Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Waffle Debacle (with a side of French Toast Taunter)

"And in the dream there were waffles in the freezer.  Lots and lots and lots of waffles.  So I knew exactly what I would have this morning," says Rissa as she comes down the stairs.

"Hmmmm?"  I'm on Facebook.  The way I used to be able to split my focus - pre-internet?  That no longer exists.  The noise of Rissa opening and closing the refrigerator a few moments later seeps into my consciousness and I look up.  I hear the word 'breakfast.'  "Pardon?"

"Have you eaten breakfast?" 

"No.  Un-unh."  I was planning on having a granola bar with some soy milk - I remain in post-holiday food recovery.   But when I see the egg container in her hand, my stomach betrays me. "Are you making scrambled eggs?"

Rissa looks at me and rolls her eyes.  "Mummy.  French Toast.  I am making FRENCH TOAST.  I had a whole back story about it.  You weren't listening."

"I did hear the waffle bit..."  I say apologetically.  This not-listening of mine is happening more and more.  The other night I was reading as David was talking, and I didn't hear a word of what he said. Not a single word.  In my defense, I did recognize that noises could be heard in the room.  Plus I was reading Harry Potter at the time.

I hurt his feelings.  He actually huffed at me - turned his head away from me even.  I had to do some major emotional back-pedalling.  Shit!  Maybe this is becoming a thing - the not-listening.  Is this a pre-cursor to early-onset dementia?  Between this and not being to remember people's last names and proper nouns - I'm pretty much fucked.

Rissa's still talking.  "I had to console myself with French Toast...  (tuned out)  "You and Daddy can fight over the last egg guck."

"Hmmm?  Egg guck?"

"I lied.  There wasn't as much egg guck as I thought.  So I used it up."   She shows me the empty bowl with egg and cinnamon residue on it.

"So basically you're a French Toast Taunter?"

"I didn't mean to be.  It just happened.  Plus, you didn't care about my waffle debacle - AT ALL - really you're getting what you deserve."  Mic Drop.  That's my girl.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Death by Nordic Socks

I picked up as many pairs as I could carry in my arms to the cash.  Nordic socks from Old Navy.  Colourful, Skandihoovian...  perfect...  until you try to put them on your feet. 

(movie trailer announcer voice)

In a world where quirky fashion puts its foot forward, Heather thought she'd hit pay dirt.  Will her beautiful new socks save her or destroy her?

I will fully admit that I'm not a pixie when it comes to foot size.  I'm about a size 9, with calves that would make an Olympic athlete proud.  But these socks - these beautiful socks that said Ladies Size 5-10 - gave me such hope.  Thing is about intricately patterned socks - most seem to actually have full-on wool knitted into them.  Wool doesn't have as much give as say - pretty much anything other than wool. 

The sock barely goes onto the ball of my foot.  Others, less determined, would stop here.  They'd recognize that the tensile strength of the sock more than likely outweighs the strength of their arms. But I, I refuse to admit defeat.   I use the not inconsiderable muscle of my upper back, shoulders and biceps to pull the socks up past my heel.  Thankfully my heels - so calloused from walking in bad shoes - can't feel anything other than pressure - a whole lot of pressure. I inch  the unyielding garment upwards  - I still have another 6 inches to go to summit my full calf.  My knuckles gain purchase to the fullest part of my calf - I pry those suckers up.

"HAH!"  The sock is up.  "THE SOCK IS UP!!!"

I look down at the other sock and square my shoulders.  I am wearing these.  They will adorn my holiday feet. 

The dermatographia on my legs after wearing these socks for a day is like nothing I've seen before.  Both calves are bruised from my knuckles walking the wool up.  And sure, I was perhaps a little woozy and my feet tingled from the lack of blood flow, but the socks were stupendous, spectacular...  splendiferous.

After I'd taken the socks off - Rissa tried them on.  (I'd also given her some of these socks - and she had complained of the difficulty in wearing them.)  Because my feet and calves are larger than hers - putting on my pre-worn socks didn't maim her.  A big holiday lightbulb went on over my head.  I could simply get David to pre-wear the socks for me... problem conquered.  Plus, I'll have pictures of David in colourful Nordic socks, which is pretty much a win-win.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Middle Aged Spread...

I fucked it all up last January.   That was when I had a sore throat that turned into the flu, that turned into bronchitis which knocked me on my ass for about two months and instead of pushing through as I usually would, I actually rested.  Mostly on account of the fact that after walking from the bedroom to the bathroom, I needed to lie down.  I rested so much in the winter that my body said "Hey, I LOVE this resting thing, let's do more of that." I rested so much that my body forgot that it craved exercise.

I compensated for this lack of movement by eating salads every day at lunch.  My body rediscovered vegetables.  "Green things.  I like these green things.  And the red things and yellow things.  They are so... crisp... so... tasty..."

And then in the spring, I got to feeling better so hopped back on the ol' treadmill.  By summer, I was going for lots and lots and lots of walks in the actual outdoors, forcing the spouse with me so that the pair of us could mock those poor non-exercising schmos from our moral high ground.  Rissa and I started exercising in the evening - doing strength training.  And you know something?  Doing 60 squats a night?  After two months?  It actually makes one's ass look spectacular.  My ass looked fucking spectacular.   I used one of those exercise band thingies to strengthen my arms, I had defined triceps again.  I was feeling good, I was feeling strong, I was feeling fit...

And then?  Then I stood in a group of "20-something" girls in NY.  NEVER do that.  Stand next to one maybe, but not FIVE of them.  Don't surround your middle-aged body with women who are 25 years younger than you.  Their tiny bodies with their tiny waists, tiny asses and tiny thighs make you look like God-freaking-zilla amidst a terrified population. Next to these girls I looked like the big-boned middle-aged Aunt visiting from Europe with a uni-boob in a dress that, until placed next to these girls, I'd thought was flattering.

I persevered though.  I continued to be mindful of my eating, my exercise.  I kept doing those squats and lifting those legs.  Then I went to see my endocrinologist...  who put me on the scale and informed me that I'd gained 6 pounds in the last year. 

"I'm sorry... I did WHAT NOW?!?  But I've been exercising and eating salads!!  I know that it's not about the number on the scale, but what do I have to DO here?  Do I have to actually CUT OFF a limb to get to within 15 lbs of my ideal body weight??"

