Wednesday, December 26, 2007

conspiracy theory #175388

my mother and mother in law both want me to have an eating disorder, i swear.

i'm not very wide at all. i'm 5'8 and somewhere between 120 and 130. i've got a post-baby gut, but so what?!? apparently it's a huge deal.

first of all, my mom: she lives with mental health issues. one way of telling how she's faring is seeing how big she thinks i am. this year for christmas she made me a pair of pj bottoms. i sent her my measurements, even. but she thinks i lie when i send her measurements (she's pretty much said so) and so made them about four inches too big in the waist. i'm very, very used to sizing things down after so many years of oversized clothes. i'm not going to grow into them, ma.

once when she was doing really badly she made me some overalls that would be loose on a 350 pound man. they were awesome otherwise, though. electric blue with a yellow star appliqu├ęd on the arse and huge bellbottoms. too bad i could have easily fit 3 of me in them.

then there's my mother in law. she has no mental health issues that i am aware of. but she feels the need to help me slim down. she's asked me when i plan to lose my baby fat. and when she brings plates of hors d'oeuvres and dainties and squares and whatnot into a room of people and passes them around i somehow get missed - every single time. and if i work up the nerve to go get myself some lunch from the kitchen she stands there and watches me as i load up my plate, then watches me eat it, eyebrows raised.

should i be taking this personally??


oh, and santa loves me. this was by a long shot my best christmas ever as far as getting cool stuff. and i still have things back home to open. i'm listening to my fancy new ipod as i type this.

Monday, December 24, 2007

fluke


review of fluke by christopher moore

i've read all his books before, and some of them aren't worth a second read, but this one is awesome. it's my second favourite of his books. first comes the gospel according to biff, but that is a review for another post.

fluke is golden for many reasons. the plot chugs along nicely, the characters are likeable, moore has wit and humour to spare, quirkiness abounds... what's not to like? but the thing that makes me love this book is kona.

pelekekona keohokalole, born preston applebaum, is a white kid from jersey who is also a dreadlocked rastafarian living on maui. he says stuff like

"Oh, she a blackheart thief that would take a man's Snowy Biscuit to have a punaani nosh. That Snowy Biscuit belong our tribe."
just for fun, let's dissect this. 'oh, she a... to have a' is piratespeak crossed with jamaican pidgin. snowy biscuit, allegedly, means pale, attractive woman. i'm not sure if that's surfer lingo or more jamaican. google tells me that punaani means vagina in jamaican. whatever. but nosh??? what is the yiddish word for snack doing here???

the marvelous mr. moore is known for having characters make appearances in multiple books. so far kona is only in fluke, but i keep hoping he'll pop up in another book... or ten. are you listening, author guy?

two more for the road.
"Rum," said Kona. "Too much hostility in dat buzz. Rum come from da cane, and cane come from slavin' the people, and dat oppression all distilled in de bottle and come out a man mean as cat shit on a day."

"Ya, mon. Kona can spark up a spliff and calm down that bumpy brine for all me new science dreadies. We can take the boat no matter what the wind be," Kona said. He was thinking, I have no idea what the hell I'm talking about, but I really want to get out there with the whales.
need i say more?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

staying at the il's

coffee.
conversation about how cute/ good the babies are
food. (with a garnish of glares and comments from mother-in-law who thinks i need to watch my weight)
sitting on the couch playing on the laptop.
more playing on the laptop.
coffee.
sneaking chocolate.
more laptop on the couch.
coffee.
another conversation about cute babies.
yawn.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

flight and fight

let it be known that flying halfway across the country with a 2 year old, a baby and no stroller is no easy task. because i'm sure most people would consider it to be a breeze, a walk in the park and a piece of cake. but i did it.

i had help, though. i would have died (figuratively) without it.

the day before the trip i called airport security and came up with a game plan with the lady on the phone. she was very helpful and a little too enthusiastic. it turns out that when you're checking in you can ask for a special security clearance thingamie for someone to come with you to the gate. gate h, in my case.

the flight left at 9.15 so we arrived at the airport at 8. my friend and i juggled babies and checked luggage. no biggie. then my friend decided to get a cup of coffee. again, no biggie. the boy was in awe of the real live airport, and a little nervous, so he stuck close. security and the gates are all upstairs so we had to take the elevator. so my friend, (a 6'3 metis woman with a cane) the boy, myself (with the baby strapped to my chest) and a luggage cart with my backpack and the boy's carseat got on the elevator. an elderly couple with matching walkers joined us. it was cozy. especially when the elevator got stuck.

it had gone up a floor and was hiccuping, going up and down a few inches, over and over and over... my mind went straight to the worst case scenario, where both babies start screaming, we have to be rescued with the jaws of life, and i pee on the floor. what actually happened is the older man pressed the 'open door' button and the doors opened. who, me? melodramatic?

then we realized that my friend couldn't go through security with her coffee. it was about 8.30 so there was no huge rush, but there was an insane line for security, so she slurped that coffee up. sort of. she is a pretty slow coffee drinker, it took her about 15 minutes to drink that little cup.

finally she was done and we were on our way. the babies and i flew through, i'd planned ahead so none of us had any metal on us. but my friend wasn't thinking about metal detectors when she had gotten dressed that morning... she ended up being frisked quite thoroughly by a man who called her 'sir'.

it was almost 9 when we reached the gate and the flight was already boarding. oops. i bid adieu to my friend (who, despite the delays she caused, saved my life. how could i have made it with a wandering boy, a carseat, a backpack and a baby without her? i couldn't. thanks, amber!) then got the pleasure of carrying everything while trying to herd the boy down the long walkway thing and onto the plane.

airplane aisles are not designed to accommodate people as heavily laden as i was. and half the people had already boarded. i got a lot of sympathetic smiles as i urged the boy to walk ahead of me, no, come back, ok, this is your seat, no move over while i plug in this car seat... i'm a slender woman but i felt huge, trying to navigate that tiny space.

eventually i had the boy in his carseat, next to the window. the carseat was critical to my strategy, since he can't get out of it without help. a lapbelt wouldn't have held him down for more than a few seconds. he loved his window. there was an airport out there! and a tanker truck and a pickup truck and people and... a huge, huge woman coming to sit with us. she filler her seat and overflowed into mine. did i mention that the boy's carseat was a few inches wider than his seat? i was left with about half a seat for myself and the baby. cozy.

the boy loved the takeoff and was fascinated with his view for a little while, but then it got old. so i broke out the snacks. those were great... for about ten minutes. then i pulled out some books he'd never seen before... there was another ten minutes of fun. then came an hour and a half of pulling at his carseat and complaining that he was stuck.

thankfully he never got as loud as the kid across the aisle, who was teething. compared to that kid my son was an angel. but 2 year olds aren't good at sitting still, being bored and overheated, for two straight hours. but he made it. at one point the woman sitting in front of us turned around to sing 'old macdonald' to the boy. it was surreal, having a complete stranger sing a silly song out of the blue like that.

deplaning was the trickiest bit. the airport is a tiny regional one where people have to walk outside from their aircraft to the building. so i had to bundle up both boys while still in that tiny space. a flight attendant helped me get the boy and the carseat to the top of the (icy) stairs. then an air traffic controller carried him down the stairs. then an airport employee carried the carseat & backpack while i got both boys inside... we had to walk very, very slowly, since the boy only has very short legs. eventually we made it inside the building... and there was no one there to meet us.

really, they showed up a few minutes later and everything was fine, but i wanted to end on a dramatic note. either way, good story, non?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

away

i'm staying with my in-laws. it's interesting. mixed. the boy is having a ball with all these people playing with him and fawning all over him - he loves attention and he's getting attention so he's happy. he barely remembers that i'm here, which is mostly ok with me.
the baby gets frustrated because all these people want to hold him all the time and all he really wants in life is a boob to suck. so he gets really, really hungry while he gets passed around and around - sooner or later i step in and just take him. they're shocked at how fat he is, how much he eats, how often he gets hungry... i love that in a crowded room of admirers he looks for me. one day cars and toys will be cooler than mama, but right now i'm his favourite.
so i sit on a couch and drink cup after cup of coffee. it's a little dull, but after the craziness of two babies every day, all the time, boring is ok. hopefully i'll get a nap and some time to work on the projects i brought.
just an update.

Monday, December 17, 2007

vegan survey

ok, so i'm not vegan or even technically vegetarian, but we eat vegan a lot, vegetarian almost all the time, and don't support the meat industry. as i become a better cook i make more and more vegan food.

i got the survey here but if you're looking for amazing vegan recipes, look here, too.

1. Favorite non-dairy milk?

usually silk soy milk, since it's gluten free and a lot of other soy milks aren't. i'd like to try almond milk next. and kirkland soy milk tastes amazing, but i refuse to shop at walmart and so can't have it.

2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?
my to-die-for spicy orange tofu is amazing. potato & tofu fries are a favourite, especially with the 2year old. and i can do things with black beans that i can't even write here. also falafels, soups.... i'm actually a great cook, when i make an effort.

3. Topping of choice for popcorn?
salt, chili powder and oil.

4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?
i made this cranberry stuffing a couple of xmases ago that was bloody awful. but it enlivened the dinner conversation, i guess, since everyone spent the whole meal making fun of it.

5. Favorite pickled item?
olives

6. How do you organize your recipes?
most are in my head, a few are in an actual recipe box, many are saved in notepad files on the computer or bookmarked.

7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?
mostly compost, with garbage when it's too cold to empty the full compost pail. so compost in summer, garbage in winter. yes, i suck.

8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods...what would they be (don't worry about how you'll cook them)?
mangoes, avocados and coffee.

9. Fondest food memory from your childhood?
hangin' with my dog.

10. Favorite vegan ice cream?
italian-made fresh sorbet.

11. Most loved kitchen appliance?
garlic press

12. Spice/herb you would die without?
chili powder

13. Cookbook you have owned for the longest time?
more with less

14. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly?
currently mango/passionfruit... mmmmmm.

15. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?
spicy orange tofu if they're open to tofu, chili with tsp if they aren't. (my fil went on and on praising the 'nice, meaty chili' last time)

16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?
tofu.

17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?
breakfast is easy but dinner offers more exciting possibilities.... it depends on my mood. never lunch, though.

18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator?
boxes of cereal, bananas, apples and coffee

19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.
leftover vegan stew, carrots and broccoli

20. What's on your grocery list?
nothing, flying out tomorrow morning

21. Favorite grocery store?
stupidstore, it's huge and i can find anything i want, usually for disgustingly cheap. organic planet when i'm trying to be more organic/ ethical.

22. Name a recipe you'd love to veganize, but haven't yet.
bacon.
kidding. quiche would be nice, then the kid could eat it.

23. Food blog you read the most (besides Isa's because I know you check it everyday). Or maybe the top 3?
something in season, gluten free goddess, and... um... the bookmark is on the laptop and i forget the name.

24. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?
frozen orange juice has been on my top 5 treats since i was a little kid.

25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?
organic, fair trade, dark kicking horse coffee

26. who is the sweetest sleeping baby to lie in your lap today?

life in general


we had a good weekend. three parties (or four) and lots of hugs. tomorrow the babies and i fly out to the inlaws' place, my partner will come join us on friday.

we had our biannual solstice party on saturday and it was great. several of our closest friends couldn't come, this is a crazy time of year to try to schedule things, but it turned out ok. better than ok. it was a toast and wine party and it was a hit. we burned through many, many loaves of bread, lot of nutella, jam, bread, wine, eggnog, coffee... and conversation flowed. there were probably 15 people at the height of the party and everyone was having a good time. friends from all different parts of our life met and hit it off. i had been afraid that nobody would come and it would suck, but it was really good. i'm still on a little bit of a high from how well it went.

except for the part where the boy fell down the stairs...

off to pack.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

don't read this



for the second post in a row i'm hesitant to hit the 'publish post' button. i have another confession to make.

every day, in my living room, surrounded by my impressionable children, i dance...

to shakira's 'hips don't lie'

a couple of weeks ago i realized that i was in pathetically bad shape. i was at my friend's party and we were all crazydancing and i was badly winded after less than a full song. michael jackson's 'billy jean', to be precise.

so i decided that i need to exercise at least a little every day. i don't have any fitness equipment and don't want to spend money on something that will just gather
dust. i tried a video, but the boy wouldn't let me do it, he stood in front of the screen and demanded attention. plus hardwood isn't too nice for floor exercises. so i figured if i dance, hard, to three songs a day, that's about a 10 minute workout. i went through my cd's and mp3's, looking for a dance mix, and came up empty. bob dylan, jack johnson, rage, and rancid are all great, but none of them are dance-able. then i remembered that ages ago i'd had stupid shakira stuck in my head and in desperation i'd downloaded her latest hit to banish her from my brain. so every day i dance, hard and geeky, to some of the world's least cool music. or most cool. or something. either way, i've been stealthy and secretive about the whole thing, since my partner and friends would be merciless if they knew.

so why exactly am i posting this on the internet?

ok, look at the thingamie and don't blink, ok?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

sometimes i just suck

i'm really, really imperfect. so is my son. we've been known to disagree, upon occasion. take yesterday morning.

now, in my defense, i'd had about 2 hours of sleep. but that's a feeble excuse. many other women could have held it together in the same circumstances, but i am not those women. really, from the moment i hauled my sorry ass from bed i was looking for a chance to blow up. then the boy emptied the container cupboard - something he does every few days. normally i let him play with the containers, then when he loses interest i bring him back and help him clean them up.
yesterday he'd barely gotten them all out of the cupboard when i decided that he needed to clean them up, now. so i said so, but maybe more like NOW. then i told him that they had to be picked up NOW, OR ELSE!!. then i proceeded to insist that they be cleaned up THIS MINUTE OR YOU'RE GETTING IN TROUBLE!!!!. being his happy little self, my son ignored my unprovoked fury and picked up the lid of a yogurt container and skimmed it across the floor. i swear that at this moment i gained a second personality, and that personality was hitler.

i swear, before i had a baby i was the mellowest person. it took a lot to get me pissed off, and even then i'd just rant and rave a bit then forget all about it. but something changed when the boy was born. there are days when i just quietly simmer away, waiting for the chance to let my rage loose. i have so much pent up fury, for no good reason. nobody has wronged me. i have a comfortable, safe life. people love me. my baby grins at me every time i look at him. my boy wants nothing more than to play with me, be hugged by me and just generally be around me. so what's wrong with me?

Monday, December 10, 2007

pirates III


instead of 'at the world's end', the subtitle should have been 'the movie even johnny depp couldn't save'. seriously. he was the only good thing about the movie. i generally take every chance i can get to ogle mr. depp, but this one wasn't worth it. the plot was incoherent, the writing was like nails on a chalkboard... none of us (roomate, hubby and i) had any idea what was going on at any given time, and we were barely drinking. it seemed like one long, stupid sea battle with brief scenes on land thrown in just to confuse the viewer.
i loved the first movie (how many movies can you describe as swashbuckling? a good time, what's wrong with that?!?!) but the second one was garbage and this was even worse. i will never get those hours of my life back, alas.

although there was a scene with about 100 of johnny depp in the same frame, some of his incarnations were shirtless...

bonnie burstow and the house on lippincott*

i'm in the middle of this book and it's amazing. a pair of holocaust survivors are living in toronto and have three daughters. the daughters grow up in a house haunted by pain and memories of the unspeakable. they each end up as different as three women can be. that sounds so trite. i'm not even near the end of the book yet, but i can say that this book is deeply satisfying because it is a well-told story, it is emotionally impacting thanks to the premise and the writing, and it is philosophically challenging.
the book doesn't gloss over any of the pain, yet none of it is glorified or dragged out. pain is simply a daily fact for the book's denizens, much like hunger and cold. it divides the family and, paradoxically, holds them together. it forms the characters as they strive to overcome it, wallow in it, deny it... pain is as air to the family in the book. amazingly, the book isn't depressing. it's deeply thought-provoking, though. several issues (pedophilia, homosexuality, guilt, racism, etc) are treated with the gravity they deserve but without bogging the story down. the writer is unafraid of being intellectual. most novels don't have footnotes, but this isn't most novels. the writer assumes a certain amount of literacy on the reader's part in regards to philosophy and history, which i don't mind at all, but others might.
this book really isn't for everybody, but for the right people it's staggeringly good.

*this review was written while nursing, bouncing and burping a heavy, fat baby to sleep and so the syntax is choppy and the thoughts don't flow. consider it to be a draft. come back in a week or two to read the final version

Saturday, December 8, 2007

the same, only different

lovely, non? i should have taken a picture yesterday, it was even worse. the good news is that these hideous, festering wounds are on the retreat. one day i'll post these lovely lips smiling and cold sore-free.

right after i took the pictures last time, the boy discovered that the bulbs on incandescent fairy lights are removable, and promptly took them all out. so i took the lights down and got led lights, which are more toddler-proof. also they use much less electricity and are less of a fire hazard. and the string of lights is significantly shorter so the fort looks less cool. and they give off less light so it's dimmer inside the fort.
still cool, but not bright enough. i might get more lights, or i might just say fuck it. probably the latter. the colours are nice, though.
but it's that time of year. i love it when it's legitimately winter so i can bust out the hot chocolate powder to mix with my coffee. sure, i could do it in july, but where's the fun in that?

and for all those who were anxious, the ass zit is better now. no one is happier to hear that than me.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

it's beginning to look a little like christmas


yes, those are my lips. why yes, they are a little sore, why do you ask? oh yeah, and TWO cold sores that suddenly popped up... how lucky am i?
actually you're the lucky one. i have a deep, painful zit on my ass the size of a marble. it hurts to sit. but i'm not posting a picture of that, just telling you about it.

and if that grosses you out to hear, don't click this link.

in less gross news, i started decorating for the holidays.what's more festive than a half-assedly decorated construction zone? i'm pretty sure the guys who tore out the ceiling are never coming back to put it back up, so i'm going to have to get used to the gaping hole where drywall should be. it's ok, though, i can't afford to pay them anyways.

this is pretty. that's what a person sees as he or she comes through the door into the house. notice how the light fixture looks a lot like a nipple? that's because it looks a lot like a nipple.

the piece de resistance, though, is the boy's first blanket fort. i was bored and remembering how much i loved blanket forts as a kid. then i realized that the boy has never had one and might not be old enough to think of it himself. so out came the nasty old blanket, the staple gun and the fairy lights. as a bonus it partly hides the hideous table that's uglified our living room for ages.
i'm told there are places where people don't use old cardboard boxes as decor. i don't live in one of those places. oh, and that blur in the left corner? that's the cat.


he thinks it's magical. i think he might be right.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

my new hair

last week i cut it all off. i now have 10 inches of braid to give to those bald, cancerous types. until i get around to it my hair is living on top of the microwave, with the oven mitts. it's been a week since i cut my hair and so a week since i washed it. things are more than a little insane here and my skin is sooooooo dry, i dread showering and have quit taking baths. so this pic shows my hair at less than its best, but i still like it. sort of punky and funky and not so long that it gets caught on everything like before.
longer in the front, shorter in the back. the front strands are almost chin length, a lot longer than the hair around them. one day i'll get a better pic.

while i had the scissors out i cut the boy's hair, too. badly. see, my mother in law loves cutting hair and is quite good at it. last time she was here she cut the boy's hair and it pissed me right off. that's my job, damnit! so i pre-empted her. i'd rather have him get a bad haircut from me than a good one from her.
can you see the uneven bits at the bottom? i'll buzz that section so it's even before i take him to see his grandma in a couple of weeks.

ben's holiday special

we're not putting the tree up at all this year (we're going to stay with the inlaws, why bother?) and the lights and whatnot are in a ball on the shelf. but for ben, my son's doll, christmas is here.
yes, ben has boy bits. and yes, he is always naked. my son lost his clothes two minutes after he got him. and yes, ben's tree is cut out of a flyer and glued to the wall of 'ben's house' (a shelf in the bathroom. the lower shelves have to stay empty thanks to the boy anyways, why not make a home for ben in one?)
so that's our christmas decoration. i'm trying to figure out a way to get ben a festivus pole.
just for reading all that i'll give you another pic - ben's potty. it's opposite the 'tree' so en can enjoy the festive decorations while dropping a log. a yule log, even.