Thursday, March 30, 2006

children's past lives

A few years back I read an intriguing book by Carol Bowman, called Children’s Past Lives. It is an account of kids who spontaneously recollect how they used to be soldiers, mothers, painters. She gives plenty of case studies that are eerily convincing.

I remember back then wondering whether my future kid would tell me something too. I wondered if he’d say he was a great saint, a great scientist, or a great artist. I wasn’t clear on specifics. But I knew he was great.

Well, now I have one. And he doesn’t speak yet. So I guess I’ll have to be patient just a little longer.

The other night, however, he crawled onto my chest and made a distinctive growling sound, accompanied by teeth baring and intermittent biting.

I think he was trying to tell me he was a sabretooth tiger. I’m sure he was a great one.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

this is a vent

I have been seriously neglecting my blogging duties. For some reason creativity went out the window. It’s been replaced by idle wall gazing, baby chasing and Harry Potter reading. I fully intend to improve. As soon as I’m done with Harry.

And there’s been no wit or philosophy in the air lately. Spring is in the air. And the only thing on my mind is getting out of the house. Cause I’m cooped up in under-construction-suburbia without a car.

BOO-HOO me… Yeah, you don’t have a car either, and are managing.

Well, try being stuck in a middle of suburbia, surrounded by roads of houses and parks yet to be built, and shopping centres only in the minds of elusive city planners. Through in a baby who can’t even walk yet, a freezing weather and an empty fridge.


That’s, my friends, is how people go crazy. And that’s why they start blogging – so the kid doesn’t think mommy went crazy and is talking to herself.

She does that anyways.

The talking.

“and now we’re going to change your diaper… yes your diaper… cause it’s dirty… and I’m tired… and I need to get new pants… and there are no tomatoes in the fridge… so I can’t make myself a decent sandwich… and I’m hungry… and you’re smiley… and you’re stinky… and when daddy gets home we’ll tell him all we think about him leaving us without the freaking tomatoes… yes we will… yes we will…”

Really. I’m only doing that to encourage his verbal development.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

chicken wings

If I had categories, I would’ve probably put this one with the bulls and cows.

Seriously, I love how the city life has evolved. You need to know nothing about your food nowadays.

I was in a restaurant, and a guy a couple of tables away from mine, was ordering his meal. He wanted chicken wings -- DRUMSTICK VERSION… Not the “can I have drumsticks instead of the wings”, but the drumstick wings, please. Yeah, and I want to meet that chicken. Genetic engineering must be doing wonders out there.

Naturally, given that one could become famous for 'chicken tuna' or 'flying buffalos' (Jessica Simpson, just in case), it’s only fitting that general public would be playing catch up. We all crave our moments of glory, don’t we?

I guess this also explains all the creative diets on the market. Hmmm… I wonder, how many people think that grapefruit diet has something to do with grapes? (It doesn’t? Darn…)

Then again. Maybe it’s the whole customer satisfaction mantra that makes the restaurants do the impossible. I mean, they always get my orders right. In case you’re curious, I always get my French fries steamed. Lettuce version. Cause I’m on a special diet. I only eat pseudo-food.

Monday, March 20, 2006

kid’s got a fever

This was never intended to be a mommy blog. And really it is not. But my kid’s got a fever. Which basically means that I can’t think of much else right now.

Last night the kid woke up feeling hot like a little furnace. And then again this evening. It’s his first fever, so naturally, as calm as I usually like to be, I was freaking out. Calling every number imaginable – parents, doctors, nurses.

Only after countless assurances that he’s ok and does not need to be driven anywhere till tomorrow, and after the amazing invention called “Tempra” kicked in, was I able to relax a bit. And read Harry Potter. Yes, that is my cooping mechanism. I’m hoping to read out a spell that will take care of all this fever nonsense once and for all.

And I have new respect for the kiddo – he took the whole thing a lot better than his parents.

