Monday, December 29, 2008

What the world needs now

Because my mother in law remains in the hospital, though much improved, thanks, in no small part I believe, to all your heartfelt good wishes and prayers...

Because I just learned that my dear cousin's 34-year-old sister-in-law unexpectedly died in her sleep at her parents' home on Christmas morning...

Because Christmas, for all the joy it brings (and it DOES bring joy), is hard and tiring work...

Because of all the things that prevent us from enjoying Christmas like we did when we were children, isn't it true that we could ALL use just a little bit more cute in our lives?

Of course it is.

You're welcome.

Now go pour yourself a big ole rum and egg nog as a thank you to YOU for once again making holiday magic happen for the ones you love. I'll be back soon with a real post - promise!

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Friday, December 26, 2008

A holiday request

Rob and his brother left our Christmas dinner celebrations last night and headed directly to the hospital emergency room with their mother.

She has been losing weight off her already tiny frame for a month now, ever since the worm turned and food suddenly went from cherished friend to cruel enemy, bent on extracting painful revenge on her stomach and bowels. Tests and doctor visits have only lead one to another, prolonging an excruciating waiting game,

Perhaps it was the contrast between her emaciated frame and the robustness of the season that made us all say "enough": perhaps it was the way she lay curled up in pain for hours on the couch after attempting to partake of the abundance we all abused.


I awoke this morning after little sleep to find that our Christmas tree had unexpectedly crashed to the floor, leaving a tsunami of shattered glass and wayward needles in its wake.

I barked at Graham to stay back. My robe gaped in a most undignified manner as I grunted and heaved and ultimately failed to upright it. I collapsed in a frustrated heap on the couch, weighing waking my husband from sleep visited him scant hours ago against heading to my parents house and leaving the tree laying there as what? A forlorn symbol of something of which we dare not speak?

"Don't worry mommy. Don't be so homesick mommy. I'm here to help."


My wonderful mother in law has been admitted to the hospital and is receiving nutrients intravenously: she is in excellent hands and we are optimistic doctors will help her return to her energetic and vibrant self. I humbly request that you add her to your prayers this holiday season or simply send love and positive thoughts in her general direction.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

From my house to yours...

Merry Christmas and the best of the season to each and every one of you!

(So my hat's not as Christmasy as last year's:

doesn't mean I'm not feeling it.)

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Guess who's coming for lunch?

Yes, the picture is blown out.

But Santa is a very busy guy. And when he just all of a sudden shows up on your doorstep to say a quick hello you don't ask him to wait while you fiddle with the settings on your camera.

You just point and shoot.

And hope that maybe, just maybe, you will have captured for prosterity a tiny fraction of the excitement in the air and the wonder in your child's eyes.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

My oral obsession

I never used to give my teeth a second thought.

Oh sure, I've always been aware that they could be straighter, whiter...bigger even. (Yes, in a bizarre twist of fate, despite being a notorious big mouth, the actual physical size of my mouth is rather small.)

But back to my teeth.

I've been a little obsessed with my teeth ever since my last trip to the dentist. While pointing out the worst areas where tarter collects, she casually stated as fact something that has been haunting me day and night ever since.

I have a receding gum line.

It's true. But never fear DMD has a plan! Click on over to my Shooting For Hip column at Better Than A Playdate to read all about it...

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Bringing a taste of Walt Disney World home

(posted by LeeAnne)

Navigating Walt Disney World is complicated.

Do you hit Toy Story first or Rocking Roller Coaster? Test Track or Soaring? Expedition Everest or the Safari? We recently returned from a family reunion of sorts where 25 people (!) ranging in ages from eight months to 69 years old rendezvoused at Walt Disney World.

Talk about complicated! Thankfully, the one place almost everyone was happy was dinner.

Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge was one of our favourites. Boma is a buffet, but you won’t find any steam tables with languishing, dried-out food here. Everything is cooked fresh in small batches so it’s as if you ordered everything on the menu- the hard part is choosing where to dig in.

With it diverse food offerings and great setting, surrounded by a savanna with roaming giraffes, Boma should not be missed. It is African-themed, but the culinary delights are internationally influenced. Go if you like high quality food in a great atmosphere.

I loved the watermelon rind salad and the Mulligatawny soup. The soup was so wonderful that I asked the chef for the recipe.

And guess what? He gave it to me! If you can’t jet off to Disney, have a little taste of Boma at home.

(Can you believe that LeeAnne? She went all the way to Walk Disney World just so she could bring home a recipe for you! Check it out over at Don Mills Diva Recipes and Reviews. )

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

His Gingerbread Man period

Graham and I were sitting alone at the craft table at the play group the Saturday before last.

All the other kids were enjoying circle time together, but having given up trying to get my little non-conformist to join in, I had turned my attention to the paper gingerbread man he was working on.

The table was littered with examples other children had created. Two eyes positioned roughly where one would expect to find them, circles for noses, moon-shaped cut-outs for smiley faces and woolly hair glued - yup! - right on top of the head.

But, despite my enthusiastic exhortations, Graham had his own ideas about how his man (woman?) should look.


At first I felt just a little down, resigned if you will, to the increasingly obvious fact that Graham is destined to spend his life swimming against the tide.

But then, the more I looked at his creation, the more it reminded me of something.

There was a certain style, a certain flair that was oddly familiar.

Hmmm, let's see, where had I seen something like it before?

Oh wait - I know!

Yeah...I think my boy's gonna be just fine.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

How I learned to stop worrying and start loving McDonald's

Last winter Ronald and I had a huge falling out - HUGE.

As a result I wrote a nasty letter that I still consider one of my finest literary endeavors. And then he said sorry. And we made up. And it was all for the greater good.

But I was still wary, you know? He just wasn't someone I wanted to get to know intimately or hang out with on a regular basis.

Until now.

Until I discovered that a new fast food restaurant located just blocks from my home has a two storey, state-of-the-art playground and climbing gym. And that Graham will happily play there (with other kids!) for hours leaving me to watch him whilst contentedly settled into a cushy seat with my newspaper.

How did I not realize this before?

It was only last week when, despairing of another cold and snowy evening trying to pry Graham away from the television, I ventured there for the first time. When he first stepped into the play area he was nervous, but within minutes was screeching like a banshee and running around like mad trying to keep up with the other kids. Graham barely noticed when I retreated to my newspaper and later he chattered all the way home about his "little buddies."

And so when this past Saturday dawned cold and wet and Rob was sleeping off a night shoot, it only took a few choruses of "But mommy please, all the children are waiting for me!" (for real!) before I relented and made a return trip.

This time he dashed in the door and very nearly into the arms of a girl just a little older than him who hugged him and exclaimed "Oh look! A new friend for me!"

And once again I settled with my paper onto a stool, this time beside a stocky, friendly-faced man with a thick Hungarian accent who I soon learned was the father of Graham's new girlfriend.

"Thank God for McDonald's, eh? We have no other child at home. Where else can she meet kids and run around and play like this on a Saturday in the winter?"

I couldn't think of anywhere else.

So I sipped my coffee and nodded in agreement. And before long we got to chatting he and I, about raising kids, about our own childhoods, about parenting here as opposed to in Europe and about our similar fears for our only children and how important we felt it was for them to socialize with others.

And we sat like this for over two hours talking and watching our children and laughing when they alternately popped out for quick bites to eat and hugs and breathless recaps of the games they were playing.

Sure I felt like a hypocrite, or worse, a cliche, relinquishing my cool, to say nothing of my cherished objections to mass marketed cheeseburgers and play areas, for a chance to read my paper and drink my coffee in peace. Apparently I am just like all the moms who came before me, to whom I used to secretly or perhaps not-so-secretly assume myself vastly superior.

But I don't care.

I'll probably take Graham back again this weekend: he loves it there and, God help me, I kinda do too.

I can't explain exactly why, but I feel inexplicably that last Saturday was exactly what this overextended, harried, career woman needed: to sit for hours in a fast food restaurant, sip coffee and chat with an amicable stranger with whom I have nothing and yet everything in common.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Look at my beaver!

Well lookie here!

Yup - I am proud to announce that Don Mills Diva was awarded the silver for Best Family Blog in the Canadian Blog Awards.

A heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you who voted for me: a lot of the time I can scarcely believe anyone actually reads this site, so an award like this is truly an honour.

A special thanks to my friend Peter over at Peasant Arts who wrote this hilarious post urging people to vote for me: it cracked me up! Not only is he a talented sculptor (look for him at Canada Blooms in March 2009) he is a comic genius.

And also, as long as we're handing out thank yous, here's one from my dear friend Sheona McDonald. She's the producer and director of Capturing A Short Life, the wonderful film on infant loss, that I wrote about last week. Sheona writes:

"Thank you Kelly, for posting about this for me and for everyone's thoughts and comments. The show had a really high viewership (which was really surprising and encouraging) and really positive feedback.I would love to get it shown in the States beyond festivals and conferences, but haven't yet been able to get any broadcasters to bite. When I have time I will start to hit up the local PBS networks.It's not available on the net because it goes against the broadcast license.

Also, as a result of the numbers and feedback it will likely broadcast again sooner than later, Feb or Mar...if you want to encourage this re-broadcast, you can email CBC directly (they are reading and responding) or post on the CBC discussion board at "

Cheers! And thanks again everyone!

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Friday, December 12, 2008

My Vanity Fair cover?

Over the past year or so you have read many of my ruminations on what the future holds for my darling boy.

At different times he has displayed traits that had me imagining his future as a structural engineer, a celebrated artist and even, in my lower moments, a bathroom attendant.


Yeah, well, forget all that. Because this unretouched photograph?

Graham took it.

That's right. My son, the barely-three-year-old-but-nonetheless-soon-to be-world-famous photographer, took it.

For serious.

Move over Annie Leibovitz: there's a new shooter in town.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

And the Gargoyles go to...

The winners of Andrew Davidson's The Gargoyle are up over at Don Mills Diva Recipes and Reviews...

Check it out!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Angel Time

It is a lovely song, far more affecting and restrained than you would expect to find on a children's Christmas compilation from Walt Disney records.

The CD liner is long gone, so I know only that the song is called Angel Time and it's a rather stirring ballad sung by a woman with a strong, lilting voice.

And for whatever reason this song has found its way into my son's tender heart and moved him more than he can understand or fully express.

The first time Graham heard it, I noticed him perk up and listen intently.

"Is that you singing mommy?"

God bless his indiscriminate little soul: he's not yet aware of my vocal, ahem, limitations.

"No sweetie, it's not mommy, it's another lady singing."

He nodded, satisfied. "It must be the other mommy then."

The next time the song came on Graham immediately rushed to me. "I want a huggy while I listen to the other mommy," he said, while climbing into my arms.

But it's what Graham did next that floored me.

He started to sob.

Graham wept throughout the entire song. Tears ran down his face as he clung to me, raising his face just a few times to kiss my cheek, before he buried it again in my shoulder.

And after the song ended, he sniffled and composed himself.

"I want to listen to the other mommy again, please mommy."

And I hesitated because I felt confused about whether I should be complicit in something that made my son cry. It seemed strange and upsetting the notion that a mother should orchestrate a scenario that would drive a child into her arms seeking comfort.

But he begged to hear the other mommy sing Angel Time again. And I finally relented and played it, twice more, at his strong insistence.

And each time, as soon as the first notes sounded, he settled into my arms, started to sway to the melody and sobbed as if his little heart would break.

After the third time, I declined to play the song again, so drained was I by his reaction.

"Does that song make you feel sad Graham?" I asked gently.

He just shrugged.

"Does it kind of make you feel sad and happy at the same time?"

He nodded.

And then I got it.

I suddenly understood because I too have been moved by music on countless occasions throughout my life: I cannot get through the Dixie Chicks' version of Landslide without crying and Jack Johnson singing Better Together lifts my heart in a way that gladdens my entire soul.

Despite my lack of singing talent, we are a musical family. There is an abundance of talent on both sides. Sing-a-long evenings involving uncles and aunts and cousins are a regular occurrence. Rob was a local punk-rock hero in his day and my nephew is a budding rock star. My father and brother play guitar, my mother plays piano and I play both.

Music has been responsible for some of the best moments in my life because it is music that has precipitated the moments in which I dare to believe that all the beauty and longing and pain and poignancy of life can somehow be universally expressed and understood.

And I think more than anything else that Graham has learned, it is this - this dawning realization of the power of music - that makes me the most proud of the person he is becoming.

*Edited to add: I Googled the song but came up with nothing. It is the 6th track on the Christmas at Home CD from Walt Disney Records. If you can determine who actually sings it, let me know!"

*Re-edited to say still not sure of artist but it's a woman, not Chris Martin AND the wonderful Parent Club provided a link to Graham's version here -,,3022293-6385338,00.html - Thanks!*

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Capturing A Short Life

What are you doing tonight at 10 p.m.?

I'd like to suggest that you settle into your couch and watch a moving and life-affirming documentary which was produced and directed by one of my dearest friends Sheona McDonald.

Capturing a Short Life is a film about families dealing with infant loss and it reinforces how important it is to remember and celebrate the lives of children who are on this earth for just a short time. Sheona, herself a mom of two, has broached this subject with astounding grace and sensitivity.

Just a few weeks ago Sheona and her children were at our home helping celebrate Graham's birthday and the subject of the film came up. "It must have been so difficult to make," my mother observed.

But Sheona's answer was not what you would expect.

"It was actually easy in some ways," she said. "Because people are desperate to tell their stories. They want to be acknowledged as parents. As a society we don't know how to talk about the death of a child, so these parents never get a chance to talk about their child's life."

And that's just the kind of sensitivity and perspective that Sheona brings to the film.

"We have, on the whole, desensitized ourselves to violence. Images of war, stories of rape, destruction, murder, child-abuse, etc seem to fill the landscape of our news and media and we have become used to those images," she added in an e-mail to me today.

"We accept them and seem, somehow, to process them. There are no violent, graphic, bloody images in CASL and yet so many are afraid to watch because of the fear of what? The emotion? The fact that this can happen here, to us, our friends, family, neighbors?"

Capturing A Short Life makes its television premiere at 10 p.m. Tuesday, December 9th on CBC Newsworld's Series The Lens. You can also learn more about the film by visiting its web site.

I will be watching (for the second time - I was at a screening last winter) and I hope you will be too.

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Real housewife of Don Mills meets Real Housewife of NYC

I had it all planned.

It was going to be a snark-down of epic proportions: the Don Mills Diva vs. A Real Housewife of New York City.

I mean, have you seen the show? Taking down Alex McCord was going to be my pleasure. When I heard that she was writing a parenting book and her publicist was seeking an interview I could barely contain my glee. She was vacuous! Status-obsessed! And, despite the fact that she is a mom to two young sons - Johan and Francois - completely clueless!

Oh, it was going to be sweet alright. I would write a landmark piece, eloquent and scathing. She would be exposed as foolish and presumptuous and I would be hailed for my rapier wit.

Too bad Alex McCord had to ruin my plans by being kinda cool.

Come on, you're dying to know what happens when the gal from Don Mills meets the gal from NYC! Click on over to my Shooting for Hip column at Better Than A Playdate to find out!

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Believing in the extraordinary

A truly extraordinary book makes you believe things your logical mind knows are impossible.

A truly extraordinary book is a rare find. I used plow my way through dozens and dozens of books in search of one so magical that I would happily spend days lost in its thrall.

But since Graham's birth and the resultant time crunch, I have discovered few.

And I have missed it.

I have missed the way in which an extraordinary book makes the world seem more exotic and full of possibility. I have missed being awestruck by the evocative power of a masterful wordsmith and the unfettered imagination of a gifted storyteller.

I have missed books like The Gargoyle.

Head on over to Don Mills Diva Recipes and Reviews to read more about Andrew Davidson's The Gargoyle and enter for your chance to win a copy of the hottest literary debut in years.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

If I win I'll make you Secretary of State...

I have my limits.

I'm not quite shameless enough to post another heart-wrenching photo of Graham in the hopes that it will compel you to cast your vote for Don Mills Diva in the final round of the Canadian Blog Awards.

So I've skipped the photo in favor of a simple plea.

It seems this site is among the top five in contention for Best Family Blog in the Canadian Blog Awards and I'd very much appreciate your support in the final round. You can vote by clicking here:

Click on the circle beside Don Mills Diva and hit the vote button at the bottom.

Thanks a lot!

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

And the night shall be filled with music

And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares that infest the day
Shall fold their tents like the Arabs
And as silently steal away.

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Better Barney than Tarantino

It's no secret that maintaining some semblance of cool as I wade further into the mire of parenthood is somewhat of a priority for me: it's right there in my sidebar after all.

But there is one area in which I know I am destined to remain on the non-cool side of the fence, hopelessly old-fashioned and stubbornly dogmatic.

And that area involves violent and crime-ridden television shows, movies and video games. You see, my current plan is to yield as much of my parental might as possible to shield Graham from these types of media. And my plan is borne of an often-refuted, decidedly uncool, but nonetheless steadfast, belief that it's harmful for children, and indeed adults, to be exposed to them on a casual basis.

I got to thinking about this whole subject a few week back when I read this post over at Immoral Matriarch in which Maria says she has no compunctions about allowing her two young girls to watch a variety of mature movies. And all the commenters agreed with her and talked about how violence can provide teaching moments and how it's fine for kids to watch pretty much whatever they want if you watch it with them and the real harm comes when parents try to act like control freaks and shelter kids from the world, etc., etc., etc...

Well, I adore Maria (and I have photographic evidence to prove it) but I'm calling bullshit.

Full disclosure: I work in the film and television industry as does my husband and almost everyone I know. I had a small role helping to administrate SAW IV and SAW V and am peripherally involved in SAW VI which starts shooting in March. Rob interviewed for a key position on SAW V at a time when we desperately needed to pay our mortgage and while he didn't get the job, it caused us really examine our views on the impact of increasingly violent movies on our society. I have even had a variation of this conversation with one of the producers of that franchise. And while I don't think anyone is talking about letting kids watch SAW (Maria certainly was not!) I bring this up only to illustrate that the issue of violence in the media is one I have examined at length from a variety of perspectives.

And this is what I think: I think violence and human suffering has permeated mainstream television and film to the extent that we barely notice it anymore. I do not think exposure to it will turn an emotionally-healthy person into a serial killer, but I do think that it has the capacity to desensitise people to horror and to human suffering and I think that the impact of that over a generation or two is completely unknown: I fear it is not good.

I am sure that a good parent (and I presume we are all good parents) can indeed find teaching moments in the latest blockbuster, but what exactly does that prove? Every damn thing in the world can be a teaching moment. If Rob decides to rob a bank tomorrow you can be sure I'll find a way to turn it into a teaching moment for Graham: that doesn't negate the fact that my child has been unnecessarily exposed to something negative and unpleasant.

Mainstream television and movies are not produced in order to facilitate learning for you or your child, they are produced make money and I don't think movie producers are best qualified to teach my child about the dark side of human nature or anything else.

Does this mean I'm shielding my child? Hell yes it does. I'm a parent: it's my job to shield my child from things I believe he doesn't have the maturity to contextualize. Graham is a typical three-year-old and yesterday he told me he plans to marry Horace: I'm pretty sure he's many years away from the ability to absorb and put into context any graphic depiction of man's inhumanity to man, however much of a reality it might be.

It's possible that you allow your child to watch movies and films intended for mature audiences because they are startlingly mature for their age. But I suspect the more likely reason is that it's simply easier and more convenient. It's easier because they're bugging the hell out of you and all the other kids are watching them. It's convenient because you watch them and you don't get enough time away from your kids to be able to watch them yourself.

And I get that, I really do.

And I don't think it makes you a bad parent by any means, but let's call it what it most likely is: an acquiescence to the rigors of parenting, much like the chocolate and cartoons I let Graham enjoy at 9:30 a.m. this morning. It may not be dangerous, but it's not the healthiest choice either.

And finally, call me old-fashioned if you must, but letting kids watch violent films and television does not make a parent more honest, enlightened or evolved than uncool fossils like me who choose to shelter children from it.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

The cutest island

As far as I can tell, Graham is not destined to be a social butterfly.

And that is fine, obviously.

Because he's not shy and I'm not worried about him being shy anymore. In the last several months he has moved beyond shyness (and I've moved beyond worrying about his shyness) to what can only be described as indifference.

Or maybe contempt.

My boy is not a joiner. And perhaps he gets that from me, but it is still just a little disconcerting to see him, at the tender age of barely three, roll his eyes and smirk when other children his age gather together to sing and clap and listen to stories and do normal things that, you know, normal three-year-olds enjoy!

Just last week his babysitter confirmed my experience at every playgroup we have ever attended.

"He plays alongside the children, but he doesn't like the group stuff at all. It's strange because I know he loves to sing and dance, but as soon as everyone starts singing or dancing together he gets really uncomfortable, almost like he's embarrassed."

You don't say?

At the playgroup we frequent, Graham is happy to play alongside children and even takes a marginal interest in them and what they are doing (especially if they have a toy he wants, but that's another story).

But when the group activities start? When everyone comes together in that age-old symbol of unity, the circle? When the thin, off-key, but nonetheless heart-burstingly-sweet voices of his peers fill the air?

Graham purses his lips into a half smile, widens his eyes and glances around, as if in disbelief.

"We need to go now mommy."

At first I always resist and try to get him to follow my enthusiastic example: I lean forward in exaggerated breathless anticipation or merrily sing or clap or stomp or do whatever damn thing the other kids and parents are happily doing.

But Graham always tilts his head and looks at me with a smirk and an expression that I swear borders on pity.

"We need to go home mommy. Now!"

And suddenly his smirk makes me feel a little self-conscious myself, what with my bad singing and my child's abject refusal to play along and the wry, pitying glances of the parents of all the future prom kings and queens whose bright and shiny faces reflect their common rapture.

"He's just not a joiner," I offer.

And then we get the heck out of there.

Nope, I don't think Graham is destined to be a social butterfly.

Should I commence worrying that he is destined instead to be a lone wolf or, worse, a jaded, cynical hipster?

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Won't you please vote for my mommy?

Look at that face.

Can you believe how shameless I am, exploiting it just to try and get people to vote for me in the Canadian Blog Awards?

I know, me neither!

Anyhoo, did I mention that Don Mills Diva has been nominated for a Canadian Blog Award for Best Family Blog?

It's true and I'm extremely thrilled and immensely flattered and would be ever so grateful if you would see fit to cast your vote for my humble site.

Just click here:

Scroll down until you see Don Mills Diva, click on the circle beside it and hit the Vote button at the bottom of the page.

All joking aside, I have been humbled by the support and the community I have found in the blogosphere and this nomination is truly the icing on the cake - thank you all for reading.

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Don't start cooking Thanksgiving dinner until you read this!


LeeAnne has outdone herself guys and I'm not even kidding.

She has put together an entire Thanksgiving dinner menu that incorporates all kinds of quick fixes and time-saving tricks that add up to a whole lot more time for you to relax and enjoy the holiday. There's even a handy-dandy shopping list!

Check out her handiwork over at Don Mills Diva Recipes and Reviews...

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Riding out the recession in style

As much as I might proclaim myself a diva, I've never actually been the kinda girl to spend a lot of money on the accoutrements of beauty.

If something doesn't make a statement, it just seems pointless and by that logic, fancy and expensive makeup, creams and lotions have always struck me as the ultimate waste of money - especially since I can buy the cheap stuff at the drugstore and splurge on something like this.

Anyhoo, with the markets headed south and the chill of recession upon us it seems like my frugal way of thinking is actually in style. Lucky for you, when it comes to advice I've always been the generous type.

Click on over to my Shooting for Hip column at Better Than A Playdate for my best tips on how to look posh and pinch pennies at the same time...

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Four ingredients away from heaven

About two weeks ago we went for dinner at Peter and LeeAnne's and I tasted a little piece of heaven.

Well, actually it was a fairly big bowl of heaven. It was a soup so delicious that I abandoned any pretence of pride and immediately commenced begging for the recipe so I could share it with you.

Luckily LeeAnne took pity on me and e-mailed it the next day. It's incredibly easy and it's over at Don Mills Diva Recipes and Reviews - Enjoy!

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Reconnecting with Grace

I had not had any meaningful contact with Grace for almost 10 years when I picked up a message from my university alumni office about two and a half years ago.

My old journalism school roommate was trying to track me down. Could they forward my contact information to her?

