If I Live-Blogged the Prince Concert


Hi.  My husband gifted me a ticket to “Prince and a Piano” and despite the performance being after 6pm and not in my living room, I went, and it was awesome.  Here is the Montreal Gazette’s review: Prince Rules In Intimate Setting, and here is my experience:

This lobby smells like money.


If I had to guess by all the black clothing and absence of selfies, no one here is under 40.  The wine glasses placed politely atop the recycling bin confirms it.

Is anyone else here alone?  It’s cool.  I’m cool.

Is anyone else going in?  I feel like sitting down.  I’m going in.

I am in the fifth row, on the aisle.  JESUS MARY AND JOSEPH.  Be cool.  It’s cool.  The aisle.  Good.  Yes.  I can politely vomit in that direction.


Um.  It’s after 7:15 and he’s still not here.

7:17.  iPhone, iPhone, iPhone.

People are now taking selfies with his piano.  A flash goes off.  HIS PIANO IS PURPLE!

7:20. WTF.  Is this “Prince and a Piano” or “Just Us and a Piano?”  Amirite, Fifth-Row-Neighbor?  Oh sorry, I did not see your hand politely atop your wife’s thigh.  Date Night, huh?  Nice.  I saw your wine glasses earlier.

A single piece of hard candy is discovered and fished out of my pants’ pocket.  Dinner!


I’m for sure gonna vomit.

7:29.  The Coolest of The Cool appears in silhouette, 1/4 afro, 1/4 platforms, all soul.  He is everything I want to be.  I can’t believe I’m here right now.  What a freaking privilege.  He’s here.  He’s here!!!  All is forgiven.  Crowd goes politely wild.

Where do I put my phone?  Seriously.  I didn’t bring a purse.  I don’t know how this works.

Prince struts up to the piano then kneels at the bench in prayer.


He starts “U Got the Look” and is it so slow and tender it tickles, and suddenly I wonder if it’s just a build-up to  OMGISSHEENAEASTONGOINGTOBEHERE?!?

Multiple security guards bob and weave their way through the front rows, clicking their tiny lights on and off incessantly.  Is someone trying to record this?  AND YOU CALL YOURSELF A PRINCE FAN?

During “I Would Die 4 U” the house lights come up and Prince asks everybody to stand up and — make no mistake — offer praise.  Things get uncomfortable.

The security guards are getting real tired of your shit, Fourth-Row-and-Above.

I reapply my lipstick for the inevitable moment Prince spots me in the crowd and asks for a chaste kiss on the cheek.  I do it eagerly but then start bawling over how my six-year-old cried when I left him to come to this concert.  Prince hugs me, whispers a secret only we 2 can hear and dedicates his next song to me, The Most Beautiful Mother in the World.


Source unknown

Fuck.  Security thinks my lipstick is a recording device and now I have their attention.


“This is the Ballaaaaaaad of Dorothy Parker.”  It is done.  I am dead now.

I wish “Prince and A Piano” would revolve.  I’ve been staring at the back of his head this whole time – which is a privilege, yes.  It is a privilege to be in the same room as Prince’s head but couldn’t this theatre figure out how to spin him around?  Not so he gets dizzy, just enough so that he could see me above all others is what I’m saying.  Damn.  I don’t think that’s too much ask.  I haven’t been out of my house this late in years.  And did I mention the crying child?


What’s happening?

That’s Annie Lennox Bob Marley’s “Waiting in Vain”.  I know this song!  And now it’s “If I Was Your Girlfriend”.  I sure know this song!  He is blending the two into some kind of anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better spectacle because he can because Prince.

Hey Lady In The Front Row Who Shouts “THANK YOU PRINCE!” After Each Song – you speak for all of us.  Literally.  Why is this crowd so subdued?  Is everyone here sober?  I mean I am but I have to go home and breastfeed my daughter.

It’s getting late I’ll bet.

I’d be okay without an encore.

All these people are going to be in the coat check line before me.

What if I can’t get a cab?

It’s very late.

I need to leave this place.

What if I can’t leave this place?

I left.  I was That Person who left before the end of the encore.  The Only 1.

