Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve stillness. Well only in pictures, both kids are so excited that they can only speak in REALLY LOUD VOICES. Which of course is pushing me over the edge since they're standing beside me while screaming.

The story behind the gingerbread creation is that I have this romantic notion of parenthood and every year I think how fabulous it will be to decorate a house (Santa's sleigh this year) with Jakob (Satch gave up a couple of years ago, he's far too sophisticated and mature for this nonsense now that he's a teenager). Of course what really happens is that the icing is CRAP, pushes me over the edge, won't stick to the gingerbread regardless of how long I knead it, and then Jakob eats more of the candies than land on the floor and on our creation, and finally walks away leaving the rest to me. I end up yelling and swearing at the icing, Jakob is traumatized, and another few dollars goes into the therapy fund.

Bambi decorated with all his finery.

Much love and Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to everyone! xoxoxoxox

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I know I shouldn't write this but...

Oh my god I'm so excited!

I picked up my Christmas present: the most beautiful Fender Stratocaster guitar. I am so going to be a rockstar by the time I'm 50!

Friday, December 18, 2009

When Jakob was born in 2001, I began the tradition of giving both kids a Christmas ornament as their first holiday present, timed with bringing home and decorating our Christmas tree. This year I surprised them with fabulous spiderwebs from our neighbourhood florist Fiori (

I hate to sound like I'm plotting their departure from home but my thinking is that when they do move out and settle into a place, they will have this fabulous collection of unique and mostly hand crafted ornaments that will create a wonderful nostalgia for every year celebrated as a family.

But, frankly, I will probably keep the ornaments here, forcing Satch & Jakob to return to the family home each year bringing bitter wives/girlfriends/boyfriends/partners/grandkids...because I can't imagine a Christmas without them.

And watching Satch play trombone as part of the jazz band at the school holiday concert proved to me how fast time is going by and that in a blink of an eye, they will be threatening to move out and start their lives.

So being the good mother, I have to start figuring out ways to escalate the guilt and plot to thwart their plans. And I've already started, I told Satch that when he does decide to move out, he should take Jakob with him. And he doesn't even have to rent a two bedroom apartment, a one bedroom will be fine seeing as they constantly bunk in with each other anyway. Save some money!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Noooooooo! I've been hit with the stomach flu and there are only 8 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS! And I have a crazy amount left to do! And I had a dinner party to go to tonight!

Deep breath.

Quick post and then I'm going to bed. I am already in my pajamas, just waiting to pour myself in between the sheets.

Jakob turned 8 yesterday and had a fabulous birthday...until bedtime when he realized that it would be another 12 months until his next birthday and then, well not much point to life now is there?

But during the happy time, when he found his birthday presents scattered throughout the house and opened them before breakfast, taking the coveted DSi to the pub for his favourite dinner of fish and chips, coming back to the requested home-made banana chocolate chip cupcakes in lieu of cake, and another present of more candy than a boy could imagine from Kim - for those 14 hours, life was pretty good!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Monumental moments which make me take pause from all the stress that is my life right now.

Monumental moment number one: my baby is turning 8 tomorrow! Eight years old! How this is happening I do not understand. I remember his birth so vividly, like it was only moments ago. Granted Jakob did have a big head, hard to forget that moment in time! I still walk funny.

Monumental moment number two: we just returned home from watching my 13 year old play trombone in the jazz band at his Christmas concert. While watching Satch play I kept flashing to his 3 year old version who would sit at the bottom of the steps after daycare, rip off his socks and say "here are you toes Mommy!"

I haven't been posting lately because work has been crazy, home is crazy - though DUI guy did finally move out and I have the best mother-in-law EVER because he would still be here if she hadn't kicked his sorry butt over to his new apartment...turning it into a home rather than a drinking den to hide out in while returning here to sleep, eat and shower. And then there's that little holiday called Christmas and finally, returning to monumental moments, Jakob's birthday tomorrow. And that every single day there is some kind of event going on.

