Yep, she’s still blogging eight years later

A part of me says, “Wow, has it already been eight years since your first blog post?” And another part of me says, “Seriously, it’s only been eight years? Seems like much longer than that.” Well, in a way I suppose it has been. I created my first website dedicated to photos and stories about the kids back when I was pregnant with Tristan (heh, using my mad HTML skills, Front Page and a Geocities site!) so that’s going back about a dozen years. But it’s been eight years this week since I’ve been on the bloggy bandwagon.

Every couple of years I like to haul out the first meme I ever did (memes were good, eh? I miss memes) and use it as an excuse to wax blatantly nostalgic.

15 years ago today I would have been:

  • About to graduate magna cum laude from the University of Ottawa with a degree in Comms, after going part-time nights for six years to get my degree
  • Freshly appointed to a mid-level program management beancounter job and feeling like a young professional for the first time
  • Living in a tiny third-floor attic apartment in the Glebe with Beloved and starting to think about wedding plans for the next year

10 years ago today I would have been:

  • Getting ready to come back to work after my first year of maternity leave
  • Tempering my dismay at the end of mat leave with huge excitement about coming back to a new job: my first job in public affairs (where I still work today)
  • A couple of months away from finding and buying our townhouse in Barrhaven and then finding out I was pregnant with Simon

5 years ago today I would have been:

  • Hugely pregnant and overdue with Lucas, and liveblogging the lack of labour and then, finally, the labour and arrival of the “player to be named later” (the posts from my pregnancy with Lucas still seem like the glory days of the blog community. I miss those days!)
  • Did I mention hugely pregnant?
  • And overdue?

1 year ago today I would have been:

  • Happy to be back with public affairs, this time managing the social media team (I love my job!)
  • Enrolling “baby” Lucas in junior kindergarten
  • Finding my groove and kicking off a very successful year with the photography business

This year I am:

  • Thinking about blog and website makeovers (now taking suggestions!)
  • Contemplating changing the photography business name
  • Feeling busy and involved but (blissfully!) not overwhelmed… most of the time

Today I am:

  • In the midst of birthday season mayhem
  • Feeling much more confident about my parenting skills than I was 10 years ago
  • Happy

Next year I hope:

  • To have saved enough from the photography business for the full-frame camera I’ve been coveting
  • To do more travel with the family
  • To be done with daycare forever

In five years I hope:

  • To be wrangling with Tristan over getting his (gasp!) driver’s license!
  • To be considering a return to full-time employment (to top up my last years of income before retirement!)
  • To have renovated the kitchen and the basement family room

I was going to include a checklist of which prognostications and goals I got right and wrong in prior years but this is getting long, so I’ll save that for another day.

Funny that I’ve now got blog posts in the archives that cover so many of these highlights! I wonder if I’ll ever get to a version where I say, “15 years ago I launched this blog, using (snicker) a keyboard and a PC!” and we’ll all laugh about how quaintly antiquated it all was?

Canada Reads 2011

Back in the day, I used to blog a lot about books. Way way back in the day, I used to consider myself somewhat of a fan, if not an authority, on Canadian Literature. So when I heard that CBC Radio was compiling a list of the Top 40 Essential Canadian Novels of the Decade, I knew it would make great blog fodder.

And then I actually looked at the list, unveiled today, and realized that I have read exactly three of them. And for an embarrassing number of them, I had heard of neither the book nor the author. Eek. Clearly I am not spending enough time with Shelagh Rogers.

But, I was so excited to have a blog post that required (a) brain use and (b) no discussion of moving, unpacking or septic systems, that I’m going to charge ahead with this one anyway. In fact, I’m going to make a meme out of it! Remember memes? They’re about as relevant as my knowledge of Canadian literature, apparently, as I can’t remember the last one I’ve seen. Let’s call this a celebration of the Canadian Blogosphere circa 2005, whaddya say?

Ahem, anyway, here’s the list. If you want to play along, copy and paste it into your own blog. The ones in bold I’ve read. The ones in bold and underlined, I’d recommend. The ones with an asterisk are on my “I swear, I will read it before 2012” list.


