Thursday, April 30, 2009

Victory Is Mine

I Overcame:

Other than the obvious, this is especially relevant, since our VCR hasn't worked in about three years.

Also, and quite seriously, I don't think we ever watched the end of the video.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

New Pork City

I can't make this stuff up.

Today we went to the girls' "Student-Led Conferences".

[Aside] I don't know if this is universal, or common - it sure didn't happen when I went to school. Rather than traditional parent-teacher interviews, the spring interview is the student showing what they've been up to so far in the year - it's really quite a set up. And awesome to see the pride with which they lead you around the room and demonstrate their skills.

Also, if I haven't mentioned it before, Norah & Pepper are in the same classroom - a Grades 1/2/3 blend class. And Nenette's LAM is in there too. That's important in a moment.

The girls - separately, they're in different grades and at different levels - guided us through their binders and read to us and showed us some "self-assessments". Really cool stuff. All kinds of parent-chest-busting-pride moments.

The coolest though, was a project that they've been buzzing about all spring session. We'd heard all kinds of tell of it. They were building a pig town (I believe it was an extension of the Three Little Pigs module of Learning. No really.)

Ladies & Gentlemen, I give you... New Pork City:

The power lines! The trees! (Notice that the four seasons are depicted.)

Somewhere in the distant past I recall talking about building the houses. Can't recall if it was here, Twitter, Facebook [problem much?] or possibly even Nen that mentioned it, but each kid was to build one from whatever material they wanted (I think LAM's was granola bars. Yum) and discuss the pros & cons of what they chose.

Our pros consisted of "Mom had this crap lying around the house". It was also the cons.

Here is Norah's house. It is made of match sticks from a "Build Crap With Matchsticks" kit. I don't know why we had that, but it has been on a shelf for years.

I apologize for the quality (I use the term loosely) of the photo. It was my camera phone. I guess I moved. You'll have to trust me when I say that the sign above the door says "Please Wipe Your Feet", in proportionally really large letters!

Here is Pepper's house. It was made of raffia. And a crap-load of glue. And a milk carton. I confess, I ran out and bought raffia. I didn't know how much we'd need for a pig house, so we now have a giant bag of raffia that I'll never use again.

Those are little terracotta pots with raffia crammed in them. I think Pepper had gone off to play Wii by this point.

OK, so there was one kind of creepy late addition to New Pork City [Did I mention that the kids came up with the name? They voted and everything. Very clever]. The kids decided to add a zoo. Except that because this is a pig city, the residents of the zoo would be people. And the kids made themselves up as said residents.
By some aligning of the planets, LAM & Pepper's appointments were at the same time. And the only two at that time (Norah's slot, for comparison, had four). So Nen, Roomie, LAM & Mini were there at the same time as our entire family.

Ensue numerous variations of "bend over and check out New Pork City!". I even heard "Pork... The One You Love!" and so on [does anyone not get that yet?]

Our sweet teacher who loves our kids dearly, well first she chuckled at us, then the giggles became a little more nervous. Then she left the classroom.

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Hi, my name is Harmzie...

So I'm laying here in bed, typing on my blackberry. Max is here, watching Family Guy (Star Wars episode) on the notebook. OMG! Now he's watching a Metallica video.

It's possible we may need an intervention.

Just a warning: touch the tech and I may eat your arm. Or even both them.

What's the one piece of tech you'd take out someone's arm(s) for?

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pizza Car

I tucked Pepper & Stewie into bed this evening. The lights were out, as I had instructed them to just run from my room & jump into bed. As I was kissing Pepper goodnight and having our goodnight chat, Stewie found not one but two HotWheels cars amongst his blankets. Being dark, he wanted the lights on so he could find out what colours they were. I said no, it was bed time. Surprise, surprise, no meltdown!

So I sat down on his bed for his turn to chat.

He said: "This is a pizza car"

Me: "Really? Is it because it delivers the pizza" [I'm ALL over what the cool kids are into these days]

S: --- [blank stare - It is dark, but I can tell]

Me: "Is it because it is pizza coloured?"

S: "What the fuck, mom? Have you really become so nailed down in your button-down little grown-up world that you can't stretch your mind beyond 'pizza delivery' and 'pizza-coloured'? I mean what the HELL is pizza coloured, anyway?"

Me: "Well I uh, was thinking maybe, uh multi-um-coloured or ... something ..."

S: "oooo... busted your creativity cortex on that one, didn't you? Seriously, are you so tightly crammed into the world of Geotechnical Reports, Briefing Notes, Administrative Directives, and Filling the Fucking Gas Tank that you can't crawl out at take a sniff of fresh air?"

Me: "Hmm... yes, well, um. So, why DO you call it a pizza car?"

S: "Betause it eats pizza! Can I have my cowd bwanket now?"

Me: "Sure sweetie, here you go. Goodnight! I love you!"

S: "Doodnight Mommy. I wuv you too!"

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

One reason why I heart label makers

Because it's one more way for my children to express their complete servitude love for me:

The bottom one was made by Pepper, I swear I had nothing to do with it!

The top one was made by Stewie, who got a hold of the label maker just after Pepper had it.

Yes, that's a glass of wine. No, it's not a fancy-schmancy "wine-glass" wine glass. In our house, the definition of a wine glass is "receptacle which will hold wine long enough to consume it". Which sometimes isn't very long...

(In other news:

Pepper's dance costume arrived... She said she felt like a "furry monkey" in it. Which is funny, because that's what she acts like!)

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Filthy Furniture

Whilst our basement is being finished, we've had to contend with extra crap orbiting around us in the living zone, as opposed to the dead zone of a basement storage area. You should know that this temporary project was started when I was pregnant with Stewie [he turns four in June. There are still drainage trenches in the floor of our basement].

We had a collective melt-down a few weeks ago and have decided to tackle some of the worst areas & the entrance was this week's project.

Here is before & after for the hats/gloves/bike helmets' hole:

(Pepper has already decorated her own basket).

It's your basic pressboard-assemble-yourself-hope-it-lasts-a-year crap from Rona. It looks OK, but, whatever. It controls the flow of crap. Hopefully.

Most importantly, it afforded Max & myself the opportunity to have a perfectly innocent conversation in the dining room, with the charmingly innocent children surrounding us.

Me: I need some help with the screwing.

Max: I can help you with screwing.

Me: OK, that's good. I just needed it started.

Max: That's fine. I'll just watch you finish.

Me: You like to watch?

Max: Yes. I like to help you start and then watch you finish.

Me: You realize I've been in here screwing without your help for the last half hour?

Despite it being a cheap piece of crap, I think it's suddenly become my favourite piece of furniture.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

What Tomatoes Do In The Dark In The Kitchen Is Their Own Business


A few weeks days ago, I looked into the Tomato Storage Area (TSA) and saw a tomato looking past it's prime. Closer inspection showed that it was not actually rotting. It was firm and smelled like tomato. But it still looked weird. Like it had some kind of Tomato Cancer. I reached for the compost to chuck it but stopped and grabbed a knife first, thinking "what does Tomato Cancer look like, really?"

I started to carve, and like some Vegetarian version of Alien, out popped a plant:

[Just thinking I'd encounter some hard tomato cells, I didn't stop to take a before photo. But you can see in the above photo, an emerging parasite - albeit a small one - circled.]

I showed Max and he said I should just stuff it in a pot with dirt and see if it grows. Well, THAT smacked of effort, so I quickly rationalized realized that the tomato itself held nutrients & moisture so I'd just let it feed itself for a while.

A couple of weeks days later, I remembered observed it rotting on the shelf and resurrected my investigation.

Since it seemed to be self-destructing not doing so well in one spot, I decided to cut my investigation short and just sliced it open to see what was inside, which was all kinds of tomato seeds germinating.

I've never seen anything like this, despite years of buying tomatoes. So I'm figuring maybe the tomato aren't usually fertilized, so don't get this far (or am I thinking chicken eggs? Grade 9 science was a looonnnng time ago, even if I was paying attention, which was doubtful with Simon LeBon sitting in front of me). Which leaves me asking: why are the tomatoes fucking in my fruit-bowl?

So then I got the heebie-jeebies and threw the whole mess out. And washed my hands, cause I felt like I had tomato spoof all over them. And bleached the counters. And don't look at tomatoes the same way any more. They don't look at me the same way anymore either since I decimated their family.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Hi there Harmzie, it's me, Spring. Sorry I'm late:
And if you could get on that before the grass rots away under the mulch, I'd 'preciate that. Thanks!
Also: I plan to rain on Friday, so sooner would be better. Enjoy!
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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Eastery Goodness

We got a call from friends of ours a couple of weeks ago that went something like:


"Hi, Harmzie, it's Marie. We were wondering if you--"



"It doesn't matter. We'll be there."

