Tuesday, December 28, 2010

And we move forward...

... with hope for 2011. It starts with a bang. My father-in-law has been through his triple bypass and is more and more himself daily. He should be discharged around New Year's so we'll all be taking shifts helping out.


The silver lining, in addition to him being alright and back to himself, is that going to the edge of mortality really does put things in perspective. Family is tight - even in-laws. All differences are put aside and the importance of time spent with each other is renewed. We help, in any way we can offer and no tally is kept. Giving is more important than receiving as we have so much more than we need. We are blessed this Christmas.


We ended up dividing and conquering over Christmas. It had to be done as our families are 7 hours apart and we needed to be with both. Having the traditional Christmas merriment helped me and the kids celebrate despite all the challenges at home. I had a great time with my sister, brother, parents and cousins. It was with the comfort and joy it has been for years and we loved it. We celebrated more when we got home and had fun again.



The next year also begins with a big celebration for my parents and their 50th wedding anniversary. Wow, 50 years! They are an inspiration and it is wonderful to celebrate these milestones with such a joyful occasion.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

My "That's not what I expected!" Christmas break

"The best laid plans of mice and men (and Christmas) often go awry.", as my bro Robert Burns would say. Alas, 'tis not exactly the Christmas we were planning.

My Father in Law is in the heart institute, scheduled for triple-bypass surgery on Tuesday. This is the guy who was doing spinning classes at the age of 80 and went to aquafit class last week. We are a little in shock. If you are the prayers and positive thoughts type, please include Bob.

I had the joy of telling my husband as he flew home, not having slept for 40 hours. He is taking it all well and we are now juggling plans to deal with our holidays. We were to travel to my parents to celebrate their 50th anniversary (who gets married at Christmas?!) and Christmas this year. I don't want to be apart as a family through all this. I suppose we can wait and see.

On the plus side, Owen won tickets to see a Sens game. "Sparty" the mascot came to the school and Owen's obsessive knowledge of all things hockey paid off. He is one very happy fan right now.

So no real brilliant point to this post, just sharing/venting/blithering. Thanks for listening!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Thrilled




Laura was absolutely delighted to get a medal for participating in her Irish Dancing event. I love the expression on her face. Bliss.



Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Merry Stressmas

Ack! I'm overwhelmed, yet again. I set aside a bunch of time to get things done today and instead, feel like I am running around in circles. Maybe if I could just go through the to-do list for today...

Done:
- shower (very important if I want anyone to talk to me)
- make little brownie things ( to feel I am doing some festive baking)
- clean up kitchen (bahahahaha! That never really gets done! But it is presentable and that will do)
-spend time on the computer doing nothing productive
-???

To Do:
- find and wrap gift for music teacher before the music lesson that my son hasn't practiced for ( I have been looking for the thing for 20 minutes! What the heck did I do with it?! Going on to emergency back-up present as I am out of time.)
- fold laundry and carefully put it away. (ROFLOL! Everyone can fend for themselves! I'm SO tired of trying to stay ahead of the laundry monster. )
- write Christmas cards (who am I kidding!)
- clean up the house and vacuum everything. (I'll get right on that.)

Meanwhile, I'm waiting to hear from my husband who is still away, I am trying to figure out what to do to help my in-laws as my father-in-law is back at the heart institute again and I'm fielding RSVPs for my parent's 50th anniversary.

If anyone has seen my sanity, would you kindly return it. I'm checking out.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Cake

This one has been around for a while but it still makes me giggle.  (Yep, I’m easily amused.) 

 

----- Christmas Cake Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1 stick butter

1 cup of water

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup of sugar

1 tsp salt

1 cup of brown sugar

Lemon juice

4 large eggs

Nuts

1 bottle Rum(151 Proof)

2 cups of dried fruit

Sample the rum to check quality. Take a large bowl, check the rum again. To be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink. Repeat. Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again. At this point it's best to make sure the rum is still OK. Try another cup... Just in case. Turn off the mixerer thingy. Break 2 eggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit. Pick the frigging fruit up off floor.

Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers just pry it loose with a drewscriver. Sample the rum to check for tonsisticity. Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something. Check the rum. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Add a spoon of sugar, or some fink. Whatever you can find. Greash the oven. Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over. Don't forget to beat off the turner. Finally, throw the bowl through the window.

Finish the rum and wipe counter with the cat.

Bingle Jells!

* I couldn’t the original author for this.  No copyright infringement intended!*

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lost in translation


Chatting with hubby while he works in Middle East.

Me: Getting more complicated? Sounds like you could use an "Easy" button.

DH: Yes, but written in Arabic

Me: How do you say "easy" in Arabic?

DH: I don't think there is a word for it.

Bahahaha! Maybe you had to be there. I could use an "easy" button right about now too.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Unusual Decoration


Holiday challenge time! I know you need a game to help keep your peppermint scented, mall-brawling and gingerbread over indulging self from going insane. So here you go.
Spot the ornament that is not like the others. It's so nice to have help with the Christmas decorating. The tree hasn't tipped yet but I expect to hear a crash any time now.
Did you say;
a) candy canes ('cause it just isn't right to have that much candy within reach of the free-range tykes)
b) a duck ornament ('cause that really has nothing to do with a traditional Christmas story but is there due to my husband's waterfowl fetish)
c) a furry feline in the artificial tree.
The correct answer is c), but I'll accept any answer really. I say "pshaw!" to them Martha Stewart look-alike, colour coordinated trees! Ours if full of unnique crap and I'm proud of it! Every little homemade festive thing is prized as are the ones we get while travelling. It all looks awesome after a wee bit o' Christmas cheer anyway.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Of books and rituals

"So... what's up for you on today?", I ask, thinking it will be something about playground day or a hockey game to watch.

