metro mama

Sunday, March 22, 2009

How Sweet It Is

After a long winter of hibernation, we’re finally starting to venture from the house every now and then (Cakes hates the cold as much as I do). Last Sunday, the three of us hooked up with k-girl and her lovely family for a day at Bronte Creek Park.

The kids were thrilled with the tractor ride.

We learned how maple syrup is made (Cakes was actually interested, but I just wanted to hurry up and go get pancakes and bacon already!)

The girls burnt off so much energy that Cakes passed out in the car after five minutes—the sure sign of a great day.

Well, It Sure Ain’t Erotica

I couldn’t resist the marketing for Charlotte Roche’s Wetlands. I’m a big fan of both smut and literature; so with the tagline, “is it smut or literature” I was intrigued.

Wetlands is narrated by 18-year-old Helen, in hospital after a painful operation on an infected haemorrhoid. To pass the time, she reflects on her relationship with her body and her sexual history, in extremely graphic detail. Helen rejects societal preoccupation with the body’s “dirt” by eschewing hygiene, and exposing/touching/tasting/smelling all of her body’s secretions and emissions. Reacting to expectations that she repress her burgeoning sexuality, Helen has as much sex with as many partners as possible. But this isn’t just a cautionary tale against parental repression of sexuality: Helen’s family has managed to remain silent about her mother’s failed attempt to kill herself and Helen’s baby brother. The more Helen tries to convince us of her strength and invulnerability, the more tragic and disturbed she is revealed to be.

I find it hard to believe this book has been criticized as failed erotica. Like Chuck Palahniuk’s equally disturbing Snuff, just because a book is full of sex doesn’t mean the author’s trying to sexually arouse the reader. Rather, Roche’s intent is to provoke a reaction, and man, does she succeed. I’m very open-minded, and far from faint at heart, but the book really made me uncomfortable. I felt a little nauseous when I was reading, and when I finished I made a beeline for a long, hot shower. But, unlike the profound distress of the novel’s young heroine, my discomfort was short-lived. Well, relatively short-lived.


Friday, March 20, 2009

And Now For Something Light

After all of my heavy reading of late, I need something light and fun this weekend. This should fit the bill, no?

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies features the original text of Jane Austen’s beloved novel with all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie action. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Complete with 20 illustrations in the style of C. E. Brock (the original illustrator of Pride and Prejudice) this insanely funny expanded edition will introduce Jane Austen’s classic novel to new legions of fans.

The illustrations take the cake. This will either make me laugh, or piss me off, I’m not sure which.

In other book news, purely coincidence, but I’m quoted in Richard Florida’s new edition of Who’s Your City! You can see the excerpt here.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Taste of Spring

I took the day off to attend a media preview of Canada Blooms this morning. I'm cranky in crowds at the best of times, and my bitchy pregnant self is ten times worse, so this was a great chance to see the show without any aggravation. My mom's a big gardener too, so she came along as the metro mama photographer.

If you've never been to Canada Blooms, it really is quite stunning. In just five days 500 workers transform the Metro Convention Centre into six acres of gardens. It's a not-for-profit volunteer-driven event, with this year's proceeds going to the Toronto Botanical Gardens' children's programs.

As soon as you step inside, you're greeted with lovely cool humidity and the smell of thousands of flowers. And then you see the flowers. My favourite thing is the magnificent displays of rows and rows of spring bulbs.

There are several large feature gardens, a marketplace, and displays of prize-winning arrangements.

My favourite feature garden came from Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds. They created a 3,500 square foot natural playground for kids, complete with wooden musical instruments, seating, slides, sandboxes, water features, and more. I would have loved to set Cakes loose in there. Next year.

There was another, less natural oasis at the show--the Niagara Wine Garden. If it wasn't 10:00 in the morning, and I wasn't with child, it would have been the perfect way to end the day. Hell, who am I kidding. 10:00 in the morning is as good a time as any for a refreshing glass of vino.

Canada Blooms runs until March 22. For more info, check out their website.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Is Canada Reading?

Last night was book club night and it was our best turnout yet! Despite everyone not loving the book, we had a lot to say about it (well, we had a lot to say period, some of which can’t be repeated here). I’m so glad we started doing this. The time flies by so easily, it’s great to have a standing date with pals. Next month we’re dong JPod, by Douglas Coupland and I can’t wait to hear what people have to say about it!

Is anyone following Canada Reads? As you know, this year’s well-deserved winner is Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negroes. I’m not a big historical fiction reader, but this one swept me away, and it is indeed a book everyone should read.

You can talk about the book at CBC’s book club, here. They also have an excerpt, author bio and reader’s guide.

Our book club is looking for suggestions for summer. Anyone have some fab reads to recommend?


Wednesday, March 04, 2009


If you’re following me on Twitter or Facebook this is already old news, but for those who aren’t...we’re having a boy!

I’m really happy about the news actually. Until recently I wanted another girl, but I’m noticing more and more just how alike Cakes and I are in temperament. McHotty is finding himself in the crossfire already, and I can only imagine what it will be like once you add hormones to the mix. I think McHotty needs another nice mellow person in the house to balance things out. Here’s hoping this child is the sweet mellow boy I envision. Are boys ever as mercurial as girls?

The downside about the news is that most boy names suck. I need your help! Please give me your favourite literary boy names. Authors or characters. I’m desperate! In the meantime, the boy in the belly shall be known as Sherwood.

The other downside is that Cakes is not pleased. She “only wants a girl” and will not be convinced otherwise. It’s a good thing she has five months to get used to the idea.

Speaking of Cakes, I can’t believe I forgot to post this after our ski trip. Isn’t she amazing!

Bustin' With Pride from julie f on Vimeo.

*If you know my last name, this is funny.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.