Sunday, January 31, 2010


I have a friend of Scottish descent who lives up to the stereotypical image of the cheap Scotsman.   His ancestors would be more than proud of him.  I remind him that I was actually born in Scotland and while I love a bargain as much as the next person, I do not even come close to being as tight with my money as he.  He is a great source of entertainment for me.  I once saw him drop a couple of hotdogs off a barbeque and onto the grass at a public park.  The same grass that kids had just been running all over and  dogs had been squatting on to do their business.  I nudged the person next to me and bet that he would put them back on the barbeque.   He did.
It is a well known fact for those who have ever had an invite to his home, that a sweater and slippers are a must if you are to experience any level of comfort.  When he and his wife first moved into their new home, Ian and I were invited for dinner.  I took my slippers and wore an extra heavy sweater (it was winter).  Ian mocked but I didn't care, I knew what was coming.  Upon arrival at the house, our friend took us on the grand tour.  We found the main floor chilly but when we descended down into the basement, we could literally see our breath.  In one corner of the basement  sat a beautiful wood stove, lonely and forlorn just begging to be lit.  Sorry little wood stove, that would cost money not just in wood we were told, but if the rec room was to be warm, then his son's friends would come over to hang out and if his son's friends were there, chances were good that they would eat his food.  There was to be no heat in the basement.
Last week his wife held a baby shower in Kere's honour but I was not forgotten. There was a special note just for me left above the thermostat control.

He knew I would be the only one brave enough to actually touch the thermostat. My plan was to crank up the heat just as I was leaving but he made it home before I could do so.  That my friends is why I am able to blog about it tonight with all ten of my fingers intact.  As an aside... my mocking husband now brings slippers and wears sweaters to their home. They wear T-shirts to ours.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I'd had a mammogram before so I knew what to expect.  A technician would hand me a gown, I'd go into the little changing cubicle, take off my top and bra, put on the gown with the ties at the front, and then come out to the mammogram machine.  My breast would be placed on a cold metal ledge by the technician while I stood right up against the machine with my one arm raised high above my head, the other arm trying to clutch the gown closed across my other exposed breast.  The machine would then lower a clear acrylic plate down on top of my breast and squeeze tight, and by tight I mean like a death grip.  My breast would then do it's best Scottish, chocolate chip pancake impression. (cheap Scots only put one chip in per pancake) It's at this point that the technician goes round the corner, tells you "take a deep breath and don't move".  The machine takes a picture, another button is pushed, and the machine releases it's vice like grip on one of your twins.  Yep, I had done it once before, no biggie, so when my doctor suggested I go for another mammogram a couple of years later just as a check up, I never gave it a second thought.
 I showed up at the hospital at the appointed time and was told to have a seat and wait for the technician to come and get me.  A few minutes later I looked up from the magazine I was reading and noticed coming down the hall in her blue scrubs, the woman I had run against for PTA president.  She had desperately wanted the position whereas I could have cared less... in fact, I had only run because the principal of the school had asked me to as a favour. ( I think he was afraid of her.)  She was rather austere and rarely smiled.  I won the election, she was not impressed, and she had come to every PTA meeting that year it seemed just to make trouble.  When I saw her walking down the hall (I had forgotten she worked at the hospital) I quickly glanced back down at my magazine, avoiding eye contact at all cost.   She stopped in front of me and you can imagine my horror when I realized she was THE technician.  The conversation went something like this.
Her (not smiling): "Are you ready to come in?" (No hello, how are you?)
Me: "Ummm... are you doing the mammogram?"
Her (still not smiling): "That's my job, so yes!"
Me: "Is there someone else that can do it?" ( I mean honestly, would you want your arch enemy handling your private parts?)
Her (Overtly unimpressed with my questions):  "The only other person available is a man.  Would you rather have him do it?"
Trapped!  If I said yes, then a rumour might start floating round the community that I had asked a man to handle my breasts (albeit innocently) or at the very least that I had preferred a man over a woman to do perform the procedure but saying no meant that she had full exposure to my breasts and I was definitely not comfortable with that.
Me (with great trepidation): "I guess I'll have you do it"
It was the first time that day she smiled at me.
I followed her into the room, changed, presented myself at the machine, and cringed as she grabbed my breast and placed it on the glass. How humiliating.  She fiddled with some buttons and the machine closed down on my breast... tight... extra tight.   "hmmm" I heard her mutter.  I could hear her playing around with the machine but trapped like I was, I could not see what was going on.  It seemed to be taking a long time.
"There seems to be a problem with the mammography machine" she informed me. "I'll need to get some help."
She had the male technician come in to have a look.  He fiddled around for a couple of minutes without success, left the room and came back with a maintenance guy.  He also had no luck and another maintenance guy was called in and yet another.   They all seemed oblivious to me, still stuck with my breast flattened in the machine, arm still raised high above my head.
It appeared that the machine would not easily be fixed, the problem now ( I could hear the discussion) was how to get me out of it.  The next thing I knew, I was surrounded by the men as they struggled with the acrylic plate, straining to lift it enough for me to slip out of its grip.  Free at last, I quickly changed and tried to sneak out of the room unnoticed.  "You'll need to rebook your appointment at the front desk" I heard her say in a rather loud voice.  I turned, the men all looked up from their work, and for the second time that day, I saw her smile.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Years and years ago there was a British sitcom "Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em".  The main character was Frank.  He was clumsy, well meaning, accident prone, and often found himself in awkward situations.  My husband took to calling me Frank soon after I met him.  Like one of my friends said "If it's going to happen to anyone, it's going to happen to you."  I wouldn't say that I am accident prone or even all that clumsy but I do seem to find myself in situations that are just... well... awkward.  Take last week for instance.  I was in a fast food restaurant with three of my children and a friend. I ordered a chicken sandwich with accompanying fries and drink and we all sat down at the table and proceeded to eat.   It was a perfectly normal situation.
 Directly across from us, sat two men eating their dinner.  Now, I am not being judgmental (well maybe I am) but these guys were not the kind of men you would expect to see this close to the big city.  The word "Deliverance" should conjure up enough of an image but just to be sure you get it, I'll tell you that the clothing they wore was pretty tatty and dirty but had nothing on the hair they were sporting.  I did not want to make eye contact.  We busily chatted about the movie we had just seen (Avatar, which was amazing) and I forgot all about the men... that is until I noticed that the mayo from my sandwich was leaking out at the bottom.  I flipped my sandwich over and slowly licked up the side of it so it didn't get all over my hands.  Just as I reached the top of my sandwich with my tongue, I raised my eyes and met with the gaze of one of the "deliverance" guys.  He smiled at me.  I just about choked as I realized that  the guy thought I was flirting with him in a very suggestive way. This is why Ian calls me Frank.

