Blog-o! Notes from

Thu, 26 May 2011

Life is coming at me too fast lately.

We're still in the middle of the bathroom reno (basement powder room is done, upstairs bathroom is entirely non-functional). This means I have to find somewhere else to shower.

I just helped publish a book, which is really cool but the work keeps coming; we have a print edition, but we also want to produce various different eBooks (and the giant learning curve that entails), not to mention fixing errata and keeping the website up to date.

The girls' school spring fair is this weekend, which means I will be baking for the bake sale tomorrow, and both Blake and I are volunteering on the day of.

Delphine has had a persistent infestation of lice, for almost two weeks. We've treated with the chemical agent and picked nits for hours, but that didn't do the trick so I treated her again today with some herbal stuff of dubious value and spent another hour or so picking nits.

My brother is getting married in July, which is going to be completely awesome, but I've never been to Japan before and I have a ton of things to do, get, and read about before I go.

Then there's the usual groceries, laundry, cooking, picking up and dropping off, vacuuming, etc, etc.

And, finally, inevitably, I just scratched my head and came away with a live louse. So now I'm off to shave my head. Or something.

[Posted at 22:50 by Amy Brown] link
Tue, 10 May 2011

...on Tuesday May 10. But her party was on Saturday, a perfect day for a party. Delphine invited four friends: Ursa, Darina, Amelia and Rosebella.

The day was sunny and warm, and almost all the guessts arrived on time. We started the fun as we usually do, decorating brown paper lunch bags for loot bags. This is a pretty good way to keep everybody busy while all the guests arrive, although it's surprising how quickly a child can coat a paper bag with glitter and stickers. The girls spent a good eight to ten minutes on their bags before disappearing upstairs to "visit" the cat. I don't like parties to go upstairs because it creates far too much mess, so I called them down and sent them outside to play while we waited for the one straggler to arrive.

After the final guest appeared, we rounded up the whole gang and walked up to a nearby parkette to terrorize unsuspecting dog walkers with a series of silly races. We did a traditional speed race, then a hopping race, a egg and spoon race, a three-legged race and a sack race. It was a pretty nice combination: the speediest kid was totally hamstrung by the sack race, the least athletic kid turned out to have nerves of steel and totally shellacked everyone in the egg and spoon race. Delphine won the sack race because most of the big kids collapsed in exhaustion and the little kids just kept falling over.

After everyone was worn out and sweaty we headed back to the house — curiously, the children managed to muster enough energy to run most of the way there — for sub sandwiches and cheesies and apple juice. Everyone was happy with lunch. Even the children who don't like sandwiches (seriously?! Who doesn't like sandwiches?) were convinced to disassemble their sandwiches and enjoyed all the ingredients thereof.

Delphine once again designed an awesome and original cake: lemon cake sandwiching a thick layer of rainbow sherbet, with blue buttercream icing. I decorated it with kosher jelly candy shaped like slices of citrus fruit. (On sale after Passover.) The cake was a hit with everyone; some kids ate just the cake, some kids ate just the sherbet — no-one ate just the icing, I guess that stops at about five or six — and some kids ate the whole thing and had seconds.

Next Delphine opened her presents, slowly, paying great attention to each gift, much to the irritation of those children whose gifts she hadn't opened yet. She got a Geronimo Stilton book which she was very gracious about even though she has been openly scornful of Geronimo Stilton lately. (It's come up because Cordelia likes Geronimo Stilton — they read them at daycare.) From the same child she also got Happy Birthday Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel, which is a fairly witty comic/novel hybrid. From her school bestie she got the puzzle game Rush Hour. From her friend down the street she got a big sketchpad, a box of bright, gorgeous oil pastels and a book called The Sisters 8.

The best present was from Ursa, or rather her mother Tanya. Tanya snuck all through the house and hid a series of clues leading Delphine to her gift, a set of stilts. Delphine loves a treasure hunt, and she was thrilled with the treasure, too. The girls spent a good part of the rest of the party trying them out.

Gradually all the kids except Ursa left (Ursa's a semi-permanent addition to our household and doesn't count as company). I was just about to collapse into well-earned slumber (did I mention the day before the party I published a book? Well, I did. More about that soon.) when my friends Kat and Joel arrived. Kat had been away in Asia for weeks so I peeled myself off the couch to give her a hug and make some tea.

The party finally came to an end when Ursa and Kat and Joel went home. Delphine went to bed happy and exhausted.

[Posted at 22:04 by Amy Brown] link
Tue, 03 May 2011

Yesterday Canada elected a Conservative majority government. Our House of Commons has 308 seats, and the Conservatives won 167 of then with 40% of the popular vote. The NDP is our new official opposition with 102 seats and 31% of the popular vote. The Liberals, Canada's "natural governing party", suffered a huge setback winning only 34 seats and 19% of the popular vote.

My politics lie somewhere around the NDP/Greens, but I'm not partisan. If there was a party that ran on a platform of evidence-based compassionate pragmatism I would vote for it, but there isn't so I do the best I can. This time I voted for Carolyn Bennett, our incumbent Liberal candidate, because she's clever and effective. It wasn't a difficult choice, because I would have been happy to have Michael Ignatieff as Prime Minister.

I'm not happy about this result; I'm pretty miserable, actually. Stephen Harper's faults are well-documented elsewhere, so I won't go into that. I'm not on-board with the Conservative platform, obviously, and I worry that with a majority they will make changes to this country that lead it further and further away from what I value.

I'm also frustrated with our electoral system. Electoral reform makes my head spin but I understand enough to know that our system is broken and our government doesn't accurately represent us. Dave Meslin can explain it better than I can.

So the question remains: As a citizen, what do I do next?

There's a school of thought that says that everything will work out and nothing will go horribly wrong no matter who is in government. I think this is the school of thought that non-voters follow, because if that's true, why vote?: stuff will work itself out, everything will be fine.

If I followed that school of thought I would just carry on exactly as I have been. Of course if I followed that school of thought I wouldn't have been so upset last night when the results came in. In fact, I probably wouldn't even have watched.

There's another school of thought the members of which are rending their garments today: the CBC is going to be dismantled, abortion and gay marriage outlawed, gun control repealed, mega-jails built on every corner. That school is well-represented in my Twitter feed, but it's not one I subscribe to either. I'm not sure what would prevent the Harper government from doing all that: perhaps they mostly don't really want to, perhaps they fear that the electorate would disapprove and not re-elect them, perhaps there are checks and balances in place that would otherwise stimie them. But I don't believe a Conservative majority equals the Hellmouth opening.

If I followed that school of thought... well, I don't know what those people are doing. Drinking, I guess.

This is what I think. I think things don't just work out fine by themselves. I think they work out because of the hard work of thousands of people writing letters and articles, rallying support (or just plain rallying), raising money, going on TV, and doing all the other things besides voting that democracy entails.

And so I'm going to email Carolyn Bennett's office and see what I can do to help. Help immigrants, help families, help seniors. Help make (keep) this country great.

[Posted at 14:21 by Amy Brown] link