Monday, March 31, 2008

And you thought I was high maintenance

That crazy OHMommy asked for a peek inside my purse.

And I'm happy to oblige though I think she might be just a little surprised at just how few girly-girl accouterments this self-proclaimed diva carts about on a typical Saturday morning.

It's a beauty isn't it?

More than 40 years old, it belonged to my late grandmother who died four years ago at the age of 92. It's retro, it's stylish and I love it.

But there ain't a lot of room in this little beauty.

Just enough space for:


one diaper

one pack of wipes

Gucci wallet (okay knock-off Gucci wallet)

library card/ credit cards that don't fit in knock-off Gucci wallet

loose change (for Graham's RESP fund, just in case he decides to ignore his God-given talent and attend college)

nail file

two packs of dental floss

an unmarked stamp I ripped off a recently received letter (it's not that I'm cheap, it's just that I can't resist even the smallest salvo in my ongoing battle with The Man)

a button I've been meaning to sew onto one of my winter coats since the fall

a comb

an eyelash curler

a lip liner, lip stick, eye liner, mascara and second lipstick to rub on cheeks (all the makeup I ever wear, honest!)

and last but not least...

my super-duper, monogrammed, silver-plated card holder which holds my super-duper DMD calling cards (vanity, thy name is Diva)

And - how could I forget? - one more thing that is almost always found in my purse...

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

She wore a hijab

She wore a hijab, a scarf around her neck, a baggy sweater and a long, black skirt.

She smiled at me with pretty brown eyes as Graham and I settled in beside her and her toddler daughter at our local library’s story time and sing-a-long yesterday.

I nodded and said hello before turning my attention to Graham who had already slipped away and was pounding enthusiastically on the fire exit door at the back of the room.

I corralled him, returned to our seats and tried to interest him in the librarian whose story seemed to have the rapt attention of the half-dozen other toddlers present.

Graham dashed to the front of the room and began to hunt happily through the box of props beside the librarian while I watched him tensely, calculating whether hauling him back to his seat would be more or less disruptive than letting him continue.

He thrust a stuffed animal in the air with a gleeful snort. I cringed and leaned forward, ready to make my move.

The woman beside me caught my eye and shrugged conspiratorially. He’s fine.

“Here you go!” Graham thrust the animal in the storyteller’s lap, knocking the book out of her hands.

The reader laughed good-naturedly while I scurried forward, scooped up Graham apologetically and returned him to our seats. Within seconds he had bolted and was playing among the curtains at the back window.

The woman beside me giggled.

“I don’t know why he’s not paying attention,” I whispered weakly. “He’s been looking forward to this all week.”

“Oh, mine same.” She spoke in a thick accent I couldn’t place. She waved her hand at her daughter who was quietly busying herself with a doll.

I nodded grateful, for her kindness.

“Peek-a-boo!” Graham chimed from behind the curtain.

I sighed and started to get up. She stopped me with a gentle hand on my arm. “No worry,” she said. “Really. He enjoy himself, he not bother anyone.”

She smiled at me again, really smiled. I exhaled and sat back down.

A few minutes later Graham wandered up beside us. The woman’s daughter was sipping now from a huge cup, ornately decorated with princesses and fairies and I saw Graham’s eyes widen with interest.

“Juice mama,” he said, pointing. “Juice.”

And it’s quite possible that some kind of a disapproving look crossed my face, if only because I was picturing Graham’s s next move which I felt sure would involve screaming, tears and a lecture on ownership.

But I wasn’t prepared for my new friend’s reaction.

“No no,” she said. “No juice, no juice. Water only.”

And I realized that her eyes were beseeching me in the same way mine had hers just moments ago.

I shrugged and smiled as reassuringly as I could. She smiled back, obviously relieved.

“I no give juice,” she said firmly. “Only water. Water better.”

And then it dawned on me.

We mothers are all alike.

From Canada to the Middle East, from Europe to Australia.

We all love our children. We all want what’s best for our children.

And we all live in perpetual fear that the mother next to us will reveal herself to be a bitchy stereotype who observes our parenting skills and judges them wanting.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

The pursuit of happiness

Would you rather be a happy simple-minded person or tortured genius?

This question was asked of me a few weeks ago by one of those cheery, spammy e-mail quizzes we all get and despite the fact that my answer was immediate and resolute, I have been thinking about it ever since.

I would rather be a happy, simple-minded person.

And yet.

