metro mama

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Toronto the Good, Part 5 – Socio-economic Diversity

Though I’ve complained about my neighbourhood on occasion, I do love it for its diversity and I think it’s important that Cakes lives somewhere where she’ll meet people of varying backgrounds.

I grew up in a working class family (I’m the first one in my immediate family to go to university). I think my background has taught me not to take things for granted, to work hard, and to be respectful of all people. Cakes is never going to lack anything—we started her education fund before we bought her first stuffed animal—however, I don’t want her growing up taking what she has for granted. I don’t want her to be surrounded by kids being chauffeured in luxury SUVs to fancy private schools. I don’t want her thinking every 10-year old has an iPod and a cell phone. I don’t pay hundreds of dollars for art classes for my 18-month old when we can do art for free at our local drop-in centre. I don’t want her turning up her nose at someone less fortunate than her.

I want Cakes to learn to give back to her community—there are many activists here and lots of causes to choose from. We’ll find something to do together that interests us both. Hopefully, the gentrification of my neighbourhood won’t happen too quickly. We’ll continue to wave at the man that sits, smoking, in his wheelchair outside of the community centre. We’ll acknowledge the panhandlers. We’ll have conversations with our neighbours instead of walking by, eyes downward. She won’t measure her success by what she drives, or who she wears—she won’t measure anyone by that.

Get green with Mother Bumper at Mommy Blogs Toronto. From now on, there will be new posts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – check it out!

Canadian Blog AwardsOnly three voting days left! Thanks for putting up with this.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Gainful Employment

It’s been over six months since I officially quit my job with the record company I worked for before I had Cakes—it’s time to reassess the situation.

I had a bit of an identity crisis at first. When I was on maternity leave, though I knew I wasn’t going back, it didn’t seem real: when people asked what I did, I’d say I was on maternity leave. When my maternity leave ended, I suddenly felt cast adrift. I felt uncomfortable when I met someone and was asked what I did. I missed being needed at work and it really hurt when they found someone great to take my place. I missed getting recognition for my work.

I still really miss the social aspect of working. This past weekend was the legendary Christmas party—it’s the first Christmas I have no big event to dress up for (those firefighters do not make a big deal of Christmas). Each year they take the entire company to a resort up north. We (they!) have dinner and dance. The best part is the “after party” where wild things happen. Everyone kicks off their high heels, throws on their pajama bottoms and grabs their toboggans. The last thing I remember about last years’ party was karaoke—I remember doing a spirited version of Paradise City, complete with air guitar at around 4 am. Our karaoke was abruptly ended when the machine was tossed out the fifth story window into a snow bank below. I shit you not.

Yes, I miss that stuff. However, I’ve made inroads in the friendship department. Between the blogging ladies, the guys next door, and the two moms across the street, I haven’t been lonely lately. I think the blogging ladies might be up for a wild karaoke night.

The other thing that remains slightly uncomfortable is the money issue. Though we have enough, it would be nice to have some of my own (it doesn’t help that with the recent Income Trust announcement my little nest egg has tanked).

For the most part however, I have adjusted to my new status. I’m happy with what I’m doing. I’m thankful we have this option. I do get recognition: smiles from my daughter; gratitude from my husband for his clean socks and happy cock; your votes in the Canadian Blog Awards; A’s. It all adds up.

As for validation: one look at my thriving, healthy, happy daughter is all I need. Despite my lack of training, the unsuitability of my personality, and a complete absence of experience, I’ve done a stellar job.

Between my courses, reading, and writing, I have plenty of mental stimulation. I’m getting so much more out of my classes now that I’m not attending them already mentally drained from my day at work.

I finally really appreciate what I do. If you ask me at a cocktail party, I’ll proudly say, “I’m staying home with my daughter.” I have the most important job in the room. I’m a top-notch craftsperson.

Can I get some service around here?


Go on over and meet Mouse at Mommy Blogs Toronto.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Centre Holds

When I talk (or blog) about myself in my younger days, I always joke about what a loser I was and how much I’ve changed since then. That is true—I have matured a lot, especially since I became a mother. My values have changed, I take things much more seriously and I am more responsible. However, two humorous incidents of late have made me wonder how much I’ve really changed.

