Thursday, April 30, 2009

I need some support hos

No, that's not a typo. I was trying to be all hip-like, and just ended up sounding like I can't pass a grade school spelling test (or grammar test, for that matter). Further proof that ageing caucasian females should perhaps not attempt street lingo. But after Randy Jackson stole the word "dude" from the caucasion population, I felt the need to get some of my own back.


In a fit of fancy, I signed up for a 10K race this Sunday. I KNOW. Crazy, right? I don't think I've run a race since before Big C was born. Please send me some good vibes this Sunday at 8am (if you're awake). I will need all the support I can. And since the boys are all coming to cheer me on, I have to finish the race somehow. Run, Phatgirl, Run.

In other news, I am considering a new business venture over at Playdate. If you have young children, and are a fan of a good storytime, please pop over and give me your feedback, will you?


Monday, April 27, 2009

Nuts and Bolts

One of my favourite memories of childhood is Sunday mornings. My dad would give me some money and send me down the street and around the corner to Tim Hortons (yes, I did live around the corner from a Timmies - proof I am Canadian) to buy a dozen doughnuts. After a healthy breakfast of one (okay, two) doughnuts, we'd get dressed and go to church. I liked church because I had friends there, I got to sing, and we had cookies after the service. (It was all about the food. Still is.)

After church, we popped over to the local Canadian Tire. (Yes, our church was near a Canadian Tire. More proof that I am Canadian.) My dad was always fixing things around the house, and later around the cottage, so there was always something we needed. My mom and brother usually stayed in the car, but I loved to walk up and down the aisles looking at all the shiny things made for mysterious purposes. Nuts, bolts, washers, nails of all sizes, plastic tubing and caulking. I had no idea who could possibly need all of these things but I thought they would make some lovely materials for art projects. Up and down the aisles I would go, getting deeper and deeper into the store until I began to get worried I would be lost. Or, more likely, that my dad would find what he was looking for before I found the toy aisle. (It's was all about the toys. Still is.)

It was a funny little Sunday morning ritual - doughnuts, church, Canadian Tire - but it was ours, and I remember it fondly. It was a part of the family that I belonged to, to which I still belong though I've grown up and moved away.

It's those little rituals that I sometimes feel that are missing from our family now. I doubt they actually are, but I'm living them right at the moment so I don't have the same kind of perspective. Who knows what my kids will remember when they grow up? But sometimes it really feels like I'm pretending to be a grown-up, a wife and mother -- living in a house, with a husband and two children -- who is this person?

For instance, we have a backyard that we almost never use. We garden. We paint the deck. We tore down the Grisly Garage and put up a pretty little shed. But we don't use the space. We don't live there. We haven't made it part of the home. Ever since we moved into this house, we have wanted to get a patio set, so that we could have meals outside, or even just enjoy a morning coffee and paper. But we never got around to getting one. The wiring had to be fixed. Tree roots trashed our plumbing. The roof needed replacing, as did the sad hardwood floors. There was always something. And the back deck remained empty.

Having kids just made the feeling that we needed to use that space more acute. But, you know, things have a way of just not getting done when you have kids. And the back deck remained empty.

This year, we were determined to get a patio set, and finally have family meals al fresco. Naturally, my first thought was to go to Canadian Tire. (I can't help it. Sunday mornings, you know.) There are fancier places you can go, of course, but we're not rich. (And in this economy, we're even less rich..) They have a lot of really nice stuff, and it doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

But a miracle happened. The people at Canadian Tire who lit up our Christmas with solar-powered snowflakes (Big C is still talking about them. Still.) contacted us and asked us if we would like to decorate our home for the summer. And they gave us this Satori dining set (with 6 chairs!!):

I'm speechless. I still don't quite believe it. Every time I look outside, I smile. When I think of the meals we can have there, the people we can invite over to enjoy our back yard, the coffee in the morning and the sangria at sunset - I just smile. Even Mr Earth said "Wow, that's really nice! I feel like we're actually grown-up or something. A family." (That last bit may not be verbatim, but you get the gist.)

Big C thinks it is AMAZING. "We can do art out there!" I never even thought of that. Way to go, Big C. Little G just made himself at home.

I'm hard at work thinking of all the ways I can make the space even more homey and relaxing: flowerpots, cushions for the bench, tea lights, a lovely outdoor Blossom dinnerware set that matches the red of the umbrella perfectly, and some Tibetan buddha statues. (A girl can never have enough Tibetan buddhas.) We are going to have so much fun out there this summer. I can't wait.

It's comforting to know that Canadian Tire is still, all these years later, the nuts and bolts of my family. I am my father's daughter, after all, and the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Now, if only I had me some doughnuts...mmm, doughnuts.

I put the kids to work cleaning the deck so that my pretty new set wouldn't feel so out of place. Child labour. Nothing wrong with that, is there??

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I almost had an affair today...

...with the delivery man who came to my house at lunch.

I'd just gotten back from the Early Years Centre. Big C dragged his feet and whined the entire way home. I was holding on to a full bladder (for god knows how long) and desperately trying to make grilled cheese sandwiches for children who were acting like they hadn't been fed for days. There was screaming. There was leg-clinging. There was a knock at the door. My first reaction was:

"Who the hell is that?" (Dignity. Always dignity.)

A smiling man said: "No Mother Earth?"

"Yes...?" I replied warily.

"I have a delivery for you."

And he brought me this:

And this:

And this:

Teased? Titillated?? I've yet to get it up, so you'll have to wait if you want to see pictures of the full spread. But once it's up, it's going to be up till the weather gets cold again. And it is going to give me so much pleasure. I may just find that much-sought-after relaxation that has been eluding me lately.

I could have kissed that delivery man. He made my day. More to come later...

xoxo Nomo

Mm, Mm, My baby's got a secret.

Big C just told me that I was getting fat. "Why is your stomach so funny-looking? It's getting bigger! HA, HA!!" Happy Thursday morning to you too, buddy! Thanks for the vote of confidence.

Oh, and while we're at it, the weather can kiss my a$$ too. It better be awfully nice this weekend, or there's going to be some 'H' to pay. I am going to kick some serious weather butt.

If you want some lighter, happier secrets, come on over to Playdate today. I got a couple of good ones.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Truth About Me and Books

I grew up with a mom who spent every spare minute reading books. I mean, every spare minute. If you wanted to know where she was when she wasn't working tirelessly teaching, grading, cleaning or cooking, she would no doubt be in the living room, reading a book on the couch. It was inevitable that I too would learn to love reading.

My first memory of reading, though, is from my first day of kindergarten. I have no doubt that my parents read to me as an infant, but I'm one of those people that doesn't remember much before I was four. I picked out Barbapapa from the shelf of books on my first day of class. It was in french, so I didn't understand it at all, but I was shy and overwhelmed and the pictures were neat.

I kept reading.

In the summer between grades 1 and 2, my best friend Rachel found a new best friend, and I found myself at a loss. I started reading every chance I got. Morning recess. Lunch hour. Afternoon recess. By the end of grade 3, I was reading a chapter book a day and I got my first pair of glasses. I had friends, but the vast majority of them were fictional characters.

I kept reading.

In the summer before high school, my best friend at camp - the one I looked forward to seeing all year - was joined by her cousin. Her cousin took an instant dislike to me. She had a forceful personality, and made sure the everyone in our group of friends stopped talking to me. That was fun. So, instead of hanging out at the fort, making pie-irons and playing flashlight tag, I hung out with my younger cousin and spent countless hours by the campfire or at the beach reading books. I packed more books than I did clothes. I took out books from the library by the truckload.

I kept reading.

Fast forward many years, and, while I don't spend every spare minute reading like my mother, I do when the book is especially good. I can't bear to not have a book on the go. When I am within one hundred pages of finishing a book, I must have one lined up to read next. Preferably bought and waiting on my shelf for the second I finish the one I am currently reading. I get stressed out if I don't.

I keep reading. I am always reading. I didn't realize, though, until today what it means when I start reading voraciously - as I have been doing recently. I finished The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir. I can't believe that I haven't read anything by her before now. I have a penchant for historical fiction, you see, because it marries my love of reading with my love of the stage. What is historical fiction except taking cold, hard facts and building an interesting, living, breathing story out of it? Preparing a character is the same thing.

When I started reading the book, it was like coming home. I've been reading for my book club recently, and while the novels have been absolutely interesting and exciting, they are not necessarily books I would choose for myself. Which is a good thing. It's like going abroad on vacation. I love to do that more than anything, but I don't want to live there. I wanted to live in Weir's book. It felt so comfortable, so exactly right. It was all I could do not to run out during naptime (they frown on leaving small children alone, don't they..?) and buy Innocent Traitor (a fictional account of Lady Jane Grey), and Elizabeth the Queen (to see how her non-fiction novel compares to her fictional account of the queen's early years).

I was puzzled as to why, though. I had Little Bee all lined up to read next. Why would I feel such a strong need to keep reading Weir's books? Yes, The Lady Elizabeth was excellent, but I've heard much about Little Bee, and was excited to read it. Why the sudden change of heart? That, in turn, got me thinking about my sudden upsurge in reading time lately.

I came to this conclusion. I read insatiably, unstoppably when I am feeling lonely. I am loving being at home with the kids, but despite never being "alone", it is kind of...lonely. I see my kids, I see my husband, and that's the vast majority of time. I'm not finding the moms around here at the drop-in centres or in the parks to be very friendly at all. The nannies are a clique unto themselves. The moms that I am friends with are either back at work, or clear across the city, so playdates are not nearly frequent enough. Add to that doctor appointments, sickness, and preschool conflicts, and setting up get-togethers is a complicated dance of duelling calendars.

Books are always there, though, and always accessible - even when friends are not. I lean on them far too heavily when I am feeling sorry for myself. Nothing wrong with that, I guess, excepting that literature should be a pleasure, not a dependance.

Thank goodness for blooming spring hope and bloggy love. Maybe they can help me out of this funk I am in.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Like Stealing Candy From a Baby

Big C was absurdly pleased to be faster than Little G at finding all the Easter eggs. We hid them so well (see white chairs). In his defense, Little G was more interested in the truck. He did get in the spirit of things later on. He found five eggs with the "help" of his big brother (who was being reminded to let his little brother find some eggs), and obediently put them in his basket.

Now I'm too busy stuffing my face with Laura Secord mini-chocolate eggs to type. Mr Earth bought 3 bags of eggs, and we hid the contents of 1. What can I say? We're good parents. And it was a very good Easter Egg Hump. (Big C's words, not mine..)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

With Me, It's All 'Er Nothin'

I'm having such a hard time blogging lately. I have ideas, snippets of funny things that make me laugh, but they never develop into full-fledged posts. The problem is, I'm a little bit obsessive. When I do things, I tend to do them 100%. Which can be a good trait. And can also be a very bad one. It means I can be very focused and determined. But it also means other things fall by the wayside. Not only that, I have a terrible habit of being distracted by Pretty! Shiny! New! And then whatever I was spending all my time and energy on gets dropped suddenly for something temporarily more interesting.

For the past few weeks, it has been a return to reading. I've developed a voracious interest in the written word. Not from the computer, of course, that's anathema to me right now. It must be a book. Books with pretty covers, and fragile pages. Books about anything and everything. But no books with movie tie-in covers. (Those are just plain wrong.) When I find a book a really like, I make time in my day to read it. Any spare second I get. And I don't have a lot of spare seconds these days. Watching two kids all day is time-consuming! You have to do stuff! And answer questions! And feed them! It's all too too exhausting.

Anyways... time that could be spent blogging, or reading blogs, is spent reading books. I can't stop. Which is a roundabout way to say sorry that I haven't been around more. I want to be. I do! And now I feel like a terrible person who can't be bothered to respond to an email. (It's so easy! Just type a few words! It doesn't take long! Even if all you say is you're too busy to write right now!....Okay, clearly I have issues on this subject. Moving on.) I find I have, at most, one post a week in me these days, and for the past few weeks, that time has been spent ranting about Storytime at Chapters, dishing the latest on House or casting books in my head. And we're back to books again. I'm nothing if not obsessed.

I did find an awesome t-shirt online though, it read:

spelt alphabetically -
the way it should be.

Nope. I'm not obsessive. Not me. (I want to buy it.)

The weather has been sucky-ass sucky this week, but it finally cleared up and the boys and I had a playdate today with the Katie and Gigi. Outside! In the sunshine! For the whole morning! After the forced confinement of this winter, I'm not entirely sure it wasn't just a lovely dream. Gigi and Big C got along famously. The shared mini-Ritz crackers and talked about dogs. Gigi apparently gave Big C her phone number, but he can't remember it. Typical male. But he did tell me that if we want to visit her, we have to look for a building with a "J" and and "A" on it. Yeah. Way to be specific, Big C. I'll stick to Mapquest....

Wouldn't you give this boy your phone number?? All you have to do to win his heart is say the words "Oompa Loompa". Apparently, that's the funniest thing, evah.

Aren't you dying to have a playdate with us? We're a barrel of laughs.

Clearly, fresh air is not good for you. It's very tiring.

How are you doing? Tell me something good.