Saturday, November 13, 2010

Never Ending Renos

As I watch my husband head out the door for his weekly trip to Home Depo, I can't help but shake my head. “What?” He asks with a little bit of attitude in his voice. “Nothing. Enjoy yourself,” I call to him. I don't say a word more. It's too risky. I don't want to put any barriers up that might impede him finishing his project.

At the beginning of each home improvement renovation, I make an estimated guess of how many trips to Home Depo this particular project might involve. The average is about 15. This bathroom fan he has been installing over the past 3 months has already needed 6 trips. I wonder if there is a genetic predisposition for not reading instructions, asking for directions and planning events?

Instead of reading the instructions and making a list of all the equipment that will be needed for a particular renovation and making one trip to purchase the various components...each trip comes on an as needed basis. Crawling around in the attic, he needed a breathing mask; The flexible aluminium hose that connects to the roof was forgotten, another trip...and the list goes on.

I wonder whether this ritual weekend trip is really about needing another nail? Is this male ritual the equivalent of girls night out for scrapbooking? Book club? Bingo? Do the weekly Home Depo powwows buoy him up for further work? Or is there some sort of brainwashing music luring these shoppers back to Home Depo for the purchase of a another tool ...another renovation.
What was suppose to be a 2 week bathroom renovation during the summer has turned into a 6 month and counting project. I was scared when he announced his plans to remodel our bathroom. I knew what this could mean. I might need counselling to make it through months without a hot morning shower.

The toilet was the biggest obstacle. It wouldn't come off, and the new one wouldn't fit on. It was one problem after another. Our two kids, age six and four were scared to go down to the basement bathroom on their own. Do you know how many times a four year old has to go to the bathroom during the day? Need I say more? Since having kids, my bladder capacity at night has been significantly reduced. The knowledge of not having a toilet at my disposal put my bladder into overdrive.

My husband refused to call in a plumber. He kept repeating his mantra..he could do this, he just needed more time. After the 3rd month, I'd reached my limit. I was ready for confrontation. Either fix it or forget it – call the darn plumber. But yet again, another trip to Home Depo, a new saw, more advice, the hole in the floor was enlarged and the toilet was installed. Cue the angels “halleluiah.”

I was sceptical, then happily surprised and impressed. I could see the enthusiasm for another project building in his face. His confidence increasing after solving problem after problem. He was becoming a handy-man.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Resuscitating the Exercise Plan

I've decided to dust off the elliptical machine. Vowed to get back to my exercise plan. To date, my plan has been a little sporadic. Nevertheless, I've got to continue. Push on. Plug away at it. Muster the strength to move on. Tali-ho!

It's not that I don't want to exercise, I just don't have time. By the time the kids have bathed, eaten their bed time snack, read their books and been tucked in, I'm falling into bed myself. Then I hear that voice again..."You've got to make time," it whispers into my ear.

Back at work, people all around me seen to be a good influence. The lunchtime runners, the dieters, the hard core marathoners, the body pumpers. I watch them all gather just past the beige cubicle, ready to get fit. Revelling in their exercise induced high. They blather on about how great they feel and where to buy the best salads. I watch them in awe. Where do they get the motivation to run during their lunch hour? Bloody exercisers.

Stewing in my cubicle, the endless sitting feels like pure misery some days. As I stretch my arms and follow the prescribed exercises my employer encourages so that I don't get carpal tunnel, flat bum syndrome, epicondylitis, vision problems, and the dreaded muffin top, I reach for my pumpkin spiced latte and sigh. The most exercise I've had is walking to the printer which is about 25 yards away. When I get there, I'm slightly out of breath. Next week. I'm on it. I don't want to be the type of parent who can't keep up with her kids because I'm tripping over my muffin top.

I've signed up for hot yoga, and I'm even considering boot-camp conditioning. Throw in the occasional power walk and the elliptical machine and there we have it. Skinny jeans, here I come. “What's boot-camp?” my girlfriend asks. “Torture, pure and simple torture that you hate and curse every second for the full duration of the class. Then the blast of endorphins will course through your new svelte body and you somehow manage to talk yourself into returning the following week. Oh Bliss, Oh Joy!” She looks a little scared.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Back To The Grind

Just a short post to catch up with y'all.

