Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I am currently drinking pink champagne because today is the fourth anniversary of my mastectomy and when I read the posts describing the initial diagnosis of breast cancer through to waking up from the mastectomy I can only think "HOW THE HELL DID I SURVIVE WITHOUT HAVING A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN?!"

Breast cancer is bad enough but couple it with living in a rental house with small children while doing a major renovation on the house plus dealing with what became the contractor from hell and a husband who contracts pneumonia just when we have to move back into our house, which has NO kitchen and running water working one toilet, one shower and a sink in the basement, while starting a brand new job? they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger!

But here is to four years and counting of good health!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Nothing spoils a lovely glass of wine more than having a stumbling, bumbling, slurring, can't string 5 words together, eyes rolling so far back they become stuck, drunk over.

I guess that was a bit harsh but please, it was a really nice bottle opened to enjoy with a good friend (not the person described above).

Yes the issues with the old roommate continue and this times he's making life more interesting by including prescription medication with his beer guzzling.

Such sadness when you watch someone you care about throw their life away and you can't think of what else to do when they don't want to change.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I think it's done!

The painting for the United Way auction and also the image for the Christmas cards sent out by our Canadian offices is finished!

And this time it was relatively painless.

I will photograph and post the unveiling this weekend.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

I think I will miss you most of all. I love you. Until next year my darlings.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

There is a fantastic retrospective at the ROM until January 2, 2011: El Anatsui: When I Last Wrote to You About Africa.

Definitely worth seeing, in fact one of the most inspiring and thoughtful shows I have seen in quite a long time. I have been back twice and plan on seeing it many times more (being down the street from my office and having a membership) before it leaves Toronto.

In fact I took Satchel yesterday after a painful "bring your surly 14 year old who knows more than everyone else in the world and deems most not worth talking to, to work!" experience. His initial reaction of "really Mom, do we really need to go to the museum?" quickly changed to awe as he walked around the installations and hanging works.

Here is a bit of a description pulled from the ROM site:

El Anatsui finds his inspiration in Ghanaian and Nigerian culture, plus global, local, and personal histories. His work ranges from large metallic tapestries and paintings to sculptures in wood, metal, and ceramic. When I Last Wrote to You... demonstrates the wide variety of materials favoured by Anatsui, such as mortars, discarded metal objects, vegetable graters, driftwood, ceramics and old printing plates. The exhibition allows visitors to chart the development of the artist's work over a 40-year period.

And a couple of images to whet the appetite!

Akua's Surviving Children

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween is my most favourite time of year!

The boys on their way to school, leaving trails of frightened, gasping people behind them (well Jakob anyway - Satchel's will be on the ground rolling with laughter)!

On a non-Hallween note, went to Beverley Hawksley's opening of her latest work last night at the Propeller Gallery, 984 Queen St. W.

Check it out if you have a chance!

I picked up one of her smaller pieces at her last show, love love love her work!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Living with just boys is having to scrub the toilet with disinfectant wipes before my a** can go anywhere near it.

I apologize for the visual...I just really needed to say it, I'm losing my mind.

Also needing to be said: Really Toronto? Rob Ford?. But you know, I might embrace him if he actually got rid of all our stupid garbage bins that we are trying to either hide or turn into front yard sculptures.

But on the upside, it's insanely beautiful outside with sunshine, blue skies and a temperature of 19*! And where am I? Working away in a near window-less room on my computer. And I have Jakob in the next room to keep me company, providing the musical sounds of gunfire from whatever XBOX game he's playing.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I did it again. I offered to do a painting to be used as the Christmas card for the Canadian practice and then donate said yet-to-even-be-started painting to the United Way auction.

What is WRONG with me, it's not like the pain of last year has subsided.

I have three weeks.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

And the progress on the garage continues!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

This my father-in-law Camille. My 70 year old father-in-law looking mighty comfortable 16 feet in the air swinging a hammer. Paul comes from some mighty good genes!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

We have a little project on the go that I have been keeping from you.

And I feel through omission I have in a sense been unfaithful to you.

And I'm really sorry.

We are, and by we I mean Paul, building a garage in the back. Designed by Paul, plans drawn up by Paul, a really big trench dug out by Paul and now being framed by Paul (and his Dad!).

I'm missing a lot of pictures - no doubt on one of the many cameras floating around the house - but here are a few of the raising of the Ilford wall - with many, many friends helping. Where was I you wonder? Out, driving far away with my mother-in-law. After 19 years of marriage I KNOW when I need to disappear.

I will keep taking pictures and updating the blog with the progress and if the garage turns out to be half as beautiful as Paul's contemporary design, I will have to say that I have one pretty talented and darn cute husband!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

I suppose it's time to bring the tropical plants inside if the Christmas issue of House and Home has arrived.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Today my little family participated in the CIBC Run for the Cure and I can't thank all my friends, family and colleagues enough for supporting me and helping me raise $2500!

It was a bit cold this morning and I must say, who designs the shirts? They are hideous. Even the survivor t-shirt was nicer and it's usually even more ghastly than the others! This makes me think I should spend the next couple of months coming up with t-shirt design ideas and just keep inundating them until they get the point and provide me with a free mortgage as a heart-felt thank you.

