Irreverent Mama

Monday, October 30, 2006

I'm doing it again!

What is 'it'? National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo). In the thirty short days of November, participants aim to churn out 50,000 words - roughly 175 pages of text.

Evidently, quantity is the goal. Quality? Quality can come three months later with NaNoEdMo (National Novel Editing Month). For now, the focus is word, word, word count! Tap those fingers to the bone.

And yes, last year I did it. With 18 hours to spare and a day or two off along the way! I'm a little less confident this year, truth to tell - there's more in my life this go-round, but I'm hoping that at very least I can finish the one I started in 2005!

(If you're curious, the graphic is a link to the NaNo website. Go check it out and join me for a month of frantic plotting.)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

My man is downstairs watching something on a sports channel. He's not a huge sports nut, but he does indulge from time to time.

I've just finished one small task. Found myself at loose ends, so...

wandered downstairs and planted a long and luxurious kiss on the man. I am a Very Good Kisser.

However, having had a reasonable, though not excessive, range of fellow-kissees, I have learned that there's an art to being a good kiss recipient; not all are equally skilled.

He is one of the best.



Monday, October 23, 2006

We have a crisis!

A hamster crisis. Not a crisis with our hamster, a hamster in crises. The hamster is having one.

We have a hamster, Pipkin. She lives in a cage. A nice, bright cage with attached penthouse. You've seen them - a box affixed to a tube jutting out the side. Oh, look, I found a picture (also a link to one of your very own, should you so desire):

See that little yellow box attached to the main cage? It's put there so your hamster, presumably a digging animal in the wilds - though how such a succulent little appetizer would survive past breakfast in the wilds is beyond me - but assuming they do, they like to dig. I probably would, too, if I were nothing more than a pre-dinner morsel for something large and carnivorous. They like to dig and run through tunnels tubes. They like to hang out in tiny plastic boxes hanging off the side of their home.

This one loved it so well, she spent her entire life in that box, far as we could tell, though her water bottle did empty night by night. Once or twice a week we would clean and empty the box, and within a day it would be packed to its green plastic roof with wood chips. Chips which she must have ferried up there in her cheek pouches, though we never caught her at it.

Food, too, was stuffed into her cheek pouches and scurried away into that little nesting box in the sky. Scurried and then buried in the wood chips of her little green-lidded paradise int he sky.

Which box was getting to be a problem. Despite its weekly, then twice-weekly cleaning, it got horrifically rank. We couldn't eliminate the stink. The plastic had been saturated with pee so much and so often that even clean, it reeked of ammonia. You may think plastic can't be saturated, I know I did, but we'd be wrong. That box was vile. Completely vile.

It had to go. So, this afternoon we removed it and taped over the hole in the side of the cage with a dozen layer of packing tape each side. We put a box into the cage as her substitute green-lidded, pee-stinkin' box. We gave her a paper towel tube to replace her poop-studded bendy plastic tube. All this activity woke her up in the middle of her night, but she seemed to be coping well. Doing just fine, she was. Friendly, inquisitive, happy.

Until she approached her food dish. She industriously crammed the food pellets into her cheek pouches, and then - what else would she do? - headed for the tube to her nest. Because what you do with your food pellets, see, is climb through your tube, take them to your penthouse box, bury them in your bedding and pee on them!! That's what you do, because that's what you've always done. Tradition matters to hamster.

Except, "Oh no! WHERE IS MY TUBE? WHERE IS MY NEST BOX???" She nosed around, inceasingly frantic. "It must be here somewhere!" She found where the hole should have been. "Must. chew. out. nest. box." She'd made a small hole in the first layer of packing tape when we found her.

(How does one stop a rodent from chewing? This is easy, a lesson learned through rodents long since expired. You paint desired object with tabasco, aka hot sauce. Most don't even get closer than the first, disgusted sniff. Heh. Pipkin took a cautious nibble, leapt a full bodylength back in spring-loaded, tabasco-fuelled revulsion. Thus endeth the chewing.)

