Tag Archives: listy things

In No Particular Order

I saw a crow eating a dead pigeon while I was walking through downtown this afternoon.

A man walking the other direction on the sidewalk, who saw the crow eating the pigeon at the same time as me, met my eyes and we both affected a wide-eyed horror face, and then we both looked at the tour bus that was stopped for the light, but none of the tourists looked out their windows to see the bird carnage.

I continued eating my most delicious falafel sandwich as though I was a crow and my delicious falafel was my pigeon.

When I got back to the office and told my co-worker, let’s call her Laughing Elder, about the birds, she told me about once seeing an eagle steal the food of a crane and the crane losing its mind with anger.

Last night I started reading “H is for Hawk” and it is exactly as good as all the reviews say it is.

Last night I also bought two Foo Fighters albums and finally indulged my love of All Things Rock and Grohl. Yes, I just said that. You are embarrassed for me. I hate puns. Unless I am making them.

I feel like I should be embarrassed for loving the Foo Fighters as much as I do. Yet, they write the songs that make me pound the table and bang my head while keening to the sound of perfect harmonies, so I guess I will not apologize. Also, Dave Grohl is an excellent writer and drummer, and shouty in all the right places.

That was the first song I heard this morning on my music player on the way to work and yes, I was a little overtired and happy that it’s Friday, but it was more than that. The song in my headphones at 7 am on 8th ave waiting for the bus made me darn near euphoric. I thought I might cry, vomit, become hysterical, and pass out on the sidewalk.

(It is possible I could use a good night’s sleep.)

Things have been at a low ebb for a few weeks; the evening sportsball activities are taking their toll and Eli in particular, being of a slightly dramatic persuasion, has a tendency to complain that he is tired, has only ever been tired, and will continue to be tired until his dying breath. Which will be tired.

Wednesdays are our busiest evenings; baseball starts at 5:45-6, then Arlo does soccer at 7 at a different park, and we don’t get home and into bed (the kids that is) until at least 8:30, sometimes closer to 9. Then up for Thursday at 6:30.

Wednesday I picked up the kids at daycare at 5, as usual.

Eli: Ohhhhh I am so tired.
Me: Gosh you do sound tired.
Eli: I think I should skip baseball practice.
Me: Oh yeah?
Eli: I’m too tired. I just..I just…
Me: We’ll see.

It should be noted that wednesdays are my busiest day at work. On Wednesdays roughly 80% of my day is on my feet, and 60% of my day is talking to clients, and the rest is either going to the bathroom or taking public transit, where I am also standing. Wait, no, I sit down in the bathroom. But stand on public transit. So I was tired too. I did not want to take him to baseball. I wanted to change into sweatpants and drink wine and drool myself to sleep.

Arlo: ..and I don’t have my shin pads.
Me: Hm?
Arlo: Remember I had to have my shin pads or I couldn’t go back to soccer? And I looked for them but I didn’t find them.
Me: Did you look *everywhere*?
Arlo: I think so.
Me: (suspects not)
Arlo: ..anyway I might find them. But if I don’t, we can go shopping.
Me: Pardon?
Arlo: For black pants and a white shirt.
Me: Pardon?
Arlo: Tomorrow is the May Day assembly at school. So we need black pants and a white shirt.
Me: Not for the assembly, surely. For the actual ceremony, next week…
Arlo: My teacher said for tomorrow.
Me: (plots teacher’s demise)
Arlo: So…we can go shopping if we don’t go to soccer.

Yes. Doesn’t that sound fun? Car, mall, kid, evening. No sweat pants. No wine. No drooling. I am DELIGHTED with this counter-proposal, and yet there is SOMETHING missing. What could it be. Could it be..that if I’m not GOING OUT I don’t want to GO OUT.

On we walked, Arlo bouncing along, Eli slouching.

