Posted by: rocketbride | March 12, 2015

Don’t be jelly

1. My bookshelf comes from the minister’s office, it has a shiny plaque to someone I’ve never heard of and it’s only slightly water damaged.

2. My children have the most behavior problems.

3. Lusciously limp brown hair.

4. Weight loss combined with lack of free time has resulted in a fashion forward mix of styles, color and cleanliness, with the ever-present risk of my pants falling down.

5. My plant has the most offensive odour possible.


6. I hold the record for most cheeses grilled during Breakfast Club.

Have at me, darlings!

Posted by: rocketbride | March 6, 2015

surgery day

The dental surgery was yesterday, and everyone came out of it ok. I mean, Maggie has 2 tiny scabs where they put the IV into her hands, but otherwise the only lasting reminder is the hospital bracelet hanging around the living room so that she can play “dental surgery” with her dolls.


It was a blessing that the whole thing started early, and she was in before my work day even starts. While we waited to be called we played in the fabulously appointed toy room, where there are so many distractions that Maggie couldn’t figure out where to start. I fasted in solidarity, helping her through the costume changes and the general freakiness of it all until they took her away from me. (She point-blank refused to ride in a gurney and we had taken off her socks, so they had to carry her.) Every time the dental surgeon popped by, she burst into tears and huddled into my chest. She cried when they took her, too. It was awful.

Not, however, as awful as it was when I returned to the waiting room after eating a bowl of oatmeal to discover that they had been looking for me all over. When they brought me in to the recovery waiting area, a nurse was stroking Maggie’s hair.

“I let her cry herself back to sleep when we couldn’t find you,” she said.

I did not feel better when she started crying as soon as she woke up, proving that she would have cried anyway. I did not feel better as I carried her sobbing limp body to the in-patient recovery room, where we could watch Coraline for the hundredth time this week and sip water. I did not start to feel better until the heart rate monitor was taken off her itchy toe, and the IV was out of her hand, and were able to get her a muffin to devour, and a Grandpa to chatter at. Until she stopped crying and started to lecture about Coraline.


I stayed home with her all afternoon, but I needed it more than she did. She shook off the effects of the anaesthetic before we left the hospital, so we spent the remainder of the day playing make-believe picnic and discussing which of her dolls looked the coldest.

Surgery sucked for everyone, but it’s over and it could have been far worse. It feels good to be on the other side, although I guess I’ll have to find a new motivation to convince her to brush her teeth.


Posted by: rocketbride | March 3, 2015


You know how I feel about complaining. I mean, I love complaining, but I understand that it gets tiresome. That being said, today was hell on rollerskates, and it has only just settled down.

I guess the place to start is that Maggie is having dental surgery in two days. It’s nothing serious, just a day procedure to fill the thousands and thousands of cavities she has managed to acquire in her 3 1/2 years on the planet. (You know that feeling you get with your third kid, that nothing can tip you over? Whelp.) She’s a bit too young to be patient with people sticking noisy machines in her mouth, so she needs to go under and be fixed. It’s really no big deal. Mason & I are ready to jump out of our skins with anxiety, but for no good reason.

Today we had an appointment at the hospital to see the ward. Maggie loved the lavish toy room, she saw another kid in a hospital johnny, and she was rewarded with Timbits for her fortitude. (This was why the Franklin Expedition never returned: no one promised them Timbits.) I will admit to going off my diet and eating three bits on my frantic drive back to school.

Posted by: rocketbride | December 21, 2014

the darkness and the light

Today I got lost on my 5k run and ended up doing more than 6.

Today I turned down a free hot dog after church because I wasn’t sad enough to think it was worth it.

Today I decided to take another shot at this doomed yarn ball wreath project that has been in the works for years.

Today two teenagers mistook me for staff at Bed Bath and Beyond because I was still wearing a blouse.

Today we took Maggie and Blake to the Kensington Market Festival of Light. Blake, who has been a stalwart participant in the past, complained the whole time. Maggie, at the first festival she can remember, danced and laughed. I held candles and tried to open myself to the joy of welcoming the sun.

Today I’m pretty sure I had a conversation with Molly Johnson at She Said Boom.