I also think that instead of having volunteers offering water on the sidelines, that perhaps cups of coffee would be a nice touch because my GOD it's cold and frankly a little early for a Sunday morning.

Here are a few pictures from our day - the kids were fantastic, Jakob barely complained and was impressed how easy it is to walk 5km. Not as impressed that he still had to go to a swim class afterward!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

So...yeah...I'm sorry.

I took a bit of a break and then an extended break and then a virtual maternity leave while I obsessed about the new addition to our home - Molly, my little girl. I love her. And yes, she's a kitten. Paul is adamant he will NOT go through a reversal to his vasectomy - I call this being selfish.

A quick update over the past two months:

1. I don't have cancer - at least they don't think the mass living in my left breast is anything to worry about but just in case will continue to monitor me very closely.

2. The boys are annoying.

2a. REALLY ANNOYING. And I don't think it's because I'm a girl, peri-menopausal and pms-ing complete with acne breakouts, I think it's because they are boys. I've taken to drinking wine and muttering obscenities under my breath and holding my kitten.

3. I've cut my hair really short and after throwing a vote out on facebook have dyed it red - and I must say, I quite love it! Not quite as rocking as the 70 year old I saw today while visiting hell, I mean No Frills (St. Clair & Alberta), who had bright red hair, studded motorcycle boots and was dressed entirely in black. She was awesome!

4. My kitten Molly, sorry boys, is my favourite and brings me great happiness but has pushed Hamish over the edge and he now spends all his time looking furtive and hissing.

5. I started running. It's killing me, I'm in disgusting shape ... more to follow on that happy note!

I just wanted to let you know I'm alive and well and will continue to update my blog more frequently then once every 3 months I PROMISE and until the next post - tomorrow - I will leave you with this little nugget: this morning while standing in the bathroom comparing the height of my children to my own (Satchel is just shy of my height - dammit, now must master wearing high heeled shoes constantly) I exclaimed how old I looked. Jakob quickly said "no you don't Mom, well maybe just under the eyes, you know those puffy parts? Maybe if you just put on more make-up."

Introducing Molly, also known as TROUBLE.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

This makes me feel like everything will be okay.

Monday, July 26, 2010

My son has a girlfriend, as confessed to me multiple times while watching the season premier of Mad Men.

A bit of a digression regarding Mad Men: What happened to the baby? Did Sally hide baby Gene and with all the drinks flowing they haven't noticed yet? Or perhaps the baby is off playing with the drycleaning bags?

Because I was so focused on Mad Men, I'm a little sketchy on the details but I believe our one-sided conversation went something like this:

Mom, I was on the phone with my GIRLFRIEND. You know I have a GIRLFRIEND right? Anyway, what are the plans on Friday because I want to meet my GIRLFRIEND in the park. Because she's going away on the weekend and her birthday is on Saturday so I need to meet my GIRLFRIEND in the park after camp...

After the show ended, I was able to sit quietly and digest what was thrown my way. I came to the conclusion that I am not ready to have a dating teen and my only recourse is to keep him very busy for the rest of the summer.

But thank goodness for Mad Men because at least the show has given me excellent coping strategies: dress well, always have a cocktail in hand and one will survive.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Jakob is a tortured soul...and through virtue of that, I am a tortured mother.

Quick side note: yesterday I was positive the gods were out to get me...but I survived. And as the saying goes: what doesn't kill you makes you stronger!

So why is Jakob so tortured?

One: Day camp. He hates it.
Two: Karate. He hates it - it's boring.
Three: Vegetables.
Four: Grapes.

I really don't get it. How can you hate grapes? They are little balls of sweetness - I described them as nature's candy to Jakob while he was making retching noises and spitting the chewed remains into the green bin.

Speaking of grapes - there is nothing nicer than a reasonably dry rose wine spritzer with the glass filled with sweet strawberries!

A little survival tip if you too are a tortured mother.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I think my brain is in summer-mode. I might have to create a sign that says "brain gone fishin'" because every time I sit down to write, I'm paralyzed. words.can't.form. thoughts.stuck.

And yet it's not like stuff hasn't been happening.

For example: the first day of summer vacation, the boys are home in the house, THE TEENAGER (that in itself is worth a year of postings) has a friend over and I have promised to take them to buy a paintball gun after I get home from work. I'm not in the house 5 minutes when Arthur the cat, hearing my voice, comes out to me in obvious distress, strokes, falls over and within minutes has died. I'm crying, Jakob is hysterical, and Satchel is trying really hard not to cry in front of his friend as I stroke Arthur's body in those final few minutes to try to provide some comfort, let him know I'm with him.

I am back home, preparing to have the "cycle of life" conversation with my still crying 8-year old, a mere 30 minutes after arriving from work, having taken Arthur's still-warm body to the vet's, sobbing while trying to get the words out to let her know he had just died and had been perfectly fine in the morning. He started his day like any other: yelling at me to get up already, eating his breakfast, going out for his morning walk around the house, inside again to continue yelling at me, eat more food, drink water, go have a nap...

A side note, my vet is really kookie. And while good with animals, a little awkward with people. But being kind while dealing with my obvious distress, she says that she will have a paw print in clay made for us as a reminder of Arthur. Because surprisingly my suggestion of having Old Artie Carkeys stuffed and put on wheels with a voicebox was turned down.


