Irreverent Mama

Thursday, June 29, 2006


We are having a birthday party here this afternoon. Not just any kind of party! An uber-cool Beach Party!! For Bekah and sixteen friends. A thirteenth birthday party. Seventeen thirteen-year-olds. Yee-haw. But Bekah is exultant. Sixteen people are coming to her Beach Party! It will be So. Cool!!!!!!


We wake to a forecast of thunderstorms. Thunderstorms!

Hope battles Despair!

An almost thirteen-year-old tackles the forces of nature through sheer force of desperate will.

"The radio says 60% chance, mummy. That's 40% chance of not thunderstorms! Can we go? We can go, right!"

Mum is at the computer, checking in. "The Weather Network says 75%, sweetie."

"But it's sunny now!"

The skies darken ominously. The phone rings. "Are you guys getting hail where you are?" The voice of one of the invitees' mother chirrups. "I'm on the 21st floor here, and we're really being battered!"

The skies open. Water falls in sheets.

Ten minutes later, the sun breaks through. Steam rises from the streets.

"Can we go, mummy? Can we go? It's sunny again!"

The clear blue hole in the sky is about 50 meters in diameter, but for the moment, it is indeed sunny. The forces of nature and the forces of adolescent will wrangle for another ten minutes before Daniel comes downstairs.

"Did you guys hear? Environment Canada has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for our area."

Hope is Defeated! Despair Overcomes!

Bekah wilts in resignation. The forces of nature have won. She takes to the phone and bravely makes all sixteen calls. The party will be at our home. She puts the phone down after the last call. Social-chirpy vanishes under the wash of despair.

"We wanted a beach party, mummy! I'm going to have a CRAP party! CRAP!"

Momma speaks words of encouragement and comfort. The guests begin to arrive. The kids are unsettled, it is true. They had their hormone-ridden hearts set on a beach party, complete with bikinis. Thankfully, Daniel sticks around. Nothing perks up a roomful of thirteen-year-old girls like the presence of a seventeen-year-old boy.

Bekah, however, is still fraught with Hostess Anxiety. At each lull in the proceedings, she races into the kitchen. "Mummmm! They're bored! They want to go home! My party is CRAP!" More words of encouragement from mum.

"You're the hostess, sweetie. The momentum has to come from you. Out you go."

"But mummmmmmy!!!!"

"Away you go." But she's right, you know. They have a wave of enthusiasm, the volume rises, then the energy ebbs away.

It is my practice to stay in the background at these things, but clearly something has to be done. I enter the fray, issue a few friendly but non-contestable directives, and get a game going. All the signs of Successful Early Teen Party are there, the prime one being outrageous noise. The game ends. The party pauses. The shrieking subsides.

What's with these kids? Why can't they get any momentum happening? Sheesh. This is my youngest child. I've done a tonne of parties. Never have I had to work the room like this!

Despair gets a Smack-Down!

Zoe, my eldest, walks in. Bekah races to greet her, drags her off to the kitchen. Two minutes later, Bekah returns, turns on the music, gets out the Twister game, and finally, finally, the party takes off. They shriek, they giggle, they scream. Twenty minutes later they decide they are going to the park, and off they go shrieking down the street. (The park is a couple of blocks away. If it rains again, they can be home in minutes.)

Jubilation Triumphs!

An hour later, they return. Bekah and one of the boys have gone into the river. Much shrieking over whose fault that was, each party laying the blame firmly at the feet of the other.

They have pizza, they shriek, they have cake, they shriek, they read Seventeen magazine, they shriek, they open gifts, they shriek, they put nail polish on everyone, including the boys. Much shriekage.

By the ringing in my ears, I gauge this a successful party.

How the Smack-down of Despair and the Return of Jubilation?

After the last guest leaves, I pull Zoe aside. "So what did you say to Bekah, out there in the kitchen?"

"Oh, she was going on about how her party was CRAP, and I said, 'You know why? Because all your guests are out there, and you're in the kitchen, whining.' "

HA! THIS is why you have more than one kid, I tell you.

If I'd said that, she'd have melted into a pool of misery right there on the kitchen floor. Right there, right then. Send the guests home, mother, you've slain the hostess.

