Monday, December 24, 2012

From Me to You.

Thank you for a wonderful year. Here's hoping for a stupendous 2013!

Oh hey - did you notice my spiffy new badge over there? I'm a nominee in the Ninjamatics 2012 Canadian Weblog Awards!

It's a juried competition, so you can't vote, but if you could cross your fingers, that'd be great. (If you get a minute you should go on over and check out the other nominees, we're all pretty awesome.)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Timothy's Last Words.

Dear Mother,

I've been here for a while now, and like you said, it has taken some getting used to. There are definitely some of the horrible beasts you warned me about. There are three of the huge ones, a couple of little ones, and a large furry creature. I stay out of their way.

When I first got here, it was a little difficult to fit in. But then I met a new friend. He seems to be the leader around here which, I must say, has made it a little easier to be accepted. 

I am starting to worry though. It is quite obvious that the monsters don't like sharing this space with us. Even though we only leave our area at night, and only to procure food, they have left traps for us. They want us gone.

I, myself, have not made any forays into those terrifying places. As I said, my new friend is a leader of sorts, and he chooses who will go. He is aware of my reticence, and I imagine that is why he hasn't sent me.  He tends to send those that he doesn't care for. Or those who have outwardly disagreed with him. Which is what worries me, Mother; I have been quiet about it, but I haven't agreed with him, lately. 

We've lost three so far. The first two made foolish mistakes, they wandered too far and stayed too long. We still aren't quite sure what happened to them, but they certainly never made it back. But the last time... well, he was one of the best. He'd been talking lately though, saying that it was pointless to remain in this place. The monsters have been clearing away any of the food, and laying more traps. He was starting to have a following of like-minded individuals, who also wanted to leave. 

I saw him, Mother. He was hanging out of the floor, dangling where the monsters could see him. I am positive he was poisoned. Put there, for all to see, as an example to the rest of us. I shouldn't even be writing this.

I've told my friend that I am coming to visit you for the holidays. I should be leaving in the morning. I won't be coming back here though. I miss you and the others, and I just don't like what's happening here. 

I've got to go now, Mother, I'm to meet my friend for supper. 

Much love, 
Timothy S. Mouse

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Of Mice and Birthdays.

The other day, my husband came home from work and found a dead mouse hanging out of the ceiling. For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to go look at it, before he got rid of it. Something about knowing where to look to avoid mice falling on my head.

I have never been so grossed out in my life. And I don't even know why. The poor thing (much as I hate them, I still feel bad for them) was hanging out of the air vent, as though it had tried to jump and gotten it's tail caught on something. In other words, it didn't really look very dead, suspended there.

I freaked right the frick out. I got the shakes, and I just could not get warm. I kept crying and mumbling nonsense. I kept wondering how long the thing had been there. Had it been hanging over my head while I cooked dinner? When did it die? Had it been watching me? While I made myself a cup of tea? While I did the dishes? Had it been there all freaking day?

I'm trying to pretend it didn't happen, but I can't seem to talk about anything else.

Okay, here's something non-mouse related: It's Beege's birthday! My tiny baby is seven years old today. Which makes me so happy and so sad. She was the most wonderful baby, and she's grown into a totally amazing little girl. She makes me proud every day, even when she's not at her best; and let's face it, seven year olds can be jerks.

In celebration of her birthday, she has requested blueberry muffins and homemade pizza for supper, followed by a trip back to school for movie night. Madagascar 3. Apparently it's hilarious. And not about mice, so I'll be fine.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Oh, Look! It's Almost Christmas!

I hate how that happens. One day, you're singing a happy tune because the kids are finally back at school, and the next - BOOM! Christmas.

I've at least started working on presents. Which puts me ahead. But I promised the girls we'd make all our cards. Which puts me behind. And we've still got mice. Which makes me crazy.

The other day, my husband had to run out to the grocery store. He got in the car and started driving. While waiting at a stop light, he noticed a clump of leaves on the windshield and started the wipers. Then stared into the eyes of the little brown mouse clinging to it for dear life. Startled, he stopped the wipers and considered his options. Then he started the wipers again. The mouse stubbornly clung on.

When he got to the store, the mouse ran down under the hood. Husband was pretty sure that it had disembarked at the store, and our problems were solved. Because of course, it's only one mouse, right? A genius mouse that drags away snap-traps, and considers glue traps a buffet.

But no. Unsurprisingly, I still hear them. More than one, I'm sure, unless as well as being a genius, it's a ventriloquist. Which would be interesting.

We did catch one a few days ago. My grandma called me at around lunch time to let me know, and I asked in my wimpy-scaredy-cat voice if we needed to get rid of it right away or if we could wait til Husband was home. We both decided we'd wait.

I was curious about this genius mouse though, and decided to go have a look.

I opened the cupboard and saw a (not tiny!) mouse laying on the sticky paper. He looked sleek, and clean, and well cared for. I almost felt bad, until he sort of heaved and lunged at me. At which point, I screamed and slammed the cupboard. Because I am a huge wimp. Husband had to "take care of it" when he got home. I plugged my ears and squealed when he tried to tell me about it, so I can't really tell you what that means.

I know in my heart though, that that was not the mouse. This little guy had the misfortune of being sent out to scout. The genius himself would never venture out of the wall. Because he's a genius.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Just When You Think It's Safe To Go In The Water...

When I first heard Skittering Thing, I was the only one. And no one seemed to believe me. He would skitter around in the ceiling every night as I lay below cringing, and wondering when he was going to nibble his way out of the ceiling so he could gnaw my face off. I finally convinced the husband that there was indeed something in the ceiling around the time that my grandma found some droppings in her kitchen - which is coincidentally above my bedroom.

So, Husband bought some "ultrasonic rodent repellers", and convinced me that would do the trick. No killing required! I got some earplugs so that the stupid ultrasonic thing didn't keep me awake - because apparently, I've got rodent ears - and relaxed a little.

It lasted about a week.

I was in the bath, relaxing with a book, when I heard it. A little thump, followed by frantic scrabbling. He's back. Not only is he back, but I think he's brought friends, and I think they're getting in right above my bathroom ceiling.

Now, in case I haven't mentioned it before, we've got drop ceilings throughout most of our apartment. So all that is standing between me and a nest of whatever these things are is a half inch of fibreglass tile. It is freaking me out.

He hasn't had the nerve to actually come into our apartment*. He is bugging Grandma though.  He has pooped on her counter, and in her cupboards, and on the dining room table. He pooped in her toaster. He even had the balls to come out while she was eating in the other room, and snack on some crumbs left from making dinner. And leave some poop of course.

No more Mister Nice Guy; if the little jerk won't leave, then he's going to have to die. Him and all his friends.

We set up a trap in the cupboard under Grandma's sink where it appeared they were getting into the kitchen. The back of the cupboard is separated from the cabinet base and you can see right into the ceiling, so it seemed like the logical place to start.

