I don't really know what I am musing on these days. It's more like an irregular stream of consciousness thing...it seems to be working.


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w June 30, 2007

Begs The Question

I just read this in today's Yahoo News. Frankly I think it's a bit shameful, particularly since the questions just aren't that hard. How could you not know that Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state for Canada? She's on the damn money!!
I don't know the corresponding statistics for Americans born in the States, but I'm going to go out on a limb and posit that they aren't any worse, and possibly might be better. What I've often found is that there is at least a more cohesive sense of national self in the U.S., whereas in my frozen homeland, it's all about what your hyphen is. As in, are you a Chinese-Canadian, a Jamaican-Canadian, a Dutch-Canadian, etc. While I think it's highly commendable to maintain a strong personal sense of self, it doesn't go all that far into supporting a "Canadian" identity. I once said in a college seminar that identifying as Canadian meant explaining all the things you were NOT. Not American, not British, not French. I wasn't very popular with the professor or my fellow students, as you can imagine.

I wonder if, as the new Canadians who pass the test become "more" Canadian, they too will forget all the answers to the test. Maybe that's the deal. You don't know anything about your country, ergo, you are Canadian. I should also probably go try and take the test myself before I bitch any further. Will update this post with my score if I can find the test, so that you can all either jeer or applaud.

UPDATE: I just took the practice test offered on this site (I did 30 questions), and got an average of 85%. I feel free to bitch.

by Heather Hoffman at 8:30 AM

w June 28, 2007

Is This Just Majorly Lame?

I lucked into a sitter this afternoon, so I was able to get the dishes done and a huge grocery shop (not the easiest with two screaming weasels in tow. Try it some time. It's fun!); once out, I realized I hadn't really had much of anything to eat all day, though I did of course have my requisite two cups of coffee. Because, caffeine. Y'all know. Anyway, I admit I ended up going to McDonald's on the way home, even though I had initially hoped for a sit-down place---I had even brought a magazine AND a book with me in anticipation. But, whatevs...and I got a grilled snack wrap, so it was totally health food. Except maybe the fries and the Mr Pibb. But, whatevs.
What I really wanted to do was to eat while reading my trashtastic magazine, but I didn't really know where to go, so I ended up back at home, sitting in the garage with the windows down, having myself a nice little late lunch. Then I started to think: I had to sit, in my car, in my garage, to get some quiet time to read and eat? In passing, I know lots of people don't read and eat simultaneously, but ever since books became my oxygen supply, reading while eating has been a total comfort thing for me. My mother even claims that although reading at the table was generally not allowed in our house, if she needed me to eat something I hated (read: liver and Brussels sprouts), she would let me read. I had no clue what was going into my mouth, or didn't care, or something.

Anyway. It just seemed kind of lame to me that that was kind of the apex of my day, but I guess in retrospect, it's not so bad. Particularly since the apex of my day was actually when I made some kickass pimento cheese. And lots of it.

At the age when I was reading at the table to choke down liver, I probably imagined my 30s to be a little more glamorous than they are currently, but I have to say, the best thing about being in my 30s is the total "ehn" attitude about stuff like that. I have a nice life, it's quiet and pottery and the girls are happy and healthy and Gene and I even get to go out to dinner on occasion. This is really pretty decent. And I get to make the rules about reading at the dinner table. Sweet.

by Heather Hoffman at 6:59 PM

w June 26, 2007

Acquired: One Shredder

Who needs Office Depot when you have a 7 month old? Who is fascinated by all things paper and rippy. I discovered recently that I can get a good ten minutes of peace by giving her a magazine or catalog or piece of junk mail to destroy; in a pinch, a paper towel or extra paper will also work. Not to mention the fact that as of Friday, she can now sit independently, seemingly out of the clear blue. See, for the longest time her MO has been to standstandstand, and every time I tried to get her to sit, she'd struggle against me and yank herself up. Well, on Friday I masochistically tried it again, and lo...she sitteth. None of this tripod/puppy dog sit using hands in front of her either, I might add. Nope, upright and twisting to find the dog and toys and sister and rippy paper, and it takes a while before the slow topple begins. Clearly this opens up a whole new perspective, and frees up two hands for shredding the hell out of junk mail.

by Heather Hoffman at 11:58 PM

w June 20, 2007

Oh, Summer

It's finally here for the Hoffman family, as today was the Bean's last day of school (I don't take her on Thursdays due to therapy and Friday is apparently a teacher workday only)...in fact, her last day of preschool. We've been schlepping her to various classes since she was 18 months old, so that's what, four years? Shouldn't we be well into elementary school by now? Oy. Anyway, so it's upward and onward to kindergarten in the fall. Now, granted, I realize that special ed means she'll be in a much smaller classroom in all likelihood, and probably with a more diverse group of kids and grade levels, but it's still "real school", with all the attendant flotsam and jetsam. Uniforms (well, dress code, but it pretty much looks uniformy). Grades. PTA meetings. Field trips. The list goes on.

