (nice pat on the back for me) and she has had such a difficult class this year that he hasn't had enough attention from her.

So now - is Alternative going to be the best thing for him? Or not? And while I should wait until Marc gets home from Toronto to decide if we will pay the money to have him tested privately ($1900 thank you very much) I tried to go about making an appointment. Some doctors are taking appointments for NEXT APRIL.

Welcome to Canada people. We have a terrible medical system, thanks very much for asking. WTF good is 10 months from now going to do me making my decision right now?

And yes, I am talking VERY fast in my head and I AM overcaffeinated.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday's Drama Queen moment

The Catholic school FINALLY called.

Were in.

Crap. Now what do I do?

I'll fill in the paperwork in case we don't get our transfer approved.

Friday, June 12, 2009

An end to the drama?

So... yesterday I had a 20 minute phone conversation with the principal of our school. And felt much better about the situation. As in, I said what I felt, didn't sugar coat, didn't dismiss, made my point clear. And she said a lot of things that made me feel better (Stuart will be in another class for next year, the bully may be moving to Toronto) and we worked out an approach to how we are all going to work together on this issue.


Yes, I still have a but. Because while this boy has been the main part of our problem, he's not the only part of our problem.

The best way i can describe it is when you decide to break up with someone. There's usually an incident that is the straw that broke the camel's back. One big thing that makes you mad enough to end things. But usually in getting to that stage you find other things to back up your actions. Little things that have happened etc. And then even if the BIG thing can be resolved, you've acknowledged all the little things and, as my friend Anne said this morning, THE LOVE IS GONE.

That's where I am. Yes, the bully is the biggest part of the problem, but he's not the whole problem.

The Catholic school won't return my calls. The other public school (the JK-8 one) was not able to accept cross-border transfers back in March when is when they should be able to accept them without issue. Getting in isn't looking good.

This morning I asked Marc to go to the Alternative school with me. I don't know why, it was totally spur of the moment, but something has been pushing me to go there.

I LOVED IT. Correction - WE LOVED IT.

It's a smaller school. A teacher on break volunteered to show us around. She found us the principal in a classroom who showed us around more, talked to us for about 20 minutes, took us to the library (the librarian shook our hands and gave us her personal guarantee that our kids would love the school - she was a character!), talked us through a day at the school, discussed their philosophy... I was in school l-u-r-v-e...

She told us about a Grade 4 girl who played her recorder for the talent show yesterday. For her second song she played Au Clair de la Lune - and announced that she was able to play it through her nose, so she would. The principal thought that was awesome. Music to the ears of a parent who has heard about her kids marching to the beat of their own drummer.

We didn't even need to talk about it - we got back to the office and Marc asked for the forms to fill out. We've done them - there is a chance we could be refused by our current school though. Ugh. Going to have to work on that one - I feel slightly hypocritical after yesterday's talk, but honestly I feel the alternative school is so much more what we are looking for and that my children will blossom there.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Decisions, decisions

And the agonizing begins (I did warn of this in my last post... I knew it was coming).

I have spent hours on the internet looking at schools in this area and checking out their EQAO (Education Quality and Accountability Office - in other words the standardized testing for the province of Ontario). I've discovered the interesting information in their detailed 31 page reports for each school (I sense the Vulcan in me emerging - there must be something in their numbers that will speak to my search for the best educational opportunity for my children.)

I've pored over school websites and board profiles of the same schools. I haven't slept much for the last 3 nights.

Not that I have mild OCD tendencies or anything.

Now I have all this data and I have to start sifting through it. And figuring out what I think is best for my kids. And seeing what my options truly are - this post is really mostly an exercise in getting my thoughts in order.

I learned that our current school - while not doing badly on the EQAO scores - has a very high percentage of ESL students. 40% of households speak Arabic at home, 30% Somali, we have enough that speak Mandarin to have warranted us using a grant we got to translate some of the school documentation into Mandarin (We also did Arabic and Somali - I helped co-ordinate the initiative). Add to that any other languages that are spoken as a main language at home and I think we're probably down to less than 20% of families that speak English or French at home (the two languages of the school).

After much thought I have decided that maybe our school is a little too diverse - I like diverse, really I do. I welcomed it when we moved back here - we had so many nationalities living in Luxembourg and I had appreciated - for the most part - what they brought to the table (with the possible exception of Belgian drivers - woah... they redeem their poor driving habits with chocolate and waffles though). But our school is dealing with so many different cultures that it almost feels like a family with two many different personalities all wanting to be the centre of attention. Which may be fine for some people, but I find is not best for the Stu.

So my "options" for a new school are:

1) Another Public School Board school that is about a 10 minute drive. They have considerably lower ESL numbers than we do, and similar EQAO scores. Their site looks good, they have some great initiatives mentioned in their board profile (Anti-bullying! works for me!). I know someone who's daughter has started attending the school for Middle school and they seem to be happy - another plus for it is that it does run JK-8 so we wouldn't need to find an option for Middle School (our local middle school is a problem and this school was one we were considering for down the road).

Problem : I have to go and talk to them about a cross border transfer - which is usually done in February. They are a very popular school and hard to get into from what I've heard.

2) The Catholic school right around the corner. The kids could walk. There are kids on our street who attend. It has a very low ESL population. There is less French instruction, though I could (with some self-discipline) probably cover that off pretty well with the kids.

Problem: One of you needs to be Catholic. Neither of us is - they do take other students if they have the room, but there's a chance we wouldn't know until after school starts in September. And we need to discuss our interest with the principal (which I have been told is another way of selling ourselves to her) and she hasn't returned my call for two days.

