Emergency contact

She lived on my street. But she didn’t just live on my street. She was a neighbour, but she wasn’t just a neighbour.

She was a wife. She was a mom.

She was a breath of fresh air every time I saw her. She never had anything but positive, supportive things to say. She was a terrific mother. A great mother, the kind who unintentionally would make me feel like I didn’t do enough or well enough by my own children, by not being able to spend as much meaningful time with them, by having to rush through everything with them because there was too much to go through in too little time. Though she would have been horrified to know that I had this feeling, and it must be noted that I have this guilt regardless, somehow she may have realized my fears.

She would call to thank me for having her son to my house. My house long ago began an open door policy for any of the neighbourhood kids who wanted to come hang out with my kids. I don’t expect thank yous, but she was the only mom who ever did. She would stop by and mention how great it was for my son to have been over, and what a polite boy he is and what a “great job” I am doing. She talked about my daughter’s sense of humour and how proud I must be of her. She asked if on school forms she could put me down as the emergency contact for her son. How she would just feel better knowing it was me.

The affliction of the single working mom is the fear of always being considered a second-class parent by the “true” moms. She never knew what it meant that she, the kind of mother I want to be when I grow up, would embrace me as a fellow parent in that way.

Actually, I think perhaps she did.

I didn’t actually know her as well as I wanted to. I wish I had known her better. I wish that the last time I saw her I knew it would be the last time I would see her.

I would have expressed this immense gratitude I have for her. This tremendous respect I have for her. This tremendous admiration I had for her positive attitude, her warming welcome, and for raising lovely, lovely children.

There’s a loose screen door off my dining room balcony. Last week I was sitting here reading when I thought I heard a knocking; we’re a split-level so the balcony is one storey up. I jumped to my feet thinking our neighbour’s cat must have vaulted over, and I’d have to grab him and take him back next door again. But there was no cat on the balcony. The screen door was just knocking back and forth with the wind, which also was blowing the curtains into the house. Obviously, no one was out there knocking on the door. As I went to grab the sliding door to close it, I realized that the wind has never actually blown in that direction through this house before, either. I stood there for a minute, the warm, unusual wind rushing past me.

I think in a way it was her; she was stopping by, or maybe just passing through. It was such an honour for the visit. She may have now become aware of the unforgettable impact she had, even for something that to her was simply natural. Being a good human, generous of spirit.

I want to pay tribute to her, and let her know, I hope she knows, that I will always be her emergency contact, and what a special honour it is.


Riding in cars with boys

Nephew: “My friends and I were having this hypothetical situation conversation. You’re probably not going to like it though.”

Me: “Who, me?”

Nephew: “Yeah. The conversation was: Would you punch your mother right in the face, hard enough to break her nose, for a million dollars?”

Me: “What!”

Son: laughs maniacally

Nephew: “There are some conditions though: you can’t warn her that you’re going to do it, and you can’t tell her anything about it until after you’ve broken her nose and then you can explain the whole thing.”

Me: “That’s horrible!!”

Nephew: “I said I would do it.”

Me: “Oh my god!!!! Max, you could never do that! That would totally ruin our relationship.”

Son: continues to laugh hysterically

Nephew: “Yeah but then you split the money. Wouldn’t $500,000 go a long way to mending your relationship?”

Me: “No!!”

Him: “You could get reconstructive surgery!”

Me: “Forget it!”

Son: “I have a hypothetical situation. Would you: give up electronics, your phone, the internet, and reading for three months for three million dollars?”

Me: “No reading? Oh, man. Wait, no. I could do it. I could write for three months. I would write a book.”

Nephew: “Just don’t accidentally read what you write, because then it’s over.”

The above was an actual road trip conversation.

Happy Labour Day weekend, everyone!

Weekend hockey in August, baby!

I’ve been optimizing my summer break and focussing on being outdoors, enjoying the weather with family, canines and friends. The past hockey season was pretty intense, especially the last six weeks of the Habs’ post-season. After they got knocked out of the eastern conference final by the dirty rotten Rangers, I largely ignored Twitter (I mean until free agent frenzy and the PK Subban contract negotiations) and started enjoying real life. I also needed that break to be able to look back at the season without heartache.

This was a rare weekend without the boyfriend. The boyfriend has the patience and understanding of … I don’t know, Jesus. Ghandi. Someone like that. It’s not like he didn’t know what he was getting into. On our I think second date I sat him down to have The Talk. Second date is too soon? I don’t think so. I like to have things crystal clear right up front so as to not waste anybody’s time.