Owen's eyes shine. " I go to the library TWICE today! At school and then we go too!" My happy, booky kid.

He is not typical in his love of books. It is definitely a non-fiction bias for him. His latest obsession is sports related books. We went through an "Eyewitness" series phase after the everything trains phase. Sports is easy to handle. It gives him something to talk to the others at school about.

Reading fiction is like pulling teeth. His realist mindset can't stand fake situations and characters. He is very sensitive to conflict and stresses about it so we look for humour or a detective story, just not too ridiculous. I'll convert him yet!

Laura is torn between fairies and books about crafts or cooking. Reading aloud is hard for her but we try to have fun with it, when I have the patience. I'm gently pulling her to more chapter books, reading together bit by bit. Something is working because she loves to create her own books all the time now.

We've been going to the library weekly since they were babies. Through "tales for twos" and many story time programmes, the kids are quite at home in any library. I love the ritual. We all feel peaceful there. No matter how busy our week, we always make time for our journey to the land of books.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Connecting and Disconnecting

The last post of my first NaBloPoMo fling.  I’m glad I’ve done it as it has given me the needed deadlines to create something and come up with writing beyond what was easy.   I had good intentions of doing a whole “Things That Amuse Me” theme but it morphed into the mood of the day, which is what blogging is about for me anyway. 

So my deep thought o’ the day today is whether the world is shrinking or growing in it’s connectedness.  DH is away on business to the other side of the world in an opposite culture to home.  It is far from here in so many ways.  Yet, this trip we are able to use Skype from time to time.  The video link makes it seem much less distant. We can see the faces in real time and laugh at the things we show each other.  ( It also shows too much detail – sleep deprivation, my messy office, etc., but it is still worth it.)  He is closer.

I met my future husband back in University in the early 90’s.  He went off to Kingston for his masters while I finished my degree in Toronto.  Long-distance dating was tough.  We were poor students and had to arrange phone calls at deep discount times.  Visits were rare and via economic transit or mooched from friends.  I sucked at writing letters but I have a few from those early days that warm my heart.  Communication may have been less frequent and high-tech but valued more.

Today there is another in our relationship – Mr. Blackberry.  Ever present and interrupting with mood altering crises of the day.  *sigh*  It seems now we have the means but not the time for connecting.  High speed communication devices are both a blessing and a curse, depending on whether they serve us or we, them.  Quick e-mails snatched at airports or between meetings are efficient but not warm.

Now we work on budgeting out time for each other.  Unscheduled free time or planned family outings, unconnected to the busy world at large are planned.  We breathe, do not fill the space with noise, just inch closer.  Our rituals evolve over time, taking advantage of the convenience of technology or the moments we have together.  Regardless of how it happens, making the time a priority weaves together our connection with a strength that only grows over the years.  Near and far, I am blessed.

hands

Monday, November 29, 2010

Coffee Break Poetry

HarrisLakeCoffee

This photo, (borrowed from someone’s site but I’ve lost the info!- apologies!) is an image of about a perfect morning for me.  A beautiful, still lake at a cottage, quiet with my trusty, freshly-brewed coffee at my side.  Bliss.

What NaBloPoMo month would be complete without poetry dedicated to my faithful companion?  Inspired by Mary Lynn’s awesome haiku efforts, I have composed my own.  So here goes nothing!  I will just apologize in advance for my extremely amateur effort.  I had fun though…

Steaming cup awaits

Promises both calm and vibrance

Welcome ritual

 

On to second cup

Oh crap, it is not working

Back to bed, I think

 

Behold a Starbucks!

Grande non-fat latte please

Pricey pleasure pause

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Weekend Equation

1 husband travelling so far away that time zones don't allow for a coherent phone call
+ 2 kids high on Christmas spirit and visible snow
+ 1 sister who asked me to watch her 3 tykes for the weekend whilst she worked
+ 1 stubbed toe, 5 bruised knees and plenty of snurbly noses
+ 1 skating party for a beloved niece
+ 20 6-year-olds of varying skating ability and temperaments let loose on the ice
+ 1 sugary princess cake
+ 1 Grey Cup crazed boy
+ 3 hours of driving like a taxi
=
1 very tired NaBloPoMo blogging mama looking forward to a quiet Monday

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Sweater

I woke to freezing rain and snow.  When the wind kicks up, the flakes fly horizontal and I shiver.  Time for comfort, time for the sweater. 

sweater 001

Here she is – a beauty, don’t you think?  I’ve had this garment for maybe 20 years now.  The black blend of merino wool and nylon have warmed me through Christmas exams, sleepless nights, power outages and drafts of our first apartment.  It has travelled to cottages, in-law homes, hospitals and road trips.  The age shows.  She is dated, pilled and a bit frayed with a touch of cat shed fur on the sleeves.  This sweater stays in the house, perfect for screen-time and not the big-screen.  She has seen better days.

Still, she is my go-to sweater when I’m in need of warmth, both physical and emotional.  A virtual hug when I’m ill or when my husband is away.  She doesn’t complain for she has stood the test of time.   sweater 004

On our trip to Scotland, I found a new sweater.  It is a lovely cashmere one, cozy with silver buttons.  A little  more upscale, it is the sort of cardigan that I could wear out in public.  The wool is smooth and new, the colour even and all the buttons are in place.  It also has warmth. 

We are getting to know each other.  I don’t wear it as often and my favourite one, saving it for the outings, not wanting to give it too much wear and tear yet.  There is plenty of potential, like starting a new book in the series.  I reached for it for an evening at home the other night and it felt right. 

There will be no replacing my old friend, but it is nice to know that new ones can work their ways into your lives and fit right in.  Welcome.

PS – On a side note, for some reason I am thinking of this version of “The Sweater” which made me laugh my way through high school.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Remembering our angel

He would have been 11 today.  So much time has passed and yet I still miss our first son Kyle, born still at 7 months.  He is forever with me, part of what makes me the person I am, the mother I am, the wife I am. 

Often I remember the blessings he brought me – an understanding of a mother’s love, appreciation for the smallest things, unshakable faith in God.  It makes me more patient with my children, appreciating who they are and living in the moment.  I understand grief better and hope I am able to help others who go through hard times.  This wisdom only comes from the loss of innocence, from the part of me that is missing.   It is a high price to pay.  Time heals, faith heals and connecting with others heals.  I am blessed.

Happy Heavenly Birthday, my sweet son.  Thank you for being a part of my life.  You are forever loved.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Christmas Tunes

It being a month before the big day, I was in the mood for a few Christmas tunes.  Here’s my latest playlist.  Enjoy and let me know some tunes you must listen to over the holidays. 

Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer Mambo    2:40    Alvin Stoller    Ultra-Lounge: Christmas Cocktails, Part One        
Merry Christmas Baby    4:52    Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band    A Very Special Christmas, Vol. 1          
Christmas Song    5:15    Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds    A Very Special Christmas 3          
Let It Snow    4:00    Diana Krall & The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra    NOW! Christmas, Vol. 4  

Baby, It's Cold Outside    2:44    Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Jordan    Ella & Friends          
25th December    3:59    Everything But The Girl    Maybe This Christmas - A Holiday Collection           
Deck The Rooftop (Glee Cast Version)    2:32    Glee Cast    Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album       
Last Christmas (Glee Cast Version)    3:38    Glee Cast    Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album      
Jingle Bells (Glee Cast Version)    2:57    Glee Cast    Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album  

Seven Joys of Mary    2:40    Great Big Sea    Maybe This Christmas - A Holiday Collection 

The Christmas Song    3:14    Hootie & The Blowfish    A Very Special Christmas 3    Holiday       
Twelve Days of Christmas    4:22    John Denver/The Muppets    A Christmas Together          
This Christmas (Hang All the Mistletoe)    3:31    Macy Gray    A Very Special Christmas, Vol. 5     (Only a clip)    
Christmas In The City    4:38    Mary J. Blige & Angie Martinez    A Very Special Christmas 3       
Sleigh Ride    3:31    Natalie Cole    The Magic Of Christmas          
Peppermint Winter    4:00    Owl City    Peppermint Winter – Single   

Winter Wonderland    1:54    Peggy Lee    Ultra-Lounge: Christmas Cocktails, Part One  

Winter Song    4:27    Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson    The Hotel Café Presents Winter Songs  

Song for a Winter's Night    3:48    Sarah McLachlan    Wintersong           
I Saw Three Ships    1:45    Sting    A Very Special Christmas 3         

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday -Christmas Lights!

I like a nice decoration or two at Christmas but some people really do take it over the top.  What do you think?  Any great neighbourhoods for light viewing around you? 

    Winter wonderland.  I think there is a house in there somewhere but I’m not entirely sure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Invasion of the plastic snowmen!  Ahhhhh!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas-Lights-Miami

This is Christmas in Miami.  I love how they decorate the palm trees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blinded by the light.  These people will never get to sleep.  Love to be their neighbour.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Doppelganger

I’ve sundopplemek to a new low in my attempt to amuse myself.  I’ve been playing around with avatars, courtesy of Doppleme.  So here I am, heading to the gym.  The likeness is striking.  It appears I have had three espressos,two hours sleep and downed a 6-pack of donuts before heading out.  Stunning. 

Avatars aside, do you have a real life doppelganger?  You can find your celebrity look-a-like here, if you want to be rich and famous, or at least have a great Halloween costume for next year.  The “How I Met Your Mother” Doppelganger episode is a fun take on the idea.  I’m not sure if I have one, unless you count my daughter who is way too much like me at her age.  I’ll have to keep an eye out for the real dopple-me.  Yet another way to amuse myself over a latte at the coffee shop.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gratitude

The weather sucks today.  We awoke to slippery sidewalks following freezing rain. It’s grey and dark and I just don’t want to play.  But dragging myself to the gym helped.  I am moving and refocusing, trying to shift my perspective to get through stupid November. 

With this in mind, I am remembering the many things I am grateful for from the past few days.  I have come from a weekend where I saw my parents – both in good health and preparing to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next month.  We laughed so hard about a few things that we had to keep tissues handy to wipe away the tears.  I am grateful to have them as parents, mentors and friends. 

Anne's Nov 2010 011

I had a wonderful visit with friends from my old neighbourhood.  I am so thankful to know these women.  We’ve woven together through the past decade with baby playdates, cottage weekends and scrapbook sessions.  I appreciate each one of them for who they are and how they just “get” me.  It is so comfortable – like coming home.  

I returned to a sandwich of hugs from beaming children.  They chattered on about what they did all weekend.  My husband is amazing, balancing everything and encouraging me.  My gratitude for my family is beyond measure.  I am thankful for this life we have built in Ottawa, for the wonderful new friends I have found and how well we are settling here.  There is much warmth and peace here.  I am thankful.

