May 31, 2012

Drive a car, build a robot

Haven't blogged, though it seems from the comments I'm not much missed. Hmph.

We're getting ready for a big fundraiser at Ari's school for the Robotics Club - Central High in downtown Burlington. On Saturday, we're holding a Ford Drive One 4 UR School event. Along with Discovery Ford, we will have 8 spanky new Fords for you to test drive. For each test drive, the Robotics Club earns 20 bucks. Just think: a team raising money for a great cause, and all they want is ten minutes of your time! Come to Burlington. I'll be there all day conducting tests drives, and so will my colleagues Lesley Wimbush, Peter Bleakney and Jeff Voth. We all write for different outlets, so how's that for the spirit of cooperation?!

We run from 9-4, if you're early you can get breakfast, and they'll be BBQ at lunch. Bring a dirty car - the kids will be doing a carwash, too. And, best part? You can meet the robot. If seeing what these kids can build doesn't blow your mind, I'll be surprised. This is the coolest thing, ever. My column in tomorrow's Globe is an intro to the event.

Speaking of robots, it seems some of you Sweet Commenters are getting increasingly weird words to convince the powers that you're not robots. Roz now believes it is speaking to her in Arabic; we spent a moment marveling at how complex the Arabic characters are. I told her my new phone has a conversion for that, and it kinda freaked me out the first time. Here is her response:

Roz: "If I was Arabic, I would be having a really hard time with our keyboards. Their letters are so hard."
Me: "I'm sure they have their own keyboards."
Roz: "Oh. That makes sense."
Me: "Yes, it does."
Roz: "Cuz otherwise, you'd have to have tons of little sticky notes all over the keys."
Me: Silently shakes head....

More later....

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May 27, 2012

A primer in raising kids

My new bathroom is nearly done. Nearly. I had high hopes for finishing off the painting this weekend (I've told my contractor I'll do the painting; he hates doing it, and I don't mind) so yesterday, full of vim and vigour (or something) I set up shop and got to it. Nearing the end, I noticed that the second coat was drying kinda funny in spots. I finally looked at the can: I'd been working with the primer, instead of the final paint.

Ya know, when it's already done, it's done. It's like a broken glass. It's just broken. No sense getting worked up about stuff you can't change. Of course that meant I had to spend today painting. Again. With the right stuff. I am rapidly joining my contractor on the I Hate To Paint bench.

The Poor Sod showed up midday to take the boys for lunch. We broke up a couple of years ago, but the man is a class A step-dad.  As they returned and dawdled a bit, I laughingly (but not really) suggested he give me a hand. He's a great painter; he's an artist at heart, and that counts when you have little persnickety detail work to do.

I got an hour out of him. He wrecked his new jeans. I told him he was gonna wreck them, and offered him some sweats, but he told me he wouldn't wreck them. Within ten minutes, he'd wrecked them. He did the cutting in, I did a half-hearted job of rollering. We managed to cover up all the stupid primer I'd put on, and we chatted about the kids. I have a big trip coming up, and I've been nervous about going. He promised to hang out while I'm away. Due to a bit of an age gap between us (shut up), the boys have always felt close to him. He's more big brother-y than Dad, and they get along famously.

The upside is that the boys love having him around, and don't feel like someone is checking up on them. They welcome it. I'll be gone nearly two weeks - which is the longest, ever. And no matter how old your kids are, they're still your kids.

Maybe I'll leave the painting until I get back...

May 26, 2012

Where I forget things I've written

This happens a lot, which is rather nice, actually. I forget things I've written. I'll be reminded if a reader tells me, or a search for something else turns up a bit of my history. That happened now, as I was researching something slightly related, and found one of my old columns. From 2007, which is an eternity in the newspaper world. But I just reread this, and I liked it. I like her spunk. Mine. It's about daycare. If you have no interest, you can go read tango stuff again or wait until tomorrow when I'll blog for real. After I paint my bathroom again, because I used the wrong paint today and have to do it again. I'll explain tomorrow.

