Friday, April 21, 2006

I've had better ideas

This morning I didn't really have time for a real breakfast, but we grabbed a Tim Horton's coffee on the way home from bringing DD to school. DH was hungry for a donut, hence the side trip. So at about 9am, I was feeling peckish. And there was a Cadbury's cream egg sitting on my desk minding it's own business. I don't even LIKE them - the middle part is too sweet and way too goopy to eat at the computer. But there it was, foil glinting at me invitingly. So that was my breakfast. And it went down real fine with that strong Tim's coffee (medium, double cream single sugar please!). But now it is later and I am not feeling so wonderful about the idea. My stomach is sore, and I am getting that jittery over-sugared-and-caffeinated feeling. Why, oh why, do I never learn? I can't even eat pancakes with syrup for breakfast, what made me think I could eat a Cadbury's Cream Egg and get away with it??? And shouldn't somebody have WARNED me not to eat it? After all, I can't be expected to be responsible for MYSELF. Sometimes I amaze myself at the bad decisions I can make. Like the time I decided to shove a bag of binders into the top of the closet. I am not actually tall enough to put ANYTHING on the shelf at the top of the closet. I think the contractor might have thought giants were going to live here and planned accordingly. But for some reason, I believe I am taller than I really am and insist on making poor attempts at putting things up there. And get genuinely surprised when the items fall back and hit me on the way down, because there was no way in heck they were going to actually get up onto the shelf since there is no way I can reach it. But here I was, hoisting a plastic grocery bag of 3-ring binders up there, only to have them fall back one by one and hit me. The first hit me in the face, right along the bridge of the nose. The corner of the second got me right on the top of the head, and the last hit my shoulder and dug a groove in it. Note that as I was being pummelled by binders it did not occur to me to MOVE OUT OF THE WAY. Or the summer I bought the million pound bag of black niger seed and set out six feeders for the finches. Oh sure, we loved watching the little things hang off the feeders and frolick in the yard. But when our grass totally turned to picker bushes (which are THISTLE PLANTS) I realized it was not the best decision in the world. Not to mention the pounds of bird poop plastered everywhere. In my infinite wisdom, we got rid of the finch feeders and put out regular feeders instead - which I filled with song bird mix. Song bird mix should be re-labelled as "weed seeds with a few sunflower shells thrown in for colour". Birds came from miles around to throw every seed out of the feeder and get the one sunflower seed in there. I am not sure if they were song birds because I never heard them sing, but they were bigger than finches. Bigger birds = bigger poop and more of it. The thistle plants gave over to a mixture of weeds never seen before on this continent and we had to shovel a path through the poo to get to the door. But it wasn't until we watched a forty pound rat pull a feeder down and rummage through it to get the lone sunflower seed in there, that we decided it was time to give up bird feeding. When we first re-landscaped the yard, we wanted to put lots of pretty flowering things in. We had a beautiful white wooden arbour and scoured the nurseries for something good to grow on it. We were wary of roses because of the thorns and clematis are finicky about our climate here. Ah, sweet pea vines! The flowers are lovely and we found a variety that has three different colours on the same plant. The "beans" would add visual interest when the blooms fade, the pot tag said. It also mentioned that they are self climbers that did not need tying, they would cover an arbour or trellis on their own with no help. Perfect! Perfectly diabolical, that is. It is true, the flowers were lovely. But the yards and yards of vines absolutely refused to grow UP along the supports even when teased out of the tangle and tied up. They generate these thread-thin tendrils supposedly to grab on and climb, but it seemed it would rather use them to strangulate expensive bushes and pull themselves along the lawn. The decorative beans dry and burst open to fling seeds far and wide. The spiral husks are very interesting, but their formation is a result of the plant trying to take over the free world. EVERY SINGLE BEAN sprouts and turns into a whole new strangulating plant that creeps along the ground, smothering and strangling every single thing in it's way. We pulled. We chopped. We burned. We even round-upped (and it really pained me to do that). Boiling vinegar, salt water, nothing even phased these things. Let one single flower bloom and you were done like a dinner. They have a very distinctive triangular cross section, and when we see one of them sprout up somewhere it instills a shudder before we yank that sucker out! It was a poor decision not to research more before planting them. It has been about 8 years since we chopped those sinister vines out of the ground. And still, the invasion lives on: See those sprouts of green in the mulch? SWEET PEA VINES. Now let me say, that this isn't even in the same part of the yard where they were originally planted. Is it the result of a poor planting decision, or is it some cosmic joke that the karma gods are playing on us? Are the neighbours sneaking over in the middle of the night and planting sweet-pea beans, then watching behind closed doors and laughing their arses off? Is it some strange revenge they are meting on us for the dandilions in the lawn and the ugly tree in the front yard? We may never know. But if you will pardon me, I have to go weep and yank out some plants.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Better get my butt in gear!