The next day, Grandma asked if we'd moved the trap. Uhm... No. So we set up another one, and again, the next day it was gone. So now, not only do we have a little jerk who likes to taunt my grandma, but one who knows how to disable and cart away mousetraps.

I bet he's sitting in the wall on his little pile of disarmed traps, eating a peanut butter covered raisin, and laughing at me right now.

You'll have to imagine the fangs.

*I base this claim on the fact that we've had plates of food sitting out on the counter over night - yes, because we're animals - and they are untouched in the morning. Although maybe it just doesn't like our food. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

She's Lucky She's Not Bald.

This is Kee.

This is Kee after she plays with "safety" scissors.

This is Kee after Mummy tries to "fix it".

This is Kee after Mummy tries to "even out" the "fixing".

Monday, November 5, 2012

No NaBloPoMo.

Alright. Considering that here it is, November 5th, and this is my first post of the month, I guess I'm already out, right? But I am going to attempt to post SOMETHING once a day for the remainder of the month. And Husband is of the opinion that if I post twice a few times, then it all evens out.

I've been pretty busy lately. Which is highly unusual for me. As I'm not a super social person, I find that having two events in one weekend can wipe me right out.  And since I had something planned for every single weekend, along with playdates and volunteering during the week, for almost a month now, I've been pretty wiped.

The week following Blissdom, I got sick. Not sick enough to lie down and tell everyone to get their own freaking breakfast, but just sick enough that I was rather unpleasant to be around. And I'm still sick. I keep hoping for a fever. If I could just have a nice fever and night sweats, surely, that would clear out my sinuses, right?

That's not actually what I was planning to write about; I just needed to whine about it bit.

Anyway. This past weekend, since I haven't been around lately, I decided to devote some time to Beege. Kee and I spend every afternoon together. While we're not always off doing fun things, that is two and half hours of alone time for us. Beege gets none.And I get sad every time I realise that.

So. I took her on a date. I gave her all of Saturday and told her to go ahead and pick whatever she wanted to do. Her choice? She wanted to go to the library and play Uno, and then have lunch at Wendy's. Sounds good.

We went to the library, and walked towards the children's section. Rather, I walked. Beege took off running into the stacks, and by the time I reached the information desk, she had looked down the aisles and come back to the desk and was asking the woman there "where the Cam Jansen books might be found?" She showed us where they were and Beege picked out a few, then we found a quiet corner to play Uno in.

I took off my coat and scarf and settled in for an hour or so of playing cards and chatting with my kid. We played one hand, and she said "Good game, Mummy. Let's go." And she was off again, looking for a book to take home that she could read to Kee. "We've got to go to the little kid's section, Mummy!" Alrighty.

So, as I wrestled back into my coat, and gathered up our pile of books, she picked out a book for Kee. Then it was time to head to Wendy's. Total time in the library? Twelve minutes.

Wendy's was nice and empty, so I figured we could settle in there for a nice long chat. Unfortunately, Beege has picked up her father's habit of eating like it's a contest, and we were out of there in fifteen minutes too. Okay, this was not turning into the leisurely afternoon of togetherness that I had planned.

When I told her we still had a lot of time and asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else, she picked Michaels. We spent half an hour wandering around touching all the wool and looking at the "magic window of happiness" (otherwise known as a glass block wall with coloured lights) for a while. We picked out some things to make Christmas cards, and once again, she made sure we got a treat for her sister. 

Then we came home, because oddly enough, spending way too much money in a craft store adds up to some kind of heavy bags, and she didn't want me to have to carry them around. So. While it may not have been the relaxed afternoon of chatting that I envisioned (School is fine. Friends are fine. She is fine.), I did get to remind myself of something.

I have a wonderful daughter.

I have the kind of kid who makes sure that her sister doesn't feel left out, even when it's her special day. I have the kind of kid who will pause in the middle of stuffing fries in her mouth to jump up and hold the door for an elderly couple. I have the kind of kid who will pick my favourite store to go to when given the choice of anywhere she wants. I have the kind of kid who thinks about other people's comfort.

So the next time she's dawdling in the bathroom, yelling at her sister, or using up entire bottles of shampoo, I need to remember: That is all stuff she'll grow out of, and I need to stop letting it bother me, because the person that she's growing into is amazing.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bissdom Canada 2012: Holy Crap.

I don't know if you've picked it up -- maybe from the fact that I'm scared of children's birthday parties -- but I'm not so good with crowds. Especially biggish crowds full of people I don't know.

Yet I decided to attend this conference, all by myself.

I bought the ticket way back, and figured that I would have plenty of time to maybe learn some calming breathing exercises or something, and I'd be fine. Then I blinked and it was two days away.

I didn't make it to the party on Friday night, so I walked into the newcomer's meet up knowing absolutely no one. That can be intimidating for anyone - for me, it was kind of terrifying.

I did spend a lot of time wandering alone; I found that it was just too loud to sit and actually talk to people. That, and a lot of people seemed to already know each other and I didn't feel okay about barging into their conversation or standing around waiting for them to notice me.

I was lucky enough to get to hang out with the author of a blog I have a crush on*  And I have to say that the author is totally crush-worthy too. In an entirely non-creepy, not stalkery, kind of way.  I also got to meet a few incredibly smart and funny people; Schmutzie and the Palinode are hilarious, and Bon Stewart is way too smart for me. I now have crushes on all of them. Again, totally non-creepy.

I can't really decide my ultimate feelings on the conference; the sessions were good, the "mingling" was bad. I almost didn't go on my Sunday excursion, (partly because I was still feeling a little overwhelmed by all the new people, and partly because I managed to pick up a raging head cold along with the blog tips) but I'm really glad I did; I was much more comfortable in the smaller sized group.

A few things I wish someone had said to me beforehand:

1. Wear something comfortable: Nothing makes a bad day worse than realising that the pants you're wearing are actually three inches longer than you thought they were and having to spend the whole day hiking them up. If you want to get new shoes, get them a couple of weeks ahead of time and break them in around the house. I know, I know, this one was actually pretty obvious.
2. Try coming up with answers to commonly asked questions before you attend: I should have been able to answer the question "what do you blog about?" way more eloquently than "uh... you know... my kids... funny stuff ... uhm...sometimes books?" It may feel dorky to write something out and practice in front of the mirror, but you'll appreciate it when you know what to say, instead of just blurting out whatever random crap comes to mind.
3. Try to acquaint yourself with some fellow attendees before the event: I was kind of lonely for most of the day. There were so many people there that I never even saw the people that I had been chatting with online. If you know someone you want to meet is going to be there, make the effort to plan a meet up with them so that you're not kicking yourself later.
4. Take Pictures!: I went out to dinner with all these bloggers I'm crushing on, and have absolutely no pictures. Sad, really.
5. Don't beat yourself up: You're trying something new. You may love it, you may hate it, but at least you tried. So, maybe I called my husband in the middle of the day -- at a pay phone, because I was the only one at this social media conference without a cell -- and told him that I wanted to come home. And maybe I felt like I was going to cry. Or barf a little. After the call, I left the hotel and went for a walk. I decided to stay and hear the speakers I came to hear (Especially Susan Cain!). And I managed to stick it out until the end of the day and felt proud of myself because, even though I was uncomfortable, I did it. Whether you hop in the cab or take the walk, just feel good about the fact that you tried something new.

