Monthly Archives: June 2009

Criminally addictive

Perforated HeartTelevision’s Law & Order: Criminal Intent has a character named Capt. Danny Ross. But it turns out that this actor, Eric Bogosian, is actually the author of a criminally addictive novel: Perforated Heart. I was stuck in bed for two days with the flu and had randomly picked this book up from a library shelf, as I tend to do, and I just couldn’t put it down.  

As I got sucked into this novel, I checked out the dust jacket picture, and lo’ and behold — it’s Capt. Ross! Naturally, many of you already know him from Talk Radio and his many other artistic successes. But somehow, they had escaped me until now.

If you liked Mordecai Richler’s caustic writing, a la Barney’s Version, I can recommend Perforated Heart for your summer reading pleasure.

I’m off to find all of Bogosian’s other novels and devour those too.

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Solo vacation, anyone?

I have a girlfriend who takes an annual vacation by herself. Nothing fancy … she just picks a nearby city and books herself into a hotel room. Sometimes she meanders about the local sights and sometimes she just hangs out in her room, watching movies and ordering-in her favourite foods. She’s a big believer that this kind of break is not only good for her, but for her marriage and for her energy as a stay-at-home mother.

After exactly one day of summer break with my children, I’ve come to the conclusion that a solo vacation is highly desirable. Sure, I know, all the parenting blogs are giving you tips on family vacations, but I’m going to veer in an entirely different direction and give you a tip for travelling solo: visit the site www.exinthecity.com and click on “City Guides.”

I came to know about this site because its owner hires travel writers to develop its “City Guides.” These guides are designed specifically for the solo woman traveller. The Ex in The City site itself has been developed for a niche audience: the woman starting over after a divorce. But there’s no reason why these city guides aren’t perfect for us mothers (and fathers!) among us who just want a little breather.

If you’re game, here’s the guide I wrote for Toronto:
http://exinthecity.com/guides/toronto1.html

And if you’re one of my friends in Sydney, consider this Melbourne guide:
http://exinthecity.com/guides/melbourne1.html

And if you really can’t bring yourself to travel alone — take me!

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My brother, the puppy-replacement

Daughter: I really miss having a dog in our family.

Mother: Me too, honey.

Daughter: I wish we could get a puppy; get a new dog for our family.

Mother: I do sometimes too, honey.

Daughter: Oh well, at least we have my baby brother. He’s like having a puppy, isn’t he?

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Happy Birthday Darling

One year ago today, a dear little fellow joined our family. Our world will never be the same. Happy birthday dear son. Will sleeping

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There’s no denying it now: I’m old.

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I’m old. There’s just no denying it anymore. Three things happened in one day to slap this fact right into my face.

 

 

First, my daughter comes home yesterday singing “School’s out for summer!” She starts to repeat this refrain, and I join in with her. She goes quiet and looks at me with surprise. “How did you know the words?”

It is hard to explain that these lyrics are far older than she is. That once, a long, long, long, time ago, Mommy used to chant these Alice Cooper lyrics while tossing her Adidas bag in the air. She had this bewildered look on her face, one that says she couldn’t possible imagine me having ever been young enough to engage in such antics. So, I didn’t mention it. And I also didn’t mention that our favourite chant was actually Pink Floyd’s “We don’t need no education.”

Next, we had the sad news that Farrah Fawcett had passed away. On the television, someone is quoted saying she was an “angel on earth.” “What do they mean she was an angel?” asks daughter.

Ah, Charlie’s Angels. How does one even begin to explain how fabulous the Angels were? One favourite pastime in my elementary school years was to play-act the Angels and coat our lips up with white-opal gloss. By a bit of luck, I was the only one with blonde hair, so I was always given the coveted part of “Jill” (Farrah’s character). The others would fight over the two remaining brunette roles because no one ever wanted to be poor brainy Sabrina (actor Kate Jackson).

I really wanted to emulate Farrah’s hair … you know, that awesome 80s middle part with front sides flipped back. But I was a ballet girl and we ballet girls missed out that “feathered” look because we wouldn’t dare risk the scorn of our ballet mistress by having our hair fall out of our bun and into our face.

I sure did try though. I would take my trusty curling iron and at top heat desperately try to curl back the sides of my un-layered ballet hair into that famous Farrah flip. But by the time I got off the school bus, the sides would have inevitably fallen down straight again.

It wasn’t long before a new girl started at our school with blonde and – gasp! – perfectly feathered hair. She quickly replaced me in our Charlie’s Angels gang and I became her fawning sidekick throughout junior high school.

And now? My daughter wouldn’t even know what a “curling iron” is! All she’s ever heard about it a “flat iron.”

The third and most devasting hit was hearing that Michael Jackson was dead. Oh Michael, how we adored you. My very first L.P. record was Thriller. It was released in 1982 when I was in grade 6.  I would treat this album with such care, delicately pulling out the record so as not to scratch it. While it played (on a giant, oversized player housed in a wooden cabinet), I would open the album covers and lay on my stomach on my parent’s living room carpet and follow-along to each song, working to memorize each, word for word. Remember doing that? That words for songs were printed on jacket covers? That music didn’t come downloaded from a computer website? My daughter just doesn’t get this concept at all. 

Last night, after hearing about Michael Jackson, I started doing the moonwalk around my bathroom while brushing my teeth. My husband looked at me — his eyes sparkled with immediate recognition, and a touch of admiration. I grinned cheekily back at him. Sure, I may be old now. But so is he and we’re in it, happily, together.

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A child’s prayer

10-popcicleI’m not much for formal religion, but this prayer came home in my daughter’s school bag yesterday and I just loved it. It seems like a perfect wish-list for a child’s summer, doesn’t it?

 

 

A Prayer

May no cats get in your sandbox
May your frisbees always spin
May your fridge be filled with oranges
May you love the life you’re in.

May your teddy be fuzzy
May your rainy days be wet
May your teacher tell your stories
That you never will forget.

May your fingernails get dirty.
May your underwear be clean
May your monsters all be friendly
May your grass be mostly green.

May your world spin topsy-turvy
May you love from inside out
May your parents hug you always
May they hardly ever shout.

May your enemies eat sugar
May you play the Superdome
May your friends be slightly crazy
May you always have a home.

May your popsicles stay frozen
May your dreams be true and deep
May you close your eyes and snuggle
May you have a good night’s sleep.

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The Teacher’s Gift

In past years I’ve struggled with the obligatory thank-you gift for my daughter’s teachers. I say “obligatory” not because I don’t feel genuine gratitude for the work and passion that my daughter’s teachers bring to the classroom every day, but rather because of the sense that a gift is a form of standard etiquette. And I don’t want to be the set of parents (i.e. the mother) who hasn’t followed etiquette. (Why I even care about etiquette is a deeper issue in and of itself!)

Further, if I am going to give a gift, I really like to make sure that it’s one that will be appreciated by the receiver and not just a dust-collector. (Or am I wrong in thinking that all teachers must have a space in their cupboard with dusty “world’s best teacher” mugs?)

This year I’ve opted for a simpler response to this dilemma.

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