Monday, 28 December 2009

wanted: leftover holiday elf

And Christmas was lovely, as they all should be.

Rosey chose the cookies for Santa. Then, while putting out the plate: 'Mama, I'm choosing all skulls for Santa. He'll think they're jolly.'
Hey wha? Show me.

She's right, though, an upside-down gorilla animal cracker does look like a skull.

The kids oohed and aahed and were very happy with their presents. My living room has now been the scene of many fierce bowling tournaments on the Wii, much new creating with pens and paints and crayons and special papers, and pitched Star Wars battle from an Imperial Clone Trooper with Obi-Won Kenobi's light saber. (Or the alternate but still-cool Bumblebee's arm cannon.)

I've emerged from the holiday chocolate-and-bonhomie coma to realize that

the house is a wreck

there are Christmas decorations everywhere

and they're not going to put themselves away, now are they?


Monday, 21 December 2009

seventy-six trombones

Okay, there weren't THAT many. Actually, I'm not even sure there were any.

We were at the front part of the parade. The First (and hopefully annual) Christmas Parade for the town nearby, and the kids were dancing with excitement. Rosey had never seen a parade.

(Yes, it gave me pause too. In thinking it over, I think she's right. Deplorable.)

Cass was just excited to wear a Santa hat and toss candy at the crowd, and fool around with his buddies. But he walked with me behind the float his sister and most of the other kids rode on pretty steadily, and hurled candy canes at small lookers-on with frightening abandon.

Schools are out for Christmas break, so it was the Parent Support Group for our village school that put together the float. It was quite the holiday scene: red-flannel Union-suited Santa, Mrs Claus looking merry and twinkling in her mob cap and shawl, an elf petting reindeer, and a group of children, all decked out for the holidays, ringing bells and shouting Merry Christmas to all.

In front of the float? A fire truck. Behind? One of the churches had a float. There were dogs and hockey players and Shrek Claus. There was a gingerbread house float and the Kiwanis, pulling a holly-bedecked French Fry booth. There were fire trucks galore, the RCMP, and a mock-up of a Christmas tree lot.

In short, there was everything. Everything a small-town parade needed.

It was wonderful.

And I can't wait can't wait for next year.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

it's not just Santa that's watching you be good, for goodness sake!

(It's her newest hang-out*. The cats are determined to re-establish their claim on the downstairs, no matter what the dog would prefer. No wonder Jasper's grumpy.)

*Just to the left of the angel's wing.
See her now?

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Percival Towelette Rides Again

Somewhere in the box marked FRAGILE!!!!! and NEVER THROW OUT!!! and KEEP ON SECOND FLOOR!!! in one of the photo albums that my mother lovingly constructed, is a picture I drew, waaay back before I could read, back when making a P and a T and an I were the highlights of my schooling.

It's a strange, squat picture, and if you squint and turn your head sideways, you can almost see the wee face in the jagged magic marker, can almost make out that what I drew, with swoopy lines and a total abandon for the usual niceties of shape and perspective and using different colours, is a small square(ish) thing with arms and legs.

It's Percival the Towelette.

Now I know that this was a story my father concocted to help lull me to sleep one summer. I know, because I can almost hear him if I close my mind to the present and think back to my yellow canopy bed and the comfort of my red-haired doll in the yellow dress, tucked in next to me. I can hear his voice, but I can't make out the words. My father read to me a lot when I was growing up.

It's the things I can't remember (and I suspect Dad doesn't either, since it's been probably 35 years since he made up bedtime stories for me) that are bothering me about this memory.

Why a towelette? Why the name Percival? And what happened in the story??

Rosey and I were going through the albums a few weeks ago - she had a school assignment to bring pictures of people in her family and I'd brought the whole box out - and she flipped to that page and stopped, fingering the paper.

I told her the story - that Mama had made a drawing of a story her Daddy had told her when she was a little girl, and then Nana had kept it - and she was delighted. Thrilled, I think, to discover that I had once been small like she was. (I keep forgetting how large I am in her eyes, how I've always been a grown-up. How she's not been around for most of my fumblings and rebellions and (in hind-sight) spectacularly bad choices.) That night she wanted to draw a picture of the book we read at night-time, and went to sleep with crayola-marker stains up her hands and wrists.