3) An Alternative School in our Public System. Hear me out here. I've heard of this alternative school because my neighbour teaches at the nursery school/daycare on the premises and her 4 year old is going to go there for JK/SK. Looking at it I am intrigued. Lots of parental involvement, small classes, mixed classes. Mid-level ESL numbers. Mid-level EQAO. It looks like the "real deal" of Alternative schools. It's an environment that I think (if it's all it's purported to be) could be great for the Stu.

Problem: it's not the alternative school for our area (and that one? oooh no. It looks more like a dumping ground for problem children than a true alternative school). So again with the cross-border transfer. And it's a good 20 minute drive, in rush hour traffic. Which wouldn't be an issue in spring/fall, but come winter? Eeesh. That could be a killer.

I have to make some decisions in the next day or so. Cross-border transfers are closed until June 15th when they will be re-opened - meaning that I need to get mine in by Friday so it can be reviewed on Monday. And then? Then they need to contact our current principal to see if she will release us - which she can refuse to do. So I need to pick one of the Public Schools (I don't believe you can request 2 cross border transfers) and then try and explain to our principal that we want out. Which I think is going to come as a shock to her (I see her regularly and haven't said anything because this has just blown up).

And then the logic goes out the window... My son is asking to go to a new school but does he really want to? Or rather he WAS asking last week - this week doesn't seem so bad (yes, but for how long?) Am I imagining this whole problem? (NO). Should I be able to resolve this whole thing with better support for my kids at home? (Possibly - but I am already volunteering 2 mornings or more and we still have problems - I can't keep sleeping with my 7 year-old. Or picking him up 1/2 way through the day which has happened 6 times since Christmas).

Am I being fair moving them? Will they integrate well into another school? Will they (especially Julia) be crushed that all her little friends are still at one school when she's at another?

Not to mention pretty much my entire support network is made up of mothers at our current school. I'm a volunteer, I'm on school council. I have a lot of vested interest at our current school. This isn't going to be easy for me either.

Anyone have a crystal ball they can loan me? I need to see what the future holds.

Friday, June 05, 2009

the problem with school

It is 3:40 a.m. and I have been awake for nearly 2 hours, going over our issue with the school the kids are currently at.

More specifically with Stuart's issue. And trying to break it down to it's most simple form. Which is that there is a bully in his class and he is being bullied.

I've known this for months I suppose. There are just so many other issues clouding the matter - Stuart's sensitivity that can be overwhelming being one of them.

I was about to get off point again and tell you about his sensitivity and how it affects me, but this is not about me. This is about the Stu.

There is a boy in his class who is bullying him. A few months ago, during a particularly awful week when Marc was away and the world seemed to have it in for us, I wrote briefly about the bullying in class but I never followed up (with myself mostly) about what happened.

The boy in question is a shit disturber. I was loathe to label a 7 year old boy "bad" but you know what? HE IS.

And for the intents and purposes of this post I am going to refer to him as "the bully" - because you know what? It's going to make me feel better.

Back in March Stuart got off the bus one day and said "The bully told me that at recess tomorrow I wouldn't be laughing, I'd be crying and bleeding." and then proceeded to tell me that the bully had people to help him with this - kids from the Special Ed class that he had recruited to help him. (I am not in any way trying to label special needs kids - but the ones at our school are HUGE. Some are as big as I am and do not seem to suffer from many physical problems. I know, send me hate mail, but it is what it is).

Long and short of the story - Stuart had told on the bully. Following the school rules that are posted everywhere, he had a problem with this shit disturbing kid and when he couldn't resolve it he got an adult. These kids are 7 - this is what we tell them to do over and over again.

So I went to school the next day. I went to try and catch his teacher before class to talk to her. She wasn't in class and by the time I found her she was bringing the kids in. She knew something of the problem and had me talk to the bully about what he had said/done. He started screaming and shouting that it wasn't his fault (one of the Special Ed kids told him to say it to Stuart if he didn't want to get beaten up etc etc).

From the class I went to the Vice-Principal - the Principal was away. She said she would handle it. I did see her talking with some boys from Special Ed (their class is next to Julia's where I was volunteering) but that was it.

It turned out that there was another boy who had also been threatened - I had called his mother the night of the incident and we discussed it at length and her husband called the school. When Marc got back from his trip he called the school too. The only answer we seemed to get was that i thad been handled. No follow up. No punishment that we were aware of, other than having to walk with the Vice Principal at recess.

It seemed to settle down though until a few weeks ago. I went on a field trip with the class and this boy wanted to be in my group. I had a group of 5 boys (one of them on the wild side) and I looked at the teacher. She told me to try it if I was willing to and told him that she was watching him. We made it as far as the cloakroom before he had head-butted another child in my group because he was "pretend" wrestling - I told him to get out of the cloakroom, he screamed it wasn't his fault it was an accident and the teacher came in and dragged him out. The looks he gave me for the next 1/2 hour were so full of hatred - have you ever felt uncomfortable from a 7 year-old glaring at you like he was going to take you out back and beat the crap out of you? It's not fun ( I should probably mention that he is only about 6 inches shorter than me and probably weighs what I do - the kid is HUGE).

Last week getting off the bus one of the other kids asked the Stu why he'd been in the VP's office. When questioned he revealed that the bully had gone up to his friend (same sweet kid as the head-butting at the museum) and knocked him over at recess and proceeded to throw his legs over his head like a wrestler. Stuart told me that he had to "testify" because he had been there and saw what happened. TESTIFY.