Well folks, I'm back to work. I've just finished my second week and somehow, managed to survive. You know your getting old when the most stressful part of your return is figuring out the damn parking garage. And no, I did not go up the down ramp. That was 10 years ago and a completely different situation. Moving on...

I've also pushed my little ones out of the nest this week and into grade 1 & JK. As you can imagine, it has been a busy week. No one warns you how emotionally taxing having kids can be. They really should come with a detailed instruction manual. We've had the tooth fairy pay us a visit, a call from the principal, a lost lunch bag and a few potty accidents.

This post will be short (but sweet). I still have to clean the kitchen and throw in some laundry. (sigh) I'll still be posting every two weeks or so.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I Can't Stop Buying Books

I may have to enter Book-a-holics Anonymous.

I can't stop buying books. It used to be shoes and purses. I was always in pursuit of Purse Nirvana, just the right amount of pockets in the right places... but I've come to realize, in the last few years, I have left these behind. I have moved on...books. My vice.

As project "declutter house" continues, I realize that each room has book bedroom, which seems to be the worst, has books piled on dresser, floor, night table, in closet...My bookshelves are full where to put them? There's the pile of urgent reads, then the semi-urgent pile from the library, the classics pile, the young adult pile...

The Great Glebe Garage Sale draws me in every year for more books. New books, the spine still once, full price paid...I can hardly contain myself.....I just can't understand how someone can sell their books (Sigh).

Then, just down the road, another book sale...a whole bag of used books, and were talking reusable, Olympic size bag, for only $10. I went hog wild.

Then, purchasing gifts for friends via Amazon...well I had to throw in a few for myself, of course to reach the free shipping limit.

And then Stieg Larsson had to go ahead and write 3 great novels. I was able to get "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" at the library. But the problem then became, I was hooked, and had to buy the second book. I have restrained myself and have not yet purchased the third. Breathe.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sam and Andy (Rookie Blue): Sink or Swim

My Girl Crush

I started watching the new TV series Rookie Blue and I'm crushing on Missy Peregrym who plays Andy McNally. Her chemistry with Sam Swarek is sizzling with electricity.

“What do you mean girl crushing?” My husband asked looking a little alarmed. “Well, it's something that happens frequently with women,” I tried explaining, but I got the blank stare.

You meet someone new. They are fantastic. Interesting, animated, full of positive energy. Instantly, you have tons in common. You realize there is a bond. You can't wait to see them again. You feel slightly jealous when they are talking to someone else. Not only are they beautiful and have great teeth, but they are full of life. You are excited to see to them....

No, you are not suddenly switching teams, you have a girl crush.

I showed my hubby the definition according to A girl crush occurs when you (a girl) have feelings of admiration and adoration for another girl, without wanting to shag said girl. It is a nonsexual attraction, usually based on veneration at some level. Feelings of general euphoria, prolonged sense of inspiration, desire for intellectual-intercourse occur.

So hun, don't worry, it's just a girl crush.

Who are you girl crushing on?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Quagmire of Pre-Mid Life

I ponder whether my mid life crisis has arrived a little early. As I watch the local teenagers walk to the neighbourhood high school for their summer program, I feel a sudden pang, aching, a longing to be back at that point in my life. I watch them with awe. They seem to have it all. With their tight little jeans, lean bodies, lustrous hair in their eyes. No responsibilities, except to get good grades and do the dishes every so often.

Driving the kids to summer camp, I sit at the stoplight waiting for it to turn green and watch them with envy. I haven't brushed my hair or my teeth. My clothes are a repeat from yesterday. I've had coffee for breakfast and my knees are aching from a 20 minute bike ride I took last night. As I watch them, I wonder, what teen angst could they possibly have? Maybe which zit cream to buy and whether their g-string is peaking out their low rise skinny jeans. Their lives seem so uncomplicated.

