Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Very chocolatey dairy, wheat and egg-free cupcakes

I really hate including the word “free” in recipe titles.

It just sounds so negative - like glass-half-empty thinking. What would be a more positive recipe title be? Full of Delicious Chocolatey Flavour Cupcakes? Or maybe Chocolate Bursts of Flavour Cupcakes?

At any rate, Saturday was my dear friend’s son's second birthday. For something different, the little guy blew out candles that sat in a giant cupcake cake, consisting of cupcakes set on a 5-tier cake stand! It was spectacular!

Well, for almost everyone.

Click on over to Don Mills Diva Recipes and Reviews - LeeAnne has a yummy recipe that everyone can enjoy!

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Buying clothes? Beware the mom zone

Sometimes I think one of the hardest things about being a mom is resisting the siren call of stereotypical mom clothes.

And by stereotypical mom clothes, I mean clothing that doesn't take too much effort, clothing that celebrates comfort over style and function over form, and clothing that, if I am truly honest with myself, I would not have been caught dead wearing prior to giving birth.

I'm not trying to be a smart-ass: it really is hard.

We moms are tired and rushed a lot of the time. Time and money are tight, but our bodies? Not so much (not mine anyway).

And I think that drinking in the silky skin and shiny hair of our children - our beautiful children - goes a long way towards satisfying our inherent need to feel the presence of beauty in our lives.

And that's not necessarily a good thing.

Click on over to my column at Better Than A Playdate to read about which items of clothing are strictly verboten for this diva...

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Love among the ruins

Yesterday I confirmed to myself two things that may already be obvious to most people.

The first is that once an almost-three-year-old gets wound up, it is almost impossible for him to switch gears, even if he wants to.

The second is that one day, if I can just be consistently patient and loving, I will likely see a reasonable human emerge from the wreckage of a thousand toddler tantrums.

I was in a rush yesterday morning, as always, and gave very little thought to the fact we were out of soda crackers. And so, as we headed out the door to the baby sitter's, instead of handing Graham his normal snack of three - always three! - crackers, I substituted a piece of fresh, toasted bread smeared with peanut butter.

The meltdown started slow, but soon built to epic proportions.

"I want my peanut butter crackers mommy. Peanut butter crackers."

"There are no crackers left sweetie. Have some bread. It's delicious. Yum, yum! Mommy will get more crackers later."

I forced my voice to sound cheerful as I buckled Graham in his car seat, but my heart was sinking. I knew where this was going. I was tired. I was late. Again. I was burdened with worry over a loved one's recent illness.


Graham's rage was in full force by the time we pulled out of the driveway. He cried. He flailed. His screams reached ear-splitting volumes.

And I lost it.

I burst into tears.

"Please Graham! Please! Please just stop treating mommy like this!"

The sobs were louder and more anguished than either of us expected; louder and more anguished, certainly, than the situation warranted.

But a funny thing happened.

When I looked in the rear view mirror, I saw something flash across his still raging, tear-stained, face. Compassion? Regret?

He screamed louder.


My heart lifted and my tears dried up almost as quickly as they had appeared. Instantly ashamed of my dramatics, I cooed to him.

"Mommy is okay sweetie, don't worry. It's okay."

I turned and I smiled right at him. And I realized that Graham couldn't smile back. He wanted to, but he couldn't.

Arms flailing, tears flowing, voice at a furious pitch, he was past his anger over the crackers, but remained trapped in his almost-three-year-old body. He was powerless to instantly switch gears in the manner that we adults take for granted.

"Be happy mommy! I love you mommy! I want a huggy!"

The refrain continued, but gradually quieted until his tone matched his words and his rage ran its course. When got to the baby sitter's five minutes later he was beaming and chewing on his toast.

I gave him his huggy, told him I loved him and continued on my way to work.

And while I drove I ruminated on that rather intense reminder of just how undeveloped a toddler's sense of reason and control really are.

It was a much-needed reminder that it is me, not him, who supposedly has the maturity not to let my temper or my frustration dictate how our day will go.

It was a much-needed reassurance that my son, despite his almost-three-year-old limitations, has at least some compassion and patience for a mother who still spends so much time confirming things that are already obvious to most people.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The power of good hair

Graham's latest haircut was a bit of a revelation for us both.

It involved none of the shenanigans of the past. He had trepidations, but the promise of a lollipop and lunch at Chez Ronald's (hey, he redeemed himself!) kept the tears at bay...

As the stylist clipped away and no tears were forthcoming, I realized that what I was witnessing no longer seemed like a rite of passage anymore: it was just a haircut - one of a handful my son had already received and one of dozens, maybe hundreds, he is likely to have in the future.

But Graham? I think he had a different revelation. And I think it was more along the lines of...

"Damn mama, I look goooood!"

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fumbling towards greatness

* I adore baby showers. I adore ritualistic aspect of them, right down to the silly games and soggy sandwiches. I especially adore the sense of community that envelops me when I reach out and welcome another life to the planet.

