Monthly Archives: April 2013


Life continues tumbling pell-mell along.

The concert was lovely. It went better than it should have for me, considering that I have zero time in which to practice. We had a huge house, probably due to the fact that our conductor was our oboe soloist for the opening concerto, and we also played one of his original compositions that hasn’t been played locally (either ever, or in a long time). Lots of friends showed up to share the evening, which was lovely, too. I do wish that my intonation wouldn’t go out the window after intermission, though. I sit on the outside of our section, which means right next to the audience, and I hate that those people can hear precisely how off I get in the second half.

Our accountant handled our tax returns with grace and aplomb again this year, and we filed electronically for the first time. As a result, we got our refunds (substantial!) within two weeks. We are paying bills madly and loving it. It’s a huge relief to hack away at debt.

Both HRH and I went for annual checkups with our new family doctor, who noted some oddities in my exam and sent me for an appointment with a specialist. I was fine about it until the night before, when the potential repercussions finally sank in. Fortunately, the specialist checked me out, and said, “Um, I’m not seeing what your GP saw at all. You look perfectly healthy to me. We’ll wait for results of this test, but I’m pretty sure you’re clear.” So more relief!

I ordered books when my last freelance cheque arrived. So far I have torn through Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal and Incarnate by Jodi Meadows in less than a week. I have Elizabeth Bear’s and Seanan McGuire’s new books waiting to be read next, and the new Guy Gavriel Kay on reserve at the library, too.

We picked up our free tree for the city this weekend, and got a bonus little white lilac. All the trees have leaves starting to bud, and the birds are very happy indeed. HRH has doubled the size of the vegetable garden, and is starting to draw up plans for the new fence he’ll be building this summer. Owlet is thrilled to be playing “osside,” and keeps herself very busy carrying pieces of gravel all over the place and squirrelling them away. HRH found a handful in the watering can this morning, and I found about half a cup in Sparky’s butterfly net. She’d have slept with a rock last night if we’d let her; it was very difficult getting it out of her grubby little fist.

Work is all-consuming, and while going well, it’s draining. The lack of down time in which my brain can relax is really having a negative impact on my quality of life in general. I got a raise a couple of weeks ago in recognition of the “consistently thorough and thoughtful work I do,” which was absolutely lovely to hear. Also wonderful is the confirmation that Owlet is registered for three days a week of daycare in Sparky’s old centre starting at the end of summer, so all I have to do is get through the next three months of working during naps and evenings, and then I will have three workdays a week. No more working nights and naps, and not getting enough sleep! (There was stress and angst surrounding the whole daycare thing, because we’d been on a waiting list and due to start this fall after Owlet turned two, and then suddenly a bunch of the kids who were going to leave were staying on, and the daycare director’s schedules and plans were all thrown up in the air. She worked it all out, bless her, by opening a second private daycare.)

I registered Sparky for summer camp this past week. He had so much fun last year for the two-week session he did that thanks to Nana’s help again, he’s doing two sessions this summer. He’s started doing provincial testing at school, and thank goodness he’s not of an age where that means stress yet. He keeps coming home and casually saying things like, “We did exam stuff in math today, and I got it all right.” His cello bow snapped about a month ago (we theorize that there was an existing fracture, because the way it broke was at odds with how it fell) and his replacement arrived two weeks ago. We’ve had a recent breakthrough with reading sheet music, hand placement, and bow management, so he’s suddenly sounding much better than he was at the beginning of the year. He’s chosen piano for his music class at camp, so we shall see how that goes.

There’s been a bunch of knitting and spinning, but I don’t have time to post that. Sometime this week, maybe. After I hand my latest project in, that is.

Extreme Advance Warning For The Summer Concert

In recognition of the fact that I have been terrible at posting information about upcoming concerts in decent time to allow people to make plans…

Hey, everyone! Our summer concert happens on July 1! Mark your calendars now! Unless things have changed drastically, it start either at 19h30 or 20h00 and take place at St-Joachim church in Pointe-Claire Village, located right on the waterfront at 2 Ste-Anne Street, a block and a half south of Lakeshore Road.

We will be presenting a programme with a dance theme. I know there is a Tchaikovsky waltz, some Strauss, some Dvorak, the Capriol suite by Peter Warlock (yay!), and there will be more.

So there you have it. No one can say I didn’t give them enough lead time on this one.

Eleventh-Hour Concert Announcement

Apparently, my fracturing time sense has affected my perception of the timing of journal entries, as well as my sense of when the next concert is actually taking place. I mentioned my next orchestra concert in passing here a week and a half ago, and then was convinced that I had ages of time in which to post a dedicated entry with more details. And yeah, that hasn’t happened. (People with a better grip on time may also have noticed that I am five days late on Owlet’s 20-month update, too. Allow me to say: Zero spare time, workingworkingworking, it will be up soon and backdated for your reading and viewing pleasure.)