Later last week the bully kicked another kid in the class in the rear end. Ended up at he VP's office. Within an hour he was back in her office for showing another boy his privates in the bathroom. There have been more and more little stories coming out, and bits of info I've gleaned from listening lots and asking questions in passing (along the lines of "how do you feel about having to go to the VP's office?" etc etc). The pieces really started to fall into place

Since March - the whole "bleeding and crying" incident - the Stu has been getting into our bed almost every night. And unable to fall asleep unless I am in his bed. Now if you have been around to hear me moan for the past 7 1/2 years you'll know that the Stu has never been the best of sleepers. As a newborn in the hospital the nurse told me "I've never seen a baby this age fight sleep!" We've had other sleep disturbances over the years. I put it down to Marc traveling (and my poor mothering skills, which is what I always blame) but then today I realized that hey! Maybe it's school. (I know, I'm slow on the uptake).

Yesterday was the icing on the cake. Every year the school does a 2km walk for Cancer. It's a really special day in honour of a boy who died of cancer at the school 11 years ago. Yesterday was particularly moving because the boy had been in Grade 2 when he died and had Madame as a teacher (so same age/same teacher). I walked with the class, as did a few other mums, including the bully's who was pushing her 3 months old baby in a stroller. Her presence did nothing to calm him down.

After the walk there was a hot dog lunch in the park across the street. It took a while to be served and the kids were playing games. And the bully was cheating (I saw him myself). Other kids were "telling" on him, but if course it was the Stu that he shoved out of the way in a race so he lost, and the Stu burst into tears. And that's when the shit hit the fan - the bully screaming that he hadn't touched the Stu, that he was lying, that every time something happened to the Stu that he got blamed, and on and on and on and on and on... the teacher put him aside and another mother - a much cooler mother than I am, with cool dreadlocks and a hip attitude - came to talk to him, told him he needed to calm down or he was going to die of high blood pressure one day, that it didn't matter etc etc etc... eventually he settled down a bit, but had to be put out of two other games before the hot dogs were being served.

It was honestly like the pieces of a puzzle starting to fall into place. I saw this kid screaming. I heard the teacher getting frustrated (she has been off a lot lately, she's getting burnt out by this class). I heard her say something like "Oh the two of you today - it's just not working!" - about the bully and MY SON (who was just getting upset about being pushed). I took a big step back - I too had been trying to reason with the bully, explain to him that even if he didn't think he'd pushed Stuart that he had to realize that he'd knocked him out of the way by accident etc etc etc etc. I took a step back and took my son, who was still on the verge of tears complaining that he was hungry and generally on the brink of losing it, and walked away. I went to find Julia. We walked around a bit. I just hung out with him. I finally clued in to the stress he's been under at school with this boy pushing his buttons all the time.

Just before lunch was served another mum in the class came to talk to me about the bully. Her daughter is a very shy little girl who has been in Stu's class for two years and who I had not met before, but had been talking to off and on all morning (and liking). She commented that the bully was a problem. And told me that the school has a problem dealing with him because every time a teacher disciplines him in a way to try and deal with his behaviour they call and complain. They claim that he is being unfairly treated.

Now - I need to tell you something about this boy. We live in an area that has become very multicultural. And the bully is Somali. I don't even want to touch this one with a 10 foot pole, but honestly? If he was white he wouldn't be getting away with all this. I have seen that the children from families with parents that are involved are treated much more strictly than those with parents that are seen as "new" to Canada or who might be suffering from "cultural differences" (not that they aren't, and I am really very open to cultural differences, just not ones that mean my kids can be bullied because someone else's family doesn't have common respect for people. The end).

The bully is disruptive in class. He is aggressive and has anger issues. He has no respect for anyone in a position of authority. He is foul mouthed. He is - in my opinion - BAD.

I know - he's 7. I know. I've been making excuses for him since last year (last year when he thankfully was in another class). I too have said that he's got a good heart underneath (he was playing me too). I too have given him the "cultural differences" card to play - but honestly? It's his 3rd year in this school - if he can pick up video games, wrestling, pizza et all from our culture should he not be able to pick up some of the not so subtle school rules and maybe learn a little respect?

And so we have begun the saga (because it's me, I overdo these things) of looking for a new school. I know - seems drastic. But there are two such boys in the Stu's grade. They can't be in the same class, so we will always be stuck with one of them. Last year the other one was an issue (not to the same extent). As Marc put it last night, we either just move the kids or we can try and fight with the school over this, which will ultimately just have us labeled as racist and be a waste of time that we could use in better ways - and that there will be very little change if any.

So - my most simple form of the problem ended up being very long winded (phew, getting some stuff off my chest!). But it boils down to:

My son is being bullied at school. Wether or not he is too sensitive to this bully pushing his buttons is irrelevant. I feel his education and his happiness are being compromised by this kid. The school is not handling it and I can't let this situation go on.

The end.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

not much to say

I don't seem to have much to say these days (again? still? who knows?)

I do have stuff to say, but none of it seems to need saying here. Or it's just too - um personal. Unrefined.

Or things that might not need all that interesting (you know - to my thousands of readers - ha ha!)

Like the kittens - how much they are growing. How much I adore them - which I didn't think I would. I really thought I was getting them for the kids and yet I find myself picking them up and muttering silly baby talk at them (do you see lonely old lady with cats in my future? Me too - scary). That I love being followed around the house. And how I could easily put the little rotters out of the house when they do their Olympic tryouts on my bed in the middle of the night.

