Wednesday, 30 November 2011


Today is the last day of November so I thought I would report on how we did with Movember.

The Husband forgot he was not to shave.

Son #1 tried very hard and only had about 4 very blond, very short, mustache hairs and one really long beard hair on his chin.  He was, at nearly 16,  pretty happy with the results.

Son #2 was happy he was young enough not to try.

I can grow a pretty full corner-stash when called upon to do so but nevertheless kept plucking so that I would have a hairless upper lip.  I don't think that ladies are to grow a mustache during Movember so I did not feel guilty when using the tweezers.
  (Our ladies group have a pact that as we lay dying we will take turns coming in making sure the chins and upper-lips are plucked clean - thank you ladies!)

I did send in a small donation as our family's Movember awareness fell short visually but we were sure there in spirit.

Thursday, 24 November 2011


Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American family and friends, I am grateful that you are part of my life!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Lesson #42: Know where the Controls are.

Son #1 is studying the drivers manual in the hopes of passing the written portion of his drivers test in two weeks. This will give him the right to drive a car with another 5 year+ experienced driver in the vehicle.  

This morning he said that he had learned that you should always examine the dashboard of your vehicle to know where all the controls are.

Last Thursday, after arriving home from ladies night, I  turned on the interior light of my car to locate a few things that needed to be taken into the house, gathered them up and turned off the light.  
The light did not go off.  

I opened the car door and then closed it thinking some computer connected gizmo was blocked and the opening of the door would clear the problem.  Light still on. 

 I dialed the switch up, nothing. 
 I dialed the switch down, nothing. 
 I went into the house to get rid of my armful of stuff, hoping that the light would go off based on a time lapse.  No.

I went back to the car and got in and started it. I shut it off.  
Light still on.

I decided to wake The Husband but then realized it was late and he gets up really, really, early so thought that maybe I shouldn't.  But I couldn't have a dead battery in the morning so yes, I would wake him.  
I went back into the house but guilt stopped me from going upstairs to wake him.  
Surely I was bright enough to figure this out. 

 I went back outside and did more dialing and fiddling.

I leaned in close to the dashboard for a better look.

I had been dialing the air vent control.  

Yes.  Know your dashboard  - good advice that came to me a little late.

....and no, I had not been drinking...

Monday, 21 November 2011

Oh Dear!

My son just phoned me.

Archie the dog just ate a bowl of Pot Pourri.

I think I won't go leave work until later. 

 Best that The Husband gets there first.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Lessons to Prepare for Parenting

I didn't write this.  
I wish I had read this 17 years ago.......
(and yes, I still would have had my two lovely boys!)


Lesson 1 
1. Go to the grocery store. 
2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office. 
3. Go home. 
4. Pick up the newspaper.
5. Read it for the last time. 

Lesson 2 
Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their… 
1. Methods of discipline.
2. Lack of patience. 
3. Appallingly low tolerance levels. 
4. Allowing their children to run wild. 
5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breast feeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behaviour. Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers. 

Lesson 3 
A really good way to discover how the nights might feel… 
1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner) 
2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep. 
3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM. 
4. Set the alarm for 3AM. 
5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
6. Go to bed at 2:45AM. 
7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off. 
8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.
9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together. 

Lesson 4 
Can you stand the mess children make? To find out… 
1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains. 
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer. 
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed. 
4. Then rub them on the clean walls. 
5. Take your favourite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it. 
6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5 
Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems. 
1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh. 
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out. 
Time allowed for this - all morning. 

Lesson 6 
Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that. 
1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there. 
2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player. 
3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.
4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car. 

Lesson 7 
Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. 

Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children. 

Lesson 8 
1. Hollow out a melon. 
2. Make a small hole in the side. 
3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side. 
4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane. 
5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone. 
6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.
You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby. 

Lesson 9 
Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point. 

Lesson 10
Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler. 

Lesson 11
Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

Remember, a sense of humour is one of the most important things you need as a parent!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Where is that Pot of Gold?

My photography skills do not do this double rainbow justice - perhaps I'll just blame the camera. 
 In any case this rainbow was so incredible it seemed that everyone in our community was outside looking at, and photographing, this spectacular display of nature.  

Son #2 was shocked that the prisms were so large and bright and that he could actually see every color. 
 Son #1 was away on an Earth Quest adventure and missed this.
 I think he was, at that particular moment, on a school bus which had stopped at a fast food restaurant where he ordered two meals from one establishment on the left side of the street and then walked across the street where he ordered another meal.  He said they get very hungry being so active.  I think it's because he's a teen and is not often allowed that kind of food.  Don't tell him but every few months I sneak into my fav place and order onion rings.  

Off topic!  Focus, Joy, focus!

This rainbow followed an intense and pretty scary thunderstorm.  It seems that summer started with thunderstorms and is ending with thunderstorms.  

The house you see directly under the rainbow belongs to a lovely young couple who have three children.  The window on the lower left is their gym.   He works out in a Speedo kind of thing.  I should have planted a faster growing tree there - he is not Speedo material.  
Like I should talk.
Damn onion rings!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Remembrance Day Tomorrow, Today and Every Day

As at October 31, 2011 the number of Canadian dead has increased to 158 which to some is not a lot but if it's your child, brother, husband or dad, then one is too many.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


Today as I was walking to the bank  I noticed that the woman I was following had yesterday's underwear dragging out the bottom of her pant leg.  

 I was going to whisper in her ear except I was afraid - the whisper might initially frighten her, resulting in a swat to my face.  I also felt her potential humiliation and couldn't bring myself to be the bearer of such news.

I really hope that the  underwear fell to the ground and was left behind before she arrived at her work place.

Panties on the sidewalk could really start a conversation - who's, how, why.
Those made up stores might be way better than the embarrassing one of reality.

So,  don't laze around in bed and give yourself enough morning time to check for all and any wardrobe malfunctions - I feel bad that I didn't speak up.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Brothers in Arms

These past two weeks have been a hectic blur of life.  Good things, bad things and just regular day to day things. 

A friend posted on Facebook that  she too has been overwhelmed with stuff to do, her boys have been stressed and fighting and she, busy like the rest of us, lost her cool and yelled at them.   

She is now suffering from extreme mommy guilt as we all hate to yell at those we love.  

 I told her how I dealt with my boys when they would think they hated each other.

When they would argue and pick at each other they would have to sit on the stairs, side by side, holding hands. 

Larger infractions, like a Hot Wheels to the head, required that they sit there hugging each other.

They were to talk about what made them angry, why they thought the other was wrong and should change, what a bad mom I was for making them sit on the stairs and in general try to sort through their feelings of anger and come to a better understanding.  They could also talk about the fun they had sliding down these same stairs on couch cushions. 

 I didn't care what they talked about, they just had to talk - and hold hands, or hug. 

 Sometimes these sits on the stair were brief and sometimes they would last a lot longer.

The trips to the stairs became fewer and fewer as they came to understand my sisters favorite word "feelings".  That its okay to have bad feelings (along with the ability to channel those feelings), how it is not okay to hurt others feelings and that you should only try to change yourself into being a better person and hopefully those around you will follow suit.  

And I tell them to remember that siblings are the most important people in your life.  

"One day you might need your brothers money - or a kidney - so be nice to him".

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Full Figure Fall

Every fall since I was a teenager I have enjoyed eating as if I were going into hibernation.  Pack on the pounds so that they will carry you over the cold and snowy months to come.  
Unfortunately, unlike the bears and other hibernating animals, I continue to eat throughout the fall and winter months, sleeping as often as possible (don't want to burn off that fat!)

 Then Spring arrives and I am disgusted, dismayed, disappointed.  

In any case, all whining aside,  I love minestrone soup and if it weren't for the bacon, cheese, and pasta this might be a bit of a  figure friendly recipe.

Save the rinds from your Parmesan cheese in the freezer and toss them in to simmer with the soup.
 If you buy blocks of bacon, save those rinds too. Magic.

2 tbsp  Olive Oil
4 slices pancetta or bacon, cut into cubes 
1 Onion, chopped
2 - 3  Carrots, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 sticks Celery , chopped
2 tbsp finely minced Fennel Fronds or you can use dill if you don't like fennel
1 1/2 cup  Zucchini  - chopped
1 small bunch Spinach
3 cups canned Tomatoes
1 tbsp dried Oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Parmesan cheese rind, if you have one,
If you don't have one you should  go to the store and buy some - you will be glad you did.
2 cups Stock - chicken, beef, vegetable - you choose (or water if you hate decision)
1/2 cup Wine (red with beef stock, white with chicken stock, veg stock or water)
1  can Cannellini Beans, rinse and drain (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup Pasta, Ziti type
Handful fresh basil leaves (quantity depends on your love of basil)
Ingredient quantities and cooking times are flexible - this is soup, not souffle.

Heat pan and add the bacon.  Add the onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook until softened, 10 minutes or so.
Add the remaining ingredients up to the wine and simmer  for 10 minutes.
Add the pasta and the beans and cook at a slow boil for 20 minutes.

 Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and sprinkled with chopped basil leaves and large crusty roll covered with cream cheese and a big glass of red wine and sit on the couch with a blanket and a book and  wonder if seconds are in order and discover that Yes! they are.

And, the vicious circle continues.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Are we Too Old for This?

Tomato Cheese Tarts
1 package thawed Phyllo Dough
2 - 3 tbsp Butter - more or less - melted

1/2 cup chopped (shelled!) Pistachios
1 package Boursin cheese or herbed Goat Cheese ( 6 - 8 ounces)
1/3 cup crumbled Feta Cheese
1/4 cup Cream Cheese
1/2 tsp Lemon Pepper

 1 pkg Grape or Cherry Tomatoes (I prefer the grape as they are smaller and more bite size)
Sea Salt

Brush melted butter over five sheets of phyllo dough - one at a time and stacking one on top of another.  
Cut the dough into 24 equal sized squares and press one into each muffin cup using a muffin tin with 24 small cups.  
These don't have to be perfect but should be pressed in quite well.  Firm but gentle - just like raising a child. Phyllo rips and tears but sticks together quite nicely when baked so don't stress this part of the recipe.
Bake this in a preheated 400 deg F oven for about 12 minutes until golden and crispy.  Make sure the bottom of the shells are golden and crispy not pale and doughy (like my thighs).  Any over-cooked top edges can be broken off if they get too dark.  Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and remove to a cooling rack.
Meantime, mix together the cheeses and lemon pepper.
When the cups are cool spoon in the cheese filling, sprinkle with pistashios, top with a  grape tomato in half and sprinkle with salt - not too much as the cheese mixture might be a bit salty depending on the Boursin and feta.  Taste test two or three to be sure you have the seasonings correct.

Put on a Oktoberfest Beer Server costume, take the tarts and The Husband (dressed in Lederhosen and a bad hat) to a Halloween party up the street.

Stay out too late, eat too much food and drink too much beer.

So there will be no pictures of the costumes (probably) and next year's costume will be a 'morning mom' -  pj's, robe, big fuzzy slippers, no makeup, hair in a scrunchie and a big cup of coffee in hand.

No Beer for Me!
and yes, I am too old for this.....