But big sisters, they can say this stuff. Moreover, they can say this stuff, and the little sisters, they take it right on the chin, and get out there, and make a great party.

Thank God for big sisters!

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I am going to get married.

No, let me try that again, with appropriate enthusiasm: I am getting married!!

Married? I'm getting married? How did that happen?

Well, probably comes of having told My Man I was ready to do this thing. So I have no one to blame but myself.

Seriously, I'm thrilled. Really, I am. I want to be married to him. It's only taken ten years or so after his proposal, but I'm finally ready. I can envision being married without clamping up in fear. What I cannot envision without that cramp of fear is a wedding. Wedding? I didn't even think of that!

When I told him, snuggling in bed one evening, that I was ready to get married, he laughed. Just laughed. It came out of the blue for him.

Once upon a time, he'd say the M-word just to watch me go pale and break out into a sweat. Apparently this was hugely entertaining for him. However, the entertainment value of this simple game has long ago faded away, so it’s years since we’ve spoken of it.

Which is why he laughed. He figured it was payback for that game of years gone by. When he realized I was serious, he cried. (Awww. See why I love him?) But he was still having a hard time believing this was really going to happen. Ten years after a proposal is a long turn-around time, I know. So he tells me, "When you tell my family, THEN I'll know it's going to happen."

Fair enough. And no probs. I am ready for this. I said I wanted to marry him, I do.

This past week, the opportunity for the proclamation arose. All of us sitting round the deck of a friend's cottage, with no more than a slight "ahem", I plunged in and broke the news.

It was his sister who started in with the terrorizing. "Where will the ceremony be? I know some great things you can do with ribbons. And a reception? I have some magazines you can borrow, they're full of great ideas! Will the kids be in the wedding party?"

Each question a punch in the stomach. Each helpful suggestion something to flee.

Wedding Party?

Why this came as a shock, I'll never know. I did all that the first time.

That's it. I did this all the first time. I do NOT want a wedding the second time. My ideal wedding? Meet with an official and the requisite number of witnesses and let everyone else know afterwards. Maybe have a party a couple of weeks later. Perfect.

Now the family sits around me, slavering for ritual and ceremony, for matching dresses and marches down the aisle and rice and confetti and drunken revelry. The only part of that which appeal is the last one.

But My Man?

My Man wants a wedding. Because “a marriage is a social structure, requiring a public delcaration”. This would be what you call a philosophical difference. I can cede these points on a societal level, but on a personal level? I just want to be married.

The discussions continue...


Sunday, June 25, 2006

Schott's Miscellany Strikes Again!

Yuppie Acronyms:

BOBO: Burnt Out But Opulent
DINKIE: Dual Income, no kids
GOLDIE: Golden Oldie, Lives Dangerously
LOMBARD: Lots Of Money, But A Right Dickhead
OINK: One Income, No Kids
SCUM: Self-Centred Urban Male
WOOPIE: Well-Off Older Person
YAPPIE: Young Affluent Parent

Me, I'm rather hoping to be a Woopie when my time comes, but even as I draw inexorably closer to the goal chronologically, I seem to get no nearer fiscally. Damn.

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Friday. Time to be accountable.

Let's talk physical activity.

I am not a couch potato. For most of my adult life, I have not owned a car. This means I walk. A lot. Always have. Five km is no biggie. I routinely do ten on a Saturday morning. I walk a couple most days. (Or I did till I injured my back last winter. More on that in a moment.) But apart from simple transportation, I have not "exercised" in any systematic way for about ten years.

Ten years ago, I went to a gym. Did weights. Loved, loved, loved it. A real gym. A mostly-guy gym, murky in shades of grey, smelling of stale sweat and testosterone, decorated in Early Canadian Bunker. The only spark of colour was paint flakes in the corners of the windows. Concrete floors except under the weights. The weights needed to be babied. The humans in there? We were there to get hard! No babying for us.

I'd tried all sorts before then. Aerobics. Nope. Ever since my middle child, my son - my 4400 gram, damn-near-ten-pound son - SHOT from my body in 87 minutes flat, ever since then, every time I bop around, I...well, not to put too fine a point on it, I pee myself. Yes, indeed.

