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One woman's path through the mundane

Updated: 2015-09-16T12:02:03.851-07:00


This is why I'm me


I remember being whisked off to a corporate retreat almost twenty years ago, and I was such a frigging (blessed) naive innocent that I truly believed we had been invited there to have meaningful discussions as a group, such discussions facilitated by someone from Corporate Office, who would help us see things in a new light.OKAY, I already said I was naive and innocent.So whatever, 12 of us ended up at the Banff Springs Hotel for three days of indoctrination (I know now), but at the time, I really thought my company was trying to help us grow as people and professionals.Stop laughing.So whatever, on the second day our insructor led us through some foolish exercise, which made all of us laugh a lot and we all had fun, but apparently there was a moral: "The entire team is only as strong as its weakest link." But me, all dumb and 25 years old, really thought this was a sharing, learning experience so I said, "But that's not true! The prophet Kahlil Gibran teaches us that we can not judge the strength of the ocean based on the foam that washes up on the shore." And I SINCERELY believed I was doing good, that I was initializing deeper philosophical conversation. To say this did not go over well is putting it mildly.I was made to feel like a mass murderer who had just skinned a kitten so I could place the pelt on top of some three year old beauty queen. (read: NOT GOOD)At the end of my Day of Humiliation, we had to retreat to our hotel rooms to do our homework, and share our answers with The Group on the final day. I remember neither the questions nor the multiple choice answers, but it went something like this:1. Your employee was last seen at the staff bar, completely loaded and unable to walk unassisted, at 3:30 am. He calls in sick the next morning. You:a) tell him you hope he had fun and get him a coffee and an aspirinb) tell him you were at the bar, too, and thought his half naked dance on the pool table was fabulousc) give him a gentle pat on the head, and suggest he consider rearranging his schedule so he can attend Cheap Beer Night without affecting the departmentd) Write his ass the fuck upQuestion Two:2. You have given your employee direct instructions, and a purchase order, to buy photocopier paper from Company A. Instead, he orders from Company B, at a higher price, because they are going to give him a new video game console as thanks. You:a) thank him for considering all the perks, after all you didn't KNOW about the free game systemb)Ask if he will give the game system to YOU, after all you are the department headc) Ask if you can at least come over to his house to watch him playd) Write his ass the fuck up.Needless (I HOPE) to say, when I turned in my homework the next day, almost all of my answers were D. Cause,see, I answered HONESTLY, I didn't answer in the spirit of the bullshit ocean wave crap.Did not go well.And around Question Five, when we were sharing our answers as a group, and everyone else around me kept answering A or B, and I was the solitary D on EVERY QUESTION,a woman I (previously) considered to be my friend said, "WOW, what kind of parents did YOU have??"EXCUSE ME?? You want to criticize me? My decision making process? My motivation? The fact that my favourite colour is purple? Fine. But what the HELL do my amazing, loving parents have to do with it??"Well, you're just so judgemental, I figured there must be a REASON, it must be the way your parents raised you." God I hated her in that moment, and that one sentence from her lips literaly ended our friendship, and as much as I mourned the loss of April in my life, I do not and have not ever regretted it for a second. Either you get me or you don't.You're goddamn right that's the way my parents raised me. They raised me to take responsibility for my actions, to own up to my mistakes, to celebrate myself when I do something well. What they did NOT teach me was to be a slacker or to put blame on others for things I did myself.And I am better because of it. I am ME because of it.[...]

I remember


how scared I was when Husbandly One had his emergency appendectomy. I mean, yeah, in overall medical terms an appendectomy is NOTHING...but it was still "something" and it terrified me.

I thought that was the most scared I would ever be.

TURNS OUT it scares me even more when it's my fourteen year old son. Surgery shortly, wish him well.

My Kobo is Dead


Kobo is an e-reader, like a Kindle (which is not available in Canada, in case you were wondering.)

My Kobo is currently nothing more than a $150 paperweight, and so I am taking it back to Chapters tomorrow. No, I do not have the receipt for my particular machine, but they are free to peruse my credit card records where they would see I have bought FOUR of these machines in the past six months (no, not for me, Christmas gifts).

One of four things will happen tomorrow:

1. They will fix my machine.

2. They will be unable to fix my machine, but will replace it. (The Kobo was only released in April 2010, it's not like I've had it forever.)