Nearly two weeks later I get a call from the vet to come collect the pawprint (and pay my final bill). I'm presented with a box, and as I look at what I did not expect, I'm handed a bill - for cremation and an added $30 for this little nugget of beauty.

I stared at it, picked it up, turned it over, tried not to giggle, said "wow, that's really something - but I was under the impression it was a gift?" and then declined the pawprint (they had already sent me two beautiful paw prints on paper, I'm not that cold hearted - just frugal!), the girl expressed surprise that I was being charged since it is normally a gift and handed it back to me.

The house is so quiet now, Arthur was a very bold and flamboyant personality and with us for nearly as long as we owned the house. It feels very different without him.

I can only hope that this is not an omen for how the rest of the summer is going to turn out because day 1 did not exactly start out on a high note.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

You have probably guessed that Jakob feels very passionate about EVERYTHING. He has even been described, recently and not by me, as a tortured soul.

In an effort to convince Jakob that it is perfectly okay to be eight years old and to embrace and enjoy life as an eight year old, I have been letting him out of the basement err... taking him on trips around Toronto to spend quality time.

It has been interesting, and frankly I am surprised I'm not medicated. But having just typed that I really do enjoy one-on-one time with my boys, time that does not involve wrestling or x-box.

Here is a little photo diary of our first 10 days of summer:

Jakob deep in thought, pondering what he would like to do now that x-box has been removed from the equation. It was difficult, he broke a sweat.

Our first trip was to the ROM to see the baby dinosaur exhibit.

As we entered we were told that an extreme martial arts performance was about to begin in 5 minutes if we were interested. Interested - of course! Jakob was about to start karate camp so the timing could not be better. And they would be jumping and breaking things and wielding swords!

Jakob said "No. Sounds boring, not interested." Being the good mother that I am, I forced him.

Here's a shot of Jakob with an expert jumping over him and 5 other children about to break a board with his foot.

Then this past Sunday I decided to surprise him and take him to the top of the CN Tower, a trip he has obsessed about for nearly 2 years! We get to the top, he eyes the ice cream stand, he's now starving, and frankly he's bored. Ice cream would help.

I'm sure that Jakob is messing with me.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


End of school year happiness!

Note the fear in the eyes of the mother.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Honestly, I swear there is a big black hole residing in the small space reserved for brain matter in the noggin of a teenager. Words leave my mouth, travel in through his ears and then get sucked back into the void so fast I'm reeling!

Stephen Hawking should put his theories on the possibility of extra terrestrial life forms aside and address the potential impact of all the black holes hanging out in front of my house right now. My fear is you get enough of them together, the entire universe as we know it could be jeopardized!

Yesterday's conversation with changing teen brain:

CTB: Mom, can I invite about 8 friends over to the house?

Me: Okay, let me think ... NO.

CTB: Why not?!

Me: Because I'm at work and I'm not having 8+ boys in the house unsupervised.

CTB: But we're just going to hang out at the front of the house or the back of the house.

This makes no sense to me.

Me: No.

CTB: Fine.

I call later to find a PARTY going on at 10:30 in the morning.

Me: How many kids are in the house?

CTB: Maybe 5.

Me: How many kids did I say could be in the house?

CTB: 5?

Me: No ZERO! Honestly, how did he manage to get 95% in math?

CTB: But I'm just feeding them.

The thought of feeding 5 13-14 year old boys has me faint on the keyboard. There will be no food left in the house. The door to the refrigerator will be be unhinged. If the big galoot is there, chances are catfood will be consumed and the fish will be gone.

So because I have spies on the street I later find out that there were 5 boys plus 3 girls, one wearing a flag. Thankfully the fish was fine.

And I will be encouraging a summer of paintball and xbox.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I find it disconcerting when someone you know very casually makes it clear that SHE CAN'T STAND YOU and you just don't understand why. You're charming and exceptionally witty! And you have a great sense of style. Why wouldn't she love you? She should want you as her new BFF!

And then you go to your husband's office party and BOOM there she is. And because I can't help myself, and want to figure out what it is about me that she doesn't like so I can, you know, improve upon myself I gravitate towards her like a moth to the flame.

To be fair, I am an absolute delight at parties. In fact I have been described as the "life of the party" after I've had a few drinks in me so what is it that gives this woman the old "deer in the headlights" look whenever she spots me?

Also I'm a bit unsure of her myself. First she lives in the suburbs - I wonder if she reads this blog? probably not seeing as according to I have pretty much annihilated the chance of anyone ever reading this blog again - and has broken another woman's bones while playing hockey.

But here is the story that confirms her true feelings for me:

At Paul's office Christmas party she took photos of everyone and very reluctantly took one of me. Fortunately for her it was THE WORST PHOTO EVER. I was laughing, talking, face distorted, wine glass being tossed around... and that special moment in time was captured. So she asks the old husband if he would like the photo included with all the other office photos, excluding of course the equally nasty one of herself which she will most promptly be deleting. Husband says that he better get my permission since it really isn't the most flattering.

He sends it to me, I pass out, come to, call plastic surgeon and book an appointment, then scream NO into the phone to Paul. Fortunately the woman who hates me (WWHM) is in his office with him.

He tells WWHM not to post it.

She says, oh (while giggling which I can hear) too late, I sent it by accident.

