Saturday, 28 February 2009

things I have learned this morning

* My husband rily, rily likes redheads. Who knew?

*Flavoured coffee and raisins DO NOT MIX. So much for the healthy breakfast.

*Excited dancing around the room can result in bruised shins. I'm hobbling a bit today. (And I'll share the good news soon. I'm still hugging it to myself in sheer delight and stunned disbelief. And no, am not with child.)

*An excited doctor who just came back from a conference? Will talk your ear off, conveniently forgetting you know nothing of what he is speaking of.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

crayola head

And I

love it.

And it goes all over see? Not just in the front.


Yeah, B's gonna faint dead away......

forever young (updated)

If any of you hear a disembodied shout coming from the direction of my house tomorrow morning?

It'll be Bear.

I had my hair done today. And I love it, but he......well, maybe not so much.

Cass bounced into the house after school today amidst a flurry of 'Guess what I did today? And I played with......' and fell silent when he saw my hair.

'Mommy? What did you do?'

I grinned at him. So is it funky, or craaaaazy?

'It's neat.' He inspected.

So do you think your Dad is going to think it's neat?

He broke into a laugh. 'Daddy's going to say 'YOU ARE SO CRAAAAZY!'

And I'm sure it's going to work out that way. After all, Bear would assume that he's coming home to the same shoulder-length, dark brown haired me he left this morning.

Not the one with the blond and red streaks in her hair. Not the one with the short, mussed (funky) haircut. Not the one who has red streaks that match her eyeglasses.

(Which are dark red.)



I've already had one conversation with a person who spoke exclusively at the top of my head. I wonder how the church ladies will react? It should be fun on Sunday.

Meanwhile, I love it. It IS funky. It's headturning and the color is eye-catching and the cut is awesome. I feel pretty and young and not-boring and energetic.


And B will love it too. It may just take him a little longer to do so.


UPDATE: Rosey came barreling out of pre-school, slid to a stop and gasped
"Mommy! You look like my crayons!!'


I'll try to get a picture tonight. Promise.

Monday, 23 February 2009

day of grace, week five

1. The Bakumatsu Koshashin Generator, because it lets me do things like this:
It's amazing how much Rosey looks like her grandmother here....

(tip of the hat to Little Birdie Secrets)

2. Rag Rug tutorials. I feel a wee bit o'crafty comin' on.

3. That my daughter's favorite things to do right now include drawing and playing a math/bingo game. It makes it hard to say no when she wants to play with numbers.

4. That B shares the gummy strawberries.

5. Pink nailpolish, shimmering on little tootsie toes.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

little bee, by chris cleave

Oh, I wanted to love this book.

To just fall into it, to be swept away on a wave of happily-ever-after and to finally close the cover, smiling.

Instead, I was lifted into a world of small kindnesses among big injustices, of moral choices, of good and evil and moments where your existence can change forever.

The first page opens with a sense of horrors-behind-us, of a life changed for the better. It is only when you began to read Little Bee's story that you realize that the 'baddies' will never truly stop following her, if only in her dreams. And as things change from scene to slightly more tense scene, you wonder not if they will, but when things will go sour.

The author sweeps you along seamlessly from character to character, from the young Nigerian Little Bee to the girls in the detention centre to the blond-haired child Charlie/Batman using words that draw detailed mental pictures - breathtaking in their clarity - and stir up emotions ranging from humour to despair. This was a heart-breaking book, funny and hopeful by turns.

I wanted to love it, for it to be soft and fluffy and good things come to good people.
I came away instead with parts of this book seared inside my memory.

And I will never take freedom so for granted again.


Read it. And tell me what you thought.


Chris Cleave has a great question-and-answer about the book here

Saturday, 21 February 2009

smooch


Ten minutes later, they were rowing again. But the times in between, when he grabs her and plants a big one? Make it worth it.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

pinch hit

We were in the car, the radio was on, and I was idly listening to the "Question Of The Day', which ran something like:

Okay, guys and girls! If there was one person who you would switch teams for, who would it be? Which celebrity would make you play for the opposite team? Do you have a secret girl-crush? Is there a male star that you can't take your eyes off? Call us now!

The first guy that called in blurted something about Vin Diesel, and I was turning his words over in my head
'I'd just get him before my girlfriend could'

and then there was a noise from the backseat and Cass
- holy CRAP, they're in the car! -
said 'Mom? Switching teams? What do they mean?'

and I opened and shut my mouth a few times and totally lied

Baseball, honey. They're talking about baseball.

And he was satisfied and I - well, I felt like a shmuck.
Not very pc at all.

