You all think you know how I work

That I sit here in the kitchen ignoring the mess, Maggie perched on my lap, Pea yelling for dinner regardless of the hour, JoJo wondering if there is more room on my lap or if she’s hungry too. She gets confused. The last couple of days have been the equivalent of field trips: the whole crew from (writers and editorial team) doing an Editor’s Choice piece on CUVs. We have been working hard; 9 different vehicles, many different settings, all recorded for a coming video for the site and individual reviews from each of us. May I just say, I work with the best team on the planet. David Booth, John LeBlanc, Lesley Wimbush, Brian Harper, Graeme Fletcher, Derek McNaughton, Jodi Lai, Paul Choi, Clayton Seams, Nick Tragianis and the best supporting crew. I don’t know when I’ve had such a great two days working.

And, as you can see, I don’t spend every day sitting on my ass in the kitchen.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset
Photo credit Nick Tragianis

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Ein Prosit, Pop

Miss you.

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Last night happened. I think.

Last night was a good night. I won the AJAC Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Journalist of the Year award. That’s the one on my home page I was runner up for last year, so I’m quite happy. I was the runner up for the Bridgestone Feature Writing Award last night, too, which is a new category and that made me happy too.

I’m a little loopy on painkillers. I had the last boob surgery on Wednesday, so, no, I shouldn’t have been out last night, but I have good colleagues who between them, picked up my stoned self and took me, and brought me home when it was over. It was only a few hours, and I’m glad I went. Man, I can’t even type. I have to go back to bed. Oh, this is the guy who won this stuff for me, in a very large part. Andy is the best, and it was an honour getting to tell his story. I can’t link to the whole piece (it’s not online). Sorry. I don’t have a pic yet, but I looked like crap, so it doesn’t matter, really.

Oh, here’s a link. They were kind enough to use a pic from last year:) I am so proud of my Postmedia colleagues. What a great team.

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Poor Bob

poor bob

Roz is decorating the cats again. She said she was cooking and sent me this pic. When I asked her what the hell she was doing, she told me to watch it or she wouldn’t share Cat in the Hat, Halloween Edition. I went to save this pic under ‘poor Bob’ only to find I already had a pic labeled that.

I’m outa here for a bit. Next two weeks are crazy, and I just got the itinerary for a trip – 14 journos. I am the only female. I have never been more grateful for female PR people in my life.

Lemon Aid starts back up next Tuesday night at 9pm. I got some good news – we’ve more than doubled our viewing area! In addition to Toronto, I will now be sparkling in living rooms in Ottawa, York Region, Durham Region and London/Grand River. Well, if they turn the show on, that is. They should turn the show on.

If you’re interested, This is an excellent piece on the Ebola crisis. And yes, I’m aware it isn’t a crisis here, but it is devastating some countries.

Now, be nice to each other.

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All the world’s a threat

Ugh. A woman, Anita Sarkeesian, set to give a talk at Utah State University about online gaming and women has cancelled, because a nutjob idiot has threatened a “Montreal-style massacre” and “the biggest school massacre in American history” if she speaks. Apparently, feminists have ruined his life. Got it. The best part? The university planned to let people bring their concealed weapons anyway, because Charlton Heston and Ted Nugent have made them believe we’d all be safer if we were packing. American the beautiful, my ass. I realized as I scanned the homepage of several newspapers that the word ‘threat’ is everywhere.

“Simon Cowell threatens Euro-vison style global talent show challenge” – The Independent
“Good news! Rick Santorum is threatening to run for president again” – Salon
“Poodle is the newest threat to web security” – CBC
“Ebola outbreak puts world’s supply of chocolate under threat” – The Mirror
“Calling Russia ‘threat to humanity’ puts Obama’s sanity in doubt” – The Russian Prime Minister (of course)
“Henderson hospital using chocolate to train for potential Ebola threat” –
“Horny teen caught making love to stuffed horse in Wal-mart bedding department” – Gawker

Okay, that last one was just for comic relief. Because I could use some.

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A prescient column that’s four years old, yet little has changed.

