Tag Archives: blogging


If you say you will write one hundred posts in one hundred days, that’s a Thing. It’s a goal. A Goal.

If you then proceed to drag out the hundred posts over more than a hundred days, it’s just a blog.

So, this is just a blog, like any other. Sorry. It’s not special. There is no gimmick or knack. I am still posting! Until I get to 100! But, well, so what.

It’s not even special to me. Really. Man it’s like the second time you try heroin*. Never as good as the first.

* I have never tried heroin.

I loved my first blog. I didn’t love the name of it necessarily, as years went on and it made less and less sense to anyone, but I loved that it was this great cave in the Internet where I could sit and pull my knees to my chest and just feel warm and safe. I loved that I started it as a bored unemployed person with an itchy chin, no dependants, and a lot of free time, and ended it in a suburb, with two small kids and a lot more grey hair.

There’s something special about something that sees you through so much transition and doesn’t so much as blink. Not that it could blink, being a blog.


No, that’s not quite it.

I don’t know what this space is all about yet. But then, making friends takes a long time. Once you know someone and love them, you look back at all that friend-making and polite dancing about you did and laugh because now you’ve talked about taboo thing and have gone to another level of friendship and can’t even remember when you thought she maybe looked boring or snooty.

This place will go to that place someday. And we’ll forget all this awkwardness ever happened.

Here's me in eighth grade. Awkward proof that all awkwardness is forgettable.

Here’s me in eighth grade. Awkward proof that all awkwardness is forgettable.

Eighty-Four — A Small Vacation Before the Work Starts

This is how it happens: at first you pledge to write every day and then you do. Then you give yourself weekends off, because that just seems reasonable. Then you take the occasional weekday too, because the kids are sick or you’re on holiday. Or both. Often both.

You begin to write less than you don’t write.

Then the pendulum swings back. Or you find it, give a big push, grunt and pull a muscle in your shoulder to get that bad boy swinging again, because I need to get to 100 posts. I pledged it! I will not break my pledge!


Since my last blog post I accepted a part time job that starts relatively immediately. It was supposed to start today but there was some paperwork missing so I am waiting to hear when it starts. I will work two days a week and a third day every other week. It is pretty much the most perfect schedule I could hope for. I’ll be working for my old employer, for whom I have not worked in six years, but in a different department, which means I am fulfilling my obligation of returning to work after taking a maternity leave pay top-up. The pay is great, the work is..

..the work is not great. It is fine. It is administrative assistant work. I can do it. It’s not hard. But it’s not great.

It’s not a calling or anything.

But I have to do something, and of all the somethings I’m qualified to do, within the constraints of my old employer to whom I owe either time or money, this is the best thing.

No really, I am happy. Though with happiness due to change in status quo comes stress. They are two sides of the same bagel. They come in the door holding hands and smiling.

Saint Aardvark is modifying his schedule to help take the kids to school and back. My mother will help out one of the days. I am hiring a babysitter type person to look after the third day. I have new corduroy pants. I already try to get up early, although as the days grow shorter, darker and rainier, this is harder. Pitter pat, pitter pat, the rain falls on the roof and the duvet is warm and I can still hear the phantom cat purring. It is hard to get out of bed at six o’clock. BUT I WILL DO IT. Soon.

Right now I am having some tea, listening to Radio Paradise, and smelling the banana chocolate chip muffins I just took out of the oven. In half an hour I will fetch the children from school. I hope they’re happier than they were when they went in this morning.

Correction: Eli is as happy as a songbird full of fresh bugs. He loves school. He loves soccer. He loves his friends. He loves playdates. He loves recess. I ran into his teacher at the grocery store the other day and she described him as “such a happy little guy” which was quite a head-scratcher for me but then I realized he is. He is happy. Everything is in place for him.

The other child, the previously happiest child ever, is suffering beneath the weight of the world this week. He stays up late reading and the mornings are hard. This morning he slept in until eight o’clock and then insisted he was not going to school because it was too dark and cold and wet and he was too tired. He sounded like an adult. And no, a mental health day is not the worst thing in the world when you’re seven, but also, soon I will lose 50% of my time my time and I really am selfish. I am. He had two sick days — actual sick days — last week and that threw my whole tentative new schedule into a spin.