Friday the phone rang and a stern recorded message asked me to call an 800 number. It turned out it was for a credit agency in Peterborough (the town where I lived in my twenties). BP and I assumed it would be about a parking ticket, but when I called the number and was put on hold for the Provincial Offences Division, I got this nagging feeling this was no parking ticket. Turns out it was an unpaid fine for consuming alcohol in public. I vaguely recall an incident with a traveller, an “uptight” police officer, and a belligerent drunk girl. Anyway, I owe them $95. BP just shook his head and told me my Christmas stocking budget is shot. Something like this is probably wouldn’t happen today. Probably not.

The second funny moment was yesterday when I was working on my term paper about Coleridge’s use of water imagery. As I sat with head in hands studying the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, I recalled a similar moment when I was sixteen. In high school I was a metal head. I hung out with the tough kids, getting high in the smoking area at school. I wore a jean jacket with a big Iron Maiden patch on the back. Iron Maiden had a song called The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. My stoned 16-year old self had gotten a copy of the Coleridge poem to try to gain a better understanding of Iron Maiden. Funny thing was, I fell in love with that poem way back then.

As much as we change, there is a core of ourselves that stays intact. I’ve always loved poetry. I’ll always resent authority.

Have you voted today?


Friday, November 24, 2006

Big Papa Guest Blog: I Love My Job

Big Papa is filling in again while I finish up the last term paper. The end is in sight my friends!

Being a firefighter is probably the best job in the entire world. I honestly can’t think of something I’d rather be doing. There are things I would like to try for a while, maybe a Millwright, Carpenter, Fighter Pilot, Construction Manager. Firefighting would still be my first choice though.

It’s a good job because you get to help people, usually when they’re having the worst day of their life. On most occasions you are able to help them and they appreciate it. As well, everyone loves you.

Girls smile and wave when you’re going by on a call and you’re trusted by everyone. I have been asked more unrelated questions from how to best renovate a room, diagnose the problem with a car, where to go for dinner etc. People trust you implicitly whether you have the slightest bit of knowledge about a particular subject or not.

As well, I find the job exciting. For me, working a big fire can be thrilling. I like the controlled chaos (and sometimes uncontrolled) of conducting searches, charging hose lines, and raising ladders. For the most part, in Toronto, we run a good fire. We usually can save the house, but if we can’t, we save the block and the houses next to it.

The job is not perfect. It is unionized, so the best guy is not necessarily the guy in charge, we don’t all love each other, it can be boring and the bureaucracy maddening. It can also be gruesome and tragic. However, if you can understand that you did not create the situation, you did your best to put things right and that’s all you can do, then I would recommend it.


Dudes, thanks to you I have made it to the finals of the Canadian Blog Awards in the Family Blog category! Hooray! That rocks. However, the downside is I will have to keep nagging you every day to vote. Voting starts tomorrow until the following Friday. You can vote once per day here! Thanks! You're the best. Oh, and while I'm nagging...Sunshine Scribe is on vacation this week so I will take the liberty of reminding you to vote for her in the Best Blog Post Series category for her wonderful Flashback Fridays.


Check out Crazymumma's new column at Mommy Blogs Toronto.


I am sick AGAIN! I feel like I’m dying. I have been sick more this fall than I have not been sick. WTF?


One last thing before I stop procrastinating….I just had to make my own South Park character. If you are putting off doing some work, I highly recommend you do this.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

That's My Girl!

I recently wrote about Cakes’ stink-eye, which Bub and Pie identified as “the Murray look”. It appears it may be genetic. That makes sense—I do have an evil eye myself. I use it rarely but my poor mother was on the receiving end of it often during my difficult teenage years.