A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews *

Bottle Rocket Hearts by Zoe Whittall

Clara Callan by Richard B. Wright

Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant

Conceit by Mary Novik

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

Drive-by Saviours by Chris Benjamin

Elle by Douglas Glover

Essex County by Jeff Lemire

Far to Go by Alison Pick

February by Lisa Moore

Galore by Michael Crummey

Heave by Christy Ann Conlin

Inside by Kenneth J. Harvey

Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill *

Moody Food by Ray Robertson

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Pattern Recognition by William Gibson *

Room by Emma Donoghue

Shelf Monkey by Corey Redekop

Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

Sweetness in the Belly by Camilla Gibb

The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis *

The Birth House by Ami McKay

The Bishop’s Man by Linden MacIntyre

The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan

The Fallen by Stephen Finucan

The Girls Who Saw Everything by Sean Dixon *

The Last Crossing by Guy Vanderhaeghe

The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart

The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden *

Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden

Twenty-Six by Leo McKay Jr.

Unless by Carol Shields *

Hmmm, not a single Douglas Coupland or Alice Munro? I suppose Will Ferguson is not exactly a novelist, but I am in the delicious depths of Beyond Belfast, and loving it as much as I loved Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw and Hitching Rides with Buddha. Looks like my tenuous claim to a passing knowledge of Canadian literature is as dated as my taste in music.

What do you think? Have you read any of these? Would you recommend them for CBC’s shortlist of the ten best Canadian novels of the decade? And do you think maybe it’s time for me to wade out of the wilderness and try something from this decade on my next trip to the library?

If you decide to play along and post the list on your blog, be sure to leave a comment so I can come over and admire your taste in Canadian literature!

Blog is five years old today!

Wow, can you believe it? Five years ago today, I dipped my toe in the Internet Ocean and have been dog-paddling madly across the sea ever since!

Five years! Wowza. And to celebrate, I dust off an old favourite meme that I’ve done at least two or three times before: the Time Traveler meme. Because that’s what anniversaries for, right? Taking a moment to look back down the path you’ve trod and shaking your head in wonder that you ever made it through at all.

15 years ago today I would have been:

  • about a month away from meeting the man of my dreams.
  • living in a rented room in a house on Holland Avenue. (It was supposed to be a shared house, but I never really felt like any space except the bedroom was mine.)
  • scrambling to find a way for the government to transfer me back to London so I could be near my family.

10 years ago today I would have been:

  • starting the first in a series of medical appointments that would result, in about two months, with our official “infertility” diagnosis.
  • making arrangements to buy our tiny garden home off Uplands from the landlord we’d been renting from for a year.
  • about to start an assignment with Industry Canada, my first official communications position and the first fork in the road that led to my current job.

5 years ago today I would have been:

  • starting back to work after a one-year maternity leave with Simon.
  • getting organized for Tristan’s first out-of-house birthday party at Cosmic Adventures, at age three.
  • sending my very first blog post guilelessly off into the Internet!

1 year ago today I would have been:

  • starting back to work after a one-year maternity leave with Lucas.
  • coming back to a new job in an area of communications I hadn’t worked in before, in a newly-reduced four-day work week.
  • publicly revealing my two-week-old 365 project!

This year I am:

  • absolutely delighted with my new job as Web manager for the Army. (Didn’t see that one coming last year!!)
  • still searching for that elusive balance between work outside and inside the home, but making progress.
  • very, very busy but very, very happy.

Today I:

  • am feeling like I’ve got the world by the tail.
  • am preparing for a meeting downtown tomorrow with Google. Yes, that Google!
  • am wearing a spectacular new purple (!) bra that I acquired this weekend from Bra Chic. 😉

Next year I hope:

  • to be a permanent member of the Army team (just waiting for the paperwork to get resolved) and stop feeling like a deer in the headlights every time an issue comes up.
  • to continue having fun with my social media, blogging and photography addictions.
  • to be doing more or less exactly what I’m doing now — but better!

(You like the vagueness here? Goal-setting was never one of my strengths!)

In five years I hope:

  • to be thinking about looking for a four-bedroom house.
  • to be more comfortable in a management role.
  • to have all three boys in school full-time and finally be free of the trials and tribulations of daycare once and for all!

It’s fun to have a record of these year after year, and see the amazing twists and turns in my own life over the last decade or so. Let me know if you play along!

2009: A Bloggy Year in Review

I know, I know, everybody and his brother is doing the year in review thing. But I’ve done this in each of 2006, 2007 and 2008, and frankly, I got nothing else for today! Here it is again, a meme of review in the form of the first line of the first post of each month in 2009.

  1. The problem with extended absences from the blog is all the posts I want to write that get tangled up in my head, so when I actually do get a couple of minutes to string together, I’m bloggily constipated.

  2. My dearest darling Simon, You are five years old today.

  3. I filched this meme from a couple of friends’ Facebook pages.

  4. I’ve said before I’m a fan of Mabel’s Labels, and they just keep setting the bar higher with new and interesting products.

  5. I’m glad I didn’t quit my photo-a-day project last week, and I’m kinda sorry I whined at you with all my artistic angst.

  6. I’ve been working with the Mom Central network for more than a year now on various blog tours and promotions — from locks to board games to chocolate – and one of my only complaints would be the number of events and tours that were less convenient for or not available to Canadians.

  7. Ten years ago today, in a tiny church in London’s Pioneer Village in front of 45 of our best friends and family on the hottest day of the summer, I said these words.

  8. How bad can 40 be, when it starts out with a blissful day at the beach with some of my favourite people?

  9. Every now and then, a pitch stands out from the noise that is my in-box.

  10. Are y’all feeling a little freaked out by H1N1, the so-called “swine flu”?

  11. This is an exciting year for Santa parades in and around Ottawa.

  12. I‘m always glad when November turns to December.

Hmmm, birthdays, photos, giveaways, and memes. I hope the whole year wasn’t as, um, flaky as these posts seem to indicate! Note to self, start each month with substance and flake out from there.

Happy New Year to all of you who have taken a moment to stop by and read, and especially to those of you who toss in the occasional comment or observation. Almost five years in and I’m still humbled by your presence here. I wish all of you a new year filled with joy, laughter, and wishes fulfilled!

Time Travel, recycled and re-used!

This is the first meme I ever did, and I liked it so much I did it again the next year. I intended to do it every year, but — like so many of my great intentions — seem to have lost it in the shuffle. As Homer said about the roasted pig: “It’s still good!”

15 years ago today I would have been:

  • finalizing my divorce (big, happy smile)
  • unpacking boxes after moving in to my first “own” place, a room rented in a student house in the Glebe shared with five other people
  • delirious with reclaimed freedom and terrified of being out on my own

10 years ago today I would have been:

  • finaling the plans for our July wedding (another big, happy smile!)
  • living in the Glebe a block away from that student house, in a gorgeous little bo-ho attic apartment with a balcony perched off the kitchen like a tree house
  • a month away from finding Katie, the world’s best doggie and my first baby

5 years ago today I would have been:

  • at home on maternity leave, with a newborn (Simon) and a two year old (Tristan) in the house
  • massively, pathetically sleep-deprived
  • a post-partum hormonal toxic disaster

1 year ago today I would have been:

  • at home on maternity leave with a newborn, a four-year old and a six-year old in the house!
  • coping with three much better than I coped with two, having just laid off our first nanny
  • taking Lucas for his first visit to the Children’s Hospital

This year I am:

  • thrilled with my new four-day work weeks
  • obsessed with photography in much the same way I’ve been obsessed with blogging for the past four years
  • very, very busy but very, very happy

Today I:

  • forgot to buy my April bus pass (the driver let me ride anyway, bless him) and forgot my building pass at home. Sigh.
  • will celebrate the early spring warmth by going for a photo-expedition at lunch time, perhaps behind the Parliament Buildings or over to the National Gallery.
  • am worried about my dad.*

Next year I hope:

  • to have a little bit more free time on my hands
  • to have a little bit more control over the chaos and a few more projects checked off the to-do list
  • to be doing more or less exactly what I’m doing now — but better!

