Friday, September 29, 2006

The RASH Method

Today I was driving to work and pondering heroes. (Book, TV & movie heroes, like Harry Potter and Superman) I started thinking: what if I was approached in downtown Metropolis by three evil flying anti-heros wearing black pleather outfits, would I battle them like Superman did? When cornered in the Department of Mysteries by a crowd of ravenous murdering Voldemort-worshippers, would I take them on single-handedly?

No way.

Franny would RUN AWAY and SCREAM for HELP. (RASH for short.) You do this loudly and with your arms and legs flailing for optimum effect.

I would make a rotten 'fictional hero' because heroes don't use the RASH method. No one wants Batman to say to the Joker, "EEEK, just hold off on the battery acid for a sec, I'm notifying the cops!"

If Harry Potter used the RASH method, the books would be pretty short.

Spiderman would be a bit of a pussy.

Even Hamlet would read differently. Eg:

Hamlet: *running away* mom is a slut and that guy killed my dad and my girlfriend is a depressing psycho! Somebody help me!

Spiderman: You can come hang out with me, heh heh heh...

(Ok, yes I am aware that Spiderman does not appear in Shakespeare. Though I now have an excellent idea for a future blog...)

Ok so my point is, the RASH Method ain't for the 'hero' types, but it can work for us normal folk, in everyday life. Eg:

Get a bad job evaluation? Run away and scream for help!

Car stuck in traffic? Run away and scream for help!

Having trouble 'in the bedroom'? Run away and scream for help! (well, quietly)

Good luck everyone out there, and remember: choosing your battles means RUN AWAY if you're outnumbered.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

She Drives Me Crazy

Let's say there was this teacher. Let's say that this teacher had a child in her Kindergarten class that was reading at a Grade 4 level. Let's say that there was a parent, who realized that her son was reading at a Grade 4 level and went to talk to the teacher (who had never mentioned it before and kept sending home really EASY reading) about nurturing this talent. And let's say, that the teacher pretty much said to this parent "so what?" and then proceeded to criticize this boys abilities in other areas (eg: penmanship and gym), instead of offering advice on how to increase his potential and confidence.

Lastly, let's say this teacher made sure that the parent realized that her son was in no way unique...that over the years she had had many children who could read at an advanced level for their age and it pretty much took them nowhere.

Now, lets say this all actually happened.

Besides egg her car (which is WRONG, kids) what should this parent do?

Friday, September 22, 2006

About Nonno

Much of what I know about my grandfather is the stuff of legends, such that you start to wonder what parts are myth and what parts are actually true.

Adriano was born to a very old and wealthy family in Rome, Italy. In his teens, he served his obligatory service in WWII for Mussolini (aka: the wrong side), and was stationed in Southern Italy. Anyhow, when his unit heard that the Allied forces were on their way, they immediately took off their uniforms, borrowed clothes from the locals, and sat themselves down in the local bar as if they had been there all day. When the liberators arrived and asked which way Axis forces had gone, “the soldiers” winked and said “what soldiers?” The Allies understood that they were all on the same side. They sat down for wine and celebration with my grandfather’s platoon and with the locals, like old friends.

When my grandfather married my grandmother, it was a HUGE scandal. In those days, people of my grandfather’s status did NOT mingle with working class families. He lost his inheritance, his status, and was disowned by his parents, all for marrying this woman from the wrong side of the tracks. They had a daughter (my mother), and worked hard for everything that they owned. When the job situation became difficult, they decided it was time to emigrate. My grandfather sent applications for work to two countries where his skills were in high demand: Australia and Canada. He told the family that the first country to reply would be where they would go.

I can’t imagine how it felt, holding that envelope…wondering where the new life would begin. Of course, Canada replied first, which is why I am here and not down under! They sold everything and flew across the pond to icy Quebec City. They had never seen snow before, and it was 4 ft. deep when they arrived. My grandparents thought they had entered arctic hell. But my mother, who was 6, loved it!

My grandparent’s journey took them to Ontario, where they lived to celebrate 57 years of marriage. And yesterday, my grandfather died of complications from emphysema.

My grandfather was a master garage-saler, buying old, worn-out & broken furniture, restoring it in his workshop, and selling it again as the heirloom it once was.

My grandfather loved to collect, and had an odd assortment of collectibles from antique dulcimers to novelty singing fish, ancient roman coins to plush skunks.

My grandfather told me there were trout in the hot water tank. (I believed him until very recently.)

My grandfather loved sweets, played Claudio Villa (*above) records at Christmas and was the crankiest old bugger with a smile in his eyes that you could ever hope to meet.