I asked Paul to ask WWHM if she ACCIDENTALLY sent her hideous photo to the entire office? Nope, deleted.

So where am I going with this, oh yes, what is the funniest way YOU would handle this situation?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I must say that there really should be a warning stamped on Steig Larsson's books stating that once you begin reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, you will have no contact with the outside world until you finish the entire trilogy. Your children will go hungry, the cats will move out. And then you will have to don a black armband as you mourn Larsson's untimely death while plotting how to steal the laptop from his partner that contains partial scrips for Books 4 and 5.

But persistence for my attention did wear me down: work, children, husband and cats - not so much the snake - forced me to stop reading occasionally which is why, two weeks after my last post, I am finally updating the blog.

What I love about Larsson's books is that I just can't get enough of them - I sneak reading extra pages whenever I can, whether waking up early and laying in bed to finish another chapter, reading for an hour after going to bed even though I have to prop my eyelids open with toothpicks... I just can't put them down! I'm reminded of when I was a child and would wake up as the sun was rising so that I could grab my book.

And now Jakob is developing a love for reading!

Jakob is currently pouring through the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series and will sit on the porch with me most evenings. This balances out the pain in my heart from Satch's focus on paint balling and Ultimate-Fighting-something-or-other-Man-Hugs. Otherwise known as UFSOOMH.

Clever Jakob is using his newly found passion for reading to secure favourite son status in the house and has decided that Satch just doesn't want to read, he can't read. Nope. And not only that, he's obsessed with violent xbox games. But not Jakob, not since the xbox suffered the THE RED RING OF DEATH, in fact he hasn't missed playing xbox at all! Though yes, he did spend his allowances on an xbox game, even though he can't play the game because of the RED RING OF DEATH - he is totally NOT obsessed.

So the two happiest moments for me over the past two weeks were: FINDING CHEEZ-ITS AT WALMART! I knew my constant badgering of Kellogg's USA would pay off, now if they would only bring in the Cheddar Jack flavour. And secondly, THE RED RING OF DEATH! I have not woken to gun fire once! There has been a lot less whining and crying and general crankiness (including the husband) and a lot more joy (ME!)in my little house.

Mental note: must add Bill Gates to my Christmas Card list. Love you BG!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


And then I'll meet you on the patio.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Good news: Blue the Fish is still alive! I know you have all been wondering with bated breath, but I'm not posting an image as proof so you will have to take my word on it.

In other news: Jakob washed the dishes, and the floor as a secondary bonus, and feels that with all the chores he has done, each dish representing one chore, he deserves TWO allowances. Bless his heart.

Finally I had my yearly MRI last night, this time at Princess Margaret Hospital. I bounce back and forth so much between Mt. Sinai and PMH that I no longer remember where I had my last mammogram or MRI because I have fused the two hospitals together.

But now I know the difference between a PMH MRI and a Mt Sinai MRI and I would have to say experiencing the two, I far prefer Mt Sinai.

Who would have thought there would be a difference, really. Big white tunnel, lots of noise, ear plugs, IV pumping dye through your veins, right?

But Mt Sinai is actually a more pleasant experience on the grand scale of things, and whereas I used to zone out and pretend I was on a beach (a loud beach in the throes of a tsunami - the noise representing the sounds of crashing waves) with a slight breeze blowing over my body, and I was feet first in the tunnel instead of headfirst so not quite as claustrophobic an experience, and the operator would talk to me to give me an idea how long each segment would last so I had an idea of when this beach moment would be over...

This time: head first, no talking, no breeze, and a different kind of futuristic knocking noise so I spent my time thinking "this is really fucking annoying" rather than "when is the cabana boy going to bring me my drink?".

At least it's over for another year and I meet with my oncologist Dr. McDreamy, I mean McCready, next month to discuss the results and my thoughts on having another mastectomy.

Didn't expect that did you! From fish to mastectomy in 8 easy paragraphs. Ha!

Here's to a fantastic long weekend!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It is not my fault. The drama that is my 8 year old can only come from his father's side.

And it is this drama that makes me fantasize about cold frothy drinks on a patio, basking in the sun and warm temperatures where no one under 21 is allowed.

Jakob just said he wishes Holland didn't exist because that would make his homework much easier.

And I have said "stop with the complaining! small children in certain parts of the world are plucked from their homes, forbidden to go to school and are forced to move big rocks around all day!" Jakob of course focused on forbidden to go to school.

To backtrack, Jakob is working on his homework assignment. A few paragraphs to accompany a map he has drawn showing early settlers coming to Canada from Europe. There have been many tears and groans, as if he is constipated and has not seen the toilet in weeks.

The printing of the good copy is now causing him physical pain and he must lie down on the sofa for I'm not sure how long. And perhaps I should put a cartoon on for good measure. Things are looking bleak, he might not survive.

Now he has rolled off the sofa, across the filthy carpet and onto the wood floor. It is his strength and determination that will take him far in life, he will make it back to the kitchen to finish his homework. It's just going to take a while.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My toast on Mother's Day while having dinner at a downtown pub with Paul & the children:

To me, for without me, you would not be here.

Jakob: "And to Daddy."

Me: "No, just to me. You can celebrate his contribution on Father's day."