3. They will be unable to fix it but will offer me a newer version for just a few dollars for the upgrade.

4. They will shrug their shoulders and not give a shit.

I suspect the fourth option is the most likely....but hopefully they have learned the lesson that now defunct Borders has to teach.

I'll let you know how it turns out.



For the last three days, I have been knitting a circular scarf. It is designed so that you can wear it as a traditional scarf OR you can double it up around your neck OR you can triple it up and then pull one layer over your head like a hood. The pattern is beautiful.

I was well, WELL past the half way mark when I decided to stop kidding myself: I had screwed up by substituting the wrong yarn, and the diameter of the thing was less than half of what it should have been. Although it technically could have fit around my neck twice, I would not have been happy about it. And making it circle my throat three times would have resulted in asphyciation related death in less than five minutes.

See, with the new wool I just didn't get gauge (the number of suggested stitches per inch.) In some countries, the concept of "gauge" is caled "tension".

Tension. Interesting word.

If I have learned anything from knitting, it is that I need to chill out and relax. If I drop a stitch? Just work backwards and pick it up again. If my gauge is wrong, just accept it, pull it off the needles and start over. Knitting teaches you patience, it teaches a Type A personality like me to just let it go. Knitting has, in all honesty, done wonders for my mental health.

Funny how even the most spectacular tension error in my knitting helps to relieve the tension in my real life.

CHanging the world, one stitch at a time...

Walking and Chewing Gum


When I was a litle girl, I loved to dance. In cutting edge 70's fashion mode, one entire wall of our living room was mirrored, and I would put a record on the turn table and dance for hours, watching myself. And I loved to dance for company. Not only would I perform on demand when my Mummy asked me to do so for guests, I would even ask the guests if they wanted to see me dance.


My mother had been a dancer in the National Ballet of Canada when she was only a few years older than I was then. She had so, so much talent (they recruited her, she never applied) but was tragically let go from the company at age 14 when she failed to grow above 4'9". And I think that, in so many ways, my young affinity for dancing allowed her to live vicariously through me, to give her the thrills and possible success that were ripped away from her, just because she wasn't tall.

So when I was seven, she approached a local dance instructor, one with a national reputation. She explained my passion, my natural talent....and I do not doubt for a second she "name dropped" her own illustrious dance history.

And between the two of them, they clearly decided that I, who had never had a formal dance lesson in my life, should go in to an advanced class.

It wasn't ballet, it was modern dance. I remember the black leotard and the white tights. I remember that I was the youngest person in the room by several years. I remember that all those other girls knew what the mistress wanted, but I flailed around like a beached whale. I remember being confused and hating it.

I went back for a second week. And a third. But I had been placed in a class so far beyond my seven year old capabilities that I declared I hated it. My mother had a long consultation with the mistress, I'll never know what was said although I suppose the mistress probably said I just needed a more entry level class. And I further suspect that my mother just couldn't accept that I was anything less than extraordinarily gifted -- after all, she had been -- so she let me quit dance instead of putting me in a class more attuned to my grade level.

True story. And one told without bitterness, believe me. But after that experience, I gave up on trying to use my body artistically. I'm not saying I did so with a conscious decision, just that I was allowed to pursue other interests instead, such as music and singing.

Today I am 41 years old and am a soprano in one of the most highly lauded choirs in Canada. I can sing, goddamn it, and I recognize that I can only do so because at a young age I was taken from the world of dance and put in to the world of music. For this I am sincerely grateful.

Except that I can't clap.

One of the songs we are performing this spring is te 60's hit "My Boyfriend's Back", and it involves a lot of syncopated clapping with the music, while singing. Now, I have rhythm, and I can clap in time for hours if you want me to. But add SINGIG, expect me to do two things at the same time?? I look like Steve Martin in "The Jerk". My choir director, after watching all forty of us clap and sing, actually said to me (gently), "Irma, how about you keep your hands a bit lower so they're behind Ginette's back?"

Guess two or three more dance lessons back in the day may have been useful.

Dear Husbandly One


You have no idea how much I mess with you, how much I screw with you when you're asleep. (Minds OUT of the gutter, please)

I have many hobbies that you know about, but I have hidden my favourite one from you for eight years now.

I love you.

No,seriously, "I love you" is my hobby.