One of my columns on daycare in Canada. And where I think the shame lies.

I used to work in a business that created and sold things. The catch-all word "widget" fits well, so we'll use that. We sold widgets. Some of the widgets we sold were bigger than others, some were definitely more fun to sell, and some were pretty boring but at least we made money from them – and the focus, after all, was to make a profit.

When my son decided he wanted to sponsor a child in a developing nation, the very first thing I set out to learn was how much of my son's paper route money would actually go to the well-being of the sponsored child. I wanted to make sure that, after reasonable administration costs, our Rwandan widget benefited from the cash. The focus after all, shouldn't be to make a profit.

The nature of any economy insists that if money is spent, some of it will go to places you didn't intend or realize. There are extremes; some corrupt foreign government may pocket all international aid, which isn't what I intended with my disaster relief donation, or my son may use his allowance to buy firecrackers. Either way, the control freaks among us often find it tough.

If there is one issue, however, where societies need to step off the profit-powered money wheel, it is child care. Australian Eddy Groves has specifically tapped into countries with government daycare subsidies, and his cost-cutting measures have led to ongoing political and legal battles regarding substandard care and employee treatment.

He has figured out how to wring every last nickel out of the management and care of little Australian ankle-biters. He has turned children into widgets, and can now tally his profits from his yacht.

Eddy has announced plans to come to Canada. The opposition parties in this country are fighting to get Bill C-303 passed to maintain quality care for our children. The Conservatives will probably show up for Fast Eddy's first ribbon cutting. Not their kids going in there.

Have you ever shopped at one of those cavernous warehouse places that promise "we pass the savings on to you"? Have you pushed down box-crowded aisles, picked through busted up packaging, scoured best-before dates to avoid hazardous conditions?

Should any child, even if he's not yours, be subjected to similar conditions? When the profit margins are narrow, those seeking profit will scrape for every dime. Profit margins on decent, licensed child care are already non-existent. Workers are paid poorly, government standards are blessedly high, and parents are already squeezed in the middle. For someone to come in and start skimming money from the process means only one thing: the kids will suffer.

Let me be perfectly clear: I do not subscribe to the sterile thinking of some who embrace an ideology about children that includes the words "you had 'em, you raise 'em."

Any animal that forms herds – and that would be us – protects the young. All of them. Some parents are better than others, but in a resource-rich society like ours there is no reason all children can't have a decent shot at success.

And forget basking in the warmth of knowing that your own kids are okay. They are going to go out in the world and form relationships with kids who perhaps weren't raised with the same strengths. Yep, the offspring of someone who didn't get to dip into the horn of plenty may be calling you Grandpa or Grandma.

Where is the moral outrage that we have become a community that would rather incarcerate a 16-year-old than teach a 3-year-old? How backassed has our thinking become?

Some kids need daycare; some kids need after-school care; some kids don't require either outside of the home. Regardless of the composition, every one of those children needs a safe, educational experience.

Where do the broken widgets go?

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May 21, 2012

I promised tango video

Sigh. This is the live feed they used. It's pretty crappy, and the camera doesn't track. But, I promised. So, here ya go....NO LAUGHING.

Go to about 29:20 mark.

And did I mention no laughing?

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May 20, 2012

Cruise out of control

Vanity Fair has an excellent piece in it this month by Bryan Burrough. Well, I think it's this month. Whatever issue is currently flung to the other side of the bed where the cats say "quit piling books and magazines on our side of the bed."

Remember that movie A Night to Remember? No, not your first, er, date. The movie from 1958 about the Titanic. Roz and I used to stay up late and watch movies, and I remember watching this one and being totally horrified at the people floating around in the sea waiting to die. It actually is a great movie; I still haven't see the other Titanic all the way through. Once you know the ending, it can drag.

Anyway. Burrough has written about that Italian cruise ship that fell over last summer. It's a great piece, and it felt like watching A Night to Remember felt, all those years ago. Except my father didn't barge into the rec room in his jama bottoms near the end and ask us to tell him what the hell was going on in the movie.