Now we just have a neurotic hamster, wandering about in full daylight with her cheek pouches full, saying "HOW CAN I EAT? HOW CAN I EAT IF I CAN'T BURY MY FOOD AND PEE ON IT???" She tried to get into the paper towel tube we put in - because I HAVE TO CRAWL THROUGH A TUBE SO I CAN BURY MY FOOD AND PEE ON IT!! Good in theory, but the paper tube is a little narrower than the former plastic tube, and her bulging cheek pouches won't fit.

Poor, confused Pipkin. Will she starve in the midst of plenty? Will she learn to eat her food sans urine? Or will she learn to pee direct into her food dish?

We await with baited breath.

And plugged noses.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Leaf Shadows!

The pleasures of fall are many. The rich, tawny glow of the light in the afternoon. The brilliance of the trees. The swoosh of the leaves underfoot. (Can you resist kicking through the drifts, crackling swirls of brown and orange and scarlet and yellow about your ankles? I can't.)

Less vibrant, but equally delightful, are the subtle negatives of leaves on a sidewalk. Aren't they amazing? Couldn't you just lose yourself in the depths?

Like a small child, I wander with my eyes firmly fixed on the ground before my feet, seeing the patterns, the shapes, the layers, the depth. Lovely.

Here we have the shadows and the Real Thing.

And then, with more rain, they drrriiffft away. Just like summer...


Friday, October 13, 2006

Oh, those French!

Disney is not amused.

(Yes, I tried to find it. No luck, but I did discover that there are some seriously twisted Disney fetishists out there. Yeesh. I'd have thought the notion of Mick and Minnie finally getting it on would be enough to wilt the woodiest willie. All that nauseating good humour and the squeaky voices. Does nothing for me. But evidently there are those who think differenty. Very, very differently.

(No, I didn't look. The titles were quite enough.) )

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Mustn't grumble. Can't complain.

Recently had an evening in a pub with a friend who's retired home to Canada after having spent twenty-five years or so in the UK. After all that time, he's more Brit than Canadian in many of his attitudes, quirks, and social mannerisms. He has a tendency to the pendantic and a predilection for ranting, both leavened by a piercing sense of humour. In short, he's wicked fun.

"Oh well. Mustn't grumble," he says, a bit tongue-in-cheek, poking a bit of fun at a certain mindset, but hearing it, I laughed out loud. That is SUCH a Brit thing to say, SUCH a Brit mindset he's poking fun at.

Thinking about it later, I decided the North American equivalent is probably "Oh well. Can't complain."

Think about that for a sec. Brits say "Mustn't grumble." Americans say "Can't complain."


Both patently false. North Americans are tremendous whiners. Inveterate, even. We complain about all manner of things. Whining is a national pasttime. Everyone indulges. It's small talk, socially expected. Those who don't complain, those who decry whining are "unrealistic", obviously mental featherweights, not to be taken seriously.

And Brits? No whiners there, nope, not like N. Americans. But grumblers? Oh my! How they grumble. They gripe, they grouse, they deplore, they harrumph. How does this differ from whining? Comes down to expectations. Americans expect someone to do something about what they don't like. If we can't get the government to fix it (Canadians), we'll sue the ass offa someone (Americans), because if I don't like it, I shouldn't have to put up with it, and how could it happen to meeeeeee?

Brits don't whine, not like that. Throughout all their harrumphing, they feel superior to that which they criticize. They don't feel victimized - they are vindicated. Ha! I knew it! Country's going to hell in a handbasket. What else can you expect, in this day and age? Bloody hell!

"Can't complain."
"Mustn't grumble."

Oh, but why not, when it brings you so much satisfaction!

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Teenage boys have to be one of the most oblivious critters on God's green earth. They're even worse than teenage girls. Who knew it was possible?

