Just Jump In

Get your feet wet!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

I'm Outta Here!

Okay, only for 3 days and nights, but still, those will be child-free (and husband-free) days and nights. Yes, I know I have two 5-hour courses to attend, but that leaves plenty of time for shopping, dancing, and a few cocktails (and some sleep, though less than I'd like - damn that daylight savings time!).

Had a horrible dream last night that I was at choir practice and was supposed to leave early, but forgot and missed my flight. I will be missing choir practice tonight, and an extra rehearsal on Saturday (we have 3 coming up), as well as Sunday morning at church. I do feel a little sad about it - I guess the came through in my dream. However, it was a rotten feeling to wake up with, that panicked "oh f*!#, I missed my plane", wildly looking around for the clock. The irony - I actually got to sleep in a bit. My husband, who had already planned to take Friday off, stayed home today as well. That was less planned, but yesterday, Corwin didn't go to school because he was throwing up. (Five times - he's telling anybody who will listen, it was five times!). Anyway, just in case he wasn't recovered (and he has recovered!), hubby decided it was easier and a better idea. Works for me! The kids are thrilled. They went and got the car washed, got new bike helmets, and are out riding even as I write this (they are in afternoon kindergarten).

Well, must go shower. Have to look presentable for the Customs officers (not too dressy, not too grubby, not too much coffee (caffeine may make me look twitchy, and I really don't feel like a strip search today!). Will update upon my return - and I may even learn how to do the link thing! Then I can put the cute little "Bloggers I Know", "Bloggers I Read" column over there on the left, like all the other, more tech-savvy people! Keep your fingers crossed!

Also, keep them crossed that my bag arrive WITH me, not the day AFTER me!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

We Interrupt This Program. . .

Okay, I admit it, I am slightly (very) addicted to a couple of tv shows. I enjoy the craziness of Desperate Housewives (Lynnette is my fave, not just because her character has twins. . . well, that was a big part, but I digress). I also watch American Idol when I'm home on Tuesdays. I don't tape it, or rearrange my schedule for it. I enjoy watching all these people do something that I would love to try, but am just WAY too chicken - singing in front of people. Solo. As in, not blending into (hiding behind) a choir. (And I think Simon is hot. It's the accent. Mostly). My biggest addiction is Grey's Anatomy. I DO NOT miss it. If I must, I tape. Hooked, all the way. And I think that there's only one episode this season in which I did not cry. (let's not get started on my sappiness - the husband laughed at me last week because an A&W commercial got me choked up. A&W, who sell hamburgers. And no, I'm not pregnant or recently postpartum). However, that's a whole other post!

The fourth show that I watch is also on Tuesdays, following American Idol. I'm not obsessive, and never have been regarding this show, but I do enjoy The Amazing Race if I'm home to watch it (not the family edition - no one enjoyed that). And every season I've had one or two couples/partners that I've been cheering for. Last year, I was so happy when Joyce and Uchenna won. Right now, I like the Hippies (BJ & Tyler), but I totally want Dave and Lori to win. They are so sweet together, and with each other. They are cute, though not glamourous, and they are intelligent. They are respectful toward each other as well as the other players. I also like that they are enjoying the traveling, and experiencing the different cultures (unlike some, who seemed perturbed by the fact that Russia was cold, there is major traffic in many cities, and that not everyone speaks English. Duh!).

However, there is usually one couple who stands out as the most annoying, obnoxious, and toxic combination of people traveling around the globe. How many nations can one couple insult and offend in one season? Who could forget Jonathan and Victoria? You know it's bad when Dr Phil has a prime time special to discuss the negative dynamic in your relationship!!! Ugh, they were hideous, but compelling, sort of like a car wreck that everyone slows down to see. I was SO relieved that they didn't win. Ditto Rob and Amber. Just too cocky, and downright rude to other players('nuff said). Right now, I can't stand Lake and Michelle. They seem to be heading down the Jonathan and Victoria road, with a little less verbal abuse of each other. But it's still early in the game. So. . . go Dave and Lori. And next time, use your Yield!!!!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Since nothing really exciting is happening around here, and a friend of mine told me that she has recounted this little snippet to many people who find it entertaining (She prefaced this by saying "Don't worry, I just said a friend of mine has this son - so they won't know it's you"), I thought I'd give you a laugh. It's actually quite hilarious, and since I'm quasi-anonymous here . . .why not?

When Corwin and Clara were almost three, they started going to a co-op nursery school two mornings a week. One morning, Corwin didn't feel great. He wasn't sick, but was tired and a bit stuffy, like he was starting to fight off a cold. When asked if he wanted to stay home and rest, he said yes. So, we got Clara ready and took her to nursery school ("I love you Corwin, but I have to go to school" - said in a very grown up voice. I hope she keeps this school ethic for a looooooong time). When we got back home, I asked Corwin if he would like to have a bath in Mummy's tub (the roman tub - no jets, just big), and of course he said yes. I filled up the bath with very warm water, and added a few drops of the Johnson&Johnson Aroma Bath for Babies (it's great for colds - has eucalyptus and rosemary, and I even like it for my baths). When the bath was ready, Corwin wanted me to get in, too. So, we both got undressed and soaked in the tub, splashing a bit, playing with the bubbles. After about 20 minutes, I decided that it was time to get out. I got out first, and pulled the plug, figuring he could play with the remaining bubbles while I got dried and threw on a robe. While I was toweling off, Corwin said something to me. I didn't think I'd heard correctly, so I said "Pardon?". When he repeated it, I knew I'd heard correctly.
"I like your fur, Mom".
What do you say to that?
"Thank you".
And you also make a mental note to call for a bikini wax!!!!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Three More Sleeps!!

You know you're a mom when . . . your countdown to a big event is marked in "sleeps". I just can't wait to get on that plane to Hartford (via Washington, DC - there is NOTHING direct to anywhere I go!). And G will pick me up at the airport (6:26 pm), and we will cruise on over to Meriden (not far, apparently - maybe 30 minutes drive), and check in, and then it's off to dinner and drinks. Lots and lots of drinks (well, not too many Thursday night, as we have a five hour course to attend Friday morning, but I'm sure we can have a few). So far, no takers on my suggestion to drive to a (sort of) nearby town to go to the Melting Pot for dinner. I loved that place when I lived in Miami. And I got to have dinner at the one in Minneapolis when we had the National conference there a few years ago. Oh well. . . at least I can indulge in another favourite. There's a Ruby Tuesday in Meriden - salad bar, here I come!!!!


Remember the game "Trouble"? With the clear plastic popper in the centre, so that you never lost the dice? I loved that game when I was little. I didn't own it, but it was fun to play whenever I went to a friend's house. I guess it must have been these fond memories that prompted my purchase of "Trouble" at Christmas. WHAT was I thinking?

"Mom, Mom, wanna play Trouble?" This is at 7:42 am. SEVEN FORTY-TWO!!!! Corwin wants to play before I've even had coffee. That's just wrong. So. . . we postpone 'til after breakfast. We play. Oh, for a 6. I am trapped, popping in vain, waiting for the elusive 6 in order to get my players on the board. Elusive, that is, for me. Somehow, Corwin is the King of the 6. The kid should go to Vegas. It's actually obscene. And he keeps saying "Why do I always get sixes? How come I'm so good at it?" Yeah, thanks, rub it in that some of us are unable to get a single 6!! Clara is somewhat in between - more sixes than Mom, less than her brother. The game moves along and FINALLY. . . I pop a 6. Here we go, around the board. Until I get bumped. No big deal, it's a game, back to waiting, waiting, waiting for a 6. That's if Mom gets bumped. Man, the tears that flowed after Corwin and Clara got bumped in the first few games we played!! Trying to explain that it's a game, it's not personal, it's all in fun. . . didn't go very far. Now, we have rules. "Trouble" is not allowed if anyone is tired. It is definitely not a before-bed, end-of-a-busy-day kinda game. Both kids can handle the bump factor early in the day, but frustration and tiredness just don't mix. So, the game continues. It's a close one - Corwin must pop a 1 to get his last piece home, and Clara needs 2. I still need a 6 to get my last player out and around. Not likely! A winner!!! "Let's play again, Mom!"
Pop. . .
Pop. . .
Pop. . .
Pop. . . . . . sigh. . . . . .

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Blog Obsession

As in obsessed with reading other people's. I started this blog after my friend, Peaches, started hers. I really enjoyed reading it, about her life and her marriage and her home day care. Then, Peaches' wife, Petunia, started one. Again, I thoroughly enjoyed reading her blog. The really awesome part is that I only get to see Peaches and Petunia once or twice a year, at conferences that Petunia and I attend for music therapy, but I have felt so much more part of their lives because I'm hearing about day to day stuff that's important to them - while it's still current. I also started linking to other blog links that they have. And I couldn't believe how obsessed I was. "Yes, YelloCello" wrote beautifully about expecting her first baby, and some in-law stuff, and playing her cello for the baby in-utero, and then it was around her due date and the postings stopped. OH MY GOD!!!! Did she have a boy? A girl? Was she in labour? Was her mother-in-law there yet? Driving her crazy yet? (actually, I knew the answer to that one - I have a mother-in-law, too). I couldn't get over how involved I was in this woman's life, and I'd never met her. It was days before she finally posted again. It was a boy, and it all went well (pictures and everything - he's gorgeous).

So, when I finally started my blog, I went with Canada because that's what I use to post on Peaches and Petunia's blogs. And I have gathered several other blogs that I read regularly. One day, I'll put them here as links. When (if?) I ever figure out how to do that (again, not a computer nerd - and I say nerd with abject admiration for those people who can make their computers do what they want them to do, without getting all kinds of "illegal operation" messages or other stuff that makes me think my computer is laughing at me!). Anyway, one of these blogs that I link to both from Peaches and Petunia is SBFH, who posts as Psycho Kitty. She has quite the sense of humour, especially considering that she is a single mom of two (one boy, one girl) who just went through the whole listing/selling/moving house thing, as well as all the other stuff we all deal with in day to day life. I have posted a couple of comments on her blog - one a book suggestion, and one in agreement with an issue regarding tv and advertising. Imagine my surprise this evening to discover that her latest post starts out "Canada's response to. . . ". Cool. I feel like I'm famous. In an anonymous kinda way, of course.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Girls' Night

Monday nights are girls' nights at our house. Daddy and Corwin head off to Beavers (for all you American readers, that would be the youngest level of Scouts: Beavers, then Cubs, then Scouts) at around 6:15 pm, leaving Clara and I about an hour to do "girly stuff" before she heads off to bed at 7:30ish. Last night, we did one of her favourite things - painting her toenails. First, she had a relaxing bath - with bubbles, of course. After getting dry and into her pajamas, it was time. A big part of the fun factor for Clara is choosing her colour. We have even had two-tone pedicures, alternating colours on her toes. Last night, she chose "Purple Haze", a pale, iridescent lilac. The first toe is always the most exciting, and she's never been disappointed in her colour choice. "Oooh, Mommy, it's SO pretty" is what I hear every time. Once I get the second coat on, I blow on her toes to speed up the dry time (thank you to all the nail polish companies that make quick-dry products!), and then she takes her first steps with newly painted nails. I love watching the way she moves her feet, turning them from side to side to watch the tiny shell-like toenails catch the light. We've been painting Clara's toenails for several years now (not with a lot of regularity, and I refuse to use remover, so she has to wait until it comes off by itself), but the novelty still hasn't worn off. I hope it doesn't for a very long time. These evenings with my daughter are so precious to me, just as the glittering jewels of her toes are to her.

Monday, March 20, 2006

"Off List" Shopping

I love it when my husband and Corwin go to the grocery store together. They always get what's on the list - unless my husband says that "they were out". Sometimes that's true, but sometimes he just couldn't find it, and wouldn't ask for help (I guess it falls under the men and directions category). The thing I look forward to is what they bring back that wasn't on the list.

Everyone shops off the list to some degree. If the asparagus is in season, and the green beans look withered, I'll substitute. If I see something that we're out of and I forgot to write down, of course I'll buy it. My husband often adds little treats for the kids - a KitKat bar, or a bag of Hershey's Kisses. We aren't slaves to the list. It's just that Corwin picks some interesting items and presents his case for their purchase so logically that my husband can't argue. Once, Corwin found some Apple Snax (little containers of applesauce), and because they had pictures of raspberries with the apples, insisted that Clara would like them. She did. The irony is that she has hated applesauce since she was a baby and we had to mix it with her cereal to get her to eat! Corwin has selected many food items that he thinks other people in the family would like - puddings, little milkshakes in juice box-like containers, orange-cranberry juice, and chips - particularly ketchup-flavoured (those would be for him!).

Corwin is also the master of finding something that he needs to give to me, because "Mommy would really like this". A few weeks ago, I was the recipient of two potted crocus plants. Because "I know you like flowers and spring isn't here yet". Once, it was a candle "because it smelled nice, and you like candles". On several occasions, bouquets of flowers have been presented - once they were the most hideous DYED purple and blue daisies that turned the water an inky, indigo colour, but he chose them because blue was his favourite colour, and purple was Clara's. I kept them until almost every dyed petal had fallen off.

Yesterday, Corwin went to the grocery store with the husband. I figured that some chips and the little milkshakes would be selected. I was right, but Corwin also thought that Mommy needed some flowers. And roses would be a good choice because they are beautiful. The husband suggested pink, but Corwin stated that they should buy red "because red is for your heart and means love". So, a bouquet of 10 red roses came home(large, velvety, just opening buds - and thornless, too!). Not only did I receive roses, but as a special treat for me, Corwin convinced Daddy to buy a pricey piece of Roquefort, because "it's Mommy's favourite, and she hasn't had any in a long time". You've gotta love the logic of a child who thinks to combine sweet-smelling roses, and stinky cheese!

We are getting a new grocery store close by - it's currently under construction. It will be the kind that has not only groceries, but a very expanded section of items for the home (throw pillows, kitchen gadgets, some furniture pieces, more candles, etc). I must say, I am both curious and nervous to see what they may come home with once this new store opens!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Green Beer Day

For anyone who is Irish, or part-Irish, or feels Irish, or knows someone Irish, or just plain likes to party and drink geen beer :
Happy St. Patrick's Day !!

Looks Like We Made It

Well, it is the last day of March Break, and we've actually had a blast (fender bender not included). On Monday, Clara and Corwin had playdates with different friends (one was here with a friend, one next door), and after lunch they went to see a friend's hockey game. He's five, so it wasn't the fighting kind of hockey game. I know I'm from Canada, but I'm just not into hockey (I'm sorry!! Please don't hate me!!). I was pretty relieved, therefore, when neither child came home with a burning desire to take up the sport.

On Tuesday, we went to a movie with a friend (theirs), her brother (who's in grade 7), and their mother, Lola, who's a friend of mine. It was very enjoyable. When I was little, I loved the original (which apparently was the first remake) of the "Shaggy Dog", and this version had quite a few laughs. Be sure to check out the frog-dog (trust me, it needs to be seen, not described). We came back here (after dropping off the brother - lunch with 3 five year olds is where he drew the line!) for pizza and a playdate. Actually, the kids had pizza, but Lola and I had feasted on our buttery popcorn (I'm talking REAL butter), so we decided to wait to eat. When the kids went downstairs to play, I jokingly pulled out a strawberry daiquiri mix from the freezer and said "lunch?". Lola looked at her watch and said "why not?", so soon we had a nice frozen daiquiri to sip while we chatted. The funniest thing about this was when Corwin came up for something and asked what was in my glass. I told him it was fruit punch, and then said "grown-up punch". Lola laughed, and was convinced that I'd said "grown-up lunch", which it kind of was!

Wednesday was a low-key day, and we signed up for soccer for the summer, and just played around here. For the exciting portion of the day, see the previous post!

Yesterday was filled with a trip to the sugar bush with my sister-in-law and her twelve year old son. Corwin and Clara love spending time with their aunt and cousin, so they were excited from the moment we left the house. The kids had a great time on the sleigh ride through the sugar bush, although I think that Charlie and Peggy (the horses) weren't enjoying it quite as much as we were - it was pretty icy. Then we went to see the barn animals. Corwin was thrilled that there was a duck (he has a thing for ducks - when I painted the dining room, he thought I should paint ducks on the wall. I didn't. He wasn't impressed), and several more horses, mostly Belgians and Belgian/quarterhorse cross breeds. Clara just adored the donkey and the sheep. I became a close friend of a pregnant cow (not dairy) by scratching her ears and the spot just behind the bony ridge on her poll (kind of between her ears). She was leaning her head into my hand, turning from side to side the way our dog does! Unlike last year when we went, none of the baby animals had been born yet, so I guess we'll have to go again. We all had lunch, and maple taffy-on -the-snow before heading home.

Which brings us to today. We are going for lunch and bowling (or maybe a movie, it has changed more than once) with Nancyle and her son. I'm thinking that I should bring the camera to capture what is sure to be an interesting and humourous outing. Clara's feet are so small that they don't make bowling shoes in her size, so we have to bring her hard-soled slippers (these would be pink and fluffy with hearts on them). I'm wondering if I can do the same!

Crash! (and not the Oscar-winning movie)

Okay, crash is kind of an overstatement. More like bump, with a bit of damage. I'm telling you, I should have just stayed in bed on Wednesday. So, I was leaving for my session with the Future-Mrs-K.U., and my aunt was here to babysit Clara and Corwin. As I was backing out of the garage, I clipped my aunt's van. Her van that is so new it still smells new. She's had it for about a month. Yikes.

Of course, I went inside to tell her (and apologize profusely) after I had taken a look and realized that it wasn't that bad. The plastic thing-y (yes, I'm very proficient in car lingo) that is like a hubcap broke, and her mirror had a scratch, as did the plastic trim around the wheel. My vehicle has a miniscule scratch in the paint (as in, when I showed a friend, she had to say "where?" twice), and a tiny little scratch in my plastic around the wheel - both things too small to worry about (it'll have more in normal wear and tear from gravel and salt before the lease is up in two years). My aunt obviously has to get hers fixed, but the bonus is that my uncle works for the car dealership where they got it - he's the service manager - so he'll get a good price on the repair. Before deciding whether to put it through insurance, we decided to wait for the price. The odd thing is what received the most impact was the tire of the van, because it was parked with the tire turned out. So, what seemed like a good thing had me worried about alignment and stuff.

I drove off for my session. Trying to decide what would be best (do I call the husband and deal with it then, or wait until he gets home and hears "Daddy, Daddy, guess what?" from Corwin, and then I get home to very irate husband?), I decided to bite the bullet. Before going any further, let me preface this by saying that this is my first accident. I have been rear-ended, but this is the first accident that I have caused (okay, I scraped a car in England, but that was driving on the wrong side on ridiculously narrow streets and didn't affect my insurance or driving record. Anything like that on a whole other continent really doesn't count). I also have a clean driving record - no speeding tickets, nothing. So, I called. And I told him that I'd had a bit of an accident that was quite minor. And he said "What the f*#% did you hit now?" Excuse me? So I hung up on him.

This was very rich coming from him. Because, and let's get this WAY out in the open, two years ago he did the exact same thing!!! No kidding. He actually backed straight into my aunt's old car (when I said exact, I meant same person and all), not just a little clip on the side. There was some damage to the car, but my aunt and uncle never told us, just that it was no big deal, etc (I just found out that it was over $400). So. . . I called back, and tried to be reasonable and pointed this out. I could tell he was still mad, but I thought maybe he would calm down a bit when he saw my aunt's van and realized that it was quite minor.

When I got home after my session, he wouldn't look at me. And he was even more annoyed because my aunt had called to let me know that there was a driving problem - the front end was messed up (guess I was tight to be worried about alignment, etc). There was nothing we could do until my uncle took it in the next day. The husband remained cold and frosty (good for beer, not so much for husbands), so I was glad I had movie plans.

Today, we found out it was going to be just under $2000. So I called the insurance - after the husband had a small freak out that our insurance was going to go up 25% a month, blah blah blah. Actually, no. Since we have no damage to fix on our vehicle, we have no deductible to pay (yay!). And my aunt will have no deductible because she is not at fault (yay!). And since this is our first mark on our record, it will not affect our record or premium (yay!yay!). Apparently their rule of thumb is that if you have three at-fault "fender benders" within 36 months, they will raise your premium.

So, it has worked out all around. Even good drivers can have accidents, and that's why there's insurance. You'd think my husband would be talking to me by now, huh? Well, he is, but there's still some frostiness. Ah, spring is coming, he's gotta thaw sometime!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A Little Bit Country

Monday, at around 2 pm, I got a call from my client's mother. I thought that she might be rescheduling our session for Wednesday since it's March Break, and they may have made plans. Nope! Instead, it was a wonderful invitation for me. My client is a seventeen year old girl with Down's Syndrome, henceforth to be referred to as The Future-Mrs-Keith-Urban (no, I don't do music therapy with Nicole Kidman, but as my client says: "If it doesn't work out, I'm available!"). Anyway, she loves going to concerts, and has seen Keith Urban twice, and several other artists as well. Her parents are very supportive, and her father also enjoys country (that would be NEW country, not country and western). The Future-Mrs-K.U. had been counting down the days until she was to see Johnny Reed, Terri Clark, and Brad Paisley. Well, it turned out that her mother and brother decided not to attend, and they offered the tickets to me. I offered to pay, and my offer was firmly declined. With very little time to arrange things (the concert started at 7:30), I called my friend, Harmony. She happily accepted, and off we went to meet the Future-Mrs-K.U. and her father.

It was the coolest thing to sit next to the Future-Mrs-K.U. Even though she has Down's, she is very high-functioning, who is quick to express her opinion (and she has quite a few), and she is very passionate about her interests - skiing, swimming, art, Oprah, Dr. Phil, and country music. We were in row K, so quite close to the floor seating, and about halfway from the stage. The Future-Mrs-K.U. was singing along, and dancing in her seat, and giggling at some of the strange get-ups the country fans were wearing (we may have a lot of country fans in Canada, but it isn't that often you see that many cowboy hats - and really bad western shirt/dirndl skirt combos - in the Nation's Capitol!).

Harmony and I really enjoyed the opening act, Johnny Reed - he's Canadian, though I think he's a Scottish transplant, because he has a Scottish accent. We were really there for Terri Clark, though. She rocks! She is a real woman, who looks like a real woman (unlike Shania, who is great, but looks like the fantasy of most men I know, my husband included), and tells it like it is. "Girls Lie, Too", and "I Just Wanna Stay Mad For Awhile" had most of the women in the audience laughing and singing along.

Then Brad Paisley came out. And so did his fan club. We were seated two rows above these four girls who looked cute in their jeans and trendy tops (I'm pretty sure I saw the orange smocked baby-doll style top in the Victoria's Secret catalogue), and their straw cowboy hats (just like the one G bought in Austin when she was asked "why are you dressed so weird" - she would've fit right in here). Anyway, these girls were IN LOVE with Brad Paisley, and Harmony and I felt bad for the poor young man who had been dragged along with them. First we thought he might be just as big of a fan, but then we realized that he was someone's boyfriend, and the designated driver. We also noticed that these girls were smart. They had bought a couple of beer from the concession stand, but I think that was so that they would have the correct plastic beer cups. Their beer cup (clear plastic) never seemed to stay empty for long, though they never left their seats. Then we saw one girl pull out her very large purse, hold her glass nearby, and come back with a full one. Too funny - I can't believe they didn't get caught! The show Brad Paisley put on was good (I'm not that familiar with his repertoire, though I did know a couple of songs), but the Fan Club was highly entertaining!!!

Overall, it was a great evening, especially because it was so last-minute and unexpected. Turns out that the Future-Mrs-K.U. had insisted that the tickets go to me. I don't think she knew how precious of a gift it was for me to experience the concert with her. Keith Urban doesn't know what he's missing.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Ketchup, the ONLY Condiment

As I took my son's lunch request - a wrap with meat, cheese and ketchup - I thought of the obscene amount of ketchup we use in our family. Before we had kids, my husband and I would probably buy 2 bottles of ketchup each year. We use more in the summer, with barbequed hamburgers and the occasional hot dog, and making barbeque sauce when we would run out (ketchup and brown sugar and vinegar and garlic and a few spices, just ad libbing until it tasted okay). We also use some for dipping grilled cheese, and on Tortiere (that would be French Canadian meat pie - and there is supposed to be an accent on the first "e", but I have no idea how to do that on the computer!). So, overall, our ketchup use was very average.

Enter the children. Twins, currently aged 5. One boy, one girl, from now on known as Corwin and Clara (I might as well make use of the second names we had to pick in case we had two boys or two girls!). Okay, their diet started out much like any other babies - breast milk, formula, rice cereal, oatmeal, mushy veggies, mushy fruit, and so on. But once they started with the cut up cooked veggies, and small chunks of chicken, something changed. Clara discovered the art of dipping. She would dip Cheerios into her applesauce. And chicken into her mushy sweet potato. Then, around the age of 2 (I think - it's a little hazy), we went to that Mecca of all kid restaurants - McDonalds. They ate their cut up hamburgers with gusto. And they tried French Fries for the first time. Corwin really liked these golden strips of potato, with or without the ketchup. Clara, on the other had, was not too fond of the fry. However, she recognized it as the vehicle to eat as much ketchup as possible, since we wouldn't let her just drink the red stuff out of the little paper dip cup. If anyone remembers the candy called Lik-M-Stix, you will have the perfect mental picture of this meal. Clara would dip her fry, then lick the ketchup, and go back to dip more. She would eat the fry only when it became too soggy to carry any more of the red nectar to her eager little mouth (we were doling out said fries one at a time).

Back home, Clara started to ask for ketchup with her chicken. And her carrots. And just about anything in between. I realized the sign of the addict when I caught her dipping grapes into her ketchup. Ugh!!! We tried to tone it down, wean her off the red stuff without causing major withdrawal. We offered other dip choices - spinach, Ranch, plum sauce - but she was having none of it. Finally, we just gave in. The only ground rule was that she could not spoon ketchup alone into her mouth, it had to be accompanied by some other food. I am thankful that I took the advice of a friend with a similarly dip-addicted daughter, Lady B. Lady B's uncle (my friend's brother), gave his niece the gift of ketchup. The green one. And the purple one. My friend said that it was the most disgusting thing - it looked like Lady B was dipping her fish sticks into squished caterpillars - and advised me to avoid the introduction of the coloured ketchup. Luckily, it seems as though the Heinz company has removed the offending colours from the product lineup, sticking with classic red.

Now, at the age of five, both kids still enjoy ketchup, and Clara still more so than Corwin. We now use about 6 or 7 containers of ketchup per year - and those are family size bottles (1.5 litres - roughly 1.5 quarts). Clara has improved - she no longer dips fruit, and most of the time vegetables get dipped in ranch dressing, but there is a long list of food that requires a blob of ketchup on the side. The first day that Corwin said he didn't want any was kind of sad. His plate looked a bit naked on the way to the table. I wonder if Clara will one day say "no thanks" to the glistening red puddle, or if she will have it as an elegant side at her graduation/21st birthday/wedding dinner. Only time will tell.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Woo Hoo!!!!!!!

Riding bikes - the kids are right now! All the windows are open, and the lovely trickly sound of water running through the eavestroughing as the snow melts off the roof is music to my ears. We even heard a Mourning Dove cooing. Can the robins be too far behind? I hope not.

Oh, and the Land's End slicker suits and boots arrived in timely fashion yesterday. They have been thoroughly tested in the giant puddle that spans the road (remind me to call the city again in the faint hope that they will fix the grading). Success - even their feet remained dry.
God, I LOVE spring!!!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Misheard Songs

While I was making lunch for the munchkins, an ABBA song came on the radio. Of course, I cranked up the volume and started singing along. Both kids burst into the family room and joined in, singing "Guinea, Guinea, Guineeeea Pi-i-i-i-g" at the top of their lungs. LOL!! I'll never be able to listen to "Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (a man after midnight)" the same way again.

I started thinking about other looney lyrics as we waited for the school bus. Like my husband's four year old niece (who is now 22) singing "every time you go away, you take a piece of meat with you." I'm sure that Paul Young might see the practicality of that lyric, though it's not nearly as romantic as his version. Or the appalled look on my Aunt's face in the early 80s when she listened to the soundtrack to "Flashdance" that I wanted so desperately. Somehow, instead of "take your passion", she was hearing "take your pants down and make it happen." I couldn't figure out why she kept saying that it was disgusting. Once she discovered what the lyrics really were (I had to show her the sheet music!), she bought me the album.

Another favourite from my children is their request that I sing them the "Blueberry" song. The first few times, I had no idea what they were talking about. This was when they were about 2 or so. I mentally went through the repertoire that I sing with or to them. Maybe this was a new song from nursery school? Something from the Wiggles? Then my daughter started humming the first line from "Today", the song that I first sang them when they came home from the hospital, and had sung almost every night since. Here are the lyrics:

Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine
I'll taste your strawberries; I'll drink your sweet wine
A million tomorrows shall all pass away
'Ere I forget all the joys that are mine today

Verse 1:
Oh, I'll be a dandy and I'll be a rover
You'll know who I am by the songs that I sing
I'll feast at your table; I'll sleep in your clover
I'll laugh, and I'll cry, and I'll sing


Verse 2:
I can't be contented with yesterday's glories
I can't live on promises winter through spring
Today is my moment and now is my story
Who cares what tomorrow may bring


Notice that there are absolutely no blueberries mentioned in this song? There are strawberries, which I tried to point out, but no, they still asked for the Blueberry song. And now that they are old enough to realize that there aren't any blueberries, it has forever become known as "The Blueberry Song".

As my children grow and get more into listening to the radio, I'm sure I'll have many more amusing lyrics to add to my collection. But I have the urge to dig out some ABBA to relive the "Guinea Pig" song when they get home from school.

"Grumpy Mommy"

This is what my son has been singing, over and over and over, all morning. Kind of to the tune of "Clementine". He has been periodically doing this for a couple of weeks now, when he doesn't get what he wants. I suppose it's an improvement on "I hate you", which he can say with such venom that my heart withers a little each and every time he utters that phrase. And the moody about-faces are so rapid it takes my breath away. One minute, he's kissing my cheeks and my hands, telling me he loves me and I'm the best Mommy. And then, suddenly, he hates me, and is growly and stomping around.

This morning, he woke early and wanted to go downstairs. I told him it was too early, and to snuggle with me, or in his own bed, or to turn on his light and play or read quietly. This lasted for a few minutes, and then he was back, demanding to go downstairs to watch a movie. And I said no. So, off he went, stomping like a dinosaur, singing "Grumpy Mommy" and waking up his sister. Argh! At least she was happy to go and read for a while.

When we finally went downstairs (at 7:20 am), he refused. He was still singing. A little while later, he came down and ordered me to put a movie on. I, of course, refused. More stomping and singing ensued. During this time, I got breakfast for my daughter, and read her a couple of books. We wrote in her Reading Log for school, and then she went off to play. The stand-off continued. I'm so glad he hasn't learned the art of hostage-taking, because I'm sure he would try it!

Finally, I went up and asked if he was hungry. I offered cereal, or waffles, or bagel and cream cheese. Then, the moment of truce - "Mommy, did you get eggs? Can you make me one of those things that is folded, with cheese in it?". I knew it was a good idea to learn to make a proper omelette! Peace, and a full stomach, makes for a happy boy (who is still angling for a movie, but is content to wait until tonight!)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Ready For Spring

I'm a little miffed at our Canadian groundhogs. On Feb 2, Wiarton Willie didn't see his shadow in Ontario, and neither did Shubenacadie Sam in Nova Scotia. So why is it still white and icy outside? Granted, things have been melting during the day, but when the temperature drops at night, a lovely sheet of ice forms. This is annoying in many ways. Firstly, we all look like penguins, shuffling along and trying to stay upright. It's not very fun to land on your tailbone, or on your head (aside from the embarrassment factor, it's downright dangerous). The second, and potentially most irritating reason, however, is that there is NOTHING to do outside. It's way too icy to go tobogganing, you can't build snowmen or snowforts, and it's still too cold and icy to ride bikes or do anything springlike. Add to the equation the frigid puddles that form during the day, which are like kid magnets, and you have a hideous, sodden mess in the front hallway, with boots and snowpants that just don't dry as fast as required.

So, this is the outdoor scenario that we face as March Break looms on the horizon. A whole week of no school. And two five year olds. Inside. I fear that by the end of next week, I may be writing this blog from a padded room. How difficult is it to type in a straightjacket? The good news is that today, it's freezing rain. Okay, so that's not good, but it's supposed to change to rain, and more rain tomorrow, with a high of plus 9 (that's Celsius, so it's good). If it rains enough, maybe we'll have mud puddles to jump in. Still messy, but less icy. Good thing I ordered the new slicker pants and jackets from Land's End this week. Hopefully, they'll be put to use in the very near future.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Ultimate Omelette

I have been on a quest lately. It has taken dozens of eggs. And quite a bit of butter. But I have been determined to master the making of an omelette. Sounds easy, right? Not so much. It's frustrating to me, because I am a pretty good cook. My husband jokes that he married me for my cheesecake, and those can be tricky to make. The first thing I ever cooked completely by myself (at the age of 11) was chicken cordon bleu - my favourite thing to order at restaurants at that time. It turned out great. So this omelette business has been driving me crazy! Maybe it's because I'm not always the most patient person in the world, but my omelettes have always ended up as scrambled eggs. They taste just fine, but there is something seriously lacking in the presentation. So, a few weeks ago, I decided it was time.

I read the section in the cook's bible, The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer (not the revised one - it's on my "to buy" list). And for added research, I read the omelette directions in "The New Basics" by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins. I found the second set of directions a bit more straightforward, and not as academic (also, their sketches are very helpful). Then I tried to make an omelette with a little cheese. It was okay, but a bit too soft on the inside, and the flip and fold part didn't go so well. Thirty seconds in the microwave firmed up the runny factor, but made the outside a bit too tough. No matter, I ate it anyway.

The next day, I tried again, with a bit of diced onion and mushrooms sauteed in the butter before the eggs were slipped into the pan. (FYI , beat the eggs just before adding to the pan, with a little bit of milk. I find that half & half works better. And don't overbeat the eggs). This time, texture was good, but the flip and fold was a disaster!! The omelette looked like scrambled/chopped eggs by the time I scooped it off the counter and onto the plate. It tasted pretty good, so I figured I was on the right track. A few more days, and a few more eggs, and Voila! I have mastered the art of the omelette! I have made plain omelettes, cheese omelettes, and even a Western. I have added mushrooms, salsa, and even a few chunks of cream cheese to melt lusciously into the cheddar. Amazingly, I'm not sick of them, yet. I think that I'm just so fascinated but the way the whole thing comes together, and the endless assortment of fillings that makes each omelette completely unique. I just don't think that I should get my cholesterol checked anytime soon!

So, I have mastered the art of the omelette. A proud moment to be sure. There is one other recipe that has thwarted me. Ironically, it is also an egg dish. I can make meringue for the top of lemon meringue pie, but the crispy/crunchy meringue for Pavlova. . . aahhhh, now there is another quest.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Call Me Miss Clairol

I just heard the funniest IKEA commercial. The announcer said: "Would you trade your husband for your ideal kitchen?" And I immediately thought "yep". Okay, that could be because I'm still smarting for his careless question on Sunday, asked in a rather snotty voice "how much grey hair do you have?". I guess the answer to that would be "a lot", but I don't think that was my response. I'm recalling something more along the lines of "F*%* off". Yes, I need to go to the salon. I need a cut, and apparently it's time to colour. My hair is dry and has some split ends, but hey, it's winter, and it's dry and staticky and hats are worn, and the option of drip dry is only available if I'm staying indoors for an hour or two. (Freeze dry is for those in their teens - it makes your hair soft, but the style is only appropriate for high school, not work).

The interesting (annoying) thing is that he has just a few greys (we both have dark hair), even though he is a year older. He only got the grey after we had kids. I, on the other hand, got quite a few after my internship from hell (I did 20 of 29 weeks and then quit. After spending an entire weekend crying I realized that my supervisor was nuts and I was going to end up as a patient in the psych facility, not an intern at the facility), and then continued to add silver hair after marriage, and kids. I guess it just means that I am easy to live with, it's the kids that are stressing him out!

Well, gotta go call Kate, my stylist. That would be for me, not him. Plus, as I already mentioned, I'm going to my conference at the end of the month, and I'm certainly not going with hair that looks like this!

23 Days

The countdown has begun! Only 23 days until I fly to Hartford, CT for my regional music therapy conference. The interesting thing is that, belonging to the AMTA (American Music Therapy Association) but living in Canada, I don't really have a region. However, I have several friends in the New England Region, so they invited me to the regional conference a few years ago. Now I have quite a few more friends in the region that has adopted me. It's great, and I look forward to attending the conference each spring. I get to keep up with current music therapy research, earn CMTE (continuing music therapy education) credits (I need 100 every 5 years to maintain my Board Certification status, and I'm NEVER writing that exam again!!), and most importantly, I get to socialize with friends I only see once or twice a year.

Okay, the socializing and the shopping are probably the two things I look forward to the most. Yes, I enjoy my profession, but seriously. . . Bath & Bodyworks, Bass Shoes, and many beer/martini/wine/Baileys with friends, and no kids?! Which would be your favourite part? Last year, Petunia, Bert, G, K and I all went to a disco/seventies night. This shows how much we all love Bert. I've never seen her so happy, dancing up a storm, having many Sour Apple martinis. Frankly, I had enough of the Bee Gees that night to last until I die. This year, G and I, and hopefully Peaches and Petunia, are looking for an Eighties night. Duran Duran, Madonna, a little "Tainted Love" - works for me! Petunia is also planning a "stitch and bitch" evening, but is welcoming those of us who don't knit (that would be me!). I figure that I can contribute to the bitch part - hey, we all have to excel at something. And I'm hoping that CT has the wonderful beer that I discovered last year at the conference in VT. I can't remember the name of the brewery, but there was a Fat Angel beer, and something like a Seventh Heaven or Cloud Nine. Feel free to inform me more fully before I go!

The other cool thing about the NER conference is that it usually falls near my birthday. Last year, Bert, Petunia and I drove from MA to VT on my actual birthday. Peaches wished my a great one when we picked Petunia up (it was great to see her, and on the Sunday, too - so glad she's coming this year!). Petunia had gone all out - she got me a cake, make me a birthday crown, and the BEST slippers (comfy, funky, and most importantly - did not make my feet stink after many, many months of wearing). I was surprised, to say the least. Bert, as always, got me a whole bunch of Bath & Bodyworks - awesome! It was weird not to spend my birthday with my family, but they made it so special, and I wasn't homesick at all. Please don't get me wrong, it wasn't just the gifts. Rather, it was the way they all tried to make my day special. Thanks, guys!!

So. . . 23 days. I have my passport ready. I just hope the airline doesn't lose my bag (again!)

Monday, March 06, 2006

I'm Here!!!!

March 6, 2006

Okay, I did it. Just Jump In. I've had several people tell me that I should start a blog (Peaches, in particular, thinks it would be great to read about my kids). But I didn't know where to start, or what to call it, or myself. Until another friend told me to Just Jump In. So. . . here I am. And my name has evolved as the name I post under on two of my friends' blogs. Canada. That's 'cause I'm from Canada (pretty straightforward, huh?). So, prepare to hear about the joys and frustrations of being married for almost 12 years (together for almost 19 - yikes!); being the mother to very busy, five year old twins; working part-time as a self-employed music therapist; and just life in general.