On Sunday night my brother and his lovely wife bravely agreed to watch Olive so Adam and I could celebrate having been together for thirteen years and married for five.

We took forever to get out of the house and then when we finally did make our grand exit- headed for a WILD evening of dinner and a movie- I simply couldn’t stop cackling.


“We’re FREEEEE!” I kept chortling, “WE CAN DO WHATEVER WE WANT! Put the windows down- put the windows down!”

Olive does not like it when the windows are down, you see. But tonight there WAS NO OLIVE! It was JUST US. Adults!

All by ourselves! Finishing sentences, and making eye contact and having no ones bums to wipe but our own! For FOUR hours!

Living the dream I tell you.

This sort of thing, the rolled down windows and adult conversation, the heady freedom of being responsible for wiping your bum and yours alone, these are every day occurrences for Adam but total novelties for me so I was hitting it out of the PARK enthusiasm wise.


And ya damn right I dusted off some heels for the occasion.

(This is not an expression. These are old Nine West peep toe heels that were literally coated in dust because I haven’t worn them in ooooh six years? Ha! Small towns I tell you!)

The course of the evening was dictated by our new chapter in life. We are home owners now you see, which of course, means that precisely 92% of our income is devoted to home improvement stores and mortgage payments, leaving us 8% to cover the little things like utility bills, Etsy, Gus food, more Gus food, and blueberries, which Olive devours at an alarming rate.

Given the sorry state of our bank accounts then, we had decided that this would be a cheap date. And honestly, we were more than okay with this decision because after being together this long we’ve realized that whether it’s a 5-star restaurant or a gas station hot dog, it’s still the same person sitting across from you making boob jokes. When it’s good, it’s good wherever you are. When it’s bad not even The Ritz can save you.

I mean I still lovefancy dinners, but all I am saying is damned if I wasn’t over-the-moon delighted to be walking in the door of that burrito joint on Adam’s arm Sunday night.

So we ate some burritos, analyzed the couples around us, and made plans- big plans! Then we went to see Guardians of the Galaxy and that’s when the magic happened.

I have a few preliminary observations so let’s get this out of the way right now: It’s been an embarrassingly long time since I was in a big city movie theatre. Eight years? Ten?

Some things really shocked me!

First: You can choose your seats now? Seriously? No more peering through the dark trying to spot two together whenever a brightly lit scene flashes on screen? Nope. Say goodbye to that basic business I guess. This is 2014 y’all! We stood there choosing our seats on a touch screen like we were about to board a goddamned airplane. Unreal!

Second: THIRTY SIX DOLLARS. That is how much it cost us to see a movie. THIRTY SIX DOLLARS AND THATS NOT EVEN INCLUDING POPCORN (what do you mean? Of course I got popcorn, what’s the point of going to the movies if you’re not getting popcorn?)

Anyway, the movie portion of our increasingly not-so-cheap date ended up costing us upwards of $50 which, I mean okay but god, seriously?

And then, then the movie wouldn’t start. It kept going to a windows home screen and the theatre kept emitting obnoxious chuckles in unison whenever the next error screen popped up, and then they sent some poor sweet man to apologize, and he got heckled by the crowd, who had suddenly turned from harmless obnoxious chucklers into utter monsters by the injustice – the horror of a twenty-five minute wait for their fifty dollar movie.

Eventually things got started half an hour late and the movie was funny at all the right parts and I may have teared up a bit too- impressive given that the whole quest/adventure/space wars/CGI genre is really not my thing.

Typically I like movies where unconventionally beautiful people wander around heart-shattering locales saying obtuse yet significant things to swelling foreign music. Nothing happens, but you feel reborn by the time the credits roll.

Nonetheless, at one point I looked over at this dude sitting beside me, suffering through my dill- pickle drenched popcorn, laughing and looking ridiculous in his 3D glasses (which he later stole), and I just felt good.

Content. Settled.

Windows down, heels, burritos, popcorn, and a funny movie- my night was pretty much made! Unbeknownst to Adam however, the best of HIS night was yet to come.

After the movie we exited the theatre, as one does.

We walked out, smushed amidst the throng of fellow movie goers, now made pleasant- placated by the film.

LO! Who should appear at the end of the long, dark corridor but two ushers. There they stood, collecting 3D glasses, handing out pieces of paper and repeating in utterly chastened tones, “So sorry about what happened earlier. So sorry for the inconvenience. So sorry for what happened earlier… ”

The pieces of paper were free movie tickets. Both Adam and I dutifully collected ours, and I honestly don’t think it’s an exaggeration in the slightest when I say that this was by far the high point in not only his evening, but perhaps his entire week.