I blame the boy. Now, now when it doesn't matter, he's Mr. Laid Back. Then? Then, he was in such a fucking hurry to greet the dawn he just totally took my bladder control right with him. The last time I had any problem peeing was immediately after his birth - you know, when everything is numb? Now I'm one of those women who stops walking when she coughs or sneezes. You know someone who does that and never knew why? Just thought she was uncoordinated? Nope. Aren't you glad you know now?

Bottom line: No aerobics for me. Which is too bad, because I DO have rhythm.

Which is why I tried a step class once. I have rhythm, I can follow the beat. Step classes are good for the thighs, burn lots of calories - sign me up! Plus my friend had a free pass. Clad in unassuming grey sweat shorts and white t-shirt, we entered at the very back. First class shy, don't you know. Follow the leader. "UP and down and LEFT and RIGHT."

We huffed and we puffed and we put our arms UP and DOWN and OUT and IN and we were keeping up and we were so proud of our selves and then we looked up from a particularly intricate "UP and DOWN and LEFT and LEFT and RIGHT and UP" combo. - and we found our red-faced selves facing the entire class of 35 slim and pink-faced, breathing-deep-but-not-puffing, brilliant-lycra-clad beautiful people.

What can you do but laugh? So I laughed. Thirty-five Beautiful Lycra People frowned slightly. "And UP and DOWN and TURN..." I stuck my tongue out at 35 toned asses, and never went back.

I tried step and spin and karate (the pee problem there, too) and tennis and running... None of them worked. I wanted weights again.

Except I hurt my back last winter. For a while there I couldn't walk, couldn't sit for more than ten minutes, couldn't bend, couldn't have sex. Well, technically I could have sex, of the "lay back and think of England variety". Hmph. When a pelvic tilt makes you either scream in agony and/or pass out... That involuntary pelvic thrusting that accompanies the Peak-Point-of-Sex?

(Oh, don't be giving me that bullshit about sex being about intimacy and love. I get that through the right kind of conversation, all the time, thanks, because I am with a phenomenal man. Sex is love and intimacy, and/or fun and frivolity, and/or maybe just plain old stress release, some days, leading to orgasm, and you know it. Well, for me. I am totally supportive if it doesn't happen for him. Not that my man has any problems in that area, but hey, he's over 40. It could be in our future.

Well. Got a bit carried away there. Tangent over.)

But orgasms? Killed me. Just killed me. So, yeah. None. Even by myself. For two months. I was not a happy camper.

No macho gym for me, but how about...oh, the shame and about Curves? To me, in my she-macho snobbery, Curves was the epitome of wussiness. But still. A "real" gym was out of the question for my still-recovering back.

So I went. Took my youngest with me, me sneering inwardly. And I LOVE it. Okay, so I'm not pumping iron. There is no stack of metal crashing triumphantly behind me, no grunting, no tang of man-sweat in the air - or smudge of man-sweat on the bench. No men at all, for that matter. The room is bright and airy and well-ventilated. The room is CARPETED, for God's sake. And the music? Yeesh.

But you know what? I'm kind of getting into the women-only groove. I can see the appeal of "the girl thing" of the place.

And those machines? If you really push yourself, (which, snarks my Inner Gym Snob, very few of the women in there do) they offer some serious resistance. After three months, there is tone in my upper arms - upper arms which had been tending in the direction of middle-aged arm-flap. Tone, I tell you! My legs less so, because I am having to baby my back, but I'm increasing the resistance slowly, my back is getting stronger each week, and I can feel it happening in the legs, too!

So my weight may not be shifting a lot (down a whopping three pounds in three months, unlike Candace, who has managed three pounds in three WEEKS), but the tone, she's coming back.

It's progress. Next week: the weigh-in.
piss on it anyway

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

"Hey, mom! Come look at this!" My son's manly bellow from the computer upstairs. He sounds happy, so up I go. Broody or petulant adolescent bellows I ignore. I was right to go. See what he's found?

Where the hell is Matt?

The longer I watched, the more I grinned, until, when he was rushed by the seal (or are those things walruses?), I laughed out loud. Oh, and the elephants? Those cute kids in Rwanda? That bolder in Norway - my God! Antarctica?

Ha! I'd dance, too, if I could go all those places!

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Card purchased for the husband for his birthday:

On the front, a child's bicycle. The text:

"When I got a new bike for my birthday, another kid would come up and say, "Can I see your new bike?"

