Archive for the ‘Life in the Fast Lane… Family and Book Related Stories’ Category

We are in mourning for our dear friends: Freckles, Rascal and Poppy who have all passed on to a better place (although I don’t know where that would be as they had it pretty good on earth…).

Freckles remains reside in a beautiful black urn, Rascal in Blue, and Poppy in Pink. They all sit next to my champagne glasses on display  in the buffet.

By the way, did you know that it costs the same to cremate a rodent as a cat? That would be $180 a shot … dear in every sense of the word until the very end.

I’ve put my food down. NO MORE rodents. I’ve given away the cages.

Juliette has fallen in love with a German Sheppard stray who she says Molly has become best friends with.

I don’t care if they are soul mates : no, no, and  NO, I say…

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Not me, but I got a bronze .

I’m happy just to be nominated…

Will fill you all in on adventures in NYC when we get back.

For those of you who don’t know about the boots – they are blue Karen Millen boots I bought in London two years ago who’ve have been looking for a place to strut ever since.  So far they have only been  Elton John Concert worthy.

Look out New York here we come…

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Usually Wednesdays are pretty good days. Chauna and I spend the morning at Frenchy’s (a second hand clothing store where you can occasionally strike mint-condition designer gold; this has become our weekly quest). Another highlight of our morning is eating at  Mic Mac Bar and Grill.  This is all I want out of life: a quiet, easy me-morning once a week. Is this too much to ask? Some shopping? Some eating?  Apparently so…

The day starts off with Juliette announcing (much more calmly this time) that Rascal’s innards are hanging out again. The good news is it  isn’t  Saturday night and peak emergency fee time. I put the sandwich making on hold and call the local rat specialist who just happens to be in for his surgery day.  Late for school as usual I throw the kids in the car and as I pull out of the driveway wave to my neighbour who is just returning from walking her kids to school.  We are obviously not morning people. I console myself with the fact that she’s a high ranking officer in the Forces and she’s been trained to organize troops, which is why she has  no problem getting her two kids to school on time and walking.

I get back from the school and bundle Rascal in a travel cage. Chauna arrives (Riley does not pee on Molly this time)

Molly and Riley

Molly and Riley

and we take the rat to the vets. We get to the office and there is a sign on the door saying they’ve moved ( I of course receive the moving notice in the mail that afternoon). We find the new offices and I kiss Rascal goodbye (as well as 46 times her worth in fees).

I feel  better when I score a pristine pair of lime green Converse sneakers for four dollars at Frenchy’s. (I get them for Juliette, being the first to admit that I can no longer carry off lime green sneakers). I leave Chauna staggering around with a basket full of clothes and  go to the hearing clinic to pick up my hearing aids (so yes, I am hard of hearing and no, I’m not ignoring you…).  To adjust the volume the audiologist stands facing away from me and asks me to repeat a sentence. I repeat,  “Six lasses makes the small prince sleazier.” She adjusts the volume and I hear, “Thick glasses makes the small print easier.” Needless to say I rarely wear the hearing aids. The world is so much more interesting when you don’t hear half of what’s going on and when you interpret the rest to suit yourself.

I find Chauna at the Salvation Army. By this time we are starving and go to Mic Mac Bar and Grill. It’s not even officially lunch time (it’s eleven forty-five) and the place is packed. As usual high energy, friendly waiters are running around serving a very large cross-section of humanity. We go as much for the atmosphere as for the great bar food. We get the usual:  loaded potato skins and root beer (me) and poutine and water (Chauna). We waddle out and convince each other we  have enough time for a quick stop at Global Pets for me to pick up eighty dollars worth of pet food before we go to Halifax to get Chauna’s glasses adjusted.

Gaudet Optical has every type of frame you can imagine. Doug (Gaudet) is wearing a funky blue pair today with paper clips imbeded in each corner of the frame. He adjusts Chauna’s frames and then I show him my Chanels that my daughter’s friend sat on – whole other story. I ask if he can save them. He takes them into the back to assess the situation. Chauna and I try on every frame in the place. When he comes back he tells me my Chanels are in critical condition and will definitely need surgery. Their fate hangs in the balance…

We are late picking up the kids from school (this should not come as a surprise at this point in the day). My guys finish at the ungodly hour of two-ten which makes for a short day, mommy-time-wise. I call  my friend Marianne who is working at the school and ask her to keep the  kids until I get there. When I go into the office to get them (only ten minutes late which is not much later than I usually am),  Alexander meets me with the news that his teacher wants to see me and she’ll be right back. I’m thinking, now what new hell …