I'm not saying that I want to be 135 lbs which, according to most statistics, is what I should weigh.  I would look like a fucking corpse if I weighed that amount.  I'd be ecstatic arriving at the 150 lbs mark - which still means I'd have to lose TWENTY-FIVE POUNDS!!  I'd have to lose the equivalent of two, 3-month-old babies from my body.  Oh fuck - that's disgusting.  I have THAT much extra weight on me??  Jesus.  No wonder the vintage dress that I've been holding onto since I was 24 no longer fits me!  There's no extra room for my body and two hip babies!!

I blame peri-menopause (which has so many adorable symptoms, but the one I'm focused on right now is the seemingly inevitable weight gain), hypothyroidism (again crazy-amounts of symptoms - but ... weight gain), and...night caps.  That Rusty Nail that I have every now and again or mug of mulled wine while I'm cozying up with a book or binge-watching Netflix, that contributes, I'm sure, to the issue.  So I ask you this: How much more exercise would I have to do, how little food would I have to ingest to still be able to enjoy those night caps.  'Cause when the depression hits about not fitting into a dress from 2 decades ago, jogging 5 times around my small town isn't my go-to.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

"You cannot post about that!"

Says David.

"But it's so good.  It's a great bit."

"I am not a great bit," he says determinedly.

I raise my eyebrows at him.

"I am serious.  I don't feel comfortable with you leading a post with that."

I pout.  "You're taking away my comedy."

"No, I'm taking away MY comedy.  I don't want people reading it and saying 'Hey David, nice about your (redacted words),' when I see them on the street."

"Even if it's for a really good cause?"

"What, this is going to help stamp out Islamaphobia?  It'll cure cancer?"

"You never know.  Laughter is very freeing."

"I don't feel comfortable."

"Can't I just mention the  (redacted words)?"

"No you may not."

"What about the  (redacted words)?"


"(redacted words)  (more redacted words)  (Still more redacted words, with extra fancy redacted phrasology)??"


"But it's so freaking charming."

"I don't care.  That is just between you and me..."

" 'I came here for a party and what do I get?  Nothing.  Not even ice cream.' " I say in my best Groucho Marx.

"Too bad for you."


Thursday, November 19, 2015

And you shall not run...

I've got the PF.   Plantar Facsiitis.  I can no longer run.   I mean, sure I could run if something was chasing me - or if a building was on fire - but I'd pay for it later.  I'd get up the next day, attempt to stand on both feet and then collapse to the floor when the heel of my left foot gave out. Just the left foot.  MY left foot.  And unlike Christy Brown or Daniel Day Lewis, I have nothing to show for my left foot.  I sure as shit can't paint or write with it.

I haven't injured my left heel.  It's not like a car ran over my heel and my body is still processing.  This ailment is just from arriving into middle age. You run when you're a kid and you can run forever;  you laugh as you gallop, skip, sprint... You run in middle age and apparently you're pretty much fucked.  I ran to catch up in the parade last weekend and now I'm limping like hamstrung giraffe.

Do a quick poll of women of a certain age and you'll be amazed at how many also suffer from PF.  It's an epidemic of failing foot ligaments.

You might say, off the cuff, "My heel's been giving me grief."

Six women over the age of 40 will turn to you. "Plantar Fasciitis," they will nod, commiserate and suggest exercises.

If they're really good friends they'll get you in to see the hot physiotherapist.  You know, 'cause a cheap little thrill at our age makes one's day brighter.  Although if I were to do that, I'd have to pluck my toe hair, paint my nails and pretend I don't have hammer toes.   That seems like WAY too much work.  So much easier to simply inform the poor schmuck who's caring for your feet that it's coming up to winter and what lies under your socks ain't gonna be pretty.  Unless the physiotherapist is  REALLY, REALLY hot... And then, I mean, come on... I defy any person not to take an interest in their pedal appearance if they have someone of Matthew Goode's or Scarlett Johanssen's ilk touching their little piggies.  Tough call. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Porta-Potty Peril

"It must be tough to be a highway construction worker," says Rissa.

"Hmmmm?" I respond.  I glance towards the central median of the 401, taking in the construction zone.  "Yeah, especially when you're working there."

"I mean, when do you pooh?"


"They've got Porta-Potties, but really, who could ever be comfortable enough to actually have a pooh, when there are cars whizzing by you at 100kms an hour?"

"I guess you get used to it."

"HOW?!?  How would that be possible?  Most people aren't comfortable poohing in a public washroom..."

She's right.  I myself, couldn't poop with anyone nearby until well into my 20s - until I'd developed a spastic colon because of my unwillingness to acknowledge that a #2 was a part of life and sometimes when one did it there was noise.

"I'd be there all day.  I couldn't do it.  I would have to wait until 3:00 a.m. and then do my business."

"Let's light a candle for them when we get home, to give them strength."

"Oh God, they're mostly dudes.  Mostly dudes nervously using a Porta-Potty on the 401.  They can't light a candle in there.   How can we send bulk Poo-Pourrie to road workers??"

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Chasing Cyd Charisse

In the mid-80s the bus dropped me off on Ness Avenue and I walked two major blocks south to get to high school.  I walked down the alley behind Ainsley Street -  this was Winnipeg - we had alleys everywhere.  I had two goals every morning: get to school early and walk faster than Francine Bishop.

I would see Francine walking ahead of me down that alley and it became my obsession to overtake her.  It was an impossible task.  Francine was at least six inches taller than me, with Cyd Charisse legs that bent the laws of physics and physicality.  Her legs appeared at least 10 inches longer than mine.  Maybe I had a long torso and she had a short torso, but I swear those legs went all the way up to her fucking arm pits.  I looked up to her, figuratively and literally.  She was a year ahead of me, took drama was super smart.  I have no idea why the need to walk faster than her kicked in.  Maybe my inner Neanderthal took control and needed to be the lead hunter/gatherer.

"Gronk need be first!"  Chest thump.  "Gronk fast!"

It was ridiculous.  I'd have to practically run to even get close. I'd be pumping my arms, speed walking - then, if I managed to get within striking distance, I'd have to act all nonchalant as if I was not attempting to break the land speed record to catch up to her and her unbelievable legs. 

