Thursday, September 14, 2006

The worst place to burn

For some reason, I burn myself. A lot. I am careful and actually afraid of things like heat, fire, and electricity, yet there it is. Never badly, rarely requiring medical treatment. Just those annoying little burns that make you swear and dance around a bit in the kitchen. The kinds that make your family laugh out loud, even though IT IS NOT FUNNY. I know this about myself and take as much precaution as possible. I am talking wearing oven mitts to take toast out of the toaster. But it rarely helps me. I have this odd karma thing going on - and I would really like to know what horrific things I did in that past life, because it is getting ridiculous, by the way. For example, one time I managed to successfully remove a glass pyrex dish from the oven, full of boiling chicken fat and juices, and get it onto the cooling rack without incident. This dish came out of a 450 degree oven and almost guaranteed I would get burnt, splattered, steamed, something. But I was victorious! I took the oven mitts off and tucked them under my arm to close the oven door, and promptly scorched my armpit with the hot fabric. See? See how that is not normal, and something cosmic must be going on? Well there is more. This morning while making DD's lunch I used the hot tap to make instant soup. A hot tap as in "Insta-hot" tap that dispenses water at an extrememly warm (almost boiling) 190 degrees F. When I filled the measuring cup, it fell just short of the mark so I tweaked the tap one more time. A dollop of hot water was displaced and splashed out of the measuring cup, and plupped unceremoniously in my exposed belly button. Darn that pajama shirt that rides up! If you want to know what might ruin a morning, burning hot liquid INSIDE the belly button for sure is a contender. I can't adequately describe the reaction when a blob of hot wet lands in your belly button, because I think my sub-conscious blocked it out to save my sanity and perhaps keep me from having a nervous breakdown while rolling around on the floor and holding my navel. My family of course was worried at first, then found the whole thing quite funny. Hilariously funny. Uproariously funny. They should note that laughing at the plight of the person making your lunch might not be the best idea. Laugh it up, little nutballs, and think on it while eating your plain whole wheat crackers and unpeeled apple at snack time. Make it up to me tomorrow and we will discuss the possibility of pudding or one of those granola bars with the marhsmallows and chocolate chips. Bwa-hahahaaaaaaaa! On the plus side, my belly button does not itch like it normally does any more. I have problems with it, I have for years. It gets itchy and icky and gross, despite taking very good care of it and using special creams and soaps and alcohol wipes. Not enough trouble to be a medical concern, but when conditions are right it gets a bit infected. And when it is not infected it is irritated from the cleaning and the creams and soaps and swabs and whatnot. There is a surgery they can do to fix it, but I am a chicken and a scaredy cat and the thought of a stranger LOOKING inside there and doing stuff gives me the willies. But now, today, after that blast of steaming hot water, it is not itchy. And it is not red, which is unexpected if I managed to burn it. In fact, it looks like a normal belly button to me, which is a miracle. Turns out, all I had to do was boil it. Who knew? The shoes I bought are not working out. While they fit fine and are comfortable when I am standing still, the instep bothers the top of my foot while I am walking. Just on the left side. This morning I had a nice big purple bruise on the top of my foot, I guess it was pushing in more than I thought. Poop. I am posting a picture of how little I am done of my mother's scarf, in the hopes that the embarassment and shame will kick me in the butt and get me moving on it. This little snippet is oh, four inches long. Last time I looked the fashion trend was not for SHORT scarves, was it. Though this tough-love tactic did not work on the still-unfinished-poncho-turned-wrap, I am hoping it will for the scarf. I really do love the result, if only I didn't hate the process so much. Darn those friggen yarn overs. If I don't make it through at least 4 repeats of the 8 row pattern tonight I am going to abandon the pattern and look for something else. If it is painful and I hate it I won't finish it, and it is time to listen to the music, know what I mean? And what kind of vibe am I working in with the stitches if I just hate what I am doing - yes, I am just the kind of wierdo that thinks like that. Last night there was a quiet moment (when does THAT ever happen) and I had a chance to use up some apples and flour. Cake and pastry flour that I don't know what to do with, and some Paula Red apples that aren't good for eating out of hand. Their texture is just too soft to eat that way. When they cook they completely dissintegrate, but their flavour becomes very complex and quite good. Dh came home early from work so we could go to a meet-the-teacher night at her school and I almost got teary eyed LOL. I was quite touched that he did that. When we got home, he brought DD downstairs to help him build some shelf units we bought for the storage space. They "played nicely" the whole time, and he said she was a big help and held things for him etc. While they did that I whipped up some apple turnovers. I mixed the apples with a touch of cinnamon but no sugar, wrapped them in basic butter flavoured crisco pastry, and drizzled them with icing sugar glaze after baking. Not sure I completely understand or like cake and pastry flour, but I am not a dessert eater so maybe it's just cross-over hate LOLOL. These are too fragile to eat out of hand, but I think I made a good decision regarding not sweetening the apples then adding the glaze. It made them more complex and special, compared to a basic apple pie for instance. They didn't brown well on top, and I think that was the flour again. Oh well, DH and DD like them and that is what counts, right? I am trying not to think about the trans-fats in the Crisco. Imagine my mind covering it's ears and singing "la la la la la!".

