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Movie Night, Old School

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beauty and the beast

Last night, my fourteen year-old daughter returned from two weeks at camp. This camp of hers in Algonquin Park is a pretty classic one: no electronics, no electricity in the tents and cabins, and no flush toilets, so the need to catch up on Instagram and Snapchat (and the proper use of a toilet) is almost immediate.

She spent some time regaling us in all her camp fun including descriptions of cabin mates and their personalities, exceptional stories camp activities and sports and then promptly fell into a twelve-hour, post-camp coma which I believe continues to this hour.

She spent the most time very animatedly telling us about the camp theatre production for July, Beauty and the Beast. This is no let’s-look-through-the-dress-up-box-and-see-what-we-can-find camp skit but a well-executed musical with a very talented cast held in a dedicated outdoor theatre. Not that I have actually seen a production, other than a YouTube-posted version, but they’re impressive. (And I was a postulant in a small town amateur production of The Sound of Music thirty-five years ago so I know what I’m talking about!).

As soon as she got home, she and a neighbour wanted to rent the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast (not sure if it was for comparison or to just gloat at Lumiere’s accent) but I told her we already had a copy, and after an impressively short ten minutes of rummaging I returned to the family room and handed them a VHS.

Honestly, from the look on her and her friend’s faces you would think I just handed them the Saturday New York Times crossword puzzle.

“What is that?”

“It’s Beauty and the Beast.”

“What do I do with that?”

“You pop it into the machine and watch it.”

“Um, machine?”

“Yes, the VHS machine.”

“We have one of those?”

“Yes, we do. It’s a DVD/VHS combo.”

So we figured out the right input channel fairly quickly and the image soon appears on the screen.

“Ugh!” she cried, “What’s wrong with it?!”

“Nothing,” I replied. “We just have to rewind it”

“I have to what?!”

At this point, her friend then says, “Y’know, this sounds like a lot of work. I’m going home.”

However, soon enough though, we were fully rewinded and perfectly snuggled on the couch and watching a VHS-version of Disney’s 1991 release of Beauty and the Beast. (Which, by the way, you cannot actually get on iTunes, at least not in Canada.)  My nineteen year-old soon joined in on the retro movie night and it was a party.

After the movie was over (and remember, Disney movies are only about an hour long!) I suggested to my son, “I’m sure I can bring out you old favourite from the same VHS box, dear.”

To which he replied, “I better go work on my Me Ol’ Bam-boo dance moves, then.”

All this to say, don’t throw away your old VHS tapes or your machine. You’ll never know when they’ll come in handy for a lesson in retro movie watching.

Next up on the marquee: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

In the shape of an L on my forehead…

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It’s Friday night and I’m at the hockey arena. It’s no big deal. Since becoming a hockey mom fourteen years ago, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been to a hockey arena on a Friday night! What can I say? I have an impressive social life.

Only this time, I’m not here with one of my three kids; I’m here with one of my friend’s kids. Again, because of my impressive social life, I need to be at a hockey arena on a Friday evening.

This boy’s parents, our friends and neighbours, are off to a family wedding at an adults-only resort in the Dominican Republic and being fourteen, he’s too young to join them. I think he could have passed for an eighteen year old, but whatever. I don’t even think there was a wedding, but whatever.

Thursday evening, my friend drops off her son for his 10-day retreat Chez Astra with $50 and a list of his weekly activities. I tell her “Hey, not to be rude or anything, but I don’t think this is going to cover my weekly LCBO purchases” and she doesn’t think this is funny.*

At first it looks like I might get out of the Friday night hockey carpool gig because I have company coming to visit . Then my guests decline and I mention this at dinner Thursday evening.

“Oh! So you can take me to hockey then?”

Quick. Think of something.

Only nothing comes to mind, and I concede: looks like I’m spending Friday night at the hockey arena.

After a 30-minute drive during which any question I asked was responded by him pulling his ear plug out and asking, “Excuse me?” I should know better; I drop all efforts to converse. I leave him at the front door of the arena and tell him, “I have a few errands to run (like running to the LCBO) but I’ll be here to watch the last twenty minutes” and off he goes.