He used to do that. He'd go to bed at 6pm, read, snooze, then get up around 11 and prowl around. He would often wait until he could smell pizza, because we'd order pizza. There was a little pizza place down the road (Trevi Pizza) who, all we had to do was call and say 'hi' and they knew it was us. Looking back, I'm not sure why that inspired such pride in me. Thing was, we'd order a pizza, and whoever was there knew how many pieces were theirs. Then we had to give each other the malochio eye because we couldn't say no to Dad, but it threw the count all off. Sometimes he'd have two. While he snarfed it back, he'd try to talk through the movie. We'd hiss at him to be quiet so we could watch. When he'd had enough, he would grab his pizza and head downstairs declaring the movie was stupid. And we would eye the last piece like jackals.

Roz actually took me to my first movie in a theatre, too. Poseidon Adventure. Do you detect a theme here? We used to go down to the old Odeon on Lakeshore Road in Burlington. I loved that place. I think it's an ice cream parlour now. Too bad. But we went to see ol' Shelley Winters with her big ol' bum floating around in the darkened hull of the ship, with dishes and stuff floating by.

I also saw The Sting there with my grandma. I remember telling her I thought Robert Redford was pretty cute as we walked home. I remember her turning to me and saying "bah, vat you doing saying tings like dat?". She also called onions, honions. We still do, in her memory.

So, go read the Vanity Fair piece. It's pretty cool. And that Italian captain? Holy crap. What a turd.

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For everyone playing along at home...

...nope. No trophy....

Last night's Tango Sensation (TM) was a blast. I'd reported that the portion of the night featuring the 'celebrity' dancing would be voted on by judges, audience and kids. I got there and couldn't see any kids. I thought maybe the kids would be brought in later. Then it got pretty late and I realized there were no kids. I was kinda looking forward to the kids.

Not to worry; we were still going to raise money for the kids. Connie Smith was dancing too; if you're from the area you know Connie - she was a CHCH news anchor for decades, and last year received the Order of Canada. She's really sweet, and kind. Lovely lady, who has already done a ton of great things for a ton of great charities. She's also done this event before, so I cornered her and asked for pointers. She just laughed, and told me to have fun.

The other guy dancing I didn't know, a radio guy.

While I was quite certain I could have won Most Makeup (I'll try to get a pic up; Ari isn't here, might take me awhile), when they announced that in fact, it would only be an audience vote, I realized Connie was a lock. Dazzling non-existent judges with my intricate footwork wasn't gonna be a factor.

Mentor and I went first. You want nerve wracking? Walk down from a centre stage on a red carpet onto a dance floor. Just the two of you. Wear a dress that could be on top of an ambulance. And then the music starts. It's only two minutes. You know these steps. But there are people right there. I made a bunch of mistakes, but Mentor kind of smothers them - it's awesome. We got through it, though apparently I has a wee wardrobe malfunction.

Arlene came (of course) and my sister Gilly and my niece Katya. I went to talk to them a little later, and Gilly said she'd been emailing Roz. Roz asked if I had any panties on. She'd watched the webcast. There is a part where Mentor lifts me and spins me around, then I do a split thingee before he sets me back down. Apparently, my dress got pulled up a leeeeetle bit too high - not hard to do since it's already split up to my hip. The combination gave flashy a whole new meaning.

I told Gilly to text Roz that the dress is all built in together; you can't show anything, it's all sewn together. It's just the illusion of ohmygod, not the actual thing. Gilly pondered this, and asked why I hadn't bedazzled my website address across my crotch.

See? We are sisters.

Connie did a fun cabaret number with a boa and everything. I decided I'd like a boa, though that would be like putting a boa on a Christmas tree, I reasoned. Connie had great audience involvement, the kind where they clap along. Not the kind where you flash them.

