Friday, October 28, 2011

Birthdays Are For Babies.

When I was younger, I looked forward to my birthday much as other kids do.

Birthdays are important when you're a kid. Not only are you another year older, but there are the presents. I don't know about you, but I didn't have that much disposable income. The yearly chance to have something that I'd been wanting was pretty great.

There was the occasional crap birthday; the year I turned twelve and got locked out of the house and had to spend the day in the garage, for example. I also remember sneaking upstairs in the middle of dinner for a little cry the year that everyone forgot and I got a jar of pickles and an A/C adapter that had obviously been picked up on the way home.

There were also the good birthdays, like the year I got to take a bunch of my friends out to dinner and my mum and dad gave us each ten dollars in quarters to play at the arcade.*

Then there are those milestone birthdays: Sixteen when you can drive,** eighteen when you can vote, nineteen when you can (legally) drink, twenty-five when you start to feel like a real grownup.

Once you get past those ones, there's not much left to look forward to, is there? I mean, you can (technically) already do whatever you want and all birthdays mean is that you're another year older.

Even the presents aren't that exciting anymore. Once you're a grownup, you have some income, which means you can buy yourself that thing you wanted, and you don't have to wait a whole stinkin' year.

Besides that, nobody seems to know what you want anymore. Most grownups don't have time to cut pictures out of catalogues and leave collages laying around with bits circled and arrows pointing to the really important bits.

I also like surprises, so telling someone that I'd like *insert cool present here* and then receiving it feels kind of... well, like I might as well have gone shopping myself. More importantly, my likes and dislikes don't change with the wind as they did when I was little, so I kind of feel like people ought to know what I'd like by now.

I have hit the age where birthdays are not so fun anymore. All I felt on my birthday this year was old. I didn't really feel like celebrating the fact that another year had slipped through my fingers while I was busy doing laundry.

Did I forget to mention it was my birthday? Yeah. It was. Last week. I had moderately high hopes, considering that it wouldn't be hard to have a better day than last year.

It was definitely better; for starters, no one hit me. I had a lovely little cake, my kids sang "Happy Birthday" and there were flowers. My siblings called, so did my parents. We had Chinese for dinner... it was nice.

I'll tell you about the weird present my husband got me next time.

*This was back when arcade games still cost a quarter or fifty cents to play.
**Unless, of course, you're like me.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Shut Up and Drive.

When I was sixteen, I didn't really see the point of getting my driver's license. Not only did I live right downtown, but I had a boyfriend with a license. I also had a brother with a license.

When I was older, I took the TTC a lot. No one in university had a car, so we were all transit dependent.

I took my first road test when I was 26 and nine months pregnant. I failed for being "too cautious." Really? Really?

Anyhoo... that is how I came to be a grown woman with two children and no driver's license.

In Toronto, you really can get by without it. Transit goes pretty much anywhere I need to go. (Except Michaels, but it's really not a good idea for me to be able to go there anytime I want anyway.) Besides that, whenever the car is home, so is my husband (aka: chauffeur).

It's not like I haven't tried - I started the process when I was 21. I wrote the first test, passed with flying colours and then took a driver's ed. course. Then I never got around to taking the road test, because we didn't own a car anyway.

So. Five years later, I wrote the test again. This time I actually booked the road test. With a baby on the way, it seemed like a really good idea; plus we had a car by then. As mentioned above, I failed. For being too cautious. (Can you tell I'm still irked about that?)

For those of you not familiar with (the completely aggravating system that is) graduated licensing, here are the basics:

First, you write a test on road rules and signs, etc. This gets you your "G1" license. Which allows you to drive, but only with a grownup (ie. someone with more than 4 years of driving experience and no alcohol in their system).

Then, after a year, you are allowed to take your "G1 exit test" which, (if you pass) gets you your "G2" license. At this point, you are allowed to drive alone, but if you have more than one passenger 19 or under, you need your grownup again.*

Then, after a year, you are allowed to take your "G2 exit test" which includes driving on the highway. This gets you your "G" license which lets you drive around in your car, all by yourself, like a grownup.

I've been going through some stuff lately, and this whole driving thing was really not at the forefront of my brain. For some reason, yesterday I thought about it. What was that niggling thing at the back of my mind? There's something I have to do...

Oh. Right. If I want to keep my current level of driver's license (G1. Yes, I need a grownup.) then I need to go and write the test again. By November 3rd. Awesome.

If I pass, then I can schedule a driver's test without waiting for 12 months. If I fail, I start the whole stinking process over again. Again.

So. I'm asking my husband (very nicely) to take a day off on Tuesday to drive me to the testing center (and apologising for being such a bonehead the whole time).