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Mother of the year award

It isn't bad enough that we are all being judged by the world around us. Nope, most of us are plenty hard on ourselves without outside help. Last night I was listening to a radio show about cooking, and the subject was school night dinners. One mother called in, and explained that since she is so rushed on school nights, what with practices and library time and quality time and everything, that she keeps dinner limited to fresh home made biscuits, a chopped salad, roast beef and mashed potatoes. "I save a lot of time by using frozen veggies instead of fresh. The kids can't even tell the green beans almondine started out from the freezer". At that moment, I think I wanted to kill her. Do you know what MY daughter ate for dinner last night? Reheated rice-a-roni and two cold hot dogs dipped in ketchup. Now mind you, she WANTED the hotdogs cold and insisted I not heat them, but that saved, Oh what, thirty seconds of microwave time? Just when I thought I was the best mother in the world because we spent an hour painting and talking and laughing and having a good time together, WHAMO. I get hit in the face with roast beef and green beans almondine. I call these "toss my cookies" moments. Not because they make me want to throw up (although sometimes they do) but because they make my efforts at good mothering (what I call baking cookies) seem so meaningless, worthless, to be tossed out the window. I wish I could take full credit for this idea, but really it came to me after something another mother said. Last year we had a day that dumped a foot of snow onto the ground between the start of the school day and the final bell. I decided to pull DD home on a sled rather than pick her up in the car. I brought the toboggan, a blanket, and a thermos of hot chocolate so she could sit toasty warm and enjoy the ride. As we were leaving, a rather distraught woman hustled by me with two kids who weren't wearing coats (it had been warm earlier in the day, not everyone knew it was going to snow), eyed DD in the sled - swaddled in a blanket and blissfully sipping hot chocolate - and said "Thanks a lot. Every batch of cookies I ever baked now mean absolutely nothing. They just can't compete with being pulled home on a sled". Now, I laughed at the time, but have thought about it since and it kind of makes me sad. Because I KNOW those moments. Like when I found out my sister warms the kids towels while they are in the shower or swimming. That was a cookie tossing moment. It never occurred to me to warm the towels, and since then I have tried but our dryer just doesn't do it right. Or the time we were in the emergency room, and DD had already eaten all the snacks I brought and a stranger gave her a banana so she wouldn't starve. And again when she was getting her follow up assessment and I didn't think to bring snacks at all (she had just eaten lunch, I didn't think it was going to take so long) and another stranger gave her a granola bar. While I am glad that there was so much kindness directed towards her, I still felt terrible that I couldn't provide for her. The first week of school we weren't sure what DD needed. So I packed a pencil box with a minimum of coloured pencils, crayons, her pencils and erasers, gluestick, scissors, pencil sharpener (which was confiscated as apparently the blade is a weapon), and a marker or two. I told her not to leave the box at school yet (usually it gets left in the desk) until we know what she needs for sure. We got a note home the third day that said while the first week the teacher was glad to supply pencils and crayons, DD needed to start bringing her own. That was when I found out that a) the supply list was in her desk and hadn't come home and b) DD was afraid to take the box out of her bag at school because I said not to leave it there, so had to use the teachers supplies all week. That thud you heard was my head hitting the table. We got it cleared up, but still. Last year we found out after several weeks that DD was missing gym class because she didn't have appropriate shoes. Her runners had been in her backpack the whole time, she just forgot they were there. Sure, we saw the notes coming home but they were dittos and very generalized, we took them for broadcast messages and not specific to us because, after all, the runners were in her backpack. They can't mean OUR child, her shoes are with her every single day. Sheesh. I know we have all had these moments. The mothers who made their kids go to school with a stomach ache thinking they are trying to avoid a math test, only to have their appendix burst and need emergency surgery. The mothers that made their kids eat ALL their lima beans because they are good for you, to have their child vomit in their plate. The mothers that saved money to buy yet ANOTHER pair of shoes by cutting their own childs hair, only to botch the job or slice their ear with the scissors. The mothers who move two meetings and take vacation time to come see their kid in an assembly only to find that the other kids mothers made them special costumes and brought snacks like homemade cupcakes. Or the mothers that show up at sports practice with pop tarts and sports drinks to be told that