Fumbling towards greatness was the fourth post I ever published here, back when I had approximately four readers. I'm publishing it again as part of an on-line baby shower for two of my favorite dot comrades, due with their second and third respective babies in the next few weeks - Rebecca at Girl's Gone Child and Kristen from Motherhood Uncensored.

The shower involves posting favorite memories of the early days of parenthood and is sponsored by Beau-coup Showers and Gifts. Check out the button in the right hand-side bar for more info on how to participate and enjoy my trip down memory lane.*

Karen is a girl in my office who is currently almost 5 months pregnant with her first baby.

Frequently Karen will ask me about some peculiar twinge she is experiencing or about how I came to make one of the approximately four million decisions made about Graham’s care in utero and up until now.

I very much like this girl and I’m flattered that she seeks my advice so I try to dispense as many pearls as wisdom as possible in my most reassuring, motherly tone.

Hopefully she never discovers I don’t have a clue what I’m talking about.

Doesn’t she remember my office baby shower when I brought the house down by unwrapping a nasal aspirator and chirping brightly “You can never have too many pacifiers!”?

While sorting photos for Graham’s baby book the other day, I came across one that never fails to crack me up. It was taken as we prepared to leave the hospital after his birth.

There are a few things that strike me about this photo - one is that my hair looks surprisingly good for someone who has just given birth...but I digress. Mostly I am struck by the juxtaposition of utter contentment and barely-concealed terror.

Graham could not look more serene: sleeping peacefully, he is blissfully unaware that his very survival depends on the glassy-eyed people flanking him, both of whom appear to be fighting the onset of a panic attack.

I remember those early days well. We referred to Graham as our little yawning chasm of need. Everyone talks about how overwhelming new parenthood is, but the intensity of caring for a newborn is still shocking.

Surprisingly though, you figure it out pretty quickly. In some ways being a good mom is the hardest job in the world, in some ways it’s the easiest. For me it was several months before Graham truly seemed like he wasn’t part of my body anymore, hence tending to his needs, while incredibly exhausting, was as natural as tending to my own.

You just do it. You feed, you burp, you clean, you adjust, you rock, you coo, you protect, you love with a ferocity that sears your soul.

And one day you wake up and see what you have wrought and your heart is flooded to bursting with wonder.

How is it possible? Is it a miracle?

Yes it is.

And knowing that Karen is about to experience it sometimes chokes me up. She can ask me questions all the day long and I am happy, thrilled really, to babble on about how it was for me.

But deep down I know that when her own little yawning chasm of need arrives, so too will the answers she seeks.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Helping you fight big oil

Don't you hate it when you're enjoying a yummy banana muffin and you notice an oil slick on the napkin it's sitting on?

Yuck! LeeAnne wants to save you from that horrible experience by providing a recipe for banana muffins that are moist, but not full of fat. And better yet? They're dairy and (can be) gluten-free. Check it out over at Don Mills Diva Recipes and Reviews.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Move on over Mrs.Cleaver

I am a cliche.

There have been so many warning signs since Graham's birth - the working mom guilt, the typical middle-aged acquiescence to authority, the worrying about every little thing - but now it's official.

The proof? Last week, as a result of the aforementioned working mom guilt, I felt compelled to indulge in what is perhaps the most shopworn domestic cliche ever: the baking of the chocolate chip cookies.

Cousin Cailey came along for the ride...

And did her best to try and minimize shrinkage...

With mixed results.

If only I had known that becoming a cliche involved such delicious cuteness, I would have done it sooner.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

A cub bear tries to prettify herself: fails

It's a fact that the older I get, the more maintenance I require to look my best.

But it's also a fact that the age at which I need to spend more time on my appearance - uh, NOW! - just happens to coincide with an incredibly busy time in my life.

So it's no wonder I'm always looking for a quick beauty fix and was instantly intrigued when the folks at Whitening Listerine Quick Dissolveing Strips contacted me and asked to review their product.

What could be easier than tooth-whitening strips you just put on and leave? No timing the removal, no messy clean-up afterwards. I could just pop them on before I went to bed and wake up with gorgeous, whiter teeth.

Easy as pie, right?

Yeah, not so much.

You can read more about my experiences with Whitening Listerine Quick Dissolving Strips and discover where my crazy title comes from by visiting Don Mills Diva Recipes and Reviews...

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Marriage and the art of dance

I was shocked when Rob told me to call the telemarketer back.

I always thought he didn't like dancing, so when I got the call from a local ballroom dance studio offering a free trial lesson I just chuckled wistfully and hung up.

Turns out it's not that Rob doesn't like dancing, it's that he doesn't like not dancing well. He spent a good part of his early adulthood working throughout the Caribbean where dancing is an art form and people seem born with a beautiful sense of rhythm. His travels left him a little ashamed of his typically, rhythmically-challenged, white, northern-European background and loathe to take to the dance floor.