And there is my baby - who had the nerve to turn 5 two weeks ago. Who won't stop growing. Who performed in a ballet show on a BIG stage at one of the Universities last week. Sure, she was only on stage twice for 2 minutes, but holy cow. When did she get so big.

And the boy? The boy gets dressed by himself in the morning. Sure, it's not always appropriate clothing (how on earth does he always find the only things I wouldn't want him to wear to school?) but he gets up, pees, brushes teeth, gets dressed. By himself. Without the pleading/nagging/beseeching of years gone by. And then pours himself half a box of Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast (there's a stock tip for you - at 7 1/2 he's eating us out of house and home already and Honey Nut Cheerios are his favorite thing right now).

My cousin had a baby - which has moved me this week. In ways I am not ready to talk about yet. Even to myself.

I am still grappling with our choice of school for the kids, second guessing, wondering, thinking I need to do something different. Remember when you just went to the local school for better or worse?

And what am I going to be when I grow up? I have 15 months until Julia starts Grade 1. Shouldn't I be doing something about that?

Hmmm. Maybe a shower and a second cup of coffee are in order this cold rainy morning.

See? I told you I didn't have much to say...

Friday, May 08, 2009

I am such a twit

I just updated my status on Facebook to

"Tracy is stressed because we haven't ordered flowers for the MIL yet. This is not good.(Now if I could ditch my bad attitude already and order them I wouldn't have to stress. I do know this.)"

And then? I realized that my husband's cousin is one of my friends. As in cousin who's parents live 2 streets from my in-laws. And he is friends with other cousins. Do you see a shampoo ad here or what? And he told two family members, and they told two family members...

Hopefully he has better things to do with his day than check my facebook status.

I have to stay away from facebook. Oh yeah, and order some damn flowers.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

trying it on for size

I went back to see my therapist this morning, after a year-long absence. Things the last few months have gotten progressively hairier around here and I felt that perhaps I needed a bit of a space to talk to someone not involved.

She said something to me - something that I am sure has been said to me before but hasn't sunk in - that I am really trying to take away from the hour.

She said: "It's your job to keep them safe, not to make them happy."

Obviously this in reference to my children. And while I of course want to be the kind of mother that they are happy with, their emotions are their own. I can't control their moods.

In my constant need to assure myself of my children's happy, joy-filled, nurturing childhood experience I often lose sight of the fact that I can't be everything. And that I can't control everything and anything that might happen to them.

And often - far too often - I feel frustrated with them. With their failure to appreciate how much I do. How much I "sacrifice" of myself (and my sanity). And then, more frequently than I care to admit, I lose my cool. Which makes none of us happy.

So I'm going to work on that Safe thing for now. And see how it goes. I don't know how long I'll last but it feels like a bit of a relief to be putting down the burden of guaranteeing their happiness for today.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Really, I am usually pretty fun

So - I haven't posted in almost a month... wow, where did the time go?

Hmmm. Husband travelling. Hockey practices and tournaments, ballet classes, illness, mornings at school, school council shenanigans (oh our lovely treasurer!! He is a post all on his own, I really need to get to that one!)... in other words, life in general.

Remember our evil contractor ??? On Friday he served me with papers from Small Claims Court. He is claiming the money from the cheque that we put a stop payment on (since we had to use it to pay someone else to FINISH the job) as well as - get this! - an additional $960 for three days he claims he never billed us!! Absurd!! We were paying him every week (like the idiots we were!) so unless there are days he was here that I wasn't I don't know where that could come from... he's so frickin crooked, or so frickin stupid if he can't bill people properly.

Of course we have no bills from him, no additional quote for the "extra" work he claimed should take no more than a handful of days etc. And we will be filing a defence thank you very much. We've already had a technician (from an authorized dealer) regarding the air exchanger that he spend 3 days moving and "fixing". Guess what? To move it should have taken 4.5 hours. And by the way - the reason that the previous owner, real estate agent and the house inspector said it didn't work was because THE ENGINE HAD SEIZED - a long time ago. So tricking us into thinking he'd "fixed" it was pretty low - no?

I know, I am an idiot. By the end I would have done anything to get him out of my house.

Well that started on Friday night (because hey - let's serve you at 5pm on a Friday when you can't do anything but stew about it for the weekend!).

Saturday was actually a great day... our friends Myles and Cathie were in town from Luxembourg (on their way to a family wedding in the Dominican Republic, I am so hoping Cathie reads this while drinking a mojito for me!) and came by for dinner (smoked meat, birthday cake and hockey playoffs... good fun!). It was so so so good to see them, it had been going on two years (longer for Myles as he was in Afghanistan when we left Luxembourg) and yet it felt like no time had passed.

Saturday also brought about two new additions to our family... Josie and Minuit, two 5 week old kittens who were rescued from between a shed and a fence where their mother had given birth to them. They are adorable... Josie is black and white and Minuit is completely black - for now at least, there is obviously some tabby in them waiting to come out.

Sunday was good but things went wrong at 10 pm when Josie managed to get her claws in my eyeball. Ouch. (I don't know, it's me, these things just happen to me. What can I say). A visit to the pharmacy resulted in a visit to the ER room (holy cow, those pharmacists can really scare you!). Oh the joy of finding the ER in the dark, especially since someone at our hospital has a strange sense of humour, staggering signs all over the place so you are never sure where to go... the wait to see a doctor was 7+ hours (!!) so the triage nurse and I decided I could come back in the morning, since I would probably only be an hour or two later than if I sat there all night.

