Friday, May 12, 2006

Bossy bossy bossy

I have two sisters. The older of the two is needy (for another post), the other is bossy LOL. We are closer in age, and we did NOT get along growing up. Our pre-teen and teenage years were largely spent trying to kill each other - or at least cause great bodily harm. You would think having our own rooms would help, but that made not a whit of difference. Now that we are older, I am closer to her than anyone else in my family. Hell, in my LIFE. Funny how things turn out. My parents had several miscarriages and still births, and one baby that only lived one day. They were told that they would never have children of their own, so adopted a baby girl (my oldest sister). A couple of years later, they adopted a baby boy (my brother). Less than a year later, mom discovered she was pregnant. Nobody expected this pregancy to last, or if it did, the baby for sure would not survive. And they were not disappointed. When my sister was born, she was very very sick. Quite premature, and at that time babies of her size and age were not expected to live nor given much special treatment - better to let nature take it's course. Feeling the baby would not live long, the nuns insisted on baptising her. My mother had a name picked out, but the nuns felt it was too big a name for such a small baby and changed it! What did it matter, the child was not going to live. My parents were told to go home, they would be called when it was all overwith. Right before leaving, my mother wanted to see her baby and say good-bye. They went to the nursery, and could not find her in a bassinet. They asked, and a nurse pointed to a bundle on the windowsill! They had wrapped the baby and placed her on the windowsill to die! "Why waste a crib on a baby that won't live the night?". They were making no effort to feed or care for her since she was so sick. My parents made a decision right then to take her home. Sure, she was going to die. But she was going to be CARED FOR until that happened. They set up a nursery in the livingroom, and took shifts constantly trying to feed her. She didn't have the reflex to suck, and couldn't take a bottle. They would sit and massage her cheeks to help her swallow the milk. This went on for weeks. Then one day, my father was on shift. He was watching tv while forcefeeding her and noticed that the bottle was empty. He went to make a new one, then it hit him. SHE DRANK! She took the next bottle herself, and drank it so fast she had sweat on her nose! There was no looking back. I can understand why it would happen, since feeding had been such an issue. But the truth is, after that point they overfed her. Pictures show the brutal truth...the kid had rolls in her arms, on her legs, on her FINGERS. We giggle and crack right up when we go through the albums or watch the slides (and it didn't stay that way...by the time she was three she no longer looked like the Michelin man). Ever after she was the DARLING of my mother and had a way of getting special treatment in a house full of people. She would kling to my mom like her life depended on it, with her nose on mom's cheek like a leech. I was never much into physical contact, but even if I wanted to I couldn't get a hug in edgewise. She was always "rub my back" or "scratch my legs" or "play with my hair". I was jealous of her. She was everything my family placed high value on. Thin. Blonde. Blue eyes. I had NONE of that. She got gigantic boobs at the age of twelve, which made her both an awe inspiring object and a family joke at the same time. Do you know what it is like to go through life with double d's, and be known as the sister with the smallest boobs???? Trauma I tell you. TRAUMA. I didn't understand the full meaning of how her being sick at birth might have had an influence on how they treated her afterwards, until recently. She wasn't their favourite, she was just their sick baby. She knew how to get - and keep - the attention. There was always something wrong with her. Paper cut. Twisted ankle. Ear ache. Sore throat. Burnt tongue. She could work herself into a thermometer verified fever on a whim. And she could make herself vomit on cue, without putting anything down her throat. When we were really small, we had just gotten our "allowance" - a shiny new nickel each. She put hers in her mouth for safe keeping, and of course swallowed it. Immediately she began to choke and turn blue. My father pounded on her back, then hoisted her into the air upside down and gave her a good WHACK. She sputtered, and stopped choking but that nickel completed the rest of the journey inside. Every day they had to...um...."check her droppings" until that 5 cent piece made it's appearance. This was a powerful message, in my sister's mind. People kept asking if she was okay. Aunts and Uncles brought presents to the poor girl who almost choked to death. My parents checked on her at night to make sure nothing hurt or was otherwise amiss. Hmmmm. Every dinner for the next ten years afterward, she would 'choke'. After a while, we all realized that this was a fake out and stopped paying attention. She would sputter and grab her throat, wave her arms in our face and cough and hack. And we would completely ignore her and go about our business. "What's that? Oh, that's just sister choking again". Then one christmas we were getting into a box of chocolate covered cherries - biting off the tops, tipping it up to drink the liquid, then eating the cherry and chocolate shell. While tipping one up to drink, the cherry popped out and right into her throat, blocking her airway. She choked, we ignored her. She sputtered, we ignored her. She waved her arms, we ignored her. When she started to turn a dusky shade of blue, we thought "Hey, maybe something IS wrong". Somebody did a modified version of the heimlich maneouver, out popped the cherry (which the dog promptly ate) and that was that. It was a "boy who cried wolf" story come true. She is still "delicate" and gets sick or hurt easily. But she is no longer skinny and her blonde comes from a bottle ;). She still has those blue eyes though, I'll have to work on that. Bwa-ha-ha-haaa. It is still raining and icky and the sprites have not yet come and cleaned my house, so no pictures again today. I promise next blog will have some. Okay?