I did it once.  I passed her, offered a cheerful "Good morning!" and then kept powering through, the lactic acid burning in my legs, the muscles in my ass twitching by the time I made it to the school.  I could barely manage the stairs before collapsing beside my locker.  But as I lay there, gasping for breath, I imagined the head of the Olympic Committee presenting me with a gold medal.  In a near-coma I saw the Canadian flag being raised as I mumble-sang Oh Canada to the crowd.  It never happened again.  I think maybe the day I passed her she was sick, or tired... or humouring me.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Is that a dirty book?

... asks Rissa as I pop open my e-reader.  "I'm asking, 'cause you mostly have dirty books on there, right?"

"Yes, there are mostly dirty books on this e-reader.  But this one hasn't gotten dirty yet."  I'm not a fan of Dickens when I'm winding down with a book.  Some good character development, some sex, some puns and I'm good.

"What's this one called?" she asks.

" Beautiful... something..."

"It's called Beautiful SOMETHING? That's a terrible title."  She leans back on the pillow and puts a lavender cat mask over her eyes to block out the reading light.

I explain. "No, it's just that on an e-reader - or at least my e-reader - they don't have the book title on the top of each page and you can't just turn the book over to confirm the title or even the author.  The book is one in a series and they all start with 'Beautiful.'  Beautiful Bastard, Beautiful Stranger.. HAH!  This one must then be Beautiful PLAYER."

"So basically you could just have some random title and it wouldn't even have to be sexy?"


Rissa lets out a snort of laughter, the lavender cat becoming displaced momentarily.


"I'm thinking of titles now.  Twenty questions with Irving."

"You're such a goof."

"The Lampshade of Destiny."


"Indigo the Bullfighter Meets the Marsupials."  She is vibrating now with laughter.

"You are so weird."

"Elbows and the Renaissance!!!  Or, or... if you have sentences within the dirty book they could be even weirder, 'She was fine until Marcel and his marionettes came to town'. "

She is silent for a moment and then starts convulsing with laughter.


"I have to  ̶  " she stops.  "I have  to be able to do this without  ̶ "  She blows out calming air, but then loses it again and pitches into a fit of giggles.


" 'Linda never though that the limbo could be fun until she met Jean-Paul and his dog' !!!!!  BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HAAAAAAA!!!!"

I am snorting now too.  "How do you come up with this stuff?"

She cackles again.  "I have my thinking 'cat' on.  Get it?  I'm wearing the cat mask?  BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HAAAAAAA!!!!"

This is one of the many reasons why I love my child.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Quick! The kid isn't home - let's DO this!!!

Rissa was going to be gone for three whole nights.  David and I begin sharing the the waggling eyebrow looks, the suggestive head tilts, the...


"What?  Doing what?!?"

Rissa rolls her eyes.  But then gives us the I'm watching you look.

Surreptitiously now, I am trying to communicate with David all the places we will have sex during our childless days:  All the kitchen counters, the living room sofa, ottoman, possibly the Laz-y-Boy, the family room sofa, the bed in our room, the blanket box in our room, against the wall in our room, the bathroom floor...

David whispers in my ear, "You can be as loud as you want."  I blush.  Rissa dramatically points to her eyes and then us.

Noisy sex - the thing you can't have when there's another person in your home.  Though you may experience an earth-shattering orgasm that makes you want to scream, possibly yodel, joyously into the abyss - you just don't.  When Rissa was little it was because the last thing I wanted was for our toddler to come into our room and holler, "DADDY YOU'RE SQUISHING MUMMY!!!"  Now that she's a teenager, and remembering myself as a teenager,  I basically don't want her to vomit when she thinks of what could be instigating the sounds from our bedroom.

We are going to have three nights.  And by nights, I really mean three late afternoons, evenings and nights of sex.  I'm hyrdating, stretching, epiladying.. I am ready... Let's DO this!!!  David comes home from work.  His laptop bag is flung from his shoulder, he struts into the kitchen...

I'm on the sofa in the family room.  My entire body is disappointment, I have a hot water bottle across my abdomen.  "Batten down the hatches...thar she blows..."

"No.  Really?"  He sits on the arm of the sofa.   He's thinking now, I can practically see the cogs turning in his brain.  "Yeah... Yeah... we should have known this.  You've been craving chocolate and pretty frisky..."

My shoulders slump.  "But we have three days!!!  We were going to have sex everywhere!!!"  I swallow my ibuprofen.

He sits beside me and drops a light kiss on my lips.  He smooths the hair off my face.  "I guess," he whispers, kissing me again, but not so lightly this time.  "I guess we're just going to have to get creative." His eyes meet mine and the bottom drops out of my stomach.

"Creative?" I gasp.  (After almost 19 years of sex with this man, he still makes me gasp.)

"VERY creative."  He cracks his knuckles, waggling his eyebrows.

I snort.  He kisses me again.

"Dinner now or later?" he asks.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Welcome home my lovelies!

It took 15 years, but I have finally done it!  I have replenished the shoe cache that I had before Rissa was born.  Pre-Rissa I had a... I'm not going to call it a shoe fetish, 'cause it wasn't like I was humping them or anything...  instead I'll call it a shoe... fascination.

I had a good 75 pairs of shoes.  Every colour in the ROYGBIV spectrum, kitten heels, wedges, stillettos, boots, leather, suede, floral... I was a happily-shod girl.  Then, when I was dumb enough to gain 50 lbs while pregnant, my feet, the actual ligaments in my feet loosened and then SPREAD.  (Seriously, DON'T gain 50  lbs when you're pregnant - not even if your midwife says 'Some women need 15 lbs to grow a healthy baby and some women need 60." She is wrong - you don't need that much weight to grow a healthy baby - it will take you four years to lose it.)  All my lovely shoes no longer fit me.  There was no possible way that I could regain what was now lost to me.  After-pregnancy, I had to buy shoes at least a 1/2 size too large or specialty shoes in a D width.  The cost was going to be astronomical.  It could not be warranted. 

But now, after a decade and a half of shopping only when items were on sale, of scouring the Value Villages and thrift stores, I am finally back to where I have the perfect pair of shoes to go with those pants, or that skirt, or that dress.  I have the knee-high boots that make David salivate.  I have comfortable sneakers that fit the width of my post-pregnancy dew beaters.