Only they didn't mean "see" like "look at". They mean "see" like, "ride it like crazy, bump it all over the place, and bring it back all scratched up and dirty."

On the inside...

Can I see you naked?

He'll like it.


Monday, June 19, 2006

Victory is mine!!

A couple of weeks ago, my two daughters, who I thought were with their dad for the weekend, show up at my door. In tears. Zoe, the eldest, was taking her younger sister shopping for some necessary summer clothes. At almost-thirteen, Becca has grown phenomonally in the past year. So, the girls asked their dad for forty dollars to go to Value Village. Value Village, cheapest of the cheap.

They ask their dad for the funds, and dad "went ballistic"! Said he paid child support to me, I should provide their clothes. Which of course I do. For my home. Plus I buy their outerwear and footwear, their sports equipment, their uniforms for bands, etc, etc, etc. The girls wanted to buy some shorts and t-shirts for weekend wear. That's all.

But no, it's my responsibility. Since when? We've been divorced eleven years, and, having sent a goodly start-up supply of clothes, (bedding, toys, etc.) when he found his first apartment, I've never provided clothes for his household. This is just bizarre.

The next thing I know, I get an email, saying he wants to revisit the support agreement.

You have to understand that he was abusive. Conflict with him was scarey, and often dangerous. Years after being safe from him, I still have to force myself to stand up to him. But this time? For some reason, this time I'm up for this fight. I seem to be totally fearless. Do you know what a complete breakthrough this is for me?

I responded with an email that said, basically: Yes, we could do reopen the agreement. You could cite the eldest's residency (because she's living with him this summer). You could do that. For my part, I could cite the fact that you're only paying 75% of the table amount (my suggestion, BTW). I could suggest you're underemployed and ask that the judge impute income. I could do a bunch of stuff. But, bottom line, I think you'd have a hard time convincing anyone you're so hard done by. In the end, I think you'd be wise to leave well enough alone.

That is TOUGH TALK for this woman, with this man. You have no idea.

He responded with, "I was starting a discussion, and instead I get a vicious personal attack. Can we not discuss this like civilized people? We can meet to talk, we can use a mediator. I do not want to involve lawyers." (I bet. Last time we involved lawyers, after six months of lawyer-free mediation which made no progress at all, our issue was resolved in three weeks. In my favour. Because I'm rational and he isn't.)

Strange, I thought I was being civilized. He mightn't have liked what I said, but it wasn't vicious, and it wasn't personal. If he wanted to discuss this, he could have responded to my email civilly. But no. Indignation and ire.

So I send an email, reminding him that he's a month late with his support cheques. (An unfortunate coincidence, we were recalibrating the amount for next year's supply of post-dates, so of course he's going to withhold them until he gets his way. Of course.) I request that they be handed over by such-and-such a time.

The time slips by, and - no cheques. Big surprise.

So another email, this one saying "You are a month late. Please have the cheques to me, the whole year's worth in the amount stipulated by 7 p.m. on May 31, or I'll consult my lawyer."

Another email from him, fuming.

I send another email to him. Well, actually, I send the same email as before. Exact same one. Deadline for cheques, or I see my lawyer.

This afternoon, a knock at my door. A friend of his, with - A YEAR'S POST-DATES!!!

I win, I win, I win.


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Sunday, June 18, 2006

My very first time...

for a meme. That other first time, the one you were thinking of with your minds in the gutter? It wasn't so memorable. In fact, it was over almost before it began, and it still managed to hurt! Lucky me, huh???

Okay. So Urban Girl (the one who's tackling motherhood) has tagged me for this, though I've seen it somewhere else, too. (Was it at your place, Karl?)

5 Things

5 things in my refrigerator
- a tonne of vegetables (those damned drawers are NOT big enough)
- beer (Corona, Caffrey's, Waterloo Dark)
- four kinds of cheese (cheddar, mozarella, asiago, parmesan)
- baba ghanouj
- eggs
Lots of other stuff.

