everyone


**My arm is stupid after I decided to drop something heavy on it. The pictures are talking because words hurt right now. I’m fine, but will complain if encouraged.

***If it doesn’t look like me or my children, it isn’t. No I’m not pregnant.

This summer has been big, in all ways possible. Big fun, big challenges, big life. The challenges come from two children who are rapidly becoming real people, who take up the same space, physically and mentally, as any one else. The big fun comes from tagging along while all the Big happens.

There were big chairs.

 

Big lego.

 

Big tubes.

 

And big water.

 

There were big hills.

 

Big summits.

 

And big fences.

 

We traipsed through big streams.

 

With big slime.

 

We caught big cray fish.

 

Built big bridges.

 

And big castles.

 

There were big trees.

 

Big towels after big rapids.

 

And big, beautiful bellies.

 

Mostly it was big happy.

But sometimes it wasn’t. (no picture necessary).

Sometimes it sucked. Okay, sometimes it fucking sucked. Sometimes I wanted to give Kate and Simon to another family, abandoning the plan only when I recognized that at 4 and 7  it would be harder to find “takers”. Sometimes summer is too big.

And then your children hug.

 

And hold hands waiting for the bus on the first day of camp.

 

And it isn’t about big things anymore.

 

 

It’s about small things.

 

And coffee.

 

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Fitfully and in bursts of energy and quiet, life has tumbled along here  (even in the absence of pages and pages of blog posts to attest to that truth). So here it is, the Reader’s Digest version of what’s been up (or not, depending on your perspective) this last bit.

Not long after the last of the bacteria evacuated my lungs, but before we went on holiday, school started. And for the first September ever, my two littles went to real, publicly funded school.

grade 1, 2010

The newest members of school are staggered in over the first week, so Simon had to wait until day 2 for his scholastic beginnings. Simon mostly ran away or shoved his hand in the lens as I begged him to  let me memorialize the occasion. I think he called me an ass under his breath.

fuck, i'm not smiling for a picture again, get it right.

After reluctantly leaving Big Sister Kate at the threshold of the Kindergarten classroom for two years, Simon got his chance.

finally, 2010

 

Vehement crowd-haters, it was no accident our holiday and the first week of school coincided. And since waiting for things is hard, especially really, really good things, we decided to wait until the very last minute to tell Kate and Simon about the super-excellent trip we’d been had planned for months. I’ve seen the advertisements, we all have, the ones where parents disclose the impossibly exciting news of a trip to Disney World to eager, wide-eyed children, and how it’s met with shrieks of joy and hysteria from said thankful children, replete “yippees”, “hoorays” and perhaps a tear or two. We couldn’t wait. That was dumb.

Marc was desperate to be the one to let them know the news, but when he told me the details of his unveiling, I was a little skeptical: really important news? Really, your plan to excite a 3 and 6 year old about a super-fun vacation is to have a family meeting about “important news”… But I’ve been wrong before (or so he’s told me), so I took the video and he did the talking.

I will probably go to hell for correcting Marc on his Disney World vs. Disney Land bungle, but it was all going a bit haywire and Simon was crying and Kate was worried about school, and I couldn’t control myself. I’m fine with it.

When the camera was off we took a few moments to explain why Daddy handed them little plastic cards and asked them to get excited, and then spent a few more moments warming them up before turning the camera on again. Take Two:

A forced, insincere improvement perhaps, but an improvement to be sure. Oh well, I’m certain it’s not the last time our children could care less about something we think is fantastic.

Next up, birthdays. A whole whack of them. Mostly I’m just going to talk about mine because, well, I can.

31 candles, count them.

There was dinner, wine, friends and poutine – mostly in that order. This is Jim, he’s very dark because he always wears black, or has a dark aura, or something.

winter jim, 2010

Jim goes with Alison, kind of like peas and carrots but mostly like Cheech and Chong. Alison was there too, somewhere.

Dinners that produce pictures like that often end in trips here:

poutine, 2010

With faces like this:

younger friend, older sister, 2010

That’s my friend Jess on the left and my sister Alicia on the right. It was also Alicia’s birthday, why yes she is older than me. Being so close to Thanksgiving, Jessica thought about streamlining the whole operation with turkey poutine. Genius.

Hallowe’en rolled up next (and after all the mini chocolate bars, I rolled out).

CANDY!

Then the Royal Winter Fair:

during.

 

after.

 That brings us basically up to today, Wednesday. Kate at home for her mental health masquerading as “I have a cough”, and me writing the beginnings of this blog on napkins at a Portuguese bakery because Kate had my phone and I had no knitting.

people actually do this. apparently.

