Wednesday, December 28, 2011

WHY ARE YOU ALL BLOGGING AT CHRISTMAS TIME???

Like I need this pressure? I thought we were friends!

 Fine. Fine!!

 First of all, my husband went out and bought a new TV today, which kind of ticks me off because how am I supposed to mock people for Boxing Week shopping when my husband is Boxing Week shopping? On the other hand, our old TV fell prey to this creeping blue digital fungus months and months ago and now I can't even type without my eyes constantly wandering over to the TV because the picture! It's so bright! and clear! and people look like people and not like half-people half-grey-blobs. I don't even like hockey but damn! this hockey game looks GORGEOUS! So that's our Christmas present to each other plus Matt's 40th birthday present. Plus a college fund or two, who counts?

 After all the crazy lead-up annoyances, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were blissful. I was making Christmas Eve dinner for the ten of us (my sister and her family, my Mom and Dad and the four of us), but I did most of it ahead of time, so my sister and my nephew came over to hang out with me and Eve while I did finish-up stuff, Angus and Matt went over to my Mom's to hang with my niece and brother-in-law, we started drinking at noon and my sister perused the book I bought for my Dad and totally did NOT help my cause when I kept telling Eve it was inappropriate for her, while being interrupted by my sister braying with laughter every second page. At least she wrapped it for me when she was done laughing on it.

 Eve loves my sister. I mean REALLY loves her. My sister is tall and dresses beautifully and wears makeup and jewellery pretty much every day. Her shoes have heels on them. My sister also has a daughter that sat up in bed one morning when she had to get up for church and said "me no wear a dress". She was two at the time and had probably never worn anything BUT a dress. We can count on one hand the number of times she's worn one since. She plays hockey and basketball, and she skateboards. So my sister likes spending time with Eve too. This is just after my sister gave Eve, in her words, "the hair I've always dreamed of"















Then they went up to her bedroom and did a photo session, complete with costume changes. Because my sister is also a very accomplished photographer. And a pharmacist. Okay, it's a good thing I'm fairly secure about how much Eve likes me and that I'm NOT an entire waste of space as a human being, or I would have to stop and just tell you all to go be friends with my SISTER and read HER blog instead, WAH! Wait, my sister doesn't have a blog. Thbfft.

My stupidly beautiful daughter:





Then everyone else came over, and we ate and drank and the kids did some weird air-light-sabre dance in the living room:


Yeah, that's what you get from my camera - and I wouldn't buy drugs from me either.

I'd been sad because Mickey's Christmas Carol hadn't been on TV, and we've watched it every year since the kids were very small.  They both roll on the ground helpless with laughter at the part where the big fat giant who's the Ghost of Christmas Present tells Scrooge of course he's not going to eat him because "there are such good things to eat at Christmas like roast goose and suckling pig and (something else I can't remember) with pistachba -- with mistachma -- with meshuggamashuggama -- uh, with yogoit".  The first time I made them pistachio pudding they could barely stop laughing long enough to eat it.  Anyway, I had looked on Netflix and iTunes and nobody had it, so finally I just Googled it and, wouldn't you know it, it was on YOUTUBE.  For FREE.  And we have an Apple tv so we could play it on the tv, and they had all these other classic Disney Christmas cartoons so we all watched for a while in the dark with candles and Christmas lights and it was delightful.

Then everyone else went home and we put the kids to bed in the basement.  I let Matt go to bed after he helped me carry up presents because he was still on Japan time and it seemed cruel to make him stay awake.  I stuffed stockings then watched the season one Christmas episode of Community, then snuck downstairs to put the kids' stockings on their beds and manged not to knock anything over and wake them up.  Then I went to bed for a refreshing four hours of sleep or so.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Under an Afghan Meatball

So Angus's class was having World Expo today - they all picked a country to study and present about. Angus chose Afghanistan because he wanted to write about the war. Which made me realize that I hadn't really talked to him about the war and didn't really know that he knew about the war and OH MY GOD I'm SCREWING EVERYTHING UP as a mother and... anyway. He wanted to make food to serve at World Expo. So we made meatballs with lamb and chickpeas and spices. They were okay - I don't really like lamb. I thought it was a little screwy to be making Afghani meatballs in the midst of Christmas craziness also, but what the hell, it was kind of fun.

