I'm on Twitter now.
And I'm very flattered my first follower was Barack Obama. Yeah, I mean I'm absolutely sure he actually decided to follow me personally. Of course.
I've been curious for a while... It doesn't work on my phone because they only have one operator in Canada as of now (and it's not mine obviously), so I'm planning to use it more to get a daily pulse of what's going on than to do the "...just got out of the shower...", "...all dressed up now..." "...eating cookies..." "...wiping off the crumbs..." kind of thing.
Ah, technology... There's no going back is there? Pretty birdie icon though.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Since I became a parent and especially since I went back to work, I've had this general idea that the toughest years were the first few ones. I mean, right now, my family is my one priority as opposed to say, my career, and so obviously my efforts are put into spending as little time as needed at work so that I can spend as much time as possible with LP. I'm responsible for my own schedule and it's perfectly OK for me to leave early most days, but at the same time, you will understand that I'm not exactly overachieving right now. I had not completely thought this through, but I kind of unconsciously figured that I would do that for a couple of years, during the time I thought LP needed me the most.
But recently, while talking about this with co-workers who are a little ahead in their parenting journey, I realized that they were all sort of envying me for still being "in the diaper stage." And it made me change my perspective a bit. I consider our life to be somewhat hectic, not to the point where it's not manageable, because, well, my hours are flexible and we only have one kid, but still, there are days when I can just feel the little veins bulging on my forehead while trying to get through "rush hour" (between 4 and 8, no doubt the busiest part of each day) and not being very successful at it.
Still, a working mom to 3 girls pointed out to me, the "daycare years" are nothing compared to the grade school years. And another co-worker further commented that he personally thought the early school years were nothing compared to the teenage years, when your life essentially consists of schlepping your kids around in order to cater to their super full extracurricular and social calendar.
It figures. Let's say (hypothetically!) that we have kiddo no. 2 in a couple of years. In 4 years, LP will be in first grade. At the end of each weekday, I'll still have to do everything I'm doing now (running errands, putting dinner on the table, preparing things for the next day, etc.), but I'll also have two different stops on my way home: school and daycare, plus I'll have to oversee LP's homework while also taking care of the youngest. Not to mention that LP will probably have at least a few activities, like soccer practice in the summer or maybe English or music lessons or whatever.
Right now, this overwhelms me. I know people do it all the time, and I know we'll be fine. I also know that everything comes in stages, and not all at once: you don't go from being childless to having two teenagers with driving licenses. Before I was a mom I was overwhelmed by the idea of being one, and well, I guess I turned out OK. Before my mat leave ended, I didn't know how we could ever manage with me working, and we do. So it's probably the same when you add another child to the mix, or school, etc.
This brings me to think that there is no "easier" phase to parenting after all. I love working and it's important to me, but I guess there will be no moment when I'll feel that LP "needs me less," not for another ten years at least, and there's not doubt in my mind that he comes first. So this probably means that my career will remain in the background a bit (in the sense that it's pretty much a "mean to an end"), just so I can balance work and the quality of life I want. I'm not the most workaholic or climbing-the-corporate-ladder-driven person, so maybe it would have been the case kids or no kids, but it's still a strange realization that the stage has pretty much been set for you.
And as for the upcoming family-related challenges, we'll take them one by one as they come. Yes, one day LP will mostly see us as his ride, but then when this time comes, he'll also be autonomous enough so that I can rediscover the pleasures of child-free living, like spending time alone, reading a book hours at a time, or going to see a movie with M and have a very inspiring and interesting discussion about it afterward.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I was dreading having to find "bridal" shoes for the big day. Of course, that was before I started looking at online wedding po*n and realized that fab brides now wear fab shooz in all the colors of the fab rainbow.
I don't want to have this big "wedding theme," I don't want everything to be matchy-matchy, but I do want some things to coordinate. Like my shoes, flowers and sash. My mom was a bit arem, surprised when I said I wanted some color on me. "You mean you want a tone-on-tone sash, right?" No! Color! It's the new white for weddings.
Two of my all-time favorite flowers are lilacs and peonies, both spring stunners with a short season. If we schedule the wedding around then, it is what it will be (I have both flowers in my backyard and can complement with my usual wholesaler florist). With peonies for instance, I would maybe choose a fuchsia sash and shoes similar to these:
These are $750 Valentinos, but you get my drift.
There are so many other great shoe/color combos though...
Like these, with a tulip, daffodil and freesia bouquet and a sunny yellow and black sash...