They are not worrying about atypical skin rashes, clogged toilets, instilling healthy eating habits, decluttering the house, getting enough exercise to ward of heart disease, and the other mundane issues that overwhelm us mid-lifers. “Good grief,” as Charlie Brown would say.

Somehow, my son telling me he loves my jelly belly, does nothing for the ego. The other day, a friend called me a skinny little B.x@#$%th. After a moment of shock, I actually felt like crying. Tears of happiness. No one had called me skinny in such a long time. I wanted to jump for joy.

I guess my frosh 15 plus my mommy 10, have now combined to be my new normal. Instead of skinny jeans, I have my camouflage outfits, billowing tops to hide the jelly belly, undergarments that suck in the back fat with good old Lycra strength. It was like getting asked for ID at the Liquor store when it is clear you are way over 19.

Getting older feels synonymous with trying to get your life under control. Because once you have it under control, then you have found an equilibrium. Right? All your problems are suddenly solved, Poof. I'll let you know if this is true when I get there. I'm still trying to clean out the basement.

Stressing out over peanut butter on the banister, the unused elliptical trainer in the basement corner, the unfulfilled life long dreams that haven't yet been accomplished, or the fact that you haven't saved the world from global warming yet all fester inside you. Making your mark on the world and leaving a legacy while at the same time raising kids, nurturing your relationships, and making time for your own needs feels a little daunting.

I guess I still need to come to terms with the fact that I am no longer a spring chicken. In fact, I'm fighting, kicking and screaming. A little uncouth. It is like leaving behind your true identity.

My friends who have passed into their 40's, say it is the best time of their lives. They say this with conviction and this gives me hope that I too will soon accomplish this same sense of contentedness.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Decluttering My Life

There are piles everywhere.

Piles of unopened mail.... Piles of opened mail.... Piles of dirty laundry.... Piles of folded clothing.... Piles of To Do Lists.... Piles of toys.... Lovely Piles.

I ask myself daily, how do I gain control over all these piles? It feels like decluttering the house is a full time job as I go from room to room and return things to their “normal usual” spot. “A place for everything and everything in its place.” But what happens when you run out of places?

In our household, it seems that clutter can only be tackled by someone with the XX chromosome because of their superpower clutter-vision goggles. Somehow the clutter sneaks into my home and before you know it, every surface that I have just cleared is somehow full again.

My kids come home from camp with an armload of new paintings and crafts. (Sigh...) Although these art works are multi-purpose, they camouflage my 1970's kitchen cabinets while at the same time prominently display their potential artistic talents, they are beginning to get out of control. After 5 years, the cabinet space has diminished and I'm not sure where to hang them.

Next, Grandma arrives with new toys from Dollarama. Need I say more?

Adding to the heap of clutter, my kids like to collect garbage. If we are walking down the street and they stumble upon a lid to a pop bottle, a cracked piece of plastic, or a broken toy that has been run over by numerous cars, this then becomes their favourite item. God forbid you get caught throwing it out or they notice it missing.

Their second favourite pastime is making paper planes and other origami which involves cutting endless amounts of construction paper. I will be investing a good portion of my retirement in paper mill stocks when I return to work. Their bedroom is filling up with these paper planes and animals.

As the clutter becomes more pronounced, taking over the dining room table and kitchen counters, I start to have fantasies about buying more shelving, furniture with hidden storage compartments, just somewhere, anywhere to store more stuff.

I have this dream that clearing the clutter from my home will make my transition into the working world successful, and of course, stress free. It will transform my house into a state of nirvana, a peaceful place to rest my mind.

So, my goal over the next month is to organize the house and rid it of any extraneous items.

Hello Goodwill...hello garbage...hello Kijiji.

Do you think the kids will notice when I start selling their toys?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Today, on multiple occasions, I cleaned poopy underwear. Not something I can say I really enjoy doing. My one year leave of absence, to take on the job of "stay at home mom", is slowly coming to an end. It has been a year of change, reflection, transition, tears, smiles, scraped knees, kites, and many many toilet adventures.

