Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Toadie

Sully and I were walking home from the park this morning when he stopped, crouched, and pointed at the ground. He was excited.

"I think I see A TOADIE HOLE!"

I said, "A what?"

and he said, "A TOADIE HOLE! TOADIES LIVE IN THOSE!"

I said, "What's a Toadie?"

He was still crouched over the hole, which probably belonged to a gopher, but he looked up at me with a big smile on his face. "Well," he said, because that's how he begins most of his sentences these days because, honestly, that's how I begin most of my sentences when I'm talking to him. He made big gestures with his little arms as he spoke. "A Toadie  has mouth-es but no eyes. It has cheeks and arms and legs and all those things. And it lives in a very, veeeery, very-very small hole. I saw one."

I always treat these conversations carefully, like I'm a conversation archaeologist. I can tell there's more in there, that he's thought about this at length, but if I ask the wrong question he'll just shut down.

Like, one time he was telling me a story about his imaginary friend, Raligi, and I asked him a leading question and he just stared at me, suspiciously, like he understood that I was mining the conversation for gold to send to his grandparents in a text message later that afternoon, which I was, because I learned from Art Linkletter exactly how to make Kids Say the Darndest Things, and he said, "I'm not talking about Raligi anymore."

So, you know, I have to be careful.

I looked away from him, indicating a moderate level of interest in the conversation, and said, "What did it do?"

"It jumped out of the hole!" he cried. "It poked me in the eyes! It gave me lots of money to buy toys with!"

I wondered how it knew where his eyes were if it didn't have eyes itself. I wondered if it poked him in the eyes because it didn't have any eyes of its own—and was this a matter of jealousy? Resentment? Or just curiosity? "How big was it?" I asked, still trying to play it cool.

"It was like a big man," he said. "But a really, reeeeally big man."

"But if it was like a big man, how did it get down into that veeeeery small hole?"

"It used the stairs. I'm not going to talk about Toadie anymore."

Sunday, June 04, 2017

The Poop

It's Sunday night. We got home from a picnic in the park about half an hour ago and Sully's sleeping already. Barclay and I are sitting on the couch staring over each others' shoulders at the walls. I could go to bed right now and fall asleep instantly, but it's a matter of principle for me to pretend like I'm a night owl at all times.

I'm not thirty yet! I'm a spring chicken! I'm going to crank The Beta Band and stay up until 10:15!

Barclay's like, "I could go to bed right now and fall asleep instantly."

I'm like, "It's only 8. We're young. Lets live it up."

He's like, "Well, what are you going to do?"

And I'm like, "I'm going to read this book."

So he gets out his guitar and I curl up on the couch with my headphones and a latte and Funny Girl by Nick Hornby. I read three paragraphs. I'm totally into the story, but all of a sudden I'm not reading anymore, just staring out the open window at the quiet street in front of my house. The sky is peach. The breeze is warm. The car is parked out there and it has bird poop on the hood.

Sully is completely fascinated by the poop. We were coming out of the grocery store yesterday and he saw it and he gasped and gaped and pointed at it; he thought it was paint. I told him what it was.

He can't get over it.

It's just the most ludicrous thing to him that a living thing would poop on our car. In public. He kept asking me to verify that the offending bird did, indeed, poop on our car in a parking lot in front of everyone. Unbelievable!

And not only that: The Poop is white. White poop. What will they think of next? "Mom!" he said to me as I was tucking him into bed last night. "Birds have white poop! Do you know why?"

And I admitted that I didn't.

And he said, in a voice barely above a whisper, "Because that's what's in their butts. White poop." He said it with all the awe and innocent amazement you could hope for.

Children are wonderful.

Anyway. I don't think I'm going to last until 10:15, Beta Band or no Beta Band. I do turn 30 later this month; maybe the effects of aging aren't constrained to a certain day?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Fastball, Vertical Horizon, and Everclear


This is my friend Robyn. She's from the 90s, like me. 

I mean. We were both born in the 80s, but that really doesn't make a person an 80s child. We were 80s babies, but we became teenagers in the era of tattoo chokers and sunflowers and skinny eyebrows and bleached tips and over-sized plaid shirts and little, tiny, colour-tinted sunglasses. It was a time of questionable fashion choices, terrible internet connections and fantastic music. 

When I found out Vertical Horizon, Everclear, and Fastball were all coming to Regina, I asked Robyn if she remembered any of them. In response, she showed me her grade 9 yearbook: Robyn Barbour, Favourite Band: Vertical Horizon. 

So obviously, she came with me to the show last night. I wore plaid, and a choker necklace, and purple lipstick, which was already gone by the time we took our first picture. I'm terrible at wearing lipstick.


