It’s Not All Mary Poppins

What’s not to love?

Check out this post. Any man who can write like that about pregnant women? Well, you just have to love him.

I do, at any rate!

August 31, 2005 Posted by | pregnancy and delivery | 10 Comments

The Competition is Over: We Have THE Winner

Move over, Hausfrau and So Not Martha! Misfit, you’re not even in the running for this one. All you wonderful mommies who feel you’ve fallen down on the job at one time or another (Lory, Susan, Heather, Mrs. A), you may now breathe a sigh of relief and know that Mary P has beat you all cold on this one. Yes, Mary, that parenting paragon, who can take five toddlers to a coffeeshop with nary a sign of a tantrum, and to the Art Gallery without setting off alarms or knocking over statuary, who talks sex to her teens without a ruffle, is officially the Bad Mother of the Year. Possibly the decade.
It’s about these shoes. They belong to my 16 year old son, Adam. They are in rough shape, this is clear. Grubby, pretty battered. This, however, does not make me a Bad Mother. All kids’ shoes, especially teenage boys’, get battered at the end of the summer. It’s just time for a trip to the shoe store before school, that’s all. Everybody does that!

These shoes, however, do have issues, as Adam displayed for me yesterday. Yes, that’s pretty bad. These shoes are definitely in the “critical” stage. I’ve now moved down to “Mediocre Mother”, but in my defense I point out that this boy has the male aversion to shopping – even his mother’s very focussed “get-in-there-get-it-and-get-out” type shopping – and a busy social life. So I’m not a Bad Mother even for this. It has not been easy pinning him down.

However, it has surely not been impossible, which would be the only possible excuse for this, which happened last night.

That’s right. We have a sole-less shoe. And, what really makes me a Bad Mother is that these are his ONLY shoes! The boy will have to “wear” these, however we’re going to manage that, to the shoe store! And it’s raining today. Raining, raining, raining. Oh, I’m a Bad Mother…

August 31, 2005 Posted by | my kids | 16 Comments

Here and There

These gorgeous gardens grace a long swathe of park along the Rideau Canal. In the spring, these beds hold thousands upon thousands of tulips, an ongoing gift of appreciation to Canada from The Netherlands for our assistance during the Second World War. Right now, the beds are full of…er…flowers. Pretty ones.

These were viewed from the middle of Dow’s Lake at the end of the canal, as the youngsters and I had decided that paddle-boating would be our end-of-summer family event. Mummy wanted to visit the gardens from the lake. “All right you guys? Want to go see the flowers?”

“Kids? Kids?” Where did they go?

Evidently the offspring had other ideas, and were heading to the wild side of the lake. The arboretum borders that side of the lake, a lovely mix of lawns, trees, and water. Perfect for running the dog. Or a couple of getaway children.

“Hey, you two! Wait up!”
These two in particular. The third was safely paddling with me. No signs of remorse here, are there?
Well, maybe they’re onto something. This is kind of fun!

An hour later though, our time is up, and we’re sweatily ready to get something to eat. The soon to return to university eldest opts for Kettleman’s, where they make “Montreal Style” bagels, over a wood-burning stove. Sometimes I bring the daycare tots here, just to watch. One day I’ll do that again and get you some better pictures.
He’s bending over so as to see the dozen or two bagels he’s putting into the oven. He’s got them all lined up on a long wooden plank. They are amazingly deft with those things. He can put fifteen or twenty bagels onto it, then put them in the oven in one long row, slide them all off, and even flip them when they’re done with that thing.

Fresh bagels on the patio. No picture of this, because we were too hungry to pause.

This was a good day. Tomorrow, the last of my holidays, is just for me. And on Thursday, we’re back to toddler tales! It’s been a good summer!

August 30, 2005 Posted by | my kids, Ottawa, outings | 6 Comments

A Small Price to Pay

Eat babaghanouj for breakfast, reek of garlic all day!
Oh, how I love this stuff!

August 30, 2005 Posted by | food, random and odd | 9 Comments

You Go, Brigitte!!

My quote of the month:

It is sad to grow old, but nice to ripen.
Brigitte Bardot

I love this. This is my new goal. Watch me now, ripening gracefully!!


August 29, 2005 Posted by | random and odd | 7 Comments

Let’s State the Obvious

From the book cited in the last post.

Fact: Animals with the fewest predators seem to survive the longest.” (p. 32)

Well, duh. Yeah, you’d tend to survive longer if when you’re not someone’s breakfast!! And this has what to do with genetics?

August 29, 2005 Posted by | random and odd | Leave a comment

It’s DNA’d confusing…

I’ve been reading “The Genomics Age: How DNA Technology is Transforming the Way We Live and Who We Are”, by Gina Smith.

It’s a rather grandiose title for the contents, really. It’s science for the masses, and as a result, I’m sure there is some tremendous over-simplification going on. That’s okay. If it weren’t really simple, I’d be too lost to enjoy it. But as a result of the simplification, I’m awash in questions provoked by the text, to which the text does not provide answers.


Any geneticists out there who care to try to reduce their subject to kindergarten level for me, just for two questions??

Question 1:

“There turns out to be no such thing as race at the DNA level…In other words, you cannot tell simply by looking at someone’s DNA whether they are black or white. Genotype (the description of a person’s DNA) should not be confused with phenotype (what they actually look like).” P. 58-59

All right. I knew that there is only one “Human Race”. This is not news to me. I can also see that phenotype doesn’t mesh exactly with genotype, because even clones (identical twins) have differences. Though their DNA is identical, you can, if you know them well, tell them apart. But, come on now, the differences are subtle!

We do get hair colour, height, shape of nose, etc, from our genes. If ethnic differences don’t show up in our genes and chromosomes, then why do we, unless intermarriage occurs, breed true to type? Why don’t the occasional white couple produce – surprise! – a baby with “oriental” eyes, or an oriental couple produce a child with super-curly afro hair?

Question 2:

Mitochrondrial DNA. This stuff has me flummoxed and intrigued in equal measure. Mitochrondrial DNA is not found in the nucleus of the cell with the other DNA, but outside, in the rest of the cell. “Because [it] doesn’t recombine with the father’s’s DNA every time a couple has children, it stays pure. That means the mitochrondrial DNA you have in your cells is exactly the same as the mitochondria in your mother’s cells, your mother’s mother’s cells, and so on. It is a perfect line of descent. That makes it theoretically possible to trace back the DNA in all our mitochondria to a handful or original females.” p. 86

An argument for Eve! How cool!

Okay. So if it stays pure down the matrilineal line, do men have it? And if it’s outside the nucleus and doesn’t recombine with the father’s contribution, how does it get passed on? I’m baffled.

And if there are no geneticists reading this, it’s back to the books and the googling for me. This is interesting stuff!

August 29, 2005 Posted by | books, random and odd | 10 Comments

I Love that Boy!

Adam was three and a quarter when little Emma was born; Haley was seven and a half. As you may recall from a previous post, Adam and Haley were both present for Emma’s birth. A few days after her birth, Adam presented me with a “picture” that he had drawn, and then directed me to “Write my words, mummy”. We often did that for his artwork – a dictated description of what he had created for those less well versed in scribble-interpretation. This one, though, was special:

This thing still gets me all teary…

August 28, 2005 Posted by | my kids | 15 Comments

Striding, Part two

Today was another perfect “Let’s go for a walk!” day. Our street is still in chaos, as you can see, but I think that we’re in the final stages. The water and sewer stuff is done, so I think what’s going on now is preparing the road bed so as to lay the new street and sidewalk. I hope, I hope! After our usual 30 to 40 minute stride downtown, we are approaching our coffeeshop destination when we see…
…some sort of commotion further up the street. Having no set agenda and lots of idle curiosity, we have to go check it out. Once we arrive, we realize it’s the Pride Parade.

Good to see this lot has good relations with the local police! The officers in the car were waving and smiling, joking with the paraders and the parade-viewers. Yes, that is a rainbow flag hanging from the back window.

It was this particular group that brought a lump to my throat. It’s not the best picture, but what they’re doing is line dancing. Line dancing! Such an ordinary, unexceptional, some might call it mundane, even geeky – but an accomplishment for people for whom such a normal, everyday thing like dancing in public with their sweetie could have been dangerous not so very long ago. Still is, in some places. Imagine: line dancing as a subversive act!

And here we have it: the Real Reason Mary takes these longish walks every weekend. This, my non-Canadian friends, is a Chiller. A delicious, nicely sweet iced coffee confection, a drink for grown-ups, unlike the sickly-sweet approximation Starbucks offers. Made of espresso, milk, sugar, and crushed ice each one of this packs a nice caffeine wallop, the only form of caffeine my poor stomach will tolerate. (I figure it’s the anaesthetic effect of the ice.) It also, by my calculations, packs about 400 calories – but that’s okay, because, given that I burn 6.5 calories/minute for the 60+ minutes I walk to get one, I’m breaking even! It doesn’t count at all!! Mmmm-mmm-mmm, I love these things.

August 28, 2005 Posted by | Ottawa, outings | 7 Comments

Sunny Saturday Stride

This is where I go most summer weekends, at least once. Along the canal which runs through the centre of this lovely city is a bike and pedestrian path. It’s about a ten minute walk or less from my house to the canal. With this only three blocks from one’s home, who wouldn’t want to go for a stroll?? Actually, I never stroll – I stride. Strolling hurts my back.

Now I’ve turned around to show you the view in the other direction. That handsome fellow is my sweetie. And once more I ask: With such great company, who wouldn’t want to go for a stroll, er, stride?

Proceed a little further towards the downtown – see the buildings getting bigger? – and this is what you see. More gorgeousness! The canal does an arc to the left, and shortly we’ll come to the bridge we cross to get downtown, though we could, if we chose, continue along the canal to The Market, a pedestrian-friendly area chock full of tourists, restaurants, bistros, and crafty-type shops.

I love this little bridge. It’s just so pretty! The inlet behind it has a grassy park around it, and some very pricey homes back onto it. I was going to take you right downtown with me, about a 30 minute walk, but I got distracted by conversation with my sweetie, so I’m afraid our tour ends here.

See why I love living in this city??

August 27, 2005 Posted by | Ottawa, outings | 20 Comments