Friday, June 29, 2007

Poking fun at perfection

Nobody likes a goody two-shoes. Miss Perfect. Personal comparisons to Martha Stewart before her fall from grace. (Which these days conjures images of Paris Hilton—prison, as opposed to perfection doing the trick—which is another story entirely...or maybe not.)

nancy drewThat's why when my daughter was encouraged to read Nancy Drew, and soon grew tired of Nancy's ability to excel at everything, whether it be helping elderly ladies, knabbing robbers, sewing her own clothes, or otherwise solving all the world's ills, I didn't force the issue. I figured the books were outdated. It's another world these days. Books I enjoyed as a child my daughter should be under no obligation to read. After all, there have been thousands of spectacular children's books written since my youth. (And we won't go into how long ago that was!)

This past weekend we took in the new-ish Nancy Drew movie at our local cinema. We both loved it. Nancy was as perfect as ever, solving mysteries, reuniting family members, thwarting crooks. However, we, and Nancy herself, were encouraged and able to laugh at her OCD tendencies. Best of all, she was a teenager, perhaps not typical, but with all the usual teenage angst (okay, a little less than everyone else): making friends, fitting in, pleasing her father, longing for her mother.

Gosh, Nancy actually seemed human. And funny. Not to mention cute as a button. A perfect heroine, in fact.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Clanging pipes and a power cut

One day each week I work from home. (In case you've forgotten, or have just tuned in, I'm the writer for hire, temporarily giving up the dream to pay a new mortgage, renovations, etc.). With a bit of time-off looming, I've been looking forward to reclaiming my home office and perhaps returning to creative writing. (Please hold your collective hallelujahs.)

The last three weeks have boded ill for the writing-at-home gig. Note the following (and keep in mind that I am not exaggerating!):
This week: After spending two hours on the phone with Revenue Canada (Canadian equivalent of Inland Revenue), with a very UNSATISFACTORY conclusion, I managed three hours of productive writing before the pipes in the basement started clanging in a most frightening manner. After ascertaining that the downstairs toilet was acting up, I was in the process of peering into the tank when the electricity went off. An hour later, after imagining all sorts of gloom and doom — for surely the two problems were related, or so I figured — I had temporarily fixed the toilet and discovered that the local power company had shut off the power without notifying us first. By then it was time to pay my overdue taxes, so off I trotted to the bank, and then to pick up my daughter. Total hours worked out of the expected 7.5: 3.
The previous week: As my daughter recently turned 10, and wanted nothing more (besides an Ipod!) than a sleepover with her friend, I gave in and allowed her to have it during the week (school is out for the summer in any case). The girls played nicely in the morning, and at noon we set off for the park for lunch. I did some editing after our picnic but the girls soon tired of running around and proclaimed themselves boiling hot. So we returned to the air-conditioned house (see below) and to a message from the other mom inviting the girls back to her place for a swim. I called and she promised to pick the girls up in half an hour. TWO HOURS later she showed up, whisked the girls away, at which time I started tapping frantically at the keyboard; after all, it was four o'clock by now — if I was lucky I could get in two hours of additional work before it was time to collect my daughter. FORTY MINUTES later the mom was back; apparently she'd locked herself out of the house. At this point I called it a day. Total hours: 4.5.
Two weeks ago: I had two sets of workmen in the house, one set demolishing the decrepit front porch, another installing a new air-conditioning system. Plus at noon my daughter and her friend returned home early from school, as it was their last day. The girls I hardly saw. The workmen, on the other hand, kept pestering me with questions such as these:
  • Can we use the bathroom?
  • Which power outlet outside may we use?
  • Could we have a glass of water, please?
  • The garage door won't close and we want to go to lunch. We don't want our ladder stolen. Could you come out and see what is the matter with the door?
  • Where is the nearest Home Depot (DIY store)?
  • Here is the list of supplies we need. [Five minutes later] Oops, I forgot to include x on the list. May I see it again?
  • [Several hours later, when I'm in bed in my pjyamas, editing] Hello, so sorry to have rung your doorbell five times, but we forgot [big expensive piece of equipment] in your backyard and it might rain tonight. Could we put it in the garage? Good night, now.
Am I doomed? Tell me it isn't true.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Success... of sorts

The website still isn't functioning. But today I had a flash of total genius and realised I could set up the blog independently.

(bangs head against desk and weeps quietly)

It's here.

(whispers brokenly) Please come and see me and bring chocolate.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Wonderful Weekend... and then Monday.

The trouble with having a really, really fab weekend is that it makes Monday morning come as an even greater shock to the system. Returned home from Kate Walker's wonderful 50th book celebrations in Lincoln feeling tired but still totally on a high from good food, great conversation, lots and lots of laughs and much hugging... It was a really, really special event, and I'm going to write a proper in-depth report (including, especially for Amanda Ashby, an exclusive photo of Kate's gorgeous shoes...) on the blog at my very own website, so please come over and visit me there just as soon as it's up and running-- which should be in the next day or so....

(Did anyone hear the echo of hollow, malevolent laughter then? Unfortunately web design is one of the many things I am dismally bad at. Like tennis. And algebra. And reading Homer's Iliad in the original. Which brings me back to Monday morning, and work....)

Felt staggeringly untogether as a result of bunking off maternal duties for the weekend, and gulitily waved the children off to school while trying not to notice that their dresses were unironed and one of them was wearing odd socks. Luckily, did not have to dwell on this for too long as diversion came in the form of a lunch date with Annie and a large glass of wine, after which trauma of web design had subsided a little and some of the weekend's glow had returned...

Euphoria was shortlived, however. Daughter #3 arrived home laden down with additional baggage, signalling that the Class 1 mascot-- Poppy Bear-- has come to stay. This is very bad news. Rather like Queen Elizabeth 1's royal progress around the stately homes of hapless sixteenth century nobility, Poppy Bear's residence is demanding in the extreme. Every detail of her stay, along with photographic evidence, must be recorded in 'Poppy Bear's Diary', a task which Daughter #3 always undertakes with painful honesty, ruthlessly exposing all my parental shortcomings. Prospect of a week spent catching up on book (desperately neglected of late) and constructing website while children slouch in front of television, surviving on various toast-based meals, instantly evaporates as Poppy emerges from her backpack and is installed by the fruit bowl (empty apart from two blackened bananas) gazing at me beadily.

She has been left on my desk today so I can keep an eye on her while daughters are at school.

However, have the very unnerving feeling that she is keeping an eye on me, so have given her some reading to do while I get on with website.

Wish me luck.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Although I have been accused of chasing young adonises through campus—or should I say Samsons, as I've a penchant for flowing locks—I have yet to descend to stalking movie stars. However, this weekend while strolling through sun-drenched Old Montreal, sandals clicking on cobblestones,
perspiration glistening on bare shoulders, sunglasses perched atop my head, I scoured the narrow streets for a glimpse of Brad Pitt (in town along with Cate Blanchett shooting scenes for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).

Alas, he was not to be found in open air cafes, nor in tiny bistros. I peeked in boutique hotels but caught not one coveted glance. I'd know that physique anywhere, girls; after all, I've seen Thelma and Louise half a dozen times. And that beautiful crowning glory. Not to mention that boyish smile and self-assured gaze.


Sadly, it was not to be. However, on the way to work this morning, along my well-trodden path, I encountered the movie shoot of Get Smart. Oh, well, if Brad baby proves elusive, perhaps Steve Carell will do.

Girls, Brad's in town!!!!


Monday, June 04, 2007

Look what I found...

...while checking out who stops by the blog.

The one and only Bronwyn ... oops, typo?!... has just put up her very own website. Talk about cool.

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