metro mama

Thursday, May 31, 2007

May ROFL Awards


It's the first Friday of the month, and that means it's time to chortle. My nomination is for Chris who is holding down the fort for Kgirl this week. Actually, all of his posts are very funny but I had to choose one.

So, for those of you at work on this fine Friday, stop facking the dog and read some funny blogs. For those who aren't at work, put off those errands a little longer, give Johnny some toys to amuse himself with (independent play is good), relax and read.

You can also catch the awards over at my lovely co-host's Mrs. Chicky.


Metro Mama awarded The Kids are Alright

Slouching Towards 40 awarded Where's My Cape

Mommy Off the Record awarded Mama Tulip

Marcia's Take Charge Blog awarded Ali la Loca

Oh, The Joys awarded I Am Bossy

Not So Sage awarded Under The Mad Hat

Polliwog's Pond awarded Absolutely Bananas

I Obsess and Under a Mad Hat awarded Mary Murtz

Mrs. Incredible awarded Kevin Charnas

Queen of Mayhem awarded Mom O Matic

Cheaper Than Therapy awarded Jonniker

A Child is Born awarded The New Girl

Fenicle awarded Oh, The Joys

Mrs. Chickyawarded The New Girl

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Things are heating up at MBT. Check out our new sex column. Plus, we're giving stuff away! Passes to BlogHer! Books! (tomorrow) Don't miss out.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Bloody Good Time!

When I was twelve, my very favourite movie was Sam Raimi’s 80’s cult classic, The Evil Dead. My best friend and I watched it over and over, scared shitless every time. Ten years later, I still loved the film for its camp quality. So when I heard the musical version was coming to town, I was dying to see it, and was lucky to score comp tickets.

Jana and I made a night of it—we met up before the show at one of my favourite places in Toronto, the Black Bull patio, for a dinner of potato skins and beers. Then we headed to the Diesel Playhouse, a very cool theatre, where I was transported back in time—Whitesnake was playing on the sound system, and the bar menu boasted all my old favourites, like Killer Koolaid and Long Island Ice Tea. We opted for the ice tea (wicked strong) and found our seats, which were perfect--third row, just on the periphery of the “splatter zone” (more on that later).

The show, a fusion of the two Evil Dead movies and Army of Darkness, is a blast. The musical numbers are hilarious, with original songs including, “What the Fuck Was That?”, “What a Stupid Bitch” and my favourite number, complete with eighties dance moves a la Thriller, “Necronomicon”. The characters announce their changeover to the demon world with eerily effective masks, and the catchy little ditty, “Look Who’s Evil Now!”

Ryan Ward is perfection as Ash (played by Bruce Campbell in the film. Speaking of Bruce Campbell, if you haven’t seen Bubba Ho-tep, you simply must. Take my word for it). The role of Cheryl (the demon in the cellar) is played by a fabulous Rachel Fischer—she is actually quite scary. Our seats were right in front of her trap door and she kinda freaked me out.

We’d heard rumours of a “splatter zone”, so we weren’t surprised when, during intermission, they handed out ponchos for the two rows in front of us! I tingled with anticipation when Ash fired up his chainsaw. A little while later, I cheered and laughed as blood, limbs and organs started flying everywhere, and I just rescued my drink in time before our table and laps were drenched in the sticky stuff. Whoot! Whoot!

The show’s on until June 23 and you can buy tickets here. So go, get your tickets, not another peep!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Summer With a Toddler

Though it’s only May, I’ve come to the conclusion that summer with a two-year-old is much more fun than summer with a one-year-old. Here’s why:

· Now that Cakes is walking and climbing like a monkey, I no longer have to walk around bent over, holding her hands and hovering all the time. Instead, I can sit on a park bench, work on my tan and chat with people, giving Cakes the occasional wave and thumbs up (I do however, have to keep an eye on the gate—she likes to try to escape.)

· We can kick the soccer ball around.

· Instead of chucking her hat every time my back is turned, this year she loves wearing hats and insists on choosing one herself. When I forget to bring one, she’s pissed at me.

· Ditto for the shoes.

· Ditto for sun lotion.

· She loves to water my plants for me.