5 things in my closet
Um. I live in an old house. No closets. Really. So, in the corner of the bedroom that serves as closet, besides the expected and boring clothes, which I will not list, we find:
- silk scarves and ties flung over the rail
- a Metropolitan Toronto police officer's hat
- hand-made baby quilts (by a great-gramma)
- a largish cherry red teddy with "LOVE" and "YOU" on the soles of its feet.
- not enough coat hangers

5 things in my purse
- coconut lip butter from the Body Shop
- cheque book, bank books
- lipstick (the kind that puts a glow on your cheeks, not colour on your lips... heh)
- too many keys
- cell phone

5 things in my car
I am an environmentally-friendly city girl, who walks and busses way more often than she drives, so there isn't much in there!
- box of kleenex
- maps
- insulated coffee mugs
- insurance info
- an undefined but persistent and pervasive fustiness (too many teens, I think...)

5 to tag
Do I know five people to tag? You can tag yourselves!

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Happy Father's Day

to my husband,

who lets me parent my kids my way;
who fought for two long and bitter years to be allowed time with his children;
who has loved mine for as long as he's known them;
who does the grocery shopping every week and writes menu lists so no one ever has to wonder "what's for supper?";
who brings me a chiller* every Friday;
who is an animal-soother extraordinaire;
who leaves the seat DOWN (wish you could teach your sons that trick);
who doesn't make fun of me for my quirkier quirks, though he might tease just a little;
who loves and respects me like no other --

Happy Father's Day!

I love you.

*Found at Second Cup: espresso, milk, and sugar: caffeine for hot and sultry summer days!


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Remember the killer dwarf hamster? Little MegaDeath?

Well, she's gone. Meet her replacement, Pipkin:

Pipkin, unlike her predecessor, is a perfectly sweet teddy bear hamster. Cute, curious, friendly, and gentle. Yes, she does stink like pee if not cleaned regularly, but her puffy good nature more than makes up for a little occasional olfactory unpleasantness.

She likes the laptop, and - this amuses me - she can walk around on it forever and not make a single keystroke. Even though she's twice the size of that dwarf bitch, she's still a teeny animal.

So what happened to Little MegaDeath? Weeellll....

She did not go visit with the cat after all. First, the damned feline would not be humane about it, and I didn't want a lingering death on my conscience. Besides, I've seen what he does to mice. Who'd get to clean up the unsavoury outcome of his half-baked hunting? Me, that's who. Never mind.

We called the pet store. No, they did not take returns. We don't want our money back, we assured them: you take her back, we'll buy a different one. What you do with her then is up to you. (Hell, at a week per household over the year and a half of her life, she could be a real money-maker for them.) No, sorry. Can't help you.

Well, shit.

More brainstorming. Family conference. What to do with this unappealing rodent? Daniel: "It's summer. We could just take her down to the river with a supply of sunflower seeds and a little container as her burrow, and let her fend for herself."

Bekah is horrified. "Something will EAT her! I don't want her dead just because she bites me." (Isn't she such a sweet, forgiving child?)

"No? She tries to kill you anytime you touch her. Besides, anything that attacks her is going to get a run for its money." The boy has a point. Good luck to predators.

Indisputable as his logic is, it does not soothe Bekah's tender heart. But what are our options here? The little bugger could live a year and a half, hating us every moment of that time. We can't take her back to the store.

Bekah lights up. "Yes, we could!"

Um, no, they won't take her back.

"They don't have to take her back!" She unveils her plan.

The next day, Operation Hamster Drop is put into place. Bekah and Dan wander into the pet store, check out the cute puppies, the squawking birds, the tumbling kitties. While Bekah peruses the aquarium at the head of the aisle, from where she can also see the staff at the front desk, Dan strolls down to the rodent cages. He's slick, he's quick, and in ninety seconds, the kids are outside, and the store is one dwarf hamster richer.

Problem-solving, sibling co-operation, teamwork, and strategy. See? Owning pets is good for kids.

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

Gah! Is it possible to express how much I loathe my youngest daughter's school?

In the classrooms, it's a school like any other: some truly great teachers, some truly awful ones, and most of them decent folk doing a decent job. Thus I am content to leave Bekah there until she graduates from it in another year.

But the bureaucracy of the school - aka (to me) the Policy Police? The office staff - aka, officially, the "support" staff, a term so ridiculously out of touch with reality I can't even type it with a straight face? (Gee, it's hard to type when your fingers are involuntarily clenching into fists.) I loathe it. Loathe, loathe, loathe it all.

