Sunday, November 28, 2010

Caught With My Pants Down.

"Well, it's officially winter," I said to my husband this afternoon.

What, you may be wondering, prompted this comment?

Was it because it's been weeks since the temperature crept above freezing?

Was it because there is 30 centimeters of snow on our lawn?

Was it because we spent the afternoon tobogganing with friends, then defrosting beside a bonfire, while sipping hot tea and freshly popped popcorn?

Was it because the heat vents are constantly covered with wet mitts and toques?

Was it because the sun set set today at 4 pm? 

No. It was none of these obvious signs.

Rather the realization came once our friends had gone home. The boys were curled up on the sofa watching tv. Husband was bustling about the kitchen making pizzas. I looked over at him, and noticed that he was wearing our "winter uniform," aka skinny pants, aka long johns.

When it's winter we go outside dressed in layers against the cold. When we come home, we pull off anything that's gotten snowy or damp. Jackets, mitts, toques, boots, socks & pants will be draped over the heating vents, hung up in the back hall or thrown over the clothes line in the laundry room.  The result is that we -- for now just my husband and I, since the boys prefer snowpants -- walk around in just our skinny pants.

The I looked down and realized I was also pants-free and it hadn't even registered.

I suppose this might sound strange to people who don't live in northern climes. Why don't you put on REAL pants? they are asking right now. But when I get home and pull off my jeans, my skinny pants are already warm and cozy. Pants I take out of the closet will be chilly. And if I leave on my skinny pants and add another layer on top, I will be too hot.

So it is that I walk around my house from November til March dressed like this:

Note: picture was purposely posed to minimize risk of 
camel-toe induced cardiac seizure.

• • • • • • • • • •

Tell me, fellow denizens of the north, do you wander about your house wearing only long johns? Is this a universal habit? Both my husband and I did this growing up, but maybe it's just a Prairie thing? Are we being practical or merely lazy?

And does anyone remember when long johns for girls were called long janes?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Turn Around, Bright Eyes.

The following vignette is a work of fiction and bares no resemblance to real life:

[The setting: a kitchen in a house.]
[The time: early evening.]

Nan Ann: Hello, honey. How was work?

Mr Nan Stan: Fine. They announced the date and venue for the office Christmas party.

Ann: Well, that's nice.

Stan: Don't you want to know the details?

Ann: No. Why would I?

Stan: So we can make plans

Ann: I already made plans. I plan on not going.

Stan: We're going.

Ann: You know that I hate going to your office Christmas parties.

Stan: You haven't been to one of my office Christmas parties in four years.

Ann: Really? Four years. Huh. I guess that one of the few benefits of your employers continuously going bankrupt -- and hence being unable to afford Christmas parties -- is my being spared the pain of going to your office Christmas parties.

Stan: They're not that bad. We're going to the party.

Ann: Can you guarantee me that THIS year there will be no fist fights?

Stan: No, I can not.

Ann: Can you guarantee me that THIS year none of your coworkers will get so drunk they will stop me in the ladies' room and ask me to help pull their panties up from around their ankles?

Stan: No, I can not guarantee that either.

Ann: I'm not going.

Stan: You have to go. None of my coworkers know you. They probably think you're just a figment of my imagination. You're like Norm's wife on Cheers.

Ann: I'm not going.

Stan: Yes, you are, Vera.

Ann: No.

Stan: YES.

Ann: NO. There is nothing you can say to entice me to attend this party.

Stan: There's going to be karaoke.


Ann: It's like you don't know me at all.

Stan: We're going.

Ann: No.

Stan: Yes. KARAOKE! It's fun.

Ann: Thirteen years. We've been together thirteen years and you think that karaoke is an incentive? You are a stranger to me. I don't know who you are anymore.

Stan: You could sing a Neil Diamond song! I know you like Neil Diamond.

Ann: Don't bring Neil into this. Neil doesn't deserve to be sullied by karaoke.

Stan: We are going to this party.

Ann: I am NOT going this par-- hey, do you think the karaoke thing has Total Eclipse of the Heart?

Stan: Maybe. Why?

Ann: Because if you are going to make me go to this party, I'm gonna Dan Band the fuckin' shit outta this party.

Stan: I don't know what that means.

Ann: Oh. You will. YOU. WILL.

[End scene.]
• • • • •
To whit:

[Do NOT play this song if your kids are in the room. Thanks to Nicole for the clip.]

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Getting $5.75 (plus tax) Worth of Joy Out of This Month's Oprah Magazine.

In anticipation of Beck's annual skewering of O Magazine's "The O List: the Holiday Edition" I purchased the December issue of the magazine.

{{Update: Beck's post is up: The Healing Power of Oprah.}}

I'm a visual person, and it makes Beck's Oprah post all the more delicious for me to have the magazine in hand so that I can revel in Beck's words while looking at the proof that Oprah and her staff have completely lost touch with the economic reality (and good taste) of the middle class.

I even vowed not to peek at the "O List"pages until Beck publishes her post (I just reread the 2009 version and it still makes me laugh out loud).

I did however glance through the rest of the magazine:

The Tyler Perry - Oprah love fest continues (p. 288). Stedman better bring his A-game.

Lisa Kogan's article (p. 194) is wonderful -- as always.

James Franco is the actor featured in this month's "Books That Make A Difference" (p. 184) column. For once I think the books were actually chosen by the actor (he's in a Ph.D. program at Yale), not by their publicist.

I enjoyed the Helen Mirren (p. 58) profile.

Fresh off her press tour detailing how she's recovered from anorexia, Portia De Rossi wrote this months "Aha! Moment" column (p. 68) about why she's a vegetarian.  Then she sat for this picture:


Someone on the editorial staff got drunk and put together a fashion spread (p 236) for party wear, that includes a plus-sized woman wearing a leopard skin muumuu caftan. It's very, very cruel.

There's an article (p. 205) by Howie Kahn about his grandmother who is on some kind of power trip at her seniors' home. This very harsh article about the social and political hierarchy amongst senior citizens (it makes high school social dynamics seem like a cake walk) may convince a few people that assisted suicide for the elderly is NOT a bad thing. I'm pretty sure that Kahn's grandmother is going to strike him from her Christmas card list. And her will.

I'm going to suggest my husband make one or all four of the dips featured in the "Comfort Zone" column (p. 145). Beer + cheese + garlic = my kind of dip.

But, wait. What is this I see on page 82?! Has The Divine Miss Oprah given us all an early Christmas present in the form of a hysterically awful photo of Dr. Phil?

Oh, yes she has:
Lascivious facial expression!
Shiny leather suit jacket!
Weirdly discoloured, awkwardly posed hands!

That photo alone makes me glad that I gave $5.75 (plus taxes) to the Oprah World Dominance Corporation. I'm already feeling more Christmas spirit. "May God Oprah bless us, everyone."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Do You Fancy a Ride on My 'Broom'?

 Oh. My. Word.

This is one of the current contributions on the Post Secret blog:

One of these men is the father
of the most amazing little
girl in the world. He's never
met her, he never will. He
probably can't even remember my name

On the other side of the postcard is the message:

The world thinks you are perfect, but our daughter deserves better. 

How deliciously scandalous! My husband says this is most likely not true, and is just some sad teen girl seeking attention. Pshaw, I say, I won't let critical thinking distract me from my rumour mongering. 

Who do you think it could -- allegedly -- be? Only Daniel and Alan have high enough profiles to warrant  the "The world thinks you are perfect" comment.  I bet it's Alan, but that's just because I have a crush on Snape:

Regardless of who it is, that little girl deserves financial support, if nothing else. I don't see how the father remembering this woman's name matters.

This is EXACTLY why God created lawyers, DNA tests and the fear of bad publicity.

• • • • • • •

Update on November 24, 2010: In response to the rumours Tom Felton (aka Draco Malfoy) posted htis on Twitter:

The actors who play the Weasley Twins have also commented that neither of them are the baby-daddy in question.

May The Force Be With Katie.

When I was 10, I owned a Luke Skywalker toothbrush from Return of the Jedi.

(Edited to add: sweet Jesus and a box of hair, I love the internet! I found a photo of the toothbrush).

I loved that toothbrush because I had a huge crush on Luke Skywalker. Which worked out really well since my best friend Jennifer had a crush on Han Solo.

My Luke Skywalker toothbrush came with me that summer when I went off to Girl Guide camp. In the bathroom that first night another girl made fun of me:
Are you a boy? Because this is GIRL Guide camp? If you were a real girl, you'd have a Princess Leia toothbrush. Like. Me. Not a BOY toothbrush. My Princess Leia toothbrush is PINK. Because I. Am. A Girl. What are you? A boy? Or a girl?
I'm not sure what I said in response, but I do know that for the rest of the weekend I had a knot in my stomach. I still loved Star Wars, I just knew that not a lot of other girls liked it. And those few who did, generally focused on Princess Leia and were not -- like I was -- obsessed with the way Luke Skywalker was heroic and charming and handsome and made them all tingly down there.

So you can probably imagine how I felt when I read Epbot's blog post about Katie, a little girl who was made to feel ashamed for loving Star Wars. Katie's mom (Carrie Goldman) wrote a post on Monday about Katie's decision to stop using her Star Wars water bottle because some boys in her grade 1 class mocked her.

The response to Katie has been wonderful.

I'm so proud of the online geek/girl community to which I belong. Katie's had thousands of positive responses. She was profiled on the official Star Wars blog, and over at Many of the actors and animators involved with Star Wars Clone Wars have reached out to Katie.

It's not too late to give Katie some words of encouragement. To post on Carrie Goldman's blog you need to join the ChicagoNow community, but it's a snap to leave a post on Epbot's blog. If you're on twitter, you can also use the hashtag #MayTheForceBeWithKatie.

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On a side note. I'm just re-reading Carrie Goldman's original post and can't help but compare it with that other, also-gone-viral, anti-bullying post that I blogged about last week. I'm struck by the difference in tone.

I love how Carrie Goldman saw this NOT as an opportunity to chastise society or strike out at the boys in Katie's class. Instead she used it as a forum to rally support for a hurt little girl and show her that she's a member of a powerful, vocal group of women.

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February 13, 2011 -- I've had a few visitors arrive at this post via search terms that I find distasteful. I've turned off the comments and hidden them in hopes that it will dissuade such visits. Thanks.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ponder Me This.

When you buy oranges from the grocery store, what do you expect them to contain?

My answer: peel, pulp, seeds, assorted vitamins and those little annoying stickers with the price code.

Alas this bag of oranges that I purchased on Thursday came with a label:

To maintain freshness, coated with food
grade vegetable, beeswax and/or shellac
based wax or resin. May be we treated with one
or more of the following: Thiabendazol,
Ortho phenylphenol, Imassali , Fludioxonil
and/or Pyrimerthanil.

I'd just as soon go without oranges, than buy oranges that come from so far away (ie South Africa) that they must be coated with dyes and waxes and one or more anti-fungicides in order to reach my kitchen table before spoiling.

We're not sure what to do with these oranges. Thinking about all the chemicals on the oranges' porous skin makes me nauseous. However it seems like a waste to throw them away. I might toss them in the compost heap, but I'm not sure they'll even decompose.

Temba. His arms wide.

The past week has been rather meh.

Nothing overtly bad happened. Nothing overtly good happened. We got our flu shots, we survived a tree toppling storm, I read a few hundred pages of Rick Riordan's "The Lost Hero" to the kids, I read a few hundred pages of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" to myself, and we watched a lot of Star Trek

By late Friday afternoon I was more than eager to call time on the whole damn week. The sun was setting, and the boys were squabbling, while I mentally debated the age old question "Should I cook a nutritionally-sound meal made with fresh ingredients and love for my wonderful husband and sons, or should I just bake 2 dozen chocolate chip cookies?" I was on my way to a minor temper tantrum or a large mug of vodka, when D.B. Grady tweeted me this picture:

And it made me smile. Thanks, @dbgrady.

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

And since you are dying to know: I baked the cookies, and we ate frozen waffles for dinner. While watching Wrath of Khan. And around these parts, that's considered a wild, and crazy Friday night.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Huff and Puff.

I slept on the basement sofa last night.

For the second night in a row. It's not what you think! The Husband hasn't gotten sick of my snoring, talking while asleep or the way I warm my feet up on the small of his back (Damn, I married well. That man puts up with A LOT.)

Rather I chose to sleep downstairs because we've been having crazy weather here.

It started Tuesday evening with -- what appeared at the time -- to be crazy wind gusts. As we were getting into bed, we could hear trees creaking. The house was groaning as the wind buffeted the walls. Every so often the wind would whistle through the cracks in the window frames and rattle the metal curtain rods.

I got out of bed at 4 AM. I'm sure I did get a few hours of sleep, but it felt like I'd been lying there awake listening to the violence outside for hours. Probably I did get some sleep, but I doubt I ever reached REM sleep. Next I tried sleeping on the chesterfield in the living room, but it was actually louder there. Next stop: futon sofa in the basement.

It was quieter downstairs. But the sounds of the storm still reached my ears and burrowed deep into my subconscious.  I dreamt that my husband and I had two sons (in addition to our two REAL ones) who we didn't like very much. We kept our lesser-sons in an underground dungeon and they were now trying to escape by howling and scratching at the floors. IT WAS CREEPY. I was more than happy to get up at 7 AM, less thrilled to realize the storm was getting worse.

The wind storm stuck around through out the day. We lost power a few times, which isn't surprising considering the gusts were reaching 90 kph. On the Beaufort Wind Force Scale the storm was a level 10. That's just two levels below hurricane.

At around 10 AM I looked out the kitchen window and saw this:

It's one of my neighbour's pine trees! Leaning precariously over our NEW deck, and our NEW shed.  It's a pine tree that's survived the Great Northern BC Mountain Pine Beetle Infestation. It's a survivor! How could wind be its undoing?

Fortunately it fell in slow motion, leaning on to the equally tall pine tree beside it, as the roots pulled out of the ground. The branches of the second tree were sheered off one by one as the first tree fell, fortunately missing the shed and the deck but knocking out my clothes line. 

With half of it's branches gone, the second tree eventually went too. This is the view from my kitchen window now.

(The basketball net was blown out from it's storage place about five meters up wind.)

This morning I went out to take some more photos, and all I could hear was the sound of chainsaws:

This is the root ball from the first tree.

Same root ball in the foreground, and in the background is the second tree's root ball. That second tree still hasn't come down all the way, and the root ball is still half buried. It's leaning against a smaller, healthy spruce tree that seems to be able to take the weight. I hope.

It was the best case scenario for these trees. They came down slowly, away from the two houses and power lines. They even landed on the segment of fence we'd planned to replace next summer. I'm still awaiting to see if my new compost heap survives.

We spent Wednesday afternoon in the dark. Almost all of the stores and businesses shut down for the day, and the police asked people to stay off the streets as there was debris on the roads and flying through the air (shingles, siding, trees, snow shovels, garbage cans, eavestroughing etc). The rec centre was cordoned off as the roof was peeling off. The town's cellphone tower was damaged and is out of commission. It was scary and lonely.

At 5 pm, the lights came on. Husband came home. I dug the vodka out of the freezer.

Last night the storm died down. But the gusts would kick up every once in a while. I tried to convince the boys to join me in my basement slumber party, but got no takers. So I slept in the basement. Alone. Without even my imaginary dungeon children to disturb my slumber.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Visual Aides.

It is my deepest desire to never appear on CNN, or The Today Show, or The View, or Ellen Degeneres,  or Oprah or any of their counterparts. Well, unless I'm there to participate in a Star Trek- inspired poetry slam. Oh yeah, baby.

To that end, I'm going to blog with a goal of anonymity. Hence no photos of the boys or my husband. However, I'm a visual learner, and want to include some photos that reasonably approximate my two sons.

I was just going to steal some photos of kids modeling clothes on the Sears website. Seemed fitting since at least half of the boys' wardrobes come from Sears. I quickly realized that the child models on Sears are kinda...hmm...well, see for yourself:

Does the dirty stringy hair make you want to buy these shiny suits?

 Why is this four year old wearing Sam Donaldson's toupee?

What's up with the mini drum/bong thing? 
When will the Bieber-do fade away?

This kid -- whom I call mini-James Franco -- is cute, but for some reason he is repeatedly posed awkwardly NOT looking at the camera. He's all over the catalogue NEVER looking at the camera.

To wit:


These are all good-looking boys, but there is something off with the styling of Sears catalogue shoots.

And while I did not find photos to use as my pseudo-sons I did find some awesome home decorating looks that I hope to incorporate in our house.

First, a mural of GIANT PEBBLES!

And on the opposite wall of my living room I will have Attack of the Killer Super-sized Bamboo!

In the dining room I will stray away from the Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and the House 
motif and go for faux-Tuscan.

It will be just like being in Italy, but without all the foreigners.

Then for the master bedroom, I planning to build an infinity wall:

Because ceilings are just so over done.

And I don't know about you, but nothing says luxurious, hygienic bathroom 
like wall-to-wall carpeting:

Alas I finally had to admit that Sears was not meeting my pictures-worth-stealing-and-pretending-these-are-my-kids standards. So these random kid models will have to suffice:

This will be the body double for my 8 year old.

Laughing boy is -- so far as you strangers on the internet are concerned -- my 6 year old son.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I am not Jenny McCarthy.

Here's a quick check list for those of you who might be under the impression that I'm Jenny McCarthy:

1. I have never been in Playboy magazine. Jenny has, and I'm not posting the photos because they are NOT child friendly.

2. Jenny hosted a game show on MTV. I have never watched MTV, much less been one of their employees.

(When it was age appropriate for me to watch MTV it was not available in Canada. Now it's here, and I'm too old. Also: MTV shows are the suckiest of all the very many sucky television shows on television)

3. I would not fornicate with this man:

(Former partner Jim Carrey)
But Jenny did, and then he gave her $25, 000, 000 to go away.

4. Nor would I fornicate with this man:

(Her most recent boyfriend, bodybuilder Jason Toohey. Eww.)

Jenny has/is -- but let's not dwell on that lest we makes ourselves nauseous.

5. I love science. In particular: the scientific process. I know anecdotes are NOT the same thing as science. Jenny? Not so much.

6. I have a degree from a real university. Jenny says that she has a medical degree from the University of Google.

7. Because I have a real university degree I would be too embarrassed to declare googling shit on the computer constitutes a degree. Much less a medical degree.

8. Unlike Jenny, Oprah isn't giving me my own talk show. But if Oprah did, it would be AWESOME.

First order of  business at the Wrath Of Mom Talk Show would be to enlist my bestest imaginary celebrity friend Jennifer Garner to head out on a Nan and Jen's Road Trip. We'd take my two boys and her two girls and have a coast-to-coast dimple-athon. It would be better than Oprah and Gayle's Road Trip. I promise we will not crash some stranger's wedding and upstage the bride.

Also if I had my own talk show, I would finally have a platform that I care deeply about: movies about trains. I love train movies. ESPECIALLY if they involve:
a. unmanned trains,
b. trains laden with explosives, or chemicals or (BEST OF ALL) nuclear weapons, and
c. out of control trains heading toward an urban center where many INNOCENT PEOPLE WILL DIE.

Needless to say I'm pretty stoked about the new Chris "Call Me Young Kirk" Pine movie:

Uh. Where was I? Oh, yes:

9. McCarthy use to be the spokesperson for the Indigo Children movement, whereas I think that's all hokum.  Kids with ADHD do not represent the next step in the evolution of humanity to a higher plane of existence. That last sentence might just be the most ridiculous thing I've ever written.

10. I don't have fake breasts. It's true. My breasts are not an optical illusion, nor are they augmented with silicon. Jenny's are also not optical illusions, but they are very silicon-y.

11. I understand irony. But Jenny McCarthy doesn't.

McCarthy criticizes research done by pharmaceutical companies as biased, citing their goal as profit not public safety. However, McCarthy is earning money with her anti-vaccine political agenda. She's "authored" three books about autism, has her own line of bed linens, and sells an educational program called Teach2Talk and operated a school using the curriculum. Furthermore she runs an organization and website (Generation Rescue) which sells and endorses products that support her cause, ie hyperbaric chambers, vitamins, prepared gluten-free meals, etc that help cure autism.

It appears to me that Jenny is just as motivated by money as the pharmaceutical companies. If they are biased (and I personally don't agree with her assessment that drug manufacturers are faking the science) then so is she.

12. I love vaccines! LOVE THEM! In fact today I took the boys to get our seasonal flu vaccines. And I did so with nary a concern for trace levels of mercury because I know that mercury doesn't cause autism AND I know that many, many horrible diseases are PREVENTED because of widespread vaccinations in western, industrialized, densely populated nations. Jenny advocates not vaccinating your child, thereby running the risk of him or her contracting a preventable disease and dying.

I hope this will help clarify any confusion people have telling me apart from Jenny McCarthy, model/actress/"author"/"doctor"/flake.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

In Flanders Fields.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
-Lt. Colonel John McCrae 

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Our latest disk is the first two episodes of Band of Brothers. So fitting that we're watching it on Remembrance Day. I'm thinking of all the men and women who died so I could sit here in comfort and say to my husband, "Who do you think is gonna die: Carrie Bradshaw's Post-It-Note-Loving boyfriend from Sex and the City, or the ginger-haired cop from Life?

But please don't tell me how the series ends -- I want to be surprised. Though of course I have pretty good inkling how D-Day plays out [Here's a hint: I'm not speaking German].

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Jinkies! Can Mystery Inc. solve the Case of the Mommy Blogger Controversy?!

Over the last few days I've had a few email exchanges with friends about a controversial post entitled "My Son Is Gay."

In case you aren't familiar with the post and the hullabaloo here is the Coles Notes version: A woman (using the alias Cop's Wife) wrote about her five-year old son wearing a Halloween costume (Daphne from Scooby Doo) to preschool. Within days the post had over 40,000 comments, and had been read by 2 million people. The lesson to be learned: never write a post with an inflammatory title when people have overdosed on American political rhetoric and want to be distracted from things that really matter.

My biggest beef with the post is the author incorrectly equates cross-dressing with homosexuality. There is no correlation between homosexuality and transvestism. Nor is there any statistical proof that dressing in drag is an early indicator of homosexuality. But I suppose, "My Son Is Possibly-Transgendered (Or Not)" wasn't provocative enough.

Setting aside the author's propagation of a falsehood, I object to her allusion that the three mothers (who spoke to Cop's Wife at the school, and whom she casts as her literary foils) are motivated by homophobia. I'm not homophobic, but I probably wouldn't react positively to the sight of a five-year old boy wearing a Daphne costume. I wouldn't judge Daphne-boy -- after all, he doesn't understand the implications of his actions -- but I question Cop Wife's parenting philosophy.

Part of being a good parent is socializing children to societal norms. I teach my kids to respect the elderly, wait their turn in line, wear undergarments, and not floss their teeth in public places, to name but a few. Some of these rules are taught by setting a good example (Oh, how I do miss my early-20s ritual of Bra-Free Sundays) and others I state directly ("When the nice senior citizen suffering from emphysema gives you Halloween candy, do not thank her and tell her she sounds like a zombie."). Parents should protect their young child from ridicule and malice by putting limits on behaviour that is contrary to society's normative standards, regardless of the child's sexual identity or the parent's political agenda. By encouraging (the boy had reservations about the costume, and Cop's Wife goaded him into sticking with it) her child to wear the costume and then posting about the incident, Cop's Wife behaved irresponsibly. I don't always agree with our society's rigid rules about gender-appropriate behaviour and I frequently deviate from stereotypically female behaviour, but I'm not going to use my underage sons as tools to alter Western society's gender constructs, or win the approval of my left-leaning peer group.

Things are probably pretty tough for Daphne-boy and his mom right now. I don't think Cop's Wife could have predicted the attention the post would garner. But that doesn't temper my disapproval.

I wonder what will happen to Daphne-boy.

Regardless of his sexual orientation, will he be teased about this costume and this controversy for years?

Will he hate Halloween when he's a grown up?

Will he resent his mother?

Does anyone share my opinion that the blog's author can not be an anti-bullying advocate, because via her blog she is bullying/shaming/condemning the other mothers?

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I've hidden the comments for this post because they were generating some odd traffic stats.  Go away, deviants!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Knowing You, Knowing MeMe.

I saw this Knowing You, Knowing Me meme at Nicole's blog, and couldn't resist:

1) What's on your Christmas Wish List?

A purse-type shoulder bag. A water-proof, bomb-proof shoulder bag. I'm a bit of a purse addict, and I'd like a messenger style bag for all my gear.

The boys will get more Star Wars things. Honestly, I don't know why we don't just write a cheque directly to George Lucas and be done with it all. Husband wants a new hammock to replace the one he bought 15 years ago while backpacking through Central America. This present will work out well, we're spending Christmas in Mexico and will pick one up while there.

Ultimately what we get and give (we're going with 12 other members of my husband's family) will be determined by the confines of our suitcases.

2) Do you have a handheld video game in your house?

Do iPods count? We have an iPod touch, that I use to play Scrabble.  The boys use it infrequently to play a Phineas & Ferb surfing game.

My theory is that they can't have handheld video games until they are completely literate. I want to indoctrinate them into the mind set that books should be your go-to portable entertainment source. Until then, there are no Nintendo doomahickies in our house.

3) Are you participating in the 25 Days of Christmas challenge?

Nope, never heard of it. I did follow the link from Nicole's blog, and I'm pretty that the only people who are committing themselves to "twenty five days of organized, customized fun" for their kids are scary Martha Stewart types.

Instead I will commit myself to spending December organizing and customizing our packing lists.

4) What is your favourite kind of cookie?

Store bought? Hobnobs.

Homemade? Soft Ginger Cookies. Here's the recipe:
* 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons ground ginger
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 cup margarine, softened
* 1 cup white sugar
* 1 egg
* 1 tablespoon water
* 1/4 cup molasses
* 2 tablespoons white sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses.
  5. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture.
  6. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.
  7. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.
  8. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Do not let them BROWN. The cookies will be almost undercooked in the middle.
Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
5) Coffee or tea?

I'm a bit of a coffee snob. When we drive to the Big Smoke we buy Starbucks beans and brew our own. I usually manage two cups a day. Not 8 cups. Like SOME people I know.

I'm equally fussy about the quality of my tea: Tetley, orange pekoe brewed till it's on the cusp of being stewed. But I also like herbal teas, aka petal juice.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The First Post On My Blog.

A yearly ritual has developed in our house.

In late September or early October, the temperature starts creeping down toward zero, and it occurs to me that the boys need an extra blanket on their beds. That's when I remember that the blankets they used the previous winter were long ago sent off to the municipal dump and now I need to buy new ones.

Most years I've settled for some polyester monstrosity adorned with twee kittens or whatever I can find at, but this year I decided to break with tradition. I decided to buy blankets that would last more than a single season, and aren't made from recycled pop bottles and cost more than $20.

Last week we took delivery of our custom-ordered blankets from MacAusland's Woolen Mills in PEI. They are lovely. I'm not very fluent in the secret language of wool blankets (twill? felted? napped?), I just know these are not as heavy, nor as itchy as our Hudson Bay blanket, but they are just as warm.

Here's the forest green one selected by our 8 yo:

6 yo chose a purple one:

Finally. A purple blanket. He's been asking for purple bedding (because evidently the garish orange on the walls weren't stimulating enough) for years. But do you have any idea how hard it is to find purple bedding that is not trimmed with pink, adorned with unicorns or festooned with Hannah Montana's face? Answer: damn frikkin' hard.

When I called in the order, I impulsively ordered a lap blanket for myself:

Isn't she pretty? I call her Woolhelmina. She's soft. She's cosy. She's having an affair with my husband. Or at least that is what I deduce from the fact that he keeps falling asleep with her.

And so I have ordered another lap blanket it for him. He will be called Woolbur. He arrives next week.

(And yes, those are my feet peaking out from the end. Yes, I'm wearing Birkenstocks. No, I'm not a lesbian. Yes, they do feature heavily in my always classic impersonation of Natalie Merchant from 10,000 Maniacs).