Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve in Pics

… on my ancient point and shoot and Blackberry, but you still get the point.

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Making the kids go for a walk.  It’s a beautiful day and you will appreciate it, dammit!

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Creating sugar cookies for Santa.

Tracking Santa on NORAD, killing time with electronics,  tortiere, laying out the goods for Santa and chillin’ . 

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Merry Christmas all!  Have a wonderful holiday.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Starbucks Love

Not only do they present me with perfect coffee with soothing jazz or something in the background, but they also have free WiFi so I can tweet or whatever as I sip.  I embrace my overpriced comforts!

And then there is the staff.  They take care of me.  They see the dazed look in my eyes and make it all go away.  Or we have a conversation like I did today.

Me: Ummm,  hmmmm, I guess I'll have a gingerbread loaf and, um, a Tall Italian.
Female Barista: If only we had some good tall Italians...
Male (cutie) Barista:  I'm a tall Italian.
Me: Then we're set!
FB: I would go on but it may become inappropriate quickly.
MB: Next time...
Me: *giggle like a school girl*

Now how can you have a terrible day after that?


Friday, December 16, 2011

A Poll! Twelve Days of Christmas...

If asked, Owen will tell you that his favourite Christmas carol of all time is "The Twelve Days of Christmas".   The full version too.  If he begins, the WHOLE thing must be sung from start to finish with no omissions.  It makes for a loooonnng song, I tell you.  However, his enthusiasm makes up for it (the first time around) and we smile and go to our happy-place when he sings.

Others have done some versions of "Twelve Days" that are bearable.  These are three of my favourites:

1. The Canadian standard, eh?! Beauty!

2. A fave from my childhood.  The video quality isn't the greatest but 'tis a classic.

3. Love this one too!  These guys are amazing and do a creative interpretation.

So which is your favourite?  Please comment and let me know.  But if there is another version that outshines these, do share!

Monday, December 12, 2011

My pen won't go

I have always sucked at writing with pen on paper.  It is like my thoughts don't want to be expressed this way.  From time to time I still have to take notes - at a meeting, jotting down information off a sign, or relaying a phone message - but it comes out in chicken-scratch and disjointed.  I can hardly make sense of the bits of paper afterwards, relying on my sporadic memory to fill in the gaps and act as translator. 

Today I sit here, thinking I ought to get started on my Christmas cards.  It seemed like such a good idea at the time.  Just jot down a few friendly words, address the things and pop them in the mail. Who am I kidding?  It's not that I don't want to stay connected with friends and family over the holiday.  I really do!  I just can't seem to get into action.  The logical answer would be to use the computer to whip out some clever Christmas letter, fill the card up with pics of the kids and say the same generic thing to the list.  So what's stopping me?

Perhaps I am secretly a perfectionist and I need to feel like I am having a conversation with the recipient that is real.  Maybe I simply don't like my hand writing.  I know I don't write (well, speed print really as I suck more at any sort of elegant script) nearly fast enough to complete my thoughts before they get jumbled up.  So I opt for nothing.  Well that's stupid.  Are people going to know that I am psychically thinking of them?  Um, no. 

I've lost touch with too many friends before the days of e-mail.  I was terrible at returning letters or remembering to send birthday cards!  Thankfully some have been patient enough with me to reconnect via Facebook and other e-communications.  It is a whole different process for me to type out a connection on the computer.  So much easier!  I feel I express my true self more easily, my thoughts flowing through the keyboard with little effort.  I'm sure a therapist would have something to say about that!

Will the cards get mailed?  I don't know.  If they do they will be late, be stuffed with a photo or two and have some brief friendly message about holidays, new year and stuff.  The cards themselves are nice and hopefully anyone who gets one will be pleased and forgiving.  If the cards don't go, I hope people don't feel slighted.  It's not you, it's me.  And it doesn't mean I don't care, just that, well, my pen wouldn't go. 

Are there blog Christmas cards?  I'll work on it.  It seems to be what works for me and I won't have to factor in mail time.  Or maybe I need to pour a double rum eggnog, crank the Christmas tunes and get into the card writing spirit, dammit! 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cat = 1 Tree = 0

I think I am just SO smart sometimes.  I love my cat but Molly is, well, a cat with cat instincts.  As much as I try to reason with her, she gives me the look that says, “If you wanted a stupid dog, you should have got one.  I am so above you.”   That doesn’t keep me from trying. 
So we got this lovely artificial tree we like to put up for Christmas.  Molly likes her new climbing structure and all the doo-dads we put on to amuse her.  Humph!  Time to engage my engineering brain and come up with a contraption to keep her down.
Here it is
  Here it is.  My engineering wonder – a layer of garbage bags (empty) between the branches that she can’t get through.  And it worked!  I am SO brilliant!  I should patent this thing!  Well, at least share it with the bloggy world or something.
Um, my cat is persistent. 
New ornament
Bugger!  OK, it is kind of cute.  Enough so that I grab my camera instead of wrestling her out of the damn tree.


