Thursday, April 4, 2013

Blink

Now that the kids are quickly closing in on three and five years old, I've had an opportunity to reflect on what it's like to raise two small people. Up to this point of course. There are many more challenges and rewards to come. There are so many little things that make them uniquely who they are. Many memories of  "appy ju" and crossed eyes. Wrestling them away from the park and sending tiny people off on the school bus for the first time. Lot's of everyday memories of sisters growing up together and becoming best friends. There are lots of fantastic rights of passage when raising a little person or two. There are also some that are best avoided but, for some reason, many new parents find themselves pulled into.

 One of the things I won't miss are the so called "Mommy Wars" that seem to preoccupy the lives of many new parents, especially moms. In one moment, an innocent search on the Internet for advice, can turn into a battle of who's right, who's wrong, and why you should feel guilty about every decision you've made thus far. Do you breastfeed or bottle feed? WHY? Do you sleep train? Do you use a soother? Yes? No? WHY? Cloth or disposables? Epidural or natural? Co sleeping or crib? WHY? Here's a hint; everything you answer is wrong. At least that's how it can feel at the time. Everyone with a keyboard, Internet access and an opinion is suddenly a "expert" and will feel compelled to educate you in the correct way of raising your children. In as much has the Internet can be a great resource to find support and common ground, it can also pull that ground out from under you if you let it.

Now that I have the benefit of hindsight, I'm amazed, truly amazed at how utterly insignificant any of that is at this point in time. The battles that people waged online defending their own positions seem like tiny wars waged by ants. Sure a big deal for the ants, but in the great wide world, it's a tiny ripple. It may be reassuring to know, if you are a newer mom or still well immersed in babies and toddlers, that this will all pass. Not even with a bang or a whimper; but more with a disregarded fizzle. Your life moves on. You're occupied with other things, including your own life, not that solely of your children's. When your kids are three and five, no one cares if you breastfed. No one cares when they were potty trained. No one cares when they finally slept through the night. Why? I don't know. Perspective I guess. The point being at some point we all move on, so don't sweat the small stuff. You may as well get a head start worrying about how you're going to pay for their university tuition.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Don't Let Anyone Tell You Different

I made a delicious carrot soup last week. I put the bowl in the dishwasher but it didn't come out very clean at all! Surprise surprise. The dishwasher has one point to its existence; to clean dishes. If it's NOT doing that then there is no point to its existence at all. It should really do the honorable thing and walk its self out to an ice flow and be done with it. This constant letting me down is putting a strain on our relationship.

I wasn't the one who was going to blink first! I put that bowl back in and it wasn't coming back out until the job was done. The dishwasher is just going to have to learn we all have responsibilities and have to pull our weight. Eventually, after seven days, the bowl was finally clean. Talk about stubborn!

The people who might claim I was too lazy to hand wash the bowl are completely missing the point. This was about the value of persistence; and it paid off. Isn't persistence a virtue? I'm not sure but am going to say yes. I made a virtuous decision. So there non believers!

Friday, February 1, 2013

On The Go

I just downloaded the Blogger app for the iPhone so this just a little test. Miss K is on her third bowl a cereal so I'm thinking maybe I just need to get bigger bowls. She eats more cereal than anyone I know. In fact she eats pretty much all day. I wonder if she's hypoglycemic?


Friday, December 28, 2012

Service Canada is Responsible For My Feelings of Domestic Inadequacy

I could just go on, at great length, about how today unfolded, but I won't. No one wants to know the bitter details of a day gone horribly wrong, so considered yourself spared. For the moment at least. I will endeavour to keep to the point and NOT diverge into a rant about how unfair the universe is, and why, OH WHY is nothing simple? EVER? No, I'll keep to the point. I'm quite sure that I have a point, so let's press forward, shall we?

The day began simple enough. I needed to get a social insurance number for my daughter so that we could start an education savings plan for her. It completely unraveled from that point on. Fast forward FOUR HOURS LATER, and I finally find myself standing in line at a Service Canada office waiting for my turn to be seen. The young lady took my name and then told me to wait AN HOUR AND A HALF for someone to call my name. I essentially stood a line so that I could stand in ANOTHER line. Deep breaths.

