Daily Prompt: Copies

The sincerest form of flattery (or extreme source of annoyance) is to copy something you admire. I have always loved the poem Indian Summer by William Campbell. We had to memorize it in grade five. Which I could not, I was an extremely introverted misfit and would go blank at just the thought of having to say anything to anyone. My fifth grade teacher was a mortifying copy of Ms. Finster (you know from Recess!) I blame some of my trauma on her. Actually I blame her for 89% of it. Here is Indian Summer and my rendition below it:

“Indian Summer”

Along the line of smoky hills

The crimson forest stands,

And all the day the blue-jay calls

Throughout the autumn lands.

Now by the brook the maple leans,

With all his glory spread;

And all the sumachs on the hills

Have turned their green to red.

Now, by great marshes wrapt in mist,

Or past some river’s mouth,

Throughout the long still autumn day

Wild birds are flying south.
“Kidsindahouse Summer”
Within the walls of smoke-filled kitchen,

The offspring burn their toast.

And all morning I bury skull in pillow,

In sleep I am engrossed.

Now by afternoon the house is still standing,

Although a filthy mess;

And all my brats claim innocence

None of them confess.

Now its high time I got out of bed,

I really need some tea,

Throughout our abode the kids do scatter

‘Cause I’m petrifying to see.

Finster

 

My fifth grade teacher actually looked just like this.

Desi Mom: Parenting 101

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I was born and (mostly) raised in Canada. My parents were clueless FOBs (fresh off the boat) and I blame them for my thoroughly awkward upbringing.  I was a total geeky loser in school, yes right up to high school. My post is absolutely not related to my traumatized childhood, I just wanted to get that off my chest.

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In the many years I spent in Pakistan I learned the importance of plastic shopping bags and yogurt containers. Also that if you aren’t quick at weddings when they signal dinner, you will find there is no coke left. Or chicken broast. So don’t be shy.

Raising five monsters kids in Karachi has given me, besides nerves of steel and the amazing ability to not go pee for  48 hours, some multicultural expertise I feel I must bestow on non-desi moms.

1. You can live without water: When there is no electricity for 9 hours straight you can count on running out of water. The kids need a shower. What the hell do you think baby powder was invented for? Douse those little buggers with it. Sprinkle it in their puppy dog smelling hair and dust it out. Not only will the greasiness be replaced with powderiness, the powder will absorb all further sweating. Inevitable since there’s no electricity and its 40 degrees in the house.

2. Never throw away plastic bags: Keep plastic bags handy in the car, in all your handbags and purses even in your jeans’ pockets. Teenager 2 always got car sick as a little boy. I could catch his involuntary projectile of gastric juice without blinking. Plastic bags are also good for when there is no gas station on a road trip. Or if you are in Karachi, where the gas stations are so dirty your child would prefer to poop his pants.

3. Don’t buy toys: You know very well that once the box is opened it takes about 3 and a half minutes for the charm of that $35 toy to disappear completely. My mother-in-law could keep Middle Child busy for hours with her empty plastic pill containers. The allure lay in the fact that the containers could be closed and opened again and again and again and….

4. Kids need to be spanked: Your kid needs to know you are the boss. If you think “let’s talk about what you are feeling right now” and “we need to think about the consequences” is working than you are a dummy mummy. That is Junior knowing he got away with it by showing remorse he certainly doesn’t feel, he or she is already planning the next escapade. Spank that kid! Just ask Russel Peters…”Somebody’s a gonna get a hurt!”

5. A good sweater can be used for at least four siblings. Oh yes I did. In the span of ten years. We still have the sweater.

6. Never praise your kids in their presence: Always ask them why they can’t be more like your sister’s children, your cousin’s children, your neighbor’s children, your brother-in-law’s children, anybody’s children. It keeps them competitive, no of course it will not hurt their self-esteem.

7. Always one up other moms: Don’t let your sister, your cousin, your neighbor or anyone else have the last word on their children’s achievements. Whatever they say is 50% exaggeration, beat them with their own rules. Example? Your child got her black belt last year. So what if she was only five?

Stay posted for more Desi tips.

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Random Thought About : Snow. And Dogs.

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(Photo by me. Beautiful, clean and poop free snow!)

I just had a random thought. Why can’t dogs bury their poop like cats? I like dogs. I just don’t like their poop lying hidden in the grass. Another random thought, why don’t owners pick up their dog’s poop like they are supposed to? Does it give them some creepy joy, the thought of some unsuspecting random person accidentally stepping in their dog’s poop? Do they think it looks festive in the snow in winter? Do they know how hard it is to keep reminding six-year-old twins to watch where they are walking, don’t pick up the snow without examining it carefully to make sure it is dog poop free, and stay off the grassy edges of the sidewalk  because that is where dog owners like to leave the most dog poop? We don’t want to see dog poop. Not in the grass or in the snow, not by a tree or under the park bench. However we also don’t want to not see it, so just pick it up! OR get a cat. My rant for the day. Thank you.

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(photo from: http://hoboken411.com/archives/34284)

 

More Snow!

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We had more snow :) Anyways I was able to write some chapters. Hurray. Whoopie. I am still not finished. I ended up reading loads of news and conspiracy theories that should cause plenty of anxiety and depression. But not for people who love snow. So while the world may be heading for disaster, I will enjoy the snow. And everything else because when you have lived as long as I have in a city like Karachi you are a certified “I can live through anything” so might as well enjoy the ride.

A couple of days ago when the offspring were afflicted with sniffles and coughs I had to hold them down and pour disgusting purple colored grape smelling syrups through funnels I jammed in their mouths.

Twin 2: “If Mommy was my kid, I’d make her drink this stuff ALL THE TIME!” She was reasonably upset.

Well it comes with the season, can’t avoid it. But here is a better tasting alternative :http://khaulamazhar.wordpress.com/2012/10/16/aachoo-season/ If you can get the kids to drink this it is really good for them. Besides being good for colds ginger and turmeric are good for detoxifying other icky stuff you don’t want running rampant in your body. Happy Snow!

 

 

 

I know I’m not supposed to be here. But this morning :

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Photography courtesy of Middle Child. I know a lot of you have already gotten snow. But this was the first of the season for us. And I go crazy for snow. And so do offspring. So we decided today we would not hitch a ride with dad. We walked. And took pictures

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Of this and

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this. These ones are by moi. So is this one

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and I just went crazy…

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Every time I told myself this would be the last pic and I would now go home, have breakfast and get to that novel, the sky would say “wait, I have to show you something really amazing you can’t go home yet!”

“Ok,” I said “but make it quick some unknowing agent’s career is going to go va va voom once I get that novel done.”

The sky gave me that look and said, “yeah whatever. Now check this out.”  And I would be amazed.

 

Whistle Blowers

I love “political thriller/conspiracy theory/Matrix/the world is not what you think” type novels and movies.  I started writing something that comes under the above category, which means I actually read more and write less. There is so much interesting stuff on the internet it just sucks you in and hours fly by in minutes.

Some stuff is pretty scary, some just plain ridiculous. But all of it really addictive. I have a very suspicious Google search history now. If I suddenly disappear…TELL THEM I WAS JUST A HARMLESS WANNABEE WRITER!

I read all the whistle-blower stuff to fit it into my future best seller. Seriously I think Americans should stop making fun of Canadians for being polite and living in igloos, they may have to move in with us to escape all their Agent Smiths. And Neo is Canadian.

I dunno what do you think? Should you go back to sleep or wake up? Maybe George Orwell knew what was coming. In any case I am happy in my igloo.  And you are being watched.

 

God Bless Schools for Finally Opening

During the summer vacation I finished writing my awesome book, impressed every agent I queried, landed a million dollar …no two million dollar book deal and my book is out this October. Hah! I joke. I woke up late every morning to the sound of squabbling, made a large breakfast for all the offspring, tried in vain to broom Cheerios from every corner of the house, ignored lunch time and convinced myself everyone needed to diet, pretended to be deaf while teenager complained about everything and under twelves fought about everything, tried out new exotic recipes for dinner amid constant pleas for mercy and ended the day by watching Netflix till my eyes could not be forced to stay open any longer. During all this excitement we also had Ramadan and we moved. For some mysterious reason husband decided this was the best time to not hire movers. Have mini-van will move.

ME: “Who the hell is gonna pick up all the heavy stuff?”

HIM: “We don’t have heavy stuff.”

ME: “What about the furniture?”

HIM:”We aren’t taking it.”

Silence.

ME: “Well we can’t leave it here and they charge you to have someone come pick it up, then we have to buy new furniture… so how is that saving money?”

Silence.

ME: “I’ll sell it.”

HIM: Laughing. Laughing some more. Still laughing. “No one is going to buy all that junk!”

ME: ( 10 days later holding up a large sum of money all fanned out, singing “I love it” in my head) “Look at all the money I made selling the ‘junk’.” I love Kijiji.

Kijiji is so addictive, you can sell anything there. I am thinking of selling the kids and husband as a ‘buy five get one free’ deal.

Other summer vacation stuff:

The beach, a birthday, Mississauga celebration square, the zoo, Niagara Falls….

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What did you guys do in summer vacation?

 

Pet Names

Someone give me a recipe for motivation. Motivate me to write regularly and stop procrastinating. It’s just that it is sooo hard to make myself write, finish that novel, write hundreds of different query letters, get hundreds of rejection letters. Hit me on the head, tell me to stop whining, it happens to every writer. So just finish the damned novel and write a blog post once a week.

We are thinking of moving into a bigger place and the kids want a dog. I want a husky, Cauliflower wants  a golden retriever, the Twins want anything that wags a tail, barks and gets excited about nothing. We are not getting a dog. I promised the kids we might go for another cat. A friend for Patchy. I am a bad candidate for women’s lib, I want a male cat because they are more affectionate in my experience. Cauliflower suggested we name the future affectionate tom cat Sh*t.

I stared at her because I was sure I hadn’t heard her right.

“Don’t use that language!”

“No seriously think how much fun it would be. The neighbors will get plenty of amusement whenever we call the cat.”

I thought for a moment. And smiled. Then I laughed. “Sh*t! Sh*t where are you? Here Sh*tty Sh*tty Sh*tty Sh*tty!”

“What about this?” Cauliflower made a suggestion,  “Sh*t you missed the litter box again! Sh*t I am not cleaning up your sh*t anymore!”

Or,

“Sh*t come on it’s your favorite Sh*t, come and get it. Does Sh*t want some tuna?”

“Where’s Sh*t? There he is! There’s Sh*t! Whose a good Sh*tty? Sh*t’s a good sh*tty!”

“Sh*t is so adorable, look at Sh*t lying there being cute!”

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Waiting to play with Sh*t.

Any other suggestions for pet names are welcome.