Patience, my gentle readers. Patience! ROFL! Sorry, no pictures today. I take them, I see them on the camera, but the card reader doesn't see them on the card. I tried swearing, but it doesn't seem to help. I have to actually WORK too, ya know. I do realize I have been blogging later and later and please accept my apologies. DEADLINES, those nasty deadlines. DH keeps talking to me and getting uppity if I don't answer. Boy was he ticked when I snapped "WHAT?!?!" when he kept repeating my name to get my attention. But too bad for him, because it ticked me off too. He can see I am busy, and since it was a question about a TV show he was watching we can all assume it was not a life and death situation. It irks me that I work from home, yet I can only work if nobody ELSE is home. He peeked over a moment ago, saw the blog page and basically said "Oh sure, you aren't working". It's after 12:00 noon and this is the first break I have taken. Harumph. The weather is so nice out today, I would rather be outside laying in the hammock and pretending to read while I take a nap LOL. Ruby feels it too, she keeps looking at me and heaving these deep sighs. She disappears for a bit them comes back and her head is hot...a sure sign she is laying in the sun next to the patio door. I would let her out - she would be quite content to lay on the patio and watch the world go by on days like today - but I worry that the neighbours will see her out there and think we are abandoning her. I guess my real worry is that somebody will pity her and steal her. Growing up, we had a dog named Poncho. He was a black cockapoo. We were visiting family friends whose dog had puppies. They said we could have one, just not the black one with the white chin. Guess which one we wanted? So we smuggled it out of their house wrapped in a poncho, and thus the name. I remember this dog, and I remember taking him home. But I was very very young so it is patchy. I remember he didn't like men in any type of uniform. But other than that, he was the neighbourhood sweetheart. We lived on a corner near two schools, so he got a lot of exposure to children. Everybody loved him. He had a dog house outside, and sometimes we would leave him chained to it when we went out (hey, I was practically a toddler so don't flame me about dog treatment). One day we came home, and he was not there. His chain had been cut, and he had been taken. We always wondered what happened to him. Did somebody try to rescue him from a perceived plight? Why did they CUT the chain and not just unhook him? It made a lasting impression on me, for sure. And who wouldn't want a darling pug like Rubella? Of course, the first time she woke them by putting her tongue up their nose or soaked them with pugsnots from across the room they might just decide to bring her back ;). The other day DH and I were discussing how we are so overprotective of our pets AND children, yet we used to basically run free like animals, and nothing bad ever happened to us. Sure, we heard tales of white vans following kids as they walked home. And a girl was taken from our neighbourhood about two streets away from ours. She was in my sisters class, and as far as I know they never found her. Yet still, we personally spent a lot of time without adult supervision. Dh commented that it was a miracle "nothing" happened to us ('nothing' is subjective, but even I - Miss Blabbermouth - am not ready to share that yet with the general public). And I told him that we were often unattended, but we were ill-behaved. If anybody would have taken us, they would have made it a block before reversing and shoving us out of the car again ;). And I am not sure I am joking either LOLOL. We were.....active. Active is a euphamism for "absolutely wild, crazy, and high maintenance". There were four of us, and we spent much of our time actively trying to reduce that number by attempting to kill each other. Or sometimes we would try to convince one or the other to do something stupid or dangerous and reduce the ratio that way. It never worked, we all survived. You would think that I, as the youngest, would be the butt of these endeavers. "Kill the baby" so to speak. But no, we all had our place in the pack and mine was not that. I think the word "pack" is correct here, seeing as we were raised by wolves. Yes, my parents did the best they knew how and never intentionally did anything to hurt us emotionally/physically/and so on. But they were still wolves and lets face it...wolves would eat their own cubs if it was beneficial to do so. Doesn't make them bad parents, it just makes them wolves. Get it? A good illustration of this are the countless pictures of us as children. Improperly dressed, hair unkempt, and lying next to ashtrays full of smouldering butts. Who places a small child next to a full, smoking ashtray then walks away to take a picture? Who leaves a naked baby unattended on a clothes dryer (next to an ashtray) to take a picture from a room away? Who props a baby up on pillows on the couch with a bottle (propped on rolled towels) then documents the lack of human touch? Wolves, that's who. And wolf cubs understand this, and their survival instincts kick in. They love each other, they play together, and they try to kill each other to hone their hunting skills and establish their place in the pack. Part of me attributes this 'nothing' happening to us because we were using our wolf instincts. Maybe if we had been raised by...oh I don't know...MONKEYS things might have been different. My brother always protested when I would say this, but seeing slide after slide of his unwashed face, unruly hair, and the ever present overfilled ashtray have won him over to the theory. We survived BECAUSE we were raised by wolves, not despite it. But it doesn't mean that it was the best way to raise children.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Fallen off the face of the earth

No, I have not fallen off the face of the earth LOL! I have literally been too busy to blog. Can you believe that? How can that even be? But it is true. A quick run-up. Good Friday Went to my parents house to "make easter bread". This entails a family recipe and an entire day of mixing, kneading, waiting for things to rise, baking, and washing more bread pans than you can shake a stick at. How much bread? Well, 60 cups of flour....does that say something? I forgot my camera so no pics of us in baker mode. But I did manage to bring home one souvineer: Somebody visiting their neighbour across the street backed straight into my car. Not the best easter present, but at least she came and knocked on the door. A lot of people would have taken off. Not impressed about no fault insurance and having to pay the deductable (I don't want to take anybody to court for that, it would cost me more in lost wages and expenses) but I guess that is life. Saturday Back to mom and dad's to colour eggs. Yes, we are adults and we still colour eggs with our parents. At least now we have children so can use them as an excuse ;). See, the eggs we colour today are chilled overnight and we have them for easter breakfast. Practical. See? Over the years we have made many an egg-colouring convert. They all start off with "colouring eggs is for kids, I stopped doing that when I was 8". Then we convince them to make ONE. "If you don't make one, what will you eat tomorrow?". This turns into making as many as they plan to eat. Then soon, they make a couple more. The next thing you know, they are drawing bunnies and using complex dying techniques (like clear crayons and multiple dips). We are like the borg of dying eggs. Sunday Morning Ah yes, Easter Sunday. Normally it is breakfast with my family and dinner with his. But for various reasons, Easter Sunday was all my family this year. DD got up to find the Easter Bunny had made a visit. Quite thrilled about the bike, she was. No candy from the Easter Bunny. Last year she got (and I am not kidding, we added it up) 30 pounds of assorted chocolate and candy from family. We decided that the Easter Bunny could get away with bringing a few small toys and books in this house! Early in the day we had a breakfast of boiled eggs, ham kolbassa, easter raisin bread (baked by yours truly and dad), and other assorted goodies (bacon, ham, fruit, and so on). We do "a thing" with the eggs. We call it egg fights. I will let you form visions of us pelting each other with hard boiled eggs for a moment here. Actually, it is a much more genteel activity. One person holds an egg end up. The other holds their egg one end down, and taps the egg of their opponent. One or the other end will crack. Then it switches, the hitter becomes the tappee. The goal is to have an egg with at least one undefeated end. Of course, that is assuming you are not hungry. If you really want to eat the goal is to get both ends cracked so you can have your breakfast. You go person to person until you are defeated, and they continue on in your place. What do you mean, why not just grab an egg and crack it on the table? Where is the sport in THAT? Over the years various tricks have been tried. Dying an unboiled egg (the shell is much harder but when you lose, you LOSE). Covering the ends in various substances (layers of crayon, paint, stickers, nail polish). Sneaking in a boiled duck egg. That sort of thing. Have I mentioned yet that we are nerds