The waiting area had many chairs, disgruntled people in said chairs, and a coffee table. On the coffee table there was nothing. I cringed and the unfairness of expecting people to wait hours on end, but provide nothing to read. Why was the table even there in the first place? Would they be serving coffee momentarily? I think not. It was taunting us. There was, however, a pharmacy near by where I could, in theory, buy and magazine. I didn't want to do that. One, they should have magazines anyways. Why should I have to go spend my money on one? Two, I don't read magazines. Terrible waste of time and money. Fluff. A few minutes passed and I went and bought three magazines and nail clippers. (The nail clippers aren't relevant to the story, but I needed them anyways).

I bought one magazine on simplifying your home, one on living naturally, and one on storage for small spaces. No, I'm not a Cosmo girl or a People person. I've been trying to simplify my home and life, live more naturally and generally find some sort of inner peace. I'm not very good at it though. So far. Our home is wonderful and perfect in a lot of ways, but it's short comings are more apparent now that there are four people living here than the former two. Space is at a premium forcing us to live smarter because, lets face it, no one is going to build an addition onto the house. I was hoping that a magazine supposedly dedicated to organizing small spaces would be perfect. Apparently our definition of "small space" is vastly different than that of the magazine.

For starters, their shower is the size of our bathroom. I do not own a "master suite" with an office that I can convert into a dressing room. The kids do not have a dedicated play room that I can custom build and hand stencil. The builders also seem to have forgotten to include the walk-in pantry in our "small space". All the areas that I actually need help in are glamorized to the point of being utterly useless. Who needs a special container for corn cob holders labeled "corn cob holders" in a drawer whose only other companions are a  spatula and whisk? I'm guessing you don't have a space problem or you eat out a lot. Seriously? People, DO NOT READ COSMO! If a magazine about storage solutions for small spaces can make you feel this inadequate, think of the damage Cosmo (or any other women's magazine) will have! IT WILL DESTROY YOUR SOUL AND WILL TO LIVE!

I'm not sure if there was a point, other than me being anti-magazine, to this. However, I didn't rant about my day as much as I could have. So mission accomplished, really.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Redemption and Forgiveness

A couple of months ago I watched an awful lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. It was completely obscene the amount of time I devoted to finishing them both. Not everyone is going to like those shows, and I get that they may take a bit of warming up to. That being said it's totally worth it. They're funny, clever, poignant, and you often become very attached to the characters. The episode when Buffy's mom dies is heartbreaking! I'm talking totally snotty tears inducing. I don't have the colouring to carry off getting that upset. Redheads turn all pink and it ends up clashing terribly with our hair.

As much as I could go on and on about how much I love the shows and Joss Whedon's genius (as I often do), the point I'm trying to get to is one of redemption and forgiveness. That seemed to be a running theme through both the shows. Can you be and do horrible things in your past and still find redemption? Two of the main characters, Angel and Spike (vampires),  have done horrendous and truly evil things in their pasts. They hope that they can make amends for their past actions by doing good in the present. Buy their way out of Hell by having more black than red in their ledgers. This raises a lot of big questions about forgiveness, identity and human nature. The answers, I'm guessing, are not black and white. In fact, I'm not sure if any of the Big Questions have black and white answers at all.

I suppose the main question is whether it's even possible to redeem yourself for past actions. What's done is done. You had free will, you made a choice and are responsible for it. Any amount of good deeds isn't going to erase the evil you've done. The past can not be rewritten. Not in your heart or in any one's eyes. Maybe that's not the point though. Some things may be unforgivable, but maybe redemption doesn't need forgiveness. Maybe it's not about everyone else, but about the person who did the deed. Maybe redemption isn't a end but a journey. Doing good, or making the effort to, for it's own sake. Doing it because it's the right thing to do even if it means you're going to Hell anyways. Your redemption is your punishment and  your gift to yourself every day. I think that Angel kind of figured that one out in the end. There is no get-out-of-Hell-free card. He (spoiler) signed away any possibility of becoming human again because he knew he couldn't erase who he was. The evil that he did and was is still a part of him, and because of that he can't undo it and regain his humanity. His "reward" will forever be out of his reach.