If you had asked me this question 15 years ago my answer would have been just as immediate and resolute.

I would rather be a tortured genius.

And what has happened during the last 15 years to change my mind is the real question that has continued to haunt me long after I deleted that seemingly innocuous little e-mail.

In my teenage years and early 20s I vividly remember worrying that my uneventful middle class upbringing was insufficient preparation for a future I imagined as a famous and important writer. I was healthy. I had a strong and loving family. I was even, horrors! popular in high school. Could I create great art if I had never been, as Jean-Paul Sartre would describe it, the other? Didn’t I need to suffer?

Turns out the universe was happy to oblige whether I needed it or not.

In my mid-twenties, in the space of a year or so, my world started to fall apart. I had a cancer scare. My childhood home was rocked by turmoil and pain. The man upon whom I had depended for years abruptly cut me out of his life. My best friend died.

I moved into a one-room apartment in downtown Toronto. Determined to write the great Canadian novel, I waitressd, working the graveyard shift at a greasy spoon from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. five nights a week. I wrote furiously every afternoon.

It was the most miserable and tortured time in my life.

I never published the novel I wrote that winter: I know now that it’s not even very good. I also know that during that period of time every ounce of positive energy I had was expended, not creating great art, but surviving.

I have never slept in a gutter in Paris. I have never been addicted to drugs or alcohol. I have never spent years wallowing in filth and misery.

But I have suffered just enough to know that I don’t like it. I have felt enough pain to know that its constant presence is neither romantic, nor glamorous and that a tortured genius at the end of the day is…well…tortured.

I don’t want to be tortured.

I want to be happy, no matter how simplistic a goal that may have seemed in my youth. I’m not as interested these days in life’s grand operas as I am in life’s tiny movements.

The most successful life is the one most enjoyed. And every one of us, through the mere act of living, garners enough material on the human condition to write a million masterpieces: enough beauty, enough poignancy and yes, enough suffering.

There is a reason why boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back always has been, and always will be, the greatest story ever told.

A cynical person, perhaps even a younger version of me, would say that I have dumbed myself down: that I am deluded to think my middle class dramas and day-to-day trials are worthy of documentation.

But older I get the more I realize that life is just a series of moments. It’s how heavy or light you feel when you wake up in the morning. It’s how many laughs you share over dinner. It’s how often your heart swells with happiness in any given week.

And I have never forgotten the wasted, endless monotony of the hours and days I spent yearning for just a single happy moment. I have never forgotten how exhausting it is to daily teeter on the edge of a pit so vast and inviting it takes every ounce of strength not to slip down and fall into the blackness.

I may never be a genius, but I have finally figured out that there’s nothing simple-minded about the pursuit of happiness.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A bear's lament

Of course Baby Dave looks lonely.
And maybe just a little pissed off.

He just spent a week and a half cooling his heels ALONE up at Grandma and Grandpa's after being forgotten by a Mommy and Daddy who apparently don't sufficiently appreciate just how integral he is to their son's happiness! He was a gift from Graham's favorite big cousin you know! He was named after said cousin for God's sake!
Luckily, Baby Dave is not one to hold a grudge.

And when he learned that Mommy and Daddy had paid mightily for their carelessness, by way of tantrums and crying and carrying on and the like, he felt much better about the whole sorry situation.

Much better indeed.


Hey fashionistas! Check out my latest find (that I will probably never get the chance to wear) over at my Shooting for Hip column at Mommyblogstoronto.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Growing pains

When I was at work earlier today I was struck how much I miss Graham.

Not because I was at work and he was being cared for by someone else: I’m perfectly content to be a working mom.

My heart ached with yearning today because my gaze lingered too long on this photo I keep at my desk.

And I was suddenly struck by the fact that I will never, ever see that darling baby again.

As parents we are accustomed to lamenting the passage of time and the rate at which our children grow. From the moment pregnancy is confirmed we are admonished to savor every moment because it will all pass in the blink of an eye.

But no matter how much people warn you, it is impossible to prepare yourself for the intensity of parenting.

It is impossible to imagine how inexplicably moved you will feel by the mere passage of time. It is impossible to imagine the heartbreak of watching the babies and children you love disappear day after day and night after night.

Not that their replacements aren’t some consolation: I love my tall and gangly 28-and-a-half-month-old every bit as much as I loved that squat and chubby 11-month-old.

But I miss that baby.

And I miss this one.

And this one.

