Dear Random Lady

Dear Random Lady I Met at a Party,

Thank you for taking the time to assess my ability to manage my work life and parenthood.  I appreciate your unsolicited opinion on whether I am able to sufficiently care for my kids while working, in your assessment, 17 hour days.  It was incredible to hear your views on the time I spend telecommuting as you seem to be an expert in the field.  I particularly enjoyed your statement that I wasn’t really there for my kids if I was working remotely.

Our 90 second conversation where you initially confused me with someone else was clearly sufficient time for you to accurately determine the health of my relationship with my kids and my husband.  It was also plenty of time for you to fully comprehend both my professional and parenting styles.

Since you have such a prescient viewpoint of how I live my life, you may enjoy reading my blogs to see if your evaluations are correct.  Might I suggest What Do You Do or you may see something more in tune with your own proclivities for mothering in I am, I am, I am Supermom.  I personally would like to recommend Profoundly Profane.  Then you’ll learn the incredible restraint and composure I enacted at said party when I didn’t tell you to mind your own f$&!ing business.


The Rock and Roll Mom

Barbie Needs a Job


When Shorty #1 was born, I vowed we would be those parents that supplied their kids with only good toys.  You know…

1. Toys that educate

2. Toys that are ethically made

3. Toys that are environmentally friendly

4. Toys that are gender neutral

You get the idea.

Fast forward 6 years and you’ll see how impossible it was to stick with the plan.  In that time Toys R Us crept into the picture, as did hand me down toys, as did Disney.   The Polly Pockets invaded and now we’re swimming in a sea of tiny little rubber dresses (for what I guess are little Polly Pocket fetishes).

What could we do?  Sheltering our kids from the reality of the corporate machine that monetizes and markets every TV show and movie franchise with the toys that go with them is an uphill battle.  Especially when they start preschool.  Shorty #1 loves it all.  Who are we tell her not to – all we can do is try and educate her.

So as we discuss the merits of children’s toys, let us jump with both feet into the dialogue about Barbies, shall we?  While I do agree with the argument regarding Barbie propagating unrealistic body images for little girls, I for one played with Barbies growing up and never seemed to notice her shape.  What I did notice was her imaging.

Warning: here’s where I climb up on my soapbox.

I will only contribute to the Barbie franchise IF said Barbie has an actual profession.  Please note that the world’s oldest profession does not count!

Yes, I am sick and tired of Barbies dressed like prostitutes playing role model to our little girls.  If I’m forking over cash for a Barbie she has to have a real job.  Chef Barbie, Teacher Barbie, Dentist Barbie, Computer Programmer Barbie – all of these are ok.  Hell, even Malibu Barbie is a pro-surfer.  I can accept that.  I want to see Lawyer Barbie in an Armani suit or better yet Supreme Court Justice Barbie in robes – that would be amazing.  Nuclear physicist Barbie perhaps or even Entrepreneur Barbie complete with tech conference badge and elevator pitch in hand.

Having a profession is really the tip of the iceberg. Barbie needs to be dressed for the job.  Tell me, why does poor Barbie always have to have her feet positioned in a 180 degree angle to fit into heels?  Really, don’t you think Chef Barbie would be better off with a pair of sensible Crocs?  She could slip on some foie gras in those heels and break her tiny little neck.  Or Dog-Walker Barbie – heels for that job – as if.  Imagine if you will Barbie careening down the street with 5 dogs pulling her along in those shoes.  Wait til they get to the dog park – she’ll be on her ass in no time.

Don’t even get me started on the short skirts and plunging necklines.  I don’t think that a real Dentist wears a micro-mini when seeing back to back patients.  Are you listening Mattel?  Oh and if you are listening, perhaps you could add a few extra millimetres to her waistline while you’re at it?

Profoundly Profane

I f@#%ing LOVE to swear.  Always have.  I mean it, I f@#%ing LOVE it.