My greatest delight is to wait until you are deeply asleep, and then say "I love you". Be it 11:00 pm, 2:00 am, or 6 o'clock in the morning, as soon as I say those words, you mumble "I love you too". Without fail, every time. You don't wake up, mind you, and sometimes what you say comes out as "Iwuvyewtooo", but you always always always always say it.

The MOST fun times are when I'm trying to get you up in the morning.


No response, you're sleeping after all.


No response.

"Hey baby, it's time to get up, come on."

No response.

"I love you."


"Okay, c'mon babe, get up."

No response again.

I love that part. Well, actually I love every part of everything about us, but your subconscious reply to me has to be my favourite.

Well, except for the times that your "Iwuvyewtoo" is also accompanied by your arms reaching up for me blindly. THAT, that is my favourite part.


Dear Brian


Bad news, honey. Yesterday the roof in our garage was leaking, and your step father and I spent quite a bit of time staring at the ever darkening ceiling, wondering what exactly we were supposed to do to stop it, to keep the water from entering the rest of our home. We poked a few holes in it where it was bulging, watched the water stream out, and hoped for the best.We were so discouraged, darling, discouraged in a way that a fourteen year old could never understand. You see, it was only eight months ago that our aging roof was replaced. Unfortunately, we just didn't have the money to pay a contractor, and so Husbandly One hired a guy who "had done" roofing, went to Home Depot, spent a few thousand dollars on materials, and then he and this young man climbed a ladder to rip off our old roof and hopefully replace it with something better.For the two hottest weeks of the summer of 2010, your step father and this man worked hard, every day, to give us a new and better roof. They worked to protect us.As you know, the snowfall in our area this winter is the highest it has been in recorded history. A few weeks ago, Husbandly One went on the roof to shovel it off, and it was five feet deep. Think about that, Brian: the snow on our roof was almost as tall as you. He shovelled off everything he could, and we hoped for the best.Yesterday, on a suprisingly warm March evening, I suddenly turned to Husbandly One and said, "What's that noise??" He couldn't hear it yet, but he knows that women often hear noises that men simply can not, and we both wandered around the house, trying to pinpoint the noise that had awakened my "Danger" impulse.Then we opened the door to the garage.And saw water pouring from the ceiling in a dozen different spots.We ran for buckets, we ran for garbage cans, and then Husbandly One went up in to the attic to see what was going on. For two hours, he filled buckets of water in the attic and passed them down to me in the garage so that I could dump them in to a garbage can.And finally he said, "That's it babe, there's nothing more we can do, let's go to bed."So we crawled in to bed, but neither of us slept for a long long time, thinking about the damage to our home, the money lost...around 1 am, I finally heard Husbandly One sleep, but I kept watch.At 2:30am, I heard a noise like nothing I had ever heard in my life, but I immediately knew what it was and I sat bolt upright in bed. Husbandly One was too deeply asleep to hear it, but he did feel me sit up."Wha issssh it?" he mumbled."The garage ceiling just collapsed."We got up, and, with a lantern, went to check the damage. The ceiling had indeed collapsed, we couldn't even open the door all the way due to pieces of the ceiling hanging in our way. We thrust the lantern in to the darkness as well as we could, and finally Husbandly One said, "Well babe, there's nothing we can do about it right now. Let's go to bed. What's done is done."We did go back to bed, but I lay awake unitl past 4:30 this morning, all I could think was, "The Christmas ornaments, the Christmas ornaments, the Christmas ornaments, the Christmas ornaments."My dear son, perhaps someday you will read this letter. Perhaps you will be a grown man by then, and you will have forgotten how much you treasure those ornaments, how you force me EVERY YEAR to take pictures of each and every one of them in case something happens to them. You, like me, equate these silly baubles with our family history. Each and every ornament on our tree holds a story, each bears witness to who we are as a family.And I left the fucking things in my garage, in a fucking cardboard box. Today, when I got home from work, I immediately went in to the garage, dodging hanging sheets of pink insulation, hoping more drywall wouldn't fall on my head, camping lantern in hand as we clearly can not turn on the light in the garage. The water on the floor was almost two inches de[...]

Oh, and one more thing


I was standing in line in the grocery store this afternoon, the clerk was making small talk with the customer ahead of me.

"Cold enough for you?"

