Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Focusing on the positive

Girl child upon exiting the pool after her first swimming lesson:

"I didn't drown!!" (said with much enthusiasm).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


To the fly who just flew up my nose: First of all, JESUS!! Could you watch where you are going?! and 2) Could you please give my brain a kick when you get up there?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Flattery will get you everywhere

Dear Sir on the sidewalk -

Thank you for using your nice words when asking me for money. You were so polite!

And I do appreciate you telling me my ass was tight when I politely refused to give you any cash. I thought it was looking a little bit saggy lately, so thanks for the ego boost!



Friday, September 19, 2008


Dear Sir I just passed on the sidewalk:

I know that way up here in Edmonton we don't get many really warm days. And I know that this is particularly so in mid-September.

So, I apologize for mistaking your nipples for buttons on this sunshiney afternoon. Turns out it wasn't actually a shirt you had on but rather quite a spectacular all over torso tattoo.

Boy, is my face red.

Forgive me?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Yesterday afternoon I was strolling down Jasper Avenue when a random woman handed me a bottle of something. At first I thought, "Wow! Free Tylenol."

Turns out it was a bottle of liquid yogurt or as it says on the bottle Probiotic Drink (so much more exotic than curdled milk, no?). It was part of a free promotion by some dairy company.

Weird that I trusted a complete stranger enough to willingly swill it down right then and there.

Mmm, strawberry kiwi.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

She's a beauty!

My ride:

Almost fits into my pocket. In fact, I think I will just fold it up and sit it on my lap as I ride the bus home...;)


We took the kids canoeing on Sunday morning.

Beautiful Fall weather; terrific swatches of red, yellow, and orange everywhere we looked (would that I could have captured them for my wall); encounters with a pack (?) herd (?) posse (?) of Bison on the road into the boat launch; and only a slight case of nerves as I amateurishly paddled in the open, choppy water with the lives of those I hold most dear in my hands.

We went from island-to-island-to-island, hopping off to picnic, let the kids throw rocks into the water, and to rest our weary arms (God, yes!).

Things I spotted on various shores: discarded duck egg shells, broken glass liquor bottles, feathers, many old animal bones - deer, maybe?

The day was an absolute delight.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Thank you

We have been waiting all summer for the new splash deck to open at our neighbourhood park. Summer is basically done but our threadbare little community league put together a grand opening celebration on the weekend anyway to mark its completion.

I know we don't have a whole lot of money to dish out for decorations, but the nice folks who stayed up all of the night before spray painting the new bench and utility box, the outside of the kids' elementary school, and the outside and inside of the community league really didn't have to go to all that trouble.

While it totally took the wind out of my sails, your foul work (The N word? Really?) didn't dampen the boy child's spirits.

Upon looking at the graffiti, he turned to me and said with 5-year-old optimism, "It was nice of them to draw a heart, wasn't it Mama?"

Yep. There was real love in that.

Friday, September 12, 2008


My eyeballs are dry from staying up late last night re-examining my life. The tears and the rain copiously pouring down; heart bleeding from hurt and longing; and lightning flashing to highlight the drama unfolding.

(Apologies for the above bad and sentimental writing)

Hello, Good-bye

It was nice of my Federal Member of Parliament to pop over for dinner the other night. I just wish he would have arrived on time and had actually been invited.

And as I told him when he knocked on my door mid-meal, I am not Conservative, don't believe there should be an election right now, and will not be voting for him.

It's never to early

It's only September but I am already being bombarded by Christmas present requests in my house.

Here are two from my cat's wish list:

And the instant my son opened his eyes the other morning he listed off the three things he wants: a candy cane, a bag of marbles, and a sled.

Yay! I can get the first two at the dollar store and he already has a sled. Done and done.

The wife on the other hand has already ordered this:

And wants these to go with it:

Today's outlook: crampy

A woman's body should have a little mute button or check box somewhere on it so she can opt in or out of the menstruation cycle.

If she is not physically going to pump out the babes spare the poor dear the years of blood shed and bloat.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Your attention please

Dear -

Please stop emailing me. When I start having trouble getting it up, I will let you know.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Is the coffee ready yet?

Boy child from his room at 6:30 a.m. while on a time out for being too loud:


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

On being a bitter, I mean, better mother


There are days. There are days when I want to be selfish for a moment and live in the adult world. Like yesterday, when we crashed my friend's wedding. I just wanted to sit quietly and take it all in - all of the loveliness of two lovely people in love.

But no, the wiggly-bored-and-hungry lovelies I adore just...couldn't...sit!...still!!...quiet! for 5 minutes.