Today I had to drop off the girl's flute. She'd called me from the office at recess, telling me she'd forgotten it, and needed it for band practice after school. Okay. I can do that.

I swing round to the school with said flute. The large office is silent and entirely empty of students or teachers; two secretary-types sit at desks. I approach the counter with a cheerful smile. The secretary-types look at each other; the closest one rises with some reluctance, doleful expression on her long, horse-like face. Evidently it's her turn to deal with the riff-raff; just as evidently, she's not thrilled by the prospect.

I explain why I'm here. She looks at the flute dubiously. I wait, expectantly.

"She knows you're coming? She doesn't have to be told to come get it?" Because, God knows that actually paging a child is far, far, above and beyond the call for an office-type person. I assure her that, yes, Bekah knows to come get it.

Pause. She's trying to think of a reason to refuse, I just know it. With an air of resignation, she hands me a yellow post-it note.

"Well, just put her name on this, and you can leave it here." She has a pen in her hand. I reach for it. She jerks her hand and pen below the counter. Her eyes glance down and left. I follow the glance. There is a bank-style pen there, secured to its holder with a beaded silver chain. All righty then. I'll just use that pen then, shall I? Thanks for the tip. I jot the girl's name and homeroom number on post-it note.

When I look up, for instructions as to the next step in the process, Lugubrious Secretary Woman has vanished. I go a little cross-eyed, trying to change my focus from the spot a metre in front of me, where she was 45 seconds before - where I was expecting to see her - to her new position back behind her desk, three metres away. Swift, silent, and deadly, this woman. Seems she's done with me.

I lift the flute case, place it on the far side of the counter, closest to her. "I'll just leave it here then, shall I?" I'm still smiling cheerfully. She looks concerned. Evidently I am the first parent, ever, in the history of this school, to leave an item at the office, because she sure as hell doesn't seem to know or want to know how to deal with my constant demands. She pauses, then speak.

"I suppose so."

I raise my eyebrows, smile - though by now the bared teeth probably look a little more feral than friendly - wait for clarification. She returns her eyes to her keyboard.

"Well, that's what I'll do then. It's RIGHT HERE NOW. So you'll make sure Bekah gets it, correct?"

She continues typing. I throw the flute case at her head and she sinks, unconscious, beneath her desk. I'm sure no one will notice the difference, though the atmosphere of the office may be improved.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

How did someone Googling "women who don't shave their legs" end up here?

Because I do.



Monday, June 12, 2006


I love it.

I do not wear my underwear two days in a row. I do not reuse teabags nor make my own laundry detergent. I do buy pretty underwear. But I have a heap o' children - three of my own, five steps. I have to spend wisely, and I hate, hate, hate waste.

Thus I am delighted by this new site, by the ever-wonderful Mir. Who, as I hear tell, is pretty, too.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

I'd like to give you a sense of my son, Daniel, a lovely young man. At seventeen, he towers over my 5'6". His voice is man-deep. His frame is still boy-slender, though, and given his paternal gene pool, may stay that way till he hits his forties.

He's generally a quiet boy, keeps himself to himself. He's not unfriendly, but he doesn't spend much time in the communal areas of the house. He does his homework in his room, or in the bedroom with the computer. (No computer in his room - that would be deadly for the boy.) Unlike last year (The Sullen Year) he eats meals with us, he phones home to let me know his plans, he arrives home at the time required, he does his chores without complaining. Often, he does them cheerfully. (I know. I can hear your gasps of wonder from here. I share the feeling!) His marks aren't as good as he's capable, but they're not bad, either. I have few complaints with the boy.

Once in a while, he gets to feeling social. Often - how strange! - this is when both computers are occupied... Tonight, a stepsibling is at the family computer upstairs, and I am using the laptop. My laptop. Daniel doesn't mind chatting with someone who's on a computer; if you spend as much time as he does facing a screen, you learn to multi-task. He sees me as capable of the same skills, and sits on the loveseat facing me, chattering away. I've learned with teens to be receptive when they feel like opening up - so I sit up and make eye contact, and attempt to enter into the discussion intelligently.