But lucky for both of us he was ready to learn.

I was five months pregnant when we showed up for our first lesson. We bickered bitterly over his imperative to lead and my apparent inability to let him, but were nonetheless hooked. Before we left we signed up for several more classes.

Dance class became our date night and all that summer and fall my stomach grew as did our competence at the Foxtrot, the Cha-Cha and the Waltz.

We deliberately chose to learn older dances - those choreographed odes to compromise and propriety - because we discovered that we both felt they were classic, old-fashioned arts in danger of being forgotten or passed over for the sweaty, sexy gyrating that dominates dance floors today.

One of my earliest and happiest memories involves dancing with my father. I was about six years old and wearing black, patent-leather shoes which caused me to slip and slide most ungracefully as he expertly lead me through the Jitter-Bug, the Cha-Cha and the Waltz.

I remember feeling simultaneously like a glamorous grown-up and an incompetent little girl as he twirled me about and I tried, and mostly failed, to keep pace. I remember feeling exhilarated and happy and proud, aware that people were watching and smiling at the spectacle.

And then I remember retiring to my seat and watching my dad take my mother's hand and lead her through the same steps. It was as if they had been dancing together forever. One day, I thought, I want to dance with somebody like that.

Rob and I have learned that dancing, real dancing, is about so much more than moving to the music.

Before you learn to dance you must learn to respect your partner's space. For women, that means you have to relax and to trust, to be open enough to accept just slightest movement from your partner as your cue to follow them wherever they may lead.

Real dancing is about compromise, about anticipating your partner's needs and intentions. It demands the ability to work together for mutual ease and enjoyment: I can't think of a better time for a couple to learn these skills than as they await the birth of their first baby.

We continued our weekly dance lessons right up until six days before Graham's birth and were back at the studio just three weeks later. Graham slept peacefully in his carrier as we polished a Foxtrot routine to Roger Miller's King of the Road.

Rob and I haven't been back the dance studio for about two years now, thanks to a lack of money and time, those two age-old buzz-killers. We talk all the time about starting lessons again, about adding Swing and the Rumba to our repertoire, but luckily we have already picked up enough steps to be mildly impressive on the dance floor at bars and parties.

And that makes me proud.

Because one day I hope my children, or perhaps my grandchildren, will watch us dance with the same wide-eyed wonder with which I watched my parents.

Look at Mom and Dad, they will say, it's as if they've been dancing together forever.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

A tale of two dresses

It was the thinnest of times, it was the thickest of times.

Or something like that.

What I really mean is, during the last week I have acquired two new dresses that couldn't be more different. One is soft and clingy and...slinky. One is bulky and cozy and...yet, still somehow slinky.

My two new dresses are both birthday gifts and couldn't be more different. And yet, I love them equally. How can that be?

Let me tell you.

To find out how the DMD is gearing up for a fashionable fall, click on over to my Shooting For Hip column at Better Than A Playdate...

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Saturday, September 13, 2008


The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Living the dream

I don't know how you do it.

You working moms, I mean.

Especially you working moms who are far more beleaguered than I am. Especially you working moms with more than one child, little family support and a killer commute which takes you to a job you don't enjoy for a wage which doesn't do you justice.

Because I have one only one child, a commute (including day care drop off) that takes no more than 45 minutes, a mother-in-law who saves my bacon on a regular basis and a well-paid job I enjoy.

And I am just barely doing it. Just. Barely.

But I also have a husband working 15 hour days and I'm smack dab in the middle of the Toronto Film Festival which means I will once again return home after 9 p.m. tonight.

And I'm seven weeks into a new job where I'm struggling to prove I have the energy and the smarts to succeed in a business full of smart and energetic people.

And as satisfied as I am that I am doing a good job at the office, I find myself wracked with guilt over whether I'm doing a good job at the most important job there is: you know the job I mean.

Tell me, you working moms, is it always like this?

Would you have sighed in exasperation this morning when your mother-in-law approached your car? Would you have been calculating how many precious seconds her conversation would cost you in your race to pick her car up and drop yours (with its car seat) off? Would you have smiled tightly and prayed that exchanging basic pleasantries wouldn't make you late for work again?

Would your heart have sunk with shame, as mine did, when she leaned through the car window, kissed you on the cheek and said, "I know you're in a rush but I just wanted to wish you a happy birthday dear"?

I had forgotten.

It's my birthday today. I'm 39 years old and undeniably a grown-up.

And also a working mom.

And I don't know how you do it.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

He gets by with a little help from his stuff

Like every other mother I spent the first several months of my child's life terrified by the spectre of SIDS.

Blankets and and soft toys were considered a risk and therefore verboten: I took seriously my responsibility to ensure Graham's sleeping environment was as sparse, and safe, as possible

These days, having survived his infancy, Graham is now serious about the accouterments of slumber.

Apparently he is determined to make up for lost time.