I've relished this time with my kids and can't even fathom a different routine on the horizon. It has been the toughest job I've ever done.

No pay. No breaks. Broken sleep. Free, unlimited whine.

Spending a full day with kids makes all other jobs seem... simple. After this stay at home mom position, I can do any job, blindfolded, with both hands tied behind my back. Bring it on!!!

Thinking back to those long winter days, training for the Olympic event of Snowsuit dressing, brings on a sudden hot flash. It's post traumatic stress disorder. How I felt like cursing every time I had to get them into their boots, snowsuits, hats, gloves,and scarves before the school bell went or someone had to go to the bathroom.

I admit, it was a hard year. I didn't always enjoy it. (Am I allowed to say that out loud?) The monotony of the household chores is pure drudgery. I had to remind myself everyday to take it one hour at a time. Enjoy the moment. Breathe. They will not be throwing sand at each other, or pooping in their underwear, or spilling their milk all over the table, wall and clothing when they are 17. Hopefully.

They are growing and this time will soon be behind us. September brings grade 1 and Kindergarten. The mommy groups, play dates, the glasses of red wine while reading a good mommy book helped get me through the rough patches.

Here are the top four. Each of these books describe how chaotic motherhood can be. My favourites are Everyone is Beautiful and Mitten Strings for God, Reflections for Mothers In A Hurry.

Everyone is Beautiful by Katherine Centre

Mitten Strings for God, Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry by Katrina Kenison

The Yummy Mummy by Polly Williams

The Secret Life of A Slummy Mummy by Fiona Neill

Monday, June 14, 2010

High School Reunion

Can friendship survive a 20 year hiatus? Returning this weekend from my high school reunion, I sit pondering the phenomena of friendship. As I walked through the door and saw all the faces, so familiar, yet changed, it brought back a flood of memories and emotions. Bonds forged over foolish pranks, shared cigarettes on the sidewalk, the white cabriolet and the daily banter at the lunch table.

Math class held some of my favorite memories. The whole class seemed to participate wholeheartedly in the mischief. A silent pledge made between us. A connection that made us giddy. One day, our ring leader emptied a can of sardines behind a cabinet. The stench was unbearable. In our infinite wisdom, we thought the only solution our teacher would come to, would be to cancel class. We sat waiting. Mr. Macintosh (God bless him for he was really tolerant) ignored us as we all looked at each other. Misery loves company.

"Operation O" needs to be mentioned as well. It illustrates just how wonderfully creative the teen mind can be. A group of boys decided to put an Octopus corpse, courtesy of the local Knob Hill Farms Meat Department into the piano in the school Cafetorium. After rotting for a few months, the smell in the lunch area was simply, rank, fetid, foul. Although we could no longer eat in the Cafetorium for a period of time, the students didn't mind. Our little secret created a bond. Us against them. It was a time when we were free from any real responsibility, yet bound to the school. We all survived the raging hormones, final exams, and cafeteria food. And as our valedictorian pointed out, "Amazingly, we all turned out OK."

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I've Lost The Car

Motherhood has many ill-fated side effects. Varicose veins, sleeplessness, sagging, the tendency to wear stained t-shirts and track pants from the 80's in public to name a few. I don't want to scare too many future mothers away from the mommy club, so I won't list them all.

The most profound effect however, is on one's memory. Whether it is a result of post pregnancy hormones bathing your brain or being woken up countless times during the night, one cannot be sure. After one year of maternity, we mothers have realized that our normal adult vocabulary has been completely forgotten and replaced with new words, such as potty, dah dah, poopie, and wee wee.

Although most parent guide books promote routine and schedules for the benefit of the child, the sad truth is actually for the parents. It ensures that the kids are not forgotten at school. That groceries are purchased, homes cleaned, the fish gets fed and that the car is not lost. Stray from the routine, and suffer the consequences....

Last Tuesday is a perfect example. After driving my son to school, his teacher asked if I could stay and help out since one of their volunteers was away. I'm a stay at home mom with an afternoon of leisure on the menu. Cue the crazy laugh.