Even if all that is true, and who knows if it is, it gets really complicate when you throw ideas about identity into the mix. As soon as these characters (spoiler) gained their souls back it was like they were disassociated from their pasts. Repeatedly we and other characters were told the were different and OK because they had their souls now. It seemed through that and their present determination to act of the side of Good, they were no longer the persons they were in their pasts. Well if your actions shape your identity and who you are, could you argue that someone is a totally different person, and therefore not accountable for their past self's actions. I recall an episode of Babylon 5 (yes shut up! I'm a total geek, I KNOW) called "Passing Through Gethsemane". In this episode a serial killer who was sentenced to death of personality is confronted by the family of one of his victims. He is now living as a monk and has no memory of his former life or actions. It's complicated isn't it? Is he, who physically committed those crimes, still responsible for his actions? Should he still atone for them? Has he? Are Angle and Spike different people now that they have a soul and are on the side of Good? Can they and are they being held accountable for their pasts? It's a very grey area, but probably a lot clearer for the victims involved.

In both Buffy and Angel, everyone always seemed to be lying, double crossing, heck sometimes even trying to kill each other, and then down the line they would be working together. I kept thinking what is going on with these people?! Did you forget that five episodes ago he/she was trying to kill you/bring about the apocalypse/steal your boyfriend?? How can you forgive someone like that? Then I thought about it some more and realized that if they hadn't worked together they would have failed. The apocalypse would have happened, or someone would have died or something else terrible. They had to work together because it was what was needed to be done. That didn't mean they had to forget or forgive, but they still had to exist and interact with each other. That's how the world works. Sometimes you have to work and live with people who are less than perfect or have wronged you in some way. Chances are everyone has screwed over or hurt someone else in their lives. Sometimes an acquaintance, sometimes someone you love and trust and totally didn't deserve it. Nobody is perfect and we've all done things that are less than admirable. However, you can't push everyone away that has wronged you. You'd find you were alone pretty darn fast. You might find that you need those people in your life, that they still have an important role to play. It's not about Good and Bad, or about being perfect, or even forgiveness. Maybe it comes right down to playing the cards you're dealt as best you can.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Something on Pintrest Worked!

Today I tried one of the kid's activities I found on Pintrest. It looked simple enough and I had all the ingredients, so I figured I'd give it a go. I'm always keeping my eye out for an activity that both the girls will equally enjoy. This particular one is called "Cloud Dough" and is super easy to make.

 



It's just 8 cups of flour to 1 cup of baby oil. Mix it up with your hands and ta-da! It keeps it's shape and isn't gooey or sticky at all. The smell of baby oil is nice too! The girls love the sandbox, so this is a great alternative on rainy days. Of course there's nothing stopping you from taking it outside. In fact it can get a bit messy so that's not a bad idea. I suggest a big tub if you have one, and lots of newspaper on the floor. That being said, it is very easy to sweep up, so clean up isn't the huge task you might think it would be.


Miss. A loved making shapes and burying things. She pretended she was a paleontologist, burying plastic onion rings and pretending they were apatosaurus bones. Each time she dug them up it was a new discovery!


Miss. K (Formerly known as Baby K who has now had a birthday), loved exploring the feel of the"sand". She filled little bowls, poked things with straws, and generally made a huge mess!

They both had lots of fun with it and enjoyed it in their own way. It also keeps well if you store it in a zip lock bag or sealed container. Yay for pintrest!



Monday, July 9, 2012

It's Not Easy Being Green

In an ever evolving quest to be healthier, I've started experimenting with smoothies and juices. I've discovered a few things already. The first is that my blender isn't very good. We've had it for nearly ten years, so that's part of the problem. Somethings just get old and dull over time. Also, it wasn't really made to do smoothies in the first place. As a consequence, all my smoothies thus far require a small amount of mastication on the part of the drinker. That's OK though. When I think of all that went into making them, I'm impressed by the amount of fresh fruits and veggies I'm actually eating! There's a lot of goodness in that glass, even if it looks a bit dubious.

That's the second thing I've learned so far. Looks can be deceiving! That's an understatement when it comes to making and consuming "green smoothies" in particular. Who would think a drink made of banana, blue berries, peaches, cucumber, watermelon, and spinach would be any good? Actually many of the weird combinations I've tried have been very good! I'm looking forward to experimenting with new combinations and seeing how they play out. The other deceptive thing I've discovered is that you need a heck of a lot of oranges to make fresh orange juice! It tastes fantastic but is very labour intensive! Also, we need new orange peeling technology, asap.

I haven't been at it very long, but I plan on sharing anything I find that is interesting and/or tasty. Hopefully both.