So back I went Monday morning and waited 4.5 hours to be told that there was a tiny scratch on my cornea, that most of it was in the white of my eye and here was a prescription for antibiotic drops should I get an infection, which I probably wouldn't (and don't have so far- yippee!). I could launch into a diatribe about what is wrong with the Canadian medical system but really - what would it accomplish? Our healthcare sucks.

Monday afternoon - migraine!! Oh the fun!

Monday night to Tuesday morning - Julia up with a cold and high fever.

Tuesday - Julia home. Now I have the fever.

Tuesday night to Wednesday morning - WHY are there 4 people sleeping in my bed? And what is lodged in my throat.

Wednesday - everyone but Marc home sick. Why are sick kids so loud?

I know, fun times people, fun times. I think I need to put it all down some days to realize why I never get anything done around here.

And now back to laundry... that I am getting through!! Thank heavens for small mercies!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


so I've been having quite a week... the kind that would make a good old fashioned Country & Western song. You know what I mean, one of those ones where the dog dies and the pickup gets stolen?

I've been toying with putting it all down since Monday... luckily I managed to get Kenny Rogers moaning "you picked a fine time t leave me, Luuuuciiiiille..." out of my head.

Mine would go like this:

there's a mouse in the attic,
my man's gone on a plane
setting the traps, caught my finger,
oh woe, the pain...

blue cross cancelled our insurance,
claiming we'd lied*
Monday morning
made me want to hide

a note from health services
faxed and sent home
the boy could be suspended if
I don't call them on the phone**

and then there's the tale
of bullying at school
"you'll be bleeding and crying"
from the class's biggest fool***

Tuesday morning brought time
in Julia's class
her teacher's voice
could shatter glass

the kitchen ceiling of the rental
has fallen in
from leaking in the bathroom
buzzing in my brain, makes quite a din

girl has a fever,
it's "that" time of the month
could drink a bottle of wine,
but then undoubtedly someone would hurt themselves and I would be arrested from drunk driving on the way to the hospital...

Okay I lost it at the end there... needs a bit of work, I agree, but maybe it'll make me my first million...

* we did not lie. DID NOT.

**apparently immunizations from Luxembourg do not correspond to Ontario ones. They've had his record for almost 2 years, why the sudden rush (1st notification) to get him up-to-date or suspend him...??? But I've spoken to them, it's in hand.

***holy f*** this is a whole post in and of itself... I get bonus points for not taking the trash-talking, class-disrupting, shitty attitude little f*** out when I went to school to discuss the issue... even when he rolled his eyes at me and accused my son of LYING...

Marc just called from the airport and is through security waiting to board... no delayed flight yet!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

You know this won't end well

This morning I was asleep in the Stu's room. Fast asleep. That lovely heavy sleep where you think you could sleep for days.

Until something woke me up. I tried to figure out which one of my kids was making an annoying scratchy kind of noise - and why on earth were they up so early?

They weren't. It was just me and the scratchy sound, which turned out to be coming from the ceiling. I must have been quite a sight, stumbling around the room, eyes barely open trying to figure out where it was coming from. Hmmmm. This must explain why the Stu woke up at 4:30 this morning and stumbled into our bed.

I am a real wimp in this department. When I was in University I lived in an apartment close to Lakeshore Road and we had itty bitty field mice between the walls. At least the landlady told me they were itty bitty field mice. I was quite convinced that the one who liked to dig by my headboard was an oversized rat who would, at any moment, claw his way through the drywall and maul me in my sleep. Apparently the cat in the apartment was enough to keep them away.

Marc was up, showered, and getting ready to go to the airport. He was dragged into the Stu's room and agreed that yes, there was something there.

I crawled back into my bed with the sleeping Stu and tried to stop imagining colonies of feral varmint living in my ceiling. Films depicting small animals in human-like social settings be damned. I am having visions of the princess in Despereaux. Not good.

Marc agreed that I could do what was necessary while he is away (visions of the rodents producing hundreds of offspring before Wednesday night - we will be run out of the house...) Of course the husband of Nat the Wonderful is out of town too - he is also wonderful, would solve this for me no problem, and has only once ever been out of town on business before. Why now???

I called my mother as soon as the kids were on the bus (which is actually a very common thing). They have had this problem before. She gave me detailed instructions on how to solve it myself (apparently peanut butter is very effective in traps? Ewww.)

So now I have to drag my unshowered (and very dirty haired) self to Canadian Tire, buy traps and try to set them before Julia gets home at 11 am.

It is now 8:41 and have I gone?

Nope, I am blogging. Because procrastination is a wonderful thing.

(I am a wimp and I am fine with that. I know it. Really. Now can you please come set these traps for me?)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

buyers remorse...?

Except it's not something I bought so I can't take it back...

I cut my hair off today. Well, not me, but my wonderful hairdresser who I trust completely.

Except now? I have no hair.

I have a love/hate relationship with getting my hair cut. I always believe what the stylist tells me, I always believe that there is a wonderful new me walking out the door of the salon. I swish my locks and feel glamorous. Look at me world with my shiny styled hair!

It usually lasts until the first time I try to do anything with my hair and I spend the next several months cursing the stylist and considering making a voodoo doll of them to jab pins into.

Last year I got the name of a hairdresser from an acquaintance and last January I let her layer my hair. I have had my hair layered many many times before and let's just say it always ends in tears. But I had seen a photo of myself with my long, slightly frizzy mane (taken on a bad day while I was in my son's class trying to do papier-mache with him - bad scene) and I thought things could only get better. And hello - I loved the layers. I loved the haircut. Finally - good hair! I even bought Product to go in it. Product I tell you (you'd have to be married to Marc to get the irony of his Product supply compared to mine).