The guy, Greg Ross, had a beautiful dance partner. Really pretty girl. He kind of did nothing, but he walked around and she spun about. He told me later he hadn't practiced at all, and just before the dance, she told him to just go where she pushed him. He didn't even have any makeup on. How can you do a dance competition and not have makeup on?

With no judges involved anymore, and no schoolkids there, the audience bought ballots throughout the next couple of hours to vote. I hope they raised a bunch of money. The dancing all night was really beautiful and fun, and I think kids would get a kick out of it. The Junior North American Salsa champs were there, a brother and sister who were (I think) about 10 and 12. They were spectacular. I wish the kids could have seen them.

Anyway, they announced the winner, and the guy with the wooden leg won. I mean the radio guy. I was surprised - I thought Connie would walk away with it. Guess our respective crews didn't buy enough votes...

It was a really great evening. I'm met some really wonderful people, and I still have a heating pad on my back. Would I do this again? In a heartbeat.

But I'd still like the kids to have a vote.

May 18, 2012

Doing the long weekend traffic tango. Literally.

I just got in from dumping Ari at Wasaga Beach. For the uninitiated, or for out- of- towners, Wasaga is a couple hours north of here, a beach community that hibernates all winter then springs to life on the Victoria Day weekend. It is a series of motels and cottages and cabins, snaking through a quaint little town that has grown along with the crowds. There are restaurants and surf shops and souvenir stands; there's a Dairy Queen, an LCBO and a Beer Store and a billion cops. The cops are looking to bust the underagers; the underagers are there to be...underagers.

My kid's graduating class has taken over a bunch of cabins at a resort. I did not know where they were staying, but I said I'd get them there (I am terrified of teens driving in holiday traffic; rightfully so, as I'll relay in a moment), and of course, I made 3 dozen burgers last night, and laid in 200 bucks worth of groceries. I don't know where I got this Mama gene. Sigh. There are 6 boys in Ari's cabin. As if it will stay that way....

As we drove through town, we passed through the really nice areas. Then the pretty nice areas. Then the nice areas. Then the not-so-nice areas. Then the areas where you raise an eyebrow. Then we got to where they'd be staying. I'd been worrying about the cost if they demo'd the place. Not to worry - who'd notice?

I shuddered, but as all the kids met up, they were vibrating with excitement. Prom was last night; half of them were still hungover, and all of them are exhausted. I did my duty: 4 boys tumbled out of the car, unloaded all their crap, bags of food ("wow! look at all this stuff!" and ran to the beach. Then they ran back, and we went to buy a Frisbee. I left them there with nary a backward glance.

On the way up, someone had to pee, so we stopped. Not five minutes later, there was a stupid tandem gravel truck jackknifed across the median. I hate tandem trucks; I wish they weren't legal. We were about 50 car lengths behind, not kidding. Nobody seemed hurt, but traffic was totally stopped in the opposite direction for several hours, and as we scooted around (only one cop had arrived at that point), we heard on the news that there was only one lane open our way within ten minutes. Cars and trucks were apparently driving ACROSS FIELDS. So, Pee Boy spent the rest of the trip telling us he had a magic bladder, and we were very welcome.

Oh, I'd checked my tango story out on line this morning. The big event is tomorrow. I finally got hold of a hard copy. Oh my god. Front cover of the section, me in all my red sequin ruffly glory. And video. I nearly died. Terrific placement and editing and coverage, the Hamilton Spectator really did a great job for this event. But, oh my god.

Bet Ari is really sorry he's missing this tomorrow night.

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Notes to Self

Self: Yes, I think it was rather great planning that as you trundled through the kitchen this morning on your way downstairs that you stopped for a moment, and put the kettle on first. This would give you a few minutes to brush your teeth and pee, stop and notice a load had to be switched to the dryer, keep going as you noticed that the litter boxes are named the wrong thing (there is far more than litter in there) and that as usual, nobody filled up the handsoap, so you did it.