I’m cleaning up my email draft box and this was in there. I have no idea why it’s there, but I figure I’ll dump it here anyway. It ran November 23, 2010

Keeping abreast of every little thing

“So, how are the boys? Last time you were here….oh. Wait. Is this new?”
When your mother has died of breast cancer and your doctor is busily rummaging around your breasts, you should probably be paying more attention to that than the Where’s Waldo poster on the wall.
“Huh? What?” I followed her fingers. “I don’t think so,” I replied, unhelpfully.
“I’m going to schedule an ultrasound with your mammogram, just to be sure,” she decided.
I didn’t get too worried. Some women are just cysty, and I am one of them. I get annual physicals, check myself in between and basically try to treat my body like a temple. I often veer more towards the Temple of Doom, but I try.
“They’re ultrasounding my boobs,” I told my sister Roz later that day.
“Ugh. They did mine, remember? They kept calling me back. Like that isn’t nerve-wracking,” she said.
Breast cancer is the uninvited guest at all of our family dinners. The hole it created by stealing my mother settles on her three daughters like an unwelcome cape. We are aware because of her; we are diligent for each other.
It is precisely because of my mother’s premature death that I have the philosophy I do: live responsibly, but live. I don’t worry about much until given a reason to. Roz, on the other hand, is very responsible. I work from a Milk Calendar; she uses her computer. She makes shopping lists and cooking lists when we make a big dinner. I summon the creativity gods and wonder why I can’t make salad from a head of wilted romaine lettuce, Nibs and a banana. I rarely fuss over details. I have Roz to fuss over details for me.
After the ultrasound, I gave her a call.
“It wasn’t so bad,” I said.
“I hated it. Over and over, I wondered what they were finding and wouldn’t tell me,” she said. “Lying there in that darkened room, so quiet…”
“I dunno. I thought if they’d give me a glass of wine, this might be a not-bad date,” I replied.
“You’re an idiot.”
Realizing I could be accused of being insensitive, I changed my approach.
“You know, I just have this philosophy that, whatever is going to happen, I’ll deal with it. There’s no other way to go through life, and I’m sure not going to waste time anticipating something that might not happen, because there are too many what-ifs,” I said rather solemnly.
I was trying to channel my mother’s outrageous spirit. After she had her mastectomy, she announced that her future mammograms should be half price. She served dinner one night and declared the chicken, missing a wing, was a utility bird just like she was. It was difficult to be down around someone who clearly never saw herself as a victim of anything. Even when my father insisted on comparing his hernia operation to my mother’s mastectomy, she was the only one who didn’t yell at him.
“I know the waiting and the silence is hell,” I continued to Roz. “But they’re not allowed to tell you what they find. I know. I asked the ultrasoundist what the highest number of babies was that she’d ever found.”
“Did you just say ‘ultrasoundist’?”
“The point is, I do understand it’s serious, and I’m not trying to diminish the stress involved, but I just went and figured they could take as long as they had to, and I wasn’t going to read anything into it. That’s my philosophy,” I finished.
“You don’t pay for parking, do you?”
So much for philosophy.

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Are these your nuts, Jane?

Ari and I were just chopping down some trees. He went into the shed and yelled “did you pick up walunuts?” I was buried in this awful, awful hedge we have and could hear him but not see him. I yelled back “yeah, I pick up the walnuts every year. They’re horrible and they make a mess and I hate them….” and thought nothing more of it. When we were done Bunyaning, I went in the shed. “Oh my god, what are all these walnuts doing in here?” I said. “I told you…I asked if you did it.” Squirrels have been saving walnuts in the shed all fall, apparently. Ari thought I was saving them for something. In the grasschatcher bag, and on top of a box of magazines that probably dates back to the moon landing. Oh! I actually do have the Hamilton Spectator with the moon landing on the cover. Anyway, squirrels did this and it made us laugh. Now my back is sore because Ari isn’t as young as he used to be.

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I dream of…something

I won an Oscar last night.

I had this very odd dream, and I won an Oscar. I don’t know what it was for, and I’m not an actress, but I won an Oscar and I was in a tizzy about what to wear. These were very strange Academy Awards, in that nobody knew ahead of time who was even nominated. I know. Think how lucky it was that I was even there, considering I not only won, but that I’m not even an actress. Because I had no idea I was up for such an honour, I hadn’t chosen an outfit.

I was more concerned with the free stuff. At these Oscars I got a bag of loot. While people were running around telling me I should get dressed because they were announcing my name, I was plunging into this bag and hauling out diamond necklaces and other things. All I could think about was who I would give all these things too, which sister would get what, which kid. All this meant I had to hurry up and get dressed.

So I’m this red carpet and I’m a little self conscious, mostly because I’m sure I’m not wearing the right thing. I don’t know what I was wearing, so I must have been comfortable so it must have had something to do with leather and denim. I was too busy worrying about how to give away all the free things. Somebody yelled out, “great necklace, who designed it?” and I yelled back “Banana Republic” because a couple of months ago I got this necklace from Banana Republic that is not remotely me. It is by far too girly, but it has these giant fake diamonds and it weights a ton. It feels more like a yoke, but I reasoned that surely nobody on the red carpet at THE ACADEMY AWARDS, especially A WINNER, would ever be wearing something fake and therefore everyone would think it was real. And so they did, until I yelled out Banana Republic.necklace br

This is what it looks like. It’s very girly, and I am not, but I keep buying girly things; I’m sure it has something to do with the boob thing. True to form, I buy big chunky things that weigh a ton, and then I never wear them. But when I won an Oscar last night, I was wearing this necklace. Here is a pic of Maggie in her bling: maggie tiara

Had to ask someone which Oscar I’d won, and they said it was for Best Supporting Actress. Of course. It would be far too presumptuous to think I could win the big one right out of the gate.

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Ashes, ashes….

….all fall down. Yesterday was a sad day for my server, which crashed and took this site with it. And my main email account. All is better this morning, just like my Mom used to promise me. It reminded me how lazy I’ve become, how hard it would be for me to get in contact with a lot of people if I didn’t have this damned computer strapped to me 24/7. And it is 24/7, in some respects. Desktop, iPad, laptop and phone. I haven’t become more indispensable, I’ve simply become more available. Not always a good thing. I find my attention span has shortened dramatically, and I don’t like it. I think I could call my sisters from memory, but that might be it. I don’t even know my kids’ cell phone numbers.

I was cleaning my keyboard yesterday (I use Lysol wipes; gross stuff gets into keyboards, and don’t lie and feign ignorance) and as I streaked across the keys, I accidentally typed “asdfghjkl”. And you know what I found out? That is a thing. In Urban Dictionary, that is a real thing. A word. It means, loosely, “I got nothin'”, which is about right. But I swear we are now at the point where Maggie can simply stroll across the keys and tap out a best seller. Good thing; one of us needs to.

One of my drive columns ended up running all over the country, in a lot of different papers. The topic? Cars that are running around without their rear running lights on. Daytime running lights have been mandatory for 25 years in Canada, but for some mysterious, dangerous reason, manufacturers are not required to hook the DRLs to the rear lights. You’ve seen them: people cruising along, nothing on the rear of their car illuminated, dim little DRLs and a fully lit dashboard letting them believe they have on their headlights. Anyway, I have a point: most mail, ever. Tons. From all over. I am not being a harpy, this is real, and it is important.

Oh. Question: if you were 16 or so, and could talk to anyone and ask questions about cars and driving, who would they be? What would you want to know? It could be anything, and you wouldn’t get in trouble for stuff about drugs or drinking or lending your car. I just want to know what kinds of experts would have been useful to you.

For my fellow nutters playing along at home, I am officially entering my worst time of year. If I’m crabby or absent, blame it on the rain, not the Raine. I always pull out of the nosedive, but until then, assume crash positions. Oh, and this from William Langewiesche link is awesome and haunting, right up there with his earlier piece about the midair collision in 2006 over the Amazon. Speaking of air travel, even though we weren’t. Langewiesche is one of the best feature writers around, along with Roger Angell, the baseball guy. One makes me read about airplanes, the other about baseball. Go figure.

As you were.

*Okay, I had to add this. I just googled “disease associated with” for a thing I’m working on, and the top three suggestions: obesity, smoking and cannibalism. Yup.

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Bank robbers and stupid cats

One of the best things about having Netflix is finally finding shows and movies that everybody knew about a long time ago. One of the best things about Longform is when great writing from one of those shows crosses paths with the original form. Here’s one: Friday Night Lights. There’s some great bank robber stories on that site as well.

Well, it’s raining out. What else are you gonna do?

I just fed the cats, because Pea is running around making me insane. She whumps her food in about ten seconds, then tears off running around the living room again. Ari comes downstairs, laughing. I tell him she’s crazy, and that she just ate her food way too fast. She scampers by him. “And, she didn’t even wait 20 minutes after she ate,” he says, earnestly. I think he might be mixing up his adages.

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