These shoes will not bring about world peace, they will not help educate my daughter, they will not support my spirituality.  My plum, heeled Mary Janes have no greater purpose than making me happy when I see them and perhaps giving my stems a little shape.  I'm not saying it's the best $11.99 I've ever spent... but comes pretty close.   

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Blackmailed into Good Health


Fuck peri-menopause. FUCK IT!!!  I do my best, I really do, I try to find the silver fucking lining to pretty much everything, but COME ON!!!

I am sitting here drenched as I type.  Because why?  Because I had fucking Chinese food!  Apparently MSG can trigger hot flashes.  The same way that too much salt can trigger hot flashes. The same way that caffeine can trigger hot flashes.  The same way that alcohol can trigger hot flashes.

I have become a tea-fucking-totaler, a crunchy granola enthusiast, a purveyor of vegetables, not out of choice, not because it's the healthful thing to do, but rather because if I don't - IF I DON'T - I will spontaneously combust... sometimes several times in a night.  I feel like Fawkes, the fucking Phoenix!

"Just kill me," I beg Rissa and David

"Oh love, are you hot?" asks David.

"Am I hot?  AM I HOT?!?  Feel beneath my breasts!"  I lift up my tank top, exposing my unencumbered tatas.   "You could deep fry tempura under here!!!"

Rissa averts her gaze.  "Whoa!!  Boobs!!  Maternal boobs!!"

I do my best not to burst into tears.  I would punch at the air, but the ineffectual movement would just make me hotter.

"Would you like a cool drink?"

"I would love an ice-cold chocolate fucking martini, but I can't have one because if I do, my insides will turn molten and I will DIE!!!"

"How about an ice pack?" David suggests helpfully.

An ice pack!!!  Oh sweet Jesus, we have ice packs!!!  I stagger down the stairs to the deep freeze, David's voice calls out behind me "I would have gotten them for you love..."

An angels' chorus greets me as I open the deep freeze - I weep at the beauty I find therein.

I come back upstairs looking like the beginnings of a bad BDSM scene.  I have small packs around my ankles and wrists with a larger one strapped around my neck.  I place myself in front of the oscillating fan to dry off my hot flash sweat.

"Better?" asks David.

"I don't have adequate words.  I want to start a charity that will give these to my sisters throughout the world.  SISTERS!!! SISTERS I WILL HELP YOU ALL!!!"

David and Rissa exchange a look.  "It's possible she might be hallucinating right now."

Friday, August 14, 2015

The House Hippo...

"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!" from Rissa downstairs.

"What?  What is it?"  I bolt to the top of the stairs.


"What are you looking at!?!" 

"I signed up for the House Hippo Instagram feed..."

Oh thank God... She hadn't found any of those pictures...

House Hippos AKA Skinny Pigs AKA Hairless Guinea Pigs.  She has been obsessed ever since she discovered them at our local Buskers Fest's Crazy Creatures booth.  It was love at first sight.


Even I have to admit that I dig them.  I mean, what's not to love?  They're like naked mole rats but so much cuter.

She devoted several hours one afternoon to finding house hippo names for a pet she will probably not have until she's in university.






Inigo (Montoya)


By reading her list of names you can glean pretty much all of her media influences:  A Midsummer Night's Dream, Harry Potter, The Incredibles, The Blues Brothers, Love Actually, Studio 60, clowning, cartoons... My favourite: Inigo with (Montoya) in brackets because you know that although she would call it Inigo she would be thinking Montoya in brackets 100% of the time.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Summertime Bitch

Heat and hormones don't mix.  I get mean in the heat.  You know when you can hear yourself losing it?  When vitriolic tones spill from your lips and you don't even want to be around you?   That's me in the dog days of summer.  The rest of the year I do my best to be a kind person.  I open doors.  I use my pleases and thank-yous...  I actually mean them.  When there's a heat wave?  My kindness evaporates and I want to murder fluffy bunnies.

Swollen ankles and feet.  Sweaty shins.  Pressure on my chest.  The urge to weep because of the afore-mentioned...   Crabby, whiny, petulant - and that's with me not even voicing 3/4 of the things that I wan to say.

Random person says, "I just love this heat!"    I think, "I would love to see your decapitated, iced head on a platter providing me with the Popsicle that I so badly need right now."

Random person says, "Enjoy it while it's here!  This is Canada..."  I think, "Are you a fucking moron?   Environment Canada has told people to stay indoors so that they'd don't DIE!  This is not a perk!!"

Random person says, "It's shorts and skirt weather!"  I think, "FUCK YOU AND YOUR THIGH GAP!!!  I have literally stopped while walking down a busy sidewalk, grabbed the purse sized medicated Gold Bond powder stashed within my messenger bag, lifted my skirts and powdered my inner thighs IN PUBLIC to stop the rubbed-raw skin from KILLING me."

This may be why David makes me so many cocktails in the summer.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Come the Zombie Apocalypse...

Sitting naked on the side of the bathtub.  Legs out over the edge.  Wet hair dripping into the tub.  Humming "Smoke on the Water" to myself.

David stops on his way to the bedroom.  "Are you okay?"

"Yeah.  Yeah, I'm fine."

His eyebrows low on his forehead.  "Why are you sitting there like that?"

"I'm conditioning my hair."

"Oh..."  He turns to leave... "You can't do that in the shower?"

"Oh I can.  I just don't want to waste water.  This is deep conditioning.  I'm doing this for seven minutes.  Come the zombie apocalypse, we're going to have to know how to conserve water.  I'm practicing."

David nods sagely.  "Good plan.  As you were."

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Worth every last penny...

They sell food at Winners.  Gourmet food.  High-end, gluten-free, organic, tri-coloured pasta type food.  For a fraction of regular high-end, gluten-free, organic type prices.  If I wanted to have a 12 year Balsamic Vinegar at bargain prices, I can get it.   Now, on occasion, I will spend 5 times as much for a specialty food item.  Yes, I can get coarse salt for less than $2 at No Frills, but I can get PINK Himalayan rock salt at Winners at a mere $7.99 for... 1/2 of the amount.

This is one of many things that causes my mother to shake her head at me, blood pooling in her gums from a bitten tongue.