Now, that's perhaps a little deceptive, as I knew that Good Friday was coming up. These people have had a Good Friday Eggstravaganza for years, ourselves getting the coveted nod once we could produce the requisite small child at the door.

They have taken other opportunities to take over my kids. Such as making pies - right from picking the apples from the tree in their back yard, through pastry making & assembly & bringing them home and eating them the next day - all the while, Max & I sit & eat their food & drink their wine and engage in grown-up conversation with Mr. Marie (and Marie herself quite often makes appearances and is a full-on conversation participant. I need to take some parenting lessons from her). So the answer is always yes. "My sister's wedding that day? No worries, we'll get them to move it."

But back to the Eggstravaganza. Our dear friend does not just pull out a couple of crappy "Dudley" egg decorating kits. This is a full on production. There are assemblages to hold eggs whilst you paint them. There are dye cups of all different colours. Acrylic paints. Sparkles. And the piece-de-resistance, hot wax (this year Norah got right into the hot wax). They soaked eggs in dye, layered wax, painted, sparkled, rolled in shallow pans of dye for varying effects.

Me, I didn't try one. It's just no use when you can't blame the tools. The more creative amongst us produced the following:

This is Norah's stash. Don't bother counting. There's two dozen there.

Here's some detail. Specimen #1 is with some wax dodging. #2 is beautiful sparkles.

Here is Pepper's stash:

And a cool detail with swirly marbling (that's my best creative description):

(Stewie's eggs were unfortunately left there. Getting all three of them out of The Happiest Place On Earth was something of a challenge and things got missed.)

I have no idea how they made any of these. I was busy drinking wine & eating homemade chili and biscotti. I just like the results: beautiful eggs and happy children with fond memories of crafitness with someone who can actually pull it off. Anytime, Marie, anytime! How's next week for you?

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Good Advice From a Six Year Old

"You're funny, Mom" Pepper says to me as we're hangin' in the car, waiting to pick up Norah from guitar lesson. Stewie is sleeping in his car-seat and I'd like to keep it that way for a few minutes, so we're hangin' in the car and I'm entertaining her the best way I know how, which is to pour on the silly. For some reason, the specifics of which I'll state for the record I have no recollection, I decide to turn it into a lecture.

Me: "Well, it's not always a good idea to be funny"

Pepper: "I guess you're right."

Me: "So when would it be better to be serious?"

Her recommendations:

  • Going down the stairs. If you'd be all funny and games you could fall.

  • Math. If you make all your math funny you'll run out of time to do your math. [me: "well can't math be funny or at least fun?" her: "shut-UP nerd-mom" actually more of a blank stare, but she was thinking it. At least her future self was]

  • Driving [remember, we are in the car]. Because if you'll be all funny and 'aaaaa!!!' [madly turning imaginary steering wheel with eyes closed] that's bad.

  • Getting hurt. Because if the other person doesn't care about it, it could get worse.

Me: "Those are all good points!"

Pepper: [ignoring me & diverting attention to the technology] "Is the fish & chips festival thing I said on there?" [Pointing to the crackberry, on which I'm writing this, and where I took down that gem]

Me: "No, I already sent it to my blog"

Pepper: "Your blob??"

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Juuuuussssst Around the Corner (I mean it this time...) (No really) (Shut up! It's coming!) (why am I having Great Pumpkin flashbacks?)

The View Outside:
The View Inside:

(Phew. At least there's inside...)

The trees. They're trying to make with the spring! (look closely):

In other news: Recital costume (Norah only) came in this week. Love of Dance, renewed.

(that's the mirror she's looking beyond me to)

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Are You Experienced?

I listen to my iPod constantly and am always mentally categorizing songs and artists into my own piles. So I thought I'd share some of my categories.

Five Bands that I Can Listen to Just About Anything From:

* The Tragically Hip - the CRTC rules on Canadian content on the radio has elevated some real dogs to "success". TTH is not one of them. Every time they come out with something new, I think to myself "yeah, I guess they've run their course" and then about a week later, I find myself loving the new stuff. They grow on me and I almost never turn the radio away when they're on. Their concerts are even better.