Maybe I should take a tip from him. Next time I feel like crap, I’ll stick a toe in my mouth.

Friday, March 17, 2006

so, how are your progenitors doing?

That’s official. I’m not traveling to Spain. There is no way I’m telling anyone I’m a progenitor to my son. First Gay 'Marriage' Legalized, Now Spain Bans Terms 'Mother' and 'Father'.

“... the Spanish government announced a ministerial order that new births would have to be registered at the State Civil Registries in the Family Book under the headings of Parent (progenitor) A, and Parent (progenitor) B.”

They’ve outlawed “mother” or “father” on a birth certificate. Yeap... Welcome to the 21st century.

What the heck is a “progenitor”? Couldn’t they at least come up with a decent term? If it can’t be a “mama” or a “papa”, can’t they make a “mapa”? Or a “pama”?

Boy, oh boy. I can just imagine the look on people’s faces if I ever had to explain that I’m a “stay-at-home-progenitor”. For some reason the image that pops into my head has nothing to do with child-care. I can’t help but feel sorry for the women in Spain. And their kids.

Now, I’m not interested in getting involved in the gay-rights debate. That is not the point. The point is that I passionately believe that after nine months of wearing tents and dealing with all that comes with the joys of pregnancy (morning sickness, anyone?), I deserve to be labeled “a mother”. And so does every woman out there.

For really, lets face it -- you can debate all the rights till cows come home. But until science catches up with Hollywood, women will still give birth to children. And men will contribute. So, regardless of how the child is going to live s/he will still have a mother and a father. Where is the controversy?

Man, I always thought politics was a joke. Now I think it’s a nuthouse.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

nine years

Nine years… Today is exactly nine years since my husband and I became an item, or rather: a boyfriend and girlfriend. Back then there were no bills, no kid, no worries. Passing a midterm was a number one priority. Not bumping into a professor, whose class we were missing at the moment, was a very close second.

Boy, time has passed, too fast. Jobs, cities, countries… A little bundle of joy, who will, probably just as soon, be asking for his own car keys… Time flies, and is not to be trusted.

Of course we also have a wedding anniversary. But that is hardly as important. For you choose your wedding day. But you don’t choose your first smooch. Or the first time you really know you want to be together with that person for the long haul. And amazingly enough, I still do…

So hon, here’s to another ninety!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

a memo from my nose to me

Dear Mistress,

The abuse I have been suffering over these past few days has prompted me to write you this letter. I sincerely believe that I deserve better treatment from you, given my years of loyal service.

Apart from being slightly slanted, I have always gracefully decorated your face, giving you no reason to be upset with me.

I have always assisted you in identifying dirty laundry from clean, even when it required sniffing through mountainous piles erected by you and your cohabitants.

I have withstood diapers, garbage, and digging out ancient fridge reserves. I have tolerated cooking experiments, that included onions, garlic, chilly peppers and undeterminable spice mixes the smell of which I’m sure I’ll take with me to the grave.

However, these past few days are bordering on intolerable, and I’m very close to resigning from my job as your nose.

I admit that prior to accepting the position on your face I have been notified that about 80% of human body consisted of water. However, nowhere in my contract did it state that I would be responsible for processing it all and at once.

Nor did anyone warn me about the sanding effect of paper towel applied to me every thirty seconds. I was promised occasional gentle taps with soft tissues. You not having the energy to search for those somewhere in the dungeons of the upstairs bathroom was not on the list of possible exceptions.

I’m already red. I know that. But I’m not auditioning for the position on Ronald MacDonald’s face, even if it is a coveted job. So please restrain the “human junior” from poking me in delight.

If my situation is not rectified immediately, I’m fully expecting to fall off.


Your Nose.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

women who want it all

Yesterday Toronto Star ran an article about Canadian women. It presented statistical findings that more of us are on our own then ever before.