The only goals I really set myself for the weekend were "don't crap your pants, and don't pass out." While that may not seem like aiming high, I am thrilled to say that I did neither.

Would I go again next year? Not sure, but hopefully if I do, I'll remember my own tips. Especially the one about the pants. 

Now I leave you with, perhaps, the best blog related advice I took away from this experience:
"Be okay with occasional crap. Just write. Find the gems in the crap."

- Haley Overland

*Don't look at me like that; it makes total sense to have a crush on a blog. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

It Broke Like an Egg.

So. Today is the day that my big brother moves to a different country.

He's moving down to San Francisco. I've been there a couple of times. It smells really nice and the hills are good for your calves. Also, it's warm. And it's going to be great. He is going to be very happy, even though he will miss me really a lot. And it's going to be great.

The real sad news today is this:

My brother? He'll be back. My mug? Gone forever.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Skittering Thing.

In the past, Kee has gotten up at least once a night and crawled into bed with me for a snuggle. She is afraid of the dark so, when she comes, she runs as fast as she can and I can always hear her coming. Lately, she's been sleeping through the night.

I however, have not been. I have been waking up around three, every night, and would swear that I heard her little feet running into my room. I convinced myself that, since it was the time that she usually came in, I had just trained myself to be awake and that the little footsteps were just my brain waking me up. That sounds plausible, right?

Last week, I was woken up a little earlier than usual by raccoons going through the garbage outside. While I lay and listened to them -- wide awake, I assure you -- I heard the footsteps. They weren't coming from the hall though. They were above my head.

Every night, it runs back and forth in the drop ceiling above my head. And every night, I sleep with the sheet pulled over my face, just in case the thing should nibble it's way through and fall on my face.* (After which, it would inevitably chew my face off.)

And just last night, I heard it in the kitchen while I poured myself some water, and then in the bathroom while brushing my teeth.

I think it's started following me. 

While I'm not a violent person and don't specifically want it dead, I would really, really, like it to be alive somewhere else. (Or maybe a little bit dead.)

I'm pretty sure that this is an accurate depiction.

*Have you seen the episode of Raising Hope, where Jimmy learns that Sabrina sleeps with nylons over her head? Well, I'm seriously considering it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Not Okay, Dude.

Last night, as I was settling in for the night, I was stabbed in the eyeball.

Okay, fine. I wasn't stabbed in the eyeball, but I'm pretty sure if I was, it would feel like that. Anyway. I started crying, flapping around, and every once in a while, yelling an expletive*.

Poor Husband sat there and watched me. He tried to see what was in there. He went and got a mirror, so that I could try to see what was in there. And the whole time I kept flapping, squealing, trying not to claw my eye out, and just let the tears do their work.

After about five minutes, Husband finally said "would you like me to lick your eye?"
"WHAT?! NO! I would NOT like you to LICK my EYE! What the hell, dude?
"Well, how else will you get whatever it is out?"
"Who DOES that? If you lick my eye, I will KILL YOU!"

Because, while I am glad that my husband loves me enough to volunteer to lick my eye, I would apparently rather feel like I'm being stabbed than see this coming towards my eyeball. (Am I the only one who thinks that sounds like a really bad idea?)

And now if I ever get stung by a jellyfish, I know who will jump at the chance to pee on me.

*This will tell you exactly how much it hurt; I was yelling real expletives, not just "cheese and crackers!"

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Bedtime Story.

Since she started school, there has been a change in Kee. I think that a morning of being with other kids, and away from Mummy, is exactly what she needed. She's finding out that other places have rules too, and it's not just me who doesn't want her to jump on the furniture, leave huge messes, and/or hit people. She's mellowed.

It's also been great for bedtime. For a while there, it was a real struggle, getting that kid to settle down. It was quite possible that she would still be yelling at us for one more story, or just a little bit more water, at ten o'clock. Which was awful for all of us, since poor Beege had to stay out with us even if she just wanted to go to bed*. And keeping a kid up who really would rather sleep just sucks.

Since the beginning of September though, bedtime rolls around and Kee (almost always) just goes quietly.

We have a routine now: She brushes her teeth and uses the bathroom, then she gets a story from Daddy, then I cuddle her on her bed with the light out for the duration of "Rock-a-bye baby". Then I leave and she goes to sleep. Sometimes we hear her chatting to her dolls, or singing to herself, but usually, she's out in about fifteen minutes**.

There are, of course, sometimes hiccups. Lately, these hiccups have all been of the "I want MUMMY!" variety, so when I knew I was going to miss bedtime on Tuesday, I was a little wary. I warned her ahead of time. I told Husband of my worries. I fretted a little. I put extra kisses in her doll's pocket in case she should need them.

When I got home, Husband filled me in on what happened without me.

Kee: I need a story!
Husband: Okay [insert story here]. Goodnight!
Kee: I need water!
Husband: Sure [husband gets water]. Goodnight!
Kee: I need a lullabye!
Husband: Sure [commences singing Golden Slumbers]...
Kee: NO! Rock-a-bye Baby, please.
Husband: Oh...Okay [insert lullabye]. Goodnight.
Kee: I need... a small puppet show.
Husband: What?! Okaaaay. [Husband actually gets to his knees at the foot of the bed, and proceeds to do a "small puppet show" with his hands. Because he's crazy.]
Kee: ...
Husband: Goodnight!
Kee: Was that a talking horse?
Husband: Uhm... yes. Talking horse.
Kee: ... [rolls over, pulls her blanket up, and mumbles to herself] Talking horse... whoever heard of a talking horse?!
Husband: Uhm... goodnight?

Forget the talking horse; I'm still stuck on "small puppet show."

*It's really not even worth trying to get these kids to go to bed at the same time. We did try. For quite a while, but fighting and playing and all manner of nonsense always resulted from putting them to bed at the same time. Staggering bedtimes was the best/only solution.
**knock wood, whistle and spit, throw salt, etc.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Two Hours.

I once spent thirteen hours sitting on my couch reading a book*. I suppose I got up once or twice to get a snack, or go to the bathroom**, but on the whole, I just sat. It wasn't that odd, when I did it. It was a weekend. This was before Husband; there were no children. I had one dish in the sink, and nothing to do but kill time.


Every once in a while, the Husband takes the girls to visit his mum. Which generally gives me a day and half to myself. Inevitably, most of those days are spent laundering, tidying, sorting, culling... I don't really consider them my own.

But this year, Kee started kindergarten. It's only a half day, but still! Two hours that I didn't have before suddenly dropped in my lap.

I had big plans for those two hours.

In my head, I tackled an area a day. This closet today, that shelf tomorrow... my house would be turned into a stunning example of organisation and cleanliness. I would finally be able to invite someone over for coffee without running through the house shoving things under couches, behind my bed, or into the oven***.

I catalogued the mess in my head. I divided it into what I thought were reasonable two hour type jobs. I was organised. I had a plan.

Since Kee started school, two weeks ago, I have tackled exactly one job. The front hall. And I can't even feel overly good about it; my Grandma's dog wandered downstairs and peed all over everything, so I kind of had to.

I have the best intentions, really. I walk to school with the girls, resolute that today will be the day that I march right home and start in on the slowly multiplying piles of papers scattered around the living room. Today will be the day that I finally reach the bottom of the kitchen sink.

But then someone starts talking, and I answer, and before you know it, we're on a walk around the neighbourhood. And once I've been on the walk, I need a shower. And once I've had a shower, I sort of need a cup of tea. And once I've had my cup of tea, there's not enough time to tackle that job, so I may as well read some of my book.

You see how it goes.

At least I'm getting some exercise?

*It was Memoirs of a Geisha, in case you're wondering.
**I may have brought the book with me.  
***If you ever come to my house, do not look in these places. Forget I mentioned them. Thanks.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Firsts and Lasts.

Friday September seventh was my baby's very first day of school.

My last baby, to be exact. The baby that I didn't know would necessarily be my last baby. It seems though, that without some major changes to current conditions, she will be.

And she's not a baby anymore.

She was so happy to go. SO happy. She's been ready to go to school for some time now. She packed her own snack in the morning (a mini cucumber and a graham cracker), she picked out her own clothes and dressed herself, and she let me put her hair in pigtails for the first time ever. She wanted "big girl hair".

As we waited to get in line, she bobbed up and down, waving hello at all the other kids. She smiled and chatted, and proudly showed off her new backpack. When the big door opened, she disappeared inside without a backwards glance.

I know that that means I've prepared her, and that she was ready, and that she knew without a doubt that I would be there waiting when the door opened again. But still.

There is no Mummy there. No Daddy. She doesn't have to share her class with her sister. It is all hers.

But you know what? I don't even really have time to miss her. "Free time" my butt.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

New Shoes. Or a Lack Thereof.

Who was it who started this thing where kids need all new stuff at the beginning of every school year? Who? Because I would really like to punch them.

I am one of those people who follows rules. Even unspoken ones. Even when they seem kind of stupid. I do what I am supposed to do. I'm trying to become a little bit less of one of those people; especially when it comes to my kids.

Because here's the thing. Just because it's September doesn't mean that clothes that fit my kids perfectly fine last week will disintegrate. Sure, they're not pristine anymore; but they fit and they like them. THEY -- the people who will be wearing said clothes -- could not care less that they are not new.

So. This year, I decided to go through their drawers and see what they actually needed before doing any shopping. 

Perfectly good clothing.
Two giant bags for Goodwill later, the answer was nothing. Absolutely nothing. So I got them some new socks and underwear, and that was it.

As Beege marched off to class, with last year's scuffed and worn indoor shoes in her raggedy backpack*, I felt a little weird. She's only been going to school for three years, but every one of those years has included a shopping trip for new clothes.

Because that's just what you do.

Well, not anymore. I will not be getting them whole new wardrobes, just because it's September.  If the shoes fit, they will wear them.

*Although, it looks like she'll be getting a brand new backpack, courtesy of Rebecca at Playground Confidential. Thanks, Rebecca!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Camp Woodchuck 2012

So. We went on our first camping trip ever, my girls and I. For some reason, I decided that not only should we go camping, but that we should go to "Camp".

The decision to make it  "Camp" necessitated the design of a logo. And then I had to make things with the logo on them to give the girls. Because that's just how I roll.

Welcome to "Camp Woodchuck".

On the first night, we sat down for our very first campfire. While the marshmallows were not a hit, Beege seemed to have a lot of fun wondering what would happen to various things if you threw them in the fire. "What about this leaf? What would happen to this leaf?" "It would burn up, Honey." "What about this brick? Can I put this brick in the fire?" "It would get really hot. And no."

Their first campfire.

When they woke up in the morning, they were each given a canvas bag with a notebook, a bookmark, a button, some crayons, a t-shirt, and a flashlight. You know, like at Camp.

Beege colouring the logo on the front of her notebook.

On our first day, we went for a nature walk, had a scavenger hunt, decorated the canvas bags, and roasted hot dogs on sticks.

This one is Beege's.

On the second day, we painted some picture frames, made gimp bracelets and tie-dyed our t-shirts. (Yes, I did make myself a dorky t-shirt with a woodchuck on it. I even wore it. I was the Leader, you know. )

I had such high hopes for those t-shirts. We had been collecting blackberries in our garden for a couple of weeks, and I'd been putting all the yucky, overly squishy ones in a bag in the freezer for a surprise.

Sadly, despite the beautiful colour we got at first, after we rinsed them (cold water, no soap), it turned a faded murky brown*. Not so pretty.

Before rinsing - mine's the big one.

On day three, we spent most of the day lolling around reading. Kee yanked a bunch of rocks out of the garden to arrange as a doll house. I couldn't tell which ones were supposed to be the "dolls" and which ones were the "couches", so I was banned from playing with her. 

On the whole, it was a great experience; we got to hang out with my mum and dad, we got to sleep on the ground, and I learned some important lessons for when we really go camping.

1. No one likes marshmallows.
2. Food cooked on a stick (except marshmallows) tastes better.
3. I don't need to pack so much for Kee, since she would rather wear the same outfit every single day.
4. If you leave the stupid drain hole in the cooler open, the ice melts faster.
5. My air mattress does not insulate me from the cold ground.
6. They are capable of being still for an hour while I read to them. (The Secret Garden, in case you were wondering.)
7. Kee should not be in charge of the lantern.
8. That a campfire is just not the same without Husband to hold hands with.

*Despite an hour of boiling the shirts in a vinegar solution (which is supposed to make the colour brighter)before dying, boiling them for an hour with the berries, and sitting for a while in a cold salt bath (which is supposed to set the colour). If anyone knows of a sure fire way to dye cotton t-shirts with natural dyes, can you let me know?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Wish Me Luck!

When I was a kid, I went camping. A lot. I loved it.

My husband on the other hand; not really a camping guy.

We went camping together once, on the May long weekend; it was at a music festival that Husband was playing at, on a friends' farm, about a three hour drive away.

When we arrived, about ten o'clock at night, it was pitch black and pouring rain. We couldn't set up our tent, so had to sleep in the back of our rented PT Cruiser. The air mattress fit, so we blew it up.