And this one

And I never cease to be amazed at the exquisite mix of love and heartbreak and yearning that comes along with parenting.

And at the way, an old photo, stuck in a goofy frame at work, can make me feel so unbearably happy and proud and sad at the same time.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Good thing he was there to protect me

I had the weirdest feeling all afternoon.

Like perhaps I was being watched...

and tiny creatures were lurking amongst the decor...

or peering at me from the plants.

Naturally I dispatched my boy to investigate...

to gather evidence...

to establish supremacy over any chocolaty interlopers...

and to put them in their place.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!

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Friday, March 21, 2008

I will fly

In just a few weeks the ice will start to thaw from the lake beside which my parents live, the lake from which I have, hundreds of times, launched my father’s float plane off the water and into the sky.

In just a few weeks there will be stretches of open water large enough for me to successfully maneuver more than half a tonne of aluminum and steel through the last remnants of this bitter winter and into the spring sunshine.

I do not know if my first spring flight will feel different this year, equipped as I am, with the knowledge that the sky has stolen someone dear to my family’s heart.

I do not yet know if the small flicker of excitement (apprehension?) that flutters in my stomach every spring will this year grow into something that feels like fear.

It is part of the appeal of flying, this flicker, this spark, this dynamic connection to the exotic part of me, wild and free, that exists almost entirely these days in my mind’s eye.

The ability to court and then ultimately harness this flicker is addictive. To feel my stomach flutter and then to soothe it with calm, capable and steadfast preparation for flight is to reassure myself that I can conquer anything with proper preparation and steely determination: it never loses its appeal.

I have written before about how age seems to chip away at my courage and nerve. I have lamented this steady retreat of daring and confidence and expressed my fear that advancing years will steal it entirely.

So many of you have written me this week and offered your love and support. One of you, Sara, wrote something so beautiful that I have carried it in my heart for days.

“I know nothing about flying, but I do know something about loss and fear. I know that you can't let fear steal your desire to do something that brings you joy.”

She’s right of course. And so I won’t.

I will fly this spring not in spite of the fact that it has the power to scare me, but because it has the power to scare me.

I will fly because when I open the throttle, aim the plane’s nose into the sweet spot and finally lift the machine from its earthy bounds, I’m not just a wife and mother anymore; I’m the girl I used to be. I’m the girl who’s not afraid of anything: the girl who has the confidence and the power to conquer every obstacle – physical, mental or emotional – that is put in her path.

When the ice goes out of the lake this year I will climb into my father’s float plane and embrace whatever washes over me. And if it feels like an obstacle, I will start the engine anyway, secure in the knowledge that it is no match for my experience, my training and my inner strength.

I will think about a man I admired who met a tragic end far too early and I will remember how he lived his life with bravado and colour and a sense of possibility.

And for the sake of preserving not only his vision, but that of the wild and free girl living in my mind’s eye, I will open the throttle and look skyward.

I will leave my doubts and my fears and my insecurities far behind.

And I will fly.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Maybe just because

I'm not sure why this particular slice of my evening brought me to tears just now.

Maybe because it's the first day of spring tomorrow and it's still so bloody cold and miserable outside. Maybe because I still feel heavy with sadness over the terrible news I received a few days ago. Maybe because Rob is still in such an awful lot of pain.

Maybe because Graham has never been happier thanks to an art project, a doting cousin, a good book and a chair big enough for two.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

You don't know your own strength

It’s uncanny.

I’m not sure exactly how you do it, but just when things are particularly rough for this diva, your kind comments and e-mails always manage to brighten my day and restore my faith in the inherent goodness of people.

Thank you for all your expressions of support for my cousin’s family: they are appreciated more than you know.

This seems like a particularly good time to acknowledge a few awards that this humble site has collected over the last few weeks so without further ado…

Many, many thanks to GoMommy over at Random Acts of Momness for this – the Favorite Friend Award. If you haven’t visited her blog yet, you must. She has a flair for writing and a wicked sense of humor and she always brightens my day.

Thanks to Corey over at Living and Loving Every Minute of It for this awesome Cool Mom Award. I don’t feel overly cool these days but it’s nice to receive an ego boost from a woman who not only has mad photo skillz but practices a parenting philosophy to which I can only aspire – thanks Corey.

Next I am indebted to Manners and Moxie for bestowing upon me this You Make Me Smile Award. If you want to relive the trials and tribulations that came with planning your wedding, definitely check her wonderful blog.