After school, we played outside, walked home...our normal routine. Later that evening, peering out the window, admiring my beautiful garden, I suddenly realized that the car was, well, missing.

Panic, screaming, deep breathing, hyperventilating.
Someone has stolen the car!

Think Think Think....when did I use it last?...can't remember.....what day is it?....can't think straight. Husband is going to kill me...

After the initial hysteria passed, I finally calmed down enough to review my schedule. Again, thank God for schedules and routine. This led to the memory of parking it at the school.

There it stood. Relief, and gratitude to St. Anthony.
Not only was my car in the same spot that I had parked it, but my open purse still sat on the passenger seat....

Cue the angels singing “Hallelujah.”

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Life's Little Moments

I'm sitting on the sidelines- I guess this is what mothers do.

My kids soccer season is just beginning and I ponder how fast they are growing. Over the last two years, my six year old's soccer skills have gone from picking flowers, stopping to gape in wonder at the butterflies, to recently, kicking the ball.

One of my proudest moments as a soccer mom happened in his first year when a little girl brought a ring with a pink plastic stone to practice. Totally taken with the ring, he convinced the girl to let him wear it. He spent the entire practice running with his hand straight out in front of him, offering up his pink stone to the heavens. He was in his own imaginary world. I love this world. I'd like to climb into it with him, and share his fantasies. Now, I watch him as he giggles and kicks the soccer ball.

Max, my three your old is tiny. His soccer uniform t-shirt hangs well below his knees like a dress. His shin pads extend past his knees making it difficult for him to bend his legs. He is insistent. He can't play with out his shin pads. His face is red from exertion. His strawberry blond hair wet with sweat. His enthusiasm for joining soccer with his big brother is brimming over. He is so happy, he literally can't stand still.

I sit in awe watching the raw joy that emanates from my kids. Maybe by midlife, we have started to lose our sense of wonder, our lust for living. Bogged down by our daily chores and responsibilities, our kids give us a precious reprieve, a window opens to a world we used to live in. I feel the warm breeze blowing through the window, caressing my face...I've decided, I'm climbing through...

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat
But always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed

I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances
But they're worth taking
Lovin' might be a mistake
But it's worth making

Don't let some hell bent heart
Leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out
Give the heavens above
More than just a passing glance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance

Lee Ann Womack “I hope you dance”

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dimlight, a TWILIGHT parody (JB #14)

My Life is Twilight

“I think all addiction starts with soda. Every junkie did soda first. But no one counts that. Maybe they should. The soda connection is clear. Why isn't a presidential commission looking into this? Or at least some guys from the National Carbonation Council.”

Chris Rock

When my addicted personality started, I cannot be sure. Perhaps early onset sodaitis occurred when I was a teen. Free to consume soda pop and other junk foods without restraint, I indulged myself. I do love pop, my all time favourite being “Wink”. I'm probably dating myself, since it has long been renamed or discontinued.

My most recent affliction is the Twilight series, overtaking my Smartfood popcorn dependency. I just can't help myself. I have to write about Twilight. I'm a closet fan. I haven't bought a t-shirt or a mug. Yet...

The love story takes hold of the reader allowing for suspension of disbelief. It's the ultimate princess story. A young awkward teen girl with a healthy dose of angst and low self esteem, a character to whom every girl can relate, meets the forbidden boy. Yummy. Take a bite out of that.

Most days, I just want to live in the fantasy world created by Meyer, just as I wanted to become a witch after I read Harry Potter. I admit, I dressed up as Professor Trelawney for two years in a row on Halloween.

After reading Meyer's series, I feel embarrassed to say, I wanted to read them again and again, and watch the movies over and over again. I could sense my husband was becoming worried. My behaviour scared him. I'll admit, I was and still am obsessed. I convinced my posse of stay at home moms to read the books. We have Twilight parties. Organize movie nights for the upcoming releases. I have trolled the fan sites and lurk in Twilight forums.

I ponder why this vampire love story is causing such a strong pull, a distraction to my usual routine? Has life become so mundane that I want to marry a vampire? If you are inclined to such addictions, I recommend total surrender. For those of you who have already arrived, check out this website. You can then feel better because some other twilight fan is far worse off than you on the addiction continuum.