This hockey arena has four ice pads and I forgot to ask him which surface he was playing on. I quickly size up the place: Pad 1 has girls on it  – moving on. Pad 2 has little tykes on I,t so I move on again. Pads 3 and 4 both look like they’re hosting groups of 14 year olds. I spend a few minutes checking out the teams on Pad 3 but I don’t see our underage, unemployed free loader. I move over to Pad 4 and see him chasing the puck down the ice.

I flash my best fake yeah-thumbs-up in his general direction, mostly because I sure as hell don’t want to have spent a Friday night at the hockey arena without him noticing my efforts! The game appears to end in a 2-2 tie, and I retreat to the foyer to await his return from the dressing room. I then run into another hockey mom I know from my daughter’s hockey team last season. After some chit-chat, she asks what team Emily is playing on tonight – because it would be normal for me to be here with my own child. I tell her that I’m here with a friend’s son and am just waiting for him to change, gesturing in the direction of Pad 4.

All of a sudden, my friend’s son comes up behind me and says, “Hey, I’m ready to go!” I wheel around and ask, “Where did you come from?” “My game. Over there” gesturing to Pad 3.

“You weren’t playing on Pad 4?”

“Nope”

“Oh. I see. So. You were not the one I gave a thumbs up to?”

Thank God I didn’t bang on the glass.

 “Did you even watch my game?”

 “No. I was watching the game on pad 4.”

“Who was playing on Pad 4” he asks, and it’s not a bad question.

“I thought you were.”

So, not only did I take a child not my own to a hockey game, I watch almost an entire game of complete strangers. Loserdom has my name on it.

“Let’s keep this between the two of us, okay?” I implore to him.

“Sure” he says. “Just like you’re going to keep the two chocolate bars before dinner between the two of us too, right?”

