metro mama

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

So Long, 2008!

It’s my birthday today, and thankfully I’m not depressed about it like last year. I seem to have trouble with the mid-decades. 25 was awful, and 35 somewhat devastating, but 36 is a breeze.

It should be a good day. We’re still in K-town, and I’m sleeping in every day. McHotty is taking me for birthday lunch, while Cakes and her Grandmother do some “important jobs” (which I think involves a chocolate cake with my name on it). Tonight we’ll have a gourmet meal, and play Cranium by the fire. McHotty’s sisters and hubbies are here too, so it’s a nice crowd.

As for the coming year, it should be very exciting (more to come on that later). I’m not making any resolutions but these:

1. Spend quality time with family and friends.
2. Read a hell of a lot of books (I’ve already started a new book club which begins in 2 weeks!)
3. Use my time wisely.

Happy New Year, my friends. May 2009 be filled with health and happiness.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Hope you're all warm and happy and having a lovely holiday season. We'll be in the land of dial-up for a week, so we're going to take some time offline. See you in the New Year!


Metro, McHotty, and Cakes

Monday, December 22, 2008

And I've Survived Another Crawl

The 3rd annual neighbourhood Christmas Crawl was a smashing success. As always, the food and drink was to die for, and the company was even better. Every year the party gets a few households bigger, and even better. I was too busy stuffing my face to get many good pics, but here's a few of my highlights (especially the decadent dessert table at the end).

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bring It On!

Everyone on Twitter is going on about “snowmageddon”, but I say bring it on! Cakes is excited to get out on the sled. I just received a lovely, lovely email announcing the office is closing a noon. The timing couldn’t be better as tonight is the third annual raucous neighbourhood christmas crawl. (See coverage of the inaugural crawl here). We’re kicking things off at our place, then all 30 of us will traipse about to 5 other hosting homes. This is serious partying, not for the faint at heart!

So, the snow day gives me lots of extra time to help McHotty make hors d’oeuvres. This year we’re doing red pepper and gorgonzola bruschetta, and thyme and parmesan crackers (from the new Barefoot Contessa). Our featured cocktail is The Poinsettia: prosecco, cranberry and cointreau (from the new Nigella). I may even have time to squeeze in a nap!

The holidays are shaping up to be rather relaxing. McHotty works Christmas Day, so Santa’s coming to our place on the 24th. My family’s coming in the afternoon and we’ll do the big turkey dinner thing, and my folks will stay over to keep Cakes and I company on the 25th (I think I’ll do a nice prime rib or something, one of the few fancy dishes I can muster). We’ll head to k-town on the 26th for a whole week of relaxing with the in-laws. There’ll be lots of opportunities for naps, reading books, and we might even catch a few movies! The only recent movie I’ve seen is the new James Bond, so tell me internets, what should be go see? And don’t say Twilight or I just might hurl!

Have a cozy and warm snowy weekend, friends.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Refresh

I’ve gone to my share of rock concerts back in the day. Remember the hot tickets that if you wanted to snag you had to log on to ticketmaster at 12:00 sharp, and frantically hit your refresh button, and you were fucked if you were on dial-up? Well, registering Cakes for swimming with Toronto Parks and Recreation is exactly like that, only without the reward of getting stoned and drunk and rocking out to Soundgarden.

I managed to screw up her registration for the Fall, so I was determined to rock today’s Spring registration, which began at 7 A.M. this morning. I set up my Outlook reminder months in advance to pre-warn me last Friday. I had carefully prepared notes with my client #s, dates, and class code (plus five alternates). I set the alarm for 6:30 AM this morning. At 6:58 I was poised in front of the keyboard, when Cakes started crying in her room. I ran up the stairs and yelled at McHotty to get up, dashed into Cakes’ room, patted her and explained, “daddy’s coming”, and was back in front of the keyboard at 7:01. click. All available sessions are busy. Fuck. I spent the next 20 minutes hitting refresh every 10 seconds, finally snagging the last spot of my second choice.

How can registering your kid for swimming be so annoying?

I think part of the problem is our closest rec centre is one of the limited number offering free programs. This is awesome, but do the people who need them most get these spots? Probably not, unless they have high-speed internet. I’d be happy to pay, but I don’t want to travel to another location to do so. Especially since there seems to be no mechanism in place to ensure the people who live in the neighbourhood get fist dibs on the spots. I hope to hell no one is packing up the kidlets in the SUV and driving over from the Beaches (but it wouldn’t surprise me).

Anyone else getting totally stressed out by swimming classes? Who’s up for ACDC?


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday Morning

If you get a chance, you really should take the kids to see the windows at The Bay. My pics don't even begin to do them justice.

What are your city holiday traditions?


Friday, December 12, 2008

Some Johnny Cash to Enjoy on a Friday

Metro Dad posted this last year. It makes me happy, so I want to share it again.

Hope everyone is getting into the holiday spirit!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Fancy Pants

McHotty and I are living with a three-foot diva. Despite the fact that I wear a dress about 3 times a month, Cakes has developed a strong preference for feminine clothing. She is refusing to wear the cool black jerseys I find at H&M in favour of frilly pink frocks.

Last week a package arrived from her grandmother, who had a recently returned from a trip to Boston with outlet mall stops on the way home. She tore into it to find two luscious velvet dresses for Christmas. Trembling with excitement, she immediately donned both dresses, ran to the full-length mirror, and pirouetted, exclaiming “I’m so fancy, I’m SO FANCY!”

She would wear a dress every day if we let her. I usually try to reason with her, but McHotty doesn’t have the strength. The other day he did daycare drop-off, and I did pick-up. I was mortified to find her in a red satin top, a purple skirt, multi-colored striped tights and about 6 blingy barrettes.

We have her out-of-season sandals on a high shelf in her room. Every now and then she makes me get them down so she can try them on and prance around the room. I won’t even tell you how excited she gets when I turn her loose in my closet.

While her fashion sense is mildly embarrassing, what really concerns me is how she talks about looking pretty. It bothers me that pretty is even remotely on her radar at age 3-and-a-half. I wonder where it comes from, then I recall myself coming the stairs, dressed to go out, asking McHotty how I look. I picture my mother coaxing Cakes to let her style her hair, then exclaiming how much nicer it looks. I think about the fuss we make of her when she’s all dressed up pretty, and it’s no wonder it’s on her mind.

How do we teach our girls that pretty doesn’t matter?


Monday, December 08, 2008

Holiday Preparations

3 can be tough--but it's also pretty damn fun.


Friday, December 05, 2008

More Best Books of 2008

Wow, I really am delinquent in my book reviews. Here are four more of my faves for 2008. Happy reading!

Broken by Daniel Clay

This book is a riveting tragicomedy, narrated by Skunk, an eleven-year-old girl in a coma. As Skunk lies still in the centre, the lives of those surrounding her explode: the five menacing Oswald girls and their brute of a father; poor Rick “Broken” Buckley humiliated by the Oswalds and broken by the police; Skunk’s father, who longs for love.

The book draws heavily on To Kill a Mockingbird. And it really reminds me of one of my favourites of 2007, Lullabies for Little Criminals.

Read an excerpt here.

When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson

I don’t read many mysteries, but this is a complex, smart, well-written mystery, with compelling characters, including another young, wise beyond her years young girl named Reggie.

Sixteen-year-old Reggie is the nanny for Dr. Joanna Hunter, who at the age of six witnessed the brutal murders of her mother, brother and sister before escaping their assailant. When Dr. Hunter goes missing, Reggie is the only one who believes something is wrong. That is until she meets Investigator Jackson Brodie (from two of Atkinson’s previous books) who has his own mysterious connection to the case.

Be prepared to stay up all night to find out how it ends!

Read an excerpt here.

What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn

I seem to be on a roll with little girl characters in this list. In What Was Lost a lost little girl with a notebook and toy monkey appears on the CCTV screen of the Green Oaks shopping centre, evoking memories of junior detective, Kate Meaney, missing for twenty years. Kurt, a security guard with a sleep disorder and Lisa, a disenchanted deputy manager at Your Music, together become entranced by the little girl they keep glimpsing on the security cameras. As Kurt and Lisa’s after-hours friendship grows in intensity, it brings new loss and new longing to light.

Like Atkinson’s book, this novel will keep you up ‘til all hours, and will resonate with you long after you finish. It is the winner of the 2007 Costa First Novel Award.

Read an excerpt here.

Babylon Rolling by Amanda Boyden

Don't you love the cover?

Set in New Orleans in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina, Babylon Rolling is narrated by several of the diverse characters whose lives bump up against each other, often too close for comfort. Fearius, fresh out of juvey, embarks on his drug-dealing career; Ariel and Ed, white, middle-class, parents of two relocate from Minnesota; Indira and Ganesha, professionals, move into the biggest house on the block; Cerise Brown, 70-year-old black woman and long-time resident and Philomena Beuregard de Bruges, the white “uptown lady” observe their new neighbours. New Orleans itself is practically another character in the novel (Boyden resides in the city). Gritty and real, the voices simmer and roil until they reach the boiling point.

This book is evocative of the movie Crash, only much more sophisticated.

Amanda Boyden is married to another brilliant writer, Joseph Boyden, this year’s Giller winner for Through Black Spruce (another marvelous book—review to come!)

Read an excerpt here.

Now it’s your turn: tell me your favourite books of 2008. Comment here, or write your own post.


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