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Showing posts from October, 2010

An Open Letter On October 31st

While nearly everyone in the (western) world is consumed with costumes and candy, I think about family on October 31st. Specifically, my mom.

No, she is not a witch. (Wouldn't it be crazy though, if I told you that I grew up in a home like this??) But she was born on Halloween. I won't get distracted by a long explanation of what our family "Halloween" traditions looked like, but they rarely (if ever) involved trick-or-treating, and while I may have pined for it as a child, I am quite content now with our unique family history.

I didn't give my mom a birthday card today. This is her card, which I am letting you all read.


I've been thinking a lot about you in the past two months. As I spend my day with kids, I've been remembering what it was like to be a kid. And now that I am a primary caregiver, I feel like I get glimpses into what it might have been like for you to be my primary caregiver. Except that your job was tougher; you had four kids. Twenty-fo…

Love You. Bye.

There are two types of phone calls that I'm quite comfortable with:
a phone call with a clear purpose, a question to be answered and an agenda to accomplish.catching up with close friends and family if we haven't talked in awhile (a month or more).
Clearly, I am not really a phone person. It has to do with the ambiguity and uncertainty and the lack of visual cues to tell me when silence is awkward or if there is more conversation to be had...I just can't tell!

When I'm talking with my good friends and family, though, all conversations end the same way:

(quickly) Love you! Bye!Click.

It's habit to say I love you. A good habit, I think.

But I am constantly fearful that these words will jump over my tongue and out my lips before I can stop them, that before I can yell, NO, WAIT! I TAKE IT BACK! there will be the click of death, and I'll be left in silence, staring at a phone, realizing I inadvertently told a stranger or my boss or a male acquaintance something the…

This Week, Her Boy Adds His Wit (Round 18)

me: I should be invisible. (pause) Oh wait, I already am.
her: Just like Clay Aiken! (softly, crooning) I love Clay Aiken...

her: Computer; I like swearing sometimes. It's coming, just to warn you.

her: I've always believed that broken food has no calories.

me: That guy is a FOUNT of ideas!
her: A fount of childlabour!

me: I loved that movie. I thought he was dreamy.
her: I know. His EYEBALLS!

her: By eleven, the guys will all be buzzed and you'll look fine.

her boy: Just think of how much easier your life will be once your Facebook status is "in a relationship!"
her: Yeah! You should change it!
me: But I'm not dating anyone...
her: Fake it til you make it!

her: I didn't really have time to figure out if I liked him or not. He was just straightforward, and it happened.
her boy: Yes! Blitzkrieg dating!

(back-track here)


Earlier this month, Jess suggested I take part in NaNoWriMo.

I laughed.
Then I thought about it for 12 hours and said, Sure!
Then I started recruiting other people to join. If I can do it, working 50 hours a week, so can you!

People have begun asking me, What's your plan?

Plan? I asked myself, I need a plan if I want to write a novel in a month?

So now I need a plan.*

*I at least have an idea for the story. I was telling Amelia last night that I haven't decided on what big crisis will kick-start everything, and she said, "I think she should be dying."

"No," I said, my nose wrinkled, "because then I already know how it ends."
"How?" she asked.
"She dies," I said, "obviously."
"Unless..." she suggested slowly, "it's Star Trek."

She looked startled, surprised by herself, "Oh my gosh. 2008 Amelia would never have even thought that."
I need to purge some text messages from my phone.

I have roughly 40 texts of songs that I am supposed to check out from one delightful friend, who is one of the most all-around attractive packages (I mean, people) that I know.

And then there are the assorted random thoughts and pieces of conversation that make me smile each time I re-read them. They include:


You have assumed correctly and you smell fine.

I just had a dream that you and I were attending Dartmouth University...It was awesome. The men were awesome...and totally digging us. Also, the dessert selection was sweet and so was the library.

OK, Puddles, where you is?

I guessed.

And the actual answer to your question is that my face is jorpis but good.

modern family #reallifenottheshow

How was it, charmster?

It's ok to be slow

I have now officially had an accident while driving and texting: calling you a guy. You know I would never do that on purpose.