At home, I made them grilled cheese sandwiches and thought about it. It wasn’t a baseball game, just a practice. Was it absolutely necessary that we go? Would it injure anyone’s character? I decided no and texted the team to let them know we wouldn’t be coming. I texted one of the parents from Arlo’s class and asked about the dress clothes for the Thursday assembly. She replied yes, and lol, and ha ha. I looked for Arlo’s shin pads and did not find them. I considered that he might have hidden them, but remembered that he loves soccer. Decided to cancel soccer too. Went to the mall and bought black jeans and a white collared polo shirt and was happy that we have two incomes right now so I could just go to H&M and buy the kid clothes and not worry about it.

Arlo has the right kind of body for H&M, spaghetti-like. The clothes fit him and we moved on quickly. I got to my sweatpants, my wine, and my drool. As Arlo himself is fond of remarking, it was not the end of the world.

Plus he is cute.



Eli got a cheese hat from his uncle who drives a truck and was in Wisconsin.


Bee Firmly Fixed in Bonnet

It started out OK, this day, but the list of things — stupid things — that were irritating me just collected and collected like a layer of dust until it was impossible to see the road ahead of me, so dusty was my windshield.

How Dusty My Windshield: Collected Stories.

A list, in no particular order, of the stupid things that somehow were impossibly irritating today:

— The smell of flatulence in a certain area of the office and before you suggest it was me, it wasn’t. I even, at one point, considered that I MIGHT be farting, that maybe my sphincter is LOOSE and farts are escaping my person without me noticing? And then I thought no, that is ridiculous, you would also then be pooping in your own shoes, surely, it is merely that someone in this office, or possibly everyone, needs to eat less junk food and get outside for a walk.

— This dude on the skytrain this morning had a baseball cap that said something stupid. I know. I don’t even remember what it was but it pissed me off.

— Whenever I take an escalator I think about a tweet I saw once; this person said “one thing that really bugs me is when people stand rather than walk on an escalator.” Now I do not give a shit what you do on the escalator as long as you keep right if you’re standing and walk left if you’re walking. But what the hell is wrong with standing on an escalator? It’s a MOVING STAIRCASE. If you want to WALK, take the STAIRS. I think about this tweet almost every time I take an escalator. I imagine that people who walk on the escalator are judging me, and then I get mad about them judging me.

Guess what, they are not judging me. Also can we take a real minute to appreciate my hypocricy, in taking someone’s stupid annoyed statement and making my own annoyed statement about how annoying it is.


— Also transit related: when people line up for the bus and then slowly shift forward in the line, even though the bus has not yet arrived. Holy shit. I am about to start swinging a baseball bat at the bus stop, people. If the bus is not at the stop, you don’t need to keep moving. Just stay put. Why are you moving? Do you think moving will make the bus come sooner? It will not come sooner. It’s the same as people in cars who are at stop lights and they can SEE that the cross-light is nowhere near ready to change but they still inch up, up, up, until their dumb car noses are in the intersection and for what? Two seconds of lead time? You don’t even GET that lead time in the bus line up because you get on right after the person in front of you and right before the person behind you. So I stand still. The person in front of me can inch, I will not inch. Today the person behind me was nearly licking my earlobes, so close to me was she, because when the person in front of me moved up an inch, the person behind me did too. I WILL NOT MOVE.

— The lady in front of me in the bus line up was wearing tights of the panty-hose variety, not the footless tights that are like exercise pants variety, and I could see the dimples in her butt cheeks and I did not want to see that.

— There was this kid on the bus who wanted to hold a bouquet of dandelions and his mom said no, your hands are too dirty and he was whining like whoa about this so I had to put on my headphones. YOUR HANDS ARE TOO DIRTY TO HOLD DANDELIONS THE MOST PRISTINE FLOWER IN ALL THE LAND AND ALSO RARE, WHAT? Sorry little dude, I feel you, but your voice is like a knife on a wine glass.

— This stupid computer program at work that makes me do extra clicking and is full of bugs and no one cares. It’s like an addled co-worker that you have to check up on all the time, to make sure it’s not breaking or losing things. Which is pretty much the OPPOSITE of a good computer program, can I just say.

— My music player was on shuffle and it kept playing PJ Harvey and the Pixies, as though it knew I needed to be pushed into a dark, cranky space and then forced to explode my way out. So I turned it off.