Then this happened.
Aaaarrrrggggghhhh!!!  That would be the ornament that was Owen’s favourite, the one he wanted to inherit and pass down through the generations. 

So when he got home from school, I told him that Molly had outsmarted our cat-baffler.  Owen responded, “Back to the drawing board, mom!”  Love that kid!
So now I have to hunt down another world globe heirloom ornament and re-engineer the cat baffler.  Christmas is exhausting!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's a wrap!

'Tis the last day of NaBloPoMo and it was fun.  Though I didn't actually blog every day this month (pesky travel and all) but I did what I wanted to do.  I feel like I'm echoing Mary Lynn's thoughts here.  I got a sense of accomplishment and renewed appreciation for writing with this commitment.  It has also been wonderful to catch up on other awesome blogs on the block.  There are some very talented writers out there and I love to explore the diverse community daily.  

So, I will continue to write more often.  I like it as a way to stay connected to people I know and those I get to meet through their writing.   It's great to feel that this little blog has a place for me and I feel at home here.  Thanks for reading and bye for now!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

No Worries, Mate!

That would seem to be the national phrase and philosophy.  How can you argue against that?!  LOVED Australia.  We even felt worry-free in the rain.  The sun did decide to make an appearance for our days at the beach in Manly and for the wedding of wonderful friends.  Gorgeous is an understatement.  Even though it is a ridiculously long flight and we missed our little monkeys lots, it was well worth the speedy trip to Oz. 

A taste of our pics. More to bore you with come later.  Cheers Mate!

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Aussie post

This writing from the iPad thing is not working out as well as I'd hoped. I'm sure there is some awesome app that would make it work better but I'm too lazy too busy to figure it out right now.

So, the big trip to Australia is wonderful. Here are some random thoughts:

Apparently the sun doesn't always shine in Australaia. However a wine tour with Mic and a bus of fun tourists is a great way to ignore localized flooding. The wine still tastes yummy.

The best friends are those you can catch up with 15 years later and feel like it was yesterday. Our time with our mate Anthony and Pip has been awesome. Well worth the trek.

I could totally get used to living by the ocean. Gorgeous!

I could totally not get used to driving on the left and driving at all in Austalia.

Stupid rain!

It is now the 26th of November here. Today we celebrate Anthony and Pip's wedding. Today we remember our first son on what would have been his 12th birthday. It is strange but nice to have the date share with events with such different meaning and emotion. I am blessed to have both and pleased to have new memories for the date.

Alas, I am not able to complete NaBloPoMo posts daily as I'd hoped. This travelling thing is throwing me off. Well, as the locals say, No worries, mate! I look forward to catching up when I can.


By the time this post is up, we will be in middle of our trip on the opposite side of the world from the kids and I know I will be aching for them.  So I write this for my daughter today, appreciating the person she is, with or without me by her side.

Laura is a natural nurturer.  She absolutely had to be snuggled from the day she was born.  I wore her in a sling through most of those colicky months as a baby and squeeze her close as we read in the evenings now.  She loves to pass on all her caring to her HUGE collection of stuffies, webkins and dolls.  Parties are held for creature birthdays and everyone is included.  There are a couple of friends who she is extra close to.  This is one.

Her special doll is Taryn, a Maplelea Girl that we got for her last Christmas.  It's an investment to have one of these dolls so you have to be pretty sure she will be valued for more than a week.  Laura has definitely exceeded my expectations. 

Taryn is like a little sister and Laura adores her.  I hear them chatting in her room, making crafts together, getting dressed for outings or helping to cook in the kitchen.  Laura made her friend her own epi-pen to wear for a shellfish allergy.  She has her own cardboard box closet for her clothes (which is much neater than Laura's closet by far!)  For the past week they have been camping at "Maplelea National Park", a created land that is like a summer camp.  Owen has been in on this too as his room is their cabin where they all bunk out and sing campfire songs.   It is such fun to watch my 8 year-old immerse herself in her imagination. 

