It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Imaginary Friends

The boys are looking out the front window, taut with interest.

“Hey, there’s the beer man!!” Darcy yodels.

“Yeah, wow!” The other boys are thrilled. “Hey, beer man! Beer man!”

Beer man? I amble on over to the window, very casually. If there’s a beer man out there, I wouldn’t want to be the one to scare him off. I peer over their shoulders. Nothing but the bleak grey drizzle we’ve had for the better part of two weeks. Rather demoralizing after a while. A fortifying pint has a distinct appeal right now.

George nudges Darcy. “Look! The beer man brings boxes of beer.”


The eerie thing is, they’re all staring at the same point in space on the sidewalk just in front of my porch. I can almost hear the clink of bottles as the boxes thud down. And if there is an invisible beer man in my neighbourhood, how do these underage milk-drinkers rate? Where’s my beer man??

October 31, 2005 Posted by | Darcy, George, individuality, quirks and quirkiness, random and odd, the things they say! | 12 Comments

Meme (was this from you, Susan?)

What were the three stupidest things you’ve done in your life?

1. My first marriage. Lots and lots of my stupid things encompassed in those three words.

2. Taking my guidance counsellor’s advice and not taking a double major – music and English – in university. Too intense, she said. I wish now I’d tried it. If it proved too intense, then I’d have had the choice of which major to settle into. Instead, I eliminated one option untried. Not that I regret my ultimate choices, just that I think it was stupid to decide without trying first.

3. Settling for – ha! suggesting! – less child support than my legal entitlement, out of noble notions of fair play. I wouldn’t regret it so much were it appreciated, rather than even the lesser amount greatly resented.

Who has the most influence in your life right now?

– My partner. His quick mind, his emotional intelligence, his compassion, his constant conversation, his love and support for exactly who and what I am are the core of my life. While we both know I could manage just fine on my own, now that I’ve experienced true friendship, now that I’ve known a soulmate, I’d be terribly, terribly lonely.

If you were given a time machine that functioned, and you were allowed to pick only five people to dine with, who would you pick?

Oh, this one was by far the most interesting. Took me three days to come up with this list, and I’m still not sure about the fifth one. True hostess that I am, I considered not only who would be interesting to me, but how they might interact with each other; I also kept the balance between male-female equal, because mixing up the sexes makes for a richer evening:

1. Jesus: this one was easy. One of the most influential figures in the course of human history. I’d like to have him visit in the last three months of his life, not at the beginning of his ministry.

2. Jane Austen: because she’s so intelligent, such cutting wit, low tolerance of fools, and with just the right balance of clear-thinking, hopefulness and wry humour; and she’s be a great conversationalist. I revel in the language in her books.

3. Oscar Wilde: I like the idea of having a bright and witty gay man at my dinner party, but I’m a bit leery of the world-weary cynical shtick. He could be a lot of fun, or he could just be a real downer. I’d have to be sure to liquor him up first… As the only gay man present, he’d have no one to flirt with, though.

4. Queen Elizabeth 1: because one assumes that the woman who had the strength of character to flout social epectations and remain unmarried so she could Rule, and who single-handedly dragged the Brits into the Renaissance 100 years after everyone else (probably because her subjects were quite happy to continue their ale-swilling and bear-baiting and cock-fighting, never mind all the painting, singing, writing, and composing those poofs on the continent were up to…) would make for a fascinating dinner guest. (And yes, I know good Queen Bess could down her ale and wasn’t against a little cock-fight!) But she liked the other stuff too – she was her own woman.

5. Robin Williams: because I need another man; I wanted someone funny and intelligent, but not too pugnacious, someone the women could flirt with. I’m not sure he’s not pugnacious, though, but I’m quite sure he’d be a spectacular flirt! He could probably even keep Oscar on his toes. 🙂

I also considered Dorothy Sayers because of her quick wit and biting humour, but she’d be too acerbic, cynical, and combative, I think. I considered John Cleese for the same reasons as Sayers, and rejected him on the same grounds, too. I considered Ghandi: the dynamic between he and Jesus would be amazing, but I wanted the conversation to encompass more than faith and social justice issues, and how could it possibly get past those topics with those two men at the table? (Who’d want it to?)

So I haven’t quite decided for sure, but that’s my list at the moment!

If you had three wishes that were not supernatural, what would they be?

– financial ease, not to have to work
– long, slim legs
– less selfishness in the world

Name two things you regret your city not having…

– more, and more vibrant, ethnic communities
– it pretty much has everything else, being a capital city: museums out the wazoo, an orchestra, theatres, galleries, history, monuments, landscape, vistas, tourists…

…and two things people should avoid.

– downtown after 6 p.m.! (Not dangerous, just boring)
– Danny, reprehensible owner of a certain Irish pub on Bank Street (only necessary if you’re female).

Name one thing that has changed your life:

Time/maturity/my kids. (So that’s more than one. My kids contributed to my maturity, how’s that??)

Tag, whoever wants to be it!

October 30, 2005 Posted by | memes and quizzes | 7 Comments

Never Be Afraid to Say What You Feel

October 29, 2005 Posted by | power struggle, random and odd | 5 Comments

Pre-Hallowe’en Post

George finds one of these little babies on the dining room table. (They’re about 3 cm tall.)

He picks it up, he rolls it gingerly this way and that, he eyes it long and carefully.

“Mary, is this a spider?” He holds it above his head, peers up at its belly from beneath.

“Yes, it is.”

“Is it a toy, or is it dead?”

October 28, 2005 Posted by | eeewww, George, holidays, the things they say! | 3 Comments

Guess What?

Guess What We’re Doing?

Hint: It’s not random chaos. We are doing something.

It’s in response to something in the environment.

Specifically, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Give Me Back My Wig.

Yes, indeed! We’re dancing!!
Yee-haw!! Rock on, Stevie Ray!!
Bop on, kidlets!!

October 28, 2005 Posted by | memes and quizzes, the cuteness! | 6 Comments

Snarl …%&$*% Parents… mutter

I’m irritable today. Happens to the best of us. I could say it’s because of this thing or that, but really, its just me. Things that would normally not bother me, or bother me fleetingly, are truly, truly annoying me today. I’m cranky.

I keep another blog, private, password-protected blog, for the parents. Some of the stuff is much the same as you see here; other bits of it are different, and there are pictures, lots and lots of delightful pictures. I post almost every day. It started out as a labour of love.

And you know what? The parents don’t read it.

Okay, I’m exaggerating because I’m cranky. Of the twelve parents who could be reading it, three read regularly, three read it occasionally, and six NEVER READ IT AT ALL!


Of the six who read it at all, only three ever comment. Of the three, one – ONE – comments regularly. Of twelve parents, ONE SOLE PARENT is interested enough in that big child-free gap between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to actually click every day, and comment a couple times a week. ONE. This morning a parent mentioned me how nice it was that I did “that blog thing”, adding, and “I comment when I get the time.”

Lovely. How long does it take to bang in a couple of lines in response to a cute story ABOUT YOUR CHILD?

So, it’s not a labour of love any more. It’s a Professional Obligation, which I meet professionally. I figure it will be a great selling point with future clients.

It still boggles my mind, though. I’m having a terrible time getting past this. Stupid *%#& parents…

October 27, 2005 Posted by | daycare, parents, the dark side | 18 Comments

Book Review: The Passions of “Are You My Mother?”

This is one of our very favourite books. We read it every day. It never, ever gets stale. Ever.

Thankfully, Mary, having had lots and lots of practice with it over the past twenty years (it’s a Classic), reads it with great poignancy, for this book has lots and lots of poignant moments. She reads it with much expression, too, because there are lots of expressive moments: of hope and then bitter disappointment; of bravery and staunch determination; a moment of laughter; even a moment of despair.

Here’s the moment of determination. I just love this page:

Can’t you just see the fortitude and decision radiating from this wee bird’s scrawny body? Every feather on his stick-like frame quivers with resolute vigour. You can do it, baby bird! You get out there and you FIND that momma!!

So, lots of expression. Too much expression for Arthur. As we approach the page of despair, Arthur instructs me, “Don’t use that very sad voice, Mary.”

“But I have to, lovie; the baby bird is very sad.”

“Then I will cover my ears.”

“You do that.”

Here is the moment of despair:

Pathetic, isn’t it? It culminates in him/her wailing “I want my mother!”, and when I wail it, let me tell you, it’s pathetic. I do baby bird pathos with tear-jerking poignancy.

I won’t spoil the ending for you, but I can tell you that Arthur is happy with how it turns out.

October 26, 2005 Posted by | Arthur, books, socializing | 10 Comments

The Things You Hear Yourself Saying, Part 3

Stop licking your nose, please.

It doesn’t matter if it’s your hammer, it’s his tummy.

Well, you’re not supposed to like the taste. Now what’s the cat going to eat?

Three is more than two. Yes, it is.

She wasn’t sharing that with you, you’re just stronger than she is.

Who wiped their nose on the couch?

October 25, 2005 Posted by | daycare, eeewww, random and odd | 22 Comments

Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road

While on our way to visit family one weekend, Emma (12), suggested that she and I play “Graveyard” in the car. (Q, my sweetie, is driving, and thus can’t fully participate, and teenage son is sound asleep in the back.) Turns out the game is not nearly as morbid as it sounds, but is rather a counting game, wherein all parties are assigned a window out of which they are to count as many living creatures (humans excepted), or representations thereof, as possible. The one with the highest count after a certain time, wins. And why “Graveyard”? Well, if anyone sees a graveyard, then all other participants’ counts go back to zero.

There is some discussion as to how to deal with birds, which, though they may be spotted through one window, are very often within another player’s range within seconds. (Answer: if it passes your window, even if it already passed someone else’s, you can count them!)

And – eeuw – what about that poor critter, laying right on the yellow line? Emma decides, in the interests of fairness, that anything right in the middle is the driver’s.

The driver objects: “What? I only get squashed ones?”

Emma consoles him, “No, they don’t have to be squashed. You just get the ones right on the line.”

He is too pragmatic for that: “If it’s on the line, Emma, it’s squashed!”

Emma: “Eeeuuww.”

October 25, 2005 Posted by | eeewww, my kids, outings | 6 Comments


We like to go to the library.
We go most every week.
We like the library ladies.
We like the toys that squeak.

We like to see the computers.
We like the way the place looks.
Mary oft shakes her head sadly
At the way we ignore the books!

We like to sing with the lady,
We like to make puppets from socks.
But the very best thing at the library?
Is those great big, climb-able rocks!

October 24, 2005 Posted by | books, Ottawa, outings, the cuteness! | 18 Comments