It is not good to be subtle with children.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's day to all the fantastic moms; for it truly is the hardest yet most wonderful role one could have and I wouldn't trade my life for anything - though to be honest the boys do look at all girl babies as a threat to their security, especially when I'm walking around with a large bag...

But all my love to the mothers that are closest to me, inspire me, and frankly READ MY BLOG!

So a toast to my wonderful girlfriends who are such amazing mothers: Kim, Heidi, Pat, Beth, Sam, Kathy, Jo & Lisa, Amanda, Lauraine, Brenda, Susan, Shirley (my sister who does NOT read my blog, nor does she understand Target), and all those I have not mentioned but adore non the less.


Taken after seeing Ironman 2 this afternoon.

Friday, May 07, 2010

There is nothing like an old picture being sent out of the blue (thank you Kim) to really make my day - it's like an early mother's day present!

But how did that turn into this? (Though still covered in chocolate after all these years.)

And it is amazing to me that this large person is even able to be squeezed, changing brain and all, into a small photograph. He deserves at minimum a New York Times Square billboard!

And yet I have barely aged a day in all that time.

I do so love my boys.

Monday, May 03, 2010

This is a little bit unnerving - my bathroom scale seems to be reading on the heavy side and my clothes don't fit quite as comfortably as they did before my birthday weekend bash which turned into roughly 3 weeks of celebrating. Perhaps it's time to retire the poor old scale since it obviously doesn't work anymore and maybe not launder my clothes as often since the washer seems to be doing them in.

There - problem solved!

But how to stop the voice in my head screaming: "MOM, did you gain weight MOM?!"?

I know ... someone kindly left a Regal catalogue at my desk - because obviously my personality screams Regal!

If you have ever had the opportunity to leaf through one, it is amazing to me that a team of professional researchers could actually compile such a collection of wonderment. I liken the contents to viewing a series of tiny shrunken heads - both horrifying and yet strangely compelling.

For example doesn't everyone fantasize about having a resin statue of a french maid holding a roll of toilet paper? And for only $30 it can be yours! Not to worry, she is averting her eyes for she is also quite modest. And we've all struggled with crazy hair in the morning - do we sleep an extra 15 minutes and go to work looking like Medusa or do we shower and not turn the office to stone? Problem solved, mesh hair net, $5.98! And with summer approaching - we are all looking for the next good book to read and I just found a couple on page 42: Why are there NO cats in the BIBLE? ($15), very curious - was there a cat bias in olden times, did Noah forget to load them onto the ark? definitely questions to be answered, or Poems and Reading for Funerals and Memorials ($9.98) both fun and interesting - a good book for the beach no doubt and one that will scream "come sit by me, I'm a girl who's quirky and loves to have fun!".

Already the voice has been silenced.

Friday, April 30, 2010

You don’t have to suffer to suffer to be a poet. Adolescence is enough suffering for anyone. — American poet John Ciardi, 1962

Especially for the parent.

Changing teen brain has taken to answering my questions and requests with "what the hell MOM!?"

I shake my head not really understanding why innocent requests such as "call me when you get to your friend's house" or "take your wrestling outside, you've already broken a lamp and ruined the carpet" or "stop beating up your brother" or even the casual "stop with the attitude - what is wrong with you?" always have to result in "what the hell MOM!?" Actually the response to "take your wrestling outside" also included "why are you so mean to me MOM?!" because the ground wouldn't be quite as soft as the aforemented ruined, expensive, felted-wool carpet from Pottery Barn that makes me want to weep as I mourn its lost beauty.

I can kind of understand why my mother isolated herself in her room reading fiction and eating chocolate from 1977 to 1986 because I kind of want to hide out at the neighbours, drink wine and read magazines (or hide out in my room and read the pile of books I'm desperate to get through).

But I won't. I will hopefully instead figure out how to successfully manage this new relationship - and mark off on the wall each day until he turns 18 - with the help of my friends (real and virtual), books, and perhaps this article:

and have a few skills and tricks in place before the 8 year old's transformation begins, because after all he's always been the more difficult one...god help me.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Oh happy days - Fuzion Shiraz Rose is back on the shelves of the LCBO and it's still only $7.50!

Run, don't walk, to your nearest store and stock up!

Especially if you have a wedding planned for late July...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I'm typing while in pain. Cursed cookies and cream ice cream! Why must you be so good? And especially after my ex-son's comments about my weight gain.

Better to balance it with beer and nachos. Oh ... did I just divulge my darkest of secrets?

Think GLEE.

I just finished my guitar lesson and plying the instructor with beer, organic because I feel very maternal towards him and do not want to stunt his growth further, and also so that he will consider me his favourite student. Because really, he is only 26 and are the 10 year olds going to offer him a drink? I would hope not!

We practiced Dear Prudence and to mix things up, a little Neil Young: Down by the River. And because I'm a sucker for punishment, and typing to the sounds of all the boys in my house (the lush is here too and no that is not self referencing THOMAS) playing war games on the xbox, I think I might help myself to another organic beer and think about life...while holding my stomach together...and counting the minutes until Glee starts.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ex-son: Mom, have you gained weight?

Me: Why yes I did. In fact I gained SIX POUNDS OVER MY BIRTHDAY WEEKEND living on cake and wine. Thank you for noticing, I love you, do I look like I've gained weight?