I told him about this thing I have going with the Montreal Canadiens. I very seriously told him that I was a Habs fan. He laughed and said it was okay. And I said, “Nuh-no – it’s not about us liking different teams.” I’m really serious about these guys. How I grew up that way and don’t know any other way of life, and that I watch every game of the season and if they lose, it ruins everything, and if they win, you can’t wipe the smile off my face. How I have a seat from the Montreal Forum, and how I lined up to meet Maurice Richard and how not having a photo with him is one of my life’s biggest regrets. How I have game day rituals that I don’t deviate from until there’s a losing streak. How The Sweater is the first story I read to my kids and they know it off by heart. How I watch Sportscentre highlights on game night, and am capable of rewinding the same play to watch it possibly 15 times. How the Habs news is the first thing I do in the morning, well, the second, after I put on my glasses.

He looked at me and said, “So … you’re obsessed.” Whatever, I thought he ought to know. And it’s been nearly four years, so obviously he’s cool with crazy.

Except really, Habs fans, we know it’s normal, not crazy. Last weekend, a long one in B.C., we spent an idyllic one in the hot desert next to a cool, rushing river, and darted around on dune buggies and walked into the river to fish when the sun was going down. I caught two, by the way! Anyway, the deal is, in the desert wifi is hard to come by. And it was PK Subban contract negotiation weekend. We went up on Thursday, and all the way listening to TSN 690, I was confident I’d wake up Friday to the news of a deal. Except I didn’t. The two sides went to arbitration and all of a sudden I was in the desert freaking out along with the rest of Habs nation, and it was all I could do to put my phone down and try to enjoy myself, without checking Twitter and Eyes on the Prize, the best website on the inter webs, every chance I got. On Saturday morning, I got up to more uncertainty and decided to ignore everything. Going on Twitter was pissing me off, mostly because everyone was talking about how it was the end of the world and we’d see PK Subban in a Leafs sweater in two years all thanks to Marc Bergevin’s ineptitude. This was what upset me the most – Marc Bergevin has not steered us wrong and didn’t all of a sudden become some kind of idiot overnight. Also, the idea of Subban in a Leafs jersey? Spending my weekend throwing up all over the place was not what I had in mind. So I put down my phone.

And I picked it up again at about 11:25. First tweet that caught my eye was by EOTP, that Bob McKenzie (TSN analyst who loves to passive-aggressively crap on the Habs AND Subban) was reporting that a DEAL WAS IMMINENT. My heart stopped. Then, we HAD A DEAL. I was so relieved. We piled into the car to go stock up on groceries, including bison meat in honour of PK. In the car, I asked my daughter a question about this personal wifi she had heard of somewhere, and she was happily chirping out her answer when I got a notification on my phone and screamed, “EIGHT YEAR DEAL!! EIGHT YEAR DEAL!!” I totally interrupted her and felt awful but she understood and we all whoop-whooped and breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Anyway fast-track to this weekend. He works out of town and had to this weekend, so I mostly just dedicated myself to housework and cooking. And the Habs. Because I got to. I re-watched, on PVR, the Habs/Bruins series from May. And found myself almost in tears when Subban came out of the penalty box in game 3 to score that gorgeous breakaway goal. Then I did more. I looked on iTunes for TSN 690 podcasts and listened to all of them from the playoffs. I heard most of them in real life, of course, but not all, because I couldn’t when I was at work. I even went down a rabbit hole and after listening to all of Tony Marinaro’s broadcasts with WEEI in Boston, went to find the actual Boston radio podcasts. And what I heard was some pretty rational hockey people, which irritates me because hating Boston fans is one of my favourite things ever. Then I started to think back on last season, and with the exception of the Rangers series which I can’t bring myself to fully relive, I have to say it was one of the most exciting seasons I can remember.

Everybody knows I’m a Therrien fan. I like the guy. He has the least enviable coaching  job of the NHL and handles it with grace. Therrien 2.0, anyway. The guy is not “your buddy” as Bergevin says, the guy is a coach. He is cold, and cool, and he’s in charge. And he’s smart. And I think that after denial and rage by the majority of Habs nation last season, they finally accepted him after they saw how he handled the playoffs. People still slag him every chance they get, but I’m not thinking he cares very much.

