Tag Archives: six year olds

Whimsical Adulthood

Woke up and wrote for an hour. Working on a story. For maybe the second time in my life, I have started with a title and have written five pages of story five different ways and none of it seems to be the right fit for the title. Titles are tyranny!

Closed the notebook and decided I need to be more whimsical.

Woodbridge Meadow Whimsy - geograph.org.uk - 934787

Took the kids to school. Discussed briefly with neighbour kid’s dad how neighbour kid going to daycare during his formative years means he is used to walking blindly out into streets without first looking both ways because he was always with a pack. I had not considered this as a cause for neighbour kid’s inability to cross the street nor as a possible detrimental side effect of daycare. Still not sure it’s a real cause & effect situation. Neighbour kid also takes forty minutes to walk three blocks.

Came home. Was entertained by various municipal election articles and websites. If a candidate uses too many exclamation marks and capital letters, they both please and sadden me. I like to watch kooky people unfold in the world, but I also am sad they have no one to tell them to just use one exclamation mark. And to make their platform more elaborate than just “bring SMILES to the PEOPLE.”

Wade whimsies 4o06” by Snowmanradio at en.wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Innotata using CommonsHelper.(Original text : Own work). Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Went to the mall to return some pants. Tried on running shoes and nearly bought a pair but couldn’t commit. After I bought the pair in the spring that ended up hurting my feet but it was too late to take them back, and buying the two pairs I used to train for the race, but which are worn out, I am shoe-shy. I don’t want to buy the wrong shoe. I really want two more pairs of the kind that are worn out but they’re done now. Done. Bought some tights instead, and a new Sport Bra because those are easy. No they are. I’m flat chested.

Right! Whimsical! Was starving so I went to the food court at the mall and walked around until I found something that cost less than $5.25, which was all I had in cash. Ended up eating a breakfast combo at Tim Hortons. The hashbrown was hard as a rock. The sandwich was chilly. The tea was hot.

While I was waiting for my food, a woman walked past me and said, “I like your hairdo.” I thanked her.

To be more whimsical I sat on the opposite side of the food court, by the windows, in one of the red pleather seats. A collection of old men in sensible shoes and old man hats played cards at a round table. Next to them, a collection of old women ate noodles and chattered. I ate my bad food and sipped my tea and started a sixth version of the story whose title I am trying to do justice. (TYRANNY)


Curious Figure part2 Tom Otterness Beelden aan Zee Den Haag” by BrbblOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Home to get Saint Aardvark so we could go vote. The municipal election is ten days away but on that day we will be in Seattle having a very small vacation so we voted today. Everyone at the voting place was very friendly and helpful. The woman voting next to me mentioned that neither of the pens worked, then the whatever-you-call-him-guy-who-works-there (invigilator?) asked her if she’d taken the cap off the pen and she said no.

I got a sticker and put it on my notebook, and SA did the same with his sticker on his notebook. We’re so alike.

Up the street we wandered to the grocery store where I’d heard we could get flu shots at the pharmacy. As we don’t have convenient family docotrs, every year we get our flu shots somewhere new. Two years ago I got mine at Safeway and it hurt like a sonofabitch. Last year I went to London Drugs and it was marvelous, I barely felt a thing. I swore I would never go anywhere else for a flu shot and yet, here I was at Save On Foods, with a small, rushed pharmacist who made the smallest pretence at assessing how I was doing before jabbing that needle into my poor muscle so hard I nearly kicked him in the face.

I thought at first that I just had much bigger muscles than last year, but SA claimed his also hurt like whoa so next year, for real, no grocery store pharmacist flu shots. N.O.

After the flu shot, it was time for the notary! The first notary we went to was..not in the office. He is the only notary who works in the office, it is named after him, yet his office was open and his receptionist was there to tell people he wasn’t there, at his office, so that was confusing, but she gave us a list of other notaries in Uptown New Westminster and there were a number of them. In fact one could do a comparison of notaries to hair cuttery establishments in New Westminster and it would probably come up even I think. So we found another notary right across the street and went to see him.

We needed him to notarize the letter that authorizes me to take the children across the border next week because SA won’t be with me because he’ll already BE in Seattle you see and maybe this is overkill but the kids have different last names and I remember once my Peruvian co-worker trying to take her kids on vacation to Peru without her husband and she nearly missed the plane because she didn’t have a letter from her partner saying it was OK to take the three kids to Peru.