The introvert in me is finding this very difficult.

I also feel like crap; like there's a serious cold or flu bug just waiting to take me down. Right when I finish all the shopping and decorating of course.

One of the many things I do love about this time of year is pulling out all the Christmas ornaments - they feel like old friends that have been missed terribly. I have the tree decorated(and will photograph TOMORROW), Bambi the silver deer head has his Christmas baubles, Silver Buddha in the bathroom has his Santa's hat perched at a jaunty angle, peacock wreath is up in all its feathery glory, and our new addition to the family ... shiny silver Ikea tree in the kitchen.

All to be photographed ... Jakob included.

Now time to prepare the kitchen for tomorrow's birthday surprise and then bed!

Friday, November 27, 2009

And the painting belongs to Beth - which makes me very happy!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tomorrow is the auction and here is the finished painting - not horribly different from the picture posted last week. A bit more paint, some black lines, a signature...but enough I say! Plus I had a deadline to meet so the file has been sent to the printer to make the Christmas cards and the painting is hidden away at work waiting to be unveiled tomorrow.

I'm going to miss it though, it's really grown on me. The photograph doesn't do it justice.

So here's hoping someone I LIKE buys it. Someone who's name starts with B.

I will post the results tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I think I have to move. Just me, and to NY. I found this real estate listing through motherhood in nyc and really it's perfect - I wouldn't even have to paint! And if the current owners leave me their furniture, even better. And I think mortgage would only be around $65,000 US per month. And all my girlfriends could come visit. And the children - they could too because I would devote the entire 4th floor to them. And of course Paul, Paul would love it!

The kids will just have to get used to part time living in NYC and when DUI guy realizes there are no more dinners being served around 6pm ... well, he'll just have to adjust too and acquaint himself to Mr. Microwave.

Back to reality, I think I just got my mother-in-law a little drunk. The love in the house is crazy - hugs, kisses, telling me I'm beautiful ... Wait until tomorrow morning when she wakes up with a hangover. She won't be feeling the love then.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The beginnings of a painting - note the horror that is my painting station. Yes, that is a washing machine.

Still hoping against hope that it will be finished this weekend so I can photograph, design a card and send to printer by Tuesday.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Paul's working late tonight, Yves (who is Yves you wonder? he's the other presence in our lives, living with us for the past two+ months that I have made a gigantic effort not to complain I mean WRITE about) is at his apartment puttering but will be returning home soon to eat, drink, sleep, drink, shower, drink more ... and because it's just me and the kids, I have made crap for dinner.

Why did I think making crap was such a good idea? Sure a dinner of nachos, mozza sticks slathered in a pasta sauce, fresh tomatoes with balsamic dressing and goat cheese (at least that was healthy and yummy!) sounds GREAT when you are tossing ideas out to the kids ... but after? Caulisse de tabarnaque (thank you father-in-law for teaching me to swear in French!) I feel bad.

I'd be a perfect candidate for a Pepto Bismol commercial and man, I'd be dialing right now if they really had a hotline: "You ate what? Really? And how old are you?"

Instead I think I will cuddle with Jakob and watch Van Helsing for the 30th time and avoid the stupid painting and ever approaching deadline ... and perhaps the glass of red wine I'm cradling will make me feel better.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Holy crap - November 21 is the third anniversary of my mastectomy! Crikey time has flown by fast.

This also means it's time for my mammogram, for the onslaught of emails from Princess Margaret Hospital as they continue to fundraise for the The Gattuso Rapid Diagnostic Centre which reduces the time from initial testing to diagnosis to a mere 3 hours instead of days and/or weeks. Which for a woman facing the crushing diagnosis of breast cancer means more than I can adequately describe because she can begin planning immediately rather than live in fear, facing the unknown for however long it takes to get an appointment with her oncologist.