It helps to write this today.  I needed reminders that there is more to November than dreariness and chill.  I am even grateful for the NaBloPoMo challenge as it has helped me to not wish away this month.  I am striving to do something creative daily, some days more successful than others.  Cheers and best wishes for warm thoughts on cold November days!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

#21 - My Bloggy Milestone

I almost didn't write my NaBloPoMo blog entry of the the day today. (I've been on the road, no computer, more tired than the mom of a newborn, etc.). But then I realized it was my 100th Easily Amused Blog Post today! Whoop, Whoop! How does one mark the occasion? Is chocolate involved? I should hope so. Also, I can write anything and it still counts. (Not that anyone is listening anyway, but I write for my own amusement, except when I need attention Did I mention I was really tired and prone to blithering?)

So happy 100th me! Today's random question is why do you blog? Has the reason changed over the course of your blog history? Regardless, I'm glad you do share your stuff on the blogosphere. I love reading all the great blogs out there.

Less blithery thoughts will return tomorrow, after a wee bit of shut-eye.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

#20 – Auto Idol

This is what I am doing right about now.  I’m out of town driving everywhere, visiting family and friends, solo.  What a perfect opportunity for me to belt out a tune or two!  No critics in the audience and I can push replay as much as I like. 

Any other car crooners?  Any favourite road songs? 

Friday, November 19, 2010

#19 – Light Books

I never make enough time for reading.  I really do love a good book but the time escapes me (probably because I am blog surfing or watching way too much TV) and I just don’t curl up for the hours I image myself doing.  So in an attempt to not let my brain go completely to mush, I have a great book club where I can read the books that make me think. 

Then there are light books.  These are the easy reads that are a great escape for a while.  The type of book you can follow in the fifteen minutes at the doctor’s office or before you pass out exhausted at the end of the day.  One that I read a while ago that I just loved was Three Bags Full – A Sheep Detective Story by Leonie Swann. Perhaps I am a bit biased as I have quite the fondness for sheep but it is a good and definitely different read.  You will never look at sheep the same again.

Today I am on a road trip and I got the audio copy of the sheepy book and a few others to keep myself company.  Yay!  I can not listen to anything that requires too much attention for my road trips or I will get too lost in the book that I get lost on the road too. 

Got any favourite light reads?  Anything you could go back to for a re-read, simply for the pleasure of it?  (I find the Anne books are great for that.  A great pick-up on a sleepless night.) 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

#18 – Something to Wine About

I like wine.  Bacchus has got to be one of my favourite Roman deities.  The guy had his priorities right and the Romans had the good sense to devote a whole god to wine.  It’s pretty amazing that your humble grape, with a little of this and that, can produce such a wide array of wonderful beverages.  But this post is more about the packaging – I love the creative labels!

We used to live within an easy drive to Niagara wine country.  Our LCBO store does carry a fair selection but it is the smaller wineries, such as those you get in wine country, that tend to produce the most interesting vintages and labels to match.  wine - guilty menOf course, a trek around the world in the wine store will yield some great choices from everywhere.  Here’s a wee selection of amusing labels and wines.

We like this one produced by Malivoire Estates – Guilty Men .  (There’s this little ladybug that runs through their line.  I hope the wine colouring doesn’t come from the little fellow!)

 

wine - goats

A South African Favourite, Goats do Roam : A nice red, apparently inspired by wanderlust goats, but not to be confused with the wines of the Côtes du Rhône wine region.

 

 Wine - oops

(oops) sounds quite promising.  I haven’t tried this Chilean one but I really must find it.  The “oops” part is described as “the lost grapes of Bordeaux masquerading as Merlot.” 

 

 

 

 

Wine - Time out

 

Mommy’s Time Out looks interesting.  This Italian wine might make a great gift for a new parent, don’t you think?

 

Wine - CoopersFat

 

 

Those quirky New Zealanders have a way with labels.  The Coopers Creek line including Fat Cat, Cat Pee on a Gooseberry Bush and Sally Cat are a delight to give and receive. 

 

With labels like these, does it really matter what the wine is like?

Cheers!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

#17 – Holiday Baking Attempts

‘Tis the season!  In my mind, I am a great baker.  I love to wander through Bulk Barn, grabbing a little of this, a scoop of that for my wonderful baking endeavours.  It never quite works out that way.  That’s alright.  In this business, the mistakes pay you.  There is no way I could give away botched macaroons or headless Santa cookies.  I’ll just take care of that myself. 

So today, inspired by one of the many magazines I picked up showcasing the awesome perfect holiday treats you can whip up, I was in the mood to bake.  Gingerbread Scones.  Yum!  This recipe comes from the Better Homes and Gardens (neither of which I have) Food Gifts issue.  And guess what?!  It worked!  Ta da!

gingerbread scones 004I did a little spice glaze for the top and I managed to stuff these little ginger suns into a container before I ate them all.  The house smells Christmas perfect and I have the sink full of dishes to prove that I did it myself.

Not all holiday baking has turned out so well.  There was that year I participated in a Christmas cookie exchange.  There were ten dozen perfectly prepared delicate snowflake cookies made, taking about ten dozen hours to complete.  They were beautiful, all wrapped up in boxes with lovely ribbons, perched on the edge of the table to take to the exchange party the next day.  And then my dear little boy, then three or so, ran by and knocked all the boxes on the floor.  *Crash!*  I wept and my husband had to console both his wife and confused son.  Cookies were remade into the wee hours.  It wasn’t so magical anymore.

Happy baking!  May it be fun, stress-less and accident free. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

TTAM #16 – Memory Lane

IMG

Mary Lynn wrote a great post about her youthful Scottish travels.  Oh the memories!  I love to remember the good, bad and stupid of my early days.  Dug up an old album and some photos of me and my bff from our travellin’ days.  Much has changed since then but the memories come back crystal clear.

IMG_0001

It was when we were about 19 she had taken a year in Europe.  I joined her for 4 weeks of speedy travel through five countries.  In this photo, we are on a boat trip in Germany.  We called it our Great Rhine Wine Cruise.   The thrill of being able to order wine anywhere and check out gorgeous castles along the way was tooootally awesome to us young Canadian babes. 

At some point (after we got our randomly selected wine) it started to cloud over, got really dark and the sky threatened.  No worries, mate!  We were certainly not going to retreat below.  We knew we were perfectly safe as a gang of nuns had also boarded, so sipped away under an umbrella or something while it poured.  I remember trying to get some shots of lightning zapping over the castles along the shore.  Four weeks of fabulous experiences - priceless.

Monday, November 15, 2010

#15 - Podcasts

I love my iPod. Long walks, drives and sleepless nights are no longer dull with this baby stuck in my ears. Not only can it house a gazillion songs from my eclectic music tastes, but I can play a few games and listen to the radio too. Also, I am definitely in love with the Podcast feature. I just browse around and load up a few stories here, a radio program there and some comedy to cheer me up. All this happiness for free. What more could you want?

Here are a few of my current faves.;

CBC stuff - From Vinyl Cafe to Q, Ideas to Laugh Out Loud, the CBC has a whack of great Canadian programs to download, entertain and make you sound smart too.

Stuff You Should Know - Do you ever wonder if tone deafness is hereditary? Well I don't, because I already heard the podcast and know the answer. A light and fun approach to life's answers.

KCRW and NPR podcasts - Everything from alternative music to architecture. This is a good link for so good shows from the States.

Are there any podcast you subscribe to? Do share, I'm always looking for new things.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Turns on a dime

I was going to write wonderful things about our entertaining family weekend.  About how the kids enjoyed seeing Annie today or about how we had a pseudo celebration of our cat’s 2nd birthday.  All very whimsical.

Instead I get to write about the evilness of migraines.  It strikes suddenly.  But it is not me, it is my son that is victim.  He lies on the floor, holding his head.  We’ve been through this too many times.  I slip rapidly into the routine – get the Tylenol in, make him drink and put him in bed.  We cover the pillow with a towel, grab a cold cloth and a bucket.  The stomach ache follows soon.  A warm beanbag helps but it is not enough.  When I step away, he is sick to his stomach.  Poor guy.  Strip the bed, change the clothes and put on laundry.  Emptying his system helps.  He sleeps. 

I wish he didn’t have to deal with these migraines.  We work to piece together the parts of the puzzle.  He is not overtired, overheated nor dehydrated.  He did not have chocolate, a trigger in the past.  We did have pink sprinkles on the cat’s birthday cake (human food, not kibble).  Is it the dye?  Who knows.  He sleeps and I worry.  May we not have this routine again anytime soon.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

TTAM #13 - Lucky 13

Any triskaidekaphobics out there? Perhaps you are too afraid to turn on your computer today, it being the 13th day of the month. Today's lucky topic is the amusing factors of fear, luck and all that superstitious stuff.


The great thing about being a type B personality is that I actually don't get phased much. I don't over think things nor concern myself with perfection (or grammar, spelling or run-on sentences - sorry!). But wait! I do have a few superstitions and I wrestle with the logic of them from time to time.


I don't walk under ladders. This is partially a superstition thing and partially me being little-ms.-safety. I have had enough things ping me in the head that I don't want to risk it being a tool dropped from a height. Perfectly logical, right?


I get a wee bit concerned about broken mirrors. When I was a pre-teen, we had house guests of a particularly annoying sort come to stay. Being moody, I wanted to be alone in my room and this boy kept hassling me. Ack! Somehow he pushed my buttons and I pushed him through a mirror door on my closet. Sure I was concerned that my parents were going to be pissed (they were cool with it) but what I was really worried about was the seven years of bad luck headed my way. Crap! (Incidentally, the boy then enrolled in karate classes, having been beaten by a girl. Sweet victory for bad-ass me!)


If I think about it, I do try to avoid cracks in the sidewalk. No one must see me doing this but I do care for my mother and would like her back to be in good shape. I do hope my children will show me the same courtesy.


On the plus side, I do get excited if my palms start to itch. That means I am going to get money... or maybe I shouldn't have played with that 3-leafed plant so much. Pass the cortisone!


Want to take a quiz? Try this one to see how superstitious you are. At the very least, you will be somewhat amused and may learn some new things of which you should be afraid.

Friday, November 12, 2010

TTAM #12 – TV Top 10

I am not exactly a night person.  After the mini-mes have been tucked in, I find gravity has a great way of pulling me to the couch, remote in hand and ultra-healthy chocolate snack nearby.  (I’m sure it is purely coincidental that my mid-girth pudge level thickens as the new TV season begins.)  And what draws me in?  Here’s the top 10, for now;

10.  So You Think You Can Dance – Both the Canadian and American versions offer much entertainment.  I get a little tired of all the chatter and voting silliness but love to watch the dancers.

9.   Hawaii 5-0 – A new-ish take on the classic show.  Not too bad!  I like it and it is something I can watch with my husband at the same time without him bolting away for more “manly” shows.

8. Grey’s Anatomy – My medi-soap fix.  A great one to watch with girlfriends and chardonnay… or in my case, stuffed animals, a cat and some flat beverage from the back of the fridge.

