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

Monday, 27 February 2012

Hullo again, Oscar

Chris Rock presented, Sheila E percussed, J-Lo nipplegated, Clooney kissed Crystal, French dudes kissed each other, James Earl Jones smiled, Tina Fey glamourpussed...now THAT was a good show.

Yup, it's that time again. MY time. My goofy, long-awaited, eagerly anticipated, make-D-shake-his-head-but-admire-my-legs night: the OSCARS!

I didn't have time to run out to the store to buy anything fancy for my hors d'ouevres this year, so I had to make do with what I had in the fridge. So the menu was as follows:
- roasted sugared almonds & walnuts
- roasted garlic and apple wrapped in hungarian salami
- cheese & grapes
- olives
- veggies and baba ganouj
- chinese dumplings and sesame chicken
- teeny tiny leftover valentine's cookies

And of course the requisite champers, sipped (okay glugged) from my hand-painted Perrier-Jouet glasses. Not an overly fancy spread, but delicious all the same. I'd include a recipe, but it's all pretty easy stuff. Except the cookies but they're a family secret. Although I do highly recommend Canadian garlic if you're going to bother roasting any - the sweetness is leagues above the imported Chinese stuff.

Best of all, I had an excuse to wear the new silk coat D brought me from San Francisco Chinatown. It's so glamourous - shot silk, blue in one light, green in another, embroidered with tiny rosebuds. Paired with my old black dress, it made me wish for a red carpet.

Another Oscars, another night of silly fun.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

The 5 Virtues of Solo Parenting

I love D dearly. I don't believe in that soulmate crap, but we are all kinds of awesome together. He's a great friend, a superb lover and a rockin' daddy to our kids. What more could I ask for in a husband?

We're not joined at the hip like some couples; we've got our own interests outside our nest of domestic bliss - I do tai chi and yoga, he does hockey and farming - and we spend time apart each week. In fact, my dear D has been in California all week with his Dad on a farm show tour, which means I've been a solo parent for 6 days.

Which means.....

1) I can leave the windows open at night when I sleep. D HATES it when I leave windows open in the winter; he claims he can physically see dollar bills floating out the cracks and chides me for being an environmental hypocrite. I'm green at heart, but I need fresh air, and not just during the warm lazy nights of summer. It's not like I let snow come in and pile up on the floor - I just need the window open a crack. So right now, every window upstairs is open and the mild winter breezes are a-flowin'. Chilly goodness!

2) I can use obnoxious amounts of cinnamon in my french toast, pancakes, muffins and fruit salad. D abhores cinnamon almost as much as he claims to hate garlic; the difference is that while I can easily hide garlic in my dishes, cinnamon's flavour creeps out and attacks D's tongue no matter what.

3) Bedtime is negotiable. I'm a night owl by habit, and I'm currently hooked on the Game of Thrones books, plus I'm trying to catch up on my Oscar movies before the big night. So I haven't been to sleep before 1 a.m. since D left! D and I don't always necessarily go to bed at the same time, but I don't like to read too long beside him because the light keeps him awake. But with no D beside me, I can read into the wee hours to my heart's content. (Oh, and to eat popcorn in bed without someone complaining of kernels getting wedged in his butt.)

4) The kids go to bed early. Or on time, at least. D works long hours, has a 40 minute commute both ways and picks up and drops off the kids at daycare. This means we don't eat supper until 6:30 or 7. Then he and the kids like to have some time to play together, so I don't have the heart to send Dyl and Jady upstairs before 8 o'clock. But since it's just me, and I'm done work at 5, they've been in bed at 7:30 every night - leaving me a glorious evening free to catch up on laundry, cooking, email and movies. Huzzah!

5) Our suppers have been lazy, decidedly non-gourmet affairs. Coldcuts and avocado slices, french toast and fruit, cereal and frozen veggies. I did make salmon one night, and a big pot of tuscan soup for my lunches, but apart from that, our meals are simple, and eaten wherever we feel like it. I'm not saying this is smart, or an example of exemplary parenting. It's just how I've chosen to roll this week. And I like it for a change.

I can't wait to see D tonight and wrap my arms around him. I can't wait to see his creased smile when the kids attack him. It's been a weird week - a funny combo of lazy and busy - and a good week, mostly, but it will be even better having my man back home to complete our family circle. Solo parenting is fun for a while, but I wouldn't want to do it this way forever.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

February 14th 2012: Pink smarties, Heart cookies and Elbow soup

It's a curious thing, spending Valentine's Day alone. I know a lot of folks do it, and not always by choice, so I'm not complaining - just sayin'. D is away overnight, so it's just me and the kidlets here on Happy Heart Day.

D left me a giant bouquet of iris and delphinium before he left, telling me he got me blue flowers because that's the way he'd be feeling when he went to bed alone tonight. He's not usually that sentimental, so I smiled rather than rolled my eyes. And they are beautiful - sapphire and cobalt and lapis, with snow-white asters in the middle of the bouquet. I hate red roses, so these are perfect.

Last night, I baked six dozen teeny tiny cream-cheese heart cookies in between sips of a delightful coffee porter. The cookies are my mom's tradition - I have never found her exact receipe, but I make do with one I scrounged off the internet. This morning I iced the little morsels with pink icing flavoured with fresh lemon juice, although my mom always preferred mint. Jade iced a few of her own at breakfast to take to Grandma's, but mostly she occupied herself with wolfing down pink smarties and those nasty little sprinkles I abhore but she adores. Dylan smashed his cookie into a billion pieces, licked all the coating off his smarties and dribbled chocolate onto his shirt before making a valiant attempt to plunge face-first into the bowl of icing. Nothing says Happy V Day like kids covered in sticky yuck.

I wrestled the little monsters into their winter coats (boy, I missed D's strong arms!), found the hats and mitts and snowpants, got the cookies and valentine's gathered up. As I was forcing Jade's reluctant feet into her boots, I heard a clang and a smash that could only mean one thing: I ran to the cold room to find dear Dylan up to his elbows in the soup I'd made the night before. He had tomato and cabbage smeared across his arms, hands and lips and a blissful look on his face. Well, at least he likes it.

So that's my V-day so far. I'm blessed with healthy, active children, yummy food to eat, and a much-needed coffee with Bailey's waiting for me at my desk. That's all I really need, even though a warm bed with D in it would be preferable.

Happy V day to you, my bloggy friends!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Random happy memories from Christmas past...

1. Watching my father drink unsuspectingly from my "Office Tramp" coffee mug on Christmas morning.

2. The moment Jade chanelled the spirit of my Nana when she reacted to the mountain of presents under the tree:
(shakes head) "It's too much."

3. Paging Dr. Jade. My sister always gives the coolest gifts!

4. Dad: "I'm just going to put the turkey outside to keep it cool."
Me: "Um, I'm not sure that's a good idea. We have a lot of critters out there."
Dad: "Oh, it'll be fine."
- 1 hour later -
Dad: (hollering from outside) "Here, GIT YOU $%^&* STUPID BUGGERS! GIT AWAY!"
Me: "What's going on?"
Dad: "A #@%^& cat's been eating the turkey!! Look, it ate right through the bag!"
Me: (thinking for a moment) "Well, we won't tell anyone else, and you and me won't eat from that side."
Dad: "Good idea."

5. Sharing a special bonding moment with my dad: stuffing that disgusting wild turkey with bare hands. GAH!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Poetry 101

I used to write a lot of poetry when I was younger. Bad poetry. Mysanthropic poetry. Maudlin poetry. Regardless of the quality, writing poetry was a healthy way to express my teenage angst, and a harmless enough past-time. Until I decided to show my beloved poetry to an English professor of mine, who told me it was "juevenile" and that I shouldn't waste my time attempting to submit it to any contests or publishers.


Silly, impressionable girl that I was, I stuffed my poor poems back in my satchel and slouched back to my apartment, where I hid them in a drawer and didn't write any more poetry for a very long time. Actually, I didn't write poetry again, at all, until my late thirties, if you can believe it. Yes, I was that shattered by a thoughtless piece of criticism.

But I've grown up since then, and although I still feel my eyes narrow whenever I picture that arrogant professor, I pat my old, hurt self on the back and write poems whenever I feel like it. I don't care if they ever see the light of day. Haiku are fun; so are sonnets, although they take considerable brain power and I don't usually have much of that left over after a day of work and evenings filed with building block towers and teddy bear tea parties. Still, it's therapeutic, and pleasing, to find just the right words to express something you've just thought of, or seen out the window, or day-dreamed about when you were supposed to be listening in on that conference call.

My mother loved poetry; so did my Nana. In fact, we read several poems at Nana's funeral because we knew she'd have liked that. I found lots and lots of poems she'd copied out in longhand after she died, tucked away in cookbooks and drawers and photo frames. I found it interesting that she had written this one out, because my Mother had this poem hanging on our den wall when I was growing up; Mom and Nana didn't always get along, but apparently they had the same taste in poets. Hmmm.

I like Rudyard because he has a stiff upper lip, and the kind of wisdom I wish I'd had when I reached out a shaky hand to collect my poor abused poems from that wank of a Professor. So here's a little dose of Brit wisdom for you...hope it helps!


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling