The boys have been visiting my parents this week, and I don’t mind telling you that I have spent this week feeling greatly unmoored, particularly yesterday. I had no classes to teach yesterday and it was a moon day, which meant no early morning yoga either. I spent a few hours just wandering around the house, drinking coffee and looking at social media, until I decided that I should probably go to spin class, if for no other reason then to get out of the house at a specific time.

From all accounts, the boys have been having an Epic Week, which is to be expected when visiting indulgent grandparents who live on a lake with access to every kind of fun thing you can imagine. During last night’s phone call, they informed my husband that yesterday they a) went mini-golfing, b) went to the Aquasplash, c) had ice cream at the local parlor, and d) went for dinner at a restaurant specializing in chicken wings. If there could be anything better for young teen boys, I do not know what it could be.

After class today I am heading up there myself, and am crossing my fingers that the extreme thunderstorms will hold off for a few hours after I get there, so I can also have some fun in the sun. It’s been beautiful and hot here, the garden is in full bloom with riotous colours, life is good.


I recently read one of the best books I have EVER read, and that is really saying something. It’s called The Women In The Castle, and a student had recommended it to me a month or so ago. The description seemed pretty meh, to be honest, and I had just finished a bunch of very depressing reads. For those interested in depressing reads: Nearly Normal, which deals with the most dysfunctional childhood you can imagine, living off the grid for years with her clinically insane grandfather, then squatting in abandoned places with her mother while her mother has sex with near-strangers right beside her, and as much drug use as you might expect for such a story, in the 1970s. After that was Educated, another crazy dysfunctional childhood with an absolutely nutjob set of parents. Both of these books are testaments to human resiliency but honest to god, they are also so sad. Finally, I read Diana: Her Story and I have much to say about that, but will save it for later. Shortly thereafter, I got around to reading Lilac Girls, which my mother had lent me and which deals with Nazi experimentation on Polish women in a concentration camp, which pretty much finished me off, mentally. I considered reading the Sweet Valley High box set I had found as a countermeasure, but I had a few library books come in.

So I had mentioned in a class that I had read these depressing books and needed a pick-me-up, and a student came up to me after class and recommended The Women In The Castle. I dutifully put it on my library hold list, but it a) deals with Nazi Germany, and b) I wasn’t sure that it sounded like an uplifting, life-affirming book. When it came into the library I reluctantly started it, and then found I couldn’t put it down. What a wonderful, incredible, thought-provoking book. Believe me when I say you will not regret reading this, even if you are not a fan of historical fiction.


Speaking of historical fiction, I was thinking about the movie Forrest Gump yesterday. It’s been 24 years since that movie came out; I loved it then and I still love it now. The other day I came across this question: what’s your favourite little moment in a big movie? We all know I’ll have what she’s having, but what about Don’t fuck with Mr. Zero and Someone is staring at you in Personal Growth? Those are perfect moments in a perfect movie. Actually, When Harry Met Sally is full of perfect moments. However, if I have to choose one small scene in a big movie, I would have to go with this one in Forrest Gump: when Forrest finds himself listening to a Black Panther talk about the war in Vietnam, and he is watching Jenny’s boyfriend yelling at Jenny from across the room. The douchebag smacks her and Forrest goes mental, all the while Hey Joe is playing to a crescendo. That, in my opinion, is a scene of perfection.

There’s another small moment prior to that, when Jenny introduces her gross boyfriend to Forrest, who is all dressed up and decorated in his uniform. The boyfriend says “Who’s the baby-killer?” and it occurred to me yesterday, that guy would fit in perfectly on twitter.


Just now, I looked at twitter. There was a recipe, and I am not joking here, for Red Velvet Corn Dogs. I thought for certain that it must be a mistake, or maybe one of those cutesy recipes in which a cupcake is shaped like a corn dog but no. No. The recipe calls for, among other things, red velvet cake mix and a 10-count package of hot dogs, so the apocalypse is officially on us. Also, 2 quarts of canola oil, for frying. “Enjoy with your favourite dipping sauce!” is the note that the recipe cheerfully ends on. Enjoy. With your favourite dipping sauce.


A few weeks ago, I was in the baking section of my beloved local Co-Op when I saw this:

Whoops! I know that, come fall, everything will be pumpkin spice this and pumpkin spice that, but this is a bridge too far, in my mind. Perhaps the Red Velvet Corn Dog people might find this useful and inspiring. Mark my words, we shall soon see Pumpkin Spice Refried Bean Pie, if this is any indication.


  1. Ha! Refried beans DO resemble canned pumpkin, I get it!

    Added the book to my To Read list. Although getting through the list requires ACTUALLY reading, not just adding. One day.

    Speaking of beautiful books that also take place in disturbing backgrounds: Have you read “All the Light We Cannot See”? It’s one of my all-time favorites. If you’re not full up on Wartime Tragedy, I highly recommend it. Excellent storytelling and the writing is gorgeous.

  2. Noah always enjoys his annual week with Beth’s mom (the week after school lets out), and she doesn’t even live near a lake. Norths get a turn in August for the first time this year. I’ve often wished we could engineer a week to ourselves by sending them at the same time, but the one-on-one time is a big part of it, so that appears to be a no-go.

    Your garden is lovely. Mine is a mess of weeds and the deer ate half my sunflowers before they could bloom (sob) but the Black-eyed Susans are thriving and threatening to take over half the yard, and I’m thinking why not, if they want it so badly.

  3. I got a legit chill imagining a dipping sauce for red velvet corn dogs.

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