Tag Archives: fresco

On and On, Around and Around

I almost wrote this blog post on my phone, using the free wi-fi available at the ball park, while Eli practiced baseball and Arlo practiced hockey with a tennis ball (ALL THE SPORTS AT ONCE PLEASE) but people talked to me so I listened to them and then it would have been awkward to pull out the phone again. Plus I have fat, fat thumbs that do not do well with today’s smart phones; my old phone had a little punchy-in keyboard and that was great but the touch screen, I am not used to it. It is not used to me. I watch teenagers text on public transit and their thumbs move like hummingbirds and their mistakes autocorrect — or don’t — and they don’t even stop to read over what they’re writing, they just hit send and apologize later.

On Saturday night SA and I went to see the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra perform Mozart’s Requiem and on our way home on the skytrain we met up with a few hundred people who had been to see Def Leppard. A lot of them were very young. A significant number were older than me. I know from my high school facebook friends that many people my age also attended the Def Leppard show. Armageddonit.

The Symphony was splendid. I sat listening, thinking of better words to use than awesome. Fantastic. A delight. An older woman sat next to me. She was there with friends, but they had seats together and she was visiting from out of town so she bought a ticket on her own. She was from Montreal and she had never seen the Requiem performed. At the end she stood and applauded and shouted Bravo! and then leaned down to ask me what I’d thought. Wonderful, I said. It was. A symphony is one of those things that you take for granted until you are staring at it, bathing in it, wondering how on earth anyone ever thought of Music Composition or Symphony Orchestras. Seriously. It could be so, so horrible, but it isn’t, it’s amazing.

Three days earlier I saw Neko Case perform at the Vogue theatre and she was sublime. Her voice is like warm honey. Sometimes it turns and there is a knife blade, but before you can really process that you heard a knife blade, she’s back to honey. She has magnificient, red hair and she wore tights with skeleton bones printed on them. If I could switch places with her, Freaky Friday style, I totally would.

*closes eyes* *opens eyes*

Nope, still me.

Yesterday it was ALL THE CELEBRATIONS for Eli’s birthday, which is today. Today he is seven. But yesterday he was six and 90/100ths and we had a birthday party at the movie theatre. Three friends fell ill over the weekend with a mysterious feverish virus, and in retrospect that’s probably a good thing because six boys in a movie theatre was enough and nine might have killed me. The party was not Pokemon themed, although I did put Pokemon cards in the loot bags; there is a store at a mall that sells ‘grab bags’ — 20 cards for two dollars, and one of them might be rare. Eli also received a lot of Pokemon cards as gifts, and the sharp intakes of breath around the table when he opened the blah blah blah blah something or other E.X FULL ART! was something to behold. How to shut up a room of 6-7 year olds: put a giant shiny card in front of them. Magic.

Eli also received some money as a gift and when asked what he would do with the money he replied, I will buy more Pokemon. When asked what he would do if everyone he knew stopped playing with Pokemon, he shrugged in his inimitable way, and replied, I will put them away and wait until they’re popular again.

Smart for seven. Maybe too smart. Age of reason: achieved.


“One nice picture. Come on.”


I Am The Taco

Some weeks are productive and you squeeze out every last minute like a delicious lime over your taco and some weeks are more like you are the taco: easily broken, vaguely tasty, sort of cold, soaking in lime juice, about to be eaten. It’s raining and I have a cold and the train is too full and people breathe too much and I want to embrace humanity but I don’t.

Related to my last post about days off, here is a great article about how to do it properly:

How to Take a Day Off . Ahh. Are we all relaxed now?

Related to nothing much at all, except that squirrels! are great! here is today’s XKCD cartoon, which you probably already saw because everyone but me reads it on the regular. However, when directed, I do greatly enjoy it. I just forget.

Today at daycare Eli gave away all his Pokemon cards — except two — and then regretted it.

We were driving behind a vehicle a few weeks ago and it advertised YOUNIQUE PRODUCTS (collective groan) and I kept forgetting to look it up on the Internet, but then I did. It’s makeup. Direct marketing makeup. Younique.

It’s you, only ‘niqu-er! No?

What else? That’s it. This taco is done. Here is a photo from Ye Olden Tymes, aka February.



Today is Monday. It is also October 20th, which is Eli’s half-birthday. He reminded me of this on our walk to school this morning. He also reminded me yesterday. He suggested that something special we could do together would be: he could play with his friend, the neighbour, while I made him a half birthday cake?

He really is the sweetest. He knows I prefer to bake alone.