Now onto other November tribulations:

I did not take Jakob to the Santa Claus parade this year because I still have not recovered from our November 2007 excursion ... which is covered in detail if you would like to revisit the nightmare that was that afternoon. Not that he wanted to go this year anyway, I could barely get him dressed such was his mood. Or perhaps he was hesitant because he remembered yelling "Santa SUCKS!" as we waited for the sled - reducing the crowd to silence.

While reading through some old November posts I realized I have written virtually identical comments about volunteering to create a painting for my office Christmas card and then donate it to the United Way auction - and each comment was me vowing to never, ever, get sucked into doing this again. Yet here I am once again cursing, stressing, drinking wine (well not at this very moment, it is only 9:44 in the morning after all ... and I'm at work) trying to make this painting look at the very least ... okay.

I'm hoping that very soon I will hit the magical moment when everything comes together and the painting is finished within 30 minutes.

I am also hoping that the magical moment happens this Thursday around 8:00 pm.

But if it doesn't, my back-up plan is to look through older paintings and see if one is appropriate and can be sacrificed for the cause.

And then this year will be the VERY LAST TIME I put myself in this position.

I hope.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I spent part of the afternoon at a fundraiser for MonkeyBiz hosted by Eat my Words ( and had the privilege of hearing Stephen Lewis speak ( He is always so engaging and really makes you want to get involved and help create a better world.

But first let me introduce you to the newest member of our family:

According to Stephen Lewis, ~90% of the money raised through the sale of these beaded creations goes right into the bank account of the families the organization aims to help, with hundreds of homes having already been built for those devastated by aids. Which is incredible considering these are areas where there are traditionally no homes. We are also in a time where governments are pulling away from promises of financial assistance citing economic times and cut backs so organizations are more than ever dependent on fundraisers like the one I just returned home from.

But back to my little elephant. I was told that with some of the creatures, like mine, the form was inspired by a child's drawing - usually an interpretation of an animal they had never seen, only heard of - and then created by the artist. I am absolutely in love with it and that the purchase will help a person or family or community is like the icing on the most delicious cupcakes provided by Eat My Words.

Here's a little blurb captured from Eat My Words website:

The addition of MonkeyBiz to Eat My Words is a match made in the Southern African sunshine. A non-profit organization, MonkeyBiz commissions artists from the townships of Cape Town, skilled in the country’s ancient beading tradition. Each beaded artwork is an enchanting, one-of-a-kind piece signed by the artist, making them wonderful gifts which support a truly worthwhile cause. By supplying the richly coloured beads, MonkeyBiz creates employment and empowerment for some 450 disadvantaged women. Able to work out of their homes, the women can now provide for their families. The love child of ceramic artists, Barbara Jackson and Shirley Fintz, MonkeyBiz flows all profits back into the communities.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembrance Day is a day when I step back and think about my Dad who served as an Ordinary Seaman in the Royal Canadian navy during WWII on board the frigate St. Therese. He was a scrawny teenager desperate to sign up, counting the days until he turned 18. So scrawny he almost wasn't accepted because the naval doctor considered him suffering from malnutrition and his parents had to prove that no, he was just skinny.

I feel great sadness in my heart because I would love to hear his stories but unfortunately he died in 1980 from heart disease. And as a young teenager I had no time or thought to ask him the questions that I would now give anything to hear the answers to.

Or to be able to tell him how proud I am to be his daughter.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Jakob - topless and hunched over our double sink, sucking up water with a straw from one sink to blow into the other - just told me a joke:

Why did the M&M go to school?

So he could be a Smartie!

I'm kind of hoping this gives me 30 minutes.

Okay 2 minutes, I forgot his cheeks can hold half a swimming pool.

Monday, November 09, 2009

It has been another month of over extending myself. You think I would learn, year after year, but no, not even close.

Once again I have a painting that I need to finish with a deadline of November 20th looming, and what is required is one that can be auctioned off with money being donated to the United Way and the image then turned into a Christmas card from our Toronto and Montreal offices.

