Now blogging at www.ispuddle.com

•April 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Hello, old blog.

I’m now blogging about my life and appliances at www.ispuddle.com.    I will continue to blog about writing and writing-related stuff, like talking about writing for example, right here.   I’ll be back soon, I promise.

In the meantime, if you haven’t already, I totally recommend watching this video of Elizabeth Gilbert at the Ted conference talking about creativity.    So inspiring and fabulous and true on every level.

Click here.

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Hey, I remember this.

•December 6, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I have a confession, which I’ve probably made before.   I’m a terrible blogger.   I often think out an entire blog post, right down to paragraph breaks, and then I don’t type it because I’m too busy painting some ghastly surface in my house or giving my daughter a smooch to stop her from crying after she falls and hits her head for the twenty-thousandth time.   Then the blog languishes and I’ll admit, I get tired of looking at it.   The date gap between the last post and the next is too great and then I do the thing I do best:

Renovate it.

I rename it, move it somewhere else, and start again.   The thing is that THIS blog is attached to my website, which (if I ever finish the site itself) is ostensibly about the books I’ve written, the books I’m writing and you know, things about writing.   Like how my publicist didn’t send me out to any festivals because he read on my website that I didn’t want to travel to do school visits (a completely different ballgame anyway) in the months after I had my last baby.   And, well, stuff like that.   I’ve wandered off topic, sharing anecdotes about raw bacon and Lego-up-the-nose incidents and I feel like this isn’t the place for that.   So guess what?   I’m starting a new blog that I will forget to regularly update and will feel anxious about not updating where I can talk about things that are nothing to do with writing and books and I’ll save the stuff about writing and books for this website and this blog.   The other blog will be called something else.   Right now I’m going downstairs to sort books and think about what I’m going to call it.   Then I’ll build it, which is really the most fun part of all.   Brown or purple?   Flickr links or not?   I’ll talk about politics and home renovation and, of course, parenting and how it creeps into every single aspect of your life.    My first post is going to be about Sean Avery and his suspension.   Hey, I’m a girl, but I can talk about hockey players, too.  

And here, this site will be for talking about writing.

I can tell you this about writing:   it’s hard when your kids don’t sleep and you don’t have a regular babysitter.    Time just gets vacuumed up into this great monstrous void where you look at the calendar and realize, wait, it’s not October, it’s DECEMBER.   Wha’ happened?   I am excited about what I’m writing right now — SO EXCITED.  I kind of love it more than anything I’ve written for ages.   It’s a book for adults, a mystery with a murder that’s not quite a murder.   It’s a bit about stretching perception and the distance between what you believe to be true and what is actually true.   I think it’s quite funny as well as being tragic and more than a bit strange.  I’m having fun, but it’s a slow process, like a paragraph a week as opposed to my usual style of cranking out a book 100 pages at a time.   But I’m a different person now than when I started writing books for a living.   I’m older, for one.   And I’m just not in as much of a rush.   I’m trying to remember that no one is waiting for my masterpiece, no one’s breath is held and I can take my time and savour the writing instead of forcing it.    I can breathe.

Hope you’re all breathing, too.   Life is short, but not so short that we have to kill ourselves to get everything done RIGHT NOW.  

Right? 

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Anyone But Harper…

•October 9, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Please.   If you are Canadian and are of legal age to vote, please use your vote strategically.   Visit anyonebutharper.ca or voteforenvironment.ca and let’s make a difference with this election.   Let’s tell Stephen Harper that we’ve had enough.   What he believes that the people think is important is not correct.   We believe in the environment, in the arts, in universal childcare.    We believe in a country where the Prime Minister does not change the laws for his own convenience, where he does not obfuscate his actions, where he is accountable to the democracy that elected him in the first place.   His victory is not a foregone conclusion, please vote for change on October 14th.

Thank you.

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Well, hello there.

•September 18, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Hello old bloggy blog,  how have you been?   I have been neglecting you horribly and I am painfully aware of this.   I’m at a point in my life where I feel like I have just not enough time.   Not enough time to blog, or to tidy my house, or to have enough adventures with my kids, or to write books, or to see my friends or anything.   I have no idea what I’m doing to fill the time.   Laundry?   Probably not, as that doesn’t seem to be done either.   And I’m about to embark upon one of two possible projects:

1.  We have been looking at a new house, this one is huge and gorgeous but is in an area we don’t love and the world’s strangest subdivision leaving the house down a long panhandle driveway with no frontage, no front yard at all, and bizarrely hideous seventies creations on all sides.   BUT the house is an early 1900’s farmhouse and is truly unique.   Plus fireplaces in every room.   But… needs a new roof.  We’ve been going back and forth on this.   We love where we live now but our house is small.   It’s a great neighbourhood though.    It’s a tough call.  

2.  If we decide to stay here, I want to reconfigure the downstairs into a better play/craft area for the kids and move my office into the spare room, ridding us of the spare room altogether.   Because let’s face it, the spare room was fast becoming a junk room and no one ever ever stays with us.   This is because I’m bad with guests.   I love you all, but if you stay here you’ll see that I actually have a rotten personality and you’ll wipe me off your Christmas card list and I get few enough cards already.   I can’t afford to lose more.   So having a guest room is pointless.   If you really really HAVE to stay here, we’ll kick one of the kids out of their room for a while.   They prefer to sleep on me anyway. 

None of the above-mentioned projects is an actual book, but I’m working on some of those, too.    I’m buoyed by recent positive reviews in the Globe and Mail and CM Magazine which may just inject enough spirit back into my tired old brain to write something I really really want to write.   If only I had more time.

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What is in my nose?

•July 19, 2008 • 2 Comments

When your three year old approaches you and casually asks the question, “What is in my nose?”, be alarmed.   He does not ask this question innocently.   Drop everything and check.   He asks because he has firmly inserted the world’s tiniest lego GEARSHIFT into his left nostril.   It involves one red circle and an inch long black piece of plastic that resembles a sewing needle.  If you tip his head back, you can see just the edge of the red plastic.   So near, and yet so far. 

He will not let you near with tweezers.   Instead, he will scream, “YOU ARE HURTING ME!   YOU ARE HURTING ME!” with the outrage of a completely innocent victim.   You are the bad guy.   Only you aren’t.   He is not   innocent.   He stuck the thing in there in the first place.   You are only trying to help.   You point out that he was the one who picked the gearshift out of his box of Lego and said to himself, “Hey, awesome!  This would fit completely into my nose!”.   He does not care.    You have perpetrated this crime by giving him a nose AND Lego.  “You are a monster!” he screams.  “Stop hurting me!”   You hope the neighbours do not report you to Social Services because you think this would be hard to explain.  

Not to mention you have yet to even get close enough to the gearshift to touch it.   It’s the sight of the tweezers that is hurting him.   You cannot get near his nostril due to all the running and screaming, sobbing and flailing.   Eventually, with a lot of nose blowing and dramatic screams, the gearshift will come out and he will laugh like a maniac and say, “I guess we don’t get to go to the hospital then!”   And you remember, after the fact, that he likes hospitals and will likely do it again just so he can go there and see his doctor, who he loves because she has a tent in her waiting room.  He won’t realize until it’s too late that this tent does not exist in the hospital itself and the ER is more an exercise in sitting in a waiting room for an infinite number of hours watching drunk people fight with their spouses on cell phones (that the signs indicate that they may not use but they don’t care because they’re too wasted to be bothered) while they drip blood from their hand/leg/head onto the floor.  

Then he’ll say, “That was so funny, wasn’t it Mummy?  Was that funny?”

And you will tell him in your firmest Mummy-voice that indeed it was not funny at all.

And he will say, “I thought it was funny, Mummy,”  in such a wounded whisper that you’ll somehow feel badly that you didn’t find it as hilarious as he did, in retrospect.  

So when you are tucking him into bed and he says, “Hey, what’s in my nose?”, maybe you shouldn’t write the question off as a flashback and say, “We took it out already, remember?  Such a silly old thing to do!”   Because then at 3:00 a.m. you will wake up in a cold sweat and realize that “What’s in my nose?” is never actually a question so much as it is the passing of information and if you put the phrase “What’s in my nose?” into babelfish and translated it from toddler to English it would say something like, “Hey, guess what?  I’ve put the Lego gearshift up my nose again!”   When you race upstairs and shine the world’s brightest flashlight up his nose to see and find nothing, you will be perplexed.    You thought you had it figured out.   So you go back to bed, noticing on the dresser the pile of tweezers and other implements used to retrieve the gearshift the first time.   But… but… but…

The gearshift itself?   Is missing.   WHERE IS THE GEARSHIFT?  I don’t know about you, but I’ll be checking noses all day.   Stay tuned. 

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Update your blog!

•July 4, 2008 • 1 Comment

There are a whole bunch of blogs that I read on a regular or semi-regular basis.    There is no rhyme or reason to why I’ve bookmarked your blog and why I go back.   Sometimes I go back again and again because you are just so unreasonably bizarre, I can’t help it.    Mostly it’s because you are someone in a similar situation to me and I’m fascinated to see how much better you cope with your life than I do with mine.    Or you make me laugh.   Or cry.   And I’ll admit there are one or two that just make me roll my eyes, or I’ll wake up in the middle of the night thinking, “I can’t BELIEVE she wrote that/did that/thinks that.”  Or he.   I’m an equal opportunity blog reader.   And I’ll construct furious mental replies that I’ll never actually send but somehow mentally writing them puts me back to sleep.   Your blogs are important to me, as you can see.

Please.   For me.    Update.  

Sometimes our paper boy fails to deliver the newspaper and I’m completely unable to read the news on-line.   I must read the ACTUAL paper.  Which I don’t really read so much as skim for depressing stories which I can then mull about all day, sometimes actually crying if they are really awful and then calling my mum to say, “Why did I read that?  I can’t deal with it.”  If the paper doesn’t come, I read blogs instead while my children play with electrical outlets and experiment with locking each other in the closet.    This is MY time, damn it, and I’m going to use it for me, i.e. fritter it away doing nothing in particular but sipping coffee and staring at my computer, googling things like, “headache with blurred vision dirty contacts brain tumour”.    Because I need Google to tell me whether I’m dying or I just need to refill my prescription for lenses.    I can no longer decide these things for myself because I’m tired.    So tired.   But I digress.   My point is that I need constant regular updates on complete stranger’s lives.    I do!   I’m not actually convinced that anyone really reads my blog so my updates are less regular.   Also typing about my own life is a lot less relaxing than reading about someone else’s.  

What has happened for me since I last updated?   Well, I’ve had the flu.    A big, bad flu which I now suspect is bronchitis, and/or a brain tumour as the screen is so blurry I cannot see what I’ve typed so far.   Drat.   I hope there are no typos.   Also, and much worse than that, my dog died.    She didn’t die passively, we had her put down, and when I say “we”, I mean “my mum” because I couldn’t do it.   I had a dog put down before and it was so awful, I couldn’t even imagine doing it again and besides, Tika was my baby and I straight up couldn’t do it.   Could.   Not.    But it had to be done, she had an osteosarcoma, could no longer move, was in pain, hadn’t eaten in days, and they couldn’t do anything for her.   Mum says it was peaceful and lovely and so I’m going to remember it that way even though I was too much of a coward to go.   Now I’m crying.   I’m a lot of fun these days, as I’m sure you can tell.    Bad flu.   Four day headache.   Dead dog.  

Yesterday, Lola rolled off the bed after her nap.   And not just any bed, but our bed, which is about four feet off the floor, the hard wood floor.    I don’t know what she landed on or how, but when I got to her, she was already crawling vigorously from around the corner with a look on her face that said, “What?  It’s all good.”   As though it’s normal to tumble off the edge of a cliff upon awakening and smash to the floor.    She is an amazingly good natured child, she just is.   Oh well, I fell twice my own height.   Look!   I’m crawling!   I’m happy!   

