Sunday, January 31, 2010


We sit at dinner. Max is at work, so it's just the remaining four of us. Dinner has pretty much wound down. "Does anyone want any more salad?" I ask. Of course, the answer is no. (I mean, salad! It's delicious, but they're children, inexperienced in the wonders of salad.)

So (remember, no Max, so I don't have to use Queen's lunch etiquette – because he's ALL about the correct fork), I grab the bowl and start digging in (with a fork. What? Do you think I'm an animal?)

Pepper: "ew!! Gross!! Mom cooties!"

Norah: "Mom put the salad together. She actually *touched* it all"


Me (deadpan): "You realize I gave birth to you"

Pepper: [blank stare]

Me: "Every *part* of you has touched ME" [effective pause & intonation when stating "me"]

Pepper: [turns slightly green]

Norah: "Yeah, Pepper. And you KNOW where babies come from, too"

Pepper: [turns *really* green & fakes retching into a garbage can]

Me: "Relax. You've taken at least 1,000 baths since then. You're clear. As am I."


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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Well Red (not a typo)

So apparently this blog thing, like a pet (or so I would suspect) requires attention and feeding. Kids too, so all the books tell you. Or so other parents tell me the books say. Because, you know, the reading.

So I've been receiving nasty, passive-aggressive reminders from Blogging and Family Services [BFS - haw!] that it's time to attend to this dying pet before it gets taken away from me. And then I grow old alone -on the Internet - with no one to love me - on the Internet - and I have to rely on humans for contact. As an engineer, you can see the problem I'd have, so I'll be good!

So the outreach program outreached to me via my blogging mama Nenette. When Nenette tells me to jump, I say "how hi?" And she says "don't you mean 'how high?'" And I say "yes mistress" And so on. I think I might be digressing a little. Mostly, she knows I am a sucker for a meme.

This one has something to do with taking pictures of red shit. Well, not red shit, but shit that is red [hey, that's not better]. It would be helpful now if someone would shake me and say "you know you can edit this, right?", but I'm in kind of a stream of consciousness kind of mood. I'm so sorry. You can go if you want.

So here's all my red crap. I saw this meme and thought "Yeah!!! I LOVE red" and then looked around and saw that most of my home and wardrobe is black, white & brown (and variations)(well, of brown, since black and white are pretty well defined)

BUT it's those splashes of red that make me love that colour. [YES THAT'S A WORD!! Shut up Blogger, you let me have a home page, but you don't really mean it.]

So I gathered several of my favourite [THAT is a word too!!!] red things and assembled them on my bed. Please don't read anything in to that. It's just the tidiest surface in my home for taking pictures of stuff. I think it was supposed to be 7 red things. Turns out I'm either not good with counting, or not good with rules. Or lazy. Whatever.

Of course, every single one of these items has a story...

(1) Red bed sheet. When we moved into our house in 2001, I decided that Norah's room should have a simple theme of Primary Colours [I swear, Google spell check I'm going to fucking snap on you]. Well, just try and find primary coloured bedsheets. I did. This looks pristine, because it's never actually been used. I've only ever used the fitted sheet and a duvet with a cover, since that results in a bed actually being made every so often (I mean, by me).

(2) This is one of my very (very) few pieces of jewelery. I bought it from a former boss's daughter who brought back a bunch of jewelery from New Zealand (or Australia? I forget because I probably wasn't listening, I was drooling and groaning: "oooooo... preeeeeetty")

(3) M.A.C Viva Glam VI. At least I think it's VI. The two digits (they're roman numerals, so YES they're digits!) wear off, and I can not ever remember whether it's IV or VI. BUT as scary as those ladies at the M.A.C counter look, they know their shit! I walk in and say "I need a Viva Glam IV" and they kind of stare at my face and say (this has happened more than once) "are you sure it wasn't Viva Glam VI?" Like they know IV just wouldn't work for me. I DON'T EVEN KNOW THAT!!! So, yeah. you had me at Viva Glam whatever. It's the only colour I wear. If I'm going bolder, I do it with the lip pencil.

(4) This is possibly THE best -- game -- ever. I picked up Apples to Apples Junior because a friend/coworker recommended it, and was she ever right. With this game, a group of ALL AGES can have a seriously great time. The only real requirement is reading.
My family sets up nights to come over and play Apples to Apples with the kids (and we're allowed too). This game was so popular that one Birth/mas I picked the adult version for my sister. And no, it's not p0rn. It's just more mature themes. I want to just keep going about this, but maybe I should do a separate post. If anyone wants to provide ME with the grown-up version of the game, I could do a review? hmm? hmm? Wait. I already said it was awesome. I suck at this whole Internet marketing crap.

(5) This is one of my favourite shirts (blouses?) Way back when Jacob was only in Toronto & Vancouver, my then high-school-aged sisters were all "Waaaw! Jacob is AAALL that AND a bag of chips" and I was all "what the hell is Jacob?" (with it, I have always not really been).
So every trip that anyone ever took to TO, Vancouver or Montreal, was required to stop for souvenirs. So my dad did one time and dropped off mine & my sister's when she was living with me. It was this and a kind of plainish t-shirt (still very nice). He dropped off separate bags with instructions on which was which. When we opened them, we both (I'm sure) silently thought they had been mixed up because mine was WAY cooler and hipper than hers. But I just shrugged and quickly said "awesome!! I LOVE it!" And then she proceeded to borrow it any time she could! (Which was a fine trade). It's still in great shape and I even wore it last Saturday on my date with Max (whole other story: kids were pissed that we waste time on such frivolities)

So anyways, fast forward to Jacob opening locally and now it's pretty much the only place I can get clothes that fit me (they sell suits as separates, and go down to size OH LOOK SOMETHING SHINY!!)

(6) These are my notebooks.

The spiral one is where I write crap down that I have to get out of my head and I can't get on to our computers (yes, plural. I suspect it will get worse before it gets better). Also scratch lists, sketches of other posts that don't have form yet. Also, the beginnings of Rougie's requested nerd graph. It hasn't been forgotten. That's just how I roll. I'm not proud of it.

The *nice* notebook is the one that we are using to organize our lives. We started with family meetings (idea courtesy of Nicole, the Planning Queen) and putting our notes in a formal book. We've been lax with that for a while (though we have to revisit it, because it was a great thing to do), but we have been having regular planning meetings to map out projects or tasks that would otherwise just get done "later". We list a small number of accomplishable tasks like sorting through that pile of crap on the table behind me that's NOT staring me in the back of the head saying "What the fuck? A blog post? Are you serious?" I figure when piles of crap are talking to you, the best thing to do is pretend they aren't. Or start swinging at them with an ax. But I don't happen to have an ax (note to self: get ax).

(7) This is the suitcase; that carries the clothes; that Harmzie will bring; when she goes to Chicago; and meet up with her bloggie friends; and try an Irish Car Bomb for the first time (it's a drink, people... I think.)

If we decide that we have to bring the ball-gowns, the Victoria's Secret wings or the oversized inflatable Grey Goose bottle, I also have the next size up in the same colour.

(7a) (Late entry) Was inspired by Rougie's similar photo essay. Also by the fact that I'm pretty sure it's the same colour and brand. I KNOW!! It's like we were separated at birth. And 7 years.

This is my fave toe colour. Every time Margo & I go for a pedi, I think "I'm doing something different, and then I go with OPI's "Edinburgundy". Or "Vodka & Caviar". (Margo, incidentally, usually goes with "I'm Not Really a Waitress". I could totally be a waitress. Except for all the personabilty things. And the servitude. And the requirement to not say things like "get your own fucking water!")

There it is. Now the instructions tell me to tag a bazillion (yes, some duplication. But I really want to see your red pics)

AndreAnna @ Diary of a Modern Matriarch
McMama @ McMama's Musings
Nicole the Planning Queen
Marymac @ Pajamas & Coffee
Samantha @ Back to Me

Go, minions...

[sorry about the formatting. It did one thing with one batch of pictures and another with the other. The codes are like a mile long and I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT ANY OF THEM DO. So yeah. Totally zonked. Zonked means tired]

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Mark(er) of Integrity

The girls got these from Santa in their stockings (one each - duh!):

What they said on the package:

What would make more sense to have them say on the package:

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

O Tannenbaum

I dismantled and put away the tree yesterday. As much electricity and excitement as surrounds the annual assembly of the tree, its putting away is the time that affords the most reflection.

Putting up the tree is usually done in the midst of about 17 other things on the list. It's done on THE night that has been scheduled for it as THE ONLY time that it can be done between x, y, & z Holiday Affairs. It's fun and is not rushed, but it's done with purpose and a certain urgency. It's also an exercise in "wait, no- put that... hang on -just- PUT THAT BACK IN THE BOX UNTIL---" and so on. But it IS fun. Really.

