True Story

I have to write a biography for my publisher’s marketing package and submit it tomorrow. I am trying with all my might to resist sending in something that reads:

“Madeleine is almost thirty years old and often finds herself wondering how in the world that happened, exactly.

She has a degree in Sociology, a concentration in Criminology, Deviance and Social control, and a baby tooth. She once spent three terrifying minutes with a 200lb albino python wrapped around her neck, and in 2009 her local paper ran an article shaming her for eating (and thoroughly enjoying)  7-11 nachos.  

She has never gone skydiving or bungee jumping and never will.

Madeleine lives in British Columbia, Canada, with her daughter, her dog, and her husband whom she once called ‘Couch Satan’.

This is her first book. “

 

 

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Ramblin’ Man

I have never been afraid of being alone. As long as I can remember, I have been surrounded with people. Five siblings, two parents, cousins, extended family. Classmates, friends, innumerable faceless strangers making up background noise in the two cities, Toronto and Calgary, in which I grew up. 

And then Adam. Since I was eighteen, Adam. 

There haven’t been many times in my life when I have felt alone, or lonely, and so obviously I crave this foreign state so desperately sometimes that I can taste it. Acerbic and dry, I hunger for it. 

Every day Olive has two one hour naps. When she is awake I tell myself, “When O goes down I will do laundry. I’ll take Gus for a walk. I’ll write that blog post and apply for that job and finish writing in her baby book. I’ll mail those letters and make those calls. Shit will get done.

But when she goes down for her nap, after I put her in her crib and close the door I can taste that silence and that alone time, and these minutes where I am not mom, and all I want to do is just sit here in silence and percolate. Staring out the window and spending time rattling around in my own head -a place I rarely seem to go anymore. Sifting through thoughts and processessing experiences- things I rarely seem to do anymore.

I think the reason time goes by so quickly when you have children (it’s October tomorrow. OCTOBER.) is because you live your life in such short jumps. To a child everything is immediate. I am thinking no further ahead than the next meal or the next load of diapers or the next activity we can do. This sort of repetitive busywork is rewarding and fulfilling – I know just how lucky I am to be sitting here reading books with Olive, or chasing her around the coffee table and hearing her squeal – but then I lift my head and two weeks have passed. Eight weeks. Six months. A year.

So during nap times I sometimes sit down fully intending to one thing, but I find myself half an hour later doing another, or oftentimes doing nothing at all.

I pass these days through my fingertips and I try to distinguish one from the other. I try to remember what I think and what I feel – I had opinions once, didn’t I? 

I try and tease out the parts of me that are just me. I dust them off and take them out, watch them begin to work again like rusty gears just to reassure myself that they are still there. 

Hello, hello. It’s been a while. 

 

How Provincial

Adam and I have been spoiled for a few months now. You see, we have grown accustomed to changing only pee-diapers, because Olive usually goes poop on her potty in the mornings. As she did this morning. Yay, right? Poops on the potty!

Yay INDEED.

I was nursing this child to sleep for her morning nap, when she seemed squirmier than normal. I did what parents are often wont to do  – I stuck my finger into her diaper to see if it was wet.  It did not even cross my mind that I might encounter poop. But, Internets, there it was- poop. On my finger.

It is a testament to my status as a no-longer-rookie parent that I didn’t even freak out. I just stared at my poop covered digit with bitter resignation, sighed deeply and went to wash my hands.

Guys, I think I have come to accept poop fingers as my lot in life. So that’s how my day started.

A few minutes ago, Olive, Adam, Gus and I were having an ApplePear party (in case you have never had the good fortune of attending one of these exclusive invite-only events, they involve sitting on the living room carpet eating slices of apple pear, breathing heavily into your mothers face and dancing in between bites. They are exhilarating.). After taking a bite, she lunged towards my face for what looked like a kiss but ended up being a punch in the face. Seriously a full on closed fist PUNCH. In my left eye.

(My GOOD eye, I might add)

So that’s been Sunday over here. But, BUT! BEFORE that, we had some fun! That’s right, after the poop finger but before the eye punching, came this!

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Today was the day for picking (and eating) the last of the fruit from Adam’s parent’s backyard. They have an apple tree, a plum tree, a pear tree, a grapevine and something delicious called an ApplePear tree! It bears fruit that are round like apples with the texture of pears, and a  taste that falls somewhere in the middle.

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It just a giant fruit basket of a backyard and we have been gorging ourselves on fresh fruit and dried fruit and homemade applesauce for weeks now.  Burp.

I like nothing more than to make baby hats, and Olive is going through this phase right now where she is too good for shoes or socks or hats, and their very presence enrages her to the point of murder,  so when I managed to get her wearing all three, I knew I had to document the event.

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Even Gus got in on the fun

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How wholesome and delightful!

(See how first I disgusted you with tales of poop and punching, and then I wooed you with pictures of wrinke-faced dogs and apple-cheeked babies? It’s a fine line, in this blogging business folks. A fine line indeed.)