I am ready for the light to return.

Posted by: rocketbride | August 24, 2014

brothers and sisters, sisters and brothers

Last week my uncles were visiting from Seattle, which led to a confusing cluster of family parties. Luckily I had already gone to a party since I started my diet, so I knew that absolutely no one cared or even noticed if I ate appetizers. (I was certain that klaxons would blare, lights would swirl and dogs would bark if I managed to pass by an open bowl of chips without eating any…turns out that people only pay attention to the appetizers to make sure you’re not finishing the tray.) Luckily, my previous bête noire Diet Coke is essentially a freebie, so I can desperately clutch a can and seem sociable, while not going at the cheese and crackers.

This was also our chance to catch up with Baby Russell, who is now Toddler Russell, and has developed a number of delightful facial expressions. Also, he walks, so that’s fun. He’s not quite old enough to be interested in my kids, but I’m sure that by the time we cross paths next year he’ll be into whatever they do.

the kids

My estranged uncle showed up to the second party, which was interesting. We haven’t seen him since my grandmother’s death, when he got mad at everyone and cut off contact with the family. Since then I’ve heard snippets – hospital stays, medical problems, more arguments – and had to listen to my family badmouth his admittedly abrasive decisions. It’s extra sad because two of my uncles have died, leaving a normal-sized family, and the survivors need to do a better job of getting along with each other before death catches up with the rest.

all of the brothers and sister
not pictured: the grim spectre of mortality that haunts us all

Wow. That was grim, even for me.

Maybe I’m just sad because the Seattle uncles have left again, back to their wonderful city and beautiful house. I never miss them more than when they’ve just left.


The other thing we did this week, other than hang out with my nutty family and not eat chips, was take the younger two to Centre Island. This is the second time this year for Maggie, but it’s the first time for Sage since he was Maggie’s age. (As I recall, we bypassed the rides entirely and rented a side-by-side bike. Ah, the early days, when you could fake away from the amusement park in favour of shady trees and exploring pathways.)

This is probably the first time I’ve been to Centreville with two true siblings, who can go on rides together and pester for icecream in tandem and fight over control of the fire engine steering wheel. As much as I love watching Blake’s low-key interactions with Maggie, there’s something special about the light and heat of siblings close in age. We baked muffins on Wednesday, and the two of them bickered over turns and stirring and how to fill the papers, when I usually have to keep reminding Blake that we’re baking and he has to do something. And since I hardly ever have to experience it, it’s a treat rather than a drag.

the bees!

jet setter

pigs on the carousel!

The other good effect of siblingdom is that, because we had Sage to play with Maggie, we were able to watch Blake’s baseball games on Wednesday and Saturday. I’ve been avoiding the ball diamonds this year, as Maggie just can’t keep away from her BFF Grandpa, and he is occasionally needed to coach. Since the whole idea is to watch a little bit of Blake on the field, there’s no real point in going if I’m spending the game distracting her in the playground. With Sage around to play catch or just run in circles, I was free to watch Blake gloom through his at-bats.

(When did I become someone who cares about watching a baseball game? My inner 10-year-old is puking with shame.)

Posted by: rocketbride | August 24, 2014

spend a lazy saturday at our stall

What can we conclude from the fact that it has taken me a week to write up last Saturday’s shift at the Farmers Marker, one which included a surprise appearance by Amy Millan, the original Honey from the Tomb? I must be on a non-stop carnival of excitement, pushing each day to its limit in my relentless pursuit of good times. Or, I waste a lot of time somehow. I don’t know which is more likely.

It was pretty singular. In all respects, it was an ordinary morning at the market. Despite announcing it on Facebook a full day in advance, none of my friends were going to make it out. Maggie had already had her face painted and glittered. Two or even three people had bought meat. I was sucking on my customary veggie smoothie (2 points!) and thinking about jumping ship to our veggie-selling neighbour out of boredom when Mason nudged me.

“Look who it is,” he said, pointing toward a camera crew in front of Heather, the afore-mentioned veggie-selling neighbour.