of the highest sort? When we were younger, it was a rule that we could only play eggs that we intended to eat. White AND yolk. That choking yolk! We loved the white, but that yellow ball in the middle was a problem. We were not allowed to waste it. You might get lucky and pass one off to dad, but how many yolks can one man eat? No wonder the guy has heart issues and clogged arteries, it was the yolks! No, we had to find a better way to rid ourselves of the despised object so we could fight another egg and eat another white. There was rolling them under the couch. Crumbling them into potted plants. The ever popular flushing them down the toilet. The dog could only eat so many before throwing up yellow sludge on every bed in the house so we used that one sparingly. Now that grandchildren are involved (and we all know that grandchildren get a different set of rules than children in a family dynamic) we no longer insist that they eat their yolks. At least I don't insist DD does. I noticed my youngest niece carefully hiding a yolk under a pile of egg shells, so another generation of yolk concealers lives on. Just a note, that trick wouldn't have lasted a minute with my mother. She inspected every shell bowl before tossing them. After all that, we gave the kids their easter gifts (nothing big, chocolate bunnies, skipping ropes, pails and shovels, that sort of thing) then parted ways for a few hours before dinner. We came home so I could do some cooking ahead for Monday and DD could get a bit of rest. Sunday Evening Back to mom and dads for dinner. Ham. Two kinds of meat balls. More kolbassa. "Party potato casserole" (hash browns, canned soup, and cheese basically). Lasagne. Again, being a nerd, I brought green beans and carrots. Sure I was the only person who took any, but I get some points for bringing them, don't I? My grandmother brought her famous cabbage rolls. I have not tasted one of her cabbage rolls in ten years. All the meals where they are a mainstay, I forfeited to DH's family when we got married. And there is no asking that one of grandma's cabbage rolls be set aside, either. There would be bloodshed! I swear I had a tear in my eye while I ate. This may be grandmother's last batch of cabbage rolls (arthritis, knee problems, cataracts, and so on) which made it even more touching for me. Yes, I get emotional over food LOL. Not sure what was for dessert (I don't eat dessert) but I hear that there was a lot of choice and it was all very good. Monday For some reason, Good Friday is a holiday here but Easter Monday is not. Well, if you are an autoworker it is, but they get all the good holidays. So DH was off, and invited his entire family to our house for dinner. Let me just say, that this means 9 people including us so it's not like a whole busload of people. Living at home we often cooked for more people than that for a regular weekday dinner. BUT. Monday and Tuesday I was scheduled to be IN THE OFFICE for meetings all day. Not working at home, but in the office. How was I going to get the house ready and cook food with the schedule we had all week-end AND work out of the house that day? Several late nights cooking ahead, that's how. I made a minute by minute reheated and duty schedule for DH to follow Monday. And it worked out really well! He followed the schedule pretty much to the letter. I basically walked in just in time to slice the ham and dish out a few things before they arrived ready to eat. I have to applaud DH, the house was clean, DD was dressed and pretty, and everything was heated according to my instructions. He did an excellent job. His family is not a fan of my cooking, and normally just picks. But this time, they licked the platters clean! 7.5 pounds of ham, a whole chicken casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy. Again, nobody touched the veggies or the salad, but we all know they have to go on the table LOL. After they left, we figured it out. THEY THOUGHT DH COOKED THE MEAL. They weren't afraid to taste everything because of a pre-conceived notion that I was going to hide some strange spice in there. You know, like garlic ;). We also made bunny cakes (a cake round sliced in half and stood up, covered in cool whip, with paper bunny ears). They kind of looked like something out of a "When bunnies go bad" documentary so it is best not to show a picture. Tuesday Back in the office to get the life sucked out of me in one long meeting. I forgot how these meetings are soul draining, mind-numbing experiences. That is enough about that. Tuesday evening I spent cleaning stuff up, doing laundry, and carting my daughter around the city before falling into bed and sleeping so hard that I snored.