I thought that was the end of it. Tidied the books away, relegated them again to the out-of-the-way place where no harm will come to them, and forgot.

Last night she woke up, thumped downstairs where I was waiting for the news to end, and asked me to tell her a story.

To tell her the Adventures of Percival The Towelette.

Well. I'm pretty sure my Percival had a quieter existence than her Percival. R's Percival went on train rides. He flew in airplanes. He fought off angry cats and wild pairs of dirty hands (She didn't really understand that part. Come to think of it, she may not have really understood what a towelette was.) and a long unfortunate winter spent in a roadside rest stop to get back to the person he loved the most. He was bold and fearless and dashing. (In a towelette sort of way.)

Was he the kind of towelette she'll remember 30-plus years later? Who knows.

But I always will.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

5:54 a.m.

It's really early.

Okay, so B wouldn't agree. He's used to being up and productive at all hours of the day and night, though, while I am more of the glazed-over, holding-slopping-cup-of-tea the sky isn't up yet? type.

I'm bleary in the morning. Especially windy cold days where the unfairness of being vertical makes me want to gnash my teeth and fall down weeping.

But...Productivity Ho!
Off to gather clothing and do the morning math, to shoo the cats away from where they've got the dog backed up in the corner (do they do this every morning? No wonder he eyes them with a terrible stare)

to find hairbrush and gargle, to be presentable.

Good morning! It looks like it's going to be a beautiful day.

Friday, 11 December 2009

cheese olive bread

adapted from a recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

You need:

1 stick butter
1/2 cup mayonnaise (NOT miracle whip)
2 green onions, chopped
1 can pitted black olives
1 jar green olives with pimentos
1 bag shredded Italian 5-Blend cheese
1/2 bag shredded mozzerella
Pinch paprika
1 loaf French or Italian bread, cut open as if for garlic bread

Mix softened butter and mayo together, add in green onions. Chop black olives and green olives, add cheeses. Mix together, shake in paprika. Chill for a few hours to let flavours blend.

Mound on bread (it will look like too much but keep going) and bake at 325 for 25 minutes until bubbly and beginning to brown.

This is one of my go-to recipes. It's awesome for potlucks, parties, and anywhere you need something gooey and good.


Sunday, 6 December 2009

hazy shades of winter

Last Tuesday:

I was waiting for an appointment, spending some time happily down by in the park with a coffee* and paperback. While it was too wet out (there was a drizzle) to really be in the park, it was just warm enough to sit in my car and happily glug coffee, listening to the radio and turning pages.

I was getting lost in the characters when all of a sudden I noticed an absence of sound, like the world was suddenly holding its' breath.

What was different?

I raised my head slowly and peered out over the river. Same scene, same glimmering expanse. It was still chilly....and.....

Something tapped on the window. And into that hush, as I watched, bemused and a little thrilled, the first snowflakes of the season came flurrying down. Beautiful, really, watching everything get coated in whiteness. Seeing everything so stark in late autumn get softened by snow.

It didn't stick, of course. The Atlantic is still too warm to have anything stay long.

So it cleared and we had some fine days, days where the kids ran around without coats, days when getting a few more days out of summer shoes wasn't a terribly foolish idea, days when going outside was a time of marveling This is December? and sniffing for burning brush.


The world is white. Which is misleading, because it's all slush under the prettiness. The kids have been outside and come back, wet to the skin, mittens sopping, and telling tales of snow sculptures and sledding - and I stand at the window, clutching my mug, and think

I don't wanna go out there before, say, March.


I'm really, really too old for this stuff.

*I think I've noted this before, but around here it's always I had a coffee or I had a cup of tea. By now it's habit and I only notice when I'm writing it down.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

toy giveaway

I'm giving away a Mastermind toy over on my review blog! Leave a comment to win. U.S. and Canadian addresses can both enter!

Yarn over and over

Someone, an old babysitter maybe, taught me to crochet when I was six. I remember making long braided loops of yarn and thinking how pretty ...