“Yeah, I don’t know,” I replied, having eavesdropped on the conversation between the crew and Heather without really learning anything other than they were going to keep her business banner in the shot.

“It’s Amy.”

In front of our stall? In the gloom of the first cloudy Saturday all year? What?

But it was, and I watched surreptitiously as they did…something. Amy was wearing a bright dress and really high shoes, which made her look like an exotic bloom in our earth-toned granola market. I caught her eye once and waved, earning a confused smile before she went back to her business. This was the first time we’d met outside a concert, and context is everything. I decided not to bug her if she didn’t figure it out. I drank my smoothie too quickly, wondering if she would.

She did, of course. It was early for musicians, even if they also take care of a toddler every day. She came over to chat, asking if this is what I did when I wasn’t geeking out in audiences. I was reminded of a conversation Mason had years ago at a market with a vendor wearing a BSS shirt; when asked he said that he went to school with “some of them.” “Everyone I went to school with is either a farmer or in BSS,” he concluded. Seen in that light, it’s only natural Amy, Maggie, Jeff & I would meet again at a park, selling natural meat.

She was tired, and we only had a few minutes to talk before she went back to her thing, but when Maggie came back from her cookie run I took her over to see if Maggie would look at Amy this time. “I’ve been playing Old Perfume for her,” I said, “but she’s decided she doesn’t like Elevator Love Letter.” Then she asked if I’d heard the new song, which I hadn’t, and she chided me good-naturedly about the fact that 4 days had already passed. That’s what I’m like in the summer…I’ve been hermitted so deep since July started that I’m lucky I remember there’s an outside world.

Of course, now when I’m dressing my daughter to leave the cocoon, I can take with me the knowledge that my daughter and the daughter of my favourite singer* have the same sandals.

weekly market decoration

* Sorry you had to find out like this, Nick Cave.

Posted by: rocketbride | August 10, 2014

i’ve kissed a girl, not that it’s relevant

Now that I’m sliding grimly into early middle age, it’s probably redundant to say that my birthdays tend to be “quiet.” Some years I’m braver than others; this was not a brave year, and so I spent the day quietly, with as many of my family as were available. We started at the local farmer’s market, which we almost always miss thanks to the siren song of Toronto markets, thus making it a treat to stay closer to home and run into people we know from elsewhere. I avoided the baked treats and bought lots of fresh fruit, a pleasure particular to this season and one I can explore (relatively) guilt-free even on the diet. I also told Blake to buy me a sheep’s milk soap moulded to look like a sheep, which fulfilled his obligations for the day. Hey, the kid needs help with these things. He comes by it honestly.

When we were tired of sunshine and produce and happy people, we met up with the rest of my family (and my dad’s brother) at a local diner. We’ve eaten there for my birthday before, but the big attraction this time was that they will poach an egg for me. Since I’ve been poaching 1-3 eggs for everyone’s breakfast every day over the last few weeks, this is a big deal.

Blake was cranky while we were there, refusing to play along and imagine what his life would be like when he was 38. My mom was much more pliant, noting that she was still in nursing school with a bunch of 20 year olds. My dad came up blank until he remembered building a fence. My uncle was having surgeries. So…I have a lot to look forward to? I guess?

We are toilet training Maggie this month, so our meal was periodically interrupted for trips to the bathroom. She managed to successfully use the bathroom three times while we were there, which somewhat balances out all the times she peed on the sand when we were at the beach in the afternoon. (What is the protocol when your kid pees on the sand in a public beach? Is there a cleanup? Do you just kick sand over the spot? Do you stand guard and warn others away?)

As mentioned above, we spent the afternoon at the beach, where I was able to play with my new camera (thanks, Mason!!) to my heart’s content. We picked a spot in the shade which happened to be in the middle of a church picnic, and within the hour we had been adopted and ordered to fill our plates with chicken, corn and salad. We were the only white faces and it was such a blessing to be reminded of how generous and beautiful the world is, especially when Blake’s bike was stolen on Tuesday from a local park.