Yes, Self, that was a nice multitasking moment. You can't begin the day without tea, and waiting even a second longer than you have to for the kettle to boil is a drag. With a little luck, the kettle would be well on its way by the time you'd tidied up the kitchen a little, fed the cats, and flicked on your computer.

Oh, Self, there you go again, getting sucked into some reading before you've even had your tea. Maggie has settled on your lap already, and JoJo is chasing something you really, really pray isn't a mouse in the living room. It must not be; Maggie is still on your lap, looking at JoJo likes she's an idiot. If that was a mouse, it would be swinging from Maggie's evil mouth by now. We all know that.

The first thing you should be looking up, Self, is how to replace the screen on your new phone. Yes, that phone that you've had 3 days, that you finally just figured out how to work yesterday. And one of the first things you noticed was that it wasn't charging properly. So, to keep an eye on it, you hooked it up to charge through your computer tower. Your kids taught you that; such wonderful boys. The problem of course, Self, was that as you were on the normal phone talking to Roz yesterday, you, as usual, went to put your feet up on the tower.

Self, cell phones charge with a cord. That cord is black, like your tower. Self, your big stupid feet got caught in that cord, and you watched in slow motion, like a horror movie or a antidepressant commercial, as the thing fell to earth. Well, actually that would have been better. Because in reality it fell to your stone floor. The crack bloomed across the screen. Your conversation with Rozzy didn't miss a beat, because sometimes this happens. The first thing Self was smart enough to do was to see if it would still work. Self doesn't mind damaged stuff; Self is used to it. It did still work! Oh, and it was fully charged, so that takes care of that.

Self: the reason you are sitting here wondering why the kettle hasn't started to whine yet, let alone boil, is because you didn't turn the burner on.


May 16, 2012

Tiny broken minds

Really well written piece in the NYT this week. Can you call a 9-year-old a psychopath?

Wow. Make all the baby Ted Bundy jokes you like, but this is pretty chilling, amazing stuff. I'll never forget watching The Bad Seed as a kid. Spectacularly evil little girl, long before Damien et al came on the scene. Roz and I would watch it late at night, and it's still a go-to punchline in this house.

But reading about some of the kids in this article is just stunning. Read further and see the genetic link - even scarier.

Dunno what they're going to be able to do, but as a doctor quoted in the piece says, they have to start tracking this so they can have the longer case studies they need to figure out if they can make the branch grow a different way.

Can you imagine if they can't? Knowing that kind of information, and being powerless to stop it?


The final countdown...

Had a dress rehearsal yesterday. No, I'm not dancing in black leggings. But I'm happy to report that the dress made it through the full routine without stray bits of Lorraine popping out - always a concern, I'm told. But it's really hot to dance in the dress, which is red and lacy and bling-y and cut up to there. I switched back to leggings as soon as I could.

I've been working with so many awesome people on this...adventure...and they all turned out yesterday. We were taking the pics for the Hamilton Spectator, which will run the feature either Thursday or Friday. I'll let you know.

Adam Higson showed up looking all tattoo-y and muscle-y. See those arms up there? Those arms did not look like that two months ago. Body by Adam. Call him. Damn, the boy is good. I mean, I was yelling at him that I hated him most days, but damn.

Mentor (yes, his real name) Sejdiu up there is swinging me about. There are some days we practice that lift and after about 8 times, he says "aaaaaaaaaaand at this point I will  lift you. We don't need to do again today, right?" and then he winces a little. Poor guy. I yelled at him, too, that I hated him on some days. I believe I am a very difficult student.

Webgod Jeff took that pic, and a bunch of others. He got some great shots, and he has no idea how grateful I am that he helps me out like this. And as soon as I hit 'post' on this blog, I will whine to him to fix the picture, because Blogger is still messing things up and making me pout.

May 15, 2012

Can goats dance?

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22 - Jan. 20):
A good laugh heals a lot of hurts, so stay focused on happy thoughts and make sure you mix only with cheerful people. Never forget that it’s your mind that creates your world. Make it a world worth living in. 

