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Friday, June 30, 2006

The Quaking Dalmatian

So, the Garbage Day Dinner was a great success. Corwin and Clara were thrilled to see Gordon and Gaston, and greeted them at the door with little pictures they had drawn. Corwin could barely wait until they were in the house before taking Gordon to see the tree he had made, and the lizard bead-craft keychain, and his turtle nightlight. After a brief downpour, the rain cleared up, so we were able to sit on the deck. I had a great time introducing our guests to the joys of summer spritzers (white wine, club soda, splash of cranberry - just to tint the liquid a tiny bit pink - and a squeeze of lime) while dinner was cooking. We had West Coast plank salmon (salmon barbequed on water-soaked cedar planks), a toasted hazelnut, asparagus, fennel, apple and zucchini salad, and some crusty baguette and whole wheat bread. For dessert, my first attempt at tiramisu was a big success - whew!

After dinner, Hubby bathed the kids and got them into pajamas. Shortly after, they were tucked up in bed, asleep. The adults got to enjoy the candle lanterns, fairy lights on the pergola, and lively conversation until Gordon and Gaston headed home at around 10. Hubby washed the dishes while I dried, and then he had a shower and went to bed.

And the poor dog is a trembling and quaking mess! Canada Day is tomorrow, July 1. And some people have been letting off fireworks sporadically since just after 10. Jazzy dog hates loud noises like thunder and fireworks. She has been following me around the house, hoping that I'll protect her. The poor thing has been lying under the desk between my feet while I've been on the computer. The pops and bangs seem to have stopped, but I know that the next few evenings will be traumatic for the little spotted one. Good thing we don't live close to the big fireworks show!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Thirteen Children's Novels CANADA Loves

1. Arabel's Raven or The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken
2. The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis (& the rest of the Narnia Chronicles)
3. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling (& the others)
5. Hotel for Dogs by Lois Duncan
6. Mrs Coverlet's Magicians by Mary Nash
7. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
8. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
9. A House Like a Lotus by Madeleine L'Engle (& all of the O'Keefe/Austin books)
10. Maggie Adams, Dancer by Karen Stricler Dean
11. I Want to Go Home or Don't Care High by Gordon Korman
12. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
13. Anne of Green Gables (& the rest of the Anne books) by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Are You Ready For The Summer?

In just a few minutes, I will go to the bus to collect the kids for the last time in their kindergarten years (jk/sk). Where did the time go? I cannot believe that they are almost 6, that they will be going to grade one - full days! - in the fall. And I know that Corwin will be heartbroken. Mrs Mac even looked like she was going to cry when he gave her a rose from my garden (I had to drive their teacher gifts to school, but they took the bus to give the bus driver his thank you gift). I am so lucky that my children were blessed with two wonderful, caring teachers for the past two years. Okay, I'd better stop before I cry!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Yes, I Am That Person Who Makes Friends In Elevators

For those who know me (in real life), this should come as no surprise. Yet another quiz inspired by a visit to Dr Brazen Hussy.

Your Extroversion Profile:
Activity Level: Very High
Friendliness: Very High
Assertiveness: High
Excitement Seeking: High
Sociability: High
Cheerfulness: Medium

Little Miss Grown-Up

So, last night Clara had a bit of a freak-out about grade one. She who has been acting all excited and confident, Little Miss Grown-Up, was giving us a lot of attitude. Belligerance and snottiness was served in heaping portions. I called her on it - change the attitude, or else you'll be spending a lot of time alone in your room. At which point she started crying "I'm not excited about grade one. I don't really want to go to grade one. There's all these words, and I can't read them all! I don't know them!"

I immediately scooped her into a big hug, telling her it was okay. That she didn't need to know everything all at once, that she'll learn more and more. That she's reading more words every day, and doing a great job sounding them out. And that if she's scared, she should tell us, and not act like a grumpy little girl. After a good cry, she perked up and started talking all about grade one, and that she hopes she and Holly (her best friend) are in the same class.

Sometimes, a good cry and a big hug is all it takes to feel better.

Garbage Day Invite

At church on Sunday, Corwin suddenly looked sad. I leaned over and asked him what was wrong. He whispered "I miss Gordon." I pointed out that Gordon was sitting across the church, playing the organ.

"But he hasn't come to our house for a long time. Can he come over this afternoon?"

"No honey, he probably has plans, and you have soccer. . . "

"What about tomorrow?"

"Well, it's Monday, and people have to work. What about Friday?"


"Remember, he might have plans already, but you can ask him after church."

So, after the service, Corwin, Clara, and I went up to the organ to talk to Gordon. Corwin waited patiently while Gordon talked to a few other people. After Gordon said hello to him, Corwin was so excited that he could barely get the words out: "Would you like to come to our house on garbage day?"

Gordon smiled and said "I'd love to come to your house on garbage day."

I spoke up and added the clarification that "just so you know, garbage day at out house is on Friday."