Anyhow, 3 haircuts and a little over a year later and we arrive at today. Now, things you might need to know beforehand:

1) I made the appointment on Monday when I was in a snit and decided I was going to get my haircut and look good dammit (because those of you who know Marc will know how he HATES it when I do anything to look good. He NEVER wants me to get my hair cut. Never compliments me when I make an effort etc etc etc). (Um that last bit? LIES. All LIES. He's be happy if I went to get my hair done on a monthly/weekly/daily basis.)

2) On Tuesday I said to Marc "On Saturday when I tell you that I am going to see Sylvie and have her cut my hair short you have to say "Don't do it!! Don't cut it short!!"

3) I don't seem to have been able to ditch my February slump (hello? windchill in the negative 20s hasn't helped) and was feeling, oh, I don't know, FED UP with everything.

4) Friday afternoon I came down with a head cold and went to bed at 6 pm. This morning I got up, had a coffee, cleaned the house and went back to bed for another two (or three?) hours. I haven't slept that much since before I had children. I decided to cancel my hair appointment but Marc, he who loves to get his hair cut, protested so vehemently that I figured I really needed a trim. Even though I was obviously not sane.

5) My final words to Marc when I left the house were "What should I do with my hair?" to which he replied with a shrug of his shoulders and an "I don't know. Whatever you want." Traitor (and yes, I am looking for a scapegoat in case I need one in the morning. Is it that obvious?)

So I go to the salon. And emerge an hour and a half later with a lot less hair. As in my hair that used to come down to my shoulder blades no longer even touches my shoulders.

Today I LOVE it. It's cute. It's sassy. We went to a friend's for dinner and she couldn't get over how cute it is.

But in the back of my head I am terrified of washing it and trying to do anything with it myself. I feel kinda naked. Every time I walked past a mirror at my friend's I did a double take.

Isn't it great the things we obsess about at 2:00 am when we can't sleep because we slept enough for two days the night before?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

That black cloud obscuring your view? My bad mood.

I am sitting in my kitchen at 10:36 pm being very very grumpy.

For really no reason. Besides my children both being disturbed by things at school - not serious things! But things I can't fix for them.

Like Julia telling me quietly, oh so quietly in a tiny voice, that M whispered something in A's ear at school a while ago and they wouldn't tell her. It made me want to go over to M's house (who is the daughter of my good good friend who I love, though I am not so incredibly fond of her daughter who won't sit with my daughter on the bus most days - though she needs to be thought of as Julia's best friend all the time)to tell her to STAY AWAY from A - she was Julia's friend first. I can always tell when M is being mean (yes, I said mean, I am judging a 5 year old, it's my rant) because Julia suddenly doesn't want to go to school.

Have I mentioned this is Junior Kindergarten? These girls are 4 and 5. How I will survive high school I do not know.

And Stu. I don't even know where to start. He had pains in his stomach. The kind he gets when he is nervous he tells me. So I ask gentle probing questions to try and find out what is bothering him (I hope I have a daughter-in-law who appreciates this one day, his ability to discuss his feelings, because holy hell it just about does me in some days). After 25 minutes of who did/said/looked at who at every activity and nutrition break today (my brain disintegrating to mush) he suddenly bursts into tears over having to leave his stuffed animal that he is doing a project about at school. I soothed and figured he would sleep... no? NO. He is finally asleep in my bed. I am in the kitchen. I see something wrong with this picture.

I don't think my husband's schedule for the next few months helped my mood today. It's not that I am not supportive, understanding, yadda yadda yadda, but hello? I put it into my iCalendar today. And I think by the end of April (he's away for my birthday) I won't remember what he looks like.

And he's out tonight.

And it's my father's birthday. Or would have been. What do you call it for people who are deceased.

And it's February.

And I am tired of my diet (though it is going well).

And there were two people who ran my bell tonight - one selling chocolate bars. The other giving out free shower heads.

And my dishwasher just went on.

See, everything is ticking me off. (Yes, I am hormonally challenged, what makes you ask?)

I'm going to drag my cranky, miserable butt to bed.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I'm not usually ungenerous

We've all had the plague here for the past two weeks - well Marc and the kids at least. I only mention it because I am sleep deprived and perhaps not thinking clearly...

I just got an email from an acquaintance asking me for my babysitter's name and number and basically a reference for her so this person can start using her.

First of all - this is not a friend. It's the friend of a friend who I make an effort with but who really, probably isn't going to end up as a friend and I am fine with that. We attend some of the same birthday parties, our girls were on the same soccer team last year, that sort of thing.

The thing is? Our sitter is BUSY. As in we usually, with the exception of the rare Sunday afternoons when we have to take a child to the doctor at the same time that we have have to take the cat to the vet to be put to sleep, we usually have to book her plenty in advance.

Not to mention that our sitter? Lives about 10 doors down from this acquaintance and has for years (and that's 10 townhouse doors, so it's really close). When we moved home I went trolling for sitters on the street and found her. There's also about 4 other babysitting age girls within a 1 block radius.

I think my main hesitation is that this woman - who I really have nothing against - is quite, um, picky. You know, the kind that usually seems to find fault with things? And seems to be a little badly done by on a regular basis? If it doesn't work out I feel like I will be partially responsible for having vetted the girl.

It may just be the sleep deprivation talking but I don't feel like just handing over my sitter's number. I'm just not sure how to answer the email.

I know, big problems. The last two weeks have made me petty.

Monday, February 09, 2009

good-bye my friend

Yesterday we had to say good-bye to Denby our beautiful grey cat.

