Monthly Archives: November 2012

Boys Can Sew

I was at a store today, a store that sells a variety of things; clothing, toys, hats, suitcases, mislabeled shoes that say they’re size 11 but really are not. I went for a specific item, which I found, then looked for a bra but there was a giant gaping hole on the rack where the 36As go — is there some kind of factory shortage of this size or are there suddenly a million small-breasted women out there? I don’t understand. I was at a store last week and there was the same dearth of 36As.

Anyway. At the core of me I know I am privileged to have small breasts and have the option to go braless because the stores don’t want to clothe me. Etc.

After I found the thing I wanted, and not the bra I wanted, I wandered over to the toy section because Christmas is coming. There I overheard a small child and his grandmother, chatting about toys.

“Wazzzzat,” said the child, pointing at the shelf.
“That’s a box of something,” said his grandmother.
“I like dat!” said the child, pointing at a different shelf.
“Oh, that’s a sewing kit,” said his grandmother, “That’s for girls. It’s not something you would like. Carla would like that…”

You’ll be pleased to know I burned a hole in her with my eyeballs of fiery doom. She now resembles a slice of Swiss cheese.

It’s one thing to have your children be poisoned by other children’s opinions. And yes I know that a diversity of opinions is important for everyone to encounter and I don’t really mean poisoned but I kind of do. For example my own children play with and worship a neighbour child who has many good qualities and also is a girl-hater (yes he’s 7 but he is weird about girls beyond the usual cooties thing and has been for two years now) and when they play with him long enough I hear things like “that’s a girl song,” or “no way am I ever touching anything pink because that’s a girl colour” and I have to do damage control and re-assert our family values ie: there is no such thing as a girl toy and there’s nothing wrong with girls FOR EXAMPLE I AM ONE AND I MADE YOU and stop criticizing Ani DiFranco, asshole. Fine. That’s part of my job as a parent, to provide the more diversity of opinion and attempt to explain my values which I think are the best values. Obviously. As they are mine.

But if you have a child who is simply interested in the thing on the shelf, WHY do you have to go out of your way to tell him it’s not for him, that he won’t like it. Clearly he fucking likes it: he just said I LIKE DAT. So not only are you denying him what he thinks, you are telling him to be something else entirely, setting up gender boxes that didn’t exist for him a minute ago, and then stuffing him in the boy box.

And no, I’m not in favour of buying uninterested boy children sewing kits and then parading them around going “loookeee my BOY and his SEWING” but I would never, ever say, “you can’t have that, it’s for girls.” Unless it’s a tampon.

Fuck. Little dude wants a sewing kit. You don’t have to buy it, but watch your mouth. Your words have meaning and you just poisoned a nice, clean well.

And PS? Did you notice that half the designers of the clothes in this store are dudes? MICHAEL FUCKING KORS, whose pants you like. He’s a dude with a sewing machine. Well probably he doesn’t do much sewing anymore but you take my point. Yes you do. You take it.

All shopping shall be online from now forward.

I Will Try To Keep This Amusing

My head is clogged and my mood is foul. We had a long day inside with conflicting emotions and agendas. At one point I actually told my kids off for being mean to me when I was sick. Mature! They just stared at me.

But listen, long ago this morning I had hope for this day. The children were watching their morning tv program. I was listening to my music player because this year I got wise to the fact that I don’t need to be subjected to the theme song and then very terrible dialogue of whatever show they are watching. Just in time, as recently it has been rather a lot of Power Rangers and that, friends, is some bullshit.

I was writing in my morning journal so I didn’t need anything distracting like morning radio. I put my music player on shuffle and I heard a few songs that were pretty good. Suddenly I got the one-two shot of snap-out-of-it: OK Go’s This Too Shall Pass and then Mr. Blue Sky by the Electric Light Orchestra.

This Too Shall Pass has been one of my parenting anthems since the day I took a fretful and refusing to nap baby or toddler Fresco for a walk in the orange stroller, the only place he would fall asleep during the day. I listened to the whole OK Go album over and over again, but stuck on that song because it made me weep because yes. When the morning comes. There is sadness, and there is hope through the sadness, and you can’t keep letting it get you down.

And then, there is Mr. Blue Sky, this wild, 1970s extravaganza of sound and jauntiness and whenever I hear it I just want to stand up and snap my fingers. Yes, even when I have four millions pounds of snot in my head preventing me from breathing. Especially this morning, because the sun was unexpectedly shining and the world was bright.

The video adds an especial level of wonder, because of the clothing and that hair. My god! Imagine cleaning the bathtub drains of ELO!

Now it is the end of my day and I have moved through many moods, including shouty metal and accusatory hip hop,to arrive at a sort of Morrissey/Radiohead place, where everything is repetitive and gun-metal coloured. Hey. There is always tomorrow.

Five Things* I Would Do With Unlimited Money (*That I can Think of Right Now)

1. Pay my taxes so other people could have roads and whatnot. And give freely to good causes. But not the ones that sell my information to other charities, resulting in my receiving tonnes of crappy admail that I then return to sender or recycle or shred in a fit of pique. Those good causes I would purchase with my unlimited money and then hire someone with a brain to run properly.

