Blog-o! Notes from

Sun, 26 Nov 2006
New Pictures Up
We are in this weird state in packing and moving where everything we can do a week in advance has been done, so today is kind of a quiet day. That means I have had a chance to sit down and post the two or three months worth of pictures that I was behind.
[Posted at 14:40 by Amy Brown] link
Thu, 23 Nov 2006
Things Delphine Says

Delphine, being only three and a half, still has lots of those little kid speech peculiarities which are so adorable that parents insist on talking about them for years, and even try and teach them to their grandchildren (ask Blake's father about "meemor" and "monsert" some time. Or don't.)

Delphine's most distinctive one is switching consonant sounds within words, for example "bastick" for "basket", or "bistick" for "biscuit". Our doctor's name is Dr Paquette, and Delphine calls her "Dr Pateck". Since she also has trouble with the word "protect" she decided that Dr Pateck is called that because she patecks us.

Delphine Tells A Joke

Yesterday Delphine received her first issue of the magazine Chirp, which is targetted to three- to seven-year-olds. That's a pretty big range, so a lot of the magazine is over her head, including the page of jokes at the end. I read a couple of riddles to her, but she remained characteristically stone-faced; however when I read her the knock-knock joke she laughed. Encouraged, I read it a couple more times, and then we practiced doing it properly, with me taking the lead:

"Knock knock!"
"Who's there?"
"Anita who?"
"Anita cup of hot chocolate!"
Peals of laughter from Delphine.

So I thought I would get her to go and tell Daddy the joke as a surprise. I coached her a little bit, and sent her off.

Here's how it went: "Knock knock! Who's there? Daddy! Daddy who? Daddy cup of hot chocolate!" And she laughed and laughed, and Blake was bewildered. Still funny, but not in quite the same way.

[Posted at 13:30 by Amy Brown] link
Wed, 22 Nov 2006
Calamity Jane

(Michelle, you should maybe skip this post in light of our conversation re: passing out during an episode of ER.)

Yesterday, as I was shuffling, shoeless about the house (as usual) I stabbed my foot on a splinter. Crap, I thought, that hurts; but I was in the middle of preparing supper for the girls so I carried on, and in a lull in the cooking I got my tweezers and tried to pull the splinter out so I could get on with my evening.

The splinter didn't come out; I couldn't get a good grip on it with my shiny red Tweezerman slanted tweezers while I was hopping around on one foot, so I brought a dining room chair into the kitchen (where the light is best) and sat down.

Once, twice, three times I pulled and somehow always lost my grip on the splinter before I got it out. Finally I really dug those pointy Tweezerman corners into my foot, pinched the splinter as tight as I could and pulled hard.

To my horror what I had thought was a little sliver turned out to be an inch-long spear of hardwood floor. I immediately started bleeding all over the floor, great big bright red drops, so I grabbed a tea towel off the stove (there's a good reason to make sure you get a fresh tea towel out every day; if you injure yourself at least you know there's at most a day worth of crap on the first towel that comes to hand) and applied pressure with one hand while calling for backup with the other. Fortunately Zaida was only a couple of minutes away so he came right over to help with the girls' supper while I bandaged myself up and cleaned the kitchen floor.

That was yesterday.

Last Tuesday, I woke up in the middle of the night with the most excruciating pain I had ever had (although bear in mind I didn't go through labour, so this could be nothing compared to that). It felt like someone was punching me all over my chest and back. It went on for ten or fifteen minutes and was gone as soon as it had come. It came again on Thursday morning (there's just something especially cool about lying on the floor in agony while your three-year-old tries to figure out what to do with herself -- Mummies aren't supposed to get sick!) so on Friday I went to the doctor. She thinks I might have gallstones, so I am getting an ultrasound this Friday to check it out.

While I was at the doctor she informed me that those red bumps on my belly which I thought were maybe bites or something are actually shingles, for which she gave me a prescription for a week's worth of blue horse pills, anti-virals, and an exhortation to rest. (I laughed, and offered to let her come over and look after Cordelia and pack while I rested.)

So to recap: gallstones, shingles, and a bloody great hole in the bottom of my foot. It made yesterday's application for life insurance a barrel of fun, for sure. Well, Blake laughed a lot anyway.

[Posted at 10:47 by Amy Brown] link
Tue, 14 Nov 2006
New House Nerves

I know, it has been weeks since I posted. If it makes you feel any better, I haven't written any email either. It's not so much that I've been busy as I've been in a state of frozen panic, afraid to do anything that isn't related to real estate lest I break the fragile thread that is holding together all these transactions and agreements and unimaginably large sums of money.

But our real estate agent just called to say that all the documents and amendments and waivers have been signed and everything is going to go ahead, really truly, pinkie-swear. It's real.

I'm not excited about the new house. Actually, there is almost nothing I am looking forward to about the new house; I am not looking forward to climbing up and down stairs, I am not looking forward to doing laundry in the basement, I am not looking forward to hand-washing dishes, I am not looking forward to a bathtub with no shower, I am not looking forward to being miles (okay, blocks) away from the nearest Starbucks.

