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At some point last night I went to bed, because today I HAVE A SCHOOL OUTING with 46 kids (and I am so not ready for this, because I am running on very little sleep). This left Froglet (who is on vacation by now) and Husband (who had a work phone call scheduled at 3 am anyways, because Japanese client and time zones).

When I woke up this morning I found that the house was intact and nothing was missing (hurrah!).

I did, however, notice that there are a few leftovers from the party, including:
- chips.
- so. Many. Chips.
- all the pop (but the bottle of rye on the kitchen counter is completely empty, happy digestion, dude)
- one X box, next to our TV.
- two pairs of lovely nude dress shoes (no, Husband, not Froglet’s. Also, in case you hadn’t noticed, our daughter only has two feet, not four).
- one iPhone charger
- one extremely good looking young man (still awake and fully clothed, yay).

Apparently we’re good hosts because we had the elegance of disappearing after ordering the pizza. And Froglet is super happy, so there is that.

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Me, a week ago: so where’s prom, do you know? And the after-prom?

Froglet: I’ll find out.

Me, two days ago: so do you know where prom is now?

Froglet: yeah, it’s at Fancy-Place-Next-Door. 

Me: wow, that’s super close! You could walk there - well, not in those heels, obviously, but still. And the after-prom?

Froglet *fidgets*: didn’t dad tell you? 

Me: tell me what?

Froglet: It’s here. We’re hosting it. 

Me *falls over*

I think I’m fairly ready. I have finger food of various kinds, mineral water (LOTS of water) and pop; we’re not legally allowed to serve them booze, but apparently if they bring their own booze we’re good, so the kids have dropped off their booze (a lot of booze). They’re gone now, and I am on standby to pick them up and drive them to our place after the official prom is over (which is literally 5 minutes away by car).

Me, to Froglet: Ok, so we have food…

Froglet: don’t leave it on the table though, I need it for the beer pong…

Me: the what? 

Froglet: it’s a, a thing. 

Me: Froglet, I really want your friends to have a memorable after-prom but I’d rather “memorable” didn’t mean being chased around by a crazy frog-lady with a broom.

Froglet *throws arms around me* You’re the best mommy. The best. 

We mommies live for those moments. <3 

WISH ME LUCK! 

(For friends who know me on DW, I’ll post an access-locked picture if you want to have a look :) ) 

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When I was in my late teens, we discovered that my dad was very, very sick. He’d smoked pretty much all his life, as he’d had TB as a young man and word in the sanatarium was that “people who’d had TB never had cancer, here, have a cigarette.” That was the logic behind it, I kid you not. Turns out he never developed cancer, but there are other ways to die from smoking. Towards the end of his life, my dad had about half a (mostly fibrous) lung left to breathe with. We had an oxygen extractor at home and were told that, considering the state of his lungs, the flu was now his worst, most lethal enemy. 

He survived his first flu but it was a close call, and it was a very, very dark time in our family’s life. He was in the hospital in intensive care for several months and it was touch and go for a long time. I was still living with my parents at that time. I visited my dad in the hospital a lot but it was complicated - we had to change into sterile clothes when we visited him, he couldn’t talk at all at first, we had to help him eat and it was TERRIFYING because of the tracheotomy tube and the respirator - rice in particular gave me cold sweats, because what if a few grains of rice slid down his windpipe and ended in his lungs? 

I’d grown up in a house filled with laughter and talk and music, and all of a sudden I came home to an empty house every night after school. It was hard for my mother as well, but we’d always had a complicated relationship (to say the least) and one evening we had an enormous fight. As a result of this, she went three days without speaking to me. Now, I don’t remember what the fight was about (it was probably something minor, we were both on edge all the time), but I do remember my mother walking in and not even saying hello to me. I remember the crushing loneliness. (I also remember my own pigheadedness, make no mistake - I was no angel, it’s not like I tried to talk to her and she didn’t reply. I gave as good as I got.) 

I was very very lonely., so I started doing my homework in front of the TV downstairs every night, just to hear voices in the background. Now, this was back in the mi-80s, and in France, we had exactly three different channels to choose from. I picked the least boring one and just let it play through the evening. 

And this is how I started watching Santa Barbara (the soap). I’d never watched a soap opera in my life, had no idea how the genre worked, but it was soothing that stuff happened ALL THE TIME and all these people had astonishingly busy lives when mine was filled only with dark and silence and hospitals. For a while, I watched the show religiously every evening. My favorite character at the time - the one I identified the most with - was the daughter of the house, Young and Pure and Goodhearted and trying to be happy. She was played by a lovely actress who put all her energy into making this character real (and it wasn’t easy): Robin Wright. 

I kept my eyes on Robin Wright as her career soared and she became recognized as a Serious Actress. I was thoroughly thrilled to find out she was in Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman isn’t my usual cup of tea - I have a hard time with superheroes in general - but I make a point of taking my daughters to see movies with strong, interesting female characters. And that’s a good thing, because otherwise I wouldn’t have watched the movie last night and I really enjoyed it.   

But then of course because I knew NOTHING about Wonder Woman prior to watching the movie, I did not anticipate Antiope’s fate. I was watching the fight on the beach gleefully, happily munching on popcorn. My popcorn-filled hand was half an inch away from my open mouth when Antiope got shot. And then my mouth made a sad, astonished “o” and my fingers opened in shock. 

I spent the rest of the evening fishing pieces of popcorn out of my bra.  

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It's done. I got to sing at Koerner Hall, in front of a packed audience. It wasn't exactly great - I have a million thoughts and many mixed feelings about the entire experience and I need to sift through them a bit before I post about them....

...but we sounded great on Viva la Vida. And I really enjoyed singing this.

I'll have a look through Tadpole's other videos and post something else when/if I can - possibly Life on Mars with Hawskley Workman as a soloist, because that was pretty cool.
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Dear my kid’s best friend’s mother, 

Shut up. Shut THE FUCK up. 

I can’t stop you from making your child, YOUR CHILD, unwelcome in your house, but you FUCKING don’t decide how I feel about her staying at my place. Don’t you DARE accuse her of being an imposition on us. Don’t you DARE tell her that she’s being “unfair to us by staying here”. I really don’t get why you’re going out of your way to try and make her feel unwelcome in this world - what are you hoping to achieve? What purpose does your spite serve?

You don’t get to decide how I feel, or if she’s welcome to stay under my roof or not. *I* get to to that, and she *IS* welcome here anytime. 

Not shut the fuck up and leave her alone. 

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I’ve tried to take a picture that would do my post-apocalyptic croissant justice (or convey the horror I felt when I unpacked it and immediately thought “Cthulhu is risen”), but I failed abysmally and now there is only one way out.

I shall dunk the Beast in coffee and eat it. Mmmmmm.

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About a year ago, as I was telling a friend about all the fun I had with my vocal ensemble, she replied, “Oh I can imagine! I wanted to join this rock choir but too bad, there was a waiting list, ahahahaha”

… and then my old East-German instincts kicked in. 

See, when I was a kid and we’d go visit my grandma in East Germany, this would happen all the time: we’d pass a lineup and we’d just walk over and join it. Sometimes we didn’t even know what we were lining up for, but it didn’t really matter: if we didn’t need it, we certainly knew someone who would. So she said “waiting list” and I immediately thought, “I better get my name in now in case I ever want to join them, because this might take a while”. 

Two days later I got an email for an audition. I panicked and asked a friend what I should do, she was all YOU GOT NOTHING TO LOSE! DO IT!, and long story short, I ended up joining a second choir and I now have 36 songs to memorize because I have two different concerts coming up in the next two weeks. Thirty-six, that’s right - half in English, half in French. I calculated the other night that I’d just had a full 20 hours of rehearsals over a period of one week, not counting the individual memorization/practice time at home, and of course I also work full time.

My brain has decided to take over the memorizing and is now kicking into high gear. It goes like this:

Brain, at 2 am: sweet dreams are made of thiiiiiis

Me: I WOULD KNOW IF I WERE ABLE TO SLEEP. I ONLY DREAM WHEN I SLEEP. SHUT THE FUCK UP AND LET ME SLEEP.

Brain *piously*: Who am IIIIIIIIII to disagreeeeeeeee

Me *buries head in pillow* 

Me *reads a post about @thebibliosphere‘s demon rose*

Brain *bayayaaaas its way into Seal’s kiss from a rose*: IIIIIIII’VE BEEEEEEN KISSED BY A ROSE ON THE GREY

Me *aloud to myself*: not this rose, you complete arse.

Husband: huh? 

Brain, in the middle of the night: IS THERE LIFE ON MAAAAAAAARS?

Me: can we wonder about that some other time? Please? 

My nights, guys. My nights. I just want them back. 