And then there’s Bergevin. He has changed the face of this franchise in a very short turnaround. He gets it. It’s in his blood now and this is a driven, passionate, intelligent leader. There was that game last season, you know the one: Washington. The Habs were on a three-game losing streak in January, and then lost to Washington, shut out, 5-0. And they had a closed-door meeting. In my imagination, here’s how it went down. Bergevin went into that room, looked everyone in the eye, and instead of freaking out and threatening to fire people, said: You’re winners. Forget about tonight, sh*t happens. It’s in the books, and nothing you can do about it now. I believe in you. You’re contenders. And the trade deadline is coming up, and … you’re all staying. I’m adding pieces to help you, and I’m not sacrificing a single one of you.

Look, that’s maybe how it happened and maybe it isn’t, but they won eight of their next 12 games – despite Carey’s absence after the Olympics. And got absolutely genius trade deadline acquisitions in Weise, Weaver and Vanek. And didn’t just make the playoffs, they wound up fourth in the conference with 100 points and then went on to win two playoff rounds, including a sweep, and proved to the world that they were not just a goalie when Lord Voldemort made damned sure that Carey Price would not be a factor in the eastern conference final. They took the Rangers to game 6 even though the experts were predicting a sweep after the cruel Price injury. Character. Passion. Skill. Heart.

There is no point to this post other than wanting to write something after spending a lot of the weekend looking back. And now I’m looking forward. There is so much to look forward to. For the first time in many years, Habs fans have something to legitimately look forward to come October. No more wishful thinking. No more pipe dreams. This is it. We’re not talking about rebuilds anymore, not talking about how in five years we can do it. The future is now, as they say, and right now, I have to … go make dinner.


Game day superstition

It’s nearly time for Game 2 of the Montreal Canadiens/Boston Bruins second round matchup. “Nearly time” is 8:32 AM in Vancouver this fine morning, and the boys are playing at 9:30 AM our time, because NBC rules the NHL and there’s some stupid horse race later today which is a whole can of worms that makes me crazy, but it is what it is, and I am ready.

“Ready” means matching everything I did for the Habs’ first playoff game against Tampa:

  • I’m listening to TSN690’s pre game show.
  • I am about to put on my Carey Price jersey – it doesn’t come on until just before the anthems.
  • My Forum chair sits empty – I don’t transfer to it until the anthems. For now, I still get to enjoy my comfy couch.
  • Even though I’m obviously going to be watching the game, I’ve set it to record on the PVR, and scheduled it to end at 30 minutes after the scheduled recording time.
  • Even though during the regular season I always watch games blaring through the surround sound speakers, for whatever reason in the first round against the Lighting, I didn’t switch on the surround sound. And we swept. So I listen through the crappy canny TV speakers.

This is the formula. I’ve done my thing, now Habs: do yours.


I know, I haven’t blogged in forever, don’t even check my last post date because it was forever ago, just trust me. I’ve been BUSY. I am ruminating one, but this isn’t it. But now, I need your help.

Before you read on, just know that if you are from the United States or a fan of team USA in the Olympics in any way, shape or form, please don’t help me*. You’ll see why.

I have a quandary, and I need you to help me out with resolving it.

You know how when your team plays a big game, you believe that all your actions have an effect on the outcome, the sequence of things you do and how you do them, and if your team wins or loses, the responsibility is solely on you? … No? What?

Team Canada plays the USA tomorrow in the men’s hockey semi-final game of the Olympics. Loser gets to play for loser bronze. So here’s my thing:

Do I wear my Team Canada jersey during the game? I know what you’re saying, “Of course you do! Why wouldn’t you?”

Listen to me, there are so many factors that go into this decision that I’ve been driving myself crazy trying to make the right decision, and being the mitigating factor in whether or not Canada gets the gold, because whoever wins tomorrow WILL get the gold.