I finally looked at my watch as the cab drove away.  It was 9:00pm.  I smiled.  No panic attack, no regrets.


Bathing Ice Skates

I am in between photo-editing software and laptops right now and it’s killing my creative output.  Luckily I have my iPhone and motherhood.


One of our eight ice skates got peed upon (let’s just say a dog did it) but I couldn’t tell which one because they were bagged together and forgotten in the trunk for at least a month. Also? Bathing your ice skates feels very Canadian.

Visual aids as to when all fuckery must cease and desist.

Visual aids as to when all fuckery must cease and desist.

My three-year-old suddenly and with great conviction believes she requires a purse and so a purse she was given.

My three-year-old suddenly and with great certainty believes she requires a purse and so a purse she was given.

Picking out the full-size pretzels for my son's lunch because motherhood.

When you dig through two crumbling packages of pretzels to find enough full-sized ones for your son’s lunch, that’s motherhood.

This might seem like a random stick to you and me but to someone else is it HER STICK and one morning it broke.

This might seem like a random stick to you and me but to someone else is it HER STICK and one morning it broke so I fixed it.  I fixed a stick.

We had a bad morning and so while he was at school I went shopping. What? He needs all these things anyway, I tell myself.

We had a crusty, angry morning and so while he was at school I went shopping.  What?  He needs all these things anyway.  Is what I tell myself and my husband.

BEFORE Farrah and I go swimming every Tuesday but this week she fell off the bench in the locker room and landed on the back of her skull.

Farrah and I go swimming every Tuesday but this week she fell off the bench in the locker room and landed on the back of her skull.

AFTER The lump came so fast and grew so large I couldn't believe it. Three different people from the First Aid station helped us with ice and observation and tests. I was very scared and you helped us both greatly. Thank you Aquadome Staff. We come to you for fun but are grateful for your care.

The lump came so fast and grew so large that it scared me. Three different people from the First Aid station helped us with rubber gloves full of ice and a period of careful observation.  Thank you Aquadome Staff.  We come to you for fun but now are grateful for your care. (Click pic for link.)

How have you been?  Is there ever a moment when you’re not doing something absolutely bonkers?

Daily Near-Death Experience

Car trouble.

Do you manage long road trips with your family?

My kids resent being immobilized in a five-point harness for hours on end and I sympathize; I don’t think small bodies are meant to endure long travel.  Everyone I know however, travels by car with little complaint or incident and I mean far, like seven-hours-there-and-back-on-Easter-weekend far.  I know people who have taken a 13-hour road trip without screens and everyone reached their destination alive.  My friend, her husband and two young children are on the road from Wisconsin to Florida as I write — that’s 20 hours direct – and not for the first time.

Everyone has it figured out except me.  I don’t like that.

We tried it, sure.  There was that one time we attempted seven hours by starting at 5pm, hoping to spend the last four hours asleep.  One child did that.  The other child refused and screamed “MOMMA” and cried so hard that she vomitted several times.  As a bonus, her screaming kept waking the other child.  Miserable does not begin to describe the experience.  Hearing your nearly two-year old scream for you over and over while you can do nothing is sickening; traumatic even, for all parties.  Long car rides were removed from our To Do List which is a shame when you’re also terrified to fly.

We’ll go when we’re ready and my kids are not ready and that is okay.  Later is okay.

But we still have to drive around town and that too has its issues:

“Over the course of an average 16-minute trip, parents that had kids present spent three minutes and 22 seconds with their eyes not on the road.” – Kids in Cars 12 Times More Distracting for Drivers than Talking on Cell Phones

We take a lot of 16-minute trips.  (Honestly, how do you do it for hours upon hours?)

Those trips begin and end with getting Farrah in and out of her car seat, which I do no less than seven times a day, so no less than seven times a day do I say “PUT THE TOY/SNACK/WATER DOWN.  BUCKLE FIRST.”  “HURRYHURRYHURRY!  I AM ABOUT TO BE RUN OVER.”  “GET SERIOUS FARRAH.  A CAR IS GOING TO HIT ME.”  I say these things because they are true.  Farrah’s seat is on the driver’s side, the side that opens to traffic. City traffic. Montreal traffic.  Seven times a day I am in a state of terror and anger.


