Wednesday, 31 December 2008

fireworks in the snow

New Years Eve isn't a big deal around here.

I mean, we don't pretend nothing happens, we just don't plan things that are very exciting. The old the kids are still small excuse.

Tonight, though, was fun.

Bear's brother brought by (try saying THAT five times fast!) some fireworks.

And then the forecast called for snow. And then it was supposed to be nasty snow. And then the blizzard warnings began.....

But the kids knew. And they were mightily disappointed.

So we conferred. B took a recon of the surrounding area and pronounced it okay.

Everyone bundled up, and we trekked into the back yard.

And it was magical.

By the end my camera was covered in snow (see big wet lens, above) and refusing to shoot. Not one more picture. As in 'It's wet and cold and snowing on my delicate circuitry and why, again, are we out in this slop???' Or maybe the battery was beyond depleted. Whatever.

We shot off about forty fireworks, in all sorts of colours, and it was gorgeous.

I'd never seen fireworks in the snow before.

The rest of our night? Probably Bugs Bunny re-runs until the kiddles shuffle off, then shrimp and crab in butter sauce and watching the ball drop. Board games in front of the woodstove.

Happy 2009, everyone. Here's to a big ol' sparkling year full of good things for you and yours.

first lines

I have written an astonishing nine hundred plus entries on this little blog. Over a thousand, if you count the ones I haven't published.

And yet words keep swirling 'round my head.

I started a wee poetry site, just to blow the lid off all the images that crowd my daylights. That should do it, right?

Well, no.

But maybe, in this new year, I can find something that will.

I think it's time I went back to my high school hopes and dreams. My aspirations.

Catch-a-tiger-by-the-tail - all that good rot.

Maybe this new year, will be a start.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

take those moments when you can

Snow days, that is.

The day before Christmas, everything was bitter cold and icy. Then, overnight, we had rain and woke Christmas morning to bare ground and a soft breeze.

The adults reveled in it. The children pouted and scowled and waved their new sleds.

So yesterday was a treat.
It was soft snow, that feathery furry stuff that domps down noiselessly and startles the senses with brightness. Good snow to clomp through with heavy boots, watching your feet disappear and rise again.

And it was good for sledding.

There was hooting and hollering. There were belly-flops and bum-rides and confidence-building swoops down the hill. And some spectacular crashes, too.

Last night it sleeted for awhile and subsided. There's still a bit of snow - I'm sure they'll be out there again today - but the texture of it has changed, muting the softness of it all. Instead, it's a little crisper, a little more jagged.

We'll see how the sleighing goes today.

Friday, 26 December 2008

is it friday already??

Wow. I feel like I abandoned you at the gas station or something.

Bad, bad blogger!

Well, how was your Christmas?

Mine was splendorous; we scampered over to my SIL's house and opened mountains of presents, drove back to our house and opened more loot (my kids are completely jazzed and haven't a clue what to play with first)
and were just about to leave to go back over to my SIL's for Christmas dinner

and the power went out.

Well, I thought we were screwed. But when we got there, all the side dishes were merrily finishing up on Coleman stoves, and the company was fabulous. The food, wonderful as usual.

Of course, about halfway through, Rosey turned to B and said in a plaintive little voice 'I ate too m......'

and then erupted all over B.

Christmas dinners are never boring 'round here.

(She's fine. Back to her sunny self this morning.)

*sigh* I wish I could say the same for my house. It's going to be a few days to knock the mess back, I think.

Maybe I can just eat more Christmas food and ignore it for awhile....

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

bah humbug!

Suzanne had a pictoral up a few weeks ago: A Tutorial for The Wrapping Challenged.
I skimmed through it and sighed, envious of her sharp corners and neat folds. Really, she does a lovely job.

Today, ALL DAY, I've been wrapping things. Big presents. Odd-shaped presents. Weeny little ones. My mood has been lowering with each press of the paper and each whhhiiink! of the scotch tape. The children wanted to wrap their presents* to their aunts and uncles (note to K: you DO have sharp scissors, right? Because our boy thinks tape is a condiment) and I started to growl instructions.

'This will actually work better if you do one side at a time! Look, it's wrinkling! Umm, could you PLEASE make the gift card while I try to (salvage) make this a little more....tidy?' (note to K: Rosey wrote the names on a lot of things. Good luck. I'll be in the corner, rocking back and forth....)

Then I realized I still need to get a few things and commenced whamming my head on the the desk to the beat of 'White Christmas.'

whimper. Next year it's going to be gift cards for everybodyyyyyyy (whump)

So I've now decided that I don't like Suzanne any more**, because she's not sharing the obviously pharmaceutically superior drugs she must be on to actually enjoy this @#$%*&^ chore.

I'm feeling a bit Scroogish, actually. I can feel my eyebrows beginning to beetle.

Or is that bits of errant scotch tape??

* The tradition is that Cass and Rosey pick out their gifts to their relatives themselves. I do guide them a bit on price and content (so the aunts and uncles don't all get Barbies and Matchbox cars) but the decisions? Are theirs.

**Big mwah to S.

Monday, 22 December 2008

spitting pits

Growing up, it was a necessary skill. How were you going to hang out in a cherry orchard without knowing how to separate the meat from the stone with your tongue and teeth and colorfully but nonchalantly sending it out over the fields?

Novices could be spotted by the deep blueish tinge under their lower lip where juice and pulp would ooze. But they weren't really worth our time, as they were either youngsters or city kids, up from Detroit or Ann Arbour for summer vacation.

Today I taught the kids the first steps of becoming spitters - how to scrape the solid cherry off the pit (Inside your mouth, please!) and let it drop into a container.

We'll tackle distance spitting outside in the spring.

It was fun, remembering the weight of the sun on my shoulders and the smell of the orchards and the lacy shadows the trees cast, even when the branches were heavy and bowed with fruit.

I'll make Michigan kids of them yet.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

my beautifuls

YES, I am slow and procrastinating and leave the little details until the last minute. I AM.

But this year, the grandparents are getting copies of these two mugs, and I wanted the best shot.

So, first there was this:
I like to call it Blurman and the Poised Christmas Ball Of Destruction.

Much better. But still blurry.

I love this one - this IS Cass's smile, and R looks delighted and giggly (photo tip: make them recite parts of Great Green Globs....)

Getting fed up with the camera - R is flashing me the 'hurry up and take the darned thing' look.

But this one is the one that really works. Yes, Mom, it will go in the mail Monday. I SWEAR!

Friday, 19 December 2008

school stuff

Tomorrow I'm getting up and dressed, shoving some coffee in a thermos, and heading out to C's school. It's pancake day!

A few months ago, the students were told that if no one was caught running in the hall for a month, they'd get a special day. Suggestions were given to the principal, and the note came home this afternoon.

My boy will be going to school in his pjs. And having a pancake breakfast.

Actually, I'll have two there in pj's, as R loves going to the big school (it's been my month to do fluoride) and is busy making herself at home. After all, she says, next year it will be MY school!


I'm not really ready to have two in school. And while I'm not exactly beating my breast and wailing mah baybee (well, not yet) it's too bad for me, anyway..... because she is so ready I think I could leave her there and she wouldn't notice. I carried the trays of fluoride today while she watched The Wiggles with the Primary Class, and she was indistinguishable from them - same rapt attention, same height, same squashed posture on her little mat.

She looked....she looked like a BIG KID.

And you know, I think maybe she is.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

whutcha gonna do

I hate cops.

No, no, not police officers. But that damned television show.

We're a typical (quasi) Canadian family - we have over 200 choices of 'all crap, all the time' on the clicker, and believe me, it gets a work out. Winters are long and cold 'round here.

Some repetition of programs is to be expected. But holy jumpin' Jesus, every night? Every night* I have to hear the lame-ass excuses of people that can't remember that a) Drugs are BAD and b)oh, yeah, getting a drivers license is a good idea?

And they are, of course, Americans. A fact which my husband points out regularly, the snot.

