The trouble with triplets

My friend Sissy and her husband have triplet boys Michael, Colton and Tyler. To say Sissy’s life is busy is to minimize the Vortex of Chaos she lives in. When she asked me to watch the boys for an afternoon, I agreed. I figure she needs every break she can get.

I was a little apprehensive. Since I don’t have kids, I researched activities for them to do and worried Ocean might be rough on the kids.

I was so wrong.

Unbeknownst to me, little boys have the innate ability to find dangerous objects and/or activities. The more life-threatening, the faster they find them. It’s like a super-power for those who wishing a quick death. If someone had told me, I wouldn’t have believed it. But I witnessed it first hand.

Within seconds of arriving, the triplets found every sharpened knife in the house–even those my husband had given up for lost years ago. When they found the electrical boxes. I brought out the playdough.

Incredibly, my playdough was covered with fungus (mental note: never buy playdough at the Dollar Store) and before I could even recognize the white fuzz on it, they were eating it. I stared in horror wondering where to find the number for poison-control, when one stuffed a piece into his ear.

Time to go outside.

The boys were delighted with the idea of a walk and so was I. Snow is fluffy and soft and boys can’t eat trees, so I figured we were all good. It took the three boys (aka: demons) less than three seconds to find the tiny river that cuts through our property and then they were all jumping in the icy water. When I tried to get them out, Ocean joined them.

Trying to avoid hypothermia, I rushed everyone back to the house and fed them hot chocolate and cookies.

Big. Mistake.

Turns out that nothing can rival the energy level of three boys with sugar in their system. These new beings (I swear they were no longer human children), ran madly from room to room bumping into things, falling madly down stairs and sticking their fingers into every dangerous conceivable space. I won’t talk about the dents in the wall or the dirt or the tears in the sheets…better if I just say that, in spite of their best efforts, I managed to keep them alive until their mother arrived.

I have never been as glad to see anyone as I was at seeing Sissy. Never mind that Ocean was covered with playdough, that there were dents and dirt all over my white walls, that my white sheets would need careful soaking and heavy stain remover or that I might need several cups of tea and a very hot bath to feel human again, they had survived. No one had died.

Sissy was more positive than I. “You’ve done great!” she declared shoving boots and hats onto heads and feet.

Guilt made me be honest. “Ah…I think they might have eaten some bad playdough.”

Sissy laughed. “At home, they eat the dog’s food.”

Little angels.



How to avoid dangerous pitfalls–for authors

I came across this very good post a few weeks ago. I wish I had seen it earlier…as in when-I-first-self-published earlier. I didn’t and I made some of the mistakes I read about on this blog. I accepted a review from someone I didn’t know in exchange for their book. Ugh. Ugly consequences ensued. Let’s just say I’ll never do that again.

There are guidelines on this post that I believe help authors keep their credibility and the integrity of their work. I intend to follow them (ahem…even if it’s a little late for that one review). More importantly, I thought I’d pass them on to other authors. Those pitfalls are dangerous, dark places. Beginning authors are fragile, little seedlings. We need all the help we can get…at least I do.

It’s also an amazing site…as you can tell from the awards listed on it.

Check it out:

Let me know what you think!

English…a strange language

So, my husband is British. And English is my third language.

Speaking three languages might sound really fancy or wonderful but there’s an issue. See, you learn languages by listening to others. You learn not to sound like a foreigner by listening really, really hard and imitating every accent and nuance in speech patterns. Since I’ve done that a couple of times for years in order to learn each new language, it has become a bit of a habit.

The fact is, I imitate everything I hear, from accents to speech impediments and, well, it’s embarrassing. I’ll be honest and admit I’ve gotten more than a couple of strange looks. I don’t mean to ridicule people but that’s exactly what it looks like. My grasp on my Canadian accent is a fluid, slippery one at best. I forget all the time how words are supposed to sound. They come out of my mouth and I can tell that they’re off but not how.

Worse, I imitate other people’s word choices. My lovely husband, being British, uses quite a few that are not…local. Some aren’t embarrassing like when he calls a shopping cart a trolley. For him, an apron is a pinney, a dumpster a skip…you get the idea. Not bad. Just funny.