As a rather tightly wound, type-a personality with a penchant for absorbing and experiencing stress – swearing gives me a chance to blow off a little steam.  Who’s kidding who – swearing is f@#%ing cathartic!

Trouble is, with the arrival of the Shorties we have had to curtail the swearing around the house. F@#%!  Seriously, having kids only creates MORE opportunity to swear.  Examples:

1. You just spilled yogurt into the gear shift of my car.  S#*&!

2. All bundled up to leave the house and someone poops.  B@lls!

3. The SuperMom at school drop off lays the guilt trip about you missing the next field trip because you have to work.  B+^$#!!!

See?  So many opportunities when a good F-bomb would help ease the pain, but NO.  Our little dears are still in the throes of language acquisition and what if they (GOD FORBID) dropped a little F@#% you to the preschool teacher – all those years of good parenting and behaviour modelling goes straight out the window.

The real trouble is when I get home from being on the road.  The music business isn’t exactly… dainty… EVERYONE swears… A LOT!  I have to get all my swearing out on the plane.  I have to be so cautious not to let one slip when I’m back in the family fold and when I do I have to start rhyming to cover up. TRUCK, LUCK, SHUCKS.  HIT, BIT, WIT.  ITCH, SNITCH, WITCH.  TRAP, FLAP, CHAP.

In our house we have some emphatic substitutes.  They aren’t very creative but they work.  For instance a long drawn out EFFFFFFFF can ease the pain.

A friend once sent me the best book ever “Depraved and Insulting English” by Peter Novobatzky and Ammon Shea.  Its full of swears that no one knows.  So I can swear away when the kids are around and they don’t bat an eye!  Words like:

Gundygut /GUN dee gut/ n – an offensive, mannerless eater.  As in “YOU GUNDYGUT”

Shilpit /SHILL pit/ adj – Feable, puny or sickly.  Weak, good for nothing, watered down.  As in “THAT’S SHILPIT”

Or when stretched for a quick retort, one can always pick-up the quote made famous by Will Ferrell in the movie Elf – “SON OF A NUTCRACKER.”

The truth is, finding a satisfying way to let the swears fly just takes is a little f@#%ing creativity.

Black Magic Woman

Black Magic joined me on vacation in Mexico in 2002

In 2000, I took a little trip with some girlfriends down to Seattle for a shopping weekend.    I know we had fun and that we bought a lot of clothes and drank a lot of red wine.  We might have even crashed a wedding.  What I do remember is I bought a little black dress at the Gap Outlet shop for $15.  That LBD has gone on to live a long and fruitful life in my wardrobe and I still rock that bad boy to this day.  Hell, I’ve owned this dress longer than I’ve known my husband.

That’s right – if I amortized the total purchase price over the occasions when I (or others) have worn it, I would be running about 10 cents a wear.

Made of some polyester jersey fabric, the dress looks as good today as the sunny day I bought it from the outlet mall off the I-5.  I can roll it in a ball, pack it in a suitcase, pull it out on arrival with nary a wrinkle in sight.  I’ve worn it through various weight variations including two pregnancies and have loaned it out to friends.  I wash it in the washing machine with regular detergent and hang it to dry and the thing hasn’t frayed or aged a day.  That’s why I like to call it Black Magic.

Its a v-neck, cap sleeve, mid-knee cut with the perfect drape that flatters anyone that wears it.  Sure I’ve had to pop on my beloved Spanx on occasion, but still it works.

Black Magic Cape Town

Out for dinner in Cape Town with Black Magic and Shorty #2 in 2009

I remember first wearing it with a dark denim jean jacket and a pair of cow print black and red clogs (I did tell you I bought this dress in 2000).  Lately I like to pair it with some black patten pumps and a leather jacket.  Add a great choker if the occasion is fancy or a fun long necklace if its a little more casual.  Winter or summer – you can wear this dress any time of year, just change up the accessories to match the season.