I think the best thing about my grandfather is how he always called Nicky “Il Professore” (the professor). My grandfather adored that little boy because he recognized that my son had a special kind of intelligence. I like to think Nicky reminded him of himself when he was a kid, with those ears that stick out and that unusual way about him. Nicky raises his eyebrows as he watches the world, waiting for something funny or unexpected to happen. He laughs out loud when it does.

So, I will think of Nonno when I look at my little boy.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Hero Complex

Me & the kids played superheroes at the park tonight. It's this really creative & educationally stimulating (aka: just made it up) game in which we are all superheroes and we "fly" around the park until, we hear "HELP!" from some tiny creature in the distance. Usually its a baby duck (aka: a fluffy dandelion head) at the top of the hill, or a baby squirrel (aka: a pile of grass clippings) that needs immediate assistance. So we all "fly" to the rescue! Eg:

Me: Quick Superheroes, each of you take a baby duck and use your "Super-Eyesight" to put it on the bench so that its mommy can find it!

*run amok in 3 different directions, none of them towards the park bench*

At one point our fluffy baby bunny developed hyperactivity disorder. Just as they would come to pet it, it would get away, and they would all scream and chase it. I would catch it and then the scenario would repeat itself. Its amazing how many times we did this, considering the fact that the rabbit was, by all apparent indications, invisible.

We had to rescue a baby bird but first we had to use our "Super-Thinking" find the biggest tree. This was fun because it was Nicky who correctly identified the "biggest tree". The other two were fooled by the closer trees, thinking they were bigger, but Nicky saw the tree on the South end of the park and he knew right away that it was the biggest, in spite of the perspective. He is really good with details like that! We then all "climbed" the tree (oh my back!) and rescued the 'baby bird', though I am sure Joey put his in his pocket for a pet...

I finally got the kids to leave by telling them we could use our "Super-Hearing" to listen to a 'secret underground river' on the way home. We stopped by the storm drain, were very quiet, and sure enough, we heard the rush of water from the recent rains. You should have seen their faces when they realized I wasn't *bullshitting them!(*well, technically I wasn't...)

So when my hubby came home from work tonight, they bombarded him at the door with stories of "Super-Powers" and "Underground Rivers", etc etc. He was reeling with confusion and surprise as they swarmed him. It was totally cute. Nicky proudly thumped his chest and said "I'm a Superhero Mommy!"

It was so nice.

It soothes the soul.

And yes, I'm tired and sore.

But so very happy.


Monday, September 18, 2006

An Interview

Alan: Good morning everyone, I'm Alan Rickman and I'm the guest-star interviewer for a very special segment of "Good Morning America!" Today we're talking about the blogging phenomenon, and with me here is Franny of Franny's Fables. She's a mom, a wife, a graduate of professional writing and web technology AND a devoted blogger. Franny is going to help shed some light on this world-changing new method of communication.

Alan: Welcome, Franny!

Franny: Um...*giggle*, hi...*hiding face*, Alan *giggle, flush*.

Thanks for coming out this morning. I hope the British accent doesn't bother you.

Franny: Um...*giggle*...sorry...

Alan: Ok, then, let's get right to it. Blogging - is it the news medium of the future?

Franny: like the accent...a lot...I mean, could you repeat the question....slooowly?

Certainly. Do you feel that blogging is the news-medium of the future?

Franny: say it again, and raise your eyebrow the way you did in "Love Actually" when the secretary was dancing with you.

Alan: *Looking uncertainly at the camera*

Franny: Sorry, sorry... Yes, blogging good. *wiping drool*

Alan: Very well. And with all of the controversial and politcal subjects discussed in blogs, do you think that legislation should be passed-

Franny: Alan?

Alan: Yes Franny? Is everything alright?

Franny: *Sigh* Could you hold my hand and ask me that again? Like you're Colonel Branden and I'm Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility?

Alan: *squirming uncomfortably* Moving on to our next question...Some critics have indicated that partisan groups are using blogs in order to spread propaganda that appears to be unbiased and releasing it on an unsuspecting public. What are your feelings on this?

Franny: Well...yes...I have very strong feelings about that, but I won't share them with you.

Alan: Oh, *raising eyebrows* and why is that?

Franny: Because...I'm being a very bad girl, Professor Snape...

Alan: *standing up* Oh for Christ's sake!

Franny: Oooh...I see you're angry...*drooooool*

Alan: Ok, um, that's all the time we have for today. Join us again tomorrow when a new guest-star will be interviewing on behalf of "Good Morning America"! Thank you to our guest Franny for this 'enlightening' discussion. *shakes Franny's hand*

Franny: *passes out*

Alan: Franny? Franny??? Can somebody get some smelling salts?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Inevitable Element

Why does the bread always get squished, no matter where you put it in the grocery cart? And if you happen to make it out of the store with unsquished bread, it'll get squished in the car, or on the kitchen table, or seconds before you serve it so that the whole family whines "SQUISHED BREAD AGAIN!?"? Wanna know why?

