12.19.2008

Scruffy

I am scruffy. My house is scruffy. My kids are often scruffy, and my husband? Definite scruff.

I dream sometimes, of conditioned, flowing locks and gleaming hardwood and shiny children, but that is just a dream. (I wouldn’t unscruff my husband. I like him that way.) Actually, it’s not even a dream, more like a fantasy that I entertain momentarily when I see pictures of other people’s unscruffiness, or when unscruffies come over and have to endure hang out in my scruff.

I mean, it’s not gross – we’re not usually dirty. We’re all just a bit, well, unkempt. Mostly that is because I am supposed to keep myself and my things and my children kempt, and I do a lousy job. I am a lousy kempter. I just don’t always see the things that less unkempt people see, like natty baby dreads forming on my child’s head, or a loose string hanging off of my shirt, and by time I do eventually see those things, I have run out of time to deal with them. And then I forget about them again, because I am easily

Ew! Somebody in the next cubicle just farted!

To be fair though, this is not a result of having children. I’ve always been kind of scruffy, waaaaay preferring second-hand jeans (these days we call it vintage, but really, that’s just a less scruffy way of saying ‘used.’) and dready boys to nice pants and a haircut, and I have never trusted the pristine. I like things with a little bit of history, a little wear and tear – a story to tell.

However –


Finding out that there is a (really) big milk stain placed oh-so-strategically on my left boob shirt?

A little too scruffy, even for me.

***

12.18.2008

Bah Humbug

It’s not usually like this.I’m totally exhausted. Emotionally drained, my limbs feel heavy and my heart feels grey. One more argument with my husband; one more insensitive remark from a coworker; one more sleepless night or one more worrying turn to my mother’s health – I’m ready for it; expecting it.

I’m not even steeling myself for these inevitables, as impact, deflection hurt, leaves ugly marks; I’m softening to the blows; sinking into them, crumpling around them.

I have no time; I have no energy. The daily grind is pulverizing me; things I consider important are getting left by the wayside, getting laid to waste.


My husband and I are still partners – sparring partners. Will a new year bring a renewed connection, or simply new distance?

I need balance. The scales seem to be tipping. Towards what, I’m not sure.


***


p.s. the first person to suggest depression or pms gets a virtual punch in the face.

Gettin My Festive On

We had our family Hanukkah party this weekend, and it was really, really lovely. In previous years, we have gathered at my mum’s apartment and gorged ourselves on latkes and chocolate, and passed around usually homemade gifts. (Hanukkah does not really come with a gift-giving precedent like Christmas, so for us, it was always hand-kinit slippers, some chocolate raisins and a box of our favourite tea.)

However, things have been getting a bit fancier ‘round the holidays, and while latkes, chocolate and fresh-knit goods still take centre stage, we have definitely kicked it up a notch.

(Continue Reading)

12.11.2008

A Love Story, A Recommendation, A Give-Away

Accidents ambush the unsuspecting, often violently, just like love.

And sometimes, stories ambush the reader.

As was the case with Andrew Davidson’s The Gargoyle, perhaps the most engaging freshman venture of any writer I’ve read since Vincent Lam’s Bloodletting.

I was hooked by the end of the very first line of Davidson’s tome, and it’s a good thing that my grip was tight, as the frist 100 pages or so of The Gargoyle whip the reader through a thrilling narrative, one describing with eerie precision and spine-tingling detail a scenario I never want to get closer to than through Davidson’s words.

But this is a long book, and I had to wonder where, exactly, one goes from there; how Davidson would be able to keep the momentum up throughout his story, how he would take us out of a hospital burn unit and into a world fascinating enough to hold my interest for another 400 pages.

The short answer is, he just does.

When a catastrophic burn victim is visited by an eccentric artist, his resistance to rebuilding is matched only by her devotion to his recovery – one aided by her stories of a timeless, supernatural love in which they each play an integral part.

Part Gothic love-story, part urban drama, The Gargoyle brilliantly (and often gruesomely) delivers a fascinating blend of storytelling and character study that results in a sometimes sentimental, sometimes seedy epic that truly epitomizes the term, ‘page turner.’

If there are criticisms of Davidson’s debut, I would categorize them as fairly superficial. For one, if I were to judge a book by it’s cover, I would never have picked up The Gargoyle. Like, never ever. Flames and wings and a die-cut heart do not do this story justice, and I believe, alienate the readers that would most enjoy this story, while perhaps misleading those looking for Gothic horror.

I have also heard Davidson accused of over-writing, but I think that, while the language and detail in some instances comes close, when reigned in just a bit (as it is in most cases), act as this book’s greatest assets.

This is a book to be passed on; to be shared with other readers; to be read again. And as soon as I get it back from my mum, who lent it to her friend, who lent it to her sister, I’ll be ready for seconds.

***

I have THREE copies of The Gargoyle to give away, just in time for the holidays! I'm sure there is someone on your list that will really enjoy this book, but seriously? You're going to want to keep it for yourself. Email me - kgirlto at gmail dot com if you'd lilke a copy.

I'm sorry, but I can only send the books to Canadian addresses.

*Our contest is now closed. Congratulations to the winners!*


***

12.10.2008

Because I'm Classy

and don't actually have time for a real post.

Please to enjoy.




Oh wait; I did write a real blog post, just not here. It's here. Now git.

12.08.2008

Because I promised

Me in the dress with my hot mama friend Em...





This picture was taken before everybody got completely sh*tfaced, or else the composition might have been slightly different. Like, my hands on Em's boobs or something equally classy. Happy Holidays!

***

12.01.2008

Christmas Wishes

In our blended family, I have always let Christmas be something that we anticipate at home, but celebrate at Gramma’s. We bring out only token decorations, and these must go up surreptitiously, sneaking past Chris’ cynicism, until they find their home in a subtle locale.

We bake a lot of cookies, swapping dinosaur-shaped cookie cutters for snowman-shaped cutters, and I love to creatively wrap the gifts that I have collected for our loved ones. The Christmas music comes on December first and stays on until December 26, and I map out a schedule of all of the appropriate specials for me and Bee to watch, curled up on the couch together under a blanket, eschewing her normal bedtime so that we can watch beloved claymation moments from my girlhood squeeze their way into hers.

But this year, it just doesn’t feel like enough. Maybe it is that we now have two girls, and I desire for them to embrace, to be embraced by, our special traditions and family customs. Or maybe it’s that I have returned to work and am away from my girls at the exact time of year that we focus most on family and being together, and I just need to cling to whatever lines I can grab hold of right now, hoping to be towed back in.

Whatever it is, I am finding myself seized by big, glowing yearnings that had only just slightly glimmered in the past. I want to put cute pictures of my children on holiday cards and then actually mail them to our loved ones. I want to take my kids to sit on Santa’s lap, and then pay outrageous sums for a blurry picture of them, arms outstretched, pleading for parental rescue. I want to make homemade hot chocolate and put it in my pretty mason jars adorned with ribbon.

I want a Christmas tree, dammit. And I want to put Christmas ornaments and Hanukkah dreidles on it, and I want little feathered birds to peek out from behind its branches, and I want to shoo the cat away from it and keep babies from crawling around it, and I don’t want my house to pass idly by the holiday season just because we wake up Christmas morning somewhere else.

I want cozy nights with fat snowflakes falling quietly on our street, and late mornings with babies in footed pajamas clamouring around while I make French toast and coffee.

With my sister preparing Hanukkah celebrations and Chris’ family where we go for (admittedly, a lovely, lovely) Christmas, I feel like I have outsourced the holidays. As much as everybody’s efforts do nothing but bring joy and smiles, I want to do more this year. I want to wrap my girls in the festive spirit and have them look forward to more than just going to someone else’s house and unwrapping presents.

I want them to remember the delicious smells coming from their own home; to groan (and then smile) when I line them up for a family photo; to know that every year, Bubby does that and Gramma does that, and Mummy does this. I want their favourite part of the holidays to be the time we spend together.

And to know that the time we spend with them is better than anything we could ever find under the tree.