Bossy bossy bossy

I have two sisters. The older of the two is needy (for another post), the other is bossy LOL. We are closer in age, and we did NOT get along growing up. Our pre-teen and teenage years were largely spent trying to kill each other - or at least cause great bodily harm. You would think having our own rooms would help, but that made not a whit of difference. Now that we are older, I am closer to her than anyone else in my family. Hell, in my LIFE. Funny how things turn out. My parents had several miscarriages and still births, and one baby that only lived one day. They were told that they would never have children of their own, so adopted a baby girl (my oldest sister). A couple of years later, they adopted a baby boy (my brother). Less than a year later, mom discovered she was pregnant. Nobody expected this pregancy to last, or if it did, the baby for sure would not survive. And they were not disappointed. When my sister was born, she was very very sick. Quite premature, and at that time babies of her size and age were not expected to live nor given much special treatment - better to let nature take it's course. Feeling the baby would not live long, the nuns insisted on baptising her. My mother had a name picked out, but the nuns felt it was too big a name for such a small baby and changed it! What did it matter, the child was not going to live. My parents were told to go home, they would be called when it was all overwith. Right before leaving, my mother wanted to see her baby and say good-bye. They went to the nursery, and could not find her in a bassinet. They asked, and a nurse pointed to a bundle on the windowsill! They had wrapped the baby and placed her on the windowsill to die! "Why waste a crib on a baby that won't live the night?". They were making no effort to feed or care for her since she was so sick. My parents made a decision right then to take her home. Sure, she was going to die. But she was going to be CARED FOR until that happened. They set up a nursery in the livingroom, and took shifts constantly trying to feed her. She didn't have the reflex to suck, and couldn't take a bottle. They would sit and massage her cheeks to help her swallow the milk. This went on for weeks. Then one day, my father was on shift. He was watching tv while forcefeeding her and noticed that the bottle was empty. He went to make a new one, then it hit him. SHE DRANK! She took the next bottle herself, and drank it so fast she had sweat on her nose! There was no looking back. I can understand why it would happen, since feeding had been such an issue. But the truth is, after that point they overfed her. Pictures show the brutal truth...the kid had rolls in her arms, on her legs, on her FINGERS. We giggle and crack right up when we go through the albums or watch the slides (and it didn't stay that way...by the time she was three she no longer looked like the Michelin man). Ever after she was the DARLING of my mother and had a way of getting special treatment in a house full of people. She would kling to my mom like her life depended on it, with her nose on mom's cheek like a leech. I was never much into physical contact, but even if I wanted to I couldn't get a hug in edgewise. She was always "rub my back" or "scratch my legs" or "play with my hair". I was jealous of her. She was everything my family placed high value on. Thin. Blonde. Blue eyes. I had NONE of that. She got gigantic boobs at the age of twelve, which made her both an awe inspiring object and a family joke at the same time. Do you know what it is like to go through life with double d's, and be known as the sister with the smallest boobs???? Trauma I tell you. TRAUMA. I didn't understand the full meaning of how her being sick at birth might have had an influence on how they treated her afterwards, until recently. She wasn't their favourite, she was just their sick baby. She knew how to get - and keep - the attention. There was always something wrong with her. Paper cut. Twisted ankle. Ear ache. Sore throat. Burnt tongue. She could work herself into a thermometer verified fever on a whim. And she could make herself vomit on cue, without putting anything down her throat. When we were really small, we had just gotten our "allowance" - a shiny new nickel each. She put hers in her mouth for safe keeping, and of course swallowed it. Immediately she began to choke and turn blue. My father pounded on her back, then hoisted her into the air upside down and gave her a good WHACK. She sputtered, and stopped choking but that nickel completed the rest of the journey inside. Every day they had to...um...."check her droppings" until that 5 cent piece made it's appearance. This was a powerful message, in my sister's mind. People kept asking if she was okay. Aunts and Uncles brought presents to the poor girl who almost choked to death. My parents checked on her at night to make sure nothing hurt or was otherwise amiss. Hmmmm. Every dinner for the next ten years afterward, she would 'choke'. After a while, we all realized that this was a fake out and stopped paying attention. She would sputter and grab her throat, wave her arms in our face and cough and hack. And we would completely ignore her and go about our business. "What's that? Oh, that's just sister choking again". Then one christmas we were getting into a box of chocolate covered cherries - biting off the tops, tipping it up to drink the liquid, then eating the cherry and chocolate shell. While tipping one up to drink, the cherry popped out and right into her throat, blocking her airway. She choked, we ignored her. She sputtered, we ignored her. She waved her arms, we ignored her. When she started to turn a dusky shade of blue, we thought "Hey, maybe something IS wrong". Somebody did a modified version of the heimlich maneouver, out popped the cherry (which the dog promptly ate) and that was that. It was a "boy who cried wolf" story come true. She is still "delicate" and gets sick or hurt easily. But she is no longer skinny and her blonde comes from a bottle ;). She still has those blue eyes though, I'll have to work on that. Bwa-ha-ha-haaa. It is still raining and icky and the sprites have not yet come and cleaned my house, so no pictures again today. I promise next blog will have some. Okay?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

It's lightning out and the people are walking sidewards

My brother was constant entertainment growing up. He talked in his sleep, walked in his sleep, was hyper and got into many funny predicaments, and if all else failed he would beat us up to keep us busy. Being the only boy, he got his own spacious room while the three of us girls shared one the size of a closet. My father built him a "captain's bed", right into the wall. It was very high and had several drawers. At the foot it extended into a desk with more drawers. Underneath was a small crawl space that was fun to play in, and later became storage. Lovely bed, but the wrong child to sleep in it. Children that sleepwalk should not be in a bed that is six feet off the floor, just so you know. We would hear a loud CRASH in the middle of the night, think "Oh, brother fell out of bed again" and go back to sleep - if there weren't any screams for help or crying or anything. He liked to be wrapped tightly in his blankets with them tucked in all around him (think cocoon stuck to a branch LOL). Well, once he managed to roll off the bed but the sheet was still tucked in. Wrapped like a pig in a blanket and hanging four feet off the ground, unable to move. Not sure how long he called for help before somebody woke up to come to the rescue. He had a bad habit of not closing his drawers all the way. More than once he fell out of bed, and smacked his head on a drawer corner on the way down. We used to call him "crash". He's had more stitches than frankenstein. He could hurt himself doing absolutely nothing. I don't have enough fingers and toes to count all the times he cracked his head open, cut himself, burned himself, got poked in the eye, broke teeth, and more. Partly he was clumsy. And rowdy. He made bad decisions. And I think he was more than a little unlucky. One summer he and his friends were throwing rocks at a bumble bee nest, a ground nest in the field near our house. A lucky shot split that nest wide open, and out poured a dark cloud of ANGRY. They ran as fast as they could, but it was not fast enough. He knew he wasn't SUPPOSED to go near that nest, and he knew he would be in trouble. So instead of going home he hid in the back yard. My parents found him behind the shed, whimpering, eyes swollen shut and tongue so swollen he could barely breathe. I would like to say he learned his lesson, but a few weeks after that he broke through our screen door being chased by angry hornets. Did you know that hornets can sting MANY MORE THAN one time? And when they are particularly upset at a little boy those stings leave holes? If somebody was going to climb on the roof and fall off, it was him. Sure, we might have jointly come up with the idea of jumping into the pool from the roof, but he was the one that actually tried it and slid down the shingles (shingleburn), hit the gutter and broke it off (fractured ankle and cut down leg) then fell unceremoniously to the concrete patio below (broken arm and LOT'S of bruises). "Are you okay or do we have to