For a half birthday cake I made a lemon loaf because I like lemons and I couldn’t muster the enthusiasm for a full cake with icing and bullshit. I’m getting over a bad cold with sinus involvement and my patience is wire thin. Every twenty minutes I have to either breathe steam or drink hot tea. And two days ago the kettle broke, so we had to get a new kettle but that was just foreshadowing.

I have a recipe for lemon loaf — or several, don’t we all? — but I looked online and found Ina Garten’s lemon loaf recipe. The recipe yielded two loaves, so I had to cut the recipe in half and isn’t that just apropriate. Because it’s a half-birthday, you see. Which isn’t even real but hey I guess it is now. I just made it real, with cake.

Before I made the cake I had some lunch and before I had lunch I set some chips on fire in the toaster oven and had to pull the tray out, the Katniss-at-the-Capitol-flaming-tray and throw it out our front door onto the stone part of the patio, where the chips turned to char and the flames crackled until I stopped shaking enough to pour a watering can full of water on them. Hisssssssss.

Toaster ovens, man. Saint Aardvark has gone to get another one now because he fears the giant flames might have hurt the element. He might be right. Our last toaster oven, which I believe died this calendar year, had an element that melted in the middle, through no fault of mine.

When I first moved out on my own, back in 1993, someone gave me a toaster oven for a housewarming present and I swear I had that thing until 2005 at least. Its replacement lasted five years, *its* replacement lasted one and now we have killed two in one year. I mean. I’d just get a toaster but we are addicted to frozen hashbrown patty things, Eli and I, and to heat up the whole oven just to do one, or even three, hashbrown patty(s) seems absurd.

Before I set the chips on fire I walked uptown and back to get some exercise that was non-exertive, and to buy some cotton swabs at the drugstore. I went to the new drugstore, the REXALL, which has escalators and really good lime and salt and pepper flavoured peanuts. I took the escalator up to find the vitamins and then scoured each and every aisle looking for cotton swabs.

Have you ever noticed that every drugstore keeps their cotton swabs somewhere different? London Drugs keeps theirs at the end of the hair products aisle. Shoppers Drug Mart keeps theirs in the baby aisle. I think Superstore keeps theirs in the makeup. At Rexall, I checked all the aisles, even found a hairbrush I didn’t realize I needed, and then resorted to asking the pharmacist, who didn’t know. I ventured down feminine hygiene, and noticed something that was not cotton swabs.

It was called a LadyCare Device and it was on the shelf next to the Diva Cups. I looked at it. It looked like a plastic purple heart, about the size of a pendant. Was it a sex toy? No. Was it a menstrual product? No. It is a magnet that you put in your underwear to control your menopause symptoms. $45.

The cotton swabs were at the end of the baby aisle. I know I went down the baby aisle before but I must not have been paying attention, uninterested as I am in the topic of baby care.

The other day I ate a lot of pasta or something and I got the bloaty stomach that comes from carbs + cheese and Eli patted me on the belly and said, “What a fat belly! Are you making another baby in there?” No. No I am not.

He’s a lovely child; articulate, great sense of humour, good hearted, fantastic facial expressions. Six-and-a-half today.

Here’s a photo from his first half-birthday, in 2008:


NB: this was one of a series and he has the same expression in each.

Last week I copied a recipe for something from the Internet into our recipe notebook. Eli said, “I’m going to write a recipe too.” He thought for a minute and then wrote the following:


So! If you need to make your own, that’s how you do it. (pls note: 61 degrees F.)

Twenty-Four — The Petting Farm


The Queen’s Park Petting Farm, near noon on a weekday. It is quiet and damp after a rainfall. Children frolic in the nearby waterpark, the ice cream stand is open, parents stand nearby with towels over their arms.

A lop-eared rabbit hears a noise. “Oh shit. Here they come. HIIIIDDDDDDE.”
The black rabbit, brown rabbit, and grey rabbit obediently cover themselves with hay.


Fifty screaming six year olds enter the petting farm. The gate slams behind them. Three sheep run as best they can for the “Animal Rest Area.”

“GOATS GOATS GOATS!” screams a boy with a bowl haircut.
“GOATS! I LOVE GOATS!” screams another boy.

They run at a goat, who bleats at them and runs to the Animal Rest Area.

“IT WENT IN THERE!” screams the boy.
“LET’S CHASE IT!” screams the other.

They are stymied by the fence. The goat looks on from the far side of the enclosure.


Five other girls run to the screaming girl, who has her face pressed up against the rabbit cage.