What boggles my mind is really how fast the time does sail by. I had driven past a local high school a few weeks as they were holding their graduation, and it dawned on me that my last batch of 8th graders were actually graduating high school. Way to make you feel old, eh? Also, I couldn't help but think "the next 12-17 years are just going to FLY by, and then I won't have kids in school...". My friend J suggested that we could then sit on the porch and drink appletinis, which frankly sounds like an excellent way to get through the next 12-17 years.

by Heather Hoffman at 2:15 PM

w June 14, 2007

Magpie, Covetousness, Me

We went to The Police concert in Oakland last night, which was rather fun, albeit a tad slow at the beginning. Maybe it was the whole tantric thing, who knows. Anyway, still fun, and of course, I then realized...I must have an electric guitar TOO.

What is wrong with me? I have no clue, but I do know that I was doing the internal magpie thing of "oohooohoohshinyshinyloudshinyloudMEMEME". Granted, I think it would be most appropriate to get one when the girls are at an age to be completely mortified by their hopelessly uncool mother attempting to be a rockstar. Don't you think?

In terms of the concert though, I seriously do not think I've seen an older or a whiter crowd at anything beyond an Osmonds show. It was mad. Also mad: trying to swim upstream with the rest of the mindless salmon to cross the bridge from the Coliseum to BART. I have what you may call a touch of claustrophobia, but it's never progressed to state of panic...last night? It was distinctly unpleasant to feel the anxiety rising in my throat and I cannot tell you how much I had to work to keep myself from clawing, literally clawing, my way out of that crush of people. I was also thankful that I had worn my punktastic combat boots, because I was also thinking I could throw in a few kicks to shins to aid my escape. Fortunately, I was not pushed to that level, but it was a learning experience to Heathers: stay home, with a pan of Nanaimo bars, and listen to the CD if you must.

But I got to see closeups of Andy Summers wailing away, and that was fun. And Stewart Copeland, I realize, is kind of what my dad would be if he were an aging and probably completely strung out rocker. Which was scary.

by Heather Hoffman at 1:28 PM

w June 07, 2007

I Love It More Than My Luggage

Granted, I don't really have "luggage" in the classic sense, but really, I do love it more than my trusty rollaboard. What is "it"? Why...my new guitar, of course.

Bean has a respite care worker (well, I guess I'm the one getting the respite, but, quibbles) who comes on Thursday afternoons, so Peebs and I cruised down to Gryphon Strings in Palo Alto to check out their funky little stylings, and I will freely admit here that after I briefly explained to the shopguy what I was looking for and for about how much, I fell in love with the first one I played. Now, lest anyone roll their eyes at my capriciousness, I did ask to try one or two more, but you know, when you know, you know. You know?

I was in and out of there in under 20 minutes. Is that weird? It felt a bit weird, but then I came home and had music time with the girls and I think I may have kissed the guitar, but I'm not going to admit that anywhere public. Is it the most expensive, crazy ass axe out there? Nope. Is it a great mid-range model? Yep. Does it sound good to me, and does it feel good in my hands? Yep and yep. I can play barred chords. Easily. Um...what?

A friend did ask if it came with a patchouli essence pack. I had to admit I would be providing that and the tie dyed strap myself. Hippie mama ahoy!

Here she is. I loves her.

by Heather Hoffman at 8:18 PM

w June 01, 2007

I Like To Eat Eeples and Beneenees

If you don't have kids, you probably don't know that song, but it's both catchy and inane. At any rate, Peabo has made her first forays into the world of solid food with smushed bananas, and I'll be dipped, she likes it. And is actually surprisingly adept at not losing the goop. Much of the time she is more interested in sucking on the spoon or the bowl, but hey, however she wants to roll is fine by me. She just today started anticipating the spoon with a little open mouthed bird imitation, so I think bananas are on the plus list, at least this week. Rice cereal starts tomorrow. Nothing but madcap excitement in the Hoffman house, I tell ya. I admit I'm going to do the crunchy Mom thing and make most of the food she will eat (save the things the pediatrician has asked us not to do, like the cereal--for iron--and carrots--avoid soil nitrates), not least because it's so much easier to just do that and feed Bean concurrently. For instance, today Peebs had about an eighth of a banana mashed up and Bean got the rest chunked up in a bowl with a fork. Oh, because now she has decided that she's apparently always been able to eat with a fork, and oh Mommy, isn't it funny how I make you crazy with my lack of independence and then all of a sudden I'm a big rockstar? FUN TIMES, MOMMY. Seriously, although I still have to load the fork for her, she can now find it by herself, bring it accurately and neatly to her mouth, eat what is there, and return fork (most of the time) to the table or bowl. Not to mention today's lightbulb moment, which was when she got about half the banana chunk in the first bite, had the other half left on the fork and kept it near her mouth for finishing.

Excuse me? When did she figure this out? OVERNIGHT?

It was a good twenty minutes. And now they are both napping. Huzzah.

by Heather Hoffman at 1:16 PM