When we weren’t eating, Blake wallowed in the sand and Maggie ran around in the water without stopping while we ran behind her. My only regret is that I didn’t have much of a chance to swim deeper while I was splashing around with the little one. Even so, it was a heck of a birthday for a girl whose latest ambition is to first lose a tonne of weight and then get an elaborate knitting mermaid tattoo on her thigh.

how i spent my 38th birthday

how i spent my 38th birthday

Posted by: rocketbride | July 30, 2014

only three years?

Whenever I think about my age, I’m always surprised by how high the number is.

Whenever I think about my wedding anniversary, I’m always surprised by how low the number is.

Being married to Mason makes me so happy everyday that it’s easy to forget that we only made it official three short years ago. The minute I met him, I knew we were going to be friends. To be his wife is a blessing, wholly unlooked for on that first day. It feels like longer because I can’t remember what it was like to to not have him in my life. He is as much a part of me as my skin.

We spent a week apart while I toured the Midwest, following my geek to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s house. It was a fantastic trip, and I saw things I’ll remember forever, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t draw a deep breath until I was home to him again.

Happy anniversary to my forever mate.

like this, but ripped

it’s official!

Posted by: rocketbride | July 24, 2014

battle of the bulge

About halfway through my trip, I took a break to upload some photos from my mom’s phone. Probably vacations aren’t the best time to take stock of your appearance, but those photos were not flattering, and I decided to take my doctor’s gentle suggestion to join Weight Watchers as soon as I got home.

Today was my first full day ON THE PROGRAM. After a humiliating readout of the foods I had eaten on my last day of vacation, I was determined to do better. Who knew that my breakfast was so calorie-dense? Or that I couldn’t afford to snack, even if I made healthy lunches and dinners?

The final straw was when I tried to go to a meeting. I walked in late, mistaken about the time, and met two charmless ladies who offered no support, no kind word of encouragement, just a grilling about my failure to print out the pass and the repeated suggestion that I probably wasn’t entitled to meetings, anyway. I was expecting to be brave in the face of a humiliating weigh in, to keep it grimly together while we discussed inanities like calorie reduced bread, and instead I got this bullshit.

On the way home I started to cry. It’s bad enough that I have to deal with the fact that I’m eating wrong after years of taking pride in my local, whole foods approach. It’s bad enough that all of the exercise I get in a week – the running, the weight training, the aquafit, the walking, the yoga – don’t help. It’s bad enough I have to brace myself for the look of hurt in my husband’s face when I tell him I can’t really eat all of the generous helping of what he has made from scratch. And the worst part of tonight was knowing that, despite still feeling hungry, I have nothing to look forward to but water.

I fucking hate this. But I am not giving up. I am going to another meeting in another place. I’m going to keep anal-retentively tracking my food. And I am going to be smaller when school starts again in September.

“As God is my witness, I’ll always be hungry again!” – the Simpsons

Posted by: rocketbride | July 17, 2014

lauraland, prologue

We finally made it to Missouri, and were given back an hour as a reward.

This was our longest day, and I hope the lowest point in personal relationships (nope! – ed.) This is the first road trip with my mom but not my dad since Rodin in Quebec City, and apparently our travelling styles have diverged. I’m used to setting the pace; stopping often for drinks, bathrooms, and sourcing cute local diners. In contrast, my mother’s vision for today was four wheels on the highway, her hands on the wheel. Repeated offers to share the driving were declined, leaving me to plan dinners that we didn’t have. Too bad we didn’t talk about this before we started to squabble about dinner, as in are we stopping for one?

It’s not really worth dwelling on, despite the silent stewing I did on the highway. I got a lot of knitting done, which might not have happened had we been chatting. And dinner, though late, was awesome: we ate in a small but tidy stone building off the highway, a proper barbecue joint specializing in fast, delicious food. The only unfortunate fallout was that, once I had tasted Sweetwater’s barbecue, I couldn’t bring myself to try it elsewhere.

(This is a classic example of selective memory. Later in the month I asked Scherezade if it was like this when we visited her in den Haag, and she reminded me of something I had entirely forgotten, that my mom spent that entire trip on edge because her bank card wouldn’t work and I was the only one who could access funds. Apparently I need a Mememto-style tattoo to prevent future uncomfortable trips from happening.)

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