Ex-son: Yes but now you're even more cuddly!

He's a spinner, that 8 year old.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Because our house is full of culture, my 8-year old is singing Prom Night Dumpster Baby from Family Guy and has just asked about the wire sticking from the baby's belly.

Being the loving and patient mother that I am, chock full of information, and one who takes great pleasure in shocking her children, I have just explained the workings of the umbilical cord, the placenta, transferring of nutrients from mother to baby while in utero, and what happens to the umbilical cord after the birth which finally results in the perfect belly button that most of us have.

I say most because I'm not part of that special demographic. I used to have a cute little navel that was capable of holding nearly a cup of water but no longer. Now it's just a scarred little frown but because I have not yet had the first glass of wine of the weekend, I will keep that story to myself.

Back to the umbilical cord story:

Jakob's reaction?

That's NASTY!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Because two boys, 1 husband, 2 cats (one very old and who likes to follow me around the house, constantly yelling that I'm just not doing a good enough job and could I please just get it together!) and one snake is not enough fill every waking moment of my day, we have added a fish. A beautiful blue beta fish. Which in my constant state of delusion thought that it would be the easiest of all to take care of: a sprinkle of food and done.

But I was wrong. So wrong.

First I nearly kill it trying to transfer it from the plastic bag to the small bowl, and then nearly kill myself by having a heart attack as I scream at Paul to PICK IT UP, IT'S DYING (because even though I have no problem picking up frozen rat cubs the sight of the gasping fish puts me over the edge) and then he drops it TWICE on the counter before successfully getting it into the bowl.

And then we watch with Jakob in a near panic since it is his Easter present and he has already made me swear that we will not eat it some night for dinner.


And finally it starts moving.

Encouraged I decide to feed it the four measly flakes according to instruction - seemingly they like to keep their fish thin - and as I gently tap the package, FWUMP, the bowl is now filled with what looks like brownish bits of paper.


I would like to pretend that this blog is full of exaggeration...but it's not really, Jakob is that dramatic almost every waking moment of the day. I blame his dad.

Now once home from work, my new routine is to sneak upstairs to see if this new little addition to our family is still alive. So far so good and we are now on Day 4 - but the stress is killing me! How am I supposed to keep it alive for 2 more years?

For fun and lack of space, and because Jakob insists on having it in his room, I have the fishbowl beside the snake tank which is making for a very enthusiastic Ember who is now plotting her escape and seldom hides under her log.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

I know that Easter is all about the resurrection but is there anyway that can apply to the lamp in my living room the boys just smashed?


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Oh dear, the pictures are starting to filter in.

Monday, March 29, 2010

More important than regaling you with stories of my boys' shortcomings in 80s appreciation, I must write that today would have been my Dad's 85 birthday and that unfortunately he barely lived to see 55.

We all miss him.

An example of the 80s posters that have scarred my poor children for life.
"Makes me want to vomit" indeed!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Final preparations are being made for my big party tonight and there will be incriminating pictures posted over the next few days without a doubt!

But to whet your appetite - I have created 5 small posters which include 80s shots of a few people in the neighbourhood, and of course Paul and myself, with a bunch of the more visually interesting bands from that era - can't make a poster without including the hair from Flock of Seagulls!

The kids are both fascinated and horrified by this.

Changing brain teenager: That's you Mom? OMG that's totally embarrassing! I can't believe you looked like that! What? My snappy fashion sense? I look awesome!

8 year old: Mom, what did you do to your hair?! And your eyes - you look Egyptian! And then he said: I THINK I'M GOING TO VOMIT.

Yes, he said vomit.

But I understand - they are too young to truly appreciate the wondrous-ness of the 80s with all the styles of music and the clothing and the hair and make-up. I will forgive the nausea.

Friday, March 26, 2010

I love how this app for my BRAND NEW iPHONE makes everything look fantastic - even me! Even me with Ember the Snake and the necklace that I broke 5 minutes after this photo was taken. And might I add without a heavy amount of photoshop which is going to provide me with the opportunity to do many more valuable things with my time like...paint! And spend quality time with my children!

I also finished both my courses last week and because there is nothing like an over-achieving mature student who finds a kindred spirit in Monica from Friends, I managed to maintain my A average while greatly intimidating the under 25 demographic.

Now I can breath. And though I have vowed to take a break from courses at least until September, am already leafing through the course catalogue taking in ideas. For example, a wine specialist course which just screams me. I mean I like wine...I would say I even love wine. The smell, the anticipation of the first taste, taking that first sip and mulling over in your mind all of its characteristics - OMG, this course would be perfect! And what if I could get a job as a wine specialist! This would at least guarantee me the best table in the finest of restaurants because I'm pretty sure the hostess would be in awe of my credentials - and the $20 in my hand.

But first I must go to bed and sleep and between dreams remind myself of all the stories I need to share with you.

I'm throwing my massive spring party tomorrow night (80s music, Andy Warhol factory decor and French Martinis - three things that really don't go together but combined make for one smashing party!) and it is imperative I get my beauty sleep because unfortunately the app doesn't help me in real life and I can't exactly photoshop myself for the party - oh if only I could...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Day 5 and I have officially made it through March break without even the hint of a nervous breakdown!

And I would like to boast that not once did I suggest to Paul that we sell the children to pay for the rebuilding of the garage or offer to let them move in with their New Brunswick grandparents so that they can explore their inner country child as suggested by a certain mother-in-law...and then have that offer rescinded when she saw how excited I became at the prospect of a small break from parenthood.

Warning, a digression follows:

What would it be like to not have children in the house for longer than a school day? Paul and I could spend adult time together without interruption! I wouldn't have to provide a reasonably proper dinner by 6:30pm only to have it rejected because it's considered disgusting. I could drink hot coffee and read the newspaper on Saturday morning. Go see a film on a whim without dropping $40 for babysitting and having one or two calls buzz through during a pivotal scene. And dare I write it this? I truly don't want to offend anyone's sensibility by creating even the slightest of visual and if I do, I am so sorry: not needing pajamas at night! Because there would only be Paul, myself and old Arthur the cat in our bed!

Well I guess I won't know now that the mother-in-law who offered up that dream has taken it back, stomped on it, chewed it up and spit it out all over the floor like Jesse James' marital vows.

Digression over, back to March break: I can only end this post by saying that Jakob said to me today "Mom, you're the best!" and my heart was full.

But then Satchel returned home from his 3 days away skiing and I just overheard Jakob say "Satchel, YOU'RE the best." Next he'll be saying Ember the snake is the best and then where do I stand?

I'm thinking steamed green vegetables for breakfast.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My profile picture adequately reflects how I feel 4 days into March Break and after 2 days visiting my mother.

The high moment of the last few days would have to be Jakob pulling off his sock to show me the hole in his foot where we finally managed to destroy his plantar wart and create a space large enough to park a car.

Part of me feels that it would benefit you greatly, and by you I mean all my darling virtual internet friends, if I posted a picture but then I would have to put down my glass of wine and pull out my camera. And then I would have to play with the picture in photoshop to elevate said picture of the hole in Jakob's foot to pretty much a work of art and then how would I pour another glass of wine? And that would be wrong, so wrong. Because we are four days into March Break and I did just spend two days with my mother. And I know you would not want that to I won't.

Internet people, I love you, thank you for putting my emotional health ahead of your desire to see my son's disfigurement.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

This is just a musing as I count down the minutes until neighbourhood weekend cocktail hour - and of course I know it's only Thursday, but that's the kind of optimistic person I am! My weekend starts Thursday at 5pm with the unfortunate distraction of a number of work hours on Friday to contend with, but essentially...WEEKEND!

Sorry, I became distracted, the musing is that one of the things I enjoy doing, more a love/hate relationship really, is pouring through Craigslist looking for that perfect chair, coffee table, console table, etc., to claim for my own. But instead I find really crazy stuff that crosses the line into hideousness and the sellers want a fantastic amount of money for it, and it's always classified as "mid century modern" or "retro".

Sure, the stuff is old but since when did old and ugly constitute mid century modern?

I have always played with the idea of creating a category called Crazy Craigslist finds as a companion to my occasional postings of fabulous wine deals. I posted a really hideous couch with 2 chairs for the great price of $800, but then felt bad. Not for the people selling them but for you the reader. They were truly ugly, and modern did factor into the description...but they weren't funny. I need to find something that makes you groan and then laugh out loud (LOL in teenage vernacular). So I will continue the search and then post an example - to really whet your appetite!

Is this potentially something you would enjoy?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I have finally surfaced after having been buried under the weight of assignments and exams and family...specifically the weight of my boys. A boy with frontal lobes that will not be firing for another 10 years, if we're lucky, and a boy who's hair is so curly that it seems to interfere with reasoning and hearing and understanding and also encourages a general dislike of good hygiene. Oh wait, non-firing frontal lobes also discourage cleanliness as I'm finding out.

I just had a thought that the writing geniuses behind a dummies guide to virtually everything under the sun would do well to write a book on managing a household of boys while staying sane and at the same time perfecting the recipe for the french martini.

Outside of drinking cocktails, I managed to escape the role of motherhood for one evening and went to an art show where I purchased a small painting by the Canadian artist Beverely Hawksley ( and also went to a fabulous bar on Queen St.W/Toronto called BarChef ( where I developed an addiction for their Vanilla Lite cocktail. Thank you Eve for expanding my little world!

But then it was back to reality and the pain of reading chapters on typography. Don't get me wrong - I love type! I would probably qualify as a type geek. But oh my god, the chapters are drier than my mother's blackened hamburger balls (and not blackened because of some fabulous Cajun seasoning, blackened because she would throw round balls of meat into a frying pan and cook them on high until they were black because at least that way she knew they would be cooked to some degree inside) in the 1970s when she went through her I hate cooking and frankly all of you phase. Actually it was just me that fell under that category. But that's a whole other thousand or so posts to devote to the special mother/daughter relationship we have and I'm kind of sorry I touched on it and peeked your curiosity. And I completely understand why my brother has been a vegetarian most of his life.

So where am I going with this post? I think to sum up: don't shape your hamburger patties to resemble golf balls and fry them up on high even if you are Tiger Woods. Your child will openly blog about it 30 years later.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

What a day!

First, so proud of our Canadian athletes.

Second: today is my honey's birthday and if anyone has any advice on how to get the #$@#*($&@#* ipod touch, his fabulous birthday present, to link the to the internet/wi-fi please let me know because all we get is "invalid argument" and I really want to ease my husband's crankiness. I will promise to love you forever!