Tonight's conversation is about a show he likes, Invader Zim. I've heard about Zim before. And his sidekick Gir. On television for one season, apparently, before Nickelodeon canned it, now on DVD. Mostly Daniel watches them on his computer.

Daniel's memory is phenomenal. Episode after episode, quote after quote rolls from him. What follows is as much of ten minutes' worth (ten minutes!) as I could transcribe, typing furiously:

Zim is an Irken Invader. The Invaders infiltrate a planet prior to taking it over, but Zim is such a handicap to his nation, they send him on this goose-chase mission to a planet no one is sure is really there, just to get rid of him. Turns out the planet does exist - hey! it's earth - so here he is on earth, thinking he's on a secret mission, and doing his best to take us over.
The Christmas episode where Zim creates a fake, evil Santa, and a classroom is talking about it after the evil Santa has been vanquished.

"Santa lives on," says the teacher.

"In our hearts?" asks a student.

"No, stupid, in outer space."
The Hallowe'en episode where Dib (Zim's main enemy) uses a dimensional scope to find a spooky costume idea, and somehow it gives him a brain lapses, and he pops into earth where he gets put in an asylum, somehow with Zim, but they escape to a parallel dimension. In Dib's head.
Zim's side-kick robot, Gir. "We've got a top-secret model for you, Zim". Gir's artificial intelligence chip is defective one: cobbled together somehow with a gumball, a screw, two coins, and a paperclip.
Zim at school. Teacher: "Class, I'd like you to meet the newest, hopeless appendage to the student body. His name is Zim."

Zim speaks: "At first I thought I'd vanish you [his classmates] to a dimension of pure itchiness. [Daniel describes the scene.] You can't tell, but that stuff is really itchy. But we came up with a better idea. We're sending you to a room. With a moose. And that is all."

Zim stands up on his desk and waves his hand, asks a question. The teacher stares at him in silence for a second, then continues what he'd been saving before. "As I say, the universe is just doomed. Doomed, doomed, doomed! Now. Go home."
Apparently Gir's defectiveness has him functioning at the level of a four or five year old. Cute in a kid, not so helpful as the sidekick to a megalomaniac world conqueror. The Waffle episode shows Gir's happy brainlessness:

Gir comes bouncing in. "Guess who made waffles??"

Zim doesn't want to eat them, but when Gir threatens to throw a tantrum, he agrees to try them, to get used to "human's vile food".

Zim eats, and enjoys them! Gir keeps bringing more and more, and as he runs out of ingredients, they keep getting weirder and weirder. "These ones gots peanuts and soap in them." Daniel's voice is chirpy, evidently a mimic of the Gir-voice.
Daniel comments: I'm fairly certain the writer of this comic was on something, or how else would he have come up with the idea of an army of cyborg zombie soldiers built by a demon squid?

"It's a very weird show," says Daniel.

Indeed. And I have a very weird son. Which is one of the things, of course, I love so much about him!

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Aging gracefully. I think it's time.

Not that so far I've been one of those pathetic clutchers of a fading youth who shop at the same stores as her teens and accepts as cool and desirable only the things that they admire. I pretty much hated being a teen the first time through. I have no desire to remain there the rest of my life.

But I'm female and I'm a little vain. I like to look good. I like to garner attention. However, I'm also of a pragmatic bent and kind of lazy. Fighting the forces of maturity - that takes a LOT of effort. Apart from a predilection for lingerie (mmm...lace and silk and lift and swish) I'm not the sort of woman who likes to fuss. I wear make-up on a weekly, not a daily, basis. I don't have the funds for routine salon visits, nor for a fancy wardrobe, and I'm too practical to pine for what I can't have.

I like my age. I don't want to be in my twenties again. I don't even pine for my peak physical year - which was 34, oooobaby. I like the crinkles at the corner of my eyes. I miss the tightness of my more youthful skin, but the softening I begin to see has its own attraction. If looking twenty meant I had to be twenty, to think twenty again - I shy away in horror at the very thought. Never!

So, aging gracefully it is. My first project? My hair.

I have shoulder-length hair, currently "light medium brown", as per the description on the box. When it grows out, what colour will it be? Not sure. Grayer than now, I know that, but beyond that? No idea.