The twenty-something year old man laughed and explained he was only visiting our area, he serves in the Forces out of a base in Cold Lake, Alberta, and if you REALLY want to talk about cold....

I had to jump in. "I'm sorry, I don't mean to interrupt, but thank you."

Quizzical look towards weirdo lady behind him.

I explained again. "Thank you for what you do. It's important. It lets me live the way I do." Slowly, like talking to a child, knowing full well that the only real issue is that this CHILD has never had someone say this to him before.

He suddenly understood me. "Shit. I mean, you're welcome. It's my pleasure." And a shy smile.

"No, I doubt that, but you do it anyway."

And then he grabbed his bags of bread and oregano and green beans, and walked out of my life forever.

But I will remember him.

And I bet he will remember me.

What would YOU do?


Let's assume you live in my basement. You come upstairs to the kitchen, and see a huge note on top of the stove. "I am cleaning the oven, DO NOT TURN IT ON." Let's also assume there are newspapers spilling out of the oven (placed at the bottom of the door to keep oven cleaner from dripping on to the baking sheets in the drawer.) Let's also assume the baking racks from the oven are sitting on the counter.

What would YOU do?

Well, if you ACTUALLY lived in my basement, what you would do is this: Wait until I come home from a half day at work and then, as soon as I enter the door, I get on the phone to set up an appointment to get winter tires put on the car. While I was on the phone, you would silently turn on the oven to 450 degrees. And when I hung up the phone, you would say, "Irma, what's wrong with the oven, why is it doing this?"

And when I smelled the gaseous odour of DEATH eminating from the kitchen, and started yelling, "Turn it iff, TURN IT OFF", you would look at me like I was a lunatic. Don't let the fact that there is actual acrid smoke POURING out of the venting burner give you a clue.

"I told you not to turn on the oven!!"

"Well, yeah, but that sign was from yesterday."

"I. KNOW."

So instead of gently wiping off the oven cleaner, I then had wait til the oven cooled down, the ventilation fan at FULL blast, to scrub off the chemicals my TWENTY FIVE YEAR OLD step son had baked in to the metal, all the while hoping the fumes don't give me brain cancer.

His reply, "look, don't worry about it, I'll make my lunch in the microwave instead."

Kill, kill, kill.

The Royal Wedding


I have this friend at work. She appears very serious on the surface (and, sadly, the "surface" is what she shows at work most of the time, only pulling out her silly side with certain people like me who have grown to love and adore her over a long getting-to-know-you period.)

She burst in to my office today, somewhat shellshocked, and said, "I don't know how it happened, but I'm going to London for the Royal Wedding!"

She is a very well travelled woman, and has been to London many times, so the location is not the attraction in this case.

And as much as she is a patriot, it wasn't some loyalist fever that gripped her to see the marriage of the future king.

No, it's simpler than that: she has another girlfriend who searches the globe for the "Great Party". Said girlfriend planned, among other memorable voyages, a trip to the Vancouver Olympics, not because of the sports, but because of the incredible community spirit she knew would evolve.

So when this woman said, "Let's go to London for the Royal Wedding!", my friend still somehow thought it was a joke and said, "Of course, let's do it!"

And then, umm, apparently realized today she had just agreed to a REAL trip.

I could not be more thrilled for her, what a once-in-a-lifetime thing, to be ANY part of a royal wedding, even if it ends up just watching it on TV in some sketchy London bar while wearing a questionable Union Jack top hat, listening to the noise of the crowd outside (Please note: that's not what I think will happen.) The point is she'll be a part of it. And I love her for it, I love her being excited but still asking, "Do you think I did the right thing?"


My own private summer


I have to say that this menopause stuff is knocking me on my ass. Please don't tell me that being forty one makes me "too young" to be going through the change. It happens.

I go to bed at night, all comfy in my nightgown. About once a week, I wake up at 2 a.m. covered in a thick layer of sweat. Except it's not normal sweat, it is somehow sweatier.

So I peel off the nightgown, use it to wipe most of the foul sweat from my body, and get back in to bed naked. At 3 a.m., I wake up covered in the same nasty fluid, so hot I want to cry....except now I have no more clothing to take off. So I grab the nightgown off the floor, wipe down again, and now I'm cold. I am cold because I am not 100% dry, and I don't dare snuggle with Husbandly One because, ewww, I'm GROSS.