"Today, I was in my kitchen. I was hungry. I got some ice cream from the freezer. The cold air from the freezer reminded me of Edward. I ate it with a spoon. The spoon reminded me of a fork. I realized that the sun was shining on my ice cream and making it sparkle." MLIT

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Book Of Awesome

My 6th Mother's day.

Watching the sun rise from the quiet haven of my home.

Early mornings with my boys.

Hot steaming coffee sweetened slightly with Nesquik.

Life's little moments. I love the quiet. I leave the radio off.

Shielding my offspring from the daily barrage of bad news broadcast over the airwaves leaves me somewhat out of the loop on current events. Oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico and killing all the ocean life? Vaguely familiar. The Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland erupting and causing havoc with air travel? Never heard of it. The ongoing war in Iraq? Are they still fighting? Sandra Bullock adopting a baby. Well, yes, this I've been on top of.

I can't hear you! Nana nana na na.

Bad news is in our face all the time. The Greek financial crisis. The US financial crisis. Corporate Crime on the increase. Earthquakes. According to the World Food Program , a child dies from hunger every 6 seconds. If listening to the news on a daily basis doesn't send you down the turnpike of depression, then you, my dear are RESILIENT.

I often question whether we doing our kids a favour by making them believe that everyone in the world has it hunky dory. What do you mean I have to eat all my green beans because people are starving in Africa? I struggle with how much of the world's pain to convey to my kids, to prevent them from becoming ethnocentric, self indulgent, ego-maniacal, parsimonious, selfish, white collar CFO criminals. Rant rant.

Enough of the bad news. The Book of Awesome helps us to remember all of life's precious moments that make us feel warm and fuzzy good. Check out Neil Pasricha's web site for your daily dose. The popularity of this website has resulted in his book. Treat yourself. There is a special tribute to mothers on todays posting.

Monday, May 3, 2010

TONE-Z-On The Run(Justified Promo Song)

I've just started watching Justified and I'm loving the theme song. It gets you grooving.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Fallen Off the Horse, In My Sleep

One morning two weeks ago, I woke up and my right heel was injured. Sore and tender. I couldn't even walk on it. My son suggested, “maybe you slept funny.” Yes, this is what happens when you get older. You injure yourself while sleeping, cleaning, gardening and participating in your normal activities of daily living. (sigh). Bringing your fork to your mouth could lead to a puncture type injury. Forget exercising, this is way too risky an activity. I can barely get through the night safely. My poor elliptical machine is getting dusty. God forbid I start hanging my laundry on it.

I'm heading to my 20 year high school reunion next month. This milestone is the punctuation of my mid life crisis. I don't even want to think that my life might be half over, in case I jinks myself. I'm becoming very superstitious these days. In addition to mysterious injuries....(I can't remember the second half of my sentence)...oh yes, it's the memory issues. I have scrambled eggs between my head most days. It becomes more pronounced with less that eight hours sleep.

Next thing you know, I'm going to get my hair permed, start listening to easy rock, turn down the volume on my radio, and turn the volume up on my TV. Thank you to Pamela Redmond Satran for giving me pointers in “How Not to Act Old.”

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lounging on the Couch

March break is just around the corner. If your looking for some good books to snuggle up with on the couch, I highly recommend these picks below. Make yourself a hot coffee, put on those comfy 1980's but I still fit track pants, send the kids out with your husband and enjoy some respite for the soul.

Adult picks

The Giver by Lois Lowry
In a world with no poverty, no crime, no sickness and no unemployment, and where every family is happy, 12-year-old Jonas is chosen to be the community's Receiver of Memories. Under the tutelage of the Elders and an old man known as the Giver, he discovers the disturbing truth about his utopian world and struggles against the weight of its hypocrisy. With echoes of Brave New World, in this 1994 Newbery Medal winner, Lowry examines the idea that people might freely choose to give up their humanity in order to create a more stable society. Gradually Jonas learns just how costly this ordered and pain-free society can be, and boldly decides he cannot pay the price.