And last, but certainly not least, I have to thank the gorgeous and charismatic OHMommy over at Classy Chaos for honoring me with this fabulous award of her own making.

What can I say about OHMommy? She’s nothing short of a sensation.

And you know what else?

She’s my roomie for the BlogHer conference in San Francisco this July.

Oh yes she is!

Can you imagine of the ramifications of this colossal coming together?

I mean, will there be enough closet space for our combined collection of stilettos? Will that much sheer fabulousness crammed into one small room finally trigger the Great Quake that Bay-area residents have long feared? Will San Francisco ever, ever be the same?
Discuss amongst yourselves.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

On luck and the cruelty of fate

I learned some important life lessons yesterday.

I was visiting my parents and catching up on family news with my father when talk turned to a cousin I’m quite close with. He’s younger than me, but has a beautiful wife, three small children and a number of business ventures on the go. As is tradition in our family, he’s also an enthusiastic private pilot.

My cousin is smart, dynamic and a hard worker. But even as dad and I agreed that he deserves every bit of his considerable success, I felt a tiny twinge of jealousy gnaw at my stomach. What a charmed life he’s led, I thought. Some people really have all the luck.

Just a few hours later we got the news.

My cousin’s father-in-law, a man we all consider part of our extended family, was killed yesterday while piloting his small plane in Florida where he was vacationing.

My entire family is reeling in shock. I haven’t yet spoken to my cousin or his wife, who I adore, but my heart breaks for them and their children.

This man lived next door to my cousin and his family in the small community near where I was born and where almost every person, it seems, is related to me in some way. This man was an integral part of the tight-knit gang of local float plane pilots, comprised largely, it seems, of my relatives and of which I am the sole female member.

Along with me and my father and my cousin, this man was one of the pilots who every summer ferry several dozen people in and out of my family fishing camp, accessible only by air, when we spend a weekend together camping, laughing and making music.

I can picture him now by the lake’s shore in the bright sunlight bouncing his baby granddaughter on his knee and watching her daddy fly in with the latest arrivals.

Yes, I learned a few things yesterday.

I learned that flying small planes, this sport I love, that I learned at my father’s knee, that my husband is now learning, that I was proud to introduce to my son, is not a sport to be trifled with.

I learned that fate is cruel and that no one, no matter how charmed they seem, gets through life without their share of pain, misfortune and bad luck.

I learned that the stresses in my life, that seem lately to pile one atop the other, are not nearly as profound as I believed them to be just a few days ago.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

If just one woman is saved by this post...

The thing about crazy hair is that it sneaks up on you.

Seriously, it is wicked stealth. One day you're just cruising along, knowing full well that a cut and colour is way overdue, but you're busy and you figure you'll get to it one of these days, and then BAM!

You look in the mirror.

And there it is: crazy hair.

Check out the rest by clicking over to my Shooting For Hip column at Mommyblogstoronto - I promise there's an after photo over there!

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Think of what I would save on tuition!

I know my thoughts are all over the place when it comes to Graham's future career path.

Yes, I have ruled out culinary greatness in the foreseeable future, but there are so many other ways he could really make his mark on the world.

At one time I was positive about a full medical scholarship to Harvard. But then I started to think MIT would come calling on account of his clear talent for engineering.

And then just about a month ago I chastised myself for not recognizing that I had a budding artistic genius on my hands.

But then just yesterday I started to consider a possibility that I had thus far overlooked...

Does anyone know how much washroom attendants make?

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The mark

It was an idyllic scene.

Graham and I were lounging in the bath together, playing and singing, when I leaned forward in what I can only, in hindsight, conclude must have been an extremely unflattering manner.

He frowned. A look of confusion passed his face. He reached out and grabbed a small(ish) section - okay, okay, a roll - of my belly.



It’s Mama’s stomach sweetie. Look there’s Graham's stomach.

I tried and failed to pinch an inch on him.

He eyed me suspiciously and lunged at my stomach again, seizing what can only be described as a handful.

Dat mama! Whassat?

Oh Good Lord.

It was then I knew. It’s not the sickness and the puking or the worry or the exhaustion that finally mark you as a mother: it’s the abject humiliation.

Could we please just go back to talking about my nipple?

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Could you please pass the humility?

Rob and I, we like to cook.

I have always liked to think of us as foodies, in fact, and if that label sounds just a little bit smug then...well...guilty as charged.