I’ve come to accept that Cakes looks like her father (even family and close friends admit she looks nothing like me). I had hoped she would also inherit the qualities I love most in her father: patience, calm, seriously easy-going. Unfortunately, her personality seems to be come from my side. Already she’s showing signs of having inherited some of my, ahem, less positive qualities:

· she's a bit obsessive-compulsive. If you leave your shoes at the back door, she will hand them to you and make you take them to the front door. If she finds things on the floor that don’t belong she’ll bring them to me—today she handed me a dried up piece of avocado she found under the sofa. Sometimes she will pick up cheerios, individually—she’ll put one in her dustpan, toddle to the green bin and deposit it;

· she’s grumpy when she wakes up until she’s had her morning bevy;

· she’s grumpy when she’s tired;

· she’s grumpy when she’s hungry;

· sometimes she talks too much—she babbles on and on about nothing;

· she has absolutely no patience-when you take too long getting her dinner ready she pounds her fists, tugs your pants, and complains;

· when you tell her not to do something she wants to do it more.

Poor Big Papa. What are you in for!?

monkey see, monkey do*

*Photo courtesy of Jana


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Diary of a 10-year-old Drama Queen

Bub and Pie’s recent post inspired me to dig out my old diary. I found this entry, written by a ten-year-old budding romance novelist. Here is an exact copy, including spelling and punctuation errors.

June 30, 1983

Today is the last day of school, I wrote. I will miss my friends but most of all I will miss David:

I said goodbye to all my girlfriends then I turned to David, “Bye” I said “I’ll see ya next year.” I knew I’d miss him but I had to hurry or I’d miss my bus. As I started to leave he said to me, “I’ll wave to you on the bus.” I said Okay and bye, Then he turned to me and said bye. I truged to the bus with my heavey bags and when I rounded the corner of the school who did I see? None other than David! I started towards the bus and David started walking toward me with a bag in his hand. He handed me the bag and said “don’t open it ‘till your on the bus”. “Okay” I said and we said goodbye once more. As I started up the bus he shouted “don’t forget to wave”. “I won’t” I yelled. I started down the aisle feeling lonely already and plopped down in the seat. Then, the bus started. I waved at David ‘till he was out of sight, and he waved back. As the bus rumbled homeward I sat stareing out the window deep in thought. Me and David had been sitting beside eachother almost the whole second half of the school year and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I liked to be with David. At school we had to play baseball. I especially enjoyed this because me and David were both on the same team, and we wern’t the best players. So we always went outfield where the ball hardly ever came, and talked. It was fun! At recess we usaully hang around the tether ball and have a few games. I sometimes play my other friends like Connie, Leanna, Lillian and so on. But one day David came up to me and asked if I’d like to have him a game. “Sure” I said. It was so much fun hitting the ball around and knowing he liked me like I liked him. I remember wishing that, that moment would last forever.

“Are you all right”? Asked the girl beside me. I was brought down to earth with a thud. As I looked around I suddenly realized that I was on the bus riding home from school. “Yeah, I’m all right” I ansered. Then I remember the bag David had given me, and I quickly opened it and looked inside. They were flowers! David had given ME flowers! There were several real one and one paper one, but it was extra special because David had made it himself. They were all beautiful. “Where did you get those”? the girl beside me asked. “Oh, from a friend” I said with a smile. As we slowed down at my bus stop, I gathered up my things, I added “a good friend”. I started the long walk homeward, excited about the summer holidays but deep down I knew how much I was going to miss David.

“Done”. I shut down my diary, locked it and walked over to my calendar. I put a big X on one of the sqares. “Three more days until school” I said to myself. “It won’t be long now.”

Reading this, I’m impressed by two things: first, that at age 10 I was attempting a framed narrative; second, my handwriting was better then than it is now.

This post also reminded me that a boy hasn’t given me flowers in a while. BP? You reading?


Want to change the world? Check out Sunshine Scribe's new column over at Mommy Blogs Toronto.


Today's the last day of voting for round 1! Thanks for putting up with my nagging.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Weekend Musings

We helped WonderBaby celebrate her first birthday yesterday. WB looked smashing in her animal print frock. She generously shared her toys with a dozen other babes. They exchanged sippy cups and crackers. We all ate cake. I think Cakes made it through the party without hitting anyone. Good times. Unfortunately, I was too busy gabbing and chasing Cakes to get any pictures. I do suspect Catherine will have one or two though.


Last night I finally watched the first two episodes of Gray’s Anatomy on DVD (I know, I’m so behind the times). I’m hooked already. However, I must say, you guys have built up McDreamy a little too much. I was a little underwhelmed. He’s OK, but he’s no Michael Scofield.

