April 2006

Saturday morning at the firestation

by DaniGirl on April 30, 2006 · 13 comments

in Uncategorized

What’s that, you say? You want more pictures of adorable, happy boys having fun on a beautiful day? If you insist…

On Saturday morning, we went to a pancake breakfast at our local firestation, a fundraiser by the local Lions Club. The breakfast itself, at $6 per person, is somewhere between forgettable and downright inedible, but the chance for little boys to play on firetrucks and police motorcycles is priceless.


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Oh, the shame! Yesterday was ‘parents’ day’ at the boys’ swimming lessons, where parents are supposed to hop in the pool with their kids and get a hands-on idea of how the kids are progressing, what they are working on, and where they need improvement. For whatever reason, we somehow missed getting our notice about this last week, so while Beloved hopped in the pool as usual with Simon for the parent and tot lessons, I sat red-faced and miserable on the deck. I even asked the instructor if I could hop into the pool in my jeans and t-shirt, so great was my shame, but she gently suggested that wouldn’t be necessary, and instead I spent a guilty 30 minutes observing from the deck and wondering what psychological damage I was wreaking to my eldest son.

Judge: We have reached the sentencing portion of this trial. Do you have anything to say for yourself?
Grown-up, bearded, scruffy looking Tristan in shackles: I’m sorry for all the bad things I’ve done. If only my mother hadn’t missed parents’ day in the pool when I was four, who knows where I’d be now…

Apparently not so much. Only two parents of six were in the pool, and when I asked Tristan about it, he didn’t even realize I was supposed to be in the pool with him.

Grown-up Tristan, handsome and content, in conversation with his girlfriend: Oh, you got your hair cut off? Oops, no, I guess I didn’t notice.
Pretty girlfriend: Argh! Men!

When I was registering the boys for their swim lessons, I was a little wary about scheduling them both for the same time slot. Two wet preschoolers plus one wet parent (Simon is too young to be in on his own) is a lot of chaos mixed in with the regular chaos of 30 other families in the changerooms, but it’s working out pretty well. We go as a family, and Beloved and I alternate who stays dry and who goes in the pool with Simon, then we each bring a child into the changeroom. Gratuitous props to any of you who do it on your own, without a dry parent as backup! Two wet kids I can wrangle. Two wet kids PLUS one wet mommy is a little too much, especially when you’re rushing out to get home in time to watch Survivor!

In the parent and tot class, I am often the only mommy, which was a bit of a surprise, but it’s nice to see all the daddies in the pool with their 2 – 3 year-olds. And I have to laugh at Simon’s fearlessness. I dunk him, he comes up sputtering and laughing. I put him on the side and he jumps back in before I can even get my arms out. (Well, the jumping is new this week. Up until now, he just kind leaned forward and tipped stiffly into the pool. It’s very hard to catch a 30 lbs slippery board-baby in time to make sure he doesn’t belly-flop into the pool.)

It’s very interesting to watch Tristan interact with his swim instructor. He watches her with wide-eyed intensity (when he isn’t wandering off) and is usually one of the first to follow her instructions. I haven’t decided whether this is encouraging or annoying, after having spent the rest of the day practically howling at the boy to get him to listen to my words at home on the eighth or tenth utterance, let alone the first. He is, according to the instructor’s assessment, very strong and doing exceptionally well at this level.

Announcer: And now, the Canadian national anthem begins as the gold medal is awarded for the 2024 Olympic men’s 400 metre freestyle to Canada’s own Tristan….


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Too posh to push?

by DaniGirl on April 27, 2006 · 21 comments

in Uncategorized

There is an interesting article in the Ottawa Citizen this morning that talks about how the rates of birth via caesarean section are rising, and how the added cost is straining the medical system. (But, I can’t help but ask, will the medical system be dealing with hemorrhoids for years after all that straining?)

According to a report released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information called Giving Birth in Canada: The Costs, the rate of births by c-section have climbed to 24%, as compared to just 17% in the early 1990s.

The cost of a birth by c-section averages $4,600, while a vaginal delivery costs $2,800. (This, of course, is cost to the ‘system’. It is one of the miracles of medicare that I walked out of the hospital after each of my sons’ births paying only the $200/night upgrade from a ward room to a private room, and even that was reimbursed at 50% by my supplementary medical coverage.)