I had forgotten we’d explained all this to the kids the other day so I was surprised when I mentioned the notary to Eli on our walk home from school and he said, “Oh to sign the letter proving you’re not a kidnapper, right?” Right.

Then back to school to get the kids, then home, then back out to get Arlo from his friend’s house, then home, then dinner and perusing the Toys R Us Christmas catalogue where I made the children spit out their dinner with laughter as I pointed to the doll called Baby All Gone and said, “Oh that’s the toy where you bring it home and then it disappears!”

Eli made me laugh when he saw the Disney Princess Lego castle and said, “Really? Now, Lego you’ve gone too far.”

Whimsy to close out the day.



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.)

August: Better than A Stuffed Banana

In August, we went to Kelowna for a few days. It was pretty fun; we swam in both pools at the motel and in the lake, we ate junk food and stayed up too late (MAINLY THE CHILDREN DID THIS), and we visited a kangaroo farm.

Yes, there is a kangaroo farm half an hour north of Kelowna. It is called Kangaroo Creek Farm and it is exactly as billed. Maybe a little less crazy than the website implies. A habitat for kangaroos and capybara and goats and some exotic birds. And emu. And ostriches.

This is a capybara, basically a giant guinea pig.

This is a capybara, basically a giant guinea pig.

Kangaroos are weird, it bears mentioning. They look like the progeny of a normal-animal orgy. Part rabbit, part deer, part giant squirrel, part fuzzy wuzzy fuzz bucket.

I liked this one, though.

I liked this one.

Anyway at the farm you can feed them and pet them and hold baby ones. Admission is by donation. Wear sensible shoes; the trail and path from the upper parking area to the farm is quite steep.

Arlo feeds a kangaroo

Arlo feeds a kangaroo

After we returned from Kelowna we made our annual trip to the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE). Like so many things-with-children, the PNE-with-children gets better every year. This year, Arlo used the heck out of his ride pass and Eli went on a legitimate number of rides as well. We ate some food and no one got sick.

Oh hello I am on a carousel.

Oh hello I am on a carousel.

Then came time for the midway game.

I have a conflicted relationship with the midway games. You pay $5 for a chance to win something that costs $0.50 at the dollar store. Like a tiny stuffed banana. Or a tiny stuffed smiley face. Or one of those confounded parachuting dudes whose strings always get tangled immediately.

As a counter-point, the kids always love the crappy little stuffed whatevers that they win on the midway game; they even love them for months and years afterwards, treasuring them and calling them “the stuffed banana I won on that game at the PNE, wow, I love this toy!” but it is a struggle every year for me to shell out the money for them to basically throw in the garbage.

Yes, you’re right, I could not do it, but once you’ve paid X to get in and XX on food and XXX for the rides what’s another five bucks. I didn’t say it made sense. I said I was CONFLICTED.

This year, Arlo was riding the Wave Swinger and climbing the climbing wall while Eli and I strolled the midway looking for a game he wanted to play. He stopped and stared at various games while the yelling people yelled at us to TRY IT all the KIDS GET A PRIZE come on I ONLY NEED ONE MORE PLAYER GIVE IT A TRY. He ignored them all. I tried to as well. We went and fetched Arlo because Eli didn’t want to play a game until Arlo was going to play a game.

They both stopped at the “get a ring on a bottle, any bottle, one ring on any bottle wins YOUR CHOICE” booth. This booth had only gigantic stuffed prizes. Obviously this booth did not award anyone any prizes, ever, because you could have TWELVE rings to toss for only $2; an entire bucket of rings for $5. The kids said, “WOW that is a great deal. We want to play this one.”

I was, of course, torn because a) hey that gets my money spent quickly and then we can go home but b) they are going to lose and not even get a consolation stuffed banana because this game is winner-takes-all not loser-gets-something-anyway. Because we are super parents, we decided to let consequences rule the day and spent the $5 on a bucket of rings.

Toss, bounce, toss, bounce, toss. The rings were made of rubber and the bottles were made of rubber repellent. Toss, bounce, toss, bounce, toss, bounce.

Then: toss. No bounce! Ring stayed on the bottle neck. Eli tossed a ring right onto the bottle and it stayed there. Six year old ringed the bottle.

