Thursday, September 30, 2004

Social Gaff

Are you ever innocuously doing something and all of a sudden someone incorrectly points out some horrible social gaff you’ve apparently made in front of everyone? And then you get this cold feeling in your stomach as it plunges into your intestines, and you feel like crying (not so much because of the alleged gaff, but because someone would embarrass you in front of everyone and assume that they’re so superior to you that they know a social mistake when you, clearly, do not). Then they see the look on your face, and try to make it better by joining you or making idle chit chat, and you just really want to tell them to fuck off, but you just put your headphones on instead and drop out of the conversation.

No? I guess it’s just me then.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

My Little Man

He stands there, like a squirming sentry in his white Gi. Stripes traverse the ends of his red and black belt, evidence of past triumphs. Despite his attempts to stand still and listen, his body is in continual motion – just small movements of the toes, fingers, and eyes. I know it’s difficult for him to stand so still. I’m impressed with his self control.

He performs his unarmed defense in near perfect form, stretching and bending in ways I could not imitate. All arms and legs. But his shoulders are broader now than they were last year, on their slow journey to maturity. He strikes with authority and precision, and it surprises me. To see such intensity in my sweet, passive child. Then a deep and forceful “Kia!” brings an end to the session. Even his voice sounds aggressive. Was that my boy? Yes. I’m taken aback. It’s as if I don’t know him at all – this intense, mature boy before me. He turns and sees me. A quick wink and a thumbs up from him reminds me that it’s just a bit part. Another side of the same silly, amazing boy and I breathe again.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

My Little Girl

With thoughtful eyes she watches me put on my makeup. She likes to watch me do this, for some reason. Every once in a while I pass her something, a lipstick, the blusher, and allow her to put some on herself. I notice that she is remarkably accomplished at putting it on. I hand her my perfume. She upturns it, then pulls the top off carefully, and dabs the contents on her neck.

She helps me pin my hair up. She smiles. I walk to my closet, and she follows, trailing her blanket and stuffed cat behind her. I select something black. She suggests the floral red skirt that I bought but have rarely worn. I smile. But we go with the black skirt with cream lilies.

She tells me that I look beautiful and I tend to agree with her. Grandma arrives and off she goes, showing her grandmother all of her earthly treasures, piled under her bed.

My little girl. My last baby. So little, but growing up so quickly. Slow down, sweet child. What’s your hurry?

Monday, September 27, 2004

Lucky, Lucky Girl

Eight and a half years ago I had my heart stopped, my lungs rhythmically inflated and deflated by a machine, my back cut open 6 inches, and my ribs separated. A nice chunk of my aorta was removed and replaced by Gortex™. All this to cure a congenital birth defect called a coarctation of the aorta. I was twenty four. My little Frankie was 6 months old.

It was scary for everyone but me (and Frankie since he doesn’t remember it). I seem to have floated through that year and a half ordeal of diagnosis and correction in an oblivious fog. After a quick recovery, I started graduate school and went on with my life – and nary gave my condition a thought, except for the occasional recounting of the events to various medical professionals who found it fascinating. “Diagnosed so late in life, and while pregnant? How rare.” “And you made it through the birth ok? Hmm.”

I haven’t bothered to check in with my cardiologist for my annual check-up in four or five years. I barely thought about it. Sure, every year Mom and I go on the Heart & Stroke Mother-Daughter Walk. But that was it. Once a year I thought about how lucky I was to be alive, and then I went back to eating poorly and rarely exercising.

Until this year. After soliciting donations from my co-workers, I thought I’d check online (out of morbid curiosity) for some stats on coarctation patients. Here’s what would likely have happened to me if I hadn’t had my coarctation properly diagnosed and treated:

“The mean survival rate of patients with untreated aortic coarctation was 35 years, with 75% mortality by 46 years of age. Most developed systemic hypertension, usually during childhood, and ultimately, by the fifth decade, left ventricular failure.”

I’m 33. That means that I had a good chance of being dead in two years, possibly 13 if I were lucky. And I am lucky. I’m lucky that my doctor (whom I’d just switched to because I was pregnant) noticed my heart murmur and actually did some tests on it. Doctors had told me I’d had a murmur my whole life and no one, not one doctor had ever checked it out. And I was too young and stupid to know that it should have been checked. I was lucky that more tests revealed that I didn’t have a pulse in my ankles. Plus I had high blood pressure and hypertension during my pregnancy. I was luck that my cardiologist, GP, and OB were excellent, excellent, excellent. While they wanted me to abort the pregnancy, they were VERY supportive when I didn’t. There were 14 medical professionals in the delivery room with me and I was lucky that little Frankie has turned out fine.

I was basically given a second chance and I just about pissed it away. But with my Heart & Stroke guidebook in hand, I’m turning a new leaf. I’ve booked an appointment with my cardiologist. I’ve started taking a ½ hour to hour brisk walk every day (4 days and counting so far), I’m eating heart-friendly foods, and I’m going to get to my ideal BMI slow and steady – 1 pound per week. And, I’m realizing that it’s about being healthy (and alive), not about being thin. I’ve tried becoming more fit and failed in the past, but I never thought of it as life or death before. That changes everything.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Who Knew?

