A(nother) Mother’s Day reminder

(This was originally posted last year.  It’s still true, you cheap bastard.)

I have some fairly well-entrenched views when it comes to Mother’s Day, as in it should be celebrated, and let’s please be polite about it.

And I know we’re months away from the 2013 edition — May 12, take note! — but I want to give readers ample time to consider the handy-dandy flowchart I’ve compiled, which neatly answers the question: Should you buy the mother of your child/ren a Mother’s Day present?


Nine Decembers

snowflake_1December 1979
We were living in Webequie, Ontario. Joe Clark was Prime Minister.  Despite regular calls home to her family, who kept her apprised of all the local gossip, no one ever told my mom there’d been an election.  Which is why, to this day, she’ll slap you if you try to turn the channel during the news.


December 1982
Me to my mother:  “If I don’t get a ten-speed for Christmas, I’m going to DIE.”  My mother to me:  “Well, that’s unfortunate.”  (P.S. I got the bike.)


December 1987

I was 15.  Everything sucked, including Christmas, even if it didn’t, in which case it still did.


December 1991
I spent New Year’s Eve in Dublin, all-expenses paid, courtesy of my university debating society.  I spent the week being romanced by an American.  First and last time for everything, I suppose.


December 1998
This is the December we lived without heat in our third-floor Toronto apartment. Sometime in October my boyfriend said, “You should turn on the heat,” and I said, “No, YOU should turn on the heat,” and neither of us did, all winter long.


December 2007
Renovating our new-to-us home, we ripped out an old natural gas “fireplace” installed by the deceased husband of the previous owner.  We found out later that he’d installed it when he found out his daughter was pregnant, because “how else will Santa get into the house?”  He died before the baby’s first Christmas.


December 2013
This was the year our family decided to scale back gift-giving from “obscene” to “merely over-the-top.”  My parents’ gift to me was a cheque. And yet, when she saw the small cardboard box we’d brought containing our unwrapped gifts, my mom said, “That’s it? That’s everything?”


December 2020
I slip on some ice at the end of November; I hit my head pretty hard and the rest of the holidays are kind of a blur.


December 2034
Butter costs $10 a pound. I halve the shortbread recipe partly to economize, but also because it’s the first year the kids won’t be coming home, so who needs all those cookies? I go through the motions, hoping Easter will be better.


A departure from my usual “my kid said something hilarious!” and “hey lookee mah talkin’ box makes picture stories!” content, the post above was written in response to this week’s writing challenge: ghosts of December 23rds past.

Hardcore decor

From the J&W archives … I originally posted this last October, but I keep getting requests for the “recipe” so thought I’d repost.

Because I believe that people who refer to instructions — cooking, knitting, IKEA, home rocketry — as “recipes” deserve our respect and possibly also a restraining order.

I love Christmas.  Love, love, love it.

I love that there is a radio station that starts playing Christmas music on December 1.

I love that the day after the Hallowe’en crap at the dollar store comes down — ho ho ho, the advantage of a properly timed Thanksgiving — the Christmas crap goes up.

I’ve always loved Christmas, but throw in two little kids, even two kids who have pre-Santa levels of understanding of how the whole season works?  That’s gold, Jerry!  Gold!

Disclosure: I am also about as Christian as Seinfeld, at least in practice.  So my love is a total secular co-opting of a Christian celebration, which is in turn an overwriting of a pagan one, if we’re going to be intellectually honest about it.  P once wrote a fantastic song about this; I can’t remember all the lyrics but my favourite lines go something like:

Jesus the Nazarean
Was born on a bed of hay
The shepherds in the fields were feeding their flocks
So we know it was probably May

We appreciate narrative and parable but are largely an evidence-based family, you could say.

Still!  I love sweet-smelling trees and cookie exchanges and holiday cards and window displays and all that pepperminty B.S.

And so it was that I found myself making these on a relatively balmy late fall day in Toronto:

I should probably give them some swanky name like “Holiday Sparklers” or “Twinkle Bits” or “Disco Diamonds” but then I wouldn’t have any names left for my boobs.

What they are are small (1 cm square) mirrored pieces of glass, glued together with a ribbon betwixt (I’ll stop talking about my boobs ANY DAY NOW).

To make your own, you’ll need these mirrored bits, (very) thin ribbon and a strong adhesive.  I started off with Weldbond, which did work but the consistency was like white glue and required a lot of painting and waiting.  When I switched over to the Goop that P recommended, the process was more smearing and squishing, which I found infinitely more satisfying.  I suppose you could use a hot glue gun, too, if you’re special enough to own one that isn’t at this precise moment in time filled with once-lava-hot, now-rock-solid glue.

Then, when the time comes, fill your tree with lights, then these little puppies (ha ha, boobs!) and it’s like you filled your tree with about a billion more lights than you did, you cheap bastard.

Merry Christmas!

Happy Canada Day!

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free …


If you think I’m talking about you here, yeah, you’re probably right.

If you think I’m talking about you here, yeah, you’re probably right.