Who knows, maybe I’ll change my tune after a few more episodes. Does McDreamy have any tattoos?


I fucking hate winter. Cakes was up early this morning. She always seems to get up early on Sunday, the one day there is absolutely nothing to do, especially early in the morning. BP had a busy night at work, so he had to sleep. All the other parents are doing family things. We decided to go to the park (I can’t stand staying in for long). It was cold and there wasn’t another soul there. Cakes was all bundled up—she could barely climb anything in her winter boots. She tried to play in the sandbox, but couldn’t hold a shovel with her mittens. We had to play hide-and-seek to stay warm. It was pretty fucking lame.

Anyone have any good ideas for things we can do in the cold weather? Anyone else married to a shift-worker and looking for Sunday play dates?


Don’t forget to vote please! First round ends Tuesday and I don’t want to be first off the island!


We decided to skip the Santa Claus parade this afternoon. We figure Cakes is still a little young. Plus, I hate crowds. And the cold. And being around too many kids at once.

Anyone have any good tips for next year? Where are the best spots to catch the action? What time does it start to go by Yonge and Queen? At what age did you start taking your kids? Please share your wisdom.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Big Papa: The Single Mother

Big Papa has kindly stepped up to the plate while I toil away at term papers.


Cakes is 18 months old and I am still not exactly sure what hit me. There was a time when I could sit on the couch and watch TV, sleep in, go out with the guys for beers, and have the freedom to do whatever, whenever.

As we all know, those days are gone. At the end of the day, instead of enjoying a glass of wine, I need a glass of wine. Yet, I have it so easy compared to most, especially the single mother.

When I am home, I have Cakes for half the day. The other half is usually taken up with an errand, or something on the “to do” list, but there is usually some “me” time in there somewhere. What does a single mother do? How does she cope?

Not only single mothers, but moms who have husbands who are away a lot, or don’t cook. I often wonder how my mom coped raising three kids, and doing all of the housework?

As well, we have the added advantage of a secure income, which will allow Metro Mama to stay home, and be a career student! We’re not going to be moving to Forest Hill anytime soon, but the bills get paid and there is food on the table.

What about someone less fortunate who does have to worry about that, or who might get laid off, or has to work a couple of jobs, so ends can meet? I can only imagine what that is like, and my hat goes off to them.



It's me, metro again.

Check out the new and improved Mommy Blogs Toronto. The brainchild of Catherine and Tania, the site will feature regular columns from several local bloggers.

My column, Mom About Town will explore the city’s cultural offerings, deciding what works with baby, and when to leave baby at home. I’ll also talk about books, film and lots of other good things.

Check out my first post, Brunching with Baby and share your best brunch spots.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Metro Recommends: Moral Disorder

I have another good book to tell you about--Margaret Atwood’s latest, Moral Disorder, is one more title to add to your reading list. Moral Disorder is a collection of short stories revolving around a central protagonist, Nell. The stories unfold in a circular fashion, starting with “The Bad News”, where we meet the aging Nell and Tig, thankful for their comfort and companionship in a world getting more and more dangerous. In “The Art of Cooking and Serving”, we’re taken back to Nell’s childhood as the eleven-year-old knits a layette for her unplanned little sister. Through Nell’s eyes we witness her mother struggle with a new baby while her other daughter enters puberty. We follow Nell through adolescence, and her twenties, to the years of her often complicated relationship with a man with two children and an eccentric, manipulative wife. In the title story, former city people Nell and Tig adjust to the challenging, rewarding, sometimes brutal life on a farm. In “The Labrador Fiasco”, a doomed expedition is a metaphor for the uncertain future of Nell’s father who has had a stroke. The circle is complete when Nell revisits her childhood with her elderly mother.

Most people either love Atwood or hate her. The more I read, the more I love her. If you’ve never read any Atwood and want to start, I’d recommend The Blind Assassin or Alias Grace. If you like short stories, Wilderness Tips is amazing. She also writes poetry; here’s one of my favourite poems:

You Fit Into Me

you fit into me
like a hook into an eye

a fish hook
an open eye

Yeah, she’s not for everyone.