Three days ago, my already-slow computer gets even slower. Particularly when I'm online. "Connection has been reset. ABC site is taking too long to load." Again and again.

I stick my head into my computer nerd genius son's room. "Hey, Daniel. Anything I can do to speed up my computer? It's getting reeeeallly slow." He proffers a few words about more memory. Probably true. I know I'm getting critically low. The most obvious solution is often the right one.

Two days ago, My Man complains that his computer is also slow. We run virus scans on both machines, just in case. They're both clean. We ask Son how his computer is working. Just fine, thanks. We chat a bit about how the slow seems to be contagious.

This morning, my computer is even SLOWER. Son says, "Oh, I'm downloading a brgufzlzx file, and it's big, about $@^# gigs, so I use accelerators [was that the word? I think so] which means it takes up a lot of bandwidth. It'll be done in a couple of hours." An hour later, the boy heads off to work. I head out to run some errands.


" *%#& gigs, for one download?!? How much memory do you have on that thing, anyway?" (It won't be standard. He and his dad custom-built it together. Computer genius-ness is in the DNA, it seems.)

"Well, I have three hard drives," he says. "One's 15 gigs, to run Windows and for school stuff; one's 30 for my music; one's 40 for games."

Good Lord.

Six hours later, son still at work, I try my computer again. Molasses.


Walk upstairs to son's room. Stare at quietly humming machine for a moment. Walk across the floor. Take in the blinking blue lights, the flickering green ones. A lot of activity happening in here.

Reach out, and...

Click. Whirrrr... the beast subsides to silent dark.


Houston, we have internet!

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Suddenly, brushing my teeth has a whole new... je ne sais quoi.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

A party a couple of weeks ago. Nothing fancy, a bunch of people milling about and talking, enough liquor to keep the conversation flowing, enough food to keep the stomachs settled.

My friend Sophie hands me some brie on a cracker. "Smell this," she says, "and tell me what it reminds you of."

I take a sniff. It does remind me of something, but what? So familiar, and yet... Maybe some people are better at this, but I've always been awful at identifying odours. But I know I know what that smell is.

And then she told me - and my lord, she's right! That's just what it smells like!

Over to you, irregular readers. What does brie smell like?

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

My Man has a way with the ladies.

Truly, he does. He's not particularly tall. Well, really, he's kinda short - only an inch taller than me. He doesn't have a particularly masculine voice, if you measure that in depth. His speaking voice is light, he sings tenor. He's not particularly built. Great ass and legs, because he runs, but too much of a wee little pot belly and not enough arms and shoulder muscles to have women swooning in his wake.

But he does have a way with the distaff. Why? How?

Because he listens.

We were walking downtown together today, braving the drizzle for the pleasure of a long walk and talk, and some coffee at the end.

"Joanne was telling me about her nanny troubles. Her husband is off with his company for four months, and the day before he was to leave, their nanny got seriously ill and was hospitalized. She won't be able to work again for months, and so Joanne was scrambling to..."

The story goes on. An interesting one, too, but irrelevant to my tale. Joanne is a new name, but the scenario is familiar. Helene tells him her concerns about her grandchild; Theresa talks about her ex; Caro about her job issues; Renee about her long-distance relationship; Jocelyn about her cats.

"So you've accumulated another one, have you?" I grin at him.

"Seems so. She just drifts by my desk several times a week, and she tells me all sorts of stuff."

"And it's interesting, too."

"I know, but why me? Not that I mind, but what is it that people know I'm a good candidate for confidences?"

"Women, you mean."

"Well, yeah, but I think that's only because men don't tend to confide. How do the women know?"

"It's because you're such a good listener. When someone speaks to you, you make eye contact, and you really attend to them. Everyone wants to feel heard. Who can resist?"

"You're probably right."

"Irresistable, that's you!"

"You think? I dunno. In all this time not one of them has ever offered to go down on me."

"Oh, poor you! SUCH a you have."