March 2006

On respect and props, Canadian-style

by DaniGirl on March 31, 2006 · 28 comments

in Uncategorized

There’s an old axiom in the world of Canadian entertainment, especially in the music industry, that you won’t make it big at home until you earn acclaim elsewhere. Canadians generally refuse to acknowledge home-grown talent as worthy until our American cousins take notice. Bryan Adams, for instance, or the Barenaked Ladies are good examples of this. Sarah McLachlan, even.

My husband continues to be mildly perplexed by my blogging habit. (This is not a non-sequiter. It all comes together – wait for it.) He is, however, generally tolerant of it. For most of last year, he wasn’t even reading it until I made blog our computer’s home page.

Last night when I got home, I went straight upstairs to relieve myself of my uncooperative pants. Beloved followed me and we discussed snippets of our day. I was about to launch into a reduced version of my epic tale of a malcontent zipper when he interrupted me and said, “I know, I read about it” – as he gave a single tug that mysteriously freed the zipper from whatever paralysis it was suffering as if there had never been an obstruction in the first place.

“Oh, you read it?” I said. Pause. “Did you think it was funny?” (I am so needy for praise sometimes, I disgust even myself.)

“Yeah,” he began, “but I can’t believe you wrote about being stuck in the bathroom. It was really long but I actually read it all the way through.” I am still trying to decide whether there is a compliment in here somewhere as he continues. “Usually, I only read the first little bit and then skip ahead to the comments .”

Ahhhh, it’s so much clearer now. “So,” I say, “you only go back and read the posts that everybody ELSE thinks are worthy. So that’s how it is, is it?”

But I am talking to myself. He has rolled his eyes and walked away. I can’t help but laugh.


My friend, fellow blogger and survivor of the IVF trenches Northern Mom posted this form letter from the Infertility Awareness Association of Canada earlier this week, and I think it’s an excellent initiative. I’m embarrassed to say that my activism in the area of reproductive technologies has diminished considerably lately, but it’s still a cause I am passionate about.

We have a new federal government now, and your Member of Parliament needs to hear that you care about these issues. Here’s the information from IAAC:


Our elected officials prefer to hear from us personally – not in a form letter we might all agree to sign. To help you carry the message to Ottawa, select one or more of the recommended key messages listed below. Please feel free to put them in your own words – or share your own experiences.

To find your Member of Parliament using your postal code on line, go to:

1. Children are Canada’s most valuable future resource. Previous governments have claimed to be concerned about our country’s declining birth rate. Yet they have refused to provide crucial assistance for many Canadians who are committed to becoming parents.

2. Nearly one Canadian couple in six experiences infertility problems. Infertility is not a choice. It is a medical condition. These couples need professional assistance in order to conceive. Yet today’s most advanced assisted reproduction technologies (ART) remain beyond their financial means.

3. The new government says that it will stand up for Canada by meeting the needs and interests of Canada’s families. Mr. Harper’s election platform declared that the family is the building block of society. What about standing up for Canadian couples who want to create their families, but can’t – because they need medical assistance to do so – assistance that is often beyond their private means.

4. The new government is committed to relieving financial pressures on low-income and middle-income families bringing up children. It has promised to provide childcare money directly to parents. Will it also provide assistance to couples who want to create families but cannot, without financial access to assisted reproductive technologies?

5. Restricting access to IVF compromises the fertility of women, causes immense financial hardship to couples requiring assisted conception treatments and makes IVF affordable for rich families only.

6. Infertility problems also carry social and economic costs: lost working hours, poor productivity, psychological and psychiatric support to treat stress and depression, and marital breakdowns.

7. The total cost of a refundable tax credit for IVF treatment would be $170 million for the entire country. This represents a little over one tenth of one percent of Canada’s $130 billion estimated total health care spending in 2004.

8. Since 1983, over 15,000 children have been born in Canada through assisted reproduction technologies. Today these children – many of whom are now of voting age – and their parents and extended families expect our political leaders to courageously and fairly address this important issue, so that all Canadians may share not only the costs but also the public benefits of IVF treatment.