There is nothing Adam likes more than getting things for free (even things he does not need and has no conceivable use for. See: 3D glasses). One time he got a free roasted chicken from the grocery store and he still talks about it almost six months later. “Remember the time..?”

Our evening drew to a close. We came home, we caught up with our sitters extraordinaire, and then we crawled into bed and slept the deep sleep of married people stuffed with burritos and stale popcorn, still riding the heady thrill of those free tickets.

Happy anniversary, Adam. I think it was one of our best.

Laughing for days

Indelible proof that I did not, in fact, invent The Face


fine well okay i’m tired too i get tired too, okay? so maybe fucking i’ll just lay down on this marble too, see how you like that maybe you should carry me home, because i’m more tired than you there’s more of me to get tired, so i’m more tired than you are, so i’m going to sleep now

-do we really all have to be here for this -oh good question, i don’t know, what’s the only checkers rule that we have in this house -dad please -WHAT’S THE ONLY CHECKERS RULE THAT WE HAVE IN THIS HOUSE -the checkers rule is that we all have t– – THE ONLY CHECKERS RULE IS THAT WHEN I WANT TO PLAY CHECKERS EVERYBODY PLAYS CHECKERS





via Women Who Are Not Having A Great Time In Western Art History

The tyranny of toddlers

The Tyranny of Toddlers- SweetMadeleine.ca

NO smiling, mummy!

It occurs to me that for the benefit of those who do not currently live out their days at the mercy of the ever-changing tyrannical whims of a maniacal despot, that I ought to explain in detail what it is like living with an almost-two year old. 

First you have to know that I have no choice in the matter, I literally have to do what she asks. It’s a very basic part of this parent-child relationship. What, am I supposed to just not feed her when she’s hungry? Not give her water when she asks for it? Not carry her up the stairs every single time because she has apparently lost the ability to do so herself? 

Exactly. It is my DUTY as a parent to meet her needs. And you know what? Stockholm Syndrome, is what. I happen to have grown fond of this little demon, this needy caterwauling tyrant. Would you like an example, to determine for yourself how advanced the situation is?  She accidentally bit me the other day in a fit of hysterical laughter. 

Do you know what I did? I asked her to say sorry and kiss it better. I INVITED HER BITING MOUTH CLOSER TO ME, AS PUNISHMENT FOR HER

And then I hugged her and smelled her hair. 

Lord god help me.

People are sometimes amazed by her manners. Olive says please and thank you on cue almost every single time without being reminded, and even sometimes where it makes zero sense at all, which is even better. I lap these compliments up like rich cream because it’s all I have right now, it’s all I have! Compliments about the behavior of an entirely separate human being currently serve as my performance review, awards ceremony, and paid vacation all in one. Bring on the accolades! I need this!

But what these lovely complimenters don’t know is that the only reason I am so strict about the manners is because it allows me to delude myself that I have any sort of control over this situation. 

Guys, I am not allowed to sing or dance anymore.

I mean, I didn’t really sing or dance all that much before anyway, but now, now it is expressly forbidden and inspires great rage in the demon. 

“NO Mummy sing!” she shrieks if I happen to belt out the lyrics to a song on the radio. “NOOOOO Mummy dance!” she bellows if she happens to catch me swaying my hips as I am elbow-deep in sudsy dishwater (which is at least three times a day, we don’t have a dishwasher at this house. Ha! What? Another post, oh sweet jesus another post I promise, as soon as my fingers aren’t so pruney anymore.)

So, deprived of these small joys, living in this soulless, quiet, grey place where I whisper songs to myself in secret under the noise of the shower spray, and dance silently by myself in the basement after she’s gone to sleep – in this place, the manners keep me going. They turn demands into requests, and allow me the brief delusion that I am able to choose an option other than blind obedience.

I am fooling no one.

What else? Oh, I have to carry her. Every day. “Up please, mummy!” is played on repeat at our house. She’s allergic to legs, apparently? Or walking? Or the pressure of the ground against her feet displeases her? One of her great pleasures in life is to go walking outside, except after precisely seven steps it’s “Up please, mummy!” and then a pleasant evening stroll with my daughter devolves into a slow march through the neighbourhood where I’m forced to lug a sack of squirmy sweaty potatoes yelling about fire trucks while my neighbours laugh at me from behind the curtains. 

Also: I have to read to her. I know, I KNOW. I created this monster, nurtured it into the beast it is today, and can blame no one but myself for its existence. But put my child within five metres of a book and she is leaping around yelling “Deed it! Deed it!”. And I DO deed it, because we don’t have TV in these parts and I love reading deeding and I want her to love it too. But today? Today we read the instruction book for our vehicle first aid kit? And yesterday we had to leaf through an entire issue of one of those free magazines they hand out at the grocery store about natural health products, and she made me explain every advertisement to her. It was excruciating.