Here are the girls as they have their fun.  A lifetime of adoration.  Love it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Which is why I don't do a cooking blog

The tales of my spaziness just keep coming!  I amaze myself.  Today we venture into why I am not a cooking blogger.

DH, though not exactly allergic to eggs, simply can't be near eggs being cooked or eat any breakfast food containing eggs.  Sounds like allergy to me but I ain't no doctor.  Anyway, he was lamenting the other day that he wishes he could have french toast.  He'd ordered it on his travels recently but he couldn't eat it because it had, you know, eggs on it.  (Well, why did you order it?!) 

Being all kinds of awesome, I "Googled" egg-less french toast recipes and came up with some cool ideas.  This one looked good but we don't do bananas in this house so some adapting would be necessary.  Laura loves to cook and create in the kitchen so she "helped".

The recipe called for coconut milk.  Hmmm, no coconut milk to be found but condensed milk starts with "c" so it should do just fine, don't you think?  The first can of sweetened condensed milk looked odd and the expiry date was in 2008 so, after much consideration, I tossed it.  We opened another can.  Thicker than I thought but no matter, we'll just thin the thing with milk and carry on.  Laura wants to add a tablespoon of cinnamon.  I talk her down to a half-teaspoon and whip up the mixture. 

Bread tossed and flipped into a pan.  Looks almost real!  It burned a bit (probably due to the high sugar content) but it actually came out alright.
No need for syrup on this creation.  Apples make it seem somewhat healthy.  Laura makes an applesauce mixture with 1/2 cup applesauce and 1/2 cup cinnamon for her piece.  Owen refuses to try it. 

It tasted alright, really.  A little rich perhaps but not bad when you are hungry and are trying to convince yourself that you can handle variations in the kitchen.  And then for the rest of the day, DH and I had headaches and our stomache's felt off.  I'm not saying it was the french toast necessarily but consider yourself warned. 

I got some real, unexpired coconut milk and will be trying the recipe again sometime soon.  Perhaps when we all feel well and our sense of adventure has returned.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Quest for the perfect water bottle

I am a heavy drinker.  I do it for my health.  Most of the time, thankfully, it is water in the bottle that I am sucking back.  I do this to lead a good example for my kids and because I'm cheap.  Today I wanted to share my struggle with finding the perfect water bottle.

These are useless:  I have no idea why I still have them.  They either leak, the straw falls out regularly or the top is too big to drink from without drooling all over the place. 

 These work well!  They seal up nicely, come in a variety of sizes but kill polar bears, clear-cut forests and poison bunnies or something like that.  If I do stoop to using the plastic water bottles, I reuse it many times, sometimes remembering to wash them too.  They can also double as squirters if your kids are bothering you on a hot day.

 These are the kids' favourites for school.  Laura's is too big and adds about 3 kg to her daily haul to school if I fill it up to the top.  However, it seals well and locks to avoid soggy papers.  Owen's is stainless steel and boy-proof.  He is very attached to it and I had to buy two to avoid meltdowns if it should dare go missing.  A bit of a leaker if he doesn't body-slam it shut, but largely acceptable. 

This is my bottle.  Oops, wrong photo....

This is mine, all mine.  I do not share.  Stainless, wide enough mouth to add ice cubes and good spout.  Love it!  Except I wish it was purple ... and self-cleaning... and made me better looking, but it will do.

Do you have a must-have water bottle?  Is there a mug that is your favourite for your morning cup of coffee?  Do share. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ready for take off, sort of

Almost on the way to the airport. I think the prep list doesn't actually end. Luckily I have my handy little brain radio to boost me on. "Leaving On A Jet Plane" keeps playing today. Dangnabit! Can't do anything fancy with posting from this iPad right now so you get the basic version. I hope to post some things from the trip but who knows what technology will allow. Lame post but well meant. Bye for now!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Made for love

In the five minutes of me-time I apparently get today, I am scrambling for blogish material.  A quick trip to YouTube unearths this pick of the day.

So I was thinking about things we make for love.  Usually this happens in the early stages of relationships, when you are short on money and high on time and amorous ambition.  I rarely was organized enough to make a mixed tape but I remember making some awesome cookies for my guy.  How about you?  Any amazing love-made things?