So yeah, orchestra. Hey, there’s a spring concert! And it’s, um, this Saturday!

Take a look at this lovely evening of a Serenade to Spring:

    Albinoni: Oboe Concerto, op. 7 no 3 (soloist: Stewart Grant)
    Elgar: Serenade for string orchestra
    Grant: Sinfonietta
    Elgar: Chanson du Matin
    Beethoven: Symphony. no. 2

Sparky is absolutely fascinated that our conductor is going to be the oboe soloist for the first piece. How is he going to conduct and play, he wants to know? (I have told him that it is a mystery, and he will just have to wait and see.) We are also playing a piece composed by our conductor, his Sinfonietta co-commissioned by the Oakville and Brampton Chamber Orchestras. It is a very bright piece, with great rhythm and movement in the melodic lines

The concert is taking place at 7:30 PM on Saturday April 13 2013 at Valois United, our orchestra’s home, which is at 70 Belmont Ave (corner King) in Pointe-Claire. Admission is $10, free for children 18 and under. The concerts usually last just about two hours, including the refreshment break. There are driving directions and public transport info on the church website. Children of all ages are very welcome.

Owlet: Twenty Months Old!

She slept restlessly for a lot of this past month. I thought it was spring, maybe, or the hard transition to one nap a day, or the damn canines finally settling into place… but now we think it was a language development upgrade running at night. Suddenly we have things like: Read, read book?, clock, bless you!, allons-y (usually followed by go go go, but all in a tumble of sound so it’s more like allonsygogogo!, which rather suits the emotion of the statement). She chirped “Congratulations!” to Sparky after I said it when he finished Pokemon Black the other week. She calls snow “no,” which is what a lot of us feel about it at this time of year, frankly. And we have “Merci bye-bye!” followed by a serious blown kiss, which is generally reserved for the people at the deli counter in the grocery store who give her a slice of pretty much anything she points at while I’m ordering freshly cut cold meat. She thinks the deli counter is her personal buffet. They would have started slicing the cheese she pointed at with a charming grin and a “This?” if I hadn’t stopped them a couple of weeks ago. And we are finally starting to get animals identified by more than the sound they make. We actually heard her say “horse” the other day, and “dog.” Rabbits are hophops, though she calls her blanket bunny Bunny.

Sentences are starting to be more common. “Bird!” she said the other day when we were walking in a parking lot, leaning back and pointing gup. “Fying! Sky!” When I queried her, she strung them all together: “Bird fying sky!” And then there was “Here, Ee-yah, put cup here.” After which Sparky turned to HRH with wide eyes, saying, “She just said a whole sentence and I understood her!”

But the most hilarious language-related development is her use of the word ‘delicious.’ She may have picked it up from us, because when she pretends to feed us something we generally say, “Mmm, delicious.” So when we ask her, for example, “Is your mushroom good?” we are rewarded with “EeeeeeeISHush!” And she says it with such gusto that we can’t help laughing. But the other day, HRH caught her putting something into her mouth: “Wait, what have you got in your mouth? Open. Open! Is it a sticker?” So we checked, but there was nothing. We turned back to getting supper ready, and I said, “Well, whatever it was, it’s gone now. I hope it was good.” And from behind HRH and I came: “EeeeeeeISHush!”

Firsts this month include her first taste of tire d’érable on snow (I picked up a small jar of tire, HRH scooped up some clean snow from the back of the house, I warmed the tire up in the microwave and poured it on the snow for the kids; it’s the closest we’ll come to cabane a sucre, because they’re shockingly expensive and honestly, I hate most of the food apart from the tire), first homemade playdough, and her first serious watercolour painting and finger-painting. Someone adores painting in every form. (Also note: neither of these were finger-painting sessions. That didn’t stop her from using the technique.)

Grandma taught her how to play Ring Around the Rosie, and she made poor Grandma play it a billionty times in a row. She had her first real phone conversation, too, with Daddy. She did her first Easter Egg hunt, which was lots of fun:

She wore a pretty periwinkle blue dress with a blue-green floral chiffon skirt at Easter (I think it was Wynter’s—does it look familiar, Annika?), but every single photo is blurred because she couldn’t stop darting around at her grandparents’ house. So we’re going with the arty one that looks blurry on purpose:

Ceri and Scott passed along Ada’s booster seat, and while Owlet thought it was the best thing ever for about a week, she started resisting it, likely because she prefers to sit or kneel on a regular chair. So we only use her wooden high chair at supper now; all other meals she gets a real chair. Which is kind of funny, because she runs to it and hauls herself up onto the seat on her tummy, but usually gets her head stuck under the table while doing it.