I blame George Bush.** It's bad when the mis-handling of a country results in the apprehension of criminals good entertainment.

*Small house, open floor plan. Which means unless I want to go read in the car, I can hear the damned tv from anywhere upstairs or down.

**No, I don't really blame Bush. I blame him for (so many) other things, but not especially this ratty little thing that passes for television programming.

Monday, 15 December 2008

early morning wildlife

There are a few things more magical than staring at the surface of the tree-sky reflecting pond, watching a beaver streak by underwater.

A few things more magical....

but not many.

(I'll try to get some decent pictures of our back-yard acrobat this afternoon.)

Sunday, 14 December 2008

'round the back

The first two pictures were taken today. Yes, Mom, we have no snow.

The back meadow is filled with water, since we've had a rainy few days. Not high-water flood-warning beat-the-drums-the-house-is-going-down-the-river kind of high. Just full of water. B even saw a beaver casing the joint this afternoon, looking for a good place to put a dam. The first year we actually flooded, the water was lapping all around the woodshed and we had a beaver swimming up to it and taking logs out, one by one. His own private fast food joint!

The leaves have all skittered off the trees and have tucked themselves in among the stones, faded to bright crispy orange. I love the pattern on these, which match the trees

standing not ten feet away. Puzzle-piece bits of landscape! The water was still and ice-shrouded near the edges - perfect for tossing sticks and trying to see what was under the water.
(this picture was taken last February, hence the snow.)

We came in when feet and noses froze, and thawed out in front of the fire.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

i consider myself a kind person

but then why does my son look so sad? So sad....and horrified? So unhappy?

I mean, I didn't yell at him, or take away his DS, or make him go have his shower first (the horrors of -gulp- cleanliness!) or announce that he needs to play ponies with his sister, or anything nasty like that. Like I said, I consider myself a kind person.

A good
parent, you know? A good parent.

And one that believes in the finishing of brussels sprouts.

Behold the unhappy mug.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

rock on

For a girl that says her Santa list is all about Barbie, Miss R seems to be having a good time with other pursuits. Things like B's set of Tinkertoys and her Mom's love of old eighties bands combine to produce small girls' rocking out with a home-made guitar, belting out Night Ranger's 'Don't Tell Me You Love Me' and shaking her arse.

Not that we mind, of course. The less pink plastic in her life, the better....


Taken from Meggie. I promise to bring it back.....

Things you've already done: bold
Things you want to do: italicize
Things you haven't done and don't want to - leave in plain font

1. Started your own blog - well, um, yeah....

2. Slept under the stars. - Yes, but the crashing noises out in the woods almost drowned out the pleasure of the company I was with.

3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii - sorta? Not a burning desire of mine.

5. Watched a meteor shower- I have, in my entire life, only seen two shooting stars. I'd LOVE to see a meteor shower. Maybe I could talk to the person who schedules those things so late?

6. Given more than you can afford to charity - And I'll do it again. Cass rolled over last night from where he was watching tv and said 'Why aren't we sponsoring one of those kids?' To which my not-entirely Christmas-themed mind thought 'Oh, crap.'

7. Been to Disneyland/world - I SO want to take my kids there, too.

8. Climbed a mountain - yes, but it was a foot-trek, not a Sherpa-guide and crampons and so on. Less strenuous, but no less neat.

9. Held a praying mantis. They're cool! They look like old men.

10. Sang a solo (in the shower) Almost every time, usually the old songs I get stuck in my head. Lately it's been Stormy Weather, the Etta James version.

11. Bungee jumped - oh fer chrissake WHY??

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. Awesome and awe-inspiring.

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. Cross stitch, although I do it only sporadically.

15. Adopted a child. Would love to do this.

16. Had food poisoning. As a newly-wed. A lovely thing to have in front of your new husband.

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown your own vegetables. Those damned zucchini....

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train. Yes, in both a seat and an overnighter. I lurve trains.

21. Had a pillow fight.

22. Hitch hiked. No. There are certain things I still will not do because my father would find out. And kill me.

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill. - Do kid sicknesses count?