The items - the many, many items - that Graham takes to his crib every night are not optional. If just one of them is not present and accounted for, he will scream absolute bloody murder.

Just for fun, see how many of Graham's nightly must-haves you can pick out in the unretouched, pre-bedtime photo below:

1. Winnie the Pooh blankie commonly referred to as "Nice and Cozy"
2. Blue and white blankie
3. Yellow blankie (just a scrap now)
4. His doggie
5. A bath towel (don't ask, I have no idea)
6. His tiger (actually a cheetah but misidentified as a tiger on day one and therefore now a tiger)
7. Baby Dave (obviously)
8. His parrot
9. His bottle (actually a sippy cup full of water)
10. A Kleenex

You think it's crowded now?

Wait until his future wife and children take up residence.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

I'm baaaack!

Did you miss me?

I missed you too, though I can't believe a week has passed already.

I only wish I spent my time off from blogland lounging at home, eating bon-bons and watching my stories, but that isn't quite how it worked out. It's film festival time here in Toronto and life was, and continues to be, busy, busy, busy.

Thank Blog these funny and talented writers were around to pinch hit, allowing me to fulfill work and party obligations, get some rest and even indulge in domestic shenanigans that, surprise!, will likely yield future blog fodder.

Amidst all the festival craziness I will try and resume regular writing here at DMD this week.

For now, though, I leave you with this picture taken yesterday at Norman Jewison's annual film festival barbecue at the Canadian Film Centre where Rob and I just happened to be celebrating six years of wedded bliss.

Happy anniversary Robbie - I love you.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

The Saga of Creepy Whistling Dude Part II – Gumball Rally

*Every once in a while you read a post that breaks your heart. When I read this one at Auds at Barking Mad I was shattered. And also? A fan for life. When I got invited to her dinner party shortly afterwards it sealed the deal. Auds might indeed be barking mad , but she writes about it so well that I just want to come along for the ride. You will too, promise.*

It’s been a busy week here at Casa Barking Mad; Meg is getting ready to head off to college on Saturday (don’t even get me started on that, or the tears will flow! I am not old enough to have a daughter in COLLEGE!), my battle with depression rages on, the hubby was away on a business trip, and I’m still trying to follow up and read all the wonderful dinner party contributions. Then it hit me, I have a guest post I need to send off to Kelly over at Don Mills Diva!

When Kelly first asked me to guest for her I was all; “Woahhhhh, are you SERIOUS? Me? You do still want to have a readership when you get back don’t you?”

However, she was serious, and I was flattered. Completely. And. Totally. Flattered. It’s not everyday someone as awesome as Kelly comes knocking at your Interwebs asking you to pinch hit for her. That was a couple of weeks ago and here I sit, at the literal last minute, trying to pull something amazing out of thin air, so that I don’t send all her many readers fleeing to the furthest corners of the universe and asking themselves, “What was Kelly thinking, asking her to guest post?”

Right when I think I have something that might be worthy of such an honour, disaster strikes! Not once, but twice. No, I didn’t get entangled with any other household appliances…this time it was our dog.

Back in January we decided to add another member to the menagerie here at Casa Barking Mad. As if teenagers, a toddler and two stuck-up cats weren’t already enough, we went and got ourselves a 9-week old Goldendoodle puppy.

See, isn’t he just the cutest little thing you’ve ever seen?

I had always thought I wanted a puppy. But, from the beginning, it was a love/hate relationship with Casey. He annoyed me, he chewed on me, and he peed and pooped everywhere. We tried bell-training him and for a while that worked. He’d run up to the bell and jingle it whenever he needed to go out and take care of business. Then the cats, our two divas we like to call Griffy and Gracie, decided to screw with him. They started playing with the bell which set off something akin to Pavlov’s Response in Casey and he’d pee everywhere. I can’t count how many times I told the hubby we were going to find him a new home. Then he’d do something adorable and I’d cuddle him and couldn’t imagine being without him.

As the months flew by, he grew into a calmer pup, and oh my, did he get seriously adorable as well as HUGE!

Adorableness defined!

He was a lovable walking furball and I finally fell in love with him. Don’t get me wrong, at 10 months old, he’s still got plenty of “puppy” in him, but having mastered; “sit”, “lay down”, “off” and “gimme five”, it’s much more bearable. He’s eager to please and a breeze to train. Oh and best of all, totally house-broken. It’s been months since he’s had an accident.

Casey is a very sociable dog and he loves to romp through our nearly one acre back garden. Directly behind us lives Mr. Creepy Whistling Dude. His evil spawn must have convinced him, after me telling them time and time again that, “No you can not have my dog, yes I know he’s cute as hell and fun to play with, but he is MINE!” that he needed to get them a dog of their own.