The problems start when I ‘borrow’ his words. He uses them so much, I forget that they’re not Canadian. So, I’ve told someone to ‘nip down’ and go get someone and I’ve recommended someone ‘take a page from that person’s book’…

Yeah, they didn’t get it either. My accent didn’t help either. I don’t know what I sound after many years in Canada and three languages influencing my palate, but I certainly don’t sound British.

The worst is this one particular word…Apparently, in the UK, its a term of endearment. It means dear or sweetie. Not here. It means something completely different over here. It’s the word cock. British moms everywhere call their sons to them by saying: “Come here, cock”.

That’s not an easy one to explain at work.



How not to brush a dog’s coat

So I’m reading about akitas because, as a good doggie mom, I’m interested in keeping up with the needs and issues of my pooch. And I read I should be brushing her hair on a weekly basis. Apparently, not only do dogs enjoy it, the ritual is an opportunity for a beautiful bonding session between the dog and myself.

Hereto we have been spoiled because our dogs have all been of the short-haired variety and required minimal grooming. Akitas have longer fur. Ours is a mix of black and white with one fluffy, ridiculously white tail that she waves like a flag in delight. Every bit of dirt shows on white, so her tail and her paws (also white) are usually a disgrace.

After four dogs you’d think I’d know better, but I approached the brushing task with single-minded determination, not thinking that the dog might have something to say about it all. That fur was mangled and dirty and it had to be brushed. Right? Right.

First problem, direction of brush. Okay, so brushing might work better if you go with the hair. That’s from the head to the tail of the dog. Don’t try parting it or teasing it or braiding it. Go with the hair. Oops.

Second problem, don’t try to brush a sleeping dog. Turns out sneaking up on a sleeping akita is a great way to lose an eye. Note to self: akitas don’t like to be woken up by a brush yanking on their fur.

Tip: explaining the procedure to the dog will not aid their comprehension in the least. I tried. Exhaustively. I’m pretty sure all she got out of my verbal diarrhea was her name. Note to self (2): Akitas aren’t mental giants in the doggie world. Use. Small. Words.

Finally, do not try to hold the dog down while you brush her fur. She will either squirm and curl until she looks like a hairy version of a macaroni or shove at you with her four paws. Note to self (3): four paws will always out do two arms.

Oh, and you can’t sneak in a brush faster than she can stop you. No matter how quickly you move, she’ll always be faster.

I did manage to brush some of her fur but, at the end, I was the one covered in dog hair and in desperate need of a shower and a cup of tea. Ocean was energized and still pawing at me. When she realized the activity was over, she bounced off, waving that almost-white tail in triumph.

Apparently she didn’t get the memo that it was supposed to be a beautiful bonding session.



Don’t cut your own hair

I had a haircut a few weeks ago. It was really cute. I loved it. It was short and went really well with the shape of my face. I got it cut by Sabrina who’s a genius with the scissors and has been doing my hair for ever. Maybe even longer.

Then I got home and I thought there was too much hair to tuck behind my ears. So…I thought I’d trim it. I mean, how hard can a tiny trim be? Turns out, quite a bit.

I have no fear or scissors. I mean. Hair grows. So I took out a pair from the kitchen, grabbed the offending pieces of hair and cut away.

Nope. I have never learned how to cut hair. I have no real idea what I’m doing. I just figured it wasn’t that difficult since all I wanted to do was shorten the sides a bit.

Somehow, I cut more than I meant to…and I ended up with a bit of a mullet. And, by a bit, I mean a total mullet. With my new cut, I could join a hockey team with pride.


I practically ran back to Sabrina.

Lipstick disaster

I seldom wear make up. My day job is such that I can’t be bothered with it. Better still to just be clean and neat. I find that make up ruins my focus on what I’m doing. It smudges, smears and I simply can’t be bothered.

But there’s no denying it’s beautiful. So, then I thought: smudge-proff lipstick.