And I’m lucky.   So lucky she wasn’t hurt and so incredibly lucky that she’s just so damn upbeat about everything.   I hope it sticks as a lifelong personality trait.    We should be so lucky.

What was I doing when she fell off the bed?   I was gardening.   I was right under the window of the room where she was sleeping doing what I do every day while she sleeps, and every single day I hear her wake up and say “DADADADADADA” which is how she always wakes up, and just simultaneously with thinking the thought, “It’s noisy out here today I wonder if I’ll hear Lola when she dadadadas,” I heard the scream.    So.   The guilt.    I’ve been spending tonnes of time in the garden this last little while and it actually looks GOOD.    I have about five square feet of weed left in the border, then I have to weed whack down the side of the house and dig up four patches for vegetables.   Then I’m DONE.   Not done because a garden is never done, but done down to just regular weeding/trimming/maintenance, as opposed to still digging out borders and planting new plants.    I will take pictures and post them when it’s finished but it won’t be today because, well, see:  flu/bronchitis.  

My camera is full of non-uploaded pictures.   There are so many of them now that I’m overwhelmed and have stopped taking more until I have time to upload what I’ve already got.    It gets to the point where there are hundreds and I can’t ever upload without cropping and adjusting, and if there are more than, say, fifty, it’s an hours and hours long job and I can’t fit it in.   I have the garden to do, after all.   And the book to work on.   And, always, the children to entertain, feed, bathe and train.   (We’re still working on the old potty thing, if you’re wondering.)   Now I hear suspicious sounds coming from the hallway which are drawers opening and closing, so I must go and make sure no tiny fingers are involved. 

Apparently the electrical outlets are only interesting for so long, after all.  

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Cleanliness is next to Godliness, right?

•June 11, 2008 • 3 Comments

Dear “Louie” and “Gwen”:

I’m pretty sure that God does not want you to ring my doorbell right after I’ve put the baby down for her nap so that I can have my first shower in two days in order for you to proselytize some article containing All New Proof  about the veracity of the great flood.  I don’t need or want to stand in my own front doorway in my robe at nearly noon when I have a swimming lesson to get my son to in less than an hour to convince you that actually the great flood is a pretty low priority for me at this time.  Obviously you mistook my unwashed hair, frazzled expression, and felt-penned hands as a sign that I was in a state of religious turmoil, going downright mad over my confusion regarding the happenings surrounding this mythical flood. In fact, that was not the case. That is just what I look like. And if I was particularly concerned about the great flood (or is it the capital GF- Great Flood?), I’d go out of my way to find my own answers and I probably wouldn’t take your opinion and transcribe it under “fact” in my brain at least partly because I don’t know you from Adam but mostly because I feel quite a bit of animosity towards you for waking up my baby and causing me to miss my SHOWER which is a very important part of my day when you consider how many great floods I clean up daily and how much my skin would likely glow under one of those weird urine lights that they give away free with every bottle of Urine-Off.  (Which is a great product, by the way, but you aren’t supposed to spray it on your skin.   Believe me, I’ve thought of that, too.)    

The Great Flood?   I’ve long ago forgotten even which Great Lake is which, I haven’t slept through the night since 2005, and I really really really honestly don’t mind whether the flood occurred or not.  (Although I must say that I found the resulting movie, Evan Almighty, pretty funny so I know that the flood occurs in verse 6:14 in the Bible).   If you want it to have happened, then fine, it doesn’t bother me one iota that you believe it did (or didn’t) (or some combination:  maybe it was a smallish flood or maybe you buy the part about the water but not so much the pairs of animals setting sail for a three hour tour).   Whether it happened or not will not affect my own religious beliefs (or lack thereof) that I’ve arrived at all on my own without once being influenced by a poorly dressed doorbell ringer aggressively cramming their less-than-fact-based Awake magazine down my throat.    It does, on the other hand, affect me a lot that you WOKE UP THE BABY AND INTERFERED WITH MY SHOWER.  

Are we clear?   OK then.   Go forth and shower.    At least one of us can. 

Love,
Karen

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