In the immortal words of my old first year professor, Allan, a man who had lips like a Muppet and a pocket full of change that he jingled while he lectured, life is flux. (Not fucked as Sarah and I used to write it in our notes where we should have been, well, note-taking.) Flux. Life is flux and we can ride the waves smiling.

Sixty-Two — Things You Could Look At

God no, not sixty-two things you could look at. Five, I think.

From Schmutzie: A Love Letter to the Gentle People of the Internet: Please Don’t Go

From Sarah Selecky, about writing and blogging and self-criticism: Is it Good or Bad?

From Vice: The Ghost Rapes of Bolivia (that one is disturbing and horrible, and important)

From Prism Magazine: Writing prompts: How to Beat a Cliche and / or You Named Your Pony What?

And there is this:


Fifty-Eight — Repetition is Comedy. Or Not.

I went looking for something in my old blog last night and found a post I wrote three years ago on the same topic as a post I wrote just a few weeks ago. This unsettled me. It felt like I might be a boring old show pony with only three tricks. Neigh! It can’t be avoided, though, the concept of repetition, since I like to worry things until there is only the smallest chunk of bone left. I’ve apologized to my biographers several times in the past few years about how repetitive my journals are.

In other news, this evening 5 asked us to play some screamy music so I put on a System of a Down song he used to run around the house to last year. I followed it up with Ministry. I also took some video, and this is that. As you can see, Arlo got a new Diary of a Wimpy Kid book from the library today. Also he’s not such a huge fan of screamy music.


I’ve been exploring mindfulness, thanks to the excellent website Raptitude and a particular post of his that explained how to stop worrying what people think of you. He (Raptitude’s David) refers to a book on mindfulness and meditation called “Wherever You Go, There You Are,” by Jon Kabat-Zinn which I immediately sought out at the library, despite the title which reminds me of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, which in turn reminds me that I used to be a person who cared so much what people thought of me that I sat through that whole movie. (I might have fallen asleep at some point.)

It’s an entrancing book. At first I had trouble jumping in but now I’ve made space for it in my day and I carry it around with me and one of the things Kabat-Zinn says is to resist the urge to talk about and analyze and brag about your mindfulness practise so I will not!

I have come to realize that writing is a manifestation of mindfulness for me, at least the writing I do in the morning, and in the past two months, the writing I do here. I expect nothing of either space other than that I should be able to occupy it until I am finished.

It’s why I keep coming back, I guess.

Eli found this balloon on the street today and brought it home. It's a fundamentally true balloon.

Eli found this balloon on the street today and brought it home. It’s a fundamentally true balloon.

Fifty — Happy Baby Day

Is it a coincidence that the Royal Baby was born today, the day of my fiftieth post? I DOUBT IT. When I got up this morning, twitter was all a-flutter about the baby being born, which is so funny because later it turned out the baby was born at 4ish UK time which is morning here which means while we were all a-fluttering, Kate was already lying in her nice hospital bed, all cleaned up, clutching her giant baby boy to her bosom.

I’m not much of a monarchist but I like a nice baby story. Does that sentence make me sound sixty years old? So be it. The alternative is a bad baby story, and no one likes those. So even though I wasn’t keeping track of how many cms dilated Kate was, I was happy to hear she did it, just like I am always happy when someone who wants a baby manages to carry and deliver (or be delivered of…) one. I’d be just as happy for any other woman whose new baby I heard about on twitter.

I mean sure, next there’s meconium and screaming and toddlers and preschoolers and toilet training. And — god, can you imagine — all the opinions of the commonwealth, now in realtime. (Reddit AMA with the Duchess! Halp! halp!) But first, tonight, there’s sweet baby smell and sinking back against the fluffy pillows, and being happy you did it. And there’s Nicole’s post, which includes adorable newborn baby photos of her kids, a great photo of Prince Charles, and a link to William’s birth story that is just so damn carefully written compared to Modern Journalism. It’s only from 1982, (Shut up yes I know that’s 30 years ago) but it sounds like it could have been written in the 1960s.