That is a shitty way to be seven times a day looking into this face.  That’s not who I want to be and she doesn’t deserve it just for being the fidgety, distracted, curious, 100% normal three-year-old that she is.

I stopped trying to change her and changed the seats instead.

IMG_8711 IMG_8718

Now Arlo has a little less leg room and he can no long fling open his door, but he’s not complaining because he gets to crawl through the car to his seat, much like a military maneuver, and much to his pleasure.

So that’s one car problem solved.  Seems simple now, like I should have done it at the beginning of winter, but no matter.  It’s done and our days are seven times’ improved.  It feels awesome and I think my kids would agree.

Please share your tips for long car rides in the Comments below.  I know we’ll get there one day.  Lead the way!

From the Pride Lands

The kids are into The Lion Guard lately so I dug up photos from my trip to Tanzania, from that time I saw all those animals “for real?  For really real?” as Arlo would say.

IMGP0473 IMGP0503 IMGP0571 IMGP0584 hyena

Going through the album I was struck by how far I am from the person I used to be.

That's me in the red tank top. Behind the elephant.

That’s me in the red tank top. Behind the elephant.

I used to see great things.

I used to do great things.

I went to Tanzania in 2003 with Habitat for Humanity.  My last HfH trip was to Poland in 2006, ten years ago.  It’s been eight years since I founded Bermuda’s Fertility Support Group and two years since shaved my head for St. Baldrick’s.  I lamented to my friend, “My greatest personal achievement of 2015 was going blonde.”  Pathetic.  Never even mind that I hated it.  She reminded me that no, the most significant thing I did was keep two children healthy and happy all year long.  Indeed.  Thanks, friend.

I still see great things.

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I still do great things.


But man, are they different things.


Cabin Fever Fairy Tale

Of all the fevers, cabin is my favorite with Johnny at a distant second.  Cabin fever is so easily cured; just walk out your door!  After spiking the day before, I hustled everyone out of the house by 8am with the promise of nothing; no plan, only the great outdoors.  Momma knows.  Just go with it.  Yes, I will carry the granola bars.

The snow was thigh-deep at the trail’s entrance but what seemed like pure foolishness immediately gave way to wonder.

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We were a noisy, grumbling, bristly bunch but she didn’t seem to mind.



The kids fed off my excitement, quieting their bodies and voices as we grew closer, enjoying the pursuit.


We saw a lot of deer during our mid-winter break in Mont Tremblant but none that flirted so brazenly.


(I feel the same way, Deer.)


She eventually darted off, prancing through the snow, rounding the bend where fairy tales begin for those who dare step outside their door.  I longed to follow her but three-year-olds and six-year-olds can be quelled for only so long.  Momma knows.  I savored the moment then returned my attention to mittens and granola bars.

It wasn’t until hours later that my laptop showed me what my camera could not; my fair lady was wounded on both back legs.

_MG_9319 - Version 2

There was no blood on the trail and we were gentle in our curiosity but now that I know she was hurt I cannot stop thinking about her.  I’ve heard that once you become a mother there is no such thing as “someone else’s child” and for me this has extended to every living creature.  That poor baby.  Perhaps when she pranced around the bend it was to her mother she was returning, a mother who would lick her wounds and nuzzle her down to a long winter’s nap.  There are fairy tales all around us and this is one I tell myself as we return home, fever vanquished.

Montreal Street Photography, XIII

Nice Day For It, 2016

Nice Day For It, 2016

Up In Arms, 2016

Up In Arms, 2016

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Spoken, 2016

Spoken, 2016

Untitled, 2016

Untitled, 2016

Mounted, 2016

Mounted, 2016

Thank you for looking.  Have a good weekend!

In the Day Garden

Just like in Madison, the Botanical Gardens here in Montreal is an ideal place to spend a wintry morning.

Just like in Madison, we are the only ones at the Garden on a wintry morning.

Farrah and I are so frequently alone in public places that if I didn’t have six years’ experience under my belt, I’d wonder if I was doing it all wrong.