Here are my variables and circumstances and then you’ll know why this is agonizing for me, so I’m putting the decision to you by vote. Let’s see if by the time I finish this post I can figure out who to include a poll:

  • (Oh my god, I just saw the “Add Poll” button at the top of this window. Problem one: solved! Wicked.)
  • For the first game Canada played I was at work and Carey Price played: no jersey. We won. But we let a goal in.
  • For the second game, I was at work again, but Roberto Luongo played: no jersey. We won, and got a shutout.
  • For the third game, I was at home. Carey Price played, and I wore my Carey Price/Team Canada jersey combo. Canada jersey on top of the Canadiens jersey.
  • We won. BUT it was in OT. And we let in a goal.
  • For the fourth game, I was at work again, and Carey Price was in goal: no jersey. We won. But we let in a goal.
  • Goddammit, it looks like the odds are in favour of no jersey.
  • I really want to wear my jersey.
  • I really want to wear my jersey. Correction, both jerseys.
  • The jersey is dirty. I don’t really care, but I think there’s … tomato juice? on it at the bottom and probably I really should wash it if I’m going to wear it, you know, in public.
  • I hate laundry.
  • I love my country more than I hate laundry.
  • Also, remember: we have a perfect record of when I wore my jerseys that one time.
  • The fate of Team Canada rests on my decision.

So you see. Quandary. Variables. Factors and math and all that stuff I hate!

So internet, tell me what to do. I am totally leaving this decision to social media. Vote below. And Go Canada Go! Go Canada Go!

*Obviously now you know why I respectfully reject your input if you’re our neighbour south of the border. You’re like the liar at the gates of Heaven and Hell in that riddle, you know which one I’m talking about? Where you have to have the perfect question to ask about avoiding the door to Hell, but you don’t know which guy is the liar and which one’s the guy who can’t lie and you have to pick the perfect question? I’m obviously a terrible question asker (see above) and I am truly grateful for your readership; but you may not participate in this poll, thanks, good luck tomorrow, not really.

I’m getting excited

This will probably be 100 words or less, for once. Two quick thoughts for the day:

  • OMG we got our tickets for the Habs game in Vancouver October 12. We’ll be sort of near the goal where the Habs shoot twice, so watch for us on your teevees. On account of the Habs will be scoring there.
  • The bf is here for the weekend, and just took the dogs out. I’m still trying to watch the Habs preseason game against Ottawa from last Thursday, and Marc Bergevin is being interviewed on RDS in the second intermission. Lime-green tie and all. I just said, “Mm, mm, mm,” at my T.V. , the kind that hits three different octaves, you know what I’m taking ’bout, ladies.
  • Don’t tell the bf.

126 words, three points. It’s all good.

Going left at Hope

I skipped August! So much for aiming to have at least a monthly post. It’s not because I haven’t had anything to talk about. But I’m baaaack! Look, I posted twice in July, so let’s just say that canceled August out. So, reader, and I do mean “reader” … okay, maybe “readers”. Lisa. And Sofia. Here we go.

