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w November 30, 2007

Deck The Halls, And The Lawns, And the Garage

For some reason, our town's residents tend toward an excess of Christmas decorations, and they do show up pretty much the day after Thanksgiving. As I get older, I find I have more tolerance for over-sized and overblown tchotchkes; I have no desire to have them in my house or front garden, mind you, but I can appreciate the kitschiness for the endearing spectacle that it is.

That being said, a fair number of lawns on our daily school run look as though the combined efforts of Precious Moments, Thomas Kinkade, and QVC threw up en masse.

I decided that even I wasn't mean enough to take a surreptitious picture of a fellow RWC lawn and post it here, but this should give you a pretty good anonymous example:


by Heather Hoffman at 3:35 PM

w November 28, 2007

A La Recherche du Temps Perdu

Today's Proustian moment brought to you by the good people at Quaker Foods. I was giving the kids breakfast and kept smelling the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. No, it wasn't cow manure, honestly, people. It took me a while but I finally realized that Bean's maple & brown sugar oatmeal smelled exactly like the Food Hall at the fair, because it, of course, was redolent with all things maple, particularly maple sugar candy and maple fudge. Maple sugar candy, people. You have not had a sugar rush to the brain until you have eaten said, I assure you.

Every year in elementary school we would be taken on a field trip to the RAWF. Rawf! Sorry. Anyway, it remains to this day one of my fondest memories of childhood; not least because I would now totally whore myself out for maple sugar candy. However. There was also something utterly comforting about coming in out of the frigid weather into this bustling, warm, faintly farmy smelling arena, seeing all the animals we city kids kind of sort of knew existed, eating candy apples, seeing the butter sculptures (shit you not, butter sculptures -- impressive waste of butter, let me tell you), getting a day off school to do so...and eating all things maple. I'll grant you that there a ton of crappy things about Canadian winters, and I am heartily glad I never have to experience them again without a choice being made, but there are a precious few that will always remain close to my heart, and "The Royal" is definitely near the top. For the record, the other ones are cross country skiing essentially out the front door, hot chocolate after ice skating at an OUTDOOR rink, and Christmas with snow.

So here's a question for any and all of my northern or formerly so readers (all three of you!): what fond memories of wintery childhood do you have? Those of you who grew up in sunny California or similar can just bite it for today :)

by Heather Hoffman at 11:21 AM

w November 27, 2007

Heather's New Time Sink

Since I now have only about 9 more months in which to act like I haven't got a brain (holy jeez I could have another baby. Um. NO.), I have discovered this website:


My face is wet with tears of laughter, and my husband thinks I may be just the tiniest bit off my nut. But I ask you, is this not the funniest thing you've seen in a while?

by Heather Hoffman at 9:22 PM


Definitely A Huzzah

Just got an email from San Jose State informing me that I have been accepted into the MLIS program for Fall 2008.


One of my favorite movie lines comes from an admittedly not so great (but rather fun and swashbuckling for all that) movie, The Mummy. Rachel Weisz' character is a stereotypical bluestocking librarian but ends up on this adventure with the pseudo-Indiana Jones character played by Brendan Fraser searching for, you know, mummies and the like. Anyway, at one point they are sitting around a campfire drinking copiously and the heretofore innocent young librarian defends her career choice by simply wobbling to her feet and slurring with great aplomb:

"Look, I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gunfighter, Mr O'Connell, but I am proud of what I am....I...am a librarian!"

True, but we can probably look those other jobs up for you.

by Heather Hoffman at 3:29 PM

w November 26, 2007


Though, is it really magpie behavior if the intended prey isn't technically shiny? No matter. I find myself mentally jumping up and down like a monkey on crack (not physically because this cold is kicking my ass, but I know that's a better image. Apologies.) due to this website.

Let's just establish here that I already have rather a lot of fragrances in my perfume wardrobe. But you know, women are changeable critters, aren't we? And to use one of my favorite lines ever, I am large, I contain multitudes. So. Christmas is a-coming!

by Heather Hoffman at 8:58 PM

w November 25, 2007

Next, Snorting Scotch Bonnet

I seem to have acquired a rather rank cold, and am currently eating a mix of three leftover salsas from our local taqueria in an effort to clear up some of the muck currently residing in my sinuses. The thing is, I know it is muy caliente, I can feel the barest of burning sensations, but honestly, I can hardly taste it. I get the 'oh, hm, that's probably warm' sensation, but beyond that, not much.

I don't want to be gross, but, I will: I wish I could just have a massive sneeze and everything would come flying out in one big glop. There. I said it. Back to salsa snarfing.

by Heather Hoffman at 9:15 PM

w November 23, 2007

Only 34 Shopping Days Left!!!!!!

I had forgotten how the day after Thanksgiving kicks off the mad push to Christmas. I'm not a bah humbug, play with paper towel rolls and I never got anything at Christmas, I had to make my own toys and I liked it person by any stretch. I do think after a certain age, maybe the number of gifts can be whittled down considerably and most of the adults on my list get a donation to Heifer International and something comestible, because seriously, how much of us need more shit in our house? But of course it's fun to take pictures of wrapping paper being shredded and seeing gleeful grins. Of course.

I'm just groaning at the thought of spending every morning from now until December 24 deleting upwards of 20 emails shilling something on sale, or not.

by Heather Hoffman at 7:51 AM

w November 21, 2007

Happy T-Giffeen

Since I will be in the kitchen all blamed day tomorrow, I bid you of the American ilk a happy turkey day. We have imported Canadians for the festivities, just to confuse their 2.5 year old with two Thanksgivings. I leave you with an image from ICHC that really sums up the holiday:


by Heather Hoffman at 4:02 PM

w November 20, 2007

Is It Me?

Or does this cat look like Yoda?

Whatever, I want one.

by Heather Hoffman at 4:02 PM

w November 19, 2007

Gah, Or My "I Love Lucy" Episode

It has just been one of those days, seriously. So I have a lovely afternoon yesterday frock and shoe shopping up in the city, whoop. Come home to tired but not entirely fractious daughters, cheerfully get them ready for bed. Littlest one goes down without a fight, bigger one eats about two bites of her dinner and then quietly but voluminously throws up on herself. Right. So we get that dealt with, and she seems much happier without that in her stomach. Into bed, chop chop, etc. Debate sending her to school today, particularly after she has a rather fragmented night (and thus, so do I) -- at 7 I realize she is still asleep and think, oh sod it, I'll just let her stay home today, especially if there is a dodgy tummy involved. Peabo awakens at 7:15, so I trudge in to feed her. Now, because I'm not thinking I need to rush around for school, I am letting Peebs nurse in slow motion as she is wont to do at times. Finally get her off, realize Bean is happily and noisily awake, so think, well, school might work. Go to check the time (because naturally I had forgotten to put my watch back on), it's 7:45.

Fark. Farkfarkfarkfarkityfark. Somehow manage to get Bean dressed and a reasonable facsimile of breakfast shoved into her maw, Peabo dressed and at least a handful of Cheerios into hers, myself into something sort of resembling clothes, and out the door by 8 am. Oh, and I'm trying to get out the door a bit earlier today because we're going to have Bean picked up by her teachers at the front of the school with the bus kids, rather than me parking at the back and trekking everyone in. Right. Well, that may or may not be happening, but I am driving ever so faintly maniacally. Except. I'm halfway down the hill when I remember one of the dogs is supposed to be at the vet for a day long dental folderol. At 8 am. Fark. Farkfarkfarkfarkityfark.

Wheel the car around, drive just that much more maniacally back home, collect said dog, trying to call the vet the entire way, finally get through and say "I'M DRIVING AS FAST AS I, THOUGH MAYBE NOT THE LAWS OF CALIFORNIA, CAN MANAGE". Drop the dog off, and yes, leave the kids in the car (windows DOWN), kids screaming by the time I am done. Drive at a similar speed to school (having called ahead to say, yeah, um, don't wait for us to meet the buses), drop off the Bean, Peabo and I head home. Am thinking, ok, today might just settle down. Well, it did, on some level, but then about 11:30, Peebs is up playing and decides to yet again stand in her little rocking chair. Now, this is a rather low slung chair, and exceedingly stable as far as rockers go. Still, it's a chair, and she's trying to stand on the seat and look over the back of it. I had moved her down a few times already, and this time I was in the midst of saying "What did Mama say about sta..." as she pitched, ass over teakettle, over the back of the chair and landed on her head. It was one of those molasses moments for me, and lightning fast moments for her. Scoop her up, check pupils, check neck, don't need to verify much that she is screaming her head off, so that's a good thing, and try to distract and/or jolly. So that works, but it was definitely one of those "huh. So this is what I did not have to deal with first time around. This is but the first of many, no?" We trek to the store for dinner fixings, pick up Bean, and head back home, blah blah. End up having to go back out to get tooth dog at 4:15, but not awful, dog is fine, albeit tired, I manage to get dinner made while both kids play in the playpen...yeah, I know, but it keeps Peabo happy when she feels as though she hasn't been caged solo...dinner down the respective hatches, sort of, downstairs and bedtime is slogged through. Well, not really slogged, it was fine, but by the end of a run around day I was just dying for some quiet and no somersaults over the back of chairs.