That turned out to be a mistake, since it put our faces about a foot from the roof of the car. I woke up in the middle of the night, screaming, from a dream that I'd been buried alive.

The rest of the trip, it both rained and SNOWED. A lot of people were staying up all night and sleeping during the day because it was too damn cold to sleep at night. My toes still hurt when it gets cold.

Needless to say, it was not exactly my favourite camping trip ever.

That was over ten years ago, and we have not been camping since.

Which brings me to today: Today, I will be embarking on a three day camping trip with the girls. Husband will not be joining us. (More because he has to work than because he hates camping. I think.)

I have to admit though, that it's not actually "camping", as I would define it. We're setting up a tent in my parents' backyard. We will have access to running water, a refrigerator, and a barbecue.

It's more of a "practice" camping trip, to see how the girls do, because Husband has promised me a proper camping trip next summer.

(And if it goes anything like that trip with Husband, we can always pack up and slink into the house.)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Overheard While Doing Dishes

Beege: That's a great picture Kee!
Kee: *grunt*
Beege: No really! I like the symmetry.
Kee: I didn't draw any simmy trees.
Vitruvian Man - Leonardo Da Vinci
Beege: Ha ha ha. No, silly. Not "simmy trees", SYMMETRY. Now what, you may be wondering, is symmetry?
Kee: Okay, what's a sim-a-tree?
Beege: Well, Kee. Symmetry is when two things look the same on both sides. The middle is called the "line of symmetry".
Kee: Okay.
Beege: A lot of things have lines of symmetry. Take you, for example. You have a line of symmetry. It goes right down your whole body.
Kee: ...
Beege: Really! You have two eyes, two ears, two arms, two legs, and there's a line all the way down the middle!
Kee: But I don't have two bums! Or belly buttons!

For some reason, that was really upsetting, and yelling ensued. On the upside, if we ever decide to homeschool, maybe Beege can handle the lessons.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Quilts at the Creek!

I have always loved Black Creek Pioneer Village*. I love the feeling of timelessness and the quiet. I like watching the demonstrations of bread making, and spinning, and getting inspiration from the crafts, and the quilts on the beds...

Speaking of quilts:

Last weekend, there was an event at Black Creek Pioneer Village called "Quilts at the Creek", that I was lucky enough to go to. (Thanks, Mum!)

There were more than a hundred quilts strung up for display throughout the village. And no two were the same. If it hadn't been so freaking hot, it would have been my idea of heaven.

There were some incredibly intricate quilts, like this appliqued scenic quilt:

"Trains and Seasons" by Joan Lester

There were also some beautiful traditional designs like these:

"Nine Patch Squared" by Shirley Dawson
"Civil War Fun" by Cock-a-Doodle Quilts
"Sister Stars" by Kay Phillips

There were also some fairly simple designs that gave me hope that I might be able to make more than one quilt in my life time.

"Primitive Logs" by Sandy Lindal

"Quilts of Valour Canada" by Pat Castonguay

And I bought some raffle tickets to win a Janome Horizon 7700**... which would increase the chances of my making more than one quilt in my lifetime. I don't think I'll be going to the 2012 Waterloo Region Plowing Match (which actually looks more interesting than it sounds), but I'll be crossing my fingers from home.

*Also a lovely place to get married, in case you were wondering - my sister got married there, and it was beautiful.
**The reviews aren't awesome, but I'm sure it would be worth the ten dollars I spent on raffle tickets.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Blissdom Canada 2012: I'm Going.

Yes. I am going. To Blissdom Canada. It's going to be weird.

Especially since I feel like I know some of these people through their blogs, but I'm pretty sure they have no idea who I am. It's going to be like when you meet someone ten years after you took a class with them, and you knew who they were, and went over and cheerfully said "hi" only to find out that even though you'd interacted on several occasions, and even lent them a pen, they have absolutely no idea who you are.

I'm already nervous. Actually, I was already nervous before I'd even decided to go for sure. Will I find someone to talk to? Will I trip and fall on my face? Will I remember to bring my ticket? Will I ramble the way I am now and sound like an idiot?

I'm not the very best at meeting new people. But I am extremely good at being neurotic.

It's not for 75 days. That's quite a while to build up some crazy.

But, despite the nervousness, I'm really excited about the prospect of meeting some people who might be able to explain Twitter to me.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Super Easy Teriyaki Tofu

 Lately, I've been experimenting with some new things, cooking-wise. Tofu, for instance.

When I use tofu, it's usually "dessert" tofu. I like to put it in smoothies or use it instead of yogurt in some recipes. I have used regular "main course" type tofu before*, but it's been a long time, so I decided to give it another go.

I'm pleased to say that it went surprisingly well.

So, on to the recipe part:

Super Easy Teriyaki Tofu
(Makes 2 generous servings)

Red peppers are camera shy.
 Bottled Teriyaki sauce (I used VH)
1/2 a package of extra firm tofu, sliced
1-2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
10-15 baby carrots, thinly sliced (or one or two big ones)
1/4 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/4 red pepper, thinly sliced (notice a theme?)
Small head of broccoli, separated
1/2 can miniature/baby corn
2-3 baby bok choi (is that the plural of bok choi?)
A couple of handfuls of small button mushrooms
A bit of chicken or vegetable stock (optional)
A little bit of flour (if you're going to use the stock)
I'm pretty sure my husband got that corn for the "M'Lord"
1/4 (or so) package of Vermicelli rice noodles
Soy Sauce (optional)

1. Marinate the tofu overnight in the teriyaki sauce. (This is a very important step, considering tofu doesn't really taste like anything left to it's own devices.)
2. In a small pan, (the next day), fry the tofu in a bit of vegetable oil. Check it every once in a while and turn it over now and then.
3. Put a bit of vegetable oil in a frying pan. When it's hot, add the garlic, onion, carrots, celery and broccoli.
4. Put a pot of water on to boil for the noodles.
5. After a few minutes, Add the bok choi and mushrooms. Add in the chicken stock and flour (or corn starch - if using starch, either mix it with a little bit of cold water, or right into your stock if it's been refrigerated, before you add it to the pan.) You may also want to add a bit of teriyaki sauce to the mix at this point (especially if you've opted not to use the stock). These only need to cook for a few minutes, as you don't want your veggies to be soggy.
6. Now would be the time to cook the noodles. They only take three or four minutes once they're in the water. Add a bit of soy sauce to the water for some extra flavour for the noodles.
7. Seriously, the noodles cook fast. Drain and place in bowls. Place some Tofu and veggies on top. Sit down, stir it up, and eat. Yum!

Yummy. I know the tofu looks a little burned - it was more like "caramelized".

*I tried to make a curried tofu dish. It was disgusting and that, along with the rubbery floppy kind you get sometimes in Chinese food, totally put me off the stuff.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Did I Mention...

that my local Fabricland is going out of business?

...and that I've taken up quilting?

...and that I'm a bit of a hoarder?


Monday, July 23, 2012

It's Worth a Shot.

With no school to organise our days around, I have to admit that things have gotten a little lax around here. Beds are not being made, children are not getting dressed, and things are generally a shambles. I was having to chase them down and nag them to do things all day -- which sucks for everyone.

As a family we decided that it was time to do something about it. We all agreed that there are certain things the girls should be doing for themselves without even being asked; especially since Kee will be starting Kindergarten in September (EEeeeeeee!!*).

We decided to make a chore chart. 

As an avid Pinterest surfer, I am aware that there are all kinds of fancy chore charts floating around. However, the fact that I don't have a printer, combined with the fact that I didn't really want to spend any money on it, meant that I didn't want to make any of them.

Instead, I came up with this:

12 x 12 scrapbook paper, Card stock, Markers, Self Adhesive hooks,
Cardboard for the backing

It's not super fancy, but it does that job, and was easy to make. The girls helped decide what it would look like -- they each picked their own papers and markers -- and that got them involved in the process, which I've always found makes them more likely to do what I'm asking.

Each of them has their own side and the cards we're not using hang in the middle.

Anyway. The premise is simple. The chores are written on the cards, and the cards get hung on the hooks when that particular chore needs to be done. Once the chore is completed, they get a big green check mark hung over top of it.

Now when they ask if they can do something like play on the computer, I ask them "do you have all your check marks?" and they go look at the board. If they haven't got them, they go finish what they're missing, so that they can do whatever it was they wanted to do.

And so far? It's working!

I probably shouldn't have written that.

*I'm part "Ohmygod, my baby's gone!" *sniffle*, and part "Ohmygod, my baby's gone!" *highfive random stranger*.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Quilt of my Own.

For a long time now, I've been in love with quilts. I love to look at them, I love to wrap up in them, I love to tuck my children up under them. I have not, however, made one.*
I finally decided to just dig into my stash and give it a try. 

My first attempt. (I'm allergic to ready-made patterns.)

It turned out pretty well, and encouraged me to commit to trying a larger project. Then last week, I went into Fabricland and found that the store in my neighbourhood is closing. Which is incredibly sad for me, because there is nowhere else within walking distance to buy fabric. On the plus side, almost everything is 60% off! It's fate; I am destined to make at least one quilt.

Then I went back the next day for more fabric.

And one more time a couple of days after that. This time, however, I let the girls each pick a couple of fabrics themselves to make something. (Mostly to keep them busy while I had a look around).

They took it very seriously. They chose their fabric, then dragged their bolts of fabric through the store in little wheeled baskets. I thought I was going to die from cuteness when Kee struggled hers onto the counter and said "half a meter of each, please!"

On the way home, I asked them what they were going to make; or rather, what they'd like me to make them. "I'm going to make a quilt!" said Beege. "All by myself!" Alrighty.

So, that night, I helped her cut some squares and start sewing. We sat together for an hour, listening to Jack Johnson, and stitching squares together. At the end of our evening, I asked her how she liked it. "You mean this quilting business?" she asked. "Well, I really wanted to like it because you like it, and we could do it together. But, Mummy? It's really boring."

So, instead of Beege making a lap quilt (that was going to be a "surprise" for me, apparently), we would scale down the project. We ended up making a quilt for her teddy bear, "Sweetie-Honey".

Sweetie-Honey, enjoying her new quilt.

She had already sewn about as much as she could handle (without dying from boredom), so I told her I would finish it up for her.

At least I got some practice with doing the binding!
So, she found that she hates hand sewing, and I learned how to bind a quilt; a learning experience for everyone. I've already started on a full-sized project for myself, which may take forever since I'm doing it by hand.

(Tell me honestly, is that nuts?)

*I did make one for my friends' wedding, about eleven years ago, but I was relegated to fabric selection and cutting, and my mum did most of the actual work. Thanks again, Mum!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Brave: A Review.

When we saw the trailer for Disney Pixar's "Brave" at our house, we were very excited. We like princesses in general (Especially now that they've stopped making them so freaking passive; Tangled and The Princess and the Frog are among our favourites), but this red-haired princess with a bow seemed especially interesting.

We went to the movie last Wednesday, and I had every intention of writing a review that night, but I was having trouble.

Brave is the story of a teenaged princess who is tough, self possessed, and a little wild. She, being a princess, is going to be forced to marry one of the princes competing for her hand, to continue the peace among the clans in her kingdom. Unsurprisingly, she is not the least bit interested in doing so. Her mother, Elinor, wants her to see that she must think of the good of the kingdom, and Merida wants her mother to see that she is too young to get married; especially to someone she doesn't even know. Determined to forge her own path, Merida decides to change her fate, and must rely on her bravery and archery skills to undo the chaos that follows.

It is Pixar, so there are still moments that will make you cry, and it is definitely visually stunning but, for me at least, there isn't a satisfactory resolution; the story feels unfinished.

Which is, I realised, what my problem was. From the studio that gave us "Up", "Finding Nemo", "Wall-E", and "Toy Story", "Brave" seems a little lacklustre, story-wise.

 It is a great movie to take the kids to (although if there is a particular fear of bears, be warned that there are scary bear scenes) and we really liked it, but don't expect to be blown away.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Introducing Rollfer.

Hi there! Happy belated Canada day! (Happy early Fourth of July, to all my American friends!) I hope you did something fabulous. We sat around playing video games and got to bed early... party animals over here. To be honest, we haven't even left the house since Friday. We spent yesterday in our pajamas.

Apparently, this ball's name is Rollfer.
 So today, we finally decided it was time to brave the outdoors and head for the park. For about half an hour. Then we decided it was really freaking hot, so we headed home to our air conditioned basement and, once again, holed up in our cave.

I see how this could become a habit.

Thankfully, we're heading out again tomorrow. Not only are we going to see a movie, but I'm going to buy my first new pair of running shoes in six years. While I'm looking forward to the movie, I am ridiculously excited about the shoes.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summertime, and the Livin' is Easy.

About this time of year, the conversation among the parents waiting after school mainly focuses on one thing: "What are your plans for summer?"

While the answers vary, the thing that usually doesn't is the fact that the kids are scheduled right up until September. Whether it's summer camps, classes, or trips to Australia; the kids are scheduled.

Except in my house.

We are not scheduled at all. We have a list of things that we'd like to do (make ice cream, go to a movie, build a fort, sleepover at Grandma's...) but nothing set in concrete, and nothing with a date attached. Whenever anyone asks me what we're doing (and looks horrified that we're pretty much doing nothing) I mumble something about missing the deadlines to sign up for things.

I'll tell you a secret. I didn't want to sign them up for anything.

We spent the whole school year rushing around, packing and unpacking the backpack, making lunches, braiding hair, finding lost shoes, and being late; I wanted to relax. I wanted a sleep-in option. I want to be able to decide that it's a perfect day for a picnic, or maybe to spend the day watching Disney movies and painting our toenails.

We are going to take it easy. Isn't that what summer is for?

We're going to be doing a lot of this.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

"I Hate Yogurt!"

 Kee loves yogurt. When they started giving out little mini yogurts with happy meals at McDonalds*, we were all pretty happy about it. Then of course, one day, Kee stood up on a chair, crossed her arms and announced to the room, "I hate yogurt."

Fine. But they still give you the yogurt, whether you like it or not, and I hate wasting anything, so what the heck were we going to do with all these tiny yogurts cluttering up the fridge?

Shove a stick in them and call them yogurt pops, that's what. If I can convince them that it's some sort of treat, I can get my kids to eat almost anything. (Remember the lima bean cookies and spinach smoothies?)

Of course, I didn't know how I would keep them all upright in the freezer. Luckily, I also had a plastic egg carton sitting around. Also luckily, they are the exact right size to hold these yogurts.

 Just cut the bottoms off, and you're left with a handy little holder.

Throw them in the freezer over night, and you end up with some yummy frozen yogurt pops!

*We go to McDonalds once a week. I need at least one meal that I don't have to cook or clean up after; judge me all you want.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Red Delicious.

So. Remember a while ago, I was complaining about some small animal or other getting into my strawberry plants? This is an ongoing thing with me. I actually planted them last year; when we did not get a single berry. Every. Single. Time. The animals would get there first.

Well, I decided that I wasn't going to take it anymore.

Armed with a hand saw, some old bed slats, and some chicken wire, I constructed a cage for them. I even lined the bottom with chicken wire so that the little digging bastards wouldn't be able to get them that way.

They're my freaking strawberries, and I'm going to bloody well eat some.

Super gorgeous strawberry cage.

This is usually the last I would see of any strawberries.
They made it in the house!

And even though we've only had about 15 strawberries, and even though they're only about the size of a dime, I'm pretty pleased with myself.

I just wish that whatever it is that was doing it hadn't decided to move on to my lavender.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Now You're It!

Sorry that it's taken me so long... I know that I made some vague noises about "tomorrow", but it just didn't happen. So here, finally is part two.

First: Eleven Random Facts (about me).

1. I really, really, like dill pickles. Sometimes I eat them until I get sick. Then I feel stupid and vow never to do it again. This vow usually holds for at least two months.

2. In university I was in a radio play called "Home". I played a teenaged girl named "Jane" who was a witch. There was a Scottish accent involved and I had a lot of trouble with the line "Angus! What are you doing in my room?!"

3. When I was little, I had a tricycle with a giant front wheel. To me, it seemed like one of those incredibly tall bikes that you see in old timey pictures, ridden by suited gentlemen with handlebar moustaches. It was painted a pale shade of pink lemonade.

4. I have, at various times, taken classes in French, Cantonese, Mandarin, and German. I know a few words in Spanish, and a poem about using the toilet in Icelandic.

5. I love office supplies.

6. One of my favourite movies ever is The Wedding Singer. Other favourites come and go, but that one has stuck around since highschool.

7. I think that laziness can be a valuable weight loss tool. ie. I'm too lazy to brush my teeth twice at night, so if I do it right after supper, that's it for me and food for the evening.

8. I love having exercised; it's the getting up and exercising in the first place that gets me. (The same goes for cleaning, actually.)

9. I am afraid of failing. I am also afraid of succeeding. This is somewhat limiting.

10. Do you remember that show about the couples who went and spent a year living as pioneers? I would love to do that.

11. I would love to have a complete vegetable garden to feed my family from, but I kind of suck at gardening, and my family won't eat vegetables.

Now to tag the next players in this little game!
Your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to give eleven random facts about yourself, answer my eleven questions and then pose eleven questions to other bloggers.

Pyra at Pyra Lives
Jen at My Adorable Small Town Life
Julie at Feeding the Cat
Rebecca at Playground Confidential
Rachel at Grasping for Objectivity

(Of course, since I left it so long, a lot of the people I'd tag have already been tagged - Tara at Faith in Ambiguity and Beth at Word Nerd Speaks, to name a couple...)

Here are your questions, ladies:

1. Name a book that somehow changed you. How?
2. If someone were to cook you the perfect meal, what would it be?
3. Who do you want to be when you grow up?
4. You find a wallet containing $20,000 on the ground, containing no identification. What do you do?
5. Name one completely irrational fear that you've got.
6. Give me three songs that you're embarrassed to admit you like.
7. What is one thing you absolutely love about yourself?
8. If you could be doing ANYTHING right now, what would it be?
9. What's the best thing that happened to you this week?
10. If you could perfect one skill overnight, what would it be?
11. Tea or coffee?

Okay. Go.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I'm It!

I'm  pretty sure that this is all supposed to be one post, but I'm going to have to break it up into at least two. For some reason I am decidedly unable to get more than five minutes at a time for pesky things like writing my blog, and I want to give this the attention it deserves.

What exactly is "this"? A game of tag! I got tagged by Tangled Lou over at Periphery, and I'm doing my best to keep the game going (especially as it's my favourite kind of tag, with no awkward running and unattractive sweating); although it is by now the slowest game of tag ever. (Sorry)

First, I will answer the eleven thought provoking questions put forth by the lovely Ms. Lou:

1. If there were 5 birds in your yard, which one would you eat? And why?
The chicken. Nobody specified what type of birds, so I'm going to assume that one of them is a nice chicken roasting on a spit in my barbecue. Otherwise, the answer would have to be none; I doubt I'd be very good at catching a bird (or any other animal), and the thought of plucking one (or just digging in while it's still covered in feathers) is just... well, it wouldn't happen. *shudder*

2. What's the best thing that happened to you when you were 7 years old?
I honestly cannot think of a single thing that happened to me when I was seven, so apparently nothing spectacular was going on. It may have been the year that I was in "Oliver Twist" at school (as an Orphan, a dancing girl, and the narrator's granddaughter); if so, I'm going to pick that.

3. If the mob was going to take one of your fingers to recover a debt, which finger would you give them? Why? (Or would you do that thing where you flip the table and grab the giant meat cleaver from Vito?)
 If I got the choice, I would give them the ring finger on my right hand. It doesn't really do much, and I don't wear jewellery other than my wedding ring. Of course, now that I'm typing, I'm rethinking that one; that finger is responsible for some fairly important letters. So if Vito was a little guy, I might try and grab the cleaver. Of course, Vito probably wouldn't be alone, would he? So even if I escaped, I'd have to run somewhere far away and start a new life. Which might be fun. But if I was feeling lazy, yeah, the right ring finger. Might be easier to relearn to type than to hide from the mob.

4. If you were to throw a drink in someone's face, what drink would it be and why would you do it?
It would probably be water (because I wouldn't want them to get burnt and/or sticky, and with no ice, because I'm nice like that), and it would most likely be because we had previously arranged to stage a fight in a McDonald's. (I have been trying to get someone to do this with me for the LONGEST TIME!)

5. Someone gives you a gorgeous mink coat for a gift, would you wear it? Why or why not?
 I would have to decline. Or maybe give it to someone else. I just couldn't look at it without getting a little teary. I do have a leather jacket (that I love), but for some reason, furs make me a little queasy. Maybe it's a little too close to grabbing an animal, pulling out it's innards and throwing the skin on your back? I don't know. It's the furriness of it.

6. You are trapped in an elevator with the following people: Elton John, Kathy Griffin, Jimmy Carter and John Malkovich. What do you do? Would you take pictures with your cell phone?
Nice tie, right?
First things first, I would position myself as far away from John Malkovich as humanly possible, because that dude freaks me right out. I would hope that Kathy Griffin didn't feel some need to entertain us all (she can get quite loud), and that Elton John did. Maybe we could take turns singing the wrong words to his songs (ie. Hold me closer, Tony Danza). I don't know a darn thing about Jimmy Carter, except that he was President once, so I would compliment his tie. I don't have a cell phone, but if I did, I would try and get a picture of me with each of them (even Malkovich - I did have a snake on me, after all) and a group shot with everyone making a silly face.  

7. Who did you want to be when you were 13? Are you that person? Why or why not?
When I was thirteen, I wanted to be an actress. Not an overly famous one, but a working one. Sadly (?), no, I am not that person. Why? Well, it just didn't work out. I went down a different road, and there haven't been any opportunities to start walking that one again. Yet. But who knows what the future holds? It's not likely, but it's not impossible.

8. If you found a finger in your burrito, would you set it aside and keep eating? Why or why not?
I would probably run it back to the kitchen to see who lost it and whether they could re-attach it. I probably wouldn't eat the burrito, because I don't even like it when other people's attached fingers touch my food, but hopefully whoever lost it would be willing to shoot me a new one on the house. (Although, if someone lost a finger in a burrito and it was still business as usual, I might decide to try somewhere else instead.)

9. If your navel dispensed the condiment of your choice, what would it be? Why? I'm thinking salsa. It's good on almost everything. Also, it smells pretty good; I like mustard but wouldn't want to be "that girl who smells like mustard".

10. Are you a ferret person?
Most decidedly not. I'm not really an animal person at all. I am afraid of almost all of them. Seriously. Fish and bunny rabbits bother me.

11. You are given an award for something you are very proud of. You get up to make your acceptance speech and they hand you a box of teeth. Does it throw you off? What do you do? Would you proudly display it on your mantel?
The box of teeth would throw me a little. However, it's an award for something I'm proud of, so I'd go with it. I would definitely display it on my mantle, because then I would get to to talk about winning my award without bringing it up myself all the time. Then when I got sick of telling the story, I would find some classy looking bigger box to put the box of teeth in, and display it that way. Although, I probably wouldn't get sick of the story, because uhm... I won an award... so maybe I would bedazzle it and add feathers.


At this point in the game, I should be coming up with eleven interesting facts about myself (hmmmm...) and posing my own eleven questions to the people that I tag... and I know you're breathlessly waiting to see who that will be...

However, due to Time's stubborn refusal to present itself in usable blocks, and my apparent inability to finish a sentence... 

To Be Continued...

Monday, May 28, 2012

It Must Have Been the Heat.

Every year, Beege's school has a Fun Fair. Every year, I think "hmmm... maybe we won't go this year?" It wasn't even held at her school this time (due to construction), so I considered it more seriously than usual. But. We've been going since Beege was two, and the girls love it, so we found ourselves heading to a strange school on Saturday morning, slathered in sun screen.*

It was super hot. I had even put aside my distaste for showing my skin and was wearing (*shudder*) shorts and a tank top, and I was still dripping with sweat.

There was a DJ there, and he had a very odd effect on Beege. If he said "Come on out and dance!", that's what Beege wanted to do. When he announced the auction in the gym, that's where she wanted to go. When he reminded everyone that the "Critters show" would be starting in five minutes, she dragged me over.

Standing around in the sun and heat addled my brains a bit; it must have, because that's the only way I can imagine this happening.

The first thing the Critters guy brought out was a monitor lizard; a little one. I scooted my chair back a bit and dutifully took a picture of Beege holding it, while trying not to be anywhere near it. The next thing was some sort of snake. If you've been here for a while, you know that "snake" is very high on my list of irrational fears.

I scooted my chair back until I hit the wall and then leaned back as far as I could and watched my daughter touch the thing. I think I did very well, considering there was neither screaming nor crying.

She was actually quite sweet.
 Then there was a rat (which Beege had put on her shoulder), a tiny pink frog, the softest bunny in the world, and a tarantula. Which I held. (After it was explained that tarantulas, while large and scary looking, are actually not all that dangerous to humans, which is why they are seen so much in movies and TV shows.)

Keep in mind that we've been sitting in a portable, situated on hot tarmac, with all the doors and windows closed (because the DJ was so loud that we couldn't hear the presenter) and no air conditining.

Because, again, heat stroke is the only explanation.

The last animal he brought out was a ball python. Small for a python, but quite big for the tastes of a person who is afraid of all types of snakes. (And to be quite honest, even a little squiffy around worms, because of their resemblance.) Even Beege didn't reach out to touch it as he brought it around.

I stared at it. I didn't take my eyes off of it the whole time he carried it around the circle making sure everyone got a chance to touch if they wanted to. Then he asked if there were any volunteers to hold it. You can't imagine my shock when I found my hand in the air.

I think the presenter was a little shocked too (despite my bravely holding a giant spider), considering how I'd reacted to the tiny snake. And the fact that I'd also confessed to being afraid of bunnies.

He brought it over, I handed Beege the camera, and he put the snake on me. I'm not sure if this picture is so fuzzy because of Beege, or because I was shaking so hard. Not only did I have the thing on me, but once again, I didn't scream. Or vomit. And I lasted a good ten seconds!

This, however? Abject terror.

When the show was over, we played some more games, we won some prizes, we got some ice cream, we even won** one of the class baskets.*** But I have to say, after having a python around my neck, the rest of the day was a little anticlimactic.

*The girls and I were slathered in sun screen; my husband, who I trusted to look after himself (being a grown up and all), was not. He ended up with one hell of a sunburn.
**Won the privelege of buying the basket by agreeing to pay more than anyone else, rather.
***And while I was pleased not to have the same experience as last year, I was kind of  annoyed by the kid who stood in front of the arts and crafts basket that I'd intended to bid on, clasping her hands and making puppy dog eyes, saying "I really, really want this one..."