But I say this to you: Pink Himalayan salt has restorative powers - worth more than $7.99 for 454 grams.  Every single time I fill up my salt grinder and see that pink salt in it, I smile.  Every time.  I'm looking across the kitchen at that grinder filled to the brim with pinkness right now, not even touching it and it is giving me joy.  When my hands are actually on the grinder, I get a contact high.   My life is better with Pink Himalayan salt.  454 grams will last me months and months.  For a mere $0.05 a day I have visual (and culinary) joy. What else can you get for five cents a day that has the ability to induce immediate joy? 

One might say, "But the joy a child or pet brings is free - the love you feel for them is priceless." I call bullshit.  You're wrong. 

Sure, you can acquire the kids or pets for free, but on a daily costing basis?  My child eats at least 8 bucks of food a day.  The cats, are much more economical at only about a buck for food and litter.  I'm not saying that the Pink Himalayan salt gives me as much joy as my child (who will gargle Gershwin) or pets (who will chase their tails), but when I need a quick hit?  Casting a glance at the Pink Himalayan salt makes me feel like this:

Monday, July 20, 2015

Flat cats...


"You okay love?" asks David solicitously.

"Heat.  Blergh. Sticky. Thighs... chafing..."

"But you're not even moving - your thighs can't be chafing if you're not moving."

"You'd think that would be the case, wouldn't you?  It's because I'm just thinking of moving.  My thighs, they know that I'm thinking of moving, and they've already begun to chafe."  I turn my head to the side and murmur despondently, "Je déteste l'été..."

I am one of very few Canadians who do not relish the dog-days of summer. I will choose winter over summer.  My seasonal picks run thus: spring and autumn in an equal tie for first place, then winter, then near-spring, the-day-before-autumn, near-winter and finally, after every other possible combination... summer. Give me a day of 23 degrees Celsius with zero humidity and I'm ecstatic. 30 with a Humidex of 39 and I'm threatening to murder inanimate objects.

"You fucking viscous oak dining chair!  Let go of the back of my thighs!  I will chop you into pieces and decimate you with the molten heat from beneath my breasts!!"

David purchases floor fans to move conserved cooler air from the window air conditioners around.  I hog the revolving tower fan in the living room as we watch episodes of IZombie.  It is a delightful show of skirt-raising as I  hunker down to air out my hot-enough-to-double-as-a-panini-press nether regions.

The poor cats.  I've never seen them so flat.  They ooze into the floor.  

Flat Minuit

Flat Steve

The cats are so uncomfortable that they aren't even asking for food.  And this is from beasts who routinely beg for their meals at least an hour in advance of feeding  time.  It appears that they, like me, become nauseated by the extreme heat.  Pro-side?  This heat-induced nausea has put us all on a meal apathy diet.  How do you feel about dinner?  Meh...

As a gal who freely admits to getting truly nasty during a heatwave, I'm also the first to say that  ingenuity is a heat-hater's best friend.  I have it down to a science.  The window air conditioner runs at full blast for the 15 minutes before bed, then the floor fan, at level 3, oscillates.  A cool shower, an ice pack wrapped around my neck and accompanying Gravol for the nausea, et voilà!  Not only can sleep be attained, it can be enjoyed.  And tomorrow night, if I can fight against the urge to slip into a heat-exhaustion, near-coma-post-work nap - I'll actually be able to sleep when I hit the sheets.  Bright side?  I managed to pen this post at 2:00 a.m.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The secret to reducing crows feet...

You wake up in the morning and do the zombie shuffle to the bathroom.  The light goes on; your ill-prepared eyes close - too much light, too soon.  Your pasty mouth makes a smasking sound as you open and close it, you wonder what crawled in to die overnight.  You stick out your tongue, making sure that it isn't coated with a layer of scoopable kitty litter.  Your eyes finally focus as you lean in towards the mirror and that's when you see them.  The creases on the side of your face - the ones by your eyes - the... crow's feet.  It's not just dermatographia from the pillow case either.

The crow's feet have epic prominence this morning and you look like you've gone 10 rounds.  You poke the skin around your left eye - the puffiest eye...  It wasn't this puffy last night when you went to bed.  Did you have an allergic reaction to something?  Did one of the cats cold-cock you in your sleep?  There's no better word for it, your face looks... SMOOSHED.   poke - poke - poke...  It's as if all the skin has been pushed into a Shar Pei version of its regular self...

And that's when it hits you. Your face has been smooshed. You slept your face into its present state.  The weight of your head, as you slept on your side, has distorted your aging facial skin.

Let's face it, when a woman looks at those crow's feet on her face, its the rare bird who says: "Hey look at the aged beauty and character upon my visage!"  Age and character just doesn't seem to fly for the feminine set - it's not accepted and revered the way it is on the male form.

You've passed 40, you've tried your fair share of eye creams.  You've probably spent some cool pocket change on different varieties before you read the Internet articles telling you that once the lines are there, you're pretty much fucked.  Unless you're wealthy and can go the surgical or Botox maintenance route - those crow's feet are here to stay.  By the age of 47, you don't even really mind the crow's feet - it's the puffy smooshed bird nest by association that makes you die a little inside.

Fear not!  You don't need the bullshit (probably not literally made from bullshit) hundred dollar face creams.  You don't need Botox.  In a woman's fight to lessen the appearance of crow's feet and their accompanying bird nest, there is a simple solution.  One that we can all implement - starting today.  Are you ready?


How about this?  How about we call them what they actually are?  SMILE LINES.  I have SMILE lines. I've spent 47 years smiling.  That's almost half a century of smiling.  I can't and shouldn't want to erase these lines.  They're the marks of a life full of fucking good moments...  Of moments that made me smile,  giggle, snort, titter and guffaw with laughter.

The poofy smooshed face?  I've got something for that.


Let gravity be your friend.  Buy yourself a kick-ass, neck-supporting, Obus form pillow and convince that thin middle-aged facial skin, which I hope is chock full of smile lines, to slide earward overnight.  You'll thank me in the morning.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Ballad of Menstrual Woman...

"I'm going to have a quick shower!" I say, heading up the stairs.

"O....kay..." This from David in the kitchen, his tone oddly sarcastic.

"Pardon?" I say - ducking down to catch his eye.

"Nothing," he shrugs before smiling falsely.

The temperature in the room has dropped about 15 degrees.

"Is something going on?" I ask.

"No, no, not at all..." He stands there belligerently.

I take a step further up the stairs, but then step back down.  "Are you sure nothing's going on?"