And then. I'm trying to put away the sour cream from tonight's faux-urritos and with a great deal of aplomb, drop it on the kitchen floor, spreading white goo in a terrific spatter pattern -- dare I say even artistically. The non-surgery dog was in there like a shot, 'helping'. Actually he started eating the remainder of the sour cream out of the container as I was trying to wipe up the spilled stuff through my gut wrenching howls of laughter. I had only had one glass of wine, you know -- it should not have been this funny. However, on the tail of everything else that had gone on today, it caused doubled-over, forehead on the floor, tears running down my cheeks mirth. Better than sobbing uncontrollably, I suppose.

At any rate, I'm particularly glad today is nearly over, and I plan on being very, very, very careful in the remaining 45 minutes or so before I go to bed. I will attempt to not concuss my ownself on the bedside table.

by Heather Hoffman at 9:03 PM

w November 18, 2007


We were having this discussion yesterday at Peabo's birthday fete, namely, how odd it is that at the age of one, you are automatically classified as a toddler, regardless of whether you are walking or not. And yet, you just aren't a real baby anymore. So, for now, she is a toddlerby.

Here is the iconic frosting shot. As Spencer said, "well, that's just epic":


by Heather Hoffman at 8:45 PM

w November 16, 2007

A Restaurant, Or More? You Decide


by Heather Hoffman at 2:56 PM

w November 12, 2007

I Had To Ride IN The Cart

Didn't y'all? Well, now with the two kids, I either shop at Costco, which has double seated carts, like a good suburban soccer mom (send cyanide, STAT), or try to scope out the regular grocery stores with the tricked out carts as evidenced below:


My life has been known to be boring on a daily basis, but it is sure cute as hell.

by Heather Hoffman at 7:52 PM



We have a multitude of books around this house; this comes as no surprise to anyone, I am sure. Of course we bought the requisite children's books for Bean, and she has always enjoyed having them read to her, and we certainly work with her on the Braille ones. But for obvious and myriad reasons, she has never independently been able to sit down with a book and be entertained. So it is with a certain sense of awe that I sit here typing and watching Peabo pick through her stack of favorite board books, occasionally holding them upside down, and ... 'reading'. She points at the pictures and text, babbles at them, turns a page, repeats. She has figured out that 'duh' means 'dog' (and, admittedly, sometimes a lot of other things but she KNOWS 'dog', I promise); I have managed to get her to say 'ow ow ow' for 'meow', read: cat. We have a lot of animal themed books around, needless to say.

It is just sort of miraculous to me to see her take a few wobbling steps on this literary path. Reading has been my sanity and salvation throughout the bulk of my life, and one of the more poignant things I had to accept with Bean is that she would just not be able to experience it in a similar way. I almost can't wrap my brain around the fact that Peabo...will. Does. Libraries, be ready. Bookstores, breathe easier for your future profit margins.

by Heather Hoffman at 8:32 AM

w November 10, 2007

Despite The Total Implausibility

I have hit upon my drag name:

Miss Anthrope

by Heather Hoffman at 6:54 PM

w November 09, 2007

Ah, My Frozen Homeland

It's a good thing I wasn't drinking my coffee when I read this, otherwise my laptop would be even more jacked up than it is presently.

I'm not sure if "maple syrup vodka straight from the tree" or "...the waterproof boot with the slip-resistant sole made in Canada, by elves!" is my favorite line.

by Heather Hoffman at 7:28 AM

w November 07, 2007

Why Does Pretend Need Batteries?