* Pink Floyd - growing up waking to my Dad blaring obscure Pink Floyd albums - yes, I said "albums" (and I said "obscure") on Saturday mornings can do things to you. Good things.

* Jimi Hendrix - Also growing up, Jimi was one rock artist that my Step-Mom liked (really liked). So I got to listen to a lot of Jimi, and found that old-people music didn't always suck! And he died on my birthday (not the actual day of my birth, and I don't know why I feel the need to point that out) so I feel like I have a connection (yeah, it's weak).

* Santana - You can pair just about anyone with Carlos and he sucks magic out of them. I even like his Chad Kroeger stuff (see below). I never particularly liked Matchbox 20 and I thought it was because the singing was kind of, um whiny. But Santana can pull a whole new sound out of Rob Thomas. Even (c)rap artists benefit!

* Maroon 5 - Now, one might suspect my reasons for appreciating this particular artistic group could be less than - uh - artistic in nature. I can assure you that my "appreciation" of the physicalliosity of certain individuals within this five-some came after I realized I really liked several songs on the radio, picked up the CD and then realized I loved the whole thing. Not just the music, but the poetry within, and some of the best song lyrics I'd heard ("the sex she slipped into my coffee". And I love how they STILL play "not fit to fuckin' tread the ground that I am walking on" on the radio). THEN I saw a video and forgot what I was talking about.

(Honourable Mention) *AC/DC - I realized a long time ago that they had a formula - but I really liked the formula. When I say just about anything, it's a stretch but the library is so great that there's always something I can crank.

Five Bands That I Can Listen to Just About Nothing From:

I've tried to think of unique reasons for each the following, but I can't without going into a rant about overrated hacks who crank out the same singles again and again. We don't need to hear that five times. There are of course, dozens of artists who would fall into this category (I mean, there's whole categories of country, country-rock, country-pop hybrids). I only include those that, according to the programming directors of the radio station(s) I listen to, I should like. [Don't tell me what to do pin-head]

* Nickelback
* Rush - ok, their stuff is at least a little varied.
* The Guess Who [may get some home-town hate-mail. Give your head a shake people. Because we were on the map once? They sang about Saskatoon for crying out loud!]
* Red Hot Chili Peppers
* Metallica - "King Nothing" is a rare exception. [I'll know Max will have read this when I get served with divorce papers.]

Five Dirty Little Secrets [be ashamed for me]:

I've just included five, to limit my shame [for today]

* Justin Timberlake
* Christina Agulara
* Pussy Cat Dolls
* Duran Duran (a BIG Duranie in high school. BIG. Hair, white blazers & everything... eyeliner. Oh yeah... no photos [thank you sweet baby Jeebus!])
* Kylie Minogue

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Friday, April 3, 2009

In the Beginning...

Inspired by Rude Cactus, Wyliekat, and possibly some other "how we met" stories [I surf & scan & bump & jump around a lot & can't don't keep track of it all], I began thinking of The Beginning of it all. While I enjoy every one of these other tales, I laugh to myself because the beginning of it all for Max & I was not textbook; not romantic; There was no "I gazed into his/her eyes & knew instantly"; was not "I saw him/her across a smoky room & knew I had to sabotage his/her relationship & make him/her mine"

To make this fair, I've asked Max to provide his perspective as well.

She Said:
by Harmzie

The most fate-soaked part of our sordid tale is that we met on the first day of first year engineering. It was daylight. Probably first thing in the morning. We were part of a group of first-years that were assigned to a "big sister" i.e. second year student [I'm not sure what exactly we were supposed to learn, but regardless, I still keep in touch with my big sis].

We didn't even hate each other. I remembered his name because I thought it was an odd name for someone my age. He remembered me because I was a chick. One of about 3% [nice odds, no? And still, that wasn't why I went in to this field! Shut up. It wasn't]. That was all.

But somewhere, toward the end of first-year, we began hanging out. Doing homework [did I mention that I didn't do very well in first year? that I had to repeat several courses? No? OK, never mind then]. Only we were *actually* hanging out an doing homework! It was slow and it was excruciating.