I tell the kids to go to the car and tell Chauna I’ll be a minute. So I’m waiting in the office and the principal, Kevin, comes in and asks if Mme Shirley found me. Now I’m really freaking out – the principal knows about it. Finally, I can’t take the suspense any longer and get Marianne to call Mme Shriley in her classroom and tell her I’m there. Mme Shirley asks if I can go back to her classroom. I tell Marianne to tell her I have to get Chauna home but can come right back. She tells Mme Shirley. Mme  Shirley tells her to give me the phone. As I take it I’m trying to decide whether to have a heart attack or an aneurysm. She says, “Alexander needs a binder, he can’t handle duo-tangs. I should have thought of it earlier, sorry.”  That’s it? I go out to the car and tell Alexander and he says, “I already know but I wanted it to be a surprise for you.”   Jesus H. Christ…

After school, I take the kids to their swimming lesson (yes, my kids do exercise) and then we go to the library to drop off books. I decide to take them in because I’m sure we are missing a few (in the black hole under Alexander’s bed). Turns out we have eighty-nine dollars in overdue library fees. Who the hell has eighty-nine dollars in overdue library fees? We might have well bought the books and DVDs. We are obviously not library people.

Rush home and throw chicken on George Foreman’s Lean Mean Fat Reducing Machine, throw on my yoga clothes, and then throw some vegetables in the microwave. I have to pick up Rascal, who has come through the operation, at six and be at yoga by seven.  I get to the vets and Rascal has had a hysterectomy and has a body bandage on. She is staggering around the cage high on pain killers.I consider asking technician if I can get some of  what Rascal had.  We discuss the sanity of the rat world: me paying for a rat hysterectomy, rats being used in labs, rats as snake food.  It’s all beyond me.



I throw Rascal in the car, rush home, drop her off and tear off to yoga. I hop on my mat and the instructor says relax. I take a deep breath and search for some part of my mind that isn’t already doing something for someone else. Despite the inner and outer turmoil of my life I don’t think of anything for the next hour and a half because I’m too busy concentrating on not falling over. I feel good, peaceful when I leave yoga . Then I go home…

I open the door and Juliette is screaming because Alexander won’t go to bed, I’m asking why all the supper dishes are still all over the place when I asked them to clean up, and Rascal has her feet caught in her body bandage.  My yoga high is a thing of the past. Juliette tells me  she couldn’t clean up because the dishwasher was already on and then she makes a B-line for the shower. (I checked the dishwasher later and it was only half-full. This kid is scarily devious.)  An hour later, after I get Juliette out of the bathroom so I can get the nail scissors, Rascal is free of  bondage. We have to figure out a way to cover up her stitches so she won’t pick them out.  After much swearing Rascal has a smaller bandage around her stomach – I was swearing, not Rascal. My daughter heard me use the F word for the first time (this is how frustrated I am – I can usually keep it to an occasional frig.)

So by ten thirty I finally have Rascal settled, Juliette in bed, and Alexander in my bed, having fallen asleep waiting to read me a story. I hear Molly and Merry (the cat) downstairs in the kitchen fighting over who is going to get the good bed. 

Merry not giving up his bed

Merry not giving up his bed

I put on headphones and watch an episode from 30 Rock on the portable DVD player. I wake up about one and take off headphones, move Shadow (the other cat) off my head and fall into a troubled, dream-filled sleep. As my mother always said, there is no rest for the wicked…

So that’s the rat update.  I’m meeting my friend Linda for lunch today. There is a winter storm watch going on so I’m pretty sure I’ll just get my meal when the school will call and I’ll have to leave and fight the bitter wind and snow to pick the kids up early…

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The Complicated TableRecently new news:

I finally had my first book signing at Chapters Bookstore, Bayer’s Lake in Halifax and God, I am so glad that weekend is over.
It all went really well but I’m exhausted. I came home from dropping the kids off at school the day before the signing and fell asleep on the couch until eleven! I wish I hadn’t as I had dreams about rats eating a cookie in a bathroom, then losing my purse, my sight and the ability to walk and breathe… lovely. I think it may be Pre-Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome!

After having wasted the entire morning on the couch I stayed up until three a.m. finishing the Complicated Cocktail Extravaganza gift draw poster to put on the table in the bookstore. After that I had a million other really important last minute things like reading/answering e-mails to do before I could fall into bed.