And red... It makes everything pop! Red flowers (not necessarily, or at least not entirely roses), red sash, short crimson nails, and so many shoe options! Amazing for both a summer and a fall wedding.
Don't get me started about green! Works for any season, but would pair beautifully with a peridot sash and greenish hydrangeas from my backyard in August. I'm sure there would be a way to find a buckle or ribbon to further embellish these beauties:
There's also teal! Grey! Lavender! Pewter! I'm drowning in beautiful colors here!
And here are some pretty, pretty -I know, with some white!- wildcards , all from Naughty Monkey (except the last one from hype), which may be my new favorite brand):
Fresh, yet still unfussy and totally unexpected! I just LOVE the one with the cherries (which would work say, in June)... They would totally give off a "I like looking cute but I don't take myself too seriously" bride vibe! Can't wait to start shopping!!!
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
OK, I am. I don't want to make enemies through this post, so please don't read if you don't feel like it!
I have many, many flaws. I’m one flawed person and sometimes I wonder how people can put up with me. So this is in no way a post about how I’m so much better than so or so. I also tend to accept and even embrace the flaws of my loved ones and friends. But there are flaws that just PUSH MY BUTTONS! Namely:
The I’m-too-good-to-wait-in-traffic driver
Who thinks it’s absolutely OK to cut in line and bypass the cars whose drivers, believe it or not, have lives are would rather be somewhere else too but nonetheless comply with basic society/courtesy rules.
I’ve also noticed that very, very few humble and beat-up cars do that. They ALWAYS seem to be BMWs, Porsches, Mercedes, Saabs, Lexuses, etc. Apparently high-end cars come with a certificate of self-entitlement and a traffic pass.
The finicky eater
The one whose food repertoire includes about 15 items. Who’s absolutely adamant about not trying anything new or different. Who specifies what shouldn’t be served before going somewhere to dinner, leaving the hostess with a whopping choice of making either pasta with no sauce or chicken breasts with no sauce. Who literally takes away all the pleasure of eating for everyone else. Being picky is normal (yet disagreeable) for a two-year-old; for anyone past the age of ten it’s simply childish and one of my worst pet peeves ever.
I'm an admitted foodie, so maybe I’m more annoyed by it than most people, I don’t know. There are some foods I don’t especially like, and some I just loathe (durian, giblets, blood sausage). I can see how people can be turned off by fish because of the smell (although fish and seafood are among my favorite foods, and so friggin’ divine when fresh), so fine, don’t order it in restaurants, but don’t throw a fit and pretend that you’re going to vomit if you see some. If you don’t like something, I think you simply shouldn’t make a fuss about it, and especially shouldn’t make everyone pay for it by adjusting to you.
I don’t think Brussels sprouts are anyone’s favorite food, but once in a while when they turn up on your plate, shut up and eat them.
The misinterpreting-the-customer-comes-first-motto person
Who constantly returns plates in restaurants because things are not "just right". Who has a tendency to consider that people you pay or give business to are your servants. Who calls up every hotline to complain about the smallest thing. Who always argues with companies or service providers because they feel they have been “ripped of”. Who fights a $1 discount to death. Pick your battles, people. Life is really unpleasant when you’re constantly on a waging wars mode.
The lunatically late comer
There’s acceptable late, and there’s disrespectful, is-this-a-joke, should-we-report-them-missing late.
The you-oughta-be-reachable-at-all-times-or-else person
Sometimes, it’s simply not possible to pick up the phone. Sometimes, it will happen that calls or emails won’t be returned for a few hours. And frantically calling every two minutes will not make anyone want to return them faster.
The I-just-don’t-bother-getting-up person
Who arrives at work right before everyone goes to lunch, disheveled and puffy-faced. Who sleeps until 4 PM on weekends well after their teenage years. Who basically sleepwalks their way through life before noon. I’m a morning person, which means you could totally mock me for not being like myself late at night. I get that. But getting up in the morning is part of life. It’s what everybody else does. It’s probably harder for some night owls, but unfortunately our society has decided that things would function during daytime. This probably means that for your own good, you’d better not play video games until 3:45 AM on weeknights.
Wow. I didn’t even know I had so much grudge in me. Thanks for letting me vent.
Monday, February 23, 2009
1-On motorized vehicles
"What is that LP?", I ask while pointing to a small toy motorcycle, fully expecting that he would answer "Une moto!" But instead he says: "Le moteur" (the engine). And after seeing my baffled look he takes the motorcycle, turns it around, touches the engine and starts "explaining" things to me: "C'est ça le moteur..." (See that is the engine).
