Monthly Archives: November 2011

I think we need to pitch this to a studio

My husband: “What, is this movie, ‘New Year’s Eve,’ brought to us by the ‘Valentine’s Day’ people?”

Me: “Yes, I think so.”

Me: “I guess ‘Independence Day’ was already taken. I wonder what’s next?”

My husband: “President’s Day.”

Me: “Yeah, it would be about people shopping for mattresses and sofas.”

My husband: “And used cars.”

Me: “There’d be different couples running all over town trying to find some great deal, but they would keep JUST missing each other at the stores. And in the end, you’d realize they were all connected. But no one would get a new mattress.”

My husband: “This is an awesome idea. You are brillant and I worship the delightful and hilarious workings of your mind.”

Okay, he didn’t really say that.

Eating and shopping

That pretty much sums up the days preceding my body being overtaken by hostile sinus pressure and achey-ness. My mom and her husband came to visit for thanksgiving (read: to see the baby) and I made a vegetarian, dairy-free thanksgiving dinner. It was pretty tasty, if I do say so myself. This Butternut Squash Couscous dish was my favorite, besides the pumpkin pie. How I love pumpkin pie…

Anyway, my toddler sucked up the extra attention like we’ve never done anything with her in the history of ever. Toys that she had ignored suddenly became fascinating, books that she wandered off during were miraculously interesting, the mere act of running around the apartment gained a level of amusement not usually accorded to days when I just want to stay home.

I think you can safely say, my kid likes visitors, and especially likes it when those visitors are her grandmother whose patience and attention for her antics know no limits.

We went out shopping just a wee bit. Black Friday sales exist here in Canada, but aren’t as crazy as the States, since it’s a work day and all. We made crepes for dinner and also ate leftovers and sushi. It was very multicultural.

On Saturday, we checked out some local toy stores and took a long walk. For those of you who live in Montreal, our favorite toy stores/baby stores are:
Boutique Citrouille at 206 ave Laurier Ouest
La Jolie Boutique at 5623 ave du Parc
Bummis at 4302 boul St Laurent

Technically, Bummis is a cloth-diapering store, but it kind of has everything baby-related. Best of all, it has a small play area and a place to sit down and breathe as well as change diapers. It’s kind of my favorite store in Montreal because they are so nice and have saved me from some epic meltdowns by merely having a welcoming sofa.

After the shopping, my mom and I had a very late lunch at Crudessence, a raw-vegan place that is really very good. Their mango “lassi” made with cashew milk is kind of heavenly. My daughter is crazy about it.

When I got home that night, the sickness that had been only brewing descended in full force and the next morning my mom left so she could go back to work on Monday, which sucks, because I could really use a mommy to make me soup and bring me tissues about now.

And that’s the wrap-up.

My pumpkin did the painting, I did the cutting and letters.

In our sickbeds

A week ago, Julia was sick and was laying in bed feeling miserable. Apparently, this week it’s my turn. Having our kids also get sick is also making the experience worse. Yesterday, I started having a sore throat around late-afternoon but tried to ignore it. By the time I got home in the evening, it was full blown and by bedtime I’m pretty sure I’ve never had a worse sore throat in my life. I’m a terrible sick person, so I know I probably say things like that ever time I feel bad. My husband can attest to my dramatic laying-on-the-bed moaning that I’m pretty sure this is what death feels like.

My daughter has had a sinus thing for a few days now, making it impossible for her to nurse or eat without gasping for air. She’s up at night a million times more than usual. I feel so bad for her. Her fever went away but she’s still a never-ending stream of snot. She kind of knows how to blow her nose, but she’s not great at it. I have to employ the rubber bulb snot-sucker thing and I know it feels terrible. Hell, I remember how bad it felt from my own childhood, so I hate using it. But I try to make it as quick and infrequently as possible.