It’s a deal.

~~~

*Truth be told, she also dropped off all his lunches, and two or three meals for our entire family (which had just grown to six people) but whatever – it’s my story.

Reasons Mommy Drinks – A Book Review

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So, there needs to be a reason? Certainly not in my books, but in this hilarious book, Reasons Mommy Drinks, Lyranda Martin Evans and Fiona Stevenson (Three Rivers Press, 2013) give 100 reasons that Mommies drink, along with 100 cocktail recipes (seriously ladies, you couldn’t come up with 365?!) that are almost as funny as the motherhood anecdotes after which they were named. I highly recommend reading it (and copying down the recipes!).  It was a little tough reading a book about drinking during my annual month of detox, but then again, it was refreshing to recall all those ‘new mom’ experiences of new mothers – mostly because I’m well past that stage and can actually laugh at them now.

There is the cocktail aptly named “The Silver Scream” named after mommy’s first foray into humanity after childbirth at a Mommy and Me movie, or a yummy concoction called “A Mudslide” which follows a not so yummy experience with explosive poo.  Well, who hasn’t had an experience with explosive poo and who doesn’t need a drink after it? Of course nothing celebrates baby’s first steps like a drink called the “Walk ‘n’ Roll”, and nothing will restore your sanity after listening to children’s music all day, like the “Raffi-tini”, best served “with Baby Beluga caviar” – bwahahaha! (Oh, yes new mothers, you WILL have that song in your head for the rest of your lives).

The book chronicles the first 18 months of motherhood and though I am now 18 years into motherhood, I still remember all those crazy, sleep-deprived baby days – and how badly I wanted a drink!  Sadly, the book starts off with a series of mock-tails (buzzkill alert) until page 31, beyond the anecdotes of nursing.  And sadly that’s pretty much how motherhood started in real life too, wasn’t it? I wish this book had been around when my first born was 18 months old and my second was already 4 weeks old.  It would have given me great comfort – and great inspiration for cocktails – to know that, a) I wasn’t losing my mind, and b) I actually was losing my mind but I was in very good company!

The only negative I have about the book was the ridiculously small print size.  I don’t know my fonts – all I know is I needed my 1.50 reading glasses to read this book instead of my 1.25’s and that made me feel old. Feeling old sucks.  Feeling old makes me feel like making a cocktail…

The Old Fart Work of Art

Ingredients
Sparkling wine, Prosecco or champagne
Crème de Cassis

Instructions
Pour a small amount of the crème de cassis in a chilled champagne flute
Top with sparkling wine then sit back and wonder where your teenagers are…

reasons mommy drinks

All I want for Christmas?

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I remember fondly the Christmas presents my children used to make for me at school. I still have the classroom-crafted Christmas ornaments from Kindergarten, the decorated Santa’s cookie plates from Grade One, and will simply never part with the rendering of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer done with hand prints for the antlers and footprint for the head from Grade 3. I am so glad that I wasn’t the classroom volunteer that day! Somehow Christmas Gifts for Mom dropped off our school board’s educational curriculum some time before middle school. Such a shame.

It was about middle school, however, that I suggested to them that just because they weren’t making things in the classroom anymore, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t still get us a gift. I mean after all, the time had come for them to fully appreciate the old saying that “it is better to give than to receive”. Lord knows their dad and I have been doing a lot of giving over the past seventeen Christmases.

Generally their Gifts for Dad came out of my wallet and the Gifts for Mom came out of Dad’s wallet but that was ok. It was still fun to find a little something under the tree to enjoy along with our Christmas morning mimosa – my husband’s and my mimosas, not the kids (that would be wrong, right?). I’m so glad we started this new tradition because now that my children are all teenagers, I can tell that they truly enjoy picking out the perfect gifts for their parents.

So what was under the Christmas tree for mom this year, you ask?  Well, my oldest son bought me a set of wine glasses, my middle son bought me a Mason jar with a straw (with a heartwarming dedication, “for the cottage”, along with it) and my daughter, my youngest, bought me a coffee mug and a half a kilo of coffee. My mother, who was visiting for Christmas, suggested “Your children seem to know you well.” I couldn’t tell if she was impressed or disgusted.

Christmas 2013

Well, yes, they do seem to point to the things in life I appreciate the most, given to me by the people in my life who I love the most. Anyhoo, no matter. I love my presents and will no doubt put them all to good use. After all, my kids are undoubtedly the ones I have to thank (or blame) for needing them in the first place!

Was there something special for you under the tree this past Christmas?

I am schooled …

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“You were right; I was wrong” I grudgingly admitted to my daughter the other night just before bedtime.

She paused and looked at me wide-eyed. “Pardon?” she whispered, with fake sincerity.

I said, “I remember now. You were right – we did already agree to this over the weekend.” I hate being middle-aged – my memory sucks.

“Wait,” she continued, “I need to take this in ….” and she takes a dramatic deep breath and exhales loudly. I roll my eyes and I know that I’m in for it.

“I don’t believe this has ever happened before. This is a momentous occasion.” She is twelve years old, and yes, she used the word ‘momentous’ in a sentence. “Can I hear you say that one more time, please?”

“You were right.”

“And?” she prompted me to continue. Oh my God, this is killing me.

“I was wrong.”

I was beginning to regret the day I took her home from the hospital. I should have left her to the very large Italian family visiting the new mom sharing a room with me. They would never have noticed one more child.

“Who’s a genius?”

“You are.”

“Who’s your favourite daughter?” Someone please shoot me.

“You are.”