They turn and see the juvenile ducks being taken out of their enclosure by a park worker.
One girl pounds on the window. “Don’t do that!” says the park worker.
The girl stops but the shrieking–OH GOD THE SHRIEKING–continues and the last duckling refuses to go to the exit, instead walking back and forth close to the window, quacking constantly and adding to the cacophony.

The baby chickens in the adjacent enclosure look on nervously.

A group of boys sees the peacock enclosure and moves, like a large, cellular mass, towards it. The boys are making a low roaring noise. The peacock sits up straight.

“SQUAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWK!” says the peacock. The boys stop short. One of them turns to me, fear-stuttering, “Excuse me exx-exx-exxcuse me, WHAT IS THAT?”
“It’s a peacock,” I say. “I guess it wants you to go away.”
They do.

Arlo’s grade one class did a field trip to the petting farm a few weeks ago. He told me they participated in the young farmers program and saw a lot of goats. I had assumed this means you get a briefing on how to interact with animals? Like, for example, don’t yell at them? God, I hope so. I hope my son’s class was not running around yelling at goats. Next year, I promise I will volunteer for all the field trips so at least I will have some authority to yell at idiots not to yell at goats.


Look, I know–trust me on this, I know–you can’t stop six year olds talking about poop but could someone at least stop them from piling on the pooping goat and screaming at it? Can you imagine if someone did that to you, you little jerk? Yelled, “YOU’RE POOING IT’S GROSSSSSS!” every time you went to the bathroom?

The kids today were not toddlers, who at least usually have minders nearby to say “don’t chase the chickens” or “don’t eat that, it’s not a Glossette,” but kids older than my own five year old companion, kids who should either know better or if they don’t, have a teacher? or someone? to shut them the hell up? There’s a playground and a giant park where you can yell your brains out and be a jackass. This place is where a bunch of sad animals spend their last summer before they get slaughtered.

Probably. I don’t know. It can’t possibly be the place you take the animals you *like,* so what am I to think.


Heads ringing, Eli and I left the petting farm. Stuck a donation in the donation box, the screams of children and peacocks echoing behind us.

Twelve — This time For Real!

Tonight was Eli’s preschool commencement ceremony. He and Arlo decided a while back they were both wearing shirts and ties and have been practising wearing their nice clothes around the house, which resulted in many hilarious shots of dirty children in mis-buttoned white dress shirts and clip-on ties lounging on the couch watching Spongebob. Kind of like a flash forward to their eventual frat house.

So tonight was the night! Eli came downstairs in his graduation outfit: cleanish blue pants, socks, white shirt and burgundy tie with white polka dots. “Nice outfit,” I said. “Yes!” he said, “It’s my graduation! I’m going to DO IT this time!”

Note: he has not tried to graduate before.

First we saw a slideshow set to music. The mere idea of the slideshow set to music reduces me to a snivelling mess so it’s a good thing I was in the front row and no one but SA on my right and my dad on my left could see my glassy eyes.

Then the children came out and sang a selection of songs. Eli was in the front and sang and performed beautifully. Not surprising. At the end, after each child received a diploma, the MC said a few words about how wonderful the teachers are (they really are) and how much support they give to the “little ones.” Eli’s pal in the back row said something and then I heard Eli say, “YEAH. WE’RE NOT LITTLE.” And he shook his fist. There was almost an on-stage revolt, but the teachers got it all calmed down. Still, if you need a charismatic child for your protest rally, I can hook you up.

Last, of course, there was cake.

"I want my cupcake, where is my cupcake, you can take my picture if you give me my cupcake."

“I want my cupcake, where is my cupcake, you can take my picture if you give me my cupcake.”


I went to the swimming pool today with Fresco (4.5) and my mother (age undisclosed). Fresco has been taking swimming lessons since the summer, when he was sort of in love with the water, but a few weeks ago his instructor dunked him in the water and now he is scared of it. Which he wasn’t, before.

Actually that’s not true. Back in July when we went to Ontario for a three week vacation, Fresco started out afraid of the water. But then it was hot. Really hot. And the lake we swam in (Lake Huron) had about a four kilometre lead-in before you got your shoulders wet. So we all just walked away from him slowly and backwards until he decided to follow us and walla! he was in the water again within three days.

I mean it was about a million degrees celsius. You’d have to be a moron not to go in the water.

(there was going to be a great photo here of me piggybacking Fresco in the lake but I realized that I am missing two weeks of photos. Oh.)

We did a set of lessons in August. Then I signed both boys up for the next set of lessons at the same time so I could relax for 25 minutes (haaa!). All was going well, then came the dunking. Then, “Is it Friday?” “Yes! Hooray for –” “No, I hate Friday. Friday is swimmmmmiinngg waaaaaaah wahhhhhhhh.” Good job, me, for scheduling the swimming lessons at FIVE PM so I could listen to the complaining all day leading up to five o clock.

Five o’clock Friday afternoon: You thought it was Happy Hour. You thought wrong.

When we get there, he is fine. Except if his teacher asks if he would like to go underwater. Then he is not-fine. Last week his teacher came over to me and told me she wouldn’t be able to pass him if he didn’t put his whole head in the water. “Oh no!” I didn’t say. “A child repeating a swimming lesson level? Shocking!”

I am pretty sure no child passes any level the first time because otherwise how would they pay your wages, eh Missy? I also didn’t say.

I have learned a few things in my first six years as a parent. One is: it’s okay if you fail a swimming level. I mostly already knew that, having failed a few swimming levels in my own day, because I didn’t want to put my face in the water ahem. I can swim though! And now I can put my face in the water..with goggles..if I’m plugging my nose.

And don’t go thinking that Fresco won’t do it because he’s never seen anyone do it because SA dives like a goddamn dolphin.

I also failed skating because I refused to learn the proper stopping technique. (That’s what the boards are for! Fail.)

Two is: you can match wills with Fresco if you want to? But I don’t recommend it.

I’m pretty sure, also, that if someone three times my size held me under the armpits and then put me underwater, I would not want to go back to class either. After I saw her do that, I told him to tell his teacher he didn’t want to go underwater until he was ready. And I will be filling out or possibly creating a comment card for this teacher. On the other hand, I don’t want to just quit lessons — Trombone is doing well and also, we don’t quit. It’s OK if you don’t pass, but we’re not quitting.

So we went to the swimming pool today to frolic and enjoy ourselves and take away the horrible pressure of LESSONS. It was very good times. The pool is a new one, in a nearby city, and it’s warm like a bathtub with many water features like a ‘lazy river’ whose current actually moves you around. Whee!

Afterward, in the change room, Fresco told me that I was Black Panther because I was putting on black underwear and that I had extra powers because of my black…breast things. (he meant bra) So there. I am Black Panther. I have no pictures of that either. Hm. Oh well.

Fresco face on a boat we rode in Ontario this summer.

Take a Deep Breath

So the asthma specialist/pediatrician says to me,

“Oh, and by the way, you need the right size mask for a bigger child. You can’t keep using an infant mask. You should be able to pick up a replacement mask quite easily.”

The mask in question is a small, silicon, donut-style thingee that attachs to the end of a “spacer,” which is a device that you stick an inhaler full of medicine into. The spacer is supposed to help you take in a more even dose of medicine from the inhaler? I guess? I got the one we are currently using two years ago when we visited the hospital emergency room when Fresco had his first breathing incident, so it makes sense that the mask is the wrong size (it also says in plain type “infant” on it, not that I ever noticed)

I asked at one drugstore, who had no replacement masks but they offered to sell me a whole new assembly, mask and spacer, for $50. Then another drugstore.(same deal, but $60) Then a third drugstore.($48) Then I looked around the Internet. I called a medical supply store that didn’t carry masks OR spacers. Then I saw the company name on the spacer and emailed that company directly, and they forwarded my email to a local distributer, who called me on the telephone to tell me that they don’t stock the masks, just the spacers, but she would send my email BACK to the medical supply company so they could quote me a price on just one (1) mask instead of the usual minimum order and if that company said it was a lot of money, she herself would ask her boss if they could buy a case of masks and just sell me one.

Say it with me: Awwwwwwwww. I know which medical supply distribution company *I’M* going to call when I need ostomy supplies, stair lifts, etc. someday. If I remember.

#1 The little mask is basically a balloon of silicone. It’s a miracle it hasn’t been popped or burned or stuck up someone’s butt or otherwise destroyed in the past two years. Why doesn’t anybody sell replacement masks?
#2 Do you think I should go back to the emergency room with a fake asthma attack just to get the bigger mask? (I AM JOKING)

But despite all of this rooting around and phone calls and dead ends, I can’t be too cranky about it because you know what happens if you visit enough medical supply websites? You start to feel really damn healthy and lucky.

Postscript: I got an email back this afternoon from the company that makes the masks. Cost of mask: $4.99. Surcharge for only ordering one: $25. Anyone want to go in on $100 worth of medical supplies with me so I can save the surcharge? I think they have motorized scooters. Hey, and I saw a poster today at the Uptown Safeway, listing a motor scooter for sale ($125) and it said “Perfect Christmas Gift!” Hilarious or depressing. I think both.