I left the headphones on, though, because of the dandelion kid & etc.

Yeah I think that about covers it.

If you have any irrational irritations feel free to share. No irritation too small, that’s my motto. Even the tiniest chafe can make a blister. Etc.

To Do: Day Off Edition

1. Sleep in. If you’re me, sleep in two hours because you went to bed two hours later than usual, with a net gain of 0 hours. Still, it feels good to get up AFTER the sun for once. Not that the sun is out. It’s raining. Because SPRING!


If you’re the kids, claim all week that on the day off you will sleep in. Then get up 20 minutes later than usual. Technically, yes, sleeping in. Practically speaking, no.

2. Have a leisurely breakfast eaten in courses: the yogurt course. The hashbrown course. The strawberry smoothie course. The cereal course. The other yogurt course. Actually that’s just Arlo, whose body might possibly be planning to grow a foot in the next two weeks.

3. Take a long shower with no rushing.

4. Wear a comfortable bra. No pinchy or binding bras on a day off.

5. Consider wearing tights all day but decide on weekend jeans. Because it’s the weekend! At work we wear jeans on our non-client-related days but the jeans still need to be, you know, nice-ish jeans. Not faded, comfortable jeans. Those are weekend jeans now.

6. Pin back the sides of my lengthening hair and end up with bangs? Apparently?


7. Take two hours to leave the house because I keep getting distracted by the Internet, which doesn’t exist at work and which I’m too tired to catch up on after work. Looking at the Internet is like watching TV after being without one for twenty years. *Stare*. There is so much internet.

8. Go out for a brief errand and buy the on-sale chips. I have lots of chips but these are the best and they’re on sale. Feel very laying-in-stock-like-an-adult about this.


9. Treat the children to lunch at a fast food restaurant and watch cricket on the television while they consume, respectively, a Shamrock Shake, and a Cadbury’s Easter Creme Egg McFlurry (BARF).

10. Listen to the sound of cars swooshing over rain-soaked streets. Putter. Colour. Do laundry.

11. Listen to Arlo and his friend, who have not played together in a coon’s age, work together on a Perler Bead design for a solid hour, while they discuss life, the universe, basketball, life’s ambitions, their favourite pop songs, what it was like in Waikiki (where the friend went for some of Spring Break), and other issues relevant to the 8-9 year old set. Delight in their sedate, cooperative friendship.

12. Hear Uptown Funk on the radio three times. Do not mind one bit.

13. Have no plan for dinner and have lots of time to ponder and get creative with what I’ve got around the house.

14. Have some gin.

15. Enjoy that I am having gin instead of smelling the wet feet and jackets of strangers on public transit. Pine fresh gin, it’s what’s for .. nearly-dinner.


16. Wish the Internet a Happy Friday.

A Minute of My Time

1. If you’re handing me a sample of food, you can take a minute of my time.
1 a. Unless it’s yogurt. I have no time for yogurt. Not a minute. Not a second.

2. I won’t take the free paper from you, but I will say good morning, and no thank you, and sing Jesus Christ Post to myself in your honour every day because your outstretched arms remind me of crucifixion.

3. You’re on the phone and you want to talk about how I can give you money for something. I am not interested in giving you money, or listening to you.
3 a. My computer doesn’t run Windows.
3 b. I stopped doing phone surveys a long time ago.
3 c. I am not the deadbeat who owes you and your client money, even though my name is similar to his.

4. I will tell you what time it is. I will give you directions, if I can. I will take a picture of you and your friends holding up your fingers, flashing peace signs. I will help you cross the street if you are a person who needs help crossing the street. I will take your arm and lead you to the bus stop if you can’t see. I have a minute of my time for these things.

5. I do not want to talk about children who need sponsorship, the planet’s woes, or how I can send relief to war-torn countries by giving you my credit card number. Not because I don’t care about these things. I care deeply. But I want to get where I am going and you are standing between me and my destination.