(Excruciating except for the part where she pointed at the beautiful laughing blonde couple shilling macca powder and said “Mummy! And Papa too!” That was pretty cute. She’s so smart. And funny! And seriously her hair I mean her shampoo is unscented so i mean it’s just her natural awesome baby-smell, how is it even possible to smell that good I just can’t get enough.)

(Stoc!holm syndrome, I wish I knew how to quit you!)

So, to the soon-to-be-parents out there: Enjoy your freedom while it lasts. Soon (sooner than you think!)  you too will be living out your days beneath the iron fist of a child wearing underpants decorated with cartoon donuts. 

And for my fellow sufferers? My fellow hostages, here deep in the trenches feeding and wiping and clothing and comforting our tiny wardens? Solidarity! 

(And maybe just a few moments spent hovering over them smelling their necks while they sleep! JUST A FEW. Remember: You still have your dignity.)

(For now.)

Bits and Pieces

My kidneys and I had a little chat last night. They were like, “Hey Madeleine!” and I was like, “Oh hey! How about you guys stop ya jibber jabber and do some real work for a change?” and then they said they weren’t feeling too hot and invited me to tour our local Emergency room. “It’ll be fun!” they said.

Initially I was like, “Wait-what? No! That doesn’t sound fun at all!” but my kidneys were pretty insistent, “We need this!” they said. They’re pretty tough to argue with, so I bit the bullet and checked myself in.

In the end it turns out that the kidneys were sort of right because we really did need to be there, but they are also lying liars since the visit wasn’t fun, not in the slightest. It was certainly interesting though, so half-marks? A for effort, guys!

It’s been a long time since I spent hours sitting in the ER waiting room of a major city, and whew boy are there some characters out there. Like the guy who had his whole head wrapped in gauze, which was blood-soaked where his eye would have been (was?) yet he kept chuckling to himself the entire time like the joke was on us. 

Or the sweet young parents with their four or five month old baby who was so incredibly well-behaved the entire time they were waiting. They finally got called in to be seen by a doctor and when they came back with the baby they were also carrying a bio-hazard bag which contained a single solitary paperclip. Not one of the small ones either, one of the giant clip-together-eighty-four-piece-of-paper ones.  My skills of deduction lead me to believe that this paperclip was removed from the within the baby’s body, but from where? It was HUGE! Mysteries abound.

Anyway, that was the most exciting Friday night I have had in quite some time, so that’s something. Who says I’m not spontaneous?!


In unrelated news, last week I was on a show called Energy Awareness and had a great interview with the host T Love. It was an hour-long interview, and sometimes the longer-format interviews make me nervous because I always worry that I’ll run out of things to say and the last half-hour will consist of me awkwardly clearing my throat and muttering some word salad. “Green! Recycling! Borax! Hippies!” but it was a fabulous interview and you can listen to it in its entirety here.

I have three or four other interviews coming up this week, so if you like that sort of thing make sure you’ve also “liked” the Sweet Madeleine Facebook page because that’s where I will post info about upcoming interviews, links to listen live, and where to find the interviews online after the fact. I’ll also be updating AllYouNeedIsLess.ca with links to past interviews so stop by in the next few days to check it out!



In house news, yesterday Adam’s parents left and we marked the occasion by finally biting the bullet and tearing down the wood paneled wall in our living room.

We had been debating whether or not to remove it for weeks now. The thing was that neither of us hated it and in my kinder moments I felt it added a certain something to the room,  but it also had glaringly obvious spots where George and Betty had hung paintings, and the surrounding area had been faded by the sun. Nothing we did seemed to be able to diminish the look of the fading, so in the end we decided that between the little built-in bookcase in the entrance way, the wood-framed windows and the fancy ceilings (what’s the technical term? I’m sure it’s not “fancy ceilings”) the room had plenty of character, and wouldn’t look too sad without the wood wall.

So, away we went! And by “we”, I mean “Adam, gently, with a crowbar.”

SweetMadeleine.ca SweetMadeleine.ca


The wall behind it is strange, we’re not sure if its drywall or plaster or some strange 1960’s invention that we’ve never seen before. But it’s in great shape for the most part, and after pulling out  a million nails we can start patching the million holes and then get to painting! That’s when the fun begins!

I have felt like it’s Monday all day, so saying “have a great weekend!” feels strange, but anyway, have a great weekend!