Enter Josie. I think she must be a beagle puppy. Josie is, to put it politely, a pain in the ass. She’s little and digs her way under the fence and CWD’s offspring spend hours yelling over the back fence to try and get Josie back in her own yard. Sometimes they start yelling at precisely the same time CWD begins his morning repertoire of whistling tunes to popular horror movies, 5:30AM, or thereabouts. By the way, I abhor whistling. It’s worse than nails on a chalkboard and right up there with sitting next to someone who chews with their mouth open.

Here’s the hubby, trying to escort Josie back into her own yard:

Well, sometimes Josie stays in her own garden or gets taken inside, and sometimes she ends up right back in our yard looking for her buddy Casey. On several occasions I’ve noticed the demonic seed of CWD pelting Josie with something small in order to get her attention and to entice her to go back into her own domain. I assumed they might be small rocks. No wonder she wouldn’t race back into their arms. I’d probably bite someone if they threw rocks at me! Yesterday I realized with shock and horror what exactly they were pelting at the beagle puppy.

I was brushing Casey and noticed he had something sticky between his front paws. Then I noticed huge wads of this stickiness matted into his fur in about 14 different places. Huge, chewed wads of bubble gum were stuck and deeply imbedded in Casey’s thick coat. In some places it was next to his skin. All four paws were covered in gum and it was way down between his toes.

Those little mother-effers! I seriously wanted to rub ancient chewed gum into their hair and then glue their toes together. I was livid. Casey was obviously troubled by all the gum and I didn’t have a clue how to get that much gum out of thick curly and shaggy dog hair.

In tears, I phoned the local dog groomer who offers pick up and drop off service and told them what happened. When the owner of the grooming salon came to get Casey she told me they might have to take most of his coat off in order to get all of the gum and that it may take several hours. I told her that was fine and I’d call later in the day to check on him.

About three hours later I phoned the groomer and was told they’d finally gotten his coat off and that yes, they did have to remove it all and were about to shampoo him and finish grooming. I asked her if I was going to be shocked when I saw him again and she said that I would, but that he was still adorable and the coat would grow back in no time.

I remember feeling the same exact way, back in March when we took the cats for their lion cuts; a bit anxious, slightly apprehensive and something close to frightened that I wouldn’t know how to react when I saw them afterwards. My cats, whilst shockingly different looking didn’t elicit quite the same response as when I first saw Casey after he was brought home. I wasn’t even sure it was my dog.

Casey, afterwards:

I can say with absolute certainty that I didn’t get a greyhound puppy back in January and at this moment in time, that’s exactly what Casey resembles. My heart is a little broken for my poor naked puppy, but thank goodness his coat will grow back relatively quickly, and he’ll once again be my huge shaggy friend. For the time being, he feels like something akin to chenille…warm, breathing chenille, wrapped around my ankles at the moment, snoozing away and totally oblivious to everything except my occasional rubs on his belly and crinkling of his downy soft ears.

I love this dog, naked or not.

Oh and CWD? He won’t be whistling Dixie any time soon!

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Define normal please

*Motherbumper is one of the first blogs I ever started reading and more than a year later it is still one of the most unique and original voices out there in the blogosphere. Katie has a quirky way of looking at the world that never fails to make me laugh - and also seethe with jealously over how effortlessly witty she is. Who else could seamlessly incorporate Chuck Norris into their blog on a regular basis? Enjoy!*

This week, for the zillionth time since becoming a parent, I got whacked in the face with reality.

Reality is the thing I try to ignore because I sure do prefer the life-long movie I've had running in my head. You know: the one starring me, where I'm never wrong and I'm adored by everyone. Come on, I know I'm not alone in understanding what life-long movie, complete with soundtrack and occasional voice-overs, is all about.

By the way, if you don't know me, I'm katie from motherbumper. I'm slightly delusional and pretty much in a weird place at all times. I'm not very lonely in the blogosphere because from what I read on other blogs, it appears that there are many other folks out there that are just like me.

But I also feel the need to clarify that in real life, I don't really appear that strange. In fact, I appear pretty damn normal. Yet the inner workings of my head, the stuff that spills out online, well it's more than slightly different. In reality, I look like a quiet mouse, using my quasi extro/introvert tendencies to conduct my ongoing observations and research. I really do consider myself a bit of an anthropologist who specializes in examining the craziness of ordinary, but that's not where I was going with this post. By the way, tangents happen to me often and trust me, I know that they are more painful for you than me.

This also might be a good time to mention that I'm notoriously lazy and am out to prove that the "lazy mom's method" concerning important parenting stuff, like potty-training for instance (e.g. buy the potty, point it out, and let it be used as a dust-collecting device for months on end) - well I'm out to prove that this "lazy mom" methodology doesn't really work that well.

Perhaps I could consider myself an example for "not what to do" in the genre of parenting, but I think most of the time I just make other parents feel like rockstars. I'd like to think the majority of caregivers at least take the time to explain the basic fundamentals of using the potty instead of just pointing and saying "it might be a good idea to start using that thing over there. Good luck with that, kid".

But back to getting whacked in the face with reality; in the past few weeks some of our friends have had their second child. Every single member we know of got-kid club seems to be adding an "s" to "kid".

Recently we went to visit my friend Xia, who I met in parenting class. Our particular parenting class was a free public health new-mommy-clusterf*ck, with about a dozen women, each slightly baby-brain insane. I met Xia the second week and her daughter was this teeny tiny newborn with a full head of hair. Gigi was almost four months old and already proving how much of a handful she was going to be in coming months.

Over the next two months Xia and I saw each other every week but never really talked. Yet we obviously liked each other because on the last day of class we exchanged phone numbers and walked away with plans to meet for a mom&tot movie the next week. Later we shared that we made this plan because the idea of having nowhere to go the following week, meant we were retreating back into our homes with our babies to go ever so slightly more insane.

Anyhow, our families are now friends and they just had another baby and bought a new home. So here we found ourselves - our two families - sitting around their beautiful new home, having a few celebratory drinks while passing around the new baby.

And that is when it hit me - brace yourself, it's a doozy of a realization - good golly, I've become a responsible and normal member of society.

As weird as I consider myself and slightly offbeat, somehow I've achieved something very normal, very calming, and somewhat responsible.As I've tried to eschew the "expected" things that a parent is "supposed" to do and retain our slightly-nonconformist ways, I've still managed to produce and raise a pretty normal kid.

Somehow in doing my best to examine and question all the information that has flooded and nearly drowned my senses since having a child, combined with my my abject laziness and penchant for only doing the bare minimum, I've still managed to keep it together and make what I believe have been the best decisions for my family.

That is, my darling Gigi hasn't joined a gang (yet), she isn't feral (it was a close one), she isn't the playground pariah, and we haven't become the grifter family I kind of expected us to become. We have turned out to be a pretty darn normal family. Period.

Am I disappointed that we are so normal? Nope. Not one freakin' bit. In all my years of trying to stay as far away from normal as possible, I've realized that there is some kind of wonderful with embracing my inner ordinary and making it all shiny and new to me. You can't tell me that's weird, right?

For me, normal is an accomplishment and I feel damn proud. But of course, that doesn't mean I, per se, am normal - just I've got a pretty normal family and that makes me smile. I, on the other hand, am completely wackidoodle crazy which just makes achieving responsible and normal even that more special.

Ack, my head hurts from the exertion of figuring this all out, I need a nap.

By the way, I must say a huge thank you to Kelly for offering me the keys for the day and I'm extremely pleased that I kept my swearing to a minimum in this pretty Don Mills Diva space. I'm kind of surprised I was able to do that. This is definitely a red-letter week. Bring it on.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Leather Tragedy Turned Supple

*I had never heard of Moosh in Indy before I emerged from under a rock last July and attended the BlogHer conference. And then I fell in love. I fell in love with a tiny, brave, heart-breakingly articulate Mormon who stood onstage and read this post about a suicide attempt in front of 1,000 people. Once home I stalked her site obsessively and learned she does funny just as brilliantly as she does poignant. I am honoured she is writing here today folks: honoured.*


Long ago in a land far away Casey caught site of a purse. A big purse, a colorful purse, a pretty purse.

"My my!" Said Casey, "That purse! It's so perfect! It must be mine!"

Casey saved up her Christmas money and made the pretty leather patchwork purse hers.

It was the first "big girl" purse Casey had ever owned. She loved her purse, others loved her purse. Casey's 80 year old grandma tried to steal the purse, the 16 year old baby sitter tried to steal the purse. Casey's small town mother in law tried to steal the purse, Casey's very hip neighbor tried to steal the purse.

"My my!" Casey said "What fine taste I have in purses!"

Casey would see other purses, but none ever compared to her purse, she loved it. She swore that as long as she lived she and the purse would never part ways.

That was until a hot muggy night in August. Without any warning the strap on Casey's beloved purse snapped. SNAPPED! Causing the purse to fall to the floor with a spine chilling thud.

Two ladies down the aisle gasped along with Casey "GASP! Was that a Coach?"

(as if the brand of the purse makes its loss any greater.)

"No! But I loved it so! It was my first. real. purse." (and we all know we never forget our first, right?)

Casey was devastated, her shoulder felt so empty. She carried around the battered and wounded purse like an injured cat and promised that she would fix the purse, and make all right with the universe.

Act II

Casey entered the store where she had first set eyes on the purse. She had heard they had a good reputation and was only hoping to be reimbursed for the repair to her wounded buttery leather strap. Casey found the keeper of the purses and showed her the destrapped purse.

"OH NOES!" cried the purse lady "We must make this right! Come! Let us find you a NEW! purse."

Just like that a new purse was shoved into Casey's lonely arms and the old, well loved purse was sent off to an uncertain fate.

Casey would be lying if she didn't admit to getting a little misty eyed over the thought of what her old purse was about to go through.

Alas, there was no duplicate of Casey's original purse, so she was given the red headed stepchild of her old purse.

