Monday, July 30, 2007

first day

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. It was Sugar D's first day on the new job, and the new, four-hour round-trip commute. It was also my first day doing the breakfast, clothing, drop-off, get to work run, without the benefit of a vehicle powered by anything other than my own pathetically out of shape muscles. Yes, I rode my bike to work today for the first time since the summer BEFORE I got pregnant (2004).

I was pretty nervous about it all yesterday, and perhaps just a titch grumpy. But this morning went surprisingly smoothly (touch wood!). Swee'pea didn't grump over breakfast, throwing half of it on the floor the way he often does, mostly thanks to the city workers who came to investigate our neighbour's basement leak. They brought lots of trucks and machinery, which captivated the young lad more effectively than the Teletubbies, and he ate his breakfast at the front window. Lots of men in bright orange outfits and hard hats stood around and gestured while a big yellow tractor with an enornmous jackhammer attachment pounded into the tarmac like a monstrous robotic woodpecker (well -- if woodpeckers drove their beaks into concrete, that is). That thing looked effortless, piercing the pavement like a butter knife into mashed potatoes. The vibrations under our feet and rattling our windows like an earthquake belied the true force.

After about half an hour of this staccato pavement pecking, they changed the attachment, and the machine stuck out these rather graceful legs to brace it over the now-crumpled driveway, like a preying mantis drinking from a puddle or maybe more like a foal when its legs are longer than its neck and it needs to stick them forward to let it graze the grass. It was actually quite fascinating.

During my bike ride, I pulled off the main drag to avoid its huge hill and rode through a nice neighbourhood where residents were already pulling weeds and watering their garden. I went right by the house where I used to live in second year university, and funnily enough, it smelled just the same as those early fall afternoons right when I'd walk home after a hard afternoon of skipping classes, drinking beer, and playing pool on the broken table on campus. Somehow the morning retained that freshness, that excitement of come what may of starting school after a summer vacation.

The big downside was that my math sucks, and it took 45 minutes to drop off Swee'pea and get to work. And this could get worse depending on where we end up finding daycare. Last time, I was prepared to drive ANYWHERE for the right person, but now I am much more limited geographically in my search.

So lesson learned. Getting around by my own weary muscles is not so bad. In fact, it's almost pleasant.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


We've had all our windows open and the air conditioning off because of the painting, and it has been bliss, especially since the weather has been perfect: sunny but not too hot, and fresh in the morning. Last night I walked Swee'pea to sleep with the unfamiliar lullaby of rain hissing into leaves and slapping into concrete. It's funny that the words I think best describe the sound of the rain outside my home are so violent when the sounds themselves are so gentle and soothing, like a warm blanket on a cold day.

We finished the painting we wanted to yesterday, miraculously. When we started in the morning I thought it was hopeless; there was no way we could finish everything. But somehow we did and the hallway is fresh and bright. It's my first experience painting such a bland colour (think sand but much much paler -- I'd been hoping it would read as yellow but better, but it reads more like white and I worry it's a bit too clinical for our house), and it's not nearly as satisfying as painting a colour that makes a bit more of a statement, but I think it will be ok. Especially if we end up selling.

My favourite part of the paint job in the hallway is the stairs. Before, the risers were gouged from floor sanders and the paint was a dingy gray after years trapped underneath old doggy carpet that was the first thing we took out of the house on the day we took possession. But now they are fresh and bright white, with a clean straight line where the riser meets the rounded edge of the golden, knotty pine step. Every time I go upstairs, I look up and I am pleased. Those crisp-looking stairs make me feel like we're living in one of those fancy homes that get featured in fancy magazines.

On the possible relocation front, at first I thought no way are we leaving after all that painting. But then I looked at pictures of my dream house in Ottawa (Sugar D calls it real estate porn), which I thought I'd gotten over but apparently I haven't. It's just so gorgeous and much bigger than our house. Sugar D says no matter how big a house we buy, we will always be able to fill it with stuff and more stuff until it feels cluttered and small, and he's probably right. But still. I found myself furnishing it and choosing colours for the walls.

I have also seen a job advertised in Ottawa that is pretty much my dream job, so I'm working on an application. But there haven't been as many jobs for Sugar D in Ottawa as I'd expected, and the idea of moving my whole family that far for MY job prospect and making Sugar D unemployed in the process is terrifying. Anyone who's relocated a fair distance, how do you manage the employment of two people? Does one go unemployed, or can you sometimes negotiate a delay in start time?

This morning we walked to the Farmer's Market as we always do on Saturdays when we're town. My ass and thighs ached from all the squats I did yesterday painting, and I mentioned to Sugar D that "My ass and thips are sore!" in my typical way of mashing words together when I'm tired and distracted. I saw a dead bird on the road as flat as paper, and carefully stepped around it, only to discover that it actually was paper.

At the market, it was fairly busy and at times difficult to maneuover the stroller around people. When Swee'pea was tiny I used to apologize, "Sorry I'm a new driver." Today I tripped one older woman by accident when she stepped in front of the stroller and then stopped abruptly. She was old enough to look like a fall could break a hip and be life threatening and I felt really bad. Until she made the ugliest prune face at her husband like The nerve of some people! Huh! Kids today... That just pissed me off. Since SHE stepped in front of ME. But whatever. I just continued on my way, cautious and terrified someone else would jump in front of the death machine it felt like I was steering.

In summary, the math:

2 gallons of alkyd ceiling paint
2.5 gallons of latex primer
.5 gallon of white semi-gloss trim paint
1.25 gallons of red paint
2 gallons of cream coloured paint

= 108 man-hours over 6 days

Sugar D starts his new job on Monday so we're trying to take it easy, enjoy the weekend, yet still put our chaotic house slightly back together.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

plus ca change

One of the things that has been holding us back from really embracing the idea of relocating (besides jobs, family stuff, and how much we love our house and hate how much work we'd have to do to get it on the market she said on day three of a five-day overambitious painting marathon), is our wonderful daycare. It's a ten-minute walk from our house, if that, and we love our daycare provider. We love the food she feeds, and the way she treats Swee'pea and the other kids, not to mention her flexibility that allows me to work more than three days some weeks or to switch my days around. She's wonderful, and we've been questioning the wisdom of possibly moving away from this amenable situation.

Well, yesterday our wonderful daycare provider told us that she's going back to school in September to pursue her dream of becoming a midwife (I told you she's perfect) and will no longer be providing daycare services. I am heartbroken.

I wonder if the universe is trying to tell us to move, if it's been forced to resort to a sledgehammer to dent our stubborn heads where gentle but persistent tapping would suffice.

And now there is this:

(Before -- note the pathetic taping job the previous owners did when they painted, carefully taping the wall instead of the ceiling. They even left the masking tape half-up. I swear I can still hear their "Doh!" echoing around the walls from when they started peeling it back. Even more pathetically, we left it up too, until just the other day.)

before 1

(After: notice how the colour almost matches the blind in the other room. No accident, I can assure you.)


How can I leave this gorgeous room?

On the plains of hesitation
Bleach the bones of countless
Who at dawn sat down to rest
And died.*

* My coworker shared this with me today, something her dad used to say, although she hasn't been able to source it. When we googled the "plains of hesitation," we discovered several similar versions attributed to multiple and varied sources, but none of them quite as good as this one.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

to the grindstone

Today was very productive. We tidied reams of miscellaneous papers, I paid bills I hadn't paid in, er, way too long, took some books to the local used bookstore and ended up bringing another one home with the credit. All this to prepare for a week of painting. We (well, ok, I) figure we may as well make use of Sugar D's last week at home and the paint the front and upstairs halls and the dining room, so that if we decide to sell at some point, it's two fewer things to do, and if we don't, we can finally enjoy the colours I've had picked out for the last four years. By the time I got home from the paint store with something like six gallons of primers, ceiling white, trim paint and wall colours, we were exhausted. Except for Swee'pea.

So Sugar D and I engaged in some horizontal parenting while Swee'pea ran around laughing maniacally like some kind of headless chicken and climbed all over us raspberrying all the way. I think it's the first time the three of have just chilled in the same room since we got back, and it was good to relax. We listened to the recordings of the final Rheostatics concert that I downloaded, and it provided just the right kind of music and melancholy. The reverie was threefold: reliving my memories of that concert and the sadness that hung over my enjoyment of the music knowing it would come to an end, remembering my excitemenet that night when we drove through Sage's neighbourhood and my exclamation, "Let's move here!" and later that night seeing the woman sitting on the garbage bag with her eyes rolling back her in head while her smoke burnt down and deciding that perhaps the Big Smoke was not for me (and pondering the irony that Sugar D now, four months later, somehow has a job in that neck of the woods,) and finally, nostalgia for those earlier moments that the Rheostatics formed part of the soundtrack for: that first taste of freedom when my friend got her driver's license and we spent the summer just driving, anywhere; my first kisses on a cold March night in my mom's car, just the dashboard lights glowing cyan and orange against the fogged up windows.

Speaking of nostalgia, last night I went through my closet and put together a pile of clothes that I haven't worn since I was probably 23, and two pairs of shoes that I bought at the same time even though they were a size too big (they didn't have the right sizes -- that's how much these shoes seduced me) because I couldn't bring myself to choose between them. I've worn them each probably five times max because it's really not comfortable wearing shoes that are too big no matter how funky they look, and they bore just a touch too much resemblance to clown's shoes.

old shoes

I'll take them to consignment shop I think. I found myself wondering if I should get rid of the clothes, if maybe my child would grow up and feel a sense of loss that they couldn't use their parents' clothes to dress in the latest retro style like I felt with my parents' lost 70s wardrobe.

Anyways, eventually Sugar D and I managed to peel ourselves off the floor and couch respectively, and walked to the park. There were a lot of people canoeing down the river, and every time we saw one, Swee'pea would point and bellow, "Bo! Bo! Bo!" his loud voice shattering the tranquility.


Friday, July 20, 2007


Sugar D has a job! It's the job in Toronto, the one that requires four hours of commuting a day, but it's just too good of an opportunity to turn down. Besides, we can do anything for 3-6 months and in the meantime we'll look for opportunities to end the commute (with other jobs or a move). And, he should be able to get home by 6 in the evening, which is perfectly humane.

Ottawa is still on the table... right now the possibilities are dizzying and exciting, though at some point I expect they'll become just plain old uncertain and stressful. I have so much swirling through my mind (not to mention preparing two job applications for Ottawa jobs) that I haven't really been able to blog. I just can't keep up with or track the millions of directions in which my thoughts are darting about.

In related news, I've gone and fallen in love on the Internet, with a house. It's the most gorgeous house I've ever seen anywhere in our price range (our price range, of course, being dependent on both of us having jobs -- in Ottawa), and I could imagine living in it forever. Anyways, I'm only just managing to keep my head on my shoulders and am resigning myself that it is absolutely not the right time... I'm going to have to ban myself from the mls for a while I think. At least until we see how Sugar D's new job goes or until one of us gets a job offer elsewhere. Well... maybe I could just focus on places in Toronto because that would be a much less disruptive move at the moment.

Last summer, I fell in love with a fixer-upper in the Bo Kaap in Cape Town, the neighbourhood with all the colourful homes. Funnily enough, I'm pretty sure I saw it, unfixed-up, when we wandered around the neighbourhood this past January. Clearly, I have a history of these totally impractical love affairs with other houses. The funny thing is that I love our home. I wouldn't want to move anywhere else in G-town, at least not anywhere that we could reasonably afford.

onions in bo kaap

Tuesday, July 17, 2007



It feels like so much has changed since I last posted that I don't know where to start. Except that nothing's really happened. Our vacation was great, except for a whole lotta cold, rainy weather and not a lotta swimming. We drove a lot, to Ottawa, Kingston and Peterborough, which was better than I expected with Swee'pea mostly sleeping and Sugar D and I getting lots of time to talk and think. I think it was a great time to get away from home, to get some much needed perspective and distance.


The result? I think we may move, maybe to Toronto, maybe to Ottawa. Not right away -- for one thing, we need to do quite a bit of work on the house before we put it on the market, and for another we need jobs in the new location -- but as something to work towards. And it means I can pore over the mls to my heart's content. This time last year, I'd gotten it into my head that I wanted to buy a place in Cape Town. I still haven't figured out exactly how we'd finance it, but the hours I spent checking out houses and apartments on the internet provided great escapism.


So for those of you who live in Toronto or Ottawa (is there anyone who reads me in Ottawa? I don't think so)... provide some direction to my mls daydreams. What neighbourhood do you live in? Is there anywhere affordable to live? Someplace near parks and shopping and easy to reach downtown?


And in the meantime, I'm dusting off my resume and applying for jobs myself. It feels like an exciting time... I'd be happy to stay here if Sugar D found satisfying work here (although, that said, G-town suddenly looked awfully small when we got back), and it would be exciting to move to a new city with more job opportunities.


And, in more scary news, a girl I babysat when she was eight months old just added me as a friend on facebook. I don't think I've seen her since she was 3. You know you're old when...

reflection of the neighbour's dock

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

in search of the elusive Hipster Parent

So we made it to the cottage, and it rained for two days while Toronto melted, and now we’re melting too. I don’t remember the cottage ever being hot like this when I was a kid. I suspect perhaps we’ve lost some big trees over the years, along with their air-conditioning umbrellas of leaves. At least we have the lake to cool down in.

The first rainy night we were here, there were also two dogs staying here, and I suspect that squadrons of mosquitoes rode in on their damp fur to lay siege to us. They dive-bombed us all night, and poor Swee’pea once again looks like he’s got chicken pox.

Today we went to Kingston to explore, and on the way we considered making a sign for Swee’pea to inform nosy passers-by that it is not chicken pox, but mosquito bites. Because we didn’t have any materials to make such a sign, and also because we’re lazy, we didn’t do it (plus, it occurred to us that having a kid covered in so many angry red mosquito bites wouldn’t say much better about our parenting than bringing a contagious kid out with us). Sure enough, at the place we ate lunch at, a woman with two kids, one about 3 years old and the other probably only about two months, came up to our table and opened up with, “Boy, looks like you guys have had a rough time. How’s he doing?” It took me a moment, but eventually I clued in that she was talking about Swee’pea’s red crusty spots. “Oh! Those are mosquito bites; we wouldn’t bring him out if he had chicken pox.” “Oh,” she said, “He wouldn’t be contagious anymore if it were, it wouldn’t matter.” She’d obviously been sitting at her table for the last 10 minutes, stewing about that contagious kid at the next table over and calculating the risk to her precious and vulnerable kids, especially her youngest, just like I would have if I were in her position. Anyways, we conversed about how bad the bites are, as I do with just about every mother I encounter when Swee’pea has The Pox, and then she sat back down, satisfied that her children were not going to be infected.

The restaurant was perfect for us, a bit divey but charming with bright coloured walls. Blackboards high up on the walls described mostly vegetarian and vegan dishes in coloured chalk. A display fridge bursting with salads and take-out wraps and rotis, and scrumptious desserts (which we were too full to even consider after our meals) ran most of the length of the restaurant down from the cash. What was most perfect, however, was not just the food, but a little play corner with lots of toys, that Swee’pea kept looking longingly over at through the meal until finally he could play after consuming mountains of fresh baked bread and homemade hummus. It was truly a family-friendly place.

As soon as we walked in, I noticed that the other patrons were decidedly bohemian. Not many families, but lots of young folks with dreadlocks and lurid, multi-coloured hairstyles with lots of gel, the kind of hairstyles I’ve admired for years. Looking around, the phrase hipster parents kept echoing around my mind; this is the place for Kingston’s hipster parents.

Feeling so at home there brought me up short: could we possibly be hipster parents? What are hipster parents anyways? I’ve seen a lot of references to these mythical creatures, although I haven't actually seen a field guide to hipster parents so I'm not sure I'd know one if I saw one. It's always been a term to describe other people, and not any people I know, because the people I know are kind of geeky in their passions. I’ve always figured we weren’t nearly cool enough to be hipster parents. Over lunch today, however, it occurred to me that nobody labels themselves as hipster parents, at least I don't think they do; people just live their lives the way they want, the way they think is best.

Um... so that's all I got. Yeah, I go on vacation and all I can think about is how to define a hipster parent... well, that and the dial-up that's so slow it's backwards.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Letter to Swee'pea: 17 months old

Dear Swee'pea:

june24 191

Ack! Today you are 17 months old. We are heading off to the cottage today, and I can't help but think about the last time we were there, about 11 months ago. Then, you were just beginning to perfect your inchworm crawl before you could even sit (in fact you sat up unsupported for the first time at the cottage). Now, you have discarded your newish walking skills in favour of running, arms straight out behind you like a ski jumper or sometimes like a penguin. Then, I was demented with the heat and a desperate, ultimately unsuccessful mission to get you to sleep in the crib. Now, you sleep in the crib sometimes and with us sometimes and I'm no longer stiff and sore when I wake in the morning. Then, I was too scared to let your skin see the sun, except for once at five in the afternoon when we took you for your first 'swim.' Now, I am just beginning to realize that the cottage will feature far scarier hazards than the sun for a boy of your age (like, 150 steps down to the lake, and the lake, and the deck that stands 15 feet above the ground, although I'm pretty sure Grandpa's railings are strong).


You remain a water creature, however, and I can't wait to see your joy splashing in the lake. This month, we have discovered in you a great love of sprinklers, and you have become an even bigger fan of your baths, if that were possible, crying when we take you out some nights.


You have experienced quite a few firsts this month: your first tractor 'ride,' your first time figuring out how to ride a toy motorbike thing. You have gotten really good with a wheelbarrow too. Last weekend you sat in a booster seat for the first time at our local greasy spoon, after indicating that you were having nothing to do with their high chair thank you very much. After seeing your cousin Z eat a banana with the peel, whole, instead of in unpeeled pieces, you have also indicated that you will no longer eat banana bits, only with the peel on. And I almost forgot, this month you slept through the night, and in your crib, for the first time. You did it again just last night for the second time.


These things may seem insignificant, but they aren't to us. It seems like you are driving your own growth. Left to our own devices, we would never let you reach new milestones; we would keep you forever in our arms and doing the safe things that we've adjusted to you doing. Yet you keep pushing and striving inorxorably towards what I don't know. The destination doesn't really matter anyways; we have no choice but to go along with the ride.

Up to this point, you haven't really had any interest in tv, and we haven't made any effort to cultivate an interest. But this month you have discovered the Teletubbies. In fact, you're watching it right now, touching the tv, laughing uproariously, and calling out. Your daddy also likes Teletubbies, and I find it remarkable that he remembers the time and channel for it every morning, when he can't remember times and channels for any other show he enjoys.

I'm sad to report that you are obsessed by cars and trucks and all things with wheels. Although it's adorable the way you point to trucks passing our car and every single parked car we pass in the stroller, and how excited you get when we pass construction zones with all their big yellow diggers and dump trucks, I confess I'm a little disappointed in your fascination. There's the gender conformity issue, not to mention the environmental impact of these vehicles. I guess we have lots of time to teach you about that though.

I think we should get you a doll, but the truth is I find a lot of dolls creepy: so many of them roll their eyes back in their head or just look out at the world vacuously in a possessed, horror movie kind of way. Nevertheless, yesterday at our local independent baby store, I handed you the doll they use for demonstrations for expectant parents who have no clue what most of the store's merchandise is for. You fell in love and cuddled that doll and when we had to leave and give it back, you wept. If we could have bought that doll we totally would have but they didn't sell any dolls that you liked; only that one demonstration model. When daddy explained that that doll lives there and we can come back and visit it you only sobbed more.


This month you have discovered nodding in the affirmative to go along with the shaking of your head in the negative that you've been doing for a couple of months now. The result is adorable if a bit inconsistent; I don't think you've quite grasped the nuances of some questions. So if I ask you if you've had enough, you'll nod your head once, emphatically with an equally emphatic and quick, "Ba!", but if I then ask if you've finished, you'll shake your head no. You may or may not eat any more at this point.

You have also started noticing the images on the shirts you wear. Your favourite is your pajama shirt with Tigger on it, the one your Grampa and Gramma Ps gave you for your first birthday in South Africa. Just in time for this new development, a new shirt arrived from South Africa, this one from your Great Auntie L and Great Uncle J. You love it.

new shirt 2

I think my favourite part of your current age is the growing sophistication of your sense of humour. Not long ago, shortly after gettting out of bed, you discovered the hilarity of sitting on your sleeping leopard. Sadly, it took me so long to get the camera and its settings right for a barely sharp image that I missed the laughter.


Often, you will repeat endlessly, "Mama?" And I will respond, "Yes, honeypot?" And you will ask again, "Mama?" like one of those endless knock knock jokes. Sometimes it gets a bit tiresome, but I still get a thrill every time you utter that magic word Mama. Anyways, the other day in the car, you were playing your little game and I was playing along:


"Yes, m'love?"


"Yes dear?"



"I'm right here, darling."

And so on. You get the drift. Anyways, you were silent for a moment so I piped up: "[Swee'pea]? [Swee'pea]? " And you totally got the joke. You laughed every single time I said it, (and I rather went on because your laughter still induces an opiate-like euphoria). That same day you perfected your raspberry technique on my belly, with whoopee cushion-like results and even bigger belly laughs. Ahh, the toilet humour starts young I guess, and I can assure you it will be much needed in this family.

Ever since you have been starting the night in your crib, your daddy has been the one getting up with you in the night. But the other night you woke when I was still awake, though I was in bed, and your daddy was asleep. It's been a long time since I've seen you at night in your crib, and to my shock you nearly fill it. Last night you were sitting up when I got there, and I picked up the soother and put it in your mouth and you melted back into sleep, your sleepy fingers playing a gentle tune on my hands, no longer the suffocating octopus grip of earlier times. I savoured that moment in the dark, your big-boy sleeping body all fuzzy edges and softness without my glasses on. You stirred a bit when the floor creaked loudly under the weight of my departure, and in the end it was a short time before you woke again and I just brought you into bed. But you are growing up. Even when you sleep in our bed, you no longer need to cuddle me all night long, you sleep in your own space now.


That said, you are still a fabulous cuddle monkey, stopping your play to smile at me and come over for a hug, and you pat and stroke my arm or my back in the most delicious adult-like but unmistakably toddler way. You have your moments that make me pull my hair out, like when you run away in the midst of a poopy diaper change or refuse to sit in your high chair, kicking and screaming, but all this month I have mostly been struck, again and again, by what a lovely child you are, smart, sensitive and warm.

Love Always,

Friday, July 06, 2007


Updated with new developments below.

Life is hard. I'm on vacation. We're supposed to be going to my parents' cottage tomorrow morning for a week, nearly 5 hours' drive away, with a couple of days in Ottawa to visit my sister. But our mentally ill family member is in the midst of a bit of a crisis, although of course it's not a big enough crisis to actually get any help for her.

On top of this, we're trying to decide on the issue of Sugar D commuting to Toronto, essentially adding four hours to his working day every day, meaning he'll get max. one hour with Swee'pea per weekday. Meaning I'll have to do the whole morning routine, which I've been depending on considerable help from Sugar D before now, AND the grumpy evening routine all by myself. Five days a week. And both of us keep waffling. Of course, all this hand-wringing could be moot because he hasn't actually gotten a job offer. But he has gotten a phone call from the same company for a different job interview with a different department, a department that could be more in line with Sugar D's career's goals. But doing the interview puts a serious dent in our holiday plans, pretty much kiboshing the Ottawa bit and shortening the cottage bit. Is it worth it for a job that he may not even take because of the commute? Well he doesn't know enough about the opportunity yet to know.

We've considered the possibility of moving to Toronto but house prices are out of control and we keep coming back to the fact that we really like living in our town. And our mentally ill family member lives here with virtually no one else to care for her or watch for opportunities to get help or manage crises.

I hate this shit. I was doing fine, managing the uncertainty and keeping positive, and Sugar D was doing well too. But now it all feels so overwhelming and frustrating and uncertain. We've been planning this holiday since before Sugar D lost his job because Swee'pea's daycare is closed. I don't have enough vacation days to take another holiday and Sugar D can't afford anymore time away from the job search either.

Any crack decision makers out there with good ideas? Help...


Edited to add: Ok, I may have been a touch hasty here (I KNOW. That NEVER happens to me.) Our good friend Banana pointed out that if a company can't respect a one-week vacation before they've even hired you then how flexible will they be when Sugar D is spending 4 hours a day trying to commute there? So he's rescheduled with no major consequences. And it appears the mental health crisis is no longer a crisis and there's nothing that would really be gained by staying home this week. So it looks like perhaps our vacation is still starting tomorrow. The commuting issue remains a dilemma and open for discussion... thanks to the commenters who've already added their two cents' worth and sympathy.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


the stinky sandal saga continues...

Today I had time to try on the sandals I liked in that shoe store, the one where the guy told me those shoes wouldn't suit my purposes. Well, none of them felt right. So I went to the shoe boutique and tried on shoe after shoe after shoe, mostly Naots, even though my current (smelly) sandals are Naots. They're just so comfortable, and I like the styles. Anyways, none of them are really grabbing me although a few feel nice and look ok or look nice and feel ok. I'm just about to come to a decision, because I'm so sick of smelly sandals when the clerk mentions that with Naot, you can buy separate insoles to replace them. Eureka!

So as of Thursday, I will no longer be known as Stinky Shoe Sin.

(And, I must say, my traffic has gone up since I last wrote about smelly sandals... people keep coming in droves looking for information about washing leather sandals and stinky sandals and smelly shoes... there's clearly a market niche just waiting to be filled... maybe [lowers voice] shoe freshener needs to be brought out of the closet?)

And because it's been so long since the grammar grump made an appearance, I offer the following:

very expensive berries
HooWEE! Them's some 'spensive berries!

strange dress code

A few things I find strange: "Strictly enforced at management's discretion"? Which one is it? Strictly enforced or dependent on the management's discretion?

And of course, the specific items they have chosen to ban from the establishment. Ooh, sideways hats, gotta watch out for those... those are the REAL badasses! And are towels the new gang labels or something? I wanted to investigate these items in more detail, but no time... I'll leave it to you.

Monday, July 02, 2007

happy canada day

updated with photos

I can hear firecrackers popping and screaming outside our house. They make me a littler nervous actually, ever since my friends and I decided to try our hand at setting off our own fireworks one summer celebration and it tipped sideways just after we lit it and flew into a girl's stomach. She was fine, mostly, but it knocked the wind out of her. I think she went home then, and the rest of us stayed and got drunk(er). Not a big deal, but it made me realize firecrackers can be dangerous.

My parents' village (pop. 1000) celebrated its 175th birthday this weekend, along with Canada's birthday. It was surprisingly militarily themed (one of the organizers is apparently in the armed forces and called in a few buddies), and involved more adrenaline than I could ever have imagined for a 175th birthday.

[break for sleep... see you in the morning]

By the numbers:

1 man who removed both his upper and lower dentures chillin' outside the farmer's market before we left town.

1 missed parade, which was reportedly VERY long for such a short town, and apparently showcased a number of the town's used vehicles for sale, some excellent marching bands and a sickly looking camel.

3 weeks my dad spent singlehandedly building a bandwagon for his concert band to ride in the parade. Swee'pea loved playing on it in the barnyard.

1 CF-18 fighter jet flyover at 500 feet. 500 feet is very low -- and LOUD -- for a fighter jet, and its booming, heart-quaking, can't think about anything else roar is scary even knowing it was a planned celebratory flyover. The high-pitched whistling sound (the one they use in movies when a plane is crashing to the earth) that immediately preceded the thunderous boom that I imagine would accompany a nuclear bomb was even more alarming. It passed over three times and every time I hoped it wouldn't crash; when it turned sideways and white smoke flew off its wings, I thought we were goners, but it righted itself and flew back to Trenton. I can't imagine living in an area where those things regularly fly over you. They are so dark and pointy and angry-looking, they look like the beasts of destruction they are and the sound fills my heart with dread. Swee'pea, who I've always said is pretty bomb-proof, just looked out from his stroller with a quizzical but unconcerned expression.

2 paratroopers jumping into the village baseball diamond -- well that was the plan anyways. One landed in the baseball diamond, the other got snagged in a cedar tree by a gust of wind. He was ok though. The volunteer firefighters had to rescue the parachute.

3 cracks to the head: 1 when Swee'pea tripped on my foot and his forehead met the corner of a doorframe; 2 when Swee'pea stuck his hand in my very hot, very full cup of tea, spilled it all over and Sugar D and I slammed our skulls together rushing to get Swee'pea away from the boiling hot tea and under the cold tap. Swee'pea was fine; it took Sugar D and I a bit longer to recover.

1 viewing of Bon Cop, Bad Cop, which was surprisingly good. Especially for a Canadian movie. It was really funny and I also really enjoyed the acidic cinematography. I would totally recommend it.

1 enormous, bright orange moon rising from behind black spindly trees as a neighbour set off cheap fireworks over my dad's burgeoning vineyard (he's enjoying retirement I'd say).

72 raspberries on my belly: Swee'pea's first raspberry attempts were hugely successfully, producing very life-like farty sounds and generating uncountable laughs from all of us.