"Is this your putter LP?"
"Non maman, ça le bois. Là ça le putter" (No mommy, this the wood. There is putter.)
3-On correctly matching faces with names
At daycare the other day:"See LP, there's Maxime's dad!"
"Non maman, le papa Charles" (No mommy, Charles' dad).
Saturday, February 21, 2009
M! Way to go, honey!
Kidding. LP is. Correctly identifying more and more letters, too (last weekend in a Burlington craft store he pulled out a big wooden L from a crate, then turned to a random elderly lady and triumphantly said "L!!!" She laughed heartily and told him he was very smart). Thanks, amazing sponge-like toddler brain!
Friday, February 20, 2009
LP has recently entered a new phase of his language (and I guess self-definition) development, one that I thought would only happen later. I am talking about the referring to himself at the first person. So lately, everything has been about "moi!" (me!) and "à moi" (mine!)...
Up until recently, when we were asking him a question like "Whose... is this?", he would reply by saying his first name, then after a short pause, adding in his last name -just in case, you know, we could have been talking about another LP. So we had been used to him talking about himself at the third person, which is slightly weird, but perfectly standard I believe. well, not anymore. Now it's "à MOI!", said with much emphasis, and in a truly self-righteous way.
I am lucky enough to still have two of my grandparents around, and one of LP's favorite pictures is of him with my grandpa, who had just given him one of his favorite trucks. The other day as he was looking at the picture and talking about "grand-papa R," I tried to explain to him that R was actually my grandfather. I could not have offended him more. Hilarious senseless arguing ensued, in which he tried to make it very clear that
I was crazy R was "his", "À MOI grand-papa!" I think my granddad, who spends the winter months in Florida, would have been really pleased to hear that.
So these days he more than ever looks like this three feet tall dictator in our house, requesting snacks ("Veux collation MOOI!), declaring that naptime is over ("Fini dodo, veux aller dans salon MOOI!"), and so on. "Non, MOI!" (ME do it!), is also a recent staple, should one of us dare trying to help him with anything.
Last week, I was dressing him up for outside at daycare, a cute little girl from his group also arrived with her dad. And all I could hear from them sounded like this: -Want me to take your shoes off? "Non, moi!" -OK I need to sign your logbook. "Non, moi!" etc, etc.
Our kids have suddenly turned into a bunch of ego maniacs.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Cinema used to be such a big part of my life... There was a time when a week was not complete without a movie to catch. I remember how it was all part of that "big-city" excitement for the freshly arrived, culture-and-experience-thirsty 19 year-old Art History student I once was (I switched majors to Literature after one year). Back in my hometown, there was only one movie theater with three screens, showing dubbed American blockbusters only. But here in Montreal, living in my own apartment for the first time, the choices and the ranges of movies seemed endless, as were the restaurants, shops, clubs, guys, etc... (Fond memories pause).
It's different now than it was 15 years ago though... There used to be over 15 theaters in the city center, with a great mix of chains and independent places... Then, one by one, they closed and were replaced by megaplexes. So today, there are probably as many screens as there used to be, but the outside-the-box offer is much more limited, because these places tend to show the same movie on five different screens so that it plays every fifteen minutes. Granted, I've only been to the movies twice since I was about 5 months pregnant, but I still find this sad.
Disclaimer: I am completely aware that my taste in movies is pretty weird. I can't really help it. Although once in a while I can and I do enjoy a well-made major American flick, they generally leave me completely underwhelmed and hungry for deeper emotion and meaning. I guess for me the plot is completely secondary as compared to the discourse and the feel of the movie.
Chacun cherche son chat (When the cat's away, 1996)
A really charming, cool, feel-good movie about how a single woman gets to know everyone in her Paris neighborhood after having lost her cat. Really just an excuse for director Cédric Klapisch to complete a successful study of characters about "a village" within a big city. I'm totally sold to the last scene, which includes Al Green's "So tired of being alone."
Until the end of the world (Bis ans Ende der Welt, 1991)
During my first year in university I went through this big Wim Wenders/U2 phase, and among his films this is both the oddest and my favorite one. It is imperfect (but I tend to love imperfect yet real movies) and incongruous, at best. It takes place at the end of 1999 (so it's a futuristic stake), while a nuclear satellite gone havoc threatens an imminent end-of-the-world, thus sending the planet into a weird social disarray. Despite the film's failure it has a great line-up of actors, and oh, the soundtrack. It's all about the soundtrack.