I have not yet had the dubious pleasure of having a hot flash during the day, but I know it's coming soon. Part of me is sad to have my departing youth pointed out so succinctly, but the other part of me just wants this ordeal OVER as soon as possible.

I need to get some sleep, after all.

I got nothin


1. after my last morose "oh poor me" post, I went to the ballet, but then ducked out early. Something that pissed off my general manager (as he made clear on Monday) BUT I made it home in time to receive phone calls from all the people I love. YAY for me, I felt so much better, and he can cram my "work responsbilities" directly up his ass.

2. Am going to my aunt's 80th birthday party on Saturday, in another city. I am the only remaining person in the area from my immediate family (my brother in Toronto, my sister in Vancouver, my Mum in Beijing, my Daddy cremated and on the shelf in front of me) so I am going to Represent for "David's family".

I have no date. Husbandly One has to work, Son has plans with his it's just me. Just me, my knitting, and a film canister of my Daddy's ashes so I can get pictures with him in them.

You may think I'm kidding. I assure you I am not.

Either you "get" the way my family thinks, and our sense of humour, or you don't.

3. My national company of 45 hotels employees more than six hundred sales people...Every quarter, they announce the top 25 sales managers (think bedrooms, they are judged on how many bedrooms they book) and the top 25 CSMs (think food and beverage, we are judged by how much revenue we generate.)

For the first time in my six years as a CSM, I am on the list. I have no real concept of how this happened, but apparently, in the third quarter of 2010? I rocked the house. My response from my director? An email to everyone in the sales dept which simply said, "Please see third quarter results attached. Good job."

I feel soooooooo good about being a top producer for my national corporation. Please pass the gun.

4. Harry Potter movie on Friday!

5. My first knitted sock is AWESOME. It has a few mistakes in it, and a few things I would do differently, but the point is I DID IT. I took five sticks and some yarn and I made something that will keep my left foot warm. To me, that's amazing.

Now I have to keep knitting and make something to keep my right foot warm.

6. Shouldn't be a problem, seeing how "my birthday gift to me" was to buy a ridiculous amount of sock yarn (six pairs worth!). Seeing how I didn't receive a birthday gift or card from Husbandly One, I feel ZERO amount of guilt.

Wait....we have separate bank accounts...I think there may be a flaw in my logic.

Happy birthday to me


My Mum emailed me to wish me a happy birthday, I emailed her back. (The woman lives in China, after all)

Husbandly One had ZERO idea it was my birthday until 11 am, I think a co-worker pointed it out to him, he then came zooming in to my office to wish me a happy birthday and kiss me on the cheek. Yeah, that was great.

I called my son an hour ago, he is looking forward to seeing me tomorrow (FINALLY, we have had weird schedules) and he clearly knows it's my birthday seeing how we are planning a celebration between the two of us for tomorrow...but he didn't say the words.

Have not heard from my brother, sister, or step father. Granted it is early, but I have to go out tonight for a work thing, and I could really use some validation right now.


Fuck it. I'm awesome. I am a good mother, a good wife, a good beekeeper, a good knitter, a good baker, a good friend, a good person. I deserve someone to say "Happy Birthday."

So happy birthday to me.

Three things


1. The sock I was knitting? The fabulous sock of perfection? My FIRST sock? I managed to turn the heel (read: "the scary part") and I was doing great. Tonight I ran out to the grocery store to get some sushi, and on my return realized I either put it down wrong, or my pets decided to screw with me, because I had dropped like ten stitches. They were off the needle, just sitting there. I tried to pick them back up but I frigged it up, so I started tink'ing ("Knit" backwards....which is exactly as horrid as you are imagining, pulling back your knitting one stitch at a time) Anyway, I tink'ed three rows, I still couldn't figure out where I was or how many stitiches I should have on my I pulled the whole thing off the needles.

No, I didn't unravel ("frog") it, but that doesn't mean I won't. What it DOES mean is that I have almost eight inches of beautiful sock that I screwed up and is lying abandoned on the desk in my craft room. I don't even want to look at it.

So I cast on for Sock Nummber Two. Sigh.