(life: spread on the table, with a little help from my friend Peter)
Taking it down, however, is done because it's time, and because we need the dining room back. Considerably less urgent. Also, it seems to be regularly done at a time when I am seriously hungover mellow.

With that frame of mind, I set about removing every single item, and reflecting upon its origin. It is not insignificant that it comes at a time when there are plenty of *new* distractions around [ahem]WiiFit/DS[ahem] that are far more exciting than a boring old box of decorations.


We first got a tree the first year we were married, because that was the first year we decided to embark upon our Annual Christmas Party (keeps the number of parties easier to remember, as it's the number of years we've been married, which is now - um - a number that is quite impressive in its magnitudinousness, but I won't be sharing for uh... privacy - no, not math - reasons). We only had a few little decorations we had received as part of a wedding present (excellent idea for a wedding present, by the way!)

Because we lived in an apartment with "rules" (turned out we were the only ones who followed them), we went out & bought a nasty plastic tree which actually looked not too shabby. We bought some plain but pretty decorations - red & gold bead garlands and red & gold glass balls. The tree looked absolutely perfect - and just like the lobby of an stark office building. BUT, it was great, as in the back of my mind, I knew that it was something that had to grow with us.

And grow it has.

In a couple of pre-child years, I took it upon myself to buy & paint a whole bunch of plaster & wooden pre-fab decorations (upper right in the photo). The second year, we gave away many of the little plaster ones as party gifts (I think the only time we ever gave out party favours). They are some of my favourites to reflect upon, as it reminds me of some of the things I DID do pre-children that I could not very well do now. Like I didn't just sit around watching Law & Order the whole time.

Others have come from friends as small "cheat" gifts. We have always had a no gifts agreement amongst our friends, but some have periodically figured there's a loophole for Christmas decorations; it's not a "gift" if you hide it for 11 months of the year!* (Also, it's not a gift if you can chug it consume it within fourteen days...) (Also, I think it's possible most people refer to these "cheat" gifts with the more politically sensitive term: "host" gifts. I'm not very good with semantics sometimes. Or grace.)

One year I added a flock of crystal-y geese. Not so Christmassy, but wintery and pretty. Also, a "band" of little cherubs with different instruments.

When we moved into our house, we switched to a real tree (that is to say, the "naturally grown & unceremoniously chopped down and dragged in a death-march to our door" tree, as Norah would be quick to point out that our plastic tree is, in fact, "real", as well). The first thing we invested in on that front was a magnificent Lee Valley Stand - tree has *never* even wobbled or given a hint of tipping (says "no longer available" gasp!) - and the tin stars and tin-tinsel as well.

Then came the kids decorations. They make them at school and at home. There are some with snapshots of time (a handprint or hand printing). They spend hours every year making snowflakes (my favourite is the "pizza snowflake" - draw a pizza and then make a snowflake out of it) and poke them on the ends of branches. This year Norah bought a book of Christmas crafts at the book fare and all three of them made several spectacular items.

In more recent years, my dad has seemed to perpetuate a very informal tradition of showing up one day in early December with a new decoration from 10,000 Villages for each of the kids. I probably wouldn't have even realized that it was a regular thing, except for the moment we spend with each one at take down time.

Lastly, every year, my cheap, bargain-hunting-born-&-bred local instincts have sent me out after Christmas, nabbing those 60% off decorations here and there. Just those things that are absolutely stunning (and - since it's 60% off - no longer make me choke on what they "normally" expect you to pay). This year, I've picked up some lovely snowflakes (three different patterns, representing the fact that all snowflakes are different!)(OK, so I couldn't find matching ones), and some TINY DISCO BALLS! I was thrilled to find some last year, only to discover this year that they weren't actually hanging decorations, but meant to just toss in a bowl (a bizarre concept if you ask me, but they're in a bowl, as directed). It's like an early Christmas present when you crack open the box next year, because I never seem to remember what I got the previous year.


So yeah! Took down the tree yesterday & got totally retro and introspective. I swear I wasn't high, either. But Peter totally was.

*[NOTE to Those Who Might Think They Have a Brilliant Idea: This is not a hint! I'm quite happy with the current rate of growth of our collection]

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