  • Just finishing the weirdest summer of my life. Because I actually got to have most of it off, for the first time in the very, very short period of time that has passed since I graduated high school (shut up).
  • It’s not that many weird things happened. But now one really great thing has happened. I’ll tell you later.
  • So, because I had so much time off, on those days the kids were not at home, I would grab the dog and leave town. The bf is working out of town so we would go visit him, and also my bff abandoned me earlier this year to go live the high life in the Okanagan, so I went there a couple of times, too.
  • Here’s the thing about road trips: they’re great, if you’re heading somewhere awesome, or better, towards awesome people. And if the drive is beautiful, as all drives are in British Columbia, it goes by quickly. The drive up to Ashcroft is interesting. You take the #1, and everyone and their abuela’s on the road right with you. You get some serious speed, I mean, after the stupid Langley part. And everyone’s with you, and you’re all “woooo!” and you’re heading in the same direction, and then, you turn left at Hope for Ashcroft and suddenly, you’re on your own. EVERYONE continues to the Coquihalla. I was on the phone with my aforementioned bestie, Lisa, hands-free of course, the first time I made that left turn. I said, “Do you know who goes left at Hope?” and she said, “Who?” and I said, “NOBODY!” Anyway then you get stuck behind semis, and trailers doing 60 in a 100 zone, and you want to murder someone, until you get to that blessed passing lane.
  • Oh yeah, one time, Lucky the puppy in the back lost her mind when we were in that crazy busy/fast stretch before Hope, because some poor guy on a motorcycle was RIGHT behind us. It had to be because he had a big black shiny head with black glass for a face. Never have I ever heard her bark like that.
  • Sofia just asked me to mention her. And so I have. And then she’ll act all embarrassed that I did.
  • Another thing about Lucky, who must-must-must hang her head out the back window, no matter the weather, no matter the speed, so that her spit that turns into glue can splatter all across the exterior of my car, is, she’s crazy. Oh yes, I mentioned. When you gather speeds of 100+, the wind goes right up her eyelids, and they inflate like little parasails, and you can see the pink inside parts. It is cree-to the-pizzy. Especially when she blinks a lot. Cute, weird dog.
  • Hockey’s back! Well, sorta. It’s merely preseason, but there are games, and I have been watching. The Habs have been trying out their prospects and rookies, and it’s cool to get to see these guys we got in the Draft and over the summer play. Georgie Parros hasn’t played yet though (injured), and for some reason, I cannot wait to see him on the ice in the CH. Louis Leblanc played the other night, unspectacularly, and promptly got sent back to Hamilton. His girlfriend had some angry things to say on Twitter about the demotion, which immediately went viral, and then she deleted the tweets. But the internet is FOREVER. I love when other people make mistakes that I’m glad I didn’t make. Aw, that’s mean. But you know what I mean.
  • So, hockey. You’re back! Am I ever glad! I think Marc Bergevin made some great, key moves over the summer, to add size, and yes, “character” to the team, which he so often mentions that it’s become something of a drinking game across Habs Nation. Whatever, I agree with him. The guy is a leader, as I blogged about earlier this year, and I trust him. The thing about leaders is, they are few. Truly, they are. Most of them think they are so merely by virtue of being anointed thus, but true leaders are a hard find. Anyone can go to Leadership 101 and academically make the honour roll and then regurgitate the knowledge and talk the talk, but it’s how you actually apply what you know that makes you a leader. And the thing about Bergevin is, he didn’t forget what he learned (if you’re humouring me and imagining that he took a class – I’m sure he didn’t – he’s a natural), and not only did he not forget, he lives it. He believes it. Leaders who believe themselves to be leaders merely by having more and more people under them on the totem pole, do not get it. Bergevin understands that it’s not just about revenue, the business is the sum of ALL of its moving parts. From the top on down, that is to say, the team of advisors that he actually listens to, the players who make real what he’s put together, and the so-called bottom of the totem pole – which in a different kind of business would be individual contributors – us, the fans. Without individual contributors, you have no business. Without fans, you have no team. The manner in which he’s taken the broken bits of the organization he inherited and moulded them into the franchise that we thought would never return, has been astonishing. The guy gets it. For him, unlike his predecessor, it’s not about appeasing his higher ups, but about getting it right. That’s how you get buy-in from the moving parts. He hasn’t been perfect (cough, Desharnais) but he’s done everything in such a way that he has our trust. You have to have that. When it’s lost, it’s gone, and it doesn’t come back. And for those individual contributors, us, the fans, who create the revenue, that trust is everything. Look, I know we’ll buy paraphernalia and tickets anyway, but you know what I mean. After the lockout last year, I spent a good week determined not to watch NHL hockey, right up until about five minutes before the first game. But I was REALLY determined. So anyway, I trust Bergevin, and even if he makes questionable moves, I will trust that he knows what he’s doing, because he’s earned it.
  • Yes, I know we haven’t won in the preseason. CHILL OUT.
  • 1111 words and I really haven’t started.
  • Hockey hockey hockey.
  • I started a new job! That’s the really good thing. It’s interesting, and exciting. And I’m loving it already. Whee! It was nice having summer vacation for once, and spending lots of quality time with the kids, the bf and my good friends, but going back to work and starting this new job is really, really cool. I know. Who says that?
  • TV is back, too. I don’t really have shows that I watch because I have to watch the hockey, but I do watch New Girl, The Mindy Project and Modern Family. The first two already premiered this week. If you don’t watch those, watch them.
  • Also, with the return of hockey, will be return of my tweets. All those Leafs fans who engaged in the folly of following me in the off-season will drop like flies come October 1. Guys: read the bio!
  • Speaking of flies, what’s with all the fruit flies in my kitchen? I mean, yes, my daughter decided her favourite snack is steamed broccoli with lemon juice, and left a half-lemon on the counter all day that turned into a FRUIT FLY FARM, but that was weeks ago. I have since washed and wiped EVERYTHING and still they WON’T DIE. Help!
  • Ashcroft is a desert. And as such, it’s freaking hot. One day, it got up to 36 degrees when I was up there. Look, my people are biologically conditioned to tolerate such temperatures, but 36 is kind of a lot. There are also rattle snakes. And it is so dry, that what you think is dust is actually evaporated dirt, and it gets EVERYWHERE. And I love it there. So does Lucky. The river is right there, and she takes herself down for swims, then she lolls in the shade under the bf’s trailer (read: in the puddle of water that comes out of the shower), then comes out muddy and filthy, then chases her ball and plays with Rosie, and she is in absolute heaven. Every time we come back home, she hates me for a couple of days. Good thing I’ve got her buy-in as a leader. I mean, I think.
  • Anyway, I mostly wrote this because people (no, I’m serious) asked me when I would write again. And I said I was “working on something” so then I actually had to. So this is it. And I only dedicated about 1/3 of it to hockey!
  • You won’t be so lucky next time.