Saturday morning I cleaned up the house and hid a mountain of paper in bags that I’ll never find again. Then I took Alexander to his basket ball game at one (the team won and are now in the finals). Kimberly (official friend, photographer, and cheerleader mom) and I had fun screaming and whistling. Acting like an insane basketball mother is such a great break from life.  On the way home, we picked up Chauna and Kyla (sister-in- law and niece) as Chauna wanted to be able to drink at Official Complicated Cocktail Party that evening and not drive. Got back to the house at three and had to leave by three-thirty to get to Chapters to set up book signing table.  I still had no makeup on and didn’t know what to wear.
I called Eve (friend and volunteer caterer for Complicated Cocktail Party, seven to nine that evening) to discuss final details re: setting up of food. I’m talking to her on the phone and watching Molly (our dog) and Riley (Chauna’s dog) outside on the deck. Molly squats to pee and Riley lifts his leg and pees on Molly. Scream and have to cut phone call short. Clean up Molly and then I hear daughter freak out because there is blood in the rat’s cage that she hasn’t cleaned for a week. I look at rats to see if they had a fight and Rascals innards are hanging out her ass. I still haven’t got make up or clothes on yet. So we put rat who’s still eating and not suffering into smaller cage.
I then throw on make up and jeans and get stuck in traffic to Bayer’s Lake. Make it at four on the dot and Kimberly is not there with Complicated Cocktail Extravaganza, Beautiful Basket of Books, and Moral Support. There is just the table with a small pile of my books sitting forlornly it. Call her on cell and her daughter Kiley tells me they are stuck in the same traffic we were.  After 5 minutes of rearranging my small pile of books, Kimberly shows up and things get underway. Despite the rocky start, it was a lot of fun.
All different kinds of people came out for the signing: people from Beaubassin – the kids’ school,  friends, friends’ families, friends of friends, the woman from my bank, my physiotherapist and her friend – my old personal trainer from when I used to be in shape, and even a prefect I had at school when I was 6! I actually even sold some books to people I don’t know!

Juliette (my beloved daughter and tormentor – she’s 13) and five of her BBFs walked around the store and handed out posters and a bookmarks. Kiley wandered around with some books to show people. Chauna got tea from Starbucks. Marianne (fellow school mom and friend) and Brenda (old friend and realtor) took photos.  Although I hate having my picture taken I must admit that it was fun sometimes when we had a group of people surrounding me and the table and strangers stopped to watch as the picture was taken. I had a brief glimpse of what it might be like to be a celebrity. BFFs

I had an email from Andrew Roode, Consignment King at Chapters Bayer’s Lake, saying that the staff said it was an outstanding book signing and that we sold 29 copies. I must admit that I didn’t notice the time fly by, I had a great time seeing everyone, and I wasn’t too embarrassed by the attention.  So all in all I have to admit it was a success. Although, on the other hand, does J.K. Rowling have to go through so much just to sell 29 books?
We got back to the house at six forty-five to find Eve had been dealing with our guard from Voxcom who wanted to kick her and Eric (her husband/chef) out because I forgot and put the alarm on when we left and they didn’t know the code. I didn’t hear my cell phone at the store because it wasn’t next to me – and most of the time I don’t hear it anyway, even when it’s in my pocket!  In the end the guard let them stay because they had a key and a ton of food that they were obviously bringing into the house and not out! The Complicated Cocktail Party

We must have had about thirty people show up for the party.  Although there was a mixture of very different types of people, everyone seemed to find someone to talk to. At least they all ate, drank and seemed to be merry. I tried to talk to everyone and felt like I didn’t talk to anyone. I couldn’t even have a complicated cocktail as I still had the rat and her innards to deal with.
Everyone was gone by ten at which time the kids and I took Rascal, the rat, to the emergency clinic about a half-hour drive from our place ($107 just to walk in the emergency door! – Don’t ask how much it all cost in the end. Suffice to say we didn’t sell enough books to cover the rat). The innards were her uterus and so we had to leave her overnight to get them shoved back in. We got home at midnight. The kids fell into bed and I cleaned up until one-thirty and then prepared for a workshop on building this website at the Writer’s Federation the next morning until three-thirty a.m. 
Went to workshop on Sunday morning and stayed until one-thirty. Excellent workshop, as you can see, because here I am writing on my “What’s Happening” page and I now have a domain: www.margarethastingsjames.com  I love the sound of having a domain. It’s like having a home. I exist!!!

After the workshop I took Juliette to get new foundation at Shoppers as I felt bad because she had missed skiing with her cousin because she had to babysit Alexander. This weekend was totally about me, poor thing.  Came home made supper, drank a glass of wine and fell into bed at seven-thirty!!!
So here I am: another book signing is set for Indigo Spirit at Sunnyside Mall in Bedford for Saturday February 28.  I’m not organizing any kind of Extravaganza or anything Complicated. I plan on just showing up and sitting next to my little pile of books and see if anyone not related or connected to me somehow will actually buy Star Crossed!!

I actually just had a call from Andrew at the Keshen Goodman Public Library to set up a public reading.  Me, in public, reading out loud, in front of real people… Can you imagine what kind of chaos this is going to cause in my life?!!!


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