But, guys, I felt so young. I mean, I know I'm young now, but I felt so young. Extra young. When Fastball played "The Way," I was 11 again, cruising down the highway in the back of my best friend's mom's minivan, singing at the top of my lungs and feeling so happy about my new platform shoes, which I felt certain made me look just a little bit more like a Spice Girl.

But when I opened my eyes and looked at Fastball...I felt older. Extra older. Because Fastball is older. (At first, when I typed that, I thought, Should I type that? Is that rude? What if Fastball reads this? But I mean, I think Fastball knows they've gotten older.) 

They still put on a good show though.


Vertical Horizon played next, and killed it. Nostalgia City. It was a different kind of nostalgia than the Jimmy Eat World variety, though. Where Jimmy Eat World reminds me of exceptional moments from my teen/young adult years, Vertical Horizon reminds me of all the ordinary ones, because I mostly heard them on the radio during ordinary moments. Riding the school bus. Shopping for a new vacuum cleaner with my mom. Walking through the mall with my friends. 

Here are too many pictures of Vertical Horizon:


And then Everclear. So great. The guitarist gave me a pick. And then he saw me give it to a screaming, crying girl standing beside me. She screamed a swear word in my face. She was so happy. He gave me another pick. He held his guitar down in front of me so I could strum it, but it was kind of awkward because I was holding my phone and had sweaty hands and have never strummed a guitar from that angle before. And then he wanted to shake hands even though I don't like shaking hands, especially with sweaty people. He was really sweaty. But I was really sweaty too. I guess we're friends. 

Their set was really great, especially "Wonderful," which was dedicated to the memory of Chris Cornell.


And after the show, as we were leaving, we heard someone yelling at us. It was the guitarist from Vertical Horizon who had come to say hi and give Robyn a pick. He offered me a dirty earplug, but I declined, and tried not to take it as an insult. We took a picture together and discussed geography and parenthood. Then me and Robyn went home, happy about our old nostalgia and new friends. 

I miss the 90s.

The End.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

News, Kind Of


Big, important moments in life are so weird, because they come right after and right before little, normal ones. Like, I remember the night I had Sullivan. It was 12 something in the morning and I woke up and, suddenly, I was in labour. I thought, how funny. I wasn't in labour, and now I really, really, really am. Just all of a sudden. I told someone afterward that I'd felt surprised to be in labour, and she said, "Well, did you expect to stay pregnant forever?" I guess I kind of did, in a way.

I had a moment like that last week—I mean, not like that. Not like being in labour. I just mean a moment that was important and surprising and surreal even though I knew in the back of my mind that it was a moment that could happen.

I was in bed; it was early in the morning. Barclay was on his way out the door for an early shift at work and Sullivan was stirring in his room. I grabbed my phone off the headboard and scrolled through my email inbox (a super effective way to wake up, bless that blue light), and saw the email. It was from a literary agent in New York who had my manuscript, and she said she loved it, and she said she wanted to talk on the phone.

And then I was airborne. Like a cartoon cat whose tail had been stepped on. Straight up in the air, hair splaying out in all directions. Eyes like dinner plates.

And there was a siren. Am ambulance? A fire truck? Police?

No, just me. I was screaming.

"BARCLAY, WAAAAAAAIT!"

I flew to him, through the air and through the walls I guess, because I don't remember turning corners or stepping on toys. I handed him my phone and said, "Does this say these words? Because I am still sleeping."

He was, as Barclay always is, so much more composed than me. He smiled, widely but calmly and sincerely, and said, "Wow. That's really great. I'm not surprised at all." Bless his heart.

I spoke with the agent the next morning, and accepted her offer of representation yesterday. So, as of then, I'm represented by the incredible Victoria Cappello at The Bent Agency. I won't blog about the submission process here, but I thought it would be fun to let you know it's happening, since the people who have read here over the years have played a big part in me writing anything at all—which sounds like a kind of cheesy and insincere thing to say but I do mean it. I'm so indebted to the weird world of blogging. I owe you, you crazy internet strangers. Thanks for everything.

Okay. So that, as they say, is that. 

Friday, May 05, 2017

OH It's a Trilogy Now! Today, We Learn About Hyperbole



I put some green stuff on your plate
And you are instantly irate
You grunt just like a bull would do,
Eat this; it is good for you

Your mouth is closed shut like a door
That shall not open, evermore
It isn’t poison, mud, or poo
Eat this; it is good for you

The tiny list of things you’ll eat
Does not include veggies or meat
Now what am I supposed to do?
Eat this; it is good for you

More stubborn than a bull would be
(This is, perhaps, hyperbole)
But you won’t touch, or taste, or chew
Eat this; it is good for you