Inez Of My Soul by Isabel Allende
Only months after the inauguration of Chile's first female president, Allende recounts in her usual sweeping style the grand tale of Doña Inés Suárez (1507– 1580), arguably the country's founding mother. Writing in the year of her death, Inés tells of her modest girlhood in Spain and traveling to the New World as a young wife to find her missing husband, Juan. Upon learning of Juan's humiliating death in battle, Inés determines to stay in the fledgling colony of Peru, where she falls fervently in love with Don Pedro de Valdivia, loyal field marshal of Francisco Pizarro. The two lovers aim to found a new society based on Christian and egalitarian principles that Valdivia later finds hard to reconcile with his personal desire for glory. Inés proves herself not only a capable helpmate and a worthy cofounder of a nation, but also a ferocious fighter who both captivates and frightens her fellow settlers. Inés narrates with a clear eye and a sensitivity to native peoples that rarely lapses into anachronistic political correctness. Basing the tale on documented events of her heroine's life, Allende crafts a swift, thrilling epic, packed with fierce battles and passionate romance.

The Girls by Lori Lansens
In 29 years, Rose Darlen has never spent a moment apart from her twin sister, Ruby. She has never gone for a solitary walk or had a private conversation. Yet, in all that time, she has never once looked into Ruby's eyes. Joined at the head, "The Girls" (as they are known in their small Ontario town) are the world's oldest surviving craniopagus twins. In her astonishing second novel, Lori Lansens (author of Rush Home Road) ventures into the strange world of physical abnormality that Barbara Gowdy so chillingly explored in We So Seldom Look on Love. While some writers might be tempted to play up the grotesque aspects of life as a conjoined twin, Lansens treats her so-called freaks with sensitivity and respect. The result is an extraordinarily moving narrative about human connectedness that questions the very meaning of "normal."

Kids picks

The Magic Hockey Stick by Peter Maloney and Felicia Zekauskas
Kindergarten-Grade 2-A young hockey player receives the ultimate gift when her parents accidentally buy Wayne Gretzky's hockey stick at a charity auction. However, her father insists that she keep the expensive collector's item displayed on pegs above her bed. Temptation overcomes, and the stick is smuggled to the ice rink inside a huge stuffed giraffe. With the autographed stick, the child scores goal after goal and her team has its best season ever. Meanwhile, Gretzky himself is in a scoring slump. The newspaper says he's lost his stuff. After a sleepless night full of guilty dreams, the protagonist hurries to Madison Square Garden determined to return the magic stick. The hockey pro is so touched by his young fan's generosity that he requests her autograph. A satisfying ending shows the famous stick displayed at the Hockey Hall of Fame. This story is told in humorous rhyme and is accompanied by delightful cartoon illustrations. Even children who have no knowledge of hockey will be entertained by this book and impressed by its message. Maloney and Zekauskas have scored a winning goal with this one.

Looking forward to hearing your feedback on these books.

Thank you for the book descriptions.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The New Age Bikini Cleanse

Considering the upcoming bikini season is just around the corner, I considered doing the Lemonade Cleanse. A friend was singing its praise, even though the rational part of my brain was rejecting the pseudo-scientific explanation. I even went so far to purchase a bag full of lemons.

Enter stage right, stomach bug "gastroenteritis"... Thank you kindergarten kids....

With the little tykes, there is no controlling the germs that infest every area of your home, no matter what a clean freak you are. The whole family is down for the count.

Two weeks later and a handful of sleepless nights hugging the can and I can forget the lemonade cleanse. My get in shape "diet" has just been given an advance green light. My bikini body has been given a kick start. Not only have I enjoyed the benefits, but so has my husband who was unwilling to suffer through the lemonade cleanse with me. I'm sure I'll have the energy to get back on the elliptical machine next week. There is the silver lining....