I'd better go study.

*I'm really hoping this doesn't apply to "mature" drivers, or one of my kids is out of luck.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I Think I'll Go For A Walk Outside Now.

Fall is my very favourite season of the year. I love it when it's just chilly enough that you need a sweater, but not cold enough that you need a hat. (I look weird in hats.) Perfect for a walk.

Kee and I have been going for long walks almost every day since the beginning of October. At first we had planned to just meander and explore the neighbourhood a bit. We discovered early on though that we would pretty much have to follow the same route each time.

Our first walk went kind of like this:

No big, I'll just go this wa...

Hunh. Okay. Fine... this way then...

Okay. This is getting ridiculous.

On the plus side, once we've gone around all the construction, I end up with a 5K walk. And every once in a while, we do manage to see some nature.

In the middle there... beside the extension cord.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thanks, But I Don't Want to See Your Crotch.

To be embarrassingly honest, I rarely leave the house in anything fancier than yoga pants and a plain knit top these days. I am really not the person to be giving fashion advice.

However, even I cannot let this one pass.

Leggings as pants: If you're wearing them with a cute short skirt, or a long tunic-y top, they're actually kinda cute. The key is to COVER YOUR BUTT. Do not wear them with a top that doesn't hit at least the top of your thighs. No one needs to see every contour of your butt/crotch region.

Aside from the entirely unattractive "camel toe" issue, all leggings are not created equal, as far as opacity goes. Some of them tend to get a little see-through as you bend over, thus exposing your underpants to the world. Some of them eschew opacity altogether and just barely nod at decent coverage. Such as the ones the woman standing in front of me at school was wearing this morning.

If you won't stop wearing them for me, at least think of the children.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I've Been Having Trouble Concen... What?

So. I haven't written much lately, and for that, I apologise. The problem, dear readers, has been my complete lack of concentration. I will have a great idea for something amusing to write about, and by the time I sit down in front of the computer, it's gone. So gone that I can't even remember why I sat down in the first place and I end up playing Bejeweled on Facebook.

I put my laundry in the washer, fill up the soap container and leave without pushing start. There are cold, forgotten cups of tea everywhere. I say I'll call right back and then completely forget. Conversations grind to a halt while I struggle to find the word "spoon".

One day last week, as I was getting dressed, I started out with a nice clean pair of socks. I put one on, and then somehow, lost the other one and I'm really not sure how (because I don't remember going to get replacements) ended up with two entirely different (non-matching) socks than I'd started out with on my feet.

The worst thing I've done is turn on the wrong burner under my lunch and almost melt the kettle. Although, really, who needs a kettle when you can never remember to drink the tea?

I have been remembering to pick up my kid from school though, so that's good.

Part of it is that I am still... overwhelmed. My thoughts crowd on top of each other drowning each other out until I just want them to shut up and wait quietly for their individual turns; kind of like I wish my kids would do.

Part of it is the fact that Kee has been going on a rampage lately. She's going through (please let it be) a phase where she doesn't listen to a thing I say. No, wait, that's wrong. She will actually do the exact opposite of what I've asked her, while smiling at me coyly. By the end of the day, I'm just so tired that it doesn't occur to me to write.

A really big part of it is that I want to write about what I went through with my grandpa. But I don't know how, and I don't know if this is the place.

So. I apologise again for my absence, and promise you (and myself) that I will be back more often.

And before I forget (again): Happy (belated, Canadian) Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I am SO out of shape I'm surprised I function.

Which is really only relevant to this story because lately, Kee and I have been going for a walk every morning after we drop Beege off at school.

Yesterday, as we were passing back around the school, I saw a mum I knew walking towards us. The mum of a kid in Beege's class. A mum who should have been at work. When I asked her if everyone was alright, she sighed and said "looks like we've got lice."

Seeing as I'm communicationally challenged and don't even own a cell phone, I ran home to check the machine and see if I too had been instructed to pick up an itchy child. No, thank goodness.

Yesterday, five kids were sent home from Beege's class because of lice. FIVE. Just in her class.

We're still washing her hair with tea tree oil shampoo and doing the braids and tea tree hair spray... but I'm still freaked. I'm seriously considering sending her to school in a shower cap until this thing is over.

Fun Fact: Did you know that you can get lice in your eyelashes? You're welcome.

Monday, October 3, 2011


May I present an art installation by the lovely Miss Kee?

Looking at this precariously balanced cup of milk, I immediately saw that she was representing the obviously fragile state of her mother's sanity.

... and "don't cry over spilled milk."? The originator of this quaint saying obviously didn't have carpet.