 So he came home from school and said "today was AWFUL. Well, I did my project, but Connor upchucked in class. And I was RIGHT BEHIND HIM." We asked him how his project went and he said fine, but clearly the classroom upchucking was the centerpiece of the day. When I told him I needed some serious meatball love for making meatballs the day before the day before the day before the day before Christmas, he said everyone really liked them. He went downstairs. Half an hour later the phone rang. He came up and said Connor wanted him to go over. I said are you the least bit serious? Not if he threw up today. Angus said "he said he's fine - he just choked on a piece of meatball." Then he said into the phone "my parents are rolling on the floor laughing. I'll call you back when they get back to normal."  In all the uproar I had to rewind the person being dismembered by a forest creature on my computer. What - you don't watch Supernatural while wrapping presents and baking? Blood and guts - ever so festive.

 For Kelly and The Queen - I am heartily sorry. I had no idea that Swiss Chalet was a Canadian chain of restaurants - I just assumed everyone had them. I'm even sorrier that you're denied the wonderfulness that is the festive special. You know, it used to come with a Toblerone instead of the five Lindt truffles, and I was actually disappointed when they switched - I was young and clueless back then, obviously.

 For Hannah - to match your shameful confession, one of my own, which has nothing to do with Swiss Chalet and I only thought of it because I actually told it to Collette while we were out yesterday and she told me it was so embarrassing I should never admit it to anyone. You know that song 'Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree'? I thought 'kookaburra' was the Australian aboriginal word for koala bear.

 For Nan: my embarrassing but beloved reindeer ornament
My crafty mother's handmade angel
and snowman:
and my daughter's made-from-scratch angel (clearly the craftiness does skip a generation):

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Random bullets (none of them have anyone's name on them)

-My husband got back from a week and a half in Japan yesterday. I also got my hair cut and highlighted. I know I should be happier about the former than the latter, but honestly? Those roots were getting really depressing. And the hair appointment didn't leave me with a mountain of well-travelled underwear on top of the washer. So...

 -I took Eve to the mall on Monday morning to see Santa because she suddenly sprung on me that she really wanted to see Santa and there was no way in hell we were going after piano lessons, which would be right when the dinner rush was ramping up. She got to school two hours late. Judge me if you want. It was adorable. She wore her Santa hat and asked for a science kit. In other news, I bought a science kit today.

 -After seeing Santa we went to the Footlocker in Bayshore and they had ONE pair of the god-awful shoes Angus has been wanting that no store has had in his size, in his size. Yay. And also, bleargh.

 -After Santa and the Footlocker we went to Zellers. We found a silly gift for Matt and we were standing in line waiting to pay for it and Eve started talking about her classmates and which of them do and don't celebrate Christmas. When I tuned in she was saying "...and Maryam doesn't. But I think Natasha does. And Jessie does, even though she's Chinese too. Or maybe Japanese. I really can't tell the difference. Well I guess I could if I was in China, or Japan. But then, what if someone Chinese was visiting Japan? Or someone Japanese was visiting China?" I decided we didn't need the gag gift and it was time for her to go back to school.

 -I went to Swiss Chalet for lunch with my friend Collette because we were together on Sunday night and realized neither of us had had the festive special yet. She rang my doorbell frantically and when I opened the door she jumped up and down and yelled "It's festive time, it's festive time, it's festive time!" Then she said "it's kind of sad that I'm really not faking that by much."

 -There was a British family behind us at lunch. The kid was explaining the festive special to his father in the most charming of accents and Collette said "makes you want to move just for a little while, huh?" We wondered how people discipline their children when they talk like that. "Are you displeased with me, Mummy?(imagine in British accent)". "No, never mind, it's okay".

 -Go see Arthur Christmas.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Digging a Hole for a Post

I've been ignoring all of your blogs because it helps me pretend I'm not writing because I don't have a blog, what? I don't even know what a blog is, what a funny word, blog blog blog, lalalalalala I can't hear you.

