I love dressing up. I am like a little kid about dressing up. Costumes = fun. However, I’m not feeling it this year. Maybe it’s that Halloween is a Sunday. Maybe I am just loving hearing about my friends’ childrens’ costumes. In any case, I’m not feeling the dress-up vibe. I’m not going so far as to call myself an adult or anything, though.

Part of it is so many store-bought costumes. At work yesterday, I saw fairy princesses and superheroes and vampires and witches, all in boring, off-the-rack costumes.

Here’s me showing my age, but I think we did costumes better in my family (Although up until the age of ten or so I don’t know that I saw a store bought costume, so maybe there were fewer of them). We had thrift shop costumes every year, and when we were done with them, they went into a chest of drawers in the attic and were recycled many times over the years. The attic was beside my room, so it’s not like it was hard to get to, and by the time my brother and I were teenagers, we’d just go in and see what was there and augment as we could.

It also precipitated some interesting conversations.

“Hey, do we still have the jawa eyes?”
“They’re down in the basement beside Dad’s phone collection.”
“I’m going to use them on my robot’s chest.”
“I thought you were going as Kaiser Wilhelm.”
“I was. Now I’m Kaiser Wilhelm with a robot. Ian’s being Archduke Ferdinand with a stuffed parrot.”
“Oh, ok. Here’s the God robe. I could turn it into a centurion thing.”
“Mmm. No. It’s still too long. You look like a Mormon.”
“Well, a bit. But not a centurion. You sort of need the hat.”
“Hmm. Where’s the ewok costume? I could make a cavewoman thing with the fur.”
“Oh, the head! I could do a matching purse!”

We probably looked a little weird, but we had a good time.

Two Shots

Another conversation with another student gave me pause for thought.

A is a beautiful twelve-year-old girl. By beautiful, I mean she is gawky and awkward, but is going to emerge from the all-knees-and-elbows stage like a suction cup arrow >THWOCK< on the forehead of a stunned world. People are going to walk into things, they will be staring so hard at this gorgeous girl.

Anyway, she came in to class the other day.
“I had the flu shot,” she said.
“Oh, in school?”
She nodded.
“Ow. Go easy on your arm,” I said. “No volleyball.”

A little while later, she yawned, and apologized. “I’m really tired.”
“Of course you are,” I said. “That flu shot is goofing around with your immune system right now. That takes a lot of energy.”
“Not one shot. Two.”
“Two kinds of flu?” It’s possible, right? H1N1 and some other kind?
She shook her head. Patted one arm. “Flu.” Patted the other arm. “HPV.” And smiled.

To her mother: Thank you for thinking about your daughter’s reproductive health. To the School Board: Thank you for offering this, and understanding that an HPV vaccine isn’t going to turn girls into a pack of promiscuous Bacchae, giving blow jobs in the school parking lots to spotty-faced boys. To the scientists: Thank you for being on this, for working towards a cancer-free world.

Out loud to the girl herself: “I’m really glad you got that.”

Awkward Conversation.

This is a two-parter. E is a curious and forthright girl. I suspect part of her personality comes from being half-Korean and half-German-Canadian. She has seen her parents choose the best of all cultures and is not hindered by any qualms from any culture.

E: Are you married? (Kids ask this a lot. They are curious and they want background, whether they voice it or not.)
Me: Yes (I tell them I am, because for all intents and purposes I am. I just didn’t buy a dress or have to feed and chat to a lot of relatives I don’t like).
E: Do you have kids?
Me: Nope.
E: Will you have them?
Me: No, I don’t want them. I like teaching you kids a lot, though.
E: (Thoughtful silence)

Fast forward a week:

E: My dad divorced his wife and married my mom because his first wife didn’t want kids. Now he has us. Because my mom wanted kids, too.
Me: He’s lucky to have you, and so is your mom.
E: My dad says that if you don’t want kids you can take pills and stuff.
Me: That’s true. There are a lot of options.
E: But my dad wanted kids. He could have them.
Me: (A little exasperated, but hoping to give some information, but not too much, to a ten-year-old. Obviously.) Lots of people want kids, and they’re lucky to have them. But sometimes the things the dad brings to having kids don’t go right, and sometimes what the mom brings doesn’t go right, and it’s tough for some couples. Your parents are lucky to have you and your brothers.
E: But they can adopt, right? If people can’t have kids?
Me: Of course they can.
E: (mollified) That’s good.

These were awkward conversations for me. I hope I didn’t give inappropriate information. But at the same time, the child needs to know that not everyone yearns to reproduce, and that some do, and can’t.

I think. Am I right?

Pie Date

Today I got together with some fantastic women to eat pie.

That elicited a number of ‘whaat?’ responses from the men. “It’s not a lesbian thing”, I told E. With his usual articulate way, he said, “It just sounds…weird.” It doesn’t. He’s weird. It’s just pie.

Anyhow, what was most fun was the fact that we could just sit and talk for a while. Well, that and fab pie. But between motherhood and work and relatives and not wanting to live in unhygienic hovels and making sure there’s enough toilet paper/coffee/band aids, none of us have a lot of time to just…sit and talk. I think for the moms it was especially nice not to have to be moms, at least for a couple of hours.

For me, it was a chance to just hang out with some friends. That doesn’t happen very often these days, with all the other stuff we pack into a day. But since I have known these women for 13, 16, and 21 years, respectively, I know them, beyond their family roles or careers. I know them as people.

I think there’s a reason we’re friends. Actually, that can include all my friends. My friends are smart and funny and interesting, to a person.