 

In other news, we are driving to Alberta for a friend’s wedding next week and oh god, why do we keep doing this to ourselves? I think Canadians are uniquely insane in this regard, that driving 14 hours is just par for the course. Back in the day Adam and I wouldn’t have even blinked an eye at a 14 hour drive. Like, no big deal, you pack the car, I’ll grab some double-doubles and we’ll hit the road!

But now. Now there’s the small matter of her. HER. She with the squirmy nature and shrieky voice. She who has made it abundantly clear that 3 hours is about the most car seat time she will tolerate at once.

So we are trying to decide the best way to go about this. We are torn between splitting the driving up into two six or seven hour days with a hotel stay in the middle, or just givin’ er and powering through. The whole thing in one day. Waking early so she’ll finish out her sleep in the car, then busting out all types of illicit entertainment that we have spent the last eleven months scorning.

That’s right we’re talking movies, kids music, toys that play noises at ear-piercing levels of shrill fuckery, the whole nine. If we do it this way we will be requesting one shot of whisky each once we reach our destination in Edmonton, in the hopes that this shot will wipe clean the previous 12-14 hours just like the blue pill in the Matrix.

(Red pill? Blue pill. I’m pretty sure it was the blue pill that returned you to your oblivious matrix life but I am confident that if I’m wrong some nerd will pipe up and correct me. Liam? Chuck?)

ALSO. I have been trying to contain myself but Livvie turns one in SIX DAYS. SIIIIX DAAAAYS. I wish this were GeoCities so I could make that font size 72 and glitter.

I’m a little excited.

Well folks, I think that just about covers it.

Poop finger, face punching, pear eating and the matrix. Good day.

 

#VegetarianProblems

Here are five problems that torment the souls of vegetarians everywhere.

Or maybe just my soul. (Is it just me? It can’t be, seriously, look at that rug.)

1. I like leather jackets. Who doesn’t? I mean check out good ole Ms. Klum here:

I am reasonably certain that the only thing standing between me and looking like Heidi Klum is that I don’t own a leather jacket. But I can’t own a leather jacket because it’s leather. I mean, I’m not vegan or anything but vegetarians are in this strange moral grey area with leather – is it okay to not eat the animal but still wear it?

I have a few leather belts from my pre-vegetarian days, and some second-hand leather stuff because I mean that’s ok, right?  I also own leather shoes because they are the best quality and I don’t believe in buying cheap shoes that will just wear out and clutter up landfills (which is even worse than eating meat. Isn’t it?) but I mean, this isn’t an issue of practicality, other, non-animal-hide coats would keep me just as warm, it’s an issue of damnnnnn Heidi, you look gooooood. I too would like to look good like you. 

My sister has a faux-leather jacket that she bought from Forever 21 that is basically the Platonic Ideal for leather jackets, and I loved it so much that Adam secretly offered her hundreds of dollars if she would give it to me, but she is a smart lady and clearly recognizes a good thing when she has it, and she turned him down time and time again.

(Then I borrowed it and left it at a friend’s house for three months. Whoops. That sure showed HER.)

Here I am wearing it, and don’t let my pained expression fool you, I am loving the shit out of that thing.

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(The expression is because I was in a bar on my birthday, and if you see nothing wrong with that statement you are clearly approximately eighteen times more fun and well-adjusted than I am.)

 

2. Let’s talk about this cowhide rug. This is even more reprehensible than the jacket. But seriously I want a cowhide rug maybe even a tiny bit more than I want the Kilim rugs I’ve been obsessing about forever.

I think the cowhide is even more attractive because it is a forbidden love, and I know that we can never, ever be together. Unless Adam BUYS IT WITHOUT MY PERMISSION! DON’T YOU DARE BUY A COWHIDE RUG ADAM NOBLE, I WILL NOT ALLOW IT! NOT ON MY WATCH THINK OF THE ANIMALS THAT POOR COW ETC AND SO ON OH GOD IT’S SO PRETTY CAN I JUST MAYBE TOUCH IT A LITTLE PLEASE?

I have nothing more to say on this matter because I feel deeply, deeply ashamed of myself. Somehow it’s simple to resist eating bacon while the rest of the world seems to be doing everything but brushing their teeth with it, but every time I see a room like this I die a little inside.

Oh, guys. Would it really be so bad? Could I call it recycling? Maybe someone can find me a nicely coloured cow that had great personal hygiene and died of old age?

Sigh.

 

3. THIS.

Remember the saga of the couch? Tl;dr – I wanted a mid-century modern leather couch. Had to be second-hand so I could justify the leather as recycling. But I could not find one anywhere, and even when I was hypothetically looking at new couches no one seemed to have any leather in colours other than cream or that overdone espresso brown. I shelved my dreams and we finally settled on a gorge grey tufted number that I love. But what should I see while flipping through the IKEA catalogue over a year later? THE COUCH OF MY DREAMS.

I already swore that I wouldn’t ever buy IKEA furniture again, plus there’s the fact that it’s leather but seriously world, why do you do this to me? I die.