tell mom and dad?" ROFL. We didn't want to get in TROUBLE now did we? The idea to jump off the roof of the next door neighbours shed into the pool was entirely his own idea though. It was a shabby rickety old thing right next to the fence, which was right next to the pool. It was a simple idea. Climb onto the fence, get on the shed, and JUMP. Only he stepped on a nail sticking out of the fence (tetanus shot), scraped his leg on the side of the shed (stitches), and when he pushed off to jump the entire shed collapsed, trapping him in the rubble (lots more little cuts, splinters, and a concussion). He also broke his collar bone jumping from the top of the pool slide into the shallow end. Hmmmm. Seems to me maybe we should have gotten rid of the pool before he killed himself. I know a lot of people that have fallen UP the stairs, but he is the only person I know that managed to cut his head open doing so (right above the eyebrow). Not far from the scar he aquired when a "friend" of his hit him in the head with a bucket trying to douse him during a water fight. A few inches away from the scar he got after sliding on the hallway carpet and splitting his head open on the corner of the wall. And directly across from a particularly good one caused by the corner of a drawer ;). While mom never ventured to administer the stitches themselves, after a while she started taking them out herself after the required number of days. Being a nurse, it was within her abilities and frankly we were spending far too much time in the emergency room. The triage nurse knew us by our first names for goodness sakes. After the umpteenth visit in almost as many days, child services was alerted by a new employee. They separated us from our parents and started asking questions. Do you parents hurt you? Do they watch you when you play? And so on. I am sure more would have come of it (I can only imagine what we were telling them ROFL) if it wasn't for my brother falling off his chair during his interview and biting through his own lip. Four adults from social services child protection with him in a practically empty room and he manages to hurt himself - no way were they touching that one. Case closed! My brother is now "an old bachelor". He will be 37 this summer, and has chosen not to get married or have kids of his own. He says he has enough nieces and nephews to bequeath his earthly posessions and likes his freedom. Plus he is too picky. Lord forbid a woman have a mole, or a bit of a butt, or an opinion. He's only had two or three girlfriends (and only one was really serious). I think maybe between my mother and us sisters we ruined him, scared him off the whole relationship thing LOL. The women in my family are all crazy (I am no exception - again, you may send DH sympathy cards later). For all the teasing he did to us, it is finally catching up with him so now we tease HIM mercilessly - because that is what loved ones DO. He is balding. He is getting a "middle". Pretty soon he might need glasses to read. Oh, the joys! We have been waiting so long LOLOLOL. We tease him that he probably wouldn't be able to have kids anyway, not with all those x-rays he got as a kid. Of course, he hasn't stopped being clumsy, rowdy, unlucky, and still makes poor decisions. He has taken dirtbiking and fourwheeling as a hobby. He and a group of cousins and other family (including my father and an uncle) go trail riding several times in the summer, all over Canada and the U.S. Last summer he was riding merrily along then WHAMMO. He said it felt like somebody hit him with a hammer. His bike kept going. It took him a bit to realize that he wasn't standing on his own feet. He managed to become impaled on an exposed tree root! They cut the root and draped him across a four wheeler (rather like a shot deer) and brought him to an aid station. He recovered fine, but for his birthday we chipped in and got him a chest protector. Because if somebody was going to get hurt that way (or any other way) again, it was going to be HIM. The title of the post: He talks in his sleep. One time, we were camping in the popup trailer when he said that line. We giggled for over an hour, and bring it up all the time even though it was over 25 years ago. No pics today, it's too wet outside and too messy inside ROFL.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Done like a dinner