· She’s warming up to the car. She’s finally made the connection that the metal prison is a means to go places that are fun. Now we can’t walk by the garage without a hopeful, “car!? car!?”

· We can sit on the patio and have a civilized snack together.

· We’re starting to be able to peruse our reading materials separately, side by side. Hooray! Here’s the TV guide Cakes, now pass me the travel section.

· Toddler clothes are much cuter than onesies.

· Now that we’re down to one nap (getting later and later), we can actually do fun outings like the zoo. Good thing—circle time’s getting tired for both of us.

What other good stuff do I have to look forward to?


The summer season is also reminding me how glad I am to live in the city, even though I get down on it sometimes, like I did two nights ago when I watched the cops remove the freaks across the street at gunpoint (seriously). But it’s worth the occasional drunk passed out on my sidewalk to have so many different parks to go to and things to do. If I feel antisocial I can go to the-park-nobody-goes-to-except-the-crazies. Or I can go to the busy park where everyone knows Cakes and helps me keep on eye on the gate. We were there yesterday and I came home to a promised email from one of the moms with book and blog recommendations. Today we did errands. The friendly lady at the local wine shop gave Cakes a bag of crackers to tide her over. When we got to the deli, Cakes offered one to the man-who-pinches-cheeks. We went to the cheese shop and she finished her crackers while I asked forty questions and sampled as many things as I could get away with.

There are lots of good events coming up in the city (I must do a post for MBT on this soon). There’s a festival in Yorkville this weekend, and an art festival in my ‘hood. Pride and Fringe are coming up. We haven’t been to the island yet this year. So much to do. Love it.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

No Parental Guidance Here

* Updated

I'm working on a short story (yes, shut up, I'm also blogging) and I was mining my mispent teenage years for my main character. I was remembering how I would lock myself in my room, throw on really obnoxious music and crank the stereo to irritate my parents. One of the songs I was particularly fond of torturing my folks with was Parental Guidance, by Judas Priest. Just for fun, I looked up the lyrics:

You say I waste my life away, but I live it to the full
And how you know anyway, you're just mister dull
Why don't you get into the things we do today
You could lose twenty years right away, so we say

We don't need, no, no no no parental guidance here

Every day you scream at me to turn the music low
Well if you keep on screaming, you'll make me deaf you know.
You always chew me out, because I stay out late
Until your three-piece suit comes back in date, get one thing straight

We don't need, no, no no no parental guidance here

There's no communication. I'm tired of explanation
Is this message getting through
You went through the same thing too
Don't you remember what it's like to lose control
Put on my jacket - for you get too old. Let's rock n' roll.

We don't need, no, no no no parental guidance here

Oh no
One life
And I'm gonna live it up

Yes, this was my anthem back then. I was such an ass. I so hope there's no such thing as karma.

* Update

She's already looking disturbingly rebellious, no?


When I asked my mother what she wanted for Mother’s Day, her answer was to be part of Cakes first trip to the zoo (yes, she just turned two, and hadn’t been to the zoo yet).

I wasn’t sure if two was old enough to appreciate the zoo enough to make the journey north of Bloor (we never go north of Bloor), and pay the ridiculous $20 each, plus $8 for parking. Fortunately, for us anyway, it is.

Cakes loved the zoo. I hate crowds, so we went on a Tuesday and arrived at 9:15 a.m., beating the crowds and winning a premium parking spot. Because we made the trip on the Tuesday after a long weekend during which I hosted a birthday party, and two dinner parties, I didn’t have my act together enough to pack a picnic lunch (highly recommended—the food there is shite, and expensive) [read on]


Friday, May 25, 2007

Metro Reco: The Double Bind

As you know, I read a lot of Canlit. I’ve been intending to broaden my horizons and my friend Jen gave me a gentle push by sending me one of her recommendations, The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian.

A young student, Laurel Estabrook, suffers a violent attack on a lonely bike path in Vermont. The incident changes her profoundly, leaving the formerly outgoing, vibrant woman guarded and wary. She takes a job at a homeless shelter and meets Bobbie Crocker, a mentally ill man with a box of photographs he won’t show to anyone. When Bobbie dies, Laurel, an amateur photographer herself, is given the task of examining the photographs. She immediately suspects they are the product of a great talent, and identifies famous subjects in the works, such as Chuck Berry and Eartha Kitt. The photos also lead her to a connection with Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan and Laurel becomes more deeply involved in the mystery of Bobbie Crocker’s true identity.

Part literary mystery, part psychological thriller, The Double Bind sucks you in and keeps your eyeballs glued to the pages, from the harrowing beginning to the shocking conclusion.

The novel is inspired by the photographs of once-homeless man Bob “Soupy” Campbell who died in an apartment found for him by a shelter in Vermont. The author says, “we were all mystified as to how Campbell had gone from photographing luminaries from the 1950s and 1960s to winding up at a homeless shelter in northern Vermont. He had no surviving family we were aware of that we could ask. The reality, of course, is that Campbell probably wound up homeless for any one of the myriad reasons that most transients wind up on the streets: mental illness. Substance abuse. Bad luck.” The stunning photos are interwoven in the novel. To see them, and learn more about Bob Campbell, click here.

Chris Bohjalian is the author of ten novels. His novel Midwives was a number one New York Times bestseller, a selection of Oprah's Book Club, and a Publishers Weekly "Best Book”. He lives in Vermont with his wife and daughter.

Generous Jen does not want me to send her book back, so I’d like to pass it on to one of you (maybe you can tell us what you think and then pass it along as well). First one to email me ( is the lucky winner!


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Anniversary Ennui

You’ve probably noticed, the proportion of words to photos around here has become even less than usual of late. Today also happens to mark my one-year blogging anniversary, and I wish I were more excited. I must confess, I’ve been feeling a lot of bloggy discontent and thought I might as well share and get it off my chest.

My State of Discontent

Stupid stats
No need to go into detail here, this is a common complaint. I have come to realize, I really am content being a small blogger. I need to kill the site meter and I’ll be a happier blogger indeed.

Little Miss Sunshine
I get down on all the angst. I know it’s valuable to have a space where we’re honest about our shortcomings, and how hard parenthood is, blah, blah, blah, but I do get very tired of so much negativity. When you’re learning a sport, it’s best to surround yourself with players who are better at it then you are, thus improving your skills. So, if I want to be a happy, light-hearted, confident parent…

What I’m saying is, I wish there were more laughs. And more poems.

Where does all the time go?
I feel guilty that I waste too much time between blogging and reading other blogs and obsessively checking site meter. I really want to try to write short stories this summer, before school starts again, and I think blogging is a big distraction.

I also want to fuck my husband more often.

I actually gave serious thought lately about calling it quits at the one-year mark, but I don’t think I’m ready.

You’re My Inspiration

The main reason I don’t quit is you people. Damn you. So many of you have become real-life friends. A couple of you I knew before, but now consider close friends. There are several of you I am dying to meet at BlogHer. You folks are just too important to give up.

Plus, even if I’m not doing very good writing, at least I’m writing almost daily. And I must admit, there is something very satisfying about a consistent number of people reading my words each day—no matter how large that number is, it is thrilling, and it’s an honour.

So I guess this means, I’m hanging in there.

Thank-you, my friends.

Less blogging, more triking!


Monday, May 21, 2007

Birthday Principessa

Happy, happy days, these are.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Turning Two

You’re turning two tomorrow and I’m struck by how much you’ve changed—not just in terms of the feats you’ve accomplished, the milestones you’ve conquered, the skills you’ve learned—but also the changes in your personality. You’ve mellowed, my dear. You’re not a baby; you’re a small person who is maturing faster than I would ever have believed.

Though you’re still rather fearless, you’re not the headstrong, unstoppable child you were a year ago. These days, when you enter a new situation, you quietly assess your surroundings before you act. I can see the gears turning as you decide how you’re going to proceed.

You’ve always liked your books, but now you’re almost as much of a bookworm as your mother. Last year you’d sit through one or two at a time, impatient to go on to the next activity. Now you constantly request books, and you’ll sit and read for an hour at a time. You have your favourites we can read six times a day or more (especially the books with bunnies). When I put you to bed, I throw in a few books and you read yourself to sleep (like your mother). When you wake up in the morning you’ll read to yourself while I sneak in a little more sleep.

