Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Tale of a Closet

We've lived in our tiny house for almost 7 years now (at the end of November) and until now all of our love and attention has been paid to the common areas. We've redone a bathroom, put venetian plaster in our library (don't...take my advice, and just don't), and painted. We've also put in a new fireplace. But the one place that has had no attention is our bedroom. We moved in, hung up our clothes and put the furniture in appropriate places.

I hate the colour of our bedroom. It's a nasty shade of brown, with a lovely little border that has cherubs all over it. In case you are wondering, I am not a fan of the cherubs and the paint is not only a cruddy colour, but it was put on with streaks and such. It's driven me a little crazy since we moved in, but I didn't know what to do with it.

Well, I know now.

So we started with the closet.

We have a tiny little walk-in closet with a window in it. Sounds weird, but I like it. My uncle put a light in it for us when we did the bathroom reno. Even better. But it was old and badly done. So that was the first thing on my list.

This is the before.
Ray's half:

My half:

Decidedly mediocre. (Check out the colour and the border on the outside.)

So we peeled off two layers of wallpaper, including a layer on the ceiling. Then puttied it up and sanded. And puttied and sanded and puttied and....yeah, you get the picture. Then we painted.

At which point, we went shopping around for different closet solutions. We made a sight-seeing trip to the Home Depot. They had some decent options, but since our closet is an odd size, we thought we'd check out a specialty store. What a bust that was. Worst.Customer.Service.EVER. In the end, we went back to the Home Depot and bought our stuff there and Ray trimmed it all up to fit.

First pics of the new colour and there's the top bracket in!

My side, on top:

Check out the shoe rack on the bottom!Ray's side:
All that was left was to put in the clothing.
My side:
And Ray's side:

So, that's the tale of our closet reno.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


I have to think about ways to reward myself. I'm especially bad at it. Or have become especially bad at it. I was talking to my friend Kristen about them and she says that stickers still work wonderfully for her high school kids.

Hmmm. Stickers. I would love some kind of sticker.

I used to do all of my work for the shiny red A or A+ on my papers. one does that. And work is a place of monetary reward that goes shimmying off through the ether to debts and food and such things that were inconceivable when you are a child or a teenager. It doesn't feel like a reward.

But I've concentrated on rewarding my children: Xander gets stickers and Bakugan for good behaviour. Liam is enjoying M&Ms for using the toilet. And such looks of glee on their little faces over simple things.

I need to figure out my own simple things. The moments I live for. I need something that is bet-worthy (another story entirely). The idea of these things must make me sigh in longing.

After putting myself aside for so long, I have a discomfort with the idea of rewarding myself. Taking time to do things. Or spending money, however insignificant, on myself. I will do it for my children, my husband, and for my marriage, but somehow I forgot about myself.

Some things have come to mind:
- Time to write properly
- Time to explore the ideas I have been peculating for magazine articles
- Photographing something just for me (thanks Kris, that one is a good one)
- An hour to lounge in the tub (I used to do that all the time. Where did that go?)

I'm thinking about rewarding myself for the big and the small things. Because otherwise, what is the point?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


I've been pondering the meaning of story. How we each have one and how our stories tangle together. But also, how we think about story and create it, share it, hide it, and sometimes revel in it.

Pictures. Music. Radio. Film. Television. Books. Magazines.

We are beings who wallow in story. Even as we live it, we wallow in it. Smelling, touching, tasting the edges of it. Sometimes consciously, but often not.

Even writing this blog is an expression of my story. Your identifying with it is part of your story.

I wonder how my boys will feel about the beginnings of their stories being mixed here, with mine.

So, here is my thought for you for the day: think about your stories and how you are expressing them. Reach out with them, touch them a bit, handle them, and then come back and tell me what came of it.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Recommendation of the Summer

I don't often flog books I love here. I love a lot of books, so that could be a post on its own. If you look in the background of my pictures, I am sure that most of them are littered with books. I've got a particular love of Guy Gavriel Kay. And I have eclectic tastes: from Canadian literature to Sci-Fi to Fantasy. Throw in the odd biography, the paper, some blogs, the odd get the picture. If I can read it, likely I will.

In the pile of books I read this summer, one floats right to the top.

I am going to be up front with you: I have met the author. She is a very good friend of a good friend of mine. Two years ago, we spent a day shopping and eating and just hanging around between Christmas and New Year's. It was amazing. I wish that she lived closer, because I would love to get to know her better. So I would have read this book anyway.