Atwood’s social commentary is ironic and astute. Her writing is biting, sometimes acerbic, often funny, always fascinating. It begs to be read more than once (or twice). She can be challenging, playful, puzzling: if you find yourself stopping and thinking what the hell is she saying, don’t worry, you’re not alone—you’re playing right into her hands.


Don't forget to vote in the Canadian Blog Awards. My nomination is in the Family category but check out the other categories too. Round 1 is until Nov 21 and you can vote once per day. I'll put this link in my sidebar for easy access.

Canadian Blog Awards


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Good News!

I’m an Auntie! My brother’s babe, Cole, was born yesterday at 3 am, the day after his mother’s baby shower. Everyone is doing great. Cakes is very excited about having a wee cousin to terrorize.

In other good news, I’m very happy that my fellow blogger and friend Jana nominated this site for Best Family Blog in the Canadian Blog Awards. Voting begins today (hint, hint).

Thanks Jana! It means a lot to me.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Dirty Words

Nope, this isn’t yet ANOTHER sex post. I’m going to talk about swearing.

I used to swear a lot. Almost everyone swore at the company I worked for before I had Cakes. It was perfectly acceptable. At very important meetings VIPs would WTF. I used to do all my swearing at work, and rarely swore at home (it turns BP off). Now, my blog is my outlet for my potty mouth and I don’t swear in front of Cakes.

The odd time I fuck up. Sometimes I get really caught up in my thoughts and I say things out loud accidentally. The odd time, when I’m hanging with Cakes, I simply forget who I’m talking to. For example, the other day we got stuck waiting for a transport to park. “Does he think we have all fucking day,” I ask Cakes. She shrugs. The next day, we were driving home and someone cut us off: “what the fuck is his problem? Fucker!” Cakes just sighs.

Oh shit. I mean oops.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

If Looks Could Kill

Cakes has a new trick and it ain’t pretty. The other day, at our local drop-in, it was approaching snack-time. As usual, Cakes started pushing the staff to get a move on it (she regularly starts moving tables and chairs and tugging pant legs a half an hour before the scheduled snack time). On this occasion, one of the staff handed her a cloth and asked her to wipe the tables. Cakes responded by narrowing her eyes and giving her the evilest of eyes. Everyone’s jaw dropped. I shit you not—this look was pure disdain, absolute scorn. One of the other moms commented, “I’ve never seen a young child give someone a look like that before”. I gave her a look. Thanks. Just what I needed to hear.

Of course, since we all reacted so strongly, I’ve seen the look again a couple of times this weekend. I was on the receiving end when I tried to give Cakes kisses all over right after she woke up from her nap. I got it when I ate a piece of her pasta with cheese melted on it (sorry Cakes, but I love pasta with cheese melted on it).

It’s kind of frightening. Where did this come from? Is she really feeling the emotion the look denotes or did she just stumble on it by accident and figure out its attention-getting ability?

If she’s capable of this kind of look now, what the fuck am I in for when she’s sixteen?


Friday, November 10, 2006

Tell All

I love the momosphere, but one thing that gets me down sometimes is the disproportion of bad news to good. I do think one of the most important functions of the momosphere is to be able to talk about our problems and hurts and share the challenges of motherhood; however, we shouldn’t limit ourselves to that. While we have no problem sharing our insecurities as mothers, we do seem to have a problem congratulating ourselves when we get something right. We don’t like to share when something fortuitous happens—we don’t want to brag. Like Urban Mommy said recently, we tend to downplay our successes. Also, considering blogging as art, in the momosphere we tend to place higher value on the angsty or controversial posts than on the celebratory, or funny. This isn’t always true (I’m excited about Mommy Off the Record's new ROFL award) but is often the case.

I guess we don’t want to rub it in when things are going well for us; for example, I tend to downplay how well Cakes sleeps (my secret is out with the Toronto mommies). But you know what? That’s part of my motherhood experience. I want my blog to represent my life honestly. I know there are at least three childless women reading this—I don’t want them to get the impression motherhood is a complete hardship. More importantly, I’d like to share some of my stories with Cakes one day—there should be some good stories to share.

So, if you’re inclined, write a post (or comment here) about part of motherhood that is easier than you thought it would be, or something really exciting going on in your life right now. Don’t worry, we won’t think you’re bragging.