The article also quoted a modern “successful” woman about her status, and here’s what she had to say:

“For me, it's probably more of a comfort zone to be single," she said. Monday nights are for volleyball, Tuesday is Spanish class; she just finished looking after a dog in training for the Dog Guides of Canada. She has lots of time for family and friends. (my emphasis)
"I guess I enjoy being single, I enjoy meeting people and having a lot of friends. It's not like I need to be in a committed relationship."

Now, I must add that this is not a sentiment of a recent high-school graduate. This is a 32 year old specialist, who has just broke of with a boyfriend of 18 months. And supposedly she represents a growing number of modern women.

What happened to the women of our generation? I see too many around me who want it all, and are not really willing to give anything up. They have to have a great career, lots of time for hobbies, active social life, travel, etc. Their lives are so over structured and independent that any other human being, be it a husband or a child inevitably becomes a nuisance.

This “me first” sentiment is perplexing. Kids put their needs first, because they don’t know any better. As adults we are supposed to grow out of it and learn that we are not the only ones that matter. But now it seems that the age at which people get to that point is increasing at an exponential rate.

Commitment went from a simple fact of an adult’s life, to a plague to be avoided. Because apparently it restricts our freedom. Freedom of what? A string of meaningless encounters? A short-cut to STDs? Friends who are there for you at the bar, but are too busy with their own careers/hobbies/social life when you actually need them?

In case of the lady quoted above, I find it fascinating that she prides herself on having lots of time for family. As long as it’s others who create it, while she gets to enjoy the Spanish classes.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

an open letter to the academy of motion picture arts and sciences

Dear Academy,

Last night I have attempted to watch the 78th Academy Awards, aka the Oscars. And though I lead a relatively idle life (as I’m sure you presume by expecting me to watch for 3 hours people I don’t know thank people I don’t know for things I couldn’t care less about), I found it a little difficult to fit your program into my limited attention span. Nevertheless, the parts that I have watched were stimulating enough to make me write down a few humble suggestions for next year.

The suggestions:

  • Please include a mandatory modification to the ladies’ dress-code. They should be required to wear prominent labels on their foreheads listing their dress/shoes/make-up/and hair designers. That should spare the “who are you wearing” questions of the pre-show, and allow us to focus squarely on how on earth are those dresses supported (crazy glue?).

  • When such characters as giant apes and emperor penguins are featured in nominated films, it is only fitting to pit them up against each other in the “best non-human actor category.” I am sure that the category would be of no less vital importance to the viewer then the “best sound-mixing” one. And I am sure Chicken Little can find sufficiently festive pants to present the award. If not, there is always Puss-in-Boots, or other equally well dressed animal celebrities, eager to grab the spotlight.

  • We know they’re reading the teleprompt. You know they are reading the teleprompt. Could you please scroll the damn speech at the bottom of the screen, so that if it stalls we don’t have to wonder if the presenters started partying few hours too early?

  • Name the winners, skip the speeches. Please, why pretend anyone cares? You obviously don’t. Or else, after three hours of build up, you wouldn’t cut off the acceptance speech by the best picture award recipients.

  • Those short animation films are short. We’ve never seen them and probably never will. So why not just run them by us instead of black and white pictures of your glory days? You know, most of us have colour TVs now.

  • Perhaps you should consider keeping Jon Stewart, and removing the parts in between. This could be easily accomplished by running “The Daily Show”. That way he won’t have to worry about keeping the jokes politically correct. And we won’t have to worry that you’ve got to him.

  • I have no comments about the song numbers. In fact that is the one part of the show you should be pimping to the Grammys.

If these suggestions are too difficult to implement, please consider a change in the marketing strategy of the show. If you run it on the Discovery-Health channel, you could effectively promoted it as a reliable insomnia remedy.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

a dedication to my microwave

When we purchased our new house, we ended up having to buy new appliances, for previous owners couldn’t part with their precious stainless steel toys. Which was good. We were picky about appliances too, and have selected rather fancy stuff (at least by our previous standards). And since we were so snobby about the big ticket items, we decided to go for a fancy microwave as well, to keep the “harmony” of the kitchen. We wanted something different from the old Wal-Mart variety. We wanted one with bells and whistles.