You’re a lot more rational now. I can explain something to you and you’ll actually listen. Sometimes you even accept what I say. Sometimes you disagree. That’s OK too. I love your strong will.

Despite my best efforts, you’re a girly-girl. You love your shoes. The other day we bought you a shiny red trike as well as some new sandals. You insisted on wearing the sandals as we took the trike out front to practice. When your favourite neighbour came to say hello, I told you to show off your new toy—instead you held up your feet and eagerly cried, “shoes! shoes!”, proud as can be.

You don’t always have to be active anymore. Last night we held hands as we watered the garden. We sit together on park benches, companionably. You babble away and I understand little, but when you look up at me with your mischievous little grin, and happy brown eyes, I laugh, and you laugh along with me.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Getting to Know McHotty

Niloc tagged McHotty with a meme for the men folk. When I nagged asked McH nicely, he stepped up to the plate:

What was your first car and what about it made it so great? (Do I bother asking what their dream car is?)

I had a Ford Contour, it was cheap, had a sunroof and a CD player (cutting edge at the time)

What is the most played song on your iTunes / WMP or whatever you are listening to music on your computer with? And… Name five bands that made a big impression on you but never made it big on the charts.

Metric – Patriarch on a Vespa, Midnight Oil’s later albums were their best, but never did very well. Lets not kid ourselves, I was never cool enough to be really knowledgeable about indie bands.

Do you know what end of the hammer to hold? What was your last project around the house?

I am an IKEA machine.

What is your best method for avoiding chick flicks?

Don’t have the problem, one of Metro’s all time favourite’s is Kill Bill

Who’s more of the techno geek in your house? This can apply to tools, toys, gadgets, geeking at home on the computer or anything else that might apply.

No contest, Metro, I can barely turn this TV/typing machine on.

What are three things that are a part of your life that you would never see your own dad doing?

Participating in circle time at the drop-in, being the primary cook and grocery shopper and taking an interest in the house-plants.

What’s the last “Dude! I just got a _______ from _______” thing that you really didn’t need but bought anyways?

I dislike shopping and clutter. As well, I am hard core when it comes to budgeting, so there is nothing that falls into this category, nothing.

What is the wildest / craziest / dangerous etc… thing you have gotten away with?

Throwing live hand grenades while in the Army.

It’s not a dude meme if it doesn’t include something regarding the opposite sex. When was the last time you experienced a true head turner? Where you couldn’t help but take that second glance at someone. Remember to be creative in your response. It will get you in less trouble.

Metro here. McHotty (wisely) didn’t answer this one, but I happen to know he has a thing for Addison Shepherd. That’s OK, I have a thing for her too.

I won't tag anyone, but feel free to help yourself!


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Even June Cleaver Would Forget the Juice Box

I probably could have used this book a year ago when I was much more insecure about my ability to mother. In Even June Cleaver Would Forget the Juice Box, author Ann Dunnewold tells us how and why to reject falling into the trap of chasing the dream of being a perfect mother and offers a new paradigm for mothering--the perfectly good mother.

The perfectly good mother is herself, not who others expect her to be, and she accepts her faults; she looks after herself, and puts her needs first sometimes; she encourages family members to take responsibility for themselves; she has fun. The perfectly good mother is human.

The book also offers helpful suggestions to help make motherhood more enjoyable and less work, such as identifying your core values and focussing your energy on activities that promote these values. It also offers simple suggestions to make life easier, like cutting back on scheduled activities (I wholeheartedly agree with this one). Dunnewold also suggests ways for women to build support systems, by dropping sanctimommy buddies in favour of like-minded, non-judgmental friends for example.

Sure, it’s common sense and some of it's simplistic and even trite, but if you’re struggling with impossibly high expectations of yourself, June Cleaver is worth reading.

Ann Dunnewold is a licensed psychologist and expert on postpartum depression and anxiety. She has raised two daughters.

I have a copy of this for the first person who emails me at!

Parent Bloggers Network


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Grass is Greener on This Side

One of my favourite things about this time of year is getting my hands dirty in the garden. Though many of the bulbs I planted in the fall were eaten by the squirrels, the perennials have all fared really well (all but one even survived the moat digging that happened in the backyard—the labourers gently removed them before they dug and tenderly replanted them when they were finished!)

I went out to get groceries last week when I noticed the garden centre open. I decided to pop in “just to have a look”, but the selection was fabulous and, knowing the forecast for the coming week was good, I decided to live dangerously and purchase all of my annuals before May 2-4 weekend (for the Americans, our long weekend in May is called May 2-4 after the many cases of 24 beers that are enthusiastically drunk by hosers celebrating the start of summer. The non-drinkers work in their gardens. I manage to do both). It worked out perfectly—I was able to do my plant shopping before the crowds and I had everything planted just in time before the landscapers came back to replace the grass that was ruined by the moat. So, unless the temperatures plunge, the yard will be lookin’ real purdy for Cakes’ second birthday party this weekend.

Our front yard is looking good too. The next-door neighbour and I are fastidious about our grass. We’re ridiculous—you’d think we were a couple of retired suburbanites. Anyway, my chest puffed with pride when the landscapers commented that our front yard was the best one of the street.

So here I am, before May 24, and the work is done. Now I just putter around and chit-chat in the front, and put my feet up with a good book in the back.

Oh, how I love you, Spring.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Metro Reco: Divisadero

Michael Ondaatje takes his time crafting his beautiful prose (his last novel, Anil’s Ghost, was published in 2000). So when I came home from my trip to find Divisadero had arrived in the mail, I was thrilled.

In the three-part novel, readers are transported from present to past and back again. Lives intersect and stories merge, from 1970’s California and the stories of motherless sisters Claire and Anna and farm-hand Coop, who are irrevocably changed in an act of violence, to the dangerous lives of professional gamblers in Vegas, to the story of Lucien Segura, a writer in turn of the century France.

Divisadero explores familiar themes of Ondaatje’s work—the bonds of family, memory, passion, the impact of the past on the present, the necessity of art.

Lyrical, magical, erotic and captivating, Divisadero is not one to miss.

Michael Ondaatje was born in Sri Lanka, raised in London. He moved to Canada in 1962 and began teaching at York University in 1971. He won the Booker prize in 1992 for The English Patient, and the Giller prize for Anil’s Ghost in 2000. In the Skin of a Lion, a fictional account of immigrant workers in early Toronto, was selected as the first "Canada Reads" novel in 2002. He and his wife Linda live in Toronto.


Friday, May 11, 2007

More, More, More

Since my daughter arrived, I’m a little more patient, forgiving, forgetful, loving, unselfish, tired, happy, empathetic, kind, dreamy, droopy, vulnerable, committed, goofy, goopy, dazzled, frazzled, content, confident, crazy, lazy, inspired, courageous, scared, scarred, womanly, human.

I’m more.

Parent Bloggers Network - Light Iris Blog Blast

This reflection on “what makes me a mother” is part of the Blog Blast, brought to you by light iris and Parentbloggers.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Once More, With Feeling

Yesterday at the drop-in we were singing a version of “five little ducks”.

“Five little ducks went swimming one day…” I sang, merrily and loudly as I always do.

I carried on, and fewer and fewer ducks came back as the song progressed. I became a little distracted from the tedious song with my thoughts, like what Keats meant by beauty is truth and truth beauty.

Okay, I was really thinking about Grey’s Anatomy.

Finally the song came to its conclusion and I sang it with gusto:

“And the five little fucks, they all came back.”



Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Product Review: Boca Beth

Parent Bloggers NetworkMy Spanish is limited to the words I’ve needed to order beer during vacation. So, besides “hola!”, and “gracias, amigo!” Cakes isn’t about to learn much Espanol from me. Enter Boca Beth's language program.

We sampled one of the videos, I Like Animals! When I saw the running time was 50 minutes I figured it would take us 3-4 sittings to get through it. Not so. The extremely busy Cakes actually sat, spellbound, through the whole thing. We learned monkeys are called monos in Spanish. Cakes clapped with excitement as we watched wild and domestic animals cavort on the screen. She was thrilled when several children sang songs to learn how to count in Spanish.