Of course they could! I called back right away, excited that Grace had taken the initiative to reconnect, something I had been meaning to do forever. I left a message and asked for a return call so I could get Grace's details as well.

I never heard back, from Grace or from the alumni association, and after a few weeks of happy anticipation, the idea of reconnecting got pushed to the back of my mind once again, filed away on the list of things that I absolutely would get around to, one of these days.

Until last night.

I was playing idly on the computer and Grace's face popped into my mind. This time, instead of just thinking "I really must look her up" I typed her name into a search engine and waited, happy and pleased that I was finally following through on something that had been nagging around the edges of my psyche for so long.

The first link I opened was her obituary.

My former roommate and dear friend died almost exactly two years ago after a painful battle with Lupus. The disease struck in 2002 when her first and only child - a son - was 10 months old. It included serious muscle inflammation and weakness that within months saw her hospitalized and essentially a quadriplegic.

Grace fought tooth and nail to recover and reclaim her life, I read. In 2003 she published a book about her struggle with chronic illness, dependence and her experience as a patient. In 2006, just months after she attempted to contact me, she succumbed to the disease and a myriad of resultant medical problems.

She was 37.

And so, after crying my eyes out for a little while I did the only thing I felt I could do: I bought her book.

It's due to arrive in 5-7 business days and when it does I will curl up with it on the couch. And through my tears I will finally stop putting off what I have been meaning to do forever, though I will do it in a manner I never, ever expected.

I will reconnect with Grace.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Let him eat cake

There were 20 loved ones at our home on Sunday celebrating a very special birthday.

There was music and merriment and tons of presents and a swimming pool heated to 88 degrees Celsius.

And yet yesterday when I asked Graham what, precisely, was his very favorite part of the party he didn't hesitate for a second before replying.

"My Backyardigans cake."

That single-minded devotion to cake? He gets that from me.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Chill pill anyone?

Is it just me?

Or did the whole Motrin controversy that blew up over the Internetz this weekend give you a headache too?

Here are my two cents:

The ad was kinda lame and silly
The ad was no more lame and silly than 98% of ads out there.
The power of the momosphere need not be unleashed on every damn thing that's lame and silly.
Power is always more effective when wielded judiciously.

And also? At the risk of becoming extremely unpopular...I often think bloggers tend to hitch their bandwagon to the latest Internet "controversy" in hopes of increasing their on-line profile.

And I think that's unfortunate because it ultimately makes us all look lame and silly and, worse, it runs the risk of diluting our admittedly awesome power.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

I'll be over here ducking the rotten fruit.

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Putting a positive spin on the holidays

I don't think there will ever be another Doctor Seuss.

He is the unchallenged master of rhythm - all types of rhythm - and when another author attempts to write in a similar fashion, it's natural, if admittedly unfair, to draw comparisons. It's not easy to make words trickle off the tongue in a manner that will enthrall young readers and unfortunately that was abundantly clear when I settled in to read three books the Parent Bloggers Network recently provided for me.

Click on over to Don Mills Diva Recipes and Reviews to read my review of the latest offerings from Positive Spin Press.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Calling all Canadian foodies!

If you're a Canadian and you love food, then you know all about the President's Choice Insider's Report.

The product line that revolutionized grocery shopping in this country celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and LeeAnne was at the launch of this year's Insider's Report in Toronto earlier this week.

Click on over to Don Mills Diva Recipes and Reviews for LeeAnne's thoughtful and thorough rundown on the latest food trends for the holiday season and beyond...

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The dawn of three*

I think that I shall never see,
Anything as lovely as my boy at three.
My heart is stirred by how he's grown,
But shaken by the time that's flown.

* Not to be confused with the dawn of two,
which was, incidentally, pretty darn awesome as well.
Also? The winner of the eebee's adventures series of books is finally up
over at Don Mills Diva Recipes and Reviews. Check it out!

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Code 11

Graham recently decided he is too big to ride in the grocery cart when we shop together.

And I don't tolerate screeching very well, so last Thursday evening at our massive local Superstore after hearing "I want to walk!" approximately 20 times in 10 minutes I lifted him out, cautioned him to stay by my side and resigned myself to accepting his help pushing the cart.

Despite my constant nagging, he ran ahead and lagged behind and momentarily disappeared from view a few times over the course of our errand, but it wasn't until I was paying for my groceries that I realized he had been out of my sight for more than a few seconds.

I wasn't overly worried to be honest. Doesn't every mother in the world have a story about the time their child wandered off in a public place? You know how it goes: "I freaked out. I got hysterical. When I finally found him I didn't know whether to laugh or cry." Surely Graham was right around the corner.

But he wasn't.

I started to walk up and down the aisles calling for him. Every time I turned a corner I expected to see him: but I didn't. After just a few minutes I started to trot, not walk, and yell, not call, for him.


And then I was running and screaming at the top of my lungs and people were staring but I didn't care. Up and down the aisles I raced.


He wasn't there.

A store employee approached me and asked me to describe Graham and his clothing. I did, down to every last detail. I vaguely heard a voice over the intercom, "Calling all staff, Calling all staff!" and noticed more employees fanning out along the aisles.

And all of a sudden, I realized there was no guarantee how this story would end. It hit me that both the happy stories and the heartbreaking ones - the horrible ones illustrated by weeping parents and solemn police officers - all start the same way.

They all start when a child goes missing.

That's when I started to hyperventilate. I tried to keep calling for Graham but I couldn't speak. A sympathetic shopper tried to calm me, but everything seemed blurry and I could feel panic taking hold.

Graham had been missing for almost 15 minutes. My head swam with the realization that this story's ending, my story's ending, could very well be one that made total strangers put down their newspaper, brush away tears and clutch their children closer. I started to sob.

"M'am, he's here! M'am!"

I turned and there he was. Graham was holding the hand of a middle-aged man in a store uniform and looking sheepish.

"He was in the audiovisual department watching a movie."

And I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

So I did both and thanked everyone profusely and scooped him up in my arms and kissed him and chastised him for leaving my side.

And I thanked God for giving me a happy ending and a story that ended like almost everyone else's: a story to be recounted to other knowing mothers with the appropriate mixture of exasperation and humour and gratitude and reverence.

Reverence because the experience, no matter how cliche, taught me a few things.

It taught me that my confident and capable exterior will crumble in an instant if I fear my son is in danger.

It taught me that Graham is not too big to ride in the grocery cart when we shop together.

And it taught me that at our local Superstore, Code 11 indicates a missing child and precipitates a lock down of all exits.

But that knowledge, of course, is something I could have gone to my grave without knowing.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

She bangs

It's a big decision in a woman's life.

In my case it was a decision that repudiated more than a year and a half of determination to change, to move forward and embrace a more grown-up and sophisticated version of the Don Mills Diva.

But in the end I just couldn't do it. I couldn't resist its siren call: the lure of the hairstyle I have returned to again and again for the last dozen years...

*Well, obviously my title gives it away...but you should still click on over to my Shooting for Hip column at Better Than A Playdate and check out the photos...*

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Amazing Baby

Forget about how cute your kid is.

The next time your little one struggles to master a milestone, look past the adorableness of their efforts and really consider the finer details of the science behind how the mind and body are developing.

Amazing, isn't it?

I have written before about how I am spellbound by the technical perfection I see evidenced in my son's growth. I find the complex systems that come together with such precision to allow him to master speech and movement and a million other things both incredibly moving and endlessly enthralling.

And I think that's why I have been similarly enthralled by Amazing Baby by Desmond Morris, a new book that explains the scientific side of a baby's development and illustrates its explanations with more than 250 photos of such heartbreaking beauty, I was left fully convinced of the miraculous nature of life.

Check out the rest of my review of Amazing Baby over at Don Mills Diva Recipes and Reviews.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Say hello to my imaginary friends

According to my husband I spend a lot of time with my imaginary friends.

You know, the ones I meet on the computer; the ones he fears may actually be depraved serial killers who live in their parents' basements and plot our demise, as opposed to warm and welcoming mothers (and fathers) who live lives similar to ours and genuinely care about us and our family.

He worries, he really does.

So Rob? This one's for you...

This photo was taken at a fabulous Mommy Bloggers dinner last night. (Thank you Johnson and Johnson). That's Catherine (and her camera shy boy Jasper) to the left of me. I sat beside her on the plane ride out to San Francisco in July and we didn't stop gabbing the whole time.

Huddling in front there is Katie, the girl in whom I've confided a fair bit over the past year because she has faced some problems similar to what we've faced. It's been quite a comfort because she gets it, you know?

Beside me, on the right is Karen. Remember we ran into her at that fall fair a few weeks ago and she recognized you first even though she'd never met either of us face to face? Anyway, I've been trying to meet up with her for months because I just knew we would click: I was right.

Finally on the far right is Chareen. She knows our sister-in-law LeeAnne (who writes recipes for me here) and has even tried her incredible squash soup, the recipe for which I keep meaning to post. They often freelance for the same magazine and she was at a party a few weeks ago where our niece Cailey played with her daughter the whole time.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say, to my husband and to anyone else who questions whether it's possible to forge real relationships with people you meet on the Internet is...yes.

Yes, it is possible, probable even. Because yes, the people you meet through blogging are real people. Yes, they have kids and jobs and husbands and joys and sorrows and stress that is similar to your own. Yes, they care about you and your family, just as you care about theirs.

And no, none of the ladies pictured are actually depraved serial killers.

At least, I don't think they are.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

The evolution of blogging

After blogging for almost 15 months now I sometimes fear that I have become incapable of allowing a single thought, no matter how inconsequential, to go unexpressed.

If it seems that the writing in this space has been lighter, fluffier and more inconsequential lately, please forgive me. I seem struck by the notion that perhaps there is value in holding things to my chest, in just letting thoughts swirl around in my brain so the weak ones eventually die a natural death, as opposed to beating every one of them to death and exposing their mangled corpses here on the internetz.

In days past blog posts were everywhere. I never left home without my camera and delighted in Graham's antics not just for the sheer joy of them but also for the fodder I was already imagining they would provide. Every tiny notion that popped into my head, every fleeting question and flash of insight was seized and tortured until I had extracted all of its secrets and every last breath of its essence.

I was like a mad gardener, heaping fertilizer (sometimes literally, alas) on every kernel, determined to make it blossom into a piece of writing . I nurtured every tiny seed so carefully that they inevitably flowered, though I rarely allowed myself the luxury of critiquing or learning from what I had managed to create.

Some of the results, if I do say so myself, were quite lovely.

But there are times when I cringe just a little at the narcissism implicit in my ongoing compulsion to tweak and broadcast my navel gazing to the world. And I wonder if basking in the feedback my writing has generated has become just a little too addictive.

I am a parent who has always felt strongly that a child's daily life need not be over scheduled or over analyzed. I believe that every activity need not be a means to an end, every conversation should not be fraught with meaning and that constantly turning daily decisions into "teaching moments" is tiresome and unnecessary.

And yet here I am. Ouch! - the irony hurts.

At the end of the day, I guess my love affair with this blog is a love story just like every other.

During first six months I was breathless with excitement. I thought about DMD constantly and couldn't wait to put the day away so we could settle into our exclusive evenings together.

For the next six months I strove to keep up the excitement. People were noticing me and it was wonderful, but it also caused me to labour over what had previously been effortless. I checked my traffic stats at least daily and investigated a million and one cheap fixes to keep things fresh - social networking sites, memes, etc. etc.

Fifteen months in I've become tired. If a relationship's meant to last, it shouldn't feel like so much work. I have said before that I believe in the poignancy of the mundane and I do - I believe that the beauty of everyday life provides endless fodder for inspiring writing.

But it is exactly that belief that causes me to not want to work quite so hard at documenting it. My life is beautiful: I don't need to slap high heels and makeup and a pretty dress on it and trot it out every night so all the world can see and applaud.

I am not shutting down Don Mills Diva, though the thought has crossed my mind lately. I have, however, decided to write less often and let my muse, not my sense of obligation or my stats, dictate when it's time to post.

I cannot continue to maintain this site with the frenzied passion of a new lover. I can only hope the relationship between my readers and I is mature enough to survive the inevitable evolution of our affair.

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Things that go cute in the night

What to do?

Last year's laziness was not going to cut it, Rob was to be working all night and I had no intention of ending up with a ton of leftover Halloween candy OR disappointing any visiting princesses or goblins.

So I rigged a self-serve station...

And took to the streets with my little ghost.

Where he charmed old friends...

And met new ones.

And scored so much candy...

That neither of us minded a bit when not a single, leftover piece of candy greeted us upon our return.

Happy Halloween everyone!

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Let the winning begin...

Oh, there will be winning.

I just put up a review of a really unique series of interactive books for babies and young toddlers over at Don Mills Diva Recipes and Reviews. And the best part?

You can win 'em for yourself. Click on over there, read about 'em and enter your name to win now!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Graham did something last night that made me both incredibly proud and heart-wrenchingly sad.

He played with the cat.

Horace was sleeping in front of the fireplace, oblivious to the fact that Graham had placed around him the wooden giraffes and Inuit carvings we display in the room. Graham was chattering animatedly, showing the cat each figurine and making them dance in front of his unblinking eyes when it hit me.

Graham was no longer a toddler. Graham was a creative and imaginative little boy who was capable of creating fantasy worlds and magical playgrounds that he was anxious to share with a playmate.

And Graham was playing with the cat because he doesn't have a sibling to play with.

For a long time now I have wanted a sibling for Graham to play with. But yesterday was the first time my heart hurt with the yearning and the emptiness.

And with the inadequacy.

This is not where I expected to be. Life has given me many, many blessings to count and yet I did not expect this: that my almost-three-year-old would be reduced to sharing his childhood joys with a cat, even if I have always considered that cat my first baby.

Because he isn't. Of course he isn't.

Graham is my first baby. He is my only baby. And he's not a baby anymore: he's a little boy.

And that makes me both incredibly proud and heart-wrenchingly sad.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fashionably drunk?

Have you ever attended a work event and ended up a little over-refreshed?

Yeah, me too.

But have you ever been a little over-refreshed at a really important work event, where you're scheduled to make a speech in front of cut-throat colleagues, important clients and the international press?

Yeah, me neither.

But then I'm not Toronto Design Council President Robin Kay who launched Toronto Fashion Week last week with a drunken speech that became a major scandal in the local media and left me pondering whether drinking on the job is ever in style.

Want to continue reading my musing on boozin'? Click on over to my Shooting for Hip column at Better Than A Playdate...

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Kicking it old school with Moo and Beans

The thing I have against a lot of television shows and videos aimed at young children is that they're just too good.

And by good I mean slick. A part of me feels nervous about carefully crafted dialogue, seamless pacing and flashy production values. I'm not sure if it's because I fear Graham's developing brain doesn't stand a chance against the onslaught or if I'm simply nostalgic for the bumpy charm and hokeyness of some of the productions I remember loving in the 1970s.

Whatever the reason, when I agreed to review the DVD My Baby A to Z - Come Explore Shapes With Me I fell hard for a couple of guys named Moo and Beans and immediately hoped their homespun antics would strike a chord with Graham.

*Does today's generation fall for retro charm? Would you like to win a DVD? Click on over to Don Mills Diva Recipes and Reviews for all the details.*

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Just call me Martha


They're yesterday's news. Having mastered them with such style and, er, grace, we today moved on to cupcakes!

And not just any cupcakes.

Cupcakes with four shades of neon-coloured frosting and an array of gummy toppings.

Which almost made up for the fact that the end result was sickening sweet and, well, kinda disgusting...

But that's just my humble opinion, of course.

*Need cheap cupcakes and lots of them? E-mail me - you won't believe the prices!*

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Let freedom ring

Take a moment to consider this photo...

You probably think it's merely a photo of a little boy letting a cat outside, right?


This photo is a powerful symbol of freedom.

Freedom from constantly getting up from my comfortable spot on the couch. Freedom from constant mewling and interruptions.

Freedom from Horace's tyranny.

And you know what makes the freedom even sweeter? Graham loves letting Horace outside. Loves it.

"Horace is my best friend," he says as he runs for the door. "It's for me to do, it's for me to do."

Fine with me. The way I see it, it's a win-win situation. Horace is indulged, Graham is happy.

And mama is free.

Now if I can just convince Graham that yard work, dirty dishes and laundry are also for him to do.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oh the places he'll go!

I said I would never do it.

Before my son was born I even wrote an essay - Waiting for Graham - in which I acknowledged that not doing it would likely be the hardest part of parenting.

And yet the entire time I was in Vancouver and missing him, I did it.

I spent my entire time away imagining and planning Graham's future for him. Every time I saw a young man I started to idly wonder if he were the kind of man Graham might become and before long I was lost in my thoughts and schemes for Graham's future and worse, my hopes and dreams for myself.

We were barely buckled into the seats in the plane when the sound of the captain's voice started me imagining a future Graham, tall and blond in his pilot's uniform. I missed the entire flight introduction because I was too busy envisioning future versions of Rob and I sitting on a plane (upgraded to first class, natch!) under his command.

Graham would lay out the flight plans for the passengers in a strong confident voice and then acknowledge the presence of a very special passenger: his mother, the woman responsible for introducing him to flying when he was just a baby.

The present-day me got all misty-eyed just thinking about it. In fact, I damn near stood up and started bowing to fellow passengers, who I imagined would be clapping and sighing with deep appreciation over what a wonderful mother I was.

And it just got worse from there.

At the Vancouver aquarium I mused to Rob about how fascinating a field I thought marine biology was. Withing seconds I lost myself in a reverie involving he and I and Graham, some 20 years on.

In my mind's eye the three of us were speeding across a choppy sea in a small boat being expertly commandeered by my handsome son. Shaggy and earnest, Graham raised his voice to be heard above the whipping winds, while Rob and I listened intently, hanging off his every word.

"I'm pretty excited about this new project I've been developing out here, Mom and Dad. I think it's a real breakthrough that will save the lives of thousands of whales."

By the time we left the aquarium that day the whole scenario had been played out countless times in my mind and was so real to me that I couldn't resist smiling magnanimously in the direction of the mother Beluga and her calf and and thinking: "You're welcome, my animal sister, you're welcome."

Clearly I needed a drink, but even the slightly dingy atmosphere of the pub we visited that night couldn't dim the limelight in which I was certain Graham would bask.