(You like the vagueness here? Goal-setting was never one of my strengths!)

In five years I hope:

  • to be thinking about looking for a four-bedroom house
  • to be *this close* to having all three boys in school full-time
  • to be rejigging my priorities to be putting a little bit more emphasis back on my career

This was really fun to do, and surprisingly difficult on the prognostication parts. It’s quite interesting to read the ones I’ve written before and see what I chose to note as important at that time, too!

Let me know if you play along!

* My dad is in the hospital with a subdural hematoma, and they’ll have to operate some time in the next few days to relieve the pressure on his brain. It sounds a little bit too much like an episode of House for my liking. They don’t know exactly how it happened, but suspect it came from a tumble down some stairs quite a few weeks ago.

BBC Books meme

(I filched this meme from a couple of friends’ Facebook pages. According to the original meme, the BBC reckons most people will have only read 6 of the 100 important books here. Thing is, I went looking for the original source of 100 books, and couldn’t find it anywhere. There’s this BBC Big Reads list from 2003, but it’s not the same. But hey, since when do we allow a little thing that factual sources stand in the way of good blog fodder. On with the meme!)

1) Look at the list and put an ‘X’ after those you have read.
2) Add a ‘+’ to the ones you LOVE.
3) Star (*) those you plan on reading.
4) Tally your total at the bottom.
Continue reading “BBC Books meme”

2008: a meme of review

It’s become a bit of a tradition for me to do this end-of-year meme. It’s not as lovely in narrative flow as last year’s seemed to be, but then again, this was a kind of disjointed year, from a bloggy perspective. A lovely, full, hectic, but ultimately wonderful year. It’s hard to imagine that this time last year, we were still a family of four, waiting (im)patiently for the Player to be Named Later to make his big entrance. So, for the sake of tradition, here it is: the first line of the first post of every month in 2008.

  1. Those of you who know me well know I don’t usually bother with resolutions.
  2. Okay, I admit it: it’s been fun dragging y’all along on this crazy ride with us.
  3. The boys laughed uproariously when we watched a preview of Mr Bean’s Holiday at the theatre, so Beloved thought it would be a good Sunday-afternoon family movie to rent.
  4. Lucas and Tristan have had a lot in common.
  5. We’ve talked about circumcision and strollers, breast and bottle, slings and baby carriers.
  6. Sorry about the downtime.
  7. It was one of the hottest days I can remember, the steamy tropically oppressive kind of heat that reminds me of my childhood summers in Southern Ontario.
  8. It seems mildly ridiculous to me that I have three strollers and yet am shopping for another.
  9. You know how when you don’t have kids, and especially if you go through a period when you’re not sure that it will ever happen, you have these images in your head of what life with your kids will be like?
  10. Not a day goes by that I am not amazed by the simple fact of their love for each other.
  11. With Halloween barely put to bed (with a sore belly from all that candy, no doubt) we’ve nary the time for a breath of air before the season of Santa Claus parades is upon us.
  12. Uh oh. Cue REM’s “It’s the end of the world as we know it.”

Happy New Year to all of you who have taken a moment to read, to eavesdrop, and especially to contribute to the chatter around here. I wish all of you a new year filled with joy, laughter, and wishes fulfilled!

A Christmas Traditions Meme

I was stuck in traffic recently (please let this ridiculous transit strike end soon!) and this meme presented itself to me. Most of it was originally scribbled on the back of a coupon for dog food, braced on the steering wheel of the car while Lucas snoozed in the car seat behind me. Feel free to filch it for your own blog, or play along in the comment box!

There are so many ways to celebrate the season, and once a family gets locked into a certain set of traditions nothing can break the spell. How do you handle these ones in your family?

1. Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?

Since I was a kid, we opened all our presents on Christmas Eve. Santa brought one present and stuffed our stockings for Christmas morning, and even as grown children living away from home, my brother and I insisted on a Christmas morning Santa present!

2. Donner or Donder?

Ahem. As most of you know, I have a personal stake in this one. Let’s just say it was a proud moment this year when we watched Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer on CBS, and Simon spent the whole hour hollering “Donder!! Not Donner!!” at the TV whenever Donner was on screen.