2. The Hallowe'en themed wedding last Saturday was awesome, I will post a photo of me and my man as soon as I get my hands on one. Big shout out to my makeup artist Sister in Vancouver, who sent us the zombie makeup. I used sponges and tried to follow her directions....and ended up looking like Linda Blair in "The Exorcist" (which is a good thing!) Husbandly One, on the other hand, couldn't waste time with things like instructions or sponges, and just DOVE in to the purple foundation with his fingers. He ended up looking....well, he ended up looking freaking fabulous, I must say.

3. We're headed to a Grand Wine Tasting tomorrow afternoon and I am excited. There will be just under 500 wines to could never taste them all, we'll probably end up tasting about 25 plus whatever ports they have.

Not sure what our "goal" is with the tasting this year: one year we only tasted things we could add to our wine list at work. One year we only tasted wines that were under $20, and therefore something we would reasonably serve in our home. And one memorable year, I went with my Mum, we got silly (read: "drunk") and we decided to only taste wines that were over $100 a bottle. We didn't like most of them, for the record, but man we had fun.

That loser I'm in love with


You need to understand that Husbandly One doesn't actually enjoy having fun.

That's as clearly as I can state it, and I know that my family members just read the preceding sentence and said, "That's right, Husbandly One does NOT enjoy having fun." He enjoys being serious, he enjoys being stoic....but FUN? Sooooo not on his radar.

We are going to a wedding tonight. A Hallowe'en wedding, complete with costumes.

I have been working on the costumes for weeks. My sister, the make-up artist on the other side of the country, sent me a "crash kit" of make-up. (Knowing full well I have ZERO idea what to do with any of this shit....I suspect she is in Vancouver laughing at me.)

But whatever, the point is that all of this has been up to me, my husband Chuckles contributed nothing. I bought his suit and my dress. I went out in the garden to mix a batch of mud to stain said clothing. I packed the cold cream to remove Sister's bizarre make-up later. It's all me, all the time. Chuckles is NO FUN. WHATSOEVER.

He just tore our front closet apart, looking for an old pair of shoes, then went in to the kitchen and mixed a new batch of mud so he could apply it to the shoes. And he had this tiny little smile the whole time. "Well dear, a zombie wouldn't have shiny shoes."

No, dear. No he wouldn't.

And I remember why I love you so much.

Today - then and now


A year ago today, I was somewhere in Spain, walking my pilgrimage, my Camino. Without looking at my journal, I can't tell you where exactly I was, but I can tell you that I had already injured myself by this point. I walked in pain, but by God, I WALKED, up to 30 kms a day. I made myself do things that I knew were impossible, I just convinced myself I could do it.

A year exotic local, no reason to keep a journal. I am sitting in my livingroom, knitting a sock.

I am forty years old. I have been a knitter for almost thirty of those years, and have knit more sweaters than I can even remember. Sweaters, knit on two needles, are easy. But dude, SOCKS? Socks knit on five needles? That shit is HARD.

About six months ago, I decided I wanted to learn to knit socks. My Mum spent 20 minutes trying to teach me how to work with soooo many needles, and then we got distracted and moved on to something else. I came home, tried, and failed.

Five months ago, I decided to learn how to spin my own yarn out of fleece. Turns out I have (so my teacher said) a natural hand for it, my yarn is uniform and (quite frankly) gorgeous. I decided to tackle the socks again, FAIL.

Three months ago, I taught a total "virgin" how to knit in less than an hour. Encouraged by my knitterly genius, I picked up all the scary sock needles again. MAJOR FAIL.

I just didn't get it, I mean I understood in theory what should be happening but I couldn't make my hands, the needles, and the wool do what I wanted, damn it.

I kept trying, and I kept failing. I do not enjoy failing at ANYTHING, by the way, never mind failing at anything as "stupid" as knitting. I mean, come on, there are hundreds of thousands of six year olds all over the planet who can knit socks. But me? Not so much.

Yesterday I got angry. I was pissed off at myself and at the universe over my inability to create something so basic. I decided that, no matter how ugly or uneven or even totally UNWEARABLE the end product might be, TODAY was the day I was going to knit socks, goddamn it.

Twenty four hours later, I have four inches of the most beautiful, perfect sock on my needles. I mean, I want to rub this bad boy all over my lady parts, it's THAT perfect.

Turns out all it took for me to have my break-through was for me to get really angry at it, and decide it wasn't stronger than me.

And if you think this post is really about socks then you're not paying attention.



A year ago yesterday, I set off on my Camino. I knew walking that pilgrim trail would change me, and it did. I knew it would show me things about myself I didn't want to face, and it did. I knew it would show me things about myself that I never even dreamed were possible, and it did.

But I did not anticipate how the Camino would get under my skin like a lover, make me crave it in ways I can not even articulate to myself. It is truly like a sickness, this desire that never goes away.

I need to go back. I need to.

And I will.

I don't know when, I don't know how, but I will walk the Camino again.

Mark my words.

Happy birthday, baby


So here you are, 59 years old. Meh, I don't give a shit about the number. Hope you don't, either.

Over the last eight years, you have been told that I am too young for you. And over the last eight years, I have been told that you are too old for me.

The central point in all of that being "over the last eight YEARS". Despite what many people thought would happen, we are not some quick May-December romance that ignites in passion and flames out when reality hits.

We are a couple. We are a family. We are us.

And I love you in ways I could never explain.

Come to bed.


I am the Greatest Mother in the WORLD


Yes. It's me.

I know this is true because I freaked the $%#*@% out on Son Saturday afternoon. I get the fact that he is fourteen, and that he needs to push boundaries, and that it is my job to push back.

So we're in the grocery store. Normally I get the "little" cart because all I'm usally buying is a few items; this particular day I wanted dog food, sushi, and English muffins.

But of course there were no little carts available, so I ended up with this cart the size of my car. With a bad wheel.

Son has never changed his habit of putting one hand on the cart while I'm steering (which I love about him) but this stupid cart was pulling to the side and he wasn't really helping the situation.

Finally I said, "Honey, take your hand off. This thing is massive and hard to control."

His response?

"That's what she said."

I went nine kinds of crazy all over his ass. "How DARE you speak to me like that, I'm your MOTHER, you should be ASHAMED of yourself, you little creep."

Now go over to the next aisle so I can laugh my ass off. Because, dude? That was funny.

Enviro Laundry


I have previously written about my environmentally-neutral home made laundry detergent... which I swear by, but which is NOT appropriate at all times and frankly needs to be used with caution -- it kicks the SHIT out of wool and therefore needs to be used with a gentle and discriminating hand.

But here's something else I know, something that works ALL THE TIME.

Do not use stupid fabric softener!!

I gave up on "Bounce" and other similar products almost five years ago...honestly, because I ran out one day and had a pile of laundry to do. It wasn't a conscious decision to let fabric softeners go, but here's what I have learned over the last five years:


Yeah, you're going to take your stuff out of the dryer, and it IS all going to stick together. But you're going to peel off one shirt (taking the socks out of the sleeves), shake it out, and hang it up. Repeat.


The static electricity, through you beating your hands on it and then placing the garment on a hanger, disappears. I SWEAR.

Please please please please please please please please PLEASE stop using fabric softener. Just trust me and see what a quick shake of the garment-in-question will do.

See, THIS is why I hate social networks


So a few years ago, I got on the popular bandwagon and joined this social network thing on-line. Everybody was doing it so I figured why not, this could be fun.

And it was.

For a while.

A year later, I was being bombarded by emails, requests, postings, emails, requests, postings, requests, requests, hurt emails asking why requests were ignored.... it was creepy and invasive and I hated it, so I closed my account. Bye bye forever to Irma, because she is sooooooo out of here.

Two months ago, my mum moved to a whole different continent. She is a member of this social network, and it is there that she posts her amazing photos, so I knew I had to rejoin.

Let me be clear: I did not rejoin to socialize, I rejoined so I could have access to pictures my mother had taken.

When I created my new account,I did not want to be "found". I used a fake name. I used a fake age. I used a fake location. And, as required, I entered my email address.

The same email address I had before, and LUCKY FOR ME, the social network knew that! And helpfully posted my real name, from my original account!! And posted the picture of me that I had used years ago!!AND alerted all of those people from before that I was back!! Isn't that great SERVICE??

So now I am being inundated with unwanted messages from the same people I tried to get away from two years ago, and I have to go in and figure out how to use the super efficient "security" (HA) settings to make it all stop. Either that or I need to cancel my account AGIAN, get myself a brand new email address and then start over.

But with my luck, the helpful people at th social network would recognize my IP address and default to my real name anyway.


Where were you?


Whn JFK was shot?
When Apollo 13 landed safely?
When the Iranian hostages were released?
When John Lennon was killed?
When the shuttle exploded?
When the Wall came down?
When Princess Diana died?
When JFK Jr's plane went down?
When the Pope died?

Now, in a list dominated by sad events, add another joyous question.

Where were you when the first Chilean miner came up?

I watched breathless as the first man emerged last night just past midnight. And, less than 24 hours later, I am about to see the thirty third man come out.

GOD IS GOOD. The human spirit is good. Love is good. Being stubborn is good.

And sure, after the thirty third miner emerges, the focus will turn away from the five rescuers still in the mine, but they are also heroes, who have done what no one else has done in history.

Here comes Number 33, Luis.

God is good.

The Camino


In just a few days, it will be one year since I started on my Camino. I took three weeks to walk this holy path, I learned so much about myself and about the world.

I can't believe I'm admitting this, but I haven't unpacked my backpack yet. Yeah yeah, the dirty panties and granola bars were unpacked as soon as I got back, but the first aid kit, the sleeping bag, the rain gear are still in there, waiting for me to start out again.

And I want sooooooo badly to go back.

Like, maybe at the end of June.

Anybody want to come with me???

Modern Families


My step-father, my mother's widower, is getting ready for a Thanksgiving weekend trip to Cape Breton with a new lady.

My step-mother, my father's widow, is currently in Egypt, about to get in to a hot air balloon ride over the Pyramids.

My sister is in film school in Vancouver.

My brother is in a rock band in Toronto.

I have a normal, middle class, suburban, professional life.

How come I feel like the weirdo in this situation??

This is your ass. Let me hand it to you.


Yesterday, my Atlantic Canadian city hosted a CFL game.

This was truly sports history: the Canadian Football League has held "exhibition" games in Atlantic Canada in the past, but this was an honest to goodness game: IT COUNTED. Like, what happened yesterday actually will ultimately affect who ends up in the Grey Cup. Big, big, BIG freaking deal if you are in to Canadian football.

In addition to being the host hotel of the CFL and Argos, we did all of the Stadium catering, we fed and watered 22,000 people.

Please understand that when we do large scale entertainment catering, it means us essentially picking up our hotel and plopping it in to the middle of a field. We do not have full scale cooking equipment, and we can only cook and serve whatever we brought with us. It is literally impossible to simply pop back to the hotel to get more food. So let me give you a brief rundown on the hugely successful entertainment catering we have done in the last few years:

Rolling Stones concert, 2005, VIP sections only, 6000 people (NOT number of ticket holders, number we were responsible to feed)
Brooks and Dunn, 2006, VIP and corporate tents, 3000 people (same caveat as above)
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, 2007, 3000 people (as above)
Eagles concert, 2008, 50,000 people, we fed them ALL.
Bon Jovi, 2009, 15,000 people, we fed them all.
AC/DC, 2009, 80,000 people, we fed them all.
World Track and Field Championships, 2010, 10,000 per day for six days, we fed them all.

We are USED to large cater-outs, we are experts at it. But at the same time, a Stones concert isn't the same thing as a country concert isn't the same thing as a track and field event, isn't the same as....

Canadian Football League, Argos vs Eskimos, 2010, 22,000 people. We got FUCKED.

Yes, we know a lot about large scale catering, but we had never worked on a FOOTBALL game before. We used the info we have from all those past events and decided on our plan for this event....where we would operate to maximize sales, how many people it would take, how much beer and food to prepare.

And you know what? We got everything right. Except the food.

We ran out of food, ALL food, BEFORE half time. You know, that 20 minute period when we expected to be busiest. (And hey, we were right about that, too, ha ha!)

Before the game even broke for half time, we had no burgers, hot dogs, chili, popcorn, sandwiches. NO FOOD, not one single thing.

Bad, bad, bad, BAD day. When I think about all the money we could have made that we missed out on it makes me shiver. But at the same time, we sincerely DID believe we were set to feed the masses and it tore at all of us to turn to the crowd and tell all those hungry people that we had nothing for them. Yeah, we were the exclusive caterers. NICE.

There is talk of bringing the CFL back to our city next year. And next year? We will probably be the offcial caterers again. But I swear to you, football-loving-public, we will NOT run out of food again.

Who knew you people were so frigging hungry???