Hey! I had this dream last night that we were driving to ultimate and we deci…

Tiny Changes Take Time

This evening, I spent roughly four hours* making minute (my-nyoot, not min-it) changes to this blog. Most of you won't notice them, since you're reading this in your RSS feed/aggregator/etc. Which I recommend for the rest of you (*cough* Mom-and-Sarah *cough*).

The only change worth pointing out is that I added a page called The Back Cover that talks a bit about myself & this blog, and links to some of my favourite entries through the years.

In the new year, you should expect to see some far more drastic changes here...I'm so excited for next year. And not just because my blog will be so much better.

*okay, actually, I spent most of the time reading old entries, reminiscing and smiling and cringing. It was great.

One Art

I've had a tab open in my browser for weeks now to remind me to do a little research on Elizabeth Bishop. I first heard of her through a poem she wrote that was referenced in In Her Shoes (starring Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette).

Anyway, the poem gripped me. So here it is. I won't make any comment on it, although it seems I like American poets from the first half of the 20th century.

One Art The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two r…

Someone Started Writing About Underwear This Week (Round 17)

Nadine's wit was so extensive this week that I saved a few for a rainy day. Eventually there will be a week where she says nothing worth repeating. But her reputation will remain intact, thanks to my blog and my foresight. (Here's some hindsight, if you are new to this series). 

(plunging her hands into a sink of dishes)
her: I mixed dish soaps. This might kill me.

her: It was the most gorgeous wedding I've ever been to in my life. And it was in Scarborough, which makes no sense.

her: And then I look at myself and think, I'm one of those disgusting boys who wears underwear with holes in it! But it's outerwear.

her: If my last name were Virgin, I would name my daughter Sexy.

her: Okay. I feel like priority number one is putting on pajamas.

her: I think my middle finger is losing weight.
me: What? From overuse?
her: No, that would be you.

her: This band is missing the Susan Doyle factor.

her: You need a swooper.

her: Vegan, cruelty free panties...aren't they all vegan? Who …

The ROM, The Earth & Procreation

Disclaimer:This post is intended to generate discussion and a sharing of many opinions. It is NOT intended to judge or condemn anyone's life choices.

I had an unexpected moment at the ROM last month. C and I were listening to a presentation for kids on wildlife conservation (or rather, I was listening, and C was eagerly anticipating what live animal would come out next), when a statement caught my attention and still hasn't let go.

For most of history, the earth could provide enough resources for the earth's human population. But today, our population is growing rapidly, increasing by 250 000 people every day... Forty years from now, it will require 2 Earths to provide sustainably for our survival as a human species. But we only have 1 Earth.
250 000 people.
Every day.
That is roughly twice the size of my hometown.
In one day.

So I did a little math.
(First, I rounded down to 200 000, just in case the figures were inflated or failed to account for some sort of population de…

Mondays are Fundays: Literal Videos

Nadine has told me many times that I need to watch the "literal version" of the music video for Total Eclipse of the Heart. I didn't understand what she meant. So I didn't watch it. Until this weekend. Then I went on a "literal video" binge.

These are my favourite three. (I must say that several of the ones I wanted to see most couldn't be seen because I live in Canada, and Sony BMG blocks content in my region. Boo, Sony BMG.)

Warning: some lyrics may be offensive.

From Luxury to Necessity: A Weekend Recap

This weekend, I have felt things keenly.

Yesterday, it was a visit to Bluebird, and a conversation with a woman who has recently made her artistic endeavours her livelihood. We had a great chat about life and art. I wanted to buy out the store.

In the evening, I felt exhaustion come over me like a wave. Emotional, mental exhaustion. So I caught up on The Mentalist (and nearly cried, but that is a whole other topic) and went to bed.

This morning, I read a blog entry from the mother of a family I have never met, but am fascinated by (and slightly in awe of). She is asking many of the same questions that have been rattling around in my mind lately, despite our geographical, generational, and general differences.

I don't usually get teary-eyed at church. Today, I teared up no less than three times. Once was a photo and a song. Once was a story about death. And once was the beauty of rescue and redemption.

During an afternoon wander through The Distillery District galleries, I struck u…

"A Ghanadian Affair"

My friend (and former boss) Dorrie got married last month.
In Ghana.