Because even though I feel comfortable talking to my son about almost everything, discussing homosexual experimentation (when we haven't even hit the big What A Penis Is For talk yet) seems too much.

Tonight I need to clean out the pantry. I know, damnit, that the kid came with a manual.

I just need to find it.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

somedays, it's like pulling teeth

Today was a big dental day.

Both the kids and I had cleanings scheduled.

And I was so sure things would be fine (R's really been growing up. She went to get her hair cut yesterday and sat still the whole time.) that I didn't take B with me to run interference.

You can probably sense that this does not end well, can't you?

Rosey was spectacular. She sat still, opened her mouth wide (a far cry from two years ago) and had a great report. Her teeth are growing in cleanly and she brushes well. The only cloud over her visit - the dentist wants her to quit sucking her thumb at night, as her teeth are beginning to show signs of it.

Cass, on the other hand, is brushing even less than I suspected. And not terribly well. The tech put one of those red dye tablets in his mouth, and he looked like he'd been sucking pink lipstick. Not impressive. Still, no cavities, and good brushing habits can be re-learned.

He was great in the chair as well.

What was not great, though, was the frolicking and running around that happened while I was in the chair.

When I heard the third person talk to them I was done. I apologized and took my half-cleaned teeth (and my renegade so-in-trouble kids) out of the office.

It was NOT a joyful ride home.

Once we hit home, though, R did a sudden melt. (There is a distinct odor of Eau de Drama eddying around that one. It's a little like Jean Nate.) Wailing as if her heart would break, she snugged her favorite blanket up and defied anyone to try taking it away. B and I just stared at her. 'Did you say you were taking away Blankie?' 'Nooo. Did you?')

I call this one: You can have my blankie when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers....


Rosey had heard Dr Kelly talking about The End Of Thumb-Sucking, and had bided her time to let her displeasure be known.

And now, at last, at last, she's asleep, and I haven't got the heart/strength/courage to go see if her fum is stuck in her mouf.

Let her be a baby just a little while longer.

Monday, 16 February 2009

day of grace, week four



What am I grateful for tonight?

1. Iced tea, cold and fresh from the jug in the fridge, and tasting faintly of cranberries.

2. Driving home with the headlights bouncing off a shimmering field of snow.

3. Sharing a joke with a friend.

4. That Lucy has designated herself the 'downstairs cat', which means I don't have to be upstairs to get kitty zen.


5. And the dog only did forty-six circles before peeing instead of ninety-three tonight. (I swear he has OCD.)

Sunday, 15 February 2009

rocks and ice




It's still cold here. But February has a way of sending hints of warmer breezes that soothe your soul. There are more birds around - they sing louder now, and talk among themselves cheerily in the mornings. At night, there are more stars, so close you could almost touch them....it makes up for the alternate mud/frozen slush, and the way the walks are all ice underfoot.

Spring will come. Soon.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

valentine



here is the deepest secret nobody knows.
here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;
which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide.
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart.
i carry your heart.

i carry it in my heart.
-ee cummings



Thursday, 12 February 2009

some nights, we dance

Start with 'The Twist'
(okay, the way they do it's more like the 'Turn Around', but they're having so much fun it would be a sin to stop them)

Segue into some 'Jump' and 'Sweeping Arm Movements'

And finish up with jazz hands.



What am I going to do when they're both too old for this??

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

25 things you didn't know about me

1. I love pretty linens. I was lucky I married someone who is comfortable enough in his masculinity to realize that flowered sheets and high thread counts? Get me hot.

2. The dog is named after Hugh Laurie.

3. I struggle constantly with talking before I think. The good side is that my shoes fit fine when they've been in my mouth for awhile.

4. I blog about almost everything, although since I found out my grandmother is a regular reader, I've stopped talking about my sex life.

5. I am happiest reading or taking photographs, especially with my gorgeous and divine children.

6. I would dearly love to have a third child, but it's probably not in the cards.

7. Right now I have four jobs. Ward Clerk, Secretary for my church (Yes, I am the professional Church Lady), I work for Statistics Canada, and I'm a Secret Shopper. I love all these things, and figure that between the four? I'll see everyone in this town somewhere between birth and death.

8. All these things plus having a family is exhausting sometimes. I still love it, although if anyone could slip me a few extra hours of sleep somewhere? I'd be your slave for life.

9. The gorgeous and divine children do NOT share my love of sleep. The G & D Two would like to be up all day and all night, frankly, and despite my weeping protests continue to insist that I get up in the morning and do unreasonable things like interact with them and pour them cereal.

10. Actually, it's not that bad. I've had recurring insomnia most of my adult life.
Three am is a lovely time for reading.