It's because the bread HAS to be squished. It is the bread's destiny.

Now I am an intelligent woman with powers and knowledge that are uniquely superior to that of most guys. (Sorry men!) But why can't I outwit the universe? Why does the inevitable always find me and drag me to the town square buck nekked so that the populace can point and laugh and say "HA HA, SHE DOESN'T KNOW WHAT SHE'S DOING!"?

Consider the following:

If I tidy up a room, it is INEVITABLE that there is a child, seconds behind me, wearing muddy shoes, carrying an overfull glass of grape juice and balancing a bucket of Honey-nut Cheerios on their head. This is true everywhere I go. Look for this child in the grocery store, the library, and at church.

If I am in a grand hurry, it is INEVITABLE that the car will be on empty, so I will stop at the gas station where it is INEVITABLE that I will run into an old high school flame while I am wearing my grubbies and have on no makeup and crusts of food on my shirt, and highschool-hottie will pretend not to notice how badly I've let myself go, but it is INEVITABLE it will come up later back at his swinging bachelor pad as he mentions it to all the stupid-but-pretty girls I used to know in highschool and they all squeal with glee and say "I KNEW IT!"

If I promise the kids peanut-butter and Nutella sandwiches for lunch, it is INEVITABLE that my husband already ate all of the pb, and the Nutella that I bought yesterday has slipped into the seventh dimension and is awaiting execution by some rogue alien task force/the time police. Also, the bread will be squished. (*see above)

If I have a headache, someone will INEVITABLY locate a high-pitched toy trumpet...

(Oh, and if I am writing my latest musings before the inspiration runs out, it is INEVIATABLE that the kkids will sho7w up and be riGht over mye shouldeR and bumping my eelbows so that me typing and concen1tration get screwwded up.)

I suppose its the universe's way of keeping us humble, so that we don't turn into evil dictators, false Gods or Republicans. The inevitable element keeps us human.

Yes, like the bread, we are meant to be squished. It is our destiny.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Recipe for Homemade Won Ton Soup

1/2 lb ground turkey
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 onion, very finely chopped
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1 pkg Won Ton wrappers
1/2 cup hot water
1 pot beef broth

Optional garnishes:
1 cup crispy oriental noodles
1 chopped green onion

1. Mix first four ingredients together well. Tell kids for the 10th time that dinner isn't ready yet. Assure 4-yr old son that you're not making beans or stew or vegetables any other kind of food that makes him PUKE.

2. Turn on stove and put broth to boil, and then run away with the stove still on because someone has just turned the shower on in the bathroom. Re-dress wet kid, and return to kitchen to find daughter squishing her fingers in the raw meat.

3. Wash daughter's hands and escort her out of the kitchen. Assure 4-yr-old son that you're not making beans or stew or vegetables any other kind of food that makes him PUKE.

4. Put on a video so the kids stop bugging you while you cook.

5. Turn off video and beg the kids to stop fighting while you cook.

6. Offer to let kids help cook.

7. Place small ball of meat in centre of each wrapper. Stop 4-yr-old from sampling the raw meat. Fold Won Ton, diagnal corners together, and seal by wetting fingertip with hot water. Repeat until your daughter decides the Won Ton wrappers look like delicious process cheese slices and runs off with them.

8. Locate and soothe crying daughter who didn't like the way the "cheese" tasted.

9. Return to kitchen to find boys throwing the balls of raw meat at each other. Attempt to eject all the children.

10. Give up trying to eject the crying children, and offer to let them GENTLY drop the completed Won Tons into the boiling water.

11. Scream in pain as they gleefully SLAM DUNK the Won Tons, splashing boiling water all over your hands. Nod in dismay when you see that they are all coming unwrapped due to the force of the throws.

12. Kick all the kids out. Remind 4-yr old that you're NOT making beans or stew or vegetables any other kind of food that makes him PUKE, goddammit!

13. Let soup boil for approx five minutes, or as long as it takes for one of them to find you hiding in the breakfast nook reading a magazine.

14. When done, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a handful of crispy noodles (that your kids will eye suspiciously) and a sprinkle of green onion (but not on the 4-yr-old's soup because green onion is a VEGETABLE and that makes him PUKE, remember?!).

15. Cut up your beautiful Won Tons into unrecognizable tiny little bits so that the kids can eat them easily with a spoon. Mutter to yourself that a can of Lipton's Chicken Noodle Soup is 69 friggin' cents...