THOSE snacks are not acceptable, and they will use the reserve snacks they keep on hand just for these purposes - gluten free graham crackers and dye-free-sugar-free juice. Toss those cookies, ladies. Fathers just don't seem to care about things like this, and they get away with it. Is the kid dressed? Is the kid there? Is the kid fed? Then what is the problem? Never mind the child has chocolate all over their face from the cake they had for breakfast, they are wearing their older brothers dirty shirt from yesterday and their little sisters pink leggings from her princess costume, their socks don't match and the shoes are from last year and too small. Their lunch consists of a frozen "Lean Cuisine" shoved into a clown-face overnight bag because no man can find anything in the morning (not that they looked), and a can of soda. But when the school calls, do they ask to speak to the father that did this? Nope. They want to talk to the MOTHER. This is the "Mother of the year award" I speak of. No matter what you do, there will always be these moments, these toss-your-cookies moments that make us look like and make us feel like the WORST. MOTHER. EVER. For those that are wondering, yes I did find shoes yesterday. Black, faceless, old-lady slip on shoes that are non-skid, padded, and have washable insoles. Not ugly enough to be irrisistable, not cute enough to photograph. They are the wallflower of shoes, the ones that sit on the shelf and watch while the pumps and strappy sandals party and the sport shoes race around. Sensible shoes. Shoes that say "I am married with children and won't be tripping the light fantastic anytime soon". Nothing cheeky about them, nothing flirty. But come on, what is it with designers this year? They were the only shoes there that fit and didn't expose more of me than I am comfortable showing - at least when it comes to my feet. Cleavage belongs on my CHEST, and not my feet people. There. Now you know another "secret" about me. I am not fond of toe cleavage. I don't even like how it SOUNDS, let alone how it looks.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Excuse me, have you seen my mind? Because I lost it.

Thanks to Jen_TX who gave me the heads up that the picture did not come through. I was having trouble posting it yesterday and thought it worked out, but apparently not. Here is my cheeky little monkey, giving me a "smile". I can't believe how big she is getting, who knew she was going to GROW and stuff. I don't post pictures of her often, but because she never sits still and they usually come out blurry LOL. So. How many times do I have to get soakers, or stones up THROUGH the bottom of my shoes (because they have holes) before I get myself new shoes? What is it with me and walking out of my footwear? Except for my exercise shoes, of course. Which are still pristine and show little wear. I wonder why? *cough* After therapy today I will have to suffer through *shudder* shoe shopping. I detest shoe shopping. I can never tell if they fit right, and I can't stand anything that is tight around me feet or across the top. It is a quandry, I tell you. Wish me luck. While I am at the mall I need to get some 3-6-9 essential fatty acid oil for the dog. I buy my vitamins on sale at the grocery store, but I go to an actual health store for the dog. Holes in my shoes, special shopping for the pet. I see a problem here. We managed to get all signed up for Brownie's last night. And is it wrong that my first thought, when seeing the day and time of the meetings, was "Boy, that is going to interfere with Survivor night". What has my life become? And I am first to admit, I am addicted to that show and for the first time in my life I have SHOWS to watch and a SCHEDULE of nights. There is CSI Miami and Project Runway on Mondays. House on Tuesdays, Lost and Bones and CSI NY on Wednesday. Thursdays are for Survivor, CSI and ER. Friday....hey, I have a day free! What do you know. Maybe I will watch the Good Eats and Food Jammers and Holmes on Homes that I PVR'd because I didn't have time to watch them (or they interfered with the other schedule). Even my family knows not to call on THURSDAYS because that is the big day. DH is always in danger of being pummelled because he is now hooked on these shows, and chatters during the program and asks questions and stuff. When will he learn, there is NO SPEAKING during ER? Sheesh. Tee hee! My dad often shakes his head and tsks, because for years I didn't even HAVE a tv. I had no idea what Seinfeld was until it's last season, which gives you an indication. Although I do believe we have caught up on all the shows through the magic of "doubled up" reruns on sattelite channels. Lucky me. On the knitting front, I am still working away at the wrap. I have gauge swatched for socks (I want ankle socks and have some yarn that so so ugly it sucked me right in and no way would anybody else come near it), and almost done the plan for a new poncho for DD. There is also the scarf for my mother, a silky thing using shiny thread that I think is meant for crochet but is lovely, and it is trying to kill me. I cast on from two balls so I can do two halves at once and attach in the middle so that the pattern falls correctly on each side. I abandoned both pieces