Every once blue moon (not to be confused with a super duper extreme moon like we had the other night), I will click on my horoscope. I actually used to write horoscopes for all of you, back in December 2010. I was taking the mickey out of a real horoscope guy who runs ridiculous ramblings that just begged to be made fun of. So I did. I only made it through six weeks, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Then I quit, because that nonsense takes a boatload of time. But it was fun while it lasted.

When I was a teenager working in Toronto in the summers, I'd read one newspaper on the train on the way in, and another on the way home. I'd of course read the horoscopes, but when they provided clashing information, I'd be puzzled. How could the stars be sending me mixed messages? Even better was this dorky little thing in the Toronto Sun that showed you on a graph how your day would go - little balls marking from one to five, emotional, physical and something or other. If the little ball for physical was resting at a shoddy 'one', I'd think, "whoa, now, can't the little graph see I'm having a good hair day?". That was probably the beginning of the end of my faith in these.

Today's horoscope, brought to you by me because I woke up exceptionally early due to a stupid little noisy bird enjoying the crap out of spring, reminds me to stay focused on happy thoughts. Today we are doing the photo shoot for my Tango story, which will run in the Hamilton Spectator on Thursday or Friday. My Event is Saturday night. I got my red sparkly shoes (they're like that but red) on Friday, and I've been wearing them in the house. My sons are horrified. So I ran across the street to show them to Sarah, who I knew would get all girly with me. Of course, I ran over wearing them, in an old hoodie and my jeans pulled up to display them. Ari was in the street with a friend. He did not laugh.

The Spec told me yesterday they were oh, also doing video. Webgod will be there to do both, hopefully, for you crew to laugh at. We did some pics the other day (I've been training with Adam Higson for a few months to get in shape for this two minute moment) to prove I've been working out. I never work out. Higson has given me a new body. I don't know whose it is, but it's a decided improvement. You want a new body? Give this lad two months and do as he says. Unbelievable.

Anyway. I had some sweaty pics, but they were pretty dark and didn't turn out great. I also wanted a pic that showed the little liney things on my belly, but those didn't turn out. So you'll have to take my word for it. I have little liney things. Which of course won't show in my tango dress - it has no back, not no front. Good thing; I'm dancing for the childruuuuuuun.

I was worried when I clicked on my horoscope that it would tell me this was a good day to stay in bed and eat crackers and cry, or something. I'm thankful it told me go be cheerful. I was a little hesitant that it says 'it's your mind that creates your world' because my mind has been known to concoct some pretty strange things.

I think I'll just go put on my sparkly red shoes and go heal some hurts.

May 14, 2012

CHCH Square Off Monday

Come on. You knew we'd get to it.

Should you still be breastfeeding when your kid is asking you to pass him his calculus text book? Shame on you, Time Magazine. Pandering.....and yet here we are, talking about it, just as you wanted.

Tune in to CHCH Square Off, channel 11 at 5:30.

May 13, 2012

How does Motherlode celebrate Mother's Day?

Of course you're dying to know. Okay, maybe not.

I can't really wrap my head around Mother's Day. Never have. It's about my Mom, not me, and even though she's been gone 12 years, the torch has not been passed. I let the boys off easy; Hallmark can guilt the rest of the world, but not in here.

Ari told me that his friend, Ben, had to give his Mom two hours of gardening help in lieu of a gift. He thought this was hilarious until I reminded him he had to cut the grass. I had to make a video for a school presentation taking place at a school board up north, so I told him he had to help me. It's about helping kids deal with mental illness, and I'm their pep talk. I know, I know. Hush. When we were done, Ari had to save it to send to the video. He named it 'Sad People Video' and didn't understand why I fell off my chair laughing.

My 'director' was bored and easily distracted, and at one point, while making a perfect take of an imperfect reading, a cat tumbled off of something and scribbled around on the hardwood. Take Two.