From the time he was about six months of age I have watched Graham with no small amount of pride, imagining he was following in our footsteps as he gobbled down every gourmet morsel I set in front of him.

Sea bass? Check. Wilted spinach? Check. Sweet potatoes roasted in duck fat? Check.

Then a few months ago Graham made a discovery that changed everything.

And now it seems my pride, along with everything that passes his lips, has been quite completely and thoroughly doused with gobs and gobs and gobs of cheap, mass-produced ketchup.

At least I can stop worrying about saving tuition for the Cordon Bleu.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Tell me sweet little lies

I am a big, fat liar.

I lie almost every single day. And I don’t feel the least bit guilty about it.

Because I don’t tell lies designed to hurt people or cheat people or even lies designed to afford me some kind of power or advantage over others. I tell little, white lies designed to boost the spirit and fortify the resolve of both casual acquaintances and the people I love the most.

I do appreciate that some people see a value in complete total honesty: but I don’t want to be around those people. I don't believe that brutal honesty is constructive much of the time, especially not when spirits are low or people are plagued by insecurities.

Let me tell you the kind of honesty in which I believe.

I believe in selective honesty born of hope, of kindness and of need.

I believe that words are like magic beans: that sometimes when you say things in just the right way, you can make them grow into something like truth.

Sometimes impossibly brave words – You can get through this, Things are going to get better, All these trials will make you stronger - come out sounding something like resolve.

Resolve spoken aloud has a funny way of making the heart swell with hope.

And is not hope the seed from which conviction and truth grow?

Have you ever been struck by someone’s weariness, and then made a point of complimenting them on their dress or their hair or the book they are carrying, as if that were the first thing you noticed about them? I have. Don’t tell me it’s not magical to watch a sad face breathe in compliments and breathe out confidence.

Have you ever clutched a crying child to your chest and told them that mommy would always be there, that mommy would always make the hurt go away? I have. Don’t chide me for creating a zone of safety from which my child may freely grow and learn to nurture the strength he will need when he is old enough to discover my duplicity.

Some things, kindness, hope and love, for instance, are more important than the blunt, unvarnished truth: words that impart strength and optimism need not pass a lie detector test.

If a friend of mine raises her tired, hopeful face to me and says, I know I must look terrible, I will smile, touch her cheek, shake my head and say, Don’t be silly, you look beautiful.

If my child runs to me bruised, crying and fearful of the hurts the world has in store I will crush his tiny body to mine, take a deep breath and whisper fiercely, Don’t worry, Mommy will never let anything hurt you again.

If someone I love looks at me with tremulous eyes and asks if everything is going to be okay, I will embrace them, I will reach into the depths of my heart, summon my courage to the sticking point and say in a voice that brooks no doubt, Everything is going to work out just fine, I know it.

And if my pants do catch fire, let them burn: I will be too busy making magic to notice.

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Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Final McChapter

It's been quite the journey my friends.

There was this letter sparked by some reeeaally poor judgement by McDonald's. There was the swift and sincere apology we wrenched from the Golden Arches. Then there was the contest to give away some of the bounty the big clown sent to make amends.

I wrote up all your entries and let the cutest boy I know do the honours...

Congratulations Caramama!

E-mail me with your address and I'll get the Shrek figurines in the mail asap.

Cheers to everyone who entered.

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Friday, March 7, 2008

The other post where I bare my soul

In the interest of keeping things upbeat around here I thought it a good time to present the second installment of our getting-to-know-me game – our second date if you will.

Let’s get right to the questions!

Apparently you are all people after my own heart because there were a lot of questions about food and music which are two of my very favorite things. Emily at Wheels on the Bus asked about my favorite dinner and Awesome Mom asked what I would request for a last dinner. Well, I do love a good steak and red wine, but I think I would probably settle on a huge feast of perfectly fresh sashimi with ice cold sake, followed by deep fried bananas with caramel sauce and ice cream.

Gabriella at Speaking from the Heart asked which three famous people, living or dead, I would share my fish with: Amelia Earhart, Salman Rushdie and Bono because not only is he a great musician, I bet he’s a hell of an interesting guy.

Speaking of music, Painted Maypole asked what my favorite dancing song was: that is a hard one because, wow, do I love to cut a rug…probably Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder. Kathryn at Seeking Sanity asked about my favorite make-out song to which I say probably my wedding song – At Last by Etta James. Hetha at Ethan’s World asked what I’ve been listening to lately and although I’m a little behind when it comes to new music I just bought Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black and it is fantastic.

