Motion denied

I would like to put forth a motion to amend the bylaws, please. There should be a rule that the body is only allowed to house one virus at a time. Multiple viruses will not be permitted to inhabit the body. Specificially, cough-inducing chest cold viruses shall completely vacate the premises before the arrival of migraine-accompanied stomach viruses.

I would further like to move that all viruses be banned from inhabiting the body when said body is up to its eyeballs in work, or when the progeny are dealing with their own viruses.

The saucy gourmand

Dinner last night was spaghetti. I like spaghetti, Beloved likes spaghetti, the boys like spaghetti. Spaghetti is cheap, healthy, and so easy to cook even I can’t screw it up (although I’m not so good with the quantity thing. We either have too much spaghetti and not enough sauce, or too much sauce, or enough spaghetti and sauce to feed a platoon.) We eat spaghetti for dinner every single week.

So, as I said, dinner last night was spaghetti. Actually, it was spaghettini, because they were sold out of the whole wheat spaghetti. It’s okay, I have a modicom of flexibility. I can deal with spaghettini instead of spaghetti – it just takes less time to boil the snot out of it. And even though it was a weeknight, we even had sauce with meat because spaghetti sauce is one of the few foods the ONLY food I ever even think to make in bulk and freeze, like all those magazine articles about organizing your life suggest you ought to do.

We had a salad, too, because I loves me a salad with my spaghetti, but truth be told, the salad was a little on the pathetic side. I only had about a cup of leaves left in the bottom of the box (what, you don’t buy your lettuce by the box? It’s so much better than the stuff in the bag, I kid you not) so when I tossed on a can of mandarin slices and some almonds, I think the mandarins and almonds outweighed the leafy bits by about two to one.

So we had spaghetti, and salad. I put some pasta in the bowl for Tristan, and gave it a spritz with the Becel non-fat butter substitute (again you laugh, but I’m telling you, that stuff is good!) and cut his spaghettini into manageable bites. It’s at this point in the story that I have to make clear the point that nothing even remotely resembling sauce may touch Tristan’s pasta. Butter, margarine, and various oil product imposters may be added in small quantities, and parmesan cheese will be added liberally by Tristan himself and ONLY Tristan himself. But for the love of all things holy, do not even attempt to sully his noodles with sauce. This has been the lay of the land in our family since he was old enough to hurl a bowl of pasta right back at the chef, and we’ve come to an entente (an al dente entente, matter of fact) under which we all can live happily.

Simon, on the other hand, likes his spaghetti sauced. It’s messier that way, you know. And frankly, adding a spoonful of sauce to one bowl and a spritz of non-butter substitute to another is not so much of a stretch of my culinary capabilities.

And so we sit down to eat, Beloved and I and even Simon with our proportional bowls filled with noodly, saucy goodness, and Tristan with his bowl of plain pasta. That’s when Tristan upset the balance of the universe forever by asking, “Can I have some sauce?”

After a moment of stunned silence, and a few very slow blinks on my part, I stuttered, “Um, sure. You mean, like, on your pasta?”

“Yeah!” he replied brightly. “Sauce! On my pasta!”

Now, it just so happens that yesterday was one of those days that I made enough pasta to feed Outer Mongolia, so I knew there was leftover spaghettini in the collander, should this be some sort of nefarious plot on Tristan’s part to get out of eating his dinner. So I put a small spoonful, really more of a dollop, carefully on the pasta in his bowl and brought it back to him. And damn if he didn’t eat every last speck of sauce, and ask for more half way through the bowl. And then he finished that off and asked for more pasta and more sauce, and I started scanning the kitchen for hidden cameras, wondering when the ghost of Allan Funt was going to leap out and accost me.

And through it all, Tristan the Notoriously Fussy Eater, the boy who insists YOU pick off the bits of the pizza he doesn’t like, including the toppings and the cheese and the sauce, the boy who once barfed up an entire meal because I forced him to eat a single green bean, this boy of mine regaled us throughout the meal with an ongoing Ode to Sauce.