I have discovered something about myself. If the fate of the world, or my very own demise, depended on me being able to open a tupperware container or close a zip lock bag, we can kiss our collective patooties good-bye. Why can I not do these things? How is it that I have opposable thumbs and enough intellect not to pee where I eat, and yet I cannot for the life of me open a tupperware container or close a zip lock bag correctly. The perfect diet plan is starting to form. I'll simply store all my meals in tupperware containers. Unable to remove the lids I will lose weight for sure - from all the not eating and energy expenditure of wrestling with the containers. There is one exception to this inability. If I were to place a liquidy substance in a tupperware container, I can't close the lid in which case it leaks all over everything. Kind of like a backwards karma thing for complaining too much about not being able to get the lids off. "Want the lid off? I'll take the lid off. Now your sandwiches are soggy and your papers are full of soup, how do you like THEM apples?". Those karma gods can be cruel. I watch those ziploc commercials. The woman holds the item up, barely touches the edge and slides her fingers across. Then she happily turns the bag upside down and shakes that chicken leg around to show how effective the seal is. No matter how much I pinch, how hard I work to match up those little tracks, I can not seal a ziplock bag. Perhaps, like wild animals, they sense my fear so decide to yank my chain. Entertainment must be hard to come by when you are a little plastic baggie. I've tried the kind that has a sort of zipper pull in them. And I can get those closed. Only not SEALED. They never quite get closed all the way to the edge. The whole purpose is an airtight, leak proof seal. Right? And don't even talk to me about PressNSeal. How about "press and press and not seal, but look at it and it seals itself into a little ball". How's that for a product name, huh? I lust after those meal sealing thingies. You know the ones, that suck the air out then seal the bag? I wonder how many bags we will waste, sealing things to watch them squish down in the vacuum then open it to see them POOF back up again. The potential for abuse is quite high, in direct proportion to the cost of the bags to seal the food in. Which is precisely why I don't have one at this time. My sister has one, and we are getting ready to stage a "seal-a-meal" intervention. She seals, opens and takes a bit out, and reseals over and over and over again. She keeps any bags, washes and reuses because you can keep sealing them over and over as they get smaller and smaller. Now she has an ASSORTMENT of bags. Spends more time trying to match the size of the food item to the bags she has sitting around than it would to just EAT that last bit of cheese and save herself the trouble. She seals leftovers. She seals and freezes entire meals. She seals her flour and sugar and dry pasta. Once I left my keys on her counter and she vacu-sealed them. Okay, that did not happen but it COULD have. I suppose I should be glad that she gets such use out of the machine as we all chipped in and got it for her as a gift. Maybe I'm a little guilty, feel sort of responsible for the part I played in her sealing addiction. Maybe I just want to confiscate her machine so I can finally rid myself of tupperware and ziplocs forever. I took a walk around the yard (giving myself time to calm down after a tupperware incident) and noticed that a few things are in bloom. We concentrate on foliage here. Sure, many of our plants bloom but I didn't want to have a big show in spring or fall and nothing in between of interest. I tend to find beauty in the unconventional. For example, dandilions. I think they are cheerful when they are yellow. And who doesn't feel a little bit of magic when making a wish and giving a strong BLOW and sending those little feathery fairies into the wind. I have been known to eat the fresh new greens (cooked and raw) and if you have the patience to pick off every speck of green the unopened flower buds are very good sauteed with a bit of butter. I just don't like how the crowns look messy when the flowers aren't open or the look of the bare stalks after the down has blown off. Otherwise I would be more than happy with a dandilion lawn. My bleeding hearts. What a long story these have! They've been here for years but haven't had a chance to shine because something kept happening. Two years running my father in law pulled them out thinking they were weeds. Then a third time my own husband did the same. Each time rescued and lovingly replanted. They are available everywhere now, but when I bought them they were rare here and I had to use mail order. One replanting was too close to a bush that thrived the next year and totally engulfed them. Finally, I think we have the best spot for them and no more danger of being pulled out and cast aside as "weeds". I wonder if I can take this little flower