So: The Royal Meconium? Best or worst punk rock band name ever? Yeah. That’s what I thought.


Whoops, I missed a day and I’m about to miss another one. Don’t panic. Here are some pictures to sustain you.

Three tiny heads in the lake.

Three tiny heads in the lake.

We went to the lake yesterday and it was cold outside but warm in the water, so that’s good enough for my crew.

This is how we encourage early literacy.

This is how we encourage early literacy.

It is easy to read one story to one child but add another child and you end up with butts.

Oh what a feeling. Balloons on the ceiling.

Oh what a feeling. Balloons on the ceiling.

Have a happy Friday and a swell weekend, see you Sunday night!

The Big Four-Oh

Hi, this is my fortieth post. I want you to know that I just spent two minutes staring at the letters “for” and wanting to type “tiest” at the end. Fortiest. It’s the FORTIEST!

Today I got the day off because Saint Aardvark is having a vacation, and it’s coming from inside the house! How splendid. After a week of summer vacation and two birthday celebrations for Arlo and a heat wave and some other stuff, it sure was nice to have a day off with no small children grappling at my flesh or talking to me.

First, I slept in until 7. Well, first I woke up at 5 but I managed to suffocate myself back to sleep until 7. By suffocate I mean put a pillow on my head just hard enough to shut out the world but not hard enough to actually suffocate. Obvs.

Then, I had a blueberry banana smoothie and some coffee and wrote in my morning journal out on the porch.

The kids and SA left for a trip uptown to the library and park. I ate some cereal.

Deciding to pack as much stuff into one day as possible, I decided to go for a run. I nearly expired from the heat. It is not that hot and it was only 9:30 and I don’t run that far — roughly 5 km — but I got really overheated anyway. I stood stock still under the cold spray of the shower when I got home, and it was so good I might have cried. The run was also good. I get a bit squirrely if I don’t get my exercise for a week.

I visited a friend for 11 am. We caught up on our lives and our children’s lives and she made us salads from her garden’s lettuce and topped them with hard boiled eggs and Swiss cheese. Then we went out to a nearby coffee shop to have a writing date. This friend and I get together periodically and the math goes: one hour of talking to fifteen minutes of writing, but the fifteen minutes makes us feel incredibly proficient and good about ourselves, so it counts for twice as long. I declare it.

I had an Earl Grey tea and she had an iced tea that was the colour of Hawaiian Punch.

At 2:30 I drove myself home in the car. It was hot like an oven so I drove fast to cool off. When I walked in the house, Eli shouted, “You’re HOME!” and ran over to hug me. “I am going to have some apple juice!” he announced. I believe these two statements are unrelated but you never know.

The rest of the afternoon was lazy and ended with barbecued chicken and corn on the cob (the children still don’t like corn on the cob, in case you’re keeping track. Apparently it’s “too sweet with a weird taste” [that’s Arlo; Eli won’t try it {sigh}]) and leftover birthday party cupcakes for dessert.

Now I hear bagpipes through my living room window — they practise in the Justice Institute across the street — and SA has gone to a mountain with his telescope to look at the night sky. I’m having wine, the cat is next to me on the couch, and now you know: the rest of the story.

Thirty — Summer!

Prompt two for Bring Back the Words: “What is your quintessential summer supply list?”

Today was the last day of school for Arlo. Technically it was only 2 1/2 hours of school. We all stood around outside the school at 11:30 going ‘what do we do now? Do we go home? And? Then? What?’ It was raining, so that didn’t help.

Hopefully it all comes back to me.