L'âge des possibles (1995)
I've only seen this once, but I've never forgotten it. It takes place in Strasbourg, France, among university students. It was something about the city (where I've completed my master's degree some odd years later, by the way), the actors' French lives (all at once simple and foreign and elegant) and their twenty-something angst. I loved my student years, university agreed with me, and I could certainly relate to their "difference", their dreams, their questioning, etc.
Garden State (2004)
This movie led me to have this big crush on its starring actor and director Zach Braff. I felt really attuned to his universe and sensibility. It was like: "Who knew that cute and quirky guy from Scrubs (still a great sitcom after all these years) had all of this inside of him?" Here, again, the stellar soundtrack plays a big role.
Bleu/Blanc/Rouge (Trilogy, 1993-1994)
The three colors are the ones of the French flag, and each is themed around the country's motto (Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité). Although the movies (which are only linked to each other by subtle allusions) take place in Paris and Geneva, they were directed by Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski. They are all masterpieces of quiet, intelligent beauty and emotion, always intertwined with some darkness. I will always remember seeing Rouge at a university screening in 1994. After the movie, as I was gathering my things, someone climbed up on a makeshift stage and said: "We are honored to welcome the director tonight, and he is ready to take your questions." It was a complete and wonderful surprise, as he had been pretty much my idol for the last year. He died about two years later.
The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967)
I love pretty much all of Roman Polanski's work, but this is such a classic. It's a spoof of vampire movies, visually striking, hilarious, and very candid at the same time. It's also fascinating as this is how the filmmaker and his future wife Sharon Tate met and fell in love, especially given the tragic twist that eventually unfolded.
Before Sunrise/Before Sunset (1995, Sequel 2004)
The charm of these two rely on the physical and intellectual chemistry of the protagonists, played by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Basically, both films solely consist of great conversations around beautiful European cities. Sunset, which is about the chance encounter of the one-time lovers nearly a decade later, especially moved me. Maybe because it makes us realize that, in retrospect, the one night they had spent together had been the defining moment of both their lives.
Almost Famous (2000)
I'm not sure what draws me to this movie so much, especially since I'm not a fan of the 70's at all, nor in style, clothing, or music. But I don't think I've ever felt more attached to a character than to this young journalist.
This is a wonderful small Czech film about how a grumpy old bachelor suddenly needs to care for a 5 year-old Russian boy (the enemy!) who doesn't speak his language. And obviously about how he will come to reluctantly and hopelessly fall in love with him, amidst the Velvet Revolution. I know I'm not a reference because I'm oversensitive and cry my heart out for all kinds of silly movies and TV shows, but just writing about this story makes me want to shed some tender bittersweet tears.
The Graduate (1967)
Seriously, I can't understand why all people remember from this genius movie is the famous leg-in-stocking Mrs. Robinson scene.
Singing in the Rain (1952)
I am not immune to musicals at all. This remains a true gem, full of innuendos and humour, and completely devoid of cheese.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
We have a family of cardinals living around our house. Year after year, they come back and have babies, and we've become kinda attached to them.
They don't migrate during the winter, but they don't go out either. I'm not sure what they do but we suddenly stop seeing them in late October. And one glorious mild morning, usually during the last days of February, we go out and there is the male, perched on a tree, striking red, singing to us.
He was there this morning, and it made us so happy. He's about 10 days ahead, but then February has been really mild and much less difficult than in the previous years (although I'm really afraid that writing this down will jinx it). There's little snow left, and the forecast stays pleasantly mild...
This is not yet a sign of spring, but just an additional marker (along with days which are now markedly longer) telling us that winter will soon be over.
Remember how last month I posted about having been asked to try out the new L'Oréal Double Extend Beauty Tubes mascara (here)?
Well, these people sent me a $5 coupon for the product:
I believe it's only valid in Canada, but still I hope it could be useful for some short-lashed, yet fabulous, gals!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Last month I got myself into an unpleasant situation: there’s a parking lot in front of my office building that’s closer to where I usually park, but it requires a pass to get in and out. Once in a while though, the gate is open in the morning, and so I sometimes sneak in there. With my usual luck, however, that one day when I left the gate was closed, and I couldn’t get out. While I hate doing things like that, I had to approach another car that was about to leave and beg for the driver’s pass. She did lend it to me, but it was so obvious she REALLY didn’t want to. I was really polite and explained the situation and thanked her profusely, but she only did it because I kinda cornered her.
This weekend M had a little surprise for me: he took us to
Twice on Sunday, we witnessed random acts of kindness towards us from people who really didn’t have to bother. When we wanted to pay for the ferry ride, the man didn’t accept credit cards and we didn’t have any
Then, we stopped at a gas station in
I was still reflecting on all this gratuitous niceness this morning when I ran into that woman from the office parking lot. I was going to smile at her sheepishly and maybe tell her again how grateful I was that she helped me that day, but she didn’t give me a chance. As soon as she saw me, her face became all awkward and she bolted, in order to make sure I wouldn’t try talking to her. She practically jumped into the elevator and probably pressed that button freakishly until phew, it became clear that I wouldn’t try to catch her, she was safe.
Geez, thanks lady. I always take the stairs by the way.
Monday, February 16, 2009
I am so thrilled that the best person I could imagine for the job will be our wedding photographer after all. As happy as I was about our previous NY plans, it made me a little sad to know that it meant he could not be the one.
Alex is someone both M and I used to work with (yes, M and I met through work, although once we finally started dating I quickly switched to another job). He's a very talented graphic designer who's always done photography on the side. He's even owned his own small clothing company for a while. So I view him as a complete artist, with an amazing eye and creativity. And not that I have anything against wedding photographers, but I actually consider it a huge plus that weddings are not his main focus.
He's still experienced in and accustomed to wedding photography though. He's been the photographer for two friends' weddings, and 1-they had nothing but positive things to say about him, 2-their pictures were GREAT, and 3-I've actually seen him work and he's very professional.
I've just looked at his portfolio (he does mainly fashion and TV shows, parties and events, etc.) and I'm just so excited. So glad that he also accepted to take us, as he's only doing a few weddings per year.
I've explained to him what I had in mind (mostly photojournalist style and please no posing with a staged hopeful/absentminded look while looking through the window and that sort of thing), and he completely agreed, while still suggesting that we don't completely refrain from official and family portraits, since they make great tangible memories. All good.
And while we haven't fully discussed pricing yet, since he's our friend and technically not a pro we will be able to negotiate the package (M can and very much wants to take care of the editing himself, no album, etc.) And as with everything, Montreal rates are so much cheaper than Manhattan's.
I wish I could post pictures, but apparently his portfolio is not public so for now, it will have to wait...
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Last July when my sister got married they gave us little potted Christmas cacti they had patiently and lovingly progapated and grown from their own plant (for well over a year before their big day). The plant's name refers to the fact that it usually blooms in December, becoming full of lovely pink buds. Our plant didn't, however, but I wasn't surprised since it's still very small.
This morning, when I came around with the watering can, I was greeted by the following surprise:
My sister's wedding present bloomed on Valentine's Day.
Happy day to anyone whose heart is filled with the joyful thought of someone else (or more than one person, as in my case).
Friday, February 13, 2009
This is more of a reminder/progress monitoring post for myself... I find that's quite long, even for such a simplified celebration...
-Send dress to mom (done!) to have it altered
-Purchase extra fabric and lace (mom's job)
-Purchase shoes (depending on color, which in itself will be determined by season)
-Purchase sash or have mom buy fabric and make one (depending on color as well)
-Make big flower headpiece out of tulle, netting and such
-Convince M to finally buy that great Ben Sherman suit he's been eyeing for a while (tie optional, whatever he likes) and will wear all the time afterward
-Purchase matching Converse or Vans for my boys (LP already has some kind of a suit with a Ben Sherman shirt!)
-Try to book the place we have in mind, which will also set the date in stone (owner not in any hurry to return calls or emails apparently)
-Discuss and arrange details (food and drink, decor, hooking up the iPod, "photo booth", kids' corner, etc.)
-See if the city requires a permit or anything similar for the place we have in mind (don't think so)
-Come up with Plan B in case of bad weather (at the venue, for instance)
-Have M design invitations, print and send them
-Come up with playlist
-Book photographer (done!), discuss details
-Discuss options (depending on season) and details with the wholesaler florist I've dealt with while doing the flowers for other weddings
-Buy M's ring (already have one in mind, but keep forgetting to measure his finger)
-Are we doing favors?
Thursday, February 12, 2009
...that the mother of the octuplets is mentally ill?
...and that something somewhere has gone horribly wrong in this situation?
The more we learn about this story (the latest here and here), the more train wreck-y it becomes. I feel so sorry for her parents and especially her kids.
And hello, this woman receives food stamps but she hired a publicist????
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
In the past few days LP was often pulling his ear, which pre-surgery used to be a sure sign of an upcoming ear infection. We kept asking him if it hurt, but he always said "no!" (like, will you freaks stop bothering me please?)
This morning I tried cleaning it up a bit and oops!, a tube fell out. It looked like the tiniest yo-yo I had ever seen. Like a toy made for an ant. It must have been moving around for a while, probably not painful per say but surely annoying nonetheless.
He has an appointment with the specialist in three weeks, and we'll see what he says. So in the end, it lasted about 9 months. Not very long, especially since we still have two good months of cold-and-virus season ahead of us. Let's just hope our lucky streak of him not being sick once (bout of gastro during the Holidays excepted) this year will not be getting back at us with a vengeance.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
The cake turned out to look (and taste) great, and it wasn't that difficult. Really. I was more intimidated by it that I should have been. It took my mom and I about 6 hours to bake and decorate the 36 wagons, but it was just fun. We both love doing this kind of stuff together, and it's mainly a chance to catch up over a glass of wine. During that time, M and J, my mom's wonderful partner, took over the dinner, the dishes, the diapers, the bath, and kept kiddo happy and occupied.
Although LP had been waiting for the party to happen for weeks, as soon as we got there he became completely spaced out (the lack of nap surely didn't help). I guess so many big trains can be overwhelming for little tots. He was OK but still very unlike himself during the whole afternoon (he didn't say much, for one thing, and wouldn't ring the engine bell). No one present had ever been to this fantastic (and little known) museum, and I think they were all impressed. Check it out if you can.
And oh, as you can see, LP has a new girlfriend. And she's quite a catch I must say.
Monday, February 9, 2009
I'm certainly not the trendiest or most stylish person, but I like to look nice. Looking good is definitely more important to me than being comfy (although I don't think the two are mutually exclusive). I simply feel weird in flats. If I could, I would probably wear dresses everyday. This would make LP very happy since he always insists on me wearing this one pink satin cocktail number.
And OK, I will definitely be scorned for this, but I don't think it's appropriate to wear sweats or track suits outside the gym, ever. I wear jeans and casual sweaters all the time, I'm not miss proper '50s housewife here, but I swear these just hurt my eyes. Last week M and I were watching this über-cheesy instructional video on potty training (our life is SO exciting isn't it?) and this fake actress mom was running around town with her toddler in head-to-toe sweats with ugly '80s-style sneakers and almost in spite of myself I said "When did it become socially acceptable to go out of the house while dressed like this?" And M gave me this look, like "Are you for real, woman?"
Blame my mother, people. She taught me that you should always try to look your best, and that, especially when going out or for special occasions, doing so was a matter of respect towards the people you would encounter.
Anyways. I found this website called LookBook, in which real life people send pictures of their outfits. Seriously. It's sort of fascinating, and sort of disturbing at the same time. It's spun as a way to help you figure out what to wear with this and that piece of clothing. But actually, for that to work, you would need to be a REALLY serious, and slightly underground, trendsetter/fashion victim.
This is what it looks like: a still fairly mainstream look I liked from a Montreal girl (Source)
First remark: The fashion world hasn't changed. These people are ALL very thin, and most of them are REALLY young. As in I saw a 12 year-old, and suddenly felt really sad and a little dirty.
Second remark: Unsurprising? Lots of Asian people (the most fashionable city I've ever been to was not Paris, not London, not New York. It was Seoul, by far). Surprising? The Swedes seem to be very much into fashion in a cool/refreshing/fun way!
Third remark: I feel especially weird about the guys. Even for the girls, it's one thing to be into fashion, and another thing to actually have pictures taken of what you wear to be posted on the Internet. But I guess if you're a designer/stylist (or in school to become one) as it seemed to be the case for a lot of them, it's an outlet like any other.
But the guys. I like stylish guys. I definitely like that M somewhat pays attention to his look. But there's style and then there's overstyling, something which, when it comes to guys, comes with a very low margin of error. I could hardly imagine a bigger turnoff than a guy who's into his look that much. Not that I think any of them would actually be interested in dating girls, mind you. Or if they are, I have officially become so old that my level of comprehension of this generation has fallen to 0.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Oh, some people are just naturally so cool. And have weddings that would probably make their great-aunts cry, but make their friends cheer.
Another friggin' awesome inspiration for me, via A Practical Wedding. One of these weddings that suddenly gives me a renewed feeling of total excitement about planning (or, as in this case, not planning too much and not doing things too wedding-like).
That dress... That dress. A bride who wears a dress like that would be my instant best friend.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Yesterday on Facebook I got a message from a girl who shares my last name. She wanted me to join a group for the Laforte/LaForte family. I had never met or heard of her, but she is about my age and we realized that we actually have the same great-grandfather. Yes, the one after whom LP was named! I thought that was really neat.
My paternal side of the family is very, very large. My dad has 12 siblings alone, and I have over 35 cousins. I think if I sit down and focused really hard, I could probably end up being able to write all of their names down, but actually I'm not sure. It's not that we were so distant, but it's just that we usually had to rent a ballroom so that we could all meet for Christmas and such, so you get the idea. Now, although both my grandparents are deceased (I've written about them here), all of my cousins have kids of their own and it's becoming next to impossible to gather the whole family together.
Apparently, all people sharing this last name could be traced back to that one same root (here in Quebec) until relatively recently. I already knew that about a hundred years ago, some of them moved to Massachusetts to work in the textile factories (like a lot of starving French Canadians did, including the family of my beloved Jack Kerouac). They have since grown and spread everywhere in the US. A search for my last name on FB rendered hundreds of results, which surprised me a lot! I was able to trace back three of my cousins I haven't seen in a long time (including one who lives in Japan), and see that I have distant relatives in about every US state...
Thank you Internet.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
The birthday boy has been quite happy in the last few days. First, we gave him what he seems to consider the greatest thing in the world: a nearly-as-big-as-he-is recycling truck. That's pretty much all he's been thinking and talking about. We thought a fascination with garbage collection was a bit quirky too, but then we told ourselves, if they mass produce those, he's probably not the only little boy who's into them.
On Monday when we came back from daycare M's car was in the driveway already, which is very unusual. He opened the door and we came into the house to see that the living room was full of balloons! It was so cute to see him run through them, completely overjoyed. We then took him to McDonald's for dinner. Yeah. What can I say, best place ever for a toddler, especially when you next-to-never go. He then really enjoyed talking on the phone with his grandmas and aunts, and especially liked hearing his grandfather sing Happy birthday to him on the answering machine. Kept talking about it even this morning.
His "daycare birthday" was Tuesday, because they wanted to take advantage of a scheduled visit from a ladybug mascot and make it part of the celebration. I sent over a banner and garlands, as well as little party hats and other trinkets. They had a special lunch and games and songs. Apparently he kept on smiling all day.
He knows that the "real" thing will be happening on Sunday, though. We're going to the Canadian Railway Museum with family and friends (about 40 people expected, gosh, that's big, it's sinking in right now), where we'll have a guided tour and then sweets! I'm not sure why I'm doing this to myself, but I'm baking this train cake with one little wagon per person, all decorated with icing and candy, and set up on a licorice railroad with green coconut grass and a blue sanding sugar pond. If my mother wasn't coming a day ahead to help, there is no doubt I would be failing miserably. In theory it's supposed to look like this:
...but I can't promise anything. We'll see how it goes...
Monday, February 2, 2009
You made an appearance shortly before lunch. Although not a piece of cake (especially without drugs), labor had not been very long or unbearable or traumatic in any way. I pushed for longer than necessary, because in my painful haze I couldn't understand what M and the amazing nurse were instructing me to do. M kept on monitoring your heartbeat and progress, but I have to admit all through these hours I didn't care so much about you, I was just deeply focused on my own surreal experience, what I know see as probably the last (pain-induced) bout of selfishness of my life.
So finally there you were, and as much as it is a big cliche, in an instant my whole life changed. I had read that you don't always fall in love with your baby right from the beginning, and I fully expected this to happen. But it didn't. From the first second, it was you and me until the end of the world, it was a bond so strong I could have literally moved mountains for you right there and then.
And I do remember it as if I were still there. Despite being in the dead of winter, it was sunny and warm(ish) that day, and the cozy hospital room was inundated by a beautiful light. We were on the ground floor and we could hear children playing outside right by our window, something I still can't really explain but nonetheless interpreted as a very positive omen. We were listening to cool music on the iPod, munching, watching people buzz in and out as if they were part of a movie in slow motion. I was in an altered state of consciousness, and will always remember that afternoon as the happiest of my entire life. I was just totally at peace with the world, overwhelmed with feelings of wonder, astonishment, relief, love, serenity, hope, gratitude... Complete and hopeless happiness was exactly this: quietly lying down with my partner and our tiny first born between us, just looking at each other without being able to stop grinning.