Today at brunch, she showed me this video, a filmmaker-friend's proposal to the NFB of Canada for a documentary based on her romance with Eric.

Not only are the filmography and people in this film beautiful, but I think the story will continue to be incredible and exciting and honest.
So excited to see it unfold.

So hopeful they'll get to live in the same country (on the same continent) soon.

Like a Lynx With a Perm (round 16)

This week, from Nadine (last week from Nadine):

her: I want a baby to dress up!

her: What would be frustrating for me, if I were to break up with you, is that...
me: Wait. What?

trying to figure out who plays Ryan Howard, The Office's "Temp."
her: I think it's Ryan something...
me: Yeah, that sounds right. I'll look it up.... Oh, nope. it's BJ Novak.
her: But I believe it's BJ "Ryan" Novak... 

half-watching America's Next Top Model
her: I want Tyra's hair. It's amazing.
me: I think you'd look weird with her hair.
her: I think I'd look hot. Like a lynx with a perm.

on the church small group I'm planning to attend for the first time
me: I think their "young adults" is up to 35? Not really sure. All the people I've met who attend are young professionals.
her: Oh, so you're not just meeting your future husband. You're also meeting your peers.

on this Sesame Street clip:
her: Sometimes I feel sorry for kids, cause they …

What To Wear To See The Pope

My taste in literature is like my taste in music - varied and eclectic. So after reading Dharma Bums, I read What to Wear to See the Pope by Christine Lehrer. The two books could not be more different, and my reasons for enjoying them couldn't be either. I did, however, think in regard to both of them, I would rather read a well-written book whose content/philosophy I disagree with, than a poorly written piece whose morals or worldview I would endorse

This book taught me US history (I'm ready for you, Jeopardy!!):
James Polk, as you may recall, became president in 1845, and it was during his tenure that we won the Mexican-American War and thus acquired California, Texas, Colorado, Utah, Arizona New Mexico, Wyoming, and Nevada, without which, if you think about it, we would have no movie industry, no avocados, no surfing, no powder skiing, no cactus gardens, no Walt Disney, and no dude ranches. There would be no illegal immigrants in LA, and Mexico would have Olympic skiers. …

Among Other Things...

I'm thankful for my fantastic extended family, for my camera, for sunshine, and for cuteness.

I Want To Remember These Nights

Had a lovely day in the hometown. Hung out with my parents and a couple of friends.

My parents always make me roll my eyes and they always make me laugh and they always make me smile because I love them. I think that is the right combination for family.

Coffee date tonight confirmed that there is hope. It can be tender and fragile, but it is beautiful. When the future is anticipated instead of feared, that is a very good thing.

Post-coffee date tonight reminded me of why Heather is my longest-standing friend (we have the advantage of being introduced by our mothers when we were mere babes). Tonight, she was thrilled that I told her she'd make it on my blog for the following story:

Scene - her boyfriend greets her with an Iced Cappucino from Tim Hortons and suggests they go for a walk.

"I knew something big was coming; I just didn't know what. Then he broke up with me...I looked at my Iced Cap and thought, You are no longer a neutral stimulus but a conditioned reinforcer o…

A Meal, A Video, A Painting, A Night

Last night I had dinner with the ever-lovely Katie V. I have every intention of stealing her recipe for our meal. All of my favourite things were together - mango, lime, cilantro, honey, chicken, brie...need I go on?

After dinner, we pulled out her brand-new-and-inexpensive watercolour set to do a little painting. Neither of us are particularly artistic, but she was inspired by this video to make some fun art*:

It was FUN. I like 2/3 of my painting, which is better than I'd hoped for. I want to take some art classes. I'd like to be able to draw. Or paint. I dislike my artistic incompetencies.

On the fun side, Katie and I always have great (and often entertaining) conversations:

Her: This is hard! I actually have to touch every place I want there to be colour. Whatever happened to click and fill?
Me: Ha! That is going on my blog.
Her: Yes! Mission accomplished for the evening.