24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb. And baby goats, too.

26. Gone skinny dipping. In the Great Lakes. It was lovely. Now I look back on it and wonder why parts of me didn't fall off in that polluted muck. Oh, my poor Lake Michigan...

27. Run a Marathon- are you mad??

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse Yes!!

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset. Too many. (yawns the mom that has two kids that get up at the crack of dawn)

31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors - Germany. And Holland. Someday.

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language.

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing.

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David - I would love to go to the Mediterranean...

41. Sung karaoke - and there's a reason I sing in the shower....

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.

46. Been transported in an ambulance.

47. Had your portrait painted.

48. Gone deep sea fishing.

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud.

54. Gone to a drive-in theater. Miss these! Love them!

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class - although never liked it, and don't remember much.

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching.

63. Gotten flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a check

68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy - Sebastian, my first doll.

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten Caviar -beyick.

72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London

77. Broken a bone - not yet (knocks on everything)

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car.

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper.

85. Read the entire Bible.

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

88. Had chickenpox.

89. Saved someone’s life.

90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous.

92. Joined a book club

93. Lost a loved one.

94. Had a baby. Two.

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a law suit

98. Owned a cell phone. Yes. Don't anymore - I can't stand the thing.

99. Been stung by a bee - Of course!

Monday, 8 December 2008

snowflakes dance

It snowed today.

This time, the trees look like lace and the air is crisp and clear and the house is warm and snug. It was a perfect (if freezing cold) day to go outside and mess around in the snow.

Down the hill here, into the big trees down by the iced-over stream, to throw rocks and hear them ker-klumph through the ice crust, to poke at branches and knots in trees.

Turn about, run up the trail through the rocks, to claim the top of the hill. Shout to the world 'I am here! This is mine!'

Claim this snowy country.

As your very own.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

one crappy weekend

Friday night I went to a really great party. Lots of new people, great food and wine, a lot of laughing and talking and jokes.

The next morning we discovered that someone had taken everything out of my car while it was parked in the carpool parking lot. Made off with the emergency kit, two bags of (small) Christmas gifts, some stuffies for the kids and all the paperwork for the car.

(Flashback to me, riding in my co-workers car, spouting off about what a nice neighborhood I live in. Such a safe place.) *cringe*

The police said that there had been a call about some malicious mischief, and that there was a stuffed animal found beside the road up a ways. We went out that night and searched for our things by flashlight, finding many - but not all - of them.

But things are easily replaced, so we count ourselves lucky.

This morning B's father had a mild heart attack (doesn't that seem like a contradiction in terms?) and is back in the hospital. He seems to be holding his own.

He would not be replaceable. I would much rather lose the paperwork to the car.

All in all, I'm looking forward to Monday.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

slaughter and savings

Today is December 6th, the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre. The day Canada remembers fourteen college students who were killed because of their sex and brains - women whom were bright enough to get into an engineering program.

I wrote about it here

And on a cheerier note, a cheap way to make some heat this winter...

Easy FREE Home Heat! - video powered by Metacafe

(Well, you know, there are other ways to make cheap heat. But this one won't alarm the children.)

Friday, 5 December 2008


Today at noon Cass's class went ice-skating at the local rink. We were in town at the same time, so we went in to see him. I stepped inside and was (except for the blast of cold air up my nose) swept back to roller-skating when I was young - although older than Cass, at any rate!

Lots of small determined bodies hurling themselves around while tinny music brayed from overhead speakers. Lots of colorful clothing and happy shrieking.

At least they weren't playing The Go-Gos. That would have meant I was experiencing either déjà vu or a break with reality, and I would have to had searched the place for my favorite skates, my Goody comb, and my hairspray.

I'm sure they were around there somewhere.

As the horn blew for times-up and the kids came off the ice, the thick rubber mats placed around the rink made them 'mince' on their skates, and suddenly I was behind this rushing wave of exuberant children, rosy-cheeked and swaying like debutantes wearing high heels for the first time.

Although come to think of it, I've never seen debutantes wearing snow pants....