The Citizen article says that in some Canadian cities, caesarean rates are approaching 30% of all births, almost twice as high as considered medically necessary by the World Health Organization.

What I want to know is how people are getting these ‘convenience c-sections’? Although I’m well-acquainted with the idea through the countless hours I spent on fertility and pregnancy message boards when I was carrying Tristan and Simon, I truly thought they were an American phenomenon.

When I was endlessly pregnant with Simon, as he moved off the large-fetus charts and onto the ‘you are gestating an elephant-calf’ charts, I begged for an induction – just an induction, mind you, at a week after my due date – and they wouldn’t hear of it.

Personally, I don’t get why anyone would choose a c-section over a vaginal birth. In fact, when my labour with Simon stalled somewhere around the 20th time in the 20th hour of labour and the spectre of a c-section began to materialize, I was terrified. To me, a c-section would have been a bit of a disappointment. There is an undeniable sense of empowerment, and a celebration of your body’s capabilities, that comes with pushing that baby out. (She said, in the hazy afterglow of two years past.)

I also can’t imagine having to deal with healing from surgical incisions in addition to dealing with everything else that came with caring for a newborn. The sleep deprivation and the cracked and blistered nipples alone nearly put me over the edge; the idea of trying to cope with incisions and whatnot, and of not being able to pick up my then two-year-old eldest son for weeks, is almost unimaginable.

Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely not criticizing caesarean births. Heck, that’s how I got here. (Breech baby, stubborn from the womb.) But it really does surprise me that (a) someone who is otherwise healthy and capable of delivering vaginally would choose a c-section, and (b) that an obstetrican would allow it, especially given the cost is 60% higher – let alone the additional health risks and longer recovery times associated with c-sections.

It’s all very interesting! What do you think? First, I’m curious as to whether the costs in Canada are similar to those in other countries. What do you think about elective c-sections? Would you? Did you? And since we as taxpayers are footing the bill, so to speak, should obstetricians permit medically unnecessary c-sections?


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Continuing with our all-memes-all-the-time theme… As seen at Decomposition and Mystery Mommy.

Are you spoiled? (My initial answer before completing the meme is a resounding YES!! And I like it that way!) You are if you can check of 40 of the following:

Do you have…

 your own cell phone (we have one for the family, but I don’t have my own)
 a television in your bedroom
x an iPod (not an iPod, but an MP3 player)
 a photo printer
 your own phone line
 TiVo or a generic digital video recorder
X high-speed internet access (i.e., not dialup)
 a surround sound system in bedroom
 DVD player in bedroom
 at least a hundred DVDs
 a childfree bathroom
X your own in-house office
x a pool (12′ seasonal kiddie pool)
 a guest house
 a game room
X a queen-size bed
 a stocked bar (does three bottles of red wine and half a bottle of something called firewater count?)
X a working dishwasher
 an icemaker
X a working washer and dryer
 more than 20 pairs of shoes
 at least ten things from a designer store (is Roots a designer store? If so, my answer is yes. I am all Roots, all the time. Cell phone, purse, clothes for me and the boys. It’s all a little embarrasing, actually.)
 expensive sunglasses
 framed original art (not lithographs or prints)
 Egyptian cotton sheets or towels
X a multi-speed bike
X a gym membership
 large exercise equipment at home
 your own set of golf clubs
 a pool table
 a tennis court
 local access to a lake, large pond, or the sea
 your own pair of skis
 enough camping gear for a weekend trip in an isolated area
 a boat
 a jet sk
 a neighborhood committee membership
 a beach house or a vacation house/cabin
 wealthy family members
 two or more family cars
X a walk-in closet or pantry (closets)
X a yard
 a hammock
 a personal trainer
X good credit
X expensive jewelry (define expensive? Real diamonds and pearls and rubies? Yes. Worth keeping in a safe deposit box? No.)
 a designer bag that required being on a waiting list to get (there’s waiting lists for designer bags???)
 at least $100 cash in your possession right now (snort – I had to fish money out of my desk drawer to buy a sandwich)
X more than two credit cards bearing your name
 a stock portfolio
 a passport (expired last year)
 a horse
 a trust fund
X private medical insurance (additional drug coverage through work)
X a college degree, and no outstanding student loans (but Beloved is still paying $400/month)