She loves playing with the iPad, so much so that we have to have strict rules about when she can play with it and for how long. (Out of sight, out of mind is the best way to deal with it, we have discovered.) Her favourite app is Endless ABC, and she can rearrange the jumbled letters and drag them to their shadows in remarkably impressive time. She took the letter L off the fridge the other day and waved it at me, going “Luh-luh-luh-LUH-luh-luh” like the letter L in the game does when you try to drag it into the correct spot. So, er, hello, knowledge sponge. She loves the Kids CBC app and sings along with the Dirt Girl theme song, and is starting to get into matching/Memory game apps. But she also loves the simplicity of Fantasy Music Box and the Little Fox Music app, which she likes for the songs as well as the studio section where she can touch different things to make noises and sounds against a beat.

She came up to me one morning while I was casting on for a toddler sweater I’m test-knitting for an acquaintance, and said, “Eit? Eit?” I thought she was saying eight, because she was looking at the ends of the needles where the size is printed, so I told her no, they were size 7s. She took the needles away from me and clicked the tips together a few times. Turns out she was saying, “Knit? Knit?”

At the thrift shop the other day we found not one but two pairs of barely-used shoes for her. One is a just-fit for now (purple lace-up ankle boots! she saw them and pestered me till I handed them to her, and then she yanked off her boots and tried to shove them on her feet by herself) and the others are a pair of suede t-straps, a size or two bigger for this fall. That day after her nap, she insisted that she put on the ones she had picked and she stomped around in them all afternoon, very pleased with herself. I got a parcel in the mail that day and there was bubble wrap in it, so Sparky put it on the floor and showed her how to stomp on it. She made very satisfying sounds with those shoes on!

On the same thrift store trip I found an older Little People house there for three dollars, which was missing the doors and didn’t come with any furniture or people, but she adores it. She is especially fascinated with the bathroom, and has given all the Little People and equivalent sized figures we have a turn on the potty and several baths. On another thrift store trip we scored a little china tea set for $2, and the tea parties began! We’ve already misplaced the creamer and the green cup has broken, but that’s not slowing anyone down.

She walked up to stand next to me in the kitchen a couple of weeks ago, and sang, “Tiyul, tiyul, i-al STAH… howAwaaa-aaawha-ooAAAAH.” And she kept going, looking at me with a tiny smile on her face. At the end she grinned and started clapping for herself. She sings along with stuff, but I’ve never heard her voluntarily sing a whole song on her own before. She randomly does bits of the alphabet song, and requests “Baa Baa Black Sheep” often during diaper changes. We’ve started to listen to a playlist just for her in the car with some of her favourite songs on it, and after each one she says, “Thank you!” She’s such a sparkling, giggly, drop of pure sunshine. Sure, things get cranky and hard, and teeth are jerks, as Ceri says; but she’s a sunny little thing. We’re fortunate parents–again.

In Which She Outlines A Plan

I think I am brilliant.

Well, no, I don’t, actually. I think that generally, I scrape by and look a lot better to others than I see myself. But that’s not the point, here. The point is that I have come up with a solution to a problem that has been grating on me for a while now.

My book buying has taken a severe hit in the past eightish years for a variety of reasons— lack of time to read, my interests shifting, less satisfaction with the kinds of books I used to enjoy, and—the largest issue—a lack of funds with which to do it. The library has helped a bit, but I tend to read stuff that libraries don’t buy for their shelves. (Or not my library, anyway.) My money gets saved for books I really want to read, from specific authors I really want to support.

I used to love browsing in a real bookstore. But they’ve been stocking fewer titles I’m interested in as well, which, again, I can sort of understand; the stuff I read isn’t necessarily stuff that lots of people would buy, and so my kind of books don’t make it onto the shelves very often. They’d take up money and space, an investment with an un-guaranteed return. And while I love supporting independent bookstores, they are fewer and further between than they used to be, and so that isn’t as critical anymore. Shopping at the big-box stores in person is pricey, and I get cranky when I could buy the same thing via the website of said store for 30% less, which can be a significant saving. Shopping online is cheaper, the books are almost always in stock (unlike the bricks-and-mortar shop shelves), we both save gas and get mail that way (yay, mail!)… but the drawback is that I have to pay for it via credit card or gift card, and the former is now emergency-only while the latter is confined to after Christmas and birthdays.

Until now. You see, this brainwave I had addresses both the online shopping, the disparity between the online price and the cover price in person at the store, and the payment issue. There is nothing stopping me from buying a gift card for Chapters/Indigo with cash, and using it to shop online. That way I get my online discount, plus mail (yay mail!), and my credit card is untouched. I also get to, you know, buy books, something I only do less than a handful of times per year. That’s made me pretty depressed, seeing as how I’m a writer and editor and general word person, you know?

I am a bit dazed at the simplicity of the solution, to be honest. And somewhat suspicious, as well. It seems so easy, after all, so something has to go wrong, right…?

I will let you know after my next freelance cheque arrives, and I use a bit of it to buy a gift card to the bookstore.