Laughter & Lists

This one’s self-indulgent… oh wait, they all are. Anyway, I have to do this for me. Me, me, me.

A couple of weeks ago, I was driving in to work listening to the TSN690 morning show in Montreal, which I have my handy iPhone app set up to record every morning starting at 3:00 AM my time. I get to listen to it after I get up, and after zipping through all the commercials and baseball and soccer talk, I’m through listening pretty much by the time I get to work. The guys were having fun as usual – but on this particular day they were laughing at something so silly, that they kept laughing and couldn’t even speak. It was infectious – I was laughing too, just from hearing them laugh. I can’t even remember at what.

Someone that I like and respect very much described himself once as taking his job very seriously – but not taking himself very seriously. I thought it was an excellent description, and see myself the same way, I just didn’t know it until he encapsulated it. I don’t take myself very seriously, and find it very important to have a good laugh, hopefully at something completely silly or even something that isn’t funny but becomes funny, at least once a day. I’m lucky enough that I can usually get much more than one a day, thanks to having similarly silly, and wonderful, people in my life. For whom I am undyingly grateful.

And do you know what? It struck me – that’s my official measuring stick for people. As I was listening to the radio guys cracking up at something utterly silly, I thought: this is really it. If you are incapable of having an uncontrollable giggling fit, you will definitely not get me. I’m not hilarious or anything, well, I am to me, and I’m usually the one laughing hardest at myself and I’m a very good audience to me. A sense of humour is what’s gotten me through lots of crappy things. Even when I allow myself to be miserable, I can find a way to laugh. I read it somewhere, how important it is to laugh, but it’s not like you need to read a study on it to know it.

Another person that I care about and respect very much recently asked me to make a list of what I’m grateful for, and another list of my concerns. I have a lot of concerns… but my good fortune list is much longer. It was a good exercise at a very opportune time. And I highly recommend doing one for yourself. My list begins with people, and goes on that way for a while. It’s kinda long. And when I have a bad day, I can look at my lists. And feel great. And grateful.

My children, family, friends and the sweetest and funniest boyfriend in the world make my world go around.

Make your lists, thank me later.

Dog Days of Summer

It’s Canada Day and July 1, so maybe this post will be my only one this month if I stay true-to-form, and the procrastinator in me is very proud of me for getting it out of the way at the earliest possibility.