Do you:
 shop for non-needed items for yourself (like clothes, jewelry, electronics) at least once a week  do your regular grocery shopping at high-end or specialty stores (is Farm Boy a specialty store?)
 pay someone else to clean your house, do dishes, or launder your clothes (not counting dry-cleaning) (I wish!!)
X go on weekend mini-vacations (these are the *only* kind of vacations we go on)
 send dinners back with every flaw
 wear perfume or cologne (not body spray)
X regularly get your hair styled or nails done in a salon
 have a job but don’t need the money OR  stay at home with little financial sacrifice
 pay someone else to cook your meals (again, I wish!)
X pay someone else to watch your children or walk your dogs (what does daycare have to do with being spoiled?)
 regularly pay someone else to drive you (does the bus count?)
 expect a gift after you fight with your partner (hmmmm….)

Are you:
 an only child
 married/partnered to a wealthy person
X baffled/surprised when you don’t get your way (who, me?)

Have you:
 been on a cruise
X traveled out of the country
 met a celebrity (define celebrity? define met? I once cornered Margaret Atwood in a bathroom for an autograph, and shook Mikhail Gorbachev’s hand… I’m going to leave this one as a blank.)
X been to the Caribbean (I was nine. Barbados.)
X been to Europe (Holland, Germany, Austria, Italy, France in 1995, then Paris on our honeymoon.)
 BEEN TO HONG KONG
 been to Hawaii
 been to New York
 eaten at the space needle in Seattle
 been to the Mall of America
X been on the Eiffel tower in Paris (twice!)
 been on the Statue of Liberty in New York
 moved more than three times because you wanted to
 dined with local political figures
X been to both the Atlantic coast and the Pacific coast (but in different countries)

Did you:
X go to another country for your honeymoon
 hire a professional photographer for your wedding or party
 take riding or swimming lessons as a child
 attend private school
 have a Sweet 16 birthday party thrown for you

Twenty-six. As unspoiled as the virgin wilderness! (I know, I’m having a hard time keeping a straight face too.) To paraphrase Andrea, the Internet has decreed me as not spoiled, and so it shall be known forevermore.

And that sound you hear? It’s Beloved’s and my mother’s eyeballs rolling in their sockets.


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The ABCs of Me(me)

by DaniGirl on April 26, 2006 · 6 comments

in Uncategorized

Oh look, it’s another meme from Phantom Scribbler. Plus, I got tagged by Renée of Froggie Mom on the ‘weird facts about me’ meme, and these two dovetailed nicely.

Accent: Not that I know of, but when I first moved here I was told I had a Toronto accent. Eh?

Booze: Not usually. I’ll have a glass of wine or a beer on the odd social occasion, but alcohol is a big migraine trigger for me, and a three-day hangover is rarely worth it. My brother is slowly educating me on the world of good red wines.

Chore I hate: washing lettuce. (Really, I despise washing lettuce. Don’t mind washing peppers, or cukes, or whatever, but I really hate washing lettuce.) Cleaning the backyard of poop-dogs in the spring. Ironing. Making the bed.

Dog or cat: yes. One of each. I am admittedly a dog person, and not nearly so cruel to my pets as some people might have you believe.

Essential electronics: laptop. TV. Coffe maker. Hairdryer. Simon’s CD player for lullabyes.

Favorite cologne(s): eau de fresh-washed preschooler (tied for first with eau de fresh-washed Beloved).

Gold or silver: yes please. Rubies and diamonds, too. (My wedding rings are white gold with yellow gold detail, and my heirloom ring from my mother is white gold with a ruby.) But silver looks nice on me, too, especially in the summer.

Hometown: I was born in London, Ontario but after 18 years I guess I now call Ottawa home.

Insomnia: Sometimes. But not lately.

Job title: Senior communications advisor.

Kids: Yep. Two now, maybe more by this time next year???

Living arrangements: nuclear family with grandparents the perfect distance of a 20-minute walk away.

Most admirable trait: Infernal optimist.

Number of sexual partners: You really want to know? This is personal stuff – promise you won’t think me a tramp, okay? Three.

Overnight hospital stays: Two, one for each baby. Two nights for Tristan, one for Simon. Trips to the ER? Countless.

Phobias: This could be a whole post unto itself. Executive summary: things that grow (weeds, some more than others), things that rot (mould), things with wings or more than four legs (insects – again, some more than others; spiders are fine, but junebugs terrify me), things that go bump in the night, inanimate objects coming to life, lightswitches that don’t work…

Quote: “My theory on housework is, if the item doesn’t multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?” (Erma Bombeck)

Religion: Recovering Catholic.

