October 20, 2014

Pictures of Me and Rene Descartes in a Bathroom Mirror

Over on the Facebook some time ago (about seven months in dog years, according to my calculations, because veterinary math), I wrote this:

It was sincere. I really did have a photo shoot - new professional portraity type things of myself are needed because:

A) I'm a professional now, apparently, and

B) This picture is very uncomfortable to look at. I think it's the teeth. And the soul-burning stare. And the teeth.

Look away or I will burn you.

So, dutifully feminine, I angst-ed over it. In the mirror.

See? Angst. I'm rounder than I used to be, therefore girdle:

See how excited I am by girdles? Also, what's behind me in the mirror? A Chinese dragon puppet? A haunted muppet? I honestly have no idea. And there's water on my shirt. Probably sweat from putting on the damned girdle.

After this, I Did Stuff to my hair and changed my clothes, like so:

My theory on selfies is that if I look sheepish, they're not vain.
I see no appreciable difference beyond "hey, wasn't she wearing a grey shirt before?"

Which is why I've adopted a brand new Body Philosphy. I cribbed it from my pal René Descartes: My body looks like this, therefore this is what my body should look like.

I'm all done with the irritating idea that bodies are supposed to look only one way - smooth in all the right places, or - failing that - at least sucked in if anyone can see me. It's stupid. I've honestly caught myself thinking that people will think I'm a bad mother if my stomach leaks over the top of my pants and bulges when I pick up my kids from school.

The horror.

Now, you and I both know that I'm still going to carry around an image of the perfect me in my treacherous brain, but I have a cunning plan: I'm going to catch myself. Every time I mentally photoshop the girl in the mirror, every time I tug my shirt down, every time I'm self-conscious about the way my pants fit or what my hair looks like, I'm just going to stop, possibly after a stern (inner) lecture complete with an (outer) over-the-glasses-glare.

I'm still going to keep wearing makeup (most days) and plucking my eyebrows, because this isn't Bastille Day, so settle down. I'm not uncomfortable with the opposing ideas of dressing my body up while loving it just the way it is.

Should I be?

I'm going to practice un-sucking-in my stomach while I wait for your insight.

(Also, I made myself a mug. And a compact mirror. And possibly a button.)

October 16, 2014

This Post Annoys Me So Much I Can't Even Think of a Title

These are the books my little reader is checking out of her school library: Princess Barbie Does Something With Other Princesses, Barbie Does Something Else But This Time She's a Merrmaid, Some Unicorn Becomes Friends with Barbie, and the perennial classic: The Book In Which Nothing Happens While Barbie Wears a Princess Dress.

I understand, I really do. If you're worried about getting kids interested in reading, of course the idea of using characters they're familiar with from toys and television to lure them into the world of books. Makes some kind of sense.

But then, it also makes sense that "instilling a love of reading" is only worthwhile if the reading in question is actually worth reading.

Unlike this pile of tepid, vacuous, vapid, and let's-not-forget-pandering tripe (no offense to the tripe):

It's nonsensical, but not in the charming or whimsical way that - oh, I dunno -  ANY OTHER BOOK EVER WRITTEN is.

This book, and each of the thousands of nearly-identical books for boys*and girls just plain Doesn't Make Sense.

I understand the school library's quandary: they get these books at ridiculously low prices. Real books cost real money. These books - as far as I know - only cost brain cells.

So rather than teaching a love of reading, what book publishers - and the Scholastic program in particular - are really doing is generously subsidizing the cost of library books by sending money to Mattel for licensing in order to interest kids in the incredibly worthwhile activity of Reading Random Words That Loosely Relate to Pictures of Products Sold by Mattel.

Sounds legit to me.

*I'm looking at you, Ninjago

--UPDATE: Dawn forced me to create a postcard to send to Scholastic. Blame her.--
Reading Commercials
Reading Commercials by TheMrsStuff
Get Postcard designs on zazzle.ca

October 13, 2014

Confessions of a Particular Size

Seth offered to let me sleep in today, which, in Mrs Parlance, means "I'll get up with the kids as quietly as possible and you stay in bed until whenever the spirit moves you to get up". I was all set to get up at five, so this threw me.

Not so much that I didn't stay in bed until 7:30, though. It's a hard knock life around here.


I saw Megan at our library the other day, and she is cheerfully blackmailing me to issue a retraction of my too-many-Danielle-Steel-novels comment from this post by threatening to publicize how many romance novels I've checked out. (Answer: all of them)

Part of that story is true. Well, part of part of it, anyway. Megan owes me some book recommendations.


I got me a cover for my I'm-going-to-be-blind-soon-so-I-might-as-well-buy-one Kindle. It is the best thing that's ever existed and gives me deeper joy than a material object legitimately should.



I put a Goodreads badge over there (please imagine a picture of an arrow pointed to your right, because I am too pooped/generally lazy to insert one)*

Tell me what you're reading, please, and how good it is, and if I should also read it.


The kids and I were on Manitoulin Island again this past weekend. We got home yesterday afternoon and now my father-in-law is here for the week and then we (that's Seth and I, which I sincerely hope is a completely unnecessary clarification) are headed to Stratford for Saturday and Sunday. We will be gloriously child-free, and have mapped out our itinerary strictly by how many steps we'll need to take between restaurants.


There's a new addition to the very exclusive Pictures Of Herself She Loves club. I predict it will be very popular with the one (1) other member.

That's all I got, lovies. Have I told you lately that I love you? I do. Most sincerely.

*The irony of using 112 characters to explain has not escaped me, nor (I imagine) has it escaped you, dearly loved and very astute reader.**

**And also probably stunningly gorgeous.

October 6, 2014

Let There Be Drywall Dust

This week is crazy full, and every little thing will be covered in a dainty, delicate film of drywall dust.

Everyone, say it with me (that makes it true, you know): Dainty, Delicate, Drywall Dust.

I will be thankful for the dust, because it means we're that much closer to having a kitchen and an entranceway, a husband who doesn't have to renovate every weekend, and a clean(ish) house. 

I will be thankful, dammit.

That's all I got.

September 29, 2014

This post had a title but then I used it as the punchline instead

This ridiculous little person is headed to her first ever day of daycare today, and for the first time since March, I'll have an uninterrupted morning in which to Do Things.

And I'll get another one next week! Three whole morning hours to myself, to squeal over and roll around in like Scrooge McDuck does in his piles of money.

The problem, of course, is that there are so many Things to Do, and the longer I've hung around in this mind of mine, the more evident it's become that - when faced with a very long menu of possible Things to Do, each Thing urgent-ish in its own peculiar way - I become paralyzed with the kind of indecision normally restricted to the sight of a display case full of many and exotic varieties of doughnut.

My strategy with Things is to pick one or two well ahead of time and spend all of my free mental energy in the hours leading up to the time in which those Things are to be done reminding myself which Things I'm going to do. You laugh, but otherwise the free hours arrive and I greet them with dithering, followed swiftly by Checking My Phone, General Tidying, Getting a Snack, and Feeling Guilty For Not Accomplishing Anything.

This is not my strategy with doughnuts, in case you were wondering.

It's 6:18AM. I have three hours and twelve minutes to decide. I feel like MacGyver in front of a bomb with a stick of gum.*

*Which, incidentally, I was going to use as the title of this post, but couldn't for obvious reasons.

September 22, 2014

Family Circles and Traffic Patterns

We were in the (stomach flu) hotel for a week.

One week.

When we came home, our house, which - if you remember, looked like this we left:

had undergone a dramatic transformation in the hands of the insurance emergency team and our friendly neighbourhood electricians, and now looked like this:

Yeah. Ask me why we agreed to check out of the hotel - the hotel, remember, that had free breakfast, a pool, electricity, and drywall...even paint - again? To save the insurance company money, I think. I dunno. I was still in shock from all the barfing.

I'm sure you can imagine what life was like as a family of five in a house with one functioning living space that wasn't a bathroom and electricians and general construction folk in and out of the muddy April weather all day, every day. 

Days: spent at Mom and Dad's house

Nights: spent watching Community on Netflix and sleeping in the dining room.

Even after the lights came on and we got access to the rest of the house, that dining room is still functioning as the centre of our house, so - naturally - the children congregate in all of the narrowest spots and generally clog up all the thoroughfares. 

And, because it's so hard to imagine how three adorable cherubs could possibly be a nuisance in a situation like ours, I've drawn you a helpful diagram of the traffic patterns, in charming Family-Circle style, except with less charm, and even less skill:

I mostly just gibber in the corner

Hold the phone, I found an expertly shot and professional-quality video that perfectly demonstrates my point (if only I had one):



Also, yesterday's Facebook post was supposed to be me making fun of the fact that I was bragging about how awesome I am, and turned out to be just plain old bragging about how awesome I am. So, since I'm into bragging about how awesome I am, I forgot to mention that I stripped wallpaper in the dining room before I did all that other stuff. I've now filled my productivity quota until approximately March, and will feel free to nap on the couch and/or drink an entire bottle of wine every afternoon until then.

September 15, 2014

The Girl Who Read (not to be confused with the girl in the green scarf)

I used to bring home stacks of books from every conceivable section in the library, twelve high, and return them a week later to check out more. I honestly listed "reading" as my one and only hobby at least seven times. I used to joke that the book store I worked at paid me in books - one came home with me at least every other shift, not to mention the ones we were allowed to borrow for "product knowledge". I wrote down every book I read in a series of little black books, and from what I can tell, I've read more books than had conversations with real live people.

(I think it probably shows)

For a while, the reading petered out. I had other stuff to do, you know? An ever-increasing number of children who need food and water and attention and stuff, a job, then a business that involved the kind of reading you can't really lose yourself in on a rainy day with a really hot coffee, not to mention a husband who likes to talk and be responded to with interest and friends and family who inexplicably enjoy my company.

The logistics have posed a bit of a problem too: this house suffers from an acute lack of book shelves, so all my book friends have been packed up in boxes in the basement for four-and-a-half years, That time I wanted to re-read Jane Eyre to prove Leslie wrong turned into a Tomb Raider style treasure hunt, complete with complicated box shifting and the danger of imminent death by crushing.

Also: except in very rare circumstances, I don't buy books I haven't read and loved, and it's hard to browse the library shelves for something good to try when a) the library is very small with a distinct - though fading - preference for Danielle Steel and b) a very small person is either attached to your leg whining to play with the computers (!) or running up and down the aisles yelling (!!).

So it's been a wee quandary, but one that's been good for me. I'm a better human, Plus, there are a lot of words that I can spell and pronounce now, so there's that.*

Lately, though, The Girl Who Read is coming out of hibernation (assisted in equal parts by a subscription to Scribd and a reduction in the number of very small people in attendance at the library), and it turns out she's rather ravenous. I'm gorging myself on some of the dystopian YA that isn't news to anyone but me, I've finally started in on the Lois McMaster Bujold I've been told numerous times that I've been meaning to get around to. There's a lot of Simon Winchester queued up, some cooking memoirs, and a bunch of C.S. Lewis, Vonnegut, and Dickens books I've never managed to get my hands on.

It's nice to be back.

*I should probably tell you the "indict" story sometime. It's good.