2. I like our house a lot and I like its relatively small footprint but I would love an adventure yard full of mysterious trees and dark corners and friendly squirrels and a fence so I could open the door, say ‘go play’ and then shut the door after the children left. And they wouldn’t complain because: adventure yard!

3. Every year in October we would re-locate to a sunny, warm climate and we would stay there until cold/flu/strep throat/bronchitis/vomiting/Hand Foot Mouth/general malaise/sinusitis season is goddamn over. It would be like those books when rich people in England got consumption and went to Spain to recover. I want to lie on the beach in Spain right now. I want to eat olives and drink thick red wine and not feel like crap.

Yes, this whole “five things” is just an excuse for me to complain about how I feel like crap. I have been sick forEVER and no amount of vitamins, soup, garlic, sleep, hot water and lemon, decongestant, nasal irrigation, steaming, fruit eating or ibuprofen has yet cured me and I am MAD about it also. Very mad. Today we found out that Trombone has strep throat. My throat also hurts. I keep waking up and expecting to feel better and feeling worse in new and different ways. On Thursday morning I woke up and my scar was inflamed. I have a scar where I had a cyst removed in August and the scar wasn’t pretty to start with and now it’s glowing red for some reason. Is it a sign? A glowing red sign that is saying “figure out a way to have unlimited money so you can have all your blood replaced”? Maybe.

4. I would have all my blood replaced. Maybe annually.

5. I would buy a chip factory.

What would you do with unlimited money?

For Dinner…And Beyond!

This morning, pretty much as soon as I opened my eyes, I started craving lasagna. Probabaly because it’s November, traditional “put cheese on it and bake the shit out of it” month, and because it’s raining and dark and actually I don’t need an excuse to crave lasagna. I’m half Italian and lasagna is awesome.

The other day, my pal mentioned in passing that she was making The White House lasagna for her dinner.
What? I said. The what?
It’s the lasagna the Obamas eat, she explained.
Oh. Well then.

Hey, this pal is American. She knows her POTUS. Secret: until about two weeks ago I had no idea what POTUS and FLOTUS stood for. I just saw the letters float by on my computer screen all the time and was all “shrug, I guess the Americans need to care but I don’t.” (It’s President of the United States and First Lady of, in case you were also being willfully ignorant. You may arrive here ignorant but you will not leave the same way! Aha!)

So this morning, anyway, craving lasagna, USian election coming up real soon, I decided I would make a symbolic White House lasagna and then eat it instead of voting, since I can’t vote in the US election because I am Canadian. Although! I feel like I SHOULD be able to vote, given all the tweets and facebook posts, dear god in his heaven, can we give facebook back to the nerds now? and baloney I am forced to witness, not to mention how close I live to the border. I vote for more Costcos that sell booze, right on the border! And for a woman’s right to choose! OK. Booze and choose. The end.

We already had a shopping list two miles long (see? Miles. That’s a nod to you, USian friends, else I would have said kilometres) so I added the ingredients to it that I needed for White House Lasagna and then remembered that today is Farmers Market day in New Westminster. I wrote two separate lists: one for Superstore and one for the market.

Down at the market, I got apples (such glorious, marvellous apples) and garlic and eggs (eggs a full dollar and a half less than at Superstore I will have you know) and saw the happy people eating the delicious foods and then I went into the liquor store next to the Paddlewheeler Pub and bought two bottles of beer: a Farmhouse Saison because Saint Aardvark likes that one, and one called Hop Manna, which said it was an IPA and I will always buy an IPA I have not yet tried.

When I got to the till, the man who sold me the beer told me the Hop Manna is Kosher and I smiled because my friend who told me about the White House lasagna is Jewish (although she doesn’t like beer) and it felt like everything was coming together in a most promising way.*

Here is the lasagna link at because that link has the least pop-up bullshit associated with it.

* and then! I saw that the recipe is from a book called A White House Garden Cookbook, written by a woman whose first name is CLARA and that’s MY NAME. Seriously. The universe is aligning for some good right now. I can feel it. **

** Also, the book is supposed to help your children eat more healthily and Fresco just told me that the food smells delicious but it won’t taste delicious and he isn’t going to eat it. Dear Obamas: Do you have a room in your house for my stubborn, stubborn child. I would vote for you if I could and if you took him in for a year or two. XOXO.

Oooh, I Hear Laughter In the Rain

I have been jogging — I was calling it running, but Trombone, age 6, was kind enough to point out that I don’t actually RUN — on the regular for almost two months now. Usually I go on the mornings that Fresco is at preschool. I do a thirty minute tour of the neighbourhood, work up a good sweat and come home. This time has become a very important part of my mental health maintenance and though I may or may not ever get past 5 kilometres or thirty-some minutes, being able to go up and down hills without expiring is something I am proud of.