I took some ibuprofen earlier. If you know me, you know that it’s a big deal when I take pain killers. I really avoid them unless I’m totally miserable. My throat is still hurts, but not as much. My joints are achey and my head is under tons of pressure. My mother had to head back home. Boo hoo.

Anyway, I hope you are feeling better, Julia. I raise my hot-tea-with-lemon to your health and mine.

Grateful

There are many days a year that I complain about everything. Merely being alive is sometimes stressful and requires some venting. I’m sure whining is a tradition of humanity as old as the capacity to speak. But on this one day a year, Thanksgiving, we are supposed to give our ranting a rest and put up with our family members and not scream at anyone. And most of us moms are probably required to cook. A lot.

That being said, if you have family coming over, you will probably scream at someone. You are just supposed to do it sotto voce and with as much gratitude as you can. Like “I know this kitchen is the most popular room of the house but could you get yourself and your adorable smug expression to another room?” This is what I say to the cat.

Canadians are like “Yawn, we did this over a month ago, lady. We are back to complaining and Christmas decorating.” I can’t believe there are already trees for sale here in Montreal. What do you people do? Get a second one on December 15th when all the needles have fallen off the first one?

Besides behaving yourselves, Thanksgiving is all about plenty. I like that word to describe the holiday because it implies that you don’t have too little nor does it suggest you need more. You have enough. You celebrate what you have. You thank your lucky stars that you have more than nothing. Even if you are eating alone, you appreciate that you don’t have someone yelling at you to get out of the kitchen. At my friends’ in Chicago, they go around the room and say what they are thankful is NOT happening because they are at this dinner and not with their families. It’s not always about loathing your family, it’s usually about enjoying where you are and sharing the amusing quirks of thanksgivings past. And that’s enough. There is plenty for which to be grateful. If you can’t think of something, you haven’t really looked.

And for the record, I am very grateful for my warm apartment, running water, means to buy food and rent movies from iTunes. I am thankful for my family and friends, near and far, who amuse me and do nice things for me all the time. I wish my sister were here because she makes any family holiday more sparkly. My husband once said about us (as he rolled his eyes) “they get like this when they’re together.” And my sister said, “if you mean more awesome, then yes.” And it’s true. But more than I can describe, I am thankful, every second, for my adorable, healthy, funny, happy little girl. (Was that plenty of commas or what?) She is my cornucopia of amazing plenty.

While I wish I could pull off a Lady Gaga Thanksgiving Special for this post, I can merely say something about being grateful, if for no other reason that to remind myself that I am. I hope you can find something to be thankful for and someone to share it with. And then get the hell out of the kitchen.

The stuff under the sink


Things I have discovered cleaning out my bathroom cupboard:

I have no fewer than 8 kinds of deodorant. I am not a horribly smelly person (you would tell me, right?). I just have this really unfortunate habit of buying new deodorant before the last one has run out and deciding to put it in my gym bag or something, but then losing it and having to buy another or something.

And I’m sure you are thinking I’m a total liar, “you have never been to a gym,” you say.

Well I used to go. Before my gyms were transformed into the jungle variety.

Anyway, the contents of my toiletry basket were pretty shocking. I have no idea how I acquired so many samples and hand lotions and stuff to spray on my hair. I almost never use lotion. I almost never spray stuff on my hair. Sure, I try to now and then, but it doesn’t stick.

And I finally found my nail polish remover. I just bought a new bottle last week, of course. You can see how these things get started…

I have enough soap to last until my child is 10. I have enough dental floss to knit a sweater. But no one would want to wear a dental floss sweater. That would be weird. And minty.

There are fragrances I don’t even remember existing, let alone buying.

This post brought to you by Sephora.

Excuse note

11:36pm
Me: i have 40 pts, my husband has zero, the cat is DSQ in the “Cleaning The Apartment” race

My sister: wow. how many pts do i have?

Me: you did not enter

Sister: did u not get my entry rag?

Me: you had to be in the apt to enter

Sister: weird. i was standin outside, but registration never opened…..