“I love sauce, Mommy! It’s really great! Mmmm, it’s so good, this sauce. I could eat sauce every day. I really really love sauce, Mommy! It’s a little bit great.”

Tomorrow, he’s getting spaghetti sauce on ham for dinner, and the next night I’m going to whip up some mashed potatoes and roast beef – with sauce. This mothering thing, it’s all about going with the flow, and apparently what’s flowing is sauce.

Miscellaneous Monday


There are days when you just want to bang your head against the desk. You know it’s going to be a long day when you get that feeling before you’ve even slurped your first blissful sip of coffee.

I’ve been having that stupid problem with my Blogger interface for about a week, where I could post titles but not content, and I couldn’t save any edits to previous content. I found out mid-week it was only from my work computer, and I was completely perplexed. Each morning, I’d sign in with increasing trepidation, hoping against hope that the problem would have resolved itself as silently as it arrived. And each morning I got a little more cranky when it did not resolve itself. I even posted on the Google Groups blogger help discussion board. No joy. I found creative methods to get my daily post up, by using a colleague’s computer and other trade secrets I won’t share with management potentially lurking nearby. Suffice to say, I was dedicated enough to you, Dear Reader, that I found a way.

This morning, I fired up the browser, signed in and clicked through the Blogger dashboard to the post editing screen, and again saw the same stripped down screen that greeted me all week. Then this morning, the hand of fate intervened. A propos of nothing, I pressed the F5 key to refresh the screen.

Problem solved.

I’m not sure if I’m a friggin’ genius or a frickin’ ijit, but at least I can blog in peace from my cubby again.

In other news, I’m officially down to my August pre-pregnancy weight, which is a bit of a relief. Another 5 lbs and my favourite jeans should fit again, and another 10 or so to my goal weight. I’m hot on the trail of a new daycare provider, and don’t even want to talk about it for fear of jinxing it. Let’s just say when I joked last week about finding “Mary Poppins right around the corner” I wasn’t far off. She’s choosing between us and another family, and I’ll know more later this week. (Please, please, please oh please let this one work out.) And the replacement iPod to replace the three that died before it has been working diligently and without protest for about 10 days.

I got nothin’ to complain about this morning. I missed the Oscars, though. Did you watch them? Anything worth gossiping about?

We’re not so different after all

The last line, about being mistaken for a Canadian a lot, made me laugh…

What American accent do you have?

Your Result: North Central

“North Central” is what professional linguists call the Minnesota accent. If you saw “Fargo” you probably didn’t think the characters sounded very out of the ordinary. Outsiders probably mistake you for a Canadian a lot.

The West
The Midland
The Inland North
The Northeast
The South
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

A Thinking Blogger – that’s me!

I’ve been had an honour bestowed upon me which is also a tag, a meme that is an award. Because you know this motherhood thing? It’s all about the multitasking. The clever, witty and insightful Mad Hatter has kindly tagged me with the Thinking Blogger’s Award.

Nice, eh? She nominated me on the basis of my little rant on child care, but she said that it was your comments, from all points on the political spectrum, which increased the “think factor.” I’ve long known this little blog of mine wouldn’t be half the fun it is if it weren’t for you guys, so we can share this little award.

And speaking of sharing, it’s all about the sharing. Now I’m supposed to come up with five other Thinking Bloggers worthy of nomination. Except at least three of my favourites have already been tagged. Am I allowed to repeat? No? Okay, but I’m a little behind on my blog reading and this is spreading like the flu through preschool, so I hope I’m quick enough.

First off, I’d like to tag Phantom Scribbler. I heart Phantom. She has a way of using her own life as a lens to examine some weighty issues, and while she’s opinionated as hell, she’s never didactic. I like that in a smart blogger. But I’m nominating her for this particular honour because of a recent post written in response to a recent article in New York Magazine called the “Power (and Peril) of Praising Your Kids.” I thought the idea of over-praising your kids was totally bogus until I read her post and the subsequent comments from the Pixies. One of many, many posts that I’ve found myself contemplating long after my browser window was closed.