It was even more painful to watch, apparently, because another "new" couple we knew said to us: "We're going to a social Saturday. Why don't you guys come too?" Translation: "ENOUGH!!! go on a goddam date already!!" (I originally had "fucking" there, and for emphasis, it works better, but I didn't want to redirect the meaning)

That wasn't even enough. We both wanted to go. With each other. But neither could be the first to put it out there. We ended up with "I'll go if you go". And that was The Beginning. To this day, that is what one will say to the other when the other is being non-committal or wishy-washy on something. It garners darts sideways out of the eyes...

Epilogue: We went. We got hammered. We made out. It took a lot of booze to kill the bug up our combined asses [still the best part of Terms of Endearment was Jack Nicholson delivering that line], but kill it we did, in one shot. We both still shudder at our recollection of The Beginning. But we Began.

He Said:
by Max Power (he's the one with the name, and that name is 'Max Power')

My mission assigned to me by my lovely wife, Harmzie as you know her, is to write a post about how we hooked up. I was initially a little confused by this request, as her blog is not of the erotic variety. She then clarified her request, pointing to the calendar to remind me of our dating anniversary (as if I needed reminding, like duh), and that I was to write a post of how we got together. She also informed me I was not to use the words: heaving, throbbing, knockers, member, and honey pot in the post. Well, these restrictions are going to make this task a little harder than I thought.

I can vaguely remember the very first time Harmzie and I met. It was the first day of university, orientation I believe they called it; as it turned out, disorientation would have been more accurate, as my throbbing head the next day could attest. All the frosh were put into groups of 5 or 6 “sisters/brothers”, and led around the campus by 2nd year students on a tour of what were to be the important sites in our “higher” learning (i.e. arcade, bar, lounge). It so happened that Harmzie was a “sister” in my group. I do not know why, but I can remember that we first met in the lounge, and she was wearing a jean jacket. I also remember that she was a little standoffish and was completely uninterested in striking up any conversation. I do not blame her, as she was in a faculty that was at the time 95% male. I could not have imagined that next year at the same we would be going out, I also could not have imagined that next year at the same time I would still be in first year.

I do not recall any more instances or mental images of Harmzie until a few months later at a Valentines social. We ran in similar circles of friends – alcoholics in training (did I mention I failed first year?) – but we hardly spoke. I do remember that we sat with each other at the social for a while and had a pleasant conversation; that image is frozen in my mind. It was then that I realized that I had an interest in this lovely lady and she was not a total bitch (bitch = girl who does not talk to me). I had to come up with a plan.

My opportunity to ingratiate myself to Harmzie came one day in the lounge, a place where our circle of friends would spend a lot time. Harmzie was among the group when a question came up: “What would you do if a gorgeous girl with big knockers would show up naked at your door?” The usual response form the nerdy-sex-starved-males were something like, “I would grab her by the hand and drag her in my apartment and bang her brains out!” Seeing my opportunity I responded, “Well, I would give the obviously disoriented lady a bathrobe and find out where she lived and give her ride back to her mom and dads house”, or some BS like that, I do not remember exactly, but I do remember I had to fight all instincts I had, to come up with that answer. Of course, I suffered a great deal of ridicule, but I stood my ground. When I brought this up with Harmzie years later she admitted that my honey pot had worked, and I had managed to differentiate myself from those other Neanderthals as someone not entirely controlled by their member. I love it when a plan comes together.

The school year was coming to an end, so there were a bunch of assignments coming due. I somehow convinced Harmzie that if we worked together we could get more done, so we spent many late nights together working on our assignments. After a couple weeks of heaving her books about campus, I still was not sure she liked me. I would need some kind of sign, like a notarized copy in triplicate of Harmzie's romantic feelings towards me. Finally, some our mutual friends must have gotten tired of our lame mating dance, and suggested that there was a social which we could attend. Seeing my chance I boldly stated, “I’ll show up if you show up”, not to be out done Harmzie stated she too would “show up if I showed up”. I was so sly and smooth I arranged to pick her up to make sure that she would actually show up. As it turned out, it was the best move I could have ever made.

[me again]
Unedited. Just cut & paste, baby.

The night of that social was 22 years ago tonight. While we always make note of it, we generally don't celebrate it. It just seemed like a good opportunity to force him to talk about me force him to read my damn blog already invite him into the fold.

[also: you thought I was long-winded...]

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