Must haves for summer:

– Umbrella and rain boots (ba dump!)
– Internet connection
– Library card
– Lip balm
– Hat (ball-cap style)
– Spare hat (full straw style, in case it gets really hot)
– Sunglasses (must be new every season because I wreck sunglasses. Yes, if I bought a good pair I *might* take better care of them, but then again I might not and then I might end up wrecking expensive sunglasses)
– Sunscreen — whatever’s handy. 30 spf for my face all year ’round and whatever doesn’t smell like coconuts for the rest of my body.
– Children’s sunscreen — the spray-on kind, not too smelly, not too cold, not too sticky you get the idea.
– A big bag to put all the stuff in
– Purse in which to carry the stuff I don’t want the children to find (secret chocolate, my phone, etc)
– I suppose I should check the status of my bathing suits as I have a tendency to buy halves of two pieces when I see them for cheap and then end up with yellow bottoms and black and white tops. I know! Travesty!
– Sandals. I only wear one pair but I own three. Last year I was looking for the perfect sandals, despaired of ever finding them, bought two cheap pairs instead and THEN found the perfect ones. #lesson
– 400 five-dollar t-shirts, two of which start the summer white
– Bubbles for the children to blow
– Water bottle. Have you guys seen my new (late summer 2012) water bottle? I’ll take a picture of it for you tomorrow.
– Tea tree oil for all my itchy spots, not that we have mosquitoes here, I am just itchy a lot
– Heel file because my heels are made of coral. They’re so hard and mean they held up a gas station last week, just for free twizzlers. How embarrassing.
– Toenail polish, the brighter the better
– Deodorant! And hair oil goop stuff so my hair lies down a little bit each day. My hair needs its rest.
– Snacks! I like almonds and raisins and fruit; the children enjoy a fine assortment of crackers
– Tasty beer
– Often gin
– In a pinch, wine
– Music. Lately, the children have become obsessed with SONIC HITS the local HIT STATION that plays all THE HITS. They are starting to chafe my nards with this, actually. I turn the key in the car’s engine and the radio hasn’t even come on yet and Eli says “Is this SONIC HITS?” Are they paying you to listen? I don’t think so. Settle down, Beavis.

And the sanity must-haves:

– Regular showers
– Time to write in my journal in the morning, and a break mid-day, otherwise a full day with two children might just result in me stealing a skateboard and running for the border
– Exercise
– Sleep
– Several nights sitting on my porch until it’s dark, talking with Saint Aardvark
– Tiny vacations, even if they are just in my tiny brain.

Happy, happy summer! I hope!


I was reading NurtureShock last week, approximately six years behind everyone else, and something stuck out for me. The concept of praise.

I am a praiser and a praisee. I don’t think I’m a praise junkie exactly but there are things I do more for the praise and recognition than for the joy of them. (What kinds of things? Um, I can’t think of any offhand, but I’m sure there’s something.)

The research says –I am too lazy to cite here– that when we praise for ability instead of effort, what we get is children who only feel successful as long as they are praised, or until their ability ceases to exist. If we praise for effort, we get children who want to make an effort because the reward is the same; whatever that effort’s reward would have been anyway.

So “you’re so smart” is not as effective as “I like how you tried the question over and over until you found the answer.”

It makes sense. Even as an adult, what can you say to a compliment like “You’re so tall! I wish I was tall!” Yep. Tall. I had nothing to do with it.

Yesterday I opened up this comment page and found I had been comment-bombed by Allison. Allison, who is witty and compassionate and a true blue internet friend that I hope to meet someday. She went back and read something like fourteen posts and left comments on them, many of which had no previous comments at all, and it was this warm blanket of happiness around my shoulders when I saw it. “Oh someone is reading,” I thought, “someone IS reading. Someone is CARING. Someone likes what I say.”

Now, I said I would write 100 blog posts in 100 days and I missed one day I think so far but I never said I would stop if no one commented. I love comments, we all love comments, but I find it hard to find the time to comment on all the blogs I used to read / still read. I get it. It’s part of the give and take of blogging; we write for ourselves and others and we read to connect with those others and some days there just isn’t time to write and read and comment and make dinner.

As I work on effectively praising my children so they don’t give up when faced with algebra someday, I’m trying to also be more conscious of how I talk to myself, and how I rally my internal support system. without waiting for someone to tell me I’m great, they like me, they approve.

So: no comments! I want to keep going without your support!

(Just kidding. But no pressure. Not that you were feeling any, probably. It’s the end of June and we’re all tired. I know.)

(As you were)

(Happy Wednesday)