During the interactive part of the program, we played along with our Boca puppet (provided) while we learned the Spanish words for our body parts and the shapes.

When we grew tired of the TV, I threw on the music CD and we sang and danced some more.

We had a good time with the products and I expanded my Spanish a little bit too!

Beth Butler, the creator of the program, has spent over 10 years in preschool and elementary school classrooms. She has lived in Chile and Mexico.

Check our Boca Beth’s website to sample the products for free.

Adios amigos!


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Good Mother Day

I had a good mother day at the park this afternoon. Instead of being an unorganized mess, I actually had my shit together.

When we arrived, a fellow mom and friend was struggling with an extraordinarily shitty child (the child’s diaper was shitty, I’m not calling her child shitty as in bad).

“You look like you could you some extra wipes,” I observe, whipping some out.

We parked the stroller and Cakes ran off with her ball, bucket and shovel, all of which I remembered to bring.

A short time later she was hungry and I gave her a rice cake and some water. When all the children gathered ‘round like seagulls, I was able to share, as I’d brought the whole package.

When Cakes became too hot with her long-sleeved undershirt beneath her hipster tee I was able to remove it as I had remembered the suntan lotion. She wore the hat that was on her head instead of on the closet floor at home.

Some other kid hit Cakes while her mother was busy chatting. I comforted her (Cakes).

Some other kid stole her pail and shovel. I magnanimously said not to worry.

When I noticed Cakes had a river of snot running from her nose into her mouth, I was able to wipe it away with a crumpled tissue (only used about twice) I had stowed in my pocket.

Two years into this gig and I’ve finally got it down.


Someone Else Who's Glad It's Summer

I've been posting all these pictures of the Eiffel tower and Notre Dame and McHotty and I, but I know this is what you want to see:

I don't blame you one bit. What a beautiful sight.


Sunday, May 06, 2007

Coming Out of Hibernation

Life is so much better in the summer, isn’t it! We’ve been hanging at the park all day and I’ve been neglecting my housework to sit outside and read in the sun during Cakes’ naps. The park is a lot more fun this year now that Cakes is so much more mobile. She’s a little clingy since we came back from vacation though—she’s not letting me sit around the sandbox and chat much, she comes and takes my hand and drags me to whatever apparatus she’s ready to conquer next.

I also know it’s finally summer because I’m tired and hungover. Last night the next-door neighbours kicked off the season with the first backyard party of the year. We sat around the fire and sipped wine and gabbed and before I knew it, it was after midnight. I’m not used to that anymore after a winter of going to bed at nine.

Cakes was under the weather for a couple of days last week with a stomach bug. I felt terrible for her, but I must say, a sick Cakes is very lovely indeed. She didn’t want anyone but me, including her father (and you guys all know how cold she usually is). She clung to me and buried her face in her shoulder and we had a nap on the couch together for the first time since she was six months old. It almost made up for all the vomit I had to clean up. Almost.

This afternoon we’re off to my brother’s new house for a surprise birthday party for our mom. It’s funny, when I met McHotty seven years ago, my family did not know where my brother was for about six months. He never called anyone and didn’t even remember to send a mother’s day card. I was the one who called my mother every other day and visited my grandparents. Now, he’s recently become a father and he’s throwing surprise parties. When my dad had his heart attack he was over there cutting the grass. Now I’m the one who forgets birthdays (I missed almost every one last year, including my wonderful mother-in-law’s). Funny how parenthood changes us differently, isn’t it!

We have to be home by 8:00 for the Amazing Race finale tonight. Go, blondies! Who’s your money on?


Saturday, May 05, 2007

Metro Reco: Lullabies for Little Criminals

Lullabies for Little Criminals is the winner of the 2007 CBC Canada Reads. It is fresh and stunning.

Lullabies is a tragicomedy, set in Montreal in the eighties. It’s narrated in the first person by Baby, a 12-year-old raised by her irresponsible, heroin-addicted father, Jules (her parents were 15 when she was born and her mother died when she was a baby). Baby enters puberty with all of the confusion and conflicting emotions of any other prepubescent girl, but her father is oblivious to her (the neighbourhood pimp, however, is not). Often Jules and Baby’s roles seem reversed--she is the one protecting her father: “No matter how scuzzy and crazy their parents are, kids still try to make them feel good about themselves”.

Lullabies is full of both pathos and humour. The novel’s poignancy is tempered by its wit. Baby frequently makes wry observations about the characters she’s surrounded by; for example, her gang of tough kids: “I was a little tired of their superiority complexes. Maintaining a superiority complex, especially when you were a loser, took a lot of mental effort and denial.”

Baby’s is the most unique narrative voice I’ve heard in long time. She manages to be both naïve and precocious, tough yet vulnerable. In some respects, she has the cynical mind of a street urchin; sometimes her child-like imagination allows her to survive. She is strong and smart, but she craves the love and protection of a mother.

Though the story is not autobiography, O’Neill drew on childhood experiences. She was raised by her father in Montreal and ran away to California when she was fifteen. Baby and Jules’ tough neighbourhood and run-down apartments were modelled after the places O’Neill grew up: “whenever I’m in a bleak, famously violent neighbourhood, it makes me feel comfortable and happy. It reminds me of the old apartments and sitting up late with my dad as he tried to figure out why and how we weren’t rich and famous.” Despite her poverty, she attended McGill University on a small scholarship. On school, she says, “I don’t think university made me a better writer at all. It is my observation, however, that the more knowledge and interesting information you know, the happier you are.”

Lullabies is O'Neill’s first novel. She is a contributor to This American Life, and her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine. She lives in Montreal, Canada.


Friday, May 04, 2007

April ROFL Awards

April '07 ROFL

It's that time again my friends. Time to laugh your asses off. Pour a cup of coffee, sit back, and enjoy...

The Kids are Alright awarded Mama Tulip

Polliwog awarded Bobbarama

J.D.’s Daze awarded Ambulance Driver

Kyla awarded Mad Hatter

Bub and Pie awarded Write About Here

Ali Martell awarded Redneck Mommy

Crank Mama awarded Redneck Mommy

Chicky Chicky Baby awarded Piglet of Fire


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Paree: Part 2

Alternate title: The Liver is Evil and Must Be Punished

Monday we slept in again, and ate several more croissants before heading to the Marais district. We visited the Picasso museum (excellent) and rested at the Places des Vosges, a lovely square. Then we walked to the Ile St.-Louis and explored the narrow streets and sweet little shops. We stopped at a café for lunch and had salade nicquoise and an espresso before walking, once more, along the Seine, looking for souvenirs. I bought some posters and we found a woman on Pont Neuf painting wonderful café scenes. She was thrilled when we bought two and we didn’t bother trying to barter. We went back to the hotel to stow our goodies and nap before heading out for dinner. We went to the 8th looking for a restaurant my sister-in-law had recommended. We couldn’t find it, but instead found a nice looking place with Michelin star (and no english on the menu). My starter was scallops on a thin toast spread with a tapenade accompanied by a salad. My main was duck prepared three ways (breast, leg, and a sausage which McH overhead the waiter tell someone was duck brain—he wisely didn’t mention it until later). The duck was delish. For dessert I had a raspberry soufflé that was disappointing. It was a lovely evening though. There were more friendly Americans on either side of us, so we chatted and took each other’s pictures. Another fun night.

Tuesday, our last day in Paris, we were up early, devoured croissants, quaffed cafes, and headed directly to the Musee d’Orsay to be among the first in line when it opened. It was a good thing too, the line quickly grew long. Once inside, I consulted a map, and we immediately headed to the 5th floor, where the Impressionists are (my favourite, especially Renoir and Morisot). It was very emotional for me. I was practically alone with all of these great works of art and I loved it. After a couple of hours I rejoined McH (I need to go at my own pace in a gallery) and we went for an espresso and started to stroll back towards our hotel. We returned to our favourite café for a final leisurely lunch. We ordered wine, and I had steak frites (again!). We took our time and just soaked it all in. After lunch, we ordered two café au lait and loitered, not wanting to leave. We soaked up the sun, the sights and sounds, the hustle and bustle, the energy. It was sublime.

The whole trip was sublime.


You can see the full set of pics here.


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