It was so different.

But Casey was determined to treat this new purse as her own.

The compliments started coming with Casey's new purse. She was slowly learning to like this purse, and was genuinely hoping that this like would turn to love. But as with many first dates, on the purse's first day out it showed its fatal flaw, a seam that had never been sewn together properly.

"Blast!" said Casey "Can't I ever win?" she cried in despair.

It was back to the purse store, to trade in yet another damaged purse. Instead of cheapening her loss with a new purse of the same style that may have lurking fatal flaws, Casey took her money back and turned her eyes towards a new horizon: eBay.


This was not Casey's first time with eBay. eBay had been a go to for years before, ever since she bought her first maternity shirt on eBay almost four years ago. She searched for a new purse, one which could fulfill all her dreams and fill the void the original purse had left. SUDDENLY! There it was!

Casey and the new purse bonded instantly.

"I have found it!" she proclaimed.

Bidding occurred.Winning resulted.Six days later Casey's empty shoulder and homeless wallet had a new home in a flawless bag.

While Casey believed she could never love again after the original bag, this new bag proved that love the second time around was possible.

Not only possible but sweeter, all thanks to PayPal and eBay seller CutiePuppy1985.


-- mooshinindy.com -My personal site, only slightly more awesome than new haircut.
indianapolis.savvysource.com -I'll show you the best that Indy has to offer your preschooler.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I'm Not Diva-Worthy

*I love people from Texas: I just wanna take every last one of them out for beers. And McMommy is exactly how I imagine all Texans to be: boisterous, funny, hospitable and somehow proud as hell and hilariously self-depreciating all at the same time. Crack open a cold one and enjoy!*

Sometimes you are just going about your day….la-la-la-la…….and BAM!!!!!!

You get an email from THE DON MILLS DIVA.
Asking you to guest post.


Of course, I emailed her back in 1.2 nanoseconds telling her “Sure!”….although my fingers were shaking so bad I could barely type. But I had to respond before she could change her mind and realize what a terrible mistake she has made.

There are so many reasons I am not qualified to guest post for her.
So as not to completely embarrass myself with the length of my original “I’m Not Diva Worthy” list…..I figured I would narrow it down to a somewhat less humiliating top three reasons.

1. Her name.
She has this AMAZING blog name: The Don Mills DIVA.
Heck, she has the word “DIVA” right there in it so you know she’s kick ass.
I have made up words in my blog name.
Plus, I am a “chronicle” which just sounds like some little, annoying, freakish fairytale creature.
And truly, if a “Diva” were to fight a “chronicle”…..who would win?
As if I even needed to tell you.
Just take one look at the header of this blog.
The Diva would totally put the smackdown on the chronicle with that iron.

2. Her content.
The Diva is the thinking person’s blogger. She delves into such topics as the hypocrisy of Western morals and makes it interesting and a worthy read. You most likely feel smarter and more worldly after reading her blog posts.
Me, on the other hand?
Um yeah…I’m the one who talks about Drunk Mom Chicken Fighting.
(I can’t tell you how embarrassed I am just to type that here on the Diva’s blog.)

3. She can multi-task like no other.
She’s a mom, a wife, and works in the Toronto film industry. She has not one but TWO blogs. She shares her product reviews and recipes….about delicious, healthy, homemade treats such as Gluten-Free Crispy Honey Almond Bars that have good-for-you ingredients like flax and dry-skim milk powder.
The chronicle?
Can barely handle one blog.
Manages to completely squash any ounce of health out of a basic recipe like Oatmeal Raisin cookies by omitting ingredients like pureed zucchini and raisins. Instead, she adds CANDY to her recipes such as Raisinettes.
Is so ditzy she left her purse in the driveway and drove away not even realizing it. Until she came home. And pulled into her driveway. And saw this:

Ok, that being said…..I DO have one thing that The Don Mills Diva doesn’t.

(It’s true. I do.)
And…an immune system that should be serving time at the state prison for murder.

Jealous much, Don Mills Diva??

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Monday, September 1, 2008

Beware: I will steal your sons

**How do you solve a problem like Maria? You don't, you just don't. This woman has a raw talent for the written word that leaves me as breathless as her tee-shirts and I'm honoured to call myself a fan and a friend. There's no solving Maria - the best thing to do is just to sit back and enjoy the incomparable Immoral Matriarch in all her brilliant, profane glory.***

Kelly says fack.

I say fuck.

I thought we should just get that out of the way now. If you think your eyeballs will dissolve in your skull from seeing expletives scattered about in a blog post you may want to click away until tomorrow's guest arrives. My fingertips have Tourette's. Ok. Moving on!