People often marvel at the first year of a child's development, at how impressive it is to witness the transformation from a vulnerable infant to a being that can (about) walk and talk. I did enjoy your first year very much, and profusely documented it in your baby book (in it I've written you a letter last year as well). But without a doubt, your second year was the best of the two for me. If you could remember it later (which you will not), I'm sure that you would agree with me: being a baby definitely wasn't for you, and contrary to what almost everyone says, the more you grow up, the more fun and the easier it becomes.
Since your last birthday, you have never ceased to amaze me: from your first steps, to your seemingly effortless early picking up of language (you had started to combine words before you actually walked, after all), to your gradually morphing into this mischievous, good-humored, enthusiastic, emotional, intelligent, intuitive, cute and truly funny little boy. In the past year, you've been through (minor) surgery, behaved super well (most of the time) during our California vacation (which included two long flights), followed us on many road trips and long crazy days in New York, have been dragged to many restaurants, weddings, parties, and other events, started learning how to cook and to garden, visited a lot of family and friends, appreciated being out and about or just chilling at home, had your heartbroken when we switched daycares but after a week or two adapted remarkably well, and have been a good sport about us not always sticking to your routine...
There are a lot of things I wish I could freeze in time, and not being able to is sometimes making me want to curl up on the floor and cry. A big reason for me blogging is so I can at least save little snippets of what you say and do in writing. How yesterday you pointed at the image of a taxi and floored us by saying this perfectly structured, complete sentence: "Il s'en va à une autre place le taxi" (the taxi is going somewhere else). How you often mention Jujube, who used to be our cat (and whom we sent to live with your grandfather when you were 6 months old because she wasn't coping well with your arrival). You've only seen her twice since then and the last time was months ago, but still, you like to keep informed about her. How this morning when you took out your yellow Tonka tractor from the toy crate, you told me you were going to use it to remove the snow outside. How the other day when I told you that your birthday was coming up, you spontaneously said: "Au musée train" (at train museum), which is precisely where we will be celebrating it. I had only mentioned this to you once, weeks before. Then you disintegrated into a puddle when you learned that the party was not going to happen right this minute.
How whenever you ask where someone or something is and we tell you they have left ("il/elle est parti(e)"), you add: "À Québec?" (in Quebec City?), where three of your grandparents live. So in your world, Quebec City has seen its population dramatically increase in the last few weeks, and now includes Santa Claus, Tiger Woods, Barack Obama, Peyton Manning, the cast of Grey's Anatomy, a couple of Food Network show hosts, the Radio-Canada 6 o'clock news anchor, Percy the Train, Cookie Monster, your dad's car as well as Chanel, the neighbors' Lab. You now know that when the moon is out, the sun is sleeping ("fait dodo"), and vice-versa. You understand the concept of red and green traffic lights. Last week when your dad and I were in the home office for about five minutes paying some bills online, we emerged to find you running towards us with arms open, saying "Un beau feu?" (A nice/cosy fire?) We then saw that you had opened the fireplace screen, then carefully placed both logs and balled-up newspaper in there.
Lately, all I need to do to totally crack you up is to read something to you in Spanish, making me assume that the reason you find it so funny is because you understand that this is not the two languages you're accustomed to. You are starting to figure out letters and numbers, and sometimes correctly identify some of them, although it could still be sheer luck at this point. I've caught you counting to 10 once, when you thought I wasn't listening, although when we ask you to do it you usually mess it up and say something like "1,2,7,9,10!" When you ask me to sing the ABC song and I do it in French, you protest and shout: "Non! En anglais!" (In English!) You recognize Manhattan's skyline and always cheer when you see it (you've been like 5 times already, 8 if you count your time in the womb, while I waited until I was 30 years old to go). You know the names of nearly all the teachers and all the kids at daycare (and there are 70 of them), even when they don't know yours. You have a huge crush on your afternoon teacher Sabrina (whom you call "Bibina"), a thin, busty and tanned twenty-something, and keep talking to us about her (she totally loves you back, btw).
Please don't interpret this as a hall pass for you being allowed to do whatever you want (because I won't let you), but my sweet, sweet boy, you are the best thing that ever happened to me (sharing my life with your dad is a close second). I am lost for words when I try to express the depth of the completely unconditional love, tenderness and fierce protectiveness I have for you. I feel so lucky that we get to spend every day with you and watch you grow. Going through this amazing experience makes both your dad and I completely blissful, and removes any doubts in my mind about the real meaning of life. Your (magically joyful, pure and candid) laugh is now my fuel, my chicken soup, and my antidote.
Happy birthday LP! Hope the little party we have planned for you on Sunday is lots and lots of fun.