I am at a loss for what to say about her. She was beautiful. She was neurotic. She peed on carpets. She once ruined my favourite boots (which I am still not entirely past. I mean my BOOTS cat? What were you thinking?).

She was the cutest kitten that I have ever seen, and my grandparents used to have a dozen cats so I've seen a bunch. She would sit on Marc's head.

We had a lots of ups and a lot of downs together. There were days I loved her dearly and days that I thought we would have to get rid of her. But I never could have given her up.

Denby had mellowed with age. Since we moved into this house 6 months ago she had become a really lovely cat. She was affectionate. She let the kids pet her, kiss her. She slept on our bed - she would meow at us when it was time to go to sleep (for her at least). She took up sleeping on Stu's bed until he fell asleep - helping my restless boy to not stay up for hours.

About a month ago her appetite went a little wonky. We put it down to the change in her cat food. She was the fussiest of fussy eaters - a new improved version of a food could put her off for weeks.

Thursday morning she started to throw up. Thursday night at the emergency vet they couldn't find much. By Sunday we were back because she wasn't eating, wasn't drinking, wasn't moving.

She was going into renal failure. Her levels when the blood work came back were off the scale. We didn't have many options, not wanting her to suffer more.

She let me know she was pretty pissed off at the end. The growling that came from her toes. For a cat that hadn't moved in 3 days she had to be sedated to put the IV in to euthanize her.

I am glad we were there at the end. I cried those big messy tears that just run down your cheeks without you realizing that they are even falling.

Miss you my schmoofink.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Hello? Is there a brain in there?

Did you know it's Thursday?

Because it is. And I completely forgot. Which means I was not at the school to pack and deliver the milk for first nutrition break. Argh.

Before you worry about the thirsty little children in need of their calcium fix (which I am doing of course) let me reassure you that I have a very capable partner in crime on Thursday mornings who is more than able to handle the milk by herself. So there are no thirsty children I am sure.

Both of my children have fevers (and is that a tickle in my throat? Ugh. No, please no.) My beautiful little girl pulled a semi-allnighter. She got up at 3 am and didn't go back to sleep until after 6 am. And that after the cat tried to vomit on our carpet about 3 times between midnight at 3 am.

I am useless today. (I can't believe I forgot the milk.)

Thankfully this is the first time in a long time that this has happened. Back in Luxembourg it was common practice a few times a month. How I used to go to work and function I do not know. I couldn't do it now.

I need more coffee. Preferably delivered intravenously so it kicks in quick.

Friday, January 30, 2009

big step for womankind

I read a review of this in this month's Today's Parent.

And I thought "Hey, even I can manage 10 minutes a day. Surely I can." (Please don't ask what I do with my time, I have NO clue.)

So I ordered it. It arrived yesterday.

I am going to go downstairs now and try it.

I hope to survive. (I am so uncoordinated).

All in the name of weight loss. (As of Monday I was down 7 lbs... and so far I haven't eaten my children or been too hideous to live with.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Even the boy admits to being tired - it's a sign

Stuart started to play hockey this fall.

It's something I have written a million posts about in my head : the first practice where he couldn't even stand on his skates but wouldn't give up (the day that it felt like someone was cutting my heart out of my chest), the day he got sent back down to initiation to learn how to skate (phew, the relief) the day he got called back up to Novice (hurray!), the day he got his first two shots on net in a tournament (yippee! I don't know what we're going to do when he actually scores, I'd better start stuffing my pockets with tissue).

It's been a long process, this October to January blossoming of  my son the hockey player. Emotional for his mama, who can't skate herself and found herself unable to help much beyond words of encouragement.

The Stu has tried lots of things in the past. LOTS of things. And he always loses interest - usually quickly (as in, the moment I paid for something that he swore he would love). I didn't really give this hockey thing this long, especially since he had so much to learn.

The boy has proven me wrong. He is so dedicated. He won't give up. He keeps getting up and dusting himself off. Getting back out there, even when he was slower than 3/4 (9/10ths?) of his team. His belief in himself has never flagged.

A couple of weeks ago he started skating lessons on Saturday mornings that coach had recommended he take.  The same day he started floor hockey at the community centre, something he had done one session last year and loved. I'd registered him for the floor hockey back in November (back when he was still skating with the younger kids in initiation) in an attempt to keep him motivated. 

Well intentioned, but for the last 3 weeks our Saturdays have looked something like this:

9:45 am - skating lessons, 1 hour

somewhere between 11 am and 1:30 pm - hockey pratice, 1 hour

3:00 pm - floor hockey, 1 hour

Add to that a Sunday morning game (and a tournament 2 weekends ago, so 2 games on Sunday) and my boy, my boy who has denied being tired every single day of his 7 year-old life has given in and admitted that he is tired.

"Mama, I'm tiiiiirrrrrreeeeddddddddddddd" he said (whined) after he had spent an hour looking at the same math problem (that he had to bring home as extra work because he didn't finish it in class).

Words I thought I wouldn't hear from him before adolescence. (I have to admit I felt a small thrill of victory, the kid has nearly put me 6 feet under on more than one occasion with his refusal to sleep). (In sharp contrast there are some days Julia says it all day - when you ask her to do hideous things like hang up her snow pants or pick up the toys in her room).

We talked to him and told him the floor hockey has to go for now. School is his priority and hockey is important, but that the floor hockey has to go.

I expected tears. Whining. Pouting, recriminations, you know, the whole production.

We got :

"Okay Mama."


Friday, January 23, 2009

I know - I need to get a life

I have so many things to blog about that I haven't made time for and what you're going to get is this:

Remember the a$$ who is our school council treasurer?