Parc LaFontaine, one of the largest, nicest and most central parks in Montreal. Obviously.

I am amazed at people who stay home all day with their kids, literally inside their house.  We just crawl up each other’s butt if we’re in the house all day.  I want to work, she wants to play and there’s only so much integration you can do in that area before she gets wise.  So we leave the house daily and have grand adventures, just the two of us, just like her brother and I did before her.

There’s also a huge upside to being out and about during the week and ironically, it’s being able to avoid crowds.  I stepped inside a grocery store on a Saturday afternoon and it was like entering the DMZ.  There were lines and Security Guards.  Lines!  Going to the grocery store on a Wednesday morning at 9:30 is so easy.  It’s just us and the seniors and the people stocking shelves.  We have so much space in the aisles I’m considering bringing Farrah’s scooter so she can get some practice.  They’ll love that I’m sure.

Where are you going this winter?  Have you spotted other members of your tribe?   Wanna hang out some time?

Coloring Salvation: Atlas

I picked up coloring as something to enjoy with my son while he builds Legos.
Some say it’s not therapy but the mind drifts when hands shift and here’s what I’ve been thinking:


Atlas, 2016

My body is on my mind.

Want to see something gross?

DUH.  Yes.


One of the many advantages to having an older child who breastfeeds is that no lump, bump or mole goes undetected.  After being scratched and infected a few times, I thought best to have a dermatologist remove my moles instead of my three-year-old.  I had two burned off my chest.  This procedure includes plucking then pulling the flesh upwards then singeing off the top.  It was fascinating.


I also had two moles cut out of my back:


It had been a while since I had my skin checked which is opposite-smart because I 1) am very pale and 2) lived in Bermuda for three-and-a-half years.  Add in all the summers I spent detasilling corn as a teenager and now my skin is opposite-healthy.

When the dermatologist saw my back he said he would remove “one for you and one for me”.  The mole I wanted off was lower and rubbed against my bra strap.  The one he wanted off was large and displayed trademarks of skin cancer.  I had no idea it was even there.  You have my attention, Doctor.  Carve away.


You also have my attention, Body.  This is why we take care of ourselves when we are the last thing on our minds.  Somebody look at me!  Somebody touch me!  Somebody help me!  So I can look at, touch and help the little somebodies who need me.

There are no more moles to scratch and the lab never called so I move forward, grateful that I have a story to write about and not a sentence to carry out.

Take care, Dear Readers.  Have a good weekend and cover up!

No Ambition Required

It is a strange thing to succeed at something towards which I have no ambition.

It’s strange but not surprising.

After school my son is eager to come home and play and his little sister is eager to play with him.  Even with the frequent mediations, this friendship enables me to be in the kitchen for longer periods of time, so in the kitchen I have been.

If you’re a reader of this blog or have known me for five minutes, you know I don’t like to cook.  I only do it for my family and I’ve been thinking more and more about why.  I cook for the same reasons you do I’ll bet, to

  1. Promote healthy eating habits
  2. Expose my kids to a variety of foods
  3. Save money
  4. Be together as a family with no distractions

Except for the continued struggle of accepting new foods, each of those goals are achieved.  Dinner Time is sacred to my kids.  They save their day’s schoolwork and drawings and treasures to share at the table.  They help set the table and clear the table.  They know to wait until everyone is seated.  They take turns.  We share our Highs and Lows and Kindnesses.  My kids look forward to dinner with their parents.  That is a huge win for me, as a non-cook, and that’s my takeaway: cooking does not make me happy; dinner does.  Given their reluctance towards eating, I know it is the same for my kids: food does not make them happy, dinner does.  Could we therefore find the same grace and good nature in another family routine?  Probably, but I owe them a normal, healthy relationship with food whether any of us likes it or not.  Gazing into the future, I can also see how cooking keeps kids coming back.  Though I and my children could live off of cereal and avocado toast right now, no one is coming home from college for a bowl of Cheerios.

I’m never going to write a cookbook but I’m always going to set the table.  That is my High for today and also my Kindness.

Two Block Walk

I took a respite from my street photography and shot some urban landscape on a fine winter’s day.

Thanks for looking and have a great weekend.




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