Two guys with a guitar and some bongos did such a great job on Like A Rolling Stone that Rob and I got to chatting about how Dylan's introduction of the electric guitar at the Newport Folk Festival devastated his followers who saw it as a symbolic declaration of the end of 1960s innocence.

Almost immediately my mind's eye saw a wild-haired future Graham onstage, guitar in hand, ushering in a new era of politics and music to thousands of adoring fans, while I, his manager, sat backstage atop a speaker. "Sure there might be some initial boos", I would acknowledge sagely to the gathering press. "But that's only because it takes time for great genius to be revealed".

If the young musicians in the Gastown pub were alarmed by my enthusiastic standing ovation, they didn't let on.

So, yeah, even though I said I wouldn't confuse Graham's future hopes and dreams with my own, I'm learning that's easier said than done.

I can't help but be excited about the opportunities that Graham has laid out before him, just as I know my parents were excited for me. I can't help but be thrilled by the wide range of choices he will be blessed with and proud that I will help provide them.

I can't help but be inspired by the thought of a blank slate, even if it is not mine upon which to write.

It is fruitless to try and stop fantasising about your child's future, I have determined. So I am not going to even try anymore.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go fetch Graham. He's in the next room tormenting Horace, who clearly doesn't appreciate the boy who will one day become the veterinarian responsible for eliminating all pain and suffering of cats and dogs the world over.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunshine and rain

Did I mention it rains a lot in Vancouver?

It does. It rains. A lot.

Luckily for us most of the city's famed aquarium is indoors so, weather be damned, I was able to make the acquaintance of this fine fellow on Friday.

And then, miracle of all miracles, Saturday dawned mercifully clear and we were able squeeze in a forest walk at the Capilano Suspension Bridge...

A bike ride around the seawall at Stanley Park...(hey, that helmet was mandated by law!)...

And some soaking in the sunshine and stunning skyline.

Just got home a few hours ago, in time to put Graham to bed. You'd hardly know that I spent half my time away fantasizing about hugging him and soaking in his sweet sunshine.

But more on that later...

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Oh Hai!

Did I mention I'm in Vancouver?

It's true. I flew out here Wednesday on business and spent that afternoon and yesterday meeting with some very smart people who helped my brain grow a little bigger.

Rob's on hiatus from the television series he's working on so he tagged along and we're spending today and tomorrow checking out the sights in this gorgeous city and doing things I have determined Vancouverites do on a regular basis.

Like, you know, pray for it to stop raining.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I like best of all autumn

"I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its tone is mellower, its colours are richer and it is tinged with a little sorrow. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and its content."

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Monday, October 13, 2008

The masochism of beauty

No I am not a masochist.

At least I don't think I am, though a logical person might dispute that assertion. I mean, logically, why would I willingly submit to, and spend my hard-earned money on, a painful ritual involving hot wax and tender bits?

You've probably done it too, haven't you? And there's no logic to it. It's the masochism of beauty and it's made a victim of even smart and enlightened women for thousands of years.

Are woman all over the world suffering for beauty and a bigger piece of the economic pie? Muse with me over at Better Than A Playdate...

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Little pitchers

Last night, out of the blue, Graham taught me how powerful just a few carefully-chosen words can be.

"Mommy, you are my very best friend."

And I felt my eyes well and my heart swell and I gently kissed his forehead.

"What a nice thing to say sweetie, thank you."

And Graham smiled sweetly in return.

"You're welcome mommy. You are my very best friend because you are really pretty and also, you almost never say damnit."

Oh yes he did.

Last night Graham taught me that Mommy needs to choose her words just a little more carefully.

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Creamy, dairy-free salmon chowder

Fall is here and you know what that means...

It's soup time! And even if you're allergic to gluten or lactose intolerant, it doesn't mean you can't enjoy a creamy, fall chowder.

Click on over to Don Mills Diva Recipes and Reviews and check out LeeAnne's yummy recipe for gluten and dairy-free salmon chowder.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What I know

I was speaking on the phone yesterday with a friend who is pregnant with her first child and talk turned to another woman who is getting well into her forties.

"I gather she's not interested in having kids," I said.

"Actually she's thinking about adopting," my friend replied. "She really wants to be a mom, but she's not so big on the baby stage because they can't talk, so she's thinking of adopting a toddler."

"Oh...well...I don't know if that, uh, makes it easier," I stammered.

And I didn't mean to sound disapproving, but perhaps I did because my friend rushed to respond.

"Well, I mean, she just thinks she could handle it better if the child could at least kinda articulate what they want," she said. "And good on her for knowing what she can handle, you know?"

And I made agreeable noises and changed the subject because I didn't know what to say. Or, perhaps more accurately, I didn't know how to say what I felt without sounding completely condescending.

What I wanted to say was that once my friend's baby was born she would likely realize how silly the notion that anyone truly invested in becoming a mother would blithely consider skipping a stage in their child's development because she's "not so big on it."

I wanted to say that if our mutual friend was ever fortunate enough to become the mother of an older child through adoption, it is likely she would mourn every single day she wasn't in that child's life, whether they could talk or not. I wanted to say it is almost certain she would ache with the longing to have known and loved that child even one day earlier.

I do not think I have discovered the secret to life because I have borne a child. I am well aware there are a lot of morons raising children and every day I see people who appear not to have had their consciousness raised to any great degree as a result of parenting.

But there are some things that even marginally thoughtful parents cannot escape learning and I don't know if those things can be fully appreciated by people who have never known what it is like to divert your entire life - every thought, every movement, every last ounce of your energy - to the benefit of another human being.

You don't get, for example, really get, the complexity of a human being's physical, intellectual and emotional development until you see it close up, unfolding before you on a daily basis.

You don't get that parenting is easy and difficult and fun and yet a massive drag, all at the same time. You don't really understand that mothering a toddler is both the same and different and easier and harder and more fun and less fun than mothering a baby, or a even teenager for that matter.

You don't understand how it can be all the same. And yet so very different.

I am not the smartest person in the world, but I do know that the care and devotion a child will require at any stage of its development cannot be predicted, compared or quantified: it cannot even be imagined.

Maybe I am condescending, but I know these things and neither of my friends do yet.

And that does not mean I am smarter than they are, but it does mean that I am a mother.

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