stalk as a sign that everything will be okay in bleeding heart land. These are, of all things, brussel sprouts! Part of my harvest froze before they had budded enough to be picked. They laid there, fallen over, all winter. I figured they would provide winter food for some hungry creature when there was snow and food was scarce. Imagine my surprise when they started GROWING this spring. They are flowering, so I won't get any stalks and buds to use. In fact, these will be yanked out when the spring clean up is done right before planting this years veggies. But still, cheerful yellow flowers. I can't remember what this is called. I love the bright orange flowers. They especially look stunning with dark blue-purple lobelia but I don't keep things watered enough here to keep the lobelia alive (if you haven't experienced orange and electric blue/purple together you have to try it. They practically glow together). After the bloom fades, the center becomes an odd and interesting hairy puffball that eventually dries out. They look like those small fuzzy pompoms you can buy for kids crafts.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Hiding in the closet eating tofu

Well, not really. Just very very busy. We tried a new thing today. A banana flavoured tofu dessert. It was......banana-y. The texture was somewhere between a pudding and jello. Not enough of one or another to make it good. The flavour was fine, the mouthfeel was horrific LOL. DD lasted longer than I did and ate almost a quarter of her little tray, I ate exactly two small spoons worth. So I guess we are not tofu dessert people. I've used silken tofu in desserts before, and in place of part of the ricotta cheese in a lasagne recipe. But for all my tree-hugginess, I am just not a tofu eater. I've tried it stir fried, deep fried, teryakied, cooked in marinara and marinated with herbs. It's the texture I just can't get past no matter what style. I've eaten soy-based meat-like foods and enjoyed them (tofu dogs, veggie baloney, that sort of thing) but the white block is just beyond my comprehension. I'm more of a TVP gal. Family members that swear they would never eat something like that have been eating it in my lasagne and other sauces for years. I don't sneak it in, they just never ask. And I never bring a scrap home so it must be okay. I am not vegetarian now, but I was for years and really enjoyed many of the recipes. I wouldn't have eaten that way if I didn't LIKE it after all. Confession time - I love my steak as much as I love my eggplant parmesan and I never was able to give up cheese and eggs. This evening I had no idea what to make for dinner. I had about 30 minutes to make SOMETHING. So rice, hamburger, and corn it was. Brown the meat, add the rice and corn, add broth, and let it cook together. It was missing something, and I realized that I should have added some tomato soup or maybe even cream of mushroom soup - you know, just to complete the casseroliness of it. If you are gonna do a hamburg-rice-corn skillet thing, you really should go all the way. DH and DD staged a bit of a protest when they saw what was for dinner, but they didn't like their other option - cook something themselves - so gave it a try. I wouldn't cook this way every night (and I added salsa to mine in my plate, DH ketchup to his) but there wasn't a rice grain left and they each ate a large serving. If I was cooking only for myself I would had also added a chopped onion, mushrooms, and celery, and maybe peas. My parents would likely have eaten it on toast ROFL. I had a strange craving for tinned fruit cocktail for dessert, but I suppressed it. We don't have any and the tofu was waiting. What is the deal with my pickle cravings lately? Not actually pickles themselves but dill pickle flavoured stuff. Chips (they make my stomach hurt though), cream cheese, popcorn, and now rice cakes. DILL PICKLE FLAVOURED RICE CAKES. It is just wrong wrong wrong that I am eating these and enjoying them. It is also wrong that I have been walking around with garlicky dill pickle breath but we won't mention that. Okay, maybe we will because I have a question. Have you ever noticed that brushing, flossing, and gargling mouth wash just don't touch certain things? Like dill pickle breath? Or tuna breath. It works for like five minutes then it's back to stripping wall paper. DD loooooves these cookies. They are soft cookies with date filling in the middle. She has no idea that dates are fruit. In fact she believes it is rather like brown sugar in there. We aren't going to discuss who may have led to her to believe such things. We are all just so snacky tonight! I'm off to find more garlicky tangy dilly things.