He heaves a deep, frustrated sigh.  "It's just that you don't really have quick showers," he says aggressively. "And we have to eat in 15 minutes."

My spirit crushed, I sit down on the stairs.  "Pardon?  I can have a quick shower..."

With a slightly patronizing eye-roll  he says,  "Yes, sure... yeah you can."

"I CAN have a quick shower!!"

"Uh-huh."  He's standing there, chest puffed out - looking ready to do a Krump battle.

"I CAN.  I'm going upstairs right now and you'll just see how quick!"

"O...kay..." His hands up now in a Whoa... Whoa... who's the crazy lady? gesture.

"Guys," says Rissa.  "This is not important."

"It IS!" I say stomping up the stairs.

I shoulder my way into the bathroom - my clothes off in mili-seconds.  The water is thrown on, I don't even adjust the temperature.  "See if I can't have a quick shower..."  I rinse my scalp and then slather on the conditioner, grabbing the back scrubber and smearing it with Grapefruit body wash.  Scrub... scrub... scrub... arms done!  Armpits done!  Legs done!  Hoo-ha (gently) done!  Feet done!  Hair, rinsed.  Water off.  Out.  Towel on.  Moisturizer on.  Towel off. Leave-in conditioner in.  Drag my fingers through my hair.  Grab the mousse and apply palmfuls of product to my curls.  Scrunch.  Scrunch again.  I speed-walk to the bedroom.  I grab my bathrobe, tying it as I come downstairs.

David and Rissa are still making Kraft dinner.  I sit triumphantly on the sofa.  I muffle my "HAH!" as best I can.  I glance pointedly at David.  Showed him.  Now would be the time to sit in regal silence.


"Yes you did.  I am sorry for doubting you."

He has apologized.  I should accept it gracefully.  "If you want to talk time wasted in the bathroom, how about the 45 minutes that you can spend?  Just  sitting, over top of your own pooh!"

At this moment, with the word "pooh' ringing through my ears, I realize that I might not be as rational as I'd felt just 6.5 minutes before. 

"It is possible," I say (quietly).  "That I am a titch hormonal.  I thought I was done being hormonal for the week, but I was incorrect.  The floodgates have opened once more and I am now attributing paranoid judgmental adjectives to everyone's speech patterns."  I do an internal check - my rage has dissipated.  "I think I'm safe again."

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Good thing I don't work at NASA...

"Would you mind grabbing my phone from the Jeep?" asks my friend Meaghan, as she's filling out some paperwork at the permits desk.

"Sure, no problem," I say.  I head out to the parking lot towards her white Jeep SUV.  Try the doors.  Locked.  Run back inside.

"Keys.  I'll need the keys," I say.

"Oh, I thought I'd left it open...  Here you go..." She hands me the keys.

"Back in a sec," I say, running outside again. I click the unlock button.  Nothing.  The locks don't budge.  The lights don't flash, although there is a very muted beep-beep sound.  I click it again.  Zip. Nada. Nothing.  The passenger door doesn't even have a key entry on its side. I walk around to the driver's side.  The key doesn't fit.  What the?  I click the unlock button once more - again a muted beep-beep - but no lock movement.  Maybe the batteries are low?  I shake the key fob and re-click.  Nothing.   I try the door lock again.   She must have given me the wrong keys.  This has to be the the key for her other car...

As I start back into the office, I take another glance down at the key.  No, this IS the Jeep key.  It actually has the word JEEP on it.  Weird.  I look back over my shoulder.  That's when I notice the other Jeep.  Or rather I notice THE Jeep.  The vehicle that I've been trying to break into is in fact a Chrysler Aspen - a Chrysler Aspen that is almost twice the size of Meaghan's white Jeep and is light cream in colour, not white.    Even better?  I now have to walk past the two car drivers waiting in their vehicles, parked in between the monster Chrysler and Meaghan's actual Jeep.  I nonchalantly walk towards the Jeep and click the key fob - strangely enough,  the correct vehicle brightly flashes its lights wildly in welcome and loudly beep-beeps at me.  "WELL, HELLO STRANGER - FINALLY COMING MY WAY?"

I'm snorting with laughter as I go back inside.

"What?" asks Meaghan.

"Okay, so you know how I came back in for the keys?"


"Well, in my defense - the other SUV wasn't there when we parked."

She looks out the door.  "Are you kidding me?  That car is twice the size of mine, way more luxurious and not even white!"

"I think I might have temporary size, quality and colour blindness."

Monday, June 29, 2015

Rainy Day Parade

The rain is teeming down on this cool June day.  You could take a picture out our back window and place it next to the word 'torrential.'  In less than 2 hours I would be walking down the main street of a small Ontario town in early Canada Day Celebrations. 

"I so wish that I had a yellow slicker and a Nor'wester hat for this parade," I say.

"Like badminton?" asks David.

"What does badminton have to do with a Nor'Wester hat or parades?"

"Not like badminton... like PADDINGTON..."

My intellect has yet to kick in... The syllables make no sense to me.  I look completely confused.


"Oh, Paddington.  That makes so much more sense.  Wait, isn't he in a blue coat with a red hat?  Although come to think of it, if they were waterproof, I'd totally wear them.Oooooh... Do you think I could go on Amazon and source that outfit?"

"Like Butt Hunting?" asks Rissa.  She's late to the party.

"Butt hunting?"  David shakes his head.  "That sounds nothing like badminton or Paddington.  Are you guys both high right now?"

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I just love my butterfly...

Leafing through Woman's World while waiting at the vet's office...   Ad after ad after ad for drugs/products that spend the last 1/16th of their page on the small print.

WARNING: may cause dizziness, nausea, itchiness, dry mouth, sneezing, anxiety, twitching, muscle aches, depression, seizures, anal leakage, loss of feeling in your left foot, temporary blindness, limping, complete blindness, dismemberment, tap-dancing, Judy Garland impersonations, ennui, giddiness, and death...

But then I come upon this ad:

On first glance, I was sure it must be for a new vibrator or sexual technique.  People of a certain generation will remember the L.A. Law episode from 1986 entitled The Venus Butterfly which alluded to a sexual technique that drove women wild.  Sex toys were actually created capitalizing on the buzz from this episode.  So, when  someone says: to a picture of a butterfly-ish thing, I'm thinking that a lot of women (who also just happen to be the target demographic for this company), are going to be thinking the same thing I was. 