So we're having dinner guests on Friday, also known as garbage day. I hope the weather is nice, because then we can sit out on the deck, and light the lanterns, and really welcome summer.

Tropical Decor

I haven't gone MIA. I've just been recovering. Decorating can really take it out of you! On Friday, I worked from 1:30 until 7pm setting up a Tropical wedding reception. Actually, the couple had been married in January in Turks & Caicos, but they were having the big celebration for family and friends who were unable to join them down south. We transformed the recently built, very elegant hall into a tropical paradise. There were three grass huts, complete with tiki-roofs, set up on tables to serve as food display stations. There were palm trees, and flowering trees, parrots, and a giant alligator. There were flamingos and monkeys, and lots of greenery - palm fronds, and ferns, and splashes of colourful flowers. The flower arrangements on each table had purple dendrobium orchids in a small vase, surrounded by seashells scattered on the table. There were scattered votive candles to provide some ambiance, and on the cocktail tables clustered by the dance floor were flower arrangements in pineapples. The whole effect was of a fiesta in the tropics.

After stowing our bins, bags, and boxes, we headed out to get some dinner, and to rest up for a while. I came home and got to hang out with Hubby, Corwin, and Clara. I had a bath, grabbed a bite to eat, and just relaxed. I took some Advil, because my sore throat was feeling pretty achy (nothing contagious, just from post-nasal drip. Disgusting, I know, but everyone's allergies have been aggravated this year). I even had a bit of a nap from about 10 until 11:15. And I found it hard to get up - very unusual for me. I got dressed and went downstairs to read and to try to wake up. I ended up dozing on the couch, so I left a few minutes early and brought my book to read while I waited. Because once the party is done, the take-down begins. I worked from 12:30 until 4:00 am. Got home at 4:15 or so, and was in bed by 4:30. Still very dark. SO why on earth were the birds all chirping and chattering? Aren't they supposed to wait until it's light? Obscene! But it was nice to fall asleep feeling like I was in an aviary.

Not so nice to be woken at 7:45 by Corwin climbing into bed, talking a million miles a minute. I tried to ignore it, until he started trying to sway the whole bed, pretending it was a ship. At which point I growled "enough!" Hubby wisely took Corwin downstairs. I got up around 8:30, and headed straight for the coffee. I took my time puttering around and getting showered, etc, and then headed to IKEA. On a Saturday. My worst nightmare! But the Bosslady had asked if I would, and I said yes. Had to get pillar candles for that day's event. Completed the task, and was ready to work by 12:30.

Saturday's event was a 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration, complete with a vow renewal ceremony. The cool thing? It was the parents of the groom from the previous night's event. They had planned the back-to-back celebrations so that out of town friends and family could make one trip to celebrate with them. The set up was low-key, but there was still a lot of running back and forth to carry hurricane glass filled with ice-like crystals and pillar candles (18 of them), and two big urns and pillars and flower arrangements. And then the waiting. The ceremony was scheduled for 3. The "bride" was late! They arrived around 3:30. And we waited. And waited. Man, it was hot. I ran out of water. And my throat was sore. Finally, the mass ended, and we had to undecorate, pack up, and take the arrangements to the reception site. The hotel had a gorgeous room for the function, and we got the arrangements and the votives set up quickly. The linens were a shimmery taupe, and the flowers were in tropical hues - roses, freesia, Bells of Ireland, and lots of variegated pittosporum and leather fern. I also got to read the menu, which made me hungry! We got home around 6 pm. A lovely sight - Hubby had dinner just about ready, so I got to enjoy dinner with the kids and the husband.

Later that evening, I blended up some pina coladas with dark rum, and Hubby and I sat out on the deck for a while, enjoying the warm evening breeze. Sweet.

Friday, June 23, 2006

A Good Day

Just pulled out my little, woven summer purse. And found money. Only $10, but still. Love it!

And did I mention that today, my ribs and abs no longer hurt? I did a major workout both Monday and Tuesday at the gym. Can you say "ow"? Which leads me to question my sanity in signing up for Boot Camp. Harmony and I will take this intense, 8 week class (okay, it's only an hour/week) starting July 5. Oh boy! I just need to get into shape again. I have extremely strong abs - I can feel them, they are rock hard. The problem is that they are. . . shall we say, "well upholstered". Gotta change that!

Off to decorate! (see previous post)

Work or Play?

Well, I finished with all but one music therapy client for the summer. I have my last session on Tuesday. It's always fun to come back in September and see how much the kids have grown, or what new things they have learned. My Thursday evening client always has new music to share that his cousins introduce him to while he's at the cottage. Of course, it doesn't mean that the Beatles aren't still his favourites!! So, I'll be playing the guitar less, and the flute more. And there's still the matter of that psalm I'm scheduled to sing. (don't think about it, don't think about it!!!)

I'm pretty excited because I'll be doing some decorating work. My neighbour is an event planner, and I started to work for her on an as-needed basis just before Christmas. I helped decorate ScotiaBank Place for Christmas, as well as many other locations, and worked several events such as a Casino night, and a winter ball. Setting up is always fun - it's a lot of work to turn a plain room into a magical wonderland of some specified theme, but the transformation is amazing. And take-down. Well, let's just say that it's a good thing it goes faster than setting up, because we usually start anywhere from midnight to 1:30 am. And then we have to go unload at the warehouse. This really sucked in the winter, when it was -30 with a windchill. Brrr! Or the couple of occasions that torrential rain decided to fall during the unloading portion. At 5 am, you just want to crawl into bed, not get drenched with frigid precipitation while carrying lanterns, suits of armour, disco balls, or giant shoe-chairs!

The weather today looks great for the load/unload. Not too hot, not too humid, not supposed to rain. Awesome!! Today, there are two events. One is a wedding, and the other is a Tropical Fiesta. I have no idea which I'm doing, but I'll only be going after the kids go to school this afternoon. Apparently, we'll decorate until about 6 pm, then take-down begins around 12:30. And I'm working all day tomorrow, setting up a 50th Anniversary party. The good news? Seems like there's no take-down for that one, so I'll be home around 5.

Truly, the pay isn't great for the work, but I love it. I get paid to decorate stuff and be creative. And Hubby is really happy that I'm decorating OTHER people's places, especially at Christmas . I'm kind of obsessive - we have 4 full-sized Christmas trees, and every room has something Christmassy. He's hoping that I won't have time to do as much here this year, if I'm doing a lot of outside decor. HA! Like that'll happen.

Well, time to get things organized for the day (kids' snacks, bathing suits to swim at their after-school playdate/babysitter, etc). And I have my fingers crossed that if there are chair covers involved in either event, they will be done before I get there!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about Canada

Memorable Hotels/Inns/B&Bs I've Stayed At:
1. Amberley Castle (Amberley, nr Arundel, West Sussex, England)
2. Biltmore Hotel (Coral Gables, Florida, USA)
3. Acrylic Dreams B&B (Stratford, Ontario, Canada)
4. Hotel du Lac Carling (Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, Quebec, Canada)
5. Hilton Cairns (Cairns, Queensland, Australia)
6. The Mill House Inn (Trebarwith, Cornwall, England)
7. Twenty Nevern Square (London, England)
8. Westin Harbour Castle (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
9. Club Maeva (Manzanillo, Mexico)
10. Renaissance Cleveland Hotel (Cleveland, Ohio, USA)
11. Inns at Mill Falls (Meredith, New Hampshire, USA)
12. Hilton Austin (Austin, Texas, USA)
13. Hilton Hawaiian Village (Oahu, Hawaii, USA)

I have a memory for each. Like Number 1 - we stayed in the Arundel Suite. Wow.
Number 2 - saw it every day when I was doing my Master's, stayed there for one night before I defended my thesis. Awesome room service, spectacular pool.
Number 3 - Hubby and I stayed there often when we were engaged (and would go to the Stratford Festival). Spent our wedding night there, went again when the kids were almost a year old (alone!!!), and will be going again in July. Check out the links - they are all unique in some way. Club Maeva - our honeymoon. Inns at Mill Falls - a wonderful time with friends at a conference (Ditto Hilton Austin and Renaissance Cleveland. The latter - they had messed up our reservations, and we got a suite. With a crystal chandelier and dining room table - click on the suite!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Missin' Miami

It's been almost 11 years since I've been to Miami. I lived there for two and a half years, while I did my Master's at University of Miami, and my internship at Miami Children's Hospital. It was a wonderful experience (well, I could have done without the Hurricane Andrew portion of it), but I knew that I would never want to live there full time. The bugs - eeew! "Palmetto bug" is just a fancy way to say cockroach, and they are HUGE!!! I missed having seasons - I mean REAL seasons, not just warm and dry vs hot and humid. The hardest thing was not having fall. And the constant, eternal sunshine. Being from Canada, where there is a good mix of rain and snow and cold, I never thought I'd say this, but - my God, it's too damn sunny! I remember a week of unusual weather for Miami. It was cool(ish)and drizzly, just a fine misty rain. I was so happy - I had my windows open and just reveled in the overall greyness of the sky. I'm not sure what this says about me, but I guess I enjoy being melancholy occasionally.

One place that I love in Miami (well, technically Coral Gables) is the Venetian Pool. It was just around the corner from my apartment on Catalonia Ave, and I could walk there in 5 minutes. There hours during the "winter" months were a bit out of sync with mine (pesky classes), but I would get there every week or so. I loved swimming in the cool, clear water. It was just amazing, and there were several times when it was just me swimming. There is nothing like this here, nor anywhere else that I have been.

I think what has made me think about it lately is that the kids have been to swimming lessons, as well as swimming in other friends' pools, and I can't imagine having a kidney-shaped, plastic-lined, chlorinated body of water as part of my landscape. That's not to say that I don't enjoy swimming, or that I'm not appreciative of our neighbours' generosity in inviting us for a dip. It's just that I like the look of something more natural, and integrated with the landscaping. I have seen many pictures in design books of stunning, natural-looking pools, but this is the only one I've seen up close and personal. Granted, it's a little large scale for the average homeowner (820,000 gallons!!!), but they did an amazing job of turning a gravel pit into something beautiful, for everyone to enjoy.

So when I say that I miss swimming in Miami, sometimes I mean in the ocean. But more often than not, I'm talking about the Venetian Pool.

And I still crave the hot and sour soup at Lotus Garden on Ponce de Leon, in the little strip mall in front of the Publix. It is still there. I'm sure their soup still kicks ass in a big way. *sigh*

Kindergarten Stress

Corwin is having some major anxiety about going to grade one next fall. As school has been winding down, the teachers are getting the senior kindergarteners ready to transition to full days at school. They have toured the grade one classrooms, met the three teachers (of course they've seen them before, but this time it was more "one of these will be your teacher next year"), and they have been going out for recess with the older kids, instead of just jk/sk. Clara is so excited - she can't wait, and there are more girls to giggle and skip with.

Corwin, on the other hand, is devastated. He has been with Madame (the French teacher) and Mrs Mac for two years - both jk and sk. He absolutely adores Mrs Mac, and he also doesn't anticipate change very well. The same kind of issues came up when they finished nursery school and were headed to junior kindergarten in the fall of 2004. He was worried about taking the bus, worried about getting lost in the new school, worried that he wouldn't like his new teacher "because M & K are the BEST! *sob* And what if the new teachers aren't nice?" Obviously, it all worked out well - now Madame and Mrs Mac are the BEST!

I have tried to minimize his anxiety by pointing out that he will still be in the same school, he has friends there, and that he will still see Mrs Mac at school, even if he isn't in her class. A few weeks ago, on a Saturday night, he couldn't fall asleep. When I went in to see him, he started crying, saying "What if grade one is too hard? What if I can't do it? And I'm going to miss Mrs Mac!!!!", at which point he dissolved into body-heaving sobs. It's breaking my heart.

I'm very glad they have been going out for recess with the older kids, because one day he voiced, in mounting hysteria "and in grade on, you sit at a desk all day, with stupid tennis balls* on your chair, and you just sit - ALL DAY - and there are NO TOYS!!!!" At least he now understands that there will be two recesses as well as a long lunch break in which to play. They will also be allowed on the big kid play structure, and there are more things to do during recess when you're bigger.

Sometimes , though, I think the hardest part for him is the transitioning. It is a bit dragged out, and every day there is more anticipation of one thing ending and another to begin. Once school ends for the year, he will have a bit of closure with Mrs Mac (we've had part of her gift since April!), and then he will have the summer to play and relax without constantly thinking about grade one. I'm sure that the last week of August will be a little stressful, but then before he knows it, Labour Day will happen, he'll be back at school, and I'm sure his next teacher will be the BEST, too. I hope.

*tennis balls - all the kids have cut tennis balls on their chair legs so that it minimizes the scraping sound when the chairs are dragged. Cheaper than the felt pads that stick on, and they stay on better (although it does look a little odd!)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

My Next Vacation? Maybe Not!

I'm going in the rainy season, during which time a swamp the size of Belgium forms (no, really...it's true!). Malaria is rife. Cholera broke out recently. Dysentery, Typhoid, Rabies, Snakes, Scorpions, Spiders, Centipedes, Bugs that excrete acidic goo, rats, mice, larvae that burrow under the skin, ticks, fleas, and other microscopic nasties all exist in brutal harmony. And then there are the landmines which no-one marked when the minefields were set, and which tend to migrate during the rainy season (they move with the soil) so that a previously cleared route will likely no longer be... Granted, there aren't people shooting at us, but there have been a couple of attacks by "unknown groups" against UN compounds in the past weeks, thank God for force protection, even if they are (by all accounts) reasonably useless... and there are the machete-wielding maniacs, too.

There's no decent or indecent infrastructure so that we can expect roads and bridges to be washed out which means that the scope to patrol is limited...although the protection force has a number of river patrol boats where they can insert us to do our patrols on foot instead of vehicles ...But it's the rainy season (did I mention that already?) so it's likely that helicopters will be grounded a lot of the time so if something nasty does happen we won't be able to get a medevac for hours or possibly days...which means that if it's relatively serious someone will likely die. Luckily I will have two morphine syringes to ease the pain...my own!

And of course I really have no idea where I'll be. The UN could grab me based on my staff and logistics experience and plunk me in an air-conditioned office, or I could be in a Sector HQ, or in an isolated mud-hutted team site.

Did I mention I'm going to be unarmed?

This is an excerpt of an e-mail from an old friend of mine. He deployed on Friday as a UN Military Observer. I'm not revealing where - and since there are envoys to so many scary places, you can all have fun trying to guess his location. He'll be gone for 6 months - I'm sure his girlfriend is hoping to have him back in one piece in time for Christmas. Be safe, PoD.


Or revenge of the bees? I don't know about everyone else, but when I find a new blog that I like, I have to read back through the archives - I'm just curious that way (some would say nosy, but that's their problem, right?)

Well, imagine the laugh I got when I read back in the archives of Luckybuzz to discover that she had bumblebee issues of her own - ten days before mine!

So. . . beware the bees! Something's abuzz this year!

Monday, June 19, 2006

WA-A-A-A-AY Too Cute

Why can't I have wildife like this in my backyard? We do have lots of birds, and we finally have squirrels (there really weren't any when we first moved in). We even have a rabbit (who is lucky to still be alive after it killed my magnolia last year!), but really. . . . who wouldn't want this little guy to visit?

This is in Deer Lake, Nfld. Maybe it should be renamed Moose Lake! Thanks to Nancycle for sending the pics to me.

Corwin's Decree

"If you keep the rocks in the garden like that, Mum, we don't have to move."

This from a five year old. Who has recently decided he hates our house. Not because of the fact that it's the Money Pit, but because he just doesn't like it. Our basement isn't big enough. His room isn't big enough. He likes Grandpappy's office better than mine. Why don't we have a pool like our neighbours and Gramma and Grandpappy? At least he hasn't started dissing the kitchen, because I might have to join in (I mean, I know exactly what I'd do if we renovated, but unless someone dies or we win the lottery, it just won't be happening!)

I got really annoyed about the constant "I hate our house" comments - enough already. Our other house was awesome, but a two bedroom bungalow (with a loft) doesn't cut it when you have twins - we needed a bit more space. This is what I told him. He didn't care. So, I told him to start saving his money, and that we would move when he could buy a house and pay all the costs involved, including movers. The poor kid. Every penny he has found has gone in his piggybank for his house. He was originally saving for a blow-up killer whale to take swimming. He still can't afford the whale, let alone a whole house!

Well, yesterday, after the sleepover at my sister-in-law's, he noticed the minor changes I had made in the garden. I put river rock along the edge of the garden where it meets the front path, in the hopes that the dirt will stop running onto the path when it rains. So far, so good. According to Corwin, it is just beautiful, "like one of those model homes." And if I keep it like this, we don't have to move.

He's saving for the whale again. Damn, I was kinda looking forward to a brand new house!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Spaghetti Strap Debacle

Incoming rant - just a little one, though.

So, Corwin and Clara go to Catholic school. The irony - we had to use MY baptismal certificate to get them in, since Hubby couldn't find his. I was baptised Catholic, but always went to Anglican with my Mom. Hubby was VERY Catholic, and I think it still bothers his parents somewhat that he is very firmly Anglican now (really, two religions couldn't be much closer!). Anyway, the Catholic school near us is very good - good teachers, good facilities, etc - so that's why we chose it. Corwin and Clara are probably "church-ier" than a lot of the kids who attend, since we go to church, and they go to Sunday school.

My issue is regarding the dress code. Every year, it seems that there are people who want to introduce a uniform. I'm totally fine with it, and have voted yes. Obviously, many others don't feel the same, so it hasn't passed yet. But there is an "optional uniform". There are articles of clothing available to purchase, and the school colours are highly suggested. Whatever. Either there is a uniform, or there isn't. I send them to school in navy/tan/white for pictures, but other than that, I'm not too concerned. After all, they are only in senior kindergarten. When they are older, there will be spirit days, etc, and they can get some school shirts with crests.

There is also a dress code. And overall, I think it is sensible. But I think they are a little over the top on some things. I completely agree that decent, not-revealing clothing is what needs to be worn to school. Clara has an outfit with a halter top and capri pants that isn't appropriate for school - it is a backyard play/going to the park kind of outfit. She also has a tummy-baring tank top with spaghetti straps that is in the same category. And many pairs of slide-on shoes (flip-flop style, but dressier) that are not for running/skipping/jumping, and therefore are not for school. What I don't understand is the teacher telling the girls that "you aren't allowed to wear spaghetti straps to school" when Clara and another little girl were wearing sundresses - that were NOT revealing at all. Hello, they are FIVE years old. FIVE. The straps were not slipping off (she has one dress that used to do that, so I wouldn't let her wear that until we remedied the problem - thanks Gramma!). Let's see, is it a good idea to make them feel ashamed of their bodies when they are not doing anything wrong, there is nothing to reveal, and it's hot out? The dress in question, let me add, is one that she wears to church. It is completely respectable.

The most interesting part of this is that Clara hasn't reported anything about it to me, and continues to wear her sundresses. The teacher hasn't sent anything home regarding the issue, either. But Corwin freaks out every day that Clara wears a sundress - "Cla-RA, you aren't allowed to wear spaghetti straps!! Remember what Madame said?!" I think that the powers-that-be need to get a grip, and let little kids just be kids.

Oh, and did I mention that Clara and Corwin will be separated in grade one? At our request. I can't handle the tattle-tale thing anymore!!!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

I know, two in a row. But I forgot it was Thursday (because I usually have a client on Thursday, but it was rescheduled for tomorrow. So I had to cancel my massage. Which means I'm going to remain tense. So don't piss me off, 'kay? :) Just add your Thursday Thirteen link and we'll all be happy! If you want to play, add your links or your 13 in comments.

  1. Love Actually
  2. Under the Tuscan Sun
  3. Cry Freedom
  4. Sixteen Candles
  5. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  6. Harry Potter (all of them, but esp The Philosopher's Stone)
  7. Pretty Woman
  8. Sliding Doors
  9. The Breakfast Club
  10. Mildred Pearce
  11. Four Weddings and a Funeral
  12. Bend It Like Beckham
  13. Gone With the Wind

Early Morning Meme

Borrowed from Luckybuzz a while ago, and finally filled in this morning.

10 Favorites
Favorite Season: Autumn
Favorite Color: Green.
Favorite Time: Evening (and that part of dusk in the summer when the light is muted)
Favorite Food: Sushi. Chocolate. I can't pick.
Favorite Drink: frozen lime margarita, no salt
Favorite Ice Cream: Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby
Favorite Place: Tree Fort at Circle R Ranch
Favorite Sport: to watch: show jumping. To play: beach volleyball or soccer
Favorite Actor: John Hannah. C. David Johnson
Favorite Actress: Julia Roberts. Jodie Foster

9 Currents
Current Feeling: barely awake
Current Drink: coffee
Current Time: 8:17 am
Current Show on TV: to watch? Grey's Anatomy - damn summer hiatus!
Current Mobile used: the one that is lost!
Current Windows: this post, e-mail in another
Current Underwear: skin-toned thong, matching bra
Current Clothes: brown yoga pants, blue t-shirt
Current Thought: I have so much to do! Yet, here I am blogging!

8 Firsts
First Nickname: variation of my real name
First Kiss: Jason Zandri, grade 6 (that I really remember)
First Crush: Luc, neighbour of my grandparents (I was 4, he was about 15!)
First Best Friend: Kathleen Gates (gr 1), Kevin McDonald (neighbour, 1 yr younger)
First Vehicle I Drove: white Hyundai Pony. First new: Red VW Jetta
First Job: jr staff at Circle R Ranch/clerk at The Brass Touch
First Date: it's too early to remember that!
First Pet: Snoopy, a poodle/Newfie mix.

7 Lasts
Last Drink: sangria last night
Last Kiss: Husband, last night
Last Meal:popcorn & diet coke at the movie. (okay, salad & 1/2 chicken breast before)
Last Web Site Visited: various blogs
Last Movie Watched: The Break Up, last night
Last Phone Call: Weasley (to say my cell phone's not in his car)
Last TV show Watched: Landscaper's Challenge (on HGTV)

6 Have You Ever...
Have You Ever Broken the Law: ummm. . . probably. . .
Have You Ever Been Drunk: well, duh
Have You Ever Kissed Someone You Didn't Know: yes
Have You Ever Been in the Middle/Close to Gunfire: once - I was about 9
Have You Ever Skinny Dipped: yes, but not recently!
Have You Ever Broken Anyone's Heart: apparently (and have since apologized)

5 Things
Things You Can Hear Right Now: birds chirping outside
Things On Your Bed: a dalmatian, a bathrobe, a whole bunch of pillows
Things You Ate Today: coffee, bite of Clara's cinnamon waffle
Things You Can't Live Without: my kids, my husband, my dog, my family. Music. Books
Things You Do When You Are Bored: read. clean.

4 Places You Have Been Today
Sitting Room (where the computer is)

3 Things On Your Desk Right Now
green Ireland Dial phone
Canadian House and Home magazine
Clara's hairbrush

2 Choices

groceries with the kids or when they go to school?
what to make for Hubby's birthday dinner tonight?

1 Place You Want To Visit
Provence/French Countryside

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Patio Breezes

Last night, our choir sang at the Ordination of five new deacons. One of them was the lovely woman who has been at St John's for her internship. Happily, she will be staying with our parish now that she is ordained. The whole choir wasn't there, but we had good representation. The cathedral was beautiful, but man it was hot! The polyester choir robes probably had something to do with the perspiration factor, as did the intense lighting near the choir stalls.

Afterwards, I asked Weasley if he wanted to go for a drink somewhere. He had been losing his voice a bit and was plagued by a tickle in his throat which triggered a stifled coughing fit during the sermon. So, I understood when he begged off, since he was tired. At that point, Lord Elgin asked if we wanted to join him for a glass of wine on the patio of the establishment where he works. I said sure, but teasingly pointed out that "Weasley's too tired, though." Yep, we shamed him into joining us. It turned out that my car was blocked in, so Weasley drove. He was about to park a little up the street from our destination when Lord Elgin asked what he was doing. No, no, we had to park closer. In the tour bus parking at the hotel, in fact. Was there a rope to prevent people from doing this sort of thing? Of course, but that didn't stop us! It's great to know people with connections.

We sat on the patio, which was lovely. Would have been even lovelier had the fairy lights in the trees been on, but there was some sort of malfunction. Lord Elgin was NOT impressed (hmmmm, can we say lecture? I'm betting the maintenance guy was going to get a big one the next day!). Anyway, we each ordered a glass of wine (by the glass, as we all had different wines) and sat chatting. Weasley's best friend, Harry, came to join us, too. Yes, me and three men. Don't get too excited - that would be me and three gay men. And let me tell you, Lord Elgin has some pretty hilarious (and wild!) stories to share. He's a bit older than the rest of us, so he has a wealth of "back in the day" stories. I think it was about 11:30 when the party broke up.

Lord Elgin walked us to Weasley's car to get his stuff - no one wants to drag a choir robe to the patio. This is when we discovered that Lord Elgin had forgotten to tell anyone at the establishment that we had parked in the tour bus parking. Thankfully, the car had not been towed, or even ticketed. But there was a warning about towing in the future. Unfortunately, it had been taped, with a load of Scotch tape, to Weasley's window. And the paint on his car. (yes, someone else would be getting a lecture the next day - fine to put the warning, but potentially damaging someone's paint is very bad indeed). Anyway, Lord Elgin walked the block and a half home, Weasley and I dropped Harry at his place, and then he brought me to my car. Both of us decided that we were hungry (salad for dinner many hours earlier doesn't hold up through all that singing), so we met up at the Golden Arches and grabbed a burger before heading to our respective homes.

Oh, and somewhere between the cathedral and home, my cell phone has disappeared. Argh! I'm hoping it's rolling around under the seats in Weasley's car. Hide and seek, anyone?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Of Knights and Valour

And princesses in pink. Corwin and Clara had their ballet recital yesterday. As annoying as the chilly, below-seasonal weather has been, it was a blessing for recital day. For the past two years, it was makeup-melting hot. This year, since Corwin was wearing tights as part of his costume, cool temps were welcome!

Their class was doing a Princesses and Dragonslayers theme. The princesses were in pink, with Romantic-style pink tulle skirts (think Giselle, not Swan Lake), pink leotard, pink tights, and a silvery crown perched on their heads. The three boys in the class were all outfitted in black tights, Crusade-style tunics, knight hoods . . . and swords! Yes, the highlight for Corwin was the sword. Their teacher (who also happens to be the owner of the dance school) wisely kept the swords until the performance. Having two boys of her own, she knew that they faced destruction from overplay if the boys got their hands on their props before the show.

The kids had fun and Corwin didn't wipe out and take anyone with him this year (last year, he was distracted by some scenery at the back of the stage, and tripped, bringing the two kids behind him down as well. That's my son!!). Unfortunately, at the last minute they added helpers. This year, the dancers were supposed to be on stage alone, without older dancers as helpers. They were supposed to remember the choreography, as they had been practicing for a while. Well, some children weren't able to remember, so they added helpers on the day of the performance. That meant cutting some stuff, changing the choreography, and totally pissing off Corwin. He was adamant about not taking the older boy's hand, and he grumbled to me later "I knew my steps!". Lady B, Lola's daughter, was also disappointed, because it was confusing to have to relearn steps at the last minute. Clara didn't really mind. She knew her stuff, but she likes hanging out with the older dancers, and showing off to them. Besides, the girls who were helping had beautiful costumes, and for Clara, it's all about the fashion.

Some good news - Corwin hasn't declared his retirement this year!! For the past two years, right after the recital, Corwin has decided that he's retiring. Yet, in the fall when Clara shopped for new ballet slippers and headed off to class, he decided to go, too. We'll see what this September has in store. As for Clara, she's bound and determined that she's staying until she learns to dance en pointe, so we have a few more years at least. And she also wants to learn tap. Not to mention violin. My little artsy-kid!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Better Than Being Beheaded!

Anna of Cleves got the royal shaft. She came all the way to England to become the fourth wife of Henry VIII. Once married to Anna, he refused to consummate the marriage, and called her the "Flanders Mare". Talk about a burn, considering that by this time, Henry was the fattest man in England and had a rotting syphilis sore on his leg.

Anna was miffed, but she was too sensible to let it ruin her fun. She was given an annulment and a fat yearly allowance, and she threw extravagant parties and dined on delicacies for the rest of her life.

Which of Henry VIII's wives are you?
this quiz was made by Lori Fury

Thanks to Dr Brazen Hussy, who manages to find cool quizzes and such despite her recent move and new job!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Crazy Weeks

Well, in the world of pink-eye, soccer, school, and ballet recitals - time flies! So, here is a quick recap of where we stand:

Pink-eye is gone. Clara also finished her twice daily double drops last night. Much to her relief. Corwin managed not to get it. Yay for hand-washing!

Soccer started on May 28. The soccer club made a whole bunch of poor choices this year, like deciding to change from organized to street soccer. After registration. Kind of like booking and paying for a cruise that has 7 scheduled stops, and you have the itinerary for which islands you will be visiting, then a month before the cruise they tell you that they have scrapped that plan and will just let the captain of the ship cruise wherever he feels like it, with no scheduled stops. I don't think so! Allow me to define: soccer is one hour/week. Organized means they do "drills" - little games and such where all of the kids get ball time. Then they play another team for half an hour on a smaller soccer field. The kids are between 4.5 and 6 years of age. If they score goals, woo hoo, but no winners are declared, and stats aren't kept - it's all for learning the game and having fun. Street soccer has no drills, no real rules, and we can do that at the park without forking out $100 per child (or $150 if you missed the early registration date). Anyway, lots of parents had issues, they were forced to create two leagues, and they were really pushed for time in forming the teams. The conveners didn't get the info until Friday May 26. They had to make up the teams that night and soccer started on the 28. Lots of people who had made requests to be on the same team (such as Lola's daughter Lady B and Clara and Corwin) were disappointed. The biggest annoyance? The conveners were not given many, many of the requests. The kids are all having fun anyway, but a big issue for Lola and I was for carpooling. Her husband travels a lot for work, and their older son is in competitive soccer. Hopefully she won't be expected to be in two places at once.

Choir ended last week. Last Thurs was our last rehearsal before the summer, and on Sunday we sang Mozart's Veni, Sancte Spiritus, accompanied by strings and organ. It was awesome. The choir social/barbeque was right after church at a choir member's house, complete with pool. My tenor friend,Weasley, and I got there shortly after noon. I got a ride home with the organist and his husband just before 6pm. What a great way to spend an afternoon. I have also been asked to be the cantor for a psalm this summer. And I agreed. I feel slightly ill every time I think about it, but there's lots of time for practice. And hey, it's summer, so a lot of people are away on vacation, right?

I finally saw The Da Vinci Code on Monday. I say finally because it was my third attempt. The first week, V. was unable to go to an early show, and she has been getting up obscenely early for work, so a later one wasn't possible. Last week, we were en route to the theatre when she realized that there was no way she would be able to sit through a whole movie - she was pretty sure she had a bladder infection. We went to the clinic and her suspicion was confirmed. So we did it on Monday. It was good, though the way they changed a bit of the ending from the book (re Sauniere and his relationship to Neveu) pissed me off. What can I say? I'm a bit of a purist.

Clara and Corwin had their recital rehearsal last night. We still don't know if they are dancing before or after intermission on Sunday. Very frustrating. And my parents arrive today for the big recital, so the kids are hopping with excitement. Although Clara slept in until after 9! Why can't they both sleep in on the same day? What malevolent force makes one child get up at 7, while letting the other sleep for two more hours? (although the lack of fighting in that two hours is pretty blissful, so I won't complain too loudly!)

Anyway, parents coming, time for frantic cleaning!!!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Who Knew?

On my little jaunt to New York back in March, I had some fun at Sephora in Times Square. In addition to the false eyelashes that I purchased (still waiting to have somewhere to wear them!), I also bought some Lip Venom. I know I mentioned this in a previous post, just after I got back, but I hadn't experienced the "who knew" part yet. Lip Venom is for those, like me, who do not resemble Angelina Jolie in the lip department (okay, or any other department, but back to the lips). It is supposed to make your lips plumper. As much as Peaches told me that it was working, that she could see my lips get bigger, I had my doubts. I thought it was just the high shine making my lips look bigger, with the cinnamon tingle for effect.

Well, I discovered that it does work, at least to a small degree. Because if I use the stuff within 8 hours of playing my flute, my embouchure (the way you hold your lips to play) is all screwed up. My lips are in the way - for the first time in my life. And it's not such a good thing.

Pink Is A Beautiful Colour

Said Clara. Yes, honey, but not so much in eyes. Yep, poor Clara woke up all green and crusty in one eye on Wednesday morning, and bright red when she opened her eye. We've never had pink eye here, but I was pretty sure that this was it. So, off to the doctor we went, and sure enough . . . diagnosis confirmed. We got the drops and bathed her eye (while being entertained by Corwin's non-stop chatter), and then she really bathed her eye with tears, because she didn't want to miss school. Poor Clara.

She was doing much better, and probably would have gone to school yesterday. Except for the vomiting in the middle of the night. Oh, the best part - she didn't "make it". She was so upset, although it wasn't a big deal (and thankfully wasn't too bad), but I was doing laundry at 1:30 in the morning (the bonus - our laundry is right outside Clara's room, so it was a short trip). Anyway, she'd recovered considerably by late afternoon, and she will be back at school today.

Time for more eyedrops. And I've still got to post about Corwin's big Camporee experience. The bottom line - he loved it!!!