Of course what I have right now is a barely touched canvas sitting on my dryer begging for attention. Because I meant to start this painting in September, not yesterday.

It's been such a crazy couple of months between taking the course from hell, well not the course, having the INSTRUCTOR from hell; a quick little freelance job; a brother-in-law living with us for 2 months while we desperately try to get his life in order (and though we now have his...stuff...into an apartment around the corner, his life is far from settled) and now the painting.

The bane-of-my-existence painting.

But at least I have an idea that I'm running with. Which has been very helpful as I repeatedly get asked how the painting is going. "Fine." What's it of, what does it look like? "It's a secret."

And the acceptance that this time next year, I'll be copying and pasting this post.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The happy couple on Halloween night - post scarring the neighbourhood children for life...and pre pneumonia.

I promise that this will be my last Halloween post - for this year anyway.

Monday, November 02, 2009

I am in mourning for Halloween so I'm posting a few more photos of our decorations and keep in mind, that I haven't even started photographing the kitchen!

A girl needs a place to hang her wings.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

What happened to this week? And how did I not take any Halloween pictures of my 13 year old bottle of mustard and my 7 year old black phantom? I'm hoping my neighbour sends me the picture of Paul and me because everyone needs to take a look at Paul with his eyes gouged out - I think it may be a contender for this year's Christmas card!

All I have to post is a poorly shot picture of me as a fallen angel in between parties and how even Hamish has embraced the event by requesting his food corner decorated.

A few pictures from Jakob's birthday party with Tricky Ricky. That man had the kids hysterical! Jakob could barely breath when Tricky Ricky had him "accidentally" smack Ricky's backside with his wand.

When I look at profile pictures of myself, I kind of like to pretend I have Gwyneth Paltrow's nose. I don't, I have my father's, but it does make me feel better.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sorry posting has been light this week (light meaning NON EXISTENT - I know, I know, I really was trying to be good) but every once in a while a little job sneaks its way into my life and eats up all time not devoted to sleeping or updating my blog. Note that I didn't mention children, spending time with the children. Frankly my children are driving me insane at the moment ... all of them. Big ones included.

Once I can actually spend time downloading pictures I will post some of the photos from the KICK ASS early Halloween-themed birthday party I threw for Jakob on Sunday. Complete with magician (Tricky Ricky:, black dragon pinata, mini scavenger hunt and costume contest.

A bit of a digression, I just checked in on Jakob and his lava lamp looks exactly like a dead fetus in a bottle of formaldehyde. A bit freaky. Wish I had my camera handy.

Anyway, back to the party. It was perfect! There were enough activities that were timed so beautifully that as we finished the final event, the costume contest with awards handed out, the parents began to show up. And the day was spectacular so all 10 kids stayed outside THE ENTIRE TIME!

Fast forward a few hours, the phone rings and one of the kids at the party has lice. Fast forward to yesterday and now Jakob has lice. And as I'm treating him and going through his head carefully with an eagle eye, pulling out little lice corpses and nits, Arthur the old cat starts scratching and making a hideous racket - yes, he has fleas. In just over one hour I had one child and two cats treated, one child checked, pillows and blankets in the dryer on high and entire house sprayed.

Then, I drank. The end.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Why, when you just want to get ready to meet friends, does your son sneak into the bathroom with his DS and poo for 30 minutes. With the door locked. The bathroom with the make-up bag, the hairbrush, the toothbrush, the extra strength muscle relaxers... everything that I need. Come on already! How he does he even stand the smell for that long?

Of course I should be happy he opted for the upstairs bathroom with the door closed when it wasn't that long ago he would sit in the powder room minus the door, treating it as his own personal little pooping room, while we all passed out near dead on the kitchen floor.

I can only hope he doesn't have his recharger and that the battery is getting low because otherwise, he could be in there until morning.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I love this! Especially since I'm still recovering from being doored last week. How can we get these on all cars?!

I do believe there will be some celebrating tonight!

I have my last class in Acrobat (not acrobatics sadly) and I have never had such a useless instructor (I'm loathe to call him a teacher because he's NOT) in all the years of schooling I have under my belt. He is a total waste of oxygen - though to be kind, he does have a nice speaking voice. Which you don't hear because he's actually talking about the program, instead because he's complaining to the girls in the back about how tired he is, or how he's only had a granoloa bar, or look, here's a few pictures of my twin brother's daughters.

Stop whining I want to scream, you do not know how many guys are currently living in my house! Do not mess with me!

My friend Ted (who's taking the course with me) and I are positive we must be on camera, that Ashton Kutcher will jump out at any moment and yell "PUNK'D!" And then I will grab whatever fashionable knitted hat he has on his head and let him run away. Because how can anyone really be this bad unless on purpose? And with each class, he just lets the bar fall lower so that you now trip on it as you enter the class.

But whatever, just give me my A, I'm one step closer to getting my certificate, and after a few glasses of wine I won't even remember your name.

But the object of this post wasn't solely to complain about useless waste of oxygen instructor guy - though that did feel good!

I thought that I would post a picture of my teenager! Do not be afraid, it's not a scratch and sniff blog, you can't smell him. You can admire how cute he is though!

And in this picture do not be confused, it is him, not an 80-year-old man hiding under heavy blankets. He was just tired from not sleeping virtually the entire weekend. Of course this is only minutes before his friends & family party is about to begin.

But in some ways, he does take after his father (also taken minutes before the guests arrive... and yes, that is a tv remote in one hand, beer in the other).

And finally a rare moment in my house when the kids are NOT fighting, calling each other horrible names, swearing, wrestling on the floor, Satch dragging Jakob by the foot out of his room...when they love - well, tolerate each other.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I never realized what a poet the neighbourhood crazy man is.

While walking home with Satchel and Jakob, taking advantage of a gorgeous afternoon by stopping by Starbucks for their child's size hot chocolate with whip cream and lots of chocolate sprinkles, there he was in front of us, muttering away.

Sheer brilliance, this little number:

"God bless Adolph Hitler
For he invented lemonade
And the dish ran away with the spoon."

Then he noticed us behind him, following him down streets and around corners.

He yelled:

"Good looking wicked woman! Say that five times fast! Good looking wicked woman, good looking wicked woman..."

I said to the boys that I do believe I just received a back-handed compliment.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Back during the Labour day weekend, which feels like a million days ago, my niece and I made our annual pilgrimage to Wilson NY where we threw ourselves into serious outlet mall shopping, wine drinking, magazine reading and finally TARGET! shopping.

As male farting contests (between the over 40 group) continue in my kitchen, I can only think back to those 3 pure days where no one asked me for anything except the salesclerk requesting a credit card, a waiter wanting my menu choice, or my niece asking if I would like a top up on my glass of wine...and I realize that one weekend a year is NOT enough to keep me sane. Not even close.

Time to start recruiting the girlfriends.

TARGET! withdrawal alone is making me shake!

While shopping that weekend, I found these three little guys at Pier One of all places. Tucked in with the stinky candles and over-the-top home decor, they really needed to be mine! With their mix of materials, bulging eyes, Tim Burton-esque design - they needed to join the bling and the peacocks that I have been decorating my living room light fixture with. And with Halloween coming up, they are perfect!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I'm back my internet friends!

I would love to write that I spent my extended vacation somewhere fabulous - perhaps close to a small vineyard in the south of France where I would sit with the locals, make up french words and consume their wine while counting sunflowers and thinking about the direction this little blog should take.

But truth be told, I fell in love with Twitter. A sordid little love affair where all my thoughts were condensed into passages 140 characters or less. And it just felt so right...yet so wrong..and so dirty...and so gratifying! But it wasn't enough, though I will still keep tweeting, so I have returned home to where I belong and I'm sorry it took so long.

I also felt I had to take a break just to think about what I wanted to do with the blog. Do I end it? Do I still have stories to tell now that the renovation projects have dwindled until next year (the porch is still not finished but I do have a couple of photos of the progress). Are my stories even that interesting? Probably not, but frankly BETH scares me and now that I have an email instructing me to get my act together...well, it's time to begin the ride again.

But just to let you know, the 13 year old? With the changing brain? STILL INSANE. And we have a new addition to the family - Paul's oldest brother has been living with us for the past month. Oh yes, another beer drinking, xbox playing GUY which now makes me weep into the phone begging my neighbour to let me take refuge in her home from all the testosterone and farting and swearing and urinating into the toilets WITHOUT closing the door...and thankfully she has yet to say no.

I have to get back to my homework so I will end my first post in what feels like forever with a couple shots of the front porch.

And I promise, I will be back tomorrow!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Since you're staying home from camp today, I've left you a few chores to do, should take 15-20 minutes.

Changing Brain: Oh ... what.

Nothing much, unload the dishwasher, load the dirty dishes and then wash whatever doesn't go in the dishwasher.

CB: What do you mean wash.

Ummm...fill the sink with hot water, not so hot you burn yourself, add dish soap...

CB: What do you mean dish soap?

The soap you wash the dishes with.

CB: Yeah, I don't know what that is. Okay, I better let you go because this is going to take a lot longer than 15 minutes.

Oh wait, I also want you to put all your dirty clothes into the baskets in my room, and then carry them down to the basement.

CB: What? Oh....(groan)....okay, I've gotta go.

Changing brain is turning 13 tomorrow - how can he not know what dish soap is?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ohhhhh...the PARTY, the front porch...the flu.

Where does a girl even start?

The party was a great success even though my mom is getting a her old age. And I say that with great fondness as she is my mother after all. And if she wanted to sit inside the club while 40+ people sat outside on the deck, in the shade, over looking the water - well that's her prerogative.

And the front porch - we're stuck on stain colours right now, with none really doing the cedar justice. We have purchased quart and gallon of every colour imaginable only to come home, try it out on a test piece, shake our heads and drive back to the stain store. We're beyond frustrated and I think the next step is to try something more opaque - with colour sampling beginning again tomorrow since the shop is open until 8pm.

And the flu...I've been sick at home for the past 2 days, sleeping so much my hip hurts. But I think I've finally beaten it, except that the smell of coffee makes me feel ill - and I have to be in pretty dire shape to not drink my coffee in the morning.

One positive this past week was that Arthur lost his voice Thursday (he somehow managed to get a sore throat which I didn't realize even happened to cats) and has been following me around silently yelling for wet food. I love Arthur but the constant yelling comes close to pushing me over the edge. Sadly his voice is starting to return and because I have been coddling old Artie this past week, he wants nothing to do with that nasty dry food I keep trying to ply him with ... where's the steak? the chicken? even the remains of that crappy beef soup that was eaten for lunch today. And how about a nice pinot noir to wash it all down with! Tap water and bagged food? Don't think so.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The reason for my being turned 80 today. 80 YEARS OLD! How can I continue to lie about my age if I have a mother who is 80? I did call myself a medical mystery to a colleague when he professed surprise - though I'm sure he just wanted something.

We had an interesting conversation, talking about the passing of time and how we are constantly shocked at our age when it doesn't feel like that much time has gone by, or that we feel younger than we are. In my head I'm 30, maybe 32 on a tired morning. My Mom said she doesn't feel 80, she feels so much younger...that is until her body betrays her. And the absence of those she loved in her life who have passed before her is upsetting. She's very nostalgic.

The birthday girl (looking pretty darn good!):

Mom around 1955, 26 years old.

Even though she doesn't read my blog, I have to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM, may you be surrounded by much love - and you will because I'm throwing a massive birthday party on Sunday. God help me.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

I'm back from my trip to Niagara Falls/St. Thomas/London with my boys and we had a fabulous time but there is nothing like crawling back into your own king size bed surrounded by purring felines. Though the waterpark, Skywheel, glow in the dark mini-putt, hotel movie (Night at the Museum 2) and dinner on the outdoor patio at the Hard Rock Cafe was all pretty fabulous! And Jakob did enjoy driving Bill's boat...

So today, the last day of my vacation before returning to work tomorrow, we have been hit by a wicked thunderstorm. But because this is standard 2009 summer weather, Paul is outside on the porch sanding the cedar frames he has created while both my boys play their electronic games and I drink coffee while catching up on laundry, dishes, cleaning, blogging...

And wouldn't you know that I have invited friends over for an outdoor bbq and mother nature has ONCE AGAIN crushed my dinner plans and we will be stuck inside, children and all.

The upside is that it is Feed Ember a Rat-sicle day so I can at least provide some entertainment for the kids.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

5 weeks of garbage...GONE!
I am deliriously happy!

And my guitar instructor was suspiciously sweet to me this evening, has he suspected his days are numbered?



If only they took the hideous van too.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Oh I love the teen years - the angst, the sorrow, the irrationality, the temper. And to think that when Satchel finally leaves these years of emotional and mental instability behind, Jakob will throw himself in with wild abandon.

No wonder my mother hid in her room eating chocolate for roughly 20 years.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sometimes it is so not fun being a girl. Specifically a girl having an ultrasound wand stuck up the ying yang during day 2 of her menstrual cycle. And I completely understand all of you who just now had a bit of their dinner forced back up into their mouths...and I completely apologize.

The other happy bit of knowledge, as they so calmly discussed sizes and contents, was that there is a 3.9 cm or mm (I missed that) cyst of some sort attached to my right ovary, which didn't make me completely happy since I did have Harry (a 7 INCH dermoid cyst) removed from my left ovary nearly 10 years ago. But the technician said with a very cavalier attitude that it was probably nothing.

And then the heavens opened and the rain poured down.

Another typical summer day in Toronto.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I have to admit, I've been having difficulties getting motivated to write on my blog. I don't know if it's because it is summer, (well technically summer, after all it is July - July pretending to be early May) and that my brain is shutting down for a long vacation. I finished my digital prepress course with as much as enthusiasm as I generally muster for a trip to the dentist. Even my guitar lessons with Luis are not generating the joy they used to, but that could because he keeps BLOWING ME OFF. Do I not ply him with coffee on Sunday mornings or beer if it's an afternoon/evening lesson? Jesus.

A portrait of my backyard during what has become a typical summer day, minus the smell of garbage. My favourite activity - pulling out the lanterns and the cushions for the chairs, only to move them back under the tent 10 minutes later because we were just hit by a downpour. The upside is I haven't had to water the plants or grass once this summer!

So my brain has shut down for a little vacation but I will make more of an effort to ramble, I mean write, about interesting little things going on in my life.

Like I just got off the phone only one minute ago with a nurse, a perfect stranger who's name I could not make out, from Princess Margaret telling her that yes, my period did start last night. Yes, I am currently menstruating. How often do you get that opportunity? If you're Joe, NEVER! That's the wonderful thing about being a girl.

So why would anyone want to know such a thing?

PMH wants me to participate in a study titled: Fertility in Female Cancer Survivors - Novel Assessment of Ovarian Reserve. Pretty exciting stuff - though I'm sure I shouldn't be included and tried to convince them of that. I mean yes I have had breast cancer, but managed to avoid radiation and chemo with a mastectomy. But I have a feeling they are desperate for volunteers so I will be used as someone to compare others to. And all it involves is getting up earlier than usual, having a blood test and an ultrasound, all before having my first cup of coffee and settling back at the office. I do enjoy participating in studies, it has the effect of creating a purpose for my having had cancer, where otherwise I would sit around, twiddling my thumbs, trying to figure out how it all happened. And maybe they made a mistake. Maybe it was just an infection after all and what I really needed was a strong antibiotic. So I offer up my time and/or pieces of myself whenever asked just in case it helps someone else.