9. It’s time for Canada to take a major step forward in health and family policy by guaranteeing funded IVF treatment. I sincerely hope our country’s infertile couples may rely on your support.

Write to your province’s lawmakers too! Canada’s provinces exercise primary control over health care. So please make sure that you also write to the Premier and members of your province’s legislative assembly.

To find your MLA you can search the Web at the following links:
Newfoundland and Labrador – House of Assembly
Prince Edward Island – Legislative Assembly
New Brunswick – Legislative Assembly
Nova Scotia – Legislative Assembly
Quebec –Assemblée nationale (National Assembly)
Manitoba– Legislative Assembly
Saskatchewan– Legislative Assembly
Alberta – Legislative Assembly


The day my pants betrayed me

by DaniGirl on March 30, 2006 · 23 comments

in Uncategorized

It’s just before lunchtime. The sun is shining and I can’t wait to get outside and get a breath of fresh air. But first, after consuming both a large and an extra-large coffee during the course of the morning, I must make a pit stop.

I am wearing my favourite black dress pants, a little splurge from last winter – a high-end label at a stellar price from Winners. They would probably retail around $200 but I got them for $50. They are my ‘professional’ pants.

I tug at the zipper, tucked discreetly on my left hip – and nothing happens. I tug at the zipper again, and once more with feeling. Nothing happens.

I crane my neck and arch my back, trying to eyeball the zipper directly while holding the zipper in one hand, the seam in the other and will my rather intrusive breast out of my line of view. Nothing happens. I vaguely remember the feeling of the zipper climbing a fraction of a centimetre higher than usual when I put them on this morning, but thought nothing of it at the time.

My bladder, sensing my hesitation, begins sending out mayday messages to my brain. What was simply a pre-emptive pit stop becomes a dire emergency.

Failing to believe the old axiom about insanity being defined as taking the same course of action over and over again and expecting a different result, I tug mercilessly at the zipper. Nothing continues to happen.

I stop to consider my situation. It is lunchtime, I am in a bathroom stall at work, I have to pee with a fierceness previously known only in the ninth month of pregnancy, and I am trapped in my pants.

Can I ask for help? To whom should I address my plea? I don’t imagine that my female colleagues will have much more success at trying to remove my pants than I have had, and I don’t think I fancy letting them try. The IT office is nearby – they might have pliers. Do I want to have one of the tech support guys prying open my pants with pliers? I don’t think my reputation could stand it.

Should I go back to my desk and cut open the pants? Did I mention really. stellar. deal? I would sooner amputate my legs than deface this fine example of trouserly art.

Can I hold it until the end of the day? That’s five hours, give or take a quarter hour. And my bladder is screaming. Even if I could hold it that long, it would preclude me adding to my own misery by indulging in an afternoon coffee. And the make-or-break hour would be the commute home, where I would have no recourse if I decided that no, in fact, I couldn’t hold it that long after all.

Can I shimmy out of these pants without undoing the zipper? Although this seems to be the best of the options presented to date, it is by no means easy to accomplish. These pants sit rather comfortably at my waist, which is a considerable circumferential distance from my ample post-ten-pound-child-bearing hips.

I long for a nice flat bed, or at least a hygienic carpet, on which to stretch out, à la 1980s Jordache jeans pulled on with a coat hanger. I tug, I wriggle, I suck in my gut. I try to suck in my hips and instead implode my eardrums. I nearly herniate myself in the process, but finally manage to yank the traitorous trousers to my knees.

Ah, sweet relief.

Except now I have a new problem. You saw this coming, didn’t you? I, sadly, did not.

Having achieved the immediate and overriding goal of an empty bladder, I find myself stranded and without a business continuity plan. More specifically, I have no idea how to get my pants back up where they belong in polite company without undoing the zipper.

This time, gravity is not my friend. Once again, I tug, I tuck, I yank and I wriggle. I inhale until my diaphragm is somewhere into the vicinity of my voicebox. With a final wrenching pull, my pants hurdle the summit that is my hips. The waistband falls gently into place, and I am safe to exit the stall in decency.

