metro mama

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Oh, Happy Day!

My beloved Alice Munro has won the 2009 Man Booker International Prize!

If you’ve been coming here for any length of time, you’ll know Alice Munro is my very favourite writer, and I couldn’t be happier she’s won this prestigious prize.

The Man Booker International Prize is worth £60,000 to the winner and is awarded once every two years to a living author for a body of work that has contributed to an achievement in fiction on the world stage. It was first awarded to Ismail Kadaré in 2005 and then to Chinua Achebe in 2007.

The prize seeks to recognize a living author who has contributed significantly to world literature and to highlight the author's continuing creativity and development on a global scale.

I’m halfway through her newest collection, Too Much Happiness, which comes out in August. It’s Alice at her best, and I’m so disappointed it’s coming during my maternity leave when I won’t be around to help promote it (but you can bet I’ll be doing what I can from home).

If you’ve never read Alice, you are missing out. I have a copy of her last collection, Alice Munro’s Best up for grabs for the first person to email metro[underscore]mama[at]hotmail[dot]com (sorry, Canadian only!).

Update: We have a winner! Congrats, Mamalooper.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Today you’re four. Four. How can that be? I look at you, all gangly and tall. I argue with you about which dress you’re going to wear to school today. I hear you carry on complex conversations with your new Thomas engines this morning before you come to wake us. I watch you open the door to your guests at your party yesterday, greet them with a hug, and introduce them to each other, such an accomplished hostess already. And I’m really sad. Sad how I wish the days away, and the years fly by, so trite but it’s true. But more than I’m sad, I’m proud, I’m awestruck, and I’m so in love with you. Happy birthday, my girl.

My dad spent months building this dollhouse for Cakes. It's unbelievable.

It's amazing how important friends are to a four-year-old compared to a three-year-old. I have a post coming about this.

Many thanks to kittenpie for lending me this fabulous game. The kids loved it.

Move over, Martha!

Wish I could read her mind.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Night of Havoc

Last night I had the pleasure of attending my first Chuck Palahniuk event, hosted by McNally Robinson Booksellers at the Isabel Bader Theatre. Chuck’s new book, Pygmy, went on sale last week and his devoted (I’m not using that term lightly) fans were eager to get their hands on signed copies and meet their idol in person. I arrived two hours before the start of the event, and the line was already long. As per Chuck’s request, some of the attendees arrived creatively attired as U.N. delegates (an homage to the climax of Pygmy).

When Chuck arrived, the crowd cheered, whistled and clapped. He stopped to chat with the faithful folks at the front of the line.

He signed a heck of a lot of books, and patiently posed with very happy devotees.

And then the fun really began. Over the course of the evening, Chuck entertained us with his hilarious retellings of 'fairy tales' in Pygmy speak (read one of them here); he was interrupted by a “sext” from Margaret Atwood (he assured the crowd that “boys only tease the writers they like”); and he whipped about 200 inflatable penguins at us (plus one lone naked inflatable man). Seriously. The crowd lapped it up.

In conversation, Chuck talked about the origins of Pygmy’s hilarious pidgin English (it was modeled on his own bad German as well as his older Ukranian immigrant relatives who “will never see his work, so they won’t be hurt”). He explained that writing in Pygmy’s voice actually wasn’t that difficult, and he and his friends made a game out of talking in Pygmy speak. The quotes from fascist dictators peppered throughout the book also came from a challenge to his friends (wouldn’t it be fun to be Chuck Palahniuk’s pal?).

When asked about how he started writing, Chuck told us about the writing workshop he’s attended every Thursday night for 20 years. He said that even if he never sold a piece of work, he would still be writing just for the Thursday night parties. The man likes to have fun; hence the penguins, the stories, the humour. ‘Twas a fun night indeed, and I too am now a devoted disciple of the cult of Chuck.

Want in on the fun? Sign up for Operation Havoc.


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The End is Nigh

Thanks for your kind words and offers of frocks. You guys always make me feel better.

Last week just got better and better. The pain I originally attributed to heartburn got quite intense by the weekend, with no relief from antacids. It was on the left-hand side of my chest, I was short of breath, and feeling generally unwell. Now, I’ve never been the hypochondriac type, but since I had Cakes I have this intense awareness of my own mortality. In my younger, wilder days, I was absolutely fearless. I did so many reckless things, I can’t even tell you, and the thought of getting hurt or dying never, ever crossed my mind. Now I think about it rather disturbingly often. And when you’re an atheist, it’s a little disconcerting to think you could kick it at any moment. So, I really do try hard to live in the moment. I tell Cakes and McHotty I love them every day. My affairs are always in order, and Cakes always has lots of underwear stocked up. Is that weird?

Anyway, my point is, Sunday I actually thought I might be having a heart attack. My Wed MD research suggested as much, and I know from my dad’s recent experience how important it is to act quickly, so I went to emerg. I feel sheepish now, but the gal at intake said she would have done the same thing. Long story short, I spent six hours on a beautiful sunny Sunday sitting in the hell on earth that is an emergency room. In my own defense, the triage nurse did think it warranted checking out. And once they ruled out a heart attack, they thought it could be a blood clot, which involved a couple more hours to wait for tests, and a trip back for an ultrasound the next day. Turns out, it’s probably just a form of pleurisy, an inflammation of the lining of the lung, probably caused from the cold I picked up last week. It goes away on its own. And I wasted the beautiful sunny Sunday I had planned to spend gardening with Cakes to find that out.

Has anyone else become unusually preoccupied with death since they became a parent? Is it just a matter of driving a little more carefully, or full on pessimism like me? Anyone?


Friday, May 01, 2009


So as soon as I wrote the post about feeling great during this pregnancy, and still feeling pretty sexy, things almost immediately started going downhill. I’ve really popped in the last two weeks (I’d forgotten how this happens almost overnight). With the start of the third trimester, it’s getting harder and harder to keep the weight gain at a reasonable pace. I know it’s stupid to waste too much energy worrying about it at this point, but I haven’t forgotten how fucking hard it is to get the weight off again.

The other problem is, I have several events coming up where I’d like to look good, and it’s getting pretty hard to pull off. Plus, with this being my last pregnancy I’m loathe to go out and buy many new maternity clothes (and most of the maternity clothes suck anyway), so I’m trying to make do with what I have, or what will work after baby (I can’t wait until it’s warm enough for jersey skirts and no tights).

This week has been a doozy. It’s our Fall sales conference. I usually love conference. Editorial, marketing and sales get together, and all the lovely new books and marketing plans are presented and discussed. (This is a big year by the way; the list is incredible. I’ll do a big post on it soon.) Conference means full, long days of meetings, plus social events in the evening. Even though I only made it to one evening event this week, I’m absolutely spent. The pace of conference, and the stress of speaking in front of a crowd have given me a wicked case of heartburn. (This didn’t happen the first time, and people tell me it means the baby will be hairy--anyone else heard this?) I’ve never, ever been more exhausted. I’m also really wistful about the fact that I won’t be here for this stellar fall season, and worried about where I’ll be when I come back (I’ve been covering a mat leave, and going back to my original position will be a demotion). But there’s no other place I’d rather be.

Anyway, I promise this is the last whiney post until the baby comes (I can’t make any promises after that!) I just needed to get it out of my system.

And how are you these days?


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