We finished up the afternoon by painting the fairy moulds we made a few weeks ago,

a rare glimpse of the near-extinct crt television, 2010

 and fighting over checkers, which sadly I don’t have a picture of.

That’s about it.

I remember going back to school in September and my school seemed unfamiliar and I had to get to know it again after being away for so long. Summers were long then. It was nice. Sometime around the middle of highschool there was a September when the unfamiliar feeling wasn’t there anymore; when September felt like March, and  That’s when it started.  It moves so slowly, time,  and then without warning picks up momentum, never slowing down. And the older I get, the faster it goes. 

Time isn’t hard to understand, it has hours which neatly break down into minutes, and then again into seconds. Time’s ubiquity and simplicity should make it simple, but I find it complicated. After being home for nearly a month I’m having trouble reconciling the feeling that we never left with the feeling we just returned. Intellectually I can unpack the competing feelings perfectly well: this has been our home for years, we only left for a few months, we did just return, to our home, which should feel like we never left. But still I’m at odds with time and how its seconds and minutes, which are so regular and predictable, are completely unreliable when it comes to days and months and lives. In the moment it feels like there’s never enough of it, but in retrospect, time seems ample, even wasted. Stupid time. 

So what have I been up to, other than thinking about time that is? Well, we renovated our house. The third floor and big chunk of the second. It took nearly ten weeks and so much money we speak of it only in round, distant-ish numbers (at least I do). The exact figures are on a spreadsheet somewhere, a spreadsheet I’m completely uninterested in ever finding again. Ever. But houses are a bit like babies, and no one is ever as interested in hearing the nitty-gritty as you are in telling it. Mostly. No snaps folks. I have ’em, but if you want to see, come over. We can spend five minutes  on the house and an evening on a bottle of vino. I assure you it’s better that way. 

Naturally family fills up most of my time, and fortunately friends pretty much fill up the rest. Meet Alison, she’s one of the friends that helps fill up my life. Hear that Alison, you’re filler. Feel special? (I wish I had a better picture of Alison, but when I went a-searchin’ all I could find were pictures of her boobs. We have a complicated relationship. Apparently). 

alison schmalison

 

Alison’s funny and laughs out loud, which I like. I’m more of an “inside” laugher, which no one likes. I’m trying to laugh out loud more, because it feels as nice to do as it does to hear, and that’s easy to do around Alison.  

So not only is Alison funny, she’s smart. And a natural blond. And when Kate broke her arm two weeks ago (Simon pushed her off the couch, which is awesome. We didn’t know it was broken for two days, which is even more awesome), Alison sent me encouraging text messages to help ease the boredom of the Sick Kids emergency room. 

arrrrgh!

She’s so awesome I’m not sure if I want to kiss her or smack her in the face. It’s a good thing we’re friends or I’d hate her a lot. (Yes I was calling Alison a “jerk” in an earlier message). 

Thankfully when I’ve had enough of Alison being better than me, I can fill up with another fabulous friend (yes, you too are filler)- Melinda. 

the highlander-ette

I’m sorry Melinda for posting a picture that appears to showcase you either a) holding in… something, or b) about to spit our your beer. Again, face pictures were scarce since you too are friends with Alison. Interestingly both photos were taken at the same bar. On different nights. We are those kinds of friends. 

Melinda is one of those people who whenever you talk about anything she says “oh yeah, I was there.” or “I grew up with that person.” or “no way, we lived off the land together on this island in the Pacific.” Seriously. One of the best things about Melinda is that her full and rich experiences and friendships make her one of the wisest, most gregarious, down-to-earth people I know. Despite the myriad adventures and educational paths Melinda has been on, she’s always ready for more, and has a zest for life that is positively intoxicating.  Yup, she’s good people. 

And then there’s Marc. I don’t know what to say other than dealing with his crazy takes a lot of time. A lot. 

7.5 hours of stupid, 2010

The next message, sent 24 minutes later, is an apology and a declaration that he “sucks.” Yes you do my friend, you suck all  my fucking time. 

There you have it folks, a renovation, too many some drinks with friends, a broken limb and a husband;  that’s where all my time goes. You? 

p.s. If you are my friend and I did not mention you, I am sorry. You are a fine, fine person who I adore and think about all the time. Melinda and Alison happen to to be deeply narcissistic people who thrive on praise and attention and I was worried they wouldn’t be my friend anymore if I didn’t write about them. I’m sure you understand. 

p.p.s 

the case of the missing cake

 Just above Clue Jr., and to the left (her right) of the $5 smoothie she didn’t drink, is Kate’s pink cast. Fibreglass, waterproof, and apparently the ultimate in Kindergarten accessories. Got a 6 year old, get a cast.