But not as much as you babe, you're number 1! Happy birthday from your trophy bride!

And finally, perhaps most importantly, I was id'd at the beer store and if you have any idea of how old I am, you would understand how fantastic this is and how I can only love the person (and of course anyone who can help me with the aforementioned ipod issue and my husband - he's #1!) who asked me!

Friday, February 26, 2010

My heart is being torn apart and stomped on, bits ingested by cat and then furballed out, as my 8 year old decides to call me mom instead of mommy.

I try to ignore him, pretending there is no such person called MOM in this house but it doesn't work. He just keeps saying Mom! Mom! MOM!! MOM!!!! until he's shrieking, the volume equivalent of doing 0-60 in under a second.

Then to humour me, as he is now the master of patronization, he finally concedes and says Mom-mie, with the "mie" part falling down and no way is it getting back up.

He reasons he is too old to say Mommy and he's sorry but I'm just going to have to get used to it.

But I don't want to get used to it - it sounds so harsh and foreign to my ears. I'm barely used to Satchel calling me Mom, though he does tend to slip up now and then. Thankfully he's not quite so militant and focused as the small one.

Oh well, time to introduce this little Mom caller to Mr. Litterbox.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A lovely start to my day:

Stress Can Make You ‘Dumb’ & Fat!

My result from a work health survey we were asked (read: forced) to participate in.

I truly believe that Monday should be a kind and gentle day, one that begins with much needed latte after latte to help recover from the weekend, and then once the world is viewed as if on speed, moves kindly into an afternoon filled with frothy yummy cocktails to help slow the shaking.

Not a day filled with maternal failings and personal insults!

Am I wrong?
I have failed as a mother.

I just walked my 13-year-old son through the steps to make toast.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The evolution of the English language when you are thirteen and have hormones popping like Orville Redenbacher's is enough to take down the most staunch professor, but frankly, leave my words alone! I need them, I depend on them, and taking them away from me is pure evil and reeks of selfishness.

Changing brain and I were having a conversation which went something like this:

Mom, what's this made of? as he picks up a bowl from our counter.


Mom, that sounds so wrong!

What? Why? It's made of wood.

Ha, you said it again!

Wood? I don't understand.

Laughing hysterically: Don't you know what wood means?

OH MY GOD, it's a product from trees that we use to build and create things with. Of course I know what wood is.

Laughing harder if that's possible: Mom, it means *****!

No it doesn't - WOULD (I threw this in deliberately, enjoying my new power) you stop already!

Ha ha ha ha! Now he's bent over, holding his stomach together.

It reminded me of when we had to strike all words that rhymed with grass because they contained A*S*S which would leave Jakob gasping for breath.

One enjoyable facet of the new English: taking advantage of 13 year old boys who speak in acronyms about 50% of the time. After a bit of friendly father and son bantering, Paul called Satch an L. O. S. E. R. and Satch said What's that? Laugh Out.....?

Paul said No, it means you're a LOSER!

Friday, February 19, 2010

I was going to write about the insane dreams I've been having, how vivid and colourful and dramatic, in fact even better than Avatar! I've been spending my nights saving my children by killing monsters with poker hot steel rods, had a colleague take me for a ride in a 5-story airplane, an ex-colleague having eyeball transplants and sending me before, during and after shots, watching a movie with a dead sister who passed away too many years ago...

Then I thought, nope I'm going to write about today's hospital appointment and the decisions I have to make: do I lose one ovary, two ovaries, the whole kit & caboodle...can I have the surgery at the same time as a mastectomy or should I have two separate operations? And gene testing, let's get that done first and then talk to the one million doctors I have at my disposal to figure out what I need to do first.

But instead I'm going to write about having just returned from having pints with good friends at the Duke of York and who should be there? Why Daniel Craig! Yes, we drank with James Bond, Lord Asriel, guy from Layercake and oh yeah, naked guy from Tomb Raider! He signed an autograph for Jakob which proves that he's not just a really good actor but also a great guy because I can only love people who tolerate my children! And he peed with Satch! They shared bathroom time! And he even chatted with Satch!

Plus he has a great bottom while climbing the stairs because I was RIGHT BEHIND HIM! OBSERVING!

A fabulous end to a crazy day.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ahhh, the hormones are getting to me but I'm not sure if it's changing brain's or mine. He was very angry with me last night, feeling that I don't really listen to him.

Which to be fair is true.

But I have made a promise to try harder and as god is my witness and there is wine to consume, I will. But it's all so painful.

So this is how I get back at the children for forcing these promises upon me (and the 13 years of poor sleeping): I make Valentine's Day cards for them.

Jakob's were adorable Clone War cards complete with a chocolate heart attached to them and therefore boring and not worth posting.

Satchel's were brilliant if I do say so myself and only slightly soggy from the tears of laughter I shed while folding them in half. What 13 year old boy wouldn't want to hand these little beauties out? Frankly I'm surprised I'm not working for Hallmark.

click on photo to enlarge image

I made these specifically to hand out to girls. Satchel looked at the cards, flipped and read the cards, looked at me and said in a serious voice "now why do you think I would want to hand these out?"

I couldn't help myself, I started crying again.