The giving part of my brain is actually quite large — maybe the size of Texas in a brain the size of America — but when you ask me for things when I’m on my way somewhere, especially on my way home from work, that giving part of my brain is inaccessible. The more you try to appeal to it, with your cocked head and persuasive stories, your pleading voice, the less likely — in fact, the less able — I am to change my mind.

Your utterly worthwhile charities support people in need, which people I would gladly give a minute of my time to, were they the ones standing in front of me. But it’s not them between me and my train home, it’s you. It’s you I have to stare past and ignore, day after day, or I’m afraid I will start hating you and the giving part of my brain will shrink and then I’ll be less compassionate than I am now.

I’m sorry. Not today.

The List

Today I was going to: attempt a long run, a full 10KM around Burnaby Lake Park. I did it quite by accident a few weeks ago and I want to do it again, with a snack in my pocket this time.

Today I was going to: finish the second draft of this story I’m working on, once and for all. It might even be a fourth draft by now. It’s taking forever. I want to set it on fire but I feel obligated to the man in the story to get it done, since he has spent nearly two years trapped in the damn thing.

Today I was going to: make granola
donate $50 to charity
tally the receipts from the month of March and move money from our savings accounts to our chequing account wrap a gift
get some groceries
go to the library
and plant some herbs in pots.

Today I:
woke up feeling like I had a cold, because I do
watched Friday Night Lights (Season One final episode, they went to State!) and ate nachos (at 9:45 in the morning)
had a long shower
tried to register for a 5K race in May but the receptionist was on her lunch break
thought about granola
went to the library
got some groceries
and some beer
and drank tea.

I realized pretty quickly this morning that my list was ambitious for someone feeling under the weather, so I let it go and told myself to have a sick day.

I haven’t had a sick day in a long time. I haven’t been sick in a while, so that’s good, but the last time I was, I went to work anyway (I wasn’t sick enough to warrant a day off, plus I only work part time and taking one of two work days off feels really pathetic) and the other days were spent doing other stuff, plowing through, keeping commitments.

Since I started working, I plan my days off carefully. I’ve had days where I lose hours to wandering in and out of stores or reading on the Internet and then it’s time to get the kids from school and I don’t feel like I had a break, even though I had a whole day. I like to avoid that feeling. It sucks. So I pace myself, no dilly dallying.

The relief I felt today, though, when I would think what is the next thing I need to do and then remember nothing, because you’re sick makes me wonder if maybe I have over structured myself, in the hope that all the structure will lead to — what, a day that can stand up by itself? I don’t know.

I felt so relieved to let myself off the hook, that same hook that I had put myself on. Relieved like a kid whose mother says he can watch until the end of the episode instead of going right to bed. Relieved like someone who has been holding her breath for too long. And now it is the end of the day and my butt hurts from sitting, but this day was good, it was OK, it was what I needed.


Nine Secrets

1. Sometimes, at work, when I’m befuddled and feel quite moronic, I think about the nice things people said to me — not just nice, but totally over-the-top supportive and kind — when I despair-posted the other week and then I smile to myself and soldier on. I never said thank you to those people, so thank you. Your sweetness lives on in my brain heart place.

2. I channelled the real Santa and bought Arlo a ridiculous Nerf gun for Christmas. Because nothing says Christmas like a gun made to kill zombies. If foam darts could kill zombies we wouldn’t even be having this conversation, would we.

3. I was having a direct message conversation with my fabulous father-in-law the other day. We were talking about squirrels and their natural predators and he wrote, “It’s a tough world when you taste good & aren’t too bright” and I just keep seeing it at the top of my DMs in twitter and every time I see it I laugh and wonder if I could tattoo that somewhere on my person or if I should just put it on the blog and have it live forever here instead of on my skin, where it would take up rather a lot of space.

Well, now that’s done.

4. I walked into a pointy part of our banister last week and I have had a black eye for a whole week and I am really tired of people making domestic abuse jokes. I’m still participating in the conversations with people, because I know what kind of conversation they’re expecting to have and I’m too tired to crusade but I’m thinking percentage-wise at least one person who has been present for one of the many “oh did you REALLY walk into a banister?” conversations I’ve had this past week has actually been abused by a partner and that just makes me sad.