Siblings: One brother, five years younger and six inches taller than me.

Time I wake up: Between five-thirty and six. Big improvements since daylight savings time, so much so I’m reluctant to see it in type!!

Unusual talent or skill: I can clap with one hand.

Vegetable I refuse to eat: Hmmm, nothing comes to mind. There are plenty of which I’m not overly fond, but I don’t think I’d outright refuse to eat any vegetable.

Worst habit: I leave things wherever I happen to be when I lose interest in them or get distracted by something else (as opposed to putting them away), and then become pathologically oblivious to them. I also hate clutter. This is a very bad combination.

X-rays: Teeth. Lungs for pneumonia. CAT scan for headaches when I was a teen. Probably various limbs during trips to the ER when I was a kid, but nothing stands out in my memory.

Yummy foods I make: Guacamole (my mother and Simon fight over it). Chicken fajitas on the barbeque. Peppered steak brochettes with grilled veggies.

Zodiac sign: If you’ve read more than three of my posts, this is almost as obvious as the question about how many kids I have. Leo, of course.


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The movie meme

by DaniGirl on April 25, 2006 · 16 comments

in Uncategorized

Thank goodness for memes on a bad day. Saw this orgininally at Phantom Scribbler and Mystery Mommy, but it’s been everywhere. It’s from this list of “movies you just kind of figure everybody ought to have seen in order to have any sort of informed discussion about movies.” (Looks like, as usual, I know enough to fake it but not credibly. Again.) The ones I’ve seen are in bold.

“2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968) Stanley Kubrick
“The 400 Blows” (1959) Francois Truffaut
“8 1/2” (1963) Federico Fellini
“Aguirre, the Wrath of God” (1972) Werner Herzog
“Alien” (1979) Ridley Scott
“All About Eve” (1950) Joseph L. Mankiewicz
“Annie Hall” (1977) Woody Allen
“Bambi” (1942) Disney
“Battleship Potemkin” (1925) Sergei Eisenstein
“The Best Years of Our Lives” (1946) William Wyler
“The Big Red One” (1980) Samuel Fuller
“The Bicycle Thief” (1949) Vittorio De Sica
“The Big Sleep” (1946) Howard Hawks
“Blade Runner” (1982) Ridley Scott
“Blowup” (1966) Michelangelo Antonioni
“Blue Velvet” (1986) David Lynch
“Bonnie and Clyde” (1967) Arthur Penn
“Breathless” (1959) Jean-Luc Godard
“Bringing Up Baby” (1938) Howard Hawks
“Carrie” (1975) Brian DePalma
“Casablanca” (1942) Michael Curtiz
“Un Chien Andalou” (1928) Luis Bunuel & Salvador Dali
“Children of Paradise” / “Les Enfants du Paradis” (1945) Marcel Carne
“Chinatown” (1974) Roman Polanski
“Citizen Kane” (1941) Orson Welles
“A Clockwork Orange” (1971) Stanley Kubrick
“The Crying Game” (1992) Neil Jordan