Contrast that with the party I went to in the evening, where crowds of grown-ups discussed policies and stood in groups, little trays of canapes and bottles of wine, chatting and laughing while the Christmas lights shone down and painted everything.

Funny, though, the debutantes there? Were way less fun.....


stolen from Lemony Sarah, who's cool! And fun! And has great eyes! And always has the best stuff on her blog!

Watch it. Then watch it again. Really, it's that good.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

not so great ideas

* Oh, Children's Motrin, why do you torment me so? No, I'm not talking about the baby-wearing debacle, I'm talking about the commercial that's currently playing...
(and I can't find it on YouTube, so bear with me)

Scene: Mom on computer in home office. Mom has on a red tshirt, has dark hair - do you know which one I mean? Anyhoo -

Voiceover talks about how priorities change when your child is ill, and cue: small bouncy girl with pretty curls comes in sadly, and is checked for fever.
Commercial fades into the picture of the motrin label, and so on...

...but I can't watch anymore, as I'm too busy laughing. OF COURSE your child has a fever, you ginormous twit. You're wearing a t-shirt and your poor kid is in a shetland cardigan sweater over a long sleeve top, a skirt and woolly tights, and has just been playing. Gosh, I wonder why she's hot?

*I have no idea if Immodium is sold over the border - it's an antidiarrheal - but the chewable tablets have to be among the most vile tasting things in the world. I was pondering (and wincing at) the taste a few days ago and wondered - with the advent of so many medicines being aerosoled (and the huge number of drug addicts these days) could I just chop these up into powder and snort them? Doesn't that make sense?

No, I didn't, but Immodium people? Feel free to take that and run. Either that, or make the bloody things taste better.

*And the last not so great idea? Decorating with pine branches, and leaving them low enough for the cat to get at. I'm wondering now how many bundles of soggy green masticated pine I'm going to find in the morning. Look, festive cat yuck!
Katie says yommmm....

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

carding myself

So! The annual rush-around-for-a-photo has begun! Actually, I'm late, but we'll ignore that....
I'm leaning towards this:

if I could figure out how to take the blur and the unfortunate lighting out
but remembering this:

still makes me smile, even if it is two years old.
Maybe I should go with this:
(one of my favorites!)
but I probably need both of them together for a holiday photo, and that presents a problem. The monkeys are both pretty independent that way, and it's harder than you'd think to bribe them both to smile nicely at the same time.

So I end up with lots of this:
"Cass! Smile at the camera! Rosey! Look at me!" Ahh! It's perfect! And then Rosey whips her head around to see what Cass is doing....and click"
and loads of what I call 'The look of Mom hurry-up-and-TAKE-the-picture-already', but I tend to delete those, because I refuse to believe my children aren't thrilled to have a camera stuck in their faces all.the.time....
So! Maybe this?
but....predictable. too haaaaard. Wait! I've got it!

Christmas Card 2008 -
picture it - lovely cardstock, a beautiful font....

Jasper and the people who live with him wish you and yours a Merry, Merry Christmas.
You may now return to your previously scheduled napping position.

What do you think??

This bit of fun brought to you by the Merry Sitmas all-day decorating party

Monday, 1 December 2008


I love old cookbooks.

This one, tattered, worn, spotted with age and careless drippings, has lived at my father-in-law's house for over forty years - it was a gift sent to my mother-in-law from people back home in Newfoundland in the sixties. Published by one of the flour companies (Five Roses, Cinderella, Cream of the West, Purity, and so on.) as a way to seal brand loyalty, this one is skewed to the hard-scrabble Newfoundland heritage of making everything out of nothing and being proud of what you had.

We own a re-print of another flour company cookbook (Purity, an example recipe here) and Bear's face always lights up when we cook things from it - it feels like home to him.

B is busy gearing up to begin his Christmas baking (what? Huh, you thought I was the one who baked? Ummm, no.) and I have little doubt that several of the yummy things listed on these pages will appear.


I took about a hundred names off my facebook friend list tonight. Really, it went surprisingly quickly, with only a few 'who was this ag...