This week sucks much less than the last week Matt was away for the week, which was two weeks ago, what a funny word, week week week week. I always forget to reverse whine about my head not hurting - hey everyone! My head doesn't hurt this week! I have wrapped, I have taped, I have melted and beaten and creamed until light and fluffy. I have trod the mill and pumped the iron. I have done all this while still producing creative and nutritious meals every night (that's a bald-faced lie - this week has been brought to you by frozen pizza, grilled cheese and chicken wraps made from grocery store barbecued chicken. I just wanted to feel like Superwoman for a millisecond. It really wasn't me).

I'm slowly managing to separate the actual decorations from the boxes of shiny things that should actually be put away so we can enjoy the decorations without tripping over the boxes of shiny things. I'm not entirely sure why wrapping a shiny red and gold string around a stair bannister makes it a decoration and leaving it sitting in the box makes it infuriating aneurysm-inducing CRAP, I only know that it does.

I assembled the Christmas parcels to send away to Matt's family and got most of my Christmas cards written and then realized I couldn't find my pretty red address book with the whimsical drawing of a house on the front of it ANYWHERE. I emailed Matt in Japan and said if he didn't send me the addresses of the various family members the parcels weren't getting mailed. Somewhat to my chagrin, he emailed me most of the addresses. I emailed everyone else I knew and said send me your addresses or no Christmas card for you. Somewhat to my chagrin, most of them promptly sent their addresses. This reminds me of a page in a calendar I bought for one of Matt's family members. Oh look -- here it is. Thirty years ago, if I couldn't find my address book I could have had a brief tantrum, then thrown the cards away and kicked back with a bottle of wine. Now we have The Internet. What did we do before Google? Argue for hours over what the guy's name was, or who played the character, or what year the movie came out in? Live with uncertainty? Let me Google what we did before Google.

My friend Collette invited us over for dinner tonight - when people invite us over for dinner when Matt's away I always feel so incredibly overwhelmingly grateful it's all I can do to insist that they come over for dinner instead (somehow I manage). She poured a couple of glasses of wine into me before dinner, which she may have regretted when Ben asked for a bun at the table and I yelled 'go long' and put a nice spiral on one. I told the kids to enjoy their dinner since we probably weren't getting asked back any time soon. And now I am sleepy. To all a good night.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Conflicted


It's December twelfth and today I went out wearing a t-shirt. First I was wearing a sweater, but then I got too hot. This is not right. It's December. We need snow. We have a Christmas tree and decorations up and it's dark at four-thirty ANYWAY, so I'm with the kids on this one -- we want snow.

Of course, the likelihood is that if it was gray and snowy I would be headachy and miserable, and if I had to shovel out the driveway to get the kids to school every day this week while I'm solo parenting, I would not be impressed. While instead, I got multiple Christmas and household errands done today and felt happy.

But it's almost Christmas and it's kind of sad to think we won't have a white one.

So I guess you could say I'm a little sad that I'm happy, but also a little happy that I'm sad.

And people wonder why I'm always so tired.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas crap

The second attempt at tree decorating went much better, even though we were still approaching the full moon. Although inevitably what begins like this,



degenerates into this


Also, I need a better camera, Santa Baby.

So of course the entire main floor of my house looks like half a Macy's department store circa Miracle on 34th Street got deposited in it by some random tornado and my husband's leaving for Japan in the morning. If I sit at the kitchen table and look in the direction of the garland on the stair rail and squint enough to block out the surrounding crap, I guess it's kind of Christmassy. Otherwise I still just feel kind of tired about the whole thing.

Pam and I went to the craft show on Thursday. We have a near unbroken record of starting these little trips out full of bitterness and loathing for all of humanity (we didn't make any skinny jogger jokes this time though). Pam was coming off a difficult evening and morning of melting down children. We got to the craft show at ten-thirty thinking it was open at ten and it wasn't open until eleven (let's just pause and savour the irony of me being somewhere TOO EARLY on any given morning) so we went to a nearby mall to kill half an hour. Pam said she needed coffee. I said have you not had any yet today and she said "I've had two, YOU WANNA MAKE SOMETHING OF IT?" I did not want to make something of it. Pam had coffee. I bought lettuce. We went back to the craft show. The craft show was fun. I bought the crucial last present for Matt's Dad and his wife which they probably won't like because I like it, but I couldn't find anything that was the exact opposite of what I like, so oh well. I bought curry hummus from the Hummus Man because he's so bald and smily and darling I always have to buy curry hummus from him even though by the time we get to his booth I can barely carry anything else, and frozen hummus is not feather-light by any means. I bought - hey, I bought smelly soap. What the hell happened to my smelly soap? Pam, do you have my smelly soap?

I'm tired. I feel like I'm stuck at the craft show with no way to get home. My husband's going to Japan in the morning. I'm going to bed.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Moon Madness - brought to you by Surly Thursdays

Someone said it was a full moon yesterday, and although it's not on my calendar until Saturday, I believe her. I couldn't wake up in the morning. I got presents wrapped, got to the chiropractor and got a few key presents bought yesterday and I should have felt great but I didn't - I felt anxious even though everything was going fine, and exhausted even though I had plenty of time to get everything done. The kids have been waiting since Sunday to decorate the tree, and when Matt finally got the lights on and they could start, they -- who haven't fought in weeks -- were suddenly at each other's throats. They both put themselves to bed VOLUNTARILY a good fifty minutes earlier than usual. Matt had a conference call at ten and went to the bed at eight-thirty and slept until nine-fifty (he's sandwiched between a trip to China and a trip to Japan, so that was maybe less full moonish than an understandable confusion about which fucking time zone he should be adhering to. Before I put Eve to bed I read her this book before wrapping it up for my one-year-old nephew - we both cried.

We were ALL OUT OF SORTS.

Great. Just in time for my extensive volunteering stint at the school Christmas bazaar.



On the funny side: a couple of nights ago I poured myself a drink, then came and sat down at the computer, forgetting my drink on the counter. I asked Eve to bring it over since she was already up. She said "where is it?" and I said "it's right there beside you". She looked at it and said "Oh sorry -- I was looking with my man eyes."

She didn't get it from me - she got it from her teacher. I guess if I had a boy I might be bothered by that. But then I think about Angus when he's 'looking' for something and think - nah, probably not even then.

Monday, December 5, 2011

To Neti Pot or Not

Warning: there will be ickiness in this post.

I have allergies. Hardcore, nasty, year-round allergies. This started around the time I turned thirty and started having babies (which is kind of cool, because as with so many other things, I can blame the children). I use Nasonex daily, but I frequently also have to take an allergy pill. My doctor suggested a couple of years ago that I also use Hydrasense to flush out my sinuses. I did use it for a while, and then a friend told me that I should get a neti pot instead for nasal irrigation (or nasal douche, as the Wikipedia article says - join me in an adolescent giggle at the word douche, won't you?), because it's a lot cheaper than buying Hydrasense, which is really freaking expensive. So I did.

I suck at the neti pot.

Hydrasense, while being really freaking expensive, has a fairly long, skinny nozzle that you can jack right up into your nostril to fire that stream of salty water into your sinuses. My neti pot has a roundish nozzle that you have to position just right against the opening of your nostril. Then you have to angle your head just right to get the stream of water aimed properly. For me, this works about 30% of the time. The rest of the time I either almost drown myself or just end up pouring water all over my face and feeling like an extreme dork.

Because I'm almost always so stuffed up, it almost never works like the (faintly disturbing) demonstration pictures or videos, where you pour it in one nostril and it flows steadily out the other one. I'm happy if at least some of the water goes in part way and .... well, that's actually enough said about that.


The thing is, when it does work, sometimes it's great - I feel immediately clearer and I can breathe easier. But sometimes it seems to be sort of like squirting water into one of those hollow plastic doll's heads, and if it doesn't come out immediately, then a half hour or so later when I roll over in bed and turn my head... yeah.

In related news, maybe don't go out and get really drunk, decide you're too drunk to have sex with your husband, perform your usual night time ablutions including neti pot use, and then decide that you're not too drunk to have sex with your husband after all, because you might find an ill-timed stream of salty water - well, I was going to say ruins the mood, but the fact is he thought he wasn't getting sex and then found out he was, so really it had no effect whatsoever, so never mind.

Overall, I think the neti pot helps. But every now and then I indulge in a bottle of Hydrasense, because sometimes I just don't need another reason in the day to feel awkward.

Friday, December 2, 2011

MyMemories Giveaway



A couple of weeks ago I was approached by MyMemories Digital Scrapbooking asking if I would be interested in hosting a giveaway. I've been warned by other, more experienced bloggers to be very selective about getting involved in sponsored giveaways, so I was careful to explore the site before I said yes.

I've never done digital scrapbooking, although my sister and several friends swear by it. I like the feel of paper and being able to handle the little flowers and tags and letters (okay, I hate trying to handle the letters, they're a pain in the ass). But here's the thing: digital papers and embellishments can't get lost. You can't bury a digital brad under six layers of journalling cards and chipboard fairies. If you have one background paper and you use it, it's gone, even if you find the photo it would be the perfect background for later on.

So I downloaded the software and started playing around.

You guys - it is SO MUCH FUN.

This is what I did last night, in just the time between when I SHOULD have gone to bed and when I DID go to bed (warning: it's a little addictive).



It's unbelievably easy to select your photos and it slots them into the openings for you.



It's also incredibly intuitive, which is important for someone as - how shall I put it? - technologically challenged as I am. You think "I'd like to crop this" or "I wonder if I can rotate this photo slightly" and bam, there's a button for it.



See that lime green flower? I added it (do I sound impressed with myself? I AM!)



The MyMemories site features, naturally, a wealth of templates and designs that are for sale, but there is also a wide variety of free designs on offer - I used a free template for this album.



The winner of the giveaway will get a free copy of MyMemories Suite Version 3 software - "Simple enough for beginners (yes it is) yet powerful enough for a serious scrapbooker". For one entry, go to the MyMemories site and tell me in your comment what your favourite digital paper pack or layout is.



For additional entries, like MyMemories on Facebook and/or follow them on Twitter, then comment saying that you have done so.

Even if you don't win, MyMemories has given me this Share The Memories code to share with you: STMMMS36927. Copy and paste this link into the promo code slot on the checkout page and it will get you a $10 discount off the purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook software AND a $10 coupon for the MyMemories.com store.

I will pick a winner on Friday, December 16 and notify by email.


I was given a copy of the MyMemories software for review purposes. Opinions are my own.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Three Bags Full - of chocolate

Ha-HA! I don't HAVE to post. I can just post because I FEEL like it.

Guess what? Today didn't suck. Today I went for a walk with Pam and we stopped at Brown's Cleaners to pick up the Sears package that I had left languishing there for many weeks solely because I hate having to face the sourpuss counter lady. Well, not solely - I also forget things a lot. Then we went to the bank because Pam needed a new bank card. I went up to the counter with her and we were chatting with the teller and I wondered briefly if she assumed we were a couple, because once when Eve was at dance I went to Best Buy with Janis, whose daughter was also at dance, to buy a tv for Matt's man cave, and the young man selling it to us obviously thought we were a couple, which was hilarious because this is Janis:

See? WAAAAAAYYYYYY out of my league.

Then we went home and dressed up nice and went out for lunch with Julie, near the Museum of Science and Technology where Julie works. We went to this restaurant, and the dish I had was called Silly Noodle (anyone who spends any significant amount of time with me might think I would have done better to look for a dish called Serious Noodle, or Contemplative Noodle, or Stop With the Incessant Giggling and the Overuse of the Word Whatever Noodle, but whatever). Then Julie told us that beside the McDonald's which is near the Museum is a Lindt Store.

A Lindt Store. A store that ONLY SELLS CHOCOLATE. I tried not to visibly shake with excitement while we were walking in. I got more chocolate to add to the teacher gifts, which I then realized were already chocolate. Oh well. I bought one Lindt champagne truffle because I've never seen one so I figured I should try it (I haven't tried it yet). Pam and I both spent about the same amount (which shall not be revealed here) which the sales guy remarked was good because then we couldn't judge each other. As if.

I came home and did a little work. The kids got home and I helped them practice piano and got dinner started. Then I realized I was still dressed nicely and grumbled at the kids for not noticing. Dudes! You've been home for two hours and I'm STILL WEARING A BRA - get with the compliments already! They were dutiful, if not terribly convincing.

Now we're going to watch The Muppets Take Manhattan. Because that movie last week has created an unquenchable demand for Muppet content. And in this one Kermit wears disguises.

Happy END OF NOVEMBER. Also, let's observe that I didn't swear even ONCE in this post.