As we presented our demands to the sales person, she was so excited at the prospect of selling us a pricey item, that she almost convinced us to get a flying/cooking/cleaning/baby-sitting microwave. Tempted, but restrained by somewhat sensible budget, we decided to go middle of the road. We zeroed in on one with “built-in-sensors”. And a knockout stainless steel look.

It had an amazing range of buttons. My favorite was “Sensor-Cook”. Somehow, in my mind’s eye, I visualized pressing that one button and having a wonderful homemade meal pop out. I presume that in my husband’s mind’s eye there was a picture of me pressing that button too. And, of course, the sales person told us that that’s all the cooking effort we would need to exert.

However, upon setting up the precious purchase on the countertop of the aforementioned new house, I quickly realized that there was more to the button-pressing. I had to find an appropriate number on the dial. And I had to input appropriate weight of the meal in question. Not to mention that things had to be turned, spaced and poked…

Sadly, I realized, we’ve been duped. This microwave was just like all the others. The user friendly interface turned out to be as self-explanatory as programming a new VCR.

Disillusioned I dwelt in a state of cooking depression for days. Even unholy thoughts of returning the microwave back to the dealer have crossed my mind. And had I not been so lazy, I probably would have done it.

Then came the fateful night when we decided to rent a movie. But what is a movie without popcorn? Mentally preparing to have to sort through instructions in order to figure out the power level, time, and all the other variables of popcorn making, I reached for the popcorn package in the drawer. At that moment my eyes scanned the microwave dial, and noticed a button I have never paid attention to before.

There it was, loud and clear. The pinnacle of modern technology. A button that simply stated “Popcorn”.

Hardly breathing, terrified that my luck would run out I quickly stashed the package inside the microwave and pressed the button. That was it. No other actions were required. A few moments later the scrumptious smell of butter-popcorn filled the house. My faith in life has been restored.

And as I ate that popcorn I found myself having a bright vision of the future. Suddenly I knew, with unshakable certainty, that one day there will be a microwave with just one button -- “DINNER”.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

self-checkout at the grocery store

Yes, I can understand that in a rush hour, when there are lots of us, struggling homemakers, with carts topped to the max, and you only have your can of pop and a bag of crackers, you’ll want to scan it yourself just to get out of the joint. And kudos to you for the initiative.

But now some stores take this self-checkout to a whole new level. At Dominion (a Canadian big chain grocery superstore) if you shop late at night, you’ll find yourself self-scanning even if you buy half their stock.

Which is precisely what happened to me.

There I was with my whiny 10 month old and a cart piled sky high with groceries, approaching an idle cashier.

“Well ma’am, it’s past 12, ma’am. You’ll have to do it yourself over there”. And she showed me one of those contraptions.

Incredulously I looked at her and said, “But surely, I’m the only customer, and you are here, wouldn’t it be faster if you just scan it through?”

“It’s the store policy ma’am.”

She left me there and went to her post. Two feet away. Making sure I don’t stash away a carrot.

Something that would have taken her a minute to go through, took me half an hour. And the condescending manner in which she kept fixing my mistakes on her little computer, made it feel like a cashiering lesson.

How ridiculous of me not to understand that those peppers are not the peppers on the picture! The peppers on the picture are green, I have red ones, so I have to go into a submenu for the produce and type in a special code! It’s so darn obvious! And even though the kiwi is sold by quantity and not by weight, I still have to put it on the scale. Oh, and the 20 identical baby food jars have to be scanned AND bagged INDIVIDUALLY! I got to learn so much! And it only cost me $200.00!

At least the apples were easy. The little codes were already glued on. Fit just perfect with the paraffin coating and the pesticides marinate. All that’s missing now are little robots inside...