Friday, December 30, 2011

My favourite faces

Having this week off between X and NY is a true gift. My employer, Jobsite I, gave us the whole week off, paid. Paid. PAID! Whenever I dream about going back to freelance, I try to remind myself of having paid time off, give my head a shake, and then go get some prescriptions filled and make a dentist appointment.

My favourite thing about the week is the precious time that my lil family and I get to just hang with each other. Charlie and M3I are playing Gnip-Gnop behind me on the floor. Next up, marbles. It also gives me time to just look, nay gaze, at their beautiful, handsome faces.

No, I'm not drunk. Unless you mean on love <3

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year's Revolutions

Okay. Life's good. Work's good. Family's good. The decluttering of 2011 has gone great, with lots of good stuff to come. In many ways, I feel like I'm On The Right Track. But it's so much fun to progress and grow, right? Here's what I want to do or improve in 2012.

#1. Get rid of my back pain by strengthening the hell out of my abdominal muscles. With physio and massage, I'm on the right track. For example, I can roll over in bed again. Pretty good for a 48-year-old, eh? Got to beat this. Because if I've had to go to freaking physio just to be able to roll over in bed at this age, I've got a ways to go. 2012 is the year of the abs.

#2. Continue the decluttering. Done in 2011: Charlie's closet (which was full of my office stuff), my bedroom closet, my clothes, the china, books, excess craft material, and so many, many magazines. All cleaned up. To do in 2012: cull photos, declutter under the bed, get office stuff (which is organized) into filing cabinet drawer.

#3. What was it again? I was just going to google ab exercises, and, M3I just gave me a bite of turkey, and what was it. Oh yeah. Focus on focus. I think I'm a pretty good editor and copywriter, but all my working life (which includes school), I've struggled with maintaining my focus. It's like running. If I can make myself work solidly for about 10 or 15 minutes, I'm in the groove, I'm engaged and productive. But the internet, that wonderfully diabolical distractinator, is becoming a problem for me.

#4. Start a blog about menopause.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A tonic for a writer

The tonic? Occasional solitude.

I'm working from home today, as I'm on Charlie drop-off and pick-up duty, which also means I'm not in the office until the new year and I have to say this is a major, major treat! While I loove my colleagues and podmates, I truly do, and feel very lucky, truth is throughout my life I've craved and needed time alone and I've had very little lately. The company's gotten so big over the past two years, and from time to time I just need a buffer from people.

A buffer, like for example a door, which unfortunately due to the collaborative nature of our work, ain't ever going to happen. So I use my headphones as a buffer. Most of the time I'm not even listening to music. But especially when I'm writing I need just a leetle bit of uninterupted time. Please. I beg you.

So my small bit of ettiquette advice to those out there, if you work with a copywriter and she's got her headphones on, come back later. Even 10 minutes later will help a lot. I promise you your work will get done a lot faster.

Happy Solstice! Let there be light, indeed!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Simplify this sweet season

I love the Christmas season (usually when I'm about 75% done my shopping). I definitely romanticize it, but I just the whole mood and atmosphere. Of course, the only way I can get to this point is by letting certain things just not get done. For example, Christmas cards.

As much as I love them, with work being so busy for both me and M3I, and with a 2-hour commute (including to and fro), I realize with the wisdom that comes with being outside the target demographic, that I can't do it all. I can't accept every invitation - even for stuff I really want to go to - the fact is, I'd rather spend as much time as possible at home with Charlie and M3I, wrapping presents, having hot chocolate, being silly, maybe listening to Johnny Mathis, and then turning off all the lights but the ones on the tree.

Other simplification strategies: I'm cancelling 99% of my email newsletters. Since I write them, I like to subscribe to them to see what other people and companies are doing. But my inbox runneth over, so I'm unsubscribing and opting out.

Also, between my brothers, we just buy gifts for the kids (and the grandparents).

Even an inkling of feeling overwhelmed sucks the joy out of what really can be a lovely, special time of year. I think that's a good indicator: the beginnings of feeling overwhelmed. A good sign to take measures to get control of a situation.

That's all. I'm just feeling happy. I better get back to work so I can leave on time to night and zip into Oink Oink and get a cute tea set for my adorable 3-year-old niece.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Remembering Bruce MacDonald

Bruce died just over a year ago, and he's in my thoughts tonight. As my friend Lynne writes, there's lots of focus on bullying these days. Also, I happened to watch the wretched Rick Perry's unbelievable ad today, bizarrely called "Strong" (I ain't linking to it, especially in a post about Bruce).