WHOO HOO!!!  SEX TOY!!!  and/or

How disappointing to then read on, only to discover...

Two thoughts quickly ran through my mind:

1. 'Butterfly,' for me, was now going to be associated with accidental bowel leakage and
2. How many people suffer from this, that the company advertises products in Woman's World?

Maybe, just maybe, the ad execs who designed this are doing exactly what I think they're doing, which is attaching a positive 1980s memory to a discomforting condition in the hopes of selling more of their products to their target consumers.  I pee when I'm ill-prepared for a sneeze, cough or jump - Poise pads should be aimed at me.  And really, this ain't that much different.  In decades past, nothing 'icky' was advertised either in print or televised media.  In my Mom's generation, there were no maxi-pad or tampon ads.  Adult diapers hit the aisles only relatively recently.  Thank God that we can now talk about this sort of thing...  I'm still a little miffed that they stole the word 'butterfly' from me, but I'm willing to give that up if it can make dealing with ABL a little easier for those who experience it.

In the writing of this post, I might have gotten distracted when I tried to locate Ann's reaction to Stuart utilization of the Venus Butterfly technique.  I found the L.A. Law Episode where Stuart first found out about it (Season 1, Episode 10 about 24:50 minutes in for the lead up), but not Ann's reaction.  I might possibly have spent a bit of time... uh...  hours searching.  If anyone knows exactly where it falls, please let me know.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

It's pronounced VEG-GETTI...


David does a double take.  "Beg your pardon?"

"Oh, wait...  That's VEG-getti."

"And that's better because...?"

"You stick vegetables in and out comes 'pasta'."

"Vegetable pasta?"  David shudders.

"I was going to mock this mercilessly, but looking at it now, I would totally use it.  Plus then we'd have a Veggetti.  Think of the dinner conversations and tittering mis-pronounciations."

"Very true."


"What is that?" asks Rissa.

"It's a Veggetti..."

"It's a what now??"

"See?" I turn to David brandishing the packaging.  "Told you."  I turn back to Rissa. "It makes vegetable pasta.  Stick a zuccini in and out comes zucchini pasta!"  I demonstrate.  "Oooh, these blades are super sharp!"

"Yeah, don't be shoving your fingers in the VEGGETTI..." smirks David.

Rissa gives an epic eye roll.  "You two are 9 year old boys."

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Really Useful Pit Group

"Don't shave them DRY!!" I gasp, horrified.

"Ah, but my pits are youthful, Mama..."

"Oh, I get it, and my pits are elderly, decrepit, crabby pits?"

She shrugs and shaves her own dry armpits.

"You've got to watch out for them though," I say.  "The hair in the elderly, decrepit, crabby pits is so strong that it can yank the blades from the very razor that tries to shaves them."

"You guys are so weird," says David, from the kitchen below us.

"Not weird," I respond.  "Evolving.  My elderly, decrepit, crabby pits have abilities."

The conversation has brought David upstairs.  "They have abilities?  Like...?"

"Retracting armpit hair!!!  That can catch criminals!!"

"Like Spider Man?"  He then mimes armpit hair shooting out from his own pits.

"Exactly like Spider Man except it's coming from armpits and is, in fact, armpit hair."

"Not the most popular super hero," says David.

"I don't know," says Rissa.  "I think we should make it a web series."


"I gotta go to work," says David, heading back downstairs. 

"I need some breakfast," I say following him.  "This is today's blog post.  Rissa, how did you describe your pits?"


"Youthful?" David questions.  "I thought you said USEFUL!  Which made complete sense when you then had retractable armpit hair."

"If they were useful, wouldn't they be opening doors for people?"

"Yes, and they'd fold your laundry..."

"The Really Useful Pit Group??"*

"YES!!  And they would sing..."  He opens his pits and throws a melodic scale my way. LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-AAAAA!!!!"

"Other families don't do this," says Rissa.

*For all you musical theatre buffs out there.  You're welcome.

Monday, June 1, 2015

GO Train Puppet Show

"Would you like to see a puppet show?" asks Rissa as we travel into Toronto on the GO Train. 

"YES!"  David and I encourage enthusiastically.

Rissa clears her throat and reaches into her bag.

"TA-DAH!!!"  She flourishes two Compak Tampons in their wrappers - one purple, one yellow.  Holding them vertical, she presents them to us.

"Hi Susan."

"Hi Jane."

(They have British accents.)

"Fancy a shop at the supermarket?"

"Ooooh... I'd love to go to the supermarket...  I'm craving yams."

"I, too, am craving yams..."

There is accompanying music as Susan and Jane trot off to the supermarket  "doo-dee-doo-dee-doo-dee-doo-dee-doo..."

"There are 12 episodes in the series," explains Rissa. 

"Of course there are."


"May we seet the next episode of the puppet show?"

"It's now a one-woman show.  Only Susan survived our trip into Toronto."

She pulls out the yellow tampon.

"Jane!  Jane!  WHY?!?"

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Surefire cure for the blues...

Feeling down?  In a funk?   Is your life a great honking pile of crap?    In your circle of friends/family you must know one child in pre-ballet class.  It's spring.  It's the end of recreational classes.  Find a dance recital.  I can guarantee that upon viewing a pre-ballet recital, your mood will improve.

There will be raindrops skipping across the stage, probably with another raindrop carrying a lemon yellow umbrella.  Little ballerinas/ballerinos in tutus/shorts will plié from their positions on 'this is where you stand' cut out stars on the stage floor. There will be fairies and baby birds and kittens and flower pots and ladybugs and they will all have toddler pot-bellies covered in varying shades of sequins/flowers/stars/spandex/lace/tulle.  They won't know the dance, but they won't care.  (You won't care.)  They'll all be jumping up and down.  They'll laugh - (you'll laugh) - so thrilled to feel the heat of the stage lights - they'll look over at their little friends and see how those stage lights make sequined pot bellies sparkle.  Some will get tired and need to sit down on those cut out stars on the floor.  They will have to be wrangled by the dance teachers.  They will all leave the stage in a little train, holding onto each other's shoulders, waving with one hand to their relatives/friends.  Your chest will feel lighter, your cheeks will lift, happy freaking tears may come to your eyes.  (Unless you're soulless, and then, my friend, you've got bigger problems.)

