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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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This year our country will celebrate its 150th anniversary, so the teachers who run the school radio at my school, my tiny French Catholic elementary school, have decided that it would be nice to honour all sorts of Canadian people, to show how diverse Canada is. 

The kids have been encouraged to do their own research, find an interesting person to honour, write their biography and share it on the radio. They’re not always very inspired by their subject, so more often than not we get a short wikipedia excerpt about people we’ve never heard about, containing super long words painstakingly read by a 10-year-old.

AND SO today our school radio paid a surprising and vibrant tribute to a porn-o-graphic actress, followed by a brief panicked intervention by our acting principal who said she was, of course, “a photographic artist” (no she wasn’t).

And then we all fell over laughing, because what the hell happened. (I strongly suspect that our uninspired radio researcher googled “Ontario Actress Famous Adult”  and had no idea what “pornographique” meant, but decided that since it ended in “phique” it was probably about math or science and he might as well chance it. WELL PLAYED KIDDO)    

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We got a new washer and dryer today and I am ridiculously excited about this. Our washing machine died unexpectedly on Sunday (choked on a very full load of flannel bed sheets, bummer) and since our dryer had been creaking like a fucking pterodactyl on speed for the past few months, we decided to replace both appliances. (No, we didn’t try to fix them - they already exceeded all expectations by living a full VERY BUSY 15 years).

The new appliances are very big. Probably roomy enough to fit an entire Froglet. I know because she tried - she went head first into the washer and I am pretty sure she might have fit. I am not that confident, however, that she could have gotten out again. 

rainette: Froglet! Don’t! Get back out!

Froglet: I am sure I can…

rainette: Froglet. I am going to take a picture of your butt half in the washer and POST IT ON THE INTERNET.

Froglet: shitnowait - here, I am out. 

This, I am afraid, is how the 21st century works at my house. 

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I have a trainee these days and she’s super nice but OMG how are you such an extrovert, trainee of mine?

Please don’t follow me to the bathroom! It’s creepy as hell, I am not fond of communal peeing, and HOW THE FUCK do you not realize that I don’t even need to pee, all I want is five minutes of silence!

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My father-in-law sent Froglet a card (and a big cheque) for her 18th birthday. On the card, he carefully and very clearly printed the dates of every single French election for which she is allowed to vote in 2017. 

Because he’s awesome like that. <3 

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This weekend I firmly scratched “Dog sledding” off my bucket list. I am also contemplating going down said bucket list and carefully editing out every activity that involves a lot of speed with few possibilities for braking or steering (I have ALWAYS hated tobogganing for that very reason). 

Anyone who says dog sledding isn’t a fucking sport because the dogs do all the work deserve to be tied to a sled in a motherfucking forest on a particularly icy day and see what happens. I, for one, have learned that I am only good at one part of it, and that’s the ear scratching. I will happily scratch all the ears in the world and massage all the furry faces into blissful contentment. I will not EVER set foot on a sled again. No, no, it was fun - everybody else in the family loved it, it’s just that I spent most of the ride being scared for my life, and also I fell at least twice and falling on ice is not the same as falling in snow, as my knees keep reminding me today.

Our guides were awesome and the dogs were endlessly fascinating, Each of them has its own personality, and while they often look the same, you can soon tell them apart just by seeing what they do. 

Our first lead dog, whose name I can’t remember, just wouldn’t start. He squarely sat on his bum, ignored our yelling and contemplated the neighborhood (he had to be swapped for another lead dog. I sweat that he laughed at us when they carried him off). 

Husband’s lead dog, Ice, would not stop for anyone, not even with two people fucking STANDING on the brakes. At some point he caught up to the sled in front of them, and the guy standing at the back of the sled nearly fell off in surprise when ALL OF A SUDDEN a big furry head appeared between his legs. 

Havoc (OH JEEZ I WONDER WHY THEY NAMED HIM HAVOC HAR HAR HAR) is unspeakably strong and not that bright. He needs two harnesses because he will easily break through a singe harness. This gave Sequoia, who was running behind him, a break and she mostly enjoyed the scenery without ever pulling anything (her line stayed slack the whole time).

Olga is unimpressed with the whole pulling business as well. She is also very smart (apparently she likes to start fights and then she stands by the sidelines to see what happens  - like the legendary Fox of North York, who pees all around trees and enjoys watching dogs go crazy trying to follow his scent) and easily bored, so not only did she never pull, but she also occasionally tried to stop everyone to sniff a tree or enjoy a bank of snow. 

Klondike likes to run but she likes to run free and she resents having to pull people. 

Guide: watch Klondike, she’s going to try and throw us against the tree.

Klondike: runs straight into the tree

Froglet and guide: narrowly avoid tree.

Froglet: well done! …. oh wait, ditch.

Guide: OH SHIT!

Klondike: makes for ditch

Sled: falls over.

And then there were squirrels. 

Whoever wrote the dogs in “Up!” knew exactly what dogs are about. They’re all muscle, controlled energy, unconditional love, deep wish to be a good boy and then there are squirrels and everything goes to hell. 

We were moving at a good speed when all of a sudden my guide yelled OH SHIT and a squirrel crossed the path in front of us. And then three things happened all at once: the guide stood firmly on the brake, the dogs veered sharply to the right, and I stayed exactly where I was while the sled went… elsewhere. Inertia saw its moment, grabbed me firmly by the center of gravity and propelled me unto the ice on all fours. 

Ow. 

Thankfully, the following squirrel stayed on the path. 

Sadly, the path was a very steep, icy hill. 

(I stayed on, but OMG the fright!) 

To sum up my experience of dog sledding: lots of fun for young folks, very fast, good dogs, many trees, hidden ditches, mostly good dogs, SQUIRRELS, fuckton of bruises. Oooof! 

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I had the time to take a picture during a short break.

Somehow Husband managed to take a video, which is astounding considering how fast the dogs go and how unstable the sleds are on the ice, but he loses points for holding his phone upside down (the dogs look like they're running like flies on an icy ceiling, which is hilarious and not entirely improbable - all you need is the right kind of squirrel to incite them).

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The lake is frozen solid. This is the first time I walk on actual water OMG and it’s a glorious feeling. Lakes in France don’t ever freeze enough for this.

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Birthday girl on ice!

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I had the time to take a picture during a short break.

Somehow Husband managed to take a video, which is astounding considering how fast the dogs go and how unstable the sleds are on the ice, but he loses points for holding his phone upside down (the dogs look like their running like flies on an icy ceiling, which is hilarious and not entirely improbable - all you need is the right kind of squirrel to incite them).

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