Next, I’d like to tag Kerry at Popwatch Canada for her post on religion a week or so back. She also posts great Grey’s Anatomy recaps, and has an obsession with Justin Timberlake that continues to perplex me, but threaded through the shiny bits about pop culture, Kerry blogs some pretty interesting ideas and opinions. And I’m not just saying that because she writes my performance reviews, or because my boys are both in love with her and she may yet end up to be my daughter-in-law some day.

My next nomination goes not to a particular post, but to the blog The Smartmouth Mombie in general. For starters, I love any blog with a permanent preamble that says something like “This is what a feminist writes like.” Like the other blogs I’ve tagged so far, Chris strikes a lovely balance between weighty thought pieces and ‘minutiae of mothering’ pieces.

Sadly, my next nominee has gone on temporary hiatus. Angry Pregnant Lawyer is freshly back at work after maternity and painfully sleep deprived. I already miss her quick wit and cutting sarcasm, and I have learned a lot about American culture and politics from her. And yes, that’s a compliment!

And finally, my last tag goes to JF Scientist at A Natural Scientist. I’ve only just started reading this blog, but Jenny writes, according to her tag line, about “science, education, feminism and religion.” I love love love her “ask a scientist” series, and the incredibly wide scope of her posts. I never know what I’ll find when I drop by, but I am assured I’ll learn something – often something I didn’t know I needed to know, but sure enough, turns out I did.

Wow, this was way harder than I thought. I tried to wander away from my usual favourites with this process. Thanks again to Mad Hatter for nominating me, and if reading my nominees makes you crave even more thinking bloggers, there’s five more back at Mad Hatter’s place, and five more at Bub and Pie’s place, too. I’m not going to get any work done at this rate!

Send laundry soap!

I mentioned yesterday I stayed home because I was under seige by a nasty virus. Just so happens that Wednesdays are the days that the whole crew is also home. Frankly, I think it would have been more restful to go to work!

Late in the afternoon, I was making dinner and the boys were playing upstairs when I heard Simon crying the distinctive ‘ouch’ cry, but what really set me running up the stairs was the tone of panic in Tristan’s voice when he called for me. Tristan had bonked Simon in the nose with a book, and there was blood *everywhere*, streaming from Simon’s nose.

It took a couple of minutes to get it under control (thank god I don’t have issues with blood) but Simon was relatively calm and we got him cleaned up. Load of laundry number one = Simon’s yellow comforter, two towels, a facecloth, Simon’s shirt and socks, and my shirt.

A few hours later, I had just settled into bed myself when I heard the distinctive sound of retching from the boys’ room. Tristan had been sick in his bed, setting in motion load of laundry number two, comprising sheets, blankets, the waterproof bed cover and a couple of stuffies.

He was sick again at 11 pm, 1 am, and 4 am. Sadly, he was neither coordinated nor awake enough to use the bucket we’d provided for him. We have four sets of sheets for two beds, and by luck more than design, the load from the first round of barfing was washed and dried in time for the 4 am sheet changing.

He’s bright-eyed and energetic this morning, but the laundry machines and the laundress are exhausted. My cold, Simon’s blood, Tristan’s barf – that’s three, right? Right?!?

Another mothership??

Just a little post today, because I am being steamrolled by the beginnings of what I think will be a nasty chest cold, augmented by a headache that makes my whole body hurt.

I wanted to ask your opinion of something, though. Lurker Julianne (*waves*) sent me a note saying that she noticed a blog launched last month with the rather familiar title of Postcards From The Mothership.


It’s on a blogspot address, and has an unrelated URL. To be honest, I’m not terribly threatened, but I have to admit feeling a little territorial. I don’t imagine there is anything I could, or even want, to do about it. I suppose since I came up with the title, it’s conceivable that someone else could come up with it as well, but I can’t help but feel like someone filched my idea. (It’s certainly not as bad as or any of those splogs, at least.)