The booth workers had no idea what to do. They had to dig around to find the scissors to cut down the prize.

“I want that bear,” Eli said, pointing above our heads at a giant, fluorescent green stuffed bear. “Do you want to look around at the other choices?” Saint Aardvark asked. Eli did. He came back to the bear.


The bear — later named Fluffy — that we* then had to carry around the PNE for another half hour while Arlo rode more rides to assuage his disappointment at not being the one who ringed the bottle. The bear that we then had to haul up the hill to my parents’ house where we always park our car when we go to the PNE. The bear that barely fit in the trunk of our Honda Civic.

*actually Saint Aardvark carried it, mostly. It sat so peacefully on his shoulders, its head resting on his head. See:


Great conversation starter, a giant green bear. The world is divided into two types of people: the ones who congratulate you on your giant green bear and the ones who scoff because they assume you spent your life savings winning the giant green bear (those people are also jealous and often in their early 20s). Just an observation.

Arlo's turn to carry the bear.

Arlo’s turn to carry the bear.

But the six year old won the bear all by himself. Seriously. We spent five bucks, just like we always do.

August ended and September hasn’t really started yet, in my heart, because there is still no school in BC. Our teachers are still striking and our government is still waiting for them to give up. Every day is still sunny, but the days are noticeably shorter and darker around the edges. We are holding, waiting, no longer on vacation, but nowhere near a new routine.

Sometimes on my way up or downstairs I pass the kids’ room, where Fluffy waits patiently for the children to retire for the evening, and wonder why the room seems to be filled with alien-green light. A pause and a smile and I remember it’s the light of his fur: a reminder of the glowing last days of August.


Have I written this post before? Probably. If you’ve read it before, go look at the calming manatee. Come back tomorrow.

Maybe I’ll put that disclaimer everywhere.

Things are afoot. Arlo is turning 8. I am stopping working earlier than planned, on July 11th. Saint Aardvark is switching to a new job, around July 11th. School might already be out for summer, or it might not, because of ongoing strife between our government and our teachers.

Arlo hopes it is not; Eli hopes it is. I am hoping it is not because I wouldn’t mind a day off before September.

I signed up to participate in a study that trains women between 18-60 to run half marathons and does a biomechanical analysis of them before and after the training. I bought two pairs of running shoes. First, I bought two pairs of running shoes for $180 and then I went across the road and found a running shoe sale and bought two pairs of running shoes for $80 and took the other ones back across the road for a full refund.

I’ve decided I will not work full time at a government job. I need a career I believe in and want to do. I plan to use my unexpected two months of not-working to figure out what kind of work I ought to do. I still write every day. I plan to keep doing this.

I planted things this year and they are sort of growing. The lavender plant has one flower. My neighbour’s lavender plant has many flowers. The spinach is wee, but the bean plants are hardy. The rosebush had eight flowers. Spinach is supposed to be easy and roses are supposed to be hard and I exert the same amount of effort for everything.

Tomorrow I am getting a root canal.

My digestive system is behaving like a tornado during an apocalypse. (This is unrelated to the root canal. I’ve had one before, it was fine.)

Arlo has recently discovered bicycles and how great they are. He had no interest, only wanted to scooter, then my parents gave him a big bike two weeks ago and now he’s bike-mad. Driving home from their house today he said “I’m going to count all the bikes on the road!” There weren’t any. He was very disappointed.

I read a book of essays called The Empathy Exams and I can’t recommend it enough. The title essay is here and I Loved It So Much I looked the book up at the library, then placed a hold on it (the book had been ordered but was not yet at the library) and then rabidly ran up to get and read it and then renewed it and was a mixture of happy and sad feelings when it turned out I *could* renew it because no one else had requested it. People should request it.

Today was Father’s Day and holidays like this on social media make me tired. So much congratulating, so many people who are sad, so many hurt feelings vibrating through the world like soundwaves. Happy X Day becomes Happy X Day to those who celebrate and to those who don’t, you are loved, and to those who have only XY please know we consider you and to those with Y instead of X we acknowledge you and

Can we just say, whenever we feel like it: dear world full of people, you are doing great things? Yes. We can. Dear world full of people, I appreciate you and your feet that walk every day even when they are tired. I appreciate the brains of people who invent things and those that market those invented things. I love the hearts of the compassionate and the hearts of the bereft. Group hug, world. Goodnight, world.