5. The other day I cried walking home from taking the kids to school because this woman was taking her grade-one-aged daughter to school and they were very late and the girl didn’t want to go and the mom was dragging her up the hill and there was crying and yelling and the daughter dropped to the snow and wouldn’t get up and I just couldn’t take it. Sometimes I just can’t take it.

6. All the clear, cold, snowy weather we were having made me a bit panicky. As Eli put it two days ago, “I wish all this snowing would just stop.” (he was cold)(I’m just a creature of habit who needs rain to survive, apparently.)(Don’t get me wrong, if I could pick what kind of weather I’d prefer to have for thirty days straight I would pick sunshine and cold over dark and rainy, but I’m USED to dark and rainy and we fears change we does.)

7. If I had to work more than two or three days a week I would be typing this from the psychiatric ward. Picking a part time job was the smartest thing I ever did.

8. It’s exactly two months until my fortieth birthday!

9. I don’t have a ninth thing but I can’t leave it at eight because I detest the number eight and the number nine is automatically more powerful.

Here is a photo to compensate.(?)

Eli, practising for his first Facebook profile picture, which will be taken at his first Kings of Leon show.

Eli, practising for his first Facebook profile picture, which will be taken at his first Kings of Leon show.

Eighty-Eight — In Which We Go With the Flow

We did things this weekend WITH the pack instead of against it.

Review: Superstore at mid-day on Thanksgiving weekend


Pros: All staple groceries were in their usual place, amply stocked.

Cons: Parking lot full of people driving like they are in a car-driving video game. Everyone trying to park as close to the door as possible. Store full of same people now driving carts full of turkeys and potatoes, dragging screaming kids behind them. Carts abandoned in middle of aisles while owners wander off looking for cranberry sauce.

Additional comments: Was kind of like cutting out a piece of my soul and feeding it to someone I hate.

Review: Playing with Saint Aardvark’s new phone


Pros: Shiny display. Nice camera. Functions well as a phone. Kept us entertained in the car for fifteen minutes while we waited to go pick up the kids from a birthday party (see next review)

Cons: An array of ringtones that all sound like they were taken from an episode of Survivor. “Rain stick banging on the empty coconut shell.” “By the ocean, in the rain.” “Good morning tropical birds.” (not real titles)

Review: Crash Crawlys Indoor Adventure Playcentre Extravaganza


Pros (for children): There are no rules except you have to wear socks. It is fine to scream as much as you want. Scream until your voice disappears. Please do. Children go here to enact their deepest primal desires (except for pooping outside) and the sound(s) and smell(s) of Crash Crawlys reflect(s) this.

Pros (for adults): Children do not require your attention for the length of stay, until they get hungry.

Cons (for adults): It is fine to scream as much as you want. Scream until your voice disappears. Please do. Children go here to enact their deepest primal desires (except for pooping outside) and the sound(s) and smell(s) of Crash Crawlys reflect(s) this.

Cons (for children): At some point, you will have to leave.

Additional Comments:

A. There is also a ball cannon, which is at the top of a climbing structure. It is a large funnel into which children can load small plastic balls and then, by pressing a button, or pulling a lever, exert pressure so that the great hissing noise of anticipated ball blast becomes the horrible, loud explosion of the ball blasting itself, a POP! that startles all the parents and minders in the building. One gets used to a certain level of shriekery, you see, but the random “hisssssss POP!” will get you every time because even if you think you are expecting it, you are not.

B. After forty five minutes in Crash Crawlys, the noise starts to seem normal, which is unfortunate, as it is not normal at all.

Review: The Applebarn (a u-pick apple farm AND ATTRACTION in Abbotsford)


Pros: 40 minutes from our house. U-pick apples. The smell of country. Fresh air. Pumpkin patch is free to roam; pumpkins are fairly priced. Small store sells lots and lots of apple cider, which is delicious.

