"Someday's gonna be a busy day..."

Friday, 31 July 2009

Scent of a (country) woman

So I'm reading this book I bought at our local bookstore called Slow Death by Rubber Duck. It confirms a lot of my paranoia about everyday products and the nasty chemical stew they contain. Even before I cracked the cover, I'd already switched to unbleached flour, non-toxic, all-natural, plant-based soap, shampoo, laundry detergent and dish soap. Yep, I'm that granola. And I'm that freaked out about passing along the aforesaid vile chemical stew to milady Jade.

I've been walking the crunchy granola-type line for many years; I've flirted with vegetarianism, organic mania and unshaven legs (don't worry, I've since located my razor and my steak). But this new avoidance of all things chemical is more than just a phase. Why? Cuz it's too scary to ignore, especially when you are singlehandedly responsible for the nutrition of the world's smallest dictator. What goes into and onto me goes into and onto her, and it's a sobering thought. She doesn't deserve to be chemically enhanced at this tender age. I'll save that for when she's 16 and experimenting with make-up and tattoos.

Anyhoo, products with any type of artificial scent are apparently very toxic and very easy to pass on via my skin-to-skin contact with the wee one, not to mention my milk. And I'm one of those gals who loves to smell pretty. It's going to take some time to wean myself off my favourite perfume, but my new stance means I've given up several of my daily potions: my beloved Body Shop scented body butters - oh Satsuma, how I miss you! - my trusty Aveda hair gel and...um, well...my anti-perspirant. Yeah. So now I have scary hair AND I smell bad. Makes you want to run up here and visit, doesn't it?

Thinking I was doing myself (and Jady Lady) a favour by ridding the bathroom drawer of aluminum-laden Degree Ultra, I decided to do what all good granolas do: I invested in a very expensive all-natural deodorant from the health food store. And then I invested in ANOTHER type of very expensive deodorant. And then another. Because, faithful reader, THEY DON'T WORK. At least not on me. Or not unless I apply them every bloody hour. Or only go outside when the temperature is below 0 degrees. Ugh.

But I love my daughter more than I love smelling like "sporty baby powder" or "spring rain," so I will continue my search for a non-toxic deodorant that works. Until then, keep a polite distance, folks! There's an all-natural, slightly stinky country gal at large.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

The mixed tape: a lost art

Lazylad, both a fellow blogger and fellow insurance jockey, did something really nice for Jady Lady and I: he made us a mixed tape. Okay, it's a mixed CD, but still! When's the last time anyone gave you a mixed tape? It's a very cool gift.

When making it for oneself, a mixed tape affords you the luxury of capturing favourite tunes, thus avoiding less-than-great albums. But creating a mixed tape for someone - if it's done correctly - is an art. It's more complex than picking a few songs you dig and slapping them on a tape; the music has to have a flow, the songs have to connect and be meaningful to both you and the lucky recipient. You can build a mixed tape on a theme (most of Lazylad's choices had something to do with girls, in honour of baby Jade), or start off mellow and reach a crescendo, or just basically rock out. It's all in the hands of the mixed tape creator.

I remember making dozens of mixed tapes for my friends, boyfriends, cousins and pen pals back in the 80's. My mother had an amazing stereo with a dual tape deck, so the possibilities were endless. I think I even attempted a radio drama once to entertain my sister during her first year in Australia. It had something to do with an older woman seducing a grocery delivery boy while Frank Sinatra crooned "The Summer Wind" in the background. Hey, art doesn't always have to be good.

In fact, I still listen occasionally to three or four mixed tapes I found wedged in the old glove compartment of my Kia last year. They are real, live cassettes with actual tape in them (the Kia never had a CD player), and the only place I can play them is on my old, beat up boom box (the Kia's tape player is now defunct). It was like finding little time capsules:I mean, where else can I listen to Young MC sing "Bust a Move" or groove to "That Girl" with good ol' goofy Shaggy rasping away in the background while I make dinner?

Anyway, the last time I made a mixed tape was for D, for his birthday the first year we were dating, because he is extremely hard to buy for and I was pretty much broke at the time. (Not to mention I was getting realllly tired of listening to Kenny Chesney everytime we were in his car.) It was fun picking out songs that had meanings both obvious (Girlfriend by Matthew Sweet) and more subtle, introducing him to the type of music I liked and waiting to see what he thought.

Mixed tapes can be memory boxes, love letters, games or simply friendly gifts, like a musical handshake. They were the ultimate song shuffles before iPods reared their fancy heads. Next time you have an hour on your hand, make someone a mixed tape. It's a retro way to show them you care. And plus you'll look pretty cool.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

5 Things I love about...

To commemmorate having achieved my 1000th comment (THANKS my bloggy friends! You rock!), I think I'll start a new series. Every month, I'm going to list some stuff I love. Don't get me wrong: I'm not becoming Pollyanna or Anne Shirley or (shudder) Oprah. Wenching, whinging and venting are highly necessary in many cases and will still occur on a regular basis in this blog. Consider these love-ins small antidotes to the grouchies.

Today, I present: Things I love about my house. You know, I really loved my old yellow brick house in Waterloo, but you could fit about 3 of them in our place here at Someday. There was hardly any closet space at 139 Moore and the neighbours were so close you could reach out the window and patty cake them if they did the same thing. Living here makes me feel like a woman instead of a girl, and that is a good thing. Why? Here are 5 reasons:

1) The heated floor in the bathroom

I was prepared to live with a run-down, beat up bathroom, avocado-green tiles and all, since we were spending so much on insulation and windows. And then the contractor showed me the mould behind the tiles. And under the floor. And behind the walls. And voila! A great reason to re-do the bathroom. Although I never pictured myself as someone who would have heated ceramic tile. That was what rich, retired, older folks had, not young-ish, working, poor-ish people. But now that we have heated floors, I'm afraid I can never have anything else in my bathroom again. Ever. It's so luxurious I want to lay on it naked after every shower. Oops - did I type that out loud?

2) The balcony
It's off our bedroom and it's the sweetest little white balcony I've ever seen. I feel like a less hormonal Juliet when I stand on it. It's fun to catch glimpses of the sunset or the lake through the tree line, and I could even see fireworks in Point Clarke on Canada Day if I leaned just the right way. D got trapped up there this winter while dismantling my balcony Christmas tree (don't ask). Last year I painted it while in my bikini; it was fun getting honks from passing cars (although likely they were all from D's cousins).

3) The fact that I can see a tree from each and every window
Blue spruce, mountain ash, maple, pine, lilac and crabapple. 'Nuff said.

4) Our ridiculously big bedroom
When I begged D to please knock out the wall between the balcony room and the master bedroom, he gave me that look I have come to know as the "Geez Kim, you're crazy" look. I grew up with a big, airy bedroom of my own. He grew up sharing a small room with two brothers. So in his mind, the enormous bedroom I had envisioned was impractical, over-the-top and slightly insane. To me, it was a necessity. But I wore him down with pleading and my favourite line, "I hardly ever ask you for anything...can't I just have this?" And you know what? He loves our big, balconied bedroom just as much as I do.

5) The bookshelves

On the east wall of our living room are two built-in floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. This is a far cry from their previous makeshift cinder block and nasty Ikea homes. I adore my books; they're like old pals and I often re-read certain ones. They are good company, and it's very satisfying to finally give them a classy place to rest.

I could go on and on about the many lovable qualities of our home. Sure, sometimes we get frustrated with the fact that it's old, the water smells like bad egg salad and it will always need a bit of work to keep it from looking unkempt. But it's pretty much everything I've ever dreamed of. Add an awesome husband and a sweet baby girl to the mix and honestly, what's not to love?

Friday, 17 July 2009

Now I've seen everything.

Living in the country really does have its advantages. For example, if I went to the Teeswater reunion this weekend, I could experience square dancing tractors. That's right...dancing tractors. Don't believe me? Well y'all, just click here!

Can I get a yee-ha?

Monday, 13 July 2009

Back by popular demand...

Okay Mrs. S - you asked for it, so you're gettin' it. Fresh off the press: a baby Jade story! (Hey, I'm only breaking the no-baby-in-blog rules for Mrs. S. She's from Scotland. I can't turn down a long-distance request, can I?)

Grandma Lowry made Jady Lady an exquisite green dress a month ago after hearing me rant and rave about how I couldn't stand seeing her in one more pink outfit. Seriously - I open her drawer and behold! A sea of pink. People have been so generous with clothing and I know I shouldn't complain. It's just that...I've always liked pink, and now I'm veering into "I HATE PINK" territory, which is a shame. It's too lovely colour to loathe.

In desperation, I went to the only baby shop in Kincardine, a lovely boutique called Rolz and Sassy (after the owner's kids), and bought Jade a pair of cobalt blue pants and a jade green kimono style shirt. Seeing her in it made me sigh with relief. Until, that is, D arrived home, took one look at his daughter and said, "Kim, she looks like a boy in that outfit." *sigh*

So Grandma showed up one day with this adorable green dress. It's got little flowers embroidered on it, a lace collar that makes Jade look a bit like Queen Elizabeth and a dainty little white slip underneath. But the BEST part is the mennonite-style bonnet with white ribbons, which Jade attempts to eat every chance she gets.

We took her to church rigged up in her new outfit and of course received the requisite cooing, gooing and giggling from all Grandma's friends. It did my heart good to see Grandma showing off her little granddaughter in her pretty dress. Grandma had three boys, so having two granddaughters is setting things even for her.

Our church is small, closely knit congregation and kids are always welcome, even when they're screaming, running up the aisles or asking questions in very loud voices throughout the sermon. I'm happy to report that Miss Jady lady was a well-behaved little church mouse all through the service. The best part? We started singing the first hymn; Jade looked up at me, smiled a big gummy smile, and promptly fell asleep with the grin still pasted on her face. Guess all the singing D has done for her is paying off.

And contrary to the picture, she really, really likes her dress!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

A cure for the summertime blues

And no, it's not my husband doing his "beach walk" in a man-thong. Contrary to the song, I'm pretty sure I've discovered an antidote to bad attitudes caused by this lousy summer weather we've been having (e.g. hail and 6 degree temperatures in July?!?): Death by Chocolate.

The first summer D and I started dating, he took me on a motorbike ride to the Pine River Cheese factory for an ice cream cone. He was slowly discovering my obsession with ice cream - I ate either it or gelato almost every night in Waterloo - and promised me that Pine River ice cream would be "the best ice cream you've ever tasted." And it was.

It's not actually made by Pine River - it's from Kawartha Dairies, wayyy up north. But my heavens, it's good. The only ice cream I've ever had to rival it is from Cochrane, Alberta and that's just too darned far away.

This summer, my sister Tanzi and I discovered a new flavour: Death by Chocolate. You can order 1.5 litre tubs from the Cheese Factory - another discovery - and so far this summer, we've gone through one Black Cherry, two Vanillas and we're on our second DBC. And it's only July! But man, oh man, this ice cream is to die for. Their vanilla is creamy, fluffy and smooth and the Black Cherry seems to be a favourite with the guys, but my sister and I (and any other female visitor) prefer DBC. The website describes it as "Chocolate ice cream with bittersweet dark chocolate chunks and thick chocolate twister sauce" but I prefer to describe it simply as YUM.

Doesn't matter if it's cold, dark and damp outside; inside it's all sunshine and happiness as long as I have a bowl of DBC in front of me.

Hmmm. Is 7:17am too early for ice cream?

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Three Degrees of Happy

'Cuz after those first few scary weeks of being ill at home with baby, happy's where it's at right now. And although the Chinese only have a symbol for double happiness, I'm going with triple the feeling:

1) Jady Lady
Yeah, I know - I'm a sucker for this child! I'm violating all my former bloggy principles! Ahhh! But dear reader, she's started to smile. A lot. Big, goofy, toothless grins that make her eyes squinch shut in a blissed-out, almost drunken manner. She reminds me of the laughing Buddha I used to keep in my study back in Waterloo. And she's starting to make sounds other than cries of hungry rage: soft coos, pirate-like "argggghs" and "ayes" and even little squeals of glee when we make the right silly faces at her. She no longer has chicken legs - there are actually some delicious folds of chub around her thighs and wrists now - and she can wing her head around fairly well too. Despite the fact that she sometimes resembles "an old man sitting on a dock" (says D) or a tiny monk, she is awesome and beautiful and everything I've ever wanted. Insert sigh of contentment and gooey happiness here.

2) Breasty Dumplings
I know it's shallow and will set feminism back several hundred years, but my former A-cup self just has to say it: I love having cleavage. Sure, they're tender and sore and tend to leak at the slightest thought of anything Jade-related, but my new dumplings ROCK and I'm going to enjoy them while I can. So there.

3) Auntie Tanzi is home!
My Muscovite sister is home for the summer and she and baby Jade have taken to each other like Russians to a bottle of frozen Vodka. (And yeah, I can say that without an ounce of political correctness. Why? Because we're Russian.)

It warms the cockles of my usually unsentimental heart to see Jade nestled in her Auntie's arms, sucking on her necklace...or shoulder...or neck (seriously, that kid will suck anything). Auntie Tanzi gets more smiles from Jade than anyone, even Grandma, and that is a feat to be marvelled at. And she's not just a good babysitter: she's been flexing her housekeeping muscles and does dishes, sweeps the dog-hair tumbleweeds, hangs laundry out, feeds the kitties and cooks a mean grilled cheese. I didn't realize how much I needed some help around the place until she arrived. And it's sooooo nice to just have a friendly face to talk to over morning coffee, or an evening glass of wine, or an afternoon lunch. She got me out of the house for my first lunch date since Jade was born, and we're planning daytrips to Stratford and Bayfield. I adore those little towns, but they are the most enjoyable with Tanzi by my side.

I have a feeling this summer is going to go by at the speed of light. It will be August all too soon and then Tanzi heads back to the 'Cow for another year. What in the world will I do without her? Oh yeah...this blog was supposed to be about happy stuff, wasn't it? Guess I'll stop talking then. *sigh*