Me: you had to come inside. there was a table

Sister: oh god i completely missed the table!!!! were there free t-shirts “i cleaned 2011″ and goodie bags (products from ur bathroom)

Me: there was free lip gloss from 2006

Sister: vintage??

Me: you could say that. I think this is going to be my blog post from tonight. I’m really phoning it in.

Sister: yeah get on that blog. ive been studyin 4 physics all day

Me: yeah yeah. I have been reorganizing my kitchen cupboards also

Sister: funnah

Me: It’s not quite mom’s “grain storage” level, but there are a lot of grains. And my plastic containers fell out a few times.

Sister: how did u let this happen

Me: and there are some without lids

Sister: oh no

Me: and I know where this leads
so I nipped it in the bud

Sister: yeah ya do

Me: Mom will be so pleased: that these are the lessons we’ve learned from her
by her negative example.

Sister: did u compile the futze containers

Me: I spell it “futsy”

Sister: shhhh

Me: Urban Dictionary lists “futsy” as meaning a “fart”

Sister: well thats not rite

Me: but a google search for “futze” turns up a few sites from Singapore that are not in English

Sister: i must say, effective use of ur time

Me: I should be cleaning out the coat closet, but I have lost the will to compete

Sister: maybe this is an opportunity for your husband to gain sum ground…..

Me: I think he’s accepted defeat

Sister: wow. mom’s thinking about writtin a xmas letter. i need to go over details of my life that are excluded for the press and general population & approve a photo she plan on using.
i wud hav my assistant do this….but i gave him sum time off
p.s. crosby is supposed to play 2morow! in other news i need to go shower

12:02 AM
Me: she didn’t ask me about a photo, or a press release

Sister: well she hasnt dun anything yet

Me: and yes I heard that Super Crosby is back to Save Hockey!

Me: i just cleaned out the coat closet

Sister: i feel like we’ve exhausted all the Eminem jokes…..

Me: as far as I know, no mothers were harmed in the cleaning of my closet. except me, of course

Sister: boo whooo

Me: My husband has two hats. I have seven. I win.

Cat for Sale

So my cat is a bastard.

He’s always been kind of a bastard, but maybe my patience has grown thinner or he’s getting worse, but lately both my husband and I are getting really pissed off at him, no pun intended.

He pees all over the place. It’s ridiculous. We used to know that if we left anything fabric on the floor (a shirt, a towel, etc) it was basically an invitation for him to pee on it. He’s about 12 and we have had him since he was about 5 months, so in the last 11 and a half or so years we learned his various triggers and avoid them if at all possible. Besides keeping fabric off the floor, we also do not have any rugs, cannot keep the bathmat anywhere he can pull it down, keep the shoes by the door to a minimum and try to keep them on a shelf if we can, and try to keep his litter box fresh.

We even put in two litter boxes in our last apartment.

When I had my daughter, suddenly his middle-of-the-night scampering and skittering down the hall was not so cute. And his morning meweling to be fed, completely unacceptable.

I kind of lost it a few months ago and pretty much had decided that I no longer even wanted him around but I got over it and resigned myself to being a responsible pet-owner. He got sick for awhile with pancreatitis and I felt bad for him. Things calmed down for a bit.

But in the past few weeks he’s decided to go on a spree of pee. A pee spree. And it’s no longer confined to fabrics. He peed on the edge of my daughter’s canvas toy baskets. I had to throw it out since it’s cardboard inside. He peed on toys, puppets, blocks, her foam floor tiles, in the bathtub (multiple times), on another toy basket with toys inside it, and inside the lower kitchen cupboards!!

It’s beyond ridiculous. And the worst part is, he STILL uses his litter box. Sometimes he’ll even pee in there and then a few minutes later, go pee on something else. And he KNOWS it’s bad. If you catch him, he’ll run away and hide only to reemerge a little later and go pee on something else.