7.  Ace of Cakes – I’m sure I could whip up one of these creations if I only applied myself. 

6.  How I Met Your Mother – Getting a little old now but it still has its funny moments.  Barney is great and you gotta love Lily.

5.   Amazing Race – My armchair traveller fix.  It’s kind of a guilty pleasure, watching couples bitch at each other as they embarrass themselves in various countries around the world.  Hardly rocket-science but it fills my Sunday evening void.

4.  Glee – Great for my closet inner-diva.  This would be one of the shows from which my husband runs away.  I have no idea why.

3.   Rick Mercer Report – Cleaver and funny.  Great for my Canadian content, eh?!

2.  Big Bang Theory! – Definitely a favourite.  Sheldon is awesome with the best written character EVER.  *Bazinga!*

1.  Modern Family - Every character is amazing in this one.  I have to adhere to a no drinking and watching policy on this show lest I spray beverage everywhere.

So what’s on your top 10?  Anything you can’t live without?  Do share.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

In which we contemplate Remembrance Day with Brownies, Cubs and Stuff

My tykes are members of Brownies and Cubs.  They are proud of their involvement and enjoy almost everything that these organizations have to offer. 

Brownie and Cub

On November 11th, both of their units have encouraged their members to wear their full uniform to school for the day.  The kids are happy to do so but it has made me contemplate why this tradition is part of Remembrance Day.  There is no meeting, no silly games or activities that they would associate wearing these uniforms for on Cub and Brownie night.  How can this gesture make a difference?

I think it reflects their pride in their country and those who aim to serve it in the way that is appropriate to them.  While in uniform, they are reminded of their respective promises to serve and respect their country.  In a small way, they can relate to the effort that comes from earning badges and perhaps gain better understanding what is involved in the decorations and metals of soldiers who have served for Canada.  Both organizations have community service and understanding Canadian heritage as part of their programs.  Perhaps this is another way that they can feel a part of the bigger picture. 

I am looking forward to seeing them do their thing at the school ceremony today.  Owen will be belting out with the choir (off pitch and good n’ loud) a song about poppies.  Laura will be standing tall and proud to be Canadian.  I’m proud of them both and thankful for Scouting and Guiding to allow them a chance to shine at school in a way that is important to them while honouring our fallen Canadian heroes.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

TTAM #10 - Ikea

It’s dangerous to go into Ikea without a list and armed with a camera.  There really is so much to entertain me there!

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What could be more fun than wandering around like a rat in a maze to find the one thing you thought was worth the trip to the store.   Set aside at least an hour to get it.  You may want to bring a GPS and good walking shoes. 

 

 

 

 

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First stop – the restaurant.  I walk half a kilometre to the oasis of Swedish food.  But it is well worth the journey!  Coffee, spinach & cheese crepes and salad for less than $5! Fully fuelled, I have to walk the half km back to grab a cart.

 

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Easy entertainment for the kids – tiny pencils, paper with a map and lots of paper measuring tapes.  Woo hoo!  Today I am travelling solo but when I do drag my kids with me, this kid-ertainment is mandatory.  I get them to measure things, measure each other, draw pictures, tie each other up, etc.  Fun for the whole family.

 

 

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One of the best things about Ikea is the naming of the stuff.  Is this a lamp?  No, it’s NOT.

 

 

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I would drink anything out of GODIS glasses.  Do you think they have transformative powers?

 

 

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I’m sure there is nothing wrong with playing with puppets when your kids are not with you, right?  One-eyed Murray the Moose agrees. 

 

 

 

 

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My shopping cart.  Really?  I’m sure I just came in for some glasses or something.  Now I know what I’ll be doing with myself this weekend.  Those Screwdrivers in GODIS glasses will help soothe me as I curse the construction of yet another BILLY.  

 

 

A solo trip to Ikea – great for amusement, dreadful for the wallet.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

TTAM #9 - Little notes

She is being very sneaky. I venture to ask what she is doing and she giggles. "It's a surprise!" Off I go to other things, forcing myself not to peek.

I find the first one under my pillow. A tiny little paper saying "You are grat. Love Laura" I'm charmed. Another is found on the table, and another under a fruit bowl. "We well have fun at school", decorated with stickers. She writes notes to her brother, dad and grandparents too.
So sweet. I treasure these tiny moments of childhood and pieces of her heart.

Monday, November 8, 2010

TTAM #8 - Cats

Molly yawn Yep, I’m a cat person.  Actually I love all sorts of animals (except snakes) but I could only live with cats.  I love their independence and cute little paws.   

Our first cat was Jasmine – a sweet lap-cat who played a big part in helping us heal at a very difficult time.  Unfortunately she passed away too early a couple of years ago this week.  (Yet another reason I generally hate Novembers.) 

Our latest cat is Molly, adopted a little over a year ago and she has twitched her way into our heart.  We are amused by her daily in her kittenish ways and floppy affection.  Here are the gratuitous cat shots for today’s entry.

 Molly LCBOMolly stairs

And I still giggle over the video that Bibliomama pointed out a few weeks ago with the cat and the printer.  I definitely need more human contact.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

TTAM #7 - Running in circles

Darn that NaBloPoMo self-imposed peer pressure! I'm scrambling for something amusing to post today. Alas, all my little fluffy brain can come up with is a little thing I have on my google homepage.

We call ours "Princess" and she is pink and doted over by Laura. I also have waddling penguins and turtles wandering about. Obviously I have too much time on my hands.

Hamster: "This lively pet hamster will keep you company throughout the day. Watch him run on his wheel, drink water, and eat the food you feed him by clicking your mouse. Click the center of the wheel to make him get back on it."

