Blog-o! Notes from

Thu, 25 May 2006
Books in May

How To Cut Your Own or Anybody Else's Hair by Bob Bent. This was indeed useful -- apparently the key to cutting your own hair is to cut a guide section in front and then match all the other hair up to that section, using lots of mirrors to see the back. I'm pretty sure you couldn't do a complicated style in this manner, but I expect it would work for a simple style if you could stand a few weeks of wearing the results of your own practice.

Sadly some jerk decided to cut out the section on how to cut straight kid's hair (the straight hair of a kid, not the hair of a straight kid -- we don't know about that yet), which is of course the one thing I really wanted the book for.

On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt. Of the three bullshit books I have recently read, this is by far the most successful, with a very intriguing conclusion.

The Curse of the Narrows: The Halifax Explosion 1917 by Laura MacDonald. I love a good disaster book, and this is a good disaster book. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had not tried to read it on vacation, surrounded by a million distractions.

False Alarm: The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear by Marc Siegel approaches the current American state of constant panic from a more medical point of view. I don't know if it's just me, or if it's all of Canada, but I don't experience the kind of constant fear that he talks about, and I don't really know anyone who does.

The Undercover Economist: Exposing Why the Rich are Rich, the Poor are Poor--and Why You Can Never Buy a Decent Used Car! by Tim Harford. This is a pretty interesting book about how economists think about stuff (much like Freakonomics, but slightly less amusing). Harford leans a little further to the right than I am used to, which got my back up a bit, but his arguments are convincing, so in the end I'm sure it did me good.

[Posted at 14:14 by Amy Brown] link
Tue, 16 May 2006
My Life (No Baby News Here)

Here I am in the most curious of situations; I have a generally clean house and two sleeping girls. I have time on my hands. I should spend it reading, because I have books which a due back on Friday and which I won't be able to renew because other people want them, but on the other hand I should post here, because clearly I have been neglecting this space.

About that... a long, long time ago, I posted a big whine about how I never do the things I want to do because I spend too much time watching television. Well, I am finally doing something about that. Last night I sat down and wrote down all the shows I want to watch (as distinguished from the shows I watch because I am parked in front of the tv when they are on) and what time they are on, and I don't intend to switch on the television except at those times. (Unless I am checking the weather on channel 24.)

That should free up lots of time for reading, which is good because I have forty books on hold at the library. And for posting here, which is good because I miss it, and for reading my favourite discussion board, which is really good because I really miss it.

Television isn't the only thing I am writing down; I also started making four-week meal plans -- I come up with list of dinners, make a grand shopping list and get Grocery Gateway to bring me everything I will need. Perishables I buy a week in advance. It's awesome knowing what I am going to make for dinner every day, and it's nice not to have to do a big grocery shop every weekend. Also it lets me balance and control the amount of, say, beef versus vegetarian meals we eat.

I'm also doing Fitday again, just to see whether I'm eating the right amounts of things.

Generally I seem to be seeking control over as many aspects of my life as possible. I don't know why, quite, but I expect it has something to do with the uncontrollability of babies and small children. And more directly, I was getting sick of my groundless feelings of helplessness regarding, on the one hand, my failure to read enough and on the other my failure to eat properly and take care of myself. Sitting around moaning about your problems doesn't make them go away, writing stuff down and getting on with it does. At least if you're me.

Incidentally, I feel (a little) bad writing this much stuff about myself; I feel like everyone comes here to read about my children, not me. Which is pretty amusing considering I had an online journal long before I had any children.

But more about me... we just got back from a week in Saskatchewan visiting my parents. It was a nice time; we flew our kite, Delphine and I went out in a boat, we ate lots of birthday cake (Delphine turned three and my Dad turned eighty-five while we were there), met new people. My parents had a nice time with Delphine; my mother was particularly amused by her constant "Why"s. We had fun coming up with good answers.

Now we're back home and everything is getting back to normal. These days, normal means Delphine goes to daycare two or three days a week, for the whole day. She still enjoys it, although she's been crying when we drop her off since we got home from Sask. I expect that will pass soon. The days she is in daycare, Cordelia and I go for a long walk. I do housework, I amuse Cordelia, I cook and bake, I read.

When Delphine is home we generally don't stray far from home -- we might go to the park or to the convenience store. I do more housework but less baking, and we read books, or do puzzles or play with playdough. I don't get to read when Delphine is home because she bothers me to read to her or play with her, except on the odd occasion when both girls sleep at the same time. Delphine doesn't usually take a nap at home, although I suspect she probably should. (She usually sleeps at daycare, they say.)

The girls have dinner at five and bedtime starts at five-thirty. If I am lucky everyone is in bed by six-thirty, although it's more usually around seven, and then Blake and I cook dinner together. We eat, we watch TV, we sleep, we do it all again the next day.

On the weekends I get up when the girls do (six), and I let Blake sleep until seven-thirty or eight. Delphine and I make pancakes and eggs one morning; the other morning we just have cereal, and then after Blake wakes up we go to the patisserie to get croissants and stuff and the deli to get meat and cheese for brunch. We go up to Eglinton to do errands (Shopper's, Dominion, bulk food, Future Shop), grab a coffee on the way home. That's our weekend. We're very domestic.

It's starting to feel a little crowded in our condo -- Delphine is now sleeping in her bed in our room, so that Cordelia can get used to sleeping on her own before we move the two of them together. There really isn't room in our bedroom for Delphine's bed, so I'm constantly shimmying sideways to get past things. The toys are starting to take over the living room, particularly the big things which can't be hidden in boxes. We have wagons and bikes and strollers tucked away in every nook and cranny. And the kitchen is getting too small -- there are multiple small appliances I am waiting on getting until we have a bigger kitchen, not to mention the frustration of only having space for one kind of rice. (Chinese food with basmati is just weird; ditto sticky rice with curry.)

Nevertheless, we will have to put up with it until next spring. The plan, then, is that I will get a part-time job which will bring in some extra cash, and we can then make an informed decision about how much we can afford to pay for a house. I have a horrible fear that in the meantime our neighbourhood will become massively trendy and we won't be able to afford to stay here, but I am willing to put up with a pretty crappy house in order to stay close by, so I guess it will work out in the end.

That's enough blather. Cordelia is awake and any moment now she will get tired of chewing on my toes and go for the computer cables instead.

[Posted at 14:14 by Amy Brown] link
Mon, 15 May 2006
Delphine is Three!

Delphine just turned three. We went out to visit my parents in Saskatchewan for her birthday, and they furnished a suitable amount of cake, candles, fancy decorations and presents to satisfy her little self. We had a nice time.

We went to the doctor this morning for Delphine's three year checkup. She was a little nervous, but it turned out she didn't get any shots, so that wasn't so bad. She lay down on the examination table properly, opened her mouth nice and wide, and let the doctor check out all her vitals. Generally she is doing fine, although a little small for her age -- around the 40th percentile for height and a little lower for weight. We're not concerned about it because she eats well, but we'll do the measurements again at 3 and a half, just in case there is something up so we can catch it early.

And Cordelia is awake. Thus ends the blogging for this month...

[Posted at 14:14 by Amy Brown] link