I finally asked what they wanted for dinner. Ari said "well, it's Mother's Day, so anything you want". As in, 'anything I want to make'. A neighbour came over to pay Christer for some grunt work he'd done the other day (if you have large, immobile objects that need moving, you call Christer; he is big and strong and works like a bull), and handed him a wad of cash. Christer handed it to me and said "go get dinner. Happy Mother's Day".

I didn't want restaurant. It's the third worst day of the year to go to a restaurant. The first is New Year's, the second is Valentine's. I've only heard this, of course. It's been eons since I was out for either. Instead, Ari grabbed my mouse and pulled up a recipe. "Remember we want to try this?" he asked. I sorta remember him asking for this. Spaghetti Carbonara. I remembered recently thinking we should try this, but I don't like bacon, so dismissed it. I don't like recipes. I don't like rules.

I just made Spaghetti Carbonara. I used the recipe. I followed the rules. It worked. I still don't like bacon.

Happy Mother's Day.

Mother's Day - For My Mom

I'm going to put this up for Mother's Day. It was originally published in March, 2006, but it's one of the few columns I still go back to and reread. I know some of you might be getting tired of it, but some traditions are worth it. This one's for you, Mom.

I don’t like ice cream. A couple spoonfuls a year is enough for me, which works out well because No Frills puts these little containers on sale for a dollar about twice a year.

We open them one at a time and sit there holding spoons and watching television passing the tub around because family cooties don’t count.

Our home is a dictatorship, and Czarina Lorraine doesn’t buy ice cream any other time. The boys quit asking for it years ago, because they knew if they did I’d just find whole- wheat ice cream somewhere.

I was driving with Ari, 11, the other day. Out of the blue, he turned to me.

“I liked ice cream with Grandma,” he said quietly.

Mom died six years ago this month. Her last months were spent in and out of the hospital, and Ari spent most afternoons after kindergarten playing in her hospital room. He would draw pictures, comb her hair, charm the nurses and give her innocent baby kisses. And eat ice cream.

My mom would save him little tubs of ice cream, those single servings that come with that silly little wooden paddle. Ari loved that paddle. I would watch my mother watching my son, he so intent on enjoying the ice cream, she so intent on enjoying anything. Anything at all.

My mom had one of those Queen Elizabeth hairstyles, the kind achieved with something called a roller set. The problem was if you brushed it, all the curl came out, and you had to have it set again. She loved it if we brushed her hair, but only the day before a hair appointment.

She would let Ari brush to his heart’s content while she was sick. I would shore it up before we left, but she knew she was measuring her time in moments and was going to let no opportunity for love go by her. It’s funny how you have all the time in the world when you find out you really have none at all.

My children spent a great deal of their lives in their Grandma’s arms. They say it’s about quality, not quantity. I say they don’t know what they’re talking about. It was her grandchildren who kept my mother alive so long, and they miss her fiercely to this day. My niece, who was just 2 when mom died, has constructed a whole relationship with her from pieces of memory, photos, stories and wishes.

When my dad died, he did not go gently into that good night. He thrashed and railed and raged. There was no TV movie dénouement, just anger. My mother swore she would be graceful and calm, to make up for Dad. Always the gracious hostess, she did just that. I know I am my father’s daughter, and will choose fight over flight. But I will share my ice cream.

Ari used to look forward to going to the hospital to visit. He would colour stick figure boys with balloons, telling Grandma to get well soon and come home. There was hope in the heartbreak, but only if you were five and thought ice cream could cure cancer.

May 11, 2012

CHCH Square Off Friday

Are you a mama's boy? A researcher says that's a good thing, and that mama's boys make good partners. I'm going to have a chat with that researcher.

Guess what I'm going to tell her?

May 9, 2012

Write a column, they said...

May 6, 2012

Let's have a game, shall we?

I stole this from The by Kerstin Joensson/AP;.
It is wrong to steal. I'm sorry, Kerstin, but this is a glorious photo and it deserves more people seeing it. As if lorraineonline is going to trump the Telegraph. Ha.