3. Turkey or ham?

I was going to include goose in here, but does anybody really eat a Christmas goose anymore? I know, there are probably lots of people who have Christmas lasagnes and Christmas meatloaf and whatnot, but it seems to fall generally into ham and turkey camps. We are firmly turkey people. (**Waves and blow kisses to mother**)

4. Gifts opened all at once, or one at a time?

The first time I ever spent Christmas away from home with my ex’s family, I was openmouthed with wonder (and a hint of dismay) at the frenzy of gift opening. Everybody got their pile of presents, and everybody just tore in like a bunch of present-piranhas, wrap flying everywhere. I’m firmly in the camp of savouring the gifts one at a time and enjoying watching everyone open their gifts.

5. Christmas tree: live or artificial?

I’ve never had a live tree before, and I toyed with the idea this year. Beloved mocked me. I do love our artificial tree, though. It’s seven feet tall and still full and fresh looking even though it’s more than 15 years old. And it looks better and better each year as the handmade ornaments from the kids slowly replace the store-bought ones!

6. Cards: boxed cards, family photo cards, or e-cards?

I’m a fan of the boxed card. In a perfect world, I’d love to do handmade, but… yeah. One year, we put a fridge magnet made out of Tristan’s first Santa picture in every card, and I always wanted to do that again.

7. Christmas lights: incandescent or LED?

I’ve switched over to LED, but I’m not a huge fan. I think the incandescent have a brighter, warmer glow, but I’m doing my part to save the polar bears.

8. Re-gift or not?

Am a shameless re-gifter, but rarely have the opportunity… the people who give me gifts have impeccable taste, for the most part!

9. Gift wrap or gift bags?

I lean to gift wrap on this one, mostly because I think kids like tearing through paper more than they like lifting out tissue paper. The environmental aspect makes me cringe, but we do try to recycle it all.

10. Best Christmas song?

David Bowie and Bing Crosby’s Little Drummer Boy

11. Best Christmas movie?

A Christmas Story. I simply cannot believe I do not own this movie — I even have a “Fra-gee-lee” ornament on my tree!! — after years and years of dropping hints. It never goes on sale after Christmas, and I now refuse to pick it up for myself, so each year I have to comb the TV listings to make sure we catch it when it comes to broadcast cable. We don’t even have a PVR to record it. It’s one of the great travesties of the season, I tell you!

12. Favourite family tradition?

All of them. Traditions are the cathedral of life to a creature of habit like me!

Okay, your turn. Do play along!!

Apparently I put the “pen” in “penis”

Been getting a lot of blog fodder from CBC these days. Last week it was the top 10 TV shows courtesy of Q, and today’s post comes via old Spark podcasts I downloaded to listen to on our road trip this past weekend.

According to the artificial intelligence at, there is a 76% probability that Postcards from the Mothership is written by a man. I found this rather curious until I scanned down my own current home page and realized I have three large block-quotes, at least one of which I know *is* written by a man. I got curious, and started dropping individual category pages into the analyzer:

We guess is written by a man (54%), however it’s quite gender neutral.

We guess is written by a man (55%), however it’s quite gender neutral.

We think is written by a man (71%).

We think is written by a man (75%).

We guess is written by a man (57%), however it’s quite gender neutral.

Hmmm, my manliest writing is on random topics and when telling stories about the boys, and writing I do specifically on mothering is my most gender-neutral. Interesting, in a passing sort of way. Go ahead, go plug your blog in there, then come back and tell me your results. You know you want to!!


Speaking of “you know you want to…”, it’s that time of year again. Even though I had to resign from my position as an organizer of the Canadian Blog Awards (just not enough hours in the day!) I will still shamelessly whore myself for your votes. I am proud to say that Postcards from the Mothership has once again been nominated for a Best Canadian Family Blog award, and I will milk it for all it’s worth!

Best Family Blog nominee

You can vote any day this week, but you can vote only once per category so choose well, as there are several excellent blogs nominated. Don’t make me beg. Well, you’re right, I’ll likely beg anyway. But don’t let that stop you! VOTE!