Cons: Everyone East of a certain unknown line in the lower mainland also went there because it was a holiday and sunny and the heart of Autumn Motif Season. Narrow country roads crowded with SUVS looking for parking. Lineup to enter ATTRACTION. Fees to use ATTRACTION attractions (zip line, pumpkin cannon, pony rides, bouncy cushion, bouncy castle, hayrides) U-Pick apples actually at a different location just down the road from ATTRACTION.

Additional Comments: Pumpkin cannon sounds just like ball cannon at Crash Crawlys. Recommend against going to both Applebarn and Crash Crawlys in the same weekend.

Eighty-Six — A List

Oh I started a post today. I started one yesterday too. But. In honour of my friend Els who came up with a great writing prompt idea, here is a list of ten moments from today.

1. Hearing the kids awake at six AM (possibly earlier but I had earplugs in) and talking to each other in normal tones of voice in their bedroom while I did stretches on the carpet beside my bed. They were awake so early because the second best thing to Christmas? Is when your dad is putting a shortcut to the new Minecraft game on the shared computer and as soon as he goes to work you can play it. Squee.

2. Sitting on the carpet at kindergarten, Eli’s head on my knee, while I read “Lost and Found” by Oliver Jeffers to a few kids as part of literacy week at the school. When the boy and the penguin hug at the end, well, aww.

3. The absolute bright blue of the sky with red, yellow, and orange trees against it as I walked home.

4. Buying 6 kilos of coffee at Costco and having the checkout woman only say “Mmmm, smells good,” as she rang up my purchase.

5. Going to Burnaby Lake park to run as my reward for going to Costco.

6. I didn’t see a bear, despite signs saying there had been bear sightings. I did see a huge pile of poop that could only have belonged to a wild animal.

7. Moving from the shady parts of the trail to the sunny, having no idea where I was or where I was going. Just following the path.

8. Doing my post-run stretches on the top level of the viewing tower overlooking Burnaby Lake, the occasional frog croak the only sound. Looking up at what at home would be the ceiling, but today was the sky, all blue with just a few fluffy white clouds.

9. Eli trying to rub my feet by scratching at them with his fingers. “Is this the spot? Is this it?”

10. Accompanying them as the boys leaped, galloped, skipped the two blocks to Arlo’s karate class. Walking is so dull. Anyone can do it.

Seventy-Seven — A Short List

In an attempt to kick-start some positive thinking, I challenged myself to come up with Ten Great Things about Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. Hope to see my list on Buzzfeed soon!

1. It’s not really a disease. It’s a non-life-threatening illness.
2. There’s no bodily fluid to clean up.
3. It takes a few days to resolve, but when it’s gone it’s gone; no lingering cough, asthma, or sinusitis.
4. Kids really appreciate their food after not being able to eat for five days.
5. Adults don’t usually get it, or not nearly as bad as the kids do.
6. If your kid gets it during a week when he was supposed to go to two birthday parties, you save money because he can’t go to the birthday parties.
7. You also save money on groceries.
8. You feel absolutely no guilt about letting your child sit and watch tv or play video games because a) he hasn’t eaten anything but pain medicine in five days and is weak b) he had to miss school and two birthday parties and c) tongue blisters trump everything.
9. If your child misses school in the first two weeks of September, he might avoid any number of other illnesses making their way around the school, like the kind with the bodily fluid clean-up.

**The time between thinking up numbers 9 and 10 was spent doing yoga, showering, having a snack and cleaning the kitchen. Approximately one hour.**

10. In our particular case, the sublime ridiculousness of calling your child in sick for his first two hours of formal schooling, ever, and thinking about what a great story it will be, The Boy Who Started Kindergarten in October Because His Big Brother Kept Bringing Home Gross Viruses. (working title)

11. Bonus: Lots of sympathy from other parents, especially the one whose child infected yours. But you can’t feel too smug since her child is one of FOUR in the family and all four had it at the same time and wouldn’t that be like all the circles of hell swirled up into one giant, horrible Hell Smoothie?

12. Bonus two: At least I only have two children.

Three cheers for immunity! Hip hip (hooray!) Hip hip (hooray!) Hip hip (hooray!)

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: