Thursday, April 29, 2010


There is nothing like a stint of rewinter to make a beautiful, warm, sunny day especially great. We had gotten lulled into a false sense of spring, expecting the days to keep being lovely even though the same thing happens to us Montrealers every year. One last dump of snow to humble us and torture the tulips. This morning it is one of those post snowpocalyptic, melty, warm mornings that I want to spend all day in, just me, the dogs, the cat, the sunshine, and my ratty bathrobe which is getting ceremoniously chucked when the baby's born...maybe I'll plant it in honour of spring.

I realized over the last few days of bombardment with weather that we are very much animals. Watching the behaviour of all my people shift from "lalala spring, everyone is slightly under-dressed for the chill, smiley, gooey, optimism" to "ugh, groan, hunch my back and wear a f***ing parka, winter blues" was kind of like watching a flock of birds swoop and change course as one unit (I am afraid of large numbers of birds swooping, so I have only witnessed this phenomenon on the National Geographic Channel). Now here we creatures of Montreal are on this beautiful morning, in our various warrens and dens (yes, mixing animal metaphors is okay) not yet aware of one another, but already back to the "lalala spring" bit swooshing 180 degrees towards "spring-it's-almost-summer-I-can-taste-the-barbecue-already", soggy boots and slush a distant memory.

Soon enough we fickle citizens will be complaining about how hot it is, how buggy it is, how burnt we got over the weekend, and we will have forgotten the sweet early spring days where the flowers and new tree leaves struggled to get through the last snows. Where everything kind of smells like poo, but not in such a bad way, and especially the feeling that the long sleepy winter is really really over, for real this time...probably.

Happy spring.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Undies from Zellers (a silly song to the tune of "Tears in Heaven")

Should I feel the shame
when I buy undies from Zellers?
do they fit the same
if I bought them at Zellers?
It might be wrong, to write a song
but at least it's not a thong
bought at Zellers.

They came in packs of six
assorted colours in cotton.
I needed a knicker fix;
for under ten bucks I got one.
Now I should say, I usually pay
quite a bit more, in a fancy store.
Not at Zellers.

I should have tried them on,
should have taken one out.
Then I couldn't be wrong
There'd be no room for doubt
room for doubt.


How I fret the fit
I shouldn't give a shit,
but I know that I must sit
on briefs from Zellers.

Should I feel the shame
when I buy undies from Zellers?
do they fit the same
if I bought them at Zellers?
It might be wrong, to write a song
but at least it's not a thong
bought at Zellers.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dr. Strange Glove or How I Let Off Steam and More

I am mad. Mad mad mad MAD! I went to see my obstetrician for the first time since I was 11 weeks pregnant. So Dr. Arsehole starts off the appointment saying "Wow, how the fuck did you get so fat?!?!?"

I chuckled figuring this was a joke. "Well," I say "I'm pretty pregnant."

"Yeah," proceeds Arsehole "but you're like one of those unrecognizable ones, in the face, you know?" At this point every insecurity I have, in fact every insecurity ever, came welling up to the surface of my mind. I actually think I have several new complexes now. While I started to visualize my face morphing into a gelatinous blob, I concentrated on not changing my expression. I am, after all, a cool customer. Why else would he launch into a stand-up routine about my size, right?

Before I go on I should tell you about Dr. Arsehole. He is in fact very funny. This is one of the reasons I liked him when he was just my gyno. He always got me laughing and managed to assuage any fears I had. He also has a massive ego and thinks he's God's gift to women's health. He probably has a small penis, but that's neither here nor there. The following is about how he crossed the line and went from funny to a weird and kind of dark place.

What happened during my check-up, besides the medical part (which I grudgingly have to admit he is very good at) was a stream of fat jokes. I am a lot larger than I was when I got pregnant, but up until I had my appointment I had been hearing that I looked radiant, beautiful, "in bloom" (which means fat, but in a really nice way) and other supportive and positive adjectives. Occasionally a well-meaning person would mention that they thought there might be more than one baby in there, but over all not a lot of negative comments came from the peanut gallery. I won't bother to repeat all of the fat jokes and comments that were said but here's a goody:

"Well, you have a generously sized baby. Not huge, you're huge [Dr. A laughs at own joke], just generous."

I managed to keep it together during the internal exam by imagining smothering him to death with my giant thighs or braining him with my bestirruped foot. I was so stunned by his calorific comedy stylings that I appeared to find his jokes at my expense funny.

I left in a seemingly good mood and it wasn't until I got down to the parking lot that the red mist descended and I was MAD. Unfortunately the cocktail of hormones in my body has totally ruined mad for me. I basically just cry. Even when in my head I am grandstanding righteously I look like a kid whose ice cream fell off the cone or who just buried her pet budgie.

This traumatically unfunny doctor's appointment happened two days ago and it has taken me this entire time to find my sense of humour about it. I am still mad, but I refuse to feel fat and sorry for myself, so no self-pity party for me! I am big, blond, and beautiful and I am not going to let a vagina doctor with a God complex spoil this for me. I am still trying to figure out how to give him the piece of my mind he deserves but not potentially ruin my baby's birthday. Soon come, as they say.

I'll leave you with this bit of wisdom: Do not ever tell a woman she looks fat. Ever. EVER! the end.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

blissed out geriatric shih tzu takes a walk

So today started out pretty much like yesterday did. By 7 am workmen were kicking porch-repair ass and by 8 the electrician was chopping walls and fishing cords hither and thither and the alarm guy was back for round two of the installation of my laser beam-shooting, siren-blaring, smoke, carbon monoxide, intruder, heat, flood, gas-leak and glass-break detecting, zillion dollar home security system. Bang bang, beep beep, weeeeeeeooooooooweeeeeeeeooooooo, merde, bzzzzzzzz hours later I found my self unpacking yet more kitchen stuff and praying for a power failure just to have a break from the noise. That combined with the smell of a weeks worth of uncollected garbage sitting out in this totally mild weather wafting through the open windows (city of Montreal, get it together and pick up the damned trash) was getting me a little unhinged. I did what any good citizen would do; I made a strongly worded phone call to the city and expressed my displeasure at their shoddy infrastructure. I was told the garbage would be picked up today. So far it has not been. At 6:17 pm I am not getting my hopes up.

What's with the shih tzu in the title you ask? Well I am getting to that. Finally, a quiet calm descended over the house. The workmen had all left, the dishwasher was clean, the laundry was done, and but for the weird smell coming from the fridge (the cause of which is a detective job I'll save for tomorrow) and the half-unpacked box I had abandoned, my day was officially coming to an end. I let my two dogs, a speckled dachshund mix named Fanny and a geriatric shih tzu named Cocoa out in the yard to play. I was watching the gap in the back fence where a 2x4 rotted and hasn't been replaced (lots to do around here) when my little rascal of a cat slipped out. No matter, thought I, I'll just slip on his collar and he can go too. I turned my back to fit the stylish neck-wear on Oscar and when I looked up, Cocoa was half-way through the gap in the fence. "No!" I yelled. Too late. I scuttled across the yard yelling "Cocoa, no! Cocoa no!" to no avail. I reached the fence that leads to the alley and peered through the gap. Cocoa was the picture of happiness (and deafness as her ears don't even budge when I continued to call frantically after her) wandering down the alley towards the street. Shit shit shit, I thought. My only access to the alley is by going out the front door and all the way up and around the street. By then she could have been run-over! I don't know how I managed, I really don't because I am no small thing these days at nearly 9 months pregnant, but I somehow shimmied through the very small gap in the fence. I was a shocked as you are when I found myself on the other side.

I caught up with miss Cocoa two houses down the alley and when I grabbed her she looked genuinely surprised to see me! I plopped her back through the fence, contemplating how I got through such a small space. I shrugged and figured I'd try it again. After all, if I got stuck at least the dogs wouldn't get out again. Miracle of miracles I fit! That is it. I am quitting while I'm ahead. No more squeezing my bulk through narrow passes for me (although I now have a new perspective on what my baby will experience). So that was my day, I hope tomorrow is truly boring.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Fine Whine

Movin' On Up
My little family and I have moved in to our new home. I have two happy dogs, a very happy cat, and mostly happy husband (at least that is what he tells me, but I suspect the stress of the last few months as well as the upcoming end-of-pregnancy is taking a little of the wind out of his sails). I also have TONS of unpacking to do. This should be fun and invigorating but who am I kidding? I am lazy! I do not feel like beautifying my surroundings, I am tired and huge and I just want to go to the beach (preferably one where nobody can see me either because they are blind or I am's only fair that if I can't see my thighs and bum, neither should they).

House Arrest
There is supposedly a nesting impulse that happens at the end of pregnancy. I am still waiting for that to kick in. So in the meantime I will watch the handymen in my yard fixing my deck, and listen to the intermittent alarm noises coming from the installation of my Fort-Knox-esque home security system. I am under a strange form of house arrest - I can't leave the house in case the electrician, the handymen, the alarm company, the carpet company, and or the ups truck shows up. I am literally honour-bound to wait between the hours of 8am and 6pm so as not to miss the 45 minutes they will actually be here. Obviously someone has to occupy the throne and give audience to this court of characters and now that I am not working I am the regent in charge of reception.

Complaining As An Art
As you've more or less guessed I have made complaining a large part of my day. I don't take it too seriously, but at the risk of boasting, I have really become rather talented in this department. Being hugely pregnant cuts a sympathetic figure which, i have discovered, enables me to get away with more kvetching than I should be allowed to. In fact, I have even learned how to parlay the inconvenience of my baleen form and pre-maternal glow (created by the constellations of shiny red pimples on my face) into discounts and favours from otherwise tough types. It adds up too! I challenge any lady to stuff a pillow in her shirt before going to buy something at Ikea. Try signing up with a service provider while looking equal parts teary, nauseated, bloated, and grateful...kaching! In fact, just a taxi ride becomes an uncommon luxury as doors are opened for you and bags carried to the door. So there are perks (but shhh, I am still playing the sympathetically encumbered preggo).

I feel good. Writing this little bit got my juices flowing again, so I expect you'll have more rantings to read soon. Now I am going to go do not very much (hey at least I'm honest).

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hobo Lust

Okay folks, I have a crush to confess. His name is m0851 hobo knot and I love him. I was at a friend's place for dinner and Lost, and this mutual friend of ours was there with him...hobo. At first I didn't see him, all slouchy and demure in the corner next to the sofa. It would be a fateful cell phone ring that would make my eyes cast down to the supple black form near my foot. As I wrapped my hand around the butter-soft leather strap to hand her the bag, my heart skipped and for a moment I felt what it would be like to own him. I watched as she easily withdrew the ringing phone from one of the cleverly concealed compartments, and wondered what treasures and essentials I would stow in him if he were mine.

The evening wore on, and though my attention was captured for the most part by the antics of Jack, Hurley, Kate, Benjamin, Sayed, and the rest of the Lost gang, I found myself periodically glancing at the hobo in the corner. Then, as we were leaving, I couldn't contain my affection and exclaimed to my friend with great taste, "I love your bag!"

"Really? Thanks. Me too," she gushed. "Honestly I don't even use another purse. It just holds everything!" And with that, I smiled at him one last time and we parted. By then he was slung familiarly over her shoulder, casually advertising his virtue as that "must-have" piece.

All through the next day, I thought about the hobo. I felt like a high school girl who sat on the bus for three extra stops so that she could watch the cute boy a little longer before he got off. It is possible to become infatuated with a bag the way one does with their first crush. I google-stalked my little hobo and upon discovering his price tag ($485 CAD) I was momentarily stunned, but undeterred. Of course my love wasn't cheap! Of course he would make me work for it. Isn't that the way of true love? It takes work! I did a quick calculation, 4.75 months until my birthday. No holidays in between. Last night I actually dreamt of m0851 hobo knot bag. That's it. This is lust verging on obsession. I have to leave you dear readers now, so that I can ogle pictures while reliving my brief encounter. A l'amour.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My Very Own Olympics...of Moving

This has been a crazy week and Matt and I have moved in with my parents. Luckily we will only be spending one month here instead of four. Don't think that I am not grateful to my family for putting us up, I am! I do however miss those little things that I will probably appreciate more than I ever did before, like privacy, my own bathroom (that isn't carpeted), my own groceries (I had no idea how unsettling it would be to switch yogurt brands), and general being in chargeness. That last one is hardest for me I think. I also go on record saying this entry has taken me three days to get through writing. Interruptions are apparently how my family shows affection.

I spent the weekend in various stages of sleep, recovering from the moving marathon that was last week. Packing, watching hired guys pack, being pregnant without sitting down for 2 days, that was my version of the Olympics. I won a gold in creative perching, and at least a bronze in artistic melt-down (sort of like the emotional love-child of ice dancing and luge with more crying). I don't think I even watched the best parts of Canada's gold streak. I did see Canada beat the US at hockey though, and I cried through the Tim Horton's commercial about an immigrant family reuniting at the airport. Needless to say emotions were running high. Oh Canada, you really know how to pluck a heart string.

Now that I am here at the big house, my me time seems to have dwindled. My dad said it well when he told me over the weekend that "[he is] so glad we're here...for a finite time". Don't worry, I couldn't agree more! I am glad to be here for now though, even in spite of the changes I have to make (I am a cancer, I don't like change). After all, every meal is mommy food...or pizza, and every night feels like camp...if your parents never left.

Monday, February 22, 2010

One Long Right Now

I can't seem to shake the worry off. I want to see the bright side of moving in with my family for a short time, but I only seem to fixate on the negative. It is harder to be calm these days. My third trimester began a couple of days ago and the reality that in a couple of months I will be a mother is starting to sink in. I have been packing my belongings without much enthusiasm, even though I have Matt, the greatest husband in the universe, riding the waves of my foul moods with me and cheering me on.

We packed up the candles and candlesticks yesterday. All of them. Nearly two full boxes! We don't even usually light them all, but now the house feels darker. Amidst the candles and vases and little chachkas, drawers of batteries and old take-out menus, Matt came across a notebook i bought on my first trip with him two years ago. The spiral notebook with green pears on the front came from the school supplies section of a Mexican Wal Mart. I had this idea that I'd let the beach and travel inspire some writing. In fact, only a couple of pages were used. No matter, I like to think it is because I had so much fun I didn't feel like writing.

There is one piece I wrote, though, that I am very glad to have found. Rereading it is helping me cope with the mixed bag of feelings I have over moving. Which, by the way, is happening on Thursday. It's called One Long Right Now and it was written on a beautiful beach in Sayulita.

One Long Right Now

Sitting with the grit of sand and salt
Feels like the right kind of dirty.
I love the way sand and little pieces of beach get caught in my hair
And no matter how many times I shampoo, it is always under
My nails when I scratch my head.
I am almost jealous of the little ant
Crawling across the terrycloth jungle of my towel.
It gets to live here.
After a week of soaking up every ray of sun, I am content
To sit in the shade eating a piece of sweet grapefruit,
Crunchy and peppered with sand dust.
All food should be beachy - it makes your teeth clean.
"Hammocks, braids, henna tattoo, Nestle ice cream, silver almost free,
Necklace amigo, Camarones, parrea lady very cheap, sunglasses..."
The vendors ripple accross the sand.
"No gracias, no gracias, no gracias, no gracias,"
The refrain stops being words and becomes an automatic mantra,
Just syllables jumbled together. "Pipes, puppets, parasailing..."
The hissing of wind, splooshing waves, a little kid getting covered in sand.
Yes I could stay here now.
Here now stretching out forever.
One long right now.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Morning

I am waking up slowly. The quiet around me this Sunday is not hushed or forced, nor is it still or thick as silence can be. Quiet is not silence at all. It is the sound of my husband's sleep breathing a few feet away. It is one of my dogs, sensing my wakefulness, coming up for a nudge and a cuddle. It is the burbling coffee maker in the kitchen softly dripping bean juice into the pot. The click of thoughts onto the screen.

Monday and all through the week I wake up with difficulty, groggy and tired, wishing the night had more hours. Today I am awake early without an alarm to savour quiet time. I wonder why 7:00 looks so different on a weekday (dread, horror!) than on a weekend (hours to spend with just me, before the rest of the world intrudes). This is my morning, and the first words I have uttered have been through my fingers onto this page. My mouth is for smiling and sipping coffee and being closed until later.