That makes me pretty lucky.

Pets Are Insane But Worth It.

So, Baxter’s anger issues seem to be sorted out. We changed his litter box to one he can access from all sides. Maybe the old one got too stench-permeated, we also maybe think. But now he can go in and poop from all angles, and he hasn’t pooped anywhere else for, like a month. Good. So, except for his constant desire to eviscerate the Upstairs Dogs and his irrational hatred of Mr Hunt, The Egg Man, he’s pretty much a happy guy.

Speaking of the Upstairs Dogs, I love them as well, but they make things complicated when they are loose in the backyard. Bella, who looks like a beefed-up greyhound mix, black with orange eyebrows like a rottie, tears around in laps around the yard, occasionally pausing to poop astonishing amounts.

But the real problem is when Moon comes down. Moon’s some kind of silky, all-black lab mix. Moon LOVES me and frequently peers in the window looking to see if I will go out and let her adore me, mostly by trying to sit on my foot, fluttering her eyelashes at me, and occasionally losing bladder control.

The combination of Bella doing laps in the yard and Moon camping out outside the door drives Bax nuts. He doesn’t know if he should keep an eye on Bella by leaping from window to window, ears flattened, or sniff at the door, where Moon is quivering with adulation, right outside. Baxter waiting to attack and Moon waiting to love means no one gets in or out. It’s like a Mexican pet Standoff.

We still love them. Are we nuts?

Leftover Night, or, Random Bullets.

Actually, I don’t even know how to do bullets, so the creamed corn is oozing over onto the lasagna and the mashed potato is wilting the salad. Appetizing, huh? I am so gourmet.

I love Glee, but I do wish they would include the random extra musicians who are always in the background. I think they would make good additions to the cast. You know, Danny the Alto Sax has bunions and longs to take riding lessons. Claire the second violin explores her loathing of football players because she was bullied in high school. That kind of thing. I would dig that.

Some kind of insect bit me as I slept last night. I have these angry bites on my shoulder and fear bedbugs. Vancouver has bedbugs. I do not want bedbugs. Probably it was just a spider (ugh!) but what if it wasn’t?

My car jockey boss has gone on tour with DOA. First of all, how cool is that?! But what it means is that the office assumes I can step into his shoes and just…know everything. Every morning there are 7 emails in my inbox with all conflicting instructions. I’m lucky the garage is patient.

Also, what about all those old rappers on procedural crime dramas? LL Cool J is on NCIS: LA. Ice-T is on Law & Order SVU. Am I missing anybody? When did superannuated rappers turn into the must-have cast member for murder shows?

I’ve been working so, so hard to pay off my student loan. My deal was, get it done by January, and then spend a week in Paris in April, taking photos and maybe popping down to Northern Italy. Except. Except. Christmas rears its ugly head and I may be going to Regina. I dodged it last year, and E tells me that this is not a year when the family goes to the neighbour who serves cold mutton meatballs, but still. Regina, or Paris? What would you choose?

Also, this is selfish, but I don’t want to share Photo-a-day with E’s parents. This is irrational and comes from my having a mother who would not give up until she knew Every. Little. Thing. and would then proceed to take over my decision-making process. I know I get it from that, but I do not want them to know, because they will be so terribly interested in this project. Out of niceness.

So, that’s the random roundup. Me: Itchy, harassed, confused, impoverished, and secretive. You?


“How come there’s nothing on the Internet about training crows?” I asked E the other night.
He looked over at me. “...train crows?”
“Yeah. To, you know, do stuff. They’re smart.”

He had no answer.

I did find the video of the guy who made the crow vending machine, but how about just training them not to be alarmed when I walk past. I pose no threat, crows. I’m going to the bus. I’m going to the store. I’m going to a car. I am not out to hurt you.

The thing is, it’s doable. Corvids are smart. Crows talk to one another. They communicate learned knowledge to each other and down the generations. They have that massive crow meet out at the McDonald’s head office near Willingdon every night, with acres of grass covered in crows.

There’s got to be some way to train them. Just because. I mean, how cool? Or maybe I should just build a crow vending machine in the backyard and rake in other people’s lost change.

About Food.

Max said it first. “I love people with food,” she explained, in the church kitchen. She smiled at me with those crazy hazel eyes full of delight and peace and I felt bathed in love, supported by love.

Somewhere along the way, I became one of those people who makes food to show love. Oh, I’m not a feeder or anything, but if I make food, it is for the people I love. E’s got exclusive rights to the Saskatoonberry crumble that’s in the fridge right now (Thanks for the berries, Sandii!) and there are cookies waiting to bribe the mechanics to work on my cars. I cook for my friends on Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter. Food is my medium of expression. I love good food, and I love giving the people I love good food.

Eating together is one of those things. There’s an intimacy to it. There’s something about eating together that really puts people at ease with one another. We let our guards down. We let other people in. We share the experience of the food. To me, that’s magic.

So I get pretty pissed off with how food is labeled ‘good’ and ‘bad’, particularly to women. You know the drill: Good is low-cal and bad has a lot of fat. Dessert is ‘sinfully good’. How is eating a sin? Is it a sin not to strive to be a waif? Is it actually against God’s will if I eat apple pie and ice cream? God, I know Your eye is on the sparrow, but I seriously doubt that You care if I eat dessert, a slab of lasagne, a steak, some salad, or whatever.

Food: It’s fuel. It’s love. It’s sharing. It is not a sin.

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