Deliverance Guys


Today I attended a meeting at my church where the main topic of discussion was whether or not to hold an outdoor Christmas Pageant this coming December.  This had been an annual event for a number of years but had slowly petered out.  At its peak, it was held three or four nights in a row and had included live animals.  I guess it was quite the production but I had never witnessed or taken part in it as the last year they held the pageant was the same year our family moved here.  I will recount the story as told to me today by one of those involved.  He is not given to exaggeration and others who were present confirmed its veracity.

A donkey was borrowed from a neighbor's farm. Apparently, it was not a well behaved animal.  The young lady portraying Mary was assured though that all would be well and at the appointed time climbed atop of the donkey which took a few steps then promptly bucked her off.  Mary landed unceremoniously upside down in the snow, dress up over her head. One of the wise men (the man who shared this story) grabbed the donkey before it took off and did any more damage.  Having a farm himself and having raised horses, he related how the disciplining of large animals required swift action with a fair amount of force.  A horse (or a donkey in this case) is not going to respond to a slight smack on the backside and a telling off so he said he pulled his arm back and punched it as hard as he could in the snot which just happened to be the exact same time as the director cued the lights on what was supposed to be Mary making her way by donkey to Bethlehem.

They had double the attendance the next night.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Sincerest apologies  for neglecting my blog.  The excuse?  Well to be perfectly honest, I have been having entirely way too much fun with my family.  All the kids made it home for Christmas meaning my house was an absolute disaster (12 people here most days), my cupboards were overflowing with junk food( chips, cheetos popcorn, pop, cookies, chocolate, ice cream, sugary cereal, and the list goes on), and it was a miracle if I made it to bed before one in the morning.  We packed a ton of fun into the two weeks that most of the kids were home. Here are some of the highlights.

Pajamas: I was able to get everybody to wear matching pajamas for a picture to commemorate the fact that we were all home together for Christmas for the first time in a number of years.  Not one of them complained. Bonus

Rock Band: Possibly the most fun family gift we've ever received.  Ben owned the drums and Brittany and Adam played expert level on the guitar and bass.  Even the die hard Call of Duty fans got involved and miracle of miracles, dear hubby, hater of video games, had a go too.

Christmas Dinner: It was the usual Christmas dinner but soooo good. What made it memorable was the washing of dishes and cleaning the kitchen afterward.  I have the best husband in the world.  He thinks because the women put so much time and effort into preparing a big meal that it is only right that the men do the clean up. The women all headed downstairs to enjoy some conversation while the men remained upstairs.  I was concerned that it was taking them a long time and there seemed to be some shouting going on.  This is what I found when I went to investigate.  All of them were hanging out in my bedroom watching an exciting basketball game, doing the dishes during half time and time outs.  Notice that they still all have their jammies on.  Priceless.

New Years Eve: While our company had started to dwindle (Daniel, Olivia, Matthew, Kere, and their kids were gone) there were still enough of us left to celebrate.  It was a perfect moonlit evening with fairly mild temperatures so we bundled up and went outside to toboggan in the back yard.   We attahed LED lights to our clothing and had a blast playing like little children in the snow. We packed the LED lights into snowballs and had a glow in the dark snowball fight.  The effect was almost magical. We rang in the New Year by lighting a fire in the chiminea with the intention of making s'mores but we became distracted with lighting off firecrackers which will be the subject of my next post.
Good times!