It is almost comical how this house doesn't add up. We made a wish list before we went house hunting: big kitchen — not really; two bathrooms — nope; big deck — nope; detached — no; shower — shower?! I didn't put "shower" on my wish list, because what house doesn't have a shower? Well, mine.

And yet I still love the house, our little tiny dark house, because it is ours and we can do whatever we want with it; we can reno the kitchen, we can add a room at the back (if the neighbours don't mind — please don't let the neighbours mind), we can dig out the basement and put in a laundry room and a den and a nice bathroom with a crazy Japanese tub, we can fix up the bathroom upstairs, we can add a big deck and a patio and do beautiful landscaping in the front.

We're planning, soon after we move in, to add about fifteen feet to the back — the kitchen is now at the back of the house, and we are going to move the kitchen into the additional space and put a kind of office slash play area where the kitchen is now. (That's if we can afford it; we haven't had a quote from the contractor yet.)

We're going to put in new pale wood fifties-style fitted cabinets, a modern gas stove (sorry, but the old stove is going; I will try and find a good home for it), a new fridge, a dishwasher, a forties-inspired white subway tile backspash, fifties-style blue countertops and blue linoleum on the floors. We're keeping the original sink and the white painted cabinet with the amazing handles and hinges. The office will house our fifties metal desk and a set of fitted cabinets, matching the ones in the kitchen, to house jackets and boots and things, as well as providing more pantry space.

Stylistically it's going to be, frankly, a retro pastiche combining Deco elements from the forties with Moderne and Contemporary influences from the fifties, and of course a few current pieces like the appliances and lighting. Since Moderne and Contemporary are (ironically, linguistically speaking) pretty much opposite, I have no idea if it will work. I am hoping it will kind of blend, organically. I mean, if it were 1956 and you had been living someplace for a while, you would probably have all those elements in your home. We'll see. I figure after it's been there for a few years and gotten bashed around a bit it will look fine. And I will be used to it and won't care.

What I am looking forward to is the location, which is the one thing you can't add to a house. The new house is halfway between the street with the library, two patisseries, a bulk food store and a really nice kids' clothing store, and another street which houses bakeries, butchers, a cheese store, a second-hand kids' stuff store, a new kids' stuff store, two ice cream parlours, a drugstore and of course Starbucks. And by halfway, I mean less than ten minutes walk to either street; maybe five minutes.

The bus stop is right on the corner, about three houses away, and the bus comes every ten minutes. And if you can't wait, it's only about a ten or fifteen minute walk to the subway.

The block is also thick with children; there are about a dozen houses on the block and all but maybe one or two have children. The school is an easy walk away, and it's one of the best in the city. So, you know, it could be worse.

[Posted at 22:23 by Amy Brown] link

This year was Delphine's first real Hallowe'en — last year we skipped it altogether because Cordelia was only a month old, and the year before we dressed Delphine up and dragged her out to a few friends' houses, but she was tired and not too pleased with all the strangers.

This time she was into it; she dressed as a princess (her idea, and "coincidentally" her two best friends at daycare were also dressed as princesses). I went all out and bought a fancy costume; previously I have sworn that buying costumes is lame, but since then I have realized that a Hallowe'en costume doubles as a dress-up toy for year-round play, so it isn't so ridiculous to spend some money for a quality ensemble. Plus this will fit her for years: fairy princess, medieval princess, punk princess (after it starts to get ragged).

We started the night at Delphine's friend Ursa's house, where we were met by their friend Azale (thus completing the trio of princesses). We all went out: Delphine, Cordelia, Blake and I, Ursa, Ursa's mum, Azale, Azale's mum and grandmother, and we were joined later by Morgan and Baba. The girls really got into it (with some coaching: "What do you say?" "Trick or treat!" "What do you say now?" "Sank you!")

We got a good half-grocery-bag full of candy, including some Lindt squares, two full-sized candy bars (which we had to confiscate on the grounds that that's far too much chocolate for a three-year-old — for her own good, of course), and some of those fruit bars, along with the usual assortment of fun (fun!) sized candy bars, Nibs, Tootsie Rolls (does anyone eat them when it's not Hallowe'en?), hard candies and Rockets.

Delphine was exhausted by the time we got home (but not before stopping at Starbucks to beg a free kid's hot chocolate with two helpings of whipped cream and chocolate syrup) so she only had a couple of pieces of candy before collapsing.

I had decided that she could have a piece of candy every day for the month of November, with any leftovers probably going to Blake's office, but as it turns out she's only asked a couple of times. Good thing, too, because Blake and I have been stealing her loot shamelessly.

We also dressed Cordelia up for Hallowe'en; it was Kathryn's idea to dress her as a garden gnome because of her rosy round cheeks and pointed ears. I bought her a red hat and a white beard and she looked adorable, but perhaps not surprisingly, she hated the costume. We got some pictures of a very sad little gnome, which I will post, but we didn't manage to keep her suited up long enough to take her out. That's okay, since she can't have any candy anyway.

[Posted at 12:11 by Amy Brown] link