Well, I went shopping and found a ‘cosmetic expert’ with perfect smoky eyes and lipstick to match, who promptly started to warn me away from my idea. “This lipstick will stay for 8 hours but you don’t really want…”

Images of J.Lo were swimming in my brain. Perfect lips, glossy and beautiful. I wanted them.

“I do want it,” I corrected her. “But I want the kind of lipstick that stays on for good. The type that if it’s WWIII and I’ve been bombed to death and my body is ashes, there’s lipstick on them.”

Those smokey eyes opened wide and she looked a little uncertain. Finally, smelling a sale, she pulled one from the shelf. “There is this one. It’s actually one that bonds with the surface of your lips. It will stay on forever but I feel obliged to warn you that…”

But the images in my head were louder than she was. “Thank you.” I took the lipstick, found a shade I liked and bought it. Delighted, I ran to my car and, before I even left the parking lot, put two coats on.

Sure enough. I could feel the bonding agents already at work. My lips felt definitely peeked and…somehow better.

Not one to let an opportunity pass me by, I put on two more coats, then added a lip gloss.

When I stared at the result in the small car mirror on the visor, I gasped. I was almost unrecognizable. My lips appeared to have swollen up and were taking up almost all of the room in my face. They were incredible, massive and so shiny they could be used to signal to mars. I stared in awe and thought: J. Lo move aside. I’m beautiful! Gorgeous! I have to go show this off!

But where could I go at 1 pm on a Saturday? I went to the local grocery store.

I walked up and down the fruit stands throwing out a hip as I walked, posing sexily with the tomatoes and pouting my lips until every shopper around got a good look. When people were too busy, I coughed, got their attention and pursed my mouth again.

And they stared at me. They stared at me with something like fascination. Then, they pointed and whispered to each other. I smiled at their reaction in benign agreement. I knew I was beautiful. I had seen it for myself.

I think I ended up buying an apple. I don’t remember. What I do recall is the stare of the cashier. She had a fixed, slightly terrified look. Plus she stayed at least two metres away from me the entire time it took for me to pay.

I hurried back to my car to check on my incredible invention…and saw that the lipstick had run down my chin, down my neck and collected around my t-shirt. Since, it was red, it looked very much like blood…falling down my neck. I looked like some sort of vampire that had just finished lunch.

No wonder they stared. They were probably wondering what disease I had and if it was catchy.

To this day I have no idea how on earth I couldn’t feel that lipstick sliding down my neck. The ‘cosmetic expert’ didn’t either. In her defence, she had been trying to warn me not to mix the lipstick. I just hadn’t listened.










Call me silly but I haven’t used lipstick since.

Is that a scarf in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

I’m not a clothing diva. In fact, I have trouble matching items. I can get myself dressed but coordinating the outfit with layers, style and accessories is out of the question. I try, but most of the times, my attempts are dismal failures.

Not too long ago, my sister, who is an enthusiastic clothes diva, sent me a clothing accessory through the mail as a present. I opened up the package and found yards of pink silk. A scarf. She really should have known better. Instead of delight, I felt instant panic. How does one wear a scarf? Is there a folding pattern? How many loops are right? Does it fall down over the stomach or is that gauche? Determined to wear her gift, I got dressed, tried to match my clothes to the scarf and wrapped the thing around my neck.

I was in trouble almost instantly. The scarf was a massive thing, swallowing my face up to my eyebrows, allowing only a few hairs peep out on top. It didn’t sit right and looked more like an overgrown pink snake trying to eat me than any article of clothing. Still, determination being my motto for the day, I knotted part of it to keep it from dragging on the ground and went to work.

It was a disaster.

Don’t let the softness of silk fool you, the scarf and I were in battle from the very beginning and, by the end of the day, it was clear the scarf was winning. It kept uncoiling and looping down to the floor, it got caught on things–almost strangling me at one point–and even slid onto the photocopier. People had to duck as I passed less my accessory fall on them.

At the end of the day, back home, the scarf and I eyed each other wearily. Her many wrinkles attested that she had not come out unscathed out of the battle, but I was pretty certain she had won the upper hand. I wasn’t wearing that thing again.

I was writing to explain that fact to my sister when I saw she had emailed. “How do you like the table runner?” she asked.