I'm Maria. I'm sure K gave me a fabulous introduction [she'd better have: *shakes fist*] but just in case she didn't, that's who I am. I blog at Immoral Matriarch. Not ImmorTal, immoral. I am very aware that I could drop dead at any moment, thank you. Cross your fingers that I don't because I had a dream last night that Joe Biden went on a crazy rampage and murdered me in front of the Obama family and thousands of supporters at a rally because I whispered 'Biden's hair looks like a fluffy cloud helmet' to my friend and he heard me with his super sonic ears. Wha'? Stop laughing. Stop. It's not funny. Stop! You're an ass dude, seriously. Sheesh.

Alright - the guest post:Kelly is a lucky woman. She has a son. She has adorable little Graham who is very ungrateful and makes sure he never leaves home without his penis. Me? I'm not lucky. I have two beautiful daughters. I wanted sons. I am not lucky.

My girls are the most awesome, cute, spectacular, original, perfect children ever. I would post a picture, but that would just make you so jealous that you'd stuff your own children down the quick drop box at Blockbuster and I wouldn't want squished kiddies amongst returned DVDs on my conscious. I am happy, but I am not lucky.

I was meant to have sons. Damnitt. When I was pregnant with The Bella, my oldest, I just knew she was a boy. There was not a doubt in my mind that I carried a son. Christian Pierce was to be his name. I was going to let his hair grow hippyishly long and dress him in black tees and tiny shelltoes. I didn't even go in the girls section on my baby shopping expeditions. There was no need. I had a tiny little penis in my belly, and I knew it.

I walked into my 18 week ultrasound ready to see him. Ready to see it. And I saw him. He was perfect, with little arms and legs moving, and he was sucking his thumb! It was amazing. The first time I'd felt connected to my baby. That I realized it was my baby.

But then, just as I realized this realization, the doctor had the nerve to tell me it was a girl.

"No." I said.

"I've been doing this for 20 years and I've never been wrong yet. That's a little girl." he replied.

"You're wrong. Look again." I snapped.

"There -" he said, pointing to a little fuzzy gray patch on the screen. "If there was something there, I'd see it. And I don't. So it's a girl."

I didn't answer. I was silent. I was fucking pissed. I fought back tears. The doctor left, awkwardly, and the nurse handed me paper towels to clean the ultrasound jelly off of my stomach with. I threw them to the ground in the most dramatic fashion and stormed out, tears flowing steadily. My husband shuffled along behind me, stopping at the checkout desk to confirm my next appointment.

I went to the car and yanked on the locked door handle. I yanked some more. I yanked and flailed and screamed and kicked the car, taking out all my aggression on that stupid fucking car and that stupid fucking lock and it's stupid fucking nerve to not open for me - it's master, it's owner, the person that could run it into a tree if it didn't cooperate. And I glared at my stupid fucking husband walking towards me as he took his sweet time pressing the unlock button on the keychain.

"Unlock the stupid fucking door!" I screamed.

And he did. "I'm sorry," he said as we sat down. He put his hand on my leg. "I guess I just make girls."

I ignored him and fought back the urge to say 'I guess so, you stupid fucking pansy man'. We got home, and I ran into the closet. I cried. He came in and hugged me, and let me cry on his shoulder. I can't tell you why it hurt me so badly, but it did. I did not want a girl. I would now go so far as to say that at that point, I did not want a baby at all if it wasn't a boy.

Of course that changed. I love my daughter. I fell in love with her the moment I saw her little 3D ultrasound face.

When it was time to find out what my second was, I didn't have my hopes up. In the year and a 1/2 of my firstborn's life I'd discovered that having a little girl wasn't so bad. It was actually pretty fun. So when they said it was a girl, I didn't have one little tingle of pain or sadness. It was fine. Who cared?

Of course that was also the point I made the decision to have a tubal ligation performed so there must have been some disappointment. It was evident that the man only shot girls. No more girls. Jesus no more girls.

I still want a son. I'll never have one. So I wasn't lucky. I still see little boys in the mall and at the park and wish I'd had one. A mama's boy. A little man that I could teach to have insane ideals and paint for him the picture of a perfect woman that he could never attain and thus he would never leave me fully, and his wife would hate that she could never be what he subconsciously wanted in a wife: me.

But I was given what I've got and I couldn't ask for anything better. I get the urge to kidnap random little boys, or maybe just trade out one of my own kids and see if the other parent notices. I frequently see a woman in Target with 4 beautiful, well behaved, boys and wonder if I could just slip one of them in my big red cart without her noticing and run my ass out the door before I could be stopped.

But I don't. I fight these criminal urges. I love raising daughters, and I can't wait to see the women they become. It's been fun so far, and I'm hoping it stays that way. Of course during the teenage years I'm screwed if they're fuck ups. If either of them comes home with an "I'm pregnant, mom." I'll sooooooooo envy the mother of the no-good-too-young-couldn't-keep-it-in-his-pants-twatface that impregnated my daughter.

All that mom will have to hear is "I got somebody pregnant, mom." That'd be soooo much more preferable.

[I couldn't help but post the picture. If you're going to return your children now, at least do it via NetFlix. They have better customer service.]

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