twice, and one side a third time so now there is only ONE side on the needles. And the pattern is going to go the wrong way on one side and I don't care because I CANNOT DO TWO FREAKING PARTS at the same time. There are so many yarn overs that there is no way I can back track and un-knit if I find a problem at the end. And that happens often even though there are only 39 stitches across. Did I mention the effing yarn overs? I HATE yarn overs, in case you were wondering. They are fiddly and slip around and annoy me to work them. I like how they LOOK when it is done, I just hate working with them. Give me a P3tog-tbl over a yarn over any day. But I know the finished object will be lovely and cause my mother's coworkers and sisters to covet, and if I know my mother that will thrill her to no end LOL. Only it might be a birthday present rather than a christmas present if things continue as they are. Labour day weekend, my daughter and husband went to a nearby fair. And my lovely daughter used her very own money to buy me a present - a magnetic necklace that is supposed to help with just about everything from fibromyalgia to menstrual cramps. It was expensive, and when the dealer heard that she was using her very own money, he gave her a bit of a discount so she could use the rest to play some fair games or go on a ride or two. Very nice of him. It is lovely, it is pink and black and green and extrememly "sticky". Every bead is magnetized as well as the clasp, and it takes two hands and a lot of force to break the clasp open to put it on. It was a little short so I wrapped it twice around my wrist. I had heavy restaurant silverware sticking to my arm, this is how powerful this thing is. Being as I work on a computer, I could not feasably wear this as a bracelet all the time (never mind the fact that I scrambled my bank card, a hotel room key card, and a 'players club' card while wearing it). I don't care what the lady says, it was the necklace that did it and no I am not taking it off every time I get something out of my purse. Tomorrow I am going to get it lengthened so I can wear it as a necklace as it was meant to be worn. I really want to try it, and it was so touching how excited Krystal got, she paid for it and picked it out and it will help with my pain and my bad legs and feet, she said. She was proud, DH was proud, and I was proud that she would choose such a thoughtful gift. Maybe we are doing something right. Remind me I said that later when she dissolves in a meltdown because her nuggets are the wrong shape and I gave her milk in the wrong cup ;).

Monday, September 11, 2006

Crabby parents

This morning, my daughter complained that she has "crabby parents". Apparently we are crabby because we insisted she wear clothes and not a nightgown, made her put on socks against her wishes, and forced her into a jacket because it is cold. We said a big NO to ice cream for breakfast, and shot down her brilliant idea to forgo brushing her hair for smoothing it back with our hands and letting her wear a cowboy hat. Poor thing, how will she ever survive, with parents like us ;). Her teacher saw us in the playground, and commented that she thought both of us coming to the schoolyard was a "first week" thing, and she was surprised to see us there today. Perhaps we are odd, but if we can we always both go to bring her to school or pick her up. When DH is on afternoons, the morning is the only time he has (other than the week-ends, and he often works then too). We also both put her to bed if we can, and it has been that way since the day we brought her home from the hospital. Even if something keeps us both from going up to get her ready and read the bedtime story, we still make the trip upstairs to say goodnight to her while she is in bed. Getting hugs and kisses ahead of time just doesn't seem to count LOL. There was a stretch where DH felt he couldn't bother to get out of bed or help get her ready in the mornings, and that was first on my list of unforgiveables. If he is in bed before I am, there is no reason he can't get up at the same time at least, right? And I give him kudos that after a blow out or two he now understands and we have a system going. He gets her dressed and ready, I make her lunch and do the morning feeding routine of the zoo (which includes people AND animals LOL). I am hoping this lasts, because I don't want to have to get up two hours early. I barely sleep as it is. Of course, when he is on days he leaves before we even get up. I am not looking forward to next week. I have late-night deadlines that I know will be stretched to the limit, and I am solo in the mornings so I have to be up even earlier. I am tired already! I just saw a calendar, and had a momentary panic attack. Where did this year go? We are entering "the busy season" soon, and frankly I am shocked and appalled and so not ready. "The busy season" starts in October, with 7 family birthdays, my wedding anniversary, then halloween. Immediately after we have another birthday, and soon after that DD's birthday. All that pretty much drains our pocketbooks, just in time for the holiday season. It also taps us out physically and emotionally. I may SEEM like I am put together, but keeping track of what wrapping paper goes with which