11. I read a LOT. Right now I'm in the middle of a haunting book called Little Bee. The one before that I loved too - Bird By Bird.

12. I was really excited about the election. I'm still an American citizen, so I can say (with pride!) I helped elect the latest president.

13. I'd love to take my kids to some of the places where I went when I was growing up. It gives me a lump in my throat to think they probably won't ever go to Mackinac Island, or watch the Cherry Parade, or even see the school I went to. This country I live in is beautiful and wonderful and amazing, but I think everyone wants to share things from their childhood with their children.

14. I'm not sure my brother and I will ever get back the relationship we once had.

15. I have a love-hate thing going on with my hair. When it's short, I let it grow long, once it's long, I hate it and chop it off. I feel a cut coming on....

16. Holy crap, this is hard.

17. I talk to my mother at least once a week. My Dad and I are better with e-mail.

18. My mother and I usually get along - unless we talk about politics. Then there are rolling eyes and we both talk circles around each other until we have to abruptly change the subject before someone explodes.

19. I quit smoking twelve years ago, and I still catch a whiff once in awhile and think wistfully about the days when I used to drive the highways with the windows open, smoking.

20. But I really don't miss the bronchitis I got at least once every year while I was lighting up.

21. I don't watch any reality tv. Instead, I watch reruns of NCIS, House, Private Practice, and Stargate Atlantis.

22. Dora the Explorer drives me up the fricking wall. So does Max and Ruby. Guess what two shows my daughter loves? Yeah. I usually try to delay drinking any coffee until she's watched her show - that way I can doze and not register every time Dora SCREAMS something or be bothered by the way Max and Ruby are orphans and probably squatters on someone else's property.

23. I used to think I'd love to go to Africa, but now I'm relatively certain I'd step on a snake or get eaten by a lion. I won't go see the ball drop in Times Square for the same reason.

24. Last summer I had a terrific vacation where I took off by myself, visited my dad and step-mum, then went to a blogging convention for a few days. It was the most fun (and the most wine!) I've had in a long time.

25. I would love to be craftier, but really? I get bored quickly.

Oh! And I missed my anniversary - but I've been blogging for four years!! Still no end to the drivel I want to tell you about....

Monday, 9 February 2009

day of grace, week three

Today, I am grateful for:

A warm wood fire - that's a cold wind that's blowing out there!
Awesome superheroes that show up at my house


That the girl still wants me there while she's in the bath (I roll my eyes, but really? I'd hate missing it.)
A new skin care regimen. I'm one of those horrible people that don't do anything to their skin. I'm sure in twenty years I'll look like Leatherface - and I'm developing a deep wrinkle between my eyebrows. So I've been skin goo shopping. Anyone have any recommendations?
And tonight I'm grateful for large-print books - I love reading in bed!

Sunday, 8 February 2009

taking the long road

photo credit to Carnegie Mellon, although I can't pull up the actual paper it's from....

Oh, it's been busy around here lately. I've been working a lot, driving the twisty-turny back roads again (now with added ice and slush and the occasional loose cow!!) and wishing I had a camera in my head somewhere I could just click and take pictures whenever I wanted.

(Or...I could just remember to take the frigging camera with me. It might work out better that way.)

I came around a corner, bucking the slush, minding my own business, and there, in the middle of the freaking road, was a COW. Not a dog, or a deer, or a moose (the government swears they're around here somewhere) but a COW.

And I blame Bear for this, but my first thought as I fishtailed around it? (Okay, besides holyshitholyshitholyshit) was We are so throwing out all that stupid venison in the freezer to make room for this BEEF.

And then I was past the cow (I swear we locked panicked eyes there for a second) and in my head I started hearing the theme song from Enjoli.* (I can bring home the bacon. BA DA DA DA DUM! Fry it up in a pan BA DA DA DA DUM.)

And I'm a little sad tonight because I found a couch I liked, and B HATES it. (Capital H, capital A....) We went to the farm market up on the long hill (no website, but a lovely, lovely place high atop overlooking the whole town, miles of fields, a few farmhouses....) for apples (the Cortlands in the grocery right now taste like wet sawdust) and in a corner were two couches and a chair. Sold in a lot for an unbelievable price. Kind of elegant, but still looking like a good place to curl up and dream...

But they were covered in floral fabric, and B balked. He also wants to be the first to put his bum-imprint in the cushions. I can accept that.

But soon he and I need to have a meeting of the minds over what we're getting, because damn it, I want a new couch.

Or at least one that's new to me.