But these are alpacas after they've been shaved. Alpacas make wool. Well, they don't call it wool. I'm sure they call it skin, or hide, or something. I'm sure they didn't sign up for humans to round them up and shave them for wool to make cardigans and scarves and things for people to sell to tourists to Argentina by the roadside. Yes, I bought some alpaca stuff once, in Argentina. Don't worry; the miserable little bastards get the last laugh: the stuff is itchy.

Alpacas are not only funny looking, they spit. It's as if they know you're going to laugh at them, so they spit and beat you to it.  

I think we should name them. We can assign them letters, A B C D E F (anyone who can't figure out that order is too stupid to play). 

I will start. I propose:
A) Mandee
B) Emily
C) Sarah
D) Annie
E) Lorraine
F) Jodi.

Nobody will know what that means, but trust me: I just lost 5 good friends.

Wanna play?

May 5, 2012

2012 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS

This is in my driveway. The extreme super moon is telling me to go drive. Actually, the car is whispering that to me as well. In a husky, 408 HP kind of way. Sigh.

Isn't it pretty?


Help! This stupid new blogger isn't letting me put up a pic of the beauty of a car I have in the driveway. Every time I publish it, there is the title, then this looooooooooooooooong space until the pic. Argh. Really. Argh.

Extreme Super Moon

We're having one of those. Tonight, apparently. The moon will come closer to the earth than usual, so it will be 14% bigger. Well, it won't be 14% bigger, it will appear 14% bigger. Like when you're a kid and you don't believe your Dad when he tells you the moon is always the moon, you just can't always see all of it, so stop believing the moon is a crescent that grows and shrinks like magic, Lorraine.

I am going to look at that moon tonight. The links says 11:34. So, I am going to go look at that moon at 11:34.

May 4, 2012

It takes two...

I am in the Countdown to Tango stage. On May 19, at the Hamilton Convention Centre, I will perform a two minute tango in a crazy red and black dress and high heeled red sparkly shoes and a flower in my hair. You might want to read that again. My fingers just said 'what the hell did we just type?'

I've been training like an Olympian. Well, if Olympians exasperate their trainers at every turn. My dance partner, Mentor Sejdiu, is constantly amazed by me. Amazed that I can't remember dance steps, and that when I can I can't learn new ones, amazed that my arms look like somebody stapled them on after I was already made, and that when he says 'point your toe' and I scream back 'it is pointed!' that I'm not kidding.

As for Adam Higson, he has been training me for about two months now. If you live in the Hamilton/Burlington area, and you would like a new body, he can give you one. I am not kidding. I haven't been this fit in probably 25 years. He is a miracle worker. Adam is a retired fighter, and he now trains fighters (he's the dude who trained me to box, years ago), so he says things like 'next week we start cutting for weight'. I looked at him blankly. Apparently, it's a fighter training term. We get all sporty, then the last week he thinks I will drop a few pounds to be the Most Sporty Person in the World This Week. He thinks I'm going to give up carbs. Silly lad.

There will be pictures - just haven't got to them yet. The event will be webcast, and it will be on the local cable channels. This terrifies me, of course, but it's for a great cause. By competing, we can raise money so that kids in the Hamilton school system can have a dance program brought into their schools. Many of the schools simply can't afford to do it, so this event, The Spring Tulip Festival of Dance, is helping. It's a three day event that culminates in *my* dance on the Saturday night at a red carpet gala. Okay, that's exaggerating. But I am terrified.

May 3, 2012

Goofy stuff

It's official. A bird is smarter than most kids I know. Piko the parakeet went on a little mission from his Toyko home and got lost. When someone took him to the police station, he told them his address.

Now, you might have seen this, but if not, click and listen. It's adorable. A Dad taking his three kids to school, and they all sing Bohemian Rhapsody.

See? I'm bringing you only fun things today. There were so many crappy things I considered nattering on about, but I changed my mind at the last minute. It's sunny out; I went into No Frills to get some lettuce. They didn't have the lettuce, but I spent a hundred bucks anyway. And even that didn't make me crabby.