“What else do you want to say to me?”

“Sorry.”

“Pardon?” She was enjoying herself.

“I’m sorry.”

It doesn’t really matter what she was right about and what I was wrong about. I know I so deserved this. But, oh my God, did it piss me off.

“Anything else you feel the need to say to me right now?” she mocked, clearly on a roll.

“Yes.” I said. “It’s past your bedtime. If your light’s are not out in two minutes, you’re grounded.”

I still hold absolute power.

truth hurts

Have you ever done a ‘dafter’?

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hockey terms2Have you ever done a ‘dafter’?

You would think after thirteen years as a hockey mom, and almost fifty years as a Canadian, I would have learned a thing or two about hockey. And you would be right. I have learned a thing. Or two.

I still don’t understand why they call it an offside. The blue line doesn’t separate sides, it separates ends. I think it would be better understood by everyone –meaning me – if they just called it an offender (see what I did there? Off-ender?). I am also at a complete loss trying to figure out why the refs drop the puck where they do after a particularly confusing intentional offside. How do they really know it was intentional? Sounds kind of unsportsmanlike if you ask me.

Anyway, I do have my own hockey mom vocabulary that is not at all confusing. In fact, I think my hockey terms clear a whole lot of things up very nicely. I would be so proud if some of these go viral, so help me out!

Wingering

This is the word I use to describe the amount of time spent waiting before a game or practice and the time spent lingering after a game or practice. Everyone knows that in minor hockey, there is a whole lot of wingering going on. Wingering can be a pain – made even more painful if you’ve already spent a long time travooling.

Travooling

When we live in one part of the city and my kid’s game is in another part of the city (or another city altogether), the travel to and from a hockey games can be long and use up tons of gas. This travel can be made even longer if it’s my turn to carpool and the level of testosterone or estrogen in the car is double its recommended limits.  Travooling takes patience.

Socialaiting

Similar to wingering, though this is what I do when I’m in more of a social mood and I chit-chat the whole time that I am wingering. Mostly I winger, sometimes I socialait.

Dafter

I do a dafter when I cheer loudly but inappropriately. Like yelling “Shoot!” when no one on our team has the puck. Or “Skate! Skate! Skate!” when it’s clearly going to be an icing call. My poor timing is legendary. Sometime I forget that the goalie has changed ends and I yell, “Get it outta there!” when really the whole point of the game is not to get it out of there. I miss the point of the game sometimes. Sometime I get my kids team names mixed up. That’s a dafter too.

Bleacherache

Occasionally I have lower back pain from sitting on a bleacher too long with no back rest. My butt goes numb from sitting too long on those bleachers when I’ve forgotten my hockey blankey. My feet get sore from wingering and socialaiting. I get a headache from the stupid vuvuzela one of the siblings brought to the game. Varying degrees of pain … one big bleacherache. Take two glasses of wine and do it all over again in the morning.

The hockey hanker

No one needs wine at the end of the day more than a hockey mom. Every hockey mom has had a hockey hanker at one point or another during the weekend. It’s a hankering for some alcohol.

So next time you see me wingering at the arena, ask me to socialait. You can tell me all about your bleacheraches and I’ll tell you all about mine. Then you can pretend you didn’t hear my dafters. In any event, I hope to relieve our hockey hankers together!!

Cheers to a new hockey season!

hockey terms

Reneging on Retirement

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I can’t lie.

I admit I was pretty excited when, in the spring of 2012, my two sons decided to hang up their goalie pads.  After their ten year-long careers, they retired from minor hockey to live off non-existent product endorsements and mom’s cooking. With the boys no longer playing hockey and my daughter’s hockey association’s decision to play only inter-association only, my hockey travel was dramatically reduced. I estimated that I added ten to twelve hours of free time to my week. I marveled at the hours that lay before me and often remarked out loud: “So this is what it ‘Saturday’ feels like! I like it!”  I certainly did not miss driving to every God-forsaken rural community centre within a 100km radius of Ottawa in the dead of winter, that’s for sure.

You would think that with all this free time I would no longer have expired dairy products in my refrigerator.

You would be wrong.

My free time has been consumed otherwise.  I perfected the art of social media-induced procrastination.  I discovered the second cup of coffee.  I made a friend who was not a hockey mom. I watched a whole movie without pausing and stayed up past midnight at least twice. Life was decadent.

But my hedonism was brief.  Late in the summer, after a year off hockey, my eldest son declared that he would like to play for one more season before heading off to university in the fall of 2014 (God willing).  He returned to the arena for try-outs and was successful at reclaiming a spot as goalie for the major midget competitive B team on which he’s played for most of the past seven years.

You know what this means, don’t you?  I have to polish my goalie mask pendant.  I have to up my heart meds.  I have to find little evergreen tree car air fresheners. And I have to buy new winter tires for I am returning to every God-forsaken rural community centre once again.

But you know what?  As I walked into the first exhibition game I was welcomed once again by more than the familiar scent of canteen coffee and stale sweat.  I was acknowledged by other hockey parents who’d not quite yet forgotten me.  Though they didn’t quite raise their mugs and shout “Astra!” in unison, they instead uttered a collective groan that could only mean “Oh God! Not her again!”  That’s okay.  Sometimes it really is nice to go where everyone knows your name (and your favourite post-game beverage), and they’re always glad you came (but only put up with you because you brought the goalie).  In case you’ve missed my hockey mom posts, know that there are more to come …

Game on.

name bars

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