  • I love Canada! I wasn’t born here, and haven’t lived my entire life here, but it’s my favourite country in the whole wide world. If you haven’t lived here, you should live here. We have looooots of room.
  • In the country. Not in my house.
  • We have an extra occupant this weekend, as the bf is off on a boys weekend, so we’re dog-sitting for Rose the black dog. A couple of observations:
  1. Two biggish dogs wrestling on a hardwood floor is noisy.
  2. This is the smell of two sweaty dogs in my brand-new crossover SUV in Crystal Pearl Mica: Not wonderful. Not wonderful, readers.
  3. I’m going to train the bf to train Miss Rose to WALK ON THE LEASH. She’s a rescue, so we don’t really know where she came from, but the first time I put her on the leash I almost tripped on my face because she immediately wrapped it around my legs as she walked around and around and around, and my own dog was stupefied.
  4. Housebreaking is a wee issue. Thank god for hardwood. I take both animals out first thing in the morning, and my dog knows it’s time for business. Rose however, seems to be waiting to get back inside to make a puddle. I sit there going, “Rose, time for a pee-pee! Go pee-pee now, Miss Rose! You haven’t peed all night, you must need to do a pee-pee! Do your pee-pee please! Now! We’re not going back inside until you’ve done your pee-pee!” and she’s like, “Lady. You talk a lot.”
  • I know a couple is only two, relax. There are more but I’ll spare you. I should point out that I love this dog, the kids love her, and my dog loves her.
  • There’s this whole thing that’s supposed to be some kind of revelation, that the so-called Mediterranean diet is really good for you. I looked it up. It’s all the only kind of food I eat. I was raised on it, and have never lived in the Mediterranean. I don’t go a day without eating avocado. Or tomato.
  • I’m taking courses for an editing certification. You know what drives me crazy? The plural of avocado is avocados. The plural of tomato is tomatoes. Stop the world, I want off.
  • Subway has introduced avocado in its menu, learning centuries later what we’ve always known in Chile: avocado goes with everything. No sandwich is complete without it. We even put it on our pizza when it’s out of the oven, and spread it on hot dogs. I will never forget the time one of my older brother’s friends came to our house in Saskatoon, and asked what the hell we were putting on our hotdogs.
  • Is it really avocado though? That they use at Subway? Or is it that gross processed stuff they sell in a vacuum-sealed bag at the grocery store? I need an answer to this question.
  • We had an unreasonably rainy week, and now it’s unreasonably hot. The reason I find this unreasonable is the heat came precisely when I started dog-sitting, and the only way to have two manageable dogs within the confines of the house is to take them out, a lot, and tire them out. Not great to do in the heat, as the one dog is black and the other likes to run full-tilt, to the point of heat exhaustion.
  • Here’s the funny thing about the black dog. The kids weren’t sure how to describe her because they think it might be racist. “Is it okay to call her black, Mom?” She’s BLACK.
  • I watched The Last Gladiators with my son the other night. Must-watch – you don’t have to be a Habs fan, or a hockey fan. After watching it, my son said, “I don’t understand why (my cousin) even bothers with the Canucks.” Neither do I, buddy… neither do I.
  • Speaking of the Canucks, that was all kinds of cray yesterday at the Draft, eh? Luongo? Schneider? The drama in this city, with the addition of Tortorella as a coach, just got real. Better Vancouver than Montreal, for me.

I have to go finish my take-away exams for two courses now, since the dogs are currently doing this:


Happy Canada Day, everyone!

Zoom Zoom Zoom

This one is going to be seriously disorganized.

  • Let’s see if it even gets posted. This domain was “renewed” today using my credit card info on file, and I don’t know how much my credit card company loves me right about now. If you’re reading, I’m in good standing! That always deserves high fives all around.
  • I was in perpetual dire straits where da money is concerned a few years ago when everything was figuring itself out financially-speaking after we became a one parent home. People would call looking for their money and you know, manners get you everywhere. Visa would call looking for my payment, and we’d work something out and I’d always say, “Thank you so much for following up! I hope you have a great day!” and they’d be all, “Oh, wow! Thank you so much!” then by the time they’d call the next month, we’d be old friends.
  • I got a new car. I know! It’s a long story that I won’t get into.
  • So I had a 3.5-hour drive scheduled for the next day to visit my boyfriend who is working at a town, yes, 3.5 hours away. I was about 5,000 km past when I should have had my oil changed, and thought, huh… let’s do that before my big drive. I went to my pal at the Pennzoil place who changes my oil in 10 minutes and never gouges me like Mr. Lube would. EXCEPT he’d been doing inventory and stuff and they were all out of the oil filter for my particular car, which was a Mazda 3 (Sport, in Velocity Red). So I went to Mazda its very own self, to buy a filter so I could get my damned oil changed, which if I didn’t, with my luck, something would have gone horribly awry on my 3.5 hour trip precisely in some remote location with no cellphone reception. Can I have a filter, yes, okay, I’ll wait over here, ho hum. I’m checking out an SUV in the showroom that I covet but of course could never afford. I say covet because I have a big, filthy, hairy animal that sheds like crazy, who sits in the back seat of my hatchback, and no matter what vacuum I use, the hair never leaves except for, by some inexplicable phenomenon, on the garments of human people with the misfortune of having me transfer them to second locations.
  • What? Oh, yes. So I’d been thinking I needed an SUV, to have a place to stick the dog, but who can afford an SUV, and the fuel, OMG. Anyway, the salesman approached me, and I said, “Don’t talk to me. Not looking, waiting for an oil filter.”
  • It turns out that I can afford one! Trade worth more than what I owe, and fuel economy on the SUV is better than on my 4-year-old hatchback. Went in for an oil filter, walked out with a car.
  • Not really. I wanted a red one with a tan interior (to match my hairy dog), and do you think they had one, in the whole of Canada, even? No. And of course I have to drive a red car. The red one with tan, they said, would have to be a special order ALL THE WAY FROM JAPAN. Delivery ETA end-of-August. Hopefully. What! Fine. I must drive a red car, so I will wait, even though it will kill me, because patience is not my thing.
  • ANYWAY. I went back in a few days later, and saw the red one on the floor, live and in person, for the first time. Here’s the thing – it was the wrong red. There are all kinds of red. My hatchback was the correct red. This one was not. It was darkish, like, minivan-red. Which is great if you like a minivan, but I am against them. Oh, god. This was awful. It comes in the wrong blue, too, but I would never drive a blue car. Can you picture me in a blue car? That’s what I mean. I can’t drive a black car, because besides that they look nice for about a minute then show every single fingerprint, every single taxi in Chile is black. I can’t get past it. Like people in Canada who drive a yellow car… taxis are yellow! How can you. Then silver and grey, which just, no. I like to be able to pick my car out of a lineup. I looked at the white. Crystal Pearl Mica. I didn’t absolutely love it, but I simply had no other choice.
  • I got the car the next week and even though as I was signing the papers I was looking at it and thinking, “Why am I not excited? I should be giddy!” I drove it away and in that first minute behind the wheel, I fell instantly in love. I love my beautiful car. And the dog has her own space now! Whee!
  • Two days later, I was driving along in my beautiful car and it beep-beep-beeped at me. Weird. It’s only supposed to do that when I’m changing lanes and someone’s in my blind spot and I’m trying to change lanes, which I wasn’t at that particular moment because I wasn’t driving behind a moron. Huh. THEN a little orange circle thing with an exclamation point turned on on my dash. What the! I pressed the little button on my steering wheel and shouted, “CALL MAZDA!”