birthday, and who gets THIS and where did I put THAT, and remembering cards and stuff is not second nature to me. Okay, I am lying. I don't even seem like I am put together. Let me have my delusions. I manage to get it all done, right down to the origami on each gift. See, a few years ago, I didn't have any wrapping paper. All I had was some brown craft paper. No rubber stamps, no markers or pens available to me. Not so much as a crayon. I also didn't have any tape, because I am the type of person that can be completely out of tape and carry on blissfully until I have to wrap a present, and the horror descends upon me. This usually happens around five minutes before I have to leave the house for the party involving said gift. Perhaps I like the pressure, perhaps I just never learn. Moot anyhow, right when you are faced with nothing but an acre of kraft paper with just your ingenuity and maybe some scissors. I started by wrapping the present neatly with the paper, and using some string to hold it together. It looked kind of rustic, but not in a bad way. I didn't have a card, but the birthday boy loved frogs so I decided to take a scrap of kraft paper and fold it into an origami frog (something I learned to make in highschool and a skill that has many times saved the day in ways only a paper frog can). It turned out a little small, so I made a bigger one. Then one a little bigger. Then the next thing I knew, I was making a whole horde of froggies and tacking them to the present with itty bitty bits of adhesive foam strips. I ended up with a very interesting paper sculpture, which was the hit of the party. The birthday boy still has some of them lined up on his shelf. The next immediate birthday was a girl who loved butterflies, so out came the scissors and glitter and voila, birthday sculpture. I have done flowers, whales, cranes, stars, "poppers" which are little pouches that pop when you smash them between your hands, pinwheels, countless others. After each kid had a full sculpture, the next year it was regular wrapping paper, but with an origami/paper art figure tucked in somewhere. It's the first thing they look for, that little paper object. Which is nice, and yet creates a lot of pressure, if you would like to know the truth. I am not really GOOD at origami, and I have trouble following direction. Making a folded duck with nothing to follow but a bad diagram of different dotted lines is bad for my sanity. I am tempted to start folding a twenty in half and taping it down, maybe it will distract them long enough to divert their attention from the missing origami. But then again, that won't help the money problem, will it. Poop. All this stress over the wrapping, never mind finding the present to go inside. When I picked DD up from school she wanted to play a bit in the schoolyard. One of the other parents cornered me and asked if DD was going into Brownies, because if she was she would put her daughter in the same group (she normally goes to a different part of the city). I explained that DD decided against it and we weren't pushing it, because I was not in the mood to drag her kicking and screaming every week to a place she didn't want to go. Especially since the time frame sucked for me. One hour was not long enough to go back home, nor was it long enough to grocery shop or do any good browsing anywhere else. Sometimes I would sit at a nearby trendy coffee shop, but it was right next to a fitness center and I felt out of place sitting there with all the toned, tanned, taught people. I don't like feeling that I should be sitting in the back so nobody could see me, it isn't good for my self esteem. Ever want to raise your cup at every raised eyebrow and yell "skim latte, no sugar!" then show my receipt as proof I didn't buy and gobble up any pastry or cookies while I was there. Well, my darling daughter had already talked to her friends today, and there are going to be THREE of them in this group, so now she wants to register. I am telling you, if I go through the trouble and expense of registering her and getting the uniform only for her to kick and scream and resist, I just might have to sit on her. Right now I have her sitting and cooling off, because she got all sweaty in the playground. This kid sweats like you would not believe, especially her head. When she plays her hair gets absolutely soaked. But blessedly she hasn't reached the "stinky" age yet and though she sweats through her clothes, she has no B.O. Myself, not so much. It still looked cool outside so I just threw a light sweater on over what I was wearing. By the time I got to the school I realized my mistake, but since I was wearing a too-tight and too-short tank top (braless of course) under the sweater I couldn't take it off. I don't have B.O. yet, but I smell pretty brothy. Methinks a shower before going to register is in order, lest they think bad thoughts about me and my hygiene. DD is sitting still, which is about as rare as catching a hummingbird perching so I asked her to smile for the camera, and this is what they cheeky thing did. Never mind the hole in the couch, that is not for company. We usually have it covered with a throw blanket, but one of the cats got confused and thought it was a "throw UP" blanket and it is being washed.