I was thinking about a unikini, as recommended by my good friend Kathleen, but unfortunately, I was only able to find one for my hubby. Not sure he will agree to this.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

CEO, Cook, Parachute builder, sanitation worker

Hello fellow bloggers (OK, just Kathleen)

I've been pretty busy the last few weeks and haven't had a chance to post. I'm back now, sleep deprived and ready to rock. Problem was, I had not logged onto my blog in so long, I couldn't remember how to do it. Of course I wrote down my password, but just figuring out where and how to log in was the problem. Even though "log in" is clearly labeled, sleep deprivation allows us moms to miss the obvious. Us newby bloggers have our trials and tribulations. Now that I have figured it out, I'm back in full force.

Currently, I'm cooking chicken legs, roast potatoes, cauliflower, and cole slaw. In between cutting the cauliflower, I'm making a parachute with a plastic bag, an elastic band, and an old beaded necklace. My son would like to float his future hamster down the stairs into our basement. At the same time, I'm writing this blog. Super multi-tasker that most moms are, I am also breaking up fights (only happens when on the phone or on the computer), drinking a glass of red wine (best effect on an empty stomach), and trying to remember what I wanted to write.

Break ....

Back again. Poopy mishap. In underwear, (not mine, but my son's), poop rolling out onto bathroom floor. Clorox wipes. Need I say more?

Last week, we purchased a home elliptical exercise machine. My husband assembled it on the weekend and today is the first day I was able to try it out. Guilt, Guilt, Guilt, my best friend. I had estimated a 30 minute work out. I must be svelte to fit into a new bikini by March break. I laboured through 15 minutes wanting to curse everyone and everything. I really wish I hadn't eaten that bag of microwave popcorn last night, even though it was blue label presidents choice. This was after I had read "Nutrition Action" journal which advised that a large movie theater popcorn with the usual 4 squirts of "topping", was a whopping 1, 440 calories.

Greetings to my first member. Giggle giggle giggle.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Starbucks continued

Oh, I forgot to mention something. Look who was pestering me at Starbucks. She wanted to sit beside me and chat. I felt bad for her. She looked so skinny and hungry and here I was writing down my new years resolutions and snacking on a croissant. I finally told her to bugger off. I'm a busy writer.
Well, I Gotta run, Thai food has arrived. I guess that is my take out for the next two weeks. (see New Years Resolution List).

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Love my half sweet mocha

On my way to the gym this morning, thought I would just stop by the mall to pick up my new winter coat. Unfortunately, Starbucks is beside said store and the half sweet non-fat no whip mocha was calling my name. I pulled out my writing journal (as all new aspiring writers carry with them at all times), and decided to use my time wisely. I'm a multi-tasking women. Will write my New Years Resolutions. Still January, so not too late.

  • 1. Work out at least three times per week, starting tomorrow. Actually, scratch that, starting Monday, since Sunday just doesn't work for me.
  • 2. Loose 20 lbs. Plan to cut out nightly chip and dip ritual. Will have to find some other means to increase my salt intake.
  • 3. Try not to loose my cool with the kids. Vow not to develop sore throat from yelling.
  • 4. Use time more wisely.

Signing out. Mocha is now finished. Further resolutions will have to wait. Since I am already at the mall and don't have kids with me, feel it would be better use of my time to go shopping.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Gluten Free Meals That Kids Will (Learn to) Eat

After discovering my son had a multitude of allergies and was also intolerant to gluten, it became my mission to find good tasting recipes. No doubt, kids are picky eaters. If it's not the taste, it's the texture they are rejecting. Now, remove all food they traditionally love (pasta, pizza and chicken fingers) and your left with a nervous breakdown every night at dinner.

This post is dedicated to listing healthy, good tasting meals that kids will eat.

Disclaimer: I usually have to feed any new foods at least 10 times before my kids will "accept it". This is long arduous work. You must endure the whining night after night. Be strong. Do not break. They will come to love all veggies and even eat Dad's blue cheese. Variety being the spice of life, they will come to love many different foods. Our dinner table rule is that one bite must be tried. Thus, they unknowingly are developing a palate for this new food.

Please feel free to share any meal ideas.
This blog is under construction. Estimated time to completion is March 2010.