Also fantastic was Kyla of The Journey's question about my favorite thing that Graham says. He’s not actually talking all that much but I just about died from cute overload when in response to my explanation about the cast on Rob’s arm he shook his head solemnly and said, Oh goodness. Sore arm. Oh boy. Sorry Daddy.

While we’re on the subject of Graham, Teachin’ This Mommy New Tricks asked when it actually hit me that I was a mom? To be honest I’m not entirely sure it has, but the reality slowly seeps in a little more each day. Over the past few months as Graham has really started to talk and I actually talk to him, not at him, it hits me, He’s not just a baby, he’s a person. He’s my son. I’m his mother. Crazy!

I had an anonymous reader who asked will Graham attend the fine public institutions Don Mills has to offer or will I send him to private school? If we can afford it and we are still in our current house I would love to send him to the fantastic private school that is literally a few hundred metres from our house, however it’s likely that Graham will end up attending Catholic school of some sort – Rob is a product of the Catholic system and feels strongly about its benefits.

Laski Gal asked about my biggest pet peeves and the most valuable lesson I've learned as a mom. These questions actually dovetail quite nicely for me. The most important thing, I’ve learned, I think, is tolerance for other people, especially other moms. The doubt, the worry, the relentless giving that comes along with being parenting has really opened my eyes to the difficulties that so many people face in their day to day lives. Without a doubt, my biggest pet peeve is people who are unable to feel compassion for others who are down on their luck and don’t understand how much success is dependent on fate’s whim.

Which brings me to my next question from In The Fast Lane at That’s Life who asks what’s my favorite thing about myself. I could be all modest and say Oh gee, nothing springs to mind, but in true diva fashion I’d like to asset that I am proud of myself for being ready, willing and able to roll with the punches in life and to take a mostly philosophic view of the bad times.

Another two questions that I can answer together include one from Dawn at Renaissance Mama who asked my favorite spot in the house to relax and Jennifer at Faking It who asked what colour is my bedroom? My bedroom is my favorite spot to relax. I love nothing more than heading to bed early with a stack of trashy magazines. The room is really unusual and I’m not sure it could be captured in a photo (sorry Dawn). Basically one whole wall is glass doors that open to overlook our living area (we have dark blinds for sleeping). There is a skylight and a huge triangular window above the bed. One wall is stone and there’s lots of wood and some stucco that I eventually want to cover with more wood.

OHMommy at Classy Chaos asked what a sassy mommy diva like me wears to feel fabulous on date night with hubby: high heels and attitude OHMommy, high heels and attitude.

Magpie at Magpie Musings asked how I got to be a diva: high heels and attitude Magpie, high heels and attitude.

Angie at Keep Believing and Adventures of a Reluctant Housewife both asked for a little background one me, specifically how I met hubby, how I ended up blogging and how I cling to the crumbs of my cool.

I dug up some links that might help. This, my very first post, is alludes to my wild youth, my journey to Don Mills and how I try and stay somewhat cool. This post is all about the people, places and things I love. This post talks about how I met my hubby and this post gives my very specific reason for starting a blog. (Seriously).

Karen at The Rocking Pony asked if there are plans for Graham to have a sibling.

Oh, Karen, that’s both a hard and an easy question to answer. I can only say that absolutely nothing in the world would make me happier than another child: I don’t, however, know if it will happen…

And finally, Melissa at Hope for the Hopeless asked what makes me happy?

Now that one is just plain easy.

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

For your viewing pleasure

I’m probably going to be sorry I told you this but…

It turns out my film – Mya’s Normal Night - is already available on the web for your viewing pleasure. Our lead actor, Dylan Ramsey, has it on his web site.

If you really want to see it you can click here:

Before you watch please keep in mind that this was my first attempt, I’m an amateur, Rob and I did the whole thing on our own dime, it’s harder than it looks, sometimes location and lighting and equipment dictate script and…umm…well it’s not exactly Oscar material, okay?

Anyway, enjoy and also check out Dylan in an upcoming episode of Nip/ Tuck airing (in Canada) on March 28th.

Thank you everyone for the wonderful comments on yesterday’s post. Rob and I just sat and read them all together and we’re still smiling. Rob is still in a lot of pain but he is trying to stay upbeat. It helps you know, it really helps, to be reminded that there are real people out there rooting for our family – we appreciate each and every one of you.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Where have all the good people gone?

I spent last night in the emergency department of our local hospital worrying over my husband.