Even my husband was like “that’s it, I’m done with him.” If you know my husband’s life-long love of cats, you know that means something. I was like “um hello? Welcome to the HMS That-Cat-Is-Bastard. I’m the captain of this ship. Which is a destroyer.”

But here we are: the three of us and the cat, still living together. I’m not sure we could get rid of him because we’d feel like bad pet-owners. And if we were to offer him up online, we’d have to lie about his bad habits or no one would want him. And then, after owning him for a mere 2 days, they’d discover why we dumped him and try to return him like a bad used car, demanding their money back. Except there would have been no money paid, but they’d demand some anyway for all the stuff he ruined.

So unless we want to pay someone to take our cat for a few days, we’re stuck with him. And all the cleaning and scrubbing and washing.

Did I mention he also sheds a lot?

Anyway. The upside is that he’s so freaking cute. It must be his evolutionary survival trait. If he weren’t this cute, I would have probably flung him to the urban wolves by now.

When they get to "potty training" kid, just ignore them. They'll still keep you.

Ode to Sleep

you read my mind, pillows...


So my sister is using this post to help drag herself out of bed tomorrow, so it has to be worthy of that, she says.

I’m not sure I could write anything that is worth getting out of bed for, since sleeping in is just about the best thing ever. I know she and I both choose sleeping in over most foods, most kinds of entertainment, and even each other standing over us going “will you please for the love-of-fruitcake get up now so we can go?!!!”

These days, I get up because I have an awake baby peering over me or my husband tells me he absolutely has to go. Only the former might actually throw something at my head but the latter holds longer resentments. But I really loathe having to get up. I stay up really late because I’m a compulsive online-all-nighter who gets all her news-reading, fashion-browsing, facebook-chatting, list-making, and erm blog-writing done in the wee hours while the little child who thinks laptops are for slamming shut and waving “bye bye” is sleeping. I also have a hard time falling asleep because I have a brain that likes to conjure up the absolute worst things in life as a mental slide-show the moment I lay down. If it’s not the worst things, it’s all the things I have left undone, like the night before you leave on a big trip but with more trivial details.

When morning rolls around a mere few hours later, I have absolutely no desire to get up. I am usually having a really nice or at least very interesting dream. Sometimes I even dream about sleeping! Usually in very nice hotels or very fantastical beds, but still, how meta is that? Even my bad dreams, I like to resolve before I wake up or else there’s this nagging feeling in my mind all day. If I’m not dreaming, it’s because I am in such a deep sleep that sperm whales could not survive the pressure to get down to my level of consciousness.

After a few attempts to get through to the real me, not the bear-in-hibernation-non-verbal me, either my husband, toddler, or the clock win and I drag myself out of bed. Occasionally, there is food/beverage to make the dragging slightly less agonizing. Usually, there is not. Hmph.

I used to be such a devotee of sleep, and I still am, but like so many things our relationship has become complicated. I have very little time all to myself, so I sacrifice sleep to be able to do things of my own. I have a toddler that likes to wake up at all hours of the night and who ultimately ends up next to me in bed. While asleep, that toddler likes to push me to the edge of the bed, sleep on top of the covers, and nurse constantly. This has the effect of making sleep very unsatisfying. I get down into a nice wave-less, dark depth of sleep and then ripped back to the surface over and over. So I basically have the sleep-bends. And lastly, even if I do get to sleep in and my obliging husband has managed to contain the fury of my mommy-deprived child, I kind of feel guilty and have not experienced this sleep-guilt before in this way. Sure, I have felt a little bad about sleeping in when I had stuff to do, but this is worse. I feel like I’m missing out on her childhood or something. I hear her whine in the other room and try to convince my body to get moving.

Someday this will get better, I hope. I will be able to do more of my own stuff during the day, sleep longer and with less interruptions at night, and have more of my bed to myself. And then, my sister and I can compete over who can sleep in better. Like a sleep duel. Pillows at afternoon, girl, pillows at afternoon…

Idiots. I do not like them.