In no particular order, I have worn this dress on first dates (including my husband), weddings, my parent’s milestone surprise birthday party, to the rehearsal party for my own wedding, several black tie events, on tour as both a cocktail dress and beach cover-up, on vacations, business functions, several staff holiday parties (its like camouflage – change the accessories and no one remembers the damn thing) at least one (maybe two Juno Awards) and a Grammy Awards.

For the Grammy appearance – I was 6 months pregnant and that dress just morphed around my great big baby bump.  Its like its made of plasma or something out of Star Trek.  I’ve loaned it out to friends and it just seems to shape itself perfectly to the wearer whatever their height and size.

My friend H borrowed Black Magic this past April.

My friend H borrowed Black Magic this past April and rocked it!

I liken it to Willy Wonka’s Everlasting Gobstopper – it won’t wear out.  I’m sure if The Gap knew that this dress was so incredible – they would never want to make it again.  It would negate women from ever needing to buy another LBD in their lifetime.  (OK – thats ridiculous, seeing as I personally own about 10 black dresses.  But to be fair I do work in the music business where black is standard issue and in cases when you’re behind the scenes – a necessity).

I picture some Judy Jetson type picking it up in a futuristic thrift shop in 2113 and wearing it on one of her first dates.  I hope Black Magic brings her as much luck as it has me.  I love you BLACK MAGIC.  You will outlive us all.

Be Prepared

My Dad was a Queen Scout.  He taught me to always be prepared.  He has a direct line to Canadian Tire and can outfit a car, apartment, house, boat – you name it – with every bit of safety gear in the event of calamity – batteries, flash lights, fire extinguishers.  I remember him stocking my first studio apartment in Vancouver, I had 6 flashlights in 600 sq feet including the closets.

Dad’s preparedness is clearly genetic.  My Grandparents were legendary for their pantry.   This was Cold-War era stockpiling at its best.  Dad definitely got this from them and he passed it on to me.  Our pantry is borderline hoarding territory.  But truly, my need to be prepared is most evident when I’m heading out on the road and all supplies need to be carefully packed in a suitcase and paraded around from home to taxi to airport to taxi to hotel lobby for the whole world to see.  I admit it, I am a chronic overpacker.  Most recently I was heading out on a three day trip and I’ve packed an oversized Samsonite that is tipping the scale just under the 70lb limit (phew!).

Disclaimer: I was traveling to the Canadian Prairies in the “spring” so I had to be prepared for any sort of weather pattern.  AND it was 12 celsius when I left home and I landed in a -14 celsius windchill.  To be honest I still froze my ass off all in the name of fashion.

Nevertheless, its good to be prepared and sometimes being prepared is just having wardrobe options.  What if I have been traveling for the past week and the hotel food bloat creeps up – you need to have your fat pants or at least Spanx for moments such as this.  What if that dinner is a little more formal than you expected and the red heels are so much cooler than plain old black boots you’ve been wearing all day.  Or what if you spill coffee all over your one pair of jeans during a little turbulence.  Options are always important to be suitably prepared.

Now we need to factor in the other comfort items required for life on the road.  If you’ve read some of my previous blogs you’ll know I’m not such a fan of hotel rooms.  So to beat the travel blues, I bring some scented Voluspa candles.  I’ve also invested in a pair of lightweight Nikes so I can hit the gym.  If I’m really lucky and have the space, sometimes I’ll throw in the yoga mat.  I’m not saying I actually use all these things.  But what if I have a spare hour in the hotel and I can finally take up meditation????

We haven’t even gotten into the gory details about the food I bring just in case room service can’t accommodate my dairy, gluten and sugar free regime (UPDATE: so far so good on sticking with the plan with only the occasional cheats – thank GOD for rice cakes).  Whole food bars and packets of almond butter can save the day.

I take full responsibility for my over-packing, proudly schlepping my bag in all its glory.   The real truth however is if you think this is bad – you should see what happens when I travel with the kids!