If the difference between dyed and undyed is so striking that I end up with that vile demarcation line along the side of my head, I may find myself in the odd position of going to a salon to get my head dyed grey on purpose. How often do they see that, I wonder?

Once it's grey, if it is grey, can I keep it long, or will that look silly? And will I decide to go back to brown? Who knows? I only know that I am very tired of fussing over it...

So, I am making my official announcement: Nice and Easy will have to do without my financial support hereafter. I am herewith Going Grey. Or as grey as I get at this stage, whatever that is.

Unless I really hate it.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Schott's Original Miscellany is a snapper up of unconsidered trifles. Its purpose is to gather the flotsam and jetsam of the conversational tide. Importantly, Schott's Original Miscellany makes very few claims to be exhaustive, authoritative, or even practical. It does, however, claim to be essential. It is, perhaps, possible to live one's life without Schott's Original Miscellany, but it seems a curious and brave thing to attempt.

What is Schott's Original Miscellany? For me, it's a gift from a friend, a lovely little hard-cover book, just a bit bigger than your palm, small enough to fit in a largish purse, just the right size to haul out and open at random. When you do so, you will certainly find something odd, something interesting, something to fascinate or raise eyebrows. "I didn't know that!"

Something that's not authoritative, exhaustive, nor even practical - yet which is essential. What's not to love?

Me, I love this book. Thanks, Bob.

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Monday, June 05, 2006

"Hey, mum, you know what? A grade eight boy in my school got caught stealing candy from the 7-11!!" Bekah has come home from school with Big News. The 7-11 is a convenience store about three blocks from her JK - 8 school. Convenient for many things--including shop-lifting, it seems.

"Oh, yes? How did he get caught?"

Mirrors. He didn't take the security mirrors into account when he raided the penny candy bins. The school has given him a one-month detention, meaning he can't leave the school grounds for one month, and he's not allowed into the 7-11 for the rest of the year.

That seems appropriate, I say.

"Yeah, mom, but you know what his parents did?" Bekah's voice rises in incredulity. "His mother said 'She wasn't angry, she was just very disappointed.' "

Now, I happen to think this kind of parental input for this kind of offense is pitiful. A child needs to know a parent will stand up for right and wrong: stealing is not a gray area. But I ask the open-ended question of my daughter.

"So how did the boy respond to that? Was he ashamed to have disappointed his mother?" Because you never know. Maybe that's all that's required for this child.

"Nah. He thought she was an idiot. You know what, mum? The school gave him a better punishment than his parents did. I don't even think he got grounded."

"Well, just so's you know, if you ever stole anything, I'd be disappointed. I'd also be angry and disgusted. And you'd probably be grounded. Just so's you know." No harm in being proactive, but mostly I'm teasing, and Bekah knows it.

She rolls her eyes at me. "I know that, mom." And sticks out her tongue at me for good measure. "Like I'd ever steal anything!" Saucy little minx that she is. Destined for a life of delinquency, this girl.

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Which of Henry VIII's wives are you?

Found this out in the ether. Being me, I did it more than once. Because, hey, I'm a multi-faceted person. Who reserves the right to cheat if she doesn't like the way it came out the first time.

What I did this time, though, wasn't exactly cheating. I considered my first marriage, and did the quiz two ways: as if I had children (which I did and do), and as if I didn't have children (how I'd have liked to have done it - "it" in this case being my first marriage.)

Here's the mommy version: Anne of Cleves

Which of Henry VIII's wives are you?
this quiz was made by Lori Fury

Isn't that nice? Wouldn't you like to have coffee with this woman? She's the kind of women to whom men tell their romantic woes and get reassurance, because she's not very sexy, not very threatening, but so warm and, well, mom-like. Wouldn't she be a calm and undemanding listener? Wouldn't you like her to mother your children while you went off and had fun? Isn't she commmmmmfortable?

Here's the non-mommy version: Anne Boleyn

Which of Henry VIII's wives are you?this quiz was made by Lori Fury

Which would I rather be? Apart from the fact that Anne of C lived a long life, far away from fat and syphillitic Henry, and poor Anne Boleyn ended up sans head, it's Anne B all the way. Witty and sassy. I'm that. Specially after a beer or two. Or, now that it's hot a G&T or lime margarita or two. And you'll like it.

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