Now my contribution is morning coffee.  I bring it to my guy while he shaves in the morning.  We chat, take some time at the start of the day.  On weekends we get coffee and newspaper time while the kids watch useless TV stuff in the other room.  The day doesn't start quite right without this ritual.  It ain't no mixed tape but there is a whole lot of love in there. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

On which I admit my tweet confusion

I have leaped into the twitter world.  Well, "leaped" may not be the best word for it, more of a tiny step around the corner to check it out without disturbing the party.  I'm not sure if I'm going to stay.

Here's the thing.  I don't really get it.  I don't know why I am there yet.  I am baffled by lingo, unsure of the etiquette and not following things often enough to be really following the conversations.  It took my two weeks to realize that "RT" meant "retweet" and was not some popular tweeter's initials.  And what am I supposed to post?  My life is pretty dull at any particular moment.  Maybe it is more effective for those who use it for business. Sure it's fun to see what people are up to and what is going on locally but maybe I just don't know what to do with the information.  I'm apparently Easily Confused.

The whole hatch-tag thing is still strange to me.  Do people just invent them?  From today in my feed there are tags of #complicated which leads to about 1000 interpretations of complicated.  Going WAY off on a tangent there.  It is obviously important to add #GoodNight so you can wish everyone else who is going to bed "sweet dreams".

I know, there is probably someone out there who does get it and can enlighten me.  Please do!  Using HootSuite is helpful at least at giving it some order.  I'd like to know what your experience is with Twitter and what works best for you.  I'd love this geeky part of my life to click a little better.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Packing Distractions

The To-Do list today is short. 
  • PACK
  • Clean bedrooms
  • Dinner
That's about it.  Seems quite do-able when I see it written there.  But I am stuck on the first item.  "Pack" has been on the list for days and I can't seem to manage to get anything in the suitcase beyond underwear.

You see, DH and I are off to Australia for a week, leaving on Sunday.  Our most wonderful families are taking care of the home stuff, kids and cat thus making it all possible.  We are heading to a wedding near Sydney, taking a wine tour and get to enjoy touristy stuff too.  Trip of a lifetime, really.  But I am overwhelmed into inaction on the packing thing.

I've got the packing list to help.  Except it doesn't cover why I can't put the things into the suitcase before the panicky day of travel!  All these important thoughts keep going through my mind:
What to wear?  What does one wear to a spring wedding in Australia anyway?  I bought an awesome dress.... I think.... is it too casual?  too colourful?  too not a good fit?  Ack!  And what about shoes?  Should I wear healed sandals or is that not appropriate?  How many shoes can a I really bring before exceeding the weight restrictions?  The weather is all over the place so what do I wear if it rains?  Will people laugh and point if they see me in my swim suit? Will there be kangaroos?  Can I bring home a kangaroo or will that exceed the weigh restrictions?  Can I leave all my clothes behind and bring back a suitcase of wine?  Oh the dilemmas!

I am also obsessing about how I am going to survive a 18 hour flight squished in an airplane seat.  What will I do if my on board entertainment fails and I can only watch shows in German?  Will this damn cold be done before I take off?  There may be whining and it may not be the baby with the ear infection that they seat next to me.   Adding to list - sedatives - extra-strength, eye mask, ear plugs, nose plugs, snuggie. 

Of course it will be all worth it.  Whatever I have forgotten, I can buy.  I get to go to freaking Australia so shut-up!  Time to pack away my inner procrastinator and just do it. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Where did I put my brain?

One of the delightful side effects to being sick with a stupid cold that I just don't have time for, is that I have lost what was left of my brain.  Apparently even without medication, I should not be operating heavy equipment.

Yesterday, being the amazingly good person that I am, I ran errands, grocery shopped, whipped home to drop off the groceries (even remembering to put frozen stuff away) then drove back to the school to nab a perfect parking spot before going in to volunteer for the book fair.  I didn't cheat too many kids at the cash, though I admit by the end I was saying things like "That will be $12.50, er, $12.75, I mean, hell, just give me your $20 and we'll call it even!".  (I don't think they will be asking me back to do cash anytime soon.)  Then we got chatting about a new business in Westboro that one of the volunteers is starting - One Tooth Activewear.  (The stuff looks amazing, not over priced and they are having a grand opening on Saturday.) 

Anyway, I was distracted.  Bell rings, zip out to grab kids, walk home and trick them into doing their homework while I conjure up an amazing dinner (well, better than KD dinner anyway.)   Then DH walks in and says "Um, why is your car parked at the school?"  It takes me a minute to process this.  Oh, that car.  I had not even noticed it was gone.  I am a lousy witness and should not be trusted with anything.  We piled into the other car and picked up the lonely one waiting in it's perfect spot. 

The good thing is that my husband's first reaction was one of guilt.  He thought he was late for some event I had at the school and came in all ready to say how sorry he was.  The training is paying off!  And, being sick, I don't have the energy to correct him.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Milestone Moment

It seems sometimes we evolve slowly into maturity.  There are growth marks on the wall that creep upwards or more complicated books being read.  We hardly notice until some great-aunt says how big you are becoming.  These are often passive times, when we do little to change beyond the typical day-to-day stuff. 

Then there are times when you grow suddenly.  It's like someone flicked a switch and a new room of your life is revealed.  I remember one such moment in my teen years.

I was 16 and working at a summer camp on Georgian Bay.  It was a beautiful and I was thrilled to be away on my own, making new relationships with peers without constant grown-ups present.  We'd work a camp session then have a few days off before the next group.  Before we had headed out, the staff planned on coming back a day early to party together.  Awesome! 

... Except I didn't get the memo.   I guess I'd left before the final plans and they weren't coming back early.  My dad dropped me back at camp that afternoon and I was alone.  Completely alone.  The main cabin with the phone and kitchen was locked but my cabin was open. 

So I made a choice.  I could have hiked down the road to a cottage and called home.  But I didn't.  I spent the night alone at camp.  I have never been more glad that I don't watch horror movies!  Music kept me company and I got to enjoy the simplicity of being by myself.  *click!*  A piece of me became an adult that night.  I was free from distraction and my confidence in myself grew.

The next morning I was floating in an inner tube on the bay when the crew arrived.  I was happy to see them but it wasn't as big a deal as I thought it might be.  I liked the person I saw in the mirror that next day.  She didn't need to be a piece of someone else's plan, she had plans of her own.  It is the best foundation I could have given myself. 

Do you recall a milestone moment?  Do share!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Passionate about purple

I've had no time to whip up something bloggy brilliant today.  Nevermind, I will write a shallow post about my favourite colour de jour.  Can you guess?  PURPLE! 

I don't know what it is, but my totally unfashion-conscious eye has been drawn to this hue like ....  I can't seem to get enough.  Today I picked up a bag at MEC, partly because I needed it but mostly because it was cute, full of pockets and a lovely shade of purple.  (Well they call it Eggplant, but I beg to differ.)

There must be some deeper meaning to my sway to the grapish tone.  Hmmm, let's see, according to the folks at Sensational Color;

Meaning, symbolism and psychology of color: All About the Color purplePurple embodies the balance of red's stimulation and blue's calm. This dichotomy can cause unrest or uneasiness unless the undertone is clearly defined, at which point the purple takes on the characteristics of its undertone. With a sense of mystic and royal qualities, purple is a color often well liked by very creative or eccentric types and is the favorite color of adolescent girls.
Who knew?  I thought I was regressing to my adolescence again yet feeling regal! 

Whatever!  It is making choosing clothing totally easier - just pick a purple shirt and I'm set.  I'll be dawning my purple boots with pride this winter, cleaning up with my purple vacuum and whipping up a purple smoothie on the side.  I know you may be jealous, but that's green and there is no room for that in my happy purple kingdom with me and my adolescent dude Prince.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Are you who they think you are?

How's that for a philosophical start to a Sunday NaBloPoMo post?  I'm not really going to go all existentailist though.  I was thinking more along the lines of how we form a picture of someone that we have a relationship with, even though we haven't actually met. 

The internet has been wonderful for this relationship building thing.  I am much more chatty on the 'net than I am in the real world.  I am also more opinionated, smarter and perhaps better looking. The internet filter can do that for you.  My opinions are, I hope, largely honest and reflective of how I really feel.  There is little concern for being the person that others expect you to be nor worrying about how you fit into things.  It works for me.  I can take my time to present words with editing if needed.  No quick come-back is needed and I can chat in the comfort of my jammies if I want. 

I have had the pleasure of meeting some people who blog after "knowing" them online.  The results are mixed.  The person I see is not always the one I perceived through their writing.  I wonder who is more their true self?  Some are exactly the way I thought they would be in three dimensions.   All are a pleasure to meet.

Being 42 means that I remember building relationships without the e-world involved but also have grown many with the keyboard as my communication tool.  About  a dozen years ago this became very apparent.  I desperately needed to find others who understood the difficult time I was going through.  The answer was an online support group.  It was in bulletin board form and many people who posted expressed themselves more honestly than they could have face to face.  Global friendships formed with the common need.  But the person they knew in me has grown and changed over time.  Some I am still in touch with while others have gone different directions. 

Now I spend several hours almost daily on e-mail, facebook, blogs and most recently twitter.  I wonder with these communications if I come across as the person I am in the real world? I am a terrible liar and don't feel the need to hide my life from others.  Just the same, the more e-public your life becomes and out of your control, I feel more of a need to protect myself.  I'm trying to find the balance here. 

So I'm going out on an honesty limb here.  If you know me, am I what I seem to be in my writing?  Do you wish you didn't actually know me?  Should I be saying more or less out loud?  If we haven't met, what are a couple of characteristics you think I have?  Just curious.  Thanks!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Denial isn't working

Please don't tell me it starts with a sore throat and headache. Some nasty virus has been going around and I think it snuck in my front door when I wasn't looking. Noooooo! I really don't want this now. We are heading away on our trip in a week. I'm not sure what would be worse - spending 18 hours of flying while feeling like crap, sitting next to Mr. Mancold husband in said flight while he feels like crap, or worrying about my kids at home with their auntie while they feel like crap. All bad news. So now I am in bug battle mode. Lysol, vitamin C and any other remedy that I can think of to ward off ickiness. Time to rack up points at the drugstore. Or maybe the liquor store. Whatever it takes.

Friday, November 11, 2011

First snowflakes mean Christmas thoughts

Tea Wreath
Stumbled on this today.  Very cool idea!  It comes from a series at Frugal Experiments on Christmas ideas. 

I often have good intentions to make more stuff at Christmas.  I love to pour over the magazines with their make-a-zillion-things-in -a-jar ideas or DIY fused-glass frames an the like.  Unfortunately, not only do I lack any real artistic talent, but I am awesome at leaving things until the last minute.  Creativity needs time (to allow for the multitude of mega-mistakes I make) and to let the project work into something worthwhile.   I am a more non-perfectionist-off-the-cuff type personality.  That doesn't make most things look worthy of wrapping and sharing.  I am working on that.

There are 43 days until Christmas.  My goal: to make something worth sharing with someone I care about for Christmas.  I want to have more than commercial things under the tree.  Will it work?  I hope so.  Ask me on December 24th while I frantically set fire to a scupture in the garage.  The tea wreath is looking better and better.  Could I alter it to hold mini-bar bottles of spirits?  Hmmmm. 

What do you create for your holiday?  Are you trying something new?  Do share, I'd love to hear (and be jealous) of your creations. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dealing with things ASD and Grey

One of the things I've noticed when spending time with many people with Autism Spectrum Disorder is that grey areas are very complicated.  It should be either black or white, not some combination.  This grey thing is not logical.  Many people on the Spectrum work very well in careers where mostly concrete logic is involved, partly for this reason.  It clicks.  But the world is full of greys - the root of much turmoil to my ASD guy.

This year, Remembrance Day is causing great problems for Owen.  He is at a stage of maturity now that he is able to take in more of the world around him.  It is troubling.  The "right" thing for him is peace, total peace with no fighting, ever.  He can't stand seeing any fighting in sports or life, let alone trying to comprehend people trying to kill each other to win for their cause.  It is absolute for him and he cannot wrap his head around the idea that soldiers may fight for a greater good, even though some may die in the process. 

At school, they do many activities for Remembrance day including an assembly.  Owen is supposed to sing in the choir.  As you might imagine, he is highly stressed about all this.  He is proud to be a member of the choir and wants to do everything with them.  He is also melting down every time they talk about war.  There is no reasoning through this right now.  Believe me, we've tried! 

So tomorrow I am going to school to help.  Hopefully he can pull it together and be respectful.  I know there is the option of pulling him from the assembly or school that day.  But I don't want to start that precedent.  It would mean many future battles over running away from anything that causes distress.  I don't think he can handle the choir thing tomorrow but it is a choice for him and his teacher to work out.  I'm thinking I will sit near him with quiet distractions in-hand.  We will be ready to leave if we must.  With any luck, he will persevere and have learned something positive from this experience. 

Owen tells me in "Owenland" there is never war or fighting.  People work together to help and there is a lot of pizza for everyone.  I like Owenland.  But I also understand and appreciated those who have lived through the dark grey times, working for brighter times.  Tomorrow I will be wearing my red poppy with pride and many thoughts of peace for all.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wordless(ish) Wednesday - November Rebel

Self portrait which I will call "Final Fall Frolic With Sandals"

A work of art.  Well, not really.  But I did have a moment today when I noticed it was frickin' November and I was wearing sandals and no jacket.  I wanted to get photo proof and it works for WW.  A bit lame.

In case mother nature is watching my frolicking, I got snow tires installed and bought a shovel today too.  So there.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wishing I could use the "Revlio" spell right about now

That would be the Harry Potter spell that reveals hidden objects.  But, alas, my wand is broken and the spell isn't working. 

I'm losing things.  This in not good.  First it was my Starbucks card.  Both convenient and gets me free stuff, losing this little thing has caused me way too much pocket digging and espresso angst.  Luckily they still take cash and greet me with a super-sized "What can we get started for you today!?!", so I still feel the love. 

More seriously, I have misplaced the tickets for "Mamma Mia" next week.  ACK!!!  This is very, very bad.  Yes, I am about 90% sure I could get those puppies reissued and pick 'm up at the box office.  I doubt I'm the first to lose these things.  But still, I feel like a great big dumb dork losing those tickets.  I remember seeing the envelope (and squealing) and thinking "I really should put those somewhere safe." 
So either
a) I did put them somewhere so safe that I can't find them, 
b) I am hallucinating or
c) (my favourite option) my husband, in his cleaning frenzy, tossed them in the recycling that was picked up yesterday. 
None of these options mean I have the damn tickets. 

Yesterday, after the recycling truck probably stole them, I spent way too much time indoors sorting papers.  Sure I found several bits of paperwork that had to be dealt with and sent back to the school as well as missing medical reports, lost addresses and money.  Ya, whatever.  They are not the tickets!  I suppose it is a good thing to find a little bit more order around here.  *sigh* Time to give up, admit defeat and call the box office. 

I am going to continue to work on the spell though.  It would be rather handy as would "Scourigify" , "Reparo"and I'll throw in a "Wingardium Leviosa" as well.  You never know when it will come in handy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Bright idea in my usual dimness

From time to time, I come up with an idea that actually works.  This is one.

I was getting tired of the tons of papers and requests for buying things through the school when the Scholastic book order came in.  All those colourful books laid out for kids to pick leads to long discussions of choices and questions on whether they really do want a series on slime on their bookshelves or do you actually need another formula Daisy Meadows Fairy book?  Still, books are awesome and I love my kids reading. 

Crappy photo of our the book budget.

So, we've made a yearly book budget.  For each kid there is a $10 per month budget until June for a $90 total.  They can spend it all now, later, or spread it out.  They can choose Scholastic books or choose to buy things from other book stores.  Amazingly, it is working! 

Laura loves shopping and will usually buy things without hesitation if she thinks she may want it.  At first she was pushing her credit to the limit, overwhelmed by all the possibilities out there.  However, seeing her declining balance has made her more choosy.  She can get what she wants and is more aware of limits.  Having the budget just for books narrows what she has to choose from to a category.  This keeps her from being overwhelmed and there are no more arguments about it.  Win-win.

Owen spent his first book money yesterday.  He is my natural-born miser and really has to be encouraged to spend what is his.  He sees that the money is there and it his for the spending without it digging in to his personal stash.  The system is working for him.

The kids are also aware that some things are more worth investing in than others.  Books that they will devour cover-to-cover or use as an ongoing reference are great to keep.  If the book looks "cheap", too expensive, only mildly interesting or you just aren't sure - you make give it a pass.  They have other options too.  We go to the library weekly so there are tons of choices there too for books they may not want to buy.  Christmas lists can be made for some of the other books they like. 

It's nice to think that things sometimes work out even better than you plan.  Now all I have to do is trick myself into budgeting properly on my own impulse purchases.  Maybe the kids can give me a hand.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Time change ain't no blessing

Fall back usually involves a whole lot of stumbles around here.  Each year I think that somehow I will benefit from the extra hour of sleep, you know, sleeping.  I've heard people do that.  It is not to be so. 

My kids, who are early risers at the best of times, were up at quarter past ridiculous acting like bloody roosters on corn crack.  Apparently daddy smells and I am the chosen victim one.  Lucky me.  It's so very special to see the sunrise.  The hour gained has turned into several extra hours of TV - lucky them.  Next time change I'm sleeping in my car.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

OMG! Could I PLEASE get a moment?

This is the 8th time I've sat down at the computer to blog.  Seriously.  I cannot get a moment to myself! You would think I lived at mission control with the whole universe depending on my immediate response.  "Mom!  Did you know this is a 2009 version of the train schedule?  I NEEEEEED the 2011!" *bounce! bounce*.   (That just happened, really.) So where was I?  "Mom!  I have the note to the tooth fairy! Where do I put it?!"  BRB.  