I'm going to re-post what I did last year. Here 'tis:

A good man is gone - we as a society need to do better

We're all trying to figure out why Bruce chose to end his life. But I don't know what he, personally, was going through. All I know is that it had to be pretty bad.
I found out some of his thoughts when I spent several hours later that night reading his blog, Canuck Attitude [update: which, unfortunately, was taken down soon after his death]. This post, in particular, was so full of pain, sadness, rage and disappointment it made me weep for him and every person who's gone through anything like what he describes.

Here's just a bit:
There was a time when I couldn't see myself living beyond sixteen because I couldn't believe that a life so full of hurt, actually it wasn't just the hurt, it was the hatred that was directed toward me that made me feel that maybe being born wasn't such a great thing after all.

Imagine that, eh. You're you. And you're making your way through your childhood and youth, learning that a significant proportion of the world hates you. You've done nothing to deserve it. Nothing!

He also said,
As much as I'm impressed and heartened by Dan Savage's It Gets Better Project and the incredible response it has generated, I can't shake the feeling that all we are doing is patting kids on the head and sending them back to the dungeons while telling them to be patient. I'm sorry, but that's still a kind of tacit approval of bullying.

No Surrender
No Surrender
Bruce designed this flag, put it on his blog, and encouraged people to copy it. In his words, "This flag has no meaning beyond declaring self-purpose about one’s individuality. It’s a testament to the fact that no matter what, we all have to get up every morning and live in and share this place no matter who we are."

How cool is this?

YOU can light up a wee light on the tree at Union Station by sharing.

Watch live streaming video from canadiantire at

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

More letting go of things - they're just things, right?

2011 has been the year of decluttering. Still a ways to go, but holy smokes, what progress.

Every couple of weeks this year, I've been able to take 2 or 3 or 4 boxes of stuff to Goodwill or Salvation Army. It feels great!

The latest: I've culled a bunch of old photos. In the theme of keeping my favourites, I'm dumping the extraneous, or else the number I have will continue to take up valuable space. Space I want to be empty.

I also finished cleaning out my bedroom closet. I've got roughly 1/3 the number of pairs of shoes I had. The shelves above the rack have my sweaters and cycling clothes, neatly stacked and organized.

And here's the bit I'm most proud of: all the clothes in my closet are items that
a) fit
b) I like

That's basically the first time in my life it's ever been that way. Sure makes getting ready in the morning easier and more positive.

Almost all of my jewellery is out, where I can see it, so now I wear it. Necklaces are hanging on hooks along the wall above my dresser, or on an iron candelabra my brother made me years ago.

Scarves and belts are on the back of the door.

Got rid of my crappy old socks and I actually have enough bras - quite a few, actually, in different colours. ALL Liz Claiborne.

And last weekend, I dropped off some BIG stuff, emotionally:
My bubbie's dress - the one she wore to my parents' wedding. I kept it for awhile. Tried it on a couple of times - we sure were different shapes! Then I decided to give it to a consignment store - because it's quite in style again - it's beautifully made, a lovely turquoise, and was made in 1961.

But as a few months passed, and I didn't go to the hip consignment stores again and again, I decided last week to send it to my two favourite stores mentioned above. I have found so many great treasures at those stores, like my long tweed Brooks Brothers coat, and I just started picturing someone coming across this dress and getting it for a steal, and it made me happy.

And don't tell me the staff grabs stuff for themselves. Truth is I don't care whether it's just a rumour or whether it's true. Plus I've found enough treasures to know that tons of great stuff gets onto the racks - which is why I love those locations and why others do too! (My Goodwill was in the Scott Pilgrim movie, oh yes it was - which means I'm much hipper than I even realize.)

I also dropped off my old, though pristine, high school ski team jacket. It's rather cool and kinda gorgeous, but I look like a dork in it. No way a 48-year-old woman should be wearing stuff that's not just reminiscent of her high school days, but actually has the school name on it and the big Broncos logo on it. Also in that bunch of stuff, a velvet teal 1950s dress that belonged to my mom and will make some quirky young 20something very happy (it seriously doesn't fit me - mom's shorter in the body than me), and the dress my mom wore to my brother's first wedding.

I just have to keep reminding myself it's a process.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Folks, if you're "for" this hateful "Go back to where you came from" post & email that's been going around like a bad smell, give your freaking head a shake.

How come? Well, lotsa reasons. The least significant reason is that the Australian Prime Minister didn't actually say it, so it's a made-up quote, pandering to xenophobes and trying to convince people that being an asshole is patriotic. Check it out on if you feel like it. There's lots of hateful stuff on there, created by people who want to legitimize their xenophobia and racism.

More imporantly, you should give your head a shake because the whole thing is simply about hate. If you're all about hate, then I'd like you to go back to where you came from, which is under a big wormy rock. But if you're not, read this bit again and give your head another shake, because if you've ever sent this thing to anybody or posted it on facebook, you're an idiot.

'This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, 'THE RIGHT TO LEAVE'.'  

'If you aren't happy here then LEAVE. We didn't force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted.'  

Nice, eh?

Now look around you. Maybe even look at your list of facebook friends. Look at your co-workers. Look at your clients and customers. Look at some of your family members. I think you might owe a few of them an apology.

Never mind that Australia, like many countries in the developed world (Hello Canada!) wasn't actually founded by your fellow whities. It was really "founded" by the folks who lived there first - ya know, the first peoples. In fact, Australian Aboriginal culture goes backat least 50,000 years.Then the so-called Christians came along and screwed them over big time 200 years ago. 50,000 years versus 200 years. And guess who wants the newcomers to leave. Yep, the so-called Christians. Yeah, Jesus woulda liked that, eh? Not bloody much.

My friend Lynne has weighed in on this too - in X is for Xenophobe. One of the many reasons I love her.

Hatred's a big commodity out there these days. It's fun, cool, and profitable to court the powerful, and to pander to the majority. Give some thought to your actions and beliefs. This "go back to where you came from" bullshit panders to the powerful, the incurious and those too lazy to get to know anybody who's not exactly like them. It's got nothing to do with who "founded" this country.

Just ask the folks in Attawapiskat. They were here first. The big white (so-called) Christian majority isn't embracing their now-fucked-over culture, are they.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Effective, chilling, or just way too creepy?

Check out the Heart & Stroke Foundation's new campaign -- Make Death Wait -- this is the TV ad that "targets" women. Women who are usually outside the target demographic, eh. It's called "Death Loves Women".

It's chilling for sure. Literally, for me. I got goosebumples. However, I've also had to hide from someone before, and this is in trigger territory.

It's true that many women (& men! - check out the ad targetted to them) take care of everybody but themselves, and I like that they address this. And heart disease runs in my family, and I'm trying hard to make time to get some sort of cardio in every day.

So the ad does make me think about doing stuff for my heart health, because I truly do want to make death wait. There's apparently a print ad out there somewhere that says "Death Loves Menopause". I'll post it when I find it.

I found it! See below*.

But the stalker trigger thing seems a bit emotionally expensive. I wonder how it would play with a female voice.


*Thanks to Sextherapistintraining for posting this (& I appreciate your option of it!) - I'd heard about it, but could not find it elsewhere. Here it is, "Death Loves Menopause".
My response: F**k you, Heart and Stroke Foundation. Or, rather, your oh-so-cutting-edge marketing company. We who live outside the target demographic have enough trouble being treated like we don't matter, or we're old hags, or we're the personification of ugly, but this makes it seem like we've got one foot in the crypt. Raising awareness about heart disease so we can do something about it is one thing, but just eff the fuck off with this. The thermostat. Jeezuz. Yep, hot flashes are always great for some yuks and lols at our expense. And what the hell is that rope for?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy campers camping: We got off our duffs and camped!

Thanks to Charlie, we did get out camping yesterday before breakfast and stayed out in the big, quiet November park for all three meals.

Cereal, fruit and coffee for breakfast. Chicken sandwiches, noodle soup for lunch, and hot apple cider. After we hiked around and climbed the big hill in the afternoon, we had hot chocolate, and played Scrabble in the tent.

Then as it began to get dark, we heated up bean and lentil stew with rice. Since we ran around all day, we were hungry.

We got home after dark, happy, tired, a little wind burned. And smiling a lot. Made me want to spend lots of time outside all the time. I do get enthused like that. I camp for one day, I want to do it every weekend! Whether I do or not is another matter, being human and all.

It's just so darn good to get off our duffs and out into the world. It was fun even just to see all our camping stuff again. We barely even sat down all day, ya know? And that bean and lentil stew was incredible.

The tent. Fun to put up in the light. Count your pegs if you're going to take it down in the dark.
It was a gray day, damp, but not too chilly or windy. Nice. We walked for awhile along the trail.

This log graveyard just begged to be in black and white.

A field of burrs along the Rouge River (more like a creek, imho).

A chat beside a yurt.

A tree, confused by all the warm weather, blossoms.

I can't resist taking pics of berries...
... and branches...
... and branches.


Friday, November 25, 2011

We be campers

For months and months, Charlie has been planning a camping trip. And we just haven't done it. Busy, adult excuses, we don't have time, blah-blah-blah. He's decided it's got to happen. And we've decided it's not very nice to keep saying we're going to do it and then not doing it.

So tomorrow, we're going camping! We're heading out super early (for a Saturday morning, that is), heading out to a great big conservation area, hiking in, pitching the tent, cooking breakfast, lunch & dinner(!) on our camping stove, and then just before actual bedtime, we'll come home. (Can't actually stay overnight in that park this time of year, and we don't actually have winter gear.)

The camping gear is all over the living room, the menu set, shopping's been done, and we're just negotiating with Charlie to be allowed to sleep in til at least 7:30.

Should be fun! Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Do you have an assistant? 8 simple tips to make her work better, starting with give your head a shake

I took the subway today with a couple of neighbours, and along the way we ran into a friend of one of them. She's a legal secretary and her boss is a psycho jerk asshole. She hasn't taken any vacation days this year. And he insists that he can't do without her for even a day. In the past two years, she's only taken 3 sick days. She's in her mid-50s (outside the target demographic, natch), she's worked for a lot of different lawyers over many decades, and this guy is the worst. She does not need this shit. I'm telling you, she's in such a bad way she can barely talk about it.

Also, did you know that most law firms don't provide short-term disability? One of this woman's colleagues had cancer last year. She used all her vacation time for her treatment. The rest was unpaid. Nice!

So for the folks out there who are fortunate enough to have an assistant (not just lawyers, eh), please answer the following questions (do it yourself):

1. Have you given your head a shake lately? Which means, have you given any thought to what it must be like to be your assistant? Put yourself in that person's shoes for a minute. No, not literally. Come on, you can do this. Examine how you speak to her (or him), just for starters.

2. Does your assistant have any remaining vacation days left this year? What's that? A lot? If she's (or he's) got any left, encourage her (or him) to take them, give her time to arrange a holiday, and call in a temp so there isn't a mountain of your shite to clean up when she comes back.

3. Do you realize that your assistant's work day is all about you? What would that be like for you if it were the other way around. Use your imagination. What was the last thing you asked her to do. Now imagine it was your job to do that for her (or him).

4. Is your assistant having trouble keeping up with the work load? Find out why, with a mind to coming up with a way to help. The best way to do this ask your assistant what the best way would be. I bet you $1,000,000 (seriously, I have it) that your assistant will say, "can you bring in some effing help already, you stupid, willfully blind git?" Maybe not in so many words. But bring in another person.

5. Do you look over your assistant's shoulder much? Stop it. You're in the way, you're obstructing the work you want done, and she's fantasizing about killing you right about now.

6. How often do you remind your assistant about a task she does routinely? More than once? Stop it. You're in the way, you're obstructing the work you want done, and she's fantasizing about killing you right about now.

7. How much does your assistant make, salary-wise? How much did you get for your bonus last year? If it's more than what your assistant makes, then grab the nearest newspaper, and smack yourself across the face a few times, then call in your assistant and give her a 20% raise, retroactive to the date that she was actually supposed to have her last salary review.

8. Last, but not least, remember this: you and your assistant are just two humans. You're not actually above her or him in any way other than the corporate structure. You both poo, you're both gonna die, and you both occasionally go "awww" at videos like this one of a blind kitten playing with toys for the first time. Do something nice for your assistant. In fact, just do something for your assistant, instead of it always being the other way around.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Charlie's Marvellously Efficient PB&J Recipe

Charlie invented a lunch recipe, called Sellgom's Piging Marmalade.

See official recipe below. (Note that Charlie wrote it with a real old-fashioned pen nib, dipping into a bottle of ink.)

Charlie and M3I have made it. See sample above. We are currently sampling it.

Hmm. Not bad, exactly.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Just a beautiful day in the not-so-smokey Big Smoke

We took a nice little trip today, right here in the city, to visit my cousin.

 We took the ferry to the Island.

 Hope the horn's not too loud!

 It's always neat to look back at the city.

 Helloooo Cousin!

 Let's walk along the boardwalk to...

 The Rectory Cafe!
 I had a bison burger. Can't show a picture of it because it's all eaten. Delicious!
 Off we go. In style!

 Beavers are damn busy.

 To the fire station to see if our friend Brad is working today.

Checking out the waves on the way back to Cousin's house. They're biggies.

Before we go inside to have some tea, let's look around.

 Why, hello, Bottom!

  Okay, let's go inside. It's getting chilly.

 Ah. That's better. Time for tea & cookies.

After Cousin gave us tea & cookies, we headed back to the mainland.

A not-too-smokey day in the Big Smoke!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Graham, I found your keys

I found a set of keys tonight on my bike ride home.They were in the middle of the intersection of King Street West and Peter. There's a tag that says "Graham".

Not sure what to do with them. One of the keys with a plastic holder (the car key) is broken - obviously a car rode over it.

I figured if Graham googled, "I lost my keys", maybe he'd find out I have them.

So, Graham, dude, if you can describe the tag, I'll send these to you.

What a drag to lose one's keys!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Books and bikes

Tomorrow night we're going to a Public Consultation Meeting at our local library. The wretched Mayor Ford & Co. want 10% of the library budget CUT. Yes, in this rich, cosmopolitan city of ours, they want to cut library service.

They also want to close 4 museums. Way to get those tourists to come, eh. Meanwhile, the mayor's dufus brother proposes a giant ferris wheel and a monorail. Presumably for free. Cuz we gotta cut spending, right?

Make no mistake. It's not about spending or gravy or money. It's about an ultra-conservative ideology that says they stand for smaller government while at the same time spending money hand over fist on bullshit decisions like removing bike lanes, cancelling transit construction and plans, listening to citizens less and less, and exerting more and more unilateral control over decisions that should be made through public consultation and listening to our municipal representatives.

The removal of bike lanes is particularly upsetting. It cost more money to remove them than it did to install them. So the Fords have made the city less safe, saving no money, revealing their lie about being all about cutting "gravy".

Happily, our ward has a wonderful councillor, who doesn't need to be convinced that the things that make our city great should be celebrated, championed - and funded.

Nature and art, the art of nature, and a mid-life crisis. Maybe.

It may be a mid-life crisis, but I think I had a wee bit of an epiphany over the weekend, early Saturday morning while the family was all asleep, and I looked out the window and watched the trees blowing in the wind (while I did my stretches for my back).

The particular tree that captivated me blew open my mind. As though I hadn't really looked at a tree before. Or, at least not in a long while.

I want more of that.

Don't get me wrong, I love the city. It's home. I love feeling connected. But I want some more of looking at the trees blowing in the wind. I've been craving a shake-up in my life - our lives. Longing for a bit of adventure. Longing for the smell of the woods and longing for a chance to look at the trees and feel the change in the seasons.

Not sure exactly what I'm going to do about this. But I do have an idea.

To be continued...

Friday, November 11, 2011


I'm trembling - TREMBLING! - with excitement because I managed to grab this, from here:

Happy Nerd New Year, everyone!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Finished with Constance, not in the mood for Janet

I need some reads!

I've finished up with my Constance Beresford-Howe-athon (read and loved A Serious Widow, Night Studies, The Book of Eve; gave up on Prospero's Daughter). I happened upon an ultra-large-print Janet Evanovich, and I'm just not feeling the love.

I may dip into an old Sue Grafton (just reread P is for Peril) to tide me over, but I need-need-need something I haven't read before.

Which means I'm open to suggestions. What have you read lately that you've loved and would like to recommend?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Two pains in the butt, a victorious friend and some schadenfreude

No, I most definitely should NOT be on the computer tonight! I've messed up my lower back in a big way, and the cause? Sitting at my too-high desk at work (it's also rather high at home too), sitting pitched too-far forward, my head leaning toward the computer screen, clinging with one foot on the bottom posty thing that leads to one of the wheels, on a too-big, over-praised Aeron chair.


I'm feeling happiness for a friend who has scored a really cool new job. She's been working for a toxic boss for some years now, but has handled herself with grace and class, putting all her energy into improving her qualifications by taking courses, learning from other people in her company and working damn hard.

The icing on the cake is a bit of schadenfreude, I'm guilty to say I'm experiencing, largely as a former toxic-boss-haver, and also because her boss is a total pain in the ass. He's a Blamer-and-a-Claimer*. The pleasure comes with this: Her toxic boss is away on holiday, and he ain't scheduled to return til after she's gone. And he's unreachable. He-he-ho-ho!

My friend basically holds his department together; she really does. And she's been underpaid and underappreciated and overdelegated to and told time and time again that she's "not ready" for advancement, when she's essentially running his department.

La-la-la, we're very likely gonna see him hafta do some actual work, oh yeah. I hope, anyway.

*Blamer-and-Claimer: something good happens, this type of individual takes credit, especially when it's not due to his efforts; something bad happens, he lays blame elsewhere, most likely to the person on his team who's not in the room.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The medium is the massage

I just had a kick-ass massage - holy smokes! The company occasionally brings in RMTs after very busy times. And this woman has just coaxed my left shoulder and "wing" back into its proper position. Amazing!

And, generally, I'm feeling a bit happier, my reduction in innocence notwithstanding.

I hear laughter around me, and kindness.

And the best thing to do when one is feeling the lack of kindness in the world? Add to it. Inflict some kindness around you.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

There's always good news to be found in small pleasures

Being a grown-up adult with decades of work experience, I've long known that even when things in the workplace are pretty great, there's always lots of unfairness going on. It's the way of the world. But I'm disillusioned today. Bloody hell.
Okay, on to happier stuff. I'm so crabby today about various things I can hardly stand myself.

The good news is that Charlie shares his Halloween candy. There's a bunch of stuff he doesn't like all that much, like Cheesies. He gave 'em to me. And, I'm uncomfortable to say, there's stuff he can't eat now because of his orthodontics.

So he had to give his last one of these to me.

Gawd, it was good.

Notice to men who hit

If you're a fellow who has ever smacked, shoved, hit, belted, punched, or otherwise assaulted your wife or girlfriend, or partner, or mom, or sister, or daughter, be assured that whatever you did to her:

- She did NOT have it coming.
- She did NOT deserve it.
- Flowers or jewellery or apologies do NOT make up for it.
- You need to get yourself some HELP, and fast.
- If she leaves you or tries to get away from you, it's YOUR FAULT. Not hers.

No buts; nobody wants to hear your bullshit. Get yourself to therapy and deal with your issues. Because you're NOT in the right. You're totally, 100% in the WRONG.

How would you feel if you were afraid to go home?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Brace yourself

The lad got braces today. Not the full train track experience, but an appliance that's cemented in on both sides of the top of his wee little mouth. And that's the issue, his wee little mouth with not enough room for all those incoming teeth. Same as his mother.

His mouth is aching, he's speaking a bit funny, and I can tell it hurts because he's being touchy about things that wouldn't normally phase him.

It may be silly, but I feel like crying. He's just 7 for Pete's sake. I had various achy appliances over nine years and so I know it's rotten. I hope for him it's worth it. We're putting a lot of faith -- and a lot of freaking money -- in the orthodontist.

That's all I got. Had a rotten day at work. Happy to be home with my dear, sweet Charlie and my beloved, strong, supportive M3I.

Monday, October 31, 2011

My sweet little love

has become a monster ... AAAAAHHHHH!

And this is just a shot of a neighbour's spooky light; I like this a lot.

Friday, October 21, 2011

What employees want - attention VPs

Attention VPs and Senior Managers.

Now that I've been in the working world for 30-odd years (part-time jobs in high school count), I have some advice for those folks who've "managed up" so successfully they've succumbed to the Peter Principle. Fortunately for me, I do know one manager who does not need to read this. But I sure have worked for plenty who sure do.

This is what employees want:

1. respect - you're not better than your employees; do not forget this

2. fair pay - which means, Joe, who's doing the same job as me, is making about the same; not a lot more, not a lot less

3. regular feedback on how we're doing - positive and constructive

4. regular salary increases - if we're doing a good job and if the company can afford it - if you get an increase, then the company can afford it.