Thursday, November 09, 2006


Since I’ve gone back to school I’ve really put pressure on myself to get good grades (I must be making up for high-school when I could care less). If I don’t get an A I’m bitterly disappointed. Now that I’ve decided to apply for grad school the pressure has worsened. Right now I have three papers due at the end of the month, one worth 50% of my mark. I feel a little sick. You see, I’m compulsive about deadlines—I need to be finished things well in advance of them. When I have deadlines looming, I feel really anxious, and can’t sleep at night. I actually envy the people who can procrastinate and pull something out of their ass at the last minute.

How do you cope with deadlines? Are you blasé, or a nervous nelly like me?


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

9 1/2 Minutes

Dear person who found me by googling avocado uses in foreplay,

Please let me know how that turned out for you. I have several ripe avocados in the fridge.




Sunday, November 05, 2006

Mamas Gone Wild

Edited below


A number of the fabulous Toronto mommy bloggers and some of their hubs came over for cocktails last night. I couldn’t wait to tell you all about it (and I hope the ones who missed it can come next time!)

The other day, I envisioned this post-party post as one full of pictures with witty captions. Unfortunately, I was so busy imbibing both the spirited conversation and the spirits, the only photos I have for you are these two:

Cakes helping me stock the fridge…

The pocky the lovely Marla dropped off:

The pocky was a big hit.

I had a great time. I’ve said it before, the women in person are all exactly like their virtual selves. The conversation never lagged; in fact, we couldn’t hear the doorbell over the din. Luckily, the late arrivals knew enough to come on in. I think the hubbies even had fun too (I’ll bet more than one wondered what he was in for). It was nice to meet the men behind the great women.

Those of you who couldn’t make it—I hope you can make the next one! We need to do this more often.


BP and I are getting more sensible with age. I remembered to drink water at the end of the night. The last guests had left about 1:30—our next door neighbours were having a party and we seriously considered going over. Instead we (wisely) washed the glasses and went to bed. It wouldn’t do to be hungover, trying to butter Cakes toast amongst the dirty martini glasses the next day, now would it.


Many thanks to my wonderful bartender. BP, you're the best. You're not waiting 'til Wednesday this week (but you do have to wait until after Amazing Race. Oh, and Desperate Housewives).



Find another recap here!


Friday, November 03, 2006

Career Student

I’ve been a student for a very long time now, and I’ve gone to almost every kind of school: college, then IT school; I’ve spent the last seven years doing my undergrad. What’s next? Grad school, of course. Yes, I’ve decided to apply, and will hopefully start working (part-time) on an M.A. in English next year. I’m going to apply to both the big ugly box in the North, as well as the Oxford wannabe in the South. Assuming I’m accepted to both, I’m leaning towards the latter—mostly because I did my undergrad in the first and would prefer to do teacher’s college at the second. Also, the second option is much closer to my house (not a small consideration). However, I would appreciate any of your thoughts on this!

In other school daze news, I got an A on that philosophy paper I asked for your help on a few weeks ago. The prof really liked it—she mentioned it to the class and commented on the “smart women” who responded on my blog. You sure are smart. Thank-you so much for all your great responses.

(If you’re interested, you can read the paper here.)


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Halloween's for Adults

It’s been another busy, but fun week. For Halloween, Cakes donned her devil horns again and we visited a few of the neighbours for some cheek pinching. She revelled in the attention at first but quickly grew bored and was in bed by 6:30. We poured glasses of wine and joined the neighbours on our porches, in eager anticipation of all the darling trick-or-treaters. By 8:00, there had been more glasses of wine drunk than trick-or-treaters, so we decided to call it a night. We gave the last few kids a ton of candy and told them to tell their friends—maybe next year we’ll do better.

Last night we went to dinner at Gio Rana’s Really, Really Nice Restaurant (don’t you love the name). If you’re looking for it, there’s no sign but there is a giant nose on the front. I had grilled calamari, gnocchi, osso bucco and asparagus with gorgonzola. The osso bucco was fantastic. Our waiter was a riot, and the service excellent. If you decide to go, make a reservation—it was packed at 8:00 on a Wednesday.


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