I am definitely ON all weekend long.  My duties start after school on Friday and end with school drop off on Monday.   No wonder I drink too much coffee.  I foolishly thought I would be letting go more by now.  However, the demands, though evolving, are still resting on my very achy shoulders.  I need to know all, be all and do all.  And I am tired of it.  Sure I get the odd moment and yes, my husband can cook and do some chores.  All kid related crap still rests on me.  And what isn't kid related crap?  Apparently nothing. 

So today I went on strike.... for maybe 15 minutes ... then DD came and cuddled with me and showed me her cute craft and I immediately caved. Then I ate some chocolate, played some "Angry Birds" and went back to it.  So I guess I like this job.  All thoughtful blog-writing will occur weekdays after kids are at school and my 2nd cup of coffee.

'No, my mom can't come to the phone. She's digging out a bus route to my school.' by McCoy, Glenn and Gary
Being the shameful, unoriginal mom that I am, I "borrowed this cartoon from here.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Knowing Me, Knowing You - November 2011

Yay!  Shannon over at Tales From The Fairy Blogmother has posted the November KMKY!  My blog entry is set for the day plus it's just plain fun to see what everyone contributes. 

1. What keeps you up late at night?

Usually, when my DH is travelling, I stay up way too late doing useless things like channel-surfing (like I really need to watch movies from the 90s) or Facebook-ing.  Then I get all grumpy the next morning at my uselessness.  I really do need my 7+ hours of sleep.

2. Do you collect anything?
Not really.  Unless you consider hoarding "collecting".  Well not so much hoarding as just not dealing with the various things that pile up on the counters.  Are mismatched socks considered a collectible?

3. Are you addicted to Angry Birds?
A little bit.  I blogged about it.  'Tis a strangely addicting game which, I'm sure, has something educational about it for the kids and me.  Quality time together spent flinging birds.  It should be on a Hallmark card soon. 

4. What's your idea of a perfect evening?
That depends entirely on my mood.  As the weather chills, I tend to crave the comforts of fireplaces, comedy or adventure shows with a glass of red wine in hand.  There would be no dishes to do and contented kids.  If I'm feeling social, I love a great evening out with friends, eating at a restaurant or going out someplace fun. 

5. Are you looking forward to winter?
After I get the snow tires on and after the mitts and other winter gear has been sorted, then yes, I do like winter.  I try to get into some kind of outdoor winter activity to make the season more fun.  When you are dressed for it, the kids winter excitement can be contagious.  Comfort foods and Christmas are a couple of big winter pluses too.

Wanna play KMKY too?  Go for it!  Link back to Shannon's site and check out the other answers. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Random Thought Thursday

Given my inability to put two cohesive thoughts together tonight, I'm thinking Random Though Thursdays may be my new thing.  Here's stuff that crossed my distracted mind today.
  • Why, why, WHY do I always seem to volunteer for field trips on cold drizzly days with loud boys whacking each other and why did my son insist on us sitting at the very back of the bus?  Seriously!
  • My daughter loves to argue with me about math facts.  Does she really think that the more she uses her tone, the math will be more right?  Good luck baby!
  • Chocolate really does cure a lot of woes.  Especially chocolate consumed after being on a bus of 10 year olds, post field trip in the rain. 
  • I need more time with grown ups.
  • I NEED to go to the craft show thingy tomorrow, without children and with a big wad of cash.  Who cares if there is nothing I really need to buy, I will pretend I am Christmas shopping... and it will be something to blog about later.
  • Why do I think putting words in italics will really make these random thoughts make more sense?
  • Should it be italics or italic?  I don't really know. Nor do I care.  Am I worried someone will be grading this thing?
  • I'm tired and really should be going to bed. 
There.  Riveting.  Do take pity on me, come back and visit again.  Please?! I promise to put more brain into the next NaBloPoMo post.  Day 3, over and out.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wednesday... Boo!

And then it was Wednesday again and I was saved by pulling images from the camera and using very few words to blog. 
My witch and mad scientist

Minnie mouse pumpkin, a lame attempt at Spartycat and Luau pumpkin

The gang showing off their amazing costumes.
We had a great time trick or treating with friends, our previous neighbours who came into town for the event.  Much candy was had and we could hardly move the next morning.  Next year I'm handing out carrots.