What do you think? Would it irritate you to find another blog with your title, or am I just cranky because I’m not feeling well? And how much can anyone ‘own’ anything on the blogosphere? You can own your domain, and slap a creative commons license on your content, but does that cover something like a blog title? Interesting questions….

Sign # 312 you need to get a life

I’d been hearing a lot about a viral video called “introducing the book,” so I went looking for it on YouTube. Unfortunately, the video has apparently been removed by the user who posted it, but I did find the original Norwegian version.

You know you spend way too much time on the Internet when you find yourself watching non-dubbed Norwegian comedy skits on YouTube. And laughing your ass off. I’m just sayin’.

Code blue for daycare

Please bear with me while I use this little soap-box of mine for a full-on rant about daycare.

As you know, I’ve been making a concerted effort for the last seven weeks to find acceptable daycare for my boys.

I have looked into:

* Private in-home care.
* Licensed in-home care.
* Nanny-sharing.
* Licensed daycare centre.
* School-age childcare program.

I have exchanged at least one e-mail or telephone call with sixteen potential care providers. I have interviewed four caregivers. I have applied to a centralized waiting list for licensed care in the city of Ottawa. I have applied to the waiting list for the daycare centre in my neighbourhood. I have spoken to or exchanged e-mails with three licensed agencies for home-care providers. I have added my boys’ names to the waiting list for the school-age after-school care program affiliated with their school for which Simon will not be eligible until the year 2010 when he is in Grade 1. I have spoken to two local elementary schools, hoping they might have some leads.

I still have nothing arranged. I have a few ‘maybes’, one of which is out of my price range, one of which make me feel like I am settling for ‘good enough’ when good enough isn’t nearly good enough for the treasure that is my boys, and one that has so many rules and conditions that I’m nervous to commit to them.

You know how long the waiting list is for the daycare centre in my neighbourhood? Three years. It’s much longer for me, someone who pays ‘full fees’, as opposed to someone who gets a subsidized spot, because they have roughly two subsidized spots for every full-fee spot. So the people willing and able to pay more wait longer. Not that I begrudge anyone their subsidized spot. I’d be happy enough to pay the fees, at $77 a day for both boys, but still can’t get a spot and won’t be able to for the foreseeable future.

One year after taking power, Canada’s New Government ™ has done nothing beyond placating parents with a monthly $100 placebo that pretends to be a meaningful commitment to improving access to child care. A monthly placebo that, as I previously mentioned, does not even cover the INCREASE in daycare fees that I can expect on a WEEKLY basis. And yes, those capital letters do mean I’m shouting, because I’ve worked myself up to a pretty good lather by this point.


When Stephen Harper’s Tories took office a year ago, they dismantled a $5 billion federal-provincial collaboration on child care. According to this article, federal funding for child care will plummet to $250M in the next fiscal year, from $1.2 billion.

That’s more than a 75% reduction, in a single year folks.

On the web site for the universal child care benefit, the $100/month pre-tax bribe payment that was part of Harper’s election campaign, there’s a widget that tells you to “Tell your family and friends about the choice, support and spaces provided by Canada’s Universal Child Care Plan.” So that’s what I’m doing. I’m telling you that in my humble opinion, Canada’s Universal Child Care Plan sucks eggs. The ‘system’ is broken.

Don’t believe me? Check out what the folks at Code Blue for Childcare, a national non-profit organization dedicated to promoting accessible, quality child care have to say. They recently gave the government a failing grade in child care on the first anniversary of the government coming in to power.

(Click through and you can add your name to the ‘report card’ if you agree.)

I have to say, I love this comment from the ‘report card’: “Stephen [Harper] has some trouble understanding basic concepts. His major term project, the Universal Child Care Plan, is not child care. It’s also not universal and not a plan.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Even if I find Mary Poppins tomorrow, and she’s willing to take care of my boys for the sheer bliss of their exquisite companionship, you’ll still be hearing more from me on this issue. It isn’t about one woman’s frustrating search for quality child care anymore.

It’s personal, and yet it’s so much more.