Go ahead.  Test it out.  Dissolve that cynicism.  And then, when another day sucks, close your eyes and remember back to those kids - to the joy you felt - just watching their joy.  And next spring, when the memory of that has faded... find another recital.  Recharge that feeling.  Carry it around with you, like a picture in your wallet.  When the world throws you a crap sandwich - press "PLAY"...  We need more joy.  Come over to the light side... we have sequins.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Shower Wall of the Beast...

"You're telling me this is normal?"  David asks.

"Pardon?"  I'm combing through my conditioned hair with my finger tips in the shower.  I glance over at him.  His face is the perfect combination of horror/disgust/concern.  He directs my gaze to the shower wall, where I have been depositing my 'extra' hair.

I shrug.  "Relatively," I say.  "Since I've had the cold, I probably haven't been brushing it as much - I haven't washed it in a couple of days..."  I shrug again.

"You're sure you're not secretly undergoing chemotherapy?"    This seems to be a real possibility for him.

"Yes, I'm sure.  I promise that I would let you know.  It's an ebb and flow thing.  I'm not bald, so hair must also be growing."

"Okay."  He doesn't look convinced.

"You can feel for yourself if you like..." I offer.

He looks even more horrified, the thought of handfuls of my hair left in his grasp makes his eyes go wide.

"Think of it this way... now we have a fun shower game: Translate the Hairoglyphics!!"

"You're not normal."

"Well no, but in fairness, you knew that when you married me."

symbol for Cancer - grass - ass?
P9 Gras-o-i-a-y-s?

In the sink after combing through again

What is NOT in my shower drain.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Good News! I'm IMMORTAL!!!

WARNING: Feminine issues discussed

"Are you FREAKING kidding me?"

"What? What is it?"  David looks into the bathroom from the hallway.  He finds me on the toilet, scowling downward.  I shoot him a look.

"Seriously?" he asks.  "Didn't you just...?"

"Yes.  Yes I DID just... It's been almost two full weeks - off and on."

"What's that phrase?  Never trust something that bleeds for 5 days but doesn't....?" He quickly changes tacks before I stab him with the cuticle scissors within my reach.  "Wait!   There's a bright side."

I glare at him.  "Pray, tell..."

"You've been bleeding this long and you haven't died...  I think...  Heather, I think you might be IMMORTAL!"


"No seriously.  This right here?  THIS is you achieving immortality."

Doubling over with another cramp, I manage a small, yet incredibly sarcastic "Hurray." 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sex Ed in the New Millennium


In 1979, my mother attended a parent council meeting in Kingston, Nova Scotia.  The topic: SEX EDUCATION.  (Gasp!)  The community was up in arms - what were they going to be teaching our kids??  If you teach kids about sex, all they'll want to do is try it for themselves!! Sex Education belongs in the home!!!

The classes at Kingston Elementary School were not mandatory. If you felt that teaching your child this information at home was better for said child, you had every right to do so.  Problem was... the kids who were being pulled from the Sex Ed classes weren't likely to be getting sex education at home.  They were given instructions to abstain and the rest was radio silence. 

Fast forward to Ontario 2015.  A new Sex Ed curriculum is in the pipeline for September of 2015.  At the beginning of May, panicky parents across Ontario were pulling their kids from school to protest the proposed fall Sex Ed curriculum.

Here's the kicker... the Sex Ed component of Ontario health classes is not mandatory.  Let me repeat that: THE SEX EDUCATION COMPONENT OF ONTARIO HEALTH CLASSES IS NOT MANDATORY.  So basically, if you don't want your kid to be educated about puberty, the concept of consent, safe sex, gender diversity, STIs, and masturbation - your kid doesn't have to.  You can opt them out.  Because why?  Because...


By all means, pull your kids out of the classes.  If Sexual Education goes against your belief system, makes you uncomfortable - pull your kids.  Go for it.  But that's all I'll let you have.  If you protest what MY child could be learning, if you protest that kids should know that a vagina is a vagina and a penis is a penis and that STIs are bad?  I'm going to have to smack you upside the head.  When you protest discussions about consent, safe-sex (for everyone on this planet, regardless of sexual orientation),  and the fact that mutual masturbation is a viable option in place of having intercourse?  It makes me want to parade uninformed 13 year old pregnant girls in front of you.  It makes me want to force you to look full on at the physical effects of gonorrhea.  It makes me want you to listen in extreme discomfort as  kindergartners tell stories about adults who touched them IN (not on) one of their private spots because they were never told that they could say "NO" to a grown up.

Your kid DOESN'T HAVE TO TAKE THE COURSE.  But please, don't tell me that my kid shouldn't be educated because potential Sex Ed topics make you feel 'icky.'  Sex Education isn't for you.  It's for the kids who are rounding 2nd base on their way to 3rd while possibly being pressured to allow someone to slide home or having the urge to slide home themselves.  Just like you probably did.  My generation got a quick thrill from looking at a skin mag.  My daughter's?  They can find free porn on the Internet that shows six guys jerking off onto a woman's face.   And unless they're told differently, they think that this is something that 'all chicks dig.' 

Sex in 2015 ain't squeaky clean, it ain't easy and it sure as hell ain't simple.  Yes, it can be amazing when you're mature enough to deal with its emotional fall out, but without education - proper education - (not just what they hear from peers, or what they can Google on the Internet) - kids have to walk through a mine field.  I want the Sex Ed we talk about at home supported by the educational equivalent of a bomb squad to keep my daughter informed and sexually safe.  Knowing there are parents out there who don't want my daughter informed and sexually safe, scares the crap out of me.  Knowing there are parents who would rather have their children uninformed, flailing in the dark when it comes to the most basic functions of their bodies is freaking terrifying.

Sure, we might dream of a world where abstinence is choice number one, but it's 2015 - most kids with a cell phone will be sexting at some point.  The kids with the knowledge?  They generally aren't the ones who think that condoms alone will stop you from getting knocked up.  They aren't the ones who inadvertently spread chlamydia, because they don't know what it looks or feels like.   Sure, you go ahead and keep your kids out of Sex Ed, go for it... but don't you even think about telling me that my daughter shouldn't have access to that knowledge. One of my major priorities as the parent of a teenage girl is not to become a grandparent before my daughter graduates high school, so I'll take ALL the help I can get thanks.