5. a safe, comfortable work environment

6. loyalty in return for loyalty

7. trust - I can do my job without your looking over my shoulder

This is what we don't want:

1. insincerity - mantras and mission statements about transparency amid lots of secrecy

2. bullshit assumptions - don't assume you don't need to ask my opinion; don't assume I'm not busy; don't assume I give a crap about career path; don't assume I can take on all of the duties of an employee who was fired by you; don't assume you're smarter than I am because I report to you; don't assume your obsequious toady is telling you the truth about me

3. any illusions on your part that we are working for you for any reason other than for the money

4. any indication that you are forgetting #3

5. expectations of loyalty if you seem to be forgetting #3

All this being said, I'm very happy at work these days. I got a raise this week, and I'm damn pleased. I'm working with a whole bunch of smart, nice, hardworking, fair, decent people, doing work that's interesting. I love MY boss. Plus I sit near a window. And the coffee's great.

Of course, if I win the lottery, I'm outa there.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Which do you like better, knitting or crocheting?

I bought* a hand-made scarf with lots of dropped stitches at the Sally Ann yesterday because I liked the wool- it that yarn that changes colours, which I don't always love, but this has gorgeous autumn colours, and I just liked it.

But I can't figure out what to undo to rip it out. I'm undoing it really slowly, but it's like taking out sewing. I'm not a knitter, but I sure know people who are. Can you help?

But my big question to you:

Which do you like better (and why)? Knitting or crocheting? 

So far, personally, I like crocheting. It feels like you can just crochet your way across or around anything. My grandmother taught me to crochet, and that's what she always did, crocheting me several ponchos when I was a little girl. She herself learned to crochet using a button hook, which women and girls used to do up the buttons on their boots. My mom also crochets - beautiful gorgeous colourful blankets - tho she did teach me to knit at one point. I knit a scarf for my Barbie and that was it for knitting. The stress of not dropping a stich was too much for me at that point, I guess.

Meanwhile, here's my own crazy blanket, using Mom's scraps. (I went out yesterday and bought yard from a real yarn store yesterday. My first time at a real yarn store. Holy smokes$$$!)

*Note (& reason I love thrift shopping so much): The scarf was essentially free. In addition to shopping, we also dropped stuff off, which meant they immediately gave us a $5-off coupon if you spend $25. We were just short of the $25, so I grabbed the scarf. Our bill came to just $20 and change for a skirt, a Charlie Brown video, some navy blue sweat pants (cuz I'm going to start stretching in the morning, oh yes I am), a gum-ball machine, and a pair of funky Aldo shoes that Charlie picked out for me - and that fit!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

'I just wish the Wall Street protesters would articulate what it's all about'

... and other dumbass statements.

Okay, here's just a couple of pretty articulations for starters from the States ( 

For conservative politicians who blab nostalgically about the good ol' days when  citizens were largely God-fearing, flag waving, and jeewillikers you didn't have to lock your door at night, those were also the days of a very narrow income gap; hence the big middle class. When the wealth of folks is more evenly distributed, you have less desperation. And therefore less reason to lock your doors against those pesky, sometimes protesting, have-nots. 

And lest we in Canada feel tempted to sneer smugly at the U.S., Stats Canada has put out some info gleaned from the (last full) 2006 Census revealing an increase in income inequality.3 Based on the median earnings of full-time, full-year earners between 1980 and 2005, the data show:
  • earnings increased by 16.4% for those in the top income group
  • earnings stagnated for those in the middle income group
  • earnings fell by 20.6% for those in the bottom group 
It's bloody unfair. As the bottom group falls and falls, the top group (WAH-WAH-WAH!) doesn't want to pay their freaking income taxes. 
The richest countries in the world, we are, and we're letting our people and our economies (so many poor people mean lots of people NOT going shopping, and lots of people getting sick cuz they can't afford preventative care) go down the toilet because we don't want to pay our fair share for our paved roads and warm hospitals. 

So much for the bottom group. So much for their future and that of their children. Almost makes you want to protest.

(image from

Friday, October 14, 2011

Monday night's the banjo

I've got this tune in my head. Had it yesterday too. Am I the only one who remembers it from Grade 1 & 2?

Note that you have to be skipping rope with your friends on the playground at recess when you sing it.

Monday night's the banjo
Playing on the alleyo
I've got the rodeo
And I've got C.

C stands for Charlie
Funny funny Charlie
All the girls for Charlie
Kiss him good night

Good night, Sleep Tight.

Speaking of Charlie, they've recently learned hopscotch and foursquare in gym at school. Hurrah! This weekend, we'll be getting out the sidewalk chalk again for sure.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

No two days alike. Thank goodness.

Funny how different I can feel about work from one day to the next. The past 6 weeks or so have been madness here at Jobsite I, and I've been writing copy like a demon (and, being officially off duty while writing here, will not be held responsible for grammar errors), even in my sleep, to the point where I feel like a sausage maker, just cranking it out.

And two days ago we had such a rotten meeting during which a VP crapped all over everything I and my colleagues had been creating for the past week. Of course, as these things often go, VP took the easy route as naysayer. And had no ideas to bring to the table, nor did he have any interest in actually building on what we'd created (which DID follow exactly what we'd been asked to do in the first place).

That evening at home, all I could think about what how I ain't getting paid enough to be shat upon by intellectually lazy naysayers collecting big paycheques, and I gotta get another job! Looking at job ads after a bad day is a great idea - it reminds you that there's a big ol' world out there. Possibly full of companies with annoying VPs, of course, but I don't let that take away my dreams.

The good news is yesterday was way better, people much more positive, including said VP, and we chugged out some really cool stuff. Walking home in the rain, all I could think was that I work with such great, kind, talented, hardworking people.

I still want more money, though.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fashion LOL redux

I know it's easy to poke fun at fashion - but let's!

Take the spring 2012 Marni collection (photos from

Fabrics, textures, colours and patterns - some lovely, some a bit whimsical and at the very least v. original. The shapes are a bit funny. Those slips or knickers, not sure. I love organza, and I love slips, and slips showing, so perhaps the beige might look nicer in real life.

But, sorry, these socks totally made my day - and my list of Fashion LOLz! (photo from Sometimes a fashion crime should remain a fashion crime and attempts to make them otherwise by putting them on the runway should be resisted.

Fashion LOLz!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day by day

Sheesh, I'm doing one hell of a lot of writing at work these days, and have little left for my little venue here. Plus, briefing meetings for new projects. It's all good stuff, actually, but with such short timelines some projects are over before I can enjoy them. The other good part is that most of the stuff I'm working on is with the teams I like, which means I'm getting to work with my favourite people, most of whom are smart, nice, organized, and prepared. Really! It's possible! If I'd have known three years ago that I'd be feeling this way about work, I'd have been a happier woman. And now I am one.

It's interesting work too. But man, my eyeballs are tired and dry, and my left hip and right shoulder are both inching along in the same cramped direction. Soon I'll be climbing the belfry to gong the bells.

On the way out the door this morning, I realized I needed a book for the subway, and grabbed A Serious Widow, by Constance Beresford-Howe. GAWD, I love her.

I'd like to include some quotes from this marvellous book, but it's after 11, and I'm going to squeeze out a bit more reading time from this not-to-terrible, albeit tiring, day.

Friday, September 16, 2011

One image at the 9-11 memorial

Of all the coverage of the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, this image, which I just came across, is the one that has broken the emotional dam for me. So much pain in that man, in his hand, covering his son's name. It's all he has of him, this space on the memorial, and it's taken a full decade for him to receive it.

My own dear, beloved, lively in living colour boy just helped me find my glasses so I could see this marvelous moonrise.

Now, off the computer I go, to have dessert with my son.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Channeling Little Richard

Thx for the idea, Lynne. This is exactly how I feel in these golden brogues. Like running and dancing for joy!

You ain't lyin' baby.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I am a very silly woman

I promise you that you will believe me when I show you what I just bought, and explain that I have been coveting these since the very moment I saw them, which was this spring, and it proves that I've been totally seduced by consumerism wherein an image or marketing campaign can create a need in you that you never knew you had, and that you in fact do not need.

But lo! Yonder shoes, which, upon my ridiculous soul, I am thrilled to have on my feet.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fashion LOL

Among the magazines I picked up from the library was a summer issue of Elle. A really great, mag, by the way, with lots of fab stuff to read and great photos and fashion, including some wonderful androgynous stuff, shot by James Franco (yep, he's a fashion photographer too).

But this takes the cake. Cute, right? I like the vest (I'm trying to figure out how to wear my velvet vest at the moment). But that skirt. That LOL skirt!

 Let's just say it looks kinda familiar. I think I need a closer look at it.

Hmm. Lemme just go into my bedroom and get something. Ah, there we go.

It's the blanket my mom crocheted for me in 1981.

Now Let's check out the deets on that skirt. Maybe her Granny made it  for her.

What's this then, Christopher Kane by etc., ... OMG!
LOL! LOL! Double LOL!