Later i am sure I'll have plenty to say. My mouth is usually full of words, jokes, sometimes a little unsolicited advice for my friends (I'm working on that). Talking is a joy, but I am learning how true that is of writing too. If there is anything I get to learn from blogging I'd like it to be the discipline of writing almost every day. This means that you, dear readers, may not always get the best of me but I undertake to give you something each time.

Apropos of writing and stuff I visited Granny Lynn yesterday. You know, the lady my cat is probably going to love more than me. This woman, an English teacher to her bones, has taught me a lot about language and is probably one of the reasons I am doing this. At 81 years old Lynn writes creatively and when she talks, weaves the language into totally original patterns. She remarked yesterday that she is the matriarch, being the most senior member of the family. Matriarch, she said, was not her style. I agree that Lynn is not your typical prim old biddy. However, matriarch has a regal connotation and here is where I see the connection. Granny Lynn is a regent of language, a lifelong advocate of literacy (hell, she tried to get me to read before I was even walking), and the elder woman storyteller who is teaching generations not only how to use, but how to love language. I can't wait for my baby's turn to be read to and introduced to the beauty of words by my Granny.

Now my cat is stalking around on the bed and one of the dogs is giving me insistent wet-nosed nudges (the other dog is a professional sleeper). Quiet writing time is over and pet feeding, box packing, and planning for the move must begin.

Sigh. Here I go.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thoughts On Taking A Well Day

I am feeling refreshed and validated after my mini mid-week break. I woke up on Tuesday morning with a stiff neck and the feeling that I spent more time looking for the comfy sleeping position than actually sleeping. "Nope," I thought upon waking "I am not going to do anything today." With that, I made a decision to lie for the greater good. I was going to call in sick. I don't ever use sick days for anything other than being sick, but this was to be an exception. So I put on my most pathetic voice, summoned my long-dormant school-itis act, and called my boss. The truth is I did feel a little guilty because my boss is such a nice person and because I wasn't really sick, just pretty burnt out. I don't feel guilty anymore. Just having taken the time off to get centred again has made a HUGE difference in how I feel. In the end, totally worth it. So basically, I don't condone lying, and sick days are not meant as vacations for the conscience but every so often exceptions need to be made. Be well and if you aren't, then get well soon!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Humans: Beautifully Evolved or Intelligently Designed?

Ah the human body. There are people who believe that they were intelligently designed. I think my purse was intelligently designed, as well as a great number of shoes that I own. I tend to believe that my corporeal form is more of an evolutionary outcome. Please don't misunderstand, I am not ragging on God just because he/she/energetic entity is not winning Project Runway by the way. I even believe in God as an amazing divine force found in all of us that inspires creativity, inspiration, peace, and a bunch of other good things. But this is not about my personal religious views, it's about whether my body is evidence of intelligent design or evolution.

I do think it is marvellous how well the human body is adapted to life on two legs but there are some parts that, if designed that way from scratch, would just seem wrong. Like the knee. Who would put such an unsupported joint there? I mean the patella is just floating anchored by some very rip-prone ligaments which have the added job of making sure the floppy hinge joint underneath doesn't overextend! Or what about the appendix, or wisdom teeth. We do not need these, often don't have room for them, and many of us upright hominids have them rupture, or get abscessed, and ultimately surgically removed. Except for the fact that they ensure employment for dental surgeons and internists, why are they there? If one takes the intelligent design model to heart, why would God put something in just to have it taken out? It seems likely that at some point in our evolutionary journey to modern day us-dome, these extraneous parts may have had a purpose, and now they don't. Kind of like pneumatic tubes that are still inside old buildings, but instead of important memos, they house mice populations and cause problems for the buildings' current inhabitants (not the mice, though, who are very glad for the vacancy).

Or what about the pregnant belly. It puts a huge amount of strain on the lower back (the part that is already holding us up without the benefit of a ribcage for stability), wreaks havoc on the abdominal wall, does away with regular balance, and is obviously much less of a hassle for those beings that use all four limbs to get around. I am not saying that dogs, gorillas, and other part and full-time quadrupeds don't deal with some of the discomfort of pregnancy, it just seems like if I were allowed to crawl around instead of walk everywhere my back wouldn't hurt so much...but my knees probably would. Were I to look to architecture as a guide for where to put a pregnancy, It would seem like the top of the head is the obvious choice! After all our trunk is on top of an arch, and as long as the weight is centred, it should hold up well. We have all seen images of amazing loads being carried atop women's heads whilst body remains aligned and limber underneath, so why not design pregnancy that way?

I am not saying that I would make a more intelligent designer than God or anyone else really, and from having played The Sims I can say I am not much of an architect. I just look at all of the funny and kind of charming quirks we human bodies have and imagine that these are the result of growing up on Earth. Isn't it wonderful enough that this planet evolved life, and we have and continue to adapt to it's conditions? I think we are beautifully evolved, not intelligently designed. Some of us may end up with a few extra teeth, or a gill, but so what!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Stress of Packing or Why I Love My Skin

Hello, I hope everyone out there had a lovely Valentine's day. I did, mostly because I stayed in my pyjamas until 4:30 in the afternoon and felt positively guiltless about it. I needed to take the day completely off. I am stressed out. Know why? In exactly 10 days from today I will move with my husband and two dogs out of our duplex and into my parents' house! For 4 months! My cat is going to move in with Granny Lynn, and he'll probably fall madly in love with her and never want to come home to the cheerful chaos that will be our new digs. Bummer.

Let me explain. My dear man and I are going to have a baby sometime in May, and thusly, we and our 3 pets have outgrown our humble abode. The doula I am working with (basically a wise and birth-centric woman I have hired to guide me through this crazy undertaking) recently asked why us pregnant ladies always want to move. I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time, and it is really hard to imagine anything going wrong with the then perfect plan when one is viewing it through the haze of hormones and rose-tint that everything has at the outset of creating life. Naturally, we would find the dream house promptly after we sold our duplex, and have plenty of time for this infernal nesting instinct I am developing to transform an empty room into infant paradise! Alas, though we found not one but two dreamy houses, they both failed their inspections. In fact, one of them failed so spectacularly that it deserves it's own entry. We did find a third house, and like Goldy Locks famously said, it was just right. Almost. Except that we can't move in until mid June. Therefore my parents are rescuing us and have generously invited us to stay with them a la Gloria and Meat head.

I find myself procrastinating about packing up the house, and this brings me to the second reason I am writing today; my skin. My poor skin has borne the brunt of my stresses and anxieties both about moving and about pregnancy. I have tried to be nice to it, but I think all the negative comments have, er, gotten under it? I have pimples like a love-sick adolescent and stretch-marks have gone streaking across my bulging belly but I have to give credit where it's due. My skin is a champ! When this is all behind me and I have moved house and gotten the tenant out of my womb, my skin will humbly creep back to it's former proportions, and it's marks will fade into the background. John Lithgow says it best in his kid's song You Gotta Have Skin: "Skin's the thing that if you got it outside it helps keep your insides in". Mine is doing a great job.

That's all for me today. Have excellent Mondays, it sets the tone for the week.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy birthday Nono

This is hopefully the beginning of a beautiful friendship between a pregnant lady and her computer. I am not yet sure what this blog will be about, but I figure I'll start writing and see what comes up. I only have a couple of minutes to write (as I wasted much of the precious writing "me-time" time setting this space up) before I go celebrate my grandmother's 80th birthday.
My nanny Nono is a remarkable, if cantankerous old woman. She has COPD, a shoulder that broke when she was 40 but never had set, a hip that was replaced twice, a dead husband, 3 kids, 9 grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren, and sometimes a little too much scotch and soda. What a dame. I can thank her for imparting fabulous taste in footwear, nail colour, and sunglasses, as well as an innate sense of grace as a hostess. This gift for entertaining is one of the reasons so many people love her. In her house, whether it's a party, a meal, or any gathering, the following things will always be true: There will be lots of tiny food to eat with your fingers, there will be booze, and you will never feel like
you're the first one to make a plate or pour a drink. Also, to balance the sharp edge that we as her close family experience daily (very sharp, like split a hair sharp) there is a more subtle, playful, fun, if not quite soft side, too. Cheers to both sides of her.
Happy birthday Nono!