But I LOVE this book.

The characters are faulty and beautiful. You hate and love and desire them. The story is complex and fantastic. And it moves along. (I cannot stand it when you are plugging along and trying to figure out when the darn thing is going to get off the ground.) This story had me from the first paragraph and had me running along behind her to get to the next page and next scene and next...

When I finished, I wanted to pick it up and start again. I wanted to experience it all over again, but with knowing what was coming. And yet, I mourn that I can never have that experience of not knowing how it will end again. I am jealous that you can have that still.

I'm going to foist this book on as many people as I can over the next few months. And hope that the sequel comes out soon. (I hear November, which is soon, but not soon enough at this moment.)

So go! Run to the bookstore! Get it for your kindle or whatever electronic device. Read it. Wallow in it. Breathe in these splendid characters.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Fan Expo 2010

We took the kids to Fan Expo last year and had such a good time, we thought we would try it again this year. What's not to like? Superheroes! Costumes! Comics! This is the stuff of dreams for little boys, so off we trek. We get a nice hotel room, eat out, and call it an end of summer mini-vacation.

We went on Friday night, because last year on Saturday the crowds were wild.

We found the Batmobile!

Notice the light saber. This is Xander's first light saber. On the odd occasion, I play "cool mommy" and get him something unexpected. These suckers light up and make noise: for $10. How could I resist. Keep an eye out for it, because he loved that thing.

We took a good look around the one side of the Silver Snail booth. Yup, only one side. It was huge. Here's the Silver Surfer at the top of the booth and then a few pics of my boys.

(Liam wasn't as thrilled overall about Fan Expo. There were a lot of people and he was too big for me to carry this year -- last year I used the Ergo -- so he was pretty low to the ground and got a lot of bags near his personal space.)

And if you have a light saber, you have to find a Darth Vader (in Lego, no less) to go with it. (Get a load of Xander's face!)

And the funniest story of the weekend was when we were walking along and I was talking to my little guy and said his name and these two young ladies, who were all done up in costumes, heard me say "Xander" and they loved his name so much that they had to have their picture taken with him. Funny, no?

No sooner had Xander left his new girlfriends, than this skanky booth bunny nice young lady gave my kid a temporary tattoo. (This kid really was a chick magnet on Friday night.) Said tattoo has yet to fade at all...a week later.

And then there are the storm troopers. Never forget a few storm troopers in the mix!
At the end of the night, we stopped off to see some friend who were working Fan Expo. Say hi to Scott, Denholm, and Mary.
And on our way back to the hotel...
We had originally planned to steer clear of the Expo on Saturday, because last year was such a zoo. But then our friends Deb and John wanted to go and we couldn't resist the idea of exploring with friends. So we stayed. Also, it was in a larger space this year, so our delusions led us to believe it wouldn't be quite so busy. Wrong! It was packed!

John went into the fray to get tickets for their family and we met up with Deb and Devon outside and played a bit. Because, you know, not all the fun is inside.

Of course, Xander made a few friends along the way.
And John came out with tickets in hand. Hooray!
(Sorry John, the one with you looking up is blurry.)

John may just be the biggest Batman fan on earth. So he got to meet Adam West and let us not forget that you can sit in the Batmobile....
And I especially liked the back of the shirts worn by the staff of this exhibit:

Did I mention the costumes?

Devon and Liam would go up and have their pictures taken, but Xander was suddenly overtaken by shyness. It might have been the paparazzi-like atmosphere.

There are always some hidden gems.
Did I mention the crowds? These shots are just the bare minimum. I should have gotten a few of the line up outside the convention hall, just trying to get in.

I think Liam had a bit better time later in the afternoon, when they were playing at Deb and John's house.

Apparently the dressing up part stuck with him though.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

How to Tell that Daycare Needs Diapers

I'm a huge fan of my daycare. Huge! Liam is in an in-home daycare; the same place Xander went to as well, may I add. We cannot say enough good things about Katherine. She's basically our back up, pool of information on kids, pseudo-aunt, and more. Best of all, Katherine and her family have become our friends.

Plus, sometimes she amuses us. When I stripped Liam down for his bath tonight, I sent him downstairs in just his diaper to show his Dad. We both laughed. Loudly.

Now, in case some of you have eyesight like my own (crappy), I took a close up:

I dare me to forget after that one.