“Hello, this is Mazda.”

“Good morning! I just picked up my car on Saturday. It has 180 km on it. And a little orange light with an exclamation point just came on!”

“Oh, that’s not good.”


“That’s your tire pressure light.”


“Is your car driving funny?”

“No!” (Takes hands off wheel, car drives straight.)

“Well, these things are pretty sensitive, so there must be something wrong. When you stop, have a look at your tires. Even if they look okay, you’ll have to come in to have us check the pressure and re-set the light.”


  • So I get to the office, look at the tires, they are all beautiful. Phew. Then I go to work, come down a few hours later, the rear tire is as flat as a pancake. GAAAAAA!
  • Long story short, roadside assistance came and put the spare on, the guy said he’d never changed such a brand new tire, terrific, drove it to Mazda later, they found a huge shard of metal in it, awesome, they fixed it, and didn’t charge me. I’m now 2-for-2 on not paying for tire repairs.
  • The kids are super close to summer vacation, they can smell it. My daughter is graduating from grade 5, I’m going to the little ceremony in about an hour. She is so excited and proud and beautiful in her age-appropriate dress that I was so relieved she liked when we went to pick one. My child is inordinately tall for her age, and a lot of times, 99 out of 100, kid sizes don’t fit her. Thank you, Sears, for having dresses in the girls’ department that go up to age 14! She looks absolutely lovely and I’ll be taking a bazillion pictures. She doesn’t know it yet, but as a graduation gift I got her a Starbucks gift card so she can buy those $9 cups of pure sugar that she loves.
  • I bought a book for my son that’s the beginning of a series, based on what I told the guy at Coles my son likes. I want him to have good books to read this summer so he doesn’t end up just playing video games for two months. He started it, and I asked him about it. “Well, it’s this kid, and everybody thinks he has ADHD and dyslexia but really it’s because he can only read Greek, because he’s actually the son of Poseidon. A minotaur kills his mom, and he takes its horn and stabs it to death. One of his best friends is half horse, the bottom half, but no one can tell because he hides his horse legs in his wheelchair.”
  • I’m totally reading it next.

This was mostly about the car I wasn’t going to talk about, sorry. I had more but I have to go and fight for a parking spot at the school and then a good seat at the assembly. I think you have to get there about an hour early for that at that crazy school.

(I feel like I should also close the loop and mention that I did in fact also get my oil changed that day. The car was awesome on the long drive, but I already hated it because I was looking forward to my new car.)

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