I am beginning to feel like all I do on this here blog is bitch about work. So feel free to like skip reading or something.

Because the day I’ve had…woof

See, I was going to a training at my company’s headquarters. A company’s headquarters located on the east cost in a small town that cannot be accessed via a direct flight. As part of the training conference, I was told that I would not need to rent a car because there would be shuttles taking us where we needed to go and because we need to be cost-conscious. As a seasoned traveler, I should have known better.

It all started at my destination. There wasn’t any more room for carry-on luggage on board of my first flight. So I hand over my bag (that has all of my clothes for three days along with the breast pump and all the accompanying accoutrements).

I cannot blame the gate agent for not knowing the correct three-letter code for my final airport. I can blame him for writing down the code to an airport in South Africa! OK. See where I’m going? So I arrive at my destination around 5 PM, and of course, no bag. But no big deal, I’m assured – the bag did NOT go to South Africa – it is still in Chicago and will arrive on the next flight that lands at 10 PM.

I impress upon the baggage lady the need for my bag and the fact that there is a pump in there and I would be needing it today. She assures me that I will totally get it very shortly after 10 since the hotel is 15 minutes from the airport. This is when I should have set up camp at the baggage desk until I had my possessions in hand. Instead, like a trusting idiot, I headed off to a group dinner.

I get back to the hotel, look on my phone, see that the flight with my bag has landed and call the airline again. Now the helpful status says that the bag is at the airport (you know the one that is 15 minutes away from me) will be delivered tomorrow morning, an hour after my meetings are supposed to start. My blood pressure starts to spike. I talk to a representative who informs me that there is no one picking up the phone at the baggage desk.

So now I belatedly try to take matters into my own hands. I head for the hotel lobby to see if I can catch the shuttle to the airport. The guy who drives the shuttle has now gone for the day and cannot be reached. Calling for a cab resulted in an hour of waiting but no actual cab. At this point it’s past 11 PM so for sure there’s no one at the airport. Did I mention that my boobs are rock-hard right now? ‘Cause yea… I decide that I should instead just go to the local Walmart and buy a new pump and maybe like a pair of clean underwear?

A random cab drops a passenger off and says that he can take me to Walmart but he won’t wait around to take me back. I would have to call a different cab to take me back to a hotel. My hair – I am ready to pull all of them out.

So now I am upstairs in my room, it’s past midnight, I’m tirannoyed, I’m hand-expressing until my hands are sore and my boobs are bruised. I’m finishing the whole sorry ritual with hand-washing my underwear like I’m in fucking Communist Russia.

What wondrous things will tomorrow’s interaction with the transportation/hospitality industry bring? Let’s spin the wheel of bullshit!

Mommy Confessional

I am afraid that I have become uninteresting. “Don’t be delusional,” you say, “you were never interesting.”

Yes, ok fine, but I was WORKING on it.

Something happens when you have a kid and you become so-and-so’s mommy. It’s like you lose a certain amount of personhood. Suddenly you find yourself only talking about your child, either with the child-less curious set or swapping war stories with other parents. If you manage to have an adult conversation NOT about your mommyness, your kid will be destroying something nearby or be instantly stricken with a case of “I need all your attention, presently.” You can’t even shift focus from them for that long, so how should you expect the people around you to?

Sigh.

Anyway, I am sad that I’m slipping into complete uninteresting territory, especially to many of my friends who still go out and have lives of their own, not bound by the whims and needs of a small creature that resembles them. I know I signed up for this need-and-whim-filling business, but I guess I thought I could do it all and still have room to cultivate my interesting studies, hobbies, pursuits, and affectations. Not to mention, when confronted with opportunities to maybe say something interesting, I am now filled with a kind of self-doubt and usually fall on my face. People ask what I do and I mumble something about laundry and wiping up messes. Fascinating!

I know there are perfectly interesting mommies out there, fun and lively gals who are the life of the party that is their current location. I would like to know how they do it and at what age their kids started sleeping through the night.