Monthly archive for November 2012


Do you have any character traits that you know aren’t your best but you can’t really be bothered to try to improve things? That’s me, with waiting in line. I’m a terrible, terrible line-waiter. I become a seething ball of misanthropic feelings that cause me to do things like roll my eyes like a petulant teenager. Plus, for reasons that I will never understand, the places where the lines are held are always too hot or too cold, and someone is always popping their gum. I am so bad at waiting in line, in fact, that I rarely choose to do so, and the only time it ever really comes into play is when I’m travelling, which luckily is a pretty rare event, because I’m fairly certain that Mike spends most of the time we’re in the customs line wondering why he didn’t marry a more patient woman. Every time there is a news story that features a long line-up — a movie premiere, or Black Friday sales, for example — I always think there’s just NO WAY, you know? I don’t know if it’s because of how much I hate waiting around, or if it’s just that I don’t really LIKE anything THAT much, but I can say with some certainty that there is nothing on this earthly plain that I enjoy enough to endure hours and hours in a group of other people waiting for the same thing. The line could have Paul Rudd at the end of it, wearing a suit and planning to feed me cheesecake and read to me from Leonard Cohen’s poetry and tell me my I am smart and my hair is shiny, and the most I’d probably last is about 20 minutes before storming off, huffily muttering “ForGET it!” under my breath.

Arts & crafts

Young artist, already more crafty than her mother

Ellie spent the weekend with my parents, so we got a lot of important business taken care of, and also slept in and lazed about and talked about how much time we must have wasted before we had a baby. (We had what I can only assume was hours and hours of spare time every day. What did we DO with it?) I also cashed in a swanky spa gift card that Mike got me for my birthday. While I was in the massage table, I had brilliant ideas for four or five different blog posts, but by the time my hour was over I had completely forgotten all of them. That’s how good the massage was.

One of the things we accomplished was selecting and hanging Christmas lights. I spent a ridiculous amount of time in the seasonal section of Canadian Tire, mulling and dithering and comparing and fretting, and eventually decided on … white. Boring, right? I was hoping for elegant, and they had lights that supposedly wouldn’t be quite as BLUE a white as the usual LEDs, but they actually are quite blue, which is fine, I suppose. I expect things will change from boring to festive once we chop down our tree and put it in my office, which happens to have a large window that faces out onto the street.

That leaves the wreath to still be dealt with. My friend Sarah, who is a bit of a wreath aficionado, found and recommended a few to me. The issue is our front door is a rather bright shade of aqua blue and is therefore incompatible with the colour schemes of most Christmas wreaths. I’ve seen a ton of Christmas balls in the right shade of blue, so now I’m contemplating buying a plain green wreath and making my own. By … gluing the balls on? With a hot glue gun? I assume? It seems like it would be fairly straightforward, but I am the least crafty person alive. (Case in point: we made cards at my church’s women’s group to give to people who are going through a difficult time, and even with following a very simple design to follow, my card was laughably bad, to the point where someone at my table actually said of the eventual recipient, “Haven’t they suffered enough?”) Chances are fairly good that I will buy the supplies, create some sort of seasonal abomination, and then order one of the ones Sarah suggested, which is what I probably should have done in the first place.

We also got some lights to hang around the railing of our deck. I wanted multi-coloured, and most of the multi-coloured lights come on strings — I’m sure you are going to be just as appalled as I am, unless you are one of those creative sorts for whom randomness is a source of joy — where the lights are arranged all willy-nilly, with no logical order or pattern to them at all. I am in no way exaggerating when I say that contemplating purchasing such a thing caused a nails-on-the-chalkboard feeling in my brain. Why would anyone buy that? If there is no order to the colours in your Christmas lights, there is only CHAOS. And possibly anarchy. On the way home, I suggested to Mike that I would make an excellent code breaker, given my deep and abiding love of patterns. He disagreed, saying something about how there is “too much math” involved in code breaking, especially in these days of computer generated algorithms and such, and now I am devastated to suddently find myself in the market for another backup career in case this whole freelance writer thing goes bust. Perhaps I should join an assembly line at a Christmas light factory and show them what’s what.

On the way to pick Ellie up from my mom, we drove through a small town called Arthur, which advertises on its sign that it is the “Gateway to Wellington North”. Mike and I brainstormed a few suggested slogans in the same vein:


  • Arthur: You Drive Through Here on Your Way to Somewhere Else
  • Arthur: You Stop Here to Pee
  • Arthur: Please Don’t Feel Obligated to Stop, We Understand You’re in a Hurry

Light me up

It is difficult to photograph a Christmas tree in a non-cheesy way

I am about to express what I expect will be an unpopular opinion: I really, truly enjoy how ridiculously early the Christmas season starts each year. I recognize that the retail establishment doesn’t exactly have honourable intentions, but I can’t help myself. I don’t just begrudgingly accept it, I EMBRACE it. I like Christmas music and Christmas lights and Christmas shopping and Christmas decorations (not to mention all of the music and lights and decorations associated with other winter holidays) and I welcome the appearance of all of these things the second the candles are blown out of our collective jack-o-lanterns. In fact, I was nearly beside myself with glee the other night when I discovered that Mike’s coworker, who lives across the street from us, already has her Christmas lights turned on. The winter I was pregnant with Ellie, I would always take the long route back to bed after getting up fifty (50) million times each night, just so I could peek out the window and see the lights on our quiet, snowy street. The fact that I got to enjoy the lights while everyone else in our neighbourhood was sound asleep made me feel a little bit better about the fact that I was repeatedly awake to enjoy the lights while everyone else in our neighbourhood was sound asleep.

We didn’t put any up last year because we moved at the beginning of December, but I am excited about this year, because I think we are going to find a home for our old lights and try something new this year. But what? I feel like I have the capacity to dither about this as long and hard as I dither about paint colours. Coloured or white? LED or … I don’t know what the alternative is called, or if they even still make them. Twinkly or non-twinkly? Just on the roof, or also around the windows or the pole on our porch? Do we need a wreath? I think we need a wreath. Tell me what to do, Internet. I await your festive advice.

Natural ingredients

The other day we were watching TV, as we are wont to do, and Mike was fast-forwarding through the commercials, as we are also wont to do (mostly because I feel, with all of the increasingly awkward product placement in the shows themselves, that I reach my daily limit for advertisers using words incorrectly by, say, 2 p.m. every day) but something caught my eye and I made him rewind so I could watch the whole thing at its proper speed. It was a commercial for Olivieri Pasta, which was relatively unimpressive on its own, but it featured an interesting tagline, displayed in quite a large font on the screen and mentioned at quite a loud volume by the voiceover guy. It said, “Now made with natural ingredients.” Er, now? NOW made with natural ingredients? Not “now made with 100% natural ingredients!” or “now made with MORE natural ingredients!” At best, this is a slogan that is a total snoozefest and a vague one at that … but at WORST, it is a damning indictment of the product they produced prior to the start of this particular ad campaign. Part of me wants to grab whichever advertising executive green-lit that by the lapels and shake him or her while shrieking, “Words MEAN THINGS!” but another more disillusioned (also entertained) part of me wants to spend some time brainstorming ideas for what exactly their pasta was made with before. Polyester? Latex? The radioactive cheese you get when you order nachos at a sporting event? Whatever it is they make artificial Christmas trees from?

I just checked their website, and one of the sliders on the homepage advertises that the pasta is “now made with Natural Pasta Ingredients”. Now, I know YOU know this, but I’m going to say it anyway: natural pasta ingredients is neither a) a proper noun, nor b) an actual thing that exists. It doesn’t need to be capitalized because it’s not a name, and one of the reasons that it’s not a name is that it’s not a concept that anyone uses, ever. I just … you know? Don Draper wouldn’t stand for this, and neither will I! You advertisers get off my lawn! Etc.! The day that Oreo starts running ads claiming their product is made with “Natural Cookie Ingredients” will be the day that I sell everything we own, book plane tickets for Mike and Ellie and I to a remote island somewhere, and then live a quiet but happy life on a secluded beach, drinking margaritas and using words the way our ancestors intended when they first chiseled them out onto stone tablets.

Tail end

We call this pose “Downward Facing Kitty”

It has been a strange and tiring week around here, faithful readers. Last Thursday, Ellie spiked a high fever that eventually required our first family trip to the emergency room. I have taken other people’s children to the ER half a dozen times, thanks to my involvement with camp, but it is quite a bit different to take your own child. I mean, I’m sure that goes without saying, but I said it anyway, because I kept thinking it while we were there. We are the ones making decisions! About someone’s health! And that someone isn’t particularly able to clearly communicate what is wrong! It is very humbling. This is the second time we’ve had her in to the doctor and had him say, “A fever that high almost always indicates an infection, but she doesn’t seem to have one, so … virus?” So I guess Ellie gets high fevers when she has a virus. As far as health problems go, it’s certainly minor, and I was reminded — as I am every time I’m at the hospital, which thankfully isn’t that often — how nice it is to leave without receiving a bill. It gives my socialist heart a little thrill.

She’s much better, but now we’re on the tail end (or what is hopefully the tail end) of a couple of weeks of nighly wakeups, and I just have to say (after I peer around all corners to make sure there are no moms with tiny, waking-every-two-hours newborns reading this) that I am SO TIRED. I am out of practice with this getting up at night thing, and it has certainly quelled any cravings I was having for a fresh baby. I did this many times a night for several months in a row? And I didn’t go stark raving mad? How is that possible?

Thankfully, her current level of cuteness helps to mitigate the unpleasantness of the nightly wakeups. (It also mitigates the fact that she has started vigorously shaking her head no to everything I say, do, or suggest, which is both hilarious and infuriating.) Yesterday she sat on the couch, flipping through my Food Network magazine, naming all of the things she recognized, which is to say for ten minutes it was a constant stream of, “Eyes! Cookie! Cookie! Eyes!” because she has recently discovered that everyone has eyes and thinks that’s pretty awesome. She also calls lights “eyes” which I think clearly demonstrates her brilliance (you use them both to see! isn’t that clever?) and Mike thinks it just illustrates the fact that she still can’t enunciate all that well (she calls birds “bees”). So, you know, I guess I won’t call Mensa JUST YET. We shall see.