He called not 10 minutes after I posted last night screaming in agony after an evening bicycle ride around the neighborhood ended with a fluky slip on a patch of ice and an elbow so completely and grotesquely dislocated that even the attending doctors winced at the x-ray. (I almost threw up)

Kudos to the friendly and efficient staff who rushed him through a frantically busy emergency waiting room and had him on a morphine drip within 20 minutes of arrival.

Boos and hisses to the dozens of drivers who never stopped to offer assistance to a bloodied man out of his mind with pain, lying in a frozen snowbank beside a mangled bicycle.

Please direct your positive thoughts, good wishes and prayers towards the speedy recovery of my husband and an end to the stresses that have plagued our house of late.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The post where I bare my soul


There are a lot of enquiring minds out there.

A big thanks to everyone who participated in the ask-me-anything game which, I think, is the next best thing to opening a bottle of wine together and spilling our guts: think of it as bonding without the calories or the hangover.

I had so many questions that I’m gonna split the answers into two separate posts – makes for easier reading methinks and also lets me off the hook for two topics to write about.

A lot of the questions had to do with my work in the film and television industry. GoMommy at Random Acts of Momness wanted to know my most and least favorite thing about what I do, Abbie at Just as I Am wanted to know the most bizarre thing I have experienced in the industry, Maria at Mommy of Four asked who are some of the coolest people I’ve met, Mama Geek at What Works for Us asked what actor makes me swoon and SkyGirl at Chasing Blue Skies wanted to know who I admire as an actor, director, etc?

First, although I have met a lot of actors I don’t work with them directly on a day-to-day basis like my husband does. I will occasionally visit a set or be at a party and be introduced and perhaps even make some small talk but that’s the extent of it.

Also, I need to be careful about saying too much about things I may have seen or (more often) heard, because the encounters I do have are as a result of my job and I do want to keep my job. How about I just tell two stories about two pleasant encounters with two lovely actors who I really admire to cover the work-related questions, m’kay? Thanks.

When Graham was about 3 months old I took him to a set where Robin Williams was working. Robin came over to admire him and asked me if he was smiling a lot yet and I said Oh yes, he smiles at everything.

So Robin started to coo and pull faces at him, but Graham just stared stone-faced. Then he started doing funny voices, making fart noises – really going all out. Graham just continued to stare with an expression that said clearly, This guy? Not funny. Not funny at all. Robin finally gave up after I assured him Graham was probably just tired.

When Graham was about 11 months old we visited a set where Michelle Pfieffer was working. She came over to coo at him and he was so enthralled he kept slapping me up the side of the head to try and make her laugh. She chided him, “Oh no, don’t hit your mommy” and he responded by head butting me – hard - and laughing uproariously.

Yup – the boy knows what he likes.

Continuing on the movie theme, Amy at Memories and Musings of a Mommy wanted to know if the film I wrote and produced was available on DVD or if it was shown anywhere. No and not really. It is only a 12-minute short and while it had some success on the film festival circuit, it never had a theatrical release or a distributor. One of these days I will put in on Youtube, I promise.

Kay at Kay’s Simple Life asked if I have ever written a book? Yes, have I ever! I have a finished novel, an unfinished novel and two finished screenplays that are currently gathering dust. Know an agent? Send ‘em my way.

Yvette at The Boyd’s Family and Heather at Cool Zebras both had questions about my reading habits. My all-time favorite author is John Irving who wrote The World According to Garp, Son of the Circus and A Prayer for Owen Meany. My most recent favorite was Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts – I talk about it a little more here.

Heidi at Viking Conquest and Lizzy at Lizzy in The Burbs both asked about my dream travel destination to which I can only answer: Africa.

A Kelly at Transformed by Words asked me about my trip to Africa. I spent a month camping my way through Kenya and Tanzania with Rob in 2000 and it was the most magical thing I have ever encountered. The glorious wildlife, the wonderful people, the breathtaking landscape: it was utterly fascinating. I have promised Graham that he will see lions and elephants in the wild: I started saving to take him back to Africa when I was five months pregnant.

She also wondered: Starbucks or Tim Horton’s? Timmy’s, oh my yes, Timmy’s: I am Canadian.

Linds at The Daily Knack asked about my hobbies. Obviously I love writing, especially blogging. I also love traveling, cooking and flying, which happens to be a great opening for a question posed by Angie at Seven Clown Circus who asked what accomplishment are you most proud of?