Then we went for ice cream; all the sunshine demanded it. I LOVE ICE CREAM. Frozen yogourt, if you want …

I'm Not The Only One Keeping Lists (round 15)

Nadine is finally getting out of the house - she's got a temporary job in the media field at an office (wooooot! I feel so proud of her). Hopefully we still have time to hang out, or the world will miss out on gems like these (or any of these):

her: Wine, ice cream, and figure-skating hockey players are all I need to be happy.

(on the Etobicokean-born actress currently in bed with Sealy Booth - aka David Boreanaz)
her: As a one time aspiring actress, I have no objections to that role.

her: I'd always choose spooning over bathing.

me: Blah, blah, blah, blah, something about being single, blah, blah, blah, blah.
her: (sympathetically)I wrestled with that for twenty-six and a half years.

(jumping into a conversation in progress)
friend: Who are you related to?
her: My dad.

her: Every time you annoy me, I write it down.

Who Are You - Marie Antoinette??

Talking poverty with an affluent 3 year-old can be difficult.

Me: Some people don't have very much money, so they don't have a house.
C: Yes. That's why they have cottages.

Other ridiculous moment of the day - holding the hands of two 3 year-old boys, waiting to cross the street. One starts singing Waving Flag by K'naan. The other joins in.

Dharma Bums

In the past few weeks, I've been reading The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac. I finally finished on Sunday afternoon, just before a lovely nap.

Last night, a friend didn't know of/couldn't pronounce Kerouac, who came up unbidden in our conversation. One girl commented that On the Road felt decidedly masculine to her. As I thought about it, I would say the same thing about TDB. It's a man-boy's mystic philosophic/religious meanderings. I wanted insight into the narrator's present perspective - he makes it clear that he is reminiscing, and many of his thoughts/attitudes on life have changed...but we never find out what or how. At first, I didn't think it was the best intro to The Beat Poets, but now I'm not sure. I don't know if I like them all that much. (TBD at a later date)

That said, there are some great quotes:

Colleges being nothing but grooming schools for the middle-class non-identity which usually finds its perfect expression on the outskirts of the…

A Small Miscellany

Fact: I have a loud laugh (as well as a wheezy laugh my family affectionately calls "the guinea pig"). I am also a jumpy person, and get very emotionally invested in movies. When watching a movie in the theatre, it is a money-back guarantee that I will laugh out loud or gasp audibly at least once. This usually occurs at a moment when precisely 0 other people in the theatre are making noise. I find this both awkward and hilarious. I have come to terms with the reality of my movie-watching uniqueness, but do feel the need to warn new friends when we make movie plans. Just in case they embarrass easily.

Sometimes I cuss. I started swearing after I started working for a Christian organization. (Yes, I've over-analyzed that correlation). I still take profanity seriously though, and have extensive thoughts on the matter. In my mind, there are words and contexts that are never appropriate, and there are other words and contexts which are understandable/allowable. There are also…

The Reality TV Version of Touched By An Angel (Round 14)

Sorry it's a day later than usual. If any of you noticed, I applaud you. Last week we were on our game. This week feels less impressive. Nadine and I have both been fighting colds , so I blame illness for any problems that may have occurred.

her: "I can't look at them anymore. Men with botox freak me out."

her: "He's redeemed the name __________ for me by being a cute little redhead kid."

me: "Dangit, Extreme Home Makeover. You get me every time!"
her: "I feel like this is the reality TV version of Touched By An Angel. That show used to kill me!"

(stretching in the morning)
me: mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm-uh.
her: I second that.

(jay-walking at midnight, no cars for two blocks)
her: Idon'twannadie, Idon'twannadie, Idon'twannadie!

me: Night, Nadine. I like talking with you.
her: Me too. We should be friends more often.

me: There's a bug in your hair. Let me grab it.
her: See, that is a sign of adulthood.
me: What, that I took the bug out of yo…

Wake Up!

September is over. According to the Green Day song, now is the time to wake up.

Let's agree to wake up now. Before life is over.


Yesterday, I had the following conversation with a friend:
me - Your email has had me dreaming all day."
her - "Yay! Dream dream dream! We're too young to not live!"

(Despite my love for the American Idiot album, I cannot own it. I have immense respect for the artistic talent and cultural insight it embodies. I have said this before. Four years ago, in fact. But listening to this album with any regularity sends me into a downward spiral of hopelessness.)