Recently, I've noticed my blogging life spilling over into my "real" life. Let me explain.

I started blogging so that I could say whatever I want without consequence, improve my writing, and meet interesting people. I think I've accomplished all of these things with varying degrees of success. Now, I've got to add another "bonus" to the list of blogging benefits that I didn't expect.

I was an anonymous blogger at first, but a few family members, friends, and colleagues found out about my blog (my lips flap like laundry-line clothes in a windstorm when I've had too much red wine) and at first I was nervous about what they'd think about my posts. But, after a few conversations, in particular one with my mother (thanks, Mom), I decided that this is my blog and if you don't like what I've got to say, then don't read it.

That attitude has really been a turning point for me. And that's what's started to leak over into my "real" life. I'm a middle child (which explains a lot in and of itself) and I've always been the one to keep peace and worry about whether or not people like me. Lately, though, I've decided that I like me, and if anyone else does, that's a bonus. People really respond to that - in a good way. I've been voicing my opinions, standing my ground, and just saying "yeah, this is me and that's how it is" - not to the point of being obnoxious or anything - and it's been terrific.

So, that's yet another reason to keep on blogging. Cheers.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004


I’m wearing my indignation like an itchy wool sweater today. I might take it off later if it becomes too uncomfortable. But for now, I’m wearing it like a sackcloth, martyr style. You see, I hate golf. Not so much the sport itself, although I’m no great fan, but rather, my husband playing golf. He actually hadn’t played for quite awhile, but I knew he loved it, and I have encouraged him to play more. So now he is. I think that I had quietly hoped that he wouldn’t – that he’d choose to spend Sunday with me and the kids rather than golf, but I was mistaken.

And every time he prepares to play, or comes back from playing, I try not to make a big deal out of it. And every time, I do. Just little passive-aggressive remarks about how much time he’s expecting me to spend with the kids all alone, and how it’s my weekend too, and how now I get to spend six or twelve, or more hours doing something I like (which I never do, since I don’t want to get away, I want him to be here), until he finally blows up and I say all innocent “What?”

And I did it again last night. I hate myself for doing it. I just can’t seem to keep my mouth shut. And then I hate Arthur for not saying the right things when I complain. He doesn’t know what the right thing to say is, of course, and I can’t tell him. (Boys are really stupid, but that’s a different post). So I’m going to tell you, faithful bloggers, and if Arthur happens to read it then it’s out of my control.

I want Arthur to want to spend his free time (his play time) with me – not just the daily routine stuff. And if Arthur has to give in to his friends and go golfing, I want him to propose time that he will be spending just with me – like a date. And he can’t make the plans after I’m pissed off – he needs to have them at the ready – and within a couple of days of the golf game. I don’t want him to suggest that I make plans with the wives of the guys he’s going golfing with – that’s just a way of dismissing me. I’m not saying that I don’t want to spend time with my girlfriends, I just don’t want to spend time with Arthur’s friends’ strange wives. Also – there’s a huge difference between occupying myself and the kids while Arthur’s gone and actually having plans that I look forward to. I don’t want to be the person he wants to escape from but with.

God, I sound like one of those whiney wives I make fun of. Just a moment of weakness that I won’t repeat. This stays between you and me, ok? Now, shhhh, Arthur’s coming and I’ve got to take off this fucking awful sweater.

Monday, September 20, 2004

The Catholic-Jewish Guilt Arc

If you don’t understand Carmi’s comments on the Catholic-Jewish Guilt Arc, then I need to tell you a little story. I was hocking some chocolate bars for one of the million school fund raisers that I’m subjected to each year, and Carmi, being the supportive friend that he is, offered to purchase one.

The bars were $3. He had a $5 bill that I couldn’t break or a $2 coin (this is Canada, people). I didn’t want to take the $5 because I would feel bad about owing him money. He didn’t want to give me the $2 because he would feel equally horrible about owing me money. We had to turn to our Protestant colleague, who took Carmi’s $5 and gave him $3 to pay me. She was able to make it through the day knowing she owed Carmi money and paid him back the next day.

That, my fellow bloggers, is the Catholic-Jewish Guilt Arc. We often have to have Protestants intervene with their guiltless consciences to get things done.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Do you really want to go there?

Arthur's mother left a wonderful message on our answering machine on Friday. She wanted to know if we were still alive and living at the same address. Obviously, we haven't returned her call.