“The Day the Earth Stood Still” (1951) Robert Wise
“Days of Heaven” (1978) Terence Malick
“Dirty Harry” (1971) Don Siegel
“The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” (1972) Luis Bunuel
“Do the Right Thing” (1989) Spike Lee
“La Dolce Vita” (1960) Federico Fellini
“Double Indemnity” (1944) Billy Wilder
“Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” (1964) Stanley Kubrick
“Duck Soup” (1933) Leo McCarey
“E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982) Steven Spielberg
“Easy Rider” (1969) Dennis Hopper
“The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) Irvin Kershner
“The Exorcist” (1973) William Friedkin
“Fargo” (1995) Joel & Ethan Coen
“Fight Club” (1999) David Fincher (one of my favourite movies)
“Frankenstein” (1931) James Whale
“The General” (1927) Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman
“The Godfather,” “The Godfather, Part II” (1972, 1974) Francis Ford Coppola
“Gone With the Wind” (1939) Victor Fleming
“GoodFellas” (1990) Martin Scorsese
“The Graduate” (1967) Mike Nichols
“Halloween” (1978) John Carpenter
“A Hard Day’s Night” (1964) Richard Lester
“Intolerance” (1916) D.W. Griffith
“It’s A Gift” (1934) Norman Z. McLeod
“It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946) Frank Capra
“Jaws” (1975) Steven Spielberg
“The Lady Eve” (1941) Preston Sturges
“Lawrence of Arabia” (1962) David Lean
“M” (1931) Fritz Lang
“Mad Max 2” / “The Road Warrior” (1981) George Miller
“The Maltese Falcon” (1941) John Huston
“The Manchurian Candidate” (1962) John Frankenheimer
“Metropolis” (1926) Fritz Lang
“Modern Times” (1936) Charles Chaplin
“Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (1975) Terry Jones & Terry Gilliam
“Nashville” (1975) Robert Altman
“The Night of the Hunter” (1955) Charles Laughton
“Night of the Living Dead” (1968) George Romero
“North by Northwest” (1959) Alfred Hitchcock
“Nosferatu” (1922) F.W. Murnau
“On the Waterfront” (1954) Elia Kazan
“Once Upon a Time in the West” (1968) Sergio Leone
“Out of the Past” (1947) Jacques Tournier
“Persona” (1966) Ingmar Bergman
“Pink Flamingos” (1972) John Waters
“Psycho” (1960) Alfred Hitchcock
“Pulp Fiction” (1994) Quentin Tarantino
“Rashomon” (1950) Akira Kurosawa
“Rear Window” (1954) Alfred Hitchcock
“Rebel Without a Cause” (1955) Nicholas Ray
“Red River” (1948) Howard Hawks
“Repulsion” (1965) Roman Polanski
“Rules of the Game” (1939) Jean Renoir
“Scarface” (1932) Howard Hawks
“The Scarlet Empress” (1934) Josef von Sternberg
“Schindler’s List” (1993) Steven Spielberg (really, I must get around to watching this)
“The Searchers” (1956) John Ford
“The Seven Samurai” (1954) Akira Kurosawa
“Singin’ in the Rain” (1952) Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly
“Some Like It Hot” (1959) Billy Wilder
“A Star Is Born” (1954) George Cukor
“A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951) Elia Kazan
“Sunset Boulevard” (1950) Billy Wilder
“Taxi Driver” (1976) Martin Scorsese
“The Third Man” (1949) Carol Reed
“Tokyo Story” (1953) Yasujiro Ozu
“Touch of Evil” (1958) Orson Welles
“The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (1948) John Huston
“Trouble in Paradise” (1932) Ernst Lubitsch
“Vertigo” (1958) Alfred Hitchcock
“West Side Story” (1961) Jerome Robbins/Robert Wise
“The Wild Bunch” (1969) Sam Peckinpah
“The Wizard of Oz” (1939) Victor Fleming

I gotta admit, as a pop-culture junkie I expected to have seen more of these. And so many of them I’ve seen parts of, even can recite scenes from, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen the whole movie.

I’d list Empire Strikes Back, Fight Club and any Monty Python from this list as my favourites. I’m surprised Bull Durham isn’t on here – I think it’s a star among sports movies. Are your favourite movies in here?


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The gift of life, and so much more

24 April 2006 Uncategorized

It’s National Organ Donation Week here in Canada. I had a post on the topic half written before I realized I was repeating myself nearly verbatim from last year. (Those of you who know me well are of course shocked and scandalized to think I would repeat a story I have told once or twice […]

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Good-bye to an old nemesis friend

23 April 2006 Uncategorized

When Beloved and I moved in together, way back in 1995, he came with baggage in the form of two slightly neurotic cats. The skittish tabby was Tiny (in name only) and the fierce, ill-tempered black one was Ben. Ben and Tiny had been with Beloved for a couple of years before I came along […]

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For a good cause

22 April 2006 Uncategorized

1912 Edition ofThe Tale of Peter RabbitAvailable for Raffle$5/ticketAll proceeds will benefit Annika Tiede, a five year old girl from Normal, Illinois who is on a waiting list for her third liver transplant Annika was born with biliary atresia, a congenital liver disease that most often results in death without a liver transplant. She so […]

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Kids on the loose in the ‘hood

21 April 2006 Uncategorized

Silken Laumann is a Canadian Olympic medalist , national sport hero and, more importantly, mother to two kids, age six and eight. She’s here in Ottawa promoting a new book called Child’s Play: Rediscovering the Joy of Play in Our Families and Communities. One of her key messages caught me by surprise, coming from a […]

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