16. Light a candle, sit down and enjoy watching the kids eat something new. Realize that, all things considered, your Homemade Won Ton soup is really good! Make mental note to buy wine for dinner tomorrow. You're gonna need it!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Culturalizing the Kids, Again

I was feeling restless and irritated and the kids were a little hyperactive, so I decided what we needed was some music to soothe the beasts. I swept all the clutter into the corners and let the moonlight shine in the big window and the livingroom instantly became the family ballroom. I put on my favourite, mellow CD and taught my kids how to slow dance with the largest stuffed animals I could find. You should have seen them out on the livingroom floor, dancing like at a 1950's prom! Each 'couple' had their own uniques style:

Joey and Mommy Duck had a casual chat while on the dancefloor, like two old good friends might do, or a couple that has been married for 40 years. Joey asked the questions of his 'date' and then offered the answers on her behalf in a nasal 'duck-like' voice. He held Mommy Ducks wings around his waist for her, and let her head stare at the ceiling. "Their song" is 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' by Kylie Minogue.

Natalie and Snuffy the dog had the most fun. At the slightest rise in tempo or percussion, they were jumping and doing an acro-dance, and Snuffy got his poor stuffed ass thrown in the air repeatedly. He was only caught about 20% of the time, and was stepped on frequently by his partner. But he didn't seem to mind. Their song is 'The One I Love' by David Gray.

Nicky and Precious the giant panda shocked me the most. They were by far the best dancers, and I was alarmed by what a ladies' man Nicky is gonna be. He held the panda in traditional 'waltz' posture, and he had this dreamy, 'you're the only Panda in the world for me' look in his eyes. He took the whole thing very seriously, and if Panda were a real, living breathing girl, she would definately be head-over-heels in love by now. Their song is 'Pull Me Through' by Jim Cuddy. (Click the disc or the player icon to hear it.)

Anyhow, after Natalie and Joey ran away to vandalize the bathroom, I had the dance with Nicky that I had been longing for. I took him in my arms as we danced to 'The Riddle' by Five for Fighting. He rested his head on my shoulder, and was absolutely still except for the wild giggles when we would do an unexpected spin or a dip. And then...oh God...I am not lying here...he put his hands on my cheeks...smiling...he tilted his head...and...oh God...

...he tried to TONGUE me!

Imagine me, half laughing and half screaming in horror and gasping for air and pushing him away and trying to tell him that we don't stick out our tongue out at mommy while thinking what the fuck was that???! Where the heck does a 30-month old learn these things??!!! (Hey, my hubby and I DO NOT to make out around the house - ok, maybe once...but I swear Nicky wasn't paying attention!)

Anyhow, I am gonna take it as a silly funny thing that a loveable preschooler might do as a sign of affection, and not a precursor to a strange and creepy relationship my son will one day have with his mother ala 'Norman Bates'. It wouldn't work out anyways. Our house is only one story, and we don't own a motel.

But I do have a rocking chair...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Ever have those days when you don't know what to blog about, and then something happens and BLAM! you're blogging furiously until your fingers smoke? Well that's me right now.

I just read an article in which the pope's chief exoricist, Rev. Gabriele Amorth, compared the Harry Potter characters to dictators Stalin and Hitler, saying they were possessed by the devil. He has called fictional wizard-in-training Harry Potter the "king of darkness, the devil" and stated that JK Rowling's works of magic promote the satanic acts. He said that the books are misleading when they differentiate between "white" magic and "black" magic---because ALL magic is a turn towards the devil.


Okay, screw that.

ARGHHHHHHHH! Fucking ignorant blind sex-deprived sadistic pompous shit-headed morons!!!!!!!!

Ok, that's better.

I know, this is not a well-thought out argument. I am not adding to the debate by getting all bitchy and spiteful and swearing up a storm. Sure, I could go on about what f-i-c-t-i-o-n is and all the real, NON-fiction atrocities committed by the Catholic church, all the real, NON-fiction evidence of evil in the world, not to mention all the real NON-fiction good these books and their author has brought to the world and to our culture at large (Eg: literacy, positive female role models, JKR's charity works, etc).

Think of all the depravity and violence that has NOT occurred while people were reading Harry Potter! In fact, I was GOING to maim, pillage and steal the weekend Half-Blood Prince came out, but I was too busy reading!

For me, this is not just a philosophical debate. It's a more of a "boyfriend/girlfriend fighting in a public place" kinda debate. I was born and raised Catholic, but I have refused to be lead blindly and I now have massive issues with the rights/expectations of women in the church, birth control, and stem-cell research, to name a few. It's like finding out that your boyfriend and his sister are sleeping together. Makes you mad, but its also so very creepy...

My point, and I do have one, is that this is personal.

And now they are going after my JKR. And you don't touch JKR.

So, if Harry Potter is a turn towards the devil, well then slap me in a red dress and hand me that pitchfork kids, I've got cities to burn!