Hmmmm. Just got a message from the co-chair saying that he has not, nearly 3 weeks after the meeting given a cheque, as promised, to the principal. 

You know, for those silly book things we wanted to spoil the children with.

Since we're so extravagant and wasteful.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Simply put

I am a member of our school council this year. Not a member of the executive, but a "member at large".  I've been good about attending meetings (as opposed to last year where I forgot every single one) mostly because my friend Jen is co-chair and another friend is vice-chair. 

We're having some trouble agreeing on things at school council. Namely what our focus is for this year for the profits from our fund-raising events. In the past there have been things like play structures, a light system for the gym/auditorium, a sound system. This year we were going to focus on a lawn for the back school yard, but then the school board stepped in and said we were due to have the yard re-sod, so that left us looking for a cause.

We turned to the teachers and to their wish list. The number one thing on that list? Levelled readers. Most of ours date back to when the school opened in 1991, and are either ratty or just plain irrelevant in terms of current events (some date from the 1980's... the publication if not the books. I am sure I must have seen some of them in my days).

So levelled readers it was - and they are not cheap. I believe they are about $1000 a set. 

I'll spare you all the boring, petty details but at the December meeting (which I missed, for good reasons) there was a small brouhaha over money. As in, we had none to buy these levelled readers with. Or so our treasurer insisted.

Now our treasurer this year was the chair for the past two years. He magnanimously stepped down to be treasurer because our past treasurer had moved away and as he said "Someone has to do it". Except that he seems to be having trouble realizing that he is not treasurer AND chair. And he has some elaborate system for the accounting and requested a large transfer to the field trip bus account in the fall which has left us (according to him) without any money to spend on things we want to -mostly because he is insisting that we leave a large balance in the account by year end.

And things got ugly on Monday. Our chair asked for money (there have been executive meetings regarding the budget) for books. He said no, there wasn't any. Pretty much everyone in the room with the exception of his wife (the secretary) and the principal (who has to stay neutral) was trying to give reasons for why we should spend some money (ie: talk some sense in to him). He just kept droning on and on about the global recession, and how all our fundraisers were going to take a huge hit (lunch programs more specifically) and how there was going to be no money, yadda yadda yadda and then alternately bit the head off anyone who made any point (Did you you am I am spendthrift parent spending other people's money? Me neither.)

Eventually is came down to a vote. A vote where everyone at the table raised their hand in favour of buying books for our children - everyone but him and his wife (who was busy taking notes, I felt for her poor woman). He proclaimed LOUDLY that he was not in favour of spending the money. Too bad, outnumbered buddy.

The next morning at the bus stop the vice-chair asked me how I'd enjoyed the meeting. We both grumbled about the issue and then she told me that her husband had put it very succinctly:

"So your treasurer voted AGAINST buying books for the students?"

Think about that for a second. We have over $5000 in the bank, no expenses left and he voted against buying books. Against buying books in a school where we have a large ESL population. Where we have enough underprivileged kids that we seem to be catering underprivileged families more often than I would like. Kids whose parents, sadly, may not be the ones taking them to the library to read books. To get them hooked on reading. To expanding their childrens' horizons - for some it is for very good reasons, heavy work loads, second jobs etc - there just aren't enough hours in the week for some of these parents.

And he voted against buying books. Against buying books.

I can't get over it. If I didn't have good friends in the executive I would have to withdraw from the committee. 

Except that would probably let him get away with more stuff. Grrrrr. 

Monday, January 05, 2009

La Grosse Vache

It's official - I am FAT.

No, not my usual "Oh, I'm so fat!" when I've put on 5 pounds. Really fat. Like add up my two pregnancies, add them to my usual weight and tah-dah! You have me. Now. Nary a baby in sight.

I have gained 35 pounds in the last year. 35 pounds. 35. On someone who is 5'6" that's a lot of weight. Even when you continue to weigh yourself in kilograms and pretend it's not so bad.

This time last year I started taking Zoloft. To help keep the psycho woman at bay during hormonal times of the month. And stuff. I guess I didn't realize then that there was other stuff too (the anxiety... oh the anxiety. What do you mean it's not supposed to feel like there's a tiny bird trying to escape from your chest on a regular basis? Really?)

I knew there would be some weight gain. This much weight gain? Um, yeah, no. The doctor made noises about me taking the pills for a year and then coming off, and I figured that the weight would *poof* vanish.

But in December she suggested me staying on another year - I haven't been as stable as she would like (##^$%%@#*$^ contractor after the move, isn't it nice to have someone to blame for at least part of things??) and she likes to bring people off in the winter, very very very VERY slowly so that by April they are off and feeling normal when the sun comes back to these parts of the world. She doesn't think I am there yet.

Now, seeing I didn't want to be in Christmas photos this year (due to my girth) and that I actually have photos of myself clutching a pillow in front of my gut (I know! As if that hides it! No! It just makes people think "she must have gained a ton of weight!") I decided that it was time to do something about my ever-growing weight. Besides changing meds, because you know what? The whole starting new meds thing sucks in my opinion.

Last night I signed up for Weight Watchers Online. This morning I was breezing through the grocery store thinking "this isn't so bad!"

It is now 4:13 pm and you know what? I AM HUNGRY. Not to mention CRANKY.

And I forgot that I have the school council meeting tonight and have eaten my weight (or near enough) in baby carrots and red pepper. They may have to ask me to leave (sorry, gross I know, but it made my husband laugh).  Which would have me starting a list of Top 10 things to get you kicked out of a school council meeting.