There are a lot of hills in this neighbourhood. Sometimes I think I would like to live somewhere flat, just to see how far I could go on flat terrain but then I remember my horrifying ‘flat terrain in rural Ontario with deer flies chasing me” experience from the summertime and I would gladly take hills over bugs that like to eat your sweat. Any day of the week. I choose hills. HILLS, I SAY!

Speaking of sweat, this week I did my first jog of the season in the pouring rain. Now, some people will tell you that sweating/heating your body in the rain will make you sick but a) I was already half-sick, have been for weeks now and b) I am not one of those people who believes in the sweat / cold voodoo. Even if today I am sicker than I was at the beginning of the week. Shut up. It’s my sinuses, which flare up like fireworks every year at this time. (pew! pew! crackacrackacracka! pew!)

Anyway, I am here to recommend jogging in the rain over jogging in the stupid, hot, sweat-inducing sunshine. Suck it sunshine. We don’t even WANT you back. *sob*.

Why #1: You know when you pass other people on the street, many of whom are also jogging, some of them RUNNING even, and you have to do that whole “do I say hello / is there a jogger wave / I can’t breathe so I can’t really smile right now / but it’s rude to just look away / oh he’s looking away / fine then, asshole, look away / what am I some kind of LESSER jogger? I don’t warrant even a smile? / fine, screw you.” thing?

I hate that.

In the rain, there are 90% fewer people out on the street to do that thing with. And, this week when my music player ran out of battery power, I could carry on a very nice conversation with myself, as I jogged, in the rain, without anyone calling the nice policepeople on me. In the sunshine, the park would have been full of go-getter running types who would have shamed me into carrying on my internal conversation, well, internally.

It’s better out loud because then I can pace myself and not expire on hills. And because also I like the sound of my own voice, see also: blogging about it.

Why #2: You may or may not BE totally hard core, but you certainly feel that way with rain dripping off your nostrils.

Why #3: You’re going to shower anyway, right? Well if you’re me you are. The wetter the better. (TM)?

Why #4: In the sunshine, there are hazards. Once, I got stung by a wasp on my foot while I was jogging. Once, I was blinded by the sun and nearly ran into a house. Those things have never happened to me in the rain.

Why #5: Thirsty? Just lick a tree. I have done it. Can’t do that in the middle of summer. Without tearing your tongue off and looking like a person who has eaten too much glue.

Is it raining? Do you have shoes? Go out in it! Lovely.*

* unless you are in hurricane country, in which case, sit on your couch and enjoy a beverage and some chips.

I Promised Patio Lanterns

Can you see them, all stretched across the front of this page? Blue, orange, purple, red, blowing slightly in the OH GOD IT’S NOVEMBER WHO HAS PATIO LANTERNS OUT ON THEIR BLOG IN NOVEMBER.

Patio Lanterns. Kim Mitchell Styleee.


Last week I was sitting around thinking about myself, as I do, and I thought, “It might be fun to blog again for November. November is traditional pulling-out-all-the-stops-and-hair month as concerns blogging and writing and I could do it. Just one month.”

The next day, totally unpredictably, my laptop computer died. Of course I took this as a sign that I should definitely blog every day in November, despite not having blogged since February, and I would just write up the blog posts in my (handy dandy) notebook with my pen and then type them up into Saint Aardvark’s computer, which I was borrowing, later in the evening and walla! Blogging! Again!

After day two of using SA’s computer, which is like an old VW Bug being held together — barely — with tape and spit and good wishes, I had resigned myself to the fact that I would not be typing anything on that machine at the end of the day because a) the trackpad is slow and wonky b) the lid just kind of..lies down periodically (backwards) and c) come on. Really? I have enough time to draft a post BY HAND in the morning and then rewrite it in the evening? Have I met me?

Have I met me? Wow. Good question.

Not only all of that, above, there, but SA’s computer is located in the living room portion of our open plan living room dining room kitchen area, and the living room is traditionally the Zone of the Children, so when I sat down in their Zone to do some important Tweeting, it was kind of like walking into a monkey cage at the zoo and bringing your statistics homework for something to read.

“Whatcha doing?” asked Fresco, now 4.5 years old, perched on my shoulder, I am not even kidding, “Can I see? Can I type? Can I play SuperTux?” (that’s Open Source version of Supermario and it’s pretty cool but NO you can’t play it all the time whenever this computer is awake.)

The next day or something, we decided to buy a new laptop so we went to Future Shop because they had the best prices and selection, and picked this one out. It’s pretty nice.  If we stay on the car spectrum, it’s a hatchback Kia. But it has working wipers and stereo and it’s clean and doesn’t need much gas.

With a pine-scented air freshener dangling from the rear-view mirror.

I am going to try out blogging again for a month and see what happens. As it turns out, it’s hard to choose a new name and title for a blog when you’re at the end of the blogging timeline … all the clever stuff has been done and the stuff you think is clever is not, on reflection, and you just want to get something up dammit because it’s November 1st, so I guess what I’m saying is: forgive the title, it might change, or it might not, all is fluid, kind of like the cold November Rain.