From what I could tell, it was a lovely, lovely event. And though we had to dash for a drive thru the instant they said "I do" I am so glad we had a chance to witness it.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Not what I thought

I went to Lenscrafters on the weekend to get glasses because they had "A Big Event" on. If you bought glasses for X amount of dollars you got "free" lenses.

I sit down with the salesperson to place my order and she quotes me $350 for the lenses alone (the frames I wanted were less than $200). I of course asked her about the "free" lenses. She said, "Oh, those are basic, basic lenses. No one ever orders those." She didn't even pretend to ask me if I wanted them she just automatically wanted to charge me for upgraded lenses.

I hate when so-called sales are not actually sales. I felt extremely misled and left the store without making a purchase.


40-40 vision

So I got my eyes examined at the weekend and everything's going along smoothly - my eyes are healthy, my vision has changed very mildly in one eye - and I'm ready to hop out of the chair and go when the optometrist says to me, "I do have to warn you about one thing."

And I am thinking, "What? The bill is going to be huge?"

Uh, no. She says, "Now that you are forty, you will start having trouble reading small lettering. It is inevitable."

Seriously long brain pause on my end. Then the light flickers on.

"You mean, bifocals?"

"Yes. I mean bifocals."

OMG. If that isn't a harbinger of old age, I don't know what is.

What's next? Leakage issues in my undercarriage?

Friday, September 5, 2008

A point to ponder

So, despite signage, despite numerous pleas from the receptionist, some of my coworkers still continue to put their dirty dishes on the counter in the office kitchen instead of in the dishwasher conveniently located just below it (!).

And I am thinking, if people can't even do a simple task like that when asked, how can we expect them to get out and vote in the soon-to-be-announced federal election?

It's been quite a morning already

So it's 8 a.m. on a Friday morning and I am sitting at my desk trying to get my heart beat back to its regular rate.

I have a message for a particular SUV driver I inadvertently met today:

"WTF were you thinking? Your need to get to the coffee shop 2.5 seconds faster than the bus I was riding in - you know, the one you tried to cut off? - nearly caused me a heart attack.

In case you didn't realize it, our bus driver had to nail her brakes when you did that.

Do you know what happens when a bus suddenly stops short? Yeah, that's right. Everyone inside of it goes flying. Like the woman carrying her infant in a snuggly and her little 2-year-old girl who fortunately landed on the floor without getting seriously hurt. And the old lady who was until that moment standing at the front. And the three women who were also previously sitting at the front.

Ask me how much fun it was to witness a pile of people getting thrown together on the floor because of your stupidity? And maybe ask the bus driver if her underwear is clean now. Thank God no one was seriously hurt."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

My opposites

Although my kids are twins, they are as different as McCain and Obama. We have always jokingly called them our opposites.

This fact was never more clear than when we started talking about the extracurricular lessons and activities they would like to do this fall. Keep in mind they are 5.

Boy child would like to take a cooking class or dance. Girl child would like to learn to fly helicopters.

And before you ask, no, they are not identical twins as some people shockingly ask me. That would have something to do with the fact that one is a girl and one is a boy...

And did you know?

All these years I thought the words to the song Raise a Little Hell were, well, Raise a Little Hell. Turns out the words are actually Raise a Little Owl, so says boy child.

Living with a 5 year-old Y chromosome

Things I never thought I'd say or hear:

"Make sure ALL the pee goes in the toilet."

"Mama, look what my penis can do."
"Wow, Honey, I had no idea it could bend/stretch/roll into a ball, etc. that way."

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The colours of my rainbow

Alberta, where I live, is known for its colours - wide open blue skies, waves of yellow canola fields, and flaming rednecks. Now the land that I love also wants to be known for another colour - green.

The powers that be announced last week that they want to use a chunk of the BILLIONS they have earned in the last year from pillaging the Earth of oil on green initiatives.

How's that?

The folks that brought us the Alberta tar sands - a vast wasteland of tailing ponds (i.e. simmering pools of chemicals) and devastated agricultural and forest land - want to spray a little verdancy on the massive mountains of dead dirt?

Isn't that kind of like painting on your eyebrows after you've plucked them out? It's just not quite like the original, baby.

Kindergartner non sequitars

It's volcanic vinegar (balsamic vinegar)

It's a hole-in-tell (hotel)

It's cigaretting (smoking)

It's gunning (shooting)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I saw a Mini Cooper with a little set of pink plastic man balls dangling below its exhaust pipe the other day.