If you happen to be reading my blog, Nora, yes, in fact we are still alive, and currently residing at the same location. And, for future reference - don't try the guilt thing on me. I was raised Catholic and I can out-guilt you without raising my heart-rate. Also, my mother has sole discretionary rights on the guilt card. You picked abrasive hyper-activity. Mom picked guilt. You can't go changing the rules. Now, go scrub something, you're pissing me off.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Hitchhiker Gallery

Here's some interesting photos and artwork from the upcoming H2G2 movie.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Adonis Finis

Part One and Part Two

“I don’t know if I’ll bring anyone,” I reply to the bride-to-be as the seamstress takes up the hem to my cream and rose floral nightmare of a gown, “Are there going to be any cute single guys there?”

She smiles. “He will be there.” I don’t say anything for a little while. Memories of past encounters float through my mind. There is no denying that he is quite lovely, and I’m not seeing anyone right now. It’s been almost three years, though. People change.

“Is he seeing anyone?” I ask.

“I can find out,” she replies and in an instant she’s on the phone with her fiancé. Phone calls are made. Casual questions are asked. Information is gathered. A nasty breakup has recently occurred and he has no plans to bring anyone. Perhaps he will meet someone at the wedding, the groom suggests. Plans are set in motion. I will not bring a date and I will see if we can’t finally get together. Of course, he knows nothing of my plans.


Throughout the ceremony, I search the congregation, looking in vain for my fair Adonis. Has he changed that much? I cannot find his crazy mop of hair, his tan skin, or his liquid blue eyes anywhere in the crowd. Either he has undergone extensive plastic surgery, or he is simply not here. I’m voting for the latter.

Several hours of photos later, the bridal party enters the reception hall via a long staircase. As I descend, I once again search the crowd of faces. And once again, I cannot locate my Adonis. He has unwittingly stood me up!

The greeting line is long and unbearable, and I recognize hardly a soul. I shake hands without registering faces, until a deep, quiet voice mumbles, “Hello.” I look up to meet the face. It’s changed, but it’s his. The tousled, mass of curls has been replaced with a military-style crew cut, his sinewy body has filled into that of a man’s form, and he’s wearing a suit. But his eyes are the same. And his smile.

I play it cool. So does he. “Yes, I remember you from the groom’s 19th birthday party. Was that you?” Little do I know the groom has shared my plot not ten minutes earlier. My cover is blown, and he has pre-empted my strike. Before he moves on he murmurs directly in my ear, “Save me a dance?” Something electric shoots down my spine.

I stand there flushed, and flustered, greeting people I do not know. I avoid looking in his general direction throughout dinner. Now that I’ve lost the upper hand, I feel stupid and exposed. I drink too much wine and dance the first dance with one of the letches in the bridal party. Do I want to be fondled by this sot all night? I ask myself. I know the answer, of course.

When the next song begins, I gather my courage and search him out. We dance. It feels right. He smells like cologne and brown sugar and this is good. He confesses that he was told that a “blonde in the wedding party” wanted to dance with him. He confides that when the bride’s blonde, but very pregnant sister descended the stairs, he considered bolting. He’s glad I’m here. It took a long time, he says. We click. The rest of the night is ours, and ours alone.

And that, my friends, is the story of how I met Arthur, some 11 years ago. May the next 11 be as passionate, if not as whirlwind as the first. Salute.

Pathetic Post

I haven't posted in a millennia and this post is going to be pretty lame. Basically, blogger has eaten my last two very long posts about life, the universe, and pretty much everything and I haven't had the energy to try again.

Quick synopsis: Arthur and I went up to the Bruce Peninsula to check out some cottage locations and it looks pretty good, if somewhat expensive. Had a pretty sucky Sunday because Benjy came down with impetigo. Saturday I had my office over and we had a rocking good time.

I hope to post (or, ahem, re-post) my very insightful rant about Western society's lack of accountability and the blame game, but I'm not sure when I'm going to have time.

Thank you to all the cool bloggers out there who've been reading and I promise to shape up soon.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Big Day For Little Girl

Benjy, my four year old daughter started her first day of junior kindergarten today. It was pretty much a non-event. No sobbing and carrying on like Frankie at her age. She was very excited, and when she got there, she met some other pink-minded girls and off she went.

As Arthur and I walked back to the car, I sniffled, but only because there was a chill in the air.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Google This!

Today is Google's 6th birthday. (Happy birthday to you, Google), which is a great segue into a Google rant. Normally I am all for Google. Love the Google. It's my homepage. But I have to say something about Google Mail. Carmi was kind enough to hook me up with a Gmail account. I was so pumped.

When I use Gmail at home I seem to have a problem with the Send button. It doesn't like to send my mail the first, oh, 20 times I try. I can live with that because it works at the office. And, I was pretty pumped that within the first week of having Gmail, I got 6 invitations to send out. I sent two out, and while we were driving up to the cottage this weekend (which is a whole other disastrous post), I called some friends and made arrangements to send invites when I got back.

Well, I logged into Gmail this morning to send out the invites, and would you believe that Google reneged on them? I no longer have 4 invitations available to give out. What's up with that? The honeymoon with Gmail is over.

PS - if anyone knows why my SEND doesn't work (i.e., maybe it's an IE setting or something) I will be eternally grateful.