Disaster averted. Life goes on.

Except now it’s two hours later and I have to pee again. I’ll never make it all the way home. Fate is cruel.

Forget the high-end designer pants, I’m investing in some good old-fashioned elastic waistbands. If, that is, I can ever get these traitorous pants off…


I’m dreaming of daylight savings

by DaniGirl on March 30, 2006 · 22 comments

in Uncategorized

You remember how when you were a kid waiting for Christmas, or your birthday, or even beginning of summer vacation, and you had your sights set on it for weeks in advance? And time c-r-a-w-l-e-d the closer you got to the magic date? And you had all sorts of daydreams about just how great it was going to be, so much so that you couldn’t think about anything else by the time it got down to just a few days to go?

That’s how I feel about daylight savings. It’s this weekend! It’s almost here!!

I’m not just excited about the jump to daylight savings time. This is no ordinary anticipation. My fundamental sanity and emotional well-being is irrevocably intertwined to our capacity to “spring forward” this year.

Because I really, really, really need to sleep past five a.m.

Oh benevolent sleep gods, why have you forsaken me? Not that I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time tallying up the injustices committed against me in this regard (I have), but do you realize that every week for the past month, maybe two months, I have lost an entire night’s worth of sleep? You lose one hour a night for seven nights, lookit that – a whole night of precious sleep evaporated into the morning gloaming.

I know, there are those of you out there mocking my 75-pound weakling self for not being able to cope on seven hours of sleep a night. But I can’t do it! I’m a creature of sloth; I was built to nap.

And when I don’t get enough sleep, I am not a productive, cheery contributor to the good of society as a whole. I tend, in fact, toward the shrewish. Why is that, anyway? How come when I’m tired I become cranky and difficult and impatient? Wouldn’t it be nice if tiredness resulted in something more manageable, like say a rash? Or a case of the giggles?

When Tristan was born, the single hardest thing for me to cope with – including the cracked and bleeding nipples, the thrush, the postpartum hormonal hangover – was the sleep deprivation. I remember getting up to nurse him at 5:30 every morning and watching an old episode of Who’s the Boss or WKRP in Cincinnati (I always watched TV when I nursed Tristan – it was the only way I could stay upright and with all our latch problems I couldn’t nurse lying down), and being amazed that the world actually turned at that ungodly hour of the morning, before stumbling back upstairs and sleeping blissfully until 8 am or later. I didn’t know how good I had it, even factoring in the Tony Danza overdose.

Now my boys are awake and ready to go for the day every. single. day at five o’clock. That’s got to be a violation of some charter of human rights somewhere, wouldn’t you think?

So you see, daylight savings is my only hope. I’ve had my calendar circled, with blue and yellow dancing stars and happy moons and trails of Zzzzzzz, for weeks. It’s gonna change everything, right? They’ll sleep in until – dare I hope for it – six o’clock, right? Right??


If you’ve been around for a while, you know about my failed love affair with Weight Watchers. You know about my tepid relationship with the gym. You know about my obsession with doughnuts.

You ought to be especially proud of me today, then. It’s spring, and I’ve been trying to improve a few of my worst habits. Today – I packed my lunch. And not only did I pack my lunch, but I packed a healthy lunch. Impressive, no?

I’ve got a flax-seed roll with a slice of emmental cheese, and a little baggie full of baby carrots and grape tomatoes, and an even smaller baggie of almonds. And since I’ve been going through the motions of educating myself about nutrition (Lord knows, if I left it up to the rest of the family, we’d be dead within the week) I thought I’d share my accrued wisdom on the subject. Try not to laugh. Y’all probably know this stuff already, but I got nothing else to talk about anyway. And I don’t know much, so at least it won’t take long.

For instance, flax seed bread. I knew this was high in omega 3 oil, which is the same thing that makes salmon and other fish so healthy, so for some reason I expected the bread to have a fishy or bitter taste, somewhere between poppy seeds and caraway (yuck) seeds. But these buns are yummy! And healthy, too. I have a serious carb thing going on, so whole grain breads are my new best friends.