Also, I now miss the sweet olden times when my English wasn’t good enough to understand the actual lyrics of songs, or when I just didn’t care (I can still tune out the meaning of words in English and just listen to the music of the language, something I cannot easily do with French or German). I used to love the Smiths, for instance, and now I have to LEARN lyrics like 

“if a ten ton truck 

kills the both of us, 

dying by your side 

well the pleasure, the privilege is mine”

Seriously, dude? Seriously? Wouldn’t you rather, oh I don’t know, have ice cream with your sweetheart? Or something?

Please, brain, leave me alone, because there’s a fire starting in my heart, reaching a fever pitch and oh I am so fucked…. 

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I got so many compliments for my hair (not to mention I suddenly and unexpectedly became “the cool teacher”). Truth be told, I suspect my hair stylist wanted to play it soft when I had it done the first time, in case I liked the idea of having blue hair more than the actual result, so I was a bit underwhelmed by the result of my first teal streak adventure. I like this one much better! 

My favorite moment today was early this morning when the bell rang: as I was walking out with a colleague to meet my class, the autistic kid in grade four made a beeline for us, parked himself in front of me and said with heartfelt conviction “your hair is beautiful ma’am” before striding off. Thank you kiddo, you made my day. 

I have officially appointed Froglet as my Streak Master. She is very proud. 

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“The colour is almost entirely gone from your teal streak, mom, let me do a subtle touch up”

AKA the day sick!mum allowed enthusiastic!child uncontrolled access to her hair, AKA my child and I may not have the same definition of “subtle”

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You decide to have kids and you’re lucky enough that it happens without a hitch. You raise them as best as you can: you try to feed them good things, you take them places, you read them books, you show them the world. You nurse them when they’re sick, you hug them when they’re sad and lonely, you put band-aids on their boo-boos. You spend sleepless nights searching the internet and other resources, arguing with yourself because you have to make a decision for them, and you want to make sure you have all your facts straight.

You’re not sure you’re doing it right, but you’re certainly trying to be an adequate parent.

They grow up so fast you don’t really see it happen, or maybe you’re just in denial because it’s too fast, dammit, you thought you’d have more time.

And then one tired morning on a day you’re home sick, just like that, they make you a delicious breakfast showcasing culinary skills that you didn’t know they had. And you realize that they may grow up, but they’re still your kids, and they love you like you love them.

Breakfast is absolutely delicious, and sharing it with your lovely child is the best part.

You vow that you will remember this moment, the quiet joy, the shared food, the conversation, the thankfulness.

So just in case, you write it down.

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It's not that I am super happy that Macron won - but I am certainly ecstatic that Le Pen lost. I knew a majority of people preferred Macron to Le Pen, but I wasn't sure how many of them would actually vote. Le Pen's voters ALWAYS show up, what if too many other people chose to vote blank, or didn't vote at all (which, in the French system, amounts to the exact same)?

ANYWAYS. It's over for today. Le Pen lost. Tonight we celebrate, tonight we're relieved and happy.

Tomorrow we fight on. The legislative elections are just around the corner. Le Pen's score is still the highest so far and we have to stay focused and mobilized.

(Overheard on tumblr:

Marine Le Pen is a dementor, pass it on.

reply: EXPECTO MACRONUM!)
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Still in the lineup. Looks like there is another hour worth of lineup in front of me.

Every time we round a corner we see another amount of lineup. We think we’re getting there and NOPE, here is yet another big room entirely filled with disgruntled French people, facing in various directions, depending where they stand the serpentine lineup.

We’re one short fuse away from breaking into revolutionary songs and yet we’re all still here, wearing our exhaustion like a badge of honor.

I am proud and happy and also very hungry, because the plan was “vote then have breakfast, then go see movie” and by now it’s become “vote, then EAT OMG, any food would be very welcome at this point, forget about movie”.

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“What’s the best time to vote?”

Consulate: “just come when it opens”

Ahahahaha. Aha. Ha.

The lineup today goes all the way down PAST the subway entrance. I’ve been waiting for two hours and I’m only halfway there - needless to say that we’re not going to see the 10:30 movie today.

But dammit - I don’t mind the wait. I am happy so many people turned up. Our worst enemy right now is apathy.

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Hotdocs is still going strong; I’ve been watching documentaries about current issues for a full week now and I am a little overwhelmed by the scope of it all. Like every year at this point, I tell myself that next year I’ll pick only fluff. ONLY FLUFF. But I also know that when the time arrives I will pick the current issues, because I want to know what’s going on, no matter how bad it is, and I want to do something, anything, to help. It’s just that after a week of this, it’s impossible to figure out where to start and all I want to do is weep and hug my daughters and tell them that I am sorry about the state of the world. 

On the other hand, I am voting tomorrow. 

Full disclosure: I did vote for Macron in the first round, even though I didn’t know until the last second that I would. I really really liked Mélenchon and I silently apologized to him as I slid Macron’s name into the envelope, but I thought that Macron would have a better chance of defeating Le Pen in the second round and I felt that a strategic vote was the best option at this point. 

I am, however, very angry that Mélenchon chose to not ask his followers to vote against Marine Le Pen. I mean - I understand that Macron is not an ideal option by a long shot, but the alternative is so. Much. Worse. 

Right now, the polls give Macron a solid 65% of the vote, but they gave Clinton a solid lead as well and we all know where that went. Can Le Pen win? Yes. Yes, she can. The people who vote for Le Pen always show up. They always vote. All it takes now is for enough people to stay home, to go fishing, or even to show up and vote blank. Blank votes, sadly, don’t count at all in France - they should be considered as an political expression of dissatisfaction with all offered options, but technically in the French electoral system they’re not even counted, so you might as well stay home.  

So yeah, I am worried. I will be voting super early again, because I have a busy day ahead of me, but I will be voting, and crossing my fingers, and silently willing all my like-minded compatriots to vote as well. 

Please guys. We can’t let Le Pen win this. We can’t.   

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Very very occasionally, my fellow citizens make me proud. This is the lineup to get to the elevators to get to the Consulate at 7:45 this morning.

By the time I left, it was about three times as long.

The consulate is super organized and efficient this year, they expected big crowds. Seeing all these people, all these smiling, friendly yet determined people, is a welcome sight.

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Right. Tomorrow I have an appointment from 9 to 12 and then two ice shows with my Tadpole, so basically the only way I can make sure I get to vote is by standing in front of the French Consulate’s door BEFORE it opens at 8 am tomorrow morning.

Woe. I really wanted to sleep in.

(Worth it though. Always worth it.)

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Email from friend yesterday: “Just a reminder that our last concert of the “What Makes It Great” series it at a different venue tonight”

Me: “… shit I’d forgotten it was tonight”

It was awesome, though. What Makes It Great is an evening of music focusing on one specific piece. First there is a conference by Rob Kapilow, complete with exemples played by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, then the entire piece and to finish a short Q & A session with Rob and the entire TSO. 

Audience member: “I’d like to ask the wind section how they manage to not pass out when they play super long notes?”

Reply from wind section: “That’s because we’re all super fit. We swim, we cycle, we run, you name it. We’re really active, so we’re in top shape. So, yeah, usually we’re good, and then Shostakovich happens and all bets are off.” 

Last night was about Gershwin’s An American in Paris, which I absolutely adore, and Rob spoke at length about Gershwin as a game changer, how he brought jazz and the blues and Boadway into classical music venues.

Audience member: “You said that Gershwin changed all the rules back in the twenties - if he were alive today, what do you think he would do?”

Contrabassist: “have you heard of Hamilton? Lin Manuel Miranda? There you go.”

Rob Kapilow: “that’s a great answer! Back in the twenties, Jazz and the Blues and Brodway - that was the popular music then. That’s what people listened to every day. Gershwin introduced these elements into main symphonic pieces, and he brought down the barriers between classical and popular. And Lin-Manuel Miranda is doing something very similar today - he is taking hip hop and rap, current popular music, and he’s bringing these elements to Broadway, and Broadway is a very strictly coded musical environment. I think we can say that Lin Manuel Miranda is today’s musical game changer.”  

@notmissmarple , I immediately thought of you and thought I would share. :) 

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I had a stressful day at work today, but on the plus side, one of my kids made me a wand!

(Specifically, one of my eight-year-old kids made me a gorgeous, gorgeous wand with wood and hot glue and pearls and a KNIFE. I love my wand.)

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OMG

Overheard on the radio this morning: a trailer filled with $45,000 worth of LETTUCE (I kid you not) was stolen yesterday in Hamilton, Ontario.

The police is having a field day: the picture comes from an actual police tweet.

They’re also urging the population to “romaine calm”. I’M DYING! The Hamilton police is killing us with salad puns and I’m dying.

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My new washing machine is so roomy I am pretty sure Froglet could fit in it, and so deep that every time I have to reach in to grab an item at its bottom I expect a Kraken to emerge from the abyss.

Also, it sings at me when I turn it on! So prettily it chimes! I had never been that excited about dirty laundry until this moment!

o_O

…okay, that sounded a lot saner in my head.

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