I want to meet the guy who actually decided that was a good car accessory--as opposed to, say, a fuzzy steering wheel cover that is functional and would at least keep his hands warm. And I would also want to meet the woman who would date him.

And if he has to dangle fake balls from his vehicle what does that say about him? He doesn't have any of his own? He thinks of his truck as human? He likes...ahem, guys?

I think I might get a dangling bush for our Toyota Echo. A really, really hairy one! It could keep the belly of the car warm and keep the streets clean at the same time.

As subtle as a bunny fart

We got new neighbours at the beginning of the summer. There is one house in between ours.

Turns out they are musicians - 20 something free spirits. Admittedly, their music is great. Some real talent over the fence which I enjoy listening to through the open window or when I am outside.

Unfortunately, these dudes and dudettes don't seem to get that they are surrounded by other people who get up early to go to work. Who go to bed at a reasonable hour. Who have small children who also need LOTS of sleep to quell the demons inside.

Dudes and dudettes like to play the banjo and guitar and sing outside until all hours of the night and morning, with amplifiers turned up, banging on loud African drums.

L has been over a few times to tell them to keep it down. And they quit when she does. But it doesn't stop them from doing it again and again.

Hello? You are not in the woods!

So the other night it is way past 10 p.m. and they are singing away into the night. L says go over and tell them to quiet down. Me being me I step out onto the back stoop, cup my hands around my mouth and yell, "Okay! Time to cut the music. People are trying to sleep!!"

Immediate silence ensues.

I go back into the house triumphantly clutching my bathrobe around me. L looks at me and says, "That was a bit White Trash, don't you think?"

Perhaps, but I prefer to call it German efficiency.

Maybe next time I will send my grumpy, sleep-deprived kids over at
6 a.m. to ask from drumming lessons.

Monday, August 25, 2008


We are going camping for the a tent. It is supposed to be 7 degrees Celsius tonight. This is when I hope sleeping with small furnaces will come in handy.

Speaking of which, I have been sharing a bed with the boy child lately. Last night he yelled out in the middle of the night "Macaroni!" So of course being a loving and spiteful mother, I turned over and yelled back, "Cheese!" And then we got up and had a midnight snack.


So this is my new old blog. After a year of inactivity I was going to scrap Thunder Mama and start up a new blog called Read Pen. I had it up and running for a few days last week but it just didn't feel right, nor look right.

I found that the two hardest parts of getting a new blog going were: actually getting it going, and settling on the right "look". Given that I am a Luddite for sure, this last part was particularly painful. You see, in real life I have good taste. I enjoy good design. In Internet life I had to settle for what was out there. So I went for something simple. The template I chose basically looked like a page ripped from a notebook - let's call it unpretentious. It was going to be good enough until either a designer owed me, or I stumbled across something that matched my 1960's Danish modern sensibilities.

The whole experience was kind of like finding a good bra - you know, one that fits well, looks good, and yet does the job. I cannot emphasize enough the looks good part (i.e. something resembling sexy) and not looking as though it is a miracle of hydraulics and engineering. This is a struggle for those of us with a substantial shelf. (Seriously, I dare you to try this at home. If you are anything further down the alphabet than a C, I wish you God speed.)

In the end, the template I chose kinda pinched in spots, didn't offer good support in others (I was constantly reefing up the straps), and generally looked like something my Baptist grandma would have worn.

So, back to Thunder Mama...!

Lemon Aide

The crazy ass folk at City Hall thought this ( would be a good way of keeping our downtown streets clean. Essentially the Mad Vac (you must yell it as though from the bottom of a well) is a small street sweeper with a giant hose on the front of it (can we say penis extension?).

Anyway, a guy (invariably) drives this thing around ON the sidewalk and manipulates (not very well) the vaccum nozzle to suck up pieces of litter and particles of dust from the curb. I watched a guy do this the other day while I was waiting for the light to change. It was kind of like trying to vaccumm up those little circles of paper from a hole punch. The only thing I could see MadVac doing efficiently is sucking up (with a big shooosh and a pop) small (albeit surprised) rodents.

Yesterday, as I was walking back to the office after lunch I glanced down a side street only to see not one, but two large men in bright yellow safety suits mashed into the cab of one of these mini sweeps. They looked like a couple of GMO lemons in a blender waiting to become juice.

And FYI Litterbug? Just for future reference? There are these things called trash cans about every 10 feet downtown. Be a Sport and use them. I mean, do you do this at home, too? If I visit will I see orange peels strewn on your carpet and cigarette butts crushed into the wall paper? You are probably the same person who doesn't flush public toilets. What the hell is wrong with you?