*If you don't recognize this even after googling or YouTubing it, you are obviously too young to be reading this blog. But still pretty!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

dear people, I am grumpy

Dear Facebook people:
First off, where in the hell are y'all from? I have a certain amount of blog friends on there, and a few high school and college people, and some local friends. Even some family. Some of you I do not know. You are either friends of friends, or (and this is the only thing I can figure out) you know my husband, troll his friend list, see me, and think AHA! She's local! I'm sure if Bear ran over me in the parking lot she would sympathise and then add me to your list.

People, this is just plain weird. I spend most of the time with new friend requests barking at Bear. 'Who's X So-and-So? She's on the local network - is she related to R So-and-So? How in the hell would I know her?'

And then I okay you, because I am polite, and you rattle around on my friend list until I grow a backbone and zap you off, because frankly? You're not doing me a darn bit of good there. Hearing that you visited Ted and Shirley yesterday and had a great time is fabulous - I'm so glad you're enjoying your winter and taking time to update the rest of us!- but since I don't know Ted, nor Shirley, it matters not to me. Ted Smith? Jones? Bundy??

Now cut this crap out. When you ask to be put on someone's friend list, there's a place where you can write down how you know someone. Do us all a favor and fill it out.

Dear Goodreads people-
I love Goodreads. I do. I read a lot, and it's fun to get book recommendations and ideas from other readers. Again, there's this 'friend me' thing going on. Last week, I was asked to friend someone living in Japan.

I've never been to Japan.

Is there some way you sort users by how many books they have in their libraries? Because I keep getting friend requests from people in the most unlikely places (Des Moines?? Minsk??) and with very few books or authors read in common. I don't post a lot of reviews (three or four a month?) or do anything particularly noteworthy - exactly where are people getting my name from to add me to their lists?

Again, I have nothing against making friends on Goodreads. Wanna friend me? Great! Just let me know where in hell I know (or should know) you from.


Thoroughly disgruntled,

Jess




Tuesday, 3 February 2009

croutons

Katie asked (and I'm happy to share)

We always have heels of bread around. My children have somehow decided that crust on bread is something to be avoided at all costs, so the heels are left waiting for me to ferret them out and squirrel them away in the freezer. They make good breadcrumbs and things.

Unless, of course, they're chopped up and toasted on salad. Then (like magic!) they're considered yummy again...

CROUTONS
(All measurements are approximate - that's the way I cook. And I don't think I need to say that you can substitute any kind of bread, or change the herbs up, or whatever...)

Take six or seven slices of bread. Use your good knife and cut them up into reasonable sized-squares. (Not pissy-small like the bags of croutons you can buy, and not huge monsters.) Spread them out onto a buttered cookie sheet.

In a coffee cup, slosh some oil. (Olive is lovely - canola or sunflower works well too.)Press a garlic clove or two into it, leave the solids in the oil. Add some salt and pepper, too. I like a little rosemary or savory in mine also, but other herbs (or plain) would be good.

After your herbs and garlic have steeped in the oil for a bit, dribble your oil over the bread cubes and toss with your hands to coat.

Umm, this is remarkably similar to my rosemary potato recipe...

Pop into a hot oven (350? 400?) and toast the bread.

Easy peasy and you'll never go back to those stale things at the grocery again.

**Also? If you add shredded cheese to your salad? Add hot croutons and the cheese melts. Um, yum? Yeah....

Monday, 2 February 2009

day of grace, week two

explanation here

1. This week (and every week, but especially this one) I am grateful for my children - both of 'em, stubborn, crazy-making, and wonderful as they are.
2. Home-made croutons (absurdly easy! and tasty!) on romaine lettuce with fresh-shaved parmesan and italian dressing.
3. A long, good, hard nap. I've been fighting the good fight with this sinus thing for a week now, and today - it beat me.
4. A shiny coffee mug, full of pens and pencils and nail files and scissors. So many possibilities.
5. New books. I got a box of books in the mail and it makes me absurdly happy to think of them waiting for me.

What are you grateful for?

Sunday, 1 February 2009

cranberry chutney chicken

Sometimes the page is bigger than the idea.

My desk calendar was one of those give-aways from the grocery - it has healthy recipes and tips on attaining a healthier lifestyle featured each month.

February is (you guessed it) Cranberry Chutney Chicken.

The calender page is set up so there's a tastefully (ha! I pun!) shot photo of the meal, and along-side a column for the recipe.

Which is so short this month that the food has extra-purple prose.

The chicken (which is, after all, just chicken) is listed as
PC Air-Chilled Boneless,
Skinless Chicken Breasts
(about 1 1/4 lb / 625 grams)
in larger print font than the rest of the calendar.

I'm not sure if larger-than-life font influences customers to buy

or if

this recipe is a little
too
small
for the page.

Is life like that? Do we crave things because of the larger type?