Saturday, November 6, 2010

TTAM #6 - Medical Appointments

Really??? OK, not really, but it does help pass the time to get a little giddy while you anticipate yourself being poked, prodded and generally embarrassed by all that is wrong with you.


My dad was a doctor and very brilliantly put a few decorations on the ceiling about the exam table for comic relief. A magnetic mouse was my favourite and there were also a variety of doctor related comics about. I had the best dentist in Toronto who chatted away with his hygienist about Mr. Bean at length and I swear I barely knew I was undergoing a filling at the time as I was laughing so hard.


So, yesterday I was delighted to see the lovely tropical pictures posted around the mammogram contraption. My brain: "Ahhhh... swimming in tropical seas while I ... what the?! Ow! Is that kind of pressure really necessary? Think daiquiri, think daiquiri! Stupid shark - let go of my boob!" Alright, half way there. Except the shark hit a nerve or something in the next round.


Technician: " How are we doing?"

Me: " Oh fine. Wait! Spinny. I think I might..."

Technician: "Crap! I'll grab a chair..... "

Me (dreaming): " I think I'll go for a snack before I go snorkeling with that handsome guide. The pineapple looks good. Wait! Aren't I supposed to be somewhere else? (waking) Hmmm. That's odd, I'm on the floor."

Me (talking): "Ooops, guess I fainted! So sorry. (How very Canadian of me to apologize for passing out!) .

Technician (who had caught me, bless her!): "No problem. It happens more than you think. Can I get you some juice?"


Ah, the things I do so I have something to blog about. Now what shall I try next for my attention -seeking-behaviour shenanigan?


....


Just going to add that regardless of how difficult any medical procedure may seem;
a) You MUST do it because a small discomfort may mean a huge benefit to your health and

b) That previous comment may have been better directed to men who are great at putting their head in the sand when it comes to their own health and

c) There is definitely lots of humour to be found, even in the most uncomfortable circumstances and it does help pass the time.

Friday, November 5, 2010

#5 – Knowing You Knowing Me November

Well thanks to our delightful Fairy Blogmother, I have something else to Easily Amuse me for day #5.  Here are my answers.  Do join in and link back to her Mr. Linky if you want to play along.

1) Last month I asked if you had started your Christmas shopping yet, this month I'm curious as to what's on your Christmas wish list.

The list is still ridiculously empty.  I just haven’t thought too much about me yet but am getting loads of ideas for others.  Hmmm.  “Slippers would be nice”, she thinks as her toes feel like icicles.  An iPad would be fun but certainly not going to happen.  I think I have some homework to do this weekend.

2) Do you have a hand held video game in your house?

Not yet.  Shhh, DS is asking for a “DSi” and will get one care of frequent flyer miles that are never used for flying but are great for shopping of free.
We’ve held off this long so that the kids would focus on other things for play time.  However, we’ll be doing a long driving trip in the spring and I think some hand-held distractions would be great for all our sanity.

3) Are you going to participate in the 25 Days of Christmas Challenge?

Looks intriguing.  I think I’ll adopt some ideas but not commit to an official challenge.  Maybe I’ll join the “Yes you CAN enjoy Christmas prep season Challenge” which has the reward of making me not turn into a puddle of stress by the time the big day arrives.


4) What is your favourite kind of cookie?

Do I really have to pick a favourite?  Pretty well any cookie that someone bakes me is  a favourite.  I could eat a tray of shortbreads before I knew it and cookies with chocolate are awesome too.  Maybe chocolate dipped shortbread would be the answer.  Yum!

5) Coffee or tea?

I’m all about the coffee 95% of the time.  Bridgehead Mayan Fusion is my brew of choice or Equator Freakin’ Good Coffee too.  Awesome.  Cappuccinos and Lattes are nice but only once in a while.  I do like a great cup ‘o tea too.  A nice Lemon Ginger tea when I’m sicky makes the world a better place.

Excuse me.  I have some brewing to do.  Cheers!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

TTAM #4 – Hey baby, what’s your sign?

There are times when I wonder if my parents got distracted and simply made up a birthday for me.  It just doesn’t fit!  Apparently I am a Virgo.  The stars tell me that I am all this:

Traditional
Virgo Traits

Modest and shy
Meticulous and reliable
Practical and diligent
Intelligent and analytical

On the dark side....
Fussy and a worrier
Overcritical and harsh
Perfectionist and conservative

Bawhahahaha!  If you have the good fortune to know me, you would be scratching your head.  Sure, there was a period in my youth when I was modest and shy – tossed that out the window when I realized that didn’t get me anywhere.  I can barely spell Perfectionist, let alone be one.  And if I did misspell it, I would be very un-diligent about correcting it!  Of course, what does fit is that I am very intelligent and reliable (as well as drop-dead gorgeous and super nice) so some of this stuff works.

Just the same, I am happy to check out my horror-scope when it suits me.  Today, according to great star reader Rick Levine, it says:

You may normally be so logical in your approach to spending money that you're willing to pass up a bargain item if you don't really need it. However, today you could become so obsessed with something that you might not be able to talk yourself out of buying it. Even if you feel very strongly about it, wait a few days before making a final decision.

Yep, a perfect non-fit.  If I want something, I damn well will spend the money with no analysis involved.  Isn’t that what those shiny credit cards are for?  But I am perfectly happy to believe it the days that everything is supposed to be perfect for me.  Nevertheless, amusing.

Do you fit your sign?  Does it matter to you either way? 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

TTAM #3 – The Post-Halloween Post

I can’t really call this a Wordless Wednesday post ‘cause I’m feeling to word-full.  It sort of fits in with the Things That Amuse Me theme as happy, sugar-filled kids are forever amusing, even if that is a stretch.  Anyway…

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So it was a great Halloween weekend here in chilly Ottawa.  All things Halloween were on for three nights in a row.  (Now I’m in a great post-chaos sugar-low crash reaching for yet another java.) 

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On the Friday, the school hosts a family Halloween dance.  Wouldn’t you know it, our DD, the lucky devil, won a prize yet again– a giant spider spinning his web around a bowl of candy.    She’s happy and I have one more Halloween decoration for next year.

 

 

 

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On the Saturday we went to the National Arts Centre, “Trick Or Treat to a Wicked Beat” family concert.  This concert series is wonderful for everyone in the family for music appreciation and live orchestra fun.  Cool to see and hear “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” while dressed up in costume.  (Laura was a princess and Owen was a proud Ottawa Senator, delightfully coordinated in red.) Then it was off to a surprise birthday/Halloween family party.  A good feast and fun for the gang.

 

 

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Sunday was the much anticipated Trick or  Treat day!  Not anticipated was the great layer of snow on the ground!  That just added to the kids happiness.  Snow shovelling and playing in October.  They were highly bundled and eager trick or treaters with too-cool-to-bundle–up-icicle-dad.

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I found other things to amuse me -  pumpkin ale and way too much candy.  Traditions are good, even for grown-ups.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

TTAM #2 – Duckies!

There is something about ducks that is SO amusing to me.  Especially when they look like this:  feeding-mallard-ducks_7356 I laugh out loud almost every time they stick their little tushies up in the air.  They are too buoyant to dive down and they moon us all with nary a care in in the world and a happy quack.

They have both cuteness and attitude.  Like they might turn to you and say “What?  Are these no-name bread crumbs?  Well Quack-you!”  And who can resist adorable little ducklings?!  ducklings Totally makes my day. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

TTAM #1 – It Begins

Welcome to November!  To me, this month is the worst.  Lots of sh!t has happened to me in Novembers past and I generally like to burrow and eat lots of chocolate to console myself.  On top of the difficult memories, I get cold rainy weather and my family tends to come down with a virus from hell.  But before I go into hiding, I thought I’d try something new.  Living up to my blog name, I’m doing a series called “Things That Amuse Me “ – TTAM. 

Yep,I guess I am looking to find some happy yang to the crappy yin in this “No” month.  Each day I will post something that easily amuses me in my Pam-land.  Feel free to let me know what has amused you today.  I desperately need distractions and would love to hear about it.

#1 – Blog-hopping.  Is that the right term?  I LOVE checking out blogs of all sorts and occasionally I find one that makes me laugh so hard that I have to dash to the bathroom.  Like this one from 1000 Awesome Things or this one from Bibliomama or this one from Schmutzie.  There are so many more. Do let me know some of your favourite go-to ones for amusement.  I’d love to hop over to them. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

That’s NOT what I expected!

This is what I often hear from my little guy who loves routine.  Having Asperger’s Syndrome can be a lot to handle sometimes.  Routine or familiarity can make a world of difference in the day to day – one less thing to stress about while dealing with all the other input the world is throwing at you. 

When he was little and life was changing so fast, we heard this phrase often.  There were tantrums over the wrong peanut butter or an apple being cut up instead of whole.  Never mind EVER having a babysitter or driving a different way home from the mall – that would be traumatizing! 

It did get better.  When he could read, we made up social stories, walking through what to expect and if that didn’t happen, what was next.  And humour helped.  Helping him see how ridiculous it was to stress over whether he had an apple or a plum in his lunch when I was going to give him a pineapple instead.  Thank God for his great sense of humour!

What’s helped the most is having a strong foundation, a footing that let him safely take on the outside world.  For our DS it was a trust in his parents and more often now, trust in himself to be able to handle the unexpected.  We break it down and often say such things as “One of the great talents of our family is our amazing problem solving ability.”  or “This sounds like a job for Super-Kid!”  With this, he is getting better at how to deal with the unexpected – most days.

The funny thing is how much we say “That’s NOT what I expected!” to each other now.  “What?!  We’re out of coffee?! That’s not what I was expecting!!!”  It puts it all in perspective.   I think most people can handle the good, bad and ugly in life much better when they know what to expect.  We just do it more automatically than some people with learning challenges. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

WW - Bridgehead made my day

On the weekend I felt worse than if I had swallowed glass. However, being supermom, I took DD to a birthday party at Gotta Paint (awesome place!) and I killed the time with a Westboro wander. I wheezed my way to Bridgehead and indulged in a yummy carrot cake and coffee. It was a miracle cure. I enjoyed the rest of my wander being easily amused by the hydrant art and all the Westboro wonders. Not such a dreadful day after all.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Clearly losing it

Today I have cleaned the house so that the beloved cleaning company can find the surfaces to really clean. I have sorted through piles of clothing without my daughter near by so that I can pass on some outgrown clothes to her younger cousin without a big fight. I have driven to Kanata to meet my sister to drop off said clothes and borrow gear for a Halloween costume for my son. I have bought more Halloween crap for myself that I probably didn't need. I have picked up the kids, made them to homework while I whipped up more costume stuff for my boy. I am now attempting to blog while the pizzas cook and we get ready to head out to MYC music class with the kid who didn't practice.

Normal? Well usually. Except I have NO voice and a wicked cough type cold. I should be curled up in bed having the world cater to me. Yet here I am, being super-mom yet again. Where is my sanity? Clearly I lost it amid the clutter.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

WW - Discovering the new webcam


I really am easily amused.