Irreverent Mama

Friday, October 31, 2008


(Second batch. Matthew bought the first bags a FULL MONTH early. (What was he thinking?). He bought the second batch two weeks early -- again with the WWHT -- but I tossed them into not one, but TWO grocery bags, each seriously knotted, and bunged them into the back porch. Out of sight, out of mind holds firmly true with a memory as porous as mine...)

Jack o'lantern decoration on the front door?

Two pumpkins, one on either side of the porch steps?

One of which is carved into v. traditional jack o'lantern.

(Cheery little bugger, isn't he?)

Candle for inside jack?
Not yet.

Hand-made ghost decorations made?

Hand-made ghost decorations hung across porch?
Not yet.

I think we're just about ready!

Isn't it exciting? Small children across the city are already abuzz with excitement. They'll have a hard time eating dinner, poor mites, so eager will they be to don those costumes and glean all the candy their greedy innocent little hands can scoop.

Hallowe'en is most fun when your children are little. The tiny ones, the four-and-unders, still amazed and awed that people keep putting candy in their bags! They tend to forget to say "thank you", but their expression of astonished delight says it all. By the time they're eight and nine, and the best you get is a muttered "thanks" as they dash off to the next sucker, it begins to pall a bit. Particularly when the mutterers include your own beloved offspring.

My children have all outgrown trick-or-treating and will spend the evening at one party or another. And I will woman the front door, opening to each shouted "trick or treat", dropping FUNSIZE chocolate bars into bags, plastic pumpkins, and, for the truly dedicated, pillow cases. I will get up and down 50 times in two hours. I will feel the chill drafts of late October dampness swirl around my ankles and into my living room. I will coo at the preschool sweethearts and silently sneer at the mutterers. Mutter for mutter.

"Greedyungratefulbrat. You're welcome!"

I will keep this annual event up until my children have all left home, till all pretence of caring can be dropped. Then I shall join the ranks of the few cheerfully unfettered curmudgeons on the street, and stay cosy behind firmly closed doors on the last day of October.

Bah, humbug.

Updated: But that little ladybug, with the hearts on her wings instead of spots, who could only lisp out a shy, "Merci"? Oh, lordy, she was cute...

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

One of the great pleasures of the fine months is the amount of time we get to spend in the local dog-friendly park, chatting with the other dog-owners and watching the dogs romp. One of the dog-owners, we'll call him Mr. Nasshole, has taken it upon himself to make an email list of all willing dog-owners, so that we can be apprised of events pertinent to us -- like the end-of-summer party or the annual spring poop scoop.

(Yes, indeed. Conscientious dog-owners of the strong-stomached sort gather in late April armed with gloves, shovels, bags (and gas-masks?), to clear the park of the six months' worth of dog shit that has emerged as a winter's snows melt away. We are nothing if not Sterling Citizens, because you know those of us who gather to take on this wretched task are not those who neglected to pick up their dog's leftovers all winter long. We do it for The Good of The Community.)

Although we both agree that the list is a good notion, and that Mr. N. is performing a useful service to the dog-loving community and to our local park, Matthew and I have quite different responses to Mr. Nasshole as a person. Matthew thinks he's basically friendly, perhaps more socially skilled with dogs than people, but otherwise a nice enough fellow. I think he's a belligerant, self-important dork with bully tendencies, who needs to be In Control at all times.

My reasons for this assessment arise out of an event which I will not recount here. However, my impression wasn't altered at all by the following email exchange. (He is Ima Nasshole; I am Laura V.).

Sent: Monday, October 13, 2008 11:47:29 AM
Subject: Re: Warning for Dog Owners/Walkers (Riverside Park)
To ALL :

Thanks Suzie ( Kevin ) and to Frank Weldon the park forester-warden (who sent me the below cited bits)
Ima Nasshole

>>over the past week, there have been two
reports of dogs
>>having been poisoned in our area. One of the reports
>>for Riverside Park. The other was for MossyGlen Park.

>> The source of this information is extremely reliable.
>>Although the
reports are UNCONFIRMED they felt that
>>it was worthwhile passing along a

On 14-Oct-08, at 2:21 PM, Laura V. wrote:

Hello, Mr. Nasshole;

Thanks for sending this out. It's good to have information, so we can be more aware and cautious.

The email leaves important questions unanswered. I suppose no one knows what kind of poison, or how it was administered? How are the dogs faring? I do hope they've recovered!

I would like to speak with Mr. Weldon directly, if that's possible. If you're not comfortable giving me his email address, would you please forward this email to him, so he can decide what, if anything, he can tell me?

Thank you,
Laura V.

Sent: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 4:22:30 PM
Subject: Re: Warning for Dog Owners/Walkers (Riverside Park)

Mr Weldon is the forestry guy; it was Suzi Franklin who sent me the info on the poisoning


Sent: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 6:18:14 PM
Subject: Re: Warning for Dog Owners/Walkers (Riverside Park)

My mistake! It looks like I should have asked you to forward my email to Suzi Franklin, then. Did you/would you do that, please?

Thank you,
Laura V.

Three days have passed. Full radio silence from Mr. N.

So. Who's right, boys and girls? A well-intentioned man, if lacking in social skills (Matthew's take), or a self-important dork whose need to control things will ensure he never passes along the address that will take his almighty hand off the spigot of information?

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

You ever picked up a magazine in the doctor's office, only to find out someone has scribbled answers all over the "How Much Fibre Do You REALLY Need?" quiz? Or opened the newspaper in the coffee shop and found the "Top Ten Events in History" quiz all finished?

That was me.

I confess, I am a quiz addict. I love 'em. Can't leave a box unticked, an opinion unspoken. I fill out those consumer questionnaires from that Dianne woman, I answer the phone when Decima calls. I'm always willing to have some total stranger asking dopey questions tell me how well suited I am to my husband, how good my grammar is, whether I'm in the correct profession.

My favourite colour is green. That says significant things about my mothering skills, and also whether I should renovate the kitchen this year. I like chocolate, but my favourite junk food indulgences tend more to the salty and spicy; I drink beer more often than wine; I am left-handed... I am prone to criticism; I am all-forgiving; I'm a loyal friend; I'm a loner; I'm repressed; I'm a tigress in bed.

You just never know WHAT hidden truths about your psyche you could learn from these things!! Because it's all there!

Ah, quizzes. And now that we're all online, there is so much more to discover! So many more buttons to push, circles to tick, boxes to fill in!

Which is how I found out that I am an Audrey!

Who wouldn't want to be an Audrey? I even have the cheekbones!! Sure wish I had the lips...

Curious? Here's the explanation, based on TWO questions. (Only TWO! So easy!)

You are an Audrey -- "I am at peace"
(Yup. When I left my first marriage, what I wanted more than anything else was peace. I found it.)

Audreys are receptive, good-natured, and supportive. They seek union with others and the world around them.

How to Get Along with Me

- If you want me to do something, how you ask is important. I especially don't like expectations or pressure
(Expectations are just fine. Knowing the other guy's expectations is useful for healthy communication. Just don't pressure me with them!)

- I like to listen and to be of service, but don't take advantage of this.

- Listen until I finish speaking, even though I meander a bit
(Me? Fail to get to the point???)

- Give me time to finish things and make decisions. It's OK to nudge me gently and nonjudgmentally
(Meh. I know how to meet a deadline. No nudging required.)

- Ask me questions to help me get clear
(Nope. I'm usually clear in my own mind.)

- Tell me when you like how I look. I'm not averse to flattery.
(I like compliments. I like playful flattery. I loathe obsequious, smarmy, or ham-fisted flattery. Make it clever, or just go away and stop humiliating yourself.)

- Hug me, show physical affection. It opens me up to my feelings.
(Nope. Unless I know you well, physical affection will only make me retreat. I do the social hug thing, but that's nothing to do with "opening me up to my feelings" -- feelings I'm generally pretty attuned to, thanks.)

- I like a good discussion but not a confrontation
(Absolutely! I fervently wish more people had the skill of lively, respectful discussion. Why, why, why, must we turn these things into attacks?)

- Let me know you like what I've done or said
(If you want to.)

- Laugh with me and share in my enjoyment of life.
(Who doesn't like laughing with friends? But I find lots of joy on my own.)

What I Like About Being an Audrey

- being nonjudgmental and accepting

- caring for and being concerned about others
(It's what I do for a living!)

- being able to relax and have a good time
(I'm good at relaxing. My "good times" are generally pretty low-key, but they suit me!)

- knowing that most people enjoy my company; I'm easy to be around
(Some days I agree with this, others, I feel inept and isolated. It's probably hormones...)

- my ability to see many different sides of an issue and to be a good mediator and facilitator

- my heightened awareness of sensations, aesthetics, and the here and now
(Don't think so.)

- being able to go with the flow and feel one with the universe
(Go with the flow, yes. Or, quietly evade the flow with no one any the wiser... One with the
universe? Not often.)

What's Hard About Being an Audrey

- being judged and misunderstood for being placid and/or indecisive
I am passive, and this bothers me. Do people judge me for that? Oh, well!

- being critical of myself for lacking initiative and discipline
Yup. More lacking initiative than discipline, but yes.

- being too sensitive to criticism; taking every raised eyebrow and twitch of the mouth personally
When I was younger, absolutely. Now, not so much.

- being confused about what I really want
Nope. It can take me a while to reach a decision, but once I do, I don't second-guess myself.

- caring too much about what others will think of me

- not being listened to or taken seriously
Depends on the circumstances. I don't always assume I have something worth hearing!

Audreys as Children Often

- feel ignored and that their wants, opinions, and feelings are unimportant
Hardly ever. My mother did a fabulous job, even while taking no shit. No mean feat, that.
- tune out a lot, especially when others argue
Never. I still have a terrible time tuning out conflict. I wish I could!
- are "good" children: deny anger or keep it to themselves
ABSOLUTELY, particularly the "denying anger" bit.

Audreys as Parents

- are supportive, kind, and warm
- are sometimes overly permissive or nondirective
Yes, on both counts, I think.

Curious to take the quiz? You can find it here. If you do (only TWO questions!), come back and let me know who YOU are!

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