About those baby carrots… am I the last person to notice that the package says ‘baby cut carrots’? I saw a thing on kids’ TV the other day (look! More benefits of TV!) and they showed how these are just ordinary carrots, shaved down to baby carrot size. Those sneaky farmers! It hasn’t stopped me from buying them, but at least I don’t feel guilty for eating the babies anymore, secure in the knowledge that I’m scarfing carrots who have lived a long and productive life.

And finally, your edification via my lunch concludes with this segue into organic produce courtesy of my organic grape tomatoes. Do you buy organic produce? I try to shop those aisles of the grocery store first and pick up whatever won’t blow the budget, but the organic produce at my local Loblaws is usually not only twice the price but looks like it was left over from last year. Yes, I know, the whole point of the organic thing is to remove the preservatives and whatnot, but a lifetime of expecting peppers to be plump and shiny is hard to overcome in the face of what looks mealy and anemic.

There was an article in Consumer Reports earlier this year about organic products, and it said that certain foods like asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, kiwi, mangos, onions, papaya, pineapples and sweet peas weren’t even worth the splurge to buy organic. The two things we almost always bought in the organic aisle were bananas and avocados, so that alone has saved me a few dollars each week. A friend of mine who has a diploma in holistic nutrition says that grapes and raisins are one of the worst foods for pesticides, so we always buy organic raisins too.

See how much stuff I can cram into one brown paper bag reusable nylon lunch tote? So, got anything to share with the class? Educate us in your latest nutritional adventures – are you reducing your sodium, watching fat content, going vegan? What’s in your lunch box?


My kids excell at finding ways to freak me out.

I’m putting away the groceries, and Tristan and Simon are futzing about in the dining room. Simon is playing with the Thomas the Tank Engine book that you press the buttons and it plays songs – the Wheels on the Train, I’ve Been Working on the Railroad, etc.

And all of a sudden, he’s bawling. Tristan is nowhere near him. I pick him up and ask him if he’s hurt, if he’s sick, but he won’t stop crying. Tristan had said something about the song making Simon sad, but I didn’t catch it.

Beloved comes upstairs and says “Twinkle Twinkle Litttle Star” – the song Simon had been playing obsessively – makes him cry today. We couldn’t even talk about the song by title without setting him off, even after he calmed down and was happily doing something else.

I immediately feared the worst, and started quizzing both of them on where they might have heard that song. I was, of course, thinking about daycare. But what? My kids love their daycare provider so much they call her Auntie Bobbie. And they both said nope, the only place they hear that song is in the book. The one that’s been tucked away for a couple of weeks.

Any thoughts???


It’s here!! It’s here!!

28 March 2006 Uncategorized

It’s here! It’s finally arrived!! No, not spring (but that, too!) No no, we are crowing today about the arrival of the latest book by my favourite parenting author and blogger extraordinaire, Ann Douglas: The Mother of All Sleep Solutions for Your Baby, Toddler and Preschooler. Hooray for Ann! I’m quite excited about this new […]

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Funny Girl?

28 March 2006 Uncategorized

Shelley, fellow Canuck, mother and gen-X blogger, is holding a contest over at her blog to celebrate the Funny Girls all around us. (Don’t look at me coyly – you know who you are!) Shelley says, Tales From Generation Xhausted is having a contest in honor of She’s Funny That Way Day. Tell the world […]

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Too young for TV?

27 March 2006 Uncategorized

There was an article in the Ottawa Citizen this week that I can’t link to yet again, but I can link you to the original source, the Washington Post. The article was about the controversy around Sesame Beginnings, a new DVD series developed for babies between six months and two years old, featuring baby versions […]

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Attention crossword puzzle junkies!

26 March 2006 Uncategorized

I got a little curious when I saw 18 hits so far on “Tristan’s Beloved”, so I did a little googling myself. I’m guessing a lot of you are doing a King Arthur crossword puzzle. The answer you are looking for is: Isolde.

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