 

4. Bacon and gummy candies. I know I said above that it was easy to resist bacon, and I mean it is, relatively speaking. Easier than if I were to permanently give up sex, or chocolate, that is. (I mean that’s the ranking, right?  Sex, chocolate, bacon?),  but where was the bacon-wrapped-everything when was still a meat eater? When I ate meat, bacon was a sunday morning treat, not something you put in milkshakes, goddamn it.

I also feel personally affronted that I only discovered Splitz Grill (home of the best burgers in the entire world) years after I went vegetarian. I mean heir spicy lentil burger is fabulous, but they once accidentally served me a meat burger and I was halfway through it with juices dripping down my chin, fanatically proclaiming it the most incredible thing I’ve ever tasted, when I realized it was meat and had to put it down.

I should have just shut my mouth and finished the damn thing,

Also, one of the worst parts of becoming vegetarian is discovering that there is meat or animal products in everything. Including cheese (rennet, also known as calf stomach-sorry) and gummy candies (gelatin, from animal bones.)

Like, I gave up BACON and now I can’t even have gummy candies- no one told me about this when I signed the contract. Can’t I have anything good anymore?

 

5. We, as a people, are so damn tiresome.  Oh, is there meat in that? Is that vegetarian? What kind of broth did you use? Do you have tofu?

How do you just not want to punch vegetarians in the face sometimes? You do, right? You can tell me. I am aware.

There’s always a few obnoxious ones souring the world on all of us lovely unobtrusive accommodating vegetarians who happily cook meat (because you provide me with non-meat options to respect my eating choices, so I will do the same for you.) and almost never lecture you about slaughterhouses and abbatoirs and free range versus free run and why they are so different (seriously, SO different) (I mean…nothing! How’s your steak?!).

Even when you’re rid of us and we leave your house we are here, on The Internets, lamenting the fact that we can’t buy things because of our precious OMGethics and self-prescribed limitations to consumer goods.

 

SO. There you have it. TGIF?

 

Seriously though, about that rug! Fellow vegetarians – I know you’re out there – where do you draw the line? Is everyone else munching tofu, encased in leather admiring their brand new couches? Are you all aghast and horrified by these admissions? I mean, am I out? Am I going to get a letter? I don’t even know what to think anymore.

xoxo

-M

Hello?

Moon Phases by PinePixel on Etsy

Today was a weird day on many fronts. Does anyone know what moon it is? Does anyone else believe in that hooey? 

I woke up feeling weird and schlumpy, headachey, so I rocked down to the old hospital to get a blood test done. How many hours of mine have been spent sitting in waiting rooms waiting to get poked and prodded with needles, I can’t even count. It was nice people watching though, so that’s something. 

After that excitement, Olive and I headed down to the bank to open an RESP for her.

11.5 months old and the girl already has investments! Or she would have investments. Currently she just has savings because the bank lady raised an eyebrow at Olive tearing around her office, ripping important documents, eating pens and trying to unpack her purse and said, “Perhaps we should schedule a separate appointment to discuss investments for the RESP when we would have….more time to fully explore your options?”

And I looked at her as Olive tried to topple the filing cabinet, and replied evenly, “Why, whatever do you mean?”

BUT bank carnage aside, I have been meaning to open this RESP since O was born, and hey- done! Finally! Check!

(for American readers, or non RESP-savvy Canadian readers, an RESP is a Registered Education Savings Plan, and it offers a tax-free way to save for your child’s post-secondary schooling. The Canadian government will match 20% of your yearly contribution, for a total of up to $500, in addition to a one time $1200 grant. Anytime the government wants to give me free money I am all for that.)

In other news that does not come from the boring financial planning department – Olive is signing! And would you like to guess what sign she is using most consistently? 

Is it “milk”, for the 4-6 times a day she nurses? No.

Is it “potty”, for how she spends the first fifteen minutes of every day? No. 

Is it “eat”, for her all time number one favourite activity? NO. 

Internets, Olive’s first sign and the one she uses every. single. time almost without fail, is “Airplane”.

Yes. I used it once when we were sitting on the lawn and a plane flew overhead, and ever since, every single time she hears a plane,  up goes her hand and she makes the sign and gets all excited and it’s fabulous and incredible and what a milestone but seriously AIRPLANE? AIRPLANE?!

I just. I can’t even. This child is signing airplane just to spite me. Five months of mama and more and eat and dog and she picks the sign least relevant to her daily life, the one-off sign I happened to do once on a sunny late summer afternoon. It’s like she is saying, ‘Okay, I will communicate with you. But we’ll be doing this on MY terms, rookie”.

Well played, Olive. Well played. 

Since she first started doing that a week ago, she has also regularly started signing “All done”, and I think she has developed some weird hand wringing gesture that is attempting to replicate the “potty” sign. And airplane debacle aside, it is very very cool to think that we are communicating with her, and she is communicating BACK! She is seeing things in her world and telling us about them, she is understanding us and trying to impart meaning back. It’s a whole new level.

(Oh! She also talks on the phone now anytime someone says “Hello”, so if you get a call that features lots of shrieking, “thbbtttt” sounds and barking in the background, say hi for me, would you? 

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