I am a little hesitant to blog about this, for fear people are going to think I make my kids play with rocks and ends of wood, maybe a shoebox if I'm feeling generous, but...seriously, people.

Cook 'n' Learn Kitchen

Let's ignore for a moment, shall we, that that which is 'teaching' your child uses a totally ungrammatical contraction in its name. Why is the play kitchen interacting with your child instead of the caregiver (note please I have not said parent or even more specifically mother)?
Why are you told the 'right way' to cook? Isn't half the fun of playing in the kitchen experimenting? Why does imaginative play need directions?

I had a pretend kitchen as a little one, but it was cardboard and definitely did not talk to me. Granted, this was the spartan 1970s, but I think I probably had a lot more fun creating my own "dishes" and feeding them to my indulgent parents and grandparents. Anyone who knows me knows that I tend to play kind of fast and loose with cooking, but I haven't poisoned anyone yet, and even get compliments on occasion. In a recent conversation with my mom, she mentioned that letting me mess around on the floor with a bowl of flour and a big wooden spoon kept me occupied for a decent amount of time, and it just required a quick vacuum afterward. I have to wonder how an "Interactive Cook 'n' Learn Kitchen" would deal with just a bowl of flour and a wooden spoon.

Am I one of "those" mothers now? I don't mind gadget-y toys, truly. Some of them are a lot of fun. But this? This is just...kind of saddening. I think today Peabo is going to get a bowl of flour and a wooden spoon to play with.

by Heather Hoffman at 11:57 AM


Assortment of the Strange

For some reason, the last few days have proffered some weird flotsam:

- "Ready-to-Eat Cheesecake Filling" While I recognize that this is meant to, you know, fill a cheesecake shell, all I could think of was sitting in front of serial weepy flicks with a large spoon at the ready. Plus it sort of grossed me out, but I'm not a huge fan of cheesecake.

- License plate reading "NAN POOH". This one just confused the hell out of me. Does Nana like Winnie the Pooh? Is she a gastroenterologist? Does she adore "The Mikado"? The mind boggles.

- License plate reading "DERBUFF". Probably there is a logical explanation for this one too, but with Gene in Zurich, all I could think of was a Teutonic exfoliation. Der buff! Now ve danz!

- Stickers on the back of a large SUV dropping kids off at one of the local elementary schools: two Mudflap girls, and those stupid stick figures of one's family. I don't even know where to begin with that combination.

- A crow crossing the street near aforementioned school. Now, this isn't strange, perhaps, but what if I told you he was crossing in the crosswalk? It was all I could to not roll down the window and shout "NEVERMORE!". And yes, I know that was a raven. Work with me here.

by Heather Hoffman at 9:23 AM

w November 05, 2007

What A Goony Little Gem

All right, so here is where I confess that I have a curious affection for Bollywood films and music videos; I had, however, somehow missed Bollywood/Hollywood until tonight (Gene is in Zurich, scouting out good chocolate and appropriately Swiss toys, as per instructions). OMG what an utterly charming little flick.

I can't tell if it is the parody of said Bollywood films, the sweetness with which it is all executed, or the fact that it is set in, and filmed in, Toronto, but I was just giggling my head off all the way through, even as I realize the utter formulaic ho-hum. I think there is also something about Canadian films that always seems so endearingly sincere to me, especially when it seems like they just ran down, I dunno, Gerrard Street, and grabbed every East Indian looking person they could find, regardless of acting background. There is also this great little song and dance number about halfway through where the men of said look like they are larger versions of the Oompa Loompas in the most recent "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". Awesome.

Okay, and I have to admit to a weird little pang of nostalgia for my hometown -- it's flat, it's industrial looking even from an artfully zooming camera wielding helicopter, there are a LOT of boring ass storefronts -- but it's home. I don't ever want to live in Toronto again, but it's not a bad city from which to hail, and it looks even kind of cute in movies like this. And ohmigeez do ALL the actors look so, so, SO Canadian, regardless of their hyphens. Love.

by Heather Hoffman at 9:15 PM

w November 02, 2007

I Should Not Be Allowed To Watch Movies Like This

Ninety-one minutes later and I'm a total snotty mess. And I miss my students, hormonally challenged little wannabe gangbangers they were.


by Heather Hoffman at 8:54 PM