There’s my sweet Graham, of course, but I feel he is more a blessing than something I’ve earned so I would have to say my proudest accomplishment is getting my pilot’s license and subsequent float endorsement. As I expressed in what is probably my favorite post ever, it was a tremendous amount of work and very a poignant thing to experience with my dad, an old-time bush pilot.

What I don’t talk about in that post is what Mishelle at Secret Agent Mama asked: What did you think about when you flew your first solo cross-country?

Well, there was absolutely a moment where I thought: Oh my God, what have I done? It was shortly after takeoff from Lindsay, Ontario when I started towards my first stop in Toronto and all I could think was, I either do this or I crash this plane and die. I experienced about 10 seconds of sheer terror before I calmed down and reassured myself that I was fully prepared and equipped to successfully complete the flight. And you know what? I was and I did.

The last question I will tackle today comes from Saralynn who hails from Kooky Kids, plus two(!) other blogs. She wants to know my most embarrassing moment.

Saralynn, you are killing me. Seriously.

Ack, here goes.

On my first job out of journalism school I was running a little community newspaper outside Ottawa. I was full of piss and vinegar and determined to win a Pulitzer with my thorough and searing coverage of local politics.

I worked insane hours for no pay. I had next to no staff. I was already a bit of a burr in the Mayor’s butt when I wrote and approved the following headline describing his reaction to a poorly-attended meeting for a controversial municipal issue:

Mayor Disappointed: No Pubic Input

That’s right. No PUBIC input.

Stop laughing. Stop laughing right now. I have never been so mortified and the damn worst part of it is whenever I try to cry on someone’s shoulder over it they crack up laughing. I vividly remember calling my mother and sobbing that my journalism career was over only to hear the unmistakable sound of muffled laughter on the other end of the phone.

My most embarrassing moment was mentioned on a CBC radio show and went on to be featured in a “crazy headlines” segment or some such thing on The Tonight Show.

Is it any wonder I stick to blogging these days?

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Sunday, March 2, 2008

Ronald's bounty and your chance to win it

The final chapter in the smackdown between the Don Mills Diva and Ronald McDonald is about to be written.

First there was the horrible experience at McDonald's that I documented in this letter and posted here. Then came the profuse and sincere apologies that Graham and I received from Lori, the restaurant owner.

And then on Friday a courier delivered some tokens of the big clown's goodwill. In addition to a half dozen coupons for free breakfast sandwiches, we received this set of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle dolls...

...this set of Shrek collectibles...

...and this set of Wizard of Oz collectible dolls.

So here's the deal.

I appreciate that Lori took the time to send these things out: I truly, truly do. But Graham doesn't have the foggiest idea who any of these characters are and he is currently up to his neck in toys and it just feels a little dodgy to me that I should actually profit from an unfortunate incident when all I really wanted was an apology and so...

I'm gonna give 'em away.

I'm gonna give the coupons to my brother 'cause he's a single dad and he works his butt off driving a dump truck and he eats at McDonald's and he will use and appreciate them. I'm gonna give two sets of the collectibles to a local shelter that houses women and children fleeing domestic violence.

And...drumroll please...I'm gonna send out one set of the collectibles to one of you fabulous readers because, really, if it weren't for all your support and angry comments the fuzzy-red-haired one might not have even paid me any heed.

So if you are interested, or you have kiddies who would be interested, in one of the three sets of collectibles, leave me a comment indicating which one you'd like. I'll close the comments at midnight next Saturday, print 'em up and pick one from a hat.

I'll post the name of the winner on Sunday and even pick up the cost of mailing the dolls out. I will, however, remove them the cardboard set they came in and stuff them in a bubble envelope or something 'cause postage is expensive and there's a limit to my generosity, y'all.

So there you have it, a happy ending for everyone. Leave me a comment and enter to win!

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Saturday, March 1, 2008

I think he knows

I told him over and over again that it was just a haircut.

I told him that it wouldn't hurt a bit. That he would look so handsome afterwards. That I would give him a lollipop when it was all over.

And still he protested mightily, whimpering and clinging to me the whole time. It wasn't a furious scene like last time, thank goodness. There was no screaming or flailing or streaming tears.

But there was tension and muted murmurs of protest, as if he knew something that we adults don't like to think about.

As if he knew exactly what these photographs prove: that with each lock of hair shorn a piece of his sweet babyhood falls away and flutters irretrievably into the past.

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