Enough of this period/cancer/study ramble.

Paul has continued working on the front porch, designing and creating these beautiful side panels with long skinny planks of cedar. He's still working on them but here is a picture of Paul cutting wood with his new table to the din of a thunderstorm.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Progress has been made on the porch, I threw a mat down. Looks quite lovely. Now looking for a couple of comfy chairs to join the mat so that I can begin enjoying the great front of the house that no longer smells of cat urine. At least until the next stage of work begins - perhaps this weekend?

I had the most wonderful weekend!

Paul took the boys away camping, from Saturday morning until Sunday afternoon and I was alone. ALONE! The house was so quiet it was hard to actually leave it. Though after enjoying hot coffee and a newspaper read without interruption I headed downtown to enjoy the annual art show at Nathan Phillips Square( The evening was spent having dinner with a girlfriend and a martini while enjoying the late night element of Salsa on St. Clair. Sunday I slept in until nearly 10am, waking only because Arthur the Cat was standing on my bladder. Finally I finishing my alone time with a guitar lesson and another martini on Pat's front porch.

Then the cell phone rang...they were home. Hamish still hasn't recovered.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Has it really been since June 21 that I last wrote?

Is there anybody out there?

So much has happened in this past month: I've been given a clean bill of health by my oncologist, the kids finished school, Toronto's strike has reached day 18 and I'm frustrated at the pile of garbage around my house and that the kids may not have camp certain weeks...and that the parks are used as garbage dumps, that there are no swimming pools, that people are potentially losing their jobs because they no longer have daycare or just don't have jobs this summer because facilities have been closed...I am very bitter in case you didn't pick up on the subtle tone.

And we just returned home from a vacation in Grand Falls, New Brunswick where I had no access to internet, which has left me a bit shaky I have to admit. Couldn't blog, couldn't twitter, couldn't read other people's blogs and tweets, couldn't check email, couldn't read the Toronto-based news. And it rained every day and if the rain didn't keep us in, the out-for-blood black flies did. So I drank wine, watched Harry Potter movie after Harry Potter movie with the kids (we are so ready for the Half Blood Prince!), drank more wine, shopped at Wal-mart and listened to my mother-in-law pine and vent...and then drank wine.

The fascinating thing about the trip to Grand Falls was that the purpose was a family reunion on Paul's mother's side. Charlene is from a family of 15 children and all 15 are still alive! They range in ages from near 50 to early 70s, 10 boys, 5 girls. Coming from a family of 8 kids where 2 have already been lost to accidents and illness (the curse of the Glover girls) I found this wonderful - as in full of wonderment. Some of them are not wonderful, they're a bit crazy. But unlike the last reunion, the false teeth stayed in.

Paul's grandmother, now 90, is also still alive. Though to be truthful, she's their step-grandmother, the original matriarch of the Morin clan died of cancer - which I'm positive was a result of having 15 children (no multiple births) plus miscarriages back to back. Memere Jean is adorable and speaks not a work of English and I speak very little French - though I do try. After trying to manage a small conversation, Jean gave me this kind of crazy look that transcends any language barrier and says loudly "who the hell are you?"

I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation!

Anyway, no update on the porch. Hopefully in a couple of weeks I can post photos of the progress.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

No further progress on the porch because it was, you know, Father's Day and my handy man has crashed after getting up at 5am for a 6:15 tee off....